MTP Daily, Transcript 6/28/2017

Guests: Chris Clayton, Eliana Johnson, Yamiche Alcindor

Show: MTP DAILY Date: June 28, 2017 Guest: Chris Clayton, Eliana Johnson, Yamiche Alcindor

NICOLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: All right, that final wise last word Eddie Glaude. Thanks to Bret Stephens, Susan Glasser, (INAUDIBLE), Eddie Glaude.

That does it for this hour. I`m Nicole Wallace. "MTP DAILY" starts right now. Hi, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Well, hi there, Nicole.

WALLACE: How are you?

TODD: You know, it`s Wednesday.

WALLACE: It`s Wednesday?

TODD: So, you know, whatever that means.

WALLACE: I thought it was Thursday.

TODD: I know, I think a lot of people do. But I have bad news, tomorrow is not Friday.

WALLACE: I know.

TODD: Despite what Twitter wants to believe. Anyway, that is fake news. Thank you, Nicole.

If it`s Wednesday, when did bipartisanship become such a dirty word?

(voice-over): Tonight, the tremendous divide.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had a tremendous meeting. The Republican senators met on health care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: Could there be a bipartisan solution on health care?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would sit down with them in a heartbeat. They don`t have the license to do that from Mitch McConnell.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I have said all along that I thought we should talk to the Democrats from the beginning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: Or is there any chance the Republican Party can successfully go this alone?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If we don`t reach agreement by Friday, it is probably the end of a sole-party effort for health care.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Not this Friday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: And later, the war on the press.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, U.S. WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: I think that we have gone to a place where if the media can`t be trusted to report the news, then that`s a dangerous place for America.

(END VIDEO CLIP) TODD: The White House`s obsession with attacking the media.

This is MTP DAILY and it starts right now.

(on camera): Good evening, I`m Chuck Todd here in Washington and welcome to a hump day edition of MTP DAILY.

And welcome to American politics where the idea of bipartisanship is actually now a threat. Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell essentially dared Republicans to torpedo the party`s health care legislation which would leave them no choice but to have to work with Democrats.

Well, now, he`s facing a growing chorus of Republicans from across the ideological spectrum, publicly saying, that`s not a threat, that`s a great idea.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: I have said all along that I thought we should talk to the Democrats from the beginning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m hearing a lot more people talk about working across the aisle this morning. Is that something you`re interested in doing?

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: It certainly is. That`s what we should have done from the beginning.

GRAHAM: The best outcome, I still think, would be a bipartisan deal.

PAUL: Well, I think the first thing you do is repeal the disaster of Obamacare. And after that, I think we should work with Democrats.

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: I wish we were doing this on a bipartisan basis. I think it was a mistake right away saying we`re going to do this partisan. That`s where we`re at.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you be a proponent of trying to work across the I`ll to make fixes as opposed to saying we have to start over?

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: Absolutely. This is not for Republicans to fix or Democrats to fix. This is for us as Americans to fix.

SEN. SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO (R), WEST VIRGINIA: If for some reason it fails, I think we then -- the flood gates would probably open to reach a bipartisan compromise.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: And there`s a growing chorus of Democrats also spanning their ideological spectrum, publicly saying they joined the negotiations if truly invited.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: I can tell you, myself, as one moderate conservative Democrat with many other moderates, want to sit down and work with our moderate Republican friends to fix and repair the Affordable Care Act.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: Obviously, I`m a pretty progressive Democrat, but I would sit down with them in a heartbeat. They don`t have the license to do that from Mitch McConnell.

SEN. ANGUS KING (I), MAINE: Refer this bill to committee, have hearings, get some input, have some debate and discussions on a bipartisan basis, and maybe we can come up with some practical solutions.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK, MINORITY LEADER: We are willing to debate and compromise on health care but we have to be included. President Trump, my Republican friends, the choice is yours.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: At this point, can Republican leadership ignore what appear to be truly growing calls for some form of bipartisanship compromise? The message from leadership today was essentially, we`re going to try.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think we`re going to get at least very close and I think we`re going to get it over the line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, Senator Schumer says he would like to come down and have all 100 senators come in and talk health care. Would you be willing to negotiate with all of them?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`d have to find out if he`s serious. He hasn`t been serious. He just doesn`t seem look a serious person.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY, MAJORITY LEADER: We`ll continue working so we can bring legislation to the floor for debate and ultimately a vote. We know that we cannot afford to delay on this issue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: It`s interesting, McConnell and Trump sticking to their guns wanting to do this one party. Now, it`s worth noting that back in 2010, there were some familiar GOP faces slamming Democrats for overhauling health care with what they said was a partisan vote.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCONNELL: In one with of the most divisive legislative debates in modern history, Democrats decided to go the partisan route and blatantly ignore the will of the people.

[17:05:04] SEN. JOHN THUNE (R), NORTH CAROLINA: They decided to do this with Democratic votes. They wanted to pass it with their 60 Democrats. And if Republicans had been included, there might have been some hope for some common ground.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: Deja vu all over again, huh? Republican Senator Orin Hatch was also a prominent voice, attacking Obamacare`s bipartisan vote back in 2010. But today, he told the caucus that reaching across the aisle would be a disaster.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you support any effort to work across the aisle?

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: Tell me, who can you work with over there? I personally think we`ll get everybody together and be able to do this. We have to. If we don`t do it, I mean, we`re going to have socialized medicine. That`s all there is to it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: On the other side of the aisle, ask yourself which is more likely? That Senator Schumer really wants to -- Democrats to work with McConnell to make Trumpcare great again or that he wants the issue for Democrats in 2018?

And now, you see why there`s no trust between the two sides on this. Folks, welcome to Washington where the idea of bipartisan ends up dividing the two parties.

Joining me now is Senator Mike Rounds, Republican from South Dakota, also a former governor. I think that matters here because governors have been weighing in a lot. Senator, welcome back to the show, sir.

SEN. MIKE ROUNDS (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: Thank you, sir. Appreciate the opportunity.

TODD: You got it. So, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the goal is, make some changes. Behind the scenes we hear they`re hoping to make the changes fast enough so that the bill gets sent over to the Congressional Budget Office before you guys leave town this week.

Can this be just tinkered with in order to win over either the skeptical conservatives or skeptical moderates? Is it a small tinkering here or do you need to do something bigger?

ROUNDS: Well, we know right now that the plan in its current form would reduce premiums by about 30 percent over the current projected law by 2020. So, we`ve made some strides. We also know that included in it are some major changes to Medicaid that would begin to bend the cost curve.

But we do have some changes that we`d like to make because our goal isn`t just to pass something, it`s to pass something which long term is the right thing to do. We`d like to be able to provide insurance coverage for as many people as possible. But we`d also like to make sure that we`re not simply dumping things on states, whether they did not expand or if they did expand.

And part of that is equalizing, once again, what each state could expect to receive, in terms of federal participation in the Medicaid program over a longer period of time. That`s not easy to do or it would have been done already.

TODD: All right, I want to read you a critique from the health care bill. And it - and you`re going to assume it`s coming from somebody from the left, but it actually comes from a conservative columnist from "The Post," Marc Thiessen.

And he writes this. Let`s be clear, the investment tax and Medicare surcharge on Obamacare are a drag on economic growth. But if Republicans want to eliminate them, they should do so as part of broader tax reform and pay for it with other changes in the tax code, anything but Medicaid cuts for the poor.

And he continues. Paying for a massive tax cut for the wealthy with cuts to health care for the most vulnerable Americans is morally reprehensible. Again, I`m not quoting Paul Krugman here. I`m quoting former speech writer for George W. Bush. What do you say to that critique?

ROUNDS: That could have been a quote from members within our own conference, me included. It`s one of the areas that we`ve discussed making changes on. I do give the leadership a lot of credit because they had that scored and so now we know what that is, just in terms of the investment taxes that were being repealed. That`s $172 billion over a 10-year period of time.

If we decided that since it doesn`t impact people under $200,000 in income, if we decided that we were not going to repeal that Obama era tax, we would know that we would have $172 billion available that we could reapply back in to, perhaps, fix some of the issues that have been of concern to people around the country.

So, I think that`s on the table.

TODD: Interesting.

ROUNDS: And one of the items we share here is - look, I give leadership a lot of credit here because if they wouldn`t have scored that and allowed it to be laid out separately, we wouldn`t have known how much we have available to us -

TODD: Right.

ROUNDS: -- as we work forward with these issues. It doesn`t mean we`re going to do it, but at least it`s one more little bit of information that`s very important to the Senate. And that`s what this is about is this is policy driven.

TODD: Right.

ROUNDS: We really want this to be a good policy change for a lot of people out there. That`s what we`re after.

TODD: Well, let me ask you this. How can you be convinced that you can do a good policy change with one party making the policy? And I say it this way because a lot of your colleagues look at this, Ron Johnson is one of them, that says, OK, the Democrats did it in a partisan way.

Now, Republicans are doing it in a partisan way. Then everybody will fail. And then, finally, everybody will come to the table together. The fact is you guys - you have colleagues that would like to do a bipartisan deal but Mitch McConnell presented the idea as a threat, not an idea.

[17:10:00] ROUNDS: Well, first of all, --

TODD: What`s going on here?

ROUNDS: -- look, we know that the Dems, since 2009, have lost the House. They`ve lost the Senate. They`ve lost the presidency. They`ve also lost a lot of governorships. They`ve lost a lot of state Houses. They see that and they recognize that.

They know what we did to them when they put them in place themselves. Now, they`re looking at this saying, look, you`re talking about repealing and replacing it. And we`ve drawn a line in the sand, saying we`re not going to touch it as long as you suggest repeal.

They see the political opportunity here to try to make us feel what they felt if we do it wrong. So, we`re going to have to get past this part first. And we`re going to have to do it right.

Then, second of all, I really think once we`ve done the tough work here of making the repeal for the vast majority of these taxes and changing some of the market-driven issues that really have not allowed Obamacare to be successful, then I think there`s a very large group of Republicans and Democrats that`ll come together and make other very substantial changes over a period of several months.

But, for right now, I think, politically, they`d love to see us, kind of, twist and squirm for a while.

TODD: Well, and you don`t want to call their bluff?

ROUNDS: No, I think it - well, in this particular case, they`ve made it very clear that, as part of their conditions, we`re not going to be able to repeal a lot of what`s in Obamacare.

TODD: Senator, you haven`t opened the door. Reconciliation -- when you made the decision to do a reconciliation, you made this -- that`s shutting the door. That wasn`t an invitation to work with you.

ROUNDS: Well, not necessarily. What it is is it says we`re going to get it done. A lot of what Obamacare did was through reconciliation as well.

But that doesn`t mean that we can`t - and, once again, you can pass reconciliation with 75 votes but you only need 51. So, if there was an interest in putting something together, I think that would still be available. I think it would still be on the table. We`d love to see it.

But we have to be practical as well. They`d like to - they`d like to see us try and do it. And then, they think if we`re not successful, they`ve won politically. But, second of all, then they could step in.

In the meantime, if we are able to do this, I think there`s an opportunity down the line to make some other changes that they would feel very favorable about as well.

TODD: All right. Senator Mike Rounds, Republican from South Dakota, with interesting news here that maybe some of the taxes could remain in place. Not all of them but some of them. Senator, thanks for coming on.

ROUNDS: You bet.

TODD: All right, let`s go to the other side of that aisle. I`m joined now by Democratic Senator Tom Carper of Delaware who is a member of the Finance Committee. Senator Carper, welcome back, sir.

SEN. TOM CARPER (D), DELAWARE: Thanks, Chuck. I`m a recovering governor, too.

TODD: I know you are. That`s why I enjoyed having both of you on today.

CARPER: Barely recovered.

TODD: Barely recovered, I hear you.

CARPER: Thank you.

TODD: Most of you, I think, wish you still had the title is always what I`ve learned over the years.

But, you know, one of the other things I had my researchers do, I said, Tom Carper, that`s a guy who`s always involved in all the gangs in the Senate. And I mean that as a compliment. We`ve got the gang of 20 in 2008 on energy. The gang of 16 in 2009. It was a deal with a bunch of issues, frustration with Democratic leadership. Gang of 10 focused on health care. A gang of six in 2011 on deficit reduction.

You`ve always been somebody that has participated. If there`s been seven Republicans and you`re one of the seven Democrats or vice versa. Where is that this time?

I`ve been waiting for a group of you, maybe five on the left and five on the right that you buck Schumer and McConnell and say, enough is enough. Why hasn`t that happened? This is the Senate. It`s not the House.

CARPER: I might be mistaken on this, Chuck, but I think it`s starting to happen now. We have reached a point where I think we can hit the pause button. The -- it`s clear that the Republicans didn`t have the support for what they`ve come up with.

And what I`ve been doing is reaching out to Republican senators. And I`ve been reaching out to Republican senators and also to Republican governors. And I sense a real interest and reflects what I hear coming back from Delaware and as I go around the country. That folks really do, as you said earlier, they want us to work together. They want us to find common ground.

As it turns out, there`s actually quite a bit we can find common ground on. We can agree with President Trump, for example, when he said, let`s provide better care for less money, cover everybody.

And that should be - that`s a good goal for us. Unfortunately, what the Republicans offered is worse care for more money and didn`t cover everybody. I think the piece that you read from the former speech writer for George W. Bush really said it all.

TODD: You know, let me ask you this, though. I really feel as if the problem you`re going to have - and I take you at your word. I, myself, am aware of a few of the bipartisan outreach that you`ve done on this issue specifically.

But there really seems to be a trust issue between McConnell and Schumer and a trust problem between I`d say the Trump White House and Democratic leadership. Is that a - is that a divide that can be bridged by -

CARPER: Well, I think -

TODD: -- a handful of you?

CARPER: Yes. I think, from day one, Chuck reached out to Mitch and, sort of, extended the olive branch.

[17:15:00] And they may never have been very best friends but it`s a much better relationship that existed with Mitch and Harry Reid. They just had their differences and bad blood.

Chuck can work with almost anybody. And I think he`s made a real effort. I think they`re building a better personal relationship and that is - and that is good.

The question is, is this a time for us to hit the pause button and go to work and try to figure out where are some areas where we agree. For example, how do we stabilize the market places, programs like re-insurance that Tim Kaine and I have offered. And other ideas, good ideas.

Or do we just hit the pause button and say, we`ll come back and see you in two weeks. My hope is we don`t say we`ll come back and see you in two weeks. Let`s go to work on some of the ideas that - our good ideas and their good ideas.

But, at the end of the day, we don`t want - we want to make sure that we don`t say to the least of these, you`ve got to get worse coverage so that we can provide tax cuts to those who really don`t need tax cuts.

TODD: You know, but let -- color me skeptical about whether the Democratic base would allow some outreach here. Look, you`ve got Hillary Clinton that called the GOP the death party over this bill. You`ve got Elizabeth Warren that`s gone on the Senate floor and called it blood money, at times. It`s in -- to some, that is incendiary rhetoric.

But also, to the base of the party, they`re not in the mood to compromise with anything Trump. So, is there really that much will outside of you and a handful of centrists?

CARPER: Well, what I would say - and I think - and I don`t care if you`re on the left or on the right or in the middle of the (INAUDIBLE) party or I hope the other - the other party. What I think we should do is preserve those pieces or parts of the Affordable Care Act that ought to be preserved. Fix the ones that should be fixed.

And there are some things we can change and we ought to change. And the reinsurance proposal that Tim Kaine and I are offering, which should be a bipartisan proposal, is one that is going to stabilize the marketplaces and help reduce the size of these increases that are going on the market place. And ensure better competition and more insurance companies participating.

And, as a result, lower premiums, lower co-pays, lower deductibles. That ought to be a bipartisan agreement and I think we can work toward that. And there are others as well.

TODD: As you know, though, there is a growing chorus of Democrats that would like to see the party just move to single payor, campaign out of Tim Ryan, rising potential, leader someday in the House. Elizabeth Warren has talked about this.

If Republicans try to go this alone and they succeed in passage, and we`ll find out later how successful it is as far as the public is concerned, do you think the entire Democrat Party, sort of, starts rallying around that idea of single payor? Or does the Democratic Party say, no, no, no, no, let`s preserve Obamacare?

CARPER: Well, what we want to preserve are the things that work. With respect to a single payor, let me put my governor hat back on. I was governor from 1993 to 2001. I worked a whole lot on welfare reform and a bunch of other issues, education reform.

And the states can be laboratories and democracies. Rather than testing an idea on the whole country, what we`ve learned to do is to test ideas, maybe good ideas, maybe not so good ideas, on the states. And let`s find out if they work.

We can tweak them before they`re ready for prime time. And those who are interested in single payor, that might be an approach that we should try in a couple of state. See how it works and learn from that. Maybe it is a good idea. Maybe we can make it better. Maybe it`s not a good idea and we shouldn`t do it at all.

TODD: But you`re not ready to experiment on the federal left yet is what you`re saying?

CARPER: No, again, states right from our creation as a country. Great laboratories in democracy. Let`s use them.

TODD: All right. Senator Tom Carper, like I said, a frequent gang member and that`s not a critique when it comes to the United States Senate. Anyway, Senator, thanks very much for coming on. Delaware - a Democrat from Delaware.

CARPER: Thank you, Chuck. Thanks so much.

TODD: And we`ll actually see you again later this Sunday on "MEET THE PRESS" alongside your colleague from the Republican side, Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy. The two of them will be on together to talk about health care. More on the fate of health care.

And later, the White House`s obsession with attacking the press.

[17:18:50]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TODD: Welcome back.

We`ve heard quite a lot about Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 election and the Senate Intelligence Committee is leading the charge in Congress to investigate.

Today, by the way, was their seventh hearing on the issue this year alone. But this afternoon, they specifically focused on Russian attempts to intrude in European elections, trying to gain a better grasp of Russia`s efforts worldwide. And to find out any lessons the U.S. could learn going forward.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RICHARD BURR (R), NORTH CAROLINA, CHAIRMAN, SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Tracing down Russia`s malicious activity is no longer just a bipartisan issue. To successfully protect our institutions in the integrity of our electoral systems, we must work as a global community to share our experience.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: And there was a major concensus. All of the experts agreed who was personally behind Russia`s meddling.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Do you have any doubt that Russian interference is driven by Putin himself? Start with you, Ambassador Burns.

NICHOLAS BURNS, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO NATO: No doubt about it.

BURR: Ambassador?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The same answer, no doubt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No doubt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: None.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Health care is working along very well. We could have a big surprise with a great health care package. So, now they`re happy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you mean by big surprise?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You could have a great, great surprise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: Yes, that was Cubs manager, Joe Madden, over the president`s shoulder. The president made those remarks after a meet and greet with the Chicago Cubs at the White House today.

Let`s get straight to tonight`s panel to talk all things health care. Yamiche Alcindor is National Reporter for "The New York Times" and MSNBC Contributor. Eliana Johnson, National Political Reporter for "Politico." And Chris Clayton, our friend from the Midwest, AG Policy Editor for "DTN." In D.C. today, doing a little - he`s worrying about actually how NAFTA and trade impacts AGs. Welcome, all.

Eliana, let me start with you. You have a growing chorus of Republicans desperate for Democratic cover. That`s really, I think, what it is. And Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump not ready to cave.

ELIANA JOHNSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "POLITICO": It`s an interesting situation. I mean, I don`t actually know where the president stands on this. He`s been - he has barely been involved at all. I think we actually saw the totality of his involvement in the Senate process in that bill.

Mitch McConnell`s role in this is somewhat confusing to me. You know, he hadn`t even begun negotiations with the senators who aren`t on board with this when he pulled the bill or rescheduled the vote yesterday which is somewhat puzzling.

But the three most difficult senators to get on board with this, Susan Collins, Rand Paul and Dean Heller of Nevada, they`re going to have to get two of those three. I think right now, you can`t put the puzzle together without the conservatives, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and so on. Which one of those three they`re going to have to get, they`re going to have to do some negotiations. So, --

TODD: But it does look like - what I`ve been trying to figure out, Yamiche, is this going to -- bill going to move to the right or the left, right? Like, where is it going to go? I`ve been convinced it was going to go to the right.

And then, Mike Rounds hinted that the -- some of these Medicare - some of these tax cuts, they`re all uncomfortable with essentially the construction of, oh, tax cuts with Medicaid cuts. Like, we don`t want to do that.

[17:25:10] YAMICHE ALCINDOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I -- yes, I thought it was going to go more to the right as well, just given, kind of, how the Senate is set up. Who`s in obvious office? The fact that Republicans have all this power.

But I think the fact that Democrats are even playing with the idea. You see even one being able to go on your show and actually say that they would be willing to do this to me is surprising because they are facing a base that is so anti-Trump. It`s so angry at Trump.

Any Democrat who actually goes out there and says, yes, I want to work with the Republicans on this bill is really - is really, I would say, putting their neck on the line.

And if you face any kind of re-election in your district, I don`t think that you can re-elected by saying I helped the Democrats get away with repealing Obamacare. I just don`t think that it`s feasible for most of the Democrats that are going to be there.

Because you imagine the Democratic primary, even if it`s in 2020, it`s so long ago. You`re going to be standing on the stage saying that you helped health care?

TODD:Yes. No, politically, I completely agree. What`s the expectation of the Midwesterner out there right now watching all this? I mean, in some ways, in rural America, they didn`t like Obamacare.

But you made the point here a couple times, it`s, like, what they didn`t like about it. They liked the coverage. They didn`t like the cost. Have Republicans not heard the criticism correctly?

CHRIS CLAYTON, AGRICULTURE POLICY EDITOR, "DTN": In some sense, they have, though, because in a lot of states, you`re down -- you have one provider left or some places you have none. You have very limited number of health care options with that provider, if maybe your doctor, your old hospital is not part of that network.

So, there has been a lot of scale back of coverage. You`re down to one provider in Iowa right now. And that company, Medica, I believe is the name of it, is debating about pulling out.

So, in the smaller states where you don`t have the big base of population, --

TODD: Right.

CLAYTON: -- it is a real struggle to keep both the insurer and the hospital or network coverage going.

TODD: See, he, to me, represents the conundrum here for the Republicans. Their base lives in rural America so they have not seen -- they felt as if Obamacare hasn`t provided the promises that were made.

At the same time, it`s not that they want coverage to go away and some of the reform may make some of this coverage go away.

JOHNSON: Well, I think this has revealed a couple of things about the Republican Party that some health care policy wonks on the conservative side said, you know, it would have been great to know this five years ago.

The first is that Republicans are not very comfortable talking about health care and they`re not all that knowledgeable about it. And I`ve had people say to me, you know, this really reveals that Republicans were not serious they -- many of them, all of them campaigned on repealing Obamacare.

TODD: Right.

JOHNSON: This really leaves the form -- you know, the base of it in place because they`re not serious about taking it all away. It would be too politically painful. And that`s why I do think that conservatives will get on board at -- in the end and call it an Obamacare repeal, even though it`s not quite that.

TODD: Yamiche, I guess I`m trying to figure out how this ends. And, I mean, I think McConnell has a limited amount of patience.

But I`m sitting here going, if they`re thinking about, essentially, keeping some taxes in place and using that money to maybe increase Medicaid spending. Number one, the right`s going to -- I don`t know if conservatives can sign onto that. That`s number one. And, number two, how does this pass the House then?

ALCINDOR: I think it`s - I think that`s the vote conundrum that we`re all sitting here talking about. I think it has not been solved. I don`t think there is an answer to this.

But the idea that Republicans understand that it`s going to look really, really bad if two things happen. Either, one, they do nothing and it fails completely and they move on and try to say, welol, we`re going to get tax reform done or we`re going to get infrastructure done. I don`t think they can do that.

But, two, I think it`s going to look really bad if they make all these massive cuts to Medicaid so they have to figure out how to pay for this. I`ve been now reporting in Mississippi, in Ohio, driving through these towns and people - Medicaid doesn`t just pay for health insurance for people when they kind of have a cough.

They pay for opioid drug crisis centers. They pay for veterans` medication. They pay for - they pay for so much things around the country that are important to both Republicans and Democrats. They can`t just cut Medicaid and then - and then just say that they - that they helped tax reform.

TODD: This is where the Republican governors play an interesting role, especially in the Midwest.

CLAYTON: Yes. And Medicaid in rural America is huge. Medicaid subsidizes the employers. You have a lot of small employers. You have a lot of people who are paid fair low wages in rural America. Medicaid subsidizes those employers with insurance basically.

TODD: What you`re saying is they can -- they can - they can pay low wages and be thankful that the benefit -- Medicaid`s paying their benefits.

CLAYTON: And that`s exactly right. And so, if you start dabbling and messing with, you know, the limits on - income limits on Medicaid and who`s eligible and that, you`re taking a lot of people in rural America out of - out of the option of Medicaid and then they have no insurance coverage whatsoever.

TODD: It sounds like you also hurt small business in that way.

CLAYTON: You hurt small business because they - your employees are going, I can`t work for you anymore. My wife needs this insurance coverage.

TODD: Interesting there. I`m going to pause it there. Thank you all. You`re going to stick around for the rest of the hour. Still ahead, another ransomware attack takes computers worldwide and they used tools created by our NSA.

Does the agency have a duty to help stop this cyber exploitation? And tomorrow, my colleague Stephanie Ruhle will have a one-on-one with White House chief economic adviser and the once in future chief of staff if you real these rumors, Gary Cohn. That`s tomorrow at 9 a.m. eastern right here on MSNBC. Keep it here.

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TODD: The 12th annual Aspen Ideas Festival is now in full swing. Once again this year, MSNBC is a part of the action. Stay tuned tonight for a special edition of "Hardball" live from Aspen, Colorado. SNL "Weekend Update" host Colin Jost and Michael Che will play "Hardball" with Chris Matthews. That`s tonight in Aspen, 7 p.m. eastern, right here on MSNBC. Right now, it`s time for Hampton Pearson and the "CNBC Market Wrap." What you got, Hampton?

HAMPTON PEARSON, CNBC WASHINGTON BUREAU CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Chuck. Well, we have stocks closing higher on Wall Street. Tech stocks rebounding, banks surging, helping the S&P post its biggest one day gain in two months. The Dow jumped 143 points, the S&P up 21, the Nasdaq gaining 87 points.

Bank stock fund ahead of the Federal Reserve stress test results. Shares of JPMorgan chase and Goldman Sachs both rose more than 1 percent. Pending home sales fell for the third straight month, however, in May amid shortage of homes for sale. Mortgage applications also fell 6 percent last week. That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.

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TODD: Welcome back. Hackers have yet again crippled businesses and banks with a globe sweeping cyber attack. The attack originating in Ukraine is similar to what we saw a month ago with the so-called "WannaCry" malware. Both assaults use cyber exploitation methods that come directly from a National Security Agency database.

These cyber weapons were developed by the agency and were happy to be made public in April by a group of hackers called the "Shadow Brokers." As variations of these tools spread, the NSA`s digital break-in could mean that the onslaught from cyber weapons is just getting started. NSA Director Mike Rogers said "digital breaches that attack infrastructure are the worst case scenario."

And the Ukrainian government got a taste of that as well on Tuesday. This latest attack locked government accounting software and demanded ransom from customers attempting to withdraw cash from the country`s state-owned bank. So, here`s a question for you.

Why hasn`t congress put a little more pressure on the NSA to step in and deal with this stolen cyber toolkit? Michael Leiter, NBC News national security analyst who himself head of the counter-terrorism center, you know how this stuff works. Michael Leiter, welcome back, sir.

MICHAEL LEITER, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Good to be here, Chuck.

TODD: It seems to me a bit problematic that people break into the NSA. These are tools created by the NSA. In essence, you know, it`s our own weapons being used against us. Number one, were we wrong to make the weapons? And number two, do we have a responsibility to step up and help the world deal with this?

LEITER: I don`t think we were wrong to make the weapons because I think the weapons can still be used for good and not just bad. But if you make the weapons, you clearly have at least two responsibilities. One, keep those weapons secure, and regrettably the NSA fell down on that part. Second, you at least have the responsibility once they get out to make sure you are doing everything times a hundred to prevent them from being effective tools for the bad guys.

I think the NSA has done some of that. They worked very closely with technology companies like Microsoft that are responsible for some of the vulnerabilities, but the problem is the NSA once the weapons are out there can`t itself go out and protect everyone. And that`s what we are seeing in these attacks, that the U.S. government can help, U.S. government in this case has a huge responsibility to help, but it can`t do it all.

TODD: You say you`re defending the practice of making them. Why?

LEITER: I am because I think some of those tools are exactly the same tools that are used to collect really critical intelligence information and that information might be about Iranian nuclear weapons or North Korean nuclear programs or Russian intent in the Ukraine. I don`t know any of that (inaudible). All of them are criminal tools to getting into computer systems and collecting that intelligence that our policy makers decide on. But you`ve got to make sure they`re secure. It`s no different in a way than the gun shop owner.

TODD: Right.

LEITER: If he`s going to sell guns, he`s got to guard them.

TODD: Right.

LEITER: He may not be responsible for the crime if somebody steals and does an arm robbery, but, boy, he sure does have some ethical and moral responsibility to keep them safe.

TODD: All right. I want to stay down the cyber path here for a second, but I got a new one (inaudible), so you just talked about why we need these cyber weapons to deal with some thins with Russia. It seems to me we`re dealing with a controversy and scandal that has to do with Russia, using their cyber weapons against us. When we use it against them, is that not a tacit permission slip that this is above board? President Trump is going to say, hey, this is tit for tat and that is why he doesn`t take this seriously.

LEITER: Well, I think that`s absolutely true. And as the NSA uses these tools, we expect that our adversaries will use other tools against us as well.

TODD: Right.

LEITER: It is our job to use all our elements of national power, defensive means, offensive intelligence, law enforcement, and power of the president`s bully pulpit to make clear some things, electoral systems, critical infrastructure, should be off limits.

TODD: Let me get back in the cyber world. Obviously what`s been interesting here is the first people to use these stolen NSA tools have been essentially 21st century bank robbers (inaudible), right? You know, the old west (inaudible), you`d call them bank robbers. They`re doing things where a lot of -- they`re holding ransom. Seems like a lot of companies are paying.

LEITER: Well, some.

TODD: And how much does that actually impede the ability to stop this?

LEITER: I think the interesting thing here is they may be bank robbers and they may not be. I don`t think we.

TODD: We don`t know who either?

LEITER: I don`t think we yet know. Certainly, ransomware traditionally is the bank robber. It`s a 21st century give me your money, you can have your data bank. In this case, there are some signs that potentially point not just to doing it for monetary reasons but for doing it for political reasons. Still too early to tell, but the targeting of Ukraine, infrastructure in particular, likely using Ukrainian path suggests that this might have a political agenda as well.

In fact, because in this case the ransomware email site where the money will be sent is already deactivated, there`s no money to be sent. But I can`t necessarily blame companies. When they do a cost benefit analysis and say, why can`t I pay $300 and get my data back, or I can`t -- I`m not worried about encouraging, I just need my data back.

TODD: Look, I`m not saying this is what you do for a living, but when you were in government, the last thing you would have wanted was a private company to pay ransom. On the outside, say, the advise you would give is a private, you know, Disney, we don`t know that they paid a ransom to keep that movie from being put online but it certainly smells like it.

LEITER: Absolutely. This is a constant tension between business trying to do business and government which is trying to worry about the future and not encouraging the activity. It`s true in ransomware. It`s true in ransom for hostages and terrorism. The point we really get to is we need a much more cohesive strategy work within the government and work with the private sector to make all of us less susceptible to these sort of attacks.

TODD: Why should we -- why should the public be losing confidence in the NSA?

LEITER: I think the public should really focus attention on making sure that the NSA does do all it can do defend and I think the public should not have great confidence in companies and the public sector protecting key data and information systems. This is a huge vulnerability that we all have and the public has to understand that and start exercising its own market muscle to make sure that governments and companies do more to defend the information which ultimately often belongs to those consumers.

TODD: One of those things consumers need to know what to ask for.

LEITER: Absolutely.

TODD: Some cases they don`t yet know. Anyway, Michael Leiter, some blunt talk. Thank you, sir. Appreciate it.

LEITER: Thank you.

TODD: Up next, getting to the roots of the White House`s war on the media.

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TODD: Welcome back. Tonight, well, not just tonight, but I`m obsessed with the White House`s war on the press and media. Let`s be clear about this. That war is nothing less than a war on the truth. Do we get it right all the time? Nope, we don`t. And when we don`t, we run a correction and in some cases people lose their jobs. That`s what just happened at CNN.

CNN took responsibility for its mistakes. You know, at this network, we`ve done it quite a few times publicly as well. But because we try to get it right. We take what we do seriously because trust, viewers and readers` trust is all we have and without that we`re nothing. We all know we get fired for not telling the truth. And of course that`s the point, isn`t it?

Of course the White House attacks, delegitimize the media to create running room for its version of events, which is old as the media itself. The White House is not above using anonymous sources to criticize the use of anonymous sources nor to promote what even it admits could be a lie to call others liars. Here`s White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders attacking CNN in an unbelievable way. Take a listen.

(START VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRINCIPAL DUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There`s a video circulating now, whether it`s accurate or not, I don`t know. But I would encourage everybody in this room and frankly everybody across the country to take a look at it. I think if it is accurate, I think it`s a disgrace to all of media, to all of journalism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: Excuse me? You got that? I don`t know whether it`s accurate or not, but go take a look at it because it disgraces you? Seriously? And that`s been this White House`s M.O., pedal a false story to claim the media is telling false stories. Sarah Huckabee Sanders was just a bit more honest apparently about that White House`s dishonesty.

So, no, Mr. President. No, White House (inaudible). The media is not the enemy of the people. We`re just here to find what Carl Bernstein put it so well. The best obtainable version of the truth. And sometimes, the truth hurts. It can hurt us, and yes, even you, Mr. President. We`ll be right back.

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TODD: Welcome back. Time for "The Lid." Panel is back. Yamiche, Chris, Eliana. All right. I`m still pretty fired up about the White House yesterday. Eliana, they complain about fake news and Sarah Huckabee Sanders actually utter the phrase, I don`t know whether it`s accurate or not, but take a look. Talk about undermining every argument they ever tried to make in media criticism.

(LAUGHTER)

ELIANA JOHNSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER AT POLITICO: I don`t think truth or accuracy is something that is particularly meaningful to this White House and that was on display yesterday. What I think is sad about this is I think those White House briefings have become useless.

TODD: I would be going. I mean, I`d put a tape recorder.

JOHNSON: There are no facts that come out and the exchange between reporters and the White House has become -- they don`t happen at those briefings. So, I don`t -- I`m hard pressed to understand the outrage over the fact that they are not on camera. You know, I just wouldn`t be showing out to them.

TODD: I find them useless. Chris, I want to talk to you, you come to Washington about once a month trying to cover your beat. You`ve been sitting at committee hearings, listening to trade, the impact of an after renegotiation (inaudible). I assume you thought, well, maybe I`ll get to the White House briefing room. Do you find it helpful?

CLAYTON: No. I`ve been to the White House briefing room once covering an Obama event on climate change, I believe it was. It used to be helpful just to look at the transcripts of it, but what it is become is a it become honestly it`s a crutch for the cable news networks. Every day at 1:00 or whatever, they`re going to be able to fill a whole bunch of time space without actually going out into real America outside of the beltway and covering stories no matter what the story is.

They`re not covering anymore because they focus so much attention on what is said in these briefings and the drama of it all. So, it`s just become dead space for about six or seven hours of nothing but Spicer said this, et cetera.

JOHNSON: The White House.

TODD: That`s an interesting perspective. I appreciate you sharing it.

JOHNSON: I think the White House has also turned it into a form of theater where it`s a way for them to communicate to their supporters. We constantly insult the press and the cable networks broadcast it to the White House`s supporters. It`s an active political theater for them.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, NATIONAL REPORTER FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES: Here`s the thing that to me as a reporter who spends some time in the beltway but also a lot of time out in the different parts of America, I wouldn`t say rural America, I`ll say Baltimore and urban America too, I think it also doesn`t serve the purpose of the press to make this where we fight and where our big battle is, it`s whether or not we can get cameras in there.

When I interviewed people who don`t have running water who voted for Donald Trump because they thought their lives are going to be better, when people don`t have jobs. It served this idea that we are somehow this elitist place that needs to be exactly the way it was or we`re going to have this argument at 1:00 every day. So I think to your point of it being theater and also I think (inaudible) and let the White House say, look, they are always arguing about this.

TODD: Yeah.

ALCINDOR: They don`t really care about what`s going on in your life. What they really care about is making sure that their cameras are filled.

TODD: Other than -- look, you have an obligation because you never know what they might say, I`d put, literally, you guys want to go out there, fine, have the camera. We shouldn`t send our correspondents, we shouldn`t send our reporters. We should send, you know, younger producers.

ALCINDOR: The problem is that it`s supposed to be the the place where you learn so much stuff. It supposed to be the place.

TODD: They don`t have any information.

ALCINDOR: And because of that, and because the people there, their chief spokesperson lie frankly and throw tantrums up there, it`s really become a disheartening place where you don`t see a lot.

JOHNSON: The bottom line is the briefings now serve the purposes of the White House more than they serve the purposes of reporters.

TODD: Right, or the public. Chris, before I let you go, you were at this NAFTA hearing. You said something to me interesting about when we have this big trade fight that all Ag policy is local and what you said something interesting here like the mid-westerners, the weak guys, they don`t want to see NAFTA change, but the Florida guys do. You got 15 seconds.

CLAYTON: Well, you know, the Florida guys strawberries, oranges, tomatoes, et cetera, lost a lot of market to Mexico because it`s cheaper to produce food over there and they can produce it longer year round.

TODD: Right.

CLAYTON: And that is part of the problem that they have with NAFTA. In the mid-west, do no harm. They don`t touch anything that is going to mess up what we`re already sending down there.

TODD: What I love about your anecdote is that you would have assumed Florida was the free trade state and the mid-west that powered Donald Trump would be the anti-NAFTA and it`s actually economically the other way around. Thank you, Chris, Eliana, Yamiche as well. We`ll be right back.

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TODD: In case you missed it, members of the reigning world series champion Chicago Cubs headed to the White House today and actually, you almost did miss it. The event was originally closed to the press but the White House later allowed cameras in. Today`s visit actually was informal and voluntary. According to cubs skipper, Joe Maddon, who said when you get a chance as a citizen to go to the White House, you go.

Here`s the thing about the cubs. It`s not the first time that the 2016 world series champs have visited the White House. It`s not the first time they did it this year. President Obama, a noted White Sox fan, did celebrate the cross town rivals on January 16th, four days before he left office. It`s unusual to have a team visit the White House more than once to celebrate a big win, but after 108-year wait, can you blame the cubs for wanting to keep the celebration going as long as possible?

Hey, as Ernie Banks said, let`s visit too. If that worked, let`s visit twice. That`s all for tonight. "For the Record with Greta" starts right now. Greta, it`s all yours.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END