Show: MTP DAILY Date: July 6, 2017 Guest: Ken Blackwell, Alison Lundergan Grimes, Cornell Belcher, Robert Traynham, Anne Gearan
KATY TUR, MTP DAILY HOST: Tonight, President Trump is overseas as G20 protests turn violent.
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As you can see, there are now clashes between the protesters and police here in Hamburg, Germany.
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TUR: Plus, just hours before his first face-to-face meeting with Putin, President Trump again downplays Russia`s interference in the U.S. election.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think it was Russia, and I think it could have been other people, and other countries. Nobody really knows. Nobody really knows for sure.
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TUR: While at home, Republicans and Democrats are rebelling against the President`s push to investigate a different kind of election meddling that does not exist. This is MTP Daily, and it starts right now.
Good evening. I`m Katy Tur in New York in for Chuck Todd. Welcome to MTP Daily. You`re looking live at the scene in Hamburg, Germany, where President Trump will be attending tomorrow`s G20 summit. He met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier today in Hamburg. Upwards of 12,000 demonstrators, including anarchists, anti-capitalist and anti-Trump groups have flooded the streets as part of a protest called G20 Welcome to Hell.
Protesters and police clashed earlier today. At times the clashes turned violent. German police, many in riot gear, have used water cannons and tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowds. We turn now to the political drama out of Europe involving the President. Tomorrow Mr. Trump meets with Vladimir Putin.
Take a guess at which one of them today was calling American press outlets fake news, while throwing doubts about the American intelligence on Russian hacking. And questioning President Obama`s motives. It may sound surreal, after all, this is an American President we`re talking about, on the world stage, not Putin, but here is the President second-guessing America`s intelligence agencies.
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TRUMP: I think it was Russia, but I think it was probably other people and/or countries, and I see nothing wrong with that statement. Nobody really knows. Nobody really knows for sure. Weapons of mass destruction. How everybody was 100% sure that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Guess what. That led to one big mess. They were wrong.
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TUR: Here`s the President undercutting the American press, starting with an attack on CNN.
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TRUMP: They have been fake news for a long time. They have been covering me in a very dishonest way and others. I mean, I know. NBC is equally as bad.
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TUR: Here`s his one-two punch against both the intelligence and the press` reporting on Russian hacking.
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TRUMP: I heard it was 17 agencies. I said, boy, that`s a lot. Do we even have that many intelligence agencies, right? Let`s check it. And we did some very heavy research. It turned out to be three or four. It wasn`t 17. And many of your compatriots had to change their reporting and they had to apologize and they had to correct it.
TUR: To be clear, the intelligence community`s assessment on Russian interference was based on information gathered by the FBI, the CIA and the NSA, which was then published by the office of the director of national intelligence. They represent all U.S. intelligence agencies. President Trump today also tried to sow confusion by repeatedly questioning President Obama`s handling of that intelligence.
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TRUMP: Barack Obama, when he was president, found out about this in terms of if it were Russia, found out about it in August. Now, the election was in November. That`s a lot of time. He did nothing about it. Why did he do nothing about it? He did nothing about it. He did nothing about it. Why did he do nothing? Why did he do nothing? Why did Obama do nothing about it? He did nothing about it.
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TUR: While it is fair to debate whether or not President Obama did enough, it is false to say he did nothing. A month before the election, the intelligence community and the Department of Homeland Security told the public that the Russian government, quote, directed the hacks targeting U.S. persons, and institutions. After the election, President Obama sanctioned Russia, seized compounds, and expelled diplomats.
But to be fair, President Trump today also chided Russia for its destabilization in the Ukraine. He reaffirmed the United States` commitment to NATO, and he touted the value of free expression. But which version of the American President do you believe? If you can fully believe either in the first place.
We`re going to get to politics in just a moment. But first, let`s go live to Hamburg, Germany, that`s where we find NBC`s Keir Simmons who has been covering the protests all day for us. Keir, what can you tell us at this hour?
KEIR SIMMONS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, thanks to you. It`s a lot calmer than it was when I spoke to you some hours ago. Behind me, you can see some of those police water cannon still ready, but just safely parked at the side of the street there. And if I walk us around a little bit where you can see, there are kind of disparate groups of protesters just kind of standing around. Some flags over in this direction.
So, I don`t think that the protesters have completely gone. However, they have been cleared very substantially just to -- if I show you in this direction, there are still riot police on standby. Looking a lot more relaxed than they have been. And just this way, Katy, still a convoy of police coming by. We don`t know where to. But it gives a sense that there are still events taking place across the city.
That`s one, two, three police water cannons coming by here, and more police who appear to be on their way somewhere in a hurry. I`m just going to let them pass. Which is going to take a little while, because that is a fairly sizeable contingent of German police heading -- we don`t know where, just at the end there, some paramedics. So -- hey, duke -- I kind of visual demonstration that this is not a city where the tension is over. But as far as we can tell right now, is not as tense as it was earlier in the day.
TUR: No, certainly not as tense. And what you`re seeing on the other side of the screen right now is images from earlier in the day of protesters and riot police clashing, at times violently. And we saw a number of this, water cannons, fired off by police to disperse the crowds. Keir, did you ever get a good answer from anyone on what exactly they are protesting?
SIMMONS: Well, desperate (ph) things, many things. I mean, this, as we know from previous summits, these protesters have gathered. You know, this tends to be kind of, you know, fly paper for all kinds of different groups with many, many different agendas. Having said that, they were shouting as they marched through the streets of Hamburg with us later in the day. They were shouting anti-capitalists, anti-capitalists. That appears to be a kind of uniting theme.
We have seen some signs directed at President Trump in a very negative way. But that wasn`t the key message of this protest. It was more about being opposed just to the idea of leaders of the world gathering. If you like to see protesters here to carve up the world.
TUR: The image is certainly dramatic. But we should also know that there are protests usually at every G20 summit. Keir Simmons in Hamburg, Germany. Keir, thank you very much.
I`m joined now by Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations. He`s been a foreign policy adviser to John McCain and Mitt Romney`s presidential campaign. He was also an adviser to the Rubio campaign. Max, thanks for joining us. We`re going to turn back to politics, and the President overseas today. He criticized American institutions while standing on foreign soil, while standing in Eastern Germany, both the intelligence community and the free press. As a conservative, what is your reaction to that?
MAX BOOT, SENIOR FELLOW, COUNCIL OF FOREIGN RELATIONS: I think it`s deeply inappropriate. And you can just imagine what kind of outcry you would see from Fox News and the like, if this were President Obama doing this. Remember when they correlate (ph) him for the so called apology tour which you can argue about. But in this present case, I mean, this is just outright denigrating some of the basic institutions of our society, including the press, the intelligence community, and of course denigrating as predecessor which is something that American presidents don`t normally do when they travel abroad.
I mean, I thought that the best part, Katy, of the speech in Poland was the fact that mercifully, finally, he affirmed NATO Article 5, which is something that he should have done the last time. He went to Europe in May. So mercifully he did that. And I think it`s to his credit that he did that, but then he took away a lot of the good feelings that might have been engendered by his speech with his completely inappropriate comments afterwards at the press conference.
TUR: You know, what he did not do was say definitively that Russia interfered in this election. He was given the opportunity to do so by our own Hallie Jackson. And he equivocated on it. That being said, only 26 of Republicans agree that Russia interfered in our election. Two-thirds say they did not. This is the Republican Party we`re talking about. So as a conservative, is it no longer a conservative position to take that Russia interfered?
BOOT: This is bewildering to me, Katy. I mean, this is why I am no longer a Republican because ever since the 1940s, the Republican Party has stood as the party opposing Russian expansionism. That has been the hallmark of the Republican Party going back to the days of Eisenhower and Nixon and then Reagan, and then now in the present day to have President Trump trying to apologize and explain away this unprecedented Russian aggression.
This interference in our election last year, is very disheartening to me. And what`s even more disheartening is what you just mentioned is that so many Republicans are willing to go along with Trump in excusing or explaining away this Russian attempt to undermine our democracy. You know, what Trump is doing is shameful. What he should be doing is saying, I had nothing to do with the Russian interference, and I will make the Russians pay a price. Instead, what he`s saying is incomprehensible because what he`s saying is on the one hand.
There was -- I`m not sure that the Russians really interfered, but -- oh by the way, I`m attacking Obama for not doing more to stop this nonexistent interference. It doesn`t make any sense.
BOOT: It doesn`t logically track.
TUR: It is double speak on the one hand to say that he`s know that Russia interfere, but then Obama should have done more with the Russian interference.
BOOT: Right. Yes -- I mean, just like saying that the Russians -- right, Obama should have acted on false intelligence. That`s what he seems to be saying.
TUR: Senate Democrats are urging President Trump to confront Vladimir Putin on this tomorrow in their first face-to-face meeting. Do you agree with them that he should do that?
BOOT: Well, of course he should do that. But I think there`s very little chance that he will do that because you saw in Poland, he is not attacking Russia. And if he`s not attacking Russia in a speech in Poland, where he would incredibly popular, he is certainly not going to attack Putin one-on- one in this very small meeting. That`s very unfortunate.
TUR: Well, he did criticize him for the destabilization in Ukraine. He did do that.
BOOT: Yes, but he did not criticize them for their attack on U.S. democracy. That`s what I`m talking about. And, yes, you`re right, he did talked about their destabilizing activities in Ukraine. And I guess that`s better than nothing. But even that is a pretty mealy mouthed way to describe an invasion of a sovereign territory on neighboring state, which is not something that we should be just going by along to live with in the year 2017.
TUR: Max, what does Vladimir Putin take from it if he doesn`t bring take the meddling in the election up?
BOOT: It`s basically a green light to Putin to say that you can continue doing this. That the 2018 election is fair game, the 2020 election and of course all the elections that are going on in Europe. I mean, remember, this is not something that started last year and it`s not going to end last year.
We have to draw a line in the sand and say, you will pay a price for interfering in our democracy. And it`s amazing to me that Donald Trump is attacking Obama for not drawing that line in the sand, but he`s not doing it either. At least Obama did a little bit. Trump is doing nothing. That`s a message of weakness and IRA (ph) resolution that will only encourage Putin to more aggression.
TUR: Max Boot, appreciate your time, sir.
BOOT: Thanks for having me.
TUR: Joining me now is Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar, she sit (ph) from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senator, thank you very much for joining us. You heard the President today saying that President Obama did not do enough. In fact, he said he didn`t do anything to stop the Russian interference. He did do something. But there is criticism out there that he did not do enough. Do you agree with that?
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Look, in hind sight, we could always try to do more, and President Obama could have done more. But I think it was well explained that one of the things he was trying to do was to push Putin and to continue the sanctions, and you have the fact that while Obama put in place tougher sanctions before he left, President Trump, we still don`t have the sanctions bill that passed the Senate signed into law. I think it would have been much more powerful to have that sanctions bill in his hand and have that signed into law. And then to not pussyfoot around the fact that it was Russia that attempted to interfere in our elections. As the President did in his answers to the questions.
And Vladimir Putin was listening to every word he said. And he knows now it`s like, hey, it`s OK, we`re not really blaming you for this, maybe it`s other countries. That`s just not the way in the position of strength that you want to have when you go into a meeting like that.
TUR: What he also did today, though, was do what many people wanted him to do on his first European trip. And he reconfirmed America`s commitment to NATO and to Article 5. Was that enough in your estimation?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, I was pleased he did that. Having spent New Year`s Eve with Senator McCain and Graham on the front line with the Ukrainian troops and President Poroshenko and seeing they`re sacrifice losing 10,000 people in their country, and then knowing the importance for all of the eastern European countries of NATO. I`m glad the President did that. That was very important. But that doesn`t take away from the fact that tomorrow he`s going to be meeting with Vladimir Putin, the man that tried to influence an American election.
And I think the President is the one that could powerfully take this on by saying, look, right now, we know you`re trying to influence one side. Next time you may be influencing and helping the other side. This is not what we can have in our democracy, or in any other democracy in the world. And please get out of the Ukraine. Do something here about helping us to work with Syria and not keep this Assad, who`s been perpetrating atrocities on his own people in power in Syria. And work with us and your allies at this time of great unrest. And I just don`t think you can do that with Vladimir Putin unless you come from a position of strength. And that`s why I would have liked to get the sanction bills signed into law before he went over there.
TUR: Senator, at the top of the show we talked about two different versions of the president that we saw today. On the one hand, he is recommitting to NATO Article 5, on the one hand, he`s also criticizing Russia for destabilizing Ukraine, but on the other hand he is in Eastern Europe and he`s criticizing the American free press. He is criticizing the intelligence community. He`s refusing to say definitively that Russia interfered in our election. Which version of this President should the American public believe? Can they be compatible?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, I don`t think they can be compatible. Of course, we want to believe the words that were in that written speech. And we all have to believe in our country, that we`re going to stand up for the values of freedom and democracy against the foreign power. But what matters is what he`s saying behind those closed doors. Because clearly Vladimir Putin hasn`t seen any limits coming in place from America. And I appreciate that President Obama in those last hours of his presidency put in even the stronger sanctions. But we just haven`t seen that kind of strength from this administration when it comes to Russia. And I believe Putin is someone that listens to power.
TUR: Senator, let`s talk about the voter integrity commission that the White House has established. Minnesota is not going to hand over any publicly available voter information. If it is publicly available, though, why not just say, here, here is what we have, and do what you will with it, if they can find it in public records?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, there is a reason that 44 states now, red states, blue states and everywhere in between has come out and says we are not giving you this data. Why? Because --
TUR: No, some of the states are giving the publicly available data. Not all 44 OK and (INAUDIBLE) anything.
KLOBUCHAR: Well, a lot of them don`t want to give social security numbers. A lot of them don`t want to give voter histories. And the reason is right now that information is disaggregated. It`s kept on a state by state basis. To give it to one commission that is now taking the position in a lawsuit in federal court where private groups sue them, they`re taking the position that they don`t even have to do a privacy impact statement, to try to balance. Is this worthy to bring in all these data and subject it to potential major cybersecurity hack for what our gain is. And they`re refusing to do that.
Former Secretary Chertoff, is Homeland Security Secretary during the Bush administration, put an op-ed in the Washington Post today basically saying, I don`t think you should do this. You can`t trust the security system when millions of citizens have already had their data breached.
TUR: Senator Amy Klobuchar, thank you very much.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you very much. It was great to be on.
TUR: Wonderful. We`ve got more on that bipartisan pushback over the President`s push to investigate alleged voter fraud coming up. Plus, previewing the President and Putin. We`ll be right back.
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TRUMP: They have been fake news for a long time. They`ve been covering me in a very dishonest way. Do you have that also, by the way, Mr. President?
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TUR: Welcome back to MTP Daily. That was President Trump earlier today in Warsaw, answering a reporter`s question about CNN. Let`s go to tonight`s panel. Anne Gearan is the diplomatic correspondent for the Washington Post. Cornell Belcher is Democratic Pollster and an MSNBC contributor, and Robert Traynham is an MSNBC political analyst and a former senior adviser for President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
Guys, let`s start with that. The American President criticizing the American press in Eastern Europe. It sounds a lot like something that Vladimir Putin would be pretty happy with. Cornell?
CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: You know it is startling and I`m going to -- I want to be partisan about this because -- I mean, you can`t imagine George Bush doing this. You can`t imagine Bill Clinton doing this. You certainly couldn`t imagine Ronald Reagan doing this.
What we`re seeing is kind of extraordinary. And I do think in a long term it undermines America`s position in the world. It undermines our democracy, it undermines our institutions. In the long run this is not healthy or good for our country in the long term. And it should be taken out of sort of a Partisan left versus right perspective here. This is not something that American presidents have done nor should they ever do.
TUR: And what about those who might say the media over blows this, it`s not that big of a deal, let Donald Trump say whatever he wants, wherever he wants to say it.
ANNE GEARAN, DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT FOR THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I mean, there`s definitely -- that is a point. I think sometimes the media itself can focus on itself too much. And in some ways, you know, draw attention to the wrong parts of this issue. What`s extraordinary to me is that he took time out of the press conference and out of a diplomatic visit focused on a million other issues to spend time on what amounts to, you know, his personal sense of grievance, and then to open it to the polish leader to ask whether he shares that grievance. I don`t know how much preparation Trump had in looking at what`s actually happening in Poland, but it is one among a small number of countries in Europe that where authoritarianism is not entirely out of the realm of possibility. These are Democratic --
TUR: And isn`t there an issue there --
GEARAN: -- governments that are leaning that way.
TUR: Isn`t there an issue in Poland right now in terms of the reporters being able to cover parliament there?
GEARAN: Yes, exactly. There are press grievance issues there, and there are human rights issues there. That I -- you know, I`m sure he knows of. But to sort of open it to the polish leader to say, hey, you know, do you have problems with the press, too? It was just sort of eye opening to me.
TUR: Robert, the prepared speech that he gave today, had a lot of people thinking it was basically the inaugural speech 2.0. A lot of western values are under attack. Dark days, we need to be vigilant. Do you think that that was the appropriate tone to strike when he is going and speaking in front of the Polish people?
ROBERT TRAYNHAM, POLITICAL ANALYST, MSNBC: Absolutely not. Totally unpresidential. Totally un-American if I dare say. You know when presidents travel abroad, they often will say to their counterparts on the world stage, see, look at the way we do things. We are very open here. The press is the only profession that is guaranteed for protections under the constitution. These people you see here, Mr. President, these are the people that hold me and people like you accountable.
So for the President, and by the way, we fought in World War II, and -- World War I and World War II in Europe to be able to look for a better day, to say that tomorrow`s chapter is going to be better than today. And so for an American President to see what he said, I just cannot even believe it. It`s so sad for America to be able to look itself in the mirror as they see this has our president.
TUR: A sense of speech, Anne, is so much like the inauguration. A lot of people are saying it looks like Steven Miller and Steven Bannon are back having a lot of influence in the west wing, a lot of influence what the President actually says and does. And there are also dog whistles that people noticed in this Warsaw speech today. Take a listen to one section of it.
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TRUMP: The defense of the west ultimately rests not only on means, by also on the will of its people to prevail and be successful and get what you have to have. The fundamental question of our time is whether the west has the will to survive.
I declare today for the world to hear that the west will never, ever be broken. Our values will prevail. Our people will thrive. And our civilization will triumph.
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TUR: And you`re the expert in this. What do our allies hear when they hear Donald Trump use that type forceful rhetoric?
GEARAN: Well it certainly an odd note to strike going into the G20. I mean, he was framing a lot of that in terms of the global fight against terrorism. But he is saying it right ahead of the G20 summit. And the whole premise of the G20 group is that the west isn`t the only game in town.
GEARAN: It was formed specifically to include countries like China, like India, rising economic powers, as well as that the old heavyweights and the European financial power centers.
So I really wonder what that sounds like to in Narendra Modi or to a Xi Jinping, both of whom he will -- Trump will see within the next couple of days. But the President`s use there of -- sort of, you know, that slightly dark, but also kind of stirring rhetoric about western civilization, it is does sound a bit like the inaugural speech. But I think it sounds also a little bit new and confrontational in a European perspective. I certainly don`t think it`s what Angela Merkel wanted to hear before she sees him.
TUR: But you know what? They got a handshake today, so that is a step above where we had with --
GEARAN: More than he got from the Polish first lady.
TUR: Yes, who dodged his handshake. Check out YouTube for that. Anne, Cornell, and Robert, stay with us, we`re going to comeback to you a little bit later in the hour
Still ahead, the Trump administration`s investigation into alleged voter fraud is generating lots of pushback. I`ll talk with the former state secretary of state who is part of the President`s commission and a current secretary of state who`s fighting back.
KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: If it`s Sunday, it`s a power-packed edition of "Meet the Press." Chuck Todd will have an exclusive interview with South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, plus he`ll talk with the chairs of the Democratic and Republican national committees. That`s this Sunday on your local NBC station. And next, what is the goal of the White House`s voting commission? I`ll talk with one of its members, and with one of its critics. Keep it right here.
TUR: Welcome back. There`s extensive bipartisan push back today to the commission set up by the White House following the president`s bogus claims of widespread voter fraud. Remember, Mr. Trump tweeted in November, "in addition to winning the electoral college in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."
We`ll remind you that recorded instances of voter fraud are extremely rare. A study by the Brennan Center for Justice says the rate of voter fraud incidence occurring is less than 3,000ths of 1 percent. But that did not stop President Trump from launching what`s called a Voter Integrity Commission led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
Last week, the commission requested safe handover public available voter data which differs state by state and can include date of birth, voter history, and the last four digits of social security numbers. Nineteen red and blue states plus D.C. are flat out refusing to comply with the request.
Twenty-seven more states say they plan to only handover what is deemed public information by their respected state laws. This morning, Vice President Pence`s press secretary suggested those noncompliant states have something to hide.
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MARC LOTTER, PRESS SECRETARY TO VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: What are they covering up, or is this just pure partisanship that they may be ignoring their own state laws and their own public records laws in terms of what they can release and should release to the commission?
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TUR: Joining me now is former Ohio Secretary of State Republican Ken Blackwell. He is a member of what is officially called the presidential advisory commission on election integrity. Thank you very much for joining us. When you were in charge.
KEN BLACKWELL, MEMBER OF PRESIDENTIAL ADVISORY COMMISSION ON ELECTION INTEGRITY, FORMER OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE: Great to be with you.
TUR: . of Ohio, how much election fraud, voter fraud did you experience?
BLACKWELL: Well, let me tell you. What we don`t know is what we don`t know. And we have a very, very complicated system where we can`t get a certain information, and the federal government definitely can`t get at it. So what we need to do is to have a system that basically says our mission is to look at the integrity of our election process, look at the vulnerabilities, look at the threats, and a new information age to the principle of one person, one vote.
Our voting laws are set up to do two things. One, to make it relatively easy to register and to cast a vote. But on the other hand, it is balanced by -- that is balanced by the need to protect legal ballots from illegal ballots. And as a consequence, what we`re looking for is information that will give us a greater sense right now of what our exposure is as a collective system.
We don`t have one system. We in fact have 50 systems, plus the district of Columbia, and that makes either driven by cooperation and mutual interests, because we`re not driven by government force.
TUR: Secretary, there have been investigations, there have been studies on this, a number of them, and nobody has found any widespread instances of voter fraud. In fact, there was a.
BLACKWELL: Well, let me stop you right there.
TUR: No, no, no. This is not your show, sir.
BLACKWELL: Let me stop you right there.
TUR: Please stop talking. Please stop just for one second so I can just.
BLACKWELL: Let me stop you right there.
TUR: Let me ask my question and then you can answer it. Stop for a second.
BLACKWELL: All right. I will your question and the implication.
TUR: A study done -- this is not a partisan study, a study done by Loyola law professor, found in 14 years, in 14 years from 2000 on, that there were 31 cases of maybe voter fraud in 1 billion ballots. That is a 14-year study. If this is not a widespread thing, if nobody`s ever found widespread instances of voter fraud, what is the purpose of this commission?
BLACKWELL: Let me say that the pew foundation found that we have corrupted voter registration files, which means that we have folks who have either registered to vote in two states or we have folks who are still registered to vote who happen to be dead and you create vulnerabilities for the integrity of the system. Let`s be clear, this is about not millions of votes. If you go back to 1976, Ohio was decided by less than 12,000 votes.
That was less than one vote per precinct. You don`t need a million, you don`t need 100,000 corrupted votes, you only needed 6,000 corrupted votes in the state of Ohio. If in fact you go to Florida, 2000, that decision, and it was the pivotal decision in that state, was less than 600 votes. If you have vulnerabilities in the system that allow illegal ballots to be cast, you destroy the integrity and the confidence in the system. I`ll tell you right now.
TUR: Secretary, we`re running out of time, and I want to ask you one more question.
BLACKWELL: Okay. Let me finish this talk.
TUR: Can I ask you another question? Otherwise, this is going to be your last answer.
BLACKWELL: Okay. You don`t have to have my bank robbed before I want my bank to get out in front of the vulnerabilities of safety of my money. The same is for ballots and votes. The integrity of our system is by protecting the persons, the individuals` vote. That is their vote is their voice. If you negate their voice, you negate their participation in the system.
TUR: I don`t think anybody is going to argue with protecting the integrity of the voting system. I don`t think anyone will argue with that. Here`s my question to you.
BLACKWELL: I know and that`s why we need to be together. That`s why we need to be together.
TUR: Hold on. You cited a pew study. I think we need to point out that the pew study, I`m assuming you cited it because it was the one that was sent out by the White House. It`s a 2012 pew study. They said that they couldn`t find instances of voter fraud. Actually, ballots cast, but rather bad record keeping about who was on the voter rolls. That`s one point we should point out, number one.
And number two, if you`re talking about election integrity, sir. Hold on. Let me finish. You`re talking about election integrity, is this commission looking into interference in our elections by a foreign entity? Maybe Russia hacking into our election system. Is that part of this commission? That seems like a pretty serious thing.
BLACKWELL: On that, we could agree. Any bad actor, whether foreign or domestic, any action that corrupts the integrity of our system should be fair game for our expiration. Let`s be clear about something. We have the best system on the face of the earth. But it is only when we are acting in a bipartisan way, as we have over the years, to protect the integrity of the system. Do we in fact protect the voices of the voter?
TUR: Why are all the -- why are the -- why is there bipartisan push back against this? Why are republican states and democratic states pushing back against this if this is all kosher?
BLACKWELL: Can I talk? There are a lot of secretaries of state like myself who are basically adhering to the 10th Amendment. We know that the genius of our system is in its decentralization. There`s not one central government that controls the process. While that is a blessing, it can also be a curse when we`re at odds. In Ohio, we have 88 county boards of elections, two Democrats, two Republicans, and they get the job done.
Nationally, we have to have that sort of bipartisan cooperation. I`ve been on boards and commissions with Steny Hoyer. I`ve been on boards and commissions with Bill Gardner. They are of the Democratic Party and we`ve gotten things done because we knew that working cooperatively together is the way that we get things done.
We can fuss and fight about voter I.D. or how many -- how early voting should be structured, but at the end of the day, we always should be concerned about the vulnerabilities in the system. And as I was saying, we don`t wait until our banks are robbed before we expect the banks to protect the integrity of the system. That`s all that we`re talking about.
TUR: Secretary Blackwell, thank you very much for joining us.
BLACKWELL: Good to be with you.
TUR: Joining me now is Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Her state is not complying with the data requested from the presidential commission. Secretary, thank you for joining us. You just heard Secretary Blackwell talking just a moment ago. Do you think that he is right to say, I don`t need my bank to get robbed or my savings account to get robbed in order to want to protect my money?
ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES, SECRETARY OF STATE OF KENTUCKY: We already know that there are folks that are interfering in our elections, meddling was the headline. And what the secretary admitted, the best asset that we have is the decentralization of our elections. We don`t want to eliminate that asset by literally putting all of the cash in just one repository, the repository being the White House.
Here in Kentucky, Katy, the 10th Amendment still means something. From Pikeville to Paducah, people all across Kentucky, and indeed, this nation, are stepping up and saying, no to the Trump White House. They don`t want their sensitive personal information residing in the White House. They don`t want to make it easier for bad actors such as Russia or even hackers to meddle, to interfere in our elections.
That`s exactly what eliminating one of the best assets of our election system would do. Elections are left to the states for a reason. I`m glad that Kentucky has led the way in making sure that we`re going to continue to stand up for our elections process, states` rights and especially individuals` privacy.
TUR: We can hear a lot of this information is publicly available. Why not just hand over what the White House would be able to find by doing a public document search?
LUNDERGAN GRIMES: Well, again, this is different and not similarly situated to the press or even an individual requesting information about another individual. This is a coordinated attempt to create a national voter registration file. A centralized system that would remove the data out of the hands of what is controlled now by the states, making it easier for actors like Russia to actually interfere in our elections.
Americans are watching. Instead of the president wanting their private information, their social security number, they want to know, on Friday, is the president actually going to stand up to Putin and tell him to quit messing with our elections? That`s what this commission should be looking into.
And importantly, the conversation that secretary of states across the nation want to have is how we can move our election administration process forward. Bob Bauer and Ben Ginsburg did not need to collect data in order to make those improvements and suggestions in 2014, and this commission shouldn`t either.
TUR: The president says that state like yours has something to hide.
LUNDERGAN GRIMES: I don`t think the voters of Kentucky. This is a deep red state, Katy. Whether you`re in a deep red state of Kentucky or California, or today South Carolina, standing up for an interference by the federal government in what is something left to states` rights, that`s not hiding something, that`s protecting what is valued and cherished in the constitution and our 10th Amendment.
I`m proud to have led the way for Kentucky, 3.3 million registered voters, and to see each of my peers, whether they`re Democrats or Republicans, that are blending in the same spot that we are. You don`t have to be sitting in Pennsylvania Avenue to see that the reception that this commission has received nationally has been anything but welcoming, kind of like a breeze off an outhouse.
TUR: (inaudible) say that this will enable there to be a check of voter rolls, to make sure the voter rolls are up to date, number one, and make sure that voters are not registered in multiple states. Is there a problem with finding that information out?
LUNDERGAN GRIMES: You don`t need federal control and overreach in order for states to be able to audit their voter registration rolls. It`s one of the recommendations that came forward in the 2014 report. The presidential commission recommended online voter registration. Eliminating the duplicate entry, manual entry by clerks.
Instead individuals putting in their entry and information. States do work collectively amongst themselves without federal government and overreach, especially a president of the United States wanting to collect everyone`s voter history to try to make sure that our voter rolls are as clean and as accurate as possible.
It`s something we continue to do today. We don`t need to sacrifice the privacy and the security, the sanctity of our elections by putting all of this information in the hands of an administration, Katy, that you yourself as news media has reported has a little bit of trouble keeping things confidential.
TUR: Secretary of State Alison Grimes, thank you very much.
LUNDERGAN GRIMES: Thank you, Katy.
TUR: We will be right back.
TUR: Coming up in "The Lid," we`re going to talk about health care. Our senators dodging their constituents and maybe we will get into a little bit of that voter integrity commission as well. Stay with us.
TUR: The panel is back. Anne Gearan, Cornell Belcher, Robert Traynham. We`re going to talk about "The Lid" right now, guys. Let`s do health care. We have Republican senators out there trying in many cases to avoid their constituents and avoid town halls. The ones that are going to town halls are getting shout down. But there was one moment and unexpectedly on this moment from Pat Toomey that I want to play. Take a listen.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
PAT TOOMEY, JUNIOR U.S. SENATOR FROM PENNSYLVANIA: You`ve seen how difficult it is to get a Republican consensus until the election last fall which surprised me. I didn`t expect Donald Trump to win. I think most of my colleagues didn`t. So we didn`t expect to be in this situation. Given how difficult it is to get to a consensus, it was hard to force that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Cornell, the senator saying that Republicans did not expect to be in a position to pass any sort of health care bill. That`s pretty remarkable.
CORNELL BELCHER, PRESIDENT OF BRILLIANT CORNERS RESEARCH AND STRATEGIES, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Bravo for Senator Toomey for being completely honest about it. Look, this is what happens when you overpromise in politics and campaigns. Campaigning is different from governing. All of the sudden, the dog has caught the car that it has been chasing.
Now, what do you do with it? When you`re saying you are going to repeal Obamacare, every line of it on the first day when you`re in office, you`re faced with this problem that health care is incredibly difficult. Quite frankly, a lot of what is in Obamacare was originally Republican ideals, right? So (inaudible) them trying to repeal every word of Obamacare, even President Obama himself said, look, Obamacare is not perfect. Let`s make it better.
Let`s make it work. We cannot have a sort of a one-sided Republican sort of health care conversation and health care fix in this country because that`s where the problem is. I really would like to see Republicans and Democrats come together and universal, this idea of a mandate, everywhere around the world we know we have to increase the pots a and the number of people buying into health care in order to make it affordable. Let`s stop pretending that we can get around that because we can`t.
TUR: Robert, you have Pat Toomey saying what he just said. He also have Senator Mitch McConnell saying that he doesn`t think there is going to be a vote this week, maybe a vote next week. In fact, pushing it down the line. Maybe there won`t be a vote on this. Republicans, they control the house, they control the senate, they control the White House. They may not have expected to be here, but they are here. Why can`t they get things done?
ROBERT TRAYNHAM, BIPARTISAN POLICY CENTER VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS: Well, I take issue with the question. They`re getting things done, but to your specific point about health care, look, President Trump said it`s really, really hard, specifically with health care. As you know, Katy, the problem with health care with the Republican side, there`s so many different opinions from Rand Paul to Susan Collins.
There`s a lot going on there in terms of whether or not you go full repeal, you go partial repeal, the exchanges (inaudible) Republican governors out there that depend on this. So there is a lot of Republicans that have a lot of voices and they`re not speaking from the same sheet of music here. I think that`s the main issue here. Look, the reality is, I think Cornell is right, the question becomes how can smart people get into a room and figure this out.
Here`s what we know. We know that no entitlement program has ever been repealed on the history of this republic. We also know that the Affordable Health Care Act is relatively successful. You cannot deny that exchanges and premiums are going up and exchanges are collapsing in the states. That`s a fact. The question becomes how can you fix this so that all people pretty much get something out of it. That`s the real question.
TUR: We only have seconds left. That`s going to be a really short answer about this voter integrity commission. Most of the states, almost all 50 states, are saying, no, we`re not going to comply. Does the White House need to abandon it?
ANNE GEARAN, NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT FOR THE WASHINGTON POST: I don`t think they will abandon it just in that lawsuit, those references earlier. The White House today says that they intend to house this data on computers that would be under the control of the vice president`s office. They are pushing forward. They may have to retool it a little bit, but I don`t think they will abandon it.
TUR: Anne, Cornell, Robert. Guys, thank you very much. We will be right back.
TUR: That is all for tonight for a wild edition of "Meet the Press Daily." More tomorrow. Come back. Thank you very much. Bye.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END