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MTP Daily, Transcript 7/17/2017

Guests: Asa Hutchinson, Michael Haas, Ramesh Ponnuru, Christopher Dickey, Mark Murray, Steve Kornacki, Jennifer Palmieri, Garrett Haake

Show: MTP DAILY Date: July 17, 2017 Guest: Asa Hutchinson, Michael Haas, Ramesh Ponnuru, Christopher Dickey, Mark Murray, Steve Kornacki, Jennifer Palmieri, Garrett Haake

NICOLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: That does it for this hour. I`m Nicole Wallace. "MTP DAILY" starts right now with Katy Tur in for Chuck. Katy, thanks for filling in for me last Friday.

KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: Thanks for having you and we are so happy to see you back, Nicole.

WALLACE: Thanks.

TUR: And if it is Monday, are the Trump faithful having doubts?

(voice-over): Tonight, Trump country troubles. Our new poll shows President Trump slipping with his base, but Russia is not the topic moving the needle down. So, what is?

Plus, the Republican health care bill in limbo again.


SEAN SPICER, U.S. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president is going to be engaged. He`s going to get this done.


TUR: We`ll talk to the Republican governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson.

And later, senators just want to have fun.




TUR: This is MTP DAILY and it starts right now.

(on camera): Good evening, I`m Katy tour in New York in for Chuck Todd. Welcome to MTP DAILY.

As a politician, Mr. Trump has been historically unpopular and historically resilient. Right now, President Trump is battling to keep it that way.

In the wake of last week`s revelations about Donald Trump Jr.`s meeting with Russia, here we are, yet again, trying to assess the full scope of the damage, because, yet again, a huge chunk of the public seize wrongdoing. And, yet again, the president`s supporters do not.

The president today defended his son`s meeting, arguing most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don Jr. attended in order to get info on an opponent. That`s politics.

His comments come after his outside lawyer, Jay Sekulow, criss-crossed the Sunday shows again, insisting there was nothing to see.


JAY SEKULOW, ATTORNEY, DONALD TRUMP: And everybody`s coming to the same conclusion, regarding the legality. There`s nothing illegal about that meeting.

Here`s what happened. First of all, nothing happened. And there`s been no exchange of information.

Well, I`ve wondered why the secret service -- if this was nefarious, why did the secret service allow these people in?


TUR: Yet again, their arguments are dubious. No, most politicians who have spoken publicly about this meeting are not saying they would have taken it. No, not everybody says no laws were broken. Ultimately, the special counsel will decide that. And, no, it`s not certain there was no exchange of information.

One of the meetings attendees, in fact, says there was. And, no, the secret service didn`t let those folks in. They put out a statement today, saying they weren`t even covering Trump Jr. at that time.

But, again, there is evidence that this stuff just doesn`t matter for a giant chunk of the president`s base which is keeping him afloat.

Less than a third of Republicans right now will even acknowledge that Russia tried to influence the election, according to a new poll taken by "The Washington Post" and ABC News. That number hasn`t budged in months.

Only seven percent think the Trump campaign helped Russia. That number has actually dropped by four points since April.

And the percentage of Republicans who think the campaign didn`t have anything to do with it has gone up. In other words, even the Republicans who believe the intelligence on Russia are growing less suspicious of the Trump Russia story. Despite the firing of FBI director James Comey because of Russia. The appointment of a special counsel on Russia. Giving classified information to Russia at the White House.

Reports that President Trump tried to get the FBI to drop its investigation into Michael Flynn, who lied to the White House about Russia. And, seemingly, despite the bombshell surrounding Trump Jr.`s campaign meeting with Russia.

A new poll out today from Monmouth finds that this issue has grown stagnant. Concern about Russia`s influence in the White House has barely budged in the past two months.

And according to a new NBC News-"Wall Street Journal" poll taken in Trump counties, his approval rating is a good 10 to 15 points higher in those areas than it is nationally.

So, here we are, yet again, trying to figure out what the heck it all means. I`m joined now by NBC`s senior political editor, Mark Murray, and NBC national political correspondent, Steve Kornacki.

Gentlemen, hopefully you can help me figure this out. Mark, let`s start with you, though. The Trump Jr. revelations, are those the things -- or is that the thing, excuse me, that will end up breaking through?

MARK MURRAY, SENIOR POLITICAL EDITOR, NBC NEWS: With Trump`s base, it doesn`t look like it. And this could end up being that you go six months or a year of revelations, even someone like Special Counselor Bob Mueller who ended upbringing things to a Grand Jury.

And that might not end up budging because there are two important dynamics at play, Katy. On the one hand, you have President Trump standing with Democrats and Independents.

[17:05:02] And most national polls end up showing that just about five percent of Democrats approve of President Trump`s job. Just about 35 percent of Independents approve of it as well which is historically low for a president, at this stage.

Then, on the other hand, you have 90 percent of Republicans, or 85 maybe a little bit less, backing President Trump. And that creates this stagnant situation, as you pointed out, where his Trump -- Trump`s approval rating hovers anywhere between 35 and 40 percent. And it`s done that for the last two or three months.

TUR: And is that bad news for him, Mark? Is that ultimately going to get lower? Is it going to mean that the Independents, the soft Democrats, the moderate Republicans who supported him at the end of the election, maybe the ones who held their nose at Hillary Clinton, are just going to say, you know what? Audios.

MURRAY: It means that he`s not falling and collapsing. Because, you know, we ended up seeing, for George W. Bush, in his second term after Hurricane Katrina and after the Iraq War, where that 85 percent of Republicans -- percent support ended up going down to 70 percent, then to 65 percent. And that`s when you actually knew that the situation was very bad.

President Trump, right now, has the support of the Republican Party so that`s the good news. The bad news is, and we`re going to see this play out in the health care legislation, can he be able to get his party in line to be able to influence that policy debate?

And, you know, sometimes being a president is just more to playing to your own party. It`s actually trying to win over persuadable people of the opposition.

And what we`ve seen, for President Trump so far in his six months in office, is someone who`s played only to his base and not tried to actually win over others, whether being Independents or Democrats.

TUR: I feel like I have a little deja vu, Steve.


TUR: This feels very much like it did in the campaign, especially towards the end where he would do something that you just couldn`t do every day, it felt like. And Republicans or Democrats or experts or analysts or the polls would say, yes, no, it`s not going to happen.

KORNACKI: Here is the thing, the challenge that he presents and I think he presented this as a candidate and a lot of this is, sort of, hindsight conventional wisdom here.

But I think if you look back at a lot of the things that people were say -- pundits on television, people like me, were saying throughout the campaign of 2016. There is a series of almost truisms, that you`re trained as a pundit or an analyst, whatever you want to call it, to spout during a campaign about, you need to do this with the advertising dollars.

You need to do this with the ground game in your campaign. Your favorable rating can`t be below this point. Your support among the Republican Party, the Democrat Party, whatever, in a poll can`t be below this point. You have to have this state.

So, many truisms that we`ve been spouting for years were completely blown up by Donald Trump.

And I think that was the story of the campaign. A year ago today, we had NBC news-"Wall Street Journal" poll that came out that gave Donald Trump a 27 percent favorable score. We said, that`s the worst in history, historically low, right?

That same poll showed the Republican Party, its image was, like, 21 points, 22 points below the Democratic Party. Close to 60 percent said that Donald Trump`s views were out of the mainstream.

Those were the numbers he was carrying into the election. And I think if you put yourself into the shoes of a Republican elected official right now, we`ve been saying one of the things with this Russia story and the revelations last week is the people -- Republican leaders not breaking, not showing any distance with Donald Trump.

Well, here is why. He went through 10, 12, 15, extinction-level events --

TUR: Yes.

KORNACKI: -- as a candidate and the numbers seemed to show it. The polls seemed to show that he was lagging with Republicans. The polls seemed to show that he was going to lose.

And these Republican members of Congress, in a lot of cases, really kept their distance from him in the campaign. And they woke up and they found out not only that he won, but that he won with 90 percent Republican support.

And I think, psychologically, they looked at that and said, --

TUR: Absolutely.

KORNACKI: -- I don`t understand my own party`s base the way I thought I did.

TUR: I think you`re right. I remember the "Access Hollywood" tape. We saw Republican after Republican after Republican, I think we were getting above 12 in the -- in the hours after that, saying, you know what? He`s got to drop out from this. I could never support him.

KORNACKI: Paul Ryan cut him loose that weekend.

TUR: Cut him loose and then voted for him.

KORNACKI: And think about how Republicans have behaved since then. I think that`s what`s in their mind. I think, fundamentally, it`s, yes, sure, this about Russia. Yes, sure, this about whatever the explosive story of the day is.

But, then, they remember. Wait a minute, I`ve lived this before.

TUR: So, is the new rule there are no rules?

KORNACKI: I think if you`re a Republican member of Congress, you`ve got to see something different than this. You`ve got to see his approval rating fall into the 20s. You`ve got to see Republicans start breaking with him in numbers we haven`t seen before.

Because right now, --

TUR: You`ve got elections -- start seeing Republicans lose elections.

KORNACKI: And right now, look, you can make a case Democrats were closer in these special elections. But the bottom line is the headline is Republicans won.

TUR: Remind me what happened in Watergate, why did Nixon ultimately get -- why were articles of impeachment ultimately brought up?

KORNACKI: Well, it took a while. But if you look, first of all, you had special elections. You had a big one in Cincinnati in the spring of 1974 in a Republican district that the Democrats won.

And then, the second thing was the midterm was approaching. The midterm of 1974 was approaching. And they thought, all right, it`s going to -- you know, Nixon was -- Richard Nixon, unlike Trump, --

TUR: Yes.

KORNACKI: -- reached for a big base of support all along. Trump`s been playing a different game than every president we`ve ever seen.

[17:10:01] TUR: Highly focused.

Steve Kornacki, thank you.


TUR: Always an expert with the numbers and the history. Mark Murray, thank you as well. Appreciate it.

And as a candidate, Mr. Trump seemed, at times, obsessed with the loyalty of his supporters. Here are just a few examples.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know what else they say about my people? The polls, they say I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn`t lose any voters, OK? It`s, like, incredible.

My people are the most intelligent of the people. And you know what else? They`re the most loyal of the people. They`re loyal. Did you see one of the things that came out in the one poll, nobody is ever leaving me. I can be the worst person in the world. They`re not leaving.

We`re the smartest people. We`re the most loyal people. 68 percent would not leave under any circumstances. I think that means murder. I think it means anything. OK?

And the rest, I think I got up to 92 which was, like, we`ll probably never leave. You know, it`s been reported that the most loyal people are the supporters of Trump. And I believe that.


TUR: Let`s bring in the panel. Christopher Dickey is world news editor for "The Daily Beast." Jennifer Palmieri was the communications director for the White House, Obama White House, and then the Clinton campaign. And Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor with "The National Review."

Jen, I want to start with you. Tell me why Steve Kornacki is wrong, why rules matter.

JENNIFER PALMIERI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Oh, I think that he`s right about Trump supporters not leaving him, and that was something we were very aware of in the Clinton campaign. You couldn`t let a voter get bought into him. Because once somebody has bought into him, it`s going to be very unlikely to turn them off.

And, you know, what we found was it`s not that Trump, it`s not necessarily an economic plan he`s offering that voters find compelling, but it`s -- he shares their world view. And he validates their world view and that is something that is very meaningful to them.

And I think that`s something we have to understand about the way voters are thinking these days. It`s not along the lines of, you know, policy or agendas that, I think, we use to approach this.

Now, where I think he`s -- I don`t know that Steve is wrong, but where the Republicans should be more concerned is it shouldn`t take a -- they shouldn`t be basing how they treat this president on how he does with their voters, if they`re concerned about the long-term health of the country and of the party.

And this is a president that is not just not up to the job, but doing damage to our democracy and doing damage, I think, to the standing of the republic.

And I think that Republicans don`t want to take him on because they don`t want to -- they don`t want to have a civil war in their party. They don`t want to disappoint the president`s supporters.

But, you know, somewhere along the way, that civil war is coming to this party. And, I think, for the good of the country, they should see that this president is a danger to the democracy. And they should -- they should be willing to take him on now.

TUR: Ramesh, what about that argument, that Republicans are putting party over country?

RAMESH PONNURU, SENIOR EDITOR, "THE NATIONAL REVIEW": Well, I think that what you actually see is Republicans taking on President Trump in a way that is actually unusual for members of the same party.

The problem for the critics is that Trump is such an unusual president, they think of him as such a threat that they want the Republicans to go further.

But it`s very unusual, actually, for senators and members of the House to say as negative and as dismissive of things that they`ve said, for them to be holding hearings early on into the personnel decisions as with the FBI director.

The question, of course, is what the benchmark is, sort of, what they should be doing.

I`d just note, you know, we were talking about Watergate earlier. That even at the very end of the Nixon years, Nixon still had the support of a little bit over 50 percent of Republican voters. The question is not, is Trump going to totally crater but is he going to move incrementally downward?

TUR: So, Chris, you live in Paris most times.


TUR: But you`ve been back in the states for a little while, the past few weeks, right?

DICKEY: The past couple of weeks.

TUR: Couple weeks, spending some time in Georgia and the Carolinas. What was your experience with the voters out there? Were they gung ho about Trump and, eh, about the Republican Party or was it just the entire Republican spectrum?

DICKEY: Well, I was visiting family, and I`ve got to tell you most of my family is not on the Trump bandwagon.

TUR: On the Trump train.

DICKEY: But I talked to a lot of people about why there is so much support for Trump, and I think it`s -- I think sometimes we miss the point. I think it`s really important that he`s an entertainer. He`s not a statesman. He`s not a politician.

He tweets about this is what any politician would do. He doesn`t know what a politician would do. That`s not what he is.

[17:15:00] He is an entertainer. And I think people, many people in the south and around the country, got used to him being in their living room with "The Apprentice" and "Celebrity Apprentice." And, really, he`s no different now than he was then.

But they`re familiar with it. They`re easy with it.

Whereas a politician who is telling them what to do, telling them that he or she knows best, how they should run their lives. They`re not so easy with that.

TUR: And they would bring up "The Apprentice" when I would ask them why they liked Donald Trump. And they would say, he`s going to hire the best people. Well, how do you know? Because he did so on "The Apprentice." So, that definitely resonated.

DICKEY: Yes. But that makes them sound maybe more stupid than they are.

TUR: No, no, no. No, no, no. I mean, it -- no. It`s more like they believe in the -- in the person that he has put forth. This idea that he is a very successful businessman. That he knows what he`s doing because look at the empire that he`s built. And their best accessible example of that was that show.

DICKEY: Yes. Well, it`s very interesting to contrast the European view of him which is that he`s ignorant, incompetent, incontinent. That he`s just a disaster. With that kind of point of view, what you`re talking about is what we used to say down south. If you`re so smart, why ain`t you rich? Well, he plays it the other way. I`m so rich, therefore, I`m so smart.

TUR: Yes.

Jen, most Republicans don`t believe this Russia connection. Very few Republicans believe in this Russia connection. How do Democrats punch through that?

PALMIERI: Yes. Well, I think -- I`m not surprised by that because I think that what they -- they view everything through a lens of what President Trump thinks about it. So, they define themselves as Trump supporters, and if he is telling them that this is a bogus story, they`re going to accept that.

And I don`t think that if you took a poll of Republicans in Congress they would have the same belief. I think that they would show a lot more concern.

And, at some point, this process is probably going to end in Congress` lap. Mueller will do some kind of report, presumably. It`ll probably get sent to Congress.

And it`s going to be on the Republicans in Congress to decide what they are going to -- what they are going to do with it. And, you know, they should want to take a much broader view.

I think that this -- I think that whenever -- there will be a post Trump era. I think it will be a very painful time for the Republican Party. And they are trying to stave off a battle that is likely to happen.

But the more responsible thing would be to understand that he`s -- for them to call this, as I believe they probably do see it, as Russia has successfully tried to intervene. That there was some kind of cooperation along the way. We`ll learn the extent of it from Mueller.

TUR: Yes.

PALMIERI: And they should -- they should take it seriously. Because if it`s not, it`s going to -- it`s going to happen again. And it -- they have to -- they have to accept that it`s on them. It`s their responsibility, as the majority in Congress to take this on.

TUR: Jen, and there are some Republicans who say that.

PALMIERI: There are. There are.

TUR: That they believe this will happen again. And that they might not be on the favored side of it next time around.

Ramesh, we ask this all the time. Does the levy break and if so, how?

PONNURU: Well, I don`t think that it`s likely to be some kind of dramatic moment. I think that it`s more likely that you`ve got a slow erosion of his support over time, where strong supporters become weaker supporters and weaker supporters become neutral and neutrals become hostile.

I think there`s been some evidence that something like that has happened since January. But, look, none of these numbers are just happening in a vacuum.

"The Washington Post"-ABC poll, that had Trump`s numbers relatively low and that he lashed out against, also say that 52 percent of the public think that Democrats are anti-Trump, rather than having a vision of their own. There was a 15-point gap there.

You know, it`s a two -- it`s a binary choice in that sense. And a lot of people who don`t necessarily love Donald Trump don`t like the Democrats either.

TUR: It could be that famous quote. I went bankrupt gradually, then suddenly. We`ll see.


TUR: Chris, Jennifer and Ramesh, stay with us.

Coming up, a health -- a health scare puts the breaks on the health care debate. But will the delay make things even more difficult for Republicans to pass their health care bill?




CROWD: Kill the bill, bring health care back. Kill the bill, bring health care back.


TUR: Welcome back.

That was just one of several protests against the Senate Republican health care bill on Capitol Hill today. Assorted progressive groups demonstrated in the main atrium of one of the Senate office buildings; and outside of the offices, a handful of moderate Republican senators who are undecided on the latest draft of the health care bill.

Our Capitol Hill team saw at least eight protesters being arrested.

Coming up, we`ll have the latest on the Republican push for a replacement to Obamacare and the push back from some Republicans on proposed cuts to Medicaid.

We`re back in 60 seconds.


TUR: Welcome back.

Senate Republicans quest to push a vote on their health care bill hit a snag this weekend. Arizona Senator John McCain had surgery to remove a blood clot from above his left eye and is set to spend the week recovering in Arizona.

Because McCain can`t travel, the Senate is delaying the vote. Right now, Republicans don`t have the votes to get the bill to the floor without McCain. And even when he gets back, there is no room for error.

There are already two hard nos on the motion to proceed. Kentucky`s Rand Paul opposes the bill from the right and Maine`s Susan Collins opposes the bill from the center. And neither is showing any sign of budging.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: For all Republicans complaints about the death spiral of Obamacare, they don`t fix it, they simply subsidize it with tax payer monies which I just don`t agree with at all.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: This bill would impose fundamental sweeping changes in the Medicaid program and those include very deep cuts. That would affect some of the most vulnerable people in our society.


TUR: Without Paul and Collins, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell needs the rest of the caucuses 50 members to vote yes to simply begin the debate on the bill. And that is not a sure bet yet.

Joining me now from Capitol Hill is NBC`s Garrett Haake. Garrett, thanks for joining us.

What`s the latest from there? Does Mitch McConnell know if he has 50 solid votes?

GARRETT HAAKE, CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: He doesn`t, Katy. And every minute, every hour that he doesn`t, it gets a little bit dicier.

I just talked to Senator Ron Johnson a few minutes ago, who was someone who was, sort of, a maybe on the first draft, he seemed to be coming around on this draft of the bill, who told me he`s heard a new analysis on the Medicaid portion of this that makes him less sure of it than he was before he left to go home for the weekend.

[17:25:03] So, every day that Mitch McConnell doesn`t get 50 hard yeses, it gets a little bit harder to wrangle this. He`s compared it to solving a Rubik`s Cube. And, right now, those rows aren`t clicking into place.

That`s not to say that it won`t, but it doesn`t appear that anything that has happened today has changed that calculus.

TUR: Any idea when we`re going to get a CBO score?

HAAKE: Well, we had thought late last week it might come as soon as today. The guidance that we got over the weekend from senators, who are, sort of, in touch with the CBO about that process, was not today but maybe still early this week.

There have been questions about scoring the Cruz Amendment which is one of the more complex parts of this. But we`re still hopeful that we`ll see something in the early part of this week.

Again, McConnell had planned, before John McCain`s surgery, to bring this thing to the floor by --

TUR: Yes.

HAAKE: -- towards the end of this week. So, at least in the leader`s office, that`s what they were looking towards.

TUR: Is the White House getting involved?

HAAKE: And, Katy, I want to put one other thing --

TUR: Sorry.

HAAKE: Yes. Yes. Well, I`m glad -- no, I`m good. I`d -- so, what I was hoping to talk about with you is interesting. We are seeing the White House get involved in this, but they`re not reaching out to a lot of those moderate senators.

Tonight, we know that President Trump has invited half a dozen or so senators to the White House. The White House doesn`t put out a list, but our team here on the Hill has been compiling, slowly, who we know has been invited.

And it`s people like Roy Blunt and John Cornyn and people who are thought to be already very much on board with this bill, aligned with the leadership.

We`re not seeing those invites or those phone calls we heard about late last week going to the folks like Rob Portman or Shelly Moore Capito or those moderate members who are on the fence.

So, the White House is getting involved but their strategy is not one that we can easily follow here.

TUR: Garrett Haake, appreciate your time, my friend.

And joining me now is Arkansas Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson. Arkansas is a state that has expanded Medicaid. Governor, thank you very much for joining us.

You weren`t a big fan of the House version of this bill. How do you feel about the Senate`s?

GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R), ARKANSAS: Well, there`s a consensus we have to change from the status quo, both in terms of Medicaid but also in terms of access under Obamacare. The Senate`s doing the right thing by pursuing this initiative. They`ve been trying to get a consensus.

At my suggestion and other governors, they have changed a number of portions of it in the revised bill that --

TUR: Which portion?

HUTCHINSON: -- I think is for flexibility. Well, specifically, they gave us a block grant on the expanded Medicaid portion, which we asked for and I applaud my United States senators for achieving that success.

We asked for increased subsidy for those low income that`s on the exchange right now, so that they would have improved access. That was granted to us.

And then, they`ve also given a more fair distribution between the states. So, they`ve made dramatic changes from -- in the revised bill. I, quite frankly, expect probably additional changes to be made before a final vote is taken.

And we pushed --

TUR: What else would you need?

HUTCHINSON: Well, the big thing is a fair distribution between the federal government and the state, in terms of savings. We acknowledge in Arkansas that we`ve got to increase the level of savings. We want to partner with the federal government to do this, to make sure that Medicaid is available for our most vulnerable and who it`s designed for.

Also, to be used, secondly, to help bridge that gap as people move from Medicaid onto the work force and have more assistance in getting affordable health care coverage. That`s our objective.

So, you really have to work on that balance and struggle between the federal participation and what is being shifted to the states.

We can save money. They`re just asking too much at the -- at the present time and that needs to be adjusted.

TUR: So, you have 300,000 people in Arkansas that have health care from the Medicaid expansion. Are you confident that these block grants, these increased subsidies are going to help or ensure that those folks are still covered, if this Senate bill passes?

HUTCHINSON: Well, I`m convinced, first of all, that the administration wants to have coverage for those. The design is that they are able to shift to the subsidies on what is now the exchange but it`ll be a refundable tax credit.

So, the goal is that they are covered. It`s just in a different means.

Again, we`re worried about the transition. We`re worried about the flexibility given to the states. And you mentioned 300 and some thousand in Arkansas that`s on the expanded Medicaid. That`s too many.

And so, we want to be able to move more of those over to the exchange now. I will hope to get a waiver for that accomplishment.

And so, we`re looking at work requirements. We`re looking at controlling those numbers better. So, we acknowledge that there`s -- that it`s not really sustainable for a long time.

TUR: Are you saying that those people that are -- that are on the Medicaid expansion right now aren`t working?

HUTCHINSON: No. We`re saying that we want -- some of them aren`t working. We want to put a work requirement in. I think it`s about 60 percent that are working.

But some of it, it`s not a matter of just working, it`s about training. Do they have the job skills to get the job and move up the economic ladder?

We want to be able to provide that training. So it`s the assistance. We don`t want to make Medicaid a permanent entitlement in terms of that expanded population. We want to make it a stepping stone to higher worker performance and higher pay.

TUR: So your two senators in Arkansas don`t have a public stance on this bill yet. Do you believe that they should?

HUTCHINSON: Well, I just appreciate the way they`re working with us. They`re the reason that we got these three adjustments in the bill that I mentioned. We want to continue working with them, hopefully pushing the leadership of the senate to have a better cost split and share with the states. I expect changes to be made. Let`s see how it develops. But I appreciate how they`ve worked with me as govern or.

TUR: Are they going to vote yes?

HUTCHINSON: Well, I don`t know that they even know what the final product is. So I`ll let them speak to that. And people who want governors and others to take a final position on it, my job is to articulate the impact that it would have in Arkansas. Right now,0 it`s a cost shift that is difficult for us.

It needs to be adjusted from that. We`ll continue to look at it and hopefully get more numbers. We want to look at the stability fund that is being advocated by the administration that gives a significant flexibility to the states, but we`re not sure that it covers everything yet.

TUR: So if nothing changes from where it stands now, would you advice your senators to vote yes or no on this bill?

HUTCHINSON: That`s a call that they make. They`re elected to make that vote --

TUR: What would you like them to make, your personal opinion as the steward of the state of Arkansas, what do you want to see for your people?

HUTCHINSON: I`m answering your question. As the bill stands right now, it`s too great of a cost shift to the states. That needs to be adjusted. We`ll work with them to create savings in terms of the federal government because we need to have savings. Give us the flexibility we can do it, but right now it is too great of a cost shift that I`m looking at.

TUR: Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas. Sir, thank you very much for joining us.

HUTCHINSON: Thank you.

TUR: And still ahead, just how vulnerable to hacking is our election system?


TUR: Up next, how state officials are combating cyber security threats to election systems. But first, Josh Lipton has the "CNBC Market Wrap." Hi, Josh.

JOSH LIPTON, CNBC TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Katy. Stocks in the day mixed. The Dow lost eight points. The S&P dropped a fraction. The Nasdaq gained two. A new survey by real estate website Trulia finds almost half of American homeowners have some regrets over their purchase.

Buying the wrong size home was the biggest regret among those polled. And on the World Emoji Day, Apple is unveiling its new emojis coming to its operating systems later this year. Among the new images are a woman with a head scarf, bearded man, and zombie. That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.



DR. J. ALEX HALDERMAN, PROFESSOR OF COMPUTER SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN: I`m a professor of computer science and have spent the last 10 years studying the electronic voting systems that our nation relies on. My conclusion from that work is that our highly computerized election infrastructure is vulnerable to sabotage and even to cyber attacks that could change votes.

(END VIDEO CLIP) TUR: Welcome back. That was testimony from last month as part of the Senate Intelligence Committee`s investigation into Russia`s interference in the 2016 election. Questions are still swirling over the safety of our election systems and whether they could be susceptible to more hacking. A report today in "The Wall Street Journal" details a perplexing story out of South Carolina.

On election day alone, the South Carolina State Election Commission reports that there were nearly 150,000 attempts to penetrate the state`s voter registration system. The state says they`ve seen no evidence that the attacks succeeded. But in Illinois, hackers did manage to access voter records for around 90,000 people months before election day.

The state says no information was altered and the issue was resolved before voters went to the polls. The hackers there haven`t been publicly identified, but the security concerns are so widespread across the country. Here is what a DHS official told the Senate Intelligence Committee last month.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEANETTE MANFRA, ACTING DEPUTY UNDERSECRETARY OF CYBERSECURITY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: As of right now, we have evidence of 21 states election-related systems in 21 states that were targeted.

(END VIDEO CLIP) TUR: Joining me now is another panelist who spoke to the Senate Intel Committee, Michael Haas, the chief election official in Wisconsin and a member of the Executive Board of the National Association of State Election Directors. Thank you very much for joining us. Let`s just get into it. South Carolina, 150,000 attempts. Why would they do that to a state that`s not even a swing state?

MICHAEL HAAS, MEMBER OF EXECUTIVE BOARD OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF STATE ELECTION DIRECTORS: Well, good afternoon, Katy. I think there`s a couple of important notes. One is that when we talk about hacking of election systems, we cannot say it enough, that is potential hacking of the voter registration systems, which are separate from and not connected to the voting equipment.

Secondly, in cases like South Carolina, although you have to speak to each state individually, I believe it`s common for all state government IT systems to have routine attempts for computer bots to be checking the vulnerability of the systems. The way it`s been explained in lay terms really is knocking on the door, rattling the doorknobs to check to see if systems are vulnerable, not necessarily individuals intentionally trying to hack into an election system.

TUR: Why the voter rolls specifically?

HAAS: Well, it`s a good question. I guess you would have to ask the individuals attempting to get into the voter rolls. The risks, there are a couple. The voter registration systems are what create the poll lists at the polls so when voters are checking in, if it`s possible to manipulate or delete data, that could create some confusion at the polls, which in turn could create some lack of confidence in the election systems.

There`s also the risk of having inaccurate data, requiring people to register again. And there are also some privacy concerns. Some of the data that is in the voter registration systems is confidential such as a birth date and often a driver license number.

TUR: Do we know who did this even broadly? Do we know if it was a foreign state government, potentially the Russians?

HAAS: On a state level, I don`t believe we do. The Department of Homeland Security indicated that it had notified any state that was targeted. Wisconsin, for instance, has not been notified that it was targeted --


HAAS: -- we`ve heard from the state of Illinois. They were not told even in their case that it was Russia or any other foreign actor.

TUR: Your co-panelists said that they have evidence of 21 states that were affected. Were those states that were potentially swing states in this election?

HAAS: To be honest, Katy, we don`t know. The Department of Homeland Security has not shared that list publicly.

TUR: So what do you do in order to stop this from happening?

HAAS: I think there`s a number of things that states can do. Election security, security of the voter registration systems, and the voting equipment, are those have been top priorities for election officials for over a decade. The new factor is potential involvement of foreign actors and the federal government, being part of our communication structure which now includes state official, local election officials, law enforcement, emergency planners at all levels.

Now we have the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI and other federal agencies that we need to bring into the loop. We need to make sure that our communication is timely and effective so that when the federal government knows about a potential hacking situation, they share that information with the states.

TUR: Michael, how concerned should people be?

HAAS: Well, as I said, this has been a priority for election officials. It certainly became more of a public focus in 2016. But I think the involvement of the public is important. There are a lot of opportunities for the public to observe elections, observe the testing of voting equipment. A number of states participate in voter data matching programs, like the consortium of 20 states and the district of Columbia.

We share data across state lines to check for individuals who have maybe died in another state or moved to another state so that we can keep our voter registration lists up-to-date. So I think the message for the public is that state election officials have been working on this issue in a number of different ways over the years.

Our job is really to stay ahead of the curve to make sure we`re aware of new technology, new risks, spearfishing attempts, and we communicate properly so that the public can have confidence in our elections.

TUR: Michael Haas, thank you very much.

HAAS: Thank you, Katy.

TUR: And just ahead, the Trump administration sounds the alarm on American manufacturing.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Where is the fire? Put it out fast.




TRUMP: Made in the USA. We`re going to start doing that again. We`re going to put that brand on our product because it means it`s the best.


TUR: It`s another theme week in Washington today. The White House kicked off "Made in America Week." The president took part in an event this afternoon at the White House showcasing companies from all 50 states that make products from firetrucks to cowboy hats. The president promised business owners the administration would remove, quote, burdens and regulations so that they can, quote, compete, thrive, and grow in the global market.

Notably absent from today`s showcase were products from Trump-affiliated companies. When asked whether the president would use this week to commit Trump brands making more of their products in the U.S., White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said it would be, quote, inappropriate to discuss how anything would affect their companies. We`ll be back with "The Lid" right after this.


TUR: Welcome back. Time for "The Lid." Our panel is back. Guys, Chris Dickey, Jen Palmieri, and Ramesh Ponnuru. Guys, thank you so much for being back here with us. Let`s talk about "Made in America Week." Ramesh, do we have a messaging problem? They`ve had all these theme weeks and they keep getting drowned out by news that they don`t want out there. But the president can`t seem to stop tweeting about Russia for one.

RAMESH PONNURU, COLUMNIST AND SENIOR EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW MAGAZINE: I think it`s hard for any president to drive the message for the week, to brand it with a theme. But i think it`s particularly hard for this administration which has not really acted with unity, with purpose, and which has a president that often takes away from the official message with whatever he tweets.

TUR: Do you think these theme weeks, do they think they get the message out to the American public that he`s working really hard in the White House, that he is doing something despite what maybe the headlines and their local papers or their nightly newscasts might have?

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY, EDITOR, THE DAILY BEAST: No, I don`t. I don`t think anybody follows these theme weeks. Even his supporters, I don`t think they pay much attention to it. The idea made in the USA, made in America, that`s an idea that everybody can get behind, that sounds terrific, but to devote a week to it, to talk about it, speeches about it, I think people will absolutely go to sleep. It is very hard to talk about made in the USA when people continue to ask if the administration was made in what used to be the USSR.

TUR: Now, there`s a quote right there. Jen, beyond that, this family, the Trump family makes a lot of their products overseas.

JENNIFER PALMIERI, FORMER DIRECTOR, CLINTON CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS: It`s amazing. Yes, you have to -- the wherewithal that they have to promote made in America when they make their products overseas is pretty incredible. But, you know, I was White House communications director. I`m a fan of message weeks -- theme weeks, but they only work if they`re tied to an actual agenda, that you`re making progress on.

And if they`re just a drop in the bucket like this week when it`s absent a broader effort to -- where you`re actually making progress and people feel it in their lives, they only work to reinforce so that people see they`re actually making progress on. So I don`t suspect -- it`s better than not having one at all because it gives the cabinet something to do too, but you`re not going to make --

TUR: Chris, since I only get to see you in person every once in a while, this is the first time, I think, actually --


TUR: You get the last word. I just heard Ramesh wants in. Ramesh, hold on. I`ll go to you first, sorry.

PONNURU: Sure. Look. The administration did just announce its objectives for renegotiating NAFTA today. I`m not generally in sympathy with its positions on trade, but they have seen some erosion over the last few months. The counties where they surged, it`s in the NBC poll, they need to work on this. One of the big problems they`ve had is the percentage of Americans who are confident he`s bringing jobs back has dropped.

TUR: So what would the president need to do to is turn the narrative around, turn in his favor, Chris?

DICKEY: Well, you know, I think one of the things that`s really depressing here is that there`s almost no way out for America now, if we talk about the Russian question. The Russians have essentially won. Imagine if we do have an indictment handed down by a grand jury after the Mueller investigation and we still have Trump in office, and that is exactly what will happen, so if the goal of the Russians was to undermine American democracy and the credibility of American democracy --

TUR: That`s already done.

DICKEY: -- that`s done. And it`s only going to get worse. What could have saved us is if Trump became president and said, I didn`t know anything about this, and we are going to look at this very hard, very fast, and very deep. He didn`t say that. Because he felt that it challenged the legitimacy of his election. And that`s what he cares about.

TUR: Chris, good to see you. Jen, Ramesh, guys, thank you. And after the break, singing praises for a duet that might seem so unusual.


TUR: In case you missed it, girls just want to have fun. In case you missed it, those girls this weekend were Cyndi Lauper and Senator Susan Collins.



CYNDI LAUPER, SINGER: This woman is a hero. And she`s my hero. And she`s a Republican.



TUR: The senator`s office tweeted out that video, along with a message to Lauper, quote, I will back you up anytime on stage or off. Speaking of girl power, in case you missed it, the TV series, my favorite, doctor who announced for the first time since the show began in the `60s, the doctor is going to be a woman, if you don`t count on the doctor.

In honor of World Emoji Day, I would like to give that a big thumbs up and I would also like to know why there`s no emoji for the tortoise. After all, it`s bigger on the inside. That`s all for tonight. We`ll be back tomorrow with more "MTP Daily."