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MTP Daily, Transcript 7/19/2017

Guests: Beth Fouhy

Show: MTP DAILY Date: July 19, 2017 Guest: Beth Fouhy

FRANK BRUNI, OP-ED COLUMNIST, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": That's what makes one question --


BRUNI: -- the soul of the party.

NICOLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: All right. We got everyone to say yes at the same time. Thanks to Juan Zarate and Susan Glasser, and for our panel, Joy Reid, Doug Holtz-Eakin, Eddie Glaude, Frank Bruni and Rick Stengel.

That does it for this hour. I'm Nicole Wallace. MTP DAILY starts right now with Katy Tur in for Chuck Todd. Hi, Katy.


And if it is Wednesday, is political whiplash covered under the latest Republican health care plan?

(voice-over): Tonight, huddling on health care. Why leader McConnell is calling for a repeal only vote. It's not likely he'll win.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: We're going to vote on the motion to proceed to the bill next week.


TUR: We'll talk to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

Plus, why did it take weeks for the White House to disclose the president's second talk with Vladimir Putin?


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, U.S. WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: I'm not going to get into the specifics of the conversation.


TUR: And why one of the leaders of the president's Voter Integrity Commission is calling into question the legitimacy of the entire 2016 election?


TUR: So, again, you think that maybe Hillary Clinton did not win the popular vote?


TUR: Or the votes for Donald Trump that led him to win the election in doubt as well?

KOBACH: Absolutely.


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

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

Just one day after the Senate effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, all but collapsed, president Trump huddled with Senate Republicans at the White House this afternoon. And he gave them a bit of whiplash.

Three days ago, he was on board with the Senate plan to repeal and replace. Two days ago, he told them to replace now and -- repeal now and replace later. Yesterday, he told them to let the health system collapse entirely and wait until 2018.

But this afternoon he said this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to repeal and replace Obamacare. We can repeal it. But the best is repeal and replace and let's get going.


TUR: Amid these muddled messages, he made one thing clear. He wants to sign something and senators shouldn't go home until he's got it.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Frankly, I don't think we should leave town unless we have a health insurance plan, unless we can give our people great health care.


TUR: After their meeting, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell laid it down. They're going to go full speed ahead, even if it means going full speed ahead to nowhere.


MCCONNELL: Well, it's pretty obvious, we've had difficulty in getting 50 votes to proceed. But what I want to disabuse any of you of is the notion that we will not have that vote next week. We're going to vote on the motion to proceed to the bill next week.


TUR: But the fact stands. Right now, McConnell does not have the votes to repeal or replace Obamacare. And their meeting with the president appears to have done little to change that, at least so far.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you reconsidering your decision to vote against the motion to proceed?


SEN. DEAN HELLER (R), NEVADA: There's so many moving parts on this. I don't want to commit to anything at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you vote on a motion to proceed if it's just a repeal bill?

HELLER: Yes, I just answered that question.

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R), OHIO: I'm still in a position I've been in, you know, for weeks which is trying to improve the bill.


TUR: Before this president was ever sworn in, and in fact before he was even a candidate, Republicans were unified in their goal to repeal and replace Obamacare. And they still are.

But here we are six months into Trump's presidency with the Senate stampeding towards a do or die vote, and they're still split on how exactly to do it.

And any moment now, we are expecting brand-new numbers from the Congressional Budget Office on what would happen under the GOP plan to repeal Obamacare now, two years, and replace it later.

And joining me now from Capitol Hill is MSNBC's Garrett Haake. Garrett, what is next?

GARRETT HAAKE, MSNBC CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Katy, that's a great question. Look, what we know is next is that we're going to get these numbers tonight on the repeal and delay plan. And we know they're going to be bad.

The CBO scored a very similar bill a couple of years ago, found more than 30 million people losing insurance. And a lot of them lose it like that, right away, because of the way this bill is structured.

Well, even once the repeal part starts down the line, you see these, sort of, insurance markets just, kind of, dry up. So, that's not going to be pretty.

We know also that Mitch McConnell is absolutely committed to getting some kind of bill on the floor and trying to start some kind of debate. There's almost sort of a wild west feeling to this. The majority leader's office thinks they can get something on the floor, and they can essentially fight it out with these amendments to try to get something that 50 senators can vote for.

And we know tonight that this meeting with the White House did breathe a little bit of life into this process. It certainly lit a fire under some of these senators to try at least one more time to get something done.

[17:05:05] But I can tell you that the follow-up is still part of the problem here. There's this 7:30 meeting tonight on the Hill with White House officials and wavering senators to talk about this bill.

And one of the hardest nos, Susan Collins, isn't even going. By the time she found out about this and was invited to it this afternoon, she had another commitment tonight. So, she's not going to be there.

So, whether they'll be able to, sort of, crack the ice around some of the more committed nos on this vote is still an open question.

TUR: So, what happens? They repeal it but Obamacare stays in place for two years, and then they -- during that time they figure out something to replace it with.

What does that do to the health care markets? Does that cause mass destabilization more than we're already seeing? Is that part of the problem is that senators are having with this.

HAAKE: Sure, absolutely. I mean, we've heard that from Senator Murkowski who's one of the most vocal people about the problem of uncertainty.

You know, the -- Congress has not typically been good at meeting these self-imposed deadlines.

TUR: Yes.

HAAKE: I mean, think about the sequester from a few years ago. Sometimes they set these roadblocks for themselves in the hope that they'll get energized and organized to get something done.

But opponents of the repeal and delay say, look, Republicans had seven years to come up with an alternative plan to Obamacare. What's the thinking that they would get it done in another two?

Now, Republicans would argue, look, we're going to get Democrats on board because this is -- would be such a disastrous cliff, if we can't come up with a replacement.

The Democrats would have to get on board, but that's a huge gamble, quite frankly, Katy. And some of these senators just aren't willing to take it.

TUR: Garrett Haake on Capitol Hill. Garrett, thank you very much.

And joining me now is Republican Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio. Thank you so much for being here, Congressman.

Let's talk about what happens if McConnell brings this vote to the floor. Should he be doing so, if he's not positive that he's got enough votes to get it passed?

REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: At some point, you've got to have the vote. I actually support just repeal it now. There's a two-year winddown. I -- we reintroduced that same bill that we put on President Obama's desk 18 months ago. I reintroduced it this Congress.

I think that's what we should do. Repeal it. You've got a two-year wind- down, a phase down period, where you could actually work on the replacement. I hope that's what we do.

TUR: What about the market getting destabilized during that time for all that uncertainty? What are you going to do about the people who are going to get --

JORDAN: Katy, --

TUR: -- kicked off their insurance or lose health care coverage during that time? Is that a concern?

JORDAN: -- the did he stabilization and uncertainty already exists.

TUR: Absolutely, --


TUR: -- but certainly that would make it -- make it more did destabilized than it already is right now.

JORDAN: Right now in -- right now in Crawford County, Ohio, the county I get the privilege of representing, there are no plans in the exchange. None. And no option for people in the -- in the -- in the individual and small group market.

So, look, this is the problem. We have to get rid of this law. It's what we told the voters we were going to do. We got elected in 2010, 2014 and 2016 largely on this issue.

We just need to do what we said and that's what we have to -- it never hurts you to do what you told the voters you were going to do, what they sent you here to do. Let's do that.

TUR: I understand that.

JORDAN: And the bill has a two-year winddown. There's plenty of time then to -- and you know what? If you want a bipartisan solution, you repeal it first. I think you've got a better opportunity. That could be the catalyst that creates the momentum for a bipartisan solution and we could actually help families.

So, --

TUR: Potentially.

JORDAN: -- I think it's the right way to go.

TUR: But then, what happens, Congressman, if it does not and you have people who are losing their health care, who are suddenly in dire need of help.

JORDAN: What happens -- what happens --

TUR: No, no, hold on. Let me -- let me finish my question. So, if you have this two year delay and people -- the markets get destabilized ever further and people can't get access to the health care that they need -- and you say that's already happening in many communities. You cited just one. Fine. Accept that.

But why is the Republican Congress, who has to control both Houses and the White House, why are you OK with just letting it flounder for two more years. If it is --

JORDAN: I'm not.

TUR: -- such a massive problem, --

JORDAN: Katy, I'm not.

TUR: -- why can you not get on the same page to find a replacement that would stabilize everything right now? That's my question.

JORDAN: Yes. And I'm not OK with that. That's why I supported the House bill after we, conservatives, weighed in intense debate and made the House bill better. I support that legislation.

But based on where we are right now, let's do what President Trump said we should do, let's repeal it. Let's do what Vice President Pence said we should do, let's repeal it. And let's do what Senator Sasse said we should do, let's repeal it. Let's repeal it.

We still have time, then, to put together the replacement, the kind of thing that I think actually is going to bring down costs, bring down premiums and help families.

Help those families who are paying $4,000, $5,000, $6,000 a month in premium costs and also with a $6,000 to $10,000 deductible. How is that helping families today? That's what Obamacare has given us.

TUR: So, the CBO --

JORDAN: Let's fix that.

TUR: -- the CBO scored the House version of the bill pretty poorly. It said it would knock off millions -- I mean, 33 million I think was the number of people that it would end up knocking off or 32 million people. That's a -- that's a huge number.

The Senate health care bill is a little different. Obviously, we're going to get another CBO score coming a little bit -- a little bit later. This is also something that's not popular, even among Republican voters. Even among Trump voters in Trump counties, Congressman, only one in four voters support this.

And that's not a high number. The rest either don't care or they -- or they think it's a bad idea.

[17:10:7] JORDAN: Two points. Two points.

TUR: So, my question is -- hold on. Why is it not an option for everybody in Congress, since that's what the American public elected people to do, to get together a bipartisan agreement to find a way to stabilize the markets as they exist right now?

And then, while they have that stabilized, come up with a new plan that you think is going to be better. Why not do that first, since it's so dire and people have health care and --

JORDAN: Three things.

TUR: -- they need it and then go forward with it?

JORDAN: Three things. One, that market is so unstable, as we talk under Obamacare. Two, CBO score has all kinds of problems. You can look at the "Forbes" article which pointed out the data and the procedures and the process they used to come to their conclusions. Very suspect.

And then, three, come back to the basics. We just had an election on November 8, 2016, where it was very clear we were sent here to repeal Obamacare and then replace it with market centered, patient centered, the kind of focus that's going to actually empower families and individuals.

A clear message in the election was do what we said we would do. That's what we have to focus on.

TUR: I understand that. I understand that, as a strategy, completely. But I'm trying to point out --

JORDAN: Not a strategy, a promise, a contract.

TUR: Or a promise. What the American people --

JORDAN: It's not a strategy.

TUR: -- what the American people, including Republicans want. That's what I'm asking about. And you might not trust the CBO, but it's a non-partisan group. So, if you don't trust the CBO, --

JORDAN: Katy, --

TUR: -- who are Americans supposed to trust? And not to mention the CBO, health care companies have come out and hospitals have come and the AARP has come out and the American Medical Association has come out and everybody has said --

JORDAN: All they're --

TUR: -- that this is a bad idea.

JORDAN: -- all they're saying --

TUR: So, who do the American people thrust, just the Republican Party? Is that it?

JORDAN: So, no, all that -- Katy, all that list you went down through, those are the same people who said Obamacare was going to be wonderful and we've seen what -- we've seen what that's done.

There's been three elections where this was a central issue and the American people elected us to go here and do something. That is a contract -- that's not a strategy.

It's not about politics here. It's about doing what we said. I have a constituent back home in Lima, Ohio. We -- I remember the first time when he said, do what you said you would do in this business.

TUR: But --

JORDAN: That's what we have to focus on. You know, it's not about politics. It's not about strategy. It's about keeping our word and helping those families who are currently hurting under Obamacare.

The same law when it was passed, we were told nine different things that all turned out to be true -- that all turned out to be false. Remember this, like your plan, keep your plan; like your doctor, keep your doctor? Premiums will go down. Premiums will go down $2,500 on average, the president told us.

We were even told this Web site was going to work when it was rolled out. The Web site was secure. We were told (INAUDIBLE.)

TUR: I understand that.

JORDAN: All those things we were told.

TUR: But that was seven years ago, Congressman. And now, people have had health care for quite some time. And the fact remains --

JORDAN: No, now they've lived under that law --

TUR: -- that the American public --

JORDAN: -- seven years and they know it needs to go.

TUR: -- the American public, the majority -- hold on a minute. So, the American public, the majority of which, vast majority, don't like the Republican plans. And that's not just Democrats, it's Republicans, too.

So, I understand that you want keep a promise, --

JORDAN: They don't like Obamacare either.

TUR: But ultimately, --

JORDAN: They don't like Obamacare either.

TUR: -- they don't -- but they like it better than they like the Republican plan. So, why not go in and try to stabilize things, as of now, to make sure --

JORDAN: Why not --

TUR: -- that you're putting the public interest first? That is my question.

JORDAN: I am putting the public interests first.

TUR: Because it feels -- it feels, from an outside observer --

JORDAN: Repeal it.

TUR: -- that this is just politics on both sides of the issue.

JORDAN: It's not politics on both sides of the issue. It's about keeping your word. Repeal it first and then do exactly what you talked about.

Replace it with something that's much better for the families and the taxpayers that I represent in the fourth district of Ohio and the families and taxpayers across this country. That has got to be our focus. That's what my focus is.

And that's why those of us in the Freedom Caucus, those of us as conservatives, that's why we're pushing for what we're pushing for.

TUR: Congressman Jim Jordan, thank you so much. Really appreciate your time, sir. Always love to have you on.

JORDAN: Thank you.

TUR: And we've got the entire ideological spectrum covered tonight. We just spoke to a conservative in the House Republican -- to a conservative in the House of Representatives, a Republican.

So, now, let's turn to a moderate Senate Democrat. Joe Manchin is a Democratic from West Virginia. Senator, thanks for joining us. West Virginia is obviously a state --

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Good to be with you, Katy.

TUR: -- wonderful to have you -- that relies very heavily on Medicare. And that's something that would get cut significantly with this current Senate health care plan, as it stands right now.

What do you make of Congressman Jordan saying that it's OK to have two years for that delay for everybody to come to the table, he says, and find a way to make sure that they have better health care?

MANCHIN: Well, Jim has to understand that we have to respectfully disagree with on this. That's a cruel and inhumane treatment, allowing someone to dangle for two years.

And here's the thing. The reality of what we're dealing with here, Katy, is that we -- they can't even get 50 votes on the Senate side to do what they wanted to do. They've come to that conclusion. They're still going to have a vote on this side.

You heard Jim Jordan talk about how committed they are in keeping their promise. Things have changed. The bottom line, this is an intricate. People's lives are at stake here. We think that we can help fix it. I've been meeting with different people on both sides in a moderate group.

TUR: Yes.

MANCHIN: We're not going to get the far left or the far right, Katy. That's just the way --

TUR: Giving that, you have been meeting with them. What areas of compromise do you see open to you right now between Democrats and Republicans?

MANCHIN: Well, first of all, you have to go through the orderly process, OK, regular order we call it. It should go through the committee to where you have discussions.

[17:15:04] If someone has an idea, explain to me how that idea -- let me understand that idea better and see if it's something I can support. We've never even had the opportunity to do that. Let's go back through regular order.

Next of all, when you have the private market, we know that the private market will collapse. And they can accelerate the collapse by the CSR's, by not putting the money towards stabilizing the market.

But with that being said, it's still that those rates are too high. We understand that. We'll work with you on that across state borders, MSA's, medical savings account. There are so many things that we can have dialogue and probably come to an agreement.

TUR: So, that meeting that you had --

MANCHIN: Where we disagree, Katy, is this.

TUR: Yes.

MANCHIN: They want to -- they wanted to give all of these tax credits back, 600 plus billion, whatever they want to scale that down to.

You can't start giving the resources that pay for the health care that we have. And then, go over and say, well, I'm going to take it away from the services that we're given. That's a nonstarter.

And when you had keep talking about repealing because they made some type of a promise, I made the people a promise that I'd come here and try to make things work and fix things. If it means repealing it, fine.

But if it means repairing it, right now, they can't do what they said. Why don't you -- why can't they (INAUDIBLE) and say, OK, we'll sit down with you and fix it now.

We've tried what we done. The people understand it. But if they want to go through a ceremonial vote, go so.

Let me say another thing, in West Virginia, 180,000 people got health care for the first time. God bless them. They never had it before.

The only health care they had was if you're sick, go to the emergency room at the highest cost. We gave them a health care. The greatest wealth you can give someone is the health care. Never gave them one word of instructions, Katy, how to use it.

So, don't you think before you start taking this inhumane approach by throwing people off, try to educate them. Help them to live a healthier, better life style, going with a family practitioner, managed care. So many things we can do that we're willing to talk about.

TUR: So, you met with a number of senators who used to be governor to try and find a way to find some compromise, a bipartisan deal, something you can work together on. Is Senator Schumer on board with your effort?

MANCHIN: Absolutely. I think Chuck understands. You know, we want to find a pathway forward. He knows that those of us that we call recovering governors, we long for the days when we could sit down and bring people together.

And I said this, if we can't get Democrat and Republican governors or ex- governors, you know, if we can't come to the table and find a pathway forward, God help us here in the Senate. Because we're used to working with sometimes a contentious legislature on both sides, Democrat and Republican.

We understand the challenges every state has. States have balanced budget amendments. They have restrictions of how -- what they can do and what their ability to pay for those things.

So, we can't put undue burdens. We've got to work with them. We, as governors, prior, understanding the budget process and the dilemmas we have and challenges, we think we understand that. And we had a dialogue. We all believe there should be regular order. We believe that we can fix that private market.

But also, how do you keep the person, the high need person, the pre- existing conditions, those with severe illnesses, how do we protect them and give them a chance? That's the group that we have to make sure that we don't leave behind.

And when Ted Cruz says the states will have the opportunity to still offer to pre-existing -- you know, for pre-existing conditions, and I said, Ted, I have the opportunity to buy a Rolls-Royce. I just can't afford it.

So, the opportunity -- that -- we can't -- we just can't put people in that type of a situation, Katy.

TUR: So, we just got the new CBO score and we're trying to go --


TUR: -- through it right now. So, give us a moment to get through the numbers. My follow-up question to you, Senator Manchin, is that there's a good chunk of the Democratic Party, the liberal base, that says, don't work with Donald Trump on anything. Certainly don't work with the Republicans on health care.

We don't want to see Obamacare repealed or replaced. You're trying to come up with some sort of compromise.


TUR: Ultimately, whatever does happen will be labeled Trumpcare.

If you can come and meet the Republicans, this is a political question, --


TUR: -- if you can meet them halfway and help get this passed, are you worried about being saddled with the label of the -- as the Democrat who helped Donald Trump pass his own health care and helped repeal Obamacare?

MANCHIN: Let me make sure you -- I'm not going to vote to repeal. I don't know the Democrats will vote to repeal. We're not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The baby just needs a diaper change. The baby doesn't need to be drowned. So, I'm not going to do that, Katy.

Now, what I will do, I'll work with the president. I'll work with any Republican and Democrat to try to fix things that we know is wrong. I'm not going to sit back and say, oh, I'm sorry, I might lose an election or I might lose a couple of votes.

And I'm not going to try to fix things when I know the market is going to collapse. That's not what I was saying here.

I'm just so -- I feel so privileged to be an American to live in this wonderful country. And if I'm going to worry about my own political -- my own political self before I worry about the public, then I'm here for the wrong reason.

[17:20:00] So, Mr. Trump, President Trump got elected through the process. He's our president. I'm going to work with this president the best I can to do the best I can for the state of West Virginia and all the wonderful people in West Virginia and for this country.

Now, when he's wrong, I'm going to respectfully disagree. I don't have to call him names --

TUR: Yes.

MANCHIN: -- and this and that. And I can give input. That's what I'm going to try to do. I've always done that. I'm not changing who I am.

TUR: Senator, we have some of the headlines from the CBO. Let me read them to you. So, this is for the Senate plan to repeal Obamacare now and replace it later, two years down the line.

So, this bill would decrease deficits, Republicans are going to like this, by $473 billion over the 2017-2026 period. But the number of uninsured would increase by 17 million in 2018. It would also increase by 27 million in 2020. And then, 32 million in 2026.

They also say the average premiums in the non-group market would increase by roughly 25 percent. And that premiums would double by 2026.

So, listen, it's going to reduce the deficit which will allow Mitch McConnell to negotiate with some Republicans about what sort of deals and what sort of extra money he can give to certain states and for certain efforts.

But, at the same time, we're seeing that people would get kicked off their health care the same way they would during the House bill -- for the House bill. 32 million people in 2026 who would be uninsured.

I mean, do you know any of your Republican colleagues who would find a CBO score like this acceptable?

MANCHIN: No. Well, I would not a CBO score like that acceptable.

TUR: Do you think Susan Collins or Senator Murkowski or Capito --

MANCHIN: Shelly Moore Capito.

TUR: -- your colleague in West Virginia, Capito, Shelly Capito?

MANCHIN: Shelly Moore Capito, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski said they would not let their people be pushed off a cliff. They're not going to let people -- and I appreciate that so much for Shelly standing as strong as she stood. And I know the pressure she's receiving. I'm sure Susan and Lisa are the same. So, there's three.

We're talk -- we're saying that if you want to save -- if savings is the thing, then use the system and improve the system to use it for efficiently. You can't let people basically keep going to the emergency room.

TUR: Yes.

MANCHIN: We've got to show them how to manage their care to have a better quality of life, a healthier life and a more productive life to get back into the work force and get them from the welfare.

And we're not even trying that. Why they want to take this approach to throwing so many people off, knowing that this many people are going to lose their health care. Why would you do that when there's another avenue to take?

TUR: Again, 30 --

MANCHIN: We just --

TUR: I'm sorry.

MANCHIN: (INAUDIBLE) yes, you can't put 30 million people out on the streets again. That's where we started from.

TUR: 32 million by 2026.


TUR: But, again, it would decrease the deficit by $473 billion from 2017- 2026.

MANCHIN: I've always said this, sometimes Republicans go to the bottom line and the Democrats would go to the bottom of your heart. So you have to choose.

TUR: Senator Joe Manchin, thank you very much for joining us. And thank you for playing with us as we try to figure out this CBO score as it gets passed down. Good luck going through it yourself tonight, sir.

MANCHIN: We will. We're going to figure a way forward. We can make this work. We can make it work.

TUR: Well, let's hope so for the American public.


TUR: Senator Manchin, thank you.

And we're going to have more on the new CBO score that just posted in a minute.



TUR: Welcome back.

As we just mentioned, we've got some breaking news for you from the non- partisan Congressional Budget Office. This is the Republican Plan B which would repeal major pieces of Obamacare right now and replace it later in two years.

The CBO says that 32 million more people would be uninsured by 2026. Premiums would eventually double relative to projections under current law and roughly half of the nation's population would live in areas with no insurers participating in the non-group market by 2020.

Garrett Haake joins me again from Capitol Hill. Garrett, today, the president promised that Republican version of this bill forces not necessarily the Republican version of it would eventually have lower premiums. But this doesn't look so good.

HAAKE: Right, Katy. But remember, in any Republican plan, this is only, sort of, the first half. This is the stick. You get the carrot later.

The idea here being that if you do the repeal, delay and replace. The repeal part, you would vote to repeal, you know, Monday, let's say. But that the repeal wouldn't actually go into effect for two years.

So, you would essentially have this CBO score hanging over you as a reason to act. And the CBO score, really, is a -- it's a shotgun blast to the individual insurance market. I mean, it's devastating.

The numbers on here talk about starting in 2018. But if you -- even if you push that back and say, OK, we're going to start it in 2020, two years from now or two years from whenever this deal gets done, right out of the gate, you lose 17 million people who are not covered. And that's, in part, because the individual mandate would go away.

TUR: Yes.

HAAKE: That gets healthy people off -- you know, some healthy people then stop buying insurance. That cranks the premiums up for other people who now can't afford it.

So, this CBO report paints a pretty bleak picture of something that even the most conservative Republicans say won't ever actually happen. Because by then, they say, they would have a replacement plan in place.

Now, I think it's fair to question how much credit Republicans should get for something that they haven't designed, found the votes for or implemented yet. But Republicans would say, yes, this is bad, but this is -- this is the -- the badness of this is the motivation to come up with a really good replacement plan.

TUR: Garrett Haake, thank you so much for hooking back up for us so quickly, sir. Appreciate it.

HAAKE: Sure thing.

TUR: And let's go to our panel. Beth Fouhy is NBC's Senior Politics Editor. Michael Steele is an MSNBC Political Analyst and former RNC chairman. And Jonathan Alter is an MSNBC Political Analyst and a "Daily Beast" Columnist.

Michael Steele, you know I'm coming to you first. You knew it.


TUR: Well, because we're talking about the Republicans and their bill. It is fair to say that this is not -- you know, this is the projections of just essentially repealing Obamacare and not having anything else. And the Republicans do say that they will have a better plan in place in two years.

STEELE: As opposed to the last seven. OK, I'm following you.

TUR: Yes, Congress -- there you go. Congress doesn't have a very good reputation, track record for meeting the deadlines that they self-impose.

STEELE: Well, it's not just about meeting the deadlines, it's getting within the caucus some sense of how we want to do this. What is our, you know, purpose and goal here? Why -- how and why can't we get on the same page so that we can go before the country and give them the confidence that once we repeal this that there will be, in fact, something there that will work as a placeholder while that process is unfolding? And then, at the end of that period, have something ready to go.

The only thing the American people have to look at, quite honestly, is the last seven years. And particularly, the last six months when you had the White House, the Senate and the House, and there was still no bill. And the bill you put out there has largely been scored as unrealistic.

And, yes, you can trash the CBO, but the numbers -- the CBO is only as good as the numbers you put in. So, they're working off of your info.

TUR: Yes. Well, and they're non-partisan. Who do you trust? Do you trust the Republicans alone? Do you trust the Democrats alone? Do you trust the Kaiser Foundation or the AMA or the AARP? I mean, it just --

STEELE: Which is why I --

TUR: -- out of all the people -- yes.

STEELE: You put everybody in the room, I think. And listening to your last segment and asking the questions, then why can't we just approach this from a reasonable perspective? Get the Democrats, get all the stakeholders in the room and craft the bill.

TUR: Beth, why can't we?

STEELE: Yes, Beth.

BETH FOUHY, SENIOR POLITICS EDITOR, NBC NEWS: Yes, you know what? I've got the answer.


TUR: That's what we've all been waiting for.

FOUHY: No. What I can't ever get over about any of this, Katy, is the fact that nobody, the president, not anybody in Congress, not conservative media, nobody seems to be out there explaining to the American public why this bill would be better than Obamacare.

[17:30:07] TUR: What are you talking about? The president today said it's going to have lower premiums.

FOUHY: But today --

TUR: It's going to have better coverage.

FOUHY: -- but today --

BETH FOUHY, SENIOR POLITICS EDITOR, NBC NEWS: . conservative media, nobody seems to be out there explaining to the American public why this bill would be better than Obamacare.

KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: What are you talking about? The president today said it's going to have lower premiums, going to have better coverage. Everybody with pre-existing condition is going to have great health care. He declared it today.

FOUHY: That's exactly my point. He declared it today when this thing is at the tail end of this process and it's practically almost buried into the ground at this point.

TUR: But is that enough, just declaring it?

FOUHY: No, that's the thing. Here is a man who we all know can snap his fingers and put together a 30,000 person rally.

TUR: Yes.

FOUHY: He's got a hundred million people on his social media accounts or something like that. Why isn't he out there using that capital to sell this plan? TUR: Well, he's fighting with the media, that's what he's doing.

FOUHY: Well, and that is a very unproductive battle if what he really wants is to pass this health care bill. I don't think he really wants it. Otherwise, he would be using the tools at his disposal.

TUR: Jon, hold on. I had Congressman Jim Jordan on a moment ago. I asked him, you know, you repeal it now and yes, maybe two years, you find a replacement. But in the meantime, you know, you put so much uncertainty into the market, are you worried about the people who would get kicked off and their argument is there already is uncertainty.

JONATHAN ALTER, COLUMNIST FOR THE DAILY BEAST, MSNBC ANALYST: Well, just playing 52 card pickup with a fifth of the American economy. It is the height of irresponsibility to do that. You're talking about real peoples' lives that are in the balance. The good news is I don't think anything about the CBO report changes the fact that three Republican women, Collins, Capito, and Murkowski, have declared that they're not going to let this repeal only bill proceed.

And there's nothing in the CBO report that's going to change their minds on that over the weekend. It's possible. Everything is possible nowadays, but it doesn't seem to be likely that they will change their minds. And then you're just talking about moral root canal. You know, at a certain point, the Republicans are tired of this.

It's like Trump is Laurence Olivier in "Marathon Man." He's in their mouth and they're ready to go home and see their family. They don't want this anymore. They want it off their plate. And it seems like McConnell understands that. They're going to have a vote --

TUR: Yes.

ALTER: -- at the beginning of next week and then folks are going to come home.

TUR: OK. I've got a question for you coming straight from Jesse Bergman, one of our producers on the show, great producer. He says, how is the CBO scoring this over a 10-year window given that the GOP plan would presumably include some kind of a replacement plan in that two-year window? How are they finding that score, is it just repeal?

MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It's just repeal, yes. I mean, at the end of the day, from the Republican perspective, it's all at this stage about just repeal. The CBO, however, is looking at this over a 10-year period. They're saying, okay, if you put a plan in place next year, this is what it's going to look like, this is how it plays out.

It's not taking into account that there is no Obamacare per se, and that there's going to be this mining period of two years to come up with something else. That changes the CBO -- again, as I said before, CBO only gives you what you put in. That's how it works. At the end of the day, they're going to work off the information, the numbers, you give it.

TUR: Why, why, why, Beth, were women cut out of this? Why did the Republicans do this behind closed doors with 13 men? We are 50 percent of the population. We are affected by health care. We produce the babies that are men's' babies as well. Why are we left out?

FOUHY: This has been a huge, huge thing I've been thinking a lot about because many, many, health providers and others who look at this industry will tell you that women make 80 percent of health care decisions in this country.


TUR: Yes.

FOUHY: They make them for themselves, they make them for their kids, they make them for their parents once their parents become elderly.


FOUHY: Exactly. Most men do not interact with the health care system until they are, you know, well into middle age. Women do very early on as young patients and then as parents. This is remarkable that a group of men, many of whom I guarantee you in that senate have not seen a doctor in a long, long time have devised a plan that is completely unworkable because in part because they did not talk to the people who would actually use this.

TUR: What is it about us that make us not relevant to this debate? Is it because we have lady parts? Seriously, why are we not relevant to this debate? And apparently we are, because senators Murkowski, Collins, and Capito are the ones that shut this down.

ALTER: Three of the five Republican women and this was a colossal historical mistake and people will look back on this when they go back and pick up the pieces, this decision to exclude women. I think McConnell who has this great reputation as a tactician and everything, he really blew it on that. I think he was worried that the conservatives couldn't be kept in if Republican moderate women put their imprint on the bill and that was historic error.

TUR: Guys, we're going to have more conversation a little bit later. Thank you so far. Beth, Michael, Jonathan Alter. The White House election integrity commission kicks off with the president's vote of confidence, but does the panel have confidence in the 2016 election results? Here with the commission's chair had to say about that ahead.


TUR: Still ahead, why one of the leaders of the president's voter integrity commission is calling into question the legitimacy of the entire 2016 election? I talked to Kris Kobach just after the commission's first meeting wrapped up. You're going to want to hear what he had to say. Stay with us.


TUR: Welcome back. The White House's controversial commission on election integrity held its first session today. President Trump formed the panel by executive order and it's chaired by Vice President Mike Pence to in his words help promote fair federal elections.

Mr. Pence today said the panel had no preconceived notions or preordained results. I spoke to Kris Kobach, the vice chair of the commission, and he said that they are taking a look at the entirety of the federal electoral process including voter fraud, and Kobach questioned the integrity of the election, the one in 2016. Take a listen.


TUR: You think that maybe Hillary Clinton did not win the popular vote?

KRIS KOBACH, SECRETARY OF STATE OF KANSAS: We may never know the answer to that question.

TUR: How do you say we may never know the answer to that question? Really? You really believe that?

KOBACH: Well, what I'm saying is let's suppose that the commission determined that there were a certain number of votes cast by ineligible voters, you still won't know whether those people who were ineligible voted for Trump or for Clinton or for somebody else. And so it's impossible to ever know exactly guesses.

TUR: So the votes for Donald Trump that led him to win the election in doubt as well?

KOBACH: Absolutely. If there are ineligible voters in an election, people who are non-citizens, people who are felons who shouldn't be voting according to the law of state --

TUR: So is our democratic process completely broken? Should we not be confident that when we cast a ballot that anyone we are voting for is actually going to get elected fairly?

KOBACH: That's exactly the reason the commission exists.


TUR: It's a good time to go to the panel. Beth Fouhy, Michael Steele, Jonathan Alter. Jon, take it away.

ALTER: OK. So, he's trying to say that Hillary's 2.8 million margin in the popular vote is now in question, but if you look at the follow-up that you asked, what he's really saying is that Donald Trump's electoral college margin is now in question, because compare that 2.8 million votes to what happened in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin where the margins were 40,000 votes, 22,000 votes, and in Michigan 10,000 votes compared to 2.8 million.

If those had gone the other direction, less than one-half of one percent in those states, Hillary Clinton would be president through the electoral college. So arguably, he is playing with fire here. If he wants to reopen Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin and find out how many ineligible voters voted there, that we would then find that Donald Trump's victory was not legitimate in the electoral college, that would be interesting.

FOUHY: And, you know, Katy, I watched your interview that you did with Kris Kobach earlier, and I thought one really interesting point that you asked him was is this being done because Donald Trump believes that the 3 million people that he lost by were all illegal votes, all entirely cast against him, cast for Hillary Clinton.

TUR: That's what he said.

FOUHY: He certainly did. And several times.

TUR: Donald Trump said.

FOUHY: Correct. And you asked Kris Kobach if that was the reason that this commission existed and he said no. He sounded, you know, very reasonable that he wanted -- that there's legitimate issues to look into, and yet he also said to your question that they're not looking into the fear or the concern about Russia or any other country getting involved, hacking into voting machines, things that are legitimate concerns going forward.

TUR: No, he says -- he said they were looking into the interfering into the machines, just not whether or not somebody is hacking into DNC e-mails.

FOUHY: But he didn't -- he did say that, but he didn't seem particularly concerned about what might lie ahead. It still seems to be sort of re- litigating 2016.

TUR: Definitely. It was remarkable that he said we may never know if Hillary Clinton won the popular vote and by that reason, logic, may never know if Donald Trump actually won the electoral college. Michael, are you comfortable with this?

STEELE: No, I'm not. I just think, again, this is a reaction or a solution searching for a problem, however you want to cast this. You know, having spent a significant portion of my political life at the grassroots level dealing with ballot boxes in a very lopsided state like Maryland where you go in and looking at precincts, thousand people and three of them are registered Republicans, OK, so let's have some fun with this election, right.

That's the reality of it. It is what it is on the ground. The fact that there's a federal commission looking into this, that is not, you know, taking into consideration what the states are already doing to sort of deal with this on a day to day basis, year in and year out.

The reaction by states attorneys across the country and attorneys, generals to this commission tells you that the states are put off by this and I think there should be some real concern about where this leads to when it ultimately says --

TUR: People worry for two things. One, for voter suppression that this is ultimately what that is about.

ALTER: It is.

TUR: And then secondly, you know, if he's saying that we don't know if we can trust the results of the 2016 election, what does that mean for the 2020 election?

ALTER: Well, this is such a threat to democracy, this commission, this voter suppression commission which is what it should be properly called because every step they're taking in the queries that they're making to state governments and local governments is all intended to hold down votes, Democratic votes that they are trying to keep people, they are trying to keep from coming to the polls.

The people he's collected in this commission, they all have long histories of voter suppression that go back 20 years. So that's antidemocratic and raising doubts about the legitimacy of an election is antidemocratic. Both of them undermine the faith that we have in our system. It's very, very important for us, moving forward, and if we get into a situation like a banana republic situation where every election, nobody believes the returns, we're in trouble.

TUR: Again, they just say that what they're doing is trying to make sure that everything is fair and done honestly. That's what they say.

STEELE: The president won.

TUR: The president wanted to find out what was going on with the voter fraud that he claimed existed. He tweeted it out right afterwards, 3 to 5 million people voted illegally, and if they didn't do that, I would have won the popular vote and then he issued an executive order for this voter commission.

STEELE: This is all about not winning the popular vote.

TUR: I want to get you on the next topic. We are going to stop here. Beth, Michael, Jonathan. Stay with us. Still ahead, new insight into how voters in key Trump counties are grading the president's first six months in office.


TUR: Welcome back. They want the steak without the sizzle. That's the message we got from Americans in Trump counties when they were asked about this president's first six months in office. According to new numbers from our NBC News Wall Street Journal poll, the Americans in quote, Trump counties, seem to like this president's substance a lot more than that his style.

His efforts to keep jobs in the U.S., they love it by a huge 61-point margin. His tough talking stance on North Korea, they love that too by a 46-point margin. A lot more folks support his travel ban than oppose it. It's the same story with his appointment of Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court. Those are all the predominantly issues of substance.

It's the issues of style that get a bit hairier. Americans in Trump counties oppose his use of Twitter by a whopping 38-point margin. His handling of the Russia issue is under water by 31 points. His decision not to release his tax returns is not popular either, and neither are his efforts to replace Obamacare. More folks oppose his much withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement than support it.

It's the same story with both his criticism of the media and his decision to fire James Comey, who spur the appointment of special council in reaction to, you guess it, a Trump tweet. The message to the president from Trump counties, Trump voters is pretty clear, keep your eyes on job and security, and keep your hands off the iPhone. We'll be right back.


TUR: Welcome back. It's time for "The Lid." Let's bring back our panel. Beth Fouhy, Michael Steele, Jonathan Alter. Beth, this was the same thing we saw during the primaries too and the general election. Folks liked Donald Trump. They were amused by him, but really wanted him to stop using Twitter. They wanted him to pull it back, they want him to focus on substance, but he won.

FOUHY: He did. And a lot of same people are still with him, still behind him. Most polling showing up 85, 88 percent of Republicans are there. He has a base and he knows it. And what he's doing --

TUR: He's allowed to do whatever he wants on the margins?

FOUHY: It appears that his strategy is very much base centric. It's not bringing the country together in any meaningful way. The problem here is that if you dig deeper into the polls, his support among independents and people who perhaps are sort of holding their nose is really starting to sink. That base may be the only thing left for him if he doesn't start dong things that bring the country together.

TUR: Does he have any reason to trust the polls?

STEELE: Yes, I think he does. I think he does and his internal polls are probably confirming a lot of this. In real estate, it's location, location, location. For Donald Trump and politics, it's deliverables, deliverables, deliverables.

That's going to be the turning point with those Trump counties is when those deliverables get delivered or not. That's the next stage which is why he's probably pressing on health care and few other things.

TUR: Can't he just say I tried to deliver but the Republicans or Democrats --

STEELE: He can say that and --

ALTER: He can try that and he can probably do that fairly effectively, but that poll wasn't just Trump voters. Those were Trump counties including Democrats and independents. The real warning signs in there, he was carrying a lot of those counties 75-25 whereas Romney carried them 60-40. If the Democrats can make them 60-40 counties, even if Trump wins them, the Democrat will be elected president.

TUR: Keep an eye on those soft Democrats and those independent and those moderate Republicans who just voted for Donald Trump because of their worries about Hillary Clinton. Guys, thank you very much. After the break, bringing home the bacon.


TUR: In case you missed it, D.C. is a town steeped in tradition. It's also a town that loves a good political stunt. In case you missed it, today is one of those days that combine both. The annual unveiling of the congressional pig book from the watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste.

The pig book highlights more of the ridiculous pork in D.C. No, not that kind of pork although that is Faye the pig and she was at today's event. We're talking about what known as pork of barrel spending or earmarks for lawmakers' pet projects. And Faye wasn't the only pig at the party.


TUR: It seems like that other pig, remember Senator Ernst's ad about -- this is ridiculous. Making him squeal.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, pig foot. Good to see you again.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Notice he's always at the other end of the line.


TUR: What is going on in Washington, DC? That guy looks ridiculous! Or lady.

That's all for tonight. We'll be back tomorrow with more MTP Daily. I'll try to get it together by then.

Have a good night, guys.