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Transcript 1/18/18 MTP Daily

Guests: Steny Hoyer, Daniella Gibbs Leger, Brad Todd, Shane Harris

Show: MTP DAILY Date: January 18, 2018 Guest: Steny Hoyer, Daniella Gibbs Leger, Brad Todd, Shane Harris

NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: -- all-time low. This is -- these numbers weren't this low at the height of the Iraq War. How do we fix that?

RICHARD STENGEL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, remember, I was dealing with this after Trump was elected, before he was inaugurated. And what it did was it confirms every prejudice people around the world have about America. Donald Trump, in his person, does.

WALLACE: You think that will be a campaign issue? Just to tie it all together.

STENGEL: I don't think it will be a campaign issue, but it will be an issue for the next 10 years.

WALLACE: It's an America issue.

All right. My thanks to you Lydia Polgreen, Bill Kristol, Juan Zarate, and Rick Stengel for taking all my abuse.

That does it for the hour. I'm Nicolle Wallace. MTP DAILY starts right now.

Hi, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Nicolle. Sorry --

WALLACE: Sorry I'm late.

TODD: Oh, that's OK.

WALLACE: I'm always late.

TODD: I got to keep --

WALLACE: You have to talk to (INAUDIBLE).


TODD: I had to keep reading the Glenn -- it let me read more Glenn Simpson testimony.

WALLACE: I'm very sorry.

TODD: That read like a spy novel. Anyway --

WALLACE: Oh, I can't wait. I'm going to do it then.

TODD: Exactly.

WALLACE: I'm going to go watch.

TODD: Go do it now.

If it's Thursday, the art of the deal President is making deal-making look very, very complicated.


TODD: Tonight, is President Trump trying to shut down the government? Does he want a deal? Does he even know what he wants?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It could happen. We'll see what happens. It's up to the Democrats.

TODD: Plus, the partisan blame game kicks into a predictable higher gear.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX), MAJORITY WHIP OF THE SENATE: The Democrats refuse to cooperate.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: The Republicans are dilly-dallying, taking their good old time.

TODD: And is Chief of Staff John Kelly on the outs for calling the President uninformed?

TRUMP: No, he didn't say that.

Well, I don't think -- he didn't say it the way you would like him to say it. No, he didn't say that.

TODD: Got that? This is MTP DAILY and it starts right now.


TODD: Good evening. I'm Chuck Todd here in Washington, trying to cover our government. But it can't quite govern.

We're less than 31 hours away from a government shutdown. The House has just begun debating a short-term deal to avoid a government shutdown, which comes after President Trump, today, threw a giant wrench into the negotiations.

And because of that, dealmakers on Capitol Hill seemed totally unsure of what the President even wants or if he even understands what's in the short-term deal. And now, Senate Democrats are suggesting they have the votes to kill it anyway.

Folks, here is how President Trump set off a chain reaction on Capitol Hill.

One, it all began with a tweet that seemed intent on blowing up his own party's deal as it dangled on the brink of failure. Why? Because it included a long-term extension of the Children's Health Insurance Program that's called CHIP.

This is what he said: CHIP should be part of a long-term solution, not a 30-day or short-term extension. Exclamation point.

That tweet, criticizing the deal, sent members of his own party scrambling to figure out what the heck is going on.

Two, it suggested to some Republican leaders that the President did not know what was in the deal they'd be told he would sign.


CORNYN: I don't know whether it's clear to the President what we're trying to do is reauthorize CHIP long-term and not just for 30 days.

I would understand his concern about doing it just 30 days, but this is just -- we're trying to do a long-term extension for CHIP because states like mine, obviously, children and health in every state is -- depends on that program.


TODD: Three, his tweet suggested to some Republicans that the President was going rogue on that and, perhaps, might simply want to kill the deal.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you look at tweets like that, though, do you feel like you have a partner in negotiations?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I feel like that the Tuesday Trump was a great partner. I want that guy back.


TODD: That's two Tuesdays, you know, at this point. Tuesday Trump is the nickname Senator Graham has given to the version of Trump, the one Trump he dealt with that he thinks is a reliable negotiator, the one we saw that one Tuesday, that day that he almost agreed to a DACA compromise.

Four, other Republican leaders then had to go out publicly and insist that the President did know what was in the deal, and he wasn't going rogue or trying to kill it.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), MAJORITY LEADER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I didn't see what he wrote, but I've spoken with the President. He fully supports passing what we're bringing to the floor today. We figured out, on a bipartisan basis, how to renew and extend the CHIP program.


RYAN: Yes, we -- he does understand CHIP.


TODD: Five, it prompted the White House to once again -- and when I say White House, not the President -- to suggest they don't take the President personally too seriously. Not even when he dumps on a must-pass spending bill at a brink of a government shutdown.

The White House put out a statement insisting this, quote, the President supports the continuing resolution introduced in the House.

And six, the CHIP induced-chaos infuriated Democratic leaders who -- look, we know they were looking for reasons to be outraged today, and, boy, they were handed one on a silver platter.


PELOSI: This is like giving you a bowl of doggy doo. They put a cherry on top and called it chocolate sundae. This is nothing. It's really almost like an amateur hour.


TODD: That is a visual none of us want to have right before dinnertime, anyway, and here we are.

With Republicans unsure if their own conference will support this deal to prevent a shutdown, Democrats have even less of an incentive to help them. And the President is seemingly making both of those problems worse.

But, hey, folks, here is something they all can agree on -- a government shutdown won't be their fault.


TRUMP: The budget should be handled a lot differently than it's been handled over the last long period of time.

I really believe the Democrats want to shut down to get off the subject of the tax cuts because it worked so well.

RYAN: If the Senate Democrats want to shut the government down or if the Senate Democrats want to deny funding for our troops, if the Senate Democrats want to stop CHIP funding for unrelated issues, that's a choice they would make. I don't think it's a good choice for them to make, but that would be their decision to make.

PELOSI: This is a first time in recent memory that any party has dominated by having the majority in the House, in the Senate, and the President in the White House where there has been a government shutdown.


TODD: And the government isn't the only thing on the brink right now. There are new signs that the President's Chief of Staff John Kelly's own job might be on the line, too. We're going to get to that later in the broadcast, but we begin tonight with a scramble to avoid a government shutdown tomorrow night.

Let's go to Capitol Hill. Kasie Hunt, you saw her in those clips there, trying to figure this out.

And I heard -- the last thing people heard, Paul Ryan railing about Senate Democrats, they're going to shut down the government. But it is the House Freedom Caucus that appears to be the difference between the House passing and not passing their own bill.

Kasie, what is going on right this second?

HUNT: That's right, Chuck. And actually, I just spoke briefly with Congressman Mark Meadows, the chairman of the Freedom Caucus, and he says he just got off the phone with the President, who is on Air Force One, trying to convince him and others to get on board.

He says they are talking back and forth with the Speaker's office about how to potentially adjust this to let them vote for it because the reality here is if the Republicans sink this bill in the House, they can, with their own party, unlike in the Senate, pass this with just Republicans.

If the Freedom Caucus is the reason that this goes down, that, of course, makes them look as though they need to take more of the blame for the shutdown. The President clearly doesn't want that.

But, look, Chuck, the problem -- the big problem for this bill is in the Senate. And Chuck Schumer and Democrats appear to have the votes and are broadcasting that pretty openly.

TODD: Right.

HUNT: They're base -- progressives want them to do this. They want them to take a public stand against President Trump. They're pretty united.

There's only a handful of red state Democrats. Their party, as you know, certainly not as strong as it used to be in rural areas. And instead, winning the day are the progressives who say, you know what, we don't care, we want you to shut this down.

TODD: I guess I hear you there, but it seems like the House is a bigger stumbling block right now. Like up until about an hour ago, it did look like this was going to be a bigger issue for the Senate. But what is Meadows going to extract and what could he get that will somehow make it easier for the Senate to pass?

HUNT: Well, I don't think there is anything that he could get that would make it easier for the Senate to pass. I think the problem here -- and this is part of why I understand why you are focused on the Senate -- or the House, excuse me, and the fact that, you know, we could stop having the conversation about the Senate if it goes down tonight.

The Speaker has been pretty confident about it so far. I mean, they have been broadcasting that in a way that has been remarkable and is unusual. So I --

TODD: Yes. But as you and I both know, how often has leadership been confident and seen the Freedom Caucus pull the rug out from under them? A lot! This is not --

HUNT: That's true. That hasn't happened --

TODD: Healthcare was a big one.


TODD: Since healthcare.

HUNT: True. It hasn't happened as much with Speaker Ryan. And typically, when --

TODD: Touche.

HUNT: You know, I think a lot of his messaging today was aimed at, you know, defense hawks and people who were concerned about that.

There are some, you know, rank and file people who normally vote for the Speaker who are just really up in arms about this continued CRs. It's a separate issue than what we've been talking about with the Dreamers and other things along those lines.

So you are right, things could go sideways, unexpectedly, on the House floor. But I think that the President and the Speaker are counting on the President's influence with Mr. Meadows and others who support him to try and get this through the House.

So I mean, in some ways, actually now that I'm sort of talking through this with you kind of live, the one thing that has been raised is potentially doing a three or a five-day C.R. to try and give them some more time to do these negotiations.

If were it to fail in the House, perhaps that means they would try Plan B, try to avoid a government shutdown entirely, send it back to the Senate.

TODD: Right.

HUNT: I think that could pass the Senate.

TODD: I do, too.

HUNT: But we are clearly in extrapolation territory now, Chuck.

TODD: No, it does sound like we are in the Plan C, Plan D, Plan E categories.

Kasie Hunt, go figure out the heck Plan B or C is right now, and then we'll have you back to talk about Plan D?

HUNT: Sounds great. Thanks.

TODD: Joining me now, Republican Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota. I'm guessing he, right now, is opposing the must-pass spending deal, but it might not even get to the Senate, the way we're standing.

Senator Rounds, my guess is you're learning information as Kasie Hunt is reporting it, but let me ask you this. Are we at the brink today because of President Trump's tweet this morning? Did it sort of get more chaotic because of that CHIP tweet this morning?

SEN. MIKE ROUNDS (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: I don't think so. I think the bigger issue here, first of all, on a number of the Democrats in the Senate have a real interest in doing an immediate DACA deal. There are a number of Republicans in the Senate that are just plain convinced that we've got to send a message about how bad CRs are in terms of long-term funding.

TODD: Right.

ROUNDS: We did -- you know, we've had four and four months now. There is a number of us still trying to get to a yes vote. I'm concerned about the defense spending. I also recognize that we've got to have Democrats on board with us in order to get to 60 votes.

And so in this discussion, hopefully, some of the hawks on the Democrat side as well, if we can get something for defense, I think maybe a few of those folks may very well come over and join us.

But at this stage of the game, I don't know that we've got the votes in the Senate. Right now, I'm one of the people that is still trying to get to yes.

TODD: You're a no.

ROUNDS: I'm not there right now. That's correct.

TODD: You're a no. Are you on know on --

ROUNDS: Correct.

TODD: Are you a no on the whole thing, like you're not even going to let the bill to come to the floor, or are you an "I'll vote no on the bill but I'll let it come to the floor"?

ROUNDS: We'll wait and see what comes over from the House if it gets here to begin with.


ROUNDS: But I've told leadership, look, number one, this is not a case of where any of us want to shut government down. We still got another full day before anything like that would happen.

What we want to do is to make sure that we've done everything we possibly can to help those folks on the front lines and to give them some assurances that we care about whether or not they're actually getting the funding that's necessary to take care of their needs.

At the same time, we know that that means that it's got to be Republicans and Democrats both in agreement that we've got a way to move forward.

TODD: All right. Let's say in this fantasy world that you guys do get a month. Explain to me why this gets easier in a month. We'll be that much closer to the DACA deal totally expiring. Oh, by the way --

ROUNDS: You're asking my --

TODD: By the way --

ROUNDS: You're asking my question.

TODD: I know, right? Explain to me how -- you have debt ceiling that you're going to need to raise again in March. So now, you've got government funding running -- and DACA, all of it running together. And that's supposed to be easier than the chaos you're dealing with now?

ROUNDS: Well, and you've got one more thing, you no longer have CHIP as a bargaining point.

TODD: Or the defense spending.

ROUNDS: Because if this goes through --

TODD: Or perhaps defense spending as a bargaining chip.

ROUNDS: Well, and that's just because under the current proposal, CHIP is then off the table because it's then been extended for a period of six years. And so then, what is the next bargaining chip that actually brings Democrats to the table?

So that's one of the questions, I think, that a number of us have raised. We understand the need to keep government open. We also understand that doing one continuing resolution after another, nobody really wants that.

Look, this has been going on for 44 years. Now, here we are once again. Four times in 44 years that this process has actually worked.

TODD: Yes.

ROUNDS: What we really want to do is bring to a head the fact that it's not working for Republicans or Democrats. And that, at some stage of the game, we have to recognize and make a deal that both majority and minority can stand up and say, this is a better solution to a funding for the government than what we've been doing since 1974.

TODD: Look, you're a former governor. You intuitively have had to deal with budgets. So many of the senators haven't. Do you think your fellow senators, particularly Republicans, do they realize that you're actually handing Democrats more leverage if you extend just one more month?

I mean, let's just, pure, break it down in crass politics. When you throw in debt ceiling, which Republicans have never been able to raise on their own, you actually are handing the Democrats more leverage. If you just look at it in terms of that. So whatever DACA deal you don't like today, doesn't it get worse in a month?

ROUNDS: I guess that's the way that I've looked at it. And if you look --

TODD: OK. I thought you and I were on the same page on this --

ROUNDS: Yes. Look --

TODD: -- but I want to --

ROUNDS: No, no. Look -- I mean, look, this is a case where I know we have disagreements, Republicans and Democrats alike.

But, look, the reality is that Republicans want to do a DACA deal, but they also want border security. And actually, President Trump does as well. And I don't think we're that far off, but it's a matter of us -- leader McConnell says, and I think he's correct on this, this is not an emergency that has to be done in two days.

I agree with him on that. But I do think, if we're talking about a continuing resolution, there has to be some format set up that actually says we're getting closer to a final solution on the budget between now and October.

And if we don't get to that stage of the game, how can we go back to our home state to say we're actually getting our job done? If we did this in Pierre, South Dakota, the people would throw us out on our ear.

TODD: All right. That's for sure. Very quickly, the five-day C.R. thing that I smell is coming because nobody wants to be the one to shut it down. Are you going to -- that will fly through both Houses if it's just a five- day deal?

ROUNDS: I think it probably would. I've talked to a number of my colleagues who said that while they would not vote for a 30-day or a continuation until February 26th, if we could do something before the State of the Union so we can actually get this behind us, I think that's a positive for everybody.

TODD: Interesting. Yes.

ROUNDS: And I don't know whether or not we're actually going to be able to do the entire DACA deal, but let's at least talk about whether or not -- since we all really want to do, and we want to get the border security completed.

TODD: Right.

ROUNDS: Heck, I need H-2B visas in South Dakota. That's a critical part for our economy and the tourism time of the year. I think there's an opportunity here, but I think if we continue to kick the can down the road, we're not going to get it resolved.

TODD: Yes, fair enough. Senator Rounds, I also don't know what new information everybody needs on DACA. Like, everybody knows what's on the table here. Everybody just has to sort of grin and bear it here at some point. Anyway --

ROUNDS: Yes. There were a number of areas that, I think, we can bring the President on board. I think he's right, there needed to be more border security discussion on it, and we have to do a little bit better job on restricting who is actually eligible for DACA.

TODD: Right.

ROUNDS: But I think that, along with H-2Bs, which a lot of us really care about, I think that brings a lot of people to the table.

TODD: Yes. Senator Rounds, I appreciate you doing this in real-time because I think we're all learning information in real-time as it happens right now.


TODD: It's one of those days. Thank you, sir. Appreciate it.

ROUNDS: Thank you, sir.

TODD: Up ahead, the President did not like what Chief of Staff John Kelly was quoted as having said on T.V. about his immigration plan. Could it be a sign of a bigger problem inside that West Wing? We'll be right back.


TODD: Welcome back. President Trump was in western Pennsylvania this afternoon. Sorry, a little "Groundhog Day." It was billed as a trip to talk about the economy, but he just happened to be in a place where there's a special election coming up, and he just happened to throw his arm around the candidate in that special election.


TRUMP: The person that people are hearing more and more about, a real friend and a spectacular man, Rick Saccone.



TODD: That little thing may have actually cost the RNC a few dollars. Because, on paper, this trip was supposed to be to sell administration policy, the tax plan, so it can be paid for by taxpayers who paid for official business, not the RNC which pays for a political trip.

But it's hard to make the case that this was official business after the President tweeted this morning, quote, going to Pennsylvania today in order to give my total support to Rick Saccone. So you can see why the White House wanted this to be a White House trip, not a political trip.

As we told you yesterday, the President campaigning in a special congressional election in this tough political environment doesn't look like a good no -- it looks more like a no-win situation for him.

If the Republican wins, then the GOP holds on to a seat in Trump country. If the Republican loses, even when Trump's appearance in -- with an appearance in the district, it will show that no Republican is safe even in Trump country. That is the risk here.

We'll be back after this.


TODD: Welcome back. It's a question worth asking here -- the White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, is his job in jeopardy? The President and his top aide do not seem to be on the same page.

"Washington Post" reported that Kelly told Democratic lawmakers on the Hill yesterday that some of his boss' hardline immigration policies were, quote, uninformed, and that U.S. would never construct a wall along the entire southern border and Mexico will never pay for it.

And as many of us thought would happen, this morning, the President appeared to vent his anger on Twitter when he read the whole thing, saying, quote, the wall is the wall. It has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it.

He also, though, went around to discuss the fact that, actually, it wasn't going to be a continuous wall, which is something he never did discuss on the campaign trail, but we'll leave that aside.

Later today, in his way into his event in Pennsylvania, he had this to say about John Kelly.


TRUMP: I think General Kelly has done a really great job. He is a very special guy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you mind him calling you uninformed about immigration?

TRUMP: The what?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you mind that he told members of Congress --

TRUMP: No, he didn't say that. Well, I don't think -- he didn't say it the way you would like him to say it. No, he didn't say that.


TODD: They must have made it up, huh? All is good between these two.

Let me bring in tonight's panel. Shane Harris is a national security correspondent for "The Washington Post." Daniella Gibbs Leger is a senior vice president at the Center for American Progress, and Brad Todd is a Republican strategist and an ad maker.

Shane, let's just start with the basic news here, government shutdown, first. I want to get to Kelly in a minute.

It's weird today that the President's not in Washington when this is happening. Maybe he likes that. It looks like a mess of Congress. But the President sort of created more -- it was already a chaotic process, and he added more to it.

SHANE HARRIS, INTELLIGENCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Republicans might be glad that he's not in Washington today, too, sure. Maybe he's done enough for this morning.

TODD: Yes.

HARRIS: This happened, you know, a few weeks -- recently with the surveillance bill where the President came out and tweeted a position that was diametrically opposed to the one that the White House has stated before.

This is a pattern now, it seems, where, you know, he's coming out and expressing a view that is totally blowing up the strategy the Republicans had in mind and just sowing more chaos into the mix. It was already bad enough.

And you can see from your interview with Senator Rounds, both sides have incentives to create a shutdown and possibly to avoid one, but the President is not really helping this at all. So maybe they're glad that he's staying out of it. For the afternoon, anyway.

TODD: I want to talk about the Democrat base. Do they think the -- do they think, eh, screw, a shutdown is a good thing, and you think that sells with -- that independent voters won't punish Democrats for this?

DANIELLA GIBBS LEGER, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR COMMUNICATIONS AND STRATEGY, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: No, I don't think they will punish Democrats because Republicans control the House, the Senate --

TODD: Missouri independents won't?

LEGER: Right. No, they --

TODD: North Dakota independents won't?

LEGER: Republicans control the House and the Senate and the White House. I cannot say that enough. And I think that was said earlier. Like, I don't think ever before has a party controlled all three branches, and there had been a shutdown.

Was it Jeb Bush who said that Trump would be a chaos president? Well, here we are. He is a chaos president. The Republican Party is a chaos party. They can't get their stuff together.

And, no, polling has shown that if we do have a shutdown, they're going to blame the Republicans. And that is who they should blame.

TODD: Brad?

BRAD TODD, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I remember in 2013, the worst week of that campaign cycle was when Ted Cruz and some Republicans in the Senate minority shut down the government.

They thought the base -- it would make the base happy. They thought we'd get what we want. We'd bring the Democratic majority to its knees. They were wrong.

I would give advice to my Democratic friends that it doesn't work.

TODD: No, no, no. Brad, you're revising history. You got --

B. TODD: It doesn't work.

TODD: No, no, no. You're revising history there. The reason you guys got rescued from the shutdown there is there was a certain thing called that didn't work.

And if the shutdown and -- without healthcare, we don't know -- well, actually, I think we do know.'s debacle saved Republicans from getting blamed for the shutdown.

B. TODD: We got blamed for it. I remember the polling. There were --

TODD: Right.

B. TODD: The whole forte, but it was the worst --

TODD: Right, but how important was healthcare --

B. TODD: It was the worst --

TODD: And how important was --


TODD: -- shutting down?

B. TODD: -- ObamaCare as a whole.

TODD: But that --

B. TODD: It sure put us on (ph), in fact.

TODD: -- that stepped on the shutdown.

B. TODD: It was a failed tactic. The question is -- there are 10 Democrats who have very difficult races this year in Republican states that Trump won. Do they want to be on the hook for shutting the government down?

It will be Democrats. There will be 50 Republican senators ready to vote - -


TODD: No, it won't.

B. TODD: Ready to vote --

TODD: We're up to --


TODD: Actually, the numbers --

B. TODD: Give it time. Give it time.

LEGER: OK, but we're not there yet.

B. TODD: Give it time. There will be 50 Republican senators who will vote to keep government open. It will be up to the Democrats to shut it down or keep it open. That's their choice.

TODD: I think we're going to get the five-day deal. That feels like this is where this is headed, for what it's worth.

B. TODD: Yes, yes. And then you can --

TODD: Because they realize the 30-day -- there is actually too many constituencies. Mike Rounds -- I mean, there's too many people who don't want --

B. TODD: You mentioned Claire McCaskill, though, in Missouri.

TODD: Yes.

B. TODD: I mean, it's not in her interest to shut down government. She needs to be --

TODD: No, no, I agree with you.

B. TODD: She claims she's bipartisan --

TODD: She and Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly, I bet you, would vote for it.

LEGER: Yes. But Democrats can lose --

B. TODD: She claims she's bipartisan every day.

LEGER: They can lose them, right? I mean, is my math off? Like they -- Claire McCaskill --

B. TODD: Where is Claire McCaskill? Is she leading an effort for a bipartisan deal? And where is Joe Donnelly? Is he leading a bipartisan deal?

LEGER: There was a bipartisan deal to be had. It's the Republicans and Trump who are not coming to the table and actually being co-equal governing partners.

B. TODD: Where is Claire McCaskill with nine of her Democratic friends to help avoid a shutdown? She doesn't have nine of her Democratic friends ready to cut a deal.

LEGER: That is a philosophy (ph) --

HARRIS: So listening to you two, I think to myself, what is five days going to fix?


HARRIS: I mean, what's going to change in five days? It feels like, you know, the cake is baked here. And I -- you know, I don't know why five days is going to have everyone coming together and finding a deal on this.

TODD: What changes in 30 days?

HARRIS: Exactly.

LEGER: Right.

TODD: I mean, that's what I don't understand. What changes in 30 days other than the Democrats have more leverage because of the debt ceiling?

B. TODD: I think the question is, how close are they? And when it is -- there are a lot of conversations going on and several different groups of senators trying to work this out. How close are they? Some of them feel like they're closer than others do.

HARRIS: Right.

B. TODD: If the ones that feel like they're close are right, in five days, you could get it done.

TODD: Right.

B. TODD: Also, 30 days gets us closer to the election. Claire McCaskill, Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly, Jon Tester, they don't -- they need a deal. They need a deal just as bad as Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell do.

TODD: And February, if this goes February 28th, government funding, debt ceiling, DACA. I mean, it just feels as if that debt ceiling thing becomes a big hanging meatball.

LEGER: I don't see how it's better for Republicans to wait 30 days. I don't. It's not in their interest.

B. TODD: I mean, the Democrats are the incumbents on the ballot in the Senate --

TODD: Right.

B. TODD: -- Republicans in the House.

HARRIS: Republicans --

LEGER: But Republicans control the government.

TODD: Let's talk John Kelly here.

LEGER: I'm going to repeat that.

TODD: Let's talk John Kelly here. There's one thing to have Trump and John Kelly at odds on this. So this is not the first time that the President has been upset at something that John Kelly supposedly said and he walked it back.

But the political shop has been under fire, Brad, is that fair to say? And the big complaint I hear is that John Kelly doesn't understand politics. And if you have a chief of staff that doesn't understand politics, you can't run the White House in an election year. What do you say that?

B. TODD: He's got the toughest job in Washington besides being quarterback coach of the Redskins.


B. TODD: And I think that I'm willing to cut John Kelly some slack. And I also think that this President came to Washington vowing to do things differently. Guess what? It's going to look different. It's going to look different.

And he also challenged the Republican Party the entire time of his nomination. Guess what? It means it's not going to be always be in sync with Capitol Hill.

I think a lot of people who voted for him like that. They sort of knew that this would be a little bit ugly at times. And so I think that's how you have to look at John Kelly and his job.

TODD: Yes. I do feel like we're at that six-month mark now, so who knows? And we know that it does seem he got worn out by the campaign managers at about six months.

HARRIS: Right, right.

TODD: That could be what's going on.

HARRIS: But you can also see in that comment where he is saying, no, no, he didn't call me uninformed. I mean, the President seems to want to not make too much of this rift either. Perhaps it's because he knows that he needs John Kelly, and it would be a disaster to be able to get another White House chief of staff.

I question whether, you know, John Kelly has real political acumen. I think we're seeing that, but he does have certain policy instincts and views, particularly about things like the border.

Remember, this was the man who was in charge of Southern Command. He worked very closely with DHS. Southern border security is something he knows a lot about and cares a lot about, which is why, I think, you're seeing him lean forward on more of these comments and trying to, in a way, sort of shape what the President's policy ought to be.

TODD: By the way, it's January 16th. It's my understanding -- I had people in December telling me that we -- and this is the first time we've seen the President stump anywhere on the tax bill of any kind. I was told that that's how he was going to spend most of January, and it hasn't happened.

I don't -- are you surprised? Did you expect to see the President -- I was told we'll see him in Missouri and North Dakota.

LEGER: I'm not surprised.

TODD: In Indiana.

LEGER: No, I'm not surprised that he doesn't do things that are in his best interest. That's what I would have done if I was president. But again, he is a chaos president, and he gets easily detracted by what he sees on "Fox and Friends," by tweets, by other things that are happening in his orbit.

TODD: Why hasn't the President done a tour of the red states touting the tax bill in the last two weeks? I was told this was a -- that this was an idea floating around that West Wing.

B. TODD: Well, he either tours too much or he tours too little. You know what I mean? He can't seem to make the Washington press corps happy with his travels.

TODD: This isn't a Washington press corps issue.

B. TODD: I think that there is no question that you will see him on the road in the campaigns this year in the states where Democrat incumbents didn't help cut the taxes for middle-class Americans. Ten states where Democrat incumbent senators failed to help cut taxes, you'll see him in those states. And he'll --

LEGER: That's because this tax bill didn't really cut taxes for the middle class, but OK.

TODD: All right. You guys are having fun.

LEGER: Always.

TODD: I appreciate that. You do it with a smile. That's good.

All right, you guys sticking around. Shane is going to go get an umbrella.

Up ahead, the art of the deal. What's the Democrats' bottom line to keep the government running? Is it DACA or bust?

We're going to talk to the Democratic minority leader in the House, Steny Hoyer. Does he have any votes to give to Paul Ryan to help him out? He'll join us next.


CHUCK TODD, MEET THE PRESS DAILY SHOW HOST: Up ahead, Congressman Steny Hoyer, one of the number two's that have been negotiating on DACA on the possibility of a government shutdown. Can lawmakers reach a deal with so little time left? Here is Hampton Pearson who see how the markets are reacting to the Washington chaos.

HAMPTON PEARSON, WASHINGTON BUREAU CORRESPONDENT, CNBC: How are you doing, Chuck? Stocks close lower on Wall Street as concern grows over a possible government shutdown. The Dow falling 97 points, the S&P shedding four, the Nasdaq losing two points.

Shares of aluminum producer Alcoa slumped seven percent after quarterly results missed expectations. Shares of IBM fell more than 4.5 percent despite report of its first quarterly revenue growth in five years. The company says it is focusing more on its cloud and security service.

That's it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.


TODD: Welcome back. We're following the constantly moving developments today in Capitol Hill as our nation is careening toward a government shutdown tomorrow night, basically it is a quarterly event these days. Leaders on both sides of the aisle have been talking all day trying to figure out how to avoid this.

So joining me now is one of them. He is the number two Democrat in the House, minority whip, Steny Hoyer of Maryland. He is an all sorts of gangs on various things.


TODD: So -- and I know you are involved in a lot of these back channel negotiations. Let me start with the basics here. Are you going to help Republicans pass their continuing resolution? Are you going to help with votes for them on this or not?

REP. STENY HOYER (D), MARYLAND: No, we're not, Chuck.


HOYER: We've been kicking the can down the road too often. In September, all 183 Democrats that voted, voted to extend for 90 days the government funding so that we could negotiate and reach agreements. That time was wasted. We didn't get there. I agree with Franklin Mark Meadows (ph) who said all this does is kick the can down the road one more time.

So the Republicans are in charge. They have the majority. They have enough votes. If they want to simply not agree, not have agreements with us, they can move on their own, and that is what they've chosen to do.

TODD: Is there any scenario where you'll help Republicans do this? The five-day shut down scenario if they needed votes?

HOYER: Look, we're -- we're in the place where we have been asking for 120 days to get agreement, to get agreement on the caps so we know how much money we're going to spend in 2018. We're a third of the way into 2018. We still don't know what the expenditure level is going to be.

We want to see the CHIP bill passed with other health extenders as well, including the community health centers. They are whole and they need to be considered as a whole. We want to see disaster relief passed. That is not in there.

Is there a way? Yes, there is a way to sit down and reach agreements. Compromise. But Paul Ryan has all this year decided to go his own way in a partisan way and, fine, nothing we can do about that, but if you are going to do that, you got to do it with your votes. TODD: What are you going to tell your constituents though, many of whom are federal government workers, you have a district not far from the nation capital, a lot of federal government workers --

HOYER: I have a lot of federal workers. TODD: Yes. So, 30 days, what -- what is wrong with waiting another 30 days? I could argue politically, congressman, that actually Democrats have more leverage in 30 days. The debt ceiling, DACA's expiration is suddenly a lot closer, and the burden suddenly -- and we know Republicans can't raise the debt ceiling on their own.

HOYER: I'm not going to vote against raising the debt ceiling. Raising the debt ceiling has -- or not raising it has extraordinary --

TODD: Right.

HOYER: -- consequences. The Republicans have irresponsibly voted against that on a regular basis. I have no intention of voting against that. But I want to responsibly move forward. Frankly, you say well -- you could be better able to get agreement.

We've been asking for agreements and the agreement we've asked for is the one that Ryan entered into for the last four years and that is equal increases in spending for domestic and defense spending.

That is what he put forward. That is what he greed to with Senator Murray. That is all we're asking for. If he does that, maybe we could move forward. If he gives us some ability to make sure the "dreamers" are safe, maybe we can move forward.

If he does something on the health care side, with CHIP and the community health centers and other health extenders, maybe we could move forward. But there is no movement on those for 120 days. What makes us think that another 16, 20 days is going to make a difference? Frankly, we haven't seen the light at the end of the tunnel. TODD: It is my understanding you were in the meeting with the congressional Hispanic caucus and Chief of Staff John Kelly. HOYER: I was. TODD: Give me your version of events. There seems to be the president says that John Kelly's words aren't what it was reported. What can you -- what can you tell us about what happened in that meeting?

HOYER: Well I think the president was wrong in terms of John Kelly's words. I think they were reported accurately. The president is inclined to deny words that he says, much less what anybody else said, minutes after they are said. So that I think that is simply not credible. I think General Kelly came into the meeting.

I thought it was a positive step for him to take to ask to meet with the Hispanic caucus, go through the border security, and have -- and hear from the Hispanic caucus how important it was to do what 86 percent of America thinks we ought to do and that is make sure the "dreamers" stay in the only country that they really know, America. I think that was positive.

TODD: Right. There is another specific in there. According to the Washington Examiner, apparently Kelly also told you guys in that meeting that he's willing to sign a deal that doesn't include the family migration issue, that basically punts the so-called chain migration debate to later. Did you hear that?

HOYER: I don't know that. I don't want to say that because I don't remember him saying that specifically. I don't think that --


HOYER: -- is accurate. It was made clear to him, however, that family reunification was an important American principle and that it was not to be negotiated away.

TODD: And what was his reaction to that? Was that something he was -- HOYER: He didn't have much of a reaction other than to say, look, we think that is an issue that needs to be discussed.

TODD: All right. You are in this group of number twos. Kevin McCarthy, Dick Durbin, John Cornyn.

HOYER: Correct. TODD: Let me ask you this. Why not -- if the president wants funding for 700 miles more fence in exchange for DACA, why -- how is that not like a doable deal? Just straight up there?

HOYER: Look, we don't think the wall works. We don't think it is a good economic investment. And as a matter of fact, General Kelly did, in fact, make comments on that. Where he said it may not be the wall that makes us secure. It may be some other things.

But he clearly made it -- he made it clear that the president was not talking about 2,000 miles of wall. He was talking maybe 700 miles of wall. The response to that of course is let's get a study from the Department of Homeland Security and experts as to what is, in fact, needed. I think we certainly could agree to that. That would be I think a positive way forward. So that -- the wall -- TODD: That's probably not enough for the president.

HOYER: It may not be. But then maybe it is too much for us and as you pointed out --

TODD: Right.

HOYER: -- the legislative process is compromised. So we may have to take something and he may have to take something. Now the one thing, Chuck, I want to make a point is, I was also at the White House meeting with the president. In my view 24 members of the Congress -- well actually 25 members of Congress said, we want to take care of the DACA protected individuals.

TODD: Right.

HOYER: Twenty-five. There was nobody who said no to that. So that is not a question of a deal. That is a question that the president agreed to that and everybody in the room agreed to it. Let's agree to it. Let's put it on paper, pass it, and make it happen.

TODD: Well, I think Lindsey Graham is looking for Tuesday Trump just like you are. Anyway, Congressman Steny Hoyer, thank you, sir.

HOYER: Thanks, Chuck.

TODD: I know you are going to go back to more meetings. Let us know what happens.

HOYER: All right.

TODD: Up ahead, what happens when two billionaires play a game of musical chairs at the governor's mansion.


TODD: Welcome back. Tonight I'm obsessed with one of the more remarkable things I have seen in politics. You know, we have seen a lot these days. And I am saying something. So let me set the stage for you.

Republican Bruce Rauner is the governor of Illinois and he wants to stay governor of Illinois. He is a billionaire, by the way, so that helps him. Democrat J.B. Pritzker wants to be the governor of Illinois. He is a billionaire too. That helps him.

Now Republican billionaire Rauner does not want to face Democratic billionaire Pritzker, who has to survive a primary first. So what does Republican billionaire Rauner do? Gets involved in the primary. Republican billionaire Rauner's campaign has bought 11 minutes of air time across the state.

Why? He wants to air parts of an FBI wiretap of Democratic billionaire Pritzker talking about a possible job with now former Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich. You remember Blago?

Former Democratic Govervor Blagojevich wound up in prison just like three of the previous six Illinois governors. It is an Illinois tradition. Here is part of the FBI tape as it run in a recent one-minute ad that the Republican billionaire Rauner has been running. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): There is an A.P. I could appoint A.P.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): You are doing the right thing for the people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Are you a lawyer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): There is an A.P. that I appoint. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE)


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): There you go. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): I don't rule that one out.



TODD: Now all of the stuff is circumstantial. We already know what happened to Blago. Republican billionaire Rauner is not the first politician to meddle in the other party's primary. McCaskill, Claire 2012. Davis, Gray 2002. But 11 minutes is a lot of air time.

Clearly Republican billionaire Rauner would really like to see Democratic billionaire Pritzker go down in March so he can face a -- I guess more modest opposition in the general election, might be just some multimillionaire named Kennedy. We'll be right back.


TODD: Time for "The Lid." Shane Harris, Daniella Gibbs Leger, Brad Todd. All right, let me put up some math here on the Senate, because you're going to have to find 14 Democrats, it appears, at the most. Senator McCain is not going to be here for a vote. We know this.

Senator Graham says he is a no. Now, I think Mile Rounds is a qualified no. Sounds like he will not (INAUDIBLE). Paul and Lee, we know, they are nos on CR. Fourteen Democrats. Who are the 14 Democrats? Even if all 10 red state Democrats go, who are the other four, Daniella?



GIBBS LEGER: I mean that's a good question, I don't have the answer to that.

TODD: Can you still -- if Claire McCaskill votes to keep the government open but four other Democrats don't, do you think you could still make (INAUDIBLE) of that?

BRAD TODD, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: She claims she is about partisan leader. Let's see her lead.

TODD: So you think you --

B. TODD: It's time. She got to find the Democrats.

SHANE HARRIS, SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think your conversation with Kasie was right. It looks very tough in the House of the freedom caucus, but the Senate, the math is much, much harder. And even hearing from Steny Hoyer, it sounds like the prediction business is dangerous, but you're not hearing people putting on the brakes like you might when you're this close to the deadline.

GIBBS LEGER: I do just have to reiterate that there is bipartisan deal in principle on all of these issues, not just DACA, but on CHIP, but on spending. It's out there to be had. TODD: But it's different. It is interesting. I hear you, but it's different pockets. I think there is a bipartisan deal on DACA that doesn't match up with the bipartisan people on CHIP, which doesn't match up with the bipartisan deal on budget caps, which doesn't match up -- I think this appears to be the issue.

B. TODD: It has to be a bipartisan deal that unites most of the majority. I think Democrats have to find a way to be for something that unites most of majority. That's life in the minority.

TODD: Right.

B. TODD: That's just the way it works. TODD: In the House, they've gotten used to that, the Senate is a different story.

HARRIS: It doesn't feel like the Democrats are just betting that this is going to watch badly back on the Republicans. There is just basic wagering going on here at this point. It seems like if you do the five-day thing, fine, the emergency parachute. I mean, that does seem like the basic way.

B. TODD: Tactics, not strategy.

HARRIS: This is going to blow back, and they'll be more willing to negotiate when the polling turns against them and in seven days of national parks being shut down.

B. TODD: I think they're used to us doing the (INAUDIBLE) shut down and they have always been in the opposite position. They have forgotten they're now in the idiot position. You need to keep the government open. You need to --

GIBBS LEGER: That is not accurate. That is not true. When the Republicans did it, again, they were the majority in Congress. Republicans are still the majority in Congres. As much as you guys are going to try, you're not going to be able to pin this on Democrats.

TODD: There is never going to be a government shutdown when one party is controlled (INAUDIBLE).

GIBBS LEGER: Right. It is hard to walk away from that fact.

B. TODD: Senate is not controlled by one party. It takes 10 people and the Democrats to agree.

TODD: May take more than that because of Republican peeling away on this. I am curious about the president going to Pennsylvania. I don't get it. I have made it clear. I just think politically, it seems like a bad use of the president's time. Just to give you a taste of how the Democrats are trying to run in Trump country. Here is a quick clip on that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Conor Lamb is running for Congress to fight for jobs, health care, and social security. He's fed up with gridlock. Conor Lamb will work with anyone to get the job done.

(END VIDEO CLIP) TODD: What's interesting with that ad, Brad, is actually I have been hearing you in my head from 2014 when I watched that ad the first time today, because he also in the ad says, and that's why he's called for new leadership in the Republican side and the Democratic side. It's not easy to run for against Washington if you're part of Washington during situation like this.

B. TODD: He also fires a semi-automatic rifle in that ad. I am not seeing the Democrats renouncing him as they would if he were a Republican in that manner.



TODD: But this, I throw this back at you, Daniella, which is he's saying, you know, Doug Jones run as a guy who's not going to shut down the government. This guy is running as a guy saying, you know, I'm tired of all this gridlock. There is a whole bunch of voters that are tired of the gridlock. Don't you want to be the party not even touching shutdown?

GIBBS LEGER: Yes, and that is why I think again --

TODD: Usually backlashes.

GIBBS LEGER: Yes, I think it backlashes the Republicans. I think that's a really great ad.

TODD: The president going to Pennsylvania, does it -- is it worth his time?

HARRIS: It seems impulsive, it seems spur of the moment. I mean to your point of now like who's going to pay for that trip? It's like the tweets, he tweets as though no one is going to tell him what to do. Is it politically worth of his time? Does it look good that he is out campaigning when he could be back Hill trying to cut deals? Probably not.

B. TODD: I think the president has an emotional attachment to Pennsylvania. He decided he can win Pennsylvania when all the experts say he couldn't. He worked very hard from the beginning to end. He won it. And we know Republican nominee before him had.

TODD: I think the emotional arguments are going. Anyway, Shane, Daniella, Brad, very nice. Terrific panel. We got to have you guys back more often. By the way, we got to show you this one. Prince William gives his hair a royal sendoff. Right after this.


TODD: In case you missed it, the royal family's heir apparent is making his hair less apparent. Check out Prince William at a reception today in London. Do you notice anything different? The Duke of Cambridge has taken a little extra off the top and is now sporting something of a buzz cut. It's been a rough follicle journey for the prince back in his teenage years, those were heavy days.

But years and genetics would take their toll, over time, the prince and the top of his head had a bit of a falling out. But you know what? I think the duke's new do looks good. I bet your cable host Brian Stelter and Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason would agree. I'm sure it would pass muster if the duchess didn't approve.

So if the future king of England can boldly choose to go bald, maybe there is hope for the rest of us. Anyway, that's all for tonight. Maybe I shouldn't be so scared of this. We'll be back tomorrow with more "MTP Daily." "The Beat" with Ari Melber who has a great head of hair starts right now. Good evening, Ari.



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