Show: MTP DAILY Date: January 29, 2018 Guest: Susan Page, Judy Chu, Matthew Continett, Jason Johnson
NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: -- Wallace. MTP DAILY starts right now with my friend, Katy Tur, in for Chuck in D.C.
Hi, Katy. We miss you.
KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Nicolle. I miss being over there.
WALLACE: I know.
TUR: I feel like you`re so far away from me. Don`t worry, we`ll be back together tomorrow.
WALLACE: Have fun.
TUR: Thanks, Nicolle.
And if it`s Monday, the secret memo may not be a secret for much longer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Tonight, fault lines deepen between the White House and the Justice Department as FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe calls it quits.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I can tell you none of this decision was made by that of the White House.
TUR: Plus, tracking the narrow path to a bipartisan deal on immigration.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because the Republicans really don`t have the votes to get it done in any other way.
TUR: And the President`s state of mind ahead of his first State of the Union address.
TRUMP: Well, I hope it`s going to be good.
TUR: This is MTP DAILY and it starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Good evening. I`m Katy Tur in Washington in for Chuck Todd and welcome to MTP DAILY.
No one is safe in President Trump`s Justice Department. The President gave the order to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He fired FBI Director James Comey.
He pressured Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe to quit. McCabe stepped down today, earlier than expected, and we`ve just learned the President insulted his wife in a phone call last year.
The President pressured the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, to step down. And he reportedly talked about firing the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein.
And it looks like the President also wants a secret Republican memo released. Why? His Republican allies say it further undermines Mueller`s investigation, the FBI, and the Justice Department.
The House Intelligence Committee has a meeting scheduled right now where they could vote to release that secret memo compiled by Republican Chairman Devin Nunes. This is a secret memo, but it has ignited a very public firestorm on the right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARK MEADOWS (R), NORTH CAROLINA: I`m here to tell all of America tonight that I am shocked to read exactly what has taken place. I would think that it would never happen in a country that loves freedom and democracy like this country.
REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: What I read today in that classified briefing room is as bad as I thought it was.
REP. MATT GAETZ (R), FLORIDA: You are describing the very elements of a palace coup. And after Jim and Mark Meadows and many others of us reviewed the intelligence information today, it is abundantly clear that the entire Mueller investigation is a lie built on a foundation of corruption.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: So what is in the memo? NBC News has confirmed that it includes details about the FBI surveillance of Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser.
According to "The New York Times," the memo alleges that the application to spy on Page was approved by the President`s own Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, who apparently used information from the Steele dossier.
Guys, there are ample reasons to doubt the conclusions of this memo. But if you do believe what is being reported about it, the bombshell here is arguably that a Trump appointee approved an application to spy on a former member of the Trump campaign, and a Trump appointee seemingly thought that some of the information in this Steele dossier was credible.
But the President and some Republicans are seemingly going to use that information as proof that Rosenstein is corrupt and the investigation is a sham. Because I`m -- because as I mentioned, no one is safe in President Trump`s Justice Department.
Case in point, the FBI`s Acting Director Andrew McCabe stepped down today earlier than expected. The President has publicly attacked McCabe, and NBC News has learned that Mr. Trump told McCabe that his wife was a loser.
This happened during a phone call last year. The President called McCabe to vent about James Comey who he just fired. The loser remark was in apparent reference to McCabe`s wife`s unsuccessful campaign for state office in Virginia.
So the number two of the FBI is out and the number two at the Justice Department is in the crosshairs.
Joining me now is Republican Congressman Mark Walker of North Carolina. He`s a member of the House Oversight Committee and is the chairman of the Republican Study Committee.
Congressman, thank you very much for joining us.
REP. MARK WALKER (R-NC), CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN STUDY COMMITTEE: Sure, Katy. Thank you.
TUR: So you have seen the Nunes memo. You do want it released. Is it true that it shows that Donald Trump`s own appointee, Rod Rosenstein, approved an application to spy on Carter Page?
WALKER: Well, as you would probably imagine, as well as you and your audience, I still can`t get into the specifics as far as the names that have been named until the vote has been released and it`s been released to the public.
I think the overview -- and I heard three different members in the lead-in there talking about it -- if your audience or if somebody is believing that this is the end-all smoking gun, it isn`t.
Does it name names? Does it present some very intriguing facts, as I would`ve shared it, that makes you ask even more questions to the place, is it a dislike, is it a bias, or do we get to the place where there was intentional wrongdoing by some of the players that have been involved in this investigation?
But to make the case that this is the most shocking document in the history of mankind, I believe that`s a little hyperbole.
TUR: So then why do you want it released?
WALKER: Well, I believe it`s important. If you look back throughout our history, any time that the government could be more transparent, I think it`s best for the American people.
We`ve lost some trust in government. Unfortunately -- and I hope this isn`t long-term -- even our highest level of law enforcement, when you have some of the behaviors, some of the things that have transpired recently, that`s not a good thing.
You mentioned that I was on the House Oversight Committee. I think back to the Lois Lerner e-mails. They said they were lost. The Inspector General went out and found them in less than an hour.
Same thing with these five missing months of -- missing texts. Those are also have been found by the Inspector General.
We need to restore the credibility to the American people. And to me, if there is nothing -- no national security being breached, I think the American people should have access to this information.
TUR: Is Devin Nunes credible here? I mean, he was a member of the Donald Trump transition. That seems like a pretty major conflict of interest.
WALKER: Well, if you hold that standard, you could look back at a lot of not just Republicans but Democrats who went out and worked very hard for whatever presidential campaign, whether it was Hillary Clinton or there was Bernie Sanders or even back throughout our history. I don`t think that precludes or disqualifies for someone being able to be straightforward and being honest.
TUR: Devin Nunes was part of the transition. He`s been working to discredit much of the FBI. Do you expect the American public to see this as not just a partisan issue, especially when this has not been shared with Democrats in the committee and especially when he wouldn`t even share it with his own counterpart in Senate intel?
WALKER: Well, it is my --
TUR: It seems suspicious.
WALKER: Thanks. It is my understanding that the Democrats have had a chance to look at it. And on top of that, I believe they`re releasing their own version of what the memo -- the conclusion might be able to say, so we`ll see what happens or what they share on it.
But I do not think to the largest point that it discredits Devin Nunes with his relationship of being forthright to the American people. That`s the whole crux of why we want this delivered, that it no longer become somebody`s subjective opinion.
TUR: But this is investigating the Donald Trump campaign. It`s investigating the transition. And this is a member of the transition putting together a memo.
WALKER: All the --
TUR: This is not just somebody who supported a president working on something that has nothing to do with it. This investigation is looking into the campaign and the transition and this is a member of the transition.
WALKER: Sure, and you would hope that you would have the confidence for somebody to do the right thing. But that`s to your point. That`s why it`s so important that when you release said memo, that you can actually have some of the data.
Some of this isn`t conjecture. Some of the data information is evidence and facts of exchanges. That`s why the American people would have the opportunity to judge for themselves, is it something that`s being exaggerated, or is it something that really creates a concern for some of the major people who were investigating into this? Was there wrongdoing here?
TUR: There`s classified information in this memo. The DOJ has already said it would be extraordinarily reckless to release this.
Do you think it`s a good idea to go around the DOJ and release something that they have said is extraordinarily reckless, that talks about one of the most secret practices in our government, one of the most sensitive ways that we gather intelligence, using FISA warrants?
WALKER: There is a precedent in many occasions both from the Judiciary as well as the House Oversight, which has full subpoena powers, to access and get information from the Department of Justice, even top secret, even classified information. Some of it`s redacted.
But we have looked at this and the Judiciary Committee, along with others, as well as the intelligence, believe that there is no national security information that would be damaged. This is about people`s past actions, looking at it, and then making the judgment.
Allowing the American people to answer the question, when you look at this specific information, did the government overstep their boundaries connected with the dossier, connected with the Hillary Clinton Foundation? Does this put more -- or the Hillary Clinton campaign. Does this put more the pieces together?
And I believe that`s one of the things that can be deducted from some of this information.
TUR: The DOJ says it would be extraordinarily reckless. Let`s just get on to another point.
TUR: Republicans cried foul when an unverified dossier came out and criticized or -- potentially could have hurt Donald Trump, the Steele dossier. And now, they`re putting forward another unverified memo -- this one from Devin Nunes -- that`s going to help Donald Trump.
I don`t understand how you square that circle. One unverified dossier is not OK, but this unverified dossier is OK. I guess, one hurts the President and one helps the President and that`s what makes this OK?
WALKER: Katy, that`s -- I appreciate your assessment, but I think the difference is when you`re looking at Christopher Steele, who was employed and paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign to come up with information, there is going to be a certain bias. When you`re looking at --
TUR: Christopher Steele was first employed by -- we should make it clear, first employed by Republicans, first paid by Republicans.
WALKER: Sure. And sometimes, my point is, are you not beholden to the people that are employing you to go out and dig up dirt on a specific individual? So when you have all those connections there, was the FBI connected? Was there a direct connection?
That`s what the American people want to know, not just your viewers but across the board. Can you draw a direct connection, whether it`s Devin Nunes or someone else? By releasing that information, it allows the American people to have more access to be able to draw their own conclusions.
TUR: One last point, though. You`re talking about somebody who is working for somebody and trying to find things that that person wants. Devin Nunes worked for the transition. How does it not apply to both of them in the same way?
WALKER: Well, I think, as I`ve said earlier, there is a precedent being established that if you feel like or you`re making the case that anybody who ever works with a potential candidate can no longer be unbiased in their duties, their congressional duties, I think that puts us in a very bad situation because, throughout history, members of Congress and elected officials have partnered, have worked with, have campaigned for said candidates to be able to get out there.
Once the election is over, I hope that you can go and continue to do your duties and do them honorably.
TUR: But if your criticism of Steele is that he was working for somebody makes it so he could not be fair, the same criticism would have to apply to Devin Nunes.
Unfortunately, that is all of the time we have for now. Thank you, Congressman Walker, for joining us. We appreciate it.
WALKER: OK. Thanks, Katy. Thank you.
TUR: Joining me now is Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware. He wrote one of the bipartisan bills to change procedures around the firing of the Special Counsel.
Senator, thank you very much for joining us.
SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE: Thank you, Katy.
TUR: This bipartisan legislation that you want to protect Robert Mueller, is it getting new life now that we`ve seen the developments in the past week?
COONS: Well, I`m looking forward to conversations on the floor of the Senate in just a few minutes. I`m going to be talking with both Senator Thom Tillis, my Republican co-sponsor, and with Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa.
It`s my insistence -- it will be my insistence to them that given the revelations by "The New York Times" that President Trump, months ago, attempted to fire Bob Mueller, resolved to do it and ordered his counsel to do so, and was only blocked by a threat to resign from White House Counsel Don McGahn, that it is more urgent than ever that we take this modest, reasonable bipartisan step, and we do so as quickly as possible.
We introduced this bill months ago. It had a hearing before the Judiciary Committee. We`ve made some small tweaks to it that I`d to see us reintroduce that could address concerns members of the Committee had.
I think it`s important that we put in place a speed bump that would make it significantly harder for the President to improvidently fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
TUR: Do you want to attach it to budget negotiations?
COONS: Well, I`m still hopeful that we can get this done in an appropriate bipartisan way through the committee, but it`s urgent. And if that ends up being the only pathway in front of us, I would support that as well.
TUR: Is your legislation legal, though? Does Congress have the authority to override the executive branch when the executive branch decides to fire somebody?
COONS: I`m confident that it is constitutional. I`ll remind you that it is a descent in a majority opinion that those who raised questions at the one hearing we had are relying upon.
I won`t get into the legal weeds here. I do think there is reason to concern ourselves with whether we can stop the President from firing someone.
My bill, instead, says, if he fires the Special Counsel, that Special Counsel could go to a three-judge panel and seek reinstatement. I know that is a legal nicety, but it matters in terms of the constitution.
TUR: You don`t think that this potentially conflicts with separations of power?
COONS: No, there`s lots of ways in which each branch constrains the other. Checks and balances is one of the ways in which our constitutional order makes sure that no one branch is completely unrestrained in the exercise of its constitutional duties.
TUR: Let`s talk about where Donald Trump stands right now on the Special Counsel. Are you confident that the Republicans in the Senate, the Republicans in the House, will act if he tries to do something like that again?
COONS: Well, Katy, I`ve had a number of individual private conversations with my Republican colleagues over the last few months.
Every single Republican, senator and congressman, I have spoken to about this agrees that Bob Mueller must be allowed to continue his investigation unimpeded by the President, and that it would be a significant blow to rule of law in this country if the President fired Bob Mueller.
When I press them and say, what would you do? They don`t have a good answer. They all say, well, it won`t happen or it would be terrible or something would have to be done, but I`m not confident that they have a Plan B.
And it is just reckless, it is irresponsible for us, as legislators, to have this glaring threat to our republic, to our constitutional order, right in front of us and an easy solution to make it less likely and to fail to act.
TUR: Well, given that, are you going to try and force your legislation or force some legislation to make sure that he is protected? Are you going to -- I mean, if there is not an appetite to do anything with it or a real appetite to move quickly, shouldn`t it be attached to budget negotiations?
COONS: Katy, the way things get done here is with consent and partnership between the majority and minority. I can`t, on my own, as one senator, run into a budget negotiation and demand that this be included, but I am raising this as an issue with the Chairman of the Committee with my Republican co-sponsor and with lots of my colleagues.
I think the facts have changed in the last few days given "The New York Times" report, and I think there is reason for all of us to be more concerned.
TUR: Would you --
COONS: So I appreciate your giving this coverage, and I`m hopeful that, in the next few days, Republicans and Democrats alike will agree that this is a small step to secure some more confidence that the President won`t take this misguided action.
TUR: There is also the Booker-Graham legislation. If you can`t come to an agreement on one of those -- one of those pieces of legislation before the government shutdown, before February -- I believe it`s the 7th or 8th.
TUR: I can`t remember --
TUR: Eighth. Eighth, excuse. Would you consider shutting down the government over this?
COONS: Look, Katy, that`s a hypothetical. I`m going to have some conversations on the floor today and have a much better sense of where my colleagues are. I think this is an important thing for us to take responsibility for as a body on a bipartisan basis.
TUR: Senator Chris Coons. Senator, thank you very much.
COONS: Thank you.
TUR: And ahead, the number two at the FBI stepped down today as tensions between the White House and the Justice Department reached a new high. That`s next.
TUR: Welcome back. Another House Republican is opting out of a tough re- election fight this November. This time it`s New Jersey`s Rodney Frelinghuysen who is taking cover from the forecasted big blue wave.
The House Appropriations Committee chair is the 31st Republican member of Congress to retire or seek another office instead of running again. Here is why.
While the Frelinghuysen -- while Frelinghuysen won by double-digits in 2016, his district became one of the most competitive in the country. Donald Trump carried his New Jersey district by just one point, and New Jersey`s new Democratic Governor, Phil Murphy, won the district by eight points in November.
This district is one of the most highly educated and wealthy districts currently in Republican hands, meaning it`s likely to be a tough one for Republicans in the age of Trump. Our friends at "The Cook Political Report" to rate this race as a toss-up, and Democrats already have several well-funded candidates jockeying for the nomination.
We`ll keep our eyes on it as the mid-term elections near. We`re back in 60 seconds with more MTP DAILY and more on the big breaking news of the day, the FBI`s Deputy Director stepping down.
TUR: Welcome back. Let`s bring in tonight`s panel. Matthew Continetti is editor-in-chief of "The Washington Free Beacon"; Susan Page, Washington bureau chief for "USA Today"; and Jason Johnson, politics editor at theroot.com and an MSNBC contributor.
Guys, welcome. Lots of breaking news today. Let`s start, though, with Andrew McCabe. The White House says they didn`t get involved in this in any way, that this was all Andrew McCabe`s decision and you`d have to ask the FBI.
They may say that, but the reality is Donald Trump was putting a lot of political pressure on him on Twitter, in interviews, was not happy. So how much do you chalk up his stepping down to the current environment, Matthew?
MATTHEW CONTINETTI, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE WASHINGTON FREE BEACON: Well, I think we have to distinguish between maybe the Trump White House and President himself.
And it may very well be true that the Trump White House didn`t have much interaction or involvement with McCabe`s decision to step down about a month early before he was planning to.
On the other hand, of course, as we`ve known for years now, Donald Trump has made a big issue out of not only McCabe being there but also, of course, McCabe`s wife`s attempt to run for the state Senate seat and having the donations from Terry McAuliffe back in 2015.
TUR: NBC News has new reporting from Carol Lee that`s talking about Donald Trump and Andrew McCabe and a conversation they had when he fired James Comey.
James Comey was taking the FBI plane back from Los Angeles to FBI headquarters. Remember, he fired him while he was on a trip to L.A. Donald Trump was furious that he was using an FBI plane to get back.
And he said, Andrew McCabe, why did you authorize this? And he said, I wasn`t asked but if I had I would have approved it. And then Donald Trump said something like, well, you should ask -- he paused, and you should ask your wife what it feels like to be a loser.
JASON JOHNSON, POLITICAL EDITOR, THEROOT.COM: It sounds exactly like the President of the United States that we have right now. It is very believable.
And every time you hear one of these quotes, what always dawns on me is, you know, sometimes confirmed sources or unconfirmed sources, regardless, but you hear so many of them, it sounds like Donald Trump`s voice.
If you`re in that kind of work environment, yes, I can understand why Andrew McCabe would say, hey, I don`t want to be here. But it also sort of speaks to the pettiness and the avarice that we`re constantly hearing from this President.
This is the same President that left Sean Spicer off of pain (ph) and did the same thing to Reince Priebus. I mean, he`s done these kinds of petty transportation moves before. So for him to chastise McCabe for behavior that he is engaged in, that`s the kind of thing that would make any civil servant want to go.
TUR: There`s also some stories in the press how he used to leave Marla Maples at the airport when she wasn`t on time. The politics of this, though, is anybody safe in the Justice Department, anybody who Donald Trump doesn`t like or runs afoul of him or doesn`t -- isn`t loyal enough? Is anybody safe?
SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, USA TODAY: Well, I think it`s clear that no one is safe from criticism and that some people have chosen to leave in the face of that kind of criticism, like Mr. McCabe, and some have not, like Jeff Sessions. Remember, Jeff Sessions came in for some really fierce criticism from the President and chose to stay on.
But I think what we`re seeing is a concerted attempt by Republicans to discredit the institutions that may come out with a very serious report about Donald Trump`s engagement in Russian meddling or in obstruction of justice.
I think this is a preemptive effort to make some Americans, at least, question whether they can trust the report that we think we`re going to see relatively soon from the Special Counsel.
TUR: So we have this "New York Times" report that Andrew McCabe steps down under pressure, admitting that there was pressure apparently. An NBC News report that Donald Trump called Andrew McCabe`s wife a loser because Comey took the plane home.
There is also a Bloomberg report that says on the flight to Davos, Trump erupted over the DOJ role in Russia probe. He was unhappy that a DOJ official said it would be a very bad idea essentially, reckless --
PAGE: Extremely reckless.
TUR: -- extremely reckless, extraordinarily reckless to release these memos. I mean, what do -- when you take all of these stories together, doesn`t it point you in a direction?
CONTINETTI: It points me in the direction that Trump does not like the investigation.
CONTINETTI: He hasn`t liked it from the beginning. He didn`t like it when James Comey refused to say that Trump was not under investigation. He didn`t like that part so much that he fired Comey which led to the appointment of Mueller which led to Donald Trump being under investigation for possible obstruction of justice. And now, he really doesn`t like that part.
It`s a frustration, I think, that Trump continually runs into. Luckily, though, we seem to have a lot of buttresses, I think, in Washington, D.C. that are preventing him, as for now, getting --
TUR: Do you think so?
CONTINETTI: Oh, yes. Well, I mean, look, the fact is, with the McGahn story, that big "New York Times" blockbuster, is, no matter what the details were, Trump backed off.
PAGE: Because one person stood up.
CONTINETTI: Right. We --
PAGE: What if he did not?
CONTINETTI: At least one person we know about.
PAGE: Well, one -- yes, right.
PAGE: But I mean -- and that`s not really an institution. That`s not one of our protections that the White House Counsel would say, I`m going to quit --
CONTINETTI: But you also have Chris Coons debating legislation.
CONTINETTI: And you mentioned the Graham-Booker legislation. We also have --
TUR: But so far, we haven`t seen that move forward.
CONTINETTI: We have also the courts that have stood up against the Donald Trump in multiple times in the last year and a half.
TUR: But here`s the thing. If Donald Trump does try to go and fire Bob Mueller, if he tries to go down the line to fire Bob Mueller, are you confident that the Republicans who are standing firm today are going to stand firm when that happens? Is Lindsey Graham going to be as tough as he sounds today in a week or two weeks or three months or whenever it happens if it does happen?
Already, we`ve seen other Republicans waver in their dedication to protecting Robert Mueller. It`s not -- now, it`s a "I`m not going to talk about hypotheticals" when before, it was a "absolutely, that is a red line; if he crosses it, it`s over."
PAGE: Well, one thing I think the --
CONTINETTI: Look, with Lindsey Graham, you can be confident that he`d be - -
TUR: Maybe Lindsey Graham, but a lot of other Republicans --
JOHNSON: I have no confidence in any of them. I have absolutely no confidence in them. They have capitulated on almost every turn, even Jeff Flake.
Remember, people have asked -- Jeff Flake has all these mean things to say. He`s never engaged in any actual policy activity, no votes to actually stop some of the behavior that Donald Trump engages in.
And since, ultimately, this investigation about collusion at least is going to fall down to whether or not members of Congress thinks it`s an impeachable offense, I don`t have any faith in any of them to do the right thing when it comes to this person.
PAGE: You know, if he -- if the President fires the Special Counsel, Democrats will win the House of Representatives in November, and they will vote to impeach the President next year, I think, on the grounds that that is a really serious obstruction of justice.
CONTINETTI: Which is one reason, I think, of the all of the names you`ve mentioned, Katy, Bob Mueller may have the safest position in the Trump Justice Department.
TUR: But look what Kevin McCarthy told Donald Trump -- excuse me, told Chuck Todd, not Donald Trump -- Chuck Todd yesterday on "MEET THE PRESS." He asked him if McCarthy would support legislation to protect Mueller.
And maybe you get this in the Senate but here is the House. Would McCarthy protect Mueller? And McCarthy said this, I don`t think there`s a need for legislation right now to protect Mueller. If there is an issue that arrives, we`ll take it up at that time. But right now, there is not an issue, so why create one when there isn`t a place for it?
How can you say that there`s not an issue -- it`s not an issue when "The New York Times" has just reported that he tried to do so?
I mean, what is the harm, I guess, in Republicans just coming out and saying, you know, we`re going to make sure everything stays aboveboard? Let`s pass this legislation so all of the people of this country know that we are trying to protect the integrity of an investigation by a Special Counsel, somebody, Robert Mueller, who had the broad support of everybody in Congress the day he got appointed and even before that while he was FBI director.
JOHNSON: Because none of them are interested in seeing this investigation through. Look, we got the special prosecutor because I think there was probably a lot of Republicans who were like, look, if this ends up blowing up in our faces, at least we can put it on Mueller.
But at this point, the way that they have allowed this president and never stepped up against him to insult the process, to demean one of the most important institutions in this government, which is the Department of Justice and the FBI, I don`t have any confidence.
And this idea of "we don`t need to protect Mueller yet," that`s like, well, you know, there are some robberies in the neighborhood but I don`t really need to start locking my door. The President has made it abundantly clear that the moment he gets a window, he`s going to fire this guy.
So it clearly shows that McCarthy and a lot of the Republican leadership are not interested in seeing this investigation go through.
TUR: What do you think of the memo?
PAGE: The secret memo --
TUR: The secret memos, the Nunes memo.
PAGE: I think --
TUR: I was talking to --
TUR: -- a congressman just a moment ago, and -- Walker. And he was saying that you can`t trust Christopher Steele because he was paid by somebody. Devin Nunes was on the transition. So how do you trust Devin Nunes?
PAGE: Yes. Well, this is going to be quite the test and perhaps pretty soon with the president. And of course some Republicans are characterizing this as a case of transparency. Let the American people know.
But you have the Republican -- the Trump Justice Department saying it would be extraordinarily reckless to release this, and by Republicans who have -- like most Americans -- like most officials concerns about revealing information that really ought to be kept secret.
This has become a very leaky town. So I think this is going to be a big fight and the president has signaled that he will probably -- that we should not expect the president to act against the House decision to release the memo if that is what they choose to do.
TUR: Hold that thought. Matt, Susan, Jason, stay with us. We`ll be back in a little bit.
Ahead, the DACA deal dilemma. Are lawmakers getting any closer to an immigration plan that could actually pass?
TUR: Don`t forget people, spell check is your friend. This right here is the ticket guests received for tomorrow`s state of the union address. Notice any problems? It says state of the uniom, with an "M." The sergeant- at-arms office admits the mistake and says it is redistributing the tickets.
So, if you are hosting a dinner watch party tomorrow night, state of the uniom is still a nice full name. Dinner or not, join NBC News and MSNBC for complete state of the union, not uniom, coverage tomorrow.
Brian Williams, Rachel Maddow, and Chris Matthews lead our coverage. And since we know everyone has got two screens nowadays, you can also join Steve Kornacki and me -- me online streaming live tomorrow night starting at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
TUR: Welcome back. Let`s turn now to the other big story on Capitol Hill these days. The immigration fight. A senior administration official said that in tomorrow`s state of the union, the president will call on Congress to pass immigration reform.
But right now, that seems like a pipe dream. Just last week, the White House offered up an immigration deal that includes a path to citizenship for so-called "dreamers" and cuts to legal immigration.
That plan has been panned by some lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Many of the leaders in Congress feel that if, and that is a very big if, there is an immigration deal reached, it will come from the, quote, number twos.
Congressmen McCarthy and Hoyer and senators Cornyn and Durbin have been meeting regularly to discuss a compromise on immigration. They just wrapped up a meeting moments ago with top Trump administration officials. But if they can`t get it done, are we headed for another shutdown?
Let`s bring in democratic Congresswoman Judy Chu of California. Congresswoman, thank you very much for joining us.
REP. JUDY CHU (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you.
TUR: What are the chances that the government is going to shut down over an immigration deal again? CHU: I hope that we continue the conversations. There has been bipartisan efforts to reach a conclusion and in fact we have Republicans on the House side that have wanted a solution. So, it is my hope that we can get together and finally provide a permanent solution to the "dreamers" status.
TUR: Are you willing to vote on another short-term spending bill if you can`t figure it out by February? After all, DACA protections don`t run out until March.
CHU: I am definitely not voting "yes" on another short-term C.R. without a DACA solution. That is my stance and I think that the situation is very critical. I certainly could not support such a solution.
TUR: So you are OK with shutting the government down on February 8th?
CHU: Well, I -- I certainly think that there should not be -- we should not be going forward without a solution, so that is where my vote will be, yes.
TUR: So that means that you would be OK with shutting the government down because you would not vote for it without a DACA deal.
CHU: Well, I think that we should -- yes, I do think that we should not have a solution without a DACA deal. However, I do not support a government shutdown. I do think that we have to keep government open. But it is important to me to make sure that we have a solution for our "dreamers."
TUR: How do you way that? Do you have a number of more moderate Democrats in both the House and the Senate who are living and working in very red states or red districts or who -- and who need to get re-elected and have different interests to represent? How do you -- how do you maintain their safety and also maintain the safety of these "dreamers?"
CHU: Well, I do know that there are many different issues that should be worked on in a C.R. We have issues pertaining to pensions, veterans benefits, and the "dreamers." And I think that we need an overall solution to our budget issues. It is in the interest of moderates in the red states to have that kind of solution as well. TUR: I want to talk about the language that is being used surrounding this debate. You had a tweet where you said that Trump is making, quote, white nationalists demands. Do you think it helps to describe these demands as white nationalist when you are trying to work with Republicans?
CHU: Well, this is the same president who said that he would prefer immigrants from Norway rather than those from the S-hole countries of Africa and Haiti. So it is pretty clear where he`s coming from. He has also made statements supporting the white nationalists in Charlottesville.
So, he has definitely shown that he has certainly not for the "dreamers" but clearly not for legal immigrants to this country. That is the astounding thing. Immigrants have contributed to this country in such a substantial way and yet he`s using tomorrow night as a way of creating more fear of immigrants who have been shown to be less violent, less crime prone than native-born people. TUR: But you are talking about white nationalist demands. And so that doesn`t mean you are just talking about Donald Trump, you are talking about in effect the people who support his immigration plan.
So are all of the folks who support his immigration plan and all of the things that he wants in an immigration bill to make a deal for "dreamers," are they all white nationalists?
CHU: One thing I can say is that his immigration policy, shutting down legal immigration seems to be written by Stephen Miller who is part of the hold Bannon Breitbart effort to keep this -- keep America white again.
And we know that that is why they want to shut down legal immigration, to an extent that we`ve never seen before, where immigrants cannot even petition for their parents, let alone anybody else, brothers and sisters and adult children.
They want to cut legal immigration by half. And we`ve never seen this before. He wants to actually return back to the time of 1924 when we had a law that mainly brought in Nordic Europeans, deeply restricted Italians and Jews and actually banned Asians from being able to come to this country.
This did not change until 1965 and because of a law in 1965, we finally have the diversity of immigrants that we have now. TUR: One last question. Are you willing in order to get protection for the "dreamers," are you willing to give some money for the wall?
CHU: We will have to see what kind of discussion there is. There actually is a very good bill that I support, in fact I`m a co-sponsor, this is the William Hurd-Pete Aguilar bill which is a bipartisan bill and it provides some moneys for repairs and for increasing security.
It actually goes into a study to see what we really need at the wall because I think that we should have concrete information that is based on fact before we plunge into putting money into the wall. TUR: Congresswoman Judy Chu. Congresswoman, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
CHU: Thank you.
TUR: And ahead, the Republican Party`s no Wynn situation. What they are doing with the casino magnet`s money?
TUR: Welcome back. Billionaire casino magnate Steve Wynn resigned as RNC finance chairman this weekend after the Wall Street Journal reported accusations of sexual misconduct by multiple employees at his Las Vegas casino. Wynn denies those allegations.
Wynn was a major Republican booster, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to GOP organizations and candidates over the years. And now Republicans have to decide what to do about that. The Republican Governors Association announced today they will return $100,000 donation from Wynn Resorts.
Some Republican lawmakers who received campaign contributions from Wynn are giving that money to charity, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and 2017 special election winners, Karen Handel and Greg Gianforte.
President Trump in the past referred to Wynn as a great friend and Wynn served as vice chair of President Trump`s inaugural committee. Back with the panel after this.
TUR: Welcome back for "The Lid." Our cameras are staked outside of the House Intel Committee right now. They`re behind closed doors. Who knows what they`re doing in there. But at some point today, they`re supposed to be voting on whether or not to release Devin Nunes`s memo.
Matthew Continetti, Susan Page, Jason Johnson are back with me. So they`re going to be voting and from the looks of it, they are going to vote "yes" to do so. Donald Trump will then have five days to decide if he wants to stop them from doing it.
The DOJ has called it extraordinarily reckless, but The Washington Post reported over the weekend that John Kelly made it very clear to A.G. Jeff Sessions that the president wants it released. MATTHEW CONTINETTI, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, WASHINGTON FREE BEACON: So it`s likely that the president would approve of the committee`s decision to release the memo, and we would all be able to see it, which I`m actually looking forward to.
CONTINETTI: I maybe the only man (INAUDIBLE). I`d like to read what the committee chair, Devin Nunes, claims. Now of course, his ranking member, Adam Schiff, says it`s a bunch of baloney, and he will then I think as the congressman told you earlier in the show also give his own document, his own memo.
TUR: This is the state of play right now. The Republicans say we have this memo, and we`re going to show you all the ways in which the DOJ and the FBI are correct. The Democrats come out and say oh, no, no, no. We`re going to have our own memo showing you all the ways that the Republicans are actually corrupt in doing this.
Everybody is looking at it through their -- through their partisan lenses. It`s all how it`s going to affect them politically. I mean, is there any realization in Washington, here in Washington that the American public is sick of this sort of stuff?
JASON JOHNSON, POLITICAL EDITOR, THE ROOT: I don`t think -- I don`t think they realize that. I don`t think when you`re not in D.C., when I`m back in Ohio, when I`m in Atlanta, when I`m in central Texas, this is not what people want to hear about right now.
They want to hear about jobs, they want to hear about the economy, they want to figure out what`s happening with immigration. This sort of petty "Game of Thrones" nonsense that`s happening with these members of Congress isn`t ultimately going to change how they vote.
It`s ultimately not going to change how the investigation works. And it ultimately is not going to change the results of 2018. So I find all of this to be disappointing at its core. I will admit this. Look, if there is something wrong with how the FBI is doing their job, then Nunes and the members of the committee have an obligation to release this information and correct it.
But it seems right now, it`s probably just Al Capone`s vault. Like it doesn`t seem like there`s anything they`re going to reveal because the people who have seen it already have said hey, look, this is all just conjecture.
PAGE: Yes, but it contributes to this corrosive attitude toward Washington and this feeling that there`s no one in Washington trusts institutions that used to have standing no longer do. Why is it that the economy is good, there is growth, there is no unemployment, the stock market keeps breaking records, but by about two to one Americans say the country is on the wrong track?
That is a disconnect that we have not seen. In the past, if the economy is good, people feel like the country is on the right track. Something has made Americans feel like there are a lot of things -- there are (INAUDIBLE) well in the country, but I think that we are headed in the wrong direction.
TUR: So what is it?
CONTINETTI: What is it?
CONTINETTI: Well, I think part of it is Donald Trump.
CONTINETTI: And the truth is, you know, a lot of the economic gains that happened as part of the Trump boom have gone to the areas of the country that voted for Hillary Clinton.
And so if you have this weird mix of results where the people who are hurting last year and in 2016 may -- their recovery is slower than those who actually are against Trump for political reasons and don`t like him personally. So I think that contributes a lot to that numbers.
TUR: What does this look like out though in real -- I hate famous -- real America, everywhere is real America, but what does it look like outside of Washington?
Does it look like the Republicans are doing everything they can to undercut the DOJ and the FBI, the closer it gets to Donald Trump? Or does it look like everything Donald Trump says or does is a reason for mass hysteria?
JOHNSON: So, I think it`s -- even if you go beyond the partisan lens, the most simple way to look at it is this. If you ask somebody in the middle of Missouri, if you ask somebody in Utah, you ask somebody in California, hey, do you trust the FBI to find a missing kid? They say, yes.
People still trust the FBI. People still trust both of these institutions. What they don`t like seeing is politicians and in particular from this president trying to undermine institutions that we generally trust for their own political benefit.
It`s not like tomorrow people are suddenly not going to believe what the FBI has to say. What they are going to start saying is, a president who attacks his own institutions on a regular basis is not a president we can trust.
There are lots of Americans who think that Americans improve. There is this whole study about, you know, different racial perceptions of things. There are lots of Americans who actually think that this country is a safer, more responsible place now than it used to be before Trump got in office.
But the majority of Americans who didn`t vote for this president, who don`t like this kind of acrimony are unhappy. And if it doesn`t come out in the voting booth, it`s going to come out in other possibly negative ways in this country if we don`t have some more discipline and stability.
TUR: I got to tell you, I was in Los Angeles, not the most bipartisan place, but Los Angeles over the weekend and I ran into person after person who just said they were just sick and tired of all the fighting. They wanted to see something anything gets done.
Matt, Susan, Jason, guys, thank you so much for being here. Good to see you in person here in Washington. Ahead, Vice President Mike Pence faces the ultimate vision test.
TUR: In case you missed it, the state of the union is tomorrow night and all eyes will be on the president. All eyes. Especially those of Vice President Mike Pence who has had more than a year to get his gaze in gear. This was the veep today as the president welcomed his new health and human services secretary.
And this was him a few weeks ago as Republicans celebrated the passage of tax reform. No question the vice president is laser focused even when he`s out of focus. But tomorrow, that stare will be put to the ultimate test again.
The V.P. will join the elite club of state of the union win (ph) men. Vice President Biden did it with (INAUDIBLE), so did Vice President Cheney. Indeed, it`s a proud tradition for the second in command, that look of loyalty, that stare of solidarity, though some VPs did it better than others.
So rest those eyes, Mr. Vice President. They will be working overtime tomorrow because even amidst the impossible gridlock in the halls of Congress, tomorrow night at the state of the union address, the eyes will have it.
That`s all for tonight. Chuck will be back tomorrow with more "MTP Daily." "The Beat" with Ari Melber starts right now. Hey there, Ari. Have you seen V.P. Pence when Donald Trump is talking? He just stares. He doesn`t break gaze. Nothing on his face, just laser focused.
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