updated 7/22/2014 9:46:03 AM ET 2014-07-22T13:46:03

UP with STEVE KORNACKI
July 20, 2014

Guest: Mary Ann Ahern, Jim Warren, Basil Smikle, Brian Murphy, Kitty
Higgins, Michael Weiss, Crosby Gernon, Raj Goyle, Kellyanne Conway, Wesley
Lowery, James Moran, Nina Khrushcheva, Natalie Tennant, Kathy Obradovich

STEVE KORNACKI, HOST: There are reports of bodies being moved to an
undisclosed location from the Malaysian Airlines crash site.

Good morning, and thanks for getting up with us early this Sunday morning.
There`s a lot of news we want to get to this morning. But the biggest
story right now continues to be the effort to investigate the crime scene
for the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet that crashed in Ukraine. Breaking
news at this hour is that rescue workers say pro-Russian separatist rebels
have now seized all 196 bodies that have recently been recovered from the
crash site. Bodies were taken at gunpoint, this according to U.S.
administration officials. Reporters from the Associated Press say they saw
body bags being loaded onto trucks. In all 298 people were on that flight.
The contaminated crime scene and the reports of how the victims are being
treated are now drawing global outrage including from the United States and
the Netherlands. More than half of the victims were Dutch. Dutch prime
minister has decried what he calls, "the utterly disrespectful behavior
being exhibited." He said Russian President Putin has "one last chance" to
show that he`s serious about helping to recover the bodies. Reuters is
reporting that separatist rebels have found what they think are the black
boxes and have taken them in as well. I want to get the latest now from
Kristen Welker at the White House. Kristen, any reaction yet from the
administration regarding the new reports about the bodies being moved away
from the crash site?

KRISTEN WELKER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: We are getting some reaction this
morning, Steve. And I can tell you, it is an angry reaction from the Obama
administration. A statement came in overnight from State Department
officials. I`m going to read you just a portion of that statement. It
says, quote, "the site is not secure and there are multiple reports of
bodies being removed, parts of the plane and other debris being hauled away
and potential evidence tampered with. This is unacceptable and an affront
to all those who lost loved ones and to the dignity and victims that the
victims deserve." This was U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power who
tweeted out, "Reports pro-Russian militants taking victims` bodies from
responders at gunpoint, utter void of human decency." Today Steve, we
anticipate that leaders from France, Germany and Britain will press Russian
President Vladimir Putin to allow those international investigators to gain
easy and free access to the crash site. Now, this all comes as U.S.
officials say that they have new evidence that links Russia to the surface-
to-air missile that was provided to the pro-Russian separatists that it is
believed shot down that plane. One of those pieces of evidence being
provided by Ukrainian officials, they call this a smoking gun, it is photos
that show three surface to air missiles being transported from eastern
Ukraine back into Russia and they say one of the missile launcher is
missing its missile. So that is what Ukrainian officials are pointing to
as a smoking gun.

Now, I can tell you that President Obama is monitoring all of this from
Camp David that is where he`s spending the weekend. In a conversation that
I had late last night with a White House official I was told that he was
briefed yesterday and specifically briefed about this situation at the
crash site and I anticipate we`ll learn more about his specific reaction
when we hear from Secretary of State John Kerry who will appear on "Meet
the Press" later today. Steve.

KORNACKI: All right, Kristen Welker, at the White House we really
appreciate that. We want to discuss the latest developments now with Kitty
Higgins, she is the former National Transportation Safety Board member,
Michael Weiss, the columnist with "Foreign Policy" magazine, also the
editor and chief of "The Interpreter" online journal, and retired NBC News
aviation correspondent Bob Hager. So, Bob, let`s start with you. The
black boxes. We show you the video there. It looks like apparently the
rebels taking the black box. Apparently they have it. They`re not
admitting it. But again, we`re looking at that video right there. What is
the significance of that - to find out what`s going on here?

BOB HAGER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think eventually, no matter who
has them, rebels or whatever, that somebody with the authority and
expertise and get - will have their hands on these black boxes. I can`t
just lose them. And because the key thing is that they don`t tell you a
whole lot. There are a couple of interesting things they probably will be
able to tell you. Just they`ll tell you something catastrophic happened to
this plane very suddenly. We know it was a missile, but it will at least
confirm something catastrophic, it won`t say missile. But it will say
precisely where the plane was when that catastrophic event occurred. So,
that`s interesting. The voice recorder, which will be in the cockpit and
records what the pilot and copilot are saying to each other, that will tell
you, first of all, tell you that they got no radio warning or anything,
nobody contacted them ahead of time to say are you an alien aircraft, what
are you doing in our air space or whatever? So, it will show you there was
no warning of this. But it will tell you whether or not the pilot saw the
missile. That will be a long shot that they actually saw it. But it would
at least tell you -- in other words, if they didn`t see it, it will tell
you they have no idea what happened to them. Technically, too, the black
box will probably tell you the plane might have flown on for a couple of
minutes but won`t say precisely, you know, how it came down.

KORNACKI: So, Kitty, let me bring you in here. Because we`re talking
about the difficulties. Obviously, the story with the bodies is just
extraordinary to me. These bodies apparently being at gunpoint being
seized by the rebels. Have you just in your past with the NTSB and just
being knowledgeable in this sort of subject, have you ever seen anything
like that before with bodies being taken away like this?

KITTY HIGGINS, FMR. NTSB MEMBER: No. It`s incredible and unprecedented.
Every accident that I`ve been involved in and am aware of, there are very
strict protocols that are followed. They are followed whether the accident
happens in the United States or in a foreign country. And none of those
protocols are being followed here and it`s making the - what`s already a
very difficult accident scene, accident investigation that much more
difficult and much more complicated.

KORNACKI: Well, no, Michael, it`s speculation here, but I mean what could
we guess would the rebels want to do with these bodies? Is it they want to
take evidence away from it, they want to take personal possessions away
from these people, they want to hold it ransom for something, what was
their motive?

MICHAEL WEISS, FOREIGN POLICY: The entire thing is a cover-up of the
incident. The first journalists allowed on the scene of this crash site
were affiliated with Life News, which is a Russian outlet very, very close
to the Russian security services. OK? They were admitted untrammeled
access to the site where several Western journalists tried to report on the
scene and were kind of held at bay.

Removing bodies, removing the personal belongings of the crash victims.
There have been reports that in the local town, you know where the plane
went down, locals have taken the credit cards of the victims and started to
use them. Look, you know, this is a disgrace. There is not going to be an
independent investigation. This is the point. The rebels are purposefully
trying to cover their tracks and to obscure and hide any evidence
whatsoever that would implicate them in this.

KORNACKI: Can you tell - What is for people who - I mean we`re trying to
picture what this scene must look like right now. Because there are
Western journalists who are over there. You know, there are investigators
from the West who are trying to get in.

WEISS: Right.

KORNACKI: How much access are they getting right now? How far away are
they being kept? What`s that scene like?

WEISS: I mean you cannot get to sort of the ground zero, if you like. I
mean, by the way, the wreckage is scattered, you know, all over the place.
There isn`t sort of one locus. But I mean if you`re attempting to rifle
through the remains or get it really up close and take photographs, these
guys with guns are going to sort of keep you at bay. They`re not going to
allow you in there if they don`t want to.

Remember, a few days ago the OSCE monitors had attempted to -- they were
the first ones on the scene. They were granted very limited access to the
site and then they were told to get the hell away and gunshots were fired.
I mean this is a European international diplomatic mission that was being
almost shot at to go away.

KORNACKI: Bob, and in covering these things through years, is that
anything like you`ve ever encountered before, where there`s hostile forces
there .

HAGER: Well, I just want to say that I think a lot of times when planes
have crashed in unregulated parts of the world, Third World, you have to be
careful about saying Third World, but Third World countries, some of them
friendly to us and so forth. Public access, people wandering in a jungle
setting through the wreckage and looting, taking credit cards from the
bodies and so forth. Actually, frankly, that`s kind of common when planes
crash in odd places.

KORNACKI: What about - So, Kitty, in terms of the response here from the
West, whether it`s from the governments in Europe, whether it`s response
from the United States, what can they do - I think in terms of these bodies
right now, in terms of trying to recover these bodies from the rebels, what
can the U.S. do? What can Britain do, what can France do? What can the
Netherlands do to get those bodies back from these rebels right now?

HIGGINS: Well, the question is who is in charge of this investigation? It
happened in Ukrainian territory. Ukraine does not control that territory.
The Western governments are putting pressure on Russia, the Russian
federation, on Vladimir Putin, to provide access and to control the rebels
and allow the investigation to proceed. Without that kind of leadership
and managing the site, we`re going to continue to see this chaos. The
Russian federation, the leader of the Russian federation needs to make
these rebels allow the investigators to do their job.

KORNACKI: And Michael, just in terms of this - the new evidence that the
United States is now talking about, so saying, you know, there`s the
missing missile, watching that being transported from eastern Ukraine
across lines into Russia, it does strike me when I hear that it`s almost
too obvious. It`s almost surprising they wouldn`t try to cover their
tracks a little bit more. Does that hit you at all?

WEISS: I mean look, Kremlin propaganda, Kremlin attempts to hid, I mean
this is a form of warfare, that`s known as maskirovka. The idea is
plausible deniability, dissimulation and misdirection. However, some of
the attempts to do this are so farcical, and so absurd because we have
satellite footage, we have, you know, intercepts and all these things, it`s
just putting a little bit of doubt out there. Right? So, if Putin just
says I have nothing to do with it, well, headlines say Putin denies.
Right? And that`s sort of how the Western media conveys the Russian
sentiment.

Look, the intercepted communications, some of which you`ve aired on the
show previously, many of which Western intelligence have already confirmed
as genuine, showed that separatists not just talking to each other, right?
They`re talking to Russian military intelligence about this incident. So,
it is absolutely implausible, 100 percent implausible that the Kremlin
doesn`t have full control over this militia, at least now and could not, if
it wanted to do so, tell them, look, you have to allow international
monitors and inspectors, and here we have to have an independent
investigation for this crime. They don`t want to do it because it
implicates them as well.

KORNACKI: Right. Fascinating stuff, and obviously, developments coming in
by the minute. So, we`re going to have more, we`ll pick this up in the
next hour. For now I want to thank Kitty Higgins, the former member of the
NTSB, former NBC News aviation correspondent Bob Hager and Michael Weiss
for foreign policy in "The Interpreter."

In just a few minutes, we will also have the latest from the ground in
Gaza. But first, is the man who`s responsible for that thumping that
George W. Bush famously said he received in the 2006 elections, is that man
about to take one himself? That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: It`s been a grim year for the city of Chicago, or at least for
the South and West sides of that city. 82 people were shot over the 4th of
July holiday weekend, there are 16 of them killed. And then just this
weekend at least 34 people have been shot, including an 11-year-old girl
who`s struck dead by a stray bullet. City`s Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he`s
been working to stem the violence. The former White House chief of staff
is facing re-election soon next year. The non-partisan race in February.
And that context is starting to take shape. One potential challenger, the
Cook County board president, a woman name Toni Preckwinkle, said this week
that she has decided not to run. Some of us are surprised because a recent
poll showed that Emanuel would be starting with a huge deficit against
Preckwinkle. Down more than 20 points. In a new poll, but despite that
advantage, Preckwinkle said she doesn`t want the mayor`s race to impede her
ability to work with Emanuel over the next seven months.

But her departure has led another potential challenger to say that she may
soon enter the race, she`s the Chicago Teachers Union president. She looks
good on paper. Karen Lewis leads Rahm Emanuel by nine points in that same
recent poll. It`s not as much as Preckwinkle, obviously, but still, it is
substantial. There are 18 percent of likely voters who remain undecided.
Since taking office, Rahm Emanuel has shot down 58 schools and laid off
nearly 5,000 teachers. That means that Lewis has been one of Emanuel`s
toughest adversaries in city politics. Spokesperson said this week that
she`s close to filing the paperwork for an exploratory committee to
potentially run for mayor. She`s also expressing confidence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREN LEWIS: Yes, Rahm can be beaten.

I think that Bozo the clown should be able to beat him .

(LAUHTER)

LEWIS: If there are only two people running.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: He`s down in the polls in a city that`s facing tough times. So,
how can Rahm Emanuel bounce back? And can Rahm Emanuel bounce back? Well,
joining me to discuss, we have Mary Ann Ahern, she`s the politics reporter
for WMAQ, that`s the NBC 5 in Chicago and Jim Warren, former managing
editor of the "Chicago Tribune", now Washington bureau chief for the "New
York Daily News."

So, Mary Ann, let me start with you. I was reading the reaction from Karen
Lewis to this poll we just referenced. She was quoting the paper saying,
"Wow." And that was my reaction, too. When I saw these numbers. And this
pollster, I should say I went back and looked, this pollster called it in
2011. They were right on about the margin in that 2011 mayor`s race. This
is a reputable pollster. How big a shock were these numbers in Chicago?

MARY ANN AHERN, NBC 5 REPORTER: Big shock and interesting reaction from
Mayor Emanuel and his campaign staff who said the poll was laughable. I
don`t think they really think it`s laughable, but that was their initial
response. We`re hearing that he immediately started calling especially
black aldermen where his support in the black community is really low and
asking them whether or not they needed anything, not just him calling, but
his campaign staff. The mayor clearly concerned about what this poll
signals.

KORNACKI: Yeah, and so, Jim, how do you interpret the poll? Because Mary
Ann just referenced it there. It is when you look at sort of the racial
disparity in the poll, his support is just - the floor has fallen out when
it comes to African-American voters for Rahm Emanuel in Chicago. Is this
because of the violence we talked about in the beginning, is this because
of education cuts? Is there an issue you can pinpoint this to?

JIM WARREN, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Yeah, I mean first of all, to say that
the polling that`s been done by "The Sun Times" I think is methodologically
very dubious, given the robot polling they did, particularly one they did a
couple of months ago. It showed even single digits with blacks and
Latinos. That`s just followed a roll.

KORNACKI: But there is. Jim a second poll, it also has some running behind
Karen Lewis, in other word - two separate ..

(CROSSTALK)

WARREN: They theoretically has him running against someone who could
actually turn out to be very much the bozo candidate that Rahm Emanuel .

KORNACKI: So, you don`t put too much in these polls, a sitting mayor down
by that margin?

WARREN: No. I - the question is, guys, you may dislike the guy, you may
hate him intensely, and there are very good reasons to. He`s sort of like
the who`s married into your family and has - at the dinner table noted
something that nobody else has noted, like mom is a hoarder, dad is drunk,
sister-in-law is a liar, and stuff nobody wanted to hear, including about
the state of the dismal finances and the - also, the state of - dismal
public school system doing something that was going to cream him
politically. I have got two did in the system. Closing 50 schools. So,
yes, right now is the weakest moment of his mayoralty. But the fact that
you don`t like him doesn`t necessarily mean you`re fully behind somebody
else.

And given his giant, giant money advantage, he`s got about seven or eight
million in the kit and he`s just started a super pack rather, and probably,
that`s already up to 1.5 million that I suspect is largely to try to buy
off city council candidates, he`s going to be a very, very formidable
opponent. And with Preckwinkle out, I`m not sure what Mary Ann thinks at
the notion of Karen Lewis being a credible candidate to me is a stretch.

KORNACKI: Well, OK, they say, two polls have, we are leading right now.
It is early, but when the city mayor is trailing in two polls, that usually
is a warning sign. Mary Ann, what do you think of what you just heard?

AHERN: Well, you know, Karen Lewis, you`re right. She is bombastic. She
was the one that went after the mayor. She helped lead this very first
strike - teachers strike in the city in 24 years. But to write her off
totally at this point I think is wrong. Yes, she`s going to have to
reinvent herself from union leader to executive. There are certain folks
that see and hear her and screech and say, oh, not her. But it`s
interestingly for a candidate who`s - and I hate to bring up the weight
issue as a woman, because I don`t like talking about it, but she`s gone
through some surgery, she`s reinventing herself physically.

She wants to be a candidate. Whether or not she finally takes it, jumped
and joined, is another thing. But I wouldn`t right her off. I think there
is a lot of anti-Rahm out there, and folks are going to be looking around
and say, well, if she`s the one we`ve got to go to, they might go for her.

KORNACKI: So, let me just ask you this, though. Tony Preckwinkle by all
counts would be the most formidable challenger for Mayor Emanuel. And you
see that poll again, it`s 24 points. If I`m sitting there and I have any
ambition as the politician, and I see a poll like that, I get in the race.
What does that say that she decided not to?

WARREN: Well, I think .

She is on the ballot.

AHERN: Well, she`s on the ballot.

KORNACKI: So, go ahead, Jim. Jim, go ahead, first.

WARREN: Mary Ann, I mean my notion is that a lot of it has to do with
simple - with what is the new power equation in Chicago politics and, you
know, very much American politics and that`s money. I mean 10, 20, 30
years ago you could have left and said well, I got a good word
organization, I got all this council members who can support me now. It`s
pure, unadulterated funds. And he`s got this golden rolodex, he was a
master fundraiser of the Democratic Party, including for Obama and Bill
Clinton, one of his political patrons. And I think people like Toni
Preckwinkle with only a few months to go looked at a guy at a war chest,
which was going to be anywhere from $10 million to $15 million and just
didn`t have the wherewithal to try to compete on that level.

KORNACKI: Mary Ann, just the final question to you. Chicago, Barack
Obama, his former chief of staff. Is there an expectation that Barack
Obama is going to come in and help Rahm Emanuel at the end here?

AHERN: There is an expectation that he will come in at some point. And
what will that mean in the black community? Well, that he needs it
desperately. And one last note on Toni Preckwinkle, she is on the ballot
in November for her current job. There are some who think - perhaps, you
know, it`s tough for her to get anything done right now without someone
asking her are you running, are you running? Once the November election is
over, could she be drafted? Maybe not. But there are some who are holding
out that and think that perhaps Preckwinkle might get in.

KORNACKI: That is very - I have seen that move before many times. We`ll
keep an eye on that. But my thanks to our two Chicago experts. They will
be turning to a lot of thing in the year ahead. Mary Ann Ahern, Jim
Warren, appreciate the time. And up next we`ll have the latest from Gaza.
That`s right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Heavy fighting in Gaza today as Israel expands its ground
operation against Hamas. The death toll continues to rise. Palestinian
officials say that 400 Palestinians have now been killed, the vast majority
of them civilians. Witnesses say there are dead and wounded in the streets
of one Gaza neighborhood that`s been under heavy tank fire. Hospital
officials have told the BBC that more than 40 people were killed in just
that one district. Five Israeli soldiers and two Israeli citizens died
since Israel began its military offensive. Now, almost two weeks ago.
With more updates here on MSNBC is reports coming. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: It was an attention grabbing headline this week when the
Democrat running for governor in Kansas held a big press conference to
announce that he`d picked up the endorsements of 100 Republicans, 100
Republicans who would rather back a Democrat than see Governor Sam
Brownback reelected this fall. It turns out there was a catch, at least
one person on that list, Jan Meyers who is a Republican member of Congress
for 12 years has since told the "Kansas City Star" that she actually is
backing Brownback and never had any intention of doing otherwise. And
there are other names on the list of 100 who are actually independents and
not Republicans.

But make no mistake, Sam Brownback is still in trouble in Kansas. Some of
those Republicans became independents because they believe Brownback no
longer speaks for them of their party, that he`s moved to GOP so far to the
right in his four years as governor, that they no longer recognize the
party.

Former Republican state senator telling the "Wall Street Journal, "We are
deeply concerned by the direction Sam Brownback is taking Kansas. We are
all Republicans, but we will always be Kansans first. The former state
senate president said, "The decision to endorse a Democratic candidate for
governor is a big step and a major departure from our Republican roots. We
do not make this decision lightly."

We think of Kansas nationally as a monolithically red state. But there
have long been two shades of red when it comes to the Republican Party in
Kansas, there were the old moderate pragmatic wing, as Republicans like Bob
Dole and Nancy Kassenbaum. There`s been new insurgent Tea Party- type wing
and that`s the wing that Brownback has led to power. And so far during his
term, he`s rolled back reproductive rights, he spearheaded a massive tax
cut that has seen state revenues plummet. The state`s credit rating
downgraded. He`s also slashed money for public education.

Kansas has only voted Democratic once in the last 19 presidential
elections. But polls now show that Brownback is locked in a dead heat with
his Democratic challenger Paul Davis. It`s a state that also has elected
Democratic governors in the past including Kathleen Sebelius who almost -
who served almost two terms before leaving to join Obama`s cabinet. So,
how real will this Brownback blowback be? When voters actually head to the
polls in November? Raj Goyle was a Democratic state legislator from Kansas
who worked with Brownback`s challenger Paul Davis when they served in the
House of Representatives together. And Crosby Gernon is the mayor of
Hiawatha, Kansas. He`s one of the Republicans on that list who has thrown
his support to the Democratic candidate for governor out there.

So, Mr. Mayor, let me start with you. Republican against Sam Brownback,
for a Democrat? What is it that led you to make that decision?

MAYOR CROSBY GERNON, (R) HIAWATHA, KS: Well, first of all, Steve, thanks
for having me on. And I think you just basically summed up a lot of the
reasons why this group of Republicans, many who are current and former
office holders, not only the state - at a local levels many school board
members decided that we literally can`t afford another four years of Sam
Brownback. We are seeing at least over $300 million in shortfall in the
budget this year. That`s projected to increase to $1.2 million- $1.2
billion, excuse me, in the next five years. We`ve had tremendous cuts to
public education. We`ve been downgraded by Moody`s. We borrowed $800
million in the last three years. It`s just time for a change. And Paul
Davis is certainly a good, moderate Kansan and he will be a great governor.

KORNACKI: And Mr. Mayor, let me say - have you spoken with the governor
since you came out for Paul Davis? Did you talk to him before? Did he try
to dissuade you? Did you have conversations with him?

GERNON: No, I did not.

KORNACKI: OK. So, Raj, tell us a little bit - you know, a Democrat from
Kansas, tell us a little bit about the political culture of Kansas.
Because we said this in the introduction, I think people looked at it and
just - it a lot of people say from the coast it`s one of those red states
in the middle of the country. It`s just that the political culture of
Kansas is a lot more diverse than people realize. Because this idea of two
Republican parties?

RAJ GOYLE (D) FORMER KANSAS STATE REP.: Absolutely. And many people,
Steve, look at politics of the presidential elections. But what they miss
is the fact that actually at the state level in down ballot Kansas voters,
voters all across the country, actually, are very open to ticket splitting.
So, what you have, actually, I think many of you would be interested to
know that over the last 48 years, Democrats have held the governorship in
Kansas 28 of those years. You mentioned Kathleen Sebelius, there was John
Carlin before her. There was Bob Docking before him. So, there`s actually
a rich tradition of the ticket splitting, as Mayor exemplifies. And it`s
great that he`s doing the right thing for his constituents and for the
state. And so, Kansas voters, I found -- I was elected as a Democrat in a
very Republican seat. In fact, Democrats in a sense were a third party,
more people were unaffiliated than registered as a Democrat. But yet, we
were able to win a nearly 60 percent of the vote because of the same thing
that`s happening here. You have a deeply unpopular Republican incumbent
who is out of the mainstream and a common sense Democrat who wants to make
government work, fund our schools.

KORNACKI: That`s an issue, is particularly I`ve heard, public education -
funding for public education in Kansas. And again, we say a red state,
people don`t think of education, public education being a priority. But
this in Kansas is a significant issue?

GOYLE: I would say it`s in a way it`s the fundamental fault line for
people in the legislature and for politics that mayor spoke to it. I know
that certainly in my election in 2006 public education was probably the
most important issue, it defined the Sebelius tenure during the second term
for administration, and so, and Paul has just been a terrific leader on
public schools, working what we like to call the moderate majority where
you have, as you mentioned, the two shades of red in Kansas, you have a
moderate Republican Party and then you have a really conservative
Republican Party. And when you knit these two factions together you
actually have a functional moderate majority that has government the state
before and I think will govern the state in the future.

KORNACKI: And Mayor Gernon, let me ask you, I mean - the other big issue,
nationally when we talk about - when we look at Sam Brownback, is the tax
cuts, the tax rollbacks that he`s instituting, and we talk about the
revenue shortfall that`s created, the credit downgrade and all of that.
Would you like to see the tax cuts rolled back and returned to their
previous level or do you think they should stay where they are right now?

GERNON: Well, ideally we`d like to keep them where they are. I think the
reality is, though, that we have had huge revenue losses. And it`s just
going to be -- we`ve cut school funding back about $1,000 per student. We
just can`t keep doing that.

KORNACKI: Look, can I just -That`s an interesting answer, though, I think,
because I think what Brownback`s people would come back and say is, hey,
look, you know, they`re endorsing my opponent, you know, but at the end of
the day, the tax cuts that I instituted, they want to keep. Is that what
I`m hearing you say?

GERNON: Well, I think the most important thing is to get school funding
back where it needs to be. And that`s what Paul Davis has advocated. And
I think at least initially, hopefully we`ll be able to keep the tax cuts
where they are. But nobody likes to pay taxes. I don`t and certainly
nobody does. But at the end of the day we can`t continue to cut school
funding the way we`ve cut it. You know, and I think it`s important to note
that one of Brownback `s big selling points, at least when these tax cuts
were put in was that we were going to see all this job growth. And that
just hasn`t happened. Kansas has lagged its neighboring states and
certainly the U.S. as a hole in job growth since the recession. And even
most of those jobs that we`ve gained that Brownback is so proud of, most of
those are really low-wage jobs.

KORNACKI: Well, this is Kansas, really, is I think the most interesting
governor`s race on the board this year. So, we`ll keep a close eye on it
as the follows. My thanks to Crosby Gernon, the Mayor of Hiawatha, Kansas,
to Raj Goyle, former Democratic state legislator. From Kansas and still
ahead, he is the leader of the free world, but is the power of the
presidency being diminished here at home? We have a roundtable and we`re
going to talk about that. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Right now all eyes are on the two international crises playing
out across the globe, and for good reason. If you think all of that
coverage is distracting from what`s happening in Washington, well, don`t
worry. Because it`s as gridlocked as ever. I think you know the story by
now. If you ask Americans, there actually are sizable majorities who favor
doing a lot of things. 62 percent, for instance, are in favor of a path to
citizenship for undocumented immigrants, provided they meet certain
requirements. 65 percent of Americans want background checks for the
purchase of firearms. That was something that a high profile bill that
died in the Senate last year would have done. But in the current
hyperpolarized climate, these issues and others are just sitting there
unaddressed and unresolved.

This week Ron Brownstein of the "National Journal" floated a theory about
why. On one side he noted the Democrats` slight advantage on cultural
issues, and on the other, he sees a slight Republican advantage on the role
of government. He concludes, that "these contrasting strengths present a
formula for an extended electoral standoff that denies either party a
lasting advantage any time soon." That means more confrontation and
stalemates in Washington and more presidents who can`t muster the support
of more than half of America. Even on issues where there have been long-
standing agreements between the two parties like funding for
transportation, for our roads, for our bridges. In this atmosphere, the
president is forced to practically beg.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: That`s my big motto for Congress right now, just do something.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Just do something. But think about this, the current Republican
Congress has chosen to do nothing. No matter what you think about that,
Republicans are still expected to keep their majority in this year`s
midterms. In other words, for all those Republicans saying no to working
with the president, where is the political downside? Where is the
incentive to change their ways and to start compromising? It raises a
serious broader question, if hyper polarization is the new reality, then
what`s the point of being president? Look at everything that goes into
running for the job, look at everything that comes with being in the job,
all of the grief, all of the hassle. Is it worth it?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON STEWART, THE DAILY SHOW: And let me ask you the final question, do you
enjoy constant non-stop criticism?

(APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Obviously it can be worth it if you`re able to achieve the
change that you campaign on like President Obama was able to do in his
first two years in office, that`s when his party controlled Congress. But
take that away from the president, take that away from any president, it
does raise the question of what the job is worth in this day and age.
Joining me to talk about all this now is MSNBC political analyst, Jonathan
Alter, he`s the author of the book, "The Center Hold," "Obama and his
enemies," Kellyanne Conway, she`s Republican pollster and Wesley Lowery,
he`s a political reporter with "The Washington Post."

So, I mean I look back at the last almost six years now of the Obama
presidency, and you can really just split this into two periods, there`s
the first two years when you had the most productive Congress since LBJ,
since the great society. And you look at all this - Maybe the Republicans
hated it, maybe the Democrats loved it. But the point is things happened
in those first two years, and really, we`ve seen the reality of divided
government in a hyper polarized America since then. The White House wants
something, the Republicans in Congress say no and nothing happens. And
it`s just - it makes me sit here and say how can either side break that?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: But Steve, you talk about the first
two years of the Obama presidency with the Democratic Congress and you say
all these things were done and then voters rejected it. They expect the
Democrats out of power.

KORNACKI: But then they - and then they realized - president, right?

CONWAY: And that`s different, yes. An incumbent president has significant
advantages. And this incumbent president had many advantages over Mitt
Romney in getting re-elected. But for the midterms elections in 2010, much
like the ones in 2014, the issues is - it`s much more about issues than
individuals. It`s much more just about what do people see as the roll and
reach of government. And that`s why I think that the Republicans will
probably do well this year. But to you and Ron Brownstein`s broader point,
there`s no question. I think the presidency is a thankless job.

(LAUHTER)

CONWAY: I mean they way - what you have to do and sacrifice to get there
and then the reward in my mind`s eye is precious little. But I think to be
fair, the president -- Ron Brownstein`s colleague, Ron Fournier wrote a
great piece this week - that the president really seems to always be
concerned about me, myself and I. Even went down to the border and made it
about him. You know .

KORNACKI: Yeah, but there`s a ..

JONATHAN ALTER: To be fair, I`m not sure how fair .

KORNACKI: Yeah, I know, exactly ..

(LAUHTER)

KORNACKI: The point I`m trying to get to here, Kelly. I think ..

CONWAY: The self-pity party.

KORNACKI: We should stipulate at what you are saying. Look, Republicans
can sit there and brag about what happened in 2010. And it`s true they
made massive gains in 2010. Democrats can rightly sit there and brag about
hey, President Obama racked up the biggest share of the popular vote for
any Democrat since LBJ in 2008. President Obama got reelected by 7 million
votes. And the overall takeaway is, what is the message the electorate is
sending here when they leave two parties with such significant control over
government that they can`t do anything?

WESLEY LOWERY, "WASHINGTON POST": Exactly. We just have mere divided
government here. You know, and we have - if you look at the electorate,
the part of the electorate that shows up in 2010 and now will likely show
up in 2014, it looks very different than the electorate showing up in 2008
and now in 2012. And I think that`s a big part of it as well. As we`re
really talking about two different sets of people, the type of people who
are mobilized by a president or a candidacy like Barack Obama and potential
candidacy like Hillary Clinton are very different type of people who are
mobilized by the passage of the Affordable Care Act and say - this is an
overreach of government. We need to turn out and get rid of these
Democrats in Congress. And so, that`s one of the big problems. Is you`re
really talking about two different sets of people voting in a midterm year
versus voting in a presidential year who want two completely diametrically
opposed things.

ALTER: Well, just to put some number on it. In 2008, 130 million
Americans voted, in 2010, 80 million Americans voted, in 2012 ..

KORNACKI: Presidential versus midterm.

ALTER: 125 million voted. 45 to 50 million Americans who stay home in
midterms, overwhelmingly ..

KORNACKI: Is there any expectation it`s going to change this fall?

CONWAY: No.

ALTER: I don`t think there is much expectation.

KORNACKI: That`s one of the points. Why - when you see that consequence
of, why, I voted for my candidate and he got to do what he wanted to do for
two years, then we didn`t show up and he couldn`t do anything. So that .

(CROSSTALK)

ALTER: But I think - first of all, there`s always this tendency to project
out ahead based on what`s happened in the past. And, you know, things
change. For instance, if the Republicans take the Senate, which is
increasingly likely, they will be under a lot of pressure to show that
they`ve forced something and can deliver something in advance .

CONWAY: Well, they`ll probably pass a budget which Harry Reid didn`t do
for five years.

ALTER: I think they`ll probably pass immigration reform of some kind.
Because the Republicans got 29 percent of the Latino vote in the 2012
election. You cannot win a presidential --

KORNACKI: Well, I mean - we said after 2012 they will address - they will
address immigration.

CONWAY: But see, there`s a bigger problem.

ALTER: No, but there was a real reason for them not to have addressed it
at this point, because they - going into 2016 --

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: Jonathan, here is what .

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: I want to get Kellyanne, but this is why I`m so skeptical about
that, as beyond - this sort of - I`m picturing the psychology of a party
that has already put it off through 2014, winning this fall .

CONWAY: They didn`t need it.

KORNACKI: For getting .

CONWAY: Hold on, hold on.

KORNACKI: Winning this fall .

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: But hold on, let`s be fair here. Go back to President Obama in
2011, the clip has been played a lot in the last couple of weeks. And it
shows him just really ridiculing the Republicans. Oh, they want to build a
border, they want to put a high fence, and they want to put a moat, they
want to put alligators in the moat. And guess what? Over 80 percent of
Americans want border security and they certainly want it now. And you
can`t just -you can`t ridicule an entire political party and then expect
them to work with you. It`s not like .

ALTER: Why not? The Republican do that to the Democrats all the time?

CONWAY: OK, but wait - Compromise now - compromise is a two-way street.
So show me, you know, the president said to the Russian leader I could be
flexible after this next election, why doesn`t he tell the Republicans?

(CROSSTALK)

KORNACKI: Let me put this .

CONWAY: Democratic Senate candidates do not want him to campaign with
them. You will see .

KORNACKI: Well, we`ve got to - Hold on. We`ve got a Democratic Senate
candidate next to us. That`s an interesting story for the next hour. But
let me put something on the table here. Which is from a Republican
standpoint, right now we`re at the sort of stalemate, OK? And it`s very
frustrating to Democrats because Democrats have an agenda of things they
would like government to do. But I wonder, from the Republican standpoint
they`re OK, with a stalemate like this because they`re against any kind of
increased role for government. So, sure, there`s things they`d like to
roll back, but in the absence of that .

CONWAY: That`s not true. They are not against an increased role for
government, you believe that the government has a responsibility to defend
itself, to have a military, to have an honest economy. I mean that`s just
- that`s I think an overgeneralization. And there are plenty of things -
like Speaker Boehner said the president has been president for 5 1/2 years.
And I would like to know what is the Obama doctrine of foreign policy,
what`s his four point plan on immigration? The average voter can`t tell
you that. So, just always - the answer is always the Republicans won`t
help me, a self-pity party.

ALTER: Let`s just do a little bit of ..

CONWAY: Be a leader.

ALTER: Let`s just look at history a little bit. So, after the 2010
midterms, John Boehner went on "60 Minutes" and he said to Lesley Stahl
that he did not believe in the word compromise. Now, this is a word that
our country was founded upon. It`s at the center of every -- the entire
experiment in American government, and that was the position of the new
majority in the House of Representatives.

That was when I decided to write my book about the 2010-2012 period.
Because I thought it was so extraordinary that we have one political party
that`s a little left of center and we have another political party that`s
way to the right.

CONWAY: A little? Only a little?

ALTER: We have asymmetrical polarization to use the fancy political
science term. And if you don`t want to compromise and even though very
conservative guys like Tom Coburn from Oklahoma are saying on the Simpson-
Bowles commission, yes, let`s compromise, let`s raise taxes a little bit,
but the party as a whole can`t compromise at all, they`re not going to have
any movement on issues.

KORNACKI: There`s an idea in your book that I want to ask you about, we`ve
got to squeeze a break here. I want to ask you about that - I want to ask,
about 2016, but we`ve got to squeeze a break in first. So, we`ll that when
we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United
States.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve been thinking about your offer, Joe, not that I`d
ever run again, but do you really think the party would back me if I helped
out?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s already been discussed, Mr. President.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: That was Jack Lemmon, Dan Aykroyd, Wilford Brimley and sadly the
late James Garner, the 1996 comedy "My Fellow Americans." We`re paying
that clip this morning in part as a tribute to Garner who passed away in
Los Angeles last night at the age of 86. We also figured it would be a
fitting clip to play in light of this topic. James Garner, "Rockford
Files." One of my favorite actors. Very sad, but anyway.

Wesley, so to pick up from the last block - that reality of
hyperpolarization, the reality of everything we`ve seen from the last six
years, I`m trying to think somebody like Hillary Clinton who has to decide
whether to run for president in 2016, and do you think that`s something
that would give her pause, to look at it and say what could I actually do?
Even if I get elected, I need the Congress, too.

LOWERY: It has to. I mean I think if you look at anyone who`s thinking
about coming into the presidency, you have a few kind of large scale
accomplishments. Things are being able to move - I men even if you look at
the Obama presidency, when he first came into office, there were the kind
of checklists of things that he was able to get done. Now six years in,
five years in, obviously we`re not moving through that list as quickly.
But anyone who would have come into the presidency, whether that be
President Hillary Clinton, whether that be President Elizabeth Warren,
whether that be President Bernie Sanders, whether that be President Rand
Paul, would be able to push through whatever that first few checklist of
things were and then would have to deal with the polarization of
Washington. So, do I think that factors into their calculus? It has to.
But I think anyone who`s at that point who is already especially, if you`re
looking at someone like Hillary Clinton who has already served in the
cabinet and been in the Senate, the things that are left on her checklist,
a lot of those are things where she would need the bully pulpit of the
presidency.

KORNACKI: Yeah, well, that`s the answer to my question. Does a mandate
exist when an electorate sends the radically conflicting messages of a 2010
and 2012? Does the mandate exist anymore?

CONWAY: There`s a bit of a mandate. But to get elected you have to be a
little bit pie in the sky, right? George W. Bush runs on his - he is going
to be the uniter, not the divider. Bill Clinton says, let`s - President -
and Senator Obama says let`s transcend politics. And there is a red, white
and blue America, not a black - America. Bill Clinton said plenty of
things. But to actually govern all that gets washed away. In practical
terms you can only do so much I think for any president and that`s true.
However, I think more can be done than it`s being done. And, you know,
it`s no joke that the president`s love of executive order has rankled many
people who otherwise might be willing to work with him as legislature.

KORNACKI: Well, the flip side, he would say - I`m doing executive orders
because they won`t do .

(CROSSTALK)

ALTER: So, just to say something on Ronald Reagan`s behalf, I know this
will shock Kellyanne, but like people thought that the presidency was
impotent in the late 1970s when Jimmy Carter wasn`t able to make much
progress against these big problems. Reagan came in, there was an
election, elections have consequences. And after 1980 he was able to get
quite a bit done. You can see a situation where in 2016, even if the
Democrats lost the Senate in 2014, they would get it back in 2016 because
there are so many Republicans who will be up for re-election at that point,
that Hillary Clinton would come in with a big head of steam, a new
Democratic Senate, maybe some advances for the Democrats in the House, a
new set of political realities.

KORNACKI: That`s a really interesting .

ALTER: You have to be confident, you know, Woodrow Wilson said the
president is as big a man or woman as he can be. In other words, part of
it is in the nature of their ability to fill the office, to reach out, work
with the other party ..

KORNACKI: But the key to that Reagan win in `82 that was a shock to the
system.

The fact that Reagan won was one thing, the fact that he won 40 states, and
took 50 - with him. That was a shock to the system. And that`s what -
We`ll see if somebody can duplicate it in `16.

I want to thank MSNBC political analyst Jonathan Alter, pollster Kellyanne
Conway for getting up with us this morning.

Another full hour of news ahead beginning with breaking developments on the
plane crash. We`ll have all of that. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: We want to begin our second hour of "UP" this morning with more
on the breaking developments of the Malaysia airlines crash in Ukraine.
There`s more breaking information on how that black box was taken from the
crash site. Rescue workers say they found the black box and were forced to
hand it over to pro-Russian rebels. Rebels claim they plan to give it to
independent investigators. Rescue workers also that pro-Russian rebels
have taken all 196 bodies now recovered from the crash site at gunpoint.
That`s according to U.S. administration officials. Reporters from the
Associated Press say they saw the body bags were being loaded onto trucks.
NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker reported for us earlier
in the show. That the Obama administration is condemning the latest
actions as unacceptable. According to White House spokesperson, in part,
"The site is not secure. It is critical that there be a full, credible and
unimpeded international investigation as quickly as possible. Events to
memorialize the 298 victims were held this morning in Sydney, Australia.
And church services in Netherlands. Dutch prime minister says that time is
running out for Russian President Vladimir Putin to exert his influence
over the rebels and to show that he has good intentions. For more on the
chaos and the anger we`re going to turn to NBC`s Keir Simmons who`s
reporting for us from Ukraine.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEIR SIMMONS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Steve, good morning. There are mangled
pieces of this plane across the Ukrainian countryside here. For example,
the section of tale behind me. But there is still confusion over whether
the black boxes have been found. This morning we`re told the bodies that
have been discovered here have been removed, but there are fears that many
missing people haven`t been found. More than 100 people are still missing
somewhere in this wreckage. But the area is still largely unguarded. It`s
unbelievable that we can just walk right through the middle of all this.
Stretchers used to carry away the dead have been abandoned. Passengers
found in the fields alongside their possessions, a wallet without money or
credit cards and many cuddly toys, 80 children were on board. People`s
bodies have hit the ground and left these horrific marks.

The bodies of the victims will be sent back to their families, I was told,
by a gun wielding militia leader who calls himself prime minister.

Memorials are being held for victims from around the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The downing of MH-17 was not an innocent accident. It
was the outcome of a trail of human evil.

SIMMONS: And the international anger is building. The Dutch prime
minister lost 193 countrymen. "Russia`s President Putin has one last
chance to help," he says. But there is still no sign of crash
investigators here, three full days after flight MH 17 came down in flames.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIMMONS: Now, we have seen European monitors, not investigators, come to
this site again today. And they have told us that the bodies have been
taken to a refrigerated train car near here. They have seen them. They
say that they are secure, but what they cannot confirm is where the bodies
will go next or when. Back to you.

KORNACKI: All right, NBC`s Keir Simmons in Ukraine. On the heels of
President Obama`s announcement of new sanctions a few days ago, Russia is
now countering with sanctions of its own, it now - it has banned 13
Americans from entering their country. Russian officials say this is in
response to the U.S. ban earlier this month on travel here by Russians
who`ve been sanctioned for human rights abuses. Politico reports that most
of the Americans who have been banned are associated with Abu Ghraib or
Guantanamo Bay in some way. Also banned, though, is Congressman James
Moran, a Democrat from Virginia. Russians say that Moran has been accused
of financial misdeeds. They don`t elaborate. Congressman Moran is
actually now here this morning. And thank you for your time, Congressman.
And before we get to that issue of what the Russians are saying about you,
I just want to get your reaction to the latest developments this morning.
We have news now of these bodies being taken, being basically seized by the
rebels. I just want to get your take on that.

REP. JAMES MORAN (D) VIRGINIA: Well, it`s inexcusable. These guys think
like thugs, and I think it`s coming from the top down. That`s the way that
Vladimir Putin has operated. That`s the way the KGB is used to operating.
It`s just such a shame. I think things are going to deteriorate unless
Putin uses this as an excuse to withdraw from the eastern part of Ukraine.
I doubt he will. But what a shame for us to be in this kind of conflict
with Russia which was so avoidable. You know, you look at great leaders
like Gorbachev, all the wonderful Russian writers and even people like
Nikita Khrushchev who think through things. This guy doesn`t seem to think
through things. As I say, he thinks and acts thuggishly. And that`s why
he attracts so many of these people who don`t abide by international laws
or even common decency.

KORNACKI: All right, so you`re on this list, this list of Americans who
are now banned from entering Russia. A couple of questions there, first of
all, they`re saying, they are citing financial misdeeds, they are not
elaborating at all. Do you have - do you know what they`re talking about
there?

MORAN: No. But I have a strong suspicion it`s because of the amendment to
that -- I was able to get passed overwhelmingly in a bipartisan fashion to
have the U.S. military stop buying helicopters from the Russian-controlled
state arms dealer, Rosoboron Export is their name. We were buying the
helicopters for use in Afghanistan, but it`s also the very same company
that`s been supplying arms to the Assad regime in Syria. We have no
business subsidizing a Russian arms exporter when they`re arming a mass
murderer. So it was an amendment that I thought made sense. They -
obviously the Afghans are used to operating Russian machinery. But what we
should have done is to cancel that contract and buy the helicopters from
Ukraine. That`s probably one thing. There are a couple of other things,
I`m on the board of the Open World Institute. We try to find young Russian
leaders and bring them to the United States to learn how democracy and the
rule of law operates here. That obviously is a threat to Mr. Putin`s
regime.

KORNACKI: And are - so, is this ban going to affect you? Had you been
planning to travel over there? Have you traveled there frequently? Does
this affect you at all?

MORAN: Well, I`ve certainly traveled to Moscow, to Siberia, to St.
Petersburg. I mean I`ve been on the Defense Preparations Committee for
about 20 years. So, obviously I`ve been to Russia a number of times and
I`ve gone with people like Jim Billington who is one of the foremost
Russian scholars who is our librarian of Congress. So, I`m familiar with
Russia. I love the Russian people. But I certainly don`t have much regard
for the current regime. This kind of thing was inevitable when Mr. Putin
wants to consolidate his power with probably the non-Muslim countries who
he feels a cultural affinity with, and that would include Ukraine and some
of the former Soviet republics. But this kind of thing can`t -- he can`t
act in such a unilateral thuggish way. And so I`ve been very much opposed
to their current policy. But I certainly think that Russia should - it has
the potential to be one of the great nations of the world. It has at times
in the past.

KORNACKI: All right. I want to thank Congressman Jim Moran, Democrat from
Virginia. I appreciate you taking a few minutes this morning. We want to
turn now to Nina Khrushcheva, she is the granddaughter of the former Soviet
Premier Nikita Khrushchev and associate professor of international affairs
at the New School. So, Nina, thanks for taking a few minutes this morning.
Let`s just start with this issue, again, the news this morning is about
these bodies that were being recovered and were apparently seized by the
rebels at gunpoint. And we - now we know that the Dutch prime minister has
apparently communicated with Vladimir Putin - the phone of Vladimir Putin,
basically saying for the moment, please, let`s put aside all the world
geopolitics and let`s just think like human beings, it`s crucial to our
country to have these bodies back. Is that an appeal in this climate
that`s likely to mean anything to Vladimir Putin?

NINA KHRUSHCHEVA, ASSOC. PROFESSOR NEW SCHOOL: It should. Because he does
like to appear as a kind person, as a person who cares about the people of
his nation and should be reacting humanely. But so far he hasn`t shown
anything. Vladimir Putin is a very smart man. And so he doesn`t - he
cannot not understand what kind of implications of his behavior that is
being, his reaction is being delayed. So, I do hope that probably
somewhere, some adviser would say, look, you really need to go there, you
need to meet with these people, you really need to say that even from
Putin`s perspective Russia does look like a futile country in the 21st
century. And this is something that he doesn`t want to do. He just did
the Sochi Olympics in February to prove to the world that it is a modern
country. So, how do you reconcile those things? And I think that`s a good
question for Putin.

KORNACKI: So, how - I`m curious what you think his sort of mindset is
right now. Because we always talk about what Putin does when he feels -
he`s backed into a corner or anything. We have the investigation going on.
So we can`t say anything for sure. It certainly looks like, you know, this
was an errant thing where the rebels - you know, some coordination with the
Russians shot down what they had no idea was a commercial flight. Then
they found out, you know, and what do we do now. From Putin`s standpoint,
does that put him in a position where he feels very defensive, he feels a
little scared about what the implications are, or do you think he`s feeling
confident - (INAUDIBLE)?

KHRUSHCHEVA: No, I think you said exactly that, I mean he does feel
defensive. He does feel - he`s afraid because as you (INAUDIBLE) did not
want that to happen. It did happen. But I think - I mean this is a cause
and effect. The swagger, once again, we`ve seen the swagger in the last
three days. It comes because he doesn`t feel confident. And that often
happens with the Russian leaders, even the best of them. The worse they
feel about their country, the more they need to prove to the world that
actually they have nothing to fear or they have nothing to worry about, and
I think Putin really hasn`t amended his original message from three days
ago that it`s Ukraine`s fault, that probably - that there was no Ukrainian
military efforts there, then that wouldn`t have happened. So, he really
took no responsibility whatsoever.

KORNACKI: Inside Russia - Because I saw there was a poll that came out the
other day that said his approval rating in Russia sits at 83 percent, now
the highest it`s been since 2008. When he says this is Ukraine`s fault, no
responsibility here, you know, sort of blames the West, do Russians believe
that?

KHRUSHCHEVA: Well, I mean Russians believe that supposedly because all TV
is taken by the Kremlin. So, Russia should be believing that, in a sense
that those who are interviewed believing that are the ones that being found
by the Kremlin, sort of the Kremlin founded journalists or Kremlin funded
channels. But, for example, I actually used to work at the Dutch embassy
years ago. And I do know it very well. My friends were sending me
pictures from the Dutch embassy. And they are numerous, I mean thousands
of notes, flowers, of course, but thousands of notes. Please forgive us.

So, Russians actually do understand that they are not absolved from
responsibility in any way. And if - you know, and I really don`t think
that that supported 83 percent if these events would continue. And they
would continue if Putin doesn`t do anything to sort of present himself in a
more modern way or more humane way. This kind of tragedies would continue
and I don`t think his approval rating will stand as high.

KORNACKI: It`s fascinating. Nina, I want to thank you. Nina Khrushcheva,
associate professor at the New School. I appreciate the time.

KHRUSHCHEVA: Thank you.
KORNACKI: And the rock star of the progressive base center Elizabeth
Warren, she stumps for a Democrat in America`s - one of America`s reddest
states. And one of those candidates who she`s been stumping with will join
us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: It`s an understatement to say that these days Senator Elizabeth
Warren is in demand. She`s hit the road for Senator Al Franken in
Minnesota, she`s attended fund-raisers for Senators Sherrod Brown in Ohio,
Senator Jeff Merkley in Oregon, Senator Patty Murray in Washington. But
Warren isn`t bringing her populist message only to the blue states, she`s
also been stumping for Democratic candidates far into the deeply red states
as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D) MASSACHUSETTS: I`m here because I believe in
democracy. I believe in what we can do together, I believe in Natalie
Tennant. She`s going to be your next senator. Make it happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: So, Elizabeth Warren campaigning this past Monday for Natalie
Tennant, Democratic senate nominee in what has become the very red state of
West Virginia. Last month Warren was on the campaign trail for Allison
Lundergan Grimes. She`s a Democratic senator candidate trying to knock out
Mitch McConnell in Kentucky. These are states, mind you, where President
Obama was utterly annihilated in 2012, he lost by well over 20 points.
These are states, West Virginia and Kentucky that have been moving toward
the Republican column for years, but it had swung dramatically in that
direction during the Obama years. And these are states where the usual
advice for any Democrat running for office is not only to stay away from
President Obama, but to stay away from every national Democrat. Anyone
associated with the national Democratic Party. And yet, here are these two
Democratic Senate candidates inviting into their states in full public view
a woman who has emerged as a hero to the progressive base of the national
Democratic Party.

Conventional wisdom would say that Elizabeth Warren is about the last
person a Democratic Senate candidate in a deeply red state would want to be
identified with. Now, Warren did help Tennant and Grimes raise some badly
needed money, she brought in more than $200,000 for Grimes last month. But
this isn`t just the money we are talking about here. These candidates are
saying that there is something about Warren`s message, the same message
that gets heads nodding in the most liberal pockets of America that
actually does resonate in deeply red rural America. That said, it can be a
fine line to try to walk. Just before Warren`s visit Natalie Tennant told
a reporter that she would "Stand up against Elizabeth Warren on the issue
of coal." It`s also providing father for her Republican opponent. This is
a Web video that Karl Rove`s pact American Crossroads released this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You built a factory out there, good for you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You take a hunk of that and pay forward, you take a
hunk of that and pay forward.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I applaud President Obama. I applaud President
Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The EPA`s proposal is a powerful step.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Barack Obama squared his shoulders, planted his feet
and stood firm and that`s how we won.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And joining me now is Natalie Tennant, Democratic Senate
candidate in West Virginia. Welcome back to the show, Natalie. So, let me
start that video we just played from Karl Rove, from Crossroads, the clip
that they show at the start of that, of Elizabeth Warren talking sort off
the cuff at that fundraiser a few years ago, it strikes me that clip is
what sort of made her a star to the national Democratic base. They said,
wow, the issue of income equality has never been more forcefully and
coherently addressed than it was in that clip from Elizabeth Warren. At
the same time Republicans look at that - they look at your state and they
say, that same clip is the perfect weapon to use against her in West
Virginia. So I guess maybe just explain for us, in a state like West
Virginia that voted for Mitt Romney by such a large margin in 2012, what
specifically is it about what Elizabeth Warren says and stands for that
resonates in such a strongly pro-Romney state?

NATALIE TENNANT, (D) WV SENATE CANDIDATE: Well, what those 450 people who
were crowded into that ballroom on Monday saw and said was that we, the
middle class, deserve to have someone who is standing up for them, and
whether it`s Natalie Tennant or whether it`s Elizabeth Warren that, is our
main focus here. When you talk about these 450 people in this room, I
think about Ashley, the student who introduced me who has done everything
that we`ve asked her to do. She stayed at home so she could afford to go
to collegiate at a small school. She went through college and paid her
bills by being a waitress and then went on to law school. And now she`s
going to graduate law school with $108,000 in debt. And so, that rally for
the middle class, that rally for students is to be able to tell her that,
yes, Natalie Tennant will stand up to Washington who try to give tax breaks
to the billionaires like Warren Buffett when we should really be helping
out and helping students to be able to refinance. That`s why the message
of Elizabeth Warren and of me saying we will stand up for West Virginians
is so strong and so powerful.

KORNACKI: And I take that point. At the same time when I look at
Elizabeth Warren, one of the reasons she`s become so popular with Democrats
nationally, as I say, she is so good at expressing in such a digestible
way, you know, sort of what progressives are thinking about the issues
right now. But at the same time, her voting record, her basic orientation
on the issues, really eerie similar to President Obama`s. And so, I look
at President Obama and I look at how his numbers in your state, his numbers
in West Virginia, they`re just - they are sort of rock bottom there. What
is it that West Virginians see in Elizabeth Warren that they don`t see in
Barack Obama?

TENNANT: Well, if you take a look at Elizabeth Warren and you see what she
has done, even before she was a United States senator, it was to stand up
for consumer protection. And that`s what West Virginians are asking for.
This is - it`s not about Elizabeth Warren, and not about Barack Obama.
This is a race between me and my opponent where West Virginians see a clear
choice between me and congresswoman capita. Someone like me who has a
record of standing up for small businesses, of cutting fees for businesses,
of cutting my own budget and saving $3 million for the taxpayers, giving it
back to the taxpayers where my opponent has allowed and voted for the CEOs
of huge banks that were being bailed out by taxpayers to get huge bonuses
and increases. So right there is really the story line of this race, who
is truly representing West Virginia and who is representing Washington and
Wall Street?

KORNACKI: So, again, we play that clip there from Karl Rove`s group. And
there - you know, they think this is an opportunity for them to score some
points, to ink you to somebody who they say is identified with the liberal
wing of the Democratic Party. And as I say, you know, it does strike me.
It`s unusual that somebody in your race or Alison Grimes in Kentucky, these
red states, would be calling in such a nationally prominent Democratic
figure. So, what about like President Obama, would you want President
Obama to come in for you and campaign for you?

TENNANT: Well, you know, there are a couple of things. And I`ll get back
to that, you know, each of our definitions, Steve, because I love when we
talk that, we can really have a good conversation. My definition of a red
state is probably a little different than yours. You know, if President
Obama came to West Virginia, he would have a lot of explaining to do. He
would have to explain about, you know, why his focus is hurting our coal
miners and hurting the coal miners` jobs. And especially to focus on -
especially when the president and his administration with Gina McCarthy,
who`s the EPA director, touted the fact that they`re going to go all around
the country and they`re going to have these listening tours, but yet they
don`t bother to come to West Virginia and talk to the people directly of
who it`s going to impact, their livelihoods and .

(CROSSTALK)

TENNANT: A lot of explaining to do.

KORNACKI: It sounds something - you don`t want them to campaign for you.
Is that right?

TENNANT: Well, I will work with anyone who will put West Virginia forward.
You know, in West Virginia when you take a look at how I`ve done in this
state when it comes to the president and me, you know, - the last two
elections, I`ve been on the ballot in 2008 and 2012 and won with more than
60 percent of the ballot, when the president was on the ballot. He will
have explaining to do if he ever came to West Virginia. And that`s what
we`ve asked. We`ve asked for the EPA director to come and listen to our
concerns of West Virginia. Because before you put on unrealistic
regulations on us, invest in the West Virginia in the advanced technologies
where we can cut emissions and save jobs at the same time.

KORNACKI: All right. Natalie Tennant, Democratic nominee for the U.S.
Senate in West Virginia. I appreciate the time this morning. Thanks for
coming on. And more on what it means for Democrats like Elizabeth Warren
to try to stump in red state America. Talk about that with the panel.
That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R) WISCONSIN: Elizabeth Warren is to the left of the left
of the Democratic Party. Elizabeth Warren is part of the war on coal,
Elizabeth Warren is a part of the United States Senate that is blocking
legislation to preserve coal jobs that is blocking legislation to preserve
energy jobs in America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: So, Elizabeth Warren wasn`t the only big name stumping in West
Virginia this week. That`s Congressman Paul Ryan who used to appearance in
the state to come out for the Republican-nominee, their Congresswoman
Shelley Moore Capito. Will the anti-Elizabeth Warren message stick in that
state? Let`s continue the discussion with Basil Smikle, he`s a political
strategist, former aide to Senator Hillary Clinton, then Senator Hillary
Clinton Stephen Moore, author of the book "Wealth of States" and chief
economist of the Heritage foundation. And Wesley Lowery with "the
Washington Post" is back with us.

So, I`ve got to say, just listening to that interview a minute ago, and
Natalie Tennant sort of to me is - that is the voice of an ambitious
Democrat in red state America in the Obama era. It`s just so interesting
to me that she feels comfortable bringing Elizabeth Warren to her state and
having your public events with her. And then I asked about President
Obama, he`s got some explaining to do.

(LAUHTER)

BASIL SMIKLE JR, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Right. What I find interesting is
that, if you couple that with the fact that you have a lot of Democrats
running this year that are not touting Obamacare, this is about really
trying to get up the Democratic base, otherwise they wouldn`t be energized
to come out. So, I think if you`re looking for a great cheerleader for the
party and someone that`s really going to energize the base, I think Warren
--

KORNACKI: Yeah, but is that - is that what it is, she energizes the base
and the backlash isn`t there that would be there with Obama.

STEPHEN MOORE, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Like if Republicans lose West
Virginia, they shouldn`t be a party. Because this is a slam-dunk state for
the Republicans. It`s an energy state. And by the way, it`s not just a
state that produces clean coal, it`s also a state that`s really capitalized
on the huge drilling phenomenon with the smart drilling in terms of - you
go to towns like Wheeling, West Virginia, they`re getting rich off of this
stuff and President Obama and Elizabeth Warren want to shut that down.
There are whole towns in West Virginia that have been kind of vaporized by
this war against coal.

KORNACKI: That`s the other interesting thing, too. Because that is the
one distinction that Natalie Tennant drew. And she publicly - so much for
country hospitality. Elizabeth Warren comes in, I`ll stand up to her on
the war on coal, the so-called war on coal. We could discuss that term.
But it does, you know, there`s a balancing act, too, when you bring
something .

LOWERY: There`s a very - seeing, but do you think there`s a big difference
between - and there`s a reason you`re seeing people like Natalie Tennant to
run from - not necessarily run from, but distance themselves from President
Obama and embrace someone like Elizabeth Warren. Elizabeth Warren right
now is starting a very populist message. Her book, you know, Fighting
Chance" was all. Very basic populous messaging. Rand Paul could have
written the book and changed some of the bio and you really would have
believed most of what was in it because her message is largely, hey, we
need to look out for the little guy. Everyone agrees with that.

And so I think that there`s a big difference there versus someone like
President Obama, who`s tied very specifically to the Affordable Care act,
which has popularity issues in some of these red states. Who is generally
- he is the person occupying the Oval Office and there`s dysfunction in
Washington.

MOORE: Let me ask you a question. I`m obviously on the conservative side,
more a Republican. I don`t see how Democrats pull this off? I mean how do
they say the middle class is getting crushed, and they are. This has been
the worst recovery from a recession we`ve seen since the great depression.
And Republicans say, look, you`ve been in charge for six years. In fact,
this is the Republican message, that the middle class is getting punched,
not the Democratic message.

KORNACKI: Here`s what - What Wesley was just saying there, it strikes me
that the opportunity for somebody like Elizabeth Warren and a message like
hers in a red state is, when you get that area beyond what`s associated
with the national Democratic Party, the national Republican Party. When
you get to where Rand Paul is, and they`ll be able - where Elizabeth Warren
is, we are operating, - you see as operating outside those party
institutions and you`re upset at Washington, and you`re upset at Wall
Street and you upset at all these big institutions. Maybe there`s some
overlap there, some left-right overlap?

MOORE: Explain this. How do Democrats explain the meltdown of the middle
class in the middle class six years? They`ve been in charge.

SMIKLE: I think part of the explanation is that - is Congress. I think
it`s part ..

(CROSSTALK)

SMIKLE: I would say part of that is, I think, buyer`s remorse with the
president of the United States. V You had a lot of very early on, you had
a lot of wealthier liberals supporting his campaign. And that`s what sort
of elevated him and created the viability that we saw very early on. I
think there`s a little bit of buyer`s remorse. Some of it is race. Some
of it is just sort of being - existing with the party of no. But I think
in an election year like 2014, what happens is you need that kind of energy
that I think Warren can provide. But When it comes to 2016, I wonder if
that actually works because you`re also going to have to consider the
constraints of the office and whether or not the person you elect is going
to be able to work within those constraints.

MOORE: And my only response to that would be I think you`re right when it
comes to blue states and energizing the liberal base. I don`t really see
how bringing Elizabeth Warren into red states is going to help Democrats.
I mean she`s toxic to conservatives. I mean it would be like bringing
Sarah Palin into New York.

KORNACKI: Listen, I`m wondering, have they gotten - has that - because
there`s always this tribal aspect to American politics, too, right where
it`s like Barack Obama is the enemy to the right. So, it almost doesn`t
matter what he says because he`s the enemy. We are against him. But I`m
wondering has that message trickled down when it comes to Elizabeth Warren
yet or does she have a little bit more room to maneuver?

LOWERY: It has trickled down to an extent. But I do think that the
calculus here is can you bring someone like Elizabeth Warren in and it not
drive Republicans to the polls. So, does Natalie Tennant bring President
Obama in? That`s going to - Every single GOP county board is going to sit
and they say, look, the president is coming in.

KORNACKI: It`s a pass resolution.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUHTER)

LOWERY: They are hearing. If you bring Elizabeth Warren to West Virginia
or to Kentucky where she was earlier this month- Does it really drive
Republicans? Because if it doesn`t, your calculus then becomes does it
drive any Democrats or does it drive some Democrats who might have set out
the midterms to maybe at least cut a check? That`s only a net positive for
somebody like Natalie Tennant.

MOORE: Although what Republicans are going to do - is start to basically
say, because look, Obama obviously is very unpopular in red states.
They`re going to say Elizabeth Warren, who is she? She`s mini me.

KORNACKI: Right. She`s going with Obama, we need - whatever the percent
is. I`m just wondering if there is - if beyond firing up the base there
is an opening there, if this is the kind of message that could reach sort
of - if there`s a left wing and right wing populism overlap, that that`s
what we .

MOORE: But Rand Paul is, you know, you were exactly right. Rand Paul is
saying a lot of what Elizabeth Warren is saying in the sense that he`s
saying these policies haven`t worked. The middle class is losing income.
We have to look out for the middle class. That`s going to be - that`s what
I`m saying, that will be a primary Republican message in 2014 and 2015.

SMIKLE: Strike that tone right in the middle. Dysfunctional government.
They`re either not doing enough or they are doing way too much. So, if you
can strike that tone than maybe you have .

KORNACKI: It`s the same grievance, these big institutions, it`s not
liberals, it`s not conservatives, it`s not Democratic, it`s not Republican
- these big institutions have failed. Washington, Wall Street, you know,
big, big institutions that failed. So, that`s the thing I`m keeping out of
it. We will see all my guests later in the show.

But next, the clearer sign yet that Chris Christie might be planning a run
for president. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: No one has reported more on the scandal that`s been plaguing
Governor Chris Christie`s administration than this show. And we`ll have
the latest on that in a little bit. But the bigger question is whether
that scandal is having any impact in the rest of the country. Especially
in the states that vote first in the race for president. Christie traveled
to Iowa this week, officially he was there to campaign for Governor Terry
Branstad, he is the chair of the Republican Governors` Association. But
Branstad who holds a double digit lead over his Democratic opponent,
probably is not going to need much help this year. So Christie`s trip may
have a lot more to do with his own political aspirations. Christie also
plans to visit New Hampshire later this month. He was there only a couple
of weeks ago, too. Top adviser to Mitt Romney`s campaign said this week
that he doesn`t think the bridge scandal will be a factor in Christie
getting the nomination or the White House. Christie insists that he hasn`t
yet decided what his 2016 plans are.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R) NEW JERSEY: I`ve been pretty clear, you know. I
certainly am going to consider it. But whether I do it or not is something
I honestly don`t know yet. And I think, you know, people say that all the
time and folks are fairly cynical, but he knows what he is going to do. I
really don`t know what I`m going to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: New NBC News mayor`s poll does offer some potentially
discouraging numbers for Christie, though, a third of Republicans in Iowa
viewed him unfavorably. The 31 percent of New Hampshire Republicans view
him negatively as well. Much higher numbers than for any other prospective
candidate. Here to talk about some of those numbers is Kathy Obradovich,
she`s political columnist with the "Des Moines Register." She joins us
live this morning from Iowa and Stephen Moore with the Heritage Foundation
is still with us. So, Kathy, let me start with you- you`re getting to be
an old pro at this, I`m sure. Couple of years out - here`s the
presidential candidates there, coming in your backyard.

So, Christie is in Iowa this week. The Republicans are sizing him up.
They`re trying to figure out, I guess, you know, if this scandal should
dissuade them from supporting him. What was the reception like that you
saw this week?

KATIE OBRADOVICH, THE DES MOINES REGISTER: They treated Chris Christie
like a rock star. This was his first big trip to Iowa, drew big crowds,
people going gaga over him. I went to a restaurant in Marion, Iowa, where
he just did a walk through and it was just packed, people spilling out into
the streets, people having their baseballs signed and all kind of stuff .

KORNACKI: And is that - is that different than the other candidates? Is
that in a different league?

OBRADOVICH: I think so in the sense that that there`s a novelty factor
with Chris Christie. He hasn`t been here - some of the other candidates,
you know, you can see them and say hello with your morning coffee just
about every other week. Chris Christie just hasn`t been here, and, you
know, a big personality, somebody that people are seeing in the news all
the time. And so, there`s a lot of curiosity.

KORNACKI: And just in terms of the Republican, sort of more - I don`t
know, the Republican elites in Iowa, or whatever, when they look at the
George Washington Bridge scandal, what do they think about that? Do they
say, hey, this is a ticking time bomb here or do they say liberal media,
never mind, we don`t - we don`t care?

OBRADOVICH: You know, some Republicans that I talk to just kind of brushed
it off as being, oh, a Democratic manufactured scandal or something that
doesn`t matter at all. Our governor, Terry Branstad actually said "In the
New York Times" that Iowans don`t know anything about it. I don`t think
that`s true of Republican caucus-goers. I think they are paying attention
to what`s going on. And they are assuming that they won`t have to make a
decision about Chris Christie unless he`s in the clear legally. But
they`re already saying, you know, that is something that is not a big deal
and we`re going to pay attention to the person and what he stands for.

KORNACKI: So Steve Moore, looking at this nationally, I`m trying to figure
out the Republican race right now for 2016.

MOORE: We all are.

(LAUHTER)

KORNACKI: Well, so, the thing about Christie, is you know, I think we look
at all these scandals and we say, well, you know, why would they ever take
a chance on somebody like that? But I`m looking at people seriously
talking about Mitt Romney running again. And I`m looking at polls in New
Hampshire that had them - way up on the field, that`s something. In that
world is the Christie thing so crazy?

MOORE: Yeah, look, first of all, you know, it`s interesting. Those photos
you showed. I mean the guy is looking tan, rested and ready. Is it just
me or has he lost a lot of weight?

KORNACKI: He has, yes.

KORNACKI: It`s like a show. So, he`s liked a lot by Republicans because
he`s tough, he`s plain spoken, he`s been a problem solver in New Jersey.
The problem is, as a travel around the country, I haven`t been to Iowa, but
I`ve been around a lot of states and I talk to conservatives. And you
mention the name Chris Christie, the first thing that comes up is the
bridge. And that`s a big problem for him. If you asked me, Steve, a month
ago, who the Republican nominee was going to be for president, I would have
said Chris Christie. It`s his turn. Republicans always nominate the one
who is next in line. I just, you know, to mix metaphors, I just don`t think
so far he`s gotten over that bridge.

I guess the question, though, is, so if you look -- to me you look at sort
of the Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, you know, and there`s that wing of the party.
And I could maybe - I could potentially see a guy like Rand Paul coming
through - getting the nomination. I couldn`t see like a Cruz getting it.
So, from that Republican establishment side of things, I don`t think Jeb
Bush is running. I don`t think Mitt Romney - I mean so again .

MOORE: You`re exactly right. I mean I`ve talked to a lot of the big kind
of Republican donors over the last four weeks, the people who supported
Mitt Romney in a big way. They`re confused. They haven`t decided yet. A
lot of them wanted to migrate to Jeb Bush. And don`t write Governor Bush
off.

KORNACKI: Yeah.

MOORE: But they`re not sure whether, you know, Jeb is going to run. And
so that`s why you saw this a little boom for Mitt Romney. Don`t write
Chris Christie off, though. I still think he can resurrect himself. And,
you know, look, a blue state Republican, that`s something a lot of
Republicans who want to win in 2016 find very appealing.

KORNACKI: Well, there`s let me say, there is an asterisk with all Christie
presidential talk right now. It has to do with the bridge. I want to
thank Kathy Obradovich with "The Des Moines Register" and we`ll be coming
back to you I hope a lot in the months and years ahead. I appreciate that.
We also want to catch you up on that scandal, though, that plagued the
Christie administration. There was big testimony this week while he was
out in Iowa. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: While Chris Christie was crisscrossing the state of Iowa on
Thursday, one of his top aides was telling a legislative panel that she
sent him text messages that dealt with the fallout of the George Washington
Bridge lane closures and also that she deleted those text messages. Regina
Egea, a top official who was working inside the governor`s office during
those closures, including his liaison to the Port Authority, testified that
she would text the governor frequently. She said that he would respond,
quote, "at times." But since then she has deleted them. It`s unclear what
exactly the messages actually said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you deleted these things, did you think then or
now that it could have violated some ethical law?

REGINA EGEA: Well, and as I`ve said, we`ve all been refreshed on the
requirement to retain documents. So, I think in the current, you know,
procedures that we are all following, I would not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: She also told the committee she thought the allegations about
the lane closures were little more than a political spat within the Port
Authority.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EGEA: The continuing public comment on this without any evidence frankly
reinforced in my mind any way that I wasn`t sure there was any evidence to
be produced. So I was awaiting it. And so, I viewed it as much more of a
political/public disagreement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And as Egea was testifying, we also learned from the U.S.
attorney who`s investigating the case, Paul Fishman who rarely speaks
publicly about the investigation, but he did this week. And he denied
recent reports that indictments were imminent. He didn`t single out any
specific report. But as you may recall, "Esquire" magazine recently ran an
article in which it said Fishman was closing in on the administration and
that four Christie aides could soon be indicted.

Joining me now to help sort of this out is Brian Murphy, an MSNBC
contributor and associate professor at Baruch College who was there at the
Egea hearing on Thursday. So, Brian, the key point about Regina Egea, for
people who don`t remember this is September 13th, the day that Pat Foye, he
is the top official on New York side of the bridge, he realizes what`s been
going on with the lane closures, he puts this scathing e-mail together,
these memos together, and he says maybe federal and state laws are
potentially broken here. He sends it out, and Bill Baroni, Christie`s guy
at the Port Authority, takes that, marks it urgent, forwards it to Regina
Egea in the governor`s office.

BRIAN MURPHY, BARUCH COLLEGE: And then she does nothing. Does nothing.
Waits for - says that she`s going to wait for Foye to do his own
investigation and claims that she never gave it anymore thought than that.
That she choked it up to just being ..

KORNACKI: So, she doesn`t share this with anybody else, doesn`t forward it
to anybody, she doesn`t talk about it?

MURPHY: No. And she`s not - and she`s reminded us many times, she`s
working in the counsel`s office, but she`s not a lawyer. She trusted
lawyer - she said that you trusted lawyers to handle it.

KORNACKI: So, what In terms of these texts then, there`s no hint of
context here of what these are about?

MURPHY: You had to wait four hours in this hearing to have this come out,
or she just offhand mentions, I sent the governor texts when Port Authority
officials were testifying back in November. And she let the governor know
that she thought their performance was professional and credible. She
doesn`t mention that they were saying that they were afraid to interfere
with the lane closures because they thought they were going to lose their
jobs if they said anything. She didn`t mention that. She said that she
thought their performance was credible and professional, and she did that
while she was also working on shaping Bill Baroni`s opening statement about
it being a traffic study. Which she stuck - a line that she stuck to
throughout that hearing.

KORNACKI: She`s still saying traffic study.

MURPHY: We kept talking about we - she kept talking about whether or not
it was fair for there to be Fort Lee only lanes. Which she`s the last
person on earth who seems to still think?

KORNACKI: And that`s right. That was the big Bill Baroni line, it was
like how unfair this is, the reality of the situation, this is not
anything.

MURPHY: And she`s called it a script and said that they stuck to the
script. She`s still sticking to that script much of the consternation of
people on the committee who are like, give us a break, this is like
believing in the tooth fairy. In that respect, it was interesting
performance, but she just mentions these texts off hand. And say, oh, I
sent them and I deleted them and, you know, how often did you send them?
Infrequently.

KORNACKI: Did he write back?

MURPHY: No, then she said sometimes he wrote back. She doesn`t remember
when she deleted them. It could have been after the Bridget Kelly e-mails
came public in January, by which point no one should have been deleting
anything. So, it just opened up as many questions as I think she`s taught
to answer.

KORNACKI: Yeah, and so, there you go. We have this statement from Ms.
Egea to New York attorney from Paul Fishman this week who seems to be
putting cold water on some - a really explosive report we`ve been talking a
few weeks ago, now saying maybe not even that, but, of course, we don`t
really know what is going on inside that office. So, exactly what he is
looking at and what he isn`t looking at? That`s also a lot of questions
here. Brian Murphy, I want to thank you for taking the time explaining
that to us. What we should know for the week ahead, our answers right
after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: All right, it`s time to find out what we think our guests should
know for the week ahead. Let`s start with Basil.

SMIKLE: If you didn`t catch it earlier in the week, Donna Brazile, former
governor`s grant home in Strickland created Democrats for Public Education,
which is really interesting because it`s pushing back against the Obama era
reforms and school choice. So, they are trying to - they are trying to .

MOORE: They are against school choice?

SMIKLE: Well, I don`t know if they`re against school choice, but they`re
again marketization of education, and it`s an interesting counter to some
of the activity that has been going on.

KORNACKI: Yeah, we have been talking about an interesting Democratic
divide there. Steve?

MOORE: So, there will be a big vote sometime in the next week or two in
Congress on the fate of the Export/Import Bank. It will be very
fascinating to see which party lines up in favor of corporate favoritism
and corporate welfare and which won`t. And I`ll tell you this, I bet that
Elizabeth Warren, your favorite middle class savior will vote for corporate
cronyism.

KORNACKI: I think we know which that .

(LAUHTER)

Brian?

MURPHY: I`m really curious to see what happens to the bodies in the
refrigerated car in Russia. I think we`re seeing what it is like to live
in a multi-polar world where we have a state actor that is not interested
in stability which is sort of a foundational assumption of foreign
relations. So, just seeing how that plays out, that will be fascinating.

KORNACKI: Wesley?

LOWERY: Definitely, I want to go local. I think I`m really fascinated on
this Eric Gardner story, front page of "The Daily News" today. The man who
was had been taken into custody by New York police and ended up dying.
There`s been, obviously, local political fallout, Bill de Blasio had to
delay his trip by a day and stay as the video disturbed him. But then also
- rally today. The MSNBC hosted an activist, Al Sharpton hosting it. I
mean it will certainly be a lot of fallout to this. I can watching that
video reminded me, do the right thing. The city of a lot of kind of racial
police tension and this is going to be a really, really interesting case to
see how this plays out. That`s what I`m watching.

KORNACKI: All right. Wesley Lowery, Brian Murphy, Basil Smikle, Steve
Moore, thank you for joining us. Thank you, everyone, for tuning in at
home. We`ll be back here next weekend. Stick around now because Melissa
Harris-Perry is coming up next. About the latest. The downed Malaysian
airlines plane and a continuing humanitarian crisis of the unaccompanied
children crossing the border here in the U.S... Don`t go anywhere, MHP is
next.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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