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Meet the Press

Meet The Press 01/22/17

Meet the Press

01-22-2017

(BEGIN TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

This Sunday a divided country on a split-screen weekend. It began with the inauguration of a new president.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

And yes, together, we will make America great again.

CHUCK TODD:

That brought out hope to some.

THOMAS HANDZLIK:

It's absolutely amazing to see our Democratic process, you know, and how it works.

CHUCK TODD:

And prompted millions of women to march around the country.

AMERICA FERRERA:

We are America and we are here to stay.

CHUCK TODD:

And around the world. To march for women's rights and against the new president. Plus the bizarre fight over crowd size.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

It looked like a million, million and a half people.

CHUCK TODD:

Donald Trump at the C.I.A. accuses the media of lying about the size of his inauguration crowd.

SEAN SPICER:

This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.

CHUCK TODD:

But the photos comparing Friday's crowd with Obama's first inaugural tell a very different story. And that inaugural address that was both a call to renewed American strength.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

The time for empty talk is over.

CHUCK TODD:

And a dark portrait of the nation President Trump now leads.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

CHUCK TODD:

My guests this morning, President Trump's counselor, Kellyanne Conway, the man who will lead the opposition in the Senate, Chuck Schumer of New York. Joining me for insight and analysis are MSNBC's Chris Matthews, host of Hardball, NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker, Hugh Hewitt, host on the Salem Radio Network and Eliana Johnson of Politico. Welcome to Sunday and a special edition of Meet the Press.

ANNOUNCER:

From NBC News in Washington this is Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Good Sunday morning on this most remarkable of inauguration weekends at a time when a new president took the oath of office and hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the Washington mall to celebrate. The big stories turned out to be the massive demonstrations sparked by the inauguration of Donald Trump and then the head scratching decision by President Trump to pick yet another fight with the press.

Across the country and around the world more than two million people, mostly women, took to the streets to fight for women's rights and to rebuke President Trump. In some cases officials had to cancel planned marches because the demonstrations themselves were too large for the planned route. The huge crowds clearly rattled the White House.

Late in the day on his first full day in the job the new press secretary, Sean Spicer, gathered reporters, took no questions and then flatly accused the media of lying, intentionally lying to understate the size of Mr. Trump's inaugural crowd.

SEAN SPICER:

This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.

CHUCK TODD:

Spicer says the pictures tell the story. So here are the pictures. On the left is a shot taken from the Washington monument moments before noon the day of President Obama's first inaugural. Photo on the right is moments before noon on Friday, from the same camera. Which crowd is larger?

All this came a day after President Trump's inaugural address which delighted supporters with his plain-spoken bluntness, very Trumpian, and will be remembered domestically as the “American carnage” speech and its images of a country as a wasteland of crime, drugs and rusted out factories. Around the world it will be remembered as the “America first” speech. But it was the marches in their stunning size and scope and number that stole the weekend.

(BEGIN TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

In Washington, DC, and around the nation from New York City to Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles and even every continent around the world millions of women marched in protest. The message, a historic rebuke to Mr. Trump and a declaration of feminism in a polarized America.

GLORIA STEINEM:

Thank you for understanding that sometimes we must put our bodies where our beliefs are.

CHUCK TODD:

With signs, many made of poster board, often with kids in tow, women and some men showed up in other cities, Houston, Indianapolis, Miami, Phoenix, Denver, even in Juneau, Alaska and Little Rock, Arkansas, women crowded the capitol steps. The giant throngs may have actually prompted President Trump to complain that reporters underplayed the size of his crowd.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

But we had a massive field of people. You saw that, packed. I get up this morning, I turn on one of the networks and they show an empty field.

CHUCK TODD:

A country divided fully on display at Friday's inaugural as well. Among President Trump’s supporters there's hope.

JENNIFER SATTERFIELD:

It's really exciting. There's a vibe in the air.

INAUGURATION ATTENDEE:

Making history. Changing America.

TOM ROBERTSON:

I think this is going to be a dizzying 100 days. First 100 days.

CHUCK TODD:

But 70% of Americans believe that under President Trump divisions will continue or get worse. Past presidents in divided times have reached out to opponents. Nixon during the Vietnam War.

PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON:

We are caught in war wanting peace. We're torn by division wanting unity. We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another.

CHUCK TODD:

George W. Bush after a disputed election.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:

And sometimes our differences run so deep it seems we share a continent, but not a country. We do not accept this.

CHUCK TODD:

But Mr. Trump's 16-minute inaugural address, crafted by advisor Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, while pleasing supporters, was a declaration of combat. Mr. Trump presented a dark dystopian picture of the country he is inheriting.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Forgotten men and women, trapped in poverty, rusted out factories, deprived of all knowledge, the crime and the gangs and the drugs, this American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

CHUCK TODD:

President Trump proposed a solution more populist and nationalist than it was conservative. His rallying cry--

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

America first.

CHUCK TODD:

--is borrowed from Charles Lindbergh. Though Mr. Trump and others have rejected Lindbergh’s isolationism and anti-Semitism. Around the world some foreign leaders were rattled by President Trump's “America first” declaration, worrying it means a new jingoism and an end to U.S. commitment to international agreements and institutions.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

And joining me now is the counselor to President Trump, Kellyanne Conway. Miss Conway, welcome to the White House north lawn which will--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

Hi, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

--become a familiar place for you I think--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

Yes.

CHUCK TODD:

--for the next few years. Let me begin with this question, the presidency is about choices. So I'm curious why President Trump chose yesterday to send out his press secretary to essentially litigate a provable falsehood when it comes to a small and petty thing like inaugural crowd size. I guess my question to you is why do that?

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

Chuck, the president did many things yesterday and the day before that are very meaningful to America. He signed executive orders to stop Obamacare and all of its problems. Many people have lost their-- Millions of people have lost their insurance, their doctors, their plans. So that stops right now.

He's going to replace it with something much more free-market and patient-centric in nature. And on this matter of crowd size, I mean, for me I think the most quantifiable points of interest for Americans should be what just happened a few months ago that brought him here, the 31 of 50 states he won, the 2,600 counties, the 200 counties that went for President Obama that now went to President Trump. And the fact that 29, 30 million women voted for Donald Trump for president. They should be respected. Somebody should cover their voices as well.

I'm about things that are quantifiable and important. I don’t think that-- I don't think ultimately presidents are judged by crowd sizes at their inauguration. I think they're judged by their accomplishments. And we know that President Obama and his accomplishments, that there's a lot of unfinished business there.

And on this matter of crowd size I think it is a symbol for the unfair and incomplete treatment that this president often receives. I'm very heartened to see Nielsen just came out with the ratings, 31 million people watching the inauguration. President Obama had 20.5 million watching his second inauguration four short years ago. So we know people are also watching the inauguration on different screens and in different modes. And that there was, I mean, for me there was a prediction of a downpour of rain. I think that deterred many people from coming. But no question there were hundreds of thousands of people out on the mall and--

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Kellyanne, let me stop you here because--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--you know, many people enthused.

CHUCK TODD:

--you make a very reasonable and rational case for why crowd sizes don't matter. Then explain, you did not answer the question, why did the president send out his press secretary, who’s not just the spokesperson for Donald Trump. He could be-- He also serves as the spokesperson for all of America at times. He speaks for all of the country at times. Why put him out there for the very first time in front of that podium to utter a provable falsehood? It's a small thing. But the first time he confronts the public it's a falsehood?

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

Chuck, I mean, if we're going to keep referring to our press secretary in those types of terms I think that we're going to have to rethink our relationship here. I want to have a great open relationship with our press. But look what happened the day before talking about falsehoods.

We allowed the press-- the press to come into the Oval Office and witness President Trump signing executive orders. And of course, you know, the Senate had just confirmed General Mattis and General Kelly to their two posts. And we allowed the press in. And what happens almost immediately? A falsehood is told about removing the bust of Martin Luther King Junior from the Oval Office. No, that's just flat out false. And the pool writer--

CHUCK TODD:

And it was corrected immediately--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

But why-- Chuck, why was it said?

CHUCK TODD:

--but Kellyanne, no, let me--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

Chuck, why was it said in the first place because--

CHUCK TODD:

--I don't know.

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--everybody's so presumptively negative--

CHUCK TODD:

--climb, climb into the head of that reporter--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

No, that it's okay. No excuse me.

CHUCK TODD:

But Miss--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

Oh no, no, no, that reporter was writing to-- on behalf of the press pool. That falsehood--

CHUCK TODD:

I understand that--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--got spread 3,000 times--

CHUCK TODD:

But it does not excuse--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--before it was corrected.

CHUCK TODD:

--excuse me. It does not--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

And it's still out there.

CHUCK TODD:

--excuse and you did not answer the question.

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

I did answer--

CHUCK TODD:

No you did not.

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--your question.

CHUCK TODD:

You did not--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

Yes I did.

CHUCK TODD:

--answer the question of why the president asked the White House press secretary to come out in front of the podium for the first time and utter a falsehood? Why did he do that? It undermines the credibility of the entire White House press office--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

No it doesn't.

CHUCK TODD:

--on day one.

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

Don't be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. What-- You're saying it's a falsehood. And they're giving Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that. But the point remains--

CHUCK TODD:

Wait a minute-- Alternative facts?

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--that there’s--

CHUCK TODD:

Alternative facts? Four of the five facts he uttered, the one thing he got right--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--hey, Chuck, why-- Hey Chuck--

CHUCK TODD:

--was Zeke Miller. Four of the five facts he uttered were just not true. Look, alternative facts are not facts. They're falsehoods.

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

Chuck, do you think it's a fact or not that millions of people have lost their plans or health insurance and their doctors under President Obama? Do you think it's a fact that everything we heard from these women yesterday happened on the watch of President Obama? He was president for eight years. Donald Trump's been here for about eight hours.

Do you think it's a fact that millions of women, 16.1 million women, as I stand here before you today, are in poverty along with their kids? Do you think it's a fact that millions don't have health care? Do you think it's a fact that we spent billions of dollars on education in the last eight years only to have millions of kids still stuck in schools that fail them every single day? These are the facts that I want the press corps to cover--

CHUCK TODD:

I--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--and these are-- this is why I'm here at the White House--

CHUCK TODD:

--but I understand this.

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--to change awful--

CHUCK TODD:

What I don't understand is--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--numbers like that.

CHUCK TODD:

--that is not what yesterday was about. So you--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

Yes it is.

CHUCK TODD:

--have not answered the qu-- you did not answer the question the--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

It's what this presidency's going to be about.

CHUCK TODD:

--you sent the press secretary out there to utter a falsehood on the smallest, pettiest thing.

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

I don't think that anybody can prove the--

CHUCK TODD:

And I don’t understand why you did it.

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--look, I actually don’t think that-- maybe this is me as a pollster, Chuck. And you know data well. I don't think you can prove those numbers one way or the other. There's no way to really quantify crowds. We all know that. You can laugh at me all you want. But I'm very glad--

CHUCK TODD:

I'm not laughing. I'm just--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--look, Chuck, I'm--

CHUCK TODD:

--befuddled.

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--well, but you are. And I think it's actually symbolic of the way we're treated by the press. The way that you just laughed at me is actually symbolic of the way-- very representative of the way we're treated by the press. I'll just ignore it. I'm bigger than that. I'm a kind and gracious person. But let me tell you something else, I'm really glad that NBC News and Chuck Todd all of a sudden are so thrilled to cover crowd control because we were mocked daily for talking about the significance of our historic rallies--

CHUCK TODD:

Listen--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--during the campaign.

CHUCK TODD:

--this is not about us--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

Donald Trump brought in historic crowds to Michigan--

CHUCK TODD:

--it doesn't--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--to Wisconsin, to Pennsylvania, to Florida, to North Carolina. And on great days we were ignored and on most days we were mocked. And those crowds did matter because he built a movement--

CHUCK TODD:

Of course they mattered.

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--the likes of which people hadn't seen.

CHUCK TODD:

What-- but what I don't understand is why he's litigating this? Why stand in front of a memorial at the C.I.A.--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

What else did he say to the C.I.A. though?

CHUCK TODD:

--and talk about crowd sizes?

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

You don't want to talk about the rest of this-- what he said at the C.I.A. First of all, his very presence at the C.I.A. sent a great message to our men and women, our brave men and women in the intelligence community. He went to the C.I.A. yesterday. He thought he was going to witness the swearing in of his C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo. But you know why that didn't happen, Chuck? Because the United States Senate won't confirm Mike Pompeo as C.I.A. director. Ask Senator Schumer why that is.

CHUCK TODD:

That is going to be a question I have--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

Excuse me.

CHUCK TODD:

--for him.

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

Ask him why-- Ask him why Donald Trump as president has nominated 21 of the 21 cabinet positions only to have two, a grand total of two, confirmed while he takes office? So the Democratic Senate wants to hold up treasury, commerce, energy, education. The list goes on.

We should have the respect and deference of having a cabinet seated so this peaceful transition of power occurs properly. But he went to the C.I.A. because lies have been told about his relationship and his respect for the intelligence community. So he went right there. We had over 1,000 requests to attend. We can only accommodate three or four hundred--

CHUCK TODD:

Can I-- can I ask you to--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--and he embraced--

CHUCK TODD:

--Can I ask you what the lies--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--the intelligence community.

CHUCK TODD:

--can I ask you to tell me what lies about the intelligence community were uttered about President Trump's relationship with the intelligence community?

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

That he doesn't respect them. Do you think what outgoing C.I.A. director said yesterday in a statement using the vocabulary, the language he used about our new president of the United States somehow, quote, improves our relationship with the intelligence community? It is irresponsible. It is reprehensible. And it is totally unnecessary.

CHUCK TODD:

Okay. Then let me ask you this, is this responsible, he called it, "was disgraceful, intelligence agencies allowed any information, so false and fake out, disgrace, say, that’s something, Nazi Germany would have done and did so." “Disgrace,” that was on January 11th. Was it right to compare the intelligence community with Nazi Germany?

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

What's not right, Chuck, is that the day before, you had people releasing a dossier full of junk and lies and fake news. And why did they release the dossier? Because people knew that Russian hacking was fading from view as an election had been totally dismissed as having any credibility or nexus towards our election results.

Hillary Clinton lost that election fairly and squarely basically running on the same messages we heard here yesterday in Washington D.C. and elsewhere. I heard, like, a repeat. It was this awful sequel, as awful as the original. We just litigated all this in the campaign.

They came to Washington and said the same thing. Donald Trump, President Trump is very concerned about the leaks that have occurred. And is very concerned that people would really denigrate the way the respect that he has for men and women of the intelligence community. Why don't you go back to his statement on Friday, January 6th after he had an intelligence briefing that he and Vice President Pence won't talk about because it's top secret. And they won't leak about it because you're not supposed to. They're protecting our intelligence and they're protecting the security of people like you and me and our children, Chuck, by not leaking.

But what he said that day on January 6th, put that statement up for your viewers if you want to do us an honest service. He said in the beginning of the statement, "I respect the service of our great men and women in the intelligence community." And then the last part of the statement was that he looks forward to directing his own intelligence team within 90 days of becoming the president of the United States to give us a better view of cyber security and to put better security measures in place. It'd be nice if he had a C.I.A. director. He doesn't today--

CHUCK TODD:

All right I want to--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--because the Democrats are holding up his C.I.A. director.

CHUCK TODD:

--I want to go back to a question that you continue to deflect. Why was it necessary to send out the press secretary on his first day in office to utter a provable falsehood that now calls into question everything the press secretary say-- will say from--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

No it doesn't.

CHUCK TODD:

--here on out? It will--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

No it doesn't.

CHUCK TODD:

--for many Americans.

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

No it doesn't. You want them to hear that. You want them to hear that I'm not answering your questions, which I'm doing. You want them to hear that they can't trust our press secretary. I think that it is a very--

CHUCK TODD:

What was the motive then?

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--dangerous statement to make.

CHUCK TODD:

What was the motive to have this ridiculous litigation of crowd size?

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

And now you're casting it--

CHUCK TODD:

What was the motive?

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--and your job is not to give your--

CHUCK TODD:

What was the motive?

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--opinion, Chuck. Respectfully, your job is not to call things ridiculous that are said by our press secretary and our president. That's not your job. You're supposed to be a news person. You're not an opinion columnist.

CHUCK TODD:

Can you please answer the question? Why did he do this? You have not answered it.

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

I'll answer--

CHUCK TODD:

It's only one question.

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--it this way. I'll answer it this way. Think about what you just said to your viewers. That's why we feel compelled to go out and clear the air and put alternative--

CHUCK TODD:

So it's a political tactic?

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--facts out there.

CHUCK TODD:

It's a political tactic to come up with alternative facts and try to set up the press as your enemy?

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

No I didn't say that at all. And that's not why I'm here in this building. I'm here because of all the provable, quantifiable facts, because of the devastation and destruction in our schools with our health care, in our economy, with our small business owners.

And yes, certainly-- with-- with terrorism, infrastructure. This guy is going to do so much in the first week. He's going to talk to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today about the Middle East, about Iran. He's going to end the week receiving Prime Minister Theresa May from the U.K. here. His first foreign leader to be received here.

They're going to help renegotiate U.S./U.K. trade. But you want to talk about things the media doesn't want to cover. You totally missed Brexit and Theresa May. You totally missed Trump's campaign. You want to talk about provable facts? You've missed it all along. America doesn’t really-- I mean, look, you got 14% approval rating in the media that you've earned. You want to push back on us. And yet you have a 14%--

CHUCK TODD:

All I'm looking for is--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--approval rating.

CHUCK TODD:

--an answer to a simple question. You never answered why or the motivation of what was necessary about doing that yesterday.

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

Tell me why you just referred to us as ridiculous. Tell me why--

CHUCK TODD:

I said the-- I think the debate--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--we were lied about with the MLK bust.

CHUCK TODD:

--is ridiculous. And I did not say--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

You don't think--

CHUCK TODD:

--anything about ML-- you’re defl-- look, you're deflecting in order to--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

NBC covered that fa-- NBC covered that false report.

CHUCK TODD:

--avoid to answer the question.

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

NBC covered that false report as did 3,000 other articles that are still up online. Chuck, you can't have a press coming into the Oval Office on day one of the administration. We welcome them in to be open and gracious and to have a great relationship with the press.

They came in. And the press pooler wrote a false article about the removal of the bust of Martin Luther King Junior days after President Trump met with Martin Luther King III, Martin Luther King Junior's son in New York City. Had a very constructive, open conversation where Martin Luther King Junior's son said, "We have to unify and help heal the country together." And boom, any snarky attempt to try to undercut this president in the Oval Office while he's doing the--

CHUCK TODD:

I under-

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

--business of the country. I mean, we can't have this kind of relationship.

CHUCK TODD:

I completely agree. But--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

Well.

CHUCK TODD:

--I'm sitting here trying to answer basic questions and you're trying to attack me with--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

I'm not attacking you.

CHUCK TODD:

--some weird Twitter feed--

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

You attacked us as ridiculous.

CHUCK TODD:

--with some weird Twitter feed that you guys are obsessed with. Look, I'm going to have to leave it there. You have another interview to go to. I have the rest of the show to go to. Kellyanne Conway I appreciate coming on to share your views.

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

Ask Chuck Schumer why we don't have cabinet secretaries to prove. We nominated 21, they've approved two.

CHUCK TODD:

I will, among the questions I have for him.

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

Thank you, Kellyanne Conway. Coming up, the man many Democrats are looking to to stop President Trump from enacting his agenda, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.

(BEGIN TAPE)

DONALD TRUMP:

January 20th, 2017 will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

(END TAPE)

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back, it's safe to say that before the election Chuck Schumer assumed the Democrats would win back the Senate and that as majority leader he'd be getting to work enacting President Hillary Clinton's agenda. Well, fast-forward to today and the president is named Trump and Senator Schumer is the minority leader, not enacting the new president's agenda but in a position to frustrate it. Senator Schumer joins me now.

Senator, let me start with a question that I was going to ask you and it's one that Kellyanne Conway, the counselor for the President obviously wanted to ask you, why hold up Mike Pompeo's nomination for a weekend? It seemed as if he's going to get confirmed tomorrow. It does look politically petty.

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

Well, actually no C.I.A. director has been confirmed the day of inauguration. The C.I.A. is in very good hands. The number three guy is running it. In fact, I suggested to the vice president on Wednesday have Brennan stay. You know, he'd be willing to stay. He's devoted to the agency.

There are very serious questions about Mike Pompeo. The greatest -- one of the great disputes we've had in the Congress over the years, Republicans and Democrats, not partisan, on each side of this, is security and liberty. And because senators want to have a real discussion of that. It just came out yesterday that Mike Pompeo might consider going against water-boarding. Just came out yesterday. So to have a discussion for a few days when this man will have enormous power and be in office maybe for up to four years--

CHUCK TODD:

Okay.

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

--makes eminent sense.

CHUCK TODD:

But in all honesty--

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

Advise and consent doesn't mean ram it through.

CHUCK TODD:

I'm sorry, the water-boarding, I watched the Pompeo confirmation hearing. The water-boarding question was asked and answered. And he said in front of everybody there under oath that he was not in favor of it.

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

Yeah, but in the questions that just came back Friday he said he'd consult some of the experts. There seemed to be a backtracking. And this is why we have to have some discussion.

CHUCK TODD:

So what does that mean? Is it going to get voted on tomorrow?

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

Yeah, it'll get voted on tomorrow. And in all likelihood--

CHUCK TODD:

So what-- all right, but--

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

--he'll pass. But--

CHUCK TODD:

--in all honesty, what discussion, I mean, it just seems like a petty delay tactic.

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

--oh come on.

CHUCK TODD:

What discussion--

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

--is left?

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

Chuck, that is silly.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, no--

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

Okay ask senator--

CHUCK TODD:

What do you have time for discussion?

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

There is plenty-- this is a debate on the floor. They did not want to have any debate on the floor. Sometimes people are persuaded by the debate on the floor. Senator Wyden, for instance, has very serious questions. It does no harm, none, to have that debate and vote Monday night.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, let me ask you about your relationship with the new president. We had some reporting that apparently you told the president that you have issues particularly with two cabinet members. Not Mike Pompeo in this case. Tom Price at HHS, Mick Mulvaney at budgets.

And in fact, when we were eavesdropping on the signings of the nominations, our reporting seemed to be confirmed because he was almost mockingly, "Hey, Chuck, you seem to love Mulvaney, or you love Tom Price." What does that mean? Are you looking at a long holdup of both nominations? Or do you think you can defeat both nominations?

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

Okay, let me talk about the cabinet. It's a cabinet unlike any other we've seen on two basis. We call it the swamp cabinet. Billionaires and bankers. And it's very simple, there are more people with huge financial holdings which they have to divest under law so they don't have conflicts of interests.

This takes a tremendous amount of time. Many of these nominees did not submit their ethics reports, did not submit their F.B.I. reports. They were poorly prepared. And we need to examine those conflicts of interests. Mulvaney, for instance, for four years didn't pay taxes on a household employee. Republicans when Tom Daschle had that wouldn't allow him to go into office.

And then there's an additional problem, a lot of these hominess have views directly against what Donald Trump campaigned on. We heard in his inaugural speech populist rhetoric. But that may be covering up a hard right agenda at least based on these nominees. Price, privatizing Medicare? The president said he wouldn't touch Medicare in his campaign. Mulvaney, cutting across the board even cancer research. No one has ever talked about that. DeVos, greatly diminishing public education.

There are so many of these nominees that have different views than what the President-elect, now the President campaigned on that of course there should be scrutiny. Now will we win some of these fights? Possibly. That's why we have a debate.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me--

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

But I will tell you this, Chuck, that these people are going to have enormous power over Americans for years. To have a little of debate and discussion before they take office, if I were the Republicans, of course I'd want to ram a cabinet like this through. I'm embarrassed by it I would be if I were a republican.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me drill down on Mick Mulvaney though. You said-- you were very careful there. You said Republicans had a problem with Tom Daschle with taxes. And Tom Daschle ended up withdrawing. You defended Tom Daschle and said it wasn't a withdrawable offense. If it wasn't for Tom Daschle, why do you believe it is for Mick Mulvaney?

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

My objections to Mulvaney, and I haven't made a final decision, far more relate to his views in the Congress as OMB director--

CHUCK TODD:

So that is disqualify--

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

He has tremendous, tremendous power.

CHUCK TODD:

--you don't think--

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

But there are many people who feel that the household nonpayment should've been a reason. And Republicans themselves said it, "We should have a thorough discussion." How much like it -- it seems just like Daschle's. But there ought to be thorough discussion.

CHUCK TODD:

I was just going to say though, you said many people. So I take it you yourself don't believe that was disqualifiable.

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

Look, I want to see the whole record before I make that decision.

CHUCK TODD:

Before--

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

My big objections to Mulvaney are on his substantive views, so different than what Trump campaigned on. It's hard right.

CHUCK TODD:

Before I let you go, you're a student of politics and you will acknowledge when somebody does something well. And if you can you would take a tactic. What have you learned from Donald Trump's success at getting to the presidency?

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

You know, when you lose an election like we do, you know, you don't blink, you don't flinch. You look at it. We did not have a sharp or strong enough economic message. And that's what we're going to do as Democrats. Many people thought Trump had a stronger economic message than we did.

We'll take the blame for that. I'll take some of it. We'll all take some of it. We're going to improve. And you are going to see a really sharp-edged, bold and Democratic economic plan that's going to help us at the same time that President Trump is floundering and going after things that he's having real difficulty with, like his cabinet.

CHUCK TODD:

So are we headed for--

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

Like the Affordable Care Act, et cetera.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. Well, Republicans went sharp-edged against a President Obama and we had a polarized eight years. Is that what we're headed for here?

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

Look, we're going to go by our values. We're not going to oppose something because the name Trump is on it, as they did. On infrastructure, if he has a really robust build that actually increases federal spending, infrastructure spending, we'll be for it. We'll work with him on trade. If he wants to repeal carried interest exemption, we'll support him. But where our values are different we're going to oppose him whether it's the Affordable Care Act or rolling back the limitations of Wall Street or clean air or clean water, it's our values that will decide things, plain and simple.

CHUCK TODD:

Senator Schumer, I'm going to have to leave it there. Appreciate you coming on--

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

--sharing your views. Coming up, why Washington D.C.'s newest resident, President Trump, might have to travel a long way to find a friendly face. We’ll explain.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Panelists here, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, host of Hardball, Eliana Johnson of Politico, NBC News White House correspondent, Kristen Welker, Hugh Hewitt, host on Salem Radio Network and let me get a book plug in here now, because I don’t know when I’m gonna get it in. You’re coming out with a new book on Tuesday called “The Fourth Way” I will be plugging away later in the week I promise you.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me just set up the conversation, obviously the conversation I had with Kellyanne Conway is up for debate here. Let me play Sean Spicer from yesterday to sort of, reorient everybody here it is.

(BEGIN TAPE)

PRESS SECRETARY SEAN SPICER:

This kind of dishonesty in the media, the challenging, the bringing about our nation together is making it more difficult. There’s been a lot of talk in the media about the responsibility to hold Donald Trump accountable, and I’m here to tell you that it goes two ways. We are going to hold the press accountable as well.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Hugh Hewitt, I for the life, I began my question, the presidency is about choices. They obviously made choice that they wanted to litigate this.Can you explain this?

HUGH HEWITT:

I believe a lot of it has to do -- and I believe in grace. Zeke Miller is a friend of mine from Time Magazine, he made a mistake. Sean Spicer made a mistake on the metro numbers yesterday. I believe in grace for both of them, and that we ought to move past this. It is not good to begin your presidency at war with the media. That’s how bad presidencies end. And so I’m hoping that we don’t relitigate it, the most important thing that happened over the weekend is what didn’t happen. We didn’t have Brussels, we didn’t have Nice, we didn’t have Paris or San Bernardino. General Mattis yesterday saluted the guardians and sentinels that he was welcoming. And the most important thing that I think that was said in the inaugural speech was we will eradicate radical islamic terrorism from the face of the earth. And that’s been lost in all this so I say get back to the main message.

CHUCK TODD:

And I understand that but again, Chris Matthews and I say presidencies are about choices and he chose to do this, and I think undermine the credibility of Sean Spicer immediately. Why they chose to do that?

CHRIS MATTHEWS:

Because you break your pick the first day as a press secretary, as you pointed out. It's the most important day. You have to say to the press, "I'm here to serve you, to get the news out with this we’ll disagree occasionally, but that's what it's about where there's together.” And I think-- and you were addressing with Kellyane observable, checkable facts, and everybody who covers this will say, you tried to press her on the observable, checkable facts. And she made other points which were valid and political. But not on that point. And I think that's what you have to do in journalism today, take the heat for asking the question, take the heat for asking it four times until somebody answers it. You didn't get the answer because there wasn't any answer. The crowds were different. It was the Groucho Marx line all over again. Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes? And those pictures tell the story.

ELIANA JOHNSON:

People do things for a reason. And Trump excels, he does best when he has a foil. He has called the media the new opposition party. And so he is making the media his foil. He sent Sean Spicer out to do that. He excelled on the campaign trail when he had Little Marco, Lying Ted, Crooked Hillary. Now he has the dishonest media. He did it with the intelligence community. I think this is, It's not something that can't be explained. It is an intentional tactic and I don't think it's going to change.

KRISTEN WELKER:

Well, even some former Trump campaign officials have said it's a real missed opportunity. This was his first moment in the briefing room. President Trump is going to be meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday. Why not talk about that? Why not talk about the fact that he's been talking to her about a new bilateral trade deal according to one of my sources? So this was essentially a warning to the press and we have a briefing on Monday. I would encourage everyone to tune in because I think there's going to be a lot more fireworks.

CHUCK TODD:

If Sean Spicer wanted to make sure TV cameras were turned on and that all the cable networks would cover it, I think he's done a good job of that.

KRISTEN WELKER:

Right. And I've been talking to former press secretaries, Republicans and Democrats who say, "When you walk out into that briefing room you have a responsibility to try to tell the truth and to answer questions." And he didn't do either.

HUGH HEWITT:

All right, but people make mistakes. And I just really believe that he was given bad data on the Metro. I just really believe that some poor staffer gave him a bad piece of data on the metro--

KRISTEN WELKER

But what about the pictures?

ELIANA JOHNSON:

This wasn't a mistake. This is their intentional tactic and posture towards the media.

HUGH HEWITT:

I'm not defending it, It was wrong.

ELIANA JOHNSON:

But they don't think of it as a mistake.

HUGH HEWITT:

But let's give him a little bit of grace because it's your first day. You were telling me the story about how he didn't know how to organize the pool.

KRISTEN WELKER:

There's a little bit of a sense of it's sort of the first day.

CHRIS MATTHEWS:

I tried to show great sympathy because I've worked for bosses and I got the feeling he was like a babysitter. And he knew that the mother had a camera on him. And that every word he spoke was being watched in real-time or later by Donald Trump. And Donald Trump said get in their and shove it at those guys.

CHUCK TODD:

And the other thing is that he went and, like, he raised his voice and yelled and screamed. And it just was just odd. By the way, let me quickly go to the inaugural speech and ask you this question, if there had been more of a unifying theme to it somewhere, even if there's sort of a grace note like Nixon, a grace note like Bush, Hugh Hewitt, do you think yesterday's crowds in the march, for instance, would have been as intense? Do you think we would have seen what we saw yesterday in the press briefing?

HUGH HEWITT:

I don't think that the president could have done anything to stop the crowds yesterday. That was an interesting, significant moment in American history that was spontaneous. And so his speech could not have impacted that. I do think it was a grim speech but realistic.

It's grown on me a little bit because of his focus. And I would urge everyone to go read General Flynn's book, Field of Fight, because I think that informs that speech more than I had thought about it. And it's very much a Flynn-influenced effort. Everybody should--

CHUCK TODD:

Mike Flynn and Steve Bannon. People, if you really want to understand the motivations. Anyway, let me pause here. When we come back perhaps one reason fewer people showed up to Donald Trump's inauguration than Barack Obama might have as much to do with geography. There's actually a much simpler explanation.

(BEGIN TAPE)

DONALD TRUMP:

And whether we are black or brown or white we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.

(END TAPE)

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back to Data Download time, despite what White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer claimed yesterday it's hard to ignore how much larger the crowds were for Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009 than they were for Donald Trump's on Friday. Just to refresh your memory, here they are again.

And there might be a good reason for this. The district has never voted for a Republican for president. And the region itself is turning bluer. Let me walk you through it. When Ronald Reagan was first elected in 1980 he lost D.C. badly but he won nearly every surrounding county in Virginia and Maryland.

He didn't need to go far to find a friendly territory. Just go over a bridge. In 1988 George H.W. Bush saw his closest winning country retreat to Fairfax County. Not that far away though in Virginia, just 5.8 miles from the White House. In Maryland you had to go 21 miles to Howard County to find some Bush 41 country.

In 2004, George W. Bush's nearest D.C. wins were Loudoun County, Virginia and Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Both 25 miles from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And now Donald Trump who won only 4 percent of the vote in Washington D.C. He also lost all of the surrounding counties. To find a county that voted red he'll need to go 27 miles to Maryland's Calvert County or 43 miles to Virginia's Fauquier County.

And by the way, from Trump Tower in New York which some are calling White House North the closest supporting county was Richmond, better known as Staten Island. It's 15.9 miles if he takes the Verrazano Bridge. A bit closer if he takes the Staten Island Ferry.

Point is, look, it's true that large, metro areas have been trending Democratic in recent elections. But back in Washington this sets up an awkward situation besides having a hard time getting local residents to show up for an inauguration.

A lot of those local residents are federal workers who now work for Donald Trump. It's important for the president to have a good relationship with his employees and vice versa.

Back in a moment with the man who may be best positioned to explain Donald Trump to the people who did not vote for him.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

And we’re back with the panel, and the man who may be the best positioned to help explain Donald Trump to those who did not vote for him -- Tom Barrack is a longtime friend of the new President, has served as an economic and national security advisor during the transition, and he was chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, probably will be an on-again, off-again informal advisor to him. Mr. Barrack, welcome sir.

TOM BARRACK:

Thanks, Chuck. Great to be here.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me just note for everybody, President Trump has put out a tweet this morning on the women’s marches. And he writes this, “Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.” Much different tone than what we saw earlier or yesterday. And I guess, Tom Barrack, help explain these different impulses of the new President.

TOM BARRACK:

Yeah first of all, I think, I mean, yesterday was an amazing day, right, that you could have the first day of a new president in office, and a major demonstration in the women’s march, which was beautifully executed, which was a great display of democracy. And he really feels this way. In other words, embracing the different points of view is part of the fabric of America --- and on the first day of his presidency, amazing that it could happen. The controversy around the crowds, which is unfortunate, right, because it’s something that doesn’t need to be done. President Obama’s inauguration was a great event. His first inauguration was an unbelievable passage of another great tribute to America, and President Trump’s inauguration was equally brilliant. But actually the controversy and the problem all starts with me as chairman of the Presidential Inauguration Committee - and it would help, I think, for people to understand, and I’ll go through each of the facts with you, if you’d like. So a Presidential Inauguration Committee comes together at the conclusion of an election. So it’s not formed until 57 days ago, and it’s a larger event than the Olympics, right, you have two, three million people coming into town, we had 21 events in six days -- and to give you an example, the Joint Task Force, which is run by Senator Blunt, which was brilliantly done at the Capitol, starts 18 months earlier to plan for the Capitol event. So now you bring in a nonpartisan group, so I had 350 employees. The President when he gave me this mandate said, “Look, this is the most important first fingerprint that the world will see on democracy as to how this is run. And it’s not a partisan operation. So the key is no goof ups, safe, protected, secure, and the best face on America.”

CHUCK TODD:And it was.

TOM BARRACK:

And it was.

CHUCK TODD:

And I guess I go back to-- and I don’t want to-- is what was - why did he want to litigate crowd size?

TOM BARRACK:So--

CHUCK TODD:

And I guess that’s the explanation people are trying to understand.

TOM BARRACK:

Well, because he was correct from the information that he was given, which was given from us. And that’s what I’m trying to get to. So we have 350 employees, 35,000 security people, so facts. When he concluded the Armed Services Ball, which was brilliant, he asked me, “How did we do?” I said, “Sir, it was fantastic. It was the best inauguration in history.” My point of view and I was proud of the team, I was proud of the American people and I’m marketing, right.

CHUCK TODD:

Yes.

TOM BARRACK:

Now, did I have a count? Thank goodness the Senate didn’t confirm me as the statistical warrior and analytical king of counting crowds. I went to our team, I said, “How does it look?” They said, “Fantastic, here’s what’s happened, here’s where the mags are and the parade route,” and we can talk about each of these details if you’d like--

CHUCK TODD:

No, I actually don’t. Right, we don’t.

TOM BARRACK:

I gave him the information. He said, “Well what was the estimate of the crowds?” I said, “Within the viewing and hearing area, based on our facts from our site team, about a million and a half people," by the way, which is an accurate number. In other words, looking at those pictures which are very difficult to curate, it's very difficult to tell.

CHUCK TODD:

Right. Well, I guess I want to move to another part, and sort of, why is he bothered by this?

TOM BARRACK:

So here's what his issue is, it wasn't the size of the crowd. His issue was why in a tweet is the point of view by the press in the morning of my first day of work showing a disparity between my success as a president on the first day and our past president, who he has great respect for, on his first day? It's a point of view that was meanfully and wrongfully expressed. That was his only point -- is if he's going to be held accountable to tweets and the accuracy then why isn't the press? And the first tweet that came out from the New York Times' reporter, which was then retweeted by the Park Service, you know, it wasn't Ray Donovan or 24. I mean, comparing photographs and time sequences is beyond the scope--

CHUCK TODD:

Let me get to-- We're actually getting into too much of the weeds here. And everybody else jump in. But explain sort of how President Trump won-- how do you keep him from getting distracted by small things in order to enact big things? That's where I'm getting at.

TOM BARRACK.

Right. So look, my experience with him as a friend and as a businessperson, he doesn't get distracted. He is consumed by detail and the big things. And he is relentlessly focused. So it's not that he's distracted. He's looking at this and just saying, “I want parity.” That issue, full stop, for him. It wasn't about the numbers, it wasn't about the size. He says, "I want parity. If I'm going to be scrutinized for my tweets, I want the press to be scrutinized the same way. Full stop." On the big issues, he has a great team. But, you know, it's chaos moving into the White-- Everybody thinks it's great. Moving in people say, "Well, what happened to the Spanish part of the web, or what happened to the LBTG--"

HUGH HEWITT:

Tom Barrack, can I jump into a big issue cause you just mentioned it? You could dazzle us by speaking in Arabic right now if you wanted to, fluently. The big line in the inauguration was, "We will eradicate radical Islamic terrorism in our-- from the globe." What do your friends in the Gulf, and you have many, and you speak to them, have you had a chance to check with them yet on their reaction to that speech and the realignment of American foreign policy?

TOM BARRACK:

They embrace it. They are so excited to have a president who comes and says, "Look, we're going to support our allies and we're going to draw hard lines around those who are not." Because their problem is radical Islam. But you have to have the U.S. support it with a consistent foreign policy. So they get it a thousand percent and they're saying, "Fine, you have to help us. If we have a radical Mullah in a mosque who's preaching, ‘eradicate the infidels,’” and we say we're going to take those mosques down with a bulldozer and we're going to put him in jail for six years, don't come at us with human rights. And don’t-- when you don't like who our royal family is that’s running this country take them out the next day.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, guys, I'm going to sneak in a break. Tom, you're going to stay here. You didn't know this yet. And we’re gonna get everybody else to get a quick question in. Back in 45 seconds, End Game. But in this case we're going to continue the conversation with Mr. Barrack.

ANNOUNCER:

Coming up, Meet the Press end game. Brought to you by Boeing, always working to build something better.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

ANNOUNCER:

Meet the Press End Game is brought to you by Boeing. Always working to build something better.

CHUCK TODD:

Back now with End Game, and we're calling an audible. We want to keep Mr. Barrack around, Kristen, jump in.

KRISTEN WELKER:

Continuing on this issue of foreign policy in the Middle East, do you council President Trump to ban refugees from certain countries? And what do you think that should look like now that he's in office? What should that specifically look like?

TOM BARRACK:

Look, he has really talented people around him who now are commissioned and mandated to do that. So I don't attempt to be in that. But I think from my humble point of view, when you're in a crisis the first thing you need to do is stabilize the situation. So when we talk about refugees going everywhere, which is the saddest situation in the world, when we look at the departures -- Syrian refugees across Europe and to us.

It's a little bit uncontrollable because the Sidas can't control the export of those. Matter of fact, the Sidas is encouraging the export of people. So I think all he's saying is, "Look, put a post mate for a minute until we figure out how we control this. Stop it. Put your oxygen mask on yourself, take a few deep breaths, get the point of views of how you control it. And then reopen it again."

CHRIS MATTHEWS:

Let me just try something by you because I know Mr. Trump. I've known him a long time. And he seems like you when you're with him. He seems like a charming guy, you know him, Chuck, and he's charming. He's funny. He listens, he has an intake valve.

And yet when he gets in front of the public the other day, gives the biggest speech of his life, and it was not inclusive. It wasn't charming. There was no music to it. There's nothing of, you know, "I know you voted against me, some of you people in the 'burbs especially, I think I'm going to change your mind. By the way, 29 percent of Hispanic people voted for me. I'm going to make you proud you did that. Right? 42 percent of women voted for me yesterday, whatever. I'm going to make you proud to do that."

Why didn't he talk to the people who stuck their necks out to vote for the guy who are minorities? And women especially. There was no charm or outreach to this speech. It was all, "Screw my enemies. I'll get them. We're going to get even now. And damn politicians all around me here." It was so unpleasant. And you're a charmer. I'm softening you up now. Why couldn't he be a charmer?

TOM BARRACK:

Listen, there’s an easy answer. Because he was elected president of the United States. And I go back to a day job. All right? So charm doesn't work much.

CHRIS MATTHEWS:

It does?

TOM BARRACK:

As a leader he's staying on point. But I can tell you one thing, if you take the Women's March yesterday, his original thought was, “why don't I invite 15 of them into the Rose Garden, let's discuss points of view. You want to discuss global warming? Let's discuss global warming.”

The advice from the security team, right, as an individual he had the right instinct. As president of the United States it's very difficult to do that now with a new security team. So his head is there. His heart is there. It's not easy, right? And I'll tell you one thing that I saw, so I was sitting on the platform and I was looking at President Obama and President Trump. You could see compassion in President Obama's eyes saying, "Wow, I really feel for you with the weight of the responsibility that you're going to take." And yesterday I could see in President Trump the glibness is gone. He feels the weight. He's there. He's going to do it. We all just need to give him a break. 100 day peace treaty on all sides, his side, media's side and it'll be off.

CHUCK TODD:

Eliana, very quick.

ELIANA JOHNSON:

America first. You know, movement of course to keep the country out of World War II, his inaugural seemed to me a case that the responsibility that the country's taken in the post-World War II era for global stability has not served American citizens well. What's your take on the meaning of the term? What does it mean to him?

CHUCK TODD:

I'm going to be cutting you off fast.

TOM BARRACK:

Okay, Marshall Plan, foreign policy, 1948, right? So all of these multilateral organizations in which we've exported our accountability don't work. And they don't work because the Marshall Plan and GATT and all of those treaties were based on foreign policy, not economics. That foreign policy, fast-forward is gone.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Tom Barrack, I'll leave it there. We'll be watching. Thank you for coming on and spending some time with us. That'll do it for today. We'll be back next week. I hope it's to preview a Packers Super Bowl. Watch out dirty birds. If it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

ANNOUNCER:

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* * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* *