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Meet The Press 03-26-17

NBC News - Meet The Press

"3.26.17"

(BEGIN TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

This Sunday, President Trump's health care surrender.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I'm disappointed, because we could have had it. So I'm disappointed.

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

I will not sugar coat this, this is a disappointing day for us.

CHUCK TODD:

The president and his party's core promise for four straight campaigns broken. How did it happen? And why are they giving up so easily? White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney joins me this morning. Plus, can a deeply divided Republican Party ever figure out how to govern? I'll talk to two Republican no-votes from opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, together, Senator Mike Lee of Utah and Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania. And as if health care wasn't bad enough for the president, the F.B.I. director confirms his agency has been investigating the President's campaign and its potential ties to Russia for months.

F.B.I. DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY:

And whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts.

CHUCK TODD:

I'll talk to the leading Democrat on the Senate Intel Committee, Mark Warner of Virginia. And the governor of the nation's biggest state, with this piece of advice for President Trump.

GOV. JERRY BROWN:

Don't fight everybody. Pick your battles.

CHUCK TODD:

My sit-down with Jerry Brown of California. Joining me for insight and analysis are Tom Brokaw of NBC News, Joy Reid, host of MSNBC's AM Joy, Hugh Hewitt, host on The Salem Radio Network, and Eliana Johnson of Politico. Welcome to Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

ANNOUNCER:

From NBC News in Washington, the longest-running show in television history, celebrating its 70th year, this is Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Good Sunday morning. By any standard, this was the most consequential week in Donald Trump's young presidency. In the span of just five days, Mr. Trump's credibility with voters and his clout with Congress were both dealt serious blows. On Monday, the director of the F.B.I., James Comey, put to rest any question that Donald Trump was wiretapped by President Obama. He wasn't. More importantly, Mr. Comey confirmed the F.B.I. is investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

By Friday, House Republicans abruptly had to pull the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, an embarrassing acknowledgement that they didn't have the votes, despite full control of the House, Senate, and the White House. The defeat raises questions about the ability of President Trump and his party to win on anything big.

In his short time in office, the President's travel ban has been blocked twice. His budget plan is stuck in the mud. The Russia investigation is widening, and his political capital is shrinking. And despite several days of behind-the-scenes negotiating and arm twisting on health care, the President's public push to sell the bill was, in a word, "lackluster." And it turns out the Art of the Deal president couldn't close.

(BEGIN TAPE)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I'm disappointed. I'm a little surprised, to be honest with you.

CHUCK TODD:

For seven years, it's been the promise that united Republicans, repeated over and over again on the campaign trail by Donald Trump.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

The first thing we're going to do is repeal and replace Obamacare. Immediately, repealing and replacing Obamacare. Immediately repealing and replacing the disaster known as Obamacare.

CHUCK TODD:

But on Friday, House Republicans, facing a revolt by more than 30 conservatives and moderates, pulled their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare from the floor, leaving President Obama's chief domestic achievement intact.

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

Yeah, we're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.

CHUCK TODD:

All week, Republicans promised that President Trump's personal political capital would bring the bill across the finish line.

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

And the reason I feel so good about this is because the president has become a great closer.

REP. GREG WALDEN:

He's the closer.

SEAN SPICER:

He is the closer.

MICK MULVANEY:

A tremendous closer.

CHUCK TODD:

Now the defeat of Mr. Trump's first legislative effort raises questions about the negotiating skills that he promised would break through gridlock in Washington.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

If you can't make a good deal with a politician, then there's something wrong with you. You're certainly not very good.

CHUCK TODD:

And it damages the reputation of House Speaker Paul Ryan, the self-described "policy wonk" that Republicans drafted to push through conservative legislation. And it raises questions about the party's overall ability to govern.

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

We were a ten-year opposition party where being against things was easy to do.

REP. MIKE COFFMAN:

Quite frankly, I think we got a group of people that are traditionally no on everything.

CHUCK TODD:

The bill's defeat is also an early victory for grassroots activism on the left. After angry town halls put pressure on moderate lawmakers to vote no. Now Obamacare's survival or collapse lies with Mr. Trump, a president who vowed to dismantle it. On Friday, he told The New York Times, quote, he was, "Pleased to have it all behind him. It's enough already." Though the president tried to pin some blame on Democrats--

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

The losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, because now they own Obamacare.

CHUCK TODD:

Mr. Trump also implied he might eventually have to work with Democrats to fix the law. But it's unlikely to happen any time soon. Eager to talk about anything else, the president spent his weekly address talking not about health care, not about tax reform, not about infrastructure, but about exploring space.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

This week, in the company of astronauts, I was honored to sign the N.A.S.A. Transition Authorization Act right into law.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

The blame game is in full swing. The president tweeted this just a few minutes ago: "Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the freedom caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage have saved Planned Parenthood and O-Care." Well, some Republicans are blaming the White House. Others are pointing to Speaker Ryan.

And as you see there, still others, like the president, is pinning the fault on the freedom caucus. Joining me now is a former member of that freedom caucus, and someone who is tasked with helping the president to try to close this health care deal, his budget director, Mick Mulvaney. Welcome back, sir.

MICK MULVANEY:

Morning, Chuck, thanks for having me back.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me start with this. So the president himself pins this on the Freedom Caucus, Club for Growth, Heritage Foundation. So essentially conservative interest groups and the most conservative caucus in the House, a caucus you were a member of just six months ago.

MICK MULVANEY:

Yeah, and I think there's probably plenty of blame to go around. As we sat over the last two days and tried to figure out what happened, I think what happened is that Washington won. I think the one thing we learned this week is that Washington was a lot more broken than President Trump thought that it was.

So what you have is the status quo wins and, unfortunately, the folks back home lost. You can blame it on the Freedom Caucus if you want to. But there's also a lot of moderates, Charlie Dent will be on your show in a little bit, who are also against the bill. So it's sort of the powers that be in Washington that won.

CHUCK TODD:

So the Republican Party--

MICK MULVANEY:

And the folks back home--

CHUCK TODD:

--has not changed Washington after taking over the House in '10, taking over the Senate in '14, and taking over the White House now?

MICK MULVANEY:

I think more importantly, we haven't been able to change Washington in the first 65 days. And I think if there's anything that's disappointing and sort of an educational process to the Trump Administration was that this place was a lot more rotten than we thought that it was, and that I thought it was, because I've been here for six years. I know the Freedom Caucus. I helped found it. I never thought it would come to this.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, why couldn't you get them to yes? Why couldn't you tell your former colleagues, these are people, and look, you were a vocal member of this caucus.

MICK MULVANEY:

Yeah.

CHUCK TODD:

Why couldn't you get them to yes?

MICK MULVANEY:

I have no idea. I really don't. In fact, let's step back and realize that probably half of the folks in that group were yes, half were no. But when I told the president what I thought would happen is that we'd go up to the very last couple of days, last couple of hours, and the group would work to make the bill better and then support the party. And for some reason, that hasn't happened. And I didn't realize that this difficulty in Washington ran as deep as it does.

CHUCK TODD:

You would have been a yes on this?

MICK MULVANEY:

I absolutely would have been.

CHUCK TODD:

If you had been-- you truly believe you would have been a yes on this?

MICK MULVANEY:

Without reservation. Told those-- told the men and women in the Freedom Caucus that many, many times. Again, many of them would have supported the bill if it had come to the floor. It was a bizarre combination of who was against this bill, some folks in the Freedom Caucus and then moderates on the other end of our spectrum.

CHUCK TODD:

Doesn't that tell you, though, that the bill was flawed? If you couldn't win moderates or conservatives, who can you win?

MICK MULVANEY:

No. I think what it tells us is that folks are still paying attention to the wrong things. They're still paying attention to special interests, they're still paying attention to getting reelected, as opposed to doing the right thing. Because keep in mind what happened here. We got stuck with Obamacare. So the folks have been telling people, rightly so, how bad this program is and how harming it is to folks back home, are now the ones who prevented it from being replaced. That's what's so frustrating.

CHUCK TODD:

The other part I don't get is this idea that the President's glad it's behind him, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the president left everything on the field. I want to give you-- I want to put up a bill, a chart here. This is how long it takes to get big legislative items done.

Obamacare, from start to finish, was 187 legislative days. Medicare Part D, the big Bush initiative, 166. Welfare reform was 56. '86 tax reform was 323 days. From start to finish on health care it was 17 days. 17 days. And you guys are waving the white flag?

MICK MULVANEY:

Keep in mind, it was-- 17 days in this administration. We've been-- working against it now for seven years.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, what was the hurry? What was the hurry? Well, either-- Why didn't you have a bill that could pass in that seven years, or why didn't you acknowledge that you needed more time?

MICK MULVANEY:

Here's the hurry. There's a lot to be done. We needed to get rid of Obamacare. We needed to fix the system so we can help folks back home and then move on to tax reform, so that we could help people get back to work. The president wants to do a lot of things and is not willing to do what other politicians would do.

In fact, when I addressed the Republican Conference on, I think it was Thursday night, I lose track of the days, the one thing I told them was, "Look, this president is not like any other president that you've ever seen before. He will not do things the same way. It will be different."

CHUCK TODD:

Well, he didn't sell it. He didn't give a major speech on it. He didn't campaign around the country for it. He would do rallies and say, "Uh, yeah, health care, I can't wait to do tax reform." It was like a nuisance to him.

MICK MULVANEY:

Chuck, no. You're just wrong on that one. The man worked-- and you said it yourself, we left everything on the field.

CHUCK TODD:

No. That--

MICK MULVANEY:

I can't--

CHUCK TODD:

That's what I'm-- how do you describe that as leaving everything on the field? President Obama didn't give up in the face of tough town halls. He spent another six months. He had a special election defeat in the Senate and they kept going. I guess the question, and you saw, I think it's Phil Klein in The Washington Examiner, said "This is the biggest broken promise that anybody's made in American political history."

MICK MULVANEY:

We had 120 members of Congress through the White House in the last couple of days. I myself, at one time on Thurs-- Wednesday afternoon, I think we had 80 members of Congress on the property at one time. Mike Pence was meeting with a group. President was meeting with another group. No, no, there was absolutely no stone left unturned.

CHUCK TODD:

I-- But you're giving up after 17 legislative days. You're giving up after 66 days at this point.

MICK MULVANEY:

President--

CHUCK TODD:

I just-- he wants to move on, clearly. You're not going to touch health care for, what, the next nine months? 12 months? When?

MICK MULVANEY:

When it breaks. Because that's what's going to happen now. And that really is--

CHUCK TODD:

Winter break?

MICK MULVANEY:

No, when it breaks.

CHUCK TODD:

When it breaks.

MICK MULVANEY:

When it breaks. 'Cause it's going to break. And I think that's the one thing that folks have not started talking about yet, and it's so frustrating to me, as we did really try to help folks back home, is that the end result here is that people back home are going to be hurt. Now, the Democrats will get blamed for it, because there's no question now. It's not Trumpcare in this country, it's not Ryancare, it is Obamacare. They will get blamed, okay?

CHUCK TODD:

So you don't believe you have any responsibility to make sure that the law of the land that Paul Ryan said, "Obamacare's going to be the law of the land for the foreseeable future," does your administration have the duty to make it work?

MICK MULVANEY:

We had the duty to try and fix it. And we did everything that we possibly could.

CHUCK TODD:

But do you have the duty to make it work now as it stands?

MICK MULVANEY:

We have the duty to protect people back home. And that's what we're going to try and do. You cannot fix a broken system. This is a system built on the idea that the government could force you to do something you didn't want, and that that would make you happy.

You are never going to fix that. This system must be removed. It must be repealed and replaced. And you're not going to fix a system that doesn't trust people to do what's in their best interest. And that's what Obamacare does.

CHUCK TODD:

I guess I keep coming back to: why is it that a Republican House and Senate could put a repeal bill on President Obama's desk so easily, and you couldn't put a repeal bill on President Trump's desk?

MICK MULVANEY:

We're asking the same questions. We really are. Is the Republican Party capable of governing? I know the man in the White House is capable of governing. I saw it this week, without a doubt, no question. If anybody had any doubts about President Trump's ability to be the president, they should have been put to--

CHUCK TODD:

Really?

MICK MULVANEY:

--put to-- Oh, absolutely.

CHUCK TODD:

Can't close the deal?

MICK MULVANEY:

No, no, that--

CHUCK TODD:

That's what he--

MICK MULVANEY:

No.

CHUCK TODD:

He said he's a big negotiator.

MICK MULVANEY:

This is exactly what everybody said he couldn't do, he couldn't work with different groups within Republican Party. No, no, this was the president being the president. What you saw this week was simply that things are a lot more rotten in Washington than we thought.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. I've got to ask you about this. So the president did a Saturday morning tweet. And he said this, he said to, "Go watch Judge Jeanine on Fox News tonight at 9PM." So we did. Here's what she said.

(BEGIN TAPE)

JEANINE PIRRO:

Paul Ryan needs to step down as speaker of the house. This is not on President Trump. No one expected a businessman to completely understand the nuances, the complicated ins and outs of Washington and its legislative process.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

What message was the president trying to send, telling his supporters who follow him on Twitter to watch her, and her lead editorial was to say House Speaker Paul Ryan needs to step down? Is that what the president wanted people to hear?

MICK MULVANEY:

I have spent more time within the last week with the president of the United States than I ever thought I would, if I stayed for four years. Never once have I seen him blame Paul Ryan. So I'm not sure what that was about last night. But I'm telling you--

CHUCK TODD:

No, but--

MICK MULVANEY:

People--

CHUCK TODD:

--why did he want people to watch her show last night?

MICK MULVANEY:

The people who are to blame are the people who would not vote yes, who would vote no. You ask them later on the show when Charlie's here, when Senator Lee is here. The folks who voted no are the folks who are to blame.

CHUCK TODD:

So he is not blaming Paul Ryan for this at all? There's no subtle campaign to undermine Paul Ryan?

MICK MULVANEY:

Again, I've been in the room, in the Oval Office, with the president, with the speaker, more in the last couple days than I ever thought. I've never seen the president for a second try and blame Paul Ryan for this.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. Are you going to repeal and replace Obamacare before the end of this year?

MICK MULVANEY:

My guess is what'll happen now is we're going to move on. We really are.

CHUCK TODD:

So you're not touching health care?

MICK MULVANEY:

We are--

CHUCK TODD:

You're moving on?

MICK MULVANEY:

When it fails, which it will, it may be May, it may be the end of this year, folks will come back to us and say, "Wow, can we have that bill back again?"

CHUCK TODD:

This is no longer a hundred-day priority?

MICK MULVANEY:

No, because we've moved onto other things. The president does have things he wants to accomplish. He's not going to sit and wait for Congress to sit around and do the right thing. When it breaks, and Chuck--

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

MICK MULVANEY:

--it's going to break, they will come back to us and ask us to take it up again.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, I will leave it there. I imagine, as tax reform gets underway, I'll see you again there soon. Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office and Management and Budget, thanks for coming on.

MICK MULVANEY:

Thanks, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

Appreciate it. Well, the White House-backed health care bill was tanked by a revolt in the house, but it was facing steep opposition in the Senate, as well. Senator Mike Lee of Utah and Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania are about as far apart on the Republican ideological spectrum as you can get. But one thing they both agreed on, they weren't going to vote for this bill as it was written. And they both join me now together. Gentlemen, welcome. Senator Lee, let me start with you. The president is blaming the Freedom Caucus, Club for Growth, and Heritage for, quote, "Protecting Planned Parenthood and Obamacare." Is that a fair read of what happened this week, sir?

SEN. MIKE LEE:

That is not at all how I see it. This bill didn't pass because it didn't deal with the most fundamental flaw in Obamacare: the part of Obamacare that has made health care unacceptable and unaffordable. Until we get a bill that actually brings down the cost of health care for hardworking Americans, we're not going to get something that passes.

CHUCK TODD:

Congressman Dent, do you pin the blame? Some people pin the blame on the moderates. In fact, we heard-- you just heard Mike Mulvaney say it wasn't just the Freedom Caucus, the moderates helped tank this, too. The president is blaming the Freedom Caucus. What say you?

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

Well, I tend to agree with the president on that point. Hey, let's be very honest about this. A lot of the concessions that the White House is making at the end of this process were to try to appease and placate the hard right on essential health benefits and other issues, all to placate people who are not going to vote for the bill anyway.

And by doing that, they ended up alienating more people on the center right, or moderates. That was really what happened. The bottom line, Chuck, is, in order to reform health care in this country, we're going to have to do it in a durable, sustainable way, and in a bipartisan manner. We, as Republicans, should not make the same mistakes that the Democrats did in 2010 by muscling that law through. I voted against it. They muscled it through. We, the Republicans, are attempting to make the same mistake. We need to do this in a durable, bipartisan, sustainable way.

CHUCK TODD:

Before I go back to Senator Lee, Congressman, I want to ask you to respond to something that is in The New York Times magazine this morning. And it's an anecdote about the president and you. According to an attendee of the meeting you had with him this week, the president angrily informed you, Congressman Dent, that you were, quote, "Destroying the Republican Party," and, quote, "it was going to take down tax reform. And I'm going to blame you." Is that how the president-- is that what the president said to you? And how did you respond?

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

Well, I'm not going to deny that. I listened very respectfully to what the president had to say. But my bottom line is this: this discussion has been far too much about artificial timelines, arbitrary deadlines, all to effect the baseline on tax reform. This conversation should be more about the people whose lives are going to be impacted by our decisions on their health care.

We did not have enough of a substantive discussion. I'm holding up a plan from Republican governors, from expansion states like mine, Kasich, Snyder, Sandoval, Hutchinson. They wanted to be part of this process. They were not brought in. I mean those kinds of issues were very important to me, and to the people I represent and, frankly, to a lot of the members of Congress who are part of our center right group, the Tuesday Group.

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

We're very concerned about the Medicaid changes. And so, yeah, I can hold my ground.

CHUCK TODD:

Senator Lee, I want to-- you heard Mick Mulvaney said they're moving on. You heard the president said he's glad health care's behind him. First of all, what say you, is health care behind you?

SEN. MIKE LEE:

Absolutely not. Look, Republicans have been campaigning for seven years on repealing Obamacare. We need to do that. We need to do that very thing. We need to get back to the table and get people negotiating. Look, as a whole lot of people said just the other day, as Paul Ryan himself said, when this bill was going down the tubes, he said, "We came so close." And he's right.

They were not far away from a deal. They could have gotten to a deal. There were a few things they could have added to the bill that could have brought enough people into the bill to vote for it so that it would have passed. This is part of the legislative process. The process has to be allowed to play itself out.

And as you pointed out, devoting 17 legislative days to a bill, and then walking away from it because it hasn't passed within 17 legislative days, makes no sense, especially when this is something that we've been campaigning on for seven years and the American people are hurting. Hardworking middle class Americans across this country are unable to afford health care because of this bill. We've got to fix that, or we've got to repeal it.

CHUCK TODD:

Now that I have the two of you that represent the sort of the ideological poles of the Republican Party, I want to ask you both whether you agree with the following quote from a colleague of yours, Senator Lee. It's Bill Cassidy, Republican from Louisiana. He has his own health care bill.

He said this, that now, quote, "There's widespread recognition that the federal government, Congress, has created the right for every American to have health care." Essentially, Senator Lee, he is saying the debate's over about whether government should be involved with this or not, and now it's just time to design a law that acknowledges this right, that people have a right to health care, and the government's got to figure out how to do it for them. Do you concur with that?

SEN. MIKE LEE:

Insofar as he's talking about a federal right. You know, rights are things the government can't do to you. Rights are not something that the government must do for you or provide for you. And insofar as he's suggesting that the federal government is the key, an increased federal presence is somehow going to bring down the cost of health care, that's simply not true.

And in fact, that's refuted abundantly by the last seven years, by what's happened since Obamacare was passed, where this bill was passed, and we brought the federal government into it, with the promise that this would somehow make healthcare more affordable. It has had quite the opposite effect.

CHUCK TODD:

Congressman Dent, I'm going to guess that you probably are in more agreement with Senator Cassidy.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

Well, I spoke with Senator Cassidy and Senator Collins at length. Senator Cassidy, from a very conservative state, Louisiana. I tend to agree that we have a national healthcare architecture now, flawed as it is. I voted against it. But we're going to have to work with it to try to make this system better, more market oriented, patient friendly, patient-centered.

I think, to a certain extent, that debate has already been settled. We do have sort of a national health program. Our job is now to fix it and make it much better than it is today, because it's simply not working for too many Americans.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, Senator Lee, Congressman Dent, I'm going to leave it there. But I have a feeling that there is a divide here on the role of government that hasn't been bridged inside the Republican Party. And until that's done, we still may have this debate to go on and on and on. Gentlemen, I appreciate you coming on together. It's good to have you both.

SEN. MIKE LEE:

Thank you.

REP. CHARLIE DENT:

Hey, thanks so much, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

You got it. When we come back, how deep is the damage to President Trump from the collapse of this health care bill? Plus, that federal investigation into the president and his team that might not end for weeks or months or years.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:Welcome back, panel is here. Tom Brokaw, Grand Poobah of NBC News here. Eliana Johnson of Politico, Joy Reid, host of MSNBC's AM Joy, and always a joy to have you here. And Hugh Hewitt, host on the Salem Radio Network. Alright, Hugh. I'm gonna start with you because this is what the Washington Examiner headline is: GOP Cave on Obamacare Repeal is the Biggest Broken Promise in Political History, was the top of, I believe, Phil Klein's, analysis. Is he right?HUGH HEWITT:

No, it's overstated. We had a very good week with Neil Gorsuch, he's going to change the balance of the Supreme Court for 30 years and so President Trump has a huge win to put on the table this week. It was a big loss, but I agree with the autopsy that Director Mulvaney just put out there - that loss isn't on the president, it isn't on Paul Ryan, it is on the Area 51 sub-caucus of the Freedom Caucus which believes in legislative flying saucers that ignore the Senate, and the Senate rules, and the reconciliation rules. They own the loss, nobody else.

CHUCK TODD:Tom?

TOM BROKAW:

Well, the fact of the matter is that the entire Republican side of the House, for seven years, has been screaming about repealing Obamacare. So they come up with a plan that they do in the middle of the night, and they shove it in front of the House and say take it or leave it. The president buys into that. What they created really was a circular firing squad, and the command was, "Ready, fire, aim." And we're all involved in the politics. But out in America today, people with serious or even moderate health problems, are wondering where do I go from here? It's so broken in Washington. It's not gonna get anything done.

CHUCK TODD:

Before you guys jump in, we did some voter interviews over the last couple of days. There was one that really stood out to me, I'm gonna play it here. From a woman in Wichita, Trump voter. Listen to this.

(BEGIN TAPE)

CINDY MORRISON:

You cannot slam something so incredibly complex and layered in that many days. I don't care how many people are working on it. You cannot do it. It took them so much longer to craft ACA, and it still isn't correct. There has to be a balance.

(END TAPE)CHUCK TODD:Eliana, she gets it.

ELIANA JOHNSON:Well one thing I don't think has been sufficiently appreciated is that the Democrats expended an enormous amount of political capital to pass Obamacare. It took 13 months to craft the law. President Obama talked about it incessantly. He was mocked by Republicans for pounding away at it. Democrats lost 63 seats in Congress, six seats in the Senate. I don't know if Republicans were mentally prepared. If they cared about it so much to expend that kind of political capital and to know, "Okay, precisely because they're doing something unprecedented, taking away an entitlement, we might lose the House. We might lose the Senate for doing this." Do they care about it that much? I'm not sure.

JOY-ANN REID:

But that's the problem. I think that it was a revelatory process. I thought that graphic that you put up that showed the number of legislative days devoted to all of these previous attempts at legislation, you know, where your time is spent, that's where your passion is. And I think the problem for Republicans is that this 17-day odyssey revealed three things that are not good for them. Number one, that the zeal was really just about taking this thing that Obama did away, which a lot of people on the Democratic side perceived that repeal and replace is about taking away Obama's signature achievement, but that affirmatively, what did they want to do? Republicans have spent the last 30, 40 years trying to replace this image of callousness-- toward the poor, of callousness toward the elderly, with this idea of compassionate conservatism. That was whisked away over this process. There was a cruelty to this bill that really was even apparent to conservative voters, to Republican voters, who were shocked at the cruelty. And the third thing, and the president has kind of hinted at this, too, this was a tax cut. This was an attempt to jam through a giant tax cut for the wealthy to set the stage for tax reform, which is another tax cut.

CHUCK TODD:

Charlie Dent said that, Hugh. He basically said this was just all about trying to finance a $2 trillion tax cut hoping that they could make it deficit neutral.

HUGH HEWITT:

Charlie, who is a friend of mine, lives in a marginal district. He has to be very careful with every vote. The half of the Freedom Caucus that killed this live in very safe, red districts. Obamacare is the timeshare that the Democrats bought that they cannot admit the cost of, that they keep telling themselves was a good idea. It is in a death spiral. Joy and I have had--

JOY-ANN REID:

Is not.

HUGH HEWITT:

--many disagreements about that.

HUGH HEWITT:

But it is in a death spiral.

JOY-ANN REID:

It is not.

CHUCK TODD:

It's not the definition of an economic death spiral yet.

HUGH HEWITT:

The New York Times yesterday pointed out that there are, and the president of Aetna, that you will lose coverage in many places in America for everyone. And that is, to me, a death spiral for those people. Joy disagrees. I know she should jump in here.

JOY-ANN REID:

Yes, yes.

CHUCK TODD:

She wants to, but I appreciate her reticence.

JOY-ANN REID:

And let's not take Aetna's word for it. Because we know that Aetna lied. We had already a federal judge say that they lied. Aetna wanted to do a merger with Humana. They were told no. They pulled out for other reasons. Insurance companies raise premiums. It's what they do. That's what they're in business to do. But the Congressional Budget Office made it quite clear the Affordable Care Act is not, not collapsing, not in a death spiral, just not.

CHUCK TODD:

I want to quickly get to Paul Ryan here. Because it is-- is there a subtle palace intrigue campaign going on with some people in this White House to undermine Paul Ryan?

TOM BROKAW:

I don't know about that. But I was stunned when Paul Ryan, who had been in this town for a long time, said at the end of the process, "Well, there is a difference between being an opposition party and a majority party." Duh. You know, and they've been the majority party for now their fourth term in Congress. And he also said, "It's really complicated, health care." And to come to the American people and, 60 days into this administration, and say, "Well, we've learned that it's complicated, and, by the way, we didn't realize the difference between being an opposition party and being a majority party," I think that takes a lot of his credibility away from him, quite honestly.

JOY-ANN REID:

And can we comment on Mick Mulvaney -essentially saying the Tea Party, which is what the Freedom Caucus is, they're the establishment? He essentially called them the special interest establishment. That's odd.

ELIANA JOHNSON:

Well I think, you know, when you play the blame game here, you talk about Paul Ryan, I think it's important to note, how does he roll out a bill that not one conservative health care policy expert supports? This really was a bill without a core constituency of supporters behind it, which I think was its essential problem. Though I know, you know, Hugh wants to blame the Tea Partiers. But how do you explain that?

HUGH HEWITT:

No, not Tea Partiers, the Area 51, "I will never vote for anything that isn't perfect" people. It doesn't exist. It's legisla--

ELIANA JOHNSON:

Well, but how do you explain that no support among -- I think that's hard to reconcile.

CHUCK TODD:

I'm going to close the loop here with just one comment, which came from a strategist quoted in The Wall Street Journal which said, "Ryan is probably safe as Speaker because nobody particularly wants to be Henry VIII's next wife." I'm going to pause it there. Coming up, can a bipartisan investigation into Russia's efforts to interfere with the 2016 election survive in the Trump era? I'm going to ask the top Democrat on the Senate Intel Committee.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. Last Monday, the House Intelligence Committee held its first open hearing on Russia since President Trump's inauguration. The result: that bombshell confirmation that the F.B.I. is indeed investigating the Trump campaign's potential ties to Russia. And a chaotic back-and-forth between the committee's top two members after the chairman briefed the president, whose campaign his committee is supposed to be investigating. All this calling into question of whether the House can conduct a credible investigation.

And it appears now that investigation could be falling apart before our eyes. So this week, the Senate Intelligence Committee will get its turn to prove that someone in Congress can credibly investigate this in a bipartisan way. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia is the top Democrat on the Senate Intel Committee. And he joins me now. Senator, welcome.

SEN. MARK WARNER:

Morning.

CHUCK TODD:

Look, I want to get right to getting your reaction to what F.B.I. Director James Comey said when he testified that they are, indeed, investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

SEN. MARK WARNER:

Well Chuck, I want to talk about Russia, as well. But we just follow up, the first half of this show talk about the failure of Trumpcare to take place. The reason was nobody talked about the details of the bill. It would have cost 24 million Americans their health care. It would have raised prices for seniors. It was a major tax cut for the wealthy. And it was an $800 billion cost shift to the states to pick up the cost of Medicaid. It was an awful bill. And I think people across the country revolted against it. Sometimes the substance actually matters.

Now, in terms of Russia, you know, this is, I said before, this is the most important thing that I've ever done in my public life. And what I know now, as I get more and more into this, I'm going to double down on that statement, because it's extraordinary. We have the F.B.I. Director admitting that there is investigations going on.

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

SEN. MARK WARNER:

We know that the Russians massively interfered in our elections, with both hacking, they had a thousand paid internet trolls that managed to take over and flood the zone with fake news. And we have the series of people that are very closely affiliated with the president who've had extensive ties with Russia, including the fact, 60 days into the administration, we've got both the N.S.A. director, or National Security Advisor, who had to resign, and the attorney general had to recuse himself because of those ties.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you this, though. How much does an active investigation in the F.B.I. actually hamper the Senate intelligence committee's ability to do investigation? I mean isn't it plausible the F.B.I. says, "Can't turn over some of these materials because we're not done"?

SEN. MARK WARNER:

Well, there have been prior examples. Think back to Watergate. There was a DOJ investigation going on along with a Congressional investigation.

CHUCK TODD:

You think you can do both.

SEN. MARK WARNER:

We're going to have to be able to do both. You know, I talk regularly with Director Comey. There will be times when we'll have some, I'm sure, brush-ups. We start our process in terms of open hearing this week. But we already have terms of reference. We have incredible access to information at the C.I.A.. We're going to have to get more information. We've already started interviewing witnesses. We've got a long way to go to get this done. But we're going to get it done in a bipartisan way.

CHUCK TODD:

Now, as you saw on the House side, you had the House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes claim that he has now seen some raw intelligence reports that perhaps confirm that there was at least some inadvertent surveillance of folks connected to the Trump campaign. Have you seen any of this material?

SEN. MARK WARNER:

Chuck--

CHUCK TODD:

What is he referring to?

SEN. MARK WARNER:

I am totally mystified by what Mr. Nunes has said. And I've talked to my chairman, Richard Burr. He doesn't know. I've talked to Democrats, Republicans on the committee. I think it's fairly mystifying, if not outrageous, that he'd make these claims, then goes down and briefs the White House. And, you know, I know Adam Schiff, the lead Democrat, still wants to keep the investigation bipartisan. I don't think Mr. Schiff even knows today what those documents are.

CHUCK TODD:

We have talked a couple of times, and you have hesitated on endorsing the idea of an independent commission. John McCain has been the biggest champion of this, saying, "You know, at this point, maybe it can't be done inside of Congress." What do you say to that?

SEN. MARK WARNER:

Well, listen. If we could get an independent commission, I'm open to that. That means you've got to pass a bill, the President's got to sign it.

CHUCK TODD:

So that's moving on you.

SEN. MARK WARNER:

So you're going to have a debate--

CHUCK TODD:

You were not there a week ago, even two weeks ago.

SEN. MARK WARNER:

Then you're going to have a big debate about who's going to be on it. I think we've got a committee, and we've got, I've got Tom Cotton on the committee, and Ron Wyden. We cross all of the political divides. And frankly, we've had bipartisan support, serious Republicans, Roy Blunt, Marco Rubio, Susan Collins, James Langford, Richard Burr, all saying, "We're going to go where the Intel leads."

CHUCK TODD:

Well, I want to ask--

SEN. MARK WARNER:

Why not use that process?

CHUCK TODD:

I want to ask you about Richard Burr and your trust and faith in him. The White House used, asked both Devin Nunes, at one time, and Richard Burr, to essentially help push back against one of these New York Times stories. And they both did, in some form or another. Does that call into question Senator Burr's ability to be bipartisan in this? And do you trust him?

SEN. MARK WARNER:

We've had some bumps. But I am working very closely with him right now.

CHUCK TODD:

You trust him.

SEN. MARK WARNER:

We have-- I trust him that we will get this done. And we have a list of witnesses that I think you will see that is comprehensive. And we're going to talk to everybody involved.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. And is, Paul Manafort apparently made a statement that he's willing to testify before the House and the Senate Intelligence investigations. When would we see somebody like Paul Manafort?

SEN. MARK WARNER:

Well, what you've got to do first is you've got to get your information. You've got to get all the raw intelligence. You've got to build your case. You only bring in those kind of witnesses at the appropriate time. And we will bring them in--

CHUCK TODD:

Is that like a three month? Six month? Outline the timeline here a little bit.

SEN. MARK WARNER:

What we've got to do is we're going to have the public hearing. We're going to continue to do as much as we can in public. But we've got a lot more raw intelligence that we've got to go through. Because when we bring in people like Mr. Manafort and others, we want to know not some spectacle, we want to be able to ask the right questions.

CHUCK TODD:

And you, as you know, you brought up Adam Schiff. He's the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. He said to me earlier this week, he said there is more than just circumstantial evidence, and that there is some evidence of collusion that's going to come out. Is that your contention?

SEN. MARK WARNER:

I'm going to simply say what I said at the outset. Weeks ago, when I was first getting started with this, I said, "This is the most important thing I've ever worked on." With what I know now, I doubly believe that. This is the most serious effort. It has to be done bipartisan. We have to get the facts out to the American people--

CHUCK TODD:

You keep saying there's a lot more smoke.

SEN. MARK WARNER:

There's a lot more smoke.

CHUCK TODD:

You think the fire's there?

SEN. MARK WARNER:

Listen. Time will tell.

CHUCK TODD:

Okay.

SEN. MARK WARNER:

But what we do know is the Russians massively intervened and they're doing the same thing right now in France and Germany.

CHUCK TODD:

And before I let you go, Neil Gorsuch, is it worth filibustering his confirmation vote? Or do you believe he should have a vote on the floor of the United States Senate?

SEN. MARK WARNER:

What I believe in terms of Mr. Gorsuch, bright guy, but I was very disappointed with his answers. He was not even willing to acknowledge that bedrock cases like Brown versus Board of Education are part of our existing, you know--

CHUCK TODD:

So there's voting no and there's preventing a vote. Where are you?

SEN. MARK WARNER:

Listen, time will tell. I want to review more of his cases before I decide.

CHUCK TODD:

So you haven't made a decision on filibuster?

SEN. MARK WARNER:

Have not made a decision yet. But I was not pleased with his answers, both I got personally or at the committee level.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. Senator Mark Warner, we will, the public will be seeing a lot of you later this week with that first intelligence hearing. Thanks very much.

SEN. MARK WARNER:

Thanks Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

Appreciate it. When we come back, California Governor Jerry Brown on how to run a deep blue state in the era of Trump.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. When Jerry Brown first became governor of California in January of 1975, the number-one song on Billboard was Elton John's cover of The Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." Well I sat down with Governor Brown here in the twenty-first century on Thursday. He was here in DC for his first visit since President Trump's inauguration, but he didn't get a meeting with the President or anybody in the west wing. Now in his second go-around as governor, Brown is the top official in the most populous state, a deeply blue one, whose voters and policies are sharply at odds with those of the new president, especially when it comes to immigration and that border wall.

(BEGIN TAPE)

GOV. JERRY BROWN:

The wall, to me, is ominous. It reminds me too much of the Berlin Wall. When I see that 30-foot wall, I worry somehow, "Are they trying to keep me in, or keep them out?"

I really think people ought to be careful because there's a lot of odor here of kind of a strongman, kind of a world where you want the ultimate leader here to be doing all this stuff. And having a wall locking the people in is one of those characteristics. I think Americans ought to be very careful when we make radical changes like a 30-foot wall keeping some in and some out.

CHUCK TODD:

No, I understand that. But you have, essentially you could take the government to court. You could stop this.

GOV. JERRY BROWN:

Well, the--

CHUCK TODD:

Are you going to pull out every stop to stop the wall--

GOV. JERRY BROWN:

Well, we're certainly going to--

CHUCK TODD:

--from being under construction?

GOV. JERRY BROWN:

I don't like that wall, number one. And to the extent that that violates law, certainly I would enforce that. We're not going to sit around and just play patsy and say, "Hey, go ahead. Lock us in. Do whatever the hell you want. Export-- deport 2 billion, 2 million people." No, we're going to fight, and we're going to fight very hard.

But we're not going to bring stupid lawsuits or be running to the courthouse every day. We're going to be careful. We'll be strategic. And we'll do the right human, and I would even say Christian thing, from my point of view. You don't treat human beings like that. That is not what-- I mean, Trump's supposed to be Mr. Religious Fellow, and I thought we've got to treat "the least of these" as we would treat the Lord. So I hope he would reconnect with some of these conservative evangelicals, and they'll tell him that these are human beings, they're children of God. They should be treated that way.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Well needless to say, there's a lot more to my interview with Governor Brown, we spoke earlier this week, including our--where the discussion went, where he is willing to work with the new president, his advice for Mr. Trump, and whether he is actually now the leader of the Democratic Party since he governs more people than any other Democrat.

But of course, the health care implosion on Friday meant we didn't have as much time here as we wanted to have with him. So all of this Jerry Brown interview is on our website, Meet the Press dot com. And we will have much more of Governor Brown on Meet the Press Daily tomorrow. You know where to find that on MSNBC.

When we come back: Not one, but two potentially devastating political gut punches for the White House this week. So where does President Trump go from here?

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back, panel is here. You know this week began with the first gut punch which was Russia and the FBI. Where is the state of the Trump presidency, Tom? I mean here we are tomorrow is day 67, we had the travel ban blocked and it's been blocked twice. Healthcare can't get off -done- and now he wants to do tax reform and Russia is expanding. This is not a presidency that is going to have a hundred days event that is going to feel good at this point.

TOM BROKAW:

Well, it's a big loss for the president. There is a huge difference between standing before a crowd in Kentucky as he did just 10 days ago and repeated campaign promises and then actually governing from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and getting things done. I think we'll see in the next week or so that Mitch McConnell will begin to take control on the senate side of some of the issues that they want to deal with like deregulation, taxation for example and getting Gorsuch through. Those kinds of things will begin to lift and it won't be Trump who is going to be getting that done for him. I really think this has been not fatal for Trump, no question about that.

CHUCK TODD:

Nothing is fatal this early--

TOM BROKAW

But how nimble he is going to be and whether he can change. We haven't seen much evidence of that and his private life or in his public life, and I think that is what we've got to watch.

CHUCK TODD:

It's interesting to me, his instinct is to want to work with Democrats. There is an excerpt, a great, Robert Draper -- just a piece on Trump and he wrote this based on an interview he did. "In fact, Trump seemed much less animated by the subject of budget cuts than the subject of spending increases." This is Trump, "'We're also going to prime the pump,' he said... 'In other words:Spend money to make a lot more money in the future. And that'll happen.'" And as Draper wrote, "A clear elucidation of Keynesian liberalism could not have been delivered by Obama."

Hugh Hewitt, is that your party now?

HUGH HEWITT:

Well, it's an interesting opposition to going back to the right wing and trying to--

CHUCK TODD:

I think he has done with the right wing--

HUGH HEWITT:

He is done with the right wing. If you buy five stocks, and one of them is the Supreme Court, that went up 400 percent this week. One is health care, it bankrupted. You still have the military and you still have the tax bill and you have the infrastructure. He is going to bank on the other four going up. The Supreme Court went with-- I think you have the 2020 Democratic nominee here in Mark Warner, and I have said that for a very long time--

CHUCK TODD:

Well, you can't be the Democratic nominee and not support a filibuster.

HUGH HEWITT:

That's it. That's exactly it.

CHUCK TODD:

It's interesting.

HUGH HEWITT:

That's why he's running for president. And he's going to go with Chuck Schumer. And the Reed Rule's going to break the filibuster. And that is great from my perspective.

CHUCK TODD:

But Eliana, this, does Donald Trump go to his Democrat instincts now?

ELIANA JOHNSON:

I think that's 100 percent true. You're going to see him move to the left. He's wanted to do infrastructure. He wants to do a big push on it. And the thing I found interesting this week is that he went to the Freedom Caucus, and his pitch to them, his means of persuasion, was he singled out Mark Meadows and he told Republicans, "You're going to lose. I'm going to campaign against you."

And people said to me, you know, it wasn't the best means of persuasion. But when he moves to his left, he gets to sell people on things and say, "I'm going to give you things you're really going to like." So I think it's going to be interesting to watch him. I think that's much more the mode he likes to be in. It didn't work for him to recriminate people and pound them over the head. So I think that he's going to be much more effective when he's giving out goodies.

CHUCK TODD:

Which, how many Democrats will listen to him if he moves left?

JOY-ANN REID:

None that are up in 2018. I mean Democrats right now are the grassroots of the party, which really stepped forward and extinguished this Trumpcare bill. The party is now allowing the grass roots to lead them. But I will tell you, there is only one member of Congress in either body that Donald Trump really actually personally knows. And it's Chuck Schumer. And knows well. And he became a Republican. But if you recall, back in his old Roger Stone days in the '80s, he was railing against Ronald Reagan for being too tough on the Soviet Union.

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

JOY-ANN REID:

He's a very odd figure without a fixed ideology. And he's also a guy in business who's used to spending other people's money, borrowing it and not paying it back. But his mode is to spend a lot of money. And it's interesting watching most of the Republicans, except the Freedom Caucus, just go along sort of lending with whatever he wants to do to change their ideology.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, that's--

ELIANA JOHNSON:

Well, I think the--

JOY-ANN REID:

But the Freedom Caucus--

ELIANA JOHNSON:

--open question has been, "Do these fiscal conservatives in Congress go along with an infrastructure bill because they're giving the president leeway, you know, in his first 100 days?"

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

ELIANA JOHNSON:

We saw in health care that it's not likely. But I think it's because the president didn't know the policy details, and he wasn't able to persuade them. Can he do it on infrastructure? I think it's an open question.

JOY-ANN REID:

The Freedom Caucus? And it's going to be tax--

TOM BROKAW:

Well, the big thing, Chuck, about this president, and we've known him for a long time in his New York days and now as a campaign, the attention span is about that big.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, and that's why he's glad it's in the rear view mirror, I guess.

TOM BROKAW:

Yeah, yeah.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. Let me do a quick 45-second break. Endgame's coming up. And a very public and very unfortunately-timed thank you to Republicans. Stay with us.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Back now with End Game, before I get to our little fun tease there that even Hugh was intrigued about. I want to quickly ask palace intrigue here, does the president reorient his own West Wing staff? There's been, any of that? I mean, is Reince Priebus safe?

HUGH HEWITT:

The president needs to ask Director Comey if anyone in the White House is under investigation because they have to be separated out, and Tom remembers Watergate, and if anyone is, they have to go. But Reince Priebus isn't, and he needs to stay, and Paul Ryan needs to stay, and they need to start listening to Leader McConnell. I think Tom is exactly right.

JOY-ANN REID:

You know, typically, when a new Republican government comes in they choose from former administrations, sort of, people who know the town. This is what happens when you staff your team with ideologues and people from right-wing, sort of, media world rather than people who know anything about running a government.

CHUCK TODD:

There's nobody in there with legislative experience beyond Pence.

ELIANA JOHNSON:

I don't think the problem is ideologues, I think the problem is a lack of experience on Capitol Hill. For the president it's, you know, he doesn't understand the policy details. For Paul Ryan, I think it's been, the story of this that's been under told is he didn't sell this well. He didn't talk to journalists beforehand, or, you know, the policy community. And I think that was, perhaps, the biggest flaw and the biggest mistake in all this.

CHUCK TODD:

The biggest knock you hear about Paul Ryan, that it rings true, Tom, is that here's this incredible policy wonk who hates politics, and he took a job that is all politics. Now he didn't want the job, and he knew he wasn't as suited for it as others want him to be.

TOM BROKAW:

Well, the president has put his arm around him but I think that he's been really wounded in all this, quite honestly. He'll obviously continue as the speaker, nobody else wants that job. I'm quite surprised, however by, I hesitate to use the phrase, naivete on his part, about gosh it's harder, and we didn't know whether--

HUGH HEWITT:

Doesn't Aaron Rodgers always start slow, though?

TOM BROKAW:

Yeah, well--

HUGH HEWITT:

Doesn't he always start slow?

TOM BROKAW:

That's fine, but my-- the best line I've heard all week was from a very prominent Republican senator saying "a day without a tweet is a very good day."

JOY-ANN REID:

But it's also very hard to, no matter how good of a politician you are, to sell the idea of taking 24 million people's health care away. That is not sellable.

ELIANA JOHNSON:

In Ryan's defense, I don't think he's been saying, "gosh it's harder," I think he's trying to tell his conference, you know, "governing is different than being in the opposition." I think he's well aware that it's much harder.

TOM BROKAW:

I think the bottom line at the end of this week is healthcare is 18% of our economy. It affects everyone in America in one form or another, and this is not just a political game, this is not Monopoly. They've got to find a way to get this settled. In the Reagan administration they put together Pat Moynihan and Alan Greenspan, and they solved Social Security, by the way.

CHUCK TODD:

And that's, would've, why they didn't do that? Set up your own, and buy yourself time. That would've been the other thing. Buy yourself time.

JOY-ANN REID:

And stop talking about repeal of Obamacare. Take that sting of "we need to take away this thing from Obama." If you've got problems with it, fix it. That's what legislating is for.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. Now I'm going to answer Hugh's intrigue. He loved the tease. March Madness, of course known for its upsets, surprises, heartbreaks, all things that could be applied to Republicans and health care this week. But one Super PAC was so sure that repealing Obamacare was a slam dunk that they ran ads during March Madness games on Friday night thanking Republicans for keeping their promise to replace the Affordable Care Act.

The ads seemed to be a victory lap for a nonexistent win. And by the way, Barbara Comstock we showed there, she came out against the plan. She was a no on this. But it was interesting where they were nervous. It was Des Moines. It was Darrell Issa was in there. They had identified those folks.

TOM BROKAW:

She busted her own bracket, is the way you look at it.

CHUCK TODD:

But I don't know if anybody had a worse Friday than Paul Ryan. I asked Paul Ryan about his bracket pick last week when I interviewed him. Here's what he said to me.

(START TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Speaker Ryan, do you have Wisconsin in your Final Four?

PAUL RYAN:

Yes I do, actually, I have them going all the way. I have them-- a rematch with Kentucky, but we win this time.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

So Friday at 3:30 he pulls the bill on health care. No more repeal and replace, Hugh. Friday night, this is how Wisconsin's season ended.

(START TAPE)

SPORTS ANNOUNCER:

Oh my goodness!

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Oh, Speaker Ryan, I say this--

ELIANA JOHNSON:

Chuck, you're kicking him when he's done.

CHUCK TODD:

--I don't want to-- look, he and I both love the Packers together. So don't hold that against me. But it was a tough night for Speaker Ryan.

HUGH HEWITT:

It was. But don't forget, Neil Gorsuch, Neil Gorsuch, Neil Gorsuch. I can stay here all day, Neil Gorsuch.

CHUCK TODD:

I was just going to-- Hugh Hewitt, you remind me of Kevin Bacon in Animal House. "Remain calm."

HUGH HEWITT:

Remain calm.

CHUCK TODD:

"All is well." Anyway. All right guys, that's all we have for today. We'll be back next week, I promise you. Because if it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press. And let me tell you, let me hope one Final Four team survives for me: Kentucky. We'll be back.

* * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * *