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Meet the Press - June 19, 2016

MEET THE PRESS - JUNE 19, 2016

CHUCK TODD:

This Sunday, are we seeing the rebirth of the Dump Trump movement? Take sinking poll numbers, a growing money disadvantage, and comments like this, linking President Obama to ISIS--

DONALD TRUMP:

He doesn't get it, or he gets it better than anybody understands. It's one or the other.

CHUCK TODD:

--and top Republicans are either staying silent on Trump--

MITCH MCCONNELL:

I'm not going to be commenting on the presidential candidate today.

CHUCK TODD:

--or giving them permission to walk away.

PAUL RYAN:

The last thing I would do is tell anybody to do something that's contrary to their conscience.

CHUCK TODD:

My extraordinary sit down with the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. Plus, Trump reacts to Ryan.

DONALD TRUMP:

I do believe that we can win either way. But it would be nice to do stuff together.

CHUCK TODD:

Our one on one with Donald Trump from the campaign trail. And could the horror of Orlando change the national debate on guns? Attorney General Loretta Lynch is here this morning on that and the latest on what the shooter told hostage negotiators during the siege.

And joining me for insight and analysis are Mark Halperin, host of With All Due Respect on MSNBC and Bloomberg Politics, Gwen Ifill, anchor on the PBS Newshour, Jose Diaz-Balart of MSNBC and Telemundo, and Katy Tur of NBC News who covers the Trump campaign. Welcome to Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

ANNOUNCER:

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

CHUCK TODD:

Good Sunday morning and happy Father's Day to all fathers out there. Like a canceled TV show, back for summer reruns, the Dump Trump movement has sprung back to life. Why? Well, just look at what's happened in the past week. Item one, in the wake of Orlando, Donald Trump's self-congratulatory tweeting and suggestion that President Obama may be in league with ISIS were universally criticized.

Item two, our NBC News|SurveyMonkey poll among other polls is showing a sharp trend towards Hillary Clinton with Clinton now leading Trump by seven points in our poll, 49, 42. Item three, right now, while Trump is raising money and campaigning in states that haven't voted Democratic in at least a generation, Hillary Clinton is up on the air with a $23 million, two-week advertising blitz in eight swing states.

"But don't worry," Donald Trump says, he hasn't yet started the general election campaign. And item four, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, whose interview with me you'll see in just a moment - essentially is giving fellow Republicans a permission slip to vote their conscience and run away from Trump if they have to.

Well, Trump reacted strongly to Ryan, and our follow-up conversation with him is coming up in a few minutes. But first, all of this is inspiring talk among jittery Republicans of yet another last-ditch effort to keep Trump from becoming the official nominee.

(BEGIN TAPE)

DONALD TRUMP:

You have a couple of guys that were badly defeated, and they're trying to organize maybe, like, a little bit of a delegate revolt, maybe.

CHUCK TODD:

Donald Trump has a message for Republicans panicking about his slippage in the polls. He plans to stop the bleeding from a series of self-inflicted wounds his way.

DONALD TRUMP:

I've had more opposition from the Republican party than I do from the Democrat. It's crazy.

CHUCK TODD:

In the wake of the Orlando massacre, Trump stepped up his call for a temporary ban on Muslims.

DONALD TRUMP:

They are pouring in and we don't know what we're doing.

CHUCK TODD:

And stoked conspiracy theories that the president supports ISIS.

DONALD TRUMP:

He doesn't get it, or he gets it better than anybody understands. It's one or the other.

CHUCK TODD:

According to one poll, 70 percent of Americans now view Trump unfavorably, as do a full third of Republicans. After lurching between criticizing Trump and searching for reasons to forgive him, Republican leaders challenged to defend their nominee are now responding with a deafening silence.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL:

Yeah, I'm not going to be commenting on the presidential candidate today.

LUKE RUSSERT:

It seems that it's now, "I don't want to comment," and just to run out the clock here.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE:

Yeah, welcome to our world.

CHUCK TODD:

So could a Stop Trump effort turn into a convention coup? And if so, how?

BEN GINSBERG:

If the polling in the contested Senate races starts dropping for the Republican candidates, that can cause a general panic amongst all the elected officials not named Donald Trump.

CHUCK TODD:

Already, dozens of delegates are organizing an effort to replace Trump at the convention. Kendal Unruh, a Colorado delegate and Rules Committee member bound to Ted Cruz, has circulated a conscience clause that she plans to introduce.

KENDAL UNRUH:

The delegates have always had right to conscience and the free will to be able to unbind themselves. And so I say that we have the kryptonite, we have the power to be able to unbind. But we were told that it's just a hunk of glass.

CHUCK TODD:

Other options, a vote to unbind the delegates or require a supermajority to win the nomination on the first ballot. For delegates looking to stop Trump, the alternative is unclear. No challenger has stepped up.

DONALD TRUMP:

Who are they going to pick? I beat everybody. But I don't mean beat, I beat the hell out of them. Right?

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Well, earlier this week, I sat down with the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and talked about his dilemma, keep his party united, or reject a presidential candidate whose values he does not share.

(BEGIN TAPE)

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

Well, first of all I feel like I have certain responsibilities, as not just Congressman Paul Ryan from the first district of Wisconsin, but as Speaker of the House. And imagine the Speaker of the House not supporting the duly elected nominee of our party, therefore creating a chasm in our party to split us in half, which basically helps deny us the White House, and strong majorities in Congress.

The last thing I want to see happen is another Democrat in the White House. I don't want see Hillary Clinton as president. I want to see a strong majority in the House and the Senate. And I think the way to achieve those goals is to have a more unified party, than a disunified party. Now having said that, you know me well, Chuck. If something is done and said that I don't agree with that I think puts a bad label on conservatism, then I'm going to speak out on it as I have, as I will continue to do, and I hope I don't have to keep doing.

CHUCK TODD:

You just made a case though of party over country.

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

No, I didn't. I think there's a lot of things in government-- I know Hillary Clinton won't agree with anything we want to do. She'll put a bad judge on the Supreme Court. She won't agree with any of the conservative reforms we're trying to do. I have spoken with our nominee a number of times about our agenda, about conservative principles, and about the policies we need to put in place in order to save the country. And we have so much more common ground than any other thing. And that is why I'm voting for our nominee. Because, look--

CHUCK TODD:

How did he reassure you though? How did he reassure you? Why do you trust him? because you've asked him to tone things down. You've asked him to reconsider some things. And then you hear, "So and so did reassure you in private that he would possibly back off the Muslim ban." And then he goes right on with it, and then some. He essentially accused the President of treason. And he went a little farther.

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

I didn't actually hear. I heard about this.

CHUCK TODD:

I understand that.

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

I didn't actually hear those comments. I'm a little busy, so I don't read everything he says every day. But let me just say this. One thing I know for certain, Hillary Clinton is going to continue taking the country in the wrong direction. She's going to make a once in generational choice in the Supreme Court that's going to be a bad one where we lose sight of the Constitution.

And I do believe from speaking, and from his public pronouncements we have more common ground than not. And, yes, there are things that he has said that I don't agree with. There are policies he's pursuing that I don't agree with. And in the legislative branch, a separate but equal branch of government, we will litigate those things in the future.

CHUCK TODD:

You do have a point though where if he runs this way, and loses, he stains the Republican Party.

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

That's why--

CHUCK TODD:

And then suddenly not only do you lose the White House, but now you've got to explain your support for him. And a lot of other people have to explain why the party went to him, and it was a disaster, if that's what ends up happening.

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

Back up for a second. Who went to him? He won the election. The voters picked him. He beat Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio, and Jeb Bush, and everybody else in Ohio, and Wisconsin, and all the rest of the country.

CHUCK TODD

Well actually, Ohio and Wisconsin were the two--

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN

He didn’t win Wisconsin

CHUCK TODD

Or Ohio. You just picked the two he didn’t win.

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

You get my point. He won the election. The voters voted for him. That's the point. He's winning. He won the delegates. That's the choice they made. This isn't a top-down party where a handful of people pick our nominee, and the president. the voters picked him. That's the choice they made. We--What can I control? That's not something I can control.

As Speaker of the House what I can control is, can I help add substance to this conversation? Can I bring ideas to the table? Can I lead the House Republicans to take our conservative principles, and apply them to the problems of the day to give people solutions that improve their lives, and try and inject some substance into this conversation, bring an agenda to the country?

That's what we're doing.

So here's what I worry about, Chuck. I don't worry everyday about what Donald Trump says and does. I worry about what I can do to help make this a better country, to help improve things, to help make this campaign one more about substance, and ideas. And that's what we're doing here as House Republicans. Go to “better-job-dot-GOP,” look at our Better Way Agenda that we're rolling out. We're trying to add some substance to this conversation, so that people know where we're trying to go to get this country fixed.

CHUCK TODD:

You said something interesting earlier in your answer. And I meant to follow up on that, and we went down a little bit. When you said you had a duty as Speaker of the House are you implying that Congressman Paul Ryan, Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan might have--

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

Everybody asks this questions.

CHUCK TODD:

--might have made another decision?

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

Well, I'm Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. And that's who I am. And that's my responsibility.

CHUCK TODD:

But it's interesting you're not--

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

I'm not going to go into the hypotheticals. I have a responsibility. And that is to not try and disunify our party, and disrespect the voters -the Republican Primary Voters of America. And what I can control is can we add ideas. Can we add solutions? Can we bring substance to this conversation? The kind of election that I really want to have, that I wish we had in 2012, and prior years, is give the country a clear choice--

CHUCK TODD:

Do you really think - think you're going to get that election?

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

Well, I think we can help. I think we here in the House can help. And that's what we can control. Are we offering substance and solutions, principles and solutions? Yes, we are. And that's what we can control. And that's what we're going to continue doing.

CHUCK TODD:

You do have a role at the convention as Convention Chairman. You had doubts about whether to support Trump. You took a month--

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

I took a month.

CHUCK TODD:

--to make that decision. Shouldn't delegates if they're having second thoughts about it have an opportunity to express that second thought, and be unbound, and let the will of the convention decide for sure that they want him?

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

That's not my place to decide. My place is because of again this role I have, which I feel has very important responsibilities, is to call balls and strikes, and just play it by the rules. So it is not my job to tell delegates what to do, what not to do, or to weigh in on things like that. They write the rules. They make their decisions.

All I want to make sure is that it's done above board clearly, honestly, and by the rules. So I see my role now given that he's got the plurality, he actually won, is pretty much a ceremonial position. But the last thing I'm going to do is weigh in, and tell delegates what to do--how to do their jobs.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. I guess so if they decide to change the rules, which they can do, you're comfortable with however they change the game?

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

You're asking the wrong person. You should ask the party. You should ask Reince Priebus. You should ask the delegates. I think the Rules Committee meets the week before or something like that--

CHUCK TODD:

But if you have an opinion on this it matters--

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

My opinion is not relevant here. I'm not going to tell the delegates how they should do their jobs, because I am Chair of the convention.

CHUCK TODD:

As you know, there's a ton of prominent Republicans that said they're not going to do it. Governors of Maryland and Massachusetts. You know the handful of senators, whether it's Senator Sasse, Senator Grant. Do you think it is that members in the House Republican Conference; follow your conscience. If you don't want to support him, don't do it?

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

Oh, I’m not going to tell-- Absolutely. the last thing I would do is tell anybody to do something that's contrary to their conscience. Of course I wouldn't do that. Look, believe me, Chuck. I get that this a very strange situation. He's a very unique nominee. But I feel as a responsibility institutionally as the Speaker of the House that I should not be leading some chasm in the middle of our party. Because you know what I know that'll do? That'll definitely knock us out of the White House.

CHUCK TODD:

The party's already divided.

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

Well, it's divided, and I'm not going to tell somebody to go against their conscience. What I think I can control, and what I think I can do is to help unify us around ideas, around principles, and give the country a better agenda, a better way, solutions. That’s in my control. That's what we're focused on here in the house. And all these things you're asking me about are things outside of my control that I just can't spend my time worrying about.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. Let me go in another direction. What can he do to make you more comfortable supporting Donald Trump?

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

Well, heck, I've said this a lot. Run a campaign we can all be proud of. Run a campaign that's inclusive, and aspirational. Look, you know me. I'm a Jack Kemp guy. I believe in Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp aspirational politics. I believe that if we want to be successful-- and I don't like identity politics no matter who plays them. Let the left play identity politics. That's their currency.

As conservatives, according to our principles we believe in unifying people, we believe in aspiration, we believe in taking an agenda to the country. And giving people a better path forward, and then implementing that. That's the kind of uplifting, optimistic, inclusive; tone, tempo, type of campaign that I believe we should have, that I think works, and wins, and is the right thing to do.

CHUCK TODD:

Why hasn’t he done it yet?

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

You're going to have to ask him that question.

CHUCK TODD:

You think he can do that? You think it’s in him--

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

Sure, I think he can. I guess the question is whether he chooses to do so or not.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

While hearing the speaker of the House tell members of his own party that they have a hall pass to walk away from their presidential nominee was extraordinary. And not surprisingly, Donald Trump was eager to respond. My colleague Hallie Jackson caught up with Trump yesterday, just before he held his rally in Las Vegas.

(BEGIN TAPE)

DONALD TRUMP:

Well, we have to do what the Republican party is unify. I hope to see Speaker Ryan focusing on the budget. It's a big job to get the budget down the way it should be. And other than that, I have no view on it.

HALLIE JACKSON:

It doesn't bother you? The most powerful Republican in Congress isn't telling his people to fully back the presumptive nominee?

DONALD TRUMP:

I don't know that that's what he's saying. He has endorsed me. And I tell you, you see the crowds I'm getting, you saw last night in Houston, you see today in Nevada, I think we're going to do very, very well.

HALLIE JACKSON:

You told me recently that your campaign hasn't even really started yet.

DONALD TRUMP:

We really haven't started. We start pretty much after the convention, during and after.

HALLIE JACKSON:

What's taking you so long? Why wait? Hillary Clinton has a big head start.

DONALD TRUMP:

Oh, well I'm doing well. She has a head start, but I've raised a lot of money for the party. We're doing very well. Millions of dollars just this weekend.

HALLIE JACKSON:

Not as much as her.

DONALD TRUMP:

I don't think we need frankly as much. And she's selling herself to Wall Street and the Wall Street fat cats are all putting up a lot of money for her. And I don't even want that kind of money. What I'm doing is, and I don't think we need that money. I don't think I need that money, frankly. I mean, look what we're doing right now. This is like a commercial, right, except it's tougher than a normal commercial.

Look, we're going to raise a lot of money, I've raised a lot of money this weekend, I'm raising it for the Republican party. I mean, I'm doing a good job. If you look at Reince, he'll say that we have done an amazing job in a very short period of time. I think we're going to have a great convention.

And I think we're going to go onto a great victory. It would be nice if the Republicans stuck together. I think because I'm a different kind of a candidate and, you know, Paul Ryan said that, I'm a different kind of a candidate, I think that I win either way. I can win one way or the other.

HALLIE JACKSON:

With them or without them?

DONALD TRUMP:

I do believe that. But I think because I obviously won the primaries without them, I'm an outsider and I won the primaries. I do believe that we can win either way. But it would be nice if we stuck together.

HALLIE JACKSON:

Last one for you before they pull me out of here. I talked with a lot of Republicans. Your critics say within your own party your campaign is not organized well enough, it doesn't have the money, and it doesn't have the infrastructure in the battleground states. How do you combat that perception? What are you doing to basically reassure people in your own party that you could actually win? There's a real, deep concern about that.

DONALD TRUMP:

Well, if it were short of money, because we're raising a lot of money for the party. But if it were short of money for myself, I would put up my own money. I mean, I'd just put up my own money if it was at all short of money.

HALLIE JACKSON:

How much would you put up?

DONALD TRUMP:

I'd put up whatever I need to win. I'd put up my own money. I wouldn't be that generous with it outside. I mean, frankly, people have to contribute money, people have to endorse, people have to really come through. I think, you know, the one thing they're not doing is, I've had so many endorsements, I mean, Darrell Issa called yesterday. And so many people have endorsed me. We have so many great endorsements, nobody ever talks about that.

HALLIE JACKSON:

If the delegates at the convention trying to overthrow?

DONALD TRUMP:

I don't believe that. I think that's the press. Number one, they can't do it legally. Number two, I worked for one year and we won all of those delegates. And, you know, I guess I'm at almost 1,600, 15 to 1,600. Remember they said the most we could get is 1,200, we'd be short of the magic number, and I got close to 1,600. So we worked for a year along with other people. And I competed along with a lot of establishment people. I beat them all.

And now a couple of them would like to come in through the back door. It's awfully hard when I win, what did I when, 37 or 38 states? So I win 38 states and somebody else won none, and they're going to be the nominee? I don't think so.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Coming up, could this Dump Trump movement actually succeed? We're going to get into that after the break. And later, Orlando and the renewed debate over guns in America. We'll hear more from Paul Ryan on this issue and from the Attorney General Loretta Lynch who also has new information about what the Orlando shooter told hostage negotiators during those last few hours of the siege.

* * *COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. Panelists here: Jose Diaz-Balart of MSNBC and Telemundo, Gwen Ifill, anchor and host of PBS News Hour, co-host and co-anchor, Katy Tur of NBC News, who covers the Trump campaign for us, and Mark Halperin also an NBC and MSNBC colleague, as well as Bloomberg Politics, With All Due Respect, welcome to all of you. Mark Halperin, I'll start with you. How real is the Dump Trump movement inside the Republican party?

MARK HALPERIN:

It's less likely to happen than to happen, but it's real. Because you've got now a attitude within the Republican party at the highest levels, that this would be better for the party. One strategist, top strategist, said to me yesterday, "There's a meteorite headed towards planet Earth, you do what you have to do."

And they believe they could lose with Trump and that they will lose with Trump at the highest levels of the party, or they can try something different, as messy as it would be. The key for them is to not let this be something seen as led by Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, but led by the delegates themselves. There is this movement that you mentioned at the top of the show. Their hope is that that catches on, and they're willing to go--

CHUCK TODD:

That it looks organic.

MARK HALPERIN:

That it looks organic and it looks like it's grassroots and that the delegates can trump the voters more easily than people in Washington. Trump talks about it being illegal, it's not illegal. If the delegates decide to do this, they can. And there's a real chance that if Trump continues to be down in the polls, continues to hurt Senate candidates and House candidates, continues to not build infrastructure, there's a real chance that they'll make a strong effort to do it.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, Gwen, to have that effort, you have to have the people in place.

GWEN IFILL:

Yeah.

CHUCK TODD:

And it was interesting to me who Reince Priebus, the chairman of the party appointed to run the rules committee. One is Enid Mickelsen. She is a Ted Cruz delegate, a long-time member of the Utah Republican party, Utah.

GWEN IFILL:

We remember her from when she was in Congress.

CHUCK TODD:

And Utah, not a big fan of Donald Trump. Then the co-chair is Ron Kaufman, he is a Trump delegate. But you've known Ron Kaufman for years, a long time Bush guy.

GWEN IFILL:

He's a Bush guy. Yeah.

CHUCK TODD:

So, I look at those two and I think, "Oh, maybe they are preparing for something.”

GWEN IFILL:

I don't know after watching that interview with Paul Ryan how you can believe that they can make this seem organic. If you want to lead a movement, you've got to have leaders of that movement. I don't think we have leaders in this Congress. I think they all want to not answer, as we saw Mitch McConnell do. I think the idea that somehow, from the grassroots, people are just going to reach up and do what the leadership wants has never proven to be true.

The Republican party is acting like the Democratic party usually acts, which is incredibly disorganized. I think it's what they pray for every night, that something will suddenly happen. But Donald Trump has a point. How do you do this, how do you go to Cleveland and say, "The primaries didn't matter and find somebody else?" And that's the big flaw in this whole idea.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

This reminds me of the, and my dad had this, the big comb-over, you know? The person--

CHUCK TODD:

Where are you going with this?

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

The person with the comb-over thinks you think it looks natural. And that it really is that way. But when you're looking at the person, you're saying, "That's a big comb-over." This thing is being organic and that it comes from the bottom up is a big comb-over. It's a big comb-over. We can see it, everybody's going to see it. And you can say what you wish, if it's coming from all these organized groups, it's a comb-over.

CHUCK TODD:

Wow. Katy, you know Trump as well as anybody at this table. In a weird way, he would relish a fight like -- wouldn't he?

KATY TUR:

Oh, absolutely. And he's benefited every time he's looked like more of an outsider. For him to embrace the party is not necessarily on message for how he's been going about this campaign. He clearly feels uncomfortable with it. That's why you're seeing so much stress when it comes to Donald Trump raising money and go to these donor meetings.

And the word behind the scenes that he's having a hard time saying, "Please give me money," because it's anti to his outsider message. So this would work for him. But the problem is, he just looks like he's sputtering right now. He looks like he is a candidate who once had control of his ideas and his message is now on the defensive, is backtracking.

And a lot of his supporters are saying -- and I've talked to a number of them who have decided that they're not going to support him any longer, which is surprising -- die-hard people who were in it with him, have said that it's just too much lately. The Judge Curiel comments were too much for them more so than the President comments. The Judge Curiel comments seem to be hurting him greatly among a certain contingent of his supporters.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, and you've mentioned his lack of control of this campaign. I want to put up some quick money numbers here in the TV advertising disparity that we're seeing here in the month of June. People want to say it's only June, this isn't only June. This is a big moment. If you look at what Hillary Clinton is up with herself, $23 million. You throw in what the super PAC for Clinton, they're up with $23 million. So you've got actually double that money.

Nobody is up with Trump stuff except for one Super PAC with a cable buy. Now look at the disparity that Obama had over Romney, which everybody made a big deal of four years ago at this moment in time in June. And it wasn’t -- and the gap was about $8 million, and everybody's like, "Oh my God, we can't have that again."

GWEN IFILL:

But there are two problems here. One is that it's harder to run, it takes a lot more money to run against Hillary Clinton-- as Barack Obama found out-- than it does to run against Hillary Clinton to run against Hillary Clinton. So she's got an advantage this time.

The other thing is, as Katy was talking about, he's not really good at asking for money. Texas Tribune had this interesting story at his Texas fundraiser where the guy who introduced him trashed him on NAFTA, trashed him on immigration, and this is a Trump supporter who he was asking for money.

CHUCK TODD:

Still wrote the check.

GWEN IFILL:

Still wrote the check, but they're not going to stick around.

KATY TUR:

He also has the benefit of being able to raise more money more quickly than Romney did in 2012 because the rules have been lax.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah, but it's not money for him, it's money for the party.

KATY TUR:

But it’s money for the RNC.

MARK HALPERIN:

There's a comparable disparity and on ground forces.

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

MARK HALPERIN:

Clinton last month had 700 people in the headquarters in Brooklyn and around the country.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah, what do you think it is now?

MARK HALPERIN:

It has grown since then. Trump is much smaller. Look, Trump is unconventional. Trump has proven he can do things in a different way. But this is part of what's undermining that confidence in Republicans.

CHUCK TODD:

But before I let you, I want to play, there's a brand new Clinton Super PAC ad that is up that hits Trump. And this is what he's dealing with for the next four weeks. Here it is:

(BEGIN TAPE)

DONALD TRUMP:

I'm really good at war, I love war in a certain way. Including with nukes yes, including with nukes. want to be unpredictable. I'm not going to tell you right now what I'm going to do. I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me.

ANNOUNCER:

Priorities USA Action is responsible for the content of this advertising.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Again, unresponded to, at least through the Fourth of July, and maybe longer.

MARK HALPERIN:

On the other hand, this is stuff that the American people have heard about him over and over again. And he's won consistently over and over again saying that and a whole lot worse. The Curiel comments, no problem. You know, over and over again, he says things that everybody else says, "This is unacceptable." And yet he continues--

GWEN IFILL:

I'm sorry, go ahead.

KELLY TUR:

It's why I find this talk of saying that “he's going to implode in this general election” is so different than the primary, a little bit scary. Because ultimately, in August, September, and October, November, December, January, February, people were saying, "Donald Trump couldn't possibly win the nomination." So I think it's just not a good idea to predict, make these bold predictions for this electorate.

MARK HALPERIN:

It's pretty simple. He needs to do something different to convince Republicans, grassroots and elites, that he can come back. He's behind in the polls. Whatever it is. Raise more money, put ads on TV, campaign on a different message. He needs a different trajectory and then he can come back. But he needs something different.

GWEN IFILL:

I will say one thing. We have applied conventional measures to Donald Trump throughout this campaign. And his argument is, "No."

CHUCK TODD:

It's a new jury though. We shall see. A quick note, by the way, tomorrow we're debuting the first in a three-part digital series. It's a feature about the rise of Donald Trump. And it's through a visualization of the campaign and the people who will support him in a way you haven't seen before. Just trust me on this. For the first part, “The United States of Trump” is what we're calling it. The digital team conducted interviews with supporters across America, crunched data behind it on who they are, where they live, and why they like him. And it isn't necessarily because he simply wants to build a wall. So check it out at NBC News-dot-com-slash-Trump.

When we come back, how Hillary Clinton's growing lead in the polls could turn into an Election Day rout and why Republicans in the House and Senate are worrying that they could go down with the Trump ship. It's all about Republican voter enthusiasm. That's next.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

And we are back. It's Data Download time. One thing Donald Trump had counted on was that the enthusiasm among Republicans that fueled his primary victories would carry over into the general election. But we may now be seeing a reverse effect, an enthusiasm gap that suddenly favors Democrats. Bad news for Trump, but it could mean bad news for Republicans up and down the ballot. Let me explain. An ABC/Washington Post poll shows 65 percent of Republicans viewing Trump favorably, 34 percent unfavorably. That means a third of Republicans who don't have good feelings about their own nominee.

Now let's compare to what Democrats think of their nominee. Hillary Clinton's numbers aren't great among Democrats, 75-25, one fourth of Democrats being unfavorable is not great, but they're better than Trump’s. So the problem isn't just how a party sees Trump. It's how Republicans see the party itself.

A Bloomberg Politics poll this week shows 28 percent of Republicans have an unfavorable view of their own party right now. On the other side of the aisle, only four percent of Democrats feel the same way about their party. Why is this significant? Because if it means Republicans may be less enthusiastic about voting in the fall. And that enthusiasm gap doesn't just hurt Trump, it could end up hurting Republicans up and down the ballot.

A Marquette University poll in battleground Wisconsin this week showed 78 percent of Republicans saying they will definitely vote in November. That's a nine point drop from March. Before Trump became the presumptive nominee, when you had nearly nine in ten Republicans fired up about this election.

So, party leaders do have reason to worry that their voters might just stay home. And if that happens, a two-to-three point Republican advantage in Senate race X could quickly become a two-to-three point loss on Election Day in that Senate race. And while the G.O.P.'s House majority seems insurmountable right now, an election wave or a tsunami would end up putting the House in play.

And guess how those happen? Those happen when one party simply doesn't show up to the polls. That's what Republicans have to fear. When we come back, the renewed debate on guns. Attorney General Loretta Lynch joins me on that issue. But she also has some new information about what the killer was telling hostage negotiators in the time during that siege. That's all coming up next.

* * *COMMERCIAL BREAK* * *

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. Bigotry, terrorism, guns, these are some of the same topics we were addressing on this very show last year at this exact same time because of the tragic shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, last year. Now we are having the conversation again in the wake of the Orlando massacre, where 49 people were killed.

At issue is the access to guns. The killer, who had previously been interviewed by the F.B.I. And had been on the terrorist watch list on the past, used a semi-automatic assault rifle that he bought just days before the massacre. And it's also rebooted the conversation in Washington about whether those who are on that watch list should be able to be able to purchase a gun. When I spoke with Paul Ryan Thursday, he seemed open to new legislation.

(BEGIN TAPE)

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN:

We want to make sure we get this right. The question right now is if someone is on the terror watch list, are the authorities notified as to whether a person on that list is trying to purchase a gun or not. That is the procedure right now. So the question is, can we make sure that that procedure works the way it's supposed to work? That's point number one.

Point number two, you don't want to deny a person their constitutional rights without due process. So we have to be very-- we have to concern ourselves with the constitution and rights. And we don't want to deny a person their due process rights. That's point number two.

Point number three is the F.B.I. is telling us, "Before careful how you do this so you do not undermine or blow terrorism investigations." So we can't just be very clumsy and rush to judgment and do something that actually harms our ability to do terrorist investigations. We've got to get it right and we're going to take a deep breath and make sure that this is done correctly so that the policy of making sure that the authorities know and have time to respond to if a person who was on a terrorist watch list is trying to buy a gun, that they're notified, that we want to make sure we get right.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

There could be up to four votes on this issue in the Senate tomorrow. Attorney General Loretta Lynch supports one of those measures and she joins me now. Madam Attorney General, welcome back to Meet the Press.

LORETTA LYNCH:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

I want to get to the gun discussion in a minute. But let's go to the actual investigation in Orlando right now and get any updates this morning. First, let me talk about the shooter's wife. Are charges going to be brought against her? Is she simply helping in this investigation or is she going to have charges brought against her?

LORETTA LYNCH:

So Chuck, where we are in this investigation is talking to everyone who had any kind of contact with this killer. And that of course includes his family members. It's too early to say right now, we're not making any predictions or announcements about additional charges. We have focused on learning as much as we can about the killer's motivations, about his actions, about his thoughts in the days and weeks and even months leading up to this attack.

CHUCK TODD:

Is she cooperating?

LORETTA LYNCH:

Well, as I said--

CHUCK TODD:

Do you find her cooperating?

LORETTA LYNCH:

Well, as I said before, we're talking to a number of people, that includes family members, that includes people who knew him, people who knew of this individual, we're asking them to come forward. She's in that end, but of course, we're not making any predictions. Nor are we having any discussions about anyone's status right now.

CHUCK TODD:

And you're also going to be going to Orlando this week. Are you going to be announcing any new parts of the investigation?

LORETTA LYNCH:

Yes, I'll be going to Orlando on Tuesday to continue my briefings in the case. Actually though what we are announcing tomorrow is that the F.B.I. is releasing a partial transcript of the killer's calls with law enforcement from inside the club. These are the calls with the Orlando P.D. negotiating team who were trying to ascertain who he was, where he was, and why he was doing this, all the while the rescue operations were continuing. That'll be coming out tomorrow and I'll be headed to Orlando on Tuesday.

CHUCK TODD:

Including the hostage negotiation part of this?

LORETTA LYNCH:

Yes. It will be primarily a partial transcript of his calls with the hostage negotiators.

CHUCK TODD:

You say partial. What's being left out?

LORETTA LYNCH:

Well, what we're not going to do is further proclaim this individual's pledges of allegiance to terrorist groups and further his propaganda.

CHUCK TODD:

So we're not going to hear him talk about those things?

LORETTA LYNCH:

We will hear him talk about some of those things, but we're not going to hear him make his ascertains of allegiance and that. This will not be audio. This will be a printed transcript. But it will begin to capture the back and forth between him and the negotiators. We're trying to get as much information about this investigation out as possible. As you know, because the killer is dead, we have a bit more leeway there. And so we will be producing that information tomorrow.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, let's talk about the F.B.I. angle to this. Obviously, they investigated him, interviewed him I think now up to three times before this took place, and then found that he was not, they didn't think he was a serious, potential terrorist threat. I know Director Comey said they're going to go and look back and see what may have been missed. But is it bigger than just what the F.B.I. may have missed? Is the F.B.I. just not able to do behavioral study? Like, the F.B.I.'s job is to investigate facts and to make connections. But behavioral's harder to do.

LORETTA LYNCH:

Well, behavioral is harder to do because the cues and the clues are harder. But that's why we do the investigations in the way that we do. That's why when we get information about individuals like Mateen several years ago from coworkers, that we open investigations and that we in fact take the time and interview individuals like that. And I can assure you, had the information developed of his plans, that investigation would have stayed open.

CHUCK TODD:

One of these votes that we were talking about, let's go to the gun issue here, one of the new support-- just Justice Department came out and endorsed Senator Feinstein's version of this, which would make it so that anybody on these terror watch lists couldn't buy a gun, and there wouldn't be any loophole, wouldn't be a small waiting period. It would be a pretty long waiting period. But Director Comey's a little concerned about this legislation. Here's what he said about it a year ago.

(BEGIN TAPE)

DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY:

It's a little bit challenging for us because known or suspected means it hasn't been adjudicated in every case that somebody is a terrorist, it's somebody we're investigating. So we don't want to obviously blow our investigation.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

This is the concern of Speaker Ryan on this. He seems to be open to at least looking at the legislature. Is this a concern of yours?

LORETTA LYNCH:

We're extremely grateful that in crafting this legislation, Congress took into account those concerns that the director expressed over a year ago and that we in law enforcement all have. Obviously, we want to be able to have the tools we need to stop individuals from obtaining guns who should not have them. But we also need to have a process consistent with the law to protect ongoing investigations and protect sensitive matters. And this amendment does give the Department of Justice both of those tools.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you quickly on the email investigation with Hillary Clinton. Ultimately, when the F.B.I. concludes their investigation, it will be up to you, perhaps, to decide whether this goes forth with a prosecution or not. There's going to be a lot of skepticism that this decision falls on you, a political appointee. Have you thought about finding a special council or somebody else to handle this, to make it as clean from politics as far as the public is concerned, as you possibly could?

LORETTA LYNCH:

We conduct this investigation as we conduct all of them. Career prosecutors and agents, free from politics, the review will continue, they follow the facts, they follow the law, they'll come to a conclusion. And we'll--

CHUCK TODD:

You don't think you need to recuse yourself in this position at all?

LORETTA LYNCH:

They'll come to a conclusion, we'll follow the facts and the law as we do in every case.

CHUCK TODD:

So this is not up to you, this decision?

LORETTA LYNCH:

We don't talk about how we're going to deal with the internal workings of the Justice Department, but this will be handled like any other matter.

CHUCK TODD:

And you don't think there's any, it's not necessarily in your mind that you have to excuse yourself from this?

LORETTA LYNCH:

I say let the career prosecutors and agents do their job and continue in this matter.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Loretta Lynch, thanks for coming on.

LORETTA LYNCH:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

And when we come back, we're going to dive into the gun debate, the political side of it, with our panel. But as we go to break, a look here at one of the many memorial services this week, too many of them, frankly, for the people killed in Orlando a week ago today. It's too bad we have to have so many people to mourn, on this Sunday one week ago.

MEMORIAL SERVICE SPEAKER:

Nerdy, loving, caring, passionate. These are just a few words that describe Christopher Andrew Leinonen-- Drew. Our Drew.

* * *COMMERCIAL BREAK* * *

CHUCK TODD:

Those are just some of these beautiful makeshift memorials in Orlando one week after the attack. We’re back with the panel. Well, did the gun debate change this week or not, Gwen?

GWEN IFILL:

A week ago, a year ago Charleston. We have since seen San Bernardino, some years ago -- not long ago -- we saw Newtown. We have seen this over and over again -- Aurora, schools, bars, it doesn’t matter. Nothing actually changed. We always say there’s going to be a turning point.

The conversation this week is about terror watch lists, no-fly, not being able to buy a gun if you’re on a no-fly list. That could make a change, and the president is very passionate about that. That doesn’t mean that will change something like this. And the conversation this week is about gun-show loopholes. Again, something which the NRA has never budged even half an inch. Donald Trump says he’s gonna meet with the NRA, it hasn’t happened yet. I’ll be very curious to see how that conversation goes.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

I think it would make a difference. I think in this case it would have made a difference. If you're on a list, a terrorist list, a no-fly list, or the other terrorist list, then you couldn't have bought the weapons that he bought just a few days before he carried this massacre out--

GWEN IFILL:

Where was Dylann Roof flying ever?

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

Well, I'm talking about this last one.

GWEN IFILL:

I know.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

Do you do nothing? Or do you do something and hope that that something makes a difference? If it's going to be we're only going to do things that encompass everything or we don't do anything, then I agree with you. But I think that if you have someone that is being investigated and can be prohibited from going to a place and two days getting a weapon, maybe that's worth--

KATY TUR:

But he wasn't on either one of those lists.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

He was considered, he was interviewed three times--

CHUCK TODD:

But at one time he was.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:One time he was--

CHUCK TODD:

And there’s some thought If you go three years deep in that list, or something. But Mark, let me, it does seem as if Democrats, you know, Republicans, when they use terrorism, they've gotten legislation passed. Using the fear of terrorism as a way--

GWEN IFILL:

Patriotism.

CHUCK TODD:

--to get some controversial legislation passed. And Democrats, for the first time, decided to merge terrorism and guns together and run with it. And it did change the rhetoric among Republicans.

MARK HALPERIN:

Well, and I'd add a third element, which is the L.G.B.T. community, which is now also looking at gun control. This change, if it's going to happen, comes from the fact that the Democrats on the precipice of nominating the most pro-gun control candidate in the history of either party. And she can claim a mandate, if she wins this election. The N.R.A. still dominates the House. You saw in your interview with Paul Ryan. The House isn't going to budge. So I can't imagine significant legislation passing now.

CHUCK TODD:

This year?

MARK HALPERIN:

This year.

CHUCK TODD:

But--

MARK HALPERIN:

Next year, if Hillary Clinton wins with coattails and brings in a clear mandate for a lot of provisions that have never been talked about, for as much, we've had two Democratic presidents both afraid of talking about this issue, she is not.

CHUCK TODD:

You just brought up the gay community and guns. The gay community, The Washington Post did an interesting story here about the next movement among gay political activists may be guns.

KATY TUR:

And what I found fascinating, there was another column in The Washington Post about the same thing, talking about how one-third of Americans have a friend or a relative that was the victim of gun violence. And they compared that with the amount of Americans who suddenly knew a friend or a loved one who was gay. And the thinking is that if there are more folks that know someone who's been a victim of this, then suddenly the legislation could change in more of a rapid way, much like the fight for equality for gays and lesbians.

CHUCK TODD:

And gay political action has been incredibly effective, I would argue maybe the most effective advocacy organization in the last ten years.

GWEN IFILL:

Except this will require a complete change of focus. It's always been a civil rights activism on the part of the L.G.B.T. community. I'm not sure that guns qualifies in this isolated case. Obviously, there's grief and there's anger. But I'm not certain.

CHUCK TODD:

I want to bring up something else from the Loretta Lynch interview. She talks about, and I think this is going to-- where this, it's a conversation of guns, and Republicans would like to have the conversation of terrorism. And she says it's going to be a partial transcript. And, you know, it's one of those things that I was thinking, "Boy, I think some on the right,"-- because she doesn't want to reveal how much he talked about other groups. That's going to bother some who think, "No, no, no, no, we need to hear everything."

GWEN IFILL:

I think that Republicans are going to say, "You need to hear everything," because they want to hear how radicalized this guy was.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

Yeah, what's wrong with hearing everything, by the way? In other words, you know, what's wrong with it?

CHUCK TODD:

We should know every, I mean, this seems to be a terrorism fear and a gun fear. We seem to not think we can have both conversations.

GWEN IFILL:

And a hate crime.

CHUCK TODD:

And a hate crime.

KATY TUR:

It's on party lines right now. It's on party lines. Republicans believe it's a terror issue and the Democrats believe it's a gun control issue.

MARK HALPERIN:

She's going to be under a lot of pressure to put out more of it, I think.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

President Obama, this week, last week, said, "You can do both. You can talk about both things."

CHUCK TODD:

And the pressure because some people think it's a manipulation that the administration doesn't want the public to know how much, perhaps, or whatever, or there'll be this, you know, "Oh my God, you should have really hear what he said about ISIS."

MARK HALPERIN:

That's just the conspiracy theorists will be strong. I mean, obviously there's a national security interest and investigative interest. And she'll have to, I think explain it better than she has today.

CHUCK TODD:

F.B.I. Director Comey is, is he okay in this?

GWEN IFILL:

I suspect people know that the F.B.I. was working, and they made the case that they've been working very hard over the years to watch him. But in the end, you can't arrest somebody who hasn't done anything. That is a big problem with terrorism. It's not always predictable. You can't tell who the next lone wolf is going to be. And I think they have that cover.

CHUCK TODD:

I am fascinated though, I thought Politico did a great thing about this idea that the secret service is better at doing behavioral profiling because they have to do it all the time when there's so many threats to the president, Jose.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

Yeah, I just don't know, you know, if you were going to step in every time somebody says something questionable or stupid.

CHUCK TODD:

We still have civil liberties in this country.

MARK HALPERIN:

Comey is the most widely bipartisan respected figure. So he'll be okay in the short-term. But the F.B.I. does need to have more resources, better resources--

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

It’s just, what more could they have done in this specific case?

GWEN IFILL:

I have to say one thing. On June 1st, I talked to the president in Elkhart, Indiana. And after we were done with our town hall, he talked to a guy in the audience who's a gun shop owner. The guy was incredibly passionate about how Hillary's going to take away our guns, you're going to take away our guns.

And then the president responded toe to toe with him, also making the case about, "If we-- I was in the situation room today," he said, "And I still can't get Congress to move on this issue of not allowing people on the no-fly list to--"

KATY TUR:

Every time there's a terror act there's a run on guns--

GWEN IFILL:

That's gotten a lot of attention.

KATY TUR:

The fear is there.

CHUCK TODD:

It does a reverse thing. All right, let's take a quick pause, 45 seconds, endgame segment. Washington's favorite parlor game, veepstakes. Who might run with Donald Trump? And do the candidates he wants want to run with him? We'll be right back.

* * *COMMERCIAL BREAK* * *

CHUCK TODD:

Veepstakes time. One of the ways that Donald Trump could maybe calm the waters in the Republican party is by naming a running mate, and maybe he’s going to feel a little pressure to do it sooner. But I was -- Mark Halperin -- caught by this quote from John Thune who some people believe is on the shortlist. Republican from South Dakota in the Senate leadership and he says this:

“There are probably some good options for him,” referring to Trump. “The question is: Are there people for whom he is a good option?” Thune is supposedly one of those people that Trump would like to run with.

MARK HALPERIN:

Well of course, Senator Corker was someone people thought was on the list and he did not have kind words for Trump after the Orlando remarks. I’m told that Trump is doing what a lot of past presidential nominees have done -- he’s asking people still, as recently as this week, their opinions. He’s asking everybody he talks to, “Who should I pick? Who would be good?”

He’s hearing lots of different names but there are names he’s hearing like Condoleezza Rice of people who say they won’t do it.

CHUCK TODD:

You know Katy, one of the things I hear that he is very aware of though is that, in the same way he had to release a Supreme Court nominee list to satisfy conservatives, this VP nominee -- they know it has to be a conservative that people can rally--

KATY TUR:

Is it going to be someone that alleviates the concerns on the Hill, and alleviates the concerns with the Republican Party? I’ve spoken to sources at the RNC who say that they have no idea who he’s going to pick -- they just don’t know what’s going on at this point. And they’ve circled the wagons right now in terms of who they are topping their list.

Bob Corker was high on that list, I’m told, but Corker saying that he’s discouraged by the campaign is not a good sign. Right now it seems like the list is narrowing down to a very small group of people: Newt Gingrich, Jeff Sessions--

GWEN IFILL:

People who are waving their hands in the air saying “oh, oh me.”

KATY TUR:

And potentially Scott Brown. And it’s not the more establishment figures of the party.

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

GWEN IFILL:

And no discussion about a woman to counter the Hillary factor?

KATY TUR:

Well there’s Mary Fallin that’s been thrown into the mix.

CHUCK TODD:

But I was told that he doesn’t want to…that naming a woman would make it look like he was pandering.

KATY TUR:

Well Manafort said that.

CHUCK TODD:

And he doesn’t want to look like a panderer.

GWEN IFILL:

Okay.

CHUCK TODD:That’s what -- yeah.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

In this unusual electoral season, isn’t it odd that you’re thinking that there aren’t a lot of people willing to take the number two slot of the one of the main parties?

MARK HALPERIN:

He must pick a conservative. But he also, the people at the top of the Party say he must pick someone who people make them think anew about Donald Trump. Someone unambiguously qualified. And some of the names you said, I think people would not feel that way about.

GWEN IFILL:

No.

CHUCK TODD:

But they have to be loyal. Trump’s not going to pick somebody who’s not loyal.

GWEN IFILL:

No he’s not, but it takes a lot of time --

KATY TUR:

He’s not going to pick somebody who’s going to upstage him.

GWEN IFILL:

Well exactly. And you spend a lot of time talking about the Vice Presidency, and we just love to do this. But you know I was struck by a story in the Salt Lake City Tribune where apparently he met backstage in Las Vegas with a guy, a Republican who’s the head of the Republican Party in Utah, who said, “You know, we’ve got a plan T.”

And he said, “What’s the plan T?” It had to do with the down-ballot races, how to protect themselves in ca-- and this is a guy who spoke to face to face with Trump.

CHUCK TODD:

Before we go, one of the guys that everybody thought would be on the running mate list when we made this, thought about this two years ago was Marco Rubio. Now we’re wondering is he going to run for the US Senate. Mr. Miami, what do you hear?

JOSE DIAZ-BALART

I think he’s gonna run and I think he’s gonna do shortly, and I think that he’s been mulling it over and I think he’s come to the realization that Florida is a place that he can still win. And if he’s not running as a Republican in Florida in the Senate, then it will probably go Democrat.

CHUCK TODD:

High risk, Mark Halperin.

MARK HALPERIN

High risk if he loses, it’s a bad thing. He probably can win unless Trump is at the top of the ticket and is blown out, but--

CHUCK TODD:Trump can beat him twice.

MARK HALPERIN:

And as his strategists game it out, close to the top of the list of reasons not to do it is everyday he will be asked about Donald Trump. Is that the way that he wants to have his career potentially end? But they’re confident that if he decides to do it, not quite final, but more likely than not. It would be tough and nothing makes it tougher than Donald Trump.

GWEN IFILL:

If he wants a platform for 2020, he needs a platform of some kind. And being whatever a corner office at a lobbying firm isn't quite the platform he--

CHUCK TODD:

All right.

KATY TUR:

But they need that. The Republicans need that seat. And he's their best opinion.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

Chuck, he lost pretty badly in the-- last time.

CHUCK TODD:

He did. But you know what, if anybody can overperform Trump by four or five points, it's probably Marco Rubio.

MARK HALPERIN:

And Mitch McConnell desperately wants him--

JOSE DIAZ-BALART:

Yes, he does.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, that's all we have for today. Happy Father's Day. It's a heavy Father's Day for folks in Orlando and those victims. But do the best you can. We'll be back next week because if it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

* * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * *