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Meet the Press - June 4, 2017

(BEGIN TAPE)

CHUCK TODD: This Sunday, Terror in London a van mows down pedestrians on London Bridge, then the three occupants stab customers at nearby bars and restaurants.

WITNESS: I saw people running, screaming. Somebody was injured. It’s been like the worst 30 minutes of my life.

CHUCK TODD: At least seven people are killed, dozens more wounded. Prime Minister Theresa May responds this morning.

THERESA MAY: We believe we are experiencing a new trend in the threat we face.

CHUCK TODD: We'll have the latest. Plus, the U.S. pulls out of the Paris climate change accord. President Trump says the agreement helps other countries at the expense of the U.S. economy.

DONALD TRUMP: I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.

CHUCK TODD: The reaction is swift

JOHN KERRY: It’s an extraordinary abdication of American leadership. It is a shameful moment for the United States.

CHUCK TODD: And, the biggest moment yet in the Russia investigation. Former F.B.I. Director James Comey will testify before Congress after being fired while investigating possible links between Russian election hacking and the Trump campaign:

JAMES COMEY: As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.

CHUCK TODD: Our guests this morning: Former Secretary of State John Kerry, and E.P.A Administrator Scott Pruitt. Joining me for insight and analysis are, Hugh Hewitt, host on the Salem Radio Network, Democratic strategist Stephanie Cutter, Michael Gerson, columnist for The Washington Post and Heather McGhee, President of the progressive group Demos. 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.

Good Sunday morning. We have three big stories that we're following. The U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. Former F.B.I. Director James Comey set to testify on Capitol Hill, and once again, we are waking up to news of a terror attack, and once again it's happened in the U.K. Seven people are dead, plus the three attackers and dozens more are wounded in an attack by three men, whom first mowed down pedestrians at London Bridge last night, then began stabbing people who were simply enjoying a Saturday evening at nearby bars and restaurants. The three men were shot and killed by London police, And this morning we have learned that 12 people have been arrested according to Metropolitan Police in London. Here’s some witnesses describing the attack.

(BEGIN TAPE)

WITNESS: I saw people running, screaming. Somebody was injured. I see people with some blood. It’s been like the worst 30 minutes of my life.

WITNESS: A lot of loud noises and then people, you know, running, screaming. The police sirens came in...

WITNESS: ...and then they started to tell us to evacuate.

WITNESS: I said to my friend. I said, oh look, there’s quite a few police here. And she said, oh I think it’s normal. And then we heard the sirens and then we saw the people, and we were like, no this isn’t right.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD: British Prime Minister Theresa May responded this morning.

(BEGIN TAPE)

THERESA MAY: We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are. There is, to be frank, far too much tolerance of extremism in our country. So we need to become far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD: Some very tough talk there from the Prime Minister. We get the latest now from our chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel who's on the ground in London. Richard, we heard there a very defiant prime minister. What do we know this morning?

RICHARD ENGEL: Well, she needs to be defiant. This country has seen three terrorist attacks in the last three months. The latest one took place just after 10 o’clock last night, taking place behind me. A white van came barreling down London Bridge, going onto the curb, coming off the curb, chasing people down, mowing people down. Then the van came to a stop. The three men jumped out carrying knives. And they started slashing, stabbing people who were at bars and restaurants. To their credit, a lot of people tried to resist. They were throwing bottles at the attackers, using chairs to try and barricade the doors. It's impressive considering the attackers were wearing what looked like suicide vests. They turned out to be fakes. Police arrived very quickly on the scene. They say within eight minutes of getting the call, they were here and shot the three attackers dead.

CHUCK TODD: We are not very far removed from the attack in Manchester. In fact, tonight Ariana Grande's having the memorial concert there in support of the victims of the Manchester attack. But this morning the prime minister said, Richard, that she thought this was a copycat, that there wasn't a connection. Is that good news or bad news?

RICHARD ENGEL: Well, it's a little bit of both. It's good news that there's not one big cell. The Manchester attack was more sophisticated than this. It used a very advanced bomb. There was some fear that a bomb maker could still be on the loose. The bad news is these attacks keep happening. So the extremists are able to draw from a fairly large pool of willing attackers in this country. Theresa May said that not only have there been these three terrorist attacks in the last three months, but there were also five thwarted attacks. So five thwarted attacks. Three that got through. That's not a terribly good record. And I think that's why you're seeing Theresa May talking very tough. And there is a concern that we might not be at the end of this.

This is the holy month of Ramadan. ISIS has called for its supporters to carry out attacks during Ramadan. ISIS made the same call last year during Ramadan, and there were a lot of people unfortunately who took up that call. You had the Orlando attack. You had an attack at the Istanbul airport, the Dhaka café. So this could be a long Muslim holy month.

CHUCK TODD: All right, Richard. In London for us on the ground. Thank you very much. By the way, we're five days removed, five days away from the U.K. snap elections. Joining me now is our NBC News national security analyst Michael Leiter. Obviously you ran the counterterrorism center for us. One of the interesting things that the prime minister said this morning is that it's time to deny these terrorists safe space, but she wasn't talking about Syria. She was talking about safe space in the digital environment. That was what she brought up first. Not people going back and forth to Syria.

MICHAEL LEITER: And I think she's exactly right. She sees that people aren't necessarily just going to Syria and training. They're staying in London. They're staying in Manchester and getting that engagement. And she made this a priority at the G7 conference on digital policing, saying that there needed to be much greater activity from the technology companies in Silicon Valley and participating with governments to identify what have become digital safe havens and disrupting them.

CHUCK TODD: Let's get down to what viewers are probably concerned about and frankly what many of us are. Can this happen here? Why is this a bigger problem it appears for the U.K. than it is for the United States?

MICHAEL LEITER: We are not immune to it, but we have a lot of antibodies set up that the U.K. does not have. The U.K. Muslim population has always had more of an extremism problem. They're more isolated. There's less engagement with non-Muslims. They're less economically well-off. And they're more tied to these overseas issues. We simply don't have those same demographic factors in the United States. So the F.B.I. does look at investigations all across the country. And there are risks like this. And obviously we have cars. We have knives. We have guns. So we have those risks. But we never had the same degree, the same volume, the same speed of radicalization that the U.K., Belgium and the French have had.

CHUCK TODD: You know, the president, one of the things he tweeted this morning-- he tweeted a lot this morning. But one of the things he tweeted is, "We need to be smart, vigilant, and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the travel ban as an extra level of safety." Is the concern about terrorism in this country having to do with folks that are coming into this country or American citizens?

MICHAEL LEITER: I have to say the travel ban, it's like the old line. If you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And the fact is that we have a risk. But that travel ban is a hammer looking for a nail. We have a domestic issue. We have to address that domestic issue. But cases like this, that travel ban has nothing to do with it. So, yeah, we have to screen people carefully. We have to look at them. But simultaneously we do have to look at the digital landscape and some of the safe havens overseas. And that immigration ban would largely do nothing on both those fronts.

CHUCK TODD: One of the things she seems to want to do, Prime Minister May, is get the Western economies together to put this pressure on Silicon Valley. We have a First Amendment in this country. The U.K. does not. There are limits to what the United States could do if she really wants Facebook or whoever to essentially police these groups.

MICHAEL LEITER: This is going to be a very tough one. Now, she knows that the U.K. alone doesn't have the market authority to regulate these technologies. But that's why she's trying to use the G7. But as you said, you're exactly right. Whether it's end-to-end encryption or requiring reporting from some of these technology companies, we have some legal constitutional limitations other nations don't have. And that may make it much harder for the U.S. administration to get perfectly in line with what Theresa May wants.

CHUCK TODD: All right. Michael Leiter, sorry to see you on a Sunday morning like this again.

MICHAEL LEITER: I am sorry to be here, too, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD: All right. Thanks for sharing your insight, sir. Two other big stories this Sunday. The growing Russia investigation and the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement this Thursday. Former F.B.I. Director James Comey, who President Trump says he fired for reasons that included, quote, "this Russia thing," testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Later in the broadcast I'll be joined by my newest colleague Megyn Kelly, who interviewed Russian President Vladimir Putin in Start. Petersburg, Russia on Friday. Then, of course, this past Thursday, President Trump announced that the U.S. was pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord. Joining me now, someone who is perfectly situated to address all of this morning's major stories. It's former Secretary of State John Kerry. Mr. Secretary, welcome back to Meet the Press, sir.

FMR. SEC. OF STATE JOHN KERRY:

Good morning, Chuck. Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

I got to start with London. You heard Michael Leiter. You've heard a little bit of what the Prime Minister Theresa May said. I want to focus on that specific phrase she used, Mr. Secretary. "There's been for too long too much tolerance of this extremism in the U.K." Is she right?

FMR. SEC. OF STATE JOHN KERRY:

Well, that's a judgment she's going to have to make about their own relationship with the Muslim community in Great Britain. And as Michael just said, they've had a longstanding problem with respect to greater levels of alienation, a harder time assimilating into the broader British society, a lack of similar opportunity. So there are a lot of ingredients. And I'm going to leave it to her and to them to sort that out. particularly five days before an election. Let me just say that obviously every American feels as if we were attacked also. I mean, there isn't anybody in America today who doesn't reach out and express our sorrow and our solidarity with the British people.

But the fact is that if people want to kill themselves, this is really hard for law enforcement. I mean, I know from my own law enforcement days how hard people work and how significant the intelligence gathering and coordination component of this is. But if someone is ready to just go out, and meet a fuselage of law enforcement bullets, and die, you can take people with you.

And what we really need to do is focus more, I believe, not on a travel ban as Michael said. Travel ban will be cannon fodder to the recruiters. It's the worst thing we could do. But we do need to do and we do extraordinary screening. But a great deal more effort has to go into the building of community, the reaching out and working with these entities, with these sectors of society so that there is not as significant a gap as there is in many parts of the world, by the way. Not just in Britain. All over the world there’s too much distance between government and the people.

CHUCK TODD:

Right. Do you think. Look, she's calling for much more pressure to be put on these digital companies. Silicon Valley. Whether it's, you know, a WhatsApp messaging service, Facebook, there's a lot of tools that many of these groups are able to use.

FMR. SEC. OF STATE JOHN KERRY:

Yeah, but I think it's a--

CHUCK TODD:

Does Silicon Valley need to do-- I was just going to say do you think Silicon Valley does have a greater responsibility here than they're taking?

FMR. SEC. OF STATE JOHN KERRY:

Silicon Valley has a major responsibility. And, I mean, almost every company is engaged very directly in a dialogue with the government. We worked very closely with them over the years that I was serving as secretary. But look. I mean, Daesh put out a message. It can put it out on the internet. It can put it out in many different ways.

Saying to people, "During Ramadan, you should attack people with cars, knives, and guns." Now, you know, if you turn around and just blame that message exclusively on the internet, we're making an enormous mistake. And if we reach too far without being sensitive to our own values, we give them an extraordinary victory.

So there's a balance here. The bottom line is that in too many places, in too many parts of the world, you've got a large gap between governance and people and between the opportunities those people have. We talked about this after Paris. We talked about this after Belgium. This is the same problem of people living in isolation, not feeling as if they have a sufficient stake in society, in their world that life is worth living. And if you want to take your own life, you can take other lives with you.

CHUCK TODD:

Mr. Secretary, I want to move to the Paris deal. You were intricately involved. It's why we invited you on the show. I want to go back and--

FMR. SEC. OF STATE JOHN KERRY:

Well, I hope it's not the only reason.

CHUCK TODD:

No, I understand that. I want to go back into the wayback machine here. The Financial Times back when you were negotiating this, here was what was said. "Some experts have argued that while Mr. Obama is making the case for a deal, there is no guarantee that his successor, assuming it is a Republican climate change skeptic, would not walk away from a Paris agreement.

"Mr. Kerry dismissed those concerns by arguing that the Republicans had, quote, 'eliminated themselves from contention in the general election,' unquote, because of their approach during the campaign on issues such as climate change." Do you now regret not making this treaty ratified in the United States Senate, forcing it to be codified here?

FMR. SEC. OF STATE JOHN KERRY:

No. Really not because it wouldn't have happened. It's very simple. Let's be realistic about it. The president made an executive agreement because that was the best that we could do. And we presumed that common sense, that basic economics, that science would ultimately prevail.

I don't think anybody could have predicted that we would have seen a story like we saw in the New York Times today about how the Republican Party has traveled lock, stock, and barrel into the hands of the Koch brothers and special interests where they are prepared to stand up and deny science and deny facts.

I mean, what does Donald Trump know that Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon-Mobil, doesn't know? What does he know that the CEO of Apple, of Google, of General Electric, of companies all across America who urged the president not to pull out? What does Donald Trump know that President Xi, who runs an enormous economy, or President Macron, or Chancellor Merkel, or Theresa May don't know?

I mean, the fact is that still his whole staff cannot tell you whether or not he believes that climate change is a hoax. And I will say to you if you truly understand the science, if you have done your due diligence and homework, there is no way that you cannot conclude that there's an urgency to doing something. And you would not pull out of Paris.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. I take you at your word on that on this urgency issue. Obviously you have a roadblock of a good chunk of Americans who do not believe this urgency. And you just laid out a case that you think they've been misled. What could you--

FMR. SEC. OF STATE JOHN KERRY:

No, the majority of Americans--

CHUCK TODD:

I understand.

FMR. SEC. OF STATE JOHN KERRY:

The majority of Americans support action on--

CHUCK TODD:

Right, but--

FMR. SEC. OF STATE JOHN KERRY:

--climate change and--

CHUCK TODD:

But as you--

FMR. SEC. OF STATE JOHN KERRY:

--support staying in Paris.

CHUCK TODD:

I know. But as you understand, there is a political divide. And the president does feel politically secure with his base, that they're comfortable with this decision. And it tells me that your message hasn't penetrated essentially red America. Why?

FMR. SEC. OF STATE JOHN KERRY:

Well, because there's an anger and a frustration in a lot of parts of America by average folks who have felt like they're getting screwed by the government and by life over the course of the last years. And if you look at what's happened with respect to the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009, and you look at our tax structure, and you look at the favors that are done for powerful interests, and you look at the average person working harder and not getting ahead, there's every reason for people to be very angry and very disposed to put first above all their economic situation.

So I'm not surprised. There's no surprise to me that you can camouflage as they are in a phony economic argument that has no relationship to the reality of what's happening in the marketplace. Last year because of Paris, more money was spent on alternative, renewable, and sustainable development research and implementation than on fossil fuels.

And when Donald Trump says to the world, "Well, we're going to negotiate a better deal," I mean, you know, he's going to go out and find a better deal? I mean, that's like O.J. Simpson saying he's going to go out and find the real killer. Everybody knows he isn't going to do that because he doesn't believe in it. Because if he did believe in it, you wouldn't pull out of Paris. America has unilaterally ceded global leadership on this issue, which for years even Republican presidents, George H.W. Bush, you know, pushed in this direction.

CHUCK TODD:

But let me go back to tone and messaging again. Because, again, look. There's the facts and figures that demand attention. There's no doubt about it. But at the end of the day, you know this is cultural and this becomes something different, as you just very well described. But you also said this decision was, quote, a decision acted with stupidity, and self-destructiveness, and ignorance.

And the reason I highlight those words is that many people in red America hear that and they think, "Jeez, they think I'm stupid." Do you think the messaging needs to change in how you talk about this and how you create a sense of urgency with this chunk of America that isn't listening to you?

FMR. SEC. OF STATE JOHN KERRY:

Yes. No question about it. There has to be far more focus on the economic message. I think that if you look at red America, I mean, you know, about 2.6 to 3 million jobs that are existing in America today in a fast-growing sector of our economy. And of those, 50% of them are in red states that Donald Trump won.

So because of this decision, American leadership in those sectors is now going to be put at risk. We could lose some of our ability to be able to grow those jobs and in fact lose out on the largest market of the future. The biggest market in the world in the future is going to be trillions of dollars spent in the sector of energy.

And if the United States has isolated itself, now standing only with Syria and with Nicaragua-- and, Nicaragua, by the way, wanted to do more. They didn't not sign it because they didn't like it, you know, for the fact of doing it. So, look, Chuck. I think that we do have to do a better job pointing out to people how this is part of the economic future.

But look. You know, Donald Trump says he represents the forgotten man. What about the forgotten children in America who are hospitalized in the summer because the quality of air with environmentally-induced asthma? What about the forgotten farmer who is suffering from crop dislocation, from drought, from water - ?

I mean, all kinds of jobs. What about the forgotten citizens of New Orleans who worry that the levee break may because of the rise of seawater? I mean, we have to be talking to the same forgotten people in America and make a better argument to them about exactly how their lives are negatively affected.

CHUCK TODD:

Secretary Kerry, busy morning. Appreciate you coming on and sharing your views on this extraordinary Sunday. Thank you, sir.

JOHN KERRY:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

When we come back, we're going to hear from the Trump administration on the decision to pull out of the Paris agreement. E.P.A. Administrator Scott Pruitt joins me next.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD: Welcome back. When President Trump announced that the U.S. was pulling out of the Paris climate accord, he was keeping a promise that he made during the campaign and, as you heard, from John Kerry earlier, not everyone was happy that he did that. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was with the president on Thursday when he made the announcement at the White House. And he joins me now. Mr. Administrator, welcome to Meet the Press.

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT: Chuck, good morning.

CHUCK TODD: So why did almost 200 other countries sign this agreement? And why do you think the United States should have gotten out of it?

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT: Engagement internationally on these issues, Chuck, is very very important. The United States has shown a history of engagement. As you know back in the late 1990s, the administration entered into the Kyoto Protocol and from 2000 to 2014 this country saw a reduction in CO2 emissions by over 18 percent through leadership, innovation and technology. So having that kind of discussion internationally. We’re a part of the UNFCCC that was a treaty ratified in 1992 so this goes back almost two decades or more.

CHUCK TODD: The United States pulled out of Kyoto.

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT: We did in 2001. But the framework in 1992, the UNFCCC is still something we are a part of. So the discussions go back for more than 2 decades.

CHUCK TODD: So are you advocating now that essentially even though we have pulled out of the Paris agreement, it is still going to govern some goals here?

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT: Paris is a bad deal for this country. The president made clear on Friday that we are going to have an “America First” strategy with respect to the environment and international agreements. But he also said Chuck, that engagement and discussion, international discussion and dialogue over CO2 emissions is something we should continue. And Chuck what's important here is that we are at pre-1994 levels today with respect to our CO2 footprint, and as I indicated, the time we exited Kyoto in 2001, from 2001 to 2014 we reduced our emissions by over 18 percent in this country, so we have led the world in...

CHUCK TODD: So Kyoto was a success? I’m just trying to--

CHUCK TODD: I just sort of confused because we pulled out of Kyoto.

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT: Kyoto didn’t prompt the 18 percent reduction. It was American innovation and technology that prompted the reductions in CO2. That’s where the focus should be, as far as discussions.

CHUCK TODD: There seemed to be an implication during your back and forth with the White House press corps that the rest of the world wanted the United States in it to slow down the United States. Do you believe that?

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT: Oh I believe that. I think the Paris agreement very much so put us at an economic disadvantage.

CHUCK TODD: Do you believe that was intentional? Was that the motivation?

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT: I think the rest of the world applauded what we did in Paris. And we have to go back, we have to go back Chuck.

CHUCK TODD: But why did they applaud it?

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT: Because it put us at an economic disadvantage, but I think also Chuck…

CHUCK TODD: Do you think that the globe, these countries got together to slow down the United States economically?

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT: Why did China and India not have to take any steps until 2030? Why did India condition their CO2 reductions upon receiving $2.5 trillion of aid in the agreement? We were going to take steps, front loading our costs while the rest of the world waited to reduce their CO2 footprint. That’s the reason it put us at a very much an economic disadvantage internationally. But Chuck, here’s the deal. We have led, as I’ve indicated, this effort since the year 2000. With the reductions of our CO2 footprint and our pre-1994 levels today, not because of government mandate largely, not because of Paris, not because of Kyoto, but because of American ingenuity and innovation.

CHUCK TODD: I’m just struck. You truly believe thought that many of these countries signed onto Paris and were trying to get the US to sign on for economic reasons?

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT: If you look at the criticism that was levied against Paris when it was signed in 2015. There was as much criticism on the environmental left as on the right.

TODD: Sure. Some thought it should have gone further.

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT: And I’ll tell you why. They were upset. In fact, James Hansen, a former NASA scientist, as you know, called Paris a fake and a fraud. The general counsel of the Sierra Club, contemporaneous to Paris being signed, said critical things of the agreement. The reason they said those things Chuck, is because the rest of the world, China and India, the largest two polluters that we have on the planet did not have to take any steps until after 2030, and the United states front loaded their costs through things like the clean Power Plan, other rules here domestically, that contracted our economy. It’s been estimated, as you know, It’s been estimated by the Heritage study that Paris alone would cause a contraction of $2.5 trillion of gross domestic product over 10 years.

CHUCK TODD: That assumed. That made a lot of negative assumptions. You wanted to make assumptions that didn’t anticipate job growth in other industries like solar and that the innovation wouldn’t anticipate other job growth and that that would balance out.

Here’s what Al Gore said to me earlier when I interviewed him about this issue.

(BEGIN TAPE)

AL GORE: The loss of jobs in the coal industry started with the mechanization of the coal industry. Natural gas started displacing coal and the fossil fuel sector. And promising to re-create the 19th century is not a visionary strategy for a successful 21st century.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD: Is he right that you guys are making a false promise though to some of these fossil fuel industries?

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT: Dead wrong. Because the numbers show exactly the opposite in fact since the fourth quarter of last year to most recently added almost 50,000 jobs in the coal sector. In the month of May alone, almost 7,000 jobs. And here’s what’s key about our power grid in this country. You have to have fuel diversity, Chuck, because if we go to a all renewables, all natural gas type of approach, if there’s an attack on the transportation network, there’s only so much natural gas that can go into that power generation facility to generate electricity. We need solid hydrocarbons stored on site to draw down upon for peak demand and also threats to our grid. Fuel diversity, stability, consistency is key to the manufacturing base. It’s also key by the way Chuck , to keeping cost low. Our price per kilowatt in this country is far less than what it is in Germany, far less than what it is in Europe and we need to keep that approach.

CHUCK TODD: One other argument you made against this deal is that you thought “Boy it should have been ratified, it should have been debated in the public. It should have been sent to the United States Senate.” You know who had the power to do that? Your administration had the power to do that. You could have changed the deal, you could have gone to the United States Senate and done what you said should have been done. Have a full throated debate with the American people. You chose not to do that. Why?

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT: The decision to not send it to the Senate was made by the former administration.

CHUCK TODD: But you could have changed things. You guys could have done it.

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT: The focus of this administration has been evaluating the merits and demerits of the Paris accord. And it’s clear that the demerits, the efficacy, both in environmental outcomes as well as the cost to us from a jobs perspective was a bad deal for this country. The president has said he's going to put America first in trade, he's going to put America first in national security and border security, he's going to put America first in, you know, contracting the reach of Washington, D.C., and he's going to put America first with respect to the environment in the international agreements.

And, Chuck, I think what's being missed in all of this. The president said on Friday, Paris we're getting out of because it represents a bad deal. The targets that were set by the previous administration, 26 to 28% reductions in greenhouse gases--

CHUCK TODD:

You can change those targets.

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT:

No, no, no. No, not under the agreement. Not under the agreement

CHUCK TODD:

You can change those targets.

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT:

Not under the agreement.

CHUCK TODD:

Yes, you could have.

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT:

But that 26 to 28% reduction-- no, you're wrong. The 26 to 28% reduction in the agreement-- the former administration, all the rules that they enacted, every rule as part of their climate action agenda still fell 40% short of those targets. And you say they could have been reduced.

In the agreement there are provisions that say they have to revisited every five years. You know what it also says? They can only be ratcheted up. You know, why did Russia set their targets in a baseline of 1990? So they could keep emitting. Why did China or, excuse me, India condition their targets--

CHUCK TODD:

So is it fair to say that--

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT:

--on 2.5 trillion of cost?

CHUCK TODD:

--this was a political decision in this respect?

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT:

It was not a political decision. It was a right for this country, Chuck. This is a decision that was right for this country from a jobs perspective, an economy perspective, and an environmental perspective.

CHUCK TODD:

But this was not wanting to be involved in a multilateral agreement. If the United Nations were behind this--

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT:

That is not accurate.

CHUCK TODD:

--would there have been more openness to this deal?

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT:

The president said very clearly on Friday that he is open and actually wants to engage in discussion with respect to international agreements on CO2 reduction. But not Paris. Paris represents a bad deal for this country.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you believe that CO2 is the primary cause of climate--

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT:

CO2 contributes to climate change.

CHUCK TODD:

But is it the primary--

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT:

Methane actually is more potent.

CHUCK TODD:

You don't believe that CO2 is the primary cause?

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT:

Water vapors could-- no. No, I didn't say that. I said it's a cause.

CHUCK TODD:

Primary?

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT:

It's a cause of many. It's a cause like methane, and water vapor, and the rest.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. Scott Pruitt, I'm going to leave it there because I know you've got to run.

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT:

Thanks, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

Administrator, appreciate you coming on. Thank you.

EPA ADMINISTRATOR SCOTT PRUITT:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

Back in a moment with much more on the three big stories we're following this morning. The terror attack in London, the climate agreement, and of James Comey's testimony that comes up this week on the Russia investigation. And later, Hillary Clinton this week offered a lot of reasons why she believes she lost the 2016 election. But there's one reason a lot of people were waiting for that they never heard.

(BEGIN TAPE)

HILLARY CLINTON:

I take responsibility for every decision I made, but that's not why I lost.

(END TAPE)

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD: Welcome back the panel is here. Michael Gerson, columnist for the Washington Post, Democratic Strategist Stephanie Cutter, Heather McGhee, president of the liberal group Demos, and Hugh Hewitt, host on the Salem Radio Network.

President Trump’s been tweeting a lot this morning. I figured I should update all of you. “Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U.K., we will be there” and then in all caps “WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS.” Some critical tweets as well “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is “no reason to be alarmed.” He did say that but not in that context. He talked about increase of police protection for what that’s worth. And finally, “We need to be smart, vigilant, and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the travel ban as an extra level of safety.”

Hugh Hewitt, you are somebody that works at the justice department, you know about legal arguments this is in front of the Supreme Court should he have tweeted the phrase “travel ban?”

HUGH HEWITT: Yes. I thinks he’s actually raising the ante in terms of getting the court to move more quickly on its disposition. He is fairly confident as I am that the Fourth Circuit decision is wrong. However, the first tweet is the tweet I like. There is an alliance within an alliance, the five eyes alliance. And an attack on one of those five, we always bemoan and rightly so any attack anywhere in the world - but New Zealand, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the US are the five eyes alliance - he should stick on the high road with this,nothing else.

CHUCK TODD: Well he has already attacked the Mayor of London. Stephanie.

STEPHANIE CUTTER: He has. I mean never before in our history have we seen a president of the United States confirming something ahead of his own national security council. Forwarding things that are printed on Drudge about a terror attack, and one of our dearest alliances in London. So, number one. Number two, he’s politicizing it by attacking the Mayor of London. The Mayor of London saying there is no reason for alarm. He’s trying to calm his citizens and the president is essentially making fun of that. And then he’s politicizing it by bringing up the travel ban. Forget the legal argument of what it does to the Supreme Court by saying that it is a ban even though they are arguing that it’s not a ban, politicising the moment of a terror attack has never been done before by the president of the United States.

CHUCK TODD: Michael and Heather, I want to get to a second part and it’s what Theresa May said - and it’s something that Michael Leiter and I touched on which is this idea she said there’s too much tolerance in UK society for too long and then she put it right on Silicon Valley, saying she needed more help there, but that’s gonna create some tricky conversations.

MICHAEL GERSON: No, I completely agree with that. I mean this is a -- this is a case where, um, I’m sorry. Um, I’m sorry.

CHUCK TODD: Oh, no that’s alright. Heather jump in here, we’re gonna have this civil liberties conversation, they’re gonna have it in the UK, we have a first amendment, they don’t - so they can do some things that we can’t do.

HEATHER McGHEE: That’s right and I think that this is that this is a question of context, balance, and approach. We have been so fortunate. I mean, I live in New York City. I would have never believed about how safe that I feel even today after September 11th. This is a moment of the people of the UK where they are experiencing a heightened sense of fragility walking into bars and concerts and crossing the street on the bridge and yet at the same time I know that people in the communities of color in this country are also seeing that the president and the right wing are ignoring domestic extremism in the United States - whether or not it’s a man who was - a person who was in the military who was killed by a white supremacist, or the veteran who stepped in obviously in Portland, Oregon. So I think that there is a broad conversation to have about an administration that is tolerating right-wing extremism and hate, as well as continued threat of a war that we are continuing to not prosecute well overseas.

MICHAEL GERSON: I think being tough on terrorism means different things. It means going after sources of intelligence, but it means engaging the muslim community in a way that actually encourages their cooperation in this. There’s no way to do the war on terror while you are alienating that community and I think that that’s what Donald Trump has risked in America.

CHUCK TODD: Alright, I wanna shift to the Paris Agreement here. I know there is a partisan divide. Why is there - why are we the only western country, Hugh, where the conservative movement in this country is more skeptical of climate change than the movements in Canada, in the UK, in France, in Germany?

HUGH HEWITT: Well I’m not skeptical of climate change, and I thought Secretary Kerry was perfectly contemptuous of conservatives and rule-of-law conservatives especially, and you nailed him on it Chuck. You said this did not go to the senate. And the Montreal protocol as Secretary Shultz likes to point out was a key and effective anticipation of a necessary global movement. It was submitted to the senate, it was ratified 83 to nothing in 1988. When President Obama chose not to go to the senate, it was an admission against interest and Secretary Kerry’s contemptuous dismissiveness of the science --

HEATHER McGHEE: You’re actually dismissing a majority of republican voters who do wanna see action on climate change. The real partisan divide are the republican politicians who have been paid by fossil fuel industry that are paid to absolutely deny what for this country is the single greatest opportunity to generate wealth in the 21st century. We invented solar in this country, and now we are at risk of seeing China be the one to give its people 10s of millions of green jobs.

MICHAEL LEITER: Both sides have some problems here. There are some who claim that his voluntary, relatively modest treaty is going to destroy the economy, like Donald Trump, and some that it will save the world - actually neither of those is true. We’ve got a reality that we have coal and natural gas in the ground, we can’t take out 80% of it, 50% of natural gas, and the only way that works is if you have a cost effective alternative and the only way that that happens is if you have technological innovation and that’s where I think people can agree on this map.

CHUCK TODD: By the way, go ahead

HEATHER McGHEE: And I was just going to say that solar soon will be the cheapest source of electricity on the planet. We are hampering ourselves to what can be the greatest opportunity to face inequality, create millions of jobs - for the next generation that is looking at this job climate and not seeing any other jobs than green jobs.

CHUCK TODD: I talked to Al Gore and John Kerry. You heard Kerry, I talked to Gore - Al Gore, while upset about the decision to get out of Paris, is optimistic that this coalition of democratic governors and mayors and CEOs of america are essentially going to do Paris without the federal government. John Kerry is more pessimistic. Who’s right?

STEPHANIE CUTTER: Well actually that’s what I was going to address to Hugh’s comment, that you mentioned that Kerry was dismissive to rule of law conservatives. Well, there are a lot of rule of law conservatives who didn’t want to get out of the Paris Agreement. You’re making a process argument, you don’t like the way we got into it so you’re taking us out of it. That argument doesn't hold up so why penalize--

HUGH HEWITT: Stephanie--

STEPHANIE CUTTER: --the country?

HUGH HEWITT: --the Constitution is never--

STEPHANIE CUTTER: Even if you don't like--

HUGH HEWITT:--a process argument.

STEPHANIE CUTTER: Even if you don't--

HUGH HEWITT: The Constitution is a fundamental deal.

STEPHANIE CUTTER: But, Hugh, you're penalizing the country because of that argument.

HUGH HEWITT: But let me--

STEPHANIE CUTTER: And wait. I'm not done. I'm not done--

STEPHANIE CUTTER: As a result, there are--

HEATHER MCGHEE: --entertain it.

STEPHANIE CUTTER: --mayors, and governors, and heads of major manufacturers, and oil companies, many of whom are Republicans, who want to stay in the agreement because they see what it means for our economy and for our competitiveness--

HUGH HEWITT: I get that. But the argument that needs to be made--

STEPHANIE CUTTER: And that is what--

HUGH HEWITT: --has to be a consensus builder.

STEPHANIE CUTTER: That's what Al Gore is getting that, is that this is going to happen anyway. The country is going to continue to move forward in developing the technologies and meeting our targets regardless of what Donald Trump--

HUGH HEWITT: You can--

STEPHANIE CUTTER: --does and says.

HUGH HEWITT: You can never--

STEPHANIE CUTTER: He's abdicated his leadership, but we have not abdicated America's leadership.

HUGH HEWITT: You can never get to consensus via contempt. 75 years ago this week was the Battle of Midway. It's a turning point. I want to connect the two stories. This country cannot effectively prosecute the war on terror if half the discussions begin with contempt of conservatives and people who have a different point of view. At the end of the second battle of El Alamein, Churchill said, "This is not the beginning of the end, but it's the end of the beginning." We have to get to a beginning--

HEATHER MCGHEE: --talking about the planet right now and the future--

CHUCK TODD: All right.

HUGH HEWITT: Because that's--

STEPHANIE CUTTER: But conservatives disagree with what Donald Trump did.

CHUCK TODD: I'm going to pause it here. I promise you we'll pick it up, but I have bills to pay. I promise you. Back in a moment. I also have the newest member of the NBC family, Megyn Kelly, who just sat down with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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CHUCK TODD: You may have heard that Megyn Kelly has joined NBC News. Well, she has and on Friday, she interviewed Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg, Russia. The full interview will air tonight on the debut of Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly. The good news is Megyn joins me right now from New York. Welcome, officially. Welcome to Sunday mornings. And Welcome to Sundays in general. Look, you had a fascinating conversation with him within the time that he’s flirting on and off with whether Russians were involved or not. It was sort of a fascinating 48 hours that you spend with him.

MEGYN KELLY: Absolutely right and in our time together, he changed his position yet again, Chuck, on who was responsible for the hacking of our election. All along it had been ‘it’s not us’ or ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. I haven’t heard anything about this. Then, it changed to maybe it was patriotic Russian hackers, whom I had nothing to do with. And then in our sit down on Friday it evolved yet again into ‘It was the Americans.’ A new conspiracy theory was floated, which you’ll hear tonight on the show. But I had the chance to ask him about a range of subjects, from sanctions to Syria and then we got into some of the specifics about this alleged interference with our election. I asked him all about Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and what connection they have had and what they have discussed. And I asked him specifically about somebody else very much in the news and that is President Trump’s now fired national security advisor, Gen. Michael Flynn. Listen.

(BEGIN TAPE)

MEGYN KELLY:

He came over here for a dinner, a photo of which has been widely circulated in the American media. What was the nature of your relationship with him?

VLADIMIR PUTIN:

You and I personally have a much closer relationship than I had with Mr. Flynn. You and I met yesterday evening. You and I have been working together all day today. And now we're meeting again. When I came to the event for our company, Russia Today, and sat down at the table, next to me there was a gentleman sitting on one side.

I made my speech. Then we talked about some other stuff. Then I got up and left. And then afterwards I was told, "You know that was an American gentleman. He was involved in some things. He used to be in the security services." That's it. I didn't even really talk to him. That's the extent of my acquaintance with Mr. Flynn.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

The laugh there, Megyn. That's something else. But he also kept referencing your family on and off. And some people interpreted that in different ways. How did you interpret that?

MEGYN KELLY:

Yeah, some people thought that he was making a veiled threat because he mentioned my daughter Yardley and he mentioned that I have three kids. And I did not take it that way at all. Because what the viewers didn't know was that the day before we sat down both at his economic forum and for our one-on-one interview he and I had spent a good hour together along with Prime Minister Modi of India and exchanged all sorts of information about ourselves and our families.

He talked openly about his family. And it was off the record. So I won't get into it. But he talked lovingly about his family. I talked lovingly about mine. And so I took that as just a reference to a shared experience the two of us had had the day before. And, you know, off camera he had been very gracious. So I took it in the spirit in which I assumed it was offered, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, that is good to hear. All right, Megyn. Welcome. Congrats.

MEGYN KELLY:

Thank you. Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

Looking forward to tonight. Appreciate it.

MEGYN KELLY:

Good to be here.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, in case you missed the point, Megyn's show, Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly, does air tonight. So if it's Sunday night, it's Megyn Kelly at 7:00, 6:00 central. When we come back, “End Game” and the one thing we didn't hear this week from Hillary Clinton.

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CHUCK TODD:

Back now with End Game. Former FBI Director James Comey is set to testify this week on the Russia investigation. His testimony may well join those rare historic moments when the whole country stops to watch. Think Army McCarthy hearings in 1954. Watergate hearings in 1973. Oliver North’s testimony in the Iran Contra hearings in 1987, and of course Anita Hill at the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991. It feels like that big of a moment Michael Gerson. What do you expect to hear from James Comey?

MICHAEL GERSON:

Well, if people talk about what the president’s manner and impression that he leaves this is a case in which the president’s manner and approach has alienated someone very powerful. Little Marco is different from the director of the FBI. And we have a situation where he had an ongoing criminal investigation, and has an offended sense of dignity, really in this matter that is probably going to come back to haunt the president.

CHUCK TODD:

It’s his self-inflicted wound. Take him at his word, Stephanie, he seems to be offended that somehow this takes away from his victory. It motivates him.

STEPHANIE CUTTER:

Yeah, and has managed to threaten Comey along the way. Saying, “I hope there are no audio tapes of our conversations, so I think this testimony will be the most watched testimony, at least in my lifetime. And I think Comey does have the credibility to lay out his case. We’ll hear it for the first time coming out of his mouth what he potentially wrote in those memos, and it has potential to shake this country.

HEATHER:

And you had marches across the country, this March for Truth, that was really about a fundamental question of democracy. Because if you can get so lost in the weeds of all this map of connections between Russia and the Trump administration, but stepping back, what is the right wing’s approach to democracy. The same people who can be okay with election interference, or try to minimize it or try to say that it didn’t happen and also with voter suppression. Are we a country of “we the people,” where the vote matters, or are we a country where it is okay to wink and to nod and to do whatever you can to grab power. And that’s what frankly I think what the hundred million people who didn’t vote in the last election are feeling about the way very powerful people see democracy right now.

CHUCK TODD:

Hugh, will President Trump one day realize the biggest mistake of his presidency was firing James Comey?

HUGH HEWITT:

No. In fact it might be that he didn’t fire him on the first day. Director Comey testified 10 days before his firing, so I’m going to watch Thursday for the consistency with that declaration that there had not been interference with his investigation. There has to be consistency .

CHUCK TODD:

That’s the question, by the way, though I’ve heard a lot of people misinterpret that answer. He was answering a question specifically about the Justice Department. He was not asked about--

HUGH HEWITT:

--It’s possible--

CHUCK TODD:

--No no. It’s not possible--

HUGH HEWITT:

It’s possible that that’s how he’ll distinguish his conversation as note taking. But that will be very tricky waters for him. I will also look to see tonight with Megyn, Putin goes after the 2 percent rise Donald Trump demanded of NATO, more than anything else with Megyn Kelly. That is not consistent with a Russia interference. I just want to remind people, that’s what drives Putin the most crazy, is that Donald Trump is demanding a 2 percent rise in NATO. That’s counterintuitive to the Russia school.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me, I’ve been teasing this Hillary Clinton thing, we have a minute left. Stephanie Cutter, you have worked a long time, on and off with the Clintons. It seems as though she gets criticized every time she doesn’t speak her mind. She spoke her mind. A lot of people are upset that she’s in the weeds too much over a lot of the other factors and not enough self-reflection. Where is she, where is her head?

STEPHANIE CUTTER:

Well I think there is a lot of reflection and some self-reflection. You know what I find ironic about all of this is she’s being asked about “what do you think the reasons were?” and she’s answering them and nothing that she says is being disagreed with. She’s actually right. The press did treat her emails like a national emergency, the press did treat her differently than Donald Trump. She admits that there were some mistakes made, but one of the biggest contributing factors to her loss was what Comey did with those memos. None of that is disputed.

CHUCK TODD:

And we’re going to hear a lot more about that is another angle for the Thursday testimony. That’s going to be fascinating. I’m unfortunately out of time, that’s all we have for today. I appreciate you watching. We’ll be back next week, because as you know if it’s Sunday, it’s Meet the Press.

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