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Meet the Press - September 4, 2016

Meet the Press - September 4, 2016

(BEGIN TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

This Sunday, 65 days to election day and we're no clearer about Donald Trump and deportation. Is he purposely not committing to a policy or does he really not have one?

DONALD TRUMP:

We did discuss the wall, we didn't discuss payment of the wall. They don't know it yet, but they're going to pay for the wall.

CHUCK TODD:

This morning I tried to pin down Donald Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, on what a Trump presidency would do.

GOV. MIKE PENCE:

I think Donald Trump's been completely consistent.

CHUCK TODD:

And get his reaction to the latest news on Hillary Clinton's e-mail.

GOV. MIKE PENCE:

Just this more evidence that Hillary Clinton is the most dishonest candidate for president of the United States since Richard Nixon.

CHUCK TODD:

My sit-down with Mike Pence. Also, you say you want a revolution?

GOV. MIKE PENCE:

We need a political revolution.

CHUCK TODD:

But where is it? Can Bernie Sanders convince his most passionate followers to get behind Clinton? Senator Sanders will join me live. Plus polls show the race is getting tighter. Clinton is losing ground. But Trump isn't gaining much. So where is Clinton's support going?

Joining me for insight and analysis this Sunday morning are Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post, Kristen Welker of NBC News, Alex Castellanos, an advisor to Donald Trump, and Maria Teresa Kumar of Voto Latino. Welcome to Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

ANNOUNCER:

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

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Good Sunday morning, and a happy Labor Day weekend, end of summer to everyone. It's hard to look at the events of this past week and not think it all seems oddly familiar. Wash, rinse, repeat, right? On Friday, it was Hillary Clinton then e-mails. The F.B.I. revealed details about their interview with Clinton, ended up raising new questions and giving Republicans yet more ammunition to go after her about how she and her aides handled e-mails and classified information while she was at the State Department.

On Wednesday, it was Trump and the issue of deportation. In the afternoon, he seemed accommodating, maybe even presidential, in a meeting with Mexico's President in Mexico City. Then, just hours later, before supporters in Phoenix, Trump gave a thundering anti-illegal immigration speech that seemed more suited for the primaries than the general election. And just yesterday, Trump made a rare attempt at winning over African-American voters with an appearance at Great Faith Ministries in Detroit.

DONALD TRUMP:

I am here today to listen to your message, and I hope my presence here will also help your voice to reach new audiences in our country. Today I just want to let you know that I am here to listen to you, and I've been doing that.

CHUCK TODD:

Yesterday I caught up with Trump's running mate, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana at the Ohio State University just before the Buckeyes' opening game against Bowling Green. Not much of a game, by the way. Ohio State won big, 77 to 10. I asked Pence to explain Trump's position on deporting undocumented workers in this country. And then I had to ask again and again and again. Here it is.

(BEGIN TAPE)

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

It begins with building a wall, border security. It begins with enforcing the laws of this country, removing criminal aliens and removing people who've overstayed their visa, ending catch and release, strengthening our border patrol, strengthening immigration and customs enforcement, doing all of the kinds of things we've talked about, the eVerify system for employers in this country, all the things that we know will bring all the incentives that are built into our economy, all of the ways that illegal immigration has been made possible in this country, all of that will come to an end.

And I think that's exactly what the American people want to hear today. And with regard to anyone that remains after all of that is done, I think what you heard Donald Trump say is that we'll give consideration, working with the Congress, in a new and reformed immigration system, to consider it at that time. But what the American people want to see today is to establish the borders of this country, enforce the laws of this country. And Donald Trump has created a roadmap to do that, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

Why can't you definitively say what's going to happen to these folks? Because he used to definitively say it. He said there would be-- everybody has to leave. Even if-- quickly. Everybody has to leave. And now there's some muddiness to this. I don't know how-- it is just unclear to me. Can you clear this up?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Well, that may be the way you see it. Looking at this, some 10,000 people in Arizona last week, it wasn't the way they see it. As I travel across this country campaigning with Donald Trump and for Donald Trump, I think people hear him loud and clear. And he's been completely consistent on this point. He put--

CHUCK TODD:

No he -- on this no he’s not --

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

--he put illegal immigration--

CHUCK TODD:

He had deportation--

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

--at the very center of the national debate.

CHUCK TODD:

But he has not been consistent on this issue of what to do with the 11 to 15 million.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Well, but there are people in different circumstances in that category. There are people who are criminal aliens in this country. And I think everyone in this country understands that people who are here--

CHUCK TODD:

and I assume you mean violent crimes.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Well, people who are here, who their first act in this country was a violation of the law, but have gone on to criminal activity in America, we want them out. We want them out quickly. Donald Trump has made it very clear that a priority of our administration will be removing criminal aliens.

We'll also be finding people who've overstayed their visa. An enormous number of people come to this country legally and then simply overstay their visas because we make no effort to hold them accountable to that or uphold the law. The simple truth is that what the American people long to see is leadership at the national level that doesn't myopically focus on the group that you're focused on and I know the media loves to focus on.

CHUCK TODD:

It's not the media.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

But is focused on--

CHUCK TODD:

There's a lot of--

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

But Chuck, is focused on--

CHUCK TODD:

But Latino--

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

--the American people themselves.

CHUCK TODD:

There was a whole bunch of Latino leaders that there’s quite a few of them have backed away from supporting your ticket because they didn't like what they heard on Wednesday because they were told one thing and they felt misled. One of them even said they felt misled. And one of the major issues has to do with what about this issue of deportations.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Well, I was--

CHUCK TODD:

And what are you going to do?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Well, I was--

CHUCK TODD:

And it's not just media.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

I was campaigning in Idaho. And a Mexican-American who came to this country legally with his family came up to me wearing a Trump-Pence shirt, shook my hand and said, "Tell Donald Trump we support him 100%." I mean people who have come to this country legally, who stood in line, who played by the rules, in the Latino and the Hispanic community, just like every other American, long to have a president that says, "We are a nation of laws, and that we're going to uphold and enforce those laws." But what I thought was most important about Donald Trump's speech on Wednesday night in Arizona was different, frankly Chuck, with all due respect--

CHUCK TODD:

Okay.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

--to the media's focus on the 11 million or whatever that number is. He was focused on the more than 300 million people who are citizens of this country and are here legally in this country, and driving policies in immigration that will work for them, work for the future of our nation.

But make no mistake about it, and I hope your viewers have a chance to read or to see that speech in Arizona. He also talked about establishing a commission to reform our broken immigration laws, whole cloth, to really reform and change the way that people have the ability to come into this country, and do it all in a way that's in the interest of the American people, and in the interest of the long-term future of our country.

CHUCK TODD:

Is it fair to say that you're not going to answer this question about the 11 to 15 million? I say just you, but the campaign. You're going to leave this as an open question throughout the rest of this campaign?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

I think Donald Trump's been completely consistent. And I think he did answer the question.

CHUCK TODD:

And is it an open question, the other-- I mean but he hasn't when it comes to-- because on one hand, he said deportation force, everybody has to leave. I mean he said it, "Everybody has to leave, we've got to have borders." Now he's saying he's open to doing something different with whoever remains, which would be about half.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Well, I think we really don't know what that number is or who that is until we do all of the things in the ten point plan that Donald Trump--

CHUCK TODD:

How do you incentivize them to come out of the shadows if you don't tell them what the penalty will be?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Well, I think look, Donald Trump's made it very, very clear that, in his ten point plan, we're going to build a wall, we're going to enforce the laws of this country, we're going to end catch and release, we're going to do all of the things that politicians in both political parties have been talking about for more than a generation. He's also said there's going to be no amnesty and no path to legalization. If people want to get legalized or want to get right under the color of the law, they need to leave the country. But he also says--

CHUCK TODD:

So nobody becomes legal in this country--

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Yeah.

CHUCK TODD:

--without leaving the country?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Chuck, he also said--

CHUCK TODD:

See, this is where we get confused.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

He also said it's not going to be under the existing caps and the existing program. But it's, rather, going to be under a new and reformed immigration program. I mean what you heard Donald Trump call for was border security, building a wall, which actually, Hillary Clinton actually said that she was for a physical barrier, I'm told, just a few short years ago.

CHUCK TODD:

What do you do with so-called "dreamers," folks, kids that were brought here when they came over here, their parents brought them illegally, they were kids, they're here now, they’ve gone to public school, gone-- what do you do with them?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

I think all of these--

CHUCK TODD:

Is he going to rescind-- he said he's going to rescind the executive order.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Yeah.

CHUCK TODD:

That the president signed.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Of course.

CHUCK TODD:

So then what do you do with them?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Yeah. Well, of course--

CHUCK TODD:

Do they live in the shadows?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Well, of course, he's going to rescind, as he said, all of the unconstitutional executive orders we've had in President Obama. Now, we have a pledge in Hillary Clinton, the promise of successive administrations that essentially legislate from the Oval Office. The Supreme Court turned that back with this administration. And Donald Trump, of course, will rescind that. And he won't, as Hillary Clinton promises, to do executive amnesty.

CHUCK TODD:

How are you going to force an ally to pay for the wall? I mean I understand the remittance idea, that you redo the Patriot Act. I mean that feels like a shakedown.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Well, look, we have an enormous economic relationship with Mexico. And this week, you saw Donald Trump travel to Mexico City and meet with President Pena Nieto and start a constructive dialogue, first, on issues that they agree on. But I'm very confident, when Donald Trump becomes negotiator-in-chief, we're going to sit down with our ally in Mexico, who shares with us a commitment to ending illegal immigration--

CHUCK TODD:

What is their incentive to pay for this wall? I mean other than we're going to withhold money. That's the incentive?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

The United States of America is the most powerful economy on the face of the Earth. Access to our economy is enormously valuable to Mexico and every other country in the world. As we go into-- whether it's reforming NAFTA, as both of these leaders talked about in their meeting this last week, or a broad range of areas of our relationship.

Look, the one thing Donald Trump knows is how to do a deal.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you about being in Utah, by the way. First of all, you had a campaign in Utah.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Yeah.

CHUCK TODD:

And a lot of Mormons in particular don't like the Muslim ban, don't like even the revised version of it, which is not supposedly targeting religions, but targeting regions. And they come home from missions and talk about trying to help these Syrian refugees. They're very-- I'm sure you heard some complaints personally about this. What did you tell concerned Utah residents about the Muslim ban?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

I was frankly overwhelmed by the support that I encountered in Utah and later in the day, in Idaho. I have to tell you, people are listening to Donald Trump's agenda to make America great again. And they're responding. And I'll tell you, particularly in Utah, there's great concern about the Supreme Court of the United States.

CHUCK TODD:

Just go back to this Muslim ban. When he first came out of it, you came out and you basically said it's unconstitutional. You have defended the new version of this. Why do you think the new version of his plan, which would target countries or regions rather than religion, why do you think that's constitutional?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Well first off, the foreign policy of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has resulted in the wider Middle East literally spinning out of control. I mean we've seen Syria imploding into civil war, Libya imploding into civil war. We have entire countries in that region of the world and territories that have been compromised by terrorism. And I think what Donald Trump has said is that we have to immediately suspend immigration from any countries that have been compromised by terrorism. And I think that's--

CHUCK TODD:

You can make a case that over 100 countries--

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

I think that's altogether appropriate.

CHUCK TODD:

--have been compromised. I mean, like, how do you identify? What is a--

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Well--

CHUCK TODD:

--give me the definition of a country compromised by terrorism. Is that France?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Well, let's start with--

CHUCK TODD:

Germany?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Well, let's start with--

CHUCK TODD:

The United States?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Chuck, let's start with Syria. Hillary Clinton wants to increase Syrian refugees to this country by 550 percent. I don't think any--

CHUCK TODD:

United Nations is asking the United States to increase its Syrian-- by the way, for what it's worth, it goes from-- right now we've accepted 10,000.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Okay. Good.

CHUCK TODD:

And they want us to accept 65,000.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Sure. Well, Hillary Clinton wants to increase Syrian refugees to this country by 550%.

CHUCK TODD:

From ten to 65.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Donald Trump--

CHUCK TODD:

That's what the U.N. requested.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Donald Trump and I believe that we should suspend the Syrian refugee program.

CHUCK TODD:

Completely?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

And create working with Arab countries to create safe zones for people to be able to escape those war-torn areas. But to continue to allow people into this country when our own homeland security, our own F.B.I., says we can't know for certain who these people are, is putting the safety and security of the American people second to the agenda of the U.N. or to liberals in this country.

And Donald Trump is just simply not going to do that.

CHUCK TODD:

Quick question about the leadership of the campaign. There's been some troubling allegations, both against Steve Bannon, some things he may have said about Jewish people, some things he may have-- happened between him and his wife. There's been troubling allegations having to do with Roger Ailes, both of whom are apparently advisors to this campaign. Are you comfortable with that, considering some of the allegations you've read against both of these men? Are you comfortable with their involvement in this campaign?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

Well, I promise you, the person leading Donald Trump's campaign is Donald Trump. You know, he and I talk every day, sometimes several times a day. He is a hands-on leader and a hands-on CEO.

CHUCK TODD:

Appropriate for Roger Ailes to be involved?

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

I trust Donald Trump's judgment to assemble around this team a group that's going to help us move forward and be successful and win. And come on, I mean Steve Bannon has denied all of those allegations. And--

CHUCK TODD:

Well, some of them are in court records.

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

And--

CHUCK TODD:

And look, and I know divorces are divorces. I'm not going to-- but it's troubling allegations. People are going to look at that and say, "All right, Steve Bannon, then you see all these allegations against Roger Ailes, it just feels as if there's-- does he ignore troubling allegations against people that work for him?"

GOVERNOR MIKE PENCE:

I trust Donald Trump to assemble a team around him in this campaign, as he has and will continue to. You'll continue to see people added to this campaign. What's really remarkable for me, having joined this campaign just six weeks ago, is the fact that this campaign has always been propelled by a movement of the American people. I mean where in Hillary Clinton, there's a thousand employees and experts and pollsters. And frankly, there were people in the Republican primary who had significant apparatus, as well.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD: The other big news story this week, of course, besides Trump's immigration muddle, in a Friday news dump, the F.B.I. took the rare step of releasing notes from its three and a half hour interview with Hillary Clinton in July about a private server. There was no recording, just notes. We'll explain that in a little bit.

The top take-aways from the notes, Clinton claims she did not understand basic classification procedures. She didn't recall any training on how to handle classified information. In fact, Clinton told the F.B.I. that, quote, she, "could not recall” or “could not remember” key details more than three dozen times. She even told the F.B.I. she thought the "C" on an e-mail referred to the order of paragraphs instead of, quote, "the word 'confidential,'" which is the lowest level of classification.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell advised Clinton, according to her, to be, quote, "Very careful” in how she used private e-mail. And the F.B.I. notes show that a computer specialist, whose name was redacted, deleted an archive of Clinton e-mails just weeks after the existence of Clinton's private server became public in March of 2015. The F.B.I. said it requested 13 mobile devices which potentially were used to send emails using Clinton's private e-mail system. The Clintons' law firm could not produce any of them. One staffer told investigators he destroyed two mobile devices by breaking them in half or hitting them with a hammer. After Governor Pence and I walked outside, we talked about Clinton's emails. Here's an excerpt.

(BEGIN TAPE)

GOV. MIKE PENCE:

It's just more evidence that-- Hillary Clinton is the most dishonest candidate for president of the United States since Richard Nixon.

CHUCK TODD:

It’s a tough charge.

GOV. MIKE PENCE:

It is a tough charge, Chuck, but come on.

CHUCK TODD:

I'll just ask you this, though. If she were as dishonest as you claim, then why isn't the F.B.I. prosecuting?

GOV. MIKE PENCE:

Hillary Clinton, what’s evident from the notes, what’s evident from all of the revelations over the last several weeks, is that Hillary Clinton-- operated in such a way to keep her e-mails, and particularly her interactions, while Secretary of State, with the Clinton Foundation out of the public reach, out of public accountability.

CHUCK TODD:

Would you guys have higher ground on this issue, on this whole idea of transparency, and her accountability, if you guys were as transparent, releasing the tax returns, him releasing his tax returns? whatever you want to say about the Clintons, and we know this because the information has either been dragged out of them or it's been disclosed. We don't have any disclosures. We don't have your tax returns.

GOV. MIKE PENCE:

Donald Trump and I are both going to release our tax returns. I'll release mine in the next week. Donald Trump will be releasing his tax returns at the completion of an audit. But the issue here is not--

CHUCK TODD:

But that won't be before the election.

GOV. MIKE PENCE:

The issue here-- well, we'll see.

CHUCK TODD:

Okay.

GOV. MIKE PENCE:

The issue here is not one of information that was not available or the incomprehensible decision that she made as Secretary of State to have a private server in her home, 11 different Blackberries and mobile devices. But really, rather, it's all-- goes to the question of why did she do that? And the other e-mails that have come out in the last several weeks really give evidence of the fact that it was all an effort to paper over and conceal a pay-to-play process that was underway while she was Secretary of State.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you this, in the spirit of transparency. You have sealed your Congressional records, where they're not going to be opened up at the university until either after your death, essentially. Are you going to rescind that order and release all of that information now before the election?

GOV. MIKE PENCE:

Well, I'll certainly look at it. It’s the first time I've been asked to do that. But I truly do believe in the public's right to know. And frankly, now, because of--

CHUCK TODD:

But you would err on the side of transparency?

GOV. MIKE PENCE:

I--

CHUCK TODD:

When in doubt, err on the side of transparency?

GOV. MIKE PENCE:

You know me, Chuck. That's always been my policy. I believe in a free and independent press and accountability. And I give a lot of credit to efforts in the media and independent organizations that, to your point, have brought this information into the light by the Clinton Foundation. I mean the revelations in this F.B.I. interview, I truly do believe, give evidence of the fact, that Hillary Clinton is the most dishonest candidate for president of the United States since Richard Nixon.

CHUCK TODD:

Coming up, Bernie Sanders joins me live, one day before hitting the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton. And later, whatever happened to Clinton's big lead in the polls? She's slipping. But where is the support going? Because it doesn't appear that Donald Trump is getting a bump. We'll be right back.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. Let's bring in the panel. Political strategist Alex Castellanos, who is working with one of the Trump Super PACs, Kristen Welker of NBC News, who's covering the Clinton campaign for us, Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino, and Chris Cillizza, political reporter for The Washington Post. Welcome, all. Mr. Cillizza, let me start with you. Pence trying to defend Trump on immigration, what’d you think?

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

Well, he's not going to answer the operative question, which is the one you asked him multiple times, what's he going to do with the undocumented workers. Look, I think what Pence signed onto, he knew what he was getting into, right? There was no question of like, "I wonder what it would be like to run with Donald Trump." You knew what you were getting.

And I think what he has made peace with, what he probably made peace with when he took this is, "I'm going to go as far as I comfortably can as a much more mainline politician than Donald Trump in defending Donald Trump. What I'm not going to do," you heard it on taxes, as well.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah.

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

"What I'm not going to do is put my own personal credibility on the line. I'm going to say, 'Donald Trump has been -- I think Donald Trump has been consistent, these are Donald Trump's views.’"

CHUCK TODD:

He did the same thing on the Roger Ailes question. He didn't want to own it.

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

He's not going--

CHUCK TODD:

Trump owns Ailes, not him.

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

He's not going to own it. And he's also not going to say anything about the undocumented workers. The truth of the matter is I don't know that Trump knows what he wants to do with them. So I'm not sure, even if you ask Trump candidly, he'd be able to give you an answer.

CHUCK TODD:

Alex, you're a long-time political strategist. It seemed to me we saw, sometimes it was clumsy, but we saw, over about an eight-day period, they were plowing the fields, the Trump folks, of, basically, waiting for Trump to change his position. And on Wednesday, the Mexico City day, you thought, "Well, okay." And then a meeting with-- something is afoot. And then the Wednesday night speech. Missed opportunity?

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

I think it was a big of a missed opportunity in the sense that, you know, we all lock our doors at night not because we hate the people outside, but because we love the people inside. And I think the tone of the speech was not matching the words of the speech.

At the same time, there's a little bit of softening and evolution in the position. The tone of it is very hard line. I like what Donald Trump is doing on immigration. It's much more honest than we usually get from politicians. You know, Barack Obama's plan was to close Guantanamo. He ran opposing health care mandates, like, "Oh, that's what he's going to do if elected." We know it doesn't work that way.

It's much more honest to say, "Look, we're going to do a few big things. We're going to build a wall. We're going to get the bad guys out of here. And we're going to work on, iterate, we're going to fix this as we go." I think that's a much more honest approach.

CHUCK TODD:

Maria.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

I think-- and Donald Trump is so disingenuous. And it's not an honest approach when you're saying that you're going to deport 11 million people almost overnight on a sliding scale. And the fact that he went into the belly of the beast of the Arizona law that says, it's the "Show Me Your Papers" law. It's the law that basically condones racial profiling, that the Supreme Court said you have to get.

The principle problem I believe that the Latino voter has with the immigration law is that it's all code word of "we don't like the browning of America." When you start talking that you're going to go ahead and repeal the 14th amendment of birthright citizenship, when you tell an American journalist to go back to Univision, when you tell people to go ahead and speak English, we know that you're talking about us.

And when we start talking about the complexity of immigration reform, these are not individuals that live in silos. We were talk-- imagine being in the living room. You're watching this Donald Trump speech as you're eating dinner and you know that the person sitting next to you, your grandmother or your aunt, is undocumented. We're talking about 6.5 million mixed status households. He wants it both ways. But he's been very clear that he considers two different types of Americans. And one, unfortunately, is not the browning of it.

CHUCK TODD:

Kristen, what was interesting here was the RNC reaction. And we got stories--

KRISTEN WELKER:

Right.

CHUCK TODD:

--that the RNC basically said, "Don't tweet about the speech. Don't do anything." It was sort of the Mike Pence approach, "I'm not going, we're not going to say anything."

KRISTEN WELKER:

Well, and a Republican official tells me there was an immediate realization within the RNC, and also within the Trump campaign, to some extent, that the tone was off, as you say, but also, the optics were off. The fact that he was delivering this speech, throwing out red meat to the base in Arizona, after that trip to Mexico, there was a sense, "Why didn't he deliver this speech at The Brookings Institution, for example?" This was supposed to be a serious policy speech.

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

KRISTEN WELKER:

And it turned out--

CHUCK TODD:

Why let him get fed--

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

It’s indicative of-- I mean, to me, that day, is Donald Trump's presidential campaign in microcosm. You keep thinking, "Well, he's-- " now people say it's a little--He's reading off the teleprompter. He toneally sounds like he's in the right place. He looks statesmanlike. And then a tweet from the Mexican president saying, "I made clear--

CHUCK TODD:

Set’s him off.

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

--pay for the wall." Now all of a sudden he does this thing where he says he's going to pay for it, he just doesn't know it yet. I mean the opposite of diplomacy.

CHUCK TODD:

Alex, what if his day had ended at 5:00PM on Wednesday?

KRISTEN WELKER:

Right.

CHUCK TODD:

What if he had flown from Mexico City to La Guardia and went to bed at 5:00PM?

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

I'm-- I'm-- I'm 62 years old. I shouldn't do any public events after 5:00PM.

CHUCK TODD:

And you don't want a 70 year old man doing t it, either?

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

I don't think he should. But you know, I think Chris is right, the first half of the day was beautiful. And by the way, Trump is moving up in the polls, just a teeny bit, even despite all of this. For the first half of the day, he's standing on the world stage. He looks presidential. The Mexican president doesn't have the strength that he has.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah.

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

Can't stand up to Trump.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

But I think--

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

Overall, a good impression.

CHUCK TODD:

Maria, very quickly.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

Yeah.

CHUCK TODD:

A little criticism from some Latino leaders thinking the Clinton campaign has been a little slow with their Latino voter pitch. No Spanish language advertising in general election states so far. Are they slow? Are they behind?

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

The fact that Trump, is the Republican candidate, has actually given the Hillary campaign tons of media and Spanish media, so much so is that we have--

CHUCK TODD:

The free media trumps everything--

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

The free-- no, but I mean to really crystallize it, there is a Latino astrologist named Walter Mercado that we've all grown up with, listening to in Spanish media. He has gone after anti-Trump. So the fact that she is so much media buy in the Spanish languages is good, it's fantastic. But her challenge is actually going to get the Latino millennials, the ones that are English dominant that may not be turning it on.

CHUCK TODD:

Guess what? I'm going to have an interesting millennial conversation with something who's not a millennial, but who has a lot of appeal to millennials, that's for sure. We'll be back in a moment with none other than Bernie Sanders, who declared a revolution during the primaries. And he now hopes he can get his revolutionaries to vote for his former opponent. He hits the campaign trail on his own for Hillary Clinton tomorrow. And he joins me live, next.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. Senator Bernie Sanders is hitting the road tomorrow on Labor Day to campaign for Hillary Clinton solo. And it will be the first time he does that on her behalf. He'll appear at the AFL-CIO's annual breakfast in New Hampshire and a high school. Both events are in the battleground state of New Hampshire, a state Clinton needs to win in November, and a state where Sanders was victorious in a big way during the primaries.

Overall Sanders, of course, won 22 states, pushed Clinton to the left, and developed an intensely loyal following. He now hopes to bring those voters over to Clinton's side in her battle against Donald Trump. Senator Sanders joins me now from Burlington, Vermont. Senator Sanders, welcome back to the show, sir.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

Thank you very much.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you about your revolution. And I put it this way. Why did you have so much success getting your voters to support you, but you've had less success in seeing your voters, for instance, pull an upset over Debbie Wasserman Schultz down in Florida? Or we haven't seen more progressive upsets in primaries, where your motivated base came out for you but not for others? How do you explain that?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

Well, it's not quite accurate, Chuck. Actually, that gentleman in Florida, Mr. Canova, did a lot better in his district than I did when I was running. And I think he did pretty well, I think he got 43 percent of the vote, taking on a pillar of the establishment.

I think you're going to see very strong candidates for the United States Congress in upstate New York and in the state of Washington win, I hope, in November. They both won their primaries. And I think you're going to see candidates for state legislature all of this country, for city council, for school board.

What the political revolution is about is transforming America, is getting millions of people involved in the political process, is understanding it's not just the president, but it is people coming together and saying, "We need a government that represents all of us and not just the 1 percent." And that's not going to happen overnight, Chuck, but I think it is happening.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, Senator, one of your supporters, Mike Figueredo, host of progressive, called The Humanist Report podcast. And he was really upset at you personally, because he actually thought you abandoned Mr. Canova. He thought where were you? You didn't campaign for him. And he even said, "Look, that feeling you felt when Elizabeth Warren abandoned you and chose to run away from you during the Massachusetts primary, that's what Tim Canova is feeling right now." What do you say to him or any other Sanders supporters--

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

Well, what I--

CHUCK TODD:

--that feel as if you didn’t do enough?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

Well what I would say is that, you know, there are a lot of things happening in this country, things happening in my own state, work that I have got to do. I can't do everything. But I would say that our supporters, as I understand it, contributed about $600,000 to Mr. Canova's campaign. That is a very significant contribution.

I think what you are going to be seeing in the weeks and months to come, Chuck, is me playing an active role, not only trying to make sure that Donald Trump does not become president of the United States, but that, in fact, we create a movement for this campaign and for the future, which creates a government in which our government responds to the needs not of the Koch Brothers and wealthy campaign contributors, but to ordinary people.

CHUCK TODD:

One of the things I think Secretary Clinton is going to need from you is probably help with millennials. I want to put up an interesting little poll graphic from our NBC-Wall Street Journal poll at the beginning of August. And overall, the head to head, we had that this was an early August poll, Clinton was at 43, Trump 34. And Gary Johnson and Jill Stein were combined for 15 percent.

But among those aged 18 to 34, Jill Stein and Gary Johnson actually, together, get 29 percent of folks under 35. That's more than Trump. Clinton sits at 37. A lot of those folks are your supporters, as you know. Jill Stein is making a direct appeal to your supporters, and so is Gary Johnson. What do you tell those folks that, right now, have been wooed by them successfully?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

Well, this is what I would say, and what this campaign is supposed to be about. It's supposed to be about the real issues impacting the American people. Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is going to become president of the United States. And there is no question to my mind that Hillary Clinton is far, far, far and away the superior candidate.

Look at the issues. Which candidate is going to be raising the minimum wage to a livable wage? Which candidate is going to be making public colleges and universities tuition-free? Which candidate is going to do something about the great environmental crisis we face, which is climate change, which is Hillary Clinton? And which candidate doesn't even acknowledge the reality of climate change, which is Donald Trump? Which candidate's going to create millions of jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, is going to deal effectively with immigration reform and criminal justice reform?

So I think, on all of those issues, what people have got to say is, "This is not about Trump, it's not about Clinton, it is about the American people." And on all of those issues, Chuck, to my mind, Hillary Clinton is far and away the superior candidate. And I hope people see that.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you think Gary Johnson should be in the debates?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

I think they have, you know, generally speaking, my view is that, if people reach a certain level, you can debate about what that level is, I think it's, what is it, 15 percent--

CHUCK TODD:

You think that's fair?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

--they should be in the debates.

CHUCK TODD:

So you think that level, that 15 percent, is a fair metric?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

Probably too high.

CHUCK TODD:

You think it should be lower--

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

Probably should be lower than that.

CHUCK TODD:

Okay. Let me ask you, let me play for you perhaps one of the more famous sound bites from your primary campaign. Here it is.

(BEGIN TAPE)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS ON VIDEO:

The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.

HILLARY CLINTON:

Thank you. Me too! Me too!

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Well, Senator Sanders, that happened almost a year ago. That was an October, 2015 debate. Here we are in September of 2016. you may not care about them, but a lot of people do. Do you have any advice for Hillary Clinton on how she should handle this? Could she handle it better?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

You know--

CHUCK TODD:

You've struggled with the foundation. You thought the foundation was problematic. Do you think she should shut the foundation down?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

Chuck, you know, the latter part of my statement, which doesn't get recorded very much, is, "What the American people want to hear about are the real issues impacting their lives, why the middle class is declining, income and wealth inequality, why we are the only major country not to guarantee health care to all people." That's what I believed then. That's what I believe now. Chuck, every other major country on earth, 50 miles away from where I am right now in Burlington, Vermont, guarantees health care to all people as a right.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

The top one tenth of 1 percent now owns as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent Those are the issues I believe we need to focus on, politicians and the media. Let the American get involved in that debate. And I think at the end of the discussion, people will see Clinton as the superior candidate.

CHUCK TODD:

I understand that. But you can't govern if you don't have trust. So can she rebuild trust by pledging something to do that? Is it shutting down the foundation? What would you tell her to do?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

Well, I would certainly suggest that, as president of the United States, she should cease all operations, all contact with the Clinton Foundation.

CHUCK TODD:

Does that mean shutting it down, or just not being involved? Can you--

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

At the very least, she should not be involved, at the very least.

CHUCK TODD:

And would you feel more comfortable if it just didn't exist during her time as president?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

I don't know enough. They do a lot of good things with A.I.D.S. and so forth. I can't, you know, definitively answer that. But I think, Chuck, what we have got to do as a nation, is have a very serious debate on the enormous crises facing this country. That is where our focus has got to be.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Senator Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail again tomorrow. We'll be watching. Enjoy Labor Day and enjoy the campaign trail. Stay safe, sir. Good to see you.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:

Thank you very much, take care.

CHUCK TODD:

When we come back, why the recent tightening of the polls may not be exactly what it seems to be. Before we go to break, you've got to see this scene from The Vatican earlier this morning. This is where Pope Francis officially elevated Mother Teresa to sainthood. She will now be known as Saint Teresa of Calcutta. We’ll be back in a moment.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

And we are back. It's data download time. You may have noticed that Donald Trump has been closing the gap with Hillary Clinton in recent polls. Her post-convention bounce is clearly gone. But it hasn't gone to the direct benefit of Trump. So where has it gone?

Well, we're going to take a look at polls that were released right after the conventions and then re-released again in the last week. We're going to start with our own poll, NBC News Survey Monkey, that had Clinton at 41 percent this past week. That was down three points immediately from the post-convention in early August. Trump sits at 37 percent. He's down a point from early August. Libertarian Gary Johnson gained a point, Green Party candidate Jill Stein gained a point. And "no answer" gained two points. So collectively, Clinton and Trump lost four from the convention bounces, while Johnson and Stein and "no answer" gained four.

Now let's look at the National Monmouth University Poll. That had Clinton down three points from early August. Trump is actually up two from early August. Meanwhile, the combination of Johnson-Stein and all others, that also went up two points. So while Trump has gained in this poll, he doesn't go up as much as Clinton drops.

Now let's go to the states. We’re going to look at Wisconsin, in a new poll from Marquette Law School. Remember, it's a state both candidates lost in the primary. Well, Clinton is down five points from her post-convention lead in this poll in August. Trump is down a point. At the same time, Johnson is up a point, Stein is up three, and "no preference" is up two. So again, Clinton and Trump are down six collectively while Johnson, Stein and "no preference" are up six.

An election where voters are casting their eye toward anyone other than the two major party nominees, Johnson and Stein are having more of an impact on Clinton support than Trump's. It's going to be very interesting over the next few weeks. Number one, does Clinton get these voters back? Number two, are these voters at all in play for Trump? If they didn't go to Trump now, will they ever go to Trump? Or are these voters that are vacillating between Clinton, third party candidates, or not voting at all?

Coming up, if you've been getting emails from someone saying they're desperate for you, they've lost all hope, they need you and they need you now, worry not. It's probably not from a jilted ex-lover. But it is from somebody else. We’ll explain.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Back now with the panel. We talked about Trump and immigration. Kristen Welker, the emails. Isaid, you know, nobody cares about the damn emails. That's what Bernie Sanders famously said. I couldn't believe when I looked at the time stamp, October of 2015.

KRISTEN WELKER:

That's right.

CHUCK TODD:

We are now at September of 2016. Somebody cares about them.

KRISTEN WELKER:

Absolutely. And to some extent, the problem for Secretary Clinton is not the content of these stories anymore, it's the fact that they keep breaking. There's this drip, drip, drip that just will not go away. And obviously, it feeds into voters' lack of trust in her.

You asked Bernie Sanders if it's too late to turn it around. It's hard to see that she can really turn that around at this point. I think that's baked into the cake. That's part of Democrats' concern about the fact that she's been off the campaign trail for so long. They want her to get back in the game so that she can defend herself amidst these headlines.

CHUCK TODD:

By the way, just so people know, there was no recording, there is no recording.

KRISTEN WELKER:

That's right.

CHUCK TODD:

Because it's F.B.I. policy that, and at this point, unless the person who's been arrested, do you record an interview. F.B.I. doesn't ever do this. And I have to say, it is sort of-- it's disconcerting, no matter who you are, whether you're F.B.I. or the person being interviewed, because there's no record here. You're going by notes. And it's not-- I'm uncomfortable with all of this.

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

I feel like there's an audio record of almost everything at this point. I think--when I'm outside in public, I assume that

CHUCK TODD:

Again, this isn't fair to either the lawyer or the--

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

They don't even release. This is sort of over and above the releasing of the interview and the report.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

But the problem is that it all of a sudden feeds into this narrative. For folks that don't know that that's the standard practice, that feeds into this narrative that she's getting some sort of special treatment. But clearly, she's--

CHUCK TODD:

She's not, no.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

Exactly right.

CHUCK TODD:

It's a befuddling policy, I think.

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

that she has been treated, I think, a little differently that somebody under F.B.I., this kind of investigation, they bring--

CHUCK TODD:

She thinks she's treated over and above what other people would be treated.

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

They bring her in late in the ninth inning when the investigation is almost over, when most investigations like this-- you start interviewing key folks like that early. And that's how Petraeus ends up getting caught on perjury. You walk people through.

They lay it out all in front of her at the last minute, this, "You okay with this?" But her problems are much bigger than this. Her problem is she was dishonest about this. She said there was no classified information. And that was just not true. And on top of that, it all leads to the Clinton Foundation, something that has been called a "slush fund-- "

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

But this is my favorite part--

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

--by the Sunlight Foundation, the gold standard here.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

No, this is my favorite part is Vox recently did a piece on The Clinton Foundation, saying that the scandal is that there is no scandal, right? And if you actually look at the work that The Clinton Foundation has done, it's actually good work. But then you take--

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

Actually, it's not.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

--but then you take Trump,who basically took his foundation money and actually wrote a check to a campaign. That is actually illegal. He actually had to pay a fine.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, this brings me to the larger issue for Trump. Because if you don't-- it goes back to the Mike Pence.

KRISTEN WELKER:

Right.

CHUCK TODD:

If you want to make this an issue, Chris Cillizza, you've got to release something. You've got to be on even or even higher ground.

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

That's the--

CHUCK TODD:

And there's nothing.

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

Her clear weakness, and a real flaw, look, if we talked about this in any other context with any other candidate, somewhere between 55 and 65 percent of the public consistently said, "The words honest and trustworthy don't apply to you." Anyone around this table would say, "That's a big problem." The thing is, you can't beat something with nothing.

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

Yes you can.

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

Donald Trump-- all right, well we’ll find out.

CHUCK TODD:

We're testing the premise.

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

It happens all the time.

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

With Donald Trump, no tax returns, you know, everybody knows why it's not being released. This idea that he's under audit, that is an excuse, the Mike Pence excuse.

CHUCK TODD:

He doesn't want the scrutiny that the Clintons have gotten.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

That’s exactly right.

CHUCK TODD:

By the way, the Clintons had gotten the scrutiny--

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

But that's not the point, Alex.

CHUCK TODD:

Because of public, because of disclosure.

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

It’s not about what he's running for president of the United States.

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

Well actually, it is.

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

If we're going to hold her to a standard about press conferences, and that she needs to be transparent--

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

Listen, I'd be for a world--

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

Then he needs to have the same.

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

I would be for a world where Democrats were held to the same standard as Republicans. I don't happen to live in that one. However, of course he doesn't want the attention on him in a campaign. You want it on your opponent. Makes all the sense in the world.

KRISTEN WELKER:

No, but for--

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

And by the way, Luntz asked an interesting question in a focus group, "Hey, do you care more about Hillary's e-mails or Donald Trump's tax returns?" They care much more about Hillary's e-mails because that's our government, that's policy, that's all kinds--

CHUCK TODD:

But you know what's in tax returns?

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

This idea--

CHUCK TODD:

Don't you want to know if your president is going to use his presidency to enrich himself or not?

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

Apparently, Hillary Clinton's voters don't. Because that idea that somehow the Clinton Foundation is this wonderful thing that helps people, most charities give 75 percent of their money in direct aid. The Clinton Foundation gives less than ten. In 2013, they raised 140 million bucks, gave 9 million to people in direct aid.

KRISTEN WELKER:

But the striking thing--

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

It's a slush fund for the Clintons.

KRISTEN WELKER:

The striking thing here is that Donald Trump's unfavorable ratings are actually higher than Secretary Clinton's. And you talk about the taxes, he sort of goes under--

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

Not necessarily.

KRISTEN WELKER:

--the radar-- well, he is--

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

No.

KRISTEN WELKER:

--in the latest poll. If you--

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

No, actually, I've got a survey in Ohio that says Hillary Clinton's negatives are higher than Donald Trump.

KRISTEN WELKER:

The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll does have it higher--yeah. And I think--

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

They're fighting hard to be each more popular than--

CHUCK TODD:

Let Kristen finish her thought.

KRISTEN WELKER:

The debates are coming up. And I think this is going to become a bigger problem for Donald Trump that he hasn't released his taxes. I mean he's going to actually have to answer this question over and over again on a much bigger stage.

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

Doesn't this feel like the least worst choice? I mean that seems like what we're headed for.

KRISTEN WELKER:

Right.

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

It's a least worst choice. When you have two people, two historically unpopular nominees, guess what, folks. Between now and November 8th, it's going to get worse, nastier, not better. I mean you're going to see whoever wins with a remarkable hill to climb with the American public.

CHUCK TODD:

No doubt. All right, quick 45 second break. We'll get Endgame coming and those "I can't live without you," messages from your secret admirers.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Back now with Endgame. And speaking of the end, there's a startling quote from a former presidential candidate and a former member of Congress, Michelle Bachmann, in an interview that she did with The Christian Broadcasting Network and David Brody, who's a familiar face around this roundtable. Here it is.

(BEGIN TAPE)

MICHELLE BACHMANN:

Well, I don’t want to be melodramatic, but I do want to be truthful.

DAVID BRODY:

Sure.

MICHELLE BACHMANN:

And I believe without a shadow of a doubt that this is the last election. This is it. This is the last election. And the reason that I say that, Davis, is because it’s a math problem. She’s going to change the demographics of the United States so that no Republican will ever win again.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Alright, Alex, I've got to go to you on this because I'm old enough to remember when, you know, the Republicans had the demographic advantage and the Democrats had all the older voters. And this is all cyclical. It happens. What is she talking about here?

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

Shame on Michelle Bachmann. This is the end of her Republican Party, the old Republican Party that failed. But if she only believes that this Republican Party that our principles are good for people like her, that they're not good for the next generation of voters, for young people, for women, for minorities, for everybody, she shouldn't be a Republican.

If that's all the faith you have in conservative principles, yes, you should leave the Republican-- hers is dead. By the way, that kind of thinking is what created the vacuum that defeated 16 other Republican candidates and let an outsider come in. It was all about us and not about the future. There's a message out there, another generation of Republicans. Let's open up this economy so that everybody benefits. Let's open up our schools. Let's open up health care. Everybody-- she's the past.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

What Michelle--

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

She's what's wrong with the Republican Party.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

No, but the Republican Party's had the Latino vote to lose. And what I mean by that is that the Latinos are the fastest purveyors of businesses. You actually-- older generations are more conservative--

CHUCK TODD:

More socially conservative.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

And older generations are. So what she basically just said is she admitted that, right now, the Republican Party is a white nationalist party. And that's basically what she equated.

ALEX CASTELLANOS:

No, she didn't. She equated hers is-- look at Donald Trump. The thing I’m proudest about Donald Trump--

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

This is the thing is if you actually want a party of idea--

CHUCK TODD:

I know,I know. I've got to pause, you guys, here. Because I have my own little fun thing that I'm trying to get across here.

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

It is your show.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, some days. But I want to make note of some of those annoying emails that we all get, the desperate pleas to people who’ve been receiving, and you're wondering, "Geez, why are you stalking me?" It's like a jilted ex-lover. Here's one: "Kiss everything goodbye." Or how about, "Running out of time." Or this one: "I've lost hope."

By the way, these are not-- you don't need to get a restraining order. These are all just end of the month political fundraising emails that come from places like the Democratic and Republican Campaign Committees or individual candidates. SoI have to say very quickly, Mr. Cillizza,

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

I have so many of those.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah, I mean--

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

--my inbox is--

CHUCK TODD:

It obviously works. But it's like to me I just throw them away.

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

I used to. And this is as recently as a year ago, I go, "Oh, Hillary Clinton. Wait a minute. that’s not-- " like, they do it so it feel--

CHUCK TODD:

I know.

CHRIS CILLIZZA:

It's just like getting mail where they try to get you to open it. You're like, "Oh wait, this is important. Ah, no it’s not."

CHUCK TODD:

I was just going to say, I miss the Nigerian e-mails. Tear it up. Alright, before we go-- Before we go, I want to do a little promotion. We want to remind you that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will make their first joint appearance of the general election at our own Commander-in-Chief Forum on NBC and MSNBC this Wednesday night, 8:00 Eastern, 7:00 Central. It’s the only thing you want to watch. That's all for today. We'll be back next week. Because if it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

***END TRANSCRIPT***