Meet the Press - December 1, 2019

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CHUCK TODD:

This Sunday: The impeachment fight. With the House ready to draw up charges against President Trump.

REP. NANCY PELOSI:

When we see a violation of the Constitution we have no choice but to act.

CHUCK TODD:

The president's supporters --

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM:

We're not going to let the Democrats in the House destroy this president in a sham process.

CHUCK TODD:

-- and the President --

PRES. DONALD TRUMP:

These are the facts. The case closed, game over. Turn off the television.

CHUCK TODD:

-- attack the process as illegitimate, hoping to encourage swing-district Democrats to vote no on impeachment. I'll talk to Democratic senator and presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana. Plus, the Democratic race. Elizabeth Warren's numbers dip sharply.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN:

I don't do polls. I'm out here fighting every day on behalf of working families.

CHUCK TODD:

Pete Buttigieg is on the rise, but still facing skepticism among African American voters.

PETE BUTTIGIEG:

I'm very conscious of the advantages and privileges that I have had. Through the advantages that come with being white and being male.

CHUCK TODD:

We'll have the latest on a Democratic field that seems no closer to sorting itself out.

Also, John Kerry and Arnold Schwarzenegger are founding members of a group called World War Zero, which aims to spark a nationwide conversation on the catastrophic effects of global warming. I'll speak to both Kerry and Schwarzenegger this morning. Joining me for insight and analysis are: New York Times columnist David Brooks, Maria Teresa Kumar, president of Voto Latino, Republican Strategist Al Cardenas, and Betsy Woodruff Swan of The Daily Beast. Welcome to Sunday. It's Meet the Press.

ANNOUNCER:

From NBC News in Washington, the longest running show in television history, this is Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.

CHUCK TODD:

Good Sunday morning. I hope you’ve been enjoying your Thanksgiving weekend. With the House Judiciary Committee beginning the formal process of drawing up charges against the president, the White House faces a new deadline. Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler has given President Trump and his lawyers until 5pm on Friday to decide whether to take part at all. Mr. Trump has repeatedly called the impeachment investigation a sham, a scam, and a hoax. The Republican strategy has been to focus on the impeachment process, delegitimize it and scare newly-elected House Democrats in swing districts into voting against impeachment. Delegitimizing the process also makes it easier for many Republican senators, like John Kennedy of Louisiana perhaps, who'll join me in a moment, to vote to acquit the president in an impeachment trial. Now, Republicans are quick to point out that weeks of impeachment hearings have not increased the public's appetite for impeachment. And while that's true, it's also hard to argue that having roughly 50 percent of the voters wanting you removed from office immediately is where any president wants to be right now as well. So to use a football term, President Trump and Republicans have beaten the spread on surviving the initial political fallout of all of this. But they're a long way away from winning the game.

REP. NANCY PELOSI:

As I said to the president, if you have any information that is exculpatory, please bring it forward.

CHUCK TODD:

With that next hearing scheduled for Wednesday and new reporting that the president knew about a whistleblower complaint before he released aid to Ukraine, President Trump and his allies are attempting to turn up the political pressure on Democrats.

PRES. DONALD TRUMP:

You see what's happening in the polls? Everybody said, that's really bullsh**.

CHUCK TODD:

Republican groups have spent nearly 7 million dollars on ads against impeachment since Pelosi announced the inquiry in September - compared to just over $2.8 million on pro-impeachment ads by Democratic groups, almost entirely money spent by Tom Steyer, and mostly in support of his own campaign. Most of that money is targeting new Democratic House members in swing districts.

VOICEOVER:

Their partisan impeachment is a politically motivated charade. They promised to be different, but they're not.

CHUCK TODD:

So far, public opinion remains split along partisan lines. In a CNN poll, 50% of adults support impeachment, 43% do not -- numbers unchanged from a month ago. Quinnipiac has similar numbers: 45% of voters think President Trump should be impeached, 48 percent do not, also little changed from October. Just 13% of voters say they might change their minds. Still, that remains a critical slice of the electorate. And vulnerable Democrats are carefully weighing how to talk about impeachment and, likely later this month, how to vote on it.

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS:

I did not run for Congress to impeach the President. There’s no question.

REP. CINDY AXNE:

I didn’t run for this seat to impeach the president. Go back and check my 18 months of running for this office, there’s nothing in there about that.

REP. KENDRA HORN:

This is not why I ran. I ran to serve.

CHUCK TODD:

Republicans in toss-up Senate seats are also wary of weighing in. Protesters gathered at all six of Senator Collins' Maine offices on Tuesday.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS:

And just as you wouldn't want a juror to go into a case prejudging it and not being familiar with all of the evidence - I feel very strongly about that.

CHUCK TODD:

A Senate trial could scramble the 2020 calendar, requiring the six senators running for president to return to Washington after the December holidays.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL:

We will take it up, because we have no choice. And how long we're on it will be determined by the majority of the Senate.

CHUCK TODD:

And while 2020 Democrats support impeachment, they are not enthusiastic about campaigning on it.

JOE BIDEN:

The question is not first and foremost: 'what about impeachment’?

PETE BUTTIGIEG:

Out here on the trail, our job is to talk to voters about how their lives are going to be impacted by who's sitting in the White House.

ANDREW YANG:

Every moment we’re talking about impeaching Donald Trump or Donald Trump in any context, we are not creating a positive vision for the country.

CHUCK TODD:

And joining me now is Democratic presidential candidate Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Senator Klobuchar, welcome back to Meet the Press.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

Thank you, Chuck. It's wonderful to be on.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, the collision of impeachment, the campaign is all now upon us. In 63 days, I think, we'll be caucusing. You might be there taking a break from the Senate trial. What role does public opinion play in all this for you? I mean, we're at a stalemate. No matter what you think of the facts, we're at a public opinion stalemate here. What role should that play in this?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

The first obligation is a constitutional one. We don't have a choice. This is something where the Founding Fathers themselves, James Madison said that the reason we needed impeachment provisions is that he feared that a president would betray the trust of the American people to a foreign power. That's why this is proceeding. I see it simply as a global Watergate. Back then, you had a president in Richard Nixon who was paranoid and he delegated to some people to go break into the headquarters and get into a file cabinet to get dirt on a political opponent. That's basically what this president has done on a global basis. Yes, it's a public trial and the public will be able to see more and will be able to reach their own decisions, but in the end it's our constitutional obligation and I can do two things at once.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me -- I want to show you a quote from a Congress -- a member of Congress from Michigan who said this. Brenda Lawrence, Democrat, said this. "We are so close to an election and I will tell you sitting here, knowing how divided the country is, I don't see the value of taking him out of office, but I do see the value of putting down a marker saying his behavior is not acceptable." That is one way to look at this public opinion, that you see that people, sort of -- people that are actually listening and everything are torn on the election as opposed to this, are split on this. You've got a Democratic member in your own state, Collin Peterson, who didn't even vote to go through this procedure. He's from a Trump district. Is that what you hear?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

Let me talk about how I see this. Yes, this is a legal impeachment proceeding and it could result in him being thrown out of office. That is true. But I see this as part of a bigger pattern and the pattern is this: He betrays the trust of the American people. He puts his private interests, he puts his business interests, he puts his partisan political interests in front of our country's. That's what people get. That's why you see, for instance, the fact that he went out there and rallied for the opponents -- Republicans in Louisiana and Kentucky and the Democrats won. We have a new Democratic governor in Kentucky and that is because the people said, "You know what? He's betrayed us on healthcare. We haven't been able to get the healthcare that we want."

CHUCK TODD:

Do you fear, though, what he could do -- how he would interpret a Senate acquittal?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

I have no idea what he will do. All I know is that we have an obligation to the country to lead, to have this proceeding be conducted fairly, which I believe it has. It was all in public in the last week. People got to see people like Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, who made the American point to his dad, "Hey, this is a country where you can tell the truth." I think the importance is that it's fair and that we get a result.

CHUCK TODD:

The Republicans have poured millions of dollars into these swing districts trying -- with an anti-impeachment message. Democrats have not countered. And I understand why they haven't, right. They don't want to look like they're politicizing this process. And yet, what's happening? It's an asymmetrical warfare and you're losing the political argument in public opinion. Should there -- hindsight's 20/20. Are Democrats making a mistake not sticking up with paid media for these -- particularly these swing state Democrats?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

I think it's way too early to tell that, Chuck. We have got a whole election season in front of us and my evidence is what just happened, where we took back the Virginia State House and State Senate right in the middle of all of this because the voters were looking at that, yes. This is a patriotism check. This is a values check. There are people that don't even want to have the -- watch the president on TV anymore. They have to turn the volume down on their TV. And it is also an economic check. So, when I went on those -- that Blue Wall tour to places like Michigan and Pennsylvania and to Wisconsin and talked to citizens who had maybe voted for him before, they said, "Enough. He hasn't come through for us. Our prescription drug costs are skyrocketing. What has he done? He's just whining on TV all the time."

CHUCK TODD:

Let me talk about your race. It seems as if right now everybody is focused on everybody's flaws, all the reasons why none of you can unite the Democratic party, why none of you can do this, and you've got this problem, and this candidate's got that problem. It's only a focus on the warts. Is this damaging long-term?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

We will come together. You know, we are not like the Republican party, where they say, "He says jump and they say, 'How high?'" and no one says, "The emperor has no clothes." Our party is going to have a debate about issues, but I am the candidate from the very beginning that said we have to cross the river of our divides when I announced on that river in the middle of that blizzard. I am the candidate that said, "I don't want to be the president for half of America, but all of America." And I have set a very clear path that we will have divides, but I am where the people are. And that means that I have big, bold ideas. No one has a monopoly on good ideas, but I am the one that will unite this party.

CHUCK TODD:

What's the criticism of your campaign so far that's resonated the most with you? That you think, "You know what? That's fair. I'm trying to change"?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

Well, I think it would always be nice to get in more money, and we have. You know, they're always saying, "Oh, you haven't raised as much money as some of these other guys." Well, I'm not as well known. Since the last debate, we've taken over $2 million in at one instance, online, from regular people, in six days. So, we are expanding. We're opening more offices in Iowa. We're more -- opening more offices and adding staff in New Hampshire and in the other early states. And that's because the momentum's on our side. And I'm never going to be able to compete with two billionaires. That is true. I'm not going to be able to buy this $30 some million ad buy.

CHUCK TODD:

You seem particularly insulted by Bloomberg's entry. No I mean, and I look, I understand if other -- but look he’s -- this is your space. You're saying, "Hey, I'm the compromise. I'm the one that if Biden falters, and all of a sudden, hey, you, you're getting into my space." That's what you sounded like.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

Well, it is more about money in politics for me. I have admiration for the work that he's done, but I don't buy this argument that you get in because you say, "Oh, everyone else sucks." I just don't. I think we have strong candidates. I don't think that any of the polling or the numbers show that people are dissatisfied with all their candidates. They're just trying to pick the right one. So, my case is to make that it's me. I'm the one from the beginning that has set that path that you look people in the eyes, you tell them the truth, that no, we're not going to give free college to everyone, but we're going to match our economy with the jobs and the education system that we have. I'm the one that is the only one on the stage that didn't get on that bill for kicking people off their current health insurance in four years.

CHUCK TODD:

Michael Bloomberg, if he doesn’t qualify -- if you don't ever get to debate him, but he ends up winning a nomination --

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

That can't happen.

CHUCK TODD:

Are the rules --

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

I mean, he's got to debate people and he also has to get out there. You know, I didn't see him out there in the middle of that snowstorm three days ago in Iowa. I was out there and people turned out. People turned out in big numbers wherever we went. And that's because, that’s why we have early states, so that people are able to meet the candidates and they're able to make a good decision. It cannot be all about money or rich people would be running and winning in every Senate race in the country. That's not what happens.

CHUCK TODD:

Back quickly to impeachment. Any chance you would vote to acquit?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

I can't see that happening right now, but I am someone that looks at each count and makes a decision. I've said from the beginning, I see this as impeachable conduct.

CHUCK TODD:

Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat from Minnesota, sorry about the University of Minnesota yesterday. It’s been a great season. It's been a good season.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

Okay that’s true. The Rose Bowl was in our reach.

CHUCK TODD:

It's been a good season.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

We will see. We will see.

CHUCK TODD:

It's still a heck of a season. Row the boat.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

Okay, thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

Thanks for being on. Stay safe on the trail.

CHUCK TODD:

And joining me now is Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana, who also happens to sit on the Judiciary Committee in the Senate side of things. Senator Kennedy, welcome back to Meet the Press.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

Thank you, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

You appeared on a show last Sunday and you walked back a comment that you made there. Can you explain what you misstated and what you, what you wanted to fix? What part of the record you wanted to correct?

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

Sure. I walked it back because I was wrong.

CHUCK TODD:

About what?

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

Chris Wallace was interviewing me. I'm sorry?

CHUCK TODD:

About what? What were you wrong about?

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

Well, Chris Wallace was interviewing me and he asked me a question and I answered it. I thought he had asked me if Ukraine had meddled in the 2016 election. He didn't. He asked me if Ukraine was responsible for hacking the DNC computer, which is of course a form of meddling. I went back and looked at the transcript and I realized Chris was right and I was wrong, so I said I was wrong.

CHUCK TODD:

The issue of conflating what Ukraine did and what Russia did has been, I think, at the heart of some of the criticism you've received. Michael Gerson, who's no liberal columnist in the Washington Post, certainly not a fan of President Trump either, I'll grant you that.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

Uh-huh.

CHUCK TODD:

But here's what he wrote about your appearance. He said this: "Politicians such as Kennedy must know the truth about Russia aggression, but still they choose to suck up to the president by reflecting his mania and sharing his blind spots. Loyalty to Trump among Republicans is proved by the loosening of all other loyalties, to truth, to honesty, and to the national good. By this measure, Kennedy is profoundly loyal to the president." Simply uttering this conflation on Ukraine and Russia, the inference is you're doing the president's dirty work here. Do you accept that criticism?

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

Well, listen, I like Michael Gerson. I haven't met him, but I know he's a smart guy and I read his columns now and again. I disagree with him. I think both Russia and Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election. I think it's been well documented in the Financial Times, in Politico, in The Economist, in the Washington Examiner, even on CBS, that the prime minister of Ukraine, the interior minister, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States, the head of the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption League, all meddled in the election on social media and otherwise. They worked with a DNC operative --

CHUCK TODD:

Did you -- all right, let me --

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

-- against the president. In fact, can I make one more point, Chuck?

CHUCK TODD:

Sure.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

Can I make one more point?

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

In fact, in December of 2018, a Ukrainian court ruled that Ukrainian officials had violated Ukrainian law by, by meddling in our election. And that was reported in the New York Times.

CHUCK TODD:

Were you, were you --

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

Now, is there, is there meddling -- I'm sorry.

CHUCK TODD:

No, no, no, were you briefed --

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

Go ahead.

CHUCK TODD:

-- by the intelligence -- according to the New York Times a couple of weeks ago, U.S. senators were briefed after Fiona Hill's testimony that actually this entire effort to frame Ukraine for the Russian meddling of 2016, of which you, you just made this case that they've done it, that actually this is an effort of Russia propaganda, that this is a Russian intelligence propaganda campaign in order to get people like you to say these things about Ukraine.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.

Uh-huh.

CHUCK TODD:

They're trying to frame Ukraine. You apparently were briefed about this in the United States Senate by intelligence officials. Are you at all concerned you're doing Russian intelligence work here?

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

I was not briefed.

CHUCK TODD:

You didn't attend that briefing?

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

And now, listen, doctor --

CHUCK TODD:

You didn't attend a briefing on that?

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

No. And doctor --

CHUCK TODD:

Okay.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

I wasn't briefed. Dr. Hill is entitled to her opinion. But when The Economist magazine --

CHUCK TODD:

When does opinion, when does opinion become fact? Does 17 intelligence services saying it, does every western intelligence ally saying Russia did this? I'm just sort of confused, at what point is it no longer an opinion for you?

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

I don't think it's an opinion. I think it's a fact. I believe the reporting by the Politico magazine.

CHUCK TODD:

You just said Fiona Hill --

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

I believe the reporting by The Economist.

CHUCK TODD:

You just said Fiona Hill gave an opinion.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

I believe the report -- I believe the reporting by The Financial Times. I believe the reporting by the Washington Examiner. You should read the articles, Chuck. They're very well documented. And I believe that a Ukrainian district court, in December of 2018, slapped down several Ukrainian officials for meddling in our election as a violation of Ukrainian law. Now, I didn't report those facts. Reputable journalists reported those facts. Does that mean that Ukrainian, the Ukrainian leaders were more aggressive than Russia? No. Russia was very aggressive and they're much more sophisticated. But the fact that Russia was so aggressive does not exclude the fact that President Poroshenko actively worked for Secretary Clinton. Now, if I'm wrong and if all of these journalists --

CHUCK TODD:

Actively worked for Secretary --

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

-- are wrong --

CHUCK TODD:

I mean, my goodness, wait a minute, Senator Kennedy, you now have the president of Ukraine saying he actively worked for the Democratic nominee for president. I mean, now come on. I mean, I got to put up -- you realize the only other person selling this argument outside the United States is this man, Vladimir Putin. This is what he said on November 20th: "Thank God nobody is accusing us anymore of interfering in U.S. elections. Now they're accusing Ukraine. Well, let them sort this out among themselves." You just accused a former president of Ukraine. You have done exactly what the Russian operation is trying to get American politicians to do. Are you at all concerned that you've been duped?

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

No, because you -- just read the articles. Do you believe The Economist magazine is a reputable journal? It's been around, I think, since 1843. They pretty much --

CHUCK TODD:

Do you think there's a difference in criticizing --

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

They're not liberal or conservative.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you think there's a difference in a country criticizing a presidential candidate who essentially endorsed another country's invasion and annexation of a part of their country as equivalent to what Russia did with the DNC?

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

Well, let me put it this way, Chuck. Let's suppose, and I don't, I don’t believe it, but you're right and I'm wrong. Then what harm would it do to allow the president of the United States, who has a demonstrated record fighting foreign corruption, to introduce evidence?

CHUCK TODD:

Why doesn't he?

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

What harm would it do?

CHUCK TODD:

He has been, he has been provided every opportunity to provide exculpatory evidence on any of this and they have chosen not to.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

No, he hasn't. No, he hasn't.

CHUCK TODD:

Yes, he has.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

Rounds one and two by Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Schiff are as rigged as a carnival ring toss, and we both know that. If I were a prosecutor and I were prosecuting you for a felony, and I went to a federal judge and I said, "Judge, we both know Chuck's guilty. So, let me call witnesses. Give me an order that he can't call any witnesses. He can't cross-examine my witnesses. He can't offer any rebuttal evidence. His lawyer can't even be there," you know what that federal judge would do?

CHUCK TODD:

But that wasn't the trial.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

He'd either put me in handcuffs --

CHUCK TODD:

You're going to get a trial.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

-- or he'd put me in a straightjacket, because I'd be sanctioned.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you think this White House --

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

And that's what happened here.

CHUCK TODD:

But Senator, this White House has not, has not cooperated on any oversight at all. Have they not brought some of this upon themselves?

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

Have they allowed the president to call his own witnesses? No. Have they allowed him to have his lawyer present? No. Have they allowed him to offer rebuttal evidence? No. Have they allowed him to cross-examine the witnesses that were hand-picked by Speaker Pelosi? No. Now, whether you like the president or you don't, we both, I know, agree with due process. Nobody is above the law, Chuck, but nobody's beneath the law. And the Bill of Rights is not an à la carte menu. It's not.

CHUCK TODD:

We will leave it there. Senator Kennedy, Republican from Louisiana. You guys didn't get tripped up this weekend, so LSU's clear sailing for next week. But don't blow it. Don't blow it and mess up the whole playoff --

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

We won't.

CHUCK TODD:

-- system there. Thanks for coming on and sharing your view, sir.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

Thank you, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

I appreciate it.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY:

Good to see you, my friend.

CHUCK TODD:

When we come back, Republicans insist they're winning the political fight over impeachment. Are they right? The panel is next.

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. Panel is here. Republican strategist Al Cardenas; Maria Teresa Kumar, president of Voto Latino; Betsy Woodruff Swan of The Daily Beast; and New York Times columnist David Brooks. Well, David, we just got an example here. We look at the -- we're having an asymmetrical argument. Democrats are trying to have a conversation about what the president did. And Republicans are having a completely different conversation. As -- we couldn't even agree on the same set of facts.

DAVID BROOKS:

Yeah, I sort of think the Democrats should either fold this up or go big. And folding this up would mean, we’re going to have -- "We'll impeach him. We'll send it to the Senate. We'll try to get it done as quickly as possible. And then we'll go off to the presidential campaign."

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

DAVID BROOKS:

Going big would be saying, "This is not a trial. This is a political process. The jury is in four states in the Midwest. We're going to get local people from those four states, to try to explain to the people in those four states, why this matters to them, and try to shift the poll numbers." So those are the two options. I think they should fold it up. Because I think political opinion is completely unmovable on this. And they should go on and have a presidential campaign.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, Betsy, it is -- this is not a split decision, organically. The Republicans spent millions to get this split decision.

BETSY WOODRUFF SWAN:

And House Democratic leadership is cognizant of the fact, based on a conversation with a leadership aide I had yesterday, that they don't expect getting more than the mid-50s, in terms of support for impeachment. They see this as sort of permanently bifurcated and not as an issue where they can break that 60% number. From talking with a handful of Democratic Hill aides yesterday about this particular topic, one thing I heard multiple times is that a big concern for those vulnerable, front-line Democratic freshmen is not so much that they'll be sort of tarred with having supported impeachment, but that the argument against them will be that the only supported impeachment, and they didn't get other things done, all the way across the line.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

That's exactly right.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, this is what makes Pelosi getting NAFTA 2.0, I have heard it wasn't the deal, but it was sort of implied. "Look, I'll get this done. Don't worry."

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

Right. Well, and this is exactly right. They need to be able to demonstrate that their whole business and their whole charge is not being consumed specifically because of impeachment. But they are also doing the people's business. But I think that Amy Klobuchar also laid it out.

The country needs to have a massive civic-engagement conversation right now, education in those swing states, and explaining to people, why do they actually have to do the impeachment? Because it is done -- it is basically designated to them by the Constitution.

And in explaining that, you're also saying, you do not want to set precedent. If it is this president that gets away with this, the next president could be a Democrat that could do the same thing. So they have to continue down this road. But they have to be able to demonstrate that they're doing the people's business at the same time.

CHUCK TODD:

Al, while I see that paralysis is a successful short-term strategy for the Republicans, it's not like his numbers are getting better in the big picture.

AL CARDENAS:

Yeah, but --

CHUCK TODD:

Like, he's still underwater. This has been a terrible reelection campaign effort.

AL CARDENAS:

True. But his numbers haven't gotten worse, like with Richard Nixon's, for example. I think timing's having a lot to do with this. And happy belated Thanksgiving. Look, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I know I, for a fact, don't want to get angry at people.

I don't want to be angry. Impeachment, for Democrats to move --

CHUCK TODD:

Interesting way to put it.

AL CARDENAS:

-- the impeachment needle, they've got to get people angrier than they are today, especially in the center in America. That's not happening. I also see evolution. You know, we don't see right and wrong the same way we did in the '70s, during Richard Nixon. America has evolved in its right-or-wrong philosophy. Look, I think what President Trump is ostensibly being accused of is more serious than what Richard Nixon was accused of. But Richard Nixon's numbers tumbled to the point where he couldn't sustain the presidency. And so he quit. And you know, I don't see the Democrats gaining from this, unless, somehow, some way, they are able to move the political needle, as well as a few Republican votes.

CHUCK TODD:

David, you said something about going big. And Al just reminded me of something. You know something big that happened this week is that somebody with conviction said, "I'm not sticking by this president anymore. I'm going to resign and explain why I did it." The former Navy,

now-former Navy Secretary, Richard Spencer, over the president's involvement in this Navy SEAL war-crimes case, "This was shocking and unprecedented," Richard Spencer wrote, "intervention in a low-level review. It was also a reminder that the president has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically, or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices." Sometimes, I wonder, when you say the "go big" comment, there's all this other stuff that Democrats are almost ignoring that is alarming.

DAVID BROOKS:

And here's a case where the military people I know were deeply offended by what Trump did for two reasons. One, he said, "Oh, you've got to remember, these people are all broken people that came back from combat." And they're like, "I came back from combat. I dealt with some stuff. I'm not a broken human being." And second, that they believe that you can fight ethically, that you can be a good soldier, Marine, whatever. And you can do it with a high standard of moral decency. And Trump sometimes seems like somebody who has no moral sense, like moral rules and things just don't seem to impress him.

CHUCK TODD:

He's amoral, not immoral. It's more amoral than immoral, yeah.

DAVID BROOKS:

And so when somebody says, "Oh, that's wrong," it's like telling a colorblind person, "This is purple." Like, I think he's just perpetually surprised, because he doesn't have any awareness of this. And so this was a case where people in the military that I knew, Trump voters, were deeply, deeply offended.

CHUCK TODD:

This is the type of story, Betsy, that actually could penetrate. You know what I mean? This is sometimes where I wonder. It's like, this was deeply offensive in a non-ideological way.

BETSY WOODRUFF SWAN:

And that's a challenge for Democrats, is that it's very difficult, from sort of a messaging perspective, to launch this challenging impeachment process and also to be able focus on these other issues. The story of the secretary of the Navy being ousted or resigning has been totally covered up, I mean, or pushed to the side by the impeachment story.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah, Thanksgiving, too.

BETSY WOODRUFF SWAN:

The impeachment story -- xactly. But the impeachment story is dominating the way Democrats talk about the president. And it's not without an opportunity cost.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

Well, and I think this is where the president he understands this idea of letting a convicted war-crimes criminal go free but holding him really close. He is talking very closely with Eric (sic) Gallagher. He is on all the Sunday news shows, when it comes to Fox.

CHUCK TODD:

He wants him to campaign.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

He wants him to campaign. Because he wants to show that he does have his stripes. And this is where the Democrats asymmetrically don't understand the value of having a conversation of, like, when the commander in chief loses the trust of his top rank, something else is amiss.

AL CARDENAS:

Well, this commander in chief, to put it even in worse perspective, believes that everyone from that region is guilty of terrorism, unless proven innocent. And for him, unlike most of us, somebody shooting some -- an innocent civilian in the Middle East is not a big deal.

He believes, A, "Those are bad people. We're in a fight. These casualties are, you know, casualties of war. This man is a Navy SEAL. Navy SEALs are heroes. I'm going to pardon him." That's the kind of messing with the right and wrong aspect of why our military's so successful. And that's basically, I think, our president's thinking.

CHUCK TODD:

Somebody who thinks that, by watching the military channel, they're suddenly a commander. Yes. Anyway, when we come back John Kerry and Arnold Schwarzenegger on their new effort to combat global warming.

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. The 2019 U.N. Climate Change Conference begins tomorrow in Madrid, amid sobering new studies on the effects and acceleration of global warming. In one study, the old projections of flooding and high tide by the year 2050; in this case, in Southern Vietnam, we're updated to look more like this. And not -- there's a lot more water there than Southern Vietnam, with virtually the entire area underwater now by 2050. Here in the U.S., an organization of scientists, politicians and, yes, celebrities called World War Zero hopes to spark millions of conversations about global warming in the next year and create more urgency on the issue. Joining me now from Los Angeles are two founding members: Former senator and Secretary of State, Democrat John Kerry, who created the group, and former California governor, sometime Republican, Arnold Schwarzenegger. I say sometime. I'll let you, governor, tell me these days where you are with the party. But, gentlemen, welcome back to Meet the Press. Secretary Kerry, let me start with this question. I'm going to be a bit of a cynic here. But you go out of your way to say you're not backing a single climate plan with World War Zero. This is about creating more attention to the issue. Is attention, is attention to the issue really the issue right now? This feels like a ten-year-ago problem. The issue right now is convincing a certain president of the United States to act.

JOHN KERRY:

Well, it's not just the president, Chuck. There are great efforts out there; many environmental groups, young people, particularly, but no country is getting the job done. I mean, the simple reality is that we are way behind, way behind the eight ball. Things are getting worse, not better. And so, what we have are unlikely allies coming together here. There's no group that has people as diverse as ours, in terms of nationality, age, gender, ideology, background, life experience. And all of these people have come together saying we've got to treat this like a war. I mean, it has to require decision-making and organization and efforts that are just not taking place. And so, we have people across ideologies. I mean, you have, you have former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. You have former Governor of Ohio, John Kasich. You have Arnold. You have a lot of people on the other side of the aisle who've all come together without saying this is the only way to get there, but with the desire to make certain that in America and around the world, people are going to put this issue way up at the top of the list. We're going to do the things we need to do. We're going to organize. We're going to mobilize. We're going to talk to literally millions of Americans over the course of the next months and this is going to become a primary issue.

CHUCK TODD:

Governor Schwarzenegger, I mean, but what does more to, what does more to, sort of, focus people's attention to this issue? A town hall or the fact that -- you know, look at your state. I mean, the wildfires are worse. And there's probably nothing right now you can do about it.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER:

Well, we are very happy and very proud of what we have done here in California, and I think we are perfect proof that you can protect the environment and also protect the economy at the same time. Because we have the strictest environmental laws here in California, and at the same time, we are number one, economically. Way ahead of the United States. Our average growth is around 3.6%, where the United States growth is around 2%. And you know, we create more jobs; millions of jobs, since we have passed those laws. So, you can see that we can do both. We are the fifth-largest economy in the world, right behind China, Germany, and Japan and the United States. So, it just shows you the power that we have by going green, and the kind of jobs we create. And I think that's what we want to do. We want the whole United States going that direction, the whole world to go in that direction. And I'm very, very happy that I've joined up here with John, because John has been a longtime friend of mine. And I've always admired his passion about a clean environment and about, you know, bringing both parties together. I mean, he negotiated with Lindsey Graham for years, a great, great deal that was almost about to happen. And so, I think that we're working together on this and I think that it is a great idea to bring Republicans and Democrats together. And of course, I am a fanatic about communication, which is a whole other issue.

CHUCK TODD:

Alright so --

JOHN KERRY:

Chuck, could I just --

CHUCK TODD:

Secretary tell me, -- so for instance, walk me through what a town hall's going to look like in, in West Virginia, when you're in coal country.

JOHN KERRY:

Well, I really look forward to that, actually, because there are just huge economic opportunities for West Virginia that are not being utilized. There is -- the fact is --

CHUCK TODD:

What if the people don't want it? Hasn’t that been the problem? Like that’s been --

JOHN KERRY:

Well, I think you have to give people a choice, Chuck. They're not even being given a choice right now. I mean, you said, "Are we going to back one plan?" The answer is yes. There is one plan and that plan is to get to net zero emissions by 2045 or 2050. Now, how we get there? There are a lot of different ideas out there. But the important thing is that that's not happening now. I mean, it's embarrassing that in the Democratic presidential debates, you had a whole bunch of debates in which there wasn't one question on climate change. And climate change is -- I mean, we have a lot of young activists --

CHUCK TODD:

It's a bit overwhelming, secretary. I mean, look, we -- the debate I participated in, we asked quite a bit on climate change. But it's hard to bite off. And I think that's part of the struggle here --

JOHN KERRY:

Well, it's not --

CHUCK TODD:

-- is that it's so overwhelming, how do you tackle it one piece at a time?

JOHN KERRY:

In fact, Chuck, it's not. It shouldn't be overwhelming. And that's why Arnold and I, and a whole bunch of people -- you know, there's a young woman who's taken two years off from going to Stanford. Her name is Katie Eder and she's been part of the climate strikes and the Future Coalition. And she said collaboration is the key to our survival. Young people get it. They understand what this is about. But they don't have a vote in the boardroom. They don't have a vote in Congress. They don't have stock in the fossil fuel companies. And the fact is that there are a huge number of jobs to be created here. Fastest growing job in America today is solar power technician. Second fastest? Wind technician. I mean, coal is going down because the marketplace is making that decision. So, what we want to do is say to people, here are the ways in which -- take health. Health can be so much improved in the United States. Young people are hospitalized in the United States and it's costing taxpayers $55 billion a year, because of environmentally induced asthma that comes from pollution. So, we're talking about reducing pollution. We're talking about creating jobs. We're talking about American security. One of the people who's joined us in this effort is General Stan McChrystal. I mean, there's no greater patriot, nobody who's paid his dues more. We have admirals and generals who are all coming to the table to help make the argument to Americans and to people in the world, this is an international security issue.

CHUCK TODD:

Governor, you're letting --

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER:

I totally agree, by the way, with John --

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask --

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER:

I just want to tell you that, for instance, in California, in Bakersfield, where there's a lot of oil drilling going on, there's more solar jobs now in Bakersfield and around that area than there are oil jobs. People are leaving the oil fields and they're going to work in solar and clean energy and stuff like that. So, this is the kind of stuff --

CHUCK TODD:

Do you --

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER:

-- with coal workers. So, it's just a matter of how do you plan those things. We in California have made a great plan and we see people now leaving the dirty fuels and coming to clean energy.

CHUCK TODD:

Governor, do you --

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER:

And, Chuck, I want you to come to that -- I want you to come to that town hall in West Virginia --

CHUCK TODD:

I would love to come to that town hall. Governor --

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER:

Oh yeah, we would love to have you there.

CHUCK TODD:

-- do you ignore President Trump or do you still try to convince him to change his mind? And would you have that one-on-one meeting?

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER:

No. No. First of all, I totally agree, again, with John when he said, you know, it's not just one person. We have to convince the whole world. And I think the way to convince the whole world is by not just always talking about climate change, which doesn't mean that much to most of the people. As a matter of fact, we have done the polls through The Schwarzenegger Institute, and you and I have talked about that. When we said, "Climate change," there was like -- of the conservatives, there were only 17% interested and thought that there was a serious threat. But as soon as we said pollution, the numbers went over 50%. So, we got to communicate. The environmental community has to communicate better and talk about pollution, because pollution is a threat right now. And when you introduced this piece, you talked about, in 2050. People can't think about 2050. They think about now. How can I survive? How can I provide jobs? How can I go and feed my family? Those are the kind of issues and that's why it's important that we talk about the health issue. And that's how we have passed all of our strict environmental laws here in California --

JOHN KERRY:

Chuck, could I mention one thing one time --

CHUCK TODD:

Secretary, I am way out of time.

JOHN KERRY:

Okay.

CHUCK TODD:

You guys were great. I appreciate it. More importantly, I appreciate you got up early on the West Coast. I'm well aware of that on this weekend. So, Secretary Kerry, Governor Schwarzenegger, you talked enough where you got out of two political questions I was going to sneak on you. So, we'll leave that there. When we come back -- thank you, guys. When we come back, a change of pace. Still yearning for that Jeb coffee mug or Bernie chia pet? Fear not. The 2020 campaign elves have been hard at work and are ready for you to click buy. That's next.

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back, Data Download time. Black Friday has come and gone. But if you're still shopping for the political junkie on your list, all those candidates running for president have lots of campaign swag to help fill your online shopping carts, available at every level of outrage and at every price point. For only 10 bucks, show your Yang Gang membership with these throwback photo buttons. And remember, that's the math, baby. For $15, you can own the libs who keep forcing paper straws on you, by purchasing these Trump-branded plastic straws. How about this? For $25, Elizabeth Warren supporters can start each day fighting against the wealthiest among us with a cup of billionaire tears. For a bit more, you can get some soon-to-be collectors' items to wear long after the primary is over. Bernie Sanders has his own throwback photo, this time on a t-shirt showing a 21-year-old Sanders being arrested at a protest in 1963. It is priced at, of course, $27. And if you're into snark, you can snag this Joe Biden, "Release your tax returns or shut up," shirt. Or for the same price, you can buy this, "If you don't like Trump, then you probably won't like me," shirt. How about that for holiday spirit? Maybe you have a little more cash on hand to spend for that special someone who just loves politics. Here's what you can get for more than 50 bucks, this $75 Keep America Great ugly Christmas sweater from the Trump campaign store. But just a head's up, the website says it could take three to four weeks to ship, so Cyber Monday order it fast. And maybe you're a Sanders supporter who is also a patron of the arts and has cash to burn. Grab up this artists for Bernie Sanders coaches jacket. Union made, water and wind resistant, all for just $100. Clearly, we've come a long way from handmade potholders to support the local congressional candidate. In fact, the Trump and Warren campaign websites both have more than ten pages of merch for sale and both even held Black Friday sales this week. We are not making this up. Consider this a gentle reminder. There are only 24 shopping days until Christmas and only 337 until Election Day. When we come back, End Game and the Democratic race. Whatever happened to the frontrunners, particularly one named Elizabeth Warren?

CHUCK TODD:

Back now with Endgame. Probably the best way to describe the uncertainty of the Democratic field, let me just put up headlines from this week. Because I think it helps explain the uncertainty. New York Times had, "How Kamala Harris' Campaign Unraveled." It was very much written in the past tense. "Bloomberg is crushing all other 2020 Democrats with his ad spending in Super Tuesday states." You heard Amy Klobuchar talk about that. "Warren nosedives in new nationwide poll." Quinnipiac, who had probably over-polled her, now had her dropping dramatically. Buttigieg leading in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Maria Teresa, who's the frontrunner in the Democratic primary right now? Is there one?

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

So well, I think it's interesting, right? So Joe Biden has the -- is still leading the polls, nationwide, because he has the highest name recognition. But when you look at Iowa, where people are doing the work, they've rolled up the sleeves, Mayor Pete, he's leading. And I think, as individuals start getting to know the candidates on the ground, that's who we should be looking at. Who is the one that's actually finding that voter that is encouraging them to move forward? Otherwise, you could say it sounds like it's a dead heat. But it's not. It's more, where are they spending most of their time? And who's gravitating towards them?

CHUCK TODD:

Well, it feels like the candidates are treating Pete as the frontrunner now. Here's a Cory Booker super ad--Super PAC ad that I think actually gets at, to a larger issue. Take a look.

[BEGIN TAPE]

VOICEOVER:

He's a Rhodes scholar, a successful mayor, a uniter. No, not that guy. It's Cory Booker.

[END TAPE]

CHUCK TODD:

Betsy, look, the Cory Booker conundrum, and everybody’s trying to -- why doesn't he catch on, and I think people will be writing about that for a while, but to me, this is -- Buttigieg is about to get his time in the barrel, like Elizabeth Warren. She didn't hold up very well. How's he going to do?

BETSY WOODRUFF SWAN:

She had a tough time. And part of the reason that she had trouble, I think, could indicate that Buttigieg may not go through the same experience. I talked to one Democratic operative last night, who said, part of the explanation for her problems, over the last month, has been that when she changed her stance on healthcare issues, she got the worst of both worlds because she frustrated progressives. She alienated some of her base, but she doesn't have nearly the credibility that she would need to try to persuade moderates that she isn't sort of, at her core, a candidate of the left. Buttigieg, however, has a moment, right now, where he can decide. Is he going to try to change some of his core policy stances? Is he going to try to move the flag that he's planted in an effort to expand his support? And if he does, he could go through the same thing that Warren just went through.

CHUCK TODD:

David Brooks, though, this African American issue, for Pete Buttigieg, seems problematic. I want to at least put up the headline. "Pete Buttigieg Is a Lying MF." This is with Michael Harriot of The Root. "It proves men like him are more willing to perpetuate the fantastic narrative of negro neighborhoods needing more role models and briefcase-carriers than make the people in power stare into the sun and see the blinding light of racism. Pete Buttigieg doesn't want to change anything. He just wants to be something." Now, Buttigieg did what you'd expect him to do. He called up the writer and, and because that's one way to deal with this. And, and here's how the writer responded, on Tuesday. "The only thing I actually know about Pete Buttigieg is that he is a white man. But Pete Buttigieg listened, which is all you can ask a white man to do." Can Pete get through this moment?

DAVID BROOKS:

Yeah, I think so. One of the questions I've started asking is, like, who's the Jimmy Carter here? Because we're in a moment where we need a moral rinse. And so, in '76 that was Jimmy Carter, a completely unlikely presidential candidate running against a lot of qualified senators. And he just seemed like a moral rinse. And he seemed relaxing. I think one of the reasons Warren has suffered is, a president -- a Warren presidency seems kind of exhausting, you have four more years of battle. And I think Buttigieg seems little -- is less the fighter, more, "Oh, I can have a normal life again." And so normalcy is a good trait.

CHUCK TODD:

Al, what do you make of him? You fear him?

AL CARDENAS:

Yeah, listen. One thing that's been surprising to me is how wide the lane on the center is in this presidential primary. If you add Biden and Mayor Pete, and if you add Amy Klobuchar, you know, you're getting a pretty big chunk of the Democrat Party at a time when the advertising's been that it's only people far to the left can hold up the anchor of the base. I don't know if it's too early to talk about a brokered convention.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

It's too early.

AL CARDENAS:

You know, well, if I was, you know, Mayor Bloomberg, I would think, you know, and he's a deep thinker, well, he's putting all his stakes on that Super Tuesday. And I think he's either going to be a one-day candidate Super Tuesday, or he's going to make sure that the vote, the delegate spread is such that he can make a good argument at the convention.

CHUCK TODD:

Maria Teresa, assess Pete Buttigieg. Is he a nominee that is, through all this code, attack on him. He can't put the Obama coalition together. It was subtle code attacks. You know this coalition. Can he put it together?

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

Well, I think that's the challenge is that, right now, he's doing quite well in states that don't reflect the majority of the voters that was this coalition of Obama voters. And I'm talking about disproportionately Latino, African American, and young people. And I was talking to someone within his camp and I asked, I said, "How is he polling with young people?" Because figured that would be an indication. He's like, "Not well." So --

CHUCK TODD:

I know he's the millennial candidate that has no millennial support.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

Right, has no millennial support. So and that says volumes, that this race is long. We still have time. But he's going to have to figure out how to appeal outside of Iowan voters to make sure that he actually has something stronger.

CHUCK TODD:

Just remember about older voters. They vote. They always show up for the caucuses.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR:

But young voters have been voting, last year.

CHUCK TODD:

I know. Will they show up in the primaries? That's all for today. Thank you for watching. This was no leftover Sunday, was it? We'll be back next week. Because if it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press. It's turkey chili time tonight, though, last day of turkey. Enjoy.