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Meet the Press Transcript - July 12, 2015

MEET THE PRESS TRANSCRIPT - 7/12/15

CHUCK TODD:

This Sunday, Donald Trump drawing big crowds and creating being fears for the GOP.

DONALD TRUMP:

The silent majority is back, and we're going to take the country back.

CHUCK TODD:

You may think you know where he stands.

DONALD TRUMP:

I'm very pro life.

CHUCK TODD:

But do you?

DONALD TRUMP:

I'm very pro-choice.

CHUCK TODD:

Also, Lost Cause, the Confederate Battle Flag comes down in South Carolina. And with it, the anti-civil rights era it came to represent. I'll be joined by Nikki Haley, the Republican governor, who said, "Take down that flag."

Plus cyber insecurity, 21 million Americans swept up in a hack attack. China is the main suspect. Are we losing the war over cyber security? And stealth candidate, the man not yet in the Republican race, who just might have the best shot at winning the nomination.

I'm Chuck Todd, and joining me to provide insight and analysis this Sunday morning are Arthur Brooks of The American Enterprise Institute, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Maria Hinojosa of National Public Radio, and Matt Bai of Yahoo News. Welcome to Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

CHUCK TODD:

Good Sunday morning. Anyone who thought Donald Trump might tone down his rhetoric was disabused of that notion yesterday. At a raucous speech in Phoenix, Trump made clear his goal is to promote what he calls "the new silent majority." Yes, he used the phrase. And he took aim at the other candidates for president, hard.

DONALD TRUMP:

A hear like-- Donald Trump doesn't deserve to be on the same stage with some failed Senator, failed governor, or something. It's sort of amazing.

CHUCK TODD:

The scene in Phoenix turned rowdy at one point when protesters tried to disrupt Trump's speech, and wound up clashing with his supporters. Want to get to a lot of the Trump stuff in a few moments, including the Donald Trump you may not recognize, the one who was pro-choice, pro-Hillary and pro-Obama.

But first, Trump's rally presents a stark contrast to what could have been a weekend when the Republican Party celebrated making inroads with another minority group: African-Americans. In fact, my first guest, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, was instrumental in the bipartisan effort to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from the grounds of the state capitol after the tragedy at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston. Governor Haley, welcome back to Meet the Press.

GOV. NIKKI HALEY:

Good morning, Chuck. Thank you for having me.

CHUCK TODD:

Governor, what did Friday mean? Is it a symbolic end of this, what we describe it, the sort of symbolic end of using the battle flag to protest the civil rights era? Or is it something else?

GOV. NIKKI HALEY:

You know, I think it meant a lot of things to a lot of different people. What I can tell you was it felt like a massive weight had been lifted off South Carolina. We can truly say it's a new day in South Carolina.

CHUCK TODD:

What did it mean to you?

GOV. NIKKI HALEY:

It was emotional. You know, I think that it was hard for me to look at that flag coming down and not think about the Emanuel Nine, not think about those nine people who took in someone that didn't look like them, didn't sound like them, and accepted him and prayed with him for an hour. It is hard for us to not think about those nine people.

It, you know, reminded me of how much South Carolina's moved forward. The way that we didn't have any protests, we had vigils, we didn't have, you know, people getting out of hand, we had hugs. And it just was a real proud moment for South Carolina.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, this was a fascinating moment to watch for someone like me, who's covered presidential politics for a couple of decades, thought this was intractable. And to watch you and Senators Scott and Lindsey Graham, you sort of linked arms, and you sort of dared the legislature to not do this, when you challenged them to do it. What do you take away from this in pushing an agenda going forward that is perhaps dealing with educational standards that are different for whites and blacks in South Carolina?

GOV. NIKKI HALEY:

We actually started doing this a couple of years ago, because I so wanted to make sure we were lifting up everyone. So we changed the way we funded education. We now give more money for areas of poverty. We now have reading coaches. We now have technology for those areas that school districts can't afford it.

You know, we were the first state in the country to have a body camera bill. We've already been moving in this direction. So this was like a nice move forward to say, "You know, we're not that state that everybody thinks we are. We actually are a state where we love our God, we love our country, we love our state, but we love each other."

CHUCK TODD:

You know, one of the issues of Clementa Pickney was the voting rights laws. That's been a big controversy with a lot of African-Americans, particularly, and with a lot of Republican governors. Do you see the issue differently now? Do you understand what some African-Americans believe these voter ID laws end up being a way to single them out or disenfranchise them?

GOV. NIKKI HALEY:

You know, the flag coming down was a moment that I felt like needed to happen. That doesn't mean that I philosophically changed the way I think about other things. I've never seen the voter ID as a racial issue, for whites, for blacks, for Asians, for anyone.

What I see is it's an issue where people prove who they are. And I think that's something very important for our democracy. It's important to America. And I think that, having to show a picture ID when you get on a plane, and having to show a picture ID when you buy Sudafed, you absolutely should have to show a picture ID to vote. And what we've done in South Carolina is make sure that it's easy for people to vote, that we don't make it hard for anyone. But we think that's an important part to the process.

CHUCK TODD:

I want to go a little bit to the investigation of the shooter. We found out that the F.B.I. background check essentially didn't work because some of the arrest records of Dylan Roof didn't get into the system in time. Had they gotten in, he might not have been able to purchase that gun. We don't know if he would have found a gun another way, but we know he wouldn't have been able to purchase the gun that he did purchase.

When you look at background check laws, and I know this is as much about a federal issue as it is a state issue, and you see this disparity that perhaps more time was going to be needed for law enforcement to get the record into the system, do you think the background check system should be expanded instead of a three-day period, maybe longer?

GOV. NIKKI HALEY:

Well first of all, when we got the call from the F.B.I., telling us what had happened, I was literally sick to my stomach. You know, we expect, when the feds say they're going to do something, we take them at their word that it's going to get done. And the fact that it didn't get done is terrible. And it's one more thing that these families are going to have to go through that they don't deserve to have to go through.

So I think we need to look at the fact that it's not about time, it's about technology. You know, this is something, when someone has a charge filed against them, it should go into a database, and it should be shown immediately to anyone's that looking at it. So I would be more interested in what went wrong, what sort of-- why are they dealing with paperwork and not dealing with technology, that they wouldn't have had this--

CHUCK TODD:

And you are convinced this is the Feds, and not necessarily local? Not necessarily Lexington County or anybody else?

GOV. NIKKI HALEY:

We were told, when the F.B.I. called us, we were told that it was an F.B.I. issue, that it was not a state issue.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. I've got to ask you, you're the daughter of two immigrants. What do you make of Donald Trump's rhetoric?

GOV. NIKKI HALEY:

I understand his frustration. The frustration that he has about illegal immigration a lot of people have. The difference is we need to be very conscious of our tone. We need to be very conscious of how we communicate. There are a lot of legal immigrants that have made this country the place it is today.

We need to make sure that we're always communicating in a way that's got respect and dignity. And that's what so much was about with South Carolina was, when we saw all of this happen, people respected each other. They may have disagreed, but they respected each other. That tone is important for the country. So it's okay to be frustrated. It's not okay to have a harsh tone in the way that you communicate that. Because it hurts people, and it's just not necessary.

CHUCK TODD:

You think Donald Trump is fit to be president?

GOV. NIKKI HALEY:

I think that that's going to remain to be seen. I think we've got 16 candidates. I'm looking forward to debates. I'm looking forward to a lot of things. But I will tell you tone and communication is one of the things that everybody's looking for. We want someone that brings people together. We want someone that understands that what unites us is a lot more than what divides us. And that's going to be something that I think the entire country is going to be looking at is how someone communicates, the tone, and are you bringing more people in as opposed to excluding people out?

CHUCK TODD:

A lot of people are speculating that your national star is rising, that we may see your name on a national ticket, either next year or down the road. What do you make of the extra political attention you've been getting?

GOV. NIKKI HALEY:

It's painful. Because nine people died. Nine people died in Charleston. And what we've been dealing with is nine funerals. And people like Cynthia Hurd, who said her life motto was to be kinder than necessary, Tywanza Sanders, who was 26 years old, our youngest victim. And as he stood in front of the murderer, he covered up his Aunt Susie, who was 87, and said, "We mean no harm to you, you don't have to do this."

That's what I want people talking about, the Emanuel Nine that forever changed South Carolina, and changed this country and showed what love and forgiveness looks like. That's what I want people talking about.

CHUCK TODD:

What a wonderful way to end. Governor Haley, thanks for answering the question that way. I appreciate it. And thanks for coming on.

GOV. NIKKI HALEY:

Thank you very much.

CHUCK TODD:

You got it.

GOV. NIKKI HALEY:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

I'm going to bring in the panel, Arthur Brooks, president of The American Enterprise Institute. He's one of the most influential conservative think tank leaders in Washington. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Maria Hinojosa, host and executive producer of National Public radio's Latino U.S.A., and Matt Bai, national political columnist for Yahoo News. Doris, your America's historian on this one. I still, Friday I still can't get over it. I did not think we'd see this day in my lifetime.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN:

And you were mentioning that you've been covering these issues for a couple decades. For me, it's a half a century, since LBJ signed The Civil Rights Act, The Voting Rights Act, the flag goes up, in part, as an opposition to civil rights movement and desegregation. And now that the south itself has taken a leadership role, LBJ predicted Republicans will be there for a generation, the Democrats have lost.

The country hasn't lost if Republicans in the south start taking a leadership in this role. I found it an extraordinary emotional moment. And I think that if they can say to themselves, "We want to heal this country," they lost the war. It's good they lost the war. If they hadn't lost the war, we would have had a split country. We wouldn't have been able to fight Hitler, we might not have been able to fight the Cold War. They should value the union that we have and now begin the racial healing. It's a great thing for the country that they've taken the leadership.

CHUCK TODD:

Arthur Brooks, you have a new book, Conservative Heart. You're a guy that has been trying to soften the image of the Republican Party. This is, you believe, it's a huge issue. And I just see the contrasts Governor Haley is now.

ARTHUR BROOKS:

Yes.

CHUCK TODD:

Donald Trump what I just had. I mean could you get more stark contrast than those two when it comes to talking about America?

ARTHUR BROOKS:

Look, Nikki Haley's the future of the Republican Party. It's a new day in American politics. There's a new right movement that's brewing. Nikki Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants, bands together with Tim Scott, who grew up poor, a black senator from South Carolina, a Republican, both conservative Republicans, take down the Confederate Battle Flag together to the cheers of South Carolina citizens. This is the trend.

Republican candidates not paying attention to Donald Trump need to stay the course for a humanistic kind of movement that's based on compassion, that's based on inclusiveness. And this is the future.

CHUCK TODD:

Maria, it's a symbol. I guess the question is what's next?

MARIA HINOJOSA:

Well, I'm kind of stuck in the fact that Governor Haley, in this amazing moment, didn't actually say, "I abhor what Donald Trump has said." She didn't actually say, "This is not acceptable."

CHUCK TODD:

She's not alone among Republican leaders. They've all been--

MARIA HINOJOSA:

Correct. And I think that that, to me, is when I'm seeing this amazing moment in South Carolina, it's kind of like, "Well, which party is it?" And frankly, is it the party that says, "We're choosing the future. We get it, we accept change, we're good," or Donald Trump? And for people out there, it's very confusing.

I also want to tell you that my driver today, who brought me here, Pakistani-American citizen. And he said, "You know, when I hear Donald Trump, he's talking about me." And he's Pakistani-American. So Nikki Haley, I think, could have gone one step further, like the Republican Party, like the Democratic Party.

CHUCK TODD:

Matt Bai?

MATT BAI:

Yeah, look, people talk about a Republican Party in decline. I don't necessarily see it that way. It's a Republican Party in transition, as Arthur was saying. And I think Donald Trump, in a sense, does them a favor, if we're going to talk about Donald Trump, right? I think you can look at as doing Republicans a favor. He is staking out an older, fading, divisive position, and giving this new generation of Republicans a chance to step forward and say, "No, we want a different kind of party." I'm surprised, frankly, that more Republicans aren't taking that chance in a more strident way.

CHUCK TODD:

I think that could change. I just feel like that that's going to change in the next week or two. I think seeing the rhetoric that he said, that would anybody here be surprised if Nikki Haley's on the ticket in '16?

MATT BAI:

No.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN:

Without a question. I think she's a woman, she handled this gracefully, she can speak so well, as you see.

CHUCK TODD:

When you meet a moment, right? The moment hits you, how you handle a moment you don't expect.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN:

That's right. Few people are given that chance. And they're given a chance when they handle a moment dramatically and well. Then they-- they plop into the spotlight.

CHUCK TODD:

That’s what it was and to watch her, she struggled the first couple years as governor.

MATT BAI:

Right.

CHUCK TODD:

And then sort of--

MATT BAI:

And came to power, remember. I mean it would have been impossible for a woman of South Asian descent to come to power in South Carolina except as an instrument of this very powerful, very conservative movement.

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

MATT BAI:

Her transition, her journey, not that she's changed so dramatically I heard her talk, but her journey on this issue is the journey of this party that is explained from the same generation of changed that's transforming institutions around the country.

CHUCK TODD:

Right. Run as a Tea Partier, but more as a conservative reformer, sort of get rid of the Tea Party label and be--

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN:

You know, but the question is, it's one thing to take down the visible scar of the flag or 'colored only' signs. But voting rights that you brought up--

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN:

Real discrimination that's still going on against blacks in the south, those are the substantive issues--

MARIA HINOJOSA:

Can we also not forget that the south is no longer white and black. And that's also what Nikki Haley represents. So the most intense demographic change and multicultural change is actually happening in the American south. So it isn't just what is happening with African-Americans and whites. It's what's happen with the new immigrants.

CHUCK TODD:

That's it.

MARIA HINOJOSA:

What's happening with Latinos. How are they going to be brought in? Because, you know, as a Latina, I care about the lowering of the Confederate Flag. We all do. So that is the new south. It is no longer a dynamic of black and white.

CHUCK TODD:

Get to that in a minute.

ARTHUR BROOKS:

Look, her instinct is the important thing to keep in mind. When her instinct is, when something back like this happens, and you mentioned this before, is to take down the Confederate Battle Flag and talk about how South Carolinians can come together in love for each other, notwithstanding what their background is, that's a new movement.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. We'll pause there. I promise you, we have more to say about Donald Trump. Don't be surprised. When we come back, Donald Trump, in his own words. That was then.

DONALD TRUMP:

Hillary Clinton I think is a terrific woman.

CHUCK TODD:

This is now.

DONALD TRUMP:

I think Hillary would be a terrible president.

CHUCK TODD:

The changing views of Donald Trump and why he makes Republicans so nervous.

**Commercial Break**

CHUCK TODD:

And we are back. To say the field for the GOP presidential nomination is a little crowded would be quite the understatement. But one candidate who is having no problem making himself heard is Donald Trump. And he's focusing on one major issue: immigration. His hard line views on illegal immigrants, particularly those from Mexico, is creating a problem for the rest of the GOP field, with a party that needs to secure more of the Latino vote than Mitt Romney did if they want to win the White House.

Party Chairman Reince Priebus did call Trump on Wednesday, asking him to tone down the rhetoric. Didn't seem to work. But it does seem pretty clear, when it comes to immigration and the other Republicans in the race, Trump has no intention of pulling any punches. In fact, in a 70 minute monologue last night in Phoenix, Arizona, ground zero for the immigration debate, Trump took on Macy's, NASCAR, NBC, Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Caroline Kennedy! Yes, Caroline Kennedy! And the list goes on.

DONALD TRUMP:

So I had an idea. I think it's good. Every time Mexico really intelligently sends people over, we charge Mexico $100,000 for every person they send over. I wonder if the Mexican government sent them over here. I think so. I'm tied with Jeb Bush. And I said, "Oh, that's too bad. How can I be tied with this guy? He's terrible. He's terrible." I hire lobbyists. I have lobbyists all over the place. They're great. I want something. Go do this. I know the system better than anybody. I'm a donor. Somebody said, "Oh, you gave to the Democrats?" Of course I give to-- I give to everybody. I want to get everything done. Everybody loves me.

CHUCK TODD:

Okay. One of the reasons Trump is breaking through this year, though, is people feel they know where he stands. But do they? We've been looking at his positions through the years. It would be fair to say he's evolved, quite a few times, on some key issues. From healthcare to abortion, his feelings about the top Democrat in the 2016 field.

DONALD TRUMP:

I think Hillary would be a terrible president. She was the worst Secretary of State in the history of our nation. Why would she be a good president? Hillary Clinton, I think, is a terrific woman. I mean I'm a little biased because I've known her for years.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN:

Do you support her?

DONALD TRUMP:

I don't want to get into this, because I get myself into trouble. But I--

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN:

That's why I asked you, to get you into trouble.

DONALD TRUMP:

I know. I just like her. I like her and I like her husband. Some people would say he's incompetent. I would not say that. Eh, yes I would. I think Tim Geithner done a good job. I think that the whole group has really done a good job when you look at what's happened. I mean at least we have an economy. You wouldn't have had an economy had they not come up with some very drastic steps two years ago.

I'm almost more disappointed with the Republicans. They have to toughen up on Obamacare, which is a total lie, and which is a total and complete disaster.

STONE PHILLIPS:

Health care?

DONALD TRUMP:

A liberal on health care. We have to take care of people that are sick.

STONE PHILLIPS:

Universal health coverage?

DONALD TRUMP:

I love universal. We have to take care, there's nothing else. What's the country all about if we're not going to take care of our sick. Let me tell you, everybody wants to pay as little as possible, including Warren Buffett, by the way, despite what he says. And so he said what's your tax rate? I don't know. I pay as little as possible.

I would tax people of wealth, of great wealth, people over $10 million, by 14.25%. This tax would raise approximately $5.7 trillion, which happens to be our national debt. Well, I'm very pro-life, and feel strongly about it. I'm very pro-choice. I hate the concept of abortion. I hate it. I hate everything it stands for. I cringe when I listen to people debating the subject. But you still, I just believe in choice.

CHUCK TODD:

Let's bring the panel back in. We got a little bit into Trump before. Maria, when you heard his rhetoric yesterday, your reaction?

MARIA HINOJOSA:

Well, since we have Arthur here representing the Heart, I mean it's actually heartbreaking, right? Because it's like how are we moving forward as a country when Donald Trump is saying this about the fastest growing, one of the fastest growing demographic groups in our country? And I just begin to question. I put it in a historical context, who, with all due respect to our esteemed historian here.

But, you know, I think back to-- because I did my research. I went back, and I was like, "What did FDR say about Japanese Americans?" He said they could never be trusted to own land, they could never be trusted to assimilate. What did Strom Thurman say in 1948, when he was running for president? That all of the bayonets of the U.S. Army will never be able to force Negroes into my home or my church.

So if, and what I'm hearing from Latino leaders who I've been speaking to, if this was being said, these comments were being said about any other group, African-Americans, Italian-Americans, Jewish-Americans, the entire Republican Party, the entire Democratic Party, the entire media establishment would stand up and say, "No." And yet, the feeling is, "Well, you know, how much can we get away with insulting Mexicans, Latinos--

CHUCK TODD:

But Maria, let--

MARIA HINOJOSA:

-immigrants? How much can the Republican Party actually deal with this? And for Latinos, again, what I'm hearing is this is unacceptable. This is just unacceptable that is it to a point where you can throw an entire community under the bus. Having said that--

CHUCK TODD:

Corporate America is sort of-- is hearing you. Let's look at this list. I can't read them all, because it's getting so long now. But the list of people trying to cut their ties--

MARIA HINOJOSA:

Oh, absolutely.

CHUCK TODD:

--is getting quite large.

MARIA HINOJOSA:

And if he cares about money, I mean again, if you care about money, this is where I kind of come in. I'm like, "Well, what is your real interest here? If you care about making money, you know, Carlos Slim, who we know Donald Trump does like the richest man the world, he’s Mexican, he's laughing all the way to the bank.

So I don't understand, from a smart businessman perspective, you are losing $1.5 trillion dollar market of Latinos who are saying no to Trump. And by the way, those piñatas of Trump's that are being hit by kids who are American citizens, who will soon become voters, will not forget Trump equals Republican Party equals, I don't know, will I ever vote for them?

CHUCK TODD:

Interesting. Matt Bai, you were saying that the first time you covered Donald Trump was when you saw some of those 1999 comments.

MATT BAI:

Yeah. How does--

CHUCK TODD:

That was Donald Trump the liberal.

MATT BAI:

I was in his apartment with the marble statues and the what not, we had dinner with Alec Baldwin. I remember. I mean and that was it.

CHUCK TODD:

Donald Trump and Alec Baldwin at a dinner party. That’s something else.

MATT BAI:

Acharity benefit. And he was talking about running against Pat Buchanan, who now's become, in a sense-- look, you can't think of this as a campaign. This is my thought. It's a reality show.

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

MATT BAI:

He's been doing this forever. He has no interest in governing the country. He has no plan for governing the country. He's running for one reason only, so people like us will sit around on sets like this and talk about him. And here we are, and I'm not faulting him for it, because I understand what he's saying is all real interesting. But I don't think the polls are indicative of anything other than noise. I don't think he's a serious candidate for the presidency. And I don't think there is any staying power.

CHUCK TODD:

But Arthur, I think the question is are the Republican leaders doing enough to distance themselves? Are they going to look back a year from now and say, "Boy, I should have been tougher?" Is Jeb Bush going to say, "I should have just said, 'You know, I'm not going on a debate stage with that guy?'"

ARTHUR BROOKS:

Yeah, look. I just finished a book on this subject. The truth of the matter is, unless you're an aspirational candidate, you're not going to win. The Republicans don't win if they're about anger. They win when they're about aspiration. That's a historical truth, and that's the future truth, as well. That's what their Republican candidates, need to pay attention to, they follow Donald Trump down any rabbit hole at all, they're going to pay the price.

CHUCK TODD:

But that means ignore them or condemn him?

ARTHUR BROOKS:

That means stay the course and continue to do what they're doing. Say, "Look, I do not agree. I disagree on every policy position. And here's what I am for." Pivot immediately to what you are for after saying, "I don't agree with these policy positions. I don't think it's representative of what Americans want to hear."

CHUCK TODD:

Doris, we've seen versions of Donald Trump over the years. And I just don't mean versions of this Donald Trump, but I mean, you know, a George Wallace and things like this. This does happen. And they do strike a chord.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN:

I think the important thing is not to understand the chord he's striking. But we, as journalists, have a responsibility to question is this the kind of person who could truly be a leader, a person so quick to anger, a person who yells at other people, a person who bullies, person who's loose with the facts, saying lots of things that aren't true, person who has conspiracy theories about whether Obama was born here, about vaccines, about climate change is a hoax?

I think it's too much to give him the credit that he's entertaining, and that we like what he's saying but it's interesting. We, as journalists, have a responsibility to figure out which candidates are likely to be our leaders. I remember talking with Tim Russert about this. Rather than who's got the most money, who's saying the most outrageous thing, who has the highest polls, who is likely to be a leader? They've shown qualities already. This guy has shown qualities I cannot imagine him as a presidential leader.

CHUCK TODD:

No, I don't think anybody can. I think the question is when does it implode? Anyway, all right. Back in a moment with that hack attack on the U.S. government computers. Are we losing the war on cyber security? And why you should be very concerned about this.

**Commercial Break**

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. I love technology as much as anyone: Twitter, Facebook, and of course the Meet the Press website. They're all a big part of what I do. But this week was a reminder of how our dependence on technology is leaving us vulnerable. On Wednesday, technical glitches grounded hundreds of United Airlines flights, creating travel chaos.

And on the same day, trading on the New York Stock Exchange was halted for a time when, well, gremlins struck. At least that's what we think right now. But it was Thursday's news that really has Washington worried. The Official of Personnel Management revealed the massive scale focus a hack that compromised the records of 21.5 million Americans, namely government workers, who have gone through background checks.

The next day, Katherine Archuleta, the director of OPM, resigned under pressure. While there's no official word on who carried out this colossal cyber attack. Most officials have been pointing the finger at China. So, is the U.S. losing the cyber war? My next guest, retired Major General Brett Williams is perfectly placed to offer an assessment. Until last summer, he served as the director of operations for the U.S. Cyber Command. He's now president of operations in training at Iron Net Cyber Security. General, welcome to Meet the Press.

MAJ. GEN. BRETT WILLIAMS:

Yeah, thank you very much, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, let me ask you this. What does the OPM hack say about cyber security in America today?

MAJ. GEN. BRETT WILLIAMS:

Well, I think what it said was that we haven't all realized that we're past the wake-up call stage. I

CHUCK TODD:

How times is a wake-up call? I mean--

MAJ. GEN. BRETT WILLIAMS:

Exactly.

CHUCK TODD:

How many more do we need?

MAJ. GEN. BRETT WILLIAMS:

The problem is, people are stumbling around in the dark, looking for the light switch, and there's been a guy hiding in the closet for five months who's putting on his night vision goggles and he's stealing the T.V. and jewelry and walking out the door. You know, my concern is how many of these people are already in places that we really care about they’re preparing, they're gaining the foothold, they're just waiting for the right time to conduct the next attack that we will see equally as serious as the OPM attack.

CHUCK TODD:

So this went after, I guess, why did China go here? Certainly a lot of viewers are going, "Well, if China was going after the C.I.A.'s computers or the Pentagon's computers, that would all make sense." Why OPM?

MAJ. GEN. BRETT WILLIAMS:

Well, I think that everything you've heard from the intelligence community is correct, is this is standard espionage. The fact that we can do now through cyber space makes it somewhat easier, makes it harder to get attribution, that we can Hoover up a lot more records. We can collect a lot more things.

So I think it is pure espionage. Because there's been no evidence so far that any of this information has shown up in-- and I call it the black market that you see on the internet. So it is more than likely an espionage type of action. And now they'll go back and they'll cull through those records. And like any other intelligence agency, they'll figure out how to use that information in order to further their own objectives.

CHUCK TODD:

If this was an attack by China, should we retaliate?

MAJ. GEN. BRETT WILLIAMS:

We need to put this in the context of our national security policy as it relates to China. And national security policy, I think, was difficult before we had cyberspace. And now cyberspace has made it even more difficult.

And from my experience in the government, that what I saw is we're struggling to figure out how does this cyber activity fit in with the rest of our elements of national power, if you will. And we haven't quite figured it out. There's a tendency to say, "I was attacked in cyberspace, I have to respond in cyberspace." And I don't think that's the right approach. We have to look at all the tools the government has available.

CHUCK TODD:

And let's not be naive here. The United States conducts its own cyber espionage, does it not?

MAJ. GEN. BRETT WILLIAMS:

I think you would expect your government to be--

CHUCK TODD:

Not to make you--

MAJ. GEN. BRETT WILLIAMS:

against a country who may have opposing goals. So I think you would expect the United States to cover a variety of intelligence activities. And they're certainly going to use the means that are most effective.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, watching the last three days, and the requisite sort of Washington firing of the person in charge of OPM, is it really on her? Or do we have a government-wide issue here where we have I.T. problems of different sizes all over the government?

MAJ. GEN. BRETT WILLIAMS:

Let me say first, and I don't know if it's my military experience, but I do think the leader of an organization at that level is accountable, given what I've read in the media about the warning flags and the reports and that sort of thing. But when you think about the failure, let's take it above the I.T. level.

And I would character the failure-- in these two respects. So it's poor risk assessment, and then it's a lack of will to do what needs to be done. And what I mean by that is basic risk assessment is, "I'm going to determine what's the probability that a bad thing will happen to me?" And then, if it does happen, what's it going to cost? How severe is it going to be? And I think we continue to underestimate the probability that I'll be hacked, and underestimate how bad it's going to be, how much it's going to cost. And then even if we do that, there's a lack of will to make really hard decisions about making ourselves more secure.

CHUCK TODD:

Is it financial? Is that what it is? It seems as if we never like to spend money for preparation. We only like to spend money to fix.

MAJ. GEN. BRETT WILLIAMS:

There's an element of that. And, you know, when I was working on the air force budget, I was taught never to say, "We have enough money." But I think that that's not the primary thing that's the problem. I think it's these two things. I think it's, one, we don't spend the money that we have in the right place.

After there's a big hack, there's a tendency to go throw a bunch of money at the problem. And you end up with a bunch of single point solutions that have already been proven not to work. And so we've got to get to the next generation of security.

And then the second thing that we've got to do is we've got to get people that are at the C-suite boardroom level commensurate same position in the federal government, who understand enough about cyber security and enough about business so they can make the tough business tradeoffs that have to be made in order to make us more secure.

CHUCK TODD:

You've got a cyber security summit at the White House. Plenty of members of Congress have sounded the alarm bell. And yet, there isn't a cohesive strategy.

MAJ. GEN. BRETT WILLIAMS:

Like I said, the lights are on. We've got to get past the talking stage. And there's two things that I think-- well, there's one big thing that I would do if I had the option. I call it the stealth fighter thing. When we first flew the F-117 stealth fighter in 1981, we jumped 15 years ahead of the air defenses.

So what we need is that public/private consortium, that Manhattan-like Project that is figuring out how does the federal government, how do the critical components of our private sector, how can they operate in the internet with a level of security that we expect? And you see projects at DARPA and the National labs. But I don't see that really concerted effort. And hopefully it doesn't take the power grid going down for ten days, or the F.A.A. going down for ten days, before we are willing to put that kind of effort.

CHUCK TODD:

I have to say that was the sort of nightmare scenario we all felt for a few minutes last week between the New York Stock Exchange and all that. General Williams, thanks for coming in and trying to explain this to us. It sounds like we've got a long way to go.

MAJ. GEN. BRETT WILLIAMS:

Thanks very much, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

You got it. All right, this book by Ted Cruz sold more copies in its first week than any other nonfiction book. So why is it not on this list, the New York Times Bestseller list? Ted Cruz has a theory. I'll tell you about it after the break.

**Commercial Break**

CHUCK TODD:

Well, if you follow politics, you know there are lots of ways for candidates to measure success. One of them is how well their books are selling, books they may or may not have written themselves to introduce themselves to a public that may or may not care. As you can see here, we have a whole bunch of books here for the 2016 book primary.

So how are they doing? Well, Ben Carson

s latest book has proven to be the biggest of winners with 363,000 hardcover copies sold, according to Nielson. That's not a typo. Americans seem to heart Huckabee, as well. Mike Huckabee has sold nearly 66,000 copies of his book.

But not all these presidential candidates are doing well. Marco Rubio and Jim Webb, both Rubio and Webb have sold only 8,000 copies each of those memoirs. Which brings us to Ted Cruz. This book here, A Time For Truth, sold nearly 12,000 copies in its first week alone, more than all but two nonfiction books, political or otherwise.

So it should put him at the top of the all-important New York Times Bestseller List, right? Wrong. Try to find it this morning. The Times conspicuously omitted it, claiming sales of Cruz book, quote, "Were limited to strategic bulk purchases." Cruz's publisher Harper Collins says The Times is wrong. They claim they were no bulk purchases at all.

Cruz's campaign has its own idea of what's behind The Times's decision, suggesting it was, quote, "A naked fabrication designed to cover up your partisan agenda." I'm not sure that's going to help Ted Cruz get on The New York Times Bestseller List, or get The Times' endorsement. Then again, I'm not sure Cruz thought he was going to get The Times endorsement. Coming up, the latest on those Iran nuclear talks. And then a look at the Republican candidate with a big edge that no one else has.

**Commercial break**

CHUCK TODD:

And now to what seems like the endless saga that is the Iran nuclear negotiations. At the grinding talks in Vienna, the latest deadline for a deal is Monday. It's the third extension in two weeks. And it seems the key sticking point, is a dispute over lifting the international embargo against selling conventional weapons to Iran. Joining me now is the chairman of the Senator Foreign Relations Committee, Republican from Tennessee, Bob Corker. Senator Corker, welcome back to Meet the Press.

SEN. BOB CORKER:

Chuck, good to be with you. Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, you are perhaps the single most important lawmaker when it comes to giving a thumbs up or a thumbs down on a deal. There's plenty of reports the expectation is some provisional deal is-- getting close to be agreed to and announced tomorrow. Are you feeling better today than you did last week about Secretary Kerry as a negotiator?

SEN. BOB CORKER:

Well Chuck, it’s no.

CHUCK TODD:

Okay.

SEN. BOB CORKER:

I went over to the White House on Thursday night and had an update. But no, I mean I think we've been on a downward trend for some time. We really crossed the Rubicon when we went from during the beginning to dismantling their program to agreeing to enrichment. We've moved towards management their proliferation. And there are some key issues that remain that I hope we will hold firm to. We've got to ensure that this is verifiable, that we have any time, anywhere inspections.

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

SEN. BOB CORKER:

That they are accountable, that we know what their previous military dimensions were, we have access to all of their scientists. We know they were building a bomb. We just want to know how far they got in previous efforts. And then thirdly, we need to make sure it's enforceable.

You know, likely, Iran will cheat by inches, meaning they will just cheat, cheat, cheat. And over time, it's like boiling an egg. They end up with a nuclear weapon. So what are the repercussions for that? Obviously, there are other elements that are being brought in at this time.

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

SEN. BOB CORKER:

I'm glad that they are taking their time, because I believe the deadline was actually working to Iran's advantage. They started throwing in other elements.

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

SEN. BOB CORKER:

But, no, I'm concerned about where we're going.

CHUCK TODD:

So it doesn't sound like that a deal that they come up with, and I know you don't want to pre-judge what's in there. But from everything you seem to understand, it doesn't sound like you can support this deal. And if you can't support this deal, I don't see how this gets through the Senate.

SEN. BOB CORKER:

Yeah. Yeah well, Chuck, so look. Part of what we do here is that not is to try to stiffen the negotiators. And we try to point out those areas that are not yet agreed to, and to try to get them not to cross those red lines. Actually, I think we've been fairly effective. Other groups like The Washington Institute had done the same, a bipartisan group, the people saying, "Look, we've really changed the way we've gone about this hugely by moving to managed proliferation."

But these qualitative issues here at the end really matter. And so Chuck, what I think you're going to see is people in the House really looking at how they manage these last issues. Obviously, we want to go through the agreement in whole. We haven't seen-- for instance, there's an Iranian nuclear development program. We know that it's been agreed to.

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

SEN. BOB CORKER:

But we don't know exactly what it says. We believe that it industrializes their program after year ten. But again, I want to see the agreement. I think I've been an honest broker in this from day one. And certainly we plan to go through it in great detail.

CHUCK TODD:

So I guess my only question is so let's say you guys reject the deal in Congress. But the other five power, you know, this has been with the P5 plus one, as we say, the world powers plus Germany. If the rest of the countries have agreed to this deal and lowering their sanctions, how effective is it for the United States to be the one country to backtrack?

SEN. BOB CORKER:

Yeah, well I understand what's going to happen. The world's eyes are going to be on Congress once this comes over. But look, we have responsibilities to carry out. I think the fact that we've inserted ourselves, as you know, we had no power to intervene. The president had national security waivers where he could go straight to the U.N. Security Council.

We injected ourselves into this. I think that that has helped the process. But at the end of the day, I think people understand that, if this is a bad deal that is going to allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon, they would own this deal if they voted for it. And so they'll want to disapprove it.

On the other hand, if we feel like we're better off with it, people will look to approve. But I think, at the end of the day, people are going to vote their conscience. I don't think they're going to worry about what the other nations are doing. And as a matter of fact, it's my sense that it's our nation that has pushed harder than the other Western nations to try to get this done.

I realize Russia and China are going to be tough to hold. Obviously, one of the key ingredients is keeping the international community together with these sanctions. But we understand the position we're going to be in. But I think that, by inserting ourselves in the way that we have, we've helped the process. We've helped to do everything we can to stiffen the backs of our negotiators.

CHUCK TODD:

By the way, you just brought up Russia. And the President's pick to be the incoming, the next chairman of the joint chiefs, General Dunford, he said, without hesitation when asked by Joe Manchin, he said that Russia was our greatest national security threat. Did that surprise you?

SEN. BOB CORKER:

You know, really, it's interesting. Our nominee, Mitt Romney, said the same thing during his last campaign. And people made fun of him for doing so. And then we have Russia now destabilizing 70 years of European policy, where it will be whole, democratic and free.

Russia is a problem. There's no question. They do not agree to international norms. They are obviously a concern in the Baltics right now. We're having to rebuild N.A.T.O. really because of our concerns about them. I don't think it's-- they're certainly a threat to world peace, there's no question. What's the greatest threat? We have so many of them that we're dealing with right now, Chuck, I do not want to say they're the greatest.

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

SEN. BOB CORKER:

We have the South China Sea, we've got ISIS, which I don't think is that kind of threat. We have this issue with Iran. There are numbers of issues around the world that are very important to the safety of our citizens.

CHUCK TODD:

You're no shrinking violet, so I'm going to ask you this last question. Donald Trump, what's he doing to the Republican Party?

SEN. BOB CORKER:

You know, Chuck, we've got four people in the Senate running. We've got a lot of governors and friends running around the country. If I start responding to every foreign policy statement that's made my candidates, or other statements, you know, it kind of diminishes my ability to carry out our work.

I want our committee to be the north star, if you will, in laying out policies that are great for our nation. And I hope that candidates will move towards those, because I believe when people run for office, they generally try to do what they say. I'm going to keep my focus on trying to make sure we carry out great foreign policy for our nation, and let the candidates discuss the issues as they wish. But thank you for asking me the question.

CHUCK TODD:

I can put you down as a "no comment" on Donald Trump?

SEN. BOB CORKER:

You can put me down as a-- I'm not going to be wandering all over the place relative to responding to comments that candidates are making. But it ought to be an interesting primary. I know you all are enjoying it very much.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Senator. Senator Corker, thanks for your time. And I'm sure we're going to see a lot of you this week as the deal comes through.

SEN. BOB CORKER:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. By the way, a reminder, if you don't have a chance to watch Meet the Press live, don't despair. It's always available on demand. So even if it's not Sunday, it's Meet the Press. We'll be back in 45 seconds, I swear, with our End Game segment, and the Republican who's not even in the race yet may have a distinct advantage over all of his Republican opponents, and Hillary Clinton.

**Commercial Break**

CHUCK TODD:

We're going to begin our End Game segment with some nerd screen time. And today it's all about the importance of the Midwest to winning the White House and why Scott Walker, who enters the race officially tomorrow, has a potential geographic advantage because he's from Wisconsin.

In fact, take a look at the 2012 map. Fairly typical of the blue/red divide. While Democrats dominate the east and the west and Republicans rule most of the south and the plains, it's these states up here in the Midwest that have been blue lately that are critical to the Republican hope. In fact, take a look at this.

These seven states in the Midwest are prime real estate. Collectively, they hold 91 electoral votes. Candidate Barack Obama from Illinois won all seven of these states in 2008. It's the old Big Ten, by the way. And all but Indiana in 2012. In fact, Indiana is the only state of these seven that consistently has gone red since '92. The only exception, of course, was 2008.

Now, the other states, in the past six presidential elections, had 36 states contests. Democrats have won them 33 times. The Republicans only three. And prior to 1992, it was Republicans that dominated these old Big Ten Midwestern states. So if Walker is able to secure the nomination, he would be the first so-called Big Ten Republican nominee since Gerald Ford. And guess what he did? Gerald Ford won a majority of the electoral votes in this region.

And in fact, even Walker's hopes of getting the nomination rest on neighboring Midwestern states including, well, you know it, Iowa. Lose there, and his candidacy may be done. Win there, and he could be taking off.

CHUCK TODD:

So let's bring in the panel. Scott Walker does announce tomorrow. In fact, let me show kind of a neat little thing. We think we can already preview his announcement speech. We were able to put together a whole bunch of tape from events he's done over the last three months. So here's a little taste of what we think his announcement speech is going to sound like tomorrow.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER:

Because I ran in a place we can do business with. As a kid, I can remember tying yellow ribbons around our tree out front. Because for 444 days, Iran held Americans hostage.

CHUCK TODD:

That's just a little taste. You can actually see this whole thing. And it really is what we think is taking a stump speech and putting it together and seeing if we can do that. Scott Walker, Matt Bai, the forgotten frontrunner, I've been calling him. Because he's still the frontrunner.

MATT BAI:

You should put some rap music to that. You know, yeah, we talked about this before. Look, and this Midwestern question is really interesting. That strain of Republicanism in the Midwest was your moderate pro-civil rights Everett Dirksen Republicans. The reason it went away

CHUCK TODD:

Everett Dirksen, Gerald Ford too.

MATT BAI:

That part of the Republican Party went away. I don't think Scott Walker necessarily speaks to that Republicanism because he's been so much an instrument of the base of his party since coming to office. On the other hand, you have John Kasich, who apparently is also getting in the race, the governor of Ohio, who had very much been in that John Boehner strain of Ohio Republican politics, who has had dealt with a very diversified economy, a very industrial state, and has had a lot of success. And I think, in some ways, he is better suited to tap into that lingering Republican strain in the Midwest than Walker might be.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, let me to go to Mr. Conservative Heart over there, who--

ARTHUR BROOKS:

Right.

CHUCK TODD:

of a Kasich and a Walker, who is governing with a conservative heart, I think John Kasich brings up his heart a lot.

ARTHUR BROOKS:

Yeah, he does. He talks about it a lot.

CHUCK TODD:

Others, Scott Walker, almost mocks Kasich for some of his lines.

ARTHUR BROOKS:

Yeah. And Scott Walker has been really notoriously tough in taking on the public sector unions. His strength is going to be, by the way, pivoting to these affairs of the heart, actually.

And I saw him the other day in Denver. We were both speakers at The Conservative Western Summit. And, you know, he gave a speech that was fighting against a lot of different things, which is what people do for activists. But at the end, he kind of had a coda that was pretty interesting. He said, "You know what? I'm an optimist about America. I think our best years really are before us.” It's not the parade of horribles, the pessimism and division of the Obama years, which really have characterized the last seven years, in my view. And the natural tendency is to react to that with more pessimism and division.

But he pivoted to this optimistic kind of unifying expression of what he thought the future could look like. I thought, "Huh. Then I want 30 minutes of that." And so he basically, as the toughest governor, somebody who's done a lot of things the conservatives like, can now pivot to say, "And here's what the better future looks like. When I'm going to fight for all the people who have been left behind." He could do really a lot of good.

CHUCK TODD:

Maria, what do you make of Walker?

MARIA HINOJOSA:

Well, a Chicago girl myself.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah.

MARIA HINOJOSA:

And I know what changing demographics look like in the Midwest. And I actually think that the Midwest often leads the conversation on central issues, certainly on the conversation on immigration. But since what we've seen today, that there has been-- and you just gave an opportunity to Senator Corker to do this, to distance himself from Trump and those statements.

So if Scott Walker really wants to be viable with this demographic, why doesn't he take this moment to just say, "And I'm announcing, and I am saying, unequivocally, I abhor these statements." And by the way, just because, I think this would be a moment for Hillary Clinton or O'Malley to also do it. It is a moment when, if you want to lock in the Latino electorate, which you cannot win the race without that electorate, what are they waiting for?

Both the Republicans and the Democrats, to stand up and say, "I am here with you, you are my people, and I want you to vote for me," they could lock it in. And the fact that it's not happened is kind of amazing to me.

CHUCK TODD:

Scott Walker, Doris? I am curious. He is trying to break a stranglehold here. There's all these national names, the national candidates. And he became a little bit of a national name because he got recalled and went after the unions. But he successfully won. Could you see him get the nomination?

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN:

Well, he seems to have a strategic sense, having read about him, that he's worked it out in his mind. "I do Iowa, I do this." He's his own strategy. The problem, I think, is I've heard his major speech or the piece of the stump which is individualism will get you where you need to go in this country.

And I think what Republicans and Democrats both have to agree on, that mobility isn't fair anymore. It's not working. It's family structure. It's neighborhood. It's education, whether or not you rise from that bottom quintile up to the top. So the old idea that individual hard work is going to get you to the top of the ladder has to be softened now. And I'm not sure that that's where he's at.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, actually, we almost could have had that interesting debate this week between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. Jeb Bush was talking and he got taken out of context. I think I know what he meant.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN:

Right.

CHUCK TODD:

He said people are going to work longer hours-- about a lot of part time workers. But it actually made the whole-- I think we're going to hear Hillary Clinton tomorrow. The case is it wage stagnation, or is it something else in the economy?

ARTHUR BROOKS:

Hmm. That's an interesting contrast.

CHUCK TODD:

It’s a great debate. And it's the one we should be having.

MATT BAI:

And not this debate over what Jeb Bush--Because obviously it was taken out of context. And we do know what he meant. And there is a more substantive debate to be had.

CHUCK TODD:

And we will hopefully have that substantive debate as we go on next week and beyond. Thank you all. A great panel, a great show. That's all for today. We'll be back next week, because if it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.