tv Meet the Press NBC April 3, 2017 3:00am-4:01am PDT
his health care defeat cook on the republican freedom caucus in the house and the democrats who put together actually compromised a majority of the house. the president referred to the escalating russia crisis as a witch-hunt. mike flynn asked for immunity from prosecution to tell what he knows about campaign ties to russia. and the senate intelligence committee has rejected that request so far. then there's the house intelligence committee chairman, devin nunes who softened his denials about the white house's involvement in the discredited wiretapping claims. there was one moment that best characterizes the week it came when white house press secretary sean spicer gave this answer to cbs' major garrett who asked how the information about alleged surveillance was handled. >> you told us that you're willing to look in to and ask -- and provide us answers -- >> no no no. don't please don't put words in my mouth.
i never said i'd provide answers but i'd look into it. >> it looks like the presidency is on an unsustainable trajectory. >> nobody ever told me that politics was going to be so much fun. >> donald trump is a president in crisis. his governing agenda is going nowhere, his credibility shattered with many. his public approval is mired in the 30s and 40s and the russia crisis is not persuading even republicans he can bounce back. on friday morning, he intervened into ties between his campaign and russia. tweeting of his former national security adviser, mike flynn should ask for immunity in that this this is a witch-hunt. a top republican was quick to tron tra contradict the president. >> no, it's not a witch-hunt.
it's mysterious why general flynn is saying he wants immunity. >> both flynn and mr. trump said that immunity from prosecution indicates guilt. >> when you are given immunity that moon that means you probably committed a crime. >> if you're not guilty, that do you need immunity for? >> flynn said himself if you want immunity you must be guilty. >> and by friday afternoon the white house was frying to soften mr. trump's statement. >> he believes that mike flynn should go testify. >> with immunity? >> that's up to him and his lawyer to decide. >> also changing the story on whether the white house was involved in helping republican house intelligence chair devin nunes view classified documents to attend to prove trump aides were incidentally swept up in surveillance. on monday -- >> did you meet with the president or aides while there that night? >> no. no, in fact, i'm quite sure that i think people in the west wing had no idea i was there. >> but by friday -- >> there are people that knew about this, knew about me being
there. but the fact of the matter is that isn't making the source of the information. >> "the new york times" and "washington post" have named three white house officials who may have been involved. >> nunes, the house, they're off in a ditch. i don't know where -- who invited him to look at the evidence in the white house. all i can say is why do you show it to the chairman of the intel committee if you've got it yourself? >> then there's the president and his fight with house conservatives. on thursday, he lashed out at members of his own party tweeting, the freedom caucus will hurt the entire republican agenda if they don't get on the team and fast. we must fight them. those conservatives are hitting back. >> i mean, it's constructive in fifth grade. >> a guy who said he was going to d.c. to drain the swamp now we have the creature from the black lagoon in the white house. >> joining me right now is republican mitch mcconnell of kentucky. we have a lot to get to. supreme court and heldalth care.
welcome back to "meet the press." >> good morning, chuck. >> the president has used the following phrases to describe the russia investigation. fake news. nonsense. phony. total scam. do you believe any of those phrases apply to the russia investigation? >> yeah, let me just say in the midst of all of this and listening to your introductory piece this morning two things you can depend on. the senate intelligence committee under chairman burr and ranking member mark warner are going to have an investigation. they're in the middle of it. they'll handle it on a bipartisan basis. they'll go wherever the facts lead us. and i hope at the end we'll have a bipartisan report. the other thing we know is happening is the fbi's looking in to these allegations in rather unusual announcement they have indicated that they are and so in the middle of the other things that are swirling around there are two things you can depend on. the senate intelligence committee's bipartisan investigation and of course the fbi conducting a criminal
investigation. >> are you concerned speaking of the house and you saw senator lindsey graham or heard him say, they're off in a ditch somewhere. senator feinstein is concerned what's happening over in the house that she expressed by the way the same support for this house -- for the senate intelligence investigation you're doing but she's worried that the house mess is going to put a stain on the senate investigation. how concerned are you about that? >> i think the opposite. it's pretty clear the contrast -- it's pretty clear the contrast here. the senate committee burr and warner, had a joint press conference last week. they basically locked arms and said we're going to go wherever the facts taos. i think the american people can depend on the senate intelligence committee investigation to be done on a bipartisan basis and to go wherever the facts lead us. >> so basically what you're saying is that the president's description of this investigation is fake news,
nonsense phony, total scam those are phrases he's used since he became president on this, they don't apply as far as you're concerned? >> i'm not characterizing what the president is saying. what i'm telling the american people is they can depend on the senate intelligence committee to a credible bipartisan investigation and tell us where the facts led them. >> have you seen any evidence -- you're part of this -- there's a lot of gangs when it comes to describing members of the u.s. senate. there is a gang of eight and you're a member of one of these gangs that gets high level classified intelligence briefings. the same ones that the intelligence committee chairs get. you're one of those folks that get it. have you gotten any intelligence information that indicates the obama administration somehow applied -- asked for surveillance of the trump transition, the trump team. any trump associates? >> no. >> under nothing -- not even a hint of this, not anything? >> well, not yet.
>> do you believe that these allegations are worthy of investigation that the president has made or that they're -- they're a side track? >> i don't know how many times i have to say it the committee is going to conduct this investigation. you asked me if i knew anything about alleged wiretapping by the previous president and the answer is no. >> have you ever received intelligence briefings that are classified like that on the grounds of the white house? >> have i? >> yes. >> no. >> is that -- so that's not a common practice that any of the gang of eight be brought to the white house -- >> i really didn't -- i don't know what a common practice is. you asked if i had and the answer is no. >> are you concerned that the president himself is too consumed with the russia story? >> i think we ought to be talking about what the president's doing. which is really the right thing to do. we're in the middle of a degree regulatory effort to get the economy goggin.
we're going to confirm an incredible supreme court nominee later this week and do comprehensive tax reform. we are doing a lot of things that the country needs. i think we'd be better off including the president talking about what we're trying to accomplish for the american people. >> i want to ask you something that peggy noonan wrote, conservative columnist for the washington journal. maybe the mad boy king of north korea will decide if it's a day to see if his missiles can hit los angeles, crisis reveals the character. 70 days in that is my worry. it's a column that she's concerned that this white house is not prepared to handle a major crisis. are you concerned? >> no i'm not. i think general mattis and mike pompeo, the whole national security team the secretary of state are well qualified to handle this and give the president the best possible advice. this is a tough problem.
i read that president obama said to incoming president trump this will be the biggest international problem you'll have. we all recognize that. >> let's move to the supreme court. there is clearly a debate and a fight about hueow supreme court justices are confirmed or handled. do you have any regrets on how you treated merrick garland last year? >> no. the tradition had been not to confirm vacancies created in the middle of a presidential year. you'd have go back to 80 years to find the last time that happened, go back to the 1880s to find the last time it happened before that. everyone knew including president obama's former white house council that if the shoe had been on the other foot they wouldn't have filled a republican president's vacancy in the middle of a supreme court -- in the middle of a presidential election. so that clearly wasn't going to happen. even if the roles were reversed. >> i understand that. but if that was the rationale that was a rationale to vote against his confirmation. why not put him up for a vote?
that is -- look any senator can have a rationale not to vote for a confirmation. why not put merrick garland on the floor and if the rationale is you know what, too close to an election vote no. >> look, we litigated that last year. the american people decided they wanted donald trump to make the nomination not hillary clinton. what's before us now, chuck, is not what happened last year but the qualifications of neil gorsuch. unanimously well qualified by the american bar association. 99% of the time in the majority, 97% of his opinions were unanimous. only one time reversed by the supreme court. there's no rational basis, no principled reason for voting against neil gorsuch. that's what's before the senate this week. >> you say it's been lit gaited last year the garland situation. for a lot of senate democrats they're not done litigating this including someone like tom carper, a democratic senator who is not comfortable with the idea of filibustering, but believes
that garland was mistreedated. again, what was wrong with allowing merrick garland to have an up or down vote? >> i already told you you don't fill the supreme court vacancies in the middle of the presidential -- that's what john biden said -- >> should that be the policy going forward? are you prepared to passion a resolution that says in an election year, any supreme court vacancy and have it to be the sense of a senate resolution that say no supreme court nominations will be considered in any even numbered year? is that where we're headed? >> chuck with all due respect that's an absurd question. we were right in the middle of the presidential election year. everybody knew that neither side had the -- had the shoe been on the foot would have filled it, but that has nothing to do with what we're voting on this year. why don't we talk about what we're voting on this week and that's this extraordinarily well qualified nominee for the u.s. supreme court. >> i understand that. but i go back to we're about to
go in the situation where there's going to be this extra level of fill buzzer. let me ask you about that. do you have the votes to change the rules among republicans? do you have all 52 republicans ready to stand behind you if the democrats filibuster gorsuch, you have the votes to change the rules? >> i can tell you that neil gorsuch will be confirmed this week. how that happens really depends on our democratic friends. how many of them are willing to oppose cloture on a partisan basis to kill a supreme court nominee. never happened before in history, in the whole history of the country. in fact, filler busting judges was started by your next guest, senator schumer, after george bush 43 got elected president. we didn't used to do this. clarence thomas was confirmed 52-48 the most controversial supreme court nominee in history. and not a single senator said he has to get 60 votes. >> you're somebody though that was very concerned when this rule was changed by harry reid
for judges below supreme court. if you regret what harry reid did, why continue down this slippery slope? >> well, i think breaking the rules of the senate to change the rules of the senate which is what was done in 2013 was terrible for the senate. but when we came to the majority a year and a half later we discussed this. about whether or not to restore the old -- the old system. and we decided not to do it because the custom even though it was possible to filibuster judges, the custom down to 2000 was not to do do it. the senate restrained itself and gave reef supreme court nominee an up or down vote. down to 2000. so this recent invention of this level of controversy we decided was best left alone by just leaving us where we were -- >> so you now believe harry reid make the right decision? >> no, i don't think he should have broken the rules to change the rules of the senate but
that's the precedent. that's the precedent now they set on what we call the executive calendar. and the supreme court is part of the executive calendar. >> are you comfortable in ten years we might not have a filibuster anymore because someone else may replace you and continue down the slippery slope? >> i don't think the legislative filibuster is in danger. it's a long standing tradition of the senate and filibustering judges is quite new, all begun by the current democratic leader and you should ask him about that when he's on your show. >> well that is my plan right now. senator mitch mcconnell republican from kentucky, thank you for coming on, sir. sharing yourviews, i appreciate it. well, as introduced by senator mcconnell his democratic colleague across the aisle, senator schumer of new york. >> good morning hi, mitch. >> let me say this. let me start this way. you expressed regret earl yessieryesier for the rule changes made on
judges in 2013. why did you go along with it if you regret doing it? >> well let's look at the history. our republican colleagues had been holding back on just about all of so many lower court judges including very important d.c. circuit. i went to lamar alexander one of my dear friends in senate and it said if you keep holing back on scores and scores of judges my side will want to change the rules. go to mitch and tell us to have votes on a few of those many of whom had gotten bipartisan support and the answer was no and we changed the rules. but the one thing that stands out here, we did not change it for supreme court for one very important reason. and that is on the most important of decisions, 60 votes is called for. that's why you get a mainstream that's how you get a mainstream justice. mitch calls it a filibuster. we call it the 60 votes standard. most americans believe in the 60 vote standard.
>> but senator -- that's fine but there is no rule that says that it has to be 60 votes. there's no part of advice and consent that says it has to be 60 votes and in fact, there are two members of the supreme court court right now that did not get 60 votes. sam alito and clarence thomas. >> actually thomas is the only one because when the filibuster came up with alito, there was 72 votes to go forward. so there's just one, just about every nominee gets 60 votes. because in the past, presidents have actually consulted the other side before picking someone. in this case, donald trump consulted the heritage foundation. the federalist society, hard right groups with extreme special interests oriented views and it didn't leave much chance for compromise. >> heidi why camp she came out in favor of gorsuch and in favor of cloture. she didn't like the way that garland was treated but she
ended her statement by saying two wrongs don't make a right. why not give neil gorsuch an up or down vote? >> let me make a proposal to make break this problem -- to maybe break this problem that we have, okay? it looks like gorsuch will not reach the 60 vote margin. so instead of changing the rules which is up to mitch mcconnell and the republican majority, why doesn't president trump, democrats and republicans in the senate sit down and try to come up with a mainstream nominee? look when a nominee doesn't get 60 votes you shouldn't change the rules. you should change the nominee and let's just -- give me one minute here because this is important. let's look at the history, okay? our nominee was merrick garland. mitch mcconnell broke 230 years of precedent and didn't call him up for a vote. it wasn't in the middle of an election campaign, it was march.
second then, now we -- looks like we have the 60 -- the votes to prevent gorsuch from getting on. now, that doesn't mean you have to change the rules. each side didn't get their nominee. let's sit down and come together together. our republican friends are acting like you know they're a cat on the top of a tree. and they have to jump off with all of the damage that entails. come back off the freetree, sit down and work with us and we'll produce a mainstream nominee. it will be -- one more point. >> hang on here. >> it will be a republican nominee but remember democrats voted for roberts and alito and he got both of them -- both got to 60 votes. >> but there are two democrats for neil gorsuch so there already is a barn -- bipartisan majority that support him. two is two. it's more than zero. for what it's worth. >> yes. >> but why should senator mcconnell work with you guys on this when you changed the rules
first? when you decided to do this and again a change that you yourself said this week and two months ago that you regret and it was a mistake. >> we never -- but i don't regret not changing it for the supreme court. let me read you a quote of mr. mcconnell. you like the put up quotes. he said i think we can stipulate and my good friends on the other side of the aisle stipulated from time to time over the years when they were in the minority that in the senate it takes 60 votes on controversial matters. that has been the tradition of the senate for a long time. this is nothing new. >> then why did you change the rules in the first place? i go back to this because now we're going down the slippery slope and everybody has hypocrisy on their side to point the finger. but you guys are hand in hand sliding down this slope. tell me this in ten years do you think the filibuster will still be alive -- >> yes. that's one of the few things that my dear friend mitch said on the show that i agree with. i don't think there's any first to change the legislative rules. 60 votes for that.
most democrats and most republicans have served in both the minority and majority and know what it means. but why not -- you know, you can do a lot of finger pointing. each side has some right here. let's stop this now. and the way to stop it is the way i mentioned. you know, other presidents have consulted the other side. president clinton wanted bruce babbitt. he called orrin hatch and he said no, why don't you pick breyer or ginsburg and he did. president obama called people about garland. all trump consulted was the hard right federalist society and "the new york times" and "the washington post," one said he'd be the second most conservative justice on the court, only short of thomas. the other, the post said he'd be the most conservative. this is not a mainstream choice. he's way far over. >> senator, what makes you think that president trump let's say you get your wish and he says okay, merrick garland for neil
gorsuch fine. everybody got to kill a supreme court nominee, we move on. you get your wish. do you think he'll nominate someone more moderate than gorsuch that he doesn't nominate another conservative and says, look, we gave you one shot at this. you've got your shot. now he's another perhaps even more conservative potential justice? >> as you have noted and i have noted, most of the nominees get 60 votes. the last four nominees, two by president bush, alito and roberts, two by president obama. each got votes from the other side. that's the norm. but when you have the federalist society and the heritage foundation have a veto power over who you choose, you won't get bipartisanship. >> everybody has interest groups on their side. >> no. >> that does these things. >> no no no. >> final question. do you have the votes -- do you have the votes to filibuster neil gorsuch, do you have it? >> look, what happened was that when gorsuch refused to answer
the most rudimentary questions in the hearings after there were many doubts about him to begin with he wouldn't even answer whether he supported brown v. boards, there was a seismic change in the caucus and it's highly unlikely he'll get 60 that's right. >> senator schumer i leave it there. it will be a lively week and we'll be watching. thank you for coming on and sharing your views. when we come back, fake news and the president's tw ♪ (music plays throughout) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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i can be more active. ask your doctor about lyrica. welcome back. panelists here, robert draper, writer at large for "the new york times" magazine where he has the cover story. amy walter, my newest colleague, greta van susteren not so new anymore. and good to see you. gene robinson, column -- eugene robinson columnist for "the washington post." let's start with the trump presidency. where are we in this? and at 70 days in it may seem extreme to be passing judgment about how concern folks are, but where are we? >> if i were a house republican i'd be nervous. i'd be thinking what does it mean for me in the midterm election. chuck, and i have covered a lot
of midterm elections and they all start the same way. or they all end the same way which is a president who has a decent approval rating among his party but not energized. in this case we have a party that's fighting amongst itself. that depresses enthusiasm from the party. independents abandoned the president and his party. the president right now has a 33% approval rating with independents. that's the same place where bush, clinton and obama were when they lost the house. and the other side is fired up. when you look at the strong disapproval versus the strong approval rating it's a two to one advantage for strong disapproval. democrats are fired up. republicans are sort of oh they still like him, but not as energized. independents are abandoning him. there are only 24 seats that democrats need to take over the house. if -- really, if i were a house republican i would be very, very nervous about where this goes. >> 70 days in, robert. >> yeah, i would not yet call it a presidency in crisis.
we should not at war the economy is still recovering. there's one person in charge of the executive branch and everyone around the world knows who that one person is. it's an anxious presidency and a struggling presidency and to me, the question has always been can this man who succeeded so well in new york as his own boss bring those rules to the washington ecosystem and the telling moment for me was a week ago last thursday when trump dispatched his director of office of management and budget mulvaney to say to the house republicans, we are done negotiating. we are leaving the table in essence. what they failed to recognize was that the house freedom caucus had already left the table. so it is a different series at play here for the term presidency. >> you know what i agree with the thing you're saying but i think it's early. i think it's still early. it sounds horrible and terrible and if the gdp is up around 4% by the time of all midterms, all bets are off because now we have money to fund things.
it sounds horrible if the election were today, but a lot can happen. >> you're right, it is early. we are drifting toward greater involvement in the war in yemen in the war in syria. you know, so events can play on both sides of that scale. and meanwhile, inside the white house you have this sort of court of the bourgas situation, bannon and kushner and gary cohen in quotes it's not conducive to governance. look a what's happened. >> bill clinton compartmentalized his scandals. he did that. probably sees as much as trump sees. granted there's no twitter then. but when -- it seems like president trump can't compartmentalize russia. >> it's like he's taken everything and shaken us and put
us in a cage and rattled us whether it's health care, russia, flynn and we're trying to sort it out. he's shaking us. >> he has a bona fide legislative agenda and the problem is he diverts us from all of that by talking about the fake news. by talking about you know, how people are conducting a witch-hunt. we'll get later to the merits of whether or not this is a witch-hunt. but the point is that when even people on the hill are trying to focus on his legislative agenda me -- he undercuts that. >> can you imagine if he says i'll let the process play out i don't think this is right or fair, but the process is going to play out and here's what i'm going to focus on -- the economy, jobs what i ran on. pushing a legislative agenda. that would be amazing. >> what you said is fake news. it's not iffing to happen. you're right, it's not going to happen. that's a not who he is. >> another problem this showed up in your piece. he does not instill fear in this town. and he did instill fear in this
town before he took the office. it's eroding away. by the way, a president needs a little bit of that if you want to get something done. >> there's the president and then there's the media. he's totally alienated the media. that's why there's no fear because everybody knows that the next news organization is going to support when youhe goes after you and insults you. >> amy wrote about this, the house freedom caucus, conservative republicans know their district better than president trump does. steve bannon and president trump were of the belief that they understand what the voters are after more but in fact many of the people carried their districts by wider margins than the president himself did. >> that's one of the fundamental problems. the democrats are excited and base their base is so enthused. president trump has been great for enthusiasm on the democratic side and a lot of the republicans do not fear him because again as rob it said they know their districts better. >> but if he gets the economy
going, all bets are off. >> there you go. we'll pause the conversation here. we're -- on the other side of to hour talk about the supreme court back and forth that we heard between schumer and mcconnell. when we come back cyber expert clint watts. not only did the russians create fake news that president trump unwittingly various: (shouting) heigh! ho! ( ♪ ) it's off to work we go! woman: on the gulf coast, new exxonmobil projects are expected to create over 45,000 jobs. and each job created by the energy industry supports two others in the community. altogether the industry supports over 9 million jobs nationwide. these are jobs that natural gas is helping make happen all while reducing america's emissions. energy lives here.
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welcome back. if you're a fan of homeland, last sunday you saw this. it was a fake news operation being run by the cia heavy in the program, played by the great f. murray abraham. it's fiction, right? well, this week in a life imitating art imitating life moment a former fbi agent told the senate intelligence committee how the russians did exactly that during the campaign putting out fake news that was eagerly if unwittingly repeated by trump. and he says the russians are still at it. >> gray outlets that are soviet pushing accounts tweet at president trump during high volumes when they know he's online and they push conspiracy theories. >> well, clint watts is
currently the robert a. fox fellow at the foreign policy research institute. >> thanks for having me. >> for folks that didn't see the hearing, briefly if you could, explain the active measures that the russians are using. >> what they want to do is use information as a weapon of war far to undermine u.s. democracy. such that when we crumble from the inside out, we can't take aggressive foreign policy or stop their foreign policy around the world. so the way they do that is by using what's called a state to people and a people to people strategy. they're going to bypass the u.s. government. go straight to our democratic elect electorate and try to foe mate chaos. >> you said it was the same way in a way that the campaign might mike row target to talk to a specific voting group. you seem to indication they were so sophisticated they went state by state. they made sure that people in michigan or wisconsin or pennsylvania were seeing certain things. how did they get that
sophisticated? >> the new social media that's out there. twitter and facebook and the way that advertisements are do. the way you can demographically target people. the same way with the political campaigns in the united states. you can use that as an adversary as well so they created automated technology. called bots and they can reprogram those. they can make you look like you're a supporter of one campaign runner or another. you can say i'm talking to someone who supports my candidate and i'm more believable and amin to believe the news. >> part of the investigation is -- was there nicole lution, any essentially any american support to this operation. what can you tell about that? >> i note in my testimony the two times where there was obvious use of russian propaganda. one was paul manafort cited it on 14th august. the fake ancillary campaign and then president trump mistakenly
cited what everyone thinks is the sputnik news story. but beyond that, the synchronization at times, how many times the campaign picked up on lines that were promoted by the kremlin or created lines that were then the kremlin promoted back into the u.s. base was ironic. it was hard to see that with any other campaign. >> so was donald trump specifically targeted by this russian operation as a person to help spread this news? >> i don't think they saw him as a person to spread the news. they just knew that he was opportunistic during his campaign. if you put stuff that helps his campaign he will likely use it. they really turned towards him in august of 15. that's ghen the stories popped up but they pushed for bernie sanders at times. they would go on the left and the right. it was bipartisan. >> it was interesting to hear that. then we did you find out and if -- and whenever you did did you start alerting the campaigns this was happening? >> no, i had no contact with the
campaigns but we started to watch it three years ago. january of '14 was the first time i had seen it. april of '14 is when we saw the alaska back to russia fake story. through the syrian fight we study islamic state. andrew andrew wiseberg and we noticed that russia was developing the capability capability. it wasn't until '15 that they went to the u.s. election. >> it seems like this should have been something -- maybe this is hindsight, easy to say in hind sight that all of the active campaigns should have been warned hey, there's an active operation here by the russ. in hind sight, should this have been done? >> yes. we obsess about the tech part of hacks, what are they trying to do, tech tech tech tech. but that was to take information to create information nuclear weapons essentially that you put into the social media landscape. that powers fake news. true news and manipulated truths.
that connection wasn't made i don't think until after the election was over. >> the hardest part of this has been how do you respond as a nation state, how do you respond to a cyber attack? dick cheney and john mccain have gone so far as to say you could call what the russians did an act of war. where are you on that? >> we can do the whole government approach but we have to get a base line for fact and fiction. right now we have arguments over that amongst our executive branch. the other thing is we cannot counteract the measures. if we're anti-nato and anti-eu that's russia's propaganda as well. that's what the administration is pushing right now. >> if you have a distrust, if the majority of the country diss that i that see in the media, is this nearly impossible to stop in this political climate? >> it's exactly what the russians want. they're still winning today and they were winning before the election. just us talking about it here today is a victory for them. people are going to argue when i leave this table and you leave today what's fake news and what's true and false.
until we can put that debate aside and come together as americans we're going to continue to lose to other adversaries. >> good word to end on. thank you. when we come back the unintended consequences of having a huge majority in the congress. ♪ hey allergy muddlers are you one sneeze away from being voted out of the carpool? try zyrtec® zyrtec® starts working hard at hour one and works twice as hard when you take it again the next day. stick with zyrtec®. muddle no more®. try rhinocort® allergy spray for powerful nasal allergy relief. ♪ ♪ ♪
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welcome back. data download time, as we have seen president trump and the republican party are finding it's a lot harder to govern than they thought it would be. why? the party is deeply divided and at times it looks rudderless. let's look at the poll numbers. the gap gallup daily tracking poll shows it sitting at 40%, robbing him of leverage you would want to have by popularity. the coalition in congress is increasingly fragmented with not a whole lot holding it together. look at the house. the republicans won 241 districts in november. that's a huge number. their largest majority in over 100 years. on one extreme 29 of the 32 free document caucus members outperformed president trump in the districts back in november but they're not feeling the
political pressure back home to get in line behind the white house. now you understand. on the other extreme, 23 districts that elected republicans to the house but also voted for hillary clinton for president. so these divisions aren't just about tract. they represent real differences in what those constituents want and need from government. take medicaid. 24 house republicans come from districts that are likely to support medicaid. these are districts with a medicaid population that's roughly the national average -- 20% or more. 27 house republicans on the other hand are from districts where very few use medicaid, 10% or fewer. it's not hard to see why some of those republicans are against it and why you can't bridge the divide between the two groups. look, it is extraordinarily hard to bridge this divide when you have 20% of the party that fundamental disagrees on the role of government itself. and government assistance in the case of medicaid is just that. the debate about the role of government. it used to be an argument that
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put up a quick poll here. a majority say allow a vote 54%. but guess what? among democrats, 64% say prevent a vote. therein lies the box. >> yeah, that's the box. i just -- just anecdotally and from the poll there is no appetite in the democratic base for being nicy nicy to neil gorsuch. there's a lot of appetite for filibuster and fight. go down in flames i think for a lot of senate democrats better than sort of backing off. >> how disgraceful though. you know i like a lot -- obviously a lot of the members of the senate, but i think both republicans and democrats have been so disgraceful, both to judge garland and to judge gorsuch. these are two men who have devoted their lives to the court. and all -- they're being soiled and dirtied by really by the poor behavior in the senate. >> by deploying the nuclear option as it appears that senator mcconnell will do he's
in essence bringing in a coroner to tell us about the condition of the body. i mean, senator schumer did mention that a poll -- i hadn't heard of. americans believe in the 60 vote standard. i'm not so sure they care about the mechanics of that filibuster. >> is that fake news? >> i think that goes to your point that you asked both of them about whether the filibuster is going to be around. i think for a lot of voters this is not something that they think of as plaerly productive. why do we have a 60 vote threshold? isn't this what's preventing stuff from getting done? i think it will be very easy easyquite frankly. >> you had the liberal republicans and conservative democrats, lots of both of those. so you had the actual -- >> you had gangs. >> as opposed to the bipartisan -- what you have now.
it's a smaller and less efficient house. >> why didn't you give merrick garland a hearing and vote no. of course that would have been the right thing to do and you have gorsuch -- i realize this is the supreme court and not the court of appeals. some thought he was qualified for the u.s. court of appeals so the american people i don't think are that dumb. they see that both sides are being dirty and need a time-out. >> oddly, i don't think there's any penalty to anybody for any rules changes this week. >> no. this isn't going to serve much of a useful purpose for the democrats other than to make him feel good. it shows how hemmed in president trump has. he has a slender majority essentially he needs three votes. and on military and domestic policy he'll find it difficult getting a majority. he's going to need some of the democrats. >> in fact, if you -- if they can't find seven or eight -- if they can't find eight democrats to work with them on this, how
will they find any democrats on anything? >> this is a grudge match. this is definitely a grudge match. >> i think you're right. >> yeah. >> and that the republicans were bad about that. >> look they're not getting claire mccaskill on this for example. >> she's up for re-election. >> up for re-election. >> but she's -- >> she's going with her base. >> not the red state missouri feel. >> right, there are some issues on which -- >> that's money. you have to be able to raise money. >> exactly what this is. this is donor driven on both sides. only the donors that like get amped up on this, right? >> this is exactly what's going on. this is about focusing on that. let's be clear. this didn't start with harry reid or mitch mcconnell or now chuck schumer. this has been going on for the last 20 or 30 years as gene pointed out. >> actually the impeach earl warner started in the '50s. >> but we're a more polarized world. the other point is that the president was elected exactly
for a lot of people to break this up. he was uniquely situated to pull coalitions together or people who wouldn't normally get together. and yet, he was going to be able to fix this and instead he's come in and been just as polarizing. and just as -- you know -- >> just wait until the replacement is when president trump is replacing a liberal member of the supreme court which is likely next. you think it's bloody now. >> okay. we use that -- now. bloody now it's only going to get worse. when we come back it's only going to get a little bit better. end game segment. we'll talk about the infighting in the republican party. be right back. coming up -- "meet the press" end game and postgame. brought to you by - life is full of teachable moments for your kids, so when you see bias or discrimination, point it out and encourage them to do the right thing. if you teach your child to speak up, they'll learn to bring hate down.
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>> announcer: meet the press end game is brought to you by boeing. robert draper you wrote about a lot of this in your cover story and it just kept continuing. yesterday the president's director of social media went after an outspoken member of the freedom caucus and essentially threatened his primary. >> this is a war that president trump cannot afford to have. i mean the notion that as he said in his tweet will be fighting the freedom caucus and
dems then begs the question who will he not be fighting? at a certain point he will have to build coalitions. underpinning all of that is the base of the republican party which the house freedom caucus is very much connected in. i know he feels betrayed by them but as raul labrador tweeted, we are your friends, it's these other people who are leading you astray with bad legislation. >> does labrador have a point? >> he does but who would have guessed that the republican party would be the big tent? look at the democratic party, they're much more cohesive. >> is that majority versus minority? >> boehner once told me that getting the republicans handled is like try to get a wheelbarrow across the floor full of frogs and not letting a frog jump out of it. >> when you talk to nancy pelosi about when she ran the
democratic majority she spent endless time with the various caucuses and parts of the party. >> and she raised the money for all of them. >> she raised money, built consensus, got favors owed to her. >> she raised money, let me go back to the money. >> somebody is going to have to try to do something like that for the republicans. this party will be governing for the next couple of years at least. and they can't govern. >> this had been happening long before trump came in. the only thing that's kept them together their various factions was dislike of president obama. now they have to figure out how they philosophically, emotionally, intellectually come together. again, the president was the person who was supposed to be the cohesive part of that. and he's been completely unable to do that. >> right. >> it wasn't just that pelosi was so good at what she did because of -- >> money. >> money, i got you. but the party itself is more united on these hot button issues.
>> wait until trump backs off from his nafta statements. that's not going to make things better within his caucus. >> he's got to build a different type of coalition. we've got to stop unfortunately. quick programming note. "nbc nightly news" anchor lester holt will be live from south korea tomorrow and tuesday to give us a deep dive on the threat from north korea. lester will have unprecedented access to u.s. military capabilities at a time of increasing tensions in the region. something we must take much more seriously. that's all for today. enjoy the ncaa finals and opening day. let's go nats let's go that's it. we'll be back next week because if it's sunday it's "met the pretty." >> announcer: see more end game in post game sponsored by boeing on the "meet the press" facebook page.
i lost everything. everything. >> at least two are dead this morning after a tornado ripped through louisiana putting the state and several others on high alert as severe storms move in. and a desperate search for survivors with hundreds still missing after mudslides tear apart a colombian town killing 200. going nuclear. the senate poised to take drastic measures to give the president a supreme court win. plus scary moments on the ice during a flyers game. and a women's ncaa madness comes to an end while the men wait for their turn tonight. "early today" starts right now. good morning, everybody, glad to see you.