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Plus, terror alert: security tightened around the world for direct flights to the From NBC News in Washington, this is Meet the Press with David Gregory. . There is deferred action on some children, passed in , that will. Meet the Press - Watch episodes on ommag.info and the NBC App. Chuck Todd hosts the Sunday morning public affairs program. Full transcript of this mornings New Hampshire debate between the GREGORY : This Sunday, a special edition of “Meet the Press,” live from New .. And I mentioned, you said seniors should be affected right now, 55 plus.
He's saying what he said all along, there is no collusion with Russia. One of the things that everybody has been waiting for is whether the president answer the questions of Robert Mueller.
Does the president intend to submit written answers to the questions from Mueller. Will he meet with him in person? But I don't know -- I can't really blame the president if he doesn't just because of everything that has happened with this investigation. But at the same time, he has always said he would be willing to answer the questions. I read a report this week.
And I'm careful not to ask for verification of the report one way or the other, I work in the White House. I'm not the president's outside counsel, George, that the president may be submitting answers to questions.
So, we'll see what happens. But I have to repeat it, 1. Mueller in some type of capacity. We've been nothing but helpful here. And I think comments that Matt Whitaker made as a private citizen on cable TV does not disqualify him from being fair and impartial by overseeing this investigation.
So, the president does not want him to recuse from the Mueller investigation? The president has not discussed that with me.
In fact, this morning when he called me from Paris he said I'm percent -- we were talking about other things, but I'm percent behind Matt Whitaker, and he's never asked him to recuse -- in fact, I've never heard the president mention Matt Whitaker and Bob Mueller in the same sentence in my presence. He's there doing the Justice Department's business. The Justice Department does an awful lot more for this country beyond the Mueller investigation, and we should remember that.
There's also the question of whether or not the appointment of Mr. You saw Jerrold Nadler say he doesn't think it is. Your own husband raised this question in an op-ed in The New York Times. I want to read that for everyone. He said that Mr. Trump's installation of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general of the United States after forcing the resignation of Jeff Sessions is unconstitutional, it's illegal, and it means that anything Mr.
Whitaker does or tries to do in that position is invalid. And at the same press conference on Friday the president was asked about it. He's trying to get publicity for himself. So, here we are. So, a few things, people disagree -- spouses disagree every day. I'm sure you can appreciate. So, you don't agree with your husband's argument? But it's also not relevant. In other words, people disagree on the constitution, that's why we have a U.
They are there to interpret the law and they disagree about the Constitution regularly. When the president -- but I think there's something also instructive here.
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The president's lawyers apparently have told him that he's got -- it's constitutional. There's a statute fromobviously, the vacancies statute. But more to this point, the journalist asking the president of the United States the question referred to him as Kellyanne's husband. And he is referred to Kellyanne Conway's husband, or Kellyanne's husband far more often than he's referred to even by his first name.
So, the president makes that Mr. Which is -- I'm sure the feminists are very proud of me, George, that I'm an independent thinker who has a strong, powerful position in this United States government, counselor for the president.
I offer my advice and opinion to the president in private. I don't need to put on the op-ed pages of any -- and by the way, none of this will be litigated in newspapers, or on TV. Isn't that hard for you? Like you say, spouses disagree all the time, that's exactly right. My wife is a comedian. We basically stay in our own lanes. I stay out of comedy, she stays out of politics. Isn't it hard for you to have your husband writing an op-ed like that disagreeing with the president?
I will tell you this, it is -- with the president -- when the president says Mr. Kellyanne Conway and ask Kellyanne, the president is never worried how it affects him. He's always worried about how it affects me. And I really appreciate that from my boss, from the president.
But on this one, I think what people write is — rational people, reasonable people disagree about the Constitution every single day. We have recounts now in the state of Florida, governor and Senate races, agriculture as well. The president put out a tweet on that yesterday, "Trying to steal two big elections in Florida.
We are watching closely". Does the president have any evidence the Democrats are trying to steal those elections? The Secretary of State says there is none. Now — maybe now they are, but there has been no recount that has ever turned around a total as large as we have now in either of those races.
People should be worried about a fair process. Any evidence — any evidence this is being stolen? One piece of evidence? Well yes, we have — we have boxes of votes just appearing out of nowhere. We have Brenda Snipes who obviously has been sued successfully by a primary opponent to Debbie Wasserman Schultz for shenanigans that happened there years ago. Appointed by a Republican.
But — but also look at the rules, Marco Rubio, the senator from Florida has been very clear about this, George.
The vote count is over and those provisional ballots had to be in by a time certain, that is not five days after the election which is what today. Also I say something about Senator Bill Nelson.
The last time he ran inhe won by 1. They want fresh blood. It is in the threshold for recount. Kellyanne Conway, thanks for your time this morning. I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election from the great people of Florida. It is important that everyone involved in the election process strictly adhere to the rule of law. I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call that we count every single vote. Always comes down to Florida, always takes a long time, recounts now in that state.
Well, I think you have to put — well, first of all, this is like 12 days of Christmas where as each day goes on, it keeps getting better for the Democrats as each race turns and the congressional races turns. I think from — for this vantage point, this was a bad day for the Republicans. The Democrats are going to have a larger popular margin in a midterm since The Democrats all picked up more governorships — net governorships since All true, but how rare is it for a president to lose seats in the House, pick up seats in the Senate?
It was a good night for Republicans in the Senate. And the fact of the matter is they were expected to break even, maybe pick up one. And I do agree with Matt; it does speak to the polarization of the country. People are sorting themselves geographically. They live by people like them.
And so suburban Democrats voted for the House, conservative Republicans voted for the Republican Senate. And I think that if you think aboutparticularly if Republicans hold the two seats, it gets hard for Democrats to take back the Senate in the next election which means Republicans are going to have a strong voice for a long time. No, and listen, Republicans were at a year historic high with 33 of the 50 governorships.
I mean, there was only one way to go and it was down. And the fact is, when you also — and we talked about this on Tuesday night; when you have open seats, you know, we -- Republicans were defending 26, you know, 12 of them were open seats, those are hard to win.
And both parties have something to crow about, both parties have something to be concerned about. They seem to be mostly Republican — I mean, mostly seats that Hillary Clinton won. The governorships is a significant gain for them. The biggest win for the Democrats, we finally got a farm team after a big drought. And the Republicans have something to crow about which is they are starting to solidify a position in Ohio.
When you look at the entire Midwest, that is a flashing yellow light for us. And you saw a lot of newcomers talking about that -- that -- that Democratic rise in suburbs mainly fueled by Repub — I mean women candidates, over coming into the House right now.
I mean, you have more than women coming in; Muslim women, Native American women, the diversity is really tremendous and it does, in many ways, change the way that business does get done in Washington to a certain extent.
Women, for instance, are known for getting more legislation through than -- than men. It will be interesting to see whether any of that comes to fruition because the change now that we have in Washington is gridlock, gridlock, gridlock.
One more point on the midterms. I actually think Democrats should have picked up more seats in the House. I think Democrats should have picked up north of 40 seats. Those were all with a bad economy.
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Donald Trump was on the ballot in every congressional district and he lost. The Democrats picked the lock again and they did it in a face of the best employment. But you can also look at this way, Democrats should have done better given how unpopular President Trump is. Republicans should have done better given how -- how strong the economy is. Well, I mean, as -- as Rahm said, there was much to -- much to learn on each side.
And I have a feeling that both sides may be taking the wrong lessons from this election. And the short-term problem is their ability to appeal to a vast swath of the country geographically which is reflected in the states. They have to figure out a fix. The Republicans, on the other hand, have a huge long-term problem which is their inability to win the national popular vote. And every major group that is the fastest growing group in America is becoming more and more part of a solid constituency.
And -- and I want to get to that as we look -- look ahead to People are talking about you -- talking about you for that job. But what about us? How long can he -- can he effectively serve as acting attorney general?
Well, by the law, days.Governor Christie: I'm Trying To Make The Lives Easier For People Like My Mom And Dad
I think the president, I think wisely, did not want to bring a new person into the mix who was not already in the Department. Now, if they have to, they have to. Look, I think that the only reason Sessions is out is because of what he did on the Mueller investigation.
And the only reason Whitaker is being asked to serve is because of the Mueller investigation. And I think the real challenge is going to be for the Senate Republicans.
Are they going to find their voice on actually being advise and consent or not? But Mitch McConnell has already answered that question.
The assurance is that this has been going on now for quite some time. Not that long by special counsel standards. So even if they did try to sit on it, this is coming out. I totally agree with this. Yes, pretty clear -- we all -- we heard that from Congressman Nadler.
Democrats are sensitive to that charge. But even if you listen to just the priorities laid out in your interviews this morning -- I mean, they range from looking into the census to conflicts of interest to the Amazon deal.
I mean, there are a lot of things that this Congress wants to look into and Nancy Pelosi, if she is speaker, which it does seem likely, is going to have to find a way to corral all of that.
You served with her. What should the priorities be right now? Well a couple things. You can look into Trump but if I were in those investigatory and oversight committees, I would look out for America. That would be my guiding light. I would haul in all the pharmaceutical executives and talk about pricing and collusion there, I would actually deal with the antitrust elements that Congress can do. I would not make Trump being totally your focus.
I would make it about your agenda as it relates to the American people. Well that may be but you -- George, like, the questions to all the members of Congress are about the investigation of Trump. And by the way, I agree with Rahm on this. One word -- judicious. So the minimum wage was raised, opposed by Republicans, in Missouri and Arkansas, it was raised. Medicaid was expanded in three red states, Nebraska, Idaho and Utah. Gun control passed in Washington by a larger margin than anybody else got elected to and felons in Florida, by a huge margin, were given the opportunity to be able to vote.
I think if they were -- if they were smart and they do this, I think they -- they -- they do the investigations but pass a series of policies and make the Senate vote them down. Pass a series of policies and make the Senate vote it down. If Democrats want to be smart about their approach, they will focus on their agenda, they will focus first on trying to do an infrastructure bill, first on doing something on healthcare. No more information about that. But they want that picture out, the authorities want that picture out, hoping someone can bring them a little more information.
They're not definitely saying there was a second person involved, but they're leaving that possibility open. And they definitely want to talk to this man or find out more about him. All right, Lester Holt on the scene for us in Tucson, Arizona, this morning.
Lester, thank you very much. Now for more reaction and for discussion of some of the bigger issues from this incident, I'm joined here by five of Representative Giffords colleagues in the House: Thank you all for being here, and I'm just so sorry that it's under these circumstances that we need to have this conversation. Advertise Congresswoman, let me begin with you.
This is a close friend and a colleague. Tell me about your friend.
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How is she doing? You know, by every indication that--I'm sorry. By every indication, the fighter that, that Gabby Giffords is, is, is showing full strength. She's, from what I was told by her staff last night, woke up, responded to Mark's, I think, I think his voice, moved arms and legs and then This is her husband we're talking about. Yeah, her husband, Mark. And then they sedated her again. But Gabby Giffords is, for anyone that knows her or has ever met her, is the most open, warm and sweet woman.
She's--the best way to describe her is that she's, she's the kind of person that tries to see the good in everyone. You know, even when, even when she's in the midst of the kind of strife that is going on in southern Arizona with the immigration laws and the, the battleground that Arizona has been, she really always looks on the bright side. She's a "glass is half full" kind of person. Congressman Grijalva, you work with her very closely in Tucson.
I had an opportunity to meet her in Tucson just last spring at an event where I spoke, and, and had a real opportunity for a conversation about the issues that she cared about.
Talk about some of that as we, as we look at some of the images of her being sworn in just this week in the mock swearing in she did with the, the new speaker. The, the--for, for Arizona, I think for this nation, it's, as Debbie just said, this, this is a woman who's whole future is in front of her. A rising star not only in politics, but in, in, in leadership in general. And this tragedy has left us in Tucson in shock, and then today numb, and numb about this whole--so Gabby is, is a leader in our community, someone that has, as, as was said, someone that looked at things in a very positive--what we do for our lives in politics, sometimes there's a grating and friction that's part of it.
Gabby looked at, at politics as, as a mechanism to get things done and saw the good in things. And I, I, I--we're all praying for her. Our community is devastated by this. And I just--and our community has a million people, but it's small.
And, for instance, Gabe Zimmerman--and this is a shock to all our staffs and--that died, his mother gave me the first job that I ever had in that community. And so we're all connected to this tragedy, and we're all feeling it and wondering what to do next. Congressman Franks, you know her, as well, from the other, the other side of the aisle, but also as part of the delegation--you know, as part of Congress getting under way this week, the reading of the Constitution that was discussed by so many that the leadership wanted to do, and she read a portion of it that is particularly ironic this morning.
I'm going to play a portion of that. The First Amendment, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances.
Advertise End videotape MR. To petition for redress of grievances, freedom of speech. I mean, access to her constituents, the kind of event that she was having yesterday, was very important to her. You know, every interview I've been on, I have referenced what she just did because it is so ironic that when she had the opportunity to read her part of the Constitution that this was the one that she read.
And yet, when she was out exercising that right, when she was out doing her job as a member of Congress, some deranged degenerate shot her down. And I will tell you that I think that's an attack, not only on freedom and the country itself, it's an attack on, on humanity. And a lot of people try to make the distinction between someone as conservative as I am and, and a Gabby Giffords.
But I will tell you that never one time did even the slightest cross word or unkindness ever pass between us. This is a precious, decent woman that did not deserve what happened to her.
And I hope that somehow that we pursue prosecuting this individual, this deranged monster, to the fullest extent of the law with the greatest energy that we possibly can. Congressman Cleaver, I want to talk more about that access issue, and it mattered to her. She was on Twitter just before this event. And this is what she put on her Twitter feed. We'll put it up on the screen for all to see, indicating that she would be having this event, inviting people.
Please stop by to let me know what is on your mind or tweet me later. She's right there, you can walk up to her, hear her, talk to her, shake her hand, or do something as awful as this. All of us conduct those town hall meetings. And I think what we are seeing, though, is, you know, the, the public is being riled up to the point where those kinds of, of, of events and, and opportunities for people to express their opinions to us are, are becoming a little volatile.
We have members of Congress. If you rank them in terms of volatility, Gabby is probably in the last one-half of 1 percent. And it just seems so ironic that she would become a victim. And she is clearly not a hothead or somebody who's prone to create controversy. Congressman Labrador, this is an introduction, a horrible introduction to Congress for you.
You're a brand-new member, freshman member from Idaho. Your wife, you were telling me before we started, was particularly shaken by this. You know, and--you know, first of all, I, I just--my condolences to the families. It's been a terrible week, and it's a terrible way to end the week. But, you know, all I've heard about, about Gabby--and I don't know her.
I'm the only person on this panel who doesn't know her. All I've heard is nothing but positive. I've heard from both Republicans and Democrats what a wonderful woman she is and what great service she was giving to, to her constituents.
And I just want to make sure that we understand that she was doing what she was supposed to be doing. And she was doing exactly what all of us should be doing, which is talking to our constituents and trying to get educated on the issues. And I just hope that we can have some civility and we can move forward. There are real security questions that have to be raised as a result of all this. Congresswoman Maxine Waters telling Politico this morning that she has her own fears about security for members.
This is what she said. We have a lot of people outside who appear to be fragile emotionally. So we don't know when one will walk up and shoot us down. We're vulnerable, and there's no real way to protect us. Well, I think it needs to be a wake-up call for members who have treated security in a cavalier--their own personal security in a cavalier way.
I know when I have town hall meetings, which I have regularly, and increasingly even, even very open public meetings, there are always officers present. You know, not a, not a cavalry of officers, but at least a show of, of law enforcement so that we can make sure that, that my staff is protected. Because, remember, as we saw with, with Mr.
Zimmerman's death, it's not just our personal safety And it's also the personal safety of our constituents, because they may come, come in and target the member, but the people in the room are all subject to, to a security risk.
And so we need to strike a balance. You walk about that. The, the federal judge, John Roll, who was also killed--Congressman Grijalva, you know him--just a noted member of the bench, 63 years old. And there was a backstory here. I mean, this is a conservative Republican who was good friends, continues to be good friends with the congresswoman. He had petitioned her for some extra funds for some of the immigration cases that they have to handle.
Left Mass, went over to her event just to say hi and to personally thank her and is dead this morning. John, the, the chief justice there of the district court, fair man, great reputation, been a litigator and a prosecutor for plus years in our community, was appointed by first George Bush to that bench, has nothing but a good reputation.
And for, for him to show up to thank Gabby for her work in terms of getting additional resources for that overburdened court and to find himself, and his family to find him, now dead is, is the same commentary that Debbie just made. I mean, how, how do you explain this? But it's a huge loss for the community. A judicial loss, but also a loss of a leader in the community. I want to talk about the political climate, Congressman Franks.
The judge in Pima County--excuse me--the sheriff of Pima County has been outspoken in some of his remarks over the past couple of days. Pima County encompassing Tucson and, and some of the environs. And he talked about what's been going on in southern Arizona between immigration, healthcare debates, and a political climate that's highly charged.
This is what he had to say in response to this. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry. But it's not unusual for all public officials to get threats constantly, myself included. And, and that's a sad thing of what's going on in America.
Pretty soon we're not going to be able to find reasonable, decent people who are willing to subject themselves to serve in public office. How concerned are you about the climate at home? Well, you know, I'm always concerned about how we treat each other. In the ultimate analysis here, that's what this is all about.
This Jared Loughner had no respect for innocent human life and, ultimately, no respect for his fellow human beings.
As willing--whatever his statement was, he was willing to kill someone, kill many people to make it. And, ultimately, I, I feel like that we need to realize as, as members of Congress, as, as Americans, that true tolerance is not pretending you have no differences. It's being kind and decent to each other in spite of those differences.
And when we allow people like this to go unnoticed, that have no respect for their fellow human beings, I think we make a terrible mistake. Because, ultimately, if we don't have a more loving respect for each other, we, we really have no hope as a society. Congressman Cleaver, there's--I, I want to put this in, in a broader context, understanding what we don't know. We don't know if this was politically motivated. We know that this was a young man who felt--this is just objective facts here--disturbed, became an outlier in some ways, lashing out, had been kicked out of community college, had been denied by the military.
Whether this was particularly anti-government, we can't say for sure. That's the, the compositive facts that we have right now. But Matt Bai wrote something in The New York Times this morning about some of the larger questions about political vitriol in our system right now and in our country.
It wasn't clear Saturday whether the alleged shooter in Tucson was motivated by any real political philosophy or by voices in his head, or perhaps by both.
But it's hard not to think he was at least partly influenced by a debate that often seems to conflate philosophical disagreement with some kind of political Armageddon. We are in a dark place in this country right now, and the atmospheric condition is toxic. And much of it originates here in Washington, D. We had someone removed last week shouting out some insult about President Obama's birth.
I think members of Congress either need to turn down the volume, begin to try to exercise some high level of civility, or this darkness will never ever be overcome with light. The, the hostility is here. People may want to deny it. It is real, and if we, and if we don't stop it soon, I think this nation is going to be bitterly divided to a point where I fear for the, the future of our children.
Congressman Labrador, the--comment on that. You're a tea party candidate. A lot of sentiment in the tea party is to be very concerned about some of the government policies pursued by this president. How do you see the discourse being in any way a contribution to some of the security threats that members of Congress can experience? We have to be careful not to blame one side or the other because both sides are guilty of this. You have extremes on both sides. You have crazy people on both sides.
And I think what I have done in Idaho when we have some vitriol or maybe some political rhetoric that is going beyond the pale, your job as a leader is to talk to the people in a reasonable way, to have a rational conversation with, with the people in your district.
And I think that brings down the level of rhetoric quite a bit down. So those are some of the things that we have to do. But I just, I just need to--you know, the American people need to understand that during the Bush administration, we had a bunch of people on the left who were using the same kind of vitriol that some people on the right are using now against Obama. So it's, it's not something that either party is guilty by themselves or either party is innocent of.
And we have to make sure that we, we take care of it. Congressman Grijalva, in terms of Congressman Giffords herself, last spring, in the, in the heat of the heathcare debate, her office was vandalized.
Let's take a look. Videotape, March 25, REP. We have had hundreds and hundreds of protesters over the course of the last several months. Our office corner has really become an area where the tea party movement congregates. And the rhetoric is incredibly heated. This is a situation where people don't--I mean, they really do need to realize that the rhetoric and firing people up and, you know, even things--for example, we're on Sarah Palin's targeted list--but the thing is that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gunsight over our district.
And when people do that, they've got to realize there's consequences to that action. I couldn't, I couldn't agree more with Gabby's comments. You know, part of what we need to do as leaders is a discourse.
You know, Arizona is the epicenter of a lot of division and a lot of hard politics. And from the top to the bottom of our, not only elected leadership, but community leadership, it's about the civil discourse, it's about the tone of how we do things. And Congressman Nadler said something on television yesterday. He said, you know, "We are opponents, yes, but we're not deadly enemies.
That's an important point because, let's be honest, there is a demonization. It happens amongst all of you, it happens in the public, it happens in the polarized aspects of the press, a demonization of the other side.
Whether it's a congressman saying, "You lie," from the House floor, whether it's a Democrat who literally shoots the cap and trade bill in a campaign advertisement. I mean, this kind of vitriol on both sides does contribute to that, that demonization. Well, I think, you know, we're a country that tries to solve our problems by ballots and not bullets, so a good debate is fine.
But when you try to, to, to go into an area of threatening debate and things of that nature, then it's very dangerous. But I want to be very careful here. We don't want to give this Loughner too much credit here This guy was a deranged lunatic that had no respect for his fellow human beings and completely rejected any kind of constitutional foundation of this nation. And I would say, you know, when you, when you consider some of his readings being the Communist Manifesto, I don't know where the guy's coming from.
More than anything else, it was bizarre, not politically integrity. Just based on what Trent just said and what, what everyone has said, I agree, it's our responsibility to, to make sure that we set the right example and set the tone of civility. But the shock jocks and the, the, the political movement leaders that are out there on both sides of the aisle need to get--have some pause as well.
I mean, the, the phrase that you just used, "we, we use ballots, not bullets," the actual reverse of that phrase was used in my district by someone who was almost the chief of staff to an incoming member of Congress where she said at a rally, at a tea party rally, "We will use bullets if ballots don't work.