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States Push Back Against Voter Fraud Commission; "Morning Joe" Hosts Hit Back After Trump's Vicious Tweet; Trump & Moon Statements Live at White House. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired June 30, 2017 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Before we get there, let's get here. Three to five million illegal votes in the election, that was President Trump's claim in November. That happened in a tweet. Shortly after that, the president set up this, the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity. That panel is asking for information, ahead of their first big meeting coming up next month. They are asking for officials in all 50 states for voter data. But a number of states responded with a very firm, no way, Jose.
Kansas' secretary of state, Kris Kovach, is the vice chair of the commission. Here is some of the information he is asking for: name, birthdate, last four digits of Social Security number for voters in their state. He says it's to help prevent voter fraud in the future. Others clearly disagree.
Let's get to it. Joining me is Alex Padilla, California's Democratic secretary of state.
California does not plan to hand over that voter information. We'll get to that in a second.
Also joining me, Matt Dunlap, Maine's secretary of state, also a Democrat who served on the Election Fraud Commission.
Gentlemen, it is great to have you here. Thank you so much.
Let's get to it. Who knows how much time we have ahead of the president's joint statement.
Secretary of State Padilla, the commission is asking for publicly available voter data. That's what they say in their letter. Why not provide it?
ALEX PADILLA, SECRETARY OF STATE, CALIFORNIA: That's what they say in the letter, but that's not what the case is. They are asking for voter data. But what they are asking for, the birth dates, last four of Social, possible criminal history, et cetera, is far beyond what would normally made available for use in campaigns or research, et cetera. It's the kind of information, when bundled together, hackers would like to do, if they are in the business of identity theft. Secretary of states, part of our obligation is to protect the rights and privacy of voters. That's what I intend to do.
BOLDUAN: Secretary Dunlap, you are on the commission. Have you decided, are you going to hand over this information of voters in your state?
MATT DUNLAP, SECRETARY OF STATE, MAINE: We are analyzing the request in our division of elections, along with the attorneys general office, to make sure it qualifies under our laws for any entity to obtain voter information. The legislature year ago, in implementing the Help America Vote Act, advises who can access data and what circumstances and what that information is used for and what information will be released. So, the request that came from the commission was fairly specific and broad ranging, understanding that every state has somewhat different laws about what information the file contains. So, as wearing my hat as secretary of state, we are analyzing the request, looking toward complying, if we can.
BOLDUAN: Folks at home, Secretary Dunlap, are going to scratch their heads and say, wait a second, you are a member of the commission. Do you not agree with this request?
DUNLAP: Well, I have said, right down the line, it's highly undoubtful we are going to find anything to substantiate the president's claims after the election that about three to five million people voting illegally. But if we have illegal activity, to any scale, it's a problem we want to address. I think taking an objective look at voter registration, information -- by the way, being registered to vote in more than one state is not a crime. It's only if you vote in more than one state in an election. That is a distinction we should be clear on. Analyze the information, I think sunshine, sometimes is the greatest antiseptic. If you see it and find something is there, you find the answer. Cross-state voter analysis was not contemplated by the Help American Vote Act. And that's probably why it's hovering around as a cloud now. And we have the opportunity to address that. Then we can move on to some issues that we can implement to protect the voters right to participate in the process.
BOLDUAN: Real quick, Secretary Dunlap -- I'm sorry, Secretary. Give me a second.
Do you question the integrity or the goal of this commission?
DUNLAP: I think we have to come at it with an open mind. Again, I am skeptical. I know how our elections run. And I have a good idea of how elections run across the country. I think they are pretty tight. You might find some illegal activity, but not to the scale that has been described. I think that, you know, if we can illustrate that point, then we'll have served the purpose.
BOLDUAN: Secretary Padilla, last time we actually talked, and I look back, that was right after the president claimed in a tweet there was serious voter fraud that happened in California. He wrote that -- he wrote that in November, there is serious voter fraud in California. How much voter fraud have you found in your state since the election?
DUNLAP: Look, again, the president's allegations of massive voter fraud are simply not true. If you recall that last conversation we had, we invited Team Trump to bring forward evidence they have, because we take voter fraud seriously, and we are happy to investigate. It's been months and they have not produced one shred of evidence. We have a president that cannot accept he lost the national popular vote and accept these lies about massive voter fraud. And it's up to the commission to try to do something about it with evidence that is there. In fact, there's been study after study, investigation after investigation, government inquiries, academic research. Voter fraud is exceedingly rare and always very isolated. So --
BOLDUAN: Are you pursuing --
PADILLA: -- fundamental premise of this commission.
[11:35:27] BOLDUAN: Are you pursuing voter fraud cases in your state now?
PADILLA: When there's information that leads us to believe something is not right, we will either investigate it ourselves or cooperate with local district attorneys. As of right now, not only is there no proof of non-citizen voting in last November's election, let me tell you what we do know. We know, because there are 17 federal agencies that have agreed, that the Russians interfered with our election. That's what this commission is about. It's a distraction. It's a waste of taxpayer dollars. And it's a distraction to not have to focus on the Russian interference in the elections.
PADILLA: That's what the focus ought to be for the president and this commission.
BOLDUAN: The vice president is also overseeing this commission. We will see where this commission leads. Secretary Dunlap is a member of it.
After your first meeting, Secretary, would love to have you back on to see where this is headed, and what you end up deciding to do with voter data.
Gentlemen, appreciate you coming on. Let's continue the discussion.
I want to point out to our viewers, we did reach out to multiple Republican secretaries of state, all of whom were unavailable at this time. We look forward to having them on. This is an important topic we will stay on.
Coming up for us, any moment now, President Trump will speak live from the White House. Keeping our eyes on the lectern. We go there, next.
[11:39:52] BOLDUAN: Looking live at the Rose Garden there. As we await to hear from President Trump himself from the Rose Garden, coming out with the president of South Korea. You can hear from the president, at least somewhat, from his official statements on Twitter. You can also definitely hear the growing backlash against President
Trump because of that. The hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" firing back after President Trump's deeply personal attacks against them. This morning, they are accusing the president of trying to blackmail them with a negative story in the "National Inquirer." President Trump denies that took place.
Joining me to discuss, CNN senior political commentator, Senator Rick Santorum, Republican Senator of South Carolina and presidential candidate; and CNN political analyst, Kirsten Power, is here; and Matt Bennett, former advisor in the Clinton White House.
Great to see all of you. Thank you so much.
Senator, before you even say it, I, too, would prefer we are talking about health care. But I have not heard you on this, so here we are, about the tweets and the attacks. I do remember you have had, in the past, many spirited interviews on "Morning Joe". What did you think of what the president said?
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: First off, I actually like Joe. And I like Mika. I have a great relationship with both of them. You know, I don't necessarily agree on their politics all the time.
SANTORUM: But I think they do a good job. Look, I echo what everybody else said. It's disappointing to see the president descend into this level. I understand that people say nasty things about him all the time. I get that. But when you are in the public light, you are going to get a lot of nasty things said. I know that from my personal experience. People say a lot of horrible things about you, not just policies, but personality, about how you look, what you do, about your kids. It's a very, very nasty arena. When you are in a position of authority like that, your responsibility is to fight back. But fight back in a way that fits the office. I don't think he's doing that.
BOLDUAN: That's actually an important perspective. You have run for president. You have been a Senator. You have been in the public eye. What do you think of the White House reaction, Senator, when their response is, he's a counter puncher. You hit him, he's going to hit you back. Is that an acceptable answer from the experience you've had in the public eye?
SANTORUM: It's an acceptable answer. And he should counter punch. You can't let things go unanswered. That's certainly the case. But there's a way to counter punch. What I have seen out of the White House, I don't think I have seen anyone say that I agree with what the president said. I think they're very clear in separating themselves.
BOLDUAN: No, they dodge it. Yes.
SANTORUM: They dodge it. But obviously, they work for the president. Look, you are not going to attack the president. It's pretty clear. I think they've handle it as well as they can say he's going to punch back. We are not going to comment on the specifics of what he said. Because, look, you can't condone that. Nobody can condone that. When you work for someone, you dodge it. That's what they are doing. They are doing as good a job as possible.
BOLDUAN: Kirsten, what should folks make of the fact they are now debating, basically, whether or not the White House threatened two journalists with a negative "National Inquirer" story unless they begged for an apology?
KIRSTEN POWER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: This is sort of where we are. That's the point. These conversations start because of something that the president has done. And, really, he should be clearly focusing on governing, not attacking journalists, no matter how much he thinks he's justified in doing that because they are allegedly saying mean things about him.
Look, we can look at President Obama. We can look at how he was attacked constantly by, in fact, now-President Trump, you know, being accused of not being born in this country. And what happened? President Obama never attacked him personally over this. He, in fact, invited him into the White House and offered to help him and was completely gracious to him. So the idea that he somehow --
BOLDUAN: He did make that joke at the White House Correspondent's Dinner --
POWER: Oh, yes.
BOLDUAN: -- that eventually may have led to Donald Trump wanting to run. I'm just going to say.
POWER: Yes. But my point is, he was under constant attack by Donald Trump and still was incredibly gracious to him and still, you know, really put out an olive branch and was willing to help him as president. Compare that to how Donald Trump behaves because some journalists aren't giving him the coverage he thinks he deserves.
BOLDUAN: Matt, speaking of the coverage he thinks he deserves -- Kirsten teed me up perfectly. One thing I heard a few times yesterday, and you often hear this as a response when Donald Trump has a tweet that folks do not endorse and can't defend, is that this is not what voters care about. Why are folks talking about it? Do they have a point there?
MATT BENNETT, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR: I think they do. All of us in Washington and in your industry do fixate on things sometimes that folks in the country aren't focused on. If you go out and talk to voters, as we have recently, they are not fixated on any of these things.
However, when you have a president acting like an infant, it does leave a mark. It does matter. As Jim was saying to you earlier, Kate, you can't allow a president to act this way and simply not respond. This is too important.
[11:45:28] BOLDUAN: Well, we will see if the president has a response to that and what the president has to say right now.
President Donald Trump and South Korea's president are walking to the lectern to make a joint statement after a very important meeting. Let's listen.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much.
Melanie and I are honored to welcome President Moon, of South Korea, and his lovely wife, Madam Kim, to the White House.
Mr. President, let me be the first to congratulate you on your election, tremendous election victory. And, also, the people of South Korea for providing such an incredible example of democracy for the world to see. It was very exciting, I must say, and congratulations.
This morning, President Moon and Vice President Pence laid a wreath at the Korean War Veteran's Memorial to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the Korean War. It was a beautiful ceremony. We will never forget that Americans and Koreans bravely fought and died together for a free Korea.
To the Korean and American veterans of that war, great people, we are eternally grateful for your service and for your sacrifice.
More than six decades after our partnership was forged in the fires of war, the alliance between the United States and South Korea is a cornerstone of peace and security in a very, very dangerous part of the world. The link between our countries, cemented in battle, is now, also tied together by culture, commerce and common values. Together, we are facing the threat of the reckless and brutal regime in North Korea. The nuclear and ballistic missile programs of that regime require a determined response. The North Korean dictatorship has no regard for the safety and security of its people, for its neighbors and has no respect for human life. That's been proven over and over again. Millions of North Korea's own citizens have suffered and starved to death. And the entire world just witnessed what the regime did to our wonderful Otto Warmbier.
I thank President Moon for expressing his condolences on the travesty of Otto's death.
Our thoughts and our prayers remain with his wonderful family.
The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed. Many years, and it has failed. Frankly, that patience is over.
We are working closely with South Korea and Japan, as well as partners around the world, on a range of diplomatic security and economic measures to protect our allies and our own citizens from this menace known as North Korea. The United States calls on other regional powers and all responsible nations to join us in implementing sanctions and demanding that the North Korean regime choose a better path, and do it quickly, and a different future for its long-suffering people.
Our goal is peace, stability and prosperity for the region. But the United States will defend itself, always will defend itself. Always. And we will always defend our allies. As part of that commitment, we are working together to ensure fair burden-sharing in support of the United States military presence in South Korea. Burden sharing is a very important factor. A factor that's becoming more and more prevalent, certainly in this administration.
[11:50:11] We are also working to create a fair and reciprocal economic relationship, from when the U.S.-Korea trade deal was signed in 2011 to 2016. You know who signed it. You know who wanted it. Our trade deficit with South Korea has increased by more than $11 billion. Not exactly a great deal.
I was gratified to learn about the new investment South Korean companies are making in the United States. This month, Cheniere is sending its first shipment of American liquified natural gas to South Korea in a deal worth more than $25 billion. That's great. We will do more to remove barriers to reciprocal trade and market access.
We talked last night and today about some tough trade issues, like autos and steel. And I'm encouraged by President Moon's assurances that he will work to create a level playing field so that American workers and businesses, and especially automakers, can have a fair shake at dealing with South Korea. South Korean companies sell cars in America. American companies should have that same, exact privilege on a reciprocal basis. And I'm sure we'll be able to work that out.
In addition, I have called on South Korea to stop enabling the export of dumped steel. These would be important steps forward in our trading relationship. Very important steps. They have to be made. Not fair to the American worker, if they are not. And they will be. Our teams are going to get to work on these issues. And they're going to sign a deal that's great for South Korea and great for the United States.
Mr. President, I am thrilled that you are here today and deeply honored that you choose to go to the United States as your first foreign trip as president. I greatly enjoyed our dinner last night, and the many productive discussions that we've already started having today. I look forward to working with you for many years to come, to strengthening our alliance, protect our citizens from threats and deep enduring bonds of friendship between Americans and the great people of South Korea.
Thank you very much, President Moon. Thank you.
MOON JAE-IN, SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT (through translation): Let me begin by expressing my deep appreciation for President Trump for inviting me to the White House and extending me such a special welcome. When I was elected president last month, President Trump was the first
foreign leader to give me a congratulatory call.
After going through such a tumultuous journey, the Korean people finally achieved victory. The words of President Trump conveyed the warmth of the American peoples' hearts for what we have accomplished in Korea. With tribulations and adversity, we have surmounted for freedom, democracy peace and prosperity towards which we have walked together for all the greater lands as achieved. You gave your consolation and support.
Once again let me take this opportunity to thank you, Mr. President, and the American people.
In my first foreign conversation with President Trump last May, he came across as a man of determination and pragmatism, leaving me a powerful impression. And yesterday and today, I had a candid and lengthy conversation with President Trump. And I was able to prove myself right.
From developing the alliance resolving the DPRK's nuclear issue to building a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula, I have affirmed President Trump's unswerving commitment and we were able to build a broad consensus.
During my visit at this time, President Trump and I were able to forge a friendship as well as deep mutual trust. As we endeavor to tackle numerous challenges ahead of us, this will give us a solid foundation to rely on.
[11:55:08] First, President Trump and I agreed that only strong security can bring about genuine peace. Through a ROK/U.S. combined posture including extensive deterrence, we concurred to strengthen our overwhelming deterrence. The threat and provocations by the North will be met by a strong response.
The gravest challenge confronting our two nations is the nuclear and missile threat posed by North Korea. President Trump and I decided to place a top priority on addressing this issue, and coordinate closely on relevant policies. To this end, our two leaders will employ both sanctions and dialogue in a phased-in comprehensive approach. And based on this, we both pushed to seek a fundamental resolution of the North Korean nuclear problem.
The North Korean nuclear issue must be resolved without fail. North Korea should by no means underestimate the firm commit of Korea and the U.S. in this regard. I also urge Pyongyang to kindly return to the negotiating table for continued clarification of the Korean peninsula. National security leaves no room for either compromise or concession.
On this occasion, the U.S. And President Trump's resolve for the alliance is noted with great appreciation.
The Republic of Korea, for its part, will strive to strengthen a ROK/U.S. combined defense capabilities while, at the same time, by pursuing defense reform, build up its own capacity to defend itself. As we undertake these endeavors of bilateral cooperation in defense technologies, I hope will gather further traction.
Second, economic partnership between our countries forms an essential pillar for future-oriented development of the alliance. We both agreed on this view. Economic growth and job creation will be promoted to ensure our peoples enjoy greater mutual benefits through the collective efforts we've committed to make.
Third, as we fight against terrorism and other global challenges together, the ROK/U.S. alliance as agreed by ourselves will be broadened and developed into global partnership. As we move forward our two nations will work towards establishing high-level strategic mechanisms in diverse areas of interest. To make it happen, concrete actions will be formulated in close concertation.
I would like to take moment to convey my heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the American people and a grieved family grieving over the death of Mr. Warmbier. The resolution of the state is to defend its people. I deeply sympathize with Americans who are saddened that they were not able to defend their fellow citizen.
As a former human rights attorney, myself, I am keenly aware of the significance of human rights as the universal value of humanity. To make sure such tragedy never repeats itself, our two nations will cooperate with the community of nations to promote human rights in North Korea.
I also invited President Trump to visit Korea this year, and he graciously accepted my offer. Mr. And Mrs. Trump's visit to Korea will once again demonstrate not only our friendship but also the intimate bond our peoples have come to foster through thick and thin.
Your visit would become yet another milestone in defining our partnership. I will see to it myself.
Second, Mr. Trump, I extend my sincerest gratitude to you and the first lady for such warm hospitality.
TRUMP: Thank you, everybody. Thank you very much.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Welcome to "Inside Politics." I'm John King. Thanks for sharing your day with us.
You're watching the president of the United States and the president of South Korea heading back into the Oval Office. A Rose Garden event, both leaders delivering statements about economic issues and about their alliance in trying to deal with the North Korea nuclear threat. Difference of opinions about exactly how to proceed with North Korea. But the two presidents finishing their statements, heading back into the Oval Office, not taking questions. More on their conversations in a few minutes.
But there are several big political controversies stirring, and President Trump is at the center of them all. An election commission, born of a presidential conspiracy theory asks states for voter files. And a number of them are telling the White House to take a hike.
Plus, a big shift from the president on health care. He is embracing a conservative idea that could complicate already delicate negotiations.