Meet The Press Host Chuck Todd wason for his regular Friday segment, and we talked about today’s announcement of his new daily 5 PM EST show, Hillary’s thumb drive, and the debate Thursday
HH: But I really want to talk with Chuck Todd, host of Meet the Press, about the fact that he’s mono y mono with Jake Tapper, the only guys I know that go to work every day of the week in Washington, D.C.. Announced today that Chuck Todd [is] taking over a 5 p.m. EST, 2 p.m. pacific daily news show, which makes him now show prep for me. What are you, out of your mind, Chuck?
CT: Well… I have the daily, man. I have missed my old show. I’ve missed the itch. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had the conversation, you know, I said this all on the show on Sunday and the answer is… I can’t! So guess what? I got five more hours to play with that.
HH: Well, congratulations, but I know you’re a younger–
CT: I’ve had fifteen hours like you have which, by the way, I wish I did.
HH: Well, but it’s in five days! This means, I guess, do you get Saturday off? You can’t take Saturday off!
CT: Ah… well, I take–I going to figure something on Mondays–hopefully some Mondays–but hey, this is what I feel like from political junkies. You got Jake at four, me at five, Bret’s at six… I kind of like that, you know, I like that none of us are technically up against each other but instead, you know, we allowed it all to flow together.
HH: That’s just what I told Duane, I said the Five is a very different program, Chuck. They were smart enough to go mono y mono with Jake, but that it’d become show prep for junkies. Let me ask you, will they replay it later in the evening, by the way?
CT: You know, I don’t know, yet. There’s some more changes that are coming. I don’t, I don’t have all that.
HH: Gosh, I hope they do.
CT: …I don’t have all that…
HH: Ah, let’s go to the news. Biggest story today in my view: Hilary’s emails are on a thumb drive that is in the possession of David Kendall. I am stunned by this. Some of those–they also had a huge dump of Hilary emails today, one of which refers to her as the “Secretary of Awesome.” I think she’s the “Secretary of Awesome Getaways” because she got away with more classified documents than anyone I ever heard of getting away with.
CT: Ah, and I have to say, I’m like, you know–It’s funny, I’m glad you focused on the emails because I feel like this is the one time that tax returns and medical records I feel like are a diversionary tactic on the political bench–
CT: You know, this is–they don’t have a good explanation on these emails. They just don’t. And you know that they don’t have a good explanation? Because look at the backflips and contortions that the current State Department and the Administration [are] having in trying to do deal with it. You know, they are trying–you can tell–because they are obviously favorable to her–a Democratic administration. They don’t want to fully embarrass her, but they are struggling in figuring out how to justify some of these things. And justify how–where the classified–you know, what was classified, when… And they are trying to actually… it seems like take of the heat off of her, but to me the heat’s all on her!
HH: Well, here’s what Chris Christie–
CT: . . .the situation is because she chose to have this private server.
HH: And I know she took classified documents out of the State Department. If I had done that at DOJ or OPM when I left or the White House Counsel’s office I’d have gone to jail. Here’s what Chris Christie–
CT: General Petraeus had a–
HH: Yep. That’s–
CT: General Petraeus had a do a plea. You know why? And most of his classified documents, by the way, according to my sources, were his schedule because his schedule’s technically classified. And he just–you know–his career is changed forever, let’s just say that.
HH: I brought this up with Chris Christie in the first hour. Here’s what the governor of New Jersey said:
HH: I want to talk to you about your time as a prosecutor. I like to tell people I worked at the Department of Justice, but I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn, so I don’t really know anything about prosecuting. What kind of a banana republic are we running when the former Secretary of State’s lawyers got a thumb drive with 30,000 emails, and scores of which are classified? What’s going on here?
CC: Well you know, listen, this is typical of the Clintons, Hugh. They set their own rules. And then they look at you say are you going to believe me or your lying eyes? This is the typical approach to the Clintons. They stonewall, they obfuscate, they don’t tell the truth. And you know, this’ll be a good test for Attorney General Lynch. Is she going to look into this, the entire email circumstance, or isn’t she? And I think it’s a good test for the new Attorney General.
HH: I went on to ask him about Petraeus and he said that Clinton is worse than, than Petraeus. And how do you like his position as a prosecutor against this backdrop going into the first debate, Chuck Todd?
CT: Well . . . Somehow this can become a story and not have anything to do with the guy whose going to be at the center of that stage, I mean. . . You know, I don’t know how you prep for this debate and not assume it’s anything but being about how everybody handles Donald Trump. So, I hear you on that, with Chris Christie and all that. First of all, you’ve got to make sure he gets on the stage. The way I’ve looked at it, we got new polls coming out this Sunday. Christie, Perry, and Kasich are three guys vying for two spots. So, there’s still a little bit of jockeying going on there.
HH: I asked Christie about Trump. Here’s what he said. . .
HH: So what happens when the Donald goes long or interrupts you? I actually kind of think that might be like Godzilla and Mothra, but…
CC: (laughing) Well listen, you know, if Donald tries to interrupt me, I can guarantee you that that’s not something I take from a reporter in the gaggle, and it won’t be anything I’ll take from somebody who’s standing on that stage as a colleague and a competitor.
HH: Now I said last night on the Hannity Show that Donald is probably, and I’m pretty certain is the only candidate of either party in this election or actually the last few about whom a Broadway musical almost certainly will be made?
HH: What do you make about his entrance into the race and his effect on it?
CC: Well, listen, you know, I’ve said all along that Donald Trump will be as serious a candidate as he wants to be. . .
HH: Alright, so Chuck Todd, what do you think about Mothra and Godzilla?
CT: I actually think that the two of them have a little bit of a detente. You know, they have a business issue between the state of New Jersey and Trump’s property in Atlantic City. So, I’ve noticed that they’ve been very careful. You haven’t seen Christie being careful in what he’s said about Trump and Trump’s been careful about–you know–he angers the governor of New Jersey too much and he may have some tax issues because basically my understanding is, the Trump Properties are looking for a way to file for bankruptcy and avoid having to pay some steep surcharges because there’s not going to be a casino anymore. . . Anyways, there is incentive for Trump not to attack the governor of New Jersey considering what he’s got going on.
HH: Oh interesting. That’s good reporting. I also believe that Donald is going to be so overpowering a presence, it will be hard on the moderators to keep him in his lane. Do you agree?
CT: Hugh, he’s going to be center-stage! You realize that they’re going to order, it looks like their ordering the podiums center-out, right, which is what we would have done, too, and what you want to do, which is the person top of the polls, center stage, the next two to the left and the right of that person. So you’re going to have, visually, just dominating, because it’s going to be Trump, center, Jeb and Walker to his left and right.
HH: I got a note from the Donald yesterday. When I asked him to be on the show, he said he couldn’t be there. He was at the British Open for women at Turnberry, (which I own), but I hope to do it next week.
CT: Of course.
HH: Isn’t that typical?
CT: It is. I’ve had, you know, I’ve had ups and downs relationship with him over the years, and it is. He loves to, I used to get personal notes about his ratings on the Apprentice to let me know that this is the kind of reach he had. We’ll see. Look, I thought Chris Christie had a good line about Trump just there in your interview, which is he’s as serious as he wants to be.
CT: And I have to say, look, I am not going to be a news snob on this with Trump. I think the man is more serious than we all sometimes, I think we all took him, we didn’t take him seriously enough, and frankly, he hadn’t earned that right because of the way he played with this before. I think now, you know, I think now, it’s time to treat him as a serious candidate. It’s about policy questions. If you not only ask him questions about process and what does he think of this guy, and what does he think of that guy, you’re playing right into his strength.
HH: Sure, that’s personality.
CT: Right, exactly.
HH: I said last night on Hannity, I think he has to apologize to John McCain. I really do. What do you think?
CT: I think it actually undermines his brand with the people he’s attracted. If you look at, and look, I think it does, I think it did hurt him in New Hampshire. We saw it in our polling. We had an Iowa and New Hampshire poll. Half were before the comment, half out. His numbers went up in Iowa after the McCain comment, but his numbers dropped, almost collapsed in New Hampshire. McCain has a special connection with New Hampshire that, in our poll, showed that it’s still there. I mean, so but I think it undermines him if he starts apologizing for his rhetoric, because once you do it once, then you’ve got to do it all the time.
HH: Here’s John Kasich from the show on Thursday talking about debates, Chuck Todd.
HH: Do you walk into that with any kind of a game plan? Is there a point you want to make? Or is this just going to be hey, let’s just see what happens in the next two hours on Fox?
JK: Well, I don’t know for sure if I’m in that debate. I mean, we’ll see what happens. You know, we’ve got to wait to hear who’s in and who’s not. But my goal will be to go in there and just let people know who I am, what my record is, and you know, how I think. That’s all. I think you can over-prepare for something like that, but I just want to be, give it the best that I have, the best that I have, like for my announcement speech, Hugh. I just thought to myself, give it the best you have. You know, if you bomb, you bomb. Fortunately, I didn’t, but you know, there’s going to be a performance I’m going to do terrible in somewhere along the line. You know, nobody bats for a high average all the time.
HH: So Chuck, a minute left, I think Kasich is the most Trumpian of the candidates not named Trump because of his bluntness.
CT: I do, too.
HH: Do you?
CT: Yes, because you never know what he’s going to say. He’s got, and he has a little bit of a temper every now and then. But look, he is very disciplined about not talking about Trump. And if he gets on the stage, and he has to, it feels like he’s inching up enough that I think he’s going to, I think he’s going to bump Perry off here.
CT: And get, be the tenth spot. Look, I actually, which actually means he might get a little hometown love, might get a little home state love. But I think he can successfully avoid Trump. It’s Jeb Bush and Scott Walker that have to figure this out.
HH: Chuck Todd, we’ll be watching all next week when the new show gets going. Congratulations. Seven day a week Chuck. I appreciate you’re doing the work.
End of interview.