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  Meet the Press  NBC  February 19, 2017 8:18am-8:24am PST

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i am happy to be here. thank you, chuck. >> thank you. senator john mccain has taken plenty of incoming from mr. trump and has been willing to give it as well. here is what he had to say friday at the munich security conference in germany. an event essentially founded to confront the threat posed by this old soviet union during the cold war. >> they would be alarmed by an increasing turn away from universal values and toward old ties of blood and race and sectarianism. they would be alarmed by the hardening resentment we see towards immigrants and refugees and minority groups, especially muslims. they would be alarmed by the growing inability and even unwillingness to separate truth from lies. >> well, i talked to senator mccain yesterday from munich. i began by asking him whether, in that speech, he was referring
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directly to president trump. >> i was certainly referring to the threats that we are now facing with this stated goals of this administration, which would upset the last 70 years of a new world order, which was established after world war ii. 70 years based on human rights, respect for the law, free trade, all of the things that -- aspects of this world order that took place after one of the most horrific, terrible wars in history. and i am for maintaining it, and i am afraid that it's under assault from a variety of forces, including, by the way, the russians. >> you say a variety of forces. you are being careful here. do you think the president agrees with you about the world order or not? >> i think many of his statements have been contradictory. some of them have indicated
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that. i am very pleased with the national security team he has around him. we are here in munich, by the way, general mattis and general kelly, i think that -- and the vice president gave a very good speech today. but i worry about statements which upset our friends at a time when the strains on the european union and europeans are greater than they have been since anytime since the end of the cold war. >> let me ask the question this way. how much confidence do you have in the current commander in chief? >> well, i worry. i worry about the president's understanding of some of these issues and his contradictory articulations. and i think the rollout of the, quote, immigration reform was an example of a need or an orderly decision-making process in the white house. and that, i think, is probably
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what's plaguing them more than anything else right now. >> you know, you have been -- you have taken extra care to say how much you like the president's national security team. does that include what you have seen out of the national security council? >> i worry about the membership. there has never been a political adviser as a permanent member of the national security council. in mr. bannon's role as political adviser and member of the national security council, i am worried about former secretary of defense gates has said he is deeply concerned. so has leon panetta and many others who view the national security council as apolitical. >> it's interesting you bring up mr. bannon. he calls himself an economic nationalist. when you hear about -- how about this. when europeans hear that, what
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do they hear? >> they feel uncertain about our trade relationships. they saw that we abandoned the tpp. they're facing the brexit problem right now. all this business with vladimir putin is very disturbing to all of us. to equate vladimir putin and the united states of america, as he was asked, you know, i guess -- he said putin is a killer, and he basically said well, so are we. that moral equivalency is a contradiction of everything the united states has stood for in the 20th and 21st century. >> many members of congress seem to want to get involved in an investigation into what role did russia play in the 2016 election. >> there are so many questions out there that we first of all need to understand the parameters of what's happened here. and so i would -- i would hold off and wait and see what happens. one thing that you and i know from being around this -- being
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around washington, there's probably going to be some more shoes to drop. >> that's -- that's true. but let me ask you this. can americans be confident that a republican-controlled congress can investigate this president thoroughly if necessary? >> i hope so, and i have to believe so. >> then, before i let you go -- >> more hope than belief. >> more hope than belief? before i let you go -- >> both. >> -- i am curious of your reaction to a tweet the president sent friday night. the fake news media, failing "new york times," nbc news. a abc, cbs, cnn is not my enemy. it's the enemy of the american people. do you believe any group of americans are the enemy of mare group of americans? >> i was talking about the period as you know of the new world order. a fundamental part of that new world order was a free press. i hate the press. i hate you, especially.
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but the fact is, we need you. we need a free press. we must have it. it's vital. if you want to preserve -- i am very serious now. if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press. and without it, i am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. that's how dictators get started. >> that's how dictators get started, with tweets like that? >> with -- no. they get started by suppressing free press. in other words, a consolidation of power. when you look at history the first thing dictators do is shut down the press. i am not saying that president trump is trying to be a dictator. i am just saying we need to learn the lessons of history. >> senator mccain, i'm going to leave it there. you had