tv Hardball Weekend MSNBC January 15, 2017 4:00am-4:31am PST
an investigation, let's play hardball. good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. sometimes the very decision to investigate changes the political climate. think of the church committee on misbehavior by the ca or senator full brooith's hearings on vietnam or the watergate hearings. key investigation has a way of popping out. invest that we didn't have but mad a right to have. inspector general, the united states justice department is about to begin a serious investigation of fbi director
jim comey's decision to explode the 2016 presidential election by announcing that the can date for president was under investigation for possibly handling of classified information. one person who sees it as explosive is the man who won the election. the president-elect wrote, who what are hillary clinton's people complaining about with respect to the fbi? based on the information they had, she should never have been allowed to run. guilty as hell. they were very nice to her. she lost because she campaigned in the wrong states. he recognizes the danger here. the nature of his electoral college victory is on trial with this decision of comey to send is bombshell let tore congress 11 days before the election. the letter played a major role in trump's closing argument.
>> they're reopening the investigation into crooked hillary clinton. the fbi would never have reopened this case at this time unless it were a most egregious criminal offense. >> this is the biggest scandal since watergate. hillary is the one who broke the law over and over and over again. we can be sure that what is in those e-mails can absolutely devastating. i will continue to address and expose the criminal corruption of hillary clinton and its threat to the survival of our government. hillary clinton is the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency. >> after the election clinton and her team left no doubt they put the blame on her loss on comey. bill clinton tolds a local reporter, james comey cost her the election. here's what hillary clinton told supporters last month. >> swing state voters made their
decisions in the final days breaking against me because of the fbi letter from director comey. and nate silver believes, i happen to believe this, that that letter most likely made the difference in the outcome. >> well does trump have something to be worried about here? what does the autopsy do to our political world going into the inaugural. susan page is washington bureau chief for usa today and we have national reporter from the "the new york times" and msnbc contributor. you've got a big picture look at things. i think this is one of those things that starts small, a federal government civil servant rks an ig makes a decision this is too big to let go and right before the inaugural says i'm going to carry out what could be a relentless investigation, no time period on it as to what
went on in the fbi that obviously shook this election campaign to its feet. it changed everything. >> it's a very difficult moment, a kind of franl l moment for our democracy because it's not simply the ig investigation. it's also however congress or whoever decides to do an investigation of what happened with the russian hacking. and so we have two situations. you cannot rerun an election. but we also have a situation where a big chunk of the country is very unsure of, suspicious of whether the outcome of this election was really a fair outcome. and you have a president who instead of wanting to kind of heal and bring everybody together, he can't stop relitigating it. and i think that's a very unfortunate and volatile situation. >> i think volatile and fragile is the word. we'll have an inauguration and a smooth trafer b there will
be some training leg trstrange the air. >> and you know the irony is what built the political base for donald trump. it was questioning legitimacy of barack obama's presidency, about the birther, discredited birther accusation. and you eve named two of them, russia and comey and the third, which is that he lost the popular vote. and you see donald trump being sensitive on all of these issues and still litigating them a week before he's going to take office >> this is the united states government in the shape of an inspector general, a nonpolitician, michael who wits investigating and using his office to investigate his department, the justice department. this isn't some weird thing we go to go to an mi 6 guy in
russia. this is about us investigating. what happened in this city? or maybe what happened in the new york office of the fbi. i have my own theories about this, about why that decision was made by comey. >> i think it's a remarkable thing that's happening and it could start small and end up bigger. if we found out comey was weighing political reasons of why he took this step -- it was pretty unprecedented. i went to north carolina on the weekend that the letter came out. people were early voting with the idea that comey's letter came out. there were people that were supporting donald trump that said this moved me to the polls because this was the straw that broke the camel's back, the deciding factor. it's true that there's russia and all of the things that went on, the fact that neither of these candidates were liked by the voters in general. but i think it's a big deal and something that i think i'm going to want to follow up.
>> north carolina would be an example that you know so well. north carolina, the republican governor gets beaten but it may have been about her. since his actions in october, james comey's reputation has suffered. watch this exchange between comey and senator angus king from this week. this was a moment of interesting sarcasm, i might say. >> mr. comey, did you answer senate widen's question that there is an investigation under way as to connections between either of the political campaigns and the russians? >> i didn't say one way or another, especially in a public forum. we never confirm or deny a pending investigation. i'm not saying -- >> the irony of your making that statement here i cannot avoid. but i'll move on. >> well he did make his point, the senator did. and congressman maxine waters left a briefing today with only one message for the press. let's watch. >> can you tell us anything about the discussion in the
briefing? >> no. it's classified and we can't tell you anything. all i can tell you is that the fbi tredirector has no credibil. >> that is the situation we're in. and now of course comey finds himself a man without a country politically because the wonderful "wall street journal" editorial page is after him because he went after their hero scooter levi a couple of years ago. he's got a few enemies in the back room too. >> sometimes in washington you say if everybody is complaining about you, you might be doing something right. that might not be the situation in this case. we're going to have people saying he has no credibility. you had john lewis, renowned congressman questioning the new president's legitimacy. you're going to have months -- >> let's not play naive here. you're not a partisan.
if you're down, you know your enemies are because they jump you. "the wall street journal" saw a chance to jump comey here for their list of reasons. it doesn't convince me that when both sides attack you, you're bad. >> this is not healthy for the country. we're going to have a bunch of inquiries about the popular vote. what happens. the iq comes out from behind the scenes after months of investigation with a report. >> why so long to way? twhie unt why until the week of the inaugural? >> i think it's really important. >> i think one reason -- i don't know why they didn't do it before but one reason they're doing it now is to get it launched before the new administration takes over. >> before he gets fired. >> he could be replaced. there's a process for replacing the inspector general.
it's an independent operation but there are still things that the administration can do. i don't think there's any evidence that james comey did this for political reason. i think he did it to protect his reputation and could he have hurt his reputation any more than he did? >> i think the great investigation question i what motivated him to announce 11 days before the election that hillarclinton wasnder active investigation. we know the particulars, anti-nantihony weiner's e-mail. the fact that that that happens in families, sometimes things get crossed up. was that enough for a reason or was there politics in the new york fbi office, was giuliani of some interest in this whole thing? i don't know. i find it fascinating. but i don't know whether you can say that comey could have been proven to have acted as a republican or a partisan. and if he acted as a professional on behalf of his institution because all of the agents around him were saying
you've got to do something, that's understa that's institutional. >> if this report shows us what you just said and what some people thought when we talked about the idea that he wasn't motivated by politics but the sense of duty and the fact that he felt like if he had come out with this afterwards, imagine if hillary clinton would have won, people would have we're going to look atta anthony weiner's e-ma. it's hard to figure out. >> it took them a day to look at the e-mails. they could have looked at the e-mails, realized there was nothing there and not made the announceme announcement. >> which is consistent with policy. one reason we have policies at institutions is to avoid exactly the situation. >> that may be all that comes out of it, they make an announcement that after two or three months of investigation, hiring a lot of staff, they come
out and say the normal procedure was not to make any political sensitive announcements weeks before the election and we violated that. >> i was amazed. people don't like people that lose. she'll look better in a few years. hillary clinton wasn't trump's only twitter target today. he continued to accuse the intelligence community of leaking the dossier about his connections to russia. mr. trump said, fake news. russia says nothing exists, probably released by intelligence, even knowing there was no proof. my people have l have a report on hacking within 90 days. i've had these promises before thnchs is a bad sign. he's going to need intelligence. there are going to be crises where he has to trust the intelligence people he's
bashing. >> look to the future. will the report, the investigation by the ig which i do believe will have a lot of drama to it, will it lead to an indictment of comey and the way he did this? >> my guess is that it's going to show that he was not motivated by partisan desire to help trump or hurt hillary. he was motivated by a desire to help his institution but probably more to help himself. he department want to look like he was engaged in a coverup. it will end up criticizing his judgment on a number of fronts and then we're doing the say can't rerun an election. what a disaster. u next we vau predent obama and vice president biden say their good-byes. it's the farewell from george washington that means as much today as it did two centuries ago. this is hardball where the action is. sometimes you just know when you hit a home run.
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america is no fragile thing but the gains to our long journey of freedom are now assured. >> that was president obama in his farewell address issuing a solemn reminder that he's succeeded because he's unified behind his principles. washington understood that utopian dreams often turn into nightmares. he hoped to create a document under partisan hoping to unite the nation. he quoted from the farewell address in his speech on tuesday night. >> in his own farewell address
george washington wrote that self government is the underpinning of our safety. but from different causes much pains will be taken to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth. so we should reject the first dawning of every attempt to alienate every country from the rest or the sacred ties that make us one. >> i'm joined right now by editor and chief of the daily beast and author of washington east farewell, the founding father's warning. er hooer we have the first african-american president quoting reverentl lly from the
first president. let me ask you about washington. this great book of yours. tell me what is the core of the washington message on leaving the presidency? >> the core message is that he's sending a message to future generations, a warning about the forces that he thought could destroy our republic. it's based on the understanding of his life and history, the sum of all of his hard won wisdom and it's a document that is more applicable today. >> i used to like the two parties more than i do now. one would keep the other honest. you could come in with the other side that was center left, the other is center right. they're moderate even today. now i think one party seeks from preventing the other party from getting any credit for doing
anything. they're trying to undermine each other. is that what mr. washington was thinking about or didn't see the worst coming? >> he understood the partis partisansh partisanship. washington was an independent president. he was not a member of any political party. the constitution doesn't mention political parties. but what he saw was the danger of hyper par san hijacking the government and that he warned could open the door to a demagogue with authoritarian ambitions. >> i think in high school, public speaking, we had that for two years, v a dim memory that one of the speeches -- i don't it could have been this one. the gettysburg address was like two minutes. this was longer and it wasn't actually deliver. >> i was ap open letter to the american people published in the philadelphia daily advertiser in 1796. there was a time it was standard
operating procedure to teach it in america's schools as a way of requiting the nation. it was more widely printed than the deck collar ration of independence. >> our relationship with israel, i wonder if a big power like us can avoid entangling relations. we had allieallies, we had nato. it was pretty darn good. it worked. it kept the russians out of europe. it did work >> you got to remember at the time when washington is doing this, the fact of our geography, we were isolated with an ocean from the problems of europe. and washington wanted to take advantage of that asset and give us time to grow and be an independent nation on the world stanl. but he never intended it to be a
message of isolation. that's a common misconception about the farewell address. he's saying we need a foreign policy of independence, not to be dependent on another country's independence. he also recognized that history was littered with examples of countries where foreign powers had come in and subverted the policies of the other natns by interferingnheir politics. >> i want to ask you a question when we come back, what would george washington think of donald trump. we'll be right back with the answer. you're watching "hardball" where the action is. i want something that delivers. (woman) ♪ tresiba ready... (avo) tresiba® is used to control high blood sugar in adults with diabetes. don't use tresiba® to treat diabetic ketoacidosis, during episodes of low blood sugar, or if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. don't share needles or insulin pens. don't reuse needles. the most common side effect is low blood sugar,
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he was a modest man. he believed in the strength of moderation as a governing principle and he devoted his life to civic purposes, whether it was being a soldier, a member of the house of burgesses or our first president. these are qualities that donald trump doesn't necessary cherish or value or reflect his own personal history, obviously. so on that front i think donald trump would be a different kind of man that washington anticipated. but there are aspects of what washington laid out in the farewell that even donald trump might resonate with -- foreign policy of independence, the idea of peace through strength in military. that's something that could resonate with trump. and the virtue of this document is there are things that conservatives and liberals alike can take comfort from, even donald trump perhaps in some of his supporters. >> did it surprise you that the president, president obama, mentioned washington's farewell remarks, he wasn't trying to help you sell books but he was talking about your book. that must have been marvelous to hear the president talk about what you'd been writing about all these months. >> that was a remarkable moment but, you know, it makes sense, the focus on citizenship, focus
on national unity, the understanding that our independence is inseparable from our interdependence. those are things he shares with george washington. >> john avlon with a timely book, washington's farewell. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. coming up next, your business. d. it was mostly water. so, i switched to tide pods. they're super concentrated, so i get a better clean. i mean, i give away water for free. i'm not about to pay for it in my detergent. tide. number one rated. it's got to be tide befi was active.gia, i was energetic. then the chronic, widespread pain drained my energy. my doctor said moving more helps ease fibromyalgia pain. he also prescribed lyrica. fibromyalgia is thought to be the result of overactive nerves.
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