tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC February 1, 2017 11:00pm-12:01am PST
this by the way that. >> didn't steal this from the democrats. they stole it from the american people. so we're doing the right thing all the way around. >> governor jay inslee, thank you very much for joining us tonight. i really appreciate it. >> thank you. you bet. next. tonight the white house puts iran on notice. a public threat from the briefing room, but what exactly does it mean and will it be enforced? the new secretary of state's sworn in tonight as another trump nominee is at risk in the senate. and a tribute to the president on this first day of black history month that has a lot of people talking tonight. the 11th hour begins now. and good evening once again from our headquarters here in new york. yesterday it was his spokesman insisting the president didn't call the muslim ban a ban.
today, donald trump seemed to some folks to be talking about frederick douglas as if he was a contemporary, somehow still alive and with us. but those were just distractions by comparisons today the trump presidency became a lot more real for a lot of people when his national security advisor came into the briefing room and put iran on notice. and then walked out. we don't know what that means. more on that in a moment. that is some high stakes language to use. and it's in response to their recent behavior including, but not limited to, the test launch of that unarmed missile. perhaps the most presidential thing this new president has done in the job, he flew today with his daughter to the air base in dover, delaware, to witness the transfer of remains of a navy seal killed in yemen days ago. and to meet with members of the family. back at the white house, after that, the president gave a brief and rather dark assessment of violence around the world before presiding over the swearing in
of our new secretary of state. rex tillerson, until recently the ceo of his lifetime employer, exxonmobil, is now this nation's 69th secretary of state. on the confirmation front, the vote to confirm senator jeff sessions as attorney general has been delayed likely because his vote as a sitting republican senator is so badly needed now that betsy devos is in trouble. she is trump's selection for education secretary. she is now being accused of plagiarizing answers to committee questions from an obama administration official. and she has lost two major gop defections, senator collins of maine and murkowski of alaska. the washington post and associated press are reporting tonight, trump's calls with the leaders of australia and mexico didn't go well. the australian call apparently ended early and badly.
and it was initially reported the president threatened to send u.s. troops to mexico. our kristin welker reports tonight, the white house is pushing back, denying the president threatened to send the u.s. military across the border into mexico. but we begin tonight with geopolitics and this warning to arrest, vague, but they are quote on notice. >> the recent ballistic missile launch is also in defiance of u.n. security council resolution 2231. which calls upon iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons including launches using such missile technology. the obama administration failed to respond adequately to the malign actions, including weapons transfers, support for terrorism, and other violations of international norms.
the trump administration condemns such actions by iran that undermine security, prosperity, and stability throughout and beyond the middle east and place -- which places american lives at risk. president trump has severely criticized the various agreements reached between iran and the obama administration as well as the united nations as being weak and ineffective. instead of being thankful to the united states in these agreements, iran is now feeling emboldened. as of today, we are officially putting iran on notice. >> let's start off our discussion with our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell. dual question, first of all, what does on notice mean and second, how will that kind of thing be translated in that part of the world? >> well, the first question, what does on notice mean, questions were asked at a briefing and off-camera briefing afterwards. they said there will be a response.
there will be a retaliation. they would not move out military action, but it seemed more likely tbe diplomatic and economic, but everything is on the table. they did say, anthis is important, that this is separate from the iran nuclear agreement. which president trump during the campaign derided said it was the worst deal in history. indicated he would renegotiate or cancel it. it's a multilateral agreement as you know. all of the six major powers as well as et european union are committed to it. if the u.s. wanted to get out of that, they could with six months notice, but that would still not stomp the agreement. it was interesting that the briefers did not say that that is involved. this is a separate issue of whether or not iran in it's missile test on sunday either defied or violated the u.n. resolution which said that that should not happen. now there have been a number of missile tests and the obama white house has responded with other kinds of chastisements,
but never this kind of strong statement, drawing a line if you will, a line that now has to be carried out, something has to happen here or else the trump administration is following the much criticized example of the white house in drawing a red line against syria. in that case and not following through. it does seem that the timing so interesting, he came out even before the hour before the senate was voting in a very historically divided vote on the secretary of state. 56-43 to confirm rex tillerson. rex tillerson was then sworn in tonight as you described in the oval office with mike pence officiating and donald trump standing by and both the president and rex tillerson speaking. tillerson with perfunctory statements, but the president making some rather strong statements. and now we have more tweets, a tweet tonight against iran suggesting by the president that iran is taking over much of iraq, why did we waste $3 trillion? and then again another tweet
which seems to be in response to reports in australia and reports in the washington post that he had a very, very contentious conversation on saturday night with the australian prime minister. instructing contrast to the very bland read out that the white house gave out to it's reporters on saturday night. >> yeah, the president has just tweeted in recent minutes, do you believe it, the obama administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from australia, why? i will study this dumb deal. it's sure getting a lot of coverage in australia and now starting tonight in this country as well. they are long time steadfast allies of the united states. >> i mean steadfast allies, go back to vietnam, who were our military allies down there? among our strongest allies and the fact is that he has tweeted so aggressively about australia there was a one off refugee agreement, done by the obama white house and australia for us to take some refugees from australia and now he's saying
that it seems to be confirming that he accused the australians of wanting to send the next boston bombers over. and that this was a conversation that was abruptly cut off a half hour before it was scheduled to be. he did a number of calls to foreign leaders, including vladimir putin on saturday, saturday afternoon and evening. and the fact that this has blown up with one of our closest allies is quite extraordinary. >> andrea mitchell, starting off our veteran chief foreign correspondent. thanks, we'll look for more of your coverage tomorrow on this very network. let's bring in members of our panel tonight. ali flel she who normals covers business, but he's in here in part because he's spent a lot of time in iran. in washington, chief of staff of the cia and defense, jeremy bash, and friend and columnist for the washington post, eugene robinson. jeremy, do you think in the early days can of this white
house -- and this is among the levers of power. they are obviously empowered to pull. do you think the command went down the chain of command to the carriers out of u.s. policy? the young men and women on carriers, the soldiers, sailor, marine, and airman around the world that this may ratchet things up? >> i doubt it, but those military planners and those commanders in the field should be ready. because this could get very sparky very fast. these were intense words from the national security advisor. i actually thought most of his statement was very strong, but the last line i felt, brian, i think like you referenced like my tv went on mute. iran is on notice. i was struggling to figure out what the rest of the sentence was. let me offer some ideas what they could be thinking about. increased naval presence in the region, increased special operations forces going after iran's surrogates and proxies, including hezbollah and their
backed rebels in yemen. helping out, training, advising, assisting, and equipping some of our partners. that's a big request that ours have requested from washington. they did not get as much from the obama administration as they wanted. and the fourth big one i would think would be direct military action, if there is in fact a scrape between u.s. worships in the red sea or the arabian golf between american warships and iranian naval vessels. >> one of the most fascinating places i've ever traveled, i speak for you as well. what an interesting culture and now since it's going to be top of mind, whabd americans know about this? >> two things. that there was a lot of pressure on the iranian government to make this deal. a lot of people in iran were
enriched by the idea that there were sanctions. somebody always gets rich off of sanctions and in this case it was a revolutionary guard which we think of as their elite military, they are the biggest industry in the country. so, just like there are people in the united states who thought this was a terrible deal, there are a lot of well-placed people in iran who also think it's a bad deal and would welcome some opportunity to subtle it.
the other thing to jeremy's point, the strait is where about 20% of the world's shipped oil has to go through. one doesn't need to do much to mix it up with the iranians, they are constantly involved in zirmishes. america tends to escort other flag vessels, sometimes they turn them into american flag vessels to get the oil out of there. it's 20 miles wide at some point. a war can start right there and the affect it's going to have on americans is at the price of oil's going to go up real fast if you start a fight with the oil producers. >> eugene, you focus yourself for a living on a couple ideas a week. and we've had a lot of fun with what has happened so far in this administration. the executive order over the weekend got real serious real fast today, seemed to get real serious, real fast. >> it did get real serious real fast. because when you say iran is on notice, as andrea said, what do you mean? do you back that up with something, and if you do, then at the very least you're talking some kind of sanctions. and beyond you could be talking about some kind of military action. remember this is the president who said during the caaign that these foreign wars were dumb. and he was very critical of the notion that the previous administrations had gone around starting wars and, you know,
america first, we're going to have to do nation building here at home. it seems to have changed his tune considerably. and then these phone calls that we learned about today with the mexican president and especially with the australian prime minister. it takes a lot to offend the australian prime minister to estrange the united states from australia. literally one of our very, very closest allies historically and to the present day, at least until that phone call. i just want to -- for the record, point out there are two lies in donald trump's recent tweet about the australia phone call. and i call them lies because he must have known -- he said thousands of illegal immigrants. there are not thousands coming, it's 1,250, and if he doesn't think there's a difference between illegal immigrants and refugees, which is what these people are, then the world is in trouble. >> jeremy, david girgen has worked for four u.s. presidents and i haven't, i often quote him. he said tonight, never had a president in my memory bully our friends. he also said you cannot conduct yourself in the world this way. he was very upset at especially
the treatment of the aussies. >> let me tell you something about our friends down in australia, down under, and i was there recently, i met with prime minister turnball with some others. first of all, he's an affable, pro-american guy, businessman, not unlike donald trump who came into politics after a career in business, those australian service members, the men and women of the australian military have fought and died with american soldiers, airmen, marines, and sailor in every single one of our wars, every single one since world war ii. >> beaches of normandy. >> they are the second biggest contributor in iraq. they fought with us in australia, they are great warriors. they are great friends. we're going to need them. if we're going to get into a scrape in the persian gulf, if we're going to have to take on other adversaries including isis, we're going to need people li the australians first and foremost. it's very short sided to alienate them right out of the box. >> these are among the levers you get to pull when you win the presidency.
it can be like getting a masters degree in interconnectedness, oh my goodness, i pull this and this happens half way around the world. >> it might be a good thing that rex tillerson was sworn in as a secretary of state so he can devote himself to the business of diplomacy. back to the iran thing, when the iran deal was being settled, for months and months, pictures of john kerry and the foreign minister of iran standing side by side. in the last days of the obama administration, you sort of saw the russian foreign minister and john kerry standing side by side and giving press conferences. it's diplomacy. it's not little squirmishes and fights and someone's going to have to figure that. >> as we go to the first break, our great thanks as often happens, jeremy bash has a particular area of expertise, and it has come in very handy lately, jeremy thanks. the president has a habit of doing an amazing job. when he did it today, a lot of people were left confused afterwards. we'll explain after our short
reagan has done an amazing job. >> he's done an amazing job. we've done an amazing job. we done an amazing job. the reuters poll i think was terrific and i know it's very professionally done. they do an amazing job. with the national inquirer has done an may iing job. >> we often hear president donald trump use that same phrase to compliment someone, but today was different. as the president spoke about frederick douglas at an event to mark the start of black history month. >> i am very proud now that we
have a museum in the national mall where people can learn about reverend king. so many other things. frederick douglas is an example of somebody whose done an amazing job and being recognized more and more, i notice. >> later, white house press secretary sean spicer was asked to clarify that position. >> today he made the comment about frederick doug last. do you have any idea what he was referring to? >> i think there's contributions -- i think he wants to highlight the contributions that he has made. and i think through a lot of the actions and statements that he's going to make, i think the contributions of frederick douglas will become more and more. >> that clears it up. eugene robinson still with us, at least we hope in washington. eugene, what was going on there? what do you think we just witnessed? >> well, it was amazing, brian, and t in a good way. you know, frederick douglas, for those who don't know --
>> died in 1895. >> right. >> who died in 1895 was the best known and most influential african american of the 19th century. born a slave. he escaped to freedom and became a towering abolitionist. he was abraham lincoln's conscience when it came to the issue of slavery. he was a great or or it. he founded two newspapers. better known of which is the north star. he was -- he was an amazing figure whose house, grand and stately house in washington is only about 15 minutes away from the white house, and the president ought to drop by some time. i'd be happy to show him around. >> you and i noticed the same thing on social media which is why we ought to be separated, yale university press went on twitter, and kau dees for saying to people, if you want to read mar about him, our biography -- >> about the amazing job he's
done. if you drive up 8th avenue in central park and when you get to 110th street, it's frederick douglas boulevard. donald trump talked the other day about being in the same room where lincoln slept. frederick and eugene, correct me, first african american ever actually invited to the white house as a guest. as opposed to someone who worked there building it or doing something for them. frederick douglas is not someone that you wouldn't encounter in either new york life or business life or political life. this was unusual. >> be that as it may, eugene, bring us back to contemporary times and current politics. is the nomination of devos at education in real jeopardy? >> well, it's right there. it's right -- it balanced basically she has enough votes right now, but she can'tose one more. she lost two republican senators. that makes it 50/50, they have to delay the vote to confirm
jeff sessions as attorney general. so he can vote as a senator. to confirm devos. if one more senator, republican, goes to the other side, devos goes down. so this is -- this is the one that's really quite spenceful right now. >> as a viewers guide, there was discussion today of the nuclear option in the senate. just like in real life, it's a phrase that never should be tossed around. president said, mitch, meaning the majority leader mcconnell should invoke it, what does it mean? >> instead of getting 60 votes in the senate to confirm a supreme court nominee, they changed the rules so that only 50 can affirm the nominee. which is dangerous because if you do it once, it means others can do it after you. democrats have considered using it before and they decides against it, but the idea is change the rules while you're in power to make sure your supreme court nominee goes through.
it's called nuclear because folks in washington who like to do drastic things think this is too much of a break from tradition. if you don't get 60 votes in the senate, think about a different nominee. >> and then it goes into the category of be careful what you wish for. because if say your second pick if you get one is too conservative. your party ends up if they can pick off one or two, you lose big. >> that's right. and that's why this is dangerous. it's not that others haven't considered doing it, it's the cavalier nature in which donald trump suggested to his friend mitch mcconnell that they should go for this. he did say it's up to mitch and his people. the senate tends to be a great chamber of sober second thought. and perhaps they will think about around way around this. >> the column on the muslim ban s fascinating reading this week. thank you as always. both of you gentlemen. another break for us, when we come back, something we call getting to know you. as the trump family gets used to a lot more scrutiny in the white house.
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details becoming public. his long time physician has told the "new york times" he takes three main medications. a statten for cholesterol, and antibiotic for the skin condition row say that and marketed for prostate health and/or hair growth. and the first lady is getting press attention for having not returned to washington since the sunday after the inauguration, which was also their anniversary. melania trump has only been photographed once during this entire time running errands the other night here in new york. they are living apart in part because their ten-year-old, barron trump, remains in school in new york. if you have kids, you know that uproots them can be traumatic. so this will be a unique arrangement for a first lady. melania trump has just hired a chief of staff, but does not yet have a functioning operation at the white house in a statement she said she is putting her team
together. that will do it for this broadcast, this edition of the 11th hour, hardball with chris matthews begins right now. > court fight. let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm chris matthews in miami tonight where i'm giving the lecture on leadership at the university of miami. let me start thiening with a war dispatch on the supreme urt fight. it's going to take 60 votes to confirm president trump's nominee to replace antonin scalia, 60 votes or trumpb gets straightarmed on his first pick for the high court and his nominee heads back to denver. after last year's decision to block a conversation with president obama's supreme court
pick, merrick garland, several democrats have already said they would vote to kill the nomination of neil gorsuch. the six democratic senators have already come out in opposition to mr. gorsuch, ed markey, elizabeth warren of massachusetts, rod wyden. and kirsten gillibrand of new york. he says the seat is stolen. >> this is not a normal consideration. this is a seat that was stolen from the former president, obama. that's never been done in u.s. history before. to let this become normal just invites a complete partisan polarization of the court from here to eternity. at what point does a majority say in the future, we will not let someone make a nomination two years into their four years, or three years into their four years, or their entire four years? so i made it clear that i was going to insist on a 60-vote standard and that i would vote
against closing debates. so insisting on 60 votes is the way you start what we refer to as a filibuster then the question is, is. >> there going to be enough votes to shut it down? my hope is in won't be. >> west virginia democrat joe manjchin says two wrongs don't make a right and wants a hearing and a vote on gorsuch. >> what the republicans did with merrick garland was absolutely unbelievable to me. it was a disaster. i was embarrassed by how mitch mcconnell led the republicans not to even be decent and considerate enough to even talk to the gentleman, let alone vote for him. i think it should be 60 votes for our supreme court. i think it's the highest court of the land, it should be where we're coming together as americans, not continue to divide us. with that being said, let's give the man a chance. talk to him. my goodness, don't shut it down before we even get started and two wrongs don't make a right. >> and this afternoon, president trump once again encouraged the republican senate majority
leader, mitch mcconnell, to kill that historic 60-vote requirement if democrats filibustered. >> yes. if we end up with the same gridlock that they've had in washington for the last longer than eight years, in all fairness to president obama, a lot longer than eight years, but if we end up with that gridlock, i would say if you can, mitch, go nuclear because that would be an absolute shame if a man of this quality was caught up in the web. so i would say it's up to mitch, but i would say go for it. >> well the final decision on this supreme court nomination, those to come, could end up in the hands of mitch mcconnell. watch this. >> i think we ought to think long and hard about whether we want to blow up the institution of the senate for some kind of short-term advantage. i think we can achieve the things that we want to achieve for the american people without doing that. >> well mcconnell's the one, of
course, who shut the door last year on merrick garland, and now can look forward to a nastier reckoning, wunl that could hurt him in history. does he stand to his strong principled -- or does he sacrifice to get neil gorsuch on to the supreme court? kasie hunt covers capitol hill for nbc news. thank you for this reporting tonight. it does seem to me it's going to come down to will they require 60 votes, supermajority, to get this confirmation achieved, or will they lower it to 50 just to get it done quickie? a quickie style. >> reporter: well, chris, it seems like democrats are already saying that they're going to demand 60 votes and they're portraying it as something that happens all the time, that the 60-vote threshold is really common. it has become very common for legislation or getting really anything done in the senate, but it is really not how supreme court nominations have been done historically. often, those that have passed have had more than 60 votes because tradition has usually
dictated that these votes are more overwhelming than that. there are, of course, controversial exceptions. clarence thomas. but the way that this is being done is really, in many ways, unprecedented. now, the question is going to be, are there eight democrats who are willing to look at this and say, hey, i'm going to vote to overcome this filibuster that people like jeff merkley have already said is going to be there, so i think we're going to get into intense vote counting. i think right now it's possible that those eight democrats are there, but the climate is so overheated right now, and if you are talking about all of these other issues up on the hill, that executive order just enflamed everything, so it's really hard for democrats because they feel caught between in some cases, hey, i got to win re-election in a red state, but on the other hand, the
progressive base is so angry, they don't want to see them cooperating with donald trump on anything. >> so let's talk about the interesting personal fight here in the soul of mitch mcconnell who could be a real political tough guy as we know. who can be partisan as heck. and here he is forced to choose between his loyalty, if he has any to trump, the republican president, it could get down to that. will he buckle to trump's demand that they do this by majority vote if necessary or does he stick to his love of the senate, which he believes is distinguished from the house of representatives, where you are right now, because there is deliberation, there's unlimited debate. each senator really matters. any senator can hold up debate, can hold up a vote. does he want to get rid of that privilege for senators to be having to debate as long as you want, like in "mr. smith goes to
washington" with jimmy stewart, give that up so neil gorsuch can sit on the court? no, really, gorsuch can sit on the court and trump can have a big win? that's a hell of a question for mitch mcconnell. >> reporter: it is, and look, i mean, mitch mcconnell is a guy -- i think there are competing impulses for mitch mcconnell, specifically, i mean, forget donald trump in this particular instance because there is on the one hand somebody who has devoted his entire life, most of his adult life, to this senate. and he angry harry reid, then the democratic leader changed the rules on almost everything else except supreme court nominees. he's also incredibly -- he's an incredible hard-nosed strategic political tactician on the other hand. the reality is the politics have changed up here over the course of the last decades and pretty sharply just in the last ten years. and i think he's trying to take that into account as well and i have to say, from conversations i've had up here over the course of the last day, it sounds like he's leaning in that direction. when i talked to republicans, they say one way or the other, gorsuch is going to get confirmed and in that i hear, hey, we've been talking to
leaders and, you know what, if we can convince democrats to go along with it, great, and if not, then we're actually going to go forward and change the rules. >> well, we're getting closer and closer in this country to one-man rule. thank you, kasie hunt, for the reporting. new york senator chuck schumer is facing pressure as kasie mentioned from inside his own party, the freshly motivated grassroots people who want to see democrats fight and bring down all of trump's nominees. thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the democratic leader's brooklyn apartment last night, last night, holding signs and calling on schumer to block trump's appointments, period. >> what do we want? >> and when do we want it? >> now! >> schumer made it known today on the senate floor. >> it seems that president trump who has said he would be for the working man and woman has not chosen someone who routinely sides with the average american. instead, it seems he has selected a nominee to the supreme court who sides with ceos over citizens.
>> well, lan hi chin is a former adviser to mitt romney and marco rubio and stephanie shrlelock is president of emily's list. i want to start with stephanie because of emily's list. i think there are so many issues that are affected by the supreme court. of course, lgbt issues, women's issues, of course, generally. there's voting rights issues. there's citizens united about money going into government elections. it's every issue you could have for voting against somebody. it means you'd have to be almost for all those issues on that person's side to vote for them. it seems to me the onus is on the person who wants to get confirmed. your thoughts? >> i think that's exactly right. what we're looking for even at emily's list, we're going to have a hearing, we got a lot of questions. the american people have a lot
of questions. trump made it clear that he was going to appoint a judge for this position that was going to dismantle roe v. wade. that, alone, is a huge question. that is the law of the land. it is settled law. we need to know as women and families in this country with he stands on that. also on voting rights, civil rights, workers rights, what he's going to do with corporate america. there's a lot of questions here and i have to say, his record isn't so good and there's great concern among democrats, among the grassroots, among my community, that we're very worried about someone like this getting on the united states supreme court. we need answers. >> well, stephanie, you and i know each other. you also know what trump said when i asked him about abortion rights and women. he said in his first impulsive answer to me, he later cleaned it up, women should be punished.
yet everybody saw that. everybody in america probably saw that comment by him and he won. what do you say to voters out there that went out and supported a guy who said something like that? given the supreme court nomination coming up. >> yeah, i mean, during the election -- >> his fight. >> -- he also talked about a muslim ban and people and people around the country who societied voted for him didn't think it was real. look what we're looking at. >> they didn't think he'd do it when he said he'd do it? >> i think that's lot of voters. you can see already with his disapproval numbers over 50 that this is not where america is. and americans as we're traveling around the country, particularly on issues of women's reproductive rights, voting rights and economics, they want somebody who's going to stand by the rule of the law of this country and need to hear from this judge if he becomes a justice that he's going to do just that. >> let me go to you on this. i guess it goes back to politics again because you got 52 republicans in the senate, you need 60 to get past a
filibuster. how do you see this thing working its way out? >> well, i think judge gorsuch is going to see a lot of support even from democrats. look, i think thissest to make him out into some kind of extremist is a little hysterical. frankly the judge has a mainstream record. if you look at the thing he's done. he's been willing to buck conventional wisdom in his own party on issues like criminal justice in a case called am versus holmes this year. he decided in a way that people take a traditional hard line on criminal justice would not be pleased with so he is somebody who's been an independent thinker. i think it's going to be very difficult to paint him into a corner. i think he's a terrific nominee. on the nuclear option, let me just say this, chris, it wasn't the republicans entertained using this. harry reid first used it on nominees for the cabinet -- >> he's gone. he's gone. >> he's there -- >> mitch mcconnell is there now
and believes in fighting it. will he fight it this time? will he fight it this time? will he fight it? >> it's going to be in senator mcconnell's court to decide. and he certainly is an institutionalist. i think he would love to see this be a process where we get 60 votes. but if the democrats are going to be petulant about it and insist on fighting a good man -- >> petulant? that's the kind of word -- >> it's petulance. >> -- that starts fights. petulant. i want to say this to you. we had merrick garland nominated a year ago, more than a year -- a year ago. and he never got a conversation with a republican for a whole year. he was a center left, close to center, just like your guy people shay is a center right. why was one centrist not given a conversation and your version of a center right person demanding to be confirmed? what's the difference here? what is this deal you got here? no democratic president can pick a candidate bullet you guys can. >> it was highly unusual for the president to have made that selection in on election year. >> really? >> absolutely, it was unusual.
>> i don't care, you can cite anybody you want, the bottom line is we were supposed to have a supreme court, therefore ties couldn't be broken, therefore they couldn't take up the most controversial cases because they weren't going to be able to be decisive. you know the problem of mathematics. you need nine to decide something and they had eight. you're saying the court should be -- that's what you're arguing? a year off? >> no, the court will continue -- the court will continue making decisions and if they need to rehear them, they'll rehear them when they have nine. that was the whole point that joe biden made when he advocated for -- >> okay. >> -- when a president would nominate someone in an election year. >> so if ruth bader ginsburg leaves the court or stephen breyer leaves the court, anthony kennedy leaves the court in the last of this term, you'll come back on the program and say there should be no confirmation hearings? will you? promise to do that now. promise to do that now. be consistent, sir. >> democrats can do -- >> i'm asking, will you commit, sir, you're an expert, will you commit to consistency? >> what i'll say is democrats can do whatever they want at
that point. the ball will be -- >> this is wobbling here. you won't do it. you're smiling but you won't play the game. will you be consistent, last question, and say in the fourth year of any presidency, there should be no confirmation? >> what i'll say is that the democrats have the opportunity to do what they want, republicans will do what they will. let's not play politics with this good man now. >> let's -- i think you just did. thank you, laheen chen from -- we need to match that setting with yes or no answers. thank you, stephanie schriock as always. major pushback of president trump's travel ban. apple and google with forcing action, and four states have filed suits to challenge ban. it is a ban. even trump admitted that. we're going to talk to attorneys general, from two of those states, the state of washington and new york. the empire state.
government workers, civil servants up in arms about some unlawful and fundamentally un-american." in washington state where the attorney general was first to file legal challenge the suit says "key provisions of the executive order are "intended to disfavor islam and favor christianity." also among the 171 democratic state attorneys general mostly in states of hillary clinton, "use all the tools of the office to fight the unconstitutional order." a wide r mobilization across the country with other states expected to follow suit. meanwhile, tech giant, apple, is considering legal recourse as well and asking the trump administration to reverse the executive order. i'm joined right now by washington state attorney general bob ferguson as well as new york state attorney general eric schneiderman. gentlemen, first of all, explain why it's unconstitutional. you, sir, bob first. mr. attorney general. you first from washington state.
why is it unconstitutional to do what trump just did? >> you bet. thanks for having us on, chris. appreciate it. we have a claim that has multiple aspects to it so it ranges from constitutional claims, the 1st amendment, the establishment clause, equal protection under our constitution, due process. we have a group of constitutional claims on one hand, we also have a number of claims, chris, based on statutes. the administrative procedures act, for exale. a combination of statutes and provisions that are core to who we are as a people. >> let me go, this question to you then i'll go over to mr. schneiderman. >> you bet. >> the executive order doesn't really mention islam, and one of its features regarding how they prioritize after this 120-day ban on refugees, they do reference minority religions in these muslim countries which would mean religions other than islam. christians, of course, jewish people, for example. is that what makes it a religious test as far as you see
it? >> you raise a really good point, chris. the order does not specify folks of muslim faith. muslims, folks of islamic faith. that doesn't matter. courts make it clear as long as it's a motivating factor on why you are doing something, favoring one religion over another, that's what the courts look for and you go back and look at when candidate trump was talking about wanting to have a muslim ban, he knows he can't draft an executive order that says that, right? he knows that's blatantly unconstitutional. they're trying to write this in a way that passes some sort of test. that's not going to work in the courts. four courts already have made that clear around the country. >> mr. schneiderman, your view. do you conform to that view it is implicitly or even obviously, a better word for it, obviously anti-muslim? >> yeah, i think i would use the word transparently. it's very clear from the language of the order, itself, which has references to -- some language taken out of these statutes that were designed to
make illegal sharia law, it refers to honor killings and refers to preferences for minorities in the countries affected which clearly are predominantly christian. so it's transparently anti-muslim. this is made more clear by statements that mr. trump and other people associated with him have made outside of the executive order that make it very clear that this is an effort to favor christians over muslims. the constitution says you cannot discriminate based on religion, can't discriminate based on national origin, can't take away people's procedural rights to due process of law and equal protection of the law. this offends a variety of provisions of the constitutions and as bob points out also rounds afoul a statutory schemes. we have statutory schemes in the immigration and nationality act, administrative procedure act. this order is offensive at every level. it's unconstitutional. it's illegal. it really is fundamentally un-american. discriminating against people based on religion or origin is about as un-american as you can get. i think the fact 17 attorneys general representing over 130
life in america. that's tomorrow night at 7:00 eastern right here on "hardball." religion. >> tonight, new evidence that this was not just about stopping bad guys. >> 20% of the country is immigrants. is that not the beating heart of this problem? >> then the new white house explanation for the president's first military strike in which almost everything went wrong. and why the trump administration is suddenly threatening iran. >> as of today we are officially