tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC June 8, 2017 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
president trump testify under oath? connecticut senator chris murphy saying, quote, the american people deserve to hear the president's side of the story in a similar forum -- under oath and open to the press. to be continued. thank you for watching. see you back here tomorrow night 6:00 p.m. eastern. "hardball" with chris matthews starts right now. witness for the prosecution. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. the president spent today in the defendant's box, accused of lying, of abusing power, of attempting to manipulate the fbi to protect himself and his people from justice. former fbi director james comey under oath today testified that president trump fired him to disrupt the russian investigation. >> take the president at his word that i was fired because of
the russia investigation, something about the way i was conducting it, the president felt created pressure on him that he wanted to relieve. and it's my judgment that i was fired because of the russia investigation. i was fired in some way to change -- or the endeavor was to change the way the russia investigation was being conducted. that is a -- that is a very big deal and not just because it involves me. >> it involves the president. comey said president trump made clear that he wanted him to drop the investigation of general michael flynn. he quoted the president as telling him, i hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting flynn go. >> do you know of any case where a persons had been charged for obstruction of justice or, for that matter, any other criminal offense where this -- they said or thought they hoped for an outcome? >> i don't know well enough to answer, and the reason i keep saying his words is i took it as a direction. >> right. >> i mean this is the president of the united states with me
alone, saying, i hope this. i took it as this is what he wants me to do. >> that's because he's sane. comey also wouldn't offer an opinion on whether the president tried to obstruct justice. he said it was a matter for the special counsel to examine. let's watch that. >> i don't think it's for me to say whether the conversation i had with the president was an effort to obstruct. i took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning, but that's a conclusion the special counsel will work towards to try and understand what the intention was there and whether that's an offense. >> how about an abuse of power? for trp supporters, there were some victories like this acknowledgement from comey. let's watch that. >> yeah, i gather from all of this that you're willing to say now that while you were director, the president of the united states was not under investigation. is that a fair statement? >> that's correct. >> perhaps most compelling, however, was comey's assertion that president trump spread lies about him. let's watch. >> although the law required no reason at all to fire an fbi director, the administration
then chose to defame me and, more importantly, the fbi by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader. those were lies plain and simple. >> on three other occasions, comey accused president trump of not telling the truth. let's watch. >> in his interview with lester holt on nbc, the president said, i had dinner with him. he wanted to have dinner because he wanted to stay on. is this an accurate statement? >> no, sir. >> the president said, in one case, i called him, and in one case he called me. is that an accurate statement? >> no. >> the president was asked whether he had urged you to shut down the investigation into michael flynn. the president responded, quote, no, no. next question. is that an accurate statement? >> i don't believe it is. >> i'm joined now by senator angus king. you just saw him questioning mr. comey. senator, i thought that the performance by your committee today was great.
i thought both sides of the aisle with some exceptions like senator mccain's rather odd behavior today, but overall it was a fantastic performance. i thought richard burr the republican chair, set the tone right. all you people were trying to get information. nobody seemed to be flaking for the president with the exception of a couple of republicans. how did you think the hearing went? i thought comey came across as an honest man under oath against a president who really doesn't focus much attention on telling the truth. >> first, let me say, chris, i totally agree, and i said that in the closed session to burr and warner. i was very proud of the committee today. i thought the questions were serious. there was no grandstanding. everybody was trying to get at important aspects of this. so i find it reassuring. i hope the american people do that at least thus far, we've been able to pursue this on a bipartisan basis, and i can tell you everybody is determined to try to continue to do that. it's not going to be easy, but that's the direction we're moving in, and particularly richard burr and mark warner have -- i think they've got the
bit in their teeth and they're taking this very seriously, and it's not a partisan deal. and it's very important, chris, because marco rubio is the one who has made this point most strongly in our meetings. putin is not a republican, and he's not a democrat. he is an opportunist, and this could just as easily been done to the republicans two or four years from now, and everybody has to understand that. that's why it's so important that we get this right and we understand what they did, how they did, and how we can prevent it. so i think that was a very important part of the hearing today, and talk about jim comey. he's one of the most honest men i've ever met, and i've probably had a dozen or 20 interactions with him, meetings with him at the intelligence committee over the past four years. i have a friend in maine who used to be his assistant general counsel, and his word is as good as i can get. and he says comey is one of the best men he's ever worked with. and he's a very credible guy.
>> let's talk about what matters in history 20 years from now, and that is the united states had its electoral political system interrupted by the russians to whatever extent we'll figure out over time, but they tried to skied to screw up elections. they hurt hillary clinton, and now the fbi director says that's a fact, not an argument -- a fact. he also argued that we have to find out what role the president played. he said he was fired because he was conducting the investigation. did you think that was credible? a, the russians tried to screw with us, and, two, that he was fired because he was trying to get to the bottom of it. >> let me talk about the first question first. there's absolutely no doubt, and mr. comey testified to this two or three times, and that was a very important part of this hearing. that the russians did try to interfere with our elections. i think he used a great phrase i don't think i've heard before. he said, there's no fuzz on this question. it is clear. they also tried to get into some of our state election systems, and that's one of the things that really worries me. imagine, chris, if the day after
the election, we found that they had switched 100,000 votes in michigan or wisconsin or florida or north carolina or ohio. we would have a true constitutional crisis. this was a really serious attack, and even though they were unsuccessful in getting into those state election systems, they weren't doing it for fun. they're going to be back, and they were practicing and probing. so that is a very, very important part of this whole thing. and i think that's -- to me, that was the major thing that came out of the hearing. all of the drama about the president and comey and who said what to whom, that's really important. there's no question about that. but we can't take our eye off the ball that a foreign power, an adversary who doesn't wish us well, was trying to strike at the heart of our democracy. >> thank you so much, senator angus king of maine. throughout his testimony today, james comey painted a picture of a strange relationship with the president. let's watch that. >> i don't think it's for me to say whether the conversation i had with the president was an effort to obstruct.
i took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning. i was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so i thought it really important to document. the dinner was an effort to build a relationship. in fact, he asked specifically of loyalty in the context of asking me to stay. i remember thinking this is a very disturbing development. it was very, very awkward. he was asking for something, and i was refusing to give it. >> joining me now is chuck todd, moderator of "meet the press," heidi przybyla, and paul butler, a former federal prosecutor, now a professor at georgetown law school. chuck, you first. it seems to me that the most interesting charge that the lawyer kasowitz didn't really take on is that the president asked this guy, comey, who i thought was very credible today, to basically drop the case against michael flynn. how do they get around the fact that that's at least abuse of the president's authority over the fbi? >> well, look, what i found very
remarkable about the lawyer's statement as well was not just that, but it was also confirmation of some parts of comey's testimony, including the idea that the president encouraged him to investigate potential satellite associates of his. >> yes. >> so, no, i mean that is a -- but where i think the president's lawyer locked himself into a trap is that he wants to parse -- basically the stuff that seems exculpatory to the president, he says, yeah, look, comey, yes. the stuff that is less than exculpatory to the president, no, no, that was a lie, that didn't happen. i don't know if the president's lawyer did him many favors by essentially confirming half of comey's testimony and then disputing half of it. it almost -- he brings it up, and he makes it, i think, even more important. then of course it sets up who is washington going to believe? who are these republicans at
capitol hill going to believe? jim comey or the president of the united states? >> i know. in fact, i kept thinking, i didn't know whether it was like the kid who was losing the baseball game and saying, it's my ball, i'm going home, because he was going off to some rich lawyer in new york to bring this guy in. i don't know. you always see these movies about the small town somewhere out in ohio somewhere, and you bring in the big new york lawyer. it's the dumbest thing you can do. >> especially a real estate lawyer who helped trump with his real estate and business -- >> and all his divorces too. >> no credible d.c. lawyer wanted to represent trump, not because of the merits, but because trump is a lousy client. he doesn't listen. but, chris, what happened today is that the former fbi director, the nation's top cop, said that the president of the united states is a liar. >> yep. >> who he does not want to be alone in a room with. and it's true, he didn't walk over the edge and say obstruction of justice. he said that's a conclusion i'll let the special prosecutor come to. but what i can say mueller said is that he ordered dected
me to stop the investigation, and he did that by dangling my job over me. >> it's still the most compelling in this to me was the decemb description in the written testimony of comey about how he arrives at the white house thinking it's going to be a meeting of a bunch of guys and women together about policy. the president has been in office one week, and he sets up this theatrics of a meeting in one of the state floor big rooms where you go to visit at christmas time, the green room. and there's just an oval table in that room, and they sit down together, and the only other company in the universe are the stewards that come in and serve them, then disappear. and the president says, are you my guy? are you my guy? it was godfather stuff. >> the godfather parallel. clearly what happened was that fell through and trump realized he couldn't be don corleone with comey, and that whole thread of loyalty, this patronage relationship that he was trying to set up, well, comey made
clear today what he thought the ask was. trump was saying, i'm going to scratch your back. i'm going to keep your job. and what he wanted from comey, he wanted him to drop that portion of the flynn investigation. the talking points from the rnc, chris, i will tell you what they're going to do. they're going to say this was not obstruction because he was not trying to obstruct the broader russia investigation. >> i think abuse of power is a better phrase. let me go back to chuck because you and i cover politics mainly, not the law. i'm a do you sense this is going to be another one of those big shots, the establishment, and trump has the little people on his side, and they're going to rally t him on this? i don't know how this is going to work out in the polling. my senses this isn't a case of the little people, regular people, white working class, whatever, against the big shots. i think it's more like trump has a personal problem here. that's a hunch. >> look, we're already seeing -- trump is seeing support erode.
there were sort of two chunks of trump supporters, the die hards, and they're not going anywhere. and they're already using the fact that comey admits he's a leaker to just say, aha, there's the deep state. it's a conspiracy. look what he's doing. and those folks aren't going anywhere. but he is losing that next chunk of voters, the ones that held their nose to support trump. and frankly you look at people -- paul ryan is emblematic, i think, of that group of people. we know he was no fan of candidate donald trump. he said so a million times. but he's trying to stick by him, and i think today makes it harder and harder for those folks. i think here in washington publicly, you have sort of that group of republicans -- the paul ryans, think of maybe like on that committee today, marco rubio, people like that who want to make the effort to give the president the benefit of the doubt. so they're doing what they can to protect him legally. but i don't think they're that interested in protecting him politically.
and i think that's the part of this that i think while the president may survive for now legally, right, which seemed to be the total focus of even some republicans on the committee today and his lawyer, i don't think anything -- i think today politically, he's goingo find out these folks, they're not going to go out on a limb for him too far. they will again -- they will protect him legally where they're comfortable, and you saw that today. hey, he didn't say to shut down the probe. they were like walking that line. but, look, it's not just a hunch. these are the conversations i have off the record and behind the scenes with many of these folks. they know the base is too hot and heavy on trump still for them to feel like they can break with him completely. so i think that's the line you're going to see here in washington. >> you know, i look at trump, and i go, this is a snapshot of his behavior. these wonderful stories of how he behaves with comey in the back room where the cameras
aren't on. the power player, the tough guy, the bully. get everybody out of the room so i can bully this guy. maybe i'm wondering maybe they won't get him this time. but if trump is trump and he always stays trump, eventually he's going to get in trouble with abusing his office. >> because this defense of i'm ignorant to washington ways, i just didn't know how it's done, that doesn't hold water what you look at this pattern of conduct where he not only excludes the president -- i'm sorry -- the vice president and the attorney general, but comey painted this image of reince priebus and jared kushner peaking in the room, oh, my god, what's going on there? >> yeah, you stay out of here. >> that's consciousness of guilt. i think he's in legal trouble here. it doesn't have to be technically obstruction of justice for there to be impeachment. >> that meeting at 6:30 at night in the white alone, in the mansion. you never do business down there. let's find a place in the white house nobody goes to, and i'm ing toeet with this guy, comey, and i'm going to tellim who the boss is, and i want a
little genuflexion. >> there's the excluding people, chris, and then there's the direct line that you can draw to one of the biggest campaign controversies, which was bill clinton getting on that plane to have that conversation with loretta lynch, which trump himself -- there was headlines all over from trump out of his own mouth saying, who does this? so even if he was completely ignorant about the ways of washington and that you don't try and intimidate a law enforcement official, he made that a campaign issue, so he did know it. >> he knew it was wrong. >> i guess he didn't think it applied to him. >> chris, look, on that point, can i just say today was a bad day for the justice department. in fact, you have the former director of the fbi indicate that he feared the obama justice department had been politicized by the clinton campaign, and he won't tell us why, but he continues to believe that was
the case. you have to go behind closed doors to find out. and ditto with the trump justice department. you got to go behind closed doors to find out about this attorney general. this is a really horrendous development for the country, and i kind of think we've got to restore some honor and integrity and the rule of law at the justice department right now. and i know there's great career -- and, paul, i'm sure you can attest to this. but the fact of the matter is the justice department took i on the chin today i would argue as badly as the president did. >> you want to respondo that? >> no comparison between the allegations of loretta lynch, that she told comey to use the word "matter" rather than" investigation" as compared to what comey accused the department of justice under trump of doing. it's basically sitting on an investigation, ignoring the important allegations of obstruction of justice. >> by the way, along those lines, senator manchin is reporting today there was another meeting between sessions and the russians, so we're going to have more of that coming. chuck todd, great work today by
everybody. heidi przybyla and paul butler, thank you. coming up, reaction from the white house on how president trump spent his day, a day that didn't go very well when you have to bring in the lawyer to defend you, it wasn't a good day. plus the intelligence community reacts to comey's testimony that the president lied about why he fired him and defamed the fbi in doing so. right from the start, comey defended the fbi and said trump never showed concern about russia's meddling in our election. that's something. and republican reaction. trump supporters have so far stuck with him. tonight we're going to hear from two members of the president's party with two very different reactions to comey's testimony today. i thought comey was great today. finally let me finish tonight with trump watch on this major day of news in the trump/russia investigation. and this is "hardball," where the action is. ike the people who own them, every business is different. but every one of those businesses will need legal help as they age and grow. whether it be with customer contracts, agreements to lease a space or protecting your work.
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"the washington post's" robert costa joins us now. robert, what's the tick tock on the president today? >> the big story, chris, today is not what the president did but what he didn't do. he did not tweet. it was a stunning development even for some of his closest aides who worried earlier in the week in conversations with me that perhaps he was going to live tweet the entire event. they said he was convinced by the white house counsel and his top advisers that marc kasowitz, his outside lawyer, would be enough, would be the spokesman and the attack dog that the president wanted out there. >> so he was willing to let the $1,500 an hour lawyer talk for him, which is reo lethat happen. >> he watched some of it from this morning. he has a 60-inch television in the white house dining room. he kept an eye on some of the proceedings. then he gave a speech to a conservative group. but he resisted weighing in. but there's still some anxiety in the white house tonight. he could have an itchy finger tonight as he reviews things on
tivo, as he reviews the whole thing. will he decide perhaps to speak out? >> it's great. you cover him better than anybody. will he be able to resist the fbi director calling him a liar? thank you, robert costa, from "the washington post." when we come back, senator amy cloeb aszczur. that's ahead, and this is "hardball," where the action is. time's up, insufficient prenatal care. and administrative paperwork... your days of drowning people are numbered. same goes for you, budget overruns. and rising costs, wipe that smile off your face. we're coming for you, too. for those who won't rest until the world is healthier, neither will we. optum. how well gets done.
i worked every day at the fbi to help make that great organization better. and i say help because i did nothing alone at the fbi. there are no indispensable people at the fbi. the ornization's great strength ithat its values and abilities run deep and wide. i want the american people to know this truth. the fbi is honest. the fbi is strong. and the fbi is and always will
be independent. >> well, there's an organization man. welcome back to "hardball." from the start of his testimony, in fact, former fbi director james comey passionately defended the integrity and honor of his bureau that he once led, vigorously pushing back against the president's assertion that the fbi's reputation is in doubt. comey also spoke eloquently about russian efforts to compromise the integrity of the democratic process in this country overall, and he said it should concern all americans. here he is. >> it's not about republicans or democrats. they're coming after america, which i hope we all love equally. they want to undermine our credibility in the face of the world. they think that this great experiment of ours is a threat to them, and so they're going to try to run it down and dirty it up as much as possible. that's what this is about, and they will be back because we remain, as difficult as we can be with each other, we remain that shining city on the hill, and they don't like it. >> well said. i'm joined by ken dilanian, tension reporter for nbc news and clint watts, a former fbi
agent and senior fellow at the foreign policy research institute. gentlemen, what did you make of that testimony? i thought he was powerful in defending the fbi, which he served his whole life. your thoughts. >> i agree, chris. i thought you heard the most emotion in his voice during that portion of his testimony. and, you know, it's because the things thathe white house said about comey and the fbi just weren't true, demonstrably. clint will speak to this, but i have friends who work there, and they said, look, nobody agreed with everything comey did. a lot of people had a problem with the way he handled the e-mail matter, but he was a good director. i have one friend who said he e-mailed him about a personnel matter and he got a response 12 hours later. i mean comey had his flaws but he was generally a well regarded fbi director, and he was considered a good manager. so the idea that the fbi was in disarray as a reason for him to be fired was just demonstrably false, chris. >> clint, he called the president's statements about what was going on at the fbi lies. and i think he said it with as
little tremble in his voice. he really was emotional about that. when you say the president of the united states lies, i think that word is rarely used by a guy like him, a gentleman like him, and when he used it, he meant it. >> yeah, he did it without fear. basically what we found out by trump's own admission is he fired the fbi director for the fbi director doing his job. never once did trump come and say, how do we prevent the russians from meddling in our elections again? instead, he did the opposite. he said, how do i protect myself from this russia thing? instead of it being america first, it's always been trump first. i think what we saw with comey today, he spoke from the heart, and he said, i put my country first. i put my agency first, the federal bureau of investigation. and it's not about me. it's about the constitution. it's about pursuing this investigation. the meddling is a huge issue. if russia meddles in our election, we are not picking our president or any of our candidates for ourselves. russia is picking it for us. and we have not addressed this issue. and you've never once heard the president say, i want to make
sure that not only does this not happen to my democracy, but our allies' democracies as well. it is going on today. comey's remarks are going to be used by russian information campaigns over the next two to three weeks. and at the same point, the president has put forward no russia policy other than to appease them. i found comey's remarks powerful both in terms of the stated democracy, but how he saw himself as an independent arbiter and why he was punished for that. >> on that point, james comey said in all their conversations, president trump never asked how to prevent future russian meddling in our democracy. here he is. >> did the president in any of those interactions that you've shared with us today ask you what you should be doing or what our government should be doing or the intelligence community to protect america against russian interference in our election system? >> i don't recall a conversation like that. >> never?
>> no. >> do you find it odd -- >> not with president trump. >> right. >> i attended a fair number of meetings on that with president obama. >> ken, so much of the president's portrait we're getting from comey and we've gotten now for four months or so is he's focused on trump. he doesn't seem to have this instinctive concern for the country or even the office itself of president. it's just trump. and in fact bringing in that lawyer from new york today, the guy who would defend anybody who was guilty at the right price, he brought this guy in in a way that it's about me, donald trump, not even me the president. it struck me that way. >> yeah, and that was an extraordinary piece of tape you just played because even if you assume that donald trump is completely innocent of any charge of collusion with russia and is frustrated that he's been maligned over this issue, okay, let's assume that. why hasn't he been asking people -- why wasn't he asking james comey for a plan to stop the next russia hack because all his intelligence officials are telling him it's coming again. we've done nothing to deter this
behavior. they hacked the election in france. where is the whole of government effort to deal with this problem? we're not seeing it, and it's just -- it's amazing, chris, and it does raise a fundamental question. what is the deal with donald trump and russia? >> good question. ken dilanian, thank you. i'm joined by democratic senator amy klobuchar of minnesota who was in the same class of james comey at law school. what did you make of his credibility today? >> well, i think he showed his integrity at its best. he's someone who in law school, a lot of people liked. he actually was pretty humble in law school, just did his work and was a smart guy. >> was he 6'5" back then? >> yes, and he always played basketball. but i think what you saw today was he had a common-sense way of talking about things that when he was the head of the fbi, i think he had to be very, very careful. and this time you just saw him at what he was like when i first met him. i think that's really important, his integrity.
i just kept thinking for jim comey, it's all about the law and the rules. you know, i used to be a prosecutor. we'd swear in our prosecutors. when they took an oath, they took an oath to the law. they did not take a oath of loyalty to me, and certainly comey understands he wasn't supposed to take an oath of loyalty to the president. >> when you graduate from a prestigious school like chicago law, some go right to wall street. some do pro bono. both you and he have had public service as your goal in life, and you didn't go after the big bucks. you've got to wonder about what it is that moves him. he was very emotional about his institution today, about the fbi. that is a hell of a commitment for a person who could have done anything they wanted. theyould have chased money. he said, no, i'm going to chase bad guys. >> knowing the fbi agents in minnesota, they really liked him. he stepped in when we had that stabbing in the mall in st. cloud. he stepped in so his officers and agents did all that research and figured everything that out that happened so the police
chief could go do his work with the community. you see so much respect for him from the agents and that came through in his testimony. i thought that was the most powerful part when he said, i never got to say good-bye because basically he got fired in front of his agents in l.a. and also when he talked about america, this shining city on the haill. >> what if you had been fbi director and had been invited by the new president to meet with him in one of the state rooms of the white house, one of the ones you visit when you go to visit the white house, the green room. all by yourself, just the two of you, with a little oval table with navy stewards serving you and disappearing. the absolute silence and the ask for the loyalty oath. >> i think i would do what he did. he didn't answer. he didn't say anything, and he went back and wrote it down. i think in normal circumstances, you would probably be more forthcoming with the attorney general and share that information. he did tell the attorney general that he didn't want to be alone with him according to -- >> the attorney general was
whisked out of the proom at one point by the president. shouldn't the attorney general have said, i'm not leaving the room if you're hear with him. >> that would have been probably a normal reaction. but here you have an attorney general that is going to ultimately recuse himself as we know because of russia. so it was a very complicated situation with comey knowing -- seemingly knowing some things about sessions' involvement with russia as well. >> and you were a proper? >> yes, i was. >> you know this business. thank you so much. up next, two republicans, two very different views of james comey's testimony that he gave today. this is "hardball," where the action is. technologies out there technologies out there and adapting them to work for you. the ultrasound that can see inside patients, can also detect early signs of corrosion at our refineries. high-tech military cameras that see through walls, can inspect our pipelines torevent leaks. remote-controlled aircraft, can help us identify potential problems and stop them in their tracks.
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welcome back to "hardball." marc kasowitz, who is president trump's personal lawyer, gave a full-throated defense of the president today, and he counterattacked against former fbi director james comey. here he is. >> the president also never told mr. comey, quote, i need loyalty. i expect loyalty, closed quote. he never said it in form, and he never said it in substance. of course the office of the president is entitled to expect loyalty from those who are serving the administration. and from before this president took office to this day -- >> well, mr. kasowitz is no stranger to trump. he's been in his personal attorney for 15 years.
he's represented the former ceo in a number of cases. he's help mr. trump keep his divorce records sealed. you sued an author for understating mr. trump a personal wealth, and he's represented the president in an appeal case against trump university. boy, that's swell. the lawsuit in which the president's -- people accused president trump of cheating them out of thousands of dollars. unlike comey, kasowitz's statements in defense of his client was not offered under oath obviously. i'm joined by john brabender and jennifer rubin. jennifer, let's talk about the image here. the president of th unid es doesn't trust his own white house counsel, doesn't trust his spokespeople in the white house, either sanders or spicer. he goes outside and says, it's my ball, and i'm going home. it doesn't strike me as team ball. >> no, and it doesn't strike me that this is the kind of the guy you want if you really understand the parameters of what you're dealing with.
this guy is a fixer. >> if you want to look innocent, you mean? >> it's obvious he doesn't know what he's doing. the whole issue as we were talking a little while ago is about loyalty. you don't have the right to expect -- >> and he said it. >> -- loyalty from the fbi director. you have the right to expect him to be loyal to the constitution. i don't know what they think they're doing with this guy. i think it's a disaster. >> what do you think of this because the president obviously felt he needed a top lawyer. he sees it as a legal issue by the way, and i would argue it's not quite there yet. it's a constitutional issue, and it may be an abuse of power question. but the president now is acting like i'm a defendant, i need a lawyer. >> i look at this as a political and messaging matter. so in some sense, i thought it was a good day for the president. comey did corn firm that he told the president that he wasn't under investigation. >> but his campaign was. >> but he said the president wasn't just like the president said. number two, he said, well i interpreted what the president said that he wanted me to stop the investigation, but that's his interpretation.
all it matters is what did trump mean. and frankly i would argue comey's story of how he handed off to a third party to get the information out there makes no sense, and ion't believe that story at all. >> well, he candidly admitted he aked the memorandum. >> he leaked it. so i think that gave them an argument. but all of a sudden to trot out an attorney rather than let somebody from their communications office say here's the positive things that happened today, here's what gives us pause about comey -- >> i have a little sense here that maybe the progressives for all kinds of reasons don't like trump are a bit ahead of game here. my thought today watching all of comey's testimony which was a great portraiture of the president told me this is the kind of president is going to get in trouble because of the way he thinks he can rule the world. >> actually i thought it was a devastating day for the president. what he painted was not any one incident but a portrait of the way this guy operates, which no one on the republican side is going to defend. now the question is just whether
this was highly inappropriate, whether this was impeachable, or whether this is grounds for a criminal prosecution. he comes across like a sleazy guy trying to lean on jimmy stewart, the director of the fbi. and frankly what comey leaked has nothing to do with the price of tea in china. it's completely irrelevant to what trump is doing. it just struck me as a cheesy character assassination, which is exactly what trump doesn't need right now. >> what did you think of the portrait of the president here, the way it was portrayed, the meeting in the green room and the way he tried to push or manipulate comey? >> but those are your words. >> you give me your words. >> i think comey came in with a narrative that he was going to try and support over and over again. i think how he did this, leaked stuff, put out stuff yesterday was very politically managed by comey. >> but telling the truthan be politically powerful. >> second of all, we're tryin to view this president in the context of every other president that we know. >> i agree. what are way are you going to do it?
>> and you can't do that. >> yes you can. you and expect that of the president of the united states. when paul ryan said he's new at this, that's not an excuse. it's an indictment. >> the truth of the matter is democrats in pennsylvania, ohio, wisconsin, and michigan voted for this guy because they didn't want him to act like every other president. >> did they want him to be the kind of guy that says get out of my office, pence, i got some business to do with the fbi director and that business is to shut down an investigation. do you think that's what they wanted in erie, pennsylvania? >> i'll tell you what. >> his $1,500 an hour lawyer did not deny what i just said today. >> the democratic senator from camp said today if someone put a gun to your head and said, i hope you will give me your wallet, do you think if someone puts a gun to your head is going to say, i hope you give me your walt. the fact he said that in trump world where he doesn't mix
words, said to me he wasn't saying you have to do this. >> legal point, all it has to require for obstruction is a reasonable person in that position would think that he was being threatened or directed and comey sure was. >> anyway, john brabender and jennifer rubin, thank you. up next, the "hardball" roundtable. where the trump/russia investigation goes from here. i think is ready to roll. you're watching "hardball," where the action is. what do you need? i need the temperature for pipe five. ask the new guy. the new guy? jack trained him. jack's guidance would be to maintain the temperature at negative 160 degrees celsius. that doesn't sound like jack. actually, jack would say, hey mate, just cool it to minus 160 and we're set. good on ya. oh yeah. that's jack. good on ya. i've been blind since birth. i go through periods where it's hard to sleep at night, and stay awake during the day.
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this is nowhere near the end of our investigation. and i think it's safe to say today that next week we hope to work with special counsel mueller to work out clear pathways for both investigations, his and ours, to continue. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was senate intelligence committee chairman richard burr of north carolina after today's hearing. i'm joined by the "hardball" roundtable, jay newton-small,
eugene robinson, and michael steele. let me go right now to gene on this, and the question is the bottom line. today's impact in history? >> the bottom line, i think it was a very tough day for president trump. i think jim comey got his story out. he got it out the way he wanted to get it out. it's not every day you hear the outgoing or departed fbi director call the president a liar, you know, on national television in front of the senate. it's not every day that you hear an encounter or encounters, a series of encounters, that may add up to obstruction of justice described in detail with contemporaneous notes. it was a very significant and pretty stunning day. >> michael, where is the action going to be six months down the road? is it going to be the russia investigation or the obstruction of justice investigation? >> i think it's going to be a combo of the two, because i think they do intertwine, and i think one reinforces the other in some odd way because of the
cast of characters involved and because largely the way the white house has handled this. they have not put as much out there and sort of avoid that perception of obstruction of justice, and everything seemingly is -- >> what did you think of marc kasowitz as a new person here, a new persona here? >> who is this? >> the new lawyer, the expensive lawyer. >> dude, get yourself a government lawyer, all right? >> this is not a real estate deal. >> right. >> he looked a little pricey and looked like he could defend madoff if he had to. >> at the same time, everything he said was contradictory. it was like we agree with comey in some places, but then he was totally lying in other places. >> it's okay to demand loyalty from federal employees, including the fbi director. he put it right in his statement tonight. did anybody look at that thing. >> but no questions. >> that would have cost more. you know, you want more questions? it will cost you. kellyanne conway wouldn't answer
repeated questions today about whether there were tapes of white house conversations on fox. let's watch kellyanne. >> today we heard jim comey say, lordy, i hope there are tapes. so are there tapes of these discussions of the president and jim comey? >> i can't comment on that, but i would -- really, everybody who is going to look at jim comb's testimony should also look at marc kasowitz's statement. that is important in this case. the other thing i would mention -- >> why can't you comment on whether or not there are tapes? >> because i can't comment. i work in the white house. >> but if there are no tapes, wouldn't you just say there are no tapes? >> i can't comment on that, and actually the president himself has said he won't cment on that. >> why won't pple just say, i'm not telling you like a little kid? i can't comment like there's some sort of formality to this thing. >> why are they not telling us? >> he told us he did have tapes. [ overlapping voices ] >> he put it out there. it's not like someone kind of made up the question. no, it's a legitimate question
because the president put it on the table. you can answer yes or no. >> comey said today, release the tapes. >> it's going to become this thing that's dangled in front of us forever. >> the roundtable is sticking with us. up next, these three people will tell me something i don't know. what a day in journalism. it's not the kind i'm used to. this is "hardball," where the action is.
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we're back with the "hardball" roundtable, and jay is going to tell me something i don't know. >> we're all so obsessed with jim comey and donald trump right now, but there's a lot of stuff going on in the states that nobody is payg attention to, and that's what peoe are really thinking about. there's a udy today tt came out from the national low income housing coalition that found there is not a single state where a person on minimum wage can afford a two-bedroom rent. not a single state. isn't that stun something. >> that's something. but they don't get up at 9:00 in the morning to watch that news. >> they're back. the sanders are back. jane sanders has announced her own think tank. she's putting together this progressive institute to
revitalize democracy in support of the progressive -- >> this is the wife of? >> little competitions between bernie and jane. >> you like this stuff. go ahead. >> and way, way down south, the citizens of puerto rico are voting sunday on whether or not they want their territory to become a state. they're expected to vote yes. however, that's expected to have no impact on whether puerto rico -- >> because the congress has to -- is it a majority vote or two-thirds vote? >> two-thirds. >> in any event, it's not going to happen. >> thank you. too many democrats. other things too perhaps. thank you. when we return, let me finish tonight with trump watch. he won't like it, especially today. you're watching "hardball," where the action is.
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trump watch, thursday, june 8th, 2017. you know you're in trouble when you have to bring in a $1,500 an hour lawyer from the big city. donald trump was driven to that today by the sworn testimony of the fbi director he fired. he should have known better, known better than to try and manipulate director james comey, known better than to demand he give him a personal oath of loyalty, known better than to ask he drop the bureau's investigation of michael flynn, known better than to attack comey's character with what comey today said were lies about the fbi. this whole mess is a tragedy of errors by a president who refuses to accept the limited powers of his office. presidents are not dictators. you get elected to the office in this country. you don't ask people to kneel
before you. you don't demand loyalty pledges. you don't tell the country's chief law enforcement executive to drop cases because they might reach too close to you. donald trump seems determined to reshape the office of president, the federal government and the way we govern ourselves in this country to the way of doing business in trump tower. there's no evidence that he's capable of learning. he seems headed for four years of trying to do it his way, to find people to come to work for him who tell him he's great at way he's doing it already. this is going to end bad until someone sits down with him and explains even our greatest, most visionary presidents needed to learn they are not dictators. ronald reagan learned when he let iran-contra get out of hand. we're better off in this country when we have presidents who learn and learn early the constitutionfforts of their office and make the best of it. donald trump is ill on the wrong side of learning that, still short of a needed intervention. his dealings with james comey are already in the history book. he should study this chapter before he goes on.
that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. tonight on "all in." >> it's my judgment that i was fired because of the russia investigation. >> james comey unloads. >> the endeavor was to change the way the russia investigation was being conducted. that is a -- that is a very big deal. >> the fired fbi director on the president's lies. >> i was honestly concerned he might lie about the nature of our meeting. >> on the loyalty pledge. >> he's looking to get something in exchange for granting my request to stay in the job. >> on the prospect of tapes. >> lordy, i hope there are tapes. >> on mike flynn. >> it rings in my ear as kind of will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest? >> on the president's motives. >> my impression is something big is about to happen. i into ed to remember every single word that is spoken. >> and what he couldn't say today? >> was the fbi able to confirm any criminal allegations contained in the steele document?