tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC June 23, 2017 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
or her own care. >> so tonight we tip our hats to congress, the president, and believe it or not, washington can get things done. one final note, thank you to our military and their families. we appreciate them. thanks for watching. "hardball" starts right now. trump takes on the special counsel. let's play "hardball." >> a ggood evening. er donald trump is throwing some shade at robert mueller. the man now leading the investigation into his campaign's potential collusion with russia. in an interview with fox news today, president trump said he was bothered by mueller's relationship with james comey and some of the people he mueller has been adding to his
team. >> he is very, very good friends with comey, which is very bothersome, but he's also, we'll have to see. we'll have to see in terms of, look, there has been no obstruction. there has been no collusion. there has been leaking by comey but no collusion, no obstruction, and virtually everybody agrees to that. so we'll have to see. i can say that the people who have been hired are all hillary clinton supporters. some of them worked for hillary clinton. the whole things ridiculous if you want to know truth, from that standpoint. but robert mueller is an honorable man and hopefully he'll come one an honorable solution. >> and sean spicer telling reporters the president has, quote, no intention of firing mueller even though he does have the authority to do so. meanwhile, the "washington post" out with a story today detailing the president's irritation with the endless stream of russia
news, quoting from the story. frustration with the investigation stus inside him until it bubbles up in the form of rants to aides about unfair cable television commentary or as slights aimed at attorney general jeff sessions and his deputy. the long time friends say his mood has been more sour than at any point since they've known him. they privately worry about his health, noting he appears to have gained weight in recent months and the darkness around his eyes reveals his stress. he holds many calls in the morning. it is part of a strategy consultation in part, presidential venting session during which trump's sxlaurs public relations gurus take turns reviewing the latest headlines with him.
they also make a plan to battle his avowed enemies, the special counsel leading the russia investigation, the fake news media chronicling it. i am joined by ashley parker. she co-wrote that article we were just reading from. and the author of the making of donald trump. and republican strategist who is ath author. yesterday, the news was, and donald trump was saying in this interview, suggesting he had been trying to send a message to james comey when he put tweet out raising the possibility of having tapes. now these comments he's making in this interview about the special counsel, about robert mueller. is there, the white house is saying no intent to fire. he does have the right to do so. what kind of message is he trying to send here? >> that has been the line, you're right. that has been the consistent message from the white house on
robert mueller specifically. let me update you on specific news. we now have the response from the white house to the house intelligence committee who as you will remember, had asked for any sort of relevant materials related to potential recordings that donald trump may have had of these conversations with james comey. the deadline was today, close of business. it is now what? 7:04 in washington. just about five minutes ago, we received that response. do you know what it was? a citation of the president's tweet from yesterday. that carefully phrased, carefully worded language that some reports say was in fact signed off on by the white house counsel's office in order to respond to what the house intel committee had been asking for. when you talk about the messaging, listen, that's where it is coming from. the president himself. that's what we have seen from day one of this administration. >> so in terms of of this issue of firing, again, they're saying no. this is a president who already
fired enacting attorney general, who fired an fbi director. how much wiggle room is built into that statement? >> a little bit. you've heard that the president, they believe the president does reserve the right essentially. people serve at the pleasure of the president is the line you've heard from the press briefing. from white house officials over the last couple weeks. said that, we know what the procedures would have to be. you would have to direct somebody else to ultimately try the to get rid of robert mueller. it seems as though there is no intention of that. listen to what else the president had to say in that fox and friends interview. he said he hoped the special counsel would come up with an honorable solution to all of this. >> speaking of the times you were reporting on, president trump was asked why he wanted james comey to believe there were tapes of his conversations and this is what he said. >> when he found out that there may be tapes out there, whether it is governmental tapes or anything else, who knows, i
think his story may have changed. you'll have to take a look at that. then he has to tell what actually took place at the events. and my story didn't change. my story was a straight story. my story was always the truth. but you'll have to determine for yourself whether or not his story changed. but i did not tape. >> it was a smart way to make sure he stayed honest in the hearings. >> well, wasn't very stupid. i can tell you that. he did admit that what i said was right. and if you look further back, before he heard about that, i think maybe he wasn't admitting that. >> not entirely clear how comey's story changed as president trump is alleging there. the goal of the tweet was to keep comey honest. >> i think the president made it very clear that he wanted the truth to come out. he wanted everyone to be honest about it. i think he succeeded in doing it. i think he wanted to make sure the truth came out.
by talking about something like times, made comey in particular think to himself, i'd better be honest. i'd better tell truth about the circumstances regarding the situation. >> well, ashley parker, you wrote the story we were quoting there about, what is taking place behind the scenes, the mood of the president. what people behind the scenes are seeing there. in relation to this issue of the tapes, it looks like the grievance that trump had in mind, that you're not under personal investigation and he wanted him to say it publicly. he seems to be suggesting that he got him to say it. but in terms of your reporting, in terms of your sour mood, saying his associates, his friends can never recall seeing the venting sessions. give us a sense beyond this issue here of what he thought comey did to him. what is the bill of grievances? what is the thing he's venting about in particular? >> sure. broadly he's venting about
russia. and he basically feels that it is this dark storm cloud that hangs over his entire administration. he thinks the press automatically believes comey's side of things, not his. he thinks that comey urged a friend of his to like the memos to the media and comey's reputation hasn't been tarnished because of that. he is frustrated that there is a special counsel. that the spounl's probe has been widened to include possible obstruction of justice. he is just generally frustrated this russia thing that started with reports of possible collusion during the election, which he says are not true, not only will not go away but seems to be snow balling by the day. >> somebody who has written about donald trump extensively, you have a pretty good read on him. a get sense of who donald trump is. this mood around him, this mood that is defining him in ashley's
reporting, her reporting says people haven't seen him like the before. is this a side of donald trump that would surprise you to see? is it something you've seen before? >> i said well before the election, before he took office, that donald's behavior over time would become more and more erratic and that's what you're seeing. he is not qualified to serve on a city council. he's he given the general's decisions over military matters instead of doing it directly, he has these burdens that he has to deal with on issues he doesn't understand. donald is appallingly ignorant about the world. so he's lashing out. he is used to being able to cow journalists. he is not able to do it. >> and one of the stories is these phone calls that take place every morning. trump and his legal team.
he talks about the headlines. the idea was, punching the pillow instead of lashing out at the world. they want him to vent to his lawyers privately and get it out of his system. it doesn't sound like it's working. this basic nature, this basic combative nature. there is no way for a political or legal way to direct it. >> when he went out and said, comey should hope there aren't any tapes about his conversations, before before there was any sort of testimony going on. that by comey's own admission triggered comey to go out and leak legally this unclassified memorandum which he wrote to himself to the "new york times." and i think when you see donald trump go out and do it that way, that only causes more and more problems. republicans privately grumble every time he tweets and he doesn't tweet something that is main stream.
i think one thing that halle just noted, the white house is saying the tapes don't exist and they're citing twitter. white house raids saying tweets are just tweets. they're now are going through a house committee that tweets are official statements of the president and the white house. >> and david, let me ask you about an interview. he was trying to make it sound like i'm a pretty smart guy here. i put this suggestion out on the air. i got comey to say under oath, through the memos, at least, under personal investigation. the flip side said because trump put tweet out, he released his memos. it led to the special counsel and the special counsel is driving trump to the point of distraction. does trump look at this and say i screwed up here on some level? or does he look at this and say, i outsmarted the guy? >> in his own mind, he may well
be worried about how he handled it. but this is a basic tactic. delegitimize anyone coming after you or is an obstacle to what you want to achieve. go against the people against you. ted cruz, lyin' ted. with comey, he is trying suggest there is some kabul going on. some improper collusion between mueller and comey. he doesn't just say they know each other or they're friendly. they're very very good friends. this is part of donald's tactic of delegitimizing anyone who is not doing what he wants. >> sort of on that front, i think you have more reporting, some new reporting tonight. this whole issue that donald trump has not been interested in talking about this issue of russian meddling, interference in the presidential election.
take away this whole question regarding collusion. but actual hacking by russia or any other foreign government, any other foreign entity, any other entity, there are specific step that's can be taken, learned about from the experience of the last election. your report spg the administration hasn't taken any of those steps? >> our reporting is that there are these new and urgent warnings about exactly that. the idea that russia or perhaps another actor could meddle in the next election. the mid terms in 2018, or the next presidential election in 2020. it seems like a long way off but that is a very short period of time when it comes to the big picture. let me break it down. >> they explained how russia meddled in the 2016 election. it was through several ways. for example, the flow of fake
news on social media by promulgating in our online feeds. campaign materials as well. there are specific step that's these frls telling us should be taken in order to make sure that doesn't happen and there are some real questions about whether the trump administration is taking the steps to do that. for example, key positions, permanent positions, not acting positions, still remain unfilled. we contacted every state and dozens of state officials have said they've had only limited contact with the trump administration on security and had some confusion on what is called critical infrastructure. it felt like they were not getting the information they needed from the department of homeland security. you might ask what was the white house pushback on this? there was pushback. when i asked sean spicer, he said we're sending a letter next tweak states and local municipalities about sending data over to this election voting commission is vice
president is running to try to review the data and begin there thorough review. and then they hinted that possible hearing events are coming up. so they're appointing to the election fraud commission which was created after president trump made this unfounded claim that millions pointed to. they're trying to ensure the integrity of the election system. and some of the moves the public will see, some of the moves the public will not see. let me leave with you this. i had a conversation with one intel person. today forget investigation, the special investigation. the bottom line is will we be protected enough the next time? as we're hearing again and again, russia has done it once and they'll do it again. >> all right. thanks to all of you.
health care already on political life support. another republican senator coming out against it. this one, a moderate. that puts the immediate future of the plan in serious jeopardy. we'll dive into that. plus new details about the response to russia's meddling in last year's election. and how vladimir putin directed the hack. and no comey tapes, no problem. and finally the roundtable is here. growing up, we were german. we danced in a german dance group. i wore lederhosen. when i first got on ancestry i was really surprised that i wasn't finding all of these germans in my tree. i decided to have my dna tested through ancestry dna.
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introduced the plan. if there are three defections from republicans, this bill will not fast senate. this bill will die. so yesterday when it was unveiled, you had four of the most conservative republicans, rand paul, ted cruz, mike lee, ron johnson, they said we don't like it. so you had four on the right yesterday. now you have heller. he is a moderate. next to the rest of the conference. he is the only state, nevada, where hillary clinton won. if you're republican leaders, if you want to take care of dean heller, you want to make it more moderate to somebody from a swing state running next year, do you make changes that risk losing these guys on the right who already said, they need to see that they go in the other direction. so that's one of your dilemmas. do you alienate them? let's say they can't accommodate
him. let's say he says i can't win if i vote against it. that would be one of the three. let's say they lose rand paul. a lot of people say there are no changes could make rand paul, as close to libertarian as there are. that would be one, that would be two. >> so that opens it up. could it be susan collins, lisa murkowski, a wild card. could a flake from arizona, cory guardner from colorado, one vote could sink it. that's one thing to keep an eye on. and the politics of this. if republican dozen succeed in passing this, if they succeed in implementing it, take a look at this. the history of how parties take a price for touching health care. three times in the last 20
years. in the '90s. democrats had the advantage in our nbc news poll, a 48-point advantage when bill clinton came to office over republicans. then they proposed what they called hillary care. they lost 39 points. it came all the way down to 9. publics won the congress. then barack obama came to office. his advantage was 31 points. obamacare and it dropped down 7. this is our brand new poll. look at these numbers. democrats had an advantage of 7 points at the end of last year's election. republicans put their plan out. that democratic vac more than doubles. it jumped to 17 points. what is the advantage? if you're the party in office, you touch health care, democrat or republican, it looks like you pay a political price. an extremely sensitive issue.
so the dilemma, he has a moderate, dean heller, saying i need some changes. four on the right side saying we need some changes. he doesn't have many votes to spare. where does he make his play? >> he has a couple of options. the best thing you can do is isolate to it one or two senators who would be under extreme pressure. no one wants to be the one vote that holds up the entire vote. right wing activists focused on you. so what would he do to get there? the policy issue is that things that satisfy the moderates can antagonize the conservatives. so for example, lisa murkowski, sue collins have expressed a lot of concern about the provisions related to abortion, reproductive health in the bill like defunding planned parenthood. if you get rid of that provision, you'll antagonize
people for sure. certainly they've been worried about losing coverage, medicaid cuts. and raising issues with medicaid cuts. if you lessen the medicaid cuts, you antagonize conservatives. and you have to keep the taxes to pay for it. so you're in a dilemma no matter which way you go. >> appreciate that. joined now here on the set by yvette clark. a congresswoman from new york. she tweeted this. crump care will have a very big impact on the health security of hard work go americans living paycheck to paycheck. let's say mitch mcconnell, they would reconcile the bill that passed the house with the one that passed the senate. have to go through the house
again, through the senate again. if they've gotten this far. they get it through senate. is this as good as implemented? >> i hope not, steve. we can this is a, we know this is a major, major mean bill. it will take health care away from 23 million americans. we've got to sound the alarm here. there is no time to play around with this. the republicans have decided that they're going to take this march into oblivion, as i would say. and i think that americans need to make sure that they make their preferences known now. we have no time to sit back and wait and see what happens. there is clearly a willingness on the part of the republicans to follow this path in trying to give donald trump a 56th riflt it is a loss -- a victory.
>> is there a bigger picture? donald trump had to win the election. republican hs to win back the house. they had to get senate in 2014. all of those things happened by saying, we want to repeal obamacare. and enough votes did put they will into office. when you look back from the implementation, the enactment are there missed opportunities that allowed them to do that? >> i think we have not touted as much as we should how this is revolutionized the way that americans are now able to access health care in america. >> do people make that connection? is somebody receiving benefits -- >> clearly they are. all the polling indicates this is not popular with the american people right now. when you think about first, the wealth transfer that is embedded in this. the real crux of what the republicans are trying to
actually achieve. to take health care services away from seniors, mothers, children, it is unfathomable that we would be in this place in the 21st century where we would actually leave americans high and dry, unable to take care of themselves and their families with respect to their health. to be able to give wealthy people who didn't ask for it a tax cut. i think that the american people are pushing back. they're pushing back real hard. we'll encourage them to continue to make those calls. send those e-mails. come to washington, d.c. it is time to make our preferences known here. >> i want to get you on the record for something else. this has bubbled up. the republican candidate won it in the wake of that. tim ryan most notably, he
challenged nancy pelosi. he lost pretty soundly but he is saying, and there are some other making noise saying, it's nothing personal against nancy pelosi but her association is so sort of coastal, liberal, elite. whatever you want to say. that it hurts our party is. do you think there is anything to that argument? >> i know most of my colleagues, all of them, and i would say that's not the overwhelming sentiment of the body. clearly nancy pelosi has been the champion for working people in the country. across the board we have to determine as democrats how we work together in unit to sound the alarm. to forge forward to. bring the economic message. >> so you're saying you don't think she's in trouble. >> not at all. nancy pelosi has been a source of inspiration and strength.
she has moved the agenda on health care. keeping democrats unified throughout her tenure. and i believe that she will continue to do that. >> all right. democrat from new york. thank you for taking a few minutes. >> thank you for having me. >> we'll take a quick break. the new "washington post" report. this one about the debate within the obama administration during the campaign last year over the question of how to respond to the russian election interference. people go to college. it's part of our commitment to being america's best first job.
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it is no secret that president trump frequently cast doubts over finding that russians interfered in the election. >> knowing something about hacking, if you don't catch a hacker, okay, in the act, it is very hard to say who did the hacking. with that being said, i'll go along with russia. it could have been china. it could have been a lot of different groups. look. i want to find out if there was a problem with an election having to do with russia or anybody else. any other country. i want to get to the bottom if russia or anybody else is trying to tamper or play with our election. >> this week he continued the trend sweeting, by the way, if russia was working so hard on
the 2016 election, it all took place during the obama administration. why didn't they stop them? well, the "washington post" tried to answer the question in a stunning particle lays out the obama administration's struggle to manage had it. according to the post in august of last year, john brennan alerted president obama and three senior aides that american intelligence had captured putin's specific instructions on the operations of audacious objectives to defeat or at least damage the democratic nominee, hillary clinton, and help elect her point, donald trump. it was kept out of the president's daily brief to guard against leaks. they followed same protocols as planning sessions for the osama bin laden raid. for months the president struggled to find an appropriate
response only to settle on a modest set of sanctions in late december, well after the election. thank you both for joining me. it is your paper that reported this today. it is a fascinating read. let me ask you this. the bottom line question i took away from this, how much of the agonizing that the obama administration went through last fall and how much of the fact the sanctions didn't come down until well after the election. how many of it is a simple assumption that hillary clinton has this election in the bag. let's not stir anything else up until it's over. let's just get through election lt. >> i think it played a large part of it. there was that surprise, wow, this is what we're dealing with now. the president and his team did not want to give the impression
that they were spinning the election in any way. they went to the gang of eight to try to get that bipartisan support and mitch mcconnell wouldn't give it to they will. so they knew by the fall they would have to go it alone if the president would say anything publicly and draw attention to this. there was a lot of hesitancy. and one of the senior administration members that was quoted in the article said it is hard to explain, the hardest thing to sane from the time of the obama presidency saying we choked. it is both the fact they thought clinton had it in the bag and he didn't need to retaliate. and there was a third element important to recognize. that wasn't until the obama administration ordered the full review of what had happened, which was after the election,
that they actually realized this was not just an episode. this was a piece of a campaign that had been going on for a very long time. that's what was documented in the intelligence committee. it is like they have blinders on. they were aware of part of the story but not the peripheral vision at the time. >> what about in terms of of, take us through what we know here. vladimir putin himself ordering this for a specific reason. the united states having that intelligence well before the election. putin's specific role. tell us what we can here. >> there has been suppositions for a long time. that something like this, this campaign of hacking, wouldn't have happened without the direction of the senior most levels of the kremlin. that's vladimir putin. we haven't before this article had, the actual, the closest thing to a smoking gun you can get. that this intelligence is coming from a russian source, that pits
sensitive. that they only showed to it a few advisers. they have to hand it straight back to the cia. so this is basically, it is closing the circle around was this actually ordered from the upper levels of the russian government. this plays into the allegation out there but the fact the president of russia had an interest in trying to sway who the president of the united states would be. that's pretty serious stuff wauflt this effective? there was not a response. a lot of people would say there's not a response in kind. that's the criticism that you keep hearing to this day. that we should have realized. the president should have been further out there. >> so let me bring knew on this question. i just read the book shattered recently about the hillary clinton campaign.
and toward the end of the book, one the of items they report on, they were saying that hillary clinton was a little per turned when she learned the extent, some of the extent the obama administration's knowledge before the election of what russia and putin were up to. if you're hillary clinton and you're reading this story in the "washington post," do you look at this and do you have a justifiable grievance maybe with the obama administration for not doing more? >> i imagine she is probably pretty upset about it. remember, hillary clinton said she thought the outside forces impeded her election. jim comey coming out about the investigation. and wasn't until later on that they realized exactly what they were doing with it. kind of a full spectrum campaign. one reason that's troubling, one of the pieces that had gone back, it was not unknown the
russian government was trying to hack into the state department. getting into some unclassified systems. one of the things this article really keys in on, why did it take them that long to put all the pieces together to really understand that what was happening in the election, which of course was new, we'd never seen a foreign government weaponize e-mails and put they will out again? why was it so hard to put it together that this was part of a pattern of behavior? >> that's my other question. if you have any insight into this, one of the items is that james clapper at a public forum said there was a long history of russia meddling in elections. not the nature of what we saw last year. but should that have alerted everybody sooner? >> i don't think we've seen anything quite like this. certainly a long history of the
enter interference of u.s. affairs. i think people were surprised by the idea that the russian government would turn these e-mails around and put them out there as a pain to start a trickle of disinformation. that's also surprising to me. as intelligence officials know well, they did use these tactics in europe as well. it shouldn't have come as that much of a surprise. i think there's a lot more emphasis to place on this very question of whether or not the obama administration wanted to be seen as tipping the scales. from my own reporting, talking on officials, that was something that was really holding people back. this idea if we come out and say it is the russians.
and we're kind of giving the russians what they want to. fastball anxiety about the lack of confidence in the election. >> right. an absolutely fascinating story. if you didn't see it today, take a few minutes this weekend and check that out. thanks to both of you for joining us. up next, health care is coming to a head. can mitch mcconnell find a way to get it passed? what's with him?
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come out against it. at least tentatively. let's turn to our roundtable. 19 a is the national politics correspondent for "newsweek." thank you for joining us. i'm curious. the dynamics in the senate. you have these four conservative that's came out yesterday. led by rand paul. if that's true, that's one of the three off the table. now you have dean hell we are an entirely set of demands coming out. and if you play indicate heller, do you risk losing the guys on the right? if you lose heller and rand paul, you're down to one. is there a way to thread the needle? >> maybe. i don't think mitch mcconnell has a way to do it yet. it has been a different party and has been faxed for years
they're republicans in name only. they have their own moderate issues. so while you have right now the conversations about five senators, you have several others saying, i need to read the bill. or they're saying, it's too easy to vote. >> collins is that murkowski have made some comments, unless x happens, i won't vote for it. >> and the people they have to play kate, can you survive the next re-election bid? if your point will say, you took away health care for millions in the state. how do you explain that? and that's the thing that i don't think the republicans have yet to figure out. >> the other issue, you go back 20, 25 years. the party in power. this is shaping up as the third time the party does that. could it pay a price. >> did you the piece showed the price that the clinton
administration paid after they went after health care. george bush didn't do it. i think they're much better off politically if this fails and they move to tarm and do something that might goose the economy. but it feels like we're talking about the same thing on the health care. if you press the one side, you lose moderates like heller. if you press the other, you lose the rand pauls. >> the point he was making, i heard this argument they would be better off if they go through the motions. they tell their base they're doing it. the republican bases that spent the last seven years saying you have to get rid of obamacare, can they really go back and say we tried. didn't get it done. >> i think they'll have to go back and try. i think they'll try and it gives cover for the white house. this was a good week for trump.
there weren't any gaffes. there was a lot of attention on the congress. and it gave his staff time to lawyer up and interview lawyers for the comey investigation. so i think that they're going to run it through and they'll try and when they lose, they'll go back and say they tried. that is a win for them. >> it looks like, the aim is a vote next thursday. obviously a fluid situation. we have to squeeze in quick. the round table is staying with us. , there's no other way to say this. it's over. i've found a permanent escape from monotony. together, we are perfectly balanced. our senses awake. our hearts racing as one. i know this is sudden, but they say...if you love something set it free. see you around, giulia
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go bodly to discover treatments and cures unimaginable ten years ago... ...and are on the verge of more tomorrow. we're back with the roundtable. the approval rating, 40%. i guess it is in a week ending question. 40%, we would normally say a disaster for a president. he's saying, hey, look, we put the issue to the voters in georgia. it doesn't look like my party lost much ground. >> by trump standards, this was a good week for him.
they won georgia. he was able to get health care. and by the way, his supporters who they care about. they're sticking with him. >> russia hangs over all this. we called it a great week because he didn't fire an fbi director and he won in georgia. big deal. he had to win that seat. we're defining good weeks now. >> we have to win the home court. >> so you were making this point. >> the bar is low and it is, it gave his staff time to lawyer up. because that's what they have to do. they're interviewing private lawyers. >> a quick break here. >> the roundtable is back with us. three things i don't know.
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the shortest segment of the day. tell me something i don't know. >> the tax bill will be written in secret because of the way this went. >> the border adjustment tax is dead. >> okay. >> a russian phrase i just learned. you're going to hear a lot of it in the summer to come. it means useful idiot. >> all right. my first two russian words. thank you for stopping by.
that's "hardball" for now. thank you for being with us. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. tonight -- >> it's a very, very narrow path. but i think we're going to get there. >> a significant roadblock to the health care bill. as a vulnerable republican senator says he won't vote for it. >> in this form i won't vote for it. >> where's the rest of the republican caucus stand? >> i've not yet decided to vote for it. >> this is not trying to be overly dramatic. thousands of people will die. then new details reveal the vast scope of russian interference in the election. and the president once again makes the case against himself. >> when he found out that there may be tapes out there, i think his story may have