tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC July 19, 2017 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
>> "hardball" starts right now. donald trump and paul manafort to testimony in congress. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in san francisco. there's breaking news on the russian front. the senate judiciary committee has called donald trump jr. and paul manafort to testimony in open hearings next week. and jared kushner, the presses's son-in-law will be interviewed. this comes after last week's revelation that kushner, manafort and trump jr. met with russians in june of 2016 to get dirt on hillary clinton. i'll joined by dick durbin on the judiciary committee. do we know if they're going to
come? the president's son, the chairman of his campaign? >> no. we don't have confirmation yet. we home we don't have to go any further than an invitation but it is scheduled for wednesday morning. >> do you believe in an open hearing, you would be in a position to simply say, we have all the time in the world. tell us all the conversations you had with the russians in the last year and a half. >> it is an open format. theon thing from the independent council is to make sure the witnesses testify under oath and publicly. certainly questions can be asked on a lot of questions. last june they met with the russian lawyer and he is perhaps speaking on behalf of the russian government. there was a lure, a dangle, and
it was, we're on the side of mr. trump winning the election. and we'll give you help. wouldn't that be something would carry all the way through election day? >> it certainly could. it is speculative but not out of the question. we need to nail down as many facts as possible as what went on. there's a late breaking story that paul manafort owes russian banks some $17 million but it could lead to even more questions about manafort's rip. i grew up with the polaroid film developing in front of you. he is willing to give on ukraine, crimea, he's willing to
give on election meddling. maybe even a continuation of the assad regime. fighting easy. the better over points of of a ad. >> this president under like others refuses off the full discloesh usual of his financial dealings. the interlocking relationships leads us to ask more questions. you know in this town, it is hardly ever the crime. it is the cover-up that becomes the central issue. when you're caught in one of these situations, you need to make full disclosure.
now the disclosures by donald trump jr. last week i thought were full disclosures. it turns out there were a lot more people in that briefing than we were led to believe. >> we with 9/11on, he had a lot to hide. he ordered a break-in in the national committee to make it look like democratic job. he had all this in his head when he got caught with the democratic headquarters in the. it is possible that trump something to worry about. i'm putting my money on bob mueller. it is something when a politician trusts. i've known him for years. a veteran, a combat veteran.
all of these things, the facts are cascading on a daily basis. >> is it your expense donald trump knows more than he's telling? >> well, of course it is. he said initially there were no contacts between them. >> do you think he's trying to work a deal with the russians on syria? >> i have no idea what his ultimate goal is. jo i don't know fits related to foreign policy or business-related. i can't tell you what it's all about. is the fact there's such concealment and other facts are leaking out slowly by slowly raises an all lot of questions. >> thank you so much. great to have you on. i'm joined now by eric swalwell of california.
one of our favorite reporters. let me start with the congressman. what do you make of the fact we're going to get these son and son-in-law and chairman of the trump campaign under testimony, under oath? >> good evening. let's hear as much as possible. i think the american people are ready to hear exactly why they thought meeting with russians at the time of the campaign and receiving information on hillary clinton would have been illegally obtained. i think there's a lot of fair questions for them. let's have the public finally hear it. >> i watch all the hearings. i'll always depressed. the members don't seem to coordinate their questions. everybody is playing their own banco. people get away with stuff. why don't you just suspend the rules in these committees and saying, starting with donald jr. you're under oath, buddy and i want to hear every single
meeting. every conversation you've had with a russian in the last year and a half. and you'd better not miss any because we'll get you on it for perjury. take three hours if you want west wantering. this is what trey gowdy said he wants. it never seems to happen. >> do you remember the meeting with james comey, the house intelligence democrats, we met a number of times to make sure we didn't do exactly what you said. we wanted to make sure it was coordinated and we had a narrative so the american people understood in a public setting, the trump contacts, personally, politically and financially. i thought it paid off. >> can you make demand of a witness? we want to know right now. take all the time you want. this is an open exam. trey gowdy made a joke of it. ever since he saw dr. zhivago,
tell me every russian you met with. >> put it all on the paper right now. give us the exhaustive list from the time the campaign started until today. who have you met with? let's just hear that first. that list continues to grow only when confronted with evidence. >> there's more breaking news tonight. and it is just out. the "new york times" reports, financial records filed last year in the secretive tax haven of cyprus where paul manafort kept bank bts during his years working with ukraine and investing with a russian oligarch, that he had been in debt to pro russia interests by as much as $17 million before he joined donald trump for the campaign. he was in debt for an enormous amount of money to dangerous people in russia. the oligarchs don't play patty cake. >> the russians play on
financial distrust. this was testimony we elicited from are james comey during hearing. he did acknowledge that financial distrust was a vulnerability in someone that the russians would expose if they could. they would use it over you. so we wanted to know, if that is why the republican party platform toward ukraine changed is that why carter page, while he was the chairperson of the campaign, went to moscow and he was a senior foreign policy adviser for the campaign. a lot of questions about paul manafort's financial ties to russia. >> let's put this element, i'm not sure the rope has been tied together. but there are two roams. starting last june we know there are e-mails saying the russian government was out the help trump win the election. we know there was a meeting set one the president's son for the purpose of sharing dirt on his adversary at the time hillary clinton, the democratic nominee for president.
we know they sent pout overture. let's meet. we can help you. and then we watched trump say nice things about russia until recently. sitting down with him at the g-20, chatting with no one tlels. we know his son-in-law was trying to set up a private channel with the kremlin. all this nice behavior from our end followed by an overture of i can help you politically from the other end. can you tie it together yet? >> yes, you can. it reminds me when you go to the eye doctor. you have a vision test. they say is it lens number one or two? which someone clearer? which someone blurrier? the don jr. e-mail chain makes everything clearer. all the previous innocent explanations that were offered are no longer so innocent. this excuse that he was just 90 even and didn't know what he was doing. somebody who says can we wait to have this information throughout at the end of summer, right before the election, is exactly
somebody who knows what they're doing. >> president trump spent his summer praising the putin campaign. let's watch all this. that. >> they say donald trump likes vladimir putin. so here's the story. by the way. if we could get russia to help us get rid of isis, if we could actually be friendly with russia, wouldn't that be a good thing? he's a better leader than obama because obama is not a leader. so he's certainly doing a better job than obama. is you have to understand. putin, if we could get along with russia, i think that would be a good thing. not a bad thing. putin called me brilliant. i like it. putin said donald trump is brilliant. he'll be the next leader. >> as journalist, what would you
like to see come out of that testimony that occurs next week the president's son and the cheryl of the campaign? with all the russian entanglement, has the virgin forest here. >> that's why it is fraught with peril duflt see the time stamp on the recordings that you just played? that was right around the time when paul manafort was bending the ear of the trumps. donald trump jr. has been making statements to tv hosts that have been proven wrong. here eeld be under oath talking on very savvy lawmakers who know the facts and will get him on the record on a host of issues, including the one most suspect, which is did you really have no additional ties no, additional contacts no, additional e-mails following meeting during which you were hoping the get goods on hillary clinton? and i think the just getting him on the record, on those points, will be critical. then also, the money angle.
this news breaking news about "the new york times." they're ties to the russian oligarchs. he's issued requests to the federal crimes unit. so this is weaving all the threads together. i think it is significant that this is an invitation and we have no indication of whether he'll accept it. >> what daddy trump has been saying, he wants a warm relationship with putin. >> yeah. especially as we know, we suspected all along. paul manafort was the one behind a lot of this. and like the cran said, if you line things up, a lot of the most suspect statements were made around the time, within weeks of when will manafort took over as campaign chairman in terms of altering the ukraine
platform and the rhetoric from trump himself including calling on the russians to hack hillary clinton. so absolutely. it sounds like the son was very much interested in getting information on hillary clinton. here's what we know. they may not have delivered in that meeting but they delivered, all right, in the form of wikileaks which turned out to be very effective for trump. i think lawmakers will want to know. did you really know nothing about that? >> thank you. by the way, a big wall with all of these connecting points. talking about the meetings going up to what trump said yesterday. the money end of what manafort did with the oligarchs. all the meetings with kislyak. all the people like carter page and the rest of they will. roger stone.
i think this is one big map of power. coming up, the former director, james clapper will be here on trump's meeting with putin. in fact, the meeting with the russians also. and whether the trumps are making russia great again. it sounds like that's what trump has been doing. plus, growing unthe ref mock some republicans about president trump. but coming to real pies trump may claimfully victory he can for himself. blame the rest on them. today trump even threatened a fellow republican over health care asking whether he wants to remain a senator. that's a threat. and what is really going on? that's a story. the russian investigation and health care failures are sharpening the battle lines. we have a new report about the pressure that the trump family itself is feeling. friends say that donald junior just wants these four years to be over. he's miserable.
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book your weekend break direct with hilton.com and join the summer weekenders. today president trump kicked off the inaugural meeting. he used the occasion to once again raise the possibility that despite a lack of evidence, substantial voter fraud took place in the 2016 election. >> this issue is very important to me. throughout the campaign, and even after, people would come up to me and express their concerns about voter inconsistencies and irregularities which they saw. in some cases, having to do with very large numbers of people in certain states. >> the president also questioned why certain states were refusing to comply with the commission's request for sex i have tnsitive
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the last time president trump met with russian that's the in the oval office in may, he reportedly revealed highly classified information from israel and told them firing james comey who he called at the time a nut job relieved great pressure on him with regard to the russian investigation. well, yesterday we learned the president met alone for an hour with vladimir putin at the g-20 conference in germany. an hour the two of them were present with a translator. the white house never disclosed the meeting. it was first reported by ian bremmer with the group the you're asjha group. >> many of the leaders, including america's most important allies were quite surprised.
they found it unusual and note worthy. the body language, the chemistry, the fact it went on so long. and it reflected a much warmer relationship between trump and putin than he has with any of the other leaders in the room. >> well, white house spokesman sean spicer told "the new york times," it was pleasantries and small talk. how would sean know? a report that fake news story of secret dinner with putin is sick. what happened afterwards? the "washington post" reported president trump is planning on ending the covert program to arm and train syrian rebels. according to the post, officials said the phasing out of the secret pral reflects trump's interests in finding ways to work with russia as an assault on his interests.
i'm joined by james clapper, director of national intelligence under president obama. he said his whole goal with russia is to develop a deal of some kind to fight isis and it looks like everything he's been doing so far, forgiving them on crimea, even to forgive them on interfere with the election. bringing a blind eye to it. now to forgive them for supporting isis. coming across to me like a polaroid film. this is what trump is up to. you're the expert. what do you see trump doing here? >> well it seems clear to me that he is very, very interested in a productive working relationship with the russians. >> i guess what concessions are being made. if there are concessions being made, or agreements being made,
what is the quid pro quo for us? what is the united states getting out of this? i've read the media reporting about stopping our support for the modern opposition groups, a very pro found move. and i should caveat by saying that certainly his prerogative as the president to do that. through there are serious implications. it appears to me that he is throwing in with the russians and helping them as they have sustained propping up assad, who by the way was the original cause of the civil war in syria to start with. if we're stopping that assistance, then we're cutting the knees out from tunneled modern opposition groups who have grown very dependent on us. and i think other things to gauge the reaction of the regional neighbors. are i read that jordan is supportive. i'm not sure all the others
would be. so if this is true, this has huge implications. >> what do you make of that first meeting in june of last year. it seems to be the first year when donald trump was approached for the proposition that the russians apparently, at the government level, had some dirt on hillary clinton. based on your knowledge of russian methods, what were they up to there in establishing a relationship with trump's son? >> well, first of all, this was the classic textbook soviet and now russian trade craft. the soft approach. and i think the principle, the two objectives. one was to determine whether those close to then candidate trump would be interested in talking with them about, and
receiving dirt on hillary clinton. that was point one. and point two was plausible deniability. and these are characteristics of typical soviet/russian are intelligence trade craft. and i think that was the primary objective. to find out if they reached out. if they would be interest and there was. >> what kind of a response did they get? trump seemed very pro russian in the months after that. >> that's true. we published our assessment on the 6th of january and briefed him at trump tower about the russian interference in our election, in 2016. and he also was skeptical about it. although he wasn't while we
briefed him. but the subsequent commentary was disparaging of it and at one point he said nazis for having reported to him what our judgment was about the magnitude and the extent and the scope of russian interference. and the results for them, i think. all they're going to do. do it more. they're going to be back there and emboldened to be more aggressive. >> so even after sending the men to paul manafort, the chairman of the campaign at the time, and his son that they were on his side, that they were willing to hurt hillary clinton in the campaign. even arrest getting that men clear as a bell. he told you folks, the intelligence experts, that he didn't believe the russians were trying to help him. >> he didn't, he just kept it rating the possibility that it
could have been somebody else. it could have been the 400 guy bed in his jersey. kind of reiterated that message in a speech in poland. >> but wasn't a 400 pound person lying in their bed that came to his people, three of them in trump tower, including his son-in-law and his son and campaign cheryl. that was not a 400-pound person that came to him with the dirt on hillary. >> that's right. i mentioned that only because he was trying to obfuscate the origins of this interference. to be clear, in our minds, in the minds of the intelligence community, there's no doubt it was clearly the russians. we had a very high confidence level about that and still do. >> let's talk about his reaction. we know that he's denied the dossier. yet he has been so nice to the
russians. he was nice to mr. gorbachev, mr. putin in the g-20 meeting openly. then when they had the meeting, they sat with him just his own, putin's own translator, interpreter. he brings out this new overture in terms of supporting assad by opposing, or giving no more funding to assad. the side we've been on. that adds up to me as sxoopgs collusion. >> it is very he concerning to me that this appears to be going on. i understand it is a good thing to look for areas where our interests converge. it seems to me we're suborning our interests to those of the russians. >> if this is true about the in accordance syria, this is a very serious thing.
and this affinity for russia is very are, a very curious thing. and bear in mind, russia is an existential threat to this country. they emboorkd a very aggressive modernization program. they have a very aggressive counter space program. and these are all designed with one adversary in mind. that's the united states. by the way, they're in violation of the inch nm treaty. so they are not our friends and are not doing, they are not going to do anything in our interests. >> lastly, how would you describe president trump's response to this adversary since taking office? >> well, again, it appears to me that the approach to be taken is to be very city polisolicitous.
the repacks i've read in the media about syria is true, it seems to me what we're doing is essentially sub ordinary naigt ourselves to the russians as a sustained had, assad, which has been their position all along. and i think what that does in the long run is really marginalize whatever leverage we had in influencing developments there. >> when an american, or any other power lays down before putin, what is putin's reaction to that? how does he do with that acceptance? >> necessary my view, not a throw back of the soviet era but to the czar era. he is not really an idealogue. i think he has this russian greatness mindset. and russia is a great power in
the world. and he craves that kind of recognition. he uses that recognition to i think intimidate his own people. and uses that as a way of trying to exhort their patriotism so. this all, this phenomenon plays right to his sweet spot. >> do you think our president is helping russia be great again? >> yeah, in a way. i guess he is. particularly as putin gets his way in syria. and if nothing is done to push back on the russians in ukraine, yes. >> okay.
james clapper, thank you for your time tonight. >> hoping the make russia great again. up next, president trump asks a vulnerable republican if he wants to remain a senator. he is threatening these guys. just the latest example of the divide between president trump and some of his fellow republican party members in the wake of their big failure to repeal and replace obamacare. this is "hardball" where the action is. try dna results are that i am 26% nigerian. i am just trying to learn as much as i can about my culture. i put the gele on my head and i looked into the mirror and i was trying not to cry. because it's a hat, but it's like the most important hat i've ever owned. discover the story only your dna can tell. order your kit now at ancestrydna.com. so you miss the big city? i don't miss much...
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welcome back to "hardball." the white house luncheon today, president trump had some choice words for republican senators who had opposed recent attempts at repealing obamacare. with the cameras rolling, trump even issue ad not so veiled threat to nevada senator dean heller. let's watch there in action. >> this was the one we were worried about. you weren't there but you will be. >> he wants to remain a senator, doesn't he? i think the people of your state, which i know very well, i think they'll appreciate what you hopefully will do. any senator who votes against he starting is telling america that you're fine with obamacare. >> trump's threat against the senator is just an example of the deepening divide between republicans and the party's leader. if he is their leader. all this comes as the congressional budget office
comes with the plan to repeal obamacare now and then replace it later. that plan would leave 32 million americans uninsured over the next decade. that would be very tricky. for more, i'll joined by dan donavan and the republican strategist. congressman, you first. what do you make of that kind of threat since the untouchable. what robert deniro did, threatening the guy next to him. if you don't play ball with me, you're gone. >> i'm not sure the president doesn't do that in jest. when i went to see the president, i voted against the republican plan. i thought it didn't help the people who were harmed by the affordable care act and i thought would it harm the people helped by it. when i went to the oval office and told them my concerns, he listened more than i spoke. the things affect new york are different than what affects the rest of the country. and i never got any pressure
from him or our own leadership to change my mind. >> because they didn't need your vote. >> if they needed your vote, they would have been a lot more hard ball with you. >> at the time it was the time we delayed the vote. there weren't enough votes. maybe other voters were. if you remember, the vote was delayed for two weeks until they got some members to change their mind. i was not one of the members to change their mind. >> the trump vote, not the 30% who will be there if he shoots someone on fifth avenue burgs the 30 to 45% who decides whether he does well. that number frgds 30 to 45%. the 15%. will they stick with him if health care stays the way it is now? having failed? >> yeah. i think they sent donald trump to washington saying, we're dispoint with democrats. we're disappointed with republicans. here's a guy we think will
change things. i think they're patient for the moment but i think they are looking for real change. so i think it is incumbent on the republicans to give them something. i think there's still a quhanls this health care bill. i think that trump was at least half kidding with senator heller, but i do think the president is acting very presidential. he brought them today. he is forcing them to say, now is the time on get this done. that's what he should be doing. >> would you go with a bipartisan plan to make it a better program? >> absolutely. i said i had get rid of the partisanship. we're basking in each other's failures. who is the real failure affecting? the american people. there are things in the bill, the republican replacement bill, that every concan agree on.
when president obama left office, he said please don't help the republicans undo what i will go down many history for. they are allowing the insurance companies the cross state lines. if that will cause come paergts let's show america rather than saying it will happen. >> the former president he may not fix his own program, i think you're surprised. there's another interpretation, tooflt it is in the interests of the country to fix what's broken. thank you. dan donavan of bay ridge, all those places. and up next, donald trump sits down with "the new york times." wait until you catch. this he's angry at former fbi director james comey is that he has a warning for special
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call 811. keep yourself safe. welcome back. "the new york times" is just out for tomorrow with some breaking news and we've got i tonight in a wide ranging interview, president trump said today that he never would have appointed attorney general jeff sessions had he known that mr. sessions would recuse himself from overseeing the russian investigation that has dogged his presidency, calling it very unfair to the president. that's how trump talks. he said the decision on recuse ultimately led to the appointment of robert mueller as special counsel. he said mr. mueller was are running the office rife with conflicts of interest and they would cross a red line if they delve into the trump family finances unrelated to russia.
author of the new book, devil's bargain. steve bannon, donald trump and the storming of the presidency. the white house correspondent with reuters and he quent "the new york times." i pick it up here. he basically threatens mueller here in your interview with your paper. it means don't ask for my tax returns. >> even more so. he leaves open the possibility of potentially firing mueller if he crosses him, including on this red line that he just seems to lay out regarding his business. it is important to note that it is not delving into his businesses generally but that are not related to russia. what you see here throughout the interview is his obsession on the russia investigation. the reporters here tried to talk
about other things. he kept bringing it back. >> on comey, on mueller for bringing such intensity to the russia investigation. the buck is not stopping with donald trump. >> we learned all through clinton investigations, fairly or not. one thing leads to another. paula jones leads the monica. how do you say you'll investigate the meetings with russia? the hotels, the miss universe, the whole shebang? how do you say you won't ask for his tax returns if you're going to answer those questions? it seems the red lines will be crossed by the nature of the probe that he's been assigned to. >> yes. someone who president trump is not a big fan of right now. james comey said, when you start
the investigation when you start turning over rocks. you might find some things. the idea that he can somehow limit what mueller will be able to look into. that just seems unlikely and unreasonable. this is a special counsel. if he finds something that he thinks is interesting or illegal, you would think he could have a moral responsibility to go after it. >> same question to you. i'm going down the road here to where mueller is going. starting with carter page and all the others and all the meetings and the e-mail and everything suggesting one side trying to start a relationship if the other side. all the finances things we learned. that mr. manafort may owe $17 million to the oligarchs which has him in hock with he started
working on the campaign. it seems he'll have to look at all of it. including the tax returns. >> of course. he is a diligent thorough investigator. trump is trying to intimidate him to try to address it. still hasn't spemd mueller has free rein. and trump is at his most volatile when he just suffered a loss. health care is collapsing and he will be held accountable for that. >> what is he going to lead the story? the sessions thing. he is angry for recusing himself. that led to the naming plaintiff mueller. he is still ad at, if something
went on or nothing went. it sounds like he's accusing comey here. >> this is on his mind, he's fixated. you take it to the g-20 a few days ago. and he addresses the subject of this second meeting that we had vladimir putin. during or after this dinner with all the world leaders. he said the meeting lasted only 15 minutes. he brings up what putin wanted to talk about is adoptions. this gets into the meeting with donald trump jr. held in june of last year with these russians. they wanted to talk about the magazi magnitsky act. this explains the back drop here. like we are also interested in
the russian investigation. >> we know about putin wants to get these sanctions removed against the oligarchs. that's why he keeps looking at it. next, they'll tell me something i don't know. david. what's going on? oh hey! ♪ that's it? yeah. ♪ everybody two seconds! ♪ "dear sebastian, after careful consideration of your application, it is with great pleasure that we offer our congratulations on your acceptance..." through the tuition assistance program, every day mcdonald's helps more people go to college. it's part of our commitment to being america's best first job. ♪
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>> devil's bargain. >> the u.s. and the chinese had economic talks today. both sides were supposed to have press conferences but they were unexpectedly cancelled without expectations. it is a sign maybe president trump's plan to redo u.s. trade policy with china may not be going as easily as he had hoped. >> like other things. >> well, just a couple days after my colleagues at the "new york times" brogue this explosive story about a meeting that donald trump jr. had and the russian lawyer and the lobbyist. the e-mails that appear to have been hacked from the account of the state department's top russian intel guys was posted this dark web, the website, a lot of traffic in there about the attendees at this meeting. probably not a coincidence. >> the number of people grows
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was. i watched president trump act almost with glee over the prospect of having the republicans blame the democrats for the failure of obamacare down the road. instead of being concerned about millions being hurt as long as the other side get the blame. i say we should follow the wisdom of solomon. that's "hardball" for now. "all in" starts right now. >> good evening from new york. i'm joy reid in for chris hayes. we have some pretty big news to start with. in an interview with the new york times, president trump said that he never would have appointed jeff sessions as attorney general had he known that sessions would recuse himself. quote, how do you take a job and then recuse yourself if he would have recused himself before the job. i would have said, thanks, jeff, but i'm not going to take you. it is extremely