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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  August 31, 2017 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT

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mueller's unfolding investigation into the trump campaign and russia. we have got some breaking news on the probe into trump's former campaign chairman, mueller's work with new york state attorney general, and most recently the president's legal defense against allegations of obstruction of justice. "wall street journal" is reporting tonight that "lawyers for donald trump have met several times with special counsel robert mueller in recent months and submitted memos arguing the president didn't obstruct justice by firing former fbi chief james comey." one of those memos "outlined why they believe mr. comey would make an unsuitable witness," calling him "prone to exaggeration, unreliable in congressional testimony and the source of leaks to the news media." according to the journal's sources the president's lawyers hope to get a swift conclusion to the obstruction of justice piece of the investigation and potentially an exoneration of the president. however, continuing here, "there is no indication mueller
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accepted the lawyers' reasoning or has dropped the part of his inquiry that is looking at any obstruction." joining me now is dale quinton wilbur of the "wall street journal," josh dossy is a white house reporter for politico, and anna marie mcavoy is a former federal prosecutor, adjunct professor at fordham law school. thanks to all of you for joining us. quinn, let me start with you. we have these meetings, we have these memos the trump lawyers are submitting to mueller's team. did mueller initiate this and say hey, give me your best defense? did trump's team initiate this and say we want to put a pre-emptive end to this? what's the context of these memos and these meetings? >> i think starting in june, maybe a little bit before that, mueller was only appointed in mid may to tackle this investigation, that you know, the president's legal team, outside legal team wanted to present arguments to mr. mueller that hey, he can't be charged with obstruction of justice, he
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was legally justified in doing this. and they also took the tact of attacking who would be a chief witness in an obstruction case if it was about the firing of fbi director james comey, and they attacked james comey's credibility in these memos. they raised legal arguments and other various things to get their -- it was their effort to put the ball in mueller's court, say here are arguments, these are our best arguments and we don't think you should go this route. >> now, you say there's no indication that he's accepted their arguments. but is there any indication at all how he reacted? did he reject them outright? do we know anything about his reaction to this? >> well, i think as anyone who's covered bob mueller for a long time realizes, he plays his cards close to his vest. he's a consummate poker player. he's not going to tip anyone off to what he's thinking. and i think that mueller has signaled over many months he wants to do this as quickly as possible, as efficiently as possible, and as thoroughlies possible. and i don't think he probably
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said anything different than that to the white house lawyers. >> anna marie, former federal prosecutor, from the standpoint of a prosecutor, if the defense team makes this kind of play, comes to you with these memos, these meetings, tries to make this case, how do you react to this as a prosecutor? >> i think you listen. you want to see what they have. because if you do wind up going to trial or having to fight this case out in a courtroom with motions and so on, you're going to at least in this process learn what their defenses are going on, what they're going to raise down the line. so you're going to listen very intently. the other issue for a prosecutor, especially in a case like this that's getting so much coverage, is mueller doesn't want to wind up with egg on his face in the end either where he brings a case and then he winds up having the case thrown out, perhaps a motion to dismiss from the other side. sew wants to make sure he's got a strong case before he actually files anything. >> is this a situation, are there examples in the past where a defense team would come to a
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prosecutor and the prosecutor actually would hear them and on the spot or relatively shortly after having the meeting say you know what, good point, i'm backing off, i'm clearing you, i'm exonerating you? does that ever happen? or is this just sort of lodged for the record and he moves on? >> it can happen. it depends on how good the information is that that particular potential subject brings to you. and it also depends what other information and evidence they have. if they don't have any other evidence and then the lawyers come in and they say look, you know, this is going to be a big mistake if you go forward, here are some additional reasons why you shouldn't, it may be just that extra little bit to say yeah, i'm going to back off it right now. on the other hand, if they've got a lot of evidence to support going forward, then this type of meeting isn't going to make much difference. >> let me bring josh dossy here from politico. you're reporting about another new element.
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msnbc news we can say has confirmed your reporting originally in politico that mueller's working with the state attorney general in new york eric schneiderman. of course schneiderman a long-time trump adversary on the investigation into paul manafort, the former campaign chairman. according to the report state and federal prosecutors believe the prospect of a presidential pardon could affect whether manafort decides to cooperate with investigators. the involvement of new york's attorney general "could potentially provide mueller with additional leverage as trump does not have pardon power over state crimes." manafort, we should note, has not been accused of and has denied any wrongdoing. so josh, take us through this. this is a very unusual situation as far as i know. you have a special counsel. you have the state attorney general -- >> studying financial transactions. both of them are studying whether mr. manafort committed any sort of financial crimes, offshore accounts, you know, various bank transactions. they've subpoenaed business partners, family members. and about six weeks or so they've been meeting pretty
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frequently to talk about their evidence, talk about strategy, talk about how to push a case forward and whether it would make sense to bring charges in new york where president trump does not have pardon power or does not have as wide pardon power or in federal court where he does have pardon power, and whether the leverage for mr. manafort to cooperate with any possible federal inquiry, you know, comes better from state charges or federal charges. >> annmarie, i'm not a legal expert here, so i'm going to rely on you. is this situation unprecedented? because i'm thinking of special prosecutors in the past investigating whether it's presidential administrations, top-level presidential appointees, to have a state attorney general at the same time looking into it. have we seen an example of this? >> we don't have a lot of special prosecutors out there. but we do have many circumstances. and the special prosecutor's really like a federal prosecutor. so like a u.s. attorney's office. sort of the equivalent. in that situation we do have a lot of situations where the
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federal authorities or law enforcement, prosecutors, investigators will work with the state. so i actually use the to be in the u.s. attorney's office. i also used to be in the d.a.'s office. and in both roles had occasions where we would work with each other as far as the federal and the state to come together and share information. there are a number of reasons you do this. if one has information, the other has information, you don't have to recreate the wheel. you can get that information from each other. sometimes there also are -- the laws are different. so even the standards for money laundering and what's required for the state versus the federal system is different. so many times the feds and the state will then decide, well, where does it make the most sense to proceed? where do we get the best bang for the buck? where do we get -- what are the sentences? what evidence do we need? what evidence do we have? where does it fit better? >> i guess the question here, is there a bigger picture message that's being sent here from
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mueller, from the special prosecutor, to trump, to trump world, basically saying -- because the issue that's been floating over all this, you've got a lot of critics of trump, a lot of democrats who are suspicious, you had that pardon last week of his buddy joe arpaio, he's got the power of pardon, he doesn't like this investigation, is he going to try to make some move we are shuts down the mueller investigation or thinks he's shutting down the mueller investigation by issuing a series of pre-emptive pardons? is this -- can this be read as mueller trying to send some kind of message that hey, white house, if you think that's what you can do here, guess, what you can try to shut me down that way but the state attorney general can then take over? >> my thought is that they probably knew that there were other people looking into it. there are rumors the new york d.a. is also looking into it. cyrus vance. there may well be others out there who are having investigations that are open. the thought that it's only the feds that can prosecute, i'm sure they realize there are other entities out there.
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especially with trump tower and a lot of the businesses being based in new york and meetings having taken place in new york, new york had jurisdiction. my guess is that they knew that. but certainly it's something they can think about and if they are trying to pressure manafort, but the fact there's no potential pardon for the state charges could be relevant to his decisions. of course one of the issues is going to be does he have information. sometimes people really want to give information. they want to cooperate but they don't have anything that's relevant. so that's going to be an issue as well as to what he has. >> there's also further reporting to tell you about from the "wall street journal" that reveals that paul manafort's work for pro-russian political interests abroad was "broader in scope and ambition" and took place for longer than previously reported according to the journal that work extends into countries like georgia and montenegro. it appeared to some as potentially at odds with stated u.s. positions at the time. and this comes after mcclatchy reported last week on the proep into possible money laundering and tax evasion.
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"investigators are working to confirm information indicating that manafort and the consulting firms he led earned between 80 million and $100 million over a decade from pro moscow ukrainian and russian clients." the volume of money said to be involved and the time elapsed could put him at sichbgnificant risk. del quinton. you're reporting specifically on the maneuverings of trump's legal team with mueller on obstruction of justice. again, as i was saying a second ago, the issue hovering above all of this is the president, the power to pardon, would he employ it in this case, would he do it pre-emptively if the investigation is just not sitting right with him? anything in your reporting you've picked up on that front. >> your guess is as good as mine. we all know that the president of the united states has this vast power and it's his power. we don't really know how he's going to use it. i think annmarie has offered some very cogent legal analysis so far this segment, and i would
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encourage people to watch it again the way she spoke about this investigation and what mueller may be doing and why he'd do things. but i think mueller is going to be very careful going forward in confronting these kind of complex issues knowing the president has this power. now, there is a converse problem. if let's say the president pardons people in this case and says hey, i'm going to make sure you're not going to be charged with anything, you're pardoned. well, then you lose your ability to take the fifth amendment and not answer questions. so those people then would have to be compelled to provide testimony potentially against the president or others close to him. it's a double-edged sword, and it's not going to be as simple an analysis as many people are portraying it to be. >> and it sounds like, del qlon too, there's an issue about how perfectly legal presidential acts can be interpreted. for instance, i know in your reporting, in the correspondence here with mueller, the president's team is asserting that he simply had the power to fire the fbi director but then there's the issue of does the
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motive in carrying out that legal act that the president took, on the surface legal act, does the motive enter into it at all? >> exactly. you can take a legal act. for example, i think in our story we had an example where someone approved a navy contract. that's a legal act. but they accepted a bribe before approving the contract. and that would be illegal. so also you can obstruct justice without there being a real underlying crime. if your goal is to obstruct an investigation into a potential crime. so this is not something that's as straightforward as many people are portraying it. it's very knebelous. it's complicated. that's why bob mueller has a team of 16 attorneys working on this and a grand jury that's taking testimony and issuing subpoenas. and he's doing search warrants on suspects' houses. at least one suspect's house that we know of. >> annmarie, let me just ask you about this. as a prosecutor what do you make about the argument being made here, correspondence with mueller by trump's team. they're saying he has the power
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to fire the fbi director, they carried that out legally, you can't rely on comey because at one point he had to issue an correction to an aspect of his congressional testimony, excuse me. also he had those memos he took, those con trem pranious memos about interactions with the president, those were given to the media through an intermediary, through a friend of his, they're saying he can't be trusted, he can't be relied on as a witness because he leaked things to the media. those arguments that they're laying out there, do they resonate at all with the prosecutors? >> again, it depends very much on what other evidence they have. they certainly will analyze -- if comey is going to be their main witness, they're going to take a look at what's his credibility going to be, how's he going to come across to a jury and are there issues relating to whether he'll be believed? and the fact that he leaked the stuff the way he did it could certainly put some of his credibility into question. and if they know that trump's team is going to say look, he lied to congress potentially and they'll go back to the testimony and take it apart and do that in
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front of the jury, that could certainly impact whether mueller would be able to get a conviction. so these are things they will certainly take into account. depends what else they have. if they have other witnesses, if they have witnesses who turn, if they have nothing and that's their one hope, that even makes more important the issue of whether comey will be believed if he is put in front of the jury at some point. >> a lot of knowns here. a lot more unknowns. del quinton wilbur, josh dawsey. we hit some audio difficulties. i apologize for that. annmarie mcavoy, thank you very much. packed show. president trump has already lost several senior members of his team. some of ones who've stuck it out are now showing signs of disagreement with their boss. that's ahead. plus stinging new polling on president trump. a majority of americans now say he is "tearing the country apart." that according to a brand new poll. that also caps off what for trump has been a summer of
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discontent and the democrats' big dilemma for 2012. their biggest names, biden, sanders, warren. some well into their 70s when the campaign rolls around. who will emerge to take on trump? and finally, the "hardball" round table will be here with three things you might not know. this is "hardball," where the action is. my experience with usaa has been excellent. they always refer to me as master sergeant. they really appreciate the military family, and it really shows. we've got auto insurance, homeowners insurance. had an accident with a vehicle, i actually called usaa before we called the police. usaa was there hands-on very quick very prompt. i feel like we're being handled as people that actually have a genuine need. we're the webber family and we are usaa members for life. usaa, get your insurance quote today. you don't let anything lkeep you sidelined. come on! that's why you drink ensure. with 9 grams of protein, and 26 vitamins and minerals... for the strength and energy, to get back to doing what you love.
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the u.s. military along with japan and south korea flew jets. the jets didn't fly over the korean peninsula. they just crossed the pacific. but the american sophisticated aircraft and south korean buzzed over the korean peninsula. actually went quite close to the north korean border. so close i'm told that the north koreans to actually see the aircraft. then they veered south and dropped bombs on a test field in south korea. show of force, signaling to north korea that the u.s. can attack the north if and when it chooses to do so. but this will likely lead to an escalation. most analysts and military experts i've spoken to think the north koreans, kim jong un is not just going to sit back and accept this, he's not going to be intimidated. he will escalate. so it leads to a cycle'll of escalation. so on one side that's not good because it just escalates things further. but what's the alternative? and i've been speaking to
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officials here that say that showing restraint wasn't working either. because even when the u.s. was trying to show restraint we still saw missile tests, nuclear tests from kim jong un. kim jong un has carried out more missile tests than his father and grandfather combined. so you're in a difficult position. if you don't do anything and you don't respond, you still face a north korea that is being aggressive and you look weak. if you do respond, then you're playing into this game of one-upsmanship. so frankly, it is a very difficult position right now, a very tough foreign policy challenge. >> it's a puzzle it looks like they've been trying to solve, different administrations, for decades. no one's cracked the code yet. nbc's richard engel in seoul. thank you for that. we'll be right back after this. ♪he's gotta play it cool to seal the deal.♪ ♪better find a way to smooth things over.♪ ♪if only harry used some...
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the president this morning tweeted that talking isn't the answer. are we out of diplomatic solutions for north korea?
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>> no. we're never out of diplomatic solutions. >> and welcome back to "hardball." that was defense secretary jim mattis responding to a question about north korea after president trump tweeted "talking is not the answer." mattis pushed back on the idea that he's resisting the commander in chief, telling reporters during an offcamera gaggle that he did not contradict anything the president said. this is just one example of late where the president's cabinet members have seemed to contradict something the president has said. days after president trump defended alt-right protesters in charlottesville, many of whom were neo-nazis and white supremacists, white house economic adviser gary cohn told the "financial times," "i believe this administration can and must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning these groups. citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-nazis and the kkk." according to axios sources close to the president said the president did not appreciate cohn's public commentary.
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and rex tillerson made this somewhat startling assessment of the president on fox. >> i don't believe anyone doubts the american people's values or the commitment of the american government or the government's agencies to advancing those values and defending those values. >> and the president's values? >> the president speaks for himself, chris. >> the uptick in public comments by administration officials led "l.a. times" columnist doyle mcmanus to write, "this isn't a team of rivals. it's a team anguished dissidents. it's natural to look at this picture and ask if they're so unhappy why don't any of them resign?" for more i'm joined by michael stooelt, former rnc chairman and msnbc analyst. and hugh hewitt, host of the hugh hewitt show right here on msnbc. also a radio host as well. hugh, let me start with you. the president has put some folks around him, some folks in the top levels of his administration, in some unusual, at the very least unusual public spots. that question that doyle mcmanus raises about if he's putting them in spots they're not
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comfortable with and worse should they be thinking about resigning? >> i think it depends on who we talk about, steve. the secretary of state is clearly in some heavy weather right now. if you doe over to the "washington post" at this hour, dan dresdner's a very respected professor at the fletcher school of law and diplomacy. calls tillerson an unmitigated disaster who should resign. that doesn't have anything to do with his comments about the president. it just has to do with the fact the state department is a big heaping mess of disasters after nine months of rex tillerson. if you check on general, now secretary mattis, earlier today, he was asked about disagreeing with the president. he said, "if i said six and the president said half dozen, the media would say we disagree." mattis is dismissive of doyle mcmanus's point of view. but right there in the middle gary cohn. he clearly rebuked the president for the charlottesville thing. so you have a spectrum of disagreements. i think you have one resignation likely. i think tillerson just cannot last much longer at foggy bottom. it's just a disaster. >> michael steele, i think the
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broader question here too is from the president's standpoint you've got this reporting that maybe he's not happy about what gary cohn went out there and said publicly. how much latitude is the president going to give people like gary cohn to say that? >> i think there's some. i mean, there's always a degree to which a president, any president knows that sometimes their secretaries are put in a sticky situation and how they answer that becomes important to the president. i think in the case of cohn he was very direct, he was very honest, and i think that may be something the president despite the reports he was not happy about it, the president probably begrudgingly respects as well. i think the other side of this coin, though, when you talk about the situation at the state department, it's a mess because that's how the white house has allowed it to grow. i mean, there are positions that haven't been filled. the secretary of state does not have the kind of command and control over the institution because there is competing interests about what to do with the state department. so you have those types of
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dramas that are playing out for these secretaries in addition to the public statements that they're also required to respond to when the president makes them. so if you're in a situation like cohn or tillerson or mattis or any of the others, when the president is online and in sync with the policy that everyone has agreed to talk about, that's one thing. but when the president then tweets something or says something that goes counter to the discussions of the policies that puts them in a very different position. >> hugh, let me ask you this. we've seen a lot of volatility when it comes to these staff position as round the president, folks lasting only a few months on the job. when you get to these top-level appointments. you say tillerson's probably on his way out. when it's a mattis, when it's the chief of staff, there are some folks there who donald trump's brought into top-level positions who i think have bought him a little credibility with for lack of a better term the establishment. the establishment of his own party, the establishment in washington. is your read of donald trump that he values that bit of credabilities it's bought him or
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does he view them as disposal? >> i think he values the credabilities he has on national security matters, steve. and it's his national security team which has the highest approval rating, if we have it, among media elites. whether it's secretary of defense mattis. general mcmanus is the jgs security adviser. mike pompeo. dunford, who was chairman of the joint chiefs before the president became president. but he's been elevated in status and in recognition. so that national security team is widely and deeply respected. except for rex tillerson. and i do believe that the president values the approval of new york elites and some d.c. elites. not so much the media elites but a lot of d.c. elites. so that national security team buys him a lot of space. i think he wrote an interesting piece a couple weeks ago, steve, where he pointed out that the criticism donald trump is taking, the hostility is rather unique in the media and the popular culture. it's deflected by the shield of
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mattis, mcmaster, pompeo to a certain extent. i don't think he wants that dented. tillerson's not doing him any political good, not doing him any diplomatic good, not doing him any diplomacy good. it just seems to me that with the exception of a guy named brian hook who's probably too low level for our people to understand watching in the audience, there aren't any tools to use at state. and i think mike is right to point there and say look for some change because if he's not getting anything out of foggy bottom you've got to move. >> michael, beyond tillerson do you see movement happening here? >> yeah, i do. i think that given all of the global events that have really come to bear on this administration this idea of deconstructing the zrintdive state was as reflected in the state department in the beginning of the term of this president has taken on a very different meaning now. and i think it's moving away from that and recognizing you need an effective state department and to this extent
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tillerson has not been able to stand up in that job it has a growing concern for the president, who's going to want that voice to be in places and spaces that he is not. and that's becoming more of a challenge. so there is a little bit more looking inward, steve, to see who next can move up and move into the space to make this department a little less of an issue for the president. >> and hugh, very quickly here, we're going to tease your show this weekend on msnbc because you have a very special guest. the fonz, henry winkler. but you're going to quickly see, we're teasing this for some self-serving reasons. take a look. >> do you like steve kornacki? >> i love steve kornacki. starting with his incredibly impassioned reporting about the bridgegate. that's when he came into my vision. >> things i never thought i'd hear in my life for 500, please, alex. but you, how was the talk with the fonz? what did you guys talk about? >> henry winkler's a very smart
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liberal, very well read, very well respected across the aisle, and people 50 and older like him for the fonz, and the millennials like him for barry zuckercorn and other people like him for "the watt berboy." he watches a lot of msnbc. not just you but katy tur and a ari. i think people will find a surprising take on policy from the tonight with someone with a very high i.q. but who doesn't like steve kornacki? >> i wasn't sure. michael steele, hugh hewitt, thank you very much for joining us. and of course you can catch hugh's interview with the one and only henry winkler, aka the fonz saturday morning. 8:00 eastern on the hugh hewitt show on msnbc. this is "hardball," where happy days are here again. ♪ these days are ours ♪ happy and
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and welcome back to "hardball." well, harvey has left texas, but its destruction is still being felt as cleanup begins. it will be felt for a long time obviously. helicopter rescues continue in port arthur with flooding expected to persist there. in beaumont a hospital evacuated patients by air. its own water supply shut down. in some parts of houston the water has receded but much of the city remains submerngsd with dangers from the storm lingering indefinitely as standing water creates a potentially toxic storm of waste and debris.
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now concerns about chemicals after two explosions at a local chemical plant sent smoke pouring into the air. meanwhile, tens of thousands remain in shelters. vice president mike pence flew to text to survey the devastation firsthand. he toured damage in rockport. that is where harvey first made landfall. >> president trump sent us here to say we are with you. the american people are with you. we are here today. we will be here tomorrow. and we will be here every day until this city and this state and this region rebuild bigger and better than ever before. ? and today the white house announced that president trump has pledged $1 million in personal funds for harvey relief efforts. for more on what recovery will look like i'm joined by susan de francis, chief public affairs officer for the american red cross. and david jolly, he represent aid district from central florida in congress.
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susie, let me start with you. very basic question here. i think everyone around the country watching in the last few days who's not immediately in the area had the instinct of what can i do it help. the answer that invariably came back was give money to the red cross. text -- here's the web address. whatever it's going to be. a lot of people gave minute to somebody who gave 100 bucks to the red cross over the last few days. what is that going to mean on the ground? >> well, steve, as you've seen in the shelters, what we're doing now is we're providing a place for them to sleep, cots, blankets. we're providing food, water, diapers, wheelchairs. all sorts of supplies. so that's what some of that money goes to providing those basic needs. and then as we move forward and the water recedes, as your report said, and people go back to neighborhoods and their homes which are so terribly destroyed, they're going to need help getting their homes restored.
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the red cross will be there with all sorts of supplied they can use whether it's clorox or mops or whatever they need. we will also be hopefully giving some cash assistance to help them get through those gaps until the fema asince comes in. and we'll be doing some case work with them. you know, a lot of times what they're saying is what do i do next, where do i go now. and so we have trained case workers that can help them get a recovery plan in place so they can begin to rebuild. we'll also go through the neighborhoods with meals to serve when they are trying to muck out their homes. >> i do want to ask you about this as well. i think this was in a piece that ran on the nbc "nightly news" tonight. it was an interview. i think his name is brad kaiserman. he's the vice president for disaster operations with the red cross. he was on npr the other day and was asked a pretty straightforward question just about how much of the money goes directly, that's donated goes directly to relief from the storm. he said he wasn't able to answer
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it. i'm curious if you're able to. >> well, brad kaiserman is one of the finest emergency managers that you will ever know, and he's got a to the of experience, he can tell you where every truck, every volunteer, everything we need is. i think what happened is brad's been working for 2 1/2 weeks and he is tired. and the answer to the question, though, is of the money that if you donate to the american red cross for hurricane harvey, 91 cents of that dollar will go to our relief operations. and that's the kind of things i was mentioning. the cots, the blankets, the comfort kits, the things like that. it's also the gas we put in our trucks to deliver those things. and it's how we move our volunteers around so they can be in those shelters. you know, we had such a hard time getting around in these floods that we had to put our
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volunteers in dump trucks to get to the shelters. but that's what we do. and that's why we're going to be there. and that's what the money's going for. and female can be 3r0ud of how the donations are going to -- >> that was the answer i was curious about. i'm glad we cleared that up. 91 cents on the dollar. david jolly, congressman, let me bring you in on this. represented the gulf coast on the florida side of things. you've been through some storms as well. let me ask you, the houston area is now starting to move into the recovery phase. so much national attention is on the storm itself. the national attention seems to disappear when the recovery starts. take us through what happens when the media goes away and the community's left to deal with the aftermath. >> that's it, steve. it's the weeks that follow after the cameras go away and frankly the political narrative goes away. and the american people are giving of their heart tonight. the red cross or another organization. they should. but we do have some political conversation that's will have to be had.
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and we need to be sensitive to talking politics in the wake of texas. but we know in september we will approach those. and we are facing a president that i believe lacks credibility in leading this conversation. part of the difficult yift past six months is we have i president of the united states that the american people, less than 50% actually have confidence in. >> but in terms of the recovery effort, if you're raising this as a red flag here, let's talk about what that should mean. if you're concerned about that, what do you think that's going to translate into in this recovery evident? >> here's what it means. we are going to face several debates in september. i disaster recovery bill in the united states congress. and there will be politics involved in that. we're going to face an expiration of the national flood insurance program on september 30th. politics will be involved in that. does the texas delegation demand we just pass a clean recovery effort and not offset it? and what happens with the most
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conservative rings of the republican party as they wrestle with the debt and deficit on that and where does president trump stand as a leader of policy if he finds a way to be a leader of policy on this issue? >> david jolly, former congressman, suzy defrancis, with the american red cross. thanks to both of. up next it's been a difficult summer for donald trump. it is showing up in the latest polls. a majority of americans now say the president is "tearing the country apart." that's ahead. you're watching "hardball." my ac i'm always on call. an insulin that fits my schedule is key. ♪ tresiba® ready ♪ (announcer) tresiba® is used to control high blood sugar in adults with diabetes. don't use tresiba® to treat diabetic ketoacidosis, during episodes of low blood sugar, or if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. don't share needles or insulin pens. don't reuse needles. the most common side effect is low blood sugar, which may cause dizziness, swtiting, confusion, and headache. check your blood sugar. low blood sugar can be serious and may be life-threatening. injection site reactions may occur.
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turning systems off, looking at different wire systems all that training is crucial to keeping our community safe and our firefighters safe. together, we're building a better california. welcome back to "hardball." donald trump's critics say he spent the hazy days of august alienating opponents and dividing the country. >> i think there's blame on both sides. you look at both sides, i think there's blame on both sides. but you also had people that were very fine people. on both sides. >> know, the obstructionist
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democrats would like us not to do it. but believe me, if we have to close down our government, we're building that wall. >> they asked me, just to finish it, they asked me what about race relations in the united states? now, i have to say they were pretty bad under barack obama. that i can tell you. >> i stand by my pardon of sheriff joe, and i think the people of arizona who really know him best would agree with me. >> a new poll here, this one from fox news, seems to suggest some of his rhetoric may be catching up with the president. look at this one. 56% say the president is "tearing the country apart." a third say he's drawing the country together. and according to a brand new report just tonight in the "washington post" there is this. president trump they say is chafing under some of the controls of his new chief of staff. "behind the scenes during a summer of crisis trump appears to pine for the days when the oval office was a bustling hub of visitors and gossip over which he presided as impressar yea." the writing here. "he fumes he does not think he
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gets the ceo deserves from the media or the allegiance from fellow republican leaders he says he is owed. he boasts about his presidency in superlatives but confidants fret about his drark moods. and some of trump's friends fear the short tempered president is on an inevitable collision course with white house chief of staff john kelly." to discuss all this beth fui senior editor for politics at msnbc. tim o'brie zen executive editor of bloomberg view, author of trump nice. james peterson is director of african studies at lehigh university. go mountain hawks. and msnbc contributor. beth, let's start with this "washington post" story. i was saying in the break i feel like we could almost set our watches to stories like this. there's some sort of shuffling that takes place in trump's inner circle. this was true in the sxan. it's been true in his presidency. and presto, a few weeks later a story like this will emerge. >> i feel like i'm old enough to remember when he was fuming about reince priebus. >> who? >> and he was fuming about jeff
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sessions. i was starting to put a list together. he certainly does not like any restraint. he pushes back. he's eventually going to push back on this of course. it's not his style. he needs to be donald trump. nobody's had any luck putting him in a box making him be a conventional president. he's showing us in every way conceivable eight months now, nine months into the job, he's not going to act that way and anybody that tries to do so does so at their peril. >> and the promise of kelly at least from the standpoint of institutional washington, was he was going to have order in the white house. maybe not the president when it came to tweeteding but when it came to running the white house there would be order. it looks like according to this reporting that's not sitting well specifically with donald trump, that kind of regimentation. >> well, he's the latest adult in the room with the president. and there's been in recurring theme since trump got elected that however wayward he might become and whatever extremes he's prone to there will be adults around who can manage him. we heard it about mattis, we heard it about tillerson. it happened with kelly. there was this thought ivanka
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and jared would be regulators. and the reality is no one's a regulator of donald trump. he trusts his own gut. he razz a business for decades where he was a solo pilot. he's got an unflagging sense of confidence in his own judgment. what ends up having is when he feels he's getting fenced in he goes even further off the reservation. you saw that post-charlottesville. everyone was telling him there's way a way you should speak about this event and he didn't. >> james, in bringing in the poll numbers we were showing in the opening too, this is the latest. 56%, this is a fox news poll from yesterday. the word was put to them, tearing, tearing apart the country. and 56% agreed with that statement. i'm trying to figure out if that registers at all with the president or the folks around pimm and specifically because the wild card here, whenever we see poll findings like this is already have been other damning numbers about this about him that date back -- i remember one a few weeks before the campaign where people were asked does
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donald trump the candidate have a sense of decency? and 61% said no. then he got elected. i wonder how he processes this. >> i'm not sure if the polls indicate anything that's actionable in terms of how politics move in the world of trump. but when you think about the clips we just played it's striking to me the proximity of his comments around charlottesville and his inability to sort of step into any kind of presidential role in that space and then within a week, ten days he's pardoning sheriff joe arpaio. i mean, that pardon and his response to charlottesville i think are part of what we're seeing reflected in these polls. that's two sort of lightning rod moments where president trump really reveals himself as someone who cannot stand in the gap as a president when the nation's in crisis but also who was sort of giving coverage to the kinds of folks who do tear this nation apart. wherever you are on immigration, you can look at what arpaio has done as sheriff and see that this guy has not conducted himself appropriately as an officer of the law. >> quick break here. round table staying with us. this is "hardball," where the action is. david.
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"hardball" round table. the iowa caucuses are only about, wait for it. >> 900 days away give or take. it is no too early to look at the democrat process. the list of names highlights a big potential problem for democrats. quote, old but well-known versus fresh but anonymous. that's how the 2020 democratic presidential field is shaping up so far and it is causing anxiety within a party that is starting to acknowledge that president donald trump could be harder to beat for reelection than the base would like to admit. among the names is elizabeth warren, joe biden, bernie sanders who would be 79. all of the rules we thought we knew about how things work are open for debate, but those are the three biggest names. if you poll them right now they're probably one, two, three. biden, sanders, warren. should we look seriously at them or look towards somebody else from the second tier? >> it is worth looking at them seriously. i like warren the most because of his commitment to economic justice and the way her appeal
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cuts across a younger demographic. but i think there are three, pun intended, dark horses we're not talking about. we have cory booker in senate, we have to think about kamal ah harris who is emerging and a former governor from the state of massachusetts we might see enter into the scene as well. >> michael dukakis. >> totally wrong decade. i think pairing harris with someone like joe biden, i think the democrats have to focus on honing their message. i don't think putting out people who are seen as out-to-pasture is a good strong part of that. i think unless they pair those folks with younger members of the party, they're going to be in trouble. >> and in harris we should add came out for single payer health care that bernie sanders is for. >> my vote is somebody old and well-known, but not any of those three, al frank en. he brings a show biz quality to politics which i think running against trump, the democrats are going to need. you cannot run a traditional
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political campaign against donald trump. 17 republicans tried it in 2016, one very famous, very powerful democrat tried it in 2016, didn't work. al franken, funny. he knows show biz, very smart. he could get trump off his game a little bit, but he too will be almost 70 by the time. >> young in comparison to the others. round table staying with us. up next, these three will tell me something i don't know. that's not hard at all. you're watching, "hardball."
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back with the round table. beth, tell me something i don't know. >> today treasury secretary steve mnuchen seemed to put on the brake goes of putting harriet tubman on the 20. if that's the case, only one woman has been on the face of paper currency in the united states, that's martha washington and no african-american. >> tim. >> donald trump's favorite bond character is gold finger. >> we're back to school, but what is weighing on the minds of students across this nation, charlottesville and obviously harvey. >> thank you, everybody. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. tonight on "all in." >> how long was the meeting? >> 20 minutes or so. >> paul manafort was on his -- >> on his phone. >> the whole time? >> pretty much. >> the nbc exclusive report about what trump's campaign manager was doing on his phone during that meeting with russians. he was taking notes about the rnc. >> and that meeting is emerging as a major focus of the investigation. >> tonight, what this means for the russia probe

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