tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC September 4, 2017 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
deadliest drug ever, there's also a race to stop using it before it kills you. . >> lord of the flies, let's play ha hardball. good evening i'm chris matthews in washington they're dropping like flies. donald trump has shed almost all of his senior staff. the result of one of the most chaotic west wings in recent history. look at this photograph, the only one that is remain in that
picture are president trump and vice president pence. there was the firing of james comey in may, the russian thing was on the president's mind. and then there was the implosion of the mooch. what does it all mean for the trump white house? chaos paralleled the governing chaos. we have a panel to talk about that tonight. we begin with donald trump's first national security advisor, remember him, general michael flynn was an attack dog during the campaign. let's watch and listen. >> we do not need a reckless president who believes she is above the law. lock her up. that's right. yep, that's right. lock her up. i'm going to tell you what, if
i, a guy who knows this business, if i did a tenth of what she did, i would be in jail today. >> well, the irony must have been lost on him. hours after flynn was canned on february 13th the "new york times" reported the acting attorney general informed the trump white house late last month that she believed michael flynn had miss misled senior administration officials about the nature of his communications with the russian ambassador to the united states. remarkably president trump defended the man he fired a few days later. spinning his firing as though flynn had been the victim of the media. >> michael flynn, general flynn is a wonderful man. i think he's been treated very unfairly by the media. as i call it, the fake media, in
many cases. i think it's a bad thing the way he was treated. >> he also said he didn't do anything wrong with the russians. >> i want to clarify one thing. did you tell michael flynn to discuss sanks with the russians. >> no, i did not. >> would you have fired him because of what it leaked out. >> no, i fired him because what he said to mike pence. mike was doing his job, he was calling his counter parts. it would have been okay for him to do it. i didn't direct him, but i would have directed him because that's his job. >> why do you think flynn left? he was fired. >> he was fired and there was a lot of discussion inside about do we have to fire him. mike pence laid the gauntlet down saying he lied to me, i
want him out. there were a lot of people in the white house who wanted him out because it was a steve bannon guy and there were people worried about him having the job in the first place. one common thread of the firing is these are all bourn of a campaign that didn't expect to win, put a transition together, then they win and they throe this transition together. so a lot of these people weren't vetted the way a normal transition was going to. but the flynn was interesting because it's a matter of pressure on trump or the person. most of the time it's on the media reporting these things. this time it came out, pence took a stand and the president said okay. and you could hear he felt like he was backed in the corner to do it. >> what about sally yates coming out and saying this guy is a
hostage to the russians because he's talking about sanctions and he's denying it. >> and that's why it's unbelievable the administration didn't know these things. let's back up and point out this came out after bombshell reporting about those talks that flynn was having and they had to do with sanctions. it is highly unlikely that the administration did not know these things which were supposedly the premises for flynn's firing prior to the publishing of that news reporting. it was the news reporting which put june ligsunlight on this an the administration to take the steps. we saw the question to the president about whether he directed these talks, d fine he didn't direct them but did he know about them. that is what we're going to find out hopefully as bob mueller's investigation goes on. >> we have the same buzzword, everybody has talked about this guy as a flipper.
everybody says the president says nice things about him because he is hoping he can soften him in his own interests of what went on between him and the russians and what the president new. >> i think it's likely -- >> likely he'll flip? >> likely he'll flip. i think the paul manafort was a warning. but i also think this, this was the beginning of what we've seen throughout the entire administration, there were problems with flynns, there were warnings but this was a panic move. and even though the president is i think he's a nice guy and i want him covered. i think there was panic moves at the beginning. i don't think they expected to win, i don't think they expected a problem, the press was going to investigate it. >> why did they expect the president to have these problems, why did he wait when he found out about it?
d why did he wait until the press or t press reported it. >> because he has to protect himself. >> flynn wasn't the only one having the talks. >> what? >> what we know is flynn wasn't the only one. his son-in-law was also talk together russians about a back channel. so much more reporting has come out who showed other people did the same thing. >> of all the people we're talking about who have gotten fired, jared kushner is still there. >> you know why, he's married to the daughter. >> you break up the marriage and then the husband or wife can testify against you. >> they are close, he loves his son-in-law, too. i've called them the row maofs
because they behave less like a family. the white house first said trump went along with his recommendation by his attorney general and his deputy attorney general fire him because of his handling of the clinton e-mail investigation and then the president said he would have fired him and it was really all about the russian thing -- those are the president's words, the russian thing. and then he proceeded to attack comey. >> he's a showboat, a grand stander. the fbi has been in turmoil. you know that, i know that. director comey was very unpopular with most people. i thought when i made that decision, and i also got a very, very strong recommendation as you know, from the deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein. but when i made that decision, i thought it would be a bipartisan decision. >> i love the way lester holt gives you that poker face, here he is saying donald trump is
saying that guy is a showboat. this comey thing really seems to have got bad legs. >> this is by far the most consequential of the firings. this led bob mueller to be hired -- >> explain that triggering mechanism why did rod rosenstein the deputy attorney general and russian -- why did he have to -- what was the reason he gave then for we need a special council. >> the comey me mow came out at that point where we learned that the president had tried to one on one pressure comey to back off the investigation of flynn. so rosenstein was put in an impossible situation. he had no choice but to appoint that special prosecutor given this raised real questions -- >> explain that a little
further. the president wasn't trustworthy, he was going to be a target, but why not just name a new fbi director. >> this raised questions of obstruction of justice. naming a new fbi director, the fbi director would be then working for the president. this would take it outside that chain of command that you need to have a special council. >> there is also the special consideration you had members of the senate, members of the house, you had people concerned, as long as the russia investigation was handled by comey, if you have him not there and being fired because the president wants him off the russia thing, then it's on the senate, the press expects them to be the investigating the situation. this kept them on the side. as long as bob mueller is not talking about it, it's not in the pockets -- >> it's still not in the president's interest any of this
go on. in june they watched comey testify in front of the senate. >> i was concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting so i thought it important to document. >> i hope -- this is the president speaking. i hope you can see your way clear to letting this go to letting flynn go. he is a good guy. i hope you can let this go. >> i took it as a direction. this is the president of the united states with me alone saying i hope this. i took it as he wants me to do. that's my judgment that i was fired because of the russia investigation. i was fired in some way -- or the endeavor was to change the way the investigation was being conducted. the administration then chose to defame me and more importantly the fbi by saying the organization was in disarray. those were lies plain and simple. >> heidi, every time i think about mueller.
i think about a real pro, a real winner of the guy. any news that we see in the media, that develops, anything with the russia thing because of that comey guy. i think it's not just friendship, respect. he knows he has to do 100% on this. >> he is one of the longest running directors of the fbi. they extended his term because he is a pro. he has impeccable credentials and is trusted on each side of the aisle. we're learning about mitch mcconnell having been pressured and pushing back and link arms and introduce legislation to make sure that the president couldn't do something while they were out of town to try to push mueller out. >> and the president is still putting his fingers in trying to mess with that. >> it's like he didn't learn.
>> why are you protecting mueller? i may need to get rid of the guy. anyway, sean spicer was the next to go, the day was announced anthony scaramucci was joining the white house as communications director. for months the spicer show was must-see tv. >> this was largest audience to ever witness an inauguration period, both in person and around the globe. you had da, you know, someone a dispickable as hitler using chemical witnesses. >> the president himself called it a ban. is he confused or are you confused? >> i'm not confused. i think the words used to describe it are from what the media is calling it. it is extreme vetting. >> does the president believe millions voted illegally in the
selecti election. >> he has stated that. he continues to have that belief based on studies. >> what do you think of this guy? we all can imagine what goes on, the president you tell those people it was the biggest crowd in history. >> there are very few people in this administration i felt bad for, he is one of them. he was a hardworking legitimate republican. you got the feeling he came home and whipped himself in the mirror. but it set a precedent for what you have to do to be a part of the administration, your integrity is left at the door, you have to lie to this president and even when he leaves you out in the rain you have to stai smile and say thank you for another. >> i've seen him since at the train station, he looked happy. >> a big weight lifted off his
shoulder. but you can feel sorry for him but he chose to go, chose the notoriety of his six-month tenure on that job. >> it's tough first week. his credibility was shot. >> that's a position up here. the highest position next to the president. and the nazis didn't use chemical weapons. they used chemicals, certainly. he meant they didn't use it in battlefield situations. even that was being watched. and the guy wasn't ready for the onslight. >> you have to wonder if there was a level of stress making a slip like that -- >> something didn't look right. >> he didn't feel he was protected him enough. hope hicks.
sarah is doing a great job. she looks country. she is very much at seize with that kind of present theation. she's the daughter of our arkansas country. coming up, moosh. anthony scaramucci would last, as he put it, longer than a carton of milk. but he didn't. he's not the only colorful figure shown the door. steve bannon. trump is threatening to shut down the government without his wall. and can democrats take back the white house and the senate next year? we'll get an indicator of where things stand going into 2018. this is "hardball," where the action is. ♪
on behalf of the senior staff around you, mr. president, we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing you've given us to serve your agenda and the american people. and we're continuing to work very hard to continue those goals. >> all around the cabinet they did the benedictions. or jgenuflexions. he was a target of the newly installed communications director, anthony scaramucci. he didn't answer to priebus.
he answered to the president directly. >> i think we're doing an amazing job. i think he has some of the best political instincts in the world, perhaps in history. the president is phenomenal with the press. he is a great communicator. he is an unbelievable politician. the president is a winner. what we're going to do, we're doing a lot of winning. the president has really good karma. and the world turns back to him. he's genuinely a wonderful human being. he is the most competitive person. i've seen a guy throw a spiral through a tire. i'm loyal to the president. and i love the mission that the president has. i love the president. and a lot of you know in the media, i've been loyal to him. here's what i will tell you. the i love the president. and the president is an effective communicator. >> how many times do you have to say i love the guy. his spectacular downfall came
with this phone call to the new yorker's ryan lizza. >> reince is a [ bleep ] spare no paranoid spitz drenic. he leaked stuff on me. you know, my financial disclosure was released to politico. that's a felony. >> that was made public on july 27th. he was fired four days later. he joked about it like this with stephen colbert. >> you take a job like that and you know your expiration date is going to happen. i thought i was last longer than a carton of milk. >> the line of politics is blurred. >> there's no difference. stephen colbert's coverage is
almost like he's a news show now. >> scaramucci was brought in to take care of priebus. and the people who brought him in thought he would last longer. he did go off like a volcano. >> doesn't that tell you how this white house function. he ripped reince. and the news reports at the time, the president liked it. it tells you the blurring of that line. he likes the reality show. he likes the display all of us take it in and say that's dysfunction. he likes it. that's the drama and the reality show aspect to it. >> and reince didn't fight back. there was a feeling that reince was feckless. >> didn't fight who back? >> when mooch torched him on tv. >> i started the show saying "lord of the flies" because
we've read that back where it's like, who is the king of the kill? who is going to beat who up? who has the voice? >> kill the pig, smash his head. who is the pig? pig is whoever trump is not happy with that week. and mooch is saying, reince has been blocking me for a long time. seems like he was waiting to get into this administration. but it was traditional republicans that were keeping him out. he was -- >> i wasn't psychobabble for you. why did he need mooch to get reince out? >> because he's a coward. >> his tenure was rocky. and he london on the cover of "time" magazine. always a mistake. presidents don't like being upstaged by their peoples. trump dismissed him from his presidency. >> i like mr. bannon.
he's a friend of mine. but mr. bannon, came on very late. you know that. i went through 17 senators, governors, and i won all the primaries. mr. bannon came on much later than that. i like him. he's a good man. he is not a racist. i can tell you that. he's a good person. an interview with "the wall street journal," he called bannon a guy that works if for me. he talked about the globalists in the white house, the president's doubter and son-in-law. he was fired august 28th. that day bannon said he was heading back to breitbart. we have a huge movement, we will make something of this presidency. how does a guy who is the ultima
ultimate nationalist, go to "the weekly standard" to make his remark? >> i think he was boreded. he was left behind. and his days were numbered. he felt a need to push his narrative. >> he got a lot of ink out of the interviews. >> the interesting thing about steve bannon, there will be a tension between the base, keeping an eye on this white house. you look up and you see generals and democrats in charge. one of steve bannon's goals was, the destruction of the administrative state. looking at all of the palace intrigue, people know about who is in, and who is out of the president's favor at the white house. that's been an effective smokescreen for what this administration has done, in terms of the administrative
state. >> they followed them out. everybody is watching the reality drama at 1600. >> a nationalists that said no more stupid wars, the day he left. the president comes out and escalates the battle in afghanistan. >> one of the results is surrounding yourself with generals and having kelly come in and be your chief of staff. it's a logical outcome. we've seen previous presidents who wanted to extract themselves, obama, and got furtherer enmeshed. >> the question that goes into the situation for the president is, how do i lose a war and still look good? the answer is, you can't. >> everybody has been increasing the troops in afghanistan. we probably can't figure out a way to get out of that. >> would bernie take us out of afghanistan? ? he wouldn't pull us out.
>> he was so against this war. >> exactly. >> i wonder if he could face the generals stance. we never really had it. up next, the white house turmoil has been a boone to late night comics. we're going to look at their greatest hits, at the expense of trump. this is "hardball" where the action is. complete the job with listerine® help prevent plaque, early gum disease, bad breath and kill up to 99.9% of germs. listerine® bring out the bold™
welcome back to "hardball." the various late-night hosts have had fun with the comings and going, a lot of goings, of the trump administration. a lot of people have been ousted, fired off the island, if you will. >> after months of will he/will he speculation, sean spicer has stepped down as press secretary. i'll assuming to spend more time with the bushes outside. >> the mooch is out. >> anthony scaramucci is gone after just a week on the job. >> the mooch is toast. the front stabber has been back stabbed. he said he was going to fire anybody. and i have got to a mitt, he dl delivered. >> this is like the song of the summer. he came into our lives and made us obsessed with him for a week.
and he left us with a bunch of memories and a weird moves. like -- ♪ ♪ hey, scaramucci >> he got priebus fire efired. >> if you go with unfulfilled campaign promises and the definitive answer of what would happen to martin sheen if he said nothing but sea salt for 1,000 years. >> there is no line. there is no red line between satire and late night and what we talk about in politics the. >> you had like jon stewart would talk about this. we thought that trump would kill comedy. he administration has provided tubs of comedy.
if anything, it's impossible to do late-night television and not talk about politics. no one can escape it. >> let's talk about a polarization. >> i think it's a way of national self-smoothing. if you think of the numbers that can't vote for trump, it's many millions more people. many people have been activated and awakened. there is nothing you can do at this point, other than organize and self-smooth and find some humor in it. >> the entertainment value, it's the presidency. it's about the country. and it's being consumed. it's huge ratings for tv shows, for our business and newspapers. a presidency that's not a real successful presidency so far. approval rating in the 30s. a smash hit on tv. and the issue is, when you step back, people are eating this stuff uh-up.
are people comprehending the gravity of this. the president jokes about stuff. he says offensive things, the next day he was joking. >> it was funny. then, we realize how hitler wasn't just a pain in the butt. he was horrible. humor and satire didn't cut it. vict victor borga. he made a living making fun of the gnat nazis until he had to e europe. maybe we're covering up our own fears or legitimate fears or else we're denying them. >> i don't know. you can tell there's -- everyone is feeding the beast all the time. no one is get enough stories and coverage about this administration. everybody is on-edge about it. but the entertainment value of this is undeniable.
>> there was a serious -- >> in washington or in the northeast is the same. i run in that circle. regressive to moderate -- whatever. everybody says, i know the conversation is different in texas or alabama. we know it is. are they watching "snl"? are they watching colbert in that part of the country? >> there's people that still find -- even conservative people that find the humor in. they may be laughing for different reasons that liberals do. this is catharsis for a country waiting for the 2018 midterm elections. they have to laugh until they have an opportunity to talk about this presidency. >> it's generational. before trump came into office. we know that millennials, a
disproportional number of them are getting news from late-night comedians. there's a civic sense among the comedians that they're getting the message across through the comedy. and they had some serious moments after the worst stuff has happened, like charlottesville. that's a way to broadcast that to a younger generation. fewer are watching us and watching the comedians. president trump maintains there's been no collusion with russia. why is he obsessed with the russia investigation? why is he telling senators to protect his right to get rid of mueller. and why is he upset at the gop to protect him? that's what he is worried about, this investigation. i'll bet he should be. you're watching "hardball."our a pacs safe and your child safer. align, press and unzip.
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daca program is expected later today. president trump is leaning towards the end of the program for immigrants that were brought to the u.s. as children. they are looking for a six-month delays that let congress having time to action. lots have spoke out about ending the program, including house speaker paul ryan. back to "hardball." the obstructionist democrats would like us not to do it. if we're shutting down the government, we're building that wall. >> threatening to hold the u.s. hostage unless congress funds his border wall. he is denying the legitimacy of the investigation of the trump campaign's probable collusion with russia. >> everybody said there was no
collusion. you look at the councils that come in. we have a senate hearing. a judiciary and a house hearing. everybody walks out, there's no collusion. there's no collusion. they're investigating something that never happened. there was no collusion between us and russia. >> russia has taken over the president's mind. and has strained his relationship with leader. and he was more animated about the senate's refusal to protect him in the special election. back with eli, heidi and jason. if i was trump and i had conversations through my son-in-law, my son or my daughter, with the russians that nobody knows about, i would be o worried. >> he has acted worried. and he's going on about d.c.
people can protect him. he came in as an outsider. he torched the d.c. and the establishment and the swamp. but relationships matter in this town. you're looking at the fall and you look at an investigation that you're trying to stave off. you look at congress and you're trying to do something that is a win. very few people, very david purdue and a few others on the fill. just not enough. and he's out on twitter, scratching the itch. and he's alienating them more. >> eli understands this city. i know how that works. if you have a question mark about somebody, and you don't like them, you go after them. if there's a question mark, you say, let's see if there's more on that. that's not enough for me to move right now. prosecutorial. do i give him more from being
fired? or just a little? it's all knnuanced and about the relationships. >> trump is not able to show you he is safe, either. if i am a loyalist. if i think that russian is made by the fake media -- >> that's the pord taardon talk. >> that's right. right now he hasn't proved he's that good of a shield. >> the way he's gotten things done is by stomping his foot. kicking down. he's the sole proprietier of a family-owned business. you work for him. then, he comes to washington and tries doing that to mark meadows. he tries to doing that to paul ryan. he tries doing that to mitch mcconnell. hello, mr. trump. there's people in washington who
have as equally big egos. and they don't work for you. congress doesn't work for you. it's a civic misunderstanding of the separation of powers here in washington and how you get things done. >> and this is totally different. he's buying. you can say he's not going to buy. i'm don't buy, you will be poor. he doesn't pay bills. now, he is asking people to do stuff for him. >> here's the thing. he doesn't have the power. he doesn't have the knowledge of the city to cower people. when senators walked into george bush's office, what did he do to trent lott? he knocked him out. if you don't like me, if you don't like karl rove, i can show you political power. >> and knocks out jeff flake next year. >> exactly.
>> he does it in a public way of bullying these people. that the news reports get out. it's not that we haven't had presidents before who have within intimidating and maybe bullying. but they did it in private. >> more to hear about jeff flake's primary punt, i like jeff flake. >> they have a relationship with hip. it's never thinking more than one play ahead with president trump himself. who cares? maybe he takes out flake in a primary. but does she win? if she wins the seat, what is the relationship? >> onpool, it's places the ball after making the shot. when we come back, we'll talk about this november. you're watching "hardball."
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welcome back to "hardball." september is a pivotal month for the legislative agenda. but the gubernatorial elections in new jersey will be the first to take the political prowess. this will be the first clues about the national mood a year after a national election, in this case, trump's. and a year before the 2018 elections. and for democrats, it's the first time to prove to movoters their more than just a resistan resistance. new jersey looks good for the
democrats. chris christie has left a bathtub ring -- >> his approval rating is worse than trump's. >> let's talk about virginia, which is fascinating. it's a purple skate. ed gillespie almost knocked off mark warner. now, he's behind about six points. but it's a good race. 52% of voters polled, believe t -- 25% that the statues are hate, as well. do we betray our heritage? >> you have people that called him a race trader iffer this particular issue. when this debate happens.
when we see a debate between the candidates, it might be the most explosive thing we've seen in years. i don't know what the right answer is. and i don't know if anybody in virginia -- >> the political answer. >> it's not just about heritage. not just about hate. it's also about a terrorist attack. >> in charlottesville? >> in charlottesville. >> things were looking good for north. the democrats are doing a good job of tying gillespie to trump. if this issue, depending how it plays out, energizes the right -- >> the southern part of the state. >> in the southern part of the state. rig right now, they are defending the democrats. if this issue energizes the right, this race is a lot closer than we think. it's going to be bad for democrats because many analysts no longer consider virginia a
purple state. democrats have taken it at the presidential level nine out of the last ten. if a republican wins and this is the only election that we have this year, rolling into the midterms, that's going to be a significant scalping for the republican party. >> eli? >> heidi's right. virginia, colorado, the purple states, they're more blue than the rust belt states that the democrats have taken for a long time. >> what about the monuments? >> there's a reason thdonald trp decided to pivot to i'm defending the monuments. it's a political issue. and the democrats who latch on to that issue are misplaying what was a very good hand. >> let me give you a red line. there's a nice statue on washington street in old town alex tri alexandr alexandria. it's not about winning a battle. it's a poor, white -- i guess
white, southern soldier. a grunt leaning southward. it's about failure and defeat. about a region that lost. they go after that one, they're making a mistake. that's my hunch. if the progressives think that has something to do with slavery, i think they lose on that one. >> we still have time. i also say this. if there's a canary in the mine, look at justin fairfax. you have an african-american male that's running for lieutenant governor in the state. he says we have to look at this in a case-by-case basis. >> case-by-case. >> he has said -- moved slightly left to a place where he might be in a good place. he said these monuments should stay and be put in historic context. that's the position. >> i'm not sure that will win. the round table is sticking with us. up next, these people tell me something i don't know. this is "hardball," where the
welcome back to "hardball." tell me something i don't know. >> we're just about six, seven months into this presidency. he's already had political rallies run by his campaign. i've talked to people in the last few weeks that are close to the president. there is a lot of charter that he's not even going to be running for re-election in 2020. there's just -- people close to the president think this has taken too much of a toll and they don't know that he's going to last four years, but they're cold on the idea that he's going to run again. >> wow. i hear that. >> we talk a lot on this show and other shows about how the
president -- >> people pretty close to this president. >> sorry. >> we've talked a lot about how this president isn't getting anything done, in congress. but there are many things that are getting done -- one of the top ones is energy. it's not just, you know, clearing the way for excel pipeline. there's many regulatory reforms that he's putting in place. as a matter of fact, we're now getting the numbers in that last year coal production is up about 15%. we can't prove the causality there. but that's a number now. >> i think he wants to get another supreme court justice in there and then he might quit. i think he wants to get a little more congress behind him. >> "new york times" has a piece out talking about after 35 years of affirmative action it has done nothing to do with numbers of minorities at elite schools. the numbers are about the same as 1980 with latinos. but they've only got half the story.
what you may not know is over the last three years there has been a massive increase in minority students to black universities. because of cost and on-campus safety. and many stuns feel going to an elite undergrad institution is not going to improve their chances in the economy. >> very interesting. tonight on "all in." >> i got the white supremacist, the neo-nazi, i got them all. >> what the president did this summer. >> kkk, we got kkk. i got 'em all. >> response to charlottesville. >> very fine people on both sides. >> the response in north korea. >> they will be met with fire and fury the response to ht hurricane. >> the intensifying russia investigation. >> my son is a wonderful young man. he took a meeting with a russian lawyer.