tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC October 18, 2017 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
we are just about done with our show. i wanted to extend my thanks, again, to sheila and calvin murphy. those are the parents i spoke to earlier in the broadcast. parents of etienne murphy, a 22-year-old who was killed in may in iraq -- excuse me, in syria, serving his country. and we spoke about him earlier today when we were preparing for the interview and during the interview tonight. and i know that what they shared was difficult for them, as many of these days are, but it was a reminder to us and hopefully to people watching about what to focus on and what matters here. so i thank them for that. and i wanted to mention that here at the end of our hour. that does it for "the beat." "hardball" is up next. bad call. let's play "hardball."
good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. with precious few legislative days this year and a white house agenda crammed with tax cuts, health care, and other priorities, the headlines today were all about president trump's handling of a phone call with the family of a fallen soldier. one reason is because president trump decided to engage in this fight, showing once again he's unwilling to let any perceived slight go, no matter how sensitive the topic. it began with this statement by that florida congresswoman, who was with the family of sergeant la david johnson, when the president called. johnson was one of four soldiers killed in niger earlier this month. here's what the congresswoman said the president said. >> he was almost like joking. he said, well, i guess you knew he sign -- something to the fact that, he knew what he was getting into when he signed up, but i guess it hurts anyway. you know, just matter-of-factly, that this is what happens. she was in tears. she was in tears.
and she said, he didn't even remember his name! >> well, the president responded, democrat congresswoman totally fabricated what i said to the wife of a soldier who died in action, and i have proof. sad. he was asked a about that tweet later this morning. let's watch. >> mr. president, what did you say to sergeant johnson's widow on the phone? >> i didn't say what that congresswoman said. didn't say it at all. she knows it. and she now is not saying it. i had a very nice conversation with the woman, with the wife, who was -- sound like a lovely woman. did not say what the congresswoman said. and most people aren't too surprised to hear that. >> what was the proof, mr. president? >> uh, let -- let her make her statement again and then you'll find out. >> she is saying that you said this. >> let her make her statement again. >> congresswoman wilson tweeted after that, i stand by my account of the call. and she criticized trump for not using the widow's name.
myessa johnson. aunt of the fallen soldier who raised her as his son told "the washington post," president trump did disrespect my son, my daughter, and also me and my husband. what exactly was the proof president trump was referring to? according to spokeswoman sarah huckabee sanders today, the conversation was not recording, but there were several people in the room including chief of staff, john kelly. she was pressed about whether the president denied saying what he was accused of saying. let's watch. >> the president's call, as accounted by multiple people in the room believe that the president was completely respectful, very sympathetic, and expressed condolences of himself and the rest of the country and thanked the family for their service. >> it wasn't that he didn't say those words, it was that the
context. that she put it in the wrong context? is that it. >> i'm not going to get into the back and forth. i think the sentiment of the president was very clear. and i think it's a disgrace of the media to try to portray an act of kindness like that and that gesture and to try to make it into something that it isn't. >> well, i'm not trying to portray anything. trump's engagement with gold star families has been a story for three days now thanks to comments he's made. on monday, he falsely accused president obama of not making calls to soldier's families, and yesterday he invoked the son of his chief of staff who was killed in afghanistan in 2010. i'm joined right now by "the washington post's" anne gearan, "the wall street journal's" ely stoeckels and senator jeanne shaheen. senator, as a member of the armed services committee, you have some sensitivity, i think, about these kinds of conversations which occur. i'm holding my powder dry on this one, because i just don't know what happened on that phone call. and i don't know the full context, and i wonder why the president would make a call of
sentiment and conciliation, and in any way, take a shot at the guy who died for his country. it doesn't make any sense to me, in that context, how do you see it or hear it? >> well, i think the american people expect their president to honor the sacrifices of fallen soldiers and their families to console families when service members are lost and to politicize something as sacred as that is just unforgivable. >> well, who's doing that? who is doing that? >> i'm disappointed -- i'm disappointed that this has become a political issue, that the president has made this a political issue. >> how has he done that? >> by -- by raising questions about what previous presidents have done, by -- by making an issue of a response from the family of one of the soldiers that he called. look, i've been in the position,
as governor and now as senator, to have to make some of those very difficult calls to families. and what i want to do, when i'm talking to the families, is to let them know how much i appreciate the sacrifices that they have made, how much i honor the person who's been lost, and how i want to help in any way that i can. and the last thing i want to do is to make public any of the information on those calls. >> well, i agree with you. what would you do if some member of congress accused you of making a disrespectful comment to a widow of a soldier? what would you do? would you say nothing? >> what i would say, again, is to honor that soldier and the sacrifice that the soldier has made and the family has made. that's what i think we need to do at times like these. to console the families, to recognize the heros that we have lost. >> well, i'm with you on that. anyway, sarah huckabee sanders
was asked today about general john kelly, the president's chief of staff. let's watch. >> you describe how general kelly feels about it? is he comfortable with the way his son is -- >> i think general kelly is disgusted by the way this has been politicized and that the focus has become on the process and not the fact that american lives were lost. i think he's disgusted and frustrated by that. if he has any anger, it's towards that. >> well, who is actually politicizing this issue. let's watch what the president has said since monday. >> the traditional way, if you look at president obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls. a lot of them didn't make calls. as far as other representatives, i don't know. i mean, you could ask general kelly. did he get a call from obama? you could ask other people. i don't know what obama's policy was. >> and i think we can agree that the president began this sort of stream of consciousness discussion of this whole thing. i think it's very hard when we don't hear the conversation with him and the congresswoman and the aunt of the person who was
killed in the war over there in niger, and of course, his widow. we don't know what the wording was, what trump, maybe he mishandled it. but to say that he knew what he was getting into, to me, it could cover a whole lot of bases, the possibilities of how you could say something like that. he was a man of courage. he knew he was facing horrible danger in africa. he knew all of this. that could be said in a way of saluting him. i can hear it a number of ways. >> yes, it is entirely possible to hear that a number of ways. and i think, we're at a disadvantage here, because we honestly don't know the full content of any of these conversations. what we know -- >> but the congresswoman wanted us to know about the conversation. >> the congresswoman wanted -- >> apparently the widow wanted us to hear about it. and the aunt wants us to hear about it. so we're hearing about it. and the president reacts to it. and once again we're caught in one of these back and forths. >> yeah, there's a he said/she said/she said going on here. and to your point, the conversation with ladavid johnson's family, it could have
been simply the president saying, look, you know, your son made a -- and your husband made a terrible sacrifice, that's what members of the military sign up for, in a sympathetic way. what we have is the congresswoman's account that that -- whatever was said, upset the widow, left her in tears. and the woman who raised the soldier corroborating that in a conversation with "the washington post" today. so that's -- i mean, that's all we know. is how those -- >> we also know the woman's politics. the congresswoman's politics, eli, are pretty tough on trump. we're tough here, too -- >> -- ability to -- >> no -- >> obviously -- >> lack of mental health, no. she went after his lack of mental health, she talked about impeachment. she's very strong from the other side, politically -- >> but she's not the only voice here, as ann just said. we have the voice of the woman who raised this soldier. and we have sarah sanders' own words, while she excoriated the
media for taking trump's words out of context, she did not deny, when she was asked, point-blank, did he say that exact -- that word, that phrase, about him know whag ing what hed up for -- >> how do we know what that meant, though? >> we don't. another thing she said was honest about general kelly being in the room, that general kelly and others in the room felt that the president conveyed best he could his empathy and condolences. so that may be a true statement. it's just that the president's best in terms of trying to convey empathy may not have been good enough for -- >> senator, so many options here. one is that he handled an almost bedside scene very badly. the other is that he may have meant something that may not have come over as well as it should, which is soldiers face death. they go into the jungle, as he did. they are green berets. they are men and women of incredible physical courage. they know when they go on the line, they go up the line, they go into combat, in a situation like they are over there, and they know what they're facing, is a way of saluting the guy.
and don't take it on face value as some kind of insult or slur. i just don't. but obviously, the relatives have a right to take it any way they want. how do you take it? >> wrell, as you point out, i don't think we can speculate on what was in the conversation. i think what we need to do, as i said, is to honor this sacrifice to thank the family, tell the family how much this country appreciates what their husband, son, brother, have done. and to continue to honor that and not politicize the loss of our soldiers. >> well, here's a who were. by the way, i'm trying to be very defending of the president here in this instance. but here's a whopper. "the washington post" reports that president trump in a personal phone call to a grieving military father offered him $25,000 and said he would direct his staff to publish an online fund-raiser for the family, but neither happened,
the father said. well, he offered the money -- i don't know if that was right -- then the money didn't come nor did the money fund-raising operation. anyway, a white house spokesperson sporesponded that check has been sent. it's disgusting that the media is taking something that should be recognized as a genuine and sincere gesture made privately by the president and using it to advance the media's -- there we go again. eli, how do we straighten out another kettle of fish. it strikes me as crass to offer a check to somebody who's lost a child, a son, in battle, but -- >> i think it struck the family as crass and surprising when they were made that offer. and it just -- this is a president who really struggles, not just with empathy, but -- >> we have a reporter here. >> yeah. >> you broke it? >> it was a colleague of mine. >> did they find it offensive, the 25k -- or that the money hadn't come? >> no, what my colleague who spoke with the father some weeks ago, he didn't find the offer offensive at all. he found it welcome. he was upset only that the check hadn't arrived.
>> and now they're saying it's in the mail. that's a government answer. well, what do you think? is that conceivable? but it was two weeks ago, and the check hadn't come? >> it was a number of weeks ago that the conversation happened. >> so have to check the postmark? >> we don't know when the check was sent or whether it has arrived. >> when did your story arrive? >> our story arrived at approximately the same time as the spokesperson's comment. >> i think the postmark will probably be very close to your deadline. anyway, thank you anne gearan, always, thank you senator jeanne shahe shaheen. this is a tough one. coming up, the russia investigation. attorney general jeff sessions testified on capitol hill today, but was hesitant to say whether he's been contacted by bob mueller, the special counsel. why is he being so squeamish on this point? this comes amid news that mueller's team has interviewed trump's former aides, reince priebus and, of course, sean spicer. and in the past 24 hours, president trump has done a 180 on health care. he's done it again. at first he was onboard with a bipartisan plan to stabilize the
insurance markets. today, he's distancing himself from the same proposal he was for the other day. so where is he on something really important to a lot of families? and a party in meltdown. steve bannon is once again going after mcconnell and little bob corker or bobby corker, but he's not the only republican doing battle with members of his own party. finally, let me finish tonight with something truly important. it's about nuclear war. and we're getting close to it in north korea sometimes. and i worry about it in iran. this is "hardball," where the action is.
♪ ♪ you nervous? ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ nfl commissioner roger goodell announced the ongoing protest within the league earlier today. goodell said that players should stand within the national anthem, but he stopped short of imposing a rule that would require them to do so. let's listen. >> we believe everyone should stand for the national anthem. that's an important part of our
policy. it's also an important part of our game, that we all take great pride in. and it's also important for us to honor our flag and to our country, and we think our fans expect us to do that. >> he gets $35 million a year to do that if goodell says
he has not spoken with the president. but trump responded, writing, the nfl has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our national anthem. total disrespect for our great country. we'll be right back. so you miss the big city? i don't miss much... definitely not the traffic. excuse me, doctor... the genomic data came in. thank you. you can do that kind of analysis? yeah, watson. i can quickly analyze millions of clinical and scientific reports to help you tailor treatment options for the patient's genomic profile. you can do that? even way out here? yes. even way out here.
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welcome back to "hardball." most, if not all, of the president's men have come under increasing pressure in connection with the ongoing federal and congressional russian investigations. in his testimony before the senate judiciary committee today, attorney general jeff sessions was extremely hesitant to say definitively whether special counsel bob mueller interviewed or contacted him in connection with the probe. he here he goes.
>> have you been interviewed or been requested to be interviewed by the special counsel, either in connection with director comey's firing, the russian investigation, or your own contact with russian officials? >> well, wii would be pleased t answer that. i'm not sure i should, without, uh, clearing that with the special counsel. what do you think? >> i'm just -- have you been interviewed by them? >> no. >> hasn't your office been contacted to request an interview with you by the special counsel? that's a yes or no -- >> well, i don't -- i don't think so. >> you don't think so? are you sure? >> i don't recall that i have been contacted. my staff handed me a note that i have not been asked for an interview at this point. >> much like in june, sessions also refused to answer any
questions about his private conversations with president trump. well, this comes after politico reported that former press secretary sean spicer was interviewed by mueller's team yesterday. spicer was grilled about the firing of former fbi director, james comey and his statements regarding the firing, as well as about trump's meeting with russian officials. that's a lot. reince priebus was also interviewed and corey lewandowski met today with the staff of senate intelligence committee. i'm joined now by annie karni of politico, charlie savage is coveraging sessions' hearings for "the new york times," and malcolm nance, msnbc's analyst. hold on, malcolm, for a second. i want to go to charlie about this sessions thing. what's this mealy the mouse thing going on here. this mousey, gee whiz, cute, i mean, he's a grown-up man. why can't he answer a question yes or no? >> there were a lot of weird moments in this hearing. and surrounding the weirdness was an unwillingness to answer questions about his conversations with mr. trump, both about russia and about other issues as well.
>> how about with mueller? >> at first he didn't even want to say that. >> why?! >> you get the sense of is a man who's really being careful not to get tripped up. he said this thing about not having communications with russians that has really damaged his reputation when it turns out he had. and he said, i didn't understand the question to be as what you were asking. and now he's dancing around these things. and on top of that, refusing to say anything about topics like his conversations with the president surrounding the firing of jim comey or about the attitude towards the mahler investigation or about whether it would be appropriate to preemptively pardon people, who mueller wants to talk to, and derail that investigation. one of the interesting theemes that emerged from this hearing was not just that he was refusing to answer questions, but he was invoking the notion that this stuff might be covered by executive privilege, over and over as the shield to not answer these questions. and democrats, you could tell, were extremely frustrated by that, because president trump has not invoked executive privilege. they're saying he's stretching
this doctrine way beyond the limits of where it can go. >> yeah. you know, malcolm, i've been doing a lot of reading about roy hoff, the crooked labor leader of the dirty old leaders with the teamsters and he never took the fifth. he kept doing that constant waddle of, i don't know what you mean, could be, i forgot, i don't know. what's he up to? he's the attorney general of the united states. he's not some guy off the street that got caught up in some sort of gang -- i'm trying to think of what -- just man on the street interview, is like he's behaving. >> well, i heard today that, you know, sessions may have been playing around with the limitations of, you know, the questions, so that he could avoid perjury. i mean, several times before, twice, it was brought out that he had actually said that he had no contact with the russians. and then he had incidental contact with the russians. and now it was contact with the russians, but it didn't involve me collaborating or, you know, colluding on the campaign.
those are really big loops to jump through when the question originally was, do you have any information or knowledge of this. i think he's very cognizant that the mueller campaign is eventually going to come to him, as a witness, or as somebody, as a person of interest. and he just does not want to put himself out there. that being said, he had an audience of one today. trump wants to see him push back from these things. and he did a good job of saying, i was offended, you know, i -- >> yeah, well, let's -- we have a tape of that. let's take a look, if we can, at all the things that session has said about his possible meetings with russian ambassador kislyak, the attorney general has exhibited a pattern of what i like to call rolling disclosure over the last nine months. during his confirmation hearing in january, sessions said it first that he had no communications with the russians. >> i didn't -- i did not have communications with the russians and i'm unable to comment on it. >> i did not. that's pretty clear.
once his meetings with the russian ambassador were revealed, however by the press, sessions said in march he said he never discussed the trump campaign with the russians. >> i never had meetings with russian operatives or russian intermediaries about the trump campaign. >> and now, let's watch what sessions said today when asked if he had discussed the trump campaign with russian officials. >> have you discussed with them any policies or positions of the campaign or trump presidency? >> uh, i -- i -- i'm not sure about that. i don't think there was any discussion about the, uh, details of the campaign, other than, uh, it could have been that, uh, in that meeting in my office or at the convention that some comment was made about what trump's spopositions were. i think that's possible. >> that's possible. it's like we're sitting on a porch in mayberry.
like, okay, maybe, i don't know. he's around probe here. this is serious business. let me just talk about sean spicer. what were they getting out of him and what do you think they got out of spicer in these interviews with him? >> well, it was a day-long thing, about seven hours, is what i was told. and they grilled him about the firing of fbi director, former fbi director, james comey, his statements afterwards, the drafting of the don jr. statement about his meeting at trump tower with the russian officials aboard air force one, and what else. there was a few other things -- oh, and there was also some questions about the timeline surrounding michael flynn's exit. >> let's talk to both of you. you start. who's in the room when trump's first president, the first couple of months, when he's sitting around there like politicians do. they're blue skying it. they're thinking about what they should do. they're thinking out loud, including about stuff that's tricky. who was in the room? spicer wasn't in the room that much. reince must have been in there a lot, but he shooed him out when something tricky got going. who was a trusted --
>> jared kushner was in the room a lot. hope hicks, who's now his communications director, has been in the room since before there was a room. since before the campaign started. that's why, i think, that the mueller's team is going to talk to hope hicks. they're going to talk to don mcgahn. those interviews are probably going to be next month. i think those will potentially be more interesting than spicer, because for the same reason that spicer is no longer in his job now is why he might not be the most important witness. and that he was not an insider player the whole time. >> this whole thing revolves, i think, about obstruction of justice in the white house. and the question is, i think the cardinal question is, did trump, and this goes way back to his original sin of firing comey, did he fire comey to protect himself from legitimate prosecution? and now, again today, he's attacking comey, saying he was looking out for hillary clinton, he was a partisan. charlie, why is he doing that? why is she showing again motive, why he would want to get rid of comey? >> i mean, it's interesting in many ways that trump keeps
returning to clinton as if he's still in the campaign of 2016 -- >> or returning to the scene of the crime. >> well, i think he's reminding his base, or normal republicans, who might be frustrated with all his antics is that the alternative is an hillary clinton presidency. he needs that foil to keep people in line. and he constantly returns to that theme, as if we're still in last year and these issues still matter, which they don't, except for this purpose. >> malcolm, i feel like i'm sitting in your study somewhere and hearing your casual remarks to all of this. tell me what you were nodding about or concern there. what do you make of all of this we've been hearing? what do you think he's up to with going after comey again, claiming that comey's a partisan? >> well, wii think he's afraid. and it's very patently clear that he's afraid. bringing spicer in and bringing priebus in sets up two sets of guardrails that can only channel trump in one direction. they're going to give up the casual information that the chief of staff would know before he has those closed-door,
boss-tweet-like sessions with his gang of four, the people that he is most concerned with. mueller is going to want to know every witness who he can bring in that will show the pathway right up to where obstruction was done. and if spicer has no information about that, he will have all of the information about what went on in that hallway right up until the minute he was shut out. and that's where mueller will have every -- you know, three or four people that were in the room that could have had some form of, you know, discussion, he'll have them in a box at that point. >> you're thinking like i am. thank you so much, sir. annie karni, of course, charlie savage, thanks for your reporting here, it helps so much. and malcolm nance, as always. trump is sending mixed signals on health care again. first he was for this stopgap deal, now doing an about-face. will the president get skbroron to keep people from getting hurt in the next few months and does senate have the votes to pass the bill?
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i'm milissa rehberger. here's what's happening. authorities have apprehended the man suspected of shooting six people in maryland and one in delaware. prince allegedly killed three of his coworkers and injured two others at an office park in maryland. police say prince then drove to delaware, where he shot and injured a man at a car dealership. ibm gave wall street a boost toth. the dow gained 160 points, closing above 23,000 for the first time ever. back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." washington is trying to figure out just where president trump stands when it come to the senate's bipartisan deal to fix the affordable care act.
the president has changed his position a number of times in the past 24 hours. let's take a look. >> has the white house been involved in those negotiations? and will you support that deal? >> yes, we have been involved. and this is a short-term deal, because we think, ultimately, block grants going to the states is going to be the answer. that's a very good solution. while i commend the bipartisan work done by senators alexander and murray, and i do commend it, i continue to believe congress must find a solution to the obamacare mess instead of providing bailouts to insurance companies. >> we're going to see the bipartisan and lamar alexander's working on it very hard, from our side. and if something can happen, that's fine. but i won't do anything to enrich the insurance companies. >> well, the draft legislation proposed by republican senator lamar alexander of tennessee and democrat patty murray of washington state is a stopgap measure. as republicans decided they want to negotiate a future for the affordable care act at all.
late today, senate finance committee chair orrin hatch rejected this deal saying the bill was too kosly. i'm now joined by robert costa of "the washington post." i've got to ask you the first question. i know i'm catching you off guard. how do you figure out this conversation that the president had with the widow of the service member who was lost in niger and he got somehow bo bollocks into a situation where he was offending this wife. >> the president has made calls to some of these gold star families, tragic situations, and to one mother he reportedly said that he -- the soldier knew what he was getting into. that statement was reported by the mother and by a democratic congresswoman, who said they were offended by that statement. the white house denies -- the president denies that that's exactly what he said. he also stirred some controversy today, the president did, when a father claimed the president said he would donate $25,000 to the family. and then it took four months,
until today, for the white house to say they would pay that up. we're seeing the president having these kind of conversations and be very extemporaneo extemporaneous, and in the minds of some of his critics, offense i ha ive. >> let me ask you about this deal. are we going to get a deal on this stopgap things so people who are getting subsidies under obamacare, or the affordable care act, they're going to get it or not? it doesn't look like it right now, because the president is going 180 on this thing. >> i was calling around house republicans today, and chris, they say this is going nowhere in the house. so senate republicans may want to see some kind of action to prop up the affordable care act and really address the question of the cost subsidies. at the same time, you have a conservative house gop, and they don't want toic th itake it up. >> sounds right to me. that's the same difference i've seen on the hill for 40 years. the senate tends to be a little more bipartisan, because senators represent whole state. congresspeople represent districts, which are clearly conservative or pretty clearly liberal and they don't want to play ball. thank you, robert costa.
senator, thank you for joining us. >> well, here i think is an issue of whether you're going to try to stabilize markets or sabotage markets. and this plan by my colleague senator murray and senator alexander was about stabilizing things, while we still explored ways in the individual market to bring down costs. >> stabilizing means what? >> stabilizing means, for those states that expanded medicaid, they actually saw in the private market a decrease in premiums. so covering more people got them out of the emergency rooms and basically helped us drive down the price. so now if you pull the plug on all of that, it's just going to raise the price in the private market, and we don't want to see that. for the individual market, 7% of the health care market, those small employers, individuals, we want them to have leverage in the market place, just like a big employer would, in buying a package of insurance. and that's what we should be talking about. >> you know, what i find just completely confusing about the republicans. i understand the democrats are for affordable care act. they voted for it, they believe in it, it's a landmark
achievement. i think most people watching this show are for it. the republicans seem to be schizoid about it, to use a clinical term. they like to say they don't like it and they'll vote against it as long as it doesn't get signed into law. they'll vote to repeal it 60-some times. but when it comes down to the reality, they're scared to death to get rid of the only national health care plan we have, and they don't want to replace it, because that make s them look like socialists to them and they're afraid to get rid of anything they can't replace, that's why they're afraid to appeal. because they can't ideologically do anything. >> i would agree, but i would probably go one step further in what ideas do they have for the individual market? if you take this association plan idea across state lines -- >> oh, that thing, yeah. >> it's literally either cut people off or basically cut the health care benefits. >> yeah! >> and we don't want junk insurance. >> it's the least common denominator. >> we want individuals to have the same clout as if you worked -- >> if you work in new jersey or new york, you can get an
insurance plan that comes out of mississippi and it covers catastrophic, that's it. >> you don't want to show up in an emergency room and not get helped because you're not covered for a procedure. >> what do you think about this phone call? >> i don't know the details. >> that's an honest answer. thank you very much, maria cantwell of washington state. it's great to have you on. we don't have you here enough. actually, senator bannon -- actually, steve bannon, not a senator yet, wanted a civil war on the republican party and now he's got one. he wants to bop mcconnell off. mccain's calling out the president. and now senate republicans are turning on each other. that's next with the "hardball" roundtable. it's going to be a real scramble coming up here. you're watching "hardball." liberty did what? yeah, liberty mutual 24-hour roadside assistance helped him to fix his flat so he could get home safely. my dad says our insurance doesn't have that. don't worry - i know what a lug wrench is, dad. is this a lug wrench?
he kept spelling my name with an 'i' but it's bryan with a 'y.' yeah, since birth. that drives me crazy. yes. it's on all your email. yes. they should know this? yeah. the guy was my brother-in-law. that's ridiculous. well, i happen to know some people. do they listen? what? they're amazing listeners. nice. guidance from professionals who take their time to get to know you.
winners make policies and losers go home. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was, of course, senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell taking a shot at steve bannon over the war with the republican establishment. bannon returned fire last night out in arizona. >> the last couple of days, mitch has been saying this big thing. hey, you've got to win. you know, winners make policy, losers go home. hey, mitch, note to self, mitch. big luther strange and little bob yby corker are both going home. these people, mitch, it's 2-0. >> well, bannon called for a civil war on the republican party. now it appears he's got what he wanted. a full-blown range war on his hands. it comes amid the warning from senator john mccain on monday. >> to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe to advance the goals of international leadership and our duty to remain the best last hope of earth, for the sake of
some half-baked spurious nationalism, cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems -- [ applause ] >> you heard what he said yesterday, senator mccain. >> yeah, well, i hear it. and people have to be careful, because at some point, i fight ba back. i'm being very nice. but at some point, i fight back and it won't be pretty. >> well, trump says his fight with mccain won't be pretty, the battle between republicans and congress has gotten downright dirty, threatening to derail the party's agenda. here's what senator lindsey graham had to say about his colleague, rand paul's opposition to the senate budget. >> senator paul just said that you are torpedoing the budget. are you? >> i think senator paul was trying to find a way to vote no, and he always does. senator paul can't vote yes on anything. because it's never good enough. >> lindsey graham wouldn't know a conservative if he met one, all right? he's never been a conservative. he's probably a big part of why
we have such a massive debt in this country. >> let's bring in the "hardball" roundtable. ashley parker is white house reporter for "the washington post." ya mitch alcindor is national political reporter for "the new york times." and rachel bade is with politico. it so seems to me that when you only have a two-vote plus to get anything done, they're left with 50 and that's barely enough. and now they're fighting as if they've got some surplus of votes they can have a lot of fun in the schoolyard with. >> yeah, they really don't have the room for that sort of philosophical debate, intellectual debate. what they need is a strong leader in the president, strong leader in mitch mcconnell to sort of say, look, fall in line, this isn't all perfect, let's come together. and that's clearly not happening. >> that doesn't look like we're seeing here. they're not going to get anything done this year. how's that for a bet? they're a loser team. as the president would say, loser. they're not getting anything done, because they can't figure out one thing that 50 people
agree on. how's that? >> i think what ashley said is really important and key. the fact that they need a strong leader to bring them together. but instead, people are essentially mirroring president trump's actions. they're going after each other mu much like president trump went after mitch mcconnell and jeff session. so, yeah, when they have all this laundry list of things to do, remember, tax reform, health care. let's not even talk about infrastructure and the opioid crisis. all the things that the president -- >> immigration. >> right, immigration. all the things that they have to get done, they have no room for this. but this president is essentially saying, this is what we do. this is attack dog mentality that the republicans are going to have. and when you have steve bannon out there saying that he's going to primary people, why wouldn't they be arguing with people. >> bannon's out there like luiu brotzi, he's a henchman, like we're 2-0. is that going to bring any victory? he doesn't care -- i know and of course, mcconnell just sounds
like a washington inside swampland hero, who all he cares about is keeping his 50 votes, so he keeps his job and extra money as leader. he just says it. all we're here for is to keep the majority. not any ambition for the country, not any policy ambition, or agenda. just to hold on to these jobs. >> look -- >> isn't that what he talks like? i just heard him do that? >> look, republicans are in the middle of a civil war right now, was you have steve bannon and the populist wing of the party behind trump. they're getting frustrated with the establishment leaders who control congress, not getting the president's agenda through. there's no repeal, the wall hasn't been -- there's no down payment on the wall. tax reform is stalled right now. so the irony here is that the more they attack and the more that they go after leadership, bannon goes after leadership or talks about primary fights, the more -- the less likely it is that republicans can actually right this ship that's going off-course right now. there's a reason that speaker paul ryan and every single press conference says, i am not going to comment on the inner party
drama. we are always trying to get him to say, what do you think about the president's latest tweet at bob corker or bob corker saying the white house is basically a day care where they have to baby sit the president? and that's because he doesn't want to get off message and keep the talk about agenda, but the problem is they can't do that because there's so much blood. >> is the president interested in the agenda? is he interested in the scoreboard? does he care about these things? do you think he cares about what we're doing for the subsidies on affordable care? do you think he cares? >> i think he does want wins. >> he wants to win. >> but one of the things i should say that helps president trump is when we have senators going after each other, because president trump can say, i tried, i tried through my executive order to do all that i can do, but congress just doesn't function but we need new people. i can see him making that argument in 2018. >> i have a question, what do you think president would rather have, a second term or a wall? >> a esecond term or a wall? >> to help the middle class or a
second term? >> a second term. >> i'm going to take issue with that. >> do you think he cares about something besides his own self-ed alation. >> he might not have a second term if he doesn't get tax reform done. >> but what's his priority? >> he actually does care about -- when it comes to the actual issues, he cares about tax reform more. >> why is that? >> because it's something he understands. >> he wants to get rid of the estate tax and the high corporate tax. >> it's something that affects his cohort. he understands it more than he understanding health care. >> he understands the 1% will benefit. well, also, the stock market will keep growing. if he gets a huge tax cut through, let's give him that. if there's a lot more cash flowing into the stands of stockholders, by definition, there'll be more stocks sold. >> and i feel like republicans can really come back in the midterms and actually keep congress. another thing is, there's a poll this morning -- >> did you see the number on the democrats, way ahead now on the generic. democrats are way ahead in who's going to run congress. >> that's because republicans -- >> look at alabama, right? alabama being split, right? how -- >> let me tell you something, you are as expert as i am,
yamic yamiche. it says registered voters. this is an odd-numbered year, right? '17. do you think the people that -- all registered voters are going to show up? no. the best way to do it, who's voted in the last two elections and who's just reasonable giste? now, they'll vote, but not this number. i could make a lot of money voting on the republican to win in what, alabama, yeah, i think so? >> the roundtable is sticking with us. this is "hardball." where the action is. ♪ ♪ everyone deserves attention, whether you've saved a lot or just a little. at pnc investments, we believe you're more than just a number. so we provide personal financial advice for every retirement investor.
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and this guy is just trying to get through the day. keeping it together. losing it. upgrade your commute. ride with audible. we're back with the hardball round table. ashley tell me something i don't know. >> bannon said there's no one that steve bannon respects more than donald trump. but i ask bannon's top associate what he would say if the president said cut it out, he would listen respectfully but don't know that he could change his behavior. >> he's on his own. >> exactly. >> the widow of sergeant david johnson was weep in a fetal position while she was talking to president trump. but the mother of the sergeant told me that that version is accurate. >> what do you think was wrong with the president? why did he do it? >> the idea is that he really hadn't prepared for this idea. hadn't really talked to people about who he was talking to and
as a result was rushing through the talk. >> rachel. >> news nugget. even though we're hearing that alexander murray is dead,'er ear hearing from republican sources on the hill they're considering adding these subsidies to a bipartisan deal in december. this fight is not going anywhere soon. >> alexander murray is not a person but a bill. lamar alexander and patty murray. thank you all. when we return, let me finish tonight about something truly important. something about avoiding nuclear war. you're watching "hardball."
let me finish tonight with something truly important. it's about the role of an american president in the anyone of nuclear weapons. 55 years ago today president kennedy was confronted by the startling fact that the soviet union was facing intermediate range nuclear missiles on the island of cuba. capable of reaching every american city in the united states with the exception of seattle. our first reaction was to carry out a surprise attack on cuba. the russians threatened to
encounter any invasion of cuba with an invasion of north berlin. we were simply too youft matched in conventional weapons. then on october 18th, 55 years ago, someone raised a second argument against a cuban invasion. quote were fb 175 years attorney general robert kennedy said we had not been that kind of a country. a sneak attack was not in our tradition. thousands of cubans would be killed without warning and a lot of russians too. it would be like the united states carrying out a pearl harbor in reverse. the scariest episode in the nuclear age was resolved basically because the american leaders decided to act in the best moral tradition of the country. and today we have a leader who appear to lack a moral compass. he speaks of destroying all of north korea. try to undercut the nuclear weapons deal we have with iran. but a country who loses its
sense of moral direction will face a terrible time finding the patriotic unity, the heart of our national strength. that's "hardball" for now. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. tonight on "all in." >> they're going to cut me off so i want to ask you some questions. >> jeff sessions meets the senate. >> mr. chairman i don't have to sit here and listen to his -- >> you're the one who testified -- >> -- charges. >> attorney general grilled for the first time in months over the russians, obstruction, and the mueller investigation. >> have you been interviewed by them? >> senator amy clob shar was there and she joins me tonight. then -- >> didn't say what that congresswoman said. didn't say it at all. >> the new jaw dropping report that president trump aurved a grieving military fatr