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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  May 16, 2018 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT

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maybe a long show. hopefully a good show but the show is over. thanks for watching. i'll be back here tomorrow 6:00 p.m. eastern. "hardball" with chris matthews starts right now. who paid stormy daniels? trump did. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. after months of refusing to tell the truth about that $130,000 payment to stormy daniels, president trump was today backed up against a wall on a financial statement required for federal office holders he admitted he did exactly what his accusers said he did. in a classic example of a politician engaging in rolling disclosure, president trump admitted the truth only when all escape routes will been blocked. for months, president trump has denied had he anything to do with the $130,000 hush money
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payment top adult film actress stormy daniels. tonight the president can no longer deny he made the payment. in a if you disclosure, donald trump reported reimbursing his personal attorney michael cohen apparently for those costs. a footnote in the filing states, in the interest of transparent sit while not required to be disclosed as reportable liabilities, in 2016, expenses were incurred by one of donald trump's attorneys mike cohen. is he saw the reimbursement of those expenses and mr. trump fully reimbursed mr. cohen in 2017. it the category of value would be $100,00001,000 to $250,000 in, that range. the white house has denied allegations of any affairs still. just a month ago, trump told reporte reporters he had no idea where cohen got the money from. >> did you know about the $130,000 payment to stormy daniels? >> nothing. >> why did michael kocohen make
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it. >> you have to ask michael. mike is my attorney. you have to ask michael. >> do you know where he got the money to make that payment. >> i don't know. >> michael cohen officially said is he used his own personal funds to facilitate a payment. he was paying for it. things changed when rudy guiliani trump's new lawyer told sean hannity the president did in fact pay for it. >> they funneled it through a law firm. funneled through a law firm and the president repaid it. when i heard cohen's retainer of $35,000, when he was doing no work for the president, i said that's how he's repaying it. >> giuliani then made things more confusing when toe he told "the new york times" a day after that sbav that the president's reimbursements to mr. cohen were roughly $46,000 in that total. in the same financial filing, the office of government ethics
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disagreed with the payments writing it was required to be reported the year it happened in 2016, two years ago. acting director sent a letter to deputy attorney general rod rosenstein flagging the filing. walter schaub tweeted this is tantamount to a criminal referral. o gt effectively reported the president to the department of justice for potentially committing a crime. i'm joined by natasha bertrand it, an msnbc contributor, paul butler, analyst and jonathan swan, national political reporter for axios. this is an amazing development. natasha, for months now, the president has played a cat-and-mouse game lied basically over and over again said i don't know who this woman is. i didn't ever pay the $130,000. they be he had his lawyer said he sort of paid for it. then rudy guiliani said it was paid for this retainer
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relationship. the president didn't know about this relationship or be involved with this relationship with daniels. now it comes out in a formal document required of all public officers, the president admitted he made the payment after all this. his supporters will take this lying? just taking this? >> the question remains of whether or not he would have ever disclosed this if rudy guiliani had not come out earlier and told sean hannity. he didn't do it last year. that's why the head of the oge is potentially referring him to the justice department because he did not disclose any of these payments on his 2017 form. if not for giuliani telling sean hannity he did make this payment, would it have been disclosed at all? it was disclosed but buried on the 45th page of this report in a foot photo. >> he just said, by the way, if anybody asks me about this stuff, i just deny it. i deny everything. i deny it on federal reports, to the public who votes for me.
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i deny everything till i'm caught and then i'm caught. >> it's clear what's happened here which is there are now investigators looking into michael cohen in the southern district of new york and the problem for cohen and trump is you can say whatever you want but there are records of financial transactions. when you get forensic investigators looking through that, these are real facts. you can't dispute these facts. they were going to come out sometime. i believe they sent rudy to get out in front of him and he happened to do it in a ham handed way and clean up the clean-up. that was clearly the strategy. >> when you make up stories, paul, and you keep making them up, you have to keep covering them. when you say he had a line of credit with his lawyer, the lawyer paid his bills. they had a retainer agreement where he gets 35k a month and that covers all the women, any sort of problems he has personally. that's covered out of this draw, 2435 a month. then it comes out he had to file
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reports on all his liabilities as a public official. therefore, all that stuff they schemed up is a reality to get him off the issue of it being a campaign violation, now they're faced with the fact oh, i have to file a public report confirming all this. this means i'm in violation. >> the question that robert mueller federal prosecutors in new york and now the office of government ethics wants to know, why is this 2-year-old loan just coming out now? it should have been reported last year. the rules require reporting of any loan more than $10,000. if this is part of a willful and knowing cover-up of the stormy daniels investigation, that's a federal crime. >> how so? what's the crime? >> failing to disclose material information on a financial disclosure form. the penalty is $50,000 fine and up to a year in a federal prison >> how about a president doing it? >> so again, today we also
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learned that robert mueller is going to follow the department of justice guidelines which suggests that a sitting president cannot be indicted. so mueller's remedy for any criminal violation by the president is to refer it to congress for impeachment. >> you think that's credible what we've heard about that that the mueller team doesn't believe they can indict a president while in office? >> we heard it from rudy guiliani. you can guess how credible it is. mueller is a conservative prosecutor. this is always been the department's guidelines. rod rosenstein hasn't said a lot about this investigation but last month he also indicated that the president according to doj regs can't be indicted, just impeached. doesn't mean later after he serves his term there couldn't can be criminal consequences. >> natasha, initially a man involved in this infidelity if you might call it that, an affair with this an adult film actor, he would keep it
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naturally to himself. but then trump kept it to himself and he kept it to himself even after it was clear it was happened and money was paid. it was just a question whether he blame somebody else for the payment. for the affair it's implicitly his responsibility. so what is his justification to his voters for having lied all this time? the story was out there. he wasn't covering the relationship with his wife. he was covering who to blame. >> trump has a large amount of leeway with his base. it doesn't seem like there will be meaningful blowback on this for him not telling the truth. he often does not tell the truth. there's never any kind of dip in his polls. he seems to be retaining popularity just fine. the question i have is were there more women? because the des krep answer between what giuliani said trump repaid michael cohen between 2016 and 2017 which was $470,000 is very clear because all that was on the financial disclosure form was $100,000 to $250,000.
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why the discrepancy and yes hasn't giuliani come out and explained that. >> what lee expenses? would that be a lawyer's legal expenses? how much money we talking about here trump paying cohen to keep things quiet to fix things? >> the 130k definitely attorney fees. we have all this money, millions of dollars flowing into michael cohen's shady llc. where is the money going. we hear about the other $400,000 from rudy guiliani. all we know is the president paid $130,000 to stormy daniels to buy her silence. a whole lot of money is unaccounted for. we know how it got there and don't know where it went. for prosecutors, it's always about follow the money. >> jonathan, you've been following this. how does this overlap? i've been watching the way the trump, the bill clinton investigation of whitewater
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ended up merging into paula jones which merged into lewinsky. that went on for four years. for all conservatives complaining about a one-year investigation of a president, your investigation went four years. nobody complained at the end of the first quarter and blew the whistle and said stop the game back then. this time around they are. we'll talk about that. where does mueller find his way into this? somehow i believe had he something to do with the new york office of the u.s. attorneys going after this case in the first place. it all seems to be somewhat related. >> he referred it to them. >> he referred it and anon what grounds. >> i don't know that it was part of his mandate. he's got rosenstein has an instructioning. > anything that arises from this investigation is in that mandate. >> by that definition, you could really investigate anything. i don't know why he referred it to them. all i know is the people in donald trump's inner circle, this has been the case for six to eight months now, if you're putting a hierarchy of concerns
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what they're concerned about, the mueller investigation and russia collusion is nowhere near michael cohen. the investigation into his personal finances and the potential to go into donald trump's personal finances. are they worried they're going to find hard evidenced that donald trump colluded to throw the election versus them investigating. >> how do they follow the stormy trail to real financial corruption? >> if you go down did the michael cohen rabbit hole, you're going down a rabbit hole of somebody that worked with donald trump for a decade. you can do a segue into the donald trump rabbit hole. who know is what is in the donald trump rabbit hole. >> cohen does. >> cohen knows some of it. trump had an army of lawyers. cohen seemed to be operating in the backwaters of the donald trump -- >> "the washington post" is reporting michael cohen solicited a $1 million payment from the government of qatar in late 2016 in exchange for access to and advice about the incoming
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trump administration. cohen was rebuffed. paul, there you go again, the guy's got the till open. the window open, time to get your bets, time to get your fingers into the trump crowd. you can do it through me. my name's michael cohen and my business is open for business. >> this again is cohen. we're looking at gratuities, extortion and once again, we're looking at what he's doing with all of this money because remember, at this time, mr. cohen is not mr. money bags. he's taking a mortgage out on his house. all of these millions of dollars flowing in. they're not going into his pocket. whose pocket are they going into? >> natasha, i want to ask you about the question, we've got a number of people looking at this whole matter of stormy daniels, was it an implicit campaign contribution. because rudy guiliani said a couple of weeks ago, not a year ago, this was all happening a couple weeks before the election. we had to quiet it down like the john edwards case. we had dirty business, a sexual
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relationship. they had to keep quiet before the candidate faced the voters. there is an the question of government ethics and responsibility for reporting all these issues and not reporting them as we hear, he didn't report it for two years. >> right, the head of the oeg thinks this is something that needed to be disclosed and that's why he presented to rod rosenstein at the justice department to determine whether or not there should be criminal charges filed. this is a big, big deal. >> charge all the guys that work with the president but you can't charge the president. >> right. according to what giuliani has said and again, whether or not we take that with a grain of salt is -- >> the irony donald trump is going to be in better shape if it turns out there's 100 women this will be standard operating procedure not some random event done to save the election. >> that's what rudy is suggesting. > i think that would be helpful to trump's case in that narrow way. >> let me go back to paul. that would be the queen sacrifice.
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you give up the queen in the chess match so you can slightly get yourself a checkmate. does he admit, yeah, i got women all over the place, affairs all over the place. i covered them up every two months on average. therefore this had no seasonal bias. it could have happened anytime of the year so i can't be accused of violating campaign disclosure laws. >> that's his line if he wants to stay out of the federal penitentiary at some point after his term or avoid impeachment. paying off hush money to many women is a political problem. the legal issue if he's paying off in order to get elected president of the united states, if he's doing that, that's a violation of federallati violat of law a loan is considered a financial contribution. if it's not more than $5400 it's got to be reported. >> i guess you have to bet how
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many girlfriends he's had and how many relationships he's covered up, how many cover-ups he's covered up and say how many of his voters put up? probably preserve as many as required. thank you. coming up, one year in and robert mueller is still turning over every stone as he investigates whether trump campaign colluded with russia. the probe is past the point of no return and separately the senate judiciary committee released new details on the meeting at trump tower. we'll find out where the investigation is heading next. plus a big night for female candidates as democrats make their nominations for key house races. can the democrats make the 2018 elections the year of the woman? and trump's pushback against the mueller investigation may be working at least with his voters. they're buying his witch hunt theory but they have one big warning for the president when it comes to russia. don't fire muler. finally, let me finish with an earlier moment in american
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you'll only pay $4.95. fidelity. open an account today. president trump today responded to north korean threws to cancel that planned summit with kim jong-un. the regime threw the talks into doubt yesterday saying it might pull out if the united states continues to demand that it unilaterally give up its nuclear weapons. today the president said he hadn't received any information that the talks about been canceled. >> we haven't seen anything. we haven't heard anything. we will see what happens. >> time to go. >> meanwhile, white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders said that such threats by the north korean government were to be expected given the tough negotiations going on between the two the countries. we'll be right back.
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welcome back to "hardball." today the republican-led senate judiciary committee released thousands of pages of testimony from donald trump jr. and other participants in that infamous trump tower meeting. remember that. >> with russians in june of 2016. we already know trump junior took that meeting on the promise of russian dirt on hockey which he thought would help his father's campaign. yet, multiple times throughout his testimony, trump junior denied on the record that he ever informed his father of the meeting. saying i never discussed it with him at all. and that i wouldn't have wasted his time with it. he further suggested that the president didn't learn of the meeting till a year later when it was revealed last summer. "he's aware of it now because he's read it. it's been in the papers." we're learning phone records show on the day trump junior was planning that meeting, june 6th, had he two conversations with someone at i an blocked phone number. then the third call on june 9th
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just hours after the meeting took place. when the senate judiciary committee member asked who he had spoken with, trump junior simply said i have no idea. separately we know that cory lewandowski told the committee that donald trump senior has a blocked phone line in his primary residence. when junior was asked whether his father ever uses a blocked number, he replied i don't know. most incredibly when asked specifically if he has discussed the russia investigation with his father, as i said, trump junior said no, not that i remember. joining me is ken dilanian and mike the schmidt with the new york sometimes and msnbc contributor and jackie speier of california, a democrat on the intelligence committee. thank you all. i've got to start with ken on this. i guess the hardest thing to believe is the son serving the father in his campaign and has got himself convinces he's got
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some dirt on a campaign, they're well behind about six or seven points, this could be the hail mary. he's got dirt from the russians on hillary clinton. he's about to get it full. never talks to his father about it but has phone calls with somebody on a blocked line. what do we make of the credibility of that claim. >> it's hard to believe. you laid it out perfectly. also his expressions of i don't recall throughout this interview. he's not a credible witness. he has locked himself into the story because it's a crime to lie to congress. he wasn't under oath. you can't lie to congress. that's his story. if this blocked number was donald trump, you can bet that robert mueller has these phone records. he would subpoena the phone provider and figure out whose number that was. that doesn't problem that donald junior talked to his father about this but it's very suggestive circumstantial evidence if that was donald trump. the other thing these transcripts underscored is the extent to which donald trump jr. viewed this meeting through the lens of this was opposition
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research he was getting from a foreign government. rob goldstone, the promoter to set it up testified he thought it would be a smoking gun that could derail hillary's candidacy. at the end of the day, it wasn't that. but it's clear the trump campaign was on record acknowledging they were willing to accept that from a foreign government. >> two of the participants at that meeting at trump tower who testified before the senate judiciary committee appear to portray donald trump jr. as eager to receive is the dirt he had been promised. according to the russian lobbyist he opened up the meeting by saying i believe you have some information for us. when he didn't appear to getting what he wanted he said ask if they've got anything on hillary. my question michael schmidt on this stuff here, what do you sense this is all about, this meeting with the russians? it looks the clearest example which is transparent that they at least tried to work with the russians in getting dirt on hillary to help defeat her.
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>> you have to remember originally, the explanation for there meeting was that it was about adoption, that it was about adoption law that had been put in place between the united states and russia and the efforts to change that. as we uncovered more about this story and we were able to find out what they were talking about, the trump story changed. now, even that is in there today. there's acknowledgement by trump folks saying that the president did weigh in on how they responded last july when they had to deal with this publicly. if you remember, the president was flying back from europe. we were pressing them for on questions about this, and they had to cop up with an answer. their story changed several times. but the president was involved in this. we know that issue is something mueller focused on himself. was the president trying to obstruct the investigation by putting false information out there. >> how did the president know about the meeting at trump tower if his son didn't tell him about
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it? who gave him the update so he can spin it with his press statement? >> well, all we know is at some point last year in the late spring when the lawyers for don junior were getting preparing documents to send to capitol hill, the white house realized they were going to have to deal with there issue and the president was told about that. now, we don't know anything more whether the president knew before then but it was in the late spring they realized this was an issue that they were going to have to address because the e-mails were going up to capitol hill and would come out at some point. that happened in the middle of july where they were forced to deal with this. and it undercut a lot of their previous statements how they had no links to russia. >> the story keeps moving. some context from robert costa about what rudy guiliani said about robert mueller. we mentioned it earlier in the show and the question whether you can indict a sitting president. costa asked giuliani what will mueller said face-to-face and
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what the special confidential told him he wouldn't charge president trump. giuliani told costa i would say he was coy. he didn't seem to want to give the answer and one of his assistants broke in. it reminded me scene in the "godfather" where he said, oh, you're going to take care of us? we can take care of ourselves. one of his assistants broke in and said of course, we're bound by justice department policies. i guess congresswoman, what's your understanding of the constitution here as interpreted by supreme court? can a president be prosecuted for a criminal offense like any other citizen during his term of office? can it be done? >> i so. i think it's called impeachment. >> but can he be put in jail? given five years in prison? can he be indicted before an american court or does very to go to the court of the u.s. congress and the senate eventually? >> that's where i think he has to go. it was true that president
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clinton had to testify in a civil lawsuit while he was president. but he was certainly impeached and then was not tried in the senate. >> suppose bill clinton had said -- suppose president clinton and his lawyer bob bennett had just said no, i'm president of the united states. my client's president of the united states. i'm not going to sit before a grand jury or a paula jones matter. i'm not going to do it. what would have happened? >> i think, well, they would have compelled him to do so. >> how. >> well, >> i don't understand the mechanics. >> i don't know that i necessarily understand the mechanics either. i think that special counsel mueller can compel him to come and be questioned in an interview or before a grand jury. i think that could take place. i don't know that he can actually be tried as president. but if i could just add a little more color to these e-mails?
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so on june 3rd, he gets the e-mails from rob goldstone saying we've got you know, we've got dirt for you. on the 7th, the then candidate trump is accepting the win in new jersey in the primary and during his speech, he makes the statement, i am going to have a lot to tell you about the clintons. i'm going to give a major speech early next week. probably on monday. the meeting takes place on the 9th and they don't get the dirt they were looking for. i am absolutely convinced that then candidate trump was communicated with on the 3rd and that blocked phone call we could have actually access if we an independent intelligence committee that was in fact going to subpoena that information from a telecom company. of course, that wasn't the case
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during our investigation. >> why don't you ask mr. nunes to do a revision and go out and ask for the phone records and subpoena them and see whether father was talking to son and got the heads-up from him so he could tell the new jersey voters had some dirt? >> i this i that the committee should reopen its investigation. there's been so much that has come out since they prematurely closed down. we've had a meeting with a cambridge analytica employee that provided additional light on this topic that is pretty compelling. >> i guess you're going to need chairman schiff to do that next year because it's not going to happen right now. michael, your new reporting suggests that the trump campaign had advance knowledge that russia possessed damaging information on hillary clinton well. we know george papadopoulos was told the russians had e-mails relating to clinton before anyone knew the dnc had been
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hacked. and a white house official testified he thought he received an e-mail alerting the trump campaign that russia had damaging it information about hillary clinton and he remembered the e-mail coming from george papadopoulos. investigators for the senate judiciary committee have not found any such message. we found out from the testimony by donald trump jr. before the senate committee judiciary committee that he did in fact know, mr. papadopoulos. they're not completely denying each other right now. where do we go from this? >> what we're looking at was this testimony where this former campaign official who everyone believes is telling the truth says i remember hearing about the papadopoulos dirt about these things. the problem is, this sent off a search at the campaign where they went back and looked in their e-mails for evidence of this and couldn't find it. now, mueller was looking for similar e-mails, couldn't find them either. the question is, if you're an investigator either on capitol hill or for mueller do you believe the former campaign
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official, his statements that he knew something about this or was there -- is -- does it not o not exist. that's something they have to figure out. we're at that stage in the investigation. it's almost two years since the fbi began looking at links between trump campaign and russia. and they're still going down different alleys to try and figure out whether there's a there there. >> ken, on this trump tower meeting we keep going back to the scene of the crime perhaps, with the interviews, the senate committee investigation and interrogation of donald trump jr. the fact he's denied he talked to his father about it, denied he had a phone conversation, any phone conversation. the whole thing looks like a cover-up now. all the way beginning with the father rewriting history of what that meeting was about. they are very concerned what that meeting was about and whether that showed collusion i believe. what do you see? >> i'll tell you what comes through that i learned, this
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oligarch, air ras aglab rove was really pushing this meeting when his employees said it might be a bad idea. he wanted it to happen. he's close to putin. he tried to broker a meeting. so the question is why? why is this oligarch close to putin pushing this relationship with donald trump? intelligence sources have a couple of theories. one of them is that this could have been a dangle, russian intelligence trying to figure out how the trump team would react to this. this could be an attempt to plant kompromat. if mike and his colleagues hadn't exposed this meeting, the russians would know these secrets and no one else. they would have that over the trump administration that don junior had gone to a foreign government looking for dirt on his opponent. that's the way intelligence officials look at what could have been going on here, chris. >> why didn't they give dirt to the trump people and manafort and the other guys?
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why didn't they just give it to them. >> >> the idea was to see how they would react. you don't send the a teem, the fsb agents in case they call the fbi which they didn't do. >> they would have them really on the hook if they gave them the dirt and they used the dirt publicly. last word, i have to go to jackie speier. what do you think is going to happen. >> do you think trump is going to get impeached? >> i think there's growing evidence that he will eventually be impeached. i think it's dependent on what mueller comes out with when his investigation is complete. and that's why they're so anxious to try and shut it down because they know it's getting very hot. i think what this meeting at trump tower indicates it that there was the intent to conspire with the russians. it's like doing a breaking and entering when you can't get anything to steal. the intent was still there to steal. in this case, the intent was to
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conspire with the russians. >> well said. thank you so much, ken dilanian, michael schmidt and congresswoman jackie speier. up next, it was a big night for women in last night's democratic primaries especially in pennsylvania. is this part of the strategy of winning back the house. >> making it the year of the woman. this is "hardball" where the action is. you introduce the all-new ford ecosport and surprise people with how much they can get in a small suv. that means more standard features and more upgrades for a lot less than expected. the all-new ecosport. it's the big upgrade in a small package. from ford, america's best-selling brand. see what you can get for under 20 grand with the all-new ecosport.
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welcome back to "hardball."
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the front page of the "philadelphia inquirer" this morning summed it up, a big day for women. this is what the pennsylvania congressional delegates looked like there spring. not a single woman in the crowd one columnist called pennsylvania a state whose 18-member u.s. house delegation still looks like a baseball clubhouse. last night women made major inroads in total, eight women won primaries in u.s. house races yesterday. they include seven democrats and one republican. three of the democrats who won last night come from the philadelphia suburbs and are expected to win easily in november. that's the scary thing to say but they look like great shots to say. stephanie is the president of emily's group that backs pro-choice democratic women. thank you and congratulations because you've been doing this a long time. i stayed up late last night and got on the computer and go wow. wipeout. three of the chester county, delaware county, montgomery county, now a good shot in the
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lehigh valley and allentown area. they lost to that guy, the money guy, wallace over in bucks county. otherwise, sweep. what do you think happened? >> it was -- i felt the same way last night, chris. i was just thrilled. emily's list has been doing this work over three decades. as soon as we got word about the new congressional map that was developed in pennsylvania after the court case which i know you've talked about on the show, we had our staff on the ground immediately. we knew it was a huge opportunity to recruit these great women, get them staffed up, back them up and then our independent expenditure arm women vote went in for a number of these races. last night was great across the country. we had 20 women on the ballot that were endorsed by emily alleys list across the country. 14 won. one week ago, we went 20 for 20 in texas in march, we went five for five. we are seeing extraordinary
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energy around democratic women candidates right now. >> energy is the word. donald trump beat hillary clinton in pennsylvania by a thin margin in 2016. fewer than 45,000 votes separated them. what do you think? go through the factors you have figured out between' 16 and' 18 and why the women ran, why they had good campaigns and why women and men voted for them. >> well, you know, you brought up 2016. it all started that election night. when we will such a loss. i always say it's the one-two punch. it was hillary clinton who was so prepared and qualified to be president lost and lost to that guy. that's how a lot of us feel. we had women instantly start calling emily's list wanting to run for office across the country. millions of women marched that january 2017. and a lot of the folks then after the women's march said what's going to happen next. i'll tell you what happened.
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those women marched right back into their communities and started organizing and they've started running. what you saw last night is just a snapshot wa we're seeing every week now at emily's list. women who found their voice and figured out they had a community to back them up are stepping up to run. these are smart, talented focused women with great passion. this is how we see it at emily's list. how we're going to take back the house for democrats. we believe we have got women in positions in red and blue districts to get us those 23 sees. emily's list has already endorsed 37 democratic women in red to blue seats across the country and we're not done yet. >> thank you, stephanie. up next, president trump claims that the russia investigation is a witch hunt and his supporters are buying it, but while many of them think the mueller probe is a farce, there's one red line here. they want to be careful the
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president doesn't fire mueller. that will make him really look guilty and they know it. you're watching "hardball." and ♪ ♪ bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens ♪ ♪ brown paper packages tied up with strings ♪ ♪ these are a few of my favorite things ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ hehi, welcome!w of my favorite things ♪ good to see you. hi brody. are you stinky? wow, this is a busy place! yep! i practically live with a vacuum in one hand and a mop in the other.
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welcome back to "hardball." president trump created a dangerous echo chamber when it comes to the russia probe. despite the 19 indictments that have come down from the mueller probe, the argument that the investigation hasn't found anything seems to be resonating with trump voters. in a focus group in wisconsin held by emory university, trump voters echoed many of the president's talking points. >> they call it a farce by -- created by the deep state. >> i wrote it was a witch hunt to overturn an election. he actually is there finding stuff that should be investigated on the democratic party's side and all of this stuff that they say that trump did they're finding out that the democrats did. >> it's been going on for a year and a half. they've found nothing. oh, there's something.
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we'll find it, there's nothing. when hillary was secretary of state, she made a deal with uranium enrichment selling it to the russians. that's known. but they're still looking for stuff. >> here's how they described special counsel robert mueller. >> desperate. >> unethical. >> liar. >> partisan. >> wow. but they had an unexpected answer when asked if trump should fire mueller. that's up next with the "hardball" roundtable. ♪
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welcome back to "hardball." a focus group last night in wisconsin, voters were asked what they would think if president trump fired special counsel robert mueller, fired him. although one voter said he thought the president should fire mueller, the others didn't agree. let's watch. >> i think politically it would be a terrible idea because it gives fuel to the people that say that he did something. i think it would draw suspicion from the public. >> don't fire mueller. it might work to his advantage. >> we figured out that one guy. that's bring in tonight's roundtable. phillip rucker, he was there watching the whole thing last night in wisconsin. betsy woodruff, daily beast and contributor. and jonathan swan is a national reporter for axios. phil, you were there. that one guy was a hard guy. no doubt about it. were you surprised at the fact they said better not fire mueller? >> a little bit.
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they were -- they didn't like the investigation. they used words like witch hunt. they agree with the president on that. but they were in agreement with their trump critics when it came to whether trump should exercise what he believes to be his presidential power to fire mueller. they thought that would be bad and look like he has something to hide, an indication of guilt and that politically, it would not go well. they encouraged the president to stick with this investigation till it reaches its conclusion. >> i love the way they say it's a year and therefore, end it when none of these people in out there in 195 telling ken starr, better kill this four-year whitewater investigation heading eventually to monica lewinsky by way of paula jones. nobody wants to shut these things off when they're going at the other guy. >> i for one am shocked at the double standard, hard to fathom. part of the reason these voters don't think trump should fire mueller has to do with the fact that trump hasn't yet fired mueller. they're agreeing with trump on
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that point. we can guess that were trump to fire mueller, you would have focus group after focus group of trump voters saying it's a good idea. trump is a genius. supporters will support him. >> it's do what you're told. that's the religion. >> i think that's correct. >> jonathan? >> they seem to be smart enough to know it would look like lel if he fired the guy. >> i think that's true. to pull back a little bit, it's already clear this investigation is now a red/bluish. that's exactly what happened to the bill clinton impeachment situation in the '90s. that's great for trump. that's in fact rudy guiliani's purpose in life at the moment is not to be a substantive lawyer for trump. it's to smear mueller, cast doubt over the investigation and harden the polarization and partisanship and frankly to rally the troops around trump. the bet is that by the time mueller wraps this up and puts his report out and congress has to deal with it, that the
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republican party will almost entirely rally around donald trump. >> let's go with this theory. >> instinctively, it makes perfect sense. >> i would say after we've gone through the access would tape, it's clear that the threshold of crap they're willing to take is about 100%. they'll take it all, his supporters no matter what he says about sex or lifestyle behavior or personal character, they don't care as long as he's on the right sides of their issues. weren't they smart to -- let's talk about stormy instead of russia. giuliani like a big magnet. let's talk about me, giuliani, which is what you're talking about and stormy because that's better than talking about treas treason. >> screwing around is better than treason. he said talk about that stuff and cover-up. at least you're not talking about me in bed with the russians and how to win a presidential election. they're already involved in it. >> they also voted for donald trump and took a chance in doing so even though they knew all of his flaws in 2016.
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they don't like hearing people say that he is a bad guy or you voted for the wrong guy. they want to believe in what they voted for and sticking with him despite all the evidence of immorality. >> you don't buy rudy knows what he's doing? >> i think jonathan is right. rudy is trying to muddy the waters and trying to bludgeon mueller and run a public relations battle. >> the last time i talked to rudy, he compared mueller's team to storm troopers which is extraordinary way of talking about federal law enforcement. >> thank you. up next, these three will tell me something i don't know. you're watching "hardball." ♪ you and me together ♪ through the days and nights. ♪ i don't worry ♪ 'cause everything's ♪ gonna be all right. ♪ no one, no one, no one ♪ can get in the way ♪ of what i feel for you.
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the president's legal team are jonathan turley and andy mccarthy. they take their writing seriously. could be good news because turley is one of the only people who argued that the president might not face disaster if he were to sit with interview and theres the interview could be a good idea. >> for the president. >> right. >> could he be indicted. >> no, he thinks he can't be indicted. >> a major rift developed within trump's economic and trade team that's become personal. peter navarro and steven mnuchin the treasury secretary had a major blowup in china. >> i'm rooting for wilbur. thank you, phil rucker, betsy woodruff and jonathan swan. wooibt. for leisure. so i go national, where i can choose any available upgrade in the aisle - without starting any conversations- -or paying any upcharges.
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let me finish tonight before saturday's big royal wedding by recalling what an earlier -- when an earlier american became a princess. if you grew up in philadelphia especially among irish catholics it's a classically american story of striving and success. a fairy tale really. grace patricia kelly was the daughter of a local contractor who was also a famed amateur athlete. john w. kelly won a trio of olympic medals as a rower. because he worked with his hands, his company was called kelly for brick work he was scratched at the royal regatta. it fell to his son to win the diamond skull. grace reached her own dream to be a great american movie
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actress. at age 26, she gave up hollywood to wed prince rainier of monaco. today her girlhood home in philadelphia serves as the headquarters of the prince albert foundation dedicated to climate change and world supply of fresh water. hets that's "hardball" for now. all in with chris hayes starts right now. tonight on "all in." >> did you know about the $130,000 payment to stormy daniels? >> no. >> president trump finally comes clean. >> michael cohen will lead to the down fall of this president. >>" too, new legal trouble for donald trump as he finally discloses the payment that went to stormy daniels. plus, the qatari investor who now says michael cohen hit him up for $1 million. then. >> my take away when all of this was going on is that someone has information on our opponent. >> congressman adam schiff on


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