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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  September 20, 2019 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT

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white privilege. so you can check that out. that does it for us. we'll be back here 6:00 p.m. eastern on monday but don't go anywhere. "hardball" with chris matthews is up next. red-handed. let's play hardball. good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. we're getting major breaking news tonight from multiple sources about the president's alarming conversation with a foreign leader that prompted an urgent whistle-blower's complaint. "the washington post" tonight has revealed crucial new information, that, quote, president trump pressed the leader of ukraine to investigate the son of former vice president joe biden in a call between the two leaders. that's according to two people familiar with the matter who say that trump used the july 25th conversation with ukraine
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president zulinsky to pressure him to more aggressively pursue an investigation trump believed would deliver potential political dirt against one of the president's political adversaries, joe biden. again, just to reiterate a president who spent three years colluding with a foreign power to get dirt on his political enemies has been caught red-handed doing just that. and this comes today after the president declined to say whether he discussed the former vice president joe biden's family in that phone call with the ukrainian president, a call he insists was appropriate. >> did you discuss joe biden, his son or his family with the leader of ukraine? >> it doesn't matter what i discussed -- >> did you talk -- >> i don't want to talk about any conversation other than to say great conversation, totally appropriate conversation, couldn't have been better and keep asking questions and build it up as big as possible so you
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can have a bigger downfall. >> well, separately "the wall street journal" reports that in that phone call president trump, quote, repeatedly pressured the president of ukraine urging that president about eight times to work with rudy giuliani, trump's personal lawyer on a probe, according to people familiar with the matter. we already know that since may giuliani has been working outside official channels to push the ukrainian president to investigate biden's family. in fact giuliani confirmed it himself just last night. in a bizarre performance on cnn giuliani first denied he asked ukraine to investigate biden only to admit it just seconds later. watch this. >> did you ask ukraine to investigate joe biden? >> no, actually, i didn't -- >> so you did ask ukraine to look into joe biden. >> of course i did. >> you just said you didn't. >> house representatives have watched investigations into whether the president held
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military aid to ukraine, a prospect they say would be a staggering abuse of power. that aide was eventually released last week but only after lawmakers of both parties expressed outrage and the white house correspondent for pbs news hour, ben wittis, and cal, it's great to have you on tonight. this is the biggest story i've seen in months. the president of the united states always spent three years denying he colluded with a foreign power to get dirt on hillary clinton. and now says -- excuse me, i'm out there doing it again this time to get it on joe biden, i'm working for 2020 here. >> i know, what gives. it's funny a person that we've interviewed said to me today, you know, robert mueller in his two-year investigation never really had what you would ostensibly call a quid pro quo
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and here it is right in front of us in broad daylight, apparently. the time line is not very flattering to the president, july 25th. he makes a call to zelensky, pressures him to look into joe bid biden's son, has the ambassador to ukraine help setup that meeting and all of it while offering or withholding as like a tease $250 million in military aide that congress has approve. >> so he's doing two things. he's getting dirt from a foreign government directly, simply. this is much simpler than the whole russian collusion thing. this is delir cut, i'm going to a foreign government, a president of a foreign government for dirt, i'm using my office as president to do it. i'm using the threat of withholding military aide to a country that is vulnerable to the russian -- and moments ago
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former vice president joe biden said if these reports are true then there's truly no bottom of president trump's willingness to abuse his power and abase our country. this undermines our national security for partisan purposes. he also said at a minimum the president should release a transcript of the call in order that the whistle-blower's complaint be released to congress. congressman quigley, thank you for coming on a friday night, but my god, this is big one. the president of the united states, put it into perspective, out there trolling for dirt on political opponent using his presidential power, his office or foreign policy, or foreign aid or military aid to go to a foreign government to get oppo on someone he might have to run against. your thoughts. >> i guess i'm not surprised. i've watched and investigated this white house for over three years now and absolutely nothing
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surprises me. i guess if i've learned anything is there's never any coincidences with this white house and their operation and everything's tied together. i mean, this began a long time ago with manafort and the profiteers who worked in the white house. this is just an extension of those actions. >> you're not supposed to take aid from a foreign power, a foreign government in a political campaign. is this that? is this going over there for something of value, in kind dirt which is something usually paid for from an oppo operation. is this a crime? >> look, even if you don't conflate these two issues, the assault on congressional oversight and the whistle-blower operation and what we're learning about ukraine, these are two body blows to the country that we live in. it is extraordinary. it is a danger not only to our country and what we present, let's understand exactly where ukraine is right now.
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crimea is occupied, there's fighting in the east. this is country just hanging on against russian oppression, so these are our allies, what they must think of us now. >> i'm shocked by this. this is blatant. he's been investigated for three years for this very act. he now does it in broad daylight where we caught him. you know what, a whistle-blower caught him doing this. we didn't catch him. >> there's three issues here and all very big deals. so the first is shaking down a foreign leader for his own personal political gain. it's not for some u.s. policy objective, right, but it's holding up congressionally appropriated money while you're making demands for your personal benefit, personal political benefit from a foreign country. the second issue is inviting as you just pointed out, inviting or asking or demanding that foreign country to improperly
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engage in the u.s. political process, right? this is collusion, right? and the third, which is from my point of view by far the worst is asking, demanding a foreign leader to investigate your political opponents. and trump has been pretty open about demanding that his law enforcement apparatus investigate his political opponents whether it's hillary clinton or, you know, obama, right, he's easy about that. but now we see he's leaning on foreign officials to do it as well. and by the way, he's not sending -- he's not saying to the ukrainians cooperate with our law enforcement officials. he's saying to the ukrainians cooperate with my personal lawyer in digging up dirt and spying on and investigating my political opponents and theirs children. >> in addition to abuse of power
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it's extortion. it's taking a country vulnerable to being brought down by russia and putin and saying i know you're in trouble. you want to be saved, give me my dirt. in june the president openly admitted he would accept dirt from a foreign government on a political opponent and said he would not contact the fbi if he was contacted by a foreign government. >> this is someone who said we have information on your opponent, oh, let me call the fbi -- if somebody called from a country, norway, we have information on your opponent, oh, i think i'd want to hear it. >> you want that kind of interference in our elections? >> it's not interference. that've information. i think i'd take it. >> in this case he didn't have something come over the transit. he went over. he wept over and you want that $250 mill, give me the dirt on biden. >> it seems as though from the
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reporting that we've seen from "the washington post," "the wall street journal," "the new york times" is that, yes, the president is open to that. and it fits a pattern. in 2016 he said russia hacked hik hillary clinton's e-mails, what this tells us in the future is if you're a foreign government and you want to sway this president can you give him information you come across about any political opponent and -- >> in the last several days this story has blossomed. a whistle-blower's complaint through the dni -- the director of national intelligence doing all this upsetting to that person, and national security they said this was urgent, we have to know about it.
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under the advice of william barr, the president's toady at ag, and now we're finding out it perhaps was a quid pro quo. how'd this story break out? there's a lot of theories about what your sources are. one source himself thinks trump himself is putting it out -- i like your face. >> in fact, what i would say, chris, is one of the stunning things that tells me this is a big deal beyond the fact that it is encouraging a foreign power to get involved for his personal benefit has been put so well, what tells me it's a big deal is how silent the white house is. usually you get some engagement, somebody there to say, look, here's our argument, i want to push back on this. there is an absolute deafening over there. the president for his part today
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said my lawyers are looking at it and they're laughing at that complaint. i'm not so convinced they're laughing at that complaint. our reporting today is that the white house counsel and bill barr both if not personally their offices is consulting with the director of national intelligence, given legal arguments why this should not go to congress -- >> the complaint, the content of it. >> why this whistle-blower's information shouldn't go to congress and that this has created great consternation and tension between the office of the director of national intelligence and the white house. >> both your piece today and "the wall street journal" piece late today say pressured, that the president of the united states pressured the ukrainian president zelen sgky to give us that dirt or else. what's the or else? >> as we've been discussing it's the $250 in military aide the president approved and that the
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president was holding back on and blocking which is pretty unusual. and then the other was a meeting with the president. aides had been trying to arrange for trump to meet with zelensky, something he really wanted. it's a signal to the world and trump was withholding that, too. >> is that the promise we read in this piece, he will meet with him? >> i can't tell you. >> but there is a quid pro quo aspect to this? >> i'll say this in terms of the president has always and people in my reporting has always talked about the thing that blocks the president has been the courts. now we're seeing with this whistle-blower there are people within his own government willing to say you know what, you've gone too far, here it is. we've been waiting for republicans in congress, at times for people to say oh, they've gone too far, the president can do this.
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and now we see he is not pushing back as much. they're not pushing back because if they do they obviously have people inside that can push back on that who have evidence of this call. but the question is they can't push back too hard because the person who's whistle blowing is inside this administration. >> and they don't know. their guess is the person inside blue the whistle. you said there's more there you wanted to get to about a possible quid pro quo. what was it? >> well, i want to stress something about the whistle-blower complaint cl is this claimant took a pretty brave some might say step because this could be career ending, and this could also lead to them being found out because of the way they've described what happened. >> you said them to avoid giving gender away. i love the way you source these things. go ahead.
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>> that complaint is based not just on the one july 25th call but multiple events, multiple incidents. it's not just i'm on the phone and i hear the president doing something -- but i know through several methods that a series of events have taken place that's an urgent concern. an urgent concern under the statute is something that's a flagrant abuse that needs to be alerted to congress immediately, and if one of those things involves what the president said, that should worry everybody. >> congressman quigley, the requirement of the statute is when the whistle-blower blows that whistle you folks get to know what the whistle was about. what can you do to get the content of this complaint which has led to this whole explosion of news tonight? your thoughts? >> i want to reinforce the inspector general told us this was a series of events, he said
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this was an extremely important function that the dni had for the responsibility of the american people. he said he corroborated it, so it was extraordinarily important. he stressed the chilling effect on the entire process of congressional oversight and what's his next step, i think we're going to see him on thursday, the acting dni explain to us why he's blocking a lawful effort. beyond that i think this can't just be another court fight. this must be an emergency order seeking injunctive relief to get a copy of this complaint. it is being unlawfully held from congress by an opinion, according to the inspector general from the justice department. >> is this going to move pelosi to impeachment? >> look, i think it should move everyone to understanding what we saw in the special counsel's report was only part of it. the special counsel didn't even
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follow the money. there's so much more to be investigated and the abuses haven't stopped. a president who has never been held accountable will not act in an accountable fashion unless we do something. >> thank you so much u.s. congressman mike quigley of illinois. congratulations on this story it is a blockbuster. coming up giuliani's melt down. first he denies he asked ukraine to investigate joe biden, and seconds later -- seconds later he admits he was trying to get the dirt. plus what donald trump learned about fighting dirty from his ruthless mentor roy cohn. we're going to have that story for you tonight. nice fellow roy cohn, something of a very intriguing new documentary. y intriguing new documentary. >> trump settled but that for him was a victory because he didn't admit he did anything wrong and it's very consistent with roy's advice, never admit you're wrong.
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>> i'll talk to the director of that documentary called "where's my roy cohn." there's a lot more to get to tonight. stay with us. s a lot more to geo tonight. stay with us een a thing or two. even a- (ernie) lost rubber duckie? (burke) you mean this one? (ernie) rubber duckie! (cookie) what about a broken cookie jar? (burke) again, cookie? (cookie) yeah. me bad. (grover) yoooooow! oh! what about monsters having accidents? i am okay by the way! (burke) depends. did you cause the accident, grover? (grover) cause an accident? maybe... (bert) how do you know all this stuff? (burke) just comes with experience. (all muppets) yup. ♪ we are farmers. ♪ bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum it's how we bring hope to our patients- like viola. her team treated her cancer and strengthened her spirit. so viola could focus on their future. cancer treatment centers of america. appointments available now. run with us on a john deere 1 series tractor. beacuse changing your attachments, should be as easy as...
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did you ask ukraine to investigate joe biden? >> you never asked anything about hunter biden, anything about joe biden? >> the only thing i asked about joe biden to get to the bottom of how it was -- who was appointed dismissed the case -- >> so you did ask ukraine to look into joe biden? >> of course i did. >> you just said you didn't. >> welcome back to "hardball." that bizarre performance is the latest from president trump's personal attorney rudy giuliani, attempting there to explain his months long efforts to get the government of crew crane to help dig up dirt on one of his political rivals, joe biden and his son hunter.
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multiple news outlets tonight are reporting that in july president trump himself pressured the new ukrainian president eight times by the count of "the wall street journal" to help giuliani in his efforts to get the dirt. according to "the wall street journal" joll yawny met with a top aide to mr. zelensky and assured him the ukrainian government would get to the bottom of the matter. and it was the state department that helped connect him to that top aide. giuliani defended his actions back in may to new york reporter ken vogel saying there's nothing illegal about it. but admitting somebody could say it's improper. i'm joined by ken vogel, evelyn farkas. ken, give us a sense of your sense of rudy giuliani's last chapter perhaps of his public life here. what's his role? it seems to be oppo, get me the
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dirt on the guy i may have to run against joe biden? it seems to me the number one job for the number one guy? >> yes, his explanation is he's acting in capacity as president trump's personal lawyer, and he says that he started looking at ukraine because he was looking for exculpatory information about the origins of the mueller probe. believing somehow it got its start because of a ukrainian investigation of paul manafort, donald trump's campaign chairman for a time. and that that's why rudy giuliani started looking at ukraine. in the course of looking at ukraine and pushing the ukrainians to investigate that, he says he stumbled upon this potential investigation or this matter involving joe biden, and jobiden's diplomacy in ukraine and how that intersected with joe biden's son hunter and his work in ukraine for a ukrainian owned oligarch gas company, i
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used the air quote stumble there because we had written about that back in 2015. it wasn't like he discovered anything new. what he say doing more was to push the ukrainians to investigate it, to be able to potentially run against joe biden, and that is why we see this complaint which i think is quite valid that rudy giuliani is sort of distorting the u.s. foreign policy apparatus and he has support in that effort from trump. >> what we're talking about tonight is this breaking story tonight which has really come to full bloom which is the latest reporting is that the president of the united states, donald trump, is out there dealing with the president of ukraine to get dirt saying i'll give you the latest military aide we owe you if and only if you get me some dirt on joe biden and his kid hunter.
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last night rudy giuliani said he had nee knowledge of this effort. >> did he ask you to do what you were doing? >> no, i did what i did on my own and then i told him about it afterwards because i'm his lawyer and i know how to investigate. >> back in may before his canceled trip to ukraine that time giuliani told ken vogel that the president basically knows what i'm doing. sure, as his lawyer. does anybody know who's paying the tab for all this travel to kiev and madrid and paris? somebody's paying for all this. >> yes, he's going through an expensive divorce so i'm guessing somebody is. either the trump administration or -- i think the real issue is for some reason rudy giuliani is out here now to capture our attention.
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a lot of times what we see is when the president is doing something wrong ala the mueller report, rudy giuliani will come out and make it seem like it's okay. he'll actually air the dirty laundry. >> while would he initially deny it to chris cuomo and only when chris was probing him, oh, yeah i did. >> that's a little odd. for some reason he was trying to make some point to the public about the president's dealings and about president trump and about of course the biden, you know, fake conspiracy he's trying to make up. but i do believe that he comes out when the white house is in trouble. so my guess is the white house feels they're in trouble. >> i'll tell you that's the side story but why does rudy make himself like ed coch. he's out there at 9:00 after dinner, obviously people think that's a factor. what do you make of all this? why is he so exposed?
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is it to draw fire from the president? is that what's going on here, ken? >> yeah, i think there's certainly something to that. i think there's also an element of he's working for this guy who he sees as able to say the most outlandish controversial thing for the sole purpose of kind of stirring the pot or trolling his rivals and giuliani in some ways has mirrored that. that is the way he was behaving. he wasn't always like this. he's still quite lucid and for the most part he's good on his feet with the exception of a few interviews like the one you just showed. but i think he used to be like a little more careful and sort of calculated in his statements and now we've just seen that totally go out the window, whether that's because he's acting on some instructions from trump, to take the pressure or scrutiny
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off him, it's tough to get in his head and what we can clearly say is that in this particular case it did not work. it did not deflect any attention. in fact, people are just going deeper into this, and there's been more reporting on it. the one thing i would correct on is this idea that it quid pro quo offered, and there may have been one offered between trump and zelensky, b the ukrainians were not even aware that assistance was being delayed or reviewed until a month after that phone call. >> one last question. it looks to me rudy is out here doing something bill casey did for ronald reagan, prove himself before he gets elected by doing the dirt work for him. this is big casino for trump, he has to get rid of joe biden's threat. >> yeah, that's clearly what's
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going on here. he sees joe biden as a real threat, and we have reporting on this that he sees him as potentially the most viable democratic candidate, and this is potential liability that rudy in some ways is sort of muddling up, he's not helping push the story. the story has become about rudy's efforts to meddle in ukrainian politics. call it a central tenant of the trump presidency. the flouting of rules and norms usually associated with the highest office. zero repercussions, watch it tonight. i'm not confident congress even on this big one tonight will be able to do anything on it. this congress is week. it does feel a little different, more damaging if the congress knows how to use it. are trump's chickens finally coming out to roost, in this
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cell cell . welcome back to "hardball." his behavior is not a flaw but a signature feeper of his presidency. breaking the laws is what he does, breaking the rules. the copseitution was crafted to ensure however there's a system of checks and balances in place to avoid the abuses of a
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monarch. article 2 the president's vagary defined executive power which according to trump means no one can stop me. let's watch him. >> i have an article 2 where i have the right to do whatever i want as president, but i don't even talk about that. >> oh, great. so you can do anything you want. since his election president trump has tested that power. he stone walled congress' lawful subpoena powers in response to multiple investigations. he's directed his treasury department in one direct case to simply deny a lawful request guaranteed in statute to turn over his tax returns to the house ways and means committee, the finance committee. he just makes them up. he shared classified intelligence with world leaders, we know about that. and now three house committees are investigating whether or not president trump and his personal lawyer, rudy giuliani, pressured the ukrainian government to insist in trump's re-election through profession of dirt.
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i'm joined by rick tyler, glen kirschner. what is wrong? there's no sense about regs, this president keeps punching into cotton. there's nobody stopping him. >> we don't have a coequal branch of government in congress. look adnadler's committee, he sends out subpoenas, calls witnesses three months late, calls out subpoenas, nobody shows up. he gets a low level fired political hack to show up, and he mocks them. and people are supposed to take that seriously? he's so screwed up the accountability problem with congress, they don't know how to react. congress has a coequal duty, it's in the constitution. use your constitutional powers. they have the power of the purse, the budget. they could skru up this swrejative branch so quickly if
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they wanted to but they're not serious. >> i agree with rick. right now the congress is not acting like a coequal branch of government. nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. they've given their consent to be an interior branch. the republicans have given their consent because they're scared to death. >> mitch mcconnell just looks the tv camera in the face and says i'm doing it my way, live with it. >> and the democrats, chris, i given their consent because they're unwilling to use all the tools in their toolbox. >> they should dump it on him but they don't have one. >> they need to use the lawful vehicle of inherent contempt -- >> and there's only one vehicle to hold this president accountable. so when people say you should hold the president accountable, i have. but now there's one vehicle to
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hold the president accountable and it's house democrats and they're just not doing it. because nancy pelosi and chairman nadler are at odds. and thing is chairman nadler, follow your leader, oppose your leader or go home. >> republicans on capitol hill have come to the president's defense again on this whole thing we're talking about tonight, this blockbuster story about the president in bed with the ukrainians to get dirt on joe biden. let's watch. >> this is not something i've ever seen the president doing, and i would instead of jump to conclusions actually get the facts first. >> how much do you want to bet whatever the president said was in the best interest within the united states of america? i mean that's the bottom line. >> i think there are people in the intelligence community and other parts of our government who just have it out for the president. i don't have any worries about the president. >> it looks to me another deep state attack, another bureaucratic attack on the president. we have seen this over and over and over in this administration
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or from anonymous sources deep inside the bu inside the bureaucracy. >> again, the amen corner, they come from districts 90%, whatever republican, they just bow down to this president and make his executive power even grander. >> you know why this is in a way even more troubling than russian collusion, chris, that was, hey, russia if you can find the e-mails that would be great. this is him affirmatively asking another world leader to investigate another presidential candidate. we have constraints on u.s. law enforcement when we're criminally investigating people. if ukraine sends agents to the united states over and over to start investigating biden and his family, they're unconstrained by our laws.
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>> imagine this whistle-blower listen to the president of the united states talk like that, like a mob guy. >> he talks about that this person -- i've been told he's a partisan, he's a high level intelligence official, he's someone known to the president. >> he's telling the truth, he must be a partisan. still ahead, you guys have more outrage than the whole democratic hafr democratic half of the house. what donald trump learned about fighting dirty from his ruthness mentor roy cohn. stay with us. mentor roy cohn. stay with us panera's new warm grain bowls are full of good.
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restoring control and harmony, once thought to belost forever. the most personal technology is technology with the power to change your life. welcome back to "hardball." everyone watching right now knows donald trump wanted an attorney general who would protect him especially against his investigation of his dealings with it russians in 2016. where's my roy cohn, trump yelled in anger when told the person he did name attorney
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general refused to do just that, that jeff sessions had actually recused himself, in other words refused to even handle the russia investigation. where's my roy cohn. the president was referring to his late mentor roy cohn, a charismatic brauns born prosecutor his methods were ruthless and in fact criminal. he began his career hunting suspected communists as the chief counsel to joseph mccarthy in the early 1950sch no client was too unsavory over the years who went onto represent a number of mafia figures among others. the title of his new documentary, where's my roy cohn, and here's a clip. >> the justice department was going of fred trump and donald trump for not letting blacks in their housing. rather than making a deal, rather than admitting guilt roy said that, trump, you need to go
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full after the just department. >> roy was clear what to do, attack, don't settle, don't apologize, attack. >> roy would always be for an offense hit strategy. these are the rules of the war. you define what the debate is going to be about. i think donald learned that from roy. i learned that from roy. >> roy cohn began this whole mode of what you see today of get off the issue, attack law enforcement, attack the government, attack the press and create phony issues so you can totally change the debate. >> he shouldn't disclaim i mean a totally inability to cope with any of these current topics. he does it with great precision. >> keep talking. this is known as filler. you throw your mud and then the filler goes on until we've forgotten what the point was. >> well, the incredible story of
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roy lawyer roy cohn and his ties to donald trump coming up next. you're watching "hardball." to donald trump coming up next you're watching "hardball. ever since i started renting from national. because national lets me lose the wait at the counter... ...and choose any car in the aisle. and i don't wait when i return, thanks to drop & go. at national, i can lose the wait...and keep it off. looking good, patrick. i know. (vo) go national. go like a pro. (classical music playing throughout)
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of a story. >> cohn soared to national prominence as mccarthy's hand maiden, whispering in his ear in a conspiratorial fashion, advising him how to question witnesses before the congressional subcommittee. roy's tactics and approach via mccarthy make him one of the most controversial people in the country. >> i don't think you understood the question. the question is do you know this man, and i would assume the answer is yes or no. tell us if you know the man before you. do you know this man or don't you? >> joining me right now isphilic maker whose new movie where's my roy cohn examines the dark and compelling life of roy cohn. thank you so much for joining us. and here's the question. what attracted joe mccarthy to this guy roy cohn?
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he trusted him completely, implicitly defended him no matter what he wanted and is it the same thing that attracted donald trump over the years? >> joe mccarthy was kind of an empty vessel. he wasn't really the sharpest tool in the drawer and i think he needed someone to manipulate and tell him what to say. the iconic footage of cohn is him whispering in the ear of mccarthy in the senate subcommittee and really kind of leading him into these persecuting questionings of usually innocent witnesses. he was a demagogue whisperer and he liked to sort of infect empty vessels and i think trump was sort of his latent life project, a demagogue in the making and he became the apprentice to roy cohn. >> you know one thing that impressed me by the beautifully made movie by you, and this is really good, what i liked about it is the artistic quality. i had no problem with any of the political messages.
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i thought it was very fair about histwrae, very fair. i also thought it was interesting about the new york society and the way they value things, the bad values of new york and this country. why would people of repute, people like the cardinal of new york, the catholic cardinal, why would they all surround this guy as their best friend? why would you want to be around such a sleaze ball? >> because new york city and it still is to this day is the most transactional place in the world and roy cohn was the greatest transactionallist maybe ever since donald trump. and he goes to this power grid of new york society, befriends everyone and because he became a powerbroker and mob attorney and he was someone who had the ear of powerful politicians and he was always up to nefarious things that involved money changing hands, he was accepted in new york society. and new york sort of likes a
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loverab lovable scoundrel. but the whole media power complex of new york really fostered him and allowed him to exist. but the key to roy cohn sthafs he was a media manipulating master. he just knew how to work the system. and the system of the day was print and tv and radio. and he just fed information to the press, curried favor with them. he was a wonderful source. he was extraordinary gossip and he also was a powerbroker and he was sort of the bridge to the illegitimate world and the mob and the legitimate world because he had the ear of the politicians of the day. so he sort of invented this unique job for himself where he was the powerbroker to the dark world and the light world. and obviously his ultimate mentee was trump.
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there's an extraordinary piece of footage in this film from the late '70s where he says donald is a meteor rising from this city going to go onto touch parts of the world. he's predicting a trump presidency from the carter era. it's bizarre. >> he says his identity was a closeted gay man with mccarthy. let's watch. >> mccarthy we think of him in terms of investigating communists, but he and cohn also investigated homosexuals. >> in the '40s and the '50s being gay was such a terrible secret and that was true for roy. it's just for hard for people today to imagine the damage keeping that secret did to people and their lives. and roy certainly would have done everything to hide it in
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any way. >> well, it's a different era today of course about people who are gay in this country. we have a gay fellow running for president married to another man. but we live in a different time. back then in the early '50s here's roy cohn who's gay leading an investigation into in the country. and they also were doing some gay baiting about -- i've never seen that brought out the way it's brought out in the movie. they were doing this same anti--gay homophobic stuff the right wing would have done. >> mccarthy and cohn are going after the army for suspected communist ring. it was all really a personal affair for cohn. he egged mccarthy onto creating this tv spectacle in the early '50s and it really became a personal matter because cohn at the time had a kind of boy crush
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on a very good-looking army private and he was trying to do a favor for this handsome man who was also on the mccarthy committee. unbelievably he calls the secretary of the army and requests a promotion from private to general for his friend g. david shine, in the posting of a penthouse, this is not a joke, this actually happened and the army pushed back and said never. and cohn said i'm going to wreck the army and that led to mccarthy hearings which is rife with homosexual subtext, with joseph welsh, the good guy who says have you no decency, sir, and kind of pricks the era of the mccarthy era. but they engage in a homophobic attack on cohn and mccarthy trying to use a quiver and pop the bubble and bring them down. >> great documentary. the title is where is my roy cohn. that opens today.
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up, to get them to act. we demand a safe future. >> and that's "hardball" for now. all in with chris hayes is next. tonight on a special edition of "all in." >> why should we study for a future that is being taken away from us? >> it is the single biggest story on the face of the planet. there's a man made catastrophe as protests rage across the globe, as candidates convene to call for action. >> there is a global extinction going on right now. >> breaking news about how the trump administration is actively working to make things work. >> you're telling me that major auto makers are scared of the president? >> because donald trump is threatened. >> our special report on a climate in crisis. >> so when it rains around the country, it pours here. >>

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