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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  December 26, 2019 4:00pm-5:00pm PST

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but the cbc said it actually happened in 2014, and many on social media are applauding the move. that does it for me. i'll see you back here tonight. "hardball" is next. crack in the gop wall. let's play hardball. good evening, i'm steve kornacki in for chris matthews. president trump went on the attack today slamming democrats in particular house speaker nancy pelosi over his impeachment. the president fired off a series of tweets this morning saying in part, quote, do nothing democrats said they wanted to rush everything through the senate and calling democrats liars. it followed a pair of tweets on christmas night going after pelosi for holding those two
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articles of impeachment from the senate and demanding the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell negotiate details on a senate trial. the president wrote this, quote, why should crazy nancy pelosi just because she has a slight majority in the house be allowed to impeach the president of the united states? adding dems want to run majority republican senate. hypocrites. the holiday tweet storm came just hours the president's holiday christmas message which came on americans to remember, quote, the bonds that unite us. it also comes as republican senator lisa murkowski of alaska expresses concerns about mcconnell's plans for the senate revealing at least one potential crack in republican support for president trump as the senate ponders what to do. murkowski said she is uncomfortable with mcconnell's comments he plans to be in, quote, total coordination with the white house over a trial. >> well, in fairness when i heard that i was disturbed. and if we are tasked as the full
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senate to do impartial justice under the constitution and the law, to me it means that we have to take that step back from being hand in glove with the defense. and so i heard what leader mcconnell had said, i happened to think that that has further confused the process. murkows >> murkowski is one of several wild cards in the senate. she stressed she takes her role as an impeachment juror seriously. >> i need to be able to sit back and look at both sides of this, both what the house managers will present and what the white house managers will present. i need to do that. that's what i am going to do.
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i'm going to sit back and look at that and judge fairly and fully and honestly. so for me to prejudge and say there's nothing there or on the other hand, that's wrong. in my view, that's wrong. >> for more i'm joined by the political correspondent for business insider, and richard b who served as a watergate prosecutor. between the democratic controlled house, the republican controlled senate, what trump is doing and saying publicly today the day after christmas going after nancy pelosi with the warrants he's going after her with, in terms of pelosi's posture in that standoff, how will this affect it? will it affect it at all? >> no, it's just another tweet,
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tantrum that the president is fond of employing, attacking, bullying, making fun of people. he's just the master of this kind of disruptive and ove over-politicizing process. senator murkowski gives us a breath of fresh air and actual stating of the obvious. if you're going to have a trial, you should have witnesses. you should have access to evidence. you shouldn't have a president saying, oh, you're going too slow now, before you were going too fast. it sounds like the story of goldilocks and the three bears. what was too fast about the impeachment? didn't he have time, the president, to give a sworn statement if he wanted to? didn't he have time to release the witnesses who he has told
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could not testify? all of this makes no sense at all in terms of getting to the truth of what actually happened. so that reasonable people can then make judgments about it. >> so in terms of the democrats strategy here in withholding this at least for now from the senate one of the ideas that's been advanced is basically that will make trump squirm, this idea, hey, the house has impeached him. there is no acquittal immediate forthcoming from the senate. that reaction to him to that reality would then force mcconnell's hands, force republicans hands in the senate. do you see any indication at all of what he's saying now or is this someone going to take this posture no matter what? >> we have to remember this is the first time in his entire life donald trump is being held publicly accountable for something. this isn't a lawsuit he can just settle and sweep under the rug.
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and his ranting and raving about it is kind of indicative of the fact he hasn't dealt with this before. so for pelosi to with hold those articles from the democrats perspective was likely to box trump in and to not give him the one thing he wants most, which is, quote, total and complete exoneration, which is what he would look forward to from the senate. as long as pelosi and democrats with hold these articles, there's absolutely nothing trump can do to bend him to his will. i think that's why we're seeing him kind of unravel and come unhinged in realtime. >> i think the argument that's out there why this would not work for democrats, susan, is trump is basically going to be on the attack and going after democrats and no matter what. so he says he wants the trial, that was his initial posture. if it doesn't look like there's going to be a trial he'll switch to arguing oh, they didn't have a strong enough case to bring in the senate, i'm effectively exonerated. do you think there's leverage there for democrats?
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>> i don't even see any of that actually going through, past january 6th which is when i think nancy pelosi will send the articles of impeachment to the senate. i was originally of the thought oh, nancy pelosi just wants to let donald trump squirm a little bit, but there's something else happening over this two-week break which is the argument for evidence is growing. and i think lisa murkowski was saying to leader mcconnell you can't be in lock step because i may want to see some evidence too, i may want to hear from some witnesses too. and that's an argument the american people can get behind because if there's a trial, of course there's witnesses. so i think pelosi may have -- i don't know if it was planned or not but done herself a big favor. the trick is to get those articles of impeachment sent over within the first few days that she's back. >> all right, let's take a
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closer look murkowski saying what it means. she's one of the handful of senators who at least conceivably could break with president trump on impeachment or maybe just the procedural questions around impeachment. those can be just as important here. others on that list, folks are watching include maine's susan collins, utah's mitt romney. collins of course facing a tough re-election next year. so does colorado's cory gardener. worth remembering. they also have to get through republican primaries. president trump tried tokerry favor with collins this week, he endorsed her and quoted a tweet from senator lindsey graham saying, quote, she showed unbelievable courage in justice cav gnaw's confirmation adding i agree 100%. for her part murkowski said she has not discussed her plans with other senators. >> if it means that i am viewed as one who looks openly and
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critically at every issue in front of me rather than acting as a rubber stamp for my party or my president, i'm totally good with that. >> so richard, we talk about there's the question of ultimately who's going to vote how on convicting or acquitting president trump. there's also the immediate procedural question the senate would have to face at the beginning of a trial, how does the trial look? what are the rules? are there witnesses? which witnesses? take us through that process because i think when murkowski makes a comment like that, it does raise the question of put the acquittal question aside. does mcconnell have the votes to force through the rules that mcconnell wants? >> right, the rules that mcconnell wants are shameful. the idea of complaining about the failure to call witnesses when it is you, president trump who has told the witnesses they
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cannot testify when you say we haven't seen all the evidence, you're rushing this through, when it is the president who has prevented the documents from being released, why don't we have the documents surrounding the decision to withhold the aid to our ally, ukraine, who's in a shooting war with the russians -- what sense does it make to withhold that evidence, and what is the president hiding? i think these two weeks will show that most americans with common sense applied to this will say why don't we have a trial that has the release of the available evidence to provide to the american public as well as to the senate who as senator murkowski has said very strongly and forcefully in my
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opinion, rationally, if we're to be judges, we must see the evidence of the crime that has been alleged. in this case, the articles of impeachment that have been alleged so that we can make up our mind fairly. americans don't go for the idea of hiding the ball. that's what happened with nixon. and mr. trump is courting the same thing. >> let's take a closer look at murkowski. she's sort of an interesting story politically. ended up winning re-election as a write in candidate, so i think she's shown the ability to exercise independence than some of her colleagues in the senate. how far do you think she's willing to take a comment like this, is it just sending a public message, getting a record to mcconnell or is it actually following through and potentially voting against mcconnell on a key procedural question? >> look, murkowski has
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definitely been more than willing to buck her party in the past. whether we think about justice kavanaugh's confirmation hearings, there's been a number of issues she's been willing to speak out when she thinks there's a need for it. i think her comments are significant also because it creates an opening in which moderate and vulnerable republican senators to be asked where they stand on it. so we could potentially see people like mitt romney and susan collins come out and say they're siding with murkowski, call for witnesses and call for a fair and impartial trial the way the senate should be holding this. >> so democrats are hoping for here, but let me ask you specifically about some of those names because murkowski not up until 2022 has survived losing a primary before. let's put him in a different category.
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tom tillis, martha mcsally, cory gardener, they all have to run for re-election next year in potentially difficult circumstances, but none of them have yet won the republican primary to get to a general election. can they realistically in the party of trump we talk about all the time here, can they survive voting against trump in a key procedural question that would allow all these witnesses into a senate trial and then survive republican primaries? >> well, it depends how far how much mcconnell wants to hold the senate too because he could push back in a primary against susan collins for example or carry gardener. the other name i'd like to throw into that he's been also willing to show -- do the right thing, if you will, and he's not running for re-election. to go back to republican senators who could likely be primaried, i think if they want to win the general, they've got to do the right thing here and i
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think the thing is most of them want to. so if they could be kind of book ended by a lisa murkowski, mitt romney or maybe a lamar alexander, that's a good group of people you have going in. now you're 4, 5, 6. that's enough cover. >> we will see as the days progress here and the standoff. thank you all for being with us. and coming up, on his way out the door now former kentucky governor matt bevan handed out hundreds of pardons including clemency to convicted murderer and child rapist. now the fbi is reportedly looking into some of those pardons. now we're just weeks away from the first votes finally being cast in the 2020 presidential race. i'm going to head over to the big board, see if that thing is working for 2020. we're going to take a look at where things stand especially in that critical early state of iowa. we've got much more to get to. stay with us. iowa we've got much more to get to.
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welcome back to "hardball." former kentucky governor matt bevan has come under fire for a number of controversial pardons that were made as he was leaving the governors mansion this month, and now the fbi is asking questions. many of the more than 600 last minute pardons and sentence reductions were for low level drug offenders but bevan sparked outrage by giving clemency to a convicted murderer and a man convicted of raping a 9-year-old child. kentucky state representative chris harris a democrat who's called for an inquiry told the louisville journal he's been contacted by an investigator. the fbi is not commenting. in the case of one man pardoned for murder, his relatives hosted a political fund-raiser for bevan last year. bevan is defending his pardon saying they are all based on the merits and he denies politics
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played any part in his decisions. >> whether somebody had a relative that gave money to a campaign, i got campaign donations from tens of thousands of people. i couldn't begin to know who's related to who. >> for more i'm joined by kentucky republican radio bureau chief and glen kirschner. thank you both for being with us. in terms of what we know here you just heard the governor. he's denying there's any political significance to these decisions, these two in particular that i highlight there, the man convicted of raping a child and a murderer as well, he's denying any political influence in that. so what is known publicly about how these landed on his radar and why he made the decision he did? >> a lot of what we know publicly is from what the louisville journal has been reporting over the last couple of weeks. they have reported that governor bevan in his last weeks of office was kind of on his own with a lot of these decisions.
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he had been investigating many of these pardon requests and governors across the country but certainly kentucky get requests throughout the terms and there's a bit of tradition in kentucky that a lot of these pardons end up getting issued before the end of the term and he had people close to him encouraging him not to issue some of those most controversial pardons we've heard of, and he ended up in his final days issuing some of those pardons which we now see are drawing a lot of outrage from prosecutors and citizens and people involved in those cases. >> again, just in terms of what's known and what's publicly available in terms of information here about his say connections to these cases, there's the fund-raiser we mentioned. are there any other connections that have been drawn just in terms of, again, how he might have been aware of some of this? >> sure. there's a case in which he
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pardoned an individual who's a young man on gun and drug convictions, and he happened to be the son of a former state lawmaker, and these are convictions from recent years. there's also a case of somebody who's close to the governor's wife or the governor's sister, and that man had been convicted of hiring -- of hiring somebody to kill somebody years and years ago. so there are definitely some controversial, you know, just kind of on their face, there were some connections besides just the merits of these cases, you know, to the governor, granted can we really separate, you know, his rationale for pardoning these people because certainly there are plenty of people who have access to the governor and they were requesting him and requesting action on these. it just happened, you know -- i think what he's going to argue is this is just how some of these cases he thought were mareitous came across his desk were from political donors. >> i'm curious we see the fbi
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apparently looking into this. what could they be looking at here because you have controversy -- this seems like a very extreme case of it. do you have controversies about outgoing governors, outgoing presidents certainly issuing pardons on the wear out of the door that seem distasteful, not something they would do if they were about to face the voters against, but in terms of finding something that's illegal there, what would the fbi be looking at? >> steve, it looks like the kentucky governor's pardon power is very broad. some states actually require some checks and balances where there will be a pardon commission which will also have to look at the priority is legality of a pardon before the governor grants it. but in kentucky it seems like the pardon power is pretty unconstrained. so what i think the fbi would be looking into is whether there was any corrupt purpose for any of these pardons. you mention patrick baker who was pardoned when you look at the facts of the case where
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defendant baker apparently pretended to be a police officer, broke into somebody's home and then shot a husband in front of his wife. he was sentenced to 23 years, and a pardon was granted. now, when you look at who baker was he happened to have family members who either directly contributed to bevans' re-election campaign to the tune of $4,000 or were involved in fund-raising activity for the bevins re-election campaign to the tune of 21,000 plus dollars. so if the fbi is looking into it, i think they will have to see whether these pardons, any of them were actually issued for corrupt purposes. >> and quickly just given what you described, does that mean to prove corrupt purposes, how direct does the evidence have to be given how strong the pardon power is? >> it would have to be pretty direct. and, you know, just because a lot of these pardons are ill
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advised and i saw some reporting that said the victims and their family members weren't even contacted before their killers in some instances were pardoned, that's pretty horrific. just because they're ill advised doesn't necessarily make them illegal. >> all right, glen kirschner, thank you both for joining us. appreciate it. and up next going to head over to the big board. we are going to look at the state of the democratic presidential race just five weeks and counting from the iowa caucuses. can pete buttigieg maintain his fwrunt runner status or is someone going to catch him? you're watching "hardball." him you're watching "hardball.
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and welcome back to "hardball." you know, i can remember look at this number right here, 39. i can remember when this was three digits. i can remember when this was four digits. i remember when iowa was far, far in the future and now we are inside of 40 days to go before the all important lead off iowa caucuses, the race that is going to shape the race, shape the rest of democratic race. so let's take a look here. where do they stand? what you're seeing here, this is national poll, this is average of all the national polls out there. joe biden has consistently been in first place, almost ten points ahead of bernie sanders back there in second. and then warren, remember she surged earlier in the year and that surge backed off a little bit. everybody else starting with buttigieg back in single digits.
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that's the picture nationally, but that is not the picture in iowa where they vote in less than 40 days. pete buttigieg, not a lot of polls we've had in iowa. but those that we have had, if you average them together pete buttigieg leads in iowa. bernie sanders close behind imine second. biden again very close here but back in third place, warren in fourth place but really almost a four way jumble thereof candidates within 6 points of each other between first and fourth place. and then by the way amy klobuchar further back here but registering at 6% here, starting to get more media attention, more press. obviously someone from a neighboring state in minnesota, so a question there klobuchar perhaps will be able to move up in iowa. we talk all the time about what iowa is so important. small state, not a let of delegates. well, the word for it, the term for it was coined back in 1980 and he told the world i have the big mow, meaning momentum.
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if you're a winner you get a lot of out of that. if you're a loser, that can hurt your campaign nationally, too. so that is the question in iowa what comes out of it. but take a look here. past iowa races, where did they stand at this same point? last time around about 40 days out before iowa, remember two way race basically the clinton versus bernie sanders. clinton was at 51% and she got just about 50%, so that was pretty stable. you look in 2007, november 2007 was about 40 days before the caucuses. that year hillary clinton was -- barack obama he was right behind her in that poll and ended up catching her and winning. clinton technically finished third in the iowa caucuses behind john edwards. 2004, 40 days before the caucuses that year howard dean was the leader out in iowa with 29%. dean faded out in the final days of the iowa campaign. he finished with 17%.
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the winner john kerry, this is someone who came from about 10%. he ended up winning with 38, basically nearly 38% of the vote in iowa in 2004. and of course the iowa win rolled in new hampshire, he won that and just about everything after new hampshire and the nomination. not the presidency, but he did get the nomination. 2004 is a reminder when you have a very clustered race like we do right now, four candidates within six points of each other, there can be a lot of movement, a lot of dramatic movement in those final days in iowa, and 2004 tells you that movement was decisive. will we see that kind of movement again this time, and will iowa be decisive again this time? questions that will be answered pretty soon. joe biden is hoping his centrist approach translates to support across party lines. it is a viable voting alternative for moderate republicans who don't like trump? you're watching "hardball." ans e trump? you're watching "hardball. screening for people 50 and older at average risk. i've heard a lot of excuses to avoid screening for colon cancer.
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what evidence have you seen that republican elected officials or republican voters have any interests in finding common ground with you? >> i think republican voters have interest in finding common ground. and because, again, wherever i go there was an enormous number of independents and republicans who know and i think we have to find common ground. >> welcome back to "hardball." we are as we just said weeks away now from the iowa caucuses and "the new york times" is reporting that, quote, the voters at campaign events for joe biden here in iowa aren't just shopping for a candidate for themselves, they're considering the political leanings of people close to them who are uncomfortable with the most liberal presidential contenders but who hate the chaos of the trump era and are receptive to the kind of centrist seasoned candidacy biden offers. however, "the times" notes some democrats have been warning the party not to obsess over some of these potential swing voters
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arguing the electability calculations are fueled at this moment of extreme political polarization. i'm joined now by nbc news senior politics editor and also a reporter from "the new york times." beth, i'll start with you. this discussion among democrats, this strategic discussion about how far do you go, how do you try to reach out to these sort of disgruntled republicans for lack of a better term? what do you make of it? on the one hand biden i think acknowledges polarization and the cynics say you're chasing fools gold. >> for now they have to look at the democratic primary. so all these candidates have to be going for democratic primary voters. biden is thinking through the long game probably more than some of the others. his appeal obviously is he's somebody who can reach into those sort of more rural areas. he's the guy from skrachlten, he's got a progressive record but also understands the
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concerns of working american, so that's a big part of his sales pitch. it's really hard to say whether one should obsess more about getting out the base or reaching among republican voters. you have to do a bit of both. of course what hillary clinton got criticized for in 2016 is focusing all her energy on the base voters and not spending a lot of time in those rural areas and parts of michigan and wisconsin. so you need to get as many base voters as you can but mitigate losses and a successful candidate figures out how to do that. >> it's interesting that article we quoted, it does seem like and in the reporting i've been reading and listening to suggests democratic voters are thinking about electability. and they probably all define it differently, but ultimately the thing that's on their mind is a strategic question, how do you beat trump? >> what's fascinating about this is you're hearing voters talk more and more like pundits. a lot of time you go to any campaign, any poll worker and
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they'll sort of explain to you -- any campaign worker and they'll slain to you the path to victory. more and more voters are openly discussing not just their own preferences but doing some kind of bank shot about who they think other people are going to support, and i don't recall a time when as many voters were speaking as openly about this kind of idea. everyone is now a pundit, everyone is on twitter. everyone is seeing how everyone is talking about and now they're taking this idea of electability and openly talking about i'm a pundit and i'm figuring out who's going to like who and that's how i'm basing my vote. >> when a candidate and a party really doesn't like wins an election the party really did want think the candidate can win, i think it does stir some of that kind of thinking. meanwhile politico is reportsing some democratic insiders are starting to think bernie sanders could win the democratic nomination. they're rethinking sanders bid for a few reasons. first, warren has fallen in
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national surveys and second sanders has with stood the ups and downs of the primary. but we're talking about this the lens democrats are looking at the primary through electability. let's consider sanders for a minute, because traditionally you'd say a self-styled democratic socialist wouldn't fair well in a general election, but we are in the age of trump. when you look deep sanders tested well on honesty, authenticity, what do you make of sanders from the standpoint -- >> to the point everyone seems to be shopping right now and who's going to be the right person it beat trump, that's not the case for sanders voters. they've been with him throughout, they were with him in 2016, with him now and they're not going anywhere, and in a sort of field and flux the way this one is that's pretty important sort of durable sign
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of potential, and a lot of people talk about oh, the overlap between elizabeth warren voters and bernie sanders voters and actually he's not a lot more voters than she does, and that's a larger group. he also appeals to students and he has an interesting coalition that's proven to be very durable. the question is can he do really well against a slingshot out in iowa and everyone's competing for those three spots and then he could, sure, theoretically get rolling and keep it going, and i think it would be a mistake for anybody to discount him at this point. >> if he does get going, iowa, new hampshire and win both of those, maybe nevada could then setup well for him and as i think about it south carolina would we an interesting puzzle there, but this so-called democratic establishment, however you want to define it, i'm curious what you think their reaction would be, what their
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comfort level would be, is their attitude, okay, let's take this and try to win with it or is their attitude let's fight this? >> it's a great question. and if i had the answer i may not be sitting here. but i think some people who are loyalists to sanders have been loyal to him for years, and they also don't have to take their cues from media or reporters as great as this show is, as great as our reporting it. there are years from bernie sanders speeches on it floor from when he was in vermont, from when he was burlington as mayor, and people can see for themselves what he's been saying all the time which feeds into the idea of authenticity. other candidates who are newer if you're not andrew yang and catching fire online and sort of leading into it, you're going to have a hard time building it when there's other candidates. how the democratic establishment captures this and if it is sanders how they sort of combine their interests in defeating
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trump with sanders. i think it's going to be perhaps a fight for the soul of the party in a way we haven't seen in many years. >> the democratic establishment might not know quite what to do, and you saw. thank you both for joining us. up next chris matthews going to talk to former obama speechwriter adam frankel about his new book and his time in the obama administration. you're watching "hardball." the obama administration you're watching "hardball. maria ramirez?
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america, our moment is now. our moment is now. i -- i don't want to spend the next year or the next four years refighting the same fights we had in the 1990s. i don't want to pit red america against blue america. i want to be the president of the united states of america. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was then senator barack obama at the iowa jefferson jackson dinner now known as the democratic party's liberty and
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justice celebration. that was back in 2007. well, that speech considered one of the best of his campaign changed everything for candidate obama, of course. one of the speechwriters that helped write it, adam frankel, had his own life altering experience not long before joining the campaign in march of 2007 learning at the age of 25 that the man he'd always known as his father was not his biological parent. franklin details how exploring the family legacy of his maternal grandparents both holocaust survivors led to the shocking discovery about his own origins, and more in his new book, adam frankel joins us right now. thank you for joining us tonight. let me ask you about that. that experience of leading two lives, one, the new speechwriter for obama in the campaign and the other, the kid trying to figure out where he came from. >> yeah, it was incredibly difficult, chris. some months before joining the campaign i learned my dad was
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not my biological father and more than that. i learned this was a secret had kept not only fr from me but my entire family and my dad. it would be another 10 years before i would come and talk to my dad about it and tell him i'm not his biological son. i carried that with me and during that time i tried to bury it deep down and focus on the job at hand, being as good a speechwriter for barack obama as i was capable of being. >> someone told me recently because i'm on a project like that, that every memoir involves hurting somebody. >> well, this memoir brought healing to me, to our family. i hope it brings healing to others. there is an ecplosion xplosion disclosures with 23 and me and and a lot of people try to make sense of these family disclosures that are so painful and confusing. and more than that, chris, look
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everyone has trauma in their families, in their histories and own lives. in my case the wounds of world war ii or mental health issues and abuse and racism. and i think by think about and reflecting how it can generate at least in my case it helped me process it and move forward in my life. >> maybe you have insight on this because it's something we talk about on "hardball" because this is an obsession, an obsession psychological weirdness of this president of ours, president trump. he seems to not be able to get over the fact his predecessor was barack obama, and he was a popular president, a successful president. what do you figure that's all about having worked for obama? >> well, obama is in contrast in numerous ways. -- for us one of the reasons i wanted to work for the man is not just because i believed in his vision and policies, he was a model of integrity, set an ethical standard for the office
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that trump is a fundamental departure from, and, you know, i think that he doesn't like the fact that obama was so widely popular and still is, by the way, in this country. and i think that's a big part of it. >> do you think it sort of parallels putin, vladimir putin's, well, jealousy of our cleanliness which has been tyranny under every form of ideology. i don't want to put words in your mouth but trump seemed to have the same attitude towards obama you worked for as putin has towards the west and democracy. jealousy. >> yeah, it's jealousy. trump is a -- you know, a fraction of the man that barack obama is and was. you know, it's hard for me to even wrap my head around the trump presidency, chris, having worked for barack obama who was
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so thoughtful and considerate, you know, who tried to make the best decisions for american people and really took all these -- you know, had a process for making decisions. the way i interacted with him with the speeches and give so much thought, this is such a radical departure and dangerous mome that, you know, i worry for the country. >> let's talk about the partnership, it's not really an even partnership but the partnership between senior and junior in the case of president obama and joe biden, he's back again and doing well in the race at least in the polls right now for president. it always seemed to me that obama got some help from biden. it wasn't a one way street. biden sort of brought the working class people who was slow to go for an african-american candidate and he put the apostrophe in obama, one of the boys, and clearly obama is helping bidesen today.
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how did you see that partnership working as a speechwriter right there in the white house? >> look, i think when he was running for president his whole message was change, right? that was his whole change about message and he was new on the scene. and part of what he need was somebody who brought that broader experience in washington and reached out to other different kinds of voters. and i know it was a close partnership, it was a close friendship. and it still is. i, you know, joe biden, there's a lot of love in this country for joe biden. and to your point, you know, you see that reflected in the state polls. >> yeah, the name of your book of course, my friend, is the survivors the story of war and healing. good luck with this book with this holiday season. we'll be right back. thank you. this holiday season. we'll be right back. thank you. makes things easy. traveling lighter. taking a shortcut. woooo!
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the year is ending and i'm taking stock. what surprised me in politics this year and what didn't. let's start at the top. the president has now been impeached, and his approval rating is slightly up. he's at 44.5% in the real clear politics average now when the house voted to open the impeachment inquiry at the end of october, it was 42.5%. but it's moved upward at all is somewhat surprising, and for democrats it ought to be at least a little concerning.
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but the fact that trump's approval rating hasn't moved much at all and the big drop that some trump opponents predicted never materialized, well that really isn't surprising at all. polarization, of course, is the word for this era. tribalism even, each side has dug in and not moving. for three years there's been nonstop controversy, and yet trump's numbers have been more stable than any modern president. the high 30s at worst for him, the mid-40s at best. frankly after everything that's come since 2016 before now it probably shouldn't be surprising that even impeachment didn't cause the florida fall out from under trump just as it continues to be unsurprising thathe strong economy isn't giving him a strong approval rating. let's move to the presidential race. joe biden was the democratic front-runner at the start of 2019 and is still the front-runner at the end of 2019. i'm not surprised the attacks on his old senate voting record
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busing on crime and policing in the '80s, i'm not surprised those attacks haven't moved the needle beyond hard core activists. i am surprised that his performance on the campaign trail and the debate stage for much of this year hasn't caused more alarm and defections from democratic voters. compared to the biden of just a couple of years ago the man we saw much of 2019 seemed far shakier and more hesitant in public. and i wondered if he would lose the confidence of his party because of it, but so far he's not. i was also surprised by biden's debate performance just last week, clear and i thought bidens performance would not improve. it looks like it might be improving, though. i wasn't surprised elizabeth warren moved up in the polls for much of this year and she got a sudden burst of scrutiny back in the fall when she did start to rival ejobiden for the lead. but i was surprised how poorly her numbers held up in that
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moment. there are plenty of theories why this happened but i suspect it's that word we've been talking about tonight, electability, hard to define but on a lot of voters minds. facing tough questions about her medicare for all plan and private insurance seemed to give pause about whether this was actually the fight they wanted to have in the fall. the good news for warren, her numbers have stabilized since and we will see if she can was i surprised that the mayor of south bend, indiana, became one of the top national candidates this year, you bet i was. but by now i'm also not surprised by the apparent limits of pete buttigieg's appeal. all year his growth in the polls failed to extend to black voters and still at the end of 2019, no sign that is changing in a big way. and there's bernie sanders, he's actually in second place nationally right now. i'm not surprised he's holding onto a large base of support. he's a very distinct and
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well-known candidate, i am surprised his standing improved in october when he suffered a heart attack. instead sanders is finishing the year in better shape both physically and politically. what surprises 2020 brings for him and everyone else we will soon find out and i can't wait. that is "hardball" for now. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. tonight on "all in." >> everything i do during this i'm coordinating with the white house counsel. >> senate majority leader'sclusion with the white house. >> when i heard that i was disturbed. >> tonight the republican senator bucking mitch mcconnell's tactics and what it could mean for the upcoming impeachment trial. >> i'm not impartial about this at all. >> and then a new plan to thwart russian interference amid new concerns about the security of the 2020 election. plus a push back on trump's border wall from landowners in texas. and the horror perpetrated in the


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