tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC March 27, 2014 11:00pm-12:01am PDT
okay, joy, get your rest. take as long as you want. we won't need you till monday. just kidding. just kidding. just make sure you and sophia marie are getting all the sleep you need. chris hayes is up next. what about the pilot? let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. tonight we vet this new report by lawyers for governor christie's administration that neither admits nor denies he was told of the george washington bridge closures when they were occurring. but the report does accuse bridget kelly of having an affair with another christie official. but let me start with this front page story in "usa today." it says the malaysian government, which runs the airlines believes the pilot was the one responsible for taking it hundreds of miles off course.
it said that investigators for the government are pressing relatives of the pilot for information on his behavior leading up to takeoff. so as we've been doing on this program, we focus tonight on the person flying flight 370 and the path he took at one income the morning on march 8th. mahi ramakrishnan wrote that story in "usa today" and joins us now from kuala lumpur. according to your sources in the investigation, malaysians believe the pilot is solely responsible for the course of that airplane. what evidence is that based upon? >> well, for now, my source in the malaysian police say that they are looking into the family and they're trying to get a proper interview with the wife, because they believe that she holds the key to the mind makeup to what he could have been thinking. because they believe he might have flipped, and they would like to know what is the reason that has caused the flip. and my source says the best possible person who can give
them any insight is going to be the wife. now, he also told me that they have spoken to the wife, but she is not telling them everything. so they hope to pursue talking to the wife in order to get a better understanding as to what the captain may have been thinking before he actually diverted -- that caused him to divert the plane. >> what indication does the government have that led them to believe that the pilot took this plane on a strange course that had no reason to exist except something in his head? >> i'm not -- i did not report anything about what the government thinks or says. i actually reported a piece about my source in the police force, my well-placed source in the police force who has been on the investigation from day one. now, he says based on the evidence that they have collected and based on ruling out the possibility of anyone else on the passenger or crew list, he believes that the pilot diverted the plane. and that is based on what he
investigated and what he told me. now, the investigation is ongoing, and we may get something else. i do not know. we might get something else that can take the story forward. but for now, all i know is what the source told me, and that is they believe that the captain diverted the plane. they believe there is a reason. they believe there is a motive. they have ruled out financial consideration as a motive. they believe that he had just flipped and they need to talk to the wife or any close family member to get a better understanding as to what may have caused him to just lose it. >> do they have any suspicions yet as to what caused him to flip, as he put it, the investigator? >> well, for now they say they are talking to the wife. they believe that she has -- she will be able to give them something. that doesn't mean he says that he doesn't mean that he knows that she is going to divert the plane or crash it or whatever. but he just says that he believes that the wife will be
able to tell them something. but she is not forthcoming with information. he says that it could be because this could be a shock. she could be grieving. but whatever it, he says that they are pursuing investigations with the wife, and they hope to get more information. and this is, as i said, it's a progressing story. and i'm at it, and i hope to get more information from him. i do believe that he knows more than what he is telling me, but that he is all he is telling me for now. >> okay. a stung report by mahi ramakrishnan for us tonight from kuala lumpur. joining us right now is nbc news correspondent tom costello who has been following this story for the past three weeks. tom, i have to tell you, you and i were talking, and you are the expert in trying figure out the flight path. you've been doing a brilliant job. i wonder how we do put together as a world right now this new investigation by the malaysian government into the pilot into why he took that plane on the course he did.
>> let me just say we've been talking to government officials who say that the fbi has been looking at the computer hard drives and the flight simulators that the malaysians gave to the fbi, asking them to do an analysis. and so far according to our sources, they haven't seen anything yet that would lead them to any conclusions about a nefarious action here. they don't have any concrete evidence coming out of those hard drives that would lead them to believe that they can pinpoint the captain. that said, most people do think the captain probably steered this plane on a southerly course. why? we don't know. let's talk about the weather today in that area. >> sure. >> it has been horrendous. we have a real live satellite loop coming from the weather channel. the weather is so bad that in fact they had to divert planes today that were headed down into that area, send them back to perth, australia. the reason, they've got extremely high winds, high waves, icing conditions. it was simply too dangerous for them to proceed. i do want to, though, tell you
about these new images coming from the thais. thailand in other words, came out and they released these images. it really looks like you're looking into the dark and you have some stars you're looking at. the thais say their satellites capture lead hundred different pieces of debris. they don't know if that is debris from the missing plane. but what is interesting about these pieces of debris is they are very close to in products commitment to these pieces of debris that the french think they spotted over the weekend. you may recall 125 specks very poorly defined through the cloud cover. and the french think that that may also be debris from the plane. where exactly are we talking about? we're talking about 1600 miles southwest of perth. all of these dots here represent sightings that the french believe that they have of the debris field. and so now you've got another sighting coming from the thais and the japanese today said they
have also spotted something in this same area that is leading them to believe they may be on to a debris field, but because of the weather, still no ships and no planes have gotten into that area, chris. >> i guess i go back to my conundrum, and i'm sure it's in your head as well, tom. all this great reporting on where we spotted the wreckage, it looks like, the debris pattern there, all the satellite technology seems to point to the same thing, as well as the fact that the fuel would last than long. trying to put that together with a pilot who according to this government effort, investigation effort is that he somehow flipped, heading off into this weird course. it still doesn't put it together for us, does it, that they would fly another seven hours after the guy, quote, flipped, if that's what happened. >> i think you're absolutely right. the question we've all been asking for now for almost three weeks, three weeks tomorrow this plane has been missing. and that is if somebody decide they'd wanted to commandeer the plane and commit suicide, why fly the plane for seven or eight hours? why not just do it right there over the gulf of thailand?
we don't have any answers. if there was some sort of a catastrophic mechanical failure in light and they turned the plane around to go back to kuala lumpur, that would be a theory, except suddenly you now have multiple other turns that would cause you to think maybe that no longer holds water. the whole thing really doesn't make any sense. and if this is the plane, if these are pieces of debris about as far south as you could go before you exhaust the fuel in the plane and your engines run out and you literally do a nosedive into the water, then it would appear this plane was on autopilot. so the same question we were asking last night, was the crew dead? was everybody in the back, all the passengers dead? we simply don't know. and the last point about this that is critical is that we've only got about nine days left of battery life on those underwater pingers attached to the black boxes. if they don't find the debris, or even more importantly, if they don't find the wreckage, presumed wreckage location to listen for the black boxes, we may never find the wreckage and
never find the black boxes. and without them, we may never know what happened. >> tom, the satellite photography is amazing to me, the fact that so many countries, including thailand have this kind of technology. w have we yet had an airplane spotting of what was picked up on the satellites yet? of all these efforts through all these days. >> no. >> no? >> nope. and in fact we've had individual planes and pilots say they thought they see something, but they're whipping by at 200 knots per hour. by the time they come around again to try to get a better visual on it, they lose it. i mean, you're literally talk about -- this weather here is so atrocious that you're talking about waves of 10 to 30 feet high, rolling whitecaps. and you think you see something and your mind starts playing tricks on you. and then it's lost in the sea of white caps. it's just so, so difficult to spot something when you're 300 feet up. that's the -- that's as low as they're going, 300 feet. and still 300 feet to try to spot something that is the size of you know what, some sort of a seat cushion or whatever is very difficult.
>> these pilots must have nerves of steel thank you so much, tom costello. >> all right. >> great reporting, again. coming up, defending the bridge. lawyers employed, get this, employed by governor christie's administration say he may or may not have been told about the lane closures while they were actually happening. but the lawyer says for sure, this is the part i don't like, that bridget kelly was having an affair with one of the other christie officials. why are they telling us that? benghazi bingo. darrell issa says you've got nothing. it's all about muddying up hillary in 2016 and you know it. an unknown known. a documentary nails donald rumsfeld as a bureaucrat unaware of the iraqi horror that he ignited. will the perpetrator every come clean? and when your chief qualification for the senate is you grew up castrating hogs, you're bound to be in for some ridicule. joni ernst, meet stephen colbert. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
we have new figures on how many people have signed for insurance under the new health care law, and they're remarkably good. 1.8 million people have enrolled so far this month, and that means a total of 6 million people have signed up since october. we don't yet know the breakdown of the enrollees. the system we do know needs a lot of young relatively healthy people to join in. after the disastrous october roll-out, the governor lowered its amount of people signing up from 7 million to 6 million. they have now hit that target. that's good news and we'll be right back. welcome back to "hardball."
beforehand of this george washington bridge realignment idea and that he played no role whatsoever in that decision or the implementation of it. we further found no evidence that anyone in the governor's office besides bridget kelly knew of this idea in advance or played any role in the decision or the implementation of it. >> we're told these lawyers were hired in the public's interest. but judge big the massive report they put out today, it's pretty clear whose interests they're serving -- christie's. while there is no question there is damning evidence against christie's appointee david wildstein and his deputy chief of staff bridget kelly, there is still no clear motive as to why they carried out this act of what appears to be political payback. as report states, what motived this act is not clear. but what seems clear is what these lawyers set out to do here, exonerate christie by
attacking wildstein and kelly. and moments ago abc's "world news" with diane sawyer with chris christie. >> when these things were reported i said this can't possibly be true, because who would do something like that. sometimes people do inexplicably stupid things. so that's what makes it so hard then as the guy in charge, none of it made any sense to me. and to some extent, still does not. >> loretta weinberg is a democratic state senator from new jersey and a co-chair of the committee investigating the lane closures. and brian murphy is an investigator and professor. the euphemism thrown at this whole mess by these lawyers obviously trying to make their guy look good. but then to trash not just wildstein for -- what did they call him, crazy? but to go after her, bridget kelly, who everybody sort of
thinks about in this case as the person who is most human in this case as some woman scorned who had an affair with bill stepien, was dumped by bill stepien, why are they telling us all this in this so-called legal report? why? what is the probative value of going into the private life if it is the private life of bridget kelly. that's the part that i thought stunk here. >> it's building the narrative. what their report does, even in a more -- i wasn't expecting to get any real new information out of this. but i expected it to be written in a way that would at least give the reporters who have been looking at this some pause and think maybe the narrative that they're presenting has got some merit to it in some factual basis. but it's written in such a chilly kind of way that it makes it really hard to take seriously. right. you've nailed it. they work these little details in there with wildstein delivering these crazy ideas and bridget kelly having this
relationship with stepien, which frankly, i knew about. other people covering this story knew about it. we haven't talked about it because it hasn't seemed relevant, and we don't want to in a round about way suggest what this report is suggesting that there is some kind of a lover's quarrel driving this story or that bridget kelly was somehow compromised nor a dependent position that made her do something that bill stepien wanted her to do. there was some kind of interest that was driving her behavior. >> yeah. >> let me go to senator weinberg on this there is a human factor here. first of all, referring to her not just having a relationship with this guy bill stepien, by the way, belie nice kind of intelligent assessments as to why they brought this up, but then to throw in she was dumped by him. why do they bring that up? except to say she is an unhappy person, the other guy is crazy therefore don't blame the governor for this because these people aren't to be believed. >> first of all, how do they
know that bill stepien was the one that cooled this personal relationship? that is so gratuitous and so inappropriate. and let me say that the kindest thing i can say about this report is pretty premature. they draw certain conclusions without ever having a discussion with any of the main characters in this drama, without ever having a discussion with david wildstein, bridget kelly, bill stepien, and how about david samson and bill baroni? bill baroni, who was sent out to do the cover-up which wasn't a very good cover-up. and let me say a little gratuitously, mr. mastro with his high hourly salary didn't do a very good report. he issues a report without knowing the motive, without being able to speak to many of the main people in this. and then throwing in the gratuitous remarks about this so-called personal relationship
is really -- because they describe david wildstein as the man with the crazy ideas. that man with the crazy ideas was hired to be the governor's eyes and ears at the port authority. and then they depict -- how are they depicting bridget kelly here? that somehow she was a woman scorned and therefore kind of gone wild on herself? >> dodgy. not to be believed. >> that's the woman he hired in his office. >> and by the way, worked less than 100 feet across the office. let me go back to brian about this. here is the one i thought was interesting. wildstein has said he told the governor about this when it was happening. now this report that cost all this money, $600,000 bucks, whatever, doesn't even say whether the governor had a conversation with wildstein or not during the course of the bridge closures. it does, however, even though it says it doesn't know whether
they had the conversation characterize it as saying well, it obviously left no impression on the governor. how can they not know whether there was a conversation, these lawyers, and at the same time characterize it as not being provocative enough to have grabbed the attention of the governor? one thing or the other happened. they had the conversation or they didn't visit. if they did have it, they got to believe it happened and therefore they have to say here is what happened. but no, they just dismiss it. in other words, whether it happened or didn't happen, it doesn't matter. that's the sort of conclusion they draw on this whole possibility that that guy, the governor knew what was going on. brian? >> they've read it -- they've written it as if they already knew what the conclusion was going to be. and it makes it seem to me like they started the investigation knowing what their conclusion was going to be. my dog thinks i'm a great guy. my mom thinks i'm really handsome. did he really think chris christie's lawyer was going write a report that incriminated chris christie? it seemed unlikely. it turned out to be unlikely. when we look at the product, that narrative, again, it's written in such a fawning way to make christie look like the guy
who is in charge, the guy who wants to find the real culprits here. and it accepts at face value loot of the documentary -- there aren't really that many new documents in here. and it writes up what we already knew and what was already in the public domain. but it writes even documents i notice that don't seem credible to me and didn't seem credible are laundered through this report without any question, right, as if they are -- as if that's the story because it's in the paperwork. and it doesn't really do much work to dignity deeper into that, or do any real scrutiny of what was already discovered by senator weinberg's committee. >> you're right. senator weinberg, i got to get back to you about the role of government. it seems to me that these people, whether it was bill stepien who was in on this thing and wildstein obviously at the heart of it and of course bridget kelly, they all were doing the bidding of somebody. they were all working as agents
of the governor. that's why they were able to say "time for some bridge problems -- or traffic problems at fort lee." now he is able toe say oh, no they weren't my agents. they were doing something on their own that to me is institutionally indefensible. were they in fact employees of the governor? where they detailed by him to work politically. were they all doing this for him? and for him to say oh, they were out rock gas stations or doing something on their own, the whole heart of this was political. what they were doing was political in his interests. and that's what i find is amazing. they skate away from this and say they weren't working for me. >> you kind of touched on this, chris, for instance, he describes lane closures as lane realignments. >> what's that? >> his choice of words throughout this report is really pretty poor. he describes pat foye's e-mail which said laws might have been broken here. he describes that as the e-mail
that the executive director was a little put out because he didn't know about the so-called traffic study. and he continues to describe the so-called dedicated lanes to -- from fort lee over the bridge. they don't exist. they're a myth. and he adds to that and adds to that. his choice of words, this was a lane closure. it was not a lane realignment. two of the three lanes were closed, and they carry 25% of the traffic that goes over the upper level of the busiest bridge in the world. i say that randy mastro chose words to try to undermine what it is we already know. and i would love randy mastro to come before our committee on an investigation. present his report to us only under the idea that we can question him. because i'd surely like to question him.
>> it's great having you on. >> and then one of his recommendations is we need more transparency at the port authority. gee, i could have told him that for free. i wouldn't have charged for that. in fact, we in the legislature passed such a bill almost two years ago. and this governor vetoed that transparency bill. so now fast forward, he suddenly found out that we need a little more transparency here. if i sound a little angry, i am angry. i am angry at the way they depicted the people that he appointed that worked closely with him as kind of crazy people that are off the reservation. this report was done prematurely. they were not able to -- or chose not to talk to some of the main people in this. and they issued a report, and i will venture a guess that some people might say is a little inappropriate, but i'm going to venture it anyway. the governor needed this report because he is off to las vegas this weekend to meet with some national republican donors.
and he wants something that says his attorney vetted him. well, i have a little bit of a disagreement with that. and i'd like some questions answered about that report. >> yeah, i think, senator, they're going have to play a big price for having skanked bridget kelly here. that was such a personal shot that not only she had an affair but that she was dumped. it made it look like she is upset and the other guy is crazy. everybody here is crazy and upset and not to be believed except the governor. loretta weinberg, thanks for your investigation. coming up, this is a crazy campaign ad from that senate candidate who boast how'd she used to castrate hogs. i guess it works in some part of the world. we'll be right back after this. somebody has to do it, i guess. when you only have one hand,
you're not doing anything as fast as you used to, which is funny, because i still do it better than her. [ afi ] i do not like sweeping. it's a little frustrating. [ zach ] i can't help out as much as i used to. do you need help? let's open it up. [ afi ] it's a swiffer sweeper. [ zach ] it's a swiffer dusters. it can extend so i don't have to get on the step stool. ♪ it's like a dirt magnet -- just like my kids. [ afi ] this is a danger zone. voila! i am the queen of clean! [ zach ] yeah, this definitely beats hanging out on a step ladder.
back to "hardball," and time for the sideshow now. on tuesday, we showed you this campaign ad from a republican running for the u.s. senate in iowa. her name is joni ernst. here she is. >> i'm joni ernst. i grew up castrating hogs on an iowa farm. >> anyway, last night she received a ringing endorsement from none other than stephen colbert. >> so, joni, joni, you had me at castration. folks, it does not matter what else she stands for. i am polling for her whole hog, or whatever is left of the hog when she is done with it. america needs more senators who are farm tough. i mean, while the other little girls were reading "charlotte's web," joni was out back with tin snips making a soprano out of wilbur.
>> next up 2014 campaign ad that caught my attention, this one is from republican with will brook. he is running alabama's sixth district. he use as 40 glock pistol, a cooper rifle and an ar-15 to destroy a copy of, guess what, the affordable care act. >> this is will brook. we're down here to have a little fun today and talk about two serious subjects, the second amendment and see how much damage we can do to this copy of obamacare. ♪ >> we'll have to resort to more extreme measures to get rid of obamacare and replace it with a market-based solution. >> well, actually, six million people have signed up for that thing he is shooting at. anyway, mr. brook, how more extreme can you be?
up next, democrats tell darrell issa to end his benghazi bingo, his witch-hunt. after a year and a half of it, he's got nothing to show. and all he is trying to do is score political points against the -- believed to be the next presidential nominee hillary clinton. that's ahead and you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. [ male announcer ] meet mary. she loves to shop online with her debit card. and so does bill, an identity thief who stole mary's identity, took over her bank accounts, and stole her hard-earned money. unfortunately, millions of americans just like you learn all it may take is a little misplaced information to wreak havoc on your life. this is identity theft. and no one helps stop it better than lifelock. lifelock has the most comprehensive identity theft protection available. if mary had lifelock's bank account alerts, she may have been notified in time to help stop it. lifelock's patented identity alert® system
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i've said it, and i mean it. i want to go where the facts lead us. but now we're on some witch-hunt in the forest somewhere. and the hearing after hearing after hearing, and it's gotten to be ridiculous almost. >> welcome back to "hardball." democrats on the house oversight committee led by ranking member elijah cummings there are saying kill it to darrell issa's obsession with benghazi. in a letter signed by all 17 democratic members of the committee, they call for an end to a year and a half long investigation which has so far turned up no wrongdoing in fact on the part of hillary clinton or the obama administration. they write to date the committee's investigation has been characterized by wild and unsubstantiated political accusations that turn out to be
completely inaccurate after further investigations. let's face it. republicans will be reluctant to give up, primarily because of the prospect of tarnishing hillary clinton, the democrats' leading potential candidate for 2016 is too great. joining me now is nia-malika henderson and sahil kapur. sahil, thank you for joining us. i'm fascinated by this. what is the target? i know generally it's hillary clinton, generally the administration. but what are they actually trying to get the voter out there to believe secretary clinton did or did not the night of this tragedy in realtime? what are they saying she did or didn't do? >> chris, first, thanks for having me on. what i would say, as you said, it's a two-prong target. first off they're going after hillary clinton because they correctly recognize that republicans, this is the only thing they have that touched her. and they want to go after the administration because when you're the party out of power it helps to have a scandal to charge the white house with. what they're suggesting here,
though, what chairman issa is suggesting, again, he is not really asserting things because he didn't have the evidence for it. so he is saying things like i suspect hillary clinton did this or my suspicion is that hillary clinton did this. >> what? >> one of the things he is saying is that hillary clinton ordered leon panetta, the secretary of defense at the time to stand down and not help the americans at stake. it's kind of a wild charge that has been debunked. he also said she personally tried to reduce security for americans. >> let's stick with the night of. i think that she was flustered by this because there are charges all over the place. let's get back to one thing that if ever were true might hurt her, that she somehow sloughed off the midnight call, the 3:00 in the morning call that she talked about in the morning, that she somehow was not responsive, wasn't thinking that night how to save anybody's life of anybody that was left. you say it's already debunked this argument that she told the secretary of defense to stand down. is there any evidence she ever told anybody to stand down and the evidence she wasn't alert
and vigilant in trying to deal with that situation in realtime? that's what i'm trying to find out. what's the evidence? >> there is no such evidence to that. and here is what we know. we don't have a minute by minute of everything she was doing and thinking at the time, but we do have sworn testimony from her deputy chief of staff jake sullivan at the time who said she was deeply engaged, she was making calls to members of the administration and to the cia director at the time. she had ordered the department, according to her deputy chief of staff to spare no resource on helping the americans who were there on the ground at the time. so what we know is the sworn testimony of the people, what she said and the people close to her, the wild charge is that chairman issa is throwing out there sort of an effort to keep this in the news. let's remember, 41% of americans according to one poll think that benghazi is the biggest scandal in american history. these are the people that republicans want to turn out in november. >> okay. >> and they're not looking to win over the middle segment of
the country. they're looking to win over the conservative voters and really turn them out. because democrats have a disadvantage in that area in midterm elections. >> okay. let me go to nia, because you let me go to nia, because you cover general assignment. nia, you cover women's issues too. it just it seems to me that this is the big lie. if they have no evidence that she did anything wrong or commit nod sin of omission, if you will, no failure to meet her resolve to try to save the life of a friend of hers, darrell issa never met chris stevens. . he was a friend and diplomat working for hillary clinton. she cared about the guy. what evidence do they have that she didn't try to save him given the distance and the timing here? >> they don't have any evidence. if you look at the benghazi report that was issued in january, it mentions hillary clinton one time. and that was in terms of republicans talking about their assessment of it. but it does fault the state department. it does fault the state department for not providing a security. it also faults the state department for not communicating adequately with the cia, which also had an outpost there in benghazi. >> talk than night.
no, no, nia. i want you to focus on what they're really charging here, i believe. >> right. >> which she was delinquent that night. she failed to meet the emergency situation of this facility coming under fire. and i don't see anything around it. you can talk -- >> that's right. >> any more troops. you always need more people. >> that's right there. is no evidence of that. i think the sort of caricature that they're trying to paint here i think was captured on the cover of the national review, which essentially has a cartoon of hillary clinton fiddling while benghazi is burning. so that is essentially the portrait they're trying to paint of hillary clinton. and in some ways it has worked. there was a pew poll released recently that said what's the big negative if you look at hillary clinton's career. 15% of those who were asked that question said benghazi. they asked what was the most positive thing, and only 12% said her tenure at state department more generally. i think the most scrutinized passage and section of her book will be this benghazi report. and it's certainly going to be well vetted by her team and
drafted as she tries to put together this book which is coming out this summer. >> good. it will be good reading. i do think, though, both sahil and malika, i think some time in the debates coming up in 2016 there will be a moment when somebody like rand paul, whoever is rung against her will just drop that charge right in her face and she'll either come back and explode it in his face, or there will be something else happening that night. but that's bound to come back. thank you so much, nia-malika henderson and sahil kapur. a look at donald rumsfeld, "the unknown known," which digs into rumsfeld's decisions which he and bush and cheney took us to war in iraq. errol morris is up next. this is "hardball," the place for politics. latte or au lait?
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sleep number's even got an adjustment for that. crazy? only if sleeping peacefully with your soulmate is crazy. find your sleep number setting only at one of our 425 stores nationwide. you can afford a sleep number bed, you can't afford another mediocre night's sleep. know better sleep with sleep number. when it comes to presidential elections, virginia voters are more like the rest of the country than any other state in the union. the new polling shows hillary clinton with an edge right now in virginia over her potential republican rivals in every case. let's check the "hardball" scoreboard. according to a new quinnipiac poll, mrs. clinton leads chris christie by four points in virginia. it's clinton, 45. against rand paul that i think is going to win the republican nomination, believe it or not, it's clinton 48 to 42. she is up by 6. she leads jeb bush 47-39. they keep referring to him as the white knight. it doesn't look like it. the same margin against mike
we're back. winston churchill once said "history will be kind to me for i intend to write it." that's extensively what donald rumsfeld wanted to do. a new documentary is out next month, but it's not what happened. rumsfeld is the subject of "the unknown known" by academy award-winning director errol morris who spent 33 hours interviewing the chief. the irony is how badly he portrays himself as an unrepentant egoist whose account of history almost whimsical marred by self contradicts,
smugness and evasion. he shows no misgivings about his decisions as secretary of defense. and despite overwhelming evidence, he remains a contrarian on the failure of the bush administration, iraq. it never struck him as an existential decision. here is a clip from the trailer. >> how do you think that they got away with 9/11? it seems amazing in retrospect. >> everything seems amazing in retrospect. stuff happens. free people are free to make mistakes. and commit crimes and do bad things. they're also free to live their lives and do wonderful things. you have to pick and choose. well, to the extent you pick and choose and you're wrong, the penalty can be enormous. >> donald rumsfeld had seven years to reflect on his 50-year-long career since
leaving office in 2006. yet it's more apparent now than ever just how little he has learned from his mistakes along the way. with us now is the man behind the movie, the documentary filmmaker errol morris and political analyst david corn of mother jones. errol, thank you for joining us. i found this long documentary mystifying, yet it is the donald rumsfeld i have always known, fey, whimsical face that i swear has the look of a car bomber because he has a smile about the most serious, horrible things. 186,000 people died in the iraq war, and he gets sort of chummy about it, and he is sort of friendly to you. does he know what he is talking about morally? does he know the decisions he made and went along with that caused that war? >> no. i don't think he does. >> how do you get -- is that why dick cheney liked him. >> because he was such a tool that he didn't stop and say wait a minute, are we really going to war with a country, we're going to take it over, we're going to run that place, kill anybody that gets in our way, cause all
kinds of mayhem, and then we're going to own it because we don't like the fact they fired on some of our airplanes? what was his reason for the war? that's ostensibly what donald rumsfeld wanted to do in a new documentary out next month, but it's not what happened. rumsfeld is the subject of the unknown known by academy award winning director errol morris who spent 33 hours interviewing the former defense chief. the inherent irony of the film was how badly rumsfeld portray himself not as a man haunted by the demons of his past but unrepentant egoist whose account of history is whimsical. marred by smugness and evasion. rumsfeld shows no misgivings about his decision as secretary of defense. despite overwhelming evidence, he remains a contrarian on the defining failure of the bush administration.
invade. >> in one of his memos, he gave me access -- they became known as snowflakes because he wrote so many, many of them. one of these memos he talks about -- this is before the 9/11, remember. he talks about rearranging the map of the middle east. i remember the first time i read it thinking, you know errol, you're really unambitious. you never really think that way. >> yeah, they're going to -- david's here. david has written a great book, "hubris" as you know, errol. you get a sense of, you know, the old argument, and somehow it will lead to the rejectionist states will agree to some sort of deal in the middle east and end the wars against israel and be something big and changing. that makes sense. what was his goal? did he believe in that shake it up theory? >> i saw the film. i think it's great. it left me disappointed. at the end of the day, i don't think i understand donald rumsfeld any more than anyone else does. maybe he doesn't. what comes across in the film is he seems to cloak himself with this false profundity.
all generalizations are false including this one. he keeps trying to cloak these grand actions that had tremendous impacts on people's lives causing deaths in tens of thousands. >> there's no sense of human connection here. >> it's all about this rumsfeld corporate zen which when you start peeling it back, there's nothing behind it. >> the film confronts an issue that confused many in this country after 9/11, the fact saddam hussein was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks. that didn't stop the administration from blurring the lines in the lead-up to the war. take a look. >> osama gets away and a confusion sets in. people began to think that saddam was connected with al qaeda and with 9/11. >> oh, i don't think so. i don't think the american people were confused about that. >> in 2003, in a "washington post" poll, 69% said they
believe it's likely the iraqi leader was personally involved in the attacks carried out by al qaeda. >> i don't remember anyone in the bush administration saying anything like that. >> today in a broadcast interview, saddam hussein said there's only one truth, iraq has no weapons of mass destruction whatsoever. he went on to say, i'd like to tell you directly, we have no relationship with al qaeda. >> and abraham lincoln was short. >> and abraham lincoln was short. there you have it, errol. you captured this guy, that wise-ass attitude, yeah, by the way, those are also untrue. that's exactly the way they talked us into the iraq war. remember how you felt the whole atmospherics were. we have to get even by attacking iraq. >> this is a man who can say completely contradictory things in the space of, say, a half a minute or a minute or so and seemingly not even realize he's
doing it. it's one of the scariest interviews i have ever done. >> okay. compare him to robert mcnamara. >> mcnamara, thoughtful, reflective, agonized about the past. rumsfeld completely unapologetic, pleased with himself. convinced absolutely in his own correctness, his own rectitude. they couldn't be more different than two people could possibly be. >> thank you so much. the film's called "the unknown known." it will drive you crazy, but you have to see it. thank you, errol morris and david corn for your expertise. the book is "hubris." the best book ever on that war. we'll be right back after this. ♪ oh-oh, oh, oh, la, la-la, la-la, la-la ♪ ♪ na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na
let me finish tonight with this horrid war in iraq. you keep hoping, don't we, that people who do big things we think were wrong will one day admit it? that they'll with one of those moments like in the old perry mason show where they just can't take it any longer and burst out with a truth once and for all and for all to hear? i guess lawyers will tell you it doesn't happen like that. people who do things do them with such perverse pride of authorship that they take them to the grave. they know what they did, they're happy with what they did but don't want us to have the satisfaction of hearing them admit it or at least not the way we want to hear it.
i have yet to hear a crystal clear statement of why we went to war with iraq. i know some of the arguments, "w" want to outdo his father oar getting revenge for saddam hussein's attempt to kill his father. the geopolitical argument that taking down iraq would weaken the peace deal in the middle east, the argument that the road to jerusalem went through baghdad. i know dick cheney and lifetime practice of not taking his foot off the neck of any opponent who could get the chance. donald rumsfeld, please, don, tell us what it was all about. please, don, just spill the beans. i watched this long documentary on rumsfeld. he strikes me the way he always has, fay, whimsical, eccentric, i suppose. nothing about the real reasons for that war. nothing about nuclear weapons, the ones saddam never had. nothing about the threat to the united states because he never was a threat. nothing about why 186,000 people should die. what a moral disaster the whole
murky stupid "w" war that no one will tell us had to be or even why. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from new york. i am ari melber in for chris hayes. it's been one of the most significant days for new jersey governor chris christie since the start of the bridge-gate scandal. today a law firm that the governor's office hired released claims that exonerates christie and puts the blame for the bridge lane closures mostly on a former staffer and former port authority appointee. numerous questions unanswered. we'll explore those in a moment. today's self-exoneration comes on what is effectively the start date for the 2016 republican presidential primary. we'll explore the high stakes political offenses shortly.