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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  March 17, 2018 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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>> we are out of time. my thanks to donna, john, evan. that does it for the hour. that's it for me nicolle wallace. good evening i'm chris matthews in washington. throughout the campaign donald trump promised that he would solve washington's problems. that he alone could fix things.
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>> nobody knows the system better than me, which is why i alone can fix it. >> well, now trump seems to be putting that statement to the test. in the past few weeks he's been emboldened to go it alone. literally president has parted ways with economic adviser and boot booted secretary by twitter. and about to get worse trump is said to get rid of mcmaster. pot post is discussing replacements. first reported by nbc news on march 1st.
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over edge who may be next. and an according to "washington post" staffers are gripped with fear over a president who enjoys stoking conflict. the president has been consuming the news with amusement. even jokingly asking whose next. according to the news organization axios, publicly his press secretaries had to put the kabash on reports of white house turmoil. >> actually, just spoke to a number of staff this morning reassuring them that there were personnel changes. no immediate personnel changes at this time. >> while mcmaster may live to die another day, the daily job of governing has turned into a reality tv program. you have to tune in each day to find out who survives.
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and as michelle goldberg writes, quote, increasingly the people supposed to be the adults in the room aren't in the room anymore. the self styled grown ups are for the most part being replaced by lackys. one reporter from "the washington post," national political reporter for nbc news, michelle goldberg columnist for the "new york times" and from florida. great group to talk about this. ashley, you guys at the post, and at the times, are amazingly able to get into lt thought process in the white house. these people seem to be turbulent to tell the news how bad it is. >> the thing is in this white house, right now west wing aides and advisers don't know what's going on. they are doing what we are doing, trying to figure out who is in, who is out, what does this mean, what will the
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president do next. so even been some white house aisds who will call reporters to ask what are we hearing because our information is potentially good as theirs. >> what about john kelly saying it apparently somewhat off the record but not successfully so, commented to that the president is causing this by asking around about who to get rid of it? >> well -- >> inside and outside of. >> no secret the president late at night calls friends and floats things, that's how he makes decisions, he likes to spitball. what do you think about them? >> you call at midnight to collect the honey? you are laughing i know that's your trades craft. they should talk about what's going on. they are already talking, aren't they? seems like a lot of talking
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going on about the trouble. >> again, trying to figure out what is going on. and they are in the same situation. so in this process of trying to parse fact from fiction, a lot of it leaks out into the news. >> i've never seen such a chatter box of disquietude. who keeps secret in the white house anymore? they should come out with rhetoric of duty of the people that speak to the country? >> i think a lot of people are talking off the record. so you have a lot of leaking. i think that some of these people who have assured reporters that they are the adults in the room, that they are not complicit in this administration, but really serving the american people, you know, now they are not there anymore, they, i believe, have a duty to the country, they believe this president needed baby-sitting and that he was a dangerous fool, and that they stayed there to prevent the worse from happening. now they are not there anymore, they should tell the rest of us
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what's going on. and they should put their names behind it. rex tillerson thinks that this president is a moron. well, he's now a moron who is unleashed, unbound who has kind the guard rails are off. and we are in a lot of trouble in this country. and these people who say that they went into service because patriots i think should take the re risk of putting their names to whispers they have been putting out there. >> now that you are moron, impossible to forget the use of the word by someone secretary of state in speaking about the president who named him secretary of state refers to him as moron is really unforgettable. is he willing by anyone's evidence gaerthers that he's willing to talk about the moron in the white house? >> i certainly haven't seen any sign of that. but i think it's really his and other people who have left, its their patriot duty, if they
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believe this president is unfit or at least unfit to rule in the absence of a bunch of people who are there to hem him in, it is really their responsibility to speak out. i mean, one thing that's happened over the last year, because you have people tries to do trump's whims, a lot of the country has been shielded i think from the consequences of strg a man as unfit as him as president. and we have meanwhile becoout o control now. and now suddenly the people who pu purported to be protecting us from this president aren't there anymore. and he's consolidated his power and transcend the limits put on him. >> i've been commenting so long, i have to say i've watched
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presidents limited intellectual ability, like w, but the way you talk about it is frightening. frightening in its reality, not in your comments. recently chief of staff john kelly has fallen out of favor with president trump. the associated press is reporting the president is still frustrated by interview kelly gave to fox news nearly two months ago in which he suggested that the president has evolved in his thinking about the need for ha wall, actual wall at the mexican border. well, according to "wall street journal." but we chuckle at the absurdity not the humor. >> that the president likes this chaos. >> it's survival. >> there is no indication it's actually going to come to an end. oh, i'm finally getting the
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cabinet i always wanted. he's been in the white house for almost a year and a half, but there is a trend, i think, some threads here of what's happening. which is that the people who are being put out to pasture, like rex tillerson, are people who actually had some disagreement with him ideologically. rex tillerson was considered more of a moderate. >> on iran deal and climate. >> right. so people coming in, two things about them, they are viewed as more hawkish and loyalist and ideological. we see reports he's spending more executive time in the oval office. like what he's doing is watching fox and recruiting new people for the white house. >> and recruiting them off the air when he sees the looks. congressman let me ask you about this. i doubt if you were ever called a moron by staff member. but i continue to wonder why they continue to serve someone that's moronic. if that's the adjective.
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what do you think of this? casually on the air as smart reporter, columnist and has an opinion, unfit, terms like that drop, unfit. that's a held of a statement. >> and, look. >> now you disagree yourself, but to sit in the chair, not fit to be there. >> and whether you agree with ideology, he surrounded him receives wi self with a lot of people in the office. instead of empowering the people around him, instead of behaving like a leader, he's pushing them away. and that's bad for the country. as donald trump pushes away the voices he needs. kelly, mcmaster, michael cohen, . >> well, mcmaster, said the only
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thin ice with the president. also veteran affairs david shulkin, ben carson, and scott prewett, have garnered are all considered at risk for termination or reprimand. we don't know. let's go back to the reporting here. how does it look for the weekend? i'm serious, give me a weather report. how many will be gone the next couple of hours? >> it's an open question. and a lot of people these you hear are in trouble, imminent, not doing a tweet, but he does want to have replacements lined up. and one of the replacement of the cabinet secretaries, he doesn't want to choose from the house or senate and open up competitive seat.
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so if he decides to make a move. >> apparently last week showed mercy, as a malignant king would, he wanted to fire him when he was foreign soil, humiliate him in front of kenya and do it at front. and he was talked out of that sadism, term used earlier, by john kelly, fire him when he gets off the plane. this is sadistic stuff. >> because the ultimate act wasn't executed, doesn't mean rex tillerson wasn't regularly humiliated. for example, tweets and overruling him on north korea and putting him in his place. you've seen he's been like with his staff, the same with james
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comey. >> often horrible with firing people, like with jeff sessions, make them as hard as possible to make them quit. if you want me gone, you'll have to do it, you'll vl to fire me. and leads to some public humiliation along the way. but won't resign because the president is belittling them publicly. >> let me ask you the whole thing about firing. gutsy thing to do is sit down across the table and call the guy, we used to have a cigarette in the old days, but have a cup of coffee, you know what, you've been a great colleague shs just isn't working tout, and you know it and i know it. so why don't we part ways and do it with some class, walk out and face the press right now. meanwhile you have in the kid you have the person you are going to replace the person with. that would be grown up way to do it that way. he doesn't do it that way. >> no. it takes a very weak, coward
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leadership to not be able to terminate one of your senior face-to-face to have that conversation. it matters with national security. with the trade. only president we have. the one thing i'll tell you politically. if he was smart enough to give him credit for doing so, perhaps we could, but a lot of administrations, look, but for the stormy daniels situation, we would be focused on in propriety at va and interior and hud, and those would be campaign issues and president might want to clean house. but i don't think he is looking at this long lens how to improve cabinet but to loyalty to him personally. >> and sometimes i wonder which scandal he prefers us to focus on. because always a lot to choose from. thanks for being here. >> thank you. >> coming up, has vladimir putin finally gone too far? is he like an i vladimir putin,
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like i tanya. looks like i putin himself was beyond murder of a spy on british soil. trump won't push back. those are facts. that's ahead. plus the other scandal encroaching oval office, attorney for stormy daniels now says she was physically threatened to keep quiet about anything she had to do with donald trump. and back to the white house, to plug the holes, trump is plucking people out of the green room. to him the real experts are people show up on television, especially fox, experts. finally let me finish with trump wash. this is hardball where the action is. no, please, please, oh! ♪
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welcome back to "hardball." in addition to meddling in the 2016 presidential election, russia recent actions show vladimir putin is taken more brazen steps to thumb his nose at the west. increasingly government is looking like criminal enterprise than that of a respected world power. first unprovoked attacks on troops in syria by so-called
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russian manage smercenaries. among the russian forces. no americans were killed. first engagement between russian and americans in decades. then the unprecedented chem attack in russian spy in england. nerve agent that most couldcow developed in the last days of the cold war. theresa may said first attack of its kind of nato territory and pointed finger at russia. >> they have provided no credible explanation that could suggest they lost control of their nerve agent. no explanation as to why russia has an undeclared chemical weapons program in contra convention of international law. instead, they have treated use of military grade nerve agent in
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europe with sarcasm, contempt, and defiance. >> most recently the u.s. identified russia as culprit behind cyber attacks against infrastructure as early as last year. and homeland security released this photograph showing controls of a power facility that russia accessed making that hackers had the foothold they would have needed to manipulate to shut down our power plants. i'm joined by mall con msnbc terrorist. and columnist with "the washington post." david i want to start with you. why is russia acting like tanya? >> vladimir putin is angry, seeking to restore russia as
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world power. >> by bringing us down? >> putin experience is every place he's pushing, he's succeeding. there has been very little to stop him. and obvious that absent that stop, putin keeps going. and i think that's what's finally become clear to brat and, franan britain, france, germany, and u.s. >> is that because they can't compete with us? >> declining power. russia is a one export economy. it's basically dependent on oil and gas. it's trying to become modern but slipping further and further behind. this is not china. this is not a strong economic competitor. putin has one thing, willingness to use force, doing it over and again, and finally gone too far and people put up the stop sign. >> malcolm, it's been said dangerous animal is the wounded animal.
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so if they have chip on shoulder this at the are to be watched at least and perhaps curbed. >> well, certainly the chip on their shoulder goes further back than the soviet union. this is almost a russian trait. insecurity about how they position themselves visa vee the west. he is trying to reengineer the polar axis against the atlantis alliance, which is europe held down by russia. russia is resurgent only in the sense that, as you said earlier, the united states must be brought to heel and turned into the third rate super power with china and russia as the top two. and that's what he's doing. >> we have seen putin deny responsibility for his actions. for instance, when asked by megyn kelly in that interview of
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the in indictments of people in the election. he was demi he was dismissive. >> why do you think? nothing has talked last time since you and i have talked in st. petersburg. so names have popped up. >> so they weren't russians? >> so what if there are russians. there are 146 million russians. so what? >> if they did in fact interview with the elections, is that okay with you? >> i don't care. i couldn't care less. >> smirking like that. you use the phrase he said so what nine times. he thinks he can get away with
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it. last 18 years in power. that was like a smirking kid. >> we just watched mr. so what. i'm telling you he thinks he can get away with it, and answer when pushed so, so what are you going to do about it. and the answer has been nothing. >> what do you make of that guy with that smirk, he wasn't acted like a grown up? >> no, not a question of acting like a grown up. man who understands power politics. he understands he is now in the driver seat. he does not care how hybrid warfare strategy effects the rest of the world except when he wants it to have the effect he needs it. and what he did with meddling, not meddling but attacking the united states, going after the french elections, essentially trying to reengineer all conservatism in the western world, to be his asset, so to speak, he is essentially saying
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he doesn't care. he has a plan in place, and it's being affected, and it's working, so what. >> you know, i just think he's like a guy who can't afford a good car, so goes around keying all the other good cars he sees, let me key every good looking car, scratch them up so they'll feel like held, and i'll feel better because i can't have a nice car. isn't that about it? >> there is malicious. >> why does trump put up with it, question of the year? >> that is the question of the year. let's ask special counsel robert mueller for his answers as to why he puts up with it. >> he has trump by the tail or what? >> so trump campaign is saying he wanted better relations with russia. that's a plausible argument. >> that was two years ago. >> i understand. what's the deeper part of this? we don't know the answer to that yet. i do think it's important that putin has finally gone too far. even donald trump has said i think putin is responsible for
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poisoning this former agent in salisbury, england. and we finally have the imposition of sapgss by the trump administration against russia. so i think a small corner has turned. so the question is will trump stay with it. >> the back ally world, putin, trump's friend, has he killed people personally? has he put contract take them out? >> he's a kgb officer and they use violence. the british is very direct. british prime minister has said this was a breach of international law on our soil, attempted in britain, and blamed putin himself for authorizing it. >> is he a killer? yeah.
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look, they are kgb officer. once kgb always. he calls the new nobility of russia. nothing gets done in that count which without kgb on your staff. he has personally ordered these attacks. he has killed people. and he does not care whether we know about it. >> apparently so. thank you malcolm nance and david. thank you gentlemen. up next, disturbing allegations continuing to emerge from stormy daniels scandal. daniels lawyer says the adult film actor was physically threats end to stay clue et with anything with donald trump. th that has certainly escalated. this is "hardball" where the action is. -looks great, honey. -right?
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welcome back to "hardball." disturbing allegations continue to emerge in stormy daniels scandal. this morning michael avenatti told porn star was physically threatened to keep silent about donald trump. let's listen. >> was she threatened? >> i'm not going to answer that. you'll have to tune in in march. >> will you deny that the president of the united states threatened your client?
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>> i'll not confirm or deny. >> like what's my line? good for you. good props for getting that question at the date line there at the buzzer. avenatti also said daniels would offer more details upcoming interview. boy hyping this 60 minutes scheduled 25th, sunday after this. daniels attorney said he was unaware of any specific challenges. so cbs is not vulnerable. she might be. that powerful figures can threaten legal action saying some legal experts say peril for daniels 60 minutes interview goes ahead. anyway, the white house has denied allegations of anything. also joining us here legal analyst. this is, i don't know what to say, but the physical danger, what do you mean, i guess a couple ways, somebody called up
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you better be irrelevacareful, you think it meant by physical threat? >> it's hard to know with the president or michael cohen what was meant. but i take it as serious threat of bodily injury. and could void the contract depending whether the threat preceded the contract, we don't know. but it's a crime in and of itself to threaten physical harm to anybody. so whoever made that threat could be in legal jeopardy just for making the threat unrelated to the fact that there is a nondisclosure agreement. >> well, what would the nondisclosure agreement do to that? in other words, if it preceded the nondisclosure, you would be covering up not just sexual relationship if it occurred, but also the threat? you would covering up an awful lot for money? >> well, i don't think a threat of physical harm would be covered by the nondisclosure agreement, especially if it
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happened after the agreement was signed. because that couldn't be covered by a pre-existing arrangement. and of course a question whether the document is enforceable because it wasn't signed by donald trump or dd. and i would say there is another reason why it might not be enforceable, which it seems to be a completely in equitable agreement where all of the benefits flow to dd, who we assume is donald trump, and all of the obligations are on the part of pp who we know is stormy daniels. >> but she gets 130 k out of it. there is money there for her, you know, if she had a case here. they got the money. >> yes, she got $130,000. and agreed in exchange to do a lot of things. and all of the things that she agreed to, included one million in liquidated damages each and every time she revealed anything that was prohibited under the agreement.
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$130,000 is not enough for anybody to knowingly agree to pay a million dollars in damages. that seems in he canable rigequ there. and he had no obligation other than the money, and to sign the agreement apparently he did not do. so there is some serious questions whether it's enforceable. >> back to the question. if she was threatened by one of his agents or henchman before she signed, how would that effect this whole thing? >> if she was thit ereatened be that it would have totally voided the document. even though the document might say we did this freely and fairly, if you were threatened, that's not a free and fair agreement, and could not be enforced under any law. >> so we have to say it came
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afterwards the physical threatening. >> i'm assuming that because i'm assuming if it happened before, that would have been alleged by her lawyer, who said it's not enforceable because it wasn't signed on the line that it was supposed to be signed by donald trump. >> you lawyers have your uses, you know, you are good at this. thank you. a lot of it doesn't come to mind. thank you. i mean that, i'm not being condescending. i didn't think of the fact if she had been threatened, neither party could say this was done out of free will of either partner. anyway, thank you so much. >> exactly. >> you're welcome. >> up next, trump staff look familiar, recruiting, hiring from what he watches on fox news. so much for experts. trump wants people good arguing his case on the tube. watch him during his executive time. that means watching television. that's what presidents like him
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and only one like him do. you're watching "hardball." [fbi agent] you're a brave man, mr. stevens. your testimony will save lives. mr. stevens? this is your new name. this is your new house. and a perfectly inconspicuous suv. you must become invisible. [hero] i'll take my chances. ( ♪ ) stop dancing around the pain that's keeping you awake. advil pm gives tossing and turning a rest and silences aches and pains. fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer with advil pm.
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and that's just one school, two semesters, three girls. together, we're building a better california. . welcome back to "hardball." you can call it the green room cabinet. "washington post" reporting trump might hire multiple person news personality with bush administration hawk, i say that loud enough, john bolden, frequently appears on fox news, and defended president on the russian investigation. let's watch john bolden. >> the fact that president trump opened the meeting by talking about russian interference in our election, and an according to secretary of state tillerson, pressed it several times, should be the end of the allegations about collusion with the trump
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campaign. of course it won't be. but just for reality sake that was important. >> veteran pete military veteran has been floated as possible replacement for veteran affairs secretary david shulkin. co-host of fox and friends welcome. fierce advocate for the president. here he is dpeeefending the president on nfl. >> this is the least race, most free, most prosperous country in the history of human kind. free people goffening themselves now we can't stand together for, what is it, a minute and a half, two minutes for national anthem. that's divisive. >> that's called freedom. then knbc larry kudlow who trump has tapped for new chief executive adviser. >> i've known the president a long time. we have mutual admiration
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society. the president likes me as a media communicator. so i'll be more than happy to oblige. >> he may love tv personality but doesn't feel the same as policy experts. we'll have that coming up next with "hardball" and our round table. as well as over 30 watersheds across the country. we're also leading water projects in more than 100 communities. and for every drop we use... we're working to give one back. because our products rely on the same thing as we all do... clean water. and we care about it like our business depends on it. going somewhere? whoooo. here's some advice. tripadvisor now searches more... ...than 200 booking sites - to find the hotel you want and save you up to 30%. trust this bird's words. tripadvisor.
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all these experts that we have. these people don't know what they are doing. they say, donald trump needs a foreign policy adviser. supposing i didn't have one, and i have a lot of people, i met last week with a lot of people, all good people. but supposing i didn't have one, would it be worse than what we are doing now. the people, the experts, and i'm not knocking them, i'm just saying the world is a mess. we have helped to make it a mess. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was president trump during the campaign dismissing anything, well, experts. while trump may not value policy expertise, he loves tv personality, jobs in his administration. let's bring in our "hardball" round table for this circle. so for you for the defense here, does he like fix his own teeth
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when he has a cavity? >> maybe. >> does he fix his own plumbing when something goes wrong with the toilets. he likes experts but not the value kind. >> those individuals have guided previous presidents how to make proper decisions. it's interesting to me when you observe president trump, i this i he's almost a case study on pseudo transformational leadership. type of leader makes short term goals without thinking long-term repercussions and that's what we are seeing. >> that is scary. >> that is very scary. i don't disagree with you, chris. >> if we do surgical bombing of north korea, something might be sons consequence tal. >> you would think. >> how does he know this stuff without say having ambassador to south korea? >> he doesn't feel like he needs one. >> i thought he was going to
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defend him. >> made us more nervous now about security as an american. >> go ahead. >> i mean, it is undefendable. it's undefendable. i often think about it, from my perspective, i run an organization, i have 100 staff. and i actually think about bringing in staff who compliments me and question me and push me. and i do the same thing. and that's how we get the best work done. senator john tester, chief of staff, and think about how great an organization he put together as senator, you wanted people with different ideas so you got to the best idea. >> what does trump won? >> he seems to want yes people. >> what's he want? >> i don't know that he wants yes people. but he wants people that are going to do what he tells them to do ultimately. and i think that for the first year he was in office, he had these people, they weren't necessarily the usual experts, because a lot of them didn't
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have a lot of washington experience, but had some expertise, but kind of tried to manage him a bit. and i think now he's at a point he wants to do what he said he was going to do. said he wanted to put tariffs on stuff, he'll slap tariffs on stuff. and wants people that will execute that. now we'll have to wait and see what happens. >> "washington post" points out installing cabinet or cable pundits decision making jobs has not worked out very well for trump. former fox anchor was withdrawn as implicated in russia probe. monica crowley nominated to be national council, but hers was taken out because of plagiarism. >> employment opportunities that are ready to run the country. >> chris, people solid experience would not want to
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work at this level of chaos. i think to your point -- >> lay down on me. >> wouldn't do it. >> what could trump do to fix this problem? >> hire qualified people, it's simple. >> even when you talk about hiring qualified people, and you talk about bringing in tv people, we see how he's influenced by fox, if you get on fox and friends, you'll gets more of a response. >> i think the guy was limited, all he knew is what he saw on television, living on 14th and u when it got a little dangerous. >> this is not how you run a country, a company. >> he has something called executive time when he's watching fox. doesn't meet people. only meets what's on fox. so when it comes time to replace
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people, i know people on fox, executive time. >> i don't know about that at all, chris. >> let me tell you about it, it's called executive time. >> that's not great. not on my president -- the president said i ran for president because i'm a great executive. and that's just not the case. >> i think what's becoming more and more upsetting to me the chaos is exhausting. voters find the chaos exhausting, but where the republicans in congress? like, i want to see some folks stand up and say enough. this is way too important to have this behavior. >> i hate to think what this sounds like our conversation in russia as putin finds out this guy he's dealing with. that's scary because he's our president with us. up next these three will tell me something i don't know. you're watching "hardball." ♪ ♪
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poallergies?reather. stuffy nose? can't sleep? take that. a breathe right nasal strip instantly opens your nose up to 38% more than allergy medicine alone. shut your mouth and say goodnight, mouthbreathers. breathe right. when this guy got a flat tire in the middle of the night, so he got home safe. yeah, my dad says our insurance doesn't have that. what?! you can leave worry behind when liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance. we're back with the "hardball" round table. tell me what i don't know. >> i think conor lamb who just
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won the seat in pennsylvania is going to have a very difficult time running again nine months from now in november. hal be running in what will be the 17th -- think about this, 2012 when barack obama was on the ballot and became -- >> betting window opens up outside here in a few minutes. come around the betting window. stephanie? >> having a good night in texas with five of our primaries going through. we've got five more primaries in illinois on tuesday, and this is just dozens and dozens of women running to take back the majority. i think we lost a great woman today. >> i mentioned tariffs earlier and the european union right now is preparing or taking the first
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steps on putting tariffs on u.s. products if president trump doesn't give them an exemption next friday. so they released a ten-page list of american products from rice to orange juice to motor cycles that they would tariffs on and right now they're seeking comments from their industry. >> thank you. when we return let me finish tonight with trump watch. you're watching "hardball." friends, colleagues,
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trump watch march 16th, friday march 16, 2017. this week we saw two very different messages democrats could deliver heading towards the congressional elections this november. secretary hillary clinton. if you look at the map of the united states she said there's all that red in the middle where trump won. she said that in a speech in india i win the coast, men and places like that. i win a place that represents two thirds of america's gross domestic product. so i win the places that are optimistic, diverse moving forward. in his whole campaign in making great again is looking
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backwards. you don't like black people getting rights, women getting jobs. you don't want, you know, to see that indian-american succeeding more than you are. whatever your problem is, i'm going to solve it. well, that is one way to address the voter who voted for trump in 2016, a voter you'd like to have vote for you running for congress in 2018. the other way is the way young conor lamb talked to voters in pennsylvania this week. he basically told them programs like social security and medicare are popular with people for the basic reasons there are for everyone. they have an interest in the programs democrats created for americans just like them. this is to me an acid test for democrats this year. you can probably win with simple resistance, attack trump and by dangerous implications attack voters who voted for him. driven to that mistake by their prejudices or as congressman lamb put it, treat them with dignity as people make one
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judgment one year and will make another judgment this year. my sense is you will never get anyone coined voters as racist or below you to rise up and support you in the coming election or any election that follows. so i say bet on conor lamb's approach. thank you for being with us. tonight the white house is facing mounting questions about whether a potential witness was, yes, physically threatened in order to create a contract to keep her silence. this is big and unusual story, and the development is coming in of course the stormy daniels' case. her lawyer saying she was physically threatened to stay silent about an alleged relationship with donald trump. >> was she threatened in anyway? >> yes. >> was she threatened with physical harm? >> yes. >> will you

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