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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  March 28, 2018 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT

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that's our show for tonight. i have a programming note. this friday, 6:00 p.m. eastern, we have a live beat special with a big breakdown of the crisis hitting donald trump's digital firm and a very special guest who hasn't spoken before. this friday at 6:00. as for right now, it's "hardball" with chris matthews. talk of a pardon. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm steve kornacki in for chris matthews. new revelations receipting to the special counsel's probe have raised serious questions whether he president trump or his attorneys considered an attempt to pardon witnesses in a possible effort to silence them. this comes as the president announced his latest cabinet shake-up, firing his veterans
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affairs secretary and promoting the white house doctor in a tweet. much more on that in a minute. but the breaking news first tonight. "the new york times" is reporting trump's now former lawyer john dowd discussed the prospect that the president could pardon two of his former top advisers. michael flynn and paul manafort. those discussions last summer with the attorneys representing flynn and manafort "came as the special counsel was building cases against both men." they raised questions whether the lawyer john dowd was offering pardons to influence their decisions whether to cooperate in the investigation and plead guilty. times adds that "the talks suggest mr. trump's lawyers were concerned about what mr. flynn and mr. manafort might reveal were they to cut a deal with the special counsel." it is not clear whether the president directed dowd to discuss the possibility of a pardon or whether he knew about the conversations at all. white house press secretary sarah sanders addressed that question today and also said the conversations can described by
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the "times" have not taken place. >> did the president direct john dowd to you talk about the attorney for manafort and flynn about potential pardons. >> i'm not aware of that at all. >> did the president have a reaction to "the new york times"? did you ask him specifically? >> i did not talk to him about it specifically. again, i've been in a number of conversations. it's never come up. ty cobb who had be the lead representative for the white house on these matters is also gone on the record to discuss and declare that these conversations haven't taken place. >> for his part, however, trump attorney ty cobb today said only that the president is not currently weighing such an option. "no pardons are under discussion or under consideration at the white house." dowd denied the conversations with flynn and manafort's lawyers ever took place telling the "times" there were no discussions, period. he also said however, as far as i know no discussions.
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i'm joined by barbara mcquaid, former u.s. attorney and legal analyst. eli stokols is an msnbc contributor and heather mcgee, an analyst. barbara, so the unknowns here, quite an explosive story. but the unknowns here we don't know if this did happen. we have denials here. if it did happen, we don't know if the president knew it happened. if he knew it happened, we don't know if he ordereded to happen. if he ordered it, we don't know what his motive was. those variables, how significant from a legal standpoint are each one of them? >> very significant. first, did it happen. that's the first thing we'd have to figure out. but assuming that it did, it's one, hard to imagine that john dowd would have this conversation without first discussing at least with president trump. there's a duty of a lawyer to communicate on significant matters with your client and so i can't imagine that he would make this offer or discuss
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pardons with them without at least consulting with president trump. whether he ordered it is another matter. he must at least have advised him he was going to have this conversation. as you said, the intent is incredibly important here. was it the intent to trade a pardon in exchange for not cooperating with robert mueller? if this conversation occurred, the mere fact that you would raise the issue i think creates at least an impression that there was an expectation that they would do something in exchange for president trump because he has the power to pardon them without getting their agreement. there's no need to discuss it with them unless you want something in exchange. >> that's where this starts is, looking at this as a layman, this is where it gets a little foggy to me. the presidential power to pardon, it's absolute. a president can use it for any reason at any time. it's always there in a situation like this. any president under investigation could at any moment say you know what, this
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person is potentially a threat to me. i'm going to pardon them and take care of it. that line if you're going to broach it at all, if that happened if this lawyer brought it up somehow, if dowd brought it up somehow, is there any specific line a prosecutor might be looking at here? >> part of the problem is it happened to my understanding while the grand jury was empanelled when it was clear that flynn was in the crosshairs. we know what did happen months later. flynn flipped and decided that he would both plead guilty and cooperate with the mueller investigation. so there was a sort of clearen an present threat of what exactly did happen which is cooperation. >> i also think on the question of the pardon, yes, it is a virtually unlimited power but like everything in our politics, it's also limited by norms. the president of the united states has to stand in front of the american people and justify why he thinks this person has to be pardoned. and we have not yet heard a
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decent in fact even colorable explanation for why he would pardon michael flynn. >> and barbara, let me bring you back for a second, too, because another piece of this, it becomes from the -- there's -- from the standpoint of what would happen next, this supposedly happened over the summer. these are still ongoing active cases. is there a way to read this, too, there's an attempt here maybe to communicate something that's more of an ongoing offer? >> so in other words, making this public so that will paul manafort knows that this is out there and that mike flynn knows this is out there? that's an interesting theory. >> the topic confident pardon has been an ongoing thing. we ask about it, too. it's not just trump is bringing this up. fact that it's out there could -- trump at any moment could do it. >> that's a brilliant strategy because if you make it overt, you can say there's nothing underhanded. it was in the public domain. i suppose to the extent manafort
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and flynn know that's a possibility, it's something to think about. if this report is true that dowd did communicate to them directly, that makes it much more compelling there was potential obstruction of justice. there would be no reason to have that conversation with them unless you were seeking some quid pro quo because the president has the power to pardon them at any time even without their approval. >> eli, the relationship between the president and john dwaud, talk about that a little bit. it would be unlikely for dowd you to have done anything about this without the president knowing. what was that like, that rip as this was playing out? >> at the time, john dowd was the top lawyer defending the president in terms of the special counsel's investigation. everything i know, they had a pretty close relationship in terms of trump somewhat deferring to dowd following the strategy in terms of sort of you know, holding back his fire
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against bob mule ter publicly and yet, it is hard to conceive of a situation like there in which dowd and trump did not have a conversation about this. they talk about all kinds of things. just from what we know about the president and the way he approaches things, he is always taking the temperature talking to everybody, trying to figure out what might work, sort of sending up trial balloons, testing things out. his defenders will say, oh, he's just asking -- he doesn't know. he's trying to figure out what's possible. but it's pretty clear from this report if it's true that the president was not acting with a completely clean conscience. if you have a clean conscience, you're not contemplating pardoning people to prevent them from spilling everything to the special counsel's investigation. >> the big question, heather, is how robert mueller, if this is what happened, if he determines this is what happened, something like reported here, how he would react to that, how he would treat it. one of the jobs of the special
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counsel is to report back to congress and say here's what i found and maybe we saw this with ken starr to say i found things that i think might be impeachable offenses. impeachable offenses are subjective too, how you define what obstruction of justice is. that is the wildcard here. even if this is established. how does mueller look at it. >> i think he's methodically building a case on two separate streams, both of which are primary importance to the american people. we'll look back at this time with a lot of respect and gratitude for the way he has kept this going. first of all, what happened between russia and the trump campaign potentially parts of the rnc to undermine our democracy? this is still something that because of the partisan fog, because of the propaganda coming out of the right wing media machine is going to be told in the history books as a major breach of our sovereignty, and yet, we still have basically one man sort of looking clear-eyed
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and trying to connect all the dots. so first of all, that has to be a part of the recommendation. that has to be a part of the report. i think it's going to be up to the bipartisan committees to actually take that, supplement it with what they've done and up to people in the media to make it clear to the american people how secure our elections are, how complicity or not very powerful people were in this breach of american sovereignty. >> having been rebuffed by several top lawyers in washington, the president is appropriating a little known member of his economic team andrew ekonomou. he doesn't have much experience with high profile cases. in an interview, he told reuters that he prosecutes a lot of murders for the da in brunswick, georgia. however, when asked about the biggest cases of late, he said that is basically it, nothing earth shaking and shared this detail of his life following a mid life crisis he said he went back to school and got his
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doctorate in medieval history from the emory university in 2000." we're used to high powerful members of government when they get into legal trouble they call on the highest priced most well established attorneys. there are some high pro phi defenders out there of various government officials. not what we're seeing with the white house from a legal standpoint from the president's standpoint. how significant is it that sort of talent he's relying on, positive or negative, not traditional? >> you know, it's been reported that many of these very well-known high priced lawyers have touched trump down for a variety of reasons, conflict of interest. some like ted olson don't want to be affiliated with trump and their law firms don't want to be affiliated with them. it harms i've been told the recruiting efforts of these firms to be affiliated with president trump. he has to look at another tier of lawyers less well-known. i don't know anything about this particular lawyer and i wouldn't assume because he's not one of
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the big names that he's not effective. he's a former federal prosecutor and former acting u.s. attorney. though it's been some time. there are plenty of lawyers out there whose reputations are not quite as well-known likely to be effective. you should look at the qualifications can opposed to the reputation. is this someone who has recent experience? recent experience dealing with the department of justice in negotiating plea agreements and terms of things like interviews and grand jury appearances and a close understanding of the way those things work. i don't know that reputation matters so much as qualifications. >> eli, behind the scenes we know the president wasn't too happy with his last attorney. how he feels about his legal representation right now. do we have clues of that now that he's changed course here? >> i think he it will say everything is fine. he tweet aid few days ago, don't believe the fake news. there are a lot of lawyers lining up to work for me. that is obviously not the case. most of the more qualified experienced washington lawyers
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want nothing to do with representing the president at this time. and you know, i think that he -- a lot of times this president formulates his own assessment of himself and his own situation based on what's reflected back to him in the media. i think that to some extent, bringing on this other attorney or elevating this other attorney is a reaction to a lot of news coverage. people -- people writing stories saying this president has basically one lawyer now. one or two lawyers representing him. as he faces you know, a special counsel investigation that seems to be gaining steam. >> speaking of that, there is renewed concern that the president may try to remove robert mueller. in a press release late yesterday, thom tillis from north carolina, democratic senator chris coons from delaware called on congress to pass legislation to protect the special counsel from interference by the president after the president lashed out at mueller by name, a move that
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instigated a pressure round of attacks from conservative media circles. heather, this story today, the possibility of pardons, even if it's from last summer, that would only accentuate the concern those senators are expressing there. >> what you're seeing here in the fact that bipartisan statement needed to happen today is a reaction to what's happening in if the conservative news media cycle. bob mueller is a very popular american. you have the majority of the american people who say that his investigation should continue without interference. 78% of americans say that if asked, donald trump should sit and testify under oath including the majority of republicans. this is something the american people even though they don't think it's as important as the economy or health care they want to get right on this. we feel a certain way about the potential violation at the highest levels of our american democracy. so there's been a very concerted effort on the conservative news media to tarnish the
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investigation. and it's starting to take root. it's not going to effect independents and democrats wa so much. they want a republican base that is no longeria they think is pretty scarily towards the center in adding to those poll numbers that show the majority of americans think if he has nothing to hide, he should testify in this investigation and it should continue. >> heather mcgee, barbara, eli stokols, thanks to you all for joining us. we haven't seen president trump at a public event for five days and counting now. why is he staying out of the spotlight? does it have anything to do with stormy dans? that's ahead. plus, trump raises expectations for his summit with kim jung un he says kim will "do what's right," suggesting peace and denuclearization is within reach? could he possibly deliver. >> and trump hopes to lead republicans to victory this november by picking cultural battles. today he's fighting on two fronts, the second amendment and
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the border wall. finally, the return of rose anne. it was a huge hit in the ratings last night. maybe a surprise there. was that because unlike most things in the age of trump, the show is trying to reach out to both sides of the political divide. this is "hardball" where the action is. the coca-cola company believe the health of our water sources is essential to the health of our communities. which is why we're helping to replenish the mighty rio grande 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. how'd i get this yard?
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touting his excellent genes. >> in summary, the president's overall health is excellent. some people have just great genes. i told the president if he had a healthier -- he might live to be 200 years old. he has incredibly good genes. >> he will need senate approval before he takes over at the va. we'll be right back.
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him, ah. oh hello. that lady, these houses! yes, yes and yes. and don't forget about them. uh huh, sure. still yes! xfinity delivers gig speed to more homes than anyone. now you can get it, too. welcome to the party. welcome back to "hardball." donald trump has spent much of his adult life seeking the limelight. but over the past five days, he is doing just the opposite. the last time the president held a public event was back on friday. that was two days before "60 minutes" aired its interview with stormy daniels who alleges a sexual relationship with trump. white house officials denied that allegation again today. white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders addressed trump's notable absence the last few days. >> why haven't we seen so much
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of the president? will he commit to doing a formal news conference? he hasn't done one in more than a year? >> the president has a major speech tomorrow. it's been incredibly active all week long. we've taken major actions in trade negotiations as well as expelling had intel officers from russia out of the country this week. there have been a number of major things that the president has taken action on and been engaged on. he's giving a major speech tomorrow. >> as "the washington post" reports, trump complained the stormy daniels controversy is a political hoax but he hasn't responded to any of the taunts from daniels' lawyer. early this morning, that lawyer michael avenatti filed a new motion seeking to depose the president and his lawyer michael cohen. a judge must now decide if that can happen. david swartz called the motion a reckless use of the legal system in order to inflate michael avenatti's deflated ego and keep
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him relevant. i'm joined by brett stevens, an op-ed columnist and yamiche alcindor. yamiche, sarah sanders says nothing to see. the president's going to be back out there tomorrow. it has been five days since we've heard from him. is it just a coincidence or is your sense it is related to what happened on "60 minutes" the other night? >> we can't say for sure whether or not the president is silent because of stormy daniels. it's highly unusual for him not to comment on something that is such a big news story. the idea that we've -- i've been sitting in briefings where raj, the deputy press secretary said he wouldn't answer whether or not the president saw the interview. then he said the president also refused what was said in the interview. obviously the president has seen the interview with daniels and seen reporting of it and he's not saying anything. which is completely abnormal. the fact that stormy daniels
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lawyer is not only talking about deposing him but said you need to call my client a liar and if you don't did, then you know she's telling the truth. i think it's going to be remarkable the first time that president trump peaks his head out again in the public because he's going to be inundated with questions about daniels. >> brett, this is a president who has never shown restraint. in the campaign, it was alicia machado, former miss universe, could not resist getting into a multiday back and forth with her. nothing like that here. the question becomes if that's the case, why? is this a president who from a lee standpoint feels there's a risk to him in engaging in a public fight with this lawyer? who knows what the lawyer might produce next? is it a president who feels strategically if he ignores this it's more likely to go away? do you have any sense of that? >> it's speculation. maybe out of respect for his wife and young son. that might be a consideration. or the alternative is maybe
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stormy daniels hases in effect read the president his miranda rights. anything he says can and will be held against him. trump has to be very careful about making statements that might end up being legally actionable. one of the ironies here is some of the sort of case law that might hold comes to us, of course, from the strom ma of bill clinton and bawl paula jones and later mon cap lewinsky going back to 1998 when this time it was republicans eager to get a democratic president on account of alleged sexual peccadillos. well the very sort of legal case that republicans made back then about the dalt to indict a president, depose a president, catch him on lies, what is the meaning of the word conspiracy is" all comes back to haunt them with the president and the porn star. >> there was the effort by bill clinton to avoid giving a deposition in the paula jones
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lawsuit. michael avenatti, the lawyer, says he's been playing a game of chess with the president and his lawyer and called out the president directly. here's a taste what he had to say. >> if she's not telling it the truth, let the president call her a liar. let the president come forward and say it never happened. >> anya mish it, any lawyer sort of high profile lawyer i try to take what they say with a grain of salt because there's always some element of hype there. they're always going to give you one version. that's the job of a lawyer in the limelight like that. what's your sense talking to folks around the white house? what do they make of him and these sort of threats that he's hinting at of more to come potentially? >> people that i've talked to make it seem as though this lawyer wouldn't be making these threats if the president wasn't in some real issues when you think about the fact with stormy daniels yesterday saying the president or his lawyer may have violated actual law and campaign
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finance laws by the way that they paid that $130,000 and they also added to the lawsuit that the president or his lawyers were seeking to influence the 2016 election. so we're not just talking about someone saying you might have cheed on your wife. they're say ugh might -- this might be something that's criminal. i think that's why people in the white house at least are kind of dancing around this idea. sarah sanders has said several times that the president denies these allegations. but the president himself not standing up and taking to the podium as this lawyer threatened him to do is remarkable. we know who president trump is, someone who wants to punch back and not doing it. >> brett, from a public opinion standpoint, it raises the question, does any of this utley matter? was a judgment made about trump's character before he was elected that this merely affirms or does this change something fundamental how people look at him? >> i saw a poll that said that 61% of republicans even now see donald trump as a role model. of course, what really matters
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isn't the consensus view. it's opinions at the very margins which ultimately end up deciding elections. i think a lot of parents, those of us with young children faced with a conundrum of having to explain top 10-year-old, 11-year-old children exactly what miss clifford's profession is have a very hard time justifying the president. it's certainly one of the reasons why you see so many republican incumbents in the house leaving and therefore, putting those seats that might otherwise be safe seats into play. that's where you're going to see the potential of a real political flip. >> ryan costello, the latest republican top announce his retirement from the house said he didn't want to be talking about that. ya mish, bret, thanks for being with us. up next, trump setting high expectations for his talks with kim jong-un. he says there is a good chance that peace is within reach. copossibly deliver? this is "hardball" where the
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welcome back to "hardball." president trump raised high hopes this morning for his upcoming meeting with north korean dictator kim jong-un. he tweeted for years and through many administrations everyone said that peace in the denuclearization of the korean peninsula was not even a small possibility. now there is a good chance that kim jong-un will do what is right for his people and for
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humanity. look forward to our meeting. this came after kim jong-un recently visited china, his first known visit out of north korea since he took over in 2011. president trump tweeted received message last night from the xi in china that his meeting with kim jong-un went well and that kim looks forward to his meeting with me. in the meantime and unfortunately, maximum sanctions and pressure must be maintained at all costs. for more, i'm juned by a senior fellow at the center for strategic and international studies, a senior analyst on korean issues at the cia from 2001ton 2008. sue, thank you for joining me. the president raise the expectations. he said two things, he said peace and i'd show you two fingers but they're wrapped up. and the denuclearization of the korean peninsula. he said that could happen. is that realistic? >> i'm glad he feels is optim t
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optimist optimistic. north korea has been pursuing nuclear program for decades since kim jong-un came into power, he conducted 0 missile tests, four nuclear tests including hydrogen bomb, he didn't just wake up and decide to give it up. when he's talking about denuclearization of the peninsula what that means is u.s. south korea alliance to stop the extended nuclear umbrella over south korea. we need to temper expectation a little bit here. >> with that in mind when president trump sits down for this meeting, what is the most important message he should be prepared to deliver? >> i think that if kim jong-un will be serious, if he could be serious about potentially denuclearization, giving up nuclear weapons, there be rewards as well as a bad path
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forward. i think that message las to be very, very clear. also i think we need to sort of -- i think the most optimistic scenario honestly is that they meet and agree on something in principle and then step back from that. it's unrealistic if you think we can solve the crisis in the one meeting with kim jong-un. it's not going to happen. >> sue mi terry. appreciate that. coming up, president trump is trying to rev up the gop base ahead of the midterms. he's returning to an old playbook. that is next with the "hardball" roundtable. you're watching "hardball." stay with me, mr. parker. when a critical patient is far from the hospital, the hospital must come to the patient. stay with me, mr. parker. the at&t network is helping first responders connect with medical teams in near real time... stay with me, mr. parker. ...saving time when it matters most. stay with me, mrs. parker.
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wall. on our southern border. and i will have mexico pay for that wall. mark my words. >> we're going to build a wall. mexico's going to pay for the wall. we're going to stop drugs from coming in. >> the trump administration will also secure and defend the borders of the united states. and yes, we will build a great wall and mexico will pay for the wall 100%. >> so a lot of politicians said you can't get mexico to pay for the wall. i said it's going to be so easy. going to be so easy. >> and trump has since found that it isn't that easy to convince mexico 0 pay for the wall but he publicly remains undeterred. the west reported tuesday that trump is privately pushing the u.s. military to fund construction of his signature project. the president is eager to make the second amendment a campaign issue. trump responded to an op-ed written by former u.s. supreme court justice john paul stevens calling for the repeal of the
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second amendment. trump wrote on twitter the second amendment will never be repealed. as much as democrats would like to see this happen and despite the words yesterday of former supreme court justice stevens, no way. we need more republicans in 2018 and must always hold the supreme court. let's bring in the roundtable. phillip bump from the "washington post," zerlina maxwell sirius xm and political analyst and john podhoretz editor of commentary magazine. the second thing we talked about guns, the op easy from stevens got a lot of people talking. he's 90 something, no longer in office. it's clear from that tweet what trump is looking for and i think what republicans are looking for is for folks on your side of the aisle here to start stake out turf that's not necessarily that safe to feel emboldened and to sort of move on guns from hey, we want background checks to look what they're doing in australia or hey stevens has a
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point here. is there a chance in this climate with what we saw in florida with the trump atmospherics that that does happen on the left? >> i don't think so. what we saw on saturday with the march for our lives is where the progress sib movement is going. i say that in terms of an intersectional, a younger and more diverse coalition of interests where they understand that guns are a cultural issue in which people -- there are studies. in 2015, the university of chicago did a study where they found correlation between an opposition to more rights and privileges for people of color and women correlated with in opposition to gun safety legislation. so the idea that the folks who on the right support the second amendment and say we don't want any regulations don't take away our guns they're in opposition to this diverse coalition of young people saying we just want common sense regulations on guns so that we're not shot in school. i don't think that the left is
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moving to the position of stevens. i think that's actually an outlier which is helpful to that coalition of students because they have a more mainstream position. >> that gets to a broader question, john, in terms of motivating the republican base to turn out this fall if you're a republican. if you're trump. is the way to do that by pointing to something positive, the tax cuts or the economy? or does it require remember who the democrats are. you don't want them getting near power. >> it totally requires that. the john paul jeempbs op-ed was a gift to the trump and republicans though probably too early. the key to understanding whattal happen in november is not just the democrats are charged up which they are but whether republicans are going to say i'm not going to bother going to the polls and democrats will ride away. if republicans can get heated up and if the argument is going to be they got to turn out to the polls because the democrats are
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moving on guns, they're moving on there, on that, they are on the chashlg and if you don't stop them, terrible things will happen, that is exactly what the rnc, the national republican campaign committee, that's what they want. >> what about, phillip, the first part of that when he was talking about the wall? is this -- does he have to deliver something on that or show something? this is clearly on track to happen. does he have to be able to deliver that message to the base this fall or will they let him skate on that? there was a lot of talk about that in '16 whether they expected 2,000 miles of a wall or this was getting at something more symbolic. >> i've seen no indication his base is deeply frustrated about the wall not moving forward. his favorability remains high among republicans, remains pretty clearly high with his base, as well. it's important to remember that we tend to attribute to donald
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trump a lot off intentionality that may be up justified. his response to the wall was, there are reports he spent the weekends watching fox news seeing the response to the omnibus bill that passed was negative because spending increased so much. he feels as though he got burned a little bit on wall funding in that bill. this is a president well before he was engaged in politics, spent all of his time talking about politics on twitter. there's an aspect to this which is not him thinking about november but him being mad about something he saw on tv and tweeting. > we talk about the culture wars playing out this fall. i'm thinking how that will national debate that played over two, three weeks about the national anthem and the nfl players kneeling, that was the product it steamed trump riffing. he starts talking about college football and he gets them going. he's going to be campaigning this fall. that could happen october 20th. he could land on something by happenstance that defines the fall election. >> i think he likes to pander to
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his base and uses cultural issues like the national anthem and kneeling or guns. i think that the coalition of voters that are going to come out in the midterms and the young people we saw on saturday who tied their protest with voter registration which is the key element that will make a difference, i think the coalition of voters is going to be different than we've seen in the past. i think the young millennial voter we think about in every election, i think this year might be the year that actually problems true. >> this is a dialect tick. what happens is, trump pushes a button and then dras respond. if democrats overrespond or respond in a way that will trigger a republican party regular voter counter assault like they're coming at us culturally in a way we don't liking in october, you know, when he rifs an the at a rally, then that could be helpful because it is not just that they want to come out to support
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trump. i don't think anyone -- and that the threat is the immediate and trump can flash a light on that, then republicans do have a natural have historically in the last ten years had a natural advantage in midterm elections. they turn out more. they tend to turn out in higher rates. >> that is the wildcard too is the turnout disparities we've seen. >> that's correct. >> do they persist. the roundtable will persist and staying with us. up next, i've been looking forward to this one all day. rose anne back on tv. these were monster numbers this show put up last night. the question is, the secret to the show's success. its ability to reach both sides of the political divide. i'm going over to the board to show you it the politics of the world of rose anne. that's next. you're watching "hardball."
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and help reverse early gum damage. new gum detoxify, from crest. gums are good. so is my check up! crest. healthy, beautiful smiles for life. >> how could you have vote ford him, roseanne? >> talked about jobs. he said he would shake things up. i mean this might come as a complete shock to you, but we also lost our house the way things are going. >> now things are worse. >> not on the real news. >> oh, please. >> were you watching that last night in the return of roseanne 20 years later. a lot of people were, almost 20 million last night. network sit-coms do not get
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numbers like that anymore. but this one did and not coincidentally this is a show that got very political last night. the setup, roseanne the character plays a trump supporter in the show. in real life she is, too. you saw her sister there. not a trump supporter. you've got the tension that a think a lot of families feel right now. the other thing is the setting for the show represents in some ways what was the story of the 2016 election. why is donald trump president? the easiest answer su look at the voter who's turned out for him and flipped who normally voted democratic or weren't voting in the past. they were in a particular part of the country, you could draw a circle if you want to call it a circle around this area, sort of the northern tier of the country. this is where you saw a lot of democrats flipping, white working class urban -- exurban or rural and illinois here. that's where roseanne is set. it's a blue state. there are red parts of illinois and parts that got a lot redder because of trump. that is the world of roseanne,
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that white working class world. where exactly in illinois is roseanne set? we got conflicting signals on that show. sometimes they placed down here, sometimes more up in this part of the state. it's a fictional town. you look at all the red counties outside the chicago area. a few other pockets in the state. that's the roseanne world. white, working class, the conner family. those are the sorts of people, the sorts of voters in 2016 in that region of the country that flipped made trump president. that's what makes it in part that show so interesting to me to watch now in the age of trump. we'll talk about this a little bit with the panel and the politics of roseanne and you got liberals and conservatives on the same show. how often do you see that anymore? is that why it was such a ratings hit last night? we'll talk about it in a second. so i'm not happy unless my hands are dirty. between running a business and four kids, we're busy. auto insurance, homeowner's insurance, life insurance policies. knowing that usaa will always have my back...
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and welcome back to "hardball." the roseanne revival as we said premiered last night to sky high
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ratings, 18 million people tuning in. entertainment weekly reports accord doing abc, the highest rated comedy telecast in four years on any network. i'll give you the bottom line thing that i took away from the show is we see so much of pop culture right now one way or the other. you're either on this side or that side. you play to one side of the aisle. that episode for the first episode that aired last night, it was something compelling for both sides of the aisle. they could each feel represented. look at those ratings numbers. this is something bigger picture we don't see the in pop culture that much anymore. >> the story is that this is the first pop culture fictional representation of a world in which trump voters are working and living and existing that was sympathetic to them. in which they were not made fun of. this is a gigantic big sem ma
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for flag whether or not they understand if they can talk about these people and portray their lives in a way that i isn't calling them racist and monsters they might get an audience they have underserved. >> a lot of people watching could probably relate to it. you'll have relatives calling trump supporters crazy. >> the important thing they showed is the debate between the two sisters. i've talked to so many people since the election saying i stopped talking to my uncle who voted for trump because of their political sprupz it's important for us to not stop talking to relatives if we disagree with them. we have to speak to people on the other side. otherwise we never get anywhere. what the show demonstrates is it's important for us to people speak to people who have opposing views and come to a common sense understanding because we're all americans. >> i would said to john's point, one of the fascinating tidbits
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about the ratings, the three cities where the ratings were the highest were tulsa, pittsburgh tan ohio. these are trumpy areas. not pittsburgh so much as outside pittsburgh. you get my point. when i heard about this coming, of course they're bringing back roseanne. all the nostalgia. there are all these ways in which that is what hollywood is doing right now. what's fascinating about roseanne, it is the same nostalgia that trump brought to the campaign, nostalgia for a working class world that will roseanne represented during her heyday. it's important to remember, this was a bananas popular show when it was first out. in a nostalgic moment for a popular show that reflects the nostalgia donald trump is trying to capture, all those things combined. >> it's the most optimistic show in all of america because it proves there's life after death.
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in the final episode of the original, they killed off the john good man character. the roundtable staying with us. up next, these three will tell me something i don't know. you're watching "hardball." i'm not a bigwig. or a c-anything-o. but i've got an idea sir. get domo. it'll connect us to everything that's going on in the company. get it for jean who's always cold. for the sales team, it and the warehouse crew. give us the data we need. in one place, anywhere we need it. help us do our jobs better. with domo we can run this place together. well that's that's your job i guess.
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and we're back with the "hardball" roundtable. phillip, tell me something i don't know. >> republicans are hopeful with tax cuts they passed in december will help them in november. 52% of americans don't see anything in their paychecks yet from those cuts. however, 52% of republicans said they did see something in their
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paychecks. >> everything is polarization. >> that's funny. next week is the commemoration of the assassination of dr. martin luther king. i confirmed a funny family anecdote when my mom was 8, he came over for dinner. he gave her $5. it was her birthday. she has always told me she was grossed out by the fact that he puts ketchup on his mashed potatoes. i confirmed this week, talked to a long time activist a friend of coretta scott king and she said he does put ketchup on his mashed potatoes. a fun anecdote. >> it doesn't sound that good. >> my god, how could i top that. i mean, you know, i was going to say that i believe if you come back to me in three months, trump will never tweet or mention stormy daniels' name. he will never do it, never. he will never do it. >> he's up to an untrump like start on the subject.
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we'll see. thank to you phillip, zerlina, john. thank you for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. tonight on "all in." >> i don't want to talk about pardons for michael flynn yet. >> a "new york times" bombshell. >> can you say unequivocally no one here has discussed pardons in this case? >> the president's lawyer reportedly floated pardons for flynn and plfrt before they were charged. >> i've always found paul manafort to be a very decent man. >> tonight it the reporter who broke the story and what this means for the obstruction case against the president. then, did the special counsel just file evidence of trump campaign collusion with russia? >> that's what he said. that's what i said. that's obviously what our position is. >> plus, the president announces the firing of the v.a. secretary on twitter. and apple ceo tim cook on


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