tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC May 5, 2018 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
thank you so much. i'm nicolle wallace. i'll see you back here monday for deadline white house at 4:00 p.m. stormy outlook. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. president trump now says rudy giuliani didn't have his facts straight. this week we learned for the first time, of course, that the hush money paid to adult film star -- star, i guess -- stormy daniels came directly from president trump. the stunning admission of the president's personal involvement with that payment was made by rudy giuliani, the president's new lawyer. today, however, president trump was in cleanup mode, suggesting that giuliani is still, quote, learning the subject matter. >> mr. president, how's rudy doing? >> mr. president, when did you find out? >> i'll tell you what.
rudy is a great guy, but he just started a day ago. but he really has his heart into it. he's working hard. he's learning the subject matter, and he's going to be issuing a statement too. but he is a great guy. he started yesterday. he'll get his facts straight. he's a great guy. >> joint base andrews, the president was asked to clarify all that. >> when did you change your story on stormy daniels? >> we're not changing any stories. all i'm telling you is that this country is right now running so smooth. and to be bringing up that kind of crap and to be bringing up witch hunts all the time, that's all you want to talk about. you're going to see -- i will tell you this. when rudy made the statements, rudy's great. but rudy had just started, and he wasn't totally familiar with every -- you know, with everything. and rudy, we love rudy. he's a special guy. what he really understands is that this is a witch hunt.
>> rudy giuliani, who was hired on april 19th, actually, issued a statement a few hours later. he wrote, there is no campaign violation. the payment was made to resolve a personal and false allegation in order to protect the president's family. it would have been done in any event whether he was a candidate or not. my references to timing were not describing my understanding of the president's knowledge but instead my understanding of these matters. clear, huh? well, the mayor was trying to clean up this moment where he all but admitted that the hush money payment to stormy daniels was made to avoid an election eve scandal. here he goes then. >> imagine if that came out on october 15th, 2016, in the middle of the last debate with hillary clinton. >> so to make it go away, they made this -- >> cohen didn't even ask. cohen didn't ask. cohen made it go away. he did his job. >> well, the correction today caps off an antagonistic two-day television debut of the former mayor on behalf of the president, something that according to "the washington
post," both trump and rudy had agreed to do. for more, i'm joined by phil rucker, white house bureau chief with "the washington post," annie linskey, national political reporter with the boston globe, and carol ann pull ecy, a fortunately criminal defense attorney. i think it's a great friday night because stuff still happening. i always love it when things are still happening as we go to press here at night. phil rucker, you know, what happened was rudy blew everybody's socks off by saying after weeks of denying it, that the money came from trump. but he never said trump directed it. he said it simply came out of this sort of slush fund, this retention fee that michael cohen had access to and he could pay it off month to month without ever having to tell the president he had gotten the money. also he said this was to avoid an election eve disaster for the candidate. well, he said it on "fox & friends" yesterday morning. today he says it had nothing to do with an election. two things he's now saying. trump still didn't direct the money, but he paid it.
>> yeah. >> and also it wasn't to do with the election. it had to do with the trump brand and his relationship with his family. >> which is difficult to square because everything we know about donald trump is that he's a penny pincher. he controls all of his money. he's a micro manager of the bills for his buildings. >> when he pays the bills. >> when he pays them. so it's surprising that $130,000 would somehow leave his bank account and him not know about it or question where that money was going. but that's the argument the lawyers are making tonight. then the other issue with the political motivation, that's to try to clean up what rudy giuliani had said about michael cohen making that payment to try to help trump in the election. he's now trying to claim it wasn't that. >> caroline, when you retain an attorney, i want to get this because it makes no sense. you retain somebody to handle your legal business so he's available or she's available. but when they have an expense like staples, paper, e-mail, i mean some kind of expense they have to do -- not e-mail. maybe envelopes. they expense that to the client. now, we're to believe that
having to expense $130,000, he didn't expense it. he simply paid it out of his own money. he swallowed it. i mean this is not how lawyers operate. oh, yeah, i picked up all expenses including payoff relationships. i would never charge you that. of course he charged trump the money. of course trump had to agree to pay it. this is ridiculous. go ahead. >> that's right, chris. i think that you have to look at giuliani's written statement today when he said my references to timing are in no way sort of indicative of the president's knowledge. he's trying to maintain a level of plausible deniability at the same time he's trying to exculpate cohen for saying that he was, in fact, repaid for that loan. but also on president trump's part, he's trying to have it both ways where he's saying he simultaneously repaid the payment while not knowing the specifics. and how he did it, as you mentioned, was through this sort of slush fund, this $35,000 a month retainer fee that michael cohen could use to just
indiscriminately pay anybody apparently who had, you know, negative or damaging information on mr. trump prior to the election. so, again, it goes to the federal election law violation. he's trying to sort of, in an effort to get himself out of issues, he's just sort of muddying the waters and making more issues for him. >> you know, in a weird way, annie, and i don't want to get off color here, if trump's telling the truth, which no one here believes, that he pays this fixer to fix all problems, gives him a ton of money. what happens if he gets in more trouble than $130,000 apiece? what if you get a bubble of costs? is this guy supposed to cover that or does it have to come out of his $35,000 a month? >> this is part of his argument, chris, is part of the giuliani argument is hey, look, this happens all the time. this has nothing to do with an election. we're constantly paying people off. >> so there's always a woman in question who is pounding them for money or else -- this is saying he's a sleaze, and i got
to cover up for his sleaze, and that's the defense. that i normally have to pay up for his messes. >> it's usually problematic because in order to prove that's true, that would mean that we are going to see a series of women or other situations trotted out to establish the pattern. so it's not really a pattern that you really want to be arguing. >> let's get to the point here, what a lot of people think is the second story here. why did trump change his story this wednesday night? why did rudy get trotted out to say it really came from the president? the president actually paid the money, taking the heat off of mr. cohen because the "national enquirer" had run that negative piece attacking him and everybody thought, including cohen, the president's out to get me. they're trying to soften up this guy. anyway, tell me about this. was this attempt to take the heat off cohen so that cohen will not turn state's evidence against the president? >> potentially, but i think more than that, it's an attempt by giuliani to get this campaign finance violation issue off the table, to establish once and for all this wasn't a campaign
finance issue. and giuliani was not successful in articulating that message very clearly in his many media interviews. he was sort of all over the map. it caused a lot of agita at the white house. >> the real agita is michael cohen having to save his keister against multiple charges. he's a youngish guy. he does not want to go for 30 or 40 years somewhere unpleasant where you maybe get to lift weights if you're lucky, that's it. and doing all that for donald trump rather than simply telling donald trump, you abused me. i'm going to have to get even. >> yes. certainly by all accounts, i had to believe after giuliani came out on "fox & friends" and previously on hannity, i had to believe that this was part of a larger strategy. of course we now know this was just a strategy between trump and giuliani unbeknownst to sort of the rest of his legal team, the rest of the communications team in the white house. but i had to believe it was an effort to get in front of the bad facts that they knew were
coming out in the wake of this raid on michael cohen's home, office, and hotel room. they know that, you know, there are going to be some bad things that come out there, and they wanted to perhaps get ahead of it from a p.r. standpoint. it didn't work out, but, yes, they absolutely may be giving an olive branch here to michael cohen to exculpate him from at least the campaign finance of it. who knows what other trouble he may be in, in the southern district of new york in terms of other issues? but at least on that issue, maybe it's something they could do to sort of take the heat off of him in the hopes that he won't flip. >> did you see that movie "city hall" with al pacino? he's the guy that dealt with shady characters from brooklyn. i know the guy's name there. but the fact is they basically said he was a singer in the movie. that guy looks like a singer. in the end, they're going to press you, you're going to look at 30, 40 years in jail and
you're going to talk. >> this was this network that reported today that cohen has been talking to people and saying, no, this isn't what happened at all. i have a different side of the story to tell. it seems like if this was intended as an olive branch to cohen -- and i'm not sure that it was. i think there's an easier way to do that by having the president just say something like, cohen, a great guy. but if this was an olive branch, it's unclear to me that it really worked. >> well, no. today we learned that cohen's thoughts on what giuliani has said. here's what he told donny deutsch. >> i spoke with michael cohen yesterday, and he's quote about giuliani was he doesn't know what he's talking about. he also said that, look, there are two people that know exactly what happened, myself and the president, and you'll be hearing my side of the story. and he was obviously very frustrated at what had come out yesterday. >> phil, let's take this back to why it matters. we heard weeks ago the president faces more terror from this stormy daniels case potentially than he faces from the mainline
investigation by robert mueller. the argument being, i think, it isn't that he had this relationship that he's embarrassed by, potentially at least a person would be embarrassed by it, but by the fact this this guy has so much on it. so much has been collected by the fbi when they went into the offices of michael cohen, that all this could be used to squeeze cohen. >> to turn against the president. yeah. cohen's the vault for donald trump. he's the keeper of all these secrets, all these arrangements, all these financial deals going back a decade. his personal attorney and fixer. he'd get him out of trouble, and trump is worried about what he might tell federal investigators. and the other reason it's so concerning for trump and for the white house is they don't know the full truth. with the mueller investigation, they have a good sense of what happened on the campaign and what didn't. they have a very good sense of what trump did as president to possibly obstruct justice or not. they have no idea what michael cohen has on trump, and that's why they're so concerned. >> well, annie, it could be
russia, which is always the main -- the vein here. you want to get to the russian collusion issue because that's the one issue if you and show the president colluded with the russians to get elected president, even a bunch of republicans might well join a conviction of getting the president out of office. >> yeah, that is a terrifying aspect. to phil's point, which i think is spot-on, it is unclear that, you know, sarah made it very clear yesterday that nobody really did know any of the details about the stormy daniels situation. so the fact that there could be multiple, you know, concepts like this flowing from cohen, you know, is very, very scary because they don't know what they're dealing with. it's an unknown unknown. >> let me go back to caroline. can you tell us about what the possibility is of squeezing michael cohen with all this stuff he knows. >> yeah. >> and all the collateral information, everything he's got in that bundle of stuff that's now in control of the federal investigators from the southern district of new york. >> right. >> how would they squeeze somebody like that?
>> well, as you said, we know that this was a referral from robert mueller's office, the special counsel's office. he didn't think that that was sort of in his ambit to prosecute, so he referred it to the southern district of new york. and of course they're moving forward with that criminal investigation. now, that doesn't mean that the prosecutors and investigators in the southern district can't share whatever information they may find in that investigation with the special counsel's office, and the special counsel could then use that information really as leverage. i mean, you know, i hate to ud the word "threat" but the threat of a criminal indictment in other arenas, you know, having to do with banking fraud, wire fraud, what have you, maybe nothing to do with russia, could potentially incite michael cohen to sort of open his eyes and say, look, do i want to go to jail for potentially a long period of time, or do i want to provide substantial assistance? and that's what the prosecutors are looking for, substantial assistance in the bigger russia probe. and i think it's a very strong
likelihood that he would do so. >> is robert mueller basically already walked into a candy store, and he looks at all the different candies much he's got m&ms, hershey bars, and he's looking and saying any one of them -- well, paul manafort, papadopoulos, i don't know, roger stone, who knows. this guy, michael cohen. all these people have stuff to tell me. >> right. >> about the guy i'm trying to go after here to figure out whether he did anything wrong. does he have the opportunity now to pick one of these he wants to go into and say, great. this looks really tasty. i'm going to bring this guy down with this one. it looks like that's mueller's situation. that's what he's looking at, the candy store. >> potentially. but prosecutors for the special counsel's office got really raked over the coals today in the manafort case. basically the judge came down very hard on them saying the only reason they were prosecuting manafort for these other crimes was exampctly as y
stated. >> but it says in the mandate anything that arises in this case they can prosecute. >> i agree with you. but the fact is he may be tamped down at this point. >> it says any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation. that 78-year-old judge who was a reagan appointment ought to read the mandate before he rules in this case. i think he's out to lunch. >> i agree with you. >> i think he's going to learn more. anyway, i'm tough on a guy i don't even know. but when he didn't even read the mandate language, it's pretty wide. anyway, thank you. >> once it's unredacted, we'll see. >> great. thank you. by the way, i want to hear from all those candy companies for my product placement tonight. thank you, phil rucker, annie linskey, and caroline polisi. coming up, trump says he wants to sit down with robert mueller, but the truth is he doesn't want to. rather than try to win in the court of law, he inherently wants to try to fight in the court of public opinion. he wants to make it look like he's willing to talk but never sit anywhere near the special
counsel. let me at him. i want to get there. no, he doesn't want to get at him. plus jerry nadler of new york joins us tonight to tell us what would it take for congress to begin the impeachment process. and the trump and rudy show. chief of staff john kelly is relegated to the back seat. who knows where this car is heading? finally let me finish tonight with trump watch. he won't like this. he hasn't lately. this is "hardball," where the action is. but what a powerful life lesson. and don't worry i have everything handled. i already spoke to our allstate agent, and i know that we have accident forgiveness. which is so smart on your guy's part. like fact that they'll just... forgive you... four weeks without the car. okay, yup. good night. with accident forgiveness your rates won't go up just because of an accident.
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as i said yesterday, stay tuned. i think you're going to be seeing very, very good things. and also the trip is being scheduled. we now have a date, and we have a location. we'll be announcing it soon. >> we have a date, and we have a location. in addition to teasing a date and location, president trump also said that the summit would be happening very soon. president trump also announced late today he will welcome the south korean president to the white house later this month prior to his meeting with kim jong-un. apparently it's after this month. we'll be right back. t 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 have all these investigators. they're democrats. in all fairness, bob mueller worked for obama for eight years. i would love to speak with him. i would love to. nobody wants to speak more than me. in fact, against my lawyers because most lawyers, they never speak on anything. i have to find that we're going to be treated fairly because everybody sees it now, and it is
a pure witch hunt. if i thought it was fair, i would override my lawyer. >> i love the gestures, override my lawyers. welcome back to "hardball." that was donald trump today suggesting robert mueller's team wouldn't treat him fairly. he also claimed all of mueller's investigators are democrats, neglecting to mention that mueller is a registered republican appointed by george w. bush. it's part of an aggressive new strategy to discredit mueller. according to politico, trump and his team see the challenge as more political than legal. quote, they're banking that the lead russian investigator will follow longstanding justice department practice that a sitting president can't be indicted and that the only real threat to trump's survival as president is impeachment. trump's plan is to forcefully challenge mueller in the arena he knows best, not the courtroom but the media, where the public campaign aimed at the special counts's credibility especially among republican voters and gop members of congress.
that sounds very smart. i'm joined by "washington post" opinion writer and msnbc contribute or jennifer ruben. and former assistant u.s. attorney cakim wailly. i think you should surmise that trump is not going to sit around and outlawyer anybody. he's just going to say what side are you on to the american people? are you on my side or the geeks trying to bring me down? >> listen, impeachment is a political process, so there's some sense to that. the problem is twofold. first of all, eventually he's going to have to sit down and talk to mueller. he can do it the easy way and sit down for a voluntary interview or -- >> or else what? >> he gets a subpoena. >> suppose he says, i'm going to ignore the subpoena. >> at that point, i think the political dynamic shifts. if he's going to refuse to respond to a subpoena -- he can litigate it. but if a court orders him to testify -- which they will -- >> you think the supreme court, 5-4, with anthony kennedy joining -- >> i actually think it will be
bigger than that. i do not think john roberts is going to let him get away with that. this is not going to be a party vote as it were. >> is that because of the precedent of bill clinton where he had to testify? >> yes. and if you remember nixon, 8-0. they do this when -- >> with the documents. >> exactly. they're going to assert the entire strength of the court. listen, the judiciary is under attack by this president, and they have an institutional responsibility and an institutional ethic to defend that. >> well, gorsuch is not going to vote, is he, that way? >> who knows? listen, i think they have at least six votes. >> do you agree, kim? you think in the end he has to testify? >> i think in the end, there is going to be a subpoena. the question is whether he can negotiate testifying without being under oath, because then he would avoid perjury. but i don't think that's doable. i don't think mueller would go for that, so then we're talking subpoena. then we're talking maybe we're not going to comply with the subpoena. then we have a court order to compel. we have a contempt decision by a court if he refuses, and then we've got this president who
believes article 2 authority is somehow, you know, superior to the other branches of government saying it's a fake court. i'm not going to comply with that. >> this is fascinating because this is a really constitutional crisis. in other words, the court doesn't have an army. trump has an army. he's commander in chief. so he says, i'm staying here. if some judge in his robe is going to come over and grab him -- >> let me tell you, how is this enforced? susan, mcdougal, the united states marshal service goes and takes the person, puts them in custody. president trump's in charge of the marshal service. >> you're with me on this. if he's willing to push this all the way and say my people will back me because if he does believe they're going to try to -- well, i don't know. conviction is a long way off. it takes 67 u.s. senators, and that's -- >> i think if we're down to that, if we're down to him defying a court order and ordering the marshals off the white house lawn, at that point i think we're in impeachment territory. >> you're so establishment. >> i know. >> president trump tried to
discredit mueller's investigators, today calling them angry democrats. this is what he's up to. let's watch. >> i want to talk to the people in charge. if they can prove that it's a fair situation. the problem we have is that you have 13 people. they're all democrats, and they're real democrats. they're angry democrats. and that's not a fair situation. >> there we saw what was said in this piece, this segment, that he's not talking to jurors. he's talking to the american people, and he's got 40-some percent who will stick with him through "access hollywood" and every other stumble that's come along. we're still with this guy because he said he's pro-life. he's with us on a couple issues and he's anti-establishment, therefore no matter what this guy does, we're with him. how many people do you think are like that in. >> i think about 30%, 35%, absolutely. the problem is we're going to get a new congress. i think we're going to even get a new senate. and eventually he can't run out
the clock anymore. >> how many republican senators will join the -- so roughly 50 democrats. you don't know what's going to happen in the election. let's say 50. that takes another 17. >> depends what he does. >> can you get 17 republicans to vote to throw this guy out of office under any circumstances? >> it depends what he does. if he is literally refusing to respond to a subpoena -- >> have you watched the toadies? they go simon says, everything he wants, they are now for. they were the party of free trade before trump came along. they're now for big deficits. they used to be running against deficits for fiscal responsibility for 100 years. whatever trump says, they do. >> listen chris, i'm a constitutional law professor, i think we've got two of the three branches that are really broken right now. we have a legislative branch that's not doing their job to oversee the executive branch. >> they don't do anything except what he tells them to do. >> it's all about checks and balances. nobody is the boss of all three branches. this is what's getting distorted
here and this is something that trump is misleading the american public, not just the 30%. >> if he believes he's turned mueller into a skunk before the american people, like he's trying to do comey, turn them into skunks, into awful people that smell and are awful. we don't like these beings. if he keeps doing that, he may believe that he can get away with it. that's the key thing, if he believes. he can challenge the authority of the supreme court. >> he may believe it. that's why if it does get to the court, it is so important for the conservative justices to put their foot down. and it's at that point if you have -- >> you're being normative here. you're using the word "should" here. >> do i think they'll get some of those conservative justices? >> they'll get gorsuch. >> i think they'll even get alito. maybe not thomas, maybe not everybody. but i think they're going to get a very strong majority. at that point i do not think it is sustainable. you know, we do have elections. this will all get resolved one
way or another. 2020 come as long. if he's in that posture -- >> did you think hillary would win the election? >> i sure did. >> that's how smart you are. >> absolutely. absolutely. >> what we all think here, and i thought she'd win too. what we all think here in the citadel of washington in the deep state may not be the political reality that trump's looking at. and i agree he may have to do it because nixon -- the big difference between him and richard nixon, you can hate nixon all you want. i'm not a nixon hater. i know the evilness of the stuff he did. he did have a sense of shame, and this guy has none. jennifer ruben, kim wehle, thank you. up next, he's the man who would oversee impeachment proceedings in the house. we're talking to the guy himself, congressman jerry nadler of new york. he's here. what's his idea of an impeachable offense? i'm going to ask him. he's coming here next live. this is "hardball," where the action is. he's got legs of lumr and arms of steel ♪
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we will impeach him. the people said, but he hasn't done anything wrong. oh, that doesn't matter. we will impeach the president. so i don't think we're going to have a lot of happy people if that happens. i think it's going to be a little bit tough. we got to win the house. and you know what? we're going to win anyway.
>> welcome back to "hardball." that was president trump last week telling his supporters that if democrats take over the house, they'll try to impeach him. it's part of a larger strategy, of course as i mentioned earlier to make the debate over the russia probe political, not legal. as former white house strategist steve bannon told politico -- this is political. at some point in time the american people are going to weigh in on this. the legal process is going to atune itself to the political process. they are inextricably linked. so what would need to happen for politicians to seriously consider impeachment? i'm joined by u.s. congressman jerry nadler of new york who represents the tenth district, including manhattan and parts of brooklyn. a very interesting district. congressman nadler is the top democrat on the house judiciary committee, the panel that would potentially initiate impeachment pree proceedings against president trump. i was thinking of the great peter ra dino back in 1974 who handled it masterfully.
people never had a higher opinion, i think, in our lives of the congress than they were in the way that the house handled the question of richard nixon's impeachment. tell me what your general thoughts are about what's going on now, the way president trump is talking about how the democrats are out to impeach him. >> well, i think first of all the president is making that up out of whole cloth as he makes up so many things out of whole cloth. what's going on now is the congress is failing at its duty. we have a system of separation of powers and the congress is supposed to keep the executive in check and vice versa. and the congress is not keeping the executive in check. we are not exercising our checks and balances power. we are not holding the administration accountable. we are not holding hearings going into all the things that we're doing that we ought to be doing. we ought to be holding those hearings and holding the administration accountable. and if i'm the chairman of the judiciary committee, which is to say if the democrats should win
the house in january, that's what we will do. we will start holding hearings on the behavior of the administration, on what they're doing, on their adherence to law, on what, if any, legal changes we should make to promote the rule of law, and we'll see where it goes from there. >> do you think that the house republicans have been doing anything like that? i've looked at the case of nunes, chairman of the intelligence. they look to be rubber stamps for anything the president wants to say or do on the issue of this whole russian probe. >> well, no. the republicans in the house have been extremely -- by and large have been extremely irresponsible. nunes has been a complete lackey for the white house. and more to the point, they've refused to hold any hearings. instead, they have participated in trashing the special counsel and trying to distract attention from what's going on and trying to come up with phony nonsense. one interesting thing about the
special counsel is the president and republicans, some of them can say whatever they want. it's terrible. he's doing a terrible job. it's all democrats. first of all, he's a republican. his superior is a republican. but more to the point, we don't really know what they're doing. there have been no leaks. all we know is that a certain number of people have been indicted. certain have pleaded guilty, and we know court filings. we will find out how good a job or bad a job -- i think good -- they're doing when they bring prosecutions, when he issues a report, presumably later this year or next year. >> what is the relationship between a report that comes out -- say it's on obstruction of justice. it's done piecemeal by robert mueller. spring is almost up, but let's say by this summer. he comes out with a report that talks about the president's obstruction of justice in this case. what does that say to the house? is there a natural order of things where the house takes up that report, holds hearings on it or what? >> well, first of all, the statute under which ken starr operated mandated that the
special prosecutor issue a report to congress. the statute under which mueller operates mandates that he issue a report to the attorney general, in this case the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. it's possible that he won't release that report to congress or to the american people. i think that that report should be released, and i think we would make sure -- we would have the tools to make sure it would be. then we'd have to see what was in it. then presumably we'd hold hearings and call witnesses to see how reliable that report was, how strong it was, and what else we should know before we decided what actions we need to take. >> you're a constitutional lawyer as well as an elected official for all these years. what do you make of this fight that may be coming more immediately where the president may decide he will not accept a court decision that he has to testify to mueller? what would happen? >> well, if -- well, he can appeal any such court decision. but if ultimately at the end of the appeals he is instructed to testify, he must do so.
he cannot simply defy the court. that's what richard nixon -- at the end of the day, richard nixon decided he had to obey the court order. the president must obey the court order. >> or else? what happens? we've never been in that situation. see, nixon was an institutionalist. nixon did what he was told to do. >> we were in that situation once i believe with andrew jackson, who said john marshall has made his decision, i'll let him enforce it. but it's a long time ago. i think in today's world if a president absolutely refused to obey a court order, then we'd have to consider impeachment. >> mr. nadler, god be with you. you've got a challenge facing you. >> but i would hope and trust that we'd never come to that, even with this president. >> it may come to it. thank you so much, jerry nadler, u.s. congressman from the west side of new york and part of brooklyn, ranking member of the house judiciary committee. up next, the "hardball" roundtable is here to talk about the trump and rudy show. the president's lawyer taking turns at the wheel of course and everyone else including the white house staff is just along
for the ride right now. look at these two guys. they're in cahoots. you're watching "hardball." pres. hijacking earth's geothermal energy supply. phase 1. choosing the right drill bit. as long as evil villains reveal their plans, you can count on geico saving folks money. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
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welcome back to "hardball." president trump and rudy giuliani have hatched a plan to reveal that trump actually reimbursed his personal fixer, michael cohen, for that hush money payment but they certainly left the white house staff out of the loop. "the daily beast" reports that giuliani's interview with sean hannity wednesday night sent white house staff scrambling. quote, was he supposed to do that one blindsided white house official said. it adds, one senior trump aide bluntly assessed, rudy pulls a trump, denoting a surprisingly extremely public undercutting of official strategy and messaging. that sounds formal. the disconnect was evident yesterday as press secretary sarah huckabee sanders struggled to field reporter questions. >> when did you specifically know that the president repaid mr. cohen for the $130,000?
you, personally. >> um, the first awareness i had was during the interview last night. >> how are the american people to trust or believe what is said here or what is said by the president? >> we give the very best information that we have at the time. >> why can't you just answer yes or no whether you were in the dark? i think it's a fairly simple question. >> i think it's a fairly simple answer i've given you several times now. i gave you the best information i had, and i'm going to continue to do my best every single day. >> according to "the washington post," while rudy had a strategy, the white house counsel had no idea, neither did the white house chief of staff. the post adds they watched agog has giuliani freestyled and unveiled an explosive new fact. rudy giuliani's correction today underscores how the ever changing narrative could create even bigger problems for the president.
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example of a president losing control of his narrative, writing the past few days have offered a head spinning series of revelations that conflicted with the version of events mr. trump and his associates had previously provided. baker adds the shifting statements also illustrated starkly why some of the president's lawyers have urged him not to submit to an interview by the special counsel robert mueller. let's bring in the "hardball" roundtable. erica warner, a congressional reporter for "the washington post." adolfo franco, a republican strategist and rnc surrogate. and jason johnson is a politics editor, and he is the editor at the root.com. adolfo for the defense, what do you make -- >> why start with me? >> because you're fun and the fact of the matter is you're going to be in the barrel again tonight. what is this about? are they just roughing their way to truth here? i think the president's still denying two key factors. one, he didn't order the payment of the hush money for the woman he was involved with. and, two, it had nothing to do with an election. he claims both of them right now. >> first of all, it had nothing
to do with the election. >> why did he say it, then? >> i'll tell you why it doesn't have anything to do with the election. i think rudy giuliani got this part of it right. this is a person who has been looking out for the president. i don't know when mrs. daniels -- i'll just call her that -- was pressing the president for payment supposedly under this agreement. it could have been -- >> ten days out from the election. >> mr. cohen had nothing to do with the campaign. he wasn't formally part of the campaign. you know, on top of all of this and just very quickly, "the wall street journal," when you read a piece by bradley smith, the former chairman of the fec, of the fortunately electiothe fede commission, he says even if this payment is made, there's not an fec violation on this. >> edwards had to go through this. >> it was a completely different situation that was not -- it was not -- those were funds that were implicated during the
campaign. >> why? it was to hush up an affair. it was exactly the same thing. >> it was not the same thing in any way, shape, or form. this is a person who had -- something had to do with 10, 12 years ago who has zero credibility -- stormy daniels. >> oh, really? you think she made it up? >> she signed something that she never had an affair. >> you think she made it up? >> i don't know whether she made it up or not. i think the president is right. you get rid of these people as nuisance. >> i think the former friend of trump that said everybody in america believes he had the relationship. everybody in the world believes he ordered the payment because nobody has a lawyer that's allowed to write checks for $130,000 without saying, yeah, do it. >> the other thing giuliani was attempting to do which was interpreted maybe giving him too much credit as some kind of four dimensional chess -- >> would you go on national television after dinner? i worked in the house with these
guys all got in trouble after wine is served in the dining room. they go on, and then they have to go take words down. don't go to dinner first if you're going on national television. >> there's no way -- there's no way that anyone doesn't believe that this had to do with campaigns. and rudy knew that. that's why he said it. look, when you're running for office, i don't care if you're running for local school board. your husband, your wife, your kid, your neighbors, your pastor, everybody is involved in the campaign. you can't say cohen had nothing to do with the campaign. >> why did they do this just a twosome? how come they didn't share this with kelly, with mcgahn, with the new lawyer, emmet flood? >> that's how trump rolls. he prizes personal loyalty, and we know that john kelly is not on his good side lately. we don't know what kind of relationship he has with these other lawyers, each of them. giuliani, although i guess they aren't very close, seems to be someone that he feels that he can trust although the process of throwing him under the bus
seemed to somewhat begin today when he said, you know, he's been on the job a day. he's still learning. >> rudy's loving the spotlight. >> why would no, john kelly's role, i'm talking about his role. you heard about stove piping, the information and discussion -- >> i think he wanted a street fight and rudy is good at a street fight. he wanted to bring two guys from the boroughs and went in with a certain attitude towards the establishment and -- >> he reflects the attitude donald trump want to have. giuliani can set a speed. these are guys who are going to be loyal no matter what. whether he had his facts wrong
he knows rudy giuliani will remain loyal and even if he changes his mind. >> this is nice. washington talk on a friday night. i thought this was about the russian interference in the election? this is why this panel, this is why donald trump will win re-election and will be -- >> wait. >> no. >> judge ellis got it right. >> jessie jackson, i know what you are pulling. you are knocking down the fourth wall. let's talk about the general issue. and let's talk to particulars. you are trying to change the topic, i know what you are up to. i'm go i think to pull you down. these three will tell me something i don't know, you're
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back with "hardball" tell me something i don't know. >> the omnibus spending bill he was going to ask congress to cut billions of dollars. they are going to ask for $11 billion from totally different programs. >> the economy is booming. quickly -- >> i knew you would do this. >> we just got -- >> what is the unemployment rate? >> the lowest, 4.1%. >> let me tell you quickly. >> what was that? >> let me tell you the biggest and best news we have gotten. >> nancy pelosi announcing she is going to run for leadership --
>> we have the next speaker. >> we remember wendy davis and she ended up losing, we have a new one that won. margie bright matthews won and killing an abortion bill in a red red red state that got sent to the committee. huge victory. >> jason and franco, we will be right back. well, like most of you, i just bought a house. -oh! -very nice. now i'm turning into my dad.
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trump watch thursday may 4th, 2018 we end with this from the white house. voices correcting voices on who directed the $130,000 hush money payment to stormy daniels was the fixer or did he get the okay from trump. did he pay the money to keep her quite so he can win or was it that trump was concerned about his marge and protecting his band. h -- that cohen didn't pay her -- and that cohen made the payment as standard operating procedure to protect the marriage and brand. the purpose is to protect trump from having to admit he ordered the hush money. the fixer fixed the problem and
did it as a business expense. and had nothing to do with the presidential campaign even though this happened within days of the election. got it? that's "hardball" for now. thank for being with us. breaking news rudy giuliani goes under the bus and concern about the payment to stormy daniels. trump on stage in dallas, didn't mention rudy giuliani or stormy daniels while going on stage, a correction from the bomb shell revelation that after all of this, trump did pay stormy daniels by repaying michael cohen $130,000 here is the quote, there is no campaign violation. it would have been done whether trump was a candidate or not. the boss under cutting him