tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC June 2, 2018 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
my thanks to bill kristol, mara gay, mimi rocah, and the reverend al sharpton. you did a tremendous job today. i'm john heilemann. the road to singapore. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. here's where things are headed this friday night. we've got the latest of course, but who knows how long this latest is going to hold? trump is headed to singapore and now he says he never wasn't headed to singapore. samantha bee is getting lined up with roseanne barr before a right-wing firing squad. and there are new reasons to ask questions about the other far east meeting, the one in the seychelles. it looks like mueller is still
hot on the collusion trail. finally is donald trump planning to pardon himself out of all of his russian business. let's talk about trump's bromance for despotic north korea. was henry kissinger, is power the greatest aphrodisiac? there was a remarkable scene at the white house as senior north korean official spent about an hour and 20 minutes inside the oval office. there he is meeting with trump. kim yong-chol delivered a personal letter from the north korean leader, kim jong-un. afterwards, president trump and his secretary of state mike pompeo posed for photos. there they are outside with the north korean delegation. the result, trump announced the june 12th summit in singapore was officially back on. and he sounded an upbeat note about it. let's watch him. >> i didn't cancel the meeting. i canceled it in response to a very tough statement, and i think we're over that, totally over that. and now we're going to deal, and we're going to really start a
process. we're meeting with the chairman on june 12th, and i think it's probably going to be a very successful -- ultimately a successful process. we'll see. remember what i say. we will see what we will see. i don't even want to use the term maximum pressure anymore because i don't want to use that term because we're getting along. you see the relationship. we're getting along. it's not maximum pressure. at some point hopefully a deal for the good of millions of people -- a deal will be worked out. can you believe we're talking about the ending of the korean war? you're talking about 70 years. they're credible people. i think it's going to be a very great success, so we'll see what happens. >> they're incredible people. the white house first announced in march that trump agreed to meet with kim jong-un. from that point until today, the path toward singapore has been, you might say, erratic. >> north korea, kim jong-un would like to meet with president trump. things have changed very radically from a few months ago.
you know the name-calling and a lot of other things. >> do you deserve the nobel prize, do you think? >> everyone thinks so, but i would never say it. if you look at that model with gadhafi, that was a total decimation. we went in there to beat him. now, that model would take place if we don't make a deal most likely. if we make a deal, i think kim jong-un is going to be very, very happy. based on the recent statement of north korea, i have decided to terminate the planned summit in singapore on june 12th. we'll be meeting on june 12th in singapore. it went very well. >> for more i'm joined by "washington post" white house reporter ashley parker. she's an msnbc political analyst. and vice president for national security at third way, mieke eoyang. thank you very much for returning to us. what happened today? >> well, what happened was basically a top envoy from north korea went to the white house, delivered this sort of oversized personal letter that the president may or may not have
read depending which version of his you believe. and it basically started the ball back rolling to a summit that despite harsh language about a week or so ago, no one including in the white house ever believed was really, truly 100% off. >> and what is this meeting going to be because it was to get rid of their nuclear weapons. now the president said it's going to be a get acquainted meeting. what they call just lunch. isn't that what goes on in the dating world now? he's really lowering the bar on what they expect. go ahead, mieke. >> every time he talks about this, he's really lowering expectations about what we're actually going to get. so he's not actually trying to negotiate, to address the real security threats that face america. he's no longer talking about the ballistic missiles. he's no longer talking about reducing their nuclear weapons program. he's just talking get to know you. it feels more like an eighth grade romance which is on again, off again, than it feels like an international summit on nuclear weapons. >> it seems to me there's a
danger here if nothing happens. nothing is going to be pretty clearly nothing. if you walk out of that door over in singapore -- i don't know if they're having this over there -- they're going to have a meeting and come out of it in a couple hours. my concern as an american -- this is a non-partisan thing at this point. my question is we went into panmunjom back in the summer of '51. we didn't get out of there for two years. the north korea nds lins like t and they conduct their missile tests while they're talking. >> the first challenge is the president is going into this without a real framework, as you've said, for what they hope to get out of this, what the goals are, what the expectations are. according to people we've talked to, they really have nothing. that said, the president, again, he wants the win. he wants the deal. it's very unclear what exactly that looks like but if he does fly all the way over there and they do have a meeting, it is hard to imagine him walking out without anything although it
remains to be seen if that thing is something real, intangible, or sort of a pyrrhic victory, something he can announce and nothing actually happens. >> where is that trouble maker john bolton, waiting in the background to beat this thing up somehow? he's saying they've got to get rid of not justi nuclear but if they've got biological. he's trying to reduce them to ashes. he doesn't want to negotiate with anybody. he wants to destroy them. >> that's right. bolton is about unilateral surrender of your opponents. he wants them to give up everything and we give nothing. and he's using language that trump, himself, has walked away from. bolton was the one who started talking about this libya example where libya gave up their nuclear weapons but then ca gagat gafigaf dafy -- >> common sense says the libyan model means you end up in a sewer pipe with people destroying your body afterwards
for their own joy. at first trump told the press that the letter from kim jong-un was interesting. let's watch him say that. >> this was a meeting where a letter was given to me by kim jong-un, and that letter was a very nice letter. oh, would you like to see what was in that latter? would you like? how much? how much? it was a very interesting letter. at some point it may be appropriate i'll be able to give it to you maybe. you'll be able to see it. >> he's like carnak on johnny carson? a few minutes later, he said he hadn't read it yet. let's watch him there. >> i haven't seen the letter yet. i purposely didn't open the letter. i haven't opened it. i didn't open it in front of the director. i said, would you want me to open it? he said, you can read it later. i may be in for a big surprise, folks. >> well, an hour later -- you
got to keep up with this guy -- the white house told nbc news that the president has now read the letter and there were, quote, no surprises. but was there anything interesting in the letter that he hadn't read, that he said was resting? >> well, i mean if you believe him -- and i'm inclined to believe his second explanation -- that he had not actually read the letter -- >> there was none of the snottiness in the last communique from kim jong-un. >> it's hard to imagine there was that level of rhetoric because that's what caused him to call the whole thing off. again, you've sort of got this sense the president is a top-line guy. there's a different sort of president who might have been poring over that letter, every comma, every word before he went on and made a statement. that's just simply not who donald trump is. >> let me ask you to be not conspiratorial because you're a straight reporter, ashley, and i respect the post and you for that. this is out of your line of work here for a second, mieke, if he says we are now going to meet on june 12th, that means he has another two weeks with giuliani
to say, we can't meet with anything to do with the russia probe until we've met with kim jong-un. thises him a stay of execution for a couple more weeks, doesn't it? >> it does. it absolutely does. i have to say i don't think that is the driving force because as you've seen from this president and giuliani, if it wasn't the summit, it would be something else. >> you mean like the tax returns we'll show you when they're audited? >> exactly. they're very good at this public relations campaign. the summit was a convenient delay tactic. but there will always be something else. wanting those documents on spygate, so-called spygate for instance. >> trump also says he knows north korea wants to denuclearize. let's watch his assumptions here. >> mr. president, what's your sense of what the north koreans are willing to do on the issue of denuclearization? are they looking -- >> he thii think they want to d. i know they want to do. they want other things along the line. they want to develop as a country. that's going to happen, i have
no doubt. >> mieke, that's the assumption of previous presidents going back to bill clinton and certainly w. the assumption that the north koreans are rational in terms of cost benefit. that if their nuclear program was costing them to be isolated from the world, to be impoverished forever, they would choose against it. but they haven't been that way. they haven't been logical that way. just like lbj thought he could buy the north vietnamese with a big economic -- like the tva, the tennessee valley authority. people are nationalistic. they have their own purposes. is north korea interested in a deal? >> i think they are but not for the reasons that donald trump understands it. they view the nuclear weapon as the guarantee of regime stability. they've watched other regimes give up their nuclear weapons -- >> so what do they deal if they can't deal that off? >> that's the real question. they have these ballistic missiles that could potentially hit the united states. that's a bargaining point where any could try and keep the weapons and -- >> so they can only hit japan and south korea. >> right, which is sufficient
from a world perspective. you don't want that to happen. trump really does need this period to figure out what his negotiating is. because when the north koreans say they're willing to denuclearize, what they mean is they want the u.s. nuclear capability out of south korea and japan. they don't want us to be able to strike them with nuclear weapons. >> keep 500 miles away or what? >> they want us out the region. >> what does that mean? how are we in now? >> we obviously are not stationing in japan but we have the ability to strike them and they're worried about american military presence -- >> how can we move our ability to hit them with polaris missiles from almost anywhere in the world? >> we can't. this is the confusion -- >> the genius of the polaris missile is you never know where the subs are. >> exactly. >> and i don't know whether they're ever going to know it either. i do think that's what they're up to. take away from the nuclear umbrella from south korea so they can threaten to attack whenever they went through their
tunnels, which they're not going to seal off by the way as part of this deal, are they? they like those tunnels. thank you. coming up, this is the week that culture war has erupted. roseanne barr first lost her job after a racist tweet about an aide to president obama. now president trump wants comedian samantha bee fired for her vile word about his daughter. that's all ahead. plus exclusive new reporting from nbc news on that secret meeting in the seychelles between trump allies, russians, and officials from the united ar arab emirates. and now a close friend of jared kushner is under scrutiny. this is so interesting. it keeps growing this web of russian connections all around the world. and donald trump has always shown a willingness to do whatever he has to do to get out of hot water. is he willing to use his powers to pardon his way out of any trouble that may be coming to him from the russia probe? 2 looks like it. finally trump fixer michael cohen might look like the fall guy now but there's reason to believe his reputation of being
a pit bull is for real. we'll be joined by a reporter who is going up against michael cohen when he faced the bullying and intimidation from michael cohen. it was all caught on tape. that's cool for us. this is "hardball," where the action is. morrow is going to sh. it will surprise you. challenge you. test you. tomorrow will show up. so will you. the all-new ram 1500. the most capable ram 1500 ever. ♪ we just switched to geico and got more. more? they've been saving folks money for over 75 years. a company you can trust. geico even helped us with homeowners insurance.
more sounds great. gotta love more... right, honey? yeah! geico. expect great savings and a whole lot more. president trump today broke with another long-standing protocol, giving an early hint of positive job numbers an hour before the jobless report was released officially by the labor department. administration officials are not supposed to disclose the data ahead of time for fear of politicizing the report or moving the stock markets. despite that, shortly after 7:00 a.m. this morning, trump tweeted, looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning. well, so was the rest of the country. about an hour later the labor department announced that the economy added 223,000 jobs in may. that's this past month, beating analysts' expectations. the unemployment rate dipped to just 3.8%, the lowest level in
18 years. our economic professors said you couldn't get below 4%. national economic council director larry kudlow confirmed today that he had briefed trump on that report yesterday evening. so trump got early word and used it. kudlow downplayed the significance of course of the president's tweet. of course he has to. we'll be right back. okay. [ buttons clicking ] [ camera shutter clicks ] so, now that you have a house, you can use homequote explorer. quiet. i'm blasting my quads. janice, look. i'm in a meeting. -janice, look. -[ chuckles ] -look, look. -i'm looking. it's easy. you just answer some simple questions online, and you get coverage options to choose from. you're ruining my workout. cycling is my passion. you're ruining my workout. booking a flight doesn't have to be expensive. just go to priceline. it's the best place to book a flight a few days before my trip and still save up to 40%. just tap and go... for the best savings on flights, go to priceline.
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simple. easy. awesome. come see how you can save $400 or more a year with xfinity mobile. plus, ask how to keep your current phone. visit your local xfinity store today. welcome back to "hardball." this was the week that culture wars exploded on television. roseanne barr, an outspoken supporter of president trump, was fired by abc tuesday after sending a racist tweet about a former senior adviser to barack obama, valerie jarrett. barr apologized but also suggests there was a political double standard at work to her firing. then on wednesday, that would be the next day, late night host samantha bee used a vulgar word, i think we all agree on that, to describe ivanka trump during a segment criticizing the white house policy on migrant children. here it is with a bleep of it. >> do something about your dad's
immigration practices, you feckless [ bleep ]. he listens to you.>> well, bee t day. tbs, which airs her show, issued its own apologies but took no action beyond that. today donald trump tweeted, why aren't they firing no talent samantha bee for the horrible language used on her low ratings show? a total double standard. and it was a very different reaction than he had earlier in the week to the news that abc had canceled roseanne. trump never said anything about barr's tweet. but he took issue with the fact that the chairman of disney personally reached out to valerie jarrett to apologize. trump wrote, gee, he never called president donald j. trump to apologize for the horrible statements made and said about me on abc. maybe i just didn't get the call. well, i'm joined by liz win stead, co-creator of the daily show, ted johnson, senior editor of "variety." sofia nelson, a contributor to
nbc think. that's where all our brains get to write stuff. liz, it seems to me that writing for comedy , you have to be lik a race driver. you have to race as fast as you can but not get killed, which is a tricky bit of business every night of your life and sometimes you get killed. what do you make about the first one, roseanne barr? was she -- was that a firing offense from your perspective by abc? was it fair that she was knocked out of a comeback career? >> yeah. totally fair. i mean when you literally, out of thin air, decide to use something that has been a symbol of dehumanizing imagery and a way to literally make black folks lesser than everyone else -- >> a lesser species, yeah. >> absolutely. when you put that out there -- and that's just horrifying enough. but when abc and roseanne were
all doubling down and they wanted to do this reboot of "roseanne" to really talk about not the racist imagery that so many liberals had been putting forth, but to really talk about the disenfranchised, economically vulnerable, and then this spews out, it defaults in the face of every single reason they said they wanted to reboot the show in the first place. >> what about roseanne barr? should she have been canned? >> absolutely she should have been canned. if we're doing a compare and contrast to -- >> let's get to that first. ted, what do you think? was this seen as fair by the world, by you? firing of roseanne barr? >> sure. i immediately thought, bizarrely enough, of going back 30 years to jimmy the greek. >> i think he had three or four glasses of wine for lunch. he said african-americans don't
get these coaching jobs. he said they don't have the necessaries. i mean he was obviously making a statement about iq and all, but it was awful, and he was finished. then of course howard cosell who was great in so many ways and a good guy who made that comment about a monkey too. i think there's something in the brain with some of these people. >> my point is it's nothing new that you get fired for saying racist comments. >> people always do. anyway, the statement yesterday, the president's spokesperson, sarah huckabee sanders, wrote, the language used by samantha bee last night is vile and vicious. the collective silence by the left and its media allies is appalling. back to you, liz. the silence of the lambs, in this case, president trump, was overwhelmingly silent. it was deafening, the silence. he didn't say jack against roseanne barr and what she said. then they come out, his spokesperson coming out and saying how silent it is among the left for not going at -- well, silence seems to be the deal here on both sides. your thoughts? >> well, i mean i feel like they're two different -- if
you're upset about the use of the c-word, that's a different conversation, what that means. >> what was your reaction? should she be fired for it? >> no, i don't think she should be fired for it. i think that saying she's an advocate as the international gag rule is reimposed, as the -- >> can you live with this? should she be fired, samantha bee? >> i actually believe samantha bee should be fired. i believe roseanne barr should have been fired. i'll tell you why i have issues with samantha bee. that word is vile in and of itself, but for someone in her position and her producers have some culpability here because this is live tv like -- >> so they all agreed this will pass muster. >> yes, and you talk about the culture wars. this is where we are. we were talking about it in the break. we're at the lowest -- >> who defined decency downward
in this country? >> donald trump. >> thank you. >> absolutely. >> break the tie here. should samantha bee be fired? let me ask you a real reporter's question. ready? will the corporate power structure that decides these things come down on her or not? >> two things. the first thing is that if they fire her now, they'll look like they're getting rid of her in response to president trump. that raises a whole other set of issues for the corporation. the second thing is -- >> you mean like they did with the football players. >> yeah, yeah. the corporation will have more criticism -- >> anyway, here we go, "the washington post" philip rucker, who covered trump as a candidate in 2016, tweeted today, for what it's worth, the word samantha bee used and words such as that was emblazoned on many a t-shirt worn at trump rallies. that word, i've heard. i never saw it because i don't think the cameras would focus on
it. our producer showed it to me. it was prevalent, and trump never complained about it and said you shouldn't use that word. i'm sorry. do you want to go -- back to you, liz. >> i just want to just add to that, ted nugent used that word against hillary clinton and was welcomed into the oval office. so stop clutching your pearls. >> but let's get back to the issue here. >> that was a class statement, but it was pretty good. go ahead. stop clutching your pearls. >> we have two prominent women who are comedians who both have a really bad week. the ape comment is a problem for the reasons liz said. it has racial connotations that go back to our founding as a kpun and the slavery issue and how people saw africans at that time that they were less smart, less attractive. >> there was a biblical case for it, that basically they were born as stewards. >> absolutely. so to the question of what should be done, i actually think that the corporate pressure on tb -- is it tbs? i think they're going to have to get rid of her. abc did the right thing and they
did it real quick. they didn't hesitate. they cut it off. it's just like starbucks. starbucks survived what they went through because they were real quick. >> i'm a little bit cynical about this. which constituency? racial -- you offended 20% of the country, 30% of the country right off the bat. they're not going to go to disneyland anymore, orlando or california. >> don't forget black panther. >> i actually -- my other point is i think a lot depends on who shows up to protest. >> that's right. >> what samantha bee said. i think that -- >> it's the constituency. nobody shows up. >> nobody is going to protest. nobody cares. >> i think in the case of roseanne barr, abc could have looked at that and said, you can name five different groups that are going to start to boycott -- >> it was recidivism. it was the same reference, the same animal connection, the same awful thing. it goes back to the primordial racism of nature practically. >> absolutely. >> in western civilization.
it justifies colonialism and all other kinds of things. thank you liz win stead, ted johnson. this is going to be a big conversation in this country this weekend. sophia. up next, special counsel mueller is now zeroing in on one of jared kushner's close buddies. he was in the seychelles out there in the indian ocean about the same time that trump allies held a secret meeting to set up a back channel with the russians. this goes on. this is "hardball," where the action is. (burke) vengeful vermin.
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welcome back to "hardball." among the many unexplained contacts between the president's associates -- that would be trump people -- and the russians -- they would be putin's people -- was a secret meeting just before trump's inauguration. back in january of '17, held in the remote island nation of the seychelles. look at it way out there in the indian ocean. anyway, it was there that erik prince and informal trump adviser, met with crown prince mohammed of the united arab emirates and his adviser george nater as well as a russian oligarch with close ties to putin himself. the reported purpose was to, quote, establish a back channel between the incoming administration of donald trump and the kremlin. well, now nbc news is reporting that special counsel robert mueller is scrutinizing another figure who happened to be in the seychelles about the same time as that meeting. according to nbc news, that
figure, new york hedge fund manager names rick gerson is a close friend of jared kushner's, the president's son-in-law. most intriguing however, is that gerson is keckconnected to at l two participants in that meeting about a kremlin back channel. quote, while in the remote independent indiana island nation, gerson met with prince mohammed and communicated with george nader. the development adds a new layer of intrigue, i'd say, to an already strange of set of circumstances. and as nbc news reports, mueller's team has asked witnesses about gerson's proximity to that seychelles meeting as well as another meeting a month earlier in new york city. a spokesperson for rick gerson told nbc that mr. gerson was on vacation in the seychelles prior to the meeting you reference. he knew nothing about the meeting. however, gerson declined -- his lawyer declined to say whether gerson has been personally
contacted by mueller. joining me to break this down is ken dilanian, investigative reporter for nbc. ken, it has an aspect of connections to kevin bacon. how many degrees of separation? but how many people go to the seychelles? does mueller believe it's a coincidence that this buddy of kushner's, the president's son-in-law, happened to be right near that meeting where apparently the back channel with the russians was being set up? >> well, you and i both know, chris, that prosecutors don't tend to believe in coincidences. that's why they are scrutinizing this very close, because this is a close friend of jared kushner. and while there are some nice beaches in the seychelles, it's not an obvious place for an american to go on vacation and be in text communication with this guy, george nader, who is a very important figure in setting up this apparent back channel. >> let's talk -- i'll be a little bit skeptical now. we have meetings that have occurred beginning in '16, well before the nomination of donald trump when he was just a candidate. there were meetings, of course, at the mayflower hotel in
washington, the infamous one in june at the trump tower. there were meetings at the rnc convention, republican convention with kislyak, the ambassador from moscow. there was the meetings in the office, the senate office of jeff sessions. all of these meetings in public daylight, and then they have to meet in the seychelles with tertiary partners representing each other. why would they be so scared they have to meet over there if they're walking around in daylight in the united states meeting? >> i think that is a fair question, a good question. but we know that the seychelles is a place where this crown prince of abu dhabi liked to do business. it's closer to his home turf. and the fact that erik prince of blackwater fame was involved and does a lot of business in the middle east may have factored in. george nader is cooperating with mueller and is telling him that this was a back channel. this was a way for the russians to meet with officials in the trump administration or send messages to them about better relations with russia. don't forget this is after the
election, before trump took office. >> anyway, according to nbc's reporting, rick gerson has been friends with kushner for more than a decade. however, gerson first met george nader just weeks before his trip to the seychelles in another secret meeting at the four seasons hotel in new york in mid-december, right after the election. the participants of that meeting included gerson, jared kushner, george nader, and the crown prince of the uae along with trump's national security adviser michael flynn and trump's political adviser steve bannon. so what everybody is watching -- and nobody is like you, ken. let me just ask you as we move towards a declaration of guilt perhaps -- i expect to have one from robert mueller. we know it's going to deal with obstruction in the first instance. is he still building a heavy body of evidence regarding collusion with the russians? >> it sure looks that way, chris, because subpoenas are going out. you know, even as a few weeks ago on the roger stone aspect of potential collusion. now we know he's looking at this. i mean we don't know what evidence he's already gathered, particularly what goes to -- for
example, what donald trump, the candidate, knew about that trump tower meeting that his son set up. but he is clearly still investigating that. the question is what does he have in. >> i call him the iceberg because since we were kids we know the iceberg, including the one that sunk the titanic, you don't really see it. you only see about 10%. that's the way i look at bob mueller's operation. >> yeah. i think i know less about it as time goes on. just the idea that jared kushner got a security clearance. some people believe that means he's in the clear. other people that's absolutely not true. >> there's never been any person that looks more like not even god himself can sink me than donald trump. next, president trump is brandishing his pardon power, offering to signal to all those ensnared in the mueller probe. is trump looking to pardon his way out of the russia probe? look at him smiling. of course he is. this is "hardball," where the action is.
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i believe in universal health care. in a public health option to compete with private insurance companies. and expanding medicare to everyone over 55. and i believe medicare must be empowered to negotiate the price of drugs. california values senator dianne feinstein to negotiate the price of drugs. ithe race for governort. has turned into a scam. gavin newsom's trying to elect a republican who was endorsed by trump. and villaraigosa's being bankrolled by a handful of billionaires. it's everything that's wrong with politics. and none of it is helping struggling families. here's my pledge to you. i'll keep our budget balanced. invest in affordable housing. fight for universal healthcare. and stand up to donald trump. as governor, you can trust me to do what's right- because i always have.
the president said dinesh, you've been a great voice for freedom, and he said that, i got to tell you man to man, you've been screwed. he goes, i've been looking at the case. i knew from the beginning that it was fishy. but he said upon reviewing it, he felt a great injustice had been done and that using his power, he was going to rectify it, sort of clear the slate. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was conservative commentator dinesh d'souza talking on "fox & friends" about the call he received from president trump last week letting him know he was being pardoned. trump says d'souza was treated unfairly by the government. he gave a similar justification for two other pardons he's weighing, one for martha stewart and another for rod blagojevich. trump has used that same language talking about his associates, of course, who are now wrapped up in the mueller probe. here he goes. >> hillary clinton, on the fourth of july weekend, went to
the fbi, not under oath. she lied many times. nothing happened to her. flynn lied, and it's like they ruined his life. it's very unfair. i've always found paul manafort to be a very decent man. i don't know, but i thought that was a very -- that was pretty tough stuff. to wake him up. perhaps his family was there. i think that's pretty tough stuff. michael would represent me and represent me on some things. he represents me like with this crazy stormy daniels deal. he represented me. and, you know, from what i see, he did absolutely nothing wrong. >> former trump political adviser roger stone told "the washington post" that trump's recent pardons have to be a signal to mike flynn and to paul manafort and even robert mueller, indict people for crimes that don't pertain to russian collusion and this is what could happen. the special counsel has awesome powers. this is stone talking as you know. but the president has even more awesome powers. he's bragging about how the
president can pardon everybody. let's bring in the "hardball" roundtable, tim mac, political reporter for npr. ginger gibson, and john thnatha lemire. it seems to me he's out there showing his stuff, you know. these are practice baskets before an nba game. >> i was on air force one yesterday when the president sprung this discussion of pardons on us about not just dinesh d'souza but the considering for martha stewart and governor blagojevich. it does seem like there's a message being sent here. first of all he's suggesting this is a part of the presidency that, woulds like he thinks it should. he's been so frustrated with the legislative process, with members of his own staff. >> like a monarchy. >> exactly right. this is something he can snap his fingers and do, which is how he used to run his business. so i think he's very comfortable -- >> why has he been so sparing, ginger, in only going after arpaio, a couple people, now dinesh. he hasn't really shown his -- you know, shown his muscle here yet. it seems to be if he does think
he has a clear shot, why not do more of these? >> donald trump campaigned against bad guys, people that were committing grievances against him and against his supporters. he can no longer rail against an administration when he is the administration. so he's finding other bad guys, injustice, the criminal justice system, other past grievances against him and his supporters. he needs a bad guy. otherwise, he can't be the tough guy he wants everyone to believe he is. >> is this like deregulating people that are polluters? he basically said they've had a hard time. they've been overregulated, so i'm going to free them all, all these people that have been unfairly judged. >> there's a specific reason he may be trying to send a signal, but there's a broader reason why it might be sticking, right? this is a broader feeling in the conservative movement and amongst trump space, that there's a lot of unfairness from people who are in positions of power.
that is -- >> but martha stewart is a big deal. she's a bigger deal than most people working for the federal government. she's not one of the little people. >> but the little people are what they're really actually reacting to is this idea of unfairness among our institutions of power. it's not oh, boo-hoo martha stewart. it's the justice department is ainst us. big tech is against us. hollywood is against us. >> let me try something. i'm more political than any of you guys. i'm looking at the categories of people he's let off. scooter libby, mr. neocon, dinesh d'souza. arpaio, illegal immigrants, hate them. he seems he's finding categories of people and given he's iconic person of each one of the communities. >> i argue it's three categories. as you just said, certainly, those people who have had their causes championed by conservatives, those who have had this causes championed by
celebrities like jack johnson, and those who were on celebrity apprentice kwie apprentice. those are the people he knows. that's the world he knows. those are the folks he wants to send a signal with. i think there's no question whether it's flynn, manafort or other people in the probe, that's part of this too. look, i have this power. i'm not afraid -- >> do you guys all agree he will use it to protect himself? if jared kushner gets prosecuted, if his son and namesake donald junior gets nailed, will he move -- is there any doubt in your mind? >> i have doubt. >> he might not spring his son-in-law. he might not spring his daughter? >> i think the ivanka line is the red line. that's pretty clear. >> not the son? >> in law. >> i'm talking about donald junior. >> there's a lot of potential backlash. i mean would he do it three months before his own reelection? >> one friday afternoon he decided he was going to pull
back on the birtherism just like that. he issued a statement. he said, president obama is a united states citizen born in this country, and he had no problem 180-ing on everything he said before. what's to say on a friday afternoon before halloween or something, he just says, you know what, i'm going to pardon everybody who is in trouble. there will be a lot of squealing for three or four days because mitch mcconnell is not going to do anything. nobody in the congress is going to do anything. the courts aren't going to do anything. so why shouldn't i? >> there's a political and a legal risk to it. the backlash will get in the medium from the press. >> that supreme court -- >> there's a legal consequence to this and it could be added to any sort of larger evidence -- >> this supreme court is going to come after trump on pardons? >> not the supreme court. if there ever were to be a case for impeachment and -- >> tell me. who does trump fear? >> he still fears bob mueller. it depends where that investigation stands.
if there are parts of that still outstanding, that would be a factor here. >> but he said that pardoning, which is a right of the president is itself obstructing? would he do that? >> that's a legal question i don't have the answer to, but it's in play. also we keep waiting for republicans on the hill to finally say there's a red line. >> i think he's willing to do just about anything when it comes to his family or protecting himself from people like michael flynn or manafort who do know stuff. the roundtable is sticking with us. up next, michael cohen may not look like -- he looks like the fall guy these days. but newly published audiotapes show how far he'd go to bully people like the guy sitting next to me. you're watching "hardball." (vo) what if this didn't have to happen? i didn't see it. (vo) what if we could go back? what if our car... could stop itself?
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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. whether president trump will flex his pardon power for michael cohen is a question. but we got an indication how far michael cohen would go to protect president trump. yesterday npr published explosive audio recordings of cohen threatening a reporter with legal action. let's watch -- or listen. >> do you think that i'm misinterpreting some of the facts here? >> i know you are. listen, my friend, don't be a smart ass with me. do you understand me? >> i'm not being a smart -- i'm giving you an opportunity. >> i don't need your opportunity you little [ bleep ]. i know exactly who you are, and i know exactly what you do, and i know exactly the story you
plan on writing. so i'm warning you, tread very [ bleep ] lightly because what i'm going to you is going to be [ bleep ] disgusting. do you understand me? don't think you're going to hide behind your pen because it's not going to happen. >> look -- >> i'm more than happy to discuss it with your attorney and with your legal counsel because, [ bleep ], you're going to need it. >> people like michael cohen don't have a large vocabulary so you can probably fill in those words. pu the reporter on the tape is tim mak. tell me about what it was like to hear that over the phone. >> let's set the stage here. this is 2015. president trump, then candidate trump, just starts his presidential campaign. i had never heard of michael cohen. none of us at the table had heard of michael cohen. and i reach out to the trump campaign on a story, and i ask him a question. i get an angry call from michael cohen in return. i've never heard of this guy. >> what put the bee in his upon et about you?
why was he so hostile? >> so, remember, trump enters the campaign. he gives a speech. he talks about mexican immigrants as criminals and drug dealers, and he refers to some of them as rapists. we're doing some reporting and we . and in that book, eye va in a trump during her divorce proceedings with donald trump says that donald trump raped her. >> and later qualified that. >> later -- not in a criminal or literal sense and now supports the president. at the time we reached out to the trump campaign and said hey, do you have a response and michael cohen who doesn't work for the trump campaign but the trump organization calls me back and part of what you hear in that clip just now was what he said. >> put together two pictures. back and forth from the courthouse. he looks sad and disappointed in
life. but yet, you have a tape recording we heard where he is a bad guy and a bully. which one is real? that sad looking guy and this bully that didn't mind wasting you on the phone? >> the question is is that his nature or job? did donald trump create an vier environment? that didn't sound like the first time he made a threat like that. there has been legal issues that michael cohen had to deal with over the years. it's all famous now that the campaign is over. >> so you think avenatti heard this talk from him? >> stormy daniels, avenatti said that michael cohen threatened her. >> when we come back, this is great stuff. it is reporting, eyewitness to
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. we're back with the hardball, tell me on another tip. >> super interested in the coke brothers funding a democratic candidate and democrats who support their action on daca. >> interesting in one of the tough house races is opioids. how it is shaping and going to play in the competitiveness. >> who is winning? >> democrats think they are winning and the aca is the reason they can within. >> attorney general jeff sessions, his job is safe for now. the president has no desire to fire him it would be a distraction and after the probe, that could change. >> another threat. >> i love the way he puts those
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in a sad way, that twain and the people watching marked a loss of a national leader that held the potential to unite this country, especially working people. the nbc documentary, hosting this sunday night, 9:00 eastern. >> i was invited to ride the funeral twain. ju -- train. you saw the children and the people crying and some people carrying flowers. >> when you see the imagery of his body passing on the train, they are wealthy and poor and black and white and young and old. it is amazing how many different types of people that my grandfather touched. >> headliners, robert f. kennedy
airs and it will make you sad and remind you what the country could be. check out my balook. that is "hardball" for now. thank you for being with us. >> caught on tape and new reverberations on that tonight. later on the show, a takeoff of fall back friday, and also two special guests live together for the first time. rob reiner and anthony. the former attorney general eric holder issue as serious warning what he is concerned is about to happen. >> i suspect that we are on a path where there's going to be