tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC June 16, 2018 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
hands. before we get into trouble, elevate us. >> i don't know how to elevate from that. >> you got nothing. all right. it's a friday. nowhere to go after small hands except to chuck todd. my thanks to the panel. that does it for our hour. i'm nicolle wallace. i'll see you back here monday for "deadline: whitehouse" at 4:00 p.m. manafort goes to jail. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm steve kornacki in for chris matthews. tonight president trump's former campaign chairman, paul manafort, is in federal custody and will spend the remainder of his days pending trial in jail. already facing multiple counts of bank fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering, paul manafort arrived at a d.c. courthouse this morning pleading not guilty to new federal charges of witness tampering. the judge in the case then
ultimately ruled that the severity of the alleged crime violated the terms of manafort's bail agreement, saying that allowing his release would, quote, harm the integrity of the justice system. nbc news reports that manafort did not appear to react to that ruling. he was then immediately taken into custody, giving a quick wave to his wife as he was escorted from the courtroom. manafort will now be held in pretrial detention until september. reacting to the news, manafort's former client, president trump, was quick to defend his reputation, saying, quote, wow, what a tough sentence for paul manafort, who has represented ronald reagan, bob dole, and many other top political people in campaigns. didn't know manafort was the head of the mob. what about comey and crooked hillary and all of the others? very unfair. now trump attorney rudy giuliani is dangling a presidential pardon. responding to the news of manafort's incarceration, giuliani telling "the new york
daily news," quote, when the whole thing is over, things might get cleared up with some presidential pardons. giuliani adding, i don't understand the justification for putting him in jail. you put a guy in jail if he's trying to kill witnesses, not talking to witnesses. however, he later downplayed those comments in an interview with nbc news, saying he would advise against a pardon. some mixed signals there. joining me now, ken dilanian, national security reporter for nbc news, michael schmidt is a reporter with "the new york times" and an msnbc national security contributor. amy rocha is a former assistant u.s. attorney and msnbc legal analyst. caroline pull l caroline pull leecy. ken, let me start with you in terms of the bottom line now. paul manafort is in jail, probably until september at least now. explain what exactly it was that caused the judge to make that decision today. >> sure, steve. it was paul manafort's incredibly reckless decision in
february to reach out to some potential witnesses in the case against him that involved allegedly illegal lobbying. and he reached out by phone and through encrypted apps and one of those witnesses was so rattled by this that he immediately called the fbi and turned over these encrypted messages to prosecutors and actually said, look, i think paul manafort was trying to tell me to lie. that was essentially the basis for these allegations. not only did the prosecution file a motion to revoke paul manafort's bail, they filed a separate indictment. they charged him today with obstruction of justice. he pled not guilty in court. but that led judge amy berman jackson to say the prosecution has already met the standard i have to follow here, which is probable cause to believe that paul manafort committed these crimes. so she really had no choice. she went through the range of possibilities. she said, look, i'm trying to find out what i could do short of incarcerating you that would deter you from committing these future crimes, and i can't think
of anything. you're already wearing an ankle bracelet. she said at one point, this isn't middle school. i can't take your cell phone. so she sent him to jail. we don't know where he is t. we've made attempts to try to figure that out. normally someone remanded to custody in washington would be sent to the d.c. jail. it's a notoriously bad place. it's got a roach and rat problem. it houses murderers and rapists, and it would be just incredible to think of this high-flying politico to be spending the night in a concrete cell in the washington, d.c. jail. >> let me follow on that to explain the procedure for folks like meo who are kind of laymen. if na is indeed where he is, if that's the normal procedure, what that be the place where somebody in manafort's situation stays for the next few months? >> well, it could be. but don't forget he's in the custody of the federal marshals and they have discretion. they could take him somewhere else. they could decide, for example, there's a threat to him. he's better suited in the
alexandria jail, which is where a lot of high-profile white collar people end up. also he's facing trial in virginia, so that would put him closer to that vee. we just don't know at this point. >> caroline, ken is saying there the judge had no choice. here's a guy who's facing trial communicating with these witnesses, being told by another judge not to do that. you've got rudy giuliani out there, who is the president's lawyer now, was the united states attorney 20, 30 years ago in new york. he's saying you only do that when they kill witnesses, not when they talk to witnesses. what's your response to what giuliani is saying there? >> well, it's not true. what ken's referring to meaning amy berman jackson had no choice is under the bail reform act there's a rebuttable presumption by manafort and his attorneys that have to prove that he's going to not commit crimes when he's out. she just didn't see that. i think also in this decision here, this isn't the first time that this judge has taken
manafort to task. remember when he tried to ghostwrite that op-ed with konstantin kilimnik. well, konstantin kilimnik is in the superseding indictment that he's alleged to have reached out to alleged witness tamper. this isn't like it's a first offense. she really didn't have another choice, i believe. >> michael schmidt, from the bigger picture standpoint here legally, it's the question of the mueller investigation where this all kind of emerges from. how does this development with paul manafort today fit into that broader picture of the mueller investigation and his role in that? >> well, i guess what we're going to find out here is whether paul manafort has something to offer or if he really thinks he's been wrongfully charged and wants to go to trial. mueller is trying to put as much pressure on manafort as possible to get him to plead. he's been one of the few people to be charged and not do that. the deputy campaign chairman has pled. the former national security adviser has pled. but manafort has held out.
he has said, look, i have nothing to give the government. i have done nothing wrong. i want to fight this to the end of the earth. now he will face the pressure of jail time. this is before the trial. so the question that remains to be seen is what will happen with manafort? will he change his view about this trial coming up in september? would they go to the prosecutors and say, well, maybe we can help you with something else, or will they continue to buckle down and fight this? and manafort has been steadfast in that. >> is there any sense if there were some kind of deal with manafort, if manafort were to cooperate, what it is that mueller thinks he's going to get in particular? >> no. and from a very basic standpoint, mueller may just say, look, i want to know everything that manafort knows. he was someone that had ties to eastern europe, had ties to russia, played an important role in the campaign. i'm supposed to figure out was there a counterintelligence issue here. to complete that investigation, i need to sit down with paul manafort and know everything
that he knows. it could be that simple. they could think that there is something more nefarious. eally don't know. but if you are going to turn over every rockli like mueller s to, getting manafort's testimony and understanding of what was going on in the campaign, remember, manafort was at the meeting at trump tower in the summer of 2016 when the russians offered dirt to the president's son. if you're doing this investigation, to conclude it, you would need to talk to manafort. >> mimi, the other piece of this today is rudy giuliani, the president's lawyer and his response to this. so his initial response asked by "the new york daily news" there is to say, hey, ultimately this thing might be resolved with some pardons, seeming to connect the news of manafort to the idea that, hey, president trump could pardon him, could pardon others. he then seemed to walk that back. what do you make of what rudy giuliani said today? >> well, i mean he's coming very close, if he isn't already over the line, in terms of getting himself involved in some
potential obstruction charges because, you know, there are things -- giuliani says things all the time, and it's a little bit hard to take him seriously. but the timing of this, to say -- to mention the possibility of pardons at the end of this,ight when manafort has been sent to jail, it's clearly him sending -- i won't even say a signal. i mean it's him shouting across the room, hang in there. you know, pardons coming down the road. i understand there is all sorts of legal and constitutional arguments about the president has the absolute right to pardon. but the president's lawyer does not have an absolute right to essentially tell a witness, you know, don't cooperate. we're going to give you a pardon, which is really what he was doing today. so i think giuliani has just, you know, and his statement about only mob bosses, you know, go to jail for witness tampering -- he's a former u.s. attorney. that's very disingenuous. he absolutely knows that's not true and that this was a serious
case of obstruction of justice, and manafort needed to go in. >> caroline, what do you make of that? you could make the argument, i imagine, from somebody trying to defend rudy giuliani here that, hey, yes, the president has the power to pardon. that's very clear. he can pardon anybody at any time for any reason. so if his lawyer goes out there and simply says, by the way, the president has this sort of unbridled power here, could a case emerge from that? >> we don't need to be reminded that he has the sort of unfettered power. that is true that it says so in the constitution and there are no limits except you can't pardon for an impeachment proceeding. you know, we've seen donald trump sort of use the pardon power with reckless abandon, you know, scooter libby, dinesh d'souza, jack johnson. i think what he's trying to do is normalize the pardoning process even though he does it in a way that's inconsistent with procedures that prior presidents have done it. giuliani and he are laying the groundwork to make the pardon seem kind of like just a normal
thing that many presidents do. so i think giuliani is coming at it more from a p.r. standpoint as opposed to a legal standpoint in that regard. >> as we say, the president criticized that decision by the judge to revoke paul manafort's bail. however, in a surprise q&a earlier this morning, trump also tried to distance himself from his now incarcerated former campaign chairman. >> i think a lot of it's very unfair. i mean i look at some of them where they go back 12 years. like manafort has nothing to do with our campaign. but i feel sorry -- i tell you, i feel a little badly about it. they went back 12 years to get things that he did 12 years ago. you know, paul manafort worked for me for a very short period of time. he worked for me for, what, 49 days or something. a very short period of time. >> the correct total number of days that paul manafort worked for president trump, in case you were wondering, during the 2016 campaign, almost five months. it was 144 days. that tenure was kellyanne conway and steve bannon. both of them ended up with white house jobs. trump also praised manafort on
the campaign trail in 2016 a number of times. >> i have fantastic people. paul manafort just came on. he's great. he doesn't have to do this. he didn't need to do this, but he wanted to. paul, corey, hope, i mean these people, what we've been doing has been incredible. and paul manafort has done an amazing job. he's here someplace. where's paul? paul manafort. oh, good. you made it. >> ken, is there any sense around the president, around his legal team, how they look at manafort right now? >> well, steve, you asked the question earlier. what could paul manafort give mueller, and mike schmidt rightly answered we don't know. but informed speculation suggests he could be a crucial witness in this question of whether the trump campaign coordinated with the russian election interference because he came to the campaign with significant russian ties. he earned tens of millions of dollars from a ukrainian politician who was essentially a russian stooge.
and during the campaign, he was trying to monetize his service by offering private briefings to a russian oligarch, oleg deripaska. we know he was in contact with george papadopoulos, that young aide who was told by a russian agent that the russians had hacked the democratic e-mails before that became public. so one of the questions is did manafort learn about that? did he discuss that with donald trump? did he discuss the trump tower meeting with donald trump? was there ever any other kinds of discussions about what the russians, what help the russians were offering to the campaign. don't forget, donald trump didn't use e-mail. so for mueller to get the evidence about what trump knew when, he's going to need witness testimony, and i think that's one of the reasons he's pressing manafort so hard. he wants his testimony about meetings with donald trump, steve. >> caroline, as a defense attorney, let me just ask you from a strategic standpoint, if you're paul manafort's lawyer, if you're anybody else who gets jammed up some way or another in this mueller investigation who was on trump's team at some point, is part of your strategy behind the scenes, when you see comments like rudy giuliani today saying this might
ultimately be settled with pardons -- is that part of your strategic thinking in putting your defense together that, hey, let's maybe not go too far in terms of making some kind of agreement with prosecutors because there could be a pardon that obviates -- >> absolutely not. if you're paul manafort's defense attorney now, you're telling him he's an idiot, and why did he do what he did because it was reckless. i tell my clients -- >> would they tell him to cut a deal, you think? >> yes, i think they must be. look, preparing for trial when your client is in custody, the bureau of prisons is supposed to make federal people that are in detention available for preparing for trial. but it's very difficult to do so. this is going to hurt them in so many ways, and he has two trials to prepare for. they're coming up very soon. he's facing a lifetime in prison. absolutely. i think that, you know, a deal would behoove him in this instance. >> mimi, just from a prosecutor's standpoint, then, okay, look, if manafort is key
to answering a lot of these questions that mueller presumably has about russia, about meddling, about 2016, about anything, if he offers potential key answers on a lot of those, in terms of giving him a deal from a prosecutor's standpoint, how does that work? do you get some assurance up front that the information he's going to give you is going to lead to other prosecutions ordoo you take a chance that it doesn't lead to anything but we kind of cut a favorable deal for him anyway? >> well, it's a process. by cutting a deal, if you mean, you know, allowing him to cooperate, you know, the way it would work is manafort's attorney would say to the government, all right, he wants to come in and talk. you would have what's called a proffer session with a proffer agreement, which means the statements that he gives at that session cannot be used against him directly to prosecute him. there are some exceptions to that, but that's the general rule. and they would basically just start, you know, asking him
questions and listening to what he has to say. and over time, you know, they would make a decision about whether he had information that was useful. and if so, then he would -- they would negotiate what's calle a cooperation agreement, which is a plea agreement that also gives basically a promise that down the road, the government is going to make the judge know and write the judge a lett it's called a 5 k 1 letter that lets the judge know about his cooperation. so it's not necessarily negotiating a particular sentence or sort of cutting him a deal. it depends on what the crimes are that he would have to plead guilty to. but it's really more of a process that takes time. it's not like they would say, he wants to cooperate and then tomorrow or even in a week, he would be in court pleading guilty. >> all right. mimi rocah, caroline polisi, ken dilanian and michael schmidt, thank you all for being with us. coming up, president trump is blasting the department of
justice report on the clinton e-mail investigation, but he also says it totally exonerates him. we're going to cut through the president's false claims about the i.g. report next. plus the president says he has solved the north korea situation. we'll run the numbers on what the public thinks of how he handled that summit this week and how he's handling that issue in general. going to try to make sense also of the president's bizarre comment that he wants his people to sit up and attention just like kim jong-un's people do. and president trump also trying to blame democrats for his policy of separating children from their parents at the border even as more republicans are speaking out against it. and finally the "hardball" roundtable is here to tell us three things you might not know this is "hardball," where the action is. insurance that won't replace
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programs on phones seized from cohen and have reconstructed 16 pages from the contents of a shredding machine. it comes as "the wall street journal" reports that cohen is being investigated for possible illegal lobbying. additionally there are new signs cohen may be closer to cooperating with prosecutors. cbs news is reporting that cohen believes the president and his allies are turning against him and that he is increasingly feeling isolated from mr. trump according to cohen's associates, he has become, quote, irritated by statements made in the media by the president's lawyer, rudy giuliani. here's how the president answered questions about cohen this morning. >> i haven't spoken to michael in a long time. >> is he still your lawyer? >> no, he's not my lawyer anymore. >> your personal lawyer? >> but i always liked michael, and he's a good person. and i think he's been -- excuse me. do you mind if i talk? you're asking me a question. i'm trying to -- >> i just want to know if you're worried he's going to cooperate with -- >> no, i'm not worried because i did nothing wrong. >> and we'll be right back.
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welcome back to "hardball." during president trump's hour-long media blitz this morning, he made a number of inaccurate or misleading statements about the inspector general's report on the fbi's handling of the 2016 election. >> the i.g. report came out yesterday. the fbi looked bad. >> very bad. >> your fbi. >> well, no. it was comey. but the top people were horrible. you look at what happened. they were plotting against my election, probably has never happened like that in terms of intelligence, in terms of anything else. but they were actually plotting against my election. >> the headline right now from "the wall street journal," doj clinton report blasts comey and agents but finds no bias in conclusion. >> well, the end result was wrong. i mean there was total bias. it was a pretty good report, and then i say that the i.g. blew it at the very end with that statement because when you read the report, it was almost like comey. he goes point after point about how guilty hillary is, and then he said, but we're not going to
do anything about it. the report, the i.g. report, was a horror show. i thought that one sentence of conclusion was ridiculous. >> much of what the president said today isn't true according to the roughly 500-page report, there was, quote, no evidence that improper considerations including political bias directly affected the investigation. trump also falsely claimed the report exonerated him. that's something that was not addressed by the inspector general. let's watch. >> if you read the i.g. report, i've been totally exonerated. as far as i'm concerned -- take a look at the investigation. >> for more i'm joined by philip bump, "washington post" political reporter and benjamin wittis, law fair editor in chief. phil, let me start with you. let's be clear what this i.g., inspector general report covered. this was about the fbi's handling of the investigation of hillary clinton and the e-mail issue in 2016. this was not trump/russia, the
sort of stuff we talk about in terms of russia and collusion. >> that's exactly right. it was a little broader than that. it also included for example, these text messages that were going on between fbi employees peter strzok and lisa page. it addressed this issue of an fbi employee who had apparently given a heads up to john podesta. it focused on the campaign, what had been done during the campaign by the fbi and whether this had been a violation of fbi's prohibitions against bias in investigations. there were things they were worried about, red flags that were raised. but they found these investigations were not tainted by that bias. >> when the president says he's been exonerated, is there any sense what he's referring to in is there something in there he can hang that on? is there any sense at all what that reference means? >> i'm extremely skeptical that president trump spent much time reading the document. what i would guess is that president trump -- he makes broad claims and then seizes upon little things to validate them. so he has two operating theories
among many about the mueller investigation. one is comey was bad. the other is the fbi was biased. in that report, you can make arguments to both of those points. you can make points, this we'll stop trump text that came out in the trump, there's evidence of fbi boy ias. i feel as though we're all three years into this buy now. we have a decent sense of how donald trump's brain works. i think that's where he may be going. there certainly is nothing from a categorical sense that exonerates him about the russia investigation at all. >> i know you have a relationship with jim comey. i know you've written about him quite a bit. i do want to ask you about the comey piece of this because if we separate what the president is saying, what the president's claiming, this report does really drill down on james comey, his conduct during the 2016 campaign as it relates to the clinton e-mail investigation, and it's pretty scathing. it accuses him of
insubordination at one point. let me ask you about this in particular. this is where they say insubordination. they say that press conference he held in the summer of 2016 where he said he's not going to recommend charges against hillary clinton, but then he essentially, in the court of public opinion, it seemed, indicted her anyway. the clinton people have looked back at that and said that's something that cost her dearly in the 2016 campaign, something he never should have done. this report is saying that the act of doing that press conference without giving a heads-up to the justice department represented insubordination. do you think that's a fair conclusion? >> look, i mean i think that, you know, jim did the things he did. i have defended some of them, had anxieties about others. by the way, i was one of a very small number of people to raise anxieties publicly about the substance of that press conference at the time that it happened. you know, he did the things that he did. he's accountable for them.
the i.g. characterizes them the way the i.g. characterizes them. jim has responded by sayine respects the i.g.'s work though he disagrees with the conclusions. there's never been a doubt factually about what happened here. these were tough choices. jim made the ones that he made, and he has to stand up to history and its judgments in response. and i think he's actually pretty comfortable with that. >> what do you make of it, though? i mean the fbi director giving that press conference in the heat of a campaign and then again the one that -- the hillary clinton folks to this day, hillary clinton herself has said publicly thinks cost her the election, that letter ten days before the election. do you think that was proper? >> so i think the merits of these questions are very different. i had problems with the press conference at the time that it happened, and i still think that that was not the greatest idea in the world. i also -- you know, i also
think, by the way, that it was not in the highest traditions of the justice department for the attorney general to play no role in the question of what was said at the end of that investigation. so the problem was both that comey chose to give that statement, but also the problem was also that the attorney general chose to just kind of sit there and let him do it. i think something very similar about the october letter. i think it was probably not a great thing to do. and i think the problem was both that jim took it upon himself to make that announcement, but also that sally yates and loretta lynch didn't pick up the phone and, you know, knowing he was planning to do it, and say, no, you know, you're actually our subordinate. don't do that. so i think, you know, i think there were a lot of mistakes here, but i'm not -- i think the distribution of blame is a little bit broader than the i.g.
describes it in my view anyway. >> all right. ben wittes and philip bump, thank you both for joining us. we should note that this weekend chris matthews is going to host a documentary on former fbi director james comey. that es going to air this sunday, 10:00 p.m. eastern on msnbc. up next, president trump says he has solved the threat posed by north korea. but what do voters think about the summit this week? we're going to head over to the big board and show you some brand-new numbers on that. interesting what they have to say. this is "hardball," where the action is.
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we now have a very good relationship with north korea. when i came intohisb, it looked like war, not because of me but because -- if you remember the sit-down with barack obama, i think he will admit this. he said the biggest problem that the united states has and by far the most dangerous problem -- and he said to me that we've ever had because of nuclear is north korea. that was shortly before i entered office. i have solved that problem. now we're getting it memorialized and all, but that problem is largely solved. >> the president this morning saying he has solved the problem of north korea just a couple days after that summit. of course the question this week with that summit, with how the president's described it afterwards, what do voters, the american people who watched their president sit down with kim jong-un this week -- what do they make of it?
we got some fresh data. monmouth has taken a poll on this. very interesting findings. let's head over to the big board. the baseline question, this is after the summit this week. the baseline question here, president trump's ability to deal with the problem of north korea. overall, are you not confident? are you leaning toward not confident? a majority are on the not confident side of that divide when it comes to president trump and dealing with north korea, which is what he's doing this week with that summit, trying to deal with it. 46% confident or leaning that way. so that maybe not a good number there for the president. also this who gained more from this summit this week? who gained more from the meeting? not a lot of people are saying the u.s. ended up with the better end of that deal. three times as many saying north korea, a good chunk there saying both equally, but not a lot of americans looking at this and saying, hey, donald trump who calls himself the master negotiator negotiated something that's going to favor the u.s. more than north korea. maybe some negative numbers there. and yet how about this? the bottom line question,
probably the bottom line question on most people's mind when they look at this is that. did the meeting decrease the threat, the nuclear threat from north korea? and here's one that's resting. a slim majority, 51%, say that in the end, it is likely that what happened this week between president trump and kim jong-un did decrease that threat from north korea and the nuclear threat. that may explain this finding. bottom line asked folks was it a good idea? trump sitting down with kim jong-un, was that a good idea? 71% landing on the side of it was a good idea. very interestingly when this summit was first announced and this question was asked, should trump have this meeting, is that a good idea, that number was eight points less. it was down at 63%. so there's a fair number of people this week who watched that summit, absorbed the reaction to it and said, you know what? i changed my mind. i do think it was a good idea in hindsight. not a lot of confidence maybe in the president himself, but the idea of sitting down, the idea of talking to people, i think more on the side there that
ultimately that could have some kind of a positive impact. so a bit of a mixed verdict there. trump's handling on the one hand, the bottom line for the world maybe on the other hand. up next, we have more from donald trump's free-wheeling mediur this morning. trump made a joke about kim jong-un, but how much truth was behind his thinking in that joke? some are saying it's a little too on the money. you're watching "hardball."
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welcome back to "hardball." since his meeting with kim jong-un in singapore, president trump has been full of praise for the north korean dictator. he's called him funny, very smart, and talented and he complimented his great personality. today president trump expressed a degree of envy about the attention kim commands from his people. >> he's the head of a country, and i mean he is the strong head. don't let anyone think anything different. he speaks, and his people sit up at attention. i want my people to do the same.
>> shortly after trump insisted to reporters that was a joke. >> what did you mean just now when you said you wished americans would sit up at attention when you spoke? >> i'm kidding. you don't understand sarcasm. >> kim jong-un's human rights abuses are well documented. his regime jails and kills dissenters. earlier this week president trump dismissed concerns about those abuses by saying a lot of other people have done some really bad things. trump was also asked today about otto warmbier, the student who was imprisoned by north korea and died shortly after returning home in a coma. >> you have spoken so passionately about the circumstances that led to otto warmbier's death. in the same breath, you're defending now kim jong-un's human rights records. how can you do that? >> you know why? because i don't want to see a nuclear weapon destroy you and your family. >> let's bring in the "hardball" roundtable. mara gay, nick confessore, a
political reporter for "the new york times" and an msnbc little analyst. mara, i'll start with you. the president just offered what i think is his justification for all of the stuff we showed before that. he basically seems to be saying all the praise, all the positive things is in the interest of peace, no nuclear war, no confrontation. >> i think it's in the interest of whatever is in his best interest frankly. i think that's what he's doing. look, this is the same story. a strange fascination, an admiration for strong leaders, meaning authoritarian leaders. he was completely dismissive and disrespectful of the g7, of our closest allies, and then turn as round and has nothing but praise for a dictator. he says it's a joke. i think a lot of us are not laughing actually. they don't think it's funny. >> from the republican side, what is the thinking in the republican party?
there's the question of if obama dids, if a democrat did this. i'm sure i know what the republican response would be. how are folks on the republican side thinking about this? >> i think that they are desperately hopeful that trump is going to pull some rabbit out of the hat and make -- pacify the u.s./north korean relationship and denuclearize north korea. i don't think people are happy with this rhetoric. it is cringe-inducing at best and is a complete betrayal of 50 years, 60 years of republican conservative views of how the united states should talk about and deal with totalitarian dictators. so i believe that trump meant it as a joke. i think that the weird part about this is that he doesn't understand that this is not something that a president
should joke about because people are standing at attention for kim jong-un because he could fire a ballistic missile at you. he could kill you with a chemical weapon as he did to a family member in an airport in malaysia last year. i mean this is -- he is a terrifying person to the people who work for him and live around him and live under his thumb. and it's not a joking matter. it's the opposite of a joking matter. >> and i'm looking at those numbers, nick, just in terms of what we showed in the segment before in terms of how americans processed the summit in week. the lesson i took from it seemed to be from a bottom-line standpoint, people do like the idea of some kind of engagement, some kind of dialogue, even with enemies, even with people like kim jong-un. but i do wonder how much latitude they're willing to offer a president when he comes back and talks this way. >> the problem for the president is that he swings and veers
wildly between extremes. one second he's threatening fire and fury and amping up tensions and the second he's lavishing with praise. and you can naturally go down the middle once in a while and just keep it clean, which he doesn't do. he wants to be over the top at all times. but i saw those numbers. my first thought was a depressing thought, which is a good chunk of the country is always with the president or always kind of against him, and what we report on doesn't matter sometimes. it's a depressing thought, but it's probably true. >> trump also spoke to reporters shortly before his former campaign chairman paul manafort appeared in court this morning. he said he felt badly for manafort and other associates who were being investigated or pleaded guilty in the russia probe, he also singled out michael flynn and made reference to his longtime attorney and fixer michael cohen. >> i don't think it's right. i don't think it's right that they burst into a lawyer's office on a weekend early in the morning. i never heard of that before. now, i feel badly for a lot of those people. i feel badly for general flynn.
he lost his house. he's lost his life. and some people say he lied, and some people say he didn't lie. i mean really it turned out maybe he didn't lie. >> you say that you feel badly. is there any consideration at any point of a pardon for -- >> i don't want to talk about that. look, i do want to see people treated fairly. >> all right. so he asked about the pardon. he doesn't want to talk about it. then his lawyer rudy giuliani a few hours later says maybe this whole thing will be solved with a few pardons. then he says, i would advise against a pardon. so we are talking about pardons. >> oh, you know what? i think that this is wishful thinking. i think that the president and his administration are under an immense amount of pressure. i think in some sense the walls are closing in. look, the president can talk about this as, you know, manafort being a victim as much as he wants. but ultimately what we're seeing so far is the wheels of justice, the justice system working exactly as it should. you're innocent until proven
guilty, but there is nothing unusual -- these prosecutors are following by all means just standard practice. >> okay. so paul manafort is accused and has now beenailed for attempting to witness tamper, right? to get people who worked for him to testify in some fashion or talk to the mueller probe about him in a way that he wishes. okay. so trump has two choices. he can say, oh, poor manafort. he's 69 years old. this is terrible. he should be treated fairly. the other way he could have said it is, you know, on august 14th, 2016, "the new york times" comes out with a story that reveals that there is a ledger in the ukraine that shows $12.7 million in undisclosed payments to paul manafort. and the day after that, manafort was fired by the trump campaign. trump could say, look, i don't know why you're bothering me about this. i know this guy. i fired him the day after i found out that he was on the
ukrainian payroll and being an unregistered foreign lobbyist and part of the swamp. but he doesn't do that, and that failure to do that is indicative of something. i don't know what, but something. >> all right. the roundtable is staying with us. up next, trump is pinning the blame on the donkey once again, this time when it comes to immigration. you're watching "hardball." ♪ ♪
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president trump earlier today gave mixed reviews to his epa administrator scott pruitt. let's watch. >> we now have a very good relationship with north korea. when i came into this job, it looked like war, not because of me but because -- if you remember the sit-down with barack obama, i think he will admit this. he said the biggest problem that the united states has and by far the most dangerous problem, and he said to me that we've ever had because of nuclear, is north korea. that was shortly before i entered office. i have solved that problem. now, we're getting it memorialized and all, but that problem is largely solved. >> that is not scott pruitt in case you picked up from the context clues that the president was talking about there. that was kim jong-un and north korea. but scott pruitt, the epa administrator, is the subject of more than a dozen federal investigations today. the u.s. office of government eth
ethics, including reporting that pruitt enlisted a government aide to help secure his wife a chick-fil-a franchise. we'll be right back. this is important for people with asthma. yes. it's a targeted medicine proven to help prevent severe asthma attacks, and lower oral steroid use. about 50% of people with severe asthma have too many cells called eosinophils in their lungs. fasenra™ is designed to work with the body to target and remove eosinophils. fasenra™ is an add-on injection for people 12 and up with severe eosinophilic asthma.
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liberty mutual insurance. welcome back to "hardball." the trump administration is facing a major backlash over its policy of separating children from parents who illegally cross the border. now the president is blaming democrats. the administration acknowledged today that nearly 2,000 children were taken from their parents in the last six weeks alone. that is a rate of 46 children per day. yet president trump is distancing himself from his administration's policy and falsely claiming that democrats are to blame for it. >> i hate the children being taken away. the democrats have to change their law. that's their law. the children can be taken care of quickly, beautifully, and immediately. the democrats forced that law upon our nation. i hate it. i hate to see separation of parents and children. >> we are back now with the
"hardball" roundtable. nick, if he paints it, it could change. >> who is he kidding? look, this was a policy that they advertised as a deterrent. it's working the way they want it to. unfortunately now they have a huge amount of blowback because these images are horrifying to any parent, to any person. it's going to keep taking away support for this policy day by day. it is a crisis for this white house. >> look, i would like to say that the trump administration is proceeding onward and is normalizing various ways and doing things even though i don't like some of their policies. this gaslighting on this issue, this deliberate, like, looking in the camera and saying something that he knows is lie is kind of like jaw-dropping because last summer john kelly said, we're considering doing this. and then two months ago, jeff sessions made a speech saying, don't come to this country.
we will separate you from your children if you come to this country. they're doing what they said they would do. it's their policy. >> so it was designed as a deterrent. now it's in the spotlight. now there's a backlash. do you think it actually could change now? >> let me just say this. the editorial board, you know, we came out and talked about this again this week. we feel very strongly about this. if e-ma if people are outraged, they can call their member of congress and ask them to hold the president accountable. they can protest. they can donate to organizations that help immigrant groups. and frankly they can vote. so this is a really great issue to not just be outraged about, but we can actually fix this. this is, you know, real people. real government is responsible here, and it's a moral abomination frankly. >> it's one of those trying to pin down the president's exact opinion on immigration questions. he'll say one thing in this meeting and then a different policy emerges.
it's been one of the more challenging areas to pin him down. up next, these three are going to tell me something i don't know. you're watching "hardball." [ roar ] [ heavy breathing ] [ scream ] rated pg-13. doespeninsula trail?he you won't find that on a map. i'll take you there. take this left. if you listen real hard you can hear the whales. oop. you hear that? (vo) our subaru outback lets us see the world.
kyle, we talked abis. there's no monsters. but you said they'd be watching us all the time. no, no. no, honey, we meant that progressive would be protecting us 24/7. we just bundled home and auto and saved money. that's nothing to be afraid of. -but -- -good night, kyle. [ switch clicks, door closes ] ♪ i told you i was just checking the wiring in here, kyle. he's never like this. i think something's going on at school. -[ sighs ] -he's not engaging.
like chile and i believe iran. >> all in one city. john? >> harvard university is going to go through a world of hurt because it is being sued on the grounds that it discriminates against asian-americans. it is discriminating against asian-americans. it is doing something horrifying and something that was done to jews in the 40s and 50s and has been done to othersnder quotas. they pretend there are no quotas. they are going to get slammed and slammed hard. >> all right. and nick? >> steve, people in the white house are quoting a bible verse today to defend that policy on family separation. it was also used by in the american revolution by the loyalists which meant to stay british to the royal crown. >> thank you all for being with us. that is "hardball" for now. thank you for being with us. chris matthews is going to be back on monday night. we have a big show tonight, and the words i'm about to report are truly unusual even
for an unusual year. paul manafort is in jail right now. today a judge sided with bob mueller to find that manafort has been credibly accused of obstruction of justice, meaning he is too dangerous to be allowed to remain free, awaiting his much anticipated trial. so number one, the former campaign chief for the president of the united states is slated to be incarcerated until his trial begins. and, number two, if paul manafort's convicted and sentenced to the maximum punishment that today would mark, well, that would mark the first day of a lifetime behind bars. there are alternatives as well. one is that paul manafort could ultimately be found not guilty and thus get out of the jail term that he effectively starts tonight. another alternative is that he could ultimately cooperate, get a lighter sentence. and that brings us to another potential defendant in the mueller probe. sources close to trump lawyer michael cohen now saying tonight and saying this to reporters,