tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC June 29, 2018 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
cruelty and fear and divisiveness wrong but to join him in calling it right and this we cannot do. [ cheers and applause ] and by not yielding -- and by not yielding -- and i say -- >> on that note that does it for me. have a great weekend. catch me on social media and tune in at 5:00 p.m. eastern for my show. "hardball" starts right knew. resisting trump. let's play "hardball." two huge stories tonight. first, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein said trump used him, then he gave trump the alibi to fire james comey. second, the resistance emerges to trump as he grabs a chance to
shape the supreme court for generations and by doing so drive his own reelection. good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington, as the only person with ultimate authority over the special counsel's probe, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein is the only person standing out there between president trump and robert mueller. his defense of mueller and the justice department have made him a prime target of the right w g wing. however, rosenstein was instrumental in may of last year when president trump decided to fire fbi director james comey. it was rod rosenstein who ultimately drafted that memo that the president used to justify comey's firing. in an explosive story tonight, the "new york times" is now reporting that rosenstein told colleagues he believed he was used. "in the days after the fbi director james comey was fired last year, rosenstein repeatedly expressed anger about how the white house used him to rationalize the firing saying the experience damaged his
reputation according to four people familiar with his outbursts." those sources describe the deputy attorney general as seemingly conflicted. "he alternately defended his involvement, expressed remorse at the tumult it unleashed and said the white house manipulated him." however, if he did feel manipulated, there may be good reason. that's because the president's behavior in the days that followed comey's firing suggested he use rod rosenstein's memo as an alibi. rather than cite the memo, trump told lester holt, the russia investigation was the reason he fired comey. >> but regardless of recommendation, i was going to fire comey. knowing there was no good time to do it. and, in fact, when i decided to just do it i said to myself, i said you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made up story. >> well, the president also met with russian diplomats in the oval office and he repeatedly
told them "i faced great pressure because of russia." that's taken off. well, it was after those statements that rosenstein appointed the special counsel to oversee the probe according to the "new york times." upon learning of the appointment mr. trump erupted in anger saying he needed someone overseeing the investigation who would be loyal to him. i'm joined by the author of this "new york times" report, michael schmidt of the "times" who is also an msnbc contributor. democrat i didn't think congr s democratic congressman eric swalwell and barbara mcquaid is former u.s. attorney and msnbc legal analyst. i want to start with michael. this is a h,ell of a story. it talks about rosenstein was doing what the president wanted them to do but not what he thought was the whole story. >> rosenstein had been deputy attorney general for a week and a half when this happens. the president wanted to do send this letter to james comey that said why he wanted to get rid of him. the white house counsel, don mcgahn, he said this is not a good idea. we need to come up with a
cleaner reason for this. the president's letter was rambling, it went on and on. so rooipsenstein offers to writ the memo, the memo is the reason the white house uses to explain the comey firing. they stand on the white house lawn the night of the firing and read from the letter and explain that comey had too go because he was too harsh on hillary clinto clinton. >> if you've realized for month perhaps that rosenstein felt he was used and didn't feel he was being accurate and honest about the reasons for the firing, what would that tell you about obstruction of justice? >> well, mueller's known this probably for a year. this is nothing that is that new. >> but the public didn't know it. >> the public did not. but this is the thing. this is a very important period of time. it's a little more than a week between when comey is fired and mueller is appointed and what
trump defenders and trump's lawyers would say, they'd say, well, rosenstein was more than happy to be part of the comey firing then appoints mueller to investigate the same thing he was a part of. he's now overseeing it and he's a chief witness. >> let me go to the congressman on this. first of all, congressman swalwell, thank you for joining us from stanford out there. what do you make that now we know on the record from the "new york times," this helluva report that rosenstein knew he was used, that that wasn't the reason for the firing of comey. the reason was probably russia and the coverup. >> of course the president used him, chris, the president uses everyone around him and right now he's trying to fool the american people that he really cares about them. it's always been about donald trump. i don't believe rod rosenstein should recuse himself. this is a question that he has posed to the department of justice. i believe he was sincere when he asked them if he should recuse themselves and they advised he shouldn't so republicans have a real interest in whether he
should be recused. we saw that at the judiciary committee hearing but that's not because they want to make sure this investigation is done right it's because they want to delay, obstruct and do everything they can to stop bob mueller from making the progress he needs to make in this investigation and now we must insist that rosenstein and mueller stay and if rosenstein is fired it will be treated the same as if mueller were fired. >> it always seemed to me and i think most people following this russia investigation that the heart of obstruction, if you want to believe there was obstruction was the firing of comey because comey was coming at this president and the president got rid of comey because of that reason. he came up to other reasons thanks to the help of rosenstein who agreed as deputy attorney general to craft a memo that suggest, in fact, claimed it wasn't a coverup, it just had something to do with other issues, the way comey treated hillary clinton in the campaign, et cetera. what does this mean to an obstruction investigation? >> i think this is one more piece of evidence that could add to a theory of obstruction of justice. when someone lies about
something they did or offers a pre-text for something they did it causes you to wonder if they are not hiding their consciousness of guilt. i know what i did was wrong therefore i have to come up with a lie that explains the real reason. whenever there's a jury question on obstruction of justice, and in this instance maybe it would be a senate question, whoever is the fact finder, they're told in their instructions that because no one can read someone else's mind to determine what was in someone's mind and their intent you have to look at all of the facts and circumstances. the totality of the circumstances, what a person said and did. this is one more item on the list that robert mueller can point to that could add to the mix to establish obstruction of justice and the corrupt intent necessary. >> one more item on the list. to the congressman's earlier point, rosenstein was asked if he would recuse himself after overseeing the special counsel's probe because of his role in comey's firing. let's watch what he said. >> it seems like you should be recused from this more so than jeff sessions because you were
involved in making decisions in both prongs of this investigation. why haven't you done that? >> congressman, i can assure you, if it were appropriate for me to recuse, i would be more than happy to do so and let somebody else handle this but it's my responsibility to do it. >> there we have a problem there, michael schmidt, your reporting, it seems like in the almost twisted way in which the opposition to this investigation have operated, they might say well, you know, the fact that this -- rosenstein was upset about the fact he was used by the president, biassed him to the point when he hired robert mueller to investigate the president. i know how they think. it's another benghazi to them. another weird rabbit hole to go down. >> but this shows the different roles that rosenstein is playing at the same time. despite the fact that he was part of the comey firing, in favor of doing that, you have representative swalwell, a democrat, saying we need to keep him around. for the democrats they think he's their best bet and they're
afraid of what trump would put. that's their redline, i don't know if they can enforce it. >> congressman, that-tas we're g warned the producers, we're trying to figure out what stop this is president from getting rid of mueller? what stops him is rosenstein and jeff sessions but mainly rosenstein who appointed him. is that why the republicans on your committee seem to be targeting rosenstein from a variety of directions? >> they're tries to put an asterisk on this investigation should it bring more indictments, especially if it hits the president or his family. but what stops the president is public sentiment. he wants to be popular. he wants to be liked. that is more important than doing the right thing. we saw that when it came to separating mothers from their children at the border. only because it became unpopular did he do the right thing and i think he fears because the american people have been quite loud about this and the public polling shows this that if he were to fire robert mueller or
rosenstein that republicans would move on him and they would view that as obstruction of justice. i fear, though, that the committee that would have to hold him responsible first, the house judiciary committee, is lost. because they're doing all they can right now to make sure he has a green light to fire rosenstein. >> nunes means do nothing. anyway, do you think if he were to fire mueller or try to fire rosenstein that that would nixonize him? trump? >> yes. yes. to the leadership in the republican party, i believe that is their own red line bauds thattha -- because that's where the public is on this. but the house judiciary committee, they are his fixers in congress. that is about 20 michael cohens sitting there trying to fix this investigation in the president's favor. >> it must be great sitting next to them. i thought it was interesting they separated the minority and
majority staffs by some kind of partition. do you think that was part of the effort so they could go about their business of saving this president's neck without your committee and staff people getting involved? >> yes, they have taken away the bipartisan comedy thity that wed in prior congresses solely to protect the president, not the democracy or the ballot box in our future elections and i think they'll pay a price in november, chris, because people want someone to push the big red button that stops the wrecking ball that's donald trump. >> as i mentioned, this comes as rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, finds himself under attack by house republicans seeking to undermine him or otherwise sabotage this whole russian probe. in that judiciary committee hearing yesterday, republicans who have effectively swamped the justice department with document requests accused rosenstein of hiding information from them. here's a tense exchange with congressman jim jordan, one of the tea partiers. >> why are you keeping information from congress?
>> i am not keeping any information from congress. >> i want to know why you won't give us what we've asked for. >> sir, i certainly hope that your colleagues are not under that impression. that is not accurate, sir. >> it is accurate. >> your statement that i'm personally keeping information from you, trying to conceal information -- >> you're the boss, mr. rosenstein. >> that's correct. and my job is to make sure we respond to your concerns. we have, sir. >> even congressman trey gowdy who once defended the special counsel piled on urging rosenstein to expedite the mueller investigation. here he goes. >> we've seen the bias. we've seen the bias. we need to see the evidence. if you have evidence of wrongdoing by any member of the trump campaign, present it to the damn grand jury. whatever you got. finish it the hell up because this country is being torn apart. >> i've heard suggestions that
we should just close the investigation. i think the best thing we can do is finish it appropriately and reach a conclusion. >> well, that's congressman gowdy's criticism of the pace of russia probe, it's disingenuous at best. as the chairman of the benghazi committee, he spent two and a half years investigating hillary clinton which concluded without a single indictment. it got nowhere because there was nowhere to go. in contrast, the mueller probe has gone on for a year and has produced 20 indictments. i want to go back to congressman swalwell. this reminds me of an error of the nixon probe which led to the removal of the president by resignation. there was an error toward the end when the nixon defenders, a small cadre still around, began to say get off his back. a rabbi was a conservative churchman who led the cause. i've noticed with 90% of republican voters supporting trump that people like gowdy, even the guys like he are
jumping aboard the last chance saloon here. >> that's right, chris. to mr. gowdy i would say when you lie to investigators, when you tamper with witnesses as paul manafort has done and when you refuse to sit in the chair even when you've been given the questions that the fbi wants too ask you it's going to take longer so if you do that, we could finish it the hell up. >> is the president going testify this year or not? >> no, i don't think he would ever do that, no. i don't see him ever doing that. he's never met the truth in his life and he doesn't want to meet this investigation team. >> thank you so much. michael schmidt, great reporting, eric swalwell and barbara mcquaid, we rely on your expertise. with president trump on the attack, it's time for the resistance to fight back. democrats are facing a five-alarm fire when it comes to the supreme court. even president obama is warning about this and warning his party
personally. plus, new reporting that white house chief of staff john kelly is on his way out the doodoo door. it's no wonder trump has decided his instincts are better than anyone else's thoughts and he's sick of having a hall monitor. and further proof the president is looking for someone to be his trumpet. a fox news executive is set to become communications director. the echo chamber will be a fish bowl. the "hardball" round table tackles that and the campaign to get justice kennedy to retire at their time convenience, that would be this july, so they can pick a substitute before they lose the senate. finally, let me finish a word about what happened yesterday in annapolis among those straight news reporters for that paper. this is "hardball" where the action is.
>> there's a possibility that donald trump may meet with some contenders this weekend at his golf club in bedminster, new jersey. isn't that an appropriate setting to fill the supreme court? a little golf on the side there. we'll be right back. hello. the new united explorer card hooks me up. getting more for getting away. rewarded! going new places and tasting new flavors. rewarded! traveling lighter. rewarded! (haha) getting settled. rewarded! learn more at theexplorercard.com and get... rewarded! and get... ♪ ♪
>> i couldn't remain silent after i saw those -- those neo-nazis coming out of fields carrying torches in one of the historic cities in america followed by and accompanied by white supremacists and then being objected to by other citizens and the presidents saying there are good people in both places. come on. this is about the soul of the america. this is a battle for the soul of america. we cannot afford to lose it. welcome back to "hardball." for many people, this week was a side reminder of how divisive president trump has been and made this country. on the border there were reports of toddlers being forced into
court. imagine, alone because their families are seeking asylum. at the supreme court, the retirement of justice anthony kennedy created a very real possibility that the fate of issues like abortion rights, the environment, unions, union rights, guns, gun rights will fall into the hands of a partisan court aligned with the republican party. at a fund-raiser thursday night barack obama gave some of his most pointed remarks as he left the presidency. according to politico he told democratic donors they were right to be concerned but he said they should not wait for the perfect messenger in order that to feel safe. he warped democrats not to underestimate trump's band of politics. fear is powerful, he said, but the majority of the american people prefer a story of hope, the majority of the american people prefer a country that comes together rather than being divided. we saw examples of this in last year's massive women's march
that brought together people to advocate for human rights, women's rights and health care. those cities converging at one point. yesterday roughly 600 protesters were arrested near the u.s. capitol demanding an end to forced family separations at the border. among them was u.s. congresswom congresswom congresswom congresswoman jayapur. thank you. congresswoman, you're at the ramparts as we used to say in the '60s. you got handcuffed -- >> no handcuffs. >> what was your protest about. what did it involve and why did you do it? >> 2500 women from all over the country came to really show their moral outrage at the president and his policy, zero tolerance, zero humanity putting kids in cages, putting parents who are seeking asylum into prisons so they were there to say we're putting ourselves on the line. i went to speak to them but i
was so moved by how passionate they were and the stories we were telling so i sat down with them and got arrested. i believe civil disobedience is an important tactic to push an issue the forefront. >> it's participatory democracy as we called in the the '60s but he's about to pick a decisive member of the supreme court. someone he thinks thereby for 45 years perhaps sitting on the bench. >> this is a horrible, horrible thing. i do think if we can make it clear to the american people what's at stake that this will help us to get a wave across the country, make sure we introduce checks and balances. >> what good is it if they have the election and they pick the court justice, the decisive fifth member out of nine people, the fifth makes the difference, before the election? >> as you have said over and over -- >> i will keep saying, they have to find a way to stop it. >> they have to play "hardball." >> if mcconnell passes it by one
vote people will say what a brilliant parliamentarian he was. if he's brilliant, it doesn't take brains to stop him. >> this is the thing, there's two issues. it's hard to run on the supreme court, but now people can. it's not just abortion because there will be some people who don't know how they feel about that. but this is the justice who will decide if the president can pardon himself. >> you mean this president? >> this president. >> if he gets his way. >> if he gets his way. those are the two issues and it's not just about the first person he picks. the republicans play the long game. they may pick somebody ridiculous at first, let the democrats fool themselves into thinking we got that person and then pick someone more moderate. they have to be prepared to fight all the way until the end. >> i think this changed in 2000 when the supreme court picked the president. i know presidents pick the supreme court but in 2000 they picked the president, including kennedy and i've always wanted to know how they -- how somebody in florida, jim baker got the
word to the supreme court come down here and take over this election, top the count and you guys vote and they voted entirely on partisan lines, five republicans on the court gave the presidency to w, w gave us the iraq war. it happened because of the court. >> yeah. partisan voting. there's a lot of anguish among democrats about the likelihood the court will be pulled to the right and tarnish the court -- >> to the republican side, not just the right. >> tarnish 2 t court as a functioning arm of the republican party but the court's reputation has been damaged for a while now. it's not just bush v. gore. "citizens united." it's almost predictable in advance what the decision will be so we had a veneer of bipartisanship that the court was immune to this type of partisan influences. >> when was that? >> the truth is, i'm not really sure. you can go back to the fdr days, but certainly there was an aura
and era. >> i think with nixon when they came out unanimously and said release the tapes. >> but to that point some of those judges were appointed by nixon so to your point about how the court will have to decide, there is maybe a small sliver of hope that there can be people who rise above. >> your thoughts about this. you sit in the legislative branch. trump referred to "my government." i have never heard that phrase. we don't have a government, britain has a government. we have the legislative branch, the executive branch and the courts and there's nobody that can say my government. >> he has been saying that about the department of justice, the loyalty pledges. that is how he thinks about this which is what is so dangerous. one of the things that worries me about how we are elected supreme court justices or appointing supreme court justices today is the influence of big money. you look at gorsuch and how much money was put into that race.
>> you're calling it a race. >> because it was. because the senators vote on that and they put money into those targeted states with those specific senators and they're going to do it again so that does worry me. we have to continue to call for everybody to play hard ball. >> it's an amazing coalition. fox, the president, and now increasingly perhaps the supreme court. president trump sat down with fox news to discuss what he's looking for in the supreme court. here's what he said. >> are you going ask your nominees beforehand how they might vote on roe v. wade? >> that's a big one and probably not. they're all saying don't do that, you don't do that, you shouldn't do that but i'm putting conservative people on and i'm very proud of neil gorsuch. he's been outstanding. his opinions are so well written, so brilliant and i'm
going try and do something like that but i don't think i'm going to be so specific. >> i can't imagine this particular president, he's as smart as most politicians but sitting down and reading the opinions of judge gorsuch. i don't think he's done that. that contradicts what the president promised to do in october of 2016. let's listen to what he promised as a candidate. >> do you want to see the court overturn roe v. wade? >> well, if we put at two or perhaps three justices on, that will happen and that will happen automatically in my opinion because i'm putting pro-life justices on the court. >> well, that's pretty clear. how does he know they are when he doesn't ask them. >> he has lots of conversations long before and i read that article that said he's been courting kennedy through his son -- >> we'll get to that tonight, with this elaborate seduction to get him to quit not just this year but by a date certain which
gives -- >> well, the thing about supreme court confirmation hearings and processes, there's so much kabuki theater. everyone will say i can't answer these thing, it's going to potentially come before me when in truth we know donald trump wants someone to overturn roe v. wade, we know the federalist society is pushing this, mitch mcconnell and senate republicans are mostly interested in this and the question we are awaiting for will susan collins and lisa murkowski demand any perspective nominee answer that question and to be honest they'll dance around it. >> i think it will be amy barrett and i think they have it figured out already. >> but i don't know that that will be their first run. they may this of this in the long term. the other issue is this and barrett qualifies and there will be some surprise people. they'll pick somebody who's like 15 minutes out of law school. 45 years. anyway, a surprise appearance on the "late show" with stephen colbert. jon stewart called on democrats to fight. here he is, the cheerleader for the right side.
let's watch. >> i just want to say if there's one hallmark to your presidency that i think we're finding the most difficult is that no matter what you do it always comes with an extra layer of gleeful cruelty. donald, you could have made a more stringent border policy that would have made your point about enforcement but it wouldn't have felt right without a dick kensian level of cruelty. he wants us not only to fear, not to call it wrong but to call it right. this we cannot do. [ cheers and applause ] and by not yielding -- and by not yielding -- and i say, by not yielding we will prevail! unless, of course, the democratic leadership continues to be a bunch of feckless -- >> that last outburst he was adlai stevenson compared to what we have now. >> you need to say that.
jon stewart always represented that rage of the left, first it was the new york left, now it's the entire left but resistance is the only way to go and the leadership of the democratic party is behind the times for how frustrated and angry their base is and perhaps when they're all gone if the democrats take over the house we'll see more active leadership. >> in new york they'll take over the house. cortez is leading the way. u.s. congressman jayapal, sam stein and jason johnson, simple pronunciations, wonderful. up next, rumors are swirling that john kelly, the four-star general, is on his way out. a four-star general said today if he can't keep this guy in line, nobody will. who will replace him? apparently not anyone. he wants to go it alone. he loves his instincts, he believes they're better than anyone else's thinking. we're in for trouble. aren't we in trouble? this is "hardball" where the action is. ♪ it can grow out of control,
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back to "hardball." just a month away from john kelly's one year -- isn't it excite -- one year anniversary as chief of staff. it comes up as july 31 just as when anthony kennedy is about to leave. according to a new "wall street journal" report, general kelly may not be able to make his own deadline. this report says president trump is openly consulting advisers, asking them about who to replace kelly with. one person close to the white
house said mr. kelly doesn't believe he can serve mr. trump well because the president stopped will be to him. this person said mr. kelly no longer likes the job and doesn't believe the president wants a chief of staff. the top two choices to replace him are nick ayers or mick mulvaney. whether they'll have better luck restraining trumps mercurial instincts that a retired four-star general isn't an open question. in april, nbc news reported kelly was likely to leave by july 31 noting that kelly reportedly called him an idiot. the other guy called him a moron. we have phil rucker from the "washington post" and a national political reporter for bloomberg. every time i see the general i look at a grown up and every time i see the president i see something different. how does he tell the president
what to do? >> it looks like he can't. >> well, he probably can't. he's having trouble with that but if he leaves, the situation at the white house, a lot of things will remain the same, right? he's had two chief of staffs, they had very different backgroun backgrounds. >> remind me, reince priebus -- >> reince priebus and then john kelly. they have different backgrounds, priebus came from the rnc, political guy and things have stayed the same. some things did change when kelly went in there but still trump will do what he wants to do. >> maybe the chief of staff's job is to tell the president to set on a summit meet with with the dictator of naerk orth kore check with the defense secretary. trump does what he feels like doing it. >> trump refuses to be managed. kelly tried to do that the first few months in the job, he found a lot of resistance and now kelly is in an operational role. he's helping run the government but trump is calling the shots,
making the decisions, deciding where he goes, who he talks to, what he does and deciding to have that summit with kim jong-un. >> trump is his own chief of staff, senior adviser and communications director all rolled into one. >> chief cheerleader for himself. >> as time goes on in the white house, he listens to people less and less. you can have a chief of staff that tries to set up structures but the president is going to get around it. >> but that's about his winning streak. i think a lot of not just dictators but people go my hunches seem to be better than people around me. >> and on things like tariffs the president didn't do that. he listened to people who said don't do it. on withdrawing from the iran deal he didn't do it but this year as time goes on he listened to himself more and more. >> is he the smartest guy in the white house? trump? >> he thinks so. and he thinks he's smarter not only in terms of intelligence but he thinks he has better political instants than the political professionals and he felt that way all along. >> who agrees with him when he decides we won't deal with the europeans, we're breaking the
nato alliance, it's worse than nafta, blah blah blah, we don't like the canadians, we don't like the prime minister, we don't like anybody. the people we like are kim jong-un and putin. i know bolton doesn't thinklike this. who does he have that says good point? >> clearly they're not saying that. that's not happening so the question is what do they say to him after? are they really saying to him you should haven't done that? are you going to say that to the president of the united states? >> would that work, phil? >> no, they manage the fallout so they let him do what he wants to do, say what he wants to say and manage it within the government. >> or try. >> "the last king of scotland" he played idi amin. he fell in love with people and then fell out of them. nixon liked people like pat moynihan and then he dropped them. is that the problem we have this the president? he likes people for a couple of months -- >> he gets bored with people. we know me gets bored with people. we know he values chemistry
between himself and the people around him and that usually fizzles unless it's his family. >> meanwhile the fox-to-white house pipeline continues. nbc news confirmed that bill schine is likely to join the white house in a senior role, possibly as trump's next communications director. schine has a long-standing relationship with trump ally sean hannity. schine would add to a growing list of fox news staffers who have worked for this administration. here's a picture. not just a personnel list. others have become the president's unofficial advisers, "new york" magazine reported last month that the president and sean speak multiple times. the daily beast reports during the president's first year fox business hopes lou dobbs would be patched into the oval office via speaker phone to weigh in on decisions. anita, i don't know what they call this. it's a close relationship between fox -- >> it's a close relationship. remember, this is a president who loves television.
>> "fox & friends" begins his day. >> right, so this is not a surprise. >> so he tweets and foxes, whatever the verb is. >> and bill shine coming in, he won't just be a communications director, he'll be deputy chief of staff. he'll have a big purview in sort of this third era of the trump white house and i think he'll help the president not only deal with the press and messaging but figure out a political strategy for the midterms and in the 2020 reelection. how to get this presidency more on track than it is right now. >> there's a mind meld there clearly between the president and fox news. the president watches them, gets softball interview from their personalities and anxiochors an they amplify his message so it's a natural relationship and it wouldn't surprise me if someone like the former president of that network would be running communications. >> howdy doody liked the peanut gallery. that's an old time reference. nobody knows it anymore. the round table is sticking with us. up next, the "new york times" runs down all the ways the trump
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pg&e will come out and mark your gas and electric lines so you don't hit them when you dig. call 811 before you dig, and make sure that you and your neighbors are safe. >> in just a moment, justice gorsuch will be sworn in by justice kennedy, a great man of outstanding accomplishment. throughout his nearly 30 years on the supreme court, justice kennedy has been praised by all for his dedicated and dignified service. >> that was president trump praising anthony kennedy last april in a swearing-in ceremony for justice neil gorsuch. as the president looks to make a generational choice in picking a successor for justice kennedy whose replacement trump plans to
announce on july 9, the "new york times" reports the president's kind words for kennedy were part of a strategic campaign to create an opening on the high court. part of the strategy was to assure kennedy his legacy would be in good hands but allies of the white house were more blunt, warning the 81-year-old justice that time was of the essence. there was no telling, they said, what would happen if democrats gained control of the senate this november and had the power to block the president's choice as kennedy's successor. i'm back with the "hardball" round table. what do you make of this. this story is subtle. you put these points together, were all these points like ivanka going to talk to justice kennedy going to get a tour of the supreme court, it could have been a social thing, you don't know. was it part of a strategy to endear them to him somehow. >> it was interesting for all these little pieces put together. it's no surprise, presidents always want to appoint a new
supreme court justice and solidify that for decades to come. liberals wanted ruth bader ginsburg to retire so president obama could appoint someone else so that's not a surprise but when you look back at the last year and a half, president trump has talked so much about neil gorsuch, it's one of his biggest accomplishments, it's not a surprise he would want a second chance at that. >> and one thing trump has despite his sort of known life-style whatever you want to make of it, it would not side him with the reverends of this world, the religious right. but on abortion right, life issues, i think it had a lot to do with him winning pennsylvania. i think he's playing this hard. >> and publishing that list of potential nominees for the supreme court that he did during the campaign sent a clear signal to the christian right, to the evangelical base, that he was going to prioritize the court and trump thinks that that's what helped him lock up the base and win that election and don
mcgahn, the white house counsel, has been the hand behind all of that. they've been stacking the federal bench with conservative justices. >> how did they get kennedy to quit? >> i think a combination of factors including kennedy deciding it felt like the right time. >> i wonder if therm determined -- i think republicans have a good shot of keeping the senate. we don't know which wave will become dominant come october but it looks to me on the reporting justice kennedy wanted a republican to replace him. >> it sure seems that way and it's true there is no telling what would happen. i think there's a lot of animosity for the way republicans treated merrick garland. but i think getting kennedy to step down was less about kennedy's legacy than donald trump's legacy. kennedy sided with the left flank of the court on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage affirmative action, detainee rights. those will be in jeopardy if
another solidly conservative person from that list of 25 is appointed. having said that, there are things kennedy has done that decided with the right flank that will be cemented. things like voted rights, gun rights, campaign finance reform and citizens united. >> that's why president trumps comments, the praise you talked about was so interesting. a lot of conservatives don't like him. >> he knew what he was doing. sure looks like sean hannity is blaming yesterday's tragedy at the capital gazette on democrats. >> i've been saying for days things will happen for days because of the rhetoric. really, maxine. call your friends, get in their faces. obama said that, too. call your friends. get protesters, follow them into restaurants and shopping malls and wherever else she said. >> no connection between anything to do with politicians,
handy blames it on two democrats. >> maxine waters is among a number of politicians who you could blame for contributing to this environment but the main contributor is president trump. he calls the news organizations fake news, calls them disgusting and despicable people. >> i don't think it had anything to do with politics. up next, these three will tell me something i don't know. you're watching "hardball." now deli fresh flavor is for everyone. like those who like... sweet. those who prefer heat. and those who just love meat. for those in school. out of school. and old school. those who like their sandwich with pop. and those who like it with soda. for the star of the scene. cut! and the guys behind it. oscar mayer deli fresh. a fresh way to deli. sweet!
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after that deadly shooting at the "capital gazette" in maryland yesterday, staffers vowed to continue working and to put a damn paper -- put out a damn paper despite their grief. and here it is on the front page, photos of the five victims with profiles inside. on the editorial page, just 56 words, including these. "today we are speechless." the rest of the page was left blank to commemorate the victims. the editorial board promises to return the page to its steady purpose tomorrow of keeping readers informed that they might be better citizens. we'll be right back. hey, no big deal. you've got a good record and liberty mutual won't hold a grudge by raising your rates over one mistake. you hear that, karen? liberty mutual doesn't hold grudges. how mature of them. for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise their rates because of their first accident. liberty stands with you.
but prevagen helps your brain with an ingredient originally discovered... in jellyfish. in clinical trials, prevagen has been shown to improve short-term memory. prevagen. the name to remember. we're back with the "hardball" round table. anita, tell me something i don't know. >> i'm going stick with the theme of yesterday's shooting and journalists, we're so used to doing things under terrible circumstances, hurricanes and other things, but i was just struck by how these three reporters used -- got in a truck, somebody's truck, and filed their stories while a
blues cd was playing. that's how they put out their paper today. >> heroes. look ahead to july 16, president trump's going to be in helsinki for that summit with president putin of russia. he says today that he's going to bring up russia's occupation of crimea as well as russia's interference in the 2016 u.s. elections. a lot of experts think he's going shy away from doing that so we'll have to see if he'll have the courage to confront putin. >> a week to the day after he announced his supreme court pick. what a month. >> the left wing cause of abolishing i.c.e. took a step from the radical fridges into the mainstream of the democratic party this week after alexandria ocasio-cortez upset joe crowley. since then kirstin gillibrand has engraced the cause as has congresswoman nidia velasquez. >> this is like the right wing saying you're going after the irs. you have to replace it with a functioning government. >> or trying to abolish the department of education. >> thank you very much.
when we return, let me finish a word about what happened in annapolis to those newspaper people. you're watching "hardball." with the new chase ink business unlimited card i get unlimited 1.5% cash back. it's so simple, i don't even have to think about it. so i think about mouthfeel. introducing chase ink business unlimited with unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
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reporters that were killed in the line of duty died doing what they committed their lives to -- getting the news to their readers. they weren't reporting fake news. deadline reporting isn't grand or necessarily overly eloquent, it's about getting the news into print accurately before anyone else does. the people who get careers getting stories on the front page are into news, breaking news, hard news, there's a joy in that job beating the round-the-clock pressure, landing what you've come up with on the front page, breaking the story. i like how one of the surviving reporters from the "gazette" put it on msnbc earlier today. he said his colleagues that were shot were simply doing their bit. >> when i said that the foley legacy foundation honoring the life and courage of murdered conflict reporter james foley stays true. i come here tonight out of moral hue humility but professional humility. riding on a campaign bus with deadline daily reporters, i came
to deeply respect them. i've grown in my respect as they appear and share reporting on "hardball." i know when it comes to reporting i live in the chain of custody from them to the viewer, the reporter, not the comment e commentat commentator, is the hero. that's "hardball" for now, thanks for being with us. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. >> tonight on "all in". >> say hello to your boy. special guy. >> reporter: the president unveils a timeline for the supreme court pick as the democratic push to delay intensifies. >> this judge could end up having to preside over cases relevant to this criminal position. >> are you going to ask your nominees beforehand how they might vote. >> that's a big one and probably not. they're all saying don't do that, you shouldn't do that. >> plus, a preview