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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  November 20, 2018 4:00pm-5:00pm PST

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that does it for "the beat." we'll be back here at 6 p.m. eastern tomorrow. i'm not going anywhere because i'm going to join "hardball" to report on this breaking news tonight, along with michael schmidt who broke the story as well as senator richard blumenthal on "hardball" now. >> trump wanted to prosecute his political opponents. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm steve kornacki, in for chris matthews. a bombshell new report reveals president trump discussed using the department of justice to pursue his political enemies, raising questions about abuse of power and hillary clinton and james comey.
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mcgahn said while he could request an investigation, that, too, could prompt accusations of abuse of power. to underscore his point, mr. mcgahn had white house lawyers write a memo for mr. trump warning if he asked law enforcement to investigate his rival, he could face a range of consequences, including possible impeachment. the "times" points out the encounter was one of the most blatant examples yet of how mr. trump used the typically independent justice department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies. this comes after the president's appointing of acting attorney general matt whitaker has raised questions about the independence of the justice department. in fact, whitaker said he would indict hillary clinton in a 2016 "usa today" op-ed. there are also indications the president hasn't given up on it. according to two people who have
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spoken to trump, quote, the president has continued to private live discuss the matter, including the possible appointment of a second special counsel to investigate both mrs. clinton and mr. comey. joined now by democratic senator richard blumenthal of connecticut, michael schmidt is the co-author of that new story in "the new york times" we are talking about here, carolyn polisi, one of her form aer clients is george papadopoulos. michael smith, you have the reporting on this. i want to understand exactly what happened in this exchange between donald trump and don mcgahn, who was the white house counsel then. did trump order mcgahn to pursue through the justice department prosecutions and investigations of hillary clinton and comey? >> well, trump said he wanted to do this and mcgahn had to explain to him that he did not
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have the power to tell them to prosecute someone. what he could do is ask them to investigate, but even that was problematic. that was not going to be a good thing for the president. but what mcgahn did is mcgahn had sort of learned how to slow roll the president and try and get through these events. he said, look, i'll write a memo for you that lays out why in is not a good idea to use your power to ask the justice department to investigate. so lawyers in the white house counsel's office wrote about the problems that could come of that. the president could be impeached, the president could be voted out of office, the charges could be dropped. these were significant consequences that the president would face. we don't know that the president ever read this letter -- this memo -- but we do know the president has continued to talk about this issue. this is something he's talked about publicly and talked about privately. it's something that he believes the justice department has really let him down on,
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particularly the fbi director, christopher wray. >> we remember all of us the debate moment in the 2016 when president trump talked about prosecuting hillary clinton. now your reporting is he's been talking about this privately. mcgahn is gone now. whitaker is in at least temporarily at the justice department. you say this is something -- you report this is something he is still talking about. who is he talking about this with? >> he's talking about it with his friends and associates and complaining about it. and he's spoken about it publicly as well. that's the unusual thing about the president that he will go out and say things that if we found out he said them in private, would be a problem. he's continually done this, weighing in on criminal
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investigations. the white house officials after many administrations after nixon have tried to put distance between the president and the justice department because they know how corrupting it could be, or certainly appear to be, if the president was trying to weigh in on criminal investigations. but this is a line the president has repeatedly gone over. and this issue, the issue of the president meddling in justice department is something that bob mueller is looking at, as he looks at the question of whether he tried to obstruct justice. >> ari melber, that seems to be a question to me here, has this open investigation, is this the sort of thing you'd expect he'd be interested in? if so, what angle would he be interested in it from? >> absolutely. the only thing worse than firing an fbi director because he's investigating your white house is trying to get that fbi director prosecuted or jailed. that is what we're told the request is, that's the reasoning, that is banana
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republic territory. everything that don mcgahn knows, bob mueller knows. he has an obligation to disclose, he's a lawyer. i'm not doing primary reporting on this, i imagine he has it wrapped up to be the elements of obstruction. an angry statement there is different than a prolonged pattern to try to black ball, destroy the liberty of individuals or key witnesses involved in the obstruction probe. i think the "new york times" today has one of the biggest stories we've seen in the entire mueller probe. >> the "new york times" -- the president has not shied away from publicly speaking out on james comey. >> comey is a leaker and he's a liar. and not only on this stuff, he's been leaking for years.
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no collusion, no obstruction. he's a leaker. he gave it to a friend to leak classified information. it's all classified. it was totally classified. so illegally he did an illegal act. look, he's a showboat, he's a grandstander. the fbi has been in turmoil. you know that, i know that, everybody knows that. >> and likewise as we mentioned ament a meninute ago and as a c for president in 2016, trump has said he'd like to go after hillary clinton. >> if i win, i am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there has never been so many lies, so much deception. the fbi and the department of justice created a fraud in allowing hillary clinton to get away with her terrible, terrible crimes. >> i look at what's happening
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with the justice department. why aren't they going after hillary clinton with her e-mails and with the dossier? >> senator blumenthal, i'm curious, on capitol hill how do you think a report like this will land? how do you think a revelation like this will land? what will the ramifications be? democrats taking control of the house. they'll still be on the minority on the senate side. how will this report intersect with that? will it? >> this excellent reporting will be a bomb shell, it will be profoundly significant of criminal intent, the hardest element to prove in an obstruction of justice case. it shows an absolute contempt for the rule of law, repugnant and abhorrent in anyone, but particularly the president of the united states. and it shows the increasing jeopardy for our justice system. this contempt for the rule of law with matthew whitaker as the
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acting attorney general, a trump loyalist. in fact, his only qualification is that he is a trump loyalist will mean the potential for trump acting on these absolutely abhorrent impulses. and founlinally, it will create momentum for real, enforceable rules that govern the relationship between the white house and the department of justice. there have been memos that set forth practices and protocols, policies and norms, but not really enforceable rules. and clearly we are at the point now where congress must have hearings and must set those rules. >> caroline polisi, in terms of this specter of obstruction of justice, abuse of power, these terms being thrown around here, the defense that could potentially emerge on a charge like that from the white house, would it be okay if trump
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happened to suggest this, didn't act on it, trump was basically shooting his mouth off? would that be somebody in that position -- >> every time i hear an attorney talking with his client -- of course, don mcgahn is the white house counsel, not president trump's personal attorney general -- attorney general. i will just say that, you know, legal live speakily speaking th charge that there's an underlying charge of collusion in order for mueller to charge an obstruction count. we all know that. i think it would be politically speaking risky for mueller to charge without that underlying
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crime so i think you get both of them or neither. >> is that ari? >> yes. there is no attorney/client privilege between the president and the white house counsel. john dean in watergate is a memory lane for a lot of people on that. this is the president trying to directly order through mcgahn as his intermediary to dnc.o.j. the prosecutions of comey and clinton. this is huge banana republic-type territory. this is the government attorney paid by our tax dollars and this is conduct that even he warned the president, i don't use the "i" word a lot, don mcgahn according to his excellent reporting tonight allegedly here warned the president you do this, we're not talking about a misdemeanor charge here, we're talking about a high crime of impeachment. he gave that counsel during a
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time when the republicans controlled the entire congress. >> michael, is there context here -- you say this was in the spring, spring of 2018 when the president had this conversation with mcgahn. is there context about what was going on more broadly that might have appropriate tprecipitated e conversation at that moment? >> there's a lot of tumultuous times for the president but in terms of the investigation of the justice department, there was a shake-up on his legal team. rudy giuliani was going to come in and replace john dowd. there was a question of john dowd doing an interview. the president did not want him to do it. but more importantly there was the fbi raid. they raided the offices of cohen, taking a wide range of stuff. that was a very aggressive move to go into the offices of the president's lawyer and take things from there for a criminal
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investigation. we know that really bothered the president and was in some way as game changer for the posture that the president and his lawyers have taken towards mueller and the justice department since then, really upping and launching more attacks on them. >> and senator blumenthal, in terms of potential fallout here on capitol hill with your colleagues, i'm wondering about this issue of whitaker's temporary appointment as attorney general, the administration fighting to keep him in there for up to about seven months potentially. will this have a bearing on that? specifically i think i'm wondering have you had any conversations yet, you have talked to your republican colleagues in the senate and do you see their thinking shifting on that front at all? >> key question, steve. and, yes, i have. not since this report but since whitaker's appointment and jeff session's firing. i think there's a heightened awareness of the danger to our democracy. with whitaker there, at any
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moment he could decline to approve a subpoena or an indictment, he could cut funding for the special counsel, he could cut authority; in other words, reduce jurisdiction, and all of it without any public disclosure. so i think there should be and perhaps will be an increased appetite on the part of my republican colleagues for the special counsel protection legislation and other legislation i will be introducing that will require a report, disclosure of all the findings in evidence if the special counsel is ever forced to resign or if he's fired and completes a report. and i think also there is a need to rein in the communications between the white house and this acting attorney general. the department of justice should be a bedrock of independence.
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the attorney general of the uncti united states is not the president's lawyer. he is the people's lawyer. and in this instance particularly, that kind of independence need to be protected. >> all of this of course comes with this piece of news, president trump's legal team saying they have submitted the written questions. rudy giuliani said much of what was asked raised questions of constitutional issues. what do you make of that development and reaction of the president's lawyer? >> you hit it on the head, steve. with everything else going on, this is an important day in the probe because the president for the first time has submitted his actual answers on the russia
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questions. maybe he'll have good answers. they've submitted them. i think what we're now seeing in that statement and what we're going to see continued is rudy giuliani and others trying to put the pressure on to finish this thing up. and so that's something that lawyers can do in the private side if they want to make their opinions known but they don't get to decide the timeline any more than el chapochapo's attor define the timeline for his client. that's just how it works. so rudy doesn't control the timeline. the other thing swirling around all of this and i don't know if you have any time left, i'm curious, michael's not going to talk about his sources but i'm curious as to why this bombshell news about comey and clinton is coming out right now. >> i don't mean to put you on the spot, michael schmidt, you're happy to take a pass on that but ari raises an
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interesting question. is there any response to you on that part? >> when our stories are ready, we run them. >> i thank you all for joining us. there is more breaking news tonight. president trump defended his daughter today for using her personal. ma -- personal e-mail and is defending saudi arabia. this is "hardball." dball. with the best of pressure cooking and air frying all in one. with our tendercrisp technology, you can quickly cook food, juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. go from fresh to deliciously done in half the time. which means it may become the only thing you use in your kitchen. (tapping) for cooking, at least. (upbeat music) the ninja foodi, with tendercrisp, the cooking while parenting technology.
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[ready forngs ] christmas? no, it's way too early to be annoyed by christmas. you just need some holiday spirit! that's it! this feud just went mobile. with xfinity xfi you get the best wifi experience at home. and with xfinity mobile, you get the best wireless coverage for your phone.'re about to find out! you don't even know where i live... hello! see the grinch in theaters by saying "get grinch tickets" into your xfinity x1 voice remote. a guy just dropped this off. he-he-he-he. president trump today defended his daughter, ivanka trump, after "the washington post" reported she repeatedly used her personal e-mail while doing government business while serving at the white house throughout 2017. >> just so you understand, early on and for a little period, ivanka did some e-mails.
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they weren't classified like hillary clinton. they weren't deleted like hillary clinton. she wasn't doing anything to hide her e-mails. you're talking about a whole different -- you're talking about all fake news. so what ivanka did, it's all in the presidential records, everything is there. there was no deletion, no nothing. what it is is a false story. hillary clinton deleted 33,000 e-mails. she had a server in the basement. that's the real story. >> "the washington post" revealed last night when ivanka trump was questioned about her use of a personal e-mail account, she said she was not familiar with some details of the rule, according to people with knowledge of her reaction. however, she may have violated the white house preservation act. this comes as word that jared kushner also used a personal e-mail to conduct government
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work as well. quote, fewer than 1,000 that pertained to schedule and travel are involved." you heard the president there who made quite an issue there trying to say there is no parallel there at all between hillary clinton and ivanka. what do you make of his attempt to draw discontinues there is? >> look, he's trying to protect his daughter and we understand that and it's not the same circumstance. we don't know whether or not all those e-mails are unclassified, whether or not they all went into the presidential records as they're supposed to. so i think it's fair that people ask for oversight about whether or not his stamgts are true. more importantly, this is an example of the lacks adherence security rules by the trump
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family. we saw this from the president and the use of his personal iphone, the way he continues to use twitter, the way he's talked about classified information in public settings. they just don't appreciate how serious these concerns are. >> i think, brett, that's the kind of thing that jumps out at me, the emphasis he placed on the hillary clinton e-mail in 2016. he's trying to draw all these distinctions here, but the fact that this was even an open issue, the possibility of somebody like ivanka trump using a personal e-mail address for government business for months apparently into the administration after he made such an issue of it in the campaign. >> i think we have to lock ivanka up. no, i say that -- iher father
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having made this an issue in the election, she should have been absolutely scrupulous. this is what happens when you hire your daughter or your relatives for important government position, they don't know what the rules are. that's why you shouldn't hire nepotistically. >> meanwhile, president trump is again deflecting blame from saudi arabia, even though the cia has said with high confidence that saudi arabia ordered the murder of journalist jamal khashoggi. trump said today that it could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this
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tragic event. -- maybe he did and maybe he didn't!" . the president repeated unsubstantiated smears about khashoggi saying "representatives of saudi arabia say that jamal khashoggi was an "enemy of the state" and a member of the muslim brotherhood." here's why trump sided with members of the saudi government over his own intelligence agency. >> because it's america first to me. it all about america first. we're not going to give up hundreds of billions of dollars in orders and let russia, china and everybody else have them. saudi arabia, if we broke with them, i think your oil prices would go through the roof. i've kept them down. they've helped me keep them down. it's a very simple equation for me. i'm about make america great again and i'm about america first. >> what do you make of that and the decision and the way he's framing it? >> it's ugly on so many levels.
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this is a make saudi arabia first type of foreign policy. we're the super power, saudi arabia is our client. we're also the world's number one energy producer, so the suggestion that saudi arabia has us over the proverbial barrel when it comes to energy is a view out of the 1970s or another decade. what was really ugly about the statement was the suggestion that saudi arabia or mbs's ordering of the gruesome murder of "the washington post" co columnist was somehow an acceptable price of $450 billion of money coming into the united states. it's that kind of foreign policy that gets us into trouble, not just the people in the middle east who look to american vam u -- values when it comes to free
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rights. we are now adopting what too many times a purely mercantilist that shouldn't have a place in american politics. >> if you had been advising the president in what to say and what posture to take, what would you have told him? >> i don't think he can continue to defend saudi arabia the way that he has. it's very clear that you have to call your friend to account, even when -- especially when they are doing terrible things. and we all agree, even the president will acknowledge that the killing of jamal khashoggi is an atrocity and that he will not believe his own intelligence agencies when they go out there and they find the truth for him, sometimes at great risk themselves. he's making foreign policy based on what he believes, not on what is true. that's very dangerous for america and america's actions in the regions when he's m
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mischaracterizing the war in yemen and saudi arabia's involvement in it and mischaracterizes the sizes of the arms deal. the president is not leveling with the american people about what's at stake here. >> up next, the most provisional and absentee ballots counted on the board. the map on the house side has gotten a little bit bluer. i'm going to head over to the big board and break down the new races about to be called and what's left there. all things midterms. this is "hardball," where the action is. s "hardball," where t action is. like new clay stick masks. all mask, no mess. olay hydrating facial mist. for hydration on the go. and our breakthrough brightening eye cream. boosted with vitamin c. get your new beauty fix.
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welcome back to "hardball." we have been monitoring -- we called it election night originally, then it became election week and it's almost been election month. the vote tallies take a while to come in, the picture changing a little bit. we've been keeping tabs on the exact democratic wave in the house. take a look where things stand right now. this is the wrong screen. i want to show you the races that have flipped. here's what you see. last night right around this time we told you about the second district of new mexico. it became the latest republican seat that democrats flipped. with in a one around this time last night, it put their net gain at 38 seats. what is happening right now? two things are happening right now. one is in the the 4th district
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of utah. this is the mia love district. they finished their canvassing in the two counties that make up this district. can you see ben mcadams, the democratic challenger, leading by almost 700 votes. that looks like it is just higher than the threshold that would allow for a recount. soy in the last few minutes, the associated press has called this race for ben mcadams, for the democratic challenger. nbc news' decision desk as not made that decision yet. you're looking at mcadams in a very good position here. that would flip that, would become a democratic pickup. i thought that would turn blue, dramatically, it didn't. it would give the democrats a net gain of 39 seats. you'd have georgia, 7, if it
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holds on the democrats would be at 39 and the only other piece of suspense would be this one and this is is an interesting one because this is one of those sneaky races on election night we did not think was in play but in the late tallies that have come in day after day after day has become the subject of some suspense. the 21st district of california, this is in the central valley. we've declared the republican incumbent the winner. right now as the late tallies have come in, t.j. cox, his democratic challenger, has crept inside of 900 votes. it's a 968 vote gap separating them. fresno county, the most outstanding vote, we think there's maybe 10,000 votes to come in still in this district. the biggest chunk of it we think will be from fresno county.
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valadao has been leading that overall. but in the vote since election day, that late-arriving vote, that's favored coxa little b a . you have votes from kings county, that's the base for valadao. it's unclear how many votes are left overall. from an election night where valadao looked like he was sitting pretty in this, night after night, it has drained and it is down inside of a thousand votes right now, 900. is there a scenario where cox actually leap frogs valadao? if he does, it appears the democrats would be able to get a net gain of 40 seats. the mia love seat in utah that the a.p. has called tonight.
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and then if they can pull a rabbit out of the hat in the central valley of california and knock off valadao with the final outstanding votes, if democrats could do that, it would be a net gain of the big 40 for them. 40 seats. that's what's still left on the board. that's what we're still keeping an eye on here as election month rolls on. up next, more on tonight's breaking news that president trump reportedly hoped to use the justice department as a weapon against his political rivals. you're watching "hardball." rivals you're watching "hardball.
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welcome back to "hardball." more now on today's breaking story. the "new york times" reporting that president trump wanted to order the justice department to prosecute his former 2016 rival hillary clinton and james comey. after inquiring about the possibility this spring, his
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legal team laid out a series of consequences. for starters, justice department lawyers could refuse to follow mr. trump's orders, even before an investigation began, setting off another political firestorm. congress could investigate the president's role in the prosecution and begin impeachment proceedings. ultimately the lawyers warned mr. trump could be voted out of office in voters believed he had abused his power. for more, i'm joined by laura bassett, zerlina maxwell and noah rothman. we've had probably about an hour and a half now i think to digest this story. i'm just curious. it's the challenge, one of the challenges of the trump era is you get these explosive reports, these bombshell reports and you try to put them in some perspective on the fly. i'm going to ask you and challenge you all to do that right now. noah, we've had 42,000 bombshell
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stories in the trump era. where do you think in scale this one fits? >> i think this is a big one because primarily there is a paper trail. they compostposed a memo. investigators will find that, we'll identify what the process is. if nobody thinks there's something untoward about investigating hillary clinton, i'm curious to know what legal exposure that james comey has here. it seems very much to be an impulse. that's something that democrats when they take over the house will look into. >> democrats taking over the house means they have the power of subpoena. these documents, if the democrats are interested in obtaining, they'll have an avenue now. >> largely people have stopped
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talking about it because there have been other breaking stories in the past couple of weeks, but it's a new day. when these stories come out, it is no longer paul ryan's comment and no condemnation from mitch mcconnell. now you actually is a body of congress that is going to do the vettive wo investigative work that an oversight of the constitution requires. so i wasn't like, whoa, this story is ground breaking, i think what makes it different is the make-up of the congress. it validates what donald trump has been saying and tweeting for the past two years anyway. his supporters say we shouldn't take him literally, we absolutely should take him literally. he's saying what he's doing in private. we should take it as a literal statement that the president is taking steps to do behind the scenes. that's what this report confirms. >> laura, they've been trying to
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put this on a scale compared to everything else we've been talking about for the last two years or so, where do you put this? what's your initial reaction? >> well, it's an attack on democracy. he's using the justice department as political personal tool. it's not normal. we know trump has these authoritarian instincts. he is actually making moves towards doing this. i don't think we should take it as an empty threat at all. >> meanwhile president trump today also weighed in on the mississippi senate runoff between senator cindy hyde smith and democratic challenger mike espy. >> cindy hyde smith is a spectacular woman. she's a great senator. she came in, she's done a fantastic job in a short period of time. she made a statement, which i
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know that she feels very badly about it. it was just sort of said in jest. she's a tremendous woman. it's a shame she has to go through this. i think she's going to do very well. >> the contest has made headlines with the issue of race front and center, described as a "bare knuckle brawl infused with politics." earlier she made a joke about attending a public hanging. >> if it was a public hanging, i'd be on the front row. >> i'm just going to throw this out to the panel. mississippi, the last time a democrat won a senate election in mississippi was 1982, it was a very different kind of democrat back then who could win in mississippi. the voting patterns in mississippi are i think more polarized on racial lines than
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any other state in the country. democrats have been making a little bit of noise about this one. does anyone think that mike espy, the democrat, has a chance winning out there? >> i wouldn't say winning. but donald trump is the president. so i worked for hillary clinton and i'm not somebody who can seriously say that it can't happen. right? because we are living in the, you know, unbelievable moment. in mississippi, a 35% black electorate and she did make a racial comment, joking about a public hanging in mississippi, going to a public hanging was an activity for families in mississippi at a point in american history. it was an activity where you'd bring your whole family with your kid and you'd take photos in front of lynched black people. and her apology was not sufficient in any way. she didn't take responsibility for the comment or the
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historical context. so i think that, yes, it's possible for him to come very close, a lot closer than anyone would have imagined. you never really know because with an electorate this large of african-american voters, they just needed a reason to come out and vote. and if she's going to say something this racist, that's their reason. >> the concern for republicans is that -- this is that race where you had three candidates in the preliminary, the republican establishment thought just get -- just make sure mcdaniel doesn't get into that final, you won't have any of these issues. how concerned should republicans be about this one? >> they should be concerned. i think a really charitable explanation for this gaffe, and it is a gaffe, is that she was trying to be complementary toward this person and overreached. if she creates another news cycle out of this, then it could be a problem. otherwise it stands to be a
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gaffe. the math, as you say, is very difficult for her in this primary, the democrat received just a little over 40% of the vote, compared to the other two republicans who made up almost 60% of the vote. that's a lot of republican voters you have to draw over. >> tewhich tend to be about the ceiling. now in mississippi, roy moore did lose. that was an extraordinary set of circumstances with roy moore. how do you feel with a comparison with the hot water she's gotten to and roy moore. >> i would compare it to the group to gubernatorial elections in florida where two black candidates came extremely close amid racism and voter suppression. there's also a lot of voter suppression in mississippi. i think espy has been trying to turn out white voters.
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he need an extraordinary turnout of african-american voters and a quarter of the white voters. he's been making an appeal to the white voters who might feel embarrassed about the state. this is deeply embarrassing in the south. i know a lot of white people who would be extremely offended. it's extremely possible he turns out that quarter of people. >> and barack obama provides a new defense of nancy pelosi. does she have the numbers to be the next speaker? you're watching "hardball." stay with us. you're watching "h. stay with us your insurance rates skyrocket
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hey, what are you guys doing here? we're voya. we stay with you to and through retirement. so you'll still be here to help me make smart choices? well, with your finances that is. we had nothing to do with that tie. voya. helping you to and through retirement. carla is living with metastatic breast cancer, which is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of her body. she's also taking prescription ibrance with an aromatase inhibitor, which is for postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive her2- metastatic breast cancer as the first hormonal based therapy. ibrance plus letrozole was significantly more effective at delaying disease progression versus letrozole. patients taking ibrance can develop low white blood cell counts, which may cause
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. house democratic leader and would be speaker nancy pelosi got a powerful endorsement from former president barack obama. >> i think nancy pelosi will go down as one of the most effective legislative leaders this country has ever seen. her stamina, her ability to see around corners, her ability to stand her ground and do hard things. and to suffer popularity to get the right thing done. i think stands up against any
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person that i've observed or worked directly with in washington during my lifetime. >> comments from the former president come just a day after 16 democrats signed a letter opposing pelosi's bid to become the house speaker. late today, ohio democrat marcia fudge, who was the only person to be openly flirting with the idea of running against pelosi for the speaker's job announced she was dropping that idea after pelosi promised to name her chairwoman of a newly restored subcommittee on elections. when we return, let me finish tonight with history repeating itself. you're watches "hardball."
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let me finish tonight with history repeating itself. donald trump is now the third president out of the last four to suffer the same dismal fate in his first midterm election, to come to office with his party enjoying a sizable majority in the house and then to watch that majority vanish in the midterm. it happened to bill clinton back in 1994. that's when the newt gingrich led republican revolution ended 40 years of democratic rule in the house. and it happened to barack obama in 2010 when the tea party rebellion turned over 63 house seats and made john boehner speaker. and now it's happening to donald trump and the republicans. the question is whether history is also going to repeat itself when it comes to what happens next. because both bill clinton and barack obama recovered from
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their midterm droppings, and went ton of win reelection two years later. they were assisted by two invaluable political assets, both clinton and obama benefitted from an economy that improved between the midterm and their reelection races two years later and they also benefitted from who their opponents were. in 1996, bill clinton's opponent was bob dole, but he really got to run against newt gingrich, whose polarizing style as house speaker had alienated wide swaths of the country. every clinton ad that mentioned dole attached gingrich's name to his as well. it was one word, dole/gingrich. clinton ended up beating dole by eight points back in '96, wasn't even close. obama got to run against mitt romney whose venture capital background gave the obama team an opening to paint him as hos toil to the working class. romney played right into that with a comment he made about 47% of americans who he said were dependent on government.
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obama ended up winning with 51% of the vote to romney's, you got it, 47%. so will trump catch the same breaks that clinton and obama got? well, rite nght now, not even carknack the magnificent could say who the they will elect. opting for someone promising to fight trump fire with more fire. you democrats use their new power in the house, how aggressively they use it to go after trump. that will depend on who emerges as the new house speaker. that's still not entirely clear. we also don't know how the economy is going to be two years from now. have trump and the gop with their tax cuts and regulatory moves squeezed everything they can out of it? or can that joyride keep up for two more years? we do know, trump doesn't have much of a more than for error. 77,000 votes across three states was all it took to make him president in 2016. that may be all it takes to deny him reelection.
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still, if the democratic celebration has been a little sub subdued after these midterms, there's a good reason for it. you don't have to look far in the rearview mirror to find presidents who have recovered from worse. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. tonight on "all in". >> it's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of donald trump is not in charge of the law in our country. >> because you'd be in jail. >> breaking news from the "new york times," donald trump wanted to order the prosecutions of james comey and hillary clinton. >> lock her up is right. >> what we know about why the president was stopped, the new implications for the mueller probe, as the president


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