tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC February 22, 2019 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
series and what you see there we have online. i sat down with mobdeep's havoc. you can find@the beat with ari. we're out of time but "hardball" is up next. manafort. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening in for chris matthews. at any moment now robert mueller's prosecutors will file a key memo in the sentencing of the former campaign chairman, paul manafort and that could answer kwefgz questions including whether the special counsel considers manafort crucial to showing collusion between the trump campaign and russia. a judge last week ruled that he
lied about contacts with kilminik. and saying quote this is a problematic attempt to shield his russian conspirator from liability and gives rise to legitimate questions about where his loyalties lie, specifically manafort lied about sharing internal campaign polling data and discussing a so-called peace plan that would benefit russia. as mueller's prosecutor told mueller quote this goes to the heart of what the special counsel's office is investigating. all of this begs the question why would manafort risk spending the rest of his life in jail to keep those discussions secret? they've floated the theory that manafort might hope to be pardoned by the president. a pardon has been considered since 2017. but trump was most late last
year. saying quote i wouldn't take it off the table. why would i take it off the table? and yet he can only pardon federal crimes and not state offenses. quote new york state prosecutors have put together a criminal case against paul manafort that they could file quickly if the chairman receive as presidential pardon. joined by former federal prosecutor, tim waily. an investigative report with nbc news. tom, let me start with you. as i say we're waiting on the filing here. take us through what you're going to be looking for what we might possibly be learning the next couple of minutes. >> what we anticipate tonight, and i think it's -- i don't know eif it's going to differ much from what we saw last friday
which is when you have a recommendation from the department of probation saying this is what the expected guidelines or range of how long paul manafort will be in jail? and we either agree ewith that, we endorse that, we want more time, less time. typically they don't go above that but they could. and whether or not they have anything to say about it at all. the other thing that would be interesting to see is if any parts list additional behavior that paul manafort did that he was in charge with but that end up becoming part of a sentencing memorandum. they can say heresler the things we didn't charnel him with but he did that were wrong. we didn't see a lot of that in last week's filing. but that is something that's on the table. >> and we put it in the intro.
everybody's been asking all along. you have the whole situation with manafort. the these different connections to russia. the question of whether that adds up to evidence of some other kind of coordination, collusion. is it possible in this filing there will be some kind of indication of what mueller is or is not thinking? >> i think that would be interesting to see is if there's more about this meeting with kill imnick. interesting it see if we hear more about that. was there anything improper or illegal that occurred? or was this all about more business that paul manafort waned to do in the ukrain can? i think once paul manafort left the campaign, there were all these questions about him specifically as far as his
contacts with russia, his past business dealings. i think he was a little radio active. as the washington d.c. saying goes. he's somebody that didn't last until the end of the trump campaign. somebody that reporters including myself and colleagues wrote a lot about. i thipg he probably forsaw the need to do business elsewhere. ukrain is a place he had a lot of success. so was it all tied to that or was it tied to the internal polling data? and where did that information go e? i don't think we're going to get it all tonight. but maybe some crumbs or additional information. that's possible. >> and polling data. is that what you put in the realm of clients trying to impress a client? or get to something more sinister? have the judge saying becausically manafort is putting
himself in this position of what he's going to be facing in terms of prison time because he's trying to shield a russian associate. why would he be putting himself in the position he's facing to shield a russian associate? >> the judge went on the record well beyond the notion of maybe a he forgot and maybe it was difficult for him to misremember or tie this. she said this is a creation of a firmative narrative that defied the facts. so there wasn't any ambiguity as to whether he was lying and not just because he made a mistake but affirmatively lying. and we know the russians have what is called comp rumot. we have dirt on you and we can hold that over you and control you. and the question is do they have that on manafort and the bigger question is if they have it on manafort, do they have it on manafort's boss, who is new the president of the united states? i don't think we'll find that
out from this filing. the judge found, with respect to the allegations of the spells counsel that mr. manafort lied about his attempts to commu communicate with the white house. that was one piece she didn't believe the special counsel had sufficient information for a lie. which of course bears on a broader question of speculation. but witness tampering or obstruction of justice. >> trying to look at the court of public opinion is a question of how to think about manafort in all of this. is this a washed up political operative that found himself in a presidential campaign after being shut out of american politics and was trying to impress this russian guy. look what a big shot i am. i have this polling data.
or was he a conduit in some sort of relationship here? >> it looks suspicious. those dots are all over. you look in particular at an august 2016 meeting that manafort had a dinner meeting with kilminik. they left by separate entrances. this is where they discussed ukrain deal russia very much wanted to get out of the ukrain mess. it was where manafort may have handed over this polling data. which goes to the heart of the concerns about russian manipulation and the election. and what happened after and whether there was discussion of a pardon, which is maybe why manafort has been double dealing with the prosecutor, that goes to the questions of the obstruction of justice. this is at center and i don't know ewhether the sentencing
memo is going to connect those dots for us. this is what we've been waiting for. >> you say waiting on the filing tonight. we've had numerous reports in the last couple days about the conclusion of mueller's investigation. now reporting the department of justice is not expecting to see the report from mueller by the end of next week. nevertheless, president trump is asked whether he discussed the report with his new attorney general. >> have you spoken to him about that? >> i have not. >> do you expect to? >> at some point i guess i'll be talking about it. there was no collusion. no obstruction, no anything. so i look forward to seeing the report. if it's an honest report, it will say that. if it's not, it won't. >> i'm curious -- we've all been watching for a couple years now kind of building towards this moment. what kind of report?
there's a question of what we'll get to see. >> my expectations are this isn't going to end with mueller's are port, whatever he finds. mr. cohen is now speaking to the southern district, talking about the potentially shady deal. i suspect we're not going to get the definitive conclusion everybo everybody wants to have. manafort's conclusion and trial because the president will be one dot in one of those many dots. the relationship predates 2016. they have relationship that's been reported on including to discredit an opposition figure. journalists and especially russian government officials. there's a whole lot of figures that are going to be tied into the president. he's going to be annance larry
figure. >> and that's the interesting possibility. one of the parallels is in the 2016 campaign when comey had the press conference with hillary clinton and the emails. there's not going to be charges, not going to be a case made but then he proceeded to make a pretty damaging political case against her. it possible that's going to be a upshot of what happens with mueller? >> it certainly is going to be complicated with trump off in vietnam trying to deal with north korea as things unfold next week. i wonder indeed if the focus isn't going to shift near southern district of new york and vezs of the trump organization finances and the family and that's another whole complicating layer on top of everything we've been talking about. michael cohen was talking about evidence that he ehhad to offern
the southern district. i would be deeply concerned with that aspect as well. >> on the subject of michael cohen, the former fixer is the term we always use, expected to testify in front of three different congressional committees. one in an open public hearing. as the "new york times" reports cohen spoke last month with federal prosecutors offering information about possible irregulate airs in the trump family business. and insurance claims the company filed over the years, though no indication that cohen implicated the president in any of those claims. you have mueller, the lead guy too, talk to cohen presumably about anything he wanted. if mueller didn't take anything from cohen, is there much left? >> i think this is the point where we need remember what the
mandate was, which was very specific and we've seen from the cases brought and the ones he hasn't brought that he's kept close to the plandate. it was strilctly to look the foorussia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 election and whether the trump campaign coordinated that or had knowledge of the essentially. if it's this type of material that michael cohen is speaking about to prosecutors in new york, that's outside of mueller's madgedate. so that makes sense it's a conversation he would have with prosecutors here. it's the thing he needs do if he has a shot of knocking down three year oofz jail sentence. what he's going to serve, which is specifically lying to congress and having to do with the trump tower contract, he's not face issing any significant time for that. the significant time is for the crimes he committed in new york that have been prosecuted by prosecutors here.
so from that standpoint, he needs help them out more because they said he wasn't very cooperative, leading up to his sentencing back in november. if i was his attorney would say hay, giving the southern district anything you can in hopes you get some sort of cooperation or statement from the government saying hey, we'd like the knock down the sentence a little bit further because that's what he needs right now. >> and on the subsdwleekt idea that there's -- it's almost a back up venue potentially if there's a pardon of paul manafort. the prospects, how do you read those? >> we've heard there might be state charges pending coming down the pike. that would be immunized from the pardon. the president could not pardon him. i think the southern district of new york is really krulgsz. if that olc guidance issed a
hered to, i should note i don't think flirltsz tirely clear there will be a public report period under the regulations. it's not required it be made public. if that's not made public, then it has to be a political resolution and i think mr. cohen's testimony is really krulgsz. a crucial first step seeing the story here, hearing the narrative of one person's perspective of what it was like to be involved in the trump world and trump campaign and we have a five-year statute limitations. so efemr. trump gets a second term, he would escape that statute of lim taszs. for also for a second term of office are absolutely crucial. i think all eyes should be on the congress going forward. >> there's mueller, southern district. there's state charges too. that's what i was trying to get at in my own stupid, clumsey
way. you've got adam schiff, the lead investigator in the democratic side in the house. he's out with an op-ed calling on republicans to stand up publicly against trump. in terms of whatever is going to be coming in the next couple of weeks, what is it going to take for a shift? >> with respect to mr. schiff you speak to me in private and say how dirsz rbed you are but you don't talk about that in public and that doesn't correspond with my reading. he's been subject to quite a bit of criticism from his partedy, more so than is normal, which is demonstrative of how abnormal this presidency is. mr. schiff says republicans don't criticize, like how he goes after judges. they did criticize when he go
after the chief justice and when he went after his own justice party ahead of the election. they have been pretty critical of this president. if something damaging comes out of this report, i don't suspect they'll be inclined to keep quiet. they have a conscience and they'll act on it. >> don't you see there's more of a gulf than in other presidencies? >> no. there's impair toov refrain from excessively damaging the leader of their own party. that's essentially what happens with every party and political environment. but the fact this president is such a departure shows how they act in half a dozen other incidents. half a dozen other incidents where republicans were freely critical of this president. >> we're going to talk about this later on.
one of the factors in all of this interparty stuff. republican voters, what do they think and how do republican respond? have not budged for the last couple of years. thank you all for joining us. and coming up. house democrats are set to vote on a resolution to block that emergency declaration to get his border wall built. at least one republican is set to vote no. are there going to be others? >> they will be doing things. i think to -- very smart, sgraer negotiator. >> president trump's praise for kim jong-un has been refusive with the next summit days away, some are worried he's about to make big concessions in exchange for empty promises. ut myself. but believe me... i'm not your average consumer.
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welcome back to "hardball." 226 house democrats and one republican have signed on to a resolution to block president trump's national emergency declaration on the southern border. house speaker nancy pelosi says the house will vote tuesday. to terminate the emergency. the resolution already has enough support to pass the house. then the senate has 18 days to take up that legislation. four republicans would have to vote with democrats for the resolution to pass the senate. president trump was asked what he would do if that happens. >> will you effectively veto a resolution if the passes? >> on the wall? will i veto it? 100%. and i don't think it survive as veto. we have too many smart people who want border security.
>> that means he's need a super majority. >> let me be very clear.
the president's attitude is not going to cover i honor my oath of office to uphold the constitution of the united states. i wish he would have the same dedication to that oath of offices himself. but we will be fighting him on this yusurping power, violating the kaungszitution of the united states in the congress, in the courts and with the american people. this is a path i would not recommend he go down. >> and joined by daniel moody mills, and a former republican member of congress from norb. so there's sort of two tracks in terms of democrats trying to get this declaration revoked. we have the court filing in the
ninth district, trying to get the courts to cut this thing off. now you've got this resolution going through congress. realistically for democrats who want to stop this thing, are the courts the better bet? >> the courts are going to be the better bet. i think what's important is putting the resolution out there. it's forcing people to go on the record and say that they don't want this wall. i know that the purp os of this entire resolution is to get the senate to vote on it and get republicans on the record and i think it's important. but to end this battle, this wall, this fake emergency that trump has created, it's going to have to end in the courts and 16 states have filed lawsuits. aclu have filed a lawsuit. so it's heading there. >> the objection you hear is the precedent. if trump gets to declare a
emergency and move money around. we republicans may like that now but wait untail democratic president decides the green new deal is a national emergency, something like that. with that in mind, do you think there will be some republicans voting with democrats on this? >> i think very few. i think senator collins has expressed she might vote for that kind of resolution. the national emergencies act can be modified. it allows the president wide latitude on defining what's an emergency. it's basically the president's call. if the president were not to declare this an emergency and there are plenty of facts in his favor. we had over 1/4 million incarceration of illegal immigrants who committed serious crimes, including murder. we do have drugs pouring over
theboarder, upwards of 50,000 people trying to cross every month. it is a very important situation. but even if the president didn't do this, that would not prevent a democratic president in the future from declaring any of the national emergencies you just mentioned. >> sounds like you're saying they'll probably stick with it. if this resolution ultimately can't get through congress over trump's veto and then on the legal front, works its way through the court and gets to the supreme court level and you've got conservative majority there, if it doesn't work on any one of those tracks, where does that leave us? >> with the people. 60% of americans have said this is not an emergency. people who live at the border have said this is not an emergency. i've had people from different areas that are like where is the
emergency? we know areas are safer that have an inundocumented people we know statistically, first of all, research has shown us that 2016 is the lowest number of immigrants that have been in the country and it has been declining over time. the president himself said at the press conference. i dont need to do this. there are so many areas in which when it goes to the courts, if you're actually looking at the facts, the facts donot align with trump's desire and this wall is about his ego and cashing in on a campaign promise. if we were going to talk about a national emergency, we would talk about gun violence, the rise of hate crimes. >> that's the warning you hear from conservatives. >> modify the national emergencies act, which of course they should do. but in terms of the severity of
the situation, listen on the customs and border patrol including president obama's former chief of cvp who said we have a serious situation. we've had a rise in attempted entries in 2017 and 2018. of course the economy is booming and they want to come here and work. >> from the standpoint of a trump voter who feels what you're expressing right now. and okay. for two years republican president, republican senate, republican house, no wall. democrats get control of congresses and a government shutdown? it's like that sign feleinfeld they held out for less. if you're a republican voter and feels what you just feels, are you disappoint snd >> the disappointment lies primarily in the way in which the senate in particular held on to the filibuster in passing legislation.
because they needed 60 votes to pass lenl slagz on immigration and as been the case for decades, congress could not even with nominal republican majorities, so no, they did not get done and that is to be regretted. although that isn't the president's fault. the is now trying to act protect the country. the situation has become acute. we have a lot of drugs flowing in. they do flow across the southern border. there are drugs getting past ports of entree. but this is a serious situation. more than a quarter million incarcerations, 2017, 2018. and for serious crimes. >>iliti >> the serious situation is separation of families at the border. >> that was going on. it went on under obama
administration. >> so the crisis really is about giving the u.s. border patrol, giving more aid so that when people are actually crossing and going to the detention centers and jails that they're getting the care that they need and not dying in our custody. >> it seems to me the most likely outcome of course is legislatively, ultimately this is going to be grid locked. if it's going to land in a conservative court,ilities rar political question. >> democrats voted for $8 million in border wall funding it years ago. up next for the first time in american history a new federal election is going to be held for the validations of election fraud. what is going to happen next if the only undecided congressional race to be decided falloff 2019? stay with us. falloff 2019? stay wh itus
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and i want to say right now that we are in this fight and we eare going to win this fight. >> there you go. welcome back to "hardball." that's not a candidate announcing a 2020 campaign. that's announcing a campaign to settle the final remaining, undetermined, uncalled election of 2018. how the heck did we get in the situation? we have been talking for months about that big number? remember democrats got a net gain of 40 seats in the midterm elections. 40 house seats took back control of the chamber back in november. but now technically, actually, it could end up at 41. and why? because of what you just saw. the ninth district of numbernic. dan mccreedy, the democrat on election night fell 905 votes short.
appeared to against mark harris, the republican candidate. but there was no certification. all sorts of reports of irregularities appeared this week. it was like a scene out of an old "perry mason" episode. harris called for a surprise break after a surprise witness and said i've considered i want a new election. and they unanimously decided there will be a new election. so if mccreedy, the democrat is able to win this new election that's going to be held a commonths from now -- but it means democrats have posted a 41-seat net gain for the midterm elections in 2018. the question's going to be we know mccready's going to run again but who is going to be the republican candidate? at that hearing where his case
fell apart, he said i'm having some health issues. what he sited at that hearing, is that going to keep him out of the a seconds campaign? how was harris the nominee in the first place. last week he pulled off big upset. he knocked out a congressman. an incoumbent congressman. that's how harris became the nominee. guess what? he spoke up today. he said i might van interest in this race. so you might see former congressman pitinger get in this race. see if he gets the nomination now and run against dan mccreedy. each party's go having to to get a primary. we expect mccready to be the democratic candidate. it may not be until october. believe it or not, october that
you get an actual special election there determine who wins this seat. and then and only then would we be able to say all seats have been settles and then and only then will we be able to tell you what the number all of time will be what the democrats picked up. north carolina's ninth district. up next, donald trump has said he's a master deal maker and there's new reporting of some of the president's own advisors being worried about being out foxed against kim jong-un. was ahead of its time. still, we never stopped making it stronger. faster. smarter. because to be the best, is to never ever stop making it better. the new 2019 c-class family.
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for complete denuclearization. since then they've continued to improve their nuclear and ballistic missile program. president trump who said he was in no rush to denuclearize has touted the evolution of his friendship with kim. >> we got along really well. >> i have a fantastic relationship with chairman kim, as you probably know. >> kim jong-un said some terrific things about me. he said i have faith input. >> we're talking. he's calm, i'm calm. >> kim jong-un sent me a beautiful letter. we're going to go to war. now he's a friend of mine. >> i would like to thank chairman kim for his courage. >> we have a very good relationship. he likes me, i like him. we get along. >> president trump's budding friendship with the dictator has some of his own top aids worried he'll get out foxed. worried he'll get out foxed. whoa. this looks worse than i thought.
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pompeo otamping down expectations. despite his public assurances, a source tells politico that pompeo quote has expressed frustration about the lack of diplomatic progress and voices concern his boss will get out maneuvered. analyst to the cia and white house reporter for "politico." we start with that reporting. what exactly is pompeo afraid of when it comes to trump and his meeting? >> is that president trump is going to go into this meeting and feel the need to make some broad concessions he's not prepared to make and that many people inside his administration and u.s. allies don't want him to make. sansz sanzs release, a draw down of troops in south korea. he said basically everything is on the table. pompeo along with john bolton and several others are extremely concerned heading to the summit,
he wants more than a photo opand that -- >> i expect they're trying to deliver this message of careful what you agreed to here. what is your sense of the reporting of what you think is driving trump and therefore their concern about this? why does he so badly want a deal in their view? >> take a look at the coverage since the first summit. they came away with basically a verbal agreement, but north korea would work towards denuclearization and in the months since that summit, we've had both pompeo and bolton acknowledge denuclearization hasn't actually happened. they've not taken any serious steps towards that. and so now they're going into this summit with far lower expectations. they told our reporting today they want to define what denuclearization means. that is a far lower bar than was
set the first time around and that's why i think president trump is at risk of making concession because he wants a victory that's not a photo op. >> realistically speaking, what would a win for the united states look like coming out of this a week from now? >> we're not go having to a win because what we eneed is north korea showing they're really interested in denucleerization by giving osinventory of their missile and nuclear program. agree on a road map and a timeline. which they're not going to do. they'll say we'll continue halt on testing nukes and missiles and they'll maybe put a cap on their nuclear program and dismantle a missile facility they already agreed to. the problem is there was no agreement. there was this aspirational statement from the singapore summit. north korea, they're talking about south korea too.
they're talking about extend umbrella over south korea and our troops in south korea. when we're talking about nukes, we're obviously talking about nukes in north korea. we don't even have an agreed de definition on denuclearization? >> there a posnlt a definition might come out of this? >> i don't thing that's possible. they made it explicit what they mean. they mean u.s. troop presence in south korea, and umbrella. are we willing to scrap -- stop the alliance commitment we have with south korea? no, we don't. i don't even think that's really possible. some sort of a freeze deal that's going to come out and say this was a success because we have a freeze deal and they're not tsing. maybe there will be a peace declaration that the war is over and that's enough for a joint
statement and for president trump to say he's successful. >> what do you hear when it comes to the relationship between trump and kim jong-un? we show you all the things the presidents to the say about them. is that a strategic element on trump's part just in terms of in his mind trying to butter up kim jong-un or is there a sense of folks you talk to that there's a genuine affinity? >> it's probably a mix of both. the president has always emphasized the personal aspect of his relationship to foreign leaders. he gushed over kim jong-un, president trump xi in china. there's so many foreign leaders i get along with so well and that is going to lead to fantastic deal making and obviously we haven't seen that transpire. i think part of the reason we're having a second summit is because president trump is the one pushing for it. it hasn't been the nrbens.
it's been president trump for the most part wanting to sit down with kim jong-un again, wanting that photo oopportunity. wanting some type of victory, whether it's a paesz agreement, something he can play up just like he did with the return of u.s. troop remains. he pushed that for months saying this was a huge victory for the trump administration when there were constant reports north korea wasn't fulfilling any of the other broader parts of that agreement or whatever you want to call it. it's a chance to reestablish that relationship and no matter whether it's concrete or not, to at least say that he's improved ties with north korea. >> and all of this will be playing out next week. trump over there, michael cohen in front of that congressional committee. two things are going to be simultaneously. thank you both for being with
us. and you won't want to misthis. joy reed has an interview with kamala harris. you can catch that on "a.m. joy" this sunday 10:00 a.m. eastern. and up next the governor of maryland considering a 2020 challenge to the president in the republican prime ars. but something has to change. we'll tell you. we'll tell you i hear it in the background and she's watching too, saying [indistinct conversation]
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♪ so you can add another name to the potential list of challenges to president trump in his own party. gary hogan has been making moves that got people talking. and now he's making it clear that he at least wants his name in the 2020 mikts for now. he's in his second term for the governor of maryland. hogan is very popular there. he was reelected by double digits last fall. he doesn't want to out law abortion, refused to support trump in 2016 and now he tells the washington "examiner" that quote there are a lot of people approaching him to run against trump. kb i am listening to them, hogan says. he's too strong for republican voters to go up against now but quote i don't think things are
going to stay the way they are. when it comes to hogan or former massachusetts governor exploring a primary challenge to trump as well or anyone else thinking of taking on the president in the republican primaries, that is the question? is anything really going to change trump's standing with republican voters? his approval rating with republicans in gallop sits at 89%. 89%. those are the voters who will decide the republican nomination in 2020 and when you look back at presidents who had serious trouble with primary challenges in the past, they water lot lower than 89% with their own parties, plus trump's numbers are steady with republicans. think all of the dramatic turns, the various crisis, the blaring controversies that have defined his presidency and yet with republican voters trump's approval rating has barely budged. that will have to change for him to get in the race.
bill wells will need that to dmachg he has any chance of making any noise. and you can point to possible reasons it might change. what if the mueller report reveal something shocking. we have been asking this for three years now. remember the when the "access hollywood" top was going to turn off voters and maybe athey were going to vote third party. it's possible some were going to vote for hillary clinton. paul ryan even told republicans in congress when that tape broke, he said abandoned trum trump he's a sure loser. save yourselves. but 88% of republicans, after all of that, they still sided with trump. nothing change then, not much has changed since then and when it comes to it republican
voters, skepticism is that that bond is going to break. for anyone thinking of running against trump is going to have to consider. "all in" with cris hayes starts right now. tonight on "all in." >> i don't want to talk about it now. >> did paul manafort's pardon strategy just go. >> that's obviously what the is. and new questions for the man running mueller's investigation. erse rngts and breaking news from the "new york times." what we know about the new information michael cohen gave investigators about the trump family business. plus growing calls for the resignation of trump's labor secretary over his handling of an infamous sex abuse case. and