tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC February 23, 2019 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
white house at 4:00 p.m. manafort, let's play hardball. ♪ >> good evening. i'm steve kornacki in for krs 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 questions at the heart of the russia probe, including whether the special counsel considers manafort crucial to showing possible coordination between the trump campaign and russia. a judge last week ruled that he lied about contacts with kilminik. a business associate with ties to russian intelligence. in her ruling, the judge questioned manafort's loyalty to the united states saying, quote, this is a problematic attempt to shield his russian conspiracy
tore from liability and gives rise to legitimate questions about where his loyalties lie, specifically manafort lied about sharing internal campaign polling data with kilimnik in 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 may hope to be parted by the president. there's been reporting to show that a pardon has been considered since 2017, but trump was most direct about the possibility late last year, telling the new york post, quote, i wouldn't take it off the table. yet the president can only pardon federal crimes, not state offenses. now bloomberg is reporting that to ensure manafort isn't let off the hook, quote, new york
prosecutors have put together a criminal case against paul manafort that they could file quickly if the former chairman of donald trump's 2016 campaign receives a presidential pardon. >> i'm joined by nicholas christophe, columnist with the "new york times" and noah rothman. tom, let me start with you. we are waiting on this filing here. take us through what you're going to be looking for, what we might possibly be learning in the next couple minutes? >> i feel like this is becoming a friday tradition waiting for filings. what we anticipate tonight, and i think -- i don't know if it's going to differ much from what we saw last friday, which is where you have a recommendation from the department of probation, this is the range of how long paul manafort should 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 it's possible 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 part have redacted material or 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 here's all the things we didn't charge him with, but here's the things that were wrong. we could get that in the report tonight. we didn't see a lot of that in last week's filing, so it would be curious to see if we get it. but that's something that's on the table. >> and we put it in the intro. and the key question in this entire investigation, we've been asking all along, you have the whole situation with manafort, the campaign chairman, all these different connections to russia. the question of whether that adds up to evidence of some
kind of coordination, some kind of collusion, is it possible in this filing there will be some kind of indication of what mueller is or is not thinking there? i think what would be interesting to see is if there's more about this meeting with kilimnik. so it will be interesting to see if we hear more about that. was there anything improper or illegal that occurred in those series of meetings and communications? or was this just all about more business that paul manafort wanted to do in the ukraine? 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. this is not a guy that a lot of people were excited to do business with. he's somebody that didn't last until tend of the trump campaign. somebody that reporters,
including myself and colleagues wrote a lot about. i think he probably foresaw the need to do business elsewhere. ukraine is a place where he had a lot of success. was it all tied to that or was it tied to this internal polling data? was there more to it as far as the information that he shared with konstantin kilimnik and where did that information go? i don't think we're going to get it all tonight. but maybe some crumbs or additional information. that's possible. >> interesting question to me too, the polling data. is that what you put in the realm of clients trying to impress a client? or get to something more sinister? kim, let me bring you into this too. you have the judge saying basically manafort is putting himself in this position facing prison time because he's trying to shield a russian associate and raises the question everybody's asking, why would had he put himself in position to face what he's face to shield a russian associate?
>> a judge went on the record of maybe he forgot and it was difficult for him to misremember. she said, listen, this is a creation of a affirmative initiatives that defy the facts. she said that several times. there wasn't any ambiguity as to whether he was lying. not just lying because he made a mistake, but affirmatively lying. the russians have kompromat, 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. one other little wrinkle, though, the judge found with respect to the allegations of the special counsel that mr. manafort had lied about his communications or attempts to communicate with the white house. that was one piece she didn't believe the special counsel had
sufficient information for a -- an intentional lie. it's possible she left the door open to come back on that particular issue, 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 saw this incredible business opportunity 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 sure looks suspicious. it's hard to know exactly how he connected those dots, but those dots are all over. august 2nd, 2016 meeting that manafort had a dinner meeting with kilimnik. he flew all the way to new york
for this meeting. they left by separate entrances. this was where they discussed the ukraine deal that russia very much wanted to get out of the ukraine 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 really at the center and i don't know whether the sentencing memo is going to connect those dots for us. but 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 potential conclusion of mueller's investigation. nbc news is now reporting that the department of justice is not
expecting to receive the report from mueller by the end of next week. nevertheless, president trump was asked today whether he's discussed the upcoming report with his new attorney general. >> have you spoken to bill barr about the release of the report? >> i have not. >> do you expect to? >> at some point i guess i'll be talking about it. but, you know, the nice part? 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 an honest report, it won't. >> i'm curious -- we've all been watching for a couple years now kind of building towards this moment. what mueller going to find? there's a question of what we'll get to see. but where are your expectations? >> my expectations are this isn't going to end with mueller's report, whatever he finds. mr. cohen is now speaking to the southern district, talking about the potentially shady deal. before the 2016 campaign.
i suspect that we're probably not going to get the definitive conclusion that everybody wants to have. he will say there was a conspiracy to defraud the government and work with russian officials. manafort's conclusion of his trial here, his sentencing memo was is going to be illuminating 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 just going to be an ancillary figure. it can be damaging for him but he just might be a big player. >> 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. is it possible that we're going to -- that's going to be the upshot of what happens here with mueller? >> it certainly is going to be complicated with trump off in vietnam trying to deal with north korea on the one hand as things are unfolding next week. i wonder indeed if the focus isn't going to shift near southern district of new york and investigations of the trump administration finances, of the family, and that's going to be another whole complicating layer on top of everything we've been talking about. the fact that michael cohen was talking about evidence that he had to offer in the southern district. i would be deeply concerned if i were in the white house with that aspect as well. >> on the subject of michael cohen, the former fixer is the term we always use, expected to testify next week in front of three different congressional committees, one of which on
wednesday will be in an open public hearing. this comes as "the new york times" reports that cohen spoke last month with federal prosecutors in new york, quote, offering information about possible irregularities within the family business and a donor to the inaugural committee according to the "times." that included a discussion about insurance claims, the company filed over the years, though there was no indication cohen implicated the president in any of those irregularities. you have mueller, the lead guy too, talk to cohen presumably about anything he wanted. if mueller didn't take something 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 cases brought and the ones he hasn't brought that he's kept close to the mandate so far. what was that mandate? strictly to look into russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 election and whether or not the
trump campaign coordinated any of that or whether or not they had knowledge of it, essentially. so i think if it's this type of material that michael cohen is speaking about to prosecutors here in new york that's outside of mueller's mandate, it makes perfect sense that's a discussion he would have with prosecutors here. frankly, it's the thing he needs to do if he has a shot of knocking down three years of a jail sentence. what he's going to serve as far as his sentence tied to the special counsel, which is specifically lying to congress and having to do with the trump tower project, he's really not facing any significant time for that. the significant time is for the crimes that he committed in new york that have been prosecuted by prosecutors here. so from that standpoint, he really needs to help them out because they said he wasn't cooperative with them leading up to his sentencing back in december. so i think for him, it's really important, if i was his attorney, his priority would be
to give southern district everything you can in hopes you can get a post-conviction, some sort of a cooperation or statement from the government saying, hey, we'd like to knock down this sentence further because that's what he needs right now. >> the idea that it's almost a backup venue potentially if there's a pardon of paul manafort from the president at some point, the prospects of a presidential pardon for manafort, how do you read those? >> we've heard there might be state charges ending up that are coming down the pike. that would be immuneized from a pardon. but i think this the southern district is crucial here. if we can indict a sitting president, if that olc guidance is adhered to, i don't think it's entirely clear there will be a public report, period, under the regulations, even if it's produced, it's not required that it be made public. if that's not made public, then the question has to be a political resolution, and for a
political resolution, i think mr. cohen's testimony is a crucial first step in the american public seeing the story, hearing the narrative from one person's perspective of what it was like being involved in trump world and the trump campaign. we have a five-year statute of limitations under the federal law, if mr. trump gets a second term, he would escape thstatutef limitations. also for a second term of office are absolutely curable. all eyes should be on the congress going forward. >> i said southern district. there's mueller, the southern district, state charges too. that's what i was trying to get in my own clumsy, stupid way. in terms of the political fallout, you have adam schiff who's the lead investigator in the democratic side in the house. he's basically out calling on republicans to stand up publicly against trump. in terms of what we can expect from a mueller report
potentially from these filings, whatever is coming in the next couple weeks, what is it going to take? what would it take do you think to see a shift in how republicans are publicly approaching this president? >> it would have to be something of a bohm shell, with respect to mr. schiff, he says you speak to me in private and you say how disturbed you are, but you don't talk about in public. frankly, that doesn't correspond with my reading of events. this president was subject to quite a bit of criticism from the members of his party, more than the leader of his proprietary. republicans did criticize him when he attacked chief justice of the supreme court. they did criticize him when he went after his own justice department for diagnostic two members of his party ahead of time elections. they have been critical of this president, so it's not like there's no precedent set. if something damages come out of this report i don't suspect republicans to keep quite about
it. they have acted on it. >> don't you think there's more of a gulf now between what republicans say publicly about this president more so than that gulf and other presidencies? >> there's an imperative from damaging the leader of their own party. that happens with every political environment. but the fact that this president is such a departure has been demonstrated in how republicans reacted to charlottesville. have a dozen incidents were republicans were freely critical of this president. >> we're going to talk about this a little bit later on. one of the factors here in all this intraparty stuff with republicans is republican voters, what do they think about trump because those numbers have not budged. thank you all for joining us.
coming up, house democrats are set to vote on a resolution to block that national emergency declaration that president trump gave to get his border wall built. at least one republican is set to vote no on the emergency. are there going to be others? also -- >> they will be doing things and i think he wants to do things. i think he wants to -- you'd be very surprised. very smart, very good negotiator. >> president trump praise for kim jong-un. some trump aides are worried he's about to make big concessions in exchange for empty promises. more after the break. stay with us. ises more after the break stay with us [cell phone rings] where are you? well the squirrels are back in the attic. mom? your dad won't call an exterminator... can i call you back, mom? he says it's personal this time... if you're a mom, you call at the worst time. it's what you do.
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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. on resolution improved by joaquin castro 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. today president trump was asked what he would do if that happens. >> >> on the wall? >> yes. >> 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 he means he would need a
super majority. visiting the border today, speakers pelosi responded to that veto threat. >> let me be very clear. the president's attitude is not going to color whether i honor my oath of office to uphold the institution of the united states. i wish he would have the same dedication to that oath of office himself. but we will be fighting him on this usurping of power, violating the constitution 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. >> i'm joined now by danielle moodie-mills, radio host for sirius xm and in an hayworth from new york. so there's sort of two tracks in terms of democrats trying to get this declaration revoked. we have the court filing in the 9th district, bunch of state
attorneys general trying to get the courts to cut this thing off. now you've got this resolution going through congress. we just talked about the hurdles it's got there. realistically for democrats who want to stop this thing, are the courts the better bet? . >> yeah. the courts are going to be the better bet because i think what's important that the democrats are doing right now is putting this resolution out there, is forcing people to go on the record and say that they don't want this wall. i know that the purpose of the entire resolution is to get the senate to vote on it, to get republicans on the record, and i think that 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. 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 'til a democratic president decides the green new deal is a national emergency, something like that. with that in mind, do you anticipate there will be some republicans voting with the democrats on this? >> i think very few. i think senator collins has expressed she might vote for that kind of resolution. essentially it's congress' job. the national emergencies act can be modified as it stabbing now, the national emergencies act 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 incarcerations of 2017 and 2018 of illegal immigrants who have committed series crimes, including murder. we do have drugs pouring over the boarder. we do have upwards of 50,000 people attempting to cross the southern border 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. that creates this situation here. if this resolution ultimately can't get through congress over trump's veto, if you don't get a two-thirds super majority, that would require a bunch of republicans. if it doesn't work on those tracks, where does that leave us? >> with the people. 60% of americans have said this is not an emergency. people that live at the border have said this is not an emergency. i've had people cowl call in from el paso, where is the emergency? that we know areas are safer
that have had an influx of undocumented people. we know that statistical, first of all, pew 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, you know, i don't 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 do not align with trump's desire, and this wall is about his ego and cashing in on a campaign promise. it's not about an actual emergency because if we were going to talk about a national emergency, we would talk about gun violence, the rise of hate crimes >> now you're getting -- that's the warning -- a democratic -- >> modify the national emergencies act, which of course they should do. that is congress' job. but in terms of the severity of the situation, listen to 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. a lot of that may relate to the economy, in fact, because, of course, the economy is booming and people want to come here to work. >> from the standpoint of a trump voter who feels what you're expressing right now. heard him in the campaign say they wanted wall. for two years republican president, republican senate, republican house, no wall. >> right. >> democrats get control of congress, and then you get a government shutdown. it's like that seinfeld episode. if you're a republican voter and feels what you just feels, are you disappointed? the disappointed plies primarily
in the way in which the senate particular held on to the filibuster in passing legislation. because they needed 60 votes to pass legislation 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 president is now trying to act and protect the country. the situation has become acute. we have a lot of drugs flowing into the country. they do flow across the southern border. there are drugs getting past ports of entry. but this is a serious situation. more than a quarter million incarcerations, 2017, 2018. and for serious crimes. >> it's a serious situation that trump has created is the separation of families at the border. >> that's not something that the president created, danielle. >> he did create it.
he's exacerbate operatd the sit. 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 that upholds it, it's going to be a political question. >> democrats voted for $8 million in border wall funding years ago. danielle moodie-mills, thank you both for joining us. up next for the first time in american history a new federal election is going to be held because of allegations of election fraud. what is going to happen next if the only undecided congressional race from 2018 to be decided, i don't know, fall of 2019? stay with us. as someone in witness protection,
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and i want to say right now that we are in this fight and we are going to win this fight. >> there you go. welcome back to "hardball." that's not a candidate announcing a 2020 campaign. that's a candidate 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, 40. 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. that was a big deal for them to get 40, but now technically, actually, it could end up at 41. and why? because of what you just saw. the 9th district of north carolina. we've been talking about it all week. dan mccready, the democrat on election night fell 905 votes short. against mark harris, the republican candidate.
but there was no certification. all sorts of reports of irregularities involving absent ballots emerged this week. it was like a scene out of an old "perry mason" episode. harris called for a surprise break after a surprise witness came in and said i've reconsidered, there should be a new election. and the board unanimously voted there will now be a new election. and so this is a republican going into 2018, republican-held seat. if mccready is able to win this new election, it's going to be held a couple months from now, maybe into october, in fact. but if mccready wins, 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? is her husband going to run again? at that hearing where his case fell apart, one of the things he cited at that hearing, he said i'm having some health issues.
what he cited at that hearing, is that going to keep him out of a second campaign here? very possible. here's a name to keep in mind here. how was harris the nominee in the first place. last week he pulled off big upset. he knocked out a congressman. bob pitten engineer an incumbent congressman. that's how harris became the nominee. harris doesn't run again, guess what, pitten jer spoke up today. so you might see former congressman bob pitten jer get in this race. see if he gets the nomination now and run against dan mccready. each party's go having to to get a primary. we expect mccready to be the democratic candidate. we'll see who emerges as the republican candidate here. it may not be, though, until october. believe it or not, october that you get an actual special
election here to determine who wins this seat. and then and only then would we be able to say from every election all seats have been settled and then and only then will we be able to tell you what the number of all time will be of what democrats picked up in the 2018 election. north carolina's 9th district, the gift to keep on giving to political reporters. up next, donald trump said he is a master deal maker, and there's no reporting of the advisers being worried he might get outfoxed next week by kim jong-un. that's straight ahead. d.our fam, coke, dr pepper and pepsi hear you. we're working together to do just that. bringing you more great tasting beverages with less sugar or no sugar at all. smaller portion sizes, clear calorie labels and reminders to think balance. because we know mom wants what's best. more beverage choices, smaller portions, less sugar.
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continued to improve its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. president trump who told reporters last week that he was in no particular rush to denuclearize has touted the evolution of this friendship with kim. take a look. >> we got along really well. we have a great chemistry. >> i have a fantastic relationship with chairman kim. >> kim jong-un said some terrific things about me. he said i have faith in president trump. >> 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, virtually. >> 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. >> but president trump's budding friendship with the dictator has some of his own top aides worried he'll get outfoxed next week. that's coming up. stay with us. stay with us it's absolute confidence
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jong-un in hanoi. despite his public assurances, a source tells politico that pompeo, quote, has expressed frustration with allies about the lack of diplomatic progress and voices his concern that his boss will get outmaneuvered. i'm joined by gabby orr, white house report for politico. we start with that reporting. what exactly is pompeo afraid of when it comes to trump and his meeting? >> president trump is going to go into this meeting and feel the need to make broad concession that he's not prepared to make and many people inside his administration and u.s. allies don't want him to make. that could be sanctions relief, a drawing out of troops in south korea. he told reporters earlier at the white house that basically everything is on the table. and pompeo along with john bolton, the national security adviser and others are extremely concerned heading into this summit president trump wants more than just a photo op this
time around and that could lead him to essentially be outmaneuvered kim jong-un what is your sense through reporting of what they think is driving trump and therefore driving their concern about this? why does he so badly want a deal? >> take a look at the coverage that still resulted since the last time he met with kim jong-un since that first summit. they came away with basically a verbal agreement that north korea would work toward denuclearization, and in the months since that summit happened, we have both pompeo and john bolton acknowledge that denuclearization hasn't actually happened. they haven't taken any serious steps toward that. now they're going in with lower expectations, essentially they told politico in our reporting today that they want to define what denuclearization means. that is a far lower bar than was set the first time around, and i think that's why he's making a
concession because he wants to have some type of victory that's not just a photo op. >> for folks watching this play out, realistically speaking, what would a win for the united states look like kmoufgtsds a week from now? >> we're not going to have a win because what we need is north korea showing that they are really interested in denuclearization by giving us an inventory, a declaration of their nuclear and missile program, agree on a road map and a time line, which they're not going to do. what they're going to go is say, okay, we'll continue, halt the testing of nukes and missiles, and then that'll maybe put a cap on their nuclear program and maybe they will dismantle a facility they already agreed to. throne have a definition of denuclearization. north korea is talking about south korea too and u.s. extended nuclear umbrella we
have other south korea is our troops in south korea. when we are talking about nukes, we're talking about denuclearization of north korea's program. this is insane. after singapore we don't even have an agreed definition. >> definition of nuclear independence. >> is it possible that could come out of this? >> well, i don't even think that's really possible, because north korea made it very explicit in their editorial by what they mean by denuclearization. they mean u.s. troop presence in south korea, they mean u.s. extended nuclear umbrella we have over south korea. so are we willing to withdraw troops? are we willing to scrap -- stop the alliance commitment that we have with south korea? no, we don't. so i don't even think that's really possible. some sort of a freeze deal that still president trump is going to come out and say, this is a success, because we have a freeze deal, they're not testing, maybe there will be a peace declaration, which is a political statement that the war is over, and that's enough, or a joint statement for president trump to say he's been
successful. >> gabby, what do you hear when it comes to the relationship between trump and kim jong-un? we show you in public all of those sort of positive, effusive things the president has to say about him? what's the sense from your reporting? is that a strategic element on trump's part, just in terms of in his mind, you know, trying to butter up kim jong-un, or is there a sense in the administration, is there a sense in the folks you talk to that there's a genuine affinity there? >> it's probably a mix of both. the president has always emphasized the personal aspect of his relationships with foreign leaders. he's gushed over kim jong-un, he's gushed over president xi in china. there's so many different foreign leaders who he has said, you know, 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 do think that part of the reason we're even having a second summit is because president trump is the one who's been pushing for it. it hasn't been the north koreans. it's been president trump, for the most part, wanting to sit
down with kim jong-un again, wanting to have that photo opportunity, wanting to come back with some type of victory, whether it's, you know, a peace agreement, something that he can play up, just like he did with the return of u.s. troop remains, he pushed that for months after the singapore summit, saying that this was a huge victory for the trump administration, when there were constant reports that north korea wasn't fulfilling any of the other broader parts of that verbal agreement or whatever you want to call it from the spro singapore summit. so i think this is, in his mind, an opportunity for him to reconvene with kim jong-un, sort of reestablish that firm relationship. and no matter what comes out of it, whether it's concrete or not, to at least say he's improved ties with north korea. >> and of course, for the domestic audience here, all of this will be playing out next week, trump over there, michael cohen in front of that congressional committee getting public testimony. two things thereby simultaneously. thank you both for being with us. and you won't want to miss this.
joy reid heading out to iowa this weekend. she's got an interview with kamala harris, democratic candidate for president. you can catch that on "a.m. joy," this sunday, 10:00 a.m. eastern. and up next, the governor of maryland. republican larry hogan, he's considering a 2020 challenge to the president in the republican primaries, but before he does something, he says -- that something has to change. we'll tell you what that is, next. next this is not a bed.
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you can add another name to the list of potential challengers to donald trump from within his own party. larry hogan, the governor of maryland has been making moves for the past year that have gotten people talking and now he's speaking out, making it clear that he at least wants his name in the 2020 mix for now. hogan is in his second term as the governor in maryland. maryland a very blue state, but hogan is very popular there. he was re-elected by double digits last fall. he calls himself a moderate conservative. he doesn't want to outlaw abortion. he 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. i am listening to them, hogan says. there are some pretty good arguments. it's not a declaration of candidacy, at least not yet. hogan says trump is too strong with republican voters to go up against now, but, quote, i don't think things are going to stay the way they are. and when it comes to hogan and
when it comes to former massachusetts governor bill weld, who's exploring a primary challenge to trump now, as well, or when it comes to 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 right now with republicans in gallup sits at 89%. 89%. those are the voters who will decide the republican nomination in 2020. and when you look back at presidents who have had serious problems with primary challenges in the past, they were a lot lower than 89% with their own parties. plus, trump's numbers are steady with republicans. think of all the dramatic turns, the various crises, the blaring controversies that have defined his presidency so far. and yet, with republican voters, trump's approval rating has barely budged. larry hogan says that will have to change for him to get in the race. bill weld will need that to change if he's going to have any chance of making any noise.
and you can point to all sorts of possible reasons it might change. the big one, obviously, what if the mueller report reveals something new or something shocking? but take a step back, because we have been asking this about republican voters for three years now. remember when the "access hollywood" tape was going to turn off a huge chunk of republican voters, just weeks before the election? the they were going to stay home and not vote. maybe they were going to vote third party. it's even some of them were going to hold their noses and vote for hillary clinton. paul ryan even told republicans in congress when that "access hollywood" tape broke, he said, abandon trump! he's a sure loser. save yourselves. but on election day 2016, 88% of republicans, after all of that, they still sided with trump. nothing changed then, after that tape, not much has changed since then. and when it comes to the bond between donald trump and republican voters, skepticism is probably a good idea when it comes to any prediction that that bond is about to break.
something maybe for larry hogan, for bill weld, for john kasich, for anyone thinking of running against trump in those primaries is going to have to consider. that's "hardball" for now. thank you for being with us. a"all in with chris hayes" stars right now. tonight on "all in." >> i don't want to talk about it now. >> did paul manafort's pardon strategy just go poof? >> that's what i said -- that's obviously what our position is. >> tonight, reports that new charges are coming for the man who ran trump's campaign, as we await the last major court filing in mueller's manafort case. then, breaking news from "the new york times". >> the man doesn't tell the truth. >> 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. >> that seems like a long time ago. and democrats start their push to terminate the president's