tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC February 27, 2019 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
district of new york. >> you heard it. one who served the uther for ten years, that interaction now is under federal criminal investigation. thought you'd want to know. that is our show. wale rr be back tomorrow, 6:00 p.m. eastern and i'll be back as a guest on "hardball." which starts right now. crimes and allegations. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm steve curnackkornacki in fo matthews. michael cohen unloaded on his former boss with a series of revelations and allegations in his first and only public testimony, the former trump insider painted a devastating portrait of fraud, deceit and greed. he implicated the president in a
scheme to buy the silence of stormy daniels. provides copies of two checks used to reimburse him. one was co signed by donald trump jr. and the cfo of the trump organization. the other was signed by trump himself, months after he'd already become president. here's cohen on those revelations today. >> the president of the united states this wrote a personal check for the payment of hush money as part of a criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws. >> based on your conversations with him, there any doubt in your mind that president trump knew exactly what he was paying for? >> there is no doubt in my mind. >> cohen said that president told him to lie about those payments and he testified that the president had advanced
knowledge that julian assange of wikileaks would release those emails. >> a lot of people asked me about whether or not mr. trump knew about the release of the release of the democratic national committee email ahead of time and the answer is yes. mr. stone told mr. trump that he'd just got off the phone with mr. assange and he told mr. stone within a couple of days there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage hillary clinton's campaign. mr. trump responded by stating to the effect wouldn't that be great. >> if verified, cohen's account would directly contradict the president who told the "new york times" last month that he never disus canned wickey leakkileaks
roger stone. more significant however is that cohen's account could contradict sworn testimony submitted to prosecutors last november. according to cnn, he told special counsel in writing he did not know about wikileaks. he did not know if the president collaborated with russia. >> would he have the potential to curooperate to win the presidency at all cost? >> yes. mr. trump 's desire to win would have him work with anyone. >> joining me now is democratic congresswoman of new york. our chief legal correspondent
and host of "the beat." ice and a former federal prosecutor. a lot of different pieces to this. but it seems the most clear and direct thing that's immerged before your commit a today certainly is this issue of the pay off, the iegtsissue of camp finance. trump's signature being on one of the checks. one of your colleagues swalwell said when it came to an impeachment, he didn't think that would be the basis because people would think that was private matter in terms of trump having an affair. do you think an impeachment case could be built around that revelation? >> i tell you so many pieces were put forward. i want to wait until the mueller
report reports back. someone close thoos president for ten years who's counsel is calling him a racist conman and a cheat and coming without specificb allegations, not only an a campaign finance violation but an ethics form violation that he filed official financial disclosure forms and left off the debt he owed to cohen right before the election, trying to pay off to help him through the election. it's my wife or whatever. it was an election offence and information on possible fraud. insurance fraud. other allegations of really knowing everything that happened.
he testified that the president knew everything that happened in the campaign was significant and everything in the trimped a mun stragz. any of these meetings that he was denying he knew anything about, cohen toufed he clearly knew before oand after each event. >> in terms of the campaign finance question, always looking for this question of whether there's a precedent. you had the issue with bill clinton 20 years ago. perjury to cover up a politically embarrassing affair. the other one is to cover up. the distinction is campaign finance. >> when you drill to that issue, which is one of several you pointed out in your lead, number one bill clinton/ken starr
precedent is not often thought of a great example, albeit serious to many people for mini ways presideand there is a case john edwards was not convicted because the jury decided however despicable, it didn't seem like that should be counted as a campaign expense. so i'm not sure the people feel it leads to a high crime. my question is how many other thijs came up in the congress and mueller are digging into that might be even bigger? >> cohen said trump noeever overtly told him to lie to congress, but that he made clear. >> at the same time i was actively negotiating in russia for him, he would look me in the eye and tell me there's no
russian business and then go on to lie to the american people by saying the same thing. in his way he was tell me to lie. he doesn't give you questions, ehe doesn't give you orders. he speaks in a code and i understand the code because i've been around flim a decade. >> and it's your impression that others who work for him understand the code as well? >> most people, yes. >> from a legal standpoint, where does that leave things? you have michael cohen saying he didn't order me to lie but basically there's a code there. i believe he wanted me to lie. but there's no apparently direct evidence that trump had asked for that. legally where would that leave things? >> it would depend on what you do to convince the jury or members of congress. i thought on this point he was
particularly persuasive that trump had a nanner in which he essentially suborned perjury. and he was particularly articulate on that point. he was really credible on this point and the republicans kept going after you're a liar. you're a liar. he really absorbed it and really put it back at them in a way that was very effective. he was humble. and on this point i think he convunsed most people that the president would tell hum what to do in this exact manner. >> i notice this wassall most a theme that came up. he described saying he thinks he witnessed a moment where donald trump jr. whisperred to donald trump about the june 2016 trump tower meeting. he assumes that's what the is,
but ehe didn't see any direct evidence, never witnessed any direct collusion. in term oz of creating the impression a credible impression, verses proving the case legally, what's the next step? >> you prove it by all the little details you can get. i thought business of going behind the desk and thinking he knew exact lawhat that was. that was maybe the weakest part of his testimony unmy mind. when the president was suborn perjury on this or how he wanted to answer on the stormy dan iel was very effective. >> trump, did he in some way tell michael eocon to lie? cohen has talked to mueller's team. he's facing prison a couple weeks from now. are these questions that the
prosecutors in new york have answers to already? >> almost certainly. and really near the end of the day when he was asked about his final interaction, he said it's under criminal investigation in new york. and steve, as you know, we've been following this closely when you think all of the other people, none of them have testified under oath unpublic. so cohen is just one among many. in federal investigations it's usually a higher bar. so you can bet that basically mueller and the new york feds are cross referencing all this stuff. they're not going to hang every sing single case on michael cohen. the code goes all the way back to where you started your broadcast tonight, which is one of the most ominous things
michael cohen did today was outline his eye witness accounts of what he says was roger stone telling donald trump over the phone and donald trump publicly disputing that, publicly laying out the truth or a cover story. i say it's a cover story because bob mueller's already indicted him. and if stone and trump were basically talking to each other through tv interviews and other ways that michael cohen says is all about luning upsteries and getting the code communicated without actually the saying go live for me to the authorities, that's something mueller is going to zero oin on. and the question i wond wither that we can't answer is did donald trump's lawyers know eallf this when they let him
write those written interrogatories? or did he think he can out smart anyone. >> i saw your show a few minutes ago. you set that up as putngsally the most explosive thing that could be revealed. mueller would know that right now. >> mueller would have the evidence on that right now. mueller is charging something similar against stone. what's new tonight. the big blinking light is michael cohen saying under oath that one of those officials was then candidate, donald trump himself. and something that's going to get played a ton more and our colleagues are going to be getting into it, had can is roger stone came out in public and made this odd remark that he knew donald trump's secret
interrogatories also denied they discussed wikileaks. at least potentially f you believe the michaelo cohen account under oath, they both knew they talked about it and they both lied about it. mueller does have potentially new crime against donald trump. and if you were watching the show, we have mueller's former chief of staff and if he has that, that's not going to get buried. >> congressman in d.c. coming up next, cohen's bomb shell allegations about president trump's character. >> and he told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid. >> and the unbelievable political theater from one republican on the committee defending the president. that is straight ahead. stay with us. ♪ city that i lo ♪ don't fence me in.
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i am ashamed that i chose to take part in consealing mr. trump's illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience. i am ashamed because i know what mr. trump is. he is a racist. he is a con man and he is a cheat. >> welcome back to "hardball." michael cohen painted an unflattering portrait of the man he worked for, for nearly a deng aide. >> mr. trump is a racist. in private he is even worse. he once asked me if i could name a country run by ea black person that wasn't [ bleep] this was when barack obama was president of the united states.
and when we were going through a struggling neighborhood in chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way. >> republicans and democrats trading attacks. >> there is an ajndgenda for alf this happening here today. and i think frankthry is to bring the president down. >> today for the first day we have one witness who voluntarily is coming forward to testify. your side ran away from the truth and we're trueing to bring it to the american people. >> and for more i'm joined by the man you just saw in that clip there. from massachusetts. and commentary magazine associate editor. congressman, you heard this from your republican colleagues over and over today on that committee, the idea that michael
cohen lied to congress before, that he worked for donald trump by his own admission, done all sorts of seedy things in the employ of donald trump. i'm just curious. listening to him today, it did you find him believable on all fronts? and what do you think motivated him to voluntarily come back? >> when we first noticed the hearing, we thought it would be a tough day for michael cohen. obviously i knew that republicans would attack his credibility. but all said and done, i think he dade very good job representing himself. i thought his opening statement, he took full responsebability. high asked for forgiveness and apologized to the american people. i think he went a fair way to hold his own in very tough
circumstances. >> were there any answers, any allegations, claims he made where you have questions about his verasty, truthfulness or did you find his testimony entirely credible? >> i think he was very measured. there were a couple of times where my democratic colleagues were trying to get him to say things about collusion or other comments regarding the president and he said no, i can't say that. so he was very thoughtful. i thought that gave him more credibility, that he wasn't all out trying to sneer president, he was just trying to deliver the facts. >> there were moments when cohen sort of stub up for trump. a couple of allegation run by and he said eno, he wouldn't treat the first lady that way.
the dossier. so there were some areas where people could -- what did you make of his testimony? >> for the most part anything with the dossier was he explicit about he had nothing to do with it. the character attacks on the president i think are pretty valid. i think you're just tuning in and you didn't know the president was man of low moral fiber. the notion that this is not dedicated entirely to self interest was the trade, i think, in a lot of a ways what are he stuck up in. said i was the man who pretty much launched his campaign. and he said a lot of racist things. perhaps he's not aware the 2011
campaign was based on barack obama was not a citizen of this country. >> what was he trying to do? >> ingragsiate himself with the trump left and he's been singing the sermons to the hilt since he found out he has to tell prosecutors everything he knows to avoid an extraordinary sentence for his misconduct. anyone who wunts to tell you everything you to hear at every turn should give concern. >> he wants to hear this and he gave them the testimony they wanted to hear. >> i think michael cohen made a very compelling case that he came there to congress to tell the truth too, redeem himself. to make good his name again or try. to try and makeup his crimes to the american people.
he actually has no self interest to lie to congress. that could lead to more jail time. and i think that we do need to hold open the possibility for redemption, which in this case is backed up by evidence. we know trump is racist. there's other evidence obviously that suggests there is great truth behind his claim. i think the problem for president is no one knows president like michael cohen, his personal lawyer and fixer for ten years. to hear michael cohen talk about being mesmerized, that was his word, by donald trump and being around donald trump is a sad commentary on where too men a americans are right now themselves. j to watch their representatives in congress file do their duty that they are sworn into when
they take that office, that oath of office a sad day for amare acan. but i actually think this is a moment we're going to be telling our children about. >> and north carolina republican brought in lin patten, a former stanley party planner, urban development department employee. take a look at that exchange. >> i asked lin to come today in her personal capacity. you made very demeaning comments about the president that ms. patent doesn't agree with. she says as a man born in birmingham, alabama that she would work for an individual who's racist. >> as neither should i as the son of a holocaust survivor. >> and several took umbridge
with that. >> one member of our entire race of black people and say that nullifies that is totally insulting. >> would you agree someone could deny reptal units, lead the birther movement, renoor -- [ bleep] country and refer to white supremacists as fond people have a black friend and still be racist? >> yes. >> i agree. >> she made this comment. >> just to make a note, just because someone has a personal color does not mean they are racist and it is insensitive that someone -- the fact that someone would actually use a prop a black woman in this chamber, in this committee is
alone racist in itself. >> i'm curious. that tactic from mark meadows got a lot of attention. >> it seems like the was falling flat and he knew it. a very animated series of questions about something entirely unrelated. i think he red the room approp reerately that it wasn't really working for him. >> when he took more umbridge at being called a racist than he did at the actual impact of the racism since apparently several years ago when he is on camera essentially endorsing the birther movement. i think the reality is to hear people tack about donald trump's racism and donald trump talking about how black people are too st stupid to vote for him is ironic because they're some of the most
out spoken americans to recognize donald trump for exactly who he is. >> and threatened to eclipse the high stakes summit. more on that dramatic split screen when we return. matic spl screen when we return. after months of wearing only a tiger costume, we're finally going on the trip i've been promising. because with expedia, i saved when i added a hotel to our flight. ♪ so even when she outgrows her costume, we'll never outgrow the memory of our adventure together. unlock savings when you add select hotels to your existing trip. only when you book with expedia. just as important as what you get out of it? our broccoli cheddar is made with aged melted cheddar, simmered broccoli, and no artificial flavors. enjoy 100% clean soup today.
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president trump's first bilateral meeting with kim jong-un is scheduled to begin 9:00 a.m. local time in vietnam. but the summit is threatening to be eclipsed by michael cohen's testimony. an administration official called the president 100% dialled in for his meeting with kim. but after their first big photo op, cohen was on the president's mind. michael keyen was one of many lawyers who represented me. he is lying in order to reduce his prison time. i'm joined by white house correspondent for pbs and politics editor for "the daily beast." you're standing in front of the white house. any indications beyond that trump tweet this morning about what kind of reaction from the president himself or those most
cla closely around him. . >> reporter: you have the president wanting that to be thesenter of attention but really the center of attention was washington d.c. only a few people were left in the communications team. but calling michael ecohen a liar and i've been texting with personal lawyers and they say he shouldn't be believed. >> what are you expecting? the official word 100% dialled in on high staked meeting. is this something he's going oog have to be uncharacterestically quiet about until he's back here? >> who knows. i think the idea he's 100% dialled in is absurd.
his twitter feed obviously contradicts that fact. one of his things is he tries to do things on the fly. he trusts his gut. so that is his negotiating tactic. tltsz that's what he's done in past meetings with kim and makes it a little bit disconcerning that what's proceeding this is six hours of testimony that can't weighing well on his brain. >> michael cohen made reference to the pending summit in vietnam. he testified about president trump deferments of the vietnam draft. >> mr. trump asked me to handle the negative press surrounding his medical deferment from the vietnam draft. mr. trump claimed it was because of a bone spur, but when i asked
for medical records, he said there was no surgery. he finished the conversation following comments. do you think i'm stupid? i'm not going to vietnam. and i find it ironic, mr. president, that you are in vietnam right now. >> show that line, that littlex tru line he adds right there. there were all of the specific legal issues and questions he spoke to and that will arrive from his testimony. but this also looked like a guy at a moment like that wanted to hit trump where it hurt. >> he's a man of immense privilege who was able to use that to get ahead in life and of the ways was getting out of the vietnam war. and part of the job of being president -- it's not ironic. just paints a picture of someone
useing all the advantages he was given, often potentially criminal. >> there's the question here of the mueller investigation. if and when we're going to get a report on that, you have cohen in the southern district of new york and maybe there's more going on there than we realize. there a sense in the white house a particular area they're most concerns? is it mueller, the southern district, something else? >> the television screens on almost every television in the white house were blasting live, michael cohen talk about all of these issues. what are the criminal implications of michael cohen's testimony? i can tell you the white house as well as people around president trump rb even if they don't admit it have to be worried about the roger stone and wikileaks conebzs and he was
talking about trump tower moscow the idea that the president could have at some point colluded at the trump tower. michael cohen's story is the president knew about all of that. he was saying the president knew about everything going on in the campaign. it's hard to think if he came without a report that president trump wouldn't have known about that. >> thank you both for joining us. and up next, president trump called kim jong-un a great leader and a friend today. what can we expect when those leaders finally meet tonight? leaders finally meet tonight i switched to liberty mutual
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underway. president trump was full of praise for the authoritarian ruler he now call as friend. >> it's an honor to be with chairman kim. it's an honor to be together. i thought first summit was a great success and i think this one hopefully will be equal or greater than the first and we've made a lot of progress and i think the biggest progress was our relationship is really a good one. i think you will have a tremendous future and be a great leader and i look forward to watching it happen and helping it to happen and woo will help it to happen. >> and new tonight nbc news reporting that negotiators have already dropped a key demand ahead of the summit, that north korea agree disclose its full -- joining me is 2020 presidential candidate. thank you for joining us.
we have been talking all eshow all day about what went on in washington today. the michael cohen time before the house oversight committee. the president weighing in on twitter. all the accusations levelled his way. do you think, as we are now counteding down the hours and minutes to trump and kim jong-un sitting down together, do you think this is going to have an effect on that summit in vietnam? >> that remains to be seen. i think what's most important is the summit and the reality of the situation that we're facing with north korea. unfortunately i think it's highly unlikely that comwill be willing to give up his nuclear weapons for two main reasons. kim saw what happened in libya. he saw how he promised gudaufy that if he gave up his nuke leer weapons program that we would not over throw him.
he gave up that program and we blew him away. and so kim's not going to make that same mistake. and he's soon as president trump tore up the iran nuclear agreement, tore up the inf treaty and therefore won't have any faith on whatever agreement trump presents to him. >> so no matter what you think of libya, it can't be undone. it's on the record. so what is the path to denuclearizing north korea? is there one? >> he's seen how united states continues, president trump has continued this policy of regime change in the world. this continues to undermine any kind of promises he trues to make saying we're not going to over throw you as long as you give up your nuclear weapons. this policy is what causes
dictators like kim to hold on even stronger to their nuclear weapons. >> you're talking about a policy of regime change. the posture, just watching the president in public is one of -- it sounds like flattery. talking about him as a friend, as a great leader of this country. what do you make of that? >> the point is whatever trump says is not really what's at issue here. what is at issue is the continued policy of regime changes undermining our national security. it's undermining the ability for such an agreement to denuclearize the durian peninsula to take place and the change in the policy is what needs to happen. >> thank you for taking a few minutes. and up next, more from michael cohen's bomb shell testimony
including that president trump would have worked with anyone in order to win the election. nyonen order to win the election. great news, liberty mutual customizes- uh uh - i deliver the news around here. ♪ sources say liberty mutual customizes your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. over to you, logo. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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currently being handled by the house select and senate select intelligence committees. so i would rather not answer that specific question other than sdwroojust to tell you tha president trump's desire to win would have him work with anyone. >> welcome back to "hardball." he alleged today that president trump knew in advance of the dump of wickey leak emails and that donald trump jr. likely told his father about the infamous tower meeting -- a member of the oversight committee and intelligence committee. that is where cohen will appear in a closed, not public hearing tomorrow. well, first you had a crack at him today. you had interesting questions.
anything you learned today that's going to shop what you talk about him tomorrow? >> what we learned today was that there was a relationship between roger stone and the president continued all through the campaign. there were conversations that took place all the time. michael co cocan -- cohen's testimony was reviewed and edited by attorn eys for donald trump in the white house. all of this is suggesting there is a grand conspiracy here. i think we're getting closer and closer to being able to put all the puzzle pieces together >> you're sawing a grand conspiracy is where you think
this is leading mp he's already been through talking with mueller w that team. rs for he's already gone through the southern district of new york. have they we've already figured out whatever they need to figure out? >> certain lathe mueller report is going itting to be a very important componnant. there are a number of people who testified in the trump orbit who have to be called back because their testimony appears not to be accurate anymore, just like michael cohen's testimony turned out not to be accurate and he's going to jail because of the now. and i think that you will see more and more people that are in the trump orbit that end up really to lie to the president and then they're the one whose pay the price. and that's precisely what michael cohen said today. >> he's saying look, when he lied to congress about trump tower, about the discussions
about the trump tower unmoscow, trump didn't tell him to lie but he inferred trump wanted him to lie. he believed he understands the code. he didn't actually witness what was said but he believes donald trump jr. come into trump's office, walk around the desk, whisper to him something about the june 2016 meeting. there's a lot of asprgzs ebooing cast but you need more than him saying i think i understood it this way. i thought i heard that. >> the fact that the trump tower moscow project went on all through 2016, he said he had no dealings with russia and yet he had a letter of intent that had been signed in the falloff 2016 and still in effect in 2016 and his testimony beor the house intelligence committee was reviewed by white house counsel and edited to reflect that there
wasn't any business going on in 2016 in a conspiracy to defraud. and i think that's going to become crystal clear as we go forward. >> who do you want to hear from in testimony that you haven't yet heard from? >> i want to hear from abbey lowell, from donald trump jr. again, from ivanka trump, steve bannon should come back. roger stone should probably come back. all of the very intense innercircle of donald trump needs to come before the house intelligence committee. this is a very small universe of people involved in his campaign. and when coloradoen said trump saw this as a big, fat infomrlgs that was going to help him with his business in the future, i think that was very
enlightening. >> and up next today's hearing was explosive. what effect will it have on the president and his standing with it the voters? n the president and his standing with it the voters? you know, i used to be good at this. then you turn 40 and everything goes. tell me about it. you know, it's made me think, i'm closer to my retirement days than i am my college days. hm. i'm thinking... will i have enough? should i change something? well, you're asking the right questions. i just want to know, am i gonna be okay? i know people who specialize in "am i going to be okay." i like that.
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racist and suggested federal prosecutors may be putting a case together. from a legal standpoint there are obvious open questions. we will see what special counsel robert mueller does. we will see what emerges from federal prosecutors. action on any of these fronts could dramatically change trump's presidency. but when it comes to the politics, it's unkwleer what effect if any the day like today will have. were they actually surprising? this is one of the things that makes the trump presidency so different from those that came before it. most voters, including many of trump's own supporters already believe trump had exceptionally low character, even before he became president. one in five of his own voters
considered him dishonest. just 38% said he was even qualified for the office. only 1/3 of voters said he shared their values. 59% said they agreed that trump quote talks in a way that appeals to bigotry. remember the access hollywood tape. trump's comments about what he could get away with because he was famous. and yet here we are. by the slimmest of margins and huge number of americans convinced he was a lousy person and while there's no evidence he has gained support, his numbers have been pretty stable. an approval rating never really gets hewer than mid-40s. just like his support in the polls during the campaign. so yes, the kinds of things we heard today would have been
rueinous for any past president. but what was shocking in the past may almost be expected in the trump era. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. >> you don't know him. i do. i've sat next to this man for ten years and i watched his back. >> for the first time ever michael cohen testified in public. >> mr. trump is a racist. >> against his former boss. from the russian email hack. >> trump knew from roger stone in advance. >> mr. trump knew of and directed the trump moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it. >> to what we still don't know. >> is there any other wrong doing or illegal act that you're aware of regarding donald trump that we haven't yet it