tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC March 27, 2019 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
same and i'll be joined by person number two, a key witness in what is still the looming trial over roger stone. everything he knows and why he says he has ideas of what is in the mueller report because he was in the grand jury room. "hardball" is up next. jumping over the bar. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening, i'm chris math aoos in washington. they're talking right now about subpoenaing robert mueller himself. this would allow the democrats to leap frog the head of the justice department and get to what nancy pelosi has called the goods. and along with what former fbi director james comey said moments age.
trump tried to burn down the institution of the fbi. that is rough stuff. i'll talk to my colleague about president trump who's using enhanced credibility he's claimed over the mueller report to attack old enemies. we begin with former fbi director james comey speaking out about the special counsel's probe. comey discussed robert mueller's conclusions. more importantly, he weighed in on what we still don't know about the special counsel's report, which no one has seen. among those questions, why mueller did not make a call on whether the president obstructed justice or not. comey says the whole point was to prevent political appointee like bill barr from making that decision. >> mr. mueller decides naot to make a judgment on that particular issue. does that surprise you?
>> it does. it's to make sure the the attorney general doesn't make the ultimate call in whether the subject of the president of the united states should be held criminally liable. so the idea the special counsel wouldn't reach the question and hand it to the political leadership doesn't make sense. i'm not prejudging. i'm just saying it doesn't make sense on its face. >> doesn't make sense to a lot of people. and comey says he doesn't understand why the president wasn't subpoenaed to answer questions about obstruction. >> do you ask yourself why mueller did not subpoena president trump to get to the heart of this intent question on oobstruction? >> yes, i do. and i don't know the answerer to that. question about how the attorney general could resolve the question, which he says turns upon the president's intent without the president having
been asked what his intent is. >> and comey said the conclusion vindicates the fbi itself, which has been the subjkt of the relentless attacks. do you take this as a rebuke of you and your leadership of the fbi? >> no, it establishes to all people, i hope, that the fbi is not corrupt, not a nest of vibe vipers and spies but an honest group of people trying to find out what is true. >> i'm joined by senator sheila jackson lee on the judiciary committee, a former federal prosecutor and heidi, national political reporter for nbc news. i want to go to michael. comey looked like the guy trump shouldby afraid of because he looks like a law enforcement person. how could we not, all the
evidence and smoke, if you will of a deal between the president's peep sdwhl russians l the interactions between them. he said imagine if obama in a parallel universe had those kinds of relationships with the iranians. it was powerful. >> he hit on the perception problem that barr has. tlrs person that comey was saying is there to insulate the investigation too, make sure the result was not looked at politically for some reason didn't make a decision. 200 years in the justice department, i can't find an example of this, where a u.s. attorney, what mueller was here, couldn't come to something and what comey is something is that leads it to go to barr. >> and he knew it would go to barr. >> and barr may have made the right call but the perception is that he, the politician, who
wrote the memo many months ago unlicited to trump's legal team -- >> a lot of people defended their vote for the war in iraq by say all we did was give him the authority to go to war. this guy barr was appointed after article after article on how he was going to support the president on obstruction of justice. you give him the authority, he's going to use it. >> i remind the people of the article 1 authority. we will have to take off the political hat and get into the investigatory hat. it is it done now. i am prepared to deal with the mueller report by getting the mueller report and insisting that attorney general barr does not wait a up kofl weeks. we don't need to have him massage the report. i was shocked he gave an
extensive letter. i wanted him to say the letter is inroute to the united states congress. we'll have to use our subpoena power to get the truth on collusion, although we certainly acknowledge mueller and the lack of decision on oobstruction. >> in ruling that president did not obstruction justice, william bar argued it's difficult when the president hasn't engaged in the underlying crime, collusion. however, comey took issue with that reasoning. >> is that a legal principal you have always understood? >> i don't think the ag said that was the justification. he sited it as a fact rb and that's not been my experience as a prosecutor. every day people have prosecuted for obstructing justice to avoid embarrassment, harm to their business, threats to their families when there isn't an
underlying crime they committed. and you wouldn't want it any other way. because if you always had to prove the underlying crime, people get away with both if they successfully stop an investigation. >> right. it strikes me knowing trump and suspicions of the so-called deep state and also wonders about his kids, he may have wondered as he was obstructing apparently, a lot of smoke there, that donald jr., gates, manafort, he may have just trying to obstruct justice to protect all manner of folks. your thoughts. >> he may have been but comey is right. the general rule is you can be convicted of obstruction of justices whether or not the underlying crime, it turns out be a conviction. i will say this about the confusion concerning mueller and the decisions he's made. the one thing mueller was known for is being thorough and by the book.
we can safely assume that mueller gave the reason why he made this decision not to make a final calln on the obstruction. and he wrote that in his report in some detail and argued it with legal citations. for some reason attorney general barr did not feel to the need to share that with us. and that does concern me. instead of telling us why and what mueller is thinking, which is so critical to the report the findings, he chose to put his own spin on what had happened. >> and meanwhile nbc news is reporting that according to three law makers involved, house democrats are exploring legal options right now, including the option of subpoenaing special counsel mueller himself is one of the several options they're considering as they seek to
obtain the full report. they recognize that supoonaing mueller would be a nuclear option. you can subpoena the justice department. you can subpoena the attorney general orthe special counsel. >> i would say there's a great interest in subpoenaing attorney general barr and of course mr. mueller. we believe mr. mueller would co come voluntarily. but if he's not able to do so, we would subpoena him. i think mr. mueller had some confidence in the article 1 of congress by leaving that question open for us to assess even though in the mueller report we might find what his determination was. he might be stopped by the attorney general, the deputy
attorney general by way of the president. so we'd have to subpoena both mr. barr for his interpretation and exoneration of the announcement. >> how lukely is it that democrats are going to go directly to mueller? >> it seems like the might be more likely now that just in the past few moments the judiciary chairman nadler had a conversation with barr saying he will not meet this week's deadline and nadler told him that deadline is firm. they were consulting lawyers on key committees on what their options are. there are pit falls and barr could try and block this. however, based on my reporting, democrats feel they're on solid ground based on recent precedent. it's when james komy gave a declination he was not going to prosecute on hillary clinton's emails, he was up here within days testifying before the house oversight committee.
a very similar situation where republicans argued that loretta lynch was conflicted because she met on a plane with bill clinton. now we also have a attorney general that democrats say are conflicted. democrats are weighing this along with other legal options. but they say this may be a way to force this information to come out. because democrats are very concerned about the timeline in term oz of the president basically misstating the contents of even the cursory memo saying he's been cleared on obstruction when the memo says otherwise. >> you have to do this analysis as well as reporting. delayance, delayance. bill clinton would have been in worse shape in early 1998 than later 1998 when all the truth came out about him and monica. it's a powder keg when it explodes.
if they hold off that report for a couple weeks a month or so and it does come out and shows there's so much spin that barr put on it, the attorney general that he looks like liar, that's not going to help this president. >> no, that's the problem with the perception here. that is the issue is that barr looks like he is the president's guy. because mueller, the person there to prevent all this political wind didn't make the call. the interesting thing in the analogy to comey is nadler did not like comey's press conference. >> by the way i agree with him. i agree with nadler. that's your job. >> the question here is the justice department has decided not to prosecute the president. bl
but all the documentation is going to the hill? >>. >> the language was pretty clear. there was nothing between this campaign and russia. so on that basis should he be breathing a sigh of relief? >> i don't know that i read the letter from the attorney general that way. i read it in they didn't find any evidence to establish. what other evidence there is that falls short of the standard. i'm prepared as everybody is to wait and get ttransparency we n. >> it seems me a lot of people were upset and i thought so reasonably that when comey came out and said he wasn't going to charge candidate, hillary clinton on those email matters
and he kept talking and saying but she was really bad and put tar on it. he put some stain on her and this time around they're saying why did he make a call and do his job and go quiet. because this time he said i'm not exonerating him. i thought prosecutor's job was to prosecute or not. >> it definitely is. that's true when it comes to the decisions any decisions about don jr. or anybody else who could have been prosecuted and mueller has declined to prosecute and so we should not be getting a discussion about their behavior. the president is in a different position because under the department of justice regulations, he could not have been prosecuted as a matter of regulation. the only option was, for mueller -- >> barr in his letter contradicts what you just said. he said we did not go by those
guidelines. >> that's what barr says. >> is barr lying? >> i'm saying he has spun this as well as he can for the president. let me just say this about mueller coming up to the hill, i'm all for that because i trust him. but he has the same problems are right now that barr has and that has to be resolved. additionally if they want to ask him questions about the security question, he's got counterintelligence issues. it's not as easy as we're going to slap a subpoena on mueller. there's a lot of things that have the to happen before he can speak freely. it's not just something simple and i don't want pop tool get that impression. >> the democratic answer is we want the truth and the american people are going to have to make some of the judgment themselves and the one way they can do that
is if they see this report. and thank frou for the great reporting that democrats aren't going to wait for barr because they don't really trust him, they're going to go for the guy himself, mueller. and coming up after the commercial a totally weird story. the president's weird appetite for revenge. he's the count of mar-a-lago. all he wants to do is get even, even if it can kills him. referring to the democrats and journalists who do their jobs as treasonests. and why does he want to kill obamacare and how can he repeatedly claim to protect people from preexisting conditions when he has no health care plan? and why is he getting red oif the special olympics? g red oif the special olympics with fidelity wealth management you get straightforward advice,
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welcome back to "hardball. "feeling vindicated. president trump has continued his revenge efforts, his tour of revenge. he went after the media again writing the fake news media with its corrupt coverage of the illegal democrat witch hunt of your all-time favorite dually elected president. sources said while the president was on capitol hill, he said he was going after the media. and during the same meeting, he urged the senators not to quote let democrats off the hook for how they treated him and his family. back in 2011 he explained why revenge is so importent to him. >> you got to get even with people because even if you don't come into contact with them, everyone else knows you're a fighter and you're not going to take crap and other people aren't going to take advantage
of you. so i think it's really important if somebody screws you, screw them back in spades. >> screw them back in spades. that's the voice of our current president. remember the count of monty cristo. he destroys himself trying to get revenge on his enemies. president trump is the count of mar-a-lago, don't you think? the count of monte cristo was a good guy but in reality he was destroying himself because he can't even get his own girlfriend backs because he's so vengeful he's not the same guy anymore. and he's still donald trump. >> he's always been donald trump and it worked well if you're speaking to a crowd of people screaming yelling at you.
it works pretty well if you're going on tv and you're debating rosie o'donnell. it does not workual when nancy pelosi is speaker of the house. it did not work whel you have to deal with federal judges in kentucky that overturn your plans on medicaid. it doesn't work well when you have to deal with democratacy and that's what donald trump is so bad at. that's why he still can't figure out how john mccain was able to stop his efforts to kill obamacare and he has no clue how to deal with nancy pelohsy. you notice he's smart enough to stay away from nancy pelosi. he does not hammer her because he knows she's got the power. >> and john mccain has moral advantage over him, having been shot down and fished out of water while they broke all his
legs and with his cons yargs doctor. and he goes after adam schiff, one of the warriors going against him. calls him a pencil neck. that's something from high school and says he couldn't hut a drive 50 yards. what is this about? it's so weirdly personal. >> the thing is after i won my first election, nobodied could understand why the first thing i did was reach out to my opponents especially where it had got really personal and ugly. i know people are going to say who are you to talk about what donald trump does or doesn't know about politics? this is a great opportunity for him to move past 40%. only president in u.s. history
in recent polling in modern history to not go above 50%. because he keeps picking these fights. it reminds me of the scene -- you love movies. it reminds me of jeremy renner's character in "the hurt locker." he's cheating death throughout the entire movie. he finally gets sent home from iraq and finds himself cleaning out the gutters. and there's him on a deserted street to defuse a bomb and cheat death one more time. donald trump is an action junky. a week may be a lifetime in action politics but in trump's world, a day is an eternity and that's why he's picked a fight he can't win, which is health care. >> just like republicans are
hopped up over illegal immigration, that's what they're hopped up over, democrats are much more hopped up over something close to them, which is health care because it effects their kids, their life, later years in life, the whole thing and trump is walking right into that gatling gun of defeat. why is he doing this? >> he's addicted to chaos. also he doesn't understand. he thinks he can somehow leverage this into victory by wiping out obamacare. he must not have paid attention to the poll, what happened in november. republicans had the largest defeat since 1974. the largest vote total loss since the history of midterm elections. flynn lied about russia. everybody around him lied about russia. but americans didn't really care
about that. and donald trump lied about health care. he promised universal health care when he was running. that ended up being a lie. and promised them their health care costs were going to be lower, they're going to have better coverage. and ends up in his latest budget. he wants to slash 8$835 billion from medicare. this is how bill clinton beat up republicans. the same thing where you've got republicans that are cutting medicare to pay for tax cuts for the rich. this guy -- and this is what democratic candidates have to understand. ran as a poppialest, and he's just like every other politician that's been bought off by billionaires. you look at his tax cuts. what did he say after passing the tax cuts?
went down to mar-a-lago and that very night he said to his billionaire buddies "i just made you guy as lot of money." jfry epstein, he made a lot of mun ea on trump's tax cuts, boeing made a lot of money on trump's tax cuts. but workers in wisconsin didn't. >> i like the way you enumerate all the people that have their own problems, not just trump. >> they're also his buddies there are pictures of him at mar-a-lago with trump. but that's who got richer after the tax cuts. i don't know if he's going to pay for those tax cuts by cutting medicare and medicaid >> and special olympics. let's take a look. >> this is the greatest farce ever perpetrated on our democracy. it's a disgrace and a stain on our constitution.
this must be a day of reckoning for the media, for the deep state, for people who abuse power and they did so blatantly in this country. >> did the investigators, did the prosecutors use the law for political purposes? if that turns out to be true, that is bigger than watergate. >> well, they're all singing from the same music stand. they're like the kid at good will hunting. he's got to smash the kids head into the cement to show he won. >> the problem is every single one of those people have a back story. don jr., are you going to get on tv and talk about a farce when you got caught trying to get dirt from the russians and then you lie about it? and then the president of the united states on air force 1 concocted a story to lie about it and say it was about what?
adoptions? a lie. and you got sean hannity. how clean was sean hannity's hands in this story? ask seth rich's parents about how cruel sean hannity was to them. they lose a son and then they have sean hannity dragging their dead son through the mud and trying to make political hey by it. lindsey graham, go back and look at lindsey graham's quotes. what he said about donald trump. oh, yeah. the dossier. do you think south carolina republicans mouth be interested in primary season to know that after donald trump attacked john mccain, who was it that told john mccain to send the dossier to the fbi? was it anybody in the deep state? nancy pelosi? no. south carolina primary voters, it was lindsey.
it was lindsey graham. so chris, they should really just shut up and be glad they got away with it and be glad at least for now there's an attorney general trying to stop every american in wisconsin, michigan, pennsylvania, in florida, across the nation, stop all of us from reading what's in that report. >> i think you've identified all the glass houses effectively. my morning doppelganger. thanks so much for coming on, joe. up next the trump administration's suddenly surprise shift on obamacare left many republicans scratching their heads. how it's causing health care havoc for millions of americans. you don't go after people's health care. you don't go after people's health care. insurance shouldn't be more frustrating than the accident itself. that's why esurance makes it simple.
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>> president trump think physical you say something again and again apparently it becomes true and this time it's health care. they lost because of this issue. nbc has learned that egged on by mu mulvaney has his administration that kills the affordable care act. against the best judgment of vice president pence and of course the attorney general opposed this politically. the president is full steam ahead. let's watch him. >> the obama care a disaster. it's horrible, no good. it's something that we can't live with in this country. if the supreme court rules that obamacare is out, we will have a plan that's far better than obamacare. >> well, yesterday during a victory lap of sorts, the president told republican senators he planned to make
health care a top issue going into 2020. the move left some republicans dumb founded. >> i'm very disappointed and vehementally opposed to the administration seeking to invalidate the entire affordable care act. the answer is for theed a mun stragz to work with congress and present a plan to replace and fix the law, not, through the court, sook to invalidate it altogether. >> well, axios is reporting that kevin mccarthy told trump over the phone the decision he made, made no sense. u.s. congressman of south carolina. thank you so much for this. i can't say -- how do you keep protections against people or people with preexisting conditions and protections of
26-year-old children? how do you do that if you have no plan? >> no, it doesn't. thank you so much for having me. and the fact remains this president has once again misled the american people. he said time and time again that he would protect people with preexisting conditions. and we're told that 52 million americans are under 65, have preexisting conditions that will make them ineligible for the affordable care act. it seems to me the first thing you ought to be doing is improving what we have already done. he says there will be, the republican party is going to be the party of health care. he has not shown us what that means. he says repeal and replace. he talks repeal all day, every day.
i never heard him offer one suggestion as to replacement. on yesterday, democrats had around 2:30 in the afternoon and we laid out for the american people what we're going to do to improve the affordable care act and this president has now -- is pushing these junk policies. we are going to get rid of junk policies. we are going to get rid of any attempt not to trouble people with preexisting conditions. we are going to say to those people in these children with diabetes that you will be able to bring those children on oto your insurance policy and children still in college, they can stay on the insurance policy until they're 26 years old. you ought to be lifting the twikt to around 30. because the way the economy is
going, they may have trouble finding jobs. >> it's hard to ask you a question but what's the politics in this? one thing that unites all communities is health care. medicaid is very popular for people with limited means. all kinds of middle class people. not just broke and poor people. they're essential to the livelihoods of most american families except for the very rich. >> we know for a fact that the largest form of bankruptcy in the country is over health care. people -- and so what we ought to be doing is working together to show up the affordable care act, make it the kind of program that it should be to protect american families. that's what we've always done in this country. ew
we passed a bill. that instrumentally we'll get where we need to be. but all the sudden this president wants to go back to where we whur insurance comp ans could deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions and kick epipoo kick people off the policies once they got sick and i plebele the american people should remember that old addage. fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. >> next time i want you to explain south carolina. you got mule veiny, lindsey graham. what a collection. >> well, i'm still learning this state, chris. i've only been there 70 plus years. >> you're the best man down there. up next, president trump reportedly doesn't want another
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now i hate to tell you, puerto rico, but you're throwing our budget out of wack because we've spend a lot of money on puerto rico and that's fine. we've saved a lot of lives. >> two years ago just weeks after maria hit puerto rico, taking a swipe at money going to hurricane recovery. during the same visit the president tossed paper towels to a gathered crowd in san juan. as puerto rico continues the can difficult recovery from the storm a year and a half ago, he
reportedly thinks the island is getting to rr much money. he asked top advisors for ways to limit money going to puerto rico. as the senior administration official described trump's stance, he doesn't want to another single dollar going to that island. and that's coming up next. next. even rooftop parking. strange forces at work? only if you're referring to gravity-and we covered it. talk to farmers. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪
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i think puerto rico is incredibly successful. i think it's one of the best jobs that's ever been done with respect to what this is all about. i think puerto rico is an incredible unsung success. >> that's president trump last fall actually on hurricane maria recovery efforts, an unsung success. during a private lunch with senate republicans yesterday he again complained about the amount of disaster aid going to puerto rico. according to officials familiar, he noted to gop senators that texas was awarded 29 billion while south carolina got 1.5 billion. he questioned why puerto rico got what he called $91 billion.
noted that one could buy puerto rico for $91 billion. u.s. congressman of new york city who served as a whip of the congressional hispanic caucuses. thank you as much. what do you make of the president saying your country has got too much money? >> you know the president continues to show that he's a bully, a racist and that he does not get it. he is embarrassed. it truly is what it is. you know how sometimes the kids in the sand box really likes the little girl but pushes it over because that's the only way he knows how to do somethings? he was embarrassed world wide by this paper towel throwing incident and by the fact that 3,000 puerto ricans have died and he continues to sentence the puerto rican people to an
uncertain license. he has been ignorant about the relationship between puerto rico and the united states. he has been ignorant about the meat of the puerto rican people and he continues to act as a bully in chief. >> what kind of vote would he get on the island? if you could vote for president, how would he do? >> you know, this is the point. he thinks it's about voting. but even people that are republican in puerto rico or agreeing with the republicans are trying to push themselves away from president trump. a little too late. the commissioner said that the president had done a a great job and he truly has not done so. he continues to undermine the
livelihood of the people of puerto rico and continues to show the world what the u.s. is not about. representative sied a was here in san juan and he had the opportunity to go with me to a private hospital that had lost all power and we saw first hand how people had to be moved away. he doesn't know what is going on. he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and never understood this is about life. putting food on the table, giving people the opportunity to thrive and even to survive. he doesants get it because he doesn't want to get for him it's all about giving tax cuts to the rich but not giving the people that really need his support what they are owed. >> thank you very much, madam mayor for jouning us from san juan. you live in new york and -- how
do you get americans to get pasts trump on the is? >> i tell you his vision of giving port rooko $91 billion is false. fema has 20 million and they've only allotted for spending $1.5 billion. the reason is because it's so difficult to navigate that burer oceracy. so if you lost your home,io yo have to bring a noterized affidavit to get that funding to fix your roof and that's been a problem. a recent report reveals that nine days after the hurricanes hit in texas and florida, you had $100 million. puerto rico $6 million. nine days after the hurricanes hit, 30,000 workers in texas and 60,000 in florida, 16,000 in texas. so the response was horrible.
and puerto rico is still reeling back from this very lax, sloppy and lazy response to a storm that took 3,000 lives. he continues to lie saying he took $91 billion. medicare reimbursement is a big problem. that's why they face a fiscal implosion. and the response was not adequate. it was not -- >> are you getting backing from the democratic leadership in the house? >> we want to back puerto rico, yes. the leadership wants to do it. the congressional members and those from puerto rico >> on the west side.
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you know get out there and compete and then i thought of the trump's decision to obliterate fupding for special olympics. look at these young people to doing their best and loving it. have you ever seen such smiles? for whatever budgeting reason, the trump people that department of education zeros out the special oo limpics. not another nickel for the enterprise that set up a world where they can compete on their own terms and learn. the special olympics is wonderfully prolife. it gives kids born with down syndrome the chance to feel more excitement and the personal honor that comes with doing your best. i remember a line from a long ago walt disney movie dear to my heart "it's not what you got, it's what you do with what you got that counts.
and this president and education secretary should do the right thing and back the special olympics. you, sir, had a good weekend. how about giving these kids theirs? . t giving these kids theirs tonight on "all in." >> i understand health care now, especially very well. a lot of people don't understand it. >> fresh off the end oof the mueller probe, the president refocuses on his priorities. >> i hate to tell you, puerto rico but you've thrown our budget out of wack. >> we are going to be the republicans, the partee of great health care. >> my guest tonight, someone taking the trump agenda head on. >> you had zeroed out special olympics once again. >> trump's education