tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC March 29, 2019 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
tonight chris hayes has a very important town hall with congresswoman alexandria ocasio-cortez about the green new deal and much more. keep it locked right here including right now because "hardball" with chris matthews is up next. out with it. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. william barr says the report will be released two weeks from now. in a letter to the house andsont judiciary committees barr writes we're preparing the report for release, making the redactions required. adding the special counsel is assisting us in this process. barr reveals it's nearly 400
pages long, not 300. and this is amid new signs that attorney general's four-page summary was not enough for the american people, clearly. a new poll by the pbs nusz hour shows 75% of americans say the special counsel's full report should be made public. based on what people have already heard, only 36% say they think the president is now clear of wrong doing. that's about 1/3. 56% say questions still exist. most americans want to know a lot more about what happened in that report. the attorney general also said the reports have mischaracterized the four-page summary he released last sunday. he says my march 24th letter did not purport to be an exhaustive recount ogof the special counsel's investigative report. it was a summary of its principal conclusions.
there'aargument because he left matter of obstruction of justice open. attorney general barr did. i'm joined by dave cicilline who sits on the house judiciary committee and justice reporter, david corn, washington bureau chief. barbara mcquaid, former u.s. attorney. what did you read in this report? the new one, the letter, the second letter from barr? what's he up to here? >> it seemed like a bit of a do over. he doesn't like the public's messaging about what rr happening and it appears to have satisfied congress or the public to say here's my summary and you'll get it in a matter of weeks. it's pushing that he's pushing to get disclosed faster and that it was only a summary of the principal findings and there's morer to come. the part that stood out to me was when he talked about the
things that need to be redacted. but he also talked about executive privilege. he said while president trump has said he's not going to assert any executive privilege, he's deferreder to me to review for executive privilege. a very strange thing that investigator is also the one representing the interests of the president in pairing out the executive privilege material. and i wonder how widely he will remove information, how much redaction there will be on account of executive privilege. >> how much do you want? what would make you happy in two weeks in terms of transparency? >> we'd like by april 2 the full are report without redactions. congress has the right to see the full contents of the report. said there were classified materials that need to be protected. congress reviews classified documents all the time.
we're sworn to oath to protect classified and confidential information. we want to see it in the entirety. absthns grand jury. he should be working with congress to get a court order so we can see all the contents, all the supporting materials and then if it needs redactions before it can be released publicly, that's fine. we want to see it immediately. that's what has happened in the past and needs to happen now. even a majority of republicans believe it should be read in its entirety. >> he says his four-page letter from last sunday basically just talked about the conclusions. what he called the bottom line. the bottom line of the special counsel was it was i haven't been able to decide on obstruction of justice there's a case for and a case against it. something's going on here.
>> allergy season. >> what do you make of that? he wasn't honest. barr wasn't saying i'm just reporting on what mueller said. no. he decided to exonerate the president, not mueller. >> he doesn't have blinders on. he knows the public criticism here. so he's -- i guess in journalism we would call the top line. if we were going to read a 400-page reporte bottom line ul hat decision. because he had to sgrir >> did he have to? >> it was unexpected that it came to him undecided. what he says is that the letter did not purport to be an exhaustive recounting of of the special counsel'sings have. he's trying to say don't blame me if you don't have all the answers. >> you've been studying this
whole russian kabob for years now. is this attorney general who got hiss job and he has this power. and here he is saying i will work the president in deciding what's executive privilege. that's the job of the white house counsel. that's not the job of the attorney general too, represent the president. >> he's taking a very expansive view in his own role in this. it may be in the report that it was robert mueller's intention that i don't have the athoort decide whether the president would be indicted. that maybe is something for congress, not the attorney general. and now the issue of executive privilege, it seems to me that's a privilege that belongs to the president. attorney general has been an odd position. you work for the president but you over see the investigative powers of the federal government and sometimes that takes you
into the white house orrer people that know the president. doesn't look like he's playing even steven if he's going to make those decisions. i know congress wants this report by august 2nd. it's april sexd. i think if they can get this out with minimal redactions in two weeks, that's probably a win for the public. but the key word is minimal. if you look at all the things they have to look at for redactions, you can see half the report being redacted. depends how they apply this. >> we're talking about two weeks from now. congressman jerry nadler of new york is sticking to his demand that it be in full by thursday. and now who's talking issue with the redaction by saying rather than spend valuable resources trying to keep certain portions of the report from congress, he,
barr, should work with us to release any and all grand jury information as has occurred in every similar investigation in the past. here's the question. we're all going to look at this report in two weeks and if we see a lot of black covered over whole pages, it won't look like transparency. it will look like cover up. >> right. don't forget -- it already looks like cover up. mr. barr gives us partial statements of a 400-page document in an effort to shape the narrative and he auditioned by basically arguing that the president can't be charged with obstruction and he delivers on that promise in 48 hours. if reporters release that completely redacted, i think the american people won't stand for it. certainly congress won't. we need full report immediately so we can begin our work and we'll work with the attorney
general to make sure we redact whatever is not appropriate to release to the public. but we have the ability to see classified materials. we can do that in a classified setting. members of congress ought to see the full report immediately. and we're going to fight hard to make sure that happens. >> here's the president reacting on a the news from barr on the release of mueller's report. >> the attorney general said today he intends to release the mueller report in full to the congress and the public. do you agree with that decision? >> i have great confidence in the attorney general and if that's what he'd like the do, i have nothing to hide. this was a hoax. this was a witch hunt. i have absolutely nothing to hide and i think a lot of things are coming out with respect to the other side. but i have a lot of confidence in the attorney general. >> what do you think going to hide?
what's your suspicion here? >> good news and bad news. the bad news is this phrase, periferal third parties. er the attorney general thinks people on the fringe shouldn't have their reputations damaged. who's on the fringe? jared kushner? it there are no plans to let the white house review this for privilege. because he's taken the president's public comments to say it's all in barr's hands literally. at least has not been scrubbed by the white house but it has been scrubbed or put together under barr who believes very strongly -- >> we're skeptical people. if you start saying individual one and that kind of legal ease and referring to somebody meeting in trump tower, we're going to know who these people are. we're going to be able to figure
this out if we look at the context, wouldn't you think? >> if only the names are redacted. as we just saw recently in the redactions of the search warrant, it could be entirer pages are redacted. and that's the case we won't have the context to figure out what's going on. i think the congressman's suggestion is a good place to stat, which is to turn over the entire report to congress where we don't have concerns about privacy interests and grand jury interest and classified information with a court order as we saw in the waterigate matter and other matters with special counsels. it can disclose even grand jury information to congress when it has an overriding interest to secrecy protections. and maybe the public sees a redacted version of that. >> geahead. >> one thing we have to be careful about. in this letter barr seems to
suggest the president has deferred to him on the invocation of executive privilege. and by that he thinks he's going to look through the report invoke executive privilege. that belongs to the president. he needs to invoke it and we need be very careful he's not going to use that to scrub the report of damaging information. >> it has to be the president who as chief executive seeks the executive privilege. why wouldn't barr know that? this is primitive information here. wouldn't he know that? he doesn't have power of attorney here for presidents. >> i think he does know that. i think he's acting in a way he was hired to act. he auditioned for this job, he committed to a certain view of the evidence before he was sworn in and i think he's delivering on that. which is why we have to be very clear the full report must be made available to congress immediately.
>> what didn't he say was deserving of a charge? we know there were all kinds of meetings involving trump people with the russians? what's stopped him from advancing a conspiracy by the russians? because he does say in this report the russians were conspiring to hurt our electoral process. >> there were multiple efforts by the russians and they knew how those efforts looked. and i think that's where a lot of these 400-pages go. there is no statute for collusion. and i don't think it's that he didn't turn over enough stones. 2800 subpoenas. 22 months.a that. we should underline that. we should take some comfort in that. the other one is whether there was wrong doing.
they're not always the same thing. wrong doing would be signaling to the russians we don't mind if you do something. >> in fact we'll deny you're doing it. >> and getting out in public when you want to know -- half a point. what we're waiting to see is to what degree mueller examined that and put those sort off findings in the report. so it's not just crime or no crime. >> congressman, can you get on this and say what's impeachable, if not criminal? >> if you watch chairman schiff go through the evidence and he said it may not bother the rchbs that members of the trump campaign met with russians to get dirt on hillary clinton, that they delivered polling data. that they lied about that meeting. those are things that evidence wrong doing. may not authorize
crime but this report will it discourage people from doing in terms of facilitating encouraging or not discouraging or reporting a foreign adversary attacking our democracy. >> i think that would effect the voter. if all this has come out back then and the average joe and jane said wait a minute. are we voting for this independent person or somebody hand in glove with the russians? it it thank you so much for coming on a friday night, whichio do every night. my friend, barbara mcquaid. russian rue let again. >> a few months from now. >> coming up the conspiracy theories. >> to all of the current and former officials who paid for, promoted and perpetuated the
single greatest hoax in the history of politics in our country. they have to be -- i'm sorry. they have to be accountable. >> well, trump's performance last night showed us what we have in store for the next two years, don't you think? and he pulled the rug out from his own education center after she announced plans to eliminate funding for the special olifrmices. trump said he over road her. he she's so bad? it must be, sounds like it must be the sound of a bus going over you. a lot more on that one tonight. his pratt boys. his pratt boys
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welcome back to "hardball." the president isn't just congratulating himself from escaping criminal charges in the wake of the atnchy general's summary. he seized on mueller's findings to push his own narrative of a deep state conspiracy. he whipped up the crowd with vindictive rhetoric and the promise of revenge against a vast array of inomies. >> collusion delusion is over. the russia witch hunt was a plan by those who lost the election to try and illegally regain power by framing innocent americans, many of them. they suffered. with an elaborate hoax. sick, sick. these are sick people.
they spied on me. they spied on our campaign. the democrats have to now decide whether they will continue defrauding the pub wlk ridiculous bull shit. their fraud has been exposed and the credibility of those who push the hoax is forever broken. and they've now got big problems. >> there's a word i don't think lincoln ever used. it was a calculated show of outrage by a president who decided to seize on the russia investigation to frame his ordeal as a conspiracy by his rivals to delegitimize him. joining me is director of progressive programming for sirius xm and let's talk about pr messaging. what's he up to in the next couple of days and has already been up to that he won't be able
to do in two or three weeks? >> i look at this as the track and field runner and they put their arms over their head and they're crossing the finish line. i say that because the president doesn't -- apparently doesn't know what's in this report. we have four-pages of 64 words neatly parsed. and they don't say what the president is articulating. it doesn't say mueller found no collusion. it says it didn't establish there was a crime committed that could be prosecuted. the american public for the past week has been spinning along with the white house and this has been an intentional pr strategy and frankly, it worked. but this afternoon bill barr, for whatever reason. we don't know all that went on in the background but wanted to come out and clarify his report was not to stand in place of the mueller report. and i think donald trump maybe did not get that memo.
>> well, i think she's caught me with the idea, the visual of the president of the united states, this particular one running a 100-yard dash. i don't think that would be his event. might be something else. riding in a golf cart i think is his event. i think rarltit's a timingithsu. remember george w. said he was president and this poor guy, al gore's just a whiner because he established early on he won. this stuff works. >> first let's establish because it's a day that ends in why the president's behavior is disgusting and unbecoming of a president. he's on what i call a vindication and victimization tour. he's going after his base and
saying i told you i'm fighting for you. it's his selfish version. in his mind it's broken because they're aught to get him. the wiser course is don't take the bait. yes, let's demand transparency from bill barr. let's see if barr's covering up something. let's focus on the fact that donald trump tried to take away health care. he's putting kids in cages and passing tax bills that favor the wealthy. fight on that field. don't -- >> you think you can shift that 14 or 15% that's going to decide the next election away from this sense that they, the resenters, have been the victims? do you think you can shape that perception they have that they've been screwed by the establishment and they put trump in there for that reason to screw back at them?
>> i don't think you can. the grievance politics of donald trump will always be there. it's the very core of his base. the question is are there enough in that constituency to get him elected and what we saw is the answer is no. and remarkably in media -- and i'm guilty as well. we talk a lot about russia. voters vote based on health care and taxes and other issues. >> on all occasions, this week he accused his opponents of treason. >> there are a lot of people out there that have done a lot of evil things, i would say treasonous things against our country. it was treason. it was really treason. if the republican party had done this to the democrats, if we had done this to president obama, you'd have 100 people in jail and it would be treason. it would be considered treason and tlald rr be in jail the rest of their lives.
we can't allow these treasonous aktsz to happen to another president. this was an attempted take over of our government. >> did you see the tyrannical aspect. i want personal loyalty. from u.s. attorney general. and now he's saying any attack on him by the press, by anyone is treasonous as if he is the state. he is the country. >> he definitely envies dictators, envies that style of leadership. he wants to be the one and only person. he said at the convention i and i alone can fix this. he does something very strategic because he understands media. the one thing he gets is how media works, how headlines work. i remember when steve bannon joined and hillary clinton did a speech talking about the
so-called alt-right and white nationalism and donald trump that same day called hillary clinton a racist. and so the headlines wereci. >> how can a white person be racist against white people? >> that's a good question but the point is that donald trump essentially uses the words and phrases and descriptions of the opponents that are attacking him. i'm not saying anything donald trump has done is treasonous. even steve bannon described some of the behavior that way in "fire and fury." i think this is a strategic move to use this word early so future headlines are simply candidates trade accusations of treason. when what we should be focusing on is what david corn was talking about which is the behaviors that may not rise to the level of a crime you could
prove in court but that may be unpatriotic and disloyal to the kaung constitution and country and the oath he swore. >> i think nancy pelosi is probably the smartest politician and the only person close is donald trump because he's crazy as a fox. don't focus on impeachment. let's talk about health care issues, like you were saying. and trump's thinking you know what. why did she do that? because she saw what happened to bill clinton. they impeached him and the republicans look terrible for impeaching him. could trump be try doing the same thing saying i want the democrats paid the way the republicans paid for going after clinton. turn it on them, make them look stinky pie as the republicans did in 1998. your thoughts. >> he certainly is which is why
nancy pelosi -- and i've questioned her decisions but she's made the exact right decisions based on a political calculation. the speaker has an obligation to visit whether or not trump being named in a case already innered to judgment demands an impeachment investigation. that's not to say he should be impeached. she's making the right calculation. what it shows is the president is constitutionally and historically incompetent and speaks to a socio path and a man who always has to play the victim. it's how he keeps his base in line and keeps going every day. >> you're both great. up next president trump's once again threatening to shut down the southern border unless the government of mexico stops all undocumented immigrants from entering into the u.s.
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and when they lose control of the border on the mexico side, we just close the border and we have a very powerful border. we're going to apprehend them and close the border. that's not been done to the extent i've been doing it because i mean it and i'll close it for a a long time. mexico, frankly, has been very
well with trade and the united states. >> i'm telling you right now we will close the dam border. >> welcome back to "hardball." president trump has made a habit of threatening to shut down the border without actually doing it. over 75,000 migrants passed in february and threatened to close the border once again but this time he put a date on it, next week. he wrote if mexico doesn't immediately stop all illegal immigration, i will be closing it, the border or large sections of the border next week. in florida the president was asked if he's serious about the threat. >> mexico is making absolutely a fortune with the united states. mexico, they make so much money from the united states and so many other things, so many other assets, they have to grab it and they have to stop it. >> according to "washington
post" closing ports of entree would wreak economic havoc, costing nearly $3 billion in commerce. and officials have pushed back against the idea, noting it would hurt commerce and lead to legal challenges. i'm joined by jacob soeb rauf. you're the audience's expert now. what is difference about what's going on that might justify something being done? >> we should be really clear, chris. like during the obama administration, we're seeing a legitimate surge of families coming to the border. the numbers across the board of people crossing are not at record highs. but the groups coming are at record highs. the idea the president is pushing, which is closing ports of entree would solve that problem or help alleviate that problem is not accurate if you
talk to people who are dealing with with migrants who cross the border every single day. would do what this administration is already doing. stop people from illegally claiming asylum at the ports and these folks would move towards the places having the most trouble and that is in between ports of entree. so idea that closing the ports would help bizarre, quite frankly. it's only going to make the problem worse. >> i was reading -- because year so over loaded in the detention areas that are awful to look at and certainly to live in. they're letting people applying for migrant sats or basically asylum to come in without any restraint. that what's going on now? >> they use the phrase catch and -- >> it sfs it true? >> yes, it's possible to come in to the country and get released.
it's not that they don't know who you are. you go through an initial hearing once you cross the border gut you're not going to go to ice detention. they asked congress for this in a letter today is the ability to indefinitely detain migrant families to seek asylum until their immigration hearings are done and again quite frankly people who deal with the migrants is an inhumane way to deal with people who come legitimately seeking asylum. that's why they separated families, in order to try to force that change in the asylum process. it didn't work then and i don't think it's going to work now. >> what would a normal president be doing about this surge? >> the obama administration did have a surge and were forced to confront an uncomfortable situation.
under those mylar blankets and you have to figure out what to do with the children. in this case get them in the custo custody health and human services if they're unaccompanied. with families, they want to turn around unaccompanied children insteads of letting them stay. if you have enough immigration judges, enough officials to process the claims at the ports of entree, you would not be seeing the number of people crossing in between ports of entree that you're seeing today. all you have to do is look at the numbers. that's a fact. >> he's the border expert. up next president trump said he had to override his people, his people. it's not the first time he's blind sided a cabinet member
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i'm glad your education secretary. are you? >> i am indeed. most days i am. >> most days. not this week. that was education secretary betsy devos in washington. she defended the trump administration's plan to eliminate all federal funding for the special olympics. and yesterday faced a grilling from illinois senator. >> did you personally approve -- i think a yes or no will do, the $18 million cut of the funding for special olympics? >> no, i didn't personally get involved in that. >> whoever did that i hope gets
a geld medal for insensitivity. >> let's not use disabled children in a twisted way for your political narrative. that is just disgusting and shameful. >> what? president trump seemingly pulled the rug out from her with this 180. >> the special olympics will be fund said. i heard about it this morning. i have over ridden my people. we're funding the special olympics. >> i'm overriding my people. in a response. i am pleased and grateful the president and i see eye-to-eye on this issue and that he has decided to fund our special olympics grant, our. behind the last few years. she stuck it back at him. it's far from the most egregious treatment of a cabinet official. s
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tillerson said u.s. was in direct communication with north korea. the very next day the president tweeted i told our wonderful secretary of state that he's wasting his time trying to negotiate with little rocket man. rex. like he's a dog. this isn't nice. he's nicknamed her to aids. >> what's her nickname? >> ditsy devos. but he has a hard time allowing officials to do stuff.he didn't negotiating because he wanted to do it. faa announce they were grounding the boeing planes because he wanted to do it. there's a repo troops in the fin
syria who say they erased the isis caliphate. he ran out and announced it it. in terms of having a cabinet and empowering people, he has never done that. he's very quick to get upset at people when they do things that come back via television. when people make news that's negative, which is what happened in this case. he says i'm overriding that person. >> i'm thinking of who's really responsible for the initial statement. that's usually the pod person in charge of that pod that covers education. their cabinet siecretaries say make the cuts. maybe she was unsmart enough to do it. someone said among the cuts cut out one of the most popular programs in the country. >> no funding and she came out and said i didn't do this and
who did? someone in the white house. which means trump in some way knew this was happening. they would not send their secretary of education, i don't believe out thereend something that public would be in complete outrage over. but to me this is just a tyrannical form of government. he has to be the leader. he has to be the one on the world stage making all these decisions. no one can be smarter than him and on the campaign trail he said i'm going to hire the very best people? i don't think we've seen the very best. we've seen people he undermines. he has a complete lack off confidence in those that he hires. and that should give us as americans a very troubling picture of what is going on. >> so you didn't vote for trump? >> i did not. not a trump republican proudly. >> this man against the machine
this image he does. i'm not just a republican. i'm against all government. they're all a bunch of apratchets, functionaries. i'm the one to look to. is that part of the deep state and she's another one of those functionaries out to get you. >> there's something to that. a self fulfilling prophecy to all where you're creating these crisis by your own behavior. you're basically lieing all the time so the media is always fact checking you and then you say the media is negative about me. they must be bias. that's the kind off thing we see all the time. >> he's trolling us. >> and when you have no process in the white house, you have a lot of things that happen that they wouldn't happen in a better functioning white house. the president sort of benefits from this because there are always these crisis and he creates the crisis and says he's going to solve it.
whether it's starting a trade war, imposing tariffs and he'll say look, i fixed it or separating families and saying now we're not doing that. look, i fixed it. he's claiming at this rally in michigan that he's going to do the funding for the great lakes clean up. the special olympics. the funding has always been there. he actually said last night don't let any of the democrats take the credit for funding this thing. they wanted to do it for a long time. they've actually been doing it for a long time and he's trying to take the credit. >> the president struck the administration that would basically destroy the affordable care act over objections by vice president pence, and even his attorney general, bill barr on this one. quote president trump is constantly and publicly torment
d his fed chair jay powell, ditto jeff sessions and ditto the intelligence community. these people must get mad at him at night. i imagine talking to their spouses about this, except in the case of kellyanne conway. that guy did it to you again. why didn't you quit? >> it's an abusive relationship in some of these situations. i don't understand why some people would steak their entire career on this white house. i can't make sense off that. we can go through the list here. john kelly, sarah sanders, mike pence, his own vice president. he does whatever he wants and he does not care who is in his way because no one is, in his opinion. and it's a dangerous way to govern but his supporters eat it up. enemy number one of the media, public. >> what happens when he dumps mike pence for nikki haley because he's facing a woman candidate?
do you think that's loyalty? >> no. and in my opinion it would not be smart of her to be on that ticket. everyone says she's so savvy in how she handled this. she came out unscathed. however, she goes against trump in any way or forges her own path, he will throw her to the curb. so the fact that mike pence has stayed -- >> quick enough with royalty to drop pence like a bad habit and put in somebody that's going to get him pennsylvania or wisconsin. you know a lot. a lot of political attitude too. and disturbing new details about the journalist of khashoggi. year getting new details of ignations about this. it's frightening stuff. stick round. it's important to know.
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there's some really disturbing new details about the killing of the "washington post" columnist, khashoggi. the "washington post" reports there's evidence his killers first hoped to take him back to saudi arabia. this is from the audio recording of the killing itself. you're coming back to us. no, i have people outside waiting for me. you're coming. and when a bag is placed over
his head, he said i can't breathe.a. don't do this. and that's how it ended. the "post" article quote after his death the transcript describe as buzzing noise as his body was cut into pieces. this is six months ago in what has been the trump administration response to it all? what is the business as usual meeting between secretary of state mike pompeo oand saudi prince -- the younger brother most people say is responsible. reports say it was khaled himself who lured khashoggi. the united states last night confirmed that energy secretary rick perry has authorized the export of nuclear energy technology and services to saudi arabia.
meanwhile, crown prince mohammed bin salman enjoys life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. nn ocasio-cortez sits down on an exclusive interview on the green new deal, domestic pallacy and much more. that starts right now. america prides itself in doing big things, stretching a railroad across the continent, storming the beaches of normandy, landing a man on the moon, building highways and infrastructure and for the internet. our politics today seem incapable of producing change on that scale. we face a civilizational challenge right now and the clock is ticking. if we don't