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we will look for you here on monday and good night from new york. . president trump's tale of the tapes. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm katie kerr in for chris matthews. yesterday, president trump insulted his recently fired fbi director james comey as a showboat and a grandstander. this morning, he delivered this morning, james comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversation before he leaks to the press. he pushed back on his claim to lester holt that comey told him he wasn't the target of an fbi
investigation. >> he told me. >> he told you, you weren't under investigation. >> yes, and i we heard that from others. >> did you meet face-to-face? >> wanted to have dinner. early on. that dinner was arranged. i think he asked for the dinner. he wanted to stay on as the fbi head and i said, you know, we'll consider it. we'll see what happens, but we had a very nice dinner and at that time he told me, "you are not under questions e investigation." >> according to nbc and other news out. s, the reality was very different, during the dinner, comey tried to stay away from the russia investigation. he would say, look, sir, i really can't get into it and you don't want me to. the former member of intelligence told andrea mitchell at the time of the dinner if january comey expressed a need to him. >> he expressed he had been invited to the white house for
dinner with the president and he was uneasy with that because of even compromising the optics, the appearance of independence, sought not only of him but office fbi. >> that's not all. nbc and others reported the president asked comey for a loyalty pledge that night. comey replied that he could not pledge his loyalty but his honesty. as for that threat the president may have surreptitiously recorded the director, sean spicer at the podium didn't deny it. >> did president trump record his conversations with director comey. >> i assume you are referring to the tweet. and i have talked to the president. the president has nothing further to add on that. >> why did he say that? why did he tweet that? what should we interpret from that? >> as i mentioned, the president has nothing further to add to that. >> are there recording devices
in the 0e6 office? >> as i said, i won't speak further to that. >> do you think it's great to threat. >> i don't think it's a threat t. tweet speaks for itself, i'm moving on. >> is the president of the united states currently recording people in the oval office? >> i think the point i made with respect to the tweet is the president has no further comment on this. >> this morning on fox news, mr. trump was asked about headlines, first, he requested a loyalty pledge from comey and second about those tapes. >> people suggest that the question that apparently the "new york times" is selling that you asked comey whether or not you had his loyalty was possibly inappropriate. could you see how they think that? >> i read that. i don't think it's inappropriate. >> did you ask that question? >> no, no, i didn't. but i don't think it would be a bad question to ask. i think loyalty to the country, loyalty to the united states is important. you know, i mean it depends on how you define loyalty.
number one. number two, i don't know how that got there. pause i didn't ask that question. >> what about the idea that from a tweet you said there might be tape recordings. >> that i can't talk about. i won't talk about that. all i want is for comey to be hon e. i hope he will be. i'm sure he will be. >> he will not talk about those tames. let's get to justice correspondent pete ryan. let's start first off with that dinner. is donald trump, the president's accounts correct? >> well, there were two peel in the room. we we heard from one and friends from the other. we have not we heard from james comey about this. we haven't we heard from him directly or indirectly since he was fired on tuesday. he hasn't responded to the interview. what his friends say and i have to give credit to the "new york times" for first fer eting it out. his friends say comey talked to them right afterwards and before. right afterwards, he said the
white house invited him the president said twice in there comey asked for the dinner. comey told his friend he was invited by the white house to come and talk with the president with a little reluctance, you we heard james clapper didn't know what the appearance was but felt he couldn't say no to the president of the united states. during the dinner, the president asked him, can you tell me you will be loyal to me. comey said, well, all i can tell you is i will be honest and at sometime honestly loyal according to people he talked to. >> peter, your years of reporting on the fbi, have you ever we heard of a circumstance where the president calls the fbi director and asks them directly, "annual i under investigation?" >> well, no, but there are a number of things that happened this week i have never seen before, i don't think anyone has seen before, go everyone that an fbi director has been fired before and under different circumstances. as for the idea there might be
tapes, i wouldn't consider that a threat. i think mr. comey would be delighted if tapes came out. he has a different version of what happened at the dinner. undoubtedly, he supports they would support his version if, indeed," there are tames. we thought we would hear from mr. comey. it didn't happen by the week. it appears he's not coming up to congress next week. i'm sure at some point he has a story he wants to tell, get out his version of it. but it will not be any time too soon. >> any idea what session he would be telling that story. would it necessarily be in front of congress or a different venue? >> if i had to guess, it would be a toebl guess, i can't imagine he is interested in going up and testifying before congress yet again. i don't think anyone thinks that's a pleasant experience. great form, perhaps. but he would probably choose some other form of his choosing, and if he's watching right now,
this would be an excellent within. >> absolutely. pete williams in washington, appreciate your time, pete. for more i am joined by the author of that story, that "new york times" story that pete just talked about michael schmidt. also ken delaney, a remarkable reporter on this on his own and frank montoya, a former official at the fbi. when exactly president trump asked the fbi director over for dinner? >> that's right, katie. in the last hour i we heard from a friend of comey's, a former fbi official who was there at the time who recalls that this invitation came in at the last minute either on the day of the dinner or the day before the dinner. >> that would have been january 27ing the day of the dinner tore day before. january 26th was the date that sally yates came to the white house to warn about mike flynn saying he could potentially be plaquemailed by lying about the
russian ambassador. so this raises the question of did that issue come up in this meeting. now, nobody i talked to knows whether it came up. only jim comey and donald trump know whether it came up. it's an interesting question. just a few days before on january 24th, the fbi had come to the white house. fbi agents had come to the white house to interview mike flynn about his contacts. >> not only did it come up. did donald trump know about the yates' warning before he invited jim comey to dinner, tim? >> here's what we know about that. we known when sean spicer was first asked about the issue, he said president trump was briefed immediately after sally yates went to white house counsel don mcbegan, mcbegan briefed a small group of advisers. i think it was that day or shortly thereafter. >> i think the answer to that question seems like yes. >> that's what it seems like. >> let's look at your "new york times" article, it's remarkable
what happened inside that dinner. as they ate the president and mr. comey made small talk about the election and crowd sizes at mr. trump's rallies. the president turned the question to whether mr. comey would pledge his loyalty to him. pledge his loyalty. donald trump is saying he never said that. how confident are you in your sources that they're the ones telling the more truthful version of this story, donald trump asked for loyalty, donald trump, not james comey, asked to have this dinner? >> well the folks that i spoke to, mr. comey's associates said mr. comey had told them about this at the time and mr. comey was very concerned about it. this was not something they learned about after the fact. even another friend contacted me today to talk about other examples that mr. comey was really concerned about the way that this loyalty question sort of overshadowed his time working
for mr. trump and he really felt that mr. trump was never really able to get past that. >> president trump criticized director comey during his interview with lester holt. let's take a look. >> he's a showboat. he's a grandstander. the fbi has been in turmoil. you know that, i know that. everybody knows that. you take a look at the fbi a year ago, it was in ver cull turmoil. less than a year ago. it hasn't recovered. >> yesterday, the deputy press secretary karen huckabee sanders told reporters the fbi was widely supportive of the president's move to dismiss comey. let's take a look at that. >> i can speak from my own personal experience. i we heard from countless members of the fbi that are greatf and thankful for the president's decision and i think we pay have to agree to disagree. i'm sure there are some people that are disappointed. but i certainly we heard from a large number of individuals and that just myself and i don't
even know that many people in the fbi. >> she doesn't know that many people in the fbi. there is a different picture emerging from different reporting venlg according to nbc the white house has abandoned the idea of president trump visiting fbi headquarters after being told he would not be greeted warmly. listen, this is a complicated story and i, my curiosity is what are people inside the fbi saying right now? how are they reacting to this? and is it just -- sit likely that the fbi agents are coming to comey's or being as critical as comey as huckabe-sanders is making him out to be, michael? >> well, in the past few weeks, even before this happened, we had spoken to dozens and dozens of work official, we talked about the clinton e-mail stuff and almost every single one of them, even if they disagreed
with mr. comey's judgment said they trusted his independence and they sort of admired him as the leader of the fbi. and there was really no feeling leak he should go. they actually sort of took pride in the fact that they had this director at a time at such a high profile investigation was going on that involved the white house and it was a director that was going to go out, speak publicly and was gentleman to have their backs. i find it very hard to believe a bunch of fbi agents called up the white house to thank them for happening. there was a report out there some fbi acts changed their facebook photos to this photo of comey that emerged him in his yard the other day. >> if you were a close associate of his, tell me what the reaction is that you have been hearing. >> you know, first of all the characterizations from the white house are utter nonsense. the fact of the matter is the support for jim comey was widespread. it was deep. it wasn't sort of or kind of or
qualified. it was absolute in the sense that they knew he would stand up for him. they knew that he would do the right things. even in those instances where there were questions about decision-making. for instance, after the e-mail, in the wake of the e-mail investigation. he went out to folks and explained the rationale behind the decision-making. it wasn't one person making that decision. it was a number of people involved, lawyers, investigators, analysts. when you would explain that, people would accept that. in terms of the support, in terms of the reaction inside the organization, it is widespread, but it's widespread disbelief. it's widespread disappointment, it's widespread shock. it's all about -- >> right. >> -- the support for jim comey. >> what about the idea that donald trump is threatening jim comey about threatening tapes. >> again, there were statements made in the media earlier today or yesterday about the president declined war on the fbi.
>> that means something to us. it's one of those situations where, it's not like it's the first time. there were a number of broad sides that have been delivered or fired at us over the past few months and they add up. it's one of those situations where folks are really, really upset about this. they're disappointed. >> i know, is the message get in line and if you don't get in line, i'm going to try to tear you down? >> i think there is an element of. that i think there is an element of trying to disrupt our sense of independence. but remember what andy mccabe said yesterday about what the men and women of the fbi will do in this circumstance? they'll just work harder. they'll do better. if there is a case to be made, they will make it. >> frank montoya, appreciate your exper teerks den de laneia and michael schmidt, thanks, guys. this week put republican lawmakers in a bind. is this a temporary setback or a sign of things to come? two heavy weights will debate
that. trump declined this week's cover story. one reporter will give us an inside blend of trump's white house. he's back. sean spicer took the podium in item for mellissa mccarthy to do her now prized infamous impression of him. here is a sneak peek. >> ♪ appeal charming ♪ oh, so charming? itself ♪ it's alarming how charming i feel ♪ ♪ i feel so pretty ♪ it's a pretty face, such a pretty thought such a pretty ♪ >> now we will all have that song in our heads for the rest of the show. >> that is, though the case of what "late night" is doing to take on trump's white house. finally the roundtable will wrap up the show by telling me something i don't know. this is "hardball" as chris said where the action is.
>> a mother of a daughter over the health care bill has gone viral after her congressman refused to see her. her daughter loretta has a liver problem that carries an out of pocket medication cost of $12,000 a month. before obamacare, insurers refused to cover the four-year-old. anderson was escorted from congressman patrick mchenry's office in north carolina who voted for the gop health care bill last week. take a look. >> making my child uninsurable. first thing, it's not her fault. it's not okay. if loretta doesn't have her medication, she will die. there are thousands of people like me who are watching their kids get sicker and sicker and we can't do anything about it.
and people are actively working against us to let our kids just be sick because they're a drain on the system. >> a spokesman for mchenry said says the deputy sheriff in the billing asked anderson to leave and the congressman's staff was fought involved in her removal from the premisings. we'll be right back.
>> welcome back too "hardball." it was only a week ago house republicans gathered with president trump at the white house to celebrate the pass annual of the health caring a. james comey threatened to de rail the house agaenda house republicans are demanding an independent investigation. take a look. >> in view of that repeat revelations and the firing of comey, are you about ready to call for an independent counsel and, if fought, what will it take? >> right now, i don't think we need and independent count sell.
there has been zero shred of everyday that the president, that there has been any collusion with russia. >> well, do you advocate for a special prosecutor to investigate trump's ties to russia? >> yeah, we have oversight committees in the house, in the senate. they're working their force. >> we need a bipartisan select committee to investigate this. when are you going to open your eyes? we all see it. why -- you don't see what's going on? you don't see it? when are you going to decide to be an american and not a politician? >> speaking to reporters in wisconsin today, house speaker paul ryan was asked to comment on the president's tweets about james comey. here's what he said. >> what are your thoughts about what the threatening tweets from the president directed to mr. comey. >> i decided i'm not going to tweet on the days tweets or the
hour. i will leave it to the president to talk about and defend on his tweets. you know what i'm focusing on, that's in my control. what is congress doing to solve people's problems. >> faulk narcotic. >> i've never given any thought to that. >> he's never given any thought to that. the congress care woman declares at the annual rnc spring meeting the state of the party is quote strong. but in a blistering op-ed in the "post" she says if trump is still around by november 2018, a thrashing at the polls may be the only thing to persuade republicans to walk away from trump. i am joined now with the author of that piece, jennifer, that article, that is one quote of many in that article. this is what many would call an epic takedown of republicans and what is going on in this white house. what circumstances do you see
and you outlined them, that the republicans are going to start walking away from trump, finding that their own self preservation is better than the preservation of the president? >> well, you would have thought that a confession in the interview with lester holt would have done it when he acknowledges that there is, therefore, the firing of the fbi director was not the stated reason but had to do with russia. you would think it was this morning when he, in fact, threatened the fbi director and hinted that there might be tapes in the white house. but they haven't broke yet. i think what we will see is a gradual drip, drip, trip of more and more information. we will hear from rod rosenstein next week. eventually, mr. comey will come forward. we know there is a grand jury empanelled regarding mr. flynn. eventually, there may be a body of information that comes out, that is so disturbing, but they may well not.
they may wait until 2018. i think they will get quite a thrashing. usually the party that has the white house loses seats. but if this is the clown show going on then they will lose a whole bunch of seats. >> do you agree with her, yesterday and today were setbacks for the gop? >> i think the biggest problems for the gop right now is what is going on with health care. they passed this health care bill out of the house. now they own health care. i think you saw that in the earlier story. i think that's a huge problem for the republicans. they've got to get the senate to pass a bill that is a lot better than what passed the house. >> john, how with they going to do that when the senate has to confirm an fbi director. the senate has to deal with the many controversy that come out of this white house. now they have democrats who see no reason whatsoever to work with them on anything? >> let me tell you this, the american people care more about the health care bill than they care about what happened with
the fib physical directbi direc. the number one thing for republicans is they have to figure out how to fix the health care bill. they can work with the fbi director later. they have to ask them right now. all this stuff with james comey is not nearly as important as getting to the agenda and fixing their problem with health care which they now own. >> speaking to members in a prerecorded video, president trump vowed to hit the cane trail for members of his party in the 2018 mid-terms. let's take a look. >> i will be going around to different state. i will be working harold for the people running for congress and for the people running for the senate. we can peck up a lot of seats, especially if it all keeps going like it's going now. >> especially if it all keeps going like it's going now. jennifer, is it going so well that the republicans are going to pick up seats? the reason i ask this is because there was so much talk before
the election how it was financial to be a complete slaughtering in the senate the democrats had a chance to take over the house, donald trump was never going to when the presidency. all of those expectations were completely moot come 10:00, 11:00 on election fight. is this the same circumstance where there is a lot of talk about all these controversies but it's not going to actually translate into democratic votes? >> well, we have a lifetime between now and november 18. what we snow that the democratic base is fully energized. what we know is people like john who are so professional, don't even want to talk about the comey disaster and obstruction of justice and all sorts of things, but, in fact, a large football of the american people -- a high percentage want some kind of independence investigation. so right now you have an energized democratic party. you have a republican party that has ethics issues, has policy issues as john acknowledges. that's generally the making of something that will look like a
waved election. i will not project anything in may, 2018, that will happen 18 months from now, right now, whose team would you rather be on, the republicans or the democrats in 2018? >> i'd rather be on the republican team. i point out, jennifer, throughout the campaign strongly expressed her dislike of president trump. she still has that strong dislike of president trump. that's fine, i appreciate where she's coming from. >> i'm a principle conservative. >> whatever, whatever jennifer, you got to change your mind. i get that. can i finish my point? can i finish my point? could i finish my point? >> yeah, go ahead, finish your point. >> my point is this, the number one thing that will drive this election is going to be the economy and if the economy is going strong, which i think we can expect, because it has been going strong, i think the republicans will do very well. if the economy falters and fails, then republicans will be in big trouble. which means they have to get to a policy agenda when it comes to
fixing our tax growth and getting to economic growth and keep tack growth. all this other stuff will be a blip on the screen. >> i don't agree with you if, if it turns out to be much more. if there is smoke, there is fire. we will see if that happens. appreciate your time. up next, we have a reporter from "time" magazine who sat down with donald trump for nearly two hours this week. the inside scoop, they have scoop because they actually talked about ice cream on the cover story straight ahead. this is "hardball," as chris says again why the action is. >>
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