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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  May 31, 2018 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT

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references. that's my ceiling. i am looking forward to it. that does it for our show. come back tomorrow, 6:00 p.m. eastern for a special fallback. meanwhile, "hardball" with chris matthews starts right now. obst. let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington with the russian investigation speeding forward now, there are new signs today that president trump may face the most immediate risk when it comes to potential obstruction of justice. tonight axios is reporting trump made multiple attempts to persuade attorney general jeff sessions to retake command of the russian investigation. after sessions recused himself in march of last year, president trump pressured him to reclaim control of it at least four separate occasions three times in person and once over the phone. according to ax yois, the
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sustained pressure made several officials uncomfortable because they viewed it as improper and worried it could be politically and legally problematic. as "the new york times" reported this week, trump's intervention with the attorney general is a key line of inquiry for the special counsel. the central question in the obstruction prescribe is why trump fired the man investigating his campaign. former fbi director james comey. last night, "the new york times" revealed former acting fbi director andrew mccabe took confidential notes about the circumstances of comey's firing. according to his account, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein "said the president originally asked him to reference russia in his memo used to justify comey's dismissal. the "times" reports to mr. mccabe that seemed like possible evidence that it was related to the fbi's investigation into the trump campaign's ties to russia.
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today the president tried to deny russia played any part in his decision to fire comey. "not that it matters, but i never fired james comey because of russia. the country mainstream media loves to keep pushing that narrative but know it's not true." however, there's now a preponderance of evidence out there showing just the opposite. one day after firing comey, the president held an oval office meeting with russian diplomats including some of the people under scrutiny by the fbi and described comey as a nutjob and told the russians i faced great pressure because of russia. that's taken off. then the next day he made this stunning public admission. >> but regardless of recommendation, i was going to fire comey. knowing there was no good time to do it. and in fact, when i decided to just do it, i said to myself, i said you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a
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madeup story. >> this russia thing. just this month, trump lawyer rudy giuliani acknowledged that comey was fired over the russia investigation because comey wouldn't follow trump's directive to publicly clear him. >> he fired comey because comey would not among other things, say that he wasn't a target of the investigation. he's entitled to that. hillary clinton got that. and he couldn't get that. >> joining me right now is julia ansley, justice reporter for nbc news, shannon pettypiece a white house reporter with bloomberg news and michael schmidt is the author of that report in the "new york times" and national security analyst. michael, put it in perspective. this pressure now being reported by your organization, by the "new york times" that president trump constantly kept pushing mr. jeff sessions, the attorney general he appointed to pull back on his recusal, to take over command of the investigation because he wanted his guy prosecuting him or not prosecuting him.
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how does it fit? >> to the president, the recusal is the original sin here. if he had not recused himself, rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, never would have appointed mueller. trump understands obviously the cloud that has cast over his administration. he holds sessions directly responsible for this. and while we are learning new things about what went on behind the scenes, the president has been very open about this in public. in july he said to us that he never would have made sessions his attorney general if he knew he was going to recuse himself. what we're learning about now is that the president continued to pressure him to do that, to actually go back on that decision. and take control of the investigation. the president has long wanted someone loyal to him to be in charge of this. he sees the person that runs the justice department as someone that should it be like a personal lawyer to him. and should it be extremely
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loyal. >> julia, did the president think rosenstein -- rather jeff sessions would do his bidding? did he think he would be like his roy coin, the fixer? >> it's a different relationship between the president and jeff sessions versus rosenstein. is he seize rod rosenstein has someone who served under the obama administration. >> a democrat. >> even though he also served under the bush administration. he sees sessions as someone who not only pushes the edge of conservative politics but someone who is one of his first major name endorsers on the campaign trail. he saw this as his guy he was putting in the justice department. if you're someone like donald trump who commands loyalty and might be entering the presidency with fears over what the intelligence community or justice department could get on you, that position is key. it may have factored into his decision to appoint jeff sessions to that spot and when he recused himself, he's putting blame there. i think he's putting the blame on the recusal when the original sin is firing comey. he doesn't want to blame
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himself. >> let me go on to this, shannon, here's the problem everybody watching understands. trump is not willing to tell the truth. he's willing to say it to the russians, willing to tell it for some reason to lester holt on nbc and when forced to acknowledge the importance of the fact that he fire this had guy comey over the russia investigation, he denies it today. he's up to that today. >> right. >> can he reas a the past? >> he said so many things around in that i think you can't believe anything that comes out of his mind, out of his mouth, i'm sorry. what mueller has which will help in his investigation in determining the intent is the interviews he has done and he has interviewed dozens of white house officials. he's interviewed multiple people in the general counsel's office, interviewed rosenstein. he's interviewed sessions. he has their notes, any notes that were taken either by people in the room as note takers or the principals. that's what he can use to figure out what the president's intent
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was. regardless of what the president said publicly or on twitter or in an interview with lester holt. potentially he would have an interview with the president where he could ask the president directly. then you go back to the issue of the president's credibility. >> all of that is true. he has a wealth of evidence now. i don't think we can discount the interview. obviously you're not discounting interview. it really, it was contemporaneous right around the time where comey was fired. it was right around the time he was meeting with russians in the oval office and talking how comey was a nutjob. >> this is in plain sighting with lester holt. >> it gives a window into his frame of mind at that point in time, not the polished trump. >> late last night, trump launched another attack on jeff sessions over his decision to recuse himself from the investigation and in doing so, he quoted joe digenova saying the recusal of jeff sessions was and you forced betrayal of the
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president of the united states. i'm looking at this thing, michael. i want all three of you to talk about it. it seems like an old polaroid film, you're watching this case develop right in front of us. it's hard to believe it's not going to be circled on the firing of comey or backed up by this constant effort to try to unrecuse mr. sessions. it seems like he's fixated on there. the only reason he's denying it today that he fired comey over the russia thing, the only reason is like the watergate people, they didn't know they were obstructing justice till they were told they were obstructing justice and realized they're committing felonies potentially and deny it. it seems like trump is only covering his tracks because he's been informed you're committing a crime all the time every time you pull this number. >> i'm not sure about that because the president knew as far as the middle of last summer there was an obstruction investigation. as these reports have come out about what he did with sessions it shows that he at least discussed it into the end of
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last year. so discussing it beyond that point. >> why did he tell lester i did it because of russia? >> you'd have to ask him. i think the questions to the russians in the oval office are even more to the point. talking about how the pressure was relieved on him because of that. and that is something that the mueller has a transcript of. the white house has handed over many different documents related to the questions of obstruction in this case, the transcript of the conversation there. the interesting thing about sessions is the fact that he has hung on as long as he has. congressional republicans especially republicans in the senate have said they will not confirm another attorney general. they rallied to sessions' side when trump tried to get him to resign in july. he's still around as is rosenstein and the fact that sessions has recused himself has taken him out of the position of having to deal with the investigation on a day-to-day basis, allowed him to pursue his conservative agenda and put rosenstein in the hot seat on all of these questions.
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>> you know, it seems to go so far away from the evidence we talk about here. you reporters cover the evidence. you really make the news with this evidence. and then giuliani and digenova and the rest of them all working for trump basically say no, it's not about evidence. it's about this lynch mob today they tried. last night, rudy giuliani repeated his demand that prosecutors give his client the subject of this investigation documents containing evidence from the investigation of him and his campaign. he wants all their evidence before the trial starts. he called the special counsel's prosecutors a lynch mob. watch him. >> i'm not going to let my client testify, the president of the united states, even if he wants to, without those documents being produced only if and when we find that this was handled appropriately and there's some evidence on which they could face this phony investigation will we have him
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testify. you've got a group there that's a lynching mob. let them do their job and boy, we're ready to knock the heck out of you with our report. >> joy, explain the use of that term. the last time i heard something like that was clarence thomas' hearings about anita hill and he said this is a hi-tech lynching. rudy giuliani is saying this about the president of the united states being the victim of a lynching mobbing. > i think he's trying to up the ante on the witch hunt thing. this is part of their strategy from the time that mueller was appointed we started hearing whisperings they said what can we do to undermine this investigation. they were going after credentials and getting in the weeds should he be allow to investigate people whose law firm is also representing and then they went for the jugular and went for politics and want to paint this as something republican/democrat. people coming after the president because they don't want him to be president, not people gather dg evidence in a
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serious criminal investigation. >> how can this not be obstruction of justice if the president tried to pick somebody like roy cohn and gets rid of the fbi director because he's investigating him, right? and then he continued to try to go after jeff sessions, his attorney general and say why didn't i get rid of you because you're supposed to protect me. you were supposed to obstruct justice for me. >> of course, he could ask, remove jeff sessions and put someone new in there. i mean, the congress has pretty much indicated they will not give you another attorney general if you do that and it would create a firestorm. if he wanted to, he could do that. one point about giuliani, someone who worked with him for a long time, right now he is acting as trump's lawyer defending his client with everything he's got. he's no longer an analyst of law enforcement. he's no longer a former prosecutor. he is a lawyer defending his client tooth and nail. so that's how we need to take
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his comments. >> on that point, michael, last word, question to you, how close are we to a collision to what looks to be the mounting evidence developed and the argument developed by robert mueller, how far are we from a collision between that evidence gathering and the president's determination not to respect this investigation itself? >> i think the biggest collision coming will be on the interview. they have been negotiating now for six months about this. and at a certain point, i think mueller is going to loss his patience. giuliani is saying all different types of things about the interview, about topics they will discuss one day, this won't discuss the next day. and i think it's hard to believe mueller doesn't look at this and think this is a stalling tactic. the question will be, does mueller want to go to court and subpoena the president. does he want to risk losing that battle and potentially giving the president a huge win on the question of the interview.
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remember, mueller wants to question the president about whether had he criminal intent when he fired comey. >> what's more likely that the president will give himself up to an interview with robert mueller or that kim jong-un is going to give up his nuclear weapons? >> i don't know. but there's actually an interesting question there. >> they're both questions are interesting. neither one look credible at this point. >> the thing about the -- that is that mueller is in an interesting position because if the president is coming into negotiations on the north korea issue and mueller wants to subpoena him, will mueller think twice and say do i want to put the president in this position leading up to such an important negotiation. it will be a political decision for him because there will be larger consequences because there will be some people who say this is what you're doing to the president at such a crucial time is unfair. >> ask him to cooperate, right? s an he's prepping for his meeting in singapore. >> yeah, i can see how that
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would be like michael says something he would consider. people who know mueller say he doesn't consider any of the politics but you have to consider timing. >> between now and the 12th. i don't think we'll have that interview before the 12th. >> we think the obstruction probe could wrap up by the end of the summer or early fall. the timing should work out. >> i think we'll know all about north korea before we know whether the president is going to answer questions. if he keeps answering the way he was today, he's going to perjure himself. he can't keep saying there was no connection when he said before there was. that's what perjury is. when you say one thing and another thing that's contradictory, that's when the judge catches you. julia, shannon, and michael. president trump pardoned dinesh d'souza. he's sending a message to flynn, cohen and manafort. he's staying strong and there's a pardon for you if you stay strong. that's the message from the president with his bouquet of
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pardons. >> plus, john boehner says there's no republican party left anymore. only a trump party. he says the republican party is off taking a no somewhere. maybe these guys ought to stand up to trump while they're still in office. what did president obama think when donald trump won the '16 election? an insider account for the first time of obama's surprising reaction. tonight with the "hardball" roundtable. finally let me finish tonight with the trump watch. this is "hardball" where the action is.
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♪ ♪ ♪ i love you baby applebee's 2 for $20, now with steak. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood. npr has published explosive audio recordings of president trump's long-time lawyer michael cohen threatening a reporter. the audio was taken during a 2015 interview between cohen and then "daily beast" reporter tim mack. at the time, mack had been working on a story about donald trump's ex-wife ivana trump's claim in a divorce deposition that trump had had once raped her. later clarified say she did not
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want the term to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense. here's cohen threatening the reporter with legal action. >> do you think that i'm misinterpreting some of the facts here? i know you are. listen, my friend. don't be a smart with me. >> i'm giving au opportunity. >> i know you. i don't need your opportunity. i know exactly who you are and what you do and i know exactly the story you plan on writing. tread very [ bleep ] lightly because what i'm going to do to you is going to be [ bleep ] disgusting. do you understand me? don't think you can hide behind your paper fwhats not going to happen. i'm more than happy to discuss with your attorneys and bush legal council but the mother [ bleep ] -- >> ted mack's going to be on the program tomorrow night. we'll be right back. at some point, we are going to be able to beat als.
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welcome back to "hardball." president trump's gantding a parredton conservative dinesh d'souza. he wrote we'll be giving a full pardon to him today. he was treated the very unfairly by our government. he pleaded 2k3w50e89d to campai guilty to campaign finance fraud. he promoted right wing conspiracy theories on twitter. of course, he did. this marks the fifth time trump has exercised his pardon power while in office. in addition trump pardoned former maricopa county sheriff joe arpaio. he also pardoned scooter libby convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury. kristin saucier, a former navy sailor convicted of illegally retaining defense information. and granted a posthumous pardon
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to long time boxing legend jack johnson. the last turn of the century for violating the jim control era law. i'm joined by seth waxman and jonathan capehart from the "washington post." gentlemen, thank you so much. seth, to you first. it seems he's bandying about this big bow cave pardons for one fat reason. i got something for you, michael cohen. just shut up. >> to me it couldn't be any more clear. is he hanging this out there sendsing a message to the people close to him that have been indicted or may be that if you stand tall for me, you stick by me, you don't point the finger at me or turn state's evidence, i've got a pardon and get out of jail free. stand tall. >> part of this is a bouquet of constituencies. jack johnson if he has a black studency. a lot of people follow boxing follow jack johnson. martha stewart is bandied about. she served her time.
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blagojovich, the former governor of illinois, he is sitting in prison after four or five years in a 14-year sentence. we'll have his lawyer on in a minute. what are these different elements? scooter libby, neo-con, anti-immigrant. sort of a nice bouquet there. also as seth said, promises a free ride out of town if you stick with me. >> there are several things happening. with blagojovich and martha stewart, these are two former folks on "celebrity apprentice," friends of the president. martha stewart. >> he's talking about doing this. >> right, right. martha stewart lied to federal authorities. blagojovich tried to sell a senate seat. corruption. basically, these folks represent things that are important to him. so michael cohen. >> m.o. matches up with his crowd. >> exactly. and the key thing here is, so he's telegraphing, not even
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telegraphing. he's bullhorning what he's doing and why he's doing it. but i think chris, the key hinge to remember here, you just showed five people who have gotten pardons. trump learned with the birther issue in 2011 that he could be as wild and as crazy as he wanted to be and no one in the republican establishment would say that he's wrong, would say that there is wrong. he's now pardoned five people. some people have said he's wrong but no one in the republican -- joe arpaio? >> he that right there should have been, that, should have lit this town on fire, lit the republican party on fire. and it didn't. and so for donald trump, the signal now is, well, i can pardon anyone i want. no one's going to say anything. so one day, maybe i will -- i will pardon michael cohen or my son or my son-in-law. >> i agree completely with what jaunt said. it's like a bugle call. the cavalry is coming. stick with the wagon train, the
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circle of wagons. what can stop the president from waiting for that precise moment when he thinks somebody's going to talk and spring him. >> i mean in my mind, it the only thing that can stop him is an obstruction of justice charge. there needs to be some limit to the pardon power. i understand that the executive. >> has there ever been a limit to it. >> it's never been decided by the supreme court or otherwise. >> has the court ever stopped the president from pardoning somebody. >> i don't think the issue's been raised. the idea the president can act with no check what soever is kind of speaks to a monarchy. >> he told reporters he's considering pardoning martha stewart. and pardoning or commute the sentence of the guy still in prison, the former governor of illinois. stewart was squikted of conspiracy, obstruction and making false statements to prosecutors. investigators rather. blagojovich was removed from office and convicted of public corruption charge including he
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tries to trade barack obama's senate seat after obama was elected president. he started serving a 14-year prison sentence in 2012. his attorney joins us now. we talked before we heard about this, why do you think the president is looking to your client to give him a pardon? why is that happening? >> i do not think it's political. i disagree with your last guest. i think it would be -- i think it would be an absolutely act of correcting an injustice. he does know blagojovich. that's true. and you know, the other thing as knowledgeable as your last guest was, it's not true he tried to sell the senate seat. he tried to make a political deal which had never been prosecuted before and was not illegal. that part of the case was thrown out. he's in prison for campaign fund-raising, his job. he never took a penny or enrich himself in many office. he's one of the few individuals prosecuted for purely political
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acts. he never took gifts and loans. he never took fancy trips. if he took his family on a campaign trip, he reimbursed the campaign fund. >> look, i think you got a good case. i've heard the arguments. we were talking about this before this came up. i think him serving 14 years is a serious problem. i've seen people for murder not getting 14 years. what would your client say? would your client apologize for what he did, express regret? do all the things you have to do in accepting a pardon if the president offers it? will he do it. >> absolutely he will. he's expressed regret for his behavior and the things he said. the but the fact is, blagojovich is a man that stands on his principles. he has said all along that he followed the rules as they were laid out by the supreme court. the government changed the rules on him in order to convict him. so you know, i think you have to hand it to president trump, if he has the courage to do the right thing. you know, president obama had an
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opportunity. >> let's move on. the governor been accept the pardon and do what is necessary to be eligible. that's the news from you. >> he's got two beautiful daughters at home that have been without their dad for six years. >> okay. >> for a man that has -- was only doing his job, was raising campaign funds and making political dees. as the appellate court said the deal over the senate seat was equivalent to what eisenhower did with earl warren which was considered a stroke of genius. you know, he was singled out for prosecution, under investigation for five years, chris. targeted early in his administration. >> we're going to have to move on. i think it's a argument by you. thank you. >> thank you for having me on. >> let's go back to the pardon thing. what does this say about our constitution that the president of the united states can obstruct justice by saying i'm going to pardon everybody in this case so they shut up. that's obstructing.
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>> i mean, it is in my mind. the pardon power can be used to rid people of criminal histories and crimes but can't be done in a way to obstruct justice. because mr. trump has been identified as a subject of this investigation, the people around him and close to him are in theory in that investigation that using that pardon power to get rid of that, soorks see that picture with ivanka? >> i think he's not going to let his kids go to the can and jared, too. >> jared i don't know. the kids. >> you're laughing. he doesn't care. >> maybe he does. i don't know. we're talking about donald trump. >> how about donald trump jr.? >> absolutely donald trump jr. i think the president will be a father and look out for him. but the son-in-law? i'm not convinced on that. look what, we're talking about here is a dereliction of constitutional duty by the other branch of government. by congress.
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and i mean, we're talking about norms and customs, we were talking just a moment ago before we went to governor blagojovich's lawyer about how you know, it's not settled whether the power of the parole of the of president. it used to be that there was processes and procedures that a president would have to go through. there's a person in the white house or in the doj whose seoul job it is to vet people for parole. what happened yesterday with dinesh d'souza from the reports i read, a three-minute phone call where the president says we've never met. i don't know you. you've been done and i justice. i'm pardoning you tomorrow. three minutes, a phone call. the president of the united states. such a powerful power he has. >> he does it with impunity. thank you. it was a perk. the pardon is a perk. thank you, jonathan and seth. up next, former house speaker john boehner drops a big one tonight. he said there's no longer a
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republican party. just a trump party. he said the real cop was off taking a nap. i think he was having a bloody mary earlier in the day when he said this. he did say it. that's a morning drink. he said the republicans seem comfortable taking on trump. they don't unless they're safely headed out of washington. isn't that the pattern? only with the door slamming them from behind do they tell the truth about their president? this is "hardball" where the action is. about your brokerage fees. fees? what did you have in mind? i don't know. $4.95 per trade? uhhh and i was wondering if your brokerage offers some sort of guarantee? guarantee? where we can get our fees and commissions back if we're not happy. so can you offer me what schwab is offering? what's with all the questions? ask your broker if they're offering $4.95 online equity trades and a satisfaction guarantee. if you don't like their answer, ask again at schwab.
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i want to talk to you about what's happened with the republican party. >> there is no republican party. there's a trump party. the republican party has kind of taken a nap somewhere. >> that is a bloody mary sitting there. that was former speaker of the house john boehner today conceding donald trump has orchestrated a hostile takeover of the republican party. according to former speaker boehner, trump is the most unusual person ever elected president and even while calling him a friend, boehner questioned trump's fitness to be president. let's watch and hear. >> donald trump who i know well was one of my supporters when i was speaker, i was having a rough week. trump would call me, pat me on the back, cheer me up. we played a lot of golf together. but president, really? i never quite saw this. the two most surprised people in the entire world that night were
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hillary clinton and donald trump. hillary clinton thought she was going to win, donald trump thought he was going to lose. >> you know, you get the truth out of these guys when it's over. i'm joined by michael, spokesman for speaker boehner. what do you make of the former speaker? i like the guy. everybody likes him. he's an approachable person. why is the truth coming out so clearly now whether he will he to keep it secret before. >> he doesn't have to say what he just said. >> he was not speaker under president trump. that would not have overlapped. he's watching the president on trade, on entitlement reform, on the debt and deficit walk away from central pillars of the republican party that defined boehner's legacy as speaker. >> handwritten notes. what is the republican party position under trump on trade? >> it depends. there is a republican party. >> is it a protectionist or free trade party. >> the party is split on that. >> where is the party now on
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federal deficits. >> a wing of the republican party is very concerned. the president himself is not. >> where are they on law enforcement, the law and order party on the fbi? they seem to be against the fbi. >> republicans continue to support law enforcement. >> meghan mccain criticized trump today for his attacks on her father john mccain. let's watch. >> there's a huge fracture in the party between trump supporters and nontrump supporters. since the beginning of trump's campaign, there have been extremely personal attacks on my family, on my father that everybody knows about. happened just recently. i don't like talking about my dad all the time but he deeps being brought up in a rally last weekend. there were booze elicited by president trump at the rally. >> meghan mccain was referring to there rally in nashville tuesday when trump brought up mccain's vote opposing a republican effort to repeal the affordable care act like summer. the crowd booed. let's watch. >> we had it done, folks.
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it was done and then early in the morning, somebody turned their hand in the wrong direction. that cost our country a lot. >> you know, i look at, i voted for a few republicans in my life, not many of them. a few over the years. i don't think of trump being a republican. i think more of as a new york democrat with crazy attitudes with what his job now. i think of mccain as a classic republican. >> he's an american patriot. a hero. these attacks on him whatever you think about his vote on repealing the affordable care act, he is someone who has given his life to service in this country and doesn't deserve this kind of reprehensible attack. >> why is he getting it. >> the president who did not serve in vietnam may resent the fact that this man has given his life in service to the country and doesn't appreciate it the way he should. >> i've got you here. we've always thought what happened with obama whether he he was president and i liked
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obama, of course, and john boehner would meet him at the white house and they would sit down and cut a deal. by the time boehner got in the car on the way out of the white house he got a call from his chief of staff saying the freedom caucus is going to kill you on this and that's why nothing got done. >> what happened on the fiscal stuff is that president obama would feel it necessary to share it with senator reed. he would feel it necessary to tell schumer. schumer would feel it necessary to tell "the new york times." that chain of events. >> why did they do it. >> because they were the leaders of the party and the senate. he expected him to vote for whatever compromise he got to. he felt they had to be informed. >> they were blowing the deal by putting it out that way. >> they were worried about re-electing democratic senators not about obama's legacy or the fiscal legacy. >> that's an attack on the democratic party's lack of cohesion. it sounds familiar. up next, a look at what president obama thought following trump's victory in
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'16. what is it that obama thinks he may have gotten wrong? this is fascinating coming out right now. that's next with the "hardball" roundtable. you're watching "hardball." i'm dianne feinstein and i approve this message.
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everybody is sad when their side loses an election. but the day after, we have to remember that we're actually on on one team. this is an intermural scrimmage. we're not democrats first, we're not republicans first. we are americans first. we're patriots first. we all want what's best for this country. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was president obama the day after donald trump won that 2016 presidential election. and according to "the new york times" in the weeks after mr. trump's election, mr. obama went through multiple emotional stages. according to a new book by his long time adviser ben rhodes, at
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times the departing president took the long view. at other points he called mr. trump a cartoon figure who cares more about his crowd size than any particular policy. and he expressed rare an self-doubt wondering whether he had misjudged his own influence on american history. "the new york times" reports that obama and his team were confident that mrs. clinton would win and like much of the country were shocked when she did not. president obama asked his aides after the election what, if we were wrong? maybe we pushed too far? maybe people just want to fall back into their tribe. after his aides reassured him, he said sometimes i wonder whether i was 10 or 20 years too early. let's bring in tonight's "hardball" roundtable. a great question tonight. susan page from "usa today." jason johnson, politics editor at and political contributor. edward sigh acdelver, politico's
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chief washington correspondent. i want to look at it from one direction. this president dismayed. his election dismayed someone like president obama. was there the self-analysis, a sense maybe i didn't read the country because obama read this country beautifully in '08 and now we were tired of a dim witted president and sick of the war and wanted somebody to rejoin the community of nations. all those things trump was wrong on -- bush was wrong on, w was and obama was right about. by 2016, did he lose his sense of the american mood? >> i think to some degree he did but he had a lot of company in that in losing some of that touch and not having a sense of. >> -- we turned off the he globalism and sophistication. >> we're a divided nation in a weigh probably haven't been in some time because you have the obama side of the electorate that felt good about the
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direction obama was going and you had a big reaction to obama that opened the door for trump. >> jason? >> there's coat tails and having a forklift and bringing somebody over the line. obama didn't misread the american public. hillary clinton won by 3 million votes. he misreid how people felt about her. >> we all did. >> i think people misunderstood how much she was disliked. >> that was a quiet dislike in some cases or else we would have measured it in states like pennsylvania which i said to the very end, i said at the end, you're never going to break the blue wall of pennsylvania. >> you're not the only one. >> something happened up there. let me ask you about, we know the ethnic thing in this country the racial thing. we're all the same race but that sounds too liberal to say that. i believe it. i honestly believe it. so there american identity, we didn't like the metric system. we would never want to use the euro. there is something american about america. was that what helped trump the
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okay nationalism, not bad nationalism? was trump right about that and hillary and obama wrong about that. >> we can go through so many reasons this is why trump won. part of it is that hillary was a bad candidate and obama misread what is going on and pushed on things not clicking in the country. i remember the day after the election obama aides saying to me everybody should look at his own popularity numbers even though hillary lost the election. if the polls were wrong about hillary's election and the fact she was going to win, they maybe were off a little bit about obama's popularity. and. >> people get tired of people. everybody knows things. >> if you go back and look. >> sit-coms last about four years. i don't care how good they are. then people say i don't want to watch anymore. >> the cosby show got to youed up by roseanne. we do see this in america this retrenchment of attitudes and beliefs. a lot of americans believe, not
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the majority of them, believe that donald trump was a showman and he wouldn't be this bad. they thought he was a good gamble for this country. it turns out he's an authoritarian monster. >> i love your bottom line. according to "new york times," few moments shook mr. obama more than the decision by voters to replace him with a candidate hop had questioned his very birth. inning over power to someone determined to tear down all he accomplished mr. obama alluded to the godfather, i feel like michael corleoneny. he thought hillary would take over, now he's going to stay in and defend himself. >> he knew hillary clinton would build on his legacy. he did not fully understand how donald trump would be devoted to tearing it down. >> point by point. >> point by point. >> wants to get rid of the. >> iran deal. >> climate agreement in paris, the iranian deal, obamacare. everything. >> it's and i mating principle for donald trump to tear down what it was president obama set up.
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>> even his nationality. he claims he's an illegal immigrant. >> it's natural after eight years of one party for us to change. we rarely elect the same party for a third term. the nominee for the other party turned out to be so different from the incumbent. >> the real thing bothering obama when it comes to the legacy is donald trump has been so effective at going at some of these things, the paris agreement, the iran deal. there was a sense within the obama white house during the republican primary that even if trump won, he was not -- he wouldn't be able to do all of this. and that there wouldn't be as much going along with him as there has been. >> eisenhower didn't get rited of new deal. anyway, a program note, ben rhodes will be the guy who wrote this book, will be a guest on "hardball" next thursday for the release of his new book "the world as it is, a memoir of the obama white house." an inside look at the obama world when they were running the show. up next, three of them will tell me something i don't know. each one of them.
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on different planets an apparently. we looks at all the ads for house candidates running on tv. number one issue for democrats health care. number one issue for republicans immigration. and those top issues don't even appear on the list of top issues for the other party. >> i hear it's pelosi on the republican side. they're just banging into her. >> not true. the number one -- it's immigration, taxes and it's pro-trump. >> whoa. jason? >> chris, as you know, conventional which is ohio is the bellwether state for this country. now they're getting too much like washington, d.c. the ohio house which has a super majority of republicans hasn't had a speaker for six weeks. he resigned in the midst of an investigation into kickbacks. democrats are waiting for them to do their firing squad. if the republicans lose some of their majority, it's a bad sign. >> and isn't it wonderful that graft still lives?
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this ben rhodes book every word is sanction bid obama. rhodes is still on staff for obama. number two, we're going to see a lot of obama as he gets on the campaign trail and he'll be making some of the arguments himself. probably not directly at trump in the way he has avoided for the last year. >> thank you so much. thank you. when we return, let me finish tonight with trump watch. he's not going to like tonight. you're watching "hardball." delivery should look like this. crisp leaves of lettuce, freshly-made dressing. clean food that looks this good,
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trump watch, thursday may 31st, 2018. he sands before us brandishing a handful of pardons reminding us of a souter holding a bouquet of roses. he wants all of us, friend, critic, whatever to know he is generous with his favor. stick with him and whatever your legal troubles he will set you free. this is president trump. standing at the door of this entire world of investigation and likely prosecution. and what a way to make friends and influence people. pardoned arpaio, it loves the immigrant crowd. pardon scooter libby, pardon dinesh d'souza who had talked about obama being influenced by a kenyan colonial attitude. you can let all those people know you've got a real goodie waiting for them. you will set them free. not the truth. you donald trump will set them free as long as they don't tell the truth.
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that's what's that man standing out there holding that bouquet of pardons saying, hang tough, don't squeal on me. when the right time comes, i'll have you squealing with the light. you'll be free and i'll be home free. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. >> tonight on "all in." >> i said to myself, i said you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a madeup story. >> as the president tries to rewrite history. >> the attorney general made a terrible mistake. >> tonight, new reporting on the president's personal behind the scenes pressure campaign to get jeff sessions to take over the russia probe. and investigate hillary clinton. >> for what she's done, they should lockler up. >> then how the president's series of pardons lays the groundwork for pardoning his own campaign. >> i've got this thing and it's gold. >> and the president's attorney