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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  December 15, 2018 4:00pm-5:00pm PST

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point where jared kushner would be in the running to be a chief of staff in the white house. that's one thing we've talked about this week. no one else seems to want the job. chris christie turned it down today. is donald trump ever going to have another chief of staff? >> if it is jared we can make the joke he went to jared. >> there's only been one chief of staff of donald trump. it's donald trump. it doesn't matter who he appoints. >> i was just going to say who cares, doesn't matter. >> that's a good friday sentiment to bring us out of this show. this is the who cares hour on msnbc. that does it for this hour. i'm john heilemann in for nicole wallace who will be back next week. citizen cohen. let's play "hardball."
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good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. we begin tonight with two big developments from two critical witnesses in the robert mueller investigation. first there is president trump's former fixer michael cohen. a man who once said he would take a bullet for donald trumps speaking out. this time he says for the country. in his first interview since being sentenced to three years in federal prison cohen told abc news trump was aware of hush money payment made to karen mcdougal and stormy daniels and he personally directed those payments. >> he directed me to make the payments. he directed me to become involved in these matters. including the one with mcdougal which is really between him and david pecker and then david pecker's counsel. i just reviewed the documents in order to protect him. i gave loyalty to someone who truthfully does not deserve loyalty. >> he was trying to hide what you were doing, correct? >> correct. >> and he knew it was wrong? >> of course.
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>> and he was doing that to help his election? >> you have to remember at what point in time that this matter came about, two weeks or so before the election, post the billy bush comments. so, yes, he was very concerned about how this would affect the election. >> to help his campaign? >> to help him and the campaign. >> he's talking to george stephanopoulos. this is as nbc news confirms trump was in the room during the august 25th meeting with cohen and "national enquirer" chief executive and close trump friend david pecker during the hush money discussions. cohen said he is done being loyal to trump and done lying but the president is not done lying. let's listen. >> the special counsel did say that you were doing your best to tell the truth about everything related to their investigation, everything related to russia.
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do you think president trump is telling the truth about that? >> no. >> and are you still cooperating? >> if they want me i'm here and willing to answer whatever additional questions they may have for me. >> so you are saying there are certain areas you can't get into because you are still cooperating with them. >> correct. and out of respect for process. >> and robert mueller issued a rebuke of another cooperating witness in his probe, former national security adviser michael flynn. he will be sentenced next week after pleading guilty to lying to the fbi about contacts with the russian ambassador. in a court filing this week, flynn's lawyers noted that he was interviewed without a lawyer and wasn't told that lying to the fbi was a crime. in a memo to the court mueller's team argued agents followed protocol, arguing nothing about the way the interview was arranged or conducted caused the defendant to make false statements to the fbi and flynn -- chose to make false
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statements about his communications with the russian ambassador weeks before the interview. when he lied about that topic to the media,the incoming vice president and the other members of the presidential transition team. for more i'm joined by texas congress woman sheila jackson lee and former fbi official frank figliuzzi. i want to start with the law, frank. this guy is not a perfect witness but he resembles to me, he reminds me of john dean in watergate. nobody likes john dean but he had a great memory and it turned out he was telling the truth and they proved out with the tapes from the white house. dean had nixon nailed. tell me about this guy, i'm calling citizen cohen. >> so first, people need to understand that the feds don't make criminal cases on the backs of boy scouts and sunday school teachers. they flip people who have committed crimes and have information of value. for whatever reason those people who have information of value decide and become motivated to
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do the right thing and help out. so in my opinion, while we're all focused on cohen's tremendous value to the southern district of new york case and the payments to women and all of that illegal structuring of those payments, even perhaps placing trump in the room with david pecker from ami and cohen when that cram -- criminal act or acts were discussed. i think the value of cohen will play out over the years and his history -- the history will shape his legacy and that will be his cooperation with mueller. don't forget, mueller issued a filing saying that cohen has provided significant assistance at the core of the russian inquiry. ultimately while we're all focused on a felony right now and sdny and possible impeachment implications, i don't think the senate, two-thirds of the senate, will bite on that. i think what will turn the tide is the russian case and cohen's help with that, corroborating
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what mueller has, is critical to that. congresswoman talk about that. because you're on the judiciary committee but well informed on foreign policy. tell me how you think the russian piece of this as cohen continues to talk as he's in prison for three years and keeps talking about the russia piece. >> well, chris, as you well know, the mueller investigation started on the russian piece. it started on the question of how much the russians interfered with the 2016 election. so the remarks are accurate. it is the pinnacle, if you will. but what surrounds the pinnacle is all of the other additions of bad behavior by the president of the united states now confirmed by his counsel mr. cohen, citizen cohen. we want the mueller report to be finished to trace the dots as to the relationship between the meeting held in trump tower, the claim to want dirt on hillary
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clinton, and how that impacted the campaign. but at the same time, mr. cohen has indicated mr. trump was in a meeting dealing with david pecker to make sure you catch and kill right before the election. so i would say the mueller report is a top of the mountain. but what mr. cohen has brought about reinforced the president's continuous ability to lie. >> i think that is well said. let me ask you, jason. because what i like about cohen's testimony there -- actually conversations with george stephanopoulos who got him to talk. i thought it was interesting, we know it is about the election and a campaign expenditure and the $130 and the $150 to pay for the women's silence was a campaign event and an expenditure because it occurred after the "access hollywood" -- tape and when he was in doo doo and he says these things about women that he pays them off with impunity. >> and that he gets other people to help him pay those people off with impunity.
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what i thought was interesting about what cohen had to say, there is only one small slither of a way and white house tried to pull this off of suggesting we knew it was wrong. the only way the president could weasel out is to say i knew it was wrong but i didn't know it was illegal. and cohen could say he knew it was illegal and wrong. so the president is surrounded by people more than capable of telling him he was breaking the law and he directed them to break the law anyway, if you believe michael cohen's testimony. >> and that is why you hire a lawyer. and since the sentence, president trump and his republican alleys have -- allies argue that cohen shouldn't be believed. >> i get back to the fact that cohen is a liar and i don't draw conclusions when somebody lies to congress. >> this is someone who surreptitiously recorded you and is now known as a criminal liar.
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>> terrible. >> and yet this is someone in your inner circle. >> look, it happens. i hire usually good people. but it just happened. >> the fact that you are giving credence to someone who is a convicted -- >> special counsel has it in the court documents. >> he is a self admitted liar. you all know that. >> and senator grassley and this is flackery. when you have nothing to say except the boss said this, ditto. and here is how michael cohen rebutted those claims today. >> so why should we believe you now? >> because the special counsel stated emphatically that the information that i gave to them was credible and helpful. there is a substantial amount of information that they possess that corroborates the fact that i am telling the truth. >> frank, go over that again about how people who flip are not the most pleasant people because they are flipping for a reason, for self preservation and yet when is the green light go on and you say i believe him now?
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>> well, when there is corroboration. your viewers should know that nothing is brought on -- in terms of charges on the word of one person. right. there is a massive investigation. there is corroboration. and i think that is really cohen's value, to corroborate what is already known, fill in some of the blanks that other people have shared and then it all comes together and you have that human -- that human face put to it by michael cohen. don't forget, when it comes to russia, there is classified intelligence. there are human sources, and technical sources, what mueller needs is someone to come into the room and go, yeah, that is right. i was there for that or i heard that talked about. that helps tremendously and that is what his value is. >> why did -- i know george stephanopoulos asked if he would keep lying about russia and they left it at that. why would he be hesitant to say what the president is lying about in particular on russia?
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>> well, first, i think he is respecting the process. i think he's been read the riot act by the special counsel team that he should not -- and quite frankly even this interview with abc is probably problematic and causing some consternation. but he doesn't want to spill what he knows, what he doesn't know. remember, he's going to prison for three years. at some point he may decide he's had enough of the inside of a cell and needs to come forward even more and cooperate even more and i think he's trying to figure out what his role is going to be and when that will happen. >> congressman, you're very high ranking on the house judiciary committee as you come in with jerry nadler as chair and you are two or three down. do you think you'll be -- as member -- i know you can't make the call but do you expect to call cohen as a witness up there on the hill? >> i think we absolutely need to have mr. cohen as a witness. already some of the committees have made invitations. i expect the judiciary committee will likely consider doing the same. but let me also speak to the
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point of director mueller and his investigation. his silence is golden. his silence is only evidence by the patter of feet into the courtroom and the sound of the gavel saying guilty. he's not going to be talking about what cohen has given him, what flynn gave, except for flynn's great missteps today. he's only going to make sounds by the constant indictments. and therefore cohen is going to be vital in affirming meetings, along with -- remember now, the enormous amount of tapes that were taken from michael cohen's law office. they are still going through. so i can imagine, like john dean, that final tape that ultimately got richard nixon to resign, there may be that smoking gun tape. and mueller doesn't want to blow it. he wants to give us a report that congress will have the responsibility to do its duty.
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i hope my republican friends will begin to see the red, white and blue flag before they see the party flag. >> well, that is june 23rd tape where you had nixon ordering the fbi to pull back from a case because of the cia operation. any way, president trump and kellyanne conway are defending trump's alleged role in directing cohen in the hush money payments by arguing they weren't a crime. let's watch this flackery. >> michael cohen pled guilty to something that is not even a crime. wait a minute. these are campaign -- nobody except for me would be looked at like this. nobody. >> you have federal election commissioners, former ones and you have people who are election law experts saying that just because people who said they were asked to commit a crime here, there is not a crime. one guy said today that michael cohen pled guilty to something that is not a crime. >> the problem they face here, the trump finds is that david pecker said it is a crime. >> david pecker -- >> and michael cohen and his
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lawyer said he was committing a crime. >> they told him it was a crime. and ask john edwards. it is not like we don't have a precedent for people being investigated. john edwards got investigated under the obama administration for this kind of behavior. so the president can't claim that he doesn't know how this operates today. >> i think it put it together, the circumstance of the -- i've said this before. as we say in washington, what goes around comes around. that "access hollywood" tape of trump put away billy bush's job and trump got through it but he continues to chase him because that is what he was covering up, that misbehavior. >> and he knows perfectly well -- this isn't the ome time. these are the two people we've heard about. who knows how much catch and kill -- >> have to go back to the congresswoman for the last question of this segment. you have texas colleagues or republicans more than you like. your surrounded by republicans. when do you sense that they will crack, like they did with nixon? >> well first of all, chris, the judiciary committee is going to
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be moving forward on basic fact-finding just because we have the responsibility to do so. mr. cohen will be part of it. some other actors in this process will be part of it. trying to build toward understanding more of what occurred both in the campaign finance violations and certainly in matters that are constitutional that don't believe or are not a impeachment inquiry per se. but what i would say to my colleagues and when they might crack is, again, there is such a long litany of the lies that the white house has told, there are so many actors that have already been indicted. there are companies indicted that have surrounded the trump russian operatives that have been indicted that surrounded the trump campaign. they did the democratic hacking. and the only thing i would say is to do a little reading, find that final smoking gun that i truly believe among the tapes that mr. cohen has, that mueller is now reviewing and i think that that is going to be the step that will move us toward
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making a decision to respond to the american people and that is to hold those accountable that have broken the law. that is a simple premise. it is not witch hunting or partisan politics. it is holding them accountable and making sure that the white house and the presidency is held with great integrity. >> well said. thank you all. what an important program tonight. u.s. congress woman sheila jackson of texas and jason johnson. zbr . coming up, six trump operations are under criminal campaign now, the trump campaign, the inauguration, the administration, the organization and the foundation. how dangerous with all these investigations coming from six directions? plus, following weeks of voter fraud allegations in that race in north carolina's ninth congressional, democrats and republicans face the possibility now of a doover for the primary
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as well as the general. and celebrity apprentice chief of staff edition, after a chaotic search for number one, trump announced via twitter tonight that mick mulvaney, the current director of the office of management and budget will become his -- catch this -- his acting chief of staff. isn't that redundant. they're all acting. and a moral echo of what happened on this day six years ago and we must remember it. this is "hardball," where the action is.
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welcome back to "hardball." the president is ending the week under siege fighting a war on multiple fronts. we know there are six, six operations connected to the president under investigation. the trump campaign, the trump transition team, the trump inauguration, the trump administration, the trump organization, and the trump
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foundation. all under criminal scrutiny. the six pack of investigations are said to include a number of alleged illegal activities like campaign finance violations, accounting fraud, tax fraud, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and lying to the fbi. four people linked to the trump campaign itself have already been indicted by the special counsel. and one of mueller's key operating witnesses michael cohen told abc's george stephanopoulos today that nothing happened in the trump organization without the ceo -- that is donald trump himself, knowing about it. so the fish rots from the head. let's watch. >> he's saying very clearly that he never directed you to do anything wrong. is that true? >> i don't think there is anybody that believes that. first of all, nothing at the trump organization was ever done unless it involved mr. trump. >> mr. trump. even now he dignifies this.
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the number of investigations -- i want to go to the trump whisperer. david, is this guy a multitask like the great bill clinton was able to worry about monica at the same time he was doing the health care thing. has he got the kind of temperament to handle six investigations, what we call a six pack of problems? >> no. donald is not a high energy person. you know that because he denounces other people as being low energy people. and this is going to distract him a great deal. he's going to put a lot of effort to figure out how to distract other people and muddy the waters and try to delegitimize this investigation and it is going to grow well beyond these six. i think we should start thinking about the shoes that will drop and that robert mueller is a legal centipede.
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>> julia, what do you think of -- objectively, if there is a objective role, six investigations. only one or two have to make it through the line. he doesn't need to be impeached six times. one would be enough. >> even if he doesn't get impeached, it sure doesn't look good. if you remember the republican national convention and how everybody including rudy giuliani and donald trump were banging on about law and order and they are the party of law and order and it doesn't look like it now. >> and he also said -- what it would be like if hillary won. >> right. i think it was going to be a bad four years any way. but, yeah, this is -- seems unprecedented. >> gene, i don't know how many lawyers he has, but he needs a team of lawyers for each six fronts. >> we're way beyond look good or bad at this point. for all but the most dedicated trump base and then there are people for whom he can still do no wrong and being persecuted
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and he feeds this sort of narrative and there are people who buy it. but everybody else, i think, is getting a portrait, this mosaic that paints a really ugly picture of this guy and the way he does business and the people around him. and it is going to fill in and it will be become clearer and clearer and unavoidable. and no, he doesn't have enough lawyers. he doesn't have enough lawyers in the white house counsel office. he has his outside counsel of uneven quality, shall we say. with rudy giuliani is one of them. >> when does he start selling the boats and furniture to pay for these guys. throughout the campaign trump warned voters that if she were elected, hillary clinton would be under investigation for a long, long time. let's watch and listen. >> if hillary clinton were to be elected it would create an unprecedented and protracted constitutional crisis.
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haven't we just been through a lot with the clintons. >> hillary has engaged in a criminal massive enterprise and cover-ups like probably nobody ever before. >> her current scandals and controversy will continue throughout her presidency and we will make it -- honestly, look, it is virtually impossible for her to govern. >> hillary clinton will be under investigation for a long, long time. for her many crimes against our nation and our people and our democracy. likely concluding in a criminal trial. >> what do you think of that, joey? it seems like that all of the -- and there is asymmetry here. all the right had to do is pound the table and say words like whitewater which nothing was there or benghazi and nothing was there but they say the word over and over again, it meant something to them. >> and e-mails, remember. >> where is the crimes here.
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>> what i think is ironic is that as the same day that you had news breaking that there is a federal investigation into trump's inaugural committee, the hill -- republicans on the hill are still having hearings about the clinton foundation. it is beyond ironic. >> let me ask you, david, about the way he does business. we heard from michael cohen tonight. everything went through mr. trump. it is mr. trump. he's the big man. he's the boss. everything goes through him. now he has the problem of everything will be blamed appropriately on him. you can't say well some underling did it or some lawyer did it and the big shot approved everything. that is a problem for him in the courtroom. >> in the courtroom it is a big problem but in the public sphere donald will do what he's always done and say other people made mistakes and didn't follow the directions or didn't know they
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were doing that, in an effort to evade responsibility. remember, this is a guy in the past beat four federal grand juries and got out of some other legal trouble by ratting out other people. those options are no longer open to him. >> who has he got in the room with him. i ask who is in the room? gene, does anybody have reporting? you have colleagues and always watching the white house. i don't hear any other voice -- rudy. that is about it and i'm not sure he's in the room with him. >> there are -- there are some friends, acquaintances from new york who are in touch with him, but i don't think they're necessarily in the bunker with him. they call and give -- i know one person i'm thinking of who calls and gives advice that the president doesn't follow. but keeps that line of communication opens in case maybe he'll take the advice. >> it is a nice place living upstairs in the white house. i've been up there once with president first bush and if you
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are up there all alone and just melania with him -- >> and ivanka -- >> give me a break. >> and "fox and friends." >> he calls up fox. >> that is who he watches, that is where he gets his information from. and giuliani is not there. he's in the gulf drumming up business. >> the gulf. >> the gulf. >> out there somewhere. >> when i -- what i have heard is that at times when he's really freaking out about this and in a rage, really ivanka is the only person who can talk to him. so i think you'd have to say she's inside. she can go in and sort of calm him down. >> but where is the value added? >> oh, i don't think there is. >> that is what i mean. you want somebody around who thinks differently than you and smarter than you. >> and objectively jared and
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ivanka's advice has been 100% wrong or bad. >> get yourself a good tact is before you have bigger problems and deal with it now and i don't know -- he has six problems on his back. what a weekend he's got. joey and eugene and david, thank you. up next, after weeks of voter fraud allegations and unresolved midterm race in north carolina is still unsolved. democrats and republicans are planning for a do-over because nobody -- well the winner doesn't look too clean, does he? this is "hardball" where the action is. - [narrator] the typical vacuum head has its limitations, so shark invented duo clean.
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welcome back to "hardball." it is five weeks since the midterm elections but the race for north carolina ninth congressional district is still undecided. the board of elections is investigating allegations of absentee ballot tampering on behalf of republican mark harris who appeared to defeat his challenger dan mccready by a slim margin. a political operative working for harris has been linked to past election fraud allegations and in the interview today harris confirmed reports it was his decision to hire douse for the campaign but at no time did he think he was doing anything illegal. well the state board of elections must decide if a new election is necessary. the republican controlled legislature in north carolina passed a bill that would require a new primary election giving republicans a chance to run a different candidate other than harris. for more i'm joined by wayne
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goodman, the chair of the north carolina democratic party. thank you for joining us. this is a tricky situation. but i have to ask you, have you ever heard of this gimmick where you -- you write in for a sample ballot for people that don't know what is going on and show up at their house and ask for the ballot. have you heard of this harvesting operation before? >> no, this is a new thing to me. and i'll tell you, this is a disaster for democracy and a disaster for the republicans in the ninth congressional district this is a new one. we are in unchartered territory. >> do you know if the republican organization was behind this particular act of betraying the rights of voters by harvesting if you will, grabbing their absentee ballot and filling it out themselves or destroying if they don't like how it was filled out? >> well day by day, we hear more and more -- evidence drip by drip and this mccray dallas was worked for republican candidates for years and his criminal background and the other misbehavior and activity of his like this goes back many
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election cycles. mark harris should have known. and for him to finally admit he hired this fellow despite that, that is quite an admission. >> what do you make of the idea of paying a guy a bounty on the basis of how many absentee ballots he could bring in successfully. he's not paying to vote or walk around money, this is paid for results and not efforts in an election. i never heard of that before. you get paid by bringing in the vote and that means you will bring it in and this guy has brought in like 97% returns on that situation. >> this behavior, the statistics alone show that it is impossible for it to happen without some sort of criminal activity and the word now is that he pocketed 800 ballots he was holding on to once he heard what the vote totals were from absentee ballots. needs to answer for that.
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we need to know what did -- what did mr. harris know and now he's a toxic candidate for the republican party. >> what do you think about having a general election and a primary election so the republicans can get rid of this guy you call toxic? as a candidate? >> originally the republican-led legislature didn't want to have a new primary but after a photograph emerged of mr. dallas being tied to the hip literally side-by-side with mr. harris, it popped into a piece of legislation that passed. that is an admission by the state republican party here in north carolina that mr. harris is a toxic candidate and they're looking for somebody else. that is an admission. >> if harris knew about this hanky panky and this corruption and stealing of votes, should he go to jail? >> somebody is going to jail. i don't know exactly what mr. harris knew specifically -- >> but if he knew. >> if he knew, and if he directed it, then i do believe law enforcement authorities should question him.
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but i'll tell you, we must have this evidentiary hearing and it is set now for early january and we will know a lot more then than now. but mr. harris has a lot of questions to answer and i believe mark harris is in trouble and certainly mccray dallas is in trouble. somebody is going to jail. >> is this good government for north carolina, to do over the primary and the general without mr. dallas involved. won't that be a good result for your state? >> well, we want to have an election that is free and fair where we know the truth and that the results reflect the voices of the voters. and of course i've said as the chair of the north carolina democratic party we needed a new election from the get-go and the election rigging and tampering goes much deeper than that and this is fraud and if the authorities believe there needs to be a primary, then so be it. but it is imperative that we have a new general election because mark harris and his campaign and mccray dallas broke the law.
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>> well with someone who proudly went to unc, i root your state well and i hope to clear this baby up and look better for north carolina if you get finished up with. thank you for coming on tonight. up next, president trump's celebrity apprentice style search for a new chief of staff coming to an end. apparently a dead end with the president announcing over twitter tonight that the name of a new -- catch this -- acting white house chief of staff. what does that mean? watching "hardball." got directions to the nightclub here.
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welcome back to "hardball." after a drama-filled search for a new chief of staff, president trump announced in a tweet that he has picked mick mulvaney from the office of management and budget as his -- figure this one out if you can -- acting chief of staff. nbc news reporting mulvaney asked for the acting title and he wanted to enter the position with a safe exit in place. this is like colin powell. you have to have an exit strategy.
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the reporting is that mulvaney told us as late as thursday night he wasn't eager to take the job and didn't think he would get it. president trump was desperate to kill the story line nobody wants to be his chief of staff. just a few minutes ago he tweeted for the record, there were many people that wanted to be the white house chief of staff. over the past week the president seemed to enjoy hyping up the selection process. let's watch how he did it. >> we're interviewing people now for chief of staff, yes. >> how long is that -- [ inaudible question ] >> five people. really good ones. terrific people. mostly well-known but terrific people. >> but he couldn't seem to decide if he want -- someone to organize his presidency or be an enabler. watch. >> i want somebody that's strong, but i want somebody who thinks like i do. it's my vision, after all. statement, i'm open to ideas. >> as the a.p. put it, it had the feel of an unfolding reality tv show.
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jennifer rubin and jonathan capehart and white house reporter for the associated press. and this isn't like picking a contestant. this is like a contestant picking a moderator. he wants somebody to be his moderator but he wants to do whatever he wants to do but someone to say you can't do that but don't tell me that too often. >> he told people at the beginning of the search he didn't want to recreate the first few months of john kelly when he did curtail access to the oval office and put up restrictions for the president and did some things to stream line the policy process in the building and eventually trump chafed and they had a falling out and began to clash by the end barely speaking e. did want someone in there and he likes mulvaney experience and he likes the idea he's a former congressman and he knows he needs better relationships with the hill going forward and although mulvaney not most popular. >> does he want a chief of staff
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or a concierge. someone who will do things for him and fix all of the problems. fix the plumbing and the toilet is stopped up. can you do that or get my napkins. >> that is the best word. not a chief of staff but a concierge. someone who will do what trump asks him to do. and it is not what -- what you are talking about what john kelly tried to do is impose regular order on the white house. the president doesn't want regular order. this is not a normal white house and so the fact that he chose someone to be chief of staff is what is so surprising because we were talking months ago about the fact he very well could try to run the government without -- run the white house without one. >> jake, get in here. i want some of that apple pie we had for lunch today. it is 4:00. is that what he wants. >> this is the way he is acting in the title. >> they are all acting.
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>> that is why it is absurd and they serve at the pleasure of the president. it is interesting that he had to choose someone on a friday evening because the story was becoming embarrassing. you kind of cringe for him -- >> the storyline on "meet the press." he didn't want to be more of this guy can't find a chief of staff. but the bottom line is he couldn't find a chief of staff, could he? >> a number of top candidates pulled themself -- >> what did chris christie pull off yesterday? if he didn't want the job. >> he does want to maintain that relationship with the president. there's been some suggest he may want to move into the building at some opponent in the tenure, but not now. >> was he going to make his son-in-law chief of staff? >> who pushed that story?
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>> that was floated around. >> mbs push that one? >> but kushner if asked, he would serve but not something he wanted to do. he feels like he's in a better position to help the president where he is now and remember chief of staff could be a thankless job for this president. there is no need for kushner. >> and we know washington pretty well. one guy wants david bossie and i like the guy. he's a cowboy and out-rider and volunteer fireman and then the ultimate inside washington guy that knows all of the right places to go at night. that is wayne berman. they don't make any sense. >> because he doesn't have a normal set of criteria. he wants the guy who looks the part or says the right thing -- >> that is wayne berman. >> or decides that he's -- compliments him the best. his decision-making is not the process of a normal. president. >> why didn't he pick urban or a tough guy. perfect. he's in pennsylvania. perfect candidate. why not? too tough for him. >> he felt he does get along with mulvaney. he said he wanted to have a
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personal connection with the chief of staff and he's in the oval office frequently to brief him. >> and that won't last. >> and michael cohen sent a clear message to the president telling him he no longer has his loyalty. talk about good-bye. let's watch. >> you lied for him for a long time. >> more than ten years? >> why? >> out of loyalty. out of loyalty to him. i followed a bad path and hence how we started this conversation. i had my freedom and i will not be the villain as i told you once before. i will not be the villain of his story. >> accord -- i'll call him citizen cohen because he said i'll work for the country now. no longer worker for trump. >> he's been saying that for a few weeks if you read emily jane fox and vanity fair that he feels so betrayed by the
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president after going -- saying to her i would take a bullet for donald trump and then when everything fell apart, and he is sending smoke signals and flares, where is my pardon, say something to -- to hang me in the -- to keep me in your corner and didn't happen and so michael cohen goes out there and he cooperates with sdny, with mueller, he does interviews where he makes it clear we are done here. and that interview with george stephanopoulos today is like the final nail in the coffin. i will -- i am no longer loyal to you. you were not loyal to me. and so we're going to have it out. >> john and then jennifer, who has he stuck his neck out for yet? the president. >> very few. he's defended ivanka, his daughter and jared kushner. but that is it. with this president, loyalty extends within his own family and not much further. that is always the case. >> the romanov. >> and doesn't get much in return.
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>> why should somebody stick the neck out for them and if he doesn't for them. you have to be reciprocal. if you are going to gang together, you gang together. >> the reason people do it is for all of the normal reasons. they want it on their resume or the power or access to power. the problems with all of these people is that trump never expected any of them to turn. he has this view of himself as loyal. he has this view of himself as we want to continue -- to continue the analogy, the manager of the hotel and all of the people love him. they all love me. they all love me. so when someone turns on him, i think trump is genuinely shocked. but this guy wants personal and moral redemption. his life as a lawyer is over. this is how he regains i think his own self respect and standing within his family and the people who know him. >> he also needs to make money after he leaves prison in a few years. >> why do i keep thinking tony
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curtis when i see this guy. he looks like tony curtis. and the round table is sticking with us. and up next they'll tell me something i don't know. you're watching "hardball." here we go. discover. i like your card, but i'm absolutely not paying an annual fee. discover has no annual fees. really? yeah. we just don't believe in them. oh nice. you would not believe how long i've been rehearsing that. no annual fee on any card. only from discover.
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he's going to be meeting with some pretty -- >> is charlie baker going to run? he's even more popular. >> i haven't heard his name. listen, i think you're going to see a little bubble. >> always look at people who win in bad times. jonathan? >> we're all marveling at the photo from the white house holiday party of john kelly and reince priebus. news out, priebus, with the help of defense secretary james mattis, is joining the navy as a reserve officer. >> reince priebus is? >> he comes from a family of naval -- >> isn't there -- i mean, gary hart was another one who was a reservist late in life. >> there are possibilities of the federal government shutting down. tomorrow night, hosting at the white house, the congressional gala, the christmas party. there could be some talks there. although, senate minority leader schumer, expected incoming house speaker nancy pelosi, don't expect to be at the party. the press pool, we are supposed to be there. we expect to hear the president
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talking about what he wants to see before -- >> does he set up one of those lines where he and the first lady shake hands with all members of congress? >> we could see. he did not do that every party last year, but there is an expectation. >> he's never done it for us, has he? >> not for -- >> there was no -- >> there was no media holiday party last year. >> barack obama, george w, they'd stand there with four hours one time. the print people, tv, radio. he doesn't want to meet us, does he? >> he had an event last year with no handshake line. this year no event at all. >> so much for the fake media. doesn't look good for him. when we return, i'll finish with the moral echo of what happened on this day six years ago. you're watching "hardball." [leaf blower]
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let me finish tonight with a moral echo of what happened on this day six years ago. it was on december 14th, 2012, that 20 first graders and six teachers were gunned down at sandy hook elementary school in new town, connecticut. remember? of course you do. here's president barack obama that day addressing the country. >> they had their entire lives ahead of them. birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who
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devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams. so our hearts are broken today. >> it is important to recognize that today, those lost first graders at sandy hook would have been seventh graders. one of the questions we should ask each of the 2020 candidates for president is, where do they stand on gun safety? we already know what this president stands for. himself. that's "hardball" for now. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. tonight on "all in." >> nothing that the trump organization was ever done that was not run through mr. trump. >> walls are closing in. at least three federal criminal inquiries enveloping trump's business, his inaugural committee, and his campaign.