tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC February 20, 2019 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
he will be my guest tomorrow. we' we're talk the law, russia -- mueller probe. i promise you it will be a real interview. nothing off limits on "the beat." tomorrow. "hardball" starts right now. striking a nerve. let's play "hardball." ♪ the steady drum beat about the russia probe is striking a nerve with the president today. lashing out at former fbi director in the "new york times" after their report raised serious questions about whether trump obstructed justice. the president tweeted quote the "new york times" reporting is false. they are a true enemy of the people.
yesterday the "times" revealed the president is asking about appointing ally. the report also suggested trump's attacks on the probe could put him in jeopardy. according to a tally by the "times." trump has publicly attacked the russia probe nearly 1200 times. he has targeted robert mueller, james come a in various law enforcement agencies. while the president has also defended figures involved thrkts person trump defends the most is vladimir putin and his government in russia. something he's done on 61 occasions since taking office. at the same time he continues to belittle the acting director, andrew mccabe. saying remember this. he didn't go to the bathroom without james comey. and this after he voisd concern about trump in his most blunt
terms to daetd. >> do you still believe the president could be a russian asset? >> i think it's possible. i think that's why we started our investigation and i'm really anxious to see where director mueller concludes that. >> the "daly beast" called trump beyond obsessed with andrew mccabe. quote during the start of the meeting all trump wanted to talk about was how much he hated andrew mb kab mccabe, according to a source in the room. here's what he had to say today. >> i think andrew mccabe has made a fool out hof himself over the last couple of day looks like a poor man's j. edger hoover. i think he's a disaster and what he was trying to do was terrible and he was caught. i'm very proud to say we caught him. so we'll see what happens but he is a disgraced man. he was terminated, not by me.
he was terminated by others. the report was a disaster. >> as the president said, mccabe was fired from the fbi after the department's inspectorgeneral concluded he violated policy and quote lacked candor. mccabe has suggested without evidence that inspector general's report was influenced by the president and should be noted that the inspector general was appointed by barack obama. >> this one is interesting to me. the president and he goes to to his tried and true you're a disaster. you're disgrace. but high actually starts talking about the ig. seems to make effort to distance himself from my firing, in a way
that i find patently ridiculous. >> a former federal prosecutor. and a columnist at the "new york times." and thanks to all of you for being with us. michell michelle, trying to make sense of trump verses mccabe in the court of public opinion. we know that anybody that comes after him in any way, comes after him in the most blunt and raw terms. is that what we're watching or are we watching something that goes deeper? >> it's never clear whether you're watching an old man have a tantrum. but it's clear he needs to discredit the entire leadership of all of our intelligence services because they are almost unanimous in their abhorrance of his conduct. the former fbi director, the acting directser of the fbi, all the former leadership of the
nsa, caa, they are all unanimous in talking about how trump is likely a threat to national security. may be compromised. in any sort of normal political environment, that would seem a sign we should be alarmed about the president. what they've done is make that itself something we should hold against the intelligence services. the uninimty is a sign of a deep state conspiracy. instead of the more people understand about organized crime, frankly, and the more alarm they are about donald trump's conduct. >> we've been pointing to this mueller report. but the question fleer a lot of this has been looking at trump's actions. the lashing out in public. the decision to fire comey. is this trump being trump, acting in haste. creating worse problems, persepz
problems or is he trying to hide something? >> i think it's totally trump. if he's trying to hide anything, that's the worse possible way is to attack the people. if somebody had writ an nasty book about me that he was on a book tour about, i wouldn't be yelling and tweeting about him five time as day and putting the book at the best seller list. that's trump's lesson from roy cone, you're always on the attack. and trump does get positive feedback from his most ardent supporters. they love this stuff. it goes to the question of everybody's not his ardent supporter and goes what's going on here? he's the president. why is he -- if he's so disgusted by mccabe and contempt ws of mccabe, why is he
attacking him four time as day, just like when you're thinking about buying the book. click. >> let me bring you into this one. we know the president's issues with credibility. that's got to factor your judgment. i saw there was an interview with him. i think it was on the view. look, i don't think based on what the inspector general found that youri're a reliable case. >> i'm not an expert on andrew mccabe. i'm an expert on russia. what he says about russia and vladimir putin and what he says about our presidents not lis thing to intelligence community comports with a lot of other information we have out there.
it is extraordinary that we have a president of the united states that consistently attacks his own intelligence community and his own government officials, including the fbi. there's no period in history that i can remember when the president was doing that and when i look at it from a national security perspective, i say who does that serve? whose interests is that serving? it's serve vladimir putin's interest to see the disarray. and then the question raised over the last cupomp days. why is the president doing flis vladimir putin? i don't know the answer yet. i think we need to wait for mueller's report to eboo released. the circumstantial evidence is very strike that he's always supporting putin and people are beginning to wonder what is the motivation for him to do that. >> speaking of that report, you may remember that nbc news report back in december that
mueller could submit the report as early as this month. with quote attorney general bill barr is preparing to announce as early as next week robert mueller's investigation. >> that will be totally up to the new attorn a general. he's a tremendous man a tremendous person who really respektr respects this country and the justice department. that will be up to him. the new attorney general, yes. >> quote an advisor to president trump said there's palpable concern among the president's innerserbal th innercircle that might contain information thaltsz politically damaging but not criminal conduct. i've been trying to figure out what we can expect in terms of
what kind of a report will be viewable by the public. i know this came up a few weeks ago. this is going to work a little bit differently than ken starr with bill clinton years ago. congress could vote to release the whole thing. this goes into the justice department. there's a question of what any of us in the public are going to get to see. >> the president actually said something today in a press conference that was true. and asked should the report be released, he said it's up to william barr. he has a huge amount of power. this is the most consequential investigation, criminal investigation, national security investigation in american history. how much do the american people get to know about what mueller has been doing this two years. so during his conformation hearing, what barr said wasn't
confident inspiring. there's a theory that was an oddition for barr to be in this position and he's going to do the right thing, which would be consistent with grand jury secrec secrecy allowing as much of the evidence to be transparent, given the light of day as much as possible. >> and speaking of that reporting from the "washington post" tonight. the white house, may be wondering what political damage. their report saying political damage but nothing criminal. is that what everybody should be prepared for the possibility of? we had our own reporting of the senate intel committee looking at this and not finding direct evidence of collusion. just the idea there's going to be a whole bunch of stuff that looks really bad but nothing actually tachgably criminal.
>> there's no kind of law against culoougz. so it could be they have plenty of -- we have plenty of evidence in public domain of collusion. the question is whether they prove a criminal conspiracy of just show noncriminal acts to work gen against the american people with the help of foreign powers. i can't imagine any outcome that's not ugly and i hope the bar shouldn't be criminal conspiracy. there are high crimes and misdemeanors that are not necessarily breaking the law and so if the report shows that they both worked kind of it welcomed the help of russia in helping donald trump to get elected, then provided russia with all sorts of things they wanted and that they then tried to cover it
up. and i can't imagine how -- there's evidence of public domad domain of all those things. >> the trump tower meeting. this is part of the russian government's effort to help the campaign. okay. let's having the meeting and then nothing comes out of the meeting. >> we don't know what's going on inside the mueller office. we know previous investigations have been concluded with a written report that provide as narrative of the events and indictments and tries to wrap everything into a story of what the investigation was about and we have 34 -- i can't remember a numbers. 23rrs and we have manafort, roger stone. we've got papadopoulos, flynn, so and so. and so he could be writing an
account that says there was all this smoke and all this stuff and all these people round trump did all these things that were weird and bad and in some cases criminal. we don't have anything that ties trump to any of this directly. but he was the person that top and it is now up to the political system to decide whether or not he bears responsibility for the behavior of the people under him. i think that's the likeliest of scenarios and could be extraordinarily politically damaging. >> i think there's plenty of information in the public domain that nofz united states has committed felonies. he asked the acting attorney general to switch prosecutors in the new york investigation to one that would go easy on him. that means matt whitaker is a
witness to the felony by the president of the united states. >> i'm curious about that. you're saying that's a felony. what if the defense from trump, i imagine would be, i asked a question. i thought can i get this guy in there and i was told no and i didn't do it. it still a felony? >> if with a corrupt motive impede an official investigation you're guilty of a frooiv five or ten year felony. the issue can with trump is how can you prove that motive? he's dangled pardons and said mean things about michael cohen and his family. the come as time that it becomes obvious. >> it can be but it can also be not.
if you don't have anything but a series of presumptions that he wanted to do this for corrupt intent. he was literally dangling pardons, as opposed to saying things, mueller can say everything leads tee some of these ideas, but we don't have binding glue that will lead to indictable offences and that is the bailee wick of the house and its investigations into impeachment. if mueller provides enough information that can be used to look into obstruction charnels. but i don't think from what we know about mueller is doing, if he's stopping next week, that we should be expecting him to say donald trump committed five felonies. it doesn't feel that way. it seems flilike if he ehad tha
he could have announced it a munt ago. >> we've been saying all along that there's stuff in the press that gets us talking about one thing and then there's action from mueller that gets us talking about someone else . if the report does come out, maybe we'll go through that on a bigger scale. thanks for being with us. and up next the president reportedly questioning the loyalty of dan coates, the directorf national intelligence. not to his country but to trump. for year people have tried to used liberal as dirty word. and bernie sanders comes fast out of the gate. his eye popping campaign numbers on day one. i remember when candidates took months to raise what he just
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we have some breaking news. the white house has announced on twitter that vladimir putin is coming to the white house in the fall. >> say what again? >> vladimir putin -- >> did i hear you -- >> yeah. yeah. >> okay. that's going to be special. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was the director of national intelligence dan coats july responding to vladimir putin being welcomed to washington. he contradicted president trump on a host of issues.
>> and we have won against isis. we've beaten them and we've beaten them badly. >> isis is intent on resurging and still commands thousands of fighters in iraq and syria. >> it is clear to me that we cannot prevent an iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement. >> we do not believe iran is currently undertaking activities we judge necessarily to proodeuce a nuclear device. >> we have made a lot of progress as far as denuclearization is concerned. things are going very well north korea. >> we assessed that north korea will seek to retain its capabilities and unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities. >> he later said they told him thaud rr been misquoted.
the "washington post" reports quote privately the president has continued to fume and this weekend he told an advisor that coats is not loyal and he's not on the team. fwl when asked about coats and his fate, president trump said he quote hadn't even thought about firing him. co author of that report in the "washington post." and jeremy bash, former chief of staff at the cia. the idea that the president doesants think coats is loyal. is it because of what we just showed there? trump making claim "x" in public and -- >> i think that's part of it. he doesn't like to be embarrassed. we understand in briefings he's been forceful and candid in his views as well and i think in some of those instances it's
turned somewhat argumentive and the dni can't brung him back in. i thunk he sees him as somebody who is trying to school him or one up him. he's felt threatened by him, embarrassed by him and they just never really clicked inturnly. there are other people in the administration that president has for whatever reason gotten along better with and dan coats is the latest one be to in the cross hairs with this president. he frequently tends to turn on senior ofilgtss one after another and it looks like it's dan coats turn. >> just in terms of the testimony we're hearing. trump mock as claim in public. whatever the subject is. and then coats go businessfore congress. tell us about what it is coats is doing in these sessions.
these are national intelligence assessments he's preparing and providing to congress? >> i think there are two settings where the director of national intelligence is causing problems for the president. first in the public seth in front of all of the cameras and public and senate intelligence committee, flanked by all of the leaders of the intelligence agencies, they are providing unclassified, coordinated assessments non big issues. iran is complying with the nuclear deal. north korea is not denuclearizing. russia continues to attack our democracy and that, obviously, is contrary to what the president says. and you don't say he's a trump official. he says the truth. second in the closed classified settings in the oval office or white house situation room, i think they're preparing the president for the summit of kim jong-un and before every summit,
a number of assessments. are they complying? are they doing what they said they would do? i bet the assessments are saying mr. president, they have not been complying. and that's undercuts the president's core thesis about what's at stake here coming up. >> >> on that subject he was asked about last week and how hard it would be to get north korea to give up its nuclear weapons. >> i don't think this will be the last meeting by any chance but i think the relationship is very strong. i don't think they're luctant. >> i haven't taken sanctions off, but to do that we have tee do something meaningful on the other side. i wouldn't be surprised to see something work out. >> meanwhile the ap reports president trump may be consideering a peace declaration
and an end to the korean war. if you're right, if he's getting pessimistic assessments about north korea and saying what we just heard today, could there be a strategy of some sort behind that or is that just the president looking to put a good face on this? >> in normal presidents are prepared. th wreceive i think he doesn't like the preparation and he's dismissing the briefers and saying i can go my own way. but dan coats is a highly honorable public servient. a former republican senator, former republican ambassador to germ an and i think he's just telling the truth. >> in term ozf coats, i railr ie president is saying behind the scenes he's not loyal. what is your sense of the job security for dan coats?
is this something where the president's attention might shift? maybe this mueller report comes out and coats sticks around? does ocoats want to stick around? >> the president has gone after certain officials publicly and they hang on for lot longer than it their shelf life may be. so it's possible the president could move on to something else. the director has clearly understood the relationship with the president is not great and as long as maybe he would like to do be for some time. but now the president voicing this publicly. he sort puts them on notice and gins the process of public humeiation where he has to hang on and do his job. none of this is news from the director, i have to say but now we're entering that phase where
it's kind of kicking it to dan coats' court. now he wants to go out. i'm sure those briefings are going on and the director is taking that seriously. i can'tx pect he's going to take that serious. >> you can recognize patterns. and a number of democrats who call themselves liberals is on the rise. i'm going to break down who among democrats in particular is saying that. what it could mean for 2020. what it could mean for 2020. ♪ feeling unsure? what if you had some help? introducing the new 2019 ford edge with the confidence
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♪ and welcome back to "hardball." let's talk about the "l" word. democrats used to run in terror from it. republicans used to try to tag it on every democrat running for every office in the country. used to be a politically lethal word. the question is does liberal still have the same bite it usesed to? a lot of evidence things have chafged. one of the big pieces of evidence things have changed are a number of democrats who call themselves liberals. interesting polling information from gallop. you can see how really the whole
political world changes thanks to these numbers. the use of the word liberal. democrats who would say that. when you say what are you politically? you go back and this is from 2006. this is about a dozen years old. about 1/3 of democrats. 32% said moderate or conservative. george w. bush was president back then. here's what the is now. look at that number. it's gone from 32 to 46% of democrats who call themselves liberal. you see moderate falling down. almost half of democrats now call themselves liberals. here's the other interesting thing. this is not necessarily evenly spread out across the democratic party where the movement is happening. this is what it used to be if you looked at the ralgsz break down. it pretty even. between 1/4 and 1/3 black,
white, hispanic called themselves liberal. among white democrats it's now a majority. a leap of 20 points. a majority of white democrats now call them selve liberals. among black and hispanic, not nearly as dramatic, but among whites, 54% who callthemselves liberal. other characteristics. folks with college degrees, with graduate degrees and you really start to see it. folks whoerant aren't as religs we've seen in the past. people who identify as liberal democrats, 2/3 are white. 2/3 of self identifiy liberal democrats are white. there are stale fairly significant number of conservative democrats and
whites are barely a fluorality. plurality. so it's interesting to see that. in liberal democrats tend to be overwhelmingly heavily white. we talk about all these different groups, how they're going to renookt different candidates in 2020. we do a lot demographic break downs. how that's changed and how that breaks down. something to keep in mind and speaking of 2020. up next. bernie sanders his fund raising is pretty impressive. mind blowing, might a better word. i think he might still be counting the cash. what it could mean for his many other opponents. y other opponents. with expedia, i saved when i added a hotel to our flight. so even when she grows up,
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welcome back to "hardball." 24 hours after announcing his 2020 presidential campaign, bernie sanders maz raised a record number $6 billion. sanders entered a crowded field of democrats. several are already campaigning on similar progressive ideas. republicans see as paint the entire part ea as utof touch with american values. >> bernie sanders is going to force democrats to lurch further to the socialist sited of the democratic party. you're already seeing candidates trying to out bernie berniey. i want a long drawn out primary. i want this to go well into the summer of 2020 so that it takes them a long time to pick their candidate. >> and the "washington post" said they will be pressed by
opposing forces. and the need for centerist voters that could be alienated by the party's turn to the left. the majority of democrats and democrat leaning independents want someone new and someone who can beat trump. the question is who is the most in touch with the party they're running to represent. senior correspondent and editor of "the nevada independent." kimly, let me start with you. talk about, center, lift, progressive. we just mentioned it there. democrats say electability, somebody who beat trump. that quality poll is off the chart. but that's the open question. when all of the rules and assumptions about politics seem to be up for debate, what kbaulifies as electable? that's what candidacy like sanders raises.
>> yes, i mean that is a standard loom over the entire primary process. that's what the person who comes out on the democratic side has to worry about, the ability to be incumbent president and the ability to beat specifically, donald trump. you have to have sbhoob can stand up to that. but right now it appears that democrats are focusing not just on that. they really don't seem to be talking about donald trump as much as they are talking about policy. they seem to be having this general hashing out as to where they're staking their campaigns and it won't be a lot of time for them to do this, unfortunately, to focus on this policy. because petty soon he's going to start incertain himself morand more on the democratic side. we've seen him call bernie sanders a name after the news of his big fund raising hall. donald trump is going to make
himself known on this side. but in the meanwhile we see democrats staking out their claim as to what they see the party, where they see the party as moving and where they stand. i think you're absolutely right. you're seeing them not being afraid to back the more left leaning pall as like the green new deal, like medicare for all. and a less of a fear about getting labels and being labelled as a progressive. >> and trump made a couple comments about bernie sanders. one thing he talked about is this idea of hey, sanders was treated poorly by the democratic party in 2016. i think there's some sanders supporters that echoes with. i guess the cynical side of me senses that's a president who see as chance to drive a women through the other party's primary. >> it's not the cynical side.
it's the experienced side of you. we both know what he's doing there. and he's going to insert himself into the primary every chance he gets. let's be clear about something. we're not normal talking about this so long from the election. there's so many wild cards out there on the democratic side and to some extent on the trump side of the equation. we don't know whether joe biden or auditioning for the role of hamlet when they're going to decide what to do. that could tle a wrench into all of this. we dont can know how long the fist-time candidates are going to perform under the crusable and the heat of all of this that's about to come down, not just from trump but from others and as you mentioned, all othe rules have changed, not just because of trump but because of what goes on in social media and how things that we never considered being pushed out to
the forefront are going to have to put so many wild cards throughout but bernie being able to raise that much money that quickly is a hopeful sign for him. but there is still and you know this better than i do, steve, a lot of bitterness that is residually there from 2016 within the democratic party about what happened. >> and this thing plays out, if sanders does look like he's got shot at the nomination, be intersing to see what kind of forces emerge that and see how that plays out, but that's getting way ahead of ourselves. and up next, the son of a republican congressional candidate said he warned his faither the absentee bal operation in north carolina could be illegal. it was an explosive third day of hearings down in raleigh on potential election fraud, hangs
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over the past three days election officials have been trying to determine to what extent that operative, mccray dallas, may have collected and tampered with absentee ballots. harris has maintained that no one raise any red flags about the past accusations against dallas. >> i would later learn that obviously there had been things that in the past that had been looked into but everything that had been looked into, everything had come out just perfectly fine. >> but today harris's son, an assistant u.s. attorney in north carolina contradicted his father's claim. he testified that he raised a red flag with his father before dallas was hired. >> i expressed my concerns based on everything i did know up to that point.
mainly my belief that mccray had collected ballots in 20. 2016. that was in my review of voter data. i told him collecting ballots was a fell an. >> i'm joined by political reporter for netinate. msnbc. that surprised me. was that expected? that testimony today? and what has it done to the case. >> >> reporter: oh, steve, the hearing took quite a turn this afternoon when mark harris's son took the stand. not even mark harris knew his son was going to testify and he essentially stoif testified against him. he warned his father not to hire him but mark harris didn't
listen to his advice and here we are now. mark eharris is expected to take the stand tomorrow under new circumstances. >> at the end of the testimony, he added this. watch this. >> i love my dad. i love my mom. okay. i certainly have vendet det agat them, no family scores to settle. i venture they made mistakes and certainly did things differently than i would have done them. >> what are you hearing about where they think things are going now? >> this is quite a change and it was an unexpected change. central to mark harris's entire argument is he had no knowledge
of any illegal activity that dallas participated in his campaign or in the lead up and this totally obliterates that argument and so i know the mccreedy camp is quite hap ea with these developments and nuthe harris campaign is going to try to figure out what their defense is going to be before he talks the stand in just about 13 hours. >> mark harris to testify tomorrow. all eyes will be on that. thank you for keeping us updated on this all week. up next virginia's three top officials are still in despite major controversy. new polling tells uz why. w polly my experience with usaa
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with the botox® savings program, most people with commercial insurance pay nothing out of pocket. talk to your doctor and visit botoxchronicmigraine.com to enroll. ralph northam is still the governor of virginia tonight and when you take a step back, that's pretty surprising. it was three weeks ago an old yearbook photo showed him wearing black face or dressed as klansman. he couldn't remember which and a day later he denied being in the photo at all. but at that point any democrat
with any kind of a title in virginia and across the country were all demanding he step done and yet he hasn't. and it is looking like he's not going to and here's the next part most did not see coming. most of his constituents are okay with that. a new poll. plurality of virginians. 48% of them, that their governor should n should not resign. it's not a simple story. this is the break down by race. ask white virginians if northam should go. it's an even split. ask black virginians and a majority 66% say no, the -- 56% say no, the governor should not resign. understanding why northam is getting the benefit of the doubt from more black than white
voters, would require a discussion much more expansive than we can tackle. and the man who would succeed northam, justin fairfax, is now facing two sexual assault allegations that could add to the reluctance to turn out northam right now. but this makes me think back to the numbers. and it's black voters disproportionately who are more likely to call themselves conservative or moderate. you think of black voters as a bed rock democratic party constituency and it's true. but too often that then gets automatically aquate would a whole host of liberal values, attitudes and policy positions. the new poll from virginia is another reminder of something we
should all know by now that reality is a lot more complicated and interesting than conventional wisdom often suggests it is. thanks for being with us. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. tonight on "all in". >> it is up to the new attorney general that will be totally up to the new attorney general. >> making sense of the latest reportal. >> what are you doing with the president who obstructs justice? can the new attorney general keep the mule report away from the public? and tonight i'll ask all of those questions and more to the man who began the investigations into donald trump. former acting fbi chief, andrew mb kab. then america on alert in the age t