Skip to main content

tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  February 25, 2019 4:00pm-5:00pm PST

4:00 pm
nondisclosure agreement and they've been working on the case for eight months. >> and we're out of time. but we'll keep an eye on the story. we did want to fit it in. i can't steal from "harball." "the beat" is over and "harball" is up next. mr. cohen goes to washington. let's play "harball." ♪ good evening. i'm steve kornacki in for chris matthews. the president's former lawyer michael cohen is set to testify before congress in a marathon series including closed door hearings before the house and senate intelligence and plus the highly-anticipated testimony before the house oversight on wednesday. as a close trump confidant for over a decade, cohen is
4:01 pm
promising according to his lawyer to expose chilling new details about the president. cohen already revealed the true duration and scope of the president's efforts to build a trump tower in moscow which he tried to cover up to false statements to congress. in pleading guilty to those lies cone said i made these misstatement to be consistent with trump's political messaging. he then implicated the president in what could be a felony admitting he, quote, acted in coordination and at the direction of trump. and in caringy out a scheme to break campaign finance laws to two women not speaking about liaisons. he said he had blind loyalty to donald trump and time and time again i felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds. but while cohen is set to start a three-year prison sentence the investigation by the southern district of new york continues and among other things
4:02 pm
prosecutors are executinizing the trump organization. the trump family and the trump inaugural committee for potential campaign finance violations and other irregularities according to "the new york times." for more i'm joined by frank flag luzzi and then charlie sykes from the bull wart and philip bump is a political reporter with "the washington post." thank you for about with us. frank, let me start with you. three separate hearings and two behind closed doors and one the whole world will watch this week. michael cohen testifying in front of congress. i know the questions are probably going to be very far-ranging from the members of congress. realistically, set the bar. where are the areas that the public has the most opportunity to learn something new this week? >> sure, steve. so in addition to the possibility that we could hear about crimes we don't already
4:03 pm
know about related to trump and his family and the trump organization or trump foundation, we should be focused on listening for three things. first, the big question, what precisely did cohen lie about and why? number two, who, if anyone, directed him or -- to lie or knew about the lies and at what level, did that go to the oval office. and number three is did trump or someone on behalf of trump attempt to intimidate or threaten cohen about lying to congress that might constitute witness tampering. i'll be focused like a laser on those three things and i think congress will do. >> and mimi, the question of what does he say and the other question to back up, is what can he say? the mueller probe is still ongoing. cohen said he'll talk about that aspect of it when that is over. this southern district investigation is still ongoing and we've had reporting in the last couple of days about
4:04 pm
looking at the trump inaugural committee. if you have federal investigators still taking a look at all of that stuff, if you have the mueller probe still going on, does that place limits on what michael cohen could be talking about in public here? >> well i think it depends who you're asking. from the prosecutor's point of view in the southern district of new york, my guess is they probably do want to play some limits on it because prosecutors never want information about ongoing investigations to get out into the public sphere, florida particularly in this setting that is political as opposed to what the southern district is doing. and when i say political, i mean it is in the political arena. it is congress. it is literally a political place as opposed to the prosecutors in a u.s. attorney's office. they're just different sort of missions. so i think that probably the prosecutors want to put limits on it. i don't know what arrangements they've had. but my guess is that there has
4:05 pm
been some coordination and that have been discussions about it, whether or not they've agreed on everything. but you know, there is -- there is certainly things that michael cohen has already testified about, even in the southern district under oath, not testified but statements under oath that i think would be fair game because we already know about them but it is a question of further details. if he said trump directed and coordinated these payments, what does that mean? were there conversations, was he explicit and was it a wink and nod and who is executive one and executive two. these are things that -- which was something named -- people named in the papers that cohen pled guilty to. so i think there is things that he should be able to go into without harming the southern district investigation. >> to understand the process, too, more, mimi, in terms of incentive, he's schedule to
4:06 pm
begin a prison sentence in may and we've gone through the sentencing phase. is there still something -- can he gain something from the criminal justice standpoint in terms of his sentence, in terms of what he's facing legally? is there still something he could gain from prosecutors, from the southern district by adhering to whatever it is they would like him to adhere to? >> absolutely. he's been sentenced to three years in prison. in part because he did not have a cooperation agreement and get a recommendation basically for more lenient sentence from the southern district of new york. but post-sentencing, there are provisions in the federal rules that allow for the government to go back and say, okay, now we think he should get some credit. so i think that is an incentive for him to stick by whatever agreement he may or may not have with the southern district about areas and also ann -- an incentive for him to tell the truth and keep that in mind and because whatever he testifies
4:07 pm
about within the realm of the southern district investigation, they'll know whether he tells the truth and if he lies he'll be in much more trouble. >> and as he testified in public, the question of his credibility. lies to congress before and going back in front of congress and lanny davis -- he was his lawyer and now his legal adviser. lanny davis is a political player. he has a political ax to grind here that is obvious. in terms of the credibility, is there an add add threshold that cohen has to -- if he's going to have chilling revelations here, as lanny davis is say, is there an added threshold and what would that be. >> it is hard for them in real-time to be able to evaluate the veracity of what he's saying. only after the fact they realized what he had represented to congress about when they stopped talking about the moscow trump tower deal was inaccurate and that mueller surfaced. so it is hard for them to do
4:08 pm
that. they're going to have to take what he says and work from it. one of the things to remember, the big change between now and the last time michael cohen was on capitol hill, is that the democrat run the house. they could launch investigations based on what michael cohen is saying. so they don't have to take him at face value. they could hear what he says and then spin things off and i think it is important to remember, we focus so much on the mueller investigation. but i do think it is important for us to remember about the scope of the time that he spent at the trump organization. you played that clip at the top where he said, time and time again he had to hold his nose and cover up for donald trump. what were all of the types. we're talking about a decade sitting there covering -- what were the things he's covering up. all of those are potential avenues for exploration by the democrats who run house committees and regardless of what he says, that is what we'll see spin out. >> and the issue of the potentially southern district of new york federal prosecutors reports have indicated that the presidentiallys view the new york investigations as an even greater threat than the mueller probe. and now there are new signs the president may feel the same way.
4:09 pm
"the daily beast" reporting that, quote, beginning late last year the president made clear to his outside legal team that he didn't want his lawyers going anywhere. even after the mueller probe ends. quote, conversations served as a private admission that federal investigations be devilling his first term in office will be haupting him for possibly years to come. here is how the president's son donald trump jr. spoke about the ongoing investigations in the southern district of new york today. >> if this is -- as political as it gets. their dream in life is to try to find something to get trump. that old stalin-ist tactic. show me the man and i'll show you the crime. we just have to find it and then we'll massage it. there is no doubt that they'll try. i know how we function as a company and individuals, for two years we don't appear worried because we know there is nothing there. >> charlie sykes, we're more than half way through donald trump's first term as president. the possibility here of the
4:10 pm
mueller probe maybe wrapping up but then the sort of shift to everything going on in the southern district of new york. the possibility that this is just sort of the permanent back drop of his entire first term as president. if there will be a second term or not, it would then cover a lot of that. but the idea of this legal cloud just being there. >> well, and the legal threat that is there. the white house i think is absolutely right to be worried about the southern district of new york because it crosses the red line that donald trump imagined he could draw protecting his family business. michael cohen may not know everything that the trump organization was doing but he knows an awful lot and how could someone like donald trump not be extraordinarily nervous when someone who knows that much information and could potentially tie him directly to the commission of crimes is going to be testifying in front of korcongress and testifying publicly. and the one bombshell out there potentially is if michael cohen
4:11 pm
does testify that he had coordinated or been directed or discussed his plans to lie to the senate about the moscow project. those are the kind of things that take this to a whole level. but i would suggest also that we -- we may be lowering expectations a little bit because michael cohen is not going to be the most sympathetic witness and republicans will of course have a lot of material to work with to try to impeach his credibility. >> frank, does that tell us anything, to the extent there is now conversation about the southern district of new york potentially being a greater threat to donald trump, the president himself potentially, according to the reporting, believing that. does that tell us anything about where expectations sit for what will or won't be revealed when it comes to the special counsel russia investigation? because originally there the mandate is to look for evidence of coordination between the trump campaign and the russian government in the 2016 election. i got to imagine whatever could
4:12 pm
possibly be emerged from a southern district investigation if you had direct links and indictments from the trump campaign to high level figures in the russian government, that would be the number one thing going on. >> steve, let's all remember that the start for the whole special counsel investigation was an fbi russian counterintelligence investigation. and that seminole question still needs to be answered. and here is my concern. if we apply criminal metrics and standards to what gets into the mueller report, and only report that which meets the standard of a crime, then we're going to miss, perhaps, that key question. because the counterintelligence question, is our president compromised or controlled by a foreign power may not rise to the level of a crime. yet if that question is not answered in the report, we'll see screams from the hill and the american public about the answer to that question and i would assert that question must be in the report.
4:13 pm
>> on those lines then, without referring specifically to the mueller probe, rod rosenstein warned of the danger of being what he called overly transparent with information gathered in investigation. >> it could be misleading if your overly transparent about information that the government collects. so i think we do need to be cautious about that. the guidance i gave my prosecutors and the agents that i worked with during my tenure on the front lines of law enforcement were if we aren't prepared to prove our case beyond a reasonable doubt in court, then we have no business making allegations against american citizens. >> mimi rocca, could you take us through the process here, if and when mueller completes this investigation and i know a lot of people think back to ken starr, bill clinton 20 years ago and that was a report that went straight to congress and congress could vote to release the report and this went up on the internet and everybody read the salacious reports on time
4:14 pm
and this a a report that goes into the justice department and whether congress would try to subpoena it to get whatever is put into the report into full public view, what are the prospects of that? >> well, we certainly don't have the same process that we did with ken starr report because now there is this medium in between. there is sort of a safety guard, if you will, of the attorney general. he gets to see the report first. and he basically gets to decide what goes to congress and what becomes public in the first instance. i think there is a lot of debate, it seems to me that he has a lot of discretion. these are all rules that he is in control of and so it will be largely up to him in the first instance how much of it comes out. and if congress isn't happy with it, i'm sure they will try to subpoena it as they should.
4:15 pm
and i think that what is so unusual about this, and i did listen to a fuller clip of what rosenstein said today in those remarks, and he also talked about their being exceptions to the policy. the general department of justice policy is you don't talk about people who you've not -- not feel you can indict because you don't have that level of proof. okay. but president trump is in a very different situation. he can't be indicted per the policy now. not because necessarily a standard of proof. so it is just a whole separate situation that we haven't dealt with before. and i'm hoping that the -- they have worked it out in a way that we do get answers and that it isn't just a fall back on a policy made for different situations. >> it raises some interesting questions there and possibilities, philip. if what is actually prepared by mueller ends up being just in
4:16 pm
terms of length relatively short and just here is the people i've indicted and we know who that is and if that list doesn't have additions and that is it. or if this resembles more back to the december of 2016 when the fbi director at that time james comey came out and said, well we're not going to have a -- charges pressed against hillary clinton but let me tell you all of the things she did wrong and then that kicked it into the political sphere if that is the kind of situation that could em merge from this. >> and remember that rod rosenstein is being consistent. he was almost held in contempt of congress because he didn't want to turn over information they sought. there was the big fight last year about whether or not this memo that had been prepared by devin nunes staff should be released publicly. and so there are precedents under trump where the fbi is giving out more information than rod rosenstein would have liked at the time. to your point, if this ends up being a court case this is problematic for the department
4:17 pm
of justice if democrats subpoena this probe -- subpoena more information from mueller, if the department of justice pushes back, this ends up in court, it is going to be hard potentially for the department of justice to make the case that in this case with these stipulation that mimi just pointed out about how trump can't be indicted any way, why they should hold back this information when they put out information in 2016 and 2017. >> is there a case there for the white house for trump potentially if this is a situation that lands kind of in the middle, there are no new indictments from mueller, there is nothing -- no indictments that say the campaign coordinated with the russian government specifically here to effect the election, but there are all sort of aspersions cast in the report. would there be a political case for trump to call for having that released because he could say ultimately no collusion and let everybody else argue over the other findings. >> that is the smart play. there is no guarantee he will do
4:18 pm
that. but if they try to withhold the report, it sets up a fight with congress but in the court of public opinion it won't play well. every poll i've seen shows that a strong majority of voters want to see is in that report and if the white house and the justice department want to sit on that report, whenever the justifications for it, it will appear to be part of a cover-up. it will look like donald trump put somebody in place who is keeping this information from the public and keeping this information from congress and frank and mimi are right about this. the standard cannot just simply be because it is the president, whether he violated certain statutes because that is what congress has to decide the definition of, high crimes and misdemeanors, they need that information. >> thank you all for joining us. and coming up, democrat presidential candidate julian castro plays hardball and with
4:19 pm
president standing by his emergency declaration and plus i'll head over to the big board. we have new numbers on trump, his approval rating and where he stands and where his predecessors stood in their re-election efforts and the target of spike lee and harry reid but it was a tweet about a fourth of july celebration that got the most attention. much more ahead. stay with us. e most attention much more ahead. stay with us isn't what goes into your soup... just as important as what you get out of it? our broccoli cheddar is made with aged melted
4:20 pm
cheddar, simmered broccoli, and no artificial flavors. enjoy 100% clean soup today. panera. food as it should be. whei just put in the namey, of my parents and my grandparents. and as soon as i did that, literally it was like you're getting 7, 9, 10, 15 leaves that are just popping up all over the place. yeah, it was amazing. just with a little bit of information, has been excellent. they really appreciate the military family
4:21 pm
and it really shows. with all that usaa offers why go with anybody else? we know their rates are good, we know that they're always going to take care of us. it was an instant savings and i should have changed a long time ago. it was funny because when we would call another insurance company, hey would say "oh we can't beat usaa" we're the webber family. we're the tenney's we're the hayles, and we're usaa members for life. ♪ get your usaa auto insurance quote today. ♪ all of you. how you live,
4:22 pm
what you love. that's what inspired us to create america's most advanced internet. internet that puts you in charge. that protects what's important. it handles everything, and reaches everywhere. this is beyond wifi, this is xfi. simple. easy. awesome. xfinity, the future of awesome. welcome back to "harball." the house will vote tomorrow on a resolution to terminate president trump's national emergency declaration at the southern border, if it passes the senate has 18 days to bring it up for a vote. and four republican senators would need to side with democrats to send the measure to trump's desk. and today the president had a warning for republicans considering voting to support the resolution. he wrote, i hope our great republican senators don't get
4:23 pm
led down the path of weak and ineffective border security and added don't fall into the democrat's trap of open borders and crime. late today republican senator thom tillis said he would oppose the national emergency. joining alaska senator lisa murkowski who said she is likely to support that resolution. and another republican missouri roy blunt called the emergency declaration an unfortunate decision. >> i think we're going to have to evaluate whether this is really the intention of an emergency, is it really an emergency if again the president asked the congress to do it and they failed to. that is different than the way this law has been used in the past. >> so you could vote to try to block the president from moving forward with this emergency? you just haven't decided yet, is that fair. >> i think that's fair. >> meanwhile a bipartisan group of 58 former national security officials issued a joint
4:24 pm
statement rebuking the president's declaration writing under no plausible assessment is there a national emergency today. joined by julian castro and a candidate for president in 2020. thank you for joining us. let me start on this -- we've all talked about the polling on this, where the president border policies in the last couple of months, his policy when it came to that shutdown and where they poll, not very well. i guess the question i would ask you is, is there any risk, you're out there talking to people and talk take -- taking the pulse of the public, is there anything we're missing where the president is connecting with folks just on the idea he is tougher on the issue of the border, tougher on the issue of illegal immigration than anybody else? is there any element to this that we're missing in public polling, do you think? >> well, i have no doubt that this political ploy, using the
4:25 pm
border issue in this way, resonates with some folks but here is the thing, steve, as you know and we've seen over the last two years, this is a president that is bound and determined to be a president for his 37% base. i'm running for president because i want to be a president for all americans. and so what we have on the table is a fake emergency. you had the 58 officials conservative and progressive and republicans and democrats and that came forward today and said this is not necessary. this is setting a bad precedent and this could make us weaker in the future because people will take the declaration of a national emergency less seriously both here and abroad. and yet for political reasons the president goes forward. to answer your question about whether i think this will help him gain traction, i actually don't. i think that people can see through this. and that is why you have even republicans considering voting
4:26 pm
for this resolution -- legislation against his national emergency. by the way, i have to say that i'm glad to see that my brother joaquin is being productive there in the congress, too. >> let me ask you, you're running for president. you're talking about the idea of this being a precedent potentially. so if this is not -- if this resolution does not actually get enacted and trump vetoes it and then take a two-thirds supermajority to override him and that still seems unlikely. it will work through the courts and let's say it gets to the supreme court and the supreme court upholds it, if this action on the president's part is upheld, and then you succeed and you become president of the united states, would that change the way you view emergency -- t emergency powers of the president and think about the way you think about using those powers as president? >> i'll just say that if i take office on january 20th, 2021,
4:27 pm
that i will come into office with a strong belief that climate change is a national emergency, that the fact that so many people in this country die because of gun violence, that is a national emergency. the folks that -- the fact that so many folks still sleep on the streets in our country because they can't find a place to live that is affordable is a national emergency. so i think this president is setting a bad precedent. what he should do is negotiate with congress if he's determined to get funding for the wall. he hasn't been able to do that. and this is a symptom of his failure because i do believe that it is going to set a bad precedent and there are more pressing things that we need to do if we're considering what is a national emergency. i hope that it doesn't go in that direction, frankly. because i think that congress should play its role, whether
4:28 pm
authorizing the use of military force or budgetary decisions. that is not something the president should abuse. >> you said climate change and gun violence. again, if the power is upheld and if it is upheld through the courts that trump can declare this emergency, can move this money around, are there specific actions that you might then take as president when it comes to guns, when it comes to climate change by invoking the same power? >> well my help would be that we could work together in january of 2021 and beyond. first of all, i believe that at 12:01 p.m. on january 20th, 2021, we're going to have a democratic president. a democratic house and a democratic senate. and so i'm going to work with congress to achieve legislation on climate change and common sense gun reform and investing in things like universal pre-k aand affordable housing. however, if the president's action in this case is upheld by
4:29 pm
the supreme court, then it does open up new avenues for future presidents to take action and that is why i think that you see both conservatives and progressives who have taken a step back and said, look, this might not be in the best interest. it is not in the best interest for this president to go forward in this way. it is unfortunate that we have a president that can't see past his own political base and his only concern about getting re-elected. he said he wanted a wall. that he would get a wall. he hadn't been able to do that with congress so he'll pull out all of the stops, whether they're legal or not, to try and get that wall. that is not howe the presidency or democracy should work. >> i want to ask you, we talk about the issue of immigration and the attack from trump and republicans, to say the democratic position on this is extreme and it is moved to the left and moved toward an open borders direction, it is a broader line of attack. i think you're hearing from trump from his supporters that
4:30 pm
you'll hear in 2020. the idea the democratic party is moving quickly to the left is moving out of the mainstream is one position you took in the last couple of days is getting some conversation -- some other candidates have taken the position that i'm interested in. it is on this question of reparations and payments to black americans with family legacy that could be traced back to slavery. you said the country would be better off if it found a way to do that. and that is one of the -- it is not an issue that has gotten a lot of mainstream discussion. most recent poll i could find was about two or three years old that showed two-thirds of americans oppose that idea. put it up on the screen. 68% were against reparations payments. could you talk more about what you would do as president when it came to that and if you are worried that that sends a message to that 68% of americans who say they're against it, that maybe you are out of the mainstream a little? >> well, you know, this is not something that i think of
4:31 pm
through a political lens. i have long believed that this country should resolve its original sin of slavery and that one of the ways we should consider doing that is through reparations for people who are the descendents of slaves. it is interesting to me that under our constitution and otherwise that we compensate people if we take their property. shouldn't we compensate people if they were property sanctioned by the state? so i believe that that is a conversation that is worth having. and i see that as right and wrong. i don't see that as political or nonpolitical. so if i'm president, what i said was that i would establish a task force to look at how that might be done. i know that there is a lot of disagreement both about whether it should be done and if it were
4:32 pm
done, how it would be done. i'm not naive about that. but i do think that that dark cloud still hangs over our country. i believe that we ought to move forward in the 21st century as one nation with one destiny and that until that issue is resolved, until that original sin is addressed, we may think that we're moving forward as one nation and i don't think that we ever really will. >> julian castro, democratic candidate for president. thanks for taking a few minutes. >> thank you, steve. up next, i'm going to head over to the big board. taking a look at president trump's approval rating. as he gears up to run for re-election. there is a little bit of movement there. i'll tell but that after this. l. our grandparents checked their smartphones
4:33 pm
4:34 pm
zero times a day.
4:35 pm
times change. eyes haven't. that's why there's ocuvite. screen light... sunlight... longer hours... eyes today are stressed. but ocuvite has vital nutrients... help protect them. ocuvite. eye nutrition for today. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need. great news for anyone wh- uh uh - i'm the one who delivers the news around here. ♪ liberty mutual has just announced that they can customize your car insurance so that you only pay for what you need. this is phoebe buckley, on location. uh... thanks, phoebe. ♪ only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
4:36 pm
all right. welcome back to "harball." well we're talking -- we just talked to one of the democratic candidates for president, all sorts of different democrats that they are trying to get the nomination. one of the reasons there are so many democrats running for president is that donald trump has certainly looked politically vulnerable pretty much since the moment he won election. very narrow lg won election. more than two years ago. so how as this democratic race starts to take shape, how is the president looking politically as he gears up to face one of the democrats. we could show you, interesting here and real clear politics, one of the folks that they average all of the polls that are out there together. give you a running polling
4:37 pm
average. donald trump's approval rating, his average approval rating is actually up a few ticks and a few points since the government shutdown. he's sitting at 44.1% in real clear politics. that is not a great number but you could see this little bottoming out point here recently. this was the government shutdown. you heard all of the stories about trump's numbers suddenly falling, collapsing and he ends up then sort of waiving on the government shutdown. and you see it is kind of returned now to 44%. now 44% by any historical standard is not that great but that is the pattern with donald trump. it seems like he has all of these different crisis points in his presidency, all of these moments when the numbers drop down into the 30s, things seem to move on, quiet down and then he bounces back into the low to mid-40s. look at this. his how point as president was 46%, his first week in office. his low point was 37% a couple of times.
4:38 pm
his entire presidency his approval rating is in this very narrow band. high 30s and low to mid-40s. it is back into the mid-40s right now. compare where he stands right now with his predecessors at this same point of, you could see reagan and carter and reagan won re-election and the trump people think of that as a model and the two bushes there were wars going on at this point in their presidency. but here is the big difference between trump and all of these predecessors and all of the modern predecessors, carter, reagan, obama, both bushes, all of them at some point by now had been here or higher in the approval rating. even briefly they had shown the ability at some point as president to reach across that divide and get well over majority of the country to be behind them. it was brief in some cases but they all dared at some point and trump has never done it and what it tells me is you look at the past presidents and the different paths, some of them to
4:39 pm
re-election and some to losing. trump is still operating in the same political atmosphere he's been since he became a candidate for president. those numbers you saw as his approval rating, that is what the numbers look like through the campaign in 2016. if he's going to win re-election in 2020, he's not reinventing the wheel here. he would have to do pretty much is looks like exactly what he did in 2016. very, very narrow margin, just the right states, all of that winning with historically pretty low numbers , he did it once an it looks like he'll have to do it again to not be a one-termer. and how is president trump preparing for that second meeting with north korean leader, lashing out at spike lee. that is coming up next. pike lee. that is coming up next biopharmaceutical researchers.
4:40 pm
driven each day to pursue life-changing cures... in a country built on fostering innovation. here, they find breakthroughs... like a way to fight cancer by arming a patient's own t-cells... and a new therapy that gives the blind a working gene so they can see again.
4:41 pm
because it's not just about the next breakthrough... it's all the ones after that.
4:42 pm
welcome back to "harball."
4:43 pm
president trump is on a 21-hour flight to vietnam but before he left washington he gave his twitter followers a preview of what is on his mind ahead of the big summit with kim jong-un. president trump tweeting out, former senator harry reid, he got thrown out, is working hard to put a good spin on his failed career. he led through lies and deception only to be replaced by another beauty crying chuck schumer. some things just never change. that tweet came minutes after cnn aired an interview with the now retired nevada democrat in that interview reid tells the network he has trouble accepting trump as a person and that is not all he said. >> in hindsight, i wish every day for a george bush again. i think that he and i had our differences but no one questioned his patriotism. >> and reid isn't the only person to rub the president the wrong way. lashing out at film director
4:44 pm
spike lee. tweeting this, be nice if spike lee could read his notes or better yet not have to use notes at all when doing his racist hit on your president who has done for more african-american and criminal justice and lowest unemployment numbers in history and tax cuts et cetera than any other president. he was reacting to the spike lee acceptance speech during last night's oscars that made no direct mention of the president. what did he say that got under trump's skin? that is coming up next. all your worst symptoms, including nasal congestion, which most pills don't. and all from a gentle mist you can barely feel. flonase sensimist.
4:45 pm
4:46 pm
4:47 pm
you can barely feel. yeah, this is nice. mmmm how did you make the dip so rich and creamy? oh, it's a philadelphia- -family recipe. can i see it? no. new philadelphia dips. so good, you'll take all the credit.
4:48 pm
welcome back to "harball." president trump today accused film director spike lee of a racist hit. so what prompted that charge? well last night lee won his first competitive oscar for the screenplay of his film "blackkklansman" and his acceptance speech and the call to action that urked the president. take a look. >> before the world tonight i give praise to ancestors who helped build this country and today along with the genocide of his native people. we all connect with our ancestors will have love and wisdom and gain our humanity or be a powerful moment. the 2020 presidential election is around the corner. [ applause ] >> let's all vocalize and let's all be on the right side of history. make the moral choice between
4:49 pm
love versus hate. let's do the right thing. >> and that is what seemed to set the president off. for more i'm joined by corin jean pierre and editor at compromi compromise magazine. and is he just in a moment of frustration or whatever you want to call it and lashing out or is there some calculation or strategy behind the decision to go after spike lee the way he did today? >> my theory is the chaos. donald trump likes to lead by chaos. and i think with him he uses his twitter feed for two things. to distract us and make sure that we're not talking about the things that he doesn't want -- he doesn't want us to be talking about and also just to feed the red meat to his base. those are the two ways he uses twitter and he's very effective with it. we're talking about it right now. now i'm not saying we should ignore what he says because some of it he does tweet policy by tweet and we see that with the
4:50 pm
transgender band and troops now dealing with what trump did via tweet and changing that policy. but donald trump -- we have to remember he just left and going to go do headline. he wants a win so he is distracting us. what are we going to talk about? cohen, mueller and talk about his fake national emergency that the house is going to rebuke. there's a long list of things that he's going to be away from the country that he does not want us to talk about, so i do think, i mean we have harry reid. you have spike lee, a lot of it is all connected. it is a distraction he does not want us to talk about because he's so worried. >> what did you make of it? in isolation, the president of the united states going on twitter and saying this would be shocking but it is par for the course. >> it is baffling to me because for him, for him spike lee was astonishingly restrained in fact. did not mention him by nad.
4:51 pm
it was about 400 years of repression then he said vote in 2020, let's mobilize. it wasn't racist. he didn't say anything racist about white people or trump or anything like that. so i think it was ulee like a failed hit if i were he i would have gone being him i would have gone after the repeated mentions of, you know, mexico and the wall and how mexico was better than everybody else and all of that. that would have been the red meat i would have thought he would have thrown because maybe he wasn't that much of the show. >> talking in spanish and mexicans are winning all at wards. i don't know. it struck me as weird and as a failure, a rare failure because i think a lot of the base will scratch their heads and say, what, i don't know. >> it seems too just talking in the last segment, the approval rating is stuck between 37 and
4:52 pm
was his honeymoon. 37 and about 44, at about the limit of it and seems like the kind of behavior. all the other past presidents have got to 55, 60% at least. when you're doing this you won't get to 60% in the polls. >> the thing about him is first of all all those numbers are historically low for any president which is astonishing on its own. spike lee is from hollywood. donald trump sees himself from that world as a tv reality star. you have people like spike lee, you know, basically saying, hey, don't forget to go out and vote. use your moral authority. it's really important and took that -- donald trump took that personally because it plays into his ego, into that reality tv star, that hollywood that he thinks he belongs to so i think it was also probably a personal -- he felt it as a personal dig and, you know, it wasn't just spike lee. no one mentioned him but there was digs there last night about what's going on at 1600
4:53 pm
pennsylvania. >> the other -- we mentioned too in the last segment, the other person he lashed out at harry reid, the former senate majority leader, he is out of politics facing health challenges and speaking very bluntly about donald trump. what did you make of the president deciding to go in that direction? >> again, it struck me as weird. harry reid is out of politic, one interview, hasn't been in politics since 2016. he's very sick. so he says he doesn't like trump. every democrat says he doesn't like trump. i don't understand why he wants to pick a fight with a sick old guy with no power. it doesn't -- even if he gets -- just they watched it and annoyed him so he tweets and i think actually that given what he wants to do if he wants to do that, not to give him advice but he needs to be a little more strategic about this like play -- time your hits. do them in the right way. this is going to be a pretty bad week unless something miraculous comes out of the summit in
4:54 pm
vietnam, it's not going to be a good week for him. he would be better and, by the way, the last couple of weeks one reason his polls have gone up he's been relatively quiet and focused on democrats getting into the race and i think making some mistakes. >> that's one of those elms too. things quiet down a little bit. >> the government opened up again. i think that's part of it too. he has cohen on his mind. cohen is going to be talking about his business, the thing that he had said was a red line for mueller. now, cohen is going to be in public talking about -- >> on wednesday, we will see too how trump -- karine jean-pierre and john podhoretz. thanks for joining us. an elimination contest? we're back after this. woman 1: i had no symptoms of hepatitis c.
4:55 pm
man 1: mine... ...caused liver damage. vo: epclusa treats all main types of chronic hep c. vo: whatever your type, ask your doctor if epclusa is your kind of cure. woman 2: i had the common type. man 2: mine was rare. vo: epclusa has a 98% overall cure rate. man 3: i just found out about my hepatitis c. woman 3: i knew for years. vo: epclusa is only one pill, once a day, taken with or without food for 12 weeks. vo: before starting epclusa, your doctor will test if you have had hepatitis b, which may flare up, and could cause serious liver problems during and after treatment. vo: tell your doctor if you have had hepatitis b, other liver or kidney problems, hiv, or other medical conditions...
4:56 pm
vo: ...and all medicines you take, including herbal supplements. vo: taking amiodarone with epclusa may cause a serious slowing of your heart rate. vo: common side effects include headache and tiredness. vo: ask your doctor today, if epclusa is your kind of cure. minimums and fees seem to your typical bank.n of capital one is anything but typical. that's why we designed savings and checking accounts with no fees or minimums. this is banking reimagined. what's in your wallet? named 'park' in the u.s. ninety-six hundred roads it's america's most popular street name. but no matter what park you live on, one of 10,000 local allstate agents knows yours. now that you know the truth, are you in good hands?
4:57 pm
when heartburn hits, fight back fast with tums smoothies. it neutralizes stomach acid at the source. ♪tum tum tum tum smoothies. also available tums sugar-free.
4:58 pm
welcome back. when it comes to races for president the role of the first primary states is basically to win the field. history says you don't have to win iowa or new hampshire to get the nomination but you at least have to show something. in 2020 democrat also have a very crowded field and so there's going to be a lot of winnowing for those early primary voters to do. in particular, i'm already thinking ahead to new hampshire and to what could be a critical test there. there are two democratic candidates right now from states that border new hampshire. elizabeth warren from massachusetts, bernie sanders
4:59 pm
from vermont and candidates from neighboring states have a very good track record in new hampshire primaries, basically they usually win and they almost always finish no worse than second. in in other words, both sanders and warren will have a hard time coming up with a good excuse if they fall flat in the granite state and now there is a new poll from new hampshire from emerson this weekend just after sanders joined warren in saying he's running. it has sanders in first with 27%. remember, he won new hampshire big in 2016. he's followed in this poll by joe biden then kamala harris then in fourth with 9%, warren. it's also not the first new hampshire poll to show a result like this. umass poll two weeks had warren at 9%. think of the overlap between sanders' message and wheren and add in the geographic one with neighboring state senators already well known in the winnowing effect of new hampshire. this could be what amounts to an elimination contest between the
5:00 pm
two. the pressure will be high on both of them. sanders has a big leg up and see if warren can reverse that are or ruing the day bernie sanders decided to run again. that's "hardball." "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. tonight on "all in" -- >> i just start kissing them. >> shades of the access hollywood tape in a brand-new accusation against the president. >> and when you're a star they let you do it. you can doig. >> tonight the first new accusation against donald trump as president and the attorney for the newest accuser joins me live. then elizabeth warren changing the game. >> corruption is a cancer on our democracy. >> tonight my exclusive interview with elizabeth warren on her campaign pledge to swear off big money fund-raising. plus, why what's left out of the latest manafort filing can be trouble in trump