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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  February 20, 2017 11:30pm-12:01am PST

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>> the trump probe goes bipartisan. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. president trump has a new national security adviser and a brief statement at mar-a-lago today, he named major general h.r. mcmaster to serve in that role following his dismissal of lieutenant general michael flynn last week. while flynn's out of the white house, he's not out of the woods. with the fbi already leading a counterintelligence inquiry, the senate has begun a probe into the communications with the russian ambassador. yesterday the associated press reported "the senate intelligence committee has sent formal requests to more than a dozen organizations, agencies and individuals asking them to preserve all materials related to the committee's investigation into russian interference in the 2016 election and related issues."
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as nbc confirmed yesterday, that letter reached the white house. it comes after fbi director james comey met with members of the intelligence committee two hours. marco rubio posted this tweet "i am now very confident senate intel committee i serve on will conduct thorough bipartisan investigation of putin interference and influence." reince priebus concerned they had received the committee's letter but he downplayed it as well as the forthcoming investigation itself. >> that doesn't mean there's anything there. it just means they need to do some things to satisfy their committee that they've looked into something and they can have meetings lined closed doors like they always do in the intel committee and they'll issue their report. as long as they do their job and we cooperate with them, they'll issue a report and the report
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will say there's nothing there. i know what they were told by the fbi because i've talked to the fbi. i know what they're saying. >> that's interesting that he has been talking to the fbi, the chief of staff. meanwhile, reuters has this weekend confirmed reporting from the "new york times" that last week "americans with ties to trump or his campaign had repeated contacts with current or former russian intelligence officers. joining me is a political reporter with the "new york times," a writer at "the atlantic" and writer from "the washington post." ann, this question of this paper that's been sent in, that found its way on the desk of mike flynn, it proposed what looks to be a very russian-tilting of how to deal with our relations with the ukraine and russia. we don't know how it got there except this guy mike cohen, the president's lawyer, just dropped it on the desk. >> he's now retracted that and
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said the "new york times" reporting is saying it never happened. the times is standing by its story. the original story -- >> here it is, the proposal to tell a peace plan between russia and ukraine that would remove sanctions on russia. the plan was green lighted by aides to russian president vladimir putin. >> right. it would essentially codify a russian-leaning solution to the violence in eastern ukraine. russia would withdraw troops and the annexation of crimea would be put up for referendum, which presumably would be approved, that it would be become some sort of russian-leased vessel area and that would go against the current u.s. position, at least as stated by the obama administration and the trump
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administration hasn't come up with identities own position yet on the future of crimea. so this is all -- it's can the conducts of private diplomacy -- >> it's also an end run around the minsk agreements. >> what are the minsk agreements? >> they apparently froze the russian conflict into place. >> let's focus on one thing, everybody here. >> nick, i want to focus on the role of the trump people playing pussy foot, or whatever you want to call, it especially the russians during the campaign. this new document that has surfaced, mike cohen is a personal lawyer in private life to donald trump said he didn't put it on the desk of the recent national security director michael flynn, however, your paper said it did. what are the people around trump doing, doing the work, flaking for, working for vladimir putin? this thickens the stew beyond what is possible, it really
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looks like they're working together and i shouldn't say the people, but vladimir putin himself. >> who put the letter on the desk? it a good detail. but look at the last week. on tuesday the "times" breaks a story saying the trump campaign was in constant contact with the russian intelligence. friday comey briefs the senate intel committee and people on the committee come out of that committee like ghosts and rubio says, you know, it's going to be an investigation and we're doing it and the demand letter, the freeze the documents letter comes out that same day. this is all happening in a week, right? and then on sunday senator graham is at a conference in germany says that 2017 is going to be the year of kicking russia's butt. so there's obviously a lot of
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facts on the ground here and a huge amount of smoke and also some fire, chris. >> i would say so. and this question of just sequence, as they put it, they have a meeting, the guy's briefing them is comey. they come out and they're all of a sudden bipartisan, it's all brotherhood and sisterhood all happening all against trump and all of a sudden they send a letter, don't go -- what do they call that thing? >> don't go destroying any documents. >> what do they call it the thing that rips up -- >> the shredder. >> stay away from the shredder. >> the committee is clearly protecting the integrity of whatever investigation they do. they do not want to be, anybody, including the republicans on that committee do not want to be accused later of having set up the investigation to fail by allowing documents to be destroyed or by not setting the proper scope for this investigation. clearly comey told them some
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things that concerned them enough that they were ready to say republicans and democrats alike after that meeting that this is going to be a bro bipartisan and vigorous investigation and bish the way, don't put anything in the shredder in the meantime because we're going to want to look at it. >> putin had ambitions for a greater russia again, something like the old so union, grabbing back effective control over rhymia we know that goal. what do we know that that was brought to use in collaboration with the trump people who just wanted to get trump elected. those are two goals that seem to have nothing to do with each other. >> well, they sure do have a lot in common because part of putin's ambition has been to get rid of the union uni polar world instead of this constant taug of what are between moscow.
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>> he does think it going to be an east and he said the united states can't. >> today the russian government is performing a -- they're looking out for this guy, trying to figure out trump. >> that is a common interest around this table. the new american leader is a risk taker who can be naive according to a sao. >> and telling nbc news, appropriation, chm trump's constant battle with the media was worrying us. the u.s. president is dapsing on thin ice, it's a risky game. >> what do they make of trump? now that they've got him. if they didn't know he was coming, he's here. trump is president of the united states. now they got to figure out what
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kettle of fish he is. i think it fascinating that you will they've come up with is he's a risk taker. >> well, loo being the whole dossier seems like a google search. it seems like the kind of things you would -- if you had read the paper, he's a risk taker and a bit naive about governments and governments in policy. it i think what russia wants it s a weakened dmerj and if they can mess with trump, have him
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off tastes. >> well, it looks like they doesn't buy that report in its entirety. that you will they got is he's a risk taker. >> up next, park geun-hye is this the trump doctrine? talk tough to your sporters at home and let the grownups do the clean-up overseas? only tylenol® rapid release gels have laser drilled holes. they release medicine fast, for fast pain relief. tylenol®
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welcome back to "hardball." the world is watching president trump. as a candidate, he said he would grab oil in iraq. >> i didn't want to go there in
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the first place but now we take the oil. we should have kept the oil. now we go, in knock the hell out of them, take the oil. >> i said keep the oil, keep the oil, keep the oil skp don't let somebody else get it! >> it used to be to the victor belong the spoils. now, there's no victor. >> four years ago i say bomb and take the oil. >> see sew we should have kept the oil. maybe yesterday we'll have a chance. >> yesterday james mattis said the u.s. would not take iraq's royal. >> i think all of us in america have generally paid for our gas and oil all along and i'm sure we will continue to do so in the future. we're not in iraq to seize
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anybody's oil. >> then there's president trump's strong words for europe and nato. the pred said this about nato, it's obsolete and countries aren't paying what they should and nato didn't deal with terrorism. well, today in europe, vice president mike pence reassured our allies the president was, quote, committed to our alliances. >> the united states of america strongly supports nato and will be unwavering in our commitment to this transatlantic alliance. >> eugene robinson, comments on "the washington post" and emily fargias, former assistant deputy of defense and now an msnbc national security analyst. i remember when john fogarty was the cleaning up after the elephants. >> didn't like it at all. however -- >> now they are cleaning up
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after -- >> they're sweeching as fast as they can. how did k they not, right? you've got to make clear that, no, we're not going to seize iraqs oil, which would be a war crime. >> can you imagine your son or daughter in the war? >> so what do you believe if you're -- if you're sitting in riyadh? >> don't fix it if it's not broken. my question here, evelyn, what's wrong with nato? it's the one good thing. that and the marshall plan. it worked! >> it's the only operational alliance we have in the same world.
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>> you mean great alliances with our south kreeian ail lies. it's not the same. first of all, there's out owe ma 'tis italy. almost automatic we go to wore in someone attacks one of the nato allies. second of all, we practice, we make war plans, we've gone to wore with our nato allies. after 9/11, the attack against the united states, that was the only time that nato invoked that article 5. first they came and patrol ld everything in the united states, sent ships to the met and then went to afghanistan and they're still with us today. vice president pence about a fantastic job, i was there in munich, i saw him but i didn't see him in brussels. >> just remember when the goal was giving us a hart time about bringing back the headquarters in paired.
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>> but the french came back. >> i know. doesn't kill my punch line. eugene robinson. up next, the parallels between president trump and president nixon. when we come back, nixon's former white house counselor join us to talk about why the compartments aren't right. this is "hardball." what did the president know and when did he know it? crest 3d whitestrips whiten... 25 times better than a leading whitening toothpaste i passed the tissue test. oh yeah. crest whitestrips are the way to whiten
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>> that was of course senator howard baker's famous quote from the watergate hearings, which ultimately brought down president nixon. now with many questions looming, many are asking the same question of the white house. this is in the latest edition of the "new yorker" with the ghost of nixon telling donald trump, "it's time we had a little chat." "watergate is the biggest political scandal of my lifetime
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until maybe now. on a 10 scale of armageddon for our form of government, i would put the russia scandal around 5 or 6. it is cascading by the hour. i'm joined by the former watergate assistant special prosecutor, mr. dean, echo or denial or nothing's the same. where do you stand? >> i see some interesting parallel. obviously the russian break-in was a little different than the watergate break-in itself. it was a hacking versus a bugging and ransacking of the files but they obviously deal both with the dnc.
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i think that's where the comparison comes from, chris. and from there, there's clear i don't ever -- coverups going on. no one is coming forward and confessing this. and that's watergate. >> this time around, i'm not sure. i think some of the disruption of the dnc, the palmieri thing, the poddesta, i know it was just a dirty trick, they were screwing up their operation. >> but here you've got a foreign power, our adversary, the russians, who are interfering, according to the unified version of our intelligence community, interfering with our election. with our electoral process. so that's big. so the question is was mr. trump, now president trump or any of his close associates somehow involved with the
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russians during this course of conduct? if so, that would be huge. >> is it impeachability at this point? can you have retrospective impeachment for something done before you were in office? >> if there was, if there was such activity, then this would be a criminal act -- >> so it would be a high crime and misdemeanor -- >> that would be to the utmost seriousness of this country. >> and here's a 1973 press conference. >> what is it about the television coverage of you in these past weeks and months that has so aroused your anger? >> don't get the impression that you arouse my anger. >> i have that impression.
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>> one can only be anger with those who respects. >> how british of him. nixon went further calling the press the enemy. >> remember we're going to be around and outlive our enemies. and also never forget the press is the enemy. the press is the enemy. >> he repeats himself. trump does that. similarly trump has regularly attacked the credibility of the news media. this past friday "the fake news media, failing "new york times," nbc news, abc, cbs, cnn." >> nixon worked behind the scene, see if he couldn't hurt the press.
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he kept an enemies list. he had surveillance on about a dozen newsmen at one point. he has his plumbers squad that's out looking for leaks that leads to great disasters later. so far trump has been right out front even taking it to the degree of a press conference where he openly attacks the media in the press conference. >> thank you, john dean and richard ben-veniste. join me tomorrow night at 7:00 eastern. see you then.
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