tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC January 2, 2017 11:30pm-12:01am PST
last word. thank you so much. thank you to robert costa. that does it for this edition. ending as i started. stumbling over my words. "hardball with chris matthews" starts right now. the coming of trump. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris good evening, i'm chris matthews. back in washington. well, we're at the start of a very busy month politically, of course. a transformative one for the country. in just 18 days donald trump will be sworn in like it or not, actually, as the 45th president of the united states. get that into your head. today, president obama returned from vacation in hawaii with the obvious goal of trying to protect his legacy which is now an endangered political species. the white house announced the president will deliver his last major address next week from chicago. president-elect trump returned to new york today from his vacation and he continued tweeting today.
suggest there might be a role for the federal government in combatting chicago's soaring number of murders. 762. this past year. and he criticized what he called media outlets and pundits for suggesting he, himself, thought he was going to lose the election. well coming up in the show, i'll be talking to newly appointed counselor to the incoming president, kellyanne conway. we begin tonight with the pending question about the next commander in chief. what does donald trump know that he won't, or that we don't? and what does donald trump know that president obama and the u.s. intelligence committee doesn't know? well, over the wkend president-elect trump again questioned the intelligence community's conclusion that russia interfered with the u.s. elections and he teased what he might reveal about that topic this week. let's watch him. >> i just want them to be sure because it's a pretty serious charge and i want them to be sure and if you look at the weapons of mass destruction,
that was a disaster and they were wrong. and so i want them to be sure. i think it's unfair if they don't know and i know a lot about hacking and hacking is a very hard thing to prove. so it could be somebody else and i also know things that other people don't know. and so they cannot be sure of this situation. >> like what, what do you know that other people don't know? >> you'll find out on tuesday or wednesday. >> well, what is he referring to common on tuesday or wednesday? i'm going to be joined, by the way, tonight on this program by nbc's kristen -- i'm joined right now by kristen welker, joined by kellyanne conway later on in the show. you're right there. do we have any indication trump's going to make good on this commitment to show us, show and tell tomorrow or the next day, what he knows that no one else apparently knows about the possibility of russia, i assume not being the ones who hacked into our him situation this past election? >> reporter: well, look, that's what he's saying, chris, we know he's going to have an
intelligence briefing this week and certainly we're going to keep asking, you heard the reporter pressing him for more information there. we've been pressing his top officials for more information but they continued to punt and make the argument that he wants to be sure before making a final assessment that it was, in fact, russia. but look, the takeaway here, chris, is that, again, you have an incoming commander in chief questioning his intelligence community. you heard him pointing to the weapons of mass destruction there. that's something that really gets under the skin of intelligence officials. and he's also setting up a poteial battle with members of congress. members of his own party. hawks like john mccain and lindsey graham who are calling for more sanctions. and who are essentially saying that they believe u.s. intelligence officials when they say that russia is behind those hacks that we saw during the 2016 race. and in fact, senator john mccain set to hold a hearing on the matter on thursday. so it's setting up this situation, chris, for president-elect trump who's
trying to sort of move on from this topic, but the hawks in his party not leing it go. could be the first big battle when he takes office just 18 days from now. chris? >> of course, with that experience, kristen, you and i and everybody else in the western world has heard trump say he's got private investigators out learning all kinds of things about president obama, his real birth and that sort of thing. we've been through this sort of situation. what is trump really going to try -- he's very good, as somebody said the other day, creating rabbits for us to chase every week. what's the rabbit this week? what is trump going to do this week to focus media attention? do we know yet? >> reporter: well, i don't, and it's a good question. i mean, earlier this evening, he tweeted about north korea and the fact that he will prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon. as you talked about, he talked about, he tweeted about violence in chicago. we didn't see a whole lot of him today. he was sort of huddled indoors here at trump tower. it was a quieter day.
i'm told he's going to have more transition-related meetings tomorrow. but, again, chris, bottom line, he did make that statement that he's going to produce more information and certainly the press corps is going to hold him to that and his top officials within his administration, chris. >> we're waiting for that. thank you, kristen welker, for doing this. get out from the rain. standing out if front of that tower. donald trump praised vladimir putin's decision today not to respond to the obama administration's punitive actions announced last week. well trump tweeted the following. "great move on delay by v. putin. i always knew he was very smart." anyway, today trump's incoming press secretary, sean spicer, suggested that president obama's response was politicizing intelligence and it was shooting from the hip. let's watch him. >> this report that everyone sees, taking as gospel truth right now is not even final. it's not supposed to finalized until later this week. there are questions as to why we're taking the action we're taking in the proportion that we are without the report even being finalized.
the president-elect is going to wait until the information is final until he can make the clearest judgment on what to do in the best interests of this country. what he's not going to do is politicize intelligence and would decide to shoot from the hip before he has a complete picture of what's happening. >> okay. i'm joined right now by "usa today's" washington bureau chief susan page and global editorial director for the "huffington post" howard fineman. you're the pros. we have to get used to this. trump reality. he simply dictates, it's not the russians and we sort of have to work around that statement. >> here's what's going to be different, though, after he's inaugurated we're going to judge what he tweets, when he says, what he does and what the impact of that is. this is going to require discipline on the part of journalists to cover what he actually does and the impact of that as opposed to -- >> how do you avoid chasing the rabbits -- >> you can't not chase the rabbit, right? you have the responsibility -- >> i'm going to pick mitt romney for two weeks. >> you have a bigger responsibility, i think, to
focus on the substance of what he does and what impact it has because after he's inaugurated, that is going to be what matters and that's what's going to matter to the people who put him in office. >> let's start with this one. every time he lambasts, or lambasts, however you pronounce it, the intelligence community by saying they got it wrong on iraq, no one in the intelligence community like the cia, defense intelligence, said that saddam hussein had nuclear weapons. one person said that, his name is dick cheney, he was followed by his band of neocons. not right for trump to say the cia was right about that so don't trust them about the russian hacking. it's not accurate. >> there was the slam dunk phrase used back in the day. >> yeah. about wmd -- not about nuclear. >> yeah. >> he was always careful about that. nuclear is the reason most middle of the road people said let's go to war with iraq because we thought they did have a nuclear weapon. >> sure. for sean spicer to accuse the democrats of -- and the media of sort of playing politics with it, i think obscures the larger point which is it serves donald trump's interests to keep his
own personal interests and his own leadership style, to intimidate everybody around him and to keep them divided and at war with each other. he's putting the intelligence community on notice as only donald trump can do in public. you guys screwed up before, i don't necessarily believe you, and he's trying to discredit -- >> why does he do that? >> well, i think partly it's a method of control for donald trump. >> you got your g-2 out there, if you're a military guy you depend every day, every hour on your intelligence guy. how is he going to run the world -- >> like richard nixon long ago who also was very wary about his own intel people going in as president of the united states -- >> he resented them. >> he resented them. i think donald trump for his own reasons, i'm not sure what they all are, is putting them on the defensive.
people like michael hayden who used to be a key figure in the bush era of intel thinks that the crowd that donald trump has put around them are basically lunatics. >> let's get to something -- we're getting close to lunatic question here. right now late today, donald trump tweeted a warning to north korea. there you're talking real lunacy over there. "north korea just stated it is is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the u.s. it won't happen." okay. well, this is a question i've been thinking about as, away for two weeks, one question scarier going on than anything else right now, kim jong-un. a weird haircut. he's surrounded by sycophants, building a nuclear weapon, a missile capable of reaching seattle. what's to stop that little finger from pushing the button? >> of course, one concern some policymakers have, he's able to be provoked -- >> which guy? the guy in pyongyang or guy in new york? >> speaking of the north korean leader. he has a history of being provoked, doing provocative
things and pressing the envelope at key moments, for example, the inauguration of a new president. >> you're talking about the kim jong-un might try something. >> might try something. it would be in his pattern of behavior to try something -- >> okay -- >> when he reads the tweet like that it has the possibility of igniting something. >> howard, i'm going to ask you the same question. here goes. you're president-elect. you're surrounded by newcomers to security. got to go to people right now that are going to tell you what are my options? do i call the leaders of china? say got to call this guy down to the principal's office, got to warn him, if anything like this ever happens, it's not about trading nuclear weapons, it's about this guy's very sad, quick, tragic end on this planet. and how do you get that message across to this numbskull? >> well, having just publicly attempted to trash the intelligence community, he now has to go to the intelligence community and ask him for advice. >> deterrence doesn't work. >> donald trump from what i can tell, and i've been around him
now for a while, and i've studied him for longer than that, believes in his own circle of people to tell him what he should do. one of those people who's become part of that circle is henry kissinger. henry kissinger has been around for a long time. >> you think he's on the phone with him yet and say be careful here? >> i know he's talked to donald trump. i can't say within the last 24 hours but absolutely he has. donald trump wants his own people. you talk about somebody who might be surrounded by people who want to tell him what he wants to hear. >> okay. >> about a guy with a short fuse. >> okay. >> we're talking about both places. >> i worked in politics long enough to know that when somebody is sick with a grave disease, they don't go to their best friends. they find out if they got to go on google, go to -- the richest, smartest people they know, tell me who's the best doctor for this. that's almost the situation trump's in now. he needs to find the specialist who's going to help him deal with kim jong-un and this nuclear delivery system of his
he just announced. >> with any incoming administration, even one that's more conventional than the trump administration, this is a risky period. at the very beginning of an administration. because they don't have all their kinks worked out y. they don't have all their positions filled. the national security adser, general flynn, would be important in any discussion like that. he'll have just taken over his job, too. >> yeah. >> so it raises a lot of concerns and it's one reason that you want to have a smooth as transition as possible so that if there's a crisis, one person you might call would be barack obama. >> thank you, howard fineman and susan page. coming up, i'm going to ask trump's kellyanne conway about what trump may know about hacking and how committed he is to ending obamacare. this is "hardball." the place for politics.
welcome back to "hardball." in 18 days when he's sworn in as the 45th president of the united states, donald trump will face a divided country obviously, and a world of conflicts out there. how will he deal with russia, the middle east and other major flashpoints? kellyanne conway was trump's campaign manager.
she will now serve -- she's now serving as counselor. she'll actually have the title of counselor to the president in the white house. congratulations. you pointed out, somebody ought to this this, one of three women that have ever held the very high position of counselor to the president. tell us more. >> all of them were republicans. there's never been a democratic woman with that title, chris. >> which tells you? >> just a little piece of useful trivia. tells you yet again donald trump has been promoting and elevating women in the trump corporation, trump campaign, trump cabinet and trump administration. it's who he is. it's what he does. >> well, you've got an amazing position. going to be in the oval office a lot with the president and let me just ask you about what scares me. you know, i was away for two weeks over in india. i was reading the papers. actually they have a good english language press over there. and i'm reading about trump and everything that's going on. one thing that bugs me and scares me, because it's not about something we can argue about and go back and forth, raise taxes, lower them, a lot is back and forth, four years, eight years.
a lot can be fixed that can be broken. one thing that scares all of us is a nuclear attack by a country. how do you stop somebody as weird as kim jong-un that weirdly haircutted guy from north korea, who's surrounded by sycophants and no one is going to tell him the truth? how do you -- how does donald trump stop him from arming and launching or even deploying a missile capable of delivering a nuclear weapon to seattle? how do you stop him from doing that? you can punish him afterwards, blow the hell out of that country. what can you do to stop him from doing it. >> as you pointed out the president-elect in the last hour, chris, tweeted out the notice that north korea's about a year away from having this described missile and that donald trump ended that by saying "not going to happen." so he's focused on this. he'll have a plan. he will confer with his generals and other security -- his security officials and he will
take action. i'll tell you how you don't do it. you don't do it by having the policies of the last eight years, you don't do it by emboldening a country like iran and its nuclear capability which has put the u.s. and israel and, frankly, the rest of the world in direct risk. i think that's even why prominent democratic senators like bob menendez of new jersey and our own chuck schumer here in new york, were against that iran nuclear deal. so the idea that we have been increasing the capability, the nuclear capability, of a country like iran and then we're questioning north korea's capability is somewhat rich. that's in part why president obama's former secretary of state hillary clinton lost the election and a guy who's going to be much tougher on these issues, donald trump, won the election. >> we have had a global sanctions regime against iran which forced them to the negotiating table and may not like the plan but at least it puts them off in terms of their ability to develop a nuclear weapon. what negotiation with pyongyang, with the north koreans, would serve that purpose?
if you don't have a worldwide sanctions against them with the chinese involved cutting them off from any economic life, what do you do to stop them? you squeeze them, you squeeze them, you squeeze them, then what do you do? >> right. let me back up a second, when you talk about the sanctions on the iran deal, fine, except remember that we're also -- they also have so much money now and they're funding groups like hezbollah. in other words -- >> okay. >> -- it's not just as simple as the iran nuclear deal or as simple as the $100 million per, for people in ransom, what it was, even though they lied at the beginning. look, i'm not going to make foreign policy, national security pronouncements on your show tonight. the president-elect is not doing that until he is sworn into office. >> okay. >> but clearly, this is, you know, this is -- this is a roiling part of the obama legacy. i'd be curious to see what president obama says in his, quote, farewell address in chicago about issues like this. maybe he won't even address them. when you say the world is a dangerous place, it didn't just happen, and it's because of a lot of action and inaction and i
appreciate the fact that president-elect trump through his very powerful social media platform, in just the last hour, chris, is telling 44 million people on twitter, facebook and instagram combined then the whole media that has to pick up these comments that he intends to stop it, and he will. >> okay. i agree, look, i think that was a concern before he did it, but i agree he's focused on what is, to me, and many people, the biggest concern we have. let's talk about setting the tone. you say you don't want to make policy -- let's talk about the tone. he's clearly setting a different tone than obama with regard to russia, allegations of russia's hacking in the campaign. mr. trump questioned whether russia was, in fact, responsible. let's start with that. here we go. >> hacking is very interesting. once they hack, if you don't catch them in the act, you're not going to catch them. they have no idea if it's russia or china or somebody. it could be somebody sitting in a bed someplace. personally, it could be russia. it -- i don't really think it is, but who knows. i don't know either. they don't know and i don't
know. >> well, last week the president-elect has said we should just move on. let's watch that. >> i think we ought to get on with our lives. i think the computers have complicad ves ve greatly. the whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what's going on. we have speed, we have a lot of other things but i'm not sure you have the kind of security you need. >> as i showed you earlier, donald trump this weekend suggested there was information out there that hasn't been revealed yet that could change the whole situation. let's watch him on this. >> i know a lot about hacking and hacking is a very hard thing to prove. so it could be somebody else, and i also know things that other people don't know. and so they cannot be sure of this situation. >> like what, what do you know that other people don't know? >> you'll find out on tuesday or wednesday. >> thank you, kellyanne conway. when we return, let me finish with what i learned during mtwo eks in the ancient land of india. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
let me finish tonight by filling you in on where i've been the last two weeks with kathleen, thomas and caroline. two of our children. we've been to india, traveling through the country by rail, by a three-wheeled car, a little car known locally as a tuk-tuk. finally by boat through the backwater. there we are. a couple things about india, first its long rich history. the drawings in the caves go back to 200 -- there they are, 200 years before christ. toured back to the 16th century, the time of the mogul empire over there. it's the present india that grabs you, though, the huge number of people, of course. 1.2 billion, the way they get along like in traffic, they know how to get around each other in those crowded scenes. it's the finesse they show in negotiating who goes first. they use their horns to toot. to signal each other. not to blast the other guy, some kind of nerve-rattling punishment like over here. i didn't see any road rage anywhere in india. another thing about india, i know we were only there two
weeks. i couldn't help notice the dignity of the people, even the poor people. something about the way the indian people carry themselves, men and women both. i always have a stronger, grander opinion of a country after i've seen where they come from. i like to see a people all by themselves in this society that built. if i were an immigrant from this country to india, i would be very proud of it. as for my family, we couldn't have a warmer more generous welcome or brighter more adventurous look at that country. by way, the taj mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world is greater, more beautiful, more stunning as it stands before you than you can possibly imagine. shah jahan built it to honor his wife, honors not just india but civilization. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. join me again tomorrow night at 7:00 eastern. see you then.