tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC January 3, 2017 11:30pm-12:01am PST
starts right now. trump trumps. let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. now the scene of the action. for a while now, we wondered who would call the shots. will it be the republican power base in congress which has been raring to go with its own agenda for years? will it be donald trump who takes off 17 days from now but is already governing by tweet? earlier today we got an answer. the republicans acted last night to drastically curtail the powers of the independent office of congressional ethics. bringing it in under the tight supervision.
with all that congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the independent ethics watch dog their number one act and priority? focus on tax reform, health care and so many things of far greater importance. drain the swamp. that went out around 10:00 this morning, a little after. within the hour, 10:50, house republicans scheduled an emergency meeting for 11:50 a.m. at which time they decided to back off their amendment. leaving it in place as an independent body. the the question to you, and maybe it is too big a question. would this have happened works the republicans stop their effort to basically gut office of congressional ethics, had not trump tweeted? >> reporter: here's what i want to say in answer to your very big question. i think the tweet from the president-elect, him weighing in
on this issue, bubbling up starting the night before, did have some part in this. i would be very hesitant in describing too much cause and effect relationship. remember, that there is starting to become a build-up of outrage, even late on monday when this first started happening. you saw it build throughout the morning. on the morning shows. donald trump's top advisers being pressed about this themselves. so i think the build-up or the bubbling outrage that existed publicly was already starting to come into play. i don't think it helped that donald trump tweeted this. he wasn't tweeting against the actual action of gutting the independent ethics committee. he was tweeting about the timing of itself didn't like that it was overshadowing moves on health care or tax reform as you just read. so i don't know that you can link necessarily a cause and effect relationship. i will say that clearly there was discussion about the president-elect's reaction with house republicans in the morning before this flip-flop on the o.c.e.
>> did you get any indication as a reporter from the house republican leadership that they would reverse themselves on this until we heard from trump in his tweet? was there any sign they would do that? >> here's what i would say. paul ryan didn't like this. he doesn't like it. he was never against it. paul mccarthy was against it according to sources in the room the night before. this morning he seemed to be striking a little different tune. at the very top, there was no appetite to do this because of the perception that had had for people. the idea that donald trump is coming in 17 days from now to drain the swamp. here you have members of congress doing something that a lot of folks per seed, ethics lawyers i talked to, on both sides of the aisle who said this is ridiculous. these are the foxes guarding the hen house here. >> well, i think trump looks good on this one. thank you. the attempt on gut the o.c.e.,
the office of congressional ethics was spearheaded by the house judiciary committee of virginia. and a majority of the republican conference approved it without debate. a key criticism was that the o.c.e., the office of congressional ethics leaked allegations according to politico. it was orchestrated by several member who's felt they had been wrongfully accused of unethical behavior by the oce according to several sources in the room. nothing is black and white. i've talked to people on the hill and i've got the sense that both sides don't like this. they think it leaks. they think it puts out unanimous criticisms. once word went pout congress is trying covering up, trying on get rid of the only watch dog that's willing to go after corruption if there is any. they looked so batted, they're all running for cover. and it was trump that blew the whistle. >> i remember in 2005 when we tried on fix ethics process for tom delay. it was a complete disaster.
if you're going to try to fix ethics process, you have to do it in a bipartisan way. you can't do it on the opening day rules. you need to get the lead orders both sides. paul ryan was against it. so nancy pelosi. this is a rebellion. >> they were against getting rid of it. >> they saw the optics. and donald trump gets this. i thought it was a very sophisticated tweet. it is probably not that good but don't do it now. you're screwing up my agenda. i thought that was really smart. he is giving credibilitied to member who's are against this. this is out of control. >> i'm going back to the question i put to hallie jackson. she said it is hard to answer the question. although, i look at sequences and i look at the way things are. when you say at 10:00 in the morning, trump blows the whistle on this and tweets that we cannot do this. by 10:50, they're putting out an emergency meeting call. there was no call for the meeting before the tweet. >> this was a home run for trump it was.
softball that he could hit out of the park. i think he killed it easily. ryan tried to stop it. i think he was happy to see it dead. they have to focus on other things. this is not how they want to start. >> let's talk about how this boomerangs later. on i thought kellyanne conway said something smart during the campaign. she said people more about what affects them than what offends them. they were saying, okay, that's boarish. it is disgusting. i have to pick a president. they paikd president based on what will affect them. if you kill health care for 20 or some million people, diabetics like myself who need health care. they need pharmaceuticals, the insulin. that's affecting them. do the republicans have what it takes to get read of obamacare without a ready replacement?
the fact they would do this overnight without really thinking it through. the optics or the effect. are they going to have their act together to replace obamacare? >> they're going to repeal it immediately and replace it slowly. they're going to take care of the people who are exposed. >> they are? >> it will take a while. i've talked on congressional staff on both sides. this is not an easy process. repeal is easy. replace is hard but it will take a while. >> what happens if you're stuck and you have 20 million people without health care? >> they won't take health care away right away. it will be phased out. >> where do you get this asurety from? >> i get it from leaders on both sides.
>> all i hear is the rumbling of the republican caucus in congress, the house especially, that has been raring to go for a long time. they got their agenda and it says, eliminate obamacare. it doesn't say replace. it says eliminate. house majority leader kevin mccarthy was asked how that reflected on him. let's listen. >> if you can oppose it, why did you not suggest it?
>> welcome back. >> welcome back. in my house, i got my wife and my two kids. i don't usually watch what we have on tv. so you can put whatever spend you want. i don't get everything in life. that's not the way our government is designed to work so i think that's healthy. >> in his first speech as senate minority leader, chuck schumer of new york vowed to hold donald trump and his allies accountable. here's schumer. >> we will hold president-elect trump accountable to the values that truly make america great. but we'll fight him tooth and nail when he appeals to the baser instincts that diminish america and its greatness. that is our challenge. that is our charge. and we rise to meet it.
>> thank you. let's deal with what we were talking about a minute ago. the house republicans being caught in the act of getting rid of the ethics pad people keeps charge of them. they're getting rid of the only guard on that side. they get on decide whether they're ethical or not. it looks good for trump. with anybody watching right now. when you're swift enough to jump on something that looks terrible, call it out blox the whistle. you look good. >> i was one of the authors of that original ethics reform in 2008. it was a great deal. members of congress on both sides had a deal that we won't investigate each other. that complaints will be made but we'll shelf it so neither sides get in trouble.
the fact he said it's okay to do this later on mean when's folks are not looking in the dead of thursday night or friday night, this could get slipped through february or march. >> he said don't do it now. do you think that implies that means do it later? where did you get that out of what he said? where did he say that? >> he said don't make this a priority. work on the things that i care about. if you want to do this in the spring or the summer, maybe i won't make such a stink out of it. >> did he say that? i did not hear him say that. >> he didn't say do it. he said don't make this your priority. >> i think he wants to be a wet noodle. not a whip. let me ask but your strategy. are you running for this president, by the way? i think you are.
are you thinking about the presidency in 2020? >> no, i'm not. >> not at all? >> i have to get reflected two years. i'm thinking about stopping the disaster that's going on occur to americans. >> that's your job. let's talk about your job right now. i'm watching schumer. i know he is very pro israeli. certainly with secretary kerry. i tried to figure out, a new york senator. he also has to find the difference between, did he just look like an obstructionist like mitch mcconnell who sat around like a troll tunneled bridge, ready to bite the leg of obama over the last eight years. do the democrats want to be pure obstructionists but not get caught at it? or look for places where they can agree with trump? where are they going? >> i think it was a unique political benefit. barack obama's entire pledge that he was going on fix washington. he was going to bring them together. his pitch is that i alone can
fix this. so it is impacts on people's lives that really matter. so i don't think there's a been foyt democrats to obstruct everything he does. you put out open arms to him and you say if you're toward meet us halfway, we'll work with you. i don't see that invitation coming. to try to work with us on infrastructure or tax reform. i think we can be open to those overtures. i would be surprised to see if they show up. i think they will shove it through. and then maybe pack it in for the year. and our focus will have to be explaining to people the utter grave damage that will be done to their lives. >> thank you. up next, the joe show. the last time we get to see vice president joe biden doing something he does better than anyone. and his personal touch as he swears in the new senate. n anti-aging face cream. it's realizing beauty doesn't stop at my chin. roc®'s formula adapts to delicate skin areas. my fine lines here?
down to business today, it was up to outgoing vice president, he really is outgoing, joe biden to welcome in the new senate class. it was an opportunity to make new friends and perhaps say goodbye to old ones. here he is. >> bless me, father, i have sinned. a great honor. >> john! thank you for being so nice to me, okay? >> you have to be very patient. fathers are hard to raise. >> good to see you, pal. pennsylvania is in the house. >> got to get us all in. >> when i die, i want to be reborn. >> mom, i want to know what you're drinking. >> anybody else want to be sworn in? >> quent essential joe biden and something that has become a hallmark in the senate working for democratic causes. ruth, you start. he's become uncle joe.
he is a serious guy. he knows his issues. he has become loved. >> he's loved because we see him in this place. it is his natural habitat. just wanting to be with people and outgoing. his uncle joe image is not as beloved as it has made him among many people. it is not the image that he really wants to be known as. he wants to be understood as the understatesman. i went to a thing with him years ago, in delaware. a town meeting. he asked me to come up and moderate this thing. they love him there. he is a classic tip o'neill guy. he's never been able to come in the way i think they said he wants to do. >> he is a lot like tip o'neill and another person that i work for.
he knows things about people. he asked about their family, their parents. and the sort of old school back slapping fun loving political guy that everybody wants to be around. every senate is benefits from their presence as well. as he guy who had relationships. who can cut deals across the aisle. and the sort of old school back slapping fun loving political guy that everybody wants to be around. every senate is benefits from their presence as well. as he guy who had relationships. who can cut deals across the aisle. they trusted him including republicans like mitch mcconnell. he was a remarkable senator. >> he didn't to go an i'vy league school. he didn't act like an
intellectual. he would call me and say, they don't get this trump guy. they don't know why people are voting for him. he did get it. i hey the word used, i wouldn't if he could be used more effectively. it wasn't really making the point that they all got it. >> they did not hear what people were yelling about. >> and it is easy in hindsight. he has talked after the election. about how he was worried that she didn't, wasn't hearing the voice of the middle class. that they didn't have a message for the middle class. she wasn't really attuned to it. it was a very agonizing choice for him to decide not to run and he probably made the right choice for himself and his family but it is very difficult. one of the things that strikes me about biden is the way he and obama were very well matched. in that he made up with this hail fellow well met for obama's remoteness.
>> i thought, in the old days, he was ed mcmahan for johnny carson. johnny carson was aloof. cold. and ed mcmahon was the guy next door. what do you think about that? the ambitions of a guy, when he was very young. he was elected to the united states senate at 29. not even constitutionally allowed to take the oath yet. he beat a three-material incumbent. a guy couldn't be beat. and he beat him. then he had a plan to run for president and he just could not do it. thank you. when we return, let me finish with trump watch. this is "hardball," the place for politics. trump watch. today we learned the power of a
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signaling his thoughts in the medium he likes most. what do today's events tell us about who is in charge? is it trump who blew the whistle in the plan to gut the independent office of congressional ethics? or the media who blew the whistle late last night and early this morning? or was it the people who got word to the members of congress, getting them good and mad, that they don't like the legislative priority being given to free. they from outside ethical ridge is lance. i can't remember a time when people are as they are now, so violently opposed to any sign of government corruption. the term lobbyist has become taboo. so is any sign that a member is engaged in breaking the ethical rules. it is about cleaning the swamp. the close working relationship among those who help senators and members of congress raise reelection money and then returned once they're safefully
office to lobby the same senators and members of congress. by raising his voice in protesting as to the way it is in washington, the way they're usually done, donald trump has not only shown his ability to move the republican party but also that he retains the instinct on how to move it. people in the country don't want to see politicians getting. they free of tough outside oversight. they don't. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. join me tomorrow night at 7:00 eastern.
tonight on "all in." republicans back down from their first vote in the new congress. >> why is this the most important thing for congress to be focused on right now. >> it isn't. that's the whole thing, it's not. >> tonight, the emergency meeting republicans held to reverse their plan to curb ethics oversight. then, 17 days from inauguration, why the president-elect is attacking one american car maker and applauding another. plus, washington's top democrat draws a line in the sand. >> with all due respect, america cannot afford a twitter presidency. >> and the trump biographer kicked off donald trump's golf course by the president-elect joins me live tonight. "all in" starts now. >> good evening, i'm ari melber in for chris hayes. tonight we have good news in washington o