tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC January 5, 2017 8:30pm-9:01pm PST
there is no national security interest more vital to the united states of america than the ability to hold free and fair elections without foreign interference. that's why congress must set partisanship aside, follow the facts, and work togher to devise comprehensive solutions to deter, defend against, and when necessary, respond to foreign cyber attacks. >> that was senate armed services committee chairman john mccain opening today's hearing where the nation's top intelligence officials discussed russia's interference in the elections. back with me is my panel. michael crowley, what i wanted to ask you before we went to break is whether general flynn is emerging as a real flashpoint for people concerned about donald trump's ongoing skepticism and, again, trash talking of the intel community? are people drawing a link back to general flynn and what robert costa described as some personal
animus against some of the actors? >> i think they are. you heard michael hayden say it in the interview, larger concerns whether he's the right man for the job. he's got tactical experience in a more strategic job. but i think it's a mistake to focus too much here on the mechanics of the intel community and what trump is saying about how the intelligence is presented and what flynn's role is here. zoom back and just ask why is this happening? why is trump constantly going out of his way to apologize for vladamir putin? to bat down accusations of malfeasance against vladamir putin? going back a long time, i mean, going back to -- if you recall when the passenger jet was shot down over ukraine and there was a wide consensus that russia was to blame, trump said that's not proven. the larger question is, why does trump not want to see --
>> what's the answer? what are some of the theorys? >> you asked hayden that question and he sort of didn't go there. there are theories swirling around, you know, that you would reject if you got them in a hollywood screenplay. you would walk out of the movie. in theories, you can't talk about on tv because they're unfounded but people in washington all have some rumor that explains it. but look, the things we do know very briefly, go back and look. there is a pattern of donald trump doing business with very wealthy russians. i wrote a story about trump selling a mansion for $100 million to a russian oligarch in florida. ese arpele w come to the u.s. and buy high-end real estate. that could be part of it. russian money, we know that's part of the picture in the trump business. the last word here is, that's the question here. not what is trump's
understanding of how the intelligence community works. what is his thing with vladamir putin? we just don't understand it or see why he's doing it. >> jeremy bash, if anyone could get to the bottom of it, wouldn't it be the cia? >> yeah, but they're not going to look at that question. >> why not? >> i think this is the point, which is, i think the flynn stuff is interesting, but i think fundamentally what's going on here, the president-elect is sensitive. he's really sensitive. he believes that people are trying to question the legitimacy of his election. >> right. >> that's not what the intelligence community is doing. i think someone needs to crack through to him and say mr. president, we get it that you want to explain the legitimacy of your election. you can do that. that is an entirely separate question. it's not a question intelligence officers are trying to answer. we should totally separate it from this question about whether russia tried to influence our election. let's value the intelligence community as professionals who
are going to help defend the country. once he makes that mental break, a lot of these problems are going to go away. right now, his own conflation is driving a lot of this. the president-elect himself is making this mental equation that i think he just needs to stop doing. >> robert costa, who is that person, who is the trump whisperer who can disaggregate these two things? >> it's going to have to be up to the president-elect to see how he receives this intelligence. trump has taken a starkly different world view when it comes to russia. he also does not have a traditional view of the intelligence community. to many in that community, that's an unsettling reality. but those close to trump say he's not likely to change his mindset, easter in russia or the intelligence community any time soon, and this expectation that
he somehow will acknowledge that russia did have a role in hacking an election, he is, as others have said, very sensitive about, again, my sources say it's unlikely. >>wow. setting up for a real collision course even within his own party. thank you all so much. when we come back, a clinton insider weighs in on just how far this story has come. oh, that's lovely... so graceful. the corkscrew spin, flawless... ...his signature move, the flying dutchman. poetry in motion. and there it is, the "baby bird". breathtaking. a sumo wrestler figure skating? surprising. what's not surprising? how much money heather saved by switching to geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more.
about donald trump's fundamental lack of fitness for the office of the presidency, and primarily the commander in chief parts of the job. if you listen to general hayden describe him as intimidating the u.s. intelligence community in taking actions that would make the cia reluctant to put agents in harm's way because the president might not trust the product, how do you feel about the decision that voters made? >> it is still surreal to -- i went back and read hillary's speech, and it was surreal in even preparing that speech, because when you look at the totality of that speech, you think can you really say this about your opponent? can you really say in june he is unfit to be commander in chief? where do you take your argument from there and will voters accept it? because you're basically saying you're disqualifying him. >> will i give you ptsd if i
play a little bit of it? let's take a watch. >> i have to say, i don't understand donald's bizarre fascination with dictators and strong men who have no love for america. he said if he were grading vladamir putin as a leader, he would give him an "a." now, i will leave it to the psychiatrists who explain his affection for tyrants. >> affection for tyrants. >> it was a gutsy thing to say. >> why didn't it work? >> i went back and looked at the coverage of the speech. the coverage is not what hillary said, but that hillary gave a speech where all hillary did was attacked trump and people didn't cover her actual words. it's a bold thing to call your opponent unfit and to do it that early. and we worked really hard on that speech. but as we looked at the individual parts, all of it is
what we feared would happen, and she needed to speak that plainly. and we felt good at the end of it like this was the right thing to do, even though it was unprecedented. and you see -- but that's now how it was covered. >> so it's all in the coverage? >> i think that the -- in watching the hearing on russia today, somewhat so frustrated me is to think from comey to the press, people didn't take -- i think people thought hillary was going to win, and they thought that the russia hack, the notion that russia was behind the leaks, it was just all too much to explain to the public, and they were more concerned about protecting their own reputations.
and that -- and covering the e-mails instead of what -- instead of the fact that this was all done at the behest of russia. >> should the president have sanctioned russia at the time and focused his attention on this at the time? >> i don't know how it is when you're inside there -- >> yes, you do. you know how that is. >> the director of national intelligence and the secretary of homeland security put out a statement on october 7 that this was russia and they were directing the leaks. so i'm not sure how clearer they could have been. that was an unprecedented and bold statement and i think it's not surprising to me to see the press come back to the white house and say why didn't you say anything? but what also happened on october 7 is the "access hollywood" tape. >> well, there was that.
marco rubio, alex, was himself in a league of one who he warned republicans not to use the wikileaks material. he said this is stolen material. these are stolen goods, and we'll be next. how did he come to make that extraordinary public pronouncement? he was out of the republican primary but still running for a competitive senate seat. >> that's right. marco is on the senate foreign relations committee, on the intelligence committee. he's also very clear eyed about russia and putin, and what their goals are in terms of destabilizing the west for their own advantages. and so you're right, we were in a very competitive senate race at the time. this was a big issue that was unfolding in the national race that was overshadowing everything, especially in a state like florida, which was a battleground state. and marco made the bold declaration, halfway through october that he would not
discuss the wikileaks. this came up because we had several senate debates. we anticipated he would be asked about the wikileaks, because it was all the media was talking about. and he said after the debate that he would not discuss the wikileaks because this time it affected the democrats, but in the future it might affect us. and we cannot set the precedent where this sort of leaked material is fair game for partisan hacks. >> alex, where do you think our party -- or the party formally known as republicans should be when it comes to putin's russia and their aggression on their neighbors and their rampant hacking, if you trust the information from all the different institutions they sought to hack? >> we should look to the example ronald reagan set -- >> how about the example president obama set with sanctions he just announced, were those a good idea? >> i think they were weak, they were late to the game.
they come after eight years now of largely failed policies, vis-a-vie russia and putin. russia is much stronger now or eastern europe is much weaker now compared to the russian aggression after eight years of obama. so look, the republican party needs to be united and stand strong -- >> how does the republican party unite when the republican president doesn't accept the assessment of the intelligence community and the republican leader of the armed services committee is leading the charge to get to the bottom of it? >> that is the key question of the moment. a lot of republicans i think are scratching their heads, because donald trump did not win this election because of putin. i listened to a lot of donald trump stuff speeches during the campaign and i don't remember him talking about putin and russia on the campaign trail. this is not what got him elected
president. so why he spends most of his tweets have been about the u.s. intelligence, criticizing the u.s. intelligence agencies, praising vladamir putin, praising russia when he has the chance. i don't understand why he's focused on this, which is very divisive for our party and not the topic that got him elected president, instead of focusing on the things that can unite republicans, like repealing obamacare, overhauling the tax code and so on. >> these two are sticking with me. still ahead, joe biden's message today for donald trump. t ride-a. [dad] alright, buddy, don't forget anything! [kid] i won't, dad... [captain rod] happy tuesday morning! captain rod here. it's pretty hairy out on the interstate.traffic is literally crawling, but there is some movement on the eastside overpass. getting word of another collision. [burke] it happened. december 14th, 2015. and we covered it. talk to farmers. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪
"not" in all caps. >> grow up, donald. grow up. time to be an adult. you're president. you've got to do something. show us what you have. you're going to propose legislation, we're going get to debate it. let them vote in congress. let's see what happens. >> that was vice president biden tonight on "news hour" with a warning for the president-elect. alex, how did your boss, who acts very much like a grownup, how did he lose to someone who basically insulted and tweeted his way to the presidency? >> that's a good question that i've spent the better part of the last year thinking about that. i'm sure jen can relate. >> seriously, marco rubio was sort of the establishment's last hope, the last one standing. hodid he lose to donald trump? >> i think marco was selling
hope and optimism in a year where voters were really angry and wanted to send a message to washington. that is fundamentally why our message was beat by donald trump's message. i will give credit to donald trump. he ran a very smart campaign. it was lean, quick, aggressive. and he used the new social media in a way none of the other campaigns had done before and he continues to do. you just played that clip of joe biden saying that trump needs to grow up and not tweet. he needs to keep tweeting. that's how he won this office in the first place and how he connects to the american people. i think that's a great asset for him moving forward. we can argue could the tweets be better, better timed, the topics be more on message and more effective. but i think he needs to keep tweeting. i think twitter is part of how he beat my former boss marco rubio and won the nomination and the white house. >> respond to alex's outrageous
defense of the twitter in chief. >> having been in the white house before and another reaction i had to watching clapper today is there's two things about the intelligence community donald trump is going to find out. one, there is no entity on the planet that can inflict more damage on the president of the united states than the united states intelligence community. >> explain that. >> well, we saw evidence of that on your show when nbc news reported that u.s. intelligence officials said they had evidence of russian officials celebrating when donald trump won. that was a shot across the bow from the intelligence community telling donald trump we're going hurt you if you continue to do this to us. there is two things. a, no one can inflict more damage througheaks or they can withhold information, they can set him up and if there is, god forbid, there is some bad
incident, they will not, you know, they have the press telling the story. and then the second thing is there are no bigger egos in washington than in the intelligence community. >> no better press relationship. >> their press relationships are very deep and savvy and they know how to do this. i hope that the battle we see between the intel community and the president-elect is limited to, you know, let's just have a shot across the bow -- >> i have to ask you one more question. hillary clinton's decision to attend the inauguration. after the break. we'll be right back. ever try something so good,
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it's intelligent nutrition. with 26 vitamins and minerals and 10 grams of protein. all in 3 delicious flavors. it's choosing to go in one direction... up. boost. be up for it. i had to cut off my friend, jen. but i'm not going to let you to leave before you talk me through how hillary clinton gets herself out of the woods to donald trump's inauguration. >> i did not think she needed to go. >> did you add vise her not to? >> i told her i don't think she needed to. i don't think it's a problem. >> who do you think convinced her? president obama? >> she always thought that, you know, for the moment it was first presented to her, i think she always assumed i'm going to need to go to the inauguration. not because she was a candidate but because she's a former first
lady and former presidents go, and her former boss is going. so she thought that's why she i have a lot of respect for that decision. i'm sure it won't be particularly fun. >> how is the rawness of the defeat, how is the process for her and for you? >> she is probably the least surprised she lost. she always knew -- >> i would have said that about john mccain too, in '08. >> i can imagine that. she understood what she was up against and just how it is for her in campaigns. it is -- but she did think in the end she was going to win. so i don't think it's hard for my life or her life and in many respects our lives are easier and more enjoyable to -- we're able to enjoy it. but she's devastated that she
didn't get it done for the country and that's a very hard thing. >> we're going leave it there. thank you so much to jennifer and alex. that does it for this edition of "the 11th hour." brian will be back we've got two excellent experienced life-long journalists here tonight as our guests which is really good because this is a night when there seems to be a lot of news breaking into the evening hours. at just about 7:00 eastern time tonight we got a surprise out-of-the-blue announcement that former cia director james woolsey has abruptly quit the donald trump transition team. mr. woolsey had been on the trump transition, we had no advanced word that there was anything wrong in that relationship or he might be on his way out. he was on tv as recently as yesterday speaking for the incoming administration, defending them on various matters related to his area of expertise. but for whatever reason abruptly and with no notice tonightam