tv MSNBC Joy Reid MSNBC June 17, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
for updates and breaking news, you can find us on twitter and instagram. "hardball" is next. have a great fight. [ music playing ] . you're fired. mr. "hardball." . good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. today for the first time since the trump russia probe got under way, president trump publicly acknowledged he is under investigation for possible obstruction of justice. he said so. in doing so, however the president took direct aim at the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, the only person in the executive branch who has limited authority over this special counsel's probe. trump tweeting get toing i am being fired by the man who told me to fire the fbi director.
witch hunt. over the last five week, that man, rod rosenstein has risen from relative obscurity and thrusted into a key role in the unfolding investigation. it was rosenstein who the president asked to draft that now infamous memo that served as the pretence to fired former fbi director claims just a moment e comey last month. it wasn't wrong that rosenstein's resignation had nothing to do with the firing. >> regardless of recommendation, i was going to fire comey knowing there was no good time to do it. in fact, when i decided to do it, i said to myself, i said, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story. >> well, it was days after that had mission rosenstein appointed robert mueller as special counsel to pick up the trump investigation, where comey had left off. with talk now the president is considering ways to ask mueller as special counsel, rosenstein is the only person to announce
he's in his way, that remains if he's in his job. on tuesday, his firing remains a distinct possibility. >> mr. rosenstein, could you be them nated without cause? >> yes. >> and who would appoint yourry placement as your position now deputy attorney general? >> the president. >> so that's a possibility. >> anything is possible, senator. >> i understand. >> well, the new york times reports today mr. trump has left open the possibility of dismissing mr. mueller. but the people briefed on the president's thinking said mr. trump also knows that firing mr. rosenstein would be dangerous. ken delaney, ruth marcus a columnist with the walk post, "new york times" jeremy peters and reporting from the washington post alan entess. try to figure out what the police chief bleep trump is up
to. why would he put his direction in rosenstein, who is a career servant, why is he focusing the attack and anger on him? >> chris, i don't know. that tweet seems to me as a primal tweet of frustration. it may, though, have the effect of putting pressure on rosenstein to recuse, which would put this in the hand of rachel brand, the number three at the state department. chris, donald trump would have to fire all 14,000 fbi agents and even then, he'd still have congress to deal with. he kaptd fire them. so it's not clear what the strategy here is, beyond donald trump's immense frustratestration with this thing. >> second, why would he feel the need personally to recuse himself if trump keeps the heat on him? rosenstein? >> well, that wouldn't been the direct reason, that adds to pressure t. real reason is he could be a witness in this obstruction of justice probe because he was involved in the firing of comey. the firing of comey is the
essence of the probe. comey believes he was fired because of the russia investigation. donald trump told lester holt he was fired because of the pressure of the russia investigation. >> this is so zra conian, the president's tweet appeared the president's role may compromise rosenstein's ability to oversee the special counsel's probe. on tuesday, rosenstein was asked if that's a conflict is of interest since he could become a witness as ken instead in the obstruction case against the president. here it goes. >> you have become a witness in this investigation. do you think there is a conflict of interest there? >> i'm not going to answer hypothetical questions, the reason is i am working with career professionals who know these rules and are responsible for ensuring these rules. i can assure you we will do the right thing and defend the integrity. >> the news keeps coming, according to abc news, rosenstein discussed recusal, he
raised the possibility of his recusal during a recent meeting with the associate attorney general rachel brand the justice department's new third in command. rosenstein told her that if he were to recuse himself, she would have to step in. she gets to be robert bourque. the pattern here is frighteningly clear, if trump decides he doesn't want to be prosecuted, is above the law, he peels off people. he's threatened more and will go after rosenstein, this is the news, more stuff from trump. >> well, it is evocative of the good old days. >> you do work for the post in the history of these matters. >> you remember that. on the saturday night massacre, nixon ordered his attorney general to fire the prosecutor archibald cox. he refused the person that carried out the order was robert bourque, then the solicitor general. >> he let him resign and fired
him. >> you know the nuances. >> but this would be, if rosenstein could recuse himself, but it would not be exactly a bourque situation. he would sort of dump this stinking mess of having to deal with an angry president and a complicated investigation into the president into the hands of rachel brand, the associate attorney general who might be none too pleased to have that mess land in her lap instead of rosenstein's plate. >> in an ideal world, he would still have the guy he made attorney general jeff sessions in charge of the whole game. he would be the guy overseeing whatever is in prosecution. all that stuff has built up since his firing brigade started, his firing effort. in a real world trump would like to go back to, i'm the boss, i pick the attorney general. we both pick the fbi director, we don't like him, we get rid of him,ese done.
that i get to pick the next one. i decide a special count sell, in fact, there won't be a special counsel, a imthe boss the ag is in charge. all this is going haywire because of trump's craziness and his fear of something and by the way, it's not clear what he's afraid of, but it's something. >> ultimately, he can't make this investigation go. what is he going to do fire all the fbi agents? absolutely fwhoochlt he can do, though -- what he can do, he can make life miserable for rod rosenstein. he likes to torture people he feels have been wrong to him. >> what has he done? >> nothing, absolutely nothing at all. but as comey pointed out, rosenstein is a survivor. he's done certain things to kind of insulate himself from being fired before, with trump specifically. number two, trump subpoena ginigi -- trump is gining up his base. if donald trump is losing,
someone else must be cheating. so he is, therefore, passing this as an unfair system. a ricked system and the forces who are out to undermine him politically are at it once again in this case the justice department. >> over the years, there are southern grownups in the city. they remain grownups, one is diane feinstein, one thing she said today quote the message the president is sending through his tweets is that he believes the rule of law doesn't apply to him and anyone that thinks otherwise will be fired. if the president thinks he is shut down the investigation, he's in for a rude awakening. she does remind me of an older sister of god, a nun. she's clear and grownup. she doesn't like young idiots running around misbehaving. i we heard it from her. that's classic feinstein. >> what we can see now is the president is trying to reenforce this narrative that this is a witch hunt. right. he was not being targeted.
comey told him, assured him three times. he wasn't the focus of this investigation. then in the process of trying to enlist other officials to come to his defense, to publicly go out there and say this narrative is false, that they're going after him, in the process of doing so, he put himself in the crosshairs of the fbi. he's incredibly frustrated by this he is trying to change the narrative. >> the question is, has he been intimidated? in a statement put out last night rosenstein put out citing anonymous sources saying, quote, let me go back to ken on this. this looks like an attempt to show even handedness to show i'll on your side against leaks, mr. president, so don't come at me. that's a way a lot of people will read that as a sign of
weakness by rosenstein, that he thought he had a mirror or a mimic what the president has been saying about leaks. >> i agree with you, chris, on. that i can tell you our reporting at nbc news is that he did there on his own. this was his initiative and he has been frustrated with some stories about him that he thought were wrong, one that the early administration that said he threatened to resign. he claims that's not true. another where comey allegedly went to him asking for more resources for the investigation. rosenstein says that's not true. he has go "post" stories in his mind that were damaging leaks, he's frustrated. he wanted to send a message to his employees, cut it out. it is also sending a message to donald trump, which is wondering, what are you all doing about these leaks? this is his way about saying, here's something we're doing. >> adam, your thoughts on this. >> it's very strange the way he worded that, especially the first sentence, where he says especially officials who may not
be identified as americans. >> what is he talking about? >> he was trying to muddy everything up. >> leak you guys are breaking the story. sources close to the warehouse. it's a fair assumption, it's not moscow or mexico city. we know it's from around here. >> we didn't think we needed to clarify in our stories. the u.s. officials were talking -- >> he's mocking the press there by saying sources from oslo. guess what, the tone is set from the top. this is what trump has done all along. it was also the statement issued late last night. as bizarre as it was, it was eerily reminiscent of loyalty earlier this week around the cabinet table in the white house within they all had to say what an honor and privilege was to work for donald trump t. people around him feel this need. it's not a misplaced need, by the way. if they want to ingratiate their place with the boss, they have to express theired a many iration. >> tribal societies you have to
express your love for the leader all the time. in north korea, i'm sure it's like that, too. this week, we have a friday explanation, everything is still murky about what may have gone on between the trump people and moscow. what may have gone on, whether a business nature, a political nature, something to do with sanction, all mixed together. we don't know. it's still murky. the cloudiness in the matter emerged when he fired comey. because he tried to get comey to do a pledge of allegiance of some sort clearly. he asked him to get rid of the flynn case, clearly. if you aren't going to play ball with me you are out of here. so all of a sudden he's giving clarity to the prosecution here, all since firing comey. >> well, that's the astonishing thing here, the degree to which this is an incredibly self inflicted wound inflicted by donald trump on himself. so we are don't know what the facts are of clux or not clux, made-up stories, according to trump. we don't know what the facts are
about financial dealings and other dealings about the campaign and the transition. maybe some will pan out. maybe it won't. all of a sudden we have this very live case, which is what has caused the president to kind of flip out over this last week, which is a case of his own creation, his pressure on jim comey demandsing loyalty, pressing him to drop the case against flynn and enlisting others to drop the case against flynn and firing comey. which has not, it's not a lay down obstruction of justice case, but most prosecutors would be pursuing that to this point. >> walking filing cabinets all of a sudden. that's actually the way he did it. let's take a look about the investigation based on the reporting to date. when it comes to potential campaign collusion with russia, seven of trump's associates are currently under scrutiny. when it comes to potential obstruction, the president's conversations with three top intelligence officials are under scrutiny. trump asks former fbi director
comey to drop the investigation of flynn among other things. he asked dan coates to intervene to get the fbi to back off flynn and he asked nsa mike roggeers to publicly deny existence of everyday of collusion with russia. the difference between this and nixon on the broadest possible brush here. nixon knew he had done a lot of things wrong that could come out. lots of things are on the record. i did a lot of digging, myself, from the national archives. nixon told his people to go in and steal everything from brookeings. he said to go in and make it look like a democrat job. all this is on the tames. nixon knew all that could come out. could you tell u casualty dirty tricks, going after the script it was all there. so he had reason to play defense. we have yet to find the clarity of what trump is hiding. >> no, xats exactly right. -- that's exactly right. it's looking increasingly like there are tames. >> you don't know the content that might be on the tapes.
>> that's exactly right. it goes on the way it will, trump claiming every statement that comes out of comey or these hearings is an exoneration and his enemies saying no, it's on indictment. >> clark cliff a great washington fixer and lawyer would tell somebody, don't do anything and then send him a bill for $5,000. because there was the right thing to do. you are laughing, ken, because the guy, what's his name kastewitz says be yourself. why doesn't he tell the president, stop doing anything, you will be cleared in six month frs. it will be a bad six months. you will be clear of it. >> maybe that is his advice and trump is not heeding it. >> why is he paying the guy? >> that's a good question. >> why is he paying the guy if he's not going to listen to him. >> the graphic with those people under investigation i find that so remarkable. i was texting with michael coen yesterday, trump's personal lawyer. he ended the text with future
inquirys will have to go through my counsel. wow, if trump's lawyer needs a lawyer, this is getting serious. >> kastewits has a lawyer. thank you, jeremy peters who is so skeptical. i love it. inside a white house under investigation. robert mueller is looking into jared kushner's finances, mike pence is lawyering up. should white house staffers be more afraid of mueller or trump? that's ahead. the big question tonight, what would happen if president trump were to fire mueller or deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, also a preview of the presentation of the documentary all the president's men re-visited and the parallels that take shape between the watergate scandal under nixon and the president. finally we finish with trump watch. this is requested hartball" where the action is. in keeping the denture clean.
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kastewitz. >> in an op ed, they claim that firing robert mueller would be an insult to the founding fathers. absent the most extreme circumstances, the president would singularly el-advised to threaten, much less mueller's firing. we'll be right back after this. award winning design. award winning engine. the volvo xc90. the most awarded luxury suv of the century. visit your volvo dealer to take advantage of our midsommar sales event offer.
zblrnlgs welcome back to "hardball" a sign a special counsel is expanding its investigation. the "new york times" is reporting members of president trump's transition team have been ordered to preserve all documents and materials related to russian meddling in the 2016 election. according to a memo obtained by the "new york times," transition team lawyers request the team members quote preserve physical and electronic records that may be related in wane e anyway to the subject matter of the pending investigationles. vice president mike pence was in
charge of then trump's transition team. we have now learned that pence hired a high powered d.c. attorney richard cullen to help him handle the russian probe-related questions. since taking off as the vice president, he's found himself among many individuals, including jair kushner currently ensnared in trump-russia probe. in miami, the vice president was asked about his decision to hire outside legal counsel, let's watch. >> any comments among your counsel? >> it's very routine. >> 147 days, by the way, the last past 47 days have been anything but routine. inside the white house, according to reports, administration officials are trying to subdue an enraged leader, that would be the president to no avail. look at the pictures of the guy. "time" magazine is reporting trump advisers feel like...the festival-inflicted wounds of the first five months are largely
auto of here hands. aesha raska, is here from reuters. you have been interviewing people in the white house. it's amazing to get them to talk. they are all told not to talk about russia. >> they don't talk much about russia. they will talk generally about what they are doi trying to do to get the president in line. it's sort of like the serenity prayer that alcoholics deal with. they try and control, to deal with what they can control. they try and accept what they can't control, which is the serenity prayer. except accept what they can't control and know the difference between the two things. >> what can they control? do they think they have control over anything? >> this is very interesting. the white house chief of staff, aides built this traditional structure in the white house no one sees because it doesn't often matter. there's planning weeks ahead, themes, infrastructure week. next. >> in the roosevelt room.
>> the theme of next month will be made in america. there will be a bunch of rollouts and travel with the president. we won't know much of them. >> the cuban thing, that was smart. let me ask you this, what do you know about the white house? i hear they're scared and gaked? >> i hear it's like -- scared and gagged. >> he's saying people are trying to put their heads down, get their work down, they're trying to focus on the president's agenda, the president gets in the way by constantly tweeting about russia. so it seems like the ideas that they're going to try to just power through, focus on the accomplishments that they say no one is paying any attention to and just kind of try to ignore the elephant in the room. >> but everything you guys know, everybody watching this knows how transparent our country is. you can look at the president's face, a mussolini tough guy thing he puts on his face. i have to look tough like the street corner guy.
i walk down the block and look tough. everybody knows that means he looks scared and pence gets drawn into this. trump he gets involved in getting rid of comey, all of a sudden he's a possible victim. i'm sorry, perhaps suspect. perhaps person of interest in an obstruction case. pence is clean. pence would normally not do anything like this. >> it's right to say pence hiring outside counsel doesn't mean he is guilty or anything or suspected of being guilty, but if you are a possible witness to something would be investigated. what the president said. >> he was sitting in the room, good move, get rid of the bum. we don't know what happened. >> just the fact of him hiring outside counsel doesn't mean anything. it's probably he's not the last person in the white house that will have an outside counsel to deal with mueller, who is a fierce investigator. you don't want to interact with the fbi at this point unless you have your own lawyer. >> what it's like, they eat together with the top officials. i loved working at the white house.
it may have been my favorite job. under this, i worked for a president who wasn't political genius, jimmy carter, but he was clean. this is weird. >> i don't know what it's like in the mess. it seems like -- >> it is a mess. >> but i mean it seems like, i mean, they're still very defensive of the president and i think you kind of when you are on the team, ethink a lot of them probably look at this like this is their team. >> let's go back to what you said. who said they had an still structure like a normal white house. >> yes. >> first of all reince me bus doesn't look like a chief of staff, you aren't afraid of him. the president would never let him fire somebody. >> that's an important difference. reince has a structure. he's not playing the role of the traditional chief of staff. >> does he have power? >> he doesn't have the pow ter chiefs of staff normally have. >> does he have the right to fire? >> nor importantly, he can't be in a room with the president and say this is what you will do, because this is the best thing
and have the president listen to him. he is one of several aides who ask try and do that history of the last couple months -- >> i saw it coming when they got him through the nepotism thing. you shouldn't hire your son-in-law, it creates problems third world countries have all the time. have you the prince sitting there. udane and kusane. nobody messes with the prince. the prince gets away with everything even buffoonery. now the president thinks he's not up to the job. i get that sense, yet he's the boss, his son-in-law. >> i don't know that he thinks jared is not up to the law. he is the son-in-law. it is ironic or funny you see them talk about ivanka. she was involved in this work place week. all the aides are very careful to say when they talk to the public. thank you to ivanka. she did a great job. >> it's so obvious, they're
afraid, remember usain, you look at him and have eye contact with them, you're dead. >> the one thing about jared, he's not in the chain of command like other aides there at the white house. he has a lot of pet projects. he does saudi arabia, something about veterans, this or that. if he wants to weigh in, he weighs in. >> you know how much we hate them? floaters. he's a floater. squared moving around, susan thomas'. every administration had a floater moving around with unlimited power. everybody has to crumble. >> that protects jared in the end, it gives him distance. >> so does ivanka. >> thank you great from reuters. thank you from "time" magazine, go and buy a copy of "time" magazine on your news stands. up next the "hardball" roundtable, the hottest question in walk, what if trump would fire rosenstein or mueller or both if he goes nixon on us.
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>> prosecutors are bounds to try bill cosby again after a pennsylvania jury deadlocked. a jury called a mistrial. we're in the home stretch of a special election in georgia. that's happening tuesday. democrat john ossoff and republican karen handel are battling for the seat that used to belong to tom price.
for now, back to "hardball." > . if president trump ordered you to fire the special count sell, what would you do? >> senator, i'm not going to follow any orders unless i believe those are lawful and appropriate orders. >> well, back to requested hartball." that was tomorrow deputy rod rosenstein overseeing robert mueller in russian meddling into the 2016 elect. rosenstein repeatedly assured senators whoa had no intention of taking action against mueller without cause as long as it's his job to do so. let's watch. >> do you know of any reason or cause to fire mr. mueller as of this date? >> no, i do not, senator. >> and that would be your decision if that ever happened,
right? >> that's correct. >> and you are going to make it, nobody else? >> as long as i'm in this position, senator, it would be my ability to make that decision. >> and you said you would not ascent under the present situation? >> correct. >> because there is no cause. >> yes, that's correct. >> so is it fair to put that to rest? >> as far as i'm concerned, yes, senator, i appointed him. i stand by that decision. i think it was the right thing to do under those circumstances and i am going to defend the integrity of that investigation. >> well, let's bring into requested hartball" roundtable, a political reporter for the boston globe and jason johnson is politics editor at "the root." here's what the city as i see it, correct me if i'm wrong. we see in the city, it's almost like before a war right now, a sense of calm, an eerie calm, like in a monster movie. it's too quiet. everybody is out there thinking, what the next news break is going to be the next crazy trump move, the next thing. everybody thinks he is not going
to let this prosecution continue. right? is there any chance he is going to sit on hess butt and let mueller do his job? >> i think it's hard for him. the very fact that he has been feeding these rumors to me since he's very restless, he ought to do something, but he also, he's already done a good job of talking himself into a bigger controversy which earlier, the whole obstruction of justice charge. i think he can only make that worse by going and firing a prosecutor. he we heard of the saturday night massacre. he has no excuse with what happened to nixon. >> he has the eye on rosenstein, rosenstein looks like he is buckling, the evils of leaks, where did that come from? >> i know, i was so surprised be i that. >> this is what comey did, they tried to finesse their relationship with this giant guy they're afraid of. and it looks like the -- >> absolutely. >> you say in boston.
>> with rosenstein, when he wrote that memo in the first place about comey, which was very surprising to me to read that, because i've known rosenstein for quite a long time. and i don't see him as sort of a political actor in that way. then to have him come up with that statement last night. then get undercut by trump yet again with this tweet today where he was saying that he is under investigation after all. >> something else is going on, the troops of the american regular order. the washington establishment of behaving themself, they're beginning to look very serious, feinstein is always reliable. dig zur bin is starting to look very good, lindsey graham. they begin to act like senators now. something trump does makes them sort of get spiffy with their job. >> he's making them want to be unlike him. >> right. right. at this point, you think everybody is updating their linkedin ij pa. it's dangerous. >> what is that like -- >> it's online resume.
>> linkedin. some of my people here. by the way, let me explain to you, they don't want me to do it. >> people are getting nervous and not only are they getting nervous. if you go after rosenstein, at this point if you keep firing people, eventually the janitor will have to fire mueller. >> exactly. >> you will have these situations where historically or legally you will run into someone that wants to fight back or someone that says i don't want to be here. >> you guys know, i'll start with you the toughest question. >> excellent. >> who has the president's ear? who can say i got to talk to you? >> the person who has had his ear ever since he was leading the trump organization and doing casinos in atlantic city and that is the last person who talks to him, that is who has his ear. you know, that is a pattern with donald trump for his entire life. now the theory that i like to
think about a bill i little bit is how does he get out of the binds that he's in, this investigation? and he does have the power of the president. so could he not pardon himself? >> he could have done that for flynn in the first place. >> would he go to the supreme court with his assertion of the right to pardon himself of all crimes? >> of any president that has served so far, absolutely, it did come up in the hearing with session and sessions declined to saw. >> it's not the early test of self pardoning. >> no, it has not been. >> i guess you can do it any time you want, jerry ford the it. a source close to the president's counsel confirms he is adding john dowd to his legal team, another high profile lawyer, he investigated major league baseball and represented john mccain in the keating scandal, that guy has been bloodied in battle. he runs a restaurant out in vegas of all places. a little joke there.
anyway, the roundtable is staying with us, up next, these three will tell me something i don't know. you are watching "hardball" where the action is. before fibromyalgia, i was a doer. i was active. then the chronic, widespread pain drained my energy. my doctor said moving more helps ease fibromyalgia pain. she also prescribed lyrica. fibromyalgia is thought to be the result of overactive nerves. lyrica is believed to calm these nerves. woman: for some, lyrica can significantly relieve fibromyalgia pain and improve function, so i feel better. lyrica may cause serious allergic reactions
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roundtable, clarence, tell me something i don't know. it is a friday. >> well, everybody talks how the trump base has held firm, over a 538, they've talked a bit, they're finding that his percentage of strong supporters has declined from around 30% in january until finally over 20 now. his base is eroding at the edges. it's starting to happen. >> they still give the right answers. it's always 30%. >> you don't believe polls anymore, do you? >> i was left hanging last november. >> i was in a similar spot. i saw a poll that was done by a republican group, the terrence group for a client and it was looking at what would it take for that base to start eroding? which of these many trump scandals we are talking about
impact them. it was interesting. it was not the russian investigation, tax returns. it was the fact that he keeps going down to mara-a-lago on taxpayer dollars. they don't like that. he's not going this weekend. >> how can they begrudge him his weekend vacation plans? >> so, we already know, next week, next week, we have the most expensive special election in american history going on in ga6. what people don't know georgia is one of the five states in the union that has no paper trail. there is no paper trail for the special election. you had political science and professors from emory and georgia tech write the state government say, look, this is a problem. if there is a problem. no one can do a popular recount. >> i want records kept. i think the federal government should step in. we can't afford another joke. i think frump won the electoral college. there are so many questions about it. it's not good for the country
>> most voters want that too. >> i like paper. >> clarence page, the clarence page and jason johnson, tomorrow, don't miss msnbc presentation of all the president's men re-visited, narrated by robert red ford. a comprehensive look at the watergate scandal. we will get a preview coming up here. this is "hardball" where the action is. what are you supposed to do? drive three-quarters of a car? now if you had liberty mutual new car replacement™, you'd get your whole car back. i guess they don't want you driving around on three wheels. smart. with liberty mutual new car replacement™, we'll replace the full value of your car. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance. and you're about in to hit 'send all' on some embarrassing gas. hey, you bought gas-x®! unlike antacids, gas-x ® relieves pressure
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watergaethje through first-hand accounts. let's look at the depiction of the nixon tape that ended up being the smoking gun in the investigation. >> what finally catches him is when the tapes are released, the smoking gun tape puts the lie to the statement that he had no advanced knowledge. on the tape, you hear nixon telling halderman to stop the investigation. >> those words clearly led to an obstruction of justice. >> i am joined now by former u.s. congress woman els let's holtsman. i remember you there. the great thing about it was it was very solemn your hearing, it
wasn't political, it didn't seem to be. you had a number of republicans joining you. you voted the articles of impeachment. you went home at night. you'd be there. we'd be watching from home in every bar in america. everybody watched that set of hearings. >> right. it was a freshman member of congress from you that you, a democrat who really forced the committee to have these hearings in public. he said the american people can't see what you are deciding, if it's behind closed toors, if it's secret, they will never have credibility or belief in what you are doing. ultimately the committee was persuaded. we had the open hearings. i think the people may not have understood everything we were saying. but they could scrutinize people's faces, they saw they were serious, it was professional, it was fair and that made a huge impression on the american people and bipartisan. >> one of the things i think people keep getting wrong, it's a cliche, they say it's the
coverup not the crime. in the case of nixon i did digging in the tapes in the historic ar chiefs, i discovered the hanky banky of saying let's go break into the institute and the republican headquarters and pretend the democrats did it. it's on tape. nixon is so criminal in this thing. trump today it's hard to figure what is he hiding that's so devastating to him and his presidency that he is playing this game of trying to intimidate all the prosecutors? >> i don't know, but it must be something really serious because he's jeopardizing his presidency over something we don't know. but you can't fire comey, the head of the fbi. you can't getten to fire, have people around you threatening to fire mueller. you can't threaten to fire the deputy attorney general without bringing the whole house of cards -- >> maybe you should be his lawyer. the documentary also depicts the saturday night massacre when
president nixon fired multiple attorneys general before he could find the one who would fire his special prosecutor. >> on a saturday night in october, 1973, he also ordered his attorney general to fire the special prosecutor. the attorney general was appalled. he said, no, and resigned. then the president told one of his assistants to call the deputy attorney general. >> i picked the phone up. it was al haig saying he wanted me to fire cox. i'm not going to do it. al haig said your commander in chief is ordering you to do this. i don't know what that added to the discussion. he said, well, who else is around? i said bob bjork is here. the commander in chief finally found someone willing to carry out his orders. bjork fired cox, and so ended what would become known as the saturday night massacre. >> saturday night massacre was a signal to the american people that a president was putting himself above the rule of law, and they demanded action.
>> well, it's a hell of a history lesson. maybe the president ought to watch. >> definitely should watch. >> the closest thing to tweeting is doing something on a saturday night. what is the president doing on a saturday night that he's so excited about the prospect of being prosecuted that he has to fire everybody on a saturday night. that's the biggest way to make news. it shakes everything up. >> and i think that's what was a signal to the american people that something was really wrong. you had an attorney general of the united states resign rather than carry out a presidential order. you had the deputy attorney general of the united states resign rather than carrying out presidential -- these were both republicans working for a republican president. the american people said, hey, wait a minute. and that's what triggered the impeachment proceedings. >> i worked for tip o'neill. that's when he began to push and said we're having hearings. >> what happened was that there was a lot of talk before the saturday night massacre. you had john dean before the senate watergate committee
saying i told the president of the united states. it was a cancer on the presidency. people were paying bribes to the burglars to cover up. the president said, i know where the money can be found to keep paying them. that had come out but it hadn't triggered impeachment. with the firing of cox and the resignation of two republicans at the top of the justice department, the american people said, we're not a banana republic. we've had enough. and we've got congress. you've got to act. that's what triggered it. it wasn't a reference from a special prosecutor. it was the american people saying to the house of representatives, you've got to do something, and that's when congress started to act. >> i don't think anything mirrors what happened before. we don't know what's at the heart of this. something he seems to be hiding. the one thing i like about washington is it can be a city of -- it's a pretty clean capital. it's clean. and -- but people like judge sereko, a republican local
judge, a federal judge here, a district judge. and he comes on and hangs him high. he takes these watergate burglaries and says you aren't getting out until you tell me who told you to do this. the system does come to play. it does work. >> that's what happened in watergate. you had a president who was criminal, a president who abused the powers of his office. that's the bad news. but the good news is that the rest of the constitutional system jumped in and put the brakes on him. had the checks and balances really working and had the judiciary. it wasn't only the judge who was a conservative republican judge, who started this process of blowing the whistle. but you had the u.s. supreme court and unanimous decision. >> let me get to my heros. peter adino from jersey. not a big talker. but a good, clean guy. he comes and does it. >> and a brand-new -- >> and sam irving comes in. and he comes out and does a good thing. >> what about howard baker.
>> low-key guy from tennessee. moderate republican. comes through magnificently. they all came through and performed so well. anyway, i see some of that happening right now with durbin and feinstein. thank you. part of history. be sure to tune in tonight at 9:00 eastern for "all the president's men revisited." when we return, let me finish with trump watch. you watched it. "hardball." oscar mayer is making changes so big... hot dogs will never be the same again. we went back to the drawing board. and the cutting board. we never stopped tasting...
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trump watch, saturday, june 17th, 2017. donald trump has at long last become predictable. the moment a washington figure pops up to challenge him, trump tries to knock him over. first james comey, the man trump inherited as fbi director. trump wanted comey to bow to him or bow out. when he refused to bow, trump knocked him over. didn't bother calling the man to say he'd fired him. then robert mueller who daerd take up the investigation. word from the white house that the president didn't like him. thought he was too close to comey or was too serious in hiring top criminal prosecutors. trump soon made it clear, he wanted mueller out. now trump is beating the drum or tweeting at down for the head of rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who he used to fire comey. or at least used as an excuse to fire comey. so we see the pattern. you get a job investigating donald trump and find your job is in jeopardy. there's a direction to all of this.
an arrow pointing in an historic direction. it's called the saturday night massacre. as long as trump longs to knock off the guy coming at him, it's only a matter of time before trump's fuse reaches the bomb. and one thing we've learned is that donald trump has a very short fuse. and that's "hardball" for now. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. i'm richard lui at world headquarters in new york city. we'll go to the rachel maddow show in just a few minutes. first the major news we've been following all day on msnbc. the mistrial for bill cosby. after 52 hours of deliberations, the jury coming back deadlocked on all counts. cosby was charged with three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault. he and his team have repeatedly denied these and all allegations of sexual misconduct. nbc's ron allen has been covering the trial and, ron, the jurors just getting back to pittsburgh within the last couple of hours.