tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC July 9, 2009 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
had a badonth last month, but it's now in the400,0 to 500,00rge. the economis getting worse slower, which i a hard political case to ma, but if by next year it's fla lined, it's going up little bit, the democratmight okay in the fall. >> gentlemen, thanks so much. that's "the ed show." "hardbl" starts right now on msnbc. it's the congress rsus the cia again. let'play "hardball." go evening. i'm lawrence o'donnell sitting in for chris matthews in new york. ading off tonight, the cia and congress are at it again. house mocrats are now charging the cia with misleading members of congress for eight years about a classified progr beginning in 2001. now, is is confirmation of spker nancy pelosi's
much-ridiculed charge couple months a that the cia misled her about terboarding or is this something else enrely? we have the chrman of the house telligence committee joining us in a momento tell us what he thinks the cia is really up to. so, we have late-breaking news here at the politic sex scandal desk late tod we learned that the lawyer for john si, senator from nevada, says that the senator's parents gave neay $100,000 to sign'sistress and her family. political fallout for and the republicans coulbe disastrous and the "hardball" strategists are going to debate exacy how the republicans should be hale this one. uswho is the real sonia somayor? is she the radical lefty that her critics want to portray or is she the sober, carefu moderate admired by r supporters? we'll lk to someone who has just finished a study of her judicial record. also, esident obama senatoroland burris will not run for reelection next year
in 2010. burris was caught up in the play for pay scandal and rack obama's ol senate seat is now totally up for grabs. that story is in th politics fix. and finally -- what does it mea to pull a palin? the term is now oicially in the new online urban dictionary. 'll fill you inon whatt means in the "hardballside show. but we begin, the charge b democrats that the cia has sled cgress begins in 2001. congssman silvestre reyes of texas is the docrat chairman of the select intellence committee in the house of representatives, and texas republican congressman mac thornbry is also a member of the committee. mr. chaian, describe how we ca to know in the last 24 hours that there's an accusaon going from you to the cia th you have been lied to about a secret program for the last eight year >> i wro a letter to my
ranking memb peter hoekstra asking thawe set aside the issu that have been swirling around wthe controversy of who knew what when and that we focus getting the auorization bill to the floor voted out hat we can go to the nate who we're told will be marking up next week. the letter i mentioned that we he learned over the course ofhe last few weeks, we have gotten more information on shortcomings -- i'll describe them that way -- that e cia s not fully informed our commtee that at least in one instance we fe they have lied to the committ. >> yr letter seems, as you said, it uses e word lied. it's songer than just a phrasing le shortcomings.
let's take a lk at it, that u wrote to your republican colleae on the committee. u said like you, i was greatly concerned wi the notification the committee reived on june 24th, 2009 from director this apparently is thedmsion byanetta that they had a program you were not told about. you say this along witother rent notification has brought to light sigcant information on thenadequacy of reporting to the committee. thesnotifications have led me to conclude that this commte has been misled, has not bn provided fuland complete notifitions, and in at least one case wasffmatively lied to. now, m chairman, you make reference tother instances yo what leon panetta discussed with y recently. in that are you trying to specifically refer to the coroversy involving nancy pelosi and wther or not she was lied to about teoarding? >> i am not because i was not there and ve no idea what
infoation was provided to the speaker. these are separate itances that the committee has become aware of. >> conessman thornberry, what doou make of this? were you shocked by whateo panetta had to tell the committee? >> what i make of it is this is more about political cer for the speaker than it is anyth else. we get briefingsegularly on issues and since i have be on e committee, there have ways been issues about nofications, about when we're notified, how on we're notified, how full the notificaon is, but what's unusual in this case is thatt was more tn two eks ago when this briefing occurred and y it was only o days ago just as the cia budget bill is coming to the floor that allf this gets made public. cgressman thornberry -- it looks like it's more political. >> in ur time on the committee hathe cia director ever walked told you you have beenisd u,nd
about a program, a sret program for eighyears? is this the first me thas happen to you? >> i don rember that ppening this time. we do get information about programs regularly, and part of r job is to ask more questio and see should we have bee notified about this? who knewbout i did this rise to a certain level? so there's definy questions that neeto be asked and answered in this case,ut that's very different fromoing out and saying the cia lieso e speaker must be right. that just is part of this political bolstering of a speaker th got in trouble. sare you saying that your democratic colleague and chairman tt we have here on e show right now is misleading our audience aut what leon panetta revealed to is committee? you were there, thchairman was there. are you telling me that what you st hea your chairman say is not true? >> heard what director panetta said.
herought matter to our attention that had noteen brought to our atttion before. i don't knhat it necessarily should have, and i certainly don'know tt the committee was intentionally li to about thatatter. there are more questions to be asked, but i think those -- our homework needs to be done fore we adopt a ready, shoot,im sort of mentality. >> well, congressman thornberr before i gback to the chairm, let me just read to you something i know've read before, whh is the statute, the national security ac which specifies exactly what the c st reveal to congress. it says and s said in law since 1947, the cia all ensure that the congrsional intelligence committeeare kept fuy and currently informed of the intelligence activits the united states, incding any significant anticited intelligence activity.
so what it is saying is e a must inform you when they anticipate doing something. they must then inform u when they a currently doing sothing, and what leon panetta came ithere d said, and you have just agreed thahe said, they were conducting a secret proam that you were not told about f eight years. how can you lookt that as anything but a violation of e law we just read? number one, you only read a portion ofhe law. there are a number of exceptio th are listed later. number two, rector panetta came and broug to our attention a matter that he thought need to be brought to our attention,nd allf us appriate that. that is very different f jumping to a conclusion that says they violated t law or congress. inteionally lied to and the problem re is that you throw out that aegation, and nobo can back it up, and nobody can contradict it because
it's all classified informatn. that's part of the rean, as wells the timing, that this looks like is re political than it is anything else. >> mr. cirman,ell your republican colleague here at it is, at ast conceptually, it is he should have been listening to tt leon panetta said that has provoked this reaction from your side of the committee. >> well, first of all, congressman thornberry is a go friend of mine and i am disappointed that he's trying to put a spin on infoation that clearly all of us in the committee hear inclung the rankg mber who reacted much thway that all of us reacted to that informion. like congressm thornberry, i cat say enough about what a stanup guyirector panetta is cause he brought this infoation to the committee obably less than 24 hours after he found out aut that, t the record is clear. we're inhe process of evaluating what next steps
are going to be. i am disappointed that we can't to get beyond the politic get the authorization bi on thfloor, get it voted out, and t conferenced with the senate so that we can suppor the hard-working men and women of the -- bo the ctral intelligen agency and the other 15 agencs that are precting our national security. >> congressman thornbey, if yoand other republicans who re in that meeting are now saying thaat will we're real dealing with here is just some democratic inspired political spin, e you saying that the cia directo democrat leon panta, the cia director, came up to the house intelligence committ to feed them politic sn? that hdid nocome up to give them serious and important information that tneeded to know, that the cia was legally
obligated to deliver to th? >> of urse not. and let meoint out, director panetta has reaffirmed a cently as within the past two days that the cia does lie d es not have a policy of ing. >> well, let mclarif he reaffirmed wh the policy is. that's like sayi this is what the eed limit is on the interstate. is doesn't mn everybody observes it every minute. >>hen asked specifically about is issue -- and here is the point. yes, there are questions tt need to be asked and awered. my problem imping to concsions and making those conclusions public just when the bill is coming to e floor in anffort to prevent other questis from being asked about the speaker. and that's what's trouing abt this. >> let's gto the speaker. let's listen to what saker pelosi said about cia back in may wn she was in her own back and forth about who told who wh when. t's listen.
>> i'm telling you that they talked aut interrogations that th had done and said we want to useanced techniques and we have legal opinions that y that they e okay. we areot using waterboarding. that's the oy mention, that they were not usinit, and we now know thaearlier they were. so, yes, i am saying tt they are misleadingthat the cia was eading the congress. >> mr. chairman, the speak now takes her place among long li of members of congress and the senate over decades whha accused the cia of misleing them in different situions. is what u're revealing this ek in any sense supportivef what speaker pelosi said in that press confence? >> well, first, let me me two points. the first one ishis is not about speakepelosi because none of us were there and don' know what nd of information
she t. this is about taking the bill the fl this is -- my thinng was let's set ase these political issues. t's get the bill debated. let's get it voted on, and let get ready to confence wi the senate. it is not, at least fromy persctive,nything to do with e speaker. >> and congressmanhornberry, i just wanting to back or to this point o more time because u seem to be minimizing the idea of what leon panea brought to you. in your experice on the intelligce committee, no cia director has er previously lked in there and revealed to you thhey were conducting a secret program f eight years thathey were supposed to inform you about and had not informed you about as the law requires.
you ve never had that experience wh a cia director's briefing before in your reer on this committee, ithat right? >> no, there's a l in your question that i dot agree with. it is regularly the case that we t briefings about things we did not know about, anwe have continued to have issuesac and foh with the administration about what we shouldave known about and should have been notied about, ani think those issues certainly edo be pursued in this cas what is different re is that some people e jumping to con collusns at a politically opportuntime rather than getting down in the weedand finding ouwhethewe should have been nofied and exactly whhat happened where. so on the final word on this one today, cgressm thornberry, you apparently agr with your chairman that what the cia did in this case as described by leon panetta shou be investigated byour committee. >> ocose we should, and we should do that befe we start sending out letters to the pss
and making a lot of public atemen about it. >> allight. thank you, chairmareyes and ngressman mac thornberry. coming up a lawyeror john ensign says his parents gave nearly $10,000 to himistress and her rents. can senator ensign survive this andal? we'll get to it with your sttegists. next, you're watching "hardball only on msnbc. ♪ 'causnoi'm driving off the lot in used sub-compact. ♪ ♪ f-r-e-e, th s spellfree credit reporort docom, baby. ♪ ♪ saw their ads on n my tv ♪ thought aboutoioing but was too lazy♪ ♪ now insnstead olooking fly anand rollinphat ♪ ♪ my le are sticking theinyl ♪ ♪ and my y posse's getting laughed d at♪ ♪-r-e-e, that spells frfree credit report dot co b baby.♪
coming up, wt kindf fireworks wi we see next week duri the confirmation hearings for sonia sotomayor, predent obama's pick for the supreme court? a new study of sotomayor's decisions may real disappoint critics. we'll get into that later ri re on "hardball." kikind of consa robinhnhof the dictcting rld.
barrassing episodes, these mountingublican sex scanda, from hurting the party anymore than it already has? and w should the democrats act? for at we bring in the strategists, democrat eve mahon and republican todd harris. now, steve, i'm going totart with you today becau i think i ow your answer. you can t out of the way ickly and let todd fend for himself. >> for the rest of the sment. >> what should the democra do in a situation like this, and my gus is you're going to say they should sit back and watch go ahead, please. >> yesit was the great lee atwater o once said when your opponents are self-destructing, the best thing tdo is get out of the way. i thinat would be the best advice for democrats, get out of the way and enjoy the spectacle because that's rlly what it is here, a tacle. 's too bad for these people's families, but it's great television a probably great ratings. >> a right, steve, get out of the way and enjoy the spectae.
let todd sweat here. we've got now this letter from senator sign's attorney that i haven't read yet tt's just being t front of us. senator ensign's attory put out a statement toy that reads in part, in apl 2008 senator john ensign's parents eachade gifts to doug hampton, cindy hampton and two of their childr in the form of a check totally $96,0. ch gift was limited to $12,000. the payments werma as gifts, accepted as gis, and complied with taxules governing gifts. after the senator told his parents about the affair, his parents decid to make the gifts out of concern for the well-beingf long-time family friends during a dficult time. the gifts are consistent with a patterof generosity by the ensign family the hamptons and others. oh, boy.
toddwhere do you guys go fm here? and leme just point out for thaudience, $12,000 is the irs mit on nontaxable gifts. if he ve $13,000, there would be a tax on the $100 above the $12,000. so $12,000 was vy carefully picked number. they're called gifts by th lawyer. there are waysf looking at the world in which those could be called bribes. am i being too cynical about that? >> well, yeah, i tnk we're going toearn a lot more in the coming maybeven hours, ceaiy days and weeks. i ink there are two issues here. the first is the haning of all this, and senator ensign and the peopround him broke prably the two most important cardinal rules of dealing wi isis communications. the fit e is get all of the bad uff out there in one news cycle. theyhould have included this informatn en he first made
this disclosure. obviously, pple were aware of it. they should have said l of this up fron one horrible news cycle is mh betterhan a drip, drip of several reallyad cycles. and thsecond rule they broke is when you violate rule numbe one anyou have more bad infoation dump out, do it onay when the world's attention is somewhere else. they shod havelipped this out when everye was trying to gure out where the hell mark sanford was,hether he was in e appalachian mountains, and buried the story. they didn't do any of at. nowhat they've got is a ory of their, headlines of their n, and the short answer to your question is, yes, this , of course, a ctinued problem for the reblican party, and the thing th's so ustrating out this for me at least is that it'cong just at the time when we as republicans were really starting to make me traction with of our issue contras with the obama adnistration, whether it's
their wasteful spendin massive inease of government, government takeover of t health care system. were making real progress chnging the administration on all of the policies, and now this is going to throw everythingat least for a day or two, everything off track. >> now, to -- go ahead, steve. you want to ju in here? >> there's actually a rule that todd forgot to menon. that's don't bak the law. don't eak the law. >> we dot knowbout that. >> it'a rule that most -- >> well, we do know about th to, because this -- the $25,000 of severance money which wasn severance money, by the way. sevence money is what you give an employee wh you lay them off. it's not money you give your mistress to stay quiet, and the giftoney, the irs has a ecific definition of what a gift is, and it sayst you expect nothing in rern and you got no consideration i change. and what these people cleay expectedn retu was silence. they wanted to quell a polical scandal and it wasn't a gift, it was a payoff. as a bribe, and it was
illegal,nd that's the one thing at they did that's the most serious thing in my opinion. >> steve, i like thau're sitting back a relaxing and letting the republicans sink on is by themselves and not -- >> there sinng on their own. >> i like you're not d any merk like looking at the t code to fan the flamesf what's going on he. taking a closer look at the tax codehan i did. >> i jusremember it from tax class in law school. at's all. effect here, todd.cumulative we've got sanford, you know,nd we've t ensign, and it seems like sanford mayave survived in sou carolina. there isn't really a process in place that would be removi him. do michael steele and tch mcconneland the leaders of the republican party havto sit down and have a sex scandal meeting and say, which onef these gu do weave to sacrifice? who doe have to get rid of now in the next couple of weeks to send the message to our family values voters th we ha not wandered complelaway from where they want us to be?
>> well, i thi someone needs to send pretty clear signal that party doesn't stand for this kind of behavior. now,ust to be clear here, there are horrible, egregiou sex dals on both sides of the aisle -- >> not this week and not last week >> right, not this week, but you know, the ensign sndal mirrors almo perfectly what gavinewsom did. he's n the front-runner to be the democratic nominee for governor of carnia, had an fa with the wife of one of his staffers. it's the exact same ing. did his parents pay $100,000 to keep hequiet? >> i think mayor newm could probably afford to pay tm himself. no onearty has a monopoly on this kind of behavio you ow, i'm not going to make any excuses r it, and, yes, frankly, it does open e republican party up to charg of hypocrisy. i'not going to deny that. as a repubcan and as someone who campaigns for a living,
's very frustrating for me. >> look, docrats and steve and when they feelike it are going toe calling this hush money. i n'see how you can call it anything else. there's justo conceivable definition of what this ney is othethan hush money. how does sator eign contue? how does he, f example, try to raise money to keep himsf in office when lready know this is what he's doing wh his senate payroll. he'ssing it for hush money in certain tuions. he has to ask the parents help him out with the mistress. i just don't see how senator ensign gets to go rward om here. tell me w he can do it. how do you recommend for him to go auming we now know everything, which is a verbig assumption ithe ensign case. but let's ju assume for now, todd, is is it, nothing else is cing out. how does eign get from here to his next election? >> well, he's got to lay l for a while.
i would focus onhe day-to-day constituent wo of being a unedtates senator, get out of the spotlight. pray and hope to god there are no morrevelations because that would be reay crippling. but, you know, if yorewind a day, a lot of ople were saying looks likensign got through this bause we hadn't heard anhing new. so now there's thihuge new bombshell which they should ve taken ca of a few weeks ago en this first came up. i think if there's nothi new, this is nevada, voters are faly libertarian, you know. it's home ofas vegas, what happens in vegasys in vegas. they're verynderstanding, nevada voters, but thehave got contain this. >> steve, quick, one word an, good idea for the democrats toring this into the senate ethics committee to check out what ensign was up to with his sena payroll? good idea for thdemocrats to do t yes or no? >> i'm not sure they're going to ha any choice because someone is going to file a complaint and it's goingo end up there. all right, thank you eve mcmahon and todd harris.
welcome back to "hardball. me now for the side show. g8 summit are not as diplomac you would think. consider brazil gift to president obama. last month, the american socc team w on the verge of a major upset, a 2-0 lead at halim against the heavily favored brazilns, but the fairy tail ending did notome. the u.s.ost 3-2, painful loss. fast rward to this morning, brazil's president gave barack obama a big brazian soccer jerseyigned by the entire team. according to the president's spokes obama left the
meeting vowing good-naturedly at the americans would not lose a 2 lead ain. next up, how is this f quick rnound? urban dictionary, whicis hipper tn websr's, has already got an entry referencing goveor sarah palin's strange announcement last week that she's resigning. they're using the rase "pulling a pin." here are the definions. one, quittg when the going gets tough. tw abandoning the responsibity entrusted to you by youneighbors for book advances ando ke money on the lecture circuit. number three, zarre ve that willamn ambitions for higher fice. there's sarah limaking her rk in political and linguistic history. next, confirmation hearings for president obama's supreme court nominee a sotomayor ben nday, and a new report has a lot to say about the nd of judge sotomayor has be and probably wille. we'll talk to threport's author and whait means for her confirmation next.
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>> here what's happening, the fbi hahas been called to investigate a cememery decration near chicago.. as manan as 300 cadadavers we unearthed,d, four habeen charged in wha appears to be a scheme to r rell the burial plots. more than 50 pele areow reported d deadn t the worst violence t t hit iraq since u.s oops pulled back from major cities last t month in aafghanist, at least 25 people including 15 students were killedhen a truck bomb filled with explosives blewp near a school. >> d in an, police used te gas to break up new demonstrations otestinghe outcome of rect presidential elections.
>> on wall street,tocks edged higherith iestors out of health care and ail in favor of banking and commodities. the dow jon gained, nasdaqs up 5 poin. now back to "harall." >>welcome back to "hardball." confirmation hearis r sonia sotomayor kick offonday in the senate judiciary committee, and publicans are making some noises about mnting resistance even if they havno chance of stopping her from ining the supremcourt. re is senate republican leader mitch mcconnell to >> allf us are impressed by her remarkable life story. it rffirms not only to amerans but to people around the world that ours is country in which one's willingness t dream and to work hard remain the only requirements r
success. and yet it's precisely the tru about america that makes it so important that our juds apply the w the same way to one individual or grp as tevery other. this is why we've raised the questions we hav and this is why we wl continue to raise them as the confmaon hearings for judgeotomayor proceed. >> mcconnell andther republicanhave questions about whether sotomar is what they call an tivist judge. the brennan center for justice nyu law school released a report today on judge sotoyos record. we're ined n by the author ofhat report, attorney monica youn. moca, the brennan center is nad after justice brennan from e supreme court, and you have done an analysis based clusively on her judicial appointments. yodid not include in this analysis things like her public speechesr remarks made off the cuffn question and answer situations, but just her judicial opinions.
>> exactly. we were not just looking at e opions she authored but atny case in whicshe was part of the panel or en banc ming the decisions. >> en ba meaning on the als court they will have opinions written bthree judges or larger grps of judges depending on where the case is. some of them a authored by sonia sotomayor, se of them are thingshere she's just saying i agree witjudge tzmann who wrote this opinio right? >> y. ana lot of them it's hard to tell who wro the opinion because the opinion is unsned. >> and how dit line up? does her name show up on on the side where democtic appointees to at court are agreeing with themselves or she everinding herself in agreement with republican appointees tthat court. >> what found, and we looked at almost 200 cases, we looked at every constitutional decision ofhe sond circuit over the
past ten years that shhas been sitting on the crt, and what we found w striking unanimity d striking bipartisan consensus. we s judge sotomayor basically writing -- joining unanimous decisions. hedecisions are unanimous 94% of the time. >> let's go back over that for a second. on a court tha composed of both democrat and republan appointees tthat court -- >> yes. >> all confiedy the united states senate, her opinions ar unanims what percent of the time? >> not just heopinions, her decions in general. when jud sotomayor is on a pal, we are seeing a 98% animitrate. now, the second circt i should int out -- >> so if you pick on these cases d u're saying sotomayor was ally flakey on this decision, you're sayi that about every other judge who join that decision. >> exactly no ihould point out that the second circuit has aeputation r being a court that really
privileges consensus. ey are a court that's about even sit between democratic appointees and repubcan appointees, and you see an overall % unanimity rate for the circt as opposed to a 94% ra for judge sotomayor. i thini may have misspoken earlier. she's the majority 98% of the time. she'unanimous 94% of the time. >> let's take a look at the basic colusion of your report. here is what it says. the conclusion is mistakable based on t data in cotitutional cases, judge sotomayor's record places her sqrely in the mainstream of the seco circuit. what do you meanhere by constitutional cases? >> well, we weren't, unfortunately, able toook at evy decision the second circuit has made over the pa ten year that would have been tens of ousandof cases as opposed to the 1,200 that we were able to review in advance ofhe hearing.
but we thought that would focus on cases in which a constitutial issue was raised, whether that be a firs endment claim a civil rights claim, criminal cases in wch a due process, you know, violaon is alleged, that sort of tng. >> a just so the audience unrstands, in the federal court system there c be plenty of trivial case that is can ma it up to that level. i mean a postal worker accused of stealing stamps on some procedural motion end up in onof these cases, and that not the kind of thing that you're going to look at to evaluate someone's fitne for the united states sueme court. that's why youe zeroing in on thso-called constitutional case. >> people can race constitutional cims in less important cas as well as more important cases, butheeason weanted to focus on constitutional cases is constitutional cas are the ses in which our federal judges have most power. they can actually strike down
the action or, you know, a statute passed by legislature or an acon of another vernmental official and say that that tion was unconstitional. u're not allowed to do it again. >> let me go to one thing,l franken has ju joinethe judiciary committee, the first time we're going to see him a senator will be when he' participating inhe hearings starting monday. is noa lawyer. he one of now three people on the judiciary people w never went to laschool. ho you feel as a law school graduate, a lawyera judial expert dng this kind of work, how do you feel out entrusting the evaluation of supreme urt nominees to people w d't have professional legal training? >> you know, one tng i think out that is that, you know, the law ies to everyone, to lawyers and nlawyers alike, and too ten judges get caught up in is concept of law, and they're not thinking about the way in which a law playsut in the real wor.
they're not inkinghat there arpeople who have to live by this. there are people whose decisns in terms of rtainty, in terms of whether the actiois going to bconsidered illegal or not, need to know how to behave, an i think thatt's valuable to have vois of people on the cotee who are not just people who are legally trained >> all right. we're gointo leave it there r today. thank you monica youn. up nt, senator roland rr of illinois who took barack obama'seat in the unitedtates senate says he will not seek election to th seat next year. what does that mean for democrats? that's nexin "the politics fix." this is "hardbl" only on msc.c. (announcer) it's applebee's two for twenty menu.
and two trs for just $.. or, have a a night in th applebee's carse to go. thtwo for twenty menu, only at applebee's.. >>ming up, back to our lead story, the accusatn by house demoats that the cia has lied to congress ginning in 2001. is this validati of nancy pelosi charge earlier this year that got so much political heat or is it just political posturg by the democrats? ardball" returns with "the politics fix" next. accessfarite courses
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we're back, and it's time for "theolitics fix." with pulitzeprize nner eugene robinson the "washington st" and "newk's" michael isikoff. eugene, roland bris has made the cision he's not going to try to hang onto that seat tha rod blagojevich gave him when mae no one else would take it. he seems tve recently
survived the illinois legislaturs investigation of sorts into whether tre was any kind of yi and paying for that and any kind of promises about fund-raising. how doou read this at this point, eugene? it's a 71-year-old guy who certainly loed like when he rived there was going toave some fun and fillingut this decade of s life there looked like something he wanted to do but today he's giv up. >> yeah, rold, we hardly knew you. this is not -- younow, this was never going to work out very well for roland burris given the way he arrived ithe senate, and i suspect so friends -- i hope some friends had the obvious foresight toell him that. you know, when you're appointed by rod blagojevichhen nobody elsel take the job, you kn, you're not going to have a very smooth ride, and apparently he was -- if he had thought about trying to goor a term in
his own right, he wasn able to raise any money. right, wasn't able to raise any money. you know, this is a he mess for the democraparty, basically. this shouldhave been a frly easy transaction. obama ge elected. demoat governor name as democrat replacement who can hold the seat when i comes up in 2010. that's a fairly elementary thing to do politics. yet they managed to bung this one quite badly. michael isikoff, blagojevi is an embarssment in the first place. aredefiance of prick fitzgerald, the prosecut working, prosecutoring blojevich on his conduct in office there, andeeing rola burris kinof drop out of at this point, do youense a possibility here of anotr shoe opping in this from the fitzra side of this story?
you know, burris may have survived his questn and answer period, but the illinois legislate, do you kw the way patrick fitzgerald stays at these things? >> yeah. look, it's hardo know. there's been no hintfrom fitzgerald's office any of the filings that point to burris, but it is woh mentioning that tt investigation, the o that led to blagovich'sndictment and upcomi trial, is ongoing. just yesterday blagojevich's former chief of staff, john harris, pled guilty,nd became a cooperating wne with t ds. there are still shoes to drop in that overall vestigation, and ether or not they were going to point to criminal charges against burris, no questionthat were burris to try to run for re-election, the ol blagojevich vestigation and upcoming trialnd all its many
tentacles were going toontinue to be i the illinois press and would continue to dog him throughout any campaign he tri to run. so i think he was a doomed candacy from the get-o. the only surprise that 's takenim this long to alize that and make the announcement he's not going to run. >>ike, you studied fitzgerald closely in e scooter libby se and got a feel for the way the guy works. we're nev going to kno this. he's never going to say think, but don't you have to thin day patrick fitzgeral is glad to know tat t guy that d blagojevich appoted is not gointo be a senator as of o years from now? >> i'm not sure he thinks much about things like that. i think knowing fitzgald, he's a pretty focused guy. he'srobably singular focused on making sure that blagojevich
gets convicted in the upcoming trl. flipping few morewitnesses. there are a t of, yo know, shoes to drop in that investigion. things that have yet to com t. i would remind y that, you know, one key witness agains blagojevich as a co-conspiracy named tony risk oh reserves coe >> we'll beack with eugene robinson andichael isikoff for moref the politics. you're watching "hardball," oy on msnbc.
we're back with the "washington post" eugene and michael ikoff. the cia versus congress broke outgain as an argument of who's telling the truth. a long tration. democrats an republicans in the house and senate accusing the cia at different times of lying to them. barry goldwar, one of the hero publicans of all-time accused the cia of lying to him about nicaragua. what do you make of this latest round of this? >> intesting. first, that letter st by the house demoatswas prett startling in i language. it said that the cia had concealed significantctions from congress andmisled members
going backto 2002 until last moh. now, there's undoubtedly a litical context to thi speaker pelosi was under fire from republins when she said e cia h misl a couple nt ago, and republics said they were shocked that the speaker would be tarnishing the reputationof hardorking professions at the agency, and so i think the democrats saw the concession by- by leon pennetta, when he cme forward with this, sort of a smoking gun proving that pelosi was in the clear. whethert really adds up t that isd to say at this point, although we did report th afternoon, my colleague mark an i on"newsweek."com that pennettrdered an internal inquiry why this formation abouthis unspecified covert pogram was not pided to congress earlier. that's a concession that this is information th the congress
should have known about. >> gene robinson, democrats are insisting we have the chairman on earlier on the ow. they're not assisting, t, clearly they are. is it going 20 work? is i going to help nancy pelos on her controvsy with the cia? >> i thinkit may hlp her somewhat. i ean, if you -- if 2 were just left hee, where it i now, she would be able to point andsay, see, i told you. this std so of thing that they do as you mentioned, 's the first time people on till point to the cia and said you lied to us you didn't tell us something you should have to us. what i'm cious about and i think everybody is, so what was it? give whan know about things that were done during the bush/cheneyears,nd especially und the cia, it would mean -- >> did year about the latest