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tv   Hardball Weekend  MSNBC  June 16, 2013 7:00am-7:30am EDT

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ten years, four wars. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me get it started tonight with this. the united states is now committed to an act of war against the government of syria. okay. let's get the tally up to date. we attacked and went to war with afghanistan in 2001. we attacked and went to war with iraq in 2003.
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we helped to overthrow the government of libya in 2011 and now targeting the government of syria. it's an interesting pattern when you think about it. in 2001, george w and the committed hawks he brought into our government with him including dick cheney talked of going after iraq, a big item on their agenda. it was the first item on their agenda and now looking back and what we're doing now, that's precisely what we're doing, going down the list. going from country to country, setting our sights on government after government, regime change after regime change. night after night, on worldwide television, this country of ours is out there taking sides with anyone who wants to bring down and islamic government. regime change in the islamic world has become our national pasttime. don't believe me? i recommend you stop, look and listen. next stop, iran. joining me is robin wright with the woodrow wilson center and david korn with mother jones. he is also a valued msnbc analyst. thank you for joining us. the white house as we all know
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today is stepping up military aid to the rebels in syria. "the new york times" reports it's likely to mean supplying troops there was small arms and ammunition. heavier weapons have not been ruled out. today, senator an guchltgus kin maine raised this important point where all this could be heading. let's listen. >> i'm reluctant and cautious about this because i want to know what the end game is. we've done this before. we've done it three or four times before. and it's just not so easy to go in, you know, with some kind of surgical strike or something like that. and the question is, once we get in, how do we get out? what's our mission? >> what's our mission, by the way, we're no longer having clean hands. you give guns to somebody, small arms they're called. they're going to shoot at somebody. who are we encouraging people to shoot at with the guns we're giving them in syria? >> obviously the syrian government. the problem is who do we arm and whether this will make a
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difference. the likelihood is the small arms the kinds of ammunition and perhaps anti-tank equipment we're talking about probably won't make a serious difference in this conflict. >> let me get more primitive. if you give a gun to somebody, you intend them to use it. like lending your car, they're going to drive your car. have we decided the rebels in syria are more in america's national interest than the government of syria which is another baathist government that the doesn't do anything except be a pain in the butt. but it doesn't threaten us. my question is, why are we taking sides in a bloody war where people are killing other people? >> the assad dynasty has a long record of killing tens of thousands of its own people. in one three-week period alone, up to 25,000 people in a ton called hama in 1982. >> you mean we've done the vogue playout since then about the great assad family? when did we decide they were our mortal enemies is what i'm saying. >> when it comes to the syria
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has long been the spoiler in the arab/israeli conflict. >> hasn't the soviet union? >> yes. >> we never went to war with the soviet union. >> absolutely right. the question is, will this make a difference? the danger is that it doesn't. >> why are we taking sides? >> that is the question. what is the u.s. interest there. you can have a humanitarian argument that 93,000 people have been killed. mostly by the syrian government. we want to try to end that violence. >> they're trying to kill assad. just a minute. the rebels are fighting the government. >> let me finish. >> that's why they're fighting. >> it's not just if you give a gun they're going to use it. who are you giving the gun to and why are they using it? are they going to be islamist extremist whose going to use the gun against somebody else or the sting stinger missile? you have john mccain running around for weeks saying do something. we've got to do something. >> he's not the president.
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>> he's not the president. >> for a reason. >> the question is, they still can't get their stories straight on who the rebels are and whether they themselves are worth getting in bed with. >> call me old fashioned. shouldn't we have a debate before we go into another war? this is the fourth in ten years. iran is coming. a reasonable national debate. we know overwhelmingly thre three-quarters of the american people don't believe in this. shouldn't that be a relevant consideration or does the president decide when we go to war. >> almost 70% of the american public is skeptical about going in. >> so the president decides? we don't matter. >> it was interesting today that eric cantor put out a press release that said this is all of. this is terrible. he himself won't say what is to be done. they know what the polls are. they using this as a cudgel against the president. >> yesterday, ben rhoades, number two or three in the national security staff, i don't know what he is, has a conference call and announces we're going to an act of war against a government. while the president is doing lgbt event somewhere because he doesn't think it's important enough to do it himself. this is weird.
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we used to have debate over war. we used to have votes on it. we used to use the constitution. now we let some staff guy announce on a conference call we're committing an act of war. it is unusual, robin. politically, this is unusual. >> it may be unusual but remember, we're going in to a big meeting with the g8. world's eight industrial powers >> are they going to vote? >> this will be a key decision where we get our all is on board and what the russians are going to do. but the problem for the united states both republicans and democrats is that no one has addressed the issue of what it is that we want and how do we do it. once we get involved, do we then inherit the problem of what comes next? and rebuilding syria. >> i have visual memories in my mind of an embarrassing humiliating hanging of saddam hussein. we put that on our television and watched that. we're all growing up internationally with this. now we have a guy named gadhafi.
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he's hiding in a storm sewer and ends up there. what do we want for the assad family? how do we want this to end on our big day where our military involvement in syria reaches fruition? a bunch of crazy people running around shooting at each other saying we won. we take off the head of the assad family and then what? what do we get out of this? >> afghanistan is a better example. we supported the mujahideen. they went in and eventually we had a problem in afghanistan because we thought at the beginning we don't like the communists and this is a way to get involved. >> is anybody doing what i'm doing, questioning this involvement? >> angus king, you and angus. >> independent senator from maine. i don't know where you two guys are. anyway, a spokesman for the rebels in syria today said small arms may not be enough. they're making demands. "we welcome the decision but it is a late step."
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if they send small arms, how can they make a difference? they should help us with anti-tank and anti-aircraft and training and a no-fly zone thrown in. that's the assessment shared by some in washington. the "new york times" reported "many in the american government believe the military balance has tilted so far against the rebels in recent months that american shipments of arms to select groups may be too little too late." why not let assad win? >> he may just win. this is not a good scenario. you don't want the region's most brutal dictator to stay in power at this stage. >> how about ten years of civil war, you complain and rightfully so about people being killed. suppose because we give small arms and keep this war festering for another six months or six years or ten years, is that a better outcome? >> the real danger is that, first of all, our involvement makes this not a war about the future of syria but a major powers around the world. >> my biggest concern. >> and then a civil war that plays out in the aftermath of -- >> okay. robin wright, thank you. have a nice weekend, happy father's day, brother.
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>> same to you. >> coming up, remember when darrel issa announced the irs scandal began in washington. well, where's that proof now? is he ever going to show it? or is he going to keep screaming, saying there's corruption here, has to do with obama? the more we see, the investigation is coming apart at the seams. also, who's who of conservative presidential hopefuls -- here's a phrase, on bended knee at the faith and freedom coalition council in washington. but 1,000 miles away and light years away in time and space in chicago, chris christie in new jersey is with bill and hillary at the clinton initiative. christie's known as a problem solver. here's a problem for him to solve. how is he going to convince right wingers to nominate him for president if he's hanging out with bill and hillary and chelsea. time to invoke the mercy rule. the democratic congressional baseball team last night wiped out the republican team. this isn't a baseball score. 22-0. that makes five straight wins for them. what a winning streak. finally, let me finish with
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a need to accept the obama people had nothing to do with the irs screw-up. so enough already. all business purchases. so you can capture your receipts, and manage them online with jot, the latest app from ink. so you can spend less time doing paperwork. and more time doing paperwork. ink from chase. so you can.
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the whole transcript will be put out. we understand these are in realtime and the administration is still their paid liar, their spokesperson picture behind, he's still making up things about what happens and calling this local rogue. this is a problem that was coordinated in all likelihood right out of washington headquarters and we're getting to proving it. >> well, welcome back to "hardball." that was, of course, house oversight committee chairman darrell issa vowing to release transcripts that according to him would prove that washington and by inference the white house had coordinated the irs targeting of conservative groups. issa said he wants to expose "the full truth" but his alcohols prove otherwise. the case in point, how he spun
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the excerpts he has released. on cnn as we just saw, he said that the transcripts proved that the irs officials in cincinnati were directly being ordered from washington. it was that ambiguity that somehow officials outside the white house were ordering the targeting. the actual transcript of that irs agent issa is talking about says "i was taking all my direction from eo technical." that's a unit inside the irs in washington. very clearly saying he got his advice, his leadership from the officials he works with at the irs in washington, not from anybody outside. issa would love to say the phrase washington over and over again so the people think he means maybe at the means somebody from the white house. something else nefarious. josh green from bloomberg business week authored a column today called "darrell issa's irs investigation is falling apart." a reporter for "the new york time times", nick. i'm struck by what comes across to me with what seems to be the integrity of elijah cummings, the ranking member from maryland, the ranking member on
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the committee that issa heads. he has said he's looked at all the transcripts all the raw data, all the interviews with the irs officials in cincinnati and he has come to the conclusion that there's no evidence whatsoever that there was any influence outside the irs, in other words, the white house or any politicians to what happened there. screwups, whatever, bad management, whatever. yet, issa keeps playing this card of washington as if washington implies something beyond the irs. your thoughts on the honesty going on here? >> just to clarify for your viewers, all of the irs tax lawyers are in washington. even the ones that work on a case by case basis with people in cincinnati who are not tax lawyers. so when a troublesome case comes up, a tricky case, a case that has law questions, they go to cincinnati -- i'm sorry, to the lawyers in washington. that's what that technical eo unit you were talking about earlier is all about. we do have this heavy handed indication of washington,
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washington, washington. >> sleazy intonation that suggests in the war movies, call berlin like there's some sort of washington or hollywood. in this case, it doesn't mean washington generally. it means their head office. >> that's right. look, we've seen the selective release of transcripts. when i see them at first i think there's something there. you go back and look at the fuller transcript that was released after that. and the picture is a lot more muddied. it suggests a person in cincinnati consulting the lawyers in washington. what does this mean? and then the lawyers in washington saying, can you send us a couple of those case so we can look at them? that doesn't mean something wrong didn't happen here. it doesn't mean that these delays weren't unconscionable. it's a very different picture from the white house pushing a button, making a call and ordering this up from the irs. >> the salient debate, issa is trying to conflate the idea that the scandal originated in washington either understand orders from somebody at the irs or the white house with the fact that as nick just said, of course, there are irs lawyers
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consulting in washington. >> he hasn't found -- correct me if i'm wrong. has he found a witness within the irs that says i got influence by somebody outside the irs? >> not that he's put out. >> wouldn't he have done that, if he had? >> well, yeah. the piece i wrote is basically based on the fact he said he was going to release these transcripts. he hasn't. the guy pushing him to do it is the top democrat on the committee, cummings. >> i want to show you the timeline issa's behavior and behavior around him all along and they said what do you think is still left in his ammo? june 2nd, you just saw that he released extremely limited pieces of a set of interviews and calls the white house paid liars. we saw that with candy crowley. he says the full transcripts which he vows to release will prove that washington is the cause without saying irs washington or the white house. he keeps that foggy. june 6th, for politico newspaper reports house leadership had
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delivered a message to issa, cool it. last sunday in response to issa's selected disclosures, democrat elijah cummings, as you said, josh shall releases other parts of the transcripts that directly contradict issa's assertions. and cummings vows to release the full transcripts if issa won't. that same day issa changes his tune saying he won't release any transcripts. attacks cummings as reckless. yesterday cummings called issa's actions hypocritical giving him a monday deadline, this coming monday to review the transcripts before the release. on the heels of the cummings letter, reu techlt rreuters rep issa is widening his probe in addition to the interviews he has done, his committee identifies 20 more officials for future interviews. he keeps interviewing. it's a fishing expedition. has he got any hope or is he just playing for time here? >> at this point it looks like he's playing for time.
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the important thing is what cummings wants to release is the interview in cincinnati with an irs official who is a self-described conservative republican who says i'm the one who started this. so cummings -- >> i'm the one who said target the tea party and the patriot groups. >> let's give these guys -- if that's true, then the scandal couldn't have originated in washington or the white house. that's why democrats are pushing so hard to get these interviews released. up next, nancy pelosi rock out with mary wilson, one of my favorites of my youth from the supremes. this is "hardball," the place for politics. of olay total effects plus the perfecting color of a bb cream equal? introducing the newest beauty trend. total effects cc cream c for color. c for correction. [ female announcer ] fight 7 signs of aging flawlessly. cc for yourself. [ male announcer ] moving object detection. ♪ blind spot warning.
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back to "hardball." now the sideshow. what a sideshow. tonight it all came to a head last night for members of congress. congressional baseball game at nationals park where nationals play.
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republicans versus democrats. republicans went into the game with high hopes despite a four-year losing streak but it was not to be. way not to be. democrats dominated tonight. how is this for a baseball score? 22-0. well, democrats had an edge with louisiana congressman and former college player cedric richmond as their pitcher. looks like he knows what he's doing out there, right? california democrat linda sanchez was also a crowd favorite. >> let's go linda. let's go linda. >> solid single for linda. anyway, yesterday marked the 56th annual game between the two sides.
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next, yesterday's tribute to michigan congressman john dingell who just became the longest serving member of congress in history took a turn for the musical. mary wilson of the supremes. my personal favorite when they came to holy cross back in the '60s serenaded the room with "stop in the name of love," and called on nancy pelosi, kathleen sebelius and others to jump in as backup dancers. ♪ stop in the name of love ♪ before you break my heart stop in the name of love before you break my heart ♪ ♪ think it over okay. let's verse. ♪ i've tried so hard so hard to be patient hoping you will see your
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fatuation ♪ >> that's the music i listened to in the car driving home at night on xm radio. there were about 400 people in attendance to take in the performance. congressman dingell called himself the luckiest man in shoe leather for his family, friends and time serving michigan. finally a couple of new roadblocks in the republican plan to attract more women and minority voters. what's causing the divide in maine's state legislature over accepting federal money to expand health care coverage? guess what, republican rep in maine thinks he's solved the mystery. roll the tape. >> if you listen to the debate today, in my mind, a man's mind, i hear really two fundamental issues. from the other side of the aisle, i hear the conversation being about free. this is free. we need to take it and it's free. my brain being a man's brain sort of thinks differently. because i say, well, it's not -- if it's tree free is it really free because i say in my brain, there's a cost to this.
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>> his man's brain has it all figured out? his man's brain should have said don't talk about men's brains being smarter than other brains. we now turn to virginia and the state republican party's pick for director of african-american engagement, the reverend joel ellison. it looks like ellison might draw the wrong kind of attention. example in 2010, not so far long ago, pat robertson suggested that the earthquake down in haiti was a result of that country's pact with the devil made during a voodoo ceremony two centuries ago. well, reverend ellison, the virginia outreach guy for african-americans, here is what he said at a conference. >> i know this has angered a lot of the so-called, in my opinion, liberals, what he said about the
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