June 4, 2018
10:18:06 PM Eastern
DON LEMON: Former President Bill Clinton speaking out about some pretty ill-considered comments earlier about the Monica Lewinski scandal and whether he owes her an apology. Back with me, Chris, Brian, and Laura. This is a lot to chew on as well. So, the former President, he addressed the controversy over his defensive answer on NBC News this morning, where he defended how he handled the Lewinski scandal. This– here he’s tonight. Watch this.
BILL CLINTON: The truth is the hubbub I got hot under the collar, because of the way the questions were asked. The suggestion was that I never apologized for what caused all the trouble for me 20 years ago. So, first point is, I did. I mean it then and I meant it now, I apologize for my family, to Monica Lewinski and her family, and to the American people. The second is that I support the #MeToo movement and I think it’s long overdue.
LEMON: So Laura, is that enough to clean up? I mean, his answer which certainly seemed tone-deaf earlier today.
LAURA COATES: Well, I think that it did something, maybe not move the needle completely because what he fails to recognize, inherently, is that while he said that 20 years ago got “him” in a great deal of trouble, the truth of the matter is he has thrived over last 20 years and Monica Lewinski, by her own account, has had the life of a hermit. One who is shamed and forced to wear a red scarlet letter.
And for that reason, I think that it needs to be addressed that—And not just from him but perhaps the way society has also treated her. The way people have gone after her and her behavior and her accountability. And the way they questioned her in the way they have not done so with Bill Clinton, the former president of the United States. There is a reckoning to come.
Now, I would have been more satisfied had he addressed what I thought was the most obvious reason why, a married man would not have addressed a woman who was his mistress 20 years ago with a personal phone call or perhaps with some conciliatory flowers. That was obvious to me. In fact, that wasn’t apparently obvious to him in that statement. And 20 years later we still find ourselves wondering why he won’t address the fact that there was some about the victimization of her based on his position. But she also has personal accountability to reckon with, I suspect she’s done so in the life she’s led now.
LEMON: You know, I told Chris exactly what you said, she’s basically led the life of a hermit. Now she’s out and about now. I see her and she pretty much goes out. People still look at her, she walks down the street, she’s still very famous and she has security and all of those things. I remember back when this, not long after happen, I’d see her here and her friends would be very protective of her. She’d try to hide with her hair or hat or whatever covering her face. I mean, it must have just been awful for her and still till this day. How could Bill Clinton –
BRIAN KAREM: I think he still sounded a little tone deaf this evening.
LEMON: My question: How could he have not been ready for that question? Brian go on.
KAREM: I mean, there’s always a saying in Washington, the only thing worse than a Republican is a Democrat. I mean, certainly his behavior and Trumps, you kind of hear a little of each other in there. I mean it’s gotten progressively worse over the years. But, you have to wonder why they’re tone deaf to this. And they’re tone deaf to any criticism.
Like Chris brought up earlier, it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up. That was the case with Bill Clinton too. He famously got out there and said, “I did not have sexual relationships with that woman, Monica Lewinski” and obviously he did. And it’s always the cover-up and that lie that gets you in trouble. It seems like politics in D.C. just love to do it. The real problem is, and I’ll make this final point. The real problem is, with all the lying goes on, I heard something tonight that rings so true. It’s that when you lie so often, it’s not that people begin to believe the lies, it’s that they don’t know what the truth is and that makes them easier to lead.
LEMON: Chris, let me ask you this, because Brian said—What you said the only thing worse as a Republican is a Democrat? This is what some progressives are saying, they’re not saying it publicly: “Why are you not — you know, why are you beating up Bill Clinton, this was 20 years ago, and we have someone in the White House now accused of similar things, and he’s not paying the price for it. Bill Clinton has paid the price.” What do you say to that?
CHRIS CILLIZZA: Well, I say that Donald Trump’s — The allegations against Donald Trump as it relates to his behavior with women, do not allow every Democrat ever to get a free pass. If it is something that we don’t condone for Republicans it should be something we don’t condone for Democrats. I hear this all the time, “well, Donald Trump lies always. Therefore we can say anything about him and it’s justified.” I always ask people, “is that what you’ll tell your kids?” Well, whatever you’re doing you can do it worse because they did it to you.
LEMON: So, there’s no truth in any of that?
CILLIZZA: I — no — look, Donald Trump — excuse me Bill Clinton. Guy, you got me turned around. Bill Clinton is doing a book tour with James Patterson on a book that they wrote.
LEMON: He should be prepared for that.
CILLIZZA: He agrees to sit down for an interview, rightly the reporter does not agree what questions are on limits and what questions are off limits. Bill Clinton needs to have a good answer for that.
CILLIZZA: That is not Craig Melvin, the NBC reporter who ask the questions. It’s not his fault. He gets to ask the questions, Bill Clinton answers the questions. And one thing I do want to note, we should focus more on what I believe to be the grace and dignity that Monica Lewinski in the last decade or so has handled herself with it. She has reemerged as a voice against bullying. Something I feel very strongly about.
May 18, 2018
7:00 p.m. Eastern
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Only in America. Let’s play Hardball. [HARDBALL OPENING CREDITS] Good evening. I’m Chris Matthews in Washington or is it a good evening? Yet another school shooting three months after the massacre at a high school in Parkland. This time it’s Santa Fe high school in Texas, 30 miles southeast of Houston. It’s a common story now in America as is the absence of action by the country’s leaders. Intermediate — intermittent gunfire across the country, political silence here in the Capital. This time, ten people are dead, nine students and a teacher, another ten wounded. This time, all hell broke loose before 7:30 app local time. Several witnesses said they heard a fire alarm go off, then shots rang out.
MATTHEWS: What do you think should be done? Maybe this is a bad question. It’s in people’s minds, if a kid grabs his father’s shotgun and his .38 revolver and heads out to shoot people, should the father be held accountable for the fact he left the gun sitting around the house?
DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN JOAQUÍN CASTRO (TX): That is a tough question. What I think we need gun owners to be much more responsible and I agree with some of the comments made by the Texas leaders even though Texas state officials have done little to stem gun violence, I agree parents need to be more responsible in making sure their guns are locked up and kept safe from their kids.
MATTHEWS: The Lieutenant Governor is out there, talking about his solution is to have one door rather than two doors to the school. Is that it? The single door policy? That’s going to deal with this issue? Do you think it’s that serious?
CASTRO Yeah, I was really dumbfounded when I heard that comment by the Lieutenant Governor, Dan Patrick. He —
MATTHEWS: Let’s listen to it. We’ve got it here cause let everybody judge for themselves if they think this is a serious response or not.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: This has been going on too long in our country.
MATTHEWS: We’re going to get backing to that, but let me go onto Shannon. Shannon Watts, you’re a founder of Mothers Demand Action. What action can we expect here? I mean, fairly, I don’t expect any action. I think we live in this country. It’s a gun tooting country. We believe in the Second Amendment. We live with it the way it’s interpreted by the Supreme Court I think is irresponsible, but here we are.
SHANNON WATTS: Well, you know, we have seen significant change on the ground even just since parkland. We’ve seen Republican governors sign sweeping gun reform into law, so we are seeing movement state-by-state. Red flag laws being based, laws that disarm domestic abusers, even states continuing to close the background check loophole. Texas doesn’t have many of these laws. There have been 20 mass shootings in the state of Texas since 2009, two just this week and all we’ve seen Greg Abbott do is make it easier for dangerous people to get guns. I know everyone wants a cathartic moment in Congress, but it really is on all of us in November to elect lawmakers that will vote the right way on there issue and that will act.
MATTHEWS: Well, just to make your point, all I hear is calls for open carry in saloons and restaurants, people want to walk through the malls with guns, toting guns openly. It always seems to be going in that direction, more guns in more places more openly.
WATTS: Well, you know, we have something nothing other developed nation has which is the gun lobby and NRA lobbyists are always fighting for guns for anyone anywhere anytime, no questions asked. That’s how they continue to sell more guns. There’s $100 million loss in gun sales since Donald Trump was elected and the NRA is trying to figure out how to make up for that losses in sales. Part of it is to do things like arming teachers. If they arm just a fraction of America’s 3.6 million teachers they could easily recoup the loss and get ready to hear those talking points tomorrow morning.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me go to Greg Pittman because you’ve been through this before, sir, as a teacher at a school hit hard by gun violence and that do you think of politicians who openly say their entire philosophy is answered in fewer doors? And somehow, seriously, the guy shows up dressed like he’s in the movie The Matrix with a long coat on. Well, you would think they would have noticed that behavior before and not have a law about it but common sense would have told them this is a troubled kid out to make a point. But I want to go back to this. What do you make of a politician, lieutenant governor of a state whose entire response to this is fewer doors?
GREG PITTMAN: Again, I think Chris, one of the things here with that, that’s certainly might help in one way. But we go back to the problem of the question of the guns, back to the question you all raised earlier. A 17-year-old was able to obtain the father’s guns. Why did the father not have them locked up? Why — again, there is some responsibility borne by both the father, the mother, the parents here with this kid being able to access guns. One of the big problems in our society is no one ever is responsible anymore.
PITTMAN: Our politicians aren’t responsible. They’re not responsible to the people. The parents here aren’t responsible. Somebody needs to be responsible for some of the actions and just the idea of limiting the doors, that certainly may help. I know at Douglas, we’ve tried to limit, they’ve tried to reduce access points, so they can better watch the students as they come in. They’ve gone to these clear bags, they’ve gone with these other things. Again, if they really want to get a gun in, you can still get a gun in. The same thing here not unless they search every single kid with everything they bring in. It goes back, I think, to the access to be able to obtain the guns to begin with. It goes to raising the age, I think, to be able to obtain guns. How do these 17-year-olds, so many of these shooters, the shooter at our school was 19, who was able to legally buy the gun at that time. Florida raised the age to 21. Many of these states need to raise the age to 21 or perhaps older. Very easy to get guns. We need to extend background checks which wouldn’t have prevented this but back to some responsibility of the parents or someone on controlling guns. Whose fault is this supposed to be? It can’t be no one’s fault. Someone has to — to — to be responsible for this and I don’t understand why the parents are never responsible anymore. That’s one thing that we see at schools now. No one is responsible for anything. The only ones responsible are the teachers. The teachers are being asked to do everything.
MATTHEWS: Well, Governor Abbott of Texas also said he planned to hold a roundtable around the state to discuss how to prevent further shootings in Texas. Here’s the governor of the state.
REPUBLICAN TEXAS GOVERNOR GREG ABBOTT: We will assemble all stakeholders to begin to work immediately on swift solutions to prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again. We want to hear from parents. We want to hear from students. We want to hear from educators. We want to hear from concerned citizens. We want to hear from those who hold the Second Amendment right in high esteem. We want to hear from everybody who has an interest in what has happened today so we can work together.
MATTHEWS: I’m sorry, but it — Congressman — it makes me convinced that politics is an acting profession. That was an act. Mike, let me ask you this because this is the question. Everywhere in the world, there are countries that have violence of course, but they don’t have school shootings. We seem to have a lot of them.
MATTHEWS: You know, every couple months it happens and every couple months somebody like the governor says we’re going to have roundtables on it and we’re going to talk about it and the pro-gun safety people like me I guess and the other people on the show say something, the pro-gun people say do nothing and we go back and think about something else the next two days.
CASTRO: Yeah, I mean, Chris, it is a shame that the United States Congress has not done anything, anything to protect our students from gun violence.
MATTHEWS: What does the NRA say to you? Do you feel their prevalence in your life?
MATTHEWS: Certainly in Texas.
MATTHEWS: If you go to vote — if you vote for gun safety, you know they’re coming at you, right?
CASTRO: Sure. I’ve stood at polls and asked for people’s support and they’ve said before that they’re not going to because the NRA said they shouldn’t cause they’ve got a list of approved candidates, but Greg Abbott was basically lip syncing. That man has stood by while tragedy after tragedy has happened and has hurt Texans and he’s done nothing. And when they have the roundtables I have the first suggestion for him. He should allow, under Texas law, local governments to take action into their own hands. Right now, Texas state law doesn’t allow any local government to do anything about gun violence to make their own laws regarding any of this. He should free up local governments to do that, especially if they’re going to sit on their hands and do nothing.
MATTHEWS: Shannon, we’re looking at the people here — the parents apparently are recovering. Well, they’re not going to recover from this violence because it’s a hell on Earth situation. What is it about America that has this headline, around the world, I mean, if you’re in Tokyo right now where they don’t have this or London where they really don’t have this or Paris or anywhere in the world, South Africa, they don’t have this kind of stuff, you go what’s with America? What’s with us?
WATTS: Yeah, I mean it’s —
MATTHEWS: Are there that many angry kids 17 years old angry at the kids in class who don’t treat them right and go out shooting at them? What combination of facts do we have that is nobody else seems to have?
WATTS: Every nation is home to disgruntled teens, to bullied teens. What we have that is different is easy access to guns in this country. If more guns and fewer gun laws made us safer, we’d be the safest country in the world. Instead, we have the highest rate of gun violence of any nation. 96 Americans are shot and killed in this country every day and we talk about it when ten people are killed at a time. But the reality is there’s gun violence in communities all day long that isn’t being addressed or seen or even reported on the news and these families are suffering and it is on our lawmakers to act. They could stop this. We know that in states with strong gun laws they have much fewer gun deaths and yet, these lawmakers are sitting on their hands.
MATTHEWS: Texans aren’t going to change, are they? Or anybody in this county. It doesn’t look like — it sounds like we’ll be back here in a couple months with another one of these.
CASTRO: I think that, as Shannon mentioned, I think things are changing. I think they’re changing too slowly, but I think, the public sentiment is changing in Texas also. Unfortunately, the politicians have not changed with the sentiment.
MATTHEWS: NRA still calls the shots?
CASTRO: They still have a lot of sway, but I think that’s waning also. I think they’re losing power.
MATTHEWS: I got to go to Greg on this. Greg, what were the reactions today of your students in Parkland who have been through this hell before — up front?
PITTMAN: Again today, this afternoon, I was with my fourth period which is a class that I was with the day of the shooting at Douglas on the February 14th. And all the kids were very upset about it. They wanted to watch, they wanted to see what was going on. Some were very quiet but they were very interested, but also upset and it was bringing back, you know, some of the same feelings that we went through, the fire alarm goes off, everybody starts going out, starts the same kind of things that we did that same day and then — then so similar as to what we experienced. And so again, kids were upset by it. Very much and the other thing I’ll just throw out, not only that, but before this, our kids, our teachers, our school is suffering from PTSD. Even the people that weren’t in the building directly where the students were shot and teachers and others were killed, it has been a very slow process to get to where we are right now. We are definitely not healed. The school is not normal. There — we’ve got there — we joke or call it this new normal which is nowhere near what we used to be. It’s very difficult. Three months out and then obviously this kind of brings it all back to life again for us and I can only sympathize with the community there and what they’re going to experience because I understand what it’s like and it’s going to be a long, difficult road and they’re going to need a lot of support and so, certainly I’m sure we’ll try to help support but they’ll need support from all around the country cause it’s not an easy thing to deal with and then you go back. I mean, it’s not like many other places that you’re at some other random place. There is where the kids go to school, this is where we go to work, why we don’t use that one building at school, we’ll go to the school. I mean, and we’ve got three more years of kids before they graduate and the teachers obviously will still there be. So, it’s a long road ahead.
MATTHEWS: Congressman, I want to thank you. Greg, I don’t want to cut you off, but I want to tell you one thing, I’m so proud of the fact your students spoken out and I hope they keep speaking out because the one thing the gun lobby has going for it,
PITTMAN: They will.
MATTHEWS: — all these years, is they’re be obsessed. I think the people who want gun safety have to be equally obsessed and that means relentless and thank you. That seems to be true with your students. Thank you, U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro, a great guy to come on this show. Thank you for coming on this grim — by the way, you were going to come on anyway, but thank you for coming on despite this. Shannon Watts, keep up the wonderful work. You’re a wonderful spokesperson and we need you. We really do. And Greg Pitman, again, sir, teachers are great.
In a jaw-dropping display that was one part a lack of self-awareness and another part hypocrisy, Wednesday’s prime-time Anderson Cooper 360 featured a panel of CNN analysts sharing their opinions about opinion shows like Hannity on Fox News. Their opinions varied but were largely against the mixing of opinion and news. And that was their opinion on the news of the day.
The hypocrisy was so thick you could cut it with a knife.
“I mean, personally, I have no problem with Fox News. I’m glad Fox News is out there. I’m glad MSNBC is out there. I personally wouldn’t want to do what either of them do,” explained host Anderson Cooper. But his virtue signaling was all talk and no sincerity because his introduction to the segment included a mocking shot from the undersized network:
Hannity’s employer Fox News did what any respectable news organization would do when face the with the knowledge that one of its anchors had gone on the air time after time after time to breathlessly report on someone without disclosing his personal connection to the story. I’m kidding. They don’t care. They didn’t care.
The first opinion about opinions Cooper asked for was from Washington Post national correspondent Philip Bump, who asserted that Sean Hannity was the sole reason Fox News was popular on the right and why Trump was popular. “So this is a network that Republicans are watching a lot. Sean Hannity is dragging all the coverage to the favorable Trump position. And the net result is it certainly contributes to the fact that Donald Trump is seen very favorably by that same base of people,” he opined.
Bump also claimed that Hannity only “insists [his show] isn’t a journalistic show, it’s an opinion show,” as if it was anything but. Also according to his opinion, Hannity was “the furthest right outpost on Fox News” and as such he “drags the rest of the hosts with him to match the rhetoric that he is using there.”
“There is a conflict for Fox News. Cause obviously, during the day they have folks like Shepherd Smith, Bret Baier who are doing reporting. And yet the nighttime is much more opinion based,” Cooper said…at the exact same time Hannity was on the air.
Former federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst Laura Coates decried how Fox News would dare to differentiate between opinion and news and have people argue to sway others’ opinions via such shows:
Yeah, it’s almost too convenient to say, “oh no, no we’re going to use a kind of nuanced semantics argument. I’m an opinion journalist not actually a journalist. I’m not to be regarded and have the credibility as others but please believe every single word that I say.”
Apparently, it’s more appropriate (or “ethical” to use her words) to not identify a show as opinion and to only refer to all the shows as news.
Former Fox News contributor Kristen Powers stuck up for her former outlet and suggested that most people understood the difference between opinion and news. “I don’t think nobody thinks that Rachel Maddow, however talented she is, is just giving people the straight scoop. It is a perspective,” she argued. “So, I think most people recognize that what Sean is doing is gifting an opinion.”
The serious problem with CNN isn’t that they don’t get that their shows are opinion shows; it’s their pernicious disingenuousness to continuously claim that all their shows are straight news no matter the obvious. Their shows might not all have one host just giving their sole opinion like Fox News and MSNBC (as some do), but what they do is farm it out to their liberal analysts who dominate the programs. So, whenever you see or hear a CNN employee say they’re news and not opinion, they’re being misleading.
The relevant portions of the transcript are below, click “expand” to read:
CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360
April 18, 2018
ANDERSON COOPER: In the two days that have elapsed since the President’s lawyer Michael Cohen was forced to reveal in court that the mystery client he tried to keep secret was, in fact, Sean Hannity, the consequences have been swift. Hannity’s employer Fox News did what any respectable news organization would do when face the with the knowledge that one of its anchors had gone on the air time after time after time to breathlessly report on someone without disclosing his personal connection to the story.
I’m kidding. They don’t care. They didn’t care. Here is a statement. (…) It’s a dozy of a conflict of interest, one that was kept secret. But it’s not even Hannity’s most glaring conflict of interest. New reporting in The Washington Post shows how intertwined Hannity and the President are.
PHILIP BUMP: Hannity has been an ally of Trump since early in the campaign. Probably even something before the campaign. He essentially endorsed him during the campaign. And he has been able to use his television program which he insists isn’t a journalistic show, it’s an opinion show. But he’s been able to use it to drive the conversation both nationally and at Fox News. He essentially serves as the furthest right-outpost on Fox News and sort of drags the rest of the hosts with him to match the rhetoric that he is using there. (…) So this is a network that Republicans are watching a lot. Sean Hannity is dragging all the coverage to the favorable Trump position. And the net result is it certainly contributes to the fact that Donald Trump is seen very favorably by that same base of people.
COOPER: There is a conflict for Fox News. Cause obviously, during the day they have folks like Shepherd Smith, Bret Baier who are doing reporting. And yet the nighttime is much more opinion based.
LAURA COATES: Yeah, it’s almost too convenient to say, “oh no, no we’re going to use a kind of nuanced semantics argument. I’m an opinion journalist not actually a journalist. I’m not to be regarded and have the credibility as others but please believe every single word that I say.”
And the conflict is so apparent in my mind, that, of course, I’m like an attorney a journalist doesn’t have the same bar admission ethical standards that you would have but you still have credibility and ethics on the line. To me this is a clear violation of what the American people would like from somebody who represents they are actually giving factual information as opposed to not only just opinion but also one tainted by a personal conflict.
COOPER: I mean, personally, I have no problem with Fox News. I’m glad Fox News is out there. I’m glad MSNBC is out there. I personally wouldn’t want to do what either of them do.
KRISTEN POWERS: Yeah, I mean, look where I would say the evening news shows at Fox, like the evening news shows at MSNBC are opinion shows. They’re not — anybody who think they’re turning on the news getting Walter Cronkite, they’re not. And I don’t think nobody thinks that Rachel Maddow, however talented she is, is just giving people the straight scoop. It is a perspective. So, I think most people recognize that what Sean is doing is gifting an opinion. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with him being a supporter of Donald Trump. I do think he should have disclosed this.
CNN Special Report: Comey Speaks Out
April 16, 2018
11:00:18 PM Eastern
JIM SCIUTTO: This a CNN Special Report Comey Speaks Out. Just moments ago, we heard fire FBI Director James Comey unleash on President Trump, calling him “morally unfit to be president,” “a stain on the people who work for him” and a “liar” who treats women like pieces of meat. Really, just a jarring critique of a sitting president. Welcome to our viewers from the United States and around the world. I’m Jim Sciutto.
PAMELA BROWN: I’m Pamela Brown. And in Comey’s first TV interview since he was fired, he says there is, quote, “some evidence of obstruction of justice” by the president when Mr. Trump asked him to let go of his investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. And he suggestions it’s possible that Mr. Trump has been compromised by the Russians.
Needless to say, there is a lot to discuss this evening following the interview with James Comey on ABC. Let’s get to our correspondents, analysts and political commentators. And Dana, I’m going to go to you first on this because, look, we’ve been waiting for this interview to happen. Finally James Comey is speaking out. This is the man who used to be the head of the FBI, one of the highest offices in the government calling the President of the United States morally unfit. Your reaction?
DANA BASH: Look, I mean, this is something that in any other time would be seismic. And I think, even in this time, where it’s easy to kind of lose sight of things that are enormously out of bounds and enormously unusual. For an FBI director, even though he was fired and he has, you know, he certainly feels a sense he says of higher loyalty but retribution, let’s face it.
To say the things he did about a sitting president of the United States is absolutely extraordinary. Especially, as you mentioned, things like he believes that it’s possible that the President did obstruct justice. Because remember, this isn’t — this is the kind of thing that a former FBI director or former official does usually many years down the road. This is an active investigation that he started.
BROWN: And he’s a central witness in the obstruction of justice probe.
SCIUTTO: Gloria Borger, you listened to James Comey there. He is a polarizing figure. In fact, he reiterates this in the interview saying the Democrats hated him during the election and Republicans – many do who are Trump supporters.
GLORIA BORGER: He said his life sucked, if you recall.
SCIUTTO: There was colorful language, a lot of colorful language at this time. But as you heard him there, is he a credible critic of the president?
BORGER: It’s in the eye of the beholder, obviously. I think my — Jason Miller over there is not going to believe that he is. But I do believe that he is somebody, as a witness in this investigation, somebody who was involved directly, one on one with the president, who is saying the President is lying. Is lying about a bunch of things.
Is lying about a conversation they had about loyalty, for example. And when he says when he says the President is obstructing justice and there is evidence of it, possibly, we know he’s telling that to the investigators. And the most stunning thing to me was that a question is asked about the president of the United States: do you believe that he could be compromised by the Russians. And Comey’s answer is, “I never thought I would say this”—“I never thought I would say this but it’s possible.”
And I mean, I think his word was, “you know, what always struck me and still strikes me as unlikely but I would have been able to say that with high confidence about any other president I dealt with but I can’t, not with this president.” So when you want to look at his credibility, he’s got ego, his book is full of criticism so the President perhaps shouldn’t have made the size of his hands, the color of his hair, his tan, et cetera, et cetera, put that ego aside and I think the arguments he makes here about the man he is dealing with are quite persuasive.
Erin Burnett OutFront
March 21, 2018
7:05:25 PM Eastern
ERIN BURNETT: Jeffrey, let me start with you. Mueller’s interview topics, obviously the four buckets we now know about, that Gloria and Pam are reporting on, the firing of Comey and Flynn, that statement on Air Force One, and that infamous meeting at Trump Tower. Does this show only to be obstruction of justice or Mueller be looking at other things which are still on the table or already has what he needs on potential other crimes?
JEFFREY TOOBIN: Certainly all four areas relate to obstruction of justice and certainly all of them, except for the Trump Tower meeting, deal directly with Donald Trump possible obstruction of justice, not other people. Those three areas, the firing of Comey, the firing of Flynn, and the statement on Air Force one all relate to trump’s personal possible obstruction of justice.
Now, it’s very hard to make a firm conclusion about the subjects he’s not asking about. Collusion with Russia. Trump’s finances. Any misconduct in Moscow 2013. Just because he doesn’t ask about them doesn’t mean Mueller has ruled those out completely.
7:09:11 PM Eastern
BURNETT: Do you think this interview will ever happen?
DAVID GERGEN: I think it’s likely but there are going to be a lot of important negotiations ahead and very contentious negotiations before they get to that point. Listen, I want to go back to what Jeffrey said. If you look at this, clearly these four areas do include a lot of questions about obstruction and about obstruction by the president himself. And it may well be that there is some collusion being investigated here perhaps with Flynn or so forth.
But there very little suggestion, and I think the surprise here is there are no big surprises, no conversations or areas that we haven’t heard a lot about already. No conversation with Manafort, for example, or no conversations with some spooky character from the Russian side. So that’s a bit of a surprise. But the other thing that I think is interesting, there is nothing about his finances here. And a lot of people have argued for a long time that money laundering is his biggest vulnerability. Why? He may be saving that for later. Maybe, Jeffrey, he wants to have this get Trump in the room, get the presence of him being interviewed on topics that might be safer ground so he can save and go after finances in a second set of interviews. We’ve seen that with previous Presidents.
BURNETT: That’s actually a fascinating point. Go ahead, Jeff, what’s your response?
TOOBIN: I this think Mueller is going to get one shot and one shot only. I think the odds are against, at least in my opinion, and this is not based on extensive inside reporting, but this interview will not take place at all. But if it does, I think there is just going to be one. And I think Mueller better take his best shot. And I think I we might say– we should say in fairness to the President and his supporters, maybe the reason he’s not asking about money laundering is he doesn’t have evidence of money laundering.
BURNETT: That’s my point, Jeffrey. What do you make of that? Because as David points out, the big conversation has been out there, is the President at risk with financial crimes, whether it’s fraud, money laundering, right? Never put his taxes out there, son is bragged about financial connections and getting money from Russia, the President denied it. We’re not saying these are the only topics, but the reporting is they are the four main topics.
TOOBIN: As I said, I think it is modestly good news for the President that the financial topics are not on there. That collusion isn’t on there. But it is very bad news for the President that there are so many detailed questions about obstruction of justice. Because that has always been the heart of the investigation.
On Sunday’s AM Joy, during a discussion of recent mass shootings and gun control, host Joy Reid set up frequent guest Kurt Bardella to cheer for the deaths of Fox News viewers as host Reid described the “world view” advanced by conservative media as being “crusty” and “creepy.”
The MSNBC host also fretted over the tendency of Republicans to bring up the high homicide rate in Chicago during discussions of gun control, with panel member Tiffany Cross of The Beat D.C. suggesting racism as she called “Chicago” a “euphemism for black.”
Reid turned to Cross and complained: “Every time you try to bring up the issue of mass shootings and preventing them, you get the reflexive ‘Chicago.'” After the AM Joy host complained that the guns used in the Parkland school shootings were “perfectly legally purchased,” Cross began her response: “I think with the Republican party Chicago is their euphemism or subtext for ‘black,’ and we should just call that out for what it is.”
In her next question, Reid brought up older audience members of the conservative media as she turned to Bardella and posed: “At some point, does the conservative media run out of viewers because it is appealing to sort of an old kind of crusty, creepy, world view that these young people who are a big cohort of the American population do not share?”
It did not seem to occur to either Reid or Bardella that many younger people become more conservative as they get older and increasingly consume right-leaning media as Bardella responded: “I think there is some credence to the idea that, at some point, just the process of evolution, some of these viewers, they are going to thankfully die off, and that’ll be the end of that.”
After complaining that Fox News does not react to violent crimes by white men in the same as violence by immigrants, he concluded: “We’re at a point where Donald Trump and the Republican party, they are complicit in what’s going on in this country. The next time there is a mass shooting and nothing has been done to prevent it or stop it, the Republican party and Donald Trump own it and are complicit in it.”
Host Reid responded, “Absolutely,” before moving to her next question.
S.E. Cupp Unfiltered
February 26, 2018
9:14:48 PM Eastern
S.E. CUPP: Despite the left and the media putting guns in their crosshairs 24/7, the desired effect might be missed. As a matter of fact, the Florida Gun Show in Tampa reported 7,000 attendees on Saturday. A record number. That’s probably not an accident. Okay, let me introduce my table for tonight. CNN political analyst and Senior Congressional Correspondent for the Washington Examiner David Drucker, CNN political commentator and conservative talk show host Ben Ferguson and Unfiltered Senior Producer Andy Levi. Ben?
BEN FERGUSON: Yes.
CUPP: So I asked you to take a look at this bill that Florida voted not to debate. They pitched this as an assault weapons ban. It was really targeted. And, in fact, there is like eight pages of guns that are banned in this bill, including some hunting rifles, including some shotguns, including some pistols.
FERGUSON: Including some things that are not even close to what they would refer to as an “assault weapon.” The scariest part about that bill was the shotgun part, and I wrote it down because it was amazing to me. “All the following shotguns, copies, duplicates or altered.”
So here is my question: If I have a shotgun that is semiautomatic which I do which is completely for hunting. It’s never used for anything else besides duck hunting and dove hunting. It is semi-automatic. Every one of the shotguns listed is semi-automatic, clearly, my gun is now a duplicate. Couldn’t it be banned because it works exactly like the other guns that are in there, even though it has nothing to do but anything but exclusively hunting? The gun that I own is literally solely made for 100 percent hunting, not home defense, it’s too big it’s too long.
CUPP: This bill is so broad and when people say “we’re not coming after your hunting gun.” We’re not coming after your self-defense handgun.
FERGUSON: Clearly they are.
CUPP: This would make a semiautomatic rifle with a detachable magazine and a thumbhole stock. I have a gun with a thumbhole stock.
FERGUSON: Five rounds or more.
CUPP: It would make that illegal. What I don’t understand is as a hunter, having a detachable magazine if you are hunting multiple properties and you are getting in and out of your car, it makes your gun safer because you are not worried about leaving a round in the chamber every time you put it in your car. People who draft this kind of legislation clearly don’t think about that stuff. But why should we ever believe any lawmaker who says “we’re not coming for all your guns?”
ANDY LEVY: Oh. You absolutely shouldn’t. But what I always love about this they say it is common sense regulation, you know.
DAVID DRUCKER: Common sense gun safety.
LEVY: Gun safety is the new thing now instead of gun control, I noticed. But it is common sense legislation. Yeah, well if you want to basically regulate semi-automatic rifles out of existence and since that is generally the only acceptable position in the media, I will have to agree that it is common sense legislation. But you pointed out, detachable magazine and a thumbhole stock, what that’s going to do is turn a whole bunch of people into felons because, as you said, there are legitimate hunting reasons for having their rifles.
FERGUSON: The majority of the guns I own are used for hunting. The majority of the guns that I own are not even remotely close to what would be considered a “high powered assault rifle.” Yet, there are multiple guns on that list that are now, they say, I should not be able to own or should not be able to buy. So, if I am a normal, average American who’s not obsessed with AR-15s and all the gadgets that go with them. I’m just a normal gun owner who is a hunter, I read that and I’m immediately going to go to my corner because you lied to me, you told me you were not going to take my guns.
CUPP: Or you will go and buy a bunch of guns and sign up to be an NRA member. This is—let me tell you the secret. This is how the NRA works. There is a Democrat in the White House, the NRA is going to tell you, “they want to take your guns.” When there is a Republican in the White House, the NRA is going to tell you, “don’t relax, they still are going to come and take your guns.” And stuff like this proves them right. And every time Democrats get on this reactive Bent, it drives gun sales up through the roof, and attendance at gun shows go through the roof, and NRA memberships.
FERGUSON: But if you look at that list, that is a bait and switch lie. And you can show it and prove it every time.
CUPP: Totally. And the media isn’t savvy enough because I saw a lot of people in the media when this bill was being discussed. The media isn’t gun savvy enough to know that. I talked to some reporter and anchors who hadn’t read it and still went on the air and insisted this is just going after military-style assault weapons.
FERGUSON: Going after shotguns.
CUPP: That is not true. That is not true. That was a lie. That was a lie.
FERGUSON: That you use for hunting.
Vladimir Pozner, one of Russia’s most-respected journalists, walked out of an Al Jazeera panel on the upcoming Russian election after it became clear that it would only be “an ideological debate” void of real analysis.
The Friday installment of Mehdi Hasan’s UpFront program on Al Jazeera English was devoted to Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 US election and the upcoming election in Russia, which incumbent President Vladimir Putin is predicted to win, according to polls.
The second part featured a 15-minute panel of experts, including Pozner, fellow journalist Evgenia Albats, and political activist Vladimir Kara-Murza. Albats and Kara-Murza, both outspoken opposition figures in Russia, took turns dismissing the upcoming vote as “not a real election,” after which came Pozner’s turn to speak, which he used to graciously bow out.
“When I was asked to participate in this program, I said I was not interested in getting into a debate. I am not a debater, I am a journalist. I am not opposition… I am not a big fan of Putin’s, but I like to try to be objective,” he said.
Comment: A rarity in mainstream journalism and politics these days: WikiLeaks: Al Jazeera now controlled by US Government
“People do go to the poll and they do vote. And for whatever reasons, Putin has a very high percentage of support. And it’s not because people are stupid. I say again, I am not a Putin supporter, but either you have to see things the way they are or you describe them the way you want them to be or want people to believe them to be,” Pozner said.
“What I am going to do is to let the two people talk and agree with each other on all the negative things they are going to say and I will do some other stuff that is much more interesting for me,” he added, explaining that he did not care to participate in “an ideological debate.”
As Pozner was leaving, Kara-Murza implied that he was a secret Putin supporter who was running away from honest debate, while Albats remarked that Russia’s Channel One, which she called part of a state propaganda machine, has an interview program hosted by Pozner. The discussion then drifted on to the perils of being an opposition figure in Russia and whether or not Putin will step down after his next term ends.
Explaining the move later on his webpage, Pozner said he was misled into thinking the program would be an honest attempt to show foreign viewers the complex situation with elections in Russia. He said the program was initially supposed to give airtime to other experts in addition to Pozner, and that he expressed concerns about the format after learning about the substitutions.
“I stressed that I would not take part in political debates, first, because I do not seek to argue with either Evgenia Albats or Vladimir Kara-Murza, and second, because the [Al Jazeera] audience knows absolutely nothing about Russia and will not understand anything, ultimately deciding that whoever speaks ‘smoother’ must be right. I was assured there would be no debate,” he said.
The Russian presidential election is scheduled for March 18. The term of office is six years and no president can have more than two terms in a row, which means that if Putin wins, he will not be able to seek re-election in 2024.
The Situation Room
February 6, 2018
6:45:45 PM Eastern
WOLF BLITZER: Before we get back to our specialists, we have breaking news. I want to quickly go to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr. Barbara, the President apparently wants a big military parade, tell us about that.
BARBARA STARR: Well, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed that they are looking at dates on the calendar for a parade that Mr. Trump has told the Pentagon he wants as an expression of national unity and patriotism.
But, what are we really talking about here? There has not been a military parade typically by the U.S. military in many years. The last one really after Desert Storm in the 1990s.
So it’s going to be a difficult proposition. And it may be very controversial. The veterans have long wanted some kind of welcome home parade. This may be seen as something unduly militaristic overseas, may be seen as an expression of celebrating years of America’s wars abroad. Wolf?
STARR: Our colleague, Jeff Toobin, made a good point a few minutes ago. What we more typically see is America’s heroes marching down Broadway in New York. The canyon of heroes, the ticker tape. This has gone on for decades, throughout America’s wars. And those kinds of Broadway, New York, celebrations are really a true celebration of the service of those who go to war on behalf of the nation. It’s not very typical, frankly, to see American weaponry rolling through America’s city streets. It is something, I don’t know that anybody can predict how nations overseas, especially in the Middle East and Asia, might react to it all, Wolf?
BLITZER: Jeffrey, what do you think?
JEFFREY TOOBIN: Well, you know, I — we’re getting more North Korean every day in this country. You know, yesterday the President says people who don’t cheer are un-American and treasonous. And today, we’re going to start having big parades with tanks and missiles. And, you know, people have to decide whether they want to have that kind of country. I mean, we have a country where we celebrate our troops, as Barbara said when they come home from battle in lower Manhattan and we throw ticker tape. But the idea in peacetime, simply having tanks roll through the streets of Washington that’s—to use a phrase the President likes to use – in my experience that’s un-American.
REBECCA BERG: And one of the reasons we don’t tend to have those military parades in America, is just the sense that being the power that we are, we don’t need to show off our military might like countries like North Korea or Russia might need to.
DAVID SWERDLICK: If you’re the President and you think what nation needs is a military parade, to me that’s like what Jeffery said, that’s like North Korea, that’s like a middle-aged guy who goes out and gets an earring and ponytail. That’s trying to prove something that just simply doesn’t need to be.
BLITZER: Very quickly.
KAITLAN COLLINS: We can already see the future what’s going to happen here. This parade will probably go forth on Veteran’s Day or whenever the White House is proposing a date. Democrats and critics will automatically draw conclusions this is like North Korea, that the President is acting like a dictator, and White House will, in turn, say those people aren’t patriotic and they don’t love our troops that they don’t want a military.