Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 9/19/17 U.S. bears burden of funding UN
Date: September 19, 2017
Guest: Matt Apuzzo, Richard Blumenthal, Carrie Cordero, Ayesha Rascoe,
Ruth Marcus, Steve Schmidt, Carol Leonnig, Jim Himes
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Don`t mess with Mueller.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
Breaking news in the Trump-Russia investigation over the last 24 hours
suggests that an indictment is possible, even likely, in the special
counsel`s probe, and it`s become increasingly clear that former Trump
campaign chairman Paul Manafort is in serious legal jeopardy.
In a report on the aggressive tactics used by Robert Mueller`s prosecutors,
“The New York Times” has revealed new details about the search warrant
executed this July at Paul Manafort`s home, specifically that federal
agents bearing a search warrant picked the lock on his front door. That
means that prosecutors had to persuade a federal judge that Mr. Manafort
was likely to destroy evidence.
Most significant, however, as I reported last night, is that Mueller`s team
issued an unambiguous warning following the raid. Quote, “Prosecutors told
Mr. Manafort they plan to indict him.” That`s according to two sources
close to the investigation. CNN is also reporting that federal
investigators obtained two secret court orders to conduct surveillance of
Paul Manafort`s communications. If true, that means that a judge saw
indications of criminal conduct and was convinced that there was probable
cause to believe that Manafort was acting as an agent of a foreign power.
CNN further reports that some of the intelligence collected includes
communications that sparked concerns among investigators that Manafort had
encouraged the Russians to help with the campaign, according to three
sources familiar with the investigation.
Two of those sources, however, cautioned the evidence is not conclusive.
Well, that report has been independently verified – not been independently
verified by NBC News yet.
Reacting to CNN`s story, a Manafort spokesman released this statement late
today. Quote, “If true, it is a felony to reveal the existence of a FISA
warrant regardless of the fact that no charges have emerged. The U.S.
Department of Justice`s inspector general should immediately conduct an
investigation into these leaks and to examine the motivations behind a
previous administration`s effort to surveill a political opponent.”
I`m joined right now by one of the authors of that “New York Times” report,
Matt Apuzzo. Carrie Cordero, by the way, is former counsel of the office
of director national intelligence and Democratic senator Richard Blumenthal
of Connecticut sits on the Judiciary Committee.
Matt, tell us about this report. First of all, the picking of the lock.
Why don`t you just knock?
MATT APUZZO, “NEW YORK TIMES”: Well, I mean, that`s how it usually geese,
right, Boom boom boom, we`re from the FBI, open up. And you know, Manafort
comes down in his…
APUZZO: Yes, I mean, this was – this was a – what they call a no-knock
warrant. They forced their way into the home. We know they…
MATTHEWS: Early in the morning.
APUZZO: Early in the morning. Manafort was still in bed. They made off
with a bunch of binders full of documents. They copied the contents of his
hard drive. They even photographed the suits that were in his – in his
MATTHEWS: Why would they do that?
APUZZO: Well, you know, when you`re doing a money investigation…
APUZZO: … you want to know if – how much money you have in the bank and
whether, you know, if he only has X amount of money, how is he spending Y
on, you know, suits or other luxuries.
MATTHEWS: Carrie – explain to us, Carrie, why a judge would give a
warrant for this no-knock operation, this pick the lock thing, rather than
show a little pleasantness to the guy you`re investigating? What level has
that reached that the judge would say, Break open the door, basically?
CARRIE CORDERO, FORMER ASSOC. GENERAL COUNSEL, OFFICE OF DIRECTOR OF
NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Well, this investigation is being run like a major
criminal enterprise investigation, or it reminds me of some major public
corruption investigations, where it`s – it`s – there`s perhaps a
conspiracy, other individuals involved. They obviously…
MATTHEWS: So the judge believes this guy is the bad guy?
CORDERO: They had reason to believe that evidence might be destroyed,
maybe that, you know, files would be deleted. I would expect that
electronic data is so important in criminal investigations right now that
those hard drives or other electronic devices that he had, information that
was on them, were items that they wanted to take without any disruption to
MATTHEWS: What do you make, Carrie, of the fact that the prosecutors or
rather we believe the prosecutors, or the FBI agents themselves told –
maybe you could tell us this. It`s in the – told Manafort he`s going to
APUZZO: Well, I mean, they`re clearly not…
MATTHEWS: Why would you tell that to somebody? What would be the tactic
involved, Hey, guess what, you`re going to be indicted for federal crimes?
APUZZO: Well, Look, It`s a one-two-three, right. You search the house.
You tell them you expect to indict them and then you come back over the top
and you subpoena his lawyers. These guys are…
MATTHEWS: Explain to me that strategy, that…
APUZZO: They`re clearly trying to send a message or set a tone that – you
know, that they`re coming for Paul Manafort.
MATTHEWS: We have a prosecutor here. Senator, thank you. You were
attorney general of Connecticut, so I bring this up to you. What`s the
tactic you see here (INAUDIBLE)
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: The tactic is to persuade Paul
Manafort that they mean business, that he is going to be indicted if he
does not cooperate. And I think the overlay here is that, clearly, he is
being noncooperative. He is resisting. He`s stonewalling them. And I can
tell you he`s doing the same to the Judiciary Committee, where I sit. He`s
very resistant. He`s not responding. And I think we`re going to have to
issue subpoenas to him assuming that it is consistent with what the special
counsel is doing. And this kind of resistance, I think, will be met with
the very aggressive tactics that the special counsel is very rightly using.
MATTHEWS: Senator Dianne Feinstein answered questions today about whether
Paul Manafort might speak to the Judiciary Committee. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Do you think that Paul Manafort will talk to the Judiciary in
light of this information about his wiretaps?
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: I think he will, if he`s under
QUESTION: How close are you guys to that right now?
FEINSTEIN: I can`t answer that precisely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Or are they going to say, Are you guys going to subpoena him?
BLUMENTHAL: We should subpoena him. And if he claims the 5th Amendment
privilege, he`s entitled to do it, but he should do it in the open, under
oath and before the American people. I`ve been a long-time advocate that
he should be subpoenaed and Donald Trump, Jr., should be, as well, and
everybody who participated in that June 9th, 2016 meeting.
Plus, Chris, very, very importantly – and your question is absolutely key
– all of the documents should be subpoenaed, as well. We`ve received
documents from these potential witnesses, but we have no assurance that
they are a complete set, nor will we unless there`s a subpoena.
MATTHEWS: Well, not – not everyone`s thinking about how the president is
going to protect himself from Paul Manafort when he begins to spin, begins
when he begins to talk. What about the pardon issue? Is this something
that the president is going to use quickly or wait it out – wait until
he`s actually subpoenaed, wait`ll he`s indicted? They say he`s going to be
indicted. The clock`s ticking.
APUZZO: Well, I mean, look, I don`t know if the clock is ticking if you`re
Bob Mueller. I mean, he`s clearly moving aggressively and swiftly. He
does – we know from his time as an FBI director, he doesn`t like these
kind of meandering, languishing investigations, but I don`t know that he`s
necessarily on a timeline. As to whether the president is going to pardon
somebody, I mean, that`s outside sort of my area. I`m not in the
president`s head. If he wants to pardon people, he can pardon people.
There`s not exactly a huge check on that.
MATTHEWS: Carrie, what is the check on a pardon? Is there any one?
MATTHEWS: Is there anything that can stop this president, any time he
wants, no matter – begins to smell really bad, he looks – the guy`s ready
to flip, Manafort or Flynn or anybody else, can he at the last minute say,
you know what? I don`t even care if he`s indicted. I`m going to pardon
CORDERO: Well, there certainly is speculation that that potentially is the
strategy of some people not to cooperate, that they think they`re going to
get a pardon. But look, Article 2 is not a blank check for lawlessness.
If the president starts pardoning Manafort or anybody else in this
investigation, people like Senator Blumenthal, his colleagues in Congress,
are going to have to recognize that…
MATTHEWS: And what can they do about it? Senator, what can you do if the
president wants to pardon people?
BLUMENTHAL: Well, the convention…
MATTHEWS: To cover himself.
BLUMENTHAL: … is legally that the pardon power is absolute. But a
pardon of Paul Manafort could be additional evidence of obstruction of
justice by the president. It may be within his power do it, but not to
abuse it if it is used to conceal evidence against him. And added to his
firing of Comey and the statement that he prepared for his son on Air Force
One, an apparently false statement that he apparently dictated, and other
evidence, it could be used in an obstruction of justice case against him by
the special counsel.
MATTHEWS: Back to you, Carrie, because this creates an interesting set of
possibilities if he decides, the president, to pardon some of the people
who might (INAUDIBLE) testify against him. Suppose he says to Manafort,
I`m going to pardon you, and then Manafort says, Well, I`m not going to
talk anywhere. I`m not going to hurt the president at all because they`ve
got no leverage on me. But at the same time, the president has then made a
move that looks like obstruction. So is he more vulnerable then to an
obstruction charge even though he may have gotten rid of one witnesses,
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) ready to go here. Yes.
BLUMENTHAL: Remember, Chris, also on the pardon of Paul Manafort, he can
still be compelled to testify. He can be subpoenaed to testify. And if
he`s been pardoned, what`s his 5th Amendment claim? And he can also be
compelled to testify or charged criminally at the state level, which is why
the special counsel`s cooperation with the New York attorney general, which
is apparently ongoing, is so important.
MATTHEWS: Let`s go back to Carrie about the level of seriousness here.
The fact that the federal judge allowed that no-knock rule, allowed the FBI
agents to show up at dawn, pick the lock before the guy can get out of bed
and he`s in his pajamas, come barging in, look for all the stuff – what
does that tell you about the FISA court and what they decided to do to
allow this level of action, if you will.
CORDERO: Well, I think those – based on those reports, I think those are
probably two different court orders. So the warrant authorizing the overt
search, I that was a criminal court, a regular federal district court that
authorized that, which would be an unclassified order. Separate from that
is the CNN reporting that there were separate FISA surveillance or search
orders, which would have been classified orders, and I believe those are
separate from the…
MATTHEWS: Are they wiretaps?
CORDERO: According to that report, there were wiretaps or possibly a
search. It`s unclear from…
MATTHEWS: It said communications. What does that mean?
CORDERO: So a FISA surveillance order could be targeted at phone calls, e-
mails, things like that, any type of different communication, and it`s
authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court under a different
standard than a criminal order. So what it tells you – here`s what it
tells you, tells you that there is a wide-ranging investigation involving
Paul Manafort that has aspects of both criminal activity in terms of
financial crimes and a counterintelligence angle.
MATTHEWS: Wow. How do you put it all together if you`re the reporter?
APUZZO: Well, I mean…
MATTHEWS: I mean, the fact is – is he working for Russia? Is he working
to make money? Is he working to make money by working with Russia and
helping Trump get elected? Is it all intermingled?
APUZZO: I think this case has – as Carrie said, has these really unusual
elements of both a counterintelligence investigation and a criminal
investigation. I mean, look at the resources, over a dozen prosecutors.
You know, you take your typical white collar investigation, you don`t have
anywhere near these kinds of resources on this. And they just showed you
they`re pulling out all these different strains in a super-super-aggressive
way. And this is – they`re using tactics that are not normal in your
typical white collar investigation.
MATTHEWS: Well, in advance of his scheduled closed-door interview with the
Senate Intelligence Committee, longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen
circulated his opening statement, which denied collusion with Russia.
Arriving on Capitol Hill this morning, Cohen met with committee staffers
for an hour before the interview was canceled and postponed by Senate
investigators. Here`s what Cohen had to say afterwards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Why was it postponed?
MICHAEL COHEN, TRUMP LAWYER: (INAUDIBLE) question you`re going to have to
ask the Senate (INAUDIBLE)
QUESTION: Was it your request to postpone? Was it your request to
postpone or was it on the committee?
QUESTION: What were you doing here today if you weren`t (INAUDIBLE)
COHEN: It was a request by the Senate Intelligence (INAUDIBLE) And I`ll be
back and I look forward to getting all the information that (INAUDIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the committee had said that Cohen violated an agreement
they had with him, with congressional investigators, by speaking to the
media about his testimony beforehand and the interview will be rescheduled
for next month in an open hearing. Cohen was behind the effort, obviously,
to develop the Trump Tower in Moscow, which he says was a real estate deal
and nothing more.
Senator, how do you read all this? This business, business, business
mixed in with running for president and money? Money.
BLUMENTHAL: Well, I think Matt put it well. Who you have here is a lot of
different potential criminal violations entangled, money laundering
involving business abroad by Manafort and potentially Donald Trump, Jr.,
and others. You have potential money laundering involving members of the
Trump campaign. And you have potential collusion between the Russians and
the Trump campaign in meddling in this election. And the Russian playbook
is to entangle…
BLUMENTHAL: … to involve foreign officials or entrepreneurs in
activities involving the Russian oligarchs or the government itself and
then compromise them. And that`s the Russian playbook.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I know. I heard that from an FBI agent I went to school
with years ago. Get them to give you just a press release, something
anybody can give, and then you say, Well, you were helpful before, now you
can be helpful again. Won`t you be? Because we have you.
Anyway, thank you, Matt Apuzzo. Thank you, Carrie Cordero, and Senator
Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. We`re going to have more on the Russian
investigation ahead in the program tonight.
But coming up next, after all the negative things President Trump has said
about the United Nations, today was his day to say it to their face. And
in his speech to the General Assembly, he threatened to destroy all of
North Korea and, it didn`t stop there, believe me. That`s ahead.
Plus “The Washington Post” reports that congressional investigators believe
Facebook is withholding information in the Russian probe, and that could
mean the Russian influence of last year`s election goes beyond what we
currently know already. Anyway, the HARDBALL roundtable on whether Trump
broke the bonds that the grown-ups have and the foreign policy team tried
to put him in, those bonds they tried to put him in, preaching the
importance of America`s role in the world – well, that didn`t work. It
sure didn`t sound like that today at the U.N.
Finally, let me finish tonight with some bad news for the 1st Amendment.
This is HARDBALL, where the action is.
MATTHEWS: Well, Senator Mitch McConnell today praised the latest
Republican effort to repeal “Obama care” saying a proposal put forth by
Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham, quote, “has a great deal of
That said, there are signs that the legislation could be in trouble.
Senate Republicans can only afford to lose two members of their caucus. If
they lose a third, the deal is dead. They`re not going to get any
Democrats to kill “Obama care.” Already, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has
come out against the legislation calling it “Obama care lite.” And today,
Maine Republican senator Susan Collins had this to say. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Sounds like you`re a no on Graham-Cassidy. Is there any way
you`re going to get to yes?
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: Well, I`m leaning no certainly, but I am
still evaluating the big (ph) bill and its text.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s two. He can still do it with 50.
And we`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Major portions of the world are in conflict, and some in fact, are
going to hell. The American people hope that one day soon, the United
Nations can be a much more accountable and effective advocate for human
dignity and freedom around the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was a dark speech today at the
United Nations. President Trump warned that parts of the world are going
to hell. That sounds like his comment about American neighborhoods in big
cities. According to “The New York Times,” the speech was drafted by his
hard-line policy adviser Stephen Miller, the guy responsible for Trump`s
so-called “American carnage” inaugural address. Here`s more from today`s
combative performance by Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The scourge of our planet today is a small group of rogue regimes
that violate every principle on which the United Nations is based.
The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise
of a democracy. The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided
transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal
is an embarrassment to the United States.
The Venezuelan people are starving, and their country is collapsing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the president`s main focus was North Korea, of course, a
country he`s threatened to wipe off the map. He did it today. He also
repeated his insulting nickname for that country`s leader, Kim Jong-un,
calling him “rocketman.” Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: No nation on earth has an interest of seeing this band of criminals
arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles. The United States has great
strength and patience. But if it is forced to defend itself or its allies,
we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocketman is on
a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: So, what`s behind this bellicose talk? Is this about feeding
I`m joined by Republican strategist Steve Schmidt.
Steve, he`s talking to the world there. And I assume that whatever
President Trump, our president of the United States says, he is going all
around the world, all hundreds of countries, poor countries, countries I ha
civil war where they`re starving, where they`re refugees, where their
governments are in terrible shape. Maybe they suck.
But what`s the point of saying so? What does he gain in the world by
trashing that part of the world that`s having the worst time right now?
STEVE SCHMIDT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think there`s a way to talk
honestly and openly about deficiencies in the United Nations.
He`s not wrong when he talks about the mismanagement of the United Nations,
that there should be greater accountability.
SCHMIDT: But he obscures that message with his rhetoric.
The words of the president of the United States matter. And we have never
seen an address by any president of either party to a world body, to the
leaders of the world like that, with really the vulgarity of rhetoric
MATTHEWS: Well, it sounds like what he said about African-American
neighborhoods during the campaign, remember, when he was trashing them.
Some of the neighbors are tough neighborhoods, but what good is it to trash
them? And now he`s trashing the parts of the world.
Let me go to North Korea, because we`re used to the rest of this nonsense
he does. North Korea. If a guy has got a gun in his hand, you don`t make
fun of the guy. You don`t say fatso. You don`t say Rocket Man. You don`t
mock the guy. He`s got a gun. He`s got a suicide belt on this guy, a huge
amount of rocket power, of artillery he can let go into South Korea
SCHMIDT: We don`t know a lot about the North Korean regime.
MATTHEWS: And now he`s got the bomb.
SCHMIDT: We don`t know a lot about Kim Jong-un. We don`t know what makes
This is as closed a society as there is on Earth. Everybody in that room,
every leader in the world understands America`s nuclear deterrent and the
awesome power of this nation, which is why the president of the United
States can walk softly.
He doesn`t have to bluster in the manner of Kim Jong-un. And I think,
historically, history teaches us that leaders believe that they control
events, but history teaches that events control leaders. And when the
events start to control the leaders, it`s when the miscalculations begin.
MATTHEWS: Is he talking to the world or is he talking to his base?
SCHMIDT: Well, I think that was a domestic political speech.
MATTHEWS: That`s what I think.
SCHMIDT: And I think he`s confused about the duty that he has.
MATTHEWS: Why doesn`t he give it in Iowa? Why does he give it in the
SCHMIDT: Well, good question
But, look, it`s not a speech that if you`re the British prime minister, the
German chancellor, you have had occasion to meet Donald Trump, you have
taken his measure, and I don`t think that speech today made any of them
fall out of their chairs.
MATTHEWS: I`m talking about the other countries that are more fragile.
And there are a lot of countries in the world who have real problems. They
don`t need to have the big rich country dump on them.
Anyway, “The Washington Post” noted after the speech, “Just to be clear,
the president of the United States threatened to wipe a country of 25
million people off the map.”
What do you make of that?
SCHMIDT: Well, it`s extraordinary.
MATTHEWS: How do you do that? It sounds like he`s talking nuclear
SCHMIDT: Of course he is.
You have never heard an American president talk as loosely about the use of
our nuclear forces as has Donald Trump, just as we never saw a candidate
talk about loosely.
MATTHEWS: For who? Why is he doing it?
SCHMIDT: Why is he doing it?
I think it`s a function of his unpreparedness as president of the United
States. Never had a president bluster about the use of nuclear weapons.
Interestingly, at the end of the Second World War, Chris, Douglas MacArthur
on the Battleship Missouri, in his surrender speech, he talks about that we
no longer have the option of war of the type that was just thought because
of the scientific advancements, the use of nuclear weaponry.
And we would have to come up with better institutions than the ones we have
ever had before. So, it`s remarkable to see a president in front of the
United Nations blustering about the use of nuclear weapons.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me tell you something.
When I interviewed him and he got in that trouble with women must be
punished for abortion, in that same interview, he seemed to not understand
that you have weapons for deterrence. You don`t have – he said, why do we
have nuclear weapons if we`re not going to use them?
I mean, it`s like building blocks or girders. Like, you got to use in
construction. You use weapons. He didn`t seem to understand that they
have been there since 19 – oh, 1945 as a deterrence.
SCHMIDT: He has no idea of America`s nuclear triad. Over the course of
the campaign, he demonstrated that. He clearly understands we have these
weapons so they will never be used.
And, again, you have never seen an American president talking as loosely
about the use of nuclear weapons as you saw in front of the United Nations
MATTHEWS: Well, Donald Trump`s message, the world has taken advantage of
the United States. So, let`s watch that. That`s the woe is me case, the
woe is me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The United States will forever be a great friend to the world and
especially to its allies. But we can no longer be taken advantage of or
enter into a one-sided deal where the United States gets nothing in return.
As long as I hold this office, I will defend America`s interests above all
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s for home. OK. That`s not going to hurt anybody.
But, you know, if every country gave that speech, we`d have a hell of a
What I thought was interesting, one thing I will give him, he said
something about the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations, which
has always been sort of a joke. Libya was on it. Gadhafi was. All the
guys in the world, the Third World, worst countries in the world, were on
They`re supposedly looking out for human rights? You have got membership
MATTHEWS: I think that`s a bullseye right there. I will give him that
SCHMIDT: Dead on. Bullseye. Totally agree.
But there`s no country that has benefited more from the liberal global
order that emerged at the end of the Second World War than the United
What he`s talking about, whether it has domestic resonance in this country
or not, is just not truthful. It`s not reality. It`s a constricted vision
of the world and our country`s place in it that just doesn`t hold up any –
under any level of rigor and scrutiny.
MATTHEWS: Do you like the way he said, welcome to New York, it`s my town,
like you`re – I`m a home court advantage here.
By the way, the U.N. happens to be in New York, but it`s not really – it`s
really at our sufferance. It was pretty bullying. But you know what? I
understand the mentality. It`s sort of a New York thing.
Steve Schmidt, thank you, sir.
Up next: Congressional investigates are concerned that Facebook isn`t
being forthcoming, honest, when it comes to the Russian investigation.
They believe the social media site Facebook is leaving out critical details
about how the Russian operation has been working.
We`re going to talk to a member of the House Intelligence Committee next
what Facebook and what it`s probably hiding here, but maybe giving to
Mueller, but not giving to Congress about how the Russians used Facebook to
put their points across, their disinformation.
This is HARDBALL, where the action is.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger.
And we have some breaking news. A powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit
Central Mexico today. Buildings collapsed and thousands ran into the
streets. At least 119 people have died. That is according to the
Associated Press quoting local officials.
The number is expected to climb as rescue efforts continue. The earthquake
hit less than two weeks after another one that killed close to 100 people
there. President Trump expressing support, tweeting – quote – “We are
Now for the latest on Hurricane Maria from NBC News meteorologist Bill
BILL KARINS, NBC METEOROLOGIST: We have the new update in from the
And, unbelievably, it is still intensifying on its way to Puerto Rico.
This is as scary as it gets. And we`re only about 18 hours away from
landfall of what will be just a devastating, will be the worst storm ever
to hit Puerto Rico, now up to 175-mile-per-hour winds.
That`s almost as strong as Irma when it hit Barbuda. And you saw what
those pictures looked like.
The forecast path takes it over Puerto Rico, and then, thankfully, it looks
to stay away from all land areas throughout the next five days. So, this
is the key map here. Later on tonight, towards midnight, it will get as
close as it`s going to get to St. Croix. They`re already starting to lose
power on the island, as the winds are starting to intensify.
It`s going to be so close if they get in that eye or not. But,
unfortunately, for Puerto Rico, the line goes straight over the top of you.
It doesn`t look like it`s going to be a miss whatsoever.
We`re expecting somewhere in Puerto Rico to have catastrophe from 160-,
maybe 175-mile-per-hour winds. We`re already tracking the eye of the storm
And this what we will be tracking. Wherever this eye goes is who will get
that devastation. It`s a little small pinhole eye. And this has the 175-
mile-per-hour winds in it. We need that to avoid land.
Unfortunately, it has its eye set on Puerto Rico. And if that crosses over
San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the million-plus people that live in that
region, you can only imagine the devastation tomorrow.
We will have more updates throughout Maria and on the earthquake throughout
the night – now back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: We need to know the full extent of their
use of social media to influence us from Facebook, from Twitter, from
Google, from any social media or search engine. They need to be fully
forthcoming. And I`m confident they will.
I think, frankly, they need to come testify before Congress, because
there`s a lot we need to know about this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s for sure.
Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff of
California on Facebook`s cooperation, or lack thereof, with congressional
investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
“The Washington Post” reports today that the company`s openness is being
questioned by congressional investigators, saying they`re – quote –
“increasingly concerned that Facebook is withholding key information that
could eliminate the” – or “illuminate the shape and extent of a Russian
propaganda campaign aimed at tilting the U.S. presidential election.”
A major sticking point, according to “The Washington Post,” “the full
internal draft report from an inquiry the company conducted this spring
into Russian election meddling, but did not release at the time.”
Another issue, some information, including details about ads bought by a
Kremlin-linked company, has been shared with special counsel Robert
Mueller, but not with congressional investigators.
For more, I`m joined by U.S. Congressman Jim Himes, Democrat for
Connecticut and member of the House Intelligence Committee, and Carol
Leonnig of “The Washington Post,” who wrote today`s story.
Congressman, let`s talk about Facebook and how this thing worked.
First of all, tell me how it`s believed that Facebook aided the Russian
misinformation or intervention in our campaign, our presidential elections.
What was the Facebook role?
REP. JIM HIMES (D), CONNECTICUT: Yes. Look, it`s hard to say, because we
have not yet gotten the kind of information and cooperation that we do
want, not just from Facebook, from other social media companies.
Remember Twitter. We`re talking about Facebook today, but Twitter,
remember that Roger Stone admitted to using Twitter direct-messaging to
talk with Julian Assange of WikiLeaks.
I don`t want to get too much into the specifics of the investigation, but,
generally speaking, we face resistance because – and I think it`s because
these companies, Twitter and Facebook, for understandable business reasons,
want to be able to go to their customers and their users and say, we only
provide information when we`re absolutely compelled by the government,
usually via subpoena or a warrant.
And that`s what we`re experiencing right now.
MATTHEWS: But if the Unabomber used Facebook, wouldn`t they have to give
the information out to the government?
HIMES: Well, they have to, period. It doesn`t matter if it`s the
Unabomber of a subpoena from the House Intelligence Committee or a warrant
from Bob Mueller`s investigation at the FBI. At the end of the day, they
have to do it.
We often find, though, with witnesses, witnesses will often come
voluntarily or send us their information voluntarily. That`s not the
experience we have, again, for business reasons that you can sort of get.
That`s not the experience that we usually have with the social media
MATTHEWS: Carol, we know that the Russians were involved in using social
media, Facebook in this case, to send advertisement into our country to
What we don`t know, and many people suspect, who are the people that helped
them from the American side? Do we know that yet?
CAROL LEONNIG, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: We don`t know that yet, actually,
And part of the reason is, Facebook is saying that they can`t determine
that from their own vantage point, whether or not there was a U.S. person
colluding with the Russian small, murky, mysterious troll farm company, an
Internet research company in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
They don`t know if somebody was working with that company here in the U.S.
to help the Trump campaign target specific voters, specific Facebook users,
or even people on Twitter.
Remember that Facebook divulged to us and to Congress some weeks ago that
470 accounts it had shut down were essentially fake ones created in Russia
by this funny, mysterious company called the Internet Research Agency. And
all we know is that somebody in Russia was funding this effort.
It`s a group very much associated with the Kremlin. And we can`t tell yet
whether or not there was a U.S. person. I think you are hearing and
understandably sharing with your viewers the frustration that Congress has
that they can`t get all of the answers to their questions about how this
worked, because Facebook really feels that it can only answer these
questions in full probably to federal investigators who are looking at
whether or not this is a crime.
MATTHEWS: Well, I guess, Congressman, last thought.
You`re an equal branch of government. It seems like that Mueller is able
to grab these people, force them through just influence in his role as
special counsel to tell them who these Russians are that are paying for
these ads on Facebook, whereas Congress doesn`t get that respect.
HIMES: Well, yes.
Make no mistake on that. Look, a congressional subpoena is, in terms of
how you respond to it, no different at all from a law enforcement subpoena.
HIMES: You don`t answer a congressional subpoena, or you don`t have one of
those very narrow exceptions, like attorney-client privilege, you either
answer that subpoena or you`re in contempt of Congress, which is not a
place that you want to be.
What we do – what is different here, though, is that Bob Mueller has a
very big team. He can get these subpoenas out. He`s not necessarily going
to look for voluntarily cooperation, as apparently he did, if the story is
to be believed, with respect to the Manafort raid.
So, our process, we usually ask for voluntary cooperation first and the –
traditionally, or at least typically, the companies have said no, so they
can go back to their people and say, we only provide information if we`re
compelled by subpoena or by law to do so.
MATTHEWS: So there`s nobody in Congress, Republican or Democrat, trying to
protect Facebook from giving these names? There`s nobody looking out for
HIMES: No, I don`t think so.
In fact, there`s actually a fair amount of memory and in some circles
resentment over – remember the old Apple-San Bernardino issue? Apple
really resisted hard cooperating with the FBI in terms of getting into that
individual`s cell phone.
So, if anything, there`s sort of a sense in the Congress that we`re not –
and, look, we understand the commercial implications of this. But there`s
a sense that law enforcement and the Congress is probably not getting quite
the level of responsibility and reaction that we would like to get from
some of the technology companies.
MATTHEWS: It`s the old slippery slope argument that the NRA uses. If you
give away the Russians, you give away the guy next door.
Carol, you had a thought. Go ahead.
Keep in mind this isn`t just about disclosing business secrets. There`s
also the embarrassment factor. Mark Zuckerberg said very famously around
the time of election that there – his platform that is, like, part of our
American fabric was not being misused, that there was a lot of claims of
fake news being promulgated on his site. He said 99-point-whatever percent
was actual, authentic news.
And now, some months later, he`s having to acknowledge that, actually,
there was a lot of face news being pushed on Facebook right under their
noses, and they weren`t looking very hard for it.
In fact, our reporting is that, until Senator Mark Warner asked some very
pointed questions about this in May, Facebook did not begin looking hard at
ad purchases on its site, and this is how they found this most recent trove
of fake accounts run out of Saint Petersburg, Russia.
MATTHEWS: You`re a great reporter, Carol. Thanks so much for coming on,
Carol Leonnig of “The Washington Post,” and Congressman Jim Himes of
Up next: new reporting that Trump`s national security team schooled him on
the importance of America`s presence around the world. So, did any of that
shape his U.N. speech today? Apparently not. They had to teach him how to
be president of the world anyway. Anyway – in the world.
The Roundtable is going to weigh in on that baby.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it went very well.
I said what I had to say and I think the United Nations has great
potential. If they get there, it will be something that will be very, very
special. But I think the United Nations has great, great potential.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: That was his review of himself.
Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That`s the president saying how great he was. Anyway, his overall
assessment in his first address to the United Nations assembly has been
given. But ahead of the speech, “The Associated Press” is reporting that
the president`s top cabinet members felt like they had to give the
president a crash course in what they call American power 101.
According to “The A.P.”, back in July, not too many months ago, Trump`s
national security team had become alarmed by this president`s frequent
questioning of the valuable, robust American presence in the world. The
sessions lay out the case for maintaining far-flung outposts and to present
it using charts and maps the way the businessman-turned-politician would
So, they have explained why we have embassies around the world and people
like that, and aide workers and stuff like that.
Anyway, did the home work pay off or did the president break the bonds of
his globalist chains on the international stage today? Well, apparently,
he ignored everything that he was taught.
For more, I`m joined by our roundtable tonight. Ayesha Rascoe sitting
right here, White House correspondent for “Reuters”, Michael Steele, former
RNC chair and an MSNBC political analyst. Ruth Marcus, deputy editorial
page editor of “The Washington Post”.
Ruth, I got to go to you because you`re my international person here. So,
they pull him in, it`s almost like a scene from the movie “Dave”, and all
this card and they explain who this one.
RUTH MARCUS, DEPUTY EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes.
MATTHEWS: This is China over here. This is Africa over here, trying to
explain why we have to have outposts over there, because we get gold over
here and we got minerals over here, whatever. Trying to explain why we
have strategic concerns in the world. We have PEPFAR over in East Africa,
and all these places we have to worry about, and to worry about China.
And then he goes into the speech today like a bull in a China shop. In
fact, he brought his china shop with him. He just went in there and just
blasted away, made fun of poor countries, said he`s going to bury North
Korea. That`s all anybody is going to hear. Your thoughts?
MARCUS: Well, bull in a china shop, yes, but he didn`t take on China too
But, you know, in “Dave”, the guy who –
MATTHEWS: That movie.
MARCUS: – yes, the movie, the guy who was playing president actually was
pretty diligent. I remember him sitting there with his accountant kind of
going through it and figuring out the complexities of the budget. This
speech didn`t quite achieve that level.
MATTHEWS: Who was he talking to and why did he ignore all his lessons?
MARCUS: He put in some lessons, he did mention PEPFAR, the AIDS program.
He mentioned the Marshall Plan. So, you can see these little like, OK,
that`s on the test, that`s on the test kind of things.
But he really could use like the refresher course or the second semester of
that, because fundamentally, he wasn`t speaking to the world leaders there.
He wasn`t speaking to try to say, OK, you`ve heard about this guy Donald
Trump and you`re worried about him. I`m here to calm you done. He was
speaking, I think Steve Schmidt made this point earlier, to a domestic
MATTHEWS: OK, here`s my theory, Michael. Let`s get to 202, not 201.
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
MATTHEWS: I think what he was doing was balancing his act and Trump is a
showman. He goes, look, I`m going to have to give away on DACA. I`m going
to give away – once they were called DREAMers, I know what nicknames mean.
Once you get a good name, a good brand, you`re OK. I`m going to send them
to other country. I`m going to have to make a deal on the debt ceiling, on
keeping the government open, a bunch of things I`m going to deal on.
I`m going to have to leave the Iranian deal as it is, no matter what, I
have to say. So, what I`m going to do is do a lot of bombast, a lot of
Hillary Clinton golf ball back of her head, knock her down, do all of this
stuff to appeal to the guys on the bar stools right now and they`ll love it
so I can get away with the other stuff, the practical stuff. Your
thoughts? Brighton circuses.
STEELE: I think that`s about – I think that`s three-quarters right. And
the reason I say three-quarters, I still think there are aspects of Donald
Trump where he is going to push that envelope and try to get his way. And
I think this speech is a good example of that. He – you could tell the
Trumpisms, you know, calling out North Korea and Kim Jong-un as a rocket
man and all, putting his little slangy twist on it to let the folks in the
room know, yes, I can do the diplomatic thing but I don`t really want to.
So, I think he –
MATTHEWS: Who is that for? Again, who is that for?
STEELE: I think – for two people. I think it`s the base and I think it`s
STEELE: I think it`s for his own self satisfaction that he cannot be
controlled even in moments like this that those sides of him still show
AYESHA RASCOE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: I think
it`s interesting because how do you – he`s talking to the base but how do
you talk to the American people? I mean, not the American people but do
the world leaders.
But even if President Trump had come out there and not had the Trumpisms in
the speech, I wonder how much of an impact it would have when he`s on
Twitter the next day hitting golf balls at Hillary Clinton. I wonder as a
world leader when you`re looking at President Trump, do you go, you know
what, the scripted side of President Trump, is that really what we pay
MATTHEWS: Well, I was looking at Boris Johnson today. He`s the sane one
at the table. That was weird.
Anyway, go ahead.
MARCUS: But it`s – I pay attention to both sides. I pay attention to
teleprompter Trump and I pay attention to tweeting Trump because they show
two different sides of him. The fact that this teleprompter Trump speech
was so bellicose, was so I`m going to say it may way with rocket man and
threats of destroying a country, with the use of the word sovereignty more
than I think probably any world leader has said that word before the United
MATTHEWS: What does that mean to you?
MARCUS: It means America first, America primary. That he understands the
role of countries promote their national interests, not solely but
primarily. And the notion of America as a sort of exporter of American
values, as a champion of human rights around the world, that`s just in
regimes that we don`t like, but in regimes that we like but know can do
better on human rights, it`s a transactional kind of Hobbesian universe
that he lives in.
MATTHEWS: Putin would love it.
Anyway, the president began his speech with a decidedly domestic message.
He waxed about the success this country has had since he was elected.
Let`s watch this statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Fortunately, the United States has done very well since Election
Day last November 8th. The stock market is at an all-time high, a record.
Unemployment is at its lowest level in 16 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Ayesha, you know, he`s pretty good at beating that drum.
RASCOE: Yes, well, and that was one of the things that stood out to me.
He`s starting out the speech at the United Nations saying, look, I`ve done
a really good job as president. Guys reelect me.
MATTHEWS: He`s the guy you want to sell your house for.
STEELE: That`s the domestic consumption side of this speech for the
Washington – for the New York/Washington audience, maybe, but certainly
for the middle of the country.
MATTHEWS: I wish Al Gore could brag as well as this guy. There`s a couple
of Democrats along the road. I said, if you just learn how to brag.
MATTHEWS: You know?
Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us, and up next, these three will
tell me something I don`t know.
This is HARDBALL, where the action is.
MATTHEWS: Well, “The New York Times” is reporting that the president`s son
Donald Trump Jr., quote, has elected to forego protection by the Secret
Service. According to “The Times”, he was said to be seeking more privacy
than he can expect with a contingent of agents accompanying him everywhere.
Well, the agency reportedly stopped protecting Trump Jr. just last week.
“The Times” also reports that Kellyanne Conway has also given up her Secret
Service protection. I guess it helps you stay away from the news
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable.
Ayesha, tell me something I don`t know.
RASCOE: So, I did a story on President Trump and his outreach to
evangelicals and I found that surprisingly enough in his first 200 days in
office, he actually mentioned God more than President Obama and more than
President George W. Bush. He mentioned God 100 times in his first 200 days
versus President Bush did about 64 times.
STEELE: Well, Sebastian Gorka, the erstwhile communications guru for the
Trump administration now out in the private sector, pulling together the
STEELE: Make America Great Again coalition, apparently teaming up with
Bannon and Sarah Palin. They plan to be a counter weight to what the
president is going to be out there doing. So, it will be interesting to
watch the push back that convention does against this administration.
MATTHEWS: Thanks, Michael.
MARCUS: Something you knew, probably knew but may have forgotten. I went
back and I looked at Barack Obama`s last speech to the United Nations. He
talks a lot about global interconnectedness and he said – you`re going to
like this quote – today, a nation ringed by walls would only imprison
itself. There you go.
MATTHEWS: That was prescient.
Ayesha Rascoe, Michael Steele and Ruth Marcus.
When we return, let me finish tonight with some bad news for the First
Amendment. You are watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with some bad news for the First
According to a national poll of 1,500 college students, about one in five
think it`s OK to use violence if you don`t like what a public speaker has
to say. If you believe it is disgusting or hateful. These students
believe you have a right to use violent means to silence such views.
Well, many more of the students surveyed in this national poll – half in
fact – said it`s all right to create so much disruption in the room, such
unearthly havoc, that a speaker can`t even be heard.
The partisan break down for such views is disturbing. Democratic college
students are more likely to say it`s OK to disrupt the public speech that
defends them. Men are more likely than women to say disrupting a public
meeting in order to silence the speaker is OK. Men are more likely than
women to back the use of outright violence to silence words they consider
Well, back when I was in school, it was those in the liberal side or on the
left who defended free speech, defended the right of even communists to
speak their views without violence or disruption. Freedom of speech is a
basic right. We know that. It`s in the Bill of Rights for that good
reason, to protect those with unpopular views.
Popular views are easy to defend. Unpopular views are not. That`s why we
have this Constitution. Boy.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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