The year in Trump Transcript 11/8/17 Hardball with Chris Matthews

Guests:
Heather McGhee, Chris Coons, Carrie Johnson, Chris Hurst, Danica Roem; Stephanie Schrock; Adolfo Franco; Chris Murphy
Transcript:

Show: HARDBALL
Date: November 8, 2017
Guest: Heather McGhee, Chris Coons, Carrie Johnson, Chris Hurst, Danica Roem; Stephanie Schrock; Adolfo Franco; Chris Murphy

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: The mother of presidents delivers a spanking.
Let`s play “Hardball.”

Good evening. I am Chris Matthews in Washington.

Consider the message sent across the country yesterday from the top of the
ticket in Virginia and New Jersey to local races in New Hampshire,
Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, and out in Washington State. American
voters delivered a rebuke to President Trump.

In Virginia, they turned out in record numbers and gave Ralph Northam a
greater than expected victory against Republican Ed Gillespie. Democrats
also made gains in the Virginia House of delegates. All this carries an
ominous message for Republicans next year and it should.

In Washington, of course, Democrat – this Washington, Democrats and
Republicans had very different takeaways. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: This was a big deal. It`s about more than
Virginia. This is about our country and it`s about the future of issues in
Congress. I hope more Republicans get the message last night that
Americans are looking for us to work together and solve problems.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R), LOUISIANA: I don`t read that much into it.

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D), TEXAS: I think it`s clear that Donald Trump has
been toxic for the Republican Party so far.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: What happened last night was not (INAUDIBLE).

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: The Republicans should look at
the elections last night. And it should be a giant stop sign for their tax
bill. Where did they get clobbered? In the suburbs. Where does the tax
bill clobber middle class and upper middle class people? In the suburbs.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: It doesn`t change my reading of the
current moment.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEWS: Well, as I said last night, President Trump couldn`t seem to
scramble away fast enough from the Republican candidate who he had
endorsed. He tweeting from Seoul, Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not
embrace me or what I stand for. Breitbart News tried to give President
Trump some cover as well calling Gillespie a Republican swamp thing.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama who campaigned for Northam in New Jersey as
governor elect Phil Murphy tweeted, this is what happens when people vote.

Well, today, Northam took a jab at President. Let`s watch that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RALPH NORTHAM (D), VIRGINIA GOVERNOR-ELECT: I think what this message was
yesterday that Virginia sent, not only to this country but to this world,
is that the divisiveness, the hatred, the bigotry, the politics that is
tearing this country apart is not – that`s not the United States of
America that people love. It`s certainly not the commonwealth of Virginia
that they love.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, in the one year anniversary of Donald Trump`s surprise
victory last year his party is now facing the reality of life with Trump at
the top.

Adolfo Franco is a former adviser to Senator John McCain. He works as a
surrogate on outreach for the Republican National Committee. Stephanie
Schrock is the president of Emily`s List.

Stephanie, your sense. I sense excuberation from Democrats and
progressives that this is a chance to get good candidates for next year and
make them - get people to make the leap and go for it.

STEPHANIE SCHROCK, PRESIDENT, EMILY`S LIST: You better believe it. At
Emily`s List we had a great night last night. Because what we really saw
was the success of our early recruitment of women candidates, great women
candidates. We had 55 women endorsed by Emily`s list on the ballot last
night across the country.

MATTHEWS: How did you do?

SCHROCK: Boy, there is a lot of celebrating. We won 32 of those thus far.
We have got three that are too close to call. We have three going to
runoffs in Georgia. We are currently 11 Emily`s list candidates of the 16
picks – pickups in the Virginia delegate House, House of delegate race, 11
of the 16.

One more – we are waiting for one more. It`s too close to call. So we
might be 12 of the 17 of the new majority in the House of Delegates.
Extraordinary.

MATTHEWS: Still a red state at the delegate level.

Adolfo, thanks for coming on. How do you put in a rose colored glasses on
what happened last night? How do you say not bad?

ADOLFO FRANCO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I have to tell you this. The
big surprise would have been had Republicans actually done well in two
states that are not Republican states. Let me just say –

MATTHEWS: You weren`t going to win Jersey. We know that.

FRANCO: They are billing that in the “New York Times” and “Washington
Post” is significant. But let`s talk about Virginia for a moment.

MATTHEWS: Well, I am not. You are here. Christie smelled the state up so
much, no way they are going to get Guantanamo in.

FRANCO: The last four gubernatorial races in Virginia have been – three
of them won by Democrats. John McCain lost Virginia. Mitt Romney lost
Virginia. Donald Trump lost Virginia.

MATTHEWS: Nine?

FRANCO: Well, we lost by five against Hillary Clinton.

MATTHEWS: Nine?

FRANCO: The point is this. You asked about what happened to this
candidate. We already had a tough situation, at a minimum a purple state
and another red state. So it was uphill for us. The fact of the matter
is, I don`t think I talked to Senator Scott this morning, a chat with Tim
Scott.

[19:05:15] MATTHEWS: South Carolina.

FRANCO: Yes, South Carolina. Senator. He told me – I said what do you
think? What`s your read on this? His answer is, you have to embrace the
President`s agenda. Not necessarily his style and his delivery. And I
don`t like your drift here.

(CROSSTALK)

FRANCO: Wait. Wait. What Ed Gillespie did, he is a great guy. He tried
to get this middle lane to use the overused clich‚ where he cherry pick
some issues that he thought would do well with raw voters and he didn`t
utter the President`s name.

MATTHEWS: So it wasn`t (INAUDIBLE)?

FRANCO: I don`t believe he was.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Any argument is legitimate I suppose. Republican congressman
Scott Taylor who represents Virginia Beach, the largest part of the
Virginia called last night`s vote a referendum on President Trump and
others in his party. Let`s watch him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. SCOTT TAYLOR (R), VIRGINIA: So I think, you know, when you look at
the races, when you look at exit polls, you look at all this the turnout,
the Dem turnout, the Dems showed up last night. And I think that it was a
referendum. I think it was a referendum in the division and the divisive
rhetoric that is in the country right now. I think it is important for
Republicans to self-reflect all the way – starting from the top, all the
way down. I do think it was a referendum on national policies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was it a referendum on Donald Trump?

TAYLOR: I do believe so. I think it is important to – number one, I
think we have to be, again, tone down the rhetoric. I think it`s important
for Republicans to have no fear to come out and say, you know, hey, we
support the President, we support these policies but also have no fear to
come out and say we disagree with him here. This is not where we should
go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well meanwhile, John Weaver, the adviser to governor of John
Kasich of Ohio tweeted, I`m not gleeful about the Republican losing
elections, GOP losing election, but if you have gangrene in your leg,
Trump, chop the sucker off. But 2018 is looming and that is a big chop.
Wake up GOP.

So you say a candidate who wants to win in 2018 or 2020 should sidle up to
President Trump.

FRANCO: Well, we have five House races this year. Five. Five of them.
One was last night. We didn`t talk about that here. All of them won by
Republicans. Democrats put a lot of money into the Georgia race. They
lost. They have a lot of hopes in two or three of the races, they have
lost.

SCHROCK: To be fair, the Democrats have out – in those races outperformed
the performance from last cycle. We are averaging eight-point advantage
over 16. The Democrats are definitely up in very Republican states.

FRANCO: Well, we will see how this plays out because this is – the
reality is that, had, in Virginia, I think a candidate been very stark in
terms of the differences which I think Ed Gillespie was, and he was a mixed
bag, something like Cory Stewart. I think he would have energized –

MATTHEWS: Virginia, would have ignored Republicans in a state that
normally votes Democrat.

FRANCO: Look at the –

MATTHEWS: You say –

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: But you are saying it`s not a big deal because it`s always a
Democrat state and then you say that he should have been more Republican.

FRANCO: Well, that is the only way. Republicans have won in Virginia. I
don`t think trying to become a Democrat in Virginia and trying to appeal to
Democratic voters –

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Adolfo, we have covered it here every night. We have been
covering Gillespie talking about MS-13, the whole immigration horror story,
about crime generally with the gangs and everything and about the statutes.
He embraced the whole Trump mumbo jumbo. The whole thing. And you know
what?

FRANCO: And also did at the last minute too, Chris.

MATTHEWS: What`s your point?

FRANCO: My point is there is really a conservative message. I think the
race might have gone different had Northam not taken a different position
on sanctuary cities, for example. So I think had Ed Gillespie honed in on
this message earlier or Cory Stewart, I think they could have made the
difference in the race in rural Virginia.

SCHROCK: That`s just not what was going on the ground, with all due
respect. We had all of these great women candidates for delegate,
particularly in these ex-urban and suburban areas. And hold on. These ex-
urban and suburban areas, they were talking on the doors about health care,
they were talking about good jobs, good paying jobs. But they were also
talking about the divisiveness.

And what I think is really extraordinary about what happened last night –
this is what I was looking for – were all these women who marched in
January, who have been calling about DEVOS and going to their offices, were
they going to organize and go to the polls. That`s the problem with
Democrats. You better believe it. And they brought their friends with
them.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: It`s a big surprise.

FRANCO: Very quickly. Very quickly. Two things. Those women were around
last year. Everybody knew what Donald Trump stood for, and he won the
election. Secondly, 17 of those house districts in Virginia were carried -
- Republican districts were carried by Hillary Clinton. So they were
already Democrat leaning. We had a large, large majority in the House of
Delegates. So when you add it up, it`s not this fantastic victory in a
purple and a red state.

[19:10:05] MATTHEWS: Adolfo, the President continues to tweet like he does
and did these clownish things, I`m not talking about policy, his clownish
behavior continues, he is going to lose the suburbs next year like he lost
last night. And that`s what he actually –.

Adolfo Franco, you are a belligerent fellow. Good luck.

According to last night`s exit polls in Virginia, the number one issue for
voters was, it was not statues of confederate generals. It was health
care. Of course, they have a big concern down there about the lack of
expansion of Medicaid and also fall by the gun issue on both sides. The
gun issue 49/49, pro and against, the second amendment issues. Very
interesting.

Anyway. Today, Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut tweeted yesterday`s
Virginia election showed that gun policy is just as big a driver of
Democratic turnout as Republican turnout. Game changer.

I`m joining now for himself, Senator Chris Murphy.

I agree with you. I think it was the big development. Finally, gun
control people, gun safety people, are starting to vote on that issue.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: Yes. Listen, Ralph Northam was on
apologetic. He talked about the need for universal background checks. He
was in favor of banning assault weapons and bump stocks. He didn`t run
away from the issue. And what happened? Voters that really care about
making our streets and schools and churches safer, they came out.

And what we found out yesterday is that, if Democrats play to their base
and play, frankly, to the majority of Americans on the issue of guns, it
will generate the same kind of turnout that the NRA gets when it tries to
put the fear into their base by telling them that Democrats are going to
take away their weapons.

And so, we saw yesterday that guns, as you mentioned, was the number two
issue for all voters and it was equally weighted, Republicans and
Democrats.

Now it didn`t hurt that the anti-gun violence groups were spending a lot of
money in Virginia to get that message out. But it is a real wake-up call
to Democrats that, if you leave the playing field on guns to Republicans
alone, you will lose. But if you stand proudly for policies that the
majority of Americans support, like background checks, and don`t back away
from it, you are actually going to gin up turnout and in 2018 turnout will
decide the elections and last night was truly a game-changer on this issue.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me broaden the call to duty to the following.
Suburbs. I`m just getting a report by Larry Keane, long-time anchorman for
the news in Philadelphia area said that Delaware County had the biggest
sweep, wave, going Democrat like in history. It was unbelievable. So the
suburbs, the better-off suburbs, it seems to me now, are openly embarrassed
by Donald Trump`s behavior.

The tweeting and the whole rest of it. They like voting with him when
there is an argument, are you for or against the establishment. When it
comes to his performance they are embarrassed and they are voting democrat
big-time. Is that going on in Connecticut too?

MURPHY: Well, in Connecticut we had a tidal wave as well. We picked up a
net 16 towns that moved from Republican control to Democratic control in
exactly the communities that you talked about. It was the suburbs of
Hartford and New Haven that had been run by Republicans that are now run by
Democrats.

And for two reasons. One, they are embarrassed by this President. And I
am fascinated, by the way, that Republicans are now counseling their
candidates to get closer to a President with a 38 percent approval rating.
Also, they don`t like his policy. Healthcare was the number one issue
right ahead of guns yesterday in Virginia. And it`s not lost on these
suburban constituents that this President is talking about taking away the
protections for people with preexisting conditions, ending health care for
30 million people. It`s his demeanor and his policies that are really
hurting him and the party right now.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let me give you a daily double. How about going to the
voters in the suburbs of New Haven and Hartford and telling them, not only
has this President become a dawn clown. He gets up in the morning and
clowns his way into the day. But secondly he is going take away your
property tax deduction, which you need to get your taxes down to a
reasonable level. How can a Republican congressman, for example, survive
in a state like – high-tax state like Connecticut by opposing the
continuation of the deduction for property taxes?

MURPHY: So the Republican Party will be wiped out in California, in New
York, in New Jersey, in Connecticut, if they pass any reasonable fax simile
of a fax bill that went through the House of Representatives service fee,
proposed in the House of Representatives.

But remember, it`s not just a handful of states on the east and west coast.
It take deductions for local and state taxation. In fact, the vast
majority of states all over the country have taxpayers that get thousands
of dollars off their income taxes because they are able to defray the costs
of local taxation. This is a loser wherever you are around the country.
And if Republicans were angry about last night they are going to get wiped
out in 2018 if they move forward with a tax bill that is going to be just
as popular by the healthcare bill by the time it gets to the floor.

MATTHEWS: Well, either that or everybody in the country is going to be
living in New Hampshire.

Anyway. Thank you, Senator Chris Murphy, where they don`t tax you. They
don`t even have parks up there.

We are going to have much more on last night`s election and where Democrats
and Republicans go from here.

But coming up next, new developments on the Russia investigation. Serious
stuff. Special counsel Robert Mueller inching closer to President Trump.
And there are new questions tonight about why U.S. attorney involved in the
investigation in the Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn has just been fired by
the President. Why? What do you think?

And say hey, plus, on a night to stunning victory, the one stands out,
Chris Hurst, the fianc‚ of a TV reporter who is fatally shot on the air be
the candidate back by the NRA. He is part of the Democratic wave. He
joins us tonight.

And one year after Trump`s victory last November we are learning there is
no Trumpism without Trump. Will Republicans get the message from last
night or are they headed for disaster come 2018?

Finally, let me finish tonight with Donald Trump`s Trump watch. At least
as my watch on him. And he is going to like it. This is “Hardball,” where
the action is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[19:17:03] DANICA ROEM, VIRGINIA STATE LAWMAKER-ELECT: Every person who
has ever been singled out, who has ever been stigmatized, who has ever been
the misfit, ever been the kid in the corner, who has ever need someone to
stand up for them when they didn`t have a voice of their own, because there
is no one else who was with them. This one is for you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to “Hardball.” That was Danica Roem, who became
the first transgender state legislator ever in Virginia. Once she sworn in
next year, she will be the only openly transgender legislator to be seated
in a state legislature. She defeated Republican Robert Marshall, a 13-term
incumbent who called himself Virginia`s chief homophobe. I suppose proudly
and earlier this year introduced a bathroom bill that died in committee
according to the “Washington Post.”

I am joined now by Virginia delegate-elect Danica Roem? So is it Madam
Delegate? What will I say, Dan? What is the formality in citation, is it
delegate or do I call you delegate or what?

ROEM: The gentle woman from Manassas will be fine.

MATTHEWS: OK, thank you. So what did you think about – why do you think
the year 2017 will go down in history as the year that the kid in the
corner, as you describe yourself wonderfully? I love that stuff. I never
felt as the popular kid until a little later.

What did you make of that victory for a wide variety of the overlooked,
sometimes despised, the sometimes feared? What did you make of that
victory and why this year did it come?

ROEM: Why did this year it came is because you had enough candidates who
actually ran to make it happen. And you know, if you want to talk about
the national environment, sure. You know, the election last year drove a
lot of people into running. But in my case, we have a major artery that
runs through the 13th district in terms about 28. That was problematic 20-
some odd years ago. And it`s still a problem today.

Like when I was a kid in school, I would be sitting there until 6:30, 7:00
at night waiting for my mom to come pick me up from All Saints because, you
know, traffic was so bad on route 28. And all these years later, you know,
it`s still getting worse. So that`s what drove me into the race.

And the fact that I am transgender, like yes, that is a part of who I am.
I am also a reporter. I spent, you know, 10 1/2 years covering local news
stories between two newspapers, you know. Nine years for the Gainesville
Times. That`s my chief qualification for office. And I am a life-long
resident of the community I am running to serve – where I was elected to
serve.

MATTHEWS: To the larger question which I talk about and beat the drum on
here all the time.

ROEM: Infrastructure!

MATTHEWS: I am tired of Democrats only diddling about what Republican tax
plan is up or not. And I want to know when you guys are going to become
builders again. And build this country the way it was built by our
forefathers. Build it. Infrastructure. Fast rail. Better highways. Fix
up Amtrak, by God, it can use it. But most importantly make us proud to
enter Penn station and think – instead of feeling like a rat.

ROEM: Hey, Chris, I am Danica Roem, and I approve that message.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Well, Danica, thank you. Good luck. I hope we hear from you in
office.

Don`t give us too much talk about the specific traffic concerns of your
district, but, if you can broaden the argument, we are ready for it.

Thank you, Danica Roem. Congratulations.

(CROSSTALK)

ROEM: … health care. Let`s go get it done.

MATTHEWS: OK.

ROEM: Thank you so much.

MATTHEWS: The kid in the corner is now in the front of the class.

Up next: the latest in the Russian investigation. There are new questions
about why a top U.S. attorney was abruptly – and here is the word for it -
- fired just the day before – well, days before Paul Manafort got his
indictment.

You are watching HARDBALL.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

The sudden firing last month of a high-profile career prosecutor could have
implications for Robert Mueller`s Russia probe, which is posing an
increasing threat to the White House.

Dana Boente was forced to give up his post at the U.S. attorney for the
Eastern District of Virginia, at the request of Attorney General Jeff
Sessions. His district is a key jurisdiction in the ongoing Mueller
investigation, and it`s where one or two reported grand juries have
convened in connection with the probe.

And now U.S. Senator Chris Coons of the Judiciary Committee wants an
explanation.

In a letter to Attorney General Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein,
Coons writes: “I have become deeply concerned by reports that Mr. Boente
wanted to remain in his position, but was forced to resign by President
Trump. The sudden nature of its timing and its proximity to the
indictments issued by special counsel Mueller and reported connections
between the U.S. Attorney`s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia to
the investigations of Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn leave me concerned
that this is not business as usual.”

So, joining us right now is Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware,
member of the Judiciary Committee. Also, Carrie Johnson, she cover the
Justice Department for the National Public Radio. And she`s sitting here
with me.

Senator Coons, what is the connection? What do you see as an intervention
here, an interruption in the prosecution by the White House?

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE: Well, what concerns me, Chris, as I
mentioned in the letter that I just sent to Attorney General Sessions and
Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, is a whole series of things surrounding
the abrupt firing of Dana Boente, a popular, successful career federal law
enforcement official, Eastern District of Virginia, a U.S. attorney.

According to public reports, he had a grand jury that had issued subpoenas
against both Paul Manafort and former National Security Adviser Flynn. And
the timing, the proximity to when there were indictments handed down, and
the fact that it was directed at just him, rather than others having been
let go, left me with a whole series of questions.

I expect to get answers out of the attorney general or the deputy attorney
general, and if I don`t get a response, I will go to the committee chair
and press for a response on behalf of the committee.

MATTHEWS: President Trump infamously said last week he wished he had more
power over the Justice Department, more personal power over the FBI.

Is this part of his reach for more power?

COONS: Well, that`s my concern.

You know, as this investigation has gotten closer and closer to the senior
levels of the Trump campaign, the Trump administration or even members of
the Trump family, I am concerned that President Trump will act in even more
irrational ways that may undermine the rule of law.

That`s why I have worked with Republican Senator Thom Tillis to introduce a
bill that would strengthen protections for special counsel Robert Mueller.

I think that Senator Tillis wants to strengthen the independence of the
Department of Justice. I am concerned about an abrupt action by the
president, given ways that this investigation is closing in on his inner
circle.

MATTHEWS: Carrie, do you think this is a real concern? As a journalist,
do you see number four here, or that – who will be his number four, can
step in and fire all the people he wants to fire, like Mueller himself?

CARRIE JOHNSON, NPR: I understand the nature of Senator Coons` concerns
and why he is asking the questions.

Now, we did have the firing en masse of something like 45 of the U.S.
attorneys. Preet Bharara, the prosecutor in New York, was fired under
circumstances he continues to question.

That said, Chris, Dana Boente is a loyal man, a company man, 33 years at
Justice, served under six presidents. From what I am hearing from people
close to him, people who worked in his office, this was simply a matter of
President Trump wanting to install his own U.S. attorney in that job, which
he has every right to do.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: As patronage, he does. But as for the policy, does he have a
right to intervene in his own prosecution?

JOHNSON: He does not have a right to intervene in his own prosecution.
And there is no evidence on the table yet that the replacement of Dana
Boente was an attempt by President Trump to do that.

MATTHEWS: Well, follow that up, Senator.

Do you see a direct attempt to intervene in his own prosecution here in
this case? Is he trying to interrupt justice or to obstruct it here by
this firing?

COONS: Well, Chris, I remind you that when the former FBI Director Jim
Comey was fired, initially, there were offered reasons that had to do with
his handling of Hillary Clinton`s e-mail investigation.

Then President Trump himself went on national television and said it had to
do with the Russia thing. The reason I sent a letter questioning the
timing and the reasons behind the resignation of Dana Boente was because of
this now increasing pattern of behavior by the president of trying to
interfere in this ongoing investigation.

It`s possible that this is entirely without reason for alarm, but I think
the circumstances around the departure of Dana Boente raise legitimate
questions.

MATTHEWS: Do you think he is testing his authority, his political ability
to remove people who get in his way, not just his constitutional right to
exploit the patronage he has to pick these attorneys, but do you believe he
is testing his ability to intervene in the case?

Is that what he is doing here?

COONS: I am concerned about that.

And, Chris, let`s go back to a point that you made quickly in passing
that`s worth focusing on for a moment. If there were to be a situation
where the president orders, let`s say, Rod Rosenstein to fire Robert
Mueller, he may then resign.

The leadership of the department then passes to the number three, and if
she declines to do so, it passes to number four. Dana Boente was number
four in the Department of Justice.

This is since the attorney general is recused in all matters relating to
the Mueller investigation. So, I do think, by insisting on his own choice,
President Trump is signalling that he is asserting his authority over the
Department of Justice.

I am equally troubled by reports that the president has personally
interviewed candidates for U.S. attorney positions in several key
jurisdictions. That`s inappropriate.

Attorney General Sessions testified to our Judiciary Committee in the
Senate that that was inappropriate. And I think we have got lots of
signals here that our president doesn`t understand the appropriate
boundaries.

MATTHEWS: OK.

Can you judge all that? Do you think that`s all a set of concerns that are
legitimate, putting them together like that by the senator?

JOHNSON: I think, when President Trump actually nominates another person
to take over this job in Virginia, that Senator Coons and the Democrats on
the Senate Judiciary Committee, as well as the Republicans, need to ask
whether there was a loyalty oath extracted from that individual, whether
President Trump personally interviewed him or her and what that
conversation was like.

MATTHEWS: Right. Is he looking for a Robert Bork, in other words, looking
for somebody to do the dirty work when the time comes to get rid of
Rosenstein or get rid of Mueller himself, both of them?

JOHNSON: Those are all legitimate questions. I don`t think we`re there
yet.

MATTHEWS: OK, thank you. Great reporting. And thank you. Great
analysis.

Thank you, Senator Coons. You`re on the game here and on the job.

Carrie Johnson as well.

Up next: one of the stunning victories from last night`s elections. Chris
Hurst, a former news anchor whose girlfriend was shot and killed on live
television – we all saw that horror – defeated his NRA-backed opponent
last night. He is headed to the Virginia House of Delegates, and he joins
us here next.

This is HARDBALL, where the action is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s
what`s happening.

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife traveled to Sutherland Springs,
Texas, today to meet with survivors of that state`s worst mass shooting in
modern history.

A former boss and news anchor says her teenage son was sexually assaulted
by actor Kevin Spacey last summer. That claim comes amid a wave of other
allegations of sexual misconduct against the actor in recent weeks.
Spacey`s attorneys have not responded to requests for comment, but a rep
says the actor is seeking treatment.

The Trump administration is imposing new travel and commerce restrictions
on Cuba that will make it harder for Americans to visit the island nation.
Americans wanting to visit Cuba will have to go as part of organized tour
groups run by U.S. companies – back to HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Last night was a momentous evening for Democrats in Virginia and around the
country. It was also a night of historic firsts.

Catch this. The first woman elected mayor of Manchester, New Hampshire.
The first Sikh mayor elected in the state of New Jersey. And Montana
elected its first black mayor ever.

In Pennsylvania, longtime Philadelphia newsman Larry Kane reports that –
one of the most dramatic political changes in 40 years, in that Democrats
have won their first seats in the county council in suburban Delaware
County, traditionally a big Republican stronghold. They call it the War
Board.

Back down here in Virginia, for the first time in more than 15 years,
Democrats may still be able to win control of Virginia`s House of Delegates
after picking up at least 15 of the 17 needed seats to do that.

One of those unlikely winners is Chris Hurst, whose girlfriend Alison
Parker was shot and killed on live television back in 2015. Her death
prompted him to run for public office.

In conservative rural Virginia, Hurst beat three-time Republican incumbent
Joseph Yost, who had an A-rating from the National Rifle Association.

I am joined by himself, Chris Hurst, newly elected to the Virginia House of
Delegates.

I know, Chris, that I can only imagine you wish you weren`t here, but you
are. And what did it take? Well, it took tragedy. What did it take
beyond that for you to decide to run for public office?

CHRIS HURST (D), VIRGINIA STATEHOUSE DELEGATE-ELECT: I think it took a
strong desire to want to give back to the community that I live in, in
Southwest Virginia, who gave me so much prayer and love and support and
wrote me countless cards and letters of support during my time of need.

And when I knew that it was too emotionally difficult for me to continue on
at the television station, I still wanted to serve my community in a way
where I was able to give back. And this seemed like a natural progression
for me for my work in journalism.

MATTHEWS: How did people react when they saw you out there going door to -
- I assume, in a district like that, you go door to door. I think it`s the
heart of politics, which I personally love and sort of miss in a way.

HURST: Yes.

MATTHEWS: I did it when I was a kid, in my 20s.

What was it like went door to door and said, hi, I am Chris Hurst, you may
have seen me on television, but you also know the story behind me running?

How did people react to that?

HURST: Oh, I didn`t have to say any of that.

I would come to the doors, and they would go, Chris Hurst is at my door.
Hey, mom, you got to come. Chris Hurst is at my door.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

HURST: They were taken by surprise for it.

And I live in an area that still holds on to the Appalachian culture, which
I love. I preceded “Andy Griffith” at 5:00. And then we had “Andy
Griffith,” and then you had like an older version of Opie at 6:00.

MATTHEWS: So, you were Mayberry. You were Mayberry incarnate, right?

HURST: Yes, to some extent.

And so that meant I had – you know this from knocking on doors, and I
knocked on more than 3,500 doors myself. Our campaign knocked on about
40,000 doors over the course of the campaign, had a great ground game.

But it gives you that opening of the door, where at least they will listen
to you for the first 10 seconds.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

HURST: And so you give them your initial pitch of why they should trust
you with the honor of serving them in Richmond.

And then you shut up and you listen to them about issues that are important
to them.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I think giving yourself vulnerably to people, letting them
take a whack at you, going into their home, you`re on their home court,
they have a little bit of an advantage over you in terms of comfort. And
you are a little bit awkward, if you are normal.

HURST: Yes.

MATTHEWS: I just think it`s great, because to give – to get, you have to
give, to get trust.

HURST: Yes. Yes. And…

MATTHEWS: And you have got it now.

So, what are you going to do with it?

HURST: Well, we`re going to fight like hell for the people of Southwest
Virginia.

You know, people in rural communities have been neglected in Richmond and
neglected in statehouses and in Congress for far too long. And I think we
need to make sure that we have louder, stronger voices to address the
opioid crisis that is devastating families here in Southwest Virginia.

MATTHEWS: Yes, big for you. I hope you do that.

And let`s do that. Just do – I am rooting for you to do that. I was
lucky not to have that. I think I drank over the years too much, and I
quit.

But this thing about heroin, because it`s cheap and the pushers get it into
the market to you because it`s cheap, and they push it at you, and they get
the people who are having a hard time already, if you can beat that, what a
great cause.

Chris Hurst, congratulations.

HURST: Well, a lot of that too is – a lot of that is going after
prescribing practices too.

MATTHEWS: I know.

HURST: Making sure that student athletes are not being prescribed 60 pills
when they have to get a repaired broken arm, and also really helping our
law enforcement address this battle too, especially as it relates to heroin
too, because a lot of it now is mixed with fentanyl.

And fentanyl is so incredibly potent and deadly, that that is really what`s
leading to so many overdose deaths now, is that you have this new opioid,
fentanyl, that is being mixed with heroin that`s killing people every
single day.

MATTHEWS: Get the pushers arrested and put away. That would be a good
cause.

Anyway, thank you.

HURST: Hey, you know what?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I have had it in our family. I know about it.

HURST: You know, Democrats need to be talking about law enforcement.

MATTHEWS: Look, law can bring justice. It can bring justice, as it
should. Thank you so much.

That`s a Bobby Kennedy belief, and I share it. Law and justice should work
arm and arm, not fighting against the other side.

Anyway, up next: It`s been one year since Donald Trump won the presidency.
And Democrats commemorate the anniversary by beating Republicans up and
down the ballots. Great night for Democrats. Can Trump`s party recover
heading to 2018?

Not with this guy running the show. Look at him out there. He is still
doing it. He isn`t going to change; 6:30 tomorrow morning, he will be
doing it again from somewhere in the world, being Trump.

You`re watching HARDBALL.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY 

BE UPDATED.
END

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2017 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2017 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.