Saudi Government confirms Khashoggi is dead. TRANSCRIPT: 10/19/2018, Hardball w Chris Matthews.

Guests:
Jackie Speier, Omarosa Manigault-Newman, Susan Del Percio, Evan McMullin, Eugene Scott, Natasha Bertrand
Transcript:

Show: HARDBALL
Date: October 19, 2018
Guest: Jackie Speier, Omarosa Manigault-Newman, Susan Del Percio, Evan
McMullin, Eugene Scott, Natasha Bertrand

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: My thanks to Steve Clemons and Nick Kristof as
part of our breaking coverage. The items that we didn`t get into the show
that were preempted we will bring you next week. But the special live
coverage of this unfolding scenario continues right now with HARDBALL with
Chris Matthews.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: So where`s the body? Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Breaking news tonight in the case of “Washington Post” journalist Jamal
Khashoggi. Seventeen days after his mysterious disappearance, Saudi Arabia
has just conceded that Khashoggi died while in that Saudi consulate in
Istanbul earlier this month. The Saudi press agency reports that the
general prosecutor in that country has issued a carefully worded statement,
the Saudi prosecutor.

It says that quote “the discussions which occurred between Mr. Khashoggi
and the persons who met him while he was present at the kingdom`s consulate
in Istanbul led to a quarrel and fighting by hand with the citizen Jamal
Khashoggi which throw his death.”

Well, this comes after mounting evidence emerged over the last several
weeks to implicate Saudi Arabia in Khashoggi`s disappearance. And now 18
Saudis are reportedly being held as suspects in the death.

Joining me right now is NBC`s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel,
Josh Lederman of the national political reporter NBC News and Eli Stokols
who covers the White House for the “Los Angeles Times” and Democratic
congresswoman Jackie Speier who sits on the House intelligence committee.

Richard Engel, you know, everybody who has ever followed a detective story,
especially a murder story know there`s is such a thing as the corpus
dialectic (ph). Where is the body? If this body is chopped up into pieces
with the help of that surgery tool, then there isn`t going to be a body
somewhere. So how are the Saudis going to explain what they did with this
guy that they say died in a fistfight of some sort?

RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are a
lot of holes in this story. Where is the body is one of them? Why should
there be a dismembered body?

If you read that, as you described it, carefully worded statement, very
brief statement from the prosecutor`s office in Saudi Arabia which was read
out on Saudi state TV, they said that Khashoggi was in the consulate. He
got into a discussion, got into an argument, and then a fistfight. One
would assume that if this person died, if Khashoggi died as a result of a
fistfight, that they would call the police. They would alert authorities.
They wouldn`t chop up his body, which is what Turkish officials say they
did.

And Turkish officials are now searching two areas in this country, looking
through CCTV footage. They say they saw a Saudi diplomatic vehicle near at
least one of those areas, about 60 miles south of Istanbul, the other a
forested area, 20 square miles north of Istanbul.

It also doesn`t explain why, according to Turkey, the 15 assassins were
waiting for him to begin with. If it`s just to talk with him and then a
fight breaks out and then he`s mysteriously dead. There was no explanation
of what happened to his body in this brief statement.

MATTHEWS: Richard, they also, if you listen to this oddly worded
statement, discussion which occurred, discussions, that was the fight, the
cause of the fight, which occurred between Khashoggi and the persons who
met him, they won`t even acknowledge in this statement it`s their agents,
those 15 agents they sent in from Saudi.

ENGEL: Well, there were also not supposed to be discussions. Khashoggi
was going into that consulate to pick up paperwork. He had been to the
consulate once before. Turkish officials say when he went there, they were
surprised to see him. He was greeted in a friendly manner, but he was told
to come back. Told to come back on the day he came back. He called that
morning to make sure that the paperwork he was expecting to pick up was
ready. They told him it was. He showed up around 1:00 to pick up the
paperwork.

There was not supposed to be discussions. This was a document retrieval
that he was expecting that now if you read the statement ended up in an
argument with persons and then if you listen to the Turks, a brutal
interrogation, his body being chopped up, and now a search for the pieces
of his remains.

MATTHEWS: Hold on, Richard. Let me go to Josh Lederman.

Josh, it seems to me this is a classic case, and it happens in some of the
worst cultures and some of the better one, rolling disclosure. They are
only disclosing what we know as a fact, he is dead. Nothing else can be
relied upon in this statement.

JOHN LEDERMAN, NBC NEWS NATIONAL REPORTER: That`s right. And up until
now, Chris, the Saudis have not even acknowledged he was dead. It was less
than a week ago that the Saudis were putting out vehement statements saying
that they really are upset about these terrible disparagement of the Saudi
government.

MATTHEWS: Right.

LEDERMAN: But what we can say, Chris, that NBC News has learned from an
official, a source that`s close, has information about what the Saudis plan
to do here, that this is not the end of what the Saudi government will
release. There will be more information that comes outside that details
the chain of events, what exactly happened.

MATTHEWS: Rolling disclosure. So they are going to roll out more after
they test this?

First of all, is anybody going to take the fall, really, for murder? Or
there seems like they are denying there was a murder. That it was a
fistfight. It was at worse a manslaughter and an intentional somebody died
in a fistfight. I mean, they won`t even acknowledge there is a capital
crime here.

LEDERMAN: It`s true, they did not use the word murder or killing in their
description. But we don`t yet fully know exactly how much –.

MATTHEWS: In other words, no one has to be killed?

LEDERMAN: Well, somebody died in a fistfight.

MATTHEWS: I`m talking about there`s no – congresswoman, let me go to this
because this is our ally. There has always been the question about Saudi,
let`s face it. Not the government necessarily all the time, but the people
there. Fifteen people of the 19 on 9/11 were Saudis. They were the thugs.
Some said they didn`t even know what the mission was. They were just along
to kill flight attendants and intimidate passengers so they could continue
their route to the world trade center and the Pentagon and perhaps the
capital.

So what do we make of Saudi Arabia, that there are official agencies are
putting out this claptrap. They won`t even admit any more than what we
know. The guy`s dead. That`s all they are really honestly admitting.

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, their story
doesn`t pass the smell test. And I think it`s high time for Congress to
recalibrate our relationship with Saudi Arabia. I kind of bristle at
calling them an ally. In part because 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were
from Saudi Arabia. And I don`t think the way they have conducted
themselves has proven to show that they are an ally. They have lied
through this whole 17-day period of time, and there`s no reference made to
bone saws or acid wash. And that`s what they did to a journalist.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

SPEIER: And our government and our President has tried to read from their
script and suggest that they were rogue actors who did this. I mean, it`s
really shameful.

MATTHEWS: You know, back when we had – what`s his name? Prince Bandar is
he was the socialite. One of the guys like this new crown prince, that
hung out with Liz Taylor and pretended to be westernized in some sense, he
– I told him once we think you got a gig going over there in Saudi Arabia
you. You let your young people destroy the world but leave the Saudi royal
family alone. That`s your deal.

I think everybody`s thought that. They have sort of a split personality.
Let all their people do the horrible stuff, but protect the royal family.
It looks like they are doing the same exact same thing here. They are
going blame all the thugs and the bouncers and the so-called security
people and the doctor and everybody who was in that consulate that they can
separate somehow from the crown prince.

SPEIER: Well, this was a grotesque act, and it was premeditated. It was a
murder, and we have got to show that we have some sense of moral values in
this country at a time when it seems like all we do is embrace dictators
and autocrats like Kim and Putin, and now the crown prince. I think that
what the intelligence committee is going to have to do is find out what we
knew, when we knew it, and whether or not we had an obligation to inform
Khashoggi that he was in danger.

MATTHEWS: Let me go to Eli, my friend. It seems to me if we threw this
case that they have thrown at us before at an American jury, it wouldn`t go
very far. Fifteen guys got into a boxing match with somebody and a guy
died, but we couldn`t tell you for 17 days.

ELI STOKOLS, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And then they are supposed
to believe this investigation that`s coming, that the crown prince is
supposedly going to be leading.

MATTHEWS: Like Nixon was leading the cover-up vex.

STOKOLS: Exactly. So I think – yes, you are right. But these are not
normal times. We live in such a tribal polarized country right now. You
see the President. His actions, they are not like a President before him
in terms of responding to this situation. But you see it at every turn of
this. He is very reluctant. He didn`t acknowledge that Khashoggi was dead
until yesterday. Today he is asked about this. He is saying yes, OK, he
is dead. Yes, we are getting more information. I`ll listen to Congress.
But you know, Iran does bad things too. He us always sort –.

MATTHEWS: He is saying that. It`s what argument.

STOKOLS: There are a lot of allies and conservative media who have been
sliming Khashoggi, saying that he has, you know, he has hung around with
terrorists back, you know, years ago, things that are just outlandish.

MATTHEWS: Like he should have been killed.

STOKOLS: But that is where we are right now. Everything breaks along this
partisan divide. You are hearing Republicans in Congress, allies of this
administration like Lindsey Graham talking very tough about this. They are
not singing from the same sheet of music as the President on this. But are
they going to force the President`s hand, force him to respond and to do
something? Are they going to act on their own, or are they just sort of
going to fall in line behind Trump?

MATTHEWS: Let`s get back to Richard on the very point we are raising here.

What do you make of the way that they are singling people out to take the
fall so far, Richard? Who has been lined up to take the worst punishment,
if there is any punishment, for this murder?

ENGEL: Probably major general Ahmed Alasiri. He is the deputy head of
Saudi intelligence. He was the first person tonight that the Saudis
mentioned of having been relieved of his duties. Also, a Presidential
adviser or a royal adviser to Mohammed bin Salman also relieved of his
duties. But I would say the deputy head of intelligence is the one who is
probably going to be facing the most severe punishment.

And it could be that the crown prince uses this as an opportunity to clear
away some of his advisers, blaming some of the controversial people around
him, saying that it was all their fault, that it was not a rogue operation
just launched by the 15 people who were in the consulate there who got into
this boxing match and then I guess decided to chop up the body, but that it
was – some of his powerful underlings who acted on their own authority and
launched this mission which ultimately embarrassed Saudi Arabia.

And you were asking earlier, could that result in their death? It
absolutely could result in their death.

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s right.

Congresswoman, it seems to me watching the stories I think we can fill all
up this. These people are not going to talk. They are either their
families will be threatened and they will go down. They will accept that
they are going to be executed but their families will be spared. They are
going to find a way of keeping these men from talking. Because this whole
plan they are putting together, this whole rigmarole of nonsense, this
cover-up isn`t going to work if they squeal.

SPEIER: Well, one of them has already died in a mysterious car crash based
on information we received yesterday. I mean, what`s really stunning about
all of this, but for the fact that Turkey started leaking this information,
you would have had the Saudis basically say that these were rogue
operators, and you would have had the President of the United States
supporting that.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, I don`t trust him on this, as I don`t on many
things, but especially the Saudi and him together, I don`t think they are
the team that`s going give us the truth at all. I think they are working
together to keep it from us.

Richard Engel, as always, brilliant.

Josh Lederman, again for you, sir.

Eli Stokols who is good on everything.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier of the intelligence committee. I hope you guys
on the hill get on this because they need some pressure put on these
people. I think they felt the Friday night pressure. Somebody told the
Saudis, come out with something by Friday night, and they have. I don`t
think it`s going to hold the weekend.

Coming up, more breaking news tonight on the Russia front, another huge
story tonight. The Russian national with ties to Vladimir Putin. One of
them was charged today with attempting to meddle in the 2018 elections, not
the 2016. They were going after us. They are doing all the dirty stuff
they did in 2016 to get an 18. That means they are still at it.

Plus, President Trump`s closing message to voters in his own words as
Kavanaugh and the caravan. But he is also peddling conspiracy theories to
his base. What are Democrats offering in response? There is a bigger
question.

Also, we are going to have more on the breaking news in Saudi Arabia. We
have been given you and the epic west wing blowup the other day between
Trump senior advisers Bolton and Kelly.

Finally, let me finish tonight with the leader that cared about an
underdog.

This is HARDBALL where the action is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Back in now in HARDBALL ten this Friday night. The ten race
that will decide who controls the Senate after the November midterms.

Today in Texas, the Houston chronicle endorsed Democratic candidate Beto
O`Rourke, calling him one of the most impressive candidates this editorial
board has encountered in many years. The chronicle touts O`Rourke`s
command of the issues, unaffected eloquence, and his eagerness to reach out
to all Texans.

By the way, six years ago that same newspaper, the Houston paper, endorsed
Cruz. Now it`s slamming Cruz`s manifest inadequacies, saying he has shown
little interest in addressing the needs of his fellow Texans during his six
years in office.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

A Russian national has been charged in Virginia today for interfering in
this country`s elections including efforts to influence the 2018 midterm
elections, the ones coming up in two weeks. That`s the big news tonight.
They are still at it.

The criminal complaint reveals that Elena (INAUDIBLE) of St. Petersburg was
charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States for waging a social
media campaign to create amplify divisive social media and political
content. In other words, to stir up trouble here. Using fake online
identities, the Russian conspiracy allegedly posted online propaganda like
this which spread lies about former President Obama and gives cover to
President Trump.

The caption, by the way, to this image reads “if only the media had been as
bothered by Obama`s ties to the Muslim brotherhood as they are by Trump`s
fake ties to Russia.” Well, of course, Obama had no such ties.

Another inflammatory post targeted Muslims with an anti-immigration message
saying, no cult pretending to be a religion should ever be given the
freedom to exist within the same western countries that they are taught to
hate. Of course, that`s anti-Islamic.

The complaint alleges that the Russian propaganda campaign going on right
now inflamed passions over divisive issues, listing them all. This what
they have targeted. They are pretty smart, those Russians. Look what they
are doing. They` are going after on the red hot issue of immigration, the
red hot issue of gun control, the confederate flag issue, the women`s
march, and even a debate over the NFL and taking a knee in the national
anthem. All this stuff we have been fighting about in this country, they
have been heating up more so. And while the conspirators targeted both
sides of the political spectrum, it appears the majority of the Russian
efforts focused on helping Trump. Trump was asked about that news today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It has nothing to do with my
campaign. And all of the hackers and all of the – everybody that you see,
nothing to do with my campaign. If the hackers, a lot of them probably
like Hillary Clinton better than me. Now they do. Now they do. But, you
know that. But, you know, they go after some hacker in Russia and they say
oh, it had nothing to do with my campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, joining now is Tom Winter, an investigative reporter for
NBC News, and Malcolm Nance, author of “The Plot to Destroy Democracy.”

Tom, help us out here about this – is this news that they`re still doing
it?

TOM WINTER, NBC NEWS INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Yes, I think so, Chris.

I mean, we have been hearing about this from our intelligence communities
and from law enforcement over the past couple of months. But I think
what`s important today is that we get some specifics.

And I think it`s a little bit of the intelligence community and the law
enforcement community of the United States throwing – throwing a punch
back at the Russian government and saying, hey, we`re still getting your
messages. We`re still on top of you from an intelligence standpoint, and
we`re still monitoring exactly what it is that you`re doing. And this has
been going on for some time, and we`re going to tie it to an oligarch who
is very close to Vladimir Putin.

So I think the level of detail that we have here, the fact that they`re –
they`re changing up a little bit – I mean, before the Russians win so hard
against Hillary Clinton in the spring of 2016, right through the election,
this was the type of stuff that they were starting to do, pick on hot-topic
issues, things that are going to be divisive in the United States, and just
start to – just start to mess with the way that we talk about things and
try to inject different points of view, extreme points of view into the
debate.

At some point, they made the turn. All the intelligence agencies came
around to the fact that the efforts were to – were to help Donald Trump
with the election, but right now we`re seeing them make that shift back to
some of the things that they were starting to do before, which is to pick
on these issues and to put information out on social media that gets people
talking about it, gets people sharing it.

And in the past, we have talked about how low-cost this was, Chris. Today,
we`re seeing, according to this criminal complaint, that, in 2016, just
this company – and, remember, they were just one – kind of one part of
what the Russians were doing – that they were expensing $12 million in
I.T. and in online advertising that they were doing through the social
media Web sites.

So I think this is a really significant criminal complaint that`s been
unsealed today that we`re looking at on screen. And I think it`s something
that really deserves our attention, to know that they`re still doing this
and they`re still trying to get in our heads in this country.

MATTHEWS: Well, Malcolm, as Tom just mentioned, the criminal complaint
states that the Russian influence operation was indicted – which was
indicted today, was financed by a wealthy Russian oligarch, a restaurant
tycoon named Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was indicted alongside 12 other
Russians last February.

As a close friend of Putin, he`s better known as Putin`s chef. However,
when NBC`s Megyn Kelly asked Putin about him last March, or this past
March, Putin insisted hat he`s not a friend of his.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEGYN KELLY, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: One of your good friends is actually accused
of helping conduct this. His name is Yevgeny Prigozhin.

You know him?

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I know that
person, but I wouldn`t consider him one of my friends. This is just
twisting the facts around. He is a businessman. He`s involved in a
restaurant business and some other business.

But he is not a government official. We don`t have anything to do with
him.

KELLY: After you heard that he had been indicted, did you pick up the
phone and call him?

PUTIN (through translator): Like I have nothing better to do. I have got
so many things to do and so many problems.

KELLY: He`s your friend. He`s just been indicted.

PUTIN (through translator): Didn`t you hear what I said? He`s not a
friend of mine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Malcolm, let me ask you about something that impressed – as a
political person, I`m amazed at the sophistication of the bad guys here,
the Russians.

They know everything that irritates this country, everything that`s a flash
point, whether it`s immigration or it`s guns or it`s everything. They seem
to know everything that hurts us and they want it to hurt more.

MALCOLM NANCE, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, you`re absolutely right.

And what you`re looking at is a strategic plan that is being executed by
the Russians against the United States. I am not exaggerating when I say
the Russian information warfare operation against America is James Bond
evil villain level plotting here.

They are watching in real time what affects this nation. They have
monitoring stations. They have people watching the news, the print media.
They`re watching Trump and his statements. They`re watching his followers.

And they are crafting and adapting their social warfare tools to make sure
that their propaganda products are hitting us precisely where they hurt the
most. This again – and the basis of this is old-school KGB activity, but
it`s now moving at the speed of the electron.

And we just don`t have the capacity to stop it because they have weaponized
freedom of speech. And until we take it very seriously – and we`re not
going to because the president of the United States does not believe one
word that this is happening, which now makes the Russian operations operate
at lightspeed, because they can go with impunity.

And the only thing stopping them is news media broadcasts like this, when
we catch them and indict them and turn them into a criminal enterprise.
That`s the only time anybody believes that it`s happening.

It`s really a shame.

MATTHEWS: Well, I – Malcolm and Tom, I can think of three reasons why
Trump hates this news story breaking tonight.

Number one, it shows, as you just said, Malcolm, a criminal enterprise is
ongoing, it`s real, it was real in `16, it`s real in `18, and Trump looked
like he was a part of it. We will find out when Mueller comes through with
his report.

Secondly, it`s clearly out to hurt our cultural unity, such as it still
exists in this country. They seem to know our pressure points. They want
to divide us apart.

Thank you, Tom Winter. Thank you, Malcolm Nance.

Up next: President Trump`s closing message to voters in his own words –
he`s clever with his alliteration – Kavanaugh – not – yes, Kavanaugh and
the caravan. Isn`t that clever?

So what are Democrats are offering as a countermessage?

This is HARDBALL, where the action is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This will be an election of Kavanaugh, the caravan, law and order,
and common sense. That`s what it`s going to be. It`s going to be an
election of those things. The choice could not be more clear.

Democrats produce mobs. Republicans produce jobs.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, there he is. He`s made up the slogan. And that`s
hardball.

Anyway, that was President Trump rolling out his new closing argument, his
slogans, to voters at a rally out in Montana last night.

Trump painted Democrats as an angry mob full of conspiracy theories and
fear-mongering. His latest scare, that Democrats are behind a caravan of
Central American migrants traveling towards the U.S. border through Mexico.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It`s going to be an election of the caravan. You know what I`m
talking about. You know what I`m talking about.

A lot of money`s been passing through people to come up and try and get to
the border by Election Day, because they think that`s a negative for us,
that they wanted that caravan. And there are those who say that caravan
didn`t just happen. It didn`t just happen.

They refuse to acknowledge or to change the laws. They like it. They also
figure everybody coming in is going to vote Democrat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Trump didn`t stop there. He riffed on a host of other
conspiracies about paid protesters, rigged elections and, true to form, his
2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: But did you see the signs? They`re brand-new. They`re beautiful,
the black-and-white signs. Everybody has the same signs.

There are a lot of rigged things going on to that. Just ask Bernie
Sanders. You think things are rigged, Bernie?

But we fight like nobody ever fought before.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: You know what we do? We fight, and we fight, and we win.

If you fight back today, it`s called obstruction. No, no, no, we fight
back. Call it whatever the hell you want. We fight back.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Obstruction.

Crooked Hillary is a great unifier.

AUDIENCE: Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!

TRUMP: It is incredible, the deep state, where they don`t even look at her
– isn`t it incredible?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: We`re joined – we`re joined right now by Omarosa Manigault-
Newman, a former White House staffer, of course, of note, and Susan Del
Percio, a Republican strategist.

I don`t know which of you to start to say who is going to explain Trump and
his sloganeering.

But anybody that believes – look, I think Democrats can be a little slow
politically once in a while, but the idea they would start this caravan of
4,000 or 5,000 people trooping up from Guatemala, on to Texas or Arizona,
is not something you do with any kind of political astuteness two weeks
before an election.

But he`s saying that`s what the Democrats are up to.

OMAROSA MANIGAULT-NEWMAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE STAFFER: No.

And it makes no sense, not that any of his conspiracy theories have to make
sense. They would have to be registered. They would have to have
identification in order to participate in the election.

MATTHEWS: Oh, they`re all going to vote when they get here.

(LAUGHTER)

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: Right. But let`s not let logic get in the way of fact.

So, Donald Trump wants to create this boogeyman, this tension, this, if we
don`t get out, then they`re going to get us.

Who`s the they? Today, it`s Honduras. Tomorrow, it`s Hillary. The next
day, it will be those who oppose Kavanaugh.

He is really good at creating this invisible monster that`s coming to get
his base.

MATTHEWS: Susan, erstwhile Republican, occasional Republican, not this
week Republican, Susan Del Percio.

I mean, he is sloganeering. And I just wonder, he gives people nicknames.
He has nicknamed the – he`s calling it the caravan. He is connected it
alliteratively with Kavanaugh. The two names are now working together.

We will hear them – they will be married from now to Election Days, those
two names. Jobs vs. mobs. Now, he can tell somebody, a congressman, to
punch out some reporter, but that`s not bad behavior, but somebody
complains about somebody in a restaurant, that`s a bad behavior.

He distinguishes mob behavior from punching people out. And he seems to
get his side – on his side all the time.

SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, and he`s only happy if he`s
making – if he`s after someone and fighting them.

He`s got to divide because he has no message that can bring our country
together. He`s hoping he can get – play on hate and to bring out enough
of the base.

But what is interesting and not imaginary is the caravan. And I think he
likes that, besides for what it represents, is he will have a visual that
will go along with that. And Donald Trump is about the visual. He`s about
television. And that is going to go along with his message.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I think that`s going to be – yes, I think he doesn`t even have
to narrate it. I think that visual is going to hurt people like Bob Casey
in Pennsylvania and Sherrod Brown in Ohio and Debbie Stabenow in Michigan.

People do not want people pouring into the country like that without any
regulation or any role by the government or the American people, just
coming in. It scares people and it bothers them.

Anyway, Trump used last night`s rally to praise Montana Republican
Congressman Greg Gianforte. In fact, during his campaign last May, Greg
Gianforte body-slammed a newspaper reporter at “The Guardian,” Ben Jacobs,
at an event.

The congressman was later charged and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor
assault charge. And last night, Trump described the incident as a
positive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Greg is smart.

And, by the way, never wrestle him. You understand that? Never.

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: Any guy that can do a body slam, he`s my kind of…

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: He`s my guy.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: But I had heard that he body-slammed a reporter.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Oh, this is terrible. He`s going to lose the election. Then I
said, well, wait a minute. I know Montana pretty well. I think it might
help him. And it did.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Could it be that Trump knows Saudi Arabia really well, the way
they treat reporters?

I mean, this is this juxtaposition of a reporter who writes “The Washington
Post” and lives in Virginia being cut up into pieces as part of this
incredible act of murder. He says – that same week that happens, he`s
talking about a guy getting beaten up.

What about the guy in Staten Island that said, I`m going to break you like
a boy, that character?

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: Yes, because he`s making the mistake of thinking that
the midterms are about his base. And his base are about these men, these
strong men who fight and who are aggressive.

But the problem is, he`s claiming to be the law and order president, that
he wants this order, and he`s trying to depict the Democrats as a mob.

MATTHEWS: But beating up reporters is consistent with law and order?

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: No, it`s not. And he doesn`t see the irony of this.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Never mind.

If you swing back at a congressman, you would be in jail for 10 years.

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: Yes, you will.

MATTHEWS: Let me – let me go to Susan on this.

Susan, is this going to be the campaign? Is this what we`re going to hear,
Kavanaugh, which he thinks he won on with his peeps, and the caravan, which
will probably hurt the Democrats generally? It just will.

And then going after mobs. I agree – look, some of these things are
mistakes. I mean, anybody who goes after a guy in a restaurant and bothers
his family is going to look bad. You never go after the family. We don`t
like that in America. It`s never going to look good.

Those people went up on – went after – and I don`t like Cruz that much
politically, but going after him and his family in a restaurant, and he –
Cruz was smart enough to walk out. He went up 10 points after that.

People who think they`re activists should vote and get people out to vote
and leave the fisticuffs and the rough stuff to the Trump people.

Your thoughts, Susan.

DEL PERCIO: Well, and that`s when Donald – that`s what Donald Trump
pounces on. He goes after one or two examples, thinks it represents an
entire group of people or party.

And I just like to say, while he was – Donald Trump was at the rally and
talking about beating up reporters, Nikki Haley was at the Al Smith Dinner
and discussing that our political opponents are not our enemies. They are
not evil.

And that just stands in such a stark contrast to where the president was
last night.

MATTHEWS: Susan, you`re so smart. We`re going to show those clips. We`re
going to show those clips in a few minutes, because not only did she
separate herself on the question of our opponents not being evil and stop
talking like that – she said that basically to the president.

But she told some really funny stuff too.

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: She was great.

DEL PERCIO: She was.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, that`s what I like to hear. I think she`s got political
smarts.

And your party should be smarter, even though she`s a neocon, like some of
you guys are. I like her, anyway, as a political person.

Thank you, Omarosa Manigault-Newman.

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: Thanks. Yes.

MATTHEWS: Still on the book trail? The name of the book is?

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: “Unhinged.”

MATTHEWS: “Unhinged.” Thanks.

D.C., I see it all over the airports.

Anyway, Susan Del Percio, thank you so much. Good luck in reclaiming your
party.

DEL PERCIO: I`m trying.

MATTHEWS: Up next: more on today`s big story out of Saudi Arabia. We have
got new reaction from the White House.

How are they going to cover this cover-up? Can the president buy this
nonsense that there was a fistfight with 15 guys against one? Then they
decide to chop him up into pieces because he lost the fistfight? What?

You`re watching HARDBALL.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

And back to our top story tonight. It couldn`t be a bigger one.

Saudi Arabia`s state news agency acknowledging that “Washington Post”
journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in that Saudi Consulate.

The White House said, by the way, in a statement tonight: “We are saddened
to hear confirmation of Mr. Khashoggi`s death, and we will continue to
closely follow the international investigations into this tragic incident
that advocate – that advocate that justice is timely, transparent, and in
accordance with all due process.”

I don`t believe a word of that.

Meanwhile, Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted: “To say that I am skeptical of
the new study narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement.”

Good for Lindsey.

Let`s bring in tonight`s Roundtable, Natasha Bertrand, staff writer for
“The Atlantic,” Evan McMullin, a former CIA operative, and Eugene Scott, a
political reporter for “The Washington Post.”

It seems to me – I said earlier it`s rolling disclosure. They`re telling
us what we already know. He`s dead. That`s all they told us that we can
believe. All this stuff about a fistfight, 15 to one, they have to explain
where his body is.

And if they did chop it up, like the word is that they did, they have to
explain that. Why would they chop up a body because the guy lost a
fistfight?

NATASHA BERTRAND, “THE ATLANTIC”: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: And why was there a fistfight, when the only reason he went in
there was to get some marriage materials?

BERTRAND: Why bring a bone saw, right? Why bring a forensic expert?

MATTHEWS: A doctor.

BERTRAND: And a doctor.

MATTHEWS: Why bring a guy in an expert in music to be played?

BERTRAND: It seems like the plan all along was to go in and if not kill
him, then at least interrogate him. And if that interrogation went awry
somehow, then the plan was to cover it up.

And I think Khashoggi knew going in that something was going to happen,
because apparently, according to reporting we have seen, he had his Apple
Watch on and recording. So he knew kind that he was walking into this
danger.

And the fact that the Saudis` story has changed so many times – I mean,
they never provided that he walked out of that consulate – that was the
first red flag – is just more evidence.

And the fact that the president has not come out and strongly condemned
this, has been playing this wait-and-see game, saying that the Saudis have
to finish their own investigation into a murder that they were involved in
is just completely outrageous.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Evan, here`s how I think they`re going to finish their
investigation.

In the next 48 hours, we`re going to – some people are going to be dead,
because how else do they silence people? Unless they threaten their
families and say, unless you take the dive, life imprisonment, at least
purported life imprisonment, or 50 lashes, whatever they come up with,
because they`re denying it`s premeditated murder.

So they don`t have to say there is a capital crime here to be – to be
punished.

EVAN MCMULLIN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, in Saudi Arabia, they
have all kinds of ways to squirrel these guys away and to control the
situation and keep them away from the press.

Some of them, they may imprison. Some of them, they may kill. Some may
just melt away and we won`t know for sure and it will be difficult…

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: How do they keep them quiet? Because they all know what
happened.

MCMULLIN: You put them under house arrest. You put them under arrest in
some way. It`s not difficult in Saudi Arabia or in almost any other
country in the Middle East to do this sort of thing.

The thing is, though, I just…

MATTHEWS: Can this guy after this happened – can that – that well-
turned-out, cologned, Westernized prince over there, the crown prince, who
is such a dandy, can he now again sit down with the president of the United
States in a meeting?

Can he sit with Theresa May in London? Can he actually act like a
civilized figure now and get away with it?

MCMULLIN: I think it`s very hard for civilized leaders of the West, as you
put it, to have relations with MSB looking forward – or MBS.

But the problem is, is that our president isn`t – he doesn`t follow those
rules. He`s not – he`s not committed to our values. And neither is MBS.
So that I don`t think is going to be a problem.

But I just have to say, I don`t think enough is being made of the fact that
the Saudi sent 15 men to do this job. As a former operations guy, I just
have to tell you, you don`t send 15 men to simply meet a guy or question a
guy or even to kill a guy.

You send 15 men if you want to abduct a guy or if you want to kill a guy,
and then do away with his body. But that 15 men is just an incredible – an
incredible signal of premeditation on this.

MATTHEWS: OK. OK, you`re the spook. You know how this is done.

They got surveillance cameras on that place. It was probably bugged by the
Turks. And this guy, Khashoggi`s girlfriend, his fiancee, was standing
outside. They didn`t hide the fact that he was killed.

They didn`t hide it. He disappeared inside that building.

MCMULLIN: But with these – with these kinds of regimes come some hubris,
where they think they can get away with things. They think they`re more
clever than they actually are.

They may not have been counting on his fiancee to be outside. They think
they can get away with things that they can`t. And when they`re subjected
to outside world scrutiny, their lies unravel very quickly.

And it`s not – it`s not uncommon.

MATTHEWS: Gene, you know what strikes me, is how much we see them as one
of us.

EUGENE SCOTT, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: Yes, I mean, I think people who are
familiar with international affairs and had been paying attention to MBS
understand that he`s been problematic for a while.

MATTHEWS: No, I meant Khashoggi is one of us.

SCOTT: He is. “The Washington Post”…

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: He is your colleague.

SCOTT: Yes, absolutely, and one of us.

And one of the reasons I think that the government thought they could get
away with it is because they realized that we are now living in a country
under a president who has so little respect for journalists.

MATTHEWS: Like he said – he applauded the other guy last night for
punching out a report.

SCOTT: Absolutely.

And so, I mean, they heard – they have heard a president talk about fake
news and applaud physical assault on a journalist. They had no reason to
believe that the president would be upset with them.

MATTHEWS: I`ll tell you, will no one rid me of this meddlesome journalist?
I can imagine.

Anyway, this is an upbeat story. Outgoing, about to be former U.N.
Ambassador Nikki Haley poked some fun last night at both the administration
and the Democrats at the annual, the great Al Smith charity dinner.

Here she goes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: The president called
me this morning and gave me some really good advice.

He said, if I get stuck for laughs, just brag about his accomplishments.

(LAUGHTER)

HALEY: It really killed at the U.N., I got to tell you.

Jeff Sessions wanted to be here, but he recused himself.

(LAUGHTER)

HALEY: Actually, I saw Jeff Sessions earlier today, not in New York. I
saw him on LinkedIn looking for a job.

(LAUGHTER)

HALEY: I get it. You wanted an Indian woman, but Elizabeth Warren failed
her DNA test.

(LAUGHTER)

HALEY: Actually, when the president found out that I was Indian American,
he asked me if I was from the same tribe as Elizabeth Warren.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: She is good.

Anyway, Haley also called for greater civility from both sides in the
political fight. Let`s watch. Here`s – her – her word choice could be
seen as a direct response, by the way, to comments her soon-to-be-about-
former boss uses.

Let`s watch the comparison.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: All of the Democrats know and all they really know how to do is
obstruct, resist, demolish, destroy and delay.

They destroy people. They wanted to destroy people. These are really evil
people.

HALEY: In our toxic political environment, I have heard some people in
both parties describe their opponents as enemies or evil.

In America, our political opponents are not evil.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Very direct.

Evan?

MCMULLIN: Yes, look, I think what she`s doing here – I mean, I`m glad she
had – she said that. These are important things in this moment of
incredible dismissiveness.

But I think what she`s doing is, she`s trying to distance herself from the
president, in anticipation of a time when Trumpism may not be quite so
popular as it is within the Republican Party right now.

And that`s a long bet, and it`s a hopeful bet. It`s one that is – it`s
hard to see right now.

MATTHEWS: Well, I`m a little more generous.

I remember her distancing herself from the Confederate Flag, Eugene.

SCOTT: Yes, she…

MATTHEWS: And that took some guts in South Carolina. She did it fast.

SCOTT: She did, right.

And we know she spoke out very – with great emotion after the Charleston
massacre, where the white supremacist went into the church and killed black
Christians who were praying.

But many people in the Democratic base are not going to forget the fact
that Nikki Haley went along with Donald Trump on so many things that they
found indefensible.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Well, nobody is counting on the Democratic base if you`re Nikki
Haley. You`re counting on a Republican Party that survives.

(CROSSTALK)

SCOTT: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, I think she`s a great pol. I think I like politicians.

Anyway, the Roundtable is sticking with us. Up next, these three are going
to Tell Me Something I Don`t Know.

You`re watching HARDBALL.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, two of President Trump`s top advisers were reportedly
caught in a heated profanity-, F-word-laced shouting match outside the Oval
Office yesterday.

And administration officials tell NBC News that the disagreement between
Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser John Bolton was
over the rising number of undocumented immigrants coming into the country.

The dispute was so heated, according to some people, that Kelly ended up
storming out of the White House altogether. He just walked out of the
White House, he was so angry.

Well, the White House released a statement late last night, saying in part:
“While we are passionate about solving the issue of illegal immigration, we
are not angry at one another.”

Well, that was a cover story.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL Roundtable.

Natasha, Tell Me Something I Don`t Know.

BERTRAND: So, internal government e-mails obtained and released by the
House Democrats this week show that Trump was actually directly involved in
the decision to scrap a long-term plan to relocate the FBI headquarters, in
a way that would allow one of Trump`s competitors, if they wanted to, to
build property on that land just a block away from his hotel.

MATTHEWS: I know.

BERTRAND: So this is evidence…

MATTHEWS: So, we`re going to be stuck with that Stalin-esque, Soviet-style
building forever?

BERTRAND: Ironically, it would – it would cost a lot more to rebuild the
current headquarters.

MATTHEWS: I know. Boy, that is an ugly building, anyway, the Hoover
Building.

Go ahead, Evan.

MCMULLIN: So, so according to an SSRS poll released today, 96 percent of
Republicans think the party reflects its values accurately.

That`s four times as many thought that in 2010. At the same time, 91
percent of Democrats think the same about the Democratic Party.

So what we`re seeing is a coalescing of the polarization, the political
polarization in the country, a very dangerous thing, what both the Russians
and Donald Trump is trying to facilitate in our country. It`s very
dangerous.

MATTHEWS: I hate it.

Go ahead, Gene.

SCOTT: Since last – since last Friday, five potential 2020 Democratic
candidates have all visited South Carolina, showing that they`re focused on
the base. The women, the millennials, the people of color are all in South
Carolina.

MATTHEWS: Base meaning African-Americans, right? Let`s be clear.

SCOTT: Well, yes, but black voters, black women, also black millennials,
but also…

MATTHEWS: Who has got the best chance in South Carolina? Would it be
Kamala?

SCOTT: I think it`s either Kamala or Booker right now.

But Biden`s going down there, Bloomberg. Sanders is going to be there
tomorrow. So we will see.

MATTHEWS: I think Biden`s best chance is to get a lot of third places and
stay in the race. He`s not going to do well in the beginning. It`s too
tough with the left.

But if he keeps getting third place, third place, third place, he might
outlast them. I think that`s his game.

Thank you, Natasha Bertrand.

And he`s never told me.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Evan McMullin and Eugene Scott.

When we return, Let Me Finish tonight with a leader who cared about the
underdog.

You`re watching HARDBALL.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let Me Finish tonight with a leader who cared about the
underdog.

Tomorrow, I will be at Barrington Books up in Cranston, Rhode Island, to
speak about my book “Robert Kennedy: A Raging Spirit.”

Big crowds have been greeting me on this tour, people at the University of
Southern Maine in Portland last week, an even larger crowd this past
weekend in Morristown Book Festival, a huge crowd in New Jersey.

Everywhere I go, there are people concerned about today`s politics. And
that starts with their concern about Trump, but it doesn`t end there.

I think they`re looking for a more passionate opposition to Trump, one
based on principle, on protecting what people have won in this country, and
want leaders devoted to keeping that.

My book on Bobby Kennedy, which came out in paperback this week, reminds
people that such leaders are possible, leaders who care about the underdog,
who unite the country, not divide it.

Tomorrow, I will be in Barrington Books in Cranston, Rhode Island, starting
at 3:00 p.m. I expect to see a lot of people there, because we had 1,000
the last time.

And this is HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.

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

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