Shutdown enters 3rd week, TRANSCRIPT: 1/7/2019, Hardball w. Chris Matthews.
Date: January 7, 2019
Guest: John Brabender; Ted Lieu, Sahil Kapur, Charlie Sykes, Corey
Lewandowski, Terry McAuliffe
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: A Trumped up emergency? Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I am Chris Matthews back in Washington.
We are entering day 17 of the government shutdown which at midnight tonight
will become the second longest shutdown in American history. And now the
President must either buckle to House speaker Nancy Pelosi or continue to
obey right wing hardliners like Rush Limbaugh who pitch forked him into
this situation in the first place.
With no way out, President Trump announced today he will make his first
prime time address from the oval office tomorrow night. Will it be to
declare a national emergency? He is planning to follow up his address
tomorrow night with a visit to the southern border on Thursday, all to
rally public opinion to his side. It comes after the President threatened
to declare a national emergency when talks led by vice president Pence
failed to yield any results over the weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are looking at a national
emergency because we have a national emergency. Just read the papers. We
are looking at it very strongly. But hopefully we can do it this way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: While the President said the government could be closed for
months or even years, his administration is already struggling to cope with
the mounting fallout.
According to “the Washington Post” quote “administration officials have
acknowledged that they were not prepared for the potential consequences of
an extended shutdown. And Trump`s decision to demand wall funding.
Furthermore, the President has been engaging in debate over semantics when
it comes to his definition of the wall. He now says he will build it out
of steel rather than concrete, which he said is a concession to Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I informed my folks to say that we will build a steel barrier,
steel. It will be made out of steel.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you think that Democrats would like the steel
TRUMP: They don`t like concrete, so we will give them steel. Steel is
fine. Steel is actually more expensive than concrete, but it will look
beautiful and it is very strong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: However, speaker Pelosi has made clear the Democratic Congress
will stand firm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), HOUSE SPEAKER: The impression you get from the
President that he would like to not only close government, build a wall,
but also abolish Congress, so the only voice that mattered was his own.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I am joined now by Ted Lieu, Democratic Congressman from
California. Shannon Pettypiece, White house correspondent for “Bloomberg.”
John Brabender, a Republican strategist.
Let`s hear from the congressman first. As a lawmaker, sir, what do you
make of the possibilities that perhaps like John Kennedy and the Cuban
missile crisis, this President is going to sit there in the oval office
tomorrow night, reading a script that calls for him to declare a national
emergency, perhaps then shifting billions of dollars from the defense fund
to the wall? What do you make of that constitutionally, sir?
REP. TED LIEU, (D-CA), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Thank you, Chris, for the
question. Let me first say my heart goes out to victims of the tragic mass
shooting in my home town Torrance this weekend.
Now specifically on your question, I served the military on active duty. I
was a jag. I studied this issue. And it is my opinion that it would be
illegal for the President to use military to go build a wall simply by
declaring a national emergency. It would violate the act. The military
members will be following an illegal order, subjecting them to being at
risk of violating federal crime. This is a very big deal. I hope the
President doesn`t declare a national emergency to build a wall.
MATTHEWS: Looking at his impulsive manner of govern, looking it the way he
governs from that in place to its choir, how do you – have you any
confidence he won`t do it because he fired his attorney general, he fires
his defense secretary, he fires his chief of staff. Anyone gets in his way
and says you can`t do this, Mr. President, he gets rid of. You say he
can`t do it.
What about - he has nobody. Who in the White House? Mattis is gone. Mad
dog is gone. Nobody can stop him. His guy McGahn is gone. His White
House attorney who used to say no to him once in a while, he is gone. Is
this going to go to the courts? He declares a national emergency, directs
a shift of billions to the wall and then what happens to the constitution,
LIEU: Our framers were very wise and they created three branches of
government. I am convinced the courts will stop the President if he were
to declare a national emergency to build a wall. The framers of the
constitution gave Congress, specifically the House of Representatives, the
power of the purse. The President can`t go around that power simply by
making up a national emergency and appropriating the funds that Congress
specifically didn`t authorize.
And this national emergency is completely made up. If you look at the
facts, violent crime is down across the United States, property crime is
down, immigrants commit less crime, and border crossings are down. The
President is going to lose in court.
MATTHEWS: Congressman, one last question. I mean, this is cruel. But
have you looked at the makeup of the United States Supreme Court lately?
And what gives you confidence among those nine people that the five of them
won`t do what they have been doing for years, ever since the Gore fight
back in 2000 when they gave the election to W. What gives you any
confidence they won`t just do what the President tells them to do and
authorize that shift of money from the defense department to the wall?
LIEU: I believe this would be a step too far, even for conservative
jurists on the Supreme Court. Again, the House of Representatives alone
has the power of the purse. The President can`t go around that simply by
making up the national emergency. I think the courts would strike it down,
regardless whether they`re conservative or liberal.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me go to Shannon on this, first.
Shannon, you have been talking about this, reporting on this. It does seem
to me he is asking for national time tomorrow night. You don`t get prime
time money or time, it is money really, from the networks, the broadcast
network unless you have news to announce. He is not going to go out there
and just beat the drum on the war threat - I mean, wall threat.
SHANNON PETTYPIECE, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Right.
MATTHEWS: He is going to have to come out with news. And I think you are
right. I think we have been talking about he is going to go with a
national emergency and say I wanted to do it a different way, but Nancy
Pelosi won`t let me. I`m doing it this way.
PETTYPIECE: Yes. They are doubling down on their strategy here. They see
this as a winning political hand. They see that immigration is the number
one issue among Republican voters, including the President`s base. They
are feeling no political pressure. So go out there on prime time, declare
a national emergency, go visit the border, play it up as hard as you can
because they don`t see the political consequences from it yet.
The President believes very much that the majority of federal workers who
are affected by this are Democrats in D.C. and Maryland.
MATTHEWS: Yes. And he goes to the national emergency route tomorrow
night, and shifts the funds, doesn`t that end the standoff about the
government staying open or not?
PETTYPIECE: I mean, we really have no idea because we are kind of in
uncharted territory here. It is possible he could declare a national
emergency and shift money for things other than a wall, things to help with
medical treatment or temporary housing. But to use it as a way to elevate
the platform, tell people there`s this emergency at the border and get
people fired up about the issue.
MATTHEWS: Let`s get back to the facts about reality here and about whether
there are many terrorists across the border or not. I mean, there`s always
an ethnic issue about people coming from Mexico and Latin-America. We know
the politics about that, in states where it does offend people or concern
them. White house press secretary Sarah Sanders was challenged yesterday
when she said that thousands of terrorists have entered the country through
the southern border. Let`s watch that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We know that roughly
nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come into our country illegally,
and we know that our most vulnerable point of entry is at our southern
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Wait. I know the statistic. I didn`t
know if you are going to use it but I studied up on this. Do you know
where those 4,000 people come or where they are captured? Airports.
SANDERS: Not always.
WALLACE: The state department says there hasn`t been any terrorists coming
across the southern border.
SANDERS: It is by air, it is by land, and it is by sea. It is all of the
WALLACE: They are not coming across the southern border, Sarah. They are
coming and they are being stop at airports.
SANDERS: They are coming in a number of ways. Certainly I am not
disagreeing that they are coming through airports.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I am not disagreeing after saying they are coming across the
As a follow-up NBC News has reported today that U.S. customs and border
protection counted only six immigrants in the first half of the last fiscal
year whose name are on a federal government list as known as suspected
terrorists, just six. That`s according to data provided to Congress last
John Brabender, I know – I assume that the reason he keeps calling about
terrorists because - then he can say to people, well, they are not
prejudice against the Spanish. They are just worried about terrorists.
But there is no terrorist threat from the southern border.
JOHN BRABENDER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, first of all, there`s
multiple problems with the southern border. Terrorist is one.
MATTHEWS: What about –? It says one of the problem.
BRABENDER: One thing we learned on 9/11, even if it is a handful of
terrorists, we don`t want to be in a situation saying why didn`t we do
something about it. So whether it is a thousand or whether it is 500.
MATTHEWS: A wall is going to keep out terrorists.
BRABENDER: Well, that`s number one.
MATTHEWS: No, really. Honestly, John Brabender. And you are smart. Are
you telling me that the wall –.
BRABENDER: Let`s add some of the other things the President say. Last
year in America, 100,000 Americans were rushed to ER because of heroin.
Three-quarters of the heroin comes in to this country from the southern
border. There`s 20,000 children in Central America and Mexico that are
being pushed to America that are part of sex trafficking. We have that
And then you talk about gangs. Go to Long Island. Talk about the children
killed in Long Island by gangs that are coming here. And you understand
that we do have an emergency. We have American lives.
And everybody forgets, they are saying well, the President shouldn`t call
this, couldn`t get this $5.7 billion, why was it all right for the Obama
administration to randomly give $1.7 billion to the Iranians in cash for
basically a ransom, and nobody thought –
MATTHEWS: Congressman Lieu, this is all over the place. But the question
of national emergency is not something to be argued about. There is an
emergency or it is not. Is it appropriate for the President to talk in
LIEU: Absolutely not. There is a crisis though in health care and
infrastructure. That`s what Democrats want to work on. Instead, we are
having this big distraction of this manufactured crisis that doesn`t exist
on the southern border.
Again, if you look at the facts, crime is down, both violent and property
crime. Immigrants, both documented and undocumented, commit less crime,
and Democrats support border security. We just don`t support any phishing
and wasteful fourth century wall. So we can prevent a lot of these things
from happening at the southern border with much more efficient mechanisms.
That`s why we are having this argument because Trump wants his vanity wall.
MATTHEWS: Shannon, it seems to me the news, and I have been away a couple
weeks. But the big news to me is this has reach ahead. Nancy Pelosi is
not somebody to be played with. She has a mandate from the voters this
past November. She has a whole new crop of women, a lot of young women, a
lot of people on the left, a lot of people that did not come to Congress to
play ball with Donald Trump. They don`t want me. They don`t want deals.
PETTYPIECE: Yes. I don`t think it is coming to a head. I mean, I think
this just got started a couple of days ago. And it has not come to a head
because neither side is feeling any political pressure.
MATTHEWS: Well, that is why is Trump going to this national television
address tomorrow night?
PETTYPIECE: To speak to his base, to speak to Republicans. I mean, I
think John`s point is sort of you can argue with it or not, but the
Republicans perceive immigration as a major issue. You can argue whether
or not it should be perceived as a major issue, but they feel it is. So
while most of the Americans will probably tune out a national address from
the President in prime time, you speak to Republicans who see the President
MATTHEWS: OK. We don`t have a minute. I want to put a question about the
– do you think the President, at least you can war of attrition, just
waited out. I don`t think so. This thing about the garbage piling up and
the paychecks not being delivered, and people not getting tax returns, they
are not getting their returns, this thing is going to get worse and worse
for the President. Isn`t it smarter for the move now and break this thing
up with the national emergency declaration? It seems like that`s what he
is thinking. Can`t win a war of attrition.
PETTYPIECE: Yes. But then it just kicked into court. I mean, who knows
what happens then?
MATTHEWS: John, can he win a long term shutdown?
BRABENDER: well, he is taking a good step. He knows he has a bigger
megaphone to the national people than Nancy Pelosi does. He is going to
use that to redefine, and not talk about a wall, but talk about national
security and the importance of keeping America safe.
MATTHEWS: What`s he going to do? You can`t just talk.
BRABENDER: What he is going to do is he is going to layout the case of why
there is a national problem – emergency, and say I don`t want to start
there, but the Democrats don`t care about your security. If they refuse to
do something about protecting your family, I will.
MATTHEWS: Congressman, last word to you. And the question, what would be
so rebuttal? What would be the ultimate response tomorrow night at 9:20 or
so after the President has spoken that will be on this network. What will
the Congress do if the President says I am shifting a couple of billion
bucks from money spent to defend this country to build the wall? What will
Congress do, just wait for the courts?
LIEU: I believe the House of Representatives would sue. In addition, what
we have here is the House of Representatives passing two versions to reopen
government in terms of bills to the U.S. Senate. One last month that had
wall funding, one last week that didn`t have wall funding. So really you
have a Republican controlled Senate that is not acting on either of these
packages. And it is really Republican senators that are just as at fault
as the President is in having this unnecessary shutdown that`s harming a
lot of Americans.
MATTHEWS: For a President to arbitrarily take billions of dollars which
has been earmarked for national defense and shift it to a wall, is that an
impeachable offense? Would that be an article?
LIEU: Yes. It could be. And the Supreme Court in 1953 struck down
President Truman`s national emergency where he tried to seize or steel
mills, saying you can`t make-up a national emergency and do something that
you couldn`t do normally. And we will see tomorrow as the President may be
trying to get a face saving way out so he can throw this under the courts.
But if he wants to reopen government, that`s great. And if he wants to
reopen government and then declare a national emergency, and then we have
the courts battle it out, that`s something I can live with because we
shouldn`t harming all these Americans as well as our national parks and
people who are at risk of losing their homes –.
MATTHEWS: You said it could be impeachable. What would be the condition
for it being impeachable? What would make it impeachable?
LIEU: That is if his advisers told him this is illegal and he went and did
it, and then put military personnel at risk of following a legal order, and
committing federal crimes. That`s a pretty significant obligation of the
President to protect military folks as well.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much.
U.S. congressman Ted Lieu of California, Shannon Pettypiece of Bloomberg
and John Brabender of the Republican Party.
Coming up, President Trump stuck between Pelosi and Limbaugh. The cracks
within the Republican Party are starting to show, don`t you notice?
Plus, Trump says he can relate to furloughed federal employees who are
struggling to pay their bills. He can relate to that, he said. Former
Virginia governor and possible 2020 contender Terry McAuliffe comes here to
talk about that questionable claim.
And Elizabeth Warren drew big crowds in Iowa this weekend and setting
herself up as the progressive candidate. What does it mean for the rest of
Finally, let me finish what looks like the opening right now of the 2020
This is HARDBALL where the action is.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Two years into his administration, Donald Trump has settled into a
governing style that comes from the gut and preaches to the choir. The
current shutdown over the wall illustrates that perfectly.
Chris (INAUDIBLE), chief executive of News Mags (ph) and friend of
President Trump told “New York Times” that Trump is very obsessed about
carrying out his campaign promises, to a degree that`s unhealthy because it
is important to him.
However, as real world consequences continue to pile up, the cracks within
the Republican Party are starting to show.
On Friday, Colorado Republican Cory Gardner called for the government to be
reopened. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to be super clear here though. You calling
to reopen the government now, even if the wall issue isn`t entirely solved
yet, getting the government reopened now.
SEN. CORY GARDNER (R), COLORADO: The reality is this. The Senate
appropriations bill has the wallet. Yes, let`s get the government open so
we can have a bigger fight for the rest of the funding anyway. That was
going to happen whether or not you got $5 billion or more. I support
getting the $5 billion. I support getting more. But let`s get the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And earlier today, Maine Republican Susan Collins tweeted, the
need to end the partial government shutdown is urgent. Lives are being
affected by this impasse. Congress should reopen much of the government
immediately while negotiations continue.
For more, I`m joined by Charlie Sykes, editor in chief of The Bulwark, and
Corey Lewandowski, senior adviser to the pro-Trump group Great America
Committee. He is also a former campaign manager for Trump`s 2016 campaign.
I don`t know.
Charlie, you`re inside.
I get the feeling – used to be inside.
MATTHEWS: I got a feeling that, finally, Trump`s up against his own
government a bit here, because, when you`re the majority in the Senate and
you`re president, you`re sort of responsible for being chief executive and
making things work, you know?
CHARLIE SYKES, EDITOR IN CHIEF, THE BULWARK: You would think.
MATTHEWS: And now you`re saying the government of the United States is
just going to sit there and atrophy, while the garbage piles up and people
don`t get their paychecks this Friday. And it`s your fault.
MATTHEWS: That`s a crack in this cement, I think. Your thoughts.
SYKES: And for the wall that Mexico was going to pay for that is now,
what, basically a Venetian blind.
Look, the wall is a depreciating asset for the president, because it`s a
costly, unnecessary boondoggle that would be ineffective, that he has
surrounded with a bodyguard of lies, because he`s constantly changed the
rationale for it, the nature of it.
And, at a certain point, even loyalist Republicans who want to stay in his
good graces are looking around and saying, how much damage are you going to
create for something that was basically a misleading slogan at a campaign
rally? How much damage are you going to do?
SYKES: How much damage to the federal government are you going to do? How
much damage to the economy are you going to do? Are you going to provoke a
constitutional crisis over really what was a symbol that, the more you
think about it, it`s not going to stop illegal immigration, it`s not going
to deal with drug-dealing, it`s not going to have anything to do with
people who overstay their visas?
But he is committed to it. And that`s where we`re at right now. I think
it gets worse as time goes on.
MATTHEWS: Corey, what is Trumpism?
Because part of it is, get off my back. We don`t Dukakis. We don`t like
Mike Bloomberg and his 16-ounce Cokes. Just get off of us with the nanny.
Stop telling us what to do.
And here`s Trump talking about eminent domain. He`s going to go down along
the border of Mexico and start grabbing land down there from private
ranchers and saying, I`m putting up a concrete wall, whether you like it or
That doesn`t sound like…
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Steel.
MATTHEWS: Oh, steel, right.
MATTHEWS: That`s the Democrat alternative.
MATTHEWS: It doesn`t sound like the Trump version of how the government
should be operating. Small government, no. Big government.
LEWANDOWSKI: Look, I think this president has made a commitment to the
And his most important job is to keep those people safe. And if that means
stopping people from crossing the border illegally that are committing
crimes, whether they`re killing police officers in California or they`re
killing the sons of firefighters last weekend.
MATTHEWS: When did this happen? This didn`t happen until Rush Limbaugh
blew the whistle on him.
MATTHEWS: That`s when it started. And Laura Ingraham.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, you can go and talk to the families of the victims of
illegal immigrants who have died.
And one American is one too many. And, look, we are a nation of laws.
MATTHEWS: Wait a minute. Wait. The government shutdown resulted from
what Limbaugh said on the air and what Laura Ingraham said. And then the
president said, we`re going to shut the government down.
It wasn`t his initiative.
LEWANDOWSKI: But the president has never wavered from the fact that he`s
going to put a wall on the southern border. He`s talked about it for two
SYKES: But Mexico was going to pay for it.
LEWANDOWSKI: He`s talked about it for two years. And where we are now is,
look, the partial government shutdown that is effect right now does not
prohibit people from getting their tax returns. We know that`s going to
People are still going to get their paycheck. The people who are
furloughed are going to get their paychecks afterwards.
MATTHEWS: If Congress reapportions the money.
LEWANDOWSKI: But it`s very – Chris, what I don`t understand is, this was
a Democrat issue when Barack Obama was in office. And now they
conveniently forget the fact that they all voted for that, including
Hillary Clinton, including Barack Obama, all said, look, we want a wall on
the southern border. We want a barrier down there.
And we have heard from the law enforcement officers who protect the border
every day. And they have said, we want help, give us something. And if we
can rely on them, who protect us every day, who do we rely on?
MATTHEWS: Charlie, I think this is cracking up. I think every day that
passes, Trump`s weaker.
MATTHEWS: Your thoughts?
And if this was such a good idea, why are there so many lies about it? The
– why do they misrepresent it? Look, there is no crisis at the border.
One of the things that Donald Trump successfully did back in 2016 was to
conflate illegal immigration with terrorism.
SYKES: And so he creates this narrative of the terrorists coming across
There were only six people stopped at the southern border…
MATTHEWS: What do you say to that?
SYKES: And, by the way, many more for – at the northern border.
MATTHEWS: What do you say about this lie that Sarah Sanders was pumping at
SYKES: There is no crisis.
LEWANDOWSKI: Secretary Nielsen talked about it today.
And what she said was, we have apprehend more people at the airports than
we have at the border crossing on the southern border.
LEWANDOWSKI: But what we also know – well, Chris, what we know is, maybe
one of those people is the individual who would have not killed Officer
Singh in California.
Maybe it would have been the individual…
MATTHEWS: Well, we would know that by now. We would know that by now,
Corey. This was last year.
LEWANDOWSKI: If we would have stopped that person killed the fire chief`s
MATTHEWS: But that speculation is irrelevant, because we know that they`re
not – they weren`t terrorists, because they were not on the watch lists.
LEWANDOWSKI: These are individuals who were deported on multiple
occasions, still found their way back into the country.
MATTHEWS: So, what the about the 4,000 figure? Where did you get the
4,000 figure from?
LEWANDOWSKI: Look, Secretary Nielsen said…
SYKES: She made it up.
LEWANDOWSKI: She said it was an old report.
SYKES: Now, look, this is – this the Vesuvius of B.S. that we have had to
deal with here.
And there – facts are inconvenient things. The reality is that the number
of arrests at the border are down dramatically from what they were in the
year 2000. There were like 1.6 million. Now they`re down to about
Illegal – even illegal immigrants to get across the border commit crimes
at a lower rate. But the president feels the need to create – look, it
was Rahm Emanuel who came up with the idea, right, don`t let – a crisis is
a terrible thing to waste. We need to exploit it.
He needs to create a sense of crisis to justify this costly boondoggle,
which, as I said, the more people think about it, they – are we really
going to put a steel or a concrete barrier that`s going to cut – cut
millions of Americans off from the Rio Grande River?
Are we really seriously now sitting here talking about the military coming
in and enforcing eminent domain? Does – do the Republican Party want to
preside over soldiers taking away Americans` private property?
MATTHEWS: Ask Corey, who is sitting here.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, Barack Obama`s own Government Accountability study in
2011 said 25,000 homicides, 42,000 robberies and 70,000 sex offenders were
committed by illegals coming into the country.
SYKES: Over what period of time? Over what period of time?
LEWANDOWSKI: That is Obama`s own GAO study.
Now, we can question that if we want to. But those are the numbers that
GAO came up with.
MATTHEWS: Do you support his action if he goes to the military?
LEWANDOWSKI: Absolutely, unequivocally.
SYKES: OK, that`s the crisis. That`s the constitutional crisis.
LEWANDOWSKI: There is no constitutional crisis.
The commander in chief, under Article 2, Section 2, he has full authority
over the U.S. military.
SYKES: We have a constitutional system in which the Congress has the power
to appropriate money.
For the president to assert that authority would be a massive power grab.
It would create a constitutional crisis. And I think it would be an
MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you this. He has to answer to no one about that,
LEWANDOWSKI: No, he ultimately answers to the Supreme Court.
And if a federalist judge wants to come in and prevent the president from
using the military on the southern border, then let`s take it to the
Supreme Court and let them rule on it.
But, right now, it`s unequivocally clear.
MATTHEWS: I don`t know which way this Kavanaugh court is going to go. I`m
not so sure about how they will stand up for the Constitution. I`m not so
SYKES: Well, I think the chief justice would.
And I – but I do think this is a real test for the Republicans in Congress
on a constitutional basis, on a basis of small government, on the basis of
protecting private property, all of those things, and the institution,
because this would be a body blow to the separation of powers.
MATTHEWS: OK, I just want to get this constitutional question right.
Corey, your argument is, Pelosi won`t budge on building the wall. They
can`t get it through the Congress. So the president can build the wall
anyway. That`s what you say.
LEWANDOWSKI: What I`m saying is, the president…
MATTHEWS: He doesn`t have to worry about appropriations or the way the
Constitution works with Article 1 and Article 2 and the balance of power
and the branches of government. No more restriction.
You say the president has rights, as commander in chief, to take billions
of dollars out of the treasury and spend it the way he wants to.
LEWANDOWSKI: What we know is that, since Jimmy Carter`s administration, 52
times, there has been declared a national emergency by president`s for
various reasons. This could also be one of them.
A crisis on the border is a national emergency. If the president needs to
use money that Congress has appropriated under the defense authorization
bill, which is not earmarked…
MATTHEWS: And he can claim eminent domain? Let`s go all the way with
LEWANDOWSKI: He may absolutely use that.
MATTHEWS: And he can take the ranchers` land along the border of the
United States with Mexico, take that land by right of what, his right as
president, and spend all the billions he wants?
You believe the president of the United States has power like that?
LEWANDOWSKI: If you tell me that mayors and governors use eminent domain
to put highways in, and we can`t use eminent domain to protect the American
citizens, yes, I think he does have that right.
MATTHEWS: Well, I just hope we have a Supreme Court to stop this.
Anyway, thank you, Charlie Sykes. Thank you, Corey Lewandowski.
Up next: President Trump says he can relate to federal employees not
getting paid during the shutdown. They got to make adjustments. He says,
I know how to deal with adjustments.
I don`t know when the last time this guy was on a payroll or making about
60 a year, but these guys are crying over the situation. They can`t pay
child support. They got problems.
Recent Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is going to come and talk about
what it`s like to be a federal employee in this situation.
This is HARDBALL, where the action is.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
As the partial government shutdown heads into its third week now, President
Trump said yesterday he can relate – I love that phrase – to the pain of
the nearly 800,000 federal employees who don`t know when they`re going to
see their next paycheck.
Let`s watch him in action here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can relate. And I`m sure
that the people that are on the receiving end will make adjustments. They
always do. And they will make adjustment. People understand exactly
what`s going on.
But many of those people that won`t be receiving a paycheck, many of those
people agree 100 percent with what I`m doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, federal workers aren`t quite as optimistic about the
situation. Here they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMIAH MARTINEZ, FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WORKER: I don`t know what adjust
means. We`re adjusting because we`re adjusting to pinch pennies where we
My wife went in and applied for food assistance. This is how – that`s not
JOHN BUTKOVICH, FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WORKER: When you`re trying to raise a
family, it just – adjusting isn`t an option, when you went to go to work
for the Justice Department with the – kind of the thought you`re going to
get paid every week, every two weeks, your paycheck will be consistent.
And it`s turned out not to be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, a deal isn`t struck before the end of the day tomorrow,
the next possible payday for these federal employees would be the last week
in January, the last possible – earliest one.
Joining me right now is Terry McAuliffe, the former governor of Virginia, a
state with a large number of federal employees.
Governor, thank you for coming on, because it`s not just in this area,
Washington, D.C., there`s a lot of them. I worked for a Utah senator years
ago. There`s a lot of wage board guys out there, men, men and women, who
get wages. They don`t get salaries. They don`t make much money.
These guys are talking about child support. The guy is crying.
TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), FORMER VIRGINIA GOVERNOR: Yes.
MATTHEWS: I watched a guy crying today because he can`t pay for his food
for the kids.
I had an event last night in Old Town, Virginia. A woman said, I can`t pay
my rent. I don`t know what I`m going to do. You have got to help me.
I mean, people live paycheck to paycheck.
MATTHEWS: They do.
MCAULIFFE: And then to have Trump up there saying, I can feel their pain,
if you believe the “New York Times” article, he inherited $200 million from
his father when he was 17 years old.
Now, I don`t know about your father. I can say Jack McAuliffe, I paid my
father`s bills off when he died. And I was honored and happy to do it.
MATTHEWS: You paid the bills.
MCAULIFFE: A lot of bar bills around Syracuse, New York.
But, I mean, honestly, these people are hurting it, but it`s his shutdown.
I have said this consistently for two weeks. We cannot give him an inch.
This is his deal.
MATTHEWS: OK. OK. Let`s talk about that kind of politics.
As President Trump digs into his request for a border wall, he continues to
characterize the Democrats as the party of – here`s the phrase – you will
hear it from now until the next election – open borders. Here he comes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Honestly, the Democrats, or most of them, it`s hard to believe, but
most of them won`t open borders. And that leads to crime and it leads to
Yet the Democrats continue you to oppose border security, no matter how
many innocent people get hurt or die.
If you want open borders, and if you want everybody to pour into our
country, I would really have a great suggestion for you. Vote Democrat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, that`s what he`s up to. What`s the response?
MCAULIFFE: Yes, I don`t think people are buying it.
They now know that – what a compulsive liar he is. You have seen all the
stories, 18 lies a day. People just don`t believe him anymore.
And I do think the opportunity for Democrats going into 2020, they want
someone who tells the truth.
MCAULIFFE: First of all, they want their president to tell the truth.
That`s the most important thing.
But, additionally, they want someone who`s an optimist and a realist. This
man is a compulsive liar. He`s a lying populist. And I think people have
figured that out.
But there are 800,000 people being hurt very badly today whose families are
being impacted by it. And then there`s the ripple effect of so many other
people who are being impacted. This was his deal. He wanted the shutdown.
MATTHEWS: OK, Terry, the only way he gets reelected is the game he`s
playing right now.
MCAULIFFE: Of course.
MATTHEWS: The game he`s playing right now is, Democrats are all for open
borders, abortion on demand. They`re for what? They`re going to tax
everybody until they die.
You know what he`s going to do.
MATTHEWS: In an interview last night, newly sworn in U.S. Congresswoman
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pushed a plan to move the United States from its
use of fossil fuels. To do so, she said would require people to pay their
fair share of taxes.
Here she goes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK: You look at our tax rates
back in the `60s, and when you have a progressive tax rate system, your tax
rate, let`s say, from zero to $75,000 may be 10 percent or 15 percent, et
But once you get to like the tippy-tops on your 10 millionth dollar,
sometimes, you see tax rates as high as 60 or 70 percent. That doesn`t
mean all $10 million are taxed at an extremely high rate. But it means
that, as you climb up this ladder, you should be contributing more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What do you make of that? How`s that sound?
MCAULIFFE: I do think the wealthy should be paying more, no question about
MATTHEWS: Seventy percent?
MCAULIFFE: Seventy percent is probably not a number I would use.
Paul Krugman actually wrote a story today and agreed with the
But, listen, we have got to have…
MATTHEWS: But that who Trump will run against.
MCAULIFFE: Trump`s going to try and run against a lot of different things,
Chris. I don`t think it really matters.
MATTHEWS: He ran against Pelosi, until Pelosi won. Then he stops running
against Pelosi. I mean, you know what he does. He goes for what he thinks
is the weak point in the argument.
What do the Democrats – where do they stand on borders, if it`s not open
borders? What`s the Democratic position? He says wall, wall, wall.
What`s Democrats` answer? What are they for?
MCAULIFFE: Well, first of all, we have all wanted – all – everybody
wants a secure border.
MATTHEWS: Do they?
MCAULIFFE: Absolutely want a secure border.
And that means using the latest technology, drones and hearing devices.
There`s many different things that we can do. But he – Chris, we`re not
going to let him off the hook. He wanted a concrete wall. Let us not for
a second – and Mexico was going to pay for it.
He did not campaign for president saying, I`m going to build a wall, and
you Americans are going to pay for it. No. How many chants? Who`s paying
for it? And they all yelled Mexico.
Mexico is not paying for it. We want to secure the border. There`s no
question about it. But your stories you have seen here about the number of
folks who`ve come over, been detained, we had about 12,000 people who came
through asylum last year, 8,700 the year before.
Chris, this is a manufactured crisis. During the midterms, we had Middle
Easterners joining the caravans. They were coming to America.
MATTHEWS: Who are you running for? Are you running for president? You
sound like it. Are you running? Why do you come on this show and talk
like you`re running for president and not run?
MCAULIFFE: I have been pretty consistent with you through the years. I`m
MATTHEWS: Are you running or not?
MCAULIFFE: I`m a very authentic…
MATTHEWS: I mean, I give it – go ahead.
MCAULIFFE: I have been very consistent on the things that I believe in. I
have been a strong Democrat my whole life.
MATTHEWS: I know that.
MCAULIFFE: And, listen, I have been very proud of the things that we have
been able to do.
But we, as Democrats, we got to have a message out there. I go back to
Virginia. Look at the success we had. We built a new economy, number one
state in America for cyber-data, unmanned systems, kept our women`s clinics
We are a progressive state that has a booming economy.
MATTHEWS: Give me a date.
MCAULIFFE: That is what Americans want, a problem-solver.
MATTHEWS: Governor, give me a date when you`re going to decide whether to
run or not.
MCAULIFFE: By the end of the first quarter.
MATTHEWS: This – of this year, January, February, March?
MCAULIFFE: Yes, of course of this year, yes.
MATTHEWS: So, before the end of March, before St. Patrick`s Day?
MCAULIFFE: Yes, sure. Yes.
MATTHEWS: Before St. Patrick`s Day?
MCAULIFFE: Oh, now, St. Paddy`s, come on.
MATTHEWS: Come on, before…
MCAULIFFE: If the Dubliner were in Virginia, that might be a very good
place to do with it with the green beer.
MATTHEWS: The Dubliner? Are you going to have breakfast with the vice
president even if he`s running too?
MCAULIFFE: I hope Joe Biden runs. I think he`s going to run. I have had
conversations. I think he`s going to run. And I think it`s great. I`m a
huge fan of Joe Biden`s.
But the more, the merrier. I`m glad Elizabeth Warren`s in. She`s been a
great consumer – this is who the Democratic Party is. Get them all in.
Let`s get our messaging out.
MATTHEWS: She`s a good consumer advocate? Is that what you were going to
MCAULIFFE: She has been a great advocate for consumers. She`s been a…
MATTHEWS: I know. I love the way you guys parcel out the encomium here.
She`s really good with consumers.
Thank you, former Governor Terry McAuliffe…
MCAULIFFE: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: … who may be a bigger deal than that, than a consumer adviser.
MCAULIFFE: I like the St. Paddy`s thing. That`s clever.
MATTHEWS: Up next: Elizabeth Warren`s getting into the earliest jump the
2020 race, barnstorming.
She`s so smart. It`s called the fast break in basketball. She`s taking
the fast break. She`s out there working, hit that state and all its
interesting parts of Iowa, doing everything right.
And you know what? You got to show that you want it. Look at her. You
got to show you want it. What kind of impact will her early positioning
have on the rest of the field?
You`re watching HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: The only way that we`re going to
return this government to the people is if all of us are in this fight. I
believe that this is a moment in our history and it is a moment we should
not less pass. This is a moment when we should dream big, fight hard, and
take back our country. Thank you. Thank you. Thanks for being here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren testing her stump speech, didn`t you
hear it, at one of multiple campaign stops over the weekend in Iowa.
Warren is the first major candidate to officially announce that she`s
running for president in 2020. But others may not be far behind.
“The New York Times” is reporting yesterday or today actually that former
Vice President Joe Biden is in the final stages of deciding whether to run
for president. According to “New York Times,” Biden told a reporter: If
you can persuade me there`s somebody better who can win, I`m happy not to
do it, but I don`t see the candidate that can clearly do what has to be
done to win.
Let`s bring in tonight`s HARDBALL round table. Kimberly Atkins, the
Washington bureau chief of “The Boston Herald”, Jonathan Allen is NBC News
digital national reporter, and Sahil Kapur is political reporter for
All of you, just give me your take. Here is mine. Warren is smart to get
in early. You get in, you establish all kind of things by being there.
You become, as they used to say, Golda Meir used to call them in Israel,
new facts. OK, you`re the fact. You`re in the race. Bernie has to deal
with this. Everybody is going to deal. Congress is going to deal with
this. Cory is going to deal with this. Everybody, Kirsten Gillibrand,
You know, she`s in. What`s that do?
KIMBERLY ATKINS, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE BOSTON HERALD: You know, it
depends, that`s what Jeb Bush did in 2016, and it didn`t end up working out
so well for him. He was out early and thought he could clear some of the
field, and he was one of the earlier one out –
MATTHEWS: He was low energy.
ATKINS: He was – well, but look, Elizabeth Warren did well in Iowa. It
was a good first step but the Democratic basis far broader, far more
diverse than Iowa. So, she still has a lot of work to do. I don`t think
the DNA test was great, but she has to be able to resonate with a vast,
diverse number of different Democrats, people of color, people of different
Democratic backgrounds, people of different geographic background.
So, it is still too early to say. She didn`t do himself any harm, but it`s
JONATHAN ALLEN, NBC NEWS DIGITAL NATIONAL REPORTER: And early she gets to
talk about something other than the DNA test, which was starting to be
something to define her.
MATTHEWS: Distant piece, trace really of Native American blood. You know,
it didn`t make the case she was part Indian or something.
ALLEN: Something that was dragging her down, people were talking about it.
Now she`s talking about how banks are hitting some of the –
ALLEN: But the handling of that looks terrible on everything else, you got
to know why you want to run for president and you got to know that you do
want to run for president if you`re going to run. By getting out there
early, she messages that.
SAHIL KAPUR, BLOOMBERG POLITICS NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: It does show
conviction. I mean, she knows what she wants and she knows exactly what
her message is. She`s not – unlike Hillary Clinton, her message is not I
am better than Trump, look at this guy, elect me. She has a message about
rich and powerful are buying the system, they`re rigging it, and they`re
making the rules against you. So, she has a message and let`s see if –
ALLEN: Her own message she has owned for years, probably by Biden (ph). I
got two accounts to what she says to people. There`s one account that
says, hey, none of the others can win, I can win. That sounds awful,
because that is too much dismissive of so many good people.
The other one I heard, if somebody else lights up the charge like Obama
does, I get out of the way. But nobody has lit up the charge, which sounds
a lot more humble. So, it depends on how you get the – we`re getting all
of this secondhand. When these people call “New York Times,” here is what
he said and do it verbatim, they weren`t recording it.
They`re saying – anyway, what do you think of Biden, I`ll go in if they
ATKINS: I think it`s terrible. I mean, look, the Democrats that I talk to
say they`re excited there`s a big, broad field. They`re waiting to see
what these candidates have to say. They`re looking forward to hearing from
So, someone saying nobody can do it but me, it sounds a little Trumpish,
and that`s what Donald Trump said, and it`s really dismissive of the party.
And I think that`s not the best way to come in. And you`re right, we don`t
know exactly what he said.
Joe Biden is politically savvy guy, but I think he needs to know that
coming in, he has a lot of baggage, too, being part of the establishment
Democratic Party. There`s a lot of new young energy. He has to make the
MATTHEWS: You know what the young guys have going for them, young women
especially, they didn`t vote for the Iraq war. That`s one of the great
things about being a newcomer. Jon, what do you think of Biden`s approach?
ALLEN: Look, I think every candidate will try –
MATTHEWS: Biden, by the way, supported the Iraq war.
ALLEN: Yes, every candidate will make the argument they`re the one most
electable. But coming out there, having your message out there before you
are, it is more advance than “New York Times,” he is talking victory rather
than vision. That`s not what you want to talk about now.
I also think that voters in the Democratic primary are tired of being told
who is the most electable candidate. Every four years, they`re told who is
MATTHEWS: Nobody has any idea.
ALLEN: It`s unprovable.
MATTHEWS: You know what I think? Anybody can beat Trump, anybody can lose
to Trump. There`s no way – so pick the one you think is best.
KAPUR: And Biden can certainly make the case about electability. He can
probably – he`s probably the best on the Democratic field, or among the
best to stop the bleeding with non-college educated white voters, and he
can probably reconstitute the Obama coalition. His big problem is he has a
36 year record in the Senate, lot of votes that look bad to Democratic
voters if you bring them up.
You know, it`s not just the Iraq War. There`s the crime bill. There`s
Anita Hill hearings. He voted to repeal Glass-Steagall. He pushed a
There will be economic populists in that field who are going to jump all
over him and I think it`s going to take – his poll numbers are going to
MATTHEWS: It`s hard to be 28 again.
KAPUR: The Democratic Party has changed so much since Biden`s heyday.
ALLEN: He stood with the southern block on busing in the early `70s, mid
`70s when that was a huge issue. I don`t know how that`s going to play to
people of color in southern states, when he tried to win Democratic
delegates there. I mean, that`s the kind of issue –
MATTHEWS: I have one theory. I think about this all the time like you
guys. All I think about is this thing. I think Elizabeth Warren has the
best chance at a fast break and win the whole thing early.
Here is why I think, you know this better than I know – she wins in Iowa,
because the left out there is very active. They like a consumer position
against Wall Street, populism will sell out there in the Midwest part of
the country, anti-New York really. Then she goes to New Hampshire, next
door to where she`s from. People from that region almost always win New
And then she dukes it out with maybe Kamala down in South Carolina maybe,
then she goes out to Nevada. Women labor, she can win there. Then she
goes to California for the final duke out. I tell you, she beats Kamala in
California, it is over.
The roundtable is sticking with us. And up next, these three tell me
something I don`t know. You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable.
Kimberly, tell me something I don`t know.
ATKINS: Well, the Supreme Court this week agreed to take up political
gerrymandering case that they punted on before. So, expect to see a public
campaign to try to convince Brett Kavanaugh to recuse himself. You know,
he made a lot of comments during his confirmation hearings and there are
folks who are going to try to bring up –
MATTHEWS: What state?
ATKINS: I`m sorry?
MATTHEWS: What state?
ATKINS: I think nationwide – gerrymandering, out of North Carolina, which
is having a lot of trouble. It`s a big, closely watched case. We`re going
to see a lot of push for him. He`s not going to do it, he doesn`t have to
but it`s a messaging.
MATTHEWS: That`s his theme, don`t give in.
ALLEN: “Wall Street Journal” is reporting today that Beto O`Rourke is
going to make a decision by February. The most interesting in his house
voting record over the six years he was there, voted consistently against
helping Ukraine after Vladimir Putin invaded Crimea, including just
condemning Vladimir Putin for aggression against his neighbors.
MATTHEWS: Wouldn`t do that.
ALLEN: Wouldn`t that.
ALLEN: Got to ask him about it.
MATTHEWS: OK, we`re out of time.
KAPUR: Progressive activists are eyeing primary challenges to as many as
dozen House Democrats, starting with Seth Moulton, and Kathleen Rice, group
Data for Progress in the field, commissioning polls. We could be looking
at a Tea Party of the left if this takes hold and people jump on board.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Kimberly Atkins, Jonathan Allen and Sahil Kapur.
When we return, let me finish tonight with what looks likes the opening of
the 2020 presidential season right now.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with what it looks like right now to be
the opening of the 2020 presidential season. It`s right now, and it`s a
good time to think about what the office of president entails. And oddly
enough, we`ve learned the daunting answer from the current occupier, Donald
An American president wears five hats. One, head of state. The president
of the United States is the person who represents the American people. A
president either makes us Americans proud or does not. A president either
holds our country high in the eyes of the world or does not.
Look at Angela Merkel of Germany. She`s been chancellor longer than
Franklin Roosevelt was president. She comes across as modern Germany
itself – serious, solid, successful.
This brings us to the second role of an American president. Chief
diplomat. The person we elect president sets our country`s strategy around
the globe. That means coming up with and managing the big ones, our
relations with China, with Europe, with the Middle East, Russia.
Third, commander in chief. A president decides most properly with the
concurrence of the Congress if and where to use military force.
Fourth, head of government. A president leads on border protection, health
policy, tax policy, you name it.
And finally, chief executive. A president runs the executive branch of
government. If it functions effectively, the government deserves the
credit. If not, the president deserves the blame. Donald Trump ironically
has taught us how to president should behave or not.
The challenge for the Democrats is to find the person who can better carry
out the high responsibilities of the American presidency in a way that is
convincing to the voters next year in November.
And that`s HARDBALL for now.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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