Judge agress Manafort lied to Mueller. TRANSCRIPT: 02/13/2019, Hardball w. Chris Matthews.
Date: February 13, 2019
Guest: Glenn Kirschner, Jackie Speier, David Corn, Tom Hamburger, Carlos
Curbelo, Sean Patrick Maloney, Anita Kumar, Joe Kennedy III
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: – on three out of five counts there regarding the
allegation that Paul Manafort lied pulling up his own plea deal now he
faces much lengthier prison sentence.
That does it for THE BEAT. HARDBALL with Chris Matthews is up next.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: A judge says Manafort lied. Let`s play
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
We have some late breaking news tonight. The federal judge in the case of
former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has sided with the special
counsel, ruling that Manafort lied the prosecutors in violation of the plea
agreement he struck last fall. Most important, one of Manafort`s lies
involves his contacts with Konstantin Kilimink, a business associate with
ties to Russian intelligence. It comes just as we get a glimpse now of how
the Trump campaign may have colluded with the Russians.
“The Washington Post” is now reporting on the possible fulcrum of the
Russian probe, a story of secret plans and a smoke-filled room high above
Fifth Avenue. As we first learned Monday, this was a meeting in August of
2016 that according to Mueller`s prosecutor goes to the heart of what the
special counsel`s office is investigating. It appears central to proving
the campaign engaged in a conspiracy with the Russians. The meeting took
place in Manhattan in an exclusive cigar club called the grand Havana room
which bills itself as prestigious with an air of quite elegance that is a
masculine but extremely modern setting.
It was against that backdrop that Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates
sat down with Konstantin Kilimnik, the Russian operative. All three have
been charged to the special counsel`s investigation. Rick Gates, however,
is the one cooperating with prosecutors.
As “the Washington Post” notes now, one subject the men discussed was a
proposed resolution, that`s their word, to the conflict over Ukraine.
According to the transcript from a hearing last week, the judge also
appeared to allude to another possible interaction at the Havana room, a
handoff by Manafort of internal polling data from Trump`s presidential
campaign to his Russian associate. The meeting appears to have been so
sensitive that it ended with three men leaving through separate doors.
Separate door, why would they do? Unless they were hiding something.
And now, the breaking news tonight is that the judge in Manafort`s case has
today ruled that Manafort made multiple false statements, lies, to the FBI,
the special counsel`s office and the grand jury regarding his interactions
and communications with Konstantin Kilimnik, the guy he met with in the
I`m joined right now by Democratic congresswoman Jackie Speier, she seats
on the House intelligence committee. She is from California. Tom
Hamburger is investigative reporter who co-wrote that story in “the
Washington Post,” Glenn Kirschner is a former federal prosecutor, David
Corn, of course, Washington bureau chief of “Mother Jones” and Tom Winter,
NBC News investigative reporter.
Tome, tell us what about happened with the judge`s ruling today about how
Manafort broke his deal.
TOM WINTER, NBC NEWS INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: So Chris, this ruling that
came in a written order just moments before you came on the air here
tonight follows two sealed hearings, meaning no reporters, no public, just
the people, the principals that were involved in this. And the judge says
tonight that the, because of Manafort`s lies, and because of what she heard
over the several days of hearings, that the special counsel Mueller`s
office is not bound by their plea agreement with Paul Manafort which means
that they are not bound to argue for lighter jail sentence for him and his
Washington, D.C. case. That a federal judge in Virginia where he is
already been convicted on eight counts and he has admitted to the rest of
the counts that he did those crimes, that they can essentially, Chris,
throw book at him.
And Paul Manafort faces a very real possibility of spending the remaining
days of his life in jail. It is not a life sentence but it effectively is
when you stack on the amount of years that could be piled on here.
The judge, and I think you keyed in on the exact point, that the
interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik in communications with him, she found
that based on the preponderance of the evidence that she saw, that Manafort
lied about that. That in addition to that, Chris, that he also lied about
another department of justice investigation. We don`t quite know what that
And then a third topic that because of the redactions and because it is
part of what they deep to be an ongoing investigation or at least an
investigation that hasn`t been made public yet, even if it has concluded,
is believed to be something that involves a super Pac. It was Trump`s kind
of designated super Pac.
We don`t know the circumstances of that Chris, but it is three of the five
things that Mueller cited that judge has found that in fact he lied
interestingly. One the instances where she found that based on the
evidence she saw that Manafort didn`t lie had to do with Manafort`s
contacts with current Trump administration officials. So she found there
that the government hadn`t met its burden of proof that Manafort lied about
that. But that`s kind of the quick synopsis, Chris, tonight of what is a
MATTHEWS: Well, that is hell of news coming on top of the fact. We are
looking at a meeting, a certain meeting at this cigar hanging room of high
above Fifth Avenue, at 666 Fifth Avenue, the interesting owned by Jared
Let me go to Glenn Kirschner on this. It seems the most interesting
meeting, and now we have the judge ruling that Manafort lied about that
meeting or he lied about his relationship with this Russian who is close to
Russian intelligence, the old KGB. He lied about. That he left by a
separate exit. The three of them, a lot of suggestion here. They were
doing something they weren`t proud to have the world know about it and now
we know he lied about it.
GLENN KIRSCHNER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes. So Chris –.
MATTHEWS: The meeting with the Russian. It might have been what the Post
is calling the fulcrum of the whole deal, the lock-up and the link-up that
will lead to a lockups of – between Russians and the Trump people.
KIRSCHNER: When I heard the reporting about the cigar bar meeting, a
couple of tactical pieces fell into place for me as a former career
prosecutor. And here is why.
There`s been so much litigation about whether Manafort lied or not, right?
Multiple court hearings. There`s been testimony. And do we really think
that the only thing going to was that Bob Mueller wanted Paul Manafort to
got 12 years instead of ten years? I don`t think so.
And here`s how the cigar bar meeting falls into place with that litigation.
Let`s assume you have three people at that meeting, Kilimnik, Gates,
Manafort, right. Gates and Manafort have both told Mueller what was said
at that meeting. Let`s assume quid pro quo was discussed at that meeting.
The Russians will keep helping Trump get elected if you agree on lift
sanctions once he gets elected, right.
So let`s assume Gates said, that`s what they said. Manafort said no, they
didn`t. What do you have? You have couldn`t afflicting testimony from two
cooperating witnesses on the big ticket issue. And now that a judge, a
federal judge says, Manafort, you are a big fat liar. That neutralizes any
bad information Manafort may have provided about that three-way meeting and
gates is the man that Mueller can now hold up as telling the truth about
what happened in that meeting before they went out their separate doors
showing their consciousness of guilt.
MATTHEWS: Tom, I have been there at least once. A former NBC official
took me to that cigar place. And I know why you go there. Because it is
the only place you can smoke in a kind of a restaurant setting. It is kind
of like big chairs, big comfortable leather chairs.
TOM HAMBURGER, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: Masculine but
MATTHEWS: Yes, exactly, the way they saw. But it also has the aspect of
(INAUDIBLE). It is not going to be talk in a public place where you don`t
know who is sitting next to you. The guy sit next to you, there is some
big shot. He probably has his own secrets. Why would he meet with the
Russian represent Putin? Why would two guys meet with him up there? Right
in the middle of the campaign he is running for Trump.
HAMBURGER: Yes. Remember the timing of this, this is August 2, 2016. The
race is heating up. Both conventions have ended by this point. Paul
Manafort campaign chair leaves campaign headquarters and goes to a cigar
bar with one of his lieutenants in that campaign. Rick Gates, to meet with
a Russian national. They left campaign headquarters in the midst of this
very busy period. And what happens? This is so important and why the
judge`s ruling today may be terribly significant.
From what we can glean from the transcripts, we know that there were
discussions of two things. One was provision of some polling data from the
Trump campaign to this Russian, said to be tied to Russian intelligence.
HAMBURGER: What would that be? Polling information. It could be a road
map for the Russians who, all of our intelligence agencies have now ruled.
MATTHEWS: Were close in Wisconsin.
MATTHEWS: We are close in Wisconsin, Michigan.
HAMBURGER: Important to say we don`t know what it is but we gather from
what we can see in the transcript that it was complex and the judge, we
know, is interested in what it was. So we have on the one hand, something
MATTHEWS: All kinds of things you can use to go after women and
minorities, whatever, right?
HAMBURGER: Perhaps, Chris. We don`t know. There was a reference at one
point, a lawyer for Paul Manafort says the material that was turned over
was not relevant. It was gibberish (ph). He uses the word gibberish (ph).
And the judge says in this un-redacted portion that we read, exactly.
That`s why it is so interesting. In other words, it may be very
Chris, we don`t know. But I want to defense this because on the one hand,
you have a provision of data to a Russian tied to Russian intelligence from
the campaign. And on the other, you have a discussion of a Ukraine peace
plan. Why is that important? Because it leads to the number one agenda
item of Vladimir Putin which is ending sanctions. That the west imposed
because of the Russian invasion.
MATTHEWS: And it is the near empire. He wants to bring back at least what
he can of the Russian empire.
Anyway – and that begins with Ukraine. As Tom mentioned, the grand Havana
meeting up there at the cigar bar is especially suspicious because of its
unusual timing in the summer of 2016. Remember, all this stuff happened.
It came well after it was publicly announced in June of 2016 that Russia
had hacked the DNC. Everybody knew about that. It came after WikiLeaks
begun releasing the Russian hacked emails. And just days after Trump in a
late July press conference, publicly asked Russian, right out in front of
broad daylight, they sent him additional hacked email, in this case about
Hillary Clinton. Let`s watched him in the act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: By the way, they hacked,
they probably have her 33,000 emails. I hope they do. They probably have
her 33,000 emails that she lost and deleted because you would see some
beauties there. So let`s see.
But it would be interesting to see. I will tell you this. Russia, if you
are listening, I hope you were able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Russia, if you`re listening, let`s get in bed together
politically. It is one of the most outrageous they have been wrote. Then
just two days before Manafort`s meeting, Trump also backed Russian`s land
grabbing Ukraine suggested that the annex territory of Crimea should be
part of Russia. He is selling them. He is selling them the deal. Here he
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You know, the people of Crimea, from what I have heard, would
rather be with Russia than where they were. And you have to look at that
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: From what I hear. From what I hear.
Listen, everybody. Manafort is talking to him all the time. Who else
would be talking to him about Crimea with? We don`t have conversations in
America with who deserves to own Crimea except the guy working for you or
you are working for them, Russkies (ph).
Anyway. Again, the breaking news tonight is a judge has ruled that
Manafort, Paul Manafort lied to prosecutors about his conversations with
the Russian Kilimnik who is tied to Russian Intel.
Thank you. Thanks for waiting us out here, Jackie Speier. Congresswoman
from California. You are on the Intel committee. We are getting all this
intimate in this news like from a fire hydrant tonight of news. Your
REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, what we do know
is that Donald Trump is a liar and that he surrounds himself with liars,
his inner circle. And we also know that he likes to make a lot of money.
And throughout 2016, if the recording is correct about what has been told
to us in the media, he was still working Trump tower in Moscow.
There was a letter of intent. It had no expiration date. So through all
this period of time, he is not thinking he is going to win. He just wants
to kind of grease the skids so that when he doesn`t win, he has a deal with
Putin for 100-story Trump tower in Moscow, the largest building in all of
So we are all putting the pieces together and I think it is pretty obvious
what`s happening here, this grand Havana cigar club. I wish I was a fly on
the wall. Except I probably would have been exhausted by the fumes. But
it was more that went on there than we even know today, I believe.
MATTHEWS: I know. Let me go to David Corn – hold on, congresswoman.
David, I think he was going to a win-win strategy. I think he wanted to
win. You don`t run for president unless you want to win but you have the
fallback, I will be rich. I will be richer than ever. But I think he was
working with the Russians. They wanted him to win. That was their deal.
They wanted him to win, have influence, to repay them by getting rid of
sanctions and ok`ing their grab, perhaps ultimately of all of Ukraine.
DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER JONES: Yes. This is the
collusion. I mean, we have had examples of public collusion. This is
private collusion. One thing that didn`t come up in the timeline you just
put up, was a few days before this meeting, Kilimnik sent Manafort an email
saying, our friend wants to talk to you. He has messages for but the
future of the country. This is regarded as a reference to Oleg Deripaska,
an oligarch very close to Putin. So Manafort says, fine. I will see you
Tuesday. Fly in and I will meet you. So he was responding to request
basically to meet with an emissary of Oleg Deripaska.
MATTHEWS: And this guy, it is Kilimnik.
CORN: It is Kilimnik. And so –.
MATTHEWS: At the cigar bar.
CORN: And then why does he lie to Mueller and the others?
MATTHEWS: And why did they leave if separate exits?
CORN: This is what Manafort says. You know, we talked about this plan to
bring peace in the Ukraine that could lead to the lifting of sanctions.
But he tells Mueller, we didn`t talk about it again after that meeting.
One of the lies that he has been charged with here or found to have lied,
is that he continued to work on that plan with Kilimnik through the
election, after the election, into 2018. So here was Manafort trying to
work a pro-Russia initiative while he knew Russia was trying to help Trump.
So if it is not an explicit quid pro quo, you have to believe there`s a lot
of nodding and winking in that meeting (INAUDIBLE).
MATTHEWS: Tom Hamburger, you are an investigative reporter for the Post
which does the best. And I`m watching this and I`m thinking, the same old
line, the same of bargain (ph) that the – they all soviets just used to
use, peace. Peace means they win. OK, I watched. I heard that. One of
the communist came up to me to. He is a German, I believe. I said why are
you a communist one time? The guy says because I believe in peace.
What they mean by peace is they went, we lose. I know what they mean. In
this case they meant they take over Ukraine and you live with it. That`s
what their word, peace, means. You know about the meeting? Isn`t that
what they wanted? That deal from –. So Trump, the new president or about
to be President, I`m going to give you Ukraine.
HAMBURGER: What we know from what we can glean from the un-redacted
portions of these filings is that there were repeated discussions between
Paul Manafort and Kilimnik about a Ukraine peace plan.
HAMBURGER: Whether that peace plan really would result in peace or a land
grab, I don`t know. I have no idea.
MATTHEWS: It was going to be a Russian deal.
HAMBURGER: We know though is that a peace plan would be a prerequisite.
In a Greek peace plan with this administration with the west, the Trump
administration with the west, is a prerequisite to lifting sanctions –
economic sanctions. The number one item on the top of the Putin wish list.
HAMBURGER: So we know that and we know also, we are not sure what was in
this plan. But one thing we do know the usually secretive under wraps
Robert Mueller operation, his – one of his lead prosecutors Andrew Wiseman
is in this transcript saying what was discussed at this meeting which we
believe was polling data and a Ukraine peace plan? He said gets to the
heart of what we are investigating.
MATTHEWS: Wow. It seems to me that your peace says this is the fulcrum of
the deal between the Russians and the Trump people. We looked like we are
getting very close. It smell to what is going on here.
Thank you so much, Tom Winter from the investigative reporting.
My other guests are sticking with me with much more of this breaking news.
So this could be the big one. A federal judge says Robert Mueller`s office
has proven that Paul Manafort deliberately lied to the special counsel.
And not just lied, but lied about his meeting with the Russians. And
particularly that night in August of 2016. At that Fifth Avenue way up
above the street meeting with cigars.
Stay with us.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Now we`re into an explosive news report tonight that the federal Judge Amy
Berman Jackson has found that Paul Manafort deliberately lied to special
counsel Mueller, in violation of his plea deal.
We`re back with U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Glenn Kirschner, and
I want to go back to Glenn on this, and then I will get to the congressman.
Glenn, let`s talk about what happens when Manafort is a liar.
MATTHEWS: And the judge, Jackson, says, this guy`s a liar.
Is he any good to the prosecutor? What role does he play? Can he turn
again and say, OK, I`m going to screw Trump now, finally?
KIRSCHNER: He – he`s now toxic, Chris.
He will never see the inside of a grand jury room again. He will never see
the inside of a courtroom, in the event there are future indictments
dropped by Bob Mueller.
But, importantly, he can`t be a spoiler for Mueller. Why? Because if he
contradicts anything that Gates or other cooperating witnesses say about
Russian collusion, guess what? He`s a liar. And a federal judge has said
he is a liar. So he can`t be sponsored. He can`t testify.
MATTHEWS: He`s no good for Trump?
KIRSCHNER: He`s dead. But he can`t be a spoiler.
You know how some teams like to be spoilers by coming in and just beating
everybody down? He can`t be a spoiler. He`s done. Mueller had a tactical
reason, beyond getting him more jail time, to get that judge to conclude he
is a liar.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Congresswoman Speier on this.
If you have got a meeting between Trump`s campaign chair, the man running
his – and nobody probably runs anything for Trump, but at least he`s got
the title and he`s got the cred dealing with the Russians. I`m the big
boss. I`m Trump`s big guy. I`m meeting in a cigar bar with you up on this
roof, where nobody except VIPs are up here, so it`s safe for us up here,
probably all men, up there.
And he`s dealing for Trump. At what point would you, as the chair – as a
member of the committee, wants to see hands – Trump`s hands on that, not
just his guys doing this, assumingly with Russia – with Trump`s support,
but really working for Trump in this particular regard?
What do you need to know?
SPEIER: Well, we need to know, to what extent these two people were
conspiring to commit a crime against the United States or to evade the
United States in some way.
And the effort to identify Manafort as an emissary for the candidate Trump
is something that we will have to investigate. It`s going to be hard to
bring Paul Manafort in now to ask him any questions, because he is so
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you about – do you have – do you want to be -
- in terms of any constitutional action against this president, do you
think it`s important to have his fingerprints on the dealmaking, or simply
that his top people were dealmaking with the Russians, in terms of
sanctions relief, in terms of accepting the takeover of Crimea, and perhaps
even some new relationship, some Finlandization, if you will, of Ukraine?
Any dealmaking like that, would you like to know that Trump said so?
SPEIER: Well, of course we`d like to know that Donald Trump said so.
I don`t know that that`s in the offing, but it is all evidence. It`s all
evidence, growing evidence, of an unholy alliance, between then candidate
Donald Trump and then President Donald Trump and the Russians.
And I`m convinced that it`s all about money. That`s what makes Donald
Trump tick. And I`m certain that what we will find out over time is that
this Moscow Trump Tower was a big part of it.
MATTHEWS: Well, despite the favoritism that Trump showed all the way
through the campaign time and time again, Vice President Pence said this
It`s unbelievable how this acolyte talk sometimes.
Well, he is, saying the absolutely unbelievable. Here`s Vice President
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the face of these
provocations, and in solidarity with Poland and our European partners,
President Trump has done more to confront Russia`s actions than any
president in modern history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: David, I have to tell you, I have watched him. We have watched
him. He has been Russia`s best friend, on Syria, on everything, on
Ukraine, on Crimea, on nuclear, INF, on blowing apart NATO, the worst thing
that ever confronted Russia, really broke the back of the Soviet – the
Everything that Russians don`t like, he`s attacked. Everything the
Russians like, he`s been for.
CORN: Let`s stick to the core matter here, the Russian attack on the U.S.
election in 2016 to help Trump and to sow disorder here.
CORN: Trump throughout the campaign kept saying it wasn`t happening. He
was colluding with the Russian disinformation campaign to deny it was
happening, and then, throughout his presidency, has not taking it
And we had that tragic press conference in Helsinki, when he kind of said:
Well, Putin says he didn`t do it. Our guys said he did. I don`t know.
Putin has a point.
So, again and again and again, on the core – he took an oath to defend
this country. And he has not defended against this attack from Russia.
And, in fact, he helped the attack occur by denying it was happening.
And now we have this collusion – that`s the word for it here – between
his campaign chairman and an emissary of Putin`s closest oligarch, one of
his closest oligarchs, in the middle of the campaign.
And whether Trump knew about it or not, can you – you have been around
Washington a long time. We have seen many campaign and political scandals
where, even if you`re not the principal – you`re the principal, you don`t
know about it, but your chief of staff does something wrong.
MATTHEWS: I know how it works.
CORN: You get held responsible.
So, Trump is responsible for his campaign reaching out, at the request of
Oleg Deripaska, to have this meeting and cut whatever deal that then the
judge tells us Manafort has lied about consistently after he got caught.
MATTHEWS: Glenn, I did work in politics for years. And I will tell you
one thing that people don`t know about outside politics.
When you write a speech, you write the speech for the guy you`re writing it
for or the woman you`re writing it for. You know them, you know who they
are, you know what they want. And, by the way, the minute they read it,
they say, this is what I want.
There`s always that hand-in-glove relationship. It`s always there. It`s
like a dentist. You go to the dentist, you don`t tell the dentist which
teeth to work on. You don`t tell him how to work on them. You just trust
him. He`s your agent or she is your agent.
MATTHEWS: That`s how it works. You don`t get orders. It`s all about a
relationship. It`s sort of a symbiotic relationship.
Paul Manafort was brought in as Mr. Russia, Mr. Connection with the pro-
Russian Ukrainians. That was who he was. He may have looked like a
croupier, but that`s who he was.
KIRSCHNER: And, Chris…
MATTHEWS: That`s what he looks like. But he was working with the
Trump says, you`re the guy who worked with the Russians. You`re the guy
that is pro-Russia against the Ukraine. You`re the guy who is – OK, how
can we work with these guys? It`s obvious.
KIRSCHNER: And to button up what David just said, what do we now know from
Andrew Weissmann, one of the lead prosecutors on the Mueller team?
What did he say in open court? This goes right to the heart of what`s being
investigated, which we all know is Russian collusion, Russian conspiracy.
And so, when you put all these pieces together, it`s all there in plain
MATTHEWS: This is going to be a location, this cigar bar, like Watergate.
This is going to be one of those locations where you`re going to look up
and say, you know what? That`s where they cut the deal.
Anyway, U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Speier, as always, thank you for coming
on, from inside the action.
SPEIER: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Thank you. We`re just watching from the outside.
Thank you, Glenn Kirschner. You`re the greatest.
Corn, you`re my man on politics.
MATTHEWS: Up next: President Trump says he`s looking for land mines that
could blow up a bipartisan spending deal.
Why is he looking for land mines? Will Trump support the deal, despite not
being – quote – “not happy”? It`s like Mikey. He likes it. It`s like
cereal. Remember the kid in that commercial? Mikey likes it.
Come on. Grow up.
We will be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
President Trump remains publicly noncommittal about the House-Senate
compromise on border security. He told reporters yesterday he wasn`t happy
with the agreement that provides just $1.4 billion, plus about 50-plus
miles of fencing.
Well, today, the president again said he`s waiting to see the details.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, we haven`t gotten it
yet. We will be getting it. We will be looking for land mines, because
you could have that.
We have a lot of things happening right now. We`re building a lot of wall
right now with money that we already have. We`re going to take a look at
it when it comes. I don`t want to see a shutdown. Shutdown would be a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the Associated Press reports he`s expected to grudgingly
accept an agreement that would keep the government open, but provide just a
fraction of the money he`s been demanding for his Mexican border wall.
Meanwhile, many of the president`s Republican allies – is that we call
them, allies – stooges sometimes – on Capitol Hill continue to argue he
can find the money somewhere else.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The president still has
a few more tools in his toolbox to use to make sure that we have the border
REP. MARK MEADOWS (R), NORTH CAROLINA: What we have to do is have to
encourage the president to take some type of executive action if Congress
is not going to work.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think the president`s inclined
to accept the agreement, move on, and try to find money elsewhere, and most
likely declare an emergency national.
QUESTION: The national emergency is still on the table? He`s inclined
GRAHAM: It`s definitely on the table. I will let him tell you whether or
not he`s going to do it. But he`s very inclined to go that route.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Today, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters a vote
on the legislation could come as soon as tomorrow. That`s Thursday.
I`m joined right now by Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney
Patrick. That`s a mouthful, Sean Patrick Maloney of New York state, Anita
Kumar, White House correspondent and associate editor of Politico, and
Carlos Curbelo. He`s a former Republican from Florida.
I want to start with the former congressman.
Carlos, what do you make of this sort of interesting “Perils of Pauline”
Trump`s pulling, “I don`t know whether I`m going to agree to it”?
He`s seen it. Come on. “I haven`t seen it yet.”
What is he up to? What is your thought?
CARLOS CURBELO (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Chris, this is reality TV.
The president knows exactly what`s in this deal, because Republican
lawmakers have been briefing the White House all week. And he`s going to
sign it, mainly because his Republican allies in Congress, as you just
said, have no tolerance for any more games.
They knew they were walking into a dead end back in December, when this all
started. They went along with it anyway. But people have run out of
patience. This is going to get signed. Who knows what the president will
But in terms of trying to keep the country in suspense, that`s just reality
MATTHEWS: It`s amazing to watch this.
Congressman, you watch these really toughies on the hard-right media world.
I know these people, Sean Hannity and, oh, God, Rush Limbaugh and all of
them. They were all really tough on him the night before, you chicken, you
loser, you weakling.
Now, last night, what a – it was like Dinah Washington. All of a sudden,
it`s OK. It looks like he`s figured it out. In other words, they were
taunting him. They were like a mosquito who wants to bite the person for
the blood, but doesn`t want to kill him, because they need the person for
These people don`t take it – I wouldn`t take them seriously. Your
REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D), NEW YORK: Well…
MATTHEWS: He`s listening to Sean Hannity on what to do.
Look, I think what`s fascinating about this president is that he could have
had and sold an honorable compromise in December. Instead, he waits three
MATTHEWS: … money.
MALONEY: Three months, takes a worse deal, and wants to lie about it.
So he would rather lie about an abject failure than sell a good compromise.
And a lot of people got hurt in between, including, by the way, a lot of
the Coast Guard guys that I`m overseeing on my new committee, a bunch of
folks who are – who do nothing but their jobs.
Now we hear he`s holding up the deal on paying federal contractors. Just
so people know, these are folks working in the cafeterias.
MALONEY: These are people who are doing often low-wage jobs.
MATTHEWS: You really want to play black water when it doesn`t do any bad
stuff for us?
MALONEY: Well, and that`s the thing you`re going to hold up.
MATTHEWS: I don`t know if I`m going to pay them.
Anyway, thank you.
Today, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked about the
criticism the president could have gotten more money before the shutdown.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Nancy Pelosi said
directly that she wasn`t going to give a single dollar for the wall. So
that`s just not true. This includes roughly $1.4 billion for the wall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, as I was saying, on Monday night, FOX News host Sean
Hannity and Laura Ingraham panned the deal. Hannity called it a garbage
And, like I said, what a difference a day makes. Last night, they tried a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, “HANNITY”: This is amazing, because they were
referring to building walls as immoral. Now they`re funding these immoral
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS: Let`s not forget, while Trump isn`t getting
everything he wants and definitely not what most of us want, Democrats are
also breaking Pelosi`s pledge.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: One dollar? Yes, one
INGRAHAM: Well, try $1.375 billion. She might not want to call it a wall,
but that`s what it is. And that`s not all bad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: These people, I know what their business is, keep the audiences
growing. That`s what they do.
And they`re talking to maybe 10 percent of the country. Does Trump know
that, or does he think they`re 50 percent of the country?
ANITA KUMAR, POLITICO: Well, he watches them, but it`s not just them.
I mean, you had Mark Meadows, the chairman of the Freedom Caucus, saying it
was a bad deal.
But I feel like, in the last 24 hours, people have really changed their
tune, just like they have, saying, if he gets – finds some money
elsewhere, signs the bill – which he`s going to sign the bill, we hear –
and finds money elsewhere, then it`s OK.
MATTHEWS: Well, of course.
MATTHEWS: Congressman, how much can he grab from other pockets, other
MALONEY: Yes, that`s a really important point.
MATTHEWS: Can he get more than a billion? Can he get $2 billion?
MALONEY: Look, I represent West Point. That`s $250 million that has been
appropriated, not contracted.
So when Kevin McCarthy talks about a tool in the toolbox, he`s talking
about a hammer to smash the new science buildings for those cadets, their
new dorms. That`s the next generation of military leaders.
That`s what he`s talking about doing. It`s an outrage. And their own guys
don`t support it.
MATTHEWS: Who was the last guy to betray West Point? Wasn`t it Benedict
MALONEY: That`s exactly right. And we know what happened to him.
MATTHEWS: He told the British where it was, yes.
MATTHEWS: And Colonel Andre got hanged.
MALONEY: Snuck away on the HMS Vulture, I believe.
MATTHEWS: Is this going to be an issue among all the members of Congress,
that every dollar he takes to find for the wall, he`s taking from something
MALONEY: I think the American people should know that we`re talking about
disaster relief for California, the wildfires. That`s Kevin McCarthy`s
How about Puerto Rico, where we have done a terrible, terrible thing and
are still trying to catch up? The fact is, is that this money is coming
from somewhere. And it`s a game. It`s a game to hide a failure, when he
could have had a good deal earlier.
MATTHEWS: I know.
MALONEY: And a lot of people didn`t need to get hurt.
MATTHEWS: Anita, you`re smart. Why is he still playing this game? Why is
he looking for land mines? He`s like he wants to find them.
KUMAR: I think, this week, what I`m hearing is that he has known that he
was going to sign the bill. This is the deal.
You can tinker a little bit. The text hasn`t come out, but he`s going to
sign the bill. He has to show – look like he`s fighting, that he is
trying to get the bill to be better. Yesterday, he said he was adding
things to bill.
I don`t think he`s really adding things to the bill at this point.
MATTHEWS: Congressman Curbelo, you have been through this election season,
for the worst. And let me ask you about what you have learned, because it
seems to me that Trump wants a wall. He wants bricks.
It`s almost like one of the Middle East kind of fights over all holy
places. I mean, we`re fighting about bricks and particular locations that
people have died for. It just seems to be strange that now a fence which
is made of some other material is OK.
And the Democrats, led by the brilliant Nancy Pelosi, says it`s immorality,
it`s immorality to put up a brick wall. It seems everybody`s getting so
damn religious about this, iconic. One side is 100 percent pure, the other
side is 100 percent terrible.
And yet here they are, getting in the middle of the night, cutting a deal
where nobody gets anything that makes any sense. Who cares if there are 50
more – 50 more – 55 more feet of fence, where anybody can walk 55 feet
around that fence?
I mean, everybody knows, if you want to get here to get a job for your
family, you`re going to walk 50 feet. You have already walked perhaps
hundreds of miles to get to the border. You`re going to walk another 50
feet to get across it.
Who are we kidding? This is a joke, this fight. Your thoughts?
CURBELO: Chris, that`s right.
And the bottom line is that institutions still matter in this country. And
if you want to get a priority funded, and you`re the president, you have to
go to Congress, build a coalition, negotiate.
And the president missed that opportunity. The president could have put an
offer on the table that provided a permanent path to citizenship for
dreamers, permanent relief for the TPS population, maybe put some of my old
Democratic friends in a tough position.
Instead, he kept insisting, while offering nothing. And now he`s getting a
bill that we could have passed in December of last year, with Republicans
still controlling the House and the Senate. Instead, he`s getting the same
bill, and the country has made no progress on the issue of immigration.
And, by the way, there`s some smart investments that can be made on the
border. I think most Americans agree we can do better at the border, like
most Americans agree that we need to be more compassionate with the victims
of our broken immigration system.
If this president is the deal maker he promised to be, he could have put
that deal on the table. He didn`t and he held out for less, or for
MATTHEWS: And he could do it, and he could stop hiring illegally, too.
Anyway, I guess he`s trying to make himself look good on that one, but he`s
been cheating all along.
Thank you, U.S. Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney of New York State. Anita
Kumar and former Congressman Carlos Curbelo. Happy St. Patrick`s Day. It
is coming in a month. It`s exciting.
CURBELO: Same to you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Coming up next, the fight is on to define the Green New Deal.
We`re going to talk about the Green New Deal coming up. Will Republicans
succeed in painting it as a boondoggle? And will Democrats find a way to
translate its idealistic framework into actual policy? A big history
coming up on HARDBALL.
U.S. Congressman Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts will join us next.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Last week, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey of
Massachusetts unveiled the Green New Deal. The resolution sets the goal of
achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions, creating jobs for all, securing
clean air and water, upgrading infrastructure and providing high quality
health care for all. The proposal pushed by the progressives in the
Democratic Party is the opening salvo, of course, in what`s expected to be
a deeper, longer debate on climate change.
According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,
countries must make rapid and unprecedented changes in the way people live
or risk even more dangerous weather conditions and loss of species. Senate
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he wants to bring the Green New
Deal to the floor, not because he`s had a change about his beloved Kentucky
coal, but rather because the vote will force Democrats in the Senate to
take a position on the issue.
There are currently 37 co-sponsors in the House and 11 in the U.S. senate.
One of those co-sponsors, U.S. Congressman Joe Kennedy III joins me here in
a moment. Stick with us.
MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell`s effort to force the vote on the
Green New Deal is better understood when you hear what other Republicans
have to say about the Democrats` sweeping proposal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They introduced the so-
called Green New Deal. It sounds like a high school term paper that got a
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R), WYOMING: There`s another victim of the Green New
Deal, it`s ice cream. Livestock will be banned. Say goodbye to dairy,
beef, the family farms, the ranches, American favorites like cheeseburgers
and milk shakes will become a thing of the past.
HOGAN GIDLEY, WHITE HOUSE PRINCIPAL DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Congresswoman
Ocasio-Cortez said that the world was going to be over in 12 years anyway.
I don`t know why we would spend money if the world is going to end.
They`re beholden to this radical base that wants the country to run on
unicorns and gum drops.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, I`m joined right now by U.S. Congressman Joe Kennedy of
What do you make of Trump? This case, Mitch McConnell`s game he`s playing?
REP. JOE KENNEDY III (D-MA), ENERGY & COMMERCE COMMITTEE: Look, I hope he
does put it on the floor. I hope they do have a chance to vote on it.
Look, what`s the Green New Deal says and I`m not sure that many of those
folks that you just showed have actually read it. It`s not that long. I
urge them to take a look it.
What it says is that we`ve got two major challenges in this country. One
is climate change on this planet. And two is an economy that is not
working for everybody.
And so, let`s take the reforms necessary that we need to make for our
economy and make that actually address climate change. And it sets out
aspiration that`s on the baseline, it says a very simple thing. We`ve got
these major structural challenges. Government has to be at the table and a
force to address them.
And so, let`s try to aim high to try to address those goals to make sure
that American families not only do we have a better environment but have –
we could take down the level of economic anxiety that families are feeling
across this country.
And if Republicans are going to be against that, then that`s on them. This
is a chance for them to have a chance to get on the record and say, do they
feel the economic insecurity? Do they acknowledge that science exists?
Are they willing to actually use the powerful of our economy to address
these structural inequities? That`s on them if they don`t.
MATTHEWS: Let`s break this into two questions. Why do you think
Republicans – they`re pro-business, of course. But most people are pro-
business in some way. Why do they make fun, in those clips we just showed,
they`re making fun of the climate change we`re facing as a species, people
who live on earth. Why do they make fun of it?
KENNEDY: Look, better question for Republicans. I have met with plenty of
businesses and some of the biggest businesses in the world where they
indicate that climate change is one of the first – the biggest challenges
that they face. You talk to most businessmen around the country, business
leaders, men or women, and they will acknowledge that –
MATTHEWS: We`re looking at it. The arctic is coming apart. It`s iceberg
after iceberg. You got Florida, Miami is about 4, 5 feet above sea level
KENNEDY: Chris, you`ve been around this obviously a lot longer than I
have. There was, however, a saying when I was in the court system trying
cases, when you have the facts, you have the facts. When you have the law,
you argued the law. And when you had nothing, you got loud.
They don`t have the facts.
KENNEDY: They don`t have the law. And so, what do they do? They stick
their heads in the sand and claim that the science doesn`t exist, that
there`s nothing we can do about it. That climate change isn`t real, that
it`s a hoax. That the vast majority of every scientists in this world is
wrong – instead of actually trying to leverage the power of our economy
and our government to address this problem.
And that`s why I hope Mitch McConnell puts this on the floor.
KENNEDY: Very seldom in this country do we have a chance for political
leaders to cast a vote to say are you going to be on the right side of
history or the wrong side. I look forward to Mr. McConnell making that
choice for his caucus.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about the economic issues, because you and I had a
great breakfast a couple of weeks ago. And we talked about the corporate
world, because they have the economic power. How come we have a corporate
morality, a morality where people make – you talked about the fact that
big corporations are buying back stock.
MATTHEWS: That`s the first thing they need when they get a tax break.
They raise the value of their stock. That`s very good for management and
for the owners, but it doesn`t do anything for creating jobs.
KENNEDY: Look, this – Chris, I think this fits in with the Green New Deal
and I applaud my colleagues, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Markey, for
putting this together. What this is a recognition that our economy, the
American economy, has done more to bring more people out of poverty and
provide for prosperity in the United States and around the world than any
other economic system in history.
But we are seeing that the gains of that, particularly in the past 20, 30,
40 years, have gone to the top echelon of our society and that those gains
have not been widespread. What we need to do is reconfigure that to ensure
that workers get a fair shake for what they`ve done.
MATTHEWS: Because in the `50s and `60s, everybody, you could have one
person in the family working – that`s the way you wanted, you could
actually afford that. Kids would go to college. They`d be able to play
golf and live the middle class life for one person working. Those days are
KENNEDY: Those days are gone.
And so, look, the `50s and `60s obviously – we had our own separate set of
struggles. But with a single wage earner, you could provide a pathway for
a lot of folks in ways, provide a pathway to middle class jobs and a safe
and secure retirement. That is not the reality anymore and our government
structures, our economic structures, not only have they caught up, they`ve
been actively eroded – those worker protections, the protections around
pensions, the investments taking place.
I point out an example in my district which has been repeated in dozens of
others around the country of a plant that had been in Fall River,
Massachusetts, for over 40 years, Philips Lighting, that the company, got
$340 million in global profits last year. Took $180 million in a stock buy
back and then surely thereafter that shock buy back was announced, they
said they were going to fire 160 employees in that plant –
MATTHEWS: So, the tax break led the wealth to the top.
Let me ask you about this 2020. You`ve endorsed Senator Warren of your
MATTHEWS: What`s that fight going to be about? You know, I had a
breakfast with her – a lunch with her one time. She`s very clear. She
said I believe in capitalism.
MATTHEWS: I`m not a socialist.
Is that going to have the kind of ideological battle? I mean, I never
heard of Democrats saying they were socialists recently. A couple are
doing it, Bernie, of course, Ocasio-Cortez. This ideological thing, how is
that going to work out in this debate because it is going to be
KENNEDY: So, there`s going to be exactly what I think we need to have
which is a big robust debate in our country and I think we`ve got an
incredible number of candidates at the top. I`m proud to support Senator
Warren, my home state senator, my former teacher and somebody whose values
I know are about trying to make the structures and the power of an economy
actually work for everybody.
And that`s what she`s actually led her life to. That`s what she studied –
her main area of focus about bankruptcy, which as a student, I remember in
office hours one day, wondering why of all subjects would you choose
bankruptcy and she said because this is how a society has picked – society
treats those after they fall, do we pick them up and let them start again.
That`s what we should be doing.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, U.S. Congressman Joe Kennedy III of
Up next, the Trojan horse in the Trump White House. Back after this.
MATTHEWS: A Trojan horse stands today in Trump White House. Inside this
gift horse are the armed soldiers of war, the same soldiers that took our
country to the murderous war with Iraq. I don`t know what led Donald
Trump, a man who campaigned so hard against stupid wars, to invite the
loudest hawk of that stupidest of all wars, the invasion of Iraq, into his
administration. Worst yet to make him his national security adviser but he
And now John Bolton is filling up his Trojan horse with the usual suspects,
war planners for the next American invasion of who knows where. Bolton was
pushing for an invasion of Iraq back in 1988 when he joined a neo
conservative clack pushing Bill Clinton to attack Iraq. He eventually got
his way with the help of Dick Cheney using 9/11 as the cause for war, even
though Iraq had no discernible connection to the attack.
Well, today, Bolton has got his eyes on a pair of invasion targets,
tweeting his call for regime change, the neo con countdown to invasion in
Venezuela and Iran. It`s time for Maduro, Bolton tweets, to get out of the
way. That`s the elected Venezuelan president the United States national
security adviser is warning to, quote, get out of the way.
Bolton said a similar threat to the leader of Iran, warning not to expect
to celebrate any more anniversaries. How did a war hawk like Bolton
squeeze his way into this position of power, from where he can issue
threats to countries that we, the United States, are coming to invade them?
As bad as Donald Trump can be, what is he doing getting his direction on
matters of war and peace from someone so demonstrously (ph) dangerous as
That`s HARDBALL for now.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the