Second woman accuses Biden. TRANSCRIPT: 4/1/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.

Steve Cohen, Natasha Bertrand, Barbara Boxer, Jay Inslee, Sahil Kapur

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  That does it for us tonight though.  “HARDBALL” is

up next.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  Can you stand the truth?  Let`s play HARDBALL.


Good evening.  I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.  President Trump is once

again acting like he`s got something to hide.  Why is he publicly now

asking whether the Mueller report should be released at all?  Today, the

President Tweeted, no matter what information is given to the crazed

democrats from the no collusion Mueller report, it will never be good

enough.  And later on Friday, he threatened to withhold the report entirely

saying, quote, maybe we should just take our victory and say no.  We`ve got

a country to run.


Well, that`s not the position of the American public.  They remain

unconvinced.  They say that what they have learned so far from the four-

page note released by the Attorney General has not satisfied their interest

in what went on between Trump and the Russians.  They are not at all

convinced the President is off the hook.  Look at these numbers.  A new

NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows 40 percent of Americans say the

President is not clear of wrongdoing and another 31 percent said they don`t

know whether he is or not.  Well, take them together, that`s 71 percent of

Americans who don`t see a clear verdict on the President despite his claims

of exoneration.


Well, the House Judiciary Committee, which handles impeachment, has set

tomorrow as the deadline for the Justice Department to turn in a full un-

redacted copy of the Mueller report.  And it`s clear the Justice Department

will not meet that deadline.  According to Attorney General Barr, a

redacted version of Mueller`s report will be released by mid-April.


Well, now, NBC News reports that democrats on that committee plan to vote

this Wednesday, this Wednesday to authorize a subpoena if the Attorney

General hasn`t delivered that report tomorrow, Tuesday.


Meanwhile, the President continues to use the four-page letter on the

Mueller report to seek revenge against his adversaries.  Trump is demanding

an investigation of the investigators.  He`s calling on media outlets to

surrender the awards they received for reporting his links to Russia and he

says that Congressman Adam Schiff, the Chairman of the House Judiciary –

actually, the House Intelligence Committee should be forced to resign from

Congress altogether.  Well, this comes after Schiff issued a fiery rebuke

of his republican colleagues last week, calling Trump`s behavior toward

Russia unpatriotic, corrupt and unethical.


Responding to that criticism yesterday, Trump`s Chief of Staff Mick

Mulvaney suggested that questions about ethics are not important in the

absence of criminal wrongdoing.





his larger point that the actions were unethical?



everything that Adam just talked about, and I know Adam, I used to serve

with him in Congress, everything that he just listed right there was

available to Mr. Mueller.  In fact, probably in greater detail than Adam

goes into right there, and yet Mr. Mueller found no collusion and no



TAPPER:  Right, not a crime.  But what about the ethics or morality of

those things, those incidents?


MULVANEY:  Again, the issue here is not whether it`s ethical.


TAPPER:  All I`m saying here is that you`re setting the bar on criminal

charges or evidence of conspiracy, and I agree with what you`re saying,

that there is none there, but he is talking about ethics and morality and

you`re saying that`s not his job.  Okay, fair enough.  But forgetting Adam

Schiff for a second, what about the larger point about ethics and morality?


MULVANEY:  Well, I think the voters are going to decide on the ethics and

morality of the people they vote for on either side.




MATTHEWS:  But what about the allegation by Adam Schiff that Trump`s

conduct has been unpatriotic and corrupt?  Those are things to think about

more seriously.


I`m joined now by Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee, who sits

on the House Judiciary Committee.  Peter Baker is Chief White House

Correspondent for The New York Times.  Natasha Bertrand is here with me, a

Staff Writer at The Atlantic.


Congressman, thanks for coming on tonight from the House.  What do you make

of this discussion that`s going on in our country, whereby the President`s

Chief of Staff, a government employee, can just kiss off matters of

morality, ethics, patriotism and corruption as if they`re not relevant

because they haven`t nailed the President for a felony, yet?


REP. STEVE COHEN (D), T.N.:  Well, he works for an immoral and unethical

individual.  So questions of morality and ethics would certainly work

against him.  And he, like Mr. Barr, work for Mr. Trump, and they`re going

to do everything they can to preserve his presidency so that he can

continue to appoint judges that will look askance at women`s issues and

other issues that have been important to this country.  They want to repeal

Roe V. Wade and they will get as many judges on the Supreme Court and the

Court of Appeals as they can.  This, I think, is why Barr was chosen.  I

think Trump saw the benefit of a federalist group giving Gorsuch and

Kavanaugh, and he said, give me an Attorney General.  And I think he got

him and Attorney General.  And I think he got him.  And that`s what Barr is

doing, he`s doing his work for the federalist society to get these judges



MATTHEWS:  How far – do you see him as a puppet?


COHEN:  I definitely do.  He was hired with an agenda.  He took it.  That

was his job that he wanted to.  Something I think nobody`s thought about. 

The Congress adjourns on April the 10th for 19 days.  We don`t come back

until April 29th.  I think Mr. Barr knows that.  And I think that`s why Mr.

Barr says he`ll give us the report on April 15 so we won`t be here and it

will be two weeks before we come back.  This whole thing has been played

out like a stall, like when they used to play basketball without a 30-

second or a 35-second clock.  And they`re just holding the ball and they

got the lead, and they`ve got a three to nothing lead and they`re holding

the ball.


MATTHEWS:  That`s Dean Smith`s four-corner offense.  I know all about it. 

Thank you.  Thanks for the basketball recap.


Let me get back to Peter on that, and this isn`t basketball at all.  But

there is a question of game playing here.  What do you think?  What can we

tell objectively that the Attorney General is up to here with this clever

four-page letter which led a lot of people to believe the whole game is

over here?  He used the theme [ph] of word, game, again, and somehow, the

President is going scot-free, capable of claiming exoneration, although,

that`s at all what the public thinks or what Mueller wrote.



right.  Well, whether he intended it or not, Attorney General`s letter

certainly allowed the President to set the framework for the narrative,

which is to say that the bottom line conclusions do not find a conspiracy

with Russia and that Robert Mueller is not charging that he violated the

law on obstruction, even though he doesn`t exonerate him.  And that`s

obviously been really important for the President politically to go out

there and be able to say, see, I`m innocent.  I didn`t do anything. 

Whether Barr meant to do that or not, that`s been the effect.


Now, what you saw in the letter he sent again last week following up on

that, he said, look, I didn`t mean to summarize this report.  You shouldn`t

take what I said in that four-page letter to be a summary of the report.  I

was simply giving the principal conclusions.  And you can take from that,

you can infer from that that the Attorney General is a little nervous or a

little worried that people have gotten a little too far out in front,

taking this four-page letter as if this was the be all and end all. 

There`re 400 pages of this report and we don`t know what they say.


And Bill Barr is not telling us what those 400 pages say yet.  They may be

very damning of the President even if they don`t find criminal activity or

they may not be.  We don`t know.  But, clearly, Bill Barr is a little

nervous, I think, that the impression is he left was that there wasn`t

anything in those 400 pages that will look bad.  And then when we those,

that full report, or at least even a redacted version of that report, it

may not look in concert with that letter.


MATTHEWS:  You know, Natasha, when we watched the State of the Union, we

take notes and we have to do a lot of things fast and well.  Papers like

The New York Times do it incredibly well, the Wall Street Journal and The

Post and everything else.  You`ve got to look at something and quick. 

These people claim to have taken the Evelyn Wood speed reading course

because they read a 400-page document.  And within 48 hours, they had it

all.  And so this all, it says here is the President is clean.  And that`s

what Barr basically said.  I`ve read the 400 pages, he`s clean.  That

looked like a PR operation.



was, again, to give the President a head start on this, to give him a head

start to create the narrative.  And I think someone else who is escaping

scrutiny here is the Deputy Attorney General, is Rod Rosenstein.


MATTHEWS:  What`s his game?


BERTRAND:  Well, we – it`s really baffling that the man who wrote the memo

justifying firing Jim Comey, which the President has been under

investigation for for obstruction, has now been the arbiter of whether or

not the President obstructed justice.  It`s really kind of self-serving.


MATTHEWS:  And he`s the guy the President calls a democrat from Baltimore.


BERTRAND:  It seems like it`s self-serving for Rod Rosenstein to be

involved in these discussions because, of course, he is kind of in the

clear now.  He is a witness in the obstruction investigation.  And by

saying that there was no obstruction, he can kind of brush it off and move

it aside.  So I think that`s a part of this.


MATTHEWS:  Do you think he`s a Trump mole?


BERTRAND:  You know, I wouldn`t necessarily go that far, but I think, you

know, there is a lot of – there are a lot of speculation – there is a lot

of speculation that he is a survivor, that he is a political survivor, and

he has done what he has had to do in order to remain in the position that

he`s in.


MATTHEWS:  Well, that`s pretty sad.


Appearing on Fox News yesterday, White House Adviser Kellyanne Conway could

not seem to explain why the President is claiming exoneration when the

Special Counsel did not clear him on obstruction of justice.  Here she





CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS SUNDAY:  When the President says that it`s total

exoneration on obstruction, Kellyanne, that`s just not true.



President is probably comparing that report and the ultimate conclusions of

no conspiracy, no collusion, no contact with any Russian at any campaign

that I managed into its final successful phases and have always been

offended that anybody would think we would cheat, lie, steal or talk to any



WALLACE:  And, look, take yes for an answer.  I`m agreeing with you on

collusion.  I`m asking you –


CONWAY:  Okay.  Well, I`m also going to take yes for an answer in the Barr



WALLACE:  I`m asking you about obstruction though.


CONWAY:  We`ll see what the full Mueller report says.  But there is nowhere

in the Barr report that says the President obstructed justice.


WALLACE:  But there was no Barr report.  Barr is simply summarizing –


CONWAY:  Well, that Barr memo summarizing, but I think –


WALLACE:  Mueller.  And Mueller says that it did not exonerate him.




MATTHEWS:  You know, Chris Wallace gets better and better.  Congressman,

let me know what you think of that, because there is the President`s Chief

Communications person unable to explain the obvious.  The President is not

clear.  He hasn`t been cleared, not by Mueller, certainly.


COHEN:  He hasn`t been exonerated by anybody except his own hired henchmen. 

You know, as we sit here, Steve Scalise is speaking right behind me and

it`s nauseating to listen to the republicans spin what they`re spinning

just after they all voted two weeks ago to release the Mueller report.  All

but four who abstained said, the Mueller report should be made public. 

Now, they`re finding every excuse to not make it public.  And they`re

talking about Hillary Clinton and they`re talking about FBI agents. 

They`ll start to talk about Benghazi again.  They – that vote, they should

be – that should be like perjury because they didn`t believe that vote. 

They didn`t believe it.


MATTHEWS:  Yes.  That`s like the old Chicoms, the old Chinese reds, where

every once in awhile, they would haul out somebody, some merchant from 30

or 40 years earlier and say, this is what`s wrong with capitalism.


Anyway, on that point, on three different occasions, Trump has said

publicly that he supports the release of the Mueller report until recently. 

Here he is.




REPORTER:  Does the public have a right to see the Mueller report?


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT:  I don`t mind.  I mean, frankly, I told the

House, if you want, let them see it.


REPORTER:  Would you want the report to be released?


TRUMP:  It`s up to the Attorney General, but it wouldn`t bother me at all. 

Up to the Attorney General, wouldn`t bother me at all.


Well, I have great confidence in the Attorney General.  And if that`s what

he`d like to do, I have nothing to hide.




MATTHEWS:  Peter, what`s the state of the art on this whole thing?  Because

I think most people – we`ve shown in our numbers, over 7 in 10 people or

more would like to see what the hell is going on here.  They have been left

with a blur, with a murky situation where the President has clearly opened

the air in terms of guilt, perhaps criminal guilt on obstruction of

justice.  He clearly was not cleared by Robert Mueller on that.  And even

the other guy, Attorney General Barr, was very unclear in the way he

cleared him.  Because he simply said – okay, he says he can be guilty or

not, but I`m saying he`s not.  But it was so clear what he was doing was

playing politics.


BAKER:  Well, what we`re going to see here potentially is a pretty

important clash if Bill Barr does not release enough of the report to

satisfy the House democrats.  Now, the House Democrats said they want

everything, they want not just the full report but the evidence underlying

it.  Bill Barr says, I`m going to give you everything, at least in the

report, except for these four categories, the categories being secret grand

jury material, classified, you know, material in terms of, you know,

intercepts with the Russians, that kind of thing.


The question is whether what he produces to them is a good faith effort to

give them what they need to make an evaluation of their own or is it

perceived to be hiding information.  Well, we don`t know that until we see

what he`s going to give them.  He does say he`s going to give it to them by

mid-April, or sooner, he said.  So we may find that out in the next week or

so.  But if he doesn`t, if he doesn`t give them everything that they feel

like they ought to have, I think you could easily see a fight that goes to

the courts on this and the courts would be asked to rule as they were under

Nixon, as they were under Clinton, as to what are the limits of the

executive branch`s ability to withhold information from the Congress and

the public.


MATTHEWS:  Well, let`s look at this.  A picture is worth a thousand words,

everybody.  And, Natasha, you take this.  If we get a New York Times top of

the full page picture of a whole page blacked out, you guys will have a

comment on that.  I think the world will have a comment.  I think the world

will have a comment.  They see pages all blacked out.  I guess the

Congressman admits it.  I`m afraid that`s what`s coming, not just

protecting sources but all kinds of executive privilege claims, all kinds

of, oh, this was during a grand jury, blah, blah, blah.  So three strikes,

you`re out.  There may not be much white left on that paper.  Your



BERTRAND:  Yes, Chris.  And I think one thing the public and Congress has

to be really careful about is this fourth bucket that Bill Barr said in his

letter that would be redacted, which is information about third parties,

peripheral third parties that might be damaging to their reputations. 

Well, who does Bill Barr consider a third party?  What is damaging to their

reputations?  I mean, this is all very vague –


MATTHEWS:  So this is going to hurt Roger Stone?


BERTRAND:  Who knows.


MATTHEWS:  I`m kidding.


BERTRAND:  I mean, is Donald Trump considered a third party because he

wasn`t charged?


And I just want to go back also really quick to the question of whether

ethics and morals matter.  If you`re a morally vacuous person, then that

makes you more susceptible to being blackmailed by foreign country.  If you

have no principle, if you have no ethics, this is a national security



MATTHEWS:  Or patriotism or corruption.


BERTRAND:  It`s a very big national security issue.  And I think that that

is the lens through which we have to view this.


MATTHEWS:  Congressman, your last thought on this and where it stands,

because you`ve got the committee demanding this full report without

redactions by perhaps issuing a subpoena by Wednesday.  Who is going to win

that fight?


COHEN:  Well, the courts will decide, and I think we`ll end up winning. 

Historically, the grand jury testimony has been released by judges. 

Generally, it`s been when the Attorney General and the Congress people have

gone together.  But regardless if there is a request from a judge after the

case has been heard, I think with the President being the subject of this

investigation and the importance of this to the American people that a

judge would allow that information to go to Congress.


The classified material, we all have classified clearances and we can hear

that in a skiff.  And that`s simple enough to do.  Ongoing investigations,

that`s not a problem either.  Executive privilege needs to be looked at

somebody to make sure it truly is.  And then that kitchen sink thing about

the reputational interest, that`s Huey [ph].  That`s just a way for him to

black out everything, give us noting but two words, no collusion, with 400

pages black.


MATTHEWS:  Well, if I were in the party, the Democratic Party, I`d be

filling that park next to the Capitol building with people with signs

saying, release the report.  Release the report.  That will carry with the

American people.  Thank you so much, U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen, Peter

Baker of The New York Times and Natasha Bertrand of The Atlantic.


Coming up, a cottage industry of lies.  Joe Biden`s team, by the way,

sharpens its response today to accusations of inappropriate contact with

women.  How big a threat is this to his 2020 presidential prospects?  We`ll

see.  Who knows.


Plus, Trump`s new immigration drama, here it is.




TRUMP:  Massive caravans walking right through Mexico.  So Mexico is tough. 

They can stop them but they chose not to.  Now, they`re going to stop them. 

And if they don`t stop them, we`re closing the border.  They`ll close it. 

We`ll keep it closed for a long time.  I`m not playing games.




MATTHEWS:  I`ll talk to the State of Washington Governor and presidential

candidate Jay Inslee about the President`s threat to close our southern

border.  Much more ahead, stick with us.




MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  Actually, former Vice President Joe

Biden is yet to announce he`s a candidate for a 2020 presidential

nomination, of course, but he`s already facing some heat.  You`ve heard. 

Democrat Lucy Flores, a former Nevada Assembly Woman, says Biden made her

feel uncomfortable during a campaign event when she ran for Lieutenant

Governor back in 2014.  She first detailed her accusation, by the way, in

New York Magazine`s The Cut, describing what she said was inappropriate but

not sexual touching and kissing.  Flores spoke to my colleague, Kasie Hunt,

just last night.





my shoulders, and I`m thinking, OK, that`s odd, and the vice president of

the United States is touching me, but, you know, nothing, I guess, too out

of the ordinary. 


But then I felt him get closer.  He leaned in and was, like, right behind

me on my body.  And he leans down, smells my hair, and then plants this big

long kiss on the top of my head. 


I don`t believe that it was a bad intention.  I`m not in any way suggesting

that I felt sexually assaulted or sexually harassed.  I felt invaded.  I

felt that there was a violation of my personal space. 




MATTHEWS:  NBC News has not independently verified this specific incident

took place, but has reviewed correspondence provided by Flores that appears

to corroborate that she discussed the incident around the time she says it



That`s very important to learning what happened.  You talk about it at the



Well, the former vice president responded in a statement, saying: “In my

many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have encountered –

or offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support

and comfort, and not once, never did I believe I acted inappropriately.  If

it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully, but it was never my



Well, today, the “Hartford Courant” newspaper reported a Connecticut woman

also says Biden touched her inappropriately, but not sexually, at a fund-

raiser in 2009. 


And during his speech in Delaware two weeks ago, the former vice president

made note of his – what he called his hands-on style. 





politician.  I always have been.  That`s what gets me in trouble as well,

because I think I can feel and taste what`s going on. 


Everywhere I went – no kidding – everywhere I went there was an

insatiable desire by Republicans, as well as Democrats, for women and men

of high character in public office. 




MATTHEWS:  For more, I`m joined by former Democratic Senator from

California Barbara Boxer.  Susan Del Percio is a Republican strategist. 

Sahil Kapur is a national political reporter for Bloomberg News.


And this is just breaking right now, Senator.  And I wanted your thinking

on it, as a veteran of the political world.  What gravity do you give to

this story, these stories, which seem to be mounting, at least beginning to



BARBARA BOXER (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR:  I don`t think that there is anyone

who hasn`t grown up with Joe Biden, as I did going, back to the `80s, that

didn`t know he`s a very affectionate person. 


And the thing about that is, it was his style of being a politician.  And

some people found him endearing.  I personally did.  He always treated the

women in the Senate and the House as equals.  I have worked with him on

many important things, including the Violence Against Women Act, community

policing, saving the dolphin. 


He loves his family.  He used to bring his daughter to talk to me about the

environment.  And, you know, some people didn`t find it endearing.  They

found it annoying if he touched their shoulders or leaned in, and some

people obviously found it offensive, but they didn`t feel comfortable

saying anything.


And now they feel comfortable.  And Joe is listening.  And Joe will change. 

And I think it`s a moment that people have to understand, some people don`t

like to have their space invaded.  It`s as simple as that.  And I think he

will learn from that.  And I think he`s a terrific person, and I always

will think that. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, I can`t beat that.  I thought that was a great perception

about all the bases here. 


Let me go to Susan, who has worked on the other side politically, but I

don`t know if you had people like that, tactile politicians, or not. 


SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Oh, no, of course there are.  And

there are politicians that act that way. 


And I agree with the senator.  This is Joe Biden.  This is the way he is. 

And most people welcome it.  And, honestly, I don`t think he did anything

particularly wrong, especially in his mind.


But here`s the bigger problem for Joe Biden.  And let me just say, I do

believe he is a man of strong character and integrity.  But he has been in

politics for decades.  And the way he was isn`t the way he can be in 2020 -

- for the 2020 primary.  And that`s the more significant difference. 


This is also part – I can`t help but believe, part of an ongoing political

hit job on the vice president.  We have now his son and Ukraine and people

bringing up Anita Hill.  I think this is all part of a way of saying that

Joe Biden`s past can hurt him. 


MATTHEWS:  Who is running that – who is running that conspiracy? 


DEL PERCIO:  There are some who are running for president in the Democratic

primary who are pedaling that.


And this woman – just for all disclosure, this woman supported Bernie

Sanders last go-round. 


MATTHEWS:  Yes.  Well, you have to always think about that aspect of it. 

True or not, you have to think about it, because politics is motivated.


DEL PERCIO:  That`s right. 


MATTHEWS:  Anyway, over the weekend, several of Biden`s would-be 2020

rivals weighed in on Flores` account. 


By the way, I like Flores` account.  You know what I like about it?  The

credibility of it.  I believe every word she said, factually.  I believe

every fact.  And I like the particularity of it.  I`m tired of these,

somebody said this, somebody said that made me uncomfortable. 


She specifically told us what she said she experienced and how she felt

about it, which I think is really damn helpful. 


DEL PERCIO:  Absolutely. 


MATTHEWS:  Anyway, let`s take a look at this. 


A lot of them are all saying – of course, the opponents of Biden are

liking this.  It`s hurting them and helping them, relatively.  So let`s

take a look what they have to say. 





Flores, and Joe Biden needs to give an answer. 


QUESTION:  Should he not run as a result? 


WARREN:  That`s for Joe Biden to decide. 




QUESTION:  Do you think it disqualifies him for the presidency? 


CASTRO:  He`s going to decide whether he`s going to run or not. 



believe her. 



we should really – we should start by believing them. 



to believe Lucy. 





SANDERS:  Well, I think that`s a decision for the vice president to make. 

I`m not sure that one incident alone disqualifies anybody.




MATTHEWS:  It`s interesting. 


This isn`t like a trial, where you`re trying to get information.  We know. 

Everybody heard her.  She`s credible.  She said it.  She`s been

experienced.  She didn`t like it.  She wrote about it.  She told her

friends, people about it at the time.  It`s all true. 




MATTHEWS:  The question is, how do we react to it? 


KAPUR:  Well, naturally…


MATTHEWS:  How does the media react to it?  How`s other women react to it?


KAPUR:  Naturally, Joe Biden`s would-be rivals want to back him into a

corner and play this up and make him answer for it.  He`s leading the polls

of the Democratic field. 




MATTHEWS:  That clever line was, only one incident, in other words, waiting

for the shoe to drop, which was this afternoon. 


KAPUR:  And we don`t know – we don`t know how many more shoes there are to

drop.  We don`t know what that`s going to look like. 


I think, Chris, the bigger point here is that this Lucy Flores situation is

a microcosm of the challenges Joe Biden will face if he decides to run, not

only on this category of issue.  We don`t know what else, if anything, is

going to come out.


But over 36 years as a senator, he said and did a lot of things…


MATTHEWS:  Oh, I know that.


KAPUR:  … that he didn`t think were appropriate – or that he didn`t

think were inappropriate at the time, but that Democratic voters today may

have a very different view of.


And that`s not just Anita Hill.  That`s the crime bill.  That`s the

bankruptcy bill in 2005.  That`s has vote for the Iraq War.




MATTHEWS:  How about the Democratic establishment types voting for the Iraq

War?  And they all damn well did it.  All of them did it.  Nobody –

everybody, all of them.


KAPUR:  But many of the other presidential contenders – many of the other

presidential contenders today never got – never cast that vote and won`t

have to explain it.  And I do think those things matter.


MATTHEWS:  John Kerry.  They all did it.  I didn`t like it either. 


During the 2016 campaign, more than a dozen women, by the way – let`s not

forget what`s going out in the world there – accused President – or

candidate Trump of sexual assault or misconduct. 


Many of them spoke publicly about their experiences.  Let`s listen to that,

for memory`s sake here. 




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It was a real shock when all of a sudden his hands

were all over me.  He started encroaching on my space.  And I hesitate to

use this expression, but I`m going to.  And that is, he was like an

octopus.  It was like he had six arms.  He was all over the place. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He pushed me up against the wall and had his hands

all over me and tried to get up my dress again.  And I had to physically

say: “What are you doing?  Stop it.”


It was a shocking thing to have him do this. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The person on my right, who, unbeknownst to me at

that time was Donald Trump, put their hand up my skirt.  He did touch my

vagina through my underwear. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He then walked up to me and reached his right arm and

grabbed my right arm.  Then his hand touched the right inside of my breast. 




MATTHEWS:  Senator, you know, generally, I like – because we have had this

problem in my church, you know, with priests.  And I like specificity,

because it`s a little gross to listen to, but damn well you know what the

hell happened five minutes later. 


At least you know what you`re dealing with and how bad it is.  And all –

usually, it`s grosser than you thought. 


Your thoughts? 


BOXER:  Are you talking to me, Chris? 


MATTHEWS:  Yes, Senator.  You`re the only senator on the phone right now. 


BOXER:  Oh, sorry. 


MATTHEWS:  Thank you. 


BOXER:  I didn`t – I couldn`t hear you.  Sorry. 


Look, these two people are as different, night from day.  Trump attacks the

women, calls them all liars.  He tries to sue them and scare them. 


Joe Biden, these aren`t incidents, so much as it is, yes, shoe to drop.  He

hugged a lot of people.  And he – and that`s Joe.  And so it`s not an

incident.  It`s the way he has been. 


And what he is learning, which I think a lot of people are learning now,

since the MeToo movement, that, for some people, it`s just not OK.  But

there is no comparison between what the women are saying that Trump did and

what the women are saying Joe Biden did. 


MATTHEWS:  I know. 


BOXER:  Which is to just get cozy and be endearing.  And a lot of them

liked it, and a lot of them didn`t. 


And he needs to stop, and I think he will learn that.  And if we are now

going to say that anyone who came up in those years, when that`s what

retail politics was, is a terrible person, I think that`s kind of a sad

thing.  And I have not endorsed anybody in this race. 


MATTHEWS:  I have to talk to…


BOXER:  I want to be clear. 


MATTHEWS:  I love the way you just said it, because I don`t have as much

experience as you have, but close to it, working on the Hill. 


This thing about retail.  He comes from a small state. 


BOXER:  Yes. 


MATTHEWS:  It`s personal relationships.  You get elected because people

know you.  I think most of the voters in Delaware knew him.  They



BOXER:  Yes. 


MATTHEWS:  But this thing you watch on the floor – when you were a House

member, have you watched the men when they meet each other, when they`re

about to go for the door?  After you, Congressman.  After you, Congressman. 

The hand – the elbow grabbing, the shoulder grabbing. 


BOXER:  Oh, yes. 


MATTHEWS:  It`s – that`s what people don`t know about.  That`s politics. 

There is all this physicality that goes on. 


BOXER:  There is a lot of – there is a lot of that.


And I notice that Ms. Flores, who I absolutely believe, and I think she

laid it all out there – and, yes, she says it wasn`t harassment, it wasn`t

sexual.  That`s what it is. 


Bernie Sanders had his arm on her shoulders, and she didn`t mind it in that

circumstance.  But I think it`s just best for all of us now to shake each

other`s hands, look each other in the eye.  And if people don`t feel

comfortable, you know, if you get too much in their space, back off.  It`s

just simple. 


But, my God, with all the problems we have in this great country of ours, I

think we can get past this.  I hope we can.  Really, I do. 


MATTHEWS:  Senator, it`s great to have you on.  Thank you so much, Senator

Boxer of California. 


Susan Del Percio, thank you for your expertise and, Sahil, for your



Up next, 2020 presidential candidate and Washington State Governor Jay

Inslee on Trump`s border drama right now, climate change, which is his big

issue, the governor`s, and other important issues facing concerned voters.


We`re back after this.




MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 


Eight out of the 13 Democratic presidential hopefuls made their pitches and

fielded questions from progressive activists at the We the People Annual

summit here in D.C.  It was an opportunity to make their cases on a number

of progressive issues, from gerrymandering, to corporate influences, and,

of course, climate change. 


Let`s take a look at some of the candidates. 




BETO O`ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  That`s why, as president, I

will sign into law a new Voting Rights Act, so every single citizen can

vote and every single vote is counted.  No more gerrymandering in the

United States, racial, political or otherwise. 


KLOBUCHAR:  I am proud to support statehood for Washington, D.C.




KLOBUCHAR:  I don`t think you should have a big group of people that don`t

have anyone to represent them in Congress. 


WARREN:  That`s why everything I call for starts with big systemic change. 

How do we reduce the influence of money and power in Washington? 



generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last

generation that can do something about it. 


And I`m telling you today that, if I`m given this high honor as president

of the United States, I`m going to make defeating climate change the number

one priority.




MATTHEWS:  Well, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington – you just saw him –

joins me now live. 


You know, I get the feeling that we have to see the burning bush,

practically.  We see all kind of climate craziness.  When I grew up, we had

four seasons.  They were predictable.  Here in Washington, it snowed once

in awhile in the winter. 


INSLEE:  Yes. 


MATTHEWS:  We don`t have snow.  It`s very hard to know when it`s coming, if

ever.  The summers are not as hot as they used to be.  There used to be

some predictability in our weather.  It`s gone. 


INSLEE:  Yes.  So, I…


MATTHEWS:  And it`s horrible out West and places like that.  It`s just

horrible, the fires.


INSLEE:  It is.


When I went through Paradise, California, this is a town of 25,000.  It was

just burned right to the ground.  It looked like a Hollywood apocalypse



And this is a magic moment for our nation, because the public is now

understanding this.  This used to be a graph on a chart, an abstraction. 

Now it`s real seeing real neighbors burned out of their homes. 


MATTHEWS:  What`s the one thing you would do as president on climate, if

you got in there?


INSLEE:  Well, we would have a whole suite of policies to drive…


MATTHEWS:  Name the best, number one.


INSLEE:  Equity investment, clean energy fuel standard, 100 percent clean

grid standard, big investment in energy efficiency, requirements for better

building codes, and large research and development. 


We spent more money developing one kind of jeep years ago than our entire

clean energy investment strategy.  Now, below that, there`s 24 different

strategies.  And we`re doing them in our state as we speak. 


MATTHEWS:  What do you think of the New Deal, the Green New Deal? 


INSLEE:  I think it`s been very helpful because it`s elevated the debate. 

It`s got people talking about climate change. 


It`s elevated the scope of people`s ambitions.




INSLEE:  And it`s brought communities of color and the poverty – because,

you know, the first people who are always hurt are people…






Let`s talk about something more, about the country and its borders and the

way we – we have 11 million people living in the country illegally right

now, without documents. 


INSLEE:  Yes.  Yes. 


MATTHEWS:  That`s a problem to most people.  That`s a problem. 


INSLEE:  Well…


MATTHEWS:  How do you solve it? 


INSLEE:  Well, look, you get a new president who is willing to seek

solutions, rather than just hateful bumper stickers.


MATTHEWS:  What are the solutions?  I don`t hear Democrats with – I mean,

if you do think – there`s a big if here. 


If you think it`s a problem – and I think a lot of liberal Democrats don`t

think it`s much a problem.  They are fine, people coming in.  They`re

migrants.  That`s the way it is.  It`s basically open borders. 


Where are you?  Are you an open borders guy? 


INSLEE:  No, I think that having some border makes sense. 


We need to increase our openness to refugees.  It`s pathetic that we have -

- Trump has been so inhumane to close the border to refugees, some of whom

are climate refugees today.  It`s because of the drought. 


MATTHEWS:  I agree with that.  I agree with that. 


INSLEE:  It has been so inhumane to separate parents from their children. 


It has been nuts to want to waste billions of dollars on a wall that even

the Republicans don`t want to do.  But I think you need to separate that,

when you think about it…




MATTHEWS:  Do you think the Democrats would work to reduce illegal

immigration, or not? 


INSLEE:  Sure.  We have. 


MATTHEWS:  Would they reduce it?


INSLEE:  Sure.  The Democrats have put in appropriate appropriations for



MATTHEWS:  Do they believe in it? 


INSLEE:  … to have some meaningful border.


But it`s not just the border.  We have 11 million people that are our





INSLEE:  They`re working.  They`re going to schools.  And our dreamers…


MATTHEWS:  I`m just from Pennsylvania.  A lot of people voted for Trump

because they don`t like illegal immigration. 




INSLEE:  Well, but I`ll tell you…


MATTHEWS:  They don`t like it. 


INSLEE:  I will tell you who they like.  They like the dreamers.  I will

tell you what.  Everybody loves the dreamers in my state. 




INSLEE:  These are kids going to school.  They want to be doctors and



MATTHEWS:  You mean they – because they didn`t make a decision to break

the law. 


INSLEE:  Yes, they just came here.  They don`t even know.


But Trump has been so inhumane to them. 


MATTHEWS:  I agree.


INSLEE:  To use them as a poker chip, evil.


MATTHEWS:  It`s – he doesn`t understand that the pictures he`s creating

are terrible. 


INSLEE:  Absolutely evil.


MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about this Gadhafi – not Gadhafi.  Why am I





MATTHEWS:  Khashoggi.


What do you make of the fact that we`re still doing business?  I mean,

Jared is over there, the president`s son-in-law.  We`re doing – Pompeo is

talking to them over there, as if it`s OK.  We`re still buddies.  And they

killed one of our reporters. 


INSLEE:  It`s one of the reasons we got to see Trump`s tax returns. 


What kind of deal has he got with the Saudi Arabians?


MATTHEWS:  Would you stick to our oil buying deals with Saudis – 


INSLEE:  I think – 


MATTHEWS:  – even though they won`t – it`s claimed that the prince had

something to do with killing our guy?


INSLEE:  We need to reevaluate every single relationship with –  


MATTHEWS:  Would you cut it off if we could prove he did it?


INSLEE:  It depends on the situation.  I`d listen.  Unlike Donald Trump,

I`d listen to intelligence.




MATTHEWS:  If the prince had something to do with it, would you cut him



INSLEE:  They would pay some price that would be significant, if that`s

what happened.  And my belief is it has happened.  So, my belief is there

is something going on between Donald Trump and that regime that is



I released my tax returns the other day.  I challenged Trump to do it.  I

challenged all the Democrats to do it. 


MATTHEWS:  Jared`s over there playing footsie with this guy, MBS, they`re





INSLEE:  Don`t be surprised, once we finally – once we finally get the tax

returns, maybe we`ll find out the reason. 


MATTHEWS:  We can wait for that.




MATTHEWS:  Some news at the end of the show here –


INSLEE:  We just passed a law on this.  He can`t get on the ballot in my

state until he released his tax returns. 


MATTHEWS:  You guys are tough. 




MATTHEWS:  Governor, thank you.


INSLEE:  Thank you.


MATTHEWS:  It`s great.  We`ll have you on again.


INSLEE:  Thank you.


MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Governor Jay Inslee of the state of Washington. 


Up next, a White House whistle-blower says the Trump administration

overruled experts and granted top security clearances to high-risk

individuals, including the aforementioned Jared Kushner and Ivanka on at

least 25 occasions, including those two occasions, the president`s daughter

and son-in-law.  What does it say about national security at the White

House?  What`s going on there?  What are they hiding that these people did

wrong that they couldn`t get a security clearance the normal way except

through nepotism? 


Stay with us.




MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.


President Trump has repeatedly declared the country`s national security to

be a top priority for him, but actions within his own White House raise

questions about his follow-through.  When it comes to protecting the

country`s most classified information, for example, a White House whistle-

blower, Tricia Newbold, has told the House Oversight Committee that the

Trump administration granted security clearances to 25 individuals,

including two current senior White House officials after they were

initially denied by security officials. 


In a memo released today by the committee, Newbold said, quote, these

individuals had a wide range of serious, disqualifying issues involving

foreign influence, conflicts of interests, concerning personal conduct,

financial problems, drug use and criminal conduct.  She said the decisions

to overturn the clearance denials issued by her office could jeopardize

national security and said coming forward was her, quote, last hope to

really bring the integrity back into our office.  Those were her words. 


Can you guess who the current senior White House officials are that were

initially denied security clearance?  I can guess because I know.  I`ll

tell you why coming up. 




MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.


Whistle-blower who works as a security specialist at White House confirmed

that the Trump administration overruled dozens of security clearances that

were originally denied by her office, including those of two senior White

House officials.  Those officials are believed to be the president`s

daughter Ivanka, there she is, and son-in-law Jared Kushner.  There he is. 


NBC News had previously reported that Kushner was rejected for a top secret

clearance by two career White House security specialists after an FBI

background check raised numerous concerns.  It identified questions about

his family`s business, his foreign contacts, his foreign travel and

meetings he had during the campaign. 


According to “The Washington Post,” U.S. intelligence officials had raised

a number of concerns to the White House, including reports that

intelligence officials from the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and

Mexico were privately discussing ways in which they could manipulate Jared

Kushner.  There he is there.


Now, Jared and Ivanka are in a list of nine current and former White House

officials being asked by House Oversight Committee chair Elijah Cummings to

provide documents about their security clearances. 


For more, I`m joined by Ken Dilanian, NBC News intelligence and national

security reporter, and Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff to the CIA and

Department of Defense.


Jeremy, you first.  Tell me what these meetings, these meetings that people

were able to see documents, the top hottest stuff involving Russia,

involving the Middle East, or China, who gets to see them?  It`s a decision

made by who?  Normally?



Normally, the FBI would do a background investigation and give the file to

the White House personnel security office.  And they would say, if the

person is approved, then the person can have access to that classified

information.  If the person is disapproved and adjudicated for a no,

basically denied, then usually that person can`t hold that job. 


Here in this case in at least 25 cases, the White House personnel office

overruled the career judgment of the FBI and granted secret access to 25

White House employees.


MATTHEWS:  Ken, who would be that he or they?  Who would say we don`t care

what the experts say about this person`s credibility or the danger to the

country, we`re going to give them what they want?  We`re going to give them

the OK to see everything?  Was is the president or –



– well, it was the head of the office of security, a guy named Carl Klein

who was overruling these career specialists.  But at least in the case of

Jared Kushner, “The New York Times” reported he did so on the orders of the

president of the United States.  We don`t know about the other 24 cases. 

And we don`t know who those people are. 


MATTHEWS:  So the president, his character witness?  How does he know

something that they don`t know? 


DILANIAN:  Well, the thing is that it`s a reminder of how powerful the

presidency is.  He has the absolute right to do this.  All this bureaucrat

niceties, this is essentially set up – this is how the rules normally

operate, but he can override them. 


MATTHEWS:  OK, let`s get to the credibility about his problem.  An

interview with “The New York Times” in January, not a million years ago,

the president denied getting involved in granting Kushner a security





REPORTER:  Did you tell General Kelly or anyone else in the White House to

overrule security officials? 



authority to do that. 


REPORTER:  You do have the authority to do it. 


TRUMP:  But I wouldn`t do it.  Jared`s a good – I was – I was never

involved with his security. 




MATTHEWS:  Is ignorance bliss here?  I mean, a month later, “The New York

Times” reported it was the president who ordered his chief of staff to

overrule intelligence officials and grant his son-in-law top security

clearance.  How could he forget? 


BASH:  The president is obviously covering up what he did here with respect

to his son-in-law. 


MATTHEWS:  Why would he do that? 


BASH:  Because he doesn`t want the American people to know his son-in-law

was denied a security clearance and that he has access to classified

information because, of course, that would show for everyone to see that

his White House is absolutely Swiss cheese when it comes to security.  It`s

full of holes. 


And not only Jared Kushner and Ivanka, but also 23, 24 other individuals,

Chris.  It`s highly significant.  Sometimes this happens once in an

administration, 25 times for a career person to be overruled show shows you

how much the politics were putting their thumb on the scale in favor of

their own people. 


MATTHEWS:  Do we know, do journalists know, do you know what was the

problem with Jared and the president knew the problem was and overruled it



DILANIAN:  Yes, our reporting is foreign interest concerns.  He had foreign

business entanglements and he neglected at first to disclose any of his

foreign contacts.  That would disqualify most people –


MATTHEWS:  Why would he do that? 


DILANIAN:  That would disqualify people.  He said it was a clerical error. 

Most people would not get away with that.  The important thing about this

is it`s so unprecedented. 


MATTHEWS:  That`s a perjury charge. 


DILANIAN:  This whistle-blower Tricia Newbold worked for 18 years doing

this.  She`s never seen anything like this.  She`s never been overruled

more than once every couple of years.


MATTHEWS:  How much of this is the old problem of nepotism?  I`ve been

raising this hell since the beginning, since Jamie Gorelick sort of

representing this guy, since the beginning, a lawyer friend of mine.  But I

never thought it was OK.


Bobby Kennedy was a different case.  Bobby Kennedy had run the Rackets

Committee for years.  He ran both campaigns of his brother, both the

Congress, got him into politics and the presidency.  He was one sharp

political cookie.  You want to have him around. 


Jared Kushner, the conflicts he had is all he had was conflicts.  That was

his resume, the conflicts, these foreign business relations. 


BASH:  Special rules for family, but also special rules for other political

appointees.  And, again, throughout the White House, you have individuals

with access to classified information, sensitive secrets, potentially

sources and methods, law enforcement methods, other things that are vital

for national security, and you give it to people who can`t we trusted or

subjected for foreign influence, that`s national security issue. 


MATTHEWS:  By the way, the Justice Department building.  You know who it

was named after?  Robert F. Kennedy.  So, it wasn`t like he was a problem

of appointment. 


What is this going to lead to?  The story breaking right now?  Subpoenas by

Elijah Cummings? 


DILANIAN:  Yes, he`s going to try the subpoenas on these White House

officials, but the White House is going to fight because they say Congress

has no right of oversight. 


MATTHEWS:  The whole dirty deal, this nepotistic crap. 


Anyway, thank you, Ken Dilanian – two smart guys here – and Jeremy Bash. 

You know your stuff.


Up next, some hard to belief stuff about Trump.  Listen closely – some

hard to believe stuff. 


You`re watching HARDBALL.




MATTHEWS:  This just in, Donald Trump has released all of his tax returns,

federal, state and local, going back ten years.  He says that with a

longstanding audit by the IRS now completed, he`s now free to be totally

transparent about all his business dealings.  Trump also admitted tonight

that he intentionally lied from the outset about Barack Obama having snuck

into the country from East Africa and he did so deliberately, Trump says,

to cultivate the racist vote. 


And this administration was coupled with Trump`s stunning confession

otherwise that he and his fellow Republicans have no idea how to replace

Obama`s affordable care program.  But now comes the real blockbuster

tonight, this Monday night, President Trump has agreed to release the

entirety of his high school and college transcripts, the whole caboodle to

prove once in for all he really was first in his class as he`s boasted. 


April fools!  Trump, of course, is releasing nothing on his taxes.  Trump

has never nor will he admit his real motive for denouncing Obama as an

illegitimate president, neither has he presented a plan to replace

Obamacare, and never will.  And who knows where his high school transcripts

have ended up. 


That`s HARDBALL for now.  Thanks for being with us on this April 1st day. 


“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now. 







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