Redacted Mueller Report expected Thursday. TRANSCRIPT: 4/15/19. Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Church and state. This is HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. Right now, you`re looking
at live pictures from Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The edifice that
survived nine centuries, World War, the Nazi occupation has been saved from
the brink of total destruction tonight after a massive fire that began
before 7:00 P.M. Paris time and raged well into the night.
It`s a devastating blow to an icon of western civilization and a monument
to religious faith for a millennium. It`s a tragedy without yet a victim,
however, but one no one living today with forget. According to
authorities, the fire may have been accidentally sparked by a renovation
project in the spire of the landmark 12th century cathedral. Flames and
smoke billowed into the sky from the upper reaches between its two iconic
towers as the fire engulfed the roof. We`re watching it there. After more
than an hour, the flames overtook the soaring spire, bringing it crashing
The French Defense Agency said dumping water on the building was not an
option early on because it could cause the whole structure to collapse.
French President Emmanuel Macron rushed to the scene and was treating the
fires and national emergency. He addressed the situation on Twitter
writing in English, Notre Dame is aflame. Great emotion for the whole
nation. Our thoughts go out to all Catholics and to the French people.
Like all my fellow citizens, I am sad to see this part of us burn tonight.
As the fire raged into the night, only one firefighter was reported
Macron praised the firefighters for saving the cathedra`s main towers and
pledged the cathedral will be rebuilt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: I have a message for all Parisians.
Notre Dame of Paris is their Cathedral and much more. I also have a
message for all citizens. Because Notre Dame of Paris is our history, our
literature, our imagination, the place where our big historical moments,
plagues, wars, liberation, It is at the very heart of our lives.
Over 800 years ago, we were able to erect this cathedral, and over the
centuries, we have improved it. We have made it grow. So with pride, I
tell you tonight that we will rebuild this cathedral all together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`m joined now right now for more from Paris by NBC News Chief
Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel. Jean-Bernard Cadier, U.S.
Correspondent for French Broadcaster BFM, and joining me on the phone is
Bishop Robert Barron of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Richard, do we know anything about the causes yet and what will be saved?
RICHARD ENGLE, MSNBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Not much about the
causes, although the widespread speculation here is that it was caused by
some of the renovation. For about a year, renovation works had been under
way to try to reinforce the spire. Officials believe that is where the
fire started, among the scaffolding by the fire then it spread to the roof.
Ultimately, the spire collapsed. Also, the roof has been destroyed. There
have been some pictures that have emerged from inside. It is not totally
catastrophic. Some of the rose windows are still there, for example. Some
of the artwork and the treasury has been saved. The organ, we are also
told, has been saved.
This structure, French officials say, of Notre Dame is – has been saved.
It is still structurally sound, as far as they know. But they have not
been inside, they have not done all of the inspections necessary. While
we`ve been here for the last several hours, they`ve been cooling off the
building. They`ve been hosing it down. So now, there is also some
Macron came out and he said that this was a national emergency. He said
tomorrow there will be a national fundraising campaign starting tomorrow to
raise money to rebuild this.
But I can tell you here in Paris tonight there are a lot of blank stares.
We`ve been walking through the streets. People have been singing hymns as
the firefighters have been going by. People have been applauding them for
They had quite an emotional ride today. Not only did they see this
cathedral, this icon of Paris, burning, spreading clouds of ash all across
the city, then at one stage officials said it looked like Notre Dame could
not be saved, that they had to be prepared for the fact that the entire
cathedral might be destroyed. And then just a few hours ago, they said
that as far as they know, the structure is sound. Many of the artworks
were saved. The roof and the spire, however, were not.
MATTHEWS: Thank you much, Richard.
Let me go to Jean-Bernard. Thank you for – you`ve been in this country a
long time. You live next door to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law.
Tell me about the significance to the Parisians and the French, the Notre
Dame of Paris.
JEAN-BERNARD CADIER, BFM-TV U.S. CORRESPONDENT: Listen, Notre Dame is the
church in the middle of the village, this village of ours that we call
France. We are a catholic country. We are a country where history,
culture, books, architecture is very, very important. And all of this is
linked with Notre Dame, and not only history, geography.
In my country, in France, all the distances are measured to and from this
point in the country that is Notre Dame. It`s like losing a dear member of
our family. It is devastating.
MATTHEWS: So much of the history, I was thinking that Charles de Gaulle,
when Paris was liberated by the free French and the allies, he went and had
CADIER: Yes, there was a mass for the liberation. There was a mass for
the attacks in 2015. There was even a mass for President Mitterand, who
was not catholic, but it`s the center of the country well, well beyond the
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Bishop Barron, Archbishop Barron – actually,
Bishop Barron, your Excellency, thank you for joining us. You studied in
France. So give us an American sense of Paris and this great cathedral,
which has been spared, at least in its structural form.
BISHOP ROBERT BARRON, ARCHDIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES: I was actually very
happy to hear that report from Richard Engel that it`s a little bit more
optimistic than I had thought. It meant the world to me, that place. I
studied in Paris for three years for my doctorate and went to Notre Dame
pretty much every day my first year in France. It had a kind of
mesmerizing impact on me, especially the rose windows.
When I heard about this fire, my first thought was the roses, the roses
that go back to the 13th century. The north rose, I think the finest rose
window in the world. So that`s what I was most fearful. I think the south
roses have been lost, from what I was able to gather. But if the north
rose, at least in parts has been saved, that would be great.
It meant to me a connection to Europe. It meant a connection to the wider
western civilization. And it meant a connection to the ancient Christian
church. I mean, I think of that building, Thomas Aquinas knew and knew
those rose windows as the place was being constructed. Bonaventure knew
it, I mean, all these great figures from the catholic middle ages.
When I was there, I used to give tours at Notre Dame for English speaking
tourists. And I used it as a chance to preach because I was there as a
priest but I was studying full-time. So I wasn`t serving mass and
preaching as often. So I would use the cathedral as kind of a visual aid
to talk about the Christian faith. I`ve been using it that way for the
past 30 years. So it meant the world to me. It was a connection to that
great spiritual power of the catholic faith.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, your Excellency. Thank you.
I want to go back to Jean-Bernard. It seems to me that – I grew up like
watching the movies my dad saw when he was a kid, Hunchback of Notre Dame,
Victor Hugo, Maureen O`Hara, the idea of this incredible place that was
CADIER: Yes. We cannot believe that it could be destroyed, that it could
be frail, that it had any fragility. It is at the center of our country,
of our life. We cannot believe this could be destroyed.
MATTHEWS: Well, it looks like it`s going to make it. It looks you have
the greatest fundraising in the history for this church to save it.
CADIER: It could have been much worse, but we`ll need a lot of help to
rebuild. That`s for sure/
MATTHEWS: I think you`ll get it from this country as well. Thank you,
Jean-Bernard Cadier. And Bishop Robert Barron, thank you, your Excellency.
Coming up, the big reveal, three days until the release of the Mueller
report. Do you believe it? Three days from now, the White House is
already implementing a strategy of total distraction and dishonesty to deal
with it. They don`t want us to know it. They don`t want us to pay
attention to it. They want to think about something else.
Also, the President says he is serious about a plan to send migrant
detainees to sanctuary cities. I`m going to talk to the Mayor of one of
those cities who say she`s not intimidated by the President`s apparent act
of political retribution.
And as democrats increase the pressure on President Trump to release his
tax returns, moments ago, Bernie Sanders, the enemy of millionaires and
billionaires, released his. I think he`s one of them now. What the
numbers tell us about the democratic presidential contender who doesn`t
like millionaires but may have become at least technically one of them?
Much more ahead, stick with us.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
The countdown is on. NBC News is today reporting that the Justice
Department expects to release the redacted version of the Special Counsel`s
report this Thursday morning. That`s three days from now. President Trump
appears to know the trouble he`s in. And he`s taking steps to obfuscate,
mislead and otherwise distract from the upcoming revelation.
For starters, the President and his allies continue to cite the Attorney
General`s four-page letter to falsely claim total exoneration. That`s a
deliberate strategy, of course. According to The New York Times, Mr.
Trump`s plan – this is The Times speaking, Mr. Trump`s plane of attack,
aides say, is to act as if the report itself is extraneous to Mr. Barr`s
brief – in other words, Mr. Barr`s four-page letter is, in fact, the
report that matters and all the rest is something in the back of the book,
when in addition, Trump is purposefully escalating his language expressly
to enliven his base of supporters and to enrage his political rivals and
the news media. That`s The Times reading.
In doing so, the President is once again trying to flip the script on his
political opponents and the FBI. Trump Tweeted today, these were crimes
committed by crooked Hillary, the DNC, dirty cops and others. Investigate
the investigators. He also said, they spied on my campaign. We will never
But Trump`s barrage of distractions don`t end with that. He`s trying to
define the Democratic Party by relentlessly attacking Muslim Congresswoman
Ilhan Omar and he`s threatening to flood cities, like San Francisco,
Philadelphia and Seattle with illegal immigrants stopped at the border.
I`m joined right now by Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee,
who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, and Natasha Bertrand, who is
here, National Security Political Correspondent from Politico.
Congressman, thank you for this. Give me – I know where you stand on the
good side of this fight, getting the truth. What`s Trump up to in all of
his machinations right now?
REP. STEVE COHEN (D-TN): He knows what he`s done. His whole life he`s
done, it`s been illegal and shady deals, and he doesn`t want it to come
out. And that`s been his M.O. forever. And he – there would be so much
of the Mueller report if we see the unexpurgated version that even his –
some of his supporters would turn against him.
The deals with Russia, the financing with Russia is probably in there,
involvement with Russia, maybe not enough to indict him for conspiracy, but
lots of evidence that he knew what the Russians were doing, his campaign
knew what the Russians were doing and they didn`t object.
And obstruction, you know, he was not exonerated, says Mueller. Mueller
knows more about that than Barr. Barr was a hit man. Barr was a hit man
hired to do his job. He`s doing his job. It`s unfortunate. This is just
And then to put it out right before Passover and Easter, and during this
big break, I mentioned on the last time I was on about the fact it was
going to be put out while we were on recess. We`re on recess, and they use
religion and holidays where people are thinking about being with loved ones
and celebrating the holidays to put this out so it gets less attention. If
Christopher Hitchens was around and didn`t believe in hell, he would say
that anyone who used these holidays should go to hell, and he`d be right.
MATTHEWS: He was also doing it when the congress was out. The Congress is
out. It`s all a perfect time for him to drop this bomb or not bomb.
According to The New York Times, White House aides are most focused on the
outstanding questions of obstruction, including, quote, why the Special
Counsel was not able to conclude whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice. A
particular concern was possible new revelations about the actions the
President took to obstruct the investigation. And as the Attorney General
said, even in his four-page letter, most of those actions have been the
subject of public reporting, which means at least some will be revealed for
the first time on Thursday.
So, Natasha, even Bill Barr, the A.G., the very accommodating A.G., admits
there is stuff in there that`s serious about obstruction of justice that we
don`t know yet.
NATASHA BERTRAND, POLITICO NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Right. And he
implied in his memo that we have not seen it all yet. The episodes that
have not reported on are probably going to be contained in this report.
And, you know, I don`t necessarily think that the white house is more
concerned about the obstruction of justice aspect than the conspiracy or
collusion aspect, just because that is something that poses a greater
liability to the President.
I think that they are more concerned about it because they know that a lot
of the conspiracy and collusion aspects of this investigation are probably
going to be redacted because it has to deal with classified information.
So there is probably very little that we`re going to be able to see about
the campaign`s coordination with the Russians even though, you know, the
campaign didn`t necessarily coordinate with the Russian government, but, of
course, there were a lot of interactions there in 2016.
But the obstruction aspect of this, the fact that they`re worried about it
also tells me that they don`t necessarily have full confidence in Bill
Barr`s, quote, unquote, exoneration of the President. Because if they did,
then they wouldn`t be kind of scrambling to get out ahead of what the
report is going to say. So that kind of undermines the confidence that
they might have in the Attorney General.
And they`re also, of course, very worried about what Don McGahn told the
Special Counsel over the course of a year in cooperating with Mueller (ph).
MATTHEWS: Despite the President`s own lawyer.
Anyway, speaking about the Mueller report on Fox Sunday, White House Press
Secretary Sarah Sanders said the Special Counsel intentionally let the
Attorney General make a decision on whether the President had obstructed
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS SUNDAY: The question is, how are you going to deal
with some evidence that`s going to come out in this report that clearly is
going to be damaging to the President?
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don`t think it is going to
be damaging to the President because the entire purpose of the
investigation was whether or not there was collusion. Mueller was crystal
clear in the fact that there was no collusion. Not –
WALLACE: But he wasn`t crystal clear on obstruction.
SANDERS: But any American, they couldn`t find anything, they couldn`t make
a determination, which is basically Mueller`s way legally of saying, we
can`t find anything. We`re going to leave that up to the process, which is
the Attorney General.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, we`ll see.
I think the process was to Congress as well. Congressman, I want to get
back to you at that point. Wasn`t the process that the report was really
being done for the purpose of the Congress to consider possible
impeachment? That`s the way everyone I know has looked at the Mueller
report, to decide if there is dirt in there enough to substantiate an
impeachment action by the House.
COHEN: Definitely. And especially the Justice Department already said the
President can`t be indicted to anything, he`s beyond the law. And then you
get Barr in there whose unitary theory is that the President can do no
wrong because he`s the President. The obstruction would definitely be
actions he took as president firing Comey. He has a right to fire Comey,
but not for the wrong reasons. And he did it for the reasons he told
Kislyak – told Lester Holt, we did it for the Russia thing. And then we
got with Kislyak, he said it was about Russia. Then he closed the doors to
America and he sat down with his Russian friends.
The whole thing stinks. It`s just terrible, what they`ve done. And the
truth of the matter is, we need to have a change in 2020.
MATTHEWS: What`s that say before Trump, any Trump? What`s it say
COHEN: It says, not Trump 2020.
MATTHEWS: Oh, not Trump, okay. Let me ask you about that very important
point, and that is this. I did a commentary on this program months ago
saying, Congress already had the argument for impeachment certainly to pass
it through the House. You had a guy go up to Comey and say, protect my
man, Flynn. Who goes to the Head of the FBI and say, protect his national
Then he asked for a vow of obedience from his Attorney General. He asked -
- I mean, it`s the FBI Director, a vow of obedience. And then When he
wouldn`t give him his vow of obedience, he fired him. It seems to me,
step-by-step, then he fired his Attorney General for not – for recusing
himself under the law, by the law. Every step he took was to protect
himself for what he had done as president. How can that not be
And I wonder, why do you guys want to go to Mr. Mueller to tell you the
facts you already have? That`s my thought on obstruction.
COHEN: Well, I – Chris, I agree with you.
MATTHEWS: Didn`t you already have a case for obstruction?
COHEN: I think there`s a case for obstruction. There`s a case for a
I filed articles last year. I haven`t brought them up this year. But
we`re getting so far along in seeing what this president is done and what
he`s done to the Constitution, what he`s done to the people`s respect for
What he`s done to the Constitution and the rule of law is as bad as that
fire did to Notre Dame. He`s torching the entire structure of government
and the people`s respect for it. And the Congress needs to act. And we
can`t act without the total facts.
The facts were supposed to be in the Mueller report. We will get them. We
will find a court, and we will go to court, and I think we will be allowed
to see them, because the redacted testimony, the grand jury testimony, can
be seen. And there is precedent for it being given to Congress.
And as far as the classified data, the Intelligence Committees in the House
and Senate have a right to see that data. They cannot refuse them that
testimony. We`re going to see it. And it`s going to come out. Trump
knows it`s going to come out. Giuliani knows it`s going to come out. And
those rats are going to do all they can to stop the American people from
knowing what they have been up to and what they have done to our
Constitution and to our venerable system of government that respects the
rule of law.
MATTHEWS: Now, on the facts, we have got good indications even from Mr.
Barr, the attorney general, that there is going to be more in here showing
misconduct by this president on obstruction of justice.
If you add the new stuff onto the old stuff, is it your sense there is
going to be a move for impeachment, or not?
BERTRAND: Well, what I have to go on is the fact that, when it was
reported by BuzzFeed earlier this year that the president had effectively
suborned perjury, reportedly suborned perjury from Michael Cohen, telling
him to lie to Congress about timing of the negotiations of the Trump Tower
Moscow deal, Democrats were ready.
They said, this is it. If this is true, if we can do a little more
investigating, we don`t need to wait for Mueller. And I wrote a piece
about how all the Democrats were saying, this is grounds for impeachment.
So, they – and then after that, they emphasized that this was never about
just waiting for Robert Mueller. They have conducted their own
BERTRAND: They are not necessarily going to hinge everything on what the
Mueller report says.
Now, that was before we knew that the Mueller report would actually be
released as early as April. There were some schools of thought that said
it would be released later this year. So, maybe – obviously, they will
have the Mueller report to go on, even though it`s redacted.
But the fact that – the idea that they haven`t been pursuing their own
independent investigations is just bogus. And I think also there is an
argument to be made that they may have to launch impeachment proceedings in
order to get the grand jury material. That is another possibility.
MATTHEWS: I have heard that, too.
Meanwhile, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a “60 Minutes” interview last night
that even Trump knows that he should not be president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: How would you describe President Trump?
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): How would I describe him? I think that he
describes himself on a daily basis. I think that there is nobody in the
country who knows better that he should not be president of the United
States than Donald Trump.
QUESTION: You think he knows it himself?
PELOSI: I think he does.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Well, the president responded to Pelosi`s interview on Twitter, saying:
“Such a puff piece on Nancy Pelosi by `60 Minutes.` Yet her leadership has
passed no meaningful legislation. All they do is investigate, as it turns
out, crimes that they instigated and committed.”
Congressman, let me go back to you on this whole question. What do you
think you`re going to have, with the hat on and everything? You got enough
case against Trump to beat him in `19, or have to wait until 2020?
COHEN: I`m afraid we have to wait until 2020. I understand the politics.
Nancy Pelosi is probably right on that.
But I think, as the facts come out, it might be imperative. And it be, as
Natasha said, that we have got to do some kind of impeachment to get to
some of the information of the grand jury hearings, because it has to be
some type of a criminal or quasi-criminal type proceeding for them to
We have got so much on him, and it`s just – but when I saw what happened
in Israel, sometimes, people will go for somebody who is not so good. I
mean, Netanyahu is a lot like Trump in regard of his…
MATTHEWS: I agree.
COHEN: … looking at indictments and stepping on things, and Trump will
play the game well.
But it is – John Quincy Adams said John Tyler almost approached
mediocrity, and he didn`t have the ability to rise to the office that he
was put in. John Tyler might have been the worst president before Donald
MATTHEWS: Last question to you, very quickly. Big debate. Gene Robinson
on “Meet the Press” yesterday raised the possibility.
He said maybe the smart candidate who runs against Trump, who runs for the
nomination of the Democratic Party, your party, the smart candidate, man or
woman, whatever, of any age, is the one who really is anti-Trump, who says,
I`m here to beat Donald Trump and get him out of the white – no more nice.
No more issues. My problem`s with him being in the White House.
Do you think someone with a real hardball mentality would be the smart
candidate? Or do you need to be nuanced? Where are you?
COHEN: I think you have to be right in his face.
He`s in our face. He did, you know, lil` Marco and low-energy Jeb and
lyin` Hillary or crooked Hillary. You got to be in his face and take him
on. We need somebody. The American public doesn`t like this man, but they
need to be – have a candidate that is going to say, we need to reverse the
course of our country and be right and be the great country that we were
founded and we have been for so many years.
You need somebody strong and will tell the truth. That`s what the public
wants, is a truth-teller, and I think that`s what we should have.
MATTHEWS: Sounds like you agree with Gene Robinson.
Thank you, sir, U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee, and, of course,
Up next – with Politico.
Up next: President Trump says he`s serious about his sending immigrants,
the people seeking sanctuary, to sanctuary cities. But mayors of those
cities are saying, great, bring them on. One of those mayors joins us next
to explain why.
Back with this.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
With the pressure of the Mueller report building now and frustrated by his
inability to deliver on his core campaign promise to stop illegal
immigration on our southern border, President Trump is escalating his
rhetoric on immigration.
The president tweeting today: “Those illegal immigrants who can no longer
be legally held because Congress must fix the laws and loopholes will be
subject to Homeland Security, given to sanctuary cities and states.”
So, creating an iconic image of people flooding into Democratic cities,
that`s what he wants.
According to “Washington Post,” if he were to go through with a plan, it
would be a major departure from the way federal agencies are handling
detainees. It could also be prohibitively costly and make it more
difficult to deport migrants once they reach those cities.
Well, a former Trump administration DHS official told NBC News that the
idea was rejected because it was so illegal.
Well, the president`s tweet comes a week after administration officials
denied reports that the president was even considering such a thing of
sending the migrants, the asylum seekers, to cities like Seattle and
People close to the president tell “The New York Times” that Mr. Trump is
purposefully escalating his language, expressly to enliven his base of
supporters and to enrage his political rivals and the news media, reviving
the idea of bussing immigrant detainees in part to distract from the
Mueller report. That`s another reason, a glistening object.
This weekend, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan called the president a despot,
writing in “The Washington Post”: “If this president wants to send
immigrants and refugees to Seattle and other welcoming cities, let me be
clear. We will do what we can, what we have always done, and we will be
stronger for it. It will only strengthen our commitment to fighting for
the dignity of every person. We will not allow our administration or any
administration to push to use the power of America to destroy the promise
For more, I`m joined by herself, Mayor Jenny Durkan of Seattle, and also
former U.S. Congressman Carlos Curbelo, a Republican of Florida.
Mayor, thank you so much.
And I think the reason why people like mayors is, they`re so darn
practical. You know what resources your city has. You know your people,
at least the ones who vote for you, which is most of them. You know how
If you were – how many asylum seekers – let`s just take the category, not
of poor people coming to United States to look for jobs, but people
seriously fleeing fear and horror in their home countries in Central
How many could you handle, financially and socially, if they were to arrive
by bus or whatever means of transportation in Seattle?
JENNY DURKAN (D), MAYOR OF SEATTLE, WASHINGTON: I think if we had –
first, Chris, thanks for having me here.
I want to say that I think, again, you`re exactly right. This is trying to
be a shiny distraction. But the mayors are calling his bluff. It`s not
just Seattle. I was joined by many mayors over the weekend speaking out to
say, we`re proud of our diversity. We will accept people like we always
You know, Seattle is in one of the fastest-growing regions in the country
right now. Since 2010 we, have added 250,000 people. Half of those people
have come from other countries. So we know the diversity and vitality that
gives to us and our economy.
It`s made us a better, stronger place. We have networks in place to help
people resettle in Seattle. And we have done it from forever. You know,
we did it with Cambodian refugees, with Vietnam, with Syria.
And we want to open – for those people who are fleeing war-torn countries
and have an absolute legal right to come to America, we have – we have
networks standing by, as does Los Angeles and San Francisco…
DURKAN: … a number of cities across this country. So it`s not a threat
to us. Upholding the Constitution and taking in people is the finest
tradition of America. And the cities are ready to stand up and do that.
MATTHEWS: Well, at the current rate, just – I wanted to get a direct
answer from you, because this is HARDBALL, first of all, and I have to ask
these questions. I know they`re not fun. They`re not meant to be.
We`re getting about a million people in this country seeking asylum. About
80 percent of them will be certified as true asylum seekers, have a
legitimate fear of harm to their families. How many could you handle, a
city of Seattle? We need to – can you take 50,000 people if you had to?
DURKAN: We – I don`t think we`d take 50,000 in one go, but we take in
thousands of refugees here in Seattle.
And if we`re assessing how many, we have – the number has dropped off. In
fact, we just looked at this data to see, what is the network ready to
absorb? And we have a very well-established, long history of this that has
been waiting for more asylum seekers.
The problem is not that they`re being certified and denied. The problem
is, the president is even refusing to give asylum seekers the hearing that
they`re entitled to.
And when I worked as a federal prosecutor in the Obama administration, we
knew we had to surge resources. We made sure that we followed the
Constitution. The president can do this. Sticking them on busses is
illegal. And he knows it. But it`s not a threat to cities. We will step
up to do our part to help, but we`re also going to hold him accountable.
We – this president has to follow the law. He knows what he`s doing –
he`s proposing is illegal. And we in America expect the president to
follow the law. It`s a novel concept, but we do.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
Carlos, let`s go to a law of unintended consequence. Suppose the president
of the United States actually starts bussing people to cities that look
pretty attractive to a person who is in desperate shape down in Central
I can imagine, if you got word over radio or some ad, because somebody`s
pushing it, you heard that you go to Seattle. That sounds pretty good. I
can go to San Francisco. That`s pretty good. The weather is great. The
people are liberal. They might be well accepting me.
Even Philadelphia, a little colder in the winter, but, you know – I`m
being serious here. Is the unintended consequence of what Trump`s doing
creating a magnet for people that are desperate?
CARLOS CURBELO (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Chris, I definitely think
that the president, by announcing that he`s going to send people to these
major cities, that a lot of people living outside our country are familiar
with, have seen images of, is an incentive for people to come to our
I will say, I think the mayor`s right. Everyone has a right to due
process, not necessarily to come to our country, but certainly to have
their cases heard.
The irony is that everything the president is doing, from making this
announcement, to shutting off aid to Central American countries, is
actually going to invite more illegal immigration into our country.
CURBELO: And I do believe that we need to have an orderly, legal
immigration system, that we have to modernize our laws.
The problem is that the president is going back to the 2016 playbook.
Rather than putting forward a serious proposal that actually might make
Democrats think and might make them consider it, the president is just
using this political tactic to get his base animated in advance of the 2020
CURBELO: And if he wants to have an immigration legacy, he should proffer
a serious plan that includes something like a path to citizenship for
dreamers, perhaps considerations for other undocumented immigrants, sure,
with stronger border security measures that most Americans support.
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s the Democratic plan. I know that one.
CURBELO: He could actually do that. He could actually do that.
MATTHEWS: That`s a good one.
CURBELO: But, instead, he wants to divide and conquer. And that`s a
MATTHEWS: Mayor, one last question.
I think Trump is very big on optics. I think he`s hoping that a bus from -
- a bus full – a couple buses will arrive, maybe a convoy of buses of poor
people, desperate people, not having anything but what they`re carrying, if
They`re going to arrive in a nice city like Seattle, which is a great city.
They will arrive there. He wants to see people with signs, “Go home.”
What would actually be the kind of reception, the welcoming a bunch of poor
people on buses would get in your city?
DURKAN: You know, it`s interesting.
In the last – just over the weekend, I have received hundreds of e-mails
from people in our area offering places of refuge and saying, I will take
some in my own home, I will take some in our church. I think people will
step up, but that`s the history of America.
Again, Chris, what is happening today, our country is founded upon taking
the people who are fleeing the worst results. My grandfather fled Ireland
when he was 16 years old. It was a war-torn country. There was starvation
And at the age of 16, he wandered the globe for a while and finally made it
to America, where he built a home, and his son and now his granddaughter is
the mayor of Seattle. That`s the story of America. And we will step up
and we will help people who come to our city and try to make sure that they
get the opportunities.
You know, we have programs right now. Our voters believe in opportunity.
We passed a law that said every public high school kid gets free college,
regardless of their status, of immigration status. We`re opening up
preschools for the families across Seattle. We`re giving free transit to
including people, students who are, you know – regardless of their
documented status, because we are the country of opportunity, and we have
to remain that country of opportunity.
We cannot let this president, as I said, take the power of America to
destroy the promise of America.
MATTHEWS: Well said. Thank you.
And, by the way, I have one up on you. My grandmother came from Northern
Ireland when she was 13.
Anyway, thank you so much.
DURKAN: There you go. See?
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
DURKAN: All right.
MATTHEWS: Mayor Jenny Durkan, a nice Irish name.
Thank you, Carlos Curbelo. Thank you, sir, as always.
Up next: Mayor Pete has come out of nowhere, campaign – why is this guy
rising so much in the polls? Everybody else is sort of staying where they
are. This guy is going up. What`s going on? How his early momentum has
shaken up the field of Democratic candidates.
And Bernie Sanders` tax returns are now out in the public for all to see.
Will they help or hurt the guy, the self-proclaimed socialist candidate?
Back after this.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
We have breaking news on the 2020 presidential race right now. Just a
short time ago, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders released his tax returns for
the past ten years. They show that in 2016 and 2017, Sanders had earned
more than $1 million each year, mainly from a book he published about his
2016 presidential run. Good for him.
Let`s look at how Sanders spoke about millionaires and billionaires on the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A great nation is
never judged by how many millionaires and billionaires it has.
Millionaires and billionaires.
A proliferation of millionaires and billionaires.
Millionaires and billionaires.
The needs of millionaires and billionaires.
That our very essence of our democracy is today being undermined by
billionaires and multimillionaires.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: He defended his status, his new status to “The New York times”
saying, I wrote a best-selling book. If you write a best-selling book, you
can be a millionaire, too.
That`s how he did it. That`s how he answered it. Anyway, the 2020 hopeful
has come under fire from a liberal think tank Center for American Progress,
which is run by former Hillary Clinton people. In an article published on
its website, Think Progress, they suggest his attacks on income inequality
were hypocritical, given his new financial situation.
Sanders shot back at the think tank in a letter obtained by “The New York
Times,” accusing it of undermining Democrats` chances of beating Trump in
2020, quote, by using its resources to smear him and other nominees.
And just in the last hour, Bernie Sanders was asked about his taxes during
a town hall on Fox.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: It came from a book that I wrote – a pretty good book. You
might want to read it. It was a bestseller, sold all over the world and we
So if anyone thinks I should apologize for writing a best-selling book, I`m
sorry, I`m not going to do it.
Hey, President Trump, my wife and I just released 10 years. Please do the
same. Let the American people know how –
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Oh, he got some applause for that.
But meanwhile, there`s another candidate who may be upending the Democratic
field these days. Mayor Pete Buttigieg made a dramatic debut in the race
this weekend. That`s coming up next, both Bernie, Pete, and also, don`t
forget, Joe Biden.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, is the youngest candidate
running for 2020 Democratic nomination. He`s 37. And this weekend, he
made it official speaking to a crowd of thousands in the home town he has
led for the past eight years as mayor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That`s why I`m here today, to
tell a different story than make America great again.
The forces changing our country today are tectonic. Forces that helped to
explain what made this current presidency even possible. That`s why this
time, it`s not just about winning an election, it`s about winning an era.
And a moment like that calls for hopeful and audacious voices from
communities like ours. And, yes, it calls for a new generation of
leadership in this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Since launching his presidential exploratory committee in
January, Mayor Pete, as he calls himself, as has gone from relative
obscurity, let`s face it, to rising name in the polls. In New Hampshire
right now, he`s leapfrogged past candidates like – not past, they`re still
there, but he`s going past them – Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Beto
O`Rourke, coming in third know only behind Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders who
everybody knows, the same in Iowa, the site of the first in the country
caucuses, he`s third in the polls there as well. What`s going on?
For more, I`m joined by Jason Johnson, politics editor of theroot.com. And
Evan Thomas, journalist, historian and author of the new book, it`s a great
book, “First”, an intimate portrait of the first woman Supreme Court, there
she, Sandra Day O`Connor. He used to be – well, a moderate Republican in
the days where there were such things.
Let me go to you, Jason. It seems to me you`ve been predicting off the
air, white guy`s going to be the nominee.
JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, white guy`s going to be the
MATTHEWS: After all the year of the women and ethnic opportunity and
JOHNSON: It doesn`t matter. It doesn`t matter. It`s going to be a white
guy. It`s because the Democratic voters are afraid. They`re not going to
do something risky. They`re going to pick somebody who`s white, who fits
the mold, who they think they can sell to their conservative brother-in-law
in Minnesota, right? That`s why –
MATTHEWS: Where did you get the data for this to prove this? It`s a good
JOHNSON: Well, historically, if you look at it, when you have primary
voters and they`re trying to get rid of an unpopular incumbent, they tend
to go for the safer candidate. They don`t go for Howard Dean, they go for
MATTHEWS: I know times have changed, Evan, and you`re younger than me.
But I must say, times have changed so much that a gay mayor, married guy
from a small town in South Bend, known only for football, really, and Notre
Dame, is somehow zooming to the top because he`s the safe bet, according to
you. The safe bet.
EVAN THOMAS, AUTHOR, JOURNALIST, HISTORIAN: He sounds mature. I mean, in
an environment where everybody sounds juvenile, he actually sounds like a
Maybe it`s good he`s good at speaking to grown-ups. He makes grown-ups
like him. He has a lot of practice at this, Rhode Scholars do.
THOMAS: He`s a Rhodes scholar, that old big shot.
THOMAS: His moderation and sort of grown-up-ness is appealing.
MATTHEWS: I think he can think about his feet. A lot of these other
candidates revert to their talking points. So often, people can hear them
coming back at them.
Anyway, during his kickoff speech yesterday, the millennial mayor appeared
to take a slight dig at President Trump`s age. Here he goes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUTTIGIEG: Not just about the next four years, it`s about preparing our
country for a better life in 2030, in 2040, and in the year 2054, when God
willing, I get to be the same age as our current president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s kind of the MBA look, guys. Take the coat off but leave
the shirt on. Keep the tie all the way up to the top but don`t roll up
your sleeves. That`s the new look. The MBAs.
JOHNSON: He`s the nice neighbor. He`s the guy that the parents want to be
brought into the room.
Here`s the thing. Look, I don`t think he can lead the modern Democratic
Party. I think we`re a year out. This is not a party –
MATTHEWS: But he meets your profile.
JOHNSON: He meets the profile but I don`t think he can necessarily lead
this party, not a party with women and African-Americans –
MATTHEWS: Well, he`s on Rachel tonight and he`s gangbusters in interviews,
Evan. As you said –
THOMAS: The Democratic Party is still more moderate than you might think
watching TV. I mean, there`s a lot of moderates and he appeals to them.
MATTHEWS: You`re talking to the apostle of that. I believe the voters are
there are not very far left. Half the party is left right now, in a
progressive mood, but the other half is like, I don`t know.
Let`s talk about Bernie. Bernie, everybody thought was a little bit
MATTHEWS: And yet he`s holding on strong. Look at him. He`s out there.
He`s got the juice.
JOHNSON: I am surprised. I thought Bernie Sanders was going to be in a
lot more trouble than he is now. I think that his ability to maintain this
lead, and his real lead against a very deep and strong field demonstrates,
look, maybe people aren`t as bitter about 2016 as they used to be. I don`t
know if he can keep this.
MATTHEWS: Who is in his bracket? Who is losing because he`s winning?
JOHNSON: Let`s see. Elizabeth Warren is losing because Bernie`s winning.
I think Klobuchar is losing because he`s winning. I think that – pretty
much I think Gillibrand is losing. All of the women –
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about a woman who made history.
THOMAS: She made history because she was smart about a couple of things.
She stood up for herself, yes, but she didn`t pick stupid fights.
On the Supreme Court, she outsmarted Nino Scalia. He`s flashier and more
intellectual. She had way more power, preserving abortion rights and
affirmative action, she out-foxed Scalia by –
MATTHEWS: Was she a politician as well as a justice? Was that her
THOMAS: No, she was a politician in a small “P” sense. She knew how to
get five on the Supreme Court. Three hundred and thirty times in 25 years,
she`s the decisive vote. That`s a lot of power.
MATTHEWS: Who`s got that job now? Is it Roberts now? Is it anybody who
got the job?
THOMAS: Kagan maybe. I think she`s sort of in that mold. She could be.
Or Roberts. We have to see. Roberts –
MATTHEWS: OK. Everybody I know likes Sandra Day O`Connor. I`m so glad
you wrote that.
Here`s the question, would she get nominated by this Republican president
in this Republican field today?
THOMAS: Not a chance. She had – when she came on the court, Ronald
Reagan loved her and was proud of her, but she had no judicial track
record. He wasn`t even a federal judge. She was a state of court appeals
No chance that Trump or really I think any modern Republican president
would appoint somebody like here.
MATTHEWS: Let`s get back to Pete Buttigieg. Great book. First, great
THOMAS: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this, Buttigieg, when he goes after people
in their 70s, was he taking a little shot at Biden?
JOHNSON: Well, it`s Biden, it`s that whole generation. Look, he`s the
millennial guy. He wants to –
MATTHEWS: He`s half as old.
JOHNSON: Yes, exactly. He`s half as old. He wants to capture that youth
vote. Again, I don`t know if that`s going to be enough, but right now it
makes him the most engaging person. And he`s the newest –
MATTHEWS: Are they picking a nominee to beat Trump or just somebody they
THOMAS: The great thing about Trump is that he changed all the rules. So,
there are no rules anymore. So, anything can happen. A small town mayor
basically with a nice smile and a nice manner actually has a chance. This
would have been unthinkable ten years ago.
MATTHEWS: We`ve come a long way on orientation and gay rights and
acceptance and even celebration in many ways.
MATTHEWS: I got to tell you, when I saw him dancing with his husband, this
is like, what the change of 30 years. Do we all agree? This wouldn`t have
happened 30 years ago.
JOHNSON: This wouldn`t have happened ten years ago. Somebody like him
couldn`t have gotten this far. He couldn`t be elected mayor 15 years ago.
THOMAS: Social norms can change. And this is the most dramatic example.
MATTHEWS: It`s the fastest I`ve ever seen anything change, anything like
it, it`s dramatic and it`s positive.
Thank you, Jason. I like – I don`t like it when you`re right sometimes.
I don`t know what you`re up to.
MATTHEWS: I think you ought to prove there is no hope sometimes for
Anyway, thank you, Evan Thomas. Great author.
Up next, tragedy of our greatest church. You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: They gave us Lafayette and the French fleet at York Town. And
with that, our independence. They gave us the Statute of Liberty, our icon
of hope and refuge for all the world.
And today, we watched the near destruction of what stood for nine
centuries, housing a millennium of Christian faith, Notre Dame of Paris,
where Napoleon was crowned emperor of France. Notre Dame, the jewel of
France, the home of the hunch bank, where General Charles de Gaulle who led
the free French to the 20th century`s great war, came to pray after the
Those of us who are Catholics saw Notre Dame as our greatest church and
those who studied history saw Notre Dame as the proof of civilization,
evidence that man can build something that not only survives but never
loses its power to inspire.
I was thinking as it burned today at that moment in New Jersey in 1937 when
the great Hindenburg burst into flames and the announcer Herb Morrison
seeing the victims in agony could only say the unforgettable, “oh, the
humanity.” And today, we could only say together, “oh, the civilization”,
of the tragedy that killed no one, only history.
That`s HARDBALL for now.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the