Trump attacks Mueller team. TRANSCRIPT: 4/29/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.

Guests:
Berit Berger, Sheila Jackson Lee, Harold Schaitberger, Chuck Diamond, Khizr Khan, Danielle Moodie-Mills, Noah Rothman
Transcript:

STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC HOST:  John Singleton made a huge impression and an

impact on so many of our lives.

 

That does it for me this evening.  I will see you tomorrow morning bright

and early at 9:00 A.M. and, again, with my partner, Ali Velshi, at 1:00

P.M.

 

And now, I hand you off to my friend and colleague, Chris Matthews. 

“HARDBALL” starts right now.

 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  Why is the General so scared?  Let`s play

HARDBALL.

 

Good evening.  I`m Chris Matthews up in New York.  The latest clash over

the Mueller report has pitted Congress against the Department of Justice

over the Attorney General`s testimony.  It comes after William Barr

threatened to cancel his scheduled appearance before the House Judiciary

Committee just days before the hearing this Thursday.  Barr is objecting to

the proposed format of questioning, specifically he`s refusing to take

questions from counsel on the committee`s staff.  According to The

Washington Post, a Justice Department official said that if the democrats

insist on following their plan, Barr might not come.

 

However, democrats are threatening to subpoena Barr if he doesn`t comply,

accusing him of trying to dictate the terms of his testimony.  Here`s the

Chairman of that committee, Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York, today.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY):  It`s not up to the Attorney General to tell the

committee how to conduct its business.  So we will decide what the most

effective way of asking questions are, and that`s what our decision is.

 

REPORTER:  Have you spoken to the Attorney General at all about this and

what will happen if he doesn`t show up?

 

NADLER:  We have told him we expect him to show up on Thursday and we`re

going to conduct the inquiry as we have said we would.  If he doesn`t show

up on Thursday, we`ll have to go to subpoenas.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, democrats insist on allowing their committee counsel to

question Barr in part because they are often more effective at pressing a

witness.  Of course, they are better than the members.  For instance,

Robert Kennedy made a name for himself in the `50s as chief counsel for the

Senate committee that the rued out organized crime and corruption in U.S.

labor unions.  Likewise, Fred Thompson served on as minority counsel in the

Senate Watergate Committee in the early `70s.  He famously asked the

question that revealed the existence of a secret taping system in the Nixon

White House.  That was a good job, don`t you think?  And when it comes to

the testimony of a sitting cabinet official, Attorney General Edwin Meese,

there he is, was questioned by committee lawyers during the Iran-Contra

hearings, and that was in the late `80s.

 

However, a Justice Department spokeswoman argued in a statement yesterday

the Attorney General agreed to appear before Congress, therefore the

members of Congress should be doing the questioning.  Well, Barr`s

objections have created another showdown.

 

Of course, I`m joined right now by Berit Berger, he`s a former federal

prosecutor, John Heilemann, our MSNBC National Affairs Analyst.

 

I want to go to John first on the politics of this.  The cheek of these

people at the White House, they put out statements like they called to

testify by the Congress, which is an equal branch of government.  And they

say that`s premature to ask me to come.  Or they talk like they set the

terms.  And here he is saying, I will not be questioned by the committee`s

general counsel.  Where do they get this from?  Donald Trump and his

arrogance?

 

JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST:  They get it from Trump who

has been throughout his time in the presidency has had no respect for the

notion of co-equal branches of government and has had that an instinctive,

I don`t think it well worked out, not like an intellectual but an

instinctive sense of the supremacy of the executive, that none of these

rules apply to him, he`s going to do what he wants.

 

And so everything in, as you know, organized crime families, Chris, the

fish rots from the head down.  So they all get it from Trump.  And

everything we`ve seen from Barr has been that whatever his reputation in

the past, an institutionalist and a conservative in a traditional sense has

all been blown apart from the moment he walked in and joined this

administration.  He`s become, as has been said on multiple occasions for

multiple infractions, he`s become a political hack and a Trumpist, which is

actually where this comes from, which is I don`t have to play by your

rules, I – you know, it`s Trump.

 

MATTHEWS:  You know, I don`t know who is going to win this fight because

I`m getting depressed about Congress` inability to get their way.  If they

issue a subpoena, will that work?  Pete Williams was on today saying not

necessarily at all.

 

BERIT BERGER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR:  It may work but it`s not going to

work any time soon.  I mean, to your question of who wins, nobody wins

right now that actually wants to get answer to their questions.  I mean, a

subpoena battle, if it actually went to the courts and it would go there in

the context of like a civil lawsuit, this could take months or years.  The

whole issue is going to be moot by the time a court actually comes out with

it.

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, here`s the question.  Maybe it`s time for the Congress to

play HARDBALL.  John, why in the world did the committee tell the Attorney

General, we`re going to use counsel to ask some of the questions?  Why

didn`t they just jump him, have him up there then the counsel ask him

questions?  He can`t get out of the chair once he`s sworn in.  Why did they

tell him ahead of time?

 

HEILEMANN:  As many instances of brazenness, as we`ve seen from the

administration, it still seems like we`re – some people at least are able

to be caught by surprise.  I`m sure that the committee looking back at, for

instance, the testimony of the Kavanaugh confirmation of Christine Blasey

Ford who sat and had committee staff question her.

 

MATTHEWS:  And outside counsel.

 

HEILEMANN:  And outside counsel.  I am sure that House Democrats said,

well, there`s no way republicans will object to this.  We just had these

high profile hearings and testimony a few months ago.  How dare – they

would never try to object on this basis.  You`ve got to expand your

imagination for the degree of brazenness this administration will pull.

 

MATTHEWS:  Berit, I don`t understand why they told them ahead of time.  Why

did they tell the Attorney General ahead of time?  Well, maybe some of the

questions will be asked by the counsel.  And then he says, well, I don`t

think so.  And then they get into this stupid argument.  He made the

testimony before the Mueller report was released, Barr repeatedly expressed

his willingness to testify.  He didn`t set any conditions for the hearing

and acted like he had nothing to hide.  Well, he obviously has something to

hide.  Here he is.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL:  The report will be made public –

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  In reaching your –

 

BARR:  – hopefully next week and I will come up and testify at that point.

 

As I said, once the report is out, I`ll be testifying and I`ll be glad to

discuss all aspects of the process.

 

I`m glad to talk to people about it after that and I`m already scheduled to

testify about that.

 

I said I`d come up to the Hill as soon as the Hill will have me.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  You know, I think a lot of people who watch the way this came

out honestly wonder about this guy`s guts.  I mean, here`s a guy that comes

out and distorts completely the Mueller report, two years of research by an

honest public official, a civil servant, Robert Mueller, who tried to find

out what was going on with the Russians, what was going on with the

American politicians who were at least benefiting from what they were up

to, what was done in terms of obstruction of justice.

 

And this guy comes out afterwards, 48 hours later and he sits there with

his deputy, Rosenstein, and says it`s complete exoneration on all fronts,

when, in fact, this 400 pages of the opposite of exoneration.  You don`t

take 400 pages to say a guy is innocent.  There are a lot of details of

lack of innocence in there.  They`d like to talk to him about that.

 

So he says, I`ll come up and answer all your questions until he finds out

it`s not going to be one of those stupid hearings where every member of

Congress gets five minutes and each one goes off on their own tangents. 

And in each case, as the guys used to say in the `60s, Bogarts (ph) the

answer, talks for four or five minutes, not answering the question and that

never works to get the information.  We saw with Hillary, they couldn`t get

to Hillary, even if they had a case.  And here`s the problem.  And here we

go again.

 

BERGER:  You`re exactly right.  I mean, the set up of having everyone have

five minutes where they spend most of the time giving political speeches or

grandstand, that`s not a way to get actual substantive answers.  And maybe

that`s what the Attorney General is scared of in this context (ph), because

these 30 minutes, by having trained staffers and lawyers, they are going to

be well-versed in these legal issues when he has a lot to answer for here.

 

These are significant issues.  He`s got to talk about what were these legal

theories that led him to conclude that there was no obstruction.  He`s got

some significant things to talk about and it seems like he doesn`t want

that done by real professionals.

 

MATTHEWS:  They don`t want a half hour interrogation by prosecutors. 

Anyway, I want to bring in Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of

Texas.  She serves on the House Judiciary Committee.

 

Congresswoman, thank you.  But, quickly, why did you decide to bring in

counsel like in the old days of Bobby Kennedy and Fred Thompson and people

like that?  Why did you decide that counsel would be more effective in

grilling the witness?

 

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX):  Well, first of all, let me say to you,

good evening, and this Judiciary Committee, 2019 Judiciary Committee, is

painstakingly going to really direct its questions to the crux of what we

want to know.  So there will be certainly comments made by members, but we

are going to be focused on important answers to important questions.

 

The reason, of course, because precedent has been set, it`s been done in

Whitewater and Watergate and a number of others.  No, this is not an

impeachment proceeding, but it is an investigatory oversight proceeding and

there is nothing unusual.

 

Democrats are courteous, rather.  They believe – if they believe in the

rule of law, they believe in the protocol of apprising the witness that

they will be under oath and then there will be other aspects of the

questioning, which was going to include not only the lawyers, but it was

going to include closed-door questioning by members of Mr. Barr.  And that

has been done over the last year.  I`ve been questioning a number of

witnesses on a number of issues.

 

MATTHEWS:  would you play HARDBALL on this, Congresswoman?  I`ve got to get

to the point.  Would you play HARDBALL and say if, you don`t come up under

our terms, we don`t want you?  What are you going to say?

 

LEE:  Well, let me say I`m not going to and I don`t think the Judiciary

Committee is going to accept any rejection or refusal by Mr. Barr if we

have to take this to the highest court in the land.  We hope we will not

have to do that.

 

But let me be clear, he is following the tone and the admonitions set by

the President, who wants to create a constitutional crisis.  The President

wants to lead us down a path that democrats are trying to be deliberate and

thoughtful and to get to the truth.

 

The President has now changed his tune on the Mueller report.  He`s

castigating Director Mueller.  He is saying that this report is not

truthful.  He`s attacking Mr. McGahn.  He wants to now pull back on his

complimentary words when he thought the American people were buying into

his narrative that he had been exonerated.  They know he`s not been

exonerated.  They know he had been associating with Russian operatives, the

adversary of the United States.  They know that that was wrong.

 

And as you well know, Chris, I`ve introduced legislation to say that if you

do cavort with the enemy that you be subject to criminal fines and

incarceration if you do not report it to the FBI.

 

So the narrative that has been created by the administration, Attorney

General Barr thinks he can play that on the House Judiciary Committee.  We

have subpoena power.  We have the right to go to court.  And I would hope

General Barr, who served under President H.W. Bush in a manner of

integrity, would not want to undermine his reputation in this unnecessary

fight when we have laid out for him the way that the hearings will be

organized in a very fair and equitable manner.

 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you so much, U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of

Texas, who sits on the Judiciary Committee.

 

Meanwhile, the President continues to attack congressional democrats and

Mueller`s investigators on Twitter.  And at a rally on Saturday night, he

called some of those involved in the investigation of him and his Russian

connections scum.  This is the President of the United States talking. 

Here he is.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT:  When you look at what`s happened with the

scum that`s leaving the very top of government, people that others used to

say, oh, that`s one that – these were dirty cops.  These were dirty

players.  They got caught like nobody ever got caught.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Berit, what do you make of that?

 

BERGER:  It`s just so troubling to hear.  I mean, as somebody who worked in

the Department of Justice, to hear the President talking about the agents

and the prosecutors who spent so much time at that is just disheartening. 

But the President also wants to like have his cake and eat it too, right? 

He wants us to believe portions of the Mueller report that didn`t find a

conspiracy with the Russians, the one who comes for obstruction who wants

to say, oh, they were scum, they were radical democrats.  You shouldn`t

believe it.

 

MATTHEWS:  Why are democrats so courteous?  Sheila Jackson Lee, the

Congresswoman, just said, we`d like to be courteous.  They`re courteous,

they tell him what he`s going to face, hard questioning for a half hour by

committee counsel.  By the way, any Attorney General should be able to

withstand a half hour of tough questions.  They are – he is, in fact, a

lawyer.  He ought to be able to handle it.

 

HEILEMANN:  Why are democrats so courteous?

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  Why do they tell him how are they going to do stuff?  Why

don`t they just do it to him?

 

HEILEMANN:  Chris, this is like the perennial question of your career, why

democrats care more about – they care about process.  They care about

formal fairness.

 

MATTHEWS:  And what`s been different on this case?

 

HEILEMANN:  They lose.  They lose.  They lose over and over again.  It`s

not a new phenomenon.

 

MATTHEWS:  Okay.  All this tough talk about the subpoena, it hasn`t worked

yet?

 

HEILEMANN:  It`s not – and, look, the one thing I disagree with the

Congresswoman about is she says Trump wants to provoke a constitutional

crisis.  All Trump wants to do is stall out the clock.  He`s not thinking

about constitutional crisis.  He doesn`t know what that means.  Always

thinking about it is if we can tie this up in court long enough, I can get

to the next election day without these issues having come up or they`re so

close to election day, it seems like dirty pool for us now to be litigating

them.  I mean, this is just a – this is a pure four corners office.

 

MATTHEWS:  He is smarter than the democrats?

 

HEILEMANN:  I think on this issue, he understands that he`s playing a

winning hand, that the process, that he can play the process in a way that

allows him to win in the short-term, meaning the short-term between now and

November and next year.

 

MATTHEWS:  See how hard it is to say that?  It`s hard to say he`s smarter

than the democrats, but he keeps winning little battles over the

constitution.  They`ve got to start playing tough.

 

Anyway, thank you, Berit Berger.  It`s great to have you on with your

experience.  John is sticking around a bit for the next segment.

 

Coming up, Joe Biden holds his first campaign rally out in Pittsburgh,

scores a big union endorsement.  The firefighters are already with him.  Is

he the best bet for democrats, whose top priority, listen to how I phrase

this, whose top priority is beating Trump.  Is he the best bet for them?

 

Plus, the latest deadly attack on a synagogue, another one coming six

months to a day after an attack in Pittsburgh on a synagogue there.  What`s

fueling the rise in hate crimes across the country and why does President

Trump`s response always seem so halfhearted?

 

Much more ahead, stick with us.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

JOE BIDEN, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT:  Donald Trump is only president –

is the only president who has decided not to represent the whole country. 

The President has his base.  We need a president who works for all

Americans and we can afford this.  We can do this.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Pretty excited.  Welcome back to Hardball.  That was former Vice

President Joe Biden at his first campaign rally.  It was in Pittsburgh

about an hour or two ago.  Biden kicked off his first week of the campaign

trail speaking at a union event there focusing on an economic message and

two key themes of his newly launched campaign.  Let`s hear him.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

BIDEN:  By the way, I make no apologies.  I am a union man, period.

 

I believe that Pittsburgh and my native town of Scranton and my hometown of

Wilmington and Claymont, they represent the cities and towns that made up -

- make up hardworking middle class Americans, who are the backbone of this

nation.  That`s not hyperbole.  The backbone of this nation.

 

I also – I also came here because, quite frankly, folks, if I`m going to

be able to beat Donald Trump in 2020, it`s going to happen here.  It`s

going to happen here in Western Pennsylvania.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Biden got a big boost, of course, from organized labor today

with the endorsement of the International Association of Firefighters

Union, a decision that didn`t sit well with President Trump, of course. 

The President unleashed a series of Tweets attacking Biden and complaining

about the firefighters` endorsement today.  Writing, I`ll never get the

support of dues crazy union leadership, those people who rip off their

membership.  Later adding the dues sucking, firefighters will always

support democrats even though the membership wants me.  Some things never

change.  Well, that`s Trump.

 

Biden responded writing, I`m sick of this president badmouthing unions. 

This afternoon in Pittsburgh, Biden drew a moral contrast with the

President.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

BIDEN:  Everybody knows who Donald Trump is.  And I believe – I believe

and hope they know who we are.  We have to let them know who we are.  We

democrats, we independents who have the same view have to choose hope over

fear, unity over division and maybe most importantly, truth over lies,

truth over lies.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Joining me now is the great Harold Schaitberger, Schaitberger

rather, General President of the International Association of Firefighters. 

Thank you, sir, for coming.  Harold, it`s great to have you on.

 

Tell me why – you only have got a minute or so, but tell me why Joe Biden? 

Why did you guys move so quick?  You`re an international union.  You have

300,000 members to endorse Biden.

 

HAROLD SCHAITBERGER, GENERAL PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF

FIREFIGHTERS:  Well, Chris, first of all, it`s great to be back on Hardball

with you.  It`s been a while.  But let me just say that this was an easy

decision.  It wasn`t that we gave Joe Biden an endorsement.  Joe Biden

earned an endorsement from the IFF and firefighters that we represent.

 

He`s been supporting us every step of the way, going back to the early

1970s, which I can personally attest to, by the way, when you were working

for Tip O`Neill, helping to pass the Public Safety Officers` Death Benefit

bill, to extend overtime rights for firefighters and other public workers,

to ensure collective bargaining rights for all workers, the fight against

right-to-work laws, to protect our retirement plans and not let them go to

Wall Street as the next cash cow as 401(k)s. 

 

Joe Biden has performed over 40 years in the United States Senate and as

vice president of the United States, and we are loyal.  And, Chris, you

know that. 

 

MATTHEWS:  I know.  Let me ask you about your votes. 

 

SCHAITBERGER:  And when we make our decisions about, if you have our back,

we have your back, and he`s had our back, and that`s why we endorsed him

today. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, everybody who has a brain and a heart loves firefighters. 

 

Let me ask you this.  About half of your rank and file voted for Trump last

night, a lot out of anger, I think resentment against the establishment of

both parties.  How do you get them to vote positive, when the mood was so

negative last time? 

 

SCHAITBERGER:  Well, first of all, I would remind you that, with some of

the polling that has been reported, which is true, about a number of our

members voting for President Trump at that time, the first factor is that

Joe Biden was not in that polling and Joe Biden was not in that race… 

 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

 

SCHAITBERGER:  … although at that time we also encouraged and were

supporting and hopefully putting him to enter into that race. 

 

Today, I can tell you that, on balance, Joe Biden will speak to, connects

with, is genuine, is not a phony… 

 

MATTHEWS:  I know. 

 

SCHAITBERGER:  .. and will be able to bring home a lot of workers,

including a lot of our members, that felt disenchanted by the Democratic

Party and nominee in 2016. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you so much, Harold Schaitberger.  Thank you so much,

international president of the firefighters.  Thank you, sir, for coming

on.

 

In his tweets this morning, the president once again inserted himself into

the Democratic contest, taking several shots at Biden. 

 

He wrote: “The media, fake news, is pushing sleepy Joe hard.  Funny.  I`m

only here because of Biden and Obama.  They didn`t do the job and now you

have Trump, who is getting it done big time.”  I`m trying to get the rhythm

right of his thinking. 

 

Anyway, he later added: “Sleepy Joe Biden having his first rally in the

great state of Pennsylvania.  He obviously doesn`t know that Pennsylvania

is having one of the best economic years of its history, with lowest

unemployment ever, a now thriving steel industry that was dead, and great

future.”

 

Back with me, John Heilemann, MSNBC national affairs. 

 

Look, he put a little shot in there against the candidate last time.  He

said, basically, Biden wasn`t on the ticket last time.  Hillary Clinton,

the former secretary of state, was. 

 

Do you think Biden – well, I think he might have had a better shot among

the firefighters, just knowing in terms of class and friendship and

association than Hillary Clinton, who seemed a little more elite in many

ways, socially, academic, the whole routine. 

 

But what do you think about Biden?  Do you think he can get people to vote

positive?  Because, in the end, it`s going to be the gut-punching of Trump

against him if he`s the nominee. 

 

HEILEMANN:  Well, I just – I don`t want to skip ahead, because I think the

questions of Biden vs. Trump, you can talk about those all day long. 

 

The difficult thing that Joe Biden faces is this nomination fight where the

party that has grown up in the era of Obama, in the era of post-Obama, in

the era that – the party that defined the 2018 midterms… 

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

 

HEILEMANN:  … is not the same party that Joe Biden was a stalwart of. 

 

MATTHEWS:  I agree. 

 

HEILEMANN:  The Democratic Party has changed. 

 

And so a lot of questions relate not to union members, although they are

important, an important constituency.  And I think they – a lot of them

will be loyal to Joe Biden.  But he`s got to go out and broaden out.

 

And whether he can appeal to young voters, whether he can appeal to

nonwhite voters, whether he can play with a huge chunk of the Democratic

Party now, the most active, most energetic part being women. 

 

How does Biden play out with those voters?  He has – on issues, he has a

history that raises questions for some of the progressive parts of the

party and all those constituencies.  And he has a manner that is a little -

- that feels to a lot of younger voters like a little antiquated. 

 

That doesn`t mean he can`t overcome it, but he`s got some challenges to

face, I think. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, a new “Washington Post”/ABC poll shows Biden leading the

Democratic field with 13 percent.  That`s not – that means 87 percent

against you.  None of the other candidates are in double digits. 

 

Let me ask you about those things.  You`re not a political consultant. 

Never have been.  I have been in politics.  Would you advise him to go the

apology route or something more modified like, I`m always learning, I

learned a lot from that experience, whether it`s Anita Hill?

 

You have to apologize in certain cases, I think Anita Hill.  But other

cases, like, what would you say against abortion rights, where he is

against late-term?  He was against partial birth as it was called by its

critics. 

 

How does he change on things that he honestly had an opinion on and point

of view on? 

 

HEILEMANN:  Well, I think it`s a different – there are obviously different

categories here. 

 

I think most voters will accept the notion of someone`s views evolving over

time if the person can give an honest, credible explanation for how that

happened.  I do think…

 

MATTHEWS:  But he doesn`t like doing that. 

 

HEILEMANN:  Well, that – and that, I think, is a problem, because I do

think people, as part of what they want now from their politicians, they

want honesty and authenticity. 

 

Everyone is allowed to change over their lifetime, but if you change just

for political convenience, if you just change for political calculation,

you have a bigger problem.  But you got to tell the story.  How did you get

from the A to B?  And I think…

 

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, at the same time, I would ask him on a tough one. 

 

HEILEMANN:  And that`s not an apology. 

 

MATTHEWS:  I`m not here to knock candidates, but…

 

HEILEMANN:  But that`s not – also, that`s not apologizing. 

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

HEILEMANN:  That`s not apologizing for your past view.

 

MATTHEWS:  I know.

 

What do you say about – well, forced bussing was the hottest issue in

neighborhoods back in the `70s.  And people say, why should my white kid be

driven to another – a tougher neighborhood?  Why does he have to be the

social change agent?  Why does he have to have this job, this kid, mine?

 

And he said, I`m against that.  Can he honestly come out and say, yes, I

think they should have been bussed to that neighborhood?

 

HEILEMANN:  No.

 

MATTHEWS:  I don`t think he will. 

 

HEILEMANN:  I don`t think he can.  I don`t think he should. 

 

But I think, to your point, as you just started to explain, I think now as

distant as we are from bussing, people now don`t talk about the complexity

of that issue, and the number of families who were perfectly embracing of

the notion of equality and integration who thought, but who just thought

that they their – they thought it would disadvantage their children to

have to spend many hours in busses. 

 

MATTHEWS:  NIMBY, not in my backyard. 

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

HEILEMANN:  But people had complicated views about it. 

 

My point is, I don`t think Biden`s going to back away from that.  But he`s

got to explain… 

 

MATTHEWS:  He`s going to be asked. 

 

HEILEMANN:  He`s got to explain that it wasn`t a measure for him, that he

didn`t – it didn`t mean he didn`t believe in integration, he didn`t

believe in racial justice, and he`s going to have to make that sale. 

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

MATTHEWS:  I think he`s going to get a large African-American vote, even

with other African-American candidates – or candidates in the field who

are of color. 

 

I think there is something about him.  We will find out.  But he thinks –

I have talked to him – he thinks he has good chemistry, he has a good

attitude. 

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

HEILEMANN:  He has always been warmly received by African-American

audiences.  He`s gotten along well with them in the past. 

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

MATTHEWS:  I think he will beat Bernie, if it`s him against Bernie among –

in the black community, but two white guys talking.

 

HEILEMANN:  Yes. 

 

MATTHEWS:  I still think he can beat Bernie on that issue. 

 

Thank you so much, Heilemann, one of my favorite guests, even though I

never see you. 

 

Anyway, up next: a chilling series of hate crimes targeting houses of

worship.  Why houses of worship are people attacking?  Don`t they believe

in God?  Why do they go kill people who also believe in God in a different

way?  Why is the matter?  Well, they`re evil. 

 

What steps, if any, by the way, is President Trump taking?  None, none to

stop this.  That`s it, simple word, N-O-N-E.  Nothing.

 

You`re watching.  Stay with us. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

 

On Saturday, a gunman armed with an AR-15 – that`s a semi – actually,

it`s an assault rifle – charged into the Chabad of Poway Synagogue out in

Southern California, near San Diego, killing a worshiper and injuring three

others, including an 8-year-old kid. 

 

The suspect, who is now in custody, was arrested a short time after the

assault.  Police say that there were indications his assault weapon might

have malfunctioned.  In other words, it jammed after the gunman fired

numerous rounds inside. 

 

Well, this weekend`s shooting happened exactly six months after 11 people

were killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue out in Pittsburgh, joining a

growing list of white supremacist attacks from Christchurch in New Zealand,

Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Mother Emanuel Church, of course,

infamously in Charleston. 

 

President Trump, who called Saturday`s attack a hate crime, has been under

renewed scrutiny for his less-than-explicit denunciation of the rise in

white nationalism.  In fact, in March, shortly after the terror attacks on

those two mosques in New Zealand, the president was asked if he was

concerned by the seeming rise in white nationalism. 

 

Here`s what he had to say. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

QUESTION:  Do you see today white nationalism as a rising threat around the

world?

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I don`t really.  I think

it`s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I

guess. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, according to recent data from the Anti-Defamation

League, white supremacist propaganda efforts nearly tripled last year from

the year before. 

 

So what`s going on? 

 

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked what steps the

president was actually taking to counter the rise of domestic terror. 

Here`s what she had to say. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

QUESTION:  Can you point to any tangible steps the president has taken? 

 

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  Again, I think the

most important thing he`s done is to embrace the people of these

communities that have been impacted and to condemn this behavior and call

it out by name. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Earlier this month, The Daily Beast, that news organization,

reported that the Department of Homeland Security has disbanded – catch

this – it`s disbanded a group of intelligence analysts focusing on

domestic terrorism. 

 

So they`re breaking down any effort by the government to stop this stuff. 

 

And shortly after taking his office, the Trump administration cut funding

to local organizations working to counter violent extremism, including that

by white supremacists. 

 

For more, I`m joined by Khizr Khan, Gold Star father, of course, Khizr is,

and Rabbi Chuck Diamond, former rabbi of the Tree of Life Synagogue in

Pittsburgh.

 

Rabbi, Rabbi Chuck…

 

RABBI CHUCK DIAMOND, FORMER TREE OF LIFE SYNAGOGUE RABBI:  Yes.

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

MATTHEWS:  … what do you – as a man who is a victim, a potential victim,

whose community, his congregation is – must be really on nerves about

this, is this something that you sense is tangibly becoming a threat to

Jewish houses of worship? 

 

DIAMOND:  I believe it`s a threat to all houses of worship, and I believe

the question is not if this will happen again. I really, truly believe it`s

when and where. 

 

People are afraid to go to synagogue.  I heard a story today of a young

lady, a mother whose daughter was scared to go out in the hall to play

during services.  And those of us who grew up going to services know that

that`s an important part of the experience.  She`s scared to go to Sunday

school. 

 

So, yes, I think…

 

MATTHEWS:  What`s going on?  Is it – usually – all we have is history. 

We have religion, but we have history, too. 

 

And we say, well, at times of economic crisis and people are looking for

scapegoats, at times of physical fear from abroad, we look for scapegoats

at home for fifth columnists or whatever. 

 

There is nothing.

 

Well, let`s go to Khizr on this. 

 

I don`t sense any major threat to America right now.  The economy is

humming, pretty much.  Why would people be all of a sudden breaking out as

individuals and killing people because of religion and race or ethnicity? 

 

Khizr.

 

KHIZR KHAN, FATHER OF KILLED U.S. SOLDIER:  Chris, thank you. 

 

First, I offer my deepest condolence for the passing of Lori Gilbert Kaye. 

And I pay tribute to her valor, standing up to that hate. 

 

And to answer your question, Chris, this is Russia-directed.  They have a

person that they wanted to be in White House.  This president sits in the

White House aided and supported by our adversary Russia. 

 

And that is why his condemnation of this violence and this division is

half-hearted.  And this hate and this division is aided and celebrated by

our enemies, by the enemies. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Why?  Why do they want us to go after Islamic people and Jewish

people and other groups?  Why – and African-Americans, obviously, Emanuel

Church in South Carolina. 

 

KHAN:  Well, first…

 

MATTHEWS:  Why do they like that?  Explain. 

 

KHAN:  Well, first, that is the way they can sow the division to weaken us,

to divide us. 

 

That had been their goal, to weaken United States of America.  This break

of this union, the only way they can find is that this time around it is

the faith. 

 

First, I thought that it will be only Muslims, but then came

Charlottesville.  Then came Charleston.  Then came Pittsburgh, and now San

Diego. 

 

As our friend Rabbi Diamond says, that people are afraid to go to places of

worship.  All faiths are afraid to go to worship.  The only winner in this

hate and division is our adversary.

 

And I warn those hatemongers and those white nationalists, don`t become the

tool of Russia. 

 

MATTHEWS:  OK. 

 

KHAN:  They wish to use you to sow the hate and division in the hearts and

minds of Americans.  Don`t be a tool of our adversaries.

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, on Friday, President Trump once again defended his

ambiguous comments about Charlottesville. 

 

Kellyanne Conway called his defense darn near perfect.  Let`s watch. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “STATE OF THE UNION”)

 

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER:  When President Trump condemned

racism, bigotry, evil violence, and then took it many steps further and

called out neo-Nazis, white supremacists, KKK…

 

JAKE TAPPER, CNN:  Was his response perfect?

 

CONWAY:  … that is – that is darn near perfection. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, sources tell “The Washington Post” that President Trump,

amid renewed discussion about his less-than-emphatic condemnation – quote

– “is not eager to relitigate his response to Charlottesville and is

unlikely to give a speech tackling the issue.”

 

Rabbi, you know, as a member of the Jewish community, a leader, in fact, of

a congregation, you know the history of anti-Semitism is long.  It`s worse

at certain times than others, but it`s there. 

 

I look at the Sri Lanka killing, or the attacks on three Catholic Churches

over there in Sri Lanka, so far from here.  It just seems that – what is

it about going after housing of worship, whether they`re a black church, a

Baptist church, a Catholic Church, a synagogue, an Islamic mosque?  Why do

they go after people when they`re most close to God? 

 

Maybe this is a rhetorical question.  When they`re most fervent, the most

devotional, when they`re trying to be really good people, at that moment,

they go to kill them. 

 

DIAMOND:  They`re cowards.  They`re cowards. 

 

They hide behind their assault weapons and their bombs, and they attack

innocent, defenseless people.  And anti-Semitism has been around, as you

said, Chris, for a long, long time.  And it exists a lot of times under the

surface.

 

But the rhetoric coming from our leaders has emboldened a lot of people to

step forward and to be inspired by these shooters.  There are a lot of

other people I would rather be inspired by. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, I have a feeling – I hate to say it.  I`m not a Marxist. 

I have no other ideology, except I study politics. 

 

I think Trump doesn`t attack the hard right because he knows they`re voting

for him. 

 

Thank you, Khizr Khan.  Thank you, Rabbi Chuck Diamond. 

 

It`s politics.

 

Up next:  President Trump is doubling down on his rhetoric against illegal

immigration.  How do the Republicans – how do the Democrats campaign

against – some Republicans would like to campaign against him, too. 

 

More HARDBALL after this. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

 

President Trump was in rare form this weekend, performing, that`s the right

word for it, for his base at a campaign rally in Wisconsin.  I watched the

whole thing.  That`s the state, of course, that helped him get elected to

the presidency. 

 

The performer-in-chief commanded the stage for 75 minutes, highlighting

accomplishments, attacking opponents.  Focusing on his base, the president

made sure to hit the Democrats on the three issues he apparently believes

will get him a second term – late-term abortion, open borders and

socialism. 

 

Here he goes. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  They are aggressively

pushing extreme late-term abortion, allowing children to be ripped from

their mother`s womb right up until the moment of birth.  And we will say

again tonight that America will never be a socialist country.  Ever. 

Never. 

 

Their entire party has been taken over by far-left radicals who want to

nullify and erase American borders.  They want open borders.  Democrats

want to allow totally unlimited, uncontrolled and unchecked migration, all

paid for by you, the American taxpayer. 

 

(BOOS)

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  That`s going to be the Trump trifecta going into next year`s

election. 

 

Anyway, President Trump told his supporters he`s already begun transferring

detained migrants to sanctuary cities, even as the White House has played

down that idea since it was first reported earlier this month. 

 

But let`s listen. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP:  We`re sending many of them to sanctuary cities.  Thank you very

much.  They`re not too happy about it.  I`m proud to tell you that was

actually my sick idea. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, that wasn`t the only border policy that Trump discussed

over the weekend. 

 

In an interview with Fox, the president said it was a disaster for his

administration to end the family separation policy.  Disaster. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP:  The problem is you have ten times more people coming up with their

families.  It`s like Disneyland now.  You know, before you`d get separated

so people would say let`s not go up.  Now you don`t get separated, so it

turned out to be a disincentive. 

 

MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX NEWS HOST:  That`s right, yes. 

 

TRUMP:  That`s obviously a disaster.  It`s a disaster. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  So who is it that has been helping him shape some of the

president`s hard line policies, it`s someone Steve Bannon refers to as

being Trump before Trump.  We`re talking about the man that Trump calls the

great Lou Dobbs. 

 

We`re back after this.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

 

When it comes to shaping some of President Trump`s hard line immigration

policies, his White House advisers take a backseat to a guy he watches on

television. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

LOU DOBBS, FBN HOST:  The president is threatening closing the border. 

It`s – as the president said when he campaigned, it`s time to end the talk

and to start acting. 

 

I really believe that the way forward here is for him to declare a national

emergency. 

 

Tonight, we`re calling on the president to fire these incompetents in the

leadership of the Department of Homeland Security and Customs Border

Protection.  They can`t act effectively –

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, “The Washington Post” details the close relationship

between President Trump and Fox, especially Fox Business Network host Lou

Dobbs, writing the two speak as frequently as every day some weeks, every

day.  The president told “The Post”, Lou has a very strong opinion on the

border and I do listen to that opinion. 

 

For more, I`m joined by Danielle Moodie-Mills, host at Sirius XM, and Noah

Rothman, associate editor for “Commentary Magazine”. 

 

Thank you both. 

 

What do you make of this?  Let`s start with the comic stuff.  The

president, the great communicator of our time, seems to need help from Sean

and Lou.  Why Lou?  

 

DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS, SIRIUS XM HOST:  You know, I think it`s because he

really identifies with birtherism.  He really identifies with his anti-

immigration stance. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Was Lou on the birther thing? 

 

MOODIE-MILLS:  Oh, yes, he was.  He was one of the most hardline birthers

that there was.  And so for the longest time I always thought that it was

FOX News that was parroting Trump, and now I realize it`s just Trump

realizing whatever big anchor there is at Fox.  That`s what he does. 

 

And so if you look at Wikipedia, which calls him, you know, a conspiracy

theorist and says all of these different things about him, all of the notes

that he has hit on his show are some of Trump`s greatest hits. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Let`s talk about how politics works.  Right now you have pols. 

People on the left, progressive left, all the way left, moderate left. 

You`ve got people on the right, mostly on the hard-right.  There is not

much moderate right left anymore. 

 

How come when he goes all the way with Lou Dobbs, he`s able to trail along,

not just 10 percent that watched Fox or 20 percent?  He brings the whole 40

percent-something with him on immigration? 

 

NOAH ROTHMAN, COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ASSOCIATE EDITOR:  Well, a lot of the

right watches Fox News and agrees with Fox News, the hosts, and the

positions.  It`s sort of hard to say who is leading whom here. 

 

MOODIE-MILLS:  Right. 

 

ROTHMAN:  The positions become part of the ether in the Fox News Network. 

It`s reflected in the base and the base reflects Fox News.  There is a

symbiotic relationship.  Traditionally, a president would appeal to opinion

makers to get them on board with his policies, and if there is sort of an

inverse relationship here.  As the Mueller report demonstrated, though, the

president doesn`t have great judgment and often a lot of the times, people

around him will rescue him from his worst instincts. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, every time I hear him, I hear a politician.  Maybe that

makes fun of all politicians.  Almost everything that Trump says, whether

it`s pro-life, I don`t know if it`s a moral position.  I don`t think he has

one at all.  When I interviewed him back in `16, he said a woman must be

punished.  Who knows what that meant?  Punished. 

 

MOODIE-MILLS:  Right.

 

MATTHEWS:  What?  You know he got votes out of that.  I know he did. 

 

And he talks about moving the Golan Heights, right to annexation.  He talks

about moving the embassy.  Everything – in many case, evangelicals,

millions of them said, oh, that`s my guy. 

 

He`s always instinctively a constituent politician.  How does he lose? 

 

MOODIE-MILLS:  I think that he – see, I don`t want to say that he is a

great politician.  I think that he is a great TV personality.  And he –

 

MATTHEWS:  But there is always a group he`s pointing at that he wants.  He

knows who he wants. 

 

MOODIE-MILLS:  He wants their applause.  He wants their applause.  He wants

their adoration. 

 

Lou Dobbs is calling him saying you`re the smartest, you`re the best

leader.  America loves you.  You`re the best president that we`ve ever had. 

 

He lives for that.  He is a complete and total egomaniac and a narcissist

and he needs that adoration.  And that`s Fox News, like Noah was saying,

it`s just this repeated cycle that feeds itself. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Let`s watch this.

 

While president Trump has received nightly encouragement from Lou Dobbs on

his hard-line immigration policy, it`s not fully shared by members of his

own administration.  According to “Washington Post,” when the idea first

came up according to transporting detained migrants to sanctuary cities, a

top official on Immigrations and Customs Enforcement rejected the idea

because it was rife with budgetary and liability concerns, and noting that

there are PR risks as well.  Imagine that there is a bus that gets in an

accident moving people to Seattle or some place like San Francisco, the

government`s responsible. 

 

Anyway, as the president urges the administration to reinstate its

controversial family separation policy, it was then Homeland Security

Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen who pushed back.  She knew how bad it looked. 

 

ROTHMAN:  Yes, and child separation wasn`t a policy that was cooked up in

the opinion makers section of politics and then implemented as policy.  The

first person that talked about that was then DHS Chief John Kelly, who he

said, he might be using this policy, which is already in effect, as a

deterrent effect. 

 

MATTHEWS:  It looks like Sophie`s choice, doesn`t it? 

 

ROTHMAN:  Yes.

 

MOODIE-MILLS:  That`s a great way to out it. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Do you know what I mean?  Separate the kids from the parents. 

 

ROTHMAN:  Yes.  I mean, you have to do that because you can only hold

people for 72 hours.  That was something that DHS already did, and HHS

already did. 

 

This would be an entirely different thing.  It would be a lot of strain on

ICE.  Again, you have to reorient all these funds that are not appropriated

for it to get people on buses to ship them from the border to the coast. 

It`s a big deal, I don`t think it`s going to be policy –

 

MATTHEWS:  One thing we know, Trump`s not going to change. 

 

MOODIE-MILLS:  No, he`s not. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Is he going to win again? 

 

MOODIE-MILLS:  He – I think that there is a likelihood that he does. 

Right now, you know, Biden is trending really well, but also Biden has run

before and we know that he starts out really strong and then he kind of

pitters out.  We have, you know, 500-some-odd days left.  We`ll have to see

who can step up. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Who can beat him?  Who is the best bet? 

 

MOODIE-MILLS:  I think that right now, the best on policy is Warren.  I

think that –

 

MATTHEWS:  No, the best to beat Trump? 

 

MOODIE-MILLS:  The best bet Trump right now, I would say a combination of

Kamala Harris and Biden and Warren. 

 

MATTHEWS:  I think so too.  You`re with me. 

 

MOODIE-MILLS: I  don`t know either. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, thank you, Danielle Moodie-Mills.  It`s like I`m

thinking.  Thank you, Noah Rothman.  Thank you.

 

Up next, why don`t the many candidates for president ever refer to their

party`s record of success?  Nobody`s bragging about the Democrats anymore. 

It just seems absurd what the Democrats have been able to do on civil

rights and health care over the years starting with FDR, and they all act

like they`re the first guy or woman in the game.  What`s the matter with

these people? 

 

You`re watching HARDBALL.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MATTHEWS:  This Saturday, the White House Correspondents Association had

historian Ron Chernow speak at its associations dinner.  It was, of course,

an aberration in more ways than one.

 

The usual thing is to have a comedian speak at the Saturday night affair. 

The usual thing, let`s face it, is to ignore history every day of the week

52 weeks a year.  But given the election next year, wouldn`t it be more

educational to voters to have politicians speak at least a little bit about

history when they make their pitches to voters? 

 

I am stunned by how little our many Democratic candidates say of history,

even the basics how we got here as a country.  They don`t even talk about

the role of their own party in that history.  How Franklin Roosevelt

created the social security system, the greatest anti-poverty program ever

invented in this country.  Yes, a Democratic president did that. 

 

How Harry Truman ended segregation in America`s arms services, opening the

way for what many people believe is the country`s greatest areas of equal

opportunity.  How John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert declared the

American presidency for civil rights.  How Lyndon Johnson won passage of

the historic civil rights and voting rights acts, also the creation of

Medicare and Medicaid. 

 

Democrats did all of that, and how Barack Obama created the first national

program for health care.  Yes, Democrat Barack Obama did that.  What

bothers me is that in seeking the Democratic nomination for president,

today`s hopefuls fail to lay out the role their own party has played in

taking our country this far.  It`s the candidates of the past who built the

country we have today, and the candidates of today have the potential to

change the world we live in tomorrow. 

 

Elections matter because who wins matters.  It`s not just about arguments

day to day between the man in the White House and who wants to replace him,

it`s the direction, it`s the direction we want history to go.  And that is

entirely in our hands. 

 

And that`s HARDBALL for now.  Thanks for being with us. 

 

“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now. 

 

 

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BE UPDATED.

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