Biden solidifies frontrunner status, TRANSCRIPT: 4/30/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.
YASMIN VOSSOUGHIAN, MSNBC HOST: We`re going to have it all covered here
That does it for me. I`m going to see you back here tomorrow morning on
First Look at 5:00 A.M. Eastern.
HARDBALL with Chris Matthews starts right now.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Biden riding high? Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews up in Washington. Big political news
tonight on two fronts, the man who man who built his declaration for
president last week on the moral imperative to defeat Donald Trump has shot
up in three major polls. The man he targeted for defeat is meanwhile
escalating his battle against the constitution, suing his own banks to
block the subpoena to turn over financial records. We`ll get to that soon.
But for his part, Joe Biden is off to a blockbuster start today. As I
said, a triad of new polls today in the last 24 hours, all show the former
Vice President with a jacked up lead over his democratic rivals, making him
the clear front-runner for now. The Quinnipiac poll has Biden at 38, up
nine points since last month. A CNN poll has Biden at 39, more than double
his nearest competitor, an 11 point increase from a month ago. And a
morning consult poll has Biden at 36.
Biden is already focusing, by the way, on the man he hopes to replace.
When Biden launch his campaign last week, he didn`t even talk about his
youthful leaders in Scranton, which he apparently wanted to do. But some
and no more reminiscence about growing up with Grandpa Finnegan, none of
that, he was looking forward to the future, the need to replace President
Trump and the battle, he said, for the soul of America. He sounded more
like a general election candidate skipping over the primaries.
Apparently, it worked. Today, he stayed on message during his first visit
to Iowa as a 2020 candidate. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Our very democracy, everything has
made America America is at stake, and we know why. Limited to after four
years, this administration will go down in history as an abhorrent moment
in time. But give eight years in this administration in the White House,
we`re going to forever and fundamentally change the character of the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Sticking to the script there, (INAUDIBLE), Heidi Przybyla, NBC
News National and Political Correspondent, Cornell Belcher, Democratic
pollster, Ed Goeas is a Republican pollster. Thank you. And what I`m
thinking on it, and I`ll try this proposition, Ed, basically, you`ve got a
bump in the polls and all these three polls absolutely. It sort of went up
significantly (INAUDIBLE) to start with.
For the last couple of weeks, ever since the Mueller report did not
knockout Donald Trump, as many hoped it would on the democratic side,
there`s a sense, almost a fear that this guy can get re-elected. And along
comes Biden saying, forget everything else. The thing that matters is
we`ve got to defeat this guy. We`ve got to knock this guy out of the
presidency for moral reasons. No more arguing about nuances of ideology,
we`ve got to beat this guy. I think that worked, Ed.
ED GOEAS, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: Well, it did from several different angles.
One is it brought to light his high name I.D. that he already had, a
favorable image that he has. And that makes him as a major competitor to
Donald Trump. If you look at all the other polls that look at a general
election match up, he is leading from 8 to 11 points over Donald Trump.
And if you look at particularly the CNN poll, it really did show that that
is a key thing for the democratic voters. They want the person that can
beat Donald Trump. It`s as high as Medicare for all, it`s a high as global
warming, it`s high as other ratios and much higher, quite frankly, than
MATTHEWS: Let`s check that with the expert. Here`s my thinking. I`ll go
over it again one more time. I am bordering my argument here because it`s
my argument. I can tell from people that are watching this program and
other programs like it, there has been a sort of a deflation over the
couple last weeks. They thought that that train was going to come at him,
that the Mueller report was going to blow him out of the saddle, it didn`t
have the inclusivity to it that we all thought it would have and some will
argue about it forever. But now, they want somebody else to knock him out.
Mueller won`t do it. Somebody else is going to do it. Biden says, I`m
CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Well, if the campaign is
fundamentally about who is best prepared or best positioned to beat Trump,
I think that`s a field and a lane that I think Biden would like for the
conversation to be about. If it`s a conversation about who in fact is
going to be the progressive leader, the new sort of meta leadership for the
progressives in this country and a vision, forward-thinking vision, so as
broader than just about taking about Trump, I think a lot of the other
candidates and the field would certainly like to make it about that.
MATTHEWS: When do the voters make – in your experience, when do voters
make up their mind they are picking a president and when will they say,
which ideological flavor I like, because everyone has got their own tastes.
BELCHER: In the primaries – well, primaries are different than the
general. And we know the primary voters are very different. One thing I
will caution, and I know we`re big on the poll, one thing that I will
caution is the frontrunners right now is not historically the frontrunners
six or seven months –
MATTHEWS: I know that. But why did he go up. Because Jeb was always
dying. He was up, way up, but then they (INAUDIBLE) years ago, way at the
top and name I.D. starts to go. But Biden`s name I.D. has always been.
Why did he go up this way?
BELCHER: Well, I don`t know why. Well, he announced when he got a lot of
attention. But – and Ed knows this better than I do. Look, we spent tens
of millions of dollars to change that number. So it`s going to change.
And as more candidates start spending money and get better to five (ph) and
start putting their cases for the future out there, that number is going
MATTHEWS: Let me – Heidi, your thoughts as a stray reporter. No pollster
HEIDI PRZYBYLA, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, I`d go to the
numbers. And Ed kind of touched on this. But it is more important –
electability is more important than any issue. It`s more important than
all of the issues. 46 percent of the democratic primary voters now say
electability is the top issue. And I think that is reflected in this kind
of safe harbor at least at this moment in time of Joe Biden. He`s seen as
the guy –
MATTHEWS: But do you think it`s up hill to beat Trump now?
PRZYBYLA: I think democratic voters have a lot of anxiety about a split,
okay, whether it`d be a split within their party or whether it`d a Howard
Schultz-like figure who comes in, there`s a Bernie who gets the democratic
nomination that emboldens an independent bid from somebody like a Howard
Schultz, and that is the path to a Trump victory. And I do think that is
what they`re most concerned about.
MATTHEWS: That`s pretty smart.
PRZYBYLA: But, you know what, long-term –
MATTHEWS: That is a logical thing.
BELCHER: And the Russians helped along with that last time around. Look,
the third party, the protest vote last time around absolutely killed
Hillary Clinton. If you look at Trump`s numbers in Wisconsin, if you look
at his numbers in Michigan, he`s numbers aren`t that radically different
than what Mitt Romney did earlier. But the other third party is split off
MATTHEWS: Jill Stein vote.
BELCHER: Jill Stein but the other third party –
MATTHEWS: Gary Johnson (ph).
BELCHER: – really hurt Hillary.
PRZYBYLA: Another warning though for Joe Biden in terms of the long-term,
okay? Democratic voters are going to continue to feel this way throughout
over the next nine months. Is that going to be the number one issue that
they prioritize? And I just – as a reporter who was there and who covered
Hillary Clinton, she took so much abuse after the election was over about
making Trump the issue and making Trump`s temperament the issue. And the
autopsy of that election was that that was a huge mistake.
Now, Joe Biden is coming – well, they said she should have talked more
about – we had an uplifting message and talked more about her agenda, and
that was a mistake.
GOEAS: (INAUDIBLE) ignore the fact that we have never had in the history
of modern day politics, a candidate nominated for either party on election
day with over 50 percent unfavorable. We had both candidates there this
time. Trump`s numbers are flat on that. He knows that he has to drive his
opponent, whoever the democrat ends up being, over at 50 percent
unfavorable rating for him to have a chance of winning. But 19 percent of
the people who voted on election day disliked both candidates. And Trump,
they broke in Trump`s direction last week.
BELCHER: Can I say one quick thing about the primary before we go there?
It`s also – look, there`s always an anti-establishment push and the
democratic primary, and Hillary was the establishment – I think Biden
establishment now and Sanders took advantage of that. Obama wrote the
anti-establishment push in 2008 all the way to the nomination. There will
be a challenge of anti-establishment candidate. And the candidate who
garner that vote and consolidate that vote is going to give Biden
MATTHEWS: Okay. Well, I do think that Trump has got his cannons aimed in
three directions, socialism, late term abortion and open borders. He wants
a candidate who fits that mold, and he may get one. We`ll see. The new
polls also showed Joe Biden has strong support among minority voters.
These are, I think, impressive, but I`ll be checked on this. The CNN poll
showed that he has the support of half of all non-white voters given all
the other opponents. In a morning consult poll, for example, 47 percent of
African-American women say they support Biden.
I talked to him months ago, three or four months ago. He had this great
confidence, maybe because of Jim Clyburn or people in the –
BELCHER: Barack Obama?
MATTHEWS: Tell me about it. He didn`t mention that today. So that`s
BELCHER: Well, to me, that`s the ace in the hole. And I think, well, he
started rolling some of that out today. Look, one of the things that we
heard in 2010, going into the 2010, was – from democrats was, especially
African-Americans, where not enough democrats had the President`s back.
You cannot make the argument that Joe Biden has not had Barack Obama`s
back. And Barack Obama is the most popular democratic figure – well,
Michelle is actually more popular for a democratic figure right now.
MATTHEWS: Well, that will be an issue on the primary fight. Will some
democrats go to the left? Well, they will. I think they`d go to the left
of Obama, politically. You do have to say he didn`t do enough in terms of
cleaning out the Wall Street situation.
BELCHER: I think you see that with Elizabeth Warren right now. But I also
think you see it with the Cory Bookers. Look, and here`s the thing, I
think, for the African-American –
MATTHEWS: Cory Booker is going to Wall Street?
BELCHER: No. I`m saying going – I`m not saying going to the left
especially with social justice issues where I think a lot of the African-
American voters are, especially the young African-American voters are right
now. The social justice issues, which they can hit Biden on, especially
talking about the criminal –
MATTHEWS: Like Kamala and that too.
BELCHER: Yes, you can. And I think you will see a more negative primary
than I think you`ve seen in the past.
MATTHEWS: I`m fearful of that. Anyway, this morning the Biden campaign
released a new ad, a website ad, I guess, that plays heavily on Biden`s
relationship that you just said.
MATTHEWS: So a relationship with the most popular democrat next to his
wife. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: This is an extraordinary man with an
extraordinary career in public service, somebody who has devoted his entire
professional life to service to this country. The best part is he is
nowhere close to the finish.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Guys, you know, I forget how great of a voice Obama had. That`s
a wonderful voice. Biden also spoke about their relationship today while
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: The fact of the matter is that Barack Obama is an extraordinary
man. You measure a man or a woman`s worth and their courage based upon how
they react to overwhelming crisis. I watched this guy. There wasn`t a
day, not a single solitary day that I served with him that I wasn`t proud
to be with him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: This is almost like a George Herbert Walker Bush about Reagan,
Nixon trying talking about Eisenhower, certainly not Al Gore talking about
Bill Clinton, which I think is a dumb thing on his part. He didn`t talk
about him this way. But will this embrace work for like a third term of
PRZYBYLA: Well, it`s a question of how it is he distinguishes himself from
a third term of Obama, but putting the Obama coalition back together is
another issue. And if he does that, it would be –
MATTHEWS: What is that? What is that coalition?
PRZYBYLA: Well, look, we get into loaded issues here about the
participation rate, and you can talk about this of African-Americans.
Because what we saw was whether it was due to Russian trolls targeting
them, voter suppression. We knew there was a new voter I.D. law, for
example in Wisconsin. The numbers in urban areas or if it was just they
didn`t like Hillary Clinton were way down from what they were in previous
BELCHER: Minus 4 million votes.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of that thing? The New York Times point the
German town in Philadelphia is being – it`s a middle class black
community. It`s not poor people. And – but they went down on Hillary.
They were low on Hillary. What was that about?
BELCHER: Well, that`s about a disconnect. Not only did she miss the mark
with African-American, she also missed the mark with younger voters,
millennial vote. Look, about 8 percent of our electorate was new vote in
2008. A lot of that was younger voters. They did not turn out and support
Hillary at the same rate.
GOEAS: If Hillary hadn`t been doing polling in the state for the last
couple of weeks of the campaign, well, we were seeing the polling was that
they would go in. And what the democrats often do, and they`re very good
at, they have a big event, the two best surrogates on either side of the
aisle was probably the President and Mrs. Obama. And they would get the
crowd excited and march them across the street and do early voting.
But what we saw in those media markets is that the African-American vote
came down on the intensity when they saw that. They saw they loved Barack
Obama, they loved Michelle Obama, and they say, and you want us to vote for
her? And they probably lost Pennsylvania because of what they did the
night before with the election with the big event there in Philadelphia.
Because the turnout in Philadelphia alone –
MATTHEWS: With Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi.
GOEAS: They had both the Clintons, both the Obamas there. And I guarantee
you, there was no early voting. And I guarantee you that the next day that
the African-American vote in the City of Philadelphia was suppressed not
because of what republicans were doing but because Barack Obama set her up
of we don`t want her, we love him.
MATTHEWS: We`ll go through that.
The Washington Post is breaking a major story as we speak. Special Counsel
Robert Mueller told Attorney General William Barr that the depiction of his
findings failed to capture context, nature and substance of his probe,
expressed his concerns in a letter to William Barr after the Attorney
General publicized Mueller`s principal conclusions. Wow, that`s what many
of us thought that the guy did not translate well. He made no effort to
translate. He suppressed the Mueller report.
BELCHER: Well, yes, of course, he did. He works for Donald Trump. But
what I find interesting in the polling that showed that the Mueller report
didn`t change the vast majority of voters` mind didn`t move one way –
MATTHEWS: That was the idea of Mueller. That was Barr`s idea.
BELCHER: That was Barr`s idea. However, to Ed`s point, you are talking
about a president who is stuck consistently at 46 percent. I don`t know
how you get re-elected consistently at 46 percent.
MATTHEWS: Because people lie to pollsters.
Let`s go to – no, they do. They don`t want to Robert Costa with that.
Bob Costa, let me go to this story. It seems to me an amazing story
because a lot of people thought you are just reporting that Barr failed to
translate the reality of the Mueller report.
ROBERT COSTA, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: That`s
correct, Chris. My colleagues at The Washington Post, our team that covers
the Department of Justice, Matt Zapotosky and others are reporting tonight
that in that period between when the Attorney General released his summary
of Mr. Mueller`s findings and the release of the full report by the
Attorney General, the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, sent a letter to the
Attorney General expressing his dissatisfaction with the way the Justice
Department and in particular the A.G. handled his own report.
MATTHEWS: Well, there`s no evidence that I`ve seen that the A.G. responded
appropriately to that. He had – they did not correct the course that he
set 48 hours after the Mueller report was in his hands.
COSTA: This is a developing story. The Post is only at this moment
reporting that a letter was sent right after the Attorney General came out
and made his statement summarizing the report. The Post has been reporting
for weeks that Mr. Mueller`s team has been unhappy with the way Attorney
General Barr has handled this all.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to – thank you, Robert. Let me to congresswoman
Jackie Speier of California. This is – I`m sure you expected this because
everybody who thought like you, I think it`s fair to say, thought this was
what`s going on, that this Barr guy comes in there working for the
President covered up the real intent, which was to point to the real
misconduct, perhaps illegal conduct of the President, especially on the
obstruction of justice front and said he was exonerated, which was he was
not. And now, it`s coming about. He didn`t like being lied about.
REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): No surprise here. If you remember, there was a
lot of rumors that people within the Department of Justice who had worked
on the Mueller report were disappointed in the four-page summary that then
Attorney General Barr delivered before he delivered the entire document.
I do think that it`s going to be very important for the house committees to
call on Mr. Mueller to come forward and testify before the committees.
That`s where we`re going to get the truth about what has gone on over the
last two years in these negotiations to first be interviewed and not be
What they did uncover and highlight the areas where he clearly is calling
on Congress to take action on the obstruction of justice component of his
MATTHEWS: One of the things that Mueller has said that really distorted
the reality of the situation was to say that the issue of whether a
president can be indicted while serving as president, he said that did not
guide Mueller. It turns out it did guide Mueller. Mueller did not indict
because that was Justice Department guidelines from the Office of Legal
Counsel. He followed those guidelines, that`s why he didn`t indict the
President on the obstruction of justice. At least that was a central
reason why he did not do it.
Mueller purposely came out and said that wasn`t guiding him. He let the
President off the hook because the president was exonerated. I mean, that
is a hell of a distortion, Congresswoman.
SPEIER: Well, not only is it a distortion, it is an outright manipulation
of the report and the statements by Special Counsel Mueller. And I think
it underscores the fact that we now have an Attorney General who is not the
Attorney General of the American people, but the President`s personal
attorney in conjunction with his many other attorneys that he has
This is a true disgrace. And that`s why it`s incumbent on the House in
particular to hold these hearings and hold them in public so the American
people can hear from Robert Mueller and others about what was really going
MATTHEWS: Well, I want to thank you so much. Let me go – Congresswoman,
thank you, Jackie Speier from California.
Let me bring in Pete Williams, NBC News Justice Correspondent. It turns
out, Pete, not only did he contact the Attorney General and said he wasn`t
happy with the way his words and the judgments were translated to the
public, but also he called him up said, why don`t you release executive
summaries, that he did so right away and it took almost, what four weeks
for him to do so.
PETE WILLIAMS, MSNBC JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me tell you what I
know about this after talking to senior Justice Department officials. This
was after the Attorney General released his initial letter summarizing what
he called the top line conclusions of the Mueller report. After that,
Robert Mueller did say to Barr that he thought that that was not – that it
did not accurately convey all the sense of the report and suggested later
in a follow-up call that Mueller should release the executive summaries of
Now, what justice officials tell me is what is similar to what the Attorney
General said publicly about this, that, number one, he could not release
the executive summaries because at the top of every page, and you can see
this now if you look in the Mueller report, is a notice that says, this may
contain grand jury information, which, of course, can`t be disclosed
legally. So he basically said to the Special Counsel staff, I can`t tell
what the grand jury material in this is, and secondly, his concern was that
he didn`t want to release the report piece meal. So that was his response.
WILLIAMS: And, of course, we know now – we have all seen the report, so
we can – we can judge for ourselves whether the attorney general
accurately characterized it in his initial letter or not.
But it is correct that Mueller did suggest to him that he didn`t think his
letter was accurate.
MATTHEWS: What about the argument that he wanted – that he thought the
context was delivered wrong?
And what about the protocol of why the special counsel, even though he
wrote a letter and made a phone call to the attorney general right after
that report, the four-page report by the A.G., why he wouldn`t go public,
if he wasn`t satisfied with the reaction by the A.G., which was…
WILLIAMS: Well, I`m going to speculate here and suggest that that`s not
his style, that, at that point, Robert Mueller was the special counsel. He
was like a U.S. attorney. He was, in essence, working for the Justice
And Barr in every sense of the word was his boss. So I think it was an
internal conversation, and he didn`t intend to go – didn`t intend to make
MATTHEWS: Thanks so much, Pete. It`s always great to rely on a straight
newsman on things like this, because there`s so many opinions out there.
I want to talk to U.S. Congressman Eric Swalwell right now from California.
Congressman, you know, you`re running for president now. And here`s a
question before the American people.
Why didn`t we get the Mueller report clear? Why didn`t we just get it?
Why was it held up for four weeks while it was marinating in the hands of a
political appointee of the president? Why were we given it in a way that
was spun, not only 48 hours afterwards, but a few hours before it was
actually released, spun like a movie preview, spun so you would see it a
That`s not great American democracy in action? Your thoughts?
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, Chris.
And it`s clear that Mr. Barr always wanted to be Donald Trump`s personal
lawyer. That`s how he`s conducted himself. He`s sought to protect the
president, in the way that he applied for the job, the way that he has gone
after the intelligence community and accused them of spying on the Trump
administration, and the way that he`s characterized the report.
That`s all the reason that he needs to get before Congress this Thursday.
We have asked him to come. And I think the fact that he`s trying to wiggle
out of that, and he`s only willing to do a home game with the Senate, and
not face the majority in the House of Representatives, shows that he has a
consciousness – consciousness of guilt in the way that he`s handled
himself and protected the president.
MATTHEWS: Hold on, Congressman.
Let me go to Robert Costa of “The Post” for more information.
I`m looking at the report here that says in “The Post” that Mueller
believes that Barr`s report, that the one he delivered with a four-page
note after he had his hands on the Mueller report, said that Mueller`s
report was – did not get captured in Barr`s report, either in context,
nature or substance.
What else is there? It sounds like he`s saying, you did not deliver the
COSTA: And that summary by the attorney general defined early headlines on
the Mueller report.
And in recent minutes, just in the last few minutes, Chris, talking to top
Democrats on Capitol Hill, they say it`s time for the attorney general to
not only go before the House Judiciary Committee, but to keep talking about
the process and his interactions with Robert Mueller.
They`re going to have tough questions for the A.G. when he comes to Capitol
Hill. And this is on top of questions for others in the Justice
Department, like Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who wrote an
effusive resignation letter this week to President Trump and also for “The
Washington Post,” promised the president he`d – quote – “land the plane”
when it came to the Mueller investigation.
So, you have several fingers inside of the top ranks of the Justice
Department under scrutiny for how they handled the conclusion of this
report and its release to the American people.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Robert Costa.
Let me bring in Jimmy Gomez, congressman from California.
Thank you, sir, for joining us.
REP. JIMMY GOMEZ (D-CA): Thanks for having me.
MATTHEWS: Well, clearly, the Mueller report, if you had gotten it cold,
without through the distillation process and marination process of Mr. Barr
and Rosenstein, you would have got a report that said the president`s
guilty of obstruction of justice, all kinds of – 10 instances listed.
You would have said, my God, the guy`s in big trouble. But because it was
slowed down and worked down, and we were prepared for it step by step in a
way that had a soft landing, nobody knew what the hell it said.
No, first, this reporting is appalling. We – Congress needs to get ahold
of that letter, see what it actually says. What did Mueller write to
Attorney General Barr? And Barr has to come before the American people
through Congress, the House of Representatives, so we can ask him some very
And you`re right. They actually – this attorney general is acting, as
everybody said, as his personal attorney, but also as his spin doctor,
spinning the narrative of the Mueller report before it was ever released.
MATTHEWS: Is this obstruction of justice?
GOMEZ: I think that there there`s a great case to be made.
I think that that`s why we have to have these hearings. We have to make
sure that we bring the American people along. And I have actually…
MATTHEWS: But what it`s look like to you, Barr`s performance, from day
one, when he got ahold of that incredible document, a two-year project, by
Robert Mueller, a straight arrow public servant?
He hands it to him. Forty-eight hours later, he delivers a four-page thing
that says the president`s been exonerated on all fronts. Four weeks later,
we get his version of it, his redacted version, with all the spinning, and
calls a press conference before he releases the document that is redacted
to make sure everybody got the right spin.
It was all public relations.
GOMEZ: Yes, of course.
And I never trusted this attorney general, Bob Barr, from the very
beginning. I actually in December, in a closed-door hearing, asked Comey,
do you trust him to be forthright with the American people? Comey said he
trusted him. I never did.
And that`s why we had questions from the very beginning. And you`re right.
He`s been spinning for the American people. And if it smells like
obstruction of justice, it probably is.
MATTHEWS: Well, he`s not going to get the Profile in Courage Award from
the Kennedy Center.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, I want to bring in David Corn right now, Washington
bureau chief for “Mother Jones.”
David, your thoughts about this breaking story that we just got our hands
on from “The Washington Post”?
And the story is that just what we all thought, that Mueller must have been
totally frustrated by the way his words were misinterpreted by Barr, to the
point where his message was, there`s 10 instances which he laid out in
great illustrated form of obstruction of justice that were erased,
basically, in the four-page report by Barr, and then four weeks later was
set up in a way that looked like they didn`t even exist and in spinning
operation that day.
Your thoughts, your reporting?
Let me go to Congressman…
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Hello?
MATTHEWS: Congressman Swalwell, thank you for hanging in there.
What are we going to do? What`s the members of your committee going to do
about this now? I mean, give me a look forward. This information is
coming out, unfortunately, like all rolling disclosure.
Rolling disclosure, my favorite phrase, because politicians never tell you
the bad stuff. You have to find it out. And then they say, oh, yes. Oh,
yes, that`s true, too.
What do you think is going to happen as a result of this “Washington Post”
the point that this whole thing was covered up?
SWALWELL: We`re going to hear from Barr.
We`re going to hear from Rosenstein. We`re going to ultimately hear from
Mueller. And if Barr backs out this Thursday, he`s going to get
subpoenaed. If he doesn`t answer the subpoena, he`s going to face
contempt. And I actually think he should face impeachment.
If he`s going to just say, I`m not going to follow the law, I`m not going
to follow Congress, there has to be consequences. I hope it doesn`t come
to that, Chris. But what do you do when you have an enabler like this who
just enables the president`s worst instincts?
They have to be held accountable. And you have to speak their language as
well. That`s the only thing they understand.
MATTHEWS: Do you think the Supreme Court of Kavanaugh and Roberts and the
rest of them, a 5-4 Republican-appointed Supreme Court, they`re going to
give cert, they`re even going to bring up this matter and take the side of
the Congress against the president? You believe that?
SWALWELL: Yes. Yes, I think precedent is on our side.
They would have to wildly deviate from precedent to say that we don`t have
the right to get ongoing – to get an investigation into the president.
There`s no executive privilege for that. You would have to be quite
MATTHEWS: You mean the way they widely deviated from precedent when they
gave the presidency to George W. Bush.
SWALWELL: You still have to have faith in our system.
MATTHEWS: I`m sorry. That was something. That was a deviation, if there
ever was one.
SWALWELL: Yes. Yes.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you so much, U.S. Congressman Eric Swalwell,
running for president.
SWALWELL: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: According – and, by the way, congratulations. He got it into
our first NBC/MSNBC debate. He`s made the cut.
According to “The Washington Post,” days after Barr`s announcement, Mueller
wrote a previously unknown private letter to the Justice Department, which
revealed a degree of dissatisfaction with the public discussion of
Mueller`s work that shocked senior Justice Department officials, according
to people familiar with the discussions.
Mueller`s letter to Barr said, among other things, that: “There is now
public confused about critical aspects of the results of our
The story reveals that – quote – “Justice Department officials said
Tuesday they were taken aback by the tone of Mueller`s letter, and it came
as a surprise to them that he had such concerns.”
And this comes one day before Barr`s Senate testimony.
Let`s bring in David Corn now. He`s available, Washington bureau chief of
David, I have been waiting for you.
MATTHEWS: Give us a sense of how much this confirms your suspicions.
CORN: We saw Barr do that four-page letter.
And then we saw Barr do this kind of phony press conference, when he was
just trying to contextualize the report and really say things that were not
true, total exoneration, no collusion.
And it seemed to me, if you read the report, Mueller really is drawing
within the lines. He is not leaning too far into conclusions. He`s being
It reminded me of like a report you might see in the 1980s, someone who`s
not trying to get a lot of social media buzz, and you have to read the
report to fully understand what Trump did on the obstruction charge and
what might have happened on the interactions with the Russians.
And I can see how Mueller could take great offense, when he`s so careful
and deliberative, to then see Barr come in and say, this is what the report
says, when it`s not what it says.
And while – and that this is in some ways – it`s not an obstruction of
justice, a perversion of justice. Barr was – excuse me – Mueller was
really playing by the rules. In fact he`s gotten some criticism for being
too confined and restrained in how he described what he found.
And to have Barr come in and just totally pull the rug out from under him
and say, this proves the president was right when he said no collusion,
this proves the president didn`t obstruct justice, so – at least my
reading of it proves that – I can see why Mueller would have been taken
And this is one reason, I expect, that members of the House Judiciary
Committee want to call him up and ask him about these things, which are not
confidential matters, not about grand jury testimony, and see what he says
about Barr`s characterization.
CORN: And I can only imagine what the hearing is going to be like tomorrow
and the day after, if Barr still goes up to Capitol Hill.
MATTHEWS: Thanks, David.
Let`s bring in Greg Brower, former – Brower – former U.S. attorney and
senior FBI official.
Greg, a couple points.
First of all, just the charge here that`s just come from – from the
special counsel in a letter to the attorney general: “You failed the
capture the context, the nature and the substance of my two-year report.”
That`s pretty profound.
GREG BROWER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It really is, Chris.
I have been saying since the beginning that the worst thing that the
attorney general could possibly do is say something that mischaracterizes
or is flat-out contradicted – contradicts the eventual Mueller report.
And so there`s been, as you know, in the last couple of weeks, since the
report has been out, a lot of argument that he in fact did just that, that
he kind of sugarcoated it, he soft-pedaled it and he – frankly, according
to some, he mischaracterized the report.
Now it appears that you have the special counsel himself saying that that`s
exactly what happened. So it`s clear that Bob Mueller will have to
testify, probably side by side, or at least with in – some following or
before the attorney general, and their stories are going to both have to be
heard by Congress and the American people.
MATTHEWS: I have got Heidi Przybyla here.
Heidi, it seems to me that one of the big – and I hate to call it a lie,
but it seems like one. When we first got that four-page letter from A.G.
Barr, from the attorney general, it said that Mueller did not use the
Justice Department guidelines in deciding not to indict. In other words,
he didn`t indict him on the merits because he wasn`t guilty.
It turns out that Mueller did follow those guidelines. He did not indict
the president because, under the guidelines, you`re not supposed to indict
him. That is the essential distortion of what Mueller went through.
HEIDI PRZYBYLA, NBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: When we finally got the
report, Chris, everyone in – or all of the Democrats in Congress said,
this reads like an impeachment referral, like this was supposed to be a
determination that would be made by Congress.
That was language that was actually in the report. But, Chris, there was a
poignant moment that kind of foretold all of this, when Barr gave his press
conference spinning the reprise, spinning the report.
And we asked him, the media, why is the author of the report not standing
up there beside you? And that was when the press conference abruptly
ended, if you remember.
Now, based on this reporting, because I have been reading through it while
you have been on the air here, he – Mueller is saying that not only was
the report misrepresenting his work, but he may have actually been
suppressed, because here it says that he was pressing in his letter to have
Barr also release those executive summaries.
PRZYBYLA: That is obviously something that was denied, as the public sat
and stewed for three weeks and public perceptions were formed. And now
Mueller is saying that that is what created public confusion around this
report, and that it undermined potentially even the very central purpose of
creating a special counsel in the first place.
MATTHEWS: Cornell, you`re an expert on public opinion. How much do you
think the P.R. way they handled this, with a four-page report covering up
the fact that they – saying that they didn`t indict because they didn`t it
think was worth indicting, when, in fact, they didn`t indict because you`re
not supposed to, they were deferring to Congress, as Heidi put it?
And the fact that they covered up all the elements, the 10 elements of
examples, illustrations of obstruction of justice, all that covered up for
four weeks, what was the impact on the landing of this report?
CORNELL BELCHER, FORMER OBAMA CAMPAIGN POLLSTER: Bamboozled.
We – they won, because now – because he put it out there, and they got
week after week of press that the president needed and they wanted. And
guess what? Republicans rallied around him.
It`s gone, right? It`s corrupt. But, Chris, they won the Mueller report
battle. They have thus far. Now, what Congress does is another question.
But public opinion right now, we have seen poll after poll. It means
MATTHEWS: Right. Right.
What do you think, Congressman?
MATTHEWS: Did you miss the chance because they were too clever at their
disgusting, but successful political manipulation?
GOMEZ: They haven`t won yet.
And that`s why we have a process, right? We have always had concerns.
When we saw the four-page memo and then we read the Mueller report, it was
very clear. And that`s why we`re pushing to have this investigation
through the appropriate committees, because that`s when we dig out every
single fact and have it in front of the American people.
You know what? There`s still a lot of time on the clock, and we`re going
to play it all the way to the end. And I know it`s painful.
MATTHEWS: I know, but, Congressman…
GOMEZ: I know it`s painful. I know it`s painful.
MATTHEWS: OK. You`re elected. I`m not. But I will tell you, I have
watched this game. We watched the way they did it. Justice delayed is
They spent four weeks covering up this baby. Isn`t it possible that the
president`s lawyers will fight these…
GOMEZ: That`s one ugly baby, by the way.
GOMEZ: That`s one ugly baby, though.
MATTHEWS: And he will fight these subpoenas for records. He will fight
these subpoenas for documents. He will fight them all the way until
Christmas. He will then have – you guys have to have deliberation.
No, you get the witnesses finally. You finally get the witnesses. Then
you`re going to deliberate about whether to begin impeachment. Then you
have – he could run out the clock.
GOMEZ: He can.
But you know what? We`re going to – we have to do it the right way. And
you know what? I voted for starting debate on articles of impeachment
twice, twice. And I will do it again.
But I don`t…
MATTHEWS: Were you right?
GOMEZ: What is that?
MATTHEWS: Were you right?
GOMEZ: I think I was right.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think you were too.
Let`s go – hold on for a second. I like clarity here.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you.
Cynthia Alksne, former federal prosecutor, joins me now my phone.
Cynthia, I – Cynthia, I just have to ask you. You`re learning this the
way we`re learning it, flash news.
CYNTHIA ALKSNE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Right.
MATTHEWS: The whole thing was covered up.
ALKSNE: Well, if you`re wondering why Barr is looking for an excuse not to
come to Congress to justify, I think now we know why. Because he`s afraid
this is going to come out.
I mean, this is why he`s looking for every imaginable excuse. No, I can`t
be questioned. This is why he is afraid to be questioned by counsel,
because this was sitting in his file. And he knew the big bomb waiting to
MATTHEWS: Well, let me go back to the point I`m going to hit on for the
next few minutes, because I`m stunned by it, because I was misled by it.
When I first heard Mueller`s four-page report, when he came on and said,
this is what was in the Mueller report, he said, basically they – they
didn`t indict the president because he wasn`t guilty. They were
exonerating, basically, when, in fact, it came out that Mueller was simply
following Justice Department guidelines you don`t indict a sitting
That`s a fundamental difference in reality from what we got as – as a lie
– from Mueller.
ALKSNE: That`s exactly right.
The attorney general of the United States..
MATTHEWS: We need the truth from Mueller and a lie from Barr.
MATTHEWS: Yes, go ahead.
ALKSNE: That`s right.
The attorney general of the United States, the most important law
enforcement officer in the history of the world, has lied to the American
people. And we just have to face that. That is exactly what happened. He
has to be called into account for it. And we need to get Mueller up there
to explain exactly what he did and why he did it.
And you are correct. When you read them the Mueller report, the reason why
he did not press any charges is because the Justice Department guidelines
forbid him to do it. And he is not a guy who breaks the rules.
He is fundamentally a Marine, and he follows the rules. And that`s what he
did here. And Barr took advantage of that. Now, I hope – I hope it isn`t
too late for the American people to actually learn and absorb what actually
But it may very well be. We just don`t know. But we do need to get
Mueller up there very quickly to Congress to explain what he did.
MATTHEWS: It seemed to me, Mueller, until he says otherwise, was preparing
a report for use by the Congress for an – impeachment hearings, for
impeachment proceedings. Here it is.
ALKSNE: It`s clear in reading that`s exactly what he was doing.
And, if any – if his name was not President Trump, he would be indicted
MATTHEWS: Thank you. Let me…
ALKSNE: When any normal prosecutor reads that memo, that is an indictment
memo. That`s what it is.
And the only reason why it`s not it`s because the Justice Department
guideline, and Bob Mueller follows the rules.
MATTHEWS: Robert, we`re having a Perry Mason moment, to use an old
reference, which is something`s happening in the world, the courtroom of
public opinion now that we didn`t know.
We now know, thanks to your paper`s reporting, that Robert Mueller was not
happy, he was dissatisfied with the report made by the attorney general 48
hours after getting his report, wherein the attorney general made very
erroneous statements about that report in terms of, as your paper reports,
context, nature and substance, which is the whole ball game, and, most
importantly, lied about the fact that the – the special counsel didn`t
indict the president because you`re not supposed to, not because he was
Where is this reporting going now, because – I guess I have to a question.
How did we get the letter at this point, all these weeks later?
COSTA: It`s sometimes hard to be a reporter.
It takes time to build the sourcing to understand what`s actually going on
inside of that black box that is the Department of Justice, which is very
tight-lipped. But reporters at “The Post” and other outlets have been
working hard to try to get the real story here on what happened in the
interactions between the special counsel and the attorney general.
Talking to Adam Schiff this morning, the congressman from California who
chairs the House Intelligence Committee, he told me he`s already in
discussion with the Department of Justice about getting Mueller to testify
to tell his own story. And that clamor is only going to build in the next
few hours and the coming days.
Will the special counsel be allowed in front of television cameras to sit
down and say what he wrote in that letter to the attorney general, to
finally tell his version of events of how this investigation concluded?
MATTHEWS: Does Mr. Barr, the attorney general, know that he has been outed
here, that he has been exposed as having received that letter from Mueller?
Does he know that? He knows it now.
COSTA: He can turn on the television. Now it`s a question of what is the
special counsel willing to say publicly and this is a question for Capitol
I would like to ask the congressman here as well. I`m already hearing from
some Capitol Hill sources. There can be talk of impeachment among
Democrats for the attorney general, that they`re very unhappy with this
development. Obviously, they want to investigate more and have hearings.
But early, early discussions among my Democratic sources in the House is
that this is appalling behavior based on the things they are reading and
they would like to pursue action and pay close attention tomorrow and
tonight. What does Speaker Pelosi say? She has a tight grip over her
MATTHEWS: Well, already respond to that. Do you want to respond to that
again because I asked you that a while ago?
GOMEZ: No, no, listen, I think that, you know, it is pretty appalling. I
never trusted William Barr from the beginning. I think a lot of Democrats
had that same position.
We have to call him in and if he refuses, keep going, right? If it means
impeachment, so be it. But everything is on the table.
MATTHEWS: “The New York Times” is also reporting on this story. According
to “The Times”, a rift between Mueller and Barr appeared to develop as the
special counsel wrapped up his inquiry.
Quote: Mr. Barr and senior Justice Department officials were frustrated
with how Mr. Mueller ended his investigation and crafted his report,
according to two people with knowledge of those discussions and another
person briefed on the matter. They expressed irritation that Mr. Mueller
fell short of his assignment by declining to make a decision about whether
Mr. Trump broke the law. That left Mr. Barr to clear Mr. Trump without the
special counsel`s backing.
The senior department officials also found Mr. Mueller`s rationale for
stopping short of deciding whether Mr. Trump committed a crime to be
confusing and contradictory, and they concluded that Mr. Mueller`s report
showed that there was no case against Mr. Trump.
Mr. Brower, what do you make of that one? I don`t know if I believe that.
But your thoughts?
BROWER: Yes, I don`t know about that either, Chris. But I`ll tell you, I
think, in my view, three things have to happen. The first is that this is
a bit of a contrarian view, but the House Judiciary Committee needs to
forget about the staff asking questions and get the attorney general up
I had a lot of experience with the minority and the majority members of the
committee. There were plenty of members in the majority who can ask
questions, who can effectively cross examine. I think they just need to
get him up there, take his objection off the table and ask those questions.
MATTHEWS: How about giving a half hour to one of the members? Because the
five-empty rule is something you can play if you`re a witness.
BROWER: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think that`s within the chairman`s
purview, and that`s exactly what should happen.
Secondly, Mr. Mueller is going to have to testify. There`s no doubt about
And third, I would say, and, Chris, the cynics in the room might laugh at
this, but somebody on the Republican side in light of this news will have
to say enough is enough. What`s going on here? We need a full accounting
of everything that happened.
This has to be bipartisan even if it`s just one member at the outset.
MATTHEWS: Well, I hope Mitt Romney is watching MSNBC right now.
I want to bring in Senator Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut, a member of
the Judiciary Committee where Attorney General Barr is scheduled to testify
Well, you`re going to get your first shot at him tomorrow, Senator
Blumenthal. What do you think about the questioning you would go to?
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT) (via telephone): This disclosure adds a
breathtaking new dimension to the questioning tomorrow. It`s an absolutely
stunning rebuke of the attorney general of the United States by a career
prosecutor who has consummate respect. And what he is saying essentially
is that the attorney general mischaracterized in contents, nature and
substance his report.
And he memorialized this criticism. That`s extraordinarily important that
he put to paper and wanted it to be in the file. And there is going to be
a lot of tough questioning about this letter tomorrow.
MATTHEWS: Thank God for a free press once again. Thank you so much,
Senator Blumenthal, of Connecticut.
I`m going to go to Heidi on this.
Where are we going?
PRZYBYLA: Well, Chris, just a little bit of information from a Democratic
leadership source. That they say that not only will you hear from
leadership, that it is very important that Barr come this week, but in
terms of timing, they expect Mueller to be in that chair next week, no
MATTHEWS: This is from the House?
PRZYBYLA: This is from the House Democratic leadership.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of that, Congressman?
GOMEZ: Great. You know, the sooner the better. I don`t have my cell
phone on me –
MATTHEWS: Let`s bring in Elise Jordan, “Time Magazine” contributor,
This whole show, we have torn down the front page. We didn`t have any
Michelle, this is big stuff. I mean, this is across the front page of “The
Times” and “The Post” tomorrow and all the other quality papers. This is
the fact that Mueller was basically betrayed by Barr in a way a lot of us
thought he might have been.
But to come out and find out that the context, the nature, the substance of
the two-year Mueller report and was disfigured in the presentation and the
fact that they lie – and that`s a good word for it – about the fact that
they didn`t indict the president because of the Justice Department rules,
not because he was innocent. It`s astounding how that was misinterpreted.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, I think in some
ways it`s always been obvious that Bob Barr`s four-page memo, the summary
that he later said wasn`t a summary completely mischaracterized the Mueller
report. If you sat down and read the 400-plus pages of the Mueller report,
but obviously, most people don`t have time to do that.
And so, what I think that what`s important about Mueller`s rebuke of Bob
Barr, is both that sort of he understood how the gap between what he
produce and what Barr was telling the public and he really pointed out that
the point, one of the main points of this investigation was to give some
sort of public narrative that everybody could trust about what happened,
To give some sort of resolution to all the confusion and doubts about the
2016 election at Trump`s behavior in it and after it. And Bob Barr, you
know, that closure was so necessary for the country and Bob Barr basically
blew it up by going out there and misrepresenting the contents of the
report in a way that allowed Republicans to pretend it said something that
was completely contrary to what it actually said. You know, it still
allows them to say no collusion.
You know, in his quest to protect the president, he basically – he made it
almost impossible for the report do, which was to give the country some
clarity and some closure.
MATTHEWS: Here`s what – just get – so you don`t have to wait for the
newspaper tomorrow everybody watching, this is what – this is what Robert
Mueller said in his criticism of the four-page summary document by the
The summary letter the department sent to Congress and released to the
public on March 24th, that was a Sunday, did not fully capture the context,
nature and substance of this office`s work and conclusions. There is now
public confusion about critical aspects about the results of our
investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the
department appointed the special counsel to assure full public confidence
in the outcome of this investigation.
So, what he is saying as special counsel is you, Mr. Attorney General, have
ruined the public impact of this report by distortions. Elise?
GOLDBERG: Right, that was the point.
MATTHEWS: Elise, your thoughts?
ELISE JORDAN, TIME MAGAZINE CONTRIBUTOR: Chris, I`m staggered that the
original summary came out March 24th and by April 18th, the actual full
report comes out. So much time passed in interim of Barr setting the
narrative and Robert Mueller clearly being very upset that his two-year
report findings had been in his view, distorted. And so, it took so long
for this relief to happen.
MATTHEWS: What`s your point? What do you think? What do you think that
JORDAN: Well, and you have an institutionalist playing by the rules when
no one else that he is up against is following those rules.
JORDAN: So, what is the service to the American public if your job is to
tell the truth and get at the truth and then through the institution, the
truth is distorted? This is a very disturbing episode for American
MATTHEWS: Elise, you understand public relations and timing. Remember how
Bill Clinton was in huge trouble in February of `98, and by August, he was
in a little trouble, some trouble. Time works to the defense of a lot of
people, because people`s shock wears off and especially with this
marination process, which was so purposeful.
Four weeks? Are we really believing it took four weeks to redact the grand
jury testimony and some names? They could have done that over a weekend.
Come on. They held that and marinate it, to wear down the public`s
Michelle, what do you think? I think they knew it. These guys – whoever
did the PR on this thing knew what they were doing. I mean –
GOLDBERG: Right. I mean, I think that if the report had just came out and
we had access to it at the same time, the headlines would have been 10
episodes of obstruction of justice, right? And it would have been obvious
that this was sort of a road map for impeachment, that Mueller was abiding
by the Department of Justice rule that a sitting president can`t be
indicted. And so – but there is serious evidence that he committed crimes
or indictable offenses and he laid it out for us and, you know, it would
have looked – it would have, I think, forced both the serious conversation
about impeachment and maybe the start of an impeachment process.
Instead, he was able to muddy the water so the question of whether or not
Trump had, whether or not the report showed evidence of obstruction of
justice became kind of confused and subject to partisan misinformation.
MATTHEWS: Congressman, let me ask you as a member of the committee and a
member of Congress as a Democrat, suppose Mueller had released his report
to the public well before the 48-hour period and the memo that came out and
well before all this marination, as I call it, went on for four weeks and
just drop it out there. There were 10 instances of presidential
obstruction of justice and we went to Congress to now have this report.
We`re handing it to you.
Wouldn`t that be a different world we`d be living in right now?
GOMEZ: No, it definitely would be a different world. I`m not on
judiciary, but I actually read the report. I look at different segments.
I read the judiciary review of it. It`s pretty stunning.
But we knew what they were doing. Everybody knew. But the reason why we
couldn`t move it forward is because people just think it`s Democrats being,
you know, sore losers, right. That`s not what it`s ever been about. We
have to kind of dig it out.
What Mueller has done by finding – sending this letter and having it on
file, it gives the concerns we had credibility. Now we have something to
push forward with.
MATTHEWS: The news of Mueller`s letter, of complaint, actually, to the
attorney general comes after Barr waited four weeks to even acknowledge
that he had any disagreement with the special counsel. Here`s how he did
reveal his disagreement in that press conference just before releasing the
redacted Mueller report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARR: Although the deputy attorney general and I disagreed with some of
the special counsel`s legal theories and felt that some of the episodes
examined did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law, we did not rely
solely on that in making our decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Cynthia, that`s an astounding acknowledgment as part of this
rolling disclosure, which is to acknowledge that they were pointing to
obstruction of justice in the Mueller report, many instances of it. He
said he didn`t agree with all those instances. But he`s acknowledged
finally for the first time after four weeks of sitting on this that that`s
what the Mueller report called for, action on obstruction of justice.
CYNTHIA ALKSNE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST (via telephone): Right, but not as
much – he still down played it dramatically. It was not clear, the
differences between Mueller and Barr, as highlighted by this letter we`ve
And his excuse about, oh, I needed these four weeks in order to get the
grand jury material because it said grand jury material at the top of the
paper, that`s ridiculous. Obviously, Mueller wrote this thing with
executive summary that could be released immediately. And you`re
absolutely right, it could have been done in a weekend. And it certainly
could have been done before he submitted that four-page memo, which was
not, frankly, did not reflect what Mueller was saying.
MATTHEWS: David, you spent years working on this. You wrote a great book
about this. All this stuff about playing footsie with the Russians, which
is illustrated rather well in the report, even if there wasn`t actual
criminality proven, there were all kinds of examples of them playing ball
with the Russians, taking advantage of Russian help in the `16 election to
defeat Hillary Clinton.
All kinds of meetings, all kinds of stuff that would normally defeat any
Democratic candidate for president, I can tell you, just from having
experienced life in this country. Democrats would get blamed much more
And my question is, historically, this Mueller thing has been deflated, and
its political impact because of skullduggery by an attorney general. This
is worse than John Mitchell stuff.
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONMES WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF (via telephone): Well, I
heard all the guests earlier tonight. I think we`re not done on that. The
Mueller report came out before Barr tried to do his little math trick and
say there was no collusion so that all the issues you just raised about
attractions between Trump people and Russians and more importantly, Trump
trying to benefit from the Russian attacks and equally important denying
the attack while it was happening so as to exploit it basically being in
with Putin in terms of the disinformation campaign.
CORN: But that stuff didn`t get into the headlines because of Barr. But I
think we`re in the third inning –
MATTHEWS: David, we got a problem. You sound like you`re on a tug boat
somewhere. We`re going to have to come back to our onshore witnesses.
Thank you so much. We`ll have you on tomorrow night.
Heidi, report on the significance of this and how this is going to roll the
next few days.
PRZYBYLA: Chris, one of the main arguments here and the concerns of
Democrats goes right to the two volumes of the report that the obstruction
could have actually stopped us finding the true extent of this
administration`s ties and potential coordination. And so, this is going to
reopen this argument here on the hill to not only have public hearings but
if this administration continues to stonewall, to talk – and congressman,
you can speak to this – but to talk about how possibly opening an
impeachment inquiry would help Congress have greater tools to compel
witnesses to testify, to get documents because this is only going to
increase the hunger for more information.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of that charge? I believe in it. Once you
open impeachment procedure, you have a tremendous advantage in the courts
because they understand that it`s the only – the only procedure there is
to judge branch, by Congress is impeachment. The only guarantee we`re
going to have truly equality among the branches of government.
GOMEZ: No, I agree with you. At the same time, we still have to start
this investigation and really dig deep.
MATTHEWS: Can you get the subpoenas honored if you don`t have an
GOMEZ: You know t I`m not a constitutional attorney, but you know what?
We`re going to follow up on every step. We`re going to ask for those
I understand they can stonewall. But I have a feeling if they stonewall
and continue to stonewall, it`s just going to create an avalanche effect, a
snowball effect on calling for impeachment. So, it actually will achieve
the opposite result they want.
MATTHEWS: You might be right. I hope you are because we need the truth.
I do remember when Nixon was on the skillet, the Supreme Court came in big
time, and the Congress got all the tapes. They got it all.
Anyway, let me go to Michelle Goldberg and Elise Jordan for one last
thought about – Michelle, you on the big story. You write the big
magazine articles, the big stuff. It seems to me this is part of a saga
which began way back with the Russian connections. And then as – you
know, as Heidi pointed out brilliantly, I hadn`t thought of this, a lot of
the obstruction led to us not getting the facts about the coordination and
the collusion, if you will, and the continuing of the Russian conspiracy by
American agents, i.e., Trump people.
So, all along it`s a dynamic. They have been covering their trail so
successfully that they`re still potentially going to get re-elected, this
GOLDBERG: Well, and I think that, you know, another thing that would have
been the headline had the report just dropped on its own was there was, I
believe, over a hundred pages – I could be wrong, but there was a
substantial amount of the report that was just about the various
connections that the Trump administration or that members of the Trump
campaign had with Russians.
Not even about Trump`s financial entanglements but just about all of these
kind of strange meetings, including the meeting in the Seychelles that Erik
Prince lied to Congress about and has now been referred to the – there`s a
criminal referral to the Justice Department. That in itself, it documents
a huge amount of not apparently criminal conspiracy but a huge amount of
I also think it`s significant that, you know, the report itself says we did
not look at this through the lens of collusion. Collusion isn`t, you know,
a term in criminal law. We looked at it through the lens of criminal
conspiracy, because if you just read the plain language of the report, you
can only describe what they`re – you can only describe all these meetings
But because they buried it and allowed Bill Barr to go up there and say
over and over again no collusion, no collusion, no collusion, again, when
the report shows the opposite.
MATTHEWS: Elise? Let me ask you a question, a really nasty question, but
I don`t mind asking a colleague like you. Who do you think of as a likely
Republican who might come along? Is it Mitt Romney, and the senator from
Utah? Someone to come up and say, you know what, this cover-up has got to
JORDAN: I think Mitt Romney, I would certainly put him as, you know, at
the top of my list in terms of hoping to see justice served and hoping to
see our institutions protected and not abused for political purposes.
I think I still am just astonished that this letter leaked. After two
years of Robert Mueller`s investigation being so tightly sealed, it just
gives you a sense of how great the anger at what Mueller feels is a
misrepresentation, that this finally leaked.
And also, reading the story and the defensiveness of the Department of
Justice sources quoted, this is not going to go away. And they had a PR
coup at the onset by seizing the four-page summary, and they really – I
think they really have messed themselves up here.
MATTHEWS: Good thinking. Somebody leaked this and it wasn`t Barr`s
people. You can bet that.
Anyway, Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler of New York just tweeted:
Mueller has written a letter objecting to Barr`s summary of his reported
because it did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of his
investigation. I have demanded the letter, and Barr must answer for this.
Mueller must be allowed to testify.
So, that`s the story going into tomorrow in the Senate. Then coming in
Final thoughts, Congressman, just a couple of seconds, couple of minutes.
GOMEZ: You know, I take this job very seriously. I always go back to that
oath. We swear to defend and uphold the Constitution, not a president, not
an elected official, the Constitution. So I hope the Republicans start
living up to that oath.
MATTHEWS: Thanks so much.
I want to thank all our guests tonight.
That`s HARDBALL for now.
Breaking story tonight, the biggest we`ve had. Thank you so much for
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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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