Day two of Trump’s London visit. TRANSCRIPT: 6/4/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: He`s on THE BEAT tomorrow. I`m excited to get
with him, also be joined by George Will, who has a new book all about what
it really means to be conservative right now. And we`ll hear from a Reagan
DOJ official who says Donald Trump obstructed justice. All of that in The
But don`t go anywhere right now, because right now it`s “HARDBALL.”
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: London broil. Let`s play HARDBALL. I`m Chris
Matthews back in Washington on this second day of President Trump`s state
visit to the U.K., pomp and circumstance were out-shown by politics and
The American partner and the special relationship was met on the streets of
London with fierce resistance on a day after Queen Elizabeth hosted the
visiting American President at Buckingham Palace, the giant balloon
depicting the U.S. President as a diaper-clad baby made its return to
Parliament Square. It was previously flown during Trump`s last arrival
Thousands of protesters also flooded the streets near Trafalgar Square for
what was dubbed a carnival of resistance to him. But despite what was
visible to everyone in the entire world, the President called the protest
the very fact of the protest, the reality of what you are looking at as
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S PRESIDENT: And even coming over today, there were
thousands of people cheering and then I heard they were protests. I said
where are the protests? I don`t see any protests. I did see a small
protest today when I came, very small. So a lot of it is fake news.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, appearing alongside British Prime Minister Theresa May,
the President backed off his previous criticism of her handling the Brexit
negotiations, instead offering praise for the outgoing Prime Minister.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think it will happen. And I believe the Prime Minister has
brought it to a very good point where something will take place in the not
too distant future.
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I seem to remember the President
suggested that I sued the European Union, which we didn`t do. We went to
the negotiations and we came out with a good deal.
TRUMP: Yes. Let`s not say I would have sued, but that`s okay. I would
have sued and settled, maybe, but you never know. She`s probably a better
negotiator than I am.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow, how charming that was. But the President also continued to
take swipes at a local, vocal critic, London Mayor Sadiq Khan. The
President followed up on a pair of Tweets he sent just before his arrival
yesterday calling the Mayor of London a stone cold loser.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: But I think he`s been a not very good mayor from what I understand.
He has done a poor job. Crime is up, a lot of problems. And I don`t think
he should be criticizing a representative of the United States that can do
so much good for the United Kingdom. We talked about it before. He should
be positive, not negative. He`s a negative force, not a positive force.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: For more, I`m joined by Jill Colvin, White House Reporter for
the Associated Press, Jason Johnson is Politics Editor for theroot.com.,
Charlie Sykes, Editor-in-Chief in the Bulwark, and from London, Bobby
Ghosh, Bloomberg Opinion Editor and Columnist.
Bobby, thank you. You`re smiling. I`ve got to ask you the most obvious
question on this planet. Why would Trump deny what is visible to the
entire planet, the protest against him on the streets of London?
BOBBY GHOSH, BLOOMBERG OPINION EDITOR AND COLUMNIST: Well, he spent spent
a lot of time on helicopters, I assume, with blacked out windows if he
didn`t see the protesters. And when he was on the road, his convoy was
carefully managed to avoid the places where there were protests, because
that would have snarled up all the traffic.
So he can claim he didn`t see them, but I find it hard to believe he didn`t
know. Surely, somebody in his enormous entourage would have whispered in
his ear, a president who spent so much time watching television cannot have
avoided seeing those pictures on TV. You don`t see what you don`t want to
see, I guess. That`s the most charitable view you can take.
MATTHEWS: You are charitable, Bobby. But you were in the – the attitude
you express is so clear, but thank you.
I want to go to Jill, who is a straight reporter for the Associated Press.
Your job is to what happened. The Shah of Iran even knew there were
protests against him. What`s Trump up to here?
JILL COLVIN, ASSOCIATED PRESS WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes. The president,
in addition to this, being very carefully managed, the President really
kept away from the protest as much as possible. The President is also
surrounded by a lot of people who don`t like to tell him no and don`t like
to tell him things he doesn`t want to hear.
MATTHEWS: Don`t look out the window. John McCain is out there.
COLVIN: And he also has an incredibly thin skin when it comes protesters.
It`s something that really bothers him.
And (INAUDIBLE) the press conference even say today, you know, I passed by
the streets full of all these people and they were cheering at me. No,
they were people who are standing, taking cell phone pictures of you
because the President of the United States and the motorcade is driving
through the city. But I honestly sometimes question whether the President
does think he sees people cheering him on.
MATTHEWS: Charlie, let me ask you about this whole thing. I have been
looking at the pictures. I`ve been out there, of course, in Fresno with
Pete Buttigieg. But I look at these, really, top hat performances. The
President is in white tie, Melania looks wonderful. She dressed like a
scene from the Ascot or something and My Fair Lady. Everybody looks great.
A big effort went into this. And then he messes it all up. Why has he
messed it up with dumping on the Mayor of London and ruining the nature of
all the effort to make himself look like a world leader? It doesn`t look
like the way he does this stuff.
CHARLIE SYKES, THE BULWARK EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Well, it turns out that
pettiness and narcissism don`t mix well with diplomacy. Whoe knew? Donald
Trump just cannot restrain himself. Obviously, he`s been prepped to say,
okay, you know, don`t violate protocol, don`t say certain things. I mean,
here`s a guy that went on a Howard Stern Show back in 1997 and joked about
having sex with Princess Di. So you can imagine the people were trying to
handle him, make sure don`t joke, don`t say anything, and yet he can`t help
it. He can`t help lashing out. He cannot help making it all about
himself. And that`s what we`re seeing.
MATTHEWS: Well, I`m going back to this. I want to go with Jason. Because
I have been in black tie a few times in my life, about four or five times,
and it`s always a big pain to get dressed like that. It really is for the
gridiron or Al Smith dinner or something. And he gets through all the –
and Melania looks fantastic, get this wardrobe that then looks like out of
a movie, all this effort to be seen with the Queen of England and the rest
of the Royal Family and then the whole story line is fighting with the
Mayor. He didn`t have to mention the name. Nobody said the Mayor of
London is. Why is he doing that?
JASON JOHNSON, THE ROOT POLITICS EDITOR: Well, it`s not just because he is
petty, Chris, but it`s also – it`s that inherent discomfort and hostility
that Trump had here, right? This idea that I made it but there`s still
this blue blood group that doesn`t accept me.
MATTHEWS: But they did. The Queen accepted him.
JOHNSON: Not really. It`s only because he`s president. Meghan Markle
still doesn`t want to see him. He still feels like he`s not –
MATTHEWS: You don`t believe that she really is?
JOHNSON: She doesn`t want to see him. She doesn`t want to see him. And
that`s why he was hostile to it.
And as an American citizen, that`s actually the kind of person he should
want to be seeing with as much as anybody else because –
MATTHEWS: Because she`s American.
JOHNSON: Yes, she`s an American. He should be excited about that.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, the President weighed into British politics today more
than this when asked about Tory contenders to succeed Theresa May as prime
minister, former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, and current Foreign
Secretary, same title, Jeremy Hunt. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: So I know Boris. I like him. I have liked him for a long time.
He`s – I think he`d do a very good job. I know Jeremy, I think, would do
a very good job. I don`t know Michael. But would he do a good job,
Jeremy? Tell me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, this thing about interfering – we`ll get to this, but
this idea of interfering in other people`s politics. The Russians did it
to us. He`s very comfortable doing it to the Brits. A short time later,
by the way, the President huddled with Brexit party leader as a separate
party, Nigel Farage, at the U.S. Ambassador`s residence. But Boris Johnson
declined a request to meet with the President so he could prepare for a
campaign event. The two spoke by phone, however.
Johnson is most internationally well-known of all the candidates. This is
(INAUDIBLE). He appeared on HARDBALL back in 2015 when he was Mayor of
London. And we were glad to have him. Here he is, Boris Johnson, as
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about leadership today and the parsity, I think
that`s a good English word, of leaders, of people like Thatcher was looked
up to, Reagan was looked up to, and Kennedy certainly was. It`s getting
pretty shallow out there for leaders.
BORIS JOHNSON, FORMER MAYOR OF LONDON: But maybe that`s a good thing, Mr.
MATTHEWS: I`m listening. Chris.
JOHNSON: Chris, forgive me. Maybe what it shows is actually that in many
of our countries, the world does not require the kind of critical
leadership that Margaret Thatcher or Ronald Regan provided during the
period when we have to face down the Russians in the Cold War. It doesn`t
require the kind of courage that
Winston Churchill had to display during the absolutely existential moment
in 1940. And maybe we live in a blander, softer kind of age.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Bobby Ghosh, on the scene in London, it`s late there, I want to
ask you about the view of Trump. Is there such a thing as a British view,
not left, not Jeremy Corbyn view, not the labor party view or the streets
even. Is there a general view of Trump that`s mixed or is it just they
don`t like the gauche? I`m sorry for using that word. That word –
GHOSH: I think they like me.
MATTHEWS: This ugly American, if you will, I`m not sure that`s true. But
is that the way they look at him as the ugly American or not?
GHOSH: Well, he is the most unpopular American president since polling
began. I think that`s – those are the numbers I saw today. And that cuts
across the board. Unlike the U.S., in U.K., it cuts across the political
divide. It was not just Jeremy Corbyn who skipped the dinner and who spoke
at the anti-Trump rally today. Plenty of other politicians across the
spectrum in this country didn`t want to be seen anywhere near Donald Trump,
didn`t want a photo op.
And the fact that a man who aspires to be prime minister, that`s Jeremy
Corbyn, chose to speak at an anti-Trump rally tells you that he made a
calculation, right or wrong, he made a political calculation that is
speaking up against the American President, against the President of this
country`s most important ally. He figured that that would be a smart
political move for him to make.
MATTHEWS: I think Boris wants to be prime minister. I think Boris Johnson
has also that Churchillian aspect of being a man in the wilderness and
coming back. I have very mixed feelings about the guy.
Let me go to Charlie on this question. Really, you guys bugged me since
the day Trump arrived in Washington. He was elected in the Electoral
College. We all accept that. He was elected in the Electoral College. He
got the 270 he needed. He`s here. He`s our president, no doubt about it.
We don`t call him current president. He`s President of the United States.
But his family wasn`t elected. This Romanovs thing of his, it`s
ridiculous. He hauled over all his kids, even Tiffany, for this occasion.
He acts like somehow the family is royal. He`s confused. He also likes
autocrats like Putin. And he loves tough guys like Netanyahu. And he
likes tough guys like the worst kind, like Jim Jong-un and Xi.
He also likes monarchs. This is the second week in a row he`s been
visiting with emperors and now he`s meeting with the Queen of England.
What does he think he is that he brings his family with him like a royal?
SYKES: Well, this is the dangerous thing about these trips for Donald
Trump. When he went to France, remember, he came back with the idea for
the big military parade. And you wonder whether he`s going to come back
from London and thinking, you know, this royal family thing, you know,
there`s a lot to be said for that. I mean, the Trump family is a Trump
family business, sort of like the Windsors, right? Why not? In fact,
you`re already starting to see some of his supporters say he is American
royalty. Look, just because he likes golden toilets, it doesn`t make him
Louie the 14th.
But, clearly, he is smitten by these trappings of authoritarian power and
of royalty. So I think it was Donald Trump basically saying, look, this is
my family. I am going to show the British Royal Family what the American
royal family looks like. It didn`t quite come off.
MATTHEWS: Let me go Jill on this. Your thoughts, as a straight reporter
again, the President of the United States is – he is head of state. A
woman can be head of state too. This is the way it works. You`re elected
to have – you`re not elected king.
COLVIN: It is highly, highly unusual. This is a display that we have not
seen this from other Presidents. The fact that not only the children who
are advisers, the son-in-law who work in the White House as Senior Adviser,
he is bringing along his sons, Eric and Don Jr. Don Jr. has his own
political aspirations. But these are people who run the President`s
business who are profiting from the Trump name and to bring them along, to
let them use the social media images of it, I mean, just adds more and more
questions about all of the ethical issues.
MATTHEWS: Well, who – the Republican Party is called the republican
party, lower case. They believe in a republic, not a monarchy. When is
somebody going to raise hand and say, I`m not going to kiss the butt again
of one of your family members? I`m not going to do it, yet he insists that
they do it.
JOHNSON: Amash might be the only person who, you know, (INAUDIBLE). But
most of these guys – look, I mean, he is a walking emoluments clause
violation. The amount of money that we spend –
MATTHEWS: By the way, I went by the hotel the other day thinking about
that. I`m sure it`s on his mind all the time.
MATTHEWS: How much cash is coming through the door on that hotel?
JOHNSON: And when his children get to go with him, his children who run
his businesses, this is not Sasha and Malia. These aren`t kids that are
like, hey, you can see this is the first time. They can fly there on their
own. They can make these kinds of trips on their own. This is the
American people paying for vacations and business opportunities for his
family. This is being seen all over the world by other people that Trump`s
children want to do business negotiations with. That`s the problem.
MATTHEWS: So if you are the king of Jordan or you`re from Saudi Arabia or
you`re from the Emirates or you`re from Israel, you`ve got to deal with
Jared Kushner, the son-in-law, as if he`s what, a viceroy?
JOHNSON: Basically or the hand of the king. I mean, that`s pretty much
how the President likes to play this. And by giving this kind of high
profile position and these kinds of opportunities to his kids, he is
setting himself up to have power beyond this point
MATTHEWS: I have a theory about Trump, and I think he`s playing all the
cards of the President, seeing one card he`s playing, incumbency is this.
I can be with heads of state, not like prime ministers or people like that.
No. I can meet with the Emperor of Japan. I can meet with the Queen of
England. I can prance around as if I`m one of those royals and maybe that
will intimidate people into voting for me again next year because I`m so
Anyway, Jill Colvin, thank you for your straight reporting, Jason, for your
strength, Charlie Sykes from the world out there and the American people,
and, Bobby Ghosh, you are not a gauche, sir, you`re a great gentleman, and
thank you for coming on to give us the street feel out there in London
Anyway, our House has set – our House has set to begin hearings on the
Mueller report but they are being very careful not to call it impeachment.
That`s the I word we don`t use. But is it enough to satisfy the number of
– the growing number of House Democrats who are actually pushing for
And by the way, I don`t buy this delay status, this game. You know,
sometime, we`ll get to it. No. Either you`re going to do it now or you`re
not going to do it. That is my belief. It`s now or never, as the song
And later, what we learned from Mayor Pete Buttigieg yesterday, we had a
spirited discussion. I talked about impeachment with him, gun violence and
other topics at our HARDBALL Town Hall last night. What a great group of
people came out for that at Fresno State, regular people over the town up
Plus, a preview of another big HARDBALL event coming up next week in
Dayton, we`re doing the deciders. Ohio votes with the winner, the winner
comes from Ohio. That`s the way it works in this country for 60 years.
Watch Ohio. Stay with us. We`re going to stay with Ohio. You stay with
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. President Trump is overseas, of
course, that hasn`t stopped his administration from stonewalling Congress
in their efforts to investigate potential misconduct by the President and
his administration. You can add, by the way, former Trump administration
officials Hope Hicks, there she is, and Annie Donaldson to the list of
administration officials and former officials who are now defying
congressional subpoenas, defying them.
NCB News reported that the White House has directed those two women not to
hand over documents to Congress related to their time at the White House.
So they`re private citizens still being directed by the White House.
This comes as democrats are rethinking when their strategy when it comes to
impeachment, moving forward with what Politico, the newspaper, has dubbed
the House Democrats` non-impeachment impeachment campaign against President
Trump. We`ll think of what we think of that.
House Democrats are preparing for hearings next week centered on Special
Counsel Robert Mueller`s report and, of course, presidential obstruction,
where they will be calling on Watergate`s star witness and former Nixon
White House Counsel, John Dean, yes, 80-year-old John Dean to testify.
Next Tuesday, the full House will vote on whether to hold Attorney General
William Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn in contempt of
Congress for their refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas.
As these efforts move forward, the number of lawmakers calling for the
start of an impeachment inquiry is slowly increasing. Look at these faces.
NBC News counts at least 59 House lawmakers, now members of the House,
pushing for a start of impeachment, real impeachment.
For more, I`m joined by Democratic Congressman Representative Raja
Krishnamoorthi of Illinois. He`s a member of the House Intelligence and
Congressman, what is going on here? It`s this a smokescreen? I get the
feeling that all this stuff, bringing back John Dean – I mean, what`s
this, the golden oldies? We`re bringing in the – it`s like a top 60s
Why are we bringing back a guy from the `70s, when you should be beginning
impeachment, if you`re real?
REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL): Well, I`m a classic rock fan and a `90s
But going to your question, John Dean obviously has a historical
perspective that few other people have. And I think that him coming before
the Judiciary Committee will help to educate the American public about the
seriousness of the charges that were made in the Mueller report.
So, I think that`s probably a good thing. But, ultimately, we need to have
Bob Mueller on Capitol Hill.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, I think only Bob Mueller can explain the findings in
a way that will actually gather attention from the American public.
I think there will be a Super Bowl-size audience tuning into him. He`s the
oracle of truth. Every word that he says has a certain gravitas, and
people really pay attention.
MATTHEWS: Do you believe – you`re on television now, Congressman. You`re
a great fellow, I can tell.
If he is box office, if he draws a huge audience, not since the great
debates, if he has the biggest audience ever, if he comes off with
tremendous personality and credibility, do you believe that will start the
I mean, I think it really…
MATTHEWS: Well, wait a minute. Then why are you doing all this stuff?
Why have John Dean and him come on, if you won`t even say – if he`s box
office, if he`s fabulous, if he makes a passionate case you have got to do
it, do you think you will do it?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Do you think that he would be able to set off an
MATTHEWS: If he said, basically, it`s your turn under the Constitution?
My job was to investigate. Your job under the Constitution is to be the
prosecutors, the sentence, the judge. You are the prosecutors. Do your
job. If he says it like that, would that work?
I think the reason why I say that is because, right now, in our town, in
Washington, there are few people that could earn the trust and goodwill of
the American people in the same way Bob Mueller can. And that`s why it`s
so important for him to come to Capitol Hill, and give us some guidance,
and tell us exactly what he meant with certain of the statements that he
made in his report.
We have so many questions for him. But I think that him coming to Capitol
Hill would be a special, special, special time in this whole impeachment or
this whole saga with regard to the Mueller probe.
MATTHEWS: But you know, Congressman, what it looks like. You know what it
It looks like you`re coming up with one excuse after another. First, we
want the Mueller report. Then we want to have – hear more from him. He
gives us another speech last week. Now we want to hear him testify. Then
we want to hear from McGahn.
And now we want to hear McGahn`s secretary.
MATTHEWS: Then we want to hear from Hope Hicks. And then we want to hear
from – and then, then, we will think about it.
Do you really, honestly tell me you think – it`s June. If it`s August,
will you have moved by then? When will you begin to move, if you`re going
My theory is now or never. In other words, if you`re not going to move
right now, there`s no time later, because the presidential campaign is in
full swing by September.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, I think that the – here`s the thing.
If you start the impeachment process without sufficient evidence to sustain
a potential conviction, it could be seen as an empty exercise. And, worse,
it could embolden the president and his misconduct.
He could then claim total exoneration.
MATTHEWS: So, you`re not going to do it. I hear you. That`s an argument.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: And that would be horrible.
MATTHEWS: Why don`t you make that argument? Why doesn`t Speaker Pelosi
make that argument? It doesn`t make any sense to impeach because we won`t
get a conviction. It`s not a matter of time. It`s not about hearing from
more witnesses. It doesn`t make any sense.
You guys on the Hill, men and women, Democrats and Republicans, even though
they won`t admit it, you saw obstruction of justice. You saw a president
of the United States fire an FBI director because he wouldn`t play ball
with him. You saw the president, through McGahn`s testimony, that he tried
to fire the special counsel.
If that`s not obstruction of justice, what the hell is?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: It`s clearly obstruction. And it`s impeachable.
I think the question is, when do we start the impeachment process? Do we
start it now or do we start it when we have all of the evidence we can to
potentially get a conviction?
MATTHEWS: When would that be? When would that be?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: I think, right now, we have to pursue the investigations.
We have already seen some success in the courts with regard to getting
That is an area of inquiry that Bob Mueller did not have a chance or did
not have an opportunity or decided not to pursue. And I believe those
financial records have a lot of very important information in them.
MATTHEWS: I will make a gentleman`s bet with you, that we`re having the
same conversation come this fall, and there will be no impeachment exercise
by the Democrats. That`s just a gentleman`s bet.
I trust your judgment as well.
Thank you, U.S. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, for coming on the show.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Thank you. Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Up next, even Trump`s most steadfast Republican allies are
starting to push back at his newest tariff threats. You know what
Republicans think of tariffs? They think of them as taxes. They don`t
like them. And they don`t like Trump pushing for them.
Will his party rebuke the president, therefore, for refusing to endorse
what amounts to new taxes on American companies and consumers? They think
they`re going to lose the whole tax cuts they got last year.
HARDBALL back in a minute.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: What do you think of Republicans who say that they may take
action to block you imposing those tariffs?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, I don`t think they will
do that. I think, if they do, it`s foolish. There`s nothing more
important than borders. I have had tremendous Republican support.
I have a 90 percent – 94 percent approval rating as of this morning in the
Republican Party. That`s an all-time record. Can you believe that? Isn`t
that something? I love records.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Ninety-four percent.
Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was President Trump responding to reports this morning over in London
that Republican lawmakers, senators especially, could block his proposed
tariffs on Mexico, which he plans to start imposing next week.
And now “The Washington Post” is reporting that Republican senators have
warned the administration that they`re indeed ready to deliver a major
rebuke of the president if those tariffs are put into effect.
And during a closed-door lunch today, senators told officials from the
White House and the Department of Justice that there could be a disapproval
vote if Trump moves forward, saying that they could have enough support to
override a president.
Well, Trump`s plan would levy a 5 percent tariff on all Mexican goods
coming into this country, which would then rise to as much as 25 percent,
unless Mexico stops the flow of migrants coming to the United States
through their country.
According to “The Washington Post,” there`s a growing consensus within the
GOP that these new tariffs would amount to a tax – bad word for
Republicans – increase on American businesses and consumers.
I`m joined now by Elise Jordan, a “TIME” magazine contributor and former
policy adviser for Rand Paul`s presidential campaign.
Elise, put your Republican hat on, the culture, taxes, tariffs. The
Republican Party for years when we were both growing up, me ahead of you,
they were against tariffs. They were for free trade. That was the
Now Trump`s talking about a maybe 25 percent tariff on all the
strawberries, raspberries, all the other stuff, tomatoes. It`s amazing,
the statistics on this, how much we rely, especially in the winter, on that
stuff we love, like strawberries and tomatoes from Mexico.
ELISE JORDAN, “TIME”: Avocados and beer from Mexico.
JORDAN: Chris, it absolutely makes no sense to put another tax on the
American consumers, specifically the middle class and upper middle class,
which would primarily be affected by this, in an election year.
Just in general, it goes against – it`s the antithesis of what the GOP
formerly stood – stood for, as you mentioned, which is free trade and
capitalism, and Donald Trump pushing his plans for a planned economy.
And I spoke to a Republican source on the Hill who said, it`s not a
question of if the GOP is going to oppose the tariff and vote against it.
It`s just a matter of they`re figuring out their strategy and when they`re
going to do it.
To be blunt, all the crap that Republicans have had to eat because of this
president, all this stuff they have had to put up with, in blunt terms –
and they have put up with a lot of – they put up with the “Access
Hollywood” take. They put up with this gross behavior, with his record
with women, everything. They put up – everything, they said, we can eat
all that, we can take all that, but don`t raise our taxes.
Is this the Republican value system, I mean, honestly?
JORDAN: Republican voters will continue to vote for Donald Trump as long
as the economy is strong.
Overall, he will be on a glide path to election as long as the economy stay
strong. Moves like this, tariffs, it`s a tax hike. It was estimated in
2018 that Donald Trump`s tariff raised the average American`s taxes by
With these new taxes and with the new China tariffs, that would be about
$800. When your everyday goods aren`t affordable anymore, that is a
substantial hit to the American consumer and the American voter.
MATTHEWS: Elise, it`s so great to have you on, Elise Jordan, giving us the
– she`s our horse whisperer, telling us what the Republicans are really
MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by 2020 presidential candidate and
Democratic Senator from Colorado Michael Bennet, whose new book, pub date
today, “The Land of Flickering Lights: Restoring America in an Age of
Senator, it`s great to have you on. You`re an intellectual. You`re a
politician. You have got it all combined and running for president.
So, do some reading of the other side. Why are tariffs all of a sudden the
one thing Republicans won`t go along with Trump on?
SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think they believe
that it`s insane economic policy.
There isn`t anybody in America out of 330 million people who think this is
a good idea, other than Donald Trump. And even the Republicans have
finally found their limit, which I think tells you what a ridiculous idea
MATTHEWS: What about this – if you have to put them together, their
hatred of illegal immigrants and their hatred of taxes, what`s greater
among Republicans, their hatred of each?
BENNET: I think most Republicans that I know back in Colorado don`t hate
immigrants. They do hate taxes.
This president has managed to screw up the stuff going on, on the border
because he`s treating us like we`re a weak country, not a strong country.
We can`t even handle the refugees at the border, like many other countries
around the world are dealing with it.
He spent six months trying to get the $6 billion for a wall that the
Mexicans were supposed to pay for. And now he`s put a huge tax on the
American people, which he says Mexico is going to pay for.
This is a tax on our workers. This is a tax on our farmers. This is a tax
on our ranchers, and, by the way, at the worst possible moment, because
commodity prices are already terrible. The tariffs that he already put in
have been retaliated against by other countries.
And our farmers are paying the price for Donald Trump not understanding the
most basic thing about economics or immigration, or, by the way…
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about – go ahead.
BENNET: Or immigration.
Chris, I have people in my state that are having to sell their farm
equipment because they have no workers because of Donald Trump`s
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this constitutional question with our
The House of Representatives, of course, has to indict. They have to be
the prosecution. It`s the Senate to be the judge. It doesn`t look like
it`s ever going to get to you to be the judge.
So, what do you think about impeachment? You`re never going to get to
value – to offer your position on it.
Do you have a position?
BENNET: Well, I believe, having read the Mueller report, that he has
committed impeachable offenses. I believe that he obstructed justice. And
I believe we should have hearings in the House.
I think that Mueller should testify and others should testify. And then we
have to make a judgment about what to do. I do – I think everybody needs
to understand that, if the House impeached tomorrow, McConnell would acquit
Trump, Donald Trump, next week. So, all…
MATTHEWS: Sure, but that`s true in two years from now. That`s true five
years from now. It will never be different.
BENNET: I don`t know, probably not. With McConnell, you`re probably
right. But I think it would be useful for the American people to see what
this record really is.
The other night, Chris, I watched 20 minutes of YouTube clips of the
Watergate hearings. By the way, that will bring a tear to your eye, if you
ever watch them, because it reminds you what a government that actually
functions look like.
And to see…
MATTHEWS: Well, tell me about that. Give that to the younger viewers
right now, Senator. Give us a translation to the – 2019 of what it felt
like to watch in 1974 that House Judiciary Committee.
BENNET: Yes. Yes.
So, to see Republicans and Democrats exercising their constitutional
responsibility to search out the truth, not just show up with partisan
talking – I mean, as you will remember, Chris, the Watergate committee
actually discovered the tapes.
BENNET: No prosecutor found the tapes. Congress was doing its job
methodically, day after day, night after night, with their shirt sleeves
rolled up in Washington, making sure the American people understood what
was at stake when a president violated the rule of law.
I think we would benefit from that again now. And – but what I don`t want
to do, I don`t want us to do it in any way that gives Donald Trump a better
chance of getting reelected, because we also have to make sure that he`s
only a one-term president.
So it`s too bad, but we do have to walk and chew gum at the same time.
MATTHEWS: Well, back then, the question from Howard Baker, the Republican
leader on the committee that you mentioned and applauded…
MATTHEWS: … was, what did the president know and when did he know it?
BENNET: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: But we already have those answers. We know he tried to fire the
FBI director who wouldn`t protect him.
MATTHEWS: He tried to fire the special counsel who was prosecuting him.
We know all this. We know the cardinal sins of this president already. We
don`t need to get tapes from the June 23 tape between him and Haldeman. We
don`t need that stuff.
It`s not an investigative effort anymore, is it? You sound like you
already know enough to impeach him.
BENNET: Yes, well, I think I – but I have read the Mueller report. Most
people in America have no idea what`s in the Mueller report.
And if you proceed without the American people actually knowing what`s in
there, I think that`s going to create a huge problem for everybody. And
that was true of Watergate too.
BENNET: Remember, it took a year before the Republicans came around on
that, because they finally saw what the facts were.
And I will grant you that we know some facts. There are some legal
conclusions too. But there may be other stuff as well. And I do think
that, when you`re talking about something like impeachment, even if it is
this president we`re talking about, you got to – you got to take the time
to put the facts out in front of the American people.
And Congress can do that.
MATTHEWS: Thank you. It`s an honor to have you on, Senator Michael Bennet
BENNET: Thanks for having me, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Of Colorado.
By the way, the name of his book – and I`m going to read every page of it
– this is a thoughtful member of the Senate – “The Land of Flickering
Lights: Restoring America in an Age of Broken Politics.”
BENNET: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: That`s an important book. Get it.
Up next: recapping some of the most important and interesting moments from
HARDBALL`s town hall with Mayor Pete Buttigieg last night, like showing
Mayor Pete when he first attended a HARDBALL live event back when he was a
MATTHEWS: Here you were back in 2003, asking Dick Gephardt about young
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 2003)
PETE BUTTIGIEG, STUDENT: Congressman, why are you the only presidential
candidate not attending tomorrow`s youth-oriented Rock the Vote forum? And
do you think young people`s votes matter in your campaign?
REP. DICK GEPHARDT (D-MO): They matter a lot. That`s why I`m here
tonight. When I was in college, Jack Kennedy was president.
And I was moved when he said to young people like me, get involved in
politics. Give part of your life to politics.
So I just want to say to all of you here, get involved in public life.
Give back to your country. Don`t just take from it. And get involved in
this campaign. If it`s not for me, get behind somebody and get out there
and work and make this country a better place. You can do this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: Well, we gave one of our town hall viewers a chance to weigh in
on that exchange.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Sir, do you have a question for the mayor?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: Dick Gephardt.
GEPHARDT: Hey, Mayor Pete, you really took me seriously, didn`t you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: More HARDBALL after this.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Last night, I was in Fresno State in California for a live town hall with
Mayor Pete Buttigieg. It was a lively discussion with California voters
asking important questions to the presidential candidate himself, including
this question about the question of impeachment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to know if you support Speaker Pelosi`s slow,
cautious approach towards the impeachment inquiry or not, and why?
PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.
First all, I believe the president deserves to be impeached. The only
place we can have a procedure and the only we can have a due process, the
only way we can go through the steps of evidence and so forth as long as he
is in the Oval Office is in Congress in the form of an impeachment
proceeding, which I think that`s what we are going have to do.
MATTHEWS: If you were voting in Congress, would you vote to impeach?
BUTTIGIEG: Yes, I would.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that was quick.
I asked Mayor Pete about gun violence and his call for a national gun
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You have come out for a national licensing plan. How would that
work? We have almost 400 million guns in this country. How do you license
BUTTIGIEG: Well, that`s the thing. I mean, if you have to have a license
to have a car, it doesn`t seem that unreasonable that for deadly weaponry
we would do the same.
MATTHEWS: We have 400 million guns now.
BUTTIGIEG: So, let`s at least get it right going forward.
MATTHEWS: So future guns get registered.
MATTHEWS: And not the ones we have now?
BUTTIGIEG: Look, let`s figure out a system.
MATTHEWS: Have you changed on this because I thought you believed in
licensing of all guns?
BUTTIGIEG: Look, I think we can start on a go forward basis to have a
system we can actually use.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s not going to go over well with the NRA.
And just this morning, we got a couple of new polls showing where Mayor
Pete now among the more than 20 Democratic presidential candidates.
Stay tuned after the break to find out who is moving up or down in the
polling, the latest polling.
You are watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Two new polls out today from CNN and Morning Consult show former Vice
President Joe Biden maintaining his tight grip amid the crowded field of
The former vice president lead could explain why according to “Politico”,
the Trump 2020 campaign is looking to widen the president`s path to
reelection. Trump`s elections officials and internal polling showing the
president is trailing Biden right now in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and
Wisconsin. They are now zeroing in on New Mexico, New Hampshire and Nevada
as potential pickups if they lose some of those three states.
That may be an uphill battle, of course, during the 2018 elections. New
Mexico Democrats won control of the governorship and both house and the
state legislature. Nevada Democrats won the governorship and control their
state senate. New Hampshire Democrats took both control – what are they
looking for if it`s not the happy hunting ground for Donald Trump?
For more, I`m joined by Adrienne Elrod, former senior adviser to the
Hillary Clinton campaign, and Howard Fineman, MSNBC news analyst.
Howard, Trump, is he worried about the industrial states, that`s why he`s
looking elsewhere? Because he needs it. He has to get at least two of
them I guess.
HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC NEWS ANALYST: Well, I think if the Democrats can put
up either a still strong and focused campaigning Joe Biden, if he makes it
from here to there, he will have proved he really is the strong candidate
this time and that will definitely be worried because Joe Biden has appeal.
FINEMAN: He doesn`t have the fanatics. You know, something like the
MATTHEWS: No, it`s not like the Sanders fanatics.
FINEMAN: But if he gets from here to there, he will prove he is despite
past mistakes in `88 and 2008, the guy. And at that point, yes, he will be
a threat because he does connect with the white working class in
Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. It`s that simple.
MATTHEWS: Comfort isn`t love, but it`s comfort, right, Adrienne?
ADRIENNE ELROD, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure.
MATTHEWS: So, here`s the question. Why is nothing moving in the polls
right now? I thought Elizabeth Warren was moving. And then I look at this
poll, they don`t coincide.
MATTHEWS: She is fighting out with Kamala Harris for that third position.
I don`t see a lot of movement by anybody.
ELROD: I don`t. And, Chris, it`s early and we know the margin of error is
basically living within the margin of error right now. But Joe Biden
certainly, indisputably has the commanding lead and Bernie I think is
I think from now until the first debate, we will see basically the polls
stay where they are. After the first debate, I think we`ll start to see a
lot of shifting. And, of course, you`ve got to remember, we`ve got 12
debates in the Democratic Party primary. So, there is going to be a lot –
MATTHEWS: You want to jump ahead. You start. How do you win a debate
with 20 people in it?
ELROD: You can`t.
MATTHEWS: Ten each night.
MATTHEWS: Somebody will have prepared material and we will all spot it.
That was a set play. But the press will still put it up top even though it
was a set play, right? Now they will come in with something clever like
999, Herman Cain, or something like that. Is that the game?
ELROD: It`s got to be the game because, Chris, you got to keep in mind,
the first two debates will likely have 10 people on each stage, we know
that in about two weeks, and the DNC makes their announcements. And
candidates might get eight or nine minutes air time each if they are lucky.
Probably more like three or four.
MATTHEWS: Will they answer questions from Savannah and Lester Holt?
MATTHEWS: OK, here we go.
FINEMAN: Here`s what they`re going to be doing. They`re going to be
looking either to get above the fold for the top of the newspaper or in the
video editing room when the networks and the cable shows are trying to
figure out what to feature. That`s what those people want.
MATTHEWS: OK, it`s a smart move and we are jumping ahead. It`s smart in
this campaign to do it. What a couple of them are doing with Biden, take
him on, personally.
ELROD: Of course, absolutely. He`s the front runner and they are doing
what they should be doing. What`s the most interesting thing to watch,
Chris, in the first debate, candidates know who they will be on the stage
with. They got two weeks to prepare, who they`re going to after.
FINEMAN: There`s going to be a bunch of smaller fights, Chris. It`s not
just going after Biden. You got several subcategories here.
MATTHEWS: I agree.
FINEMAN: You got ultra progressives. You got the traditional moderates.
MATTHEWS: Let go to something, last night, I ask Mayor Pete Buttigieg last
night about Al Franken being forced to resign for the Senate. And Mayor
Pete separated himself from the components with his response. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Al Franken, should he have been pushed by the Democratic Caucus,
his fellow caucus members?
BUTTIGIEG: I think it was his decision to make, but I think the way we
basically held him to a higher standard than the GOP does their people has
been used against us.
MATTHEWS: Were they right to do that? To push him out of the Senate?
Because they did.
BUTTIGIEG: I would not have applied that pressure at that time before we
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, fellow Democratic presidential candidate and New York
senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, stood by her calls for Senator Franklin to
resign. And on Twitter she wrote: Eight credible allegations of sexual
harassment, two since he was elected senator and one from a congressional
staffer. That`s not too high of a standard regardless of how the
Republican Party handles this behavior and worse.
How did that come out last night?
ELROD: I thought he was fantastic. I think there are a lot of voters in
the Democratic Party who think Gillibrand and other senators who pushed him
out went too far. So, I think he`s making a play here, saying, OK, this is
your lane, this my lane, and sure, I support the #MeToo movement, of
course, but there is a line that should be drawn. I think the line was
crossed with Al Franken.
And I`m glad you pressed him on that because you hypothetically laid out –
MATTHEWS: He didn`t want to answer it.
ELROD: If you had been there –
MATTHEWS: Nobody wants to answer that tough question – Howard. I`m
sorry, it`s a tough question.
FINEMAN: But he did answer it and that goes back to what the debates are
going to be like. You have different people and different lanes, and to
some extent, Buttigieg and Kirsten Gillibrand are in the same lane because
they are practical people who have in some cases ideological views that are
difficult to categorize. They portray themselves as practical problem
They`re sort of the same lane. They`re younger, generational thing. She
talks about how she was a young mom and so forth. So, that was a shot by
Buttigieg at some of the competition in his lane right now.
MATTHEWS: Maybe I forced it, but I`ll tell you, the timing is everything
and the mood of #MeToo movement at that particular time and the concern by
the Democratic Caucus about Doug Jones down in Alabama. They want to set a
high standard and they want to live by it, right?
FINEMAN: But let`s see how credible, by the way. The story is not totally
written as to how credible the allegations are.
MATTHEWS: Yes, we`ll see.
FINEMAN: We`ll see.
MATTHEWS: Howard, you may know more than I know.
Thank you, Adrienne Elrod, Howard Fineman.
Up next, we`re going to go back to the road to hear from the voters. Next
stop, Dayton, Ohio. That`s our next stop. We`ll have some details about
that coming after the break.
HARDBALL is on the road.
MATTHEWS: The last time an American president won the American presidency
without winning Ohio, the state of Ohio, was Jack Kennedy way back in 1960.
In 2016, Ohio went for Trump after going for Obama twice.
So, it makes sense for us to take the next site of our show to the Buckeye
State. On Thursday, June 13th, we`ll be in Dayton, Ohio, talking to voters
about their real concerns heading towards the 2020 presidential election.
And like Ohio as a whole, Montgomery County which includes Dayton voted for
Ohio and twice went for Trump. We`ll talk to both Democrats and
Republicans about the issues that Trump won on and what he could or could
not win on again in 2020.
For ticket information to go to this thing, go to the HARDBALL Instagram,
if you want to go.
That`s tonight`s HARDBALL. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the