Mueller bookends public statement. TRANSCRIPT: 6/5/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: We`ll be reporting on this race going forward. I
hope you come back.
GOV. STEVE BULLOCK (D-MT): Thanks again for having me today, Ari.
MELBER: Absolutely. Thanks to Governor Bullock.
That is this episode of THE BEAT. “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews is up
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: The Looney Tunes in London. Let`s play
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington, but the craziest story in
the world tonight is in London, where the President of the United States
today was performing the political equivalent of Looney Tunes.
Trump started by saying he got out of going to Vietnam because, as he said,
quote, nobody ever heard of the country. I claim that maybe at the top of
his all time list, given the fact that when he grabbed his bone spur draft
dodge in 1968, the Vietnam War was listed by the American people at the
time as the country`s number one problem in the Gallup Poll.
In a mind-exploding interview on a British broadcast morning show, the
President made a number of such ridiculous claims ending with his dismissal
of climate change, which we`ll get to later. The stand out moment came, as
I said, when Trump was pressed by Piers Morgan about whether he would have
liked, I love that word, liked to serve his country in Vietnam.
Stumbling through his excuses, the President offered up a series of alibis,
each more absurd than the one before. First, he suggested he didn`t serve
because he wasn`t a fan. That was his word. He wasn`t a fan of the
Vietnam War. Then he claimed nobody had ever heard of Vietnam at the time.
And finally, Trump said that he has now atoned for dodging the war, dodging
the draft, by increasing the military`s budget as president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: You were not able to serve in Vietnam because of a
bone spur condition in your feet. Do you wish you have been able to serve?
Would you like to serve your country?
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, I was never a fan of that war. I`ll
be honest with you. I thought it was a terrible war and I thought it was
very far away. Nobody ever – you know, when you`re talking about Vietnam,
and at that time, nobody ever heard of the country (INAUDIBLE) –
MORGAN: Would you like to have served, generally? That`s another –
TRUMP: I would not have minded that at all. I would have been honored.
But I think I`d make up for it right now. Look, $700 billion I gave last
year, and then this year, $716 billion. And I think I`m making up for it
rapidly because we`re rebuilding our military at a level that has never
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, before the ridiculousness in London tonight with Piers
Morgan, his previous excuse for evading the war was that he served his
Vietnam by avoiding sexually transmitted diseases. That`s what he said
Well, in other words, Trump just admitted that he needed to make up for
dodging the Vietnam War because he served up all this money to the military
as president. And because it`s his job, by the way, to propose the
military budget, he`s effectively saying that his national service as a
citizen is simply being president.
According to The New York Times, Trump avoided the war with a medical
deferment in 1968 for bone spurs. But contrary to Trump`s claim that
nobody ever heard of Vietnam, as I said, the polling at the time shows that
Vietnam was at top – the very top issue list. There it is, the article in
the L.A. Times, the top issue in the country at the very time he was
skipping the draft.
Anyway, for medical deferment, which didn`t exist because, as we found out,
one of his father`s tenants had given him the draft excuse.
In that same interview, the President was asked about his attacks on the
late senator, John McCain. Here is what he said about the news last week
that one of his aides asked to hide the navy destroyer, the USS John
McCain, during his trip to Japan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I`m not even sure – first of all, I didn`t know anything about it.
But I`m not even sure it happened. Somebody said they`re painting the ship
and they have to drop (INAUDIBLE) – and they`re painting the ship, and
they have dropped (INAUDIBLE) all over the place. I have no idea if it
happened or not. I hear it`s fake news. But maybe it is, maybe it isn`t.
But, again, I don`t talk about John McCain unless somebody asks me about
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Trump now says it didn`t happen. But the U.S. Navy
confirmed that a request was indeed made from the White House to hide the
ship from Trump`s view. It`s all on the record. In fact, Trump`s acting
Chief of Staff and Head of the OMB also said it happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Are you confident that it was nobody in the White
House or the White House advanced person that made the request to the Navy
to cover up the USS John McCain?
MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Oh, no. I absolutely
believe it was probably somebody in the advanced team. The fact that some
23 or 24-year-old person in the advanced team went to that site and said,
oh my goodness, there is the John McCain, we all know how the President
feels about the former senator. Maybe that`s not the best backdrop. Can
somebody look into moving it? That`s not an unreasonable thing to ask.
MULVANEY: It`s not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, there is a man concerned about his reputation, unlike the
President of the United States.
I`m joined right now by former U.S. Senator from Missouri, Claire
McCaskill, Yamiche Alcindor, White House Correspondent from PBS NewsHour
over in London, Eugene Robinson is here with me, he`s a columnist with The
Washington Post, and Susan Page, Washington Bureau Chief for USA Today.
Thank you. What a list. We start with the Senator.
I don`t know whether being embarrassed by our president is the right word,
but how do you make of these Looney Tunes? And that`s what they are,
cartoonish answers to serious questions. Did you wish you had served in
Vietnam? A lot of people my age were asked would you wish you had played
your role in that war even if you were against the war and didn`t serve.
And however you got out of it was up to you. But Trump is saying he got
out of it because he never heard of the place, that nobody ever heard of
the country. Isn`t that the most ridiculous thing you`ve ever heard?
Vietnam was in everybody`s hearts, minds and souls in the late 1960s.
FMR. SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D-MO): Yes, it was embarrassing. I mean, what
he never said was I dodged the draft because I didn`t want to fight for my
country. And that`s the reality of what he did.
He dodged the draft because he had money in power and there were a lot of
young men that died in Vietnam that were drafted that maybe didn`t feel
great about going to Vietnam, but they went, because that`s what we do in
this country. When we have a war and a draft, people must go.
And he never admitted that he was a draft dodger and, frankly, one of the
most ridiculous things he said which was beyond embarrassing is it was so
far away. Like that has something to do with it. You know, I mean, it is
– it`s outrageous.
MATTHEWS: I`m sorry, it`s ludicrous. But I`m laughing. I`m laughing.
It`s so far away.
MCCASKILL: It`s unbelievable.
MATTHEWS: Mommy, it`s so far away. I don`t want to go that far. Susan?
SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, USA TODAY: Well, you know, we should
remember that a lot of young men dodged the draft during the Vietnam War,
including Bill Clinton. But if you ask Bill Clinton this question, and he
was asked this question, he came up with a very different answer about
objections to the war and about his honor to those who chose to served, not
equating raising whatever budgetary measures he took with the military.
MATTHEWS: He told the head of ROTC at the University of Arkansas that he
was going to join and he didn`t. That`s a pretty –
PAGE: So I`m just saying that the fact that he did – that Trump tried to
get out of the draft is not what is offensive about what he said. What`s
offensive is equating the service of young men and women who put their
lives in peril and who give their lives for things like the Vietnam War or
MATTHEWS: He went to some cheesy doctor who was a tenant of his father`s
building and got them to cook up something. That`s part of the family
lore, how they they cooked it up for him. He was a concierge doctor.
EUGENE ROBINSON, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Look, as a young man, I
was a little bit young, a couple of years young. I had a draft number.
Everybody has a story about their Vietnam time, right? And so had the sort
of escalation phase gone on a couple of years later, I probably would have
had to go. I didn`t have bone spurs. But that`s my honest story. I mean,
everybody – you know, you have your honest story. And –
MATTHEWS: Well, a lot of us had very high draft numbers. And the peace
court (ph), a lot of them, you have huge draft numbers and nobody bothers.
You get a 304, you are home free.
ROBINSON: Yes, exactly.
MATTHEWS: That`s the way it works.
ROBINSON: You know, they`re pretty high too. So –
MATTHEWS: Yes. I mean, let me go to Yamiche Alcindor. What`s the smell
like over there having our president making up these cockamamy excuses for?
He doesn`t make a defense. He doesn`t say, you know, the Clinton people
sort of did, which like nobody wanted to go. Your thoughts?
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, PBS NEWSHOUR: I mean, the
President is, of course, trying to make the – well, really, try to get
credit for the fact that he is the President and that he`s considered the
Commander-in-Chief, and that he is really trying to prioritize the
military. But I should tell you here in London, I`ve talked to so many
people, mostly protesters of the President, who really put Donald Trump in
a global window. They have said, he is not just someone who might be
problematic for the United States. What he is is a global symbol for
fascism and far right extreme thoughts. And I think that`s, in some ways,
what the U.S. –
ALCINDOR: Fascism. A lot of people say that –
MATTHEWS: They look at our president-elected in this country just two
years ago, three years ago as a fascist?
ALCINDOR: Yes. And there are people who have said, and, again, these are
protesters, people who weren`t happy with Donald Trump and came out in the
streets, they told me that they were worried about the fact that he was
over here talking to Boris Johnson, talking Nigel Farage, talking to these
people that they hope are fringed (ph) characters in their own country and
they don`t want the President here, they think, spreading his ideology.
So that was something, that as an American, some might take people aback
the idea that when the American president comes, they don`t think democracy
and freedom, what they think is racism and someone who is really a symbol
of all the things that are wrong in the world.
MATTHEWS: Wonderful. When asked about America`s problem with gun violence
by Piers Morgan, the President defended the use of assault rifles as a form
of, here`s his word, entertainment. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I don`t understand. I never have understood why anyone in America
needs a semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifle at home. Why do they need that?
TRUMP: Well, a lot of them use it for entertainment. They do. I mean,
it`s really –
MORGAN: Are guns entertainment?
TRUMP: For some people, it`s entertainment. They go out and they shoot,
and they go to ranges.
MORGAN: This guy in Vegas had 13 AR-15 assault rifles. He bought 52 guns
in one year.
TRUMP: And he is a sick guy. And if it wasn`t guns, it would have been
bombs or he would have done something else. He was actually a pretty smart
guy. He was supposedly a good, successful gambler, and there is almost no
such thing as a successful gambler. And he went out and what he did was
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: He sounds like he is praising his abilities, Susan.
PAGE: He also sounds like he`s discounting the threat that we`ve seen in
this country within the last few days from this kind of arsenals that
citizens have. And the question he is getting is from one of the
friendliest interviewers he could have had.
PAGE: It`s from someone he thinks of as a friend, which is why he did the
MATTHEWS: Why did he say the guy is incredible, the guy is really
successful? He`s a great gambler. Why build him up?
ROBINSON: I don`t understand that. I mean, there`s a part in Trump –
MATTHEWS: He killed 50 some people.
ROBINSON: – who looks at – you know, who probably looks at John Gotti as
a successful guy. He really knew what he was doing, right? He was a
murderous mobster. I mean, there is a part of Trump that just takes any
success in any field, in any direction as success on its merits. And that
says a lot about Trump, actually, but that sort of leaks out every once in
MATTHEWS: He`s a leader in his field.
ROBINSON: Yes, he`s a leader in his field. He really went for it, you
know. It`s incredible. And he also – and also the word choice. I mean,
entertainment is just a bizarre word choice for –
MATTHEWS: Senator, this guy won an election you lost. What`s going? I
mean, I`m serious. We picked him. I keep thinking. Is it like – I mean,
this is D-Day 75 years later. And I thought one of the wonderful things
that I did and it looks better all the time as I think most of us agree, he
wrote a letter explaining the failure of Normandy, if it failed. He was
all ready to take the blame. He said, you know, it`s my fault. I made the
decision on the day, the strategy and everything. It was my alliance. I -
- blame me.
Maybe the American people have to have that ability in 2020. We made a
mistake. We just made a mistake, including in Missouri.
MCCASKILL: Well, let`s hope that more people realize that. You have to
understand though, Chris, there is such angst and frustration with the
dysfunction of our government right now. The middle has disappeared.
Everyone has gone to their respective corners. And when that happens in a
democracy, nothing gets done. And when nothing gets done, people get
cynical. And then when they get cynical, to use a metaphor here that may
not be appropriate, they pull the pin on the grenade and toss it into the
swamp. And that was what Donald Trump was to the people who supported him
in our state. We need change and maybe this guy because he is so
different. Barack Hussein Obama didn`t get us change.
MATTHEWS: Senator, did they expect this jack in the box to blow open like
this guy has? Did they expect the performance we just saw today?
MCCASKILL: A lot of them are disillusioned by his performance. But keep
in mind, a lot of them are very defensive of this president. And they feel
like the only reason he is not succeeding is because the media is lying
about him and because the swamp is getting in his way.
So that`s the reality on the ground in places that support Donald Trump.
That`s why our candidate, whoever that might be, needs to stay firmly
focused on the entire group of people that are potentially going to vote
for them, not just the folks that are really active in a democratic
primary, but also those people who are proud to call themselves moderates.
MATTHEWS: Yes. I saw George McGovern lose more than 40 states to Richard
Nixon. I`ve been through that. I know what that feels like.
Well, let me go to Yamiche for the last thought. This presidential
performance over there, how do you feel as a reporter watching this
ALCINDOR: I mean, I think, in some ways, we`re obviously watching history.
The President came here and he was throwing insults at people from before
he landed, picking fights with the Mayor of London, saying that Meghan
Markle was nasty, even though he said that`s not what he meant. But the
idea is that, I think, as a reporter, I`m seeing for – in a global sense,
everyone`s reaction to the President. I think that America was shocked,
even the President was shocked when he was elected.
But when you go out into the world, people in Britain are really beside
themselves when they`re looking at the President, if there`s someone who
doesn`t support him, because they are thinking how is this what America
became. We looked to you for so many things. We looked to be leaders on
climate change. We looked to you to be leaders on how to be a president
and how to really fulfill the democratic values.
And what we are seeing for people who don`t like President Trump, they`re
seeing a total collapse of American values.
MATTHEWS: Well, maybe they will see him some day as an aberration like
Cromwell. Anyway, former Senator Claire McCaskill, thank you so much,
Yamiche Alcindor, Eugene Robinson and Susan Page.
Coming up, the battle for the democrats` progressive left, Senator
Elizabeth warren may be gaining momentum eating into Senator Bernie
Sander`s support among the strongest progressives. It looks like that
might be happening. Chris Hayes joins tonight to talk about his town hall
coming up tonight right after this with Senator Warren.
Plus, more from Trump`s international road show, Prince Charles tried in
vain to convince Trump that climate change is a crisis. Well, Trump says -
- he had this to say about the Prince`s concern for the future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He`s really not doing this for him. He`s doing this for future
generations. He really – and this is real. He believes that. He wants
to have a world that`s good for future generations, and I do too. And that
really – he`s a leader. You know, he`s Prince Charles. He doesn`t have
to worry about future generations in theory unless he`s a very good person
who cares about people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: It`s like an eight-year-old with crayons. I don`t know what to
say about these conversations.
Anyway, Bill Nye, the science guy, who is the real thing, a leading voice
on climate change joins us live.
Much more ahead. Stick with us on this Looney Tunes day from London. Stay
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
In 2016, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders cornered the market on the
progressive wing of the democratic party as he ran against Hillary Clinton.
And now, four years later with a much larger field of candidates, look at
them, there is a battle brewing over who will win over the support of the
democratic left now.
Trying to gain momentum over Sanders is Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth
Warren. Here she is today in Indiana campaigning on her populist economic
message and trying to win back voters there who went for Trump in 2016.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): America`s economic policy for decades now
has been what giant corporations do pretty whatever they want.
Here`s the problem. Those giant corporations, they are not loyal to
America. They are not loyal to American workers. They`re loyal to exactly
one thing, their own profits. Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, as The New York Times writes, neither Ms. Warren`s
campaigns nor that of Mr. Sanders` will say at this point that they`re
deliberately eying each other even though they are the candidates out of
more than 20 who most represent the Democratic Party`s left flank. But her
trip to the Upper Midwest this week is the latest example of how they are
increasingly jockeying for the same cohort of left-leaning voters and
A new poll from “Morning Consult” makes the point. It shows Warren`s
support trending upward, while Sanders is seeing his numbers decline. Look
at that. Look at that. She was 7 to his 24 just two months ago, and now
she`s 10 to his 19. That is a tightening race on the left.
For more, I`m joined by Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC`s “ALL IN,” who will be
holding a live town hall at 8:00 right after HARDBALL tonight with Senator
Warren up in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Chris, I don`t whether you see it. I think – well, let`s talk about it.
I get the sense that it`s zero sum with her and Bernie right now. She goes
up, he`s going to come down a bit.
CHRIS HAYES, HOST, “ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES”: I think that`s probably
right, although I think there`s a lot of space and time for all those
dynamics to shake out.
I mean, there`s – there are a whole lot of votes on the table. And I
think that the most obvious sort of formulation that I think people are
conceiving of since Biden got in the race is basically Biden and then a few
alternatives to Biden, as they winnow down.
And I think that it`s possible there`s space for both of them as that field
windows down. I think, if you look at the polling, they clearly are
commanding larger chunks of the electorate than the 12 or so who are
polling at 4 percent or less.
But, ultimately, yes, I mean, ultimately, as the field narrows down, if
both of those candidates survive later and later, which I think right now
they`re both well-poised to do, there is going to be a natural desire for
one of them to overtake the other.
MATTHEWS: What do you make about Bernie`s race this year? Do you think it
has the fire?
Let me just put it this way. She has been protean. She goes up with new
ideas just about every couple days. She`s – she is generating policies,
MATTHEWS: As she says, I have got something for everything, pretty much.
HAYES: Yes. I…
MATTHEWS: Bernie is basically selling soul, the socialist old mantle of,
I`m the guy at the left. I`m the guy who`s been there before. Stick with
HAYES: Yes, I think – I think there`s two things that happened.
One, I think that when Sanders conceived of – when Sanders and Sanders
team conceived of their race, I`m not sure they thought Biden was going to
get in. And I`m not sure they were quite prepared for how much of a chunk
of voters Biden would take up at the beginning, and how much of the oxygen
he would take, partly because, the last time around, they were the only
non-Hillary Clinton candidate functionally.
Warren, on the other hand, I think, saw herself as needing to make up
ground from the beginning. And she and the campaign sort of had a theory
of the case and a strategy, which was, we`re going to make news by
releasing policy, by coming up with ideas.
HAYES: We`re going to go out and do a ton of town halls, take a ton of
questions, be very clear about what our positions are.
And that kind of tortoise and the hare dynamic there, their theory of the
case so far has borne a lot of rewards.
MATTHEWS: Yes, what do you think of the wealth tax? Because I get the
sense that`s one way to grab the passion the very hard left, people that
are really angry about equal – inequality in the country economically.
MATTHEWS: They don`t think all boats rise with the tide. And they want
somebody to say that.
HAYES: Chris, the funniest thing about the wealth tax that it has
plurality support among Republicans when polled.
I mean, the – whether that would survive an actual election in which a
huge amount of money and messaging would be brought to bear on why the
wealth tax is a bad idea, if you go out and talk to people, even though, in
the terms of American political debate, taxing actual wealth, as opposed to
income, is a real departure from the way our tax code works, it`s broadly
extremely popular when you pass it by people, not just on the left.
MATTHEWS: Yes, it may not even be constitutional at this point. We will
Chris, good luck tonight with the crowd. I see them behind you. They`re
all very attentive and ready to hear from you.
HAYES: You guys want to wave to Chris Matthews?
HAYES: Will you say hi to Chris Matthews?
MATTHEWS: They`re so quiet. Our people are much noisier.
HAYES: They`re trying to be respectful. They`re trying to be – yes, they
will be louder later.
MATTHEWS: I know. It`s very nice. I like them. I like them already.
Thank you so much, Chris Hayes. Good luck tonight.
HAYES: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Be sure, by the way, everybody watching right now to catch
Chris` live town hall with Senator – there she is, Warren, Senator
Elizabeth Warren, right after HARDBALL tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
I`m joined right now by Jamal Simmons, a Democratic strategist and host of
Hill TV, and Susan Del Percio, Republican strategist.
Susan, you first, because I want you to look at the field. Is there
anything moving? I mean, I`m looking at it, the numbers we get every
couple of days now. Do you see anybody moving up or down?
SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, people are moving. But the
question is, is, when will it stop?
And we know we`re going to see this for several more months. We`re three
weeks away from the first debate on MSNBC and NBC. And that`s going to be
very telling. I think that`s when we see those bright lights go up. And
you`re going to see some people really shine who we didn`t expect and
others probably have flop sweat not expecting that either.
So we have a lot of time to see movement. But when it does come to the
Sanders-Warren situation, I think that it`s more about, Sanders came in,
and he had that support, being the outsider against the establishment from
DEL PERCIO: And he just thought he had it. And he didn`t realize that he
had to keep earning it.
And Elizabeth Warren assumed nothing , and she`s just grinding it out,
doing her job, going from town hall to town hall, offering policy.
DEL PERCIO: And I think Bernie seems a little mean and angry right now.
MATTHEWS: Well, Jamal, he had my kids, some of my kids, going into this
thing. And he had a lot of people`s kids. He had the young people.
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: He did have the young people.
I remember sitting next to a young woman in Detroit, Michigan, in the
primary last time who said that she was for Bernie. I said, why? She
said, because everybody says I shouldn`t be. That`s why I`m for him.
She just wanted to be an iconoclast, against the norm.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me try my theory by you, both of you.
MATTHEWS: That Elizabeth Warren is not eating Bernie`s lunch, but she`s
gaining on him.
SIMMONS: Listen, I think Elizabeth Warren is doing something that is very
keen. She`s showing leadership.
She puts it – it`s not just the policy she puts out. When they asked her
the question about the impeachment, her reaction was, yes, impeach him.
She didn`t kind of dance. She didn`t, let`s – let`s show people a little
bit more of the evidence and then see where people land.
She just said, impeach him and went right for it.
MATTHEWS: It`s an honest answer too.
SIMMONS: And whether you agree with her or not…
MATTHEWS: By the way, nobody wants more evidence. I mean, it`s either…
SIMMONS: Yes. But whether you agree with her or not, she had a position,
she took it. And I don`t think – it doesn`t sound like she`s playing
Listen, I don`t know if this is all…
MATTHEWS: By the way, what I like about her is that she`s been pushing
this populist argument that she – it`s way before she was a senator from
MATTHEWS: This is who she is.
SIMMONS: You know why she`s running for president.
SIMMONS: Here`s the difference. People compare her to Hillary Clinton.
And I think it`s absolutely wrong.
SIMMONS: It`s a gender and age dynamic that is the only thing they have in
MATTHEWS: She`s an activist.
SIMMONS: But also she has a very clear reason about why she`s running for
president, in a way that we never really knew why Hillary Clinton was
running for president and what she wanted to do.
Let me just say this. I think, at the end of the day, both Warren and
Elizabeth – both Warren and Bernie are running kind of in the intellectual
left, right? It`s a head argument. You got somebody like Cory Booker
who`s running from the emotional left. It`s about social justice.
And he`s going after those voters who really care about the social justice
agenda. And the question will be…
SIMMONS: Cory Booker is.
And the question will be, when you get to someplace like South Carolina, is
it like the economic, intellectual left or the social justice, emotional
MATTHEWS: Well, here`s President Trump preparing to formally declare his
reelection bid later this month. The president`s approval numbers, by the
way, remain underwater in some of the key battleground states, in fact, all
According to “Morning Consult,” the poll we just talked about for the Dems,
the presidents` approval rating is below 50 percent in states won, like
Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Pennsylvania.
Susan, what do you make of that?
DEL PERCIO: Well, think…
DEL PERCIO: It`s not surprising. It matches what we have been seeing all
throughout his presidency.
What I find interesting is that the Trump team is trying so hard to change
the map. They know that so many states that he won are not going to be in
play. But where they`re trying to go into play, in places like Colorado
and New Mexico, where he lost both states.
Now, New Hampshire, he did he tight – I think was 46.4 to 46.8. So it was
close, but they don`t have a plan to pick up new states. And that`s really
going to be a problem for them. So they`re playing hard. And I will give
them credit, the campaign credit, in that they are going into these states
early and trying to do something.
DEL PERCIO: But, after 2018, I don`t see how that`s going to work.
MATTHEWS: There used to be a boxer named Ingemar Johansson from Sweden.
He knocked out Floyd Patterson. He had one good punch, one good fight.
And then he kept getting beat the rest of his life.
DEL PERCIO: Yes.
MATTHEWS: I mean, sometimes, people have that Sunday punch, Jamal.
SIMMONS: That`s right, right, the Buster Douglas in my era.
MATTHEWS: Yes. And they land that punch, but they can never do it again,
because lightning doesn`t strike twice.
SIMMONS: That`s right.
But here`s the thing. In the Democratic Party, that`s especially true.
Democrats are miserable to the people who have run before.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Oh, yes. They shoot their wounded.
SIMMONS: It`s a challenge for Biden. It`s a challenge for Bernie.
These candidates who are first-time candidates…
MATTHEWS: You`re so historic.
SIMMONS: These guys who are first-time candidates, they have got an edge
just because they`re first-timers.
MATTHEWS: It`s interesting.
Susan, your party has always been kinder to its defeated. They bring back
Bob Dole 20 years later. They bring in Jack Kemp. Give him one more try.
Democrats do shoot their wounded.
DEL PERCIO: Well, Chris, I don`t know if that`s the case under this party
right now with President Trump. I think Trump`s just happy to shoot at
anybody and won`t let anyone stand up.
But the other side of that is, I know we all are hesitant about looking and
saying Donald Trump and how difficult it will be, because of the outcome of
2016. But, again, you look at those poll numbers state by state, which is
the important way to look at it, because let`s not forget, the polls were
not wrong on the national election. Hillary Clinton got more votes.
It`s when you look at states in state to state, and the poll numbers are
not there. The math is not on the – on Trump`s side right now.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think that, if Warren runs the kind of disciplined race
she`s been running and sticks to those populist economic issues, and looks
solid on them, she can beat Trump.
We will see.
SIMMONS: She could. But anywhere Donald Trump is at 48 percent, he can
win that state.
MATTHEWS: I know that, because he will duke it out.
Anyway, thank you.
Pennsylvania, he`s very high. He`s at 48. Thank you, Jamal Simmons.
Thank you, Susan Del Percio. It`s great being with the pros.
Up next: In his one and only appearance before the American public, Robert
Mueller warned Americans of the ongoing threat of foreign interference in
our elections. Now officials in North Carolina are scrambling to shore up
security there, based on reports that Russians tried to hack into its
systems ahead of the 2016 election.
Imagine if North Carolina`s vote doesn`t count next time or any state`s
because of a screw-up by the Russians. What are we going to do if we can`t
count the Electoral College?
That is next on HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT MUELLER, RUSSIA PROBE SPECIAL COUNSEL: Russian intelligence
officers who are part of the Russian military launched a concerted attack
on our political system.
The indictments allege and the other activities in our report describe
efforts to interfere in our political system. They needed to be
investigated and understood.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Those were some of Robert Mueller`s very first words last week on the
disturbing extent of Russia`s infiltration into our American political
system in 2016.
And now the Department of Homeland Security is looking into a computer
system malfunction in Durham County, North Carolina, which includes Durham,
the capital, on Election Day 2016 that could potentially have ties to the
“The Washington Post” is reporting that leaked documents revealed that
Russians had tried to hack software company VR Systems shortly before the
On Election Day 2016, VR Systems` poll book was showing that some voters
had already cast ballots, while the voters themselves said they had not.
It was also prompting poll workers to ask for some voters` picture I.D.s,
even though a North Carolina law that required those I.D.s had been struck
down legally by the courts.
But Mueller`s report raised new questions, noting, Russian intelligence
officers targeted employees of a voting technology company that developed
software used by numerous U.S. counties to manage voter rolls and installed
malware on the company network.
Well, the company acknowledged to “The Post” that they may be the one
reference, but denied their network was breached. Mueller`s investigation
charged nearly 30 Russian officials, by the way, as we recall, or companies
for their alleged roles in election interference in 2016.
And, last week, Mueller wrapped up his remarks with a warning about the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MUELLER: And I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our
indictments, that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in
our election. And that allegation deserves the attention of every
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: For more, I`m joined by Clint Watts, senior fellow at Foreign
Policy Research Institute.
Clint, it`s great to have you on.
After all the sound and fury, all of the Sturm und Drang of all the
hearings, whatever happens on in impeachment, the one undeniable fact is
the Russians messed with us, trying to undermine the great reputation
American democracy enjoys, not just here, but around the world. We are the
What do you know, from what you know about this North Carolina case, of how
close they are to really screwing up our count perhaps in 2020?
CLINT WATTS, FOREIGN POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE: Yes, what`s remarkable is,
this strikes at the core of the Russian approach, which is active measures,
as they call it, is to subvert democracy.
And so going into the final two months, they really shifted their messaging
on social media. My team and I were watching them talk about voter –
voter fraud, election rigging. And at the same time they were hitting
these databases. They were trying to get into those voter rolls to create
confusion whenever people turned out.
If you can get into the system and change the identity, you can
disenfranchise certain voters. You could make screw-ups in the systems
which create real long lines, or you could actually almost shut the place
down, if you don`t have that interface working, so that people can`t even
vote at all.
This creates distrust in the system. Did my vote really count? This is
the core of our democracy, right? And the second part is, then, was it
rigged? Did someone actually change the votes?
And what we saw the Russians do in Europe, particularly in Ukraine, was
they actually were successful at times at changing the votes. The
Ukrainians caught them, but they have the ability to do that if they wanted
to. They can actually suppress. And it also creates these information
operations they can put into American minds that the trick has been played
on you. You don`t really have a say in your vote. We do. And we control
And that`s a message they would like to repeat going into 2020.
MATTHEWS: How close are they, or are they already there, to being able to
rig it, so that older people, people of color, people of less money or
transportation to get to the polls or anything? Are they able to rig it,
so it makes it harder for them? I guess the I.D. card trick.
They could do it. I think it`s much harder now. I have to say that DHS
has made a lot of strides in this, despite the folks on Capitol Hill not
always being so supportive in terms of getting the needed resources out
there, even in terms of the conflicts that they have going out to every
state to declare critical infrastructure, and then help them along.
But they have made a lot of gains. But even at this point, we still have
voting machines out there that don`t have either a verifiable audit trail
or a paper ballot backup.
And this has been now three years. So what are we going to do over the
next year to make sure it`s there? I know DHS is pushing hard. But this
topic isn`t really being discussed enough out there on Capitol Hill.
MATTHEWS: So, project what`s going on in Moscow and other centers, cyber-
centers. Are there people like on the Manhattan Project sitting over there
devilishly trying to figure can they get to the point of, say, knocking out
one of the state`s electoral delegates, the electors?
MATTHEWS: Can they knock – make it so our next election isn`t callable,
that there is no clear winner? Can they do that?
WATTS: They are probably thinking through ways to do that. But there is a
cost-benefit calculus, which is, what do they want going into 2020?
I mean, based on their overt propaganda that you watch right now, they
would like to see another Trump term. So why go ahead and provoke the
election? I think it would – they would only do that if they really were
concerned about a potential challenger actually overtaking Trump. And they
would have to make a decision even about that challenger, would this be
someone that might support Russian views in foreign policy?
To go ahead and hack us again in 2020 would be provocation potentially for
war, at least a cyber-war, at a minimum.
I do have to say, the NSA and Cyber Command, FBI, DHS, they are now war-
gaming out these scenarios and are better prepared going into 2020.
MATTHEWS: We`re rooting for them.
Thank you so much. We`re rooting for you too, Clint. Thank you so much,
Up next: Trump takes his reality show approach to governing to the world
stage, talking climate change with Prince Charles. Wouldn`t you like to be
a fly on the wall there?
Bill Nye, The Science Guy, joins us to inject some actual reality into
Trump`s road show overseas, his London loony tunes. What can we say?
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Early this week, an Australian think tank warned civilization was in danger
of crumbling by the year 2050 if more wasn`t done to confront climate
change more aggressively.
Well, that shocking report is just the latest headline in what seems to be
a constant stream of disturbing news about climate change these days,
including how it`s leading to the collapse – look at this stuff – of a
quarter of the Antarctic`s ice sheet. That`s happening right now,
threatening the extinction of one million species and causing rising sea
levels that could swamp major cities and displace nearly 200 million
I mean, look, out Miami.
And despite all of that kind of evidence, President Trump has consistently
dismissed the very threat of climate change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INTERVIEWER: Do you still think that climate change is a hoax?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, I think something is
happening, something is changing, and it will change back again.
I`m a totally believer in science, but nothing is very conclusive.
I`m not a believer in climate change. Now, it`s gone to global warming and
climate change and now they call it actually extreme weather.
The pope believes in global warming. You do know that, right? Hey, in
this room, it`s so hot in here, maybe I`ll start to believe it myself.
We need some global warming! It`s freezing!
If I take hair spray and spray it in my apartment which is all sealed, you
are telling me that affects the ozone layer. Yes. I say, no way, folks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: The president of the United States is talking about hair spray,
instead of climate change.
As the president ignored his own government`s warnings about the danger of
climate change and has taken active measures to roll back environmental and
And while in the United Kingdom over there, Prince Charles, an
environmentalist, confronted President Trump on the issue. Well, stay
tuned after this break to find out if the prince got anywhere with the
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
President Trump recounting his 90-minute meeting with Prince Charles told
Piers Morgan that he shares the desire for good climate and was skeptical
of the science of climate change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PIERS MORGAN, TV HOST: Do you personally believe in climate change?
TRUMP: I believe there is a change in weather and I think it changes both
ways. It used to be called global warming and that wasn`t working, and
then it was called climate change, now, it`s actually called extreme
weather, because with extreme weather, you can`t miss.
Look, we have a thing now with tornadoes. I don`t remember tornadoes in
the U.S. to the extent. But then when you look back 40 years ago, we had
the worst tornado binge that we`ve ever had. In the 1890s, we had our
worst hurricanes and I would say we`ve had some very bad hurricanes.
MORGAN: Were you able to give Prince Charles any comfort that you as the
United States president are taking it seriously?
TRUMP: I think I was. Yes, I think we had a great conversation and it was
about as you would call it, climate change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Piers Morgan also asked if the prince, Prince Charles
himself, was successful in any way in convincing Trump.
(BEIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Has he moved you a little bit?
TRUMP: I`ll tell you what moved me is his passion for future generations.
He is not doing this for him. He`s doing this for future generations.
He really feels – and this is – this is real. He believes that. He
wants to have a world that`s good for future generations. And I do, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: For more, I`m joined by Bill Nye, of course, the science guy and
host of the Science World podcast.
Bill, thank you for joining us tonight.
One thing I have to ask you about. It sounds like Trump who does no
homework, who has no sense of history, I don`t think he took a single
science or humanities course in college, come up with the thing about
tornados 90 years ago. Somebody is feeding him this crap. Somebody`s
giving him an arsenal of B.S. to challenge science.
BILL NYE, SCIENCE GUY: Yes. You call it cherry-picking the data. It`s
very common thing you can find where there are an exceptional number of
tornados, but everybody – the key to it is, the world is getting warmer
faster than it`s ever gotten in history.
So, climate change and global warming are the same thing. Global warming
is more heat energy is causing climates to change and extreme weather to
get – to increase to more extreme weather events. These are all the same
thing. Pretending or being told by somebody – some of his advisers that
these are different ideas is incorrect.
MATTHEWS: Can we argue this in terms of experience? I mean, for example,
I grew up – I have been here for 47 years in Washington. It was a
predictable weather pattern. It was pretty cold in the winter, it snowed
once in a while. Not too much. We were surprised by snow here.
And then in the summer, starting sometime like July or August, July was the
worst month in the farmers almanac, you felt like a big wet heavy wool
blanket was thrown over you when you get up in the morning after you
shower. It always has been that way.
Now, it`s not like that. The weather here has been spectacular. You can`t
predict it anymore.
NYE: Well, this is – I mean, there is no question the world is getting
warmer. There`s no question weather patterns are changing. Just, are we
going to have the political will or the drive to do something about all the
carbon dioxide and methane we are putting in the atmosphere and changing
from a fossil fuel economy to renewable energy economy.
MATTHEWS: OK. What will be the signs – the biblical signs between now
and 2050, say, where people say stop denying? This is scary.
NYE: Oh, well, two things are happening. First of all, young people are
very concerned about climate change. People of my generation and perhaps
yours are where you`re going to find climate change deniers.
Once in a while, you meet a young person. And I believe the other side is
very much aware of this. I have heard Harris Faulkner and even Sean
Hannity acknowledged that there is a political reason to embrace climate
change, political reason to have a position on climate change, and that is
amazing because –
NYE: – those people have, heretofore those people. People on the other
cable network have heretofore been in lock step with the president and his
advisers on climate change. And the chink – the cracks are starting to
So, come next election, the election after this one, all candidates are
going to have to have a position on climate change, but they`re concerned.
Is it going to be soon enough? And so, you know, I have been talking about
this for over 20 years and the time to act is now.
MATTHEWS: The one thing that grabbed me in was watching “Apollo 11” the
other night, the hotel, I was stuck in a hotel after work one night alone
and I was watching that great documentary. When the astronauts go around
the moon and see the earth, it`s chilling because you realize how
vulnerable we are. We`re not the universe.
We`re just one place in the universe where we can survive. And it`s got
this wonderful blue-green shell around us. Not even a shell, just a film.
And you realize, that`s us.
NYE: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: If something happens to that, we are all gone.
NYE: So, the big thing is the speed, everybody. It`s not that we are
going to die in 12 years. It`s just not going to be able to move our
infrastructure, our sea ports, our railroads and so on, and move our
agriculture away from the equators fast enough to feed everybody as we get
to be 9 billion and 10 billion unless we get to work.
There is enormous opportunities. You know, I am always optimistic about
this because tomorrow is the anniversary of D-Day. And it was – of course
there was tremendous loss and tremendous sacrifice. But it was part of
this greater idea that we have a global problem and we are going to solve
And I always respect that. Both of my parents are veterans. They`re both
at Arlington. And we can do this. It`s the United States.
MATTHEWS: I agree.
NYE: And so, things are changing.
MATTHEWS: Keep it up.
NYE: So, we can do this, Chris.
MATTHEWS: You are our leader, Bill. You`re a leader. Thank you. I know
you are. Thank you, Bill.
NYE: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: We had to have you on tonight. Thank you.
NYE: Thanks a lot.
MATTHEWS: Up next, the military and political teamwork that led to a great
alliance of democratic nations 75 years ago on the cliffs of Normandy.
You are watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Tomorrow is June 6th, the day of great historic pride for
Americans because of the courage of our forces in taking Normandy, because
of the cause we are fighting against Nazism, because of our leadership as a
country. The victory at Normandy, the opening of the Western Front against
Adolf Hitler was all about an alliance, was about General Eisenhower`s
determination to hold together the allies. It was about military and
political teamwork, was that great American general personified.
Eisenhower was an ally and he never forgot it. And that was the greatness
of the victory on D-Day, the ability of the world`s forces to stick
together, the greatness of what came after the Western Front was the
alliance stuck together after the war.
I love what Senator Mitt Romney said yesterday about the victory at
Normandy, but also about the great legacy it created, the alliance of the
great democratic countries.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): Alliances are essential to America`s security, to
our future. I can`t state that more plainly. We should strengthen our
alliances and not dismiss or begrudge them. It`s in the United States`
most vital interest to see a strong NATO, a strong Europe, stronger ties
with the free nations of Asia, the Pacific, the subcontinent and with every
free country. We need to hold our friends closer, not neglect them or
drive them away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: So true. I wish our own president understood those words.
And that`s HARDBALL for now.
The “ALL IN” town hall with Senator Elizabeth Warren is next.
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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