Democrats sideline impeachment debate. TRANSCRIPT: 6/10/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: We wanted to bring you that update to that story
that we`ve been covering here on The Beat.
And that does it for me. Thanks for watching. I`ll be back at 6:00 P.M.
Eastern tomorrow. But don`t go anywhere because “HARDBALL” with Chris
Matthews is up next.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Dean`s List. Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews up in New York.
Big show tonight. John Dean of Watergate fame gets under Donald Trump`s
skin. Is anyone surprised by that? Trump`s attack on the media goes into
overdrive. I`ve got a hell of a debate tonight between former White House
Coms Director, Anthony Scaramucci, the Mooch, and the man Trump called
Little Donny Deutsch.
And starting later in this show, we`ve got Senator Cory Booker and New York
City Mayor Bill de Blasio welcoming here to his city, and why they both say
they`d be better candidates than frontrunner Joe Biden to take down Trump.
First, let`s go to John Dean`s testimony today before the House Judiciary
Committee, whose testimony a lot of people didn`t get to see because of the
tragic helicopter crash here in New York. Dean, of course, is the former
White House Counsel to President Nixon who famously blew the whistle on the
Watergate cover-up almost 50 years ago.
He made two main points today in his testimony. He called the Mueller
report a road map for investigating Trump and he said that Don McGahn,
Trump`s former White House Counsel, should follow he, John Dean`s example,
and testify before Congress. Here he goes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN DEAN, NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Mr. McGahn represents not Donald
Trump but the office of the President. His client is the Office of the
President. And I think he owes that office his testimony before this
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Do you agree with the White House or does Mr.
McGahn still have a legal obligation to appear before the committee? If
DEAN: I have also read the OLC Opinion of May 20th. It says that a White
House employee or a former White House employee has total immunity from
testifying or appearing before Congress. That pushes the outer limit
further than I have ever seen it pushed.
I think this is a smokescreen at this point and I hope that the committee
will pierce it because I think it`s important.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, in an effort to discredit that witness, John Dean,
republicans in today`s hearing accused Dean of profiting from his place in
history. Here is part of an exchange with Congressman Matt Gaetz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): How many American presidents have you accused of
being Richard Nixon?
NIXON: I actually wrote a book about Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney with the
title Worse than Watergate.
GAETZ: So it`s sort of become – did you make money on that book?
DEAN: It was a very successful book, yes.
GAETZ: How much money did you make on it?
DEAN: I`m sorry, I don`t have any idea.
GAETZ: Mr. Dean has made a cottage industry out of accusing presidents of
acting like Richard Nixon. I would like to know, well, how much money he
makes based on making these accusations and exploiting them for his own
economic benefit. Do you believe if we turned the lights out and maybe lit
some candles, got out an ouija board, we could raise the specter of Richard
DEAN: I doubt that.
GAETZ: Well, it seems to be – it seems to be the objective.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, even before today`s hearing, the prospect of Dean
testifying appeared to get under Donald Trump`s skin. Last night,
President Trump called Dean a sleaze bag attorney and said today he can`t
believe they are bringing in John Dean, the disgraced Nixon White House
Counsel who is a paid CNN Contributor.
Well, according to a new NPR Marist Poll, 22 percent of Americans now
support impeachment proceedings against the President. That support has
grown by six points since last month.
I`m joined now by Robert Costa, National Political Reporter for The
Washington Post, former U.S. Congresswoman Elizabeth Hotlzman of New York,
she was a member of the House Judiciary Committee, which voted to impeach
President Nixon in `74. There she is back then. We are going back in time
Robert Costa, can you explain once again, I ask you to be the Trump
whisperer in reverse, what is it that bothers him about John Dean?
ROBERT COSTA, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: He`s
bothered by things from that period of American history. That`s when he
got his rise in real estate in the 1970s. He became a figure in American
life in the 1980s. He`s often spoken about Nixon. I`ve had conversations
with him about President Nixon over the years. He does not like that
revival being connected to him in any way, and so he pushed back against
MATTHEWS: Does he think this is guilt by nostalgia? Does he think that
this is actually going to work? The ouija board line was pretty funny from
that congressman, but I get the feeling he doesn`t like this seance.
COSTA: Well, he uses political theater in his own career and he knows the
Democrats now are presenting a case to the country of corruption by talking
about John Dean and Richard Nixon and reviving all those issues at the same
time. His lawyers tell me, his friends tell me, Chris, that what he really
is concerned about is the Democrats getting witnesses connected to the
The White House Counsel that matters for this president is Don McGahn, not
John Dean. And that`s why this White House is blocking testimony and
documents from that White House Counsel. Because as much as they battled
the Democrats on the messaging and the theater, it`s the documents and the
testimony of the people that matter now that`s of high concern in the West
MATTHEWS: Well, here`s a tough question. I don`t know if anybody knows
the answer but you might. Do you think Don McGahn will stand up as a
witness if he goes before a democratic-controlled House Judiciary
Committee, like he did before the Mueller committee? Will he say that
Donald Trump tried to get me to fire Mueller? Will he be that strong?
COSTA: Unlike John Dean, based on my reporting, Don McGahn has not broken
with this administration. He`s a grumbling lawyer at times about his
experience in the White House, according to his friends, but he`s an
ideologue, a conservative, somebody who touts his time in overhauling the
federal judiciary as part of his tenure in the White House, someone who
helped Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, nominate all of these judges.
He still looks back fondly on what he did. So his willingness to break, to
have some kind of breach, it`s just not there, according to his associates.
MATTHEWS: So this star witness most Democrats that I know about are
looking to hear testify under oath may not stand up. Because my question
will be, okay, the President told you to fire the Special Counsel, and you
didn`t do it. Did he follow up? Did he put pressure on you to do it? Did
he try to fire Mueller in any other way? And it will look like it wasn`t
really a serious effort to obstruct, simply a – I don`t know what, an
impulse that wasn`t followed through on, which may not be enough to push
for impeachment. That`s my thinking.
COSTA: He`s the closest we can get, reporter, any American citizen to
understanding the President`s intent. And intent is everything for the
Democrats` case on impeachment. But if Don McGahn is going to not lean
into intent, then that makes the democratic case harder to make.
MATTHEWS: I agree. That`s a real question mark. I`m not sure whether
it`s going to – unintended consequences are always flying our way in
politics. Thank you.
Here is what Dean said, by the way, when asked if any president since
Richard Nixon has committed as many crimes as Nixon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Comparing Nixon to just any future
administration, would you say there was a future administration that
committed more crimes than the Nixon administration as far as obstruction?
DEAN: I would say the Trump administration is in fast competition with
what happened to the Nixon administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Congressman Holtzman, thank you for joining us. Because this
question, there is an overlap between Nixon, Tricky Dick, as his enemies
call him, and this guy. Because Trump, if he did tell McGahn to fire
Mueller is what Nixon did on the Saturday Night Massacre, same thing.
FMR. REP. ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN (D-NY): Absolutely.
MATTHEWS: If – it`s called obstruction of justice.
HOLTZMAN: Correct. And, remember, Nixon was named an unindicted co-
conspirator. Remember that. And the point here is that the case that
Mueller has made – of course, he didn`t draw a line and come up with a
total. He said, I can`t draw the conclusion. But the facts repeat almost
exactly what Nixon was doing.
I wrote a book, The Case for Impeaching Trump, and I point out those
examples. It`s not only the firing of the – trying to fire the special
prosecutor, and he didn`t do that only once, it`s also trying to –
MATTHEWS: Did he go back and try it again when McGahn didn`t follow
through or what happened?
HOLTZMAN: Yes, of course. He went to Lewandowski and said, Lewandowski,
you tell Sessions he`s got to take over this investigation.
MATTHEWS: And then what happened?
HOLTZMAN: Well, Lewandowski didn`t follow through, so, you know –
MATTHEWS: Nixon. The one difference is Nixon kept firing people to
somebody who didn`t fire Archibald Cox.
HOLTZMAN: Well, maybe he forgot what he was doing. I can`t speak to that.
But the pardons also come right out of Watergate, the dangling of pardons.
That was one of the articles of impeachment against Nixon. He dangled
pardons before the Watergate burglars to keep them from talking and
cooperating with the prosecutors. We have ample evidence of that here.
MATTHEWS: Also hush money. Not totally related, but the two women.
HOLTZMAN: Well, getting the CIA, he tried to get Pompeo when he tried to
get Dan Coates, both top administration officials in the intelligence
agencies to call Comey and stop the investigation. So we know that there
was – and that`s what was at the beginning of Nixon`s actions. Call the
CIA, get them to stop the FBI investigation. So we`ve got stuff right out
of the Nixon playbook.
MATTHEWS: Do you think if we had tape on Trump, his people would still
support him? I think that`s different.
HOLTZMAN: Listen, 25 percent –
MATTHEWS: The Trump people will support him no matter what he does.
HOLTZMAN: Correct. That`s 25 percent. The rest of the country, if the
Democrats get the facts and put it out in the right way, if they do it in a
fair and clear and serious way, the American people will support.
MATTHEWS: Do you think Jerry Nadler is up to what Peter Rodino did? Could
he do it?
HOLTZMAN: Well, I mean, I think he`s learning.
MATTHEWS: Okay, thank you. The President continued to attack John Dean
late today. Let`s watch that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Look, John Dean`s been a loser for many
years. So I`ve been watching him on one of the networks that is not
exactly Trump-oriented. And I guess they paid him a lot of money over the
Now, John has been a loser a long time. We know that. I think he was
disbarred and he went to prison.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you a bigger question now, Robert, probably the
biggest question I can come up with right here in New York, and that is
does Trump think he`s beaten this rap?
COSTA: He knows in terms of the Mueller report, he`s not going to face
immediate charges or any kind of federal prosecution. But he does not
believe that he`s totally beaten the rap politically, because if he looks
at what happened in 2018, suburban voters do have questions about his
conduct. And the questions about his conduct will continue to linger as
long as the Democrats continue to investigate.
But the question is, he thinks the Democrats, in his mind, when you talk to
top White House officials, may go too far. And that`s why he`s almost
baiting them with impeachment. But he doesn`t like the scrutiny of his
finances. He doesn`t like the scrutiny of his conduct. But he also thinks
he can make them a target if they go down that impeachment path in an
MATTHEWS: Well, this is what I can`t figure out about the guy, and maybe
he doesn`t have all of his head together around this situation, but when
you dump on Nancy Pelosi, who is a tough political leader, the way he has,
going after her, saying she`s a disgrace to her family, going after San
Francisco and the homeless situation out there, a very direct shot at a
politician if you`re a member of Congress.
All this personal going – you can`t take this back. You can`t say the
next time you meet with her, oh, that`s just politics. Doesn`t he know
that that might push her to do something she normally wouldn`t do, which is
to say, let`s go with this thing, let`s impeach this guy?
COSTA: He`s using this urban style warfare, political warfare going back
to how he used to fight Mayor Koch in New York City. But when you go back
to people in the White House, they don`t remember sometimes that Speaker
Pelosi comes right out of the streets of Baltimore, her father, as you
know, Tommy D`Alesandro, she knows that kind of political warfare, speaks
that language, even though she doesn`t often go in that direction ever in
terms of cursing or that kind of thing, she knows how to play tough, to
play hardball, to steal your phrase. And –
MATTHEWS: Yes. But she`s got the list too. And one thing I`ve noticed
about her, she`s brilliant but she doesn`t forget. You know, when somebody
runs against her for Speaker, she`s never going to forget. I never knew,
by the way, a speaker, including Tip O`Neill, whoever forgot when somebody
ran against them. They were never sort of welcome in the office again.
And that was a fact. They never came around anymore.
COSTA: And that`s why – look, and she`s not even stopping John Dean.
Look, she controls the committees with an iron fist. She`s not stopping
the committee from bringing up John Dean. She knows that gets under the
President`s skin. She`s still in full control. But she`s letting her
committees do their work and push and prod wherever they want to because
she knows it helps with her left flank as well.
MATTHEWS: Well said. Let me ask you about Jerry Nadler, the Chairman of
the Committee. I watched the guy in television. I see a man under
tremendous strain. I mean, he finally got the power of the committee. The
problem with Congress is you`ve got to serve 30 years to get any power.
When you finally get it, you`re may be tired for the whole place.
Here is a guy who knows Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker, doesn`t want to go with
impeachment. I don`t think she ever will want to go because she thinks
it`s bad politics. And 20 members of his committee, apparently, out of 24
of the Democrats want him to. And he`s in that vice.
MATTHEWS: What`s that like?
HOLTZMAN: Well, I wasn`t the chair of the committee. I`ve been the chair
of a subcommittee. But I think what he has to do now is get the facts of
the Mueller report out to the American people. Most of them don`t
understand what`s in it. Many of them heard Barr say he was exonerated.
That`s nonsense. It`s a lie. It`s not true. Nadler has to get that out
to the American people.
It was the American people that forced congress to do an impeachment –
MATTHEWS: How would you do that without hearings, without impeachment
HOLTZMAN: well, you got to – you can do it without impeachment hearings.
What happened in Watergate was that the senate had hearings. You have to
do something equivalent to that. You`ve got to get that report out.
You`ve got to get the American people to understand the facts. They can
make Congress do the impeachment.
MATTHEWS: They had Sam Irvin and Howard Baker and a cast of television
stars. That was an amazing hearing.
HOLTZMAN: Of course.
MATTHEWS: And we watched every bit of it.
HOLTZMAN: And only seven people there.
COSTA: Where is Robert Mueller?
COSTA: Where is Robert Mueller? Why is it John Dean?
MATTHEWS: That`s a great question. If he won`t testify in his own report,
MATTHEWS: That`s a problem.
Anyway, thank you, Robert Costa. As always, thank you, former U.S.
Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman. You are amazing, by the way, the author
of the book is The Case for Impeaching Trump, there it is, a good looking
book. It`s out by Skyhorse, right? Skyhorse Productions.
Coming up, more on today`s hearing and whether Democrats should push for
impeachment hearings, we`re going to get to that question again, because
it`s everybody (ph) talking – why it parts (ph) where I go with all these
lawyers. I always hang out with lawyers. Every single one of them, all
they talk about is are you going to impeach? Are you going to impeach?
I`m going to talk to a member of the House democratic leadership about that
in a minute.
Plus, President Trump`s hysteria about the media. He says he knows these
attacks are not presidential but he can`t stop himself. And one of his
latest targets is MSNBC Donny Deutsch, who joins me along with former Trump
official, Anthony Scaramucci.
And not one but two of the Democrats running for president are all going to
play HARDBALL tonight. Cory booker of New Jersey, nearby New Jersey, and
New York City`s own Bill de Blasio. They`re both joining us here right
here at this table.
Are democratic voters looking for someone from the progressive left? This
is the old question, the other D.C. question, or a moderate who might have
a better chance? That`s problematic.
Plus, how do you beat Joe Biden?
Much more ahead. Stick with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JAMES JORDAN (D-OH): We got Michael Cohen testifying for seven hours,
getting advice from the witness here on obstructing the committee work and
not sharing the information with us in a timely fashion, and now we`ve got
John Dean, 45 years ago went to – pled guilty to obstruction of justice
and now coming in to enlighten the Judiciary Committee on obstruction of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was Republican Congressman Jim
Jordan, of course, the guy with the rolled up sleeves knocking the
democratic-led House Judiciary Committee for having Watergate whistleblower
John Dean testify today. NBC News reports that this is part of the
Democratic Party`s strategy to dramatize the Mueller report. 60 Democrats,
more than a quarter of the democratic caucus now, are pushing for
impeachment to begin.
Here is how President Trump responded today to calls for impeachment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You can`t impeach somebody when there`s never been anything done
wrong. We have no collusion. We have no anything. There is no
obstruction. There is no collusion. There is no anything.
When you look at past impeachments, whether it was President Clinton or, I
guess, President Nixon never got there, he left. I don`t leave. There`s a
big difference. I don`t leave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I don`t leave. I`m joined right now by Pennsylvania Democratic
Congressman Matt Cartwright, co-Chair of the House Democratic Policy and
Communications Committee. Congressman, thank you for coming, letting us go
to your district a couple of weeks ago for our town meeting, The Deciders.
We met a lot of interesting people. Now, let me ask you. You`re an
interesting guy. Where are you on impeachment? Go or not go?
REP. MATT CARTWRIGHT (D-PA): Oh, I think I speak for the entire democratic
house leadership team, Chris, when I said, we`re going to do something
reasonable and sensible and measured. We`re not going to rush headlong
And you heard it yourself right there in Wilkes-Barre, where you did a town
hall, people were not talking about impeachment, they were talking about
the kitchen table issues that affect them and their families and their
daily lives. And that`s what the Democrats have been focused on.
So, health care, we passed out of the House, House Bill 987 to make generic
drugs cheaper and easier to acquire. We passed – also, as part of that
CARTWRIGHT: … it outlaws junk insurance plans. This is what people at
home are talking about.
I realize impeachment is, you know, interesting and flashy and it`s the
bright shiny object, but we focus on what`s important to the people at
home, Chris, and you heard that in Wilkes-Barre.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
There are 60 Democrats in the House who want impeachment to begin right
now. Are you one of the 60?
And here`s the thing. The playbook has been laid out. If you want to
bullocks up an impeachment, if you want to get it wrong, we saw them do
that in the late 1990s. They got ahead of public sentiment. They got
ahead of what the evidence showed. And they went ahead and they impeached
Bill Clinton. And they paid for that for a generation.
It created MoveOn.org. You know, let`s move on from Bill Clinton`s private
life. And Republicans paid dearly for that for a generation. Why would
you want to go down that same path?
MATTHEWS: If you were a judge, and not an elected official, if you were a
judge, and looked at this case, and looked at the Mueller report and what
it said about obstruction, would you see an impeachable offense there?
CARTWRIGHT: Well, the question is whether you would find an indictable
offense, and you very well might.
And I think that`s the point of these hearings now, Chris, is not to
dramatize things. It`s just to get them out. I mean, you can`t expect
regular people at home to read through the 400-page Mueller report. It`s
really the job of the House to get the information out, and so people at
home can weigh it and think about it and chew on it and decide where
they`re at on it.
MATTHEWS: Would you be able to live with it, as an elected official
representing your community up there in Northeastern Pennsylvania, would
you be able to live with it if Trump got away with all this?
CARTWRIGHT: As long as we do our job…
MATTHEWS: No, if he got away with it, if he gets away with it?
CARTWRIGHT: Well, that`s like saying Bill Clinton got away with something.
I mean, it`s about what public sentiment will put up with. And if Trump
did something that the public is fully informed of, that we do our job, our
Article 1 requirements of keeping a check on the executive branch…
CARTWRIGHT: … if we get the facts out, so everybody knows what the facts
are, and they still think it`s OK, then that`s what we do. We don`t
impeach, and we just let…
CARTWRIGHT: … the voters decide at the ballot box.
MATTHEWS: Do you think the leadership, of which you are a part of, the
Democratic Party in the House, is delaying a vote or proceedings on
impeachment, or you are crossing it off as a possibility? Which is it?
CARTWRIGHT: I don`t think either is true.
I think that`s a – that`s a false choice, Chris. I think what we`re doing
is, you know, we`re being deliberate about it.
CARTWRIGHT: We`re getting the facts out, and we`re going to see…
CARTWRIGHT: … if the American people want us to go down that path.
And I think that is the responsible, that`s the sensible, that is the
measured thing to do in this case.
MATTHEWS: Well, I appreciate you coming on, Congressman.
I will make you the same gentleman`s bet, no money involved, that the House
will not impeach this president at any time during this Congress through
the next year. They will not impeach. It will not happen.
And all this is interesting.
CARTWRIGHT: And thanks for coming to Wilkes-Barre, by the way.
MATTHEWS: Well, I enjoyed it.
CARTWRIGHT: We enjoyed having you there.
MATTHEWS: I like being in Wilkes-Barre. And people were great. And they
know how to argue, and they know what to care about. And they said, stop
looking down on us and stop taking us for granted.
CARTWRIGHT: They did.
MATTHEWS: We`re real people, as important as anybody in a big city. Get
your act together.
It was wonderful.
CARTWRIGHT: That was the most important thing that you brought out, that
politicians think people look down on them. And it`s so important that we
pay attention to that.
MATTHEWS: And they were really nice people.
Thank you so much. You`re lucky to have those great people up there to
CARTWRIGHT: I know.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, U.S. Congressman Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania.
Up next: Donald Trump admits he`s not acting presidential, rMDNM_but, of
course, he can`t stop it, including his wild, sort of weird attacks on the
media. And I think he got OK press. I mean, he got this deal through with
the Mexicans, a little bit not quite as big as he says it is. But he got
some ink out of that.
What`s his problem? He got a lot of pictures with the royal family too.
That`s going to help him with people.
Donny Deutsch and the Mooch, Anthony Scaramucci, join me next. I think
they will debate. It could be hot.
Stick with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYAN CRANSTON, ACTOR: Howard Beale is a fictitious TV newsman who found
his way in the line of fire because of his pursuit of the truth.
And I would like to dedicate this to all the real journalists around the
world, both in…
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CRANSTON: … both in the press and the print media and also broadcast
media, who actually are in the line of fire with their pursuit of the
truth. The media is not the enemy of the people. Demagoguery is the enemy
of the people.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CRANSTON: Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was, of course, Bryan Cranston at last night`s Tony Awards accepting
his award for best actor for his performance in the stage adaptation of
And while Cranston didn`t say Donald Trump once, his message was clear,
given the president`s weekend attack on the news media.
This Sunday, yesterday, his ire, Trump`s ire, was about the reporting of a
deal to avert tariffs on Mexico. In a series of tweets, he attacked “The
New York Times”` reporting, writing: “The failing `New York Times` and
ratings-challenged CNN will do anything possible to see our country fail.
They are truly the enemy of the people.”
It followed a similar tirade on Saturday by Trump, when he took aim at
print and broadcast outlets, including this network, of course.
Then, just before midnight came this quote: “Little Donny Deutsch, whose
show, like his previous shoebiz (sic) tries, is a disaster, has been saying
that I have been a friend of his. This is false. Hardly knew him, other
than to know he was, as is, a total loser.”
But just minutes later, Trump conceded his attacks were beneath the dignity
of his office.
MATTHEWS: Trump said: “I know it`s not at all presidential to hit back at
the corrupt media. Problem is, if you don`t hit back, people believe the
fake news is true, so we will hit back.”
We. Royal we.
For more, I`m joined by Donny Deutsch himself, host of the show “SATURDAY
NIGHT POLITICS” here on MSNBC, and the great Anthony Scaramucci, former
White House communications director.
He says attacks on the country, as if he is Charles de Gaulle.
DONNY DEUTSCH, HOST, “SATURDAY NIGHT POLITICS”: Yes.
MATTHEWS: And even de Gaulle knew he wasn`t the country. And then he says
we, like a royal person.
You have to – first of all, I want to thank him for a new viewer to
“SATURDAY NIGHT POLITICS.”
You have to sometimes think back that he`s the president of the United
States, the leader of the free world. He`s sitting in his pajamas at 11:15
on a Saturday night, a rerun of mine, watching it, and then tweeting about
it, and denying that we were friends, just like he didn`t – Michael Cohen
wasn`t his lawyer, yet he`s serving time in jail for paying off a stripper
on behalf of him.
MATTHEWS: Forty percent of the country believes every word this guy…
DEUTCH: They believe it because they want to believe everything else he
It`s scary. It was the same kind of disconnectedness to the very thing I
was talking about. He was reacting to the top my show.
MATTHEWS: Tell me about your relationship with him in a capsule. Were you
DEUTCH: Yes. Yes, we were friends, like everybody is friends with…
MATTHEWS: Is that why he`s mad at you?
He – Sam Nunberg was on my show. And Michael Cohen told me the same
story. When he came out with the birther thing, I went on the air and said
it was racist. He was so hurt, he had Michael call me up.
MATTHEWS: He didn`t know it was birther – it was racist?
DEUTCH: He says: “How can you say – you`re my friend. How can you say
Because it`s racist. But it`s the same detachment. So, the people he
hates the most, Jeff Zucker, me, people who he was friendly with who have
turned on him. But it`s the same detachment that allows him to sit in
front of the cemeteries…
MATTHEWS: Did you ever call him up and say, wise up and stop being such a
guy, we could be friends again? Nothing like that. But did you ever try
to put him straight?
DEUTCH: It – our last conversation was after he won the – I think one of
the early primaries. And he called me up and he says, “Can you believe
this?” And I said, “Yes, it`s amazing.”
He goes, “They can`t find somebody to replace me on `The Apprentice.`”
That`s where his head was at.
DEUTCH: That was our last – and then I started kind of trashing…
MATTHEWS: Does this square with your look at Trump?
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well,
look, I obviously like the president.
I think, down deep, we all sort of admire…
MATTHEWS: But you never crossed him. You never crossed him.
SCARAMUCCI: No, I haven`t crossed him, but I do disagree with him on the
press. I wrote an op-ed, the press is not the enemy of the people. I wish
he would stop saying that. It`s not good for the kids. It`s not good for
And so I have been very honest with him.
MATTHEWS: But he reads – people tell me he reads everything.
SCARAMUCCI: He gets upset if you cross him or you disagree with him.
But here`s the problem. When you say the press is the enemy of the people,
you`re losing a lot of middle-class white women voters. He probably
doesn`t realize that, but I believe that.
MATTHEWS: How does that work? How does that work?
SCARAMUCCI: How does that work?
Well, because they tune out. They`re like, OK, I`m trying to teach my kids
about anti-bullying. I`m trying to teach my kids about the Constitution
and classic social studies. And you can`t be saying stuff like that. When
you call Rex Tillerson dumb as a rock – and he`s done it twice now on
MATTHEWS: Is anything sacred for this guy? What does he hold true, except
SCARAMUCCI: You know, I don`t know what you mean exactly by, is anything
MATTHEWS: No, I mean truth, truth.
SCARAMUCCI: Will he go after anything? The president is capable of going
after anybody and anything. And so that puts fear…
MATTHEWS: What will he defend? What will he defend?
SCARAMUCCI: That puts fear in a lot of people.
MATTHEWS: The Constitution?
SCARAMUCCI: Well, what I like about Donny is, Donny is fearless. So, he
doesn`t really – you don`t really care.
DEUTCH: By the way, I mean, tweeting about it is the best thing he could
do for me. I was surprised. I never thought he would reach out to it,
because he knows how good it is for me and he dislikes me that much at this
MATTHEWS: But he wants the praise of the establishment “New York Times.”
MATTHEWS: He would love an editorial saying, you`re right, Mr. President.
DEUTCH: But what doesn`t make sense, he`s got that 40 percent.
What I cannot understand, from the day he won the election, if he just did
a little pivot, he would have 55 percent. It`s almost sick that he won`t
MATTHEWS: OK, here is my dream, not a dream, nightmare.
DEUTCH: That he does.
MATTHEWS: Two weeks before the election, sometime after the Democrats make
their move, it could be Elizabeth Warren, it could be Biden. I don`t know
who it`s going to be, one of two or three people, probably, maybe
Buttigieg, who knows, he will become that guy.
DEUTCH: I said that on my show. Chris…
MATTHEWS: The minute – the minute he knows who the target is, he will
trash them for a couple months, and then he will go quiet and be a
DEUTCH: Chris, I had a segment called beware of the Trump pivot.
He is such a transactionalist. And with no ideology…
MATTHEWS: Can he do it? Can he straighten out?
SCARAMUCCI: He will do it, because, at the end of the day, it`s about
And if he doesn`t – to be honest, if he`s running against a Biden-Harris
ticket, and they don`t stumble over themselves, he will do the math, and he
will then do that pivot.
MATTHEWS: You`re making an assumption about the brains of the Democratic
You think the Democrats are smart enough to put that ticket together?
MATTHEWS: Do you?
DEUTCH: I think there`s not going to be enough money going…
MATTHEWS: Because that ticket makes sense.
SCARAMUCCI: I think that that`s the obvious ticket. And remember about
Vice President Biden he has a very high floor, Chris. And so we have 25
people in the race. Maybe his floor is 18 to 20. I don`t see his floor
going to nine or 10.
DEUTCH: Chris, you and I both know this.
And people like Elizabeth Warren are incredibly impressive. She loses 48
MATTHEWS: I don`t know. I don`t know.
DEUTCH: When I hear these polls about she`s even with Trump in Texas, come
on. Who are you kidding?
MATTHEWS: Well, look, I`m covering this thing.
SCARAMUCCI: The State of the Union address in February…
MATTHEWS: Kamala, I think, would help the ticket in Pennsylvania and not
DEUTCH: That`s the ticket.
MATTHEWS: I think she would help the ticket and not hurt it.
SCARAMUCCI: But, listen, he is capable of doing that pivot. The State of
the Union address was a perfect example of that.
MATTHEWS: Do you ever see him do it? Do you ever see him go presidential
for two weeks?
SCARAMUCCI: State of the Union address. Not two weeks, but the State of
the Union address, he had a six-point rise in his approval ratings.
If he acted like in the State of the Union address every single day…
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s see how good you guys are. You`re both good at this,
you especially on this question.
I have a hunch that the people that watched all the ceremony over in
England are the people that go to the supermarket every week and see stuff
about Meghan and Kate. And they read it. They like it, because the royal
family looks great, and they`re glamorous.
His hanging with them for a couple days, especially the queen, and before
that with the emperor of Japan, has helped his status, despite all this
SCARAMUCCI: No question.
MATTHEWS: I think he`s going to be a high in the 40s next week. What do
DEUTCH: I think it`s helped him. I think what it really did…
MATTHEWS: Despite all the other…
DEUTCH: I think it helped him.
I think, for him, it was what he said it was. I`m setting my family up to
meet the next generation. He genuinely believes – you talk about the
Romanovs a lot on the show.
MATTHEWS: He is a Romanov.
MATTHEWS: Bet right now. Be up in the high 40s next week?
DEUTCH: I don`t think it bumps that much.
MATTHEWS: Still down in the low 40s?
DEUTCH: Yes. I think people can separate the two.
MATTHEWS: We have him at 46. We have him at 46.
DEUTCH: I don`t think people can separate the two. I don`t think…
SCARAMUCCI: I think he goes to the high 40s.
I think it`s a combination of things, but also the tariff wrap-up with
Mexico is actually helping him.
MATTHEWS: Oh, I think it will help him.
SCARAMUCCI: We may disagree with some the strategy and tactics, but I
think it helps him.
MATTHEWS: That`s the ersatz wall. That`s what he`s going to say. I
couldn`t get the wall, but look what I got here. We stopped the asylum
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Donny Deutsch. You guys know this guy.
Anthony Scaramucci, thank you.
Well, you can catch Donny`s show, by the way, “SATURDAY NIGHT POLITICS.”
Great name, by the way. It`s pretty basic. It`s on Saturday night, and
it`s about politics.
MATTHEWS: MSNBC Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. Our weekends are blooming.
Up next: Presidential candidate senator Cory Booker joins us to talk about
key takeaways from a new presidential poll out of Iowa and much more. We
got him on. We also have got the mayor of New York City coming on.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our strength as a party
comes from the grassroots. Our party does not need a savior. We need each
I`m running for president because beating Donald Trump is not enough. We
must have bigger aspirations and bolder dreams than just that. Beating
Donald Trump is the floor. It is not the ceiling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was New Jersey senator and 2020 Democratic hopeful Cory Booker out in
Iowa this weekend where he and 18 of his fellow Democrats were making their
case in a crucial first contest coming up next February on 2020.
Booker was one of the first candidates to build up his presence there,
according to “The A.P.”, “The Associated Press,” quote: With at least 50
staffers on the ground, Booker`s Iowa team is widely seen inside Iowa as
one of the strongest and most seasoned behind only Massachusetts Senator
Elizabeth Warren`s in numbers.
Joining me right now is Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey.
Thank you for coming on, Senator. When you took that comment there about
how it`s not enough to beat Trump. That sounded like a shot at Vice
BOOKER: No, I`ve been saying it since I got in. I got into this race –
MATTHEWS: Well, who are you talking about if not him?
BOOKER: I – this is the theme of my campaign since he kicked it off.
Look, I live in a low-income neighborhood, below the poverty line. We
don`t confuse wealth with worth in my neighborhood. And we`ve got a lot of
challenges going on long before Donald Trump was in office, from shootings
on my block, all the way to kids in my city who drink bottles of water
because they have lead in their water.
So, many of the challenges we face, stripping the dignity away from work,
attacks on women, this stuff was going on before Donald Trump was elected.
We need to get rid of him. But as I said in my speech, that gets us out of
the valley. It doesn`t get us to the mountain top where we need to go.
MATTHEWS: Well, who would get him – who would beat him but wouldn`t get
done what you want to get done.
BOOKER: Well –
MATTHEWS: Who would that candidate be? Because you`re singling or you`re
centering in on someone who would – you know, math – you`re a Rhodes
Scholar, mathematical question. Is it the sufficiency condition or the
The necessary condition is beating Trump. Then you`d like to do something
better, but don`t you first have to beat him? Isn`t that the most
important goal, beat Trump and do something good afterwards?
BOOKER: Well, you and I are pretty much saying the same thing. But I just
want to say the way you beat him is not just tactically focusing in on him.
We cannot run this race about what we`re against. We have to run this race
by what we`re for, because that`s going to inspire people. That`s going to
The tactics of just beating him, I`m sorry, he wants to make this all about
him. He wants to suck all the oxygen again out of an election and he wants
us to fight him on his turf and his terms.
I know this from going up against tough candidates before. I had to beat a
machine to become the mayor of the city of Newark. The way you beat
someone that is using kind of tactics like that is to inspire people about
what politics should be about, the best of who we are.
MATTHEWS: Well, you`re good at that. I think you`re great and I loved
meeting you out there. I think you`re going to be a great candidate.
I don`t know why you haven`t gotten traction yet. Do you have a sense that
will come? You`re at about 1 percent in Iowa right now. When do you think
you`re going to get your kick?
BOOKER: Well, you said at the open – everybody in Iowa tells me we`re
doing all the right things in terms of focusing first on building your team
and your organization. We`ve got the best team out there. We`re one of
the leaders in endorsements from Iowans in the legislature, Iowans who are
lawmakers, from city council people to mayors. We`re making our
connections, building this brick by brick.
You know this. We`re eight months out. The polls in previous presidential
campaigns don`t necessarily predict the winner out of Iowa. We`re going to
win in Iowa because we`re building this from the grassroots up.
MATTHEWS: You know, when I was up in Pennsylvania a couple of weeks ago,
we had a town meeting. We called it “The Deciders”. We had a bunch of
people from different points of view.
I asked them sort of gut questions. One question I said is, do you trust
the Democrats to stop or slow illegal immigration from across the border?
They all said no.
Isn`t that a problem for the Democrats? I mean, Trump is pushing this
thing with the tariffs, on asylum seekers and all that, whatever mixed bag
of success or not success, it`s something. What would the Democrats do if
they have power to stop illegal immigration or slow it down? What would
BOOKER: Right. Well, the best indication of that is to see what the
Senate did right before I got there. It`s incredible group of people, Gang
of Eight, on both sides of the aisle who understood we were hurting
ourselves as a nation of immigrants by not keeping that truth real and that
we had to do things to protect our borders.
They actually put forth a piece of legislation that actually passed through
our Senate that would have – not only would have put more protection on
the border, but given people pathways to citizenship and would have helped
The Congressional Budget Office –
MATTHEWS: It would have stopped illegal hiring, too.
Let me – I love that bill.
MATTHEWS: By the way, Ted Kennedy was behind it. A lot of guys.
MATTHEWS: Even Lindsey Graham was behind it.
MATTHEWS: Chuck Schumer was behind it.
I just wish the Democrats would follow through on that.
I have to ask you about impeachment. Where are you on it? You`ve been
very strong on it. We just had a congressman on who`s not for beginning
impeachment. There`s only 60 Democrats in the House who want to do it.
It just seems to me they`ve got to make a decision. What they do now is do
slow-mo, oh, we`ll get around to have more hearings, more investigations.
I have a sense it`s one of these gut decisions, you either do it or you
don`t? What`s your thinking?
BOOKER: Well, my gut changed. I have to say when you have a president
that is not even allowing congressional investigations to happen.
BOOKER: I mean, he is flouting the law. He is basically saying more like
an authoritarian leader: I am subject to no oversight. Not the checks and
balances of the Constitution.
So, I literally had a heart-to-heart with my own team in the Senate office
where we (ph) said, how is history going to look back on this?
MATTHEWS: I agree with you.
BOOKER: When a president was willing to violate the mandates of the
Constitution, subject himself to checks and balances, he`s basically shut
that down, not allowing subpoenas, not allowing interviews. That – I`m
sorry, I forget about the politics of the situation. What will history say
when we have a president that acted in such an authoritarian fashion?
So, we should begin impeachment proceedings to have even more legal
leverage to actually provide the oversight that Congress`s job.
BOOKER: And we`ll see what that leads to.
MATTHEWS: Senator, you say all the right things to me, at least. I hope
you do well in this election. You`re running for president of the United
States. Thank you so much.
Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey.
BOOKER: Thank you for having me on.
MATTHEWS: Up next, yet another candidate. New York City Mayor Bill de
Blasio is here. I`m going to ask him what it`s like running for president
while running the city that never sleeps.
He`s going to play HARDBALL straight ahead.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio who spent the weekend campaigning for
the presidency out in Iowa was back in New York today overseeing the city`s
tragic – well, response to a tragic helicopter crash up there on that
high-rise in midtown. We have a picture of it there. And, of course, the
pilot died. It was a terrible situation.
Mayor de Blasio joins us right now.
This is the tricky thing about having a real job. Joe Biden doesn`t have a
job right now. Some of these guys are senators, which means they miss a
few votes. And at the end of four years or so, nobody really counts one or
You`re mayor of New York during a snowstorm. You`re a mayor of New York
during a tragedy like today. And you must have been glad as heck you were
home because you were home.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NYC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me tell you,
when you`re chief executive of the nation`s biggest city, and a lot of
people call this job is the second toughest job in America –
DE BLASIO: – yes, there is a lot to take care of. And, by the way, our
firefighters did an amazing job fighting that fire 50 stories up and they
made sure every else was safe, thank God. But –
MATTHEWS: That you have to be on the corner. That sort of – I grew up in
a big city.
DE BLASIO: Yes.
MATTHEWS: You always look the police commissioner and the mayor – the
fire commissioner, they`re all supposed to be there where you can see `em
if something goes bad.
DE BLASIO: Yes, but that`s leadership. And that`s what you want in
someone who would be president.
You know, a reporter once asked me, aren`t you really busy? Don`t you have
a lot of responsibility? Don`t you have a lot on your plate?
And I said, yes, who do you want to be president? Do you want somebody to
be president who`s not busy?
DE BLASIO: Who doesn`t have a lot of responsibility?
MATTHEWS: But what if you`re out of town when something like this happens
DE BLASIO: You got to come back.
MATTHEWS: Yes, OK.
DE BLASIO: You got to deal with it.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the guy who is running – I don`t want to
go to all these polls, we do from – big polls coming out of Iowa. I`ll
talk about it in the next segment.
Biden`s ahead but he`s fading.
DE BLASIO: Yes.
MATTHEWS: Elizabeth`s coming on strong. Buttigieg is coming on strong.
Why is Buttigieg from a town as big as South Bend, OK, known for Notre Dame
primarily, getting all this attention? He`s up there in the mix now?
DE BLASIO: Look, it`s eight months out.
MATTHEWS: You`re the mayor of the biggest city in the world, most
important city in the world, you can say.
DE BLAISO: Yes, and we`ve gotten a lot done here. It`s eight months out.
What I`m going to do is talk to people in Iowa and around the country and
tell them what we`ve done. We`ve put working people first right here.
Pre-K, free pre-K for all the kids. Paid sick leave for working people who
had to choose between a day`s pay or going to the doctor.
MATTHEWS: Who paid to that pre-K? What was that – what was the
DE BLASIO: It was a combination of state funds and city funds. I had to
go and fight and get a Republican state Senate to agree to it. But we
built so much energy on the ground, Chris, people were demanding it.
Across all demographics, they were demanding pre-K because we made it a
center piece of my campaign.
So, look, we`re guaranteeing healthcare right now in New York City.
Anybody who does not have health insurance gets a health care card. They
go to a public clinic or hospital, get a primary care doctor assigned them.
These are the kinds of things if they`re done across this whole country
would change the lives of the American people.
MATTHEWS: Why is a moderate like Biden leading and not a progressive like
DE BLASIO: I think the ball game`s just begun. I think a progressive`s
going to be nominated.
I`ll tell you something, when I talk to Iowans, when I talk to people all
over the country, they want us to discuss very bluntly, and this is an
issue I think Joe Biden`s not well-positioned on, very bluntly what`s
happening our economy, a progressive, clear, blunt economic message. I say
there`s plenty of money in this world, there is plenty of money in this
DE BLASIO: It`s just in the wrong hands. I say it bluntly.
I`m telling you, Chris, audiences –
MATTHEWS: And the other side is also blunt and they`re saying these can`t
be afforded. They`re not affordable. The taxpayer won`t back them.
That`s what the moderates are saying.
DE BLASIO: I believe moderates may think that. But I`ll tell you what
working people think. And when I`ve talked to audiences – every
demographic, all four early states, I say the money is in the wrong hands,
people applaud with energy because they want to be – have a real
This country is not fair right now. It`s not fair to working people. It`s
not working for working people. They want something different.
MATTHEWS: Would you back Biden with enthusiasm if he were the nominee?
DE BLASIO: Look, if –
MATTHEWS: If he were the nominee?
DE BLASIO: Look, if Joe Biden is the nominee, I will definitely work hard
for him, just like I think he`d work hard for me. I think Democrats will
But I got to tell you something, but here`s what I worry about. Donald
Trump can win if we repeat the 2016 mistake, which is not to not have a
clear progressive economic message.
MATTHEWS: Yes. In a place like Iowa, that`s how you lose Iowa.
MATTHEWS: You know what`s interesting about this whole thing is that
Bernie Sanders, who is not a member of the Democratic Party, has never ran
on the Democratic ticket, has refused to run on the ticket for years, ran
against the Democratic Party in Vermont his whole career, he might win the
Would you support him as a Democratic nominee if he doesn`t join the party?
DE BLASIO: I think the world –
MATTHEWS: If he doesn`t join the party?
DE BLASIO: Yes, I think the world of Bernie Sanders.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I know.
DE BLASIO: And if Bernie is our nominee, I`ll work very hard for him.
Same thing, if I`m the nominee, he`ll work hard for me. I don`t have a
I think we`re going to be unified, but if we`re unified with the wrong
message, we could easily lose.
MATTHEWS: What`s the wrong message?
DE BLASIO: The wrong message is, quote/unquote, moderation for the sake of
moderation. The fear of having a blunt, clear argument for working people.
I think what a lot of Democrats did was they became the party of the elite.
You know, that`s why we lost a lot of voters to Trump.
MATTHEWS: I know that.
DE BLASIO: Folks thought we`re on the side of elite, the donors, et
MATTHEWS: No, I thought there was a party going on and they weren`t
DE BLASIO: Exactly.
MATTHEWS: And that`s what I think they looked at it.
DE BLASIO: But when you talk about working people, you talk about labor
unions, which, by the way, a lot of Trump voters are union members.
DE BLASIO: When you talk about what working people need –
DE BLASIO: – people respond to that. We got to be that party again.
Our coalition used to be a rural/urban coalition –
MATTHEWS: Let me get a progressive question: what`s more important? You
got to give an answer. Economic issues or social issues? What`s the most
DE BLASIO: Economic issues.
MATTHEWS: Thank you. Good answer. That`s what they said out in
Mayor de Blasio –
DE BLASIO: Good to see you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: I love your city.
Up next, what the latest poll out of Iowa tells us about where the 2020
race is headed. I got my predictions coming up. You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: I have a few thoughts tonight about that new poll by “The Des
Moines Register.” It shows Senator Elizabeth Warren in a rapid rise in
Iowa. She was at 9 percent in the same poll in March, and now, she`s at
15, a six-point jump in three months out in Iowa.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg has made an even bigger jump, from 1 percent to 14
percent in three months, a 13-point climb.
Meanwhile, the two candidates dropping are former Vice President Joe Biden,
who was at 27 percent, is now down to 24 percent, and Senator Bernie
Sanders, who dropped from 25 in March to 16, a nine-point drop.
Where is this headed? It shows that Warren is about toe overtake Sanders
on the progressive left. If she keeps up her strong campaigning, hitting
hard and offering strong policy positions, she could be the top contender
come caucus time in February.
There is simply no other way to read this. Caucuses are home fields to
progressives and she`s got the momentum to be the number one progressive
when the time comes.
Buttigieg, whom we hosted that town hall meeting in Fresno, California last
week, also has a clear shot in the Iowa caucuses right now. He`s come out
of nowhere and is not going back to nowhere. He looks to be the sleeper in
this nomination fight the candidate that everyone agrees a long shot but
A lot like Jimmy Carter in 1976. Remember Jimmy who? He beat all the big
names and ended up being elected.
Joe Biden faces serious challenges here in Iowa. He can ride at or near
the top in the national polls, but history shows that doesn`t matter all
that much. Everything changes once the caucuses vote and are counted in
What impresses me about Warren`s and Buttigieg`s rise is it matches the
word of mouth. Everybody`s been talking about what a strong race she`s
running and how impressive the South Bend mayor has been. This tells me
that the conversations here on this show and among people who watch
HARDBALL are remarkably in sync with the larger conversation among
Democrats likely to decide the early contests starting very much with Iowa.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN” with Ali Velshi, in for Chris Hayes, starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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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