Department of Justice reverses course. TRANSCRIPT: 7/3/9, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Showoff. Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. Tomorrow, we celebrate
the high human standards of our founders. We hold these truths to be self-
evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their
created with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty
and the pursuit of happiness.
The 4th of July is there for because of these words, essentially, the
celebration of American ideals, of equality, of national unity, of freedom
from a bullying government, of the dignity of the individual person. Yet
it is on this 4th of July and in this city that this president has decreed
that a procession of combat tanks will line the capital while the President
speaks to the nation flanked by the country`s highest ranking military
For the first time in the history of our democratic republic, we are being
instructed to honor not the values of our declaration of our independence
but the power of the military. And this, and it must be said, the grandeur
of Donald J. Trump`s personal self.
There is, of course, a danger being risked in such a promenade tomorrow.
Many who come to Washington will come to champion this president, this
president. Others here in Washington on the Mall tomorrow will not be so
moved. A country already divided with such malice by this president faces
the peril of driving that wedge even deeper between us. To hope for
violence would be, of course, treasonous. Not to expect it would be naive.
The details and costs of Trump`s martial spectacle tomorrow have already
ignited wide disgust. Early this week, the President previewed the speech
he plans to give tomorrow on the 243rd anniversary of the birth of this
republic, standing in the shadow of President Lincoln.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: We`re going to have a great 4th of July in
Washington, D.C. It will be like no other. It will be special. And I
hope a lot of people come, and it`s going to be about this country. And
it`s a salute to America.
REPORTER: Do you think that you give a speech that can reach all Americans
on July 4th?
TRUMP: I think so, I think so. I think I`ve reached most Americans. Most
Americans want no crime. Most Americans want a strong military. They want
good education. They want good healthcare. If you look at preexisting
conditions, the republicans are going to say preexisting conditions. The
democrats won`t be able to do it. What the democrats plan is going to
destroy the country, and it`s going to be horrible healthcare, horrible
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: On Twitter this morning, the President boasted the event is
looking to be really big. It will be a show of a lifetime, he said. But
The Washington Post reports the National Park Service is diverting nearly
$2.5 million in interests and recreation fees primarily intended to improve
parks across the country to cover costs for this exhibit, the spectacle.
It adds, well, the diverted park fees represent just a fraction of the
extra costs the government faces as a result of this event.
President Trump, by the way, downplayed concerns about the cost on Twitter,
writing, quote, the cost of our great salute to America tomorrow will be
very little compared to what it is worth. We own the planes. We have the
pilots. The airport is right next door, Andrews, all we need is the fuel.
We own the tanks and all fireworks are donated by two of the greats. Nice.
I`m joined now by Democratic Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of New York. Mr.
Jeffries, thank you for joining us, congressman. And I leave the door open
to you, your thoughts about the aesthetics of it, the politics of it, the
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Well, thanks for having me on, Chris. Donald
Trump is going to turn a national celebration on the National Mall into a
national embarrassment to feed his out of control ego. This is another
example of his narcissism. Sometimes it`s malignant. Sometimes it`s out
of control. At this particular point in time, it really is an
embarrassment and it will be a waste of taxpayer dollars to use the
military as a political prop for his own purposes. And it`s really another
sad moment during the Trump presidency.
MATTHEWS: Is there any way of stopping him from using the pictures
tomorrow, which are basically the production is paid for by the American
taxpayer, especially the people that go – the older people, the senior
citizens who go to these national parks and pay the $10 or whatever it is
you have to pay. My question is, suppose he turns this into a big
extravaganza for his ad campaign for next year, is that legal?
JEFFRIES: Well, certainly, I think it should be looked at, though the
President, of course„ as you know, Chris, is granted wide latitude and
discretion in terms of the non-governmental and the governmental activity.
We`ve also seen many in his administration, of course, abuse those
privileges and violate the Hatch Act in ways that they don`t seem to care.
I think, ultimately, this is all going to come down to condemnation from
the American people, and a recognition that the 4th of July is a national
celebration not of democrats, independents or republicans, but as
Americans. And everything that Donald Trump touches becomes divisive. And
that`s why his breaking from past practice is really unfortunate in this
MATTHEWS: What do you think about him standing where Dr. King stood?
JEFFRIES: Well, it`s a direct contrast to the things that Dr. King stood
for, that Abraham Lincoln stood for. You know, those are figures who
wanted to bring the country together. Donald Trump is tearing us apart.
Those were individuals who wanted to move the country forward. Donald
Trump clearly wants to turn back the clock in ways that will be unfortunate
for the great gorgeous mosaic that are the American people.
I think if Donald Trump spent a little bit more time actually focused on
trying to work with House Democrats to get things done for the American
people, because, Chris, after all, that`s our job, and we want to fix our
crumbling infrastructure. We need a partner in order to do so. We want to
lower the high costs of life-saving prescription drugs. We need a partner
to do so.
Instead, Donald Trump has been fantasizing about this grandiose display on
the National Mall, and also spending his time sort of interacting with
dictators all across the country in ways that are also entirely
inappropriate for a country that is a leader of the free world.
MATTHEWS: Well, great countries, great leaders have found ways to solve
problems. We had a great poverty problem in this country, and Social
Security went a long way towards dealing with it, especially for older
people, and then Medicare came along. And, of course, we`ve had successful
decisions about immigration before that may not have been enforced but
there were attempts. Do you think the President wants solutions or he
wants issues, that he loves the issues he fights over?
JEFFRIES: Well, I think you hit on something right there. Instead of
actually solving big problems on behalf of the American people, he clearly
is intent on continuing to motivate his very narrow base as a pathway
toward another so-called Electoral College presidential victor instead of
trying to bring people together, reaching across to the other side of the
aisle and solving the challenges that the American people confront. If we
were able to do that, then I think that would put the American people in a
better possible place.
One of the reasons why people are so cynical about the political process
right now is because it seems like some in Washington, D.C. are only
concerned with the political permanent campaign as opposed to the space to
govern. We as House democrats, Nancy Pelosi has indicated time and again,
we want to govern, but we need a partner.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much U.S. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, happy 4th of
Coming now and joining me now, former Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo
of Florida and singer and songwriter Carole King, who is performing
tomorrow night at the Capitol Fourth, a traditional event held on the lawn
of the U.S. Capitol. Carole, thank you for joining us.
Explain the difference. I know you`re eager to do that between your
professional performance as an entertainer at the steps of the Capitol and
the show that`s going to on down at the other end of the Mall.
CAROLE KING, SINGER/SONGWRITER: Right. Well, show that I am performing in
is a diverse, as Congressman Jeffries said, mosaic of people from around
the country. And this is the traditional 39th annual event at the lawn
outside the Capitol, which celebrates our birthday, birthday of America.
In contrast, you have a separate event. And that`s the point that –
MATTHEWS: But you`re the warm-up, unfortunately.
KING: Well –
MATTHEWS: Isn`t yours around 6:00 and his is later in the evening?
KING: I don`t think of us as the warm-up. We are the main event and he is
MATTHEWS: And the weather report right now is very good for the early part
of the evening. So let`s see how it works out.
But what do you think about the fact that he is sort of piggybacking his
political show on top of this national thing that you`re proud to be part
of tomorrow night at the Capitol?
KING: His spectacle, with tanks and the air show and everything, is
feeding the ego of someone who is arguably the most insecure person on the
MATTHEWS: You think it`s ego?
KING: Totally. And he`s insecure that he needs this.
MATTHEWS: Well, White House officials are, reportedly, anxious about the
President`s extravaganza. According to Politico, White House officials and
allies are wringing their hands over the risk of the hastily arranged event
morphing into Trump`s inauguration 2.0, in which the size of the crowd and
the ensuing media coverage do not meet the President`s own outsized
Right, here we go again. One aide said there are questions about the
ticket distribution and who will show up. The weather might be bad. Heads
are spinning. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that according to one
defense official, the Pentagon was not planning for tanks to be involved in
a July 4th event until late last week.
But after the President requested them, they were shipped up by rail from
Fort Stewart in Georgia. Congressman, thank you so much, Curbelo. Thank
you for joining. This is a weird thing because this seems like a Helter
Skelter attempt to scare of some ego juice for the President rather than
any kind long-term planning. I don`t know what`s going to happen.
My fear is a lot of people are going to show who are pro-Trump. They`re
going have their confederate flags flying and their license plates and all
kinds of trouble making. There will be a lot of other people that are
going to meet like in a storm and you`re going have a real conflict out
there. Your thoughts?
FMR. REP. CARLOS CURBELO: Chris, a lot of people in the government are
anxious and disappointed. Why, Chris? Because George Washington gave a
great example of what this country is and showed why our founding fathers
built an exceptional nation.
In the Capitol Rotunda, there is a painting that captures the moment when
Washington turns over his military commission after being elected president
to make it clear that in this country, the people are in charge and not the
And that in this country, we celebrate the freedom of the people of every
citizen, not the power of the government, as people do in other countries
throughout the world. I think of Cuba, the country my parents fled. You
see military parades there constantly because the government wants to be at
the center of society.
Our founding fathers didn`t want the government to be at the center of
society, and certainly not the President of the United States. So a lot of
people over the country.
But even in the President`s White House, and even among congressional
republicans, there is a lot of consternation about this, because it is a
very clean break with an important 243-year tradition that we are going to
see tomorrow, and it`s not a positive break.
MATTHEWS: Well, why do you think that is, that people that are sort of
dictator-ish, like the Castro Brothers, why they would instead of giving
people political freedom, which they never gave them, having promised it
when I was growing up, everybody thought Castro was going to be a democrat,
a liberal democrat, because he promised to be one. He swore he was not a
communist dictator. He swore it. We all heard it. He go at Meet the
Press and Ed Sullivan, I think he did all of these shows, and he didn`t do
any of that. He lied to everybody. But your thoughts here?
I think it was wonderful what you said about George Washington. Because
when George the Third, he asked someone, what`s Washington going to do
after the war? And he was told, Washington is going back to Virginia, to
his farm, his plantation. And George the Third, you know what he said,
then he will be the greatest man in the world, because everybody respects
giving up power like that to a democracy, yes.
CURBELO: George Washington had the option of being king, and he said, no.
That is not what this new experiment in democracy is going to be.
MATTHEWS: What do you think Trump would do?
CURBELO: He would take it in a second. He would take it in a second. And
that`s what part of this event tomorrow is. He wants to be at the center,
not just of the government, but of American life. And that`s just the
complete opposite of what our founding fathers designed and of what I think
most Americans want.
MATTHEWS: Well, I hope that everybody goes there, Carole, especially the
political moderates and progressives, if they see somebody looking for
trouble, they just walk away, because the last thing we need is another
Charlottesville. The last thing we need is this battle of ideology in the
KING: Absolutely. You know, I wanted to make a comment about the fact
that this is a day that we at Capitol Fourth are honoring the troops and
honoring the birthday of our country. This guy is taking troops away from
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s see what tracks the tanks leave. They`re 60 tons,
these vehicles. They`re not meant for promotions, P.R. displays. They`re
meant for defending the country.
Thank you former Congressman Carlos Curbelo. Thank you, as always, sir,
for the country and for coming here tonight. And thank you, Carole King,
Coming up, you can`t appeal a Supreme Court decision, but President Trump
seems to think it`s possible. He`s ordering now today the Justice
Department to find a way to get that citizenship question back into the
sentence after the Supreme Court said it`s not getting in there.
And the battle for the democratic presidential nomination is getting
tighter. Of course, it looks like fewer and fewer people might win this
thing. New poll shows some African-American voters may be moving away from
Joe Biden to Senator Kamala Harris. I want to talk to the Reverend, Al
Sharpton about that and where this whole thing is heading right now this
July. It`s getting close to the big battle for Iowa this fall.
Plus, the showdown. We`re exactly two weeks away from Robert Mueller`s
scheduled congressional testimony, and President Trump is already planning
a very public rebuttal that same day in front of a crowd of his own adoring
fans. He is counterprogramming. Does he have a countertruth?
Much more ahead. Stay with us.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
President Trump refusing to take no for an answer, is demanding that his
Department of Justice find a way to circumvent the Supreme Court and get a
citizenship question on the 2020 census.
Early this morning, the President Tweeted, the news reports about the
Department of Commerce dropping its quest to put the citizenship question
on the census is incorrect or, to state it differently, fake. We are
absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the
answer to this question.
Well, his Tweet directly contradicted his Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur
Ross, who said this in a statement yesterday. The Census Bureau has
started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the
Well, the President`s Tweet plunged his Department of Justice into chaos.
And Assistant Attorney General told the judge today, quote, we at the
Department of Justice have been instructed to examine whether there is a
Another lawyer from the Justice Department explained, quote, the Tweet this
morning was the first I had heard of the President`s position. I do not
have a deeper understanding of what that means. I can tell you that I have
confirmed that the Census Bureau is continuing the process of printing the
questionnaire without a citizenship question.
Well, last week, the Supreme Court rejected the administration`s stated
reason for adding the question calling it contrived. The administration
had argued that the citizen question was necessary to protect voters and
enforce parts of the Voting Rights Act.
For more, I`m joined by Aaron Blake, Washington Post Senior Political
Reporter, and Kim Wehle, Law Professor and Author of the new book How to
Read the Constitution and Why. That`s a timely book.
Let me go to Aaron first. Okay. Is it going to be in the census question
for 2020, the citizenship question?
AARON BLAKE, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: As of right
now, the government is moving forward and they are printing the census
without this question.
They seem to think that they can do that right now, and still pursue some
kind of a court case. If you look at what the Supreme Court ruled last
week, it was not, there are under no circumstances that you can actually do
this. It was, the justification that you provided was contrived. It
wasn`t good enough. It wasn`t the actual reason. Basically, you
fabricated this entire thing.
But John Roberts, the chief justice, who wrote this decision, allowed for
them to potentially come back through the court system and make another
case, offer another justification. The question from there is, do they
have enough time, because this needs to start being printed? It`s due by
And, also, are they going to be able to come up with an actual valid
justification that doesn`t completely fly in the face of what they just
told these judges? And, apparently, the Justice Department decided this
was not possible. They didn`t have enough time.
And they actually told this judge on Tuesday that they were done. And then
the president tweeted on Wednesday. He said that this was not a settled
issue. He wanted people to look for issue – ways to make this happen.
And that put these lawyers in the position of basically going back to this
judge and offering a mea culpa, saying, we are going to try something, we
don`t know what it is. I don`t even know what the president`s talking
about. But we`re still in this game right now.
MATTHEWS: So they`re doing two things at the same time. They`re printing
the existing format of the questionnaire, which does not include a question
about citizenship. Meanwhile, they`re fighting the court case, with some
hope that they can get it overturned.
Why did they do this? Why do they – why do they want the citizenship
question in there politically? What`s the reason?
KIM WEHLE, FORMER ASSOCIATE INDEPENDENT COUNSEL: Well, politically, it
looks like from the record that they want to basically make it hard for
non-citizens to actually answer the question and then be counted for this
for the census, because the census numbers are used for purposes of
reapportioning federal districts.
MATTHEWS: So they want to scare people who – who have family members who
aren`t undocumented into not participating, and therefore not building up
the population of those areas where they live?
And the census itself is about counting heads. It`s not about counting
citizens. I don`t think everyone understands that. So it`s not like that
MATTHEWS: Can you have a congressional seat that represents 600,000 people
not legally in the country, potentially?
WEHLE: Under the Enumeration Clause, it`s about actually counting people,
not counting citizens.
MATTHEWS: They could all be visitors.
WEHLE: But it doesn`t forbid the government from getting additional
information on the census form. That`s the issue.
MATTHEWS: Do you think the average Trumpite understands this kind of
WEHLE: No, I don`t.
I actually teach this kind of law, agency administrative law. It`s very,
very complicated. Very few people understand it.
MATTHEWS: Who is going to vote for Trump who wouldn`t normally vote for
Trump because he`s making you put citizenship questions, put a – answering
a citizenship question your census?
WEHLE: I think very few.
But if we get – if this continues down this road where it could go, that
is, where – the president of the United States flouting a Supreme Court
decision, the judge in this hearing said, what do you want me to do, issue
an injunction telling the president to stop tweeting in a manner that`s
MATTHEWS: I thought they had to come up with a better argument. Isn`t
that still the case? Isn`t that still the case?
BLAKE: Yes, that`s basically what they have to do. But they have to make
MATTHEWS: Can they be honest and say, we`re doing this for political
reasons, because we want to reduce the power of progressive minority
BLAKE: Well, that was the theory after…
MATTHEWS: Can they say that?
That was actually a theory after these decisions last week, because not
only did that decision come down that day, but the partisan gerrymandering
case came forward. And, basically, the court gave states the authority to
do partisan gerrymandering.
So why couldn`t the Justice Department come forward and say, yes, we did
this because we wanted to help Republicans? It`s not completely
MATTHEWS: Are you laughing, or you mean it?
BLAKE: No, there are legal experts who thought that was a potential
argument that they could make.
The problem for the Trump administration right now is, whatever
justification they offer, they have to square with what they said before.
If they come forward and offer a completely different justification,
they`re basically admitting that what they said before was total nonsense.
It wasn`t actually their justification. And that`s – that`s a tough
MATTHEWS: You know what this reminds me of? The Muslim ban.
The first time, they said no Muslims or anybody of that background and that
religion can come in the country. They said, no, we better yet – better
fix that. Now we will just have countries that have, what, active
terrorist watches going on.
BLAKE: But John Roberts left it. They – he said that the secretary of
commerce has brought authority to put questions on the census. They just
basically have to actually – offer an actual justification.
I think it was actually a pretty broad door that he left open for this
question. But we didn`t know if there was going to be enough time for
them. We didn`t know if they could actually come forward with an actual
MATTHEWS: Is this a part of the Republican Party recognizing they`re
becoming a smaller group of older white people, basically, recognize that
that`s the reality, so they have to cheat?
They have to cheat through gerrymandering. They have to cheat through
suppression efforts like plastic I.D. cards. You have to come with an I.D.
card, getting old people who live in row houses to go somewhere, Department
of Transportation building, to get an I.D. card.
All this is just to reduce the minority vote.
WEHLE: Well, that`s the argument.
I`m not a political analyst. But I think that is certainly what the record
was developed in this particular case suggested. And, actually, this, as a
matter of law, is kind of an out-of-the-box decision by Justice Roberts.
The court held that the stated rationale under the statute was actually OK.
They can give whatever rationale they want, as long as it`s legitimate.
WEHLE: The problem here was that – was that the court said there was bad
faith here in actually reaching out and manufacturing this Voting Rights
Act. And the fact that…
MATTHEWS: Do you agree with Aaron? It`s possible that this court, 5-4
Republican court, would say, yes, it`s good Republican partisanship, go
WEHLE: Not – I think not on this, in this case, on this record.
I think it would have to be in 10 years, frankly. Otherwise, they`re
really undermining the rule of law.
MATTHEWS: So, how`s it look right now? We`re going to have a census next
year, 2020, that doesn`t have the question in it. That looks like where
it`s headed, right?
BLAKE: There`s basically no way in which they can delay this.
The real deadline here, according legal experts, is October 31. This is
being printed right now. Ostensibly, they could print it and then do a
MATTHEWS: Throw it – then throw that all away.
BLAKE: Yes, throw it all away, waste the money and reprint it.
But October 31 is the real deadline, where they really have to have a
resolution on this.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Aaron Blake.
Thank you, Kim Wehle, for coming in.
And what is the name of your book again?
WEHLE: “How to Read the Constitution and Why.”
MATTHEWS: I`m big on civics, civics. We need to learn civics.
WEHLE: We need it. This is an entryway to the basics.
MATTHEWS: Get a copy to the Cabinet.
Anyway, still ahead, which Democratic candidate does Newt Gingrich say
poses the biggest danger to Donald Trump? The answer may surprise you.
I`m not sure if Newt know what he`s talking about, but it`s an interesting
theory he has here.
I`m going to break down the latest on the 2020 race with the Reverend Al
Sharpton after this break.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
It`s been one week now since the first Democratic debate of the 2020
primaries, enough time for the release of multiple post-debate polls. This
Monday, CNN released a poll showing an increase in support for Senator
Kamala Harris, with the race tightening between her and former Vice
Then, yesterday, Quinnipiac came out with a poll with an even more dramatic
rise for Harris, up 13 points from their last poll in June, and only two
points away from Biden, in fact, well within the poll`s margin of our.
Today`s “Washington Post”/ABC poll, a little different, showed Biden and
Senator Bernie Sanders still solidly ahead of both Harris and Elizabeth
And Harris didn`t just impress Democrats, however, last week. Here`s what
former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich had to say about her standing
in the race:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Who poses the biggest threat on the left right now for the
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: He would probably have a
marginally harder time in some ways with Biden or a marginally harder time
with Kamala Harris, who I think is – I just wrote a piece for “Newsweek” -
- I think she`s probably the most dangerous of the Democrats.
But I also think that a left-wing politician from California is a pretty
long way from the center of the American political system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, I`m joined right now by Reverend Al Sharpton, host of
“POLITICS NATION” on MSNBC, and Kristen Hawn, who`s a Democratic
Reverend, I love what you`re thinking, because I don`t know what it is.
MATTHEWS: So, tell me, because I know what – there`s a conflict in what
you just heard old Newt come up with there. He said she would be dangerous
on the stage, I think he was saying, but not so much in the voting booth.
I think he was saying that.
AL SHARPTON, HOST, “POLITICS NATION”: Well, I think that is probably what
he was saying. It`s hard to tell with Newt.
But the reality is that what Ms. Harris did, Senator Harris did, was show,
one, that she would fight, and she would fight on an issue that a lot of
people, including her, was passionate about.
And the issue, Chris, is not just busing. The issue is that, when Mr.
Biden responded, he said, well, Senator Harris, when you were bused, it was
the local school board that chose that, not the federal government.
So are you now advocating states` rights? That`s a concern to not only
blacks, but that`s a concern to women. That`s a concern to LGBTQ. Are we
going back to bathroom cases like in Indiana? I mean, how can we say that,
to calm people down, we should let the federal government step back and the
states decide, when, in effect, you are going back into states` right?
That makes him very vulnerable if he doesn`t clarify that.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, I think he was doing that to get off the hook,
Reverend. I`m not sure he was arguing the constitutional theory there. I
think he was just saying, don`t blame me. It`s not my job.
That seems like he was saying. What do you think?
SHARPTON: But it is the government`s job.
The government`s job is to protect minorities, whether they be black or
Latino or gay, against the tyranny of the majority. That`s what the whole
civil rights movement was about. Did they tell the Freedom Riders don`t
ride the Greyhound buses because it`s going to cause division?
Did they tell gays don`t march in Indiana, it`s going to cause division?
We would have never had Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, any of that,
if that was the deciding factor on people standing up for what was right
and what make this country better.
MATTHEWS: You know, Kristen, I think Biden has got a problem, because you
can apologize for certain things. You can apologize for insensitivity.
But he called forced busing or busing required by the courts asinine.
His language was not nuanced. I mean, he really used the language. He
thought – and, let`s face it, it wasn`t very popular among working-class
whites who go to public school. That`s their option. And they didn`t feel
like they should go back into the old neighborhood they moved out of.
KRISTEN HAWN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Right.
MATTHEWS: And they said, why do we have to go back to that old
neighborhood again? And I understand that, for all kinds of social
reasons, but the fact is, you can`t defend that today.
rMD-IT_HAWN: You can`t.
MATTHEWS: Back then, it sounded like, OK, it`s a tough call. Now it
I mean, and he`s using bad examples. There are all these missteps. I
mean, in some ways, he didn`t have many places to go but down.
But Kamala Harris, I mean, she showed – it wasn`t just on one issue, I
don`t think, particularly to women – that she – it was a strong debate
MATTHEWS: Can she stay on offense? Can she win a – I don`t know how you
lose if you`re constantly an offense. If you`re scoring baskets, in a
sports sense, and the other side can`t hurt you, how do you lose?
HAWN: I mean…
MATTHEWS: And Biden, on the other hand, I can`t think he goes on offense
against her. What`s he going to say against her?
HAWN: I think he has trouble.
And I think he will have trouble against any woman. And I`m telling you
what I mean. There is – there – I think there`s been a shift, at least
in the Democratic Party, a fundamental shift. We want to see a woman in
office. We saw that in the midterms.
MATTHEWS: Are you speaking for yourself? I hear it.
HAWN: I am. I can`t…
MATTHEWS: I hear it.
HAWN: And I think that whoever the woman is that emerges as the strongest
– and I think it`s her right now – has a really good shot, and can be a
real danger to President Trump at the ballot box.
MATTHEWS: I think things have changed, just like you just said.
At a campaign rally today, Senator Harris made the case for why she`s ready
to prosecute, in a political sense, Trump in the general election. Let`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump has
predatory nature and predatory instincts.
And the thing about predators you should know is that they prey on the
vulnerable. They prey on those who they do not believe are strong. And
the thing about predators you must most importantly know, predators are
cowards. Predators are cowards.
And so when we look at this campaign, and we look at the task before us, it
will be to successfully prosecute the case against four more years of
Donald Trump. And I am prepared to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Reverend, I have been watching debates for years. And they`re
very powerful in the moment. They last in their power about a week, about
And then the campaigns tend to go back to the numbers they were in before.
It just is amazing. I saw that with Reagan and Carter. I saw that with so
many – Nixon and Kennedy. Yes, it has a big, powerful punch.
Beth Fouhy of our network said this morning – I heard her say something I
agree with. She said, Kamala is really good at winning the moment. She
did it against Brett Kavanaugh. She did it against Bill Barr. She did it
against Joe Biden. But she hasn`t figured out a way to sustain that
forward motion. What do you think?
SHARPTON: I think that the difference this time is that she`s dealing with
opponents in the primaries, and you`re dealing with someone that can
continue to go on the offense on policy issues, as I said, states` rights
vs. federal government, deal with health care, deal with voting rights.
If she stays on the offensive, which distinguishes herself from some of the
others, I think that she can turn the moment into a movement. When you`re
doing a stand-alone announcement with 20,000 people, which she did, that`s
But you`re not in the ring with some other people. When she got in the
ring, she showed her strength. And that is what a lot of Democrats want,
no matter whether they`re progressive or moderate. And they can see her
doing that to Donald Trump. And we all know Donald Trump is afraid of
MATTHEWS: Well, you know that. Most people are.
But let me ask you about this key question. A lot of Democrats – in fact,
all I have watched – have been afraid of this rape charge, E. Jean
Carroll. It looked to me like a thing – a thing that ought to be
investigated, even at this late date.
It`s a serious charge. It used to be a capital charged in many states.
Trump said the people – about the Central Park 5, he said they should be
executed even before a trial. And they were later exonerated as factually
What about this case? She was saying predator. I don`t know if she`s
getting closer to affecting that, of saying that is a factor in this race.
I heard it. Predator? That`s what we`re talking about here.
HAWN: Right. But I`m not sure if anything sticks.
I mean, like – and if you look at like the Central Park 5….
MATTHEWS: With Trump?
HAWN: With Trump?
MATTHEWS: Why doesn`t it stick?
HAWN: It is beyond…
MATTHEWS: A credible charge.
HAWN: A credible charge. I just – I mean, we heard him speaking about
women in a derogatory way on a recording.
MATTHEWS: On what he could get away with.
HAWN: On what he can get away with.
We heard him. We heard his voice talk about sexually assaulting women, and
it didn`t stick. So I think that just running against him is an entirely
different – it`s an entirely different ball game.
I do think, though, if we have a woman candidate come through the primary,
he may have some issues there.
MATTHEWS: Who`s a stronger candidate, Elizabeth Warren, senator, or
HAWN: Senator Harris.
MATTHEWS: In the general?
HAWN: I think so.
MATTHEWS: I think, if she can stay – she can stay towards the…
MATTHEWS: That`s my favorite question right now, because I think those two
are really on the move.
Thank you, Reverend Al Sharpton, as always, sir. And, Kristen Hawn, thank
you so much.
Up next: With Robert Mueller set to testify July 17, two weeks from today,
President Trump`s warning him.
Who is he? This is Al Capone stuff. He`s warning him to stick to his
script, and is planning also some counterprogramming, a big rally.
Who is he? This guy doesn`t work for him. He doesn`t work for Trump. Who
is he to warn him? What`s that – what`s the bullying? What`s that mean?
Or else what, Mr. President? What are you going to do about it? Except
you`re acting like a bully. You`re – or a predator.
We`re back after this.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Two weeks from today, former special counsel Robert Mueller will testify
before Congress in what many see as the Democrats` last good shot at making
their case for the impeachment of President Trump. It will either happen
now or never. Mueller will testify before the House Judiciary and
Intelligence Committees in what could be the most consequential hearings of
The president has long called the Mueller investigation a witch hunt and a
hoax, despite the fact that it handed up 34 indictments. And that includes
the president`s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the president`s
former lawyer Michael Cohen, who are both serving time in prison, as well
as the president`s former national security adviser Michael Flynn who is
President Trump has not shied away from going after the former special
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think he is a total
conflicted person. I think Mueller is a true Never Trumper. He is
somebody that dislikes Donald Trump. He is somebody that didn`t get a job
that he requested that he wanted very badly.
Bob Mueller is no friend of mine. I had conflicts with him. We had a
business dispute. We had somebody that is in love with James Comey.
Mueller terminated them illegally. He terminated the emails. He
terminated all of the stuff between Strzok and Page. They`re gone. And
that`s illegal. That`s a crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Mueller has already laid out what to expect from his
testimony during his only public statement on camera back in May.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT MUELLER, SPECIAL COUNSEL: Any testimony from this office would not
go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis and the
reasons for the decisions we made. And the report is my testimony. I
would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any
appearance before Congress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And President Trump is warning Mueller that he`d better hold
true to that and limit his testimony to what`s in the report. The
president tweeted: He said he could only stick to the report, and that is
what he would and must do after so much testimony and total transparency.
This witch hunt must now end. No more do-overs. No collusion, no
obstruction. The great hoax is dead. That`s Trump talking.
And now we`ve learn in order about the president`s strategy to counter
Robert Mueller`s testimony two weeks from tonight. It`s the most Trumpian
approach possible. Think about it.
That`s coming up, next. Stay with us.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Donald Trump is trying to make sure that he is playing offense, not defense
when former special counsel Robert Mueller testifies in front of Congress
in 14 days. Last night, the Trump campaign announced the president will be
holding a rally in Greenville, North Carolina on that same day as Mueller
is testifying. On Capitol Hill, the president`s Republican allies,
meanwhile, are preparing a coordinated effort to, quote, try to undercut
Mueller`s credibility and paint him as a political pawn and Democrats`
efforts to try to undermine the president.
Trump has already tried to intimidate Mueller to deliver his testimony to
For more, I`m joined by Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois,
member of the House Intelligence Committee, and Ken Dilanian, NBC News
national security reporter.
Congressman, what do you make of these three salients, if you will, points
of attack. They`re going to try to intimidate the guy into not saying
anything more than he put in the report. The Republicans in your
committees are going to go after him probably for Strzok and his girlfriend
and all the bad stuff, the bad apple stuff, and all that stuff. And, of
course, he is holding a rally. I guess the rally can`t do much about.
But what about – you`re going to be sitting there with each Democrat
getting five minutes to make their own pitch. Meanwhile, the Republicans
apparently have a coordinated campaign to bring up all the dirt on Mueller.
REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): Yes. I think what I`ll point out first is when
a special counsel was appointed, there was bipartisan support, talking
about the integrity of Mr. Mueller, and that he was the perfect choice.
But, of course, when he comes out with a report they don`t quite like, all
of that changes.
None of this is any different than what they`ve done for the last almost
three years, which to act like the president`s political counselor and
legal (AUDIO GAP), whatever it does to take to protect the president
politically and legally. So, that`s no surprise. At least part of our
(AUDIO GAP) probably be involved with defending the special counsel at that
MATTHEWS: What about getting him to go a bit further than he did in his
report and what he said in those eight minutes in that later statement?
QUIGLEY: I think that`s a great point. Look, I have the greatest
admiration for the special counsel, but he doesn`t get to decide what he is
going to talk about. There are very fair questions about what happened to
the counterintelligence investigation, where all this began. Talk to us
about Trump Tower Moscow and what they gleaned, the possibility of money
We know there were people working on the counterintelligence investigation.
What did they learn are, where is that information, are they still working
on this project, and what is the role of the FBI? So, a lot of questions
for us to understand how the president was compromised. (AUDIO GAP) as a
result of the president being compromised?
MATTHEWS: Ken, the bullying tactic of the president. It was almost he
better not go – he doesn`t have any authority in the institution over this
guy Mueller. He has no right to tell him what to say.
KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I think he is scared, because Robert
Mueller, if he could speak freely, could really powerfully criticize the
president in a way that almost no one else can. This is a life-long
DILANIAN: He volunteered for the Vietnam War when Donald Trump was in
Studio 54, who led the FBI after 9/11. And what he didn`t do in his
report, he said there was no conspiracy, no crime that he could prove, but
he didn`t pass moral judgment on the Trump campaign`s flirtation with the
He didn`t say, you know what? This is a terrible idea that they did this.
It was bad for the country. If he says that, that could be bad for Donald
He`s also going to demolish Trump`s two big talking points that Mueller
found no collusion and Mueller exonerated Trump. Neither of those things
are true. Mueller said it in the eight-minute news conference, but now he
is going to talk about it in detail. And let`s not forget, that news
conference moved the polls on impeachment.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk than for a moment with the congressman.
Congressman, you`re a political kind of guy. Tell me how you can move that
dial. Can you move it from 20-some percent who support impeachment to,
say, 40 percent? How do you do that when your big day comes two weeks from
QUIGLEY: Yes, I think members have to be very judicious in their time and
not give a four and a half minute speech and give the special counsel 30
seconds to respond.
QUIGLEY: I think this needs to be a coordinated plan to allow the special
counsel to tell the truth.
And you`re absolutely right. In eight minutes, he moved the dial. He is
going to have four hours in front of the American people. It`s our job to
set him up in a position where he`s allowed to go into this in more detail,
tell the American people.
And if anything, if all he does in four hours is to go into more detail as
the fact that the president was not exonerated and why, I think that in
itself moves the needle. He`ll have the opportunity to go into detail in a
manner that matters. When I would write long briefs in criminal cases that
a three-judge panel would still have a lot of questions, and obviously, the
members of the Judiciary Committee and the Intelligence Committee will have
those kinds of questions.
MATTHEWS: Has Speaker Pelosi told you folks on the committees that are
hearing the testimony from two weeks from now what her standard is in terms
of changing her position and going along with impeachment? Is there any
signal what the standard would be?
QUIGLEY: I think that the speaker`s public stance has been her private
stance. I think she understands how to count noses in the Senate and what
it might mean from a political point of view. I do think that the needle
is moving within the caucus and within the American people. I think asking
for the impeachment inquiry will help us from a legal point of view. I
call it obstruction after the fact. After the Muller report has been out,
the Trump administration`s obstruction has only got worse.
If we`re going get to the truth, we`re going have to move forward with the
MATTHEWS: Thanks so much, Congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois. Thank
you, Ken Dilanian. Have a nice weekend both of you, folks.
Coming up, Trump`s Fourth of July spectacle was a bad idea. But there is
some good news there. Well, about our country, I should say, not about
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: I speak now on the eve of this undemocratic spectacle in this
city where I work, a city where I have chosen to live my life, a city that
I am as you all know a student of national politics. My interests are the
relationship between the free individual and the government in Washington
and the role America should rightly play in the world.
I like the way that President Harry Truman talked about we Americans. He
called us this country. He didn`t mean the government in Washington, but
the American people and those splendid moments when we feel and act as one.
Some of those moments I have shared myself. I was in college when Jack
Kennedy was killed. I was in remote Africa when 50 years ago this month
Americans crossed the star-filled night on their way to the moon. I shared
this country`s anger at our leaders` lies over Vietnam and Watergate, and
yes, the petty indignities of the Clinton era.
And through it all, I have watched the American spirit not only survive,
but prevail, where politicians have failed us, the country itself has risen
to the challenge, quickened to each new assault on its morale. I have
loved this city of Washington that Trump intends to abuse tomorrow, since
my first visit here with my parents and two of my brothers back in 1954.
I`m especially fond now of driving home at night past the monuments of
Lincoln and Jefferson and looking across the Potomac to the Lee Mansion,
and on it the little twinkle of light guarding the grave of John F.
I think we`ll get through what Trump has planned for us here, because the
good news is that we are all still Americans, and that same spirit that
built this great country continues to rip across it today. The same
destiny lures us. The same optimistic, rebellious nature drives us that
did even in those early scary days of recreating our republic – when our
country was small but our soul was large, large enough and gutsy enough to
declare to the whole world that all are created equal.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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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