Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) plays Hardball. TRANSCRIPT: 10/22/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.

Guests:
Ted Lieu, Claire McCaskill, Cornell Belcher, Jon Meacham, Michael Moore, Amy Klobuchar
Transcript:

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  We had a lot to get through but we did it

together.  Thanks for watching THE BEAT.  I`ll be back at 6:00 P.M.

tomorrow.

 

And “HARDBALL” is up next.

 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  Direct line.  Let`s play HARDBALL.

 

Good evening.  I`m Chris Matthews back in Washington.

 

While under armed attack by Russia, the people of Ukraine were denied

American arms unless the president of Ukraine declared that he was

investigating Joe Biden.  Well, this is the powerful testimony today of

Chief U.S. Diplomat to Ukraine Bill Taylor who drew a direct line between

Trump`s delivering of the needed weapons to that country and his demand of

personal political assistance from a foreign power.

 

Ambassador Bill Taylor is wrapping up his closed-door testimony right now. 

It`s lasted over 9 hours.

 

According to members who were in the room with him, his testimony

represents a sea change, that`s the phrase, in the investigation and

elicited sighs and gasps.

 

Speaking of gasps, the president`s inflammatory morning tweet today

compared the lawful impeachment inquiry against him to a lynching.  We`ll

get to that.

 

And a little later, I`ll be speaking to filmmaker Michael Moore tonight and

Senator Amy Klobuchar about the state of the Democratic race for president

and the chance unseating Donald Trump.

 

We begin with the Democratic testimony of Bill Taylor who appeared under

testimony under subpoena for a private deposition today.

 

According to Taylor`s opening remarks obtained by NBC News, and I read

them, Taylor told Congress that the release of U.S. military support was

contingent on a commitment from Ukraine that they would investigate the

Bidens and the 2016 election.

 

He testified that U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland, quote, told

me that President Trump had told him that he wants President Zelensky to

state publicly that Ukraine will investigate Burisma, the firm link to

Hunter Biden, as well as alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016

election, which is nonsense.

 

Most explosive, according to Taylor, Sondland said everything was dependent

on such an announcement including security assistance.  Sondland said that

President Trump wanted President Zelensky in a public box by making a

public statement about ordering such investigations.

 

Moreover, Taylor says that the exchange Trump was seeking from Ukraine was

explicitly spelled out to a top official in that country.

 

Taylor testified that NSC Adviser Tim Morrison told him Sondland told a top

Zelensky aid that the security assistance money would not come until

Zelensky committed to pursue the Burisma investigation, referring to the

firm that hired Hunter Biden.

 

NBC News also reports that according to two Democrats, Taylor took

meticulous personal notes, which have not yet been handed over to the

committee.

 

Joining me right now, U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu of California, a member of

the House Judiciary Committee, former Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri,

and Josh Lederman, NBC News National Political Reporter.

 

I want to start with the congressman.  Tell us, I mean, it struck me as

such a well written opening statement because it`s like discovering this

horrible mystery story.  What happened then?  Here`s a good diplomat who`s

come back to serve his country as head of mission in Kiev and he finds out

this other thing going on with Giuliani and the rest of them putting

together this kind of drug deal where they say, okay, if you want the

military aid to fight off the Russians, give us the dirt on Biden.

 

REP. TED LIEU (D-CA):  Thank you, Chris.  Thank you, first, to your

question.  First of all, Ambassador Taylor served our country honorably. 

He`s a graduate at West Point.  He served in Vietnam with 101st Airborne. 

He served in both Democratic and Republican administrations.  And his

opening statement that is now in the public domain is devastating to Donald

Trump.

 

It shows, in fact, that there were two quid pro quos, that Ukraine had not

only to have to go investigate the Bidens, they also had to go ahead and

make it public, which essentially is so that the Trump campaign could then

use that publicly, and they also had to investigate the DNC and that crazy

conspiracy theory for the 2016 elections.  It was very damning for the

president.

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, you make a great point there, which is that Biden wanted -

- I`m sorry – President Trump Wanted to be able to say Biden is under

investigation in Ukraine.

 

LIUE:  Absolutely.  That`s why it was so important that the Ukrainian

leader not only do these two investigations but also make it public.  And

it`s right there in the opening statement of Ambassador Taylor.

 

MATTHEWS:  Senator, what I liked about his testimony was his lively

description of this situation.  Here`s a country, Ukraine, whatever you

think of it, it`s the frontline with the Russians.  And the Russians are

trying to rebuild their empire and they want to use Ukraine as part of the

rebuilding, of course, make it part of themselves again.  And here they are

facing Russian tank fire and all they want is some Javelin missiles to

defend themselves with to fight the tanks.  And at that very moment, the

president of the United States sends word, you don`t get any help right now

no matter how much trouble you`re in holding your country against the

Russians unless you get me some dirt on my political enemies.  It`s so

vivid.

 

FMR. SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D-MO):  Yes, if you think about the fact Russia

was trying to kill Ukrainians during this period of time and that this was

about protecting them.  And here`s the deal, Chris, you know, we can quit

talking about the whistleblower and who it is.  The whistleblower is now

irrelevant.  We now have a conversation that has been summarized.  We now

have Sondland, we have Taylor, we have Giuliani, we have Mulvaney all

saying there was a quid pro quo.  I mean, this was in fact a shakedown of a

foreign government for the president`s political purposes.  That is against

the law.

 

And I hope that people don`t get distracted by all the Republicans arguing

about the process.  When you don`t have the facts, you talk about the

process.  And it is this – the fact that he recorded all these notes,

those are recorded recollections, they can be admissible in court, I think

today was a very bad day for all the Republicans saying, oh, look at the

process.  They`re going to have to come to grips with the reality of the

facts that are in front of them.

 

MATTHEWS:  You know, Josh, I wonder about the reporting because everybody

likes to layer this and layer this with more process.  But bottom line,

have we ever, in history, found a president who basically admits what he

did?  He`s not denying the transcripts.  He`s bragging about it again with

Sean Hannity last night.  We got a perfect transcript out there.  And then

he doesn`t really deny that he did what he did, except he doesn`t like the

term, quid pro quo, but it`s so clearly what he`s done.  And now this guy

has testified with vivid testimony that this is exactly what happened.

 

JOSH LEDERMAN, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER:  Right.  What`s becoming

clear and clearer, Chris, is that the president seems to believes that it`s

fine to have a trade, A for B, pretty explicitly.  He just thinks as long

as you don`t use the phrase, quid pro quo, that`s fine.

 

Now, unfortunately for the president, that`s not going to be a legal

argument probably when that`s not going to be compelling to House

Democrats.  The real question is is that going to be an argument that would

be compelling to Republicans if they have to face an impeachment trial.

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, that`s right.  They don`t have to put the word quid pro

quo into the Article I.  All they have to do is – he guy said today, Bill

Taylor, the ambassador, he said there`s a direct line between what Trump

wanted, the dirty one, and what he was holding up.

 

LEDERMAN:  And Bill Taylor himself uses the phrase quid pro quo in his

statement today to Congress, yes, that we obtained here at NBC News.  He

says, this is a rancorous story about whistleblowers, Mr. Giuliani, side

channels, quid pro quos, corruption and interference in election.  So even

if the president doesn`t think that`s what happened, his own ambassador

who`s working on this issue described it in that specific term.

 

MATTHEWS:  Let`s get back to the impeachment.  Anyway, before that, Bill

Taylor echoed the accounts of a shadow foreign policy, describing a

parallel channel of U.S. policymaking that he called highly irregular

because it operate mostly outside the official State Department channels,

and included, of course, Rudy Giuliani.

 

Taylor says that according to National Security Council Aide Tim Morrison,

while Trump denied the quid pro quo to Sondland, he did insist that

President Zelensky go to a microphone and say he`s opening investigations

of Biden and and the 2016 election interference, which that`s all made up,

the last part.

 

Likewise, Taylor testified that Sondland said, quote, that President Trump

was adamant, that President Zelensky himself had to clear things up and do

it in public.  Otherwise, Sondland told the Ukrainians that we would be at

a stalemate.

 

Back to you, Claire, and I just think this question is pretty – this

shakedown, the president of the United States, takes a country that`s

desperate to survive, desperate for Javelin missiles, in fact, they use to

fight tanks.  Russian tanks are advancing towards them.  They`ve already

taken Crimea from them.  They hope to take away the whole country,

eventually, starting in the east.

 

And at the very moment of crisis, when they desperately needed this crucial

military aid, the president says, okay, give me some dirt or you ain`t

getting nothing.  It`s so horrible.

 

MCCASKILL:  It is unimaginable that a president of the United States would

sacrifice the national security of this country because now our reputation

is sullied permanently, that he would play political games with foreign aid

for one of our allies.  And if this wasn`t shadow foreign policy, this was

shadow political operatives.  This was no different than what they were

trying to do at Watergate.  This was about trying to win elections, not

about trying to implement a foreign policy.

 

And, you know, if you think about the chance during the 2016 election about

Hillary Clinton and what she actually did, it may be time for us to start

saying lock him up about Rudy Giuliani.

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  I was thinking that, Claire, you`re right, Senator, it`s

like the plumbers, it`s the plumbers of Watergate.  It`s the shadow

government, a separate bunch of henchmen.

 

Anyway, the White House responded to the news from Taylor`s deposition in

this statement late today, quote, President Trump has done nothing wrong. 

This is a coordinated smear campaign from far left lawmakers and radical

unelected bureaucrats waging war on the Constitution.  There was no quid

pro quo.

 

Congressman, I`ve been reading with a little bit of the dismay that you

might hold up the impeachment process until after Thanksgiving.  Is waiting

to embellish the record at some point a mistake?

 

LIEU:  That`s a good question, Chris.  We have to follow the facts where it

will lead us.  The evidence that`s come out is already incredibly damning

against the president of the United States.

 

I do want to add in a human element to this.  In the opening statement,

Ambassador Taylor talks about 13,000 Ukrainians having died in this war

with Russia and that more undoubtedly would die because of their holding of

U.S. security assistance.

 

So what Donald Trump did actually resulted in loss of lives and it`s also

harming U.S. national security.  I served in active duty in the military,

and one of the central tenants of U.S. national security is pushing back

against Russian aggression.  Ukraine is at the tip of this spear.  And when

we hold back assistance to Ukraine, we`re harming our own national

security.

 

MATTHEWS:  Well said.  A new CNN poll out today, by the way, Congressman,

shows that 50 percent, half the American people favor not only impeaching

Trump but removing him from office.  That`s half now.  That`s consistent

with recent polls from Gallup and Fox News, which also show a majority of

Americans, 52 percent, 51 percent in those cases respectively supporting

the president`s removal.

 

I want to get back to you, Congressman, because you`re right there.  Do you

think we have enough?  Because what I`m concerned is – this is like that

story of World War II, A Bridge Too Far.  If you take too long, if the

train slows down and this thing goes into next year, it seems to be

politically unsavory to have to impeach and try a president in the middle

Iowa caucuses.  That`s my thought.

 

LIEU:  Chris, when the White House released the summarized call transcript,

that was like the Watergate tapes.  It established that Donald Trump, right

after a Ukrainian leader asked for military assistance, he asked for a

favor and those two favors are investigate the Bidens, investigate the

Democratic National Committee.  All these witnesses essentially corroborate

that narrative which is undisputed.  And it is illegal to solicit a foreign

power to interfere in our elections.  It`s even worse when you condition

military aid and a meeting with the president on it.  No one is above the

law.

 

MATTHEWS:  Can we get it done by Thanksgiving, the House part?

 

LIEU:  It`s going to depend on the witnesses and the facts that are coming

in.  But I do think that we`re going to expedite this, we`re going to start

having depositions on the weekends, having two depositions a day.  So we`re

very aware of the time element (ph).

 

MATTHEWS:  Let me go to the senator on this.  Senator McCaskill, Mitch

McConnell is a wily character, without going any further, he`s a character. 

I don`t want to want to – I`m not going to –

 

MCCASKILL:  That`s one way of calling him.

 

MATTHEWS:  I`m just trying to call what he is.  And this guy is going to

try to hold his majority, the worst, well, he has to hold three or four

seats.  He can do it.  It`s all doable.  The whole thing is up in the air

now.  And my question is do you think he wants this thing over with before

New Year`s or does he want to drag it into next year during the Democratic

fight for nomination?

 

MCCASKILL:  No, I think he wants it over with.  I mean, I think people

forget this door swings both ways.  He has got senators in his caucus that

are in political trouble.  You look at Joni Ernst in Iowa, where Trump is

upside down now and her numbers have really slipped.  You look at people

like Thom Tillis, who has the worst numbers in the country right now, maybe

as bad as Mitch McConnell`s even.  You look at somebody like the senator

from Arizona who was appointed into John McCain`s job in a state that`s

trending in our direction.  Those people have very tough votes.  He wants

to get this out of the way.  This impeachment vote will be tough.

 

If it`s a partisan vote in the House, Mitch McConnell will try to make it

partisan vote in the Senate.  But I`m hopeful that there will be

Republicans in the House that will do the right thing, and I`m hopeful

there will be enough in the Senate that will look at this as a

constitutional obligation and not a political exercise.

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, I`d go back to the old days of the argument.  It`s what

you do with what you got.  And if all the Democrats can do is impeach him,

they should do it.

 

Josh, your thoughts, how far will Bill Taylor`s brilliant testimony today,

it was so dramatic, how far will this push the Democrats to get the

impeachment articles before the floor?

 

LEDERMAN:  I think this moves the ball quite a bit forward because it lays

out in such explicit detail backed up by notes from the time that this was

happening.  And it really draws such a direct line, as several lawmakers

have said, where he`s describing conversations with Ambassador to the E.U.

Sondland who says, President Trump told me he wants an investigation in a

conversation about military aid and releasing it.  There is no ambiguity

here the way there has been up until this point.

 

MATTHEWS:  And this is a criminal trial.  There`s so much testimony now to

make the same point there was a quid pro quo.  But what I want to do is

right now defend people like Bill Taylor against this president.  Because

it`s public servants like this guy, as, Congressman, you pointed out, he

comes out of West Point, public service from the time he`s 18 years old

serving in the military, in the infantry, the 101st Airborne, the whole

thing, everything about his life is serving the country.

 

And to have this president who`s given so little to the country, who`s

avoided service himself to trash these people and call them deep staters is

just playing a game of awful American nature.  It`s awful what this guy is

doing about these – these are good people who are blowing the whistle on

bad behavior, unconstitutional behavior.

 

Thank you so much, Congressman Ted Lieu of California, former Senator

Claire McCaskill of Missouri, depending where you are, and Josh Lederman.

 

We`re going to have much more tonight from Ambassador Taylor`s explosive

coming up in the program.

 

Also, President Trump calls the impeachment inquiry a lynching.  Is he

ignoring the racial connection to that word or is he exploiting it?  Think

about that during the break.  What`s he up to when he calls himself a

victim of a lynching?  Guys that look like him don`t get lynched.

 

He`s also escalating his attacks on everyone involved in that inquiry. 

Here he goes.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT:  And where is the person that gave the

whistleblower the information, because is that person a spy or does that

person even exist?  I have a feeling that person doesn`t exist.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Oh, yes, the president`s increasingly erratic behavior, you just

heard it there, said to be setting off alarm bells within the Republican

Party.

 

Plus, the establishment (ph), Democrats are reported to getting a little

bit nervous about beating Trump next year.  Is there a winner in the

current field of candidates?  You have that list is a winner among them, is

the next president there?

 

Two big voices join us tonight.  Oscar-winning filmmaker and activist

Michael Moore, he`s coming here.  He`s just endorsed Bernie Sanders.  Let`s

talk about that.  That is big endorsement.

 

And representing the modern wing of the Dems Senator and Presidential

Candidate Amy Klobuchar, she`s also in the room.

 

Much more and a busy night here on HARDBALL.  Stick with us.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

 

On the same day that the president`s ambassador to Ukraine testified there

was an explicit quid pro quo related to the Ukrainians, President Trump

used some of his most inflammatory language yet again to rail against the

impeachment inquiry itself. 

 

In a clear sign of his escalating agitation, I guess, Trump tried to paint

himself as a victim, comparing the constitutional process of impeachment to

the torture and murder of African-Americans by white mobs in this country`s

too recent past. 

 

In a tweet this morning, the president wrote, in part – this is a tweet,

by the way – “All Republicans must remember what they`re witnessing here,

a lynching.”

 

To be clear, according to the NAACP, from 19 – well, 1882 to 1968, not too

many thousand years ago, 1968, more than 4,700 lynchings occurred in the

United States, 4,700.  Of those people who were lynched, about 3,400 were

black, about three-quarters. 

 

The president`s comparison of his treatment during the impeachment inquiry

to brutal racist violence drew immediate outrage from lawmakers.

 

The chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, California Congresswoman

Karen Bass, and the highest ranking African-American in the House, Majority

Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, blasted the president for comparing

impeachment to a hate crime. 

 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA):  And to invoke the horrific legacy of lynching –

and, you know, during the years when lynchings took place, they were

advertised like sporting events. 

 

People were told to come out on a Sundays, bring your family, watch an

African-American be burned, watch an African-American be hung. 

 

He clearly doesn`t understand the Constitution, so he doesn`t understand

our constitutional duties, and he doesn`t understand or have an

appreciation for U.S. history.

 

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC):  But to compare the constitutional process to

something like lynching is far beneath the office of the president of the

United States. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  But South Carolina`s Lindsey Graham – isn`t he something? –

isn`t he something? – echoed Trump`s use of the term, calling impeachment

a political lynching. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC):  So, yes, this is a lynching in every sense. 

This is un-American.

 

What does lynching mean?  That a mob grabs you.  They don`t give you a

chance to defend yourself.  They don`t tell you what happened to you.  They

just destroy you. 

 

That`s exactly what`s going on in the United States House of

Representatives right now. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  I mean, it`s amazing.  I should hate him.  I should hate this

guy. 

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

MATTHEWS:  I just don`t.

 

There`s something about Lindsey Graham that doesn`t seem that offensive. 

But what he`s saying there is offensive, if anybody else said it.

 

Thank you. 

 

CORNELL BELCHER, FORMER OBAMA CAMPAIGN POLLSTER:  But he`s been flip-

flopping.  You remember the…

 

MATTHEWS:  Cornell Belcher, thank you.  Let me introduce you, sir. 

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

BELCHER:  Sorry.

 

MATTHEWS:  When you heard that – your own impulse when you heard you heard

him say he`s a victim today of a lynching? 

 

BELCHER:  Well, one, it is grotesque. 

 

But, Chris, I`m beyond my ability to be shocked by this president`s

injection of race and his racial aversion in politics.  I`m beyond my

ability to be shocked by it. 

 

And truth of the matter is, I think it`s calculated.  You and I might

disagree on this, but I think, whenever he gets in trouble, he goes back to

his base.  Whenever he gets in trouble, he goes back to his predicate.  And

that is racial aversion. 

 

I don`t want to talk about – I`m not taking the bait.  I don`t want to

talk about his racism today.  I talk about his racism…

 

MATTHEWS:  Why is that taking the bait? 

 

This is the American subject from – as long as we live, race in this

country is going to be the San Andreas Fault, and either you jump on it and

exploit it, or you try to work it. 

 

BELCHER:  You`re preaching to the choir. 

 

However, racism is not high crime and misdemeanor.  So I don`t want to talk

about racism today.

 

MATTHEWS:  I see what you mean.

 

BELCHER:  What I want to talk about today is him shaking down the president

of Ukraine. 

 

What I want to talk about today is Bill Taylor…

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, go ahead.  I want to get to that.

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

BELCHER:  … drawing a direct line from…

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

MATTHEWS:  Bill Taylor is a public servant.

 

BELCHER:  That`s about his impeachment.  I don`t want to talk about his

racism.

 

Unfortunately, racism is not a high crime and misdemeanor. 

 

MATTHEWS:  OK, let me get back to it one more time.  Then I will drop it. 

OK. 

 

Look at the – just to spell it out, so people need the points.  When he

was running against – he`s always been running against Barack Obama. 

 

BELCHER:  Yes. 

 

MATTHEWS:  In his soul, he`s fighting with him. 

 

BELCHER:  Yes. 

 

MATTHEWS:  He said he was an illegal immigrant, basically, he snuck in from

some weird thing in Hawaii and Kenya and everything.

 

BELCHER:  He`s not a real American.

 

MATTHEWS:  And then, this past week, when I was out with my operation, I`m

watching television.  And I watch him speaking at that Minnesota rally for

an hour-and-a-half that FOX gave full time to.

 

And he`s talking about how the only reason he – he did well as vice

president, because he knew how to kiss Barack Obama`s ass. 

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

MATTHEWS:  That is the most racist reference.  It was subjugating a white

guy to a black guy.  You knew exactly what he was doing for his audience. 

 

BELCHER:  Yes. 

 

MATTHEWS:  It was chillingly horrible, and now this.

 

BELCHER:  And when you are telling women of color who were elected to

Congress to go back to their countries, you`re race-baiting.

 

This is what he constantly does.

 

MATTHEWS:  Whatever countries they might be, yes.

 

BELCHER:  And the problem is, historically, Chris, it has not been a

disqualifier to the majority of white voters.

 

I do get a sense that that is beginning to change, where especially white-

college-educated women, they talk about what`s going on in this country and

the division and how this is – this can`t continue, because of the future

of their children. 

 

I am beginning to get a sense that white people finally are beginning to

have some skin in the racism game. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Let me tell you, my advice, having grown up near the burbs, it`s

a class thing too.

 

Nobody wants to be known as a racist.  That`s lowbrow.  That`s lowbrow.

 

BELCHER:  Right.

 

MATTHEWS:  Nobody wants to be known as one. 

 

You`re taught from the time you`re a kid, no bad words, none of that stuff. 

You can`t talk like that.  When you think like that, they`re working on. 

But there`s a sense of it`s like, nobody good talks like that.

 

But Trump talks like that.  So how can you vote for a guy?

 

BELCHER:  But they have – but they did.  The majority of white people

voted for him.

 

And, Chris, if the election were held today, I bet you the majority of

white people would still vote for him.

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, he is at 41 percent right now, and that`s white people.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, I want to bring in Jon Meacham, presidential historian. 

 

Hey, Jon, thanks for coming in, because you`re good on this subject from –

being from the south, from Sewanee.  And you know all about this going back

to the days of Andrew Jackson.

 

Populism and racism, Trump is a – he always goes back to square one and

plays the card.  He did it again today, calling himself a victim of a

lynching. 

 

JON MEACHAM, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN:  He absolutely went to an ancient and

troubling trope when he was in trouble. 

 

This is a guy who rose to power on the birther conspiracy.  He has ridden

this terrible American instinct.  And it is an American instinct.  We do

all we can to suppress it, to redeem ourselves from it. 

 

But, as Fitzgerald wrote, we are always borne ceaselessly back into it. 

And until we confront it, until we talk about it and call it for what it

is, we`re going to keep being pushed back into it. 

 

This is a country that was founded to – and in many ways protected slavery

as an institution.  And for then a century after Appomattox, we enforced

apartheid in my part of the world. 

 

And it`s only been gone, insofar as it`s been gone, for half-a-century,

just over half-a-century.  And so this is all the day before yesterday. 

And what the president has done is tried to undo what minimal progress we

have made to actually become a more perfect union, all for his own personal

benefit. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you both, but I will start with Cornell, because you

started the fight here, because I think it`s the huge story. 

 

This guy`s testimony, the U.S. ambassador, effectively, the charge

d`affaires, to Kiev, on the record tonight brilliantly laid out how he

discovered the crime that`s worthy of impeachment. 

 

BELCHER:  Right. 

 

And so I don`t want to talk about racism this evening.  I want to talk

about high crimes and misdemeanors.

 

The president broke the law.  And I think – and I think he`s brilliantly

and diabolically pushing race into this conversation, so we`re not talking

about that. 

 

MATTHEWS:  So that`s his queen sacrifice, right?  He will sacrifice, OK,

I`m a racist, but let`s talk – change the subject. 

 

BELCHER:  Let`s change the subject.  That`s right. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Jonathan, do you think he`s that majestic at changing the

conversation, or he`s just erratic, and he is a bit of a racist?  A bit of.

 

MEACHAM:  He – both.  Yes, and yes, unquestionably.

 

Look, this is a very important day, in – not only in this era, but

arguably in American history.  This is like when John Dean testified…

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, I agree.

 

MEACHAM:  … in 1973.  This is like when the smoking gun tape came out,

the transcript, which, remember, and you know well, it wasn`t until the

very end of a 26-month process that Republicans finally abandoned Nixon. 

 

So there`s a great moral and constitutional test confronting the Republican

Party at this hour, which is, are you going to believe the testimony of a

career civil servant, who has no conceivable agenda that I could detect,

and has laid out a classic test of whether we believe in the rule of law

and we honor the framers? 

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

 

MEACHAM:  Why is it that conservatives are so in love with the Federalist

Papers, except when it comes to this?  Can someone explain that to me? 

 

MATTHEWS:  You know, unelected bureaucrats, you know?

 

MEACHAM:  Yes.

 

MATTHEWS:  You know, like General MacArthur – General MacArthur?

 

MEACHAM:  Sure.

 

MATTHEWS:  I mean, a lot of people I don`t know like.  That doesn`t make

them bad. 

 

Anyway, thank, Cornell Belcher.  Thank you, Jon Meacham.  It was a great

honor to have you on tonight again, as well as this fellow here, who knew

what he wanted to talk about and wasn`t going to let me get in the way. 

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

MATTHEWS:  Still ahead: “The New York Times” says some Democratic leaders

are looking at the current field of candidates and asking, is there anybody

else? 

 

It`s like Peggy Lee.  Is this all there is?  Is that all there is?  Is that

all there is?  It was a Peggy Lee song.

 

So, who do they have in mind?  Well, Michael Bloomberg everywhere.  Turn a

corner, somebody says Michael Bloomberg.  So what are the chances of anyone

new entering the race at this point? 

 

I`m going to ask Michael Moore.  But he`s got a candidate.

 

You`re watching HARDBALL. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

 

We`re only a little more than three months away now from the first ballots

being cast in the 2020 Democratic primary.  And the contest seems as wide

open as ever. 

 

And while this cycle has been the largest Democratic field in modern times,

some party leaders are musing now about even more candidates getting in. 

 

According to “The New York Times,” anxious members of the Democratic

establishment – I didn`t know still was one – are asking, is there anyone

else? 

 

“The Times”` Jonathan Martin writes: “With doubts rising about former Vice

President Biden`s ability to finance a multistate primary campaign,

persistent questions about Senator Elizabeth Warren`s viability in the

general election, and skepticism that Mayor Pete Buttigieg can broaden his

appeal beyond white voters, Democratic leaders are engaging in a familiar

rite, fretting about who is in the race and longing for a white knight to

enter the contest at the last minute.”

 

Well, some of the names that have been floated include former Attorney

General Eric Holder, Michelle Obama, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, and, yes,

Hillary Clinton. 

 

And while those members of the Democratic establishment are eying other

candidates to jump in the race, the acclaimed documentary filmmaker Michael

Moore will argue he has already found the winning candidate. 

 

He joins us tonight next.  He is here in the building. 

 

You`re watching HARDBALL. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

MICHAEL MOORE, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER:  So, what do they say?  Bernie`s too

old! 

 

(BOOING)

 

MOORE:  Bernie`s too old! 

 

(BOOING)

 

MOORE:  A $7.25 minimum wage, that`s too old. 

 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

 

MOORE:  A $10,000 deductible for your health care, what is that? 

 

AUDIENCE:  Too old!

 

MOORE:  When you say Bernie can`t win, you`re lying to the American people. 

Not only can he win.  Bernie will win!

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

 

That was documentary filmmaker the great Michael Moore endorsing Bernie

Sanders over the weekend at Sanders` first campaign event since he suffered

a heart attack at the beginning of the month.  What a wild – I mean,

26,000 people in Queens.  Sanders` campaign estimated that 26,000 people

showed up to the rally in Queens. 

 

Joining me right now is the man who is showing up right now, Michael Moore. 

 

Let me ask you about this, because I don`t think it`s – you are a man of

strong ideology and strong progressive views.  That`s why you`re famous and

you`re iconic. 

 

But there`s a personal endorsement of a guy, a human being, at 78.  Can he

go the distance, all the way through four years of the presidency, do you

think, from what you know? 

 

MOORE:  Oh, absolutely. 

 

What I saw on Saturday, I saw him give a speech.  It went an hour-and-a-

half.  He didn`t use that lectern as a crutch or anything.  He stood there

and powerfully told the people that – what we have to do to make this a

better country.  It was so amazing. 

 

And if you had been there, I will tell you, it wasn`t the old Bernie stump

speech.  He talked about love and compassion and decency. 

 

But he had this – at the end, he said, I want everybody to find somebody

in the crowd that doesn`t look like you, that isn`t – isn`t your skin

color, isn`t your religion.  And I want you to look at that person, and I

want you to ask yourself this question. 

 

Would you fight for them as hard as you would fight for yourself?  Because

if you would, that`s the America that`s going to survive.  That`s the

America that`s going to succeed. 

 

MATTHEWS:  It`s a great New York message too.

 

MOORE:  It was so powerful.

 

MATTHEWS:  You know, I like it when he gets off ideology, just talks about

humanity in that.  That`s a key thing. 

 

MOORE:  Yes, and people need to see more of that.  I`ve known this guy for

30 years and he really –

 

MATTHEWS:  OK, let`s talk about how politics works.  Politics is about

opportunity.  It`s not – every election is not the same.  There are

elections you can`t win. 

 

Nobody was going to knock off Reagan in the second-term no matter who they

were.  Maybe Gary Hart would have been better but – 

 

MOORE:  Right.

 

MATTHEWS:  Nobody is going to knock off Nixon in the second term.  It was

undoable. 

 

But there are opportunities that come along.  Not just open seat

presidencies, but when a president is weak.  I worked for Jimmy Carter but

I accept – accept the fact he was politically weak.  Reagan comes along, a

man of the hard right. 

 

Is this a year that someone of the hard left, the progressive left, that

normally wouldn`t win can actually win the presidency because of the

weakness of this president with all his horrors? 

 

MOORE:  The weakness of the president and the fact that Bernie, as you say,

from the hard left, he is perceived as the real deal.  He`s outside the box

the way Trump was.  He`s not part of – he`s not seen as a system even

though he`s a senator.  He`s an independent. 

 

He won`t – he`s still not a member of the Democratic Party. 

 

MATTHEWS:  I noticed. 

 

MOORE:  This is – yes.  So, he – 

 

MATTHEWS:  We could count.

 

MOORE:  No, but people like that. 

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

MATTHEWS:  But do you think because of his personal character he is a man

to himself? 

 

MOORE:  Absolutely.  Everybody knows, whether you agree with him or not,

that this is somebody who will not sellout.  This is not somebody you can

buy off.  This is – if he was going to cash in, it would have happened

long ago. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Let me just tell you, I`ve been going in anti-war rallies since

the `60s, and Bernie was there.  I saw behind a card table selling a

literature.

 

MOORE:  He was there.  Yes.

 

MATTHEWS:  I know.

 

MOORE:  He was there in the early `60s in Chicago getting arrested for

civil rights –

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

MATTHEWS:  For civil rights – that`s his bona fides.  You`re right.

 

A new CNN poll today shows that 41 percent of Americans approve of

President Trump`s handling of his job.  I just want to talk you about that

because you are a man of the people.  Ever since “Roger & Me”, and Flynn,

Michigan, well before the water problem and everything else, you were

looking out for people like yourself.  Your father worked on the factories. 

Your mother was working out there to – just trying to make it.  You`re a

real person. 

 

Who – why do people like you, except for your politics, stick with his

guy?  Because 41 – who are these people?  I got a brother like this.  I

love my brother, but he talks to me like Trump is triumphant right now. 

 

MOORE:  Why do people I know back home, why do they say –

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, who grew up –  I (ph) grew up with the same background as

you had, stick with Trump, working class white people if you will, working

class people generally.

 

MOORE:  Well, you said the keyword, white.  Sadly, I think it is a racial

thing on some level with a lot of people.  But here – let me say it in a

different way, I think that white guys, the lunch packing (ph) Joes from

Macomb County –

 

MATTHEWS:  Right across, outside of Detroit. 

 

MOORE:  Yes.  They can see the writing on the wall.  Women are coming. 

They`ve arrived last November. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

 

MOORE:  We are now – this is the eighth September in a row where the

majority of first graders in this country last month were not white. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Majority. 

 

MOORE:  Majority were not white. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Meaning Hispanic, African-American or Asian. 

 

MOORE:  Correct. 

 

So, we now see the demographic shift that by the 2040s, this – white

people will be the minority, and I think that there`s some level of fear

about that, probably in the way that white people in South Africa were

afraid what`s going to happen with Mandela – 

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

 

MOORE:  – and the black majority.  But, of course, what happens is, what

history shows –

 

MATTHEWS:  But the people of South Africa really earned the trouble they

got. 

 

MOORE:  Yes.

 

MATTHEWS:  They were wronged for years, really bad.

 

MOORE:  Well – yes, but here we have African-Americans who are still on

the bottom rung of the ladder – 

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

 

MOORE:  – after all these years.  And those of us who are white,

especially white guys, still having that door opened just a little bit

easier for us.  And we know it. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

 

MOORE:  And we know it.  We know that we`re not followed around when we go

to the department store. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

 

MOORE:  We know, listen – 

 

MATTHEWS:  Look, I know what you`re talking about.  Nobody`s looking at you

in the restaurant.  Nobody is looking at you.  Yes.

 

MOORE:  No, that`s correct. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

 

MOORE:  So, black Americans still have it pretty damn rough, and –

 

MATTHEWS:  So that spreads fear into a white voter and he votes white?

 

MOORE:  Yes, be – yes, because some white voters are afraid that – you

don`t want to – when you`re in power, you don`t want to lose what you

have.  And let`s face it, white guys –

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, but working class guys who are struggling along, they`re

struggling class.

 

MOORE:  Yes.

 

MATTHEWS:  You know, working paycheck – they don`t think they`re elite. 

They don`t think of themselves as privileged.

 

MOORE:  No, but they don`t – but they`re been told to fear the other. 

 

MATTHEWS:  I know, that`s – 

 

MOORE:  The other is coming to take it from you when that`s not true (ph).

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

MATTHEWS:  OK, let`s be positive.

 

MOORE: Yes, good.

 

MATTHEWS:  I agree with you. 

 

MOORE:  I like that.

 

MATTHEWS:  Because I`d like to hear from you on this because – 

 

MOORE:  Yes.

 

MATTHEWS:  – I think the culture is so powerful, and not just economics. 

 

Pelosi, I`m a – I have a new hero in life.  And I resisted her because she

resisted.  But I get the feeling that she`s got her eye on the prize.  Your

thoughts? 

 

MOORE:  Absolutely.  I want to – somebody – there should be a statue

already made to her because regardless to say (ph), what my political

differences might be with her, she has played this masterfully, and even

her opponents have to admit that. 

 

What happened today – I think Jon Meacham just said it in the last break

there, that this is – this is the moment today. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

 

MOORE:  You and I are sitting here –

 

MATTHEWS:  Hang onto it. 

 

MOORE:  The Alexander Butterfield day. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Exactly, when we got about the tapes, when we found about the

tapes.

 

MOORE:  Yes.

 

MATTHEWS:  I just hope they can stay focused for a couple of weeks and do

it. 

 

MOORE:  No, they have to do it, and not for – it has to happen now.  You

don`t draw this out. 

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

MATTHEWS:  I`m with you.  I don`t want – we got emoluments clause down the

road, so many things –

 

MOORE:  No, no, don`t.  No, no, no.  This –

 

MATTHEWS:  Do you hear me, Democrats?  Do you hear Michael Moore? 

 

MOORE:  Yes, please?

 

MATTHEWS:  Get it done before Thanksgiving, then you`ll have something to

be thankful for.

 

MOORE:  Yes.  Right.

 

MATTHEWS:  You`re a man of history, sir.

 

MOORE:  Thank you for that.

 

MATTHEWS:  You`re a man of history, and your movies are something.  What`s

next? 

 

MOORE:  You`re kind to say that.  I`m working on something for the election

year here that –

 

MATTHEWS:  For 2020?

 

MOORE:  Yes, that I`ll be able to announce maybe in another month or so. 

But it`s pretty – 

 

MATTHEWS:  Wide distribution?

 

MOORE:  Well, it`s something that I haven`t done before.  So, it`s – I

hope it`ll have a powerful impact. 

 

MATTHEWS:  But you`re (INAUDIBLE) in movies, the greatest documentary movie

in history, remember? 

 

MOORE:  Yes.  Well, thank you – 

 

MATTHEWS:  “Fahrenheit”, well, it`s a fact.  It`s a financial fact. 

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

MOORE:  Yes, it is a financial fact but I also know – I also know the

impact that it had – 

 

MATTHEWS:  And the Palme d`Or.

 

MOORE:  And it won the Palme d`Or at the Cannes Film Fest, yes, yes. 

 

But I can just say, your next guest, Senator Klobuchar, I was talking to

her over there.  She was telling me this wonderful story of going on a bike

trip across Michigan when she was 19 with her father, and they had a

cycling accident.  He broke his cheekbone. 

 

And she told me the hospital that she took him to and it was the same

hospital where I had my tonsils out when I was 10. 

 

This is a little story that had nothing to do with anything, but I – but I

– because we were talking about the national (INAUDIBLE)

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

 

MOORE:  – before we came on, where you went.

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

 

MOORE:  And we`re also glad that you`re back and you`re alive and you`re

thriving.

 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you.

 

MOORE:  And thank you to the people there. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Good manage (ph) – I`m big on doctors these days. 

 

MOORE:  Yes.

 

MATTHEWS:  I really think they know –

 

MOORE:  Yes, we all know how we need that now. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you.

 

MOORE:  Thank you for that.  God bless you.

 

MATTHEWS:  Michael Moore, a good man.  Thank you, sir.  Michael Moore.

 

Up next more on tonight`s bombshell development as we`ve been talking about

in the impeachment inquiry.  Presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar, the

senator from Minnesota, and former prosecutor – we`re going to talk about

prosecution tonight.

 

You`re watching HARDBALL.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

 

Senator Amy Klobuchar (AUDIO GAP) last week`s debate with some momentum, of

course, after strong showing as one of centrist counterpoints to the more

progressive people on the left – Elizabeth Warren, of course, and Bernie

Sanders.  And since that debate of last week, she`s raised $2 million and

has been barnstorming through New Hampshire and Iowa. 

 

Minnesota senator and Democratic presidential candidate, Amy Klobuchar,

joins me now. 

 

OK.  Here`s your chance – 

 

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Yes. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Make your pitch.  Why should the Democratic Party – which, by

the way, in the polling is showing people are wide open, there`s a lot of

undecideds.

 

KLOBUCHAR:  Uh-huh, many, many, many.

 

MATTHEWS:  They`re going to Buttigieg.  They`re not sure if that`s their

final resting place.  There`s a lot of – think about where they stand

right now. 

 

How do you get into that vacuum? 

 

KLOBUCHAR:  Because I want to be the president not just for half of America

but all America.  And I want to bring back those voters – the independent

voters, some of those people that voted for Donald Trump.  There`s almost

10 percent of them that voted for Barack Obama and Donald Trump. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

 

KLOBUCHAR:  I`m from the Midwest, Chris.  I just finished up touring

Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, those blue wall states, blue

wall around those states and make Donald Trump pay for it. 

 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Besides being a normal human being, we`ve got to know you a

long time, you are a normal – 

 

KLOBUCHAR:  No, but I`m in the point – 

 

MATTHEWS:  – you say that you`re the senator from next door. 

 

What`s the edge that says to a voter, get in that voting booth or to get

into that caucus, and you`re going to change your life by voting for me? 

 

KLOBUCHAR:  Because – first of all, I don`t think there`s a monopoly in

good ideas.  I`ve got good ideas.  I`m going to bring down the cost of

health care.  I`ve been leading the effort actually with Bernie to bring

down pharmaceutical prices. 

 

From the minute I`ve got to the Senate, I`ve been taking on, you know,

premiums and I want to have a public option, and that`s actually going to

bring them down and we can pay for it.

 

I want to make college more affordable, and I think we`ve got to do things. 

It`s what Sherrod Brown has called the dignity of work. 

 

I don`t think we should give free college to everyone and pay for rich kids

to get college.  I don`t think that.  Instead, I think we have to make sure

that those jobs, we`re going to have the fastest growing jobs, one and two-

year degree, that we make sure that people are able to support a family

with those jobs.

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

 

KLOBUCHAR:  That we`re able to fill the over million home health care

worker jobs, that when they have those jobs, that they`re able to raise

their families. 

 

I think that`s the future of America, in addition to make it easier for

kids to get four-year degrees and beyond, because we have to be able to

compete in this global economy. 

 

MATTHEWS:  And then it will pass the Senate? 

 

KLOBUCHAR:  Yes, because the Senate has got to focus now with a new

president.  I`ve got a whole 100-day plan with deadlines. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Good, because I was wondering with these promises – 

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

KLOBUCHAR:  We have to change the whole politics right now.  Imagine what

it would be like with the president that doesn`t have (INAUDIBLE) in the

morning.

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

MATTHEWS:  I`m with you.  Barack Obama tried to break it.  He tried to make

the system work and the Republicans hated him. 

 

KLOBUCHAR:  But I think people have reached a point now, the people coming

up to me, the people showing up at our rallies and our town halls, people

that are saying, look, I voted for Trump or I didn`t vote and I can`t stand

him anymore.

 

MATTHEWS:  Should Trump be removed based upon –  

 

KLOBUCHAR:  Can I say one more thing?  We`ve got to win big.  We just can`t

beat him by a victory?  We have to win big and that means winning the U.S.

Senate. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Did you find the testimony of Bill Taylor today compelling? 

 

KLOBUCHAR:  Well, I didn`t hear it because it was behind closed doors, but

the reports are that this is very serious moment, that this has been a bit

of a sea change today, because you have a high level ambassador who is

reporting – these are what the reports say – that, in fact, this was a

planned, planned exchange. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Quid pro quo, yes. 

 

KLOBUCHAR:  Yes, I hate that word. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, a direct line he said between the dirt on Biden and the

foreign military aid. 

 

KLOBUCHAR:  Exactly.  But – an attack on security of our country, because

instead of talking to Ukraine about Russia or something like that, the

president is actually trying to get dirt on an opponent.  That`s what he

was doing. 

 

And I just send a letter to the head of the FEC.  I got a letter back that

said, is that something of value, and today she answered and she said that

it was.  She also said that when that whistle-blower complaint went over to

justice and they decided not to bring a criminal action, that there`s a

memorandum of understanding that says, it then goes over to the FEC.  Guess

what?  It didn`t. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

 

KLOBUCHAR:  So that just shows once again the cover-up. 

 

To me, this is really straightforward.  You don`t have to use a bunch of

legal mumbo jumbo.  What this was, was a president of the United States

looking for dirt, opposition research on an opponent from a foreign leader. 

Then they tried to cover it up by putting it on this super secret server so

that no one can see it. 

 

MATTHEWS:  I know.

 

KLOBUCHAR:  So that`s what this was, and that`s what`s being investigated. 

 

And again, what I think we can do is two things at once.  Of course, if it

comes over to the Senate which I think it will, I will devote myself to

that because that`s my job. 

 

But right now, I am a candidate for the country because I`m someone that`s

going to bring the country together and people can help me out at

AmyKlobuchar.com.

 

MATTHEWS:  And you have another thing going for you, Senator.  You`re a

neighbor of Iowa. 

 

KLOBUCHAR:  That`s right.

 

MATTHEWS:  And neighbors of Iowa, like Gephardt, and I think Hart (ph),

people from that area tend to do well on – 

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

KLOBUCHAR:  Barack Obama.

 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you.

 

KLOBUCHAR:  I can see Iowa from my porch. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, thank you.  Amy Klobuchar, United States senator from

Minnesota, a neighbor of Iowa. 

 

You`re watching HARDBALL.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MATTHEWS:  We have a big show tomorrow night.  Two former CIA directors,

Leon Panetta and John Brennan, join me to talk about the latest on the

impeachment inquiry. 

 

And that`s HARDBALL for now.

 

Thanks for being with us.  I`m back.  It`s great to be back. 

 

“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now. 

 

 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY

BE UPDATED.

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