House to vote on impeachment inquiry. TRANSCRIPT: 10/28/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: It was an honor to work with those individuals and
hear from some of the candidates. So we wanted to share that with you.
That does it for us, THE BEAT live from Philadelphia tonight. I`ll be back
tomorrow at 6:00 P.M. Eastern.
Don`t go anywhere. “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews is up next.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Crashing toward impeachment. Let`s play
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
Tonight, two gate crashing steps toward the impeachment of Donald Trump.
First, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced today that the House of
Representatives will hold its first vote on impeachment, a vote to
formalized the heightening inquiry that`s now entering its second month.
Quote, we will bring a resolution to the floor. Speaker Pelosi wrote in a
letter to our colleagues that affirms the ongoing existing investigation
that is currently being conducted by our committees as part of this
Though Democrats say the resolution isn`t needed under the Constitution or
the law to conduct an impeachment, its passage this Thursday, that`s when
the vote will occur, undercuts the White House, which has been arguing that
the inquiry is illegitimate without the approval of the full House and
Rebutting the White House, Pelosi writes, the Trump administration has made
up this argument, apparently out of whole cloth, in order to justify its
unprecedented cover-up. However, she notes, we are taking this step to
eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump administration may withhold
documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard dually authorized subpoenas
or continue obstructing the House of Representatives.
The impeachment inquiry resolution will be introduced tomorrow with a vote,
as I said, by the full House on Thursday.
In the second step to expedite the impeachment, Trump says they will forego
lengthy court fights to enforce the subpoenas for evidence and testimony
that the White House had been blocking. They will simply use the White
House`s refusal to honor them as evidence of obstruction of justice.
It comes as former Deputy National Security Adviser Charles Kupperman
defied a subpoena and skipped his scheduled deposition today. His no-show
at the behest of the White House earned a strong rebuke from House Intel
Chair Adam Schiff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I think we can infer from the White House
opposition to Dr. Kupperman`s testimony that they believe that his
testimony would be incriminating of the president. We are not willing to
allow the White House to engage us in a lengthy game of rope-a-dope in the
courts. So we press forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: No more rope-a-dope.
I`m joined right now by David Cicilline of Rhode Island who serves on the
House Foreign Affairs Committee, Shannon Pettypiece, NBC Senior Digital
White House Reporter, David Jolly, of course, former Republican Congressman
I want to go to Mr. Cicilline. Thank you, sir.
A couple steps. Let`s start with this one, a resolution to conduct an
impeachment inquiry, not necessary.
Why are we voting this Thursday?
REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): So it`s not a resolution to conduct the
impeachment inquiry. Judge Howell has already ruled we don`t need to do
that. This resolution will set forth the procedures for the next phase of
the inquiry, which is a set of public hearings. So it will set forth the
procedures that will be followed by the committees in the public hearing
part of this process. It will authorize the committees of jurisdiction to
send referrals to the Judiciary Committee of work they have done.
So it`s really a procedure, setting forth the procedures for the public
hearings so they can be done efficiently and with tremendous transparency,
and it will acknowledge that we`re in the midst of an impeachment inquiry
obviously by implication. But this is really important because it`s going
to set forth the procedures for the next phase of the impeachment inquiry,
the public hearing process.
MATTHEWS: Well, if it ain`t broke, you don`t fix it, but you`re doing it.
So here is my question. Will this stop the White House from having an
excuse not to participate, not to respond to requests?
CICILLINE: Well, for sure, they`ve never had a legitimate excuse for doing
it after Judge Howell`s decision where she said an impeachment inquiry
doesn`t require a formal vote, so you would hope by that moment, for sure,
he would realize this is not a good excuse.
But, look, the president has resisted efforts, our efforts to collect
evidence and to get at the truth. He`s tried to obstruct this
investigation since the very beginning. We should not lose sight. We are
investigating the president for reaching out to a foreign ally, asking them
to interfere in an American presidential election to help him in his re-
election and holding up military assistance to that country as leverage.
This is shocking behavior and we intend to get to the bottom of it and hold
this president accountable.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much for being on tonight, David Cicilline of Rhode
Island, from Rhode, thank you, sir.
CICILLINE: Welcome back, Chris. Great to be with you.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
Shannon, this is great. I like two things about today. It is gate
crashing. It knocks down two gates on the way to impeach. From one, it
says, okay, you guys have been fuddling around, saying we`re not going to
cooperate because you didn`t pass a resolution to begin this inquiry.
We`re going to pass a resolution.
Number two, it says, no more court fights. You guys resist a subpoena,
great, that`s evidence of obstruction of justice, thanks you, keeps it
SHANNON PETTYPIECE, MSNBC DIGITAL SENIOR WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: It knocks
the legs out from under the process argument, which was the big argument
that Republicans were making last week in Congress, when they stormed or
went in, whatever want to call it, to this hearing –
MATTHEWS: The Brooks Brothers` fault (ph) on truth.
PETTYPIECE: Knocks the legs out of the process argument. It puts the
White House on the defense. But the White House is going to make whatever
argument they want to make, and they can continue calling this an
unconstitutional investigation if they want to. Their argument was already
on questionable legal ground.
And we had actually asked a White House official at the time that the main
White House lawyer, Pat Cipollone, came out with this argument about the
process not being correct. And we said, well, if the White House – if the
Congressional leaders followed this process, would the White House
cooperate. And they refused to acknowledge that or say they would. They
called it a hypothetical situation.
So the president will continue making whatever argument he wants to make,
that he did nothing wrong and this is unconstitutional. And I don`t think
this is going to change the White House strategy at all.
MATTHEWS: David, the criminal mind always has an alibi, always has an
excuse, somebody told me to do this, I thought I was doing something right.
There`s always an answer, nobody ever says, I did it. So their defense all
these weeks has been you don`t have a resolution, so we`re not going to
participate. And we`ll find out in court because we own the courts, things
Now, I think Pelosi, once again, is showing her savvy and saying, okay,
we`ll give you the damn resolution and get that over with. And, number
two, we`re not fighting this out in your courts anymore. They`re not being
helpful. We`re going to move ahead to impeach you guys. Go ahead.
FMR. REP. DAVID JOLLY (R-FL): And I would say there may be a third, which
is I think this indicates that the House is preparing to file an article of
obstruction of Congress. And here`s why I mean that, Chris.
At this point, the White House has tried to exert privileges, they have
exerted constitutional immunity, which does not exist. They have tried to
litigate the request for subpoena or the depositions. And even during the
Clinton impeachment, you have Republicans who were trying desperately to
defeat Clinton, ultimately acknowledged that even the White House, even
Bill Clinton was afforded certain due process rights and it was not
impeachable for him to exercise his legal rights.
In this case, if they were to move forward with an article of obstruction
of Congress right now, you would be in a predicament where the White House
has simply alleged or proffered their legal defenses. And some would say,
hey, that`s not enough for obstruction of Congress. In this case, by
filing the articles, and we have the Kupperman case sitting out in front of
us, the courts are ultimately going to order that Trump administration
officials must testify. The courts are going to defeat this claim of
constitutional immunity. It does not exist.
At that point, it`s obstruction of Congress. It is an article of
impeachment that the House is in a much stronger position to file against
the president, and likely pass out of the House if the White House fails to
comply with the court ordered testimony.
MATTHEWS: You Know, Shannon, Nancy Pelosi is pretty much my age. And I
have to tell you, one thing you learned in catholic school when you`re
growing up, you learned scholastic philosophy, which is Aristotelian
philosophy. You could discern the difference. You could distinguish
between the essential and the accidental.
And it seems like at every step of the way, she`s sticking to the
essential. What`s impeachable, what do we need to get to a vote on it, to
get this out of the House sometime this year, and maybe just around
Thanksgiving time. She`s sticking to the essential.
PETTYPIECE: Right. Well, and we`ll see if that strategy plays out. But
longer term, the strategy does cause a lot of members have to go on the
record and vote, which was a sense that that was the concern that –
MATTHEWS: She`s protecting her members.
PETTYPIECE: – members in these districts that Trump had won, that
Democrats took back, were now going to have to go on the record and have an
But as we have seen the polling move increasingly towards a majority of
Americans being in favor of impeachment or certainly in favor of an
impeachment inquiry, I think that`s lifted a lot of that overhang. And so,
I mean, maybe that`s why we`re seeing it now at this time, because the
polling is really going in that direction.
And I`ll say within the White House, there`s a Quinnipiac poll last week
that showed about 50 percent of Americans supporting impeachment. That
definitely, I heard, got attention within the White House, and they`re
finally starting to hear some concern about these pollings.
MATTHEWS: I tell you again, the essential thing here is national security
and the fact that the president traded public trust for his personal
political ambitions with regard to Ukraine. That`s better than arguing
about Access Hollywood yucky poo (ph) and all that stuff, because people
don`t think that`s essential. They wouldn`t have elected Trump president.
Anyway, The Washington Post reports today that in their attempts to defend
the president, House Republicans have been using their time in recent
depositions to get information about the whistleblower.
According to sources involved in the proceedings, quote, GOP members and
staffers have repeatedly raised the name of a person suspected of filing
the whistleblower complaint. And their questions in those depositions have
been interpreted as an attempt to unmask the whistleblower, whose identity
is shielded under federal law.
Their behavior stands in contrast to Senate Republicans who, according to
The Washington Post, have quietly voiced exasperation at the expectation to
defend the president. One veteran Republican senator says, it feels like a
David, distinguish between House and Senate here. Senators with six-year
terms, wider constituencies, not just Republicans, you see at least 47
percent of their district from the other party as opposed to House
Republicans who have come from Republican areas, how they`re differing in
their behavior here on impeachment.
JOLLY: And the senators are going to be jurors. And I believe there`s
already five or six senators that are probably considering whether or not
they`re going to have to vote to convict this president on an article of
What the House is doing is trying to replicate what they did during the
Mueller investigation, which is undermine the entire investigation as
somehow being invalid. And if they can put a face to that lack of
credibility, in this case, the whistleblower, they will exploit that for
everything it`s worth, even if it`s meaningless.
What, Chris, ultimately they`re going to have to face though, and this is
where I hate to give counsel to my Republican colleagues because I think
they`re on the wrong side of history on all of this, but they might as well
start arguing the president`s behavior was not impeachable. That`s the
conversation the American people are having.
Is it impeachable for Donald Trump to ask Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden?
That is a fair conversation to have with the American people. Stop with
the procedure nonsense and start trying to convince the American people and
GOP senators that, yes, it may have been wrong, what the president did, but
it`s not impeachable.
MATTHEWS: That would be a little more targeted, I would say. Is it wrong
for the president to hold up foreign military aid to a country under attack
by Russia if they don`t get the dirt for him for his political purposes?
They don`t get their anti-tank Javelin missiles, which they`re fighting the
tanks at the very moment. I would be more critical.
Anyway, Shannon Pettypiece, thank you, David Jolly, as always, sir.
Meanwhile, in an exclusive story, exclusive NBC news reports that the White
House was alerted as early as mid-May of this year that a budding pressure
campaign by Rudy Giuliani was rattling the new Ukrainian president,
Zelensky. That`s according to two people familiar with the matter who say
that former NSC Official Fiona Hill was alerted that Giuliani`s meddling in
Ukraine had unnerved the Ukrainian President Zelensky even before his
Hill learned in a White House meeting that Giuliani was pushing the
incoming Ukrainian administration to shake up the leadership of a state-
owned energy company.
Additionally, Hill was also told that Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon
Sondland, we know him, was giving Zelensky unsolicited advice on who should
be elevated to influential posts in his new administration.
I`m joined right now by NBC News National Political Reporter Josh Lederman,
who joins us from Kiev.
Josh, this is your great story. What does it all mean in terms of this
whole role that Rudy and the president were playing in pressuring Zelensky
to come up with helpful information for their campaign for re-election?
JOHS LEDERMAN, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Right, Chris. A lot of
the depositions and other testimony that we have heard so far have
indicated that officials in the White House and the administration started
learning about this secret plan to influence the Ukrainians outside the
normal diplomatic channels over the summer, more into June and July.
But now, we`re learning that this started much earlier, that by mid-May,
when President Zelensky was being inaugurated right here in Kiev, back in
Washington, Fiona Hill was hearing about these concerns, how he was already
very upset about what Giuliani was pushing him to do to mix up that board
of Naftogaz and also specifically about the involvement of Lev Parnas and
Igor Fruman, those two Florida businessmen who were also trying to dig up
dirt on Joe Biden.
By the way, this was all happening just a few weeks after Joe Biden had
announced his presidential campaign.
As you mentioned, Sondland, the ambassador to the E.U., also pushing the
new president of Ukraine to try to take his suggestions for who should be
an influential post.
So this information came to Fiona Hill via a former U.S. diplomat who had
met with Zelensky here in Kiev and then went back to the White House to
relay to Fiona Hill what he had heard. He told that to Fiona, who told it
to John Bolton, indicating just how much people knew in the White House
that far back about these concerns.
MATTHEWS: Wow. Thank you, Josh, for that great story. Josh Lederman over
there in Kiev, in Ukraine.
By the way, it just shows you how much this administration has outsourced
American interests for political interests. The amazing amount of
enterprise that went on over there, thanks to Rudy and the president, the
rest of them to get dirt so they could win the next election, nothing to do
with U.S. foreign policy interests. Thanks, again, Josh.
In advance of the raid that killed ISIS leader al-Baghdadi, President Trump
notified Vladimir Putin. Got this theme? He told Putin. But he didn`t
tell our congressional leaders. It could have been a moment of national
unity, but instead, President Trump used it as another opportunity to
demean his Democratic rivals, give the heads-up to Russia, et cetera,
Plus, the key to surviving in Trump world, praise him like a despot on a
gilded throne. Oh, my God. White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham,
she`s something, says former Chief of Staff John Kelly was, quote, this is
a memorable quote, totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great
president. It sounds like something from North Korea, from Pyongyang.
We`ve got much more to get to tonight. Stick with us.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
In the wake of yesterday`s successful raid on reviled terrorist and ISIS
leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, President Trump headed to Chicago for a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: He`s dead. He`s as a door nail. And he
didn`t die bravely either. I will tell you that.
He should have been killed years ago. Another president should have gotten
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Trump missing an opportunity to unite the country, has
kept up his attacks on Democrats and defended his decision to keep them in
the dark about the raid this weekend, accusing them of being so
untrustworthy that they would put American lives at risk.
Trump first made those claims during a 40-minute rambling news conference
on Sunday where he divulged operational details and made unfounded claims
about Osama Bin Laden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering and crying
and screaming all the way.
Washington is a leaking machine. And I told my people, we will not notify
them until the – our great people are out.
I mean, al-Baghdadi, everybody hears, because he`s built this monster for a
But nobody ever heard of Osama Bin Laden until really the World Trade
center. A year, year-and-a-half before the World Trade Center came down,
the book came out. I was talking about Osama Bin Laden, I said you have to
kill him. You have to take him out. Nobody listened to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, late tonight, NBC News is reporting that President Trump,
according to current and former U.S. officials, quote, got a few of those
colorful details wrong. Many of the rest were either classified or
tactically insensitive. And their disclosure by the president made
intelligence and military officials cringe.”
For more, I`m joined by Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff at the CIA and
the Department of Defense, Michael Beschloss, NBC News presidential
I don`t understand, but I do understand why this president takes a moment
of success for America. ISIS was evil. It beheaded good people. It was a
horrible, horrible reality, a caliphate from hell. Everybody should unite
around this. It`s success. We always like success.
And he`s turned it into a weird kind of torture, like how he enjoys the
guy`s demise and how some sort of street fight has been won by the good
guys, and how poor and chicken the guy was who died.
And who cares? He`s gone. And then to go – Trump going after Obama
again. What`s this about?
JEREMY BASH, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO LEON PANETTA: Well, there`s no honor
in spiking the football or doing an end zone dance.
MATTHEWS: Hotdogging it.
BASH: Yes, hotdogging it, when this should be a moment of national unity,
and our compliments should go to the military and intelligence
MATTHEWS: And the dogs.
BASH: Right, and those that supported them on the ground, put their lives
on the line.
And this isn`t about whether or not a previous president should have done
better. I remember, in the hours after the bin Laden operation was
successfully completed – I was at CIA – the first person I called,
because my boss, Director Leon Panetta, told me to, was, I called General
Mike Hayden, who had been George Bush`s CIA director.
I said: “General Hayden, tonight, we`re standing on your shoulders and the
shoulders of al the men and women for the past 10 years who have been
pursuing this target.”
MATTHEWS: You know, it`s like the end of the Cold War. Harry Truman
started the Cold War because we had to. Reagan ended it. OK.
Maybe Bush ended it. But, you know, it was both sides.
MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, NBC PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: And everyone gave credit to
everyone, as well they should have
And this is a tradition that really goes back to the night of Pearl Harbor.
After Pearl Harbor, Franklin Roosevelt invited the congressional leadership
from both parties to come to the White House and talk about what they do
That tradition went all the way through the Cold War and the post-Cold War
era. Looks as if it`s another that may be going by the wayside.
MATTHEWS: He also asked Wendell Willkie to cut a deal with the British
before the war.
MATTHEWS: He took the guy he beat in the election.
Let`s talk about this Pelosi thing, because Pelosi is an honorable person.
Whatever – she`s obviously partisan, no more partisan than anybody else in
Washington, a smart, patriotic person.
In a statement today, Pelosi said: “The House must be briefed on the raid,
which the Russians, but not top congressional leadership, were notified of
in advance, and on the administration`s overall strategy in the region.”
The statement is reminiscent, of course, of remarks she made directly to
the president earlier this month, when she asked him why all roads lead to
Putin, that great moment when she pointed across the table at the president
and said, why does everything lead to Putin?
Why did he tell Putin before he told the Democrats about this raid? Putin?
BASH: I think he was probably trying – his military officials were trying
to deconflict the airspace so they could conduct the operation.
But it points up to the larger point, which is…
MATTHEWS: He trusts Putin.
BASH: … although the law – although the law may not have required it,
the better practice for a president in this case is to brief the
congressional leadership on both sides of the aisle.
Certainly, don`t just brief one party or the other, because ISIS doesn`t
care whether you`re a Democrat or a Republican before they come to blow us
There`s no room for partisanship in how you conduct the operation. There
should be no room for partisanship in how you describe it or brief it.
MATTHEWS: Michael, all he had to do was call Pelosi up and say, don`t
spread this around, I`m just talking to the two leaders on this.
MATTHEWS: We`re keeping it really close.
And the – then, when the Pelosi would have had to get up the next day and
say – today – and say, you know, I have to give the president credit, as
she`s pursuing impeachment.
MATTHEWS: I have to give him credit because he gave me the call the other
night, the heads-up.
Instead, she now has an opportunity to hit him hard and say, you have to
brief us. She`s on offense again.
Yes, and I think…
MATTHEWS: It is bad politics.
BESCHLOSS: I think it would have been only great for everyone, because,
just as you said, it would have made him look larger, trying to unify the
MATTHEWS: Which he ain`t.
BESCHLOSS: Well, was not on this occasion.
And, you know, one example of someone who really did do that was, in 1971,
Richard Nixon, who, as you know, ran this very partisan campaign during the
1970 midterm elections.
And he literally went on TV and he said, I`m now taking off my campaign
hat. I`m putting on my presidential hat.
And he was a lot more presidential in 1971. That positioned him in a way
that was – made it a lot easier for him to occupy the center in 1972
against George McGovern and win by a landslide. So I think it`s not only
good government. I think it`s good politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, in today`s “New York Times,” national security
correspondent David Sanger writes: “The death of the Islamic State`s leader
in a daring nighttime raid vindicated the value of three traditional
American strengths: robust alliances, faith in intelligence agencies, and
the projection of military power around the world. But President Trump has
regularly derided the first two.”
Sanger goes on to write that America`s foreign policy in the age of Trump
runs the risk of looking “like a force of exploitation, willing to enter
hostile foreign lands for two reasons only, killing terrorists and
extracting resources. The mission of the American century, helping other
nations develop their economies and build democratic institutions, is
Just a more narrow point. This president has dumped on the intelligence
agencies since he got there. And there you have the CIA pulling off this
tough fight, going after the bad guy, killing him, getting it done,
excellent execution of intelligence. And the president gives himself
credit, himself credit.
BASH: Well, he started his presidency on day one by standing in front of
the memorial wall at the CIA original headquarters building in Langley,
Virginia, talking about not the sacrifice of those who had given everything
for our country.
MATTHEWS: The stars on the wall.
BASH: Yes. He talked about how many times his face had graced the cover
of “TIME” magazine.
And it went downhill from there. He compared CIA officers to Nazis. He
denigrated intelligence agencies. He called them the deep state. He has
criticized law enforcement, the FBI, and others charged with the
So I`m glad that our intelligence professionals have kept their nose down,
they have stayed focused on the target, they have done their job, but they
have not gotten a lot of support from the president.
MATTHEWS: How would you charge this up historically? A president of the
United States who last week said, there is no team. I am the team. I am
It`s almost a statement of a deity. I`m the one who does everything. I do
everything. I killed Baghdadi. I killed him personally.
BESCHLOSS: And he said at the convention in 2016, “I alone can fix it.”
So this is something that`s gone back a while. You can only hope that, you
know, in retrospect, he will look at what happened and the death of
Baghdadi and see that our intelligence agencies performed extremely well,
and it was helpful to have allies. So that may make an impression on him.
MATTHEWS: Well, where does he get this whimpering, by the way, and crying
and running like a little baby and all? Where did he get all that info,
that color of the game of this guy dying?
I thought he blew himself up in a suicide vest. That`s horrible enough.
BASH: I don`t know where he gets that information. Maybe he had some
reports from the field about what they saw in the tunnel.
But I think it points up to this larger issue, which is that, on the
ground, the Kurds have been our allies.
BASH: They have provided vital intelligence. And the bigger strategy in
the region has been to abandon the Kurds. That`s a mistake.
MATTHEWS: Gets around, doesn`t it, that we abandon allies?
Just hours after announcing the successful raid against al-Baghdadi,
President Trump was greeted by a chorus of boos as he attended last night`s
World Series game in D.C. Let`s take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joined by the president and first lady of the United
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, he was smiling, anyway. Chants of “Lock him up” were also
heard during his introduction. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Lock him up! Lock him up! Lock him up! Lock him up! Lock him
up! Lock him up! Lock him up!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Fans were better than the batters last night, I must say.
They`re doing pretty well there.
Michael Beschloss, Mr. Washington, you live in town here.
BESCHLOSS: I do.
And presidents have been booed at least back to Harry Truman and maybe even
earlier than that…
MATTHEWS: It`s normal.
BESCHLOSS: … at baseball stadiums.
It`s normal. But I must say, the “Lock him up” part is something that you
don`t find much in history.
MATTHEWS: You know, what do you think he thought he was going to get when
he went to downtown D.C., not far from Capitol Hill, to the den of the deep
Most of this town is Democrat, liberal, probably, government employees, CIA
agents, federal FBI agents, all kinds of people that work for the
government. He`s treated them all as dirt. What did he expect?
BASH: I think – yes, I think it`s less about them being Democrats and
more about being federal employees who are committed to the mission, many
of whom work in national security.
I was at a game, game four. I saw a lot of my former colleagues from the
Defense Department and elsewhere, celebrating baseball. Obviously,
baseball shouldn`t be a political issue.
MATTHEWS: What was your ticket cost?
BASH: A lot.
BASH: I had to mortgage the house.
MATTHEWS: I heard it was 600-and-some for a standing room the other night.
BASH: I had to mortgage the house.
But I`m also with Michael. I actually think the “Lock him up” is
inappropriate from any corner.
BASH: The criminalization of political differences is wrong.
MATTHEWS: Thank you. Who started that?
BASH: I have no idea, but I think it was shameful.
MATTHEWS: I think Trump started it.
Anyway, I want to ask you. I just want to tell you – to make your point,
you can`t go by boos at baseball games, because Richard Nixon thought he
could beat Pat Brown as governor of California. He went to the opening of
Candlestick Park. They booed the hell, mercilessly booed the hell out of
Pat Brown, and then they – he beat Nixon by a quarter million votes.
So, bad call. Don`t go by boos.
BESCHLOSS: Drew the wrong conclusion.
MATTHEWS: But, in this case, go by boos.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Jeremy Bash, thank you. Michael Beschloss.
Up next: unheeded warnings. Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly,
General John Kelly, says he tried to warn Trump that hiring a yes-man as
his next chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, it would lead to impeachment.
More on that warning and the White House`s bizarre response – coming up
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Former White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly says he warned
President Trump about the looming threat of impeachment.
At a political conference hosted by “The Washington Examiner” over this
weekend, Kelly said he advised the president against hiring a yes-man to
replace him last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KELLY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I said: “Whatever you do,
don`t, don`t hire a yes-man, someone that`s going to tell you – won`t tell
you the truth. Don`t do that, because, if you do, I believe you will be
impeached. And someone has got to be the guy that tells you that – you
know, that you either have the authority or you don`t, or, you know, Mr.
President, don`t do it because whatever.
“You know, but don`t hire someone that will just nod and say, you know,
that`s a great idea, Mr. President, because you will be impeached.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, in a statement, President Trump responded to Kelly`s
recounting of events, saying: “John Kelly never said that. He never said
anything like that. If he would have said that, I would have thrown him
out of the office. He just wants to come back into the action like
Well, Kelly suggested the blame for the president`s current situation lies
at the feet of the acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, for not keeping
Trump out of trouble.
But given what we have already seen from this administration, it`s no
surprise the president would want someone to tell him only what he likes to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I want to begin by
recapping the incredible, historic trip that the president and the first
lady have just concluded, because it truly was an extraordinary week for
America. It was an unprecedented first trip abroad.
REX TILLERSON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Mr. President, thank you
for the honor to serve the country. It`s a great privilege you have given
TOM PRICE, FORMER HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: I can`t thank you
enough for the privilege that you have given me and the leadership that you
REINCE PRIEBUS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Mr. President, we thank
you for the opportunity and the blessing that you have given us to serve
your agenda and the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Isn`t that nice?
Well, that fawning praise wasn`t enough to keep any of those people in
their jobs. Every one of them is gone, after all that applause for the
But Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, she beats them all. She showed what
is and what is coming up next. She`s hard to beat in the fawning
You`re watching HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Our opponents, the
media, and the whole world will soon see, as we begin to take further
actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very
substantial and will not be questioned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: God, is that frightening?
Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was White House senior adviser Stephen Miller back in 2017 on
President Trump`s unquestioned authority.
Miller remains one of the president`s longest serving advisers, thanks in
part to his unwavering devotion.
Over the White House, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham,
however, outdid him. ON Saturday, former White House chief of staff John
Kelly told a political conference hosted by “The Washington Examiner” that
he warned President Trump that hiring a yes-man to succeed him as chief of
staff would lead to impeachment.
In response, Grisham put out a statement that seemed written in Pyongyang,
Grisham said: “I worked with General Kelly, and he was totally unequipped
to handle the genius of our great president.”
For more, I`m joined by Adrienne Elrod, former senior adviser to Hillary
Clinton, and Shermichael Singleton, Republican political consultant.
MATTHEWS: … I have a cold, but go ahead.
What do you…
SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: I think…
MATTHEWS: What do you think of this North Korean state dear leader kind of
SINGLETON: Right. I don`t think it would have mattered, though, because
where is General Kelly? He is now on the outside. Remember Rex Tillerson.
Remember General Mattis. Those are guys –
MATTHEWS: All the kiss butt guys didn`t last.
SINGLETON: Yes, they didn`t either. I mean, you showed them in the video.
MATTHEWS: So, what works for this guy?
SINGLETON: Nothing works, because I think at the end of the day, Donald
Trump is going to do whatever Donald Trump wants. Why? Because Donald
Trump is not a disciplined individual.
And I don`t think even if General Kelly or as someone who`s a tougher guy
who was still there, I would predict Donald Trump would still find himself
in the midst of an impeachment crisis.
ADRIENNE ELROD, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I completely agree. And I think that
MATTHEWS: You agree, this morning, he could have said, Mr. President, in
the back room, I have seen what you`re doing with Giuliani over there.
MATTHEWS: And you`re setting up a totally separate foreign policy.
MATTHEWS: It involves all of the effort to get dirt on your opponents.
All this 19 – 2016 conspiracy nonsense and the Joe Biden stuff. It has
nothing to do with American interests.
MATTHEWS: This is going to get you in trouble because Nixon had a whole
separate operation called the plumbers and that brought him down.
MATTHEWS: Can`t anybody give him a history lesson?
ELROD: No, he`s not going to listen to anybody. And, Chris, I believe
that even if he had two or three people left in the entire West Wing of the
White House, he still wouldn`t listen to them. This is just how Donald
Trump operates. He believes that he won his election single-handedly
without the outside help of anybody else.
You know, he`s obviously constantly defending himself in terms of the
legitimacy of the election, which is up for debate, which we`ve been
debating for the last three years. But he truly believes that he single-
handedly, not his staff, not anybody else, got him elected. And that same
mentality is what is driving his decision making in the White House. But I
also wanted to make a point –
MATTHEWS: But he`s deluded then, he`s crazy, because you`re saying he
thinks he killed Baghdadi this weekend, the head of ISIS. Did he
personally do it?
ELROD: Of course, he does. Of course he does. He is the one who made the
But let`s also be clear, John Kelly is no angel, right? He was not exactly
an effective chief of staff.
SINGLETON: That was my point.
MATTHEW: You think he`s lying? You think he`s lying?
ELROD: Yes. He`s the person who went out there and called DACA
recipients lazy because they didn`t –
MATTHEWS: OK. Here`s a question – these people –
SINGLETON: He doesn`t have any ground to stand here.
MATTHEWS: Do you think he sided with the president in the Oval Office, or
the little hiding room behind the Oval Office, do you think he said Mr.
President, don`t hire a yes man? Do you think he ever did what he said he
SINGLETON: No, because if he did, I think Donald Trump would have fired
him. He wouldn`t have lasted as long as he did. I don`t think, with all
due respect to General Kelly`s military record, I don`t think politically
to your point, this guy wasn`t very effective. From my perspective, he
doesn`t have a lot of legitimacy to be insinuating things against a current
acting chief of staff.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me try something. He was constantly running up against
this president by telling him, I don`t want Jared Kushner in the room. You
have to ask my permission to come in the room, even your family members.
All the times he`s setting up these guardrails.
SINGLETON: And Jared Kushner still got a security clearance.
MATTHEWS: And every time he set up the guard rails, the president fought
SINGLETON: He did and Jared –
MATTHEWS: But he did fight him.
SINGLETON: Yes, but he got a security clearance. His daughter got a
security clearance. Donald Trump still did every single thing he wanted to
do, in spite of some of the general`s concerns. So, my point, again, it
doesn`t matter what any of these people say.
As Adrienne said, Trump believes he won alone, but the only negative side
of this is if he loses, he`s not going to lose alone. He`s not going down
alone. Many of the folks around him are going to go down with him, Chris.
And that`s a tragedy.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me tell you, he thinks he can do it all by himself,
he`s an idiot, because – I don`t know if he is an idiot, but I`ll tell
you, I have worked in politics for years, and every politician needs
counselors, men and women around him who will say be careful on that.
You`re going to watch that and you`re going to get in trouble with that.
ELROD: You can ask some of the most effective White House chiefs of staff
in recent history, Rahm Emanuel, John Podesta, Leon Panetta, all of them,
none of them were yes men, right? Otherwise, there`s no way that Barack
Obama would have gotten the Affordable Care Act passed. Rahm Emanuel made
that happen because you have to be constructive. You have to have – you
have to have give and take and you cannot be a yes man in that job.
SINGLETON: That`s exactly why the White House is in chaos, why the
president is experiencing impeachment. There isn`t a cohesive message.
Republicans in the Senate seem to be sort of looking the other way.
MATTHEWS: OK, Shermichael, you`re a Republican, right?
SINGLETON: I am.
MATTHEWS: Let`s imagine this, as a party guy.
MATTHEWS: This guy gets re-elected by a squeaker. It`s still possible. I
don`t think he will, but he could win by a squeaker. Win Pennsylvania by a
squeaker over Senator Warren or somebody, who knows? Or Biden.
He squeaks it, he comes back like, my God, I can do anything I want. I got
away with everything.
SINGLETON: He will.
MATTHEWS: I did it all myself. I`ll do anything. Anything.
SINGLETON: If people think the past two and a half, three years have been
mad, imagine when the guy doesn`t have to worry about the next re-election.
SINGLETON: He feels the impeachment has gone nowhere. He was found not
guilty, if you will, in the Senate. He`s going to say, I now have an
immense amount of power that alleviates –
ELROD: He feels like he has a mandate.
MATTHEWS: And just take a look at the Supreme Court when he`s done then,
too. It will be 7-2 right wing court for the next 50 years.
ELROD: Let`s thing positively. I don`t think he`s going to get reelected.
MATTHEWS: I want to warn people on not voting, thinking of not voting next
year. Just two words, 7-2 will be the Supreme Court when he`s done. They
will when I get finished with them. I`m going to remind them.
Adrienne, thank you so much. Shermichael, you`re going to stick with us.
MATTHEWS: Still ahead, Biden and Buttigieg fight it out. Everybody is a B
this year. Have you noticed? Booker, everybody is B. From moderate
Republicans and other 2020 coming up, this is interesting, he`s trying to
take away that guy`s lane. He may do it in Iowa.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The upsetting cynicism of this
White House is that you have somebody who on one hand sees actual literal
no (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Jews will not replace us anti-Semites as very fine
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was Mayor Pete Buttigieg, of course, today, now, using strong
language, had to bleep it there, while speaking to a left-leaning Jewish
advocacy group J Street about the president`s relationship with Israel. He
was invoking President Trump`s remarks following the deadly 2017
Charlottesville rally. Buttigieg has seen a rise in support as he tries to
secure his place in the moderate lane of the party, alongside Joe Biden.
Well, that support is most apparent in Iowa where Buttigieg has now seen
his numbers rise to more than double since the beginning of September.
He`s on the rise in Iowa. Watch him.
According to the Real Clear Politics average of polls for Iowa, Buttigieg
has risen to third place, only slightly behind Biden. Even as the race
tightens, Biden said he`s confident in his status as leader of the pack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Do you still consider yourself the front-runner?
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know I`m front-runner. Find me a
national poll with a notable, a couple of exceptions. But, look, this is a
marathon. This is a marathon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Adrienne Elrod and Shermichael Singleton are sticking with me.
I have three possible scenarios. Choose your favorite. How this election
for the Democratic nomination works.
Number one, Elizabeth Warren wins early and keeps winning fast breaks. She
wins Iowa, she wins New Hampshire, she keeps winning. She is a fast break
winner of the nomination without stop. She goes right through Nevada with
Harry Reid behind her. Who knows? She takes a couple of losses but can`t
The second possibility is Buttigieg messes up the whole thing by winning in
Iowa, taking race a lot further down the road because that will hurt her
chances of winning in New Hampshire. It will give Biden a second chance
back in South Carolina. The whole thing will slow down through Super
Buttigieg is the one that slows thing. He`s like a big yellow flag and a
race that slows – it`s not the one that slows people down. Everything
Third possibility, and I don`t think it is likely at this point, Biden wins
everything from the beginning.
You`re the Democrat.
ELROD: Yes. I think third scenario –
MATTHEWS: What`s – if you like any scenario, which scenario do you like?
ELROD: If you were to pick one of three, I think the last scenario is the
least one that takes place. But look –
MATTHEWS: What`s the most likely? Fast break for him?
ELROD: First, with Elizabeth Warren, but I`ll tell you, Mayor Pete is on
the rise. We have seen this in poll after poll. You also have to look,
Chris, of course, at cash on hand. Mayor Pete is sitting on $23.5 million.
Versus Joe Biden sitting on $8.5 million.
MATTHEWS: What would you do with that money? Blow in it Iowa? Just spend
it? Does he have 35 offices in Iowa right now?
ELROD: Yes, but I think he`s doing it already. I mean, first of all, it`s
a good thing there is a super PAC going in for him. He needs the extra
funding. I would take a long hard look at my payroll and figure out whose
staff salaries can I reduce and probably fly a little less on private
planes than $1 million on private planes.
MATTHEWS: The cost-cutting way to the presidency. I love it.
ELROD: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Shermichael, my bet? I think Buttigieg wins early and slows the
whole thing down. I see two numbers in Iowa. One, none of the above,
undecided. And the other is Buttigieg, which is another way of saying none
of the above but my February vote is for Buttigieg. I think later about
November. Your thought?
SINGLETON: I think number two is absolutely likely. I think he has the
amount of money, the cash on hand enables him to be able continue, to build
ELROD: Small donors.
SINGLETON: – small donors –
MATTHEWS: And, by the way, people are fine beam good values say I`m with
Buttigieg and nobody challenges them. They go, oh, that doesn`t make
SINGLETON: All right. Because he has the money to build the type of
robust infrastructure that allows a campaign in a key state like Iowa to
directly target and mobilize voters and there are a lot of voters in Iowa
who are looking at Biden and saying he`s shaky.
MATTHEWS: There aren`t many black voters in Iowa who had a problem with
SINGLETON: They`re looking at the mayor and see the guy is smart. He`s
moderate leaning. We think he could go the long way.
And I think that benefits mayor but I think it is certainly something the
Biden campaign should be concerned about. One, they haven`t been able to
raise a significant amount of money and two, if he can`t win in Iowa and
New Hampshire, that goes against his entire argument.
MATTHEWS: I`m sorry, how come he`s been the one successful person to
question Senator Warren about financing and health care and the rest of her
program? How come he`s been able to bite into her and hang on to that
ELROD: That is an excellent question, Chris, and that`s what we saw happen
in that last debate. Instead of Joe Biden taking on the, I`m going to
defend the establishment, I`m going to defend Obamacare which I helped get
past as vice president, I`m going to defend these Obama era policies. It
was Mayor Pete making that defense with an assist by Amy Klobuchar.
Joe Biden has got – look, debates have not hurt him so far, right? But I
think if he wants to keep Mayor Pete at bay, he has to have a stronger
performance and he`s got to be the one on that stage defending those Obama
MATTHEWS: Was Norah O`Donnell right by asking, are you quick enough to run
for president? That`s a pretty brutal question.
SINGLETON: It is but it`s an honest question. And I think Mayor Pete is
really carving out a piece of that moderate lane, Chris, and I think there
are a lot of moderate white voters –
MATTHEWS: Are you smarter than him? Are you smarter than him? I`m just
SINGLETON: He`s a brilliant guy.
MATTHEWS: I`m just teasing you because I don`t know anybody who is smarter
than him. Every time you ask him a question you have the sense that he had
the question two weeks ago, and he`s been working on it. But he just got
it. He`s very smart.
SINGLETON: He`s quick on his feet, and I think if you contrast him to Joe
Biden, who is often sluggish, his responses are rambling and all over the
place – again, I think people look at the mayor, they look at Biden, and
they`re going to say, this is a guy who can go the long haul.
ELROD: Ii still think this is Joe Biden`s race to lose/Elizabeth Warren`s
race to lose.
SINGLETON: I agree with that.
ELROD: It`s two front runners. Joe Biden has so far the most broad, the
most diverse coalition.
MATTHEWS: Are you with him?
ELROD: I am undeclared.
MATTHEWS: But you sounded like you`re with him.
ELROD: No, I`m a huge Joe Biden fan. I`m also a Mayor Pete fan.
SINGLETON: I mean, as a Republican, I respect the vice president. I like
him a lot. But I think his support with African-American could decrease if
he doesn`t perform well in the early state as we saw President Obama who
saw his support increase as a result of –
MATTHEWS: Because the black voter is watching, a national story. They
don`t want to waste their votes.
SINGLETON: You don`t.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Adrienne Elrod. Thank you, Shermichael
Singleton, a Republican, a Democrat.
Up next, remembering James Foley. Remember him? We ought to. You`re
MATTHEWS: I thought of one person when I heard the head of ISIS was dead
this weekend. I thought of James Foley, that young American journalist who
ISIS killed five years ago.
When the history of war is written, any war, it is the courageous one and
those are the ones who deserve our regard, the good people of the war.
Those like James Foley who when horror ranges, the world turns itself on
life and death, show their character, their true worth as human beings. I
have for the last five years carried in my wall at the time photo of James
Foley with his head shaven, being walked out there in front of cameras to
have his life stripped from him, to have his head cut off – all for the
world to see.
And what did they see? What did James Foley give these evil people that so
much want to get something from him? Here`s what. When Foley met his end
squarely in the face, he showed the stoic face of moral courage. To the
very end, he held true to who he was. He gave them nothing.
I will carry that photo with me long after ISIS is dead because to me, the
memory of James Foley`s courage and stoicism is what matters, and my best
again to his father and mother. How proud you must be.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us tonight.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the