Rachel Maddow plays Hardball. TRANSCRIPT:11/1/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: I hope to join you Sunday night at 9:00 P.M.
Eastern, because I`ll be back with a brand new special, our first since
those impeachment vote rules came out. Well, that this Sunday 9:00 p.m.,
Impeachment, White House in Crisis, with yours truly. I`ll see you there.
HARDBALL starts now.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: The reckoning is coming. Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington, where the reckoning just
drew more imminent.
If you`d bet a lot less on Donald Trump getting impeached, bet a lot more
today. This Friday marks the end of a harrowing week in the House
impeachment investigation, all foreshadowing the day of reckoning that`s to
come for this president. And if you`re listening to Donald Trump bragging
about what a perfect conversation he had with Ukrainian President Zelensky,
you know he deserves what`s coming.
This Tuesday, Congress heard from the first witness who actually listened
to that Trump call with Zelensky as Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, whose
testimony validated the concerns expressed by the whistleblower. Vindman
also filled in the blanks of the White House`s summary of that phone call
raising questions about why there were omissions in the first place.
But most important, his testimony, and that of NSC Adviser Tim Morrison
yesterday affirmed that military support to Ukraine was indeed conditioned
on the investigation into Trump`s political opponents. And that means
that, as of this week, three witnesses have now testified under oath to the
quid pro quo, military aid in exchange for political dirt.
Finally, we saw more evidence that Republicans are not going to fight this
on the facts, which they have neither contested nor defended. The only
person defending Trump`s conduct with Ukraine is the president who still
describes his call with Zelensky as in the usual word, perfect.
All this was capped by the historic vote in the House yesterday which
formalized the path forward in the impeachment inquiry. In making her case
to the American people on the late show last night, Speaker Pelosi
portrayed that Trump`s call with Zelensky was a smoking gun that could not
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): This was something that you could not ignore.
In one conversation, he undermined our national security by withholding
military assistance to a country that had been voted on by the Congress of
the United States. At the same time, he jeopardized the integrity of our
elections, the heart of our democracy. And in doing so, in my view, he
possibly violated his oath of office to protect, defend and preserve the
Constitution of the United States.
Some people believe that this is one of the investigations where the
smoking gun came out first, and that call was a smoking gun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, today, impeachment investigators have received over a
hundred hours of testimony from 13 witnesses behind closed doors.
Yesterday`s resolution will now bring the inquiry into the open with public
hearings set to begin this month. By the way, it`s November according to
As Politico reports, Democrats plan to showcase, quote, the witnesses who
brought the most compelling evidence, such as Ambassador Bill Taylor and
Lt. Col. Vindman.
I`m joined by right now Democrat Congressman Joe Neguse of Colorado, who`s
a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Natasha Bertrand is National
Security Correspondent for Politico, Chuck Rosenberg is a former U.S.
attorney and senior FBI official, Ayesha Rascoe is White House Reporter for
the National Public Radio.
Let me go to the Congressman first. Congressman Neguse, I know you`re on
Judiciary. Tell me how this dance? I think you`re on course to have the
public hearings this month, perhaps articles of impeachment as early as
next month. How do you see it?
REP. JOE NEGUSE (D-CO): Well, it`s good to see you, Chris. I couldn`t say
it better than the speaker did. I mean, ultimately, I think what we`re
talking about is a betrayal of the constitutional oath and ultimately the
abuse power by the president. And she said it`s likely that the public
hearing portion of the impeachment process will begin this month, and so
we`ll follow the facts ultimately where they lead us.
I would just say your description at the beginning of the program of a
reckoning brewing, I think, is such an apt one. And, really, it`s a
reckoning for my Republican colleagues in the House. I was on the floor
yesterday for that solemn and serious vote that we took with respect to
codifying the procedures for the impeachment process and ultimately the
And I will just tell you I really was aghast at the Republican arguments,
these farcical arguments about process because none of them could obviously
defend the facts. And, ultimately, they`re going to have a choice to make
about whether they choose country over party. And I certainly hope that
they choose the former as we move ahead.
MATTHEWS: Well, as a political figure yourself, try to interpret for me
why. Why can`t they see the essence of this charge?
NEGUSE: Chris, I ask myself that same question and many of my colleagues,
obviously, in the Democratic Caucus are asking ourselves that same question
as well. I think anyone who looks at the transcript of the call summary
notes, anyone who reviews the text messages from Ambassador Volker, who has
reviewed these opening statements from patriots, like Ambassador Taylor and
obviously Lt. Col. Vindman this week, recognizes an abuse of power.
And by the way, Chris, the American people know an abuse of power when they
see it, which is why the polling has shifted so dramatically in favor of
the impeachment inquiry that the House is engaged in.
So, I mean, look, that`s a question that my Republican colleagues are going
to have to answer. Ultimately, this will be judged in the history books,
right, for decades and decades to come. And they`re going to have to
answer as to whether or not they`re going to ultimately choose country over
party. So that will –
MATTHEWS: And, Natasha, what brings that point to a head very early in
this process, unlike Nixon, when they had to wait until June or whatever.
They had to wait until August practically to get the smoking gun. This
inquiry began with the smoking gun. We have a summary of a conversation
which has not been challenged. The president said I want you to do
something for me though. And it`s been backed up now by three star
witnesses this week. The smoking gun is already smoking.
And the Republicans don`t need more information. They don`t seem to want
to hear any information. They`ve found a way to hide from this.
NATASHA BERTRAND, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: Yes, and I
think Democrats have been pretty smart about this. And speaking to former
prosecutors, they say the Democrats have been wise not to focus exclusively
on that smoking gun call. They`ve built an entire case around the call
showing that this was a vast wide-ranging conspiracy that really led
before, during and after.
And that Democrats, with all of the witnesses they`ve managed to bring to
Capitol Hill, from the administration, from the Pentagon, State Department,
White House, they`ve managed to show that this was a concerted effort being
led by the president`s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to essentially extort the
Ukrainians. And by not focusing on that one phone call, they have a whole
mountain of evidence now that they can build their case around.
MATTHEWS: And you brought it, your organization, it was your reporting
that shows that not only did they put this in this hideaway term, they hid
exciting stuff like this, especially this political interview, they wanted
to hide that conversation. But also Mr. Eisenberg, who`s the lawyer for
the NSC, said, and don`t talk about it. Keep it secret.
BERTRAND: So we reported earlier that Col, Vindman was very disturbed by
not the fact that the lawyer, John Eisenberg, had placed the call into this
top secret NSC code word system where normally those calls don`t go, that
didn`t necessarily seem like a cover-up up to him. But later, a few days
later, Eisenberg went back to him and said, look, don`t talk to anybody
about this phone call. That`s significant because, of course, Vindman was
one of the only people that was listening to the call and had firsthand
knowledge of it.
Now, the other reason that Eisenberg, of course, could have said that to
him was because he was trying to figure out a process to basically clean up
the mess that the president had created, but Eisenberg felt like it was
stymieing him from doing his job, because he wasn`t able to talk to
interagency folks who deal with Ukraine policy about this specific phone
call and the backdrop to it.
MATTHEWS: So what do you make of that, before, during and afterwards,
seeing confirmation that they had consciousness of guilt, they planned this
conversation with the president of Ukraine, they were talking about the
deal all the way up to it and afterwards they tried to hide it?
CHUCK ROSENBERG, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, Natasha made a really
important point. There is a nefarious explanation for what the NSC lawyer
did, a cover-up, and there`s a non-nefarious explanation. It could be that
he is just trying to figure out what happened. Who knows about it and talk
to each person so he could get a clean story from each witness.
MATTHEWS: But putting together the fact that he put it on the code word
thing, hiding it away, and then say don`t talk about it two days later.
ROSENBERG: This is more good reporting from Natasha, so correct me if I`m
wrong. But I believe that the president`s 2017 call with the president of
Mexico leaked out, other phone calls with other world leaders and the
president were also stored in a similar way. So I don`t know this is it
first time that that happened with a presidential phone call.
That aside, I think what I`m seeing from the House is that they`re going
about it the right way, Chris. They`re talking to lots and lots of people,
right, gathering as much evidence as they can, as you said, before, during,
and after, because all of that is part of the tapestry that tells the
story. This is what good prosecutors do. This is what good agents do.
This is what the House seems to be doing.
MATTHEWS: I`m watching this like presumed innocent that`s got Turow throw
(ph) where there`s so much evidence here. It just keeps – the cake keeps
getting baked again. Every one of these witnesses said the same as the
other witnesses said, that this was a deal.
AYESHA RASCOE, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, NPR: And even for the witness that
the White House is talking about now, Tim Morrison, who`s on the NSC staff,
who said he didn`t think that the call was illegal, he still said that he
was concerned about the call and that he immediately went to NSC Council
about it, because he was worried that –
MATTHEWS: Well, he`s not voting in the House, by the way.
RASCOE: And he`s not voting in the House. But even so, even there who the
White House is calling a star witness said he was very concerned about the
call and by the policies.
So I think that should be concerning to this White House, that even the
people who they say are saying good things, if the good thing is that it`s
not illegal in this person`s perspective, that probably means your argument
might have a little bit of trouble.
MATTHEWS: Congressman, you`re going to go home this week and it looks like
you`re already home with the mountains behind you there, I just wonder in a
purple, how do you make the case for impeachment this week with your people
NEGUSE: Well, look, Chris, in talking with my constituents, if there`s one
thing that is very clear, it is that they want us to follow the facts in a
methodical way which is precisely what we`ve been doing. As Chuck knows,
Mr. Schiff, Chairman Schiff, is a former prosecutor as chuck is. And so he
has approached this in a very thoughtful serious way, and we`ve been able
to uncover significant evidence of the president`s misconduct. And as I
said, the American people and certainly my constituents recognize an abuse
of power when they see it.
So as I visit with folks, they want us to approach this with the
seriousness that it deserves to meet the moment, so to speak, underscoring
the gravity of ultimately the impeachment process. And that`s what the
House Democratic Caucus has done. That`s obviously what we`re going to
continue to do.
I hope that my Republican colleagues will ultimately, as I said, make the
right decisions and start to engage in a thoughtful way, because this
matters a great deal for the future of our republic as a republic.
MATTHEWS: Well, Mr. Television himself, Mr. Trump, apparently believes he
is FDR, and he`s going to have a fireside chat. He`s talking about where
he`s going to sit and talk to the American people presumably with an open -
- some networks will give him, maybe Fox, maybe other networks will give
him a full opportunity to speak to the American people apparently in
primetime and read through the summary of his conversation with Zelensky of
Ukraine in a way that suggests his total perfection.
Let me read this to you anyway. Despite reports of the summary of Trump`s
call with President Zelensky amid certain words and phrases, the
president`s still describes it as an exact transcript defending the
conversation itself, as I said before, perfect.
Here is Trump in a radio interview yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s totally false. We have
a transcript that was an exact transcript of the meeting. And anybody that
reads the transcripts understands it was a perfect phone call. The
Democrats are desperate. They`re desperate. They have nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, he ignores the fact that the call record is actually very
damning, showing that when Zelensky requested more missiles, Trump asked
him to first investigate – first investigate his political rivals.
Additionally, a disclaimer on that memo explicitly cautions it`s not a
verbatim transcript. So he`s a president and he doesn`t read his own
ROSENBERG: Well, let me tell you what it made me think of. When you look
at the Mueller report, volume 2, it`s the whole obstruction of justice
story. Every pronouncement by Donald Trump, every tweet by Donald Trump,
in some way, ended up in the report. What he was doing that whole period
of time was creating evidence for prosecutors. I know you can`t charge a
sitting president, but every time this president talks about what he did,
which apparently he thinks is perfect, he creates more evidence.
I can`t wait to hear him read the transcript because he`s going to adlib
inevitably and prosecutors and investigators and agents are going to be
listening very carefully. When my subjects talked, when my targets talked
when I was a federal prosecutor, my reaction was have at it.
MATTHEWS: Would you put him on the stand?
ROSENBERG: Would I put Donald Trump on the stand if I were his lawyer or
if I were a prosecutor?
ROSENBERG: Not a chance.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me go to Ayesha on this because this president has
enormous self-confidence and he does have almost 40 percent of the public
who will eat it up. Whatever he says, he won`t use the word, though. My
bet, he would say, I`d like you to do me a favor though. I don`t think
he`s going to mention that word, just guessing.
RASCOE: Well, I think the Democrats would love for him to read it out
loud, so then they have it for their ads and whatever they want to do with
it. I mean, look, the president clearly thinks that this call was great.
But what Democrats are saying is that they don`t think this call was great.
MATTHEWS: Because his people do it. In your reporting, do you know
anybody besides Trump who thinks this call was OK with Zelensky?
RASCOE: So even when I talk to people at his rallies – so these are truly
believers. And so even some of them, when I`ve talked to them, said they
didn`t really like that call. Like they like Trump but they`re concerned
about what he did on that call. So it`s a very tricky thing if he wants to
read that out. I mean, independents say that this impeachment inquiry
should go forward. So when he starts reading that out, it`s a risk.
MATTHEWS: It reminds me of Mayor La Guardia of New York reading the – La
Guardia reading the comic pages to people because they couldn`t get the
newspaper. It is going to be a ludicrous night. This man will not be
believed but it will be believed by some.
Congressman John Neguse, thank you so much, coming to us from the
mountains, it looks great behind you there. Natasha Bertrand, thank you.
Chuck Rosenberg, as always, Ayesha Rascoe.
Coming up, my colleague, Rachel Maddow, joins me in this next segment to
talk about the sobering lessons from this momentous week in the impeachment
Plus, will Trump follow through with his proposal for that fireside chat.
I can`t wait about his Ukraine phone call.
And we`re going to talk about Rachel`s fabulous new best-selling book on
the corrupting power of oil.
Plus, it`s a big night in Iowa for the Democratic presidential candidates.
A new poll shows the battle out there is wide open and it looks like
Elizabeth Warren is rising still, Joe Biden is falling still, and the big
surprise could be Mayor Pete winning the whole thing in Iowa.
We`ll see more. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PELOSI: The most important thing for the American people to realize and
understand is no one is above the law, the president of the United States
This, for me, has nothing to do with politics. People said, well, you
didn`t want to do it because you would jeopardize some of your – it had
nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with partisanship. It`s only
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last night just hours after the House
voted to formalize the public phase of the impeachment inquiry into
President Trump. Members of Congress are now back to their districts for a
week long recess, where they`ll make the case for impeachment directly to
their people at home.
As a new poll shows, the public continues to be divided. A Washington
Post/ABC News poll just out this week before the House vote showed 49
percent of Americans say President Trump should be impeached and removed
from office. 47 percent say he should not.
President Trump is floating a new idea, by the way, of how he`d like to
make his case to the American people.
He told “The Washington Examiner” – quote – “At some point, I`m going to
sit down, perhaps as a fireside chat on live television, and I will read
the transcript of the call, because people have to hear it. When you read
it, it`s a straight call.”
Joining me right now is my colleague Rachel Maddow, host of “The Rachel
Maddow Show” on MSNBC and the author of “Blowout: Corrupted Democracy,
Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth.”
Rachel, my friend, thank you so much.
We will get to that book in depth in the next segment.
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW”: Great to see you, Chris.
Great to see you, my friend.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
I never know when you`re going to wear the glasses, but this must be for
real tonight. This is great.
MATTHEWS: Let`s get serious then.
First of all, a little frivolous question. Trump as FDR in front of the
fireside, warming the cockles of the hearts of the American people, but, in
this case, defending himself against impeachment.
MADDOW: You know, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the freshman congresswoman
from New York who has such an incredible mastery of social media, she
responded to the president`s announcement that he was going to do this
thing, and then he tweeted in all caps, “Read the transcript.”
Her response to that online was: “We did read the transcript. That`s why
we started impeachment proceedings.”
And I checked just before I got online. And I think that`s got something
like 340,000 likes at this point, 40,000 retweets.
I mean, the idea that the transcript is going to be his way out of this,
when the transcript is literally what led Nancy Pelosi to open the
impeachment proceedings, I just – I don`t know – I don`t – sometimes, I
can follow his logic. In this one, I don`t – I don`t get it.
MATTHEWS: What do you think of Pelosi in these last several weeks
especially, her strategy, her thinking, her leadership?
MADDOW: Nancy Pelosi knows her caucus and has never, as far as I can tell,
ever been caught out with the behavior of her caucus surprising her.
We have both been following her for years. I can`t think of a single vote,
particularly a single major vote, where things didn`t go the way she
intended them to go and the way she knew them to go.
And so I feel like she`s not ever going to be out there crusading for her
caucus to do something that they might not do. She`s only ever in front
when she knows she`s already got them behind her, and when she can lead
from a position of confidence and strength, because she knows where the
people are, because she`s got them there.
So, I feel like, watching Nancy Pelosi right now, I`m less interested in
sort of figuring what she might want or what she might be – what might be
her own analysis of the political impact of this impeachment. I feel like
watching her tells you what the Democrats are going to do, because she`s
never wrong about her own folks.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think she`s got a great listening network out there of
people who tell her what people are thinking.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Thursday`s House vote – that was yesterday – was
almost entirely on party lines. Every single Republican voted against the
“The Washington Post” poll shows the public is just as divided along party
Catholic these numbers – 82 percent of Democrats say President Trump
should be impeached; 82 percent of Republicans say he should not.
The symmetry, the mirror imaging of this –
MATTHEWS: – is, I guess – I live in Maryland. You live in Massachusetts
and New York. I know we all live in different geographies.
But I`m still – I do know people, though, relatives, who just will not
give. How do you account for that? Evidence is not moving people.
MADDOW: Well, I think it`s important to recognize where we are in the
I mean, they`re going to move to their public hearings now. And they
believe that they have – I mean, what we know about how they`re planning
the public hearings right now is that they`re taking witnesses who they
have already heard from behind closed doors.
They`re selecting some of them, and they`re going to put them in front of
the public with staff questioning them in a way that is designed not only
to elicit information. They have already got that in the depositions.
They can just take that information from the depositions and put it in the
report, if they wanted to.
But they`re going to pick the witnesses who they want who they believe can
tell this story to the American people. And if people are paying attention
to the impeachment, and people are watching the way the evidence is laid
out, I think the idea is that honest people will be persuadable.
I think the president will have his defenders forever, no matter what he
does, even if he does shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue. But the impeachment
process is supposed to be one that persuades the public. And that hasn`t
really started yet.
MATTHEWS: I said last night, in introducing the fact you would be on
tonight, Rachel, that you and Pelosi have one great strength – well, one
clear strength in common. You`re both teachers.
And I think the way you go about your business, her statecraft, your
tradecraft, are very illustrative of how things ought to work and how
people ought to think and report.
MADDOW: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: And I think – I want to ask you this question.
Are people learning right now about our Constitution? Are they learning?
Well, I think so. I mean, I don`t know that I have my finger on the pulse
of anybody, other than myself. And I`m not even sure how well I know
MADDOW: But through our own process of reporting on and trying to explain
this presidency for the past two-plus years, I feel like, boy, have I
learned a lot about, you know, the federal court system. Boy, have I
learned a lot about foreign influence operations. Boy, have I learned a
lot about the FBI and the CIA and the – and presidential scandal and the
ways that, you know, witnesses can be compelled or not.
I mean, there`s so many aspects of this presidency that we have had to
learn in detail, simply because it`s been scandal after scandal after
scandal after scandal, and we have to learn it just to stay up on what`s
Now, at the same time, our democratic processes are under direct attack
from the president in a way we have never seen in U.S. history before, and
I think that`s making us learn about them, if only to understand what it is
And so it`s a – this is a time for sort of – I think for civic
dedication, to be dedicated to learning what our own responsibilities are
as citizens and to pay attention what`s happening right now.
MADDOW: This is not a time where you can just let the news wash over you.
MATTHEWS: Well, this is where I have been schooling myself. It`s a new
book called “Blowout” by you. I have learned so much.
I hope we can get a couple teasing aspects of the book, so people will go
out this weekend and get a copy of this, because you learn so much about
Putin, what`s been motivating his end of the scandal. It`s not just
Trump`s scandal. It`s his scandal – why he is the way is, especially on
sanctions, his insanity in going after them.
I finally figured out. Well, I didn`t figure it out. I learned from you.
And that`s coming up next.
What`s motivating Vladimir Putin in this ongoing Trump scandal? Why was he
obsessed with getting all those meetings with Trump`s people up in Trump
Tower and his family members? What`s all this oil got to do with all this?
It`s all in Rachel`s new book, “Blowout.” And we`re going to talk about it
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
For the past three years, the country has been following along as
investigators pursued Russian interference in our 2016 election,
specifically the role President Trump and those around him played.
But understanding what motivated Trump is only half the story. Why was it
that Russian President Vladimir Putin was so intent in messing with our
elections? Why were there that many – so many – actually, 100 contacts
between Trump associates and Russians during the campaign?
Those are just some of the questions that led Rachel Maddow to write her
new book, “New York Times” bestselling book, “Blowout: Corrupted Democracy,
Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth,”
where she reports Putin did so in an act of desperation, as his country`s
soul economic industry of oil and gas was being strangled by U.S.
As she graphically puts it: “The Russian Federation ultimately embarked on
a deliberate and aggressive campaign to tear apart Western alliances, to
rot democracy, and to piss in the punch bowl of free elections all around
Well, that desperation was understood by one world leader, German
Chancellor Angela Merkel – quote – “I understand why he has to do this,
to prove he`s a man. He`s afraid of his own weakness. Russia has nothing,
no successful politics or economy. All they have is this.”
Rachel Maddow is back with me.
That is delicious set of paragraphs, Rachel. You have nailed it.
I want to talk – the key here is, I get to a couple of things. One is
sanctions. They needed Western technology to explore the Arctic Circle.
If they couldn`t get more oil and gas, they were going to go broke. They
needed those sanctions broke. That explains all these goddamn meetings,
MADDOW: And – well, basically.
I mean, it explains their desperation. Russia`s only got one game to play
in terms of their economy. Putin could have developed a diversified
economy. And he didn`t, in part because he likes what he can do with oil
and gas. He likes the way he can use it as a weapon around the world.
But he also wanted to have complete control of it. So he consolidated all
the power in the oil and power industry in his own country under his own
control. He`s got his henchmen running the Russian oil and gas industry.
They`re terrible at it.
Geologically, Russia is running out of all the easy-to-get oil and gas.
They now need to be doing the more high-tech stuff, but they have got these
terribly, terribly run companies. They need to be able to use Western
expertise to be able to get at their future oil and gas.
And they can`t get it because of the sanctions on them because of Putin`s
gangster behavior. And that just – I mean, Putin is strategic, but he`s
And on the – in the long run, his short-term behavior that all made sense
in terms of grabbing up that industry and wielding influence around the
world in such a malign way, those things got to be on a collision course.
And he threw a total Hail Mary when it came to us in 2016 to try to get
Hillary Clinton out of there, and specifically to try to get those
And all of those meetings that you were just describing, basically all of
them during the campaign, had something to do with sanctions.
MATTHEWS: And this gigantic country that we look on the map, which
includes Europe and Asia, all the way from one ocean to the other,
practically, that gigantic country has a GDP smaller today than Italy`s –
MATTHEWS: – because of that awful decision. He said, let`s just do oil
and gas. Let`s not have a real modern economy.
That was his decision to choose personal interest, where he could be a
dictator over one sector, over the interests of his country.
MATTHEWS: Just like Trump.
MADDOW: Well, you know, the thing about a diversified economy is that, in
order to have one, in order to have a growing, vital economy, you need a
You need the rule of law. You need property rights. You need a relative
lack of corruption, so that people can, you know, get permits and hire
people, and businesses can grow and compete on the basis of their merit.
Putin wasn`t willing to concede any that, because all of that would have
meant him giving up some power and him being susceptible to democratic
pressures within Russia`s bounds. He could not take that because he was so
personally weak and paranoid about his own stature.
And so, instead of allowing Russia to grow in that way, which they could
have done – they could absolutely be a superpower once again in the world,
instead of having their major exports in the world be oil, gas and
I mean, they could be a big deal in the world, except for Putin keeping his
foot on the neck of his own country. And it`s come to roost for him.
MATTHEWS: Did you think about the parallel between oil and gas and gold
and silver in the days of the colonizers, where the Spanish chose just
They never did trade. They just got to get the gold and the silver. And
it destroyed their economies through that specie flow mechanism. You know
all about that from history. Destroyed it, because it inflated the
economy. And it did the same thing – it`s doing the same thing in Russia.
They committed the old crime of going after subterranean minerals, as
opposed to developing a modern economy, like the Brits did and we did.
And in the modern era, the way you see this writ large is the resource
curse, right, which is countries that have natural resources that need to
be extracted and then sold on the open – on the international market,
those countries, no matter how remunerative that resource supposedly is and
is on paper, it almost always makes your country more poor.
It almost always hurts the rule of law. It almost always results in a
worse society with more violence, more propensity to get involved in war,
and your citizens end up worse off, even as the elites get rich and
That resource curse is an academic thing that people have talked about for
years. I think that we should see Russia as suffering from that sort of on
its own terms. And I think that`s part of how we got ourselves into their
sights in 2016.
MATTHEWS: There`s so much in this book.
I kept thinking of Frank Norris` book “The Octopus.” I was thinking of the
great muckrakers of the early part of the 19th century. You`re smiling
because you know you`re on the same terrain. You`re a great muckraker,
because you have pointed out that there`s something – there`s something
malevolent about oil and these extractive industries, not just in
destroying economies, but destroying culture, the corruption that comes
I mean, you talk about these oil guys like Tillerson and their coziness
with Russia, the fact that Russia had given this guy a medal before he even
got to be secretary of state.
What is it about the malevolence of oil? I mean, I don`t know what to say,
except you have really captured something about a point of view.
By the way, extractive industries are not particularly good to women over
the years, extractive – as opposed to commercial – commercial ports, like
Seattle, New York, Boston, women can get ahead in those places, because of
commerce. Women can rise quickly in those companies.
But extractive industries are particularly deleterious to women. Did you
give any thought to that? I gave a lot to it. Your thoughts?
MADDOW: You know it`s a really good point.
It`s part of the reason why micro-finance initiatives are so good for
women, because what they do is, they promote diversified lower-level
economic growth, where people can write their own plot.
MADDOW: When you have got industries like oil and gas coming into a place
like equatorial Guinea or wherever it is that they`re going to drill wells,
what you get is billions of dollars of up-front capitalization.
So that means they are in there, and they have to make it pay off for
decades to make it worth that up-front capital investment. You get
construction jobs for a minute. You get a few jobs associated with the
ongoing production of the oil once the well is drilled.
But, really, you end up with a ton of environmental damage, very few jobs
for very few people, and a revenue stream that comes from outside the
country to the elites, and that benefits when the rule of law favors the
outside industry, rather than the people who live in that country.
And you just see it over and over and over again.
MATTHEWS: I`m so excited about the book.
MADDOW: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: The first action of the Trump administration in your book – I
didn`t know this – was to get rid of the public disclosure requirements on
American corporations, oil companies, doing business with African countries
So there was – it was meant, that law, to expose the payoffs, the
corruption, the kleptocracy that allowed these government leaders to have
houses in Malibu, in London, and everywhere else, and in South Africa,
while their people are starving to death.
And they got rid of that transparency law as the first act of Congress
MADDOW: And never talked about it. Never talked about it. We didn`t have
big national fights about it. We didn`t know it was happening. They just
quietly got that done.
That`s the power of the industry on our own government, that they got that
done as the first thing, the first order of business with the Republican
House, Republican Senate, and a new Republican in the White House,
literally a provision that singly and only allows oil companies to bribe
other countries and get away with.
It`s the first thing they did. And the power of the oil and gas industry
to get that done tells you something about how big a deal they are in our
own politics and around the world.
MATTHEWS: Well, read this book, everybody.
I know Friday night is a good night to have a book author on. And I`m glad
Rachel`s on tonight, because it`s a good night to tell people, when you`re
out wandering around – at least, people used to wander around the walls on
MATTHEWS: And they go around. And, occasionally, they see a bookstore
that`s still there. Get into that bookstore and buy this book, because
this is an education right here.
This is your – at least a year of good college right here. It is
fantastic, because it ties together all the things we have been talking
about here, all the things, all this scandal.
I`m not a Marxist, but I do accept there are – a lot of economic
determinism in a lot of what we – Richard Nixon went down because the
economy sucked when he was in trouble.
Bill Clinton survived because the economy was good. Watch the economy.
Follow the money.
Rachel Maddow has done just that. “Blowout,” get a copy this weekend.
MADDOW: God bless you, Chris. God bless you, my friend.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
MADDOW: Thank you so much.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
Well, up next: Democratic presidential candidates and their supporters are
converging on Iowa tonight. That`s Iowa, the party`s big shindig out
there. It used to be called Jefferson Jackson. Now it`s called The
Liberty and Justice Celebration. Very woke.
That`s out there in Des Moines, this as a new poll shows an increasingly
tight race out there. Can Warren sustain the latest surge she`s on? Can
Biden reverse his fade? Could Mayor Pete – and I`m big on this guy –
surprise everybody in Iowa?
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Thousands of people have descended on downtown Des Moines as I speak for
the annual Iowa Democratic Party`s Liberty and Justice Celebration, known
for years as the Jefferson Jackson Dinner.
Thirteen presidential candidates are expected to speak tonight at the
party`s annual dinner, which is expected to draw about 13,000 people. Look
at that crowd.
Back in 1975, a little-known Georgia governor named Jimmy Carter began his
run for the White House with a victory in a straw vote at that dinner
tonight. Since then, it`s helped propel several other candidates to the
front of the pack.
In 2011, for example, one “Des Moines Register” political columnist called
Senator Barack Obama Jefferson Jackson speech out there the best of his
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America, our moment
Our moment is now!
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: I don`t want to spend the next year or the next four years
refighting the same fights that we had in the 1990s. I don`t want to – I
don`t want to pit red America against blue America. I want to be the
president of the United States of America!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, tonight, in front of the biggest crowd in the dinner`s
history, 13 Democrats will try to convince Iowa voters that they`re best
suited to take on President Trump.
So, could tonight be the start of something big? That`s coming up next.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
With just three months to go until the Iowa caucuses – that`s February 3 -
- a new poll shows for candidates locked in a close race at the top.
The poll from “The New York Times” and Siena College shows Senator
Elizabeth Warren pulling ahead with 22 points among likely caucus voters.
These are good polls. Followed by Senator Bernie Sanders at 19. He is
sort of holding there. Pete Buttigieg has moved up to 18. And guess who`s
in fourth? Joe Biden, the previous front-runner.
But uncertainty remains about which direction Iowans want to take the
Democratic Party. Two-thirds of them say they still might choose a
different candidate than they have now before the caucuses.
And late tonight, one campaign came to a sudden end, as former Congressman
Beto O`Rourke announced he`s withdrawing from the race just hours after –
or just hours before he was supposed to be talking at the dinner. He`s not
For more, I`m joined by Alexi McCammond, Axios political reporter who is
governing – who is covering the race – she is also governing the race,
MATTHEWS: Evan McMullin, executive director of the Stand Up Republic and a
2016 independent presidential candidate, Jason Johnson, of course, politics
editor for The Root.
Let me ask you, Alexi, about this.
What do – your reporting on this race, what do you smell, particularly
with regard to the rise, the dynamic of Mr. Pete Buttigieg?
ALEXI MCCAMMOND, AXIOS: You know, what is interesting about that poll that
you just showed on screen is that I have been talking with a lot of
Democratic strategists in the last few months who have sort of said the
wild card, they think, is whether and how Mayor Pete Buttigieg better than
expected in a place like Iowa.
A few months ago, I was sort of like, yes, I don`t really know if that`s
going to happen. But now this poll is sort of confirming these rumors and
these ideas and hypotheses that these strategists have been floating for a
They think that Pete Buttigieg, especially being from Indiana, a
Midwesterner plays well in the Midwest. And we shouldn`t overlook someone
like him and his ability to sort of surprise people in a very important
caucus state like Iowa.
MATTHEWS: I think he`s going to win it.
JASON JOHNSON, THE ROOT: I don`t think there`s chance in heck.
I think it`s going to be –
MATTHEWS: In Iowa?
JOHNSON: No, no.
I think Elizabeth Warren`s going to win. Mayor Pete is improving because
he`s got the money and because he`s got the connections. I think you have
a three-way split with the first three primary states. I think Warren wins
Iowa, Bernie wins New Hampshire, Biden blows them all away in South
Carolina, and then there`s a mad scrum on Super Tuesday.
MATTHEWS: Well, I think they`re all going to have different – I think
Pete`s going to win Iowa. I think Bernie – Bernie is going to come back
and win New Hampshire, because he`s doing really well up there.
And if she has lost first place, she loses the second one. I don`t know
who Harry Reid is going to get behind. But I think you`re right about
Biden. So, we agree on one.
EVAN MCMULLIN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes. You know, I don`t
think Mayor Pete has to win Iowa. Of course he would like to. His
supporters would like him to.
MATTHEWS: You have seen his – projected, how fast he`s moved?
MCMULLIN: He`s moved. In Iowa, he`s been moving up. He`s been gaining
ground for the last couple of months.
It`s just as much about expectations, I think, as it is about the result.
MATTHEWS: OK. OK.
MCMULLIN: No, no. Well, right.
MATTHEWS: You`re schooling me.
MATTHEWS: But let me ask you. You`re schooling me.
Let me ask you this question.
MATTHEWS: Is a vote in Iowa a real presidential vote or is it a February
vote? I think it`s a February vote. It`s not a November vote. They don`t
have to pick the president.
They can say, right now, I think the best of the candidates is Buttigieg.
I`m voting for him.
MCMULLIN: Look, I think Mayor Pete`s going to have a moment after Iowa.
I think, even if he doesn`t prevail there, if he finishes in the top three,
he`s the only one who is sort of below 70 years old. He`s proven himself
MATTHEWS: He`s 37.
MCMULLIN: And I think that he will have a moment. And we will see how he
capitalizes on it.
He is very, very young, but I still think that he will – he will really
arrive on the stage after Iowa – after Iowa completes. I think he will
have a moment.
MATTHEWS: Well, catch this.
A new Morning Consult poll has former Vice President Joe Biden still seen
by voters as the best candidate to beat President Trump in a head – at
least, that`s the way they pick it.
The former vice president leads Trump by five points. Senator Sanders
leads Trump by two. Warren trails the president by one. President Trump
beats Mayor Pete by six.
I don`t know what to make of this. We`re all guessing. And –
JOHNSON: Well, here`s the thing.
People may not want to pick their president in Iowa, but they are thinking
that they want to pick somebody who can beat the president of the United
States, which is Donald Trump.
So, again –
MATTHEWS: That`s why you don`t think it will Pete?
JOHNSON: Yes, that`s why I don`t think it will be Pete. I don`t think
people necessarily believe yet.
Now, again, if he pulls off some sort of Obama surprise and blows everybody
away at 30 percent –
MATTHEWS: Well, I will bet he gives the best speech tonight.
JOHNSON: But giving a speech now in November, that`s not necessarily going
MATTHEWS: OK, OK, let`s get back to Alexi.
Alexi, do you think people are picking – my question at the beginning. Is
this a November decision, like next November, a year from now? Are they
picking the president of the United States or the person is going to beat
Trump? Or are they saying, right now, the smartest of the candidates, the
one that impresses me, the one I sort of like the most is Pete Buttigieg?
Yes, he`s gay. Yes, he`s married to a man. We know all that. That may be
a problem in some parts of the country. But, me, I`m voting for him
because I like the cut of his jib – is that the kind of decisions they`re
making out there?
MCCAMMOND: Based on the conversations I have had with voters, I think
people very much want to feel courted by these Democratic candidates.
They want someone who will make them feel something. That might be found
in someone like a 37-year-old gay presidential candidate like Mayor Pete.
MCCAMMOND: That might be found in someone like Elizabeth Warren, who,
although being in the Senate for seven years, eight years, is someone who
is new to a lot of people, at least on the national stage.
But one thing remains to be seen. And that`s whether and how voters sort
of define what it really takes to beat Donald Trump. Is that someone who
can win over voters, white working-class voters in the Upper Midwest? Is
that someone who is the so-called leader of the resistance? Is that
someone who is a woman?
I think it really remains to be seen, but I think people – voters
increasingly act like pundits. And I think this question of electability
really has a lot to do with those folks who can win the Electoral College,
not just the popular vote.
MATTHEWS: I think it`s a negative election coming up. People want to beat
MCMULLIN: Yes, Chris, I`ll just say that there is this obvious tension
between those who – on the Democratic side who want to see this
progressive agenda and this even populist agenda go forward.
MCMULLIN: It`s represented by Bernie Sanders and by Elizabeth Warren, et
But then there are the others who want – who are worried more about
MCMULLIN: But what Elizabeth Warren has done is bridged both. And that`s
what her advantage is in Iowa right now.
MATTHEWS: She doing well among moderates. You`re right.
Alexi, thank you so much, Alexi McCammond, Evan McMullin, Jason Johnson,
who is probably right in his own mind.
MATTHEWS: Up next: November 8, 1999, what happened on that date, 1999,
Stay tuned to find out. It matters a lot to this place.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, NOVEMBER 8, 1999)
MATTHEWS: Let`s play HARDBALL.
Well, HARDBALL is on MSNBC tonight, as well as CNBC, so I have got to
I haven`t done this before on the program, but here`s a definition of
hardball. It`s clean, aggressive, Machiavellian politics. It`s the
discipline of gaining and holding power, useful to any profession or
undertaking, but practiced most openly and unashamedly in the world of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that was from my book from 1988, HARDBALL.
That was the first episode, of course, of HARDBALL on MSNBC, November 8,
1999, 20 years ago next week. It`s a big milestone for us.
So, we`re going to take a look back into the HARDBALL vault for some of the
most exciting moments – some of them really are exciting – of the past
As I said last week, this is an important chair right here, this HARDBALL
chair. And over the last two decades, I have had the privilege of having
not just a front-row seat to American politics and history, but a seat
inside the lively political conversation of the country.
And, for that, I`m obviously thankful.
And that`s HARDBALL for 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