Deval Patrick runs for president in 2020 race. TRANSCRIPT: 11/14/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.

Guests:
Raja Krishnamoorthi, Jill Colvin, Mieke Eoyang, Laurence Tribe, Maya Wiley, Antjuan Seawright
Transcript:

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  They didn`t reach the verdict.  They asked those

two questions we just discussed, and that means they are done for the night

but we`ll be back deliberating tomorrow morning.

 

I will be back tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m.  I hope you`ll join us for “The

Beat.”  HARDBALL with Chris Matthews starts now.

 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  Witnesses two, Trumpsters zero.  Let`s play

HARDBALL.

 

Good evening.  I`m Chris Matthews up in New York.

 

The case for impeachment is gaining strength after the dual testimonies

from Ambassador Bill Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George

Kent, both dramatically raised the stakes yesterday.  More than 13 million

Americans watched live on television as both witnesses described the

president`s scheme to leverage Ukraine for political gain.  And that number

doesn`t include people who watched online.

 

Despite Republican efforts to turn yesterday`s hearing into a circus, it

was a rare occasion where substance won out over theatrics.  In fact,

today, Speaker Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi, said the hearing bolstered the central

charge that the president attempted to bribe Ukraine by trading arms for

dirt.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA):  The devastating testimony corroborated evidence

of bribery uncovered in the inquiry, and that the president abused power

and violated his oath by threatening to withhold military aid and a White

House meeting in exchange for an investigation into his political rival.

 

The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a

public statement of a – of a fake investigation into the elections. 

That`s bribery.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  The New York Times notes that Pelosi`s use of the word bribery

today was significant because it suggested that Democrats are moving toward

a more specific set of charges that could be codified in articles of

impeachment in the coming weeks.  It`s also telling that the U.S.

Constitution explicitly describes bribery as an impeachable offense.

 

Above all else yesterday`s hearing demonstrates Trump`s primary mission in

Ukraine was to advance his political agenda.  And now there`s new reporting

on the bombshell revelation, an embassy staffer overheard the president

asked Ambassador Gordon Sondland about the investigations he was demanding

of Ukraine in July.

 

The Associated Press and The Washington Post both report that a second U.S.

official was also able to hear the president on that phone call.  Each is

citing a single anonymous source who`s familiar with the matter.  While NBC

News has not spoken to anyone who has confirmed that reporting, it could

further establish that the president was personally orchestrating the

scheme to leverage a foreign ally.

 

And here`s how Ambassador Bill Taylor described that overheard phone call

yesterday.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

WILLIAM TAYLOR, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE:  A member of my staff

could hear President Trump on the phone asking Ambassador Sondland about

the investigations.  Mr. Sondland told President Trump the Ukrainians were

ready to move forward.

 

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA):  So your staff member overhears the president

asking about the investigations, meaning Burisma and the Bidens and 2016. 

And Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready

to move forward?

 

TAYLOR:  He did.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, that call took place just one day after Trump personally

asked Ukrainian President Zelensky to dig up dirt on Democrats.  And that`s

the smoking gun conversation at the heart, of course, the impeachment

drive.

 

And now, the first staffer who overheard Trump`s conversation, David

Holmes, is scheduled to testify in a closed session before the committee,

the Intelligence Committee, tomorrow.

 

The Washington Post is also reporting late tonight that a White House

budget officer is expected to break ranks and testify in the unfolding

inquiry and could shed light on the freeze of that military aid to Ukraine.

 

I`m joined right now by Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of

Illinois, who`s on the House Intelligence Committee, Jill Colvin is a White

House Reporter for the Associate Press, Mieke Eoyang is Vice President for

the National Security Program at Third Way, and Jon Meacham is, of course,

our presidential historian.  He is a presidential historian.

 

Let me start with congressman.  Congressman, yesterday, today and tomorrow

seemed to be strengthening a lot of confirmation that the president did in

fact have that phone call with Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, but also

that there was a lead up to it, and we`re learning just now two witnesses

to the follow-up.  The very next day, the president is on the phone with

Sondland saying, are you getting this job done, are you getting this dirt

that you asked Zelensky for?  It shows personal involvement it seems to be

you`re looking at it.  How are you looking at it?

 

REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL):  That`s right.  I think that the evidence

from yesterday points to basically the president even more involved in this

scheme than we knew before.  And as a consequence, we`re following up on

this new information.  And at the end of the day, I think Ambassador

Taylor`s compelling testimony and revelation of this piece of news makes it

even more important that we proceed with the inquiry and ask further

questions.

 

MATTHEWS:  It seems to me just from looking at this, the play-by-play of

this contest between truth and what I would consider a circus atmosphere,

the Republicans, even though on your committee, where they are as expert as

you guys are potentially because they`re hearing all the witnesses, they

don`t want to hear from the witnesses, they don`t want to hear the facts,

they want to focus on something else, who`s the whistleblower, let`s go

talk to Hunter Biden, anything else, let`s talk about 2016 and the Ukraine

bogus theories.  They don`t seem to want to challenge the facts of the

conversation the president had or even the follow-up conversations he had

with Sondland.

 

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  That`s right.  And, in fact, in a lot of cases, it almost

feels like they concede some of this evidence and the facts that basically

seem to support the allegations or charges against the president.  Instead

they make arguments such as this.  They say, well, the aide resumed anyway

on September 11th, so no harm, no foul that happened in the preceding

months.

 

Of course, that September 11th resumption of aid happened two days after we

launched a congressional investigation of the charges.  And that`s what I

enlisted on my testimony.  I hope they put that bogus argument to rest

finally, but let`s see what happens.

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, it`s like he said, I shot somebody on Fifth Avenue but I

only wounded them.  They survived the shooting.  I mean, that`s what he`s

saying here.

 

Jill, I want to talk to you about the facts here.  It seems the facts are

really not being disputed, except in this of saying, well, he didn`t die,

the country didn`t die.  Eventually, when this thing was outed and the

whole thing was discovered, this scam, they got their money.  But, clearly,

they weren`t going to get their money as long as it was secret.

 

JILL COLVIN, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, “ASSOCIATED PRESS”:  Yes. I mean, though

you still have the president of the United States, for instance, trying to

malign the whistleblower, claiming that he misrepresented the conversation

that the president had with President Zelensky, where there are not any

evidence of anything.  You know, there have been multiple witnesses who

have corroborated the content of that whistleblower account.

 

We also had the president yesterday at that press conference say that he

didn`t recall any details of this overheard conversation at this restaurant

in Kiev, where the president allegedly spoke to Sondland and indicated that

he was interested in these investigations, apparently more interested in

the investigations than he was in Ukraine policy itself.  And so you`ve

still got the president trying to distance himself here, trying to maintain

some level of deniability.

 

MATTHEWS:  What about this Associated Press witness you`ve got – your wire

service?  You`ve got a second witness to that conversation that heard Trump

talk to Sondland about following up and getting the dirt from Zelensky,

more evidence of personal involvement – of intense personal involvement. 

How solid are we on that second witness?

 

COLVIN:  Well, this was an individual who was present at that restaurant in

Kiev where that conversation took place.  She was sitting around the table. 

She`s somebody who has worked in Kiev.  She`s got a background as an

attorney.  And according to somebody close to her, she overheard the exact

same thing that Hines heard Sondland say around that table.

 

Now, there are still some questions about exactly what the nature of that

conversation was, why it was that Ambassador Sondland would be using his

cell phone in a public restaurant in Kiev, a place where Russian spying is

known as to be very prevalent.  Unclear whether perhaps he put the

president on speakerphone, whether he passed around the phone, how it was

all these individuals heard about it.  But nonetheless, this is now two

individuals who say that they heard the president on that line against the

president who says he can`t remember this at all.

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, Mieke, that tells me, and everybody can jump in here, the

fact that this guy, Sondland, who basically bought his ambassadorship with

$1 million gift to the inauguration, the fact that he can get the president

whenever he rings him up, he`s got his private cell number.  I mean, that

is impressive enough to me that this guy is in tight with the president. 

He`s been deputized to do this dirty work for him.  And anytime he wants

Trump on the line to check out what he`s up to, Trump is ready to take the

call and push him forward.

 

MIEKE EOYANG, VICE PRESIDENT FOR THIRD WAY`S NATIONAL SECURITY:  That`s

right.  It`s very clear that the president is, in fact, directing this

scheme, that Sondland is taking direction from the president.  He said as

much to the person who overheard the phone call.

 

And, look, you can argue about whether or not the president was the

mastermind of this thing or Rudy Giuliani put the idea in his head.  But at

the end of the day, the president is the boss of these people.  He`s the

one who tells them what to do.  He`s the one who says, this is what you

should do and this is what you shouldn`t do, and he`s the ultimate

beneficiary of the scheme.  He is the one whose rival will be investigated

if the Ukrainians go through with this thing, not Giuliani, not Sondland.

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  Well, the fish rots from the head.  Mike Dukakis once

said, an old Greek expression, apparently.

 

Well, as you have just said, President Trump yesterday denied having any

recollection of the conversation he had with Gordon Sondland, the follow-up

on investigations he was demanding with Ukraine.  He doesn`t remember.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I know nothing about that,

first time I`ve heard it.

 

REPORTER:  Do you recall the conversations?

 

TRUMP:  I don`t recall, no, not at all.  Not even a little bit.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  He goes into that kind of little Tommy Smothers.  I know I`m old

and I remember these things.  He got that sort of that dull, dull non-

inflicted voice, Jon Meacham, he goes to whenever he`s lying.  I don`t

know.  I don`t remember.  It`s almost like I`m on recorder that`s slowing

down.  Anyway, it`s Trump`s latest attempt to distance himself from

Sondland after he told reporters he hardly knew Sondland.  And now we`re in

this little sotto voce conversations over in Kiev with a guy he doesn`t

know.  Let`s watch him deny that.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REPORTER:  Gordon Sondland said at the beginning of September, he presumed

there was a quid pro quo.  Then there was a telephone call to you on

September the 9th.  Had he ever talked to you prior to that telephone call?

 

TRUMP:  Well, let me just tell you, I hardly know the gentleman.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  However, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff yesterday

described why this call is significant to the inquiry.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SCHIFF:  This is obviously very important because there is an effort

apparently to, by the president`s allies, throw Sondland under the bus,

throw Mulvaney under the bus, throw anybody under the bus in order to

protect the president.  But what this call indicates, as other testimony

has likewise indicated, is that instructions are coming from the president

on down.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Jon Meacham, only someone who never worked in politics would

believe that people did what they felt like doing when there`s a boss there

whose life and political career and his presidency depends on it.  But

they`re just doing what they feel like doing, like it`s a modern school. 

Just do what you feel like doing.  It`s a nonsensical defense.  Haldeman,

Erlichman, John Dean, Nixon threw all those guys under the bus until

there`s no more buses coming by in his term.  Your thoughts?  Does anybody

believe this, my people did this, I didn`t do it?

 

JON MEACHAM, MSNBC PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN:  No, and particularly given the

Trump culture.  You`re right politician`s writ large, White House`s writ

large, but there are no buffers here, right?  I mean, it`s actually not

that surprising that the E.U. ambassador has his cell phone.  There are

stories everywhere about how accessible the president is actually.  And he

– this is an autonomous guy, right?  It was Trump organizations, the Trump

Tower, the Trump presidency, and he runs this out of his back pocket.

 

A couple of tells, as they would say, if you`re playing poker.  One, you

write the slow voice often means he`s obfuscating.  The other is I didn`t

know this gentleman.  Remember, he didn`t know Steve Bannon, he didn`t know

Paul Manafort.  There`s a certain pattern here.

 

My own sense is he`s going to move from – and I could be wrong, of course,

but I think he`s going to move from this, I don`t remember this, into a

kind of a Few Good Men moment like where like Jack Nicholson, Col. Jessup,

he`s going to eventually say, you`re damn right I did.  I did this, what

are you going to do about it?

 

I think he`s going to end up where Mick Mulvaney was with the get over it,

partly because I don`t think Mick Mulvaney would have said that in the

pressroom if he hadn`t gotten some of that from the president himself.

 

And I think, basically, what we`re facing as a country is going to be the

question of do we want to get over it?  Do we want to accept this

Republican argument that, yes, there was probably – yes, there was law

breaking but they got the aid once they were caught?  And in that scenario,

in a weird way, the whistleblower saves Donald Trump, right, as they

stopped the illegality at least in (INAUDIBLE).

 

And so I think we`re going to have to decide – I bet he`s going to cop to

it, eventually, in a defiant way.  And then, remember – but in the movie,

Nicholson gets arrested.  So the question is, is this guy going to get

punished?

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, let me go to the congressman on that because I think he

raised a very good sleuthing point there, Jon, and that is this thing about

– Congressman, where do you think Mick Mulvaney, your former colleague and

now acting chief of staff, still OMB director, got the idea that he can go

on television and simply say, yes, it was a quid pro quo, get used to it,

it happens all the time?  Maybe it does sound like a pretty good intuition

on the part of Jon Meacham that he got that idea from the president.  That

was his initial instinct to just say, live with it.

 

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  Well, I think that might be the instinct that leads the

president to say this is a perfect call, this is a beautiful call. 

Regardless of what you think, Chris, about that call, it was beautiful and

that`s what you should be thinking about it.  And I think that that kind of

thinking infects probably some of his deputies.

 

The other thing I would say is as soon as Mick Mulvaney said what he said,

and obviously this is – by the way, this is not hearsay.  This is

firsthand account of what the president wants to have happened at OMB.  You

know, Mick Mulvaney quickly found himself alone because DOJ distanced

themselves from him, the president`s own attorney distanced himself from

him, and so that`s just the culture of this White House, throw everyone

under the bus.

 

MATTHEWS:  And keep changing your story, and you don`t hope your staff

people can keep up with it because your adjutants can only keep up with

only one story at a time and you keep changing it.

 

Anyway, throughout the hearing yesterday, Bill Taylor and George Kent`s

testimonies hammered home the point that Trump tried to extort political

dirt from Ukraine using his office and his personal lawyer to do so.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TAYLOR:  The official foreign policy of the United States was undercut by

the irregular efforts led by Mr. Giuliani.

 

KENT:  Giuliani`s efforts to gin up politically motivated investigations

were now infecting U.S. engagement with Ukraine.

 

TAYLOR:  President Trump did insist that President Zelensky go to a

microphone and say he is opening investigations of Biden and 2016 election

interference.

 

KENT:  The possibility of a White House meeting was being held contingent

to an announcement.

 

TAYLOR:  In fact, Ambassador Sondland said, everything was dependent on

such an announcement, including security assistance.

 

KENT:  Such selective actions undermine the rule of law regardless of the

country.

 

TAYLOR:  It was illogical, it could not be explained, it was crazy.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Mieke, we have an amazing scenario facing us the next couple of

weeks.  We look we`re going to get articles of impeachment out of the House

probably by Christmas, a Senate trial to file in the early part of next

year.

 

Somewhere in that, a fireside chat from the president where he`s going to

go before the American people and Nixon-like deny or accept or defend

everything.  We`re talking about drama down the road here.

 

EOYANG:  Yes.  And this president loves drama.  He loves everyone else

talking about him.  But when you look at the ways that the Republicans are

defending this case, what they are doing is not attacking the substance,

they are not disputing the facts here, they`re trying to derive the whole

thing as partisan.  And they are counting on the fact that they believe

that America is so tribal that all the Republicans will continue to vote

with him and people are not able to make up their own minds when they hear

the evidence.

 

And what the Democrats have done here in going to these open hearings is

let the American people see the evidence and decide for themselves.

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, it`s an interesting jury out there in the American people. 

I`ve got to tell you, Congressman and everybody else in my business of

journalism, I think 50 some percent of the people are listening, maybe 60,

maybe more, our numbers are growing, and there are people out there who

have closed their mind to this issue.  We`re going to have to deal with

that reality.  That jury is going to be difficult.

 

Thank you so much, U.S. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, always, coming on

from Illinois.  Jill Colvin, your expertise and the Associated Press is

wonderful, you people are amazing, and, Jon Meacham, of course, my friend

and one of the great historians in this country, and Mieke Eoyang, thank

you all.

 

Coming up, the Republicans tangled and torture defense of President Trump. 

This is wild stuff.  It is what is the weeds (ph).

 

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH):  What you heard did not happen.  It didn`t happen.

 

REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE (R-TX):  Are either of you here today to assert there

was an impeachable offense in that call?  Shout it out, anyone?

 

STEVE CASTOR, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE MINORITY COUNSEL:  This irregular channel

of diplomacy, it`s not as outlandish as it could be, is that correct?

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  That is my favorite question.  It`s not as outlandish as it

could be, and that`s the Republicans` chief counsel.

 

And as Republicans relied on Obfuscation, Democrats advance the case for

impeachment.  Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe is going to be here with

me in a minute.

 

Plus, Republican senators see Trump`s impeachment trial overlapping with

the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, making life difficult for the

six Democratic senators who have to be on the trial and also on the

campaign at the same time.  I think the Republicans are going to be

enjoying this.

 

We`ve got much more to get to.  Stick with us.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

 

Ambassador William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George

Kent painted a sobering portrait of a president using the power of his

office to advance his personal political agenda by withholding aid,

military aid, from a foreign power. 

 

Faced with that evidence, Republicans looked the other way, opting instead

to press an alternative reality. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH):  The whole point was, you had a clear understanding

that aid will not get released unless there`s a commitment, not maybe, not

I think the aid might happen and it`s my hunch it is going to get released. 

 

You used clear language, clear understanding and commitment.  And those two

things didn`t happen.  So you had to be wrong. 

 

REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE (R-TX):  No pressure, no demands, no conditions,

nothing corrupt. 

 

REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH):  So not only no conversation with the president of

the United States about Ukraine.  You have not had any contact with the

president of the United States. 

 

REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY):  For the millions of Americans viewing today,

the two most important facts are the following.  Number one, Ukraine

received the aid.  Number two, there was in fact no investigation into…

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, today, speaking to reporters, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

responded to Republican criticism by inviting President Trump to

participate – to participate, him, get in the conversation on the inquiry. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA):  If the president has something that is

exculpatory, Mr. President, that means, if you have anything that shows

your innocence, then he should make that known. 

 

And that`s part of the inquiry.  And so far, we haven`t seen that, but we

welcome it. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters that

he wouldn`t support impeachment, even if new evidence confirms that

President Trump demanded investigations into former Vice President Joe

Biden. 

 

For more, I`m joined right now by Laurence Tribe, Harvard Law professor and

co-author of “To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment.”

 

Professor Tribe, what do you make – to start with, what do you make of the

Republican alternate – well, I wouldn`t call it a defense – alternate

narrative yesterday? 

 

LAURENCE TRIBE, PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL:  Well, I think it`s

basically ridiculous. 

 

The fact is that, if you solicit a bribe and are caught red-handed before

you get the bribe, you have still committed bribery.  And in this case, it

was extortion, as well as bribery.  It was a clear abuse of power. 

 

And in any case, the history of the framing of the impeachment power is

that George Mason, one of the framers, wanted to include, in addition to

treason and bribery, a term like corruption.  And in the end, instead of

corruption, they used other high crimes and misdemeanors.

 

And Mason said, that was intended to capture, among other things, attempted

subversion of the Constitution. 

 

So, here we have actual, as well as attempted subversion.  For over 70

days, the aid was withheld.  And if not for the whistle-blower, if not for

having been caught red-handed, the president would have gotten what he

wanted. 

 

He wanted a public television appearance by President Zelensky smearing

Biden and saying that we`re investigating him.  The only reason he didn`t

get that is that he was caught.  And for him to say that, I was caught and

so it doesn`t matter, is really a desperate and unconvincing move. 

 

The question is, will the people of this country accept it?  Will they

accept that it`s OK to use your official power to hurt an ally and help an

adversary just because you`re caught before you hurt the adversary any

longer?

 

And I don`t think the American people will buy that.  But then maybe I`m

just too optimistic. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, Trump doesn`t have a very good historic sense about

anybody – about anything, our culture or anything.

 

TRIBE:  Right.

 

MATTHEWS:  But I was wondering.  I`m trying to be really fine here in

understanding this, because I grew up with LBJ.

 

And LBJ used the power of the presidency to reward people.  He would close

certain Naval bases and keep others open, depending on who he liked that

week.  We knew that.

 

That kind of use of presidential discretion under Article 2, tell us what`s

the difference between that and what Trump`s doing, or what he`s done here

with Ukraine.

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

TRIBE:  It`s very different. 

 

First of all, this is national security and it`s foreign affairs.  And,

secondly, this is a case where Congress specifically said that this $400

million and the Javelin missiles should go to Ukraine in order to protect

this ally against the encroachments of Russia, the encroachments of

Vladimir Putin.  

 

And Congress specifically said that the money shouldn`t go until the

Pentagon certifies that corruption will not get in the way of delivering

the money the way we intend it to be used. 

 

That certification was given.  So the president violated what Congress had

specified.  He violated the power of the purse.  He usurped the power of

the purse.  And he did it in a way that solicited foreign assistance for

his reelection, which was itself a criminal violation of the laws

protecting the sanctity of our electoral process. 

 

We have had corrupt presidents before, presidents who have trimmed the

sales this way or that, but we have never had somebody whose whole purpose

in holding that office is to enrich himself and enhance the power of his

family and the wealth of his family. 

 

This is not just a marginal violation.  This is essentially an anti-

president.  And I`m not talking only about his policies.  His policies are

a different matter altogether. 

 

It wouldn`t matter if this was Obama or Clinton, any president.  Just ask

the Republicans if a Democratic president in the future takes money that

you have appropriated for a particular foreign purpose, and then threatens

to withhold it, and watch people die on the battlefield until he gets what

he wants for his reelection, would you like to live with that? 

 

Is that the kind of country we want?  It`s not the kind of country I

believe that we want or that our framers envisioned. 

 

And I think it`s about time that people pay more attention to the

Constitution and to the purposes of our democracy than to the trivial

business of getting reelected. 

 

If your office is so important to you that you`re going to violate your

oath and vote for someone who violates his oath every day and who uses the

office of the presidency to enrich himself and to enhance his power, then I

really think you are a pathetic excuse for a human being. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, as a citizen, I love the way you put together the absolute

immorality of this, with his unconstitutional behavior, because the idea of

letting people die…

 

TRIBE:  Right.

 

MATTHEWS:  … so that you can get a little dirt on your opponent is about

as corrupt as you can imagine. 

 

Thank you, Professor.

 

TRIBE:  It`s pretty sad. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Professor Laurence Tribe, I wish I was in your classrooms. 

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you very much for coming on tonight.

 

TRIBE:  Thanks.

 

MATTHEWS:  Up next: Roger Stone`s fate in the hands of the jury.  This is a

guy who has been with Trump since day one, in fact, before day one.

 

Roger was pushing this guy to run for president way back in the `90s.  Now

it looks like he is really facing hard time after a trial full of new

revelations about Trump and his other close advisers. 

 

There`s a lot of stuff coming out here.  And it doesn`t look good about the

honesty of this president.  But this guy is going to go under the bus. 

 

You`re watching HARDBALL. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

 

Right now, former Trump adviser – and he`s been an adviser for a long time

– Roger Stone is awaiting a verdict in a federal court, facing up to 20

years in prison, real time, hard time, on charges of witness tampering and

lying to the U.S. Congress, among other things. 

 

As his longest serving political adviser, Stone has been with Trump, at his

side, for decades.  There he is sitting next to Melania at our event at

University of Pennsylvania back in `99. 

 

Look how close he is, sitting with his then girlfriend.

 

If he`s convicted, he will become the sixth Trump aide, however, to plead

or be found guilty, along with George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort Rick

Gates, Michael Flynn, and Michael Cohen, all going to jail.

 

Stone`s trial has provided a window, however, into portions of the Mueller

report that were largely redacted, what Trump and his campaign knew about

Russian efforts to hack the DNC and the Clinton campaign, Hillary Clinton.

 

Former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates, who pled guilty to lying to

investigators last year, testified in this trial that he discussed the

hacking of information harmful to the Hillary Clinton campaign with Stone

as early as April 2016.  He also says that campaign leadership had held

brainstorming sessions in what to do with when and if the information was

leaked to them. 

 

Most strikingly, Gates testified that he overheard a conversation between

Trump himself and Stone in July in 2016 directly after the earliest DNC e-

mails were released, after which Trump told Gates, “More information will

be coming.”

 

President Trump has maintained he doesn`t recall any such conversation with

Stone, of course. 

 

I`m joined right now by Ken Dilanian, who has been at the trial every

minute, NBC News correspondent, of course, and Maya Wiley, former assistant

U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

 

First of all, the smell and the look of that trial.  Who is this guy he

brought in?  It`s like Ed Williams brought in Joe Louis one time to help

one of his candidates, Jimmy Hoffa. 

 

Who is that minister that comes along with the defendant here, Roger Stone? 

What`s that all about?  Have you been watching that? 

 

KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT:  I have got to be

honest, Chris, I`m not – I have not, so I`m not familiar with what you`re

talking about. 

 

MATTHEWS:  I just saw the stills.

 

OK.  What about Roger Stone?  Does he look like he`s ready to burn here? 

Does he look like he`s going down? 

 

DILANIAN:  He does.

 

And, also, physically, he doesn`t look well at this trial.  He`s walking

around the courthouse kind of unaccompanied, shambling around.  He doesn`t

look like a happy warrior, which is usually his persona. 

 

And perhaps that`s because the evidence, Chris, is overwhelming.  I mean,

he really doesn`t have much of a defense, except, oh, you know, it doesn`t

really matter, or don`t take Stone too seriously, or he didn`t know what he

was saying, he didn`t have criminal intent.

 

But the prosecutors have him dead to rights.  They have documents that

refute his testimony. 

 

But the most interesting part of this trial, Chris, was how the prosecutors

made Donald Trump a character.  And they made clear – even though they go

to work every day with Donald Trump`s portrait on their wall, they made

clear that what`s at issue in this trial is bad conduct by Donald Trump`s

campaign that Roger Stone was lying to cover up.

 

They said over and over again, the reason Stone lied to the House

Intelligence Committee is because the truth would look bad for his longtime

associate Donald Trump. 

 

And then they put up phone records that showed that Stone was in close

contact with Trump while he was pursuing the hacked e-mails.  Stone even

called Trump on the day that the DNC announced that they had been hacked by

the Russians. 

 

And then Trump called them back, and they talked.  And Stone was in touch

with Steve Bannon and Rick Gates.  And, by the way, that Rick Gates

testimony, prosecutors would not have put that on unless they thought it

was true. 

 

They have an ethical obligation not to put false testimony before a jury. 

So you had the U.S. attorney`s office in D.C. endorsing this statement by

Rick Gates that refutes Donald Trump`s sworn testimony to Robert Mueller,

Chris. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Maya, this is a – this is a morality play.  You`re – this guy

wasn`t a good guy to begin with.  I mean, he`s a dirty trickster by trade. 

 

But there he is giving away his freedom, potentially.  If he gets a bad

verdict tomorrow, we`re talking a long time in federal prison, at his age,

which could be a life sentence.

 

MAYA WILEY, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY:  Unless he thinks he`s getting

a pardon, which would be, obviously, politically unwise for Trump, I think.

 

But it`s very hard to understand Roger Stone`s behavior in any other way,

because, remember, he had the opportunity – first of all, Jerome Corsi

refused to cooperate.  Remember, Jerome Corsi is in the indictment.  He is

the person who Roger Stone wouldn`t reveal when he kept saying, I have this

back channel. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

 

WILEY:  And then he says, it`s Randy Credico, who testified in the trial.

 

But he was protecting Jerome Corsi, who is also the guy who miraculously,

like, wiped clean his computer before investigators could get at it.  And

he`s the one who was actually, in some of those critical periods in August,

actually having communications around getting e-mails. 

 

But I say that, because there was so much evidence, and evidence that, if

you`re refusing – if you`re literally lying to Congress and saying, I have

no e-mails, I have no texts, when there are e-mails and texts, unless you

have done what Corsi did, which is wipe your computer…

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, it`s a simple case to me of a guy who got – who took a

lot of credit for knowing they`re going to get the hacked information

Hillary Clinton that they could use against her, and they did use against

her.  It cost her number of points.  There`s no doubt about it. 

 

It played a role in defeating her in 2016.  And now he can`t admit what he

was bragging about before, that he was the guy getting the dirt on Hillary

through the Russians and the WikiLeaks and the rest of that mess. 

 

In his written answers to Mueller, however, President Trump responded that

he did not recall and did not – or did not recollect information – 36

times, he said that.  And five of those times were in response to questions

about Roger Stone and the hacked materials. 

 

This thing about forgetting, by the way, how long – and where does that

fit into our lives, this “I forget”?

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

WILEY:  Yes. 

 

Well, it wasn`t very believable, when, in fact, in the Mueller report, they

suggest it wasn`t very believable.  Some of the things he forgot, for

instance, was that the DNC e-mail hacking of that release was like on his

birthday.

 

There were these kind of periods where you would think, how wouldn`t you

remember that? 

 

But I think what`s critical here is, this is why Donald Trump`s lawyers did

not want him to be interviewed.  Remember…

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, he was written – he did a written response.  And he lied

in that way.

 

WILEY:  But that`s not an interview.

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes. 

 

WILEY:  A written response is not an interview, because, remember, they

kept calling it a perjury trap. 

 

Well, there`s no such thing as a perjury trap.  If you tell the truth…

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

MATTHEWS:  If you`re telling the truth.

 

Thank you.  

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

MATTHEWS:  You know what?  The one thing that Trump really did forget was

his oath of office.  That`s what he forgot. 

 

Ken Dilanian, thank you for that.  I don`t know how you sat through that

trial.  What a cruddy bunch that is. 

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, thank you, Maya Wiley, for your analysis.

 

Up next, the impeachment trial in the Senate could last five to six weeks. 

Here it comes, the tricky part for our business, too, overlapping with the

Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primaries.  So we could be here every night

on HARDBALL giving you a split screen of senators, six presidential

candidates, sitting in the chamber of the Senate trying the case of Donald

Trump, while they were dying to be out there in Iowa or when they know

their opponents are out there, Buttigieg and Biden are out there going

crazy and they`re stuck in their pews. 

 

You`re watching HARDBALL.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

 

As the House moves forward on hearing the case for impeaching President

Trump, the Senate is already planning for the impeachment trial, one that

could barrel right into the 2020 presidential primary season. 

 

“The Washington Post” Robert Costa reports that behind the scenes, some

Republicans senators and their advisers are privately discussing whether to

pressure GOP leaders to stage a lengthy impeachment trial beginning in

January to scramble the Democratic presidential race, potentially keeping

six contenders in Washington until the eve of the Iowa caucuses or longer. 

 

Well, some Republicans see the silver lining here.  It would be trapping

Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and four other senators running for

president in D.C., instead of traveling and campaign for early contest.

 

The Senate impeachment trial of Bill Clinton in 1999 lasted nearly five

weeks.  If the Senate operates in a similar time frame with a Trump

impeachment trial in 2020 starting the week of, say, January 6th, that`s a

Monday, that would put it on a collision course with the Iowa caucus,

February 3rd, and also the New Hampshire primary the following week on

Tuesday, February 11th. 

 

In New Hampshire on Wednesday, Senator Warren was asked about pausing her

campaign. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I have

constitutional responsibilities.  I took an oath of office as did everyone

in Congress, and part of that oath of office is the basic principle that no

one is above the law.  That includes the president of the United States. 

And if the House goes forward and sends an impeachment over to the Senate,

and I will be there for the trial. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  But a Senate trial won`t affect the newest surprise entry into

the 2020 Democratic field.  And that`s coming up. 

 

You`re watching HARDBALL.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DEVAL PATRICK (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I love that the party has moved

to the left.  I love that we are the party of the woke.  I believe that we

also have to be the party of the still waking. 

 

(ENDE VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Wow. 

 

Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

 

That was Deval Patrick.  That`s another one who joined the party here as

former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, the newest entry into the

Democratic presidential race.  Patrick launched his Hail Mary bid this

morning before heading to New Hampshire to file the paperwork to get on the

ballot up there just one day before the deadline in New Hampshire. 

 

He explained why he`s running and took some veiled shots – they weren`t

very veiled – at the other Democrats.  See who he`s attacking here.  Let`s

watch.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

PATRICK:  In many ways, it is felt to me in watching the race unfold that

we`re beginning to break into sort of camps of nostalgia on the one hand

and sort of big ideas “my way” or “no way” on the other.  And I think we

have to be careful how we bring people in, how we bring people along, and

how we yield to the possibility that somebody else or even some other party

may have a good idea, as good or better as our own. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, Governor Patrick ruled out a race last year, citing family

concerns, and he`ll have an uphill climb to catch the rest of the field

right now with less than three months until Iowa. 

 

For more, I`m joined by Robert Costa, national political reporter for “The

Washington Post”, and Antjuan Seawright, Democratic strategist, and former

senior adviser to the Hillary Clinton campaign down in South Carolina.

 

Robert, what do you – what do you see here?  First of all, put it all

together.  This guy`s getting in.  I don`t know whether Mike Bloomberg is

in or not.  Do you have a ruling on that?  Do you think he`s an actual

candidate yet, Mike Bloomberg? 

 

ROBERT COSTA, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  Well, he

hasn`t had a formal announcement, but he`s filing across the country in

different states.  And Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Patrick, they reflect

lot of concern in the centrist wing of the Democratic Party about where

this primary process is going, and the ascent of Senator Warren, Senator

Sanders. 

 

But it`s a crowded space making the case against Medicare-for-All, against

an asset tax and a wealth tax.  You have Mayor Buttigieg, Vice President

Biden, Senator Klobuchar, Senator Booker, all now occupying the same space

Governor Patrick is walking into. 

 

MATTHEWS:  You know, I noticed a sea change in this about two weeks ago,

maybe two and a half, when people thought it was the same seats and they go

after what was then and certainly may be the front-runner, Elizabeth

Warren.  They feel at the time to check out each other`s program, the

Medicare-for-All, the funding of it. 

 

It`s interesting, Buttigieg went right at her and Biden went right at her. 

It seemed like there was a sense of pausing.  In fact I think there was a

pause.  I think people are looking for opportunities right now.  Who else

can we get in this thing? 

 

Your thoughts?

 

ANTJUAN SEAWRIGHT, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  I don`t know if people are

looking for an alternative.  I think in the Democratic Party, we have 99

problems but another presidential candidate should not be one. 

 

I think what people are looking for is to really put meat on the bone who

the Democrats are going to be in 2020.  Are we going to be the progressive

party?  Are we going to be the center left party?  Or are we going to be a

remix of both? 

 

And I think that is what people are looking for and that is yet to be

defined. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, that`s a hell of a decision, and nobody has made that one

yet.  That`s – anyway, if the Senate mulls an impeachment trial, it could

extend right through the Iowa caucuses of February 3rd and go thou the

voting of New Hampshire. 

 

Robert, you`re reporting on this.  Is it – what is the argument because it

seems to me, to be fair, if the Senate cut the hearings down – the trial

down to two or three weeks the critics on the left will say they`re giving

it short shrift.  So what is the argument for five or six weeks, or two or

three weeks?  What`s the argument?

 

COSTA:  The argument is coming from different wings of the Republican

Party.  Centrist Republicans up in 2020 like Senator Susan Collins were

telling at the Capitol this week they don`t want to see it rushed or

dismissed like Senator Rand Paul and other Trump allies are calling out

for.  They would like to see this play out over six to eight weeks, and

that`s the range that Senator Burr and others are talking about because the

Clinton impeachment trial lasted five weeks back in 1999. 

 

At the same time, they see a little bit of a political advantage if they

have a longer trial that stretches into late January, even February next

year.  But they also don`t want to be seen as partisan in their decision

here on the trial because that`s how they`re blaming Democrats in the House

from being too partisan in Republican view. 

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, a Monmouth poll coming out now – these polls are getting

interesting.  Likely Iowa caucus goers, these are great poll, released on

Tuesday this week, showed Mayor Pete Buttigieg now leading the field. 

Already peaked 22 points, that`s a 14-point jump since August. 

 

He`s led is within the margin, he`s followed by former Vice President Joe

Biden down 19.  He`s going down 5 points.  Elizabeth Warren has been going

down a bit tool.  She`s at 18 right now.

 

What`s going on here?  I think this – what you were saying a minute ago, a

reconsideration of where the party would position itself, center left or

left.  That`s a hell of a decision yet to we made. 

 

SEAWRIGHT:  I think the voters will make that decision.  I think sometimes

we put too much emphasis on the early states before South Carolina. 

 

MATTHEWS:  You`re from South Carolina?

 

SEAWRIGHT:  The ball game does not begin until we get there because I think

the Palmetto State is a true reflection of who we are as Democrats.  Sixty-

one percent African-American –

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, that`s not representative of the whole party. 

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

SEAWRIGHT:  No, I think it`s a true reflection of who will have a large say

so in who our Democratic nominee will be. 

 

MATTHEWS:  OK, right now, just to be ethnic about it, 24 percent of the

Democratic vote electorate is African-American.  Down there, Iowa has a

much lower percentage, right?  New Hampshire has a minuscule percentage,

right? 

 

You`re saying that when you get to South Carolina, you get to what?  What

reality?

 

SEAWRIGHT:  I think you get a real test case of where a large majority of

the people who will decide who our nominee will be, and many of the states

that follow South Carolina have similar demographics if not even more, of

people of color.

 

MATTHEWS:  Super Tuesday is going to be a hell of a day. 

 

SEAWRIGHT:  Absolutely.

 

MATTHEWS:  That`s going to be a good reflection of the party. 

 

Robert Costa, thank you, sir, for that.  And thank you, Antjuan Seawright

from South Carolina.

 

Up next, is the impeachment case reaching the hearts and minds of

Americans?  How far is it getting?  It certainly is reaching the front

pages of our newspapers.  Is it getting to people who are not following the

news?  That`s my question.  

 

You`re watching HARDBALL.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MATTHEWS:  The majority members of the U.S. House of Representatives are

now presenting the case for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. 

That case began yesterday with two star witnesses giving evidence that

Donald Trump demanded a bribe from a foreign head of state, withholding

vital military aid until that foreign leader agreed to investigate Trump`s

political rivals. 

 

The case continues tomorrow as former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie

Yovanovitch, testifies about her personal experience of being pushed out of

the way for Trump and his people to carry out their extortion, what Trump`s

then national security advisor compared to a drug deal.  Well, next week,

there will be more witnesses and most likely more after that.  And if the

front page stories and headlines of the country`s newspapers offer a guide,

the case against Trump is being made.  The question is whether the case is

reaching the hearts and minds of those who don`t regularly follow the news? 

 

And that`s HARDBALL for now.  Thanks for being with us. 

 

Be sure to tune in tomorrow morning for special coverage of Marie

Yovanovitch`s testify.  I`ll be anchoring alongside Nicolle Wallace

starting at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. 

 

And, of course, “ALL IN” right now with Chris Hayes starts right now.

 

 

 

 

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

BE UPDATED.

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