Gov. Deval Patrick plays Hardball. TRANSCRIPT: 11/21/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.

Mimi Rocah, Eli Stokols, Michael Steele, Katrina Mulligan, William Burns, Deval Patrick


Date: November 21, 2019

Guest: Mimi Rocah, Eli Stokols, Michael Steele, Katrina Mulligan, William

Burns, Deval Patrick




ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  What a show.  If we were in it later, we`d be



I`ll see you back at 6:00 P.M. tomorrow.  HARDBALL starts now.




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


Mr. President, reality T.V. what got you to the White House, sir, is

suddenly your enemy.  For two weeks now, the Democrats on the Intelligence

Committee have brought to the national stage credible witnesses against

you, one after the other telling the story of a Trump-driven effort to sell

off U.S. national security to get personal gain for you, Donald J. Trump.


The case for impeachment has never been stronger.  The evidence never so

riveting as these past couple of days.  After yesterday`s explosive

testimony from Ambassador Gordon Sondland, we heard today from Fiona Hill,

a former top official in the National Security Council, and David Holmes, a

political counselor at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine.


With a clear command of the facts, Dr. Hill described how U.S. national

security was subverted by the president`s personal agenda.  She said she

came to realize that Ambassador Sondland had been empowered by the

president personally to pursue a domestic political errand which was in

conflict with her duty to avoid politicizing foreign policy.





that he wasn`t fully telling us about all of the meetings that he was

having. And he said to me, but I`m briefing the president, I`m briefing

Chief of Staff Mulvaney, I`m briefing Secretary Pompeo, and I`ve talked to

Ambassador Bolton.  Who else do I have to deal with?


He was being involved in a domestic political errand, and we were being

involved in national security foreign policy, and those two things had just

diverged.  So he was correct.  And I had not put my finger on it at the

moment, but I was irritated with him and angry with him that he wasn`t

fully coordinating.


And I did say to him, Ambassador Sondland Gordon, I think this is all going

to blow up, and here we are, because he was carrying out what he thought he

had been instructed to carry out.




MATTHEWS:  And there`s Dr. Hill describing that moment of epiphany, if you

will, that very moment when she realized and challenging Ambassador

Sondland that Sondland was working for the chief, Donald Trump.  He was the

head of the whole escapade.


Well, David Holmes testified today this time in public about that July 26th

phone call where he overheard the president pushing Ambassador Sondland to

get Ukraine to deliver the dirt on Joe Biden.  He said it, by late August,

it was his clear impression that security assistance was indeed linked to

Trump`s demand for those investigations by Ukraine.





clear impression was that the security assistance hold was likely intended

by the president either as an expression of dissatisfaction with Ukrainians

who had not yet agreed to the Burisma-Biden investigation or as an effort

to increase the pressure on them to do so.



was the only logical conclusion that you could reach?


HOLMES:  Correct.


GOLDMAN:  Sort of like two plus two equals four?


HOLMES:  Exactly.




MATTHEWS:  Well, this comes after Ambassador Sondland`s testimony which

directly implicated the president and numerous top administration officials

in the scheme to leverage Ukraine.  What Sondland described yesterday was

the bribe at the center of the inquiry, U.S. support in return for

political investigations.




GORDON SONDLAND, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE E.U.:  Mr. Giuliani`s requests were

a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for President Zelensky. 

Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing the

investigations of the 2016 election DNC server and Burisma.


It became more and more difficult to secure the White House meeting because

more conditions were being placed on the White House meeting.


Mr. Giuliani conveyed the notion that President Trump wanted these

announcements to happen.


I believe that the resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until

Ukraine took some kind of action on the public statement that we had been



REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA):  It was made abundantly clear if they hadn`t put

two and two together themselves and if they wanted that aid, they were

going to have make these statements, correct?


SONDLAND:  Correct.




MATTHEWS:  And that is what Dr. Fiona Hill described today as a political



Joining me now is Eli Stokols, L.A. Times White House Reporter, Katrina

Mulligan, who has held positions at the DOJ, NSC and DNI, that`s Director

of National Intelligence, and is now the Managing Director for National

Security at the Center for American Progress, Michael Steele, of course,

former RNC Chair, and Mimi Rocah, former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the

Southern District of New York.


Mimi, I guess, we`re starting with you tonight.  I`ve been watching it. 

I`m not a lawyer.  I`ve only watched courtroom dramas, they`re some of the

best movies I know, but that`s all I know.  How would you describe the way

these witnesses have been brought forth on the national stage one at a

time, sometimes two at a time, in terms of building – putting together the

building blocks, I should say, of the case for the president`s malfeasance,

impeachable behavior?



YORK:  I mean, this has been a phenomenal case, Chris, really.  I that

think if this were something that we were asking a jury to decide guilty or

not, which we`re not doing yet obviously, they would come back in a

heartbeat with a guilty verdict.


Because if you look at all of the evidence, all of the testimony of the

witnesses and the phone call with the president himself in his own words

saying I need a favor though, if you put all of it together and you take

politics out of it and look at it as a rational person, which is something

prosecutors ask jurors all the time, they say, you don`t chuck your – you

know, your rational thought at the door when you come in here.  All of that

really leaves this inescapable conclusion that Trump was holding up first

the meeting and then the aid for this announcement of an investigation.


And he delegated it to Rudy Giuliani, his, you know, under-boss in all of

this to get the dirty work done so he could have some plausible

deniability.  But I think that just makes it more obvious when he goes

around saying, no quid pro quo, no quid pro quo.  It`s like saying, I

didn`t rob the bank, as he`s taking the money out of the bank.  You know,

it doesn`t make it true.  And the facts and evidence here really are

overwhelming if people are willing to look at it in a rational, objective



MATTHEWS:  Eli, the way I like it is there`s revelations as they come to

each person what`s going on.  First of all, Ambassador Taylor realizing

there`s two channels.  There`s the legitimate or the official channel and

then this Rudy Giuliani effort to try to ring the dirt out of this country

to help the president in his next election, Sondland coming out and saying,

basically, it`s not just another channel but it`s the channel that includes

the president, the chief of staff of the president, it includes the

secretary of state and the entire State Department, the whole second

channel, which was supposed to be the unofficial part of the government is

really the government, and then to find out most recently, the testimony

more recently today from Dr. Hill, where she realizes that it`s the

president behind the whole thing.



and that was the capstone for the Democrats over two weeks, they put her

last.  And she really tied it all together.


I mean, it`s remarkable to hear from all these officials.  Their epiphanies

came at different times but it came, eventually.  Sometimes it came after

their first sworn deposition, and they had to give a second one because

they didn`t have all the facts, other people`s testimony helped them

recover certain memories.  Maybe they were trying to protect themselves or

protect the president.


Hill today said, it`s just not credible that Sondland and others could have

not put it together that when the president and others around him were

saying, Burisma, they meant an investigation of Joe Biden.  But,

ultimately, you have two weeks of testimony, 12 witnesses, and everything

points in the same direction.


And yet if you watch that hearing and you listen to Adam Schiff at the end

of it, the frustration he was expressing, it`s understandable because he

had heard the Republicans on that committee ignore the testimony for the

most part, not question the substance of it and just act as if the whole

thing is a joke.


The idea of withholding a meeting, one of the Republicans today said, I

think it was Representative Turner, said if you`re going to impeach over

him not taking a meeting, go ahead, as if it would be some huge boom to the



And so they were just living in different worlds.  I think Mimi is right. 

If you could not check your reason at the door as you go in and analyze

this, yes, maybe you would get an unbiased jury.  But it`s politics. 

Everybody in the country seems to have a point of view, and certainly, you

know, the Republicans and Democrats are just in completely different



MATTHEWS:  Well, maybe this is circular.  But every time I pick up one of

the major papers now in the morning the day after one of these testimonies,

they completely get their point across.  It`s all there in print.  The

print people have been wonderful in terms of this examination, but they`re

also wonderful at recording what we`re learning, the big papers, people

like Peter Baker, and analyzing those main bars, those analytical bars on

it the front page of the paper and lay it all out.


At the outset, by the way, Dr. Hill delivered a powerful indictment of

Trump`s defenders who continue to sell the debunked conspiracy theory that

Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election here.  And here`s Dr.

Hill today.




HILL:  Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this

committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not

conduct a campaign against our country, and that perhaps, somehow, for some

reason, Ukraine did.  This is fictional narrative that has been perpetrated

and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.


I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an ultimate narrative that

the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary and the Ukraine, not Russia,

attacked us in 2016.


These fictions are harmful even if they`re deployed for purely domestic

political purposes.




MATTHEWS:  Well, that`s the same conspiracy theory, the one about Ukraine

screwing with our elections in 2016, about the DNC server in courts that

President Trump asked Ukrainian President Zelensky to investigate the crazy

fiction.  He`s asking another president to do some crazy work for him in

that July 25th call.  Well, that fictional narrative was pushed by Rudy

Giuliani, and Trump tried to legitimize it despite being told it`s untrue.




GOLDMAN:  Now, isn`t it also true that some of President Trump`s most

senior advisers had informed him that this theory of Ukraine interference

in the 2016 election was false?


HILL:  That`s correct.


GOLDMAN:  So is it your understanding then that President Trump disregarded

the advice of his senior officials about this theory and instead listened

to Rudy Giuliani`s views?


HILL:  That appears to be the case, yes.




MATTHEWS:  Michael Steele, we sat around our offices today for a couple of

minutes today.  We didn`t waste much time on it, trying to figure out what

the Ukraine conspiracy was.  It`s totally fiction.  But the beauty of it,

as my producers have argued, and I think they`re right, because it`s so

murky, remember the argument, they just say like Benghazi, and it`s like

Manchurian Candidate, just show the right playing card.


MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIR:  How much investigation did we do on

Benghazi, fast and furious, and what were the outcomes?  But what it did

was it set in motion a narrative that they could always come back to.


MATTHEWS:  A buzzword.


STEELE:  A buzzword.  And so here we are.  We watched a pathetic

performance.  So pathetic that, at the end, they couldn`t even ask

questions because they knew the moment they did, she would shred them alive

on live television.  And that`s the reality I think a lot of Republicans in

that room confronted.


To the point that after they would trash her, they`d get up and leave the

room.  They weren`t man enough to stay.


MATTHEWS:  The didn`t ask any question.  And I thought they did some of

this gobbley-gook just to sort of kill their five minutes.



CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS:  I mean, one of the amazing contrasts was

actually Dr. Hill`s clarity when contrasted with how unclear and unsure of

their story they were.


And I think one of the reasons you saw that is because, remember, Dr. Hill

comes from the Intelligence Community.  She was in the National

Intelligence Council.  She is trained not only to think about but quantify

how certain she is about the narrative that she`s putting forward, the

information and her analytic judgments.  And I think you saw that and

America saw that today.  And as a consequence, I think, you know, her

confidence really broke through.


MATTHEWS:  I think she`ll be sitting around this table pretty soon.  Anyway

– if we`re lucky at this network.


Anyway, Dr. Hill explained in vivid detail how she intervened with

Ambassador Sondland in his discussion with Ukrainian officials in the so-

called ward room, I don`t know where that is in the White House, somewhere

in the west wing just after that July 10th meeting.




HILL:  When I came in, Gordon Sondland was basically saying, well, look, we

have a deal here that there will be a meeting, I have a deal here with

Chief of Staff Mulvaney, there will be a meeting if Ukrainians open up or

announce these investigations into 2016 and Burisma, and I cut it off

immediately there.  Because, by this point, having heard Mr. Giuliani over

and over again on the television and all of the issues that he was

asserting, by this point, it was clear that Burisma was code for the Bidens

because Giuliani was laying it out there.




MATTHEWS:  Let me go to Mimi on this question.  This is a law question. 

Would you – if you were a judge on a bench trial, would you believe

Sondland when he is said I didn`t know Burisma were the Bidens after all

those months?  Would you believe him?


ROCAH:  Absolutely not.  I mean, first of all, and I think the point that

Ms. Hill was trying to make today is it belies common sense.  I know I keep

using that word, and I know it`s not the world we`re in, but she was trying

to drive that home today too that, you know, first of all, you have Rudy

Giuliani out there publicly saying that he`s going after Biden.


I mean, there was this whole dust up and in fact he called off his first

trip to Ukraine because there was such an outcry about it because he said

exactly what he was doing, that he was going to investigate the Bidens for

his client, Trump.


And, you know, you have to suspend belief and say, well, of all the

companies in all the world, you know, Donald Trump was concerned with

Burisma for no reason having to do with the fact Joe Biden`s son worked

there.  So it makes absolutely no sense.


And she – what you saw today was two people saying, no one had to tell me

explicitly, although, again, Giuliani was explicit about it, because I was

putting, this is the two plus two is four, together.


What the Republicans keep trying to come back to is, well, nobody said

explicitly that that`s what it was, just like nobody said it`s a quid pro

quo at the time, in fact, you know.  And that`s not how criminals crime,

that you don`t say it explicitly as they`re doing it for all reasons.


MATTHEWS:  That`s not how politicians talk, by the way, in my experience,

and Michael will tell you about it.  It`s grunts, it`s groans, it`s, come

on, you know, what I want.  Nobody sits there and writes these contracts. 

It`s not how you do it.  If you can grunt it, don`t say it.  If you can say

it, don`t write it.  The old rules apply.


Thank you.  My guests are sticking with us and this table will stay whole,

and Mimi also.


Coming up, it`s a whole new ball game after the president`s point person

for the Ukraine shakedown, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, testifies that,

quote, everyone was in the loop, naming he did, Donald Trump, Pence, the

V.P., who tries not to get involved in these things, Pompeo, the go-along

guy, Mulvaney, I don`t know where he`s still in this thing, and, of course,

Rudy, they`re all working together.  That was so amazing when Sondland did

that a couple of times.  He said it wasn`t the outliers, it was the

inliers, it was the government of the United States working in this



We`ve got much more to get to in the next couple of minutes in this

historic week of testimony on the impeachment investigation.  Stick with







REP. TERRI SEWELL (D-AL):  Did your boss, Ambassador Bolton, tell you that

Giuliani was, quote, a hand grenade?


HILL:  He did, yes.


SEWELL:  What do you think he meant by his characterization of Giuliani as

a hand grenade?


HILL:  What he meant by this was pretty clear to me in the context of all

of the statements that Mr. Giuliani was making publicly that the

investigations that he was promoting, that the storyline he was promoting,

the narrative he was promoting was going to backfire.  I think it has





MATTHEWS:  Well, that was good planning for the future. 


Anyway, welcome back to HARDBALL. 


That was Fiona Hill, Dr. Hill, the president`s former top adviser on

Russia, testifying today on former National Security Adviser John Bolton`s

assessment of President Trump`s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the hand



Hill, by the way, told the committee that Sondland was involved in a

domestic political errand in his dealings with Ukraine. 


In his testimony yesterday, Sondland, Ambassador Sondland, repeatedly said

he worked with Giuliani on Ukraine because he was acting at the express

direction of the president. 





Ambassador Volker and I worked with Mr. Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at

the express direction of the president of the United States. 


I followed the directions of the president.  We worked with Mr. Giuliani

because the president directed us to do so. 


When the president says, talk to my personal lawyer, Mr. Giuliani, we

followed his direction. 


I was following the president`s direction to speak with Mr. Giuliani. 


We followed the direction of the president, because that was the only

pathway to working with Ukraine. 




MATTHEWS:  I`m back with Eli Stokols, Katrina Mulligan, Michael Steele, and

Mimi Rocah. 


Mimi, it`s interesting, because the president of the United States can

compete – can perform, carry out an impeachable crime, something that`s a

high crime or misdemeanor, something like abuse of power. 


I have been thinking through all these people working for him, from Pompeo,

to Giuliani at the top – Pompeo, Mick Mulvaney, Rick Perry, all these

names.  They`re not committing a crime.  They cannot abuse power because

they don`t have power. 


Is this one of those cases where you can isolate the president`s

wrongdoing, and yet all the other people who say I`m just obeying orders

are probably not going to be charged with anything?  What do you think? 

Because they don`t – they seem to all be players, but he`s the mastermind. 


ROCAH:  Well, I would look at it sort of the other way around, actually. 


I mean, the president right now, as it stands, can`t be prosecuted for a

crime.  He can only be impeached.  And, as we know, you don`t have to

commit a crime to be impeached, although what I think is going on here is

that we do have a bribery conspiracy. 


We have a conspiracy to interfere in our election, which, as we know from

the Mueller report, is a crime, in and of itself.  I mean, just those two

alone, I think – you know, I think Sondland, he tried to walk this line of

not implicating himself. 


That`s part of this whole Burisma-Biden fiction, right?  As long as they

say the investigation was just about Burisma, it`s maybe not a crime.  But

once you say it`s about Biden, a political opponent, he knows he would have

been admitting to a campaign finance crime. 


But I think all of these people – I mean, if we had an independent,

uncorrupted Department of Justice right now, I think that these people

would all be investigated for those crimes.  And, by the way, part of that

includes getting interviews from them, if they`re willing to give them,

subpoenaing them, documents from them, all the things that the White House

and State Department are stonewalling on, which is part of why that is



MATTHEWS:  What`s so interesting is John Bolton, who`s apparently written a

big book contract.  And I understand those things.  He doesn`t want to give

away the gold.  But he`s going to be called by history in the next couple

of weeks. 


They`re having a decision on articles of impeachment, probably, the House

Judiciary Committee, by mid-December perhaps.  And he`s sitting on the

sidelines?  How`s that going to work? 


STOKOLS:  Well, it`s in the eye of the beholder.  Right?


If you`re – everybody can make their own judgments of what that is and

what it means to withhold information that you claim to have that hasn`t

come out yet, and to write it in a book that you`re going to make money off

of, or to come forward. 


He`s not coming forward on his own.  And I think that the calculations –

the Democrats are looking at this.  They understand the Republicans are not

moving.  None of this has really moved a single Republican that they know



And so would John Bolton be enough to do it?  Well, maybe, but maybe John

Bolton coming forward still wouldn`t do it.  And they understand this is

something they can`t let drag out for months. 


And so the Republicans – I talked to a Republican today who said, if this

is so important and it`s not about politics, who cares about the calendar? 

Go to court.  Get John Bolton there and get the information out. 


But Democrats just don`t believe that that is going to change the outcome

of this. 


MATTHEWS:  OK.  There`s two outcomes, Michael.  There`s the one where you

get 67 votes in the Senate. 


STEELE:  Right.


MATTHEWS:  That may be a long shot.  But if you get five handful of

Republicans, on top of 47 Democrats, you get a majority vote for conviction

and removal from office, I think that changes the whole – the way this is

going to be read. 


And, therefore, a guy like John Bolton could bring you Murkowski, Cory

Gardner, could bring you Susan Collins.  It could be a handful perhaps. 


STEELE:  Yes, I think that`s right on its face.


But I think the final moment of today`s hearings sort of clarified to me

where – to your point, Eli, where the Republicans are. 


I listened to Will Hurd.  Will Hurd basically…


MATTHEWS:  The Texas congressman.


STEELE:  The Texas congressman who is retiring from Congress, who was

always considered sort of a maverick, because he was sort of independent in

his Republicanism, today landed right on the front porch of Donald Trump

and pretty much said, eh, there`s nothing here, I don`t see any reason to

vote for impeachment. 


So that sends a signal to the Senate there is no movement among Republicans

anywhere near… 




MATTHEWS:  Well, I`m just wondering.


What is your thinking about John Bolton?  He`s a hawk.  He`s been a symbol

of the sort of the tough foreign policy of the George W. Bush

administration, all the way back to his father.  He`s the foreign policy

figure of the Republican Party. 


If he comes out and says, this guy is a rogue, crooked president, he

misused his authority, will that get a handful Republicans for impeachment,

for conviction?


MULLIGAN:  You know I think that`s probably somewhat unknowable.


But I think, regardless of the answer to that question, I think he owes it

to the people who worked for him who we have seen go and…




MATTHEWS:  Like Fiona Hill. 


MULLIGAN:  Like Fiona Hill, who displayed tremendous courage and tremendous

dignity.  He owes it to them and he owes it to the American people to tell

the truth. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, with virtually every counterargument already dismantled,

Republicans today resorted to lecturing the witnesses or just outright

giving up. 






REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH):  Nowhere is there a Holmes tells Taylor what the

president of the United States told Sondland. 


HOLMES:  May I answer that question?


JORDAN:  Thirteen conversations – yes, I will get to you.  I will give you

a chance here in a second. 


REP. MICHAEL TURNER (R-OH):  You guys want to be the laughingstock of

history, to impeach a president of the United States because he didn`t take

a meeting?  Oh, please, dear God. 


REP. CHRIS STEWART (R-UT):  I actually have no questions for you that

haven`t already been asked or made any points that haven`t already been



This impeachapalooza tour finally comes to an end. 




MATTHEWS:  What do you make of the – they didn`t have much to play with. 

They`re sitting with their poker hand with like an eight in it.


That`s all they…




MATTHEWS:  And they`re looking at a high eight.  They don`t have anything. 

And so they`re dickering around, basically. 




I mean, look, after being demolished one after the other asking Fiona Hill

questions, every time, she would just sort of very effectively take the

question, say a little bit that sort of led you into thinking she was going

in one direction, and then she would just turn that right around and just

eviscerate the question.


And she wasn`t to be trifled with.  Look, she knows her brief.  She comes

from the intelligence community.  She`s a trained briefer.  She knows how

to convey the information that she`s there to convey, and she`s not going

to let anybody deviate her from that.


And we saw that in the testimony and we also saw it in the substance of

what she was telling us about the actions she took. 




Michael, she was sharp-thinking, economical talker, didn`t waste a word. 

And then these guys – this guy Jordan – I have said it off camera.


He looks – reminds me of the bad guy at the jock table at Holy Cross, one

of these guys – not all jocks are bad guys, obviously.  Some of them are

scholar athletes.  But he`s one of the SOBs.


STEELE:  Yes.  Yes. 


MATTHEWS:  And he says – he looks like a bully. 


STEELE:  He was put on the committee for a reason.  And you saw today

especially why they wanted him on the committee.  He carried the water he

needed to carry it, the way he needed to carry it.


And it was to muddy up the witnesses as best he could.  But he couldn`t

with Fiona. 




The Boston Celtics had a guy like this once, Loscutoff.  Remember him? 


STEELE:  Yes. 




MATTHEWS:  He went into the game to hurt – to physically hurt Wilt

Chamberlain or somebody.  That was his job, just go in and hurt the other



Anyway, thank you.  


Loscutoff is back. 


Eli Stokols, thank you.  Katrina Mulligan, Michael Steele, with an E, Mimi



Thank you, Mimi.  We need you tonight, great legal advice for us.


Up next:  Witness testimony has put a bright spotlight on the breakdown of

U.S. diplomacy under this administration, don`t you think?  Maybe Trump

would have been better off leaving the diplomacy to the diplomats. 


You`re watching HARDBALL. 




MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 


The American public heard this week from nine current and former civil

servants, foreign policy servants, who detailed an insidious plot to use

American foreign policy to benefit the president of the United States` own





HILL:  It was very clear at this point that there was, let`s just say, a

different channel in operation in relations to Ukraine, one that was

domestic and political in nature, and that was very different from the

channel or the loop, however you like it, that I and my colleagues were in. 


SONDLAND:  We never thought it was irregular.  We thought it was in the

center lane. 


GOLDMAN:  Ambassador Taylor in your decades of military service and

diplomatic service representing the United States around the world, have

you ever seen another example of foreign aid conditioned on the personal or

political interests of the president of the United States? 





GOLDMAN:  Is pressuring Ukraine to conduct what I believe you called

political investigations a part of U.S. foreign policy to promote the rule

of law in Ukraine and around the world? 



AFFAIRS:  It is not. 


GOLDMAN:  Is it in the national interests of the United States? 


KENT:  In my opinion, it is not. 




MATTHEWS:  Well, yesterday, the American ambassador to the European Union,

Gordon Sondland, of course, told members of the committee, Intelligence

Committee, that the arms-for-dirt scheme came directly from President Trump

and was implicitly sanctioned by Vice President Pence and the secretary of

state, Mike Pompeo, among others. 




SONDLAND:  Everyone was in the loop.  It was no secret.  Throughout these

events, we kept State Department leadership and others apprised of what we

were doing. 


State Department was fully supportive of our engagement in Ukraine efforts

and was aware that a commitment to investigations was among the issues we

were pursuing. 




MATTHEWS:  Well, joining me right now is U.S. Ambassador William Burns, a

33-year veteran of the State Department, most recently having served as

deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration, before that as

ambassador to Russia in the George W. Bush administration. 


He details his three decades in foreign diplomacy in a book, “The Back

Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal.”


Ambassador Burns, thank you.



with you.


MATTHEWS:  Ambassador, let ask you about one thing – two things.


Whenever I meet a doctor – and I have had to deal with doctors a lot

lately, thanks from me.  I have been lucky.  And I always think, this guy

or this woman got through organic chem.  That`s the hardest thing, because

my roommate in college at Holy Cross was broken on that.


BURNS:  Yes.  No, I never made…




MATTHEWS:  And then you guys and you women, before you even get to talk

diplomacy or what`s going on in the world, you have to master these

languages, like Russia in your case, Arabic. 


BURNS:  Right.


MATTHEWS:  The intelligence – what really came on the air in the last two

weeks in these hearings was the brains, the ability to master foreign

languages, difficult languages.


BURNS:  It`s true.


MATTHEWS:  The ability to do everything else. 


BURNS:  Well, it made me incredibly proud, as someone who was a

professional diplomat for a long time, and having worked and served with a

number of the people who are testifying, because, for most Americans,

diplomacy is an abstraction. 


The State Department`s a faceless bureaucracy.  But American citizens have

gotten to see, against a terrible backdrop of the impeachment inquiry, real

live human beings who are principled, who are patriotic, who are

professional public servants. 


They`re walking up to Capitol Hill with their heads held high and they`re

speaking truth to power, however inconvenient it is to the administration. 




Well, I thought was impressive about our civil service, our Foreign

Service, is, they`re all stunned by Trump.  They`re not used to this.  They

didn`t get this from W., who I had problems with.  We disagreed on policy,

of course. 


They didn`t disagree with Obama.  They had never seen anybody like this

president come, Mr. Big Stuff, I called him tonight, coming in and just

saying, my way or the highway, do what I want, carry out this scheme to get

dirt on Biden for me, and forget everything else you`re here for.


BURNS:  Right.


And then what you end up with is not the diplomacy I learned over all those

years in both Democratic and Republican administrations.  This is diplomacy

as an exercise in narcissism, as Fiona Hill put it, when you`re elevating

domestic political errands over national security interests as well. 


MATTHEWS:  Did you catch the Republican – I`m not knocking the Republican

Party, but there`s a thing here, this sort of anti-deep state thing they`re



Anybody who works for the government, whether you`re a mailman, whatever

you are, you work in NASA, you`re the bad guy or bad woman. 


BURNS:  Right.  Right.


MATTHEWS:  Now, here they go.  They call it interagency, like there`s

something wrong with people getting along with each other. 


So somebody was snarling the other day.  It was probably Jordan, was making

fun of interagency.  I don`t care about your interagency thinking.  The

president of the United States is the boss. 


OK, he is the boss, but you would think he would use the government to get

things done.  And they`re mocking the government, these people.


BURNS:  Right.


Rather than sideline career expertise, you would want to take advantage of

it.  I was part of a disciplined service.  There were sometimes when I

disagreed with policy choices, but it was my obligation to be honest about

concerns, but then do the best I could to implement policy. 


MATTHEWS:  How do you stand up to a president if you want to keep your

career?  How do you deal with that conflict? 


I mean, Mr. Sondland, who`s basically a political appointment, he`s heading

back to Brussels on the first plane last night, but he doesn`t know how

long he`s going to last.


BURNS:  Yes. 


MATTHEWS:  And he paid a million bucks for that ambassadorship. 


BURNS:  But – yes, but for career civil servants, who aren`t paying for

any of their jobs, they have an obligation to be honest within the

discipline of the system.


David Holmes, who was testifying today…


MATTHEWS:  And risk what comes of that.


BURNS:  Right.


And there`s a formal channel called the dissent channel in the State

Department that David Holmes used in the Obama administration to express

concern about policy in Afghanistan. 


So there are channels that you can use.  And you have an obligation to be

honest about your concerns. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, in her opening statement, Dr. Fiona Hill today said that

some politicians were weaponizing Russian-backed falsehoods, and warned

that Russia remained a threat. 




HILL:  The impacts of the successful 2016 Russian campaign remains evident



Our nation is being torn apart.  Truth is questioned.  Our highly

professional and expert career Foreign Service is being undermined.  U.S.

support for Ukraine, which continues to face armed Russian aggression, has

been politicized. 


The Russian government`s goal is to weaken our country, to diminish

America`s global role, and to neutralize a perceived U.S. threat to Russian



Right now, Russia`s security services and their proxies have geared up to

repeat their interference in the 2020 election.  We are running out of time

to stop them. 




MATTHEWS:  What do you think of her? 


BURNS:  Oh, I worked with Fiona when I was…


MATTHEWS:  Tell us about her.  Take a minute.


BURNS:  When I was ambassador in Russia, Fiona was the national

intelligence officer for Russia. 


She`s an extraordinary scholar.  She knows Russia, knows Putin as well as,

you know, anybody that I know in the U.S. government.  And she was a

wonderful colleague as well, principled, full of integrity and honesty. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, she wrote a 500-page book about Putin`s psyche. 


It must – I don`t think Trump has read it. 


BURNS:  No, I don`t think so. 




BURNS:  That`s a safe bet.


MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Ambassador.  Thank you, Ambassador Burns.


BURNS:  My pleasure.


MATTHEWS:  Thank you for your service to us all. 


Up next:  The impeachment investigation takes center stage at the fifth

Democratic debate last night.  I was there.  And that`s coming up next. 


You`re watching HARDBALL. 




MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.


The Democratic candidates for president have had to compete for attention

with impeachment, of course.  In fact, it was the first topic at last

night`s Democratic debate. 





the principle no one is above the law.  We have a constitutional

responsibility and we need to meet it. 



living in the White House. 


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I learned something about these

impeachment trials.  I learned, number one, that Donald Trump doesn`t want

me to be the nominee.  That`s pretty clear. 



president who`s not only a pathological liar, he is likely the most corrupt

president in the modern history of America. 




MATTHEWS:  Well, the candidates focused most of their attacks on the

president, of course, leveling few punches at each other and trying to

bolster their own case for the nomination. 





head and my heart.  And if you think a woman can`t beat Donald Trump, Nancy

Pelosi does it every single day. 


BIDEN:  You have to ask yourself up here, who is most likely to be able to

win the nomination in the first place, to win the presidency in the first

place?  And secondly, who is most likely to increase the number of people

who were Democrats in the House and in the Senate? 



president, we need somebody who can go toe to toe, who actually comes from

the kinds of communities that he`s been appealing to.  I don`t talk a big

game about helping the working class while helicoptering between golf

courses with my name on them. 




MATTHEWS:  Well, Mayor Pete Buttigieg who headed into the night leading in

the polls in Iowa and surging almost to the top now in New Hampshire faced

attacks himself regarding his experience. 




KLOBUCHAR:  Mayor, I have all appreciation for your good work as a local

official, and you did that when you tried.  And I also have actually done

this work.  I think experience should matter. 


BUTTIGIEG:  So, first of all, Washington experience is not the only

experience that matters.  There`s more than a hundred years of Washington

experience on this stage.  And where are we right now as a country? 




MATTHEWS:  Well, there were ten candidates on that stage last night.  Seven

others could not participate at all, including one candidate who just

entered the race last week. 


And that candidate, former Massachusetts two-term Governor Deval Patrick,

joins me next on what he brings to the race.  He`s going to tell us.  And

what the others don`t have, he`s going to tell us that, too. 


You`re watching HARDBALL.




MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.


After last night`s debate, there were few remaining opportunities for the

Democratic presidential candidates to make their mark on the national stage

before the Iowa caucuses now less than three months away.  And making

things even more challenging for the candidates, the presidential campaign

is being over shadowed by the impeachment investigation which is probably

going to reach its climax in January. 


Now, if the House approves articles of impeachment, President Trump will

face a trial by the Senate then, they could sideline six of the candidates

– Warren, Sanders and the others – just as they need to make their final

pitches in Iowa to win the caucuses on February 3rd. 


That might be to the benefit of the latest Democratic candidate to jump

into the race.  Joining me right now is sitting right with me right now is

former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate, Deval Patrick. 


Well, you were a popular governor. 




MATTHEWS:  But I`m wondering and I`m not overwhelmed by this field.  I`m

not – I haven`t picked any favorites.  I know they`re all – we`re not

going to – there`s nobody perfect in this race. 


PATRICK:  Of course, yes.  It is a strong field, though, you have to say. 


MATTHEWS:  How nice of you to say so.  Then why are you joining it? 


PATRICK:  But they`re a lot of my friends – 


MATTHEWS:  Why are you joining it?  What do they need? 


PATRICK:  What we need, first of all, as a party and I`m proud of this, we

are setting an ambitious agenda.  But to accomplish that agenda in a way

that we make change that lasts, we`ve got to bring other people into the

conversation, right?  Set an ambitious agenda, and be open to different

pathways to accomplish that.  That`s what I`ve done in my personal life, in

my business life, in my life in government service. 


And I have, in fact, had some experience in delivering on those ambitious

outcomes, health care, 98 plus percent of our residents in Massachusetts

have health care today.  We began to dismantle mandatory minimum sentencing

and we built an economy which was growing out not just –




MATTHEWS:  OK.  You know what I hear governor?  I hear you`re running

against Elizabeth Warren.  Because Elizabeth Warren says we don`t need a

big broad coalition.  We need 50 votes in the Senate.  I`ll find

parliamentarians are going to say that`s reconciliation, we`ll get 50.  If

they have a problem with the filibuster, I`ll get rid of the filibuster.  I

don`t a big – and I`ll push it through when I`ll get the rich people to

pay for – are you against that? 




PATRICK:  I`ve heard – I`ve heard those points.  I`ve heard some of them. 


MATTHEWS:  Are you against that?


PATRICK:  Some of them I am, some of them I`m not.  But I want to make

clear, I`m not just talking about the very real politics of getting things

done in the Senate, in the House.  I`m talking about the very real civics

of engaging more of our electorate in the electoral process and in their

own civic and political future. 


There are reasons, I think, why candidate Trump was right – 




PATRICK:  – when he said in 2016 that, you know, establishment politics

wasn`t serving –




MATTHEWS:  What did President Obama say when you told him you were getting



PATRICK:  Well, that`s a conversation –


MATTHEWS:  He`s your buddy. 


PATRICK:  He is.  And we stayed buddy –




MATTHEWS:  Did he encourage you or discourage you? 


PATRICK:  Look, he`s been a great friend and a great confidant. 


MATTHEWS:  Was he happy when you said you were getting in? 


PATRICK:  He was – he was happy as a citizen and he`s concerned as a

friend.  And you can imagine that`s kind of the consistent reaction I`ve

gotten from a lot of people. 


MATTHEWS:  What do you make of his statement this week?  Because I was

impressed when he say the statement, made a statement.  He said, you know,

we`re not a revolutionary country right now.  We want an improvement in our

lives.  We don`t want a revolution. 


That`s against Bernie basically.  That`s a shot at Bernie. 


PATRICK:  Well, look, I think there are ways in which the kind of

frustration and anger that are expressed not just within the party but at

large are very familiar to me having grown up on the South Side of Chicago,

right, that sensed the economy had kind of gotten up and left us behind. 

That what comes in instead is opioids, over-policing, the sense your issues

are paid attention to at campaign time and then forgotten about until the

next election. 


MATTHEWS:  But let`s talk about the election.  It looks to me like you`re

plotting – that sounds nefarious.


PATRICK:  It does.


MATTHEWS:  They`re planning to deal with the challenge of Joe Biden in

South Carolina which is 60 percent minority. 


PATRICK:  Well, I`m taking nothing for granted. 


MATTHEWS:  But isn`t that where you`re heading, your first victory?




PATRICK:  I was in – I was in South Carolina yesterday, as a matter of



MATTHEWS:  My point. 


PATRICK:  I was also in New Hampshire at the beginning of the week and in

Iowa the day before, and South Carolina –


MATTHEWS:  Where you were first – this is political show, Governor.  I`ve

got respect for you and everybody likes you, I`m giving you all that.  So,

let`s just –


PATRICK:  There`s a “but” coming. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, the but is, where you think – because you`re late, you`re

getting into a game, a contest if you will and it`s the country`s future.




MATTHEWS:  February 3rd is Iowa.  It`s way too late for you there.  I think

you`re talking New Hampshire, you`re talking South Carolina, is that right? 

Where you make your mark?


PATRICK:  Watch me.  Watch me.  We`re going to compete everywhere.  We`re

going to have – I mean, you`ve got to be realistic about the schedule – 




PATRICK:  – and where we are, and the fact there are other candidates who

have been months and years at this on money and on their developing –


MATTHEWS:  You`re low-balling it. 


PATRICK:  I totally get – 


MATTHEWS:  You`re low-balling it.


PATRICK:  I totally get that.  Listen, listen, I`m trying to make a point

here that is also political, Chris.  Honestly.  And that is you`ve got to

understand that there are a lot of people who feel important only during

the early state contest, and then they don`t feel important again.  And

there are people in other places –


MATTHEWS:  I hear you, I hear you.


You`re coming in late.  You`re a sleeper.  You`re a sleeper, and you`re

coming in late. 


PATRICK:  Everyone, everywhere, that`s the point.


MATTHEWS:  You`re going to knock off Biden in South Carolina.


Thank you, former Governor Deval Patrick.  I`m having fun with him because

he got in late. 


Up next, what the candidates told me last night after the debate. 


You`re watching HARDBALL.




MATTHEWS:  Last night, the Democrats running for president held their fifth

debate down in Atlanta.  And after the debate, I spoke with many of the

candidates on the so-called Spin Room.  Let`s watch. 




MATTHEWS:  If you`re in a black church in South Carolina right now and

you`re having some numbers problems down there, what would you say to

people who were against you perhaps because of your orientation? 


BUTTIGIEG:  I was in a black church in South Carolina a couple of weeks

ago, and I talked very openly about my orientation.  We have got to put

away this idea that homophobia is somehow something that only applies to

the black community or is limited to the black community.


MATTHEWS:  Oh, I didn`t mean that. 


BUTTIGIEG:  No, but some folks out there are saying it.




BUTTIGIEG:  And look, the reality is people approach elections and

certainly black voters I talked to approach elections where one main

question in mind.  And it`s this.  How is my life going to be different if

you`re president versus one of these people out there, and why do you care? 


If I can answer that I think a lot of other considerations fall to the side



MATTHEWS:  So you think this guy should be removed from office? 


HARRIS:  Which guy? 


MATTHEWS:  Donald Trump. 


HARRIS:  I think that the process of impeachment is a robust and important

process and it should proceed, and we`ll see where it goes.  I think it`s

going to end up in impeachment. 


MATTHEWS:  Do you have a vote figured out? 


HARRIS:  Well, I can – I have eyes and ears and I can see what everyone

sees in plain sight, which leads me to believe there`s a lot of evidence

there that would be grounds for impeachment. 


MATTHEWS:  People say you`re aspirational like Obama was, but aspiration,

it`s 19 – 2019 is not – why won`t aspiration and hope and we can do a

better job and we can make it in this country, it`s not nostalgia, it`s





MATTHEWS:  Why isn`t that grabbing people yet?


BOOKER:  Well, right now, it`s happened for Jimmy Carter`s poll of 1

percent, talks about decency and he eventually won.  Bill Clinton talked

about hope, he was polling at 4 percent right now, he eventually won. 


Barack Obama this day in his race in 2007 he was 21 points behind Hillary

Clinton, but he talked inspirationally.  So, this is my moment. 


KLOBUCHAR:  What unites us, Chris, is so much stronger than what divides

us.  And what I don`t like about this is that when you look at what

happened just in Kentucky, in Virginia, and they continue to make the case

for free everything.  And as I said today, I know these things sound good

on a bumper sticker but – and maybe they want to throw in a free car, but

I really don`t think that is what people want. 


They want a fair shake.  They want opportunity. 




MATTHEWS:  That`s HARDBALL for now.


“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.








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