Trump lashes out at Dems. TRANSCRIPT: 11/4/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.

Ted Lieu, Glenn Kirschner, Charlie Sykes, Natasha Bertrand, Richard Ben-Veniste, Paul Butler, Caroline Fredrickson, Leon Panetta

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  My special thanks to Daniela, Michelle and John.


You`ve been watching THE BEAT with Ari Melber.  I always appreciate you

joining us.  I`ll be back at 6:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow.


But you know what time it is.  “HARDBALL” with Matthews starts now.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  History talks.  Let`s play HARDBALL.


Good evening.  I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.


History walked into the House impeachment hearing today.  A panel of

constitutional experts argued the case against Donald J. Trump.  For

Democrats in the Judiciary Committee have began a new phase of the

impeachment drive, the committee heard from four law professors, including

one requested by the Republicans on the historic and constitutional basis

for impeachment.


While they`re testimony wasn`t academic in substance, the Democrats` three

witnesses were unanimous in their conclusion that President Trump committed

high crimes and misdemeanors.  They said Trump`s impeachment was not only

justified but a congressional duty.  Here we go.





testimony and the evidence before the House, President Trump has committed

impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors by corruptly abusing the office of

the presidency.



Trump invited, indeed, demanded foreign involvement in our upcoming

election, he struck at the very heart of what makes this a republic to

which we pledge allegiance.



unchecked, the president will likely continue his pattern of soliciting

foreign interference on the behalf of the next election and, of course, his

obstruction of Congress.




MATTHEWS:  Republicans were quick with their delay tactics, of course,

forcing Chairman Jerry Nadler to crack the whip./




UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  May I make a parliamentary inquiry before you –


REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY):  The gentleman, this is not an order for

parliamentary inquiry.


REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA):  Mr. Chairman, before I yield back, I have a



NADLER:  Gentleman was recognized for the purpose of an opening statement

not for the purpose of making a motion.


COLLINS:  Parliamentary inquirements, Mr. Chairman.


NADLER:  (INAUDIBLE) call to roll.


COLLINS:  Parliamentary inquirements, Mr. Chairman.


NADLER:  You`re not recognized for parliamentary to create this time.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. Chairman, I have a parliamentary inquiry.


NADLER:  The gentleman will suspend.  That is not a proper parliamentary



UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It is a proper –


NADLER:  That is not a proper parliamentary inquiry.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I seek recognition.


NADLER:  The gentleman will suspend.  That is not a proper parliamentary



UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. Chairman, I seek recognition.


NADLER:  The gentleman is – I am not going to recognize you now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. Chairman I have a motion.


NADLER:  The gentleman is not order to offer a motion.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. Chairman, I seek recognition for a privilege



NADER:  Gentleman will suspend.




MATTHEWS:  Well, that was good work.


Anyway, the Democrats` impeachment witnesses made their case that Trump`s

actions represent abuse of power, bribery and obstruction, highlighting

possible articles of impeachment.




FELDMAN:  If we cannot impeach a president who abuses his office for

personal advantage, we no longer live in a democracy.  We live in a

monarchy or we live under a dictatorship.  That`s why the framers created

the possibility of impeachment.


KARLAN:  If you conclude that he asked for the investigation of Vice

President Biden and his son for political reasons, that is to aid his re-

election, then, yes, you have bribery here.


GERHARDT:  The impeachment power requires this committee, this House to be

able to investigate presidential misconduct.  And if a president can block

an investigation, undermine it, stop it, then the impeachment power itself,

as a check against misconduct, is undermined completely.




MATTHEWS:  Republicans used their witness to rebut the case.  Professor

Jonathan Turley said, the evidence was insufficient for impeachment and

urged Democrats to keep on holding investigations.


Meanwhile, the president`s personal lawyer is out there still pursuing

political dirt from Ukraine.  You won`t believe this.  The New York Times

today reports that Rudy Giuliani is currently traveling overseas to meet

with several corrupt Ukrainian former prosecutors who, quote, all played

some role in promoting claims about former Vice President Joe Biden.  He`s

still doing it.  The fingernails are still growing on this body.


The purpose of Rudy`s trip is to produce, quote, a documentary series for a

conservative television outlet promoting, what a piece of work that outfit

must be, promoting his pro-Trump anti-impeachment narrative.


I`m joined right now by U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu of California, who serves

on the House Judiciary Committee who was up there today and was part of

today`s hearing, Charlie Sykes, Editor at Large at The Bulwark, Glenn

Kirschner, former federal prosecutor, and Natasha Bertrand, National

Security Correspondent for Politico.


Congressman, do you believe that the law professors who were brought today

to testify by the House Democratic majority and the committee made the case

for articles of impeachment, particularly abuse of power, bribery and



REP. TED LIEU (D-CA):  Thank you, Chris, for your question.


Impeachment is one of the gravest powers of Congress, second only to our

power to declare war.  It must always be our last option reserved for those

rare times when we can`t wait for the next election.


Today`s hearing showed that we may be at one of those rare times because

these professors made a very strong argument that abuse of power and

bribery engaged by the president threatens the very integrity of our next



MATTHEWS:  Do you think they made the point that it said duty as well as an

appropriate sanction that the president ought to be impeached?


LIEU:  They made a very strong point that the Trump administration has

taken a position that the president cannot be indicted, and therefore the

only mechanism to hold the president accountable is impeachment.  In this

case, the facts show that Donald Trump withheld critical military aid to

Ukraine, withheld a critical meeting to the Ukrainian leader in exchange

for leveraging that leader to launch a bogus investigation into the DNC

server and into the political rival of Donald Trump.


MATTHEWS:  Glenn, when a president`s impeached, we usually have a short

sentence or so that goes into the history books that explains why.  It was

Monica or what everyone, it was the Watergate.  And we can walk away from

it 20, 30, 50, 100 years from now and know this is why he was impeached. 

Did those witnesses today give us that capsule statement?



President Trump only committed one impeachable offense because we could

keep it tight.  But here`s what I think these experts did so well, Chris. 

They said, listen, the founding fathers were concerned with two things

primarily, protecting our elections from foreign interference and a

president abusing the power of his office for personal gain.


What do we have Donald Trump doing?  Both of those things.  This really is

an impeachable offense on top of an impeachable offense –


MATTHEWS:  Give me a capsule statement.


KIRSCHNER:  It is that, well, this president hit the trifecta of

impeachable offenses because he sought foreign interference, he abused the

office for personal power and then he covered it all up by refusing to

acknowledge the power of Congress to investigate it.  That`s a trifecta.


MATTHEWS:  Let me go to Charlie on this.  You`re on heartland, at least

close to it in Milwaukee.  Do you have a sense that there was enough people

listening intently today enough to get all that?


CHARLIE SYKES, EDITOR AT LARGE, THE BULWARK:  Probably not.  I don`t think

that most people sat through 8 1/2 hours of hearings, but they will get the

sound bites.  And I agree with Glenn absolutely, there`s no question, they

made a very, very compelling case.  But will the public actually hear that? 

My guess is both sides got the sound bites they wanted.  Fox News got the

sound bites they wanted.  And, look, let`s be honest about it.  If the

really compelling firsthand testimony of the Trump administration insiders

that testified before the House Intelligence Committee did not move the

needle substantially, four law professors are unlikely to do this.


So I do think this was a worthwhile effort.  But I do think that in terms

of a television show, persuading maybe the unicorns in the Senate who might

exercise some independence, I`m not sure that it changes the game, which

again underlines why I think Republicans need to – I`m sorry – Democrats

need to continue this investigation and maybe need to be more aggressive in

pursuing more evidence, more testimony and more –


MATTHEWS:  Wait a minute.  It`s December.  What are you advising Democrats

to do in terms of the calendar?


SYKES:  Well, first of all, I`m not sure that – what is the rush?  Do they

really want to do this right before Christmas?  Because I think that runs

the risk, number one, of not –


MATTHEWS:  They want to get this over with before the election.


SYKES:  I think there`s a risk for that.  I think there`s a risk that

you`re going to ignore new evidence that might come out, that you`re going

to let too many people who should testified off the hook, and quite

frankly, basically laying the story (INAUDIBLE) on the holiday and play

into Donald Trump`s hands.


MATTHEWS:  Which witness will come forward?  In your eyes, and you`re

studying this like we are, who can you foresee as a star witness who could

come forward and move the needle with Republicans?


SYKES:  We don`t know for sure but John Bolton has to be at the top of any

list.  And the fact is they have not yet subpoenaed him.  He has firsthand

information.  He knows a great deal about this.  And he needs to either

testify before the House or he need to testify during that Senate trial



MATTHEWS:  Well, that could happen as well.


But, anyway, Natasha, I want to take a look at this.  Professor Karlan, the

woman professor, the other – there were three men out there, but she was

quite forceful here.  She challenged the president`s argument that in

demanding investigations from Ukraine, Trump was trying to fight

corruption.  She didn`t buy that.  It was simply to advance his political

interests.  She said that the testimony of Ambassador Gordon Sondland who

said the president only wanted an announcement of the investigations.  He

didn`t want any investigations.  He just wanted an announcement so he could

smear Biden by saying he`s being investigated over in Kiev.


Here`s Karlan making that great point today.




KARLAN:  There`s a lot to suggest here that this is about political



The most chilling line for me of the entire process is the following. 

Ambassador Sondland said he had to announce the investigations.  He`s

talking about President Zelensky.  He had to announce the investigations. 

He didn`t actually have to do them, as I understood it.


What I took that to mean was this was not about whether Vice President

Biden actually committed corruption or not, this was about injuring

somebody who the president thinks of as a particularly – a particularly

hard opponent.


And so it is only in the president`s interest.  It`s not the national

interests that a particular president be elected or be defeated at the next





MATTHEWS:  Natasha, I thought that was well-done.



really powerful point.  And then she went onto say, look, if this was a

legitimate criminal investigation, you don`t announce an investigation,

right, because that would tip off people and it would undermine the

investigation entirely.


And she also noted that that only makes the case for this being bribery

even more powerful, the fact that the president was clearly doing this in

his own personal and political interests rather than the United States

national security interests.  So that was really powerful.


And then there were also points made about the fact that the president

didn`t raise the issue of corruption at all with Volodymyr Zelensky in

either of their phone calls despite having talking points that suggested

that he do so.  So the argument that Republicans put forward today about

the president being very concerned about Biden and corruption in Ukraine

just really wasn`t credible.


MATTHEWS:  Well, George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan

Turley, he was there for the Republicans, argued that the case against

President Trump lacked evidence and a crime.  And like many of the

Republicans, he argued against this process.





That is why this is wrong.  It`s not wrong because President Trump was

right.  His call was anything but perfect.  It`s not wrong because the

House has no legitimate reason to investigate the Ukrainian controversy. 

It`s not wrong because we`re in an election year.  There is no good time

for an impeachment.  No, it`s wrong because this is not how you impeach an

American president.




MATTHEWS:  Congressman Lieu, I want to ask you about with Charlie Sykes,

and, Charlie, get in on this too.  Congressman, do you think any worthwhile

purpose would be served by extending this process beyond this year?


LIEU:  We cannot allow the president to benefit from his own obstruction of

justice and obstruction of Congress.  But let me just make this very

simple.  The call transcript itself is very damning.  So, for example,

let`s say one of my local police chiefs comes up to me and says, hey, I`m

one of your constituents, I want you to help me, you know, because my mom

is not getting her social security check.  And I say, sure, but I want you

to do me a favor though.  I want you to announce you`re investigating one

of my political opponents.  If I did that, I`d likely be going to prison.


MATTHEWS:  Glenn, I want to ask you about Rudy Giuliani who is out there. 

This process we`re covering here, as Charlie says, they need more

investigations.  Well, maybe he`s right in a sense that hell is still going

on.  He`s still over there digging up dirt on Joe Biden.


KIRSCHNER:  Yes.  And I have to wonder if he`s really over there continuing

to try to dig up dirt on Joe Biden given that what that has now brought

down on top of the president or if he`s over there preparing for his own

criminal defense.


Parnas and Fruman are – they`re indicted.  It is reported that Parnas is

getting ready to flip and he`s got tapes and he`s got records.  You have to

believe he`s going to give up Giuliani.  I bet you, Chris, Giuliani is over

there trying to put his own future criminal defense together.


MATTHEWS:  Anyway, thank you.


I`ve got to get back to Charlie because I`m an argumentative person.  It

seems to me that the Democrats in this situation which is more polarized

than any time in our life before.  There are no middle-roaders anymore. 

There is nobody sitting on the fence about impeachment.  They`ve had all

the testimony that everybody knows it`s about Ukraine.  Everybody knows the

president shook that guy down because he wanted dirt on his opponent.  We

all know the facts about the central case, which I believe Pelosi is going

to push right through this process.  Do you think anybody is ready to

change their mind?


SYKES:  Maybe not in Congress but in the public.  And, you know, keep in

mind, you and I have been following this every single day, but there`s an

advantage to sometimes slowing it down, letting the facts marinate, letting

the public catch up.  Every day that goes by, I think, there`s a chance

that you`re going to see new revelations about all of this.


Look, the Democrats, I think, have a stronger hand than they think they do. 

They`re winning in federal court and compelling the testimony of Don

McGahn.  There`s reason to believe that maybe the courts will support some

of the subpoenas.  You have world class reporters like Natasha out there

and reporters for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times and The

Washington Post who are digging into all of this.  If in fact they don`t

vote until, say, the middle of January, Chris, what have they lost?  What

exactly have they lost by waiting until the New Year to have this vote?


MATTHEWS:  Well, as a very smart chief executive friend of my mine said in

a recent book title, leave something on the table.


Thank you to U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu.  Sir, I think you`re on the right

schedule.  Charlie Sykes, I think you`re on the wrong schedule.  Glenn

Kirschner, for Natasha, a great reporter.


Coming up, amidst and onslaught of Republican delay and distract, we saw it

all today, delay tactics after delay tactics.  They want this to go into

next year.  Did the Democrats bolster their case for impeachment?  Our

panel of legal experts are going to weigh in in just a minute.


Plus, the White House chose not to represent itself in today`s judiciary

hearings.  What is their strategy?  That`s no defense again.  They never

actually get to the core argument this president needs to be impeached.  Do

they have a defense?  Leon Panetta, former Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton,

joins us live tonight.


And it was another tumultuous day for President Trump on the world stage,

abruptly canceling his post-summit press conference and calling the prime

minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, two-faced after world leaders were

caught on video – wait until you see this – talking and laughing about,

guess who, behind his back, the joke of the world and he`s ours.


Much more to get to.  Stick with us.






DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT:  I have in Article 2 where I have the right

to do whatever I want as president, but I don`t even talk about that.




MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.


You just did, Mr. President.  That was President Trump notably two days

before his call with Ukraine`s president, the center of the impeachment

inquiry itself, on what he believes are his powers as president,

everything.  As outlined today a part of the Constitution, he has uniquely

discovered Article 2.


In today`s Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing, Democrats called upon

the legal experts testifying to explain the legal argument for a Congress

to impeach President Trump under its own powers outlined by the



Three of the four witnesses argued President Trump had, in fact, committed

impeachable offenses, specifically abuse of power, bribery, and





PAMELA KARLAN, STANFORD UNIVERSITY:  Drawing a foreign government into our

elections is an especially serious abuse of power, because it undermines

democracy itself. 


NOAH FELDMAN, HARVARD UNIVERSITY:  Bribery had a clear meaning to the

framers.  It was when the president, using the power of his office,

solicits or receives something of personal value from someone affected by

his official powers. 


And I want to be very clear.  The Constitution is law.  The Constitution is

the supreme law of the land. 



impeachment approved by the House Judiciary Committee against President

Nixon charged him with conduct because he had failed to comply with four

legislative subpoenas.


Here, it is far more than four that this president has failed to comply

with.  And he`s ordered the executive branch as well not to cooperate with



Those, together with a lot of other evidence, suggests obstruction of





MATTHEWS:  The one witness called by Republicans, Jonathan Turley of George

Washington University, pushed back on the obstruction argument, saying

Democrats in Congress should allow the courts to weigh in on subpoenas. 





gives us complete authority that, when we demand information from another

branch, it must be turned over, or we will impeach you in record time. 


So, on obstruction, I would encourage you to think about this.  In Nixon,

it did go to the courts, and Nixon lost.  And that was the reason Nixon





MATTHEWS:  But Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman argued President Trump`s

refusal to cooperate with an impeachable offense – was itself an

impeachable offense. 


Let`s watch. 




FELDMAN:  A president who says, as this president did say, I will not

cooperate in any way, shape or form with your process, robs a coordinate

branch of government.  He robs the House of Representatives of its basic

constitutional power of impeachment. 


I don`t think it`s possible to emphasize this strongly enough.  A president

who will not cooperate in an impeachment inquiry is putting himself above

the law. 




MATTHEWS:  For more, I`m joined right now by Richard Ben-Veniste, assistant

Watergate prosecutor, Caroline Fredrickson, former president of the

American Constitution Society, and, of course, Paul Butler, former federal



Richard, let`s go to the heart of this thing.  Did they make their case,

the three professors for the Democrats, for impeachment?



were very articulate and they fielded the questions well, and they made the

case as to why this is a serious enough offense to imply the constitutional

remedy of impeachment. 


I thought that – somewhat disingenuous that Professor Turley argued that

there wasn`t enough evidence, that there were witnesses yet to be called. 


This is a most amusing argument, when you see that the president of the

United States has ordered the very witnesses that Mr. Turley is talking

about not to cooperate.  This is like a defendant who is convicted of

poisoning his parents throwing himself on the mercy of the court because

he`s an orphan. 


MATTHEWS:  Right. 


Paul, let`s get back to this key question.  Turley`s argument – and I

thought it was good the first time I heard it – which was, the Congress

can ask from the president anything they want to ask.  It could be

frivolous and stupid.  And he doesn`t want to give him the information or

the document or the witness to testify, that doesn`t mean Congress has just

caught them in an impeachable act.


The courts have to rule you must testify before Congress has a right to

say, you violated the Constitution here. 




MATTHEWS:  Do you buy that argument, the courts have to intervene?


BUTLER:  I don`t. 


So, the words that kept coming up today are king and monarch, and that we

don`t have those in the United States.  We do not have a president who is

above the rule of law.  And one of the reasons he`s not is because it`s the

responsibility of Congress to do checks and balances, to do appropriate

oversight, including demanding documents that are relevant to his fitness

to remain in office. 


MATTHEWS:  Caroline, I loved your article today, because I agreed with it,

about the need to keep the focus here, as Pelosi, the speaker, said the



You caught this guy, this president, on a matter of national security, you

caught him trading away the public trust that he got – he has as commander

in chief, trading it away for some cheap political mud on his opponent, or

even the semblance of mud, right? 


I thought that was good.  Let me ask, what do you think was the strongest

case made for impeachment by the three Democratic professors?



Well, I mean, I think they all did an exceptional – exceptional job.


And I agree with Richard that they laid the case out very thoroughly,



But I`d say, When Professor Karlan describes what is the essence of an

impeachable offense, going to a foreign government and saying, we`re not

going to give you money unless you investigate my political rival…


MATTHEWS:  Say you`re investigating.


FREDRICKSON:  Yes, say you`re investigating.


MATTHEWS:  Just say it.


FREDRICKSON:  You don`t have to do it.  You don`t have to do it.  That…


MATTHEWS:  Just give me some dirt to throw.


FREDRICKSON:  … is absolutely the essence of an impeachable offense. 


And I think it really crystallized it.  And what I liked about the hearing

today was that it was so focused.


There – as I said in my article, there`s a lot of other stuff.  There`s so

much stuff.  And, in fact, that`s one of the dangers of this impeachment



MATTHEWS:  Right. 


FREDRICKSON:  … is that, every, day there`s something new, right?


And you can have Jonathan Turley saying, well, that means you need to keep

investigating because there`s a new thing. 


Well, but the fact of the matter is, you need to tell that story… 




FREDRICKSON:  … why is he impeachable, so that people actually out in the

world, in the United States get it.


And this is, hey, hello, Ukraine.  Investigate my political rival, or you

don`t get your money. 


That`s like the definition of a bribe.  It`s a quid pro quo. 


MATTHEWS:  I thought the Democratic-called witnesses very good on that,

because they also hit the point of, well, Ukraine finally got the money in

September, so everything`s clean.


Under that – I`m laughing because you`re laughing, because, under that

theory, Nixon did not succeed with the cover-up. 




MATTHEWS:  By the way, he got caught with Watergate.  By definition, the

Watergate cover-up didn`t work. 




MATTHEWS:  He still was pushed out of office. 


BEN-VENISTE:  Here`s a bank robber with a bag of money in his hand.  The

cops walk in.  Oh, excuse me, you need more evidence.




BEN-VENISTE:  OK.  Let`s find the getaway driver.  He`s off in Argentina

because he ran away.  Let`s wait until we get him too.


MATTHEWS:  No, actually, he`s over in Ukraine right now.






MATTHEWS:  … Rudy.


Let me ask you about this, because he always says, I could shoot somebody

on Fifth Avenue. 


Now, Fifth Avenue is the most beautiful street in the world, probably, in

the United States, certainly, a Champs Elysees type.  It`s beautiful.  And

imagine a president of the United States or anybody coming out in the main

street out there and pulling a gun out.


The Republicans are arguing in all seriousness, if a president of the

United States or anybody is shooting at somebody and misses them, they`re





MATTHEWS:  They`re clean.  Let him alone. 


That`s an insane argument. 


BUTLER:  Yes.  It`s insane. 


It`s an extreme view about executive power.  And it`s unsupported by the



MATTHEWS:  Right. 


BUTLER:  In terms of the argument, the new defense that the Democrats are

going to quickly, guess what?  This inquiry is going to take longer than

the Clinton inquiry for impeachment and way longer than when Andrew Johnson

was impeached. 


So, this is going to be the most scholarly, well-developed impeachment

inquiry in our history. 


MATTHEWS:  What do you think of the motives?  I hate to get to motives, but

I`m going to damn well do it. 


Why do people want to run this thing to next year?  I see the calendar,

next week, more work by the Judiciary Committee, combining all of the

reports from the various committees, Foreign Affairs, Oversight, and, of

course, Intel, to the articles of impeachment.


The following week, they vote on the articles.  The people don`t like this

schedule for some reason.  What do you make of it? 


BUTLER:  Obviously, there`s a concern that the election is coming up.  And

that`s a concern for both the Democrats and the Republicans. 


I think one of the values of the testimony today was to answer the very

important question, even if Trump is corrupt, why not wait less than a year

until the election, so that the people can determine whether he should be



And what these three esteemed legal scholars said who the Democrats called

is that we cannot afford to wait.  Every day that Trump remains in office

is a threat to our democracy, in part because, if he`s open to, as a

candidate, welcoming help from Russia to subvert the election, and, as

president, he orders or shakes down, in Professor Karlan`s word, actually

says – she said strong-arms Ukraine into helping him with the election,

what will he do next? 


MATTHEWS:  What about the schedule?


Because I think the train is on time. 


FREDRICKSON:  I think they have done an amazing amount of work.  There is

so much evidence in the record. 


I mean, just – let`s not forget we had the Mueller report.  There is a lot

in there.  I think they have so much to proceed on.  And I think they

should go forward. 


MATTHEWS:  I think…




BEN-VENISTE:  What I liked about today was calling a spade a spade, in the

sense that, here is the president asking for an announcement.




BEN-VENISTE:  Box him in, a smear campaign. 


And you can see, historically – I know you will get this Chris – Joe

McCarthy, the master of the smear campaign, Roy Cohn, McCarthy`s acolyte

and teacher of Donald J. Trump. 


MATTHEWS:  Thank you. 


And, by the way, the Republicans today, not that they`re as guilty as a

McCarthy – I wouldn`t say that about anybody, but point of order was

McCarthy`s favorite tactic.  Point of order.  Point of order.  In fact,

there was a documentary about that.


Anyway, thank you, Richard Ben-Veniste for your history.


Caroline Fredrickson, great column today. 


Paul Butler, as always, sir. 


Still ahead:  If the White House has an impeachment defense strategy,

they`re doing an excellent job of keeping it under wraps.  They don`t seem

to get to the heart of the charge against the president, because they don`t

want to try to be caught defending selling out our foreign policy. 


Former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta joins us next to share his

insights live on what`s going on behind the scenes perhaps in the White

House right now.


You`re watching HARDBALL. 







bad thing for our country.  It`s of no merit.


These people, you almost question whether or not they love our country. 

And that`s a very, very serious thing.  Do they, in fact, love our country?


They schedule a hearing.  It`s a hoax.  It`s a total hoax.  The word

impeachment is a dirty word.  And it`s a word that was only supposed to be

used in special occasions, high crimes and misdemeanors.  In this case,

there was no crime whatsoever, not even a little tiny crime. 




MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.


That was President Trump today in London attacking Democrats just as the

House Judiciary Committee was beginning its impeachment hearing today on

Capitol Hill.


And no one from the White House was present in that hearing room, of

course, by their own choice.  Upon an invitation to attend, they sent their



Well, Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the committee, noted the White House`s

absent – absence during the hearing. 




REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY):  I note that this is the moment in which the

White House would have had an opportunity to question the witnesses, but

they declined our invitation. 




MATTHEWS:  Well, Politico reports the White House`s impeachment strategy

goes something like this: refuse to engage unless certain demands are met,

blast Democrats from the outside in the meantime and wait for a friendlier

Senate landscape. 


For more, I`m joined by Leon Panetta, former director of the CIA, former

secretary of defense, who was also chief of staff to President Clinton. 


Mr. Secretary, thanks for joining me.


What did you think of the White House strategy of not sending any

witnesses, not really challenging in the committee, the Republican members,

not even challenging the core charge, that the president traded public

trust for cheap political gain? 



own acknowledgment that he did nothing wrong. 


If he did nothing wrong, then this president ought to be going out of his

way, not only to have counsel present, but also to have witnesses from the

White House testify on his behalf. 


But the fundamental problem here, Chris, is that the president did

something wrong.  And, as a result of that, he`s going to use every other

tactic to try to avoid the impeachment. 


So he`s going to do rallies.  He`s going to go to his base.  He`s going to

try to as much as possible attack the credibility of what`s going on, in

the hope that, somehow, that will give support to the Republicans who he

hopefully is going to push in order to acquit him in the Senate side. 


So he`s engaged in a political attack, rather than a legal defense. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, President Trump weighed in on the damaging revelations

from the House Intel report yesterday showing multiple phone calls between

his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the Office of Management and Budget, and

the White House during key moments of the pressure campaign against



Here he is.




TRUMP:  I don`t know anything about it.  Somebody said he made a phone call

into the White House.  What difference does that make?  I don`t know.  Is

that supposed to be a big deal?  I don`t think so. 




MATTHEWS:  While Giuliani has not indicated why he was speaking with the

OMB, the office responsible for, of course, freezing military aid to

Ukraine, he did respond with a tweet, writing: “The mere fact that I had

numerous calls with the White House does not establish any specific topic. 

Remember, I`m the president`s attorney.”


Mr. Secretary, I don`t know how many people called up the OMB when you were

there from – why the president`s lawyer and fixer would be calling you up

from Ukraine, or wherever the hell he is.


It all looked to me like – I said last night on the show it`s like picking

up a rock when you were a kid and seeing all the bugs underneath.  And you

see there, and you get this right-wing guy, columnist, a pro-Trump guy

named John Solomon is on the phone with these people.  Rudy`s on the phone.


Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican, he`s on the phone with the OMB. 

They`re all checking in with each other, like the Menendez brothers.  I

mean, they`re all in this thing together. 


And, anyway, what did you make of all those phone calls? 




PANETTA:  Well, you know, what we have – what we have found out is that

this is a president who loves chaos.  He operates by chaos abroad.  He

operates by chaos in the White House. 


And so there`s nobody really in charge to provide any kind of order as to

how you approach these kinds of crises.  So the president`s operating by

the seat of his pants.  There`s nobody who`s telling him right and wrong. 

And so he`s in contact with his so-called personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani,

who`s doing all of his dirty work in the Ukraine. 


And so these calls only – only make clear that there was a close

connection between the president and Giuliani in the effort to try to be

able to somehow produce an investigation on Joe Biden.  It`s a – it`s

unheard of that a White House would operate with this kind of chaos. 


MATTHEWS:  You have probably studied all the books on how to run a



And there`s the spokes of the wheel approach, where the president, like

Jack Kennedy, would point to different people and assign people in

different directions.  FDR used that method.  Eisenhower used the strong

chief of staff role, where everything went through Sherman Adams.  There`s

the hidden hand approach of Ike.


What would you call Rudy Giuliani – I`m sorry – Donald Trump`s – what`s

his presidency about with all these moving parts all working in kind of a -

- sort of a syndicate, I guess you would call it?  I don`t know.  What

would you call it? 




PANETTA:  Well, it looks more like kind of how the – how the mafia

operates, in terms of having one central individual and a lot of other

people basically catering to that individual. 




PANETTA:  And that – that`s the fundamental – fundamental problem in the

White House right now is that there are no grownups in the White House to

tell this president when he`s going to do the wrong thing. 


The only kind of people you have around the president now are people who

basically empower the president.  They do what he wants them to do.  There

isn`t anybody who`s willing to stand up and tell him when he`s doing the

wrong thing.


And so, the end result of that is that the president`s basically operating

on his own, operating through tweets, through gut reactions, and producing

the kind of sense we have in this country, that we literally do not have a

president of the United States who`s paying attention to the problems

facing this country both here and abroad. 


MATTHEWS:  Well said. 


And, Mr. Panetta, you and I know a number of politicians who`ve gone down

to the ditch because of not having good counsel around them and just nailed

it pretty well.


Nobody is a good guide for themselves.  You need to be listening to people

around you because you make mistakes. 


Thank you so much.  It`s great to have you on, sir.  Leon Panetta.


PANETTA:  You bet.


MATTHEWS:  Up next, London brawling.  President Trump splits the scene as

we said in the old days in the `60s.  He split the scene after cameras

captured world leaders talking about him behind his back. 


Our president`s response after the video went viral.  Wait until you see

this.  This is fun for tonight at least.  We need a little fun. 


You`re watching HARDBALL.






DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The world is laughing at us. 

They`re laughing at the stupidity of our president. 


Our country is a laughingstock.  All over the world, they`re laughing. 


We`re not respected.  We`re laughed at all over the world. 


How stupid are we?  The world is laughing. 


We`re going to be respected again.  We`re not going to be a laughingstock

like we have been. 


Everybody`s laughing at us because we`re led by people that don`t have it,

and it`s not going to happen any longer and that`s why I`m doing this,





MATTHEWS:  He looked younger back then. 


Welcome back to HARDBALL.


That was President Trump campaigning as a candidate on the promise that

under his presidency, the world would no longer laugh at America. 


But last night, at a reception, there it is at Buckingham Palace, the

world`s leaders, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, France`s President

Emmanuel Macron, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared to be

laughing at President Trump. 




BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER:  Is that why – is that why you were



JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER:  He was later because he takes 40

minute – 40 minute press conference off the top.


I watched his team`s jaws drop on the floor.




MATTHEWS:  That was Prime Minister Trudeau confirming today he was talking

about Trump and that his comment about jaws dropping as he demonstrated

referred to Trump`s announcement that next year`s G7 summit would be held

at Camp David. 




TRUDEAU:  Last night, I made a reference to the fact that there was an

unscheduled press conference before my meeting with President Trump, and I

was happy to take part of it, but it was certainly notable.  We were all

surprised and I think pleased to learn that the next G7 will be at Camp

David.  I think that was an unscheduled announcement, and I think

everyone`s team – every different leader has teams who ever now and then

have their jaws drop at unscheduled surprises like that video itself, for





MATTHEWS:  Well, President Trump was scheduled to meet with the NATO

secretary-general yesterday for 20 minutes, but that turned into 53 minutes

of remarks including an unscheduled, well, that long, press conference. 


President Trump predictably took the opportunity to attack Trudeau today. 

That`s up next. 


You`re watching HARDBALL.






REPORTER:  Have you heard the video of Prime Minister Trudeau talking about

you last night?


TRUMP:  Well, he`s two-faced.  And honestly, with Trudeau, he`s a nice guy. 

I find him to be a very nice guy, but, you know, the truth is that, I

called him out on the fact he`s not paying 2 percent, and I guess he`s not

very happy about it. 




MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.


That was President Trump today calling the Canadian prime minister two-

faced after he appeared to mock Trump`s impromptu press conference



Trump later cancelled his upcoming press conference today, tweeting that,

quote: We don`t be doing a press conference at the close of NATO because we

did so many over the past two days.


Right.  I`m joined right now by Jason Johnson, politics editor at 


You know, it`s so – there were so much irony floating around our lives,

but, you know, he made a point during his campaign, we`re not going to be

laughed – we weren`t laughed at.  Obama was adored across the world. 


JASON JOHNSON, THEROOT.COM:  Extremely popular.


MATTHEWS:  They very – high regard.


And now, we have this picture that`s going to be haunting this president

right to at least through “Saturday Night Live” this weekend.




MATTHEWS:  At least three guys, the boys club sitting there in – Dutch

guy, too, all these heads of state, chuckling about our president. 


JOHNSON:  This isn`t the first, second, third or even fifth time this has

happened with this administration.  He looked weak next to Pena Nieto.  You

have the video of Ivanka trying to get into a conversation and everyone

pretending how did you get in here, what`s your guest pass? 


This entire administration is an embarrassment abroad.  I mean, now, he`s

not as far as Bush.  No one has thrown a shoe at Donald Trump yet.  But if

you could be laughed at by Boris Yeltsin, who`s considered a joke in his

own country, then clearly you don`t have a tremendous amount of global



MATTHEWS:  Well, the president had his own hot mike moment in London this





UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think you`ll be in double digits for press

conferences.  It`s crazy.


TRUMP:  Oh, and then you know what they`ll say, he didn`t do a press

conference.  He didn`t do a press conference.  That was funny when I said

the guy`s two-faced. 




MATTHEWS:  That was funny.  No, you took a shot at the guy.  I didn`t see

the humor in it. 


JOHNSON:  No, that`s the thing.  Trump doesn`t have a sense of humor. 


MATTHEWS:  That`s right.  I do agree with that.  Have you ever seen him

laugh?  I don`t think he actually laughs. 


JOHNSON:  He doesn`t have the humility and self-reflection to laugh.  He

can`t be made fun of like most other powerful people can.  Bush could – I

mean, think of Bush and Dana Carvey, right?  He can enjoy mockery.  Donald

Trump gets furious about Alec Baldwin doing a great impression of him all

the time.


So, it`s the same thing with world leaders.  He can`t chuckle and joke with

other people because everything is so thin-skinned and so weak.


MATTHEWS:  So, humor is based on truth and self-awareness. 




MATTHEWS:  And irony.




MATTHEWS:  But I do think this is worth thinking about.  I`m not a shrink,

but I just wonder a president mocks peoples looks, mocks the disabilities,

mocks their gender, he knows how to be a schoolyard that kind of person at

the expense of people.  But true wit is foreign to him. 


JOHNSON:  True wit, true engagement, right, the ability to have other

people laugh with you.  Even George Bush was able to do that. 


And here`s the great challenge, Trump has done exactly what his greatest

fear was.  He`s empowered world leaders to look powerful and look stronger

in comparison.  Who would think that Justin Trudeau who`s basically sort of

the pretty boy of the north, right?


MATTHEWS:  And he gets squeak back in – 


JOHNSON:  Exactly, he squeaks back in, but now he looks strong.  Angela

Merkel looks stronger, Macron looks stronger, everybody looks stronger in

comparison to a president who looks so week. 


MATTHEWS:  Boris Johnson, he`s the straight man now. 


JOHNSON:  The man who intentionally tussles his hair to look ridiculous

somehow seems a more reasonable person compared to Donald Trump.


MATTHEWS:  So, what are the stakes here?  We have a president who`s looked

down upon by our allies. 


JOHNSON:  So, at a practical level, it`s why they don`t – our European

allies don`t want to share intelligence information with us anymore.  But

it`s also a prestige issue. 


This is the thing that Donald Trump has to think about one day if he ever

made get his office, is that everyone sees that the emperor has no clothes,

everyone sees you`re not impressive anymore, and the moment he is not

president of the United States, he will get nothing and nowhere.  He`s not

going to be invited to hang out like Tony Blair invited the Clintons to

hang out with them.


MATTHEWS:  Well, one of the things you and I and everyone else in the world

knows you only got one reputation. 


Thank you, Jason Johnson.  You got a good one.


Up next, one final task for the Democrats.  You`re watching HARDBALL.




MATTHEWS:  The Democrats have done a good job so far in the impeachment

drive.  They have focused the charge sharply on the president`s shaking

down of a foreign leader, pressuring him to smear one of the president`s

political opponents.  Secondly, they`ve presented fact witnesses of

sterling credibility to testify to president`s corruption, trading his

public trust for personal gain, a definitional case of corruption. 


And then today, they established that moving to impeach this president on

these particular grounds fits with the historic intent of those who wrote

the Constitution.  There remains one more argument in the can and should be

brought forth, that is the national interests.  There`s a reason that the

Republicans in Congress have held back from defending the president`s

conduct in this particular matter. 


It`s because no Republican can say it`s OK to deny military help to an ally

in the face of territorial aggression?  Is there a member of Ronald

Reagan`s party who can you walk into a town meeting or go on Fox even and

say, he`s proud or she`s proud to support Donald Trump`s holding up of arms

aid to Ukraine with Russian tanks threatening his country`s survival?  Is

there one of them willing to defend this selfless, reckless dereliction of

duty out of cheap political opportunism?  No. 


And that`s why it`s here in the area of national security that the

Democrats need to make their final case, because it`s not just about Donald

Trump being an embarrassment, being laughed at by world leaders yesterday. 

It`s not just about him wanting to throw a handful of political mud at Joe

Biden.  It`s about his selling out the country`s global security to get

ahold of it. 


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


“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now. 








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