Bloomberg grilled TRANSCRIPT: Hardball with Chris Matthews, 12/6/2019
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: This is it at the town hall in New York, tickets
at msnbc.com/withpdotour. That`s msnbc.com/withpodtour. And if I were
you, I`d want to go see Jeremy and Chris, so check it out if you have the
time or in you`re in New York.
That does it for us. We`ll be back Monday 6:00 p.m. Eastern. I also have
a special series this Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, a new impeachment
special. So a lot that you can see, that`s Impeachment, White House in
Crisis, this Sunday 9:00 p.m. right here on MSNBC.
HARDBALL starts now.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Speechless. Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews up in Washington.
President Trump was left speechless today passing up his last chance to
defend himself, acknowledging he faces the near certainty now of
impeachment by the House of Representatives. The president, through his
attorney, informed the House Judiciary Committee he will not participate in
the committee`s hearings next week. He did so just under the wire of the
panel`s 5:00 p.m. deadline.
In a letter to Chairman Jerrold Nadler, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone
called the impeachment inquiry, quote, completely baseless and has violated
basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness, arguing Nancy
Pelosi, the speaker, quote, ordered House Democrats to proceed with
articles of impeachment before your committee has heard a single shred of
evidence. Well, that`s his account.
He added, you should end this inquiry now and not waste even more time with
Well, this letter came Monday or come after right before the Monday coming
hearings at 9:00 A.M. this coming Monday. The judiciary will hear evidence
from the House Intelligence Committee Counsel as it prepares to draft
articles of impeachment next week. And that should setup a House vote
before breaking for the Christmas recess on December 20. I personally
think they`ll be there by a couple of days.
In a letter to Nadler, Cipollone cited President Trump`s tweet yesterday
telling Democrats, if you`re going to impeach me, do it now fast so we can
have a fair trial in the Senate.
Well, a senior administration official explained the White House`s decision
telling The Wall Street Journal, we don`t see any reason to participate
because the process is unfair. The speaker has already announced the
predetermined result and they will not give us the ability to call any
witnesses. Well, the president is banking on acquittal by the Republican-
led Senate, of course. But today, Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris
Murphy suggested there are some possible cracks in the Republican firewall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC HOST: Have you spoken to a single Republican colleague
in the Senate who`s even considering voting for impeachment?
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (R-CT): Yes.
GEIST: You have?
GEIST: OK, would you like to name them?
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST: How many?
MURPHY: It`s a small list on one hand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: He didn`t say full hand. He said it could fit on that list on
Anyway, I`m joined by Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell of Florida, who
serves on the House Judiciary Committee, what a great committee, Jill
Colvin, White House Reporter for the Associated Press, Chuck Rosenberg, one
of my favorite guests, former U.S. attorney and senior FBI official.
Congresswoman, it`s great to have you over here right here in the room with
What do you make of the president`s no mas, I`m not going to talk, I`ve had
REP. DEBBIE MUCARSEL-POWELL (D-FL): Look, it doesn`t surprise me, to tell
you the truth. We actually have given him the opportunity to come and
present his side of the story. He can`t complain that he doesn`t have due
process. But if you notice they`re not contesting the evidence or the
facts, they continue to attack the process, because they cannot say
anything about the evidence that has been presented, which is very damning
for the president.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about that because we`ve all watched criminal
cases on television and good cases, we try to figure them out. And even in
the worst case situation with the worst defendant who is totally clearly
guilty, O.J., for example, they come up with an alternative theory. They
come up with something. A guy drops some banana peels on the way in, so he
must be doing a cowered or whatever killing.
So you always come up with something to get the jury thinking about stuff
they didn`t try. What do you make – they accept the fact the president
was shaking down a foreign leader.
MUCARSEL-POWELL: They`re trying to dismiss the evidence and the facts.
And the reality is that we have clear evidence, especially after that phone
call, and we had that hearing this week. And you heard from the witnesses
that they said that that phone call shows that the president is abusing the
power of his office to solicit a foreign government for his own private and
political gain. And so that undermines the integrity of our elections, and
that goes to the very heart of our Constitution.
And so I think that he knows and I think his advisers probably don`t want
him to speak under oath, and they`re protecting him in some sense, I think.
MATTHEWS: Jill, the partisan nature of our times, it`s not just this case,
this impeachment, it`s the world we live in. There are very few people you
walk up to and say what do you think of Trump, and they say, well, I`m a
mixed mind on that. They don`t – there`s a very few mixed minds around.
People who are Democrats, Republicans, pro-Trump, critical of Trump,
everybody, I think the Democrats have the facts but that`s my opinion too.
But this time around, there`s a reality, and the reality is this president
now faces impeachment. He probably will be impeached in two weeks. He
knows that. It will be engraved in law. It will be for every school kid
that goes to a good school and learns the history of the presidency this
two-week period, impeach the president. Do they in the White House get it?
JILL COLVIN, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, “ASSOCIATED PRESS”: Well, I think
that`s what you saw that was so extraordinary this week was basically the
president, his campaign, White House officials openly saying, look, we get
it, the writing is on the wall, it`s done. There`s no point in us even
engaging because we know how this is going to go. So let`s pivot, let`s do
what we can politically to try to put our faith in the Senate process, try
to go where we think that we`re going to get a better shake where the
president seems to think he`s going to be able to create this made for T.V.
moment with all his Republican allies –
MATTHEWS: Well, what`s this Macbeth we`re getting at, if it were done to
our best done quickly? I mean, it`s right out of Macbeth. And why are
they talking like that, get it over with?
COLVIN: Because – I mean, that`s the reality. If you know that this is
already going to happen, it`s like just do it, get it done with, they want
it done as quickly as possible so they can move over and they`re putting
their faith –
MATTHEWS: OK. They`re thinking, since they`re not too good on the law,
the president is not too sure about the Constitution to put it lightly,
they`re better at reality T.V. Chuck, are they thinking – I`m going to
the law expert for the reality question. Are they thinking, let`s get the
Democrats reality T.V., which is real off the television, get it off quick
before Christmas, then two weeks of Christmas and the holidays and the
other holidays, we don`t have that on our mind, it will fade a bit. And
then we`ll come in January and create a new reality, this show trial
they`re going to put on the Senate with calling Hunter and Joe Biden and
calling Pelosi and Schiff. Is that what they`re thinking, a new reality
CHUCK ROSENBERG, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: They might be thinking that.
But I`ll tell you what surprises me. If you analogize the House proceeding
to a grand jury and the Senate proceeding to the actual trial in a federal
criminal court case, defense attorneys normally don`t have the opportunity
to go to the grand jury, right? And I don`t know many defense attorneys
that would turn down any opportunity to take a shot at the case, right? So
in my world, as a federal prosecutor, your turn as a defense attorney only
comes at trial. So I`m a little bit surprised on one hand that they`re
passing up an opportunity to attack it in the House.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about television for a second because we are
here on television. If Donald J. Trump said, December10th or 15th or
somewhere in that week, I`m going to do a little rehearsal and I`m going to
go before that committee myself, and I`m going to make a case for my
innocence. I will be as good as any of these clowns on the committee. I
could think like that if I`m Trump. And I`m going to beat them at their
own game? What would happen? Do you think he`s afraid to do that?
MUCARSEL-POWELL: I think that he has a very hard time telling the truth,
Chris. And I think that if he is under oath in front of the Judiciary
Committee, in such a judicious moment in the history of our country, it
could be very dangerous for him.
And I do think that it`s the reason why he has obstructed this entire time.
He has obstructed many witnesses from coming forth in front of the
Judiciary Committee. We have been trying to go with an investigation for
this president for months. And he hasn`t allowed key witnesses to appear
before the Judiciary Committee. So that`s why I`m not surprised that he`s
MATTHEWS: Do you think he would be in a perjury situation, to put it
MUCARSEL-POWELL: You know, I can`t make any assumptions because,
obviously, he`s not going to be coming in front of the committee. But what
I`ve seen from this president is say one thing one day and then say a
completely different thing the next day. So, yes, it wouldn`t surprise me
if he lied under oath, yes.
MATTHEWS: Well, there`s big breaking news right now as we speak. Moments
ago, House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff sent a letter to Vice President
Mike Pence asking for him to declassify the supplemental testimony of
Jennifer Williams, his special adviser on Europe and Russia. That`s his
In the letter, Chairman Schiff said, the testimony contains information
about the vice president`s September 18th call, telephone call, with
Ukraine`s president, adding the classification on this supplemental
testimony will allow the Congress to see further corroborative evidence.
COLVIN: That`s interesting. I mean, keep in mind that the White House and
even Pence`s office has really been tried to distance themselves from her,
saying, look, she is just a State Department. Sources told me the vice
president wouldn`t even recognize her if he was in the room with her.
And remember that she had testified not only that she was on that call but
also that she had been told that it was the president who directed the vice
president to cancel his trip to Zelensky`s inauguration. There was some
debate within the vice president`s office about exactly the chain of
command and how that went through. I have no idea what`s in that
supplemental testimony. I didn`t realize that there actually was other
testimony that we haven`t seen. But that`s really interesting.
MATTHEWS: Who gets to declassify something like that?
ROSENBERG: The executive, the president.
MATTHEWS: Not the V.P.?
ROSENBERG: Well, no. The entire classification system, the entire system
is built for the president, and so the president can delegate to other
officials the ability to classify or declassify. But in the end, it`s his
And by the way, with all the concern that Republicans expressed about the
depositions being secret and not transparent, now, in part, you see why.
There`s classified information there.
MATTHEWS: What do you think the V.P.`s role is here?
COLVIN: I mean, I think that has been one of the biggest questions that
has been hanging over all of this. The vice president`s office has tried
very consistently to distance himself, claiming, he didn`t know anything
about this. I mean, the case where it was actually after his meeting in
Warsaw with Zelensky where there was that kind of pull aside conversation
where apparently some of these threats were made.
Pence didn`t know about that, Pence knew nothing about any of these
pressure efforts. It`s an interesting argument that Pence`s folks try to
make because what it essentially then suggests is that, well, how much did
the vice president know if he was in the room with this guy and didn`t even
know any of this was happening.
MATTHEWS: Yes. I think there`s downsides to being Donald Trump`s vice
MUCARSEL-POWELL: I mean, I doubt that there are many things that are
happening without them getting approval from the president. I mean, what
we`ve seen is that he has – this all comes back to the president. This is
not about the vice president. It`s not about Giuliani. I`ve heard a lot
of stories about all the people surrounding him. I think that, ultimately,
it falls back on President Trump and what he has directed the people to do
around him, which is to violate the Constitution, to seek foreign
interference, to help his re-election campaign, and, again, for me it was a
clear national security issue.
MATTHEWS: You`re an American citizen.
MUCARSEL-POWELL: I became an American citizen, yes.
MATTHEWS: I`ve been reading your amazing American story, born in Ecuador.
MATTHEWS: And so you – did you have to go through the citizenship test?
MUCARSEL-POWELL: Yes, I did.
MATTHEWS: OK. Would Trump pass it?
MUCARSEL-POWELL: I don`t know if he`s even read the Constitution, Chris.
And I`ve gone now to a few citizenship ceremonies. And every time you
stand up to take that oath and I speak to them and tell them, look, it`s
not just taking an oath for allegiance of this country, it`s also having
the responsibility as a citizen of this country to participate to give back
to your community and to take the right to vote.
And we today passed a monumental bill that restores the Voting Rights Act.
And so we are working in Congress regardless of what anyone thinks.
MATTHEWS: Thank you. I want to talk about that at the end of the show.
Anyway, a little news coming up here, Senator Murphy this morning on Joe,
Morning Joe, said he had an idea from conversations on the Senate floor in
the (INAUDIBLE) that there`s five – maybe five Senate Republicans who
might vote to convict. What do you think about that, Congresswoman?
MUCARSEL-POWELL: I have heard that there are a couple of Senate
Republicans that are concerned or worried that – we`ll wait to see all the
evidence, but it wouldn`t surprise me that we have –
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s look at the names. Mitt Romney, of course, he shows
maverick occasional nature, Lisa Murkowski, who is a maverick, she won a
general after losing a primary up there in Maine – in Alaska, and then
there`s Maine`s Susan Collins, who`s facing a tough re-election, maybe Cory
Gardner. I don`t know. Any suspects?
MUCARSEL-POWELL: I mean, at the end of the day, we all have to remember
why we`re here. And we`re here to represent the people that sent us to
Washington, D.C. So I hope to see that our Republican colleagues, not only
in the House but in the Senate put their country before their party.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about that – I`m going to stay with because you`re
just great to have, I`m sorry guys, this congresswoman. I am impressed by
Nancy Pelosi. I`ve known her a long time. It`s like her whole career is
leading to these two weeks that puts her soundly in the history books. She
is a great political leader. When they tried to rattle her the other day,
a reporter from Fox said you hate – and she gave him the stone face, the
poker face and she lectured him about her religious beliefs, her culture.
And she took advantage and control of the situation.
MUCARSEL-POWELL: And I can relate to that. She is an incredible leader.
She listens to each and every one of us. She understands the diversity in
our districts. And she wants to make sure that what we`re doing really
represents the will of the people. And that it`s going to be not a
political decision but really a decision that`s going to be for the
progress of this country and to protect our democracy and freedoms.
And I relate to that. Because one of the witnesses in the hearing on
Tuesday said, you know, I`ve seen people very angry and I was thinking I`m
not angry, Chris. I`m very concerned. I am concerned about the future of
this country. I left a country where I`ve seen what happens when a
president abuses his power and is surrounded by corruption and is trying to
hold onto that office and puts his private, political gain in front of the
gain of the people.
MATTHEWS: And we`ve had the (INAUDIBLE) thing. We`ve had the thing with
the big name.
MUCARSEL-POWELL: And for immigrants. And I`m proud of all the immigrants
that have stood up and had the courage to really come forth and tell us
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about the last two week – the next two weeks, I`m
sorry, the most exciting probably in many of our lives. The next two
weeks, you`ve got the counsel for the Intelligence Committee, we`ve watched
in action, coming over to the Judiciary Committee to lay out the case for
COLVIN: Yes, that will happen on Monday.
MATTHEWS: All starting Monday morning at 9:00. It`s all going to happen.
COLVIN: And then, potentially, I mean, Tuesday, Wednesday, we might even
see those articles of impeachment. We`ll see how broad they decide to go
or if they stick to the Ukraine issues or whether we see something about
the Mueller report, potentially something about the emoluments clause, and
then it comes time to vote. And by Christmas, I mean, we`re getting really
close at the end of the year, they`ll be done.
MATTHEWS: I get the sense that the speaker, who`s the strongest speakers
we`ve had since Tip O`Neill, I worked for him, she`s a helicopter. She`s
riding around these committee chairs right above them. This is going to
stay on track, focused, sharply focused, disciplined, no people clattering
in the halls and saying stupid things on the hard left or whatever, very
logical. I`m impressed.
ROSENBERG: I am too. But we should ask the congresswoman because she
knows her better than we do.
MUCARSEL-POWELL: I`m always so impressed by her. And, again, I just want
to come back to the fact that she understands the intricacies of all our
different districts. A lot of us come from districts where there are a lot
of people that are still not completely clear as to what has happened. And
I think that, for us –
MATTHEWS: How strong in your district? 50/50?
MUCARSEL-POWELL: No. He`s a little bit under 50, but people are working
very hard, Chris. They are working 40, 60, 80 hours a week trying to pay
their bills. They don`t have time to tune in and understand all of the
things that are happening. So I think it`s going to be our job in the
judiciary, and that`s what Speaker Pelosi is trying to do. This is not
political. This is about protecting our democracy.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell of
the best part of Florida down in the keys in Miami. All those great little
palm islands you got in the Key West. What a district to represent.
Anyway, thank you, Jill Colvin, so much and Chuck, one of my favs.
Coming up, what`s Rudy Giuliani doing in Ukraine? Good question. The
president`s lawyer says he`s continuing to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. But
there`s new reporting today that senior White House officials are startled
and concerned that Giuliani`s out there in his latest escapade.
Apparently, he`s not in the loop anymore. Who knows?
Plus, Joe Biden says most Democratic voters are not onboard with the push
for Medicare-for-all. He says, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez does
not represent the future – at least that she is not the total future of
the Democratic Party. Is he right?
And here is what Michael Bloomberg said today when asked why he jumped into
the Democratic primaries.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I watched all the
candidates and I just thought to myself, Donald Trump would eat them up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: We`re going to talk about. I`m not sure about that. Saying all
the other candidates will lose, but I will win.
I want to talk to Carlyle Group co-founder and Bloomberg News T.V. Host
David Rubenstein about tonight`s hot news and his new book The American
Stay with us.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Rudy Giuliani – what a character – being himself under investigation, of
course, continues his expedition for political dirt out there abroad,
despite the imminent charges his client, the president, is now facing, like
With stops in Budapest and Kiev, he`s overseas to interview the former
Ukrainian – Ukrainian prosecutors that promoted unfounded claims about Joe
Biden. Still at it. And all themselves are facing allegations of
corruption, because they`re corrupt.
Furthermore, Giuliani also met with KGB-trained lawmaker, one of them, of
the pro-Russian political party in Ukraine who is also pushing similar
claims against Ukraine.
Well, no surprise that Giuliani is now leveling a new round of unverified
allegations against Joe Biden, former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, and the
Obama administration, all with the dubious promise that he will release
evidence soon. He`s going to release the news.
According to “The New York Times,” the trip is for a TV series on a
conservative, I think, right-wing cable channel, but its aim is to – quote
– “give the president`s supporters new material to undercut the House
Yet The Daily Beast reports today that Giuliani`s trip was so startling to
senior administration officials and national security brass that they began
tracking his movements in an effort to get a read on his objectives abroad.
So how connected is he?
I`m joined now by Shannon Pettypiece, NBC senior digital White House
And Kim Wehle, former federal prosecutor and author of “How to Read the
Constitution.” That`s appropriate for this week coming up, two weeks.
KIM WEHLE, FORMER ASSOCIATE INDEPENDENT COUNSEL: It is.
MATTHEWS: Let me start with Shannon about this.
Tell me about Rudy. We`re hearing from Hogan Gidley today again that he is
the president`s lawyer. He is his agent.
SHANNON PETTYPIECE, NBC DIGITAL SENIOR WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, there`s
a lot of questions we have seen over the past two, three years about what
makes someone your lawyer. When is Michael Cohen your lawyer? When is he
Rudy Giuliani has said…
MATTHEWS: I thought a dollar. I thought you give a guy, a woman a dollar
and say, you`re my lawyer, you`re a lawyer.
PETTYPIECE: Well, so I have been told you don`t even have to give them a
dollar. You don`t even have to pay them anything.
Rudy Giuliani had said – I don`t know if that is still the case now, but
during the entire Mueller investigation – that he was doing this for free,
he was not getting paid at all.
So I maybe suppose Trump can`t argue he didn`t get what he paid for, or
didn`t get his money`s worth. But he had been working for free on this.
During the Mueller investigation, of course, Rudy was very in the loop. He
was part of the legal team. They were talking with the president weekly,
if not more.
Since then, we have these call logs to indicate he has been in contact a
lot with the White House, but it`s unclear how much that contact continued.
And right now, Trump continues to say very nice, flattering things about
him„ brings up the point about he was the mayor of New York, is not trying
to distance himself too much from Rudy at this point.
So, as far as it seems, there`s no big gap between those two.
MATTHEWS: What about the government, the – well, what is left of the
government, the New York – U.S. attorney in New York perhaps?
Aren`t they going after his people? I mean, they are going close to him
with his two Russian or Ukrainian pals.
WEHLE: Sure. Yes. They have to have his pals under indictment.
And the reports are that they`re actually investigating him as well. But I
think we have to take him at his word when he says he`s still operating on
behalf of his client, because, when it comes to impeachment, there is no
factual counternarrative to what the Democrats have put forth.
MATTHEWS: Well, what is he looking for over there?
WEHLE: So, I think he`s generating basically propaganda that this – that
Trump basically was really interested in, concerned with corruption in
And most people can`t follow this story with the kind of detail and
intricacies that we do. And that makes sense. And then we have members of
the Republican Caucus reiterating this falsity, which has actually been
planted a year ago by Vladimir Putin.
So that`s quite disturbing. But I think he`s – Trump knows how to shape
public opinion. And in this moment, as Chuck said in the last segment,
they`re not interested in actually posing a defense like lawyers on the
merits with actual facts.
The defense is going to be, let`s dupe the American public again into
thinking this was no big deal, no collusion, no quid pro quo, it`s a
nothing burger, foreign policy.
MATTHEWS: Well, Shannon, it seems like we learned from the testimony in
the last couple weeks that what the president wanted, his people wanted was
somebody over there in Ukraine – it`s so far away culturally in every way.
You wonder how this happened. They wanted somebody over there to say that
they`re investigating. They wanted the president over there to say, I`m
investigating. They didn`t even want him to say, we got him, just that
It seems like the latest attempt by Rudy right now as we speak, he`s over
there, different time zone, but he`s over there looking for dirt, is to try
to get somebody over there from the old government, the recent garments,
somebody over there to throw some mud at Joe Biden and his son in the next
PETTYPIECE: Well, I mean, I think it`s, one, that it could maybe dig up
some dirt or put some bad publicity on Biden to hurt him as a political
But I also think it is to try and give some legitimacy to this argument
that the president genuinely had concerns about corruption in Ukraine or
that there was a genuine problem with 2016 election interference that the
president was asking the Ukrainians to look to.
But, of course, we have seen this before during the Mueller investigation,
to go back to that, where Rudy worked very hard to create a
counternarrative this entire time, with spies inside the Trump campaign,
and agents here and there, and the Australians and the Italians, to create
this very confusing counternarrative.
And you can see the same thing could take shape here and muddy the waters.
And that is why I think the case for the Democrats to move quickly is very
strong. The quicker they can move, the harder it`s going to be for this
counternarrative to muddy the water.
MATTHEWS: And who believes this stuff?
MATTHEWS: Who believes what Rudy comes back with? Who would believe it?
PETTYPIECE: I – as we saw during the Mueller investigation, there became
a general sense of confusion and fatigue and a sense of people, not
everybody, but a certain group of people throwing their hands up and not
knowing what to believe.
Right now, I believe the latest poll polls I saw is about 47 percent of
people are for impeachment or removing the President Trump office, and 44
percent are against. And you continue to have those independents who are
almost evenly divided for or against.
MATTHEWS: Right. They`re working them. Anyway, maybe they just think
Anyway, meanwhile, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence
Committee, Devin Nunes, continues to face questions about his own
involvement in the president`s scheming.
Yesterday, he was asked about the call record showing that he, the
congressman, spoke to Rudy Giuliani`s indicted business associate Lev
Parnas, who was helping Giuliani dig up dirt for the president over in
Let`s watch the questioning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: What did you discuss with Lev Parnas?
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): Well, I don`t even know, because I don`t – I
have never met Parnas.
And like I filed in federal court, and so it`s a great question, because
many people want to know, including myself. So, we`re working…
QUESTION: So, you never had any phone conversation with him?
NUNES: We – we have not been able to confirm that yet.
QUESTION: I mean, you don`t – you don`t think you would remember if you
had a conversation?
NUNES: You have to – you have to remember – you have to remember we are
the House Intelligence Committee Oversight Committee. OK? So we get calls
from people every day, all walks of life.
NUNES: I get them from all over the world, allies and people that aren`t
In this case, I – I just don`t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: “I just don`t know.”
Well, an attorney for Lev Parnas himself tweeted at the congressman last
night saying: “Hey, Devin Nunes Lev remembers what you spoke about. You
MATTHEWS: This seems like a guy who`s involved in – like he got involved
with the mob or something, this congressmen, like he`s doing all this
operations of going down to the White House and back and delivering dirt
for – stuff for Trump.
Does he even know what he`s doing?
WEHLE: Deeply – deeply, deeply, deeply disturbing as a matter of the
legitimacy of the Congress now, not just problems with the presidency, but
problems with Congress.
And, remember, we know that there were call records that were gotten from
AT&T where it showed that he spoke with Lev Parnas. Documents don`t lie.
They don`t die.
MATTHEWS: What`s the motive for this guy to do all this for the White
WEHLE: Gosh, I think that`s the under – the undercurrent here is Vladimir
For America, we need to find out at some point.
MATTHEWS: Yes, but I don`t think that Congress was working for Putin.
Maybe Trump is working with him, but what`s…
WEHLE: Well, what is happening in the Congress and in the White House
consistently benefits Vladimir Putin.
MATTHEWS: It does. Well, that`s the Pelosi argument.
And, by the way, it`s – almost every time something comes up, you ask
yourself the question, does this how Putin? Yes.
WEHLE: Yes. And who are these people working for? Are they working for
the American public? And that`s, I think, the question.
MATTHEWS: OK, great. We will be looking for a grand motive here. Maybe
it`s just Putin.
Anyway, thank you, Shannon Pettypiece. Thank you, Kim Wehle.
Up next: Joe Biden says that most Democrats are more moderate than
Medicare for all. The numbers actually support that, but what about the
passion issue? Who cares most? Is he right, by the way?
You`re watching HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Sixteen years ago this month,
pundits and the polls had written me off. But, in this state, I saw that
you take the measure of the candidates themselves.
Polls don`t speak for you. People do you. You lean in and you listen.
So, I would never dare tell an Iowan how to vote. But I can tell you why
I`m voting for Joe Biden.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was the former Secretary of State John Kerry, who won the Iowa
caucuses back in 2004. And, today, he joined former Vice President Joe
Biden on his No Malarkey Tour in Iowa, after endorsing him yesterday.
We`re now less than 60 days from the Iowa caucuses, and Biden is taking his
campaign from a simmer to a boil. A new online national poll by Reuters
published just yesterday shows Biden leading the crowded field with 19
percent of the vote nationally.
During an interview with Axios, Biden made a pitch for his view of the
Democratic Party, saying it isn`t as progressive as some people think.
Let`s take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You guys got it all wrong about
what happened and what…
QUESTION: You sound like Trump.
BIDEN: Yes, I do.
QUESTION: Fake news?
BIDEN: No, look – no, it`s not fake. It`s just bad judgment.
You all thought that what happened was the party moved extremely to the
left after Hillary. AOC was the new party. She`s bright, wonderful
person. But where`s the party? Come on, man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Joe Biden might benefit from another development that
happened just this week, open fighting now, open fighting between two of
We can`t wait to get to that, of course.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
As Joe Biden tries to regain the lead in Iowa, the two candidates who are
currently duking it out there for the top spot in Iowa are also duking it
against each other.
Last night, for example, Senator Elizabeth Warren criticized Pete Buttigieg
for a lack of transparency – that`s getting into it – when it comes to
who he`s raising his money from. It`s a point she made again today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a unique
opportunity here to build a grassroots movement across this nation. And
the way we build a grassroots movement is not by going behind closed doors,
selling access to time, giving special titles and special access to
Look, people across this country are sick of a political system where it`s
typical politicians just keep selling access to their time. He needs to
make clear who`s raising money for him, who the bundlers are, and he should
open up the doors, so that anyone of – particularly the press, can come in
and hear exactly what`s being said.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, it was a rare direct personal attack really for the
senator, who has tried to remain above the fray so far.
Mayor Pete, who has tried to carve a more moderate path than Senator
Warren, has made some of her proposals, like Medicare for all, a target of
For the latest, I`m joined by Sam Stein, politics editor of The Daily
Beast, and Eugene Scott “Washington Post” political reporter.
Gentlemen, thank you.
Let`s talk about what`s – the interstices of what motivates people. She`s
been above the fray. Now she can`t afford to be about the fray, I would
argue, because Pete Buttigieg looks like the guy who`s leading and may stay
in the lead in Iowa. And she has to win Iowa.
SAM STEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I think that`s right.
What interested me here was the turf she chose, because she could have
chosen to do this on his attacks on health care, right? He went after her.
She could have responded with a volley of her own. She didn`t.
She went after him on transparency. I think she views this as more fertile
ground now. Health care obviously is a complicated one. It`s proved
complicated for both her and Kamala Harris, who obviously has left the
And she I can stake some legitimacy to saying, look, I`m open book on this
stuff. I`m all transparent. I don`t do big fund-raisers like this. I am
a complete grassroots-oriented fund-raising apparatus.
So she has the high ground here. I just think it`s very interesting that
she chose to choose this fight, and not for the health care.
MATTHEWS: Well, it could be, because everybody I meet – like, all of us
meet people. And they all ask us, what do you hear? What do you think?
MATTHEWS: All the fine people I know are for Buttigieg, the ones that
would have been 100 years ago for Adlai Stevenson. They`re always for the
smart people, the well-educated people who have good values and are
tolerant about people who have the gay – who are gay in their orientation.
No problem. They really like him. Is that what she`s afraid of, that the
people that tend to show up at caucuses are going to be for this guy?
EUGENE SCOTT, REPORTER, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: Well, I think she is. And
she should be, based on how he`s doing in the polls.
But I think she`s also mindful of the fact that people on the left, be they
moderate or closer to the base, are really concerned about transparency
right now, considering what people are dealing with in the White House.
They know they want a response to a president who has not been very open
about his conflicts of interest, his business dealings, and they`re holding
Buttigieg to that as well. They want to know what he was doing…
MATTHEWS: What would be pay dirt for her? What would she find on Pete,
Mayor Pete, that would hurt him with the Iowa caucus-goer?
STEIN: Two things.
One, some person who`s raising tons of – let`s define what a bundler is.
A bundler is someone who gives the max, but also gets other people to give
the max to your campaign. If someone who`s doing that is a representative
of a shady industry, a pharmaceutical industry, maybe some sort of…
MATTHEWS: There`s a lot of them.
STEIN: There are.
MATTHEWS: In the Democratic Party, that could mean fossil fuels.
STEIN: Of course.
MATTHEWS: It could be pharmaceuticals. It could be cigarettes. It could
STEIN: So, that`s one vulnerability.
And to her point, Mayor Pete does have a vulnerability here. He should
probably open up the fund-raisers. The second one…
MATTHEWS: By the way, Trump shows you never have to do it.
STEIN: No, of course. And Trump has proven all rules don`t apply.
The second thing for Mayor Pete that is a vulnerability now is his work in
McKinsey, famous consulting firm, which he was there for two-and-a-half
years. He says he`s bound by a confidentiality agreement. He can`t
disclose his clients.
But they are really hammering away…
MATTHEWS: We`re in television. So television shows how people behave, not
just how their – finances don`t really work on television. You have
probably learned this by now.
MATTHEWS: The stories that work on television are what you see.
Yesterday, during a campaign event in Iowa, Joe Biden get into a heated
exchange with a voter. And, today, he was asked if he was worried that he
would get smeared questions – or similar questions – well, that was a
slip – similar questions in the future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Are you concerned that you`re going to get more questions like
the one that you got yesterday from voters on the trail?
BIDEN: Well, we have had over 2,000 people show up on this bus trip.
No one has done it except that fellow. So, sure. Look, I think that is
going to be part of what is the opposition`s case.
Look, Trump`s already spending 12 million bucks to try to make the same
message, send the same message. And there`s nothing to the message.
But, any rate, I probably shouldn`t have challenged to the pushups.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: He made light of it, but I watched that tape yesterday, Eugene.
It wasn`t fun.
MATTHEWS: It was awkward for everybody. The older guy – first of all, he
said the guy is too old to vote, which I wouldn`t push if I were Biden.
MATTHEWS: That`s not his strong territory, to use your phrase.
SCOTT: But Joe Biden is going to have to find a way to answer these
MATTHEWS: The Hunter question.
SCOTT: … without getting angry and challenging people to pushups.
SCOTT: And I think one thing many people notice is how Biden seems to –
this is not his first time hitting someone with a pushup challenge and
But this is something that Julian Castro has not been able to do. And
Elizabeth Warren was called angry, right? And Kamala Harris got pushback
for responding very firmly.
STEIN: Let me play the contrarian. Let me play the contrarian.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me try this. Can`t they all do the poker face like
Nancy Pelosi? The guy attacked her as a hater. And she just looks at him
and says, I`m not a hater. I`m a Catholic. We don`t believe in hate.
STEIN: Absolutely, she could do that. There`s ways – I think there`s
ways to handle this. One is to just get a better answer.
But let me be a little bit of a contrarian here, to your point, which is, a
lot of politics is visceral and imagery, right? And I think,
unfortunately, for a good section of the country, they probably look at it
and they were like, I like this guy.
STEIN: I like that he`s in his face and defending his son, calling it all
MATTHEWS: Hey, Jack.
STEIN: Of course there`s a double standard here. It`s an incredibly bad
double standard for gender – on gender, I should say. And there`s no
MATTHEWS: I`m going to push you on this. Go ahead.
STEIN: But this is it. I mean, this is the politics…
MATTHEWS: OK, Sam, I`m going to push you on this.
STEIN: Sure, push.
MATTHEWS: The Iowa caucus voter, their sort of sense of sensibility.
STEIN: You`re saying Midwest nice.
MATTHEWS: I`m just wondering, sensibility of that crowd.
STEIN: Maybe it would play better in New Hampshire. I don`t know.
SCOTT: There was an editor of a newspaper in Iowa who said, Iowa voters,
especially the older ones, think Castro has fangs in attacks.
And so it`s really interesting…
MATTHEWS: Oh, my God.
SCOTT: … who gets called angry and who doesn`t.
STEIN: Of course.
SCOTT: And I think if Biden wants to prove that he has self-control and
actually can provide policy answers, and in response to this question about
MATTHEWS: Young man, I have got a great line for you. Ready? I`m going
to call you Jack.
MATTHEWS: Winston Churchill said, I like a man who grins when he fights.
MATTHEWS: That`s a great one, grin.
SCOTT: Not fighting at all is an option as well.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, sir. Thank you, Sam Stein. Thank you, Eugene Scott.
Up next: Mike Bloomberg has already spent millions to try to shoehorn his
way into this already crowded field of Democratic candidates. Let`s talk
about him a little and a new book.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
rMDNM_MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I watched all the
candidates, and I just thought to myself, Donald Trump would eat them up.
QUESTION: You think all the candidates who are running today, he would eat
BLOOMBERG: Let me rephrase it. I think that I would do the best job of
competing with him and beating him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg this morning not mincing
his words about the other 2020 Democratic candidates.
And for more, I`m joined by David Rubenstein, co-founder of The Carlyle
Group, author the new book “The American Story: Conversations With Master
Historians.” He also hosts the show on Bloomberg TV.
Let me ask you about the economy, because you know the economy better than
anybody I know. We have a 3.5 percent – when I studied economics in grad
school, you couldn`t get that low. Structural problems stopped it.
We have 260,000 new jobs, and this president is below water in approval.
DAVID RUBENSTEIN, AUTHOR, “THE AMERICAN STORY: CONVERSATIONS WITH MASTER
HISTORIANS”: The economy is better than anybody thought it would be.
Nobody can completely explain it.
We are at full employment by any measure. Inflation is low. Interest
rates are low. I don`t see an economy as good as this in decades.
MATTHEWS: So putting that together with what Bloomberg, who also knows the
economy, is thinking, everybody else running will lose to Trump. That`s
what he said. Everybody else but me, Mike Bloomberg, is going to lose to
That is an amazing statement, but is that based on the economy being
RUBENSTEIN: Well, economy is strong, but those aren`t the only – only
thing that people take into account, as we know.
We have had good economies before, and presidents have lost. But,
generally, when the economy is good, the president gets reelected. When
economy is in a recession, presidents don`t get reelected.
You and I worked for a president who had a recession and didn`t get
MATTHEWS: We had inflation too.
RUBENSTEIN: High, very high inflation.
MATTHEWS: Very high interest rates too.
RUBENSTEIN: We had a lot of challenges, for sure.
But I don`t think it was the economy that was the principal problem there.
I think the hostages were a big issue.
MATTHEWS: I do too.
I think there`s an atmosphere, I know you`re cognizant of it, being a
billionaire, and this is this. There`s almost a French Revolution
atmosphere out there. The Democrats for years were just about helping the
average person get a little ahead, get a better education, get economic
chances, minimum wage, things like union power, labor collective
But now there`s a feeling there`s something wrong with the very rich.
There`s a mood out there. It`s not one or two people like – there`s
Bernie, who says billionaires and millionaires. There`s Elizabeth Warren.
But it`s the people too.
What`s going on?
RUBENSTEIN: Well, clearly, there`s an income gap that`s bigger than it`s
ever been. It`s not as – we have never had something like this since the
late `20s. But it`s social mobility too.
People at the bottom don`t think they can get to the top.
MATTHEWS: Can they?
RUBENSTEIN: It`s much harder. I believed in the American dream. I came
from a family that had – didn`t have college education or high school
education. I thought I could work my way up to the top.
MATTHEWS: Your dad – your dad was a postman.
RUBENSTEIN: That`s right.
But I think today a lot of people at the bottom don`t think they can rise
to the top.
MATTHEWS: What can change? Why can we – how do we change that
politically or economically?
RUBENSTEIN: If I had the answer, I`d be in Iowa. I don`t have the answer.
But one thing I would like to mention is literacy. Right now, we have a
situation where 14 percent of the American people can`t read. And you`re
at the bottom of the social strata and you can`t read, you`re never going
to get to the top.
MATTHEWS: Are they immigrants or native-born?
RUBENSTEIN: No, no, no. These are native-born Americans; 14 percent
cannot read, functionally illiterate, can`t read past the fourth grade
And we have 1.7 million people dropping out of high school every year.
Those people are very often illiterate. You have got to deal with that
problem. If you can tax all the rich people in the world you want, people
in the bottom can`t read, they`re not going to get to the top.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about politics again. I think you`re right.
But let`s talk about politics. And the – imagine the Democrats do
nominate Mike Bloomberg. And he`s a competent as hell guy. We know that.
He goes against Trump, we got two oligarchs running against each other.
Is that good for democracy in this country, those two guys going against
each other, two…
RUBENSTEIN: We have had situations that…
MATTHEWS: And, by the way, Michael, I just checked his net worth today.
He is $18 billion or something. It`s probably more. He`s really rich.
RUBENSTEIN: Well, I don`t really know what his net worth is.
I would say, I have a show on his network. So, obviously I`m…
MATTHEWS: I know.
Yes, but you`re allowed to talk.
I think he`s an unusual candidate in this sense. We have never had a
candidate before who was a very successful businessman, an enormously
successful philanthropist, and an elected official previously. Usually,
you don`t get all three of those things.
RUBENSTEIN: So he`s got a unique set of experiences.
Whether he can come in late and win, I don`t really know.
MATTHEWS: Well, he spent $70 million to become mayor of New York.
Can he spend an extrapolation of that nationwide to become president? I
mean, if you figure out New York City cost me $70 million, the whole
country costs me how many billions? I mean, is that acceptable?
RUBENSTEIN: In 1976, John Connally had more money than anybody, and he got
Nelson Rockefeller was richer than anybody. In 1960, he didn`t get very
far. So, money doesn`t always win these things.
Let`s talk about your book, because it was a great read. It is a great
read. And what I like about it, you got all these master historians.
Basically, you put it together. You edited it. You put them all together.
And what I liked about it is, you can put this up at night and read about
how we got here. The stuff about Nixon, great stuff.
You had Bob Woodward, who knows all about the Nixon – when he got in
trouble with Watergate. And you got him, basically, Nixon saying, I kept
the tapes, I didn`t burn them, because when I read them – or Nixon – he
thought they would read positively for him.
Isn`t Trump just as crazy? He thinks that conversation with Zelensky helps
RUBENSTEIN: I`m not…
MATTHEWS: Are they deluded men, both of them?
RUBENSTEIN: I can`t comment on whether there`s delusion.
I would simply just tell you about this book. So…
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s in the book.
RUBENSTEIN: Well, let me explain what it is.
You worked in Congress. And, as you know, sometimes, members of Congress
don`t know as much about history as maybe they would like to know.
RUBENSTEIN: So I started a program six years ago to educate the members of
MATTHEWS: I know.
RUBENSTEIN: … about history by having these great historians come once a
month. I interview them.
MATTHEWS: Many congressmen showed up?
RUBENSTEIN: We would get about 250 to 300 people every time.
RUBENSTEIN: About two-thirds of those are congressmen, and then they have
RUBENSTEIN: So about 150 to 200.
And they do – it`s bipartisan. They sit with people from the opposite
party. And, as you know, because we don`t have a lot of legislation now,
the senators and the congressmen don`t know each other, because we don`t
have conference committees so much.
So they actually get to meet with each other.
MATTHEWS: What`s the most important thing you learn in this, for the
RUBENSTEIN: The most important thing is that we don`t know as much about
history as we should.
And right now, sadly, three-quarters of Americans cannot even name the
three branches of government. We don`t teach history. We don`t teach
civics very much anymore. The result is, we don`t have an informed
MATTHEWS: Your next career.
RUBENSTEIN: Well, I will see.
MATTHEWS: Become a teacher.
RUBENSTEIN: Thank you very much for having me, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Thank you. No, thank you, David Rubenstein, an old-time,
longtime friend of mine.
Up next: Once again, Democrats are the ones pushing for voting rights.
This is an important thing we`re going to talk about in the next minute.
It`s about – it`s about the Democrats and how they`re different than
Republicans. They care about everybody voting.
How`s that for a difference?
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Politics isn`t complicated.
Generally speaking, Democrats want everyone to vote. If you`re 18 and an
American citizen, they want you in that booth on Election Day.
Republicans, again, generally speaking, lean toward ways of limiting the
franchise, I.D. cards, registration requirements, reduced number of days
for early voting.
Feeling outnumbered, they want the act of voting to be like one of those
prime-time reality shows, where contestants have to swing from tire tubes,
climb walls, and manage all kinds of obstacles simply to complete the
Well, today, the U.S. House of Representatives, the people`s house, voted
to reinstate the mission of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Its goal was to
protect voters from states who try to manipulate election laws in order to
reduce minority participation.
The vote today was along party lines, with only one Republican, one, Brian
Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, voting aye.
And, by the way, I say good for Brian.
But I have seen this before in my native state of Pennsylvania. How many
times have Republicans up there tried screwing around with election laws in
order to shrink the Democratic vote?
American citizens should be allowed to vote in this country. It`s that
And that`s HARDBALL for now.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the