House to vote tomorrow. TRANSCRIPT: 1/14/20, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.

Guests:
Annie Linskey, Nina Turner, Jackie Speier, Andrew Weissmann, Elise Jordan, James Carville
Transcript:

 ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: And when that client is the president, well, it

goes to this witness fight at the coming Senate trial. We`ll stay on all of

it.

 

But don`t go anywhere right now. HARDBALL with Chris Matthews starts right

now.

 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  Fight night. Let`s play HARDBALL.

 

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews here in the spin room in Des Moines, Iowa.

 

There`s a major news now, a bit of news that the Democratic race for

president, of course, with the two key progressives stuck in a war of

words, you might say, about gender ahead of tonight`s final debate between

the Iowa caucuses.

 

And back in Washington, Nancy Pelosi made it official today announcing

Democrats would vote tomorrow to send those articles of impeachment against

President Trump to the Senate. It`s a huge development, of course. And a

little while, I`m going to talk to a key House Democrat about what happened

in the caucus today and what we can expect tomorrow.

 

But, first, the turmoil in the Democratic race, as an unexpected battle

between Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren over gender threatens

the dynamic of the race just three weeks before the Iowa caucuses. The

fight between the long-time progressive allies escalated yesterday after

reports surfaced that Warren alleged Sanders, told her during a December

2018 meeting, a woman could not win the presidency.

 

Sanders denied the charge saying that it was ludicrous. His campaign

manager later told NBC, I believe strongly what we are talking about here

is a lie. He also called it a smear. Warren countered in her statement of

her own confirming the conversation saying, I thought a woman could win. He

disagreed.

 

Moments ago, Sanders Campaign Senior Adviser Jeff Weaver told my colleague,

Chuck Todd, the dispute came from, I don`t know if you can believe this

one, different recollections of the conversation. Here goes Weaver.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

JEFFREY WEAVER, SANDERS CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER:  Senator Sanders never

said a woman could not win the race in 2020. We are certainly all aware of

the difficulty that women face running for office in the era of Trump,

misogynist, sexism types of attacks that Trump will launch. But, look,

Hillary Clinton beat Trump by 3 million votes. How can you say a woman

couldn`t win for the presidency?

 

So, Again, I think that there was what they said was not correct. And what

we said is correct.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, the progressive wing will almost certainly upend tonight

this fight. Of course, the debate here in Des Moines is going to be

affected by heavily in the beginning where six candidates will face-off for

the last time before Iowa`s caucuses February 3rd.

 

But NBC News reports that Joe Biden is staying out of the progressive fray

tonight, he says, well, even though the former V.P. will literally be

standing between Warren and Sanders. Literally, by the way, is a big Biden

word.

 

It`s telegraphed that he will do his best to stay out of a spat between his

rivals. We`ll see.

 

I`m joined right now by John Heilemann, Editor-in-Chief for The Recount,

and MSNBC National Affairs Analyst, of course, and Annie Linskey, National

Political Reporter at The Washington Post.

 

Annie, I want you to start here. This thing bubbled up because four people

said through various means they heard Elizabeth Warren said that Bernie

said no woman could win the election in 2020. How did it get out into the

ether out there and how much has it been promoted now by the attacks from

both sides? Elizabeth Warren`s claim that it`s exactly what he said. He

said – I said a woman could win. He said they couldn`t. He disagreed. And

then the campaign manager for Bernie Sanders said it was a lie, that it was

a smear on Bernie. The whole thing was being cooked up by his enemies. Your

thoughts on the reporting?

 

ANNIE LINSKEY, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST:  Yes. The

Washington Post has been doing some reporting about this, this conversation

that Senator Warren and Senator Sanders had in December of 2018. And what

we learned is that Senator Warren asked Senator Sanders a question, do you

think that a woman could win in 2020?

 

And for us, you know, I think that shows that this question that – this

question of electability which has hung over this primary for the last 12

months was something that the very top – two of the top candidates were

hashing out and discussing before either of them had gotten into the race.

And I think that it`s bringing this question to the forefront in a way that

is a little unexpected and can go in all sorts of different directions.

 

You know, there`s certainly a lot of discussion about who might have leaked

this, whether this is a sanctioned leak from the Warren campaign or not. I

had conversation with some of Obama`s advisers to say, look, would you guys

have done something like this when Obama was running and there were big

questions about whether a black man could be president of the United

States? And they said, absolutely not. Because the questions about gender,

questions about race are so difficult, they become brush fires. And I think

that is what we`re seeing right now, is brush fire.

 

MATTHEWS:  I can say, I remember back when it was Hillary Clinton versus

Obama, that the word from Bill Clinton was it`s a fantasy. The whole thing

is a fantasy. And that was translated to be, he was saying,

an African American – I don`t think that`s what he meant and I don`t think

that was the context, but that certainly got out there.

 

Let me go to John Heilemann. John, this is a classic case I think of a

dynamic. I used to not like that word. One side says one thing and the

other side reacts to it, says it`s a smear, the other side then goes on the

record and says he did say that a woman can`t win.

 

JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST:  So let`s not forget a

couple of things, right? The weekend, this last weekend, Bernie Sanders

comes out, the Des Moines Register poll comes out and looks like he`s got

momentum. And rather than kind of deciding to sit back and say, hey, I`m

playing the hot hand, they go negative on Biden in South Carolina on race,

on the Iraqi War, on social security, telegraphing they are going after

Biden.

 

And then there`s this reporting that says there`s this script that the

Sanders people had volunteers that were – they have now confirmed today

they have used it in two states trashing Buttigieg, trashing Biden and

trashing Warren.

 

So the Warren campaign Sunday night is hot. I can report definitively on

Sunday night. They`re making plans for this debate. They are upset –

 

MATTHEWS:  They didn`t like being called the elitist candidate.

 

HEILEMANN:  They did not. And they thought Bernie was going after her. They

thought, in some sense, that Bernie was the one who was breaking the truce

from the past year, the non-aggression pact. So, suddenly, so mysterious,

we have a piece that has Elizabeth Warren allies and campaign finger prints

all over it. Read the sourcing. Two other sources are said who have been

Warren aids, Warren friends, Warren confidants in that piece. It was tit

from Bernie Sanders, it was tat the next day from Elizabeth Warren. Then

you`re in this war escalating, the dynamic thing you`re talking about,

right, where they`re calling each other liars.

 

And by the end of the day on Monday, you effectively had what I think the

question is for the two of them today, Chris. Bernie Sanders and his

campaign are effectively calling Elizabeth Warren a liar. Her statement on

Monday night effectively calls Bernie Sanders a liar. And I don`t know that

any reporting is ever going to get to the truth of this. Two people in the

room, they could very well remember it differently.

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, you can take a lie detector test, I suppose, if you want

to get ludicrous about it.

 

HEILEMANN:  You have done reporting like this when we know these two people

in a room can legitimately, honestly remember things differently. But I`m

telling you, the campaigns –

 

MATTHEWS:  Then you`re getting into mansplaining because she is – the

senator from Massachusetts is so clear, I said a woman could. He disagreed.

 

HEILEMANN:  I`m not mansplaining. I`m certainly not mansplaining. I`m just

telling you, I have done enough reporting where I have heard two people in

a room, two years later and they remember the conversation differently.

They`re not lying but they just remember it differently. So I`m not –

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, that`s what Weaver is saying. That`s one of the guys –

that`s a flag statement.

 

HEILEMANN:  I`m not crediting Bernie Sanders in this or Elizabeth Warren,

but somebody – if there was a reality and their position on it are

(INAUDIBLE) opposed. So either people are misremembering or someone is flat

out lying.

 

But I`ll tell you, but as a political matter, here is the reality. In this

debate where the pressure, the tension, the stakes are higher than they`ve

been in any of the debates of all last year. We are less than three weeks

from Iowa. The Iowans are watching this race. In this moment, these

campaigns are mad at each other. They are hot. And I`m telling you, it will

be hard for either one of them emotionally on that stage to try to de-

escalate from this right now.

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, the non-aggression pact, as it was called, between Sanders

and Warren began to fray, keep going here, over the weekend, as you said,

John, when Politico reported the Sanders campaign distributed a script to

volunteers instructing them to call Senator Warren the candidate of the

elites. That`s the word elites. Both candidates responded to the allegation

that trailed over the weekend. Here it goes.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

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

to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me.

 

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I never said a

negative word about Elizabeth Warren who is a friend of mine. We have

differences on issues. That`s what campaigning is about. But no one is

going to be attacking Elizabeth.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, I`m joined right now by Nina Turner, National co-Chair of

the Sanders campaign. We reached out to the Warren campaign, by the way.

They declined to provide a representative tonight. Nina, thank you for

this.

 

I`ve got two words now coming from your campaign. The campaign manager,

Faiz Shakir, is calling it a lie, saying it`s a smear. Jeff Weaver, another

top aid in the campaign, he`s saying, no, it was just a misunderstanding.

Which is it?

 

NINA TURNER, NATIONAL CO-CHAIR, BERNIE SANDERS FOR PRESIDENT:  Let`s take

the Senator`s words, Chris. He said it was ludicrous and he said he did not

say it. For three decades, the senator has been talking about women,

believing that a woman cannot only run for president but win. As we know in

his book, Our Revolution, he wrote in that book that in 2015, he asked

Senator Warren to run for president.

 

Senator Sanders has always been one to believe in women and to stand up for

women. And it is ludicrous to think that he would change that now. We also

have the Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Chris, who said she had a one-on-one

meeting with the senator as well. And he was nothing but courteous and

encouraging. So Senator Bernard Sanders stood up for women three decades

ago and he`s still standing up for women right now.

 

MATTHEWS:  Has he told you that he didn`t say it?

 

TURNER:  The senator did not say it. He said it was ludicrous. He did not

say it.

 

MATTHEWS:  How do you know he didn`t say it? Let`s get back to your

campaign manager. Why is he calling the other side a liar and saying

they`re smearing Bernie? That was the phrase. They`re smearing Bernie. Why

do you think Elizabeth Warren campaign are sticking to their guns and

saying, she said a woman could be elected president, he, that`s Bernie

Sanders, your candidate, disagreed? Why would she say that on public record

last night if she didn`t believe that it happened, if she didn`t believe

that he said it?

 

TURNER:  Chris, why would the senator say that he didn`t say it? It makes

no sense that you can look at his track record, roll the tape, we got him

on video talking about, you know, wanting women – he was in a classroom

talking to children about how girls should participate in politics. He

wrote in his book in 2015, wanted Senator Warren to run for president. Why

would he all of a sudden change that to this day?

 

The facts are that is the –

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, look, I don`t know. But you`re a political person.

 

TURNER:  Chris –

 

MATTHEWS:  Nina, you`re like maybe we`re both political, I mean, know what

happens in conversations.

 

TURNER:  We are.

 

MATTHEWS:  And think about this. When Bernie, who wants to run again in

2020, finds out in the home of Elizabeth Warren that she wants to run, he

might have wanted to discourage her. He might have said, it`s going to be

tough for a woman to run against Trump. He might have said that. I don`t

know what he said and you don`t either.

 

TURNER:  Well, I will tell you this. I do know Senator Bernard Sanders and

this – I do know, and you know this too. He is consistent. So may the best

person run the race. The senator has never discouraged anybody from running

from anything. Just run the race. He is even on the record talking about

Republicans and their cowardice when they try to stop people from voting,

by voter suppression. So why would he say something like that? It is just

the antithesis of who he is.

 

The real question we should be asking tonight, the real war on women is the

fact that black women die at higher rates in this country during child

birth. The real war on women is the fact that women need to be paid dollar

for dollar, and those are the kinds of conversations we should be having

right now about the real war on women.

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, I have to give you one credit, and I do believe this

myself just as an observer and commentator, I have an opinion. I just went

and studied the entry polls four years ago in Iowa and in New Hampshire.

And Bernie Sanders, your candidate, had a 90 percent support on issues of

honesty and integrity, so people really do believe him. I hope he`s telling

the truth here. You believe him. That`s the record. Thank you. It`s always

great to have you on, Nina Turner, for the campaign.

 

Thank you, John Heilemann, as well, Annie Linskey, great reporters, and

it`s always great to have Nina on.

 

Coming up, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will send the impeachment articles to

the Senate. This thing is rolling again. With the trial starting as early

as next week, it looks like Tuesday, that`s a good guess, for the trial to

begin, next Tuesday, a week from today.

 

And Mitch McConnell admits Republicans don`t have the votes. Mitch, Moscow

Mitch, says they don`t have the votes to dismiss the charges, so they`re

not going to get away with a quick dismissal.

 

Plus, Robert Mueller warned us, the Russians hacked our elections once and

they`re likely to do it again. And now, we have more details on reports

that the Russian spies have hacked Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company at

the center of Trump`s impeachment, the company that employed Joe Biden`s

son, Hunter.

 

And James Carville (ph) joins me tonight to talk about the latest in the

2020 race for president and what he learned about impeachment from the

Clinton era.

 

We`ve got a lot to get to tonight, a big show tonight. Stick with us.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

 

A historic vote is coming tomorrow, first of all, to set the stage for the

president`s impeachment trial over the Senate. After meeting with her

fellow Democrats this morning, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the

House will approve a resolution to send the articles of impeachment, the

two of them, over to the Senate tomorrow – actually, it`s Wednesday. From

there, the articles will be presented to the Senate in a formal procession

and Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the oath.

 

According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, that means the trial

itself is likely to be next on Tuesday, as I said. Despite President

Trump`s to have his case dismissed, that`s Trump talking, McConnell has

surveyed members of the Senate Republican caucus and is unlikely to hold a

vote on that matter, so no quicky dismissal.

 

Here is McConnell today.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REPORTER:  The president has suggested that you should just move to

dismiss. You clearly want to get this over sooner rather than later. Why

not push to try and dismiss?

 

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY):  Yes. There is little or no sentiment in the

Republican conference for a motion to dismiss.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, McConnell deflected when asked about the question of

calling witnesses Trump`s trial in the Senate.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REPORTER:  Can there be a fair trial if there are no witnesses?

 

MCCONNELL:  Well, you know, if you look at the House product, you really

got to wonder what the definition of a fair trial is.

 

And with regard to what witnesses are necessary, we`re going to vote on

that at the appropriate time after we listened to the argument.

 

REPORTER:  And would the White House be able to block those witnesses?

 

MCCONNELL:  51 senators will decide who to call. After that, who knows who

will employ what kind of legal devices. I have no idea.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  I`m joined right now by Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier

of California, who is on the House Intelligence Committee, Andrew

Weissmann, by the way, is a former DOJ, Department of Justice prosecutor

who worked on the Mueller probe, Elise Jordan, of course, former Aide to

George W. Bush at the White House and the State Department. Thank you all

for joining us tonight.

 

This is a big move. The trains are moving. Congresswoman, explain about

what happened in the caucus. They would move this now to the Senate.

 

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA):  So, Today, there was unanimity among my

colleagues to take up a resolution tomorrow that would make it appropriate

to move the articles of impeachment to the Senate and to name the managers.

 

MATTHEWS: What would – what would be the success that you could point to

of the delay?

 

What do you think was accomplished in not sending over the articles of

impeachment by the speaker right after you passed impeachment in the House?

 

SPEIER:  Well, I think what is most telling is that, by waiting, we were

able to determine that Ambassador Bolton is willing to come before the

Senate if he`s subpoenaed.

 

We also got a recognition that, through the Center for Integrity in and the

Security Justice organization, that there were documents that were never

made available to us in the House, even though they were subpoenaed, that,

by court order, by a Freedom of Information Act, was made available.

 

And then, of course, what we uncovered after that was that, in fact, again,

another cover-up has taken place.

 

Now, today, there are documents that have been provided by Lev Parnas, who

has been one of those individuals that has been charged under the Federal

Elections Commission with having a fraudulent organization providing

foreign money to President Trump`s campaign.

 

And there is a treasure trove of new documentation that shows there is a

criminal enterprise being operated, I believe, out of the White House. And

the cover-up is so ubiquitous, so widespread, that it has prevented us from

accessing documents that would have shown a direct relationship by the

president seeking this investigation for his personal gain, again,

indication of a bribery.

 

And now we have more documentation to support it, even though we have not

been able to get one paper, one page of documents from this administration

through the subpoena process, and, again, a cover-up in the making.

 

MATTHEWS:  Andrew, a couple of points.

 

First of all, do you think the House delay in turning over the two

documents, the two articles of impeachment until this week was part of

getting the Senate Republicans to agree not to dismiss the charges in the

Senate? That`s at least one step back from the president, who asked just a

couple days ago for them to dismiss all charges.

 

ANDREW WEISSMANN, FORMER DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE PROSECUTOR:  You know, it`s

unclear what kind of negotiations there were behind the scenes.

 

But I think it`s really clear that, with delay, what`s come is more

evidence. There are more witnesses who are now willing to testify, and

there are more documents out there.

 

So, one message, I think, to Republican senators is, you really act at your

peril at this point if you don`t really treat this as a trial. Americans

understand that a trial involves witnesses and documents.

 

And if you ignore that, if you say, we don`t really want to hear from

witnesses or documents, I think history is going to really be a judge of

that, because documents and witnesses are going to come out at some point,

and you`re going to look really foolish down the road if you have not made

an effort to really understand what went on here.

 

MATTHEWS:  It`s to me somewhat confounding that all this new evidence is

apparently going to pile on the evidence we already have.

 

The president was on the phone with Zelensky, the president of Ukraine. He

did say, I want a favor, though. It`s pretty clear what he wanted in

exchange for the delivery of those weapons, the missiles.

 

So, the question now is, if you find out there`s a memo that just surfaced,

which has, that basically says, get Zelensky to agree to investigate the

Burisma, how does that add to the case in the U.S. Senate?

 

WEISSMANN:  So, I think that the Democrats are going to say, look, the

proof is already overwhelming.

 

But I think the issue is that you have a number of Republicans who are

likely to say, I don`t think there`s enough evidence, I don`t think there`s

enough firsthand evidence.

 

Now, we may all disagree with that, but, if that`s going to be the argument

that Republican senators make, that we haven`t heard enough, this is the

opportunity. They are not frozen in time, and have to take just what the

House presented. They are – this is a trial. They are entitled to hear

from witnesses, new witnesses and new documents.

 

So I don`t think it`s going to come with good grace to say, gee, we wish

that there was more evidence, but we actually are not going to look for it.

 

MATTHEWS:  Well said.

 

Anyway, McConnell, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, also

indicated that Senate Republicans may try to justify the president`s

extortion of Ukraine by propagating allegations against the Bidens.

 

Notably, McConnell would not rule out calling Hunter Biden as a witness.

Here he goes.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

QUESTION:  Some in your conference have suggested that if Democrats are

calling witnesses like John Bolton, they may also want to call witnesses

such as Hunter Biden. Would you support calling Hunter Biden?

 

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY):  Well, I think we will dealing with the

witness issue at the appropriate time into the trial.

 

And I think it`s certainly appropriate to point out that both sides would

want to call witnesses that they wanted to hear from.

 

So when you get to that issue, I can`t imagine that only the witnesses that

our Democratic colleagues would want to call would be called.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  Elise, I`m thinking about the squirrelly mind, but sometimes he

is Bugs Bunny. He`s not Elmer Fudd sometimes. He knows what he`s doing,

this guy.

 

Mitch McConnell will say to the Democrats, OK, if you want Mick Mulvaney,

if you want John Bolton, fine. I want Hunter and Joe Biden. I also want the

whistle-blower.

 

Could he knock off some of the Democratic senators with that? They will

say, well, wait a minute. I`m not that excited to get John Bolton that I`m

going to drag Hunter Biden in here. And I`m not going to expose the

whistle-blower just to get John Bolton.

 

 

But could he play it that heard, that hardball?

 

ELISE JORDAN, “TIME”:  We will have to see what McConnell ends up doing,

but I think that Democrats have less to lose by having Hunter…

 

MATTHEWS:  What about that? What about that kind of a trade?

 

Elise, what about that kind of a trade? Hardball. You want these guys, I

want your guys.

 

JORDAN:  Yes, I think – I don`t think the Democrats have much to lose by

having Joe Biden or Hunter Biden come forward.

 

You look at what John Bolton potentially saw and what he has been quoted by

direct eyewitnesses as seen going down in the White House, his testimony

promises to be much more explosive than what certainly Joe Biden and then

Hunter Biden, who has been pretty forthcoming about the details of his

involvement when he was on the Burisma board.

 

I think that those witnesses will likely – it`ll be similar to in the

House trial when Republicans thought Ambassador Kurt Volker and then

Jonathan Turley, the law – the George W. – the G.W. law professor, were

going to help their case, and then, instead, it was just a nothing burger,

as Republicans are fond of calling this entire process.

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, as Congresswoman – Congresswoman Jackie Speier just said,

Rudy Giuliani`s indicted business associate Lev Parnas has turned over

evidence now seized by prosecutors.

 

The House Intelligence Committee released some of those materials which

include a handwritten notice, as I said, on stationery from the Ritz-

Carlton in Vienna. It says, “Get Zelensky to announce that the Biden case

will be investigated.”

 

Parnas also provided a letter that Giuliani wrote to president-elect

Zelensky asking to meet in May. Giuliani says: “In my capacity as personal

counsel to President Trump and with his knowledge and consent, I request a

meeting with you.”

 

There are also texts between Parnas and Republican congressional candidate

Robert Hyde of Connecticut. The committee says that the texts suggests that

Hyde – quote – “had Ambassador Yovanovitch under physical surveillance in

Kiev.”

 

Congresswoman, what do you make of all this latest stuff?

 

SPEIER:  It`s explosive.

 

And what`s interesting about this is, we had asked for documentation

production by Lev Parnas. And at that point, he hired Dowd, who was the

president`s attorney. He then got rid of Dowd, hired another attorney.

 

And, lo and behold, he`s willing to comply with the subpoena. So here`s

someone who is complying with the subpoena with explosive documentation

that shows that this has been an effort under way dating back to early this

– early last year, to be able to build a case to tear down Biden, as he

saw him as the most likely opponent in his presidential race.

 

This is a strong case of bribery, where the president has used his office

to ask for something of personal benefit, and to do so by virtue of being

the president of the United States seeking this specific favor.

 

Again, it is a very strong case of bribery. This is precisely what our

founding fathers were concerned about, using the office for personal gain.

 

And the president, I think, has been caught red-handed.

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, most ominous about those new documents is that Robert

Hyde, the Republican from Connecticut told Parnas, the Russian, in March –

or I think he was Ukrainian – that his contacts who appeared to be

tracking Yovanovitch were – quote – “willing to help if we or you would

like a price.”

 

He then says: “Guess you can do anything in the Ukraine with money.”

 

Andrew, what do you make of this? It looks to me like – I don`t know what

they`re doing, setting up something sort of physical, but I don`t know

against Yovanovitch. Who knows?

 

WEISSMANN:  Well, I think that another witness who is now somebody who the

Senate could call is Lev Parnas.

 

I think the letter that you just put up from Rudy Giuliani is a real

smoking gun, because you have Rudy Giuliani saying that he`s acting in the

president`s personal capacity. That shows that the president and Rudy knew

this would be improper to use the office of the presidency for a personal

errand, to use Dr. Fiona Hill`s phrase.

 

And yet the president on the call with President Zelensky was using the

office of the president. That is precisely what has been charged in the

impeachment counts.

 

MATTHEWS:  And that`s what John Bolton referred to as a drug deal.

 

And we`re all waiting to see whether he`s going to testify in the U.S.

Senate trial.

 

And thank you, U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Speier, as always, Andrew

Weissmann, sir, for your expertise. And, Elise, thank you for your

reporting.

 

Up next, I`d say Russia is at it again, but they never actually stopped

trying to interfere in our elections. They`re back in 2020. It`s

unbelievable. They`re hacking now into Burisma, so they can hurt the

Bidens, I guess.

 

So now Russian hackers are trying to pick up where President Trump left

off, digging for political dirt in Ukraine.

 

You`re watching HARDBALL.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. WILL HURD (R-TX):  In your investigation, did you think that this was

a single attempt by the Russians to get involved in our election, or did

you find evidence to suggest they will try to do this again?

 

ROBERT MUELLER, RUSSIA PROBE SPECIAL COUNSEL:  Oh, it wasn`t a single

attempt. They`re doing it as we sit here.

 

And they expect to do it during the next campaign.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  They`re doing it as we sit here.

 

Well, welcome back to HARDBALL. I should say, welcome back to the Russians.

 

That was former special counsel Robert Mueller, of course, last year

warning (AUDIO GAP) the center of the President Trump`s impeachment

investigation.

 

According to a report from the cybersecurity firm Area 1 Security, the

phishing campaign targeting Burisma, the company where Joe Biden`s son

served as a board member, started in early November – that`s this year –

at the same time the House was holding impeachment hearings.

 

The report indicates – quote – “The timing of the GRU`s campaign in

relation to the 2020 U.S. elections raises the specter that this is an

early warning of what we have anticipated since the successful cyberattacks

undertaken during the 2016 U.S. elections.”

 

As “The New York Times” points out – quote – “The Russian tactics are

strikingly similar to what American intelligence agencies say was Russia`s

hacking of e-mails from Hillary Clinton`s campaign chairman and the

Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential campaign.”

 

Responding to this report, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee,

Hillary Clinton, tweeted – quote – “Russians appear to be rerunning their

2016 hacking playbook once again to benefit Donald Trump. Will the Russians

helped pick our president again?”

 

And while there has been no reaction yet from President Trump, top

Democrats are raising the alarm, not just about Russia`s actions, but how

they found out about it.

 

That`s next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We are certainly tracking all of the threat actors

that are active in this landscape as we move to the heyday of election

season coming up not only for the primaries but certainly for the main

Election Day in November.

 

So, of course, we`ve long talked about the Russians as a threat. So, we

certainly are tracking that.

 

KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS:  And I don`t want to misunderstand what you`re

saying. You`re speaking broadly. But can we assume that you`re pretty up to

date on what the GRU is doing in terms of going after targets?

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Of course, it`s a top priority for us.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  Welcome back.

 

That was the top national intelligence official in charge of election

security saying our intelligence agencies are on top now of Russia`s malign

activities.

 

That includes the report the Russians hacked the Ukrainian energy company

that the former vice president`s son Hunter worked for. But if the

intelligence community has been aware of the Kremlin`s recent actions,

that`s news to top congressional Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck

Schumer.

 

Here is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Adam

Schiff, describing how he learned about Vladimir Putin`s latest actions.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA):  I have to say, Rachel, I`m a bit distressed to

see this for the first time in a newspaper report if the intel committee –

community is aware of this, that should have been brought to our attention

by now.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  For more, I`m joined by Clint Watts, former FBI special agent

and author of “Messing with the Enemy: Surviving in A Social Media World of

Hackers, Terrorists, Russians and Fake News”.

 

What`s your reaction? Are you surprised that the Russians are going after

Burisma, that gas company over in Ukraine that Hunter Biden was working

for?

 

CLINT WATTS, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT:  Not at all, Chris. I – the

Russians, even in their overt state-sponsored media have been talking about

Hunter Biden and Burisma for at least nine months now in their open news.

So, this is not surprising at all. Whatever they talk about overtly, you

can suspect they might be doing something covertly. And if you look at what

they`re doing in terms of these hacks, they`re taking a different approach

this time.

 

In 2016, what we saw them doing was hacking critical nodes. They were

hitting the DNC, campaign managers, even government officials, even

reporters trying to dig up dirt or find information that they could launder

and push out to advance a narrative against Hillary Clinton. This time

though the narrative is always out there.

 

The White House has already brought this up. It is part of the impeachment

trial. They are hacking to confirm the narrative. That`s what is different

about this scenario. They know where to go because the story is already out

there.

 

They want to push it out there and make it surface in the news. And even in

this failure, even in this attempt, we haven`t seen them push anything out

and we got this story back out in the news again, and they`re keeping it

going over and over again against Biden.

 

MATTHEWS:  Clint, it`s just so blatant. I mean, let`s face it, whatever

your politics, if you watch this president, you watch him pursue almost

everything to the benefit of Vladimir Putin. I mean, Pelosi points that

out. Everything is for Vladimir. Everything.

 

And now we find that the Russians, it`s everything now to defeat Joe Biden.

You pointed out, I guess you mentioned implicitly, the RT, the Russian TV

network over here in the United States, is out blasting away regularly

against Joe Biden.

 

That`s sort of the pattern they did last time. Was it use every one of

their platforms to get the same message across?

 

WATTS:  That`s exactly right, Chris. From overt to covert, they`re going to

use any means that they had out there.

 

What the Russians do that others don`t do, though, is hack to compromise

presidential candidates and then dump information out there. What they`re

doing this time is a little bit different from last night. I call it

upstream hacking.

 

Last time, they were hitting things that would be maybe dot-gov or dot-

mail, or related to the campaign. Right now, part of the reason why

Congressman Schiff probably didn`t hear about it from the U.S. government

is because the U.S. government doesn`t do cyber security and detection for

a Ukrainian company like Burisma. We have to actually rely on corporations

like Area 1 or CrowdStrike, even a Mandiant to let us know when these sort

of breaches occur because they`re the ones out in the dot-com world where

you and I or corporation are.

 

And if you look at the narratives are that they`re advancing against former

Vice President Biden, it`s his son. It`s Burisma. It`s about his gaffes or

his health.

 

Who are you going to hack to confirm those things? You`re not going to go

to the government or the military of the U.S. to hack them. You`re instead

going to go to soft places like law firms and banks, multinational

corporations, medical facilities.

 

That is how they`re going to try and farm that information, launder it and

get it out in the open to push narratives against Biden, and that could be

somebody else if you see them rise up in the polls. You`ll see how Russia

will twist back and forth on any emerging candidate in order to help

President Trump be reelected.

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, it`s out there. As you say, it`s in and it`s out, it`s

public and it`s not public, and it`s secret and it`s social media. It`s

their own network. It`s their hacking.

 

They got one plan, help Trump. Thank you so much, Clint Watts. It`s so

flagrant.

 

Up next, Democratic strategist James Carville joins me to talk about just

about everything, especially tonight`s debate. The primary race is going

right now, impeachment. He had some experience with that with Clinton and

more.

 

You`re watching HARDBALL.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

 

Six Democrats will be taking the stage tonight for the last debate for the

candidates before the Iowa caucuses which are coming now three weeks from

yesterday. One of the candidates missing from this stage is Colorado

Senator Michael Bennet. That`s Bennet with one T.

 

He just scored a major endorsement however, from the great James Carville

who gained national intention as Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton`s lead

campaign strategist back in 1992.

 

James Carville joins me now.

 

James, you`re wearing a hat of a winner there I noticed. I watched the game

every minute last night. I had to say, I watched Sonny Jurgensen, Bart

Starr, all the greats, Y.A. Tittle. I can`t think of one that`s as good as

this guy. I`ve never seen anything like it in my life and –

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

MATTHEWS:  And everything you like. What a great victory. It was clean, he

only missed that one the guy wobble at way back in the left side, the end

zone. That would have been another one. That was in the guy`s hands and he

dropped it.

 

Anyway, congratulations. As occasion, I know this means a lot religiously

to you.

 

Michael Bennet, here you are, the pro-am building you up and come in to

this race in mid-January and you`re picking a candidate, why this late? Why

this one.

 

JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Because I think that Trump and

Trumpism is the greatest threat this country has faced since the fall of

communism. And the only way to deal with it is defeat it resoundly.

 

If Michael Bennet is a Democratic nominee, you`re going do get 55 percent

of the popular vote and pick up 55 Senate seats. It will be the end of

Trumpism.

 

Trumpism doesn`t have to just be defeated at the polls. It`s got to be

decimated. It`s got to look like a beat – it`s got to look like Clemson

looked like night. Beat and ready to quit. And Michael Bennet is the best

choice among any Democrat to accomplish that.

 

MATTHEWS:  How`s he get from here to there?

 

CARVILLE:  He just got to get out there and get in front of as many people

as he can and have people go and people see him and they come back and tell

me, James, you know Michael Bennet would be the best president, you know

his temperament is entirely different than Trump`s. Or you know if we

nominated him, we would have a great election.

 

So, why not be for him? Why not? I think the – temperament –

 

MATTHEWS:  I agree with it, James. I don`t see how he gets there. How does

he get past Bernie, Elizabeth, and Biden, and ultimately get past Michael

Bloomberg? They`re all out there out running hard, spending money, he can`t

do it. He`s not doing it.

 

CARVILLE:  Because the levels of engagement are so high. And people are

paying attention, that if they start seeing him and paying attention to

him, then things can break very quickly in this environment.

 

This is not a normal environment. These Democrats know it`s their

responsibility to save this country. If that`s what you want to do, then

Michael Bennet is your choice. And he`s got to go out there and get in

front of as many people as they can and when he does, I think he can turn

things around. I honestly do.

 

And I keep hearing that and people just like you say the same thing, well,

yes, he would be great, but how does he get there? The way he gets there is

by being out there early every day and staying out late every day, and

talking about how this country has to change from what we have right now.

If he does that, who knows?

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, let`s talk –

 

CARVILLE:  I`m there for him.

 

MATTHEWS:  James, you know more than I know. I want to ask you this, you

know how you get to be president. You have to have that fire in your belly

that`s unstoppable. Bill Clinton had it. I don`t know if Barack Obama had

it or not. Barack Obama.

 

But he had – Clinton had it. That drive that makes you get up in the

morning, go to bed at night, never stop about anything else, calculate,

strategize, raise money until you`re sick. Shake hands until your hands are

bleeding.

 

That is the way to do it. To be a little bit crazy. But Michael Bennet

doesn`t seem to be a little bit crazy.

 

CARVILLE:  Well, I don`t think the country is looking for a little bit

crazy right now. I think we`re worn out on craziness. And you`re right,

he`s a kind of sedate guys in many ways, he`s very thoughtful. He`s very

organized.

 

I think these are appealing traits in 2020. I think we`ve had enough

craziness.

 

MATTHEWS:  I agree.

 

CARVILLE:  I`m done with crazy.

 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you –

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

CARVILLE:  He`s hardworking. He`s competitive. And he`s determined.

 

MATTHEWS:  Is there any way that this impeachment trial that`s beginning a

week from today is going to accomplish anything good for the country? The

trial in the Senate. Is there any way it can be good so we look back on it,

even if Trump survives and, say, that was a good bid of governmental

business, that was good thing to do?

 

CARVILLE:  The most critical thing is to vote on the fair trial and that`s

the best vote the Democrat have going. If you have a fair trial and the

country sees this, it will be a good lesson in civics. If Mitch McConnell

is successful and shuts down a fair trial, then you`re going to have a

different result, but they have to push the idea.

 

Now we have Parnas has got his text messages, John Bolton wants to testify.

There`s all kind of evidence out there. If Mitch McConnell denies the

American people the right to evidence, an unfair trial, then the people

will take it out on Republicans in November, and they know that.

 

Tillis knows that. McSally knows that. Cornyn knows that. And Cory Gardner

knows that. Joni Ernst knows that.

 

Force the vote on a fair trial.

 

MATTHEWS:  What happened to the Republican Party? The opposition party,

from your thinking, the party that wasn`t evil, wasn`t stupid. Now, I mean,

I noticed in the whole day of defending Trump not a single Republican

member of the House, they`re all some of them smart, in the one of them

said one good thing about Donald Trump personally.

 

Nobody – nobody spoke for his character. Nobody said he`s a good, honest,

guy. I mean, it was immaculate, immaculate. Not a single positive comment,

yet, they bow to him like he`s the emperor of Siam. They bow to him without

ever respecting him personally.

 

How do you explain?

 

CARVILLE:  Right. Look, the Republican Party that you and I knew does that

exist. There`s only Trump and Trumpism. The Republicans are going to do

nothing about it. It is up to the Democrats. It is up to the Democrats to

eradicate this scourge, and the way to do that is by massive and

humiliating election defeat.

 

There`s no Republican is going to come up and save us. Everybody keeps

waiting. Pretty soon, maybe Rob Portman will say something. They`re not

going to say anything. They`re scared to death.

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

 

CARVILLE:  And the Democrats have to save the United States. That`s it.

There`s no other choice. The Republicans are not going to do it for you.

 

MATTHEWS:  OK. Spoken like a great partisan, sir. Thank you, James

Carville.

 

CARVILLE:  Geaux, Tigers. Thank you, Chris.

 

MATTHEWS:  Speak with integrity and true partisanship. Geaux, Tigers. But

they don`t have to go anywhere. They`re the best team ever.

 

CARVILLE:  Yes.

 

MATTHEWS:  Maybe the Washington Redskins, maybe Snyder will end up getting

this guy as his quarterback.

 

We`ll be right back. You`re watching HARDBALL.

 

CARVILLE:  Don`t forget my Nationals. Don`t forget my Nats.

 

MATTHEWS:  Oh, yes. OK. I`m a Phillies guy, but let`s go on. Thank you.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MATTHEWS:  That`s HARDBALL for now from Drake University in Des Moines,

Iowa. Join me later tonight for MSNBC`s live post-debate coverage along

with Brian Williams. I`ll be here at 11:00 in the spin room.

 

I love it right here. Interviewing the candidates and bringing you the key

moments from tonight`s debate.

 

And tomorrow, I`ll be back in Washington as Nancy Pelosi and the House

Democrats vote to send the articles of impeachment over to the United

States Senate tomorrow. It`s going to be an historic day.

 

Thanks for being with us.

 

“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES”, of course, starts right now.

 

 

 

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

BE UPDATED.

END   

 

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