House to vote tomorrow. TRANSCRIPT: 1/14/20, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.
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
But don`t go anywhere right now. HARDBALL with Chris Matthews starts right
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
We`ve got a lot to get to tonight, a big show tonight. Stick with us.
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,
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
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
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
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.
And thank you, U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Speier, as always, Andrew
Weissmann, sir, for your expertise. And, Elise, thank you for your
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.
(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
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.
(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
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
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
(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
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
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
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
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
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
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
You`re watching HARDBALL.
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 –
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
Anyway, congratulations. As occasion, I know this means a lot religiously
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
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 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
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
I think these are appealing traits in 2020. I think we`ve had enough
MATTHEWS: I agree.
CARVILLE: I`m done with crazy.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you –
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.
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: 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.
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.
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.
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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
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