Show: HARDBALL Date: October 12, 2016 Guest: Yamiche Alcindor, John Brabender, Tony Schwartz, Laura Bassett, J.D. Vance
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Sinister.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
Donald Trump won`t stop. He continued to attack his two main targets today, Hillary Clinton and Republican leaders. Trump told a crowd in Florida Hillary Clinton has to go to jail. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: She gets a subpoena. She gets a subpoena. And after, not before -- that would be bad -- but after getting the subpoena to give over your e-mails and lots of other things, she deleted the e-mails! She has to go to jail!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, going after Paul Ryan, Trump alleged that something sinister was behind Ryan`s recent comments about him, something "sinister."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Already, the Republican nominee has a massive -- a massive disadvantage, and especially when you have the leaders not putting their weight behind the people.
Instead of calling me and saying, Congratulations, you did a great job. You absolutely destroyed her in the debate, like everybody said -- wouldn`t you think that Paul Ryan would call and say, Good going? You`d think that they`d say, Great going, Don! Let`s go! Let`s beat this crook. She`s a crook. Let`s beat her. We got to stop it!
No, he doesn`t do that. There`s a whole deal going on there (INAUDIBLE) I mean, you know, there`s a whole deal going on. We`re going to figure it out. I always figure things out. But there`s a whole sinister deal going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: "I always figure things out." Well, I`m sorry, that sounds funny.
Last night, Trump pounded Speaker Ryan and Senator John McCain as disloyal and he said he didn`t want their support.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: If you`re elected president, you`re going to need McCain and you`re going to need Ryan. You`re going to need these guys!
TRUMP: They`ll be there. They`ll be there. I would think that Ryan maybe wouldn`t be there. Maybe he`ll be in a different position. But McCain will be there. They`ll all be there.
O`REILLY: I don`t know what good it does to trash people. You can say, I disagree, I wish they would endorse me. But to trash them -- I don`t know good that does.
TRUMP: Because he -- he was begging for my endorsement.
O`REILLY: I know.
TRUMP: People are calling. His friends are calling.
O`REILLY: Be the bigger man.
TRUMP: The first sign of a little bit of difficulty, he unendorses.
O`REILLY: All right.
TRUMP: I wouldn`t want to be in a foxhole with a lot of these people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I don`t think he`s likely to be in a foxhole with anybody. Anyway, even some of Trump`s strongest supporters are saying, Enough of this! Here was Dr. Ben Carson today on the Fox News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. BEN CARSON (R), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, getting into, you know, fights with Ryan or anybody else -- a complete waste of time. It`s not helpful at all.
I don`t think it`s too late at all if he gets on message and talks about the issues that affect the people of America. That`s what they want to hear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And he`s one of his closest backers.
Anyway, while top Republicans fight each other, Democrats seem to be measuring the Oval Office drapes. New polls show Clinton, Hillary Clinton, with a commanding national lead now. She`s also cutting into some solid red states.
According to "The New York Times," quote, "Mrs. Clinton`s campaign has concluded that at least two traditionally Republican states, Georgia and Arizona, are realistic targets for her campaign to win over. And Republican polling has found that Mr. Trump is in dire risk of losing Georgia."
Well, even Utah seems to be in play, and I`ve thought about that a while now, a couple months. A brand-new political out there, "The State," shows that Clinton is tied with Trump. She`s running even at 26 points, with independent Evan McMullin not far behind.
In Ohio, a new poll shows Clinton now leading by 9. And Republicans never win the presidency without Ohio, but Clinton`s up by 9 there, 43 to 34.
Meanwhile, there`s continued fallout from the release of that 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape. NBC News reports two major Republican donors, big money people, are now asking for their money back.
Well, the big question is how Donald Trump benefits by going to war with his own party with less than a month to go until the election.
I`m joined right now by "The Washington Post`s" Robert Costa -- he`s an MSNBC political analyst -- Robert -- and also Republican strategist John Brabender -- he`s with me -- and "The New York Times`s" Yamiche Alcindor.
Well, late today -- this is breaking right now -- "The New York Times" reported that two women have come forward now to say that Donald Trump inappropriately touched them. One woman said Trump inappropriately kissed her directly on the mouth outside an elevator in Trump Tower in 2005. The other woman said Trump groped her on a plane -- we`ll go into details there -- three decades ago.
Anyway, "The Times" also spoke with people with close -- close connections to both women, with whom they shared their stories. Trump denies both accounts in "The Times" report, and NBC News has not spoken to either of the women. So that`s the hottest.
Robert Costa, do you have any reaction to that story yet from the Trump people?
ROBERT COSTA, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Inside of Trump Tower, there`s an expectation that these kind of stories will continue to come out, more allegations, more tapes. There`s a sense that these last few weeks of the election, Chris, are just going to be an avalanche of new revelations and new accusations.
MATTHEWS: Do you think it`s -- a human nature question for you, Robert, but you`re intuitive. Do you think what`s happening is like what often happens in the press, when it looks like somebody`s going down and is not going to be a danger to them because they`re not going to be president, people are much more willing to bring forth their personal accounts than they would if they thought this fellow was going to be looming over them as president of the United States?
COSTA: Well, certainly, this "New York Times" report comes right after the debate, where Trump was adamant that what he had done in that 2005 tape he had actually never acted upon. It was only words.
Now we`re hearing about possible alleged actions. That`s different. That`s because people really see the presidential election as coming up real soon, and they want to maybe get their story out.
MATTHEWS: Yamiche, thank you. You`re now representing "The New York Times." I know you`re not a PR person for "The Times," but I`ve got to go to you on this report.
Do you have anything to add to this? What`s interesting is, of course, a woman who`s 74 now, years of age, and she`s talking about something that happened 30 years ago in terms of the -- to me, the grosser thing that most people would say is really, really, really out of line -- I mean, really out of line.
Kissing in some cases can be -- some people just have that old ethnic tradition of kissing on the mouth. I`ve never been fond of it, but that`s -- some people are for it. But then, of course, if you know the circumstances and you`re the victim of it, you`re certainly the one who`s going to say what it meant and you didn`t like it at all, that kind of behavior.
But 30 years ago -- do we know what`s happened? Are there a lot of people phoning in these now to "The Times" and other papers, these old stories?
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, "NEW YORK TIMES": I can say that my colleagues who wrote a pretty long story and got millions of views about all these women - - they were talking about former Miss Universe and all these other women who were talking about how Donald Trump had inappropriately done things to them, inappropriately touched them or inappropriately talked to them.
So that was kind of what got these women, these two now women, to come forward and then contact my colleagues from that reporting. So while what -- some of this is, oh, yes, the election is coming closer. This is really the idea that these women felt like they were empowered to then say...
ALCINDOR: ... tell their story because they heard other women`s stories. So that`s really what`s going on here.
And if you read the accounts, it`s really the fact that these women watched the debate. They watched Donald Trump say, I didn`t act on these - - on the words...
ALCINDOR: ... that you read, that that`s not true, that I never really kissed any woman inappropriately. And one woman told "The Times" that she felt like he was slapping her in the face, that he was lying straight to her face. So the idea is that these women were very just infuriated by the fact that Donald Trump is continuing to say that he did not do these things.
MATTHEWS: John Brabender, political impact statement of this news -- of this story pattern here -- you know, there`s not -- these may even be criminal matters, I mean, if somebody calls him on this. If somebody`s going to charge sexual assault, they would have a case in that one case, but it`s so old, it`s not going to happen in court.
JOHN BRABENDER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes. First of all...
MATTHEWS: None of this is going to happen in court, probably, but in the court of public opinion, is this already baked into the cake, if you will, that people already know he`s been raunchy with women and we`re going to live with it?
BRABENDER: I think people will get tired of this story quickly, number one. That`s just -- they`re -- they want to move on and have something bigger. Number two is we`re already getting into this Bill Clintonesque of what is a kiss now.
BRABENDER: You know, and -- and the only thing I can tell you certainty as a fact, that the donors who asked for their money back are going to get it. Other than that...
BRABENDER: ... all of this stuff is just conjecture. It`s his...
BRABENDER: ... against them. I mean, you know, I`m more worried about the attacks against Paul Ryan and John McCain...
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s start with that.
BRABENDER: ... at this point.
MATTHEWS: Let me talk -- let`s go back to Robert Costa and then to Yamiche on this. Why -- what is the strategy? Is it a strategy for Trump to pick a fight with the top Republican leaders?
COSTA: It is a strategy. He thinks, when I spoke to him a few days ago, that he`s running against the Democrats, he`s running against the Republican establishment and he`s running against the mainstream media. He sees it as a three-front war, and he thinks really, what -- his only chances now is to run as a populist outsider, someone who`s detached almost entirely from these institutions.
MATTHEWS: Does he have any numbers to show -- I don`t want to be too ethnic about it, but angry white guys, angry white women, angry more conservative minorities, even? Does he think that any of these calculations adds up to 50 percent, or even 40 -- high 40s that would get him elected in a four-way race?
COSTA: It`s about rousing those white working class voters, Chris. But look at where he`s going, in Florida to the Panhandle, to other Republican hotbeds around the country. His strategy for people close to him is he has to get the Republican base excited. That`s why you see him talking about President Clinton`s past, how he`s going back to his primary mode in these speeches.
MATTHEWS: Well, what about the top Republican leaders? Don`t they affect turnout? Don`t they affect get-out-the-vote efforts? Don`t they run the -- where I grew up, you know, in Philly, you still have ward leaders. You still have precinct captains or committeemen, committee people. You still have people -- even in places like Bucks County, you have people that are -- who live every day of their lives for politics, who like their leaders like Paul Ryan. Isn`t -- don`t -- doesn`t he need them in his army?
COSTA: Perhaps, but there`s a strange juxtaposition because you have the Republican National Committee and Reince Priebus working out of Trump Tower, staying with Trump. But the congressional leadership is distancing itself.
COSTA: The party is divided in how it`s reacting to Trump.
MATTHEWS: OK. There may be some craziness in this fox, Yamiche. Do you think when he said that Paul Ryan is sinister, that there`s something sinister about him, that he`s really saying that -- what a lot of people think, that Paul Ryan would be quite happy election night if Trump got his butt kicked because then he`d run against Hillary Clinton in four years and Hillary would come in not so much of her -- because of her popularity, not so much because of a mandate for her, as much as a rejection of Trump. So Paul Ryan, Mr. Republican, Mr. Conservative, goes in and runs against Hillary and knocks her off in four years.
That`s what I think Trump means by there`s something sinister here.
ALCINDOR: I think this is the idea that Paul Ryan is somehow setting himself for a run in 2020. But I think the other thing that`s going on here -- and I`ve talked to a lot of Trump voters, I`ve really gone out in those rallies and really talked to hundreds of people now -- and what`s really going on here is the fact that people feel like the Republican establishment are not behind Donald Trump, that they don`t really want him to win.
MATTHEWS: Well, they aren`t.
ALCINDOR: So the idea is -- exactly...
MATTHEWS: So he`s right...
ALCINDOR: So the idea is that he`s also speaking to his core base and he`s saying, Look, all of this is rigged. Whatever happens in November is rigged.
And I think he`s really setting up for a long-term strategy of the idea, This is how I talk if I lose. If I lost, it`s because the Republicans didn`t really want me. It`s not because I didn`t go out and make the broad efforts to get all these different people to back me. It`s not because I only relied on really working class white men to somehow take me over the top.
It`s not any of that. The reason why I lost is because the Republican Party didn`t want me to win. So I think that`s -- he`s also setting himself up for that.
MATTHEWS: So he`s going to up the government in exile on Pennsylvania Avenue up at the Trump Post Office building.
Anyway, earlier today, Donald Trump made this threat about electing Hillary Clinton. ISIS will take over the United States. Now, that is insane. ISIS is not going to take over the United States.
Anyway, let`s watch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They are hoping and praying that Hillary Clinton becomes president of the United States because they`ll take over not only that part of the world, they`ll take over this country, they`ll take over this part of the world!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: At what level is that true?
MATTHEWS: That Hillary Clinton -- there are people on prayer mats around the East, in the Middle East especially and North Africa, who are praying -- praying...
MATTHEWS: What level of reality is he talking about?
BRABENDER: I`m asking this as a strategist, and I will say this. It makes a heck of a lot more sense for him to be saying that than be going after Paul Ryan and John McCain because, look, there`s something called winning ugly. And winning ugly is where you`re trying to change the topic. You`re trying to be sensational so you make headlines.
And let`s not forget Hillary Clinton did say that Donald Trump is a recruitment poster...
BRABENDER: ... for ISIS. So you know, she`s not clean on this, either. But you know what -- he`s running too much when he goes against Republicans a primary campaign. At least this is uniting Republicans against somebody they don`t like.
MATTHEWS: Is Paul Ryan a big deal in the Republican world or only in Washington?
BRABENDER: Paul Ryan is not John Boehner. What I mean by that is most people look at Paul Ryan as somebody who`s trying to bring people together, who`s a decent human being...
BRABENDER: ... and doesn`t have the same type of visceral response...
MATTHEWS: Well, then it`s a stupid guy to make an enemy...
BRABENDER: I think is.
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you, Robert Costa. Thank you, John Brabender. And thank you, Yamiche Alcindor.
Coming up -- Trump says the shackles are off. A strange metaphor, shackles. Anyway, how -- how destructive can he get in the four weeks before the election? We`ve got someone who knows Trump`s pyche, a writer who co-ghost wrote "The Art of the Deal," the guy who worked with him in all those months, to find out Trump`s next move. And he think he`s figured it out, and his reaction. We`re going to get the latest accusations in "The Times," which just broke.
Plus, Wikileaks releases another batch of hacked Clinton campaign e- mails, and Donald Trump`s hoping to benefit. Anyway, this is really crazy. One of Trump`s far-right supporters is on the radio pushing the idea now that President Obama and Hillary Clinton are actually demons -- sulfuric -- and they smell like sulfur. Others are calling for outright revolution if Trump loses this election. What`s behind that kind of talk? And it`s certainly not American.
Finally, my "election diary" for tonight, October 12th, with Clinton surging and the Republicans reeling.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: With less than four weeks to go before election day, more than a quarter of Republican governors, senators and members of Congress are refusing to back Donald Trump. "USA Today" did the count. Of the 31 governors, 54 senators and 246 members of the House of Representatives, 87 of them say they won`t endorse Trump for president. That`s about 26 percent.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. For Donald Trump, the past few days have been turbulent, at best. "USA Today`s" headline refers to the Trump campaign as a "murder-suicide mission" -- wow -- that threatens Congress. Anyway, "The Washington Post" says that Trump has declared war on the GOP now that he says he`s un -- that`s a strange word, "unshackled," unloosed.
Anyway, and Politico assembled five Trump biographers to discuss his implosion right now, and one of those biographers says Trump is a very dangerous man for the next three or four weeks.
Well, ever since the release of the "Access Hollywood" video of Trump making crude comments about women, he`s lashed out against his opponent and his own party.
And here`s Trump today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I am so disappointed. And I mean both sides! I`m not talking Republican, Dem -- I`m talking everybody! To allow a thing like this to go on -- this is crime at the highest level! She shouldn`t be allowed to run for president!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: You know that!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: OK, for more insight on what`s going on and what Trump could do between now and the election, I`m joined by someone who spent 15 - - or 18 months of his life with Donald Trump working closely with him, Tony Schwartz, who was a ghost writer for "The Art of the Deal."
Let me ask you -- it`s great to meet you, Tony. You`re a talented guy. And I`m trying to figure out -- you`re watching Trump behave the way he is in this sort of double down, I am what I am. I`m not going to change. I`m right all the time. You`re wrong all the time. She should go to jail. The speaker of the House is sinister. He`s up to -- I`m beginning to talk like Alec Baldwin here.
I mean, it`s become -- he becomes more Trump when he gets critical. What`s your experience tell you about his behavior today?
TONY SCHWARTZ, TRUMP GHOST WRITER: That, you know, there are two -- well, the primary thing about Trump is that he is -- has a deep feeling of worthlessness that is masked by this grandiosity and this over-the-top way of acting in almost any circumstance, and especially so when he`s under pressure.
And right now, he`s a wounded animal and he`s a -- he`s a -- it`s a blend of wounded and cornered. And it`s like air going out of a balloon, and the desperation to fill that balloon back up so he can feel some sense of worthiness prompts him to -- to do things that are extreme or even more extreme than they`ve been in the past.
MATTHEWS: You know, I have been up there with him interviewing him up in the Trump Tower and all the -- all the information on the walls, all the property information, and who has the titles to everything.
That`s real. He really is a successful person in moneymaking. He has these beautiful wives, beautiful kids. He lives in beautiful surroundings. He gets to fly in his own plane. Why isn`t that enough to convince him he`s...
SCHWARTZ: But none of it as beautiful, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Well, tell me what when. You know more than I know. Tell me.
SCHWARTZ: Come on. Come on.
He looks like he -- his apartment, which probably cost a lot of money, looks like a lobby of a third-rate hotel. I mean, he -- his -- what he is admired for, he actually didn`t really do. He inherited a great deal of money, didn`t do especially well with it.
It is a myth. This whole thing is a myth.
MATTHEWS: Well, what is this $11 billion about? I`m just -- well, he is not a billionaire? Or is he a billionaire?
SCHWARTZ: Well, I suspect -- look, I don`t have his tax returns, as nobody does.
I suspect he might be in that range. He is probably worth a 10th or a 15th or a 20th of what he says. The point is that being worth a lot of money is not being worthy. And his problem is that...
MATTHEWS: But wouldn`t he think so? Wouldn`t he think that?
SCHWARTZ: No. He would think that -- the way he has associated it is, my net worth is my personal worth. And so, as his -- as there is any threat to his net worth, his sense of who he is begins to diminish.
MATTHEWS: How do you -- tell me with this, because you worked -- he obviously is not a writer. Most public people are not writers. They get somebody like you who is a writer to do the job. And then they take credit for it. I know all about ghostwriting, because people I know claim to be writers, and they`re not.
But it is hard to write. Even if you can write, it is hard to write, as you know, Tony, because there`s nothing harder than writing even if you can write. And yet what`s the sense of worthlessness that -- he didn`t feel that that he could articulate his so-called art of the deal, and you had to come up with it? Or tell me how you discovered his sense of worthlessness.
SCHWARTZ: I do feel, honestly, Chris, that, to some extent, invented a Donald Trump that was -- this is the shame I feel and the reason I have been out here speaking, is because, for 30 years, I was quiet, but carried a great deal of guilt about the fact that I had done something that I was not proud of.
And then, all of a sudden, he decides to run for president and starts lying about everything, starting with the fact that he wrote "The Art of the Deal." And I thought, I need to be able to speak to the American people and tell them, I know this man. I was in Cincinnati, Ohio, today. I starting talking to a woman who was serving me in a restaurant. And I said to her, who are you for? Well, she said, well, I`m for Trump. And she gave me several reasons that really were not -- they were kind of the classic ones you hear.
But I said to her, you know, I know Donald Trump really well. And he is a really, really terrible man. And she said, oh, really? Really?
MATTHEWS: Yes, because we don`t know him.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you the good and the bad. Let`s -- everybody is a mixed bag, including Trump. So...
SCHWARTZ: He is not a mixed bag.
MATTHEWS: OK. Well, that`s -- let me get to the point.
He said to you, be a fly on the wall. You said, let me be a fly on the wall, so I can watch you in action, so I can figure what this art of the deal is you have.
What did you discover about his behavior as you watched him over these months, with a unique perspective of sitting in the room watching him do deals and all that? Did you determine any talent there? Did you discern any talent?
MATTHEWS: OK. What is his talent? What is his talent?
SCHWARTZ: One talent. One talent.
The talent of, he would huff and he would puff, and he would huff and he would puff until he blew the house down. And this is a relentlessness, an assaultive relentlessness. When he said to Hillary, I admire -- on the stage, I admire the fact that you don`t give up, Trump is always, particularly when he is negative, projecting his own feeling about himself onto others.
If you read what he says, if you listen to his talks, the most vicious things he says are things about himself. But the one thing I can give him credit for is, he won`t stop, even -- he won`t stop at anything, because there is no conscience.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s get into this sex stuff, when he talked about, I tried to go after Nancy O`Dell, the television, very popular television personality. And I tried and tried and tried.
She`s married. But he`s trying, he`s trying. And he`s bragging about this. How does -- to me, a lot of guys would say, you know, I don`t mind a little bad language. I don`t mind the locker room language as to what he was saying about -- using the language to talk about.
His pursuit of a married woman and his talk about physically assaulting, basically, women, how did that square with your experience?
SCHWARTZ: It`s the same thing I was just talking about.
It`s huff and puff turned into aggression and domination. So, he is aggressive and he`s dominating. He has a slightly different way of doing it with women, because it is explicitly sexual. With men, what he is doing is trying to basically take them down.
SCHWARTZ: And it is a response, Chris, to this feeling of -- I had the first experience in, I don`t know if 30 years, but certainly the last six months today of saying, oh, my God, this is a little sad boy who is desperate, desperate for love.
MATTHEWS: OK. Does he fear some women, but not others?
I have come across celebrities. I can think of one where they will treat people who they consider of their class appropriately as a woman, as a human being. But when they spot somebody below the line, somebody who doesn`t have any power, they`re predators.
So, is he like that?
SCHWARTZ: You know, it is very variable. If you think about what he did with the pastor, the female pastor in Detroit, he was actually on the - - he was obsequious, because he was so out of his element that he was intimidated. So, I think it is a question of what he feels the power dynamic is.
MATTHEWS: I agree. I think that`s so fascinating.
We ought to learn that of every politician, because I work in a city, in Washington, which you will not find unfamiliar, where people kiss up and kick down. It is very unattractive morally, because everybody kisses up to the bosses and the powerful people. But get somebody below them, look out. That guy is in trouble. That woman is in the trouble.
MATTHEWS: So, I think, if you spot that in a guy -- I always figure, if you spot that in somebody, keep away from them.
Anyway, thank you, Tony Schwartz. You`re a quite articulate fellow. I can see why you`re a ghostwriter.
SCHWARTZ: I`m not a ghostwriter, by the way. I`m the co-author, embarrassed as I am, but there it is.
MATTHEWS: I know. You got the $500,000 for that.
MATTHEWS: Let me just tell you, Ewan McGregor played a great ghostwriter in that movie, hell of a movie.
Anyway, thank you.
Up next: WikiLeaks releases another batch of hacked e-mails from the Clinton campaign with some goodies in there, I guess. But, also, they don`t know how to do it. As Trump looks to capitalize, his problem is getting the e-mail story straight, which he doesn`t seem to get straight. He may have gold in there, but he tarnishes all of it with the way presents it.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN PODESTA, CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: Russian interference in this election, and their apparent attempt to influence it on behalf of Mr. Trump is, I think, of -- should be of utmost concern to all Americans, whether you`re a Democrat, an independent, or a Republican.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta speaking about the hacking of his e-mails, which came days after the U.S. intelligence community blamed Russia for the recent cyber-attacks.
Well, while NBC News has not authenticated the e-mails, some could be damaging to Hillary Clinton, obviously, like her statement that, as a politician, you -- quote -- "need both a public and a private position" or her speech in which she called for open trade and -- catch this -- open borders with regard to Latin America.
Another e-mail which Ken Vogel of Politico reported on yesterday, shows that Chelsea Clinton flagged serious concerns about potential conflicts of interest relating to the Clinton Foundation. Well, good for her, by the way. I don`t think that hurts her at all.
But by seizing upon the hacked e-mails for political purposes, Donald Trump has also demonstrated how easily the truth can be manipulated and misinterpreted by him. Among the hacked documents was an e-mail from Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal which quoted an article about Benghazi by "Newsweek"`s Kurt Eichenwald.
But in reporting on that e-mail, a Russian state-controlled news agency falsely attributed Eichenwald`s news reporting words to Blumenthal. Well, then, within hours, Trump repeated that information as if it was true.
Watch -- watch Trump misuse all this. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So, Blumenthal writes a quote. This just came out a little while ago. I have to tell you this.
One important point has been universally acknowledged by the nine previous reports about Benghazi. This is Sidney Blumenthal. "The attack was almost certainly preventable," Benghazi. "Clinton was in charge of the State Department and it failed to protect the United States personnel at an American consulate in Libya." He meant Benghazi.
"If the GOP wants to raise that as a talking point against her, it is legitimate."
In other words, he is now admitting that they could have done something about Benghazi. This just came out a little while ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: My God.
After learning that his words had been wrongly attributed to Blumenthal, Eichenwald, the reporter, wrote: "This false story was reported only by the Russian-controlled agency, so how did Donald Trump end up advancing the same falsehood put out by Putin`s mouthpiece?"
Well, I`m joined now by himself, Kurt Eichenwald of "Newsweek," and Ken Vogel, chief investigative reporter at Politico.
Kurt, it`s great, because you`re a journalist right in a situation of seeing how a story is misplayed by a politician. There is gold in these e- mails that could be used by a decent politician against his rival. But, in this case, Trump seems to be incapable of getting it straight and just being honest about what`s been unearthed here by these e-mails.
KURT EICHENWALD, "NEWSWEEK": Well, I think it is even worse.
You got to remember that this is a man who has been briefed by the intelligence agencies. He`s been told that Russia has engaged in a large scale cyber-attack to affect the American election. He`s been told that one of the methods of operations is by manipulating documents, changing documents, and that he has to be careful about that.
And he turns around. It didn`t matter where he pulled it from, if he pulled it off the Internet, if he pulled it off a Russian site, any of it. He should have known, he did know could have been from a Russian disinformation op.
And he just got up and he read a false document on the air, or on the stage.
MATTHEWS: I know. Thank you.
Ken, here`s the problem. We have been hearing about this, and there`s two stories, as Ken and Kurt points out. There is the Russian piece. Do you want to be collaborating with a rival, a rival nation, to affect our elections? This is America`s elections. It`s not some global enterprise. It is us. We, Americans, citizens, should decide who our president is, OK? We, and not them. So, that`s one story.
The other part of the story is, everybody is interested in anything that get leaked, because leaking, inevitably, it`s something the politician didn`t want you to see, right?
So is there anything in here -- let me ask a bigger question. Is there a brain behind this leaking so that here we are, two months out, a month out as of yesterday, from an election? So, three weeks from now, if they drop a blockbuster on it -- I do believe this election is probably going to go to Hillary Clinton right now, but probably will be a lot closer if a blockbuster come down right before the election.
Is there a brain behind it that would be thinking like that?
KENNETH VOGEL, POLITICO: There absolutely is a brain behind it, and there is a strategy here.
And they want to drive a certain narrative. And you see this in WikiLeaks` Twitter account, where they`re highlighting certain portions of it. They`re selecting which e-mails to release. They say they have over 50,000 e-mails from John Podesta`s Gmail account. They have only released 7,192.
MATTHEWS: But then the 50,000 isn`t as good as one good one.
VOGEL: Well, or they could release the whole thing and let us in the media or the public decide, what are the good things?
MATTHEWS: It hasn`t been working, though, because they dump these piles of e-mails on the public. And the media gets ahold of them. And the serious news organizations like "The Times" gets ahold of them.
And I don`t see anything percolating to the top with clarity, because it`s smarter to pick out the smart stuff. It`s like a diamond cutter. Cut the diamond right.
Go ahead, though.
VOGEL: It is a challenge for us in the media, because we have to evaluate these things knowing that there could be additional information out there that we don`t have and trying to evaluate context that we don`t have.
MATTHEWS: Kurt, pick up. Where are we going with this reality, not just the story of covering it or the way Trump is playing it?
But is there somebody in Moscow or somewhere else in that world that is brilliant at figuring out or even competent at figuring out what is going to affect this election really that comes out?
EICHENWALD: Well, recently, the intelligence agencies and former intelligence agency directors have been putting out a lot of information, saying, please, media, please be aware of what`s going on. Please be aware of how Russian disinformation campaigns work.
And one of the big things that a recent letter came out October 6 laid out was, you will have organizations that will leak lots and lots and lots of really good -- really good, valid information. Then it will slowly start to change and be manipulated.
And then, as you get near to an election, a major piece of disinformation will be leaked, and there will be no time to counter it. But all of the people who...
MATTHEWS: I love. This is agitprop. This is what -- this is Lenin stuff. This is Leninism. Anything that advances the cause of the Communist Party is what we do.
Is the Kremlin -- is it your understanding that they still go with that ethic that anything that solves -- that goes in our direction, in other words, screwing up American elections to the advantage of somebody they may dislike less than the other person, they still have that ethic, anything goes?
They have done it in Estonia. They have done it in Ukraine. They have done it in the Netherlands. They have done it in Germany. And now they`re doing it here.
And, in fact, some of the intelligence people that I`m talking to are saying that there is really a question evolving on, you know, what is going on with Vladimir Putin? I mean, he is getting actually quite reckless.
MATTHEWS: The old history lesson.
EICHENWALD: And that`s an emerging concern.
MATTHEWS: You know, Khrushchev liked Kennedy, because he thought he was less of a hawk than Nixon. He may have been right or wrong about that, but he kept it to himself, because he didn`t want to screw up that election.
The Russians have changed their -- Kurt, I`m glad you`re out there for us as a journalist. I think it is great that we have somebody who is a pro at this. And this is something we are learning now. Agitprop is not new, but the fact the new Russian republic, and what it is up to now and trying to get into our elections, we don`t like it.
Anyway, thank you, Ken, as always, Ken Vogel, Kurt Eichenwald.
Up next, the roundtable is coming here next to talk about the breaking news tonight from "The New York Times." Two women have come forward to say they were inappropriately touched in different ways by Donald Trump. We`re going to talk about that, because we think more of that is coming.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: We`ve been following the breaking news from "The New York Times" from tomorrow`s paper. The two women have come forward to say that Donald Trump inappropriately touched them. Well, one woman said he groped her on a may not, it gets rather graphic there, three decades ago. And the other said he inappropriately kissed her on the mouth in 2005.
We just got a statement from the Trump campaign, which is important to put on right now. Senior communications adviser Jason Miller says, quote, "This entire article is fiction, and for `The New York Times` to haunch a completely false, coordinated character assassination against Mr. Trump on a topic like this is dangerous. To reach back decades in an attempt to smear Mr. Trump trivializes sexual assault and it sets a new low for where the media is willing to go in its efforts to determine this election.
It is absurd to think one of the most recognizable business leaders on the planet with a strong record of empowering women in his companies would do the things alleged in this story. For this to only become public decades later in the final month of a campaign for president should say it all."
"Further," this is more of a statement from Trump, "`The Times` story buries the Clinton financial and social media activity on behalf of Hillary Clinton`s candidacy, reinforcing that this is truly nothing more than a political attack. This is a sad day for `The Times`."
Well, that`s from Trump`s people, well-written in fact.
I`m joined right now by the roundtable, Laura Bassett, covers politics for "The Huffington Post", and Eugene Robinson is an MSNBC political analyst and columnist with "The Washington Post." and J.D. Vance is the author of the book, "Hillbilly Elegy", poetically titled, "A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis." A book that was very well-reviewed and received by the reading public, if I will.
Let me -- I don`t know whether we start with Trump. But any thoughts about the Trump -- I get the feeling we`re looking at a fire hydrant that`s been turned on by --
EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes. I mean, look, I think that once we had the revelations of Friday and then we had Trump get up in the debate and say, it was just locker room talk and I never did these things. Which he was pinned down on by Anderson Cooper, well, of course, it is natural that we would have women coming out, saying, no, actually he did do these things.
MATTHEWS: In all your years of journalism, that pattern of people when they feel unshackled, if you will, to use his term. They feel the story is developing. They`re not alone. And they feel the message they have kept to themselves is part of the public discussion and they feel free.
This woman is 74 years old.
ROBINSON: Right, right.
MATTHEWS: She`s talking about something that happened. And by the way, this story, that one, the public kissing -- I`m not sure about the circumstance, it`s very hard to read that. My family does a lot of kissing on the mouth but it`s always consensual.
MATTHEWS: It obviously wasn`t because --
MATTHEWS: It was a sexual advance on her that she did not want or even imagine would happen. The one on the airplane, every guy and woman will say, I can`t believe it.
LAURA BASSETT, THE HUFFINGTON POST: That is disgusting. And what struck me about that story is that when "The New York Times" reporter confronted Trump about it, he screamed at her and said, "You`re a horrible person", which is just classic abusive behavior. He gas lights and he deflects. And that`s what --
MATTHEWS: Explain, those who were not, much older than you know what gas lights means. Explain what gas lights means.
BASSETT: It means when a victim feels a certain way and you say, your perception of reality is simply not true.
MATTHEWS: It was done in the movie "Gas Light". He was trying on convince his wife that she was going nuts. It kind of explains it.
"The New York Times" scheduled an interview with one of the women, her name is Jessica Leeds. Here`s some of that interview. Here it is on tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSICA LEEDS, SAYS TRUMP GROPED HER: These are not memories that you want to go over. It has been somewhat unnerving since Friday to be rehashing it so many times.
You suppress it. It`s not part of your active thinking every day. But you don`t forget.
Somehow or other, the armrest in the seat disappeared. And it was a real shock when, all of a sudden, his hands were all over me. He was like an octopus. It was like he had six arms. He was all over the place.
When he started putting his hand on my skirt, and that was it. That was it. I was out of there. I wish the stewardess would come and rescue me. And then I decided, I got up. I got my purse. And I said, I`m going back to my seat in coach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What do you think of this? This is something, it`s sort of interesting evocative of the time because of the time because we used to say stewardess first of all. That was a flight attendant. It just gives us a sense of history. But this woman is not a showoff. She`s just telling what happened so we can know it.
J.D. VANCE, AUTHOR, "HILLYBILLY ELEGY": Yes, yes. And it`s sort of - - it makes me think that at fundamental, this is sort of he said/she said, right? And at the end of the day, do you believe Donald Trump who always tells the truth? Just kidding, or do you believe that woman on the tape? And I --
MATTHEWS: How can he explain, oh, yeah, I did that, I forget?
ROBINSON: It should be pointed out, though, that both these women told friends and family members and others.
MATTHEWS: That adds a lot of veracity to it.
ROBINSON: In that case, over the years. So, it is not as if this was something that could have just been concocted now, in fact.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about the people now. This is a little more sociological. There are people that hear this conversation who are saying, media crap talk. They don`t like his ideology or his threat to the establishment. Fair enough, I like that kind of American skepticism.
But let`s talk about those people. There`s a lot of people like in South Dakota, in Nebraska, where people were against him over the weekend. They have bounced back. And they`re going back and they`re resilient in their support for Trump.
I think he may have 35 to 40 percent of the country. No matter what we talk about, he will get that vote. It will be like a McGovern vote, a Goldwater vote. But nothing to do with principle. Their anger is so close to how they think that they would rather vote for Trump with all this than say yes to the establishment. I`m not knocking them, I understand their anger, but that`s a hill of a judgment.
BASSETT: Right. It`s not really a moral choice anymore of who`s a better candidate. It`s really about an extreme distrust of government and --
MATTHEWS: And hatred of Hillary.
BASSETT: Hatred of Hillary. A fear of authority in general.
MATTHEWS: What does he mean to these people? Let`s stick with Trump. What does he know? Like, today, I`m going to jail her. I`m going to put her in jail. It used to be, I`m going to get a special prosecutor. Well, that`s now escalated to I`m going to throw her to slammer.
Why does he think that had work with the people you write about in your book?
VANCE: Well, so, for a lot of these people, they see America as fundamentally divided along two lines. There`s the kind of coastal elite culture, that`s one side. And there`s the Middle America culture, and what does Hillary Clinton represent if not she`s the dean of the coastal elites. And because of that, they`re never going to support her over Donald Trump.
It is not that they love Donald Trump. It`s that they really just dislike Hillary Clinton, what she represents and where --
MATTHEWS: If she were a conservative, would they like her? Despite her Ivy League and all our leaders, advantages in life? Would they like her if she agreed with them?
VANCE: I don`t think necessarily, right? I mean, one of the things that Bill Clinton had to do to appeal to the white working class and, of course, he won that demographic is really play down his elite culture. He played --
MATTHEWS: He talked about his outhouse growing up with me when I interviewed him. He didn`t want to push this Yale law number. And Hillary, that rides higher up. He was also a good old boy.
ROBINSON: Of course. Donald Trump was born with a silver spoon in his mouth in New York City.
MATTHEWS: He went to the best school in the country.
MATTHEWS: The best school in the country. Don`t you forget it. And by the way, I know how to figure things out. Did you hear that today? I know how to figure out things out.
BASSETT: Yesterday, he called himself -- he said I`m basically a blue collar worker.
MATTHEWS: That`s good.
Remember Fredo in "The Godfather"? "I`m smart."
ROBINSON: I`m smart.
MATTHEWS: The roundtable is staying with us.
Up next, these three will tell me something I don`t know.
Be right back.
MATTHEWS: Well, election day is getting close and you can keep with HARDBALL all week long online. Follow the show on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook. You`ll get access to interviews, videos, and behind the scene photos as we cover the final weeks of this wild 2016 presidential campaign.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL round table.
Gene, tell me something I don`t know.
ROBINSON: Well, I looked at the questions that Chris Wallace picked for the third debate, if there is a third debate. So we may go through all three debates without a question about climate change.
MATTHEWS: How did you get the questions?
ROBINSON: They`re out. Not the questions, the topics.
MATTHEWS: Nothing on climate.
ROBINSON: Not a single question --
MATTHEWS: -- below sea level.
VANCE: So, there was a poll that suggested that 40 percent of Trump`s voters thought that blacks were lazier than whites, but the interesting and underreported part of that poll is that 25 percent of Hillary Clinton supporters said the same thing. I think that after this election, there`s going to be an argument about what Donald Trump`s voters were animated by and whether they were just a bump of dumb racists, it would be short shrift to a lot of good people who are voting for Donald Trump and, two, it would make us think that the racial problem in this country is just a problem with Trump`s voters when it`s everybody`s problem.
MATTHEWS: Go ahead. Laura?
BASSETT: So, the Trump campaign is apparently so upset about this "New York Times" story that they`re freaking out and saying they`re going to go ballistic on Bill Clinton, and they have tons more.
MATTHEWS: Oh, they`ve been holding back.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Gene -- Laura Bassett, Eugene Robinson and J.D. Vance.
That`s disturbing what you told us.
When we return, my election diary for tonight, October 12th.
Anyway, you`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Election diary, Wednesday, October 12th, 2016.
As the day went on again, Donald Trump went around talking like Julius Caesar, all around. He now sees the conspirators all coming at him, all in league to bring him down and end his political life. He yells louder and louder for the guards to come and take his rival Hillary Clinton into custody, where he just days ago called for special prosecutor. He now calls for her to be thrown into jail now before she can deny him power.
But he sees enemies coming at him from all directions now. They`re in front of them. He sees Paul Ryan, he sees something sinister about him. He too had the look, Trump declared today of a conspirator.
Is Ryan who now refuses to even be seen with Donald Trump planning to bring him down and grab the throne for himself? It is truly the stuff of Shakespeare, with Trump`s desperation now led by the starts but by his own machinations, his own wild plotting to grab the presidency of this country.
Trump has gotten this far by tying himself to the anger of the people against the political class, he sensed the rage against to protect citizenship, jobs and even lives to uncontrolled immigration, bad trade deals, stupid war decisions. He kept up that connection with a shoot from the hip style that could be called performance art.
His problem is the gamble Trump took on both accounts, he bet that his message of anger would trump his Achilles heel as a candidate, as a messenger, that being his personal life. One never guided by the notions of a political career at any level, much less the presidency of the country. And he counted on his wild stream of consciousness speaking style to be provocative and arresting without ever going over the edge. And for a while, both bets seem calculated and then they weren`t.
Donald Trump stands today in dire danger of being overthrown, not by his Republican allies, not by the conspiring of his Republican allies, but his own failure to plot a course that would gird him when the conquest for power would grow mortal, and that is now.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
We have breaking news at this hour, a bombshell report from "New York Times," two women on the record saying that Donald Trump did exactly to them what he had boasted about in that now infamous "Access Hollywood" tape.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END