Show: HARDBALL Date: January 4, 2017 Guest: Stephanie Schriock, Frank Bruni, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Bob Cusack, Tamara Keith, Sahil Kapur
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Trumping the media.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington on what has been a very busy day up in the Capitol.
Anyway, President Obama and Vice President-elect Mike Pence were both on the Hill today meeting with members of their respective parties. Mike Pence held what is described as a pep talk, focusing on killing "Obama care." The president huddled with Democrats, strategizing to save the health care law.
Meanwhile, President-elect Donald Trump continued his assault on the U.S. intelligence committee (sic). Overnight, he tweeted, "The intelligence briefing on so-called Russian hacking was delayed until Friday. Perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange." A senior intelligence official told NBC the tweet was disturbing and adversarial.
Trump also continued to bash the media, of course. He did so even as he promised to hold a press conference next week, his first since last July. Well, Trump tweeted, "Somebody hacked the DNC, but why did they not have hacking defense like the RNC has? And why have they not responded to the terrible things they did and said? A total double standard. Media, as usual, gave them a pass."
He even quoted the hacker Julian Assange calling American media coverage, quote, "very dishonest." Trump added to that, "more dishonest than anyone knows."
Trump`s engaged in an unprecedented effort by an American president to undermine the press. So how does accountability work without a free media? Good question.
David Corn is Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones" and MSNBC political analyst, and Frank Bruni is a columnist for "The New York Times."
I want to start with David, then get to Frank. It seems to me that what he`s doing is replicating what Vladimir Putin -- Vlad the Impaler -- is doing. Putin wants to diminish democracy in this country so that he won`t look so bad. And this guy is trying to silence or mute credibility for the media so that people will listen to Trump.
DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: What you have with Trump is a blend of narcissism and authoritarianism. I think he believes he is never wrong, although he has, you know, been called out for lying or misstatements by the fact checkers more than any other candidate. He doesn`t want accountability.
At the same time, he`s trying to undermine this institution we have, the free press, which presidents often find inconvenient...
CORN: ... in order to sort of preserve his ability to say whatever it is that pops into his head and that he tweets and posts. He doesn`t want to have a check for narcissistic reasons and authoritarian reasons.
MATTHEWS: Frank, it makes sense for a president, whether he`s a right wing or left wing or somebody in the middle, or whatever Trump is, to challenge opinion in the media, like what you write. I mean, that`s what they do. They challenge -- that`s what Agnew did when Pat Buchanan wrote his lines, attack the somewhat liberal commentators.
But this guy is not attacking commentary, opinion. He`s not criticizing somebody who might disagree with me, he`s challenging the facts of what the hard news is producing, the wire services, the networks, the metropolitan quality newspapers. What is that about?
FRANK BRUNI, "NEW YORK TIMES": Well, he doesn`t even engage the facts at times, Chris. I mean, one of the things that he`s doing, I think, to an extent that we have not seen from a politician at his altitude is he is going so far in describing us as utterly biased, utterly untrustworthy, just despicable, despicable people. And when he does that, he doesn`t have to address the specifics of a given story.
And we saw this toward the end of his presidential campaign. Someone would come out with terrific reporting on the way his charity operated or something like that, and he would never really rebut the exact charges because he would just put it all under the umbrella of, Oh, the dishonest media, they hate me, you can never trust them, and then he moves on from there.
MATTHEWS: Well, what are people to make -- they pick up "The Times" and they read a football score from last weekend, 29-20, the Redskins lost. OK. Do they think that`s questionable? And the movie starts at 7:00 tomorrow night. Do they believe that? At what point -- I`ll go to you, David. Are people being told, dog trained, if you will, not to believe facts? Not opinion, facts.
CORN: Well, this is the problem we`ve had. We`ve had throughout this campaign and in the years up to now alternative realities. And whether it`s on climate change, is a good example, or other issues, he`s just taken it to the Nth level of saying the facts that are presented by experts, by the media, by other politicians are not even real facts.
All you have to do is go on Twitter to find people say again and again, whether it`s "pizza-gate" or gun control statistics, that what you`re reporting, that what the experts are saying, that what the statistics show are not true. And the only reason you`re doing that is because it`s an agenda. He`s taking this to a new level...
MATTHEWS: Bottom line, what`s he want?
CORN: He wants the ability to not be questioned or challenged by anyone.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, by the way, attacking the media was a staple of Donald Trump`s campaign. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Even our enemies back there -- look at all that press!
TRUMP: Among the most dishonest people in the world.
They`re bad people. They`re bad people and they`re dishonest people! They don`t tell the truth. They don`t write the truth.
I love it! We just took the press credentials away from the dishonest "Washington Post."
Crooked CNN. CNN is so disgusting!
"The New York Times" is disgusting. The good news is it`s failing. It`ll be out of business within three years!
It is a failing newspaper.
It`s third rate people, I`m telling you, third rate. Bad people. Bad people. Sick people.
There`s something happening! They`re not reporting it. Katy, you`re not reporting it, Katy. But there`s something happening, Katy! There`s something happening, Katy!
I just don`t respect her as a journalist. I have no respect for her. I don`t think she`s very good. I think she`s highly overrated. She gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions, and you know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: So there`s nowhere lower to go than this, Frank. But you know, I keep thinking of that guy that was -- that biographer that was weird enough, or odd or naive enough to go on the golf course down there so that Trump could throw him off the golf course!
I mean, is Trump going to throw the media out of the press room, I mean, if they disturb him? I mean, there is a sort of a tyrannical aspect to this.
BRUNI: Absolutely. I mean, that reel was great because it showed all the things that he`s done and is doing that go beyond what other politicians who`ve had an adversarial relationship with the press have done. He has taken away people`s credentials. He has demonized, vilified and gotten into shouting matches, essentially, with individual members of the media. We haven`t seen that before.
And let`s also not forget that he said during the campaign that he`d love to make it a lot easier to sue for defamation and things like that. So he`s going well beyond what a politician who simply says the media`s not trustworthy -- he`s going well beyond what we`ve seen so far.
MATTHEWS: I`m thinking about accountability now, and the bottom line, not just who has a tough day because he yells at them. Fine. That`s part of our job, to take some crap. But you look at what the American people benefited from. Watergate, Woodward and Bernstein,if that -- I always say it would have been much worse if they`d gotten away with it, Nixon and those people, because then he would have moved on to the step. They would have escalated from there, more -- you know, for more dirty stuff.
And the same thing with the Tow missiles going to Iran under Reagan. If we -- if nobody had caught that, where would we be? It`s the job of the media to catch the big, bad stuff. And Trump seems like he`s immunizing himself against -- as you were saying, immunizing himself against a credible news story that he`s got a conflict, that he was on the phone one day fixing some deal somewhere when he`s president, if that ever happens.
CORN: Look, well, we know that there are, you know, myriad conflicts of interest that have not been resolved that the journalists, "The New York Times," "Washington Post," have reported on, and he keeps ducking this issue. And now he`s going to say that these sort of stories, the stories about his foundation, have no basis because the people writing them are sick, bad, disgusting people.
He doesn`t get to the details. He only talks in headlines and slogans that are red meat for his conservative base.
MATTHEWS: Well, it gets worse. Donald Trump`s now quoting Julian Assange, of all people, as his new hero. According to video in 2010 uncovered by CNN today, Trump said WikiLeaks was a disgrace. That`s what he said back then. It`s changed.
Here he is in the old days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Klayman (ph) will be on. He`s going to talk about WikiLeaks. You had nothing to do with leaking of those documents.
TRUMP: No, but I think it`s disgraceful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You do think it`s disgraceful?
TRUMP: Look, there should be, like, death penalty or something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Death penalty for WikiLeaks! Anyway, Julian Assange -- anyway, someone else who seems to have had a change of heart on WikiLeaks, Sarah Palin. Back in 2010, she wrote, "Assange is not a journalist, no more than the editor of al Qaeda`s -- no more than the editor of al Qaeda`s new English language magazine is. It`s not a journalist. He is an anti- American operative with blood on his hands."
Now Palin, as of today, has a different message with Assange. Here`s what she says. "Exposing the truth regarding the left having been, oh, so guilty of atrocious actions and attitudes of which they`ve falsely accused others, the media collusion that hid what many on the left have been supporting is shocking. This is important information that finally opened people`s eyes to democrat candidates and operatives would not have been exposed were it not for Julian Assange."
Frank, the changing partners and dancing here is so fast, it`s hard to keep up with. Assange is now a hero to the Trump world.
BRUNI: You`re a hero to Trump if your message on a given day is something that dovetails with his self-interest. I mean, that`s nothing new. We`re in really scary territory here in a lot of ways.
I want to get back to something you asked David before about facts. It`s not just that people are now having arguments about what is and isn`t a fact. We have Americans who are living in entirely different universes in terms of the facts they`re exposed to. We`ve all so siloed ourselves and segmented ourselves...
BRUNI: ... and live in these curated news environments. So I worry, like, when we come out with some of the kinds of important stories that you mentioned before -- there will be big stories like that, big investigative scoops during the Trump administration. Will there be an enormous group of Americans who don`t even see that or see it in an entirely different way because they`re living in such a particularly curated news environment that`s curated to be an echo chamber of their partisan beliefs?
MATTHEWS: Yes, it`s -- what`s that called, stovepiping or...
BRUNI: Yes, self-selecting.
MATTHEWS: You know, I used to worry, Frank and David, about the fact that news organizations, maybe not "The Times" but so many, have cut back on their overseas bureaus. And what they do, even the big papers now will refer -- rely on stringers. And you can usually tell by the name where that person`s probably from that country.
But when you start relying on that sort of derivative news, well, you don`t know whether that guy or woman is really a straight reporter. They have -- there could be all kinds of politics going on in their heads. But that`s now seeping back into domestic coverage because if you begin to suspect the motivation of even a straight AP reporter, UPI -- not UPI, AP reporters, Reuters (INAUDIBLE) Agence France...
CORN: Well -- well...
MATTHEWS: ... you`re -- you`re -- you don`t know what the facts are.
CORN: No, this is nothing new because you go back to Jesse Helms -- you remember the days when he ran a campaign against Dan Rather.
CORN: And the right...
MATTHEWS: Well, I don`t, actually, that one. That one I forgot.
CORN: But the right for long has attacked what they call the mainstream media for being liberal and out of touch and opposed to them. This happened in the Reagan years.
CORN: This has been around for a couple of decades. Trump is making it more vicious, more personal, more about him than anything else, and that`s where the authoritarian theme comes into this.
CORN: And the fact that the Republican Party and his base is following him down this path makes me worry a lot, as it does Frank.
MATTHEWS: Well, Frank, thanks for congratulating the editors here for putting that collage together because I really think one thing that does speak truth is if you get the right video, you don`t play with it, you don`t edit, you just show what the guy`s been doing, you begin to get the thrust of it.
And it`s pretty ugly because it isn`t discerning. It`s not saying, Well, this one reporter got a story wrong and he should get bashed. It`s an attempt to try to change power away from truth and to have power defeat truth. And that`s really awful for our country.
Anyway, thank you. Thanks for coming on. I read you all the time, Frank, in "The New York Times." And thank you, David Corn. Great work, as always, David.
Coming up -- Trump`s not just at war with the media. He`s also ratcheting up his fight with the intelligence community. We`re going to see now him siding with Julian Assange again and dismissing our own intel experts. That`s got a lot of people mad as hell, people that are really serving, in fact, risking their lives for this country overseas, the real spooks out there, the spies that have to risk their lives.
Plus, the day after Trump`s inaugural, get ready for the mother of all protests. Actually (INAUDIBLE) women`s march on Washington can be the biggest single demonstration of the Trump presidency. That`s if he`s lucky. But it`s going to be big. We`ll get a preview tonight of what`s coming.
And back to that big fight over President Obama`s signature achievement, "Obama care." Republicans want to tear down "Obama care," eliminate it, kill it in its crib. But they don`t have much of a plan beyond that. They`re going to leave us with nothing. Obama, himself, by the way, is now leading the fight to save what he built.
Finally, "Let Me Finish" with Trump watch tonight.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: With the start of the 115th Congress, President Obama`s nomination of Merrick Garland to the United States Supreme Court has officially expired. Garland waited 293 days, but Senate Republicans refused to even consider him, something White House press secretary Josh Earnest called a scar on the Senate`s reputation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The fact that he was not given the opportunity to explain to the Senate and to the American people why he would have served the country honorably and with distinction on the United States Supreme Court is a scar on the reputation of the United States Senate. It is a part of the legacy of Republican leadership in Congress from the last several years, and I don`t mean that as a compliment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, I`m going to compliment Josh Earnest because he`s one of the best, best press secretaries in a long time.
Now Donald Trump will get to nominate Justice Scalia`s successor. It will take 60 votes, of course, in the Senate to confirm. But Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, however, has already signaled the party won`t play ball on not filibustering.
And we`ll be right back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Hacking is a very hard thing to prove, so it could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don`t know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation.
QUESTION: Like what? What do you know that other people don`t know?
TRUMP: You`ll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was President-elect Trump on Saturday saying he`d reveal more information about the Russian hacking by today. However, no new information has been forthcoming from the president-elect.
And now Trump is again taking aim at the U.S. Intelligence community, publicly questioning their certitude when it comes to the Kremlin`s cyberattacks. After saying he planned to meet with intelligence briefers this week, Trump last night suggested on Twitter that intelligence officials needed more time to get their story straight.
Reacting to Trump`s statement last night, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued this warning to the incoming president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: You take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you. So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he`s being really dumb to do this. From what I am told, they are very upset with how he has treated them and talked about them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, today, Trump further tweeted in defense of Julian Assange, who released the stolen documents on his Web site, WikiLeaks. Quote, "Julian Assange said a 14-year-old could have hacked Podesta. Why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info."
Well, that tweet earned Trump a strong rebuke from former CIA spokesman George Little, who said, quote, "Let`s stare this reality square in the face. The president-elect is pro-Putin and believes Julian Assange over the CIA. On January 20th, we will be less safe." Well, that`s strong.
Joining me now is Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. And she today introduced a bill calling for an independent commission to investigate the Russian hacking.
Well, you`re a political leader. You may be president someday, Senator. So I`m just going to ask you why anybody who`s about to be president of the United States would dump on, pee on, to be crude about it, his incoming G2, his intelligence arm, his ability when he gets up in the morning to know what the North Koreans are up to, what Putin`s up to, what`s going on in the Middle East? This is the only way he knows more than the average person that -- his intelligence community. Why would he dump on them -- to start with?
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: You know, I cannot explain the reasoning of Donald Trump`s tweets. What I do know is there are people out there putting their lives at risk every day for America, basically putting their lives on hold. They`re under cover. They`re finding out information for us. And when we have 17 intelligence agencies coming out and telling us that this cyber -hack occurred, it`s real. And I just came back, as you know, from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Georgia, and Ukraine, where they have seen Russian aggression in a way that I don`t think in our country we can imagine.
They illegally annexed Crimea. They have gone into about 20 percent of the territory in Georgia. And the people in these countries, the leaders, when Senator McCain and Senator Graham and I visited there, told us they have seen this movie before. It`s not just the physical invasion.
For decades, Russia has responded to anything they don`t like by cyber- attacking. When Estonia had the audacity to move a bronze statue to a cemetery, and Russia saw it as a dis, they actually then cyber-attacked and shut down their Web access.
And when Lithuania invited some members of the parliament from the Ukraine -- from Ukraine, from the Crimea area to their country, as a showing of solidarity, Russia attacks their parliament`s computers.
This has happened. So, this is not just about, Chris, one political party being hurt or one election in America or even one country. This is a modus operandi and it is an assault on democracy. And we better start seeing it that way, especially when our own intelligence community...
KLOBUCHAR: ... is telling us undeniably that this happened.
MATTHEWS: Well, this is a weird question to ask, but I am kind of taken with it.
Chuck Schumer, who is a smart guy, he is your leader now. Chuck Schumer said he better with careful with what he`s doing because the intelligence community has a way to whack back at him. That`s sort of dishonorable in itself. How can they whack back or hurt Trump?
KLOBUCHAR: I don`t know.
KLOBUCHAR: I think that`s kind of a New York way of talking. In Minnesota...
MATTHEWS: Was that just rhetorical?
KLOBUCHAR: What I would say is that they will stand up for their facts and their findings. And I hope that that`s what happens at this briefing that will occur this week.
And perhaps, when the president-elect hears the fact that -- the facts that our own president has heard and will continue to hear while he`s still in office, he will change his tune, because I think when you have senators like former candidates for president for the Republican Party like John McCain and stalwart Republicans like Lindsey Graham who are standing up and saying, this isn`t a partisan issue, this is about America`s security, because when you are attacking our election, you don`t just attack democracy, you attack the very freedoms on which we stand in our Constitution.
MATTHEWS: I know.
KLOBUCHAR: From the freedom of the press, which you just discussed, to the freedom of assembly and speech.
MATTHEWS: Well, I wish I was a fly on the wall during your CODEL with McCain, because I would love to hear what he and Lindsey have to say about this new president.
Anyway, "The Washington Post" -- I know you know.
"The Washington Post" is today reporting that Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California plans to bring a congressional delegation over to Russia to meet with a member of Russia`s parliament, the Duma -- quote -- "Rohrabacher said Russian leaders were eager to meet with U.S. lawmakers to talk directly about the sanctions and many other lingering political tensions."
"The Post" also notes that the congressman -- quote -- "was coy when asked whether his group would meet with Putin. `I really can`t say,` he said, after a pause and a half-smile. `It`s possible.`"
Well, this comes after Rohrabacher said month that the illegal hacking was justified by the Russians because of the information it provided about Hillary Clinton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DANA ROHRABACHER (R), CALIFORNIA: What is worse? Hillary destroyed e-mails that were under subpoena and she destroyed them. What`s worse...
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: And does that justify what Russia did to...
ROHRABACHER: Then the Russians hacking in and giving us those e-mails? No, the destruction of the e-mails by Hillary was a far worse crime against the American people. She`s trying to keep information from the American people.
And if the Russians or whoever it was hacked into that system and gave the American people that information that Hillary had tried to destroy, more power to whoever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, here`s a fact that you didn`t hear there.
Senator, there is no evidence ever by anyone at any time that the Russians ever hacked into Hillary Clinton`s e-mails. So I don`t know what he`s talking about.
Anyway, what do you make of that comment by him? This is like the enemy of my enemy is -- so, if the Russians take the side of a Republican against the Democrat, then, of course, they`re our new allies against the Democrats.
This is strange.
KLOBUCHAR: I`m not going to relitigate these Hillary e-mails right now. I want to look at the threat that`s before us.
And the congressman is, of course, welcome to go to Russia and meet with whoever he wants to. That really wasn`t an option for our delegation, since Senator McCain has been banned by Vladimir Putin from going to Russia.
But I hope the congressman will see what we saw when we stood on the front line in East Ukraine with those brave Ukrainian soldiers. They have lost 10,000 people, 10,000 people, since Russia has come into their territory. And they have taken a ramshackle group of just regular citizens, turned them into a functioning military, and are standing every day up for their country and up for their right to be an independent democracy.
And I -- when they talk about these sanctions, the sanctions are incredibly important for all of those Baltic nations that for 25 years have tried to have their own democracies, their own countries, separate from Vladimir Putin`s.
Thanks so much, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Senator Lindsey Graham today slammed Trump for his tweet this morning about Julian Assange, saying he would soon propose additional sanctions against Russia. This is Lindsey Graham. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Not only should he ignore Julian Assange. He should condemn him for what he`s done to our country, putting our soldiers at risk, putting our foreign policy at risk.
Julian Assange is no friend of America and he`s no friend of democracy. So, sanctions are coming, president-elect Trump. I hope you will, after Friday, understand that the Russians did interfere in our election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, this comes as Trump allies like Sarah Palin have warmed to the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, and praised him publicly.
I`m joined right now by Malcolm Nance, MSNBC intelligence analyst and author of the book "The Plot to Hack America."
Let me ask you about just your general view of what we have been talking about, the fact that Trump is now aligning himself rhetorically with the former KGB agent Vladimir Putin, and basically all these Republican guys joining the side of Julian Assange, who many would have thought was something of a traitor, not a traitor, but certainly enemy agent. And now they`re all the best buds with these people just because they have made the Democrats be embarrassed over some e-mails.
MALCOLM NANCE, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, at one point, I just thought this was going to be all bread and circuses for Donald Trump just to go out with whatever name is the most popular out there, Julian Assange, to piggyback onto that, and then use that information, and then grow up at some point.
It appears that that is not going to happen. He is viewing Assange, and certainly through Sean Hannity`s interview with Assange, as a serious player who has done him a favor. And he is paying that favor back with praise. I find it very, very confusing and actually very alarming.
MATTHEWS: Well, I know politics makes strange bedfellows, but this is ridiculous.
And the question I have is -- I mean to ask you about the real-life impact. You`re in the intelligence world. You work it every day. You`re not making a ton of money. I remember, when the CIA tried to recruit me in grad school, they say, we don`t pay as much as any other agency, so this isn`t going do be any fun for anybody.
They wanted somebody to the study of the Soviet economy. I didn`t really take the job.
But, anyway, what do you make of the morale over there at Langley and other places, Defense Intelligence, now that they have a new president who`s dumping on them?
NANCE: Well, I can tell you, I speak to people across the broad spectrum of the intelligence community every day. And certainly the communications that I have right now is nothing but stunned.
I mean, they are absolutely stunned that they have a president-elect of the United States who not only doesn`t believe them, but who actually traffics in conspiracy theory and claims that he gets his own information from other sources and people, and that the U.S. intelligence community is not going to be trusted by him.
He mocks them. He ridicules them. I had Kellyanne Conway personally assure me in one breath that she was going to -- Donald Trump would be respecting the intelligence community, and five minutes later go out and insult the intelligence community.
MATTHEWS: Well, she`s not a clairvoyant.
MATTHEWS: She`s not a clairvoyant. No, you can`t figure out what he`s going to say five minutes later. Anyway...
NANCE: Well, that was her own opinion.
But, for the most part, it`s the aura that is around the Trump -- incoming Trump administration that the intelligence community is going to have a rough ride.
MATTHEWS: Who do you think he`s hearing from?
I mean, Hillary Clinton had Sid Blumenthal. Does he have Ron Dermer? Does he have ambassadors? Does he have friendly people -- he seems to be very friendly with Israel. Is he listening to them?
Who`s he listening to? Who is he even claiming to listen to? Or do you think he`s just making it up?
NANCE: To tell you the truth, no one knows who he`s listening to. It`s possible that he`s listening to General Flynn, retired General Mike Flynn.
NANCE: But he has a whole myriad of other people who are pulling his ear and giving them what they think the world view is, from "The National Enquirer" out to Infowars and other conspiracy theorists.
And then I think, at long last, he just pops it off the top of his head, and that`s what it is. The world doesn`t operate like that.
MATTHEWS: I know.
NANCE: And the intelligence community cannot produce products for a consumer that will just throw them into the trash.
MATTHEWS: Let`s put this under the file of what he told us when he was examining whether Barack Obama was an illegal immigrant or not, from Africa, somewhere.
He said: I have got people out there investigating this and they`re bringing me some really powerful stuff.
All made up.
MATTHEWS: Malcolm, all made -- that never happened. He never had any private investigators. He never had anything on Obama. And then eventually one day, he said: Oh, yes, he`s a citizen. I was wrong.
Anyway, thank you, Malcolm Nance. You know your stuff. And you know the world out there that we don`t know.
NANCE: Well, thank you.
MATTHEWS: Up next: It`s the biggest demonstration tied to Donald Trump`s inauguration so far. We are going to get a preview of the Women`s March on Washington. Remember the men`s march on Washington, Million Man.
We will be right back on that. We got an expert.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s what`s happening.
More than 100 people were hurt when a commuter train hit a bumping block at a station in Brooklyn, New York. As many as 700 people were on board at the time of that crash.
Convicted Charleston church gunman Dylann Roof is representing himself in the penalty phrase of his trial. He told jurors earlier that there`s nothing wrong with him psychologically.
And heavy snow closed the main highway between Reno and Lake Tahoe. Parts of Colorado and Utah are expecting at least two feet -- back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Well, on January 21, one day after Donald Trump becomes president, nearly 200,000 people are set to gather at the U.S. Capitol to demand that women`s right and human rights are honored.
The Women`s March on Washington, it`s called, which name evokes, of course, the legacy of historic marches in the past, was the brainchild of one woman from Hawaii.
Dejected by the results of the election, she turned to social media to see if women would march on Washington en masse. Three months later, the answer was a resounding yes, and she handed over responsibility to four national co-chairs and nearly 60 organizations of women.
I`m joined right now -- it`s one of the big-timers, the president of EMILY`s List, Stephanie Schriock, which is tonight announcing that you are?
STEPHANIE SCHRIOCK, PRESIDENT, EMILY`s List: Yes, EMILY`s List is honored to officially sponsoring the Women`s March on Washington.
MATTHEWS: OK. So, you`re jumping on this. You`re going to be part of this thing. I went to the Million Man March back then. It was largely an African-American affair, but it was amazing and actually pretty exciting to be down there on the Mall.
SCHRIOCK: It was. I remember that.
MATTHEWS: What do you think will be the impact, tangible impact, of say, 200,000 women showing up in D.C.?
SCHRIOCK: Well, I think it`s extraordinary.
I mean, first off, what has already happened is extraordinary. I mean, this is a grassroots effort of incredible energy. And you`re right. It started with...
MATTHEWS: One woman.
SCHRIOCK: ... one woman in Hawaii. These four wonderful, smart, energetic women of color who are co-chairing are just rising stars.
MATTHEWS: Well, they have the furthest to go, too. They have got to come from Hawaii to Washington.
SCHRIOCK: That`s true.
MATTHEWS: But when it`s all over, and somebody has to clean up the mess afterwards, and everybody goes home, and the grass gets trampled, and you go home...
SCHRIOCK: This is just the beginning. It`s just the beginning.
MATTHEWS: What do you think would be something you would like to see on your agenda after this?
SCHRIOCK: Well, for 30 years, EMILY`s List has been inspiring women to run for office. And that`s why we`re getting involved with the march.
We really see future candidates coming to Washington on January 21, and want to encourage those women to go back to their communities and run for office. And if they -- and if they want to run, call EMILY`s List. If they don`t want to run, stand up with the women who are running. We need more women`s voices.
MATTHEWS: OK, 54-42 among women for Hillary Clinton in the last election, was that a good spread, 54-42? Was that good enough? It was not quite enough. It was for the popular vote.
SCHRIOCK: Well, yes, I was going to say, she did win the popular vote by nearly three million.
And we have got more work to do. And we know that. But there`s great energy. I knew it was there during the campaign. And I will tell you, this is just the beginning. We are getting people calling in to run.
MATTHEWS: Who`s the best prospect of a woman for president to run against Trump? Anybody? Amy Klobuchar? Who`s on the list?
SCHRIOCK: It`s a good, good question. I think that we have got a strong pipeline.
MATTHEWS: Is Warren going to run?
SCHRIOCK: I don`t know, but she should think about it.
Kirsten Gillibrand from New York. We have got some rising stars. But we just swore in four incredible women in the Senate yesterday, Kamala Harris, Catherine Cortez Masto.
MATTHEWS: It`s time to build the bench. It`s time to build the bench.
SCHRIOCK: They`re there. They`re coming.
MATTHEWS: The job is open.
Thank you, Stephanie Schriock of EMILY`s List.
SCHRIOCK: You bet.
MATTHEWS: Up next: President Obama rallies Democrats on Capitol Hill. Republicans have put his signature achievement, Obamacare, on the chopping block. They want to kill it in the next couple days, as soon as they get in.
Anyway, we`re going to talk about the risk of getting rid of Obamacare and leaving the patients with nothing.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Republicans are plotting and soon will be executing a full-scale assault on the three pillars that support the American health care system. The Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid. The Republican plan to cut health care wouldn`t make America great again. It would make America sick again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: OK. Welcome back to HARDBALL.
The war on Capitol Hill over the future of the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, was raging tonight. Actually today when President Obama in a rare appearance on the Hill huddled with Democrats over how to prevent Republicans from killing his landmark achievement.
According to reports, President Obama gave Democrats marching orders, catch this line. "Don`t rescue," that was his line, "Don`t rescue Republicans on mistakes they`ll obviously make repealing Obamacare." And also, he told them to start referring to the GOP`s new plan as Trumpcare, meaning nothing will be Trumpcare.
At the same time, Vice President-elect Mike Pence met with House Republicans standing side by side with Speaker Paul Ryan, and they promised to begin the process of repealing and -- well, they say replacing the law. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: We are 16 days away from the end of business as usual in Washington, D.C., but the first order of business is to repeal and replace Obamacare.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We have a plan to replace it. We have plenty of ideas to replace it. The point is in 2017, we don`t want people to be caught with nothing. We want to make sure that there`s an orderly transition so that the rug is not pulled out from under the families currently struggling under Obamacare while we bring relief.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MATTHEWS: Well, he`s thinking.
Anyway, after President Obama left the building, Democratic leaders hit back at the Republican plans. Here they go.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SCHUMER: Republicans will soon learn that you can`t keep the good parts of the ACA and remove the rest of the law and still have it work. Now, I see the president-elect who`s tweeting again this morning. He said Republicans shouldn`t let the Schumer clowns out of his web. Well, I think Republicans should stop clowning around with the people`s Medicare, Medicaid and health care.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The former speaker once said, politics is local. Well, in this case, all politics is personal. Now, the Republicans say repeal and replace. The only thing that has going for it is alliteration. They have no replacement plan.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Donald Trump said he will not cut Social Security, he will not cut Medicare, he will not cut Medicaid. Donald Trump has got to come forward, maybe through tweets, one of his tweets, and say, clearly, that Donald Trump will veto any legislation that cuts Medicare, that cuts Medicaid, or that cuts Social Security.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MATTHEWS: Anyway, let`s bring in the HARDBALL roundtable. Bob Cusack is editor in chief of "The Hill" newspaper. Tamara Keith is NPR`s White House correspondent. And Sahil Kapur is a reporter with Bloomberg.
Anyway, let`s get going on this. Let me go to the former president -- current, he`s not former yet, Barack Obama. Don`t rescue them. Don`t give them a helping hand if they`re screwing up the legislation or does he mean, just don`t help get anything done? How broad is that?
BOB CUSACK, THE HILL: I think don`t help them at all. Oppose them at every turn. Now, Democrats have lost a lot of seats because of Obamacare. Democrats I talk to feel like, hey, the politics could change here because they actually have to make law. Not just oppose. They`ve got to repeal and then replace and they don`t really have a replacement plan. We haven`t seen the details of that.
MATTHEWS: That could be a problem. What`s the delay going to be between the time they kill this baby in its crib and the people who are diabetics like me sitting around when they don`t have any medical care, they don`t have the pharmaceuticals or insulin, what`s really going to happen here?
TAMARA KEITH, NPR: Well, it`s not entirely clear because the mechanisms aren`t all set up yet.
MATTHEWS: Yes, but if you`re a person, you want it to be clear.
KEITH: Absolutely, you want it to be clear. I think there`s some disagreement among Republicans about whether they need to present to the American public along with repeal, this is the direction we`re headed with replacement or whether they -- one Republican who is close to Donald Trump said he believes they have about six months after repeal to come up with a replacement.
MATTHEWS: Six months.
KEITH: But then potentially, you know, that`s just saying what they would do. Actually passing that legislation could take much longer and if Democrats don`t help, it could take an eternity.
MATTHEWS: Tamara, that`s a lot of worry time for older people.
SAHIL KAPUR, BLOOMBERG: The big problem is Republicans do have various pieces of legislation and various blueprints but nothing with any kind of unified support in the party.
KEITH: Do they have 218 votes for any of this stuff?
KAPUR: Nowhere close to 218 votes. I`d be surprised if they had a fifth of that. You have disagreements within House Republicans. You have disagreements between House Republicans and Senate Republicans. Committees disagree on the stuff.
They`ve had six years. The reasons Republicans have not come up with a replacement with unified party support is that doing so without conservative principles, without the mandates, without the rules, without subsidies, mean stripping coverage from a lot of people and they have not come to terms --
MATTHEWS: Bob, they do know, or do they not, they`re playing on the Democrats` field? That this with Democrats are really, rally good at. When they`re at their worst, the Democratic Party, who I used to work for, are really good at defending Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and now Obamacare, because the 60-year-old person who voted for Trump may consider themselves a wild and woolly conservative but they need all these programs.
CUSACK: Well, I mean, Republicans like talking about national security, like talking about tax reform.
MATTEHWS: Crime is a favorite.
CUSACK: Crime. Right.
Health reform really not in their bailiwick, though they did pass a Medicare drug bill in 2003. Overall, though, that`s where Democrats think, OK, we can turn the tables on them, but, and that`s where the issue is going to come on the timeline, when does the repeal take place? Is it two years, or three years, or four years?
MATTHEWS: Oh, I see.
CUSACK: The conservatives want it in two years, before the next election.
KAPUR: I`ve even heard four years. There`s been discussion about putting it off after the 2020 election because they don`t want this big disruption, right, before the vote --
MATTHEWS: They want the political credit for axing it but not having it gone.
Tamara, your thoughts about this? Who wins this battle? A year from now, will we have Obamacare or will we have Trumpcare?
KEITH: Well, something will -- Democrats sure that hope it`s re-branded as Trumpcare. You know, I think we for a while are going to relitigate the same fight --
MATTHEWS: I can only hear the word, relitigate, one time a night here, OK? Amy Klobuchar, it`s over.
KEITH: Oh, gosh.
MATTHEWS: That`s one of the new years of 2016. I think it should say good-bye.
KEITH: It`s just not going to go away for all that fight.
MATTHEWS: Here`s the big question. We have eight people in the Supreme Court right now. Looks like we`re going to have eight people in the Supreme Court for a while because it takes 60
votes in the U.S. Senate, which is three-fifths of the Senate has to agree on one person. It ain`t going to happen because the conservative Republicans will never allow a moderate nominee, and the Democrats will probably vote against anybody.
So, how are we going to get a U.S. Supreme Court with nine people on it so that a tie can be broken? The beauty of nine is, you can have a 5-4 decision.
KEITH: I think that Chuck Schumer when he came out last night and said we could block someone for this long, for the whole time --
MATTHEWS: OK. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHUMER: We are not going to settle on a Supreme Court nominee. If they don`t appoint someone who`s really good, we`re going to oppose them tooth and nail. It`s hard for me to imagine a nominee that Donald Trump would choose that would get Republican support that we could support. So you`re right.
RACHEL MADDOW, TRMS HOST: And so, you would do your best to hold the seat open?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: This is sort of third-world stuff, when the two political parties can`t agree that Supreme Court nominees have to be somewhere near the center to get them approved now.
KEITH: I think what he`s doing is Trumpian negotiating, where as Donald Trump has often done is you take the hardest line then, you know -- but why would Chuck Schumer, you know, compromise now?
MATTHEWS: Ask all three of you, will we have nine people on the Supreme Court at the end of this year?
CUSACK: Yes, because the red state Democrats are going to vote with Trump on this one, I think, yes.
MATTHEWS: Red state Democrats.
KEITH: I think --
KAPUR: I agree with that.
MATTHEWS: Well, OK. You guys are ahead of me on this one.
KAPUR: Maybe by the nuclear option. MATTHEWS: Democrats feel that their seats are in jeopardy if they don`t go along with the president`s proposal.
KAPUR: Or Republicans will change the rule or get rid of filibuster for Supreme Court.
MATTHEWS: Do you believe it or not? Don`t play games here.
KAPUR: One way or another --
MATTHEWS: No, no, do you believe that will happen?
KAPUR: I think there will be nine justices by --
MATTHEWS: You believe they`ll have a 60-vote requirement --
KAPUR: If Democrats filibuster their justice, I think they`ll do it.
MATTHEWS: Well, you`re giving me conditions that answer your question but the answer is you don`t know.
KAPUR: I don`t know. I don`t know the answer to that.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
The roundtable`s sticking with us.
And up next, they`re going to tell me something they do know that I don`t know. That`s part of the show that`s getting very good lately.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, President Trump has named another nominee to office with ties to Goldman Sachs. Today, Trump tapped Wall Street lawyer Jay Clayton to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission. Clayton has represented the Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital and follows Treasury nominee Steve Mnuchin, head of the economic council, Gary Cohn, and chief strategist Steve Bannon to the new administration, all worked for Goldman.
Also today, Trump announced the former "Apprentice" contestant Omarosa Manigault will join the White House team in a role expected to focus on -- of course -- public engagement.
And we`ll be right back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Time for the HARDBALL round table.
Bob, tell me something I don`t know.
CUSACK: Senate Democrats face a tough math, 22 of the 33 seats are up in 2018. Senate Democratic leaders want to know from all the Democratic senators, make sure you tell us whether you`re running for reelection or not. Good news is a lot of red state Democrats have said they are running for reelection.
MATTHEWS: Dianne Feinstein running again?
CUSACK: Oh, yes. Yes, I think so.
KEITH: President-elect Donald Trump tweeted he`s going to have a press conference -- of course, he`s done that before, tweeted he`s going to have a press conference and it didn`t happen. He is breaking with a lot of precedent of his predecessors. George W. Bush held 11 press conferences in a shortened transition. Barack Obama held 18. If Donald Trump held a press conference everyday from now until inauguration, he would not hit that mark.
MATTHEWS: What`s he going to say, "welcome disgusting people"?
KEITH: It will be great.
KAPUR: His last press conference was July 27th, by the way. But what I wanted to say is one of the big problems Republicans will have in repealing Obamacare is that if you repeal the protections for pre-existing conditions which is a big unpopular part of the law, 12 out of the 14 states that have the highest prevalence of people with pre-existing conditions are red states that voted for Donald Trump, a 13th is Maine where he won one electoral vote. This is a real dilemma for Republicans I think --
MATTHEWS: The people in most need voted for Trump.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, most need of the government.
Anyway, thank you very much, Bob Cusack. Thank you, Tamara Keith and Sahil Kapur.
When we -- great group. When we return, let me finish the Trump watch tonight. It`s somewhat jocular but frightening.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Trump Watch, January 4, 2017.
"Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?" Well, that was Mr. Groucho Marx way back when, back when saying something like that sounded funny. Well, now, President-elect Donald Trump is saying this -- are you going to believe me or what you`re reading in the newspapers? He`s telling his backers that they shouldn`t believe what they read or get from the network news because it`s not true.
What he, Donald Trump, is saying that`s what they should believe.
Well, this is really something different. Spiro Agnew made fun of political commentators on TV, the people who commented on the president`s speeches, he called them mattering nabobs of negativism. Or rather, Pat Buchanan who wrote the speeches called them mattering nabobs of negativism. Agnew was a mattering nabob of what Pat Buchanan wrote for Agnew to natter about.
Anyway, it`s not who natters, it`s what matters. Trump said he`ll hold a news conference this week, I assume he`ll invite the press to cover it. Will he begin the exercise however by calling everyone there disgusting? Because that`s what he`s been doing. And why do you think?
Well, the same reason his friend Vlad the Impaler over there is relentlessly dumping on our democracy because it reduces the competition. If people think less of what they read in the papers or get for the evening news, they`ll be a bit more likely to ignore its criticisms of one Donald Trump, incoming president of the United States, just like if people think less of our American democracy, they may begin to think what Russia has is not so bad after all. Nice tactic, Vlad the Impaler, nice tactic, Donald the imitator.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN" starts right now.
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