Corker: WH an "adult day care center Transcript Hardball with Chris Matthews 10/9/17

Guests: Karine Jean-Pierre, Eric Beach, Ken Vogel, Tim Swarens, Jennifer Jacobs

Show: HARDBALL Date: October 9, 2017

Guest: Karine Jean-Pierre, Eric Beach, Ken Vogel, Tim Swarens, Jennifer Jacobs

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Whistleblower.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington, where we just heard a stunning revelation about the president of the United States. The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, one of the body`s top leaders, has just declared the White House an adult day-care center. An adult day- care center. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee said the president treats his office like a reality show and he acts like he`s doing "The Apprentice" or something.

Senator Corker warned that the president`s aggressive rhetoric against other countries could set the nation on the path to World War III. He also said, "I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it`s a situation of trying to contain him." He said of the president of the United States, "He concerns me. He would have to concern anyone who cares about our country."

Senator Corker last week, by the way, told reporters it was his senior advisers, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, chief of staff John Kelly who were separating our country from chaos.

President Trump tried to undermine the senior legislator in his usual fashion today. On Twitter, he wrote, "Senator Bob Corker begged me to endorse him for reelection in Tennessee and didn`t have the guts to run." And the president also said, "He wanted to be secretary of state. I said, No thanks."

Well, there`s no evidence any of those words from the president are true. Corker has denied it all. Shortly after that tweet storm, by the way, Senator Corker responded, "It`s a shame the White House has become an adult day-care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning."

For more on this stark revelation, I`m joined by "USA Today`s" Heidi Pryzbyla, "The "Washington Post`s" Eugene Robinson and "The New York Times`s" Ken Vogel. Let`s in that order -- your reaction -- is this revelation or what?

HEIDI PRZYBYLA, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think that Corker is someone who knows what`s going on, Chris, in those Situation Room meetings where Trump is having these responses to very serious issues, very -- you know, Iran, North Korea. And he, like everyone else who`s in that room, is struggling between, What do I do to inform the public about this very concerning behavior, balancing that against knowing that when you do inform the public, it only reinforces the behavior and increases the odds that he`s going to go into one of these cycles of, you know, unpredictable lashing out, which only makes the situation even worse and possibly even more dangerous when it comes to our foreign policy.

MATTHEWS: And we`re talking about the president of the United States, the chief executive, the commander-in-chief, the leader of our country. And he`s being described by the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as someone who should be in a day-care center.

EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, that`s why -- this is a serious situation. I mean, this is -- look, Bob Corker said what other officials have said in Green Rooms and private conversations, they say among themselves, what aides will tell you,I mean, you know, that this is -- this is not a stable, sober man who happens to now be president of the United States with that awesome responsibility and with that awesome power.

And this notion that he describes so well of officials having to contain him, as if he were this sort of erratic, unpredictable force with that kind of power...

MATTHEWS: Well...

(CROSSTALK)

ROBINSON: ... this is a serious thing.

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) -- I want to know what you think about this. I read your column for tomorrow. You can`t give it away yet.

ROBINSON: No.

MATTHEWS: But there`s certain sort of obvious necessities here. What do you do when you have this information? I close the show with it tonight.

(CROSSTALK)

ROBINSON: What do we do?

MATTHEWS: ... top Senate in Foreign Relations or area (ph) says the guy`s not really there, he`s not really a grown-up. What do you do about it, ignore it or act on it? And how can you act on it?

ROBINSON: Well, look...

MATTHEWS: If you`re a politician (INAUDIBLE)

ROBINSON: ... you talk to people. People ask, you know, What do we do? Well, you know, you don`t sit around and wait for him to be impeached because I don`t think that`s going to happen. I think that`s certainly a long shot.

MATTHEWS: Because Republicans won`t do it.

ROBINSON: Right. They won`t do it. It would have to be not a smoking gun but a smoking bazooka I think, for that to happen. People ask me about the 25th Amendment, which would let the vice president and the cabinet relieve the president of his duties. You know, I think that`s a fail-safe mechanism in case, you know, he literally starts howling at the moon, right? I mean, that -- you know, but -- but what you can do -- look, we have a Congress. We have separation of powers. We have a Congress that can investigate, that can exercise oversight, that has the power of the purse, that can advise and consent. And those are the things that Congress needs to do, and...

MATTHEWS: You`re talking, Gene -- and you`re a serious guy. You`re talking about the president being put in a straitjacket, basically.

ROBINSON: Yes, I am. I am. I mean, I`m talking about limits being established. And Congress, as the Constitution not only allows, but one could argue as the Constitution intended for Congress to be strong. I think Congress has to take a different role.

MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at this (INAUDIBLE) Senator Corker suggests he was saying what other Republicans are thinking, as you said, in private. He told "The New York Times," "Look, except for a few people, the vast majority of our caucus understands what we`re dealing with here." I love the way he said this, "what we`re dealing with here." "Of course they understand the volatility that we`re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around the president to keep him in the middle of the road."

Ken, this -- this is talk. This is almost clinical discussion of the president of the United States by a senior senator.

KEN VOGEL, "NEW YORK TIMES": Yes, I think that`s right. I think he is calling out some of these other senators, Republican senators, maybe Republican members of Congress, other party leaders to kind of put their money where their mouth is. It`s true. As Gene said, They do say this privately. We`ve all heard it. But why aren`t they saying it publicly? This is a little bit of a nudge in that direction.

Additionally, I think, it also gives cover for additional Republicans to peel off and defect when it comes to some of the key legislative items.

MATTHEWS: Well, they`ve been doing that.

VOGEL: They`re already doing that, you`re right. But as Mitch McConnell earlier today responding to this when asked about it in Kentucky, his response was to point out repeatedly that Bob Corker is on the Budget Committee, that he is on the Foreign Relations -- the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. These are two committees that are key to President Trump`s already flailing agenda.

MATTHEWS: He didn`t say anything against -- he didn`t say a word against what Corker said.

VOGEL: That`s right. He essentially affirmed it.

MATTHEWS: OK, here just to make that point -- I`m sorry to hold you up, Heidi, because I know you`re ready to go. This is an astounding conversation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell backed his colleague today. Let`s watch him do it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: Well, Senator Corker is a valued member of the Republican conference in the Senate, a key player on the budget. We`re going to be turning to the budget next week, and he`ll be a big help in helping us get it passed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: See, that`s how you talk if you`re a senator. You avoid making a comment on what the guy...

ROBINSON: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: He said the president`s daffy, and he said, Well, he`s really an important member of the Senate.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: He didn`t say the president wasn`t daffy. He didn`t say the president was daffy. He just said, This guy, we need him here.

PRZYBYLA: Neither did anybody else. I mean, Corker professed to speak for the entire Senate.

MATTHEWS: He said most of the Republican caucus.

PRZYBYLA: Right, most of the caucus. But the most important thing here, Chris, out of everything that...

MATTHEWS: Oh, by the way, they can speak up now if they don`t agree with him.

PRZYBYLA: Sure.

MATTHEWS: I`m waiting to hear the crickets.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Who`s out there saying, No, that`s not true. I don`t hear it.

PRZYBYLA: Corker had a lot to say, OK, in this article. But the most important thing to me that he had to say, again because he knows, is that he is telling us that when the president sends out these tweets saying there is no path for diplomacy, Rex, don`t waste your time, this is not some kind of genius madman strategy. There`s not a method here. He`s telling us -- he`s telling us this is just madness. There`s not a method. There`s not any broader strategy.

MATTHEWS: I`m just -- just watching this, trying to watch the headlines go past, like we all do, some more in depth than others. I just -- I`m looking at the headlines. And the headlines say to me, OK, he made a deal with Chuck and Nancy about DACA. Next thing we know, he didn`t make a deal with Chuck and Nancy, although he did over Chinese. They made the deal, than all of a sudden, you`ve got to do the wall, too. That`s crazy talk.

Then he says, Oh, we have a deal with the Iranians over their nuclear program. Oh, no, we don`t have a deal with -- it`s, like, what can -- Ken, what can you trust from this guy in terms of sanity? What can you trust in terms of -- you just had a conversation with him. Does it mean anything?

VOGEL: I mean, it`s impulsive. And I think that is problem part...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

VOGEL: ... of what motivated Corker to speak out the way he did. He had had these conversations with Trump...

MATTHEWS: Impulsive (INAUDIBLE) the kid throwing his toys out of the bassinet. You know, that`s impulsive.

VOGEL: Corker`s also calling him a liar here, and I think that`s what prompted him. Trump is saying that Corker begged for his endorsement. Corker says, No, that`s not right.

MATTHEWS: He made it up.

VOGEL: In fact, we had four conversations in which Trump was asking me...

MATTHEWS: OK...

VOGEL: ... to run for reelection...

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) wildness -- (INAUDIBLE)

VOGEL: ... promising his endorsement. That didn`t happen.

MATTHEWS: Well, more cryptic threats from the president this weekend about North Korea, and that`s dangerous. On Saturday, President Trump tweeted, "Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years. Agreements made and massive amounts of money paid hasn`t worked. Agreements violated before the ink was dry, making fools of U.S. negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work."

What does that mean? He added today, "Our country has been unsuccessfully dealing with North Korea for 25 years, giving billions of dollars and getting nothing. Policy didn`t work."

The president also was asked this weekend about his relationship with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Here`s what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We have a very good relationship. We disagree on a couple of things. Sometimes I`d like him to be a little bit tougher. But other than that, we have a very good relationship.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: What`s he talking about, his dog Rex? I mean, I`m sorry. It`s weird. He shouldn`t be talk about his secretary of state like he`s a third party.

ROBINSON: No, the whole thing is weird. And just remember what Heidi just said, from the Corker interview that Corker made clear this is not a strategy. This is not good cop/bad cop. This is, you know, good cop, psycho cop or something. This is not -- this is not a strategy. This is not practical.

MATTHEWS: OK, here`s the dangerous part. Here`s the dangerous part, the real part, North Korea.

PRZYBYLA: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Nick Kristof of "The New York Times" just got back. We all read his column this week, and an amazing bit of reporting, not opinion. And he describes the situation in North Korea, which is right at the edge of war. Those people want to go to war. They think they can survive a nuclear war. They can destroy our country, this is how deluded they are -- and they -- they`ll survive relatively unaffected. They believe that because they`ve been taught to believe it.

Is that country is really ready for war and Trump keeps up this drumbeat, where do we end up? How do we avoid a war?

PRZYBYLA: Somebody going for a first strike. And they are not far from having the technology to do just that. And they are -- this administration is very aware of that, and that`s why when someone like Corker comes out and tells us, No, this is not just some genius strategy to get China to crack down or to get all these other neighboring countries to cut off trade to pressure North Korea -- no, this is just the president deliberately undermining diplomacy, deliberately undermining his secretary of state. That should send a chill up the spine of every American.

MATTHEWS: And when he says "Only one thing will work"?

ROBINSON: Yes, well, you know, and...

MATTHEWS: What`s that say to the crazy guys over there?

ROBINSON: Well, it says we should do it first, basically. You know, you`re talking about attacking us and we should do that first. That`s what it says.

And I think we should all keep in mind, how does he start these tweet storms? Often, he`s sitting there, you know, early in the morning watching "Fox & Friends" and they say something and then...

PRZYBYLA: That`s exactly how this started.

ROBINSON: ... you can time the tweets and the attacks based on what he has just seen on "Fox & Friends."

VOGEL: You know what...

ROBINSON: And, I mean, that`s not a sane way to run a country.

VOGEL: And even if there were some strategy here on the North Korea point specifically, it`s not working. Obviously, it`s not if we`re escalating and getting to this point of, you know, approaching what appears to be a point of no return. No matter whether he was intending to play the sort of madman strategy from Nixon or good cop/bad cop, it`s not working.

MATTHEWS: And here we are nine months in, and we have more than three years to go. And you raise the final point here, which you will raise in your column, I believe.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: It`ll be in "The Washington Post" and around the country tomorrow, which is, What next do normal people do?

ROBINSON: What do normal people do? I mean, and you know, my theory is that the one body we can -- we should be able to count on to do something to at least contain this is Congress. And if the Republican-led House and Senate won`t do it, then clearly, what people ought to do is work to elect a Congress that will.

MATTHEWS: Make a Congress make a decision to save the country. Thank you, Gene Robinson, Heidi Pryzbyla. Apparently sober discussion about a president who may not be all together organized. Anyway, Ken Vogel, thank you. And I would recommend everybody take a look at what Senator Bob Corker said today. Take a look at it. Read (ph) it hard because -- I`ll talk about it at the end of the show. I have never read such a revelation. This is like John Dean, going back to Nixon. This is a real whistleblow from a serious member of the United States Senate.

Coming up, Vice President Mike Pence walked out of an NFL game yesterday in Indianapolis after players took a knee during the national anthem. Some are calling it a PR stunt and a waste of taxpayer money. But Trump apparently thinks it`s a winner for his base because he told him to do it. That`s ahead.

Plus, new reporting tonight on the Russia investigation. Google, by the way, says Russian agents bought ads to help win the 2016 election for them -- from them for Trump. When it comes (ph) to the president`s legal team wants him cleared by the special counsel. Good luck with that. Just what Trump wanted from James Comey before he sacked him.

And why don`t more Republicans speak out against Trump the way Senator Corker did? That`s the big question for tomorrow. One reason could be that Steve Bannon threatens to primary them if they do. The HARDBALL roundtable will take that up.

Finally, let me finish tonight with "Trump Watch." It`ll be interesting tonight. He won`t like it at all.

This is HARDBALL, where the action is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, President Trump on Sunday once again praised his administration`s handling of the recovery effort in Puerto Rico, saying that "Nobody could have done what I`ve done for Puerto Rico with so little appreciation, so much work."

Trump`s tweet was accompanied by a video highlighting the relief efforts that opened with the caption "What the fake news media will not show you in Puerto Rico." The president also sat down for an interview with Mike Huckabee in which he defended throwing paper towels to hurricane survivors. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We did a great job. And we weren`t treated fairly by the media because we really did a good job. I mean, one example -- they had these beautiful soft towels, very good towels. And I came in, and there was a crowd of a lot of people. And they were screaming and they were loving everything. And we were -- I was having fun. They were having fun. They said, Throw them to me, Throw them to me, Mr. President. And so I`m doing some of the -- so the next day, they said, Oh, it was so disrespectful to the people. It was just a made-up thing. And also, when they had -- when I walked in, the cheering was incredible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Mr. President, don`t squeeze the Charmin.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Vice President Mike Pence went to Indiana yesterday, where he came from, purportedly to watch the Colts play football, but didn`t stay for the game. Guess what? The vice president tweeted his attendance at the game just before noon on Sunday. That`s in Indianapolis. Kickoff between his hometown Colts and the great San Francisco 49ers was set for 1:00 o`clock.

By 1:08 -- that`s 1:08, eight minutes later -- the vice president was already on his way out of the stadium, leaving the stadium after some players knelt -- there they are -- during the national anthem, 49ers did. He explained his decision on social media, writing, quote, "I left today`s Colts game because President Donald J. Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag or our national anthem. I stand with President Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our flag and our national anthem."

Well, this was no surprise to the traveling press corps. They were told to stay in their vans because the veep might just leave the game early. So this was all premeditated.

By 2:08, Pence was on his way out of the area on to an event in California. President Trump also weighed in, tweeting, "I asked Vice President Trump (sic) to leave the stadium if any players kneeled disrespecting our country. I`m proud of him and second lady Karen."

Well, the vice president`s performance, directed personally by the president, as you just heard, drew some criticism. And in a column in Pence`s home state newspaper, Tim Swarens writes, "Pence`s walkout was choreographed and rehearsed. It also was a distraction for what should be this administration`s true priorities."

For more, I`m joined by the author of the column, opinion editor for "The Indianapolis Star," Tim Swarens. Tim, tell us what you know about this and what you think about it as an editor.

TIM SWARENS, "INDIANAPOLIS STAR": First of all, it was clearly premeditated. It was rehearsed, as you just said, Chris. The press corps actually was told to stay in the vans, don`t go in the stadium. The vice president will be right back. And that`s exactly what happened.

The San Francisco 49ers have been staging this type of a protest for a long time now, Sunday after Sunday. So it was no surprise that some players took a knee during the anthem. And the vice president came to Indianapolis yesterday. The game plan was to walk out.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you about what do you mean politically. You know -- you know, I wrote that piece for your paper -- thanks for running it -- about how Bobby Kennedy looking at probably the most divisive moment in American modern history, the assassination of Martin Luther King, and he tried to -- even that night to heal it, begin the healing process.

And this is -- what is this? It`s not healing. It`s just ripping the scab? Is that what the vice president was doing?

SWARENS: This is appealing to Donald Trump`s base.

I have heard from readers all over the country today, as you might imagine, who are very supportive of what the vice president did. They said -- over and over again, what I heard was, the vice president did what I wished I could do at an NFL game. I stood up and -- he stood up and walked out for me.

So, whatever we may think of it, it was a political stunt, but it was a stunt that appealed to the president`s base.

MATTHEWS: Well, he flew from Vegas all the way to Indianapolis with the purported intention of going to a football game, which is nice to do. It`s a nice way of supporting your home team and the NFL and everything.

But, obviously he told the traveling press corps before he left the van, stay in the van because I will be back in few minutes. That was the message he sent to the press corps. Also, the president of the United States, Trump put out the word that he told him to do this.

So all this was premeditated. So, if you look at a map -- we`re looking at one of these airport flight maps -- from Vegas, a bit north of Los Angeles, northwest of -- northeast -- goes all the way back to Indianapolis almost on the East Coast, and all the way back across the country, all that gas, so that he could walk out in eight minutes.

SWARENS: A vice presidential visit to any city, including Indianapolis, takes a lot of logistics. There is a lot of security at the airport. A lot of security at the stadium. A large public event like that where the vice president is due to be, there is extra security, as there should be. We want our leaders protected in a dangerous world.

But then to just plan on walking out, and walking out in a matter of minutes, it sort of undercuts and undermines the hard work that so many people did to protect the vice president.

MATTHEWS: Well, it`s great to have you on, Tim. Thank you so much from "The Indianapolis Star."

For more on the politics of all of this, I`m joined by Karine Jean-Pierre, a senior adviser for MoveOn.org, and Eric Beach, who is Great America Alliance co-chair. He`s a co-chair.

Eric, give us your thoughts and feelings about this subject. Take your time.

ERIC BEACH, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I look at it on the other side as well. There hasn`t been this much disrespect. There never has been this much disrespect from any V.P. from John Adams to Joe Biden. And that`s where we are today.

And you have to hold the other side accountable as well. Yes, everyone knew. The NFL knew. The San Francisco 49ers knew that Vice President Pence was coming to the Indianapolis Colts game. And the 0-5 San Francisco 49ers decided to still kneel in protest.

And I still ask the question, which is, why kneel in protest? What is that getting and what is that accomplishing? And I think the vice president did, as your earlier guest said, what every American would do in that situation or want to do in that situation, would be to walk out.

This is -- the flag doesn`t represent a certain base of Americans. It represents all Americans. It doesn`t just represent the military. It doesn`t just represent the police officers. It represents everyone that wakes up every single day, that gets up and works for a living and tries to take care of their families.

So, that`s what the flag represents, and I think that`s what you`re seeing here in this great debate.

MATTHEWS: Karine?

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, thank goodness that the First Amendment allows us to dissent when we feel that something is not going right in this country.

That`s what freedom of speech is. And thank goodness that that still exist. But here is the thing, Chris. There is a hypocrisy that is so -- just so reeks here, because if Mike Pence truly cared about patriotism, he works for a man who attacked a POW, Senator John McCain. He works for a man who attacked a Gold Star family.

And he works for a man who refuses to grow into the office of the presidency. If you want to talk about patriotism, talk about that. We never saw a statement about that.

And let`s not forget, Saturday night, you had white supremacists with lit torches screaming, chanting, you cannot replace or you will -- we will not be replaced.

MATTHEWS: Where was that?

JEAN-PIERRE: This was in Charlottesville.

MATTHEWS: Oh, yes. I thought you said recently, yes.

JEAN-PIERRE: And there was -- and that happened just this Saturday night again. We didn`t hear a statement.

MATTHEWS: Where did it happen again?

JEAN-PIERRE: In Charlottesville this Saturday night.

MATTHEWS: Wow.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: What do you make of that? What do you make that Karine is representing a point of view here, explaining it, that people are not happy with the way this president has behaved towards the flag himself?

BEACH: Sure.

Well, and I think you protest. And you`re right. You have a First Amendment. But, as Americans, we also have a First Amendment right. Nobody else`s rights are more important than any other American. And we have a right to get up and walk out of a game. We have a right to say that we believe something might be either anti-American or not democratic.

And so we look at things through a certain prism. But, again, the flag is something unites us, doesn`t divide us. And we`re talking about the presidency and the vice presidency. And over 240 years, we haven`t treated it as such in that office.

So, I understand protests. I understand that there is a way of doing things, and that that gets accomplished, and everybody has a voice in this country. But what we can`t do is disrespect the flag, because that is a symbol that unites us all and should be respected.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Eric, if you lived in a country that was majority black, overwhelmingly black, and you were a minority, you were white, and you felt the police department, which was heavily black, was beating your guys up all the time, what would you do?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: How would you respond to that feeling? If you thought they were being totally disrespectful to your community, in fact, physically dangerous to your community, what would you do about it? How would you reflect that point of view?

BEACH: It`s a great question.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: No, it`s not. It`s a simple question. What would you do?

BEACH: It`s both a great and simple question.

But I admire what Colin Kaepernick has done. And I admire his...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Would you try to protest against that use of free speech?

BEACH: Absolutely.

But I wouldn`t -- but I wouldn`t generalize that to all Americans. And if I thought that there was a mishap, a crime, or a great offense in this country, I wouldn`t generalize that to all Americans.

And that`s what I think the mistake in this debate is, that when you talk about the flag, you`re generalizing all Americans. And that`s not something that I think I would do in any situation to protest.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: ... the argument.

JEAN-PIERRE: Well, here is the thing.

I don`t think Eric will ever understand what it`s like for people of color, for black people to feel oppressed, to go through institutional racism every day.

Sol, I think that is a hard question for you to answer, because you just wouldn`t understand that.

But here is the thing. This is not just about us protesting. This is about...

MATTHEWS: You got to help him understand it.

That`s what we`re doing here.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, I`m sorry.

JEAN-PIERRE: OK.

MATTHEWS: One of the players who kneeled, the 49ers` Eric Reid, didn`t believe the vice president`s actions were spontaneous, nor did he believe the vice president understood the message.

Let him talk, then you back -- back to you.

JEAN-PIERRE: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC REID, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: He knew that we were probably going do it again. And so this is what systemic oppression looks like.

A man with power comes to the game, tweets a couple of things out, and leaves the game with an attempt to thwart our efforts.

This is not about the military. This is not about the flag. This is not about the anthem. My mother served in the armed forces. Three of my uncles served in the armed forces. In fact, my mom would have gone to the Persian Gulf War, had she not been pregnant with me.

I have the utmost respect for the military, the anthem and the flag.

So, I would say that every time you all interview me.

This is about systemic oppression that has been rampant in this country for decades.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JEAN-PIERRE: Yes, this is America`s number one sin that people do not want to talk about.

And this is why this conversation is so important, because we are talking about it. Unfortunately, you have the president and the vice president that`s trying to co-opt the conversation and turn it into something else.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: That`s a strong point.

Eric, do you think we should be talking about it? Do you think there should be some way of raising the issue? Certainly, the players taking a knee is one way to raise the issue. Do you think it should be raised? Do you think there is a problem with police handling in the black community, the way they deal with the black community?

Do you think there is a problem of profiling, et cetera, et cetera? Do you think it`s there or made up? What do you think?

BEACH: No, I think there`s a lot of issues in this country.

I think that is an issue in the African-American -- I`m from right outside of Baltimore City. So, I understand a little bit of the problems. I can`t empathize.

But what I do empathize with is, as an American -- and there are a lot of issues that we face, and there a lot of issues that we need to overcome. We`re not a perfect country. And what we need to do is make sure that we do protest and exercise our freedom of speech.

At the same time, we got to do it in a more appropriate forum. We should not generalize it against all Americans. And I believe that`s what is happening in the NFL. And I believe that`s what you`re seeing.

MATTHEWS: I like this discussion. I think it`s a good one. I think you`re both good people to come on and talk about it, as always, Karine.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I want to say thank you to him as well.

BEACH: Thanks, Chris.

Congrats on the book. I look forward to it.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Thank you for coming.

JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Oh, thank you for that. And thank you for coming on and showing the courage of a good discussion.

JEAN-PIERRE: And thank you.

MATTHEWS: Up next: new reporting that President Trump`s legal team wants something from -- it`s still trying to get this guy to shut down the investigation. He is not going to do it. They want Mueller. They couldn`t get the FBI director to do it. They fired him. Now they want to get an exoneration from Mueller.

Good luck.

This is HARDBALL, where the action is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger.

Explosive fires raging in Northern California whipped by powerful winds. At least 15 major fires are burning in eight counties. The so-called Tubbs fire grew overnight from 200 acres to more than 25,000.

The governor has declared a state of emergency, mobilizing the National Guard to join the thousands of firefighters on the front lines. At least three people have died, and more than 100 have been injured. At least 1,500 homes and businesses are already destroyed. Another fire also ranging in Southern California is prompting evacuations -- back to HARDBALL.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LESTER HOLT, NBC ANCHOR: And did you ask, am I under investigation?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I actually asked him, yes. I said, if it`s possible, would you let me know, am I under investigation? He said, you are not under investigation.

HOLT: But he`s he`s given sworn testimony that there is an ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign and possible collusion with the Russian government.

TRUMP: Right.

HOLT: You were the centerpiece of the Trump campaign. So, was he being truthful when he says you`re not under investigation?

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: I know that I`m not under investigation, me, personally. I`m not talking about campaigns. I`m not talking about anything else. I`m not under investigation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, that was a few months ago.

Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That is President Trump in May in his conversation with former FBI Director James Comey regarding the investigation into -- no, he is talking about his conversation with him.

Anyway, now Trump`s legal team may be hoping that special counsel Robert Mueller will do something that the former FBI director wouldn`t do, publicly exonerate the president.

"The New York Times" reports the president`s lawyers are now cooperating -- quote -- "in the hope that Mr. Mueller will declare in the coming months that Mr. Trump is not a target of the Russian inquiry," adding that "the team is hoping to shift the burden to Mr. Mueller to move quickly to wrap up an investigation that has consumed the Trump administration`s first year."

Mueller`s team has been scrutinizing Kremlin-linked ads, by the way, purchased on Facebook as part of the Russian influence campaign in last year`s election.

And, today, "The Washington Post" reports that the search engine Google has also found that tens of thousands of dollars were spent on ads by Russian agents who aimed to spread disinformation across Google`s many products, which include YouTube.

I`m joined by Michael Schmidt, reporter for "The New York Times" and an MSNBC contributor.

Well, let`s move on a minute to the Google thing, because this is one more platform they`re using.

But what is it the Trump lawyers are trying to get done? This guy Ty Cobb talking about how if we`re -- if we give enough -- it`s called the modified limited hangout, in Watergate parlance, which was, we will give them enough stuff so they will feel like we`re feeding the beast, and maybe they won`t get too hungry and really come after us.

What kind of child psychology is that?

MICHAEL SCHMIDT, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: They feel like they have no choice here.

They feel, if they fight Mueller, Mueller is going get whatever documents he wants.

MATTHEWS: Right.

SCHMIDT: And Trump has told them he did nothing wrong. They have embraced that. They take that at face value.

MATTHEWS: His lawyers have embraced that?

SCHMIDT: They have embraced that and said, we have nothing to hide here. We`re not going to be able to hide anything from Mueller. Let`s get to it him as quickly as possible.

MATTHEWS: What made Trump change his mind from total stonewalling to this approach?

SCHMIDT: I don`t think we totally know that.

But it`s true that, right off the bat, Trump going after Mueller, questioning him, they were digging up dirt on Mueller, the guys working for Mueller, looking at their histories and stuff like that.

Ty Cobb -- since Ty Cobb has come on, that has been far more muted. Cobb has tried to strike a better tone with Mueller. They have met with him several times. They`re trying to give to it them, in the hopes that Mueller will look at all this stuff and say, OK, there is nothing here, clear, because they know the cloud that this has put over...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Yes, but here is your problem. How do you talk logically to Trump and his sense of credibility?

He lied forever that President Obama was illegal, he snuck into the country, he was some kind of phantom. And he stuck with that as if it was truth. He said he had investigators looking into.

Then he wouldn`t refuse -- wouldn`t release his tax returns. As of this moment, I don`t believe he has released them.

So, why do his lawyers think he is forthcoming and he is going to be honest about anything? Trump isn`t honest about anything.

SCHMIDT: Look, obviously, that`s a question for them.

A lot of lawyers say that it`s sometimes the attorney doesn`t know everything about what the client knows. The client isn`t as open and forthcoming...

MATTHEWS: Will Ty Cobb release his tax returns? He said to you that we`re going to be forthcoming, we`re going play ball with this guy.

SCHMIDT: Well, what do his tax returns have to do with the Mueller investigation?

MATTHEWS: Well, let me explain what they have to do with the...

(CROSSTALK)

SCHMIDT: What do they have to do with the Mueller investigation?

MATTHEWS: Let me read the mandate of the special counsel.

SCHMIDT: Yes.

MATTHEWS: "Any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation."

Anything they come across that causes them to question his business dealings in Russia, his business dealings generally is part of the mandate of this investigation. It isn`t just Russia. It`s everything.

SCHMIDT: If it ties in -- if Mueller starts looking at Trump`s business stuff, which Trump says is a red line, and Mueller says, OK, to understand your businesses, I need to look at your taxes, sure, he can go and get his taxes.

MATTHEWS: Sure.

SCHMIDT: He doesn`t need Trump to give him the taxes. He can get the taxes on his own.

It`s not about Ty Cobb saying, oh, you can have them. Ty Cobb could offer them to Mueller and say, here, have them. But what the White House does say is that -- we did a story a few weeks ago about the requests that came in from Mueller to the White House.

And they said, look, these are all about Russia. This is all within -- that`s within the four corners of this document.

MATTHEWS: Right.

SCHMIDT: He is not going outside this. He is not looking at...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: One thing we`re learning, Michael, is you guys are -- we lean on you guys at "The Times" and "The Washington Post" as well, I must say, because you keep digging up more stuff.

This latest thing on Google, it looks like the Russians have used every means to try to screw up our elections. And we heard about Facebook and everything. And now we know they have used every social media that we know about.

And now we find out they`re using Google. They are spending money -- they were spending money on it. So, why would anybody want to shut down an investigation that is digging up new information every day? Why would the special counsel say, enough already?

He would say, wait a minute. Every day I`m in open business here, I`m learning new stuff.

They didn`t know about Google. They didn`t know about Facebook months ago, when they started. So, why not keep going until you find out where the bottom line is here, where the thing ends?

SCHMIDT: Well, this is where I think...

MATTHEWS: I`m serious. Why would anybody stop an investigation that is so productive?

SCHMIDT: This is where Congress actually can come in and actually have a real impact, because if there is no real criminality on -- like there is Americans that were doing this, it`s just Russia that was doing this, that is not going to be something that Mueller can really unpack.

Mueller is concentrating on the criminality. The Hill can actually get to the bottom of this. They can actually explain to American public what happened here, come up with ways that maybe they could stop this, if it did happen, stop it from happening again. That`s a real opening for Hill, because the Hill doesn`t have the tools that Mueller has to look at the criminal side, to look at the criminal...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Well, you know who has the tools? Mueller`s got a lot of prosecutions working, whether with Michael Flynn or with Paul Manafort and a bunch of other people.

And every one of them is facing a long time in prison, as far as I can see. And I think they will talk. And eventually they will talk about all their conversations with Trump about the Russians.

SCHMIDT: But the question is, what do they have to give up? What does Manafort have to give up?

MATTHEWS: Well, we`re going to find out how responsive the Trump team was to Russia, and why they had all those meetings at Trump Tower, why they`re meeting with them at the Republican Convention, why all these meetings throughout, why all this Russian connection.

Those people don`t hang out with Russians. Do you? No. We don`t hang out with Russians. They do.

Thank you, Michael Schmidt of "The New York Times."

Up next: Senator Corker has no problem with calling the White House an adult day care center, with you-know-who as the main responsibility, the ward of the state there. Anyway, what about his fellow Republicans? When are they going to get critical of the president?

It could be that they`re scared of Steve Bannon, who is already out there threatening to primary anyone who threatens this president. He is the enforcer.

And this is HARDBALL. You`re watching it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: Mitch McConnell and this permanent political class is the most corrupt and incompetent group of individuals in this country. For Mitch McConnell and Ward Baker and Karl Rove and Steven Law, all the instruments to try to destroy Judge Moore and his family, your day of reckoning is coming.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Well, your day of reckoning. Is this a cartoon?

Anyway, welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was -- well, President Trump is fighting a war on two fronts right now with Senator Bob Corker questioning his temperament or sanity on one side, and his former strategist Steve Bannon on the other side vowing to back primary challenges to almost every Republican senator who runs for reelection next year, according to "Bloomberg`s" Jennifer Jacobs.

Jacobs reports: He`ll support only candidates who agree to two conditions. They will vote against McConnell as majority leader, and they will vote to end the senator`s ability to block legislation by filibustering. And only Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is safe.

According to "Bloomberg", Bannon plans to go after Republican senators such as Arizona`s Jeff Flake, Nevada`s Dean Heller, Nebraska`s Deb Fisher, Utah`s Orrin Hatch and Wyoming`s John Barrasso with Blackwater founder Erik Prince considering a run against Barrasso in Wyoming.

And Jacob says that Bannon has encouraged Trump to push back against GOP senators they consider unreliable on Trump`s agenda, including Corker.

Well, let`s bring in tonight`s HARDBALL roundtable. Herself, Jennifer Jacobs, White House reporter for "Bloomberg News" and a writer of the article I just mentioned on Bannon. Ashley Parker is White House reporter for "Washington Post" and an MSNBC political analyst. And Yamiche Alcindor is a national political reporter for "The New York Times" and also an MSNBC contributor.

So, we have two things going on here, reporters. They`re interesting. One is you got Bannon doing his attack on the frontier. I`m going to take everybody out on the right. I`m going replace it with my peeps. Big purge.

On the other hand, you`ve got Corker going wild with this John Dean revelation, like this guy is mad, and, you know, when everybody knows it.

How does it work together if you`re a U.S. senator, Jennifer?

JENNIFER JACOBS, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, BLOOMBERG: Well, what I know has some people in the White House worried and some Trump allies outside of the White House is how this spat affects the Trump agenda, things like tax reform. Does it alienate Republicans in the Senate enough that they just start working around the president? Does this really hurt his tax reform plan? Do they just start going around him?

And it`s more than a two-part war. It`s like an omni-front war. It`s the president going after anyone he feels has slighted him or disrespected him. And so, he attacks Republicans. He attacks Democrats. Then he works with Republicans and works with Democrats. And he pits them against each other.

One Republican in the Trump administration told me today it`s like a bipolar bipartisan approach. He called it a bipolar partisan approach. And I know there are people within the White House and without that are just worried about how this approach starts wearing down Republicans who are supposed to be his ally.

MATTHEWS: Ashley, it reminds me of Groucho Marx saying, I`ll fight any man in the house for a dollar. It`s like he is fighting everybody, the president is.

ASHLEY PARKER, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, it`s a war on two fronts, or as Jennifer said, basically a war with his entire party right now in theory.

I do think you`re going see two things. One is he is sort of returning to that populist gut instinct. I think he was little shaken by the Alabama Senate primary loss. He backed someone who didn`t win. And I think that`s why you`re seeing some of this more fiery rhetoric, the immigration hard line principles.

But this is also when you`re feuding with your party, this is how you get things. And granted, we don`t have it right in this moment. But Trump flirting with the Democrats. I mean, this is someone who wants to deal.

MATTHEWS: But he flirted but he didn`t date even because he come out, (INAUDIBLE) metaphor is, he said I`ll make a deal with you on DACA. All we want is a little more enforcement of the border. Now, it`s back to I want the whole wall again, which is a deal breaker.

PARKER: Right. Well --

MATTHEWS: Schumer is not going to back a wall.

PARKER: It shows Democrats what Trump`s advisers have long known, which is the president may say something that`s great and fine. But until he actually does it, nothing matters.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Yamiche?

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I think Corker is a big problem for President Trump, mainly because I think thing are two things going on. One, you have someone who is a free wielding agent. He is not running for reelection anywhere, but he can hold up all sorts of legislation on the Hill. The Republicans cannot afford to have many renegade senators saying what they want.

The other thing that`s happening here, that I think Corker is showing that the Senate punches back, that this idea that Bannon was going to go after all these senators and essentially they work for the president. And Corker is basically telling the White House, look, I will trash you in the media like you kind of trash us.

And by the way, there are other people who are very silent right now. While the Senate is in session right now, the fact that you don`t have any Republicans who are saying that`s unacceptable, I can`t believe he is going after our president tells me there are people off the record kind of chatting about the president and saying, yes, well, we`ve been saying that for a while.

I mean, I think most people, even when you talk to Republicans either that are actually serving in Congress, or their aides on the record they`re telling you like, oh, you know, we really have to support this president. Off the record, they`re rolling their eyes and saying, this man is completely -- he is completely someone that we can`t control and he is confusing and we don`t really trust what he says.

MATTHEWS: Who is saying the opposite?

ALCINDOR: Who is saying the opposite of --

MATTHEWS: Who is not saying what you just said?

ALCINDOR: I think a couple of Trump loyalists maybe.

MATTHEWS: I didn`t hear a single U.S. senator today and put up his hand and say, I disagree with Bob Corker, this guy is basically lying, crying in a bassinet somewhere. I mean, nobody is saying, well, that`s not true and Mitch McConnell comes out and says, he is a very important senator.

And my question is, who in the world is going to cut a deal with Trump now? We cut a deal with the Iranians. He`s trying to destroy that. He cut a deal with the Democratic leadership about DACA. He has obviously kissed that off.

What kind of a deal you have -- how can you deal with him? Who trusts him at this point?

JACOBS: Yes, I asked some Republicans today if they can trust the president and they said, well, you know, we always had a certain level of trust with him but not a complete trust all along.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

JACOBS: One thing I heard a lot from Republicans today was that they wish that he would focus. That he is so all over the map. And this is a very frequent complaint.

It`s everything from Iran. It`s immigration. It was talking about space. It was talking about North Korea, the NFL kneeling, taxes.

I mean, they just wish he would just focus on one thing. And the one thing I heard the most today was tax reform. They wish he would narrow down on that.

MATTHEWS: It seems when he`s focused on, Ashley, if you just looking at the public record in his tweeting is a rant. Like he is always mad at one person, whether it`s Sessions.

Remember how mad he was at Sessions a couple of weeks ago? I`m going to get rid of that guy. I`m going get rid of that guy. And then he`s going to get rid of this guy, Tillerson. I`m going to rid of this guy. Now, I got to get rid of this guy.

Every day, there is a guy he is mad at or a woman, I guess. And he is mad at them. And that`s who he seems to be focused on, who he`s mad at that day.

PARKER: Well, I think it`s twofold. One is he defines himself --

MATTHEWS: This is insane. He is president.

PARKER: He defines himself as a counterpuncher, which means he can`t let any slight go. That`s why you often see him in opposition with just one person.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

PARKER: And he -- you know, also his tweets especially, his immediate thoughts and what he can`t control. This is a president who if he is angry, he is going to show that, often in 140 characters.

JACOBS: I heard that from the White House today, the idea that Bob Corker started this. Not trying to say like a 7th grader he started it.

MATTHEWS: Oh, he looks like a real troublemaker.

JACOBS: They`re just being factual, saying --

MATTHEWS: He`s the quietest guy on the planet.

JACOBS: -- Corker is the one who started insulting the president.

ALCINDOR: But imagine that Republicans who are telling you that they want the president to focus. Anybody who has been watching Donald Trump for the last two years knows that`s not going to happen. So, really, you have -- I think a lot of Republicans are essentially melting down because they`re seeing their legislative agenda and they`re wondering whether or not it`s going to be able to go through.

MATTHEWS: He hates the calm. The man doesn`t like the calm.

The roundtable is staying with us. And up next, all three will give me scoops for tomorrow. You can be talking about all day tomorrow what you heard here in a couple of minutes.

This is HARDBALL. HARDBALL, where the action is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We now have that audio from "The New York Times" interview with Senator Bob corker. Here it is.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: We could be heading towards World War III with the kinds of comments that he`s making.

And it`s like he -- it`s like it`s an act to him and sure that bothers me, just from the standpoint of, I mean, I know that he isn`t necessarily a warmonger. I don`t believe that he is a warmonger in any way.

But watch his performances, you know, it very much feels to me like he thinks as president he`s on a reality television show.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: He is in a reality television show.

We`ll be right back right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable. Jennifer, tell me something I don`t know.

JACOBS: One very close Trump ally called me today and said remember, Columbus Day weekend. He predicted this will be the weekend that we all remember as the one where Trump cemented a legacy of getting nothing done, that this was a point of no return.

MATTHEWS: Wow.

Ashley?

PARKER: We`re reaching the point in General Kelly`s tenure where we`re starting to hear rumblings of who might replace him as chief of staff. To be clear, this doesn`t mean that he is either A, planning to quit or going to be fired imminently. But it is sort of a reflection of the challenges inherent in that relationship.

MATTHEWS: They`re talking successor.

Go ahead, Yamiche.

ALCINDOR: I talked to Nancy Pelosi today for about 20 minutes, and she told me that -- she hinted that Democrats might be tying immigration to the December funding bill, which means that we might be risking a government shutdown if Democrats don`t get what they want for protections for DACA recipients.

MATTHEWS: Whoa! Everything together.

Anyway, Jennifer Jacobs, thank you, Ashley Parker and Yamiche Alcindor. Everything in the big stew now.

We return -- when we return, let me finish with Trump watch. He won`t like it. You will. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Trump Watch. Monday, October 9th, 2017.

Following the first presidential debate of 1984 after President Reagan had shown himself lost and confused, trailing off on a story that had no apparent point, the leader of the Republicans in the United States Senate told "The Wall Street Journal" that this is the president we see every day in the White House.

For Donald Trump, the inside report on him is far worse, the witness giving it to us far more damning. Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today describes the White House as an adult day-care center where the president treats his office like a reality show in a way that could lead us to World War III.

Quote: I know for a fact that every single day at the White House -- the leading senator goes on -- it`s a situation of trying to contain him.

Contain him. The president of the United States. Contain him.

Finally, Senator Corker says: He concerns me. He would have to concern anyone that cares about our nation.

What does a conscious American think of this declaration? Does he take it to heart or ignore it? It`s one or the other. Either Senator Bob Corker is incapable of recognizing reality, or he is the first top level political figure in this country to do just that.

He said other U.S. senators can see just as he does how hard it is for people around Donald Trump to keep him from going off the rails.

I`ll stop there. What more is this there to say about -- from anyone? The gentleman from Tennessee has now said it all.

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.

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