Show: HARDBALL Date: October 13, 2017 Guest: Jennifer Rubin, Geoff Bennett, Nicholas Kristof, Eric Swalwell, Betsy Woodruff
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Trump spreads the hurt.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
This week, America saw just how destructive President Trump can be. He`s threatening the nuclear deal with Iran, killing "Obama care," ginning up the heat with North Korea and telling Puerto Rico it must go it alone.
Late Thursday night, frustrated by inaction in Congress, the president of the United States sabotaged a key component of the Affordable care Act, a move that could have real consequences for 7 million Americans. The White House announced that it would stop paying insurance companies $7 billion in subsidies, which experts say would undermine a key pillar of the Affordable Care Act, the federal help to reduce costs for low-income Americans.
Let`s listen to the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, you saw what we did yesterday with respect to health care. It`s step by step by step.
We`re taking a little different route than we had hoped because getting Congress -- they forgot what their pledges were, so we`re going a little different route. But you know what? In the end, it`s going to be just as effective, and maybe it`ll even be better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, President Trump announced today that he would no longer certify the landmark Iran nuclear deal, calling it a bad deal for America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification. In the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated. It is under continuous review, and our participation can be canceled by me as president at any time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, it`s a move that America`s European allies didn`t want, especially when they`re already dealing with a growing nuclear threat from North Korea. President Trump defended his decision, blaming President Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We`re very unhappy with Iran. They have not treated us with the kind of respect that they should be treating. They should have thanked Barack Obama for making that deal. They were gone. They were economically gone. He infused $100 to $150 billion into their economy. He gave them $1.7 billion in cash, and they should be, Thank you, President Obama. They didn`t say that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, President Trump`s actions this week are part of a larger pattern of divisive destruction. Yesterday, the president told 3.4 million American citizens in devastated Puerto Rico that they shouldn`t count on the U.S. government for help. It`s clear President Trump has spent his tenure dismantling Obama`s legacy purely out of spite, but in the meantime, there are real and immediate consequences, human consequences to his decisions.
Nothing he has done shows any signs of a winning political strategy for Trump and for America. So why is he doing all this?
For more, I`m joined by Jennifer Rubin, opinion writer with "The Washington Post," Geoff Bennett, White House correspondent for NPR, and Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent with "The New York Times."
Let`s talk about it all in this order. There`s a pattern here of maybe metaphoric delight for him. In other words, he feels strong doing this. But the little people -- I shouldn`t say "little people." The regular people of Puerto Rico didn`t do nothing to this guy.
JENNIFER RUBIN, "WASHINGTON POST" COLUMNIST: Right.
MATTHEWS: And they may have a klutzy government. FEMA may be klutzy. But why blame them? And the same thing with ACA. You may not like the modeling of it, but why throw 7 million people into the gutter?
RUBIN: And you toss into that the Dreamers. He did the same thing with them. You know, he...
MATTHEWS: What`s the hate all about?
RUBIN: I think he is -- as you say, he`s very destructive. He`s very antagonistic towards the president. And he doesn`t know what to do. He has no governing end point. He doesn`t know what to do, and he can`t do anything. Congress certainly doesn`t have any ideas. So he kind of breaks up the furniture, breaks the china, throws the hot potato into Congress and says, You figure it out.
Now, at some point, Congress is going to say no and throw it back, and that`s what`s happening I think on the...
MATTHEWS: You know, sometimes, it`s like Nixon was like this and some of the worst leaders in history. And I won`t mention the worst of them all. But they have a metaphoric. Everything`s a metaphor to them. It isn`t about real people, real burn (ph), like nuclear war will burn people alive. It`s not -- they will fry them. There`s no sense of that physical empathy for anybody.
And the same with people losing health care. Imagine you have a kid needs an operation and he says, Well, sorry. That`s not in my sort of theme right now. I`m having some fun with this. Same with, well, everything, with North Korea even. Some little munchkin over in North Korea just, you know, marching to the tune of the government -- he`s just a -- you know, forced to be a robot. They`re not the bad guys.
GEOFF BENNETT, NPR: And the president has shown a capacity thus far to support the people who support him. That tweet storm the other day -- I guess it was yesterday, feels like it was an eternity ago -- about Puerto Rico was really aimed, my reporting suggests, at the mayor of San Juan...
MATTHEWS: Well, she doesn`t like the president.
BENNETT: ... Carmen Yulin Cruz, who`s been very critical of the president and who, if you remember, changed the dynamic of the coverage about Puerto Rico when she was out there early...
MATTHEWS: But she`s getting three squares a day. She`s not the one who`s going to get hurt by all this.
BENNETT: But she`s being very critical of the president and the federal response to the crisis, the slow-rolling crisis in Puerto Rico. He didn`t like that, and that`s what accounted to that (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: Peter, there`s something coming to a head here. It`s sort of like we`re seeing consequences. I mean, I don`t know if he is, but everybody is watching it is seeing it, that in every regard, whether it`s Puerto Rico, it`s North Korea, it`s ACA, all these initials on it, the people.
PETER BAKER, "NEW YORK TIMES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, these all have real consequences. You`re absolutely right about that. I mean, we talk about them at times in a political context and his sort of jousting with Congress or his taking aim at President Obama`s legacy. But there are real world consequences to some of these decisions.
The real question is, do those consequences turn out for the best or not? Obviously, he thinks, at least some of those people certainly think, that they will, you know, that in fact, the "Obama care" program isn`t working, and that by signing the executive order yesterday, he might make it easier for some people to go ahead and get insurance across lines.
But there`s also dire consequences that other people who are experts on this are warning about. And if those actually emerge, do those become something that concern him? Are those a tactic to get Congress to come to the table? You heard him say that, right, Democrats should come to me and work out something on health care with me. So was he doing this as a -- as a policy decision because he thinks it`s the best policy, or is he doing it as a tactic to get Congress to negotiate (INAUDIBLE) Democrats?
MATTHEWS: Well, I wouldn`t count on Congress to do anything right now, and I think they`re going to let him stew. The Pottery house rule apply here. He`s going to pay the price for breaking what he broke.
Anyway, late today, President Trump defended his actions on health care, saying something better would come from this. Again, he`s counting on he can gin it up with the -- goose, if you will, Congress into doing something. Congress going to stand by and watch this guy stew. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: What it`s going to do is it`s going to be time to negotiate health care that`s going to be good for everybody.
We just about have the votes. Now, if the Democrats were smart, what they`d do is come and negotiate something where people could really get the kind of health care that they deserve.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: But for months, the president has broadcast his desire to sabotage "Obama care." He can`t pretend he wants to fix it. Let`s take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You know, I said from the beginning, Let "Obama care" implode and then do it. I turned out to be right. Let "Obama care" implode.
Let "Obama care" fail. It`ll be a lot easier. We`re not going to own it. I`m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it.
We`ll let "Obama care" fail, and then the Democrats are going to come to us and they`re going to say, How do we fix it, how do we fix it, or how do we come up with a new plan?
This is not a Republican health care. This is not anything but a Democrat health care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: But Jennifer, now he`s decided to put his blood all over it because he`s the one now cutting off the subsidies. Everybody knows that`s the heart of the program, helping people pay for health insurance
MATTHEWS: And he says we`re not going to do that anymore, so he can`t say it fell apart under Obama.
RUBIN: No, he can`t. And when he says, They`ll come to me and we`ll try to fix it, he has no idea how to fix this thing. That`s ridiculous. There is no affirmative reason for, as you say, pulling back these subsidies for the insurance companies other than to wreck it.
And what`s more is that there has been a bipartisan discussion going on in Congress between Senator Alexander and Senator Murray. That they put the kibosh on because they wanted to blow up "Obama care." So if they ever want to go back to that, there is bipartisan discussion going on.
BENNETT: And the Republicans...
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) loser. Well, every legislative issue he`s attempted this year, he`s a loser. He got nothing except Gorsuch in, and the only reason he got Gorsuch in is they blew apart the filibuster rule. Nothing else has passed. There`s no health care. There`s no tax bill. There`s no infrastructure. There`s no immigration bill. None of the things he planned or talked about for months running is anywhere near a law or a reality.
BENNETT: Yes, there is this notion that Donald Trump, who sold himself as this great businessman who was going to change the ways of Washington, would be this great dealmaker. So far, he`s been a great deal breaker.
The Republicans I talked to on the Hill today and yesterday, really, they say their plate is full. They already have to pass a measure to keep the government funding by December. They have to figure out what to do about DACA because the president, remember, punted that over to them. They have to do something about the children`s health insurance plan, which expired.
Now they have to do something about the Iran deal, and by the way, do something on tax reform because Republicans have openly said that if they fail to do something on tax reform, they feel that, you know, both chambers of Congress could be in play in the next election.
MATTHEWS: Peter, I`ve watched these -- this health care fight go on a long time in Pennsylvania, for example, which is sort of the heart of the industrial area of the country in terms of who switches to vote for Trump. Back years ago, all you had to do was talk about health care and you could win the election. I mean, you could be Thornburg (INAUDIBLE) because it means to a middle-aged woman, her husband -- it means when the guy gets out of work or the woman gets out of work, they won`t have health care. It`s always been the thing, the lifeline for people. Somebody`s got to pay for your health care.
And now Trump goes along and says, Well, I`m going to dump it for the people who are above the minimum wage, above, in fact, the Medicaid level, which goes above the minimum wage. He`s gone right at the heart of the working people out there, the white people in many cases. How are they going to like that when they realize that ground zero for Trumpism is them?
BENNETT: Well, that`s a good question, right? Do they blame him or do they blame Democrats for a program that was flawed in the first place? And the party -- the country is so polarized that people really do interpret a lot of what happens through that initial partisan lens, rather than standing back and saying, Well, maybe my party didn`t do something right. And you know, we`ll see.
Now, this is -- as you say, consequences for real people. It`s hard to take back an entitlement. We`ve said that again and again. Once a program is put into place in the federal system, the idea of taking it back, taking back benefits that people have come to rely on, is very, very hard.
So this may be the first test whether that does, in fact, create a blowback that affects Trump`s own voters, the people that he listens to, particularly, as you say, in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, the places that he really won the Electoral College.
MATTHEWS: Well, pride comes before the fall. According to a new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a majority of Americans think it`s more important for President Trump and Congress to work together to stabilize the Obama marketplaces, rather than tear them apart. When asked, 66 percent -- that`s two thirds -- said they want to see the president and Congress stabilize the insurance marketplaces, while only 29 think Congress should repeal and replace "Obama care."
Jennifer, "repeal and replace" has always seemed like a square the circle to me. If you`re going to replace it with something like that, then you admit it as a national responsibility for health care, which is admitting the essence of `Obama care." The government`s going to take a role here.
RUBIN: Right. And that`s what...
MATTHEWS: Republicans don`t believe necessarily it should take a roll.
RUBIN: And that`s why it fell apart in the Senate and in the House because there`s a fundamental group of Republicans who don`t think the government should do that, who don`t believe that government should subsidize anyway. And the American people are saying something opposite. They`re saying...
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) libertarians.
RUBIN: Yes, those people are...
MATTHEWS: Or non-libertarians over 30.
RUBIN: No, they`re not, at least not when it`s concerning...
MATTHEWS: No, once you have a few babies out there and kids and grandkids, you`re not a libertarian. You don`t ride a motorcycle anymore, or at least you wear a helmet.
Thank you, Jennifer Rubin, as always. Geoff Bennett of NPR and Peter Baker, thank you. The great "New York Times," the gray lady is doing so great.
Coming up, are we on the eve of destruction with North Korea? "New York Times" columnist, speaking of "The Times," Nick Kristof is just back from North Korea with how Trump`s saber-rattling is playing on the streets of Pyongyang. Does the North Korea actually want war? The people over there sound like they`re ready for it.
Plus, the Russian investigation itself, special counsel Robert Mueller squeezing White House right now while social media giants Facebook and Twitter are under fire for failing to stop Russian agents from spreading discord during the 2016 election. They got to be watched, those people.
And what about the Republican Party? Republicans are staying largely quiet about what we`ve seen from the president lately. Paul Ryan wimps out -- let`s just say what it is -- pretending that Bob Corker and Donald Trump are equally coherent. Who thinks that?
Finally, let me finish tonight with "Trump Watch."
This is HARDBALL, where the action is.
MATTHEWS: I want to share something with you. The first few copies of my book on Robert F. Kennedy have arrived. It`s a stunning -- it`s actually stunning to see all the research and writing finally coming to life. I believe this book, especially coming now, is going to stir the spirit, remind us that a great country must also be a good country, that American politics can be a moral force, that instead of dividing us, our leaders can truly, believe it or not, unite us. "Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit."
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We`re going to see what happens with North Korea. That`s all I can say. We`re going to see what happens. We`re totally prepared for numerous things. We are going to see what happens with North Korea. I will say, look, if something can happen where we negotiate, I`m always open to that. But if it`s going to be something other than negotiation, believe me, we are ready, moreso than we have ever been.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. There`s been some alarming rhetoric coming from President Trump on North Korea. He`s dismissed past efforts at diplomatic, warning, "Sorry, but only one thing will work." When he addressed world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly, he threatened to wipe North Korea off the map. Let`s watch that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: A new poll this week found that 65 percent of Americans believe the president`s tough talk is making the situation worse. Only 8 percent think it`s making things better.
But what about the view from Pyongyang? "New York Times" columnist Nicholas Kristof recently returned from a reporting trip with this stark assessment. Quote, "I`ve been covering North Korea on and off since the 1880s, and this five-day trip has left me more alarmed than ever about the risk of a catastrophic confrontation."
Nicholas Kristof joins us right now. Mr. Kristof, I`m amazed. I watched you -- I read your first piece and I read your second piece. I think I`m looking at a country with a hair trigger on defcon one up against our president, who seems so quick to respond to any threat to his masculinity, if you will, that we really are looking at a World War I scenario with World War III consequences.
NICHOLAS KRISTOF, "NEW YORK TIMES" COLUMNIST: I think that`s actually a very good analogy, Chris. I mean, just as with World War I, I mean, nobody really intended for there to be this grand big war, but you had a series of escalations and miscalculations. And I think that that`s what`s happening here.
I mean, fundamentally, Kim Jong-un and President Trump, I think, have somewhat similar temperaments, and each (INAUDIBLE) escalates. And so traveling around North Korea, you see this -- you know, these images of missiles all over. You see billboards with rockets hitting the U.S. Capitol. When I was flying in to North Korea, the in-flight entertainment was this military orchestra playing beautiful classical music interspersed with images of missiles firing off.
MATTHEWS: And even when you went to their equivalent of Seaworld, it ended up with a missile display.
Anyway, North Koreans seem convinced they can survive a nuclear war with America, according to your reporting. Quote, you write, "Every single person we spoke to, from officials to students, voiced certainty that if war breaks out, America will end up in ashes and the Kim regime will emerge" -- how does that work? Is that just cognitive dissonance? How do you think that nuclear weapons will destroy -- the few you have will destroy America, but the many that America has won`t destroy you?
KRISTOF: Well, you know, first of all, of course, this is the most controlled regime in the world, so I`m never sure whether what I`m getting is what people are thinking or whether it`s all just a government script.
But also bear in mind that what everybody has been steeped in for their entire lives is a historical narrative in which North Korea has repeatedly defeated the U.S. Their version is -- which is completely preposterous -- that the U.S. invaded North Korea to start the Korean war, and then the Koreans valiantly defeated the US. In a history museum there, they have this diorama showing U.S. corpses being eaten by crows.
And so I think that, for many Koreans, they feel, well, we have done this many times in the past, and, yes, we can do it again.
You hope that Kim Jong-un knows better, but there is this historical danger where dictators come to believe their own propaganda.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about a sequence of events. Suppose they drop a nuclear weapon somewhere in the Pacific. It doesn`t do any immediate harm to any nation, but it basically says to President Trump, screw you.
Trump then has to do something. Does he attempt a surgical strike? What are the -- what would be the steps that would lead to real trouble here? Can you see the sequence?
KRISTOF: So, I think that -- I think one thing the U.S. is contemplating is striking a missile after it has left Korean territory. And I think that we might be able to get away with that or they might respond. I don`t know.
But one of the things we`re also talking about is striking an ICBM as it is being fueled on the launch pad. And I am very sure that there would be some military response from North Korea.
I don`t know whether that would mean a few artillery shells at Seoul, hitting a South Korean nuclear power plant, hitting a U.S. base in Tokyo. I don`t know.
But one of the problems when you war game scenarios between North Korea and the West is that there`s this rush to escalate, because each side is on a hair trigger.
MATTHEWS: Neither personality, Mr. Kim Jong-un, as we know him, or President Trump, as we know him quite well, seems like the kind of person who would pull back, the way that Nikita Khrushchev did in 1962, that would say, OK, I went too far, I`m going to pull back and take the heat, even if it means the loss of my regime, which was the case with Khrushchev.
Do either of these personalities strike you as the person that, when the goodness for humanity or concern for humanity, would pull back and stand down?
And I think that they`re both very sensitive to a perception that they`re weak. They`re very much into masculinity, as you said in the introduction.
KRISTOF: And Kim Jong-un in particular I think has been parlaying President Trump`s rhetoric to boost his own legitimacy.
It was striking in talking to North Koreans that they had never heard of Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia student who died after being jailed in North Korea. But everybody we talked to completely knew about President Trump`s speech to the United Nations, because North Korea wants them to know about it, because it fits into their narrative of Kim Jong-un as the protector of the Korean nation from American imperialist aggressors.
And so they have been very much ratcheting up the rhetoric and leveraging President Trump`s comments for their own propaganda purposes.
MATTHEWS: Doesn`t Trump know when -- well, this is a rhetorical question - - that when he identifies Kim Jong-un`s existence with the existence of his country, in other words, I`m going to destroy his country to get him, that he`s giving him all that he wants, which is identity with his country?
KRISTOF: Well, I don`t think President Trump gets that.
I must say, I think a lot of people in the administration do. I think there`s real disquiet among some elements of the administration and a real fear that President Trump is talking about military options, without understanding that this isn`t just, you know, a little exchange of artillery. This isn`t even another Iraq War, another Afghanistan war.
I mean, one assessment by a Stanford University professor suggested that just on the first day of another Korean conflict, there would be a million people dying, a million people on the first day.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I saw that.
KRISTOF: This is -- if you try to think of things that could go very badly wrong in the next three or four years, I think another Korean war would be very high on that list.
MATTHEWS: You know, I got the sense before the Iraq War, which I was against -- I believe you were too, against the Iraq War -- I got the sense that we were sending a signal to -- and that Cheney especially was sending a signal to Saddam Hussein that it doesn`t matter what you do. We`re coming in to get you. You`re going to die, so you might as well fight for it.
There was no inclination to look for a carrot to get him out of that war. He doesn`t have nuclear weapons. There could have been a meeting somewhere at Panmunjom or some sort of neutral place to prove he didn`t have the weapons, if that`s what our administration was up to.
Are we sending a signal to Kim Jong-un that, no matter what he does, we`re coming in? And, if so, that`s really horrible, if that`s what we`re doing.
KRISTOF: So, I think that Secretary Tillerson at the State Department is trying to craft exit ramps. I think he does see that we`re on a collision path and he does want to forge exit ramps.
Likewise, I think the North Korean Foreign Ministry is trying to figure out exit ramps. I think that`s why I was invited, frankly.
But the problem is, I think that those people trying to find some kind of a deal are being marginalized in both capitals.
And there`s another point to make on the Iraq War. I made the same point to my North Korean interlocutors. It feels just like when I was in Iraq and the eve of the Iraq War, and it just felt like this tragedy about to unfold. And they said, you know, you completely misunderstand that the lesson of Iraq was that we have to have nuclear weapons. If Saddam had had nuclear weapons, then he wouldn`t have been invaded.
And I think that one of the tragedies of our invasion of Iraq in 2003 was that we sent a message to the North Koreans that they`d better develop nuclear weapons and a long-range missile capability.
MATTHEWS: And we doubled down by talking Gadhafi out of his weapons too.
Thank you, Nicholas Kristof. Great reporting. I`ll tell you, that piece on Sunday had such impact.
KRISTOF: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, up next: new reporting on the Mueller investigation. Investigators are lining up more interviews with White House staffers. It comes amid news that social media giant Twitter may have deleted crucial evidence in the Russian probe.
This is HARDBALL, where the action is.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s what`s happening.
Special counsel Robert Mueller`s team today interviewed Mr. Trump former White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus. "The Washington Post" is reporting that it lasted a full day. Priebus`s lawyer says that he was happy to answer all questions and that his appearance was voluntary.
House Speaker Paul Ryan in Puerto Rico today saying the government is committed for the long haul, this after President Trump tweeted that the U.S. can`t stay in Puerto Rico forever. Ryan visited a day after the House approved a $36 billion relief package. Part of it will go to Puerto Rico.
At least 32 people have died in Northern California wildfires; 90,000 people have been displaced. Firefighters are gaining control now, thanks in part to calmer winds -- back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
After receiving extensive requests for materials in connection with the Russian probe, The Daily Beast is reporting that the White House is turning over documents to special counsel Robert Mueller.
According to a lawyer familiar with the investigation, the White House has made substantial progress responding to Mueller`s requests. However, the process is ongoing, since investigators have been making follow-up requests, obviously.
Additionally, several current and former White House staffers have been interviewed by Mueller`s investigators or are scheduled to be interviewed by them in the next few days.
Meanwhile, tech companies are also hot seat, as investigators learn more about how Russians used social media as a weapon during the `16 election. Politico is now reporting that Twitter has tweeted -- has deleted tweets and other user data of potentially irreplaceable value to investigators.
Analysts and officials say that a substantial amount of that information is lost for good.
I`m joined right now by Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of the House Intelligence Committee.
Thank you, sir.
And Betsy Woodruff, the author of that report in The Daily Beast.
I want to start with Betsy on the facts.
Let`s talk. What do you think is the hottest story right now? Is it about the White House finally coming over with some data, but holding back on some other stuff? Or is it what`s going on with Twitter and with Facebook, they`re holding out, they`re destroying information?
BETSY WOODRUFF, THE DAILY BEAST: I think the important thing to understand about Twitter is that -- I can`t speak to the sources that Politico referred to in that piece, but my understanding from having conversations today is that it`s potentially premature to say that Twitter has destroyed data, because my understanding is they`re still working on getting the information and responding to the queries that your committee has directed to them.
My understanding is also that the House Intel Committee hasn`t necessarily specifically laid out exactly everything they want from Twitter. So, I would say it`s probably too early to say that there is evidence that`s gone for good. I just think that`s premature.
MATTHEWS: Is anything gone for good out there?
WOODRUFF: On the Internet...
WOODRUFF: ... it`s never a safe assumption that your Internet dirty laundry has disappeared.
MATTHEWS: It`s somewhere on the way to Pluto or something.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: I have a lot of tweets that I would love to be deleted for good.
MATTHEWS: I know. Well...
SWALWELL: But I think that we could probably find them.
MATTHEWS: They`re there. They`re there.
And let me ask you about the White House. You know, there`s a Watergate phrase, limited, modified hangout, where they would let some information out, but they were hiding the big stuff. They were hiding the June 23 tape, the smoking gun. Nixon was very aware what the hot stuff was and kept it as long as he could.
Is this administration keeping the really good stuff?
SWALWELL: They`re not amateurs. They know what they`re doing. They have been doing it for a long time, particularly in business.
And Bob Mueller has to be as determined and dogged as the Russians were. And so I think they have to just keep forcefully asking for materials and just keep, you know, turning the White House upside down until you get it all of it, because I`m not convinced that -- we see a drip drip, drip and then, you know, media pressure, congressional investigation pressure, a little bit of an acknowledgment.
I don`t think we have even seen anything close...
MATTHEWS: Do you think Trump is being square with his lawyers?
WOODRUFF: I think his...
MATTHEWS: Do you think he`s telling his lawyers all the dirt that`s there?
WOODRUFF: I can`t speak to their current conversations, but what we do know about Trump`s history is that he treats lawyers like they are tools to be used for his ends.
He doesn`t respect and revere lawyers, the way prior administrations have. So, it would strike me as a pretty safe guess that there`s stuff that he hasn`t told them.
Another piece of this that is really important is, Mueller is still asking the White House for information. They haven`t responded to all of his queries yet.
MATTHEWS: Let`s go back to the Facebook here.
Facebook still has access to data from the Russian-linked accounts, that they were deleted. "Business Insider" is now reporting that only about six of those accounts have been publicly identified right now -- quote -- "The other 464 accounts closed by Facebook have not yet been made public. If they are, an analysis of their combined posts would likely reveal that their content was shared an estimated billions of times during the election."
So, let`s get back to Trump`s total stonewall: The Russians had nothing to do with 2016. Where are we on that?
SWALWELL: Yes. Of course they did.
And he said no Russians, no collusion. Now he`s saying, well, we knew some Russians, you know, this was just politics, taking the June 9 meetings and the others.
I think he`s going to get back into a position where he says, you know what? The alternative was, you had Hillary Clinton. But that`s because we have been on the offense and exposing all of these contacts.
Now, on the social media side, it`s in our interests, just as a country, Republicans or Democrats, to never let our platforms be used against us.
I think the posts should be public. The intent by the Russians and whoever they worked with was for them to be public at the time. So the American public should see it, so that we have an awareness as we go into the next election as to what this stuff looks like.
MATTHEWS: But what do you put -- how do you look at Trump`s policies?
I mean, Trump, as recently as today, is not acting on the sanctions. He`s just not doing it. As far back as the Republican Convention last summer out in Cleveland, he was hanging out with the Russian ambassadors -- ambassador.
I have never seen such getting together before. And Trump has made it clear in almost everything he said publicly he will attack everything in the world. He attacks his own staff. He attacks -- he says he hates his staff. He doesn`t like the media. He doesn`t likely the Congress.
But he likes the Russians.
MATTHEWS: It seems like the deal is still going on.
SWALWELL: He`s known them for a long time, though. As we saw, he was doing -- trying to do a deal with them.
MATTHEWS: But they helped him, and he still -- still seems to be helping them.
MATTHEWS: You know what I`m saying? It looks like a deal.
SWALWELL: He may not have even thought he was going to win. He was trying to do a Trump Tower deal during the election.
MATTHEWS: OK, my response, what do you think of the fact he`s still helping the Russians?
SWALWELL: Well, it`s because he`s loyal to them. He`s been loyal to them.
WOODRUFF: He also never criticizes his fans.
MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, U.S. Congressman Eric Swalwell of Northern California, and Betsy Woodruff of The Daily Beast.
Up next: Speaker Ryan covered over Senator Bob Corker`s revelations about President Trump. Who is this guy kidding? And should Republicans stay silent through all this, when some of them are worried that Trump could lead us into World War III? Isn`t it time to speak up, guys and women?
You`re watching HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think it`s just talk it out among yourselves. I think my advice is for these two gentlemen to sit down and just talk through their issues. I think that`s the best way to get things done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was House Speaker Paul Ryan, of course, responding to week to Senator Bob Corker`s stunning revelations about Donald Trump.
Corker`s assertion that Trump could set the nation on the path to World War III led to a furious response from the president, but virtual silence from the party`s leaders.
NBC`s Kasie Hunt sat down with the speaker and asked him about Trump`s attacks on his own party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KASIE HUNT, NBC CORRESPONDENT: The president has regularly engaged in disputes with various members, Bob Corker the most recent, Ben Sasse over the First Amendment. Is that helpful to your agenda?
RYAN: It`s what he does.
We have kind of learned to live with it. He and have I had -- well, not on this particular issue, but we have had our engagements in the past too.
It -- I don`t think it -- what I`m trying to get our members to do is just focus on doing our jobs. We`re here elected to represent our constituents, to advance our principles, pass solutions.
That`s what we`re focused on. And I`m trying to get members not to get distract by these things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Well, President Trump may make it difficult for congressional Republicans to do their jobs at the Values Voter Summit today. He reminded the audience of what a great job he thinks he`s doing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the last 10 months, we have followed through on one promise after another. I didn`t have a schedule, but if I did have a schedule, I would say we are substantially ahead of schedule.
How times have changed, but you know what? Now they`re changing back again. Just remember that.
I don`t know if you`ve seen what`s going on, but tremendous strides against ISIS. They never got hit like this before. We`ve done more against ISIS in nine months than the previous administration has done during its whole administration, by far. By far.
And as a Christmas gift to all of our hardworking families, we hope Congress will pass massive tax cuts for the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Let`s bring in the HARDBALL round.
Kasie Hunt is NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent. Her new show "KASIE DC" premiers this Sunday at 7:00 p.m. right here on MSNBC. George F. Will is a columnist with `The Washington Post" and an MSNBC contributor, and professor James Peterson is director of African studies at Lehigh University. He`s also an MSNBC contributor.
Everyone, this is a big question for the week. The president is getting nothing done from the Hill. The Congress, it`s a Republican Congress on both sides, and nothing is getting done. Is it -- is it partially because of these personal disputes like he had this week with Mr. Corker?
KASIE HUNT, NBC NEWS CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: I think that`s part of it. I think the president is more frustrated quite frankly with his own party on Capitol Hill than he is with Democrats right now.
And I think -- you saw Paul Ryan, I thought it was a little bit remarkable that he said, yes, we`ve kind of had to learn to live with this. It`s just kind of how it`s going to be. I think he and other Republicans -- and Bob Corker, I would put him in this category. There are some people on the Hill that view themselves as states men and they feel like they have to keep the country on some set of rails while this is all going on.
I think the president is picking up on that and he`s really frustrated with them.
GEORGE WILL, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, Paul Ryan said it`s what he does. Fish got to swim, birds got to fly and Mr. Trump has to do this stuff. Well, he doesn`t have to do this stuff. He could change but he won`t change.
Paul Ryan is one of a lot of people on Capitol Hill that are precluded by their very normality from understanding the abnormality of the (INAUDIBLE). I mean, Paul Ryan is a sweet, nice, intelligent southeastern Wisconsin guy, and he has no comprehension of this. He keeps going on about his agenda.
Mr. Trump said, I have no schedule. Well, people who understand these things did have a schedule. Repeal and replace by March. Tax reform by August. Infrastructure by Christmas. Strike one, two, three.
HUNT: That was Paul Ryan`s schedule.
MATTHEWS: Professor, nothing is getting done, and that`s an objective fact. It`s not an argument.
JAMES PETERSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: But the president has an extraordinary capacity to frame the discussion all the time, right? So, even though he gets into this spat with Senator Corker, what happens is he can frame that the way that he wants for his supporters and really for the American people --
MATTHEWS: What`s he going to say Christmas?
PETERSON: He`s going to say that he`s done everything. Well, he`s great, all the superlatives and there are people who follow him who believe that. The question is, are we paying enough close attention to understand what he`s not getting done?
MATTHEWS: I keep wondering whether there`s any kind of translation, any kind of crosswalk between his failure to act and his people and do they see it when they sit whether they`re talking over coffee or at a bar anywhere in life, the work line, they`re coming home from work --
HUNT: His voters, you mean?
MATTHEWS: Yes, they`re thinking, they`re talking over the kitchen table. I like this guy, I like his attitude because he`s challenging the establishment. But didn`t they expect some output?
HUNT: I think that -- I think he will find that that is the case. I think it`s going to be a huge test in 2018 because, look, his numbers are Republicans are holding relatively strong.
MATTHEWS: I`d say, 81 percent.
HUNT: Right. But that`s not what won him the presidential election over Hillary Clinton. It was a small bunch of people, in fact, a lot of them living in places like Wisconsin, Paul Ryan`s home state. And some of the people --
MATTHEWS: You mean working class Democrats and independence.
HUNT: Exactly. And I think those are the kinds of people who are looking around and say, is my circumstance materially changed by the fact that I sent this guy to the White House? I`m not sure that they`re going to be convinced of that. I think they`re going to take is it out on Paul Ryan`s majority.
MATTHEWS: George, do they hate the establishment so much that that hate will continue through next year?
WILL: Yes. Maybe in four years in Donora, Pennsylvania, and the rest of the Monongahela Valley of western Pennsylvania, if nothing has changed, they may turn on him. But I think what they`ll say is he was right. The system is rigged.
WILL: And he can`t do anything about it.
MATTHEWS: They`re right. The voters weren`t that wrong, I didn`t think.
WILL: Well, they`re getting 90 percent of what they voted for because 90 percent of what they voted for was his persona, smashing crockery for its own sake.
WILL: And he`s doing that.
HUNT: They`re angry. Paul Ryan is not angry enough --
MATTHEWS: Lehigh Valley is the most determinant part of Pennsylvania, decides all the elections. Lehigh Valley.
PETERSON: It is.
MATTHEWS: Once you get off campus.
PETERSON: Once you get off campus.
MATTHEWS: What did you learn?
PETERSON: Well, good signals to see that Charlie Dent, Representative Charlie Dent --
PETERSON: Yes. I mean, that gives you a sense of his own frustration with what`s going on in Washington. He`s a great politician, and for him to feel like he can`t move an agenda through the Trump world seems to me to be a really, really important indicator.
I`m not sure folks are going to do the full assessment, infrastructure, tax cuts to middle class families, I don`t know if that matters. The culture war is going to dominate and his capacity to frame the narrative is just -- seems extraordinary.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about the professionals. It seems to me that Corker is leaving, Charlie Dent is leaving. There will probably be more others leaving, you feel (INAUDIBLE) others.
But, you know, Mitch McConnell just pulls himself in like a turtle. He just hides. No, he`s not going to change. He`s waiting out this Cromwellian world, what do you want to call this period, George. Maybe you like Cromwell. This whole period.
MATTHEWS: I mean, are they just going to tuck it in like you say Paul Ryan is a gentleman, a sweet guy, wait for this guy to go away? He`s not going away for more than three years, maybe seven years.
WILL: Yes, but while he`s doing that, Mitch McConnell is remaking one of the three branches of the federal government, the judiciary. Tremendous --
MATTHEWS: Not the way he wanted to.
WILL: Well --
MATTHEWS: He didn`t believe in getting rid of the filibuster.
HUNT: He`s under fire for that too. And he has tried to adjust.
MATTHEWS: It`s something that he really cared about, George, he cared about the Senate, and he cared about the fact that the privilege of a senator extended debate. And they lost that.
WILL: Yes. But as you well know being a former creature of the Hill, the Senate didn`t always act this way.
MATTHEWS: They didn`t filibuster everything.
WILL: The Senate did not have an implicit 60-vote super majority on absolutely everything unless you wanted to get to the floor and hold the floor physically. And if they get back to that --
MATTHEWS: Yes, that`s true.
WILL: -- then they can live with this.
MATTHEWS: So where are we going? Are we getting anything done this year, professor, anything?
PETERSON: There`s not that much time left this year to get anything done.
MATTHEWS: That`s what I keep -- they`re talking about George, you know the schedule. You were mentioning it. How do you get a tax bill written in committee, in Ways and Means Committee, passed in the House by 2018 and take it over to the Senate Finance Committee, marked up there, then go to the Senate floor, then go back to conference. I don`t know how you get a bill by Christmas at this point? We don`t even know what the bill is.
PETERSON: Well, White House has no interest in the legislative sausage making.
WILL: But even if they get a budget passed that will enable them to pass whatever they want under reconciliation with 50 votes plus Vice President Pence, even if they do that, getting to 50 votes is going to be harder than it seems, because someone, might be the senator from Alaska is going to say, well, we want ANWR drilling, in the wildlife reserve out there, and someone else is going to say that`s a deal breaker for me. And the aforementioned Mr. Corker who has the emancipation of a politician halfway out the door said, if this raises so much as a penny on the deficit, it`s a deal breaker for me and they`re proposing to raise $1.5 trillion over a decade, and that`s 150 trillion pennies, which is more pennies that are in circulation.
MATTHEWS: They lose that Corker, they lose another vote.
The roundtable is sticking with us. And up next, three scoops tonight that we`ll be talking about tomorrow. That`s the bar we`re setting -- scoops.
This is HARDBALL, where the action is.
MATTHEWS: One of the most important moderate Republicans on Capitol Hill is staying put after months of speculation, Senator Susan Collins announced today she will not run for governor of Maine, instead choosing to remain in the senate. Collins said she was guided by the belief that she could do the most good for Maine and the country by serving out her term.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: One of my Senate colleagues wrote me a lovely note urging me to stay in the Senate. And I want to read you just a little bit of what this colleague said.
The institution would suffer in your absence, while the temptation might be to walk away and leave the problems to others, there are very few who have the ability to bring about positive change. You are such a person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I bet that was John McCain.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL round table.
Kasie, tell me something I don`t know.
HUNT: Democrats are privately betting that the president would not tear up the Iran deal completely if Congress did nothing on the decertification and that could have some serious ramifications for how Congress decides to deal with this. They have a couple of options. They could, you know, put the sanctions back on Iran immediately that would only take 50 votes, they could write legislation like Bob Corker wants to do that, but that would take 60 votes, or they could do nothing and it`s a huge risk. It`s playing a big game of chicken with President Trump.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
WILL: There are always murmurings about Justice Kennedy because he is the swing vote on almost everything, and there is the increasingly belief that given the polarization of the Congress that anyone wants to retire with his president and his party controlling the Senate.
If so, the more we hear that there is a possibility that the Republicans could lose control of the Senate, the more there will be an interest, so say the murmurings in Mr. Kennedy leaving before they lose the Senate if possible.
MATTHEWS: I think he`s swimming. I think he`s thinking about it all of the time. That is the hunch.
PETERSON: Chris, you know this business is worth our viewers thinking about, you know, we`ve been talking about the ineffective sort of posture of this administration, but I find the Department of Justice under Sessions is the most effective unit, as in terms of the Trump doctrine if you think about what they did in terms of rolling back transgender rights for workers, the diminishment of the civil rights unit, the ending of consent decree and oversight of law enforcement across the nation. They`ve done a lot of things that have been very, very effective in terms of the Trump doctrine.
MATTHEWS: Are you speaking with approval?
PETERSON: I am not speaking with approval, Chris.
MATTHEWS: I think so.
Thank you, Kasie Hunt. Kasie`s new show is "KASIE DC". It debuts this Sunday night at 7:00 Eastern, here on MSNBC, of course.
And thank you, George F. Will, and professor James Peterson.
When we return, let me finish tonight with Trump Watch. He won`t like it. You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Trump Watch, Friday, October 13th, 2017.
Donald Trump is now showing his mean side. When he threw at Little Marco and Crooked Hillary, he`s now throwing at the millions out there. He doesn`t like Obama, so he killed health care for 8 million people who no longer have subsidies they need to afford family health insurance.
He doesn`t like Obama so he sabotaged the Iranian deal, throwing open the change of another Mideast war. He doesn`t like the people running Puerto Rico, so he talks of dumping them from USA, leaving them marooned out in the Atlantic Ocean. He doesn`t like Kim Jong-un, and who can blame him? So, he talks of destroying his country and all the people in it.
Does Trump know that he`s talking about people`s lives or does he think this is a reality TV show where the worst thing that could happen is to be fired or voted off the island? Does he know that a nuclear war means that people will fry? Does he know that killing Obamacare means killing the chance of a real family to afford a child`s operation?
Does he know there are people in Puerto Rico which is part of America he promised to make great who are going without not just electricity and but water? Does he know? Has he any idea what that`s like?
Does he want to know what that`s like, or what war with Iran would be like? Or what a nuclear war with North Korea could be like? I mean, to the people affected, the people burned to a cinder in a flash or face the slower death from nuclear fallout, does he know the human effect of anything he talks about?
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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