Show: HARDBALL Date: November 9, 2017 Guest: Julia Ioffe, Howard Fineman; John Feehery; Catherine Rampell
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Trouble in Alabama. Let`s play "Hardball."
Good evening, I`m Chris Matthews in Washington with an explosive story from Alabama.
According to "Washington Post" today, a woman has come forward to accuse Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of forcing her into a sexual encounter back in 1979 when she was 14-years-old. Moore is the Steve Bannon backed insurgent and former chief justice in the Alabama Supreme Court who refused to remove a monument of Ten Commandments from his courthouse. He backs criminalizing homosexual conduct and advocate blocking a Muslim official from becoming a member of Congress.
According to "Washington Post," Moore met the teenager at a courthouse where he worked as a district attorney. Moore allegedly offered to watch the girl while her mother was inside for a child custody hearing. Here is one of the "Washington Post" reporters who broke the story today, Beth Reinhard. Let`s listen to her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETH REINHARD, REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: After the mother went in, he got her phone number and subsequently picked her up around the corner from house, drove her about 30 minutes away to his home in the woods twice did that. The first time there was kissing and then the second time he took off her clothes. He took off his own clothes, he touched her over her bra and underwear and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, according to "Washington Post," three other women interviewed by the "Washington Post" in recent weeks say Moore pursued tell when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s. None of the women say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual conduct. Moore called the story completely false and desperate and a desperate political attack. His campaign said in a statement, Judge Roy Moore has endured the most outlandish attacks on any candidate in the modern political arena. But this story in today`s "Washington Post" alleging sexual impropriety takes the cake. The "Post" insists none of the women sought them out and were all initially reluctant to speak.
On Capitol Hill the speed of response from Republican senators was remarkable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LUTHER STRANGE (R), ALABAMA: It`s very, very disturb what I read about. I will have more to say after I learn more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it true?
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: Obviously, from what I have heard about I am disturbed and it`s very serious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Senator John McCain said in a statement, the allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying. He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of. Here`s majority leader Mitch McConnell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: If these allegations are true, Roy Moore should step aside for all the obvious reasons. They are very disturbing allegations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, those sentiments there were echoed by at least ten other Republican senators.
The special election by the way is just 33 days away from now. If Moore does step aside, Alabama law says his name would remain on the ballot. Republicans could attempt to mount a legal challenge to remove it. But absentee ballots have been mailed out.
I am joined right now by Catherine Rampell, "Washington Post" columnist, NBC`s Kasie Hunt, Republican strategist John Feehery and the "Huffington Post" global editorial director Howard Fineman.
Well, this is an area of politics. I want to start with Kasie.
This story has certainly got a quick response from Republican senators. They do not act like they like what they heard here. Their initial response it sounds to me go away.
KASIE HUNT, MSNBC HOST, KASIE DC: I think that they already felt that was a little bit about Roy Moore even if they couldn`t say it in public. This is not somebody who you ticked through some of his other views that they were excited about having him as a number of their conference, but they have come around to accepting it. I think that the speed and straight forwardness with which they have rejected Roy Moore based on the allegations in this story is remarkable. And I think it is a reflection of the cultural moment and the cultural change that we are going through right now.
I do think it is about more than just the politics of Roy Moore and the fact that, you know, they found him to be objectionable. I think they found this something that cannot stand. And I think there is an instinct now to believe the woman who is coming forward with these charges.
MATTHEWS: There are 51 now.
HUNT: And that is a new phenomenon. I mean, you know, I covered Capitol Hill for years. This is something that you know there are people that you know you say, it was a bad idea to get into an elevator with Strom Thurman. That was the thing if you are a woman on the Hill, you knew, but you never talked about it.
[19:05:04] MATTHEWS: It is a word of mouth.
HUNT: So that it seems like we heard from Beth a little bit reporting this, they went down there, and that`s what they heard. They heard women talking about things Roy Moore did. And they didn`t feel before that they could talk about it. But that`s all changed now for sure.
MATTHEWS: Yes. It wasn`t, it seems the "Washington Post" said these women did not come forward, but they answered the question, John Feehery.
JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, it seems like a pretty credible story. I mean, Kasie is exactly right. The Republicans were not that excited about Roy Moore.
MATTHEWS: He was to tattering.
FEEHERY: He was a bad candidate before this started, although the polls have him up. And this is also - there is a difference between Washington and Alabama. I think a lot of people in Alabama still support Roy Moore. If these allegations continue, I think he will probably lose, but he will not resign.
MATTHEWS: Is that the times we live in, no matter what the charge, no matter how true it is, it`s still whose side are you on? It still comes down to the political polarization, if this were said about a Democrat, these people would be jumping out and sending the guy to hell. I mean, this is like the end of the earth for them. But if it`s one of their guys, they don`t want to hear it. Do you agree?
FEEHERY: Well, I think there is an element to that. I think Roy Moore is a pretty well-known quantity. He has been there for a long time. Been in the public square a long time. But I also think that, you know, they don`t believe the media. And I think that`s another part of it.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me go to Howard. This gets to the point of the counter charge. It was just more a countercharge by the Moore people. They are saying is that the dam "Washington Post," it is Jeff Bezos has got a vendetta. Though I never knew Bezos is bunch of a politics anyway, the go get their guy.
HOWARD FINEMAN, GLOBAL EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, HUFFINGTON POST: Well Chris, I would not assume that Roy Moore is a goner here. First of all his name is on the ballot. It gets to stay on the ballot regardless.
MATTHEWS: Do you think he post "Access Hollywood?" No?
FINEMAN: Alabama law. We are in the post-Harvey Weinstein era.
FINEMAN: But we are also in post-Trump era. Meaning that for the people who are going to be for Roy Moore, I think they are going to stick with Roy Moore for the most part. The Alabama Republican electorate is more than half self-identified evangelicals to begin with. And --.
HUNT: And actually, there is a brewing, Howard, I think that`s an excellent point. There is seemingly a divide emerging. It`s still early, but Republican Party officials in Alabama seem to be standing in some cases by Roy Moore. But there are evangelical leaders who have already --
FINEMAN: That`s what it will take.
HUNT: This is not acceptable.
FINEMAN: I think that`s what it`s going to take, Chris.
HUNT: Not morally acceptable.
FINEMAN: Breitbart is going to stick with Roy More. Steve Bannon is going to stick with Roy Moore. Maybe a majority of the Alabama --
CATHERINE RAMPELL, THE WASHINGTON POST: I`m not even convince that the condemnations from senators in Washington will necessarily stick.
RAMPELL: You mentioned "Access Hollywood." A little over a year ago, there was severe condemnation from senators, from congressmen, people saying that Donald Trump should drop out. Chaffetz said he couldn`t look his daughter in the eyes and continue to support the Republican candidate. And then a couple weeks passed and they went right back to supporting the Republican candidate.
So I would imagine or at least I am nervous that despite these harsh words today that if these Republicans on the hill see that this story blows over in a few days, that Republican voters don`t actually believe the fake media, you know, that they think this is made up. Then they will move on and they will say, you know what, never mind, we are standing by our man.
FINEMAN: You know, Chris, Mitch McConnell has a tough situation here. He came right out and said if true he has got to go. On the other hand, if they offer a write-in candidate against Roy Moore, it`s possible that that would enhance the chances of a Democrat winning. Mitch McConnell wants to keep a majority.
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) on the Hill all the time. I see if the Roy Rogers statue all the time. You walk among these guys and women these all the time. And we are all I think pretty far distanced from him being a northern. But the evangelical pulpit, well, they can teach one thing, preach one thing on Sunday and something different on Tuesday when it comes time to vote?
HUNT: Chris, I think this is about a child, right. This is about a 14- year-old girl. This makes it different than some of the other allegations, you know, for better or for worse. And I think that that`s something that was immediately recognizable to all of the Republicans, certainly that I talked to now. Now the question is going to ultimately be, does he -- if he doesn`t withdraw from the ballot, what do they do? Is there a mechanism in the Senate? I need to do some research on this. Could they refuse to seat him or something along those lines? So I do think Howard`s right that it`s not the end.
FINEMAN: The law is the -- the law is if he were to stay on the ballot and if her were to win the secretary of state of Alabama has the power to declare it null and void. So there still is a chance in Alabama technically for him to be knocked off after the election ironically.
HUNT: And that is going to be the question for these Republicans in Congress. Is do they push for those things? Do they push to actually take an action?
MATTHEWS: You know, you have through this with your boss, (INAUDIBLE). And these things are so long ago. And you are almost living in a different universe with the guy you work for. I understand it. I`m with you on this because you are innocent as hell. Innocent hell isn`t the right phrase for it. But you worked for Dennis Hastert. It turns out that in all these things he behaved, his sexual misbehavior with young boys under his control as a wrestling coach. So many decades ago. And then it pops out, guys who have probably known this guy, and I don`t think he ever talked about it with anybody he knew, so in other words, this is surprise information I think. This is not somebody like, a California guy, what`s his name, Harvey Weinstein? People know about him and know about his behavior. This is behavior that was unknown to all of this power center, all his political associates, always fellow people in the judgeship, in the court, on the bench, and all of a sudden it comes out to this horrible thing with a 14- year-old. It is just - I don`t know what to say --.
[19:10:46] RAMPELL: Wait. Wait. Wait.
MATTHEWS: Go ahead, Catherine.
RAMPELL: Was this really unknown? I mean, the way that my "Post" colleagues found out about this was that --.
MATTHEWS: Tell me. You are reporting. I don`t know. Go ahead.
RAMPELL: Look. I didn`t write the story. But in the story, itself, the reporters actually say that they found these women because they had heard rumors that Moore had dated teenage girls, decades ago. So if they were hearing rumors just by doing you know on the ground shoe leather reporting, I am not ultimately convinced this was not an open secret. We just don`t know at this point.
MATTHEWS: Catherine, we are talking four decades and these are all -- go ahead, Howard.
FINEMAN: To agree with Kasie, and the Harvey Weinstein thing changed. That`s a month ago. That changed the atmosphere not only in Hollywood but in politics. I think some of the -- I don`t know the timeline of the "Post" reporting. But I`m guessing that some of those -- it`s possible that some of those women who kept quiet all these years decided in this new era, you know, we are going to come forth here. I don`t really know the details.
HUNT: And there were three women by lines on that "Washington Post" story. And that is something, you know, with respect to (INAUDIBLE) of the "New Yorker" who has done some very good work on this topic as well. But "New York Time`s" reporters were women. These "Post" reporters were women. There is something different. This is something that women -- we talk about in the work place all the time.
MATTHEWS: To Catherine`s point, was this bubbling around his career this whole time for all these decades?
HUNT: My guess is, I mean, look, I didn`t report the story. I don`t know the specific circumstances. But I do know that as a woman who has been in the professional workforce the last ten years, this is something that women talk about amongst themselves openly all the time. We never before this last month thought anybody would care.
MATTHEWS: I wonder about the evangelical thing. And you are the only one has talked about it. But Howard, everybody has blown away.
FINEMAN: I`m not blown away.
MATTHEWS: Here is a guy talking about the ten commandment. He is a guy railing against homosexuals or open homophobe. And all this is consistent with very concerned religious beliefs. I understand complete beliefs. I understand. When this pops up, how do they put that in conflict?
FINEMAN: Well, they did it with Donald Trump. Donald Trump got the highest percentage of evangelical votes I think that anybody has gotten on the Republican side, after everybody in the main stream media, all the media practically, declared he was a goner after the ""Access Hollywood"" thing. It didn`t happen. The want, the evangelicals I know from having live in Kentucky and cover the south, they want somebody to fight for them. And they will overlook a lot. The question is whether as Kasie asks, are they going to overlook this? And I think the answer in Alabama may be yes.
MATTHEWS: I want to go - I`m going to leave you out of this one because you are a straight reporter. I meant, John, is he going to survive this? Is he going to be elected senator for Alabama?
FEEHERY: I don`t think so. I think the most interesting thing though is what happens -- the Republicans are already throwing shade on Steve Bannon.
MATTHEWS: You are so moderate with your language, throwing shade. That is so --.
FINEMAN: First of all, they hate Bannon. Moore was Bannon`s guy.
FEEHERY: That`s my point.
MATTHEWS: Will they elect Moore?
FINEMAN: I wouldn`t say it`s impossible. I would not say that at all.
MATTHEWS: Catherine, you have a view on this. Do you think this is about to go all the way of these horror stories? I mean, I thought when Trump said we have to punish women for abortion and he said that horrible stuff on the bus with Billy Bush. I kept saying like everybody, he is gone, he is gone. And it never seemed to be he is gone. He had nine lives at least. Is this guy got another life?
RAMPELL: Well the thing that Trump had going for him was the Supreme Court, right. That there were a lot of evangelical voters who were attached to Trump. MATTHEWS: That`s true.
RAMPELL: They were attached to Trump because they thought he was going to put a pro-life person on the court, which ultimately looks like he did. Roy Moore does not necessarily have that same card to play. But again, I do wonder if given our polarized climate, given skepticism of the main stream media, if a lot of the voters in Alabama will say, you know what? Roy Moore says this is fake news, Breitbart says this is fake news, it must have been fake news, and they just won`t believe it. It`s not so much that they will say it doesn`t matter. They will say, well, maybe it`s not really true. It happened a long time ago. And this is, you know, a smear campaign from the Democrat party as a number of people said.
MATTHEWS: Kasie, I want to close it. Is there any chance of the mere mechanics, of the difficulties almost impossible that getting his name off the ballot at this point, 33 days out might save him?
HUNT: It could. And I think the question is what do Democrats do now? Because Democrats have not been going all in for Doug Jones, the Democrat who has been running down there, despite some people - look, Tim Kaine has been a long-time supporter of him. He has been trying to convince his colleagues to spend money there. I think Democrats might take a look at this and say, you know what? This is actually winnable seat. I think right now that`s really the only guarantee that Roy Moore doesn`t end up in the U.S. Senate, right, is if the Democrat defeats him.
[19:15:21] MATTHEWS: I think it`s a (INAUDIBLE) here, it is a wave here, a Democrat can win down there, most assured.
Anyway, thank you Catherine Rampell. And thank Kasie Hunt, John Feehery and Howard Fineman.
Coming up, an NBC News exclusive on that Russian investigation. The President`s former body guard is shedding new light to his Trump`s to Moscow four years ago. He says that during a Miss Universe pageant in 2013, a Russian participant offered to send five women, you hear that, send five women to Trump`s hotel room. The body guard said he turned the offer down.
Plus, Tuesday`s thrashing at the polls exposed a major vulnerability for Republicans. They are losing suburban voters. Should they go all in Trump`s agenda as Steve Bannon says or should they do whatever they can to distance themselves from Trump?
And the "Hardball" roundtable is here with more on our breaking story tonight. The "Washington Post" report about Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore and allegations of a sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old girl. Will this bombshell force him to step aside before next month`s special election?
Finally, let me finish tonight with my upcoming tour of the west coast.
This is "Hardball" where the action is.
[19:17:37] MATTHEWS: President Trump is wrapping up his final day in China before heading off to an economic summit in Vietnam. In an event earlier today, trump heaped praise on the Chinese president refusing to criticize him for taking advantage of a trade imbalance between our countries. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right now, unfortunately, it is a very one-sided and unfair one, but, but, I don`t blame China. After all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens? I give China great credit. But in actuality, I do blame past administrations for allowing this out of control trade deficit to take place and to grow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, President Trump just defended those remarks on twitter saying, I don`t blame China. I blame the incompetence of past administrations. How can you blame China for taking advantage of people that had no clue? I would have done the same.
Those comments are a departure from Trump`s tough talk as a presidential candidate. By the way, let`s listen to that talk back in the old days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: China, which has been ring us off, the greatest abuser in the history of this country, China has been ripping us, and I have many friends in China. They agree we me 100 percent. They can`t imagine. They can`t even believe that they can get away with what`s happening.
I will direct my secretary of the treasury to label China a currency manipulator, they are. They know it.
We can`t continue to allow China to rape our country and that`s what they are doing. It`s the greatest theft in the history of the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: OK. We will be right back into that.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
In an interview with the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday, President Trump`s longtime former bodyguard Keith Schiller offered some previously unreported details about Trump`s time in Moscow four years ago.
NBC News is now reporting that Schiller told the committee that after a business meeting before the Miss Universe Pageant in 2013, a Russian participant offered to -- quote -- "send five women" -- that was in quotes -- "send five women" -- to Donald Trump`s hotel room in Moscow.
That`s according to three sources who were present fort interview.
Well, Schiller said he turned down the offer on Trump`s behalf. Two of the sources said Schiller viewed the offer as a joke and immediately responded, "We don`t do that type of stuff."
Well, the subject arose as congressional special investigators attempt to verify some of the unsubstantiated allegations contained in that dossier, that dossier compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.
Well, Schiller`s attorney said in a statement that: "The versions of Mr. Schiller`s testimony being leaked to the press are blatantly false and misleading. We are appalled by the leaks that are coming from partisan insiders from the House Intelligence Committee."
Well, a White House lawyer also told NBC that: "The White House and fair- minded people are pleased that Mr. Schiller was able to debunk yet another of the false claims in that fantasy dossier funded by the DNC and Clinton campaign."
I am joined now by the authors of that report.
Ken Dilanian and Jonathan Allen are both with NBC News. And Julia Ioffe is staff writer at "The Atlantic."
Let me start with that.
What is the advantage in us knowing that some character in Russia told Keith Miller (sic) that he had some women to bring over to Trump`s hotel room? What does that tell us? And he turned it down.
KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, he is refuting under oath the more salacious claims in the dossier that Trump was actually cavorting with prostitutes at that hotel. So, that is important.
DILANIAN: But it`s also important that the idea of prostitutes or women was floated to Schiller, and he is admitting that under oath.
MATTHEWS: But how does that make Trump look guilty? If we knew nothing else about Trump, why would we that was somehow an occasion of sin, as we say?
DILANIAN: Well, some people would say you can`t imagine this offer being made to Barack Obama or George W. Bush.
MATTHEWS: But isn`t it made to just about every American businessperson that goes to Russia? From what I hear, isn`t it?
JULIA IOFFE, "THE ATLANTIC": Yes.
MATTHEWS: I heard a guy that said that somebody calls you from downstairs in one of these fancy hotels over there, an American business guy, and he said, somebody with a nice voice says, hi, my name is Svetlana or whatever. I would like to come up.
And you have to say no. It`s coming at you.
IOFFE: Yes, that`s right.
And I think -- and what`s important to understand is, he`s not there as Barack Obama or George W. Bush would have been, right? He was there as a private businessman. And business in Moscow, in Russia is done often in a bath house in the presence of prostitutes.
MATTHEWS: It`s sleazy.
IOFFE: In some ways, I see it as like local hospitality.
MATTHEWS: You are laughing, but you mean that. You don`t mean that? Do they consider that courteous behavior to offer women to visiting business - - or do they use it as a chance? I always thought they used them for blackmail to get pictures of it.
IOFFE: Not mutually exclusive. Not mutually exclusive. So, basically, everything...
MATTHEWS: How can it be mutually exclusive?
IOFFE: I`ll tell you.
MATTHEWS: If you are out to blackmail somebody, that`s not a courtesy. That`s like, would you like a drink?
IOFFE: I don`t think you`re necessarily out -- the way it works in Russia is, you are not necessarily out to blackmail anybody,.
You are just collecting stuff for a rainy day, and keeping it on file. And the way business works in Russia is, everybody is guilty of everything all the time, because, for example, the way business laws and tax laws and fire codes are written, that laws are all in conflict with each other, so everybody is in violation of some law at any point.
And the law can be used selectively against them. And this is just one of those things.
MATTHEWS: Jonathan, your view? You hear about the value of knowing that the testimony was made by Keith Miller (sic), his bodyguard, that he, I don`t know what -- under what circumstance he admitted it, but he admitted that they were offered five women.
They didn`t say prostitutes. The implication was, I guess. But what do you make of it all? Because it does sort of bring to most people`s head to -- right to the dossier and their image of the two women in the room, you know, claimed in the dossier by Christopher Steele. It all comes together in their minds.
JONATHAN ALLEN, NBC NEWS POLITICAL REPORTER: Absolutely.
And so I think you what have got here and the importance of this is...
MATTHEWS: Kurt (sic) Schiller. Kurt (sic) Schiller. I keep thinking of the football players or whatever -- Keith Schiller.
DILANIAN: Keith Schiller.
MATTHEWS: Keith Schiller.
ALLEN: I think the importance here is that you have got some confirmation of some of what was in the dossier. And those who want to believe that the tape is out there of this...
MATTHEWS: Does this honestly do that, though?
ALLEN: I`m sorry?
MATTHEWS: Does this do that?
ALLEN: No, it does not.
MATTHEWS: Does this suggests it`s true?
ALLEN: It does not.
What it does is, it has the guy closest to Donald Trump saying it`s not true, but also saying that he left Donald Trump in his hotel room that night, that he didn`t stay with him. Of course, nobody would expect his bodyguard to stay with him all night.
And then -- but the other piece of this is...
MATTHEWS: Two beds, please. You don`t have the bodyguard hanging in the room all night.
In January, President Trump pushed back against the salacious allegations contained in that dossier, saying he was very careful during his stay in Moscow, because he knew that anything he did there could be used to embarrass him. Let`s watch Trump talking about what he knew was up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Make clear whether during your visits to either Moscow or St. Petersburg, you engaged in conduct that you now regret and that a reasonable...
QUESTION: Would a reasonable observer say that you are potentially vulnerable to blackmail by Russia or by its intelligence agencies?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me just tell you what I do.
When I leave our country, I`m a very high-profile person, would you say? I am extremely careful. I`m surrounded by bodyguards. I`m surrounded by people.
And I always tell them -- anywhere, but I always tell them if I`m leaving this country, be very careful, because in your hotel rooms, and no matter where you go, you`re going to probably have cameras.
I am extremely careful. I`m surrounded by bodyguards. I`m surrounded by people.
And I always tell them -- anywhere, but I always tell them if I`m leaving this country, be very careful, because in your hotel rooms, and no matter where you go, you`re going to probably have cameras.
Does anyone really believe that story?
I`m also very much of a germaphobe, by the way, believe me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Julia, put that together. Let`s start -- forget the germaphobe part. Let`s go the part we can imagine. He is a smart guy about people in a competitive business environment, where they will use anything against the other side to get a better deal.
Is he right here?
IOFFE: Well, first of all, he said this after he was already briefed on the dossier. So, it`s very easy for him to then say, well, of course I knew that they would have been taping me in a hotel room, whether he did or not. The other thing is...
MATTHEWS: But you said that was normal business, that kind of stuff.
IOFFE: Sure. Sure.
ALLEN: And Donald Trump is a hotel owner.
IOFFE: Wait. Wait.
Can I just say, why do we think that Donald Trump is blackmailable, even if there is a tape of this? There already has been a tape. It was the "Access Hollywood" tape where he grabbed about by grabbing women by their genitals. And not only did he not resign or step down from the race. He won the presidency.
So, if I`m an FSB agent, in Moscow, I`m saying, if I have a tape, I`m going to be like, ah, this is useless.
DILANIAN: To expand on your point, Chris, the hotel, the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow, is notorious as an FSB honey trap.
And so -- and I was told by sources that Keith Schiller made it clear to the committee that he was aware of that and that Donald Trump was aware of that.
And that`s one of the reasons he said that he didn`t believe this story was true. But it`s also the case, as Jonathan was saying, that Democrats were drilling down on him. Well, sir, at some point, you went to bed, and you can`t tell us what happened after that in Donald Trump`s hotel room.
MATTHEWS: Yes, but innocent until proven guilty.
Let me tell you, Trump is business wise, and he doesn`t drink. There is no reason to believe that he would put himself -- Jonathan, what do you think here? Is it credible to believe that he`s stupid enough to create porn movies for his enemies? Is he stupid enough to do that?
ALLEN: Is it credible that it`s -- yes, it`s credible that anybody might do that.
But, at the same time, we don`t have any evidence of it.
MATTHEWS: I normally don`t buy the guy`s act at all. But I think, in this case, he`s not that stupid.
I wouldn`t even say anybody -- well, I don`t know.
Thank you very much. It`s great to have -- Julia is as sophisticated as hell on this stuff. And you guys are too. I have got the expert team here. I don`t know if you want to be too expert on this stuff.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Ken Dilanian, Jonathan Allen, and Julia Ioffe.
MATTHEWS: Up next: Tuesday`s election, that was just a couple days ago, exposed a weakness in the Republicans, don`t you think? They are losing ground with suburban voters. Is that solution to that problem more Trump? I don`t think so. How about less?
This is HARDBALL, where the action is.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone. I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s what`s happening.
The man accused of attacking Senator Rand Paul has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor assault charges. This happened in a Kentucky courtroom. Rene Boucher is accused of tackling the U.S. senator while he was out mowing his lawn.
Five police officers who responded to a shooting at a Republican baseball practice have been awarded the U.S. Capitol Police Medal of Honor. Five people were injured in that June attack, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
A cold front from Canada is bringing arctic temperatures from the Midwest to the Northeast. A cold blast will send temperatures plunging over the next few days -- back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
With Tuesday`s election here in Virginia especially proved the Trump playbook was fatal for Republican Ed Gillespie. It also exposed a major vulnerability for Republicans and President Trump ahead of the 2018 congressional midterms, their appeal among or non-appeal among suburban voters.
"The New York Times" writes: "The American suburbs appear to be in revolt against Donald Trump."
Democrat Ralph Northam defeated Gillespie`s in Northern Virginia`s vote- rich Washington suburbs by 20 points or more, even exceeding Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton`s victims in the region.
"The Washington Post" writes Trump`s loss is a canary in the coal mine for Republicans. And veteran strategist Mike Murphy, no fan of this president, told the paper: "Donald Trump the an anchor for the GOP. We got that message in loud volume in Virginia. The canary in the coal mine did not just pass out. Its head exploded."
But former White House strategist Steve Bannon said Ed Gillespie`s problem was that he wasn`t fully on board with Trump. Let`s listen to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: One of the things about the Gillespie campaign, it just shows you is, you can`t fake the Trump agenda.
You have to go all in. And this agenda is a winning agenda. Do not believe the opposition party. Do not believe the fake news and fake media. This agenda is what America needs now and what America needs to rebuild its future. And it`s a winning ticket.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: For more, I am joined right now by James Peterson. He`s MSNBC contributor and host of "The Remix" on WHYY.
Thank you so much, James
You live in Drexel Hill. My cousins grew up in Drexel Hill. We were always there, at St. Dorothy`s. We know that neighborhood very well.
That is the inner suburbs. It`s not fancy. It`s just suburbs. What do you think happened out there Tuesday in Delaware County?
JAMES PETERSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think there was a lot of activity in my polling place, a lot of excitement and a lot of energy around this election.
And you know this already, Chris. I live in the kind of neighborhood where the candidates come door to door and talk to folks. And we always say all politics is local. And, Chris, all politics are local, but this is a moment where national politics are really shaping people`s inspiration to come out and vote.
And so people are responding to Trumpism in this particular election. But you also know Pennsylvania is like a truly purple state, right? We say it`s red sometimes and usually we say it`s blue. But the reality is, it`s one of these purple states. Like, it`s really one of these states where Republicans live next door to Democrats.
There`s a lot of independents. Independents make decisions based upon how they see things happening both at a local level, but at also at the national level. And at the national level, Trumpism is a disaster for many sort of suburban, you know, just regular folks who work hard, want to see a president who can conduct himself a certain way.
MATTHEWS: I agree with you.
PETERSON: And so I think that`s the response we are seeing this week.
MATTHEWS: I like to say about Pennsylvania, my birth state, is a real state. Real people. Nothing fancy. It`s a mix of everything.
But wouldn`t it be a good idea, do you think, for the Democrats -- it`s not our job to advice them, but if they can pick a candidate next time around who looks good in Pennsylvania in all the polling, I would say that would be a pretty good prospect for 2020, somebody that can clearly win Pennsylvania, none of this margin of error crap, but clearly win, they have got a winner for the country?
PETERSON: I would agree with you, Chris.
Pennsylvania is really indicative in terms of presidential politics, right? As Pennsylvania goes, almost like Ohio, as Pennsylvania goes, so does the presidency. But because of the complexity of the state, the cities, the suburbs, the rural areas, the highly densely populated places like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and the more rural areas like in the center of the state, it can be an indicative sort of space for people to think about politics going forward.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about the suburbs.
Why would a place like Delaware County of Bucks County or Montgomery, any of the nice suburbs around the big cities, like Chicago, Philadelphia and New York, why would they be more likely to depart, basically unhook themselves from Trump, than the more tougher old neighborhoods like Johnstown, Pennsylvania, or Erie, or Scranton?
They seem to be sticking, from what we have seen. Why would the suburbs be the first to leave Trump as they seem to have done this week?
PETERSON: Yes, I think some of this is a return to form, Chris, more than a revolt, right, because these are the same suburbs that came out strong for Obama.
There was some depression in these suburbs when it came for Hillary Clinton`s campaign. And that`s just around a lot of the complexities of that particular political moment.
But these are folks who also are paying attention to national politics. They`re seeing how this president is sort of prosecuting the Trumpism agenda. They`re not seeing what the payoff is for these local communities around that kind of Trumpism.
This is a pretty diverse area, Chris. This is an area that is not going to be sort of anti-immigration. This is an area that understands both the rationale for law enforcement, but also the challenges around law enforcement.
So a lot of the Trumpism sort of go-to issues don`t play as well in the suburbs of Pennsylvania.
MATTHEWS: Well, House Speaker Paul Ryan was asked if Republicans face a choice between the policies of President George W. Bush or those of President Trump. Here he is, Paul Ryan.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
QUESTION: Is it going to be a choice for Republicans Bush or Trump?
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We already made that choice. We`re with Trump. We already made that choice.
That`s a choice we made in the beginning of the year. That`s a choice we made during the campaign, which is, we merged our agendas. We ran on a joint agenda with Donald Trump. We got together with Donald Trump when he was president-elect Trump and walked through what is it we want to accomplish in the next two years.
We all agreed on that agenda. We`re processing that agenda.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, James, He sounds like Lionel Richie in an old Pepsi commercial.
(singing): We made our choice.
I mean, that`s idiot talk.
MATTHEWS: Of course, no choice is permanent. You got to keep thinking, Mr. Speaker. You got to think and watch and judge the performance of this president, and not act like, you know, you are not -- you`re a nonthinking being.
Your thoughts, James.
PETERSON: Yes. And it doesn`t seem accurate. It doesn`t seem accurate, Chris, because at the end of the day, they weren`t lock-step with Trump. They were never Trumpers. Throughout the whole process that Speaker Ryan is talking about, they were Republicans who are very, very resistant, right from the beginning and during the campaign, during the president-elect moment.
There are certain things that Speaker Ryan wants to get out of a Trump presidency. And I think he is looking at tax reform or tax cuts as one of the ways to do that. But I also sense of sort of a hint of regret, even in that statement that he just made. But also, it`s not accurate, Chris. There are plenty of Republicans who`ve been resisting Trump throughout the whole process.
MATTHEWS: I think he`s worried about the Freedom Caucus, you know, what you call, whatever they are, the Tea Party crowd, that they`re calling themselves that, he`s worried about them because they cashiered his predecessor rather quickly. That was John Boehner. Good-bye, John, so he doesn`t want to be said good-bye to. That`s what I think.
Anyway, James Peterson, thanks so much from Jackson Hill, Pennsylvania.
Up next, the HARDBALL roundtable weighs on the top stories of the evening, the bombshell allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, and reporting from NBC News that a Russian participant offered to send five women to Donald Trump`s hotel room in Moscow during the Miss Universe contest and were returned back.
You are watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
We continue to follow two major stories out of Washington today. First, "The Washington Post" report today about allegations of sexual misconduct against Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, allegations which he denies.
Plus, NBC News is reporting Donald Trump`s long-time bodyguard Keith Schiller told Congress that before the Miss Universe pageant in 2013, he rejected a Russian offer to send five women, that was the phrase, send five women to Donald Trump`s hotel room in Moscow.
For more on those stories, I`m joined by the HARDBALL roundtable, and what a roundtable it is.
Nancy Cook, reporter for "Politico". Eugene Scott, reporter for "The Washington Post". And Dana Milbank, columnist for "The Washington Post".
So, let`s see, does anything really matter the way it used to matter? Is it people used to say, well, conservative, cultural conservative, religious, don`t like misbehavior by politicians. That used to be a reasonable category. But after Trump, you know, oh, Trump got the best evangelical vote in the history based upon his lifestyle. What are we talking about?
There are so many socio metric overlays and craziness today, you are looking at me, and I want to look, that look, of what the hell is going on in terms of how people vote?
DANA MILBANK, COLUMNIST, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, the short answer is no, none of those things you just mentioned matters. It`s all about partisanship and tribalism. It`s what team you`re on. It`s like, he`s our guy, it doesn`t matter what he did.
You can already hear the Republican senators getting ready to tip-toe away, not from Roy Moore but from the denunciations that --
MATTHEWS: Well, Monica Lewinsky was not 14. She was young, way too young. But the people on the right said this is the worst sin on the history of the presidency, right?
MILBANK: It doesn`t matter. That`s why "Access Hollywood" doesn`t matter. He`s on their team. They`re already saying, if true, how -- what are they looking for, a videotaped everyday and DNA from 1979? They`re giving themselves leeway to pull back from this because it`s more important --
MATTHEWS: John McCain making your point, it`s about politics. John McCain did not wait. He said, get him out of there.
EUGENE SCOTT, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: He did not. He absolutely did not. And he hasn`t waited previously in attacking things that he feels are affiliated with the Trumpism and dangerous for America.
I think what`s really been interesting is the number of Republican lawmakers who have come out for the first time against Roy Moore in this conversation. Roy Moore has said lots of things and done lots of things that people should have spoken out against. This one right now for many of them was the last straw.
MATTHEWS: Well, one thing is that this guy is tottering. There is a chance he could lose.
NANCY COOK, REPORTER, POLITICO: There sure is. But also, the thing is, is that this is so much a crisis in the GOP`s own making. They decide, a bunch of Republicans decided to back him, despite a bunch of controversial statements he made, you know, they are throwing their weight behind him. And Steve Bannon has.
And even with this Russia stuff, this is a real overhang over the Trump administration and the fact of the matter is, the Republicans control Congress, Trump controls the White House, and this is some of what they have to show for it.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me here, because I have been fighting this all night tonight, I don`t know how people say, because Keith Schiller says that some Russian said I`m going to bring five women over to your boss` apartment or hotel room tonight somehow incriminates him. And yet, some people on left, I listen to all day said, oh, this shows this is all true.
No, it doesn`t. It shows perhaps totally the opposite.
MATTHEWS: As you said a moment ago, it`s all tribal, it`s all partisan, and no matter what the issue is, just go to your column.
MILBANK: In fairness, I`m sure the Russians meant were accountants. They want to golf. Check out his books.
MATTHEWS: OK, here you go. You are joining the rampage.
MILBANK: We don`t know and I`m not going to go so some tribal corner on this. We don`t know what that means. What we do know is through all of this testimony, what we`re finding out is that salacious dossier, it`s not complete fiction. There seem to be.
MATTHEWS: Well, how does it make it less fiction or more friction?
MILBANK: Well, because we`re placed there. And if, you know, he`s there at the Miss Universe and, no, we don`t know if that salacious business about something that I`m not even going to say on the airwaves tonight is true. But now we know, well, maybe that didn`t happen, but he was offered prostitutes.
MATTHEWS: No, frankly, his guy was offered them.
MILBANK: And -- or women who were accountants, we know the bodyguards stood at the door.
MATTHEWS: You`re teasing. You`re teasing and laughing. I see this part, You are doing what you accuse others of doing.
Go ahead. Nancy, I want your view about this.
COOK: Well, I just think that --
MATTHEWS: Look, first of all, is it possible to be an evangelical conservative Republican who goes to church every Sunday and think Roy Moore should get a pass on this?
COOK: Well, I think what we`ve seen is so many of that same group that supported Trump overlooked a bunch of things. You know, they overlooked the "Hollywood Access" tape. They`ve overlooked a number of comments that he`s made that had been derogatory towards women. His base really sticks with him. The question is --
MATTHEWS: Three wives. I mean, not that that`s anything wrong with that, but they would normally say that`s about two, too many.
COOK: Right. But his base sticks with him. So, the question is, does that transfer to Moore? Does the base stick with Moore? We don`t know that yet.
SCOTT: I think there`s a good shot. I think there is a YouGov/"Huffington Post" poll that says only 8 percent of Trump voters believed any of the allegations against Trump. So, the question --
MATTHEWS: Ha! Ha!
SCOTT: Only 8 percent.
MATTHEWS: I love that. Only eight percent, one in 12 believe anything.
SCOTT: Anything. Any of them.
So, whether or not this will translate to Roy, I mean, it`s not --
MILBANK: And they won`t believe the Amazon/"Washington Post" which we represented. If we stay sun is rising at 6:30 tomorrow morning, they`re not going to open their window.
MATTHEWS: If you guys said Tokyo is the capital of Japan, I`m skeptical about that.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us. And this is HARDBALL, where the action is.
MATTHEWS: Well, up next, as usual, the HARDBALL roundtable will be asked to give me some scoops we`ll be talking about tomorrow. We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable.
Nancy, tell me something I don`t know.
COOK: Well, I think what I`m curious about tonight is does Trump address the more controversy in his tweets.
We know that he`s up. He`s in Asia. He`s on Twitter. He already tweeted something about China and trade.
You know, he was a huge backer of Moore. So does he come out in favor of Moore? And also he may regret deleting all of those Luther Strange tweets.
MATTHEWS: Luther Strange liked this story, didn`t he?
COOK: I think he did.
SCOTT: The Trump voter fraud commission is being sued by one of its own members. A Democrat on the commission --
MATTHEWS: I saw that.
SCOTT: Yes, saying that --
MATTHEWS: What`s that about? Is this commission going to find anything that`s wrong?
SCOTT: Well, he`s saying he can`t even figure out when the meetings are. They aren`t telling him any information. So, he`s saying they`re violating some federal laws in terms of openness --
MATTHEWS: Does this whole thing a phantom operation?
SCOTT: Well, it doesn`t seem to be something that`s clearly organized and visible.
MATTHEWS: Ha! You`re being so careful.
Go ahead, Dana.
MILBANK: We were lamenting poor vetting. But Eugene and I had the same don`t tell me. So I`m afraid --
MATTHEWS: You`ve been caught empty-handed, thank you. You`re a genius but not knowledgeable tonight.
Thank you, Nancy Cook, Eugene Scott, and the empty-handed Dana Milbank.
When we return, let me finish tonight with my upcoming tour of the West Coast. You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with my travel for the next two weeks coming. I`ll be heading across the country to speak about "Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit", which is getting a great response from people, and not just progressives. There`s heart in this country this man is touching.
I`ll be doing flying to California tomorrow morning to do HARDBALL from Los Angeles tomorrow night, and then "Real Time with Bill Maher". I`ll be on a special two-person panel on Bill Maher with Michael Moore, that`s going to be something, and Donna Brazile`s also on that show. You can`t miss that one.
On Saturday, I`m going to speak at Scripps College in Claremont, California. Then at Live Talks L.A. in Santa Monica on Monday. The Commonwealth Club in Palo Alto on Tuesday. Then town hall in Seattle at Temple De Hirsch Sinai on Thursday.
More coming as "Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit" which has jumped onto "The New York Times" bestseller list at number two, continues to tap into something good in this country, something pushed aside, but I`m glad not forgotten.
Well, that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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