Fifth woman accuses Roy Moore Transcript 11/13/17 Hardball with Chris Matthews

Guests: Kyle Whitmire; Ryan Williams, John Sipher, Jackie Speier, Bradley Whitford, AntonioVillaraigosa, Katty Kay, Anita Kumar

Show: HARDBALL Date: November 13, 2017 Guest: Kyle Whitmire; Ryan Williams, John Sipher, Jackie Speier, Bradley Whitford, AntonioVillaraigosa, Katty Kay, Anita Kumar

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Can`t take more. Let`s play "Hardball."

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Los Angeles.

That stampede you hear is the Republican Party running away from their Senate candidate in Alabama, Roy Moore. Washington Republicans are lining up to call on him to drop out of the race, starting with majority leader Mitch McConnell.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe these allegations to be true?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: I believe the women, yes. I think he should step aside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you encouraging a write-in campaign?

MCCONNELL: That`s an option we are looking at whether or not there is someone who could mount a write-in campaign successfully.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would it be Senator Strange, do you think?

MCCONNELL: We`ll see.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Senator Orrin Hatch echoed McConnell and said I believe Luther Strange is an excellent alternative. Well, Luther Strange said he is highly unlikely to mount a write-in campaign.

However, Senator Susan Collins said she has heard what Moore had to say and quote "I did not find his denials to be convincing and believe that he should withdraw."

Senators Rob Portman, Todd Young and Lindsey Graham all came out today calling on Moore to drop out immediately.

And Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado said if Moore wins the Senate should vote to expel him because he does not meet the ethical and moral requirements of the United States Senate. That`s Cory Gardner.

In a fundraising email today with the subject line Mitch McConnell`s plot to destroy me, Moore hit back. Quote "apparently Mitch McConnell and the establishment GOP would rather elect a radical pro-abortion Democrat than a conservative Christian as the next U.S. senator from Alabama.

Meanwhile, another accuser has come forward today against Roy Moore. Beverly Young Nelson said she was sexually assaulted by Moore when she was 16 and Moore offered her a ride home from her job at a restaurant. She spoke with reporters today, along with her attorney, Gloria Allred.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEVERLY YOUNG NELSON, ROY MOORE ACCUSER: Mr. Moore reached over and began groping me. Him putting his hands on my breasts. I tried to open my car door to leave, but he reached over and he locked it so I could not get out. I tried fighting him off while yelling at him to stop. But instead of stopping, he began squeezing my neck, attempting to force my head on to his crotch. At some point he gave up and then looked at me, and he told me -- he said, you are just a child, and he said I am the district attorney of Etowah County.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: While she said Moore signed their high school year book quote "to a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say, merry Christmas." Christmas 1977. Love Roy Moore. Roy Moore and he wrote this "D.A." NBC News has not verified this account.

Well, tonight Moore told a local television station Nelson`s allegation is absolutely false. He said he didn`t know her. Yesterday, Moore told a crowd of supporters he was planning on suing the "Washington Post" who broke the story last week that Moore pursued teenaged girls, including a 14-year-old. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: Just three days ago, the "Washington Post" published another attack on my character and reputation in a desperate attempt to stop my political campaign. These attacks involve a minor child are completely false and untrue for which they will be sued.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: For more on this I`m joined by Elise Jordan, NBC political analyst and former adviser to rand Paul. Also Kyle Whitmire is a columnist with the Alabama media group. And Ryan Williams is deputy national press secretary for Mitt Romney`s campaign in 2012.

Let me start with Elise Jordan. Elise, I have seen you on "Today." I have been out traveling here. But tell me what your sense is of the Republican Party`s reaction. It looks to me Mitch McConnell may be the lead bird on this. He is signaling he wants this guy out of the race. Is that dispositive? Is that going to cue everyone else? Because I just heard Ted Cruz is also just gotten off Moore. He is against him taking the nomination here.

ELISE JORDAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, as of now, it sounds like pretty much every Republican has been calling on Roy Moore to step out of the race. But the question remains whether Roy Moore will actually do that. And I seriously doubt that Roy Moore would ever drop out of the race on his own volition. I really do not think that certainly senator McConnell telling him to drop out would make him force his hand.

MATTHEWS: What do you make of his stonewalling, denial that he knows any of the women, saying the whole thing is put up by the left wing media, that it was all a concoction worthy of suing by "the Washington Post." In other words, you to believe him against all the witnesses, all the people making these charges and the media. You have to believe him as the lone person in this whole case telling the truth, and absolutely 180 from what everyone else is saying that takes a lot of confidence in his soul, don`t you think? To believe that he is that pure, that true, and everyone else is dark as hell and they are evil claims. Everyone is working against him except he is the good guy. It seems like it`s asking a lot of Mr. Trump and Mr. Bannon, of course.

JORDAN: Well, Chris, and also his brother comparing Roy Moore to Jesus. I think that`s a little bit much. And I would hope that any Christian would object to any human being comparing themselves to Jesus Christ. But that seems to be Roy Moore, what he is all about.

Your other guest, Kyle Whitmire had an excellent column in the Alabama Web site that talks about how Roy Moore would sign bibles. He would autograph bibles. So I think surely this is a man with a definite messiah complex.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me go to Kyle on that question. What I was impressed was the statement by Mr. Moore. That if you vote for the other guy Doug Jones you`re voting for abortion rights. That may be his last, you know, his last (INAUDIBLE) here, his last resort which is to focus this not on him or the other candidate but your values in terms of that moral issue.

KYLE WHITMIRE, COLUMNIST, ALABAMA MEDIA GROUP: Listen to who we are not hearing from right now. You are seeing lots of national Republicans walking away from Roy Moore you. Haven`t seen one Alabama Republican walk away from Roy Moore.

We have a precedent here. A little more than a year ago, Martha Roby, representative from Alabama, turned on then candidate Trump after the "Access Hollywood" tapes came out. She nearly lost her election last year because that of to a write-in campaign from Trump loyalists. She is going to have a really hard time next year winning reelection.

And so a lot of Republicans here have been very, very quiet. No one is speaking out. No one is saying that Roy Moore shouldn`t be Alabama`s candidate except for people who aren`t in Alabama.

MATTHEWS: And so that implies that there -- if you think it through, they don`t mind the consequence that he actually becomes their senator for a number of years. Maybe a couple of terms. That doesn`t -- in other words you are saying this culture war is so strong, it`s what side are you on and that`s the end of the argument? If you are on the other side, you are on the other side.

WHITMIRE: I know that there are Republicans in this state who are horrified by that prospect. But remember, Roy Moore is Trumpism without Trump incarnate. He is the candidate when Donald Trump came down here to endorse and campaign for Luther Strange. There were people who went to those campaign events who said to our reporters, yes, I love the President. I want to go see the President. That`s why I`m here tonight. But I`m going to go to the polls next Tuesday and vote for Roy Moore. He has a stronger following here in his base, and his base is not the entire Republican Party here. But it`s a big portion of it than has fanatical devotion to him and will believe him before they believe one accuser, two accusers, four accusers, five accusers, and certainly "the Washington Post."

MATTHEWS: Certainly, "the Washington Post," get that.

Anyway, "the New York Times" reports that some people in the White House now are considering a radical suggestion to fill the Alabama Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions. Give it back to Jeff Sessions. Well, according to "Times" if Moore stays on and goes on to win, it would leave Senate Republicans with the difficult question to stop him from being seated or seating him and then immediately expel him from the chamber. One idea now being discussed under that scenario brought up by two White House officials who spoke up on anonymity would be for Governor Kay Ivy of Alabama to immediately point attorney general Jeff Sessions to what had been his seat when it became vacant.

What do you make of that scenario? I would stick with Kyle on that. Here is the scenario. You let the guy win. He wins the Republican nomination. He gets sworn in. Immediately the Senate votes two-thirds to expel him. And then Jeff Sessions is named by the governor to be the senator he once was before. Is that credible with the voters down here, Kyle?

WHITMIRE: No. And I think -- well, some, but not all. And that fanatical base that Roy Moore has, remember, the reason why Roy Moore got as far as he did was because the Republican establishment was trying to force a candidate, in this case Luther Strange, on Alabama. And Alabama didn`t want it.

MATTHEWS: I get it.

WHITMIRE: It was a smelly appointment to begin with. And if you are talking about - we have already rejected in the state one candidate who was put in office by a smelly appointment. If you try that again and you try after having rejected -- mind you, you are talking about a situation where Alabama voters hypothetically would go to the polls and select Roy Moore to be their senator, and then you are invoking the fine print of the constitution to say no, he can`t really be your senator. We are going give you somebody else instead. I don`t even think that Jeff Sessions` brand here has the strength that Roy Moore`s brand does.

MATTHEWS: Let me go to Ryan Williams.

Ryan, what about the rest of the Republican Party? And I have been waiting for the Republican senators, the highest officials in the Republican Party nationwide to stand up to Trump. And on this issue, unlike any other issue they chose to separate for him. What do you make of it? What is going on here? Why has every senator, including all the ones in the west which is conservative, and the south as well?

Now they have Ted Cruz joining the list today. It doesn`t matter where you are from, the Deep South or the rocky mountain west, they`re coming out against this guy, Roy Moore. And they are willing to break with Trump. Do they think Trump is going to catch up to them in the next 48 hours or so and say you were right? I`m going dump the guy too?

RYAN WILLIAMS REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I think they`re showing real leadership. Obviously the allegations were very serious. Roy Moore`s explanation over the weekend was not nearly good enough. It was terrible. And that`s why I think you`re seeing a number of people run today. And you`re seeing leadership --

MATTHEWS: By the way, he is not disputing it.

WILLIAMS: No.

MATTHEWS: He said I`m not going to dispute any of this. Go ahead.

WILLIAMS: No. He is tracking the media, trying to rally his base and not addressing the issues at hand. I think that`s why you are seeing people jump off right now. You are seeing leader McConnell lead the way on this. I think he did a very good thing for his members by coming out strongly as he did this morning, protecting the rest of them.

We have to see how President Trump responds. The White House has issued statements. The President himself has said he will address this when he returns. He will have to. He needs to tow the line that has been set by the senators here and call for Mr. Moore to get out of the race.

MATTHEWS: What is your hunch about the Republican leadership and the Democrats? Can you see them combining for are two-thirds vote to expel him if he wins? Can you see that happening?

WILLIAMS: I think so. I think that could potentially happen. There is precedent here with Senator Bob Packwood in the past over allegations like this. There is precedent for this type of removal. And I think it could happen given just the swift condemnation we have seen from senators. Not just people like McConnell, but like Ted Cruz now. We are seeing the entire spectrum of Republicans.

I would assume all Democrats would be on board with something like that. So I do think if he did get elected which still is possible, there could be a move, a successful move towards expulsion.

MATTHEWS: Elise, I want your thoughts on this because you are in the media now. And you know how we all talk in the media. And you know how everything works on both sides now. You know our worlds.

Do you have a sense -- I have a sense that things all come together. Snakes come in pairs. That`s an old phrase. But I do think there is an atmospheric thing that takes over. I think the Harvey Weinstein thing, the Kevin Spacey thing, all this stuff seems to be pairing up, bunching up if you will into one big somebody better say no. What do you think?

JORDAN: I think this is a huge societal moment. I think that we are actually witnessing human progress in women are coming out and they are airing the allegations, and they are confronting the men who assaulted them. And they are being believed for really the first time in history. It`s not immediately being thrown back on them and they are being blamed for it.

And granted, some of that has happened and it`s horrible. But overwhelmingly, the women are being believed as they should be. As they are brave enough to go out and to air the very worst time and terror of their lives. And we should believe them. We owe them better. And we should do better.

MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Elise Jordan. It`s great to have you as a colleague. And thank you, Kyle Whitmire with a very tough assessment down there in Alabama politically. And Ryan Williams as well for national look.

Coming up, Donald Trump says he trusts Putin and takes him at his word when Putin says Russia didn`t meddle in our election. It`s the most blatant example yet of Trump putting his trust in Russia first and their intelligence people over the analysis of our own intelligence community here at home. And he did on foreign soil.

Plus, after the Democrats won big last week, can they really return to the same faces to challenge Donald Trump in 2020? Actor Bradley Withford (ph).

And former L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa are with us tonight.

And Trump got along great with Rodrigo Duterte, a dictator of the Philippines. Trump laughed when Duterte called the media spice, our media spies and didn`t hold Duterte accountable for human rights and abuse and killing people. Why does the President of the United States seem to love dictators and strong men so much?

Finally, let me finish tonight with the victory in the heart out here in Los Angeles back in 1968. And this is "Hardball" where the action is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: President Trump this weekend sidestepped questions about the Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. When asked by reporters on board air force one if Moore should leave the race, Trump responded I have been with you folks, so I haven`t gotten to see too much. And believe it or not, even when I`m in Washington and New York, I do not watch much television.

Trump went on the say quote "I don`t get to watch much television, primarily because of documents. I`m reading a documents a lot and different things."

Well, Trump deflected questions, Mark Short, the White House director of legislative affairs argued that Moore should be afforded the opportunity to defend himself. Here he is. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK SHORT, DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: I think we here in Washington have to be careful as well in this. Roy Moore is somebody who graduated from West Point. He served our country in Vietnam. He has been elected multiple times statewide in Alabama. The people in Alabama know Roy Moore better than we do here in D.C. What Moore has said is this week he plans to come forward with more evidence to support his innocence.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST, MEET THE PRESS: And if he -- if that evidence doesn`t work, what does that mean? You guys are going to step in? Is this Senate seat that important?

SHORT: There is more Senate seat important than the issue of child pedophilia, Chuck. I mean, that`s the reality. But having said that, he has not been proven guilty. We have to afford him the chance to defend himself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to "Hardball."

President Trump is proving once again that old habits die-hard. After his private meeting with Vladimir Putin at the APEC summit in Vietnam, Trump was asked by reporters where they discussed Russia`s meddling in the 2016 election. The President said that Putin that every time he sees me, he says I didn`t do that. And I believe, I really believe that, when he tells me that, he means it."

Well, the president also slammed the former leaders of the intelligence community here who concluded last year that Russia was to blame -- quote -- "They`re political hacks. You have Brennan, you have Clapper and you have Comey. Comey is proven now to be a liar, and he is proven to be a leaker. So you look at that. And you have President Putin very strongly, vehemently saying he had nothing to do with that."

Well, the president`s remarks made on foreign soil earned him a swift rebuke from Senator John McCain, who said: "There is nothing America first about taking the word of a KGB colonel over that of the American intelligence community."

Here is how Trump attempted to clarify his remarks yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe that he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election.

As to whether I believe it or not, I`m with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with their leadership. I believe in our intel agencies, our intelligence agencies. I have worked with them very strongly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: However, as three former CIA officers pointed out in a "New York Times" op-ed -- quote -- "It was only after a public outcry that President Trump seemingly begrudgingly cast his lot with American intelligence agencies, at least for the time being."

Well, joining me is the co-author of that op-ed, former senior CIA officer John Sipher, who served in Moscow. And Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier sits on the House Intelligence Committee.

Congresswoman and sir, I have got three possible options here. One, Trump just believes Mr. Putin, President Putin. Number two, he wants to smile him up, shine him up because he does hope for some kind of rapprochement that helps us to do business with them regard to North Korea and with regard to the Middle East, especially Syria.

And I guess the third option is, I don`t know what he is doing here. I don`t know. I guess he is not telling the truth himself, that he knows there was meddling, and he damn well isn`t going to admit it.

What do you think? Congresswoman, where are you on that of the option -- the optional interpretation of why Trump seems to have this resistant-to- change bromance with Mr. Putin?

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, there is a couple of reasons, I believe.

One is the bromance is something that has a lot to do with how he got elected. I think it doesn`t fit his script if, in fact, we make the clear statement, which we already have -- 17 agencies, intelligence agencies have said that Russia meddled in the election.

But if they meddled in the election, then he is not necessarily the president of the United States, because it`s tainted. And so he doesn`t want to be known as a tainted president. So he promotes this Putin propaganda that clearly is false.

MATTHEWS: Let me go to Mr. Sipher on this.

Sir, what is this about -- I think KGB people know how to lie.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I mean, they know how to lie effectively and convincingly. I watch "The Americans." I have been taught. And I have dealt a little bit of these people over the years in politics when they come to Washington to try to talk to us. And I know they know how the lie.

Why does Trump believe their lies? Doesn`t he know their statecraft, their tradecraft? They lie. Communists lie.

JOHN SIPHER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: Very true, very true.

Chris, at one of our training facilities over the bar, we have this large wooden plaque that says, "Admit nothing, deny everything, make counteraccusations."

And it`s sort of a tongue-in-cheek way of saying, you know, the spycraft is all about lies. Mr. Putin grew up in the KGB, the Soviet KGB. He ran the brutal internal security service there in Russia. He has lied. He is a professional liar. He lied about the shoot-down of the Malaysian airplane in Ukraine. He lied about little green men in Ukraine.

He lied about a state-sponsored secret doping program, to include Paralympians. He lied about chemical weapons use in Syria. This is what he does.

So, for the president to suggest that he trusts his sincerity means that he is not listening to his experts, his diplomats, his intelligence agencies, or common sense, for that matter.

MATTHEWS: Well, in a late-breaking story, today, Julia Ioffe of "The Atlantic" is reporting that Donald Trump Jr. was in regular contact with WikiLeaks, the Web site that released those e-mails hacked by Russia during the election.

The messages, which were turned over to the congressional investigators, show WikiLeaks actively soliciting Trump Jr.`s cooperation. -- quote -- "At no point during the 10-month correspondence does Trump Jr. rebuff WikiLeaks, which had published stolen documents and was already observed to be releasing information that benefited Russian interests."

As an attorney general for Donald Trump Jr. told "The Atlantic" that -- quote -- "We can say with confidence that we have no concerns about these documents."

What do you make of this? Again, Congresswoman, we`re back into this endless contact between the Trump people and the Russians. They seem to think it`s fine and dandy to flirt back and forth, exchange offers back and forth, without any sense this might be a hostile power.

SPEIER: You know, the more documents that I read, the more convinced I get that there was intentional coordination between Donald Trump`s campaign and the Russians.

Julian Assange was an operative for Russia. Now, this is the same person that the president, when he was a candidate, would say: I love Julian Assange. I love WikiLeaks.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

SPEIER: We have Mike Pompeo, who has called him and WikiLeaks a nonstate organization that is an intelligence organization that is hostile to the United States.

MATTHEWS: So how do they put that together? If it`s hostile, why are we dealing with them?

SPEIER: Well, good question. Good question.

MATTHEWS: Mr. Sipher, John, what is the story here? What do you make of this? This is all new to me, the fact that an organization like WikiLeaks becomes the conduit for the Russians, their whole, what do you call it, agitprop, if you will, to use an old term.

What do you make of it? And our candidate`s team, including his son, are dealing with them.

SIPHER: Well, this, again, fits that pattern of a constant failure to do the right thing.

All of these people over time, they had months and months and months for somebody in that campaign to say accepting stolen documents from a hostile power is wrong, dealing with an organization that has published hundreds of thousands of classified CIA, State Department, DOD cables is wrong.

Mr. Papadopoulos, Mr. Trump Jr., who then informed all of their people there, had multiple opportunities to talk to the FBI, to do the right thing, to back off.

So, what this does is, it shows that, if we haven`t seen collusion yet, we have certainly seen a willingness to collude.

MATTHEWS: What do you think of the expression the fish rots from head, Congresswoman? Do you think there was direction from Trump to his peeps, his people? Because none of them got any direction the other direction.

None were told, stay away from the Russkies. Nobody got that message. They were all ready for any meeting, any conversation, any offer. They seemed to all have their hands out and their hearts out. Gee whiz, it`s so great you`re offering us a friendship pact here.

SPEIER: So, the candidate Donald Trump wanted dirt on Hillary. And he said, we`re going to have more dirt on Hillary coming out.

They were in bed, in my view, with Julian Assange and with those who were cut-outs for the Russians. And I think it`s going to become clearer and clearer as time goes on that is the way they operated. And never once did I doubt that the president, then candidate Trump, was engaged on every detail.

He ran a -- he ran a family company. So, he was -- he was trained to just kind of be involved with everything. And I believe that Donald Trump Jr. and his father were in constant communication.

MATTHEWS: Last question. Yes or no, do you think the good guys are going to catch them?

(LAUGHTER)

SIPHER: Well, I will leave it to others to decide if crimes were committed here. But there is no doubt that this activity over time is unethical, immoral, and unpatriotic.

And, again, like I said, it shows at least a willingness to collude and consistently do the wrong thing when given a choice.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

Same question to Congresswoman Speier.

SPEIER: I think that...

MATTHEWS: Will the good guys catch them?

SPEIER: I think the good guys typically win out. I think we will have any number of indictments. And I think some people are going to sing before it`s all over. And I think we will be able to make the definitive conclusion that there was coordination.

MATTHEWS: God, it sounds like a gangster movie. Somebody is going to sing.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you so much, U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California, where I`m at right now.

And, John Sipher, thank you, sir, for your article and for coming in.

Up next: Joe Biden seems closer to an active 2020 presidential run. He is already running. But should Democrats be looking to put a fresh face at the top of the ticket?

Anyway, the folks at "Saturday Night Live" are mocking the party as old and out of touch. Actor Bradley Whitford is here to talk about that and his new Spielberg film, "The Post."

This is HARDBALL, where the action is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

After last week`s victories in Virginia and New Jersey, the Democratic Party is seeing glimmers of hope for future election. But when it comes to party leadership, one could argue the Democrats have a youth challenge.

Only one of the top five being prominently mentioned now for president will be under the age of 60 come 2020. Senator Chris Murphy, he is the only kid in the group. And Joe Biden, who turns 75 next week, told "The Today Show" -- he told "The Today Show" that he was open to a run.

Hey, look, he is running. Let`s stop the game here. Don`t be coy here, Joe, uncle Joe. Let`s watch.

(LAUGHTER)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE TODAY SHOW")

JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m not closing the door. Look, I have been around too long. I`m a great respecter of fate.

And -- but who knows what the situation is going to be in a year-and-a-half from now. I don`t have any idea. I`m in good health now. I`m in good shape, knock on wood, as my mother would say. But I just don`t know. I -- honest to God. That`s the truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, "Saturday Night Live" is not giving anybody a break on the age issue.

Over the weekend, "SNL" poked fun at the Democratic age gap. Pay attention to the faces here. Let`s look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: You love us again.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: And we haven`t felt this confident since the day before Trump won.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: You love our fresh new ideas delivered by fresh new faces, like me, Nancy Pelosi.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: And me, Dianne Feinstein.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: And me, Chuck Schumer.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Yo soy Tim Kaine.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: And I`m team player Donna Brazile.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: And we also have some great new leaders waiting there the wings, like hot young thing Elizabeth Warren, and also -- that`s right...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: It`s Biden time.

(LAUGHTER)

LARRY DAVID, ACTOR: And I`m still around too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, for more, I`m joined by former mayor of Los Angeles, the city we`re now in, and current candidate for governor of California, Antonio Villaraigosa, and actor Bradley Whitford, who is one of the national chairs for -- he is one of the national chairs for Get America Covered, which is working to increase awareness and getting people enrolled with the Affordable Care Act.

You`re working against Trump on this, right?

BRADLEY WHITFORD, ACTOR: Well, I actually think it`s a non -- Trump himself has said that he thinks everybody should have health care.

MATTHEWS: But he`s trying to screw Obamacare. He`s trying to screw Obamacare.

WHITFORD: And people with preexisting conditions -- and the reason this bill has been so hard to kill is, it`s been so successful. It`s gotten 20 million people insured.

Jobs, as Trump says, have increased. Costs have come down. And people need to know that they have to go to healthcare.gov before December 15.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

Mayor, Mayor, you know, back when I was a kid, I thought Eisenhower was old.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: By this crowd -- everybody is getting older. What do you make of that? You`re a young guy, strapping young guy at 60. What do you make of all this? Have we got an age problem?

ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA (D), FORMER MAYOR OF LOS ANGELES: Well, first of all, I think Brad is right. It is a bipartisan issue. And we have got to stand up for the notion that health care is a right, not a privilege.

And we`re seeing that in both Virginia and New York, that people voted on the issue of health care and voted against Republican candidates. Do I think age is an issue? I think the age of our ideas is an issue. I think we have got to start...

MATTHEWS: So you think a president pushing 80 could be a competent president, pushing 80?

VILLARAIGOSA: I think that`s pushing it.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

VILLARAIGOSA: But I think that the next president has to start talking about the economy, an economy that is rigged, an economy that is not working for enough people in this country.

I tell people, as an example, I`m all for the shared economy. It`s the future.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

VILLARAIGOSA: But the shared economy has got to share.

I`m not against Wall Street, but when Wall Street continues to support policies that hurt working and middle-class people, I think we should stand up to those kinds of policies.

MATTHEWS: Hey, Brad, actors, I`m told, when they get much older than you, have a hard time memorizing lines.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Do you think that is a problem for a president -- I`m serious -- remembering names? Are we going to get a problem here?

You guys are dodging the ball here. You`re dodging it. You`re dodging it.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFORD: No, listen, I think...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Nancy Pelosi and all these guys and -- and what`s his name, Bernie, Bernie, these ages are pretty late -- these are late 70s, we`re talking about.

WHITFORD: I understand.

I think, normally, this would not be a possibility. For Joe Biden, I think there may be an opening for Joe Biden. Coming out of this...

MATTHEWS: For one term?

WHITFORD: Coming out of this chaos, maybe he runs with somebody young, like Jason Kander or Joe Kennedy.

It worries me that -- Kamala Harris, I think, is perhaps interested in running. I mean, what`s interesting about this discussion is, if we had this discussion four years ago, three years before, and we said Donald Trump was going to be the nominee, we would be laughed off.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: But here is what I`m talking about.

Let me tell you, Mayor, everybody who is watching this show is thinking about this stuff. But you`re not supposed to talk about it. There is no doubt that people love Joe Biden. But they`re thinking, wait, there is such a thing as an age issue when it comes to football, baseball and being president of the United States. Different ages.

But we -- how far can you push it? How far can you push the fact that you have got to be 24/7, ready to take on the worst question in history. What are we going to do about a nuclear war? And you got to be sharp.

VILLARAIGOSA: I will say this. Our party has not done a good job at cultivating new...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

VILLARAIGOSA: ... leadership, younger leadership, but also more diverse leadership.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

VILLARAIGOSA: That party has not done...

MATTHEWS: How do you do it? How do you do it?

VILLARAIGOSA: Well, I think you got to do what they did in Virginia. You got to go find those people, people who are in the trenches, nurture them, get them to run for office, and stand up...

MATTHEWS: All kinds of people, trans people, everybody. Yes.

VILLARAIGOSA: Everybody.

MATTHEWS: Sikhs. I mean, you got...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Everybody running.

VILLARAIGOSA: Everybody -- America is the most diverse place on the planet. We should be having people who represent us who come from every community.

MATTHEWS: How about a Latino of California? What do you think?

VILLARAIGOSA: Well, I think that`s a good idea.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

VILLARAIGOSA: Who better to take on a president who is anti-Mexican and wants to build a wall than somebody who has built bridges his whole life and has got the last name of Villaraigosa?

MATTHEWS: And has executive experience.

VILLARAIGOSA: Well...

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, now that I have shined you up, and I like you as a friend, but let me go with this guy here, Bradley.

Let`s take a look at this new movie. Steven Spielberg, the greatest movie director in history, has got a new movie about guts in the media. It`s inspired by "The Washington Post"`s role in publishing the Pentagon Papers, which helped expose the massive cover-up, 40-year cover-up of the secrets of the Vietnam War.

The movie comes, of course, as President Trump has attacked the very principle of the First Amendment, calling everything fake news he doesn`t like. The movie is out in December, great time, for Christmas, 22nd -- the 22nd of December.

Let`s watch a bit of "The Post."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE POST")

TOM HANKS, ACTOR: Can I ask you a hypothetical question?

MERYL STREEP, ACTRESS: Oh, dear. I don`t like hypothetical questions.

HANKS: Well, I don`t think you`re going to like the real one either.

STREEP: Do you have the papers?

HANKS: Not yet.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: This is a devastating security breach that was leaked out of the Pentagon, the most highly classified documents of the war.

HANKS: "The Times" has 7,000 pages detailing how the White House has been lying about the Vietnam War for 30 years.

The way they lied, those days have to be over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: I hear it`s a fabulous movie.

BRADLEY WHITFORD, ACTOR, "THE POST": I hear that too. I haven`t seen it yet. I saw Tom Hanks the other night. And he said I`ve been in some good movies. And that is a real I good movie.

MATTHEWS: That`s saying a lot for that guy.

Mayor, good luck.

ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA (D), FORMER MAYOR OF LOS ANGELES: Good to see you. Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, Antonio Villaraigosa and Bradley Whitford. Mixed group here.

Up next, President Trump has a soft spot for Putin. But he`s not the only strong man to win over the president. Last night, Trump was serenaded, yes, sung to by the authoritative leader of the Philippines. Why does Trump hit it off so well with dictators?

You`re watching HARDBALL. Well, you know why.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

President Trump told reporters this weekend that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin`s claims that Russia didn`t meddle in the 2016 election. But Putin`s not the only strong man or dictator to win over the president lately.

Today, Trump had this to say about Rodrigo Duterte, the authoritarian leader of the Philippines.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`ve had a great relationship. This has been very successful. The ASEAN Conference has been handled beautifully by the president in the Philippines and your representatives. And I really enjoyed being here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, the "New York Times" points out that shortly after boasting about that great relationship with Duterte, the Philippine president shut down reporters from asking further questions.

Quote: As journalists shouted questions about whether Mr. Trump would press Mr. Duterte on human rights, the Philippine president quickly silenced them. You are the spies, Duterte told the reporters. Talking about our reporters, by the way.

The remark solicited a hearty laugh from Mr. Trump before the journalists were led out of the room. Ha, ha, ha.

Let`s bring in the HARDBALL roundtable, Katty Kay is Washington correspondent for the BBC World News, Jeremy Peters is a reporter with "The New York Times", and Anita Kumar is White House correspondent for "McClatchy".

Anita, you were there. What do you make of the president mocking journalists or enjoying a dictator as he mocks the free press -- the very notion of the free press, and it seems the two buddies there were in on it.

ANITA KUMAR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, MCCLATCHY: Yes. I mean, I really think he has gone over there and he admires the strength that he sees in them. He admires that they can quickly get things done so easily. It`s not messy like democracy.

So I think that, you know, his background as a businessman, and he comes to these countries and he sees how these people, the rulers can kind of get things done. And so he relates to that.

MATTHEWS: You think that`s a reasonable judgment by him?

KUMAR: That they have strength or they can get things done? I mean --

MATTHEWS: No, that he should admire -- I`m just teasing.

KUMAR: Yes.

MATTHEWS: I think it`s a terrible job. Of course, you know, let me go to Jeremy. You know, for years, there has always been an argument. During World War II when we had to fight the dictatorships, us and the British, we had a fight on how to get people behind us.

You had to get the votes and confidence in parliament. You had to get the Congress behind. You had to get elected president, you had to move Congress with you, and here in this country. It`s always a little more complicated in a free society than it is in a dictatorship. I mean -- but we have never had anybody fall in love with the other side on this issue.

JEREMY PETERS, REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Trump is a very binary thinker. It`s strong/weak, beautiful/ugly, low energy/high energy. And in his mind, there is probably no greater offense than being weak. Of course, he doesn`t care the means through which you achieve that strength, as he has praised Putin, as he`s praised the president of China, as he has praised Duterte.

So, he is willing to tolerate some pretty abhorrent behavior as long as the leader seems to have a command over his people. And more importantly, is respected. But I think that this shouldn`t be surprising given that you`re talking about a guy who foreign policy during his campaign was all about receding from international affairs. The United States was no longer going to be the global policeman, the moral compass for the world. So, he is perfectly fine without having the lectures or delivering these lectures that other American presidents have based on their sense of America as kind of the center of the moral universe.

MATTHEWS: Well, Katty, our country has had to hold hands with people like Stalin over the years during World War II. But this guy seems to have no trouble hanging out as a friend with someone who has knifed people to death as a kid, 16-year-old kid. He bragged about that. He bragged about killing somebody when he was mayor. When he held that position, he said he killed three other people himself personally.

Didn`t that make you a little squeamish to be hanging out with this guy? You wouldn`t want to sit next to him on an airplane, I don`t think.

KATTY KAY, BBC WORLD NEWS AMERICA: Yes, and Trump is sitting next to Duterte and smiling and joking with him certainly gives the president of the Philippines some stature at home. But I think Anita is right. This is not about the original strong man whether they`re in Asia, or in the Middle East, Erdogan, or al-Sisi in Egypt. This is about the system.

And that`s what Trump seems to be drawn to, that he is clearly frustrated by having to operate within the confines of a democracy. He has spoken recently about how he is very unhappy with the fact that he can`t get involved constitutionally as president more directly with the FBI or with the Justice Department.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

KAY: And that`s what he is kicking against. It`s not so much the individuals, it`s the system of government that he finds so difficult. He is not intellectually wedded to liberal democracy, and so, he sees the downsides of it now that he`s president, rather than the upside.

MATTHEWS: I think he sees his office as an acquisition rather than an election.

Anyway, Trump`s warmth towards the presidents of the Philippines and China has not extended to the North Korean leader, of course. Trump wrote on Twitter: why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me old, when I would never call him short and fat? Oh, well, try so hard to be his friend. And maybe some day that will happen.

Jeremy, I have no idea what that means. He doesn`t want to be his friend. He just called him short and fat in that sentence, saying he didn`t call him short and fat.

I mean, I have a hard time interpreting what Trump is actually -- he is calling the guy short and fat or trying to claim some sort of victimhood for not having called him short and fat. What does this statement mean? It`s too hard a question, I`m sorry.

PETERS: No, it`s an easy question. It doesn`t mean anything. It means that our president is an impetuous guy who can be baited by somebody who is trying to get a rise out of him. That`s exactly what happened here. We`ve talked a lot about Putin being able to push the president`s buttons and draw him in and use his skills as a Soviet spy.

I think that`s exactly what Kim Jong-un is doing with President Trump. He knows how to push his buttons.

(CROSSTALK)

KAY: But actually, he has flipped on Kim Jong-un, because way back in the spring he was saying he would be honored to meet him. And he called him a pretty smart cookie. So, he can go either way on people.

MATTHEWS: Anita, what did you think of the song fest the other day over there in the Philippines, in Manila? The president of that country joining in a duet for our president? What do you make of that?

KUMAR: I don`t know what to make of that actually. But you`re right. They did seem to have a pretty good -- oh, we`re hearing the singing.

MATTHEWS: I mean, the guy`s not Tony Bennett.

The round table is sticking with us. And up next the three will give us three scoops we`ll be talking all week. This is HARDBALL, where the action is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, I`m out in Los Angeles tonight for "Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit." Tonight, I`ll be speaking at Live Talks L.A. in Santa Monica. And then tomorrow to a sold-out crowd at the Commonwealth Club in Palo Alto. And then Thursday, I`ll be speaking at the town hall up in Seattle. The crowds have been warm and I must say inspiring.

My "Let Me Finish" tonight is dedicated to Bobby Kennedy and the history- changing event that happened in this city, Los Angeles, 49 years ago.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL round stable.

Katty Kay, tell me something I don`t know.

KAY: Well, Chris, hundreds of ISIS fighters were secretly whisked out of Raqqah when the city fell last month. The coalition didn`t like it but knew about it. Now, those fighters are at large, and some of them may be heading to Europe.

MATTHEWS: Why did they let them go?

KAY: Because that`s what the fighters on the ground, the Kurdish fighters wanted. That was the deal that was done. It was a dirty secret of Raqqah. It was a BBC investigation that found this out today.

MATTHEWS: Thank you so much.

Jeremy Peters?

PETERS: The conservative pushback to the Roy Moore stories of child abuse have ranged from the predictable to, you know, what about Bill Clinton? He did some bad things. To the utterly bizarre like, well, she was 14 and that`s two years away from the age of consent in Alabama.

You can expect to hear more of those types of arguments. It`s going to get a lot uglier. There are teams on the ground who are sympathetic to Moore, digging up more dirt they think on the women accusers as we speak.

MATTHEWS: Awful.

Anita?

KUMAR: Yes. I want to tell you something about the Virginia race from last week which is that the loser, Ed Gillespie, the Republican, garnered more votes than any other gubernatorial candidate in Virginia history except, of course, the winner, Ralph Northam, which basically tells you that the turnout was so huge. It was nearly half of the people eligible to vote turned out that even the loser, who was down nine points got so many votes.

MATTHEWS: Thanks so much. Big turnouts help Democrats. Thank you, Katty Kay, Jeremy Peters, and Anita Kumar.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with what happened in this city of Los Angeles in June of 1968.

Bobby Kennedy had just won the California presidential primary over Eugene McCarthy when he was shot and mortally wounded in the Ambassador Hotel. To those of us who lived through it, that event and the 1960s themselves, the spirit of Bobby Kennedy and of those times, especially the presence of candidates like Bobby and Gene McCarthy lives on in the hopes we still have for our country, for our ability to live together, for leaders with a capacity for empathy, for unity and for moral authority.

Bobby`s spirit survived the `60s. Had he lived, Bobby would turn 92 next week. And so much of America`s recent history would have been so different.

For one thing, the American war in Vietnam which would have been much shorter. My book on Robert Kennedy offer more than resistance to today`s direction, it offers defiance.

That`s HARDBALL for now.

"ALL IN" starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END

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