WAPO: WH Aides divided over risks of Russia probe Transcript 11/20/17 Hardball with Chris Matthews

Guests: Ruth Marcus; Astead Herndon; Kyle Whitmire, Susan Page, Libby Casey, Joyce Vance, Linda Deutsch

Show: HARDBALL Date: November 20, 2017 Guest: Ruth Marcus; Astead Herndon; Kyle Whitmire, Susan Page, Libby Casey, Joyce Vance, Linda Deutsch

[19:00:00] ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST, THE BEAT: Ryan Reilly, thank you for your reporting and putting this on the map.

I will be back here tomorrow night, 6:00 p.m. eastern. But "Hardball with Chris Matthews" starts right now.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: The victim speaks. Let`s play "Hardball."

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

In her own words today, Leigh Corfman gave her first television interview. Corfman told the Today Show, she was 14 years old when a 32-year-old Roy Moore pursued her and sexual abuse herd. Something Moore denied. Well, Corfman explained happened after she said Moore took her to his home. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEIGH CORFMAN, ROY MOORE`S ACCUSER: He basically laid out some blankets on the floor of his living room and proceed to seduce me, I guess you would say. And during the course of that, he removed my clothing. He left the room and came back in wearing his white underwear. And he touched me over my clothing, what was left of it. And he tried to get me to touch him as well. And at that point, I pulled back and said that I was not comfortable, and I got dressed. And he took me home. But I was a 14-year- old child trying to play in an adult`s world. And he was 32 years old.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Roy Moore denies these allegations and further says he does not even know you.

CORFMAN: I wonder how many me he doesn`t know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: That`s a strong statement. Corfman said the incident haunted her for decades. She says she thought about confronting Moore years later but backed down. In an interview with Breitbart this weekend, Moore himself again denied the allegations against him by nine different women and blamed it on a conspiracy between Democrats and Republicans to keep him from a Senate seat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: I believe with all my heart that Mitch McConnell and the establishment are in cahoots with the Democrats to stop this campaign. They have taken a calculated risk for two years with the Democrats and try to elect another Republican in two years, and they want me out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, meanwhile, a generational divide of sorts has opened up among Republicans down in Alabama. Party there has stuck with Moore. But over the weekend the young Republican federation of Alabama, group that represents party leaders under 40, said they were suspending all support for Roy Moore. That`s the phrase. They said Moore should step aside if he can`t convincingly refute the allegations against him.

Also, this weekend, the state`s three largest newspapers all ran by the same media company ran a scathing editorial against Moore on their front pages. The papers wrote, Alabamians must show themselves to be people of principle and reject Roy Moore and all that he stands for.

For more, I`m joined by Kyle Whitmire, columnist for the Alabamian media group itself, Ruth Marcus is columnist for the "Washington" and Astead Herndon, national political reporter for "the Boston Globe."

Kyle, give us a sense of what that newspaper`s importance is in the state.

KYLE WHITMIRE, COLUMNIST, ALABAMA MEDIA GROUP: Chris --

MATTHEWS: Your paper.

WHITMIRE: Yes, my paper. You know, I work for the Alabama media group. Part that of is the Birmingham news. And I think as an institution, we sort of look back not just on our reporting now, but our reporting during the civil rights movement which is let`s just face it, was not great. The Birmingham news was an apologist for what was happening here during that period. And I think we as an institution said we are not going to let something like that happen again. We are going to step out with a strong voice and say unequivocally that these women deserve to be believed. And make the argument that, you know, what Roy Moore is saying right now, these denials in the face of so many different accusers saying consistent stories, and now we are hearing those stories directly from those accusers, it`s just not credible.

MATTHEWS: So you tell me something interesting. Given the legacy of Birmingham, the fact you are talking about the days of Bull Connor, really, that the establishment end was with him. The police commissioner who was known for the fire hoses and the dogs and all that stuff against those kids coming out of the Birmingham church. This is setting the record where you are saying setting the legacy of the newspapers right. How would you describe it further?

WHITMIRE: I believe that, look, we have to tell the truth whether that makes us popular or not. And actually, would it might make us less popular when it might not be what our audience wants to hear when people might drop their subscriptions to the newspaper? That`s when it`s most important for us to stick by our guns and speak what we believe to be the truth.

[19:05:01] MATTHEWS: So you`re going get hit, you want to be hit on something you believe in.

Anyway, the "Boston Globe" reported today that Roy Moore isn`t losing support among evangelical religious leaders. Quote "none of the nearly ten pastors reached by phone said the allegations of sexual misconduct changed their minds about Moore. Several said the allegations made them more proud to vote for the former judge. Repeatedly, the pastors attempted to discredit Moore`s accusers in personal terms which some dismissing their emotional stories as crocodile tears and fake news."

Instead one of the pastors told you, even if the allegations were true, he would still support Moore.

Pastor Earl Wise quoted there. "There ought to be a statute of limitation on this stuff. How these gals, there is a phrase, came up with this, I don`t know. They must have had some sweet dreams somewhere down the line. Plus there are some 14-year-olds who the way they look could pass for 20."

Put that all in context. That`s a hell of a reading on the colorful situation down there in terms of evangelical surprise.

ASTEAD HERNDON, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE BOSTON GLOBE: Yes. It was an interesting week. I was calling some evangelical pastors that previously supported Judge Moore and asked them has that support changed since we learned some of these allegations and what are your thoughts on the allegations. And the ones I reached, all of them have decided they still back the judge. And to a varying degree, they all were willing to make deep apologies for the judge either by just totally dismissing the accounts of the accusers or even saying if they were true, they would still vote for them because the thought of supporting a Democrat for these evangelicals with those socially conservative views was just unthinkable.

MATTHEWS: You know, Ruth, it reminds me of the Pennsylvania voters who voted for Trump because they thought he was truly a pro-life kind of guy, even though they didn`t like his lifestyle, to say the least.

RUTH MARCUS, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: I actually think this is worse than that. Either you disbelief an array of people, nine women who are telling what seem to be incredibly believable and powerful.

MATTHEWS: A slice of life. It does sound true.

MARCUS: Either you disbelieve them because you are just so entrenched in your world view, or you believe -- and I think even worse if you believe them as the governor has said she does and just don`t care about what he did because Democrats are such -- it`s so impossible to imagine a Democrat being elected to the seat.

MATTHEWS: But it`s only two or three years left to this term to this thing.

MARCUS: It`s immoral. And for a pastor do it is immorality piled on immorality.

MATTHEWS: Billy Graham`s son continues to disappoint me this regard. He is totally with Moore.

HERNDON: Yes, and he is not the only one. We have Jerry Falwell Jr., President of Liberty University, another influential evangelical pastor who is supporting Roy Moore. But especially when I talk to those Alabama pastors, the support was even more visceral. The language they were using, saying that Moore was being lynched in the public square, calling John McCain and Mitch McConnell field hands picking cotton in a democratic plantation.

MATTHEWS: No!

HERNDON: These were some of the language that I was hearing from these pastors who really see Moore as a champion and advocate for their world view.

MATTHEWS: Well, the White House adviser, of course, Kellyanne Conway was on "FOX News today" talking about the Republican tax plan when she went off-script and brought up Roy Moore`s opponent down there in Alabama, Doug Jones. She came close to an endorsement for Moore which the President hasn`t given lately. Let`s watch. Let`s watch Conway.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: And Doug Jones in Alabama, folks, don`t be fooled. He will be a vote against tax cut. He is weak on crime, weak on borders. He is strong on raising your taxes. He is terrible for property owners. And Doug Jones is a doctrinal liberal which is why he is not saying anything and why the media are trying to goose him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So vote Roy Moore?

CONWAY: I`m telling you, we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will the President be going back down to Alabama to campaign on behalf of Roy Moore before the special election?

CONWAY: There is no plan to do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: That`s a pretty strong work there by Ducey, anyway. I mean it relatively.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about Conway`s comments. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that the position of this White House, that voters are better off voting for someone accused of assaulting teenaged girls than a Democrat?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The position of the White House hasn`t changed. We feel like the people of Alabama should make the determination on who their next senator should be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But she made a clear suggestion who they should sleet for.

SANDERS: And I`m giving you the answer, the position of the White House.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Kyle, they are really believing in states` rights tonight down there. They believe the state should make the - do you have any objective reporting? Can you discern direction in the polling? Is it going in the direction of Jones or is it static? Where is it standing right now?

WHITMIRE: I mean, we have certainly seen a shift. There is no question that we have seen a shift in Doug Jones` favor. I mean, the question has always been whose base is going to be the most fired up come Election Day? And right now, you know, I travel through the suburbs of Birmingham fairly conservative area, you know. And I have sort of made a game, my family and I have made a game of counting how many Doug Jones signs we see along the roadside. And I would say between Saturday and Sunday I saw more Doug Jones signs out. I haven`t seen one Roy Moore sign in that area. Now signs don`t vote. But there is clearly momentum right now in Doug Jones` favor. It`s just a question of whether he can keep it up for the next few weeks.

[19:10:37] MATTHEWS: Yes.

WHITMIRE: And if it`s going to be enough to overcome some of the more rural areas like the wire grass as we call it down south Alabama that does not seem to be moving away from Roy Moore. And, you know, I think we are going see a big gender split here. I mean, I think we still have a lot of men who are squarely behind Roy Moore and think I that a lot of this is, excuse the term, Trumped up. But women who have had bad experiences in their past said hey, something like that happened to me. And I never spoke out about it either. Or they had a friend that had that happen to. They are going hear these stories very differently.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Kyle. Also, they are not big shot women, right Kyle, you know?

Astead? You are shaking your head right now about men and women difference right here.

HERNDON: Yes. I pointed that out to the pastors when they would bring up the conspiracy that judge Moore has talked about. I said, well, these aren`t Democratic voters who we are seeing here when you are talking about. Will Roy Moore listen to the people of Alabama? These women accusing him are people of Alabama. And these are women who in some cases voted for Donald Trump. And so I think that these are real questions that people are going have to ask about is that morality more important than that partisanship.

MATTHEWS: Well, turning to a different story, there is a new allegation against Senator Al Franken of Minnesota. Lindsey Menz told CNN today, she spoke to Franken at the Minnesota state fair back in 2010. While posing for a photo with him, she said, quote "Franken pulled me in really close like awkward close, and as my husband took the picture, he put his full pledged on my rear. NBC has not confirmed this report.

Franken tell CNN, I take thousands of photos at the state fair surrounded by hundreds of people. And I certainly don`t remember taking this picture. I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.

How do we keep track of this? The a dynamic clearly working against senator Franken, the way these stories are coming out.

MARCUS: Senator Franken has done the wrong thing with that other episode from before he became a senator. And if this was one true, another wrong thing at precisely the wrong time.

There certainly has been a point, you know this as well as anybody that if you evicted every man from the Senate who had put his hand on a woman`s rear without being invited to do so, you would not be able to make a quorum call in the Senate.

MATTHEWS: Circumstances that based on -- not based on your personal experience. Is that based on word of mouth?

MARCUS: Well, everybody knows stories. Everybody know stories about senators, some who are no longer with us who touched women and, you know, in much more inappropriate places. But that -- this is now and that kind of behavior, if it`s a credible report is not OK when you are a sitting senator.

MATTHEWS: But this was in 2010.

MARCUS: He was in the Senate.

MATTHEWS: That`s right. He is in his second term.

MARCUS: To me, it`s a really big difference if there is one allegation or two credible allegations. It`s a really big difference if you have done it when you were in the Senate or not. And times are changing. And I think behavior that used to be kind of laughed off is not laughed off anymore.

MATTHEWS: Thank you. On that note, Kyle Whitmire, thank you for that great reporting from down there. Ruth Marcus as always and Astead Herndon, that great reporting from you from "the Boston Globe."

Coming up, the Trump White House is bracing for what one Republican called a long winter as Robert Mueller`s investigations into the Trump campaign`s contacts with Russia intensifies. How worried is Trump`s White House right now and how worry shod they be? It`s all coming ahead here the next block.

Plus Charles Manson is dead. The cult leader who is the mastermind behind several high profile gruesome murders in the late `60s died in a California prison. His name synonymous now with violence and insanity and evil. We are going to talk to a reporter who covered his murder trial.

And the one thing Trump voters keep saying they hate about this President is twitter habit. This weekend, Trump went off on an epic tweet storm, savaging athletes, fellow Republicans and, of course, Hillary Clinton.

Finally, let me finish now with America, I have discovered my last three weeks of selling my book.

This is "Hardball," where the action is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:15:48] MATTHEWS: President Trump today announced his administration has re-designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, adding the country to the list for first time in nearly a decade. Anyway, the designation will be accompanied by further sanctions. It`s also seen as an expression of good faith to other allies in the region. North Korea spent more than 20 years on that list before being removed from it in 2008 by the Bush administration. That was part of a failed bid to have the country curb its nuclear weapons program.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:18:25] MATTHEWS: Welcome back to "Hardball."

"The Washington Post" is reporting today that staffers in the west wing of the White House are split over the danger of the Russian probe and the legal exposure they may each face. Some have taken comfort in the words of Trump attorney Ty Cobb who now says the probe will wind down by the New Year rather than by thanksgiving, as he initially predicted.

However, the reassurances from Cobb and others which seem at least partially aimed at keeping the President calm and focused on governing are viewed by others as naive. As one Republican operative said of course they are worried. Anybody that ever had the word Russia come out of their lips or on an email, they are going to get talked to. It`s going to be a long winter.

Furthermore, there are signs that another issue will soon drop. Witnesses questioned by Mueller`s team warned that investigators are asking about other foreign contacts and meetings that have not yet become public and to expect a series of new revelations. Another source said staffers have resorted to dark humor about potential moles inside the west wing.

Quote "when the staff gather in the morning at the White House now, they jokingly say good morning, you wired?"

I`m joined right now by the co-author of that report, Ashley Parker is a White House correspondent for "the Washington Post" and MSNBC political analyst. Joyce Vance is a former federal prosecutor. Thank you both for joining us.

I guess what I`m going to try do here is match the reporting up with the idea with what trade craft tells you about prosecution. So I`ll start with Ashley.

This subjective worry, I mean, some people are worrywarts some aren`t, so we don`t know. How do you distill out of that who really knows what they are talking about in terms on how far this thing is going to go?

ASHLEY PARKER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think the answer is the only person who knows what they are talking about is Mueller, and he is not talking. And everyone else is sort of making their best guesses. So there are number of staffers, I supposed, with inside the west wing, inside the White House who say and seem to really mean that they are worried. They say, Ty Cobb, who is the lawyer who is handling this, has reassured us. He originally said it would be over by Thanksgiving. Obviously, that`s not the case. He readjusted to the new year.

But they say, look, we did nothing wrong. We have nothing to worry about.

And then there is other people in the president`s inner circle, and certainly people close to the probe who say that`s very naive. The way things like this work is, it starts off less damning and then you sort of work your way in.

And the fact that he went after people, Gates and Manafort on sort of money-laundering issues means that it`s an opening salvo and he is only going get closer.

MATTHEWS: I guess -- can you tell, Joyce, by watching this, it seems to be moving away -- well, this week at least, it seems to be moving away from the collusion question, the money-laundering question by people like Manafort, Gates and Flynn perhaps, and over towards the obstruction area.

That seems to be where they`re pushing the pressure. And if I were thinking, that would be a whole other kettle of fish, a whole bunch of different White House people who may have been part of a conversation about how to shut Comey down, shut the whole prosecution down. And that`s when you get into obstruction.

JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: From what little we can see about how Mueller has organized his team, it would be more accurate to think about this as a number of parallel tracks, instead of just one big investigation going forward.

So, we saw the Manafort, the Gates and the Papadopoulos lines of the investigation bear fruit. This week, it seems we`re seeing a little bit more, hearing reports of being witnesses interviewed, as this collusion case that leads to perhaps inside of the Oval Office moves forward.

MATTHEWS: Well, what about Jared Kushner? He is under more scrutiny now after NBC reported that one source familiar with Kushner`s testimony before a congressional Intelligence Committee said he specifically denied under oath that he was familiar with any attempts by WikiLeaks to contact the campaign.

And here`s come the big however. As "The Atlantic" revealed last week, Donald Trump Jr. sent an e-mail about his correspondence with WikiLeaks to Kushner, among others, and Kushner then forwarded that e-mail to campaign communications staffer Hope Hicks.

Well, in defense of his client, Kushner`s lawyer said: "Mr. Kushner was one of many people to whom one e-mail was sent and he did not respond."

Ashley, it seems like this whole thing is going to come down to: I got an e-mail. I passed it on. I can deny I had anything to do with it, because I was just sort of an intermediary. But then they go -- then they say, I don`t know anything about it. That`s what they keep saying. I don`t know anything about it.

But it turns out, they all do know something about it.

PARKER: Sure.

So, the real problem for Jared Kushner is that there have been a number of these things, that, each one taken alone, there is a perfectly potential plausible explanation. Right? You get 1,000 e-mails in a day. You just happen to pass it along. Maybe you don`t really have much awareness of it.

But at this point, there have sort of been so many drip, drip, drip, that whether he is in the right or not, it creates the impression at the very least that he has something to hide, that he is not telling the truth, and that`s problematic.

MATTHEWS: Let me talk to -- what I have been saying to people -- and I`m not an attorney or certainly not an experienced prosecutor, Joyce -- but what I have noticed about this guy Mueller is that he is very proper, very 9:00-to-5:00 kind of guy. He does everything by the books. His hair is combed perfectly.

He carries the perfect attache case. Everything is in order. His resume is perfection nonpareil. Like, nobody has ever had a resume like this guy.

If there is anything there, I think he will find it. If he does this full frisk, it`s going to be a good one. So, if I were Trump and I have something that I have done in terms of the Russians in terms of collusion, or something in terms of obstruction, I`m scared. And I`m scared for my family, my -- Jared, my son-in-law, my daughter especially Ivanka.

I`m scared for the people around me because it will stink up my administration if any of them go to prison. I`m scared. So, the junior staffers floating around the White House in junior positions, they`re not scared because they don`t know enough to be scared. That`s the way I would read it.

Your thinking?

VANCE: Mueller is formidable, as you point out. He is all substance. He is no flash. He will indict a case or indict multiple cases if they should be indicted. He will feel no pressure to indict if the evidence doesn`t lead him there.

I think, though, what we`re seeing is these White House junior staffers come for forward and say that they`re not concerned is a public face. I would be very surprised if we saw people publicly announcing that they were concerned and thought that they were about to be indicted. This is a little bit of a public relations strategy that is going on right now.

MATTHEWS: Ashley, could it be that the ones who are both -- who feel the most secure are the ones that weren`t invited to the party? They weren`t invited to anything to do with any obstruction, weren`t invited to anything with collusion. They just weren`t part of the inner circle, if there was one.

PARKER: Certainly.

And there were a number of people who I spoke to who said, look, I wasn`t involved in any of this. My only concern is if the topic of the investigation comes up, if Russia comes up, I make a point of leaving the room, not being part of the conversation.

MATTHEWS: Really? Are they worried about being wired, somebody next to them being wired?

PARKER: My sense was that was more gallows humor than an actual legitimate fear.

But they sort of say, look, I`m a low-level staffer. Right? I have no real connection into this. But I do imagine that it weighs more heavily on some of my colleagues, those who are having to go before Congress and testify, those who have had to get lawyers on government salaries.

MATTHEWS: I`m just a functionary here.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I love that. That`s an old French expression.

Anyway, ABC News is also reporting that Robert Mueller`s team has new directed the Justice Department to turn over a broad array of documents. That request was reportedly issued within the last month.

Specifically, Mueller`s investigators are keen to obtain e-mails related to the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the early decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself, according to a source who has not been seen -- has not seen the specific request, but who was told about it.

Joyce, give me thinking about that. This is the area of obstruction, right, they`re looking at there, firing Comey, which I think is seen by Mueller as an act of obstruction. I think that was his premise going in. That`s why he took the job.

VANCE: There is certainly predication, absolutely. There is predication for treating this like an obstruction investigation.

And the way you prove obstruction, which is in many ways a difficult charge, is by fully exploring the state of mind of everyone involved. So these e-mails and contemporaneous communications, particularly between the Justice Department and the White House, which are unusual and not typically had in the context of, for instance, an investigation into someone like General Flynn.

You wouldn`t expect DOJ to be talking with the White House about what they`re doing. So Mueller will want to fully explore the available material here and see what he can glean from it.

MATTHEWS: OK, thank you so much, Ashley Parker, as always. Thanks for that great reporting. That`s why we`re doing the piece. It`s your piece.

Anyway, and then, Joyce Vance, thanks for your prosecutorial expertise and experience.

Up next: Charles Manson, one of the world`s most notorious killers, is dead. The cult leader orchestrated a series of murders that terrified Hollywood and shocked the world. We`re going to talk to a reporter who covered the trial when it happened. There he is.

You`re watching HARDBALL.

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MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s what`s happening.

CBS News has suspended Charlie Rose and PBS is halting distribution of his show after a report in "The Washington Post" says the longtime television host made unwanted sexual advances towards at least eight women. Three of the eight accusers spoke on the record to the paper. All were employees or aspired to work for Rose.

In a statement, Rose said he deeply apologizes for his inappropriate behavior and is greatly embarrassed, though he does not believe that all the allegations are accurate.

The Justice Department is suing to block AT&T`s $85 billion merger with Time Warner, saying it would result in higher bills for customers.

First lady Melania Trump and son Barron welcomed this year`s Christmas tree at the White House, the 19.5-foot balsam fir is on display in the Blue Room -- back to HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Charles Manson has died at age 83. The cult leader and mastermind behind a string of high-profile and gruesome murders back in the late `60s succumbed to natural causes.

Over the years, Manson`s name became synonymous with violence, insanity, and evil, a point of pride for the killer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: You don`t feel guilty at all?

CHARLES MANSON, CONVICTED MURDERER: There is no need to feel guilty. I haven`t done anything I`m ashamed of.

Maybe I haven`t done enough. I might be ashamed of that, for not doing enough. Maybe I should have killed 400 or 500 people. Then I would have felt better. Then, I felt like I have really offered society something.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, in August 1969, Manson and his followers, the Manson family, undertook a brutal killing spree, murdering seven people, including actress Sharon Tate. There she is.

Manson was sentenced to death after a trial that lasted nearly a year. Along with three of his followers, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Leslie Van Houten, well, those sentences were commuted to life without parole when California outlawed the death penalty in 1972.

Manson spent nearly four decades behind bars, occasionally giving interviews in which he remained unrepentant and defiant.

Here is what he told NBC`s Tom Snyder in 1981.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM SNYDER, NBC NEWS: How do you feel about spending the rest of your life in prison?

MANSON: Well, we`re all in our own prisons. We each are our own wardens, and we do our own times. We each get stuck in our own little trips, and we kind of judge ourselves way we do, you know?

I can`t judge nobody else. The best thing I can do is try to judge myself and live with that.

SNYDER: You scared to die?

MANSON: Sometimes, I feel I`m scared to live. Living is what scares me. Dying is easy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: For more, I`m joined by Linda Deutsch, a former Associated Press correspondent who covered the Manson trial.

Thank you so much for joining us. LINDA DEUTSCH, FORMER CORRESPONDENT, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS: What do you think? How do you think this all fits? I think some things are atmospheric at times, the late `60s, the 70s. We had the Symbionese Liberation Army. Eventually, we had the Jonestown massacre, self-massacre in many ways. And then we had this.

What was it could you find in your reporting that led people to join cults and follow these negatively charismatic figures?

DEUTSCH: Well, in the case of the Manson family, it was the late 1960s. The country was in turmoil. We had been through so much.

We had had three assassinations, John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King. The Vietnam War was going on. Drugs were rampant. Young people were alienated.

And Manson`s true manipulative genius was that he found young people who were totally alienated, who were very young, who had no belief systems. And they were looking for an answer. They were looking for somebody to basically adopt them.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

DEUTSCH: And they found it in Manson.

MATTHEWS: Was he a father figure in terms of gender and orientation? Was he a father figure? Was he a lover? How was this charisma effective? What did he -- was it women especially, or how would you put it together?

(CROSSTALK)

DEUTSCH: There were women especially attached to him.

But he -- he painted himself as a Jesus figure. He said he was the next -- second coming of Christ. He had a lot of...

MATTHEWS: That`s the hair, huh? That was the hair talking, I guess.

DEUTSCH: He had a lot of delusions of grandeur.

And he was a false prophet, basically. But he painted himself as a real prophet and preached this ersatz philosophy of his to his followers, telling them that he knew all the secrets of the world, and he could take care of them.

MATTHEWS: You know, I have heard -- I don`t know much about criminal behavior, but I do know that I have heard that sometimes there is a one-off murderer who will murder a wife or something or a husband, and it will be about a particular set of circumstances which were just horrible or whatever.

And then there are people that just are killers. I get the sense this guy would have killed more people. I just -- I think he was a danger to society.

DEUTSCH: I don`t know.

MATTHEWS: What do you think, if he had -- go ahead.

(CROSSTALK)

DEUTSCH: I think the circumstances were very special.

I have said that about the `60s. But Charlie also was set on being a rock star. That was his aim in life. And he had come to Hollywood with that ambition. Had he gotten a recording contract, a lot of people say this would have never happened. I don`t think he set to kill.

MATTHEWS: Was his voice as good as Frankie Laine`s?

DEUTSCH: Oh, no.

MATTHEWS: Did he really sound like Frankie Laine or not?

(LAUGHTER)

DEUTSCH: No.

MATTHEWS: I read that is in your -- somebody`s story.

DEUTSCH: No, he sounded like nobody. It was not very good.

And his main composition that he was so proud of was called "Oh Garbage Dump."

MATTHEWS: Oh, God.

Anyway, Manson`s impact was felt even during his years in prison. In 1975, Manson family member Lynnette "Squeaky" Fromme, who was not involved in the 1969 murders, attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford at an event in Sacramento.

Oh, how do we put that together?

DEUTSCH: Yes, I covered that, too. I covered that, too.

MATTHEWS: How did the influence...

DEUTSCH: I was up there.

Squeaky had been sorry that she didn`t go along on the killings. She was so devoted to Manson. She was nuts. And so were a lot of them. They were just totally brainwashed. And they would do anything for him.

I went up to the -- Sacramento right after she aimed a gun at Ford, and I talked to her. And I said, "Why did you do this?" basically.

And, "Oh, Charlie thought that Ford was Nixon with another face. And we thought that we should do this."

And it was her and Sandra Good, another follower, and they wound up in federal prison for a very long time.

MATTHEWS: How did Charlie direct this? He direct it out of a jail cell, over the phone? How did he send his order to her to do that?

DEUTSCH: I don`t think he gave her a specific order.

I think she came up with it on her own, but that he told her to do something. That`s what he did with all of them. At the Sharon Tate house, he told people to do something witchy. And they took that to mean to kill everybody in the house.

I think that Manson did speak to a lot of them by phone. But mostly he was able to manipulate the women who were on trial with him because he saw them at the prison. And every day, he gave them directions what to do, dance around in court, sing.

You know, he at one point hurled himself across the counsel table at the judge with a pencil in his hand, shouting, "Someone should cut your head off, old man."

He was putting on an incredible drama in that courtroom.

MATTHEWS: OK.

Well, he is not around anymore. Thank you very much, Linda Deutsch.

DEUTSCH: No, and thank goodness for that.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Up next: another day, another temper tantrum on Twitter. President Trump spent the weekend on the attack, going after athletes, Hillary Clinton, and a prominent Republican critic.

You`re watching HARDBALL.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

It was another quiet weekend over at the White House. And naturally, President Trump took to his favorite medium, Twitter, to attack some of his critics.

First up, Hillary Clinton, who the president went after because he didn`t like what she said to "Mother Jones" magazine about the legitimacy of the 2016 election.

Let`s take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that there are lots of questions about its legitimacy. And we don`t have a method for contesting that in our system. This is the first time we`ve ever been attacked by a foreign adversary, and then they suffer no real consequences.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, he tweeted: Crooked Hillary Clinton is the worst and biggest loser of all time. She just can`t stop, which is so good for the Republican Party.

Next up, LaVar Ball, the father of one of the UCLA basketball players who seemed to dismiss the president`s effort to free the players. In response, Trump tweeted: Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left him in jail.

And, finally, on Sunday, Trump went after Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland Raiders for sitting during the national anthem -- there he is. Trump tweeted: Great disrespect. Next time, the NFL should suspend him for the remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down.

For more I`m joined by the HARDBALL roundtable tonight: Susan Page is Washington bureau chief for "USA Today", Libby Casey is an on-air reporter at "The Washington Post", and Jason Johnson is politics editor for "The Root" and an MSNBC political contributor.

In order, what do we make of this bash of commentary from the president? Pick any one you would like.

Susan?

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, USA TODAY: OK, I`ll take the first one.

MATTHEWS: OK. For 10 points.

PAGE: The 2016 election will never end. You know, 50 years from now, we`ll still be debating who won in 2016.

MATTHEWS: Yes, but there is a legitimate result.

PAGE: There is.

MATTHEWS: The Electoral College voted and they got to 270 and it`s done. What does Hillary Clinton mean by saying, raising the legitimacy of the election?

PAGE: Well, I think we know that President Trump isn`t over the election because he keeps tweeting about his adversary even though he won the election and was inaugurated. But I think Hillary Clinton also has trouble getting over the election. And so, she is also revisiting in ways that, by the way, are not helpful for other Democrats. This is not good news for the Democratic Party to question his legitimacy.

MATTHEWS: Why?

PAGE: Because he was elected. He won the Electoral College. He won the popular vote. Democrats need to move on to pick an alternative to Trump if they`re going fare well in 2018.

MATTHEWS: That would seem to be the natural agenda of any political party, find a leader to put out.

Libby, what did you think about this going after the football player`s father? I mean, I don`t get it. He just seems to like -- there is a certain aspect. He likes to go for people of color sometimes. I notice a pattern. I`m sorry. I notice it.

LIBBY CASEY, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: And I think the populace is noticing it as well. And so, a "Washington Post" poll earlier this month talked to Americans about President Trump`s views on race, and less than four in ten thinks he has a good -- any kind of race relationship or good perspective on African-Americans and other minorities. And you have to look at the family.

One of my colleagues did this great piece in "The Post" today looking at the Ball family. The Ball family actually are entrepreneurs. They have a lot of sons involved in sports. The oldest son plays for the L.A. Lakers. And LaVar Ball has a brand of shoes and clothing out there.

MATTHEWS: He`s a promoter, too, like Trump.

CASEY: But Cal pointed out in his piece that when ESPN polled viewers and players, there were different perspectives on how this brash entrepreneurial family is perceived. Players love it because they`re like you are taking the money that would normally go into the pockets of big corporations and you`re keeping it among an African-American family. This is great.

Viewers have a different approach to it. And so, Donald Trump is once again hitting Americans on their couches, but really hitting about race. It could backfire, though, because there are people who are saying, hey, come on.

MATTHEWS: We all did.

Anyway, Jason, I got to ask. You have an old car, I`ve had a few over the years, you turn it off and it stays on. For reason, they call it pre- ignition.

JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, yes.

MATTHEWS: This is the night of the 2016 election. Didn`t we turn that car off some time in November and it`s still humming, it`s going back to whatever? To -- what it is doing? Is it cruise speed? This thing won`t quit.

Hillary seems to want to fight --

JOHNSON: Right.

MATTHEWS: -- and he wants to fight.

JOHNSON: Chris, both sides benefit from this. Maxine Waters says he is not legitimate and Democrats cheer. Resistance people cheer.

And the fact of the matter is you can go to a fifth grades civic class. Somebody wins a presidential election with the Electoral College, but loses the popular. You`re going to have people who say that`s not legitimate. You`re going to have people who say that`s not democracy.

MATTHEWS: Why do we not report the popular vote? Because it`s irrelevant. But the end of the baseball game, we report the number of hits. It`s irrelevant.

JOHNSON: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: What matters is the runs.

Anyway, over the weekend, while in Little Rock, Arkansas, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of former President Clinton`s election, Hillary Clinton reacted to the president`s tweet. Let`s watch that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: I`m going to keep speaking out. Apparently, you know, my former opponent is obsessed with my speaking out. Apparently there was another somebody told me tweet today. Honestly, between tweeting and golfing, how does he get anything done? I don`t understand it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: That wasn`t the funniest line in the world. What do you make of this, Libby?

CASEY: It gets under --

MATTHEWS: It doesn`t look great. It doesn`t look great for either side.

CASEY: But it worked in Virginia for the governor`s race. I mean, we did see people come out and vote for a Democrat there. And we saw them vote for Democrats in the state and --

MATTHEWS: And this operation helped that?

CASEY: You know, here is the deal. If Democrats aren`t turned off by Hillary Clinton, if she fades into the background noise, and some people go for it, because they love the passion, they love the conviction, it makes them mad. Others are moving on. I don`t even care.

As long as Donald Trump keeps tweeting about it, it brings it back to the conversation.

MATTHEWS: Jason, you first. Then we`ll move down this way.

JOHNSON: OK.

MATTHEWS: Is Hillary running again?

JOHNSON: No. Oh, no.

MATTHEWS: No, no, no, you`re sure? This isn`t the first step?

JOHNSON: Yes, I would bet a tremendous amount of money. I don`t think she is running again.

CASEY: I don`t get any indication of that.

MATTHEWS: Susan?

PAGE: I don`t think she is. And I don`t think it does Democrats any good to have either of the Clintons out there. The Democrats need to move to a post-Clinton era.

MATTHEWS: I`ve been on the road for three weeks on the book tour. The one question can I get attend of any conversation, I usually get 20 minutes of Q&A, who is the new leaders? And I list about five or 10 people I call -- and I don`t mean this positively -- attractive.

They`re very attractive. They`re men and women, they`re young. They`re attractive politically. They look like future, maybe. And none of them for themselves, none of them is ready to be president but there`s a lot of them, there is a bench as wide as a mile. But nobody on the on deck circle. Nobody ready to go, huh?

CASEY: They can`t get the oxygen if Hillary Clinton is taking it up.

MATTHEWS: And Joe Biden.

JOHNSON: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Huh?

CASEY: Well --

MATTHEWS: Well, that may be argued. I used to know that. There is only one place for the Democrat to talk. Don`t take it away from the kids.

Speaking of tweets, according to a new poll out today, 76 percent of voters feel President Trump should stop tweeting. Now, that`s bipartisan. And last week, as part of a focus group conducted by pollster Peter Hart, a number of Trump voters delivered a strong warning to president about his tweeting habit. Let`s watch real people here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNIE ANTHONY, TRUMP VOTER: He behaves unpresidential. The words he uses, the tweeting.

MELISSA HIGHT, TRUMP VOTER: He hasn`t acted presidential at all. The tweets bother me. They may be enlightening some people. I`m not a tweeter. But to me, it`s like far enough this tweet, it`s just childish.

TERRY REILLY, TRUMP VOTER: I think every day he lowers the bar what it means to be president with every tweet, because every tweet he is usually contradicted an hour later. It just creates this chaotic feeling.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: That guy should be on "Meet the Press."

Anyway, the round table is sticking with us. And next, these three scoops -- they`ll give me three scoops tomorrow. I get so excited here.

You`re watching HARDBALL.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin this week responded to questions about a new viral photo of he and his wife posing with a sheet of new dollar bills. Mnuchin told FOX News he had no idea the picture was going to be made public. He also had this response for his critics.

Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: Mr. Secretary, some folks, and I`m looking at the picture here which you can`t see, say that you two look like two villains from a James Bond movie. I`m sure you`ve heard that. I guess my question is, what were you thinking?

STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: I heard that. I`d never thought I`d be quoted as looking like villains from the James Bond. I guess I should take that as a compliment that I look like a villain in a great successful James Bond movie.

But let me just say I was very excited of having my signature on the money. It`s obviously a great privilege and a great honor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Susan, tell me something I don`t know. You`re laughing. That`s good.

PAGE: In 2012, Joe Biden had just been reelected vice president. He told me at that time, he thought, I shouldn`t run for president in 2016, why? To clear the way for Beau Biden to emerge as a national figure.

Now, of course, Beau Biden, his son, was then diagnosed with cancer in 2013. Joe Biden chose not to run for an entirely different reason. But there was a very happy reason he was thinking seriously about not running then.

MATTHEWS: Yes. I think he is running but he told me he has not. So -- good ahead.

CASEY: Anita Hill, someone from Joe Biden`s past. I just interviewed her. And she is looking at her role in the long arc of history as someone who really laid the groundwork for the me too movement today. We`ll have an interview with her in "The Washington Post" tomorrow.

But she is wondering, as are many others, women in Congress if we`ll see another year of the woman coming out of all these accusations that mean something in 1992, getting so many women in Congress.

MATTHEWS: That`s when Di-Fi came in and Boxer, they all came in.

CASEY: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: Yes, Jason?

JOHNSON: So, we know, Chris, you know, two weeks ago, we had these massive elections. They changed governorships, state houses --

MATTHEWS: Who was the big winner, Democrats or Republicans?

JOHNSON: Democrats are the big winners across the board. Even into 2018. But one city isn`t done with their collection, and that`s the city of Cleveland.

Cleveland has the chance to elect the first Muslim-American to Cleveland Security Council. Basheer Jones from Ward 7, but he is only ahead by 19 votes with 160 provisionals to count. So, they don`t know if the election is going to be over in the first week of December or there may be a recall election or a new one in the spring.

MATTHEWS: Wow.

Well, thank you, Susan Page, Libby Casey and Jason Johnson.

When we return, let me finish tonight the America I`ve discovered the last two weeks. You`re watching HARDBALL.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the America I`ve discovered the last three weeks on my book tour for "Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit."

I`ve discovered a country looking for leaders with true empathy. We`ve got a president focused on himself -- would like one with a feeling towards those Americans in trouble. I think of the time Robert Kennedy had to tell a crowd of African-Americans that Dr. Martin Luther King had been killed that day.

I`ve discovered a country looking for leaders who can unite us. We`ve got one skilled right now at tearing us apart. White against black, Anglo against Hispanic, Christian and Jewish against Muslim. Again, we want a unifier. I think also the people lining the railroad tracks when Bobby`s body was taken to Arlington cemetery. A united group.

I`ve discovered country looking for leaders with true moral authority, not just government power, but who believe in right and wrong, who we can trust, that we can trust to know the difference.

I wrote about Bobby Kennedy because I`ve learn head represents the kind of leader we need, the kind we lack. He is the kind of American leader I respect. I`m asking you to go out this Thanksgiving week and get my story of this great man`s life, "Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit". It`s one we need right now, especially now, to honor.

By the, it`s his birthday today. Had he lived, Robert Kennedy would have just turned 92 today. Let`s not forget him, especially now.

That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.

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