IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Trump in Brussels for tense NATO summit. TRANSCRIPT: 7/10/2018, Hardball with Chris Matthews.

Guests: Amy Klobuchar, Alan Dershowitz, Eugene Scott, Vanita Gupta, Sahil Kapur

Show: HARDBALL Date: July 10, 2018 Guest: Amy Klobuchar, Alan Dershowitz, Eugene Scott, Vanita Gupta, Sahil Kapur

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Strangers in the night. Let`s play HARDBALL.

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have been exchanging glances for months. And next week, the two of them finally get together. On the way to that meeting President will be climbing over America`s historic longtime allies. What is he up to? Does Trump believe the best way to win Putin`s embrace is to shove away our allies? Why is the leader of the free world changing partners and throwing himself at the little strong man from Moscow? Why jeopardize one of history`s great marriages in North Atlantic treaty organization for a one offer, the man who tried undermining our democracy? Are we about to sing collusion in plain sight?

Good evening. I am Chris Matthews in Washington.

And today, one of President Trump`s trip is European trip and he is already making clear he has got his priority set, his priorities. With the week of consequential meetings ahead of him, Trump appears determined to trample over America`s allies at the NATO summit in Brussels before he stops at Helsinki for ill-advised meeting with Putin.

The (INAUDIBLE), of course, is the President needlessly provoking a fight with them while cozying up with an adversary.

Upon his departure today, Trump said dealing with NATO and the United Kingdom represent bigger challenges for him than his upcoming encounter with Putin which he says it is going to be easier. Let`s watch.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: NATO has not treated us fairly but I think we will work something out. We pay far too much and they pay far too little. So I have NATO, I have the U.K. which is in somewhat turmoil and I have Putin. Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all. Who would think? Who would think?


MATTHEWS: Who would have think?

Anyway, despite Russia`s cyber attacks on our election in 2016, Trump also declined, even calling Putin a foe or even an adversary of the United States.



TRUMP: I really can`t say right now. As far as I am concerned, a competitor. I think that getting along with Russia, getting along with China, getting along with others, is a good thing, not a bad thing. I have said that many times for many years.


MATTHEWS: Kind of like the World Cup, don`t you think?

Anyway, comes at "The New York Times" reveals more about Trump`s private call to Putin last March when he congratulated the Russian autocrat against the wishes of his advisors. When Putin complained to the President that U.S. officials had quote "tried to prevent the call from happening," Trump referred to those members of his own administration as, get this, stupid people. That`s Trump talking to Putin about his own people. Trump`s own people.

I`m joined now by Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security advisor and an MSNBC contributor. He is the author of the new book smash sensation "the world as it is." There it is. Betsy Woodruff is reporter with "the Daily Beast," also an MSNBC contributor. David Jolly is a Republican, a former Republican congressman from Florida, now he is known as a former Republican congressman. Thank you.

David Jolly, I want you to explain the politics as you are a Republican. It is hanging on you. Explain this.

First to Ben, you know this whole issue of our relations with the European allies. That was with the home team.


MATTHEWS: They were the allies. They are fun, going to Europe. When Jack Kennedy with the friends with Jacqueline Kennedy, it was a smash. It was all about glamour and we love the (INAUDIBLE). He loves us. Why is this guy dumping on the European allies we have had for a decade, for century in the case of British, the French? Why is he dumping on them to make them look more likable, more embraceable Putin?

RHODES: Well, look. You couldn`t script this week better if you were Vladimir Putin because what he wants above anything else is the collapse of the western alliance. Divisions with the NATO.

MATTHEWS: Like his whole world collapsed.

RHODES: That`s what he wants. And to have the President of the United States go and then potentially be creating turmoil in our closest alliance, before he goes hand in hand to Putin in a very (INAUDIBLE) way. He couldn`t ask for anything better.

And people should remember, it is your friends and it is a great place to visit, but after 9/11, they were with us in Afghanistan. They are the ones who invoke the treaty of common defense. They fought and died with us in the men of Afghanistan. What he is putting at risk is the next time we need them, maybe they are not going to be there for us or when Putin wants to intimidate eastern European countries, who coming to us for the survival, maybe, you know, they can`t count on us, they are going to reach out to Putin instead.

MATTHEWS: What is in his head, Betsy? Seriously, you are laughing. But I ask somebody what is in Trump`s head, people laugh. But what it is?

BETSY WOODRUFF, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST: What is in his head is an extreme antipathy towards any sort of multilateral or international alliances, essentially towards of the new world order, post-World War II.


WOODRUFF: NATO, the world trade organization, NAFTA, the institutions that have held together the west.

MATTHEWS: Why does he hate them?

WOODRUFF: It is good question. I`m not sure I have full answer to that?

MATTHEWS: What is his psychobabble? I would say, what is his brain (INAUDIBLE)? He doesn`t play well with the others. He doesn`t like contemporaries, equals --?

RHODES: He has presented the institutions that he feels that he is not a part of. And frankly, he has always had more affinity for these strong men types. You know, Putin. We saw with Kim Jong-un. He had better things to say about Kim Jong-un than he does with the prime minister of --.

WOODRUFF: It is also the Buchanan and I started a conservatism. That is always played kind of second federal in the Republican Party going back a couple of decades. There is always been this sense of America first isolation.



MATTHEWS: So this one narrow defense. He is defender of the west. He does know the western civilization has been a pretty good deal generally speaking. And Trump isn`t defending western civilization. He is going over the east.

WOODRUFF: It is the America first mindset of sort of seeing America`s interest as not necessarily overlapping with Europe`s.

MATTHEWS: Well, as I have said, Trump is set to have meet one-on-one with Vladimir Putin and how sinky (ph) with only translators present. That is have people worry. But no aides around to sort of caution him.

As "the New York Time" reports today, Mr. Trump`s advisers concede they cannot be certain of what he will choose to say or do in those closed circumstances. And that prospect, there is an alarm senate minority leader Chuck Schumer who warned today that Trump shouldn`t be alone or let be alone with Putin.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: I`m worried that the word on the President`s lip will be yes to anything that Putin says. So I don`t think he should be in the room alone with him.


MATTHEWS: David, this is obviously a partisan Democrat saying he is concern. But I don`t think that is just so with him. What is the fear when you think about it, of Trump? You know, they used to say, when Trump went to (INAUDIBLE). My God, he wants to get rid of the nuclear weapons. Well, that was the worst thing in the world to do. But he was talking big time. Does Trump going to cut a grand scheme with him so grand alliance with the north of both hemispheres go to war -- goes to war with the south and put Syria together and somehow reconciles people with Syria and keeps Israel safe. What is it, a grand deal he is up to?

DAVID JOLLY (R), FORMER FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: I think that is giving Donald Trump a lot more credit than he is capable of. I think what Schumer is speaking to is a suspicion of many that this is a President with a historical -- historic level of profound ignorance on the world stage.

And to Betsy`s and Ben`s point, he is suspicious of multilateral engagements but he sees strength in dealing with strong men and world leaders like Putin and Kim. And frankly, he is intimidated by a NATO alliance. And so, he is willing to sacrifice and flirt with 70 years of freedom alliance and not understand fully the consequences of whether or not article five is even on the table or not, recall that he flirted with that during the campaign and walked it back. This is the concern.

Listen, he is projecting profound weakness on the world stage. We are conflating bluster with strength. The fact is our greatest allies are begging for his leadership and he is not showing it. Yet at the same time he is caving to our adversaries. That is the concern that Chuck Schumer was speaking to.

MATTHEWS: While you were talking, David, you couldn`t see it but there was Trump getting off the plane with his classic sort of presentation look. Coat open, wide open, white shirt showing, a tie cut tied so it shows ridiculously lower the belt, is that part of the swagger? Is this -- I`m serious, is this the presentation --?

JOLLY: Yes. Chris, this is the President of the United States that could not compete with his own peers at the G-7 so he walked away in the fit. This is a President who thinks that he has a contract with Kim. But we all know, in diplomacy, that is not actually exist. He sells only one thing to his base with his strength. And that strength -- to sell that strength requires an adversary. It requires him to appear with strong men like Putin. And so, there is something a president, a former President`s never did. There is a reason former presidents never did what this President is doing. It is because it is wrong for the national security interest of the United States.

MATTHEWS: Well, President Trump`s (INAUDIBLE) attitude towards America`s allies, earned him a public rebuke today from European Counsel President Donald Tusk. Let`s watch him in action.


DONALD TUSK, EUROPEAN COUNSEL PRESIDENT: America, I appreciate your allies, after all, you don`t have that many.


MATTHEWS: You don`t have that many allies. Well, probably, that is more like (INAUDIBLE). Everybody is doing that now.

President Trump attacked the EU on twitter saying the European Union makes it impossible for our farmers and workers and companies to do business in Europe. And then he went on happily defend them though NATO and nicely pay for it. Just doesn`t work.

Well, I think, I am going to ask you Ben, you don`t like doing this kind of thing, but this question of brain soup. Why does Trump behave the way he does? Is it all mental or is it something psycho about it? Why he has to strut like that? We are just watching these stuff.

Putin struts, he struts, little Kim Jong-un struts in his, you know, shorter way, but they do it.

RHODES: You know, I think --.

MATTHEWS: You don`t want to do this, do you?

RHODES: No. I will go there for a second which is I think that the only part of the presidency that he seems to be attracted to is not doing the homework. You are not getting into the women negotiating, you know, blocking away from the G-7 Blowing up (INAUDIBLE), blown up NATO consensus.

The only part he likes is the spectacle. He likes being the center of attention. He like that everybody in the world is going to be talking about this meeting with Putin. Just like everybody in the world was talking about meeting with Kim. I don`t think he has any idea what he is trying to get us in meeting with Putin. And I`m sure that Putin knows exactly --.

MATTHEWS: You don`t think he is like an eight-year-old.

RHODES: I think he likes to be the center of attention.

MATTHEWS: Like an eight-year-old? Throw the blocks around as a dumb kid. Playing with the other kids he supposed to be playing.

RHODES: Eyes on me here. And could he -- I don`t think he could articulate to you. You know, you are trying to understand what to say (INAUDIBLE).

MATTHEWS: I do think there is some kind of grand plan, there must be.

RHODES: I don`t think so. Putin has a grand plan and we are watching Putin`s grand plan play out. It started in our election. And it continues --.

MATTHEWS: Destroy the west.


RHODES: You got the President of the United States, you know, who is vacated --.

MATTHEWS: Betsy, I can`t talk from the eyes whether you think. Do you think President Trump has (INAUDIBLE) that he had share with maybe wanting to other people? An idea that, you know, I think I can break open this whole right rift between the right -- the east and the west. I think I can make it a north-south fight. If I can get Putin on my side, we can settle things in the Middle East and along that hole, soft under belly of the old Soviet Union. I can work things out down there.

WOODRUFF: The Middle East is really the key question here. Because one of the most important issue that Trump and Putin should talk about, is what the heck is going on in Syria. How that conflict is supposed to be managed? That is an issue where U.S. soldier`s lives are actually (INAUDIBLE) where the allies that we worked with stays off against Russian proxy forces. It is very much a hot conflict. And Trump, and his administration broadly too, not just for themselves but also the people around him have yet to lay out a clear code in strategy for what that content is supposed to look like.

MATTHEWS: I think Betsy is right.

Let me go back to David. I think they are going to get together in the band. And there is two man here, the one with the plan will win. Now who, you think, do you agree with Ben that it was the Russians that have a plan, we don`t.

JOLLY: (INAUDIBLE). Chris, Donald Trump is cagey but ignorant. And we will end this weak as a weaker nation and not a stronger nation.

MATTHEWS: Do you believe how we talk now? You are talking about the President of the United States. You casually say ignorant. You really mean that in a robust sense.

JOLLY: Yes. And I`m careful with the word. I don`t like the word. I really don`t like the word. He is cagey and maybe he is a brilliant negotiator. He operates in chaos. And he is good at that. But when it comes to profound matters of policy, particularly on national security, he is historically ignorant. And we are wrestling with that as a country to follow a president down this path that is abandoning an over 70 years of a freedom alliance and embracing dictators that are adverse to our national security interest. That is the President today.

MATTHEWS: Do you mean to say, (INAUDIBLE) here, he profoundly doesn`t understand what the Marshall plan did where we restore (INAUDIBLE) relations in Europe so they can rebuild themselves. Where we were able to forge the alliance that was so scary to the Soviet Union, they had to back off. And he doesn`t understand the power of that history. He doesn`t get that.

JOLLY: No, he doesn`t. Nor does he understand how it actually operates. Look at his language around suggesting that our NATO allies have to contribute more. It is not a fund that they are contributing to. It is a GDP goal, where yes, he is correct that only five of 29 countries actually have reached that goal. But it is not about in contributing more to a fund that would actually reduce our requirement to protect freedom as well. He either fundamentally does not understand it. He is fundamentally ignorant or he is misleading the American people. They can make a decision which it is.

MATTHEWS: I think you made the point.

Thank you Ben Rhodes. Thank you Betsy. Betsy Woodruff, thank you. Former congressman David Jolly. You are all great tonight.

Coming up, did President Trump go judge shopping in picking his latest Supreme Court nominee? I think he looks like he picked he picked the kind of guy he wants on the court and the courts rule on him, don`t you think? There are very -- real questions out there whether Trump chose Brett Kavanaugh himself in order to protect himself, Donald Trump, from Mueller.

Plus, the case for and against the president when it comes to Russia. One of the country`s best known defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz is coming here. He is breaking ranks with Democrats and making a case against impeaching Trump. I will press him on that later on the show.

And there is total chaos surrounding the Trump administration`s effort to reunite children who have been separated from their parent. Easier to divide them and separate them than getting back together according to what is going on now. The President`s response, don`t come to this country illegally. The HARDBALL round table weighs in on that one.

Plus, the danger of embracing Putin and the politics behind last night`s Supreme Court picked.

Finally, let me finish tonight with Trump watch.

This is HARDBALL where the action is.


MATTHEWS: The bravery and dedication of Thai Navy SEAls and international cave divers has paid off. All 12 of the boys and their soccer coach has been rescued from the cave where they were trapped in the last 18 days. Look at them down there. The rescue operation took three full days to complete was accomplished through buddy diving. The boys put on full faced oxygen masks and used thin ropes to attach themselves to a pair of professional divers. The death of one Thai Navy SEAL during the operation highlights the riskiness of what was attempted and the courage and heroism of those who survived. What a great story.

We will be right back.



JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: No President has ever consulted more widely or talked with more people for more backgrounds to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination.

Mr. President, I`m grateful to you and I`m humbled by your confidence if me.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump`s Supreme Court nominee to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kavanaugh was on Capitol Hill today meeting with lawmakers. But the battle lines have already been drawn in this fight over his nomination. Kavanaugh got the nods from President Trump and of at least three equally conservative appeals court judges. They are all appeals court judges.

But senate minority leader Chuck Schumer today pointed to one factor that set Kavanaugh apart as President Trump face with the heat from special counsel Robert Mueller`s investigation. Let`s watch Chuck.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: Because the thing the President is most obsessed with is the Mueller investigation. And Kavanaugh is the strongest against such an investigation. The strongest in believing the President, even if he thinks the law is unconstitutional, doesn`t have to obey it. That is so far out of the mainstream but it is just what President Trump who would roll over our democracy in ways we have never seen would want.


MATTHEWS: And in fact in 2009, Judge Kavanaugh made the argument that the President shouldn`t be investigated. Should be investigated. Certainly, not compel to testify while in officer.

He wrote, even the lesser burdens of a criminal investigation including preparing for question by criminal investigators are time consuming and distracting. And a President who was concerned about an ongoing criminal investigation is almost inevitably going to do a worse job as president.

Kavanaugh did not argue president should not -- could not be investigated. And studies suggested that Congress should pass a law to protect sitting presidents from civil suits and criminal prosecution.

If that argument sounds familiar, here`s what President Trump`s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who was at the White House for the announcement last night, sitting right out there, told Sean Hannity in May.


RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: The president cannot be distracted by a criminal investigation.

You can always prosecute him after. They can get him when he leaves the White House.


MATTHEWS: I think really Rudy and Brett have the same speechwriter.

For more, I`m joined by Minnesota Senator, Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hold the confirmation hearings on Kavanaugh.

What do you make of that synchronized swimming in their thought between Rudy Giuliani, the president`s outside attorney and fixer, and the guy he just nominated for the Supreme Court? They both say presidents should be left alone by prosecutors.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Well, I had not known about that close connection there.

MATTHEWS: It was a Minnesota Law Review statement.


No, I have seen the rMD-BO_law review article.

MATTHEWS: From your own beloved state.

KLOBUCHAR: No, no, believe me, but I`m telling -- between Giuliani and what this judge has said.

And when you look at that law review and others he`s written, including one in the Georgetown Law Review, he`s talking about a very expansive view of executive power. He has literally said in an actual case, in a dissent, in 2011 that a president should be able to not enforce a law that he thinks is unconstitutional on his own.


So if he shot somebody on Fifth Avenue, as he`s put it out as a point of reference, then even in that case he shouldn`t be investigated, according to Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

KLOBUCHAR: But even more close to home, the prohibition in place right now that says insurance companies can`t kick people off if they have a medical history, if they have a preexisting condition.

So I guess, under his interpretation, the president could just decide not to enforce that law. Then you go to the next step, which is what your focused on. And that is that when you look at these law review articles, he makes very clear -- these are his words in the Georgetown one -- that a president -- quote -- "should have absolute discretion about whether and when" -- end quote -- he can be independently investigated.

MATTHEWS: Well, here we go to near case, not six months now, but a couple -- a couple months from now.

The Supreme Court, as reconstituted, with this new member, perhaps, this new associate justice, will be asked whether a president has to respond to a subpoena. We think we know the answer to this by this associate justice, who could be the fifth vote to say, no, he doesn`t have to.

KLOBUCHAR: Yes. And it goes even farther.

He has actually said that a president should be able to fire the special counsel. And he suggested that this would be a good idea in the same law review article. Think about that.

MATTHEWS: Is he trolling you guys? You know the new term trolling. He`s just trying to get you crazy by sticking to that, and you say, I`m going to pick a person who is openly saying I`m going to get you off.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, this is the exact opposite.

Even the Senate Judiciary Committee, with Republican votes, as you know, passed a bill through the committee -- it hasn`t gotten voted on, on the floor -- that actually strengthened the special counsel provision, Chris, because we`re so afraid that they`re going to run all over that.

And Rod Rosenstein is hanging in there. You know that the special counsel, Mueller, has gotten 20 indictments -- 20 people indicted, five convictions so far. This is a major investigation of a foreign power trying to invade our election.

That`s what happened.

MATTHEWS: Well, my late colleague and great colleague Tim Russert used to say in many cases like this, numbers, numbers, numbers.

OK, numbers, not just ratings, numbers. You guys in the Senate have 100 members. John McCain is not able to attend probably a vote. That`s 99 nine members. You have got 49. They have got 50. Two of those 50 they have are women who are pro-choice.

Are they going to be the ones that are the weak timber? They`re the ones that are going to say, no, this is too far to go with this pro-choice -- pro-life candidate?

KLOBUCHAR: We have two jobs right now.


MATTHEWS: You`re not going to answer my question. OK.

KLOBUCHAR: No, I am going to answer it.

We have two jobs. One is to get all the information out there. This guy was in the White House for years. Some of that information has not come out. It was under seal before in his first confirmation hearing. So we need to get all that information.

In Elena Kagan`s hearing, 171,000 documents were produced. So we need to look at that. And then we need to ask the tough questions, including where he is on precedent that is 45 years old. We should get that answer.

Then the second piece about this is to make the case...

MATTHEWS: Didn`t he say he was for Casey? He was for the undue burden standard?

KLOBUCHAR: He said -- he was asked, and he deferred to precedent.

But he said, well, that`s the Supreme Court`s precedent. Now he would be in a new job, where he would be making the precedent. So, it`s a much different question.

MATTHEWS: So, you don`t take his word as final on that, then?

KLOBUCHAR: No, because he -- it was answered in the context of following Supreme Court precedent.

Then, the second thing will be to make the case to the American people. And the case to the American people is that this is about a case down in Texas where the administration is arguing that they want to kick you off your insurance and make it unconstitutional, the provision that says you can`t be kicked off insurance. We need to make that case.

And those Republican senators, not just the two women who have shown courage in the past and stood up to protect the Affordable Care Act...

MATTHEWS: Yes, build them up. Build them up. Build them up.

I know what you`re doing.

KLOBUCHAR: They did. They did. They showed that courage.

MATTHEWS: What about the three Democratic senators from red states?

Should they vote for this nomination and save their seats?

KLOBUCHAR: They`re going to do what`s right And they`re going to talk to this nominee.

And they have an open mind. And that`s what they should do.

MATTHEWS: OK. It seems like five senators are going to decide this thing.

Thank you, Senator Klobuchar of Minnesota, a former district attorney.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Up next: Lifelong Democrat Alan Dershowitz -- there he is -- is breaking ranks with many liberals, arguing against calls for President Trump`s impeachment.

We`re going to ask him to defend his defense of the president when he joins us after the break.

And this is HARDBALL, where the action is.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I call them the 13 angry Democrats. You have tremendous animosity.

Now, here is the good news. I did nothing wrong. There was no obstruction. The I.G. report yesterday went a long way to show that. And I think that the Mueller investigation has been totally discredited.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

From the start, President Trump has attacked the Mueller investigation and denied he colluded with the Russians.

In a new book, one of the country`s best known defense lawyers argues that, even if there was explicit evidence that candidate Trump colluded with Russia, collusion is simply not a crime.

Alan Dershowitz, famous for defending O.J. Simpson, Mike Tyson, and helping to overturn the murder conviction of Claus von Bulow, writes: "The framers of the Constitution did not provide -- did not provide an impeachment remedy for an incompetent, nasty, even tyrannical president, unless he committed a designated crime."

Of course, not everybody agrees with that assessment.

For more, I`m joined by Alan Dershowitz. His book is called "The Case Against Impeaching Trump.rMD-BO_" And Paul Butler is a professor at Georgetown Law and an MSNBC analyst.

Alan, thank you so much, Professor.

I guess here`s my question, because we have been talking about this for months and will continue to do so, regardless of what you say today.

If the Soviet Union -- well, Russia now -- same crowd basically -- conspired to disrupt and discredit our republican form of government, our election process, which is at the heart of it...

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, ATTORNEY: I think they did. I think they did. I think they did.

MATTHEWS: If they did that, and Americans conspired to aid or reward that effort, would that be a crime on the American side?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, it really depends on what they did.

In my book, I give the following hypothetical. Let`s assume that candidate Trump -- this didn`t happen, but I`m a law professor. I`m entitled to give a hypothetical. I taught your distinguished guest.

And the hypothetical is that president -- candidate Trump calls Vladimir Putin and says, Vlad, do I have a deal for you. I know you don`t like the sanctions, and I want to be president. And if you could help me become president by giving me dirt that you already have accumulated on Hillary Clinton, you know that, if I`m president, you will have a better chance of getting the sanctions removed.

That would be a horrible, horrible thing. But it would not be a crime under the federal criminal statutes, nor would it be a ground for impeachment.

I know I state this view, purely categorically. A lot of academics say you don`t need a crime to be impeached. Obviously, President Ford, when he was minority leader, said whatever the House says, whatever the Senate says. Congresswoman Waters says the same thing.

My analysis shows that that`s not right. The framers rejected the British approach of malfunction in office, and require that there be a crime as a prerequisite before anybody can be impeached.

Once there`s a crime, you can then take political considerations and decide whether to impeach him or not. But you have to have a crime as a prerequisite.

MATTHEWS: Well, Paul, would it be a crime for American or a group of Americans to undertake, to aid in advance, further, if you will, a Russian conspiracy to interrupt and discredit our election process? Would that be a crime?


Professor Dershowitz, it`s an honor to be on this program with you.


BUTLER: You taught me criminal law. You`re one of the people who inspired me to go into a career, first as a prosecutor, and then as someone who tries to speak up for the little guys, the people who are in the bottom of our criminal legal process, which I know you have tried to do as well.

And so I find it kind of ironic now to see your spirited defense of President Trump. It`s almost as though he`s above the law, that the same rules don`t apply to him as apply to everybody else.

And so when we look at actual crimes that would justify impeachment, we could think about conspiracy to defraud the United States. We can say that, if someone was stealing e-mails, if that was part of the plan to -- that the Trump campaign and the Russians would work together, that`s clearly a crime.


BUTLER: If they were taking money or other kinds of material aid from the Russians, but not reporting, all of that more than satisfies the high crime and misdemeanor statute in the Constitution.


DERSHOWITZ: I agree. I don`t disagree. I don`t disagree with that.

You were a great student. And I`m so proud of what you do.

BUTLER: Thank you.

DERSHOWITZ: But we`re not talking about taking money or giving money.

We`re talking about getting information.

MATTHEWS: Well, what about taking oppo research? You`re taking oppo.

Alan, it`s oppo. That has a value in any campaign, opposition research.

DERSHOWITZ: Of course. Oh, of course.

MATTHEWS: So, it`s money.

DERSHOWITZ: No, of course.

But let`s remember this, that when "The New York Times" published the Pentagon Papers, and they published Manning, and they published the other, that was all stolen material. But there is a right to use material given to you that`s been stolen in the interest of the First Amendment.

And that`s true of an election campaign too. No matter where you get the information from, you can use it.


DERSHOWITZ: But, Paul, we both agree you don`t stretch the criminal law. MATTHEWS: "The Times" didn`t reward the Russians with promising to drop the sanctions, as you laid out in your proposition. So that`s a different case.

DERSHOWITZ: No, it`s not, because what I...


DERSHOWITZ: Every politician says, if you vote for me, I will be helpful on the right to choose. I will be helpful on passing the ERA. I will be helpful. That`s the way politics operates.

Look, you say that I`m defending Trump. I`m not defending Trump. I didn`t vote for him. I didn`t support him. I`m against almost all of his policies.

If Hillary Clinton had been elected president, and they were trying to impeach her, which they would be, I would have written the same book. In fact, I actually had the cover made up, just to see, to make my point.



DERSHOWITZ: I would have written a book called "The Case Against Impeaching Hillary Clinton."

It would be exactly the same book. And everybody would love me because I would be defending Hillary Clinton. But now my arguments help Donald Trump, so I`m suddenly a pariah.


MATTHEWS: Paul, I want you to jump in here. I don`t to take up your time and half of this.

But if Hillary Clinton had won the election, and Trump was just a private citizen, back to making money in New York, and he had done all these things of collusion or furthering a Russian conspiracy, however you want to phrase it, would that be a crime, not as president, but just a citizen?

BUTLER: Of course.

First of all, President Trump is a bizarre poster board for the idea of fidelity to the rule of law or nonpolitical prosecutions. He campaigned based on the idea of locking her up.

DERSHOWITZ: Right. Right.

BUTLER: He thinks that James Comey should go to jail. He directs the Department of Justice to investigate Obama for allegedly bugging his office.

And so this is not a person who knows about faithfulness to the rule of law.

DERSHOWITZ: You`re right.

BUTLER: This is a person who uses his office every chance that he gets.

And then he lies about it. So, we can think about that memo he dictated on Air Force One, in which he lied about the real purposes of a meeting with the Russians.

So, what impeachment about -- what impeachment is about ultimately is the security of our democracy. Do we have faith that the people who we elect to lead us are in fact not looking out for their own personal gain, not trying to keep their own butts out of jail?

And that`s the problem with the analogy to the Pentagon Papers. The Pentagon Papers were released to let the United States know that our country was involved in a war that we knew we were going to lose, and thousands and thousands of lives were being lost.

The hacking of the Democratic e-mails was about getting Donald Trump elected president.

DERSHOWITZ: Look, if he -- if Donald Trump told the Russians to hack e- mails, that`s clearly a crime, and it`s also an impeachable offense.

I don`t represent people who I agree with. I started in college defending the rights of communists. I defended the rights of Nazis to march in Skokie. I didn`t agree with O.J. Simpson. I didn`t agree with many other people.

I have always represented people I have disagreed with. And why should anybody be surprised that I`m standing up for the...


BUTLER: And, Alan, I found that so inspiring through the years.


DERSHOWITZ: Say again?

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you a procedural question.


MATTHEWS: We don`t know what -- maybe you do, Professor, but I don`t know whether Paul does either, but I don`t think so.

I don`t think anybody knows what`s in that iceberg, I call it, of information that Mueller has dug up. Do you -- but you`re saying you`re against impeachment before you know what is in there.

DERSHOWITZ: Oh, no, no, no, no.

I`m saying I`m against impeachment unless there is evidence of a crime. If there`s evidence of a crime, then I would be in favor of impeachment. It`s a conceptual analysis, arguing that the framers of the Constitution -- and my colleagues Larry Tribe and Cass Sunstein, others disagree with this analysis.


DERSHOWITZ: I want to have a debate. I want to have a discussion.


DERSHOWITZ: I`m one of the first academics who argued that you need an actual crime for impeachment.

And I challenge people...

BUTLER: Well, how do we know whether there is an actual crime without an investigation?


DERSHOWITZ: Well, let`s find out. I`m in favor of finding out.

BUTLER: That`s what Mueller is trying to do.

DERSHOWITZ: I`m in favor of finding out. Yes.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about a question of law finally, and that`s RICO.

There have been 20 indictments so far coming out of the special counsel, 20 indictments. Could imagine Mueller coming out with a RICO charge of operating a criminal operation?


MATTHEWS: You`re laughing, but there`s a hell of a lot of indictments. And no one thinks they have ended at 20.

DERSHOWITZ: I`m not laughing.

MATTHEWS: And all this out of one crowd.

And you don`t think this president has been somehow accountable for all that bad stuff?

DERSHOWITZ: I`m not laughing at that. I`m laughing at the fact that every civil libertarian in the country opposes RICO, opposes using extensive obstruction of justice laws, opposes the way Mueller arrests and indicts low-hanging fruit and then, as Judge Ellis said, squeezes them to make them not only sing, but perhaps compose.

As a civil libertarian, as a defense attorney, I have been opposed to these tactics and practices for 50 years. Why should I change my policy just because I don`t like and didn`t vote for the man who is now the subject of them?

I`m going to maintain the same position I have maintained for 50 years, and I would have maintained if Hillary Clinton were elected president, and I did maintain when Bill Clinton was impeached.

I was taking exactly the same view.


BUTLER: Again, I support everything you`re saying about abuse of state power, about selective enforcement.

Dude, go down to the Boston County Jail.

DERSHOWITZ: I do. I know.

BUTLER: There are a lot poor, black and Latino men who could use your advocacy, way more than Donald Trump.

DERSHOWITZ: And I have devoted 50 percent of my time to pro bono work on behalf of poor people, on behalf of people on death row.

And I`m going to continue to do that. But I don`t discriminate, because if you can take away the constitutional rights of a president, you can take away the constitutional rights of anybody.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Professor Alan Dershowitz and Paul Butler.

And, by the way, I`m reminded of the great line in "Reversal of Fortune," your film, Alan, by Jeremy Irons, when he says, as Claus von Bulow, "You have no idea."

DERSHOWITZ: You have no idea.


DERSHOWITZ: It`s a great line.

MATTHEWS: Up next: President Trump has a solution for separating migrant families: Don`t come to our country illegally.

That is deep.

Plus, we will give our Roundtable a chance to sound off on Trump`s trip to the NATO summit in Brussels and his impending meeting with Putin. We have got -- well, will Trump take him to task for interfering in our election? I don`t think so.

You`re watching HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

The Trump administration failed to meet a court-ordered deadline today to reunite the youngest migrant children who were separate from their parents under President Trump`s so-called zero-tolerance policy.

Of the 102 children under the age of five being held, that`s 105 under five, only 38 are expected to be reunited today, that`s according to the latest numbers from the government. The judges asked that the administration give a reason why each of the remaining children have not been reunited with their parents.

And a sign the administration may be pulling back from its zero-tolerance policy however the government is now saying it will largely release families with ankle bracelet monitoring rather than indefinitely detaining the migrants shot and their parents together. Well, that`s a break for them.

Today, President Trump was asked what he thought about the federal government failing to meet today`s deadline.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I have a solution -- tell people not to come to our country illegally. That`s the solution. Don`t come to our country illegally. Come like other people do, come legally.


MATTHEWS: For more, we`re joined right now by the roundtable. Eugene Scott is a reporter for "The Washington Post". Vanita Gupta is the president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Sahil Kapur is a reporter for "Bloomberg Politics".

Thank you, Eugene. Take up the first question. I don`t know you sue the carpet anyway how that works, but obviously they`re going helter-skelter now with a system that doesn`t seem very organized. I mean, we`re in Catholic grade school they put a thing on, you got on a bus, and different color on, and it was crude but it worked for day hoppers. These are kids being taken across the continent to new parents for undetermined amounts of time,

EUGENE SCOTT, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right, no records have been kept that make it easier to return these kids to their parents and we`ve seen supposedly some of the --

MATTHEWS: No records were kept?

SCOTT: No, I mean you know you get a record when your wallet is taken and you go to jail, right? And nothing is happening here.

And some of the lawyers are saying it`s been difficult for the reunification to happen because they`re making some of the parents want to provide birth certificates and other records and documents they`ve just don`t have.

MATTHEWS: Supposed nobody had even born the whistle on this, what would have happened? You know, I just wondered. I mean, they didn`t have a plan to get him back together again no matter what was going on, even if nobody questioned them.

VANITA GUPTA, PRESIDENT & CEO, LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE ON CIVIL & HUMAN RIGHTS: Yes, look I think about this precisely look what we`re seeing today really able eyes the fact that the government had no plan to reunite these families when they separated them, and the irony --

MATTHEWS: No plan?

GUPTA: No plan.


GUPTA: And like it`s some combination of incompetence and malevolence that is keeping these kids apart. I mean, think about this, though --

MATTHEWS: You think they`re keeping them apart on purpose?

GUPTA: Well, they were -- they were originally, right? And we`ve gotten a situation now where they are returning to finally using the alternatives to detention that were the third way, that ensured a hundred percent appearance of immigrants in court and now saying finally because of the court order, because of massive outrage on the streets about the cruel zero-tolerance policy that separated parents from their kids, now finally saying, OK, you know what, we`re going to return to a policy that the administration itself canceled months before.


GUPTA: So, like, think about the level of trauma that these kids have been through entirely as a result of the administration and now, despite the court order, the government saying we actually don`t know how we`re reunifying a whole host -- there`s still thousands of children but separated from their kids and several dozen still under the age of five who have not been reunited with their parents.

MATTHEWS: I like the way that woman, the mother said they`re pretty good at separating but not so good at reuniting.

President Trump has given -- that was a woman who lost their child for every -- President Trump has given every indication he tends to be more aggressive toward our own allies over NATO this week than toward Russian President Vladimir Putin. Take a look at the different tones he used last week at a rally out in Montana.


TRUMP: I`ll see NATO and I`m going to tell NATO, you got to start paying your bills. The United States is not going to take care of everything.

They kill us with NATO. They kill us. They`re going, well, President Trump, be prepared, you know, President Putin is KGB and this and that -- you know what? Putin`s fine. He`s fine. We`re all fine with people.


MATTHEWS: Do you realize, Sahil, what this guys doing he`s taking a Republican Party aggressors party that spent 60, 70 years leading the war, that Cold War, hating the Russians for how their aggressiveness in the world and taking over countries on their border and being tyrannical the way they are now, and he has those people cheering against Western Europe which is liberal and democratic and free market and attacking them while saying how Trump agreeing with and trying to say, he`s doing his best.

SAHIL KAPUR, REPORTER, BLOOMBERG POLITICS: It`s remarkable to think that one of the --

MATTHEWS: The way he`s dog-training these people.

KAPUR: Right. One of the most consistent criticisms of Republicans toward President Obama was that he was alienating American allies and emboldening its enemies, and I think President Trump is doing this on a level that would make a lot of Republicans nervous. It is --

MATTHEWS: Why are they cheering him, Sahil?

KAPUR: Because they have to walk a fine line. They are afraid of their base.

MATTHEWS: No, the people at that audience. They`re not getting paid. They`re not running for anything. Those are regular people that show up for Trump rally are cheering the attacks on our European allies and cheering -- they give a chance to little Putin.

KAPUR: And I think those voters have accepted Trump`s argument that these international institutions like NATO and like the U.N., these international accords like the Paris climate accords and trade deals are harming the U.S. more than they`re helping the U.S. He doesn`t mention the fact that these institutions have bolstered a world order that has prevented a bloody world war for more than 70 years.

He takes a very different view than any other person would --

MATTHEWS: Where would anybody want to live? Would you rather live in Denmark than Russia?

Excuse me, anyway, lastly, the Democrats have any if they have any hope of stopping the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh announced yesterday, it rests on two Republican senators, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.

Today, Senator Collins said that while Kavanaugh is held in high regard by his colleagues he still needs to go through the vetting process she also is it all says we`re about to talk about the past statements in Roe v. Wade. Watch this, here she is.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: Back then, he said that he considered Roe to be settled precedent, and that is my judgment as well, so I was glad to hear him say that at that time. Obviously, it`s an issue that I`m going to raise with him.


MATTHEWS: Was it back in `36, they said, as goes Maine, so goes the Union? This vote matters.

SCOTT: Absolutely. Her votes have consistently matter when it comes to issues related to abortion rights and Democrats have counted on her to show up for the voters in her state, as well as outside of her state. The question is, will she do that this time in this highly partisan moment?

MATTHEWS: But she knows he`s pro-life. How does she discern which way to go, Vanita?

GUPTA: Look, I think that we can`t take him at his word on what he said with his confirmation hearing back many years ago. He is now going to be - - he`s nominated for the Supreme Court and we know because President Trump has said it that he has had a litmus test and he didn`t -- he only wants to appoint judges who would overturn Roe versus Wade. Automatically overturn were his words.

And so, this man came off of the list vetted by the cultural conservative Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, and presumably had passed that litmus test before being nominated. So, we now remain --

MATTHEWS: Well, you got this stuff. Thank you, Vanita. Thank you.

The roundtable is sticking with us. You just heard the case. You`re watching HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS: We`ll be right back with the HARDBALL roundtable. And up next, these three will tell me something I don`t know and don`t know yet.

You`re watching HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS: We`re back with the roundtable.

Eugene, tell me something I don`t know.

SCOTT: Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill is getting a lot of pushback for expressing support for the Kavanaugh nomination after himself telling NFL players that they should stay out of politics.

MATTHEWS: Who`s backing Kavanaugh?

SCOTT: Michael Bidwill, Arizona Cardinals president. He went to high school with Kavanaugh.

MATTHEWS: Oh, he went to Georgetown prep.

Go ahead, Vanita.

GUPTA: The Leadership Conference Coalition defeated the Bork nomination. We were opposed to Kavanaugh`s nomination to the D.C. Circuit because he was too much of a political operative. We know that the American people don`t want to see Roe versus Wade overturn and that they want to keep their affordable health care particularly with pre-existing conditions. We can fight this and we can win.

MATTHEWS: So, what`s new? You tell me I don`t know.

GUPTA: Well, so you knew that --

MATTHEWS: You`re supposed to tell me something I don`t know. What is it?

GUPTA: Oh my gosh.

MATTHEWS: OK, let`s go -- let`s go, Sahil?

KAPUR: Chris, this past Supreme Court term, Neil Gorsuch was the deciding vote in 15 out of the 18 cases that were decided 5-4, and 14 out of those 15, he sided with conservatives. This would be a radically different court if Democrats didn`t lose the 2014 and then the 2016 elections.

Now, in the 2018 election, the stakes for the Senate are enormous because there are two Democratic appointed justices on the bench, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85, Stephen Breyer will be --

MATTHEWS: And what don`t I know there?

KAPUR: Well, the Supreme Court could shift even more to the right, I think --

MATTHEWS: How do you know that? I`m sarcastic. I know all of that. Come on, guys. Give me something I don`t know.

Yes. Eugene Scott, thank you, Vanita. And thank you, Sahil.

When we return, let me finish tonight with Trump watch.

You`re watching HARDBALL. Those weren`t --


MATTHEWS: "Trump Watch," Tuesday, July 10th, 2018.

So when American president now heads to Europe for a strange appointment with a Russian strongman, I`ve long suspected that our new president holds a plan in his head, crude perhaps but a plan nonetheless. He wants to pull out of today`s east-west conflict with an ambition for an east-west alliance. He wants to find something between the northern powers, a need, a purpose again, perhaps a plan for common action.

He Donald Trump and him Vladimir Putin want to forge an alliance to shove the other countries into line, to somehow downgrade the threat from the South from those difficult and dangerous countries of the Middle East and along the underbelly of the old Soviet Union.

Such a plan for global order would center on Russia`s allies, Syria, but it would also address the rising power of Iran and the concerns of a resilient-led vigilant Israel. Something may be up, and unlike the back- and-forth of the election months and the weeks thereafter, the American and Russian cavorting now will be done with the world watching. It`s worth keeping our eyes on.

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


Copy: Content and programming copyright 2018 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2018 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.