Show: HARDBALL Date: August 13, 2018 Guest: Shannon Pettypiece, Jamal Simmons
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Omarosa versus Trump. Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
Tonight, the American presidency is under siege, not by an opposition political party or a crusading newspaper but by a well-known former White House aide. Against her there now manning the ramparts, President Trump`s administration has been littered with leaks, allegations and record-setting turnover.
Omarosa Manigault Newman, whose upcoming book "Unhinged" is set for release tomorrow, joins a growing list of former White House staffers who have documented their time during the Trump administration. In her book, she accuses the President of being a racist misogynist who is also in a state of mental decline right now. And then she writes that during her time at the White House she felt a growing realization that Donald Trump was indeed a racist, a bigot and a misogynist.
In response to those allegations White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued the following statement.
Instead of telling the truth about all the good President Trump and his administration are doing to make America safe and prosperous this book is riddled with lies and false accusations.
Well, let`s find out what Omarosa Manigault Newman knows that we don`t about Donald J. Trump.
Welcome, Omarosa. Thank you for coming on tonight.
I have been following this story and all the interviews you have done. So I want to get some stories that questions get to me. You seem to have suspected when you heard that Donald Trump had used the n word-h made racially derogatory things back when he was filming in fact the first year of "the Apprentice." What made you think they might be true?
OMAROSA MANIGAULT NEWMAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE STAFFER: I didn`t discover it until the fall of the campaign in 2016, when a producer, Bill Pruitt, came out. And he tweeted that Donald Trump had says some very horrible things including some racist things and some things about Jewish people. And that was the first time we became aware of it on the campaign. And in fact we had a meeting, Jason Miller, Len Patton and Katrina Campins, we had a conference call and we talked about what we would do. In fact, Katrina Pearson said that she thought he actually said it. That was his campaign spokesperson.
MATTHEWS: Did you -- when you first heard that story by Bill Pruitt and the others and the confirmation by her, did you go oh, is that the guy I know? What was your sort of emotional reaction to that as an African- American woman?
NEWMAN: My first reaction to it was this can`t be true. This is somebody I have known since 2003. He had always been kind to me, as I said repeatedly in dozens and dozens of interviews. And so, when I heard it my first instinct was to protect him and not to dive deeper because I just dismissed it as untrue.
MATTHEWS: Well, you did eventually dive deeper even after publication of your book you went out and you actually heard the tape.
NEWMAN: I did.
MATTHEWS: When you heard the tape, did you get a sense that the person -- I know you don`t want to give away the source. That the person who has the tape, a copy of it, is planning to use it at some point?
NEWMAN: Yes. In fact, I believe that they are using it for politically motivated things. In fact, they may --
MATTHEWS: Before November?
NEWMAN: Before November.
MATTHEWS: Are they Democrats?
NEWMAN: I don`t know what their political --
MATTHEWS: You don`t know. If they`re Republicans or --
NEWMAN: They used to be a part of the production staff for "the Apprentice." And they saw it -- took it on themselves to actually Jackie Mendez so that they could actually expose him for the racist that he is.
MATTHEWS: They have a copy you said of the tape.
NEWMAN: They do of the audio.
MATTHEWS: When you listen to the parts you heard, how many times did you hear Mr. Trump, your former boss, how many times did you hear him use the n word?
NEWMAN: Multiple times. And --
MATTHEWS: Ten? It was three minutes.
NEWMAN: Multiple times. And what`s upsetting about it is it was about someone that was on the cast with me, about Kwame Jackson, who was the African-American contestant, male contestant on the first --
MATTHEWS: It was about him.
NEWMAN: -- season of "the Apprentice." And that`s why it was so disturbing --
MATTHEWS: Was it kind of derogatory -- the stuff -- I`m older than you. I grew up with some of the bad stuff. Was there like derogatory reference to him as an African-American, this is stereotypical commentary? How would you describe it?
NEWMAN: It sounded as if he used it every day. It rolled off his mouth kind of like when you first heard the "Access Hollywood" tape. You would never imagine he talked that way. It just kind of rolled off of his tongue. But what`s more disturbing --
MATTHEWS: That`s amazing you that heard that.
NEWMAN: It`s amazing that for two years these folks have been trying reach out to me and I guess I was in denial. I certainly didn`t want to engage with people I thought was trying to bring Trump down. And after, you know, I closed the book I had an opportunity to go out there and to meet with him and he`s terrified. But he also thinks that he is doing a good service to save this country are from a President who clearly doesn`t care about African-Americans.
MATTHEWS: When do you think they will drop this tape publicly?
NEWMAN: I have no idea. And I am not involved with the drop of this tape. I just had an opportunity to verify that it was in fact Donald Trump on the tape using these derogatory terms.
MATTHEWS: Did you hear any anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish community comments?
NEWMAN: You know, Bill Pruitt said that those things were included in the tape. The tape that I heard had quite a few things that he said. I didn`t hear the anti-Semitic.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the birtherism. That was a big issue with me on this show.
NEWMAN: That was.
MATTHEWS: You know. In your book you write during boardroom outtakes from "the Apprentice" Donald Trump would talk about Obama often. He hated him. He never explained why. But now I believe it was because Obama was black. And back in 2011 when he first flirted with a Presidential run Donald Trump embraced and promoted the right-wing conspiracy theory that President Obama was not born in the U.S. Let`s watch that in action.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If he has a birth certificate, he should release it.
All I want to do is see this guy`s birth certificate.
If he weren`t lying, why wouldn`t he just solve it? And I wish he would. Because if he doesn`t it`s one of the greatest scams in the history of politics and in the history, period.
Our current President came out of nowhere. Came out of nowhere. In fact, I`ll go a step further. The people who went to school well him they never saw him. They don`t know who he is 37 crazy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Omarosa, in your book the "Unhinged" which is coming out tomorrow you called him on this. What did he say -- again, as an African- American woman. He is looking at you. What did you say him about this birther thing?
NEWMAN: The first thing he said was that the Hillary Clinton people started the birther movement, Omarosa, you are so naive. They started it. This has started. And then he said it was just political. That he was just going after him because it was political, not because of his race. But I don`t believe that to be true.
MATTHEWS: At the time did you believe it?
NEWMAN: At the time he said it was politically motivated, it`s not personal and he started making these assertion that`s Hillary Clinton started it. I just kind of stepped back. I wanted to see in fact if they started the birther movement. I took it all kind of at face value. But now that I know what I know about him, he was certainly going after him because of his race.
MATTHEWS: George Wallace -- what bugs me about what you said, I do disagree with one thing. When a politician uses race negatively, he is a racist. And you say you -- did you accept the idea it was just politics, he was playing numbers?
NEWMAN: I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. Like I said, I had a blind spot for Donald Trump. But he continued it in a very, very derogatory way. And as I have seen today just having him call me out with my name, call me a lowlife, say I`m not intelligent. This is what he does when it comes to African-Americans.
MATTHEWS: Maxine Waters, he did the same thing to her. Low IQ. He gets very specific about it.
NEWMAN: Absolutely. Particularly with African-Americans. He thinks that we are all stupid.
MATTHEWS: Do you think he believes that?
NEWMAN: I think so.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the birther thing because I`m curious about that.
One day before the general election he just dropped it. A tactical retreat. And do you believe he dropped it permanently or -- because we heard stories he still plays with it once in a while. He still picks at it. That Obama was born in Indonesia or he was born in Kenya. These absurd ideas that a white woman from Kansas would purposefully go over to Africa or Indonesia, have the kid, come back, have it falsely recorded in Honolulu newspapers that the baby`s born, then name the kid Hussein Obama. I mean, it`s just -- Barack Hussein Obama. It`s insane.
NEWMAN: It is.
MATTHEWS: And nobody who isn`t a racist would make a claim like that. That`s what I believe.
NEWMAN: Right. In "unhinged" I describe the event you are talking about at Trump tower where he had all these veterans come and then he says Barack Obama was born in the U.S., that`s it. And he felt that he put the birther movement to bed.
MATTHEWS: Is it to bed with it?
NEWMAN: No. But behind the scenes they were force him to say that. And he didn`t want to. He did it very, very begrudgingly.
MATTHEWS: Do you think he`s going to use it again?
NEWMAN: Probably. I just want him to come out and say he never said it. Multiple --
MATTHEWS: You think he`ll lie?
NEWMAN: I think he`ll lie. And if he does the tape will come out to show exactly what he said.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about what happened to you. That somewhere along the lines I think he betrayed the relationship with you. He dropped his support for you or something. How did you end up in the situation room with general Kelly with the door locked and you are basically almost being guillotined, like you`re going to get fired so fast and run out of there so fast you can`t say a word. What do you make of that?
NEWMAN: Yes. He also said that things could get ugly for me and there would be damage to my reputation.
MATTHEWS: General Kelly did.
NEWMAN: General Kelly.
MATTHEWS: What did he mean?
NEWMAN: He meant that if I didn`t go along with --
MATTHEWS: If you didn`t walk out the door at that moment --
NEWMAN: No, no, that if I didn`t go along with what they were saying I would resign and stay on until the 20th and then ultimately sign this $15,000 a month agreement with the Trump campaign to stay silent, they wanted to buy my silence. If I didn`t go along with that things would get ugly for me and there would be damage to my reputation. He took me in the situation room, which was very unusual --
MATTHEWS: Which room was that? Was that the Osama bin Laden room?
NEWMAN: It was the President`s conference room.
MATTHEWS: It wasn`t the room where we watched Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden --
NEWMAN: No, that`s the smaller one on the lower level.
MATTHEWS: How did you note door was locked behind you? That`s creepy. How did that happen?
NEWMAN: Well, you can`t enter the situation room without them allowing you access and you can`t exit without them allowing you to exit.
MATTHEWS: How do you know you couldn`t get out of the rom?
NEWMAN: Because I had been in there. I had gone in there when we had this hurricane --
MATTHEWS: Do you hear a click?
NEWMAN: You do. It`s a very ominous place. But it`s supposed to be a very secure place. Why did he take me --
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s the question. What`s the answer?
NEWMAN: I asked him if I could leave. They told me four times I couldn`t leave. He wanted to intimidate me, he wanted to put fear in me and he didn`t want anyone to know what they were doing to me in that room.
MATTHEWS: Do you think that somebody said to me today that he thinks knowing the geography of the White House they took you down to the basement to the sit room so that you wouldn`t be near the President and you couldn`t just -- as a friend of the President, you felt you were a friend of the President. They said oh, my, if we did this in the chief of staff`s office which is right near the oval office she`ll just walk two doors down and talk to Trump.
MATTHEWS: Did you have a sense they sequestered you on purpose?
NEWMAN: He did that on purpose. He not only wanted to have me isolated. He wanted me to be afraid. And he was effective at that. I was very afraid.
MATTHEWS: Because you went in there just like you are here and you bald- facedly walked in with a recording device. How did you get past the electronic sensors that can pick up on a recording machine in the situation room? How did you pull it off?
NEWMAN: You know, Chris, because of the threats from the President and his legal team I`m going not share that information.
MATTHEWS: You are didn`t have a pen or --
NEWMAN: Well, I will tell you that I`m so glad that I did it because no one would believe me if I didn`t have that recording that general Kelly said that he runs the White House and not the President, he`s in control, the staff answers to him and not the President. No one would believe that he would say, that that Donald Trump is being puppeted.
MATTHEWS: My mind`s jumping around here. There`s so much at work here. It took hours. But when you were listening to that tape finally after you published "unhinged" -- I don`t mind showing it off. We sell books here. You go out, you`re listening to the tape and you finally get to hear him say this awful racially derogatory stuff, multiple times, in this three minutes you listened to. Did you ever try to re-tape that? Did you bring a tape recording with you?
MATTHEWS: Why didn`t you --
NEWMAN: It was very specific to put headphones on. But I immediately called Laura and Eric. That`s Eric`s wife. To share what I had learned. And we had those conversations. I actually have those conversations with her. Where I shared with her --
MATTHEWS: Who`s this?
NEWMAN: Laura Trump. I called her to tell her what I heard and what was happening. And she wasn`t surprised. She was just kind of in damage control mode.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about this non-disclosure mode. The only thing I know about non-disclosure is you`re a public employee. You are paid by the United States government, the idea of non-disclosure would only be if you made a separate I guess a contract, and I don`t think you could ever be required to sign a contract as a public employee. What`s this about the Trump people saying they`ve got a non-disclosure signed by you?
NEWMAN: Not by me. They presented they with in NDA. They brought it to my office. The moment they said I couldn`t show it to my attorneys I knew --
MATTHEWS: But what would you get out of signing something like that?
MATTHEWS: It was because Donald Trump was tired of the leaks and he thought if he had these agreements that he could fear -- put fear in people and they would stop leaking. But it didn`t stop the leakers.
MATTHEWS: He offered you -- I did the math. 12 times 15,000. He offered you $185,000 a year for a no-show job basically.
NEWMAN: They told me I could work from home, I didn`t have to come in if I didn`t want, to just take $15,000 --
MATTHEWS: How can they talk like that where it sounds like direct hush money, it sounds like Watergate, they`re hushing you up for a lot of money. That`s more than a senator makes. It is.
NEWMAN: Chris, there`s a lot of people who signed these agreements. Sean Spicer signed one.
How do you know he did?
NEWMAN: He signed one with the America first because they offered me a job -- I could choose between the RNC, America first or the Trump campaign.
MATTHEWS: Where was the hush cash coming from?
NEWMAN: Well, in the Trump campaign it comes from donations, which is illegal. In America first it also comes from donations. RNC I`m not really sure where that money comes from. But they have Keith Schiller the President`s bodyguard on a retainer for $15,000 a month.
MATTHEWS: To remind people that work for a living, that`s 185k a year.
NEWMAN: It`s a lot of money. It`s just unusual that Trump`s former bodyguard is on the payroll.
MATTHEWS: I asked you a couple hours ago, Omarosa, if you have any other recordings. You wouldn`t share them here. Do you got some?
NEWMAN: Oh, I have plenty.
MATTHEWS: Anything Mueller would like to see, Robert Mueller?
NEWMAN: If his office calls again if they want --
MATTHEWS: Would you be part of the investigation by Mueller?
NEWMAN: Absolutely. Anything they want I will --
MATTHEWS: Do you think Trump`s going to be impeached?
NEWMAN: At this point yes.
MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you very much, Omarosa.
NEWMAN: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: And the book is, I don`t mind saying, it she came here to sell it, "Unhinged." In fact, it`s actually "Unhinged" in the title.
Omarosa, thank you for coming on.
NEWMAN: Thanks for having me.
MATTHEWS: Coming up, President Trump`s attorney Rudy Giuliani now denies he ever asked FBI director James Comey to give Michael Flynn a break. He switched completely in a month.
And Trump delivers yet another dressing down of his own attorney general. He calls him Benjamin Button. The older he gets the smaller he gets. Anyway, the prosecutor has rested its case in the financial fraud trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. It`s the first major test of course for Mueller`s operation. We`ll get a report on how they`re handling the case. Looks like they are winning.
And a one-year anniversary of that deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville came and went this time thank God with no serious violence. But President Trump continues to skirt the a tweet condemning, I love, this "all types of racism." Is this the kind of language the far right was hoping to hear and still does from him? We`ll get into that as well as my interview just now with Omarosa and the HARDBALL round table.
Finally, let me finish tonight with the greatest broadcast newsperson of all times, Edward R. Murrow.
This is HARDBALL, where the action is.
MATTHEWS: We knew this was going to happen. The FBI today fired agent Peter Strzok one month after his testimony before the Congress. Strzok helped lead the FBI investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election until it was revealed that he sent anti-Trump texts to a colleague.
Strzok`s attorney says his firing reversed an earlier disciplinary decision to demote and to suspend agent Strzok from the bureau for 60 days saying in his statement "the decision to terminate was take a response to political pressure." well, of course. The President, however, clearly welcomed the decision saying "agent Peter Strzok was just fired from the FBI finally. Based upon the fact that Strzok was in charge of the witch hunt. Will it be dropped? It is a total hoax. No collusion, no obstruction. I just fight back." That`s Trump, for better or worse. We got him.
And we will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP`S ATTORNEY: The reality is Comey in some ways ends up being a good witness for us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is he a good witness for the President if he said the President was asking him, directing him in his words to let Michael Flynn investigation go?
GIULIANI: He didn`t direct him to do that. What he said to him was can you give him a break?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
His attempts to defend Trump, Rudy Giuliani did confirm last month the President did speak to his former FBI director James Comey about former national security adviser Michael Flynn. He said go easy on him. He said then Trump asked Comey to quote "give Flynn a break."
Well, Trump`s conversation with Comey which took place a day after Flynn was fired has been a crucial part of the special counsel`s inquiry into whether the President obstructed justice by asking the FBI to kill the active investigation into his former national security adviser.
Now guess what? Giuliani`s changed his story. A month after he confirmed that the President did discuss Flynn with Comey Giuliani is now changing his story. He`s saying yesterday the subject in that conversation of Flynn never came up. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: What happened in that conversation with Comey about Michael Flynn? What exactly did President Trump say?
RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: There - - there was no conversation about Michael Flynn.
TAPPER: So you`re saying that President Trump and James Comey never discussed Michael Flynn.
GIULIANI: That - - that is what he will testify to if he`s asked that question. They already know that. So why are they asking us for him to repeat what they already know under oath.
TAPPER: And you`re also saying that - - that a month ago you didn`t tell ABC News that he said something along the lines of can you give him a break?
GIULIANI: No I did not. I said that is what Comey says.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s not what he said. We just heard him - - Trump`s side of the story continues to evolve. That`s nice, nicely put. James Comey has stuck to his recollection which he documented in contemporaneous notes of that exchange. According to the former FBI director the President told him, I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.
Well this comes after Giuliani told Mueller last week he won`t allow the President to be questioned about obstruction of justice and were reportedly driven by the concern that Trump could perjure himself. Now Giuliani is putting additional public pressure on the Special Counsel to wrap things up. Saying, that Mueller himself set a deadline to conclude by September 1st which is a couple weeks from now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY CIULIANI: September 1st was the date that Bob Mueller gave me. Back two months ago where he said when we were talking about getting his report done. He threw out the date September 1 as being a reasonable date to get it done. And I - - maybe I credited to much. I - - I thought he meant well that will get us - - that will keep us clear of the - - of the elections. And they did say something like they didn`t want to repeat some of the mistakes that Comey made.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well joining me right now is Democratic Congressman Erik Swalwell of California. Kim Wiley is a former assistant U.S. attorney. Eli Stokols is with us, reporter for the Los Angeles Times. Robert Costa, national political reporter at the Washington Post. Robert, I want to start with you about Omarosa and what she just said. She said basically that there are people who have access to this tape. In fact, they have a copy of it when the President made those derogatory comments about African- Americans and that they`re probably ready to drop it at some point between now and November. What do you make of that? What will the White House reaction be to that?
ROBERT COSTA, REPORTER FOR WASHINGTON POST: It would be explosive if true. If someone has the tape, release the tape. The country deserves to see a tape of the President of the United States saying something incendiary or racist if it does exist. At this point, we`re relying on Omarosa`s account.
MATTHEWS: And let me ask you this Congressman, is that relevant. She also said that she has information that would help the case of Robert Mueller against the President leading to what she would like to be to see impeachment as she put it.
ERIK SWALWELL, CONGRESSMAN FROM CALIFORNIA: She`s not very credible Chris. She`s a situation. I don`t think she belonged in the situation room. I think this really goes to the person who hired her. Donald Trump and this shows that he`s not credible either. And so, you know, - -
MATTHEWS: Do you buy the fact that he`s - - that he`s in mental decline? When she says in her book, he`s suffering mental decline. He`s not capable of the analysis and thought that he was capable of a year ago. She says that in the book.
SWALWELL: It - - it seems like he`s, you know, diminished but I - - I - -
SWALWELL: - - diagnosis.
MATTHEWS: Do you think he`s been diminished mentally?
SWALWELL: That`s not my job. I think he`s diminished in his values.
MATTHEWS: Since where - - since where he came from. In a week. In a year.
SWALWELL: No. It`s - - it`s a devolution that happens more and more every week.
MATTHEWS: A mental devolution. OK. Let me go to - - let me go to Kim about this new development here. Rudy Giuliani is so flexible, so fluid if not fluent. He says things one month and says yes, they had a conversation about going easy on this guy and he tried to put some soft soap to it. He said, he really didn`t tell him to drop the case but just go easy on the guy. And then, he now says they never talked - - it never came up as a topic and he denied he ever said it did.
KIM WILEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Yes. He`s certainly not acting like an attorney for the President. I don`t know what he is. A PR person, he`s gas lighting the American public. I didn`t actually say what the tapes says I said. We`re - - we`re confusing this matter - -
MATTHEWS: - - immediately deny?
WILEY: Why - - why would he - -
MATTHEWS: Why would Rudy say something that makes him look like either a fool, a person of diminished mental capacity or a complete flack?
WILEY: Well two options. One is, he`s doing what the President wants him to do. Number two is - -
MATTHEWS: Make a fool of himself.
WILEY - - he`s - - he`s creating a question as to whether Comey`s testimony is going to be viable, whether it ends up in front of a jury, in front of Congress and in an impeachment proceeding, or their report to Congress. And the problem is there`s a lot of other evidence that there`s an obstruction of justice that`s public. We don`t know what Mueller actually knows privately. I mean we saw in the Ken Starr investigation I worked on. The stuff that`s in the public eye is very different from what`s behind closed doors.
MATTHEWS: (inaudible) back to the Congressman. I have a sense in the beginning, I think a lot of it is to the reason that Robert Mueller took this case is he believed that the integrity of the FBI which he served for many years, was at stake. It was in jeopardy. That this President was going to go to the FBI director and tell him to drop the matter and if he didn`t drop the matter, didn`t - - give an oath of loyalty to the President. I say - - say - - say partisan oath of loyalty. He canned him. And he`s - - he`s looked at that and said my god if this isn`t obstruction of justice never is. And here Rudy comes out and denies the whole thing ever happened.
SWALWELL: Well - -
MATTHEWS: (inaudible) I saw Jake Tapper. He`s a great reporter. He was actually took a half a beat there. What? It never happened? They never talked about it?
SWALWELL: Well the Special Counsel, as you point out, was appointed after Comey was fired. That`s what triggered this whole thing. And, you know, what Kim mentioned in terms of gas lighting is right.
MATTHEWS: Explain gas lighting for the (inaudible)
SWALWELL: Well it`s when you`re telling somebody that - - that something they`re experiencing - -
SWALWELL: - - and it makes your head kind of want to explode when you hear Rudy say something that he - - he - - I didn`t say this thing and he`s on tape saying it. And you sit there and you`re like, wait that doesn`t make sense. But that`s the point, they are trying to confuse the American people. Rudy, ever since he became Trump`s lawyer and came on television basically and starting to disassemble all the facts in this case, the goal is confusion. The goal is to weaken the government`s case to tarnish James Comey. And in that sense, I mean, again it`s a political response to a legal case but in that sense it can be effective with the public in terms of creating confusion and getting people to disbelieve the - - the facts.
MATTHEWS: What are they up to? Why should he say things that we know he didn`t - - he`s not truthful about? You talk about credibility problems. You say Omarosa (inaudible). Look at Rudy.
SWALWELL: Well in America we believe the people who put their hand up and go under oath and not the people who don`t. Donald Trump has been given the questions. He`s been given every opportunity to go under oath. He won`t do it. He`s not going to do it.
MATTHEWS: Will he ever?
SWALWELL: No. He`s not doing it. But - -
MATTHEWS: So this September deadline they`re talking up and the fact that the - - that they never said anything about going easy with the - - with the - - with the FBI director. Never saying this. Of this total denial. This - - this short sheeting of - - oh we only got another more weeks - - two more weeks. What`s that all about? Are they afraid of obstruction as a conversation between Mueller and the President?
SWALWELL: I think the simplest explanation is the right one. The first version that Rudy gave made him look more guilty. And now - -
MATTHEWS: Because he admitted the bones of it.
MATTHEWS: He basically said he did it as - - to give him a break.
SWALWELL: Yes. And there`s no exception to your - -
MATTHEWS: Robert, it`s pretty hard for the President`s lawyer to admit that the President basically asked for a break. And then say the wording was a little different than - - than Comey`s account. That`s - - that`s what they were stuck with if Rudy hadn`t changed his story today.
ROBERT COSTA: Jim Comey has testified under oath about that conversation. So you have his account and the President has so far not denied that he ever had that private dinner which we all know about, reported on between then Director Comey and the President of the United States. And it`s all about the context of that conversation. The President, as the Congressman said, has an opportunity to put his hand up and - - and swear to tell the truth to Federal investigators but for now we have Giuliani on television muddying the waters.
It`s - - it`s - - it`s confusion as a legal strategy but also as a political strategy. Because ultimately Chris, this comes down to Mueller`s conclusion in a report and what the President and his lawyers are doing is countering that report already before it happens.
MATTHEWS: Kim, along those lines, I mean they were admitting that there was a - - they`re now admitting there was a meeting. It`s like he`s tightening up his defense and his denials are rising on the question of obstruction. But he`s now allowing - - he`s doing a limited modified hang out on the collusion. He`s now saying, yes Junior did meet with the Russians at Trump Tower in June of 2016 but nothing came of it.
KIM WILEY: Yes.
MATTHEWS: What seems to be there now? The fall back position.
WILEY: Well - - and I think that`s also just - - just something to confuse people. Because soliciting aid in a campaign from a foreign entity, the solicitation itself is the violation of the law. So when people ring your doorbell and try to buy - - sell you candy the fact you don`t buy the candy doesn`t make it a solicitation of a purchase from you in your home. And it`s the same thing here. So that`s really irrelevant to this point. You know, again, we don`t know if the FEC (ph) will do anything about it but as - - as far as whether - - whether it bears on impeachment, you know, Bill Clinton, his statements publicly were raised in impeachment as - - as bearing on obstruction.
MATTHEWS: Last question to you, an impeachable question. An impeachment question. Why is he continuing to diminish and ride the Attorney General and to humiliate him? He`s now calling him Benjamin Button. The movie about the guy gets smaller as he gets older. He is a small man but physically. Why does he make these derogatory comments, personal attacks on his Attorney General? Is he trying to get him to quit?
ELI STOKOLS: Yes. I - - I think he wants Sessions out of there. He thinks that the Senate would put in someone who would protect him. That`s not going to happen. But again, this just goes to his - -
MATTHEWS: It seems like obstruction to me.
STOKOLS: It`s his consciousness of guilt. He has a consciousness of guilt that he demonstrates each time he talks about this case.
MATTHEWS: When do you think we`ll get a report?
STOKOLS: I hope as soon as possible. But he shouldn`t rush it. And when you lie, when you tamper with witnesses, when you obstruct justice it takes time.
MATTHEWS: Robert, (inaudible) are you there?
ROBERT COSTA: Chris, on Sessions, what is the President always telling his advisors behind the scenes? He`s asking where`s my Roy Cohn. At the end of the day, it`s about that fact. He feels Sessions isn`t protecting him, isn`t a loyalist. Isn`t control in the Russia investigation. That`s what he wanted.
MATTHEWS: You think he wants him to quit.
COSTA: He wants a Cohn, a Cohn type inside of the DOJ. That`s what he wants.
MATTHEWS: I don`t think - -
COSTA: And he`s rather have him quit because firing him Chris could be seen as another point in a possible obstruction of justice case.
MATTHEWS: Well said. Thank you Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, Kim Wiley, Eli Stokols and Robert Costa. Up next, Special Counsel Mueller`s prosecutors rest their case in the Manafort trial. They - - they - - they got this guy and what`s next. This is Hardball. Where the action is.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Welcome back to Hardball. Ten days and 27 witnesses later the prosecution has rested it`s case in the bank and tax fraud trial of President Trump`s former campaign chair Paul Manafort. While the charges against Manafort predate his time on the Trump campaign, the New York Times writes his trial also underscores questions about someone in such deep financial trouble rose to the top of the Trump campaign. How`d it happen? For more I`m joined by Julia Ainsley. We`re lucky to have her NBC News, national security and justice reporter who is at the courthouse today. Nine-thirty tomorrow morning we find out if there is going to be a defense. Tell us what you think.
JULIA AINSLEY, NBC NEWS REPORTER: That`s right Chris. We were kind of surprised today that the judge didn`t ask for a witness list or how many witnesses the defense might have. In fact, we left not knowing if they would call anyone or present any evidence and they really don`t have to. It`s up to the government, of course, to prove that Paul Manafort did in fact do something illegal. The burden does not fall on the defense. But it does fit a pattern Chris that this judge, Judge Ellis has been much easier on the defense lawyers than he has on the prosecution.
He today told the jury, well the bad news is the prosecution`s calling another witness. The good news is it`s short. I mean, it`s almost like he finds their entire prosecution of all the evidence they`re bringing to be boring. And he`s trying to lament with the jury over this. So there`s a lot of - -
MATTHEWS: Oh god.
AINSLEY: So there are a lot of ways, but when it comes to the defense, he doesn`t seem to be pressing them nearly as hard.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of the jury? Have you been able to read them? Have the court watchers been able to determine which way the sympathies are going among those people on the jury?
AINSLEY: You know, it`s so - - it`s so hard Chris just to read body language but we certainly do and we certainly talk about it amongst fellow reporters who definitely seen a few who shook their heads during Rick Gates testimony. They probably think that, you know, he might be getting off with a sweetheart deal. That he should be behind bars just like Paul Manafort. Some have seemed really disinterested as we get into the more tedious parts of this. Another interesting thing though is what happened Friday.
We went on a three and a half hour recess which is highly unusual for this judge who wants to speed through this trial. And it seems there might have been an issue with the jury. The judge kept telling them over and over again, please don`t talk amongst yourselves. You know, you`re not supposed to do that. Don`t listen to anybody else from the outside. You`re supposed to be having an independent thought process on all of this. And then as soon as he called the recess, he walked over to the left, which is where the jury is.
They went to their chambers and - - and may have interviewed different jurors to see if there had been any kind of infiltration in that way. But what`s really interesting is that if he`s worried about it, you`d think that this jury would be sequestered. It`s really hard to stay away from the Manafort trial, from the Mueller story. You can see, it`s all over our network. It`s all over front pages of newspapers. They`re not sequestered and in fact sometimes they`re in elevators with the press. We`ve seen them.
MATTHEWS: Well I`d be surprised if they let him walk. Anyway, thank you Julia Ainsley. Up next, a Hardball round table weighs in on why my exclusive interview with Omarosa might well matter in the news. You`re watching Hardball.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OMAROSA MANIGAULT NEWMAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE STAFFER: The first thing he said was that the Hillary Clinton people started the birther movement, Omarosa, you`re so naive, they started, it this is who started it. And then he said it was just political, that he was just going after him because it was political, not because of his race. But I don`t believe that to be true. And one of the things --
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: At the time did you believe it?
MANIGAULT NEWMAN: At the time he said it was politically motivated, it`s not personal, and he started making these assertions that Hillary Clinton started it. I just kind of stepped back. I wanted to see in fact if they started the birther movement. I took it all kind of at face value. But now that I know what I know about him, he was certainly going after him because of his race.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman right here on HARDBALL when I asked her about President Trump`s history with President Obama and his birtherism talk. Manigault Newman said she`d initially hoped to give Trump the benefit of the doubt as you heard her on the issue. Let`s listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: How many times did you hear him use the N-word?
MANIGAULT NEWMAN: Multiple times. And what`s --
MATTHEWS: Is that like five, ten? It was three minutes.
MANIGAULT NEWMAN: Multiple times. And what`s upsetting about it is it was someone on the cast with me, about Kwame Jackson, who was the African- American contestant, male contestant.
MATTHEWS: It was about him.
MANIGAULT NEWMAN: On the first season of "The Apprentice."
MATTHEWS: From the Detroit.
MANIGAULT NEWMAN: And that`s why it was so disturbing.
MATTHEWS: Was it kind of derogatory, the stuff -- I`m older than you, grew up with some of the bad stuff. Was there like derogatory references to him as an African-American, this is stereotypical commentary? How would you describe it to a person?
MANIGAULT NEWMAN: It sounded as if he used it every day. It rolled off his mouth. Kind of like when you first heard the "Access Hollywood" tape.
MANIGAULT NEWMAN: You would never imagine he talked that way. It just kind of rolled off his tongue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Omarosa said she believed in a tape where she alleges Trump is heard using the n-word will come out before this fall`s midterm election. Here she is on that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Did you accept the idea it was just politics, he was playing numbers?
MANIGAULT NEWMAN: I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. Like I said, I had a blind spot for Donald Trump.
MANIGAULT NEWMAN: But he continued it in a very, very derogatory way. And as I`ve seen today, just having him call me out of my name, call me a low life, say that I`m not intelligent. This is what he -- this is what he does when it comes to African-Americans.
MATTHEWS: Maxine Waters, he did the same thing to her. Low IQ. He gets very specific about it.
MANIGAULT NEWMAN: Absolutely. Particularly with African-Americans, he thinks we`re all stupid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`m joined now by the HARDBALL round table tonight.
Shannon Pettypiece is White House reporter for "Bloomberg". Jamal Simmons is a Democratic strategist and host of "The Hill TV." Charlie Sykes is host of "The Daily Standard" podcast.
Gentlemen and lady, this is interesting stuff.
What do you make of this reference she made to the whole thing, the idea she actually heard the tapes, she heard Trump multiple times use the derogatory word for African-Americans, that it wasn`t a big surprise -- I mean, it was not a big surprise but she had all this -- she is claiming all this to be true and they`re going to drop this bomb before the November election?
SHANNON PETTYPIECE, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, BLOOMBERG NEWS: And going into even more detail saying what it was in reference to, that it was actually in reference to this former "Apprentice" contestant Kwame Jackson. I mean, it seemed like a bit of a story change at first where she didn`t -- hadn`t heard the tape in the book and then in an interview, she said she had heard it. But --
MATTHEWS: Well, she heard it after the book was published.
PETTYPIECE: -- after the book, so there`s a little bit of confusion there. But she definitely seems to have a story she`s sticking to now. And it seems each time she`s interviewed, a little bit more of this story comes out.
MATTHEWS: That`s what we try to do.
PETTYPIECE: That`s how you get the big bucks. Exactly.
MATTHEWS: Jamal, what do you make about? Because this is -- whenever anybody talks about race in America, you go, OK, this country has a history of slavery, Jim Crow, and hell since then --
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes.
MATTHEWS: Not exactly a great place for an African-American. And what exactly do you mean by Trump is, and if he used the words ferociously and numerously at one point, why did he withhold all the other times people dealt with him? That`s the only question I have. Why would this one spurt of overt, voiced racism come out at that time?
SIMMONS: Well, what we don`t know, if it is the only time he`s ever used the word.
SIMMONS: It is maybe the only time he`s been on tape using the word, so that we can prove it. What we know with Donald Trump is, unless you`ve got him on tape, you really don`t got him, because he might not be able to tell the truth. I`d also quarrel with one thing you said --
MATTHEWS: How many times in your life have you heard a white person use that word?
SIMMONS: Once, when I was about 16. Somebody yelled it out.
MATTHEWS: Charlie, that`s my point. You`re shaking your head, because my parents weren`t all liberals. But they taught us from the time we were very young, don`t ever use that word.
SIMMONS: It doesn`t mean people don`t use it. People just don`t use it in front of me.
CHARLIE SYKES, HOST, THE DAILY STANDARD PODCAST: Right.
MATTHEWS: I mean, it doesn`t have to be a progressive not to use the word. You just have to be raised right and told don`t ever use that word, Junior.
SYKES: This could be true. And a lot of people want to believe it`s true. But I would --
MATTHEWS: You hope they believe it`s not true.
SYKES: I would caution people that Omarosa is not the most credible, you know, testifier to this and until --
MATTHEWS: Who do you got on your witness first, Giuliani?
SYKES: This is part of the problem, that Donald Trump has surrounded himself with chronic liars. You know, the fact that he put her in a senior position in the White House I think is sort of the original sin here --
MATTHEWS: How about his verisimilitude? How close does he get to the truth?
SYKES: Well, who the hell knows?
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Manigault Newman said that she expressed her concerns about President Trump using the n-word to his daughter-in-law Laura Trump, or ex-wife. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANIGAULT NEWMAN: I immediately called Laura and Eric -- that`s Eric`s wife -- to share what I learned. And we had those conversations. I actually had those conversations with her where I shared with her --
MATTHEWS: Who`s this?
MANIGAULT NEWMAN: Laura Trump.
MANIGAULT NEWMAN: I called her to tell her what I heard and what was happening. And they weren`t -- she wasn`t surprised. She was just kind of in damage control mode.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, here we go. And the question is, will this matter be like the "Access Hollywood" tape which Reince Priebus thought was the end of known mankind? The end of the earth. People would say what else is new?
PETTYPIECE: Well, you don`t have until you have it on tape, and sometimes even when you have them on tape, you still don`t have him. I would like to think that if this is true, this would be, you know, catastrophic. But then, of course, so many things we have seen so the Teflon --
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk to the Democrat here. 90 percent of Democrats think Trump has a race problem.
MATTHEWS: They don`t like the way he handles --
SIMMONS: I wonder why.
MATTHEWS: Well, 80 percent -- 87 percent, Charlie, of Republicans say he`s OK on race. How can there be a dichotomy of looking at the same guy?
SIMMONS: Because you use that 87 percent number and I think you all sort of numbers. Look at Pew and Gallup. They will tell you the number of self-identified Republicans has been dropping since Donald Trump became president. So he`s getting a bigger share of a smaller pie.
SYKES: But it is a thorough tragedy that in fact Donald Trump is moving the window of what is acceptable. And here`s the long-term implications, and you`ve asked the main question. So let`s say speculatively that a tape comes out where he`s using that word. What would it say about the electorate or the Republican Party if they would say OK, we`re still OK with that? Donald Trump is who he is but --
PETTYPIECE: Well, the "Access Hollywood" tape. What did that say about them?
SYKES: No, exactly. I mean, this is the real danger here, is that he`s making things that should be and have been unacceptable, making them more acceptable, that he actually is modeling a certain behavior. And that I think is something --
MATTHEWS: Charlie, I just want to say, I think when you saw the LeBron James thing last week, he`s picking sides on the racial issue. He`s just saying I`m not going to get minority votes, I`m not going to get people of color to vote for me, I`m going to drive up the race vote.
SYKES: Right, yes.
SIMMONS: I will say this, Chris. You said this a second ago about the country not having been a great place for African-Americans. I would argue over the last 20 years, the country has been becoming a much better place for African-Americans, including with the election of Barack Obama. But before that, I`m old enough to remember Colin Powell and Condi Rice being very significant figures in the Bush administration.
It is amazing that we have a Republican administration that does not have any significant African-American presence at the leadership --
SKYES: You`re right.
MATTHEWS: Except this one guy designated from the commerce department.
PETTYPIECE: And Omarosa`s -- she`s pointed out, hasn`t -- that position has not been filled in the White House. They have no one doing African- American outreach.
MATTHEWS: It doesn`t surprise.
Omarosa also suggests she`d be happy to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller`s investigation. Here`s the news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Omarosa, if you have any other recordings, you wouldn`t share them here. Do you got some?
MANIGAULT NEWMAN: Oh, I have plenty.
MATTHEWS: Anything Mueller would like to see, Robert Mueller?
MANIGAULT NEWMAN: If his office calls again, anything they want, I`ll share.
MATTHEWS: Would you be a good witness in this investigation by Mueller?
MANIGAULT NEWMAN: Absolutely. Anything that they want, I will certainly cooperate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: If he calls again. So -- everybody`s jumping on this.
PETTYPIECE: That was fascinating.
Right, myself and many other reporters spent months and months trying to find out who all Mueller was talking to in the White House. Nobody ever brought her name up to me. When I was asking --
MATTHEWS: She just did.
PETTYPIECE: -- within the White House and people outside the White House, well, now, her -- she said his office called her. It doesn`t mean she sat for a formal interview. So, she -- they may have contacted her but she never sat for a formal interview. But no one has ever indicated --
MATTHEWS: She said he.
PETTYPIECE: Right. Well, but Robert Mueller does not personally call people`s office. He would have --
MATTHEWS: She sounded like she had contact with him. But I`m glad we started something.
The roundtable`s sticking with us. And up next, these three tell me something I don`t know. 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.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: We are back with the HARDBALL round table.
And Shannon will tell me something I don`t know.
PETTYPIECE: This situation in Turkey is turning into a national security issue. The Turkish economy is collapsing because of sanctions over this dispute about a pastor. But we`re at risk of losing an important U.S. ally and an important military base as tensions escalate between the U.S. and Turkey.
MATTHEWS: Iran`s going to hell economically. Russia is. China is. My God, the list is unbelievable. And we`re doing all right. Explain, Lucy.
SIMMONS: Morgan DeBaun is the co-founder of a media site said called Blavity. It just raised $6.5 million for her site. The reason why that`s important is because she`s an African-American woman. It`s the largest fund-raising number for an African-American co-founder this year.
And African-American women only raised $36,000 while most people are able to raise $1.3 million for a start up, mostly white men for a startup. African-American women only raised $36,000.
It`s a huge raise it`s very important and we`ve got to field goal out how to get more of that if we want to grow --
MATTHEWS: What`s her name again?
SIMMONS: Her name is Morgan DeBaun. The company is called Blavity.
MATTHEWS: It`s on Google. I want to help you out of here. Get the message out.
SIMMONS: Exactly, (INAUDIBLE) Blavity.
SYKES: So, in Ohio, Donald Trump`s disapproval rating is 24 points higher than John Kasich`s. The reason I know that is George Conway tweeted that out. George Conway, who`s Kellyanne Conway`s husband.
PETTYPIECE: More family --
MATTHEWS: Thank you very much. Shannon Pettypiece, Jamal Simmons and Charlie Sykes with unusual information.
When we return, let me finish tonight with the greatest broadcast news person of all time. You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the greatest broadcast news person of all time. I spent part of last week reading "Not So Wild a Dream," Eric Sevareid`s autobiography. In it, he describes his boss who was also his hero during the London blitz in the early months of World War II.
Of the American journalists, none reached the stature of Edward R. Murrow, whose physical, intellectual and moral performance in those deadly weeks is not likely to be equaled by any reportorial voice or pen in this generation. He is a complex of strong, simple faiths and refined, sophisticated intellectual processes, poet and preacher, sensitive artist and hard-bitten poker-playing diplomat, an engaging boy one moment and an unknowable recluse the next.
He is elastic and pliable and yet remarkably stubborn with a hard core of integrity. He could absorb and reflect the thought and emotions of day laborers, airline pilots, or cabinet ministers and report with exact truth what they were.
Yet, he never gave an inch of himself away. Well, except for that vast part I consider this a model for broadcast journalism today. I think people listening and watching are better served when they know a bit about the person doing the commentary.
But I agree with the larger points here about what needs to be done by people like me in this time when an American president speaks of fake news and journalists being the enemy of the people. Sevareid described what broadcast journalism was like in its beginnings, especially from war-torn London. He said he and fellow correspondents working on Edward R. Murrow - - under him -- gave not just the bones of the news, not an editorial by itself nor a descriptive cover story by itself, but in a few minutes putting it all in one package, the hard news of the day, the feel of the scene, the quality of the big or little men and women involved, and the meaning and implications of whatever had happened.
Well, that`s standard, isn`t it? And as we cover a very different threat to our country here in America today, we need to face continue by hiding or even by covering our eyes but looking upward to our values.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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