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Trump mocks Kavanaugh accuser's testimony. TRANSCRIPT: 10/3/2018, Hardball w Chris Matthews.

Guests: Richard Blumenthal, Gwenda Blair, Ginger Gibson, Sophia Nelson, Joel Payne

Show: HARDBALL Date: October 3, 2018 Guest: Richard Blumenthal, Gwenda Blair, Ginger Gibson, Sophia Nelson, Joel Payne


Good evening, I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

There are reports that the FBI background investigation into Judge Brett Kavanaugh could be wrapped up as early as tonight. But what will be in the package? Will it be the truth about Kavanaugh or only the glimpse and the check of a half dozen people allows?

The FBI officially has two more days to complete the probe sparked by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford`s allegation of sexual assault against Kavanaugh. And while the investigation may be winding down, major questions remain about its scope. The FBI has spoken to just six individuals in connection with the investigation, Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh`s friend who Dr. Ford identified as being in the room when she was allegedly assaulted. Leland Keyser and Patrick Smith who Ford identified as being present at the house where assault allegedly occurred. Deborah Ramirez who alleged Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party while they were both students at Yale and two of Kavanaugh`s high school roommates or classmates rather friends, Tim Gaudette and Chris Garrett.

However, NBC News has learned that more than 40 potential corroborators or character witnesses haven`t been contacted by the - by including more than 20 individuals who know either Brett Kavanaugh or Debbie Ramirez. And nearly 20 people with potential information about Dr. Ford`s allegation, none of them being interviewed. The FBI hasn`t interviewed judge Kavanaugh himself who denies the allegations against him nor has the FBI interviewed Dr. Ford herself. Wow.

After weeks of relative restraint, President Trump dismissed Dr. Ford`s allegations at a rally last night in Mississippi. It may be one of the worst things he has done recently. Let`s put it that way. Let`s watch.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thirty six years ago this happened. I had one beer, right. I had one beer. Well, you think -- no, there was one beer. Oh, good, how did you get home? I don`t remember. How did you get there? I don`t remember. Where is the place? How many years ago was it? I don`t know. I don`t know. What neighborhood was it in? I don`t know. Where`s the house? I don`t know. Upstairs, down stairs, where was it? I don`t know. But I had one beer, that`s all I remember.


MATTHEWS: I`m not sure. Are all the women there cheering? I don`t think so based on that picture.

Anyway, today Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell again reiterated he expects to have a vote on Kavanaugh`s nomination this week. That would mean by Saturday. But President Trump`s comments may have complicated matters with three Republican senators who could decide Kavanaugh`s fate. Jeff Flake, of course, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski who all slammed the President`s comments last night. Here they go.


SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: There`s no time and no place for remarks like that. That to discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right. It is just not right. I wish he had not done it. It is kind of appalling.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: The President`s comment were just played wrong.

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: I am taking everything into account. I think that the President`s comments yesterday mocking Dr. Ford were wholly inappropriate and in my view, unacceptable.


MATTHEWS: Well, press secretary Sarah Sanders defended the President today.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President was stating the facts, the testimony by Dr. Ford was compelling. But you can`t make this decision based on emotion. It has to be based on fact. That`s one of the reasons that they asked and begged for the FBI and delayed a hearing vote so that they could get more facts on this case. It seemed to me that he was stating facts that Dr. Ford herself laid out in her testimony.


MATTHEWS: Ridiculous. I`m joined now by Connecticut Democratic senator Richard Blumenthal, Mimi Rocah, former assistant U.S. attorney and MSNBC legal analyst and Eddie Glaude, Eddie Glaude is a professor at Princeton.

Thank you all for joining us tonight.

First of all, Senator, your reaction to the President`s performance last night.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: Appalling is the right word. It was mocking and ridicule a survival of sexual assault in a laughing way. It recalled the testimony from Dr. Blasey Ford about the laughter of allegedly judge Kavanaugh and Mark Judge as they assaulted her. So it was demeaning and dismissive not only to her but also to the entire community of survivors. And it show very seriously, Chris, why so few victims and survivors of sexual assault come forward. Because they face this public shaming and ridiculing and character assassination. It really is the worst kind of reaction to claims of sexual assault.

MATTHEWS: You are a former prosecutor for a long time. I knew you as the attorney general of Connecticut. Women who have been assaulted and certainly the more serious if they were actually raped, both horrendous crimes. The hard thing is to have them put up with the ridicule or the questioning or the skepticism and here the President, what did he do to that crowd out there?

BLUMENTHAL: It was a shameful and disgraceful message to all survivors that they are not entitled to be believed. That they will be ridiculed and mocked.

MATTHEWS: By the President of the United States.

BLUMENTHAL: By the commander-in-chief, the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. And it`s just gut wrenching, stomach turning to see the President of the United States after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford knowing the nightmare she would have to endure came forward, spoke her truth to the powers of the United States Senate and then has continued to endure the threats and so forth.

MATTHEWS: Professor Glaude, it seems to me this is insult and injury together. The President, not only has he insulted her again before a huge crowd (INAUDIBLE), and everybody seeing this today, mocking her, mocking her for the gaps in more memory. Not for her memory but the gaps so that therefore she should haven`t brought the case forward. He must be sent (ph). But then in the instructions he is giving to the FBI, don`t interview her. A narrow investigation, we don`t need to investigate. In other words, don`t believe her but don`t ask her any more questions because you might learn more.

I mean, there seems to be a real contradiction here. A conflict in what he wants. It sounds like he doesn`t want to hear from her because she`s afraid she has more. Your thoughts?

EDDIE GLAUDE, PROFESSOR, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Well, I think you are absolutely right, Chris. And I think it reveals not only a contradiction but bad faith that part of what victims of sexual assault and rape want is for folks to take the claim seriously. And we heard early on Republicans saying very clearly that we should hear Dr. Christine Blasey Ford`s story. We should be open to our minds being changed. Even Donald Trump said that in the press conference.

But what -- what last night revealed in Mississippi is that Donald Trump was never open to changing his mind. That he engaged in this process in bad faith and in some ways called the FBI information and constraining it the way they seemed to have done, also suggests a kind of crisis of legitimacy around the process more broadly. So at the heart of this to my mind, Chris, is a kind bad faith that suggests that this process was broken from the get-go.

MATTHEWS: Well, yesterday, Senator McConnell, the Republican leader said the report would only be made available to senators but Tennessee Republican Bob Corker argued for making public at least some of the findings public at least some of the information regarding the FBI`s findings.


SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I know what`s going to happen to this. I mean, the two sides are going, unfortunately, leak out the part that benefit their side of the argument. And if there was some way for us to be able to present this to the public, I just think it would be helpful to everyone. I think it would help the American people know that there was a background check that took place and what came out of it.


MATTHEWS: Mimi, I have to ask you about the President. You know, he has argued on extraordinary cases that he is sort the chief of law enforcement official of the country. That is he is above the attorney general. It is all in the executive hands of him, the chief executive. And then he mocks a witness, you know, a victim who comes forward and says I have been assaulted. And I want to talk about it to the United States Senate because they are deciding that who the next member of the Supreme Court will be which to me is citizen duty and he mocks her for meeting her duty as the top executive of the government. He is saying here I am on behalf of the United States government tell me. You are a fool to come out and tell us what was done to you because we are going to laugh at you. I think it is going around the corner. And he has done it before. But I don`t think so as - well, this way. Your thoughts?

MIMI ROCAH, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Absolutely. I mean, you essentially the President of the United States say no one should come forward with their story of sexual assault unless they can prove it themselves as opposed to the way it works which is they go to law enforcement or some official body. They tell what happened. And then law enforcement investigates and figures it out. Everyone is assuming here that it is Dr. Ford`s burden to prove every piece of this, OK.

First of all, this isn`t a trial. Second that`s not how it works. Victims had things happen to them. They tell it at best they can remember it. She does remembers very key important details. He is completely inaccurate of his - in his mocking. He wasn`t even accurate in what he was mocking her about. She didn`t describe the details of the location.


ROCAH: She has quite a specific time frame. It happened in her teens. She knows that in the summer, she has given specific leads for law enforcement to be able to go and pinpoint the location and the date more specifically.

MATTHEWS: Was she shaming, however? Because I want to get to you. You have to get to this point. He kept saying that she kept saying she only had one beer. Is he implying she was drunk? That she was somehow cooperative in this horror? I mean, did he keep saying over and over again, she said I only had one beer except to mock that claim. Why else was he talking about? Why would he pick on that one detail?

ROCAH: Look, I think to some extent, yes, he is probably trying to suggest that because she had a beer she somehow was complicit in this because that`s what he does. But you know, remember at the end of the hearing, at the end of her testimony, everybody Trump, even FOX News was saying a sexual assault happened to this woman. They were still saying at the time, well maybe she was wrong about who it was or she is misremembering, but there is no question that people believed including Trump, including FOX News, including many Republicans that she was the victim of a sexual assault. That hasn`t changed. And it didn`t changed last night when he mocked her. So he is mocking someone who he is admitted is a victim of sexual assault. And now he is just trying to find ways to blur the lines because the facts don`t look very good for Brett Kavanaugh when you look just at the facts.

MATTHEWS: Well, she`s inconvenient -- her testimony is inconvenient to his plan to pack the court.

Anyway, senate judiciary committee Democrats are disputing the Republicans account of Kavanaugh`s prior background probes on twitter. A pair of tweets from the committee account controlled by the Republican majority referenced Kavanaugh`s prior FBI background checks nothing nowhere in any of these six FBI reports was there ever a whiff of any issue at all related in any way to inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse.

Committee Democrats responded with a letter to the chairman writing while we are limited in what we can say about this background investigation there is information in the second post that is not accurate.

Your thoughts about? What did we find about the six FBI background checks of judge Kavanaugh?

BLUMENTHAL: What`s most important, Chris, is what those six prior reports lack. And I am constrained by what I can say.

MATTHEWS: Did they go in to his high school and college record in drinking?

BLUMENTHAL: As a general matter, FBI background checks do not go back prior to 18 years old. They focus only on co-workers, professional colleagues.

MATTHEWS: Why not the freshman class at Yale? These people are all over the place tonight coming in with hitting the tip box with all kinds of stuff now.

BLUMENTHAL: Because generally, the FBI clearance is focus only on the references submitted by the nominee himself.


BLUMENTHAL: And, here is the important point, the FBI still has probably about 40 witnesses as MSNBC has reported that they still have failed to interview not probably as a result of self-imposed constraints but rather straight jacketing from the White House. And they need to talk to, for example, one of the witnesses that I put in touch with them who can tell them about possibly improper outreaches to key witnesses in the Ramirez incident who were known to judge Kavanaugh and potentially indicate that he knew about that New Yorker story before it came out.

MATTHEWS: Is that illegal to go around and call on people you know who are about to be told about you are misbehavior and misconduct? It is wrong? Is it illegal? Is it witness tampering?

BLUMENTHAL: Under some circumstances it can be witness tampering, for example, if there is anticipation of testimony under oath by those individuals in connection with some law enforcement proceeding. But put aside whether it is witness tampering, those contacts indicate that judge Kavanaugh knew about Ramirez before the "New Yorker" article.

MATTHEWS: Professor, just last word to you, I`m curious what I think everybody is implicitly. Think of both sides, the issue, where he stands on a life choice and that hot issue of Roe v. Wade. But there is also a concern about who is going to have the temperament to be a member of the Supreme Court. We do look up to that part even after what happened in 2000 when they gave the election to Bush. So there is not a problem ever since that.

But let me ask you what can you tell about a guy who is in his mid-50s based upon his behavior even if it was outrageous in college?

GLAUDE: Well, look. What we saw during the hearing was a person who trades in conspiracy theories. It would make it very difficult for me to imagine that he could be objective when it came to a question before the court that looked at, for example, something that seemed democratic in his orientation.

I want to be very clear. We have witnessed, Chris, the diminishment of the office of the presidency. In my view the Congress is broken and now we see the debasement of the Supreme Court.

Senate majority leader McConnell is going to plow this through. He doesn`t give a dam about Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. He doesn`t care about Deborah Ramirez. They don`t care about Swetnick. They only want this appointment. It`s a Faustian bargain and democracy be dammed.

So it seems to me that we are at a crisis point, a tipping point and it cuts across the major institutions in this country. Kavanaugh is just a face of them.

BLUMENTHAL: And I think you hit the key point, Chris, temperament, temperament and trustworthiness. What he did before the committee as a revengeful and unfit acrimonious person seeking potentially threatening to revenge against the Democrats, I think is a profoundly important picture.

MATTHEWS: And if he gets on the court, he would be the most famous member of the court. Let`s be honest about. This profile, this guy, is through the roof.

Anyway, thank you, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Mimi Rocah and Eddie Glaude. Thanks for coming.

Coming up, President Trump hits back against the "New York Times" today after its bombshell investigation into his finances on the front page today. Trump seems most upset at how the article punctures the picture he has painted of himself as a self-made billionaire.

Plus, how is the Kavanaugh effect motivating voters coming into the midterm elections next month? And is the drawn out confirmation battle shifting some of the key Senate races? We will see that in a few minutes.

And President Trump went after Dr. Ford last night. It wasn`t the first time he attacked the female accuser of prominent men, obviously.

Finally we finish tonight with Trump watch. This is HARDBALL where the action is.


MATTHEWS: Today at 2:18 p.m. eastern time every American with a cell phone received a text message from FEMA that looked like this. Here it is. It was a test, part of the national Presidential alert system which is a new nationwide emergency warning system. This does not mean President Trump or his administration can use this at any time to contact all Americans. There are protocols in place to assure that it`s only used for national emergencies. Some critics dislike the fact that at this point you cannot opt out. You have to take it.

We will be right back.



QUESTION: Can you explain what is inaccurate about that story, if there`s anything that is actually inaccurate about it?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It`s a totally false attack based on an old recycled news story. I`m not going to sit and go through every single line of a very boring, 14,000-word story.

The only thing -- I will say one thing the article did get right was that it showed that the president`s father actually had a great deal of confidence in him. In fact, the president brought his father into a lot of deals. They made a lot of money together, so much so that his father went on to say that everything he touched turned to gold.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was Sarah Huckabee turning any story to gold anyway, today trying to refute "The New York Times" investigative report -- what a report -- on the -- look at it there -- on the source of Trump`s wealth.

The story, which took up a staggering eight pages in today`s newspaper, took over a year of research to get it done.

Trump today attacked the report, of course, and "The Times" on Twitter, calling it a hit piece. But, according to "The Times," the reporting makes clear that in every era of Mr. Trump`s life, his finances were deeply intertwined with and dependent on dad`s money.

By their account, Trump received the equivalent of up to $413 million from his father`s real estate empire. That`s $400 million over his lifetime. Trump`s long reliance on his family`s fortune raises new questions about the image he has cultivated of himself, that of a successful real estate developer who made billions from a loan of only a million dollars.

Here he goes.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I borrowed very little money from much father.

My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars.

My father gave me a very small loan in 1975.

I built a company that`s worth more than $10 billion, OK, with a million- dollar loan.



MATTHEWS: As for that million-dollar loan, "The Times" reports Fred Trump actually lent him at least $60 million, or $140 million in today`s dollars.

But the lead editorial in today`s "Times" put it more bluntly, calling Trump`s origin story a sham, saying it`s "a version of reality so elaborately embellished that it qualifies as fan fiction more than biography."

Yet we have seen that Trump goes to great lengths to maintain the illusion of self-made billionaire.

Here`s what Trump said about those who questioned the value of his assets in 1995.


TRUMP: The only critics that would say that are losers and people that know better, or they don`t know it all, or they`re jealous, or they have problems.


MATTHEWS: And here`s how Trump reacted in 2016, when Marco Rubio challenged him on the source of his money.


TRUMP: This is what we`re going to have as president.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Here`s a guy that inherited $200 million. If he hadn`t inherited $200 million, you know where Donald Trump would be right now?

TRUMP: No, no, no.

RUBIO: Selling watches in...



TRUMP: I took...

RUBIO: That`s where he would be.

TRUMP: That is so wrong. We`ll work on that. I took $1 million, and I turned into $10 billion.

RUBIO: Oh, OK, one million.

TRUMP: I borrowed $1 million.

RUBIO: Better release your tax returns so we can see how much money he made.

TRUMP: I borrowed $1 million, I turned it into $10 billion...

RUBIO: Oh, he doesn`t make that much money.

TRUMP: ... more than $10 billion.


MATTHEWS: This is like Groundhog`s Day here.

Here you have Marco Rubio got blown away that race saying, I just want to see his tax returns.

We still haven`t seen them.

Joining me right is David Corn, Washington bureau chief of "Mother Jones." And Gwenda Blair is author of "Trumps: Three Generations of Builders and a President."

Gwenda, you start.

And what do you make of this story that just blew away the front page of "The Times" today? The amount of detail, the amount of documentation, of paperwork, of financial records, astounding, and it points out that the president really didn`t do what he claimed he did, which is make himself into a tycoon. He didn`t do it.


It`s -- the scale of it was stunning. The model, the M.O., the way of doing it, not so much. His father perfected that idea of figuring out the way around every rule, every law, every regulation, and figuring out how to find the tiny little corner that you could -- he could squeak around. He did that in his own career.

And then he then would turn to making his son -- to doing that for his son and the rest of his children. Not a surprise.

MATTHEWS: We hear the term born on third base and claimed you hit a homer. But this guy looks like he was born sliding into home.

I mean, I mean, how do you not make it when daddy gives you 400 big ones, $400 million? It`s not that long a way to a billion.


BLAIR: Yes, well, a silver spoon, no. It was like a platinum spoon encrusted with diamonds.


BLAIR: Amazing. Just amazing.

MATTHEWS: Why do you think -- the last question to you on this round.

Why do you think he had to create -- if you`re really rich, and you got all this money, and you`re swagging around New York City and you`re a big shot, why do you have to brag that you did it all yourself?

BLAIR: I think there`s -- well, a couple of reasons, a psychologist`s field day, obviously.

One of them is, usually, super rich billionaires are not exactly the kind of Middle American Joe Six Pack target he was looking for. They don`t -- they`re not necessarily looking friendly towards that plutocrat.

So, he had to put himself on the side of that target voter, that person who wasn`t doing that well. So, he had to do that.

MATTHEWS: Yes, but I`m talking about way before.

Gwenda, way before he was doing this, well before he ran for office, he was out there selling himself in the comic books, basically, as a comic book, comic strip hero, downtown developer, with a big trench coat on, I made this city. He seemed to want that.

All right, let me go to David on this, the politics of this thing. He had this premise a long time ago: I did it myself.

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I think you needed a psychologist to get to that.

There are two really profound elements to this story of which I`m highly jealous. The work is just phenomenal. And I tip my hat to everyone at The New York Times involved in this.

But one element you went through, the self-made man myth utterly destroyed by this. He got over $40 million from his dad`s empire, and $60 million a loan, many of which he -- much of which he didn`t pay back.

The other part of the story, which is maybe even more troubling, is that his family, including Donald Trump, used what seem to be criminal methods to get -- get money into their own pockets.

MATTHEWS: Tell me about the fraud.

CORN: Well, this is -- well, they set up one company that would buy boilers, I don`t know, say for $5,000. And this was a company that was owned by the children, not Fred Trump, but his company would pay -- would get $5,000 boilers.

But this company which bought the boilers for Trump would then charge Fred Trump`s company, say, $10,000. This is just typical padding. It`s what the mob does, what does every crook does. And that way, you get $5,000 into the company, and it`s in there clean. It`s not a gift. It gets around the tax laws for gifts.

And they did over the years and millions of dollars floated in through this illegal mechanism that Trump was a party to. So not just that he`s like -- he got money from his dad and he hid that. He used illegal and what "The Times" calls fraudulent means to do this.

MATTHEWS: Why did the IRS go along with all this?

CORN: Well, the IRS -- it`s very interesting, because the IRS did look at certain elements of this along the way, and they would find that, like, in one instance, Trump family valued their property at, say, like $5 million that was really worth $80 million.

And the IRS would come and go, well, we think it`s -- you have to add $2 million to that. They were so outrageous, the IRS could not keep up with this fraud.

MATTHEWS: Well, how do we believe anything he says about macroeconomic dollars in terms of the federal government, and what the federal government spending and bringing in?

Anyway, Trump has long maintained that he won`t release any of his tax returns because he says they are under audit. Here he goes. Watch this song.


TRUMP: I will absolutely give my return. But I`m being audited now for two or three years. So I can`t do it until the audit is finished, obviously.

It`s under audit. I will release them when the audit is completed.

My tax returns are very simple. They`re under a minor audit, routine audit, as they have been for many years. Every year, I get audited. At the appropriate time, I will release them. But right now, I`m under routine audit. Nobody cares.

The only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters.

QUESTION: You don`t think the American public is concerned about...

TRUMP: No, I don`t think so. I won. I mean, I became president. No, I don`t think they care at all.


MATTHEWS: Here`s what Sarah Sanders said today when asked about that audit.


QUESTION: Is the president`s taxes still under audit?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I know that a number of his taxes are still under audit.

QUESTION: Are the ones from the `90s and the early 2000s -- are those as?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I`d have to check and get back to you.


QUESTION: Would the White House be willing to provide any of his tax returns?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I`m not aware of any plans to do so.


MATTHEWS: So, she will get back to us, Gwenda.

I don`t think so. I`m not sure we`re ever going to hear about these tax returns.

BLAIR: I don`t think so.

I -- the only thing that surprised me about his run, and really, after writing about him for so long, that he actually went up and did it, was that I knew he would never release his tax returns, so I thought he wouldn`t run for president.

I didn`t realize that he would be able to deflect attention from that, and that the public -- enough of the public would somehow not find that a deal- breaker. And they didn`t.

CORN: You know...

MATTHEWS: That`s very well said, because I do remember all these years, we said -- a lot of us the journalism world said he is never going to take his clothes off financially. He`s never going to let us look at what`s going on behind the scene.

He`s the man behind the curtain. And he`s never going to step out from behind it. You`re right. He found a way, finessed it. He never told us anything. Still got elected in the Electoral College.

Thank you, David Corn. Thank you, Gwenda Blair.

We will be back this topic again and again.

Up next: With less than five weeks to go until the November midterms, what impact will Kavanaugh`s hearings that are just over with, but are they still be talked about -- are being talked about, on the voters come November? Right and left, which way is it going to shift?

This is HARDBALL, where the action is.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

With less than five weeks now to the midterms, the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh continue, as we know here, to dominate. The question is, what impact will they have on the voters this November?

Republicans seem to be doubling down now -- it`s a surprise -- on their support for Kavanaugh. Do you believe it? Starting with the president.


TRUMP: They have been trying to destroy Judge Kavanaugh since the very first second he was announced.


TRUMP: Because they know Judge Kavanaugh will follow the Constitution as written.


MATTHEWS: Well, red state Democrats like Senators Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia face a momentous choice, don`t you think? Support this nominee, Kavanaugh, or risk alienating voters.

In what might be a concerning sign for some Democrats, new Quinnipiac poll numbers tonight -- out tonight show a drop in support for Democrats overall since earlier in the month from a 14-point advantage down to seven.

By the way, seven is precariously below the eight I think you need to take the House.

And NPR Republican found that Republican enthusiasm for the midterms has caught up with Democrats. Do you believe it?

In July, 78 percent of Democrats said the election was very important to them personally. Now it`s up to 82 percent. But Republicans went from 68 percent up to 80 percent. They`re almost as excited as Democrats now.

What is it about Judge Kavanaugh?

For more, I`m joined by Howard Fineman, MSNBC news analyst.

Howard, what do you make of all these numbers?

HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the president and the circumstances have turned Brett Kavanaugh into a proxy for Donald Trump.

And it appears to Republican voters who like Donald Trump that the president himself is under siege, because the guy on the hill who is him in legal clothing, so to speak, is under attack.

And every number that I have looked at in all these races shows that the keys are going to be two groups primarily, what`s left of suburban swing voting women who may be turned off by Brett Kavanaugh in a way that can help the Democrats, vs. what they themselves call the deplorables, plus evangelical voters, who are rushing to defend Brett Kavanaugh as the symbol of everything Trump.

So that`s what`s happened. The other thing that`s happened...

MATTHEWS: But people now are watching us, saying, what does anybody find admirable about a guy who may well have assaulted a woman?


MATTHEWS: What is admirable about him?

FINEMAN: Well, what -- nothing, except for the fact in the eyes of the voters who are now more enthusiastic on the Republican side, that he is Trump`s guy. He`s Trump`s pick. He`s the Trump vision on the court.

And that`s what they`re selling. Don`t forget, Donald Trump has rolled like this before. This is how he ran for president. He threaded the needle through the Electoral College by getting a massive turnout of his core supporters. And that`s what they`re going for here.

And I have talked to senators who are involved in this who think that one thing he`s doing is trying to put extra pressure on Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Manchin against the possibility that he loses...

MATTHEWS: I understand he`s going to West Virginia.


MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, can you bottom line it now? What is better for Democrats, that the guy -- that Kavanaugh is confirmed or not confirmed? What`s better for them going into November?

FINEMAN: Well, ironically enough, both sides seem to think that it`s it`s good for them politically to lose, which is an odd situation.


FINEMAN: But I think the Democrats are going to have to hope that the likelihood of his confirmation here is going to allow them to stoke their enthusiasm even further.

The numbers show that young voters are not going to turn out the way other Democrats are, Latinos are not going to turn out, and independents are not going to turn out.


FINEMAN: One other thing here. One other thing.

This whole drama the last few weeks has gotten the Republicans -- the Democrats off their best message, which is health care.


FINEMAN: Which is jobs, which is minimum wage, which is education and support for education.

All the things that the Democrats wanted to run on, they`re also not being able to talk about now, which doesn`t help on their side of the equation.

MATTHEWS: Which they have to remind people of, why you`re a Democrat.

FINEMAN: You have to remind them. And it`s not just because you`re against Trump.

MATTHEWS: OK, thank you, Howard Fineman. Great reporting. Great bottom lining.

Up next: President Trump took the opportunity to mock Kavanaugh, as we said -- his accuser, rather, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, at his Mississippi rally last night.

But it`s not the first time Trump has attacked women who accuse men of abuse.

You`re watching HARDBALL.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I had one beer. Right? I had one beer. Well, you think -- nope, it was one beer. Oh, good.

How did you get home? I don`t remember. How did you get there? I don`t remember. Where is the place? I don`t remember.

How many years ago was it? I don`t know. I don`t know.


I don`t know. I don`t know. What neighborhood was it in? I don`t know. Where`s the house? I don`t know.

Upstairs, down stairs, where was it? I don`t know. But I had one beer. That`s the only thing I remember.


MATTHEWS: Well, something beyond human there.

Anyway, welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was President Trump last night mocking the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. It`s not the first time he`s sided with men accused of abusive behavior over the women making those accusations.

Let`s watch him take sides here.


CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: Is he helping you? Is he advising you?

TRUMP: Well, I don`t want to comment but he`s been a friend of mine for a long time and I can tell you that some of the women that are complaining, I know how much he`s helped them.

REPORTER: Do you have a comment on Mr. Porter, sir?

TRUMP: He said very strongly yesterday that he`s innocent so you`ll have to talk to him about that, but we absolutely wish him well, did a very good job while he was at the White House.

Personally, I think he should haven`t settled.


TRUMP: Because he should have taken it all the way. No, I know Bill. Bill`s a good person. I don`t think Bill would do anything wrong.

Right now, I am being viciously attacked with lies and smears. It`s a phony deal. I have no idea who these women are. Have no idea.

These women are horrible people. They`re horrible, horrible liars.


MATTHEWS: Let`s bring in tonight`s HARDBALL roundtable. Ginger Gibson is a political correspondent for "Reuters", Sophia Nelson is a former House GOP committee counsel, and Joel Payne is a Democratic strategist and a former Senate leadership aide.

Thank you all for joining us.

The hard question: how is it going over and why is Trump talking like that? He is a politician. How does it help him to trash the accuser?

GINGER GIBSOIN, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS: Donald Trump has positioned himself as the victim from early on in his presidential campaign. He`s the one being wronged, he`s the one being mistreated. I often wondered how he`s going to perpetuate that after being the one in charge, and we see now, he`s found more ways to position himself as a victim, and he knows that it resonates with his voters.

Look at them applauding and cheering while he mocks her testimony. It`s because they`re looking for someone, particularly the president to tell them that they`re allowed to be angry, they`re allowed to disregard it, and they`re allowed to feel like they`re the ones being victimized here.

MATTHEWS: Sophia, does it seem like when you run through a montage here, that he never does it, he never takes the side of the woman no matter what the case or the facts, he instantly takes the side of Bill O`Reilly or anybody else, Roger, anybody else. It`s automatic. It must be politics here.

SOPHIA NELSON, FORMER HOUSE GOP COMMITTEE COUNSEL: I don`t think it`s politics. I think it`s who Donald Trump is and I think it`s what he believes. Donald Trump doesn`t like women and I don`t think we should even --

MATTHEWS: How do you know that?

NELSON: Just look at the way he talks about them go. Go back to the Rosie O`Donnell comments saying she`s not even a woman. Go back to how he handled the ladies who are making accusations against him and, of course, the infamous tape that I can`t repeat on air about what he wanted to grab.

This is a man who sees women as objects. They`re sex objects. He slept with a porn star. I totally believe Stormy Daniels and the playmate.

MATTHEWS: You`re right, actually it was a porn star.

NELSON: And so, what I`m saying is, is that --

MATTHEWS: I don`t want to quibble, but it`s true.

NELSON: My point is he seems women as objects. He`s from a different generation where men could swat you on the behind, do what they wanted and women were silent. They were silenced, and he doesn`t understand why all these women are saying this ugly stuff and why we`re running our mouths and why we`re pushing back.

He doesn`t like it. That`s who he is.

MATTHEWS: He`s that old, huh?

NELSON: Yes, he is.

MATTHEWS: You sound like Uncle Tonoose here.

Let me go to Joel.

JOEL PAYNE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Chris, I think there`s two things going on --

MATTHEWS: I`m not sure age protects him. But go ahead.

PAYNE: I think there`s two things going one. Ginger touched on the first one. I don`t think the president can look at this without seeing himself. It`s like he`s looking at a mirror, a fun house mirror but a mirror nonetheless.

I think when he sees Brett Kavanaugh being accused of this, he thinks of himself, he thinks of position he`s been, and says, well, people allegedly --

MATTHEWS: OK, why are did he hesitate for at least three or four days where he was being gentle and said let`s listen to hear, hear what she has to say. Did he get poll data?


PAYNE: That`s why Republicans wanted to push this through because they didn`t think they could hold him back long enough but the other point --

MATTHEWS: Our poll data that we got from Quinnipiac says it`s working for him.

NELSON: And the Marist poll, too.

MATTHEWS: That`s the scary. That`s the evil part.

PAYNE: I think it`s strategic. I actually think the president see this is as a midterm advantage because think about it, the only group of voters who are with him on Kavanaugh are male voters. Every other group, women, minorities, Latinos, blacks, all negative on Kavanaugh. The group that`s positive on Kavanaugh, male voters. So, I think, he`s said this before, he listens with his tong.

NELSON: And white women who are not educated.

PAYNE: I think he`s listening to that crowd with his tong.

MATTHEWS: Let me go to Ginger, I`m sorry.

GIBSON: He needs to rally his group and we know the White House they plan to have an aggressive schedule of him trying to rally his troops. The president has long said that what worked for him before he`s going to try it again. I think we`re seeing a little bit of that now.

It worked for him demeaning people. It worked for him insulting people. We were all aghast two years ago, how could he say that? He`ll never win if he says that.

And he thinks that that recipe works and why change the recipe if it`s been working.

MATTHEWS: The only thing left for her is the nickname.


GIBSON: Yes, I hope he doesn`t go there.

MATTHEWS: Finally, NBC News is reporting that more than 40 people with potential information into the sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court judge nominee Brett Kavanaugh have not been connected. What do you make of this, Joel? They`re not talking to the people that want to talk to them.

PAYNE: Well, I`m less worried about numbers and more about the right people. You talked about this earlier in your show. How are you not talking to Brett Kavanaugh, Dr. Ford, some other key witnesses?

So, the numbers are relevant to me. It`s about getting the right people. If Republicans want this to be taken seriously as a serious bit of analysis of what happened, they`ve got to get the work right people in the room and I`m not convinced that McConnell or Trump or any of those Republicans actually care about that.

NELSON: Chris, can I say something quickly, Chris? At this point, this should not be about for all of us here in the country regardless of party about whether or not 40 witnesses are being talked to. This should be about Brett Kavanaugh`s display of poor judicial temperament and restraint when he testified. For me, that`s what ends this for him.

I don`t care what he got drunk in college, what he did, to be candid with you. What I care about is the way he spoke to a co-equal branch of government and told senators that they were working on behalf of the Clintons. And you can`t have a Supreme Court justice that talks like that and that`s going to be that partisan. It`s no good. It doesn`t work.

MATTHEWS: You think Clintons are working that hard right now? I`m not so sure still on the game --


GIBSON: I think we have to also look at this from the other side and we have to understand that some of the people on the other side of this fight think that this is purely political and --

MATTHEWS: Political by who?

GIBONS: By the organizations that are --

MATTHEWS: Well, there`s certainly ideology at play, no doubt. But not on the facts.

GIBSON: Look, and they think, if the left thinks oh, we`re grinding them down, they have to realize that no, they`re digging them in, and it is going to cease to be any debate of facts and it`s going to cease to be any conversation about what happened.

MATTHEWS: OK, November, the first Tuesday after the first Monday when we vote, always the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November, how is this going to hurt or help? Is it going to help or hurt the Democrats if this guy gets in, if he is confirmed? Who`s that going to help?

GIBSON: I think that there are going to be women across the country who will be angry they feel like voices were not listened.

MATTHEWS: That they ignore them and --

GIBSON: Yes. But I also think there`s going to be conservatives who are telling the White House that they have to have this vote otherwise they won`t be pleased.

MATTHEWS: So they have to take the move, they have to have the vote?

GIBSON: I think both sides have to have --


MATTHEWS: All right. The round table is sticking with us. And up next, these three will tell me something I don`t know. We`re moving along.

You`re watching HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS: Well, the first trailer for the Dick Cheney biopic "Vice", great name, was released this morning with Christian Bale playing the role of the former VP. Let`s take a look.


CHRISTIAN BALE AS DICK CHENEY: The vice presidency is a mostly symbolic job. However, if we came to a different understanding, I can handle the more mundane jobs, overseeing bureaucracy, military, energy and foreign policy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, right. I like that.


MATTHEWS: It`s so true and so horrible. "Vice" is set to hit our theaters on Christmas Day. What a Grinch`s Christmas present.

We`ll be right back.


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

Ginger, tell me something I don`t know.

GIBSON: There`s a lot of attention paid to women voters and minority voters this year. But less attention paid to young voters. There`s an aggressive multimillion effort being bankrolled by Tom Steyer to turn out young people. They have enrolled thousands more volunteers than they planned to.

And that could be a real impact on these elections. It`s something to be watching.

MATTHEWS: It may happen. Yes.

NELSON: Everybody get your flu shot. Did you know last year, Chris, the flu broke records here in America? The CDC said the biggest numbers ever for deaths in 2017 and 2018. So, everybody, please get your flu shot. It`s serious.


PAYNE: For me, there`s a new book out, "Four Color Girls Who Have Considered Politics". Two of the authors, Mignon Moore, Donna Brazile, two people I worked with on the Hillary campaign. But it`s also something else too. Minority voters are going to be critical in the midterms. And from what I`m hearing, people at the top of the party, not impressed with the minority voter outreach. It hurt us in 2016. Could hurt us again in `18.

MATTHEWS: Where did you get that mellifluous voice?

PAYNE: What voice?

MATTHEWS: That is broadcaster`s voice.

PAYNE: I try.

MATTHEWS: And it`s really good.

Anyway, not kidding. Not knocking your intelligence, but you also have a fantastic voice.

PAYNE: I appreciate it.

MATTHEWS: Ginger Gibson, thank you, Sophia Nelson and Joel Payne.

When we return, let me finish tonight with "Trump Watch". You`re watching HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS: "Trump Watch", Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018.

Remember how you felt last week when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about her most poignant memory of that night.


CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, KAVANAUGH ACCUSER: Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the laugh -- the uproarious laughter between the two and they`re having fun at my expense.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: You never have forgotten that laughter, you`ve never forgotten them laughing at you?

FORD: They were laughing with each other.


MATTHEWS: Well, last night another night in the life of Dr. Ford, this time in South Haven, Mississippi, there was another person laughing at her, and what she`d gone through. It really tore the house down.


TRUMP: I had one beer, right? I had one beer. Well, you think it was -- nope, it was one beer. Oh, good.

How did you get home? I don`t remember. How did you get there? I don`t remember. Where is the place? I don`t remember.

How many years ago was it? I don`t know, I don`t know.


I don`t know. I don`t know!


MATTHEWS: You killed it, Mr. President. And I`m sure she can still hear the laughter.

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.