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Ceremonial swearing in of Judge Kavanaugh. TRANSCRIPT: 10/8/2018, Hardball w Chris Matthews.

Guests: Neera Tanden, Elana Schor, Jonathan Swan, Sahil Kapur

Show: HARDBALL Date: October 8, 2018 Guest: Neera Tanden, Elana Schor, Jonathan Swan, Sahil Kapur

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

There is outrage in this country today, and, of course, there is gloating on the other side. The outrage see a miscarriage of justice, a man raced into the Supreme Court, despite witnesses ready, but not allowed to testify against him.

The gloating is what we`re about to witness at the White House. We`re just minutes away from President Trump holding a ceremonial swearing-in at the White House for the newest Supreme Court justice, Brett Kavanaugh.

After a bruising nomination battle that inflamed passions on Capitol Hill and, of course, across the country, Kavanaugh was officially sworn in after Saturday`s confirmation vote itself.

But that didn`t stop President Trump from once again attacking Democrats earlier today about the fight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I thought the way they behaved was absolutely atrocious.

I have never seen anything like it. The way they conducted themselves, the way they dealt -- dealt with a high-level, brilliant, going to be a great justice of the Supreme Court, the way they really tortured him and his family, I thought it was a disgrace.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Trump also called the allegations of misconduct that nearly derailed Kavanaugh`s confirmation a hoax.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It was all made up. It was fabricated. And it`s a disgrace. And I think it`s going to really show you something come November 6. I think a lot of Democrats are going to vote Republican.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: You know, he`s like John McEnroe complaining after he lost a tennis match. What`s going on here?

After weeks of acrimony, with now just 29 days and counting until the midterm elections, voters will get a chance soon to make their voices heard at the ballot box.

I`m joined by Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, Eugene Robinson, columnist for "The Washington Post," Susan Del Percio, Republican strategist, and Robert Costa, national political reporter for "The Washington Post."

Robert, how does Trump gin up this righteous indignation after he wins?

ROBERT COSTA, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: What a whirlwind it`s been for the last few weeks.

Republicans were worried that this whole Kavanaugh election process was going to alarm suburban voters, female voters. Now they`re running on grievance. They`re looking at the process and the protests that were outside the Capitol, as the confirmation vote went down, and they think they can run against what Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, is calling the mob.

And it`s something going back to Richard Nixon in `68, running on this law and order message...

MATTHEWS: Right.

COSTA: ... against the Trump resistance movement.

MATTHEWS: We`re looking at, Susan, Bader -- Susan, Bader Ginsburg there, the justice of the Supreme Court, of course, John Roberts, of course, there, and a couple of other justices right now.

They`re all coming in now to join in the celebration. And they look very happy, Gene.

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, they do look happy.

MATTHEWS: I know Clarence is wall-to-wall happiness there.

ROBINSON: Well, everyone should pay attention to this, because this is what power looks like. This is what power looks like. Republicans had the power to do this, and they did it. They didn`t care what anybody thought. They did it.

MATTHEWS: Not that you`re Madam Democrat here, but you are on the progressive side of things.

And I`m just wondering, how are the Democrats -- don`t they see this as what losing looks like to them? They`re just chuckling here.

NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Yes.

This is a terrible moment, I think, for the country. This -- whatever you think of Brett Kavanaugh, a majority of the country still opposes him, and I think just...

MATTHEWS: You`re right, in the polling.

TANDEN: Just to respond to what Robert said, you know, I think the challenge for the Republicans is that they would like to call those women on the Mall and the Supreme Court the mob.

MATTHEWS: Here comes the president.

TANDEN: But they may well be the majority of the country.

MATTHEWS: Well, there is the president coming in with -- with Justice Kennedy and Justice -- hold your breath -- Kavanaugh.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you.

Members of Congress, members of the Cabinet, honored guests and fellow Americans, it is my privilege to address you tonight from the East Room of the White House.

We`re gathered together this evening for a truly momentous occasion. I have long been told that the most important decision a president can make is the appointment of a Supreme Court justice.

Well, in just a few moments, we will proudly swear in the newest member of the United States Supreme Court, Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Joining us for tonight`s ceremony is every sitting Supreme Court justice.

Chief Justice Roberts, thank you.

Justice Thomas, thank you.

Justice Ginsburg, thank you.

Justice Breyer, thank you, Justice.

Justice Alito.

Justice Sotomayor, thank you.

Justice Kagan, thank you.

And Justice Gorsuch.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I would also like to send our deep appreciation to Maureen Scalia, the wife of the late, great Antonin Scalia, and also to our White House counsel, Don McGahn.

Thank you, Don. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: We are thrilled to be joined this evening by Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Justice Kennedy, America owes you a profound debt of gratitude for a lifetime of noble service to our nation. And I want to thank you very much. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Very special and treasured guests tonight are Justice Kavanaugh`s amazing wife, Ashley.

Thank you, Ashley.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And their two beautiful daughters, Margaret and Liza.

Thank you.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And we are also joined by Justice Kavanaugh`s mom and dad, Martha and Ed.

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I would like to begin tonight`s proceeding differently than perhaps any other event of such magnitude.

On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure.

Those who step forward to serve our country deserve a fair and dignified evaluation, not a campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception.

What happened to the Kavanaugh family violates every notion of fairness, decency and due process. Our country, a man or a woman, must always be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And with that, I must state that you, sir, under historic scrutiny, were proven innocent.

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Margaret and Liza, your father is a great man. He is a man of decency, character, kindness and courage, who has devoted his life to serving his fellow citizens.

And now, from the bench of our nation`s highest court, your father will defend the eternal rights and freedoms of all Americans. You know that.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: We are joined tonight by a leader who has never wavered in his support and devotion to the rule of law and to Brett Kavanaugh`s elevation.

He`s worked very, very hard. And he truly has done just an incredible and wonderful job for the American people, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Thank you, Mitch. Please, stand up.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I think that`s the biggest hand he`s ever received. They just don`t...

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: They don`t get it, Mitch. You`re great. Thank you. Very much appreciate it.

I would like to thank another man whose principled leadership has earned widespread admiration, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley.

Thank you, Chuck.

We are grateful to all of the senators on the Judiciary Committee who fought so hard for this confirmation, Senators Lindsey Graham, John Cornyn, Orrin Hatch, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Ben Sasse, Jeff Flake, Mike Crapo, Thom Tillis, and John Kennedy.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And thank you also to Rob Portman, sitting right here.

Thank you, Rob Portman.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And finally, we are indebted to Senator Susan Collins for her brave and eloquent speech and her declaration that, when passions are most inflamed, fairness is most in jeopardy.

How true. How true.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: How true.

Brett Kavanaugh is a man of outstanding intellect, a brilliant scholar, and his credentials are unsurpassed. A graduate of both Yale College and Yale Law School, he has taught at Harvard, Yale and Georgetown.

When he`s not working or with his family, he`s giving back to his community. He spent 26 years in public service, and, just like Justice Gorsuch, he clerked for Justice Kennedy.

For the last 12 years, Brett was a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, widely regarded as our nation`s second highest court.

During his tenure, he authored over 300 opinions, distinguished by their masterful and impartial reasoning. Known as a judge`s judge, he is a fair- minded, unbiased and even-handed person.

He understands that justice must be divorced from the passions of the day, tethered instead to the enduring foundation of our republic, the Constitution.

Justice Kavanaugh fills the place left by Anthony Kennedy.

Soon, Justice Kennedy will administer the judicial oath to Brett Kavanaugh, just as he did last year for Justice Gorsuch. This will be the first time a Supreme Court justice has ever sworn in a former clerk to take his seat, a beautiful moment which reminds us that freedom is a tradition passed down from generation to generation.

And that`s a big statement. And I want to thank you for that so much. That`s so beautiful.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: So beautiful. So beautiful.

Margaret and Liza`s presence tonight reminds us what his historic event, all about your father, is all about. It`s about what kind of a nation we`re going to be and what kind of a country our children will inherit.

It is up to each of us and to all Americans watching tonight to answer that question. It is up to us to reclaim our heritage of equal and impartial justice. It is up to us to rededicate ourselves to the traditions and wisdom of our founders.

And it is up to us to renew the bonds of love, loyalty and affection that link us all together as one great American family.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Let us pray we are successful in this task, and let us pray that all of America`s children will grow up in a country that is fair and just and safe and strong and free.

And let us ask God to bless Justice Kavanaugh and his family as they embark on this incredible journey together.

I now invite Justice Brett Kavanaugh to come forward and to take the judicial oath.

Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

ANTHONY KENNEDY, FORMER ASSOCIATE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Justice Kavanaugh, are you ready to take the oath of office?

BRETT KAVANAUGH, ASSOCIATE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: I am.

KENNEDY: Will you please repeat after me?

I, Brett M. Kavanaugh, do solemnly swear...

KAVANAUGH: I, Brett M. Kavanaugh, do solemnly swear...

KENNEDY: ... that I will administer justice without respect to persons.

KAVANAUGH: That I will administer justice without respect to persons.

KENNEDY: And do equal right to the poor and to the rich.

KAVANAUGH: And do equal right to the poor and to the rich.

KENNEDY: And that I will faithfully and impartially...

KAVANAUGH: And that I will faithfully and impartially...

KENNEDY: ... discharge and perform.

KAVANAUGH: ... discharge and perform.

KENNEDY: ... all the duties incumbent upon me...

KAVANAUGH: ... all the duties incumbent upon me...

KENNEDY: ... as associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

KAVANAUGH: ... as associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

KENNEDY: Under the Constitution and laws of the United States.

KAVANAUGH: Under the Constitution and laws of the United States.

KENNEDY: So help me God.

KAVANAUGH: So help me God.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KAVANAUGH: Mr. President, thank you for the great honor of appointing me to serve as a justice of the Supreme Court.

I have seen firsthand your deep appreciation for the vital role of the American judiciary. I am grateful for your steadfast, unwavering support throughout this process.

And I`m grateful to you and Mrs. Trump for the exceptional, overwhelming courtesy you have extended to my family and me.

Mr. President, thank you for everything.

TRUMP: Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

KAVANAUGH: I am honored to serve on a Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice John Roberts.

Chief Justice Roberts is a principled, independent and inspiring leader for the American judiciary. As a country, we are fortunate to have John Roberts as chief justice of the United States. I`m honored to serve alongside all of my new colleagues, each of whom I know and each of whom I greatly admire and deeply respect.

All nine of us revere the Constitution. Article III of the Constitution provides that the judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is an institution of law. It is not a partisan or political institution.

The justices do not sit on opposite sides of an aisle. We do not caucus in separate rooms. The Supreme Court is a team of nine. And I will always be a team player on the team of nine.

(APPLAUSE)

KAVANAUGH: As a new justice on the Supreme Court, I understand the responsibility that I bear.

Some 30 years ago, standing here in the East Room with President Reagan, Anthony Kennedy took the oath to be a new justice of the Supreme Court. Justice Kennedy became one of the most consequential justices in American history.

I served as Justice Kennedy`s law clerk in 1993. To me, Justice Kennedy is a mentor, a friend and a hero. On the Supreme Court, he was a model of civility and collegiality. He fiercely defended the independence of the judiciary and zealously guarded the individual liberties secured by the Constitution.

Justice Kennedy established a legacy of liberty for ourselves and our posterity. I will always be humbled and proud to sit in Justice Kennedy`s seat on the Supreme Court.

(APPLAUSE)

KENNEDY: Thank you.

KAVANAUGH: I thank the members of the United States Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for his leadership and steady resolve.

I thank Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley for his wisdom and fairness.

And I give special gratitude to Senators Rob Portman, Susan Collins, Joe Manchin, Jon Kyl, and Lindsey Graham. They`re a credit to the country and the Senate.

I will be forever grateful to each of them and to all the senators who carefully considered my nomination.

Presiding over the final vote in the Senate on Saturday was Vice President Pence. I`m grateful to the vice president for his sound advice and faithful support.

I thank counsel to the president Don McGahn, who was a warrior for fairness and performed his critical duties in the finest traditions of our Constitution.

(APPLAUSE)

KAVANAUGH: I thank all the outstanding people in the White House, the Department of Justice and the Senate who worked day and night on this nomination.

One of a federal judge`s most important responsibilities is to hire four new law clerks each year. The law clerks are recent law school graduates, and they work in the judge`s chambers for one year. They`re among the best and brightest young lawyers in America, and they become the future leaders of the legal profession.

I thank my former law clerks who devoted so much time and energy to support me during the confirmation process.

(APPLAUSE)

KAVANAUGH: Inspired by my mom, who was a trailblazer for women in the law, I have worked hard throughout my career to provoke -- promote the advancement of women.

Women still face many barriers in the American workplace, and all of us have a responsibility to address that problem. During my 12 years on the D.C. Circuit, a majority of my law clerks were women, and almost all of them went on to clerk at the Supreme Court.

A clerkship on the Supreme Court is one of the most coveted achievements and credentials in American law. I`m proud that all four of my newly hired law clerks at the Supreme Court are women, a first in the history of the Supreme Court.

(APPLAUSE)

KAVANAUGH: Tonight, I thank all my friends, so many amazing and fearless friends, from my high school days, college, law school, clerking, the Bush White House, including President George W. Bush.

(APPLAUSE)

KAVANAUGH: From the judiciary, teaching, coaching, playing sports, the vibrant, loyal and tight-knit Catholic community here in the D.C. area and so many others.

Ashley and I are grateful for their prayers and for the prayers from the thousands and thousands of people we have heard from throughout America.

When I give advice to young people or speak to students, I tell them, cherish your friends, look out for your friends, lift up your friends, love your friends.

I love all my friends.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KAVANAUGH: I thank my family.

My mom, Martha, and my dad, Ed, are here. I`m their only child.

(LAUGHTER)

KAVANAUGH: My mom was one of Maryland`s earliest women prosecutors and trial judges. My dad taught me his work ethic and love of sports.

They have given me a lifetime of love, and I`m forever grateful to them.

(APPLAUSE)

KAVANAUGH: My daughters, Margaret and Liza, are smart, strong, awesome girls.

They`re in the middle of fall lacrosse, looking forward to the upcoming basketball season.

(LAUGHTER)

KAVANAUGH: I thank their teachers for giving them the day off tomorrow, so that they can come watch two cases being argued at the Supreme Court.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

KAVANAUGH: My wife, Ashley, is a proud West Texan from Abilene, Texas, graduate of Abilene Cooper Public High School, University of Texas at Austin.

She`s the dedicated town manager of our local community. She`s got a deep faith. She`s an awesome mom, a great wife. She is a rock. I thank God every day for Ashley and my family.

(APPLAUSE)

KAVANAUGH: The Senate confirmation process was contentious and emotional. That process is over. My focus now is to be the best justice I can be.

I take this office with gratitude and no bitterness. On the Supreme Court, I will seek to be a force for stability and unity. My goal is to be a great justice for all Americans and for all of America.

I will work very hard to achieve that goal. I was not appointed to serve one party or one interest, but to serve one nation. America`s Constitution and laws protect every person of every belief and every background.

Every litigant in the Supreme Court can be assured that I will listen to their arguments with respect and an open mind. Every American can be assured that I will be an independent and impartial justice, devoted to equal justice under law.

Although the Senate confirmation process tested me, as it has tested others, it did not change me. My approach to judging remains the same.

A good judge must be an umpire, a neutral and impartial decider who favors no litigant or policy. A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must interpret statutes as written, and a judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent.

In the wake of the Senate confirmation process, my approach to life also remains the same. I will continue to heed the message of Matthew 25. I will continue to volunteer, to serve the least fortunate among us. I will continue to coach, teach and tutor. I will continue to strive to be a good friend, colleague, husband, and dad.

As in the past, our nation today faces challenges and divisions, but I am an optimist. I live on the sunrise side of the mountain. I see the day that is coming, not the day that is gone. I am optimistic about the future of America and the future of our independent judiciary, the crown jewel of our constitutional republic.

As a justice on the Supreme Court, I will always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United States and the American rule of law.

Thank you, all.

(APPLAUSE)

MATTHEWS: Well, Justice Kavanaugh tried as best he could to heal the wounds of the past couple of weeks, but the president already ripped the scab off in his remarks.

Listen to what the president said tonight and what came off, was supposed to be a public ceremony, a nonpartisan ceremony.

"On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure. What happened to the Kavanaugh family violates every notion of fairness, decency and due process. Under historic scrutiny, he was proven innocent."

Susan Del Percio, that is a partisan statement aimed directly at the elections four weeks from tomorrow.

SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes, it is, Chris.

And it`s also one thing that is interesting is, he went and went after Dr. Ford again, saying it was lies and deception that were claimed against Judge Kavanaugh.

One thing is clear. This president is only seeking to divide this country and do it in a way that will help the Republicans hold the Senate. He`s written off the Democrats -- the fact that the Democrats will win the House, but this president has no idea what this country is built on, what it`s about.

We were talking about the justice of the Supreme Court. And this man made it a partisan campaign hit. And it`s disgraceful.

MATTHEWS: So do you agree with that, Neera, that he`s thinking geographically, he`s thinking Missouri, he`s thinking Florida, perhaps? He`s certainly thinking North Dakota. He`s thinking the red states.

DEL PERCIO: Absolutely.

TANDEN: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

TANDEN: I think...

MATTHEWS: Susan.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I mean -- I`m sorry. I`m sorry.

Neera.

TANDEN: So, I think he -- I would agree with Susan that he`s thinking in a partisan way.

But I do think what he`s underestimating is how -- how much the response is by women. There was a poll earlier today that had Trump`s support amongst women at catastrophic numbers. His support is...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Fourteen -- 14-point gender difference.

TANDEN: Actually 30 in this poll.

MATTHEWS: Well, I guess 14 and five -- men up by five, 14 among women, up -- Democrats up by 14.

So it`s what we call a 19-point gender gap by numbers I looked at.

TANDEN: Yes. Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: You have got 30 somewhere.

TANDEN: But there`s -- I think what`s fascinating is, it seems like women are opposing him at higher and higher numbers.

And this might have been a huge miscalculation, to have a partisan vote that just jams this through. We will see. We will see...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Speaking of jamming it through, by my calculations -- I have been checking around with our producers -- at least five networks were covering this in what we call a roadblock. The Democrats, the women don`t have a stage like this to start off their campaign.

ROBINSON: No, they don`t.

And this is what you get to do -- this is what you get to do if you`re president of the United States. You get to command an audience.

They picked -- they timed it, so that more people would be watching, more people would be home and paying attention to it. And it was a -- it was, you know, in part a campaign ad by the -- by the president and an attempt by Justice Kavanaugh at rehabilitation...

MATTHEWS: Right.

ROBINSON: ... because of the display he put on during his hearings.

He`s aware of the numbers, I`m sure. He`s aware that most of the country opposes him. And it was an attempt at rehabbing that image. It would have gone better had he not started with a blatant lie, which is -- which is, he began by saying -- thanking the president for his deep respect for the judiciary, which is the most absurd thing you could possibly say about Donald Trump.

MATTHEWS: What are you, a Mexican?

ROBINSON: Exactly.

(CROSSTALK)

ROBINSON: Any judge who makes any decision that he doesn`t like is a so- called judge.

MATTHEWS: Susan, let me ask you about this dividing, because I get the feeling that Mitch McConnell and the president are all into tribal politics, in the sense that they don`t want national unity. They want a division, a division right down the aisle, like they have in the Senate.

They want that in the country. They want that division to work for them. They don`t want to take all the marbles, but they want to take the half that gives them the Senate.

DEL PERCIO: Yes, that`s absolutely right, Chris.

And it looked like at one point that -- that Mitch McConnell was even willing, when the numbers were so bad, to give up the Senate for getting Kavanaugh confirmed.

But the tide changed, and Donald Trump picked up on something -- you have to give credit where credit is due. He knew if he -- he went out on the rally -- doing rallies, and he started to pick apart Dr. Kavanaugh. He started to create a divide. He went after her.

It further divided our country. And he knows, if he goes in there and does that in red states, they`re going to hold on to the Senate. But it is going to really hurt them with the House, and it will be interesting to see what happens this week.

MATTHEWS: Explain. Explain the difference for people who don`t study The Cook Report every 15 minutes.

DEL PERCIO: Sure.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Why does the House look better for women and for Democrats?

DEL PERCIO: Because, right now, it`s filled with a lot of swing districts.

Some say up to 60 House seats are up for grabs and they`re in the tossup categories. So, they only -- and the Democrats only need 23 to take the majority back. These are swing districts. By nature, it means you need to have independents and especially women and moderate Republicans with you if you`re going to take it as a Republican.

That`s not looking like the case. And it looks like, based on this strategy, they are saying, we`re going to lose the House. Who cares? And let`s just go forward with the Senate.

MATTHEWS: Well, as Susan mentioned, roughly a week ago, President Trump called Dr. Christine Blasey Ford a credible witness.

Four days later -- catch this -- during a campaign rally in Mississippi, he pivoted and openly ridiculed her testimony and her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Thirty-six years ago, this happened. I had one beer. Right?

I had one beer. Well, do you think it was -- no, 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.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I don`t know.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: 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, downstairs? Where was it? I don`t know. But I had one beer. That`s the only thing I remember.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, on Saturday, just a couple of days ago, shortly after Judge Kavanaugh was confirmed, Trump called into FOX News and was asked why he changed his tack, from open-mindedness about her testimony, in fact, credulity, to this nastiness.

And here`s what he said:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, there were a lot of things that were happening that weren`t correct, they weren`t true, and there were a lot of things that were left unsaid.

And I thought I had to even the playing field, because it was very unfair to Judge -- now I can, you know, very nicely say Justice Kavanaugh.

QUESTION: Right. Right.

TRUMP: And it was a very unfair situation. So I evened the playing field. And once I did do that, it started to sail through.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TANDEN: So I think that Donald Trump knew that he had to basically marshal Republicans. And what he did was marshal Republicans against Dr. Ford.

And it strengthened Kavanaugh`s hand. And I think the big question in politics today is whether that -- the ramming through of Dr. Ford -- of Judge Kavanaugh, of everything that`s happened over the last week will create a backlash amongst women.

We`re seeing some evidence of that.

MATTHEWS: Who is cheering when he makes fun of this doctor, this professional woman?

TANDEN: Yes. Exactly.

MATTHEWS: Who is cheering? Because they were cheering there.

TANDEN: His base. His base.

And the question is, he wants to -- you`re absolutely right. He wants to have two tribes in the country. The question is, on issue after issue, whether it`s family separation, et cetera, he`s able to rally his base, but sometimes he creates a larger backlash.

And this is the question for America today, which is whether women will be angry at what`s happened.

MATTHEWS: Gene, I have watched -- I think it was Trump cheering the number of executions in Texas. I mean, they had a big crowd cheering him. There are people in the hard, cruel -- I think that`s the word for it -- right, that they are enjoying making fun of this professional woman who said he was sexually assaulted. Let`s make fun of her.

Who are these people? They like the...

ROBINSON: Trump appeals to a kind of bloodlust, I mean, gladiatorial combat, combat to the death.

There`s -- it`s something that he does, that he does effectively with his base. And he manages to drive that wedge. And you`re either sort of with him or against him.

And people who are -- you know, who are in with Trump for a dollar, they will throw in another dollar. You know, they will stay with him.

MATTHEWS: Well, Maine Senator Susan Collins was a pivotal vote, of, the vote, I would say, because she was leading Manchin for the vote on Kavanaugh. That was the vote we watched this week.

Yesterday, on "60 Minutes," she defended her vote by saying she thought Dr. Ford was mistaken that Judge Kavanaugh had assaulted her.

Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "60 MINUTES")

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I believed that a sexual assault had happened to her. What I think she`s mistaken about is who the perpetrator was.

I do not believe her assailant was Brett Kavanaugh. I would have voted no if I disbelieved Judge Kavanaugh.

But given his denials and the lack of evidence that this happened, I just did not think that it was fair to ruin the life of this distinguished judge and his family over allegations that cannot be proven.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBINSON: Is there...

MATTHEWS: OK, I want to start with -- go ahead, Gene.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Confused seems to be...

(CROSSTALK)

ROBINSON: Is there another woman in -- is there another woman in the country who believes that Dr. Ford would misidentify a person who she knew who sexually assaulted her?

MATTHEWS: OK.

ROBINSON: That`s -- that`s -- that`s unbelievable.

(CROSSTALK)

TANDEN: There is actually...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: What does it say about women in court? Don`t believe her because they`re confused. Somebody raped her but I don`t know who it was.

ROBINSON: Exactly, you`re just confused, little lady.

TANDEN: Just to say this, there is literally a science to this and this has never happened, that you actually have the trauma of a rape or assault.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

TANDEN: And then you misidentify. I mean, that itself has literally never happened.

MATTHEWS: OK.

TANDEN: And the idea that Susan Collins used talking points of Mitch McConnell here --

MATTHEWS: Isn`t that awful?

Let me go to Susan on this because I think confused. Let me throw out something here to Nikki Haley again. I`ll do this for awhile because this is something I believe in. I think Nikki Haley has a very good shot at being the first woman president, for one reason, when somebody accused her of being confused the other day, she stopped the band and said, I don`t get confused. She just drew the line on that.

And I`m telling you, I don`t care how right-wing you are, you got to respect that kind of toughness. I don`t understand why these people say, oh, I`m a Republican woman so this is another woman. She was confused.

Confused? Is the guy ever confused? No, guys don`t get confused. It seems to be a problem.

SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It does.

MATTHEWS: What`s the right word? Sociologically.

Go ahead.

DEL PERCIO: It definitely is. But even if you just for a moment put that aside, it was Brett Kavanaugh`s own words that made him disqualifying. If you wanted to even say it was a he said/she said, the way he conducted himself at that hearing showed that he was not going to be a fit, fair jurist.

He -- I mean, he basically came out with a partisan attack, which he did not address tonight, which was very disturbing that he didn`t even recognize the Dianne Feinstein in some shape or form. He attacked another female senator.

And he -- his prepared remarks were just angry. And I don`t -- I think that alone was what disqualified him, at least in this Republican woman`s mind.

But going forward, I happen to think a lot of what you said about Nikki Haley. She`s shown that you can be strong, you can even disagree with the president and you can also stand up for him when you think he`s right, but this was just a bad show in just everything, Chris.

MATTHEWS: No, when you say I don`t get confused, you`re saying back off, bozo, which is the right thing to say.

DEL PERCIO: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, the emotionally charged fight over Kavanaugh`s confirmation brought hundreds of protesters to Capitol Hill in recent days. President Trump and other Republicans had a nasty characterization.

This is how good they are. This is Frank Luntz stuff, around the Hill, they do it. Look at this. They don`t call them protesters. They don`t call them people using their right to petition Congress, which is a constitutional right. They call them this magic little three-letter word.

Here it goes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In their quest for power, the radical Democrats have turned into an angry mob. You don`t hand matches to an arsonist and you don`t give power to an angry left-wing mob. And that`s what they`ve become.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: They were trying to intimidate members of the Senate. I`m really proud of my members for not knuckling under to those mob-like tactics.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I`m glad those who trained to overturn the rule of law and replace it with mob rule lost.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Oh, it`s great. Mob`s great. It`s ethnically diversified. It`s a bunch of people who are "they" coming out over the, what, over the wall from Mexico?

Where is this mob coming from? It is classic. The mob.

TANDEN: It is classic for him, but this is what I think could be counterproductive, right? He goes after Muslims, NFL players. Here he`s talking about 50 percent of the country. A majority still --

MATTHEWS: OK. You`re good. You`re smart. OK. We`re talking about how good you are. You`re sitting here.

Tell me when the bugle is going to play on your side, because we just saw a prime time every network watched show for this guy Kavanaugh. When is the liberal -- or the progressive side going to speak loudly and blow the trumpet? When? Tuesday? Wednesday?

TANDEN: I hope November 6th, we`ll have a big women`s march.

MATTHEWS: When are you going to go start the fight?

TANDEN: I want to fight now. I mean, honestly, I can say this --

MATTHEWS: I know. I shouldn`t put you on the spot.

There is nobody out there. Where is Pelosi? Where is Schumer? Where is everybody? They shouldn`t be taking the day off.

TANDEN: I agree we need more leaders out there.

MATTHEWS: All right. Thank you, Neera Tanden. I shouldn`t make you -- well, you can be the leader. I got to get a trumpet here.

Neera Tanden, thank you. Eugene Robinson, Susan Del Percio, thank you. This Republican woman, I love your phraseology.

By the way, we just saw the victory lap for Kavanaugh. It continues by the way. Will the Democrats have the last word? We`ll see.

Let`s talk about what when we get back. What`s the Democrats` game plan to offset what we just watched?

You`re watching HARDBALL.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

In tonight`s swearing in ceremony for Justice Kavanaugh, President Trump issued an apology to the Kavanaugh family, saying that he was ultimately proven innocent -- proven innocent of the allegations against him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure. Those who step forward to serve our country deserve a fair and dignified evaluation. Not a campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception.

A man or a woman must always be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. And with that, I must state that you, sir, under historic scrutiny were proven innocent. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by the roundtable, Elana Schor who covers the Senate for "Politico". Jonathan Swan is a national political reporter at "Axios" and Sahil Kapur is the national political reporter for "Bloomberg".

Sahil, you`re first. Who`s got their act together to exploit the last couple of weeks in the elections coming up a month from now? Who`s got it together?

SAHIL KAPUR, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, BLOOMBERG NEWS: There`s no doubt, Chris, this was a boost in enthusiasm for Republicans. If that holds, that`s good news for them in the Senate, because the battlegrounds, as we know, 12 out of the 13 competitive races are in states --

MATTHEWS: Is this a sugar high or is it a long-term thing?

KAPUR: This is precisely the question, because the politics of black overpower the politics of governing. Voters do not show to the polls to say thank you. They show up to the polls to express their anger most often.

Democrats are very angry. Republicans are happy they won. So, a lot of the furor, a lot of the anger that was kicked off among Republicans strategists are wondering if that`s going to sustain itself.

MATTHEWS: Elana, a couple of weeks ago before this episode, all aspects of it, everybody like I thought women in the suburbs were going to vote with as much zeal as we thought they would in `16. But they`re really going to come through this time because there is no complications of who do you like. It`s simply what do you feel and what do you believe about this country. Has that been a lessened, that zeal of the women to go out there and vote?

ELANA SCHOR, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, POLITICO: I don`t think so. And I agree with you, that if anything, the outcome of the Kavanaugh fight has increased that. But it`s important to remember, that helps Democrats in the House, not in is the Senate where they`re fighting with a bad map based on red states where a suburban uptick won`t matter.

MATTHEWS: Sure. But in all those burbs around the big cities, it looks like it`s going to help?

SCHOR: I would say yes. I would say absolutely. But it`s important to remember to your point, Democrats are not out here trying mobilize right now. They`re licking their wounds.

MATTHEWS: Yes. John, how do you see the fight right now?

JONATHAN SWAN, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, AXIOS: Well, it hasn`t de- motivated women. I mean, Republican pollster Glenn Bulger (ph) and he saw a dramatic uptick in the numbers through the Kavanaugh fight, Republican enthusiasm among likely voters. The way he described it was, Democrats are already 11 out of 10. Republicans are 4 out of 10. It`s brought them up to 8 out of 10.

And the bet they`re making inside the Republican Party is that Democrats can`t get any angrier. Maybe they can -- it hasn`t had a suppresses effect on suburban women.

KAPUR: Absolutely. It`s gasoline on the fire of the #MeToo movement. And as Elana pointed out, it`s very poignant in the House, suburban districts with lots of college-educated women are going to determine which party controls the chamber. So, if anything, this is a boost for Democrats in the House. It remains to be seen ultimately.

MATTHEWS: It looks to me like another, obviously male/female sort of distinction, but also college versus non-college again. Sahil, do you see that again?

KAPUR: Absolutely. The big divide is education.

MATTHEWS: Well, in celebrating the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh -- Justice Kavanaugh now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell defended his decision to block and ultimately kill the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland under former President Obama. At that time, McConnell said that no nominee should even be considered during a presidential election year, not until after the voters themselves weigh in.

Well, now he is revising that rule, the McConnell rule, raising new questions about a double standard. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: And we simply followed the tradition in America which is that if you have a party of a different -- a different -- Senate of a different party than the president, you don`t fill a vacancy created in a presidential year.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: What you just said now is it`s a question of whether or not it`s the party in control of the Senate is different than the president. The question I guess I`m getting to here is if Donald Trump were to name somebody in the final year of his first term in 2020, are you saying that you would go ahead with that nomination?

MCCONNELL: The answer to your question is we`ll see whether there is a vacancy in 2020.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: That`s all you need to know. That`s power. McConnell was trying to justify his decision to block Judge Garland. The question of party control didn`t even -- he never mentioned it.

Here`s McConnell, by the way, back in 2016.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCONNELL: The American people may well elect a president who decides to nominate Judge Garland for Senate consideration. The next president may also nominate somebody very different. Either way, our view is this. Give the people a voice in filling this vacancy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Unless you`ve got a Republican Senate and a Republican president, in which case he will not deny the chance to put that guy or woman into the Supreme Court. He openly admitted it.

SCHOR: It`s important to think ahead, though. This map is very bad for Democrats this cycle. In 2020, it`s just as bad for Republicans.

MATTHEWS: No, but the Senate, the next two years, if the Republicans hold the Senate, which they`re likely to do.

SCHOR: Yes.

MATTHEWS: That means they get another shot at Ruth Bader Ginsburg or somebody else if they retire.

SCHOR: My only point there is in 2020, there is a lot of moderate Republicans who might have problems with, that might, might.

MATTHEWS: Jon? Two faced, he speaks with a forked tongue.

SWAN: What do you want him to say? Of course, he is going to ram through someone in the last year of Trump`s presidency and come up with a new justification.

KAPUR: There is no high-minded legal -- there`s no high-minded procedural principle here. The principle is to block liberal justices and confirm conservative justices. That is why Mitch McConnell got a standing ovation in that room.

(CROSSTALK)

SWAN: By the way, the Democrats will do exactly the same thing.

MATTHEWS: OK, don`t throw with this double thing, even handed trap.

SWAN: They will. You know they will.

MATTHEWS: Let me just say something --

KAPUR: Democrats in 1988 ran the Senate. They confirmed a Republican president`s Supreme Court nominee in an election year, Anthony Kennedy.

MATTHEWS: So you`re wrong. You`ve just been taught.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Sub coin here, Sahil knows these things. You know what I felt the last hour?

What I think it would feel like if Trump gets re-elected. That sense of power, in your face power. Live with it. That`s what I saw what they just did.

You know, McConnell will do what he wants to do if they have the power to do it. They use their power. They`re different than Democrats.

Democrats enjoy ideas and values. Republicans like one thing, absolute power.

Thank you, Elana.

SWAN: I think Harry Reid used a bit of power.

KAPUR: That`s true.

SCHOR: What I thought was interesting --

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Jonathan, thank you, Jonathan, for that evenhanded nonsense.

Thank you, Jonathan Swan. Sahil, you know your stuff. Sahil Kapur.

When we return, let me finish with "Trump Watch".

You`re watching HARDBALL.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: "Trump Watch", Monday, October 8th, 2018.

Imagine Donald Trump working with a red brick wall behind him. That`s right, imagine him at a local comedy club out there on a Monday night, refining his act, seeing what works and storing it for the next gig.

You see, his real talent as I see it is stand-up. He tries out the material such as calling Senator Elizabeth Warren "Pocahontas". If he gets a reaction, he uses it again and again. If she runs for president, they`ll reset it to abracadabra to the miniature like he did Low Energy Jeb or Little Marco.

And now, he is in to his 2018 election gig. We`re starting to hear the punch lines. They`re about Dr. Ford`s leak letter, about Avenatti. And about here comes the winner, the mob. The mob that protested the Kavanaugh vote. The mob.

You`re going to hear from now to Election Day the fear of them, the fear of them. Not just crossing the border, but right up to the doors of the Supreme Court. If Democrats want to win Congress next month, they better see this coming and get their act together. You can`t expect your army to attack if you don`t blow your own bugle. Trump`s already blowing his.

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.

END

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