Show: HARDBALL Date: November 9, 2018 Guest: Ron Meyer, Ginger Gibson, Jamal Simmons, Eric Swalwell, Glenn Kirschner, Joseph Sakran, Ginger Gibson, Jamal Simmons
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: Catching the wave. Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good Friday evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
It`s been three days since Tuesday`s referendum on the President and the blue wave keeps growing swamping more and more Republicans. House Democrats needed only 23 new seats and are now looking to win almost twice as many.
Meanwhile, they may be on their way to another seat in the U.S. Senate. There`s surprising hope for Democrats in four contests where votes are still being counted. In Arizona, Kyrsten Sinema who was behind when he signed off Tuesday night has taken the lead over Republican Martha McSally.
Down in Florida, Governor Rick Scott`s lead over Senator Bill Nelson is down from 56,000 votes now to just 15,000 votes, well within the margin that could force -- would force a recount.
The Florida governor`s race between Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron Desantis also now within the threshold for a recount.
In Georgia, Democrat Stacey Abrams is also hoping to force a runoff. While the Republicans seeing the Democrats good fortune lashing out, trying to spread doubt about the electoral count by claiming fraud. Here`s governor Scott accusing Democrats of, you got it, stealing the election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: We have all seen the incompetence and irregularities of vote tabulations in Broward, Palm Beach for years. Well, here we go again. I will not sit by while unethical liberals try to steal this elections from the great people of Florida.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Well, President Trump on a flight to France today took shots at the Democrats` advances tweeting nine times about the three states that are still in contention.
For the very latest, I`m joined by Steve Kornacki, NBC News national political correspondent.
Steve, I can`t believe we are still on election night but here we are on election night Friday.
STEVE KORNACKI, NBC NEWS NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
And Chris, I tell you it really does feel like an election night because as you were giving us that introduction, we just got a giant batch of new votes.
I can tell you about in the Arizona Senate race. About 80,000 just came in and you can see what it has done to the race here. These are from Maricopa County. This was just announced in the last two minutes. Kyrsten Sinema, the Democrat, her lead -- when you came on the air her lead in the Sinema was 10,000 votes. It is now 22,000 votes because of this new batch that just came in. Again they are from Maricopa County, biggest county in the state, around Phoenix.
The margin here, I`m just looking at the math right now to see exactly what happened. It was about 54,000 new votes that came in for Kyrsten Sinema and it is about 32,000 new votes that came in for Martha McSally.
So what`s happening here, Chris, is Arizona is a heavy mail-in voting state. So what they have been counting over the last couple of days in Maricopa in particular are ballots that were mailed last weekend, you know, a couple days before the election. And the expectation would be that they would favor Sinema a little, I think they are favoring her more than expected.
There are still, even with this batch of votes we just got, there are still probably about 375,000 votes in Arizona yet to be counted. Again, a lot of them from Maricopa County.
Now Republicans are saying they hope that the final batch, which are going to be ballots people dropped off at the polling place on Election Day might favor McSally but she is starting to fall behind in this race and, you know, might get to a place where there aren`t enough votes that are favorable enough to her. This is very good news for Sinema what just happened in the last couple minutes.
MATTHEWS: What about Florida? Let`s take a look. What is going on with their? Because a lot of us have been trying to figure out what`s going on with Broward County and why -- it`s Friday night and we are still counting.
KORNACKI: Yes. So this is the deal in the Senate race right here, the margin as you can see, Nelson is about -- a little less than 15,000 votes behind Rick Scott. Now you can see this is two tenths of a point. If it`s a less than a quarter of a percent, it will automatically trigger not just a recount but a manual recount. This means they are not running them through the machines. They are also going to examine them by hand. It is that close.
We expect between now and tomorrow, tomorrow night, the deadline for these counties, to finalize their counts. We do expect there was provisional ballots from around the state that are going to be counted. Expect them to favor Nelson, probably going to net him a couple of thousand more votes sot that should shrink a little but may still be behind Rick Scott there going into the recount.
Broward, you mentioned though, this is very interesting because obviously, huge County, two million people live here, hugely Democratic county.
Here`s the thing they found. In this Senate race in Florida, about 25,000 fewer votes were cast in the Senate race than in the governor`s race. People got the same ballot, now 25,000 ballots or so there was no marking on the Senate race. And what it appears happened here is that the design of the ballot in Broward County essentially took that senate race and buried it in the lower left corner of the ballot. You have a big long instruction column. The Senate race was down here. Meanwhile, the governor`s race is squarely in the middle top of the page, widely spaced out. And so did about 25,000 people in this county of two million, is heavily Democratic county of two million, did they just miss the Senate race? That could potentially, when you look at how Nelson is winning Broward here, if those 25,000 -- we didn`t see anything like this in any other county in the state. If those 25,000 voted in that rate, you are talking 8,000, 10,000 extra votes there for Nelson that he would net in a race where right now again, statewide less than 15,000.
MATTHEWS: It reminds me those all days when people down in Palm Beach County, Jewish voters most of them, who had no reason to like Pat Buchanan`s politics voted for Pat by accident because of the crazy ballot.
KORNACKI: Butterfly ballot, that is right.
KORNACKI: Anyway. Even Buchanan said after that election, they were not votes for me. He said they were votes for Gore.
MATTHEWS: It`s nice to hear honesty, even in the crudest form.
Thank you so much, Steve. Amazing words (INAUDIBLE) is upset.
I`m joined right now by Ron Meyer, election law specialist who is an associated with the Bill Nelson campaign down in Florida. Jason Johnson, is also joining us, politics editor for theroot.com. And Susan del Percio, a republican strategist. Thank you all.
Ron, you start but briefly because, I mean, we can probably spend a year trying to figure out -- by the way, my question, a real simple question, Ron, why can`t the whole country have one measure of voting, one type of many machine, we can all be taught like Mr. Rogers who were at eight years old, all taught how to vote, and everyone votes the same exactly. It`s all count the same way. It`s all on paper. And there`s no more of this crap whole -- every election where we are trying to figure out what`s going on on Tuesday, on Friday. Your thoughts? Is it ever going to happen?
RONALD MEYER, ELECTION LAW SPECIALIST: Well, and probably, we could have - if we can only have one machine and one uniform system country wide it would certainly make things more efficient.
Look, the Florida law gives supervisors of elections, 67 of them around the state of Florida, until noon tomorrow to turn in their first unofficial votes.
MEYER: So the fact that we haven`t yet gotten to a final vote point it`s disappointing to those of us who want instant gratification to know who is the winner and who is the loser, but the fact is the system allows for a deliberate county process so everybody`s vote is counted. That`s what`s so important and critical here. The delay isn`t anything other than a desire by the supervisors to make sure all votes are counted and counted properly.
MATTHEWS: Is there a -- is there a trench (ph) or category of votes that don`t get counted on Election Day by nature because they are overseas or whatever?
MEYER: We have overseas ballots that come in later. We have a lot of ballots that are being contested as well. You know, Florida has a requirement in the law for signature matches for vote by mail ballots or provisional ballots. And there are no standards for determining whether signatures match. So there are literally tens of thousands of ballots that have been rejected, we submit arbitrarily by supervisors of elections that need to be counted. These are people who voted properly, and depending on where you live, your vote might be counted or it might not be counted. That`s another source of the delay.
We will go into recount tomorrow when the first official -- unofficial results are tendered. We are going to go into a machine recount and that could very well further alter the results because all of the under votes and over votes will be segregated out by the tabulating equipment and if as, was earlier mentioned, we are less than a quarter of a percent difference between the two candidates those over votes and those under votes will then be physically examined by the canvassing team to determine whether there`s voter intent that can be gleaned.
So this election is not over yet nor should it be.
MEYER: The statutes contemplate a deliberative process to maximize the number of ballots that are counted. Now, if you are ahead in the polling, obviously you don`t want to do anything that might change that result. So those are the kind of delaying tactics and fear tactics we hear from the people such as Governor Scott who are right now marginally up in the election. He doesn`t want these processes to unfold because it might result in a different result.
MATTHEWS: Of course, we understand that.
Thank you so much, Ron Meyer, for your expertise.
I want to bring in Jason and Susan now.
You know, it is such a nostalgic moment in the negative say because, you know, 18 years ago, and my favorite thing we have covered around here was the recount in Florida. People looking up at these ballots, this the same exact ballot and the person for Al Gore said that`s a good one, the person for Bush, that`s no good. Same ballot.
JASON JOHNSON, POLITICS EDITOR, THE ROOT: Yes. You would think we would have learned something since high school, right. This is how you count for student body president.
JOHNSON: We should be more advance. Part of the issue here is that there`s no uniformity even within the states. Within the states there should be some uniformity about how the ballots operate.
MATTHEWS: The design of the ballots.
JOHNSON: Even the design of the ballots.
MATTHEWS: Why would you put the Senate vote down at the bottom of the left hand corner?
JOHNSON: When those are the races that are driving the top of the ticket.
MATTHEWS: Unless you didn`t want to vote for --.
JOHNSON: Exactly. That`s what really bothers me about what Rick Scott is doing or what we see to Brian Kemp is doing in Georgia. We have got find a way. I hope whatever people get into all this, regardless of party, find a way to keep these elected officials from toying with and mocking with elections that they are on the line for.
Rick Scott shouldn`t be threatening to send in cops.
MATTHEWS: Speaking of which, Susan, even before the election last weekend, we are into this weekend, last weekend, Brian Kemp, the secretary of state of Georgia who has the other job of being candidate for governor was claiming fraud there. He was saying there was hacking into the system by the Democrats. And now we have the governor of Florida, also the candidate for the United States Senate in Florida claiming voter fraud down there because the Democrats want the count to continue until it`s done.
SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, here`s a funny thing. And just so you know on the recount, if they move to a hand count in Florida, they have to be separate counts for governor and then a separate count for Senate. So at least two hand counts may be in play, which is just also mind boggling.
But I think what we see here is something that happens when elections are close, Republicans call for a recount, Democrats call for a recount when it is this close because we know it can come down to a couple hundred votes.
We should not be, as a country we should be supporting everyone who voted. People took the time, people took the energy, we had a lot of new voters out there, and we have systems that are changing as well. States are adapting to new rules and regulations as far as absentee ballot or early ballot. So there is a learning curve. Here in New York we had a paper jam because our ballots were double sided and a third sheet that have to reach out to.
MATTHEWS: Same as with Maryland.
DEL PERCIO: So it is crazy.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask about the weekend, how it looks now. Because mid- evening Tuesday night we had somebody come on the show and said no wave. Then I see wait a minute, we might get -- the Democrats might get twice the vote they needed.
MATTHEWS: They may get up to over 40 now potentially now still. And of course, they are still picking away at the Senate. They got another Senate seat. They have a good shot at a (INAUDIBLE). That mean that two women out west, Arizona and Nevada both won, that`s potential. And in Florida even where it looked pretty dismal on election night the fight is going on.
JOHNSON: Yes. It`s a slow moving wave, right. It is almost like a caravan. This is moving very slow.
MATTHEWS: You devil.
JOHNSON: Here`s the thing the Republicans need to understand. It is like this is why I said this is a wave and this is why this is dangerous and important for Republicans to pay attention to. All of this happened, all of these seats, statehouses, the Midwest, which I have been saying all along, the Midwest were so key --
MATTHEWS: You are right. That was Trump`s victory area.
JOHNSON: Exactly. What people have to work on as this happened with great unemployment. This happened under a great economy. In 2020, if this economy is not doing as well as it is now, Republicans are in trouble.
MATTHEWS: Did you notice, Susan, that people like we didn`t even cover these races. They were such sweeps. I mean, way before we started counting election night there are people like Bobby Casey in Pennsylvania by like ten points, Sherrod Brown, another big, big thing, Debbie Stabenow, they all swept reelections in states that have won for Trump. And nobody even talked about it because there was foregone conclusion.
And then, of course, the marginal cases came through. But you know, I`m just wondering whether we missed a big part of the story in not counting with any surprise or excitement, all those Democratic victories in the Midwest and northeast.
DEL PERCIO: Well, there are certainly were trying this, Chris. But you know, when we look at polls in the media, we see the horse race. When we look at polls in the campaign, we are constantly looking for gettable votes. And what Republicans saw were there was only the tried and true turnout model of midterm voters, base voters, that`s all we could get. The Democrats saw that if they could get their message out, they could reach new voters, they could reach nontraditional midterm voters, and that`s where the energy went, and that`s really where I think all of us kind of missed seeing this wave coming is the amount of increased participation with new and nontraditional midterm voters.
MATTHEWS: I also think that Democrats being people that fall in love rather than fall in line, they do work with their hearts, and there was so much heart in those races that Gillum would win, that Abrams would win, that Beto O`Rourke would win in Texas. These were long shots. They were heavenly hopes. And because they didn`t win with their heavenly hopes, at least not yet in Florida and Georgia, it wasn`t a great night. But by any normal standard when you pick up twice the number of seats and you take over the House of Representatives and the power to set tax law, and the power to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and Obamacare, all that powers comes from running - controlling the first things of the federal government, all won on Tuesday night.
Thank you very much, Ron Meyer, Jason Johnson and Susan del Percio.
Coming up, have we met? It looks like Donald Trump knew Matt Whitaker before he didn`t know him. Matt Whitaker, why is Trump covering up his ties to the new acting attorney general, the guy who was for benefits his job?
Plus the NRA bashes the medical community for labelling firearms a public health risk. Tell that to the shooting victims` families.
And President Trump said he had nothing to do with those hush money payment to those women, who said he had affairs with them. But new reporting today says federal prosecutors have evidence he was up to his neck. By the way, "Wall Street Journal: reporting that.
Finally, Michelle Obama is out with a new book and she says she will never forgive, that is a strong words, never forgive Donald Trump putting her family at risk with all that crazy birther charge about her husband being born over in Kenya.
This is HARDBALL, where the action is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT WHITAKER, ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: There`s no evidence of anything illegal happening in the 2016 election really with the Trump campaign.
The truth is there was no collusion with the Russians and the trump campaign.
I just don`t see that there is a, you know, criminal or a political, you know -- most likely an impeachment case to be made against the President.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Well, you know why that guy was picked.
That was Matt Whitaker in 2017, not too long ago, defending a subject of the federal investigation that he now oversees as Trump`s acting attorney general, saying that there`s no case, criminal or otherwise, to be made against this president.
Well, statements like those are fueling outrage over the president`s decision to pick this obscure loyalist who`s never been confirmed by the Senate for any job to effectively hijack the special counsel`s probe.
And now the president is trying to contain the damage. In a feeble attempt to distance himself from his handpicked attorney general, Trump today claimed five times that he didn`t know Matt Whitaker at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t know Matt Whitaker. Matt Whitaker worked for Jeff Sessions.
But I didn`t know Matt Whitaker. I don`t know Matt Whitaker. Now, in all fairness to Matt Whitaker, who, again, I didn`t know, Matt Whitaker is a highly respected man. But I didn`t know Matt Whitaker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: He sure knows his name.
Anyway, the problem for Trump is that, less than a month ago, he specifically said he did know Matt Whitaker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I can tell you, Matt Whitaker is a great guy. I mean, I know Matt Whitaker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Let`s watch that again.
Trump today, followed by Trump last month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I don`t know Matt Whitaker.
But I can tell you, Matt Whitaker is a great guy. I mean, I know Matt Whitaker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Oh, those damn tapes.
Anyway, Trump`s attempt to cover up his relationship with Whitaker was further undercut by a damning new report breaking just tonight.
The online news site Vox is reporting that, during Whitaker`s time as chief of staff to Sessions -- quote -- "He privately provided advice to the president last year on how the White House might be able to pressure the Justice Department to investigate the president`s political adversaries."
And one source says that Whitaker committed to extract as much as he could from the Justice Department on the president`s behalf.
So he was the president`s wartime consigliere.
Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of the House Intelligence Committee. Heidi Przybyla is a national political correspondent, in fact, the national political correspondent, for NBC News. Glenn Kirschner is a former federal prosecutor.
I went all three of yous to go at this thing -- yous, as we say in Philly - - but, no, what do you make it the president basically lying, saying he didn`t know that guy he just picked? Well, why did he just pick this guy?
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: Same reason he picked Kavanaugh.
MATTHEWS: So, he did know him?
SWALWELL: Yes, he knew him. He knew what he wanted to do, what he had said in prior conversations.
He hired a hit man to take out the Mueller investigation. And, Chris, if this had happened on Monday, we were powerless in the House. But this happened on Wednesday. We`re not powerless anymore. The voters sent a Democratic majority to put a check on these abuses of power.
MATTHEWS: And so, just like in "The Godfather," he waited for mom to die before he killed Fredo.
MATTHEWS: He just decided to drop...
SWALWELL: Well, he knew he would -- he would take more losses...
MATTHEWS: This is frightening, what he`s doing.
Glenn, this is pretty broad daylight hijacking. He`s just taken over basically the supervision of the investigation of himself.
GLENN KIRSCHNER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes, Chris, none of us are surprised that we see the president contradicting himself. He is completely untethered to the truth. And we have seen that.
And I thought we were going to come in here this evening and talk about how many conflicts Whitaker has, whether it`s representing Sam Clovis, whether it`s the reckless statements he makes.
And when I look at this through the eyes of a career prosecutor, when somebody takes a position that there is no evidence of Russian collusion, he hasn`t seen a shred of evidence. He wasn`t embedded in the Mueller investigation.
So I think all of those things, he would have presented to PRO, the Professional Responsibility Office, to see whether he had conflicts that would mean he needed to be recused. And I think they would have recommended a recusal.
MATTHEWS: They`re not going to recuse this guy. He`s there to do it.
KIRSCHNER: But now we have learned so far beyond that with this Vox report that just broke that says, according to multiple sources, that Whitaker is sneaking over, basically two-timing on the Department of Justice employees, sneaking over to the Oval Office and advising the president, whispering in his ear, here is how we can go against your enemies and distract from the Mueller investigation.
Well, guess what? With the president standing up and saying, I don`t even know him, if this report is accurate, and he was in the Oval Office a dozen times, and he was on one-on-one phone calls with the president, well, guess what? Whitaker is now at a minimum a witness in the Mueller probe, maybe a subject.
And you know what? Maybe they`re all conspiring.
MATTHEWS: Well, an old question, but it came to mind immediately.
HEIDI PRZYBYLA, NBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: He covered everything.
MATTHEWS: Here`s the chief of staff for the -- what?
PRZYBYLA: He covered everything.
MATTHEWS: No, no, there`s another part that...
MATTHEWS: Where was sleepy Jeff Sessions during the time that his chief of staff was working to undercut him and replace him?
PRZYBYLA: Well, the question is if he knew, because, according to this Vox report, like Glenn said, he was actually two-timing.
He was, to use the word, a mole, working to pressure Rosenstein and Sessions in-house and advising the president as to how to do it. So this is a step -- this is -- look, this is way beyond anything that Jeff Sessions did that demanded a recusal.
This is actually trying to use -- showing that he was willing to use the Justice Department for the president`s own political ends.
SWALWELL: And the difference is, they`re all coming to Congress now.
Before, they would have got a free pass. Now they`re going to have to come to Congress and explain what their contracts were, what pledges they made to the president. It`s not a -- it`s not a free pass...
MATTHEWS: Can you and the Congress -- I asked -- I advised somebody who was calling me, saying, well, you are always dumping on Democrats, but not giving them any thoughts.
I have a thought. I say, can`t you just ask Whitaker under oath, what has your contact been with the president?
SWALWELL: Absolutely. That will happen, if he lasts that long.
MATTHEWS: All this comes as CNN reports that there`s a growing sense of concern inside the White House over the negative reaction to Matthew Whitaker.
Senior officials say there were surprised by the criticism. What? Surprised by the criticism, and believe it could potentially jeopardize Whitaker`s chances of remaining in the post, if it continues -- oh, that part, I don`t believe.
I`m sorry, Mr. and Mrs. CNN. I`m sorry.
Heidi, just knowing the media, you put this guy in there as the president`s mole, and now he`s going to be acting attorney general?
PRZYBYLA: Well, I -- the question at this point, to the congressman`s point is, what are the levers, right?
I talked with some lawyers who are looking at their options right now. And they do believe that this is unquestionably unconstitutional, to circumvent the advise and consent powers of Congress.
And so the question is, they`re going to be all over him like glue. Whatever his first move is that they can find some kind of a plaintiff or a person with cause -- that`s kind of the legalistic terms -- they will be going after him.
So it`s not a question of if. It`s a question of when.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me go back to the tough politics here.
The president has now 53, 50 -- or maybe 53, maybe 54 senators coming into January, right?
SWALWELL: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: He doesn`t need the two women that seem to have problems with him on issues of choice and things -- choice and other issues. But he`s got a little padding there.
Can he confirm a guy like Chris Christie?
SWALWELL: No, I don`t think he can confirm any...
(CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: In other words, another kind of guy in there that will do what he wants?
SWALWELL: I don`t think he can confirm someone who won`t allow them the Mueller investigation to continue.
And I think it`s...
MATTHEWS: Would that be the condition of the Republicans, who have the control over this? Would the Republicans set as a condition, we will make you A.G., at the president`s request, we will advise the consent, but we will not -- you have to promise under oath now that you will not dump this probe?
SWALWELL: The reason I think so is, there were 900 protests yesterday. Many of them had thousands of people on the outside.
The map that the Senate had in this last election was the best map Republicans have had in 100 years. In the next election, it`s much worse for them. So I think there`s a lot of senators who are going to give real pause...
PRZYBYLA: They only need 51 votes. They don`t need a single Democrat. And so that`s a good question you`re asking.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Glenn, let me ask you about the legality.
Any way that the mechanics within the Department of Justice can throw out this presidential ringer?
KIRSCHNER: I don`t know that they can throw him out.
But if the professional -- Office of Professional Responsibility, the ethics officers say, you are conflicted, you must recuse, I don`t think he can survive that and continue to fumble forward, particularly given these revelations.
And, look, we all know that the White House doesn`t vet the background of anybody, whether it`s Scaramucci or Dr. Ronny Jackson. I predict, Chris, that Whitaker`s tenure as the acting attorney general may be even shorter than Scaramucci`s as the communications director.
MATTHEWS: Well, fumbling forward is a great metaphor, because you keep fumbling the ball, losing control of the ball, and then grabbing it again further downfield.
Anyway, Trump`s obvious attempt to mislead reporters about his relationship with Whitaker puts all his claims about Whitaker in doubt, including this claim about the Russia probe:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Mr. President, did you talk with Matt Whitaker at all about the Mueller probe before you appointed him?
TRUMP: I didn`t speak to Matt Whitaker about it. I don`t know Matt Whitaker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Does the president get in trouble for lying?
SWALWELL: Eventually, yes.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, I`m sorry.
And Trump all had this -- also had this to say when asked if he expected Whitaker to rein in Mueller.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Do you expect Matt Whitaker to be involved in the Russia probe? Do you want him to...
TRUMP: It`s up to him.
QUESTION: Do you want him to rein in Robert Mueller?
TRUMP: What a stupid question that is. What a stupid question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s nice talk.
PRZYBYLA: A little defensive.
SWALWELL: Yes. Well...
MATTHEWS: Congressman, the question was, do you expect him to rein in Mueller?
SWALWELL: We`re going to prevent that.
Again, the days of them just getting away with this stuff are over. It`s not going to happen.
MATTHEWS: Starting January 3.
SWALWELL: No, no.
We have a budget battle coming right now. And we`re going to insist upon protecting Mueller if they want Democratic votes. You`re going to see that coming forward.
MATTHEWS: Can you insist that he fund Mueller, that they can`t start starving him to death?
SWALWELL: Mueller is funded through next September, I believe, yes.
MATTHEWS: OK, great.
PRZYBYLA: He didn`t have to issue the Comey oath of -- loyalty oath there, because there was all of this footage of him on TV, Whitaker on TV, showing that he was loyal.
MATTHEWS: He auditioned for this.
PRZYBYLA: And -- but let`s just tell people, the Vox reporting is that he not only met several times in the Oval Office, but had one-on-one conversations, phone conversations, with Whitaker as well.
KIRSCHNER: And I think -- I think the answer to the question, do you want the Mueller investigation to be reined in, his answer, that`s a stupid question. You`re stupid.
Mueller is hearing that as consciousness of guilt. The answer is, of course I want it reined in. Why do you think I just appointed Whitaker?
MATTHEWS: I`m not sure that`s what he wanted us to hear. But you heard and others will.
Thank you, U.S. Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, Heidi Przybyla and Glenn Kirschner.
Up next: There`s a battle brewing after the NRA warns doctors to stay in their lane over gun control, doctors, the ones that save lives when they come in with the shootings.
This is HARDBALL, where the action is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUSAN SCHMIDT-ORFANOS, MOTHER OF VICTIM: My son was in Las Vegas with a lot of his friends, and he came home. He didn`t come home last night.
And I don`t want prayers. I don`t want thoughts. I want gun control. And I hope to God nobody else sends me any more prayers. I want gun control. No more guns.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s powerful, and it`s true. And it`s a mother.
Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was a call for gun control from the mother of the victim of Wednesday`s mass shooting out at Thousand Oaks, California.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, the United States has had 307 mass shootings, classified as more than four people shots, since the start of 2018, just this year. And we`re on the 313th day of 2018. There`s almost one a day.
In fact, earlier this year, the NRA tweeted an article criticized the American College of Physicians for publishing guidelines on gun violence, which they describe as a public health crisis.
Well, the NRA wrote: "Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane."
Well, there was a swift response to that from doctors to that, tweeted -- in fact, one doctor, Dr. Joseph Sakran, the director of emergency surgery at Johns Hopkins University, and a survivor of gun violence, tweeted: "I cannot believe the audacity of the NRA to make such a divisive statement. We take care of these patients every day. Where are they when I`m having to tell all those families their loved one has died?"
Dr. Sakran, who is also a board member of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, joins me now.
So, you have to -- luckily, I have only been watching that on television over the years. You have to walk into that waiting room at the hospital. DR. JOSEPH SAKRAN, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: Yes, well, Chris, let me first say thank you very much for having me.
That communication and that rhetoric that we have heard from the NRA is a clear demonstration to myself, the medical community and, frankly, Americans all across this country that they are not serious about moving the needle forward on this issue.
And the reality is, is, I have to walk into that waiting room. And, sometimes, when I look at the faces of those mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers, I realize that what I`m about to do is rock their world. I`m about to change their life.
And I often think of my own experience and what my family must have thought as that surgeon came out to talk to them. And that`s something...
MATTHEWS: You were shot.
SAKRAN: Yes, sir. Yes.
MATTHEWS: What was that circumstance?
SAKRAN: Oh, I was a 17-year-old high school student, and it was after high school football game. And I got hit in the throat with a .38-caliber bullet.
And it was at the age of 17 -- I don`t know how you are, but most 17-year- olds, they have no idea what they`re going to do the rest of their life. And that really inspired me, inspired me to go into medicine, inspired me to become a trauma surgeon, and then really figure out, how do we work at that intersection of medicine, public health and public policy?
MATTHEWS: When I hear the politicians talk, some of the evangelicals, they talk about your First -- your Second Amendment rights, like there`s almost a sacred...
MATTHEWS: Your Second Amendment, as if it`s somehow important to your life, whereas deal with the physical reality of taking bullets out of people`s brains, right?
You have to do that as a surgeon. You have to try to save the lives of the people whose lives are not saveable.
SAKRAN: Yes, I mean, Chris, look, this is an important point.
We are facing in this country of public health crisis. And, frankly, this is not a Democratic issue. It`s not a Republican issue. This is an American issue.
MATTHEWS: Why? Why do we have this? Other countries live -- Japanese, the British, the French, they don`t have 350 murders a year...
SAKRAN: That`s exactly right.
MATTHEWS: ... in one city like Baltimore. In their whole countries, they don`t have it.
SAKRAN: Chris, you`re absolutely right.
This is why this is a unique American problem. And until we start dealing with this like a public health crisis, we`re still not going to be able to move forward.
And when you look at that statement by the NRA, the reality is, is that no single individual organization can do this by themselves. This requires a multimodal approach, requiring stakeholders from all walks of life.
And I`m frankly surprised, because medical organizations like the American College of Surgeons have engaged the NRA. So for them to say that we should stay in our lane, I think, is a little bit off-basis. And they really need to analyze how best to move this.
MATTHEWS: I wonder how the Supreme Court does this. It`s our of your field, but we all think about -- the Supreme Court says a right to carry a gun has nothing to do with a militia, it has nothing with the language of the Constitution, which was really about muskets.
These are Glocks, semiautomatic weapons that carry magazines that have, what, how many, 30 shots in them. This guy just plugged everybody in that room. Nobody knew of such a being, nobody knew of such an instrument when we wrote the Constitution that could do that.
And, Chris, I agree with that point. But let me just bring it back to what I think is critical, is, this is not about taking away guns. Folks want to make it into that discussion and polarize it.
When you talk to most gun owners, we actually have a lot more in common than we have that is dissimilar. And the reality is, is that there is a disparity that exists between the leadership of the gun lobby and the membership.
MATTHEWS: And I hope so.
You know what? And they said that this guy who did the shooting and then shot himself, the 13th victim of his own hand, they said he was known the local authorities. And you know what that story is.
MATTHEWS: He was dangerous, they knew the problem, nobody could do anything about it under the law.
Thank you, Doctor.
SAKRAN: Thank you so much. Thanks so much for having me.
MATTHEWS: Thanks for everything you do, for everything you do, Dr. Joseph Sakran.
Up next: Trump has said he had nothing to do with those hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, but new reporting out tonight shows he actually played a central role. Of course he did. But now it`s reported. He was approving that spending by his buddy at the -- that newspaper.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
While President Trump appears to be trying to protect himself from Mueller`s investigation by naming Matt Whitaker as the new acting AG, he remains exposed in other investigations outside of Mueller`s purview.
"The Wall Street Journal" is reporting tonight that Donald Trump played a central role in the hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. "The Journal" found that Mr. Trump was involved in or briefed on nearly every step of the agreements. He directed deals and phone calls and meetings with his self-described fixer Michael Cohen and others. Trump initially denied knowing anything about the hush money payments but walked back that claim during the summer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Later on I knew. Later on. But you have to understand, what he did, and they weren`t taken out of campaign finance, that`s a big thing. That`s a much bigger thing. Did they come out of the campaign? They didn`t come out of the campaign, they came from me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: We`ll see about that. Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in August to charges that included campaign violations -- excuse me, campaign violations relating to those payments. And he said he did it at Trump`s direction.
Let`s bring in tonight`s HARDBALL round table. Ginger Gibson, political correspondent for "Reuters", Ashley Pratte is a conservative commentator and NBC Think contributor, and Jamal Simmons is Democratic strategist.
I want to start with Ginger on this because you have done reporting on this. Now we know he was directing it. Not only directing it but the money was coming from the guy who owns the "National Enquirer" which was, one could argue, campaign contribution as they pick up the bill for him.
GINGER GIBSON, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS: That`s right. The president as we saw on that video, likes to make the point that the money didn`t come out of his campaign. But what he seems to continue to miss that had the money come out of his campaign, that it wouldn`t have been a campaign violation. Michael Cohen wouldn`t have anything to plead guilty to.
It`s the fact that it didn`t come from his campaign and it wasn`t disclosed by his campaign. As well as the fact that the "National Enquirer" may have been paying money to bury stories.
MATTHEWS: Catch and kill.
GIBSON: Catch and kill as they call it, taking in. And we know about these -- they had been possibly been doing this for much longer --
MATTHEWS: As a personal favor to a guy they divested themselves to, Ashley. He was their horse in this race and they were going to make sure he won.
ASHLEY PRATTE, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Right. I believe it was Pecker who came out and said to him in that meeting, how can we help you in the campaign?
MATTHEWS: Yes. It`s in the reporting.
PRATTE: I mean, very clearly, campaign-oriented, right? So, I mean, looking at that reporting through and through, I don`t know how Trump really escapes this one and the connection here and how he was so involved in it.
Plus, I mean, these reports now about his son saying he`s fearing a possible indictment, Trump has to be on edge this week with the midterm elections, this report coming out from "The Wall Street Journal," this isn`t the, you know, CNN, "New York Times" that he calls fake news, right? I mean, this is "The Wall Street Journal", one that should be in Trump`s corner.
MATTHEWS: Jamal, (INAUDIBLE) as soon as this happening, but it is getting bigger and bigger, the president has got a lot of stuff coming at him that could cause big criminal charges and he also is doing everything he can to prevent that.
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, and, Chris, I just imagine the people in Mueller`s shop sitting there coming across this evidence of wrong doing, where does this go? I don`t know. Give it to the guy in New York.
I don`t know. What about this one? Give it to, you know?
So what we`re discovering is that Trump, as we thought, is involved with a lot of nefarious dealings and now we`re starting to get evidence about it that probably will lead to some sort of legal imbroglio, but can they indict him? That`s my question. I don`t know what happens to this once we know that it`s true.
MATTHEWS: Well, the notoriety, Ginger, doesn`t bother him.
GIBSON: The notoriety.
MATTHEWS: The people have already decided they`re for or against him. I do argue he paid a price for "Access Hollywood" in this campaign.
SIMMONS: But he can`t be embarrassed.
GIBSON: He paid the price. He didn`t pay the price in 2016 for "Access Hollywood." He paid the price this week for "Access Hollywood" in 2018.
There was this notion that President Trump could just defy political gravity, and I think we saw this week that it caught up with him and it`s going to keep catching up to him.
MATTHEWS: Let`s go to something we hadn`t talked about in a while but we did for a long time.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama is blasting her husband`s successor, that would be Donald Trump, in her memoir. That`s coming out next week.
According to "The Washington Post", which has a copy of the book, and "The Associated Press", they obtained their only copies, the book is called "Becoming," great title. The former first lady denounces President Trump`s birther campaign, questioning her husband`s American birth as putting her family`s safety at risk. This is hot stuff.
The whole birther thing was crazy and mean spirit-d, of course. Its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed. But it was also dangerous deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks, kooks.
As the Trump`s infamous 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape where he bragged about grabbing women, Obama, this is Michelle said, her body buzzed with fury when she saw that. And she also criticizes Trump for how he appeared to stalk Hillary Clinton in the one of those 2016 election debates, describing Trump`s message as, quote, I can hurt you and get away with it.
Wow. We haven`t got the really -- here we go. When he comes in behind her, the really gruesome stuff there.
Ashley, that is creepo.
PRATTE: Yes, a lot of what he has done has been that word right there, creepo. When I look at the affairs, scandals, how he talks about women, calling Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, you know, uncredible, and going out there and making fun of her, making fun of people with special needs at his rallies.
I mean, the stuff that he does is not fitting of a president of the United States, and I think we`ve known that for a very long time and Michelle Obama is highlighting things that I think the American people knew and rebuked obviously this past week by sending a Democratic Congress, and specifically female legislators.
MATTHEWS: Jamal, will he fight back? What`s interesting about the president? Will he dare to take on Michelle Obama?
SIMMONS: It`s very hard to take on Michelle Obama. Most normal politicians, you would say not. Even today though, Trump flipped it and he started going after Barack Obama instead of Michelle Obama, because it`s a really tough thing.
PRATTE: The military?
SIMMONS: Right. Well, he had to have something. He believes in always attacking, so he found a thing to attack.
MATTHEWS: She said she was worried about her family.
SIMMONS: But she put a human face on this thing that was so -- it`s so compassionate. And people love Michelle Obama. I think it`s -- I think it`s hurtful.
MATTHEWS: Sticking with us, the roundtable team -- the roundtable team.
And up next, these three will tell me something I don`t know. You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL round table.
Ginger, tell me something I don`t know.
GIBSON: Donald Trump had $35 million in his reelection campaign as of last month, and for comparison, Barack Obama started his reelection campaign at the same point in his administration with $2.3 million in his account.
MATHEWS: Ho he`s more randy to run than Obama was.
GIBSON: He`s got a lot of cash already squirreled away.
PRATTE: Well, being from the great state of New Hampshire, I have heard a lot of rumblings that Senator Kelly Ayotte who is no longer in the Senate is now being considered on the short list for attorney general.
MATTHEWS: Attorney general.
PRATTE: Along with Pam Bondi. Now, two obviously key states in elections and two states that Trump very much cares about, New Hampshire and Florida.
MATTHEWS: I thought she was going to get U.N. ambassador.
PRATTE: Yes. So now there`s a lot of discussion about her around A.G., and operatives I`ve been talking to in New Hampshire, she`s been closed off to media lately. So, that could be something right there.
MATTHEWS: I think she`ll be very successful, whatever she gets.
SIMMONS: All right. So, a lot of Democrats are upset or feeling down about what happened on Tuesday to the two darling candidates for governor in Georgia and Florida. But we haven`t been hearing about two lieutenant governor candidates, African-Americans, Garlin Gilchrist in Michigan and Mandela Barnes in Wisconsin, who are the new lieutenant governors in those two states.
MATTHEWS: They won.
SIMMONS: They won. So, we have two African-Americans poised for state leadership and perhaps more than that, and they`re both young, 35 and 31. They`re young guys.
MATTHEWS: Jamal, that`s exactly what I want this segment to be about, blow our minds with stuff we completely overlooked.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Ashley Pratte and Jamal Simmons, and Ginger -- I started with Ginger, Ginger Gibson.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: "Trump Watch", Friday, November 9th, 2018.
What a weekend it`s been for the Democrats. They went into it hoping to win just, well, 23 seats needed to control the House of Representatives, and they end up the week with the possibility of winning almost twice that number, up to 40 seats they might win this week.
And think of how these victories change the political reality in this country. Instead of issuing orders to a Congress marching in lockstep, Trump now faces a world in which he has no power to affect tax policy, no power to cut entitlements like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. And thanks to what Senator Mitch McConnell said yesterday, a total surrender on Obamacare.
Trump himself is unlikely to admit defeat, he doesn`t -- never does. But this time he really doesn`t have to admit it. The House of Congress where tax and spending decisions originate, the holder of the country`s purse strings, the people`s house, the House of Representatives is now in the secure hands of the Democratic opposition. Let`s see how Trump gets used to that fact.
That`s HARDBAL for now. Thanks for being with us,
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2018 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2018 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.