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Day two of Trump's London visit. TRANSCRIPT: 6/4/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.

Guests: Bobby Ghosh, Jill Colvin, Charlie Sykes, Raja Krishnamoorthi, EliseJordan, Michael Bennet

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  He`s on THE BEAT tomorrow.  I`m excited to get with him, also be joined by George Will, who has a new book all about what it really means to be conservative right now.  And we`ll hear from a Reagan DOJ official who says Donald Trump obstructed justice.  All of that in The Beat Tomorrow.

But don`t go anywhere right now, because right now it`s "HARDBALL."

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  London broil.  Let`s play HARDBALL.  I`m Chris Matthews back in Washington on this second day of President Trump`s state visit to the U.K., pomp and circumstance were out-shown by politics and protests.

The American partner and the special relationship was met on the streets of London with fierce resistance on a day after Queen Elizabeth hosted the visiting American President at Buckingham Palace, the giant balloon depicting the U.S. President as a diaper-clad baby made its return to Parliament Square.  It was previously flown during Trump`s last arrival last July.

Thousands of protesters also flooded the streets near Trafalgar Square for what was dubbed a carnival of resistance to him.  But despite what was visible to everyone in the entire world, the President called the protest the very fact of the protest, the reality of what you are looking at as fake news.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S PRESIDENT:  And even coming over today, there were thousands of people cheering and then I heard they were protests.  I said where are the protests?  I don`t see any protests.  I did see a small protest today when I came, very small.  So a lot of it is fake news.


MATTHEWS:  Well, appearing alongside British Prime Minister Theresa May, the President backed off his previous criticism of her handling the Brexit negotiations, instead offering praise for the outgoing Prime Minister.


TRUMP:  I think it will happen.  And I believe the Prime Minister has brought it to a very good point where something will take place in the not too distant future.

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER:  I seem to remember the President suggested that I sued the European Union, which we didn`t do.  We went to the negotiations and we came out with a good deal.

TRUMP:  Yes.  Let`s not say I would have sued, but that`s okay.  I would have sued and settled, maybe, but you never know.  She`s probably a better negotiator than I am.


MATTHEWS:  Wow, how charming that was.  But the President also continued to take swipes at a local, vocal critic, London Mayor Sadiq Khan.  The President followed up on a pair of Tweets he sent just before his arrival yesterday calling the Mayor of London a stone cold loser.


TRUMP:  But I think he`s been a not very good mayor from what I understand.  He has done a poor job.  Crime is up, a lot of problems.  And I don`t think he should be criticizing a representative of the United States that can do so much good for the United Kingdom.  We talked about it before.  He should be positive, not negative.  He`s a negative force, not a positive force.


MATTHEWS:  For more, I`m joined by Jill Colvin, White House Reporter for the Associated Press, Jason Johnson is Politics Editor for, Charlie Sykes, Editor-in-Chief in the Bulwark, and from London, Bobby Ghosh, Bloomberg Opinion Editor and Columnist.

Bobby, thank you.  You`re smiling.  I`ve got to ask you the most obvious question on this planet.  Why would Trump deny what is visible to the entire planet, the protest against him on the streets of London?

BOBBY GHOSH, BLOOMBERG OPINION EDITOR AND COLUMNIST:  Well, he spent spent a lot of time on helicopters, I assume, with blacked out windows if he didn`t see the protesters.  And when he was on the road, his convoy was carefully managed to avoid the places where there were protests, because that would have snarled up all the traffic.

So he can claim he didn`t see them, but I find it hard to believe he didn`t know.  Surely, somebody in his enormous entourage would have whispered in his ear, a president who spent so much time watching television cannot have avoided seeing those pictures on TV.  You don`t see what you don`t want to see, I guess.  That`s the most charitable view you can take.

MATTHEWS:  You are charitable, Bobby.  But you were in the -- the attitude you express is so clear, but thank you.

I want to go to Jill, who is a straight reporter for the Associated Press.  Your job is to what happened.  The Shah of Iran even knew there were protests against him.  What`s Trump up to here?

JILL COLVIN, ASSOCIATED PRESS WHITE HOUSE REPORTER:  Yes.  The president, in addition to this, being very carefully managed, the President really kept away from the protest as much as possible.  The President is also surrounded by a lot of people who don`t like to tell him no and don`t like to tell him things he doesn`t want to hear.

MATTHEWS:  Don`t look out the window. John McCain is out there.

COLVIN:  And he also has an incredibly thin skin when it comes protesters.  It`s something that really bothers him.

And (INAUDIBLE) the press conference even say today, you know, I passed by the streets full of all these people and they were cheering at me.  No, they were people who are standing, taking cell phone pictures of you because the President of the United States and the motorcade is driving through the city.  But I honestly sometimes question whether the President does think he sees people cheering him on.

MATTHEWS:  Charlie, let me ask you about this whole thing.  I have been looking at the pictures.  I`ve been out there, of course, in Fresno with Pete Buttigieg.  But I look at these, really, top hat performances.  The President is in white tie, Melania looks wonderful.  She dressed like a scene from the Ascot or something and My Fair Lady.  Everybody looks great.  A big effort went into this.  And then he messes it all up.  Why has he messed it up with dumping on the Mayor of London and ruining the nature of all the effort to make himself look like a world leader?  It doesn`t look like the way he does this stuff.

CHARLIE SYKES, THE BULWARK EDITOR-IN-CHIEF:  Well, it turns out that pettiness and narcissism don`t mix well with diplomacy.  Whoe knew?  Donald Trump just cannot restrain himself.  Obviously, he`s been prepped to say, okay, you know, don`t violate protocol, don`t say certain things.  I mean, here`s a guy that went on a Howard Stern Show back in 1997 and joked about having sex with Princess Di.  So you can imagine the people were trying to handle him, make sure don`t joke, don`t say anything, and yet he can`t help it.  He can`t help lashing out.  He cannot help making it all about himself.  And that`s what we`re seeing.

MATTHEWS:  Well, I`m going back to this.  I want to go with Jason.  Because I have been in black tie a few times in my life, about four or five times, and it`s always a big pain to get dressed like that.  It really is for the gridiron or Al Smith dinner or something.  And he gets through all the -- and Melania looks fantastic, get this wardrobe that then looks like out of a movie, all this effort to be seen with the Queen of England and the rest of the Royal Family and then the whole story line is fighting with the Mayor.  He didn`t have to mention the name.  Nobody said the Mayor of London is.  Why is he doing that?

JASON JOHNSON, THE ROOT POLITICS EDITOR:  Well, it`s not just because he is petty, Chris, but it`s also -- it`s that inherent discomfort and hostility that Trump had here, right?  This idea that I made it but there`s still this blue blood group that doesn`t accept me.

MATTHEWS:  But they did.  The Queen accepted him.

JOHNSON:  Not really.  It`s only because he`s president.  Meghan Markle still doesn`t want to see him.  He still feels like he`s not --

MATTHEWS:  You don`t believe that she really is?

JOHNSON:  She doesn`t want to see him.  She doesn`t want to see him.  And that`s why he was hostile to it.

And as an American citizen, that`s actually the kind of person he should want to be seeing with as much as anybody else because --

MATTHEWS:  Because she`s American.

JOHNSON:  Yes, she`s an American.  He should be excited about that.

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, the President weighed into British politics today more than this when asked about Tory contenders to succeed Theresa May as prime minister, former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, and current Foreign Secretary, same title, Jeremy Hunt.  Let`s watch.


TRUMP:  So I know Boris.  I like him.  I have liked him for a long time.  He`s -- I think he`d do a very good job.  I know Jeremy, I think, would do a very good job.  I don`t know Michael.  But would he do a good job, Jeremy?  Tell me.


MATTHEWS:  Well, this thing about interfering -- we`ll get to this, but this idea of interfering in other people`s politics.  The Russians did it to us.  He`s very comfortable doing it to the Brits.  A short time later, by the way, the President huddled with Brexit party leader as a separate party, Nigel Farage, at the U.S. Ambassador`s residence.  But Boris Johnson declined a request to meet with the President so he could prepare for a campaign event.  The two spoke by phone, however.

Johnson is most internationally well-known of all the candidates.  This is (INAUDIBLE).  He appeared on HARDBALL back in 2015 when he was Mayor of London.  And we were glad to have him.  Here he is, Boris Johnson, as Mayor.


MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about leadership today and the parsity, I think that`s a good English word, of leaders, of people like Thatcher was looked up to, Reagan was looked up to, and Kennedy certainly was.  It`s getting pretty shallow out there for leaders.

BORIS JOHNSON, FORMER MAYOR OF LONDON:  But maybe that`s a good thing, Mr. Matthews.

MATTHEWS:  I`m listening.  Chris.

JOHNSON:  Chris, forgive me.  Maybe what it shows is actually that in many of our countries, the world does not require the kind of critical leadership that Margaret Thatcher or Ronald Regan provided during the period when we have to face down the Russians in the Cold War.  It doesn`t require the kind of courage that Winston Churchill had to display during the absolutely existential moment in 1940.  And maybe we live in a blander, softer kind of age.


MATTHEWS:  Bobby Ghosh, on the scene in London, it`s late there, I want to ask you about the view of Trump.  Is there such a thing as a British view, not left, not Jeremy Corbyn view, not the labor party view or the streets even.  Is there a general view of Trump that`s mixed or is it just they don`t like the gauche?  I`m sorry for using that word.  That word --

GHOSH:  I think they like me.

MATTHEWS:  This ugly American, if you will, I`m not sure that`s true.  But is that the way they look at him as the ugly American or not?

GHOSH:  Well, he is the most unpopular American president since polling began.  I think that`s -- those are the numbers I saw today.  And that cuts across the board.  Unlike the U.S., in U.K., it cuts across the political divide.  It was not just Jeremy Corbyn who skipped the dinner and who spoke at the anti-Trump rally today.  Plenty of other politicians across the spectrum in this country didn`t want to be seen anywhere near Donald Trump, didn`t want a photo op.

And the fact that a man who aspires to be prime minister, that`s Jeremy Corbyn, chose to speak at an anti-Trump rally tells you that he made a calculation, right or wrong, he made a political calculation that is speaking up against the American President, against the President of this country`s most important ally.  He figured that that would be a smart political move for him to make.

MATTHEWS:  I think Boris wants to be prime minister.  I think Boris Johnson  has also that Churchillian aspect of being a man in the wilderness and coming back.  I have very mixed feelings about the guy.

Let me go to Charlie on this question.  Really, you guys bugged me since the day Trump arrived in Washington.  He was elected in the Electoral College.  We all accept that.  He was elected in the Electoral College.  He got the 270 he needed.  He`s here.  He`s our president, no doubt about it.  We don`t call him current president.  He`s President of the United States.

But his family wasn`t elected.  This Romanovs thing of his, it`s ridiculous.  He hauled over all his kids, even Tiffany, for this occasion.  He acts like somehow the family is royal.  He`s confused.  He also likes autocrats like Putin.  And he loves tough guys like Netanyahu.  And he likes tough guys like the worst kind, like Jim Jong-un and Xi.

He also likes monarchs.  This is the second week in a row he`s been visiting with emperors and now he`s meeting with the Queen of England.  What does he think he is that he brings his family with him like a royal?

SYKES:  Well, this is the dangerous thing about these trips for Donald Trump.  When he went to France, remember, he came back with the idea for the big military parade.  And you wonder whether he`s going to come back from London and thinking, you know, this royal family thing, you know, there`s a lot to be said for that.  I mean, the Trump family is a Trump family business, sort of like the Windsors, right?  Why not?  In fact, you`re already starting to see some of his supporters say he is American royalty.  Look, just because he likes golden toilets, it doesn`t make him Louie the 14th.

But, clearly, he is smitten by these trappings of authoritarian power and of royalty.  So I think it was Donald Trump basically saying, look, this is my family.  I am going to show the British Royal Family what the American royal family looks like.  It didn`t quite come off.

MATTHEWS:  Let me go Jill on this.  Your thoughts, as a straight reporter again, the President of the United States is -- he is head of state.  A woman can be head of state too.  This is the way it works.  You`re elected to have -- you`re not elected king.

COLVIN:  It is highly, highly unusual.  This is a display that we have not seen this from other Presidents.  The fact that not only the children who are advisers, the son-in-law who work in the White House as Senior Adviser, he is bringing along his sons, Eric and Don Jr.  Don Jr. has his own political aspirations.  But these are people who run the President`s business who are profiting from the Trump name and to bring them along, to let them use the social media images of it, I mean, just adds more and more questions about all of the ethical issues.

MATTHEWS:  Well, who -- the Republican Party is called the republican party, lower case.  They believe in a republic, not a monarchy.  When is somebody going to raise hand and say, I`m not going to kiss the butt again of one of your family members?  I`m not going to do it, yet he insists that they do it.

JOHNSON:  Amash might be the only person who, you know, (INAUDIBLE).  But most of these guys -- look, I mean, he is a walking emoluments clause violation.  The amount of money that we spend --

MATTHEWS:  By the way, I went by the hotel the other day thinking about that.  I`m sure it`s on his mind all the time.

JOHNSON:  Exactly.

MATTHEWS:  How much cash is coming through the door on that hotel?

JOHNSON:  And when his children get to go with him, his children who run his businesses, this is not Sasha and Malia.  These aren`t kids that are like, hey, you can see this is the first time.  They can fly there on their own.  They can make these kinds of trips on their own.  This is the American people paying for vacations and business opportunities for his family.  This is being seen all over the world by other people that Trump`s children want to do business negotiations with.  That`s the problem.

MATTHEWS:  So if you are the king of Jordan or you`re from Saudi Arabia or you`re from the Emirates or you`re from Israel, you`ve got to deal with Jared Kushner, the son-in-law, as if he`s what, a viceroy?

JOHNSON:  Basically or the hand of the king.  I mean, that`s pretty much how the President likes to play this.  And by giving this kind of high profile position and these kinds of opportunities to his kids, he is setting himself up to have power beyond this point . MATTHEWS:  I have a theory about Trump, and I think he`s playing all the cards of the President, seeing one card he`s playing, incumbency is this.  I can be with heads of state, not like prime ministers or people like that.  No.  I can meet with the Emperor of Japan.  I can meet with the Queen of England.  I can prance around as if I`m one of those royals and maybe that will intimidate people into voting for me again next year because I`m so big.

Anyway, Jill Colvin, thank you for your straight reporting, Jason, for your strength, Charlie Sykes from the world out there and the American people, and, Bobby Ghosh, you are not a gauche, sir, you`re a great gentleman, and thank you for coming on to give us the street feel out there in London town.

Anyway, our House has set -- our House has set to begin hearings on the Mueller report but they are being very careful not to call it impeachment.  That`s the I word we don`t use.  But is it enough to satisfy the number of -- the growing number of House Democrats who are actually pushing for impeachment?

And by the way, I don`t buy this delay status, this game.  You know, sometime, we`ll get to it.  No.  Either you`re going to do it now or you`re not going to do it.  That is my belief.  It`s now or never, as the song goes.

And later, what we learned from Mayor Pete Buttigieg yesterday, we had a spirited discussion.  I talked about impeachment with him, gun violence and other topics at our HARDBALL Town Hall last night.  What a great group of people came out for that at Fresno State, regular people over the town up there.

Plus, a preview of another big HARDBALL event coming up next week in Dayton, we`re doing the deciders.  Ohio votes with the winner, the winner comes from Ohio.  That`s the way it works in this country for 60 years.  Watch Ohio.  Stay with us.  We`re going to stay with Ohio.  You stay with us.  Thanks.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  President Trump is overseas, of course, that hasn`t stopped his administration from stonewalling Congress in their efforts to investigate potential misconduct by the President and his administration.  You can add, by the way, former Trump administration officials Hope Hicks, there she is, and Annie Donaldson to the list of administration officials and former officials who are now defying congressional subpoenas, defying them.

NCB News reported that the White House has directed those two women not to hand over documents to Congress related to their time at the White House.  So they`re private citizens still being directed by the White House.

This comes as democrats are rethinking when their strategy when it comes to impeachment, moving forward with what Politico, the newspaper, has dubbed the House Democrats` non-impeachment impeachment campaign against President Trump.  We`ll think of what we think of that.

House Democrats are preparing for hearings next week centered on Special Counsel Robert Mueller`s report and, of course, presidential obstruction, where they will be calling on Watergate`s star witness and former Nixon White House Counsel, John Dean, yes, 80-year-old John Dean to testify.

Next Tuesday, the full House will vote on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn in contempt of Congress for their refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas.

As these efforts move forward, the number of lawmakers calling for the start of an impeachment inquiry is slowly increasing.  Look at these faces.  NBC News counts at least 59 House lawmakers, now members of the House, pushing for a start of impeachment, real impeachment.

For more, I`m joined by Democratic Congressman Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois.  He`s a member of the House Intelligence and Oversight Committee. 

Congressman, what is going on here?  It`s this a smokescreen?  I get the feeling that all this stuff, bringing back John Dean -- I mean, what`s this, the golden oldies?  We`re bringing in the -- it`s like a top 60s radio station. 

Why are we bringing back a guy from the `70s, when you should be beginning impeachment, if you`re real?

Your thoughts? 

REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL):  Well, I`m a classic rock fan and a `90s music fan. 

But going to your question, John Dean obviously has a historical perspective that few other people have.  And I think that him coming before the Judiciary Committee will help to educate the American public about the seriousness of the charges that were made in the Mueller report. 

So, I think that`s probably a good thing.  But, ultimately, we need to have Bob Mueller on Capitol Hill. 


KRISHNAMOORTHI:  Well, I think only Bob Mueller can explain the findings in a way that will actually gather attention from the American public. 

I think there will be a Super Bowl-size audience tuning into him.  He`s the oracle of truth.  Every word that he says has a certain gravitas, and people really pay attention. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you believe -- you`re on television now, Congressman.  You`re a great fellow, I can tell. 

If he is box office, if he draws a huge audience, not since the great debates, if he has the biggest audience ever, if he comes off with tremendous personality and credibility, do you believe that will start the impeachment process? 


I mean, I think it really...

MATTHEWS:  Well, wait a minute.  Then why are you doing all this stuff? 

Why have John Dean and him come on, if you won`t even say -- if he`s box office, if he`s fabulous, if he makes a passionate case you have got to do it, do you think you will do it? 

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  Do you think that he would be able to set off an impeachment process? 

MATTHEWS:  If he said, basically, it`s your turn under the Constitution? 

My job was to investigate.  Your job under the Constitution is to be the prosecutors, the sentence, the judge.  You are the prosecutors.  Do your job.  If he says it like that, would that work? 


I think the reason why I say that is because, right now, in our town, in Washington, there are few people that could earn the trust and goodwill of the American people in the same way Bob Mueller can.  And that`s why it`s so important for him to come to Capitol Hill, and give us some guidance, and tell us exactly what he meant with certain of the statements that he made in his report. 

We have so many questions for him.  But I think that him coming to Capitol Hill would be a special, special, special time in this whole impeachment or this whole saga with regard to the Mueller probe. 

MATTHEWS:  But you know, Congressman, what it looks like.  You know what it looks like. 

It looks like you`re coming up with one excuse after another.  First, we want the Mueller report.  Then we want to have -- hear more from him.  He gives us another speech last week.  Now we want to hear him testify.  Then we want to hear from McGahn. 

And now we want to hear McGahn`s secretary. 


MATTHEWS:  Then we want to hear from Hope Hicks.  And then we want to hear from -- and then, then, we will think about it. 

Do you really, honestly tell me you think -- it`s June.  If it`s August, will you have moved by then?  When will you begin to move, if you`re going to move? 

My theory is now or never.  In other words, if you`re not going to move right now, there`s no time later, because the presidential campaign is in full swing by September. 

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  Well, I think that the -- here`s the thing. 

If you start the impeachment process without sufficient evidence to sustain a potential conviction, it could be seen as an empty exercise.  And, worse, it could embolden the president and his misconduct. 

He could then claim total exoneration. 

MATTHEWS:  So, you`re not going to do it.  I hear you.  That`s an argument.

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  And that would be horrible.

MATTHEWS:  Why don`t you make that argument?  Why doesn`t Speaker Pelosi make that argument?  It doesn`t make any sense to impeach because we won`t get a conviction.  It`s not a matter of time.  It`s not about hearing from more witnesses.  It doesn`t make any sense. 

You guys on the Hill, men and women, Democrats and Republicans, even though they won`t admit it, you saw obstruction of justice.  You saw a president of the United States fire an FBI director because he wouldn`t play ball with him.  You saw the president, through McGahn`s testimony, that he tried to fire the special counsel.

If that`s not obstruction of justice, what the hell is?

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  It`s clearly obstruction.  And it`s impeachable. 

I think the question is, when do we start the impeachment process?  Do we start it now or do we start it when we have all of the evidence we can to potentially get a conviction? 

MATTHEWS:  When would that be?  When would that be? 

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  I think, right now, we have to pursue the investigations.  We have already seen some success in the courts with regard to getting financial records. 

That is an area of inquiry that Bob Mueller did not have a chance or did not have an opportunity or decided not to pursue.  And I believe those financial records have a lot of very important information in them. 

MATTHEWS:  I will make a gentleman`s bet with you, that we`re having the same conversation come this fall, and there will be no impeachment exercise by the Democrats.  That`s just a gentleman`s bet. 

I trust your judgment as well. 

Thank you, U.S. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, for coming on the show. 

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  Thank you.  Thank you, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Up next, even Trump`s most steadfast Republican allies are starting to push back at his newest tariff threats.  You know what Republicans think of tariffs?  They think of them as taxes.  They don`t like them.  And they don`t like Trump pushing for them. 

Will his party rebuke the president, therefore, for refusing to endorse what amounts to new taxes on American companies and consumers?  They think they`re going to lose the whole tax cuts they got last year.

HARDBALL back in a minute. 



QUESTION:  What do you think of Republicans who say that they may take action to block you imposing those tariffs? 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Oh, I don`t think they will do that.  I think, if they do, it`s foolish.  There`s nothing more important than borders.  I have had tremendous Republican support.

I have a 90 percent -- 94 percent approval rating as of this morning in the Republican Party.  That`s an all-time record.  Can you believe that?  Isn`t that something?  I love records. 


MATTHEWS:  Ninety-four percent.

Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

That was President Trump responding to reports this morning over in London that Republican lawmakers, senators especially, could block his proposed tariffs on Mexico, which he plans to start imposing next week. 

And now "The Washington Post" is reporting that Republican senators have warned the administration that they`re indeed ready to deliver a major rebuke of the president if those tariffs are put into effect. 

And during a closed-door lunch today, senators told officials from the White House and the Department of Justice that there could be a disapproval vote if Trump moves forward, saying that they could have enough support to override a president.

Well, Trump`s plan would levy a 5 percent tariff on all Mexican goods coming into this country, which would then rise to as much as 25 percent, unless Mexico stops the flow of migrants coming to the United States through their country. 

According to "The Washington Post," there`s a growing consensus within the GOP that these new tariffs would amount to a tax -- bad word for Republicans -- increase on American businesses and consumers. 

I`m joined now by Elise Jordan, a "TIME" magazine contributor and former policy adviser for Rand Paul`s presidential campaign. 

Elise, put your Republican hat on, the culture, taxes, tariffs.  The Republican Party for years when we were both growing up, me ahead of you, they were against tariffs.  They were for free trade.  That was the Republican orthodoxy. 

Now Trump`s talking about a maybe 25 percent tariff on all the strawberries, raspberries, all the other stuff, tomatoes.  It`s amazing, the statistics on this, how much we rely, especially in the winter, on that stuff we love, like strawberries and tomatoes from Mexico.

ELISE JORDAN, "TIME":  Avocados and beer from Mexico. 


JORDAN:  Chris, it absolutely makes no sense to put another tax on the American consumers, specifically the middle class and upper middle class, which would primarily be affected by this, in an election year.

Just in general, it goes against -- it`s the antithesis of what the GOP formerly stood -- stood for, as you mentioned, which is free trade and capitalism, and Donald Trump pushing his plans for a planned economy. 

And I spoke to a Republican source on the Hill who said, it`s not a question of if the GOP is going to oppose the tariff and vote against it.  It`s just a matter of they`re figuring out their strategy and when they`re going to do it.


To be blunt, all the crap that Republicans have had to eat because of this president, all this stuff they have had to put up with, in blunt terms -- and they have put up with a lot of -- they put up with the "Access Hollywood" take.  They put up with this gross behavior, with his record with women, everything.  They put up -- everything, they said, we can eat all that, we can take all that, but don`t raise our taxes. 

Is this the Republican value system, I mean, honestly?

JORDAN:  Republican voters will continue to vote for Donald Trump as long as the economy is strong. 

Overall, he will be on a glide path to election as long as the economy stay strong.  Moves like this, tariffs, it`s a tax hike.  It was estimated in 2018 that Donald Trump`s tariff raised the average American`s taxes by $400. 

With these new taxes and with the new China tariffs, that would be about $800.  When your everyday goods aren`t affordable anymore, that is a substantial hit to the American consumer and the American voter. 

MATTHEWS:  Elise, it`s so great to have you on, Elise Jordan, giving us the -- she`s our horse whisperer, telling us what the Republicans are really thinking.


MATTHEWS:  I`m joined right now by 2020 presidential candidate and Democratic Senator from Colorado Michael Bennet, whose new book, pub date today, "The Land of Flickering Lights: Restoring America in an Age of Broken Politics."

Senator, it`s great to have you on.  You`re an intellectual.  You`re a politician.  You have got it all combined and running for president. 

So, do some reading of the other side.  Why are tariffs all of a sudden the one thing Republicans won`t go along with Trump on? 

SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I think they believe that it`s insane economic policy.

There isn`t anybody in America out of 330 million people who think this is a good idea, other than Donald Trump.  And even the Republicans have finally found their limit, which I think tells you what a ridiculous idea it is. 

MATTHEWS:  What about this -- if you have to put them together, their hatred of illegal immigrants and their hatred of taxes, what`s greater among Republicans, their hatred of each? 

BENNET:  I think most Republicans that I know back in Colorado don`t hate immigrants.  They do hate taxes. 

This president has managed to screw up the stuff going on, on the border because he`s treating us like we`re a weak country, not a strong country.  We can`t even handle the refugees at the border, like many other countries around the world are dealing with it. 

He spent six months trying to get the $6 billion for a wall that the Mexicans were supposed to pay for.  And now he`s put a huge tax on the American people, which he says Mexico is going to pay for. 

This is a tax on our workers.  This is a tax on our farmers.  This is a tax on our ranchers, and, by the way, at the worst possible moment, because commodity prices are already terrible.  The tariffs that he already put in have been retaliated against by other countries. 

And our farmers are paying the price for Donald Trump not understanding the most basic thing about economics or immigration, or, by the way...


MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about -- go ahead.

BENNET:  Or immigration.

Chris, I have people in my state that are having to sell their farm equipment because they have no workers because of Donald Trump`s immigration policy. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about this constitutional question with our president. 

The House of Representatives, of course, has to indict.  They have to be the prosecution.  It`s the Senate to be the judge.  It doesn`t look like it`s ever going to get to you to be the judge. 

So, what do you think about impeachment?  You`re never going to get to value -- to offer your position on it. 

Do you have a position? 

BENNET:  Well, I believe, having read the Mueller report, that he has committed impeachable offenses.  I believe that he obstructed justice.  And I believe we should have hearings in the House. 

I think that Mueller should testify and others should testify.  And then we have to make a judgment about what to do.  I do -- I think everybody needs to understand that, if the House impeached tomorrow, McConnell would acquit Trump, Donald Trump, next week.  So, all...

MATTHEWS:  Sure, but that`s true in two years from now.  That`s true five years from now.  It will never be different. 


BENNET:  I don`t know, probably not.  With McConnell, you`re probably right.  But I think it would be useful for the American people to see what this record really is. 

The other night, Chris, I watched 20 minutes of YouTube clips of the Watergate hearings.  By the way, that will bring a tear to your eye, if you ever watch them, because it reminds you what a government that actually functions look like. 

And to see...


MATTHEWS:  Well, tell me about that.  Give that to the younger viewers right now, Senator.  Give us a translation to the -- 2019 of what it felt like to watch in 1974 that House Judiciary Committee.

BENNET:  Yes.  Yes. 

So, to see Republicans and Democrats exercising their constitutional responsibility to search out the truth, not just show up with partisan talking -- I mean, as you will remember, Chris, the Watergate committee actually discovered the tapes. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

BENNET:  No prosecutor found the tapes.  Congress was doing its job methodically, day after day, night after night, with their shirt sleeves rolled up in Washington, making sure the American people understood what was at stake when a president violated the rule of law.

I think we would benefit from that again now.  And -- but what I don`t want to do, I don`t want us to do it in any way that gives Donald Trump a better chance of getting reelected, because we also have to make sure that he`s only a one-term president. 

So it`s too bad, but we do have to walk and chew gum at the same time. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, back then, the question from Howard Baker, the Republican leader on the committee that you mentioned and applauded...

BENNET:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  ... was, what did the president know and when did he know it? 

BENNET:  That`s right. 

MATTHEWS:  But we already have those answers.  We know he tried to fire the FBI director who wouldn`t protect him. 

BENNET:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  He tried to fire the special counsel who was prosecuting him.  We know all this.  We know the cardinal sins of this president already.  We don`t need to get tapes from the June 23 tape between him and Haldeman.  We don`t need that stuff. 

It`s not an investigative effort anymore, is it?  You sound like you already know enough to impeach him.

BENNET:  Yes, well, I think I -- but I have read the Mueller report.  Most people in America have no idea what`s in the Mueller report. 

And if you proceed without the American people actually knowing what`s in there, I think that`s going to create a huge problem for everybody.  And that was true of Watergate too. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

BENNET:  Remember, it took a year before the Republicans came around on that, because they finally saw what the facts were. 

And I will grant you that we know some facts.  There are some legal conclusions too.  But there may be other stuff as well.  And I do think that, when you`re talking about something like impeachment, even if it is this president we`re talking about, you got to -- you got to take the time to put the facts out in front of the American people.

And Congress can do that. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you.  It`s an honor to have you on, Senator Michael Bennet of... 

BENNET:  Thanks for having me, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Of Colorado.

By the way, the name of his book -- and I`m going to read every page of it -- this is a thoughtful member of the Senate -- "The Land of Flickering Lights: Restoring America in an Age of Broken Politics."

BENNET:  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  That`s an important book.  Get it.

Up next: recapping some of the most important and interesting moments from HARDBALL`s town hall with Mayor Pete Buttigieg last night, like showing Mayor Pete when he first attended a HARDBALL live event back when he was a kid. 

Let`s watch. 


MATTHEWS:  Here you were back in 2003, asking Dick Gephardt about young voters. 



PETE BUTTIGIEG, STUDENT:  Congressman, why are you the only presidential candidate not attending tomorrow`s youth-oriented Rock the Vote forum?  And do you think young people`s votes matter in your campaign? 

REP. DICK GEPHARDT (D-MO):  They matter a lot.  That`s why I`m here tonight.  When I was in college, Jack Kennedy was president. 

And I was moved when he said to young people like me, get involved in politics.  Give part of your life to politics. 

So I just want to say to all of you here, get involved in public life.  Give back to your country.  Don`t just take from it.  And get involved in this campaign.  If it`s not for me, get behind somebody and get out there and work and make this country a better place.  You can do this. 





MATTHEWS:  Well, we gave one of our town hall viewers a chance to weigh in on that exchange. 

Take a look. 


MATTHEWS:  Sir, do you have a question for the mayor? 





MATTHEWS:  Dick Gephardt.

GEPHARDT:  Hey, Mayor Pete, you really took me seriously, didn`t you? 



MATTHEWS:  More HARDBALL after this. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Last night, I was in Fresno State in California for a live town hall with Mayor Pete Buttigieg.  It was a lively discussion with California voters asking important questions to the presidential candidate himself, including this question about the question of impeachment. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I want to know if you support Speaker Pelosi`s slow, cautious approach towards the impeachment inquiry or not, and why? 


First all, I believe the president deserves to be impeached.  The only place we can have a procedure and the only we can have a due process, the only way we can go through the steps of evidence and so forth as long as he is in the Oval Office is in Congress in the form of an impeachment proceeding, which I think that`s what we are going have to do. 

MATTHEWS:  If you were voting in Congress, would you vote to impeach? 

BUTTIGIEG:  Yes, I would. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, that was quick.

I asked Mayor Pete about gun violence and his call for a national gun registry. 


MATTHEWS:  You have come out for a national licensing plan.  How would that work?  We have almost 400 million guns in this country.  How do you license them? 

BUTTIGIEG:  Well, that`s the thing.  I mean, if you have to have a license to have a car, it doesn`t seem that unreasonable that for deadly weaponry we would do the same. 

MATTHEWS:  We have 400 million guns now.

BUTTIGIEG:  So, let`s at least get it right going forward. 

MATTHEWS:  So future guns get registered.


MATTHEWS:  And not the ones we have now? 

BUTTIGIEG:  Look, let`s figure out a system. 

MATTHEWS:  Have you changed on this because I thought you believed in licensing of all guns? 

BUTTIGIEG:  Look, I think we can start on a go forward basis to have a system we can actually use. 


MATTHEWS:  That`s not going to go over well with the NRA. 

And just this morning, we got a couple of new polls showing where Mayor Pete now among the more than 20 Democratic presidential candidates. 

Stay tuned after the break to find out who is moving up or down in the polling, the latest polling. 

You are watching HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Two new polls out today from CNN and Morning Consult show former Vice President Joe Biden maintaining his tight grip amid the crowded field of 2020. 

The former vice president lead could explain why according to "Politico", the Trump 2020 campaign is looking to widen the president`s path to reelection.  Trump`s elections officials and internal polling showing the president is trailing Biden right now in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.  They are now zeroing in on New Mexico, New Hampshire and Nevada as potential pickups if they lose some of those three states. 

That may be an uphill battle, of course, during the 2018 elections.  New Mexico Democrats won control of the governorship and both house and the state legislature.  Nevada Democrats won the governorship and control their state senate.  New Hampshire Democrats took both control -- what are they looking for if it`s not the happy hunting ground for Donald Trump? 

For more, I`m joined by Adrienne Elrod, former senior adviser to the Hillary Clinton campaign, and Howard Fineman, MSNBC news analyst. 

Howard, Trump, is he worried about the industrial states, that`s why he`s looking elsewhere?  Because he needs it.  He has to get at least two of them I guess. 

HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC NEWS ANALYST:  Well, I think if the Democrats can put up either a still strong and focused campaigning Joe Biden, if he makes it from here to there, he will have proved he really is the strong candidate this time and that will definitely be worried because Joe Biden has appeal. 


FINEMAN:  He doesn`t have the fanatics.  You know, something like the Philly fanatics.

MATTHEWS:  No, it`s not like the Sanders fanatics. 

FINEMAN:  But if he gets from here to there, he will prove he is despite past mistakes in `88 and 2008, the guy.  And at that point, yes, he will be a threat because he does connect with the white working class in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.  It`s that simple.

MATTHEWS:  Comfort isn`t love, but it`s comfort, right, Adrienne?


MATTHEWS:  So, here`s the question.  Why is nothing moving in the polls right now?  I thought Elizabeth Warren was moving.  And then I look at this poll, they don`t coincide. 

ELROD:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  She is fighting out with Kamala Harris for that third position.  I don`t see a lot of movement by anybody.

ELROD:  I don`t.  And, Chris, it`s early and we know the margin of error is basically living within the margin of error right now.  But Joe Biden certainly, indisputably has the commanding lead and Bernie I think is second. 

I think from now until the first debate, we will see basically the polls stay where they are.  After the first debate, I think we`ll start to see a lot of shifting.  And, of course, you`ve got to remember, we`ve got 12 debates in the Democratic Party primary.  So, there is going to be a lot --

MATTHEWS:  You want to jump ahead.  You start.  How do you win a debate with 20 people in it? 

ELROD:  You can`t. 

MATTHEWS:  Ten each night. 

MATTHEWS:  Somebody will have prepared material and we will all spot it.  That was a set play.  But the press will still put it up top even though it was a set play, right?  Now they will come in with something clever like 999, Herman Cain, or something like that.  Is that the game? 


ELROD:  It`s got to be the game because, Chris, you got to keep in mind, the first two debates will likely have 10 people on each stage, we know that in about two weeks, and the DNC makes their announcements.  And candidates might get eight or nine minutes air time each if they are lucky.  Probably more like three or four. 

MATTHEWS:  Will they answer questions from Savannah and Lester Holt? 


MATTHEWS:  OK, here we go.


FINEMAN:  Here`s what they`re going to be doing.  They`re going to be looking either to get above the fold for the top of the newspaper or in the video editing room when the networks and the cable shows are trying to figure out what to feature.  That`s what those people want. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, it`s a smart move and we are jumping ahead.  It`s smart in this campaign to do it.  What a couple of them are doing with Biden, take him on, personally. 

ELROD:  Of course, absolutely.  He`s the front runner and they are doing what they should be doing.  What`s the most interesting thing to watch, Chris, in the first debate, candidates know who they will be on the stage with.  They got two weeks to prepare, who they`re going to after.

FINEMAN:  There`s going to be a bunch of smaller fights, Chris.  It`s not just going after Biden.  You got several subcategories here. 

MATTHEWS:  I agree.

FINEMAN:  You got ultra progressives.  You got the traditional moderates. 


MATTHEWS:  Let go to something, last night, I ask Mayor Pete Buttigieg last night about Al Franken being forced to resign for the Senate.  And Mayor Pete separated himself from the components with his response.  Let`s watch. 


MATTHEWS:  Al Franken, should he have been pushed by the Democratic Caucus, his fellow caucus members? 

BUTTIGIEG:  I think it was his decision to make, but I think the way we basically held him to a higher standard than the GOP does their people has been used against us. 

MATTHEWS:  Were they right to do that?  To push him out of the Senate?  Because they did.

BUTTIGIEG:  I would not have applied that pressure at that time before we knew more. 


MATTHEWS: Well, fellow Democratic presidential candidate and New York senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, stood by her calls for Senator Franklin to resign.  And on Twitter she wrote: Eight credible allegations of sexual harassment, two since he was elected senator and one from a congressional staffer.  That`s not too high of a standard regardless of how the Republican Party handles this behavior and worse. 

How did that come out last night? 

ELROD:  I thought he was fantastic.  I think there are a lot of voters in the Democratic Party who think Gillibrand and other senators who pushed him out went too far.  So, I think he`s making a play here, saying, OK, this is your lane, this my lane, and sure, I support the #MeToo movement, of course, but there is a line that should be drawn.  I think the line was crossed with Al Franken. 

And I`m glad you pressed him on that because you hypothetically laid out -- 

MATTHEWS:  He didn`t want to answer it. 

ELROD:  If you had been there --


MATTHEWS:  Nobody wants to answer that tough question -- Howard.  I`m sorry, it`s a tough question.

FINEMAN:  But he did answer it and that goes back to what the debates are going to be like.  You have different people and different lanes, and to some extent, Buttigieg and Kirsten Gillibrand are in the same lane because they are practical people who have in some cases ideological views that are difficult to categorize.  They portray themselves as practical problem solvers. 

They`re sort of the same lane.  They`re younger, generational thing.  She talks about how she was a young mom and so forth.  So, that was a shot by Buttigieg at some of the competition in his lane right now. 

MATTHEWS:  Maybe I forced it, but I`ll tell you, the timing is everything and the mood of #MeToo movement at that particular time and the concern by the Democratic Caucus about Doug Jones down in Alabama.  They want to set a high standard and they want to live by it, right? 

FINEMAN:  But let`s see how credible, by the way.  The story is not totally written as to how credible the allegations are. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, we`ll see.

FINEMAN:  We`ll see.

MATTHEWS:  Howard, you may know more than I know.

Thank you, Adrienne Elrod, Howard Fineman. 

Up next, we`re going to go back to the road to hear from the voters.  Next stop, Dayton, Ohio.  That`s our next stop.  We`ll have some details about that coming after the break. 

HARDBALL is on the road. 


MATTHEWS:  The last time an American president won the American presidency without winning Ohio, the state of Ohio, was Jack Kennedy way back in 1960.  In 2016, Ohio went for Trump after going for Obama twice. 

So, it makes sense for us to take the next site of our show to the Buckeye State.  On Thursday, June 13th, we`ll be in Dayton, Ohio, talking to voters about their real concerns heading towards the 2020 presidential election.  And like Ohio as a whole, Montgomery County which includes Dayton voted for Ohio and twice went for Trump.  We`ll talk to both Democrats and Republicans about the issues that Trump won on and what he could or could not win on again in 2020. 

For ticket information to go to this thing, go to the HARDBALL Instagram, if you want to go.

That`s tonight`s HARDBALL.  Thanks for being with us.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.