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Trump defends handling of Economy. TRANSCRIPT: 8/16, 19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.

Guests: Jonathan Lemire; Susan Del Percio; Jamal Simmons; Anita Kumar,Anthony Scaramucci, Omarosa Manigault-Newman, J.W. Verret

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  Three strikes.  Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

President Trump has put all his marbles on the economy.  And tonight on HARDBALL, two of his former aides, Anthony Scaramucci and Omarosa Manigault Newman worry he may be losing his marbles.

As I said, President Trump has staked his re-election on the strength of the U.S. economy.  But on the heels of a turbulent week on Wall Street, the president got some ominous news in a new Fox News poll out today, showing him losing ground against top Democratic contenders.

That poll showed the president losing to former Vice President Joe Biden in a hypothetical head-to-head by 12 points, the president also lesser (ph) by nine points to Senator Bernie Sanders, by seven to Senator Elizabeth Warren.  Senator Kamala Harris defeats President Trump by six points.  In each case, Trump has lost position from a previous poll in July.

Here is Trump`s predicament.  A bad set of poll numbers, a troubling economic outlook, and no apparent weapon for turning the economy around.

At his rally in New Hampshire last night, he made the case for his stewardship of the economy, but also with a warning.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT:  The bottom line is I know you like me and this room is a lovefest.  I know that.  But you have no choice but to vote for me because your 401(k)s, down the tubes, everything is going to be down the tubes.

So whether you love me or hate me, you got to vote for me.


MATTHEWS:  While the president appears publicly unfazed, The Washington Post reports privately mounting signs of global economic distress this week have alarmed the president, who is worried that a downturn could imperil his re-election.  Even his administration officials acknowledge that they have not planned for a possible recession.  They`ve got no tools, no weapons to fight one.

The report adds Trump`s economic adviser have been delivering the president`s upbeat assessments in which they argue that the domestic economy is stronger than many forecasters are making it out to be.

For more, I`m joined by Jamal Simmons, Democratic strategist and host Hill T.V., Susan Del Percio, Republican strategist, Jonathan Lemire, White House Reporter for the Associated Press.

Jonathan, let`s get through the head on the president.  Three strikes, if his poll numbers are going down, he is losing to all the top Democrats, if the Wall Street situation is, well, troublesome at best, perilous at worst, and now he seems to have nothing in his bag to fight with it, doesn`t have fiscal policy, the deficit is too big already, he`s not getting any monetary policy help on money, what has he got to be happy about?

JONATHAN LEMIRE, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, ASSOCIATED PRESS:  Chris, they`re in a bit of a bind here.  The economy is what has worried privately the White House for quite some time.  This is the president`s number one argument for re-election, this idea that it was his stewardship of the economy that has been good for the American people.  The economy has been strong.  Maybe not for every American, and certainly he inherited a growing economy from Barack Obama.  Let`s not lose sight of that.  But this president can argue mostly effectively that the economy has been good under his watch.

But now, there are troubling signs of a slowdown.  And, look, we don`t know that a recession is coming.  But this was the week where that word was first sort of mentioned publicly down on Wall Street, cable news studios and everywhere else said this is something that could be coming, and that terrifies the White House. especially with if the timing is such that it would arrive sometime next year, just as the president is a few months away from facing voters again.

And we have reported today as well, complimenting The Washington Post piece, the president has been at his New Jersey golf club all week, hitting the links during the day, watching cable in the afternoon and spending his evenings on the phone, calling his advisers, both formal and informal, sounding out aides and business leaders about what to make of the economy.

He is worried.  He is worried that perhaps he is not seeing the best data.  He feels like the media might be manipulating it to hurt his case, and aides do know indeed to show him stuff, rosier projections.

But right now, the White House is in a wait and see mode.  They don`t obviously have a tool to sort of boost the economy.  They`re sort of hoping that increased spending will solve it on its own.

MATTHEWS:  Let me go to Susan, because it seems to me apart from all of that is the surprising resilience of Elizabeth Warren.  Not just resilience, but she continues to climb, step by step for the last several months.  There`s a consistency to her ability to get past the Pocahontas crap and all that.  She is shaking that off pretty well.  And the president seems to know that.  Talk about that.  What is he thinking about her coming at him this way, that she seems to be coming in the polls?

SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Well, she has that populous message that some folks see.  I personally don`t.  But there is a populist message that she has that`s playing over, saying to some middle of the road Democrats and Republicans she may not be that bad, and that scares Donald Trump.

What also scares him is when you show these polls at the top, he is stuck at 39 percent no matter who he is running against.  So that`s already baked in.

But there is also something else about Elizabeth Warren which I think really has helped her a lot.  And I think, Chris, you`ll appreciate this being on the trail.  She enjoys what she`s doing, and I think Donald Trump sees that and it irks him.  She is out there enjoying herself, working hard the way he enjoyed it when he was first running as a candidate before he was running for re-election.

MATTHEWS:  Well, as Jonathan mentioned just a moment ago, President Trump has also sounded out business and financial for their advice.  The Washington Post reports that according to one Republican source briefed on some conversations, quote, Trump has a somewhat conspiratorial view, telling some confidantes that he distrusts statistics he sees reported in the news media and that he suspects economists and other and other forecasters are presenting biased data to thwart his re-election.

And while the president may not believe economic data when it`s bad, he is certainly happy to take credit for good stock market performance even when it`s under his predecessor, Barack Obama.  Let`s watch.


TRUMP:  The markets have gone through the roof since November 9th.  That`s the day after the election.  So I won the elect.  The markets went up thousands of points.  Things started happening.  You started doing things that you would have never, even though I didn`t get sworn in until January 20th.  But they refused to do that.

And let me tell you, if for some reason I wouldn`t have won the election, these markets would have crashed.


MATTHEWS:  Well, Jamal, I think that`s what he is afraid of, so he`s marketing against this saying, okay, here are some bad headlines, but don`t believe them.

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Right.  The problem is when the market drops 800 points in a day, people who don`t normally pay attention to the market, they pay attention to that, right?  People -- listen, there are a lot of people in the country, half the country doesn`t have a 401(k), is not invested in stocks.

But there are a bunch of people who are.  A lot of them are now in these factory jobs where they used to have pensions and they`ve been transitioned to these 401(k)s, right?

And so they`re planning on putting their kids through college with that.  They think they`re going retire on it.  But they use it for all kinds of things throughout their lives.  And if that money is not there, it matters.  And I think Trump knows that and people are paying attention to it.

I would not be surprised if his little maneuver with Bibi Netanyahu the other day around Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, the congresswomen, wasn`t to try to change the subject away from the stock market, and he pushed Bibi into making that decision.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  One way he will push back, and I think, Jonathan and everybody on this panel knows it, if Trump can`t play defense, he plays offense, and he`s quite good at it.  If he goes into this election about 40 percent, he will try to get the 47 of whatever it takes to win in the Electoral College by trashing Pocahontas, or whatever you want to call it.  He is going to go out at her again.  He`ll go after the old stuff.  He`ll go after the new stuff.

But I do sense, Susan, and you don`t have the like her to see this.  In fact, if you`re a good analyst, you don`t care about whether you like anybody.  You`re just trying to figure out what`s going on, like Susan is.

And what I see is a person making a lot of promises where they can choose liberal than that (ph) is problematic.  But they`re very good promises.  They`re all about healthcare.  They`re all about education.  They`re all about what people are worried about, and she is going to give you the solution.  It is, to any extent, a populous message, just like Trump`s.  And it`s a happy message because I`m going to make everything good for you.  Let`s all enjoy it together.  It`s not dismal.  It`s happy.

And so I wonder, Jonathan, if he just sees the happy warrior coming at him with a Pocahontas identity.  She will probably now start telling jokes about it herself.  It must drive him crazy.

LEMIRE:  There`s no question that Senator Warren has really caught the president`s attention and impressed him.  In our reporting, he is, in the recent weeks, had private conversations with several aides sort of taken with the idea that Warren survived a punch, that he felt like he delivered a deathblow with that Pocahontas slur and the way she tried to handle the ancestry test of a few months ago.  It really seemed it did hurt her in the polls initially.  There`s no question there.  It really stepped on her rollout.

But since then, she has really been grinding away.  And as Susan said, she seems like she is enjoying it.  She has really gotten good at connecting with the individual voters.  She`s just maybe the best political athlete perhaps with Mayor Pete Buttigieg on the trail right now for the Democrats.

She is very talented and she has connected with voters.  The idea of having a plan for everything is resonating with folks.  And that`s paying off in the polls.

Look, former Vice President Biden is still ahead, and his strength particularly among African-American voters can`t be overstated.  Now, that matters.  That matters.  And Senator Warren is going to have to make inroads there.

But she might next month if during the next debate she is able to get on the stage the first time with Biden, which I think is what a lot of the political class would like to see.

But there is no question, the president is impressed with her that is much.  And people around him, as much as they`re growing more confident in their chances against Vice President Biden, as they say, they believe he has perhaps lost a few miles on his fastball, they think that Warren --

MATTHEWS:  You mean miles per hour.  You`re actually being crueler than you sound.  He has lost some MPHs there, right?

LEMIRE:  Yes, exactly.

MATTHEWS:  He is not throwing 95 MPH.

LEMIRE:  Well, he could still bring it to like 88, 89 maybe that the White House thinks.  But he is not doing 95 anymore.

MATTHEWS:  Let`s talk about the president.

SIMMONS:  One second on this Pocahontas thing.  I put my adviser hat on for a second.  If anybody asks for Pocahontas, I would just love for Elizabeth Warren to say, listen, we can spend the rest of this campaign talking about my family or we can spend the rest of this campaign talking about yours.  And I`m focused on your family, your kids and your livelihood.  And that`s the end of the conversation.

MATTHEWS:  Okay, stronger together.

Okay, let me ask you about this.  Trump was physically confident enough of his dominance of Hillary Clinton when he ran against her to walk up behind her physically, this is a lot of the primordial behavior, let`s be honest.  And it`s not just about male/female, whatever that is, in this case, but it`s about somebody who thinks I can physically walk up behind her like The Phantom in those comic books and loom over her and get away with it.  I wonder if he would feel that confident going against Warren to pull that number.

SIMMONS:  I don`t know if he would or not.  I don`t think Hillary --

MATTHEWS:  Because I get the feeling she`s an offensive -- she -- like -- Susan said this.  The person, they enjoy what they`re doing and they like campaigning which obviously Elizabeth likes.  Hillary did it sort of as necessary, I`ve got to eat my spinach, just like Al Gore did, people like that.  They did it because they had to.  But they didn`t go into politics to campaign, right?

SIMMONS:  I don`t think Hillary Clinton did that badly in the debates.  I think the problem was --

MATTHEWS:  She didn`t love it?

SIMMONS:  But the problem was who was going to learn something new about Hillary Clinton in a debate they had known for ten years, if they were paying at all, 15, 20 years.  I think for Elizabeth Warren, she`s got two things going for her.  One, she seems unflappable.  She just seems like come do it, I`m fine, I`m good.  The second thing is she knows why she wants to be president.  This is the fundamental difference between Elizabeth Warren and so many of these other candidates.  She knows why she wants to be president.  So you ask her a question, she doesn`t have to do math and think about what --

MATTHEWS:  Right.  She also doesn`t --

SIMMONS:  She tells you what she thinks.

MATTHEWS:  She also doesn`t answer the question anyway.  How much is Medicare for all going to cost, ask it three times, I know you`ll give up, which we`ll keep asking, what it`s all going to cost.

Anyway, thank you, Jamal Simmons, thank you, Susan Del Percio.  See, I`m thinking like a Republican, Susan.  I`m thinking, it`s a nice proposal, but what`s it going to cost?  Jonathan Lemire, thank you so much.

Coming up, President Trump seems intent on using the powers of his office, being president, a big man to go after his political enemies and telling a foreign country, by the way, to bar members of the U.S. Congress from entry.  To yank his security clearances from his critics, he does that, to threatening to withhold disaster relief from the liberal states, extraordinary performance.  Is this tyrannical behavior by a president?  Well, look at him.

Plus, Omarosa Manigault Newman and Anthony Scaramucci both worked for President Trump and knew him well, and they`re both issuing the same alarming warning about the man.  Well, they`re going join us later to say how many marbles he has lost, how many shingles from the roof.

And new reporting that President Trump repeatedly expressed interest in buying, there it is, Greenland, yes, buying it, buying it from the Danish.  They didn`t know it was for sale either.

Much more ahead.



REPORTER:  Did you speak to Prime Minister Netanyahu about the Congresswoman coming?

TRUMP:  I don`t want to comment about who I spoke to, but I think my social media statement pretty well speaks for itself.  But I did speak to people over there, yes.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was President Trump yesterday confirming he took the unprecedented step of speaking with one of our closest foreign allies about barring entry of two members of the United States Congress who are also outspoken critics of him, Trump.

This is the first time this president, Trump, has looked to use the powers of the presidency against his political rivals.  In fact, according to The Washington Post, quote, it`s a pattern that has intensified during the first two and a half years of Trump`s presidency as he has increasingly governed to the tune of his grievances.

For example, in January, President Trump grounded a military plane that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was going use to visit troops in Afghanistan.  It came one day after she postponed his State of the Union Address.  Get the connection?  That was the same month he threatened to withhold disaster aid to Clifornia, a state led by Democrats following historic wildfires out there.

Well, last year, he moved to revoke the security clearance from one of his leading critics, former CIA Director John Brennan.  And he has called for action against companies like Google, Twitter, Facebook which he`s accused of political bias against conservatives.

For more, I`m joined Howard Fineman, MSNBC`s News Analyst, and Anita Kumar, White House Correspondent Associate Editor for Politico.

Howard, this is sort of LBJ, sort of Nixon, traces of sitting in the Oval Office, how can I screw this guy.  Do you know what I mean?  It`s mob stuff.  Your thoughts?

HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC NEWS ANALYST:  Yes.  Well, in the old days, those advisers in the Oval Office, whether it was LBJ or Nixon or whoever, would say, Mr. President, let`s be careful here, or if we`re going to do it, we have this cutout over here who can handle it.  We`ll do it subterranean.  We`ll do it with three-cushioned bank shots.  That`s not Donald Trump.  Donald Trump thrives on, lives on, exists on this kind of attack politics.


FINEMAN:  That`s who he always was.  That`s who he was in business in New York.  When I interviewed him on the 26th floor of the Trump Tower during the campaign, he was fascinated by Nixon.  We talked a lot about Nixon.  And he wasn`t interested in Nixon, the architect of the peace with China.

MATTHEWS:  Linkage.

FINEMAN:  He was interested in, I think, looking back on it, figuring out how to do publicly and nakedly and openly what Nixon, even Nixon for the most part, wanted to do in private.

MATTHEWS:  And it was told by people what to do.

You know, I keep thinking of that image in the Untouchables, where Robert De Niro as Al Capone goes around his cabinet room, his (INAUDIBLE), with a baseball bat and whacks one of the guys to teach a lesson to the other cabinet members.  Is all this for Trump wants people to know how nasty he can be?  Is it a message?

ANITA KUMAR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO:  I agree, totally.  The difference is, and you mentioned Nixon and LBJ, is he thrives on doing it publicly.  He wants to do it publicly.  Did you see the White House this week said, no, no, he didn`t talk to prime minister -- he didn`t talk to Netanyahu.  And then he is out there saying that he did.  He wants people to know he did it, and he is doing it, and these are the repercussions for whatever.

MATTHEWS:  Well, today, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib turned down an offer by Israel that would have allowed her to travel to the West Bank to visit her grandmother.  She comes from that part of the world, the Palestinian territories.  And just in the last hour, President Trump responded with multiple Tweets, writing in part, Representative Tlaib wrote a letter to Israeli officials desperately wanting to visit her grandmother, permission was quickly granted, where upon Tlaib obnoxiously turned the approval down, a complete setup.  The only real winner here is Tlaib`s grandmother, who doesn`t have to see her now.

That`s getting personal.

FINEMAN:  Well, look, I think --

MATTHEWS:  Can he let it drop --

FINEMAN:  In a way, Obama --

KUMAR:  He never lets it drop.

FINEMAN:  Excuse me.  In a way, President Trump must have said or thought he was saying to Bibi, Bibi, there is this group over here called the squad.  I want to run against them.  I really don`t care what damage I do to the long-term U.S./Israel relationship.  I got Tlaib.  I got Omar.  I got the others.  I`m going run against them.

And Donald Trump, if he said once at the rally in New Hampshire the other night that the Squad is the new face of the Democratic Party...

MATTHEWS:  Oh, yes.  He wants...


FINEMAN:  ... he said it a dozen times. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, let`s talk politics. 

FINEMAN:  That`s Trump. 

MATTHEWS:  Let`s talk about the big part of this. 

He has done what he wants to do.  Trump wants to make Tlaib and Omar, you know, and AOC, he wants them to be the Democratic Party.  He has picked this fight.  Was this strategic? 

KUMAR:  He does.  He does pick this fight. 

MATTHEWS:  He doesn`t want to fight Pelosi, who looks like a grownup. 


KUMAR:  Yes.  He did this on purpose in terms of he -- it`s exactly what he wants.  Right? 

In the big picture, I think that he has always done sort of it`s an us against them.  We have talked about this before. 


KUMAR:  Whoever the us and them are.  It`s different every time.

But, yes, he wants them to be the face.  He thinks they are not going to be popular.  He thinks they`re too liberal.  He thinks they`re fill in the blank, whatever it is.  But he wants that to be what people going into the election see. 

MATTHEWS:  And he also believes one side wins, one side loses. 

FINEMAN:  Yes, it`s a zero sum game for him. 


FINEMAN:  And my theory on that is it goes back to real estate in New York, where either you -- the only way you win the right to build the building is by knocking the hell out of everybody else competing with it. 

It`s a zero sum...

MATTHEWS:  But didn`t Merv Griffin beat him? 

FINEMAN:  It`s a zero -- yes. 


MATTHEWS:  He didn`t win every fight, yes.

FINEMAN:  And it ought to -- everybody keeps thinking this time the enemies list that he devices isn`t going to have the same amount of power. 

It keeps having it, whether this fight is what -- certainly, he does well in the cultural things.  His problem is, if he tries to use this strategy on the economy by blaming the Fed, blaming the Chinese and so on, I don`t think it`s going to work, because that`s the area that he is supposed to be expert in. 

If he is suddenly saying I`m getting beat by overwhelming -- the overwhelming forces of the Fed or the Chinese, I don`t think that`s going to work.  And that`s part of the reason why he potentially has a problem on the economy. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, President Trump`s attempts to use the power of the presidency to retaliate against his political rivals was also detailed in the Mueller report itself. 

There were numerous instances where the president sought the Department of Justice and then Attorney General Jeff Sessions to go after his 2016 presidential rival Hillary Clinton, even though -- excuse me -- she had been cleared by the FBI already. 

Quote: "On October 16, 2017, the president met privately with Sessions and said the Department of Justice was not investigating individuals and events that the president thought the department should be investigating, according to contemporaneously notes taken by Rob Porter, the former White House staff secretary, who was at the meeting.  The president mentioned Clinton`s e-mails and said: `Don`t have to tell us.  Just take a look.`"

So there he is. 

KUMAR:  There he is.  He`s putting it all out there. 

He`s doing what he wants to do. 


MATTHEWS:  Go get Hillary.  Lock her up. 

KUMAR:  But you know what?  His supporters like that.  They do like it.  It is lock her up.  They still are talking about 2016. 

But they like that he is out there and being brash and saying here`s what I`m going to do, and I`m just going to just go out there and do it.  They deserve that. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me tell you, Howard, because that`s the oldest question in my head, like two months ago. 


MATTHEWS:  I keep thinking over and over, he is ticking off minorities, who will vote they have never voted before, I think.

FINEMAN:  Right. 

MATTHEWS:  And they have not have been that excited in 2016, but they`re going to damned excited in 2020 in the big cities.  There won`t be any shortfall in the big cities next time. 


MATTHEWS:  The suburban women who had a problem whatever with Hillary, whatever, that was all personal stuff with the Comey report and everything, that`s not going to be there, and they`re going to be offended by this racial stuff. 

So, I don`t know.  Where are these new voters that Trump is going for? 


KUMAR:  He is not going for new voters. 

FINEMAN:  He`s not.  He`s not. 

KUMAR:  He`s not.  He`s going for the base.

MATTHEWS:  Can he win with the same voters? 

KUMAR:  He thinks -- they think they can win if those people get out. 

MATTHEWS:  The same ones? 

KUMAR:  The same ones.  But they all have to -- it has to be turnout.  It`s all about turnout. 

MATTHEWS:  But more turnout than `16?


MATTHEWS:  Wait a minute.

Anita, more turnout?  More angry white people, to be blunt? 

KUMAR:  I mean, he -- they feel like -- I`m not saying they`re not doing anything to try to get some of those people, but then he does one thing and then he does another, so he might lose them.  They feel like turnout, it`s all about turnout.  Turnout, turnout, turnout. 

FINEMAN:  But he has pained himself into a corner here, Chris.  He said in New Hampshire last night -- he said, whether you like me or not, you`re going have to vote for me. 


KUMAR:  Right. 


MATTHEWS:  I still laugh. 

FINEMAN:  Because the economy is come -- is great and the left is coming to destroy it. 

But if he is going to try to blame the Fed, I mean, that`s 8chan stuff.  That`s not even 4chan.  That`s 8chan.  That`s not going to work. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  I don`t know what that means. 


FINEMAN:  I`m sorry. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  I`m still an early...


FINEMAN:  It`s the sub-reaches of the Internet. 

MATTHEWS:  I`m an early 21st century guy.


MATTHEWS:  Anyway, Howard, you`re zooming past us in the time warp.  I`m kidding.  I will learn that from you afterwards.

Howard Fineman, thank you.  Anita Kumar. 

Up next:  President Trump`s rally -- he`s a good teacher.  He understands the infirmities of the student. 


MATTHEWS:  Thank you very much.

New Hampshire, by the way, showcased that now familiar Trumpian bravado, but there was something else going on, a lot of rambling detours, a lot of repetition last night, uncharacteristically defensive on the economy last night.

So, what`s going on with Trump lately?  Has he lost some marbles, some shingles from the roof?  Is he not the guy he was? 

There are all different ways of asking the question. 

Omarosa Manigault-Newman is going to answer it.  So is Mr. Anthony Scaramucci and friends.  They are going to talk about what it`s like to be with Trump and to watch his decline. 

You`re watching HARDBALL. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  Last night, President Trump held a nearly two-hour-long rambling rally up in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Amid growing tensions over economic volatility, the president sought comfort from approximately 12,000 adoring supporters. 

"The New York Times" described the president as typically rambling, veering on and off script, seemingly at random, over an hour-and-a-half.  He repeated points he had already made earlier in the evening, as if he did not remember already making them. 

Let`s watch some of it. 


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Remember what happened during the primary?  Trump should come in third or fourth, and we came in easily number one. 

Do we give up make America great again for keep America great?  Is there anything better than a Trump rally? 


TRUMP:  But, you know, it`s really we.  It`s not me.  We`re doing it together. 

They came from the hills.  It will be wonderful to make a deal.  I don`t think we`re ready to make a deal. 

That guy`s got a serious weight problem.  Go home, start exercising. 

I want to take 100 percent of the credit for the incredible turnaround of New Hampshire. 

They want wind, wind.  Wind is oh so beautiful, as long as you don`t have to stare at a windmill and your house goes down in value, like to nothing. 



MATTHEWS:  Where does that come from? 

In a "USA Today" piece, conservative columnist Tom Nichols explained why he would rather vote for almost any 2020 Democratic nominee over President Trump. 

He writes: "Trump has never been a reasonable man, but for two years he has gotten worse.  He literally cannot tell the truth from a lie.  He often seems completely unable to comprehend even basic information, and he flies off the handle in ways that would have made most of us take our children to a pediatrician for evaluation.  I`m willing to live whoever wins the Democratic primary process.  I will likely hate the nominee`s policies, but at least I will not be concerned that he or she is incapable of understanding the nuclear or the cyber." 

Nichols is not the only one warning about the dangers of four more years of Donald Trump. 

Stay tuned after this break to hear what two notable people -- three, actually -- who have worked for the president, including Omarosa Manigault- Newman and Anthony Scaramucci, have to say on this question of the president`s marbles. 

You`re watching HARDBALL. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

Roughly a week ago, former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci made a public break with President Trump and called on other Republicans to do the same. 

On Trump, Scaramucci told "Vanity Fair": "He is not a racist, because -- this is very important -- he is actually worse than a racist.  He is also narcissistic.  He doesn`t see people as people.  He sees them as objects in his field of vision.  We have got to defeat him.  Everybody in the Republican Party knows it.  They don`t want to lose their mantle of power and their mantle of leadership, so let`s primary the guy."

And he is not the only one.  Omarosa Manigault-Newman, former senior White House official, who has known the president since 2003, has said that President Trump -- President Trump is unfit to be president. 

And J.W. Verret, a former Trump transition member, called for impeachment proceedings to begin after reading the Mueller report. 

Well, you read it.  Good for you, sir.

And they are all going to join me now.  And they all have joined me.

So, let me go to Scaramucci. 

Sir, Anthony, it`s always great to have you on the show. 

Give us -- I have been a lot of occasions where people want to hear what it`s like behind the scenes, not what people say on television.  So, can you give us a sense, like you`re a movie director? 

Tell us what it`s like to be with Trump.  What he`s like when you`re talking turkey with him, when you`re talking what you`re going to do that day, what you`re up to, who you`re against? 

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR:  Well, listen, I -- you know, I don`t want to be overly redundant on this sort of stuff.  It`s just very simple.  He is not a guy that listens. 

He is a guy that is keeping his own counsel, and he is guy that is having a run-on, rambling -- run-on, rambling sentence to himself.  And so what ends up happening is all strategy and the locus of strategy and any device gets defused.  And the president is obviously very insecure, so he has a hard time allowing any other person to take credit in the room. 

Steve Bannon used to joke and say there are no co-stars in Trump`s orbit.  He is not going let anybody else take credit for anything. 


SCARAMUCCI:  And so that makes it a very big problem when you have got a trade situation, because you have got economic advisers, Wall Street people that can tell you -- provide predictability for business leaders large and small as it relates to these tariffs, but the president doesn`t do something like that. 

That`s advice that he could be getting from somebody, and then maybe somebody, God forbid, could take credit for something.  And so he does the Trump tariff roulette, and the ball is spinning all over the place.  And now investment capital is down in the first and second quarter, will likely be down in the third quarter. 

 So, that`s sort of what goes on behind the scenes.  And so, yes -- and, again, everybody knows it.  And the question that the American people -- we have to litigate this before the American people.  They just need the facts.  They need more people to speak out. 

And we have to litigate this before the American people.  Do you want somebody for the next five years that`s not going to take anybody`s counsel inside the White House and just literally be talking to himself in that stream of consciousness that you just witnessed in New Hampshire last night?

So that`s what we got to do.  It`s a patriotic duty for my fellow Republicans to do that as well.  And so I feel compelled to speak out about it because I love my country. 

MATTHEWS:  Omarosa, let`s talk about the three face of Eve here, if you will. 


MATTHEWS:  You knew him from "Apprentice." 


MATTHEWS:  You knew him from the politics with him, and you know him from the -- having looked in the rear-view mirror at the guy. 


MATTHEWS:  Tell me what they`re like.  What was the guy -- he made a lot of money and succeeded big-time in prime-time TV with that persona, that serious judger of political horsepower, if you will, economic horsepower. 

Was that just a show? 


I mean, back in 2004, when "The Apprentice" premiered, we watched a very sharp, intelligent, articulate Donald Trump put on the show for the world. 

What we`re watching is Donald Trump in complete and total mental decline.  He can`t finish a thought, a sentence.  He can`t even conceptualize simple policy issues.  And so we should be very concerned about his mental state as he leads this country. 

MATTHEWS:  What do you think?  What do you think about this economic?  He spent enormous amount of treasury power with his tax cut, and, apparently, it`s going to fizzle out like a... 


MATTHEWS:  ... like pretty cheap fireworks. 

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN:  Oh, absolutely. 

MATTHEWS:  And it`s not going get the economy on a big roll. 

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN:  And it`s the thing that worries him the most, because he has hinged his whole reelection campaign on the economy.  And we`re seeing the declines. 

We`re seeing the indicators, and we`re seeing him unravel, because he knows, if there is an economic downturn, that he more than likely will not be reelected. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me talk about the transition, where you worked, J.W.

And he picked all these people like the first pancakes.  They`re all disasters.  You know what I mean?  The first pancake is always a disaster.  I don`t know if you don`t cook breakfast, but most people know what I`m talking about.  You look like I`m crazy.  But that`s how people judge.



MATTHEWS:  It seems like every first appointment was a disaster.  They didn`t click with him.  They weren`t the personalities.  And then, after a year or two, he finds somebody else. 

What was the transition like in that regard?  Just picking the wrong people everywhere? 

J.W. VERRET, FORMER TRUMP TRANSITION STAFFER:  Well, I think there were some successes, actually, but they weren`t his, like the rest of his administration. 

I think he had some great picks on Vice Chairman Quarles for the Fed, or you`re looking at most of the original Federal Reserve nominees in my policy area. 

MATTHEWS:  But he hates them. 

VERRET:  But that was all Pence on regulatory appointments, just like success with tax reform was Paul Ryan`s.  Judges that I love -- we will agree to disagree -- that was McConnell`s victory, not his. 

So the successes have been other leaders, and the flaws have been his.  I won`t pretend to diagnosis this man who`s deeply flawed on his best day, but we should try to diagnosis what`s going on with the country here that they would vote for this man. 

MATTHEWS:  Did you watch last night? 

VERRET:  I did.  And I don`t know...


MATTHEWS:  Is he thinking?  Or is this some sort of weird peripatetic reaction, electric kind of mind go -- what else can I think about at this second?  what else is coming to mind?

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN:  He is stuck in reruns. 

If you think of him as a TV performer, he is stuck in rerun, and he can`t get out.  It`s really difficult to watch. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  Well, he`s on Hillary.  He can`t get off Hillary.

Anyway, President Trump has a history of making bizarre and somewhat confusing comments.  Let`s take a look. 


TRUMP:  In June of 1775, the Continental Congress created a unified army out of the revolutionary forces encamped around Boston and New York. 

Our army manned the air.  It rammed the ramparts.  It took over the airports.  It did everything it had to do. 

Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who has done an amazing job that is being recognized more and more, I notice. 

I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little bit later, you wouldn`t have had the Civil War.  He was -- he was a very tough person, but he had a big heart, and he was he was really angry that -- he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War.  He said, there is no reason for this. 

You guys know what this represents? 



MATTHEWS:  You know, Anthony, I think he took history at Wharton.  They don`t teach history at Wharton, which explains why he doesn`t know any history. 

What do you make about the airports back during the American Revolution?  That they were probably not that busy, since there was no airplanes. 

SCARAMUCCI:  You know, look, I`m not here to just perpetually bash him. 

I would give him a pass on that, because he probably has a hard time reading the prompter.  And so that -- I will give him the pass on that. 

But what I won`t give him a pass on is drawing the historical context to policy.  And what I won`t give him the pass on is the demagoguery.  And so if he really understood history and leadership and what happens to demagogues, Chris, they flame out. 

And our last big-time demagogue was Joe McCarthy.  And so this thing is going to arc and burn brightly, and then all of the sudden it`s going to bristle and flame out.  And then people around him -- when the spell breaks, the people around him will be, like, wait, what were we doing? 

And so Omarosa and I are trying to help him.  There were many other people in there who are trying to help them.  Omarosa and I are willing to speak out about it.  There are people behind the scenes -- I talked to many of them over the last four or five days -- that are getting ready. 

And, again, we have to make this known for the sake of the American people.  They have to see it for exactly what it is.  Then they themselves can make that assessment.  That`s what makes a democracy very strong, Chris. 

But it`s the demagoguery and the lack of understanding of that historical context and what it means to a country like ours. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, Joe McCarthy -- I studied a lot of this -- lasted about four-and-a-half years.  He had a hell of a run.  It was awful, but he lasted right through spring of `54.  And he started in January `50. 

How is long this president`s demagoguery going to succeed?  Because I notice the demagogues, the good ones, tend to build things.  The real populists like Huey Long, Hitler, they built stuff.  This guy`s not building anything. 

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN:  Well, he`s not building anything because he didn`t come in on a strong foundation.

That reel of comments and missteps that you showed, it demonstrates to the American people that, one, this president doesn`t read.  He has difficulty reading.  He has difficulty comprehending.

And a couple of those, I was sitting next to him when he referenced Frederick Douglass still being alive.  It wasn`t because we didn`t brief him.  It`s because the information we gave him, he couldn`t process, and he could not regurgitate that information. 

And so that`s what the American people should be really concerned about is, how is this president going to lead the nation, when he can`t keep straight basic facts about history, policy, the economy, and the general state of this country?

MATTHEWS:  He can`t read.

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN:  I mean, you saw himself.  In the prompter, they had Dayton and they had El Paso, and he read Toledo and Michigan. 


We have got get some pictures, I think, from the White House photography office, whatever you call it now, of the president of the United States -- Signal Corps -- reading the paper.  We have got to get evidence that he can actually do it some time. 


MATTHEWS:  Our guests are sticking around. 

Up next:  A Danish politician -- yes, from Denmark -- as Bernie would say, Denmark -- has said that Trump was out to try to buy Greenland.  Greenland, he wanted to buy it from the Danes. 

Is this final proof he is a little crazy?  That`s up, the bizarre story, the craziest one ever.  The president wants to buy that picture.  Why? 

Seward`s Folly, I think they call Alaska. 

We will be right back. 



"The Wall Street Journal" first reported just yesterday that Trump has, with varying degrees of seriousness, repeatedly expressed interest in buying Greenland, yes, the country of Greenland, which is Danish territory. 

The Greenland Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted earlier today that: "We`re open for business, not for sale."

And a Danish politician said: "If he`s truly contemplating this, then this is final proof he`s gone mad."

According to "The Journal," "The Wall Street Journal": "The president has asked his White House counsel to look into the idea.  Some of his advisers have supported the concept, saying it would be a good economic play, while others dismissed it as a fleeting fascination that will never come to fruition."

Well, it`s hardly the first time Trump`s staff has had to entertain some of his wilder ideas. 

Here goes. 


QUESTION:  Can you clarify the president`s comments?  Was he referring to military action when he said calm before the storm? 

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  We`re never going to say in advance what the president`s going to do.  And, as he said last night, in addition to those comments, you will have to wait and see. 

QUESTION:  Do you think people should be concerned that the president then posted somewhat of an incoherent tweet last night, and it then stayed up for hours? 


QUESTION:  Why did it stay up so long?  Is no one watching this? 

SPICER:  No, I think the president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant. 

QUESTION:  How does he know that his phone was actually attacked? 

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER:  Let me answer that globally.  He is the president of the United States.  He has information and intelligence that the rest of us do not. 

STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned. 


MATTHEWS:  Wow.  There was a warning. 

We`re back with the people who know what it`s like, Anthony Scaramucci, Omarosa Manigault-Newman, and J.W. Verret. 

What do you make of this buy Greenland proposal, buy Greenland? 

VERRET:  I try to ignore Trump as much as I can. 

Look, this guy can`t even get a trade deal done.  He is going to get a deal done to buy Greenland?  It`s a warning to the Democratic Party, don`t just pick someone to get the other side.  That`s what happened in my party.

And I have watched it begin to lose all grounding in principle.  It`s depressing.  Don`t let that happen to your party. 

MATTHEWS:  Don`t pick a -- don`t pick somebody as wild as this one. 

VERRET:  Don`t pick somebody just to get the other side, because here`s what could happen.

I respect somebody like Joe Biden, who says nice things about Republicans like me during the primary, when it doesn`t help them.  That speaks to character. 

The future could be Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell working together, and I think that`s all right.  We can renew some of the old Reagan-Tip O`Neill back-and-forth. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, well, that`s an idea.

VERRET:  That was constructive. 


MANIGAULT-NEWMAN:  Yes, but this is just another squirrel.  He throws these squirrels out when he is trying to get us to distract from something else. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, he didn`t leak this. 

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN:  No.  But he know there`s is this long list of squirrel things, I call them, to distract. 


Anthony, you`re the business guy.  Is this just sort of the big play, like Nixon goes to China, I`m going buy Greenland? 

SCARAMUCCI:  Listen, it`s a sign of the meltdown. 

The Republicans have to make a decision.  Are they going to clean it up, which they have to do, or are they going to try to cover it up, and have this reactor explode sometime after the next election? 

I am begging my fellow Republicans to please tell the truth.  They say it off the record all over that town you`re living in, Chris.  Could you please get to a microphone and tell the truth?  The American people deserve the truth. 

MATTHEWS:  Has anybody ever stood up in a room and said, Mr. President, I think you need medical attention?




How about something less than that?  Are you serious?  How about a John McEnroe?  You`re serious? 


MANIGAULT-NEWMAN:  Very seldomly will people say, are you serious?  If you did, back when Reince was in or Kelly did, they would remove you. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Did he ever ask you to do something that you thought would be suicidal?  Did he ever say something that you thought was a proposal -- a crazy proposal? 

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN:  Well, there were tons and tons of examples in the Mueller report of him instructing people to do things that were unethical or illegal or just completely wrong. 

I mean, he was trying to send Corey Lewandowski to go see the attorney general to fire a special counsel?  I mean, there are so many examples of times that he`s directed people to do things that were just nuts. 

MATTHEWS:  Anthony, what is your relationship with the president right now if you bumped into him at a public event? 

SCARAMUCCI:  With who?  The president or the -- I didn`t hear it. 

What`s the relationship with who? 

MATTHEWS:  The president.  Donald Trump, the man, the president of the United States, if you bumped into -- if you have eye contact with him, what happens?


SCARAMUCCI:  This is not a -- this is not a personal thing for me whatsoever, OK? 

MATTHEWS:  I`m just wondering what it`s like.  What`s it like? 

SCARAMUCCI:  So, I have no idea. 

I haven`t seen him in a while.  So I don`t know.  I will be very nice to him.  I`m a respectful guy.  I respect the office.  I -- you know, I feel bad for him because he is in steady decline.  He was a much better guy 10 or 15 years ago, when I was at a Yankee game with him. 

But this is a problem now for the country.  OK?  This self-destruction is tied to the future of the country. 

But this is not a personal thing for me.  I would be pleasant to him, like I am to everybody.  Come on, man.  I go on MSNBC.  That`s like being a Yankee in Fenway Park.  You guys like me.  I get along with everybody, Chris.  I got no problem with anybody. 

MATTHEWS:  Who right now -- if you could pick the next president, who would you pick right now, Democrat, Republican, independent? 

SCARAMUCCI:  I don`t want to say, because there are three or four people who would definitely be a Republican, and there are three or four people on the Republican side that, if we can break the dam -- we need a Eugene McCarthy to step up and say, no mas, and then we can get three or four really competitive players in the game.

And then we will win reelection.  We will not win reelection if we steadily decline the economy from here and we have a continued mental decline of the president of the United States. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Well, that`s...

SCARAMUCCI:  So, it`s time to switch jockeys.  And everybody knows it. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  That`s a nice idea. 

But Kevin McCarthy, not a bad guy, but he goes by the numbers.  And, right now, the numbers are for Trump, 89 percent, to hold the nomination. 

Thank you.  It`s great to have you guys on. 

Anthony Scaramucci...

SCARAMUCCI:  He is not an entrepreneur, Chris.  He is not an entrepreneur. 

MATTHEWS:  He`s not you.  He ain`t you.

SCARAMUCCI:  If he was an entrepreneur, he could see the possibilities.  Just watch over the next three months.  You watch. 

MATTHEWS:  OK.  I`m watching. 

Thank you, Omarosa Manigault-Newman as well.  Thank you, J.W. Verret, for joining to show. 

UP next:  Late-night Stephen Colbert pinpoints how Trump connects to voters.  This is the part we haven`t gotten to, why he`s there.

You`re watching HARDBALL. 


MATTHEWS:  Last night, Stephen Colbert offered some penetrating observations about President Trump. 

I say penetrating because too many of Trump`s critics attack the man`s surface, his bluster, his up-at-dawn off-the-wall tweets, his too-often nastiness. 

Colbert spoke about Trump`s remarkable talent for reaching in and grabbing people`s resentments, including the resentments, especially the resentments, against the country`s powers that be.


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT":  There are people who feel that the -- strangely feel like they are like him, or that he is like them, when I don`t know anyone like him. 

And -- but he says, you and me are the same, and I am being victimized.  Therefore, I understand your experience. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, that`s Trump`s ability to act and talk like the average guy or woman, someone who has spent his life -- or his life excluded, being looked down upon. 

But as Colbert points out, Trump`s life is nothing like the average guy, or any person, anyone else, really. 


COLBERT:  But, A, he is not being victimized, and he is like no one.  He was born with a gold spoon in his mouth.  And maybe he is like everybody else.  I don`t know.

I suppose people have a commonality. 

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN:  But, clearly, he`s not.

COLBERT:  But the thing -- the odd thing about the president is that we actually know nothing about him. 

We don`t know his -- we don`t know stupid things.  We don`t know school grades.  We don`t know his actual skin color.  We don`t what his actual hair is like.  We don`t know what he is worth.  We don`t know anything about his conversations with other world leaders. 

We don`t know anything about him.  That`s the odd part. 


MATTHEWS:  So how does he do it?  How does Trump relate to that large minority of the electorate, to the point that they will back him no matter how much he breaks the rules those voters themselves were brought up to honor?

Well, I believe, like Richard Nixon before him, Trump feels the resentment of that average person toward a party he, for all kinds of reasons, no more feels invited him to the party, a party led too often by the prestigiously educated, too often and too long attentive to the political insider, too long derelict in asking regular people to join them in doing something for their country, the way that Jack and Bobby Kennedy did back in the `60s. 

Listen, people like to be heard, like to be cared about, like being asked.  Donald Trump`s entire political success has been and is his awareness of those lonely millions who felt left out in the cold by those good people who, can we all agree, might have worked a little harder to keep their faith. 

And that`s HARDBALL for now. 

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.