ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Also my interview with John Kiriakou, who is a former CIA whistleblower and quite relevant on thinking about how the story evolves from here.
So join us to tomorrow on THE BEAT, 6:00 p.m. Eastern. That does it for us though. Right now, it`s "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: All the president`s men. Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
We have breaking news tonight on impeachment. The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was among the Trump officials listening in on that July phone call when the president pushed Ukrainian President Zelensky to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. That`s according to a State department official.
And though NBC News has not spoken to the official cited in the story, even though Pompeo had firsthand knowledge what was said on that call, as we`ve now learned, he was evasive when asked about that conversation just a week ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS HOST: The Wall Street Journal is reporting that President Trump pressed the president of Ukraine eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani to investigate Joe Biden`s son. What do you know about those conversations?
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: So you just gave me a report about an I.C. whistleblower complaint, none of which I have seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: He was listening in. Well, this means the U.S. Secretary of State knew it all from the get-go about Trump holding up an arms deal to a desperate Ukraine, about Trump asking dirt on Joe Biden, about Trump tying one to the other, the arms to fight Russian tanks, the dirt for him to fight Joe Biden.
Additionally, three House Committees today subpoenaed the president`s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, for documents related to the Trump Ukraine scandal, including text messages phone records and other communications that may show he acted in concert with administration officials.
Meanwhile, President Trump`s fury over impeachment is bordering on hysteria. Since Saturday, Trump has issued over 75 tweets, there they are, attacking the whistleblower and Democrats and even appeared to threaten civil war if he`s impeached.
And earlier this afternoon, Trump again defended his phone call with the Ukrainian president, said he`s trying to find out who the whistleblower is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HALLIE JACKSON, MSNBC CORRESPONDEN: Mr. President, do you now know who the whistleblower is, sir?
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, we`re trying to find out about a whistleblower. We have a whistleblower that reports things that were incorrect. As you know, and probably now have figured it out, the statement I made to the president of Ukraine, a good man, nice man, knew was perfect. It was perfect. But the whistleblower reported a totally different statement, like the statement which was not even made. The call was perfect. When the whistleblower reported it, he made it sound terrible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: He used (ph) to play off this because he`s out of the argument. The problem with the president, what he just says, his own White House`s summary of the call confirms the whistleblower`s account. It`s not about the whistleblower anymore, Mr. President. He blew or whistle or she blew the whistle, but we now know what was said in the call according to the White House.
And the inspector general said in a statement today that other information obtained in his preliminary review supported the whistleblower`s allegations.
Well, this comes as a lawyer for the whistleblower says he believes that the president`s attacks are putting his client`s safety in danger.
Another potentially big development this weekend, House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff said that his committee will hear from the whistleblower very soon. What`s not yet clear is how he or she will testify while maintaining am anonymity.
I`m joined right now by NBC News Correspondent Carol Lee, Glenn Kirschner, former federal prosecutor, Eugene Robinson, Columnist for The Washington Post, and Charlie Sykes, Editor-in-Chief of The Bulwark.
Charlie, this development that we now know Pompeo was listening in on the call, what consequences, implications does that bring?
CHARLIE SYKES, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE BULWARK: Well, I think to a certain extent, that while this may be shocking, it shouldn`t be surprising because here is a president who thinks of the federal government as an extension of himself and his own personal interests, which would also explain why he would get the attorney general involved, get the secretary of state involved.
And I think we`re starting to see the scope of the president`s obsession with using his office to develop dirt on his political opponents and to discredit the Mueller investigation. And I`m guessing we`re only beginning to see just some aspects of all of this. And in the next couple of days, I think today is going to be very typical of what we`re going to see, you`re going to start to see a great unraveling of all of this. And basically everyone around this president is being drawn in as an accomplice to the president`s abuse of power.
MATTHEWS: Carol, here`s the question, if you`re Pompeo, you know know you have been nailed as someone who knew about this from the get-go, you know about the deal-making by the president, conditioning U.S. military aid, on the fact the dirt he wants to get on his opponent, potential opponent, and he never tell anybody. Was he part of carrying this phone conversation, the word-by-word transcript hiding in a way in some subterranean garage where they hide these things? Because he either did that or he told us what was happening and he didn`t tell us what was happening.
CAROL LEE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: He didn`t. And, clearly, if he was on that call, what he said in that interview that you showed, he knew a lot more than he was letting on, obviously.
But, look, he has been --
MATTHEWS: Why was he doing that? Why was he listening in and then denying he was listening in?
LEE: He`s been one of the president`s staunchest defenders, A, and B, he has his own political ambitions. And we`ve he doesn`t want to get tied in things like this, sort of walking that balance of being one of President Trump`s biggest defenders. He`s his longest national security official and who`s been in his service since he came --
MATTHEWS: You think even Kansas will buy that this guy is a stooge?
LEE: And I think he has --
MATTHEWS: No, a stooge for this president?
LEE: -- ambitions for `2024. He has presidential ambitions.
EUGENE ROBINSON, COLUNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: He used to be said that he was the second most ambitious politician in Kansas and Mrs. Pompeo was the most ambitious politician in Kansas. But, clearly, he has desire for the higher office. I think he does think of himself for 2024.
But I think this is a fascinating window in addition to the fact that Pompeo was totally dishonest with everyone on this. I mean, you know, an omission but he was totally dishonest. But it`s a fascinating glimpse into what one obviously has to endure and put up with and confidence to work for Donald Trump and to stay in his good graces.
And Pompeo has managed to stay in his good graces, right? He has risen in the hierarchy to become Secretary of State. And he has, I think, done that by putting up with a lot of unsavory doings by the president. And I hope he`d learned about --
MATTHEWS: That`s what he`s saying about living in Boston, either you`re in with the Sox, into the whole religious aspect of that baseball team, or you don`t belong there. You can`t fake it. And it seems like if you`re in this White House, this White House, you have to be completely in on the skullduggery. We have to hear -- we`re here to screw Joe Biden if he`s the frontrunner, then we`ll screw with Elizabeth Warren if she`s the frontrunner, but that`s what we`re here for.
GLENN KRISCHNER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: And it`s even worse than just a sin omission, I think, and here`s why. We have Pompeo not only listening in, not only, perhaps, participating and burying it in the secret server, but then we have him standing up and making comments to the U.N. General Assembly about the whistleblower. And you know what he says? He tries to undercut the whistleblower`s credibility by saying, well, you know, the whistleblower, that`s just secondhand information. Well, guess what, yes, sport, you had firsthand information.
MATTHEWS: You were on the call.
KIRSCHNER: That`s worse than omission. I`m going to go out on a limb and say Mike Pompeo lacks candor.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think there`s a character issue here.
LEE: I was going to say that, in terms of whether how people stay in the president`s good graces, one person who didn`t stay in the president`s good graces was John Bolton, a former National Security Adviser. And we were reporting today -- we have reported today that he didn`t want the president to make this call because he was concerned he wasn`t coordinating with advisers about it, and he was worried that he might air some personal grievances, so to speak.
ROBINSON: And one thing we should point out about Pompeo, one thing, he is not stupid, he was like first in his classroom, I have to point, he is Harvard law, he`s a very intelligent man. So he knew what was going on. He knew exactly what he was saying and knew why he was saying it.
MATTHEWS: Look at that picture smiling together. Anyway, on Saturday, Giuliani said he was acting at the behest of the State Department when he tried to get dirt on Biden from Ukraine and that Secretary Pompeo was aware of what he was doing. I don`t know if I believed it then, I believe it now. Here we go, Rudy nailing --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS HOST: So you were acting at the behest of the State Department. And now, Secretary of State Pompeo is now being subpoenaed to testify before three separate committees.
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP`S ATTORNEY: He shouldn`t. His staff didn`t do a darn thing wrong.
PIRRO: And Kurt Volker set up this meeting --
GIULIANI: I assume the secretary knew. And when I spoke to the secretary afterwards, he told me he had some knowledge of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, just minutes ago, Giuliani responded to the subpoena he was served today by the House Intelligence Committee saying, I have received a subpoena signed only by Democrat chairs who have prejudged this case. It raises significant issues concerning legitimacy and constitutional and legal issues, including inter alia, I love the legal language there, attorney/client and other privileges. It will be given appropriate consideration.
Excuse me, Charlie, I never heard of a guy said, well, this subpoena has got the wrong signature on it. It`s a Democrat`s name on it. I thought the subpoena from a chair of a committee was -- an investigative committee, especially now that they`re under an inquiry for impeachment, should be honored not dismissed.
SYKES: Yes, but expect more of this. I mean, this has been the White House strategy to stonewall, to claim privileges, slow-walk this as much as possible. They understand that the longer they can drag this out, the more messy they can make this.
But I do think that the Democrats are showing that they understand they need to be disciplined and focused and to moved quickly on all of this and aggressively on all of this. Look, when Rudy Giuliani held up his phone on CNN and said, look, all of the emails are there, he basically invited the world to subpoena his information.
MATTHEWS: I think Joe McCarthy did that once.
SYKES: And we`re going to see it. Yes, it didn`t work out well for him.
MATTHEWS: I have here at my hands 263 names. He didn`t actually have them.
Here`s my question, strategically, on the Democrats` side, are better off of these guys, just these people refusing to honor these subpoenas. Because if they don`t honor the subpoena, it`s all part of an obstruction, it fits a pattern. If they show up and pull off a Corey Lewandowski, and they`ve got their Republican auxiliary asking stupid questions about Biden, maybe that doesn`t work so well.
KIRSCHNER: Yes. We don`t want to see Giuliani be-clown himself the way Lewandowski did. But I think Congress was smart to subpoena these documents. Why? Because Rudy Giuliani`s communications with the State Department, that he so proudly held up his cell phone to show us he had, one, they`re not covered by attorney/client privilege, because only communication with the president would be covered.
Once you -- even if he put in those communications, the president told me X, Y, and Z, he have divulged it, no more privilege. They also will not enjoy executive privilege. There`s only one privilege left for Giuliani, and it`s the big daddy of all privileges, it`s the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, and he better brush up on that one.
LEE: One of the things that we`ve seen with Giuliani is that if you talk to people around the president, no matter who you talk to, everyone seems to agree that Giuliani is a problem.
MATTHEWS: Is he? I think that`s a dodge.
LEE: And also you`ve seen William Barr --
MATTHEWS: Do you think that --
LEE: Look, if you`re Republicans on the Hill, you want him to stop talking. He`s creating more problems than he`s solving. If you`re Mike Pompeo, you don`t want him to saying that he`s checking everything out with the State Department. And if you`re Bill Barr, you don`t want to be linked to him.
And so you see it on --
MATTHEWS: What did the Congress say, the fish rots from the head?
ROBINSON: Yes. If you`re Donald Trump, you`ll love it. Trump loves it.
MATTHEWS: Oh, yes.
Anyway, meanwhile, some of the president`s allies appeared on T.V. this weekend trying and often failing to defend Trump`s conduct. Among them, White House Policy Adviser, he`s a piece of work, Stephen Miller, who argued yesterday that the president is the real whistleblower.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN MILLER, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: The president is the whistleblower here. The president of the United States is the whistleblower. And this individual is a saboteur trying to undermine a democratically elected government.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: Saboteur, is he a spy? Is he committing treason?
MILLER: I do not know.
WALLACE: The president said that. You know.
MILLER: The president correctly pointed out that the behavior of this individual is close to a spy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MILLER: Well, separately, the highest-ranking Republican in the House, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, this is amazing, appeared out of his depth. That`s I`m putting in an interview with 60 Minutes this Sunday struggling to grasp what Trump actually said to the Ukrainian president. Catch this, sugar plum.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT PELLEY, CBS NEWS HOST: What do you make of this exchange? President Zelensky says, we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes, and President Trump replies, I would like you to do us a favor though.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): You just added another word.
PELLEY: No. It`s in the transcript.
MCCARTHY: You, said I would like to you do a favor though?
PELLEY: Yes, it`s in the transcript.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, Charlie, we spent a week last week, I`m not sure if these characters watch our network, and it`s fine if they don`t, but we talked about that word, though, all week because that was the the word that told you what the condition was. I want you to do me a favor though, it`s perfect English, and this guy, Kevin McCarthy, never heard the sentence we`ve been arguing about all week. Your thoughts.
SYKES: Yes. So you have the top Republican in the House of Representatives be-clowning himself on the first weekend defending the president. I mean, this was an embarrassment, really, throughout the day. I think a lot of other Republicans need to look at that and go, okay, if this is the best we`ve got, am I going to be the next guy? Am I going to be the next Kevin McCarthy or Jim Jordan?
I think the tell was how weak their defenses were. They`re looking for a narrative but the fact is we know what the narrative is. It`s not hearsay. The president has acknowledged it. We have this quasi transcript. A lot of what happened with Ukraine took place in plain sight. Yes, there was an attempted cover-up but it`s one of the least effective cover-ups in history.
So what they`re left with is to throw stuff up against the wall, try to attack and intimidate and discredit the whistleblower. But I think the weakness of the Trump defense was really on display yesterday.
MATTHEWS: Let`s talk, Carol, about -- let`s start with this -- the safety of this whistleblower. I mean, it isn`t exactly a mob situation but it`s a little scary. This guy is under tremendous threats. He will be seen as the archenemy to everybody on the hard right, Trump right, it is an ideology. How are you going to protect this person once that his face or her face appears on the cameras or becomes more recognized for any way the rest of their life, witness protection? What are we talking about here?
LEE: It`s a huge risk, and not only that. But what the president and his allies are doing is creating this chilling effect, so that you have -- who`s going to want to come forward after seeing something like this? And it`s a huge problem. That`s why they`re doing it, exactly.
ROBINSON: This is aimed not at the whistleblower, at the whistleblower sources. That the people --
LEE: And there are people in the White House who are terrified.
ROBINSON: All of this intimidation is aimed at them.
MATTHEWS: Isn`t it a little late though? We know who they -- he or she knows who those sources are.
By the way, this was beautifully written reportage. I thought it was put together, tight as a drum. This isn`t a letter to the editor. This is serious business.
KIRSCHNER: And, Chris, this one isn`t funny. It`s called the Whistleblower Protection Act, not the Whistleblower Destruction Act.
And I`ll tell you, as a career federal prosecutor, I had so many witnesses who were at risk. And when that happened, the United States Marshal Service swooped in. They`re the ones who administer our federal witness protection program. And when you --
MATTHEWS: Well, how do you protect this person?
KIRSCHNER: You put him or her in the federal witness protection program. I`m sorry to say because you have the most reckless things said by the president and by the Stephen Millers of the world, I`ll tell you, if I were prosecuting a case and I had a witness treated the way this whistleblower was treated, I would look to lock up the people who were communicating threats against the whistleblower.
MATTHEWS: Because this person is going to be identified at some point and we`re going to have to deal with this fact, because we already know it`s a CIA agent. We know a lot. Posted at the White House, all public information, and I`m sure Trump is spending every hour trying to figure out who it is.
Carol Lee, thank you as always, thank you, Glenn Kirschner, thank you, Gene Robinson, thank you, Charlie Sykes.
Coming up, President Trump goes to the dark place, the talk of civil war and treason.
By the way, civil war is not just some concept in any country. It has an American lineage. Civil war, right versus left, south versus north, the issue of slavery, this is going to be -- he wants to reopen that San Andreas Fault in our history. That`s what he`s talking about to save his skin.
His strategy is very clear, relentlessly attack the credibility of his accuser and survive a Senate trial. All he needs is a third of the country, plus one. That`s what he`s working on now, the old Nixon strategy, survival.
Plus, polls, one showed little public support for impeachment, that`s all changed, and that`s coming up next. I`m going to talk to the case -- about the case for impeachment with senator -- actually Senator, Presidential Candidate and former prosecutor Amy Klobuchar. She`s coming here.
We`ve got much more to get through tonight. Stick with us.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
President Trump`s Twitter is a reliable insight into the president`s thinking, if that`s what it is. And if his unhinged Twitter meltdown over the last 72 hours is any indication, he`s making at least one thing clear. If he`s going down, he`s taking the country with him.
Did you hear that? If he`s going down, he`s taking this country with him.
Early this morning, the president fired off 10 tweets about the impeachment investigation, calling it a witch-hunt, of course, repeatedly referring to it -- quote -- as a "fake whistle-blower involved."
Well, those came on the heels of two dozen tweets over the weekend impugning the impeachment inquiry itself, Democrats` motives, and threats against the whistle-blower again.
On Saturday, he singled out -- quote -- "do-nothing Democrat savages," people like Nadler, Schiff, AOC plus three, and many more.
By Sunday evening, he had turned to the whistle-blower, saying -- returned, rather: "I deserve to meet my accuser," accusing House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of fraud and treason, and warning of big consequences.
He capped this weekend screed quoting a FOX guest, evangelical preacher Robert Jeffress, warning of dire consequences -- quote -- "If the Democrats are successful in removing the president from office, which they will never do" -- that`s Trump -- "it will cause a civil war-like fracture in this nation from which our country will never heal."
For more, I`m joined by former Democratic Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Maryland, who is a contributing columnist to "The Washington Post," and Andrew Sullivan, contributing editor at "New York Magazine."
Andrew, welcome back from the north, from Cape Cod.
ANDREW SULLIVAN, "NEW YORK MAGAZINE": Thank you.
MATTHEWS: I just want to ask you, it`s awful down here. And what about this president threatening civil war if he loses this fight?
SULLIVAN: Well, the first thing to say, I think, is to take a few steps back and realize, if you knew someone in your family or a friend or relative or your boss who was tweeting this kind of stuff all day long, you would seek help for that person.
This is so out of the mainstream, so out of the mental normal spectrum of intelligent, psychologically adjusted people. We have someone who is deeply psychologically unwell in this White House.
He is currently in a state of decompensation for his narcissism. He`s going to lash out at everyone, and he`s going to seek revenge. And he`s lost, because he doesn`t have a defense, because he`s admitted it up front.
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s rational, because I think he has a problem.
SULLIVAN: He does have a problem.
But he`s unable to cope with it. He`s panicking. He has to lash out. He has to go hysterical. This is -- this period is when he`s at its most dangerous.
That`s why I think the closer we get to getting rid of him, the crazier this guy is going to get. He`s prepared to take down any institution, any constitutional norm, anything, rather than actually give up power.
MATTHEWS: Your thoughts, Donna? Because I agree with that.
DONNA EDWARDS (D), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN: Well, you know, short program. I agree with it, too.
I mean, I think that what`s happened here is that the president is being painted into a box, and he`s being painted into that box by his own words, 10 words.
I would like...
MATTHEWS: Do me a favor, though.
EDWARDS: ... you to do me a favor, though.
MATTHEWS: And even his own people don`t know the words yet. Isn`t that funny Kevin choked on that?
EDWARDS: Right. Yes.
And so, I mean, it`s really clear that, the more he gets painted into that box, the greater danger it is for the rest of us, because he says things that are completely unhinged, very dangerous.
And it`s amazing that Republicans aren`t coming out and saying...
MATTHEWS: Let`s try this.
Suppose this summer, he saw Biden`s numbers go up. Biden`s numbers have come down, of course. And Elizabeth Warren`s going up. We know all that.
But, back then, two or three months ago, when this whole thing got run up to, he sees himself losing to Mr. Good Guy, Joe Biden, Mr. Rogers, almost, regular guy. He says, I am scared. I am so desperate, I`m going to call a foreign leader and ask for some dirt, and actually hold up arms shipments to them to fight the Russians to save my keister, right?
And in the act of doing the most desperate act, he gets caught doing the most desperate act.
Anyway, Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger blasted the president -- Republican -- for quoting the Texas pastor saying on civil war, there would be a civil war-like fracture if Trump were impeached.
Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, wrote: "I have visited nations ravaged by civil war. I have never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a president. This is beyond repugnant."
Meanwhile, former Democratic Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona urged his former Senate colleagues to put principles over politics in 2020.
In a "Washington Post" op-ed titled "Fellow Republicans, There`s Still Time to Save Your Souls," Flake argued: "It is time to risk your careers in favor of your principles. Whether you believe the president deserves impeachment, you know he does not deserve reelection."
SULLIVAN: I think the really interesting thing is that...
MATTHEWS: Aren`t these guys only -- they`re only honest when they`re gone?
SULLIVAN: It does -- you could do with a Republican that actually said these things when they`re in office and had some actual flexibility.
The thing for me is that it`s clear to me, by the release of the information, that Trump deep down doesn`t think he did anything wrong. He`s never understood his role. He doesn`t understand the rule of law.
His view the law is, what can I get away with?
Tillerson told us, everything he was asking to do was a crime. This man -- I watched "Goodfellas" last night.
SULLIVAN: Because I wanted to brush up a little bit on how these people think.
He has never distinguished himself and his own interests from the presidency itself. He doesn`t have any responsibility for the country. He`s prepared to -- he`s already bankrupting us, a trillion dollars a year. He doesn`t care.
He said, run the presses. This is a man who is going out flailing. I don`t think he will leave this office voluntarily. I just don`t.
EDWARDS: Well, I mean, if you look at it, the president thought that the memo that was released was going to be exculpatory, that it would somehow sort of exonerate him.
EDWARDS: And, of course, it did not.
And, again, I think the closer this president really gets to the line, we are going to see all kinds of crazies -- crazy. And I think Democrats really have to be prepared to take that hard vote. They have already narrowed the focus of their investigation, which I think is really important for them.
EDWARDS: And they have to be prepared to move this man out of office.
SULLIVAN: His psyche needs this not to happen.
MATTHEWS: Doesn`t it scare you, this latest news we had in the last hour, that it`s not just him and Rudy, who obviously go off in their own crazy direction as a duo?
MATTHEWS: But Pompeo is in on this.
EDWARDS: All the president`s men.
MATTHEWS: All the men -- president.
The secretary of state. This is a state -- a matter of state right now.
MATTHEWS: They`re all -- if you`re a foreign leader, you`re watching the news right now, the wire tickers or whatever it is. My God, the secretary of state? Is Mnuchin in on this too? Are they all on this?
Is the United States government, not just Trump?
SULLIVAN: Yes, it is, because the United States government has ceased to exist.
EDWARDS: Well, because...
SULLIVAN: We have Trump.
We have a monarchy of sorts using the apparatus of the federal government in a way that was never meant to be used.
This means every ambassador in the world who is representing us in every little country and big country is working for Trump and Pompeo. They`re together.
SULLIVAN: Yes, or they`re not working at all.
EDWARDS: And we`re going to find out.
I mean, I think that there are more tentacles here than we can even begin to grab hold of, because everybody that President Trump touches turns to dirt. And it`s happening in this government.
MATTHEWS: You know, my part of my brain says -- I`m not a lawyer. I say it all the time.
Part of me says, I hope they all stand up to these subpoenas. I hope they all get held with contempt, I hope, because the way they brought McCarthy down wasn`t how he treated witnesses. It was how he treated the Senate when it came at him.
And in the end, it`s your basic behavior when you`re under target, when you are challenged and when you are indicted in an impeachment process. It`s how you behave then that says who you really are. And he may say, screw you, and that will get him out of there.
SULLIVAN: This narcissist -- this is a clinical condition -- can`t handle if some exterior force is revealing and making him face reality.
So we`re going to get extremely irrational stuff coming from this man. And who knows what he could do?
MATTHEWS: I think, inside the White House, they`re scared.
EDWARDS: I think we`re going to get more people inside the White House who are going to be willing to step forward, because they do not want to go down for this man.
MATTHEWS: Andrew Sullivan, my friend, thank you for coming back. I know you were away for the summer, as you always come back with a nice tan and all that stuff. But I`m glad you`re back healthy.
SULLIVAN: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: And thank you, Donna, as always. You`re becoming one of our stars here. And I mean that.
And, of course, you know that, because you`re a great writer. And that`s the key. And if you can`t write, you can`t think. Somebody once said that.
EDWARDS: I agree with that.
MATTHEWS: Somebody once said that. It`s a brutal statement, but it`s true.
Up next: Congressional Democrats are presenting a united front on impeachment, especially now that Trump is attacking the whistle-blower and predicting a second U.S. civil war if he`s removed from office.
And where are the Republicans on all this? The silence is deafening.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Senator, what does happen in the Senate if the House does get -- get through with this inquiry and decide that they are going to impeach President Trump?
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Well, under the Senate rules, we`re required to take it up if the House does go down that path. And we will follow the Senate rules.
It`s a Senate rule related to impeachment. It would take 67 votes to change. So I would have no choice but to take it up. How long you`re on it is a whole different matter, but I would have no choice but to take it up, based on a Senate rule on impeachment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was, of course, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell telling CNBC today that, according to Senate rules, he`d have to move forward on impeachment if the House impeaches President Trump.
He is referring to the Senate rule which states that, upon such articles being presented to the Senate, the Senate shall proceed to the consideration of such articles.
But as "The Washington Post"`s Philip Bump points out, Senator McConnell added an important caveat on the impeachment process, that how long you`re on it is a whole different matter, whatever that means.
Anyway, Bump notes that it is easy to imagine McConnell moving quickly to a vote.
I`m joined right now by Minnesota Senator -- well, Democratic Senator and presidential candidate, of course, Amy Klobuchar, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee and would be a juror on the impeachment trial.
Thank you so much, Senator.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Let`s just pick on where Mitch McConnell led off.
What is the latitude in the rules if the House -- it looks like the House is going to get a majority. I`m just speculating. I think they will, because of so many Democrats who have now come out for this process and the way it`s moving.
If it comes to the Senate, do you see any wiggle room on the part of Mitch, how he handles it?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, you heard that wiggle room right there, Chris.
I`m actually the ranking on the Rules Committee. And so I listened very carefully when he said -- made that caveat about how long we stay on it, which is interesting, because way back in the spring, he actually used the word trial.
Now, that`s a big difference. If we actually have a trial, that is one thing, which is what we should do. And I actually took part in the last impeachment case in the Senate, which was a federal judge in Louisiana.
And we had a trial that lasted over a week. We brought the evidence to the Senate. There were 15 of us, and we actually had a trial.
The prosecutor, by the way, from over in the House was Adam Schiff.
KLOBUCHAR: We ended up -- yes. And we ended up impeaching the judge.
And so the point of the story is that I`m concerned that he wouldn`t allow that full trial to go forward.
Now, what will make a difference here. And that is what Speaker Pelosi has been talking about, to keep this focused, as Donna just noticed -- noted, keep this focus on what happened here.
And that is that a president called a foreign leader and asked him, get dirt on one of his political opponents. And there`s new reports today that, actually, the same thing may have happened with the Australian prime minister. And there may be recordings or reports from that call.
And so I see this as a global Watergate, where this is a president that was, as you said, desperate. He`s trying to get dirt. And then, when they get caught, there`s a cover-up.
And they didn`t have file cabinets anymore, like they did in Watergate, but now they`re using this super secret server and putting the calls over there, so they think no one`s going to see them. Well, they did. And they learned about it because of the whistle-blower.
So we have to keep this focused on the facts. And I believe that, if more witnesses come forward, and there are people that worked in that White House that despise this president because of his lack of patriotism, and if they start coming forward with corroborating evidence, that will make all the difference.
That will determine the case, how strong it is, what Mitch McConnell will do. And public opinion will matter, as Speaker Pelosi has rightfully noted. And then our Republican colleagues are really on the hot seat.
They have got to decide if they`re going to put their country first or partisanship first. They talk a good game on security. Well, let`s see it happen.
MATTHEWS: Well, Senator, you mentioned that NBC News has confirmed that President Trump sought help from the Australian prime minister to investigate the origins of former special counsel Robert Mueller`s Russia investigation.
That`s according to a Justice Department official, who says Attorney General Barr asked Trump to make the call to seek Australia`s help. And the call was first reported by "The New York Times."
Additionally, "The Washington Post" now reports late tonight that Barr has held private meetings overseas with foreign intelligence officials seeking their help in a Justice Department inquiry that President Trump hopes will discredit U.S. intelligence agencies` examination of Russian interference in the 2016 -- this -- somebody said the other day it`s a white whale.
It`s like Captain Ahab. He`s obsessed, this president, with trying to somehow erase the record of Russian interference and the Russian role in helping him become president.
It`s like he`s taken the State Department. Every foreign leader that gets on the phone with him or Pompeo now gets grilled into saying, come on, we need some help with dirt collection, because we got to go back and erase history that we had some -- the Russians had something to do with putting our guy in there.
KLOBUCHAR: And this actually goes back to meeting in a bar in London, where Papadopoulos, remember that name...
KLOBUCHAR: ... met with an Australian diplomat, and the Australian diplomat was concerned enough that he reported this up the line that Papadopoulos, on behalf of the Trump campaign, was looking for dirt on Secretary Clinton.
And so that is his obsession, where it came from. But I think we have got to go back from that Mueller investigation, because our focus right now, again, is what he is doing now, and not everything from the past, Chris, as much -- as alluring it is to collect all these dots.
And I`m sure we can do that at some point, but is on the actions, the actions that are in the document.
MATTHEWS: I`m with you.
KLOBUCHAR: This idea that he betrayed his country and put his, as usual, business, personal and partisan interests first. And we have to keep it that simple.
Yes, you get the corroborating evidence. And my guess is, it may involve calls to other leaders in foreign countries. But you have got to keep it on that, because it`s a current-focused investigation.
And I think that makes a difference. For any of my colleagues -- and Senator -- former Senator Flake made that point. It`s a clarion call to them, because this is not something that was a past election. This is something that is happening right now.
And if they want a touchstone for themselves, how about James Madison, Constitutional Convention? When they were talking about the articles of impeachment, he argued for them at the convention, with the argument that a president might, in his words, betray the trust of our country to a foreign power.
This is exactly what they were worried about. And this is exactly what is happening.
MATTHEWS: Quick question.
If you get the impeachment from the House by Thanksgiving, can you finish the matter before the end of the year?
KLOBUCHAR: I think we can.
I think it is very important that we move forward. And I will note, as someone who`s running for president, that we can do two things at once. We can focus on making sure that we have a rule of law in place and that we don`t have a president that`s flaunting it and is not held to the highest standards, and at the same time push for an optimistic economic agenda for this country, because this president isn`t doing it.
He`s spending his morning, instead of working on the cost of prescription drugs or helping build infrastructure, or working on the disaster going on with our farmers in the Midwest, including Iowa, because of his oil waivers and his trade war. Instead of working on that, he`s out tweeting about presidential harassment in all caps and spending his time doing these crazy tweets all morning. This is not what you want in a leader.
MATTHEWS: Senator, you don`t have to tell me that you could do more than 10 things at the same time. You are so gung-ho, you`re not worn out by this campaign. You`re energized by it.
Thank you so much. Amy Klobuchar --
KLOBUCHAR: It is the last day of the quarter, Chris. Important day. So thank you very much.
MATTHEWS: Oh, that has to do with running for president -- yes, I know. Thank you very much, Senator Amy Klobuchar --
KLOBUCHAR: Goodbye. Thank you.
MATTHEWS: -- of Minnesota, candidate for president.
KLOBUCHAR: Still ahead tonight on HARDBALL, new polling, interesting new polling just shows a big shift in the public`s view of impeachment. Guess what? They`re for it.
The bus has left the station, Mr. President.
That`s next on HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
It`s been a week now, roughly a week, since the news of an anonymous whistleblower`s complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry. And since that time, several new polls show a shift in public opinion in favor of impeachment. According to a CBS/YouGov poll, 55 percent of Americans now believe an impeachment inquiry into President Trump is necessary, 55 percent.
Meanwhile, a brand-new Quinnipiac poll shows the country is evenly split, even on the question of whether or not the president should be impeached and removed from office now. Look, it`s already even. They didn`t even have the trial yet or vote in the House and it`s 47 percent to get rid of the guy. 47 percent support the impeachment and removal of President Trump while 47 are opposed to that, as if it`s already over.
And that represents a 20-point swing in favor of impeachment since six days ago when Quinnipiac previously asks the question. So, in six days, it went from 37 to 47 to get rid of the president right now.
Sources telling NBC News the president has been paying very close attention to the polls, as he would. Two sources with direct knowledge tell NBC that President Trump told allies days ago that he would start worrying about losing Republican support if national polls went up 50 percent of Americans supporting impeachment. Well, they have.
Meanwhile, President Trump is doing everything he can trying to combat the march to impeachment. And that`s next.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
President Trump and his allies spent the weekend charging that a coup d`etat is under way, escalating his attacks and called the Democrats coming after him savages, and threatened his enemies with prison.
In an interview with "60 Minutes" last night, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had a different message for the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Speak of the truth. Honor your oath of office to the Constitution of the United States. Speak the truth and let us work together to have this big, unifying experience, not a dividing one for our country. Don`t make this any worse than it already is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, yesterday during a call with her caucus, Speaker Pelosi tried to highlight the sober nature of this moment. According to multiple sources on that call, the caucus chair, Hakeem Jeffries, also urged Democrats to stick to a simple message when talking about impeachment.
Here`s the words he wants: betrayal, abuse of power and national security.
For more, I`m joined by Susan Page, "USA Today" Washington bureau chief, and, of course, Ginger Gibson, "Reuters" political correspondent.
Thank you all.
You know, I belong to no organized political party, I`m a Democrat. But it seems to be not true right now, they seem to be organized.
GINGER GIBSON, REUTERS: They are at least somewhat on message and trying to carve that message. I talked to a number of moderate House numbers, some of them in very difficult districts, last week. And they were on page. They felt their leadership was giving them direction.
A source familiar with that call told me today that the Pelosi call, the DCCC, their campaign arm, is also telling them to understand what the local voters want and need and want to hear and what their concerns are. DCCC has offered to help pay for the polling, to poll in these local districts and they`re telling their members to go out and have conversations with their constituents, hear what their concerns are and know what those constituents think.
MATTHEWS: Well, isn`t it time to deliver a message rather than just listen to messages, that this president traded his public position of being United States commander in chief, looking out for our allies in terms of military defense, for chief political information on his enemies.
SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, USA TODAY: There`s one Democrats have unified message, that`s Nancy Pelosi has taken charge of this. Before this, you know, she was trying to hold back on impeachment. You had Jerry Nadler trying to push forward, and not in particularly effective way, making the case --
MATTHEWS: You mean Corey Lewandowski hearing, it wasn`t successful.
PAGE: Not a successful hearing.
MATTHEWS: That was the nadir.
PAGE: Now, Nancy Pelosi is running this. She`s got an ally, Adam Schiff - -
PAGE: -- chairman of the Intelligence Committee, taking the lead on this. She needs to find a narrow impeachment inquiry that focuses strictly on Ukraine and doesn`t take in every other grievance the Democrats have against President Trump.
MATTHEWS: How does a party, like this weekend, Beto, who all -- he seems to get ahead of the band, you know, confiscate all of the AR-15s or whatever. This time, he said, the guy ought to resign.
Well, he`s not going to resign. What`s -- do you think that helps? Is that on message, the president should resign right now?
GIBSON: I don`t think the president is going to listen to him by any means.
MATTHEWS: Right. But does it hurt Democratic coherence?
GIBSON: I don`t know that it does hurt Democratic coherence to have Beto saying resign. I think if you ask anybody running for president, Trump should just step aside right now and let them be president.
GIBSON: It`s pretty consistent with the argument they`re making to the American public. I think the presidential candidates are in a little bit of a tougher position in trying to figure out what to do with this whole thing, how to talk about -- how to talk about Biden in this conversation.
Let`s be clear, you talk about no organization, Pelosi has always been the best whip I like to say --
MATTHEWS: She`s great.
GIBSON: -- since LBJ of a caucus.
MATTHEWS: I agree with that.
GIBSON: But she doesn`t run her presidential candidates. And they`re at their own interest could have their own message, and if they were all signing out the same hymn (ph), but we probably would certainly wonder --
MATTHEWS: Yes, I saw you during the break, I was thinking about the Celtic Classic up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, it`s fabulous weekend, and they show you the border collies, these little dogs and hurry the sheep in a way that`s fantastic. The guys made a look -- maybe they do it on their own, but they cut them this way, and cut them that way and they put them in the coral. I think that`s what the Democratic Party needs right now, a shepherd. A shepherd.
PAGE: That`s Nancy Pelosi. She`s a border collie. She`s shepherding them around.
And, you know, she -- really, the reason she`s such a good counter is because she knows her members so well.
MATTHEWS: That`s true.
PAGE: And they understand she knows them. And that doesn`t mean they will always follow her everywhere, but it builds a sense of confidence in her that is going to be important. And I actually think that the fact that House now has a clear direction is likely to vote for impeachment by Thanksgiving.
MATTHEWS: I think so. What about Pompeo? We thought it was sort of like a freelance operation by Trump and his people.
Now, you find that the United States government, it`s a matter of state. The secretary of state is listening to that phone call.
GIBSON: I think this is what we talked about, Susan talked about very narrow focus, this is going to be a challenge for House Democrats figuring out what do you do about Giuliani? What did you do about Pompeo? Do you bring these people in to testify? Do you them to come in and testify?
MATTHEWS: Do you want them in? No, wouldn`t you rather they just -- just hold them in contempt? Because once they get in there, that right wing crowd on the Republican side will spend half the time at the hearings doing the crazy stuff they did with Lewandowski. You want that?
GIBSON: I mean, I can`t imagine anybody would want to put Giuliani on a witness table at a House hearing.
PAGE: I would, I would like that.
MATTHEWS: You would like it. But I think the Republicans will benefit.
Who would be better off if these guys all show up? Who wins?
GIBSON: That`s a tough one. I think it would come down to how the moment, the big, explicit moment and who got it? And that`s such a roll of the dice sometimes.
PAGE: Look at this we have the attorney general and the secretary of state implicated in this huge, unfolding scandal. When was the last time that the major figures in our government --
MATTHEWS: I used the phrase all of the president`s men in the beginning. I think we know when it was, Richard Milhous Nixon.
Thank you, Susan, who does these things. Ginger, of course, Ginger Gibson. Thank you both.
Up next, it`s time for the Republican Party to answer for Donald Trump. They may not like it, but they`re fully owned subsidiaries of this president. We`re going to talk about that in a minute -- the Republican Party and its situation.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: The Republican Party is going to have to answer for this. For almost four years now, ever since Donald Trump grabbed hold of it in the 2016 primaries, the Republican Party has been his personal political property. It hasn`t been a merger of the party in Trump, it`s been an acquisition pure and simple.
Trump owns the Republican Party lock, stock and barrel. The party of free trade isn`t anymore. The party of fiscal responsibility isn`t anymore. The party of Teddy Roosevelt and conservation isn`t anymore. The party of Honest Abe -- forget it.
The party of national security -- now, there`s an apt question for the week, that one. The first test of Trump`s political character came three years ago with the release of the "Access Hollywood" tape. It shocked the Republican Party chairman. It shocked Trump`s running mate, but they stayed. They heard it, they didn`t deny what they heard, but they stayed.
And now, they`re still aboard after getting a White House memo of another conversation. This one with the president of Ukraine, here, instead of trash talking about his ability to assault weapon, Trump`s holding up military aid to an ally unless it produces on a political rival of his.
Trump said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and his people would stick with him. But what about Republican senators and members of Congress? I think it could be said that if the Republican Party stands up in the next few weeks to Donald Trump, it will not be a case of the party departing from him but rather him departing from a party he never bothered to join on any Republican principle you can cite.
That`s HARDBALL for now.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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