ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: We had a lot to get through but we did it together. Thanks for watching THE BEAT. I`ll be back at 6:00 P.M. tomorrow.
And "HARDBALL" is up next.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Direct line. Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews back in Washington.
While under armed attack by Russia, the people of Ukraine were denied American arms unless the president of Ukraine declared that he was investigating Joe Biden. Well, this is the powerful testimony today of Chief U.S. Diplomat to Ukraine Bill Taylor who drew a direct line between Trump`s delivering of the needed weapons to that country and his demand of personal political assistance from a foreign power.
Ambassador Bill Taylor is wrapping up his closed-door testimony right now. It`s lasted over 9 hours.
According to members who were in the room with him, his testimony represents a sea change, that`s the phrase, in the investigation and elicited sighs and gasps.
Speaking of gasps, the president`s inflammatory morning tweet today compared the lawful impeachment inquiry against him to a lynching. We`ll get to that.
And a little later, I`ll be speaking to filmmaker Michael Moore tonight and Senator Amy Klobuchar about the state of the Democratic race for president and the chance unseating Donald Trump.
We begin with the Democratic testimony of Bill Taylor who appeared under testimony under subpoena for a private deposition today.
According to Taylor`s opening remarks obtained by NBC News, and I read them, Taylor told Congress that the release of U.S. military support was contingent on a commitment from Ukraine that they would investigate the Bidens and the 2016 election.
He testified that U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland, quote, told me that President Trump had told him that he wants President Zelensky to state publicly that Ukraine will investigate Burisma, the firm link to Hunter Biden, as well as alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election, which is nonsense.
Most explosive, according to Taylor, Sondland said everything was dependent on such an announcement including security assistance. Sondland said that President Trump wanted President Zelensky in a public box by making a public statement about ordering such investigations.
Moreover, Taylor says that the exchange Trump was seeking from Ukraine was explicitly spelled out to a top official in that country.
Taylor testified that NSC Adviser Tim Morrison told him Sondland told a top Zelensky aid that the security assistance money would not come until Zelensky committed to pursue the Burisma investigation, referring to the firm that hired Hunter Biden.
NBC News also reports that according to two Democrats, Taylor took meticulous personal notes, which have not yet been handed over to the committee.
Joining me right now, U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu of California, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, former Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and Josh Lederman, NBC News National Political Reporter.
I want to start with the congressman. Tell us, I mean, it struck me as such a well written opening statement because it`s like discovering this horrible mystery story. What happened then? Here`s a good diplomat who`s come back to serve his country as head of mission in Kiev and he finds out this other thing going on with Giuliani and the rest of them putting together this kind of drug deal where they say, okay, if you want the military aid to fight off the Russians, give us the dirt on Biden.
REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): Thank you, Chris. Thank you, first, to your question. First of all, Ambassador Taylor served our country honorably. He`s a graduate at West Point. He served in Vietnam with 101st Airborne. He served in both Democratic and Republican administrations. And his opening statement that is now in the public domain is devastating to Donald Trump.
It shows, in fact, that there were two quid pro quos, that Ukraine had not only to have to go investigate the Bidens, they also had to go ahead and make it public, which essentially is so that the Trump campaign could then use that publicly, and they also had to investigate the DNC and that crazy conspiracy theory for the 2016 elections. It was very damning for the president.
MATTHEWS: Well, you make a great point there, which is that Biden wanted - - I`m sorry -- President Trump Wanted to be able to say Biden is under investigation in Ukraine.
LIUE: Absolutely. That`s why it was so important that the Ukrainian leader not only do these two investigations but also make it public. And it`s right there in the opening statement of Ambassador Taylor.
MATTHEWS: Senator, what I liked about his testimony was his lively description of this situation. Here`s a country, Ukraine, whatever you think of it, it`s the frontline with the Russians. And the Russians are trying to rebuild their empire and they want to use Ukraine as part of the rebuilding, of course, make it part of themselves again. And here they are facing Russian tank fire and all they want is some Javelin missiles to defend themselves with to fight the tanks. And at that very moment, the president of the United States sends word, you don`t get any help right now no matter how much trouble you`re in holding your country against the Russians unless you get me some dirt on my political enemies. It`s so vivid.
FMR. SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D-MO): Yes, if you think about the fact Russia was trying to kill Ukrainians during this period of time and that this was about protecting them. And here`s the deal, Chris, you know, we can quit talking about the whistleblower and who it is. The whistleblower is now irrelevant. We now have a conversation that has been summarized. We now have Sondland, we have Taylor, we have Giuliani, we have Mulvaney all saying there was a quid pro quo. I mean, this was in fact a shakedown of a foreign government for the president`s political purposes. That is against the law.
And I hope that people don`t get distracted by all the Republicans arguing about the process. When you don`t have the facts, you talk about the process. And it is this -- the fact that he recorded all these notes, those are recorded recollections, they can be admissible in court, I think today was a very bad day for all the Republicans saying, oh, look at the process. They`re going to have to come to grips with the reality of the facts that are in front of them.
MATTHEWS: You know, Josh, I wonder about the reporting because everybody likes to layer this and layer this with more process. But bottom line, have we ever, in history, found a president who basically admits what he did? He`s not denying the transcripts. He`s bragging about it again with Sean Hannity last night. We got a perfect transcript out there. And then he doesn`t really deny that he did what he did, except he doesn`t like the term, quid pro quo, but it`s so clearly what he`s done. And now this guy has testified with vivid testimony that this is exactly what happened.
JOSH LEDERMAN, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Right. What`s becoming clear and clearer, Chris, is that the president seems to believes that it`s fine to have a trade, A for B, pretty explicitly. He just thinks as long as you don`t use the phrase, quid pro quo, that`s fine.
Now, unfortunately for the president, that`s not going to be a legal argument probably when that`s not going to be compelling to House Democrats. The real question is is that going to be an argument that would be compelling to Republicans if they have to face an impeachment trial.
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s right. They don`t have to put the word quid pro quo into the Article I. All they have to do is -- he guy said today, Bill Taylor, the ambassador, he said there`s a direct line between what Trump wanted, the dirty one, and what he was holding up.
LEDERMAN: And Bill Taylor himself uses the phrase quid pro quo in his statement today to Congress, yes, that we obtained here at NBC News. He says, this is a rancorous story about whistleblowers, Mr. Giuliani, side channels, quid pro quos, corruption and interference in election. So even if the president doesn`t think that`s what happened, his own ambassador who`s working on this issue described it in that specific term.
MATTHEWS: Let`s get back to the impeachment. Anyway, before that, Bill Taylor echoed the accounts of a shadow foreign policy, describing a parallel channel of U.S. policymaking that he called highly irregular because it operate mostly outside the official State Department channels, and included, of course, Rudy Giuliani.
Taylor says that according to National Security Council Aide Tim Morrison, while Trump denied the quid pro quo to Sondland, he did insist that President Zelensky go to a microphone and say he`s opening investigations of Biden and and the 2016 election interference, which that`s all made up, the last part.
Likewise, Taylor testified that Sondland said, quote, that President Trump was adamant, that President Zelensky himself had to clear things up and do it in public. Otherwise, Sondland told the Ukrainians that we would be at a stalemate.
Back to you, Claire, and I just think this question is pretty -- this shakedown, the president of the United States, takes a country that`s desperate to survive, desperate for Javelin missiles, in fact, they use to fight tanks. Russian tanks are advancing towards them. They`ve already taken Crimea from them. They hope to take away the whole country, eventually, starting in the east.
And at the very moment of crisis, when they desperately needed this crucial military aid, the president says, okay, give me some dirt or you ain`t getting nothing. It`s so horrible.
MCCASKILL: It is unimaginable that a president of the United States would sacrifice the national security of this country because now our reputation is sullied permanently, that he would play political games with foreign aid for one of our allies. And if this wasn`t shadow foreign policy, this was shadow political operatives. This was no different than what they were trying to do at Watergate. This was about trying to win elections, not about trying to implement a foreign policy.
And, you know, if you think about the chance during the 2016 election about Hillary Clinton and what she actually did, it may be time for us to start saying lock him up about Rudy Giuliani.
MATTHEWS: Yes. I was thinking that, Claire, you`re right, Senator, it`s like the plumbers, it`s the plumbers of Watergate. It`s the shadow government, a separate bunch of henchmen.
Anyway, the White House responded to the news from Taylor`s deposition in this statement late today, quote, President Trump has done nothing wrong. This is a coordinated smear campaign from far left lawmakers and radical unelected bureaucrats waging war on the Constitution. There was no quid pro quo.
Congressman, I`ve been reading with a little bit of the dismay that you might hold up the impeachment process until after Thanksgiving. Is waiting to embellish the record at some point a mistake?
LIEU: That`s a good question, Chris. We have to follow the facts where it will lead us. The evidence that`s come out is already incredibly damning against the president of the United States.
I do want to add in a human element to this. In the opening statement, Ambassador Taylor talks about 13,000 Ukrainians having died in this war with Russia and that more undoubtedly would die because of their holding of U.S. security assistance.
So what Donald Trump did actually resulted in loss of lives and it`s also harming U.S. national security. I served in active duty in the military, and one of the central tenants of U.S. national security is pushing back against Russian aggression. Ukraine is at the tip of this spear. And when we hold back assistance to Ukraine, we`re harming our own national security.
MATTHEWS: Well said. A new CNN poll out today, by the way, Congressman, shows that 50 percent, half the American people favor not only impeaching Trump but removing him from office. That`s half now. That`s consistent with recent polls from Gallup and Fox News, which also show a majority of Americans, 52 percent, 51 percent in those cases respectively supporting the president`s removal.
I want to get back to you, Congressman, because you`re right there. Do you think we have enough? Because what I`m concerned is -- this is like that story of World War II, A Bridge Too Far. If you take too long, if the train slows down and this thing goes into next year, it seems to be politically unsavory to have to impeach and try a president in the middle Iowa caucuses. That`s my thought.
LIEU: Chris, when the White House released the summarized call transcript, that was like the Watergate tapes. It established that Donald Trump, right after a Ukrainian leader asked for military assistance, he asked for a favor and those two favors are investigate the Bidens, investigate the Democratic National Committee. All these witnesses essentially corroborate that narrative which is undisputed. And it is illegal to solicit a foreign power to interfere in our elections. It`s even worse when you condition military aid and a meeting with the president on it. No one is above the law.
MATTHEWS: Can we get it done by Thanksgiving, the House part?
LIEU: It`s going to depend on the witnesses and the facts that are coming in. But I do think that we`re going to expedite this, we`re going to start having depositions on the weekends, having two depositions a day. So we`re very aware of the time element (ph).
MATTHEWS: Let me go to the senator on this. Senator McCaskill, Mitch McConnell is a wily character, without going any further, he`s a character. I don`t want to want to -- I`m not going to --
MCCASKILL: That`s one way of calling him.
MATTHEWS: I`m just trying to call what he is. And this guy is going to try to hold his majority, the worst, well, he has to hold three or four seats. He can do it. It`s all doable. The whole thing is up in the air now. And my question is do you think he wants this thing over with before New Year`s or does he want to drag it into next year during the Democratic fight for nomination?
MCCASKILL: No, I think he wants it over with. I mean, I think people forget this door swings both ways. He has got senators in his caucus that are in political trouble. You look at Joni Ernst in Iowa, where Trump is upside down now and her numbers have really slipped. You look at people like Thom Tillis, who has the worst numbers in the country right now, maybe as bad as Mitch McConnell`s even. You look at somebody like the senator from Arizona who was appointed into John McCain`s job in a state that`s trending in our direction. Those people have very tough votes. He wants to get this out of the way. This impeachment vote will be tough.
If it`s a partisan vote in the House, Mitch McConnell will try to make it partisan vote in the Senate. But I`m hopeful that there will be Republicans in the House that will do the right thing, and I`m hopeful there will be enough in the Senate that will look at this as a constitutional obligation and not a political exercise.
MATTHEWS: Well, I`d go back to the old days of the argument. It`s what you do with what you got. And if all the Democrats can do is impeach him, they should do it.
Josh, your thoughts, how far will Bill Taylor`s brilliant testimony today, it was so dramatic, how far will this push the Democrats to get the impeachment articles before the floor?
LEDERMAN: I think this moves the ball quite a bit forward because it lays out in such explicit detail backed up by notes from the time that this was happening. And it really draws such a direct line, as several lawmakers have said, where he`s describing conversations with Ambassador to the E.U. Sondland who says, President Trump told me he wants an investigation in a conversation about military aid and releasing it. There is no ambiguity here the way there has been up until this point.
MATTHEWS: And this is a criminal trial. There`s so much testimony now to make the same point there was a quid pro quo. But what I want to do is right now defend people like Bill Taylor against this president. Because it`s public servants like this guy, as, Congressman, you pointed out, he comes out of West Point, public service from the time he`s 18 years old serving in the military, in the infantry, the 101st Airborne, the whole thing, everything about his life is serving the country.
And to have this president who`s given so little to the country, who`s avoided service himself to trash these people and call them deep staters is just playing a game of awful American nature. It`s awful what this guy is doing about these -- these are good people who are blowing the whistle on bad behavior, unconstitutional behavior.
Thank you so much, Congressman Ted Lieu of California, former Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, depending where you are, and Josh Lederman.
We`re going to have much more tonight from Ambassador Taylor`s explosive coming up in the program.
Also, President Trump calls the impeachment inquiry a lynching. Is he ignoring the racial connection to that word or is he exploiting it? Think about that during the break. What`s he up to when he calls himself a victim of a lynching? Guys that look like him don`t get lynched.
He`s also escalating his attacks on everyone involved in that inquiry. Here he goes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: And where is the person that gave the whistleblower the information, because is that person a spy or does that person even exist? I have a feeling that person doesn`t exist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Oh, yes, the president`s increasingly erratic behavior, you just heard it there, said to be setting off alarm bells within the Republican Party.
Plus, the establishment (ph), Democrats are reported to getting a little bit nervous about beating Trump next year. Is there a winner in the current field of candidates? You have that list is a winner among them, is the next president there?
Two big voices join us tonight. Oscar-winning filmmaker and activist Michael Moore, he`s coming here. He`s just endorsed Bernie Sanders. Let`s talk about that. That is big endorsement.
And representing the modern wing of the Dems Senator and Presidential Candidate Amy Klobuchar, she`s also in the room.
Much more and a busy night here on HARDBALL. Stick with us.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
On the same day that the president`s ambassador to Ukraine testified there was an explicit quid pro quo related to the Ukrainians, President Trump used some of his most inflammatory language yet again to rail against the impeachment inquiry itself.
In a clear sign of his escalating agitation, I guess, Trump tried to paint himself as a victim, comparing the constitutional process of impeachment to the torture and murder of African-Americans by white mobs in this country`s too recent past.
In a tweet this morning, the president wrote, in part -- this is a tweet, by the way -- "All Republicans must remember what they`re witnessing here, a lynching."
To be clear, according to the NAACP, from 19 -- well, 1882 to 1968, not too many thousand years ago, 1968, more than 4,700 lynchings occurred in the United States, 4,700. Of those people who were lynched, about 3,400 were black, about three-quarters.
The president`s comparison of his treatment during the impeachment inquiry to brutal racist violence drew immediate outrage from lawmakers.
The chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, California Congresswoman Karen Bass, and the highest ranking African-American in the House, Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, blasted the president for comparing impeachment to a hate crime.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA): And to invoke the horrific legacy of lynching -- and, you know, during the years when lynchings took place, they were advertised like sporting events.
People were told to come out on a Sundays, bring your family, watch an African-American be burned, watch an African-American be hung.
He clearly doesn`t understand the Constitution, so he doesn`t understand our constitutional duties, and he doesn`t understand or have an appreciation for U.S. history.
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): But to compare the constitutional process to something like lynching is far beneath the office of the president of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: But South Carolina`s Lindsey Graham -- isn`t he something? -- isn`t he something? -- echoed Trump`s use of the term, calling impeachment a political lynching.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): So, yes, this is a lynching in every sense. This is un-American.
What does lynching mean? That a mob grabs you. They don`t give you a chance to defend yourself. They don`t tell you what happened to you. They just destroy you.
That`s exactly what`s going on in the United States House of Representatives right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I mean, it`s amazing. I should hate him. I should hate this guy.
MATTHEWS: I just don`t.
There`s something about Lindsey Graham that doesn`t seem that offensive. But what he`s saying there is offensive, if anybody else said it.
CORNELL BELCHER, FORMER OBAMA CAMPAIGN POLLSTER: But he`s been flip- flopping. You remember the...
MATTHEWS: Cornell Belcher, thank you. Let me introduce you, sir.
MATTHEWS: When you heard that -- your own impulse when you heard you heard him say he`s a victim today of a lynching?
BELCHER: Well, one, it is grotesque.
But, Chris, I`m beyond my ability to be shocked by this president`s injection of race and his racial aversion in politics. I`m beyond my ability to be shocked by it.
And truth of the matter is, I think it`s calculated. You and I might disagree on this, but I think, whenever he gets in trouble, he goes back to his base. Whenever he gets in trouble, he goes back to his predicate. And that is racial aversion.
I don`t want to talk about -- I`m not taking the bait. I don`t want to talk about his racism today. I talk about his racism...
MATTHEWS: Why is that taking the bait?
This is the American subject from -- as long as we live, race in this country is going to be the San Andreas Fault, and either you jump on it and exploit it, or you try to work it.
BELCHER: You`re preaching to the choir.
However, racism is not high crime and misdemeanor. So I don`t want to talk about racism today.
MATTHEWS: I see what you mean.
BELCHER: What I want to talk about today is him shaking down the president of Ukraine.
What I want to talk about today is Bill Taylor...
MATTHEWS: Well, go ahead. I want to get to that.
BELCHER: ... drawing a direct line from...
MATTHEWS: Bill Taylor is a public servant.
BELCHER: That`s about his impeachment. I don`t want to talk about his racism.
Unfortunately, racism is not a high crime and misdemeanor.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me get back to it one more time. Then I will drop it. OK.
Look at the -- just to spell it out, so people need the points. When he was running against -- he`s always been running against Barack Obama.
MATTHEWS: In his soul, he`s fighting with him.
MATTHEWS: He said he was an illegal immigrant, basically, he snuck in from some weird thing in Hawaii and Kenya and everything.
BELCHER: He`s not a real American.
MATTHEWS: And then, this past week, when I was out with my operation, I`m watching television. And I watch him speaking at that Minnesota rally for an hour-and-a-half that FOX gave full time to.
And he`s talking about how the only reason he -- he did well as vice president, because he knew how to kiss Barack Obama`s ass.
MATTHEWS: That is the most racist reference. It was subjugating a white guy to a black guy. You knew exactly what he was doing for his audience.
MATTHEWS: It was chillingly horrible, and now this.
BELCHER: And when you are telling women of color who were elected to Congress to go back to their countries, you`re race-baiting.
This is what he constantly does.
MATTHEWS: Whatever countries they might be, yes.
BELCHER: And the problem is, historically, Chris, it has not been a disqualifier to the majority of white voters.
I do get a sense that that is beginning to change, where especially white- college-educated women, they talk about what`s going on in this country and the division and how this is -- this can`t continue, because of the future of their children.
I am beginning to get a sense that white people finally are beginning to have some skin in the racism game.
MATTHEWS: Let me tell you, my advice, having grown up near the burbs, it`s a class thing too.
Nobody wants to be known as a racist. That`s lowbrow. That`s lowbrow.
MATTHEWS: Nobody wants to be known as one.
You`re taught from the time you`re a kid, no bad words, none of that stuff. You can`t talk like that. When you think like that, they`re working on. But there`s a sense of it`s like, nobody good talks like that.
But Trump talks like that. So how can you vote for a guy?
BELCHER: But they have -- but they did. The majority of white people voted for him.
And, Chris, if the election were held today, I bet you the majority of white people would still vote for him.
MATTHEWS: Well, he is at 41 percent right now, and that`s white people.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, I want to bring in Jon Meacham, presidential historian.
Hey, Jon, thanks for coming in, because you`re good on this subject from -- being from the south, from Sewanee. And you know all about this going back to the days of Andrew Jackson.
Populism and racism, Trump is a -- he always goes back to square one and plays the card. He did it again today, calling himself a victim of a lynching.
JON MEACHAM, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: He absolutely went to an ancient and troubling trope when he was in trouble.
This is a guy who rose to power on the birther conspiracy. He has ridden this terrible American instinct. And it is an American instinct. We do all we can to suppress it, to redeem ourselves from it.
But, as Fitzgerald wrote, we are always borne ceaselessly back into it. And until we confront it, until we talk about it and call it for what it is, we`re going to keep being pushed back into it.
This is a country that was founded to -- and in many ways protected slavery as an institution. And for then a century after Appomattox, we enforced apartheid in my part of the world.
And it`s only been gone, insofar as it`s been gone, for half-a-century, just over half-a-century. And so this is all the day before yesterday. And what the president has done is tried to undo what minimal progress we have made to actually become a more perfect union, all for his own personal benefit.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you both, but I will start with Cornell, because you started the fight here, because I think it`s the huge story.
This guy`s testimony, the U.S. ambassador, effectively, the charge d`affaires, to Kiev, on the record tonight brilliantly laid out how he discovered the crime that`s worthy of impeachment.
And so I don`t want to talk about racism this evening. I want to talk about high crimes and misdemeanors.
The president broke the law. And I think -- and I think he`s brilliantly and diabolically pushing race into this conversation, so we`re not talking about that.
MATTHEWS: So that`s his queen sacrifice, right? He will sacrifice, OK, I`m a racist, but let`s talk -- change the subject.
BELCHER: Let`s change the subject. That`s right.
MATTHEWS: Jonathan, do you think he`s that majestic at changing the conversation, or he`s just erratic, and he is a bit of a racist? A bit of.
MEACHAM: He -- both. Yes, and yes, unquestionably.
Look, this is a very important day, in -- not only in this era, but arguably in American history. This is like when John Dean testified...
MATTHEWS: Yes, I agree.
MEACHAM: ... in 1973. This is like when the smoking gun tape came out, the transcript, which, remember, and you know well, it wasn`t until the very end of a 26-month process that Republicans finally abandoned Nixon.
So there`s a great moral and constitutional test confronting the Republican Party at this hour, which is, are you going to believe the testimony of a career civil servant, who has no conceivable agenda that I could detect, and has laid out a classic test of whether we believe in the rule of law and we honor the framers?
MEACHAM: Why is it that conservatives are so in love with the Federalist Papers, except when it comes to this? Can someone explain that to me?
MATTHEWS: You know, unelected bureaucrats, you know?
MATTHEWS: You know, like General MacArthur -- General MacArthur?
MATTHEWS: I mean, a lot of people I don`t know like. That doesn`t make them bad.
Anyway, thank, Cornell Belcher. Thank you, Jon Meacham. It was a great honor to have you on tonight again, as well as this fellow here, who knew what he wanted to talk about and wasn`t going to let me get in the way.
MATTHEWS: Still ahead: "The New York Times" says some Democratic leaders are looking at the current field of candidates and asking, is there anybody else?
It`s like Peggy Lee. Is this all there is? Is that all there is? Is that all there is? It was a Peggy Lee song.
So, who do they have in mind? Well, Michael Bloomberg everywhere. Turn a corner, somebody says Michael Bloomberg. So what are the chances of anyone new entering the race at this point?
I`m going to ask Michael Moore. But he`s got a candidate.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
We`re only a little more than three months away now from the first ballots being cast in the 2020 Democratic primary. And the contest seems as wide open as ever.
And while this cycle has been the largest Democratic field in modern times, some party leaders are musing now about even more candidates getting in.
According to "The New York Times," anxious members of the Democratic establishment -- I didn`t know still was one -- are asking, is there anyone else?
"The Times"` Jonathan Martin writes: "With doubts rising about former Vice President Biden`s ability to finance a multistate primary campaign, persistent questions about Senator Elizabeth Warren`s viability in the general election, and skepticism that Mayor Pete Buttigieg can broaden his appeal beyond white voters, Democratic leaders are engaging in a familiar rite, fretting about who is in the race and longing for a white knight to enter the contest at the last minute."
Well, some of the names that have been floated include former Attorney General Eric Holder, Michelle Obama, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, and, yes, Hillary Clinton.
And while those members of the Democratic establishment are eying other candidates to jump in the race, the acclaimed documentary filmmaker Michael Moore will argue he has already found the winning candidate.
He joins us tonight next. He is here in the building.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL MOORE, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: So, what do they say? Bernie`s too old!
MOORE: Bernie`s too old!
MOORE: A $7.25 minimum wage, that`s too old.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MOORE: A $10,000 deductible for your health care, what is that?
AUDIENCE: Too old!
MOORE: When you say Bernie can`t win, you`re lying to the American people. Not only can he win. Bernie will win!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was documentary filmmaker the great Michael Moore endorsing Bernie Sanders over the weekend at Sanders` first campaign event since he suffered a heart attack at the beginning of the month. What a wild -- I mean, 26,000 people in Queens. Sanders` campaign estimated that 26,000 people showed up to the rally in Queens.
Joining me right now is the man who is showing up right now, Michael Moore.
Let me ask you about this, because I don`t think it`s -- you are a man of strong ideology and strong progressive views. That`s why you`re famous and you`re iconic.
But there`s a personal endorsement of a guy, a human being, at 78. Can he go the distance, all the way through four years of the presidency, do you think, from what you know?
MOORE: Oh, absolutely.
What I saw on Saturday, I saw him give a speech. It went an hour-and-a- half. He didn`t use that lectern as a crutch or anything. He stood there and powerfully told the people that -- what we have to do to make this a better country. It was so amazing.
And if you had been there, I will tell you, it wasn`t the old Bernie stump speech. He talked about love and compassion and decency.
But he had this -- at the end, he said, I want everybody to find somebody in the crowd that doesn`t look like you, that isn`t -- isn`t your skin color, isn`t your religion. And I want you to look at that person, and I want you to ask yourself this question.
Would you fight for them as hard as you would fight for yourself? Because if you would, that`s the America that`s going to survive. That`s the America that`s going to succeed.
MATTHEWS: It`s a great New York message too.
MOORE: It was so powerful.
MATTHEWS: You know, I like it when he gets off ideology, just talks about humanity in that. That`s a key thing.
MOORE: Yes, and people need to see more of that. I`ve known this guy for 30 years and he really --
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s talk about how politics works. Politics is about opportunity. It`s not -- every election is not the same. There are elections you can`t win.
Nobody was going to knock off Reagan in the second-term no matter who they were. Maybe Gary Hart would have been better but --
MATTHEWS: Nobody is going to knock off Nixon in the second term. It was undoable.
But there are opportunities that come along. Not just open seat presidencies, but when a president is weak. I worked for Jimmy Carter but I accept -- accept the fact he was politically weak. Reagan comes along, a man of the hard right.
Is this a year that someone of the hard left, the progressive left, that normally wouldn`t win can actually win the presidency because of the weakness of this president with all his horrors?
MOORE: The weakness of the president and the fact that Bernie, as you say, from the hard left, he is perceived as the real deal. He`s outside the box the way Trump was. He`s not part of -- he`s not seen as a system even though he`s a senator. He`s an independent.
He won`t -- he`s still not a member of the Democratic Party.
MATTHEWS: I noticed.
MOORE: This is -- yes. So, he --
MATTHEWS: We could count.
MOORE: No, but people like that.
MATTHEWS: But do you think because of his personal character he is a man to himself?
MOORE: Absolutely. Everybody knows, whether you agree with him or not, that this is somebody who will not sellout. This is not somebody you can buy off. This is -- if he was going to cash in, it would have happened long ago.
MATTHEWS: Let me just tell you, I`ve been going in anti-war rallies since the `60s, and Bernie was there. I saw behind a card table selling a literature.
MOORE: He was there. Yes.
MATTHEWS: I know.
MOORE: He was there in the early `60s in Chicago getting arrested for civil rights --
MATTHEWS: For civil rights -- that`s his bona fides. You`re right.
A new CNN poll today shows that 41 percent of Americans approve of President Trump`s handling of his job. I just want to talk you about that because you are a man of the people. Ever since "Roger & Me", and Flynn, Michigan, well before the water problem and everything else, you were looking out for people like yourself. Your father worked on the factories. Your mother was working out there to -- just trying to make it. You`re a real person.
Who -- why do people like you, except for your politics, stick with his guy? Because 41 -- who are these people? I got a brother like this. I love my brother, but he talks to me like Trump is triumphant right now.
MOORE: Why do people I know back home, why do they say --
MATTHEWS: Yes, who grew up -- I (ph) grew up with the same background as you had, stick with Trump, working class white people if you will, working class people generally.
MOORE: Well, you said the keyword, white. Sadly, I think it is a racial thing on some level with a lot of people. But here -- let me say it in a different way, I think that white guys, the lunch packing (ph) Joes from Macomb County --
MATTHEWS: Right across, outside of Detroit.
MOORE: Yes. They can see the writing on the wall. Women are coming. They`ve arrived last November.
MOORE: We are now -- this is the eighth September in a row where the majority of first graders in this country last month were not white.
MOORE: Majority were not white.
MATTHEWS: Meaning Hispanic, African-American or Asian.
So, we now see the demographic shift that by the 2040s, this -- white people will be the minority, and I think that there`s some level of fear about that, probably in the way that white people in South Africa were afraid what`s going to happen with Mandela --
MOORE: -- and the black majority. But, of course, what happens is, what history shows --
MATTHEWS: But the people of South Africa really earned the trouble they got.
MATTHEWS: They were wronged for years, really bad.
MOORE: Well -- yes, but here we have African-Americans who are still on the bottom rung of the ladder --
MOORE: -- after all these years. And those of us who are white, especially white guys, still having that door opened just a little bit easier for us. And we know it.
MOORE: And we know it. We know that we`re not followed around when we go to the department store.
MOORE: We know, listen --
MATTHEWS: Look, I know what you`re talking about. Nobody`s looking at you in the restaurant. Nobody is looking at you. Yes.
MOORE: No, that`s correct.
MOORE: So, black Americans still have it pretty damn rough, and --
MATTHEWS: So that spreads fear into a white voter and he votes white?
MOORE: Yes, be -- yes, because some white voters are afraid that -- you don`t want to -- when you`re in power, you don`t want to lose what you have. And let`s face it, white guys --
MATTHEWS: Yes, but working class guys who are struggling along, they`re struggling class.
MATTHEWS: You know, working paycheck -- they don`t think they`re elite. They don`t think of themselves as privileged.
MOORE: No, but they don`t -- but they`re been told to fear the other.
MATTHEWS: I know, that`s --
MOORE: The other is coming to take it from you when that`s not true (ph).
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s be positive.
MOORE: Yes, good.
MATTHEWS: I agree with you.
MOORE: I like that.
MATTHEWS: Because I`d like to hear from you on this because --
MATTHEWS: -- I think the culture is so powerful, and not just economics.
Pelosi, I`m a -- I have a new hero in life. And I resisted her because she resisted. But I get the feeling that she`s got her eye on the prize. Your thoughts?
MOORE: Absolutely. I want to -- somebody -- there should be a statue already made to her because regardless to say (ph), what my political differences might be with her, she has played this masterfully, and even her opponents have to admit that.
What happened today -- I think Jon Meacham just said it in the last break there, that this is -- this is the moment today.
MOORE: You and I are sitting here --
MATTHEWS: Hang onto it.
MOORE: The Alexander Butterfield day.
MATTHEWS: Exactly, when we got about the tapes, when we found about the tapes.
MATTHEWS: I just hope they can stay focused for a couple of weeks and do it.
MOORE: No, they have to do it, and not for -- it has to happen now. You don`t draw this out.
MATTHEWS: I`m with you. I don`t want -- we got emoluments clause down the road, so many things --
MOORE: No, no, don`t. No, no, no. This --
MATTHEWS: Do you hear me, Democrats? Do you hear Michael Moore?
MOORE: Yes, please?
MATTHEWS: Get it done before Thanksgiving, then you`ll have something to be thankful for.
MOORE: Yes. Right.
MATTHEWS: You`re a man of history, sir.
MOORE: Thank you for that.
MATTHEWS: You`re a man of history, and your movies are something. What`s next?
MOORE: You`re kind to say that. I`m working on something for the election year here that --
MATTHEWS: For 2020?
MOORE: Yes, that I`ll be able to announce maybe in another month or so. But it`s pretty --
MATTHEWS: Wide distribution?
MOORE: Well, it`s something that I haven`t done before. So, it`s -- I hope it`ll have a powerful impact.
MATTHEWS: But you`re (INAUDIBLE) in movies, the greatest documentary movie in history, remember?
MOORE: Yes. Well, thank you --
MATTHEWS: "Fahrenheit", well, it`s a fact. It`s a financial fact.
MOORE: Yes, it is a financial fact but I also know -- I also know the impact that it had --
MATTHEWS: And the Palme d`Or.
MOORE: And it won the Palme d`Or at the Cannes Film Fest, yes, yes.
But I can just say, your next guest, Senator Klobuchar, I was talking to her over there. She was telling me this wonderful story of going on a bike trip across Michigan when she was 19 with her father, and they had a cycling accident. He broke his cheekbone.
And she told me the hospital that she took him to and it was the same hospital where I had my tonsils out when I was 10.
This is a little story that had nothing to do with anything, but I -- but I -- because we were talking about the national (INAUDIBLE)
MOORE: -- before we came on, where you went.
MOORE: And we`re also glad that you`re back and you`re alive and you`re thriving.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
MOORE: And thank you to the people there.
MATTHEWS: Good manage (ph) -- I`m big on doctors these days.
MATTHEWS: I really think they know --
MOORE: Yes, we all know how we need that now.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
MOORE: Thank you for that. God bless you.
MATTHEWS: Michael Moore, a good man. Thank you, sir. Michael Moore.
Up next more on tonight`s bombshell development as we`ve been talking about in the impeachment inquiry. Presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar, the senator from Minnesota, and former prosecutor -- we`re going to talk about prosecution tonight.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (AUDIO GAP) last week`s debate with some momentum, of course, after strong showing as one of centrist counterpoints to the more progressive people on the left -- Elizabeth Warren, of course, and Bernie Sanders. And since that debate of last week, she`s raised $2 million and has been barnstorming through New Hampshire and Iowa.
Minnesota senator and Democratic presidential candidate, Amy Klobuchar, joins me now.
OK. Here`s your chance --
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes.
MATTHEWS: Make your pitch. Why should the Democratic Party -- which, by the way, in the polling is showing people are wide open, there`s a lot of undecideds.
KLOBUCHAR: Uh-huh, many, many, many.
MATTHEWS: They`re going to Buttigieg. They`re not sure if that`s their final resting place. There`s a lot of -- think about where they stand right now.
How do you get into that vacuum?
KLOBUCHAR: Because I want to be the president not just for half of America but all America. And I want to bring back those voters -- the independent voters, some of those people that voted for Donald Trump. There`s almost 10 percent of them that voted for Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
KLOBUCHAR: I`m from the Midwest, Chris. I just finished up touring Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, those blue wall states, blue wall around those states and make Donald Trump pay for it.
MATTHEWS: OK. Besides being a normal human being, we`ve got to know you a long time, you are a normal --
KLOBUCHAR: No, but I`m in the point --
MATTHEWS: -- you say that you`re the senator from next door.
What`s the edge that says to a voter, get in that voting booth or to get into that caucus, and you`re going to change your life by voting for me?
KLOBUCHAR: Because -- first of all, I don`t think there`s a monopoly in good ideas. I`ve got good ideas. I`m going to bring down the cost of health care. I`ve been leading the effort actually with Bernie to bring down pharmaceutical prices.
From the minute I`ve got to the Senate, I`ve been taking on, you know, premiums and I want to have a public option, and that`s actually going to bring them down and we can pay for it.
I want to make college more affordable, and I think we`ve got to do things. It`s what Sherrod Brown has called the dignity of work.
I don`t think we should give free college to everyone and pay for rich kids to get college. I don`t think that. Instead, I think we have to make sure that those jobs, we`re going to have the fastest growing jobs, one and two- year degree, that we make sure that people are able to support a family with those jobs.
KLOBUCHAR: That we`re able to fill the over million home health care worker jobs, that when they have those jobs, that they`re able to raise their families.
I think that`s the future of America, in addition to make it easier for kids to get four-year degrees and beyond, because we have to be able to compete in this global economy.
MATTHEWS: And then it will pass the Senate?
KLOBUCHAR: Yes, because the Senate has got to focus now with a new president. I`ve got a whole 100-day plan with deadlines.
MATTHEWS: Good, because I was wondering with these promises --
KLOBUCHAR: We have to change the whole politics right now. Imagine what it would be like with the president that doesn`t have (INAUDIBLE) in the morning.
MATTHEWS: I`m with you. Barack Obama tried to break it. He tried to make the system work and the Republicans hated him.
KLOBUCHAR: But I think people have reached a point now, the people coming up to me, the people showing up at our rallies and our town halls, people that are saying, look, I voted for Trump or I didn`t vote and I can`t stand him anymore.
MATTHEWS: Should Trump be removed based upon --
KLOBUCHAR: Can I say one more thing? We`ve got to win big. We just can`t beat him by a victory? We have to win big and that means winning the U.S. Senate.
MATTHEWS: Did you find the testimony of Bill Taylor today compelling?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, I didn`t hear it because it was behind closed doors, but the reports are that this is very serious moment, that this has been a bit of a sea change today, because you have a high level ambassador who is reporting -- these are what the reports say -- that, in fact, this was a planned, planned exchange.
MATTHEWS: Quid pro quo, yes.
KLOBUCHAR: Yes, I hate that word.
MATTHEWS: Well, a direct line he said between the dirt on Biden and the foreign military aid.
KLOBUCHAR: Exactly. But -- an attack on security of our country, because instead of talking to Ukraine about Russia or something like that, the president is actually trying to get dirt on an opponent. That`s what he was doing.
And I just send a letter to the head of the FEC. I got a letter back that said, is that something of value, and today she answered and she said that it was. She also said that when that whistle-blower complaint went over to justice and they decided not to bring a criminal action, that there`s a memorandum of understanding that says, it then goes over to the FEC. Guess what? It didn`t.
KLOBUCHAR: So that just shows once again the cover-up.
To me, this is really straightforward. You don`t have to use a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo. What this was, was a president of the United States looking for dirt, opposition research on an opponent from a foreign leader. Then they tried to cover it up by putting it on this super secret server so that no one can see it.
MATTHEWS: I know.
KLOBUCHAR: So that`s what this was, and that`s what`s being investigated.
And again, what I think we can do is two things at once. Of course, if it comes over to the Senate which I think it will, I will devote myself to that because that`s my job.
But right now, I am a candidate for the country because I`m someone that`s going to bring the country together and people can help me out at AmyKlobuchar.com.
MATTHEWS: And you have another thing going for you, Senator. You`re a neighbor of Iowa.
KLOBUCHAR: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: And neighbors of Iowa, like Gephardt, and I think Hart (ph), people from that area tend to do well on --
KLOBUCHAR: Barack Obama.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
KLOBUCHAR: I can see Iowa from my porch.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, thank you. Amy Klobuchar, United States senator from Minnesota, a neighbor of Iowa.
You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: We have a big show tomorrow night. Two former CIA directors, Leon Panetta and John Brennan, join me to talk about the latest on the impeachment inquiry.
And that`s HARDBALL for now.
Thanks for being with us. I`m back. It`s great to be back.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END