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Hardball 20th – Iraq War. TRANSCRIPT: 11/6/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.

Guests: Mary Gay Scanlon, Michael McFaul, Kamala Harris, Maria TeresaKumar, Sherrod Brown

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  Don`t go anywhere right now.  "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews is up next.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  The impeachment is rolling.  Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I`m Chris Matthews in Washington on this 20th week anniversary of HARDBALL.

And big news tonight, House Democrats said they are promoting the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump into a dramatic new phase.  House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff said his committee will start presenting public witnesses for impeachment one week from today.  It will begin with star witness Bill Taylor, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.  Taylor was the first of four officials to affirm the quid pro quo at the center of the Trump-Ukraine scandal, military aid in exchange for political dirt.

A transcript released today from Taylor`s closed-door deposition shows what we can expect to see when he goes before the cameras next Wednesday.  Taylor told impeachment investigators that it was his clear understanding that security assistance money would not come until the president of Ukraine committed to pursue the investigation of Trump`s political opponents.  He affirmed that if they don`t do this, they are not going to get that.

And when asked, are you aware that quid pro quo literally means this for that, Ambassador Taylor said, I am.

Well, as House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff suggested today, that`s the kind of powerful testimony that they plan to bring live to the American public next week.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA):  So those open hearings will be an opportunity for the American people to evaluate the witnesses for themselves, to make their own determinations about the credibility of the witnesses and also to learn first-hand about the facts of the president`s misconduct.


MATTHEWS:  I`m joined right now by Democratic Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania, Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and Geoff Bennett, of course, White House Correspondent for NBC News, Michael McFaul, of course, former U.S. ambassador to Russia.  It`s a good panel to start with on this big day.

Congresswoman, your faith in television, how is it going right now?  Do you believe the fact when you`re going to see people like Bill Taylor and Vindman and the rest of them all trooping before cameras for hours of testimony publicly before -- we don`t know how many networks are going to be covering this.  Is it going to change the voter?  Are they going to open their eyes to the significance of this scandal?

REP. MARY GAY SCANLON (D-PA):  I certainly hope so, and I would think that they would.  I mean, this has been an investigation that we haven`t been able to put before the American people up until now.  The White House blocked testimony, blocked documents.  But we finally have some patriotic public servants who have been willing to come forward and talk about what has been happening, whereas you said the president has been using -- abusing his power to impact our national security for his own private reasons.

MATTHEWS:  What`s the difference between people reading, as they have, the last several weeks about this damning testimony from people like Ambassador Taylor, where they clearly lay out there was a quid pro quo, the president was shaking down a foreign leader who was in distress about the Russian tanks coming in, saying, you`re not going to get the missiles until I get my dirt?

They`ve been reading about that in newspapers, like the Philadelphia Inquirer or whatever or The New York Times.  How is it different that they see this on T.V., the faces and voices of these witnesses?

SCANLON:  Well, I think it`s always different, you know, whether you`re reading something on black and white on the page or whether you`re actually seeing the person.  And you can see folks like Ambassador Taylor who, you know, was a 50-year public servant, West Point grad, someone who has devoted his entire career to serving this country.  I think that`s going to come through on T.V.

MATTHEWS:  Geoff, what do you hear from the other members of the committee and the staff?  What do they think they can get out?  Because we`re going to do a build up here, we think it`s important.

GEOFF BENNETT, MSNBC WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:  And, look, House Democrats are carefully choreographing a political production.  One of the reasons why we`re going to hear from Bill Taylor and George Kent first is because, as you mentioned, Ambassador Taylor is one of four witnesses who speaks directly to the existence of a quid pro quo.

He also says that there was a regular channel to elevate U.S. interests abroad and there was this irregular channel and the irregular channel was being run by Gordon Sondland, Kurt Volker and Rick Perry, the energy secretary.

MATTHEWS:  Under the tutelage of Rudy Giuliani.

BENNETT:  Right.  And George Kent backs up his testimony and goes even further.  George Kent`s testimony says Mick Mulvaney knew about it and Mick Mulvaney deputized those guys and gave them a nickname, the the three amigos.

MATTHEWS:  And they were controlling the OMB money?

BENNETT:  Exactly.  So we hear from them first on Wednesday.  On Thursday, the American people get to digest and distill everything they heard.  Then on Friday, we hear from Marie Yovanovitch.  And she, of course, was the respected career State Department official who had no idea what Rudy Giuliani was up to.

And when she started raising legitimate questions about what he was doing, and this is all spelled out in the testimony, she was targeted by a smear campaign and ultimately moved out of the way.  So she ran afoul of that irregular backchannel that Kent and Taylor will talk about on Wednesday.

The other reason, quickly, why Yovanovitch is important is because you hear President Trump all the time say, the phone call perfect.  Lindsey Graham says, I have no problem with the phone call.  The fact that Yovanovitch is there speaks to what was a coordinated campaign.  That`s the case that Democrats are making.  It wasn`t just a phone call.  The phone call did not exist in isolation, there was prep work on the frontend and there was lot of work done on the backend to get the Ukrainians to do this work for President Trump.

MATTHEWS:  Well, according to the transcript, Ambassador Taylor affirmed under oath, that`s the transcript in his back in the room not, for camera testimony, under oath though.  Ambassador Gordon Sondland told him, told Taylor, that President Trump wanted Ukrainian President Zelensky to commit publicly to those two investigations of the 2016 craziness and the -- Hunter Biden`s role over there, he was going to get the assistance but not get a nickel of it before he did that.

And Taylor says there was military aid hanging in the balance.  President Trump insisted to Sondland, quote, that Zelensky would go to a camera, to a microphone and open investigations of Biden and that 2016 thing.  And President Zelensky to do it himself.  They were pushing to personally do it.

Ambassador McFaul, thank you for joining us.  This caper, what strikes me is the number of people, the three amigos, as they`re called, Rudy Giuliani, all these people, Sondland, Volker, Rick Perry, the secretary of energy, all these people involved in this backchannel effort to shakedown a foreign leader who, again, was under distress from Soviet aggression to deliver dirt on a political opponent.  So many people deputized by this president to do the dirty work.

MICHAEL MCFAUL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA:  Yes, deputized, brought in and it had to be a backchannel because the formal channel of the other people you were just talking about refused to go along with it.  I think that`s another important point that will also come out when all these people are on camera.

And by the way, Chris, I know Ambassador Taylor, I know Ambassador Yovanovitch, I know Lt. Col. Vindman, I know Kurt Volker too for that matter.  These are very credible people that will testify and undermine the claim of the deep state.

Ambassador Taylor, you know, he was appointed by George W. Bush to be president of Ukraine.  He served our country for 50 years.  He speaks with authority.  He`s not going to ahead of his skis.  He`s not going to speak with as much emotion as I`m speaking right now.  And I think that will be very difficult for the other side to take down.

And remember, the other side, the Republicans are going to have to sit there and listen to it.  And if they can`t do anything to undermine the substance of what these witnesses are saying, that too, I think, will be damning.  That`s hard for people to feel when they`re just reading it in the newspaper, let alone trying to go through hundreds of pages of these transcripts that have been just released.

MATTHEWS:  I agree.

Well, Ambassador Taylor`s testimony confirmed accounts about the officials leading in a regular channel of policy toward Ukraine, the so-called three amigos.  They were commissioned by the president to carry out his agenda.

Taylor says, the president told them that furthering a relationship with Ukraine depended on them working with his personal lawyer in order to get President Zelensky and President Trump in a meeting in the White House.  They needed to work with Rudy Giuliani, and so they did.

And this comes as Rudy Giuliani established in a tweet today that he was pursuing the president`s personal interest in Ukraine, saying, he acted solely as a defense attorney to defend my client.

Geoff, what do you make of that?  I mean, first of all this guy`s throwing hats around he`s wearing.  He`s got the former mayor of New York, America`s mayor, that`s all the prestige, he walks into a foreign government situation in Ukraine and he`s saying, I`m here as the president`s lawyer.

But then we`re told that everybody in the State Department is supposed to obey him.  We`re by him he was taking orders from the State Department a while ago.  It`s all intrigue.

BENNETT:  And he says, defend his client.  Defend his client from what exactly?

And this notion that he was trying to root out --

MATTHEWS:  Why is he changing his story?

BENNETT:  Well, because how do you defend the indefensible, right?

And the notion he was trying to root out corruption, well, if that was the case, why were they only focused in the one country where Joe Biden`s son sat on the board of a company.  It just does not add up.

MATTHEWS:  Congresswoman, thank you for joining us.  I want to ask you that question, but here`s a guy who does pirouettes.  He goes from, I`m here to uphold the interests of the U.S. government, of the State Department, that`s about two weeks ago.  And now, he`s putting out the word, no, I was just out there as some sort of courthouse lawyer looking out for my client.  Which is it?  Is he running a separate government or what?

SCANLON:  I think there`re two points here.  If you go back to Ambassador Taylor`s testimony, he says that this backchannel thing was fundamentally undermining our national security.  So I think that`s something we have to keep sight of, just how bad this was for the country.  But the other thing was if Donald Trump was looking to fight corruption, he could certainly look a lot closer to home than Ukraine.

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about the hearings next week.  I`m going to be watching every minute of it, like I watched the Watergate hearings, right?  And they changed everybody`s opinion.  People got totally into it because, to some extent, the personnel (ph) of the staff council, of the chairman of the committee, the ranking members, in those cases, moderate Republicans in most cases, what do you think?

Can you keep a focused hearing where people can actually follow it or is it going to be that rat-tat-tat of every five minutes and different crazy Republican comes up with their Looney Tune theories and then go back to some reasonable conversation and back again to the Looney Tunes?  How do you avoid that sort of syncopation that gets people unnerved and distracted?

SCANLON:  Well, that`s one of the things we did with the resolution we passed last week to set out some of the ground rules for these public hearings.  We`ve set out ground rules that will allow us to use staff council to have a continuing narrative so we can really tell the story.  But I have no illusion that the Republicans are going to try to turn this into a circus.  That`s what they`ve been doing for months.

MATTHEWS:  Unfortunately.  Well, Ambassador Taylor said that the Ukrainian official did not want to give into Trump`s demands, saying that official, quote, believed that opening those investigations would have involved Ukraine in the 2020 election campaign, and he did not want to do that.  Well, that`s reasonable.

Taylor also explained who would benefit if the United States stiffed Ukraine saying, the Russians would love the humiliation of Zelensky at the hand of the Americans.

Ambassador McFaul, here we go again, as Nancy Pelosi, the speaker, put it so nationally and brilliantly a couple of weeks ago.  All roads seem to lead to Putin.  Not only would we be screwing, if you will, Zelensky and his Ukrainian government, which was under duress, would be helping the people who put him under duress, the Russians, Putin.

MCFAUL:  Exactly, and that`s why this is so disturbing.  It is the use of American national security policy, public office, for private gain for the president.  And it adversely affects our national security interest, which, by the way, most people in the Trump administration support pushing back on Vladimir Putin and supporting the Ukrainians.

The second thing that you just read, Chris, is really important.  One of the arguments out there is there was no pressure on Zelensky, there was no quid pro quo.  And what that testimony shows is they were feeling the pressure.  They knew they were getting dragged into the muck of the 2020 re-election effort, and they didn`t want to have anything to do with it.  That`s why what Ambassador Taylor said today -- well, said before but released today is so important and, I think, so damning.

MATTHEWS:  In all career in the foreign service, did you ever come across an administration, a White House that had henchmen out there setting up a different foreign policy in the political, personal interests of the president, anything like this?

MCFAUL:  No, of course not.  And the fact that they had to use private individuals, by the way, some of these individuals who were paying Mr. Giuliani too, let`s not forget the alleged aides in this are also paying the lawyer of the president.  No, I`ve never heard anything even remotely close to this.

MATTHEWS:  Well said.  Thank you so much.  Thank you U.S. Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon of Delaware, which went very blue yesterday, thank you -- and Scanlon, by the way.  And Geoff Bennett, thank you, sir, you`re doing great reporting, of course, for us and everybody else in this network and the country.  Ambassador Michael McFaul, thank you.

Coming up, two big voices in the Democratic Party join me live.  We`re going to talk to Senator and Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris about the impeachment inquiry.  She`s going to be here live.

And a big night for the Democrats yesterday in Virginia, Kentucky and elsewhere.

Plus, Sen. Sherrod Brown and the battle for the red states, is Ohio in play in 2020?  Stick with us.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

The Democrats blue wave is still rolling.  After taking control of the House of Representatives last year, Democrats continued their winning streak at the ballot box just last night.  The marquee victory came in Kentucky`s hotly contested governor`s race.  Democratic State Attorney General Andy Beshear is the apparent winner in that race taking down Republican Incumbent Governor Matt Bevin.

Bevin latched himself to President Trump and made the race a referendum on the president and impeachment.  So Beshear`s victory was buoyed by Democratic gains in Kentucky cities and suburbs.  Bevin has not conceded.  And his campaign is asking the state to re-canvass or check the vote count even though that he trails by more than 5,000 votes, not likely to overtake the winner.

The most sweeping Democratic victories came next door in Virginia.  Democrats captured control of both Houses of the state legislator.  They already hold the governor`s office, giving Democrats full control of government for the first time in more than 25 years.  And by the way, this is the modern Democratic Party, not the old conservative Democratic Party of Virginia.

It wasn`t all good news for Democrats, however, in Mississippi.  Republican Tate Reeves won governor`s race down there.  While Kentucky and Virginia dominated the headlines, perhaps the most alarming news for President Trump came in my home State of Pennsylvania.  There, Democrats swept elections in four suburban Philadelphia counties, regaining control of three long-time Republican bastions, including a sweep of the Delaware County Council, a Republican stronghold since the days of the civil war.

I`m joined right now by Democratic Senator Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris of California.  Senator, it`s great to have you on.


MATTHEWS:  We`re always following your campaign.

HARRIS:  And happy anniversary.


MATTHEWS:  Well, thank you for that.

A lot of people like you and other celebrities like you have been calling in.

HARRIS:  That`s right. 

MATTHEWS:  Look, the burbs seem to be moving to the Democratic side.

I saw it.  I just talked to -- and also some of the -- some of the different income level classes in the big cities...

HARRIS:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  ... like Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, people like that.  My brother called me early this morning from Montgomery County.  Huge turnout. 

And it seems to be an anti-Trump turnout.  What do you make of it, in the burbs? 

HARRIS:  Well, I think that`s part of it. 

And I campaigned for folks in Virginia, for example, in the suburbs of Virginia.  And, certainly, that is a big part of it. 

But, also, people are very well aware, acutely aware, that he -- Donald Trump made a lot of promises that he failed to keep and, frankly, sold a lot of people out. 

So, yes, justice is on the ballot in terms of the corruption of this president and his administration.  There is no question, I think, for many of them and many of us that we have a criminal living in the White House. 

But it is also issues of economic justice.  He said he was going to take care of working people, but yet, in America, almost half of American families can`t afford a $400 unexpected expense. 

Reproductive justice is on the ballot, a big issue in Virginia and around the country.  And they want leaders who are going to reflect the priority around giving women their constitutional right to make decisions about their own body. 

So there were a number of issues.  But what I saw in Virginia and what I have seen around the country is that Democrats and even some Republicans who are voting for Democrats have decided that they`re fed up, they want leaders who are going to respect their rights, but also lead and address some of the problems that are longstanding that Donald Trump has failed to deal with. 

MATTHEWS:  Senator, you`re so right, because I know Northern Virginia, I have lived down here for a long time.

And the women, a lot of single women, married women in Northern Virginia...

HARRIS:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  ... are all pro-choice, and that`s been a major issue in that state. 

HARRIS:  That`s right. 

MATTHEWS:  And I think it really came to fruition this time.

Look, public hearings in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump start next week, but the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, is already tried to diminish the prospects for a significant Senate trial. 

Yesterday, McConnell told reporters the Senate would likely acquit Trump.  And he took a swipe at the presidents running for president -- the senators running for president.  Watch this. 


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY):  So, the question is, is, how long does the Senate want to take?  How long do the presidential candidates want to be here on the floor of the Senate, instead of in Iowa and New Hampshire? 


MATTHEWS:  You know, there`s Mitch.  I know he cares about your welfare, Senator, and the other people running for the presidency. 


MATTHEWS:  He thinks you`re all getting antsy, that you`re all scared you`re going to be voting six days a week, according to the Constitution, apparently, six days a week on a trial -- in a trial in January, when you would like to be in Iowa and perhaps also in New Hampshire.

You have committed to Iowa.  Will this hurt you if you have to be in Washington right up until October -- February 3, the Iowa caucuses? 

HARRIS:  Well, yes, so I intend to fulfill my constitutional duty and obligation.

And I will be there for as long as it takes in the United States Senate during the impeachment trial.  And, frankly, I think that everyone who is a member of the United States Senate, including the leader, should also fulfill their constitutional duty, which means to make sure that this process has integrity, that it is not motivated by politics, and that it is a truth-finding and a truth-seeking process. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about communication.

HARRIS:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  They used to say that if British people or certain arrogant people would go overseas, not just British people, but arrogant people, they would -- if the other person spoke a different language, they would just yell louder, as if they`re going to listen to them.

HARRIS:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  Do you get a sense that putting this on television, these straight-arrow witness after witness, 13 of them, apparently, who all say it`s a quid pro quo, everybody reads about it in the paper every day, they hear about it on cable TV, on any network, I think, except for FOX, do you think putting on people before the cameras will really shake loose the Republicans on this issue of impeachable offenses? 

HARRIS:  I really believe that this is an issue about a fight for our democracy.

And each of us was elected to serve the people and to serve our country and to fulfill our oath and promise to defend the Constitution of the United States. 

Chris, right now, in America, justice is on the ballot, our democracy is on the ballot, our system and rule of law is on the ballot.  And I hope, and I think everyone should hope, that every member of the United States Congress will understand that our framers, in their brilliance, imagined a moment like this, created a government with three co-equal, independent branches of government, to have checks and balances on any one branch`s abuse of power. 

This is that moment.  And we must each fulfill then our constitutional responsibility to make sure there`s a check and a balance on, in this case, the corruption of the -- of this administration, Donald Trump`s administration. 

I would hope that my Republican colleagues will agree that this is a critical moment and that America`s identity is very much at stake, our commitment to our values and, again, to our rule of law and democracy is at stake.

And I just have to hope that folks will put country before party. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, I hope Lindsey Graham wakes up and realizes that it`s an impeachment trial. 

He`s saying the most idiotic -- aren`t you appalled by his statements, like, I won`t read the transcripts, I won`t read the evidence against this president?

HARRIS:  I mean, I don`t know what`s going on there.  He`s a former prosecutor.  I am a former prosecutor. 

And we know then, based on our professions before we arrived at the Senate, that pursuit of truth should be one`s mission.  And to find out truth, you have to review facts.  And that means reviewing evidence. 

And to say that, you know, I`m going to close my eyes and not look at it, as though, if you`re not looking at it, maybe it will go away, is just shortsighted, literally. 



Thanks so much.  It`s great to have you on.  We will be seeing you on the trail, especially in Iowa. 

HARRIS:  Yes.  Yes, I am there.

MATTHEWS:  Senator Kamala Harris of California. 

HARRIS:  Thank you.

MATTHEWS:  I know you are.  Thank you.  Good luck out there. 

HARRIS:  Take care. 

MATTHEWS:  Up next:  Results from last night`s elections show an anti-Trump vote emerging in the burbs, in almost all the burbs that we can see, looking at all the numbers from the East out to the Midwest of the country. 

Wherever there`s a suburb, an area like Cincinnati or around Philly, they`re voting against Trump.  They`re showing up. 

You`re watching HARDBALL. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  To Chris and the whole HARDBALL team, congratulations on 20 years of smart analysis, spirited debate, and always telling it like it is. 

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA):  You`re one of the best standard-bearers for the power of the fourth estate.  You are a fierce watchdog for the American people.  So, keep on grilling us. 

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA):  Every time I come on the show, I never know what types of hardballs, curve balls will be coming my way.  But I always know I can expect pride and professionalism from your team, because they put that in the show every single night. 

So, here`s to many more years of Chris Matthews and the team shaping the dialogue and holding America`s leaders to account. 




DONALD TRUMP SR., PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  You got to vote, because, if you lose, it sends a really bad message. 

It just sends a bad -- and they will build it up. 

Here`s the story.  If you win, they`re going to make it like ho-hum, and if you lose, they`re going to say Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world.  This was the greatest.


DONALD TRUMP SR.:  You can`t let that happen to me. 





MATTHEWS:  All politics is Trump. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

That was President Trump campaigning for Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, who he saw campaigning for him less than 12 hours before the polls opened. 

But after last night`s apparent defeat to the Democrat -- to Democrat rMDNM_Andy Beshear, in a state Trump had won nearly by 30 points in 2016, the president is still looking to take credit. 

The president tweeted late last night that Monday`s rally brought the governor back from 15 or 20 points down in the polls, although there`s no evidence of that whatever, completely made up. 

Those closest to the president, however, were also trying to spin the defeat in the president`s favor. 


KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER:  I think the president made this race competitive, as did the vice president. 

DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF DONALD TRUMP:  You see the mainstream media sort of jump on the governor`s race there, who was down by 17 points, let`s not forget, not too recently.


MATTHEWS:  Well, in fact, the last poll conducted, young man there, just days before the rally had Bevin, the governor, the Republican governor, up by five.  He wasn`t down by 17, as Jr. put it.  He was up. 

And after the president`s visit, he lost. 


MATTHEWS:  For more, I`m joined by Howard Fineman, MSNBC News analyst, Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino, and Michael Steele, former -- former -- I just love the former -- you were the last time Republicans won everything.  That`s why you got cashiered over there.  You did something wrong.



MATTHEWS:  What are they going to say?  When they lose, they lose.  When you win, you win.  They lost. 

STEELE:  They lost. 

And they lost because of one word.  And to paraphrase the great late Tim Russert, suburbia, suburbia, suburbia. 


STEELE:  This whole race boiled down to what`s happening in the suburbs across the country. 

The Republican Party has lost and is continuing to lose ground in that space.  That was always the sanctuary, because they couldn`t win the cities.  We couldn`t win the Baltimores and the Los Angeles and the Philadelphias.

So we could always play in the suburbs.  We could rally that vote.  And what you saw -- what you have begun to see, which actually has been trending -- you know this, Howard -- for quite some time in places like Wisconsin and elsewhere, the Dems are moving effectively into that space. 

They`re making credible arguments, largely around health care.  But it tells you what matters to the American people out there.  And so the politics of Trump rallies the base and stirs the passions, but it doesn`t necessarily translate in the suburbs.


MATTHEWS:  I agree with you about the numbers.  I think we agree that the suburbs are going blue. 

I have another thing.

And I will ask you, as a woman here, because I do think women especially are disturbed by indecency.  Maybe that`s the way I was brought up.  This indecency of this guy, the bad language, ethnic language, racial language, making fun of people`s looks, of handicaps, he never stops behaving the way you teach your kids not to behave. 

Don`t let any kid grow -- come out of your house that behaves like Donald Trump. 


MATTHEWS:  And the burbs are trying to get their kids...

KUMAR:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  They go out to the burbs to get better schools, better public schools.  That`s why they move there.  They don`t want their kids growing up like Donald Trump. 


I think -- well, I think that, and also they`re also issue voters.  Right?  They also don`t want to go in the beginning of September and have to buy bulletproof backpacks.  That`s what happened in Virginia.  Women went out and voted because it was actually -- there was a pro-gun reform agenda.

They want to make sure that they have health care.  They also want to...


MATTHEWS:  Well, he dropped that, by the way. 

KUMAR:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  He`s not going to do nothing on guns, because he`s being impeached.

KUMAR:  No, right, right, exactly. 

So they came out for, yes, they don`t like the sensibilities of the president and what he represents to their children.  This is -- oftentimes, the house of the president has been the leader of the land that actually sets the course of our moral -- our moral compass. 

He doesn`t have that.  And it doesn`t sit well with women.  But then it`s also the issues that he chooses not to pursue, and the vulnerabilities that come if we don`t have the policies that they need to succeed. 

MATTHEWS:  Speaking of -- and this is a -- I will make a course correction to what I just said. 

Do you remember this female cyclist who lost back in 2017, lost her job after flipping off the president`s motorcade as he drove past her?  Not everybody is decent.


MATTHEWS:  Well, last night, that woman, Juli Briskman, was among the Democrats who unseated incumbent Republicans in suburban Virginia, a seat on the county board of supervisors. 

Howard, so I don`t want to spread this theory that Democrats are decent, Republicans aren`t.

HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT:  Well, she doesn`t have quite the visibility of the president of the United States.  OK.

Well, it -- Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky, big suburban area that had been trending Republican, in many ways still trending Republican. 

However, last night, according to the mayor of Louisville, Greg Fischer, who I talked to a couple hours ago, Democrats won that metropolitan area by 100,000 votes.  That`s how they won in Kentucky.

MATTHEWS:  Last night.

FINEMAN:  Last night.

And Greg told me was four things, health care, public schools, respect for teachers, and decency.  He used just the word you used.  He said decency.  Those four things.

And also impeachment, which Matt Bevin ran on in concert with Donald Trump, did not work.  Some people thought it would produce a huge backlash, another Republican wave.  It didn`t do it, partly because some of those suburbanites care about the substance of the impeachment issue. 

And also the tone is wrong.  Right now, the tone is wrong.  If you`re going to call people scum for attacking the president, that`s...

MATTHEWS:  Human scum. 

FINEMAN:  Yes, human scum.

That is the wrong term.  And most important, it keeps the Republicans from getting on the topic that would really help them the most, which is the economy. 

STEELE:  Yes. 

FINEMAN:  The economy is booming in a place like Kentucky. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, the market is the highest ever. 

KUMAR:  Right.


But Matt Bevin didn`t talk about it because he was too busy buddying up to Trump on impeachment, which did not work. 


MATTHEWS:  This is all true. 

I want to go to one other piece.  I was talking to Kornacki last night, Steve Kornacki, who is really the best at the numbers.  And I asked, is there any other backwash going the other way?

Because when I see national polls and state battleground polls that show that Trump is still in the game, and I know he`s losing in the barbs, especially in women, especially among people with college educations, I know -- we all know what`s going on. 

The blue wave is working there.  It must be offset somewhere by some other wash that is leading up to more red votes.  And he said yes.  In the more Appalachian areas, there are people that are a little more -- in other words, Trump isn`t catching up with the white angry Appalachian.

But he is doing something to offset the blue wave.  What do you hear? 

STEELE:  Yes, I mean I think...

MATTHEWS:  There are some new people to Trump.

STEELE:  Well, that`s -- I have been saying this for the longest time.

There is still a body of voters out there that Trump is able to tap into, and they cross the political spectrum.  They`re not these hard -- necessarily hard right conservatives.  They`re folks who like where the economy is right now.

Their personal well-being has been improved or made better.


KUMAR:  It trumps everything else.


STEELE:  But he`s making that work for them.

MATTHEWS:  I got to go to the next thing.


MATTHEWS:  You`re next.

But you respond to this.  I`m sorry.


MATTHEWS:  I`m getting direction.  You ought to go.  I`m getting direction.

Anyway, Governor Matt Bevin wasn`t the only person President Trump praised at Monday`s rally.  One of them wanted to return the favor. 

Here he goes.


LOU DOBBS, FOX NEWS:  Thank you to President Trump, who at rally in Kentucky -- he had about I think 40,000 folks at that rally -- said this to -- this to the assembled crowd. 

DONALD TRUMP SR.:  The great Lou Dobbs.  And he said, when Trump took over, President Trump, he used to say, Trump is a great president.  Then he said, Trump is the greatest president since Ronald Reagan. 

DOBBS:  And then I said, he`s the greatest president ever.  And I meant every word of it. 


MATTHEWS:  Of course, this is nothing new between President Trump and FOX Business anchor Lou Dobbs.

Both have a history of lavishing public praise on each other. 


DONALD TRUMP SR.:  I`m certainly happy.  I think Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs -- we have a lot of great people. 

DOBBS:  This president is a historic achiever, a historic president.

DONALD TRUMP SR.:  And Lou Dobbs.  How about Lou Dobbs?


DONALD TRUMP SR.:  Thank God we have them on our side. 


DOBBS:  Have a great weekend.  The president makes such a thing possible for us all. 


MATTHEWS:  God, it`s like of like a Cialis commercial. 


MATTHEWS:  I mean, what is going on here?  They`re -- dueling bathtubs.  They`re both in their bubble baths.


KUMAR:  That image for your viewers and everyone here, it`s just so unpleasant.


MATTHEWS:  What is going on here?

KUMAR:  But I think that this -- it demonstrates that there is -- that the profession from these two individuals, both Sean Hannity and from Lou Dobbs, is a propaganda machine for the president, is that dotted line.

And for individuals, when you scratch your head and say, why are people still in a safe -- in the camp of the president, is that they`re also kind of in a lockbox of the media, of the consumption that they receive. 

And that`s a disservice.  And it`s not true to the profession of the press.  Like, there should be this understanding that, when you are on -- when you are sitting here, you are actually acting on the benefit of the public.

And that is not the case.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Howard Fineman.  Thank you, Maria Teresa Kumar and Michael Steele for that lecture. 

It`s a very helpful lecture.  I don`t know that they`re going to hear it over at FOX. 


MATTHEWS:  Up next, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown joins us here with his take on last night`s elections, on impeachment -- he`s going to be one of the jurors -- and more.

You`re watching HARDBALL. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Congratulation, Chris, on 20 years of HARDBALL.  You`re such an inspiration.  You`re so smart.  It`s an honor to be a guest on your show. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You`ve contributed so much to American political life, providing junkies like me and millions of others a daily dose of what they crave, a sense of history, a love of politics. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No one does it better.  Nobody understands history and the romance of politics better than you do. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Chris, congratulations on 20 years on MSNBC and being blessed with being able to talk about this amazing news cycle. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

It`ll be weeks before senators get a chance to see the evidence compiled by the House on President Trump`s impeachment inquiry. 

Despite that, some Republicans have already signaled which way they`ll go. 


SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY):  You know, it takes 67 votes in the Senate to remove a president.  That would mean all 47 Democrats and 20 Republicans, and I`ll tell you, I don`t know a single Republican today and have not heard from a single Republican senator today that they would vote to remove this president. 

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC):  This is political vendetta.  Mueller to me was the final authority on everything Trump.  I`ve read the transcript for myself.  I`ve made up my own mind. 

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY):  I`d be surprised if it didn`t end the way the two previous ones did with the president not being removed from office. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio joins me now.  He`s the author of "Desk 88: Eight Progressive Senators Who Changed America". 

We`ll get to this in a minute.  It`s like the profiles in courage, though, I see this point.  Let me ask about this -- I always like to flip this.  If these Republicans, they`re not stupid people, I`ve sort of watch them in action.

If this had been an infraction or impeachable offense delivered by Barack Obama, if he`d get caught, if he`d get caught going to a foreign government and saying with a bunch of henchman around like Giuliani if you don`t give me my dirt on my opponent, when Mitt Romney or whoever he wanted to get the dirt on, you`re not going to get the military to fight the aggressor -- do you think the Republicans would see that as impeachable? 

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH):  This is something even Richard Nixon didn`t do, go to a foreign government and say help me win my election, if you don`t I`m going to hold this back in helping you fight a Russian invasion all the way.  I mean, not, this is -- I`m not a lawyer but I understand impeachment is the indictment, right, and then the conviction and the Senate meets with a hundred jurors and we shouldn`t bring our prejudices and bias.  We should get -- we should look at the evidence, and you should show three cases of senators who are not going to look at the evidence. 

MATTHEWS:  Why are they doing that? 

BROWN:  They`re doing that because they love Trump`s tax cuts.  They love the tax on labor and the environment, and they love the young justice getting in the court system, and they`re scared of their base.  And so they`ve shown -- I mean, this book I wrote one of the things it`ll show is that history says these Republicans will look really bad 10 years, 20 years, 30 years from now.  I have no doubt --


MATTHEWS:  I like your politics.  You`re absolutely clear on your politics.  You`re on the progressive side of the Democratic Party and you`re being consistent and I like consistency. 

I think there`s one thing you`ve got to answer the question.  It`s not just the rich people that vote Republican.  I have parents who were cloth coat Republicans.  How do you explain there?  They don`t get an economic interest in voting for rich people`s big tax cuts.  Why do they do it?  Why do Republican -- you`re in Ohio.

BROWN:  They`re you`re parents, you explain --

MATTHEWS: I explain because they have different values.  They don`t like government, they don`t like big government. 

BROWN:  I understand that, and they were hardworking, and they`re small business people in some cases.  Yes, there are a lot of reasons people vote the way they do.  And you`ll never hear me say why do they vote against their own self-interests because it`s not my place to tell you or your family what your interests are.  But I think --

MATTHEWS:  But you just did. 

BROWN:  Right, we`re seeing this division now.  We`re seeing obviously a president that attacks, attacks, attacks --

MATTHEWS:  Ninety percent, I`ve never seen support like that.  Why do 90 percent of Republican people, voters stick with him? 

BROWN:  Well, part the reason is no Republican elected officials ever criticize him either.  So, if they watch Fox, they watch Lou Dobbs, they watch Fox all day, they never hear criticism of this president from any of the elected officials who they voted for.  Why would they turn on him?  That`s a big part of it. 


MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you about this book because it`s really well-written.  I`m going through it, and I read the part on Bobby Kennedy, read the part about Glen Taylor who ran with Henry Wallace on the progressive ticket back in `48.  I like McGovern.  I like McGovern.  He was too left for many a lot of voters, but I like him.

What is it about progressives in this?  Because you laid them out to be courageous people that are willing to take a side for the little guy or little woman even though they know it`s not easy politically. 

BROWN:  I wrote the book for the same reason I wear this lapel pin.  It`s a canary in a bird cage.  It`s the mine workers took the canary down in the mines.  I was given this in the workers memorial day. 

The book I wrote for the same reason, to show that government -- the power of government can be used to help people, and that`s what each of these eight progressive senators did from Hugo Black to Herbert Lehman to Al Gore Sr., to McGovern and Kennedy.  And you think about the great progressive victories in the `30s with Social Security and labor reform and the 40-hour workweek from, that Hugo Black really helped --

MATTHEWS:  Social Security was the greatest anti-poverty program in history.  They didn`t die poor.

BROWN:  And what Republicans called it?  They called it socialism. 


BROWN:  Medicare.  Think about the importance of Medicare in `65.  They called it socialism.  Think about Pell grants --

MATTHEWS:  It`s popular as hell. 

BROWN:  Yes, and all of those things, progressives passed all these.  They were short-term victories.  They had big victories.  It didn`t last very long and the money interest push back. 

But there -- I`m not predicting this but I think things are building potentially for progressive era in 2020. 

MATTHEWS:  How long can it last? 

BROWN:  Well, it can last two, three, four or five years.  Never longer than four or five years.  Roosevelt even lasted for four years and there`s a push back from moneyed interest, maybe progressives go a little too far. 

But the huge victories in the progressive eras are huge victories for the country.  It`s Social Security, it`s Medicare, it`s Head Start, it`s civil rights. 

MATTHEWS:  Yes, a window that opens -- 

BROWN:  Yes, it`s a window and it affects -- it has a good effect --

MATTHEWS:  Arthur Schlesinger believed in this, the great historian.  Thank you, you`re a great writer. 

BROWN:  Thank you for saying that.

MATTHEWS:  Besides being a guy I like in politics.  Thank you, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

Up next, the foreign policy failure of the past 20 years, the worst.  And, by the way, I think we all remember the worst foreign policy decision of the last many years. 

You`re watching HARDBALL.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hey, Chris and the HARDBALL crew, congratulations on 20 years.  It is astounding, amazing, impressive.  And before I started in nightly television and someone told me this show was celebrated for 20 years, I`m like good for them.  Now, I`m like, how, how, how did you do it? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I sit here and say 20 years.  Chris, it`s more than 20 years, but this is the beauty of you, Chris Matthews, is you`re always so youthful, you`re so energetic that even though you`ve been doing this for I think 30 years, we`ve decided it only feels like 20.  That`s how energetic and youthful are you, you have actually changed the space time continuum. 




MATTHEWS:  Did you ever advise the president to go to war?  Weren`t you ever asked your advice? 

DONALD RUMSFELD, FORMER G.W. BUSH DEFENSE SECRETARY:  I don`t know who he might have asked their advice. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, he apparently asked the vice president. 

RUMSFELD:  Possibly.  I just don`t know that, and read all these books -- 

MATTHEWS:  He didn`t ask your father.  You know that. 

RUMSFELD:  Is that right?

MATTHEWS:  Well, that`s how I go by these books. 

RUMSFELD:  You ought to get a life.  You could do something beside read those books. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

People often ask me what was the most important story I covered over the past two decades.  Well, we`ve lived through some incredible moments, of course, from the Florida recount to the horrors of September 11th, to the historic election of Barack Obama.  But one event stands out as the single most disastrous policy of recent history.  It was something so epicably stupid it makes everything pale in comparison.

And we covered it aggressively, critically, and doggedly.  And that`s coming up next.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

In the fall of 2001, in the weeks after 9/11, I began to catch whiffs of war.  People like Vice President Dick Cheney and large spaces on the op-ed pages of the newspapers were pushing for war with Iraq.  There was no real evidence Iraq had anything to do with the September 11th attacks but that didn`t stop the push for war. 

And what depressed me is how gullible the country had become.  Ted Kennedy was the one noble exception, calling his vote against the Iraq resolution the most important of his storied career.  We covered the Iraq war here most intently in the months leading up to it and most passionately in opposing it. 


MATTHEWS:  We should not go to war with Iraq unless we have solid evidence they were connected with that September 11th attack. 

Why are we getting a pr campaign being run in the American media pushing us to war with Iraq?  If ever, why is everybody pushing this war attitude, the drumbeat?  Who`s causing it if they`re only number six on a list of dangers? 

I worry the United States is going to invade Iraq.  I worry about huge casualties by us, greater casualties by the Iraqis. 

Let`s find a way to stop the hostility and avert war.  If we`re not going to even try, why do we have ambassadors to those countries, why do we have a State Department? 

If the United States invades Iraq, and I`m personally against it, I make that clear.

If we still have to figure out why we`re going to war with Iraq, don`t we have a problem right there?

I`m totally against this war. 

Why would stop the president -- you give a blank check, I read the resolution.  The provision is clear, he can do anything he wants under the provision you agreed to protect the United States security vis-a-vis Iraq.  It`s an absolute blank check.


MATTHEWS:  "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.