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Deval Patrick runs for president in 2020 race. TRANSCRIPT: 11/14/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.

Guests: Raja Krishnamoorthi, Jill Colvin, Mieke Eoyang, Laurence Tribe,Maya Wiley, Antjuan Seawright

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  They didn`t reach the verdict.  They asked those two questions we just discussed, and that means they are done for the night but we`ll be back deliberating tomorrow morning.

I will be back tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m.  I hope you`ll join us for "The Beat."  HARDBALL with Chris Matthews starts now.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  Witnesses two, Trumpsters zero.  Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I`m Chris Matthews up in New York.

The case for impeachment is gaining strength after the dual testimonies from Ambassador Bill Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, both dramatically raised the stakes yesterday.  More than 13 million Americans watched live on television as both witnesses described the president`s scheme to leverage Ukraine for political gain.  And that number doesn`t include people who watched online.

Despite Republican efforts to turn yesterday`s hearing into a circus, it was a rare occasion where substance won out over theatrics.  In fact, today, Speaker Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi, said the hearing bolstered the central charge that the president attempted to bribe Ukraine by trading arms for dirt.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA):  The devastating testimony corroborated evidence of bribery uncovered in the inquiry, and that the president abused power and violated his oath by threatening to withhold military aid and a White House meeting in exchange for an investigation into his political rival.

The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a -- of a fake investigation into the elections.  That`s bribery.


MATTHEWS:  The New York Times notes that Pelosi`s use of the word bribery today was significant because it suggested that Democrats are moving toward a more specific set of charges that could be codified in articles of impeachment in the coming weeks.  It`s also telling that the U.S. Constitution explicitly describes bribery as an impeachable offense.

Above all else yesterday`s hearing demonstrates Trump`s primary mission in Ukraine was to advance his political agenda.  And now there`s new reporting on the bombshell revelation, an embassy staffer overheard the president asked Ambassador Gordon Sondland about the investigations he was demanding of Ukraine in July.

The Associated Press and The Washington Post both report that a second U.S. official was also able to hear the president on that phone call.  Each is citing a single anonymous source who`s familiar with the matter.  While NBC News has not spoken to anyone who has confirmed that reporting, it could further establish that the president was personally orchestrating the scheme to leverage a foreign ally.

And here`s how Ambassador Bill Taylor described that overheard phone call yesterday.


WILLIAM TAYLOR, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE:  A member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone asking Ambassador Sondland about the investigations.  Mr. Sondland told President Trump the Ukrainians were ready to move forward.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA):  So your staff member overhears the president asking about the investigations, meaning Burisma and the Bidens and 2016.  And Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward?

TAYLOR:  He did.


MATTHEWS:  Well, that call took place just one day after Trump personally asked Ukrainian President Zelensky to dig up dirt on Democrats.  And that`s the smoking gun conversation at the heart, of course, the impeachment drive.

And now, the first staffer who overheard Trump`s conversation, David Holmes, is scheduled to testify in a closed session before the committee, the Intelligence Committee, tomorrow.

The Washington Post is also reporting late tonight that a White House budget officer is expected to break ranks and testify in the unfolding inquiry and could shed light on the freeze of that military aid to Ukraine.

I`m joined right now by Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, who`s on the House Intelligence Committee, Jill Colvin is a White House Reporter for the Associate Press, Mieke Eoyang is Vice President for the National Security Program at Third Way, and Jon Meacham is, of course, our presidential historian.  He is a presidential historian.

Let me start with congressman.  Congressman, yesterday, today and tomorrow seemed to be strengthening a lot of confirmation that the president did in fact have that phone call with Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, but also that there was a lead up to it, and we`re learning just now two witnesses to the follow-up.  The very next day, the president is on the phone with Sondland saying, are you getting this job done, are you getting this dirt that you asked Zelensky for?  It shows personal involvement it seems to be you`re looking at it.  How are you looking at it?

REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL):  That`s right.  I think that the evidence from yesterday points to basically the president even more involved in this scheme than we knew before.  And as a consequence, we`re following up on this new information.  And at the end of the day, I think Ambassador Taylor`s compelling testimony and revelation of this piece of news makes it even more important that we proceed with the inquiry and ask further questions.

MATTHEWS:  It seems to me just from looking at this, the play-by-play of this contest between truth and what I would consider a circus atmosphere, the Republicans, even though on your committee, where they are as expert as you guys are potentially because they`re hearing all the witnesses, they don`t want to hear from the witnesses, they don`t want to hear the facts, they want to focus on something else, who`s the whistleblower, let`s go talk to Hunter Biden, anything else, let`s talk about 2016 and the Ukraine bogus theories.  They don`t seem to want to challenge the facts of the conversation the president had or even the follow-up conversations he had with Sondland.

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  That`s right.  And, in fact, in a lot of cases, it almost feels like they concede some of this evidence and the facts that basically seem to support the allegations or charges against the president.  Instead they make arguments such as this.  They say, well, the aide resumed anyway on September 11th, so no harm, no foul that happened in the preceding months.

Of course, that September 11th resumption of aid happened two days after we launched a congressional investigation of the charges.  And that`s what I enlisted on my testimony.  I hope they put that bogus argument to rest finally, but let`s see what happens.

MATTHEWS:  Well, it`s like he said, I shot somebody on Fifth Avenue but I only wounded them.  They survived the shooting.  I mean, that`s what he`s saying here.

Jill, I want to talk to you about the facts here.  It seems the facts are really not being disputed, except in this of saying, well, he didn`t die, the country didn`t die.  Eventually, when this thing was outed and the whole thing was discovered, this scam, they got their money.  But, clearly, they weren`t going to get their money as long as it was secret.

JILL COLVIN, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, "ASSOCIATED PRESS":  Yes. I mean, though you still have the president of the United States, for instance, trying to malign the whistleblower, claiming that he misrepresented the conversation that the president had with President Zelensky, where there are not any evidence of anything.  You know, there have been multiple witnesses who have corroborated the content of that whistleblower account.

We also had the president yesterday at that press conference say that he didn`t recall any details of this overheard conversation at this restaurant in Kiev, where the president allegedly spoke to Sondland and indicated that he was interested in these investigations, apparently more interested in the investigations than he was in Ukraine policy itself.  And so you`ve still got the president trying to distance himself here, trying to maintain some level of deniability.

MATTHEWS:  What about this Associated Press witness you`ve got -- your wire service?  You`ve got a second witness to that conversation that heard Trump talk to Sondland about following up and getting the dirt from Zelensky, more evidence of personal involvement -- of intense personal involvement.  How solid are we on that second witness?

COLVIN:  Well, this was an individual who was present at that restaurant in Kiev where that conversation took place.  She was sitting around the table.  She`s somebody who has worked in Kiev.  She`s got a background as an attorney.  And according to somebody close to her, she overheard the exact same thing that Hines heard Sondland say around that table.

Now, there are still some questions about exactly what the nature of that conversation was, why it was that Ambassador Sondland would be using his cell phone in a public restaurant in Kiev, a place where Russian spying is known as to be very prevalent.  Unclear whether perhaps he put the president on speakerphone, whether he passed around the phone, how it was all these individuals heard about it.  But nonetheless, this is now two individuals who say that they heard the president on that line against the president who says he can`t remember this at all.

MATTHEWS:  Well, Mieke, that tells me, and everybody can jump in here, the fact that this guy, Sondland, who basically bought his ambassadorship with $1 million gift to the inauguration, the fact that he can get the president whenever he rings him up, he`s got his private cell number.  I mean, that is impressive enough to me that this guy is in tight with the president.  He`s been deputized to do this dirty work for him.  And anytime he wants Trump on the line to check out what he`s up to, Trump is ready to take the call and push him forward.

MIEKE EOYANG, VICE PRESIDENT FOR THIRD WAY`S NATIONAL SECURITY:  That`s right.  It`s very clear that the president is, in fact, directing this scheme, that Sondland is taking direction from the president.  He said as much to the person who overheard the phone call.

And, look, you can argue about whether or not the president was the mastermind of this thing or Rudy Giuliani put the idea in his head.  But at the end of the day, the president is the boss of these people.  He`s the one who tells them what to do.  He`s the one who says, this is what you should do and this is what you shouldn`t do, and he`s the ultimate beneficiary of the scheme.  He is the one whose rival will be investigated if the Ukrainians go through with this thing, not Giuliani, not Sondland.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  Well, the fish rots from the head.  Mike Dukakis once said, an old Greek expression, apparently.

Well, as you have just said, President Trump yesterday denied having any recollection of the conversation he had with Gordon Sondland, the follow-up on investigations he was demanding with Ukraine.  He doesn`t remember.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I know nothing about that, first time I`ve heard it.

REPORTER:  Do you recall the conversations?

TRUMP:  I don`t recall, no, not at all.  Not even a little bit.


MATTHEWS:  He goes into that kind of little Tommy Smothers.  I know I`m old and I remember these things.  He got that sort of that dull, dull non- inflicted voice, Jon Meacham, he goes to whenever he`s lying.  I don`t know.  I don`t remember.  It`s almost like I`m on recorder that`s slowing down.  Anyway, it`s Trump`s latest attempt to distance himself from Sondland after he told reporters he hardly knew Sondland.  And now we`re in this little sotto voce conversations over in Kiev with a guy he doesn`t know.  Let`s watch him deny that.


REPORTER:  Gordon Sondland said at the beginning of September, he presumed there was a quid pro quo.  Then there was a telephone call to you on September the 9th.  Had he ever talked to you prior to that telephone call?

TRUMP:  Well, let me just tell you, I hardly know the gentleman.


MATTHEWS:  However, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff yesterday described why this call is significant to the inquiry.


SCHIFF:  This is obviously very important because there is an effort apparently to, by the president`s allies, throw Sondland under the bus, throw Mulvaney under the bus, throw anybody under the bus in order to protect the president.  But what this call indicates, as other testimony has likewise indicated, is that instructions are coming from the president on down.


MATTHEWS:  Jon Meacham, only someone who never worked in politics would believe that people did what they felt like doing when there`s a boss there whose life and political career and his presidency depends on it.  But they`re just doing what they feel like doing, like it`s a modern school.  Just do what you feel like doing.  It`s a nonsensical defense.  Haldeman, Erlichman, John Dean, Nixon threw all those guys under the bus until there`s no more buses coming by in his term.  Your thoughts?  Does anybody believe this, my people did this, I didn`t do it?

JON MEACHAM, MSNBC PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN:  No, and particularly given the Trump culture.  You`re right politician`s writ large, White House`s writ large, but there are no buffers here, right?  I mean, it`s actually not that surprising that the E.U. ambassador has his cell phone.  There are stories everywhere about how accessible the president is actually.  And he -- this is an autonomous guy, right?  It was Trump organizations, the Trump Tower, the Trump presidency, and he runs this out of his back pocket.

A couple of tells, as they would say, if you`re playing poker.  One, you write the slow voice often means he`s obfuscating.  The other is I didn`t know this gentleman.  Remember, he didn`t know Steve Bannon, he didn`t know Paul Manafort.  There`s a certain pattern here.

My own sense is he`s going to move from -- and I could be wrong, of course, but I think he`s going to move from this, I don`t remember this, into a kind of a Few Good Men moment like where like Jack Nicholson, Col. Jessup, he`s going to eventually say, you`re damn right I did.  I did this, what are you going to do about it?

I think he`s going to end up where Mick Mulvaney was with the get over it, partly because I don`t think Mick Mulvaney would have said that in the pressroom if he hadn`t gotten some of that from the president himself.

And I think, basically, what we`re facing as a country is going to be the question of do we want to get over it?  Do we want to accept this Republican argument that, yes, there was probably -- yes, there was law breaking but they got the aid once they were caught?  And in that scenario, in a weird way, the whistleblower saves Donald Trump, right, as they stopped the illegality at least in (INAUDIBLE).

And so I think we`re going to have to decide -- I bet he`s going to cop to it, eventually, in a defiant way.  And then, remember -- but in the movie, Nicholson gets arrested.  So the question is, is this guy going to get punished?

MATTHEWS:  Well, let me go to the congressman on that because I think he raised a very good sleuthing point there, Jon, and that is this thing about -- Congressman, where do you think Mick Mulvaney, your former colleague and now acting chief of staff, still OMB director, got the idea that he can go on television and simply say, yes, it was a quid pro quo, get used to it, it happens all the time?  Maybe it does sound like a pretty good intuition on the part of Jon Meacham that he got that idea from the president.  That was his initial instinct to just say, live with it.

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  Well, I think that might be the instinct that leads the president to say this is a perfect call, this is a beautiful call.  Regardless of what you think, Chris, about that call, it was beautiful and that`s what you should be thinking about it.  And I think that that kind of thinking infects probably some of his deputies.

The other thing I would say is as soon as Mick Mulvaney said what he said, and obviously this is -- by the way, this is not hearsay.  This is firsthand account of what the president wants to have happened at OMB.  You know, Mick Mulvaney quickly found himself alone because DOJ distanced themselves from him, the president`s own attorney distanced himself from him, and so that`s just the culture of this White House, throw everyone under the bus.

MATTHEWS:  And keep changing your story, and you don`t hope your staff people can keep up with it because your adjutants can only keep up with only one story at a time and you keep changing it.

Anyway, throughout the hearing yesterday, Bill Taylor and George Kent`s testimonies hammered home the point that Trump tried to extort political dirt from Ukraine using his office and his personal lawyer to do so.


TAYLOR:  The official foreign policy of the United States was undercut by the irregular efforts led by Mr. Giuliani.

KENT:  Giuliani`s efforts to gin up politically motivated investigations were now infecting U.S. engagement with Ukraine.

TAYLOR:  President Trump did insist that President Zelensky go to a microphone and say he is opening investigations of Biden and 2016 election interference.

KENT:  The possibility of a White House meeting was being held contingent to an announcement.

TAYLOR:  In fact, Ambassador Sondland said, everything was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance.

KENT:  Such selective actions undermine the rule of law regardless of the country.

TAYLOR:  It was illogical, it could not be explained, it was crazy.


MATTHEWS:  Mieke, we have an amazing scenario facing us the next couple of weeks.  We look we`re going to get articles of impeachment out of the House probably by Christmas, a Senate trial to file in the early part of next year.

Somewhere in that, a fireside chat from the president where he`s going to go before the American people and Nixon-like deny or accept or defend everything.  We`re talking about drama down the road here.

EOYANG:  Yes.  And this president loves drama.  He loves everyone else talking about him.  But when you look at the ways that the Republicans are defending this case, what they are doing is not attacking the substance, they are not disputing the facts here, they`re trying to derive the whole thing as partisan.  And they are counting on the fact that they believe that America is so tribal that all the Republicans will continue to vote with him and people are not able to make up their own minds when they hear the evidence.

And what the Democrats have done here in going to these open hearings is let the American people see the evidence and decide for themselves.

MATTHEWS:  Well, it`s an interesting jury out there in the American people.  I`ve got to tell you, Congressman and everybody else in my business of journalism, I think 50 some percent of the people are listening, maybe 60, maybe more, our numbers are growing, and there are people out there who have closed their mind to this issue.  We`re going to have to deal with that reality.  That jury is going to be difficult.

Thank you so much, U.S. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, always, coming on from Illinois.  Jill Colvin, your expertise and the Associated Press is wonderful, you people are amazing, and, Jon Meacham, of course, my friend and one of the great historians in this country, and Mieke Eoyang, thank you all.

Coming up, the Republicans tangled and torture defense of President Trump.  This is wild stuff.  It is what is the weeds (ph).

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH):  What you heard did not happen.  It didn`t happen.

REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE (R-TX):  Are either of you here today to assert there was an impeachable offense in that call?  Shout it out, anyone?

STEVE CASTOR, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE MINORITY COUNSEL:  This irregular channel of diplomacy, it`s not as outlandish as it could be, is that correct?


MATTHEWS:  That is my favorite question.  It`s not as outlandish as it could be, and that`s the Republicans` chief counsel.

And as Republicans relied on Obfuscation, Democrats advance the case for impeachment.  Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe is going to be here with me in a minute.

Plus, Republican senators see Trump`s impeachment trial overlapping with the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, making life difficult for the six Democratic senators who have to be on the trial and also on the campaign at the same time.  I think the Republicans are going to be enjoying this.

We`ve got much more to get to.  Stick with us.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

Ambassador William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent painted a sobering portrait of a president using the power of his office to advance his personal political agenda by withholding aid, military aid, from a foreign power. 

Faced with that evidence, Republicans looked the other way, opting instead to press an alternative reality. 


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH):  The whole point was, you had a clear understanding that aid will not get released unless there`s a commitment, not maybe, not I think the aid might happen and it`s my hunch it is going to get released. 

You used clear language, clear understanding and commitment.  And those two things didn`t happen.  So you had to be wrong. 

REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE (R-TX):  No pressure, no demands, no conditions, nothing corrupt. 

REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH):  So not only no conversation with the president of the United States about Ukraine.  You have not had any contact with the president of the United States. 

REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY):  For the millions of Americans viewing today, the two most important facts are the following.  Number one, Ukraine received the aid.  Number two, there was in fact no investigation into...


MATTHEWS:  Well, today, speaking to reporters, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to Republican criticism by inviting President Trump to participate -- to participate, him, get in the conversation on the inquiry. 


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA):  If the president has something that is exculpatory, Mr. President, that means, if you have anything that shows your innocence, then he should make that known. 

And that`s part of the inquiry.  And so far, we haven`t seen that, but we welcome it. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters that he wouldn`t support impeachment, even if new evidence confirms that President Trump demanded investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden. 

For more, I`m joined right now by Laurence Tribe, Harvard Law professor and co-author of "To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment."

Professor Tribe, what do you make -- to start with, what do you make of the Republican alternate -- well, I wouldn`t call it a defense -- alternate narrative yesterday? 

LAURENCE TRIBE, PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL:  Well, I think it`s basically ridiculous. 

The fact is that, if you solicit a bribe and are caught red-handed before you get the bribe, you have still committed bribery.  And in this case, it was extortion, as well as bribery.  It was a clear abuse of power. 

And in any case, the history of the framing of the impeachment power is that George Mason, one of the framers, wanted to include, in addition to treason and bribery, a term like corruption.  And in the end, instead of corruption, they used other high crimes and misdemeanors.

And Mason said, that was intended to capture, among other things, attempted subversion of the Constitution. 

So, here we have actual, as well as attempted subversion.  For over 70 days, the aid was withheld.  And if not for the whistle-blower, if not for having been caught red-handed, the president would have gotten what he wanted. 

He wanted a public television appearance by President Zelensky smearing Biden and saying that we`re investigating him.  The only reason he didn`t get that is that he was caught.  And for him to say that, I was caught and so it doesn`t matter, is really a desperate and unconvincing move. 

The question is, will the people of this country accept it?  Will they accept that it`s OK to use your official power to hurt an ally and help an adversary just because you`re caught before you hurt the adversary any longer?

And I don`t think the American people will buy that.  But then maybe I`m just too optimistic. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, Trump doesn`t have a very good historic sense about anybody -- about anything, our culture or anything.

TRIBE:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  But I was wondering.  I`m trying to be really fine here in understanding this, because I grew up with LBJ.

And LBJ used the power of the presidency to reward people.  He would close certain Naval bases and keep others open, depending on who he liked that week.  We knew that.

That kind of use of presidential discretion under Article 2, tell us what`s the difference between that and what Trump`s doing, or what he`s done here with Ukraine.


TRIBE:  It`s very different. 

First of all, this is national security and it`s foreign affairs.  And, secondly, this is a case where Congress specifically said that this $400 million and the Javelin missiles should go to Ukraine in order to protect this ally against the encroachments of Russia, the encroachments of Vladimir Putin.

  And Congress specifically said that the money shouldn`t go until the Pentagon certifies that corruption will not get in the way of delivering the money the way we intend it to be used. 

That certification was given.  So the president violated what Congress had specified.  He violated the power of the purse.  He usurped the power of the purse.  And he did it in a way that solicited foreign assistance for his reelection, which was itself a criminal violation of the laws protecting the sanctity of our electoral process. 

We have had corrupt presidents before, presidents who have trimmed the sales this way or that, but we have never had somebody whose whole purpose in holding that office is to enrich himself and enhance the power of his family and the wealth of his family. 

This is not just a marginal violation.  This is essentially an anti- president.  And I`m not talking only about his policies.  His policies are a different matter altogether. 

It wouldn`t matter if this was Obama or Clinton, any president.  Just ask the Republicans if a Democratic president in the future takes money that you have appropriated for a particular foreign purpose, and then threatens to withhold it, and watch people die on the battlefield until he gets what he wants for his reelection, would you like to live with that? 

Is that the kind of country we want?  It`s not the kind of country I believe that we want or that our framers envisioned. 

And I think it`s about time that people pay more attention to the Constitution and to the purposes of our democracy than to the trivial business of getting reelected. 

If your office is so important to you that you`re going to violate your oath and vote for someone who violates his oath every day and who uses the office of the presidency to enrich himself and to enhance his power, then I really think you are a pathetic excuse for a human being. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, as a citizen, I love the way you put together the absolute immorality of this, with his unconstitutional behavior, because the idea of letting people die...

TRIBE:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  ... so that you can get a little dirt on your opponent is about as corrupt as you can imagine. 

Thank you, Professor.

TRIBE:  It`s pretty sad. 

MATTHEWS:  Professor Laurence Tribe, I wish I was in your classrooms. 


MATTHEWS:  Thank you very much for coming on tonight.

TRIBE:  Thanks.

MATTHEWS:  Up next: Roger Stone`s fate in the hands of the jury.  This is a guy who has been with Trump since day one, in fact, before day one.

Roger was pushing this guy to run for president way back in the `90s.  Now it looks like he is really facing hard time after a trial full of new revelations about Trump and his other close advisers. 

There`s a lot of stuff coming out here.  And it doesn`t look good about the honesty of this president.  But this guy is going to go under the bus. 

You`re watching HARDBALL. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

Right now, former Trump adviser -- and he`s been an adviser for a long time -- Roger Stone is awaiting a verdict in a federal court, facing up to 20 years in prison, real time, hard time, on charges of witness tampering and lying to the U.S. Congress, among other things. 

As his longest serving political adviser, Stone has been with Trump, at his side, for decades.  There he is sitting next to Melania at our event at University of Pennsylvania back in `99. 

Look how close he is, sitting with his then girlfriend.

If he`s convicted, he will become the sixth Trump aide, however, to plead or be found guilty, along with George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, and Michael Cohen, all going to jail.

Stone`s trial has provided a window, however, into portions of the Mueller report that were largely redacted, what Trump and his campaign knew about Russian efforts to hack the DNC and the Clinton campaign, Hillary Clinton.

Former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates, who pled guilty to lying to investigators last year, testified in this trial that he discussed the hacking of information harmful to the Hillary Clinton campaign with Stone as early as April 2016.  He also says that campaign leadership had held brainstorming sessions in what to do with when and if the information was leaked to them. 

Most strikingly, Gates testified that he overheard a conversation between Trump himself and Stone in July in 2016 directly after the earliest DNC e- mails were released, after which Trump told Gates, "More information will be coming."

President Trump has maintained he doesn`t recall any such conversation with Stone, of course. 

I`m joined right now by Ken Dilanian, who has been at the trial every minute, NBC News correspondent, of course, and Maya Wiley, former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

First of all, the smell and the look of that trial.  Who is this guy he brought in?  It`s like Ed Williams brought in Joe Louis one time to help one of his candidates, Jimmy Hoffa. 

Who is that minister that comes along with the defendant here, Roger Stone?  What`s that all about?  Have you been watching that? 

KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT:  I have got to be honest, Chris, I`m not -- I have not, so I`m not familiar with what you`re talking about. 

MATTHEWS:  I just saw the stills.

OK.  What about Roger Stone?  Does he look like he`s ready to burn here?  Does he look like he`s going down? 

DILANIAN:  He does.

And, also, physically, he doesn`t look well at this trial.  He`s walking around the courthouse kind of unaccompanied, shambling around.  He doesn`t look like a happy warrior, which is usually his persona. 

And perhaps that`s because the evidence, Chris, is overwhelming.  I mean, he really doesn`t have much of a defense, except, oh, you know, it doesn`t really matter, or don`t take Stone too seriously, or he didn`t know what he was saying, he didn`t have criminal intent.

But the prosecutors have him dead to rights.  They have documents that refute his testimony. 

But the most interesting part of this trial, Chris, was how the prosecutors made Donald Trump a character.  And they made clear -- even though they go to work every day with Donald Trump`s portrait on their wall, they made clear that what`s at issue in this trial is bad conduct by Donald Trump`s campaign that Roger Stone was lying to cover up.

They said over and over again, the reason Stone lied to the House Intelligence Committee is because the truth would look bad for his longtime associate Donald Trump. 

And then they put up phone records that showed that Stone was in close contact with Trump while he was pursuing the hacked e-mails.  Stone even called Trump on the day that the DNC announced that they had been hacked by the Russians. 

And then Trump called them back, and they talked.  And Stone was in touch with Steve Bannon and Rick Gates.  And, by the way, that Rick Gates testimony, prosecutors would not have put that on unless they thought it was true. 

They have an ethical obligation not to put false testimony before a jury.  So you had the U.S. attorney`s office in D.C. endorsing this statement by Rick Gates that refutes Donald Trump`s sworn testimony to Robert Mueller, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Maya, this is a -- this is a morality play.  You`re -- this guy wasn`t a good guy to begin with.  I mean, he`s a dirty trickster by trade. 

But there he is giving away his freedom, potentially.  If he gets a bad verdict tomorrow, we`re talking a long time in federal prison, at his age, which could be a life sentence.

MAYA WILEY, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY:  Unless he thinks he`s getting a pardon, which would be, obviously, politically unwise for Trump, I think.

But it`s very hard to understand Roger Stone`s behavior in any other way, because, remember, he had the opportunity -- first of all, Jerome Corsi refused to cooperate.  Remember, Jerome Corsi is in the indictment.  He is the person who Roger Stone wouldn`t reveal when he kept saying, I have this back channel. 


WILEY:  And then he says, it`s Randy Credico, who testified in the trial.

But he was protecting Jerome Corsi, who is also the guy who miraculously, like, wiped clean his computer before investigators could get at it.  And he`s the one who was actually, in some of those critical periods in August, actually having communications around getting e-mails. 

But I say that, because there was so much evidence, and evidence that, if you`re refusing -- if you`re literally lying to Congress and saying, I have no e-mails, I have no texts, when there are e-mails and texts, unless you have done what Corsi did, which is wipe your computer...

MATTHEWS:  Well, it`s a simple case to me of a guy who got -- who took a lot of credit for knowing they`re going to get the hacked information Hillary Clinton that they could use against her, and they did use against her.  It cost her number of points.  There`s no doubt about it. 

It played a role in defeating her in 2016.  And now he can`t admit what he was bragging about before, that he was the guy getting the dirt on Hillary through the Russians and the WikiLeaks and the rest of that mess. 

In his written answers to Mueller, however, President Trump responded that he did not recall and did not -- or did not recollect information -- 36 times, he said that.  And five of those times were in response to questions about Roger Stone and the hacked materials. 

This thing about forgetting, by the way, how long -- and where does that fit into our lives, this "I forget"?


WILEY:  Yes. 

Well, it wasn`t very believable, when, in fact, in the Mueller report, they suggest it wasn`t very believable.  Some of the things he forgot, for instance, was that the DNC e-mail hacking of that release was like on his birthday.

There were these kind of periods where you would think, how wouldn`t you remember that? 

But I think what`s critical here is, this is why Donald Trump`s lawyers did not want him to be interviewed.  Remember...

MATTHEWS:  Well, he was written -- he did a written response.  And he lied in that way.

WILEY:  But that`s not an interview.


WILEY:  A written response is not an interview, because, remember, they kept calling it a perjury trap. 

Well, there`s no such thing as a perjury trap.  If you tell the truth...


MATTHEWS:  If you`re telling the truth.

Thank you.  


MATTHEWS:  You know what?  The one thing that Trump really did forget was his oath of office.  That`s what he forgot. 

Ken Dilanian, thank you for that.  I don`t know how you sat through that trial.  What a cruddy bunch that is. 


MATTHEWS:  Anyway, thank you, Maya Wiley, for your analysis.

Up next, the impeachment trial in the Senate could last five to six weeks.  Here it comes, the tricky part for our business, too, overlapping with the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primaries.  So we could be here every night on HARDBALL giving you a split screen of senators, six presidential candidates, sitting in the chamber of the Senate trying the case of Donald Trump, while they were dying to be out there in Iowa or when they know their opponents are out there, Buttigieg and Biden are out there going crazy and they`re stuck in their pews. 

You`re watching HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

As the House moves forward on hearing the case for impeaching President Trump, the Senate is already planning for the impeachment trial, one that could barrel right into the 2020 presidential primary season. 

"The Washington Post" Robert Costa reports that behind the scenes, some Republicans senators and their advisers are privately discussing whether to pressure GOP leaders to stage a lengthy impeachment trial beginning in January to scramble the Democratic presidential race, potentially keeping six contenders in Washington until the eve of the Iowa caucuses or longer. 

Well, some Republicans see the silver lining here.  It would be trapping Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and four other senators running for president in D.C., instead of traveling and campaign for early contest.

The Senate impeachment trial of Bill Clinton in 1999 lasted nearly five weeks.  If the Senate operates in a similar time frame with a Trump impeachment trial in 2020 starting the week of, say, January 6th, that`s a Monday, that would put it on a collision course with the Iowa caucus, February 3rd, and also the New Hampshire primary the following week on Tuesday, February 11th. 

In New Hampshire on Wednesday, Senator Warren was asked about pausing her campaign. 


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I have constitutional responsibilities.  I took an oath of office as did everyone in Congress, and part of that oath of office is the basic principle that no one is above the law.  That includes the president of the United States.  And if the House goes forward and sends an impeachment over to the Senate, and I will be there for the trial. 


MATTHEWS:  But a Senate trial won`t affect the newest surprise entry into the 2020 Democratic field.  And that`s coming up. 

You`re watching HARDBALL.



DEVAL PATRICK (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I love that the party has moved to the left.  I love that we are the party of the woke.  I believe that we also have to be the party of the still waking. 



Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

That was Deval Patrick.  That`s another one who joined the party here as former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, the newest entry into the Democratic presidential race.  Patrick launched his Hail Mary bid this morning before heading to New Hampshire to file the paperwork to get on the ballot up there just one day before the deadline in New Hampshire. 

He explained why he`s running and took some veiled shots -- they weren`t very veiled -- at the other Democrats.  See who he`s attacking here.  Let`s watch.


PATRICK:  In many ways, it is felt to me in watching the race unfold that we`re beginning to break into sort of camps of nostalgia on the one hand and sort of big ideas "my way" or "no way" on the other.  And I think we have to be careful how we bring people in, how we bring people along, and how we yield to the possibility that somebody else or even some other party may have a good idea, as good or better as our own. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, Governor Patrick ruled out a race last year, citing family concerns, and he`ll have an uphill climb to catch the rest of the field right now with less than three months until Iowa. 

For more, I`m joined by Robert Costa, national political reporter for "The Washington Post", and Antjuan Seawright, Democratic strategist, and former senior adviser to the Hillary Clinton campaign down in South Carolina.

Robert, what do you -- what do you see here?  First of all, put it all together.  This guy`s getting in.  I don`t know whether Mike Bloomberg is in or not.  Do you have a ruling on that?  Do you think he`s an actual candidate yet, Mike Bloomberg? 

ROBERT COSTA, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST":  Well, he hasn`t had a formal announcement, but he`s filing across the country in different states.  And Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Patrick, they reflect lot of concern in the centrist wing of the Democratic Party about where this primary process is going, and the ascent of Senator Warren, Senator Sanders. 

But it`s a crowded space making the case against Medicare-for-All, against an asset tax and a wealth tax.  You have Mayor Buttigieg, Vice President Biden, Senator Klobuchar, Senator Booker, all now occupying the same space Governor Patrick is walking into. 

MATTHEWS:  You know, I noticed a sea change in this about two weeks ago, maybe two and a half, when people thought it was the same seats and they go after what was then and certainly may be the front-runner, Elizabeth Warren.  They feel at the time to check out each other`s program, the Medicare-for-All, the funding of it. 

It`s interesting, Buttigieg went right at her and Biden went right at her.  It seemed like there was a sense of pausing.  In fact I think there was a pause.  I think people are looking for opportunities right now.  Who else can we get in this thing? 

Your thoughts?

ANTJUAN SEAWRIGHT, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  I don`t know if people are looking for an alternative.  I think in the Democratic Party, we have 99 problems but another presidential candidate should not be one. 

I think what people are looking for is to really put meat on the bone who the Democrats are going to be in 2020.  Are we going to be the progressive party?  Are we going to be the center left party?  Or are we going to be a remix of both? 

And I think that is what people are looking for and that is yet to be defined. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, that`s a hell of a decision, and nobody has made that one yet.  That`s -- anyway, if the Senate mulls an impeachment trial, it could extend right through the Iowa caucuses of February 3rd and go thou the voting of New Hampshire. 

Robert, you`re reporting on this.  Is it -- what is the argument because it seems to me, to be fair, if the Senate cut the hearings down -- the trial down to two or three weeks the critics on the left will say they`re giving it short shrift.  So what is the argument for five or six weeks, or two or three weeks?  What`s the argument?

COSTA:  The argument is coming from different wings of the Republican Party.  Centrist Republicans up in 2020 like Senator Susan Collins were telling at the Capitol this week they don`t want to see it rushed or dismissed like Senator Rand Paul and other Trump allies are calling out for.  They would like to see this play out over six to eight weeks, and that`s the range that Senator Burr and others are talking about because the Clinton impeachment trial lasted five weeks back in 1999. 

At the same time, they see a little bit of a political advantage if they have a longer trial that stretches into late January, even February next year.  But they also don`t want to be seen as partisan in their decision here on the trial because that`s how they`re blaming Democrats in the House from being too partisan in Republican view. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, a Monmouth poll coming out now -- these polls are getting interesting.  Likely Iowa caucus goers, these are great poll, released on Tuesday this week, showed Mayor Pete Buttigieg now leading the field.  Already peaked 22 points, that`s a 14-point jump since August. 

He`s led is within the margin, he`s followed by former Vice President Joe Biden down 19.  He`s going down 5 points.  Elizabeth Warren has been going down a bit tool.  She`s at 18 right now.

What`s going on here?  I think this -- what you were saying a minute ago, a reconsideration of where the party would position itself, center left or left.  That`s a hell of a decision yet to we made. 

SEAWRIGHT:  I think the voters will make that decision.  I think sometimes we put too much emphasis on the early states before South Carolina. 

MATTHEWS:  You`re from South Carolina?

SEAWRIGHT:  The ball game does not begin until we get there because I think the Palmetto State is a true reflection of who we are as Democrats.  Sixty- one percent African-American --

MATTHEWS:  Well, that`s not representative of the whole party. 


SEAWRIGHT:  No, I think it`s a true reflection of who will have a large say so in who our Democratic nominee will be. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, right now, just to be ethnic about it, 24 percent of the Democratic vote electorate is African-American.  Down there, Iowa has a much lower percentage, right?  New Hampshire has a minuscule percentage, right? 

You`re saying that when you get to South Carolina, you get to what?  What reality?

SEAWRIGHT:  I think you get a real test case of where a large majority of the people who will decide who our nominee will be, and many of the states that follow South Carolina have similar demographics if not even more, of people of color.

MATTHEWS:  Super Tuesday is going to be a hell of a day. 

SEAWRIGHT:  Absolutely.

MATTHEWS:  That`s going to be a good reflection of the party. 

Robert Costa, thank you, sir, for that.  And thank you, Antjuan Seawright from South Carolina.

Up next, is the impeachment case reaching the hearts and minds of Americans?  How far is it getting?  It certainly is reaching the front pages of our newspapers.  Is it getting to people who are not following the news?  That`s my question.

  You`re watching HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS:  The majority members of the U.S. House of Representatives are now presenting the case for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.  That case began yesterday with two star witnesses giving evidence that Donald Trump demanded a bribe from a foreign head of state, withholding vital military aid until that foreign leader agreed to investigate Trump`s political rivals. 

The case continues tomorrow as former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, testifies about her personal experience of being pushed out of the way for Trump and his people to carry out their extortion, what Trump`s then national security advisor compared to a drug deal.  Well, next week, there will be more witnesses and most likely more after that.  And if the front page stories and headlines of the country`s newspapers offer a guide, the case against Trump is being made.  The question is whether the case is reaching the hearts and minds of those who don`t regularly follow the news? 

And that`s HARDBALL for now.  Thanks for being with us. 

Be sure to tune in tomorrow morning for special coverage of Marie Yovanovitch`s testify.  I`ll be anchoring alongside Nicolle Wallace starting at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. 

And, of course, "ALL IN" right now with Chris Hayes starts right now.