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Former Secy of state John Kerry plays Hardball. TRANSCRIPT: 12/2/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.

Guests: Raja Krishnamoorthi, John Brennan, Bobby Ghosh, Anita Kumar,Michael Steel, John Kerry

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  We have a few tickets remaining, for you if you`re in New York or anyone you know in New York.  If you can`t make it, we`ll put it up no the podcast, as we do with these extra events.

That does it for me.  HARDBALL starts now.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  The case against Donald Trump.  Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I`m Chris Matthews in Washington, where there is a serious momentum in the impeachment drive.

Tonight, the House Intelligence Committee is unveiling its report on Donald Trump`s conduct in the Ukraine matter.  After nearly 35 hours of public testimony, from 12 witnesses in seven hearings, members will spend the next 24 hours reviewing a draft of that report, which makes the case for impeaching this president.

The Intelligence Committee is set to vote late tomorrow to approve the report before turning it over to the House Judiciary Committee.  As The New York Times describes it, the hand-off of the report, which will most likely form much of the basis for articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump, will be a stylistic and substantive turning point for the inquiry.

It comes as the House Judiciary Committee prepares to hold its first impeachment hearing on Wednesday, that`s this week, convening a panel of expert witnesses to describe the historic and constitutional basis for impeachment.  Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler tonight announced the four law professors who will make up that panel, including one witness who was requested by the Republican minority.

From there, according to Politico, the committee is expected to have at least one more hearing, likely the second week of December, that`s a week after this, in which Democrats will present their case against Trump.

As New York Times reports, Democratic leaders, quote, are said to be aiming for a full House vote on impeachment articles before the Christmas recess.

Amid all this, and with his legacy hanging in the balance, President Trump has declined to mount any formal defense against the accusations he faces.  The White House Counsel yesterday informed the committee that nobody will represent the president in Wednesday`s hearing, calling the proceedings unfair.

I`m joined tonight by former Director of the CIA John Brennan.  But we begin tonight with Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Thank you, sir.

This report, it seems to me, is pretty clear cut.  Your report, as you understand it, will call for the impeachment of the president.

RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL):  I think that is going to lay out the facts and evidence of serious wrongdoing.  We`re going to send that to the Judiciary Committee.  And then they`re going to have to decide what they want to do with it in terms of drawing up articles of impeachment as well as what types of articles, if they decide to proceed that way.

MATTHEWS:  Do you find the president committing unlawful conduct, impeachable conduct?

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  Oh, sure.  Yes.  There`s tremendous evidence of unlawful conduct, and it`s the type of evidence that would be impeachable conduct.

The founders of this country, as you know well, Chris, did not want an outside influence on our elections.  But in this particular scheme, there`s serious evidence that the president wanted to pressure an outside power, namely Ukraine, to get involved in our elections by investigating his domestic political rivals.

And then, secondly, he basically is using the tools of his office -- there`s evidence to suggest that he`s using tools of his office to investigate a private citizen, which is perhaps the biggest fear that any private citizen has about their government, that the office of the presidency would be used for political purposes to investigate an individual for wrongful purposes.

MATTHEWS:  Well, here we are, December 2nd.  We`re moving into the month where it looks like you are scheduled to vote articles of impeachment before Christmas weekend.  And so I want to run through with you when you think the critical moment that this occurred became clear what was going to happen.

We had the whistleblower.  We got word of that, that there, in fact, had been a presidential conversation with the president of a foreign country in which the president that foreign leader for dirt on a political opponent, holding up military aid as his quid pro quo.

And then you had the call memo from that call.  We got to see what was actually said.

Then Speaker Pelosi said this is the baby.  This is what we`ve been waiting for.  This is clear-cut evidence of impeachable behavior, and then 332 members of the House voting for this action on impeachment.  And then you had the witnesses last two weeks, as we mentioned.

When was the critical moment when it was clear that the House Democrats were moving toward impeachment, of all those moments?

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  Well, there`s a lot, as you know.  But when Mick Mulvaney came out in that press conference in the White House and basically said, sure, there`s a quid pro quo, there is basically military aid conditioned on an investigation of the DNC and the president`s political rivals, get over it.  I think that was a turning point in a lot of people`s minds that not only are these folks engaging in wrongful conduct, but they`re also telling us that it`s something that we need to accept.  And that`s unacceptable, as you know.  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  Well, meanwhile, House Republicans are prepared to issue a report of their own and blunting the impact of the committee`s findings.  As The New York Times summarized, quote, House Republicans plan to argue that President Trump was acting on genuine and reasonable skepticism of Ukraine and valid concerns about possible corruption involving Americans, not political self-interest.  Well, that`s the Republican report.

It also claims, the Republican report, that the president`s initial -- I love this word -- hesitation to meet with President Zelensky or to provide U.S. taxpayer-funded security assistance to Ukraine without thoughtful review is entirely prudent.  I love these words.

They also take aim at the witnesses who came forward, saying, the impeachment drive has been, quote, based on the accusations and assumptions of unelected bureaucrats who disagreed with President Trump`s policy initiatives and processes.

This language is so fraught with crap.  In other words, if you weren`t elected, you`re not worth listening to.  If you`re a public servant who never ran for office in some town, you`re not worth listening to.  Your word now -- all public officials are, in other words, liars and not to be believed.  That`s what this Republican caucus talks like.

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  That`s right.

MATTHEWS:  Who are they talking to?

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  I like works of fiction, like any other person, but this Republican report is absolutely ridiculous.  And you`re absolutely correct that, basically, they are parroting the Trump narrative or President Trump`s narrative that any public servant who wishes to bring forward evidence of wrongdoing against him is a member of the deep state, they are a never-Trumper and so forth.

But you and the American people saw for themselves exactly how compelling Marie Yovanovitch is, Bill Taylor is. Lt. Col. Vindman, Fiona Hill, and the list goes on and on and on.  These are not people who are political.  They are career public servants who stuck their necks on the line to tell the truth.  And because of that, I think that the American people believe them.

MATTHEWS:  I think they did.  Thank you.  Those who watched and those who listened, I think, believed.  Raja Krishnamoorthi, thank you so much, U.S. congressman, for joining us.


MATTHEWS:  Let me bring in now John Brennan, the former Director of the CIA.

All this time ahead of, well, for this weekend, a long weekend, and I kept thinking, you know, there was a time when there was -- a period in which a reasonable person might have voted for Trump when they heard he`s going to rebuild the country.  He`s going to be a great executive because he made all this money.  He has not rebuilt anything.  He gave all the money to the rich.

And in terms of the government he was supposedly going to run, he has attacked it from day one.  In other words, instead of being a chief executive, he`s a chief attacker of the entire U.S. government.  It`s like he never took it over.


MATTHEWS:  By the way, there are a lot of these cases were a reasonable person would have voted for him and he has betrayed them.  Go ahead.

BRENNAN:  Yes.  And I think there are so many Americans who have family members who work for the government, public servants, civil servants.  And here is Donald Trump, as well as the Republicans now, who disparage the very work that they do.  These public servants --

MATTHEWS:  Because they do it.

BRENNAN:  Well, because, in fact, they`re challenging him.  They`re standing up to him.  And I think more people that stand up against Donald Trump will actually show how much he has failed to follow through on what the American people expect, which is honesty and integrity in government.

MATTHEWS:  Do you think he`s sane?

BRENNAN:  Donald Trump?

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  Let me ask you about logic.  When he sees a logic report from an intelligence agency that people worked on for weeks and they get it down to an executive summary that he`s willing to read, do you think he`s reading it like a person would read something like let me learn something here?

BRENNAN:  No, I don`t.  I`m not a medical doctor.  I cannot determine if he is sane or not.  But I certainly believe that he views the world through his own prism, which is how does this affect me, how am I going to take either advantage of this or defend against it in order to protect his own interest.

And that`s when I think about him now going off to the NATO summit, he looks at everything through the dollar sign prism.


BRENNAN:  How can we cut back in terms of the expenditures to NATO as opposed to thinking strategically how are we going to ensure that NATO, working with our allies, is going to help protect this country`s national security?

So Donald Trump has a very, very unique, I think, perspective on everything that he looks at and everything that is brought to him, how does it affect him politically and how is he going to, in fact, take advantage of it.

MATTHEWS:  Well, here`s an example of weird thinking, because I ring it up about brain power here.  President Trump today said at a Time Magazine interview with Ukrainian President Zelensky to claim that Zelensky has just again announced that President Trump had done nothing wrong with respect to Ukraine in our interactions or phone calls.

But a reading of Zelensky`s full quote at Time Magazine shows he not only defended his integrity for not caving in to Trump but acknowledged the pressure that Trump put on him.  Zelensky said, look, I never talked to the president from a position from quid pro quo.  That`s not my thing.  I don`t want us to look like beggars.  But you have to understand, we`re at war.  If you`re our strategic partner, then you can`t go blocking anything for us.  I think that`s just about fairness.

Well, who is the guy blocking it?  He`s right there telling the president blocking it and Trump reads it and says this exonerates me.  No, it indicts you.

BRENNAN:  Well, Zelensky clearly is taking a big swipe at Donald Trump, saying that if you`re our strategic ally, do not block things such as military assistance.

But I think Zelensky recognizes now that Trump is in a weaker position, so I think he`s willing to stand up against him, which I think is critically important.

MATTHEWS:  What do you make watching as an intelligence expert, the Republican statement tonight, the thing we read a few moments ago, just a moment on the show now about their claims?  They`re not thinking at all about the fact that -- what the impeachment is about.  History books will be filled with why this president was impeached when he`s impeached.  They`re not talking about that.

BRENNAN:  They have no interest in finding the truth or being honest with the American people.  Clearly, they have bets on Mr. Trump and they`re going to continue to stay with him.  It`s the bet that they`ve all made together.

So they cannot refute any of these allegations based on substance.  They`re going to continue to try to disparage those that stood up against him.

And so I think the Republicans are just going to continue to look blindly at this impeachment.

MATTHEWS:  It`s like (INAUDIBLE) French they had to root for the Germans once they cut the deal.

BRENNAN:  Yes, they had --

MATTHEWS:  Once they cut the deal with the Nazis, the Nazis had to win.

After correcting his discredited claim last week that Ukraine hacked into the Democratic National Committee email server, Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana is again arguing that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.

Here is how Kennedy was challenged by our Chuck Todd yesterday on Meet the Press.


SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA):  I think both Russia and Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election.

But the fact that Russia was so aggressive does not exclude the fact that President Poroshenko actively worked for Secretary Clinton.

Now if I`m wrong --

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST:  Actively worked for Secretary -- I mean, my goodness, wait a minute.  Senator Kennedy, you now have the president of Ukraine saying he actively worked for the Democratic nominee for president?  I mean, come on.  I`ve got to put up -- you realize the only other person selling this argument outside the United States is this man, Vladimir Putin.

You`ve done exactly what the Russian operation is trying to get American politicians to do.  Are you at all concern that you`ve been duped?

KENNEDY:  No, because just read the articles.


MATTHEWS:  Well, in claiming interference, Kennedy is citing articles from 2016 about Ukrainian politicians who openly opposed Trump`s candidacy.  And he stood by (INAUDIBLE).

Anyway, however, Politico is now reporting that the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee thoroughly investigated that theory and found no evidence that Ukraine waged a top-down interference campaign akin to the Kremlin`s efforts to help Trump win in 2016.

These guys, they cite an article that was, in fact, planted by the propagandas and say, well, that proves my point.

BRENNAN:  Well, first of all, Senator John Kennedy is a great discredit to his name.

MATTHEWS:  Yes, we can agree on that one.

BRENNAN:  And secondly, he`s not being duped.  He knows that he`s being dishonest.  He knows that he`s trying to defend and protect Donald Trump at all costs and so he`s not going to be honest with the American people.  And so, clearly, he has continued to propagate this narrative that the Russians continue feed.  And that`s why he and others are allowing this narrative about Ukrainian`s interference in the 2016 election to go forward despite every indication from the Intelligence Community that it was Russia that engaged in a systematic sweeping interference of the election that helped Donald Trump get elected.

MATTHEWS:  In every Democratic or Republican Convention, I`ve been to a lot of them for the last 34 years, they inevitably praise their previous presidents.  So it`s the Democrats, it`s FDR, it`s Harry Truman, it`s Jack Kennedy.  Republicans, it`s always Teddy Roosevelt, it`s Eisenhower and Reagan.  Now, I don`t think this guy is going to be on their list, this guy, Trump.

I`m sorry.  A few years from now, they`ll pretend they never met the guy.  They`ll do to him what he`s done to everybody he`s ever worked, I didn`t know him that well.

Director John Brennan, thank you, sir, for you service to the country.

Coming up, no defense.  After spending months criticizing the impeachment inquiry, the White House is now refusing to send anyone to present a defense for the president at this Wednesday`s Judiciary Committee hearing, nothing, no defense.

Plus, Trump`s obsession with British politics, the president arrived in the U.K. ahead of the NATO Summit over in London.  And just one week ahead of their election over there Britain, the prime minister has warned Trump personally about inserting himself in the election, but will he be able to resist his temptation to get involved?

And former secretary of state here, John Kerry, joins me to tonight to talk about the case for impeachment, the `20 election and the dire warning signs of climate change.

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




DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT:  We don`t have rights to lawyers.  We don`t have rights to anything.

Impeachment to me is a dirty word.  It`s been very unfair.

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA):  Who can possibly view these proceedings as fair and impartial?

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH):  Get this, a bunch of depositions in the bunker in the basement of the Capitol.

We get this, all based on some anonymous whistleblower, no firsthand knowledge, bias against the president.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT:  This is an unconstitutional, illegitimate process.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

For weeks, President Trump and his allies have ignored the mound of damning evidence against the president when it comes to his open solicitation of dirt for arms.  They`ve adopted instead to focus on the process.

Well, last week, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, invited the White House to join the process, which they refused.

In a late Sunday night letter, the White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone, told the House Judiciary Committee, we cannot fairly be expected to participate in a hearing while the witnesses are yet to be named and while it remains unclear whether the Judiciary Committee will afford the president a fair process through additional hearings.  Under current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing.  So there you have it.

Today, Chairman Nadler called the White House`s refusal to engage in the process unfortunate.  He added, if the president thinks the call was perfect and there was nothing to hide, then he could turn over the thousands of pages of documents requested by Congress, allow witnesses to testify instead of blocking testimony with baseless privilege claims and provide any exculpatory information that refutes the overwhelming evidence of his abuse of power.  That`s Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary.

For more, I`m joined Joyce Vance, former U.S. attorney, and Michael Steel, a Republican strategist.

Joyce, first of all, I hope that we can correct the record to the extent that people are only watching FOX or whatever, because there was no secret partisan underground basement meeting to go over all the testimony in the beginning.  Those meetings were open to Republicans, as well as Democrats; 40-some Republican members were at all those meetings. 

Number two, that the -- they were not denied the chance to offer testimony.  They were offered testimony all over the place.  It seems to me they were able to argue that there`s unfairness, when there was no unfairness. 

How do you think they can keep saying that to themselves, this  constant chatter of unfair, when every charge they make about secret witnesses was not the case, or they say we didn`t get to provide witnesses of our own?  Not true.  You blocked all the testimony from all the players in this thing. 

How do they get away with keep saying something that is so clearly wrong? 

JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY:  I think we`re seeing a real-life illustration of this sort of tired old saying that you have heard criminal lawyers say about a million times now, that when you have the law on your side, you argue the law.  When it`s the facts, you argue the facts.  When you have got nothing, you pound the table. 

And that`s what the Republicans are doing here.  Trump`s given them nothing to work with.  They have no facts.  The law is not on their side.  It`s clear that Trump engaged in a bribery scheme in exchange for the release of aid to Ukraine. 

And so Republicans are literally left pounding the table, arguing that the process that they themselves established when they were in the majority is unfair. 

And the remarkable thing about this is that it continues to fool anyone.  I think the reality here for Trump is that his little house of cards may crumble if this continues to be exposed, and if people actually begin to think about what Republicans are saying, as opposed to just feeling the tribalism that keeps in check. 

MATTHEWS:  Why did the Republican Party make the decision not to fight the main charge here, to just charge, argue that either it was legal...


MATTHEWS:  ... and constitutional for the president to play hardball, if you will, with the Ukrainian president and just say, buddy, I want something from you.  If you want to move the process along, do me this little favor.

They never made that argument? 

STEEL:  No. 

I mean, I think you saw the White House chief of staff try to make it in one press conference.  And I got the impression that the attorneys told him shortly thereafter that wasn`t a great idea.

MATTHEWS:  That`s what Mick Mulvaney said.  It was a quid pro quo.  Live with it. 

STEEL:  But, look, from the White House`s perspective, they may not be winning, but they`re not losing.  This is still a shirts...


MATTHEWS:  All right, define that.  Define that, because the polling -- but the polling did jump up toward about 50 percent from about 30 or lower since Pelosi made her move and said, this is the place we`re going to fight.

STEEL:  But Republicans are sticking with him.  He is not in danger of losing any Republican votes in the House most likely.  He is most likely not in danger of losing any Republican votes in the Senate. 

And that`s where this will end, party-line vote in the House, a party-line vote in the Senate.  And he will claim complete vindication and exoneration and move on into his reelect. 

MATTHEWS:  Why do you think Senate failure to convict and remove from office will be an exoneration? 

STEEL:  I don`t think it will be a complete exoneration.

MATTHEWS:  Who is going to call it an exoneration?

STEEL:  He will call it a complete exoneration in all caps tweets every day from now until the November election. 

He will write the narrative that he was exonerated and vindicated.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  I want some psychobabble here.  How do we know what he thinks of impeachment?  Because, for a while, he said, go ahead.  I will jujitsu it. 

STEEL:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  You hit me with impeachment, I will get acquittal in the Senate and I will win.

STEEL:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  Where is he now?  Does he buy that?

STEEL:  I think he`s of two minds.  I think he doesn`t want the historic stain.  He doesn`t want to be in the same company with the presidents who have been impeached in the past. 

At the same time, he`s got political advisers -- advisers whispering in his ear that this is great for him because he will be able to claim that he was cleared by the Senate. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, on November 21, Senator Lindsey Graham -- that`s a week ago -- the chairman of Judiciary Committee, asked the State Department for documents relating to Joe Biden`s calls with Ukraine. 

Graham`s decision to partake in the partisan investigation represents an about-face for the senator, who once said the former vice president, Joe Biden, was as good a man as God ever created. 

Nor was he the only Republican to have complimentary things to say about Biden over the years.  In 2016, just three years ago, during a farewell address to the departing vice president, a number of Republican senators had complimentary things to say about Biden`s integrity and character. 


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY):  Obviously, I don`t always agree with him, but I do trust him implicitly.  He doesn`t break his word.

SEN. JOHNNY ISAKSON (R-GA):  Joe, you live the life of a patriot.  You act like a gentleman.  You`re my friend. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, according to "The Washington Post," McConnell`s handling of Trump`s focus on the Bidens will prove more critical than whatever Graham cooks up, because he will set the tempo for how aggressively the Senate will go after his friend Joe Biden. 

This -- look, they`re institutionalists.  You know about them.  I have worked for them.  They love the Senate.  They love the House.  They care more about it than a lot of things they care about.  And yet they also care about their friendship at the top.

STEEL:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  These friendships are real.  And now they`re going to go after - - are they going to throw Joe Biden under the bus because Trump told them to?

STEEL:  Of course.

Look, I mean, this is the same...

MATTHEWS:  Of course?

STEEL:  This is the same reason that John McCain and Mitt Romney and even George W. Bush are spoken of much more highly by Democrats when their names are no longer on a ballot.

If Vice President Biden is going to be the Democratic nominee for president, the issues related to his son`s work will be front and center in this campaign, and Republican senators are willing to help the president make that an issue. 

MATTHEWS:  But you see, you just said something I don`t agree with.  I think people said good things about Joe Biden -- John McCain a long time. 

STEEL:  Sure. 

MATTHEWS:  It wasn`t just when he was out of -- out of business. 

STEEL:  There were a lot fewer complimentary Democrats in 2008 than there were any other time. 


STEEL:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, that`s during an election year.

STEEL:  Yes. 


MATTHEWS:  Thank you, Joyce Vance.  Thank you, Michael Steel, making the best case. 

Up next:  President Trump`s visit to London comes just 10 days before the big general election over there.  And Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly doing everything he can to keep Trump from inserting himself into the election, because this is a crucial pre-Brexit election. 

You`re watching HARDBALL. 



BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER:  We have very close relationships and friendships with the United States at every level of government. 

QUESTION:  Well, that`s interesting.

JOHNSON:  What we don`t do, traditionally, as loving allies and friends, what we don`t traditionally is get involved in each other`s election. 


JOHNSON:  The best -- when you have close friends and allies like the U.S. and the U.K., the best thing is not -- is for either -- for neither side to get involved in each other`s election.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

That was British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on whether President Trump, who landed in London earlier this evening, should get involved in the upcoming U.K. election. 

The president, our president, is deeply unpopular in the United Kingdom, with only 26 percent, about a quarter of the British public, saying they approved of his leadership in the latest Gallup poll this summer. 

In fact, Johnson likely doesn`t need Trump support.  That`s ironic.  His Conservative Party is ahead in the polls, well ahead.  And his opponent, the Labor Party`s Jeremy Corbyn, faces 61 percent unpopularity, according to YouGov, and accusations of anti-Semitism, to boot.

But Trump hasn`t stayed away from British politics in the past.

Well, here he goes.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The mayor of London, I think he`s been a not very good mayor, from what I understand.  He`s done a poor job. 

The ambassador has not served the U.K. well.  I can tell you that.  We`re not -- we`re not big fans of that man. 

Corbyn would be so bad for your country.  He`d be so bad.  He would take you in such a bad way.  He would take you into such bad places.

Boris Johnson.


TRUMP:  Good man.  He is tough and he`s smart.  They`re saying Britain Trump. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, I`m joined by Anita Kumar of Politico -- a Politico White House correspondent and associate editor, and Bobby Ghosh, Bloomberg Opinion editor and columnist. 

Bobby, I have to go to you.  You`re over there.  It looks like this guy Boris Johnson doesn`t need Trump, doesn`t need him anywhere near him, in fact. 

BOBBY GHOSH, BLOOMBERG OPINION:  Well, yes, I think he`s trying to create a little bit of a distance between himself and President Trump, knowing how unpopular Trump has been here. 

On every trip that Trump has made this country, the city, he`s been greeted with protests, although he`s been shielded from them, from some of them.  And let`s not forget this is where that famous balloon of the baby Trump first made its appearance. 

So, Johnson doesn`t want to be seen anywhere near any of that.  And that little radio clip that you showed earlier of him saying that we don`t interfere in each other`s politics is his own trial balloon, if you like.

I don`t think President Trump cares very much about these political niceties and traditions.  If he feels like he wants to speak his mind on Johnson, someone he prefers, then he will probably say so tomorrow or the day after.

MATTHEWS:  Anita, you think Trump will stay out of this? 

ANITA KUMAR, POLITICO:  Probably not. 


MATTHEWS:  Why?  Does he want to -- does he think he might have a chance?  After Louisiana and after Kentucky, he could actually identify with a win?

KUMAR:  Well, I mean, he -- his point is that, when he`s asked, and he`s often asked -- he likes to talk to the media.  He likes to tweet.  If he`s asked about something ,he will weigh in. 

I mean, he doesn`t generally say, well, hey, I`m overseas, I`m not going to talk about something.  So his aides may be telling him, hey, look, this is what the U.K. wants, don`t get involved.  But he`s already been involved. 

And when asked a question, he tends to answer. 

MATTHEWS:  Bobby, tell me about that -- it always struck me -- and not always lately -- with Britain wanting to go its own way with Brexit, almost like they don`t want to be part of Europe at all. 

It`s so ironic that there they are hosting the NATO meeting this week.  Is there going to be some fireworks at this event this week? 

GHOSH:  Well, the -- this time, for a change, it`s not only President Trump who could toss a hand grenade into that room, so to speak, although that`s always a likelihood. 

This time, you have at least two other people.  You have the president of Turkey, Erdogan, and the president of France, Macron, who`ve already, in the lead-up of this -- of the summit been hurling insults at each other, and also questioning the future of NATO. 

So, yes, we are expecting one or more of these three people to say something.  As Anita pointed out, they will, when they meet the press, be asked about the things they have already said.  And that`s when you can expect one of them -- my bet would be on President Erdogan of Turkey -- to say something inflammatory, incendiary that will throw this whole meeting, which is meant to be a celebration -- NATO is 70 years old this week. 

Britain is where its first summit was held.  This was meant to be a celebration.  But the mood going into this event is far from celebratory.  It`s much more wary.  There are questions about the future of this alliance, whether it can survive. 

Different members of the alliance have different ideas about where the threat comes from.  Erdogan, for instance, says, Russia not a threat, we don`t regard Russia as a threat. 

Well, NATO was created because Russia was a threat.  That was one thing everybody could agree on.  There`s no agreement anymore.  So, yes, we can expect some fireworks in the next day or two. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was asked about what she thought about it over there, and -- about impeachment today while attending a conference in Madrid.

But she declined to criticize Trump while she was abroad.  Let`s watch. 


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA):  We don`t -- aren`t here to talk about impeachment or the president of the United States.  We`re here to talk about -- I have a rule of CODELs. 

When we travel abroad, we don`t talk about the president in a negative way, and we save that for home. 


MATTHEWS:  Well -- well, do you think President Trump will save his anti- Democratic attitudes until he gets home? 

KUMAR:  Well, he`s already been tweeting while he`s over there, or while he was traveling over there, talking about impeachment, talking about the Federal Reserve.

So, I mean, he doesn`t really hold back in that regard.  I mean, he hasn`t really -- I hear what the speaker is saying, and maybe she does that and some other people, but I feel like, in the last couple of years, the president doesn`t really adhere to that. 

We have seen him go all around the world talking about different things, not sticking to the point. 


KUMAR:  And to your point earlier about whether there are going to be fireworks, it`s really important to know that this isn`t a summit.

This is a leaders meetings.  And what that means is, they don`t expect to come to any agreement.  They`re not going to have a joint agreement, because they`re not sure the president`s going to sign it. 

So we`re in year three of the president`s term.  And they have learned their lesson how to try to get it to be less -- there to be less fireworks.  They expect less.

MATTHEWS:  Yes, all Trump does is destroy.

Thank you, Anita Kumar.  Thank you, Bobby Ghosh, over in London. 

Up next, former Secretary of State John Kerry joins us to talk about his vitally important new initiative on climate change, plus his thoughts on impeachment, the crowded 2020 presidential field, the works.

John Kerry coming here in a minute.

You`re watching HARDBALL. 



ANTONIO GUTERRES, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL:  We are confronted now with a global climate crisis. 

And the point of no return is no longer over the horizon.  It is in sight and hurtling towards us.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

That was the United Nations general-secretary speaking ahead of a U.N. climate change conference that began today in Madrid, Spain. 

His dire warning follows the release of a U.N. report last week, that indicated, quote, rapid, unprecedented cuts of greenhouse emissions offer the only hope of averting an ever-intensifying cascade of consequences. 

Well, here in the U.S., there`s a new coalition of former presidents, military generals and celebrities who will begin holding town hall meetings across the country, urging Americans to combat climate change.  The group is called World War Zero. 

And joining me right now is one of the founding members, former Secretary of State John Kerry. 

Senator, Mr. Secretary, why -- do you have -- let me just ask you the question, how is it going in the argument about climate?  Who is winning? 

JOHN KERRY, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE:  Well, earth isn`t winning, that`s for sure.  And that`s the problem, Chris. 

Emissions are going to go up in major countries around the world.  The United States emissions are rising.  They weren`t a few years ago.  The European emissions are rising.  China is rising.  India is rising. 

No country on the planet that has a major obligation to try to get things done is getting it done.  So, this is an urgent moment and that`s why World War Zero, and I urge people to go to, it`s -- there`s only one way to solve the problem and that`s globally.  The world has to be involved. 

It is a war now because there are people who have declared war on science, and war on facts and war on the health, safety and welfare of their fellow citizens.  People are dying in the United States today from mudslides, from fires, from floods, amazing amount of storm damage.  $265 billion spent to clean up after just three storms two years ago. 

So, their facts speak to us loud and clear.  What we`re going to try to do is mobilize Americans and as much as we mobilize many years ago when we passed the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water, and passed -- created the Environmental Protection Agency. 

People have to be involved.  No one gets a free pass.  Democracy only works when citizens take part in it.  And we have to make this one of the primary issues, which we`re organizing around, Republican and Democrat alike. 

MATTHEWS:  How do you operate a bipartisan effort on a war to deal with climate when you have the Republican Party completely hijacked by this president?  You got some people like Kasich there, former governor, recent governor of Ohio, you got Schwarzenegger, former governor.  You have stars on your group. 

But the Republican Party is 90 percent with Trump, who is 100 percent against climate concerns, 100 percent.

KERRY:  Well, we have a thing called elections, Chris.  We have elections in the United States.  We have to create ultimately accountability, because the American people mobilize and demand it. 

That -- we`re not going to get involved in a specific election.  We`re not supporting one candidate over another.  But we are going to be very clear about making climate change a primary -- climate crisis really today a primary issue that America has to confront along with the rest of the world.  People will make their own decisions about who is ready to move forward. 


KERRY:  If a party decides they want to stay on the sidelines, I suspect the American people are going to find a way to hold them accountable for that.  But we`re not trying to -- we`re not trying to emphasize the differences here.  We`re trying to emphasize the common things that bring us together. 

We do have important Republicans who -- like Chuck Hagel, secretary of defense.  Bill Cohen, who was secretary of defense and senator from Maine.  We have Hank Paulson, who was a former secretary of treasury. 

These are smart people.  These are people who stake their lives on defending our country and on patriotism.  And their sense of patriotism now is to try to come together, Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative, generation across ideologies to recognize this is a national security crisis for our country.  It`s a health crisis for our country. 

And in the solution, Chris, there are millions of jobs to be created -- building out an adequate energy grid for our nation, beginning to retro fit and put efficiencies into companies and appliances.  There are enormous job benefits. 

I mean, the fastest growing job in America today already is, in fact, solar powered technician, solar panel technician.  The second fastest job is wind power, wind turbine technician.  So, there are many, many more of those jobs than there are people working in coal industry, for example. 

Now, we`re not trying to -- what we want to do is organize around the best possibilities of the future.  But one thing is clear, Chris.  If we don`t treat this like a war, if we don`t organize ourselves much in the way that the professor at Yale, professor Paul Kennedy, who has written a book called "Engineers of Victory", which highlights the key decisions that were made in order to win World War II, it wasn`t automatic that it was going to happen.  And it`s far from automatic that we`re going to win this right now. 

But if we make key decisions about how to de-carbonize electricity, how to build the infrastructure necessary for an electric fleet in America, electric vehicle fleet, how do we begin to change what`s happening in agriculture or industry, which is producing an enormous amount of the emissions?  There are many, many things available to us, solutions to this. 

And moreover, if we invest the way America invested to go to the moon to win the race that John Kennedy sent us out on, if we were to begin to invest in the alternative possibilities of different fuels, whether it`s hydrogen, or fusion, or, you know, something nobody has talked about yet, America has an extraordinary record of breaking through, of setting the pace, of being first and that`s what we have to do right now. 

But we don`t have the leadership calling us to that challenge. 

MATTHEWS:  We`ll be right back with Secretary Kerry to talk about everything else in the world, especially the 2020 race for president and the Democratic Party. 

We`ll be right back. 



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (via telephone):  Look, the ambassador, the woman, she wouldn`t even put up -- she`s an Obama person, you know.  I said why are you being so kind?  Well, sir, she`s a woman.  We have to be nice. 

REP. MARK MEADOWS (R-NC):  We start to see his Lieutenant Vindman`s default mode.  His default mode is always to judge against the president of the United States.  I think that`s problematic. 

STEPHANIE GRISHAM, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  There`s no reason that anybody in our government across our administration should be actively working against the president. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was President Trump and his fellow Republicans, taking shots at some of the witnesses who testified so far during the impeachment inquiry. 

We`re back with former Secretary of State John Kerry. 

Mr. Secretary, if you were a member of the United States Senate, where you worked so long, would you vote to convict and remove this president from office?

KERRY:  Well, Chris, first of all, when I was a senator, I never dealt with hypotheticals and I`m not a senator now. 

So, let me just -- let me say this about where we are.  Excuse me.  I used to be a prosecutor.  And I prosecuted a lot of different kinds of cases.

And I think one of the things we were taught as lawyers and as litigators, is if you have the facts on your side, you argue the facts.  If you have the law on your side, you argue the law.  And if you don`t have either on your side, you just argue. 

And that is what we`re seeing today regrettably is a lack of respect for the Constitution and the Constitution has been pushed, I think, into a second position to party and to president and to power.  That is not what the Founding Fathers of our nation intended and I hope that over the course of the next weeks, as this unfolds, we`re not just going to see a food fight that proves to the world the dysfunctional state of America`s democracy.  This is serious business. 

And I will say as a former prosecutor, and just as an American citizen looking at the facts, facts are facts.  As John Adams once said, facts are stubborn things and, obviously, people are sort of circling the wagons here.  But they ought to be circling them for the Constitution and for the country. 

And wherever I have traveled in reason days around the world, and I`ve made a number of journeys, I find people absolutely incredulous.  And they ask you not where we`re going but, what has happened to the United States?  What has happened to your leadership? 

People expect us to know in a position to lead.  And right now, unfortunately, we`re just far from that. 

One other point, it`s sad to see people who choose public service as a lifetime commitment and who care enormously about country being attacked for not supporting the president, when what they`re doing is they`re supporting the law.  And they`re supporting the Constitution and they`re supporting, most of all, their department, the place they`ve chosen -- in the State Department`s case -- to put their lives on the line in order to represent our nation in very difficult places in the world. 

I knew Marie Yovanovitch, our ambassador. 


KERRY:  I worked with her.  And I think it`s very sad. 

I applaud those who have stood up for what they believe and who are telling the facts as they understand them.  And they`re certainly capable being challenged on them if they want to be, but they`re being.  They`re being vilified and personally attacked.


KERRY:  And that`s a sad moment for all of us. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, you and I have talked a lot about our country.  I know how big you think about it.  I want to ask you to deal with one hypothetical.  What will America look like the next five, ten years if Trump is reelected? 

KERRY:  Well, look, every American is going to make their judgment on that, Chris.  I came here to talk about the things can bring us together.  Not the things that divide us. 

One of the problems we have in America today is we haven`t been able to focus enough on this.  In several presidential debates, there wasn`t one question about climate change.  You afforded an opportunity tonight to talk about it.

But this is something that ought to unite all Americans.  It`s based on science. 


KERRY:  It`s based on evidence, based on facts. 

So the generals and the admirals and the former defense secretary who`ve come together, what we call the top roots of politics, are joining together with the grassroots.  And we`re in sync with a lot of the groups out there, particularly the young kids who are saying to you, hey, you adults.  You`ve got to get this right. 

Those kids don`t have a vote in the Congress, Chris.  Those kids don`t have a vote in the board rooms.  They are relying on adults to be adults and I think it is critical for us to have a new discussion about health in America, which is affected by climate change, about our national security, which will be hugely affected, and finally, about jobs and the possibilities of a very different future if we make the decisions we need to make. 

MATTHEWS:  Secretary John Kerry, well said.  Thank you so much.  Please come back.  And this conversation is just beginning again.

KERRY:  Thank you.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you so much. 

Up next, the clear truth in the battle for 2020.  I`m talking about the Democrats and the stakes. 

You`re watching HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS:  I think one truth is becoming clear in the Democratic battle for 2020.  For the first time in my lifetime, there`s something worse than losing in the primaries, losing to your fellow partisans is a legacy all these contenders can endure.  They tried.  They didn`t make the cut, time to stand with the nominee. 

There is one deep defeat, however, that will not be forgiven.  It is the candidate that comes out on top in the coming primaries and then loses to Donald Trump in the end.  That`s based on an incontestable fact.  Trump is beatable. 

That being clear, the Democrat who runs against him heads into that race with history watching, how can a Democrat lose to a president who has for his entire term been rejected by a consistent majority of the American people in to lose next November, even in the low depths to which this president has taken us would be unforgivable and it can only happen if the Democrats choose a candidate that lacks the agenda, the public person, the wit, the guts, the basic appeal to be a major party candidate in any year. 

If you presume to be Trump`s strongest challenger, you`d better well defeat him.  No one wants to hear that you lost in a noble cause, because history has already written that cause.  It`s for a country that`s better than Donald Trump to show it. 

That`s HARDBALL for now. 

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.