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Trump lashes out at Dems. TRANSCRIPT: 11/4/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.

Guests: Ted Lieu, Glenn Kirschner, Charlie Sykes, Natasha Bertrand, RichardBen-Veniste, Paul Butler, Caroline Fredrickson, Leon Panetta

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  My special thanks to Daniela, Michelle and John.

You`ve been watching THE BEAT with Ari Melber.  I always appreciate you joining us.  I`ll be back at 6:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow.

But you know what time it is.  "HARDBALL" with Matthews starts now.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  History talks.  Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

History walked into the House impeachment hearing today.  A panel of constitutional experts argued the case against Donald J. Trump.  For Democrats in the Judiciary Committee have began a new phase of the impeachment drive, the committee heard from four law professors, including one requested by the Republicans on the historic and constitutional basis for impeachment.

While they`re testimony wasn`t academic in substance, the Democrats` three witnesses were unanimous in their conclusion that President Trump committed high crimes and misdemeanors.  They said Trump`s impeachment was not only justified but a congressional duty.  Here we go.


NOAH FELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC WITNESS, HARVARD UNIVERSITY:  On the basis of the testimony and the evidence before the House, President Trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors by corruptly abusing the office of the presidency.

PAMELA KARLAN, DEMOCRATIC WITNESS, STANFORD UNIVERSITY:  When President Trump invited, indeed, demanded foreign involvement in our upcoming election, he struck at the very heart of what makes this a republic to which we pledge allegiance.

MICHAEL GERHADT, DEMOCRATIC WITNESS, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA:  If left unchecked, the president will likely continue his pattern of soliciting foreign interference on the behalf of the next election and, of course, his obstruction of Congress.


MATTHEWS:  Republicans were quick with their delay tactics, of course, forcing Chairman Jerry Nadler to crack the whip./


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  May I make a parliamentary inquiry before you --

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY):  The gentleman, this is not an order for parliamentary inquiry.

REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA):  Mr. Chairman, before I yield back, I have a motion.

NADLER:  Gentleman was recognized for the purpose of an opening statement not for the purpose of making a motion.

COLLINS:  Parliamentary inquirements, Mr. Chairman.

NADLER:  (INAUDIBLE) call to roll.

COLLINS:  Parliamentary inquirements, Mr. Chairman.

NADLER:  You`re not recognized for parliamentary to create this time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. Chairman, I have a parliamentary inquiry.

NADLER:  The gentleman will suspend.  That is not a proper parliamentary inquiry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It is a proper --

NADLER:  That is not a proper parliamentary inquiry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I seek recognition.

NADLER:  The gentleman will suspend.  That is not a proper parliamentary inquiry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. Chairman, I seek recognition.

NADLER:  The gentleman is -- I am not going to recognize you now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. Chairman I have a motion.

NADLER:  The gentleman is not order to offer a motion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. Chairman, I seek recognition for a privilege motion.

NADER:  Gentleman will suspend.


MATTHEWS:  Well, that was good work.

Anyway, the Democrats` impeachment witnesses made their case that Trump`s actions represent abuse of power, bribery and obstruction, highlighting possible articles of impeachment.


FELDMAN:  If we cannot impeach a president who abuses his office for personal advantage, we no longer live in a democracy.  We live in a monarchy or we live under a dictatorship.  That`s why the framers created the possibility of impeachment.

KARLAN:  If you conclude that he asked for the investigation of Vice President Biden and his son for political reasons, that is to aid his re- election, then, yes, you have bribery here.

GERHARDT:  The impeachment power requires this committee, this House to be able to investigate presidential misconduct.  And if a president can block an investigation, undermine it, stop it, then the impeachment power itself, as a check against misconduct, is undermined completely.


MATTHEWS:  Republicans used their witness to rebut the case.  Professor Jonathan Turley said, the evidence was insufficient for impeachment and urged Democrats to keep on holding investigations.

Meanwhile, the president`s personal lawyer is out there still pursuing political dirt from Ukraine.  You won`t believe this.  The New York Times today reports that Rudy Giuliani is currently traveling overseas to meet with several corrupt Ukrainian former prosecutors who, quote, all played some role in promoting claims about former Vice President Joe Biden.  He`s still doing it.  The fingernails are still growing on this body.

The purpose of Rudy`s trip is to produce, quote, a documentary series for a conservative television outlet promoting, what a piece of work that outfit must be, promoting his pro-Trump anti-impeachment narrative.

I`m joined right now by U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu of California, who serves on the House Judiciary Committee who was up there today and was part of today`s hearing, Charlie Sykes, Editor at Large at The Bulwark, Glenn Kirschner, former federal prosecutor, and Natasha Bertrand, National Security Correspondent for Politico.

Congressman, do you believe that the law professors who were brought today to testify by the House Democratic majority and the committee made the case for articles of impeachment, particularly abuse of power, bribery and obstruction?

REP. TED LIEU (D-CA):  Thank you, Chris, for your question.

Impeachment is one of the gravest powers of Congress, second only to our power to declare war.  It must always be our last option reserved for those rare times when we can`t wait for the next election.

Today`s hearing showed that we may be at one of those rare times because these professors made a very strong argument that abuse of power and bribery engaged by the president threatens the very integrity of our next election.

MATTHEWS:  Do you think they made the point that it said duty as well as an appropriate sanction that the president ought to be impeached?

LIEU:  They made a very strong point that the Trump administration has taken a position that the president cannot be indicted, and therefore the only mechanism to hold the president accountable is impeachment.  In this case, the facts show that Donald Trump withheld critical military aid to Ukraine, withheld a critical meeting to the Ukrainian leader in exchange for leveraging that leader to launch a bogus investigation into the DNC server and into the political rival of Donald Trump.

MATTHEWS:  Glenn, when a president`s impeached, we usually have a short sentence or so that goes into the history books that explains why.  It was Monica or what everyone, it was the Watergate.  And we can walk away from it 20, 30, 50, 100 years from now and know this is why he was impeached.  Did those witnesses today give us that capsule statement?

GLENN KIRSCHNER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR:  Yes.  It would be easy if President Trump only committed one impeachable offense because we could keep it tight.  But here`s what I think these experts did so well, Chris.  They said, listen, the founding fathers were concerned with two things primarily, protecting our elections from foreign interference and a president abusing the power of his office for personal gain.

What do we have Donald Trump doing?  Both of those things.  This really is an impeachable offense on top of an impeachable offense --

MATTHEWS:  Give me a capsule statement.

KIRSCHNER:  It is that, well, this president hit the trifecta of impeachable offenses because he sought foreign interference, he abused the office for personal power and then he covered it all up by refusing to acknowledge the power of Congress to investigate it.  That`s a trifecta.

MATTHEWS:  Let me go to Charlie on this.  You`re on heartland, at least close to it in Milwaukee.  Do you have a sense that there was enough people listening intently today enough to get all that?

CHARLIE SYKES, EDITOR AT LARGE, THE BULWARK:  Probably not.  I don`t think that most people sat through 8 1/2 hours of hearings, but they will get the sound bites.  And I agree with Glenn absolutely, there`s no question, they made a very, very compelling case.  But will the public actually hear that?  My guess is both sides got the sound bites they wanted.  Fox News got the sound bites they wanted.  And, look, let`s be honest about it.  If the really compelling firsthand testimony of the Trump administration insiders that testified before the House Intelligence Committee did not move the needle substantially, four law professors are unlikely to do this.

So I do think this was a worthwhile effort.  But I do think that in terms of a television show, persuading maybe the unicorns in the Senate who might exercise some independence, I`m not sure that it changes the game, which again underlines why I think Republicans need to -- I`m sorry -- Democrats need to continue this investigation and maybe need to be more aggressive in pursuing more evidence, more testimony and more --

MATTHEWS:  Wait a minute.  It`s December.  What are you advising Democrats to do in terms of the calendar?

SYKES:  Well, first of all, I`m not sure that -- what is the rush?  Do they really want to do this right before Christmas?  Because I think that runs the risk, number one, of not --

MATTHEWS:  They want to get this over with before the election.

SYKES:  I think there`s a risk for that.  I think there`s a risk that you`re going to ignore new evidence that might come out, that you`re going to let too many people who should testified off the hook, and quite frankly, basically laying the story (INAUDIBLE) on the holiday and play into Donald Trump`s hands.

MATTHEWS:  Which witness will come forward?  In your eyes, and you`re studying this like we are, who can you foresee as a star witness who could come forward and move the needle with Republicans?

SYKES:  We don`t know for sure but John Bolton has to be at the top of any list.  And the fact is they have not yet subpoenaed him.  He has firsthand information.  He knows a great deal about this.  And he needs to either testify before the House or he need to testify during that Senate trial itself.

MATTHEWS:  Well, that could happen as well.

But, anyway, Natasha, I want to take a look at this.  Professor Karlan, the woman professor, the other -- there were three men out there, but she was quite forceful here.  She challenged the president`s argument that in demanding investigations from Ukraine, Trump was trying to fight corruption.  She didn`t buy that.  It was simply to advance his political interests.  She said that the testimony of Ambassador Gordon Sondland who said the president only wanted an announcement of the investigations.  He didn`t want any investigations.  He just wanted an announcement so he could smear Biden by saying he`s being investigated over in Kiev.

Here`s Karlan making that great point today.


KARLAN:  There`s a lot to suggest here that this is about political benefit.

The most chilling line for me of the entire process is the following.  Ambassador Sondland said he had to announce the investigations.  He`s talking about President Zelensky.  He had to announce the investigations.  He didn`t actually have to do them, as I understood it.

What I took that to mean was this was not about whether Vice President Biden actually committed corruption or not, this was about injuring somebody who the president thinks of as a particularly -- a particularly hard opponent.

And so it is only in the president`s interest.  It`s not the national interests that a particular president be elected or be defeated at the next election.


MATTHEWS:  Natasha, I thought that was well-done.

NATASHA BERTRAND, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO:  Yes, it`s a really powerful point.  And then she went onto say, look, if this was a legitimate criminal investigation, you don`t announce an investigation, right, because that would tip off people and it would undermine the investigation entirely.

And she also noted that that only makes the case for this being bribery even more powerful, the fact that the president was clearly doing this in his own personal and political interests rather than the United States national security interests.  So that was really powerful.

And then there were also points made about the fact that the president didn`t raise the issue of corruption at all with Volodymyr Zelensky in either of their phone calls despite having talking points that suggested that he do so.  So the argument that Republicans put forward today about the president being very concerned about Biden and corruption in Ukraine just really wasn`t credible.

MATTHEWS:  Well, George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley, he was there for the Republicans, argued that the case against President Trump lacked evidence and a crime.  And like many of the Republicans, he argued against this process.


JONATHAN TURLEY, REPUBLICAN WITNESS, THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY:  That is why this is wrong.  It`s not wrong because President Trump was right.  His call was anything but perfect.  It`s not wrong because the House has no legitimate reason to investigate the Ukrainian controversy.  It`s not wrong because we`re in an election year.  There is no good time for an impeachment.  No, it`s wrong because this is not how you impeach an American president.


MATTHEWS:  Congressman Lieu, I want to ask you about with Charlie Sykes, and, Charlie, get in on this too.  Congressman, do you think any worthwhile purpose would be served by extending this process beyond this year?

LIEU:  We cannot allow the president to benefit from his own obstruction of justice and obstruction of Congress.  But let me just make this very simple.  The call transcript itself is very damning.  So, for example, let`s say one of my local police chiefs comes up to me and says, hey, I`m one of your constituents, I want you to help me, you know, because my mom is not getting her social security check.  And I say, sure, but I want you to do me a favor though.  I want you to announce you`re investigating one of my political opponents.  If I did that, I`d likely be going to prison.

MATTHEWS:  Glenn, I want to ask you about Rudy Giuliani who is out there.  This process we`re covering here, as Charlie says, they need more investigations.  Well, maybe he`s right in a sense that hell is still going on.  He`s still over there digging up dirt on Joe Biden.

KIRSCHNER:  Yes.  And I have to wonder if he`s really over there continuing to try to dig up dirt on Joe Biden given that what that has now brought down on top of the president or if he`s over there preparing for his own criminal defense.

Parnas and Fruman are -- they`re indicted.  It is reported that Parnas is getting ready to flip and he`s got tapes and he`s got records.  You have to believe he`s going to give up Giuliani.  I bet you, Chris, Giuliani is over there trying to put his own future criminal defense together.

MATTHEWS:  Anyway, thank you.

I`ve got to get back to Charlie because I`m an argumentative person.  It seems to me that the Democrats in this situation which is more polarized than any time in our life before.  There are no middle-roaders anymore.  There is nobody sitting on the fence about impeachment.  They`ve had all the testimony that everybody knows it`s about Ukraine.  Everybody knows the president shook that guy down because he wanted dirt on his opponent.  We all know the facts about the central case, which I believe Pelosi is going to push right through this process.  Do you think anybody is ready to change their mind?

SYKES:  Maybe not in Congress but in the public.  And, you know, keep in mind, you and I have been following this every single day, but there`s an advantage to sometimes slowing it down, letting the facts marinate, letting the public catch up.  Every day that goes by, I think, there`s a chance that you`re going to see new revelations about all of this.

Look, the Democrats, I think, have a stronger hand than they think they do.  They`re winning in federal court and compelling the testimony of Don McGahn.  There`s reason to believe that maybe the courts will support some of the subpoenas.  You have world class reporters like Natasha out there and reporters for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times and The Washington Post who are digging into all of this.  If in fact they don`t vote until, say, the middle of January, Chris, what have they lost?  What exactly have they lost by waiting until the New Year to have this vote?

MATTHEWS:  Well, as a very smart chief executive friend of my mine said in a recent book title, leave something on the table.

Thank you to U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu.  Sir, I think you`re on the right schedule.  Charlie Sykes, I think you`re on the wrong schedule.  Glenn Kirschner, for Natasha, a great reporter.

Coming up, amidst and onslaught of Republican delay and distract, we saw it all today, delay tactics after delay tactics.  They want this to go into next year.  Did the Democrats bolster their case for impeachment?  Our panel of legal experts are going to weigh in in just a minute.

Plus, the White House chose not to represent itself in today`s judiciary hearings.  What is their strategy?  That`s no defense again.  They never actually get to the core argument this president needs to be impeached.  Do they have a defense?  Leon Panetta, former Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton, joins us live tonight.

And it was another tumultuous day for President Trump on the world stage, abruptly canceling his post-summit press conference and calling the prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, two-faced after world leaders were caught on video -- wait until you see this -- talking and laughing about, guess who, behind his back, the joke of the world and he`s ours.

Much more to get to.  Stick with us.



DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT:  I have in Article 2 where I have the right to do whatever I want as president, but I don`t even talk about that.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

You just did, Mr. President.  That was President Trump notably two days before his call with Ukraine`s president, the center of the impeachment inquiry itself, on what he believes are his powers as president, everything.  As outlined today a part of the Constitution, he has uniquely discovered Article 2.

In today`s Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing, Democrats called upon the legal experts testifying to explain the legal argument for a Congress to impeach President Trump under its own powers outlined by the Constitution. 

Three of the four witnesses argued President Trump had, in fact, committed impeachable offenses, specifically abuse of power, bribery, and obstruction. 


PAMELA KARLAN, STANFORD UNIVERSITY:  Drawing a foreign government into our elections is an especially serious abuse of power, because it undermines democracy itself. 

NOAH FELDMAN, HARVARD UNIVERSITY:  Bribery had a clear meaning to the framers.  It was when the president, using the power of his office, solicits or receives something of personal value from someone affected by his official powers. 

And I want to be very clear.  The Constitution is law.  The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. 

MICHAEL GERHARDT, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA:  The third article of impeachment approved by the House Judiciary Committee against President Nixon charged him with conduct because he had failed to comply with four legislative subpoenas.

Here, it is far more than four that this president has failed to comply with.  And he`s ordered the executive branch as well not to cooperate with Congress. 

Those, together with a lot of other evidence, suggests obstruction of Congress. 


MATTHEWS:  The one witness called by Republicans, Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, pushed back on the obstruction argument, saying Democrats in Congress should allow the courts to weigh in on subpoenas. 


JONATHAN TURLEY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY:  You`re saying, Article 1 gives us complete authority that, when we demand information from another branch, it must be turned over, or we will impeach you in record time. 

So, on obstruction, I would encourage you to think about this.  In Nixon, it did go to the courts, and Nixon lost.  And that was the reason Nixon resigned. 


MATTHEWS:  But Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman argued President Trump`s refusal to cooperate with an impeachable offense -- was itself an impeachable offense. 

Let`s watch. 


FELDMAN:  A president who says, as this president did say, I will not cooperate in any way, shape or form with your process, robs a coordinate branch of government.  He robs the House of Representatives of its basic constitutional power of impeachment. 

I don`t think it`s possible to emphasize this strongly enough.  A president who will not cooperate in an impeachment inquiry is putting himself above the law. 


MATTHEWS:  For more, I`m joined right now by Richard Ben-Veniste, assistant Watergate prosecutor, Caroline Fredrickson, former president of the American Constitution Society, and, of course, Paul Butler, former federal prosecutor. 

Richard, let`s go to the heart of this thing.  Did they make their case, the three professors for the Democrats, for impeachment?

RICHARD BEN-VENISTE, FORMER ASSISTANT WATERGATE PROSECUTOR:  I thought they were very articulate and they fielded the questions well, and they made the case as to why this is a serious enough offense to imply the constitutional remedy of impeachment. 

I thought that -- somewhat disingenuous that Professor Turley argued that there wasn`t enough evidence, that there were witnesses yet to be called. 

This is a most amusing argument, when you see that the president of the United States has ordered the very witnesses that Mr. Turley is talking about not to cooperate.  This is like a defendant who is convicted of poisoning his parents throwing himself on the mercy of the court because he`s an orphan. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

Paul, let`s get back to this key question.  Turley`s argument -- and I thought it was good the first time I heard it -- which was, the Congress can ask from the president anything they want to ask.  It could be frivolous and stupid.  And he doesn`t want to give him the information or the document or the witness to testify, that doesn`t mean Congress has just caught them in an impeachable act.

The courts have to rule you must testify before Congress has a right to say, you violated the Constitution here. 


MATTHEWS:  Do you buy that argument, the courts have to intervene?

BUTLER:  I don`t. 

So, the words that kept coming up today are king and monarch, and that we don`t have those in the United States.  We do not have a president who is above the rule of law.  And one of the reasons he`s not is because it`s the responsibility of Congress to do checks and balances, to do appropriate oversight, including demanding documents that are relevant to his fitness to remain in office. 

MATTHEWS:  Caroline, I loved your article today, because I agreed with it, about the need to keep the focus here, as Pelosi, the speaker, said the beginning. 

You caught this guy, this president, on a matter of national security, you caught him trading away the public trust that he got -- he has as commander in chief, trading it away for some cheap political mud on his opponent, or even the semblance of mud, right? 

I thought that was good.  Let me ask, what do you think was the strongest case made for impeachment by the three Democratic professors?

CAROLINE FREDRICKSON, FORMER PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CONSTITUTION SOCIETY:  Well, I mean, I think they all did an exceptional -- exceptional job.

And I agree with Richard that they laid the case out very thoroughly, thoughtfully. 

But I`d say, When Professor Karlan describes what is the essence of an impeachable offense, going to a foreign government and saying, we`re not going to give you money unless you investigate my political rival...

MATTHEWS:  Say you`re investigating.

FREDRICKSON:  Yes, say you`re investigating.

MATTHEWS:  Just say it.

FREDRICKSON:  You don`t have to do it.  You don`t have to do it.  That...

MATTHEWS:  Just give me some dirt to throw.

FREDRICKSON:  ... is absolutely the essence of an impeachable offense. 

And I think it really crystallized it.  And what I liked about the hearing today was that it was so focused.

There -- as I said in my article, there`s a lot of other stuff.  There`s so much stuff.  And, in fact, that`s one of the dangers of this impeachment process...

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

FREDRICKSON:  ... is that, every, day there`s something new, right?

And you can have Jonathan Turley saying, well, that means you need to keep investigating because there`s a new thing. 

Well, but the fact of the matter is, you need to tell that story... 


FREDRICKSON:  ... why is he impeachable, so that people actually out in the world, in the United States get it.

And this is, hey, hello, Ukraine.  Investigate my political rival, or you don`t get your money. 

That`s like the definition of a bribe.  It`s a quid pro quo. 

MATTHEWS:  I thought the Democratic-called witnesses very good on that, because they also hit the point of, well, Ukraine finally got the money in September, so everything`s clean.

Under that -- I`m laughing because you`re laughing, because, under that theory, Nixon did not succeed with the cover-up. 


MATTHEWS:  By the way, he got caught with Watergate.  By definition, the Watergate cover-up didn`t work. 


MATTHEWS:  He still was pushed out of office. 

BEN-VENISTE:  Here`s a bank robber with a bag of money in his hand.  The cops walk in.  Oh, excuse me, you need more evidence.


BEN-VENISTE:  OK.  Let`s find the getaway driver.  He`s off in Argentina because he ran away.  Let`s wait until we get him too.

MATTHEWS:  No, actually, he`s over in Ukraine right now.



MATTHEWS:  ... Rudy.

Let me ask you about this, because he always says, I could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue. 

Now, Fifth Avenue is the most beautiful street in the world, probably, in the United States, certainly, a Champs Elysees type.  It`s beautiful.  And imagine a president of the United States or anybody coming out in the main street out there and pulling a gun out.

The Republicans are arguing in all seriousness, if a president of the United States or anybody is shooting at somebody and misses them, they`re clean.


MATTHEWS:  They`re clean.  Let him alone. 

That`s an insane argument. 

BUTLER:  Yes.  It`s insane. 

It`s an extreme view about executive power.  And it`s unsupported by the Constitution. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

BUTLER:  In terms of the argument, the new defense that the Democrats are going to quickly, guess what?  This inquiry is going to take longer than the Clinton inquiry for impeachment and way longer than when Andrew Johnson was impeached. 

So, this is going to be the most scholarly, well-developed impeachment inquiry in our history. 

MATTHEWS:  What do you think of the motives?  I hate to get to motives, but I`m going to damn well do it. 

Why do people want to run this thing to next year?  I see the calendar, next week, more work by the Judiciary Committee, combining all of the reports from the various committees, Foreign Affairs, Oversight, and, of course, Intel, to the articles of impeachment.

The following week, they vote on the articles.  The people don`t like this schedule for some reason.  What do you make of it? 

BUTLER:  Obviously, there`s a concern that the election is coming up.  And that`s a concern for both the Democrats and the Republicans. 

I think one of the values of the testimony today was to answer the very important question, even if Trump is corrupt, why not wait less than a year until the election, so that the people can determine whether he should be removed? 

And what these three esteemed legal scholars said who the Democrats called is that we cannot afford to wait.  Every day that Trump remains in office is a threat to our democracy, in part because, if he`s open to, as a candidate, welcoming help from Russia to subvert the election, and, as president, he orders or shakes down, in Professor Karlan`s word, actually says -- she said strong-arms Ukraine into helping him with the election, what will he do next? 

MATTHEWS:  What about the schedule?

Because I think the train is on time. 

FREDRICKSON:  I think they have done an amazing amount of work.  There is so much evidence in the record. 

I mean, just -- let`s not forget we had the Mueller report.  There is a lot in there.  I think they have so much to proceed on.  And I think they should go forward. 

MATTHEWS:  I think...


BEN-VENISTE:  What I liked about today was calling a spade a spade, in the sense that, here is the president asking for an announcement.


BEN-VENISTE:  Box him in, a smear campaign. 

And you can see, historically -- I know you will get this Chris -- Joe McCarthy, the master of the smear campaign, Roy Cohn, McCarthy`s acolyte and teacher of Donald J. Trump. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you. 

And, by the way, the Republicans today, not that they`re as guilty as a McCarthy -- I wouldn`t say that about anybody, but point of order was McCarthy`s favorite tactic.  Point of order.  Point of order.  In fact, there was a documentary about that.

Anyway, thank you, Richard Ben-Veniste for your history.

Caroline Fredrickson, great column today. 

Paul Butler, as always, sir. 

Still ahead:  If the White House has an impeachment defense strategy, they`re doing an excellent job of keeping it under wraps.  They don`t seem to get to the heart of the charge against the president, because they don`t want to try to be caught defending selling out our foreign policy. 

Former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta joins us next to share his insights live on what`s going on behind the scenes perhaps in the White House right now.

You`re watching HARDBALL. 



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  What they`re doing is a very bad thing for our country.  It`s of no merit.

These people, you almost question whether or not they love our country.  And that`s a very, very serious thing.  Do they, in fact, love our country?

They schedule a hearing.  It`s a hoax.  It`s a total hoax.  The word impeachment is a dirty word.  And it`s a word that was only supposed to be used in special occasions, high crimes and misdemeanors.  In this case, there was no crime whatsoever, not even a little tiny crime. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was President Trump today in London attacking Democrats just as the House Judiciary Committee was beginning its impeachment hearing today on Capitol Hill.

And no one from the White House was present in that hearing room, of course, by their own choice.  Upon an invitation to attend, they sent their regrets. 

Well, Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the committee, noted the White House`s absent -- absence during the hearing. 


REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY):  I note that this is the moment in which the White House would have had an opportunity to question the witnesses, but they declined our invitation. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, Politico reports the White House`s impeachment strategy goes something like this: refuse to engage unless certain demands are met, blast Democrats from the outside in the meantime and wait for a friendlier Senate landscape. 

For more, I`m joined by Leon Panetta, former director of the CIA, former secretary of defense, who was also chief of staff to President Clinton. 

Mr. Secretary, thanks for joining me.

What did you think of the White House strategy of not sending any witnesses, not really challenging in the committee, the Republican members, not even challenging the core charge, that the president traded public trust for cheap political gain? 

LEON PANETTA, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE:  Well, it goes against his own acknowledgment that he did nothing wrong. 

If he did nothing wrong, then this president ought to be going out of his way, not only to have counsel present, but also to have witnesses from the White House testify on his behalf. 

But the fundamental problem here, Chris, is that the president did something wrong.  And, as a result of that, he`s going to use every other tactic to try to avoid the impeachment. 

So he`s going to do rallies.  He`s going to go to his base.  He`s going to try to as much as possible attack the credibility of what`s going on, in the hope that, somehow, that will give support to the Republicans who he hopefully is going to push in order to acquit him in the Senate side. 

So he`s engaged in a political attack, rather than a legal defense. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, President Trump weighed in on the damaging revelations from the House Intel report yesterday showing multiple phone calls between his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the Office of Management and Budget, and the White House during key moments of the pressure campaign against Ukraine. 

Here he is.


TRUMP:  I don`t know anything about it.  Somebody said he made a phone call into the White House.  What difference does that make?  I don`t know.  Is that supposed to be a big deal?  I don`t think so. 


MATTHEWS:  While Giuliani has not indicated why he was speaking with the OMB, the office responsible for, of course, freezing military aid to Ukraine, he did respond with a tweet, writing: "The mere fact that I had numerous calls with the White House does not establish any specific topic.  Remember, I`m the president`s attorney."

Mr. Secretary, I don`t know how many people called up the OMB when you were there from -- why the president`s lawyer and fixer would be calling you up from Ukraine, or wherever the hell he is.

It all looked to me like -- I said last night on the show it`s like picking up a rock when you were a kid and seeing all the bugs underneath.  And you see there, and you get this right-wing guy, columnist, a pro-Trump guy named John Solomon is on the phone with these people.  Rudy`s on the phone.

Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican, he`s on the phone with the OMB.  They`re all checking in with each other, like the Menendez brothers.  I mean, they`re all in this thing together. 

And, anyway, what did you make of all those phone calls? 


PANETTA:  Well, you know, what we have -- what we have found out is that this is a president who loves chaos.  He operates by chaos abroad.  He operates by chaos in the White House. 

And so there`s nobody really in charge to provide any kind of order as to how you approach these kinds of crises.  So the president`s operating by the seat of his pants.  There`s nobody who`s telling him right and wrong.  And so he`s in contact with his so-called personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who`s doing all of his dirty work in the Ukraine. 

And so these calls only -- only make clear that there was a close connection between the president and Giuliani in the effort to try to be able to somehow produce an investigation on Joe Biden.  It`s a -- it`s unheard of that a White House would operate with this kind of chaos. 

MATTHEWS:  You have probably studied all the books on how to run a presidency.

And there`s the spokes of the wheel approach, where the president, like Jack Kennedy, would point to different people and assign people in different directions.  FDR used that method.  Eisenhower used the strong chief of staff role, where everything went through Sherman Adams.  There`s the hidden hand approach of Ike.

What would you call Rudy Giuliani -- I`m sorry -- Donald Trump`s -- what`s his presidency about with all these moving parts all working in kind of a - - sort of a syndicate, I guess you would call it?  I don`t know.  What would you call it? 


PANETTA:  Well, it looks more like kind of how the -- how the mafia operates, in terms of having one central individual and a lot of other people basically catering to that individual. 


PANETTA:  And that -- that`s the fundamental -- fundamental problem in the White House right now is that there are no grownups in the White House to tell this president when he`s going to do the wrong thing. 

The only kind of people you have around the president now are people who basically empower the president.  They do what he wants them to do.  There isn`t anybody who`s willing to stand up and tell him when he`s doing the wrong thing.

And so, the end result of that is that the president`s basically operating on his own, operating through tweets, through gut reactions, and producing the kind of sense we have in this country, that we literally do not have a president of the United States who`s paying attention to the problems facing this country both here and abroad. 

MATTHEWS:  Well said. 

And, Mr. Panetta, you and I know a number of politicians who`ve gone down to the ditch because of not having good counsel around them and just nailed it pretty well.

Nobody is a good guide for themselves.  You need to be listening to people around you because you make mistakes. 

Thank you so much.  It`s great to have you on, sir.  Leon Panetta.

PANETTA:  You bet.

MATTHEWS:  Up next, London brawling.  President Trump splits the scene as we said in the old days in the `60s.  He split the scene after cameras captured world leaders talking about him behind his back. 

Our president`s response after the video went viral.  Wait until you see this.  This is fun for tonight at least.  We need a little fun. 

You`re watching HARDBALL.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The world is laughing at us.  They`re laughing at the stupidity of our president. 

Our country is a laughingstock.  All over the world, they`re laughing. 

We`re not respected.  We`re laughed at all over the world. 

How stupid are we?  The world is laughing. 

We`re going to be respected again.  We`re not going to be a laughingstock like we have been. 

Everybody`s laughing at us because we`re led by people that don`t have it, and it`s not going to happen any longer and that`s why I`m doing this, folks. 


MATTHEWS:  He looked younger back then. 

Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was President Trump campaigning as a candidate on the promise that under his presidency, the world would no longer laugh at America. 

But last night, at a reception, there it is at Buckingham Palace, the world`s leaders, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, France`s President Emmanuel Macron, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared to be laughing at President Trump. 


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER:  Is that why -- is that why you were late?

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER:  He was later because he takes 40 minute -- 40 minute press conference off the top.

I watched his team`s jaws drop on the floor.


MATTHEWS:  That was Prime Minister Trudeau confirming today he was talking about Trump and that his comment about jaws dropping as he demonstrated referred to Trump`s announcement that next year`s G7 summit would be held at Camp David. 


TRUDEAU:  Last night, I made a reference to the fact that there was an unscheduled press conference before my meeting with President Trump, and I was happy to take part of it, but it was certainly notable.  We were all surprised and I think pleased to learn that the next G7 will be at Camp David.  I think that was an unscheduled announcement, and I think everyone`s team -- every different leader has teams who ever now and then have their jaws drop at unscheduled surprises like that video itself, for example. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, President Trump was scheduled to meet with the NATO secretary-general yesterday for 20 minutes, but that turned into 53 minutes of remarks including an unscheduled, well, that long, press conference. 

President Trump predictably took the opportunity to attack Trudeau today.  That`s up next. 

You`re watching HARDBALL.



REPORTER:  Have you heard the video of Prime Minister Trudeau talking about you last night?

TRUMP:  Well, he`s two-faced.  And honestly, with Trudeau, he`s a nice guy.  I find him to be a very nice guy, but, you know, the truth is that, I called him out on the fact he`s not paying 2 percent, and I guess he`s not very happy about it. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was President Trump today calling the Canadian prime minister two- faced after he appeared to mock Trump`s impromptu press conference yesterday. 

Trump later cancelled his upcoming press conference today, tweeting that, quote: We don`t be doing a press conference at the close of NATO because we did so many over the past two days.

Right.  I`m joined right now by Jason Johnson, politics editor at 

You know, it`s so -- there were so much irony floating around our lives, but, you know, he made a point during his campaign, we`re not going to be laughed -- we weren`t laughed at.  Obama was adored across the world. 

JASON JOHNSON, THEROOT.COM:  Extremely popular.

MATTHEWS:  They very -- high regard.

And now, we have this picture that`s going to be haunting this president right to at least through "Saturday Night Live" this weekend.


MATTHEWS:  At least three guys, the boys club sitting there in -- Dutch guy, too, all these heads of state, chuckling about our president. 

JOHNSON:  This isn`t the first, second, third or even fifth time this has happened with this administration.  He looked weak next to Pena Nieto.  You have the video of Ivanka trying to get into a conversation and everyone pretending how did you get in here, what`s your guest pass? 

This entire administration is an embarrassment abroad.  I mean, now, he`s not as far as Bush.  No one has thrown a shoe at Donald Trump yet.  But if you could be laughed at by Boris Yeltsin, who`s considered a joke in his own country, then clearly you don`t have a tremendous amount of global respect.

MATTHEWS:  Well, the president had his own hot mike moment in London this morning. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think you`ll be in double digits for press conferences.  It`s crazy.

TRUMP:  Oh, and then you know what they`ll say, he didn`t do a press conference.  He didn`t do a press conference.  That was funny when I said the guy`s two-faced. 


MATTHEWS:  That was funny.  No, you took a shot at the guy.  I didn`t see the humor in it. 

JOHNSON:  No, that`s the thing.  Trump doesn`t have a sense of humor. 

MATTHEWS:  That`s right.  I do agree with that.  Have you ever seen him laugh?  I don`t think he actually laughs. 

JOHNSON:  He doesn`t have the humility and self-reflection to laugh.  He can`t be made fun of like most other powerful people can.  Bush could -- I mean, think of Bush and Dana Carvey, right?  He can enjoy mockery.  Donald Trump gets furious about Alec Baldwin doing a great impression of him all the time.

So, it`s the same thing with world leaders.  He can`t chuckle and joke with other people because everything is so thin-skinned and so weak.

MATTHEWS:  So, humor is based on truth and self-awareness. 


MATTHEWS:  And irony.


MATTHEWS:  But I do think this is worth thinking about.  I`m not a shrink, but I just wonder a president mocks peoples looks, mocks the disabilities, mocks their gender, he knows how to be a schoolyard that kind of person at the expense of people.  But true wit is foreign to him. 

JOHNSON:  True wit, true engagement, right, the ability to have other people laugh with you.  Even George Bush was able to do that. 

And here`s the great challenge, Trump has done exactly what his greatest fear was.  He`s empowered world leaders to look powerful and look stronger in comparison.  Who would think that Justin Trudeau who`s basically sort of the pretty boy of the north, right?

MATTHEWS:  And he gets squeak back in -- 

JOHNSON:  Exactly, he squeaks back in, but now he looks strong.  Angela Merkel looks stronger, Macron looks stronger, everybody looks stronger in comparison to a president who looks so week. 

MATTHEWS:  Boris Johnson, he`s the straight man now. 

JOHNSON:  The man who intentionally tussles his hair to look ridiculous somehow seems a more reasonable person compared to Donald Trump.

MATTHEWS:  So, what are the stakes here?  We have a president who`s looked down upon by our allies. 

JOHNSON:  So, at a practical level, it`s why they don`t -- our European allies don`t want to share intelligence information with us anymore.  But it`s also a prestige issue. 

This is the thing that Donald Trump has to think about one day if he ever made get his office, is that everyone sees that the emperor has no clothes, everyone sees you`re not impressive anymore, and the moment he is not president of the United States, he will get nothing and nowhere.  He`s not going to be invited to hang out like Tony Blair invited the Clintons to hang out with them.

MATTHEWS:  Well, one of the things you and I and everyone else in the world knows you only got one reputation. 

Thank you, Jason Johnson.  You got a good one.

Up next, one final task for the Democrats.  You`re watching HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS:  The Democrats have done a good job so far in the impeachment drive.  They have focused the charge sharply on the president`s shaking down of a foreign leader, pressuring him to smear one of the president`s political opponents.  Secondly, they`ve presented fact witnesses of sterling credibility to testify to president`s corruption, trading his public trust for personal gain, a definitional case of corruption. 

And then today, they established that moving to impeach this president on these particular grounds fits with the historic intent of those who wrote the Constitution.  There remains one more argument in the can and should be brought forth, that is the national interests.  There`s a reason that the Republicans in Congress have held back from defending the president`s conduct in this particular matter. 

It`s because no Republican can say it`s OK to deny military help to an ally in the face of territorial aggression?  Is there a member of Ronald Reagan`s party who can you walk into a town meeting or go on Fox even and say, he`s proud or she`s proud to support Donald Trump`s holding up of arms aid to Ukraine with Russian tanks threatening his country`s survival?  Is there one of them willing to defend this selfless, reckless dereliction of duty out of cheap political opportunism?  No. 

And that`s why it`s here in the area of national security that the Democrats need to make their final case, because it`s not just about Donald Trump being an embarrassment, being laughed at by world leaders yesterday.  It`s not just about him wanting to throw a handful of political mud at Joe Biden.  It`s about his selling out the country`s global security to get ahold of it. 

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.