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Biden gets into a heated exchange. TRANSCRIPT: 12/5/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.

Guests: Mary Gay Scanlon, Susan Page, Elizabeth Holtzman, Steve Israel,David Jolly, Laurence Tribe, Zerlina Maxwell

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  The court also once unanimously ruled against Bill Clinton in a similar thing.  We will keep an eye on it and keep you appraised on all the news.

That does it for me.  I`ll see you back here tomorrow at 6:00 P.M.  HARDBALL is up next.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  The speaker`s verdict, impeach him.  Let`s play HARDBALL.

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

Well, the speaker of the House spoke for the Democrats today and called for impeachment of the president.  Nancy Pelosi began the day directing congressional committees to get busy next week drafting articles of impeachment against Donald J. Trump.  In doing so, Speaker Pelosi established herself as the driving force to make President Trump the third American president to be impeached by the House.

Pelosi`s declaration today now leaves the House two full working weeks before it leaves Washington for the Christmas recess to complete its work on Impeachment.  She said the House has no choice but to act now in the face of the president`s wrongdoing.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA):  The facts are uncontested.  The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security by withholding military aid and crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival.

Sadly, but with confidence and humility with allegiance to our founders and our heart full of love for America, today, I am asking our chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment.


MATTHEWS:  Just hours after Pelosi spoke, the Judiciary Committee announced a hearing for next Monday, December 9th to hear impeachment evidence from the House Intelligence Committee.  That would clear the way for articles to be drafted by the Judiciary Committee and voted on next week in that committee with a vote by the full House the week after.  Friday, December 20th, by the way is the last scheduled day of the House session this year.

Today, Pelosi rebuked a reporter who suggested she is being driven by personal antipathy toward the president.


REPORTER:  Do you hate the president, Madam Speaker?

PELOSI:  I don`t hate anybody.  I was raised in a catholic house.  I don`t hate anybody, not anybody in the world.  Don`t accuse me of hating anybody.

REPORTER:  I did not accuse you.

PELOS:  You did.

REPORTER:  I asked a question.

Representative Collins, yesterday, suggested that the Democrats are doing this simply because they don`t like the guy.

PELOSI:  I had nothing to do with it.  Let me just say this.

As a catholic, I resent your using the word, hate, in a sentence that addresses me.  I don`t hate anyone.  I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love and always pray for the president.  And I still pray for the president.  I pray for the president all the time.  So don`t mess with me when it comes to words like that.


MATTHEWS:  For more, I`m joined by Democratic Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania, vice-chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Susan Page, Washington Bureau Chief for USA Today, and former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, a member of the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate.  What a great trio.  Thank you all.

Congresswoman, give us a sense now that the speaker has laid down the law, basically.  What`s it going to look like between now and the Christmas break, the Friday after next?

REP. MARY GAY SCANLON (D-PA):  Well, I think we`re going to continue to do the hard work we`ve been doing.  Yesterday, you saw that we had a hearing where we laid out the constitutional basis for impeachment, the kinds of things that the founders thought were impeachable offenses.  And then on Monday, we`re going to have a hearing where we look at the evidence that`s been compiled to date and apply that to the constitutional foundation.

MATTHEWS:  What`s it going to look like?  I mean, you`re sitting on the committee.  You`re spending a good part of your time and mind thinking about it.  Give us a sense of what you see coming, what you`d like to see coming in terms of articles.

SCANLON:  Well, that`s what`s going to -- that`s what we`re moving into this next week.  I mean, I`m certain everyone has thought privately about it, but we haven`t had those discussions yet because this has been a very quickly moving investigation.

But now we`re at the point where we are going to have those discussions.  And, certainly, we heard yesterday from these constitutional experts that the founders were worried about interference by other countries in our nation`s affairs.  We heard about worries about just corrupt elections and just general corruption.  What we didn`t hear was that the founders anticipated we`d have one president who gave all of those things in one bucket.

MATTHEWS:  I`ve been hearing now for the first time in my life.  The last couple of years are the most important political battleground in the country are the counties around Philadelphia, including your county, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.  What is the -- has the message of the speaker and your Judiciary Committee and the rest of the Democratic House, has it permeated out there among the people?

SCANLON:  Well, it certainly has in my region.  I mean, you know, in addition to coming from a district that includes Philadelphia, where the Constitution was written, Pennsylvania has been very aware of election issues in the last few years.  We`ve had some voter suppression measures.  We had a strict voter I.D. law that had to be overturned.  I`m here in large part because we have gerrymandering, that was determined to be unconstitutional.

So Pennsylvania voters are very aware of the fact that people can try to mess with our elections.  Certainly, people have been very focused on whether there is wrongdoing in D.C.  And just this Monday night, I was at a forum on what is impeachment and talking to constitutional experts.  And I had a gentleman come up and talk to me.  He was former township official.  And he said, I worked for a township.  If I had done what the president has done here, I`d be in jail.  So people get it.

MATTHEWS:  I think I got it growing up in Philly.  Because in the dirty old days of Philadelphia, when it was somewhat corrupt, as we all remember, sadly, they used to talk about the magistrates who would open their drawer for people to put all the money in there if they want the call to go their way.  That was the old way.  Anyway, thank you.

Let me go to Susan Page on this.  It does seem to be coming into focus like an old Polaroid picture.  I think it looks like a couple of articles of impeachment in the next couple of weeks.  It`s going to get done.

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, USA TODAY:  I believe that`s right.  You heard some clues of that with what Speaker Pelosi told reporters today, an article on abuse of power, perhaps one on bribery, on obstruction of Congress, perhaps one on obstruction of justice.  We don`t know exactly what the articles are going to be.  We don`t know exactly if it`s going to go much beyond the Ukraine affair into pulling things from the Mueller report, for example.

But Speaker Pelosi has kept a pretty good control on this, and her focus has been narrowly drawn on the Ukraine affair and with a timetable that has really been extraordinarily fast.  We do expect to have a vote by the full House by Christmas.  That`s going to be a busy two weeks ahead.

MATTHEWS:  Yes, it sure will.

President Trump responded, of course, to the speaker`s press conference on Twitter, his favorite mode of activity, writing, Nancy Pelosi -- by the way, he refers to as like Nancy Pelosi just had a nervous fit.  He`s unbelievable.  She said she prays for the president.  I don`t believe her, not even close.  Help the homeless in your district, Nancy.

Well, later during an event at the White House, the president was asked for his thoughts on impeachment.


REPORTER:  Are you worried, sir, about the stain that impeachment might have on your legacy?

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT:  No, not at all.  It`s a hoax.  It`s a big fat hoax.


MATTHEWS:  You know, it gets worse.  And somebody once said to Franklin Roosevelt, his idea of being president was to be Franklin Roosevelt.  This guy`s idea of being president of the United States is being Donald Trump.

He hasn`t risen to the office.  He seems to get lower under this pressure.

ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN (D), FORMER REPRESENTATIVE OF NEW YORK:  Yes.  He`s got no idea that there`s a Constitution -- I don`t think he`s ever read it.  The Constitution creates the power of impeachment.  Why?  And I had to study this in Watergate, where we went through the same exercise.  We didn`t hear from experts but we had to study the Constitution and we had to match the facts up to the Constitution to see if it met the standard.

Why did the framers put it in?  They know there was going to be a Donald Trump or a Richard Nixon.  But they knew some time there would be a president who would abuse the power of his office, put himself above the law and threaten our democracy.  And we`ve seen that here.  And we`ve got to do something about it.

MATTHEWS:  Nixon knew he had done something wrong.  He knew when the tapes came out that he was being corrupt, and he was ashamed of himself.  If you listen to the later interview, this guy has no shame.

HOLTZMAN:  He has no shame, but he knows he`s done something wrong because he`s been engaged in this huge cover-up.  He`s trying to keep people from going to the Congress and telling --

MATTHEWS:  Consciousness of guilt.

HOLTZMAN:  Well, absolutely.  He knows he did something wrong.  He knows he`s in big trouble.

And I think that has to be part of the articles of impeachment because it goes -- when the Intelligence Committee issued the subpoenas, they said, if you don`t show up, we`re going to use -- draw adverse inferences, and that`s what they need to do.  The president is involved in a big cover-up here.

MATTHEWS:  I just want to go to the Congresswoman about this.  Because, did you see the president today tweeting and he said, when I shaking -- he didn`t use these words, but, in effect, I was shaking down Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, I wasn`t doing that for my personal political gain, trying to get some dirt or bad press on Biden, I was doing it in the interest of the country.  What`s your thought of his defense today?

SCANLON:  Well, this is the latest offense that we`ve heard.  Jim Jordan tried out that defense yesterday when we were talking to the constitutional experts.  It is cherry-picking one portion of a sentence and ignoring the rest of the conversation or at least what we know of it because we still haven`t seen the entire conversation.

I think Congresswoman Holtzman is absolutely right.  He knows that what he did was wrong, he`s engaging in a cover-up and we`ve heard all manner of excuses for why we shouldn`t proceed, whether it`s procedural battles or, you know, just him claiming that Article II allows him to do anything he wants.

  Then this afternoon and yesterday at the hearings through Ranking Member Collins, we heard that it`s because, somehow, the Democrats in Congress hate him.  It`s not about him.  It`s about the Constitution.

MATTHEWS:  Let me go to Susan, because I know you`re writing a book about the speaker.  And I have to tell you, I`ve working to speakers with myself for half dozen years.  I am really impressed by this speaker.  Her discipline of the party has always been unbelievable.  She got ACA through, the first Democratic health bill since, what, whenever, since Medicare or Medicaid.  She got it through.  She got the votes.

And now, I`m watching her pull the reins again.  It looks like she said this morning at 9:00, I`m calling the shots, we`re going to impeach this guy.  Your thoughts.

PAGE:  That did not start at 9:00 this morning.  he has very firm control of her caucus.  She had put one of the chairman she trusts the most, Adam Schiff, in charge of the investigative part of this.  She`s the one that made the announcement that they`re going to go ahead and draw up articles of impeachment.

She does defer to the chairman of the committees on some issues, but she not only wants to be in control of this caucus, she has the loyalty of the caucus behind her.  We may see a defection or two, just a handful of Democrats on this impeachment vote, but not very many.

And it is -- it does reflect what we saw on previous -- when she got tarp through, which was on behalf of President Bush, a president she really agreed with.  She got the Affordable Care Act through when the Obama White House was ready to reduce the breadth of the bill, and she said no, we`re going to try to get the whole thing through.  So, yes, this is test of her speakership.  And we saw in the exchange today how fierce she can be.

MATTHEWS:  I`m listening to a person writing a biography of Nancy Pelosi, and I can see the work you`ve done already, Susan.  Thank you for that.

Anyway, Speaker Pelosi stressed the chairmen of several key committees will make recommendations on articles impeachment.  And today, she met privately with Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler and Intelligence Chairman, of course, Adam Schiff, as Susan just mentioned along with the chairs of four other committees who have been investigating the president.  Pelosi was asked if she`d support including elements of the Mueller report in the articles of impeachment in the next two weeks.


REPORTER:  You mentioned those previous investigations.  Do you want to see elements of the Mueller report or these other --

PELOSI:  I`m not going to tell you about that, okay?  I`m not going to tell you.  My chairman will be making recommendations as to what the -- our counsel, our lawyers, our chair, the staffs of the committees have been sensational.  And we`ll look to them for their judgment about what the articles of impeachment -- with all due respect to your question, I`m not here to talk about that.


MATTHEWS:  Well, that was interesting, Congresswoman, because I got the sense when I heard that the speaker was going to announce something at 9:00 this morning that she was grabbing the reins and she was saying, let`s not spend the next week arguing about whether we go back to Mueller, where the enlarged and the long list of litany really of articles, or do we stick to the main focus.  We caught the president abusing his authority, abusing his power.  We caught the president in a bribe situation.  We`ve got him.  Let`s not mess this up with a lot of other issues.  Do you have a sense she still wants to go in that narrow particular direction?

SCANLON:  Well, I think that`s what we`re going to be talking about the next few days.  Certainly, there were ties from the Ukraine incident to, you know, what we saw throughout the Mueller investigation.  In both instances, we have the president welcoming or soliciting help from a foreign country to interfere in an election first in 2016 and now moving ahead to 2020.  Then once there`s an investigation, he obstructs the investigation.

So there`s a pattern of conduct here that I think we very well may look into, and we were exploring some of that with our constitutional experts yesterday.

MATTHEWS:  Well, I want to ask you to give some advice to the Congresswoman, particularly along this line.  Watergate was a word that was used because of the break-in of the Democratic National Headquarters, but there was so much more to it than that.  And in this case, do you narrow it down to one focus, the Zelensky July 25th conversation, or you broaden it or you just focus on one issue and say, well, we`re really talking about a lot of other stuff?

HOLTZMAN:  Well, I think you can keep it really focused on the abuse of power, the bribery and the abuse of power in terms of soliciting a fake investigation of Biden, but you also have this cover-up.

And I just wrote an article for The Washington Post about this.  I think in the article about where the president is covering up, refusing to cooperate with the committee, forcing people not to testify, intimidating witnesses, he did that not only about the effort to find out about what happened in Ukraine, he did that when the Judiciary Committee tried to find out what happened with regard to Russia.

So you can have that in the article of impeachment about obstruction of the committees and without really changing the focus, which is the president`s abuse of his power with regard to Ukraine.

MATTHEWS:  I think it`s like -- I was saying today in our staff meeting today with my producers, it`s like when you say head of cattle, you mean the whole cattle.  When you say hands in the ranch, you mean the whole ranch hand.  Everybody is working.  In a sense, when you hit him on a couple of these things, you`re really talking about a much larger pattern.  And by the way, Donald Trump is Donald Trump.  And if he gets away with this, he`ll do it again.

Anyway, thank you, Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania.  Susan Page, what a book it`s going to be, and you`ve got some great stuff today.  I think it may had been her finest hour this morning already.  Anyway, thank you Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, formerly representing the great borough of Brooklyn.

Coming up, President Trump raises the prospect of calling witnesses, including (INAUDIBLE) this show he wants to put on in the Senate when they go to try this case, Adam Schiff, here, Joe Biden and his son, all of them are coming.  Nancy Pelosi wants to call as a witness, all to testify in this Senate impeachment trial.  Of course the Republicans -- the president leading the band wants to turn it into a spectacle against Biden, of course.  Once again, he`s back to the old rabbit hole.

Plus, Rudy Giuliani is at it again.  He`s out digging for dirt in Ukraine on Biden.  He`s being quite open about it this time.

And Joe Biden takes on Donald Trump in a new campaign ad that`s now gone viral.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The world leaders caught on camera laughing about President Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Several world leaders mocking President Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They`re laughing at him.

TRUMP:  My administration has accomplished almost more than any administration in the history of our country.  I didn`t expect that reaction, but that`s okay.


MATTHEWS:  That was the voice of Joe Scarborough you heard there in that ad.

Anyway, Biden has also picked a high prestige endorsement.  He got a great endorsement.  We`ll tell you who that is in just a minute.  We`re coming back after this.



SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY):  The speaker gave a speech on national television to push forward her rushed and partisan impeachment, not one word, not one word on the outstanding legislation the American people actually need.

It`s all impeachment all the time. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

That was Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell this morning on Speaker Pelosi`s announcement that House will proceed directly now with articles of impeachment.  While McConnell criticized the impeachment process as being rushed, the president today called for speed.

Trump tweeted: "If you`re going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate."

Well, Trump`s counting on the Republican majority, of course, in the Senate that will serve as the jury in this trial to let him off the hook. 

White House officials yesterday held a meeting with Republican senators.  And according to "The Washington Post," their strategy includes calling -- quote -- get ready for the show -- "live witnesses on the floor during the trial."

Previewing that strategy today, President Trump said they will call Democrats as witnesses, meant with the clear intention of disrupting and distracting from the core charges against him, the president.

Trump said: "We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi, and many more testify, and we will reveal for the first time how corrupt our system" -- our system is corrupt.

How -- the statements the guy makes.  Our governmental system is corrupt. 

Anyway, in other words, it appears that the president and his Republican allies intend to focus his trial on his political opponents. 

I`m joined right now by David Jolly, former Republican -- I love to do that to rub it in -- congressman from Florida.


MATTHEWS:  And Steve Israel is a former Democratic congressman, who is prouder of his ex-party.  In fact, he`s still a Democrat. 


MATTHEWS:  You know, when I watch Mitch McConnell, Steve, I don`t know whether he`s Elmer Fudd or he`s Bugs Bunny, because sometimes he`s playing defense in a weird -- and then the other times -- is he to -- do you think he will participate, as a guy who does love the Senate, in making it into a joke, of bringing all these people in, Hunter Biden and all these people?

Do you think he will roll along with the spectacle? 


Look, the Republican strategy will be to make this look like a Trump-style reality television spectacle.  And they`re going to do it by injecting subplots of deflection and distraction and at times deceit.

And Mitch McConnell is going to play along, because, if he doesn`t, he is afraid -- he is fearful of the response by Donald Trump. 

But he does have one conflicting priority with the Trump administration.  And that`s going to create a tension for him.

MATTHEWS:  What, keeping the Senate majority?

ISRAEL:  And that -- yes.  It`s the only thing he cares about is his 53 votes. 

And he`s got five Republican senators in states that voted for Hillary Clinton in Colorado and Iowa, elsewhere around the country.  So he`s got to get this thing over with, rip the bandage off, and be able to protect those five senators. 

MATTHEWS:  That`s a great question for you. 

Does your ex-party still need to save its reputation? 

DAVID JOLLY, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN:  Yes, but I think they`re in the process of losing it.

In `98, during the Clinton impeachment, you had Democrats in the minority at least accept the truth of Clinton`s behavior, but make a passionate argument it didn`t rise to the level of impeachment.  Republicans are over...

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  And 31 members voted for the resolution too.  I mean, 31 Democrats said...

JOLLY:  Yes.  That`s right. 

MATTHEWS:  ... let`s go home and take a look at this case, before they voted. 

JOLLY:  That`s exactly right.

MATTHEWS:  ... most of them with Bill Clinton, yes.

JOLLY:  That`s right, Chris. 

And in this case, you are seeing Republicans completely overlook the truth, ignore the truth, and suggest to the American people the truth simply doesn`t exist. 

That`s where they`re really tarnishing and ruining their reputation.  Your question to Steve, though, is an intriguing one, because it is not Donald Trump`s call whether or not Biden and Schiff and Nancy Pelosi get to be witnesses. 

It is up to the Senate to work that out.  It was a contentious debate among Republicans and Democrats during the Clinton impeachment.  Ultimately, Republicans only called three witnesses, and they let them testify in private.  And then they provided video testimony during the trial. 

This would be a fascinating call if Mitch McConnell goes the route that Steve suggested.  I`m not disagreeing with Steve.  If he does so, he will simply ruin the integrity of the institution of the Senate that Mitch McConnell has suggested he is trying to protect.

I think for Donald Trump...

MATTHEWS:  I honestly believe he does care about the Senate, by the way, even though I disagree with him a lot.

JOLLY:  I think he does. 


MATTHEWS:  I don`t think he wants to make a joke of the institution.

JOLLY:  Right. 

And, for Trump, it`s always the ratings, not the polls.  Trump wants the show trial.  He feels like he can excel in the show trial in energizing his base.  He wants that. 

Mitch McConnell, I`m not sure he does, to Steve`s point.  You might lose those four or five seats that make a difference in the majority. 

MATTHEWS:  I think this president would disgrace the United States Senate to get one vote out of it. 

JOLLY:  That`s right. 

MATTHEWS:  I don`t think he gives a damn about the United States government, its institutions. 

He said today the whole system`s corrupt.  Well, who`s running it?

Anyway, even as the president faces imminent charges of bribery, obstruction, and abuse of power, of course, he continues to engage in the very misconduct that`s driving this whole impeachment action. 

As we speak, his former -- actually, his current lawyer, still his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is out there back in Ukraine -- yes, in Ukraine -- seeking more dirt on Trump`s political opponents from former pro-Russian prosecutors in that country who stand accused of corruption themselves. 

Giuliani told "The New York Times" that he`s still acting on Trump`s behalf, saying: "Like a good lawyer, I am gathering evidence to defend my client against the false charges being leveled against him."

According to BuzzFeed News, however, an official in Zelensky`s office and the president -- said the president was caught off-guard by Giuliani`s arrival.  Equally shocked by his arrival was the U.S. Embassy, according to a U.S. diplomat.

Once again, a freebooter out there on his own, But you know he`s in touch with the president. 

ISRAEL:  Of course.  Of course. 

Look, this is -- this is what`s happening, I think, with Rudy Giuliani.  First of all, it`s actually sad to watch his deterioration.  He was America`s mayor. 


ISRAEL:  I was in Congress when he was the mayor of New York City.  He was an icon.  And to watch this happen is actually sad. 

But why is he in Ukraine now?

MATTHEWS:  He`s like a former heavyweight boxer who becomes the official greeter at Caesars Palace, or worse. 


MATTHEWS:  Go ahead.

ISRAEL:  That`s exactly right. 

But, look, remember when Kellyanne Conway said at the beginning of this administration there are facts and there are alternative facts?


ISRAEL:  What he`s trying to do is create alternative facts.  He`s trying to create a narrative that doesn`t exist. 

What`s -- the question in this trial -- and I know David agrees with this - - is, did Donald Trump -- the question of this impeachment, did Donald Trump abuse his power in order to enhance and enrich his campaign? 

It is not about Hunter Biden.  It is not about Joe Biden.  It is not about Adam Schiff.  And we shouldn`t be fooled by this massive distraction. 

MATTHEWS:  Let me get back to David.

What`s your sense as why the Democrats never called Rudy Giuliani?  They can still do it the Senate when Adam Schiff -- I assume he will be the chief manager of the fight for conviction against the president and removal from office. 

They can still call, I assume, Rudy Giuliani.

JOLLY:  Sure.

MATTHEWS:  Why do you think they haven`t done it yet?  Because this seems to me he`s the mess incarnate, the mess. 

JOLLY:  Yes, he`s also a bit of a wild card, kind of like Corey Lewandowski. 

And the question is, do they already have enough, based on all of the corroborated -- corroborating evidence and testimony?  And the answer is yes. 

I think the witness they really want is Mulvaney and Bolton and Pompeo  and others, but they`re not willing to litigate that. 

Why is Rudy over there now, Chris?  Because they`re all corrupt. 


JOLLY:  This whole Trump team is corrupt.  That`s -- that`s the bottom line. 

I think Rudy Giuliani ultimately ends up in jail for FARA violations or some other type of violation related to disclosure and receiving foreign money. 

But this will feed the rank-and-file Republicans, particularly in the House, who will continue to try to delegitimize the Democrats` investigation, when, in fact, it is the Republicans who are delegitimizing it by not cooperating with the Democrats. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, thank you so much, David Jolly.  Thank you, Steve Israel, former -- two professional members of politics, but now are commentators.


MATTHEWS:  Thanks so much.

Up next:  The Judiciary Committee of the House settles in to write the articles next week.  Will the committee be taking a focused, narrow approach, or will it go for a more wide-ranging indictment?

A lot of progressives want to go wide.  A lot of moderates want to go narrow.  It`s an interesting discussion.  We will see if it matters and how it`s going to work out.

In the next minute, when we get back, I`m going to talk to constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe about what he thinks.

You`re watching HARDBALL. 



REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA):  Our democracy is what is at stake. 

The president leaves us no choice but to act, because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit. 

The president has engaged in abuse of power, undermining our national security, and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections.  His actions are in defiance of the vision of our founders and the oath of office that he takes to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

It will now be up to the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives to determine the scope of the president`s constitutional violations. 

According to the Congressional Research Service -- quote -- "If the full committee by majority vote determines that grounds for impeachment exist, a resolution impeaching the individual in question and setting forth specific allegations of misconduct in one or more articles of impeachment will be reported to the full House."

That`s how it works. 

According to "The Washington Post" -- quote -- "Democrats are considering articles of impeachment against President Trump that include obstruction and bribery, but are unlikely pursue a treason charge."

I think that`s fair.


MATTHEWS:  To help us make sense of what comes next, I`m joined by Laurence Tribe, Harvard law professor and co-author of "To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment."

Sir, what do you -- I guess I`m going to ask you a moral -- a value judgment.  Would you like to see the Congress, if it votes articles, that they limit them to, say, two or three, or go further? 

LAURENCE TRIBE, PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL:  You know, I don`t think it is the precise number that matters.

And the whole debate about whether to go broad or narrow, I think, misframes the issue.  As I argued in a "Washington Post" op-ed that came out this evening, the issue isn`t broad or narrow.  The issue is shallow or deep. 

I think it`s important to identify the pattern of misconduct.  As Representative Scanlon and to some extent former Representative Liz Holtzman suggested earlier on your show, it is not a one-night stand that the president had with Russia.  And Ukraine-gate wasn`t a one-night stand either. 

He is a serial abuser.  What we have is a pattern, a consistent pattern. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

TRIBE:  First, he asks Russia for help.  Then Russia gives him help, and he accepts it.  Then he obstructs justice to prevent the discovery.  And as soon as he thinks that`s behind him, he then turns to Ukraine, and he shakes down Ukraine. 

And if he gets away with that, as he thinks he has, because the whistle blew, but it blew in time for him to release the aid, then he`s going to go on to more.  And, as you said, we have got Giuliani out in Ukraine right now. 

He is a serial abuser of power.  And he`s a serial corruptor of our electoral process.  That`s why this matters.  It`s not some legal technicality.  It`s the right to vote that matters. 

We all care about our vote.  And we don`t want it to be stolen by foreign influence, by influence, whether it`s from Russia or, as he publicly requested, from China, or, as he might be requesting behind the scenes, from maybe North Korea, who knows, Saudi Arabia.

And he can use cyberattacks.  The whole integrity of our system and our right to vote is at stake.  That`s why Nancy Pelosi was so right when she said this is a matter of our democracy. 

It is a pattern that needs to be charged.  It can be charged focusing centrally on Ukraine, but that means taking Russia into account as well, but not throwing in the kitchen sink, not Stormy Daniels, not emoluments, not all the other things that this guy has done that could justify his impeachment. 

It`s this consistent, repeated pattern of serial misconduct that uses the power of the presidency to enhance his own political standing and wealth.  That`s not what this country was built on. 

And because he thinks he`s above the law, and can stonewall and obstruct justice, he`s essentially dismantling all of the checks and balances, so that we can`t wait until the next election.  We have to remove him as soon as we can. 

MATTHEWS:  The way you have said that, Professor, is -- so much makes sense of what John Bolton, for perhaps different reasons, called this whole thing a drug deal, because the way you describe it... 

TRIBE:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  ... it`s like, the police know that a guy is dealing drugs on the same corner every night, at the same time every night.


MATTHEWS:  And they get an agent out there, a police officer to buy drugs from him, proving that...

TRIBE:  Right.

MATTHEWS:  Not that he sold drugs that night, but that`s what does.

TRIBE:  And that`s his -- that`s his pattern.  This is a serial abuser of power. 

He has the office of the presidency, not to help us, the people, not to help the people who elected him, although his base is mesmerized, I guess, but to help himself and his family and to keep them in power, perhaps to create a dynasty, but, in any event, to benefit the Trump Tower, and not to benefit the people of the United States of America.

We need to take our country back.  That`s what this impeachment is about. 

MATTHEWS:  One flaw in the argument I wonder about, Professor, is, if you go back to Mueller and his 10 instances of obstruction of justice in the second part of his report, if you go back and cite that as the basis in itself for an article of impeachment, you have to answer the question, if that`s impeachable, why didn`t you do it when the report came out? 

And why didn`t you have the 218 votes for that?  Because each article has to be self-sufficient, right.

TRIBE:  But the pattern -- well, you don`t necessarily have a separate article on obstruction.  You have an article about the pattern of obstructing justice and defying Congress and taking the law into his own hands. 

The reason we didn`t do it then was that the pattern was only beginning to emerge.  Sometimes, a crystal forms on a screen, and you see the pattern more clearly.  And when it`s unmistakable, and when the evidence is overwhelming and clear, as Nancy Pelosi suggested it must be, then you move. 

And it`s possible -- though I`m an eternal optimist here, it`s possible that the people who now, by a substantial majority, do think the president should be removed, will begin to feel that even in places like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, throughout the country.


TRIBE:  And not only in red and purple areas.

MATTHEWS:  Well, Wisconsin is a hard sell right now. 

Laurence, one last question, Professor.  The Senate trial coming up, we`re all going to be watching it.  It`s going to be gavel to gavel on this network and elsewhere. 

Can the Republicans turn that into a spectacle?  Can they turn -- are there any germaneness rules, any way that the chief justice, if he`s ready to do it, could limit it to the actual matters at hand? 

TRIBE:  Well, he can try.

And John Roberts, who was a wonderful student of mine, and who has been a very serious chief justice, may view his role as slightly more than ceremonial. 

Bill Rehnquist, for whom Roberts clerked back in the day, had this robe with these gold stripes, and he was basically playing a -- playing a role from central casting. 

MATTHEWS:  Right. 

TRIBE:  He said, I didn`t do very much as the presiding officer, but I did it really well. 

Maybe Roberts will take that a little more seriously.  But, ultimately, I think McConnell has the gavel.  He has a lot of power.  We have seen how willing he is to abuse it.  And I wouldn`t count on McConnell to conduct a fair trial.

But we have to do everything we can.  We can`t give up just because some senators are going to risk their legacy and maybe their re-election by looking the other way while these serious patterns of abuse of power continue, and they`re going on right now.  That`s why we can`t wait for the next election. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you.

TRIBE:  There are going to be cyber-attacks, real problems in the 2020 election. 

MATTHEWS:  It`s an honor to have you on especially at this critical time. 

Thank you, Professor Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law. 

TRIBE:  Thank you.

MATTHEWS:  Still ahead, that was quick, the Biden campaign converged that video of world leaders laughing at Trump into a sharp new campaign ad.  Biden makes the case for restoring America`s standing in the world.  And that`s next on HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

The biggest headline of Trump`s trip to London was the video, of course, of world leaders mocking him.  And now, 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden using that picture of the mockery to his advantage, releasing this campaign ad yesterday. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The world leaders caught on camera laughing about President Trump. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Several world leaders mocking President Trump. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They`re laughing at him. 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  My administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country. 

Didn`t expect that reaction, but that`s OK. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  World leaders mocking and ridiculing him for being completely off balance. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Allies are deeply worried about it.  They say he`s becoming increasingly isolated.  Something is very wrong. 

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  The world sees Trump for what he is, insincere, ill-informed, corrupt, dangerously incompetent and incapable of my view of leadership.  And if we give Trump four more years, we`ll have a great deal of difficulty of ever being able to recover American`s standing in the world and our capacity to bring nations together. 


MATTHEWS:  That`s a great ad, by the way.  If you get to watch, watch it in full. 

Anyway, today, Biden got a key endorsement to bolster his argument he`s the best candidate to represent America on the global stage.  We`ll tell you who that high prestige endorser is. 

You`re watching HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Today, John Kerry, the former secretary of state and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee officially endorsed Joe Biden for president, saying in a statement: I believe Joe Biden is the president our country desperately needs right now.  I`ve never before seen the world more in need of someone who on day one can begin the incredibly hard work of putting back together the world, the world Donald Trump has smashed apart.  That`s well-written.

I`m joined right now by Zerlina Maxwell, senior director of progressive programming for my favorite radio station, Sirius XM.  And Peggy Noonan, columnist for "The Wall Street Journal".

What do you make of this? 


MATTHEWS:  The timing is pretty good. 

MAXWELL:  It`s pretty good, right?  But endorsements I think have less weight I think in previous cycles because there`s so many different candidates.  And so, we`re sort of waiting this matrix a little bit differently.

So it`s not surprising.  It`s always good to have another statesman say I think this guy can be commander in chief.  So it`s a good thing for Biden but it`s not surprising. 

MATTHEWS:  Let`s talk about Kerry and today.  I think you and I know what matters most in politics is not the argument, because no one ever agrees they`re wrong.  Everybody keeps the argument going. 

If you change the topic, though, if you change the stage, Biden got a break this week.  The stage is now the world global stage where only he has a background.  The other candidates are pretty good on issues like health care and that domestic issue.  He`s the only one with the world experience, and then throw it in Kerry endorses the give me the old alley-hoop. 

PEGGY NOONAN, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL COLUMNIST:  You mean the timing was good because Trump was on the world stage and it didn`t go so well for him.

MATTHEWS:  We were on the world stage, yes. 

NOONAN:  Understood.  The American president. 

You know, I think John Kerry is justly, highly regarded figure in many -- among many people.  But I would also say that it is probably true that John Kerry`s endorsement of Biden will be very pleasing for people who are already for Biden.  Isn`t it sort of not the same quadrant? 

MATTHEWS:  It`s being called a new castle, as they used to say. 

Anyway, catch this, Biden got in a very heated exchange today with a voter out in Iowa.  Judge this, especially his performance. 


IOWA VOTER:  We all know Trump has been messing around in Ukraine.  But you, on the other hand, sent your son over there to get a job and to work for a gas company that he had no experience with gas or nothing in order to get access to -- for the president. 

So you`re selling access to the president just like he was. 

BIDEN:  You`re damned liar, man.  That`s not true, and no one has ever said that.  No one has proved that. 

No one ever said my son has done anything wrong and I did not on any occasion and no on ever said it --

IOWA VOTER:  I didn`t say you were doing anything wrong. 

BIDEN:  You said I setup my son to work in an oil company.  You know what you said?  Get your words straight, jack. 


MATTHEWS:  Get your words straight.  How`d he handle that? 

MAXWELL:  I didn`t think he handled that particularly well.  I think -- some people are talking about how he challenged the guy to push ups and said something about an IQ test. 

MATTHEWS:  And he said you`re too old to vote.

MAXWELL:  Right, and you sort of have Trump on the flip side doing similar things.  But sometimes I --

MATTHEWS:  Is Trump our standard now? 

MAXWELL:  Well, that`s a sad standard, right?  And I think that, you know, when we talk about our moment in politics, I think back to moments like this in 2016.  If you recall in South Carolina, Hillary Clinton was interrupted by a protester who was criticizing her from her super predator quote from 1996. 

And, you know, at the time -- you know, it wasn`t handled like that.  I can`t imagine that moment happening and Hillary Clinton getting away with saying you`re a damned liar.  And so I just think that in some ways, we`re judging the candidates a little bit differently on that front, on a gender front. 

MATTHEWS:  Because of Trump.

MAXWELL:  And because of Trump.  So we`ve definitely lowered the bar in terms of discourse.  But I just think that he`s going to have to handle --

MATTHEWS:  You`re so smart about that.  I`m not saying -- 


MATTHEWS:  Did you see how well Pelosi handled the shot today about hating Trump and she turned to the guy and said, as a Catholic, I resent.  She had complete control. 


MATTHEWS:  Did Joe Biden have complete control today? 

NOONAN:  No.  And I think when I saw that this afternoon, I thought the great question of Joe Biden`s candidacy in 2020 is, when do moments like that start to matter?  There are these moments that come by him in which there`s an awkwardness or a gaffe or a debate moment that isn`t so great. 

It has never mattered before.  I`m simply wondering at some point, does it start to matter? 

MATTHEWS:  Here`s the question.  You happened to have the jobs I had, you`re speechwriting and all, but it`s the job of staff people on a campaign to sit with a candidate and say this question will come up, and it`s going to keep coming up, have an answer. 

MAXWELL:  Yes, you write the answer out -- 


MAXWELL:  -- so that they have sort of a go-to template for what they`re going to say when these issues come up. 

This issue is going to come up.  This is the whole center piece of the impeachment hearings.


MAXWELL:  And so, he has to be prepared to respond to people, you know, protesting or attacking him on this talking point.  It doesn`t matter they`re not attacking him with the facts. 


MAXWELL:  The Republicans are entitled of the facts.

MATTHEWS:  It would be unbelievable if it didn`t come up.  It would be unbelievable if it doesn`t come up.

NOONAN:  Don`t you get the sense he`s waiting for it to go away.  He`s never quite handled this subject right of Hunter and the whole thing.  He just hasn`t, and you get the stubborn sense of one who loves another, he doesn`t like the question and he`s waiting for it to stop. 

MATTHEWS:  Name a president who hasn`t had a relative they`ve had to defend?  They`ve all -- Nixon had Don Nixon, Billy had -- Jimmy Carter Billy, Billy brother Bush, Billy Beer, Clinton had Roger. 

They all seem -- it seems to come with the territory.

NOONAN:  Because they`re normal families.  Richard Nixon and his brother, they were normal.  That`s why there`s always someone who is -- it`s not going to work so well. 

MATTHEWS:  Not ready for primetime. 

Thank you, Zerlina Maxwell.  Thank you, Peggy Noonan. 

Up next -- this is quite a duo.  Up next, when it comes to Nancy Pelosi, it seems like Donald Trump doesn`t know what he`s up against.  That`s for sure. 

You`re watching HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS:  In the next two weeks, we will witness a battle between a speaker of the House with leadership ability and a president who should fear it.  Nancy Pelosi continues to display the attributes that matter. 

Let`s look at them. 

First, timing.  She opposed impeachment until she saw a clear-cut case to justify it.  That was Donald Trump`s attempt to shakedown the president of Ukraine by demanding he smear Joe Biden. 

Second, focus.  She has kept the hearings targeted to that case of presidential bribery. 

Lastly, discipline.  Speaker Pelosi won the endorsement for the impeachment inquiry from all but two Democratic members of Congress.  Her leadership in this historic moment has been stunning, and it should terrify Donald Trump. 

I remember when Richard Nixon learned that Tip O`Neill, my old boss, was running the impeachment drive against him.  He said that is when he knew he was in trouble. 

So, here`s Trump`s problem.  He`s got Nancy Pelosi on his tail.  She`s got the timing, the focus and the party discipline.  There`s not a thing in the world they can do about it because there`s one big difference between Trump and Nixon.  Dick Nixon was at least smart enough to know who and there are what he was up against. 

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.