Show: HARDBALL Date: January 22, 2018 Guest: Chris Coons; John Kennedy, Ruth Marcus, Sam Stein, Matt Schlapp
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Fly, eagles, fly! I had to say it. Let`s play "Hardball."
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
I got home at 1:30 this morning, back from that most wonderful upset victory anyone in Philadelphia will ever want to recall. No one wanted to leave the stadium. No one wants to forget it today. I`m talking about the feeling that last night came to south Philadelphia. More on that later.
But first, the government shutdown is almost over. Now comes the hard part, governing. Democrats in the U.S. Senate backed away from their call to reject a temporary funding bill without a law to help the so-called DREAMers.
Well, the bill passed today will fund the government through February 8th in exchange for a commitment from Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to take up the immigration debate, including the DREAMers. Well, this morning McConnell gave this assurance on the Senate floor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: As long as the government remains open, it would be my intention to take up legislation here in the Senate that would address DACA, border security, and related issues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, a few hours later senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, the Democratic leader said Democrats would vote to reopen the government. Here he goes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: I expect the majority leader to fulfill his commitment to the Senate, to me and to the bipartisan group and abide by this agreement. If he does not, of course, and I expect he will, he will have breached the trust of not only the democratic senators, but members of his own party as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, despite the fact that President Trump seemed to be a non- player in the negotiations this weekend, the White House took credit for the breakthrough. Here with Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Let`s watch her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The statement here from the president of the United States that I will read. Quote, I am pleased that Democrats in Congress have come to their sense and are now willing to fund our great military, border patrol, first responders, and insurance for vulnerable children. The President was putting pressure and standing firm on exactly what he was willing to do and what he wasn`t. And it very clearly worked. Because we are back where we basically started on Friday. And the Democrats have now allowed this to move forward. Hopefully the House will move this through quickly and it will be at the White House for the President to sign. And then we can start immediately on discussions on immigration reform.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s done now. So did Democrats cave or did they preserve their ability to fight another day? Senator Chris Coons of Delaware voted to reopen the government. He joins me now.
Senator, thank you about this. You know, this is already becoming a predictable right between the left and the center left. And I understand the fight. The resisters want to resist. The people that want regular order, want regular order. Who is going to end up doing the best job in that debate in getting the dreamers protected?
SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE: Well, Chris, what we got today, you just replayed it, was a commitment from majority leader McConnell on the floor of the Senate and then a private commitment as well to his own caucus and to many of White House worked across the aisle over the weekend in a bipartisan group that we will get a vote on the floor of the Senate on a bipartisan bill that addresses the dreamers, DACA, and border security.
We have not had a vote on the floor of the Senate in five years on an immigration issue. And I think we have made progress. Our challenge now over the next 17 days is to come together and to build a coalition that will support a bipartisan bill that can get more than 60 votes on the floor of the Senate, and then put the pressure on the House for them to take it up and pass it.
I know there were some in our caucus that were disappointed that we didn`t keep the government shutdown longer. But I frankly think it was unrealistic to expect that we would get more than we got today. And the group that worked very hard this weekend built some trust and confidence amongst each other and in their willingness to work hard together to get this done.
MATTHEWS: Well, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow here I would think is a clear up or down U.S. Senate vote on whether the dreamers get protected or not. Do you believe it`s going to be a pure vote, or will there be something on border protection something on so-called family immigration or family chain immigration or something like that or something about diversity lottery? Or will you get a clean vote, up or down? Yes do, you support the dreamers being protected or not? What will you get?
COONS: Well, Chris, I think what`s going to happen is there will be a neutral base build, a starting point for the debate. And then a series of replacement bills taken up and voted up or down. Some of them will be far to the right. The bill that cotton and Perdue, two senators have proposed. Others will likely be votes like a just straight-up dreamer protection. That, if it got 60 votes would move ahead. But in the current Republican dominated Senate, I doubt that will get 60 votes. I think there will be a mix of border protection infrastructure funding and protection for DACA and for dreamers.
That`s the art of the deal that over the next 17 day, if we can work our will in the Senate, we can move forward. And the President`s role here frankly will be largely I hope to stay out of it and to not jerk the wheel back and forth on this issue as he has over recent weeks.
MATTHEWS: Well, in deference to Chuck Schumer`s leadership, that`s what you guys wanted in the first place. You were willing to give some wall to give protection for the dreamers. Isn`t that correct?
COONS: That`s what leader Schumer offered Friday.
COONS: And he thought he had a constructive and positive conversation with President Trump. And then General Kelly`s chief of staff called him and walked it all back less than two hours later. That`s why I say part of what caused this whole crisis was the difference between Tuesday Trump and Thursday Trump. The one who invites a bipartisan group into the oval office one week on Tuesday and then says great positive things, and then Thursday in a famously expletive-laced conversation in exchange with senators Durbin and Graham threw the whole deal out.
So I think that we made progress in focusing on the Senate and not relying on the president and in having a bipartisan group build confidence that we can get to that vote before February 8th.
MATTHEWS: Senator Coons, thanks for that clarity tonight. Thanks for coming on.
Joining me right now is U.S. John Kennedy, a Republican of Louisiana.
Senator Kennedy, do you think that`s accurate that there will be a vote where Democrats and Republicans will be forced to say aye or nay on the question of the DREAMers? Will that vote come to a clarity of decision?
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R), LOUISIANA: It`s a little more complicated than that, Chris. Here is what we agreed to. Until February 8th, we will work on an immigration deal and a budget. If we reach February 8th and we don`t have a budget, and we don`t have an immigration bill, there is going to be another CR. The Democrats are going have to vote for that CR and keep government open. At that point, senator McConnell said he will put the immigration issue on the floor of the Senate. That means certainly amnesty for DACA immigrants. But that also means everything else.
Sanctuary city, chain migration, wall, inland security, a commonsensical color-blind immigration system that looks like somebody designed the thing on purpose, like in Canada or Australia, diversity visa lottery, everything is going to be on the table.
If we can reach 60 votes on an immigration bill, that bill will go to the House of Representatives. I have no idea what will happen there. But if it passes the House, it will then go to the President. I think what we have taken -- I don`t mean it`s an insignificant step, but it`s a baby step. And I don`t want anybody to be misled there is not going to be a single bill on amnesty for our DACA immigrants up or down. That`s not going happen in our natural lifetimes.
MATTHEWS: But this the course of putting together the bill in this Senate, won`t there be a lone vote at some point where you vote up or down on DACA? On DREAMers?
KENNEDY: DACA I`m sure will be voted on. But it`s going to be voted on in the context of a lot of other issues. And look, this is something I said two weeks ago. What we ought to do is suspend the rules and just put it all on the table and let`s start voting and see if we can get 60 votes for something.
I want to thank senator Schumer for what he did. There is an old expression that says something like life is easier if you plow around the stump. And I think Chuck decided today to plow around the stump.
KENNEDY: And I want to thank him for that. We are kind of back to where we started. But it was very important for all of us that we get the government back open. And on top of it, we just extended the children`s health insurance program for six years.
MATTHEWS: I see that.
KENNEDY: I`m very pleased with that as well.
MATTHEWS: Senator Kennedy, would you vote on an up or down motion? Would you vote aye on the DREAMers?
MATTHEWS: You will vote No. What will you vote for against what`s called chain immigration or family immigration you would vote for that?
KENNEDY: No, here`s what I want to do.
MATTHEWS: What do you want? What do you want?
KENNEDY: This is what I want to do. I want to use this opportunity to prevent another DACA-like situation five or ten years from now. The problem we have in my judgment is that we for the past 15 or 20 years, we have had a bipartisan refusal by both Republicans and Democrats to deal with this issue. We need to deal with it.
I want to come out of this, just what I said earlier, Chris. I want to come out of this with an immigration system that looks like somebody designed the damn thing on purpose for a change. We are a nation of immigrants.
MATTHEWS: That sounds good to me.
KENNEDY: Well, we are a nation of immigrants. And I`m very proud of that. When is the last time you heard anybody trying to sneak into China? I`m happy people want to come to America. But we are also a nation of laws. And we have got to agree to a set of laws that we are going to enforce. And that means putting everything on the table. And I`m not minimizing the importance of amnesty. But there are -- you do -- everybody said well the President will trade the wall for amnesty. Great. I`m happy for the president. But -- and for the people who want amnesty. But that`s not going to get the whole Senate on board.
KENNEDY: Look, we want to go big here. Moderation is for months, man. We want to go big here.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana. Thanks for coming on "Hardball."
KENNEDY: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by NBC`s Kasie Hunt on the Hill and "the Washington Post" columnist, of course, Eugene Robinson with me.
Kasie, you first. You just heard an interesting conflict there, I think, and that`s Coons is optimistic they will get a vote on the DREAMers, and this guy, John Kennedy, of course he is a conservative from Louisiana, and he wants to have -- this is an opportunity, not to vote for the DREAMers. He is going to vote against that part of it. But he is going to get the part he wants, which is called by the conservatives chain immigration and get rid of diversified -- diversity lottery, the things they don`t like because it brings in a lot of minorities. Your thoughts.
KASIE HUNT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I do think that we are headed for, Chris, a debate that is going to be a lot uglier than the Kumbayah moment that we had here in the Senate today. And these 20 Democrats and Republicans got together in a room and essentially came out saying, hey, we trust each other. Well like each other a little bit more than we think.
And I got to tell you, I haven`t had -- it used to happen when I was first covering Capitol Hill ten years ago. This is something that you saw regularly. I was standing outside of rooms that included Democrats and Republicans, waiting to see if they had a deal, that has faded over time. And really, they have gotten to lawmaking inside their own party. The health care debate that we just went through, the tax reform debate was all about what were five Republican leaders in a room going to do.
Now I just -- this issue of all issues is so incredibly difficult and has bedeviled everyone up here for so long. I am skeptical that they can get to the point where they can keep this kind of bipartisan mood going for precisely what John Kennedy just identified there. And that is that the White House is interested in making some very serious changes to our legal immigration system in the course of doing this that I think a lot of even some Republicans weren`t -- Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake weren`t signed to when to fix DACA. The original idea was, OK, everybody was on board with DACA. Everybody is on board with border security. But it was going to be relatively limited. We are past that. And I don`t know if it necessarily spells good things for the next three weeks.
MATTHEWS: Well, we will see if the Republicans can get 50 votes for those harsher measures.
Anyway, the message this weekend from Trump, from the president and his allies played on fear, of course. This morning Trump tweeted "the Democrats are turning down services and security for citizens in favor of service and security for noncitizens. Not good." Well, that`s pretty brutal.
And Democrats have shut down the government, this is Trump, have shut down our government in the interests of their far left base. They don`t want to do it, but are powerless.
Anyway, the Trump campaign released this dark commercial approved by the President. Let`s watch it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I spent my entire adult life looking out for the --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump is right. Build the wall. Deport criminals. Stop illegal immigration now. Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants. President Trump will fix our border and keep our families safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, meanwhile the vice president traveling overseas today had this message. A pretty brutal one for a group of soldiers he talked to over there. Let`s watch that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Despite bipartisan support for a budget resolution, a minute in order in the Senate has decided to play politics with military pay, but you deserve better. Know this. Your President, your Vice President, and the American people are not going to put up with it. We are going to demand that they reopen the government. In fact, we are not going to reopen negotiations on illegal immigration until they reopen the government and give you our soldiers and your families the benefits and wages you have earned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`m sorry. We got the wrong tape there.
Gene, what do you make of this the fact that they are brutally using this, saying the soldiers are not getting paid, but the politicians were?
EUGENE ROBINSON, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, a lot of tough talk. I mean, this was a base issue for Trump. And whenever -- when he met with Schumer, for example, and made a wall for DACA, a deal, you heard the outcry on the right. You heard the outcry from his base saying, you know, you can`t do this. You are abandoning. He is weakening.
So I think this is once again a base move, a base strategy to say no, no, no, we are standing firm on immigration. You know, the question is and I think we know the answer, are they going to redesign the U.S. immigration system in 17 days between now and --
ROBINSON: The answer is they are not going to.
MATTHEWS: But they are also going to blame Democrats for any crime committed by anybody in this country without papers. Every murder, everyone is on the Democrats` side, their account. I have never heard this before.
ROBINSON: I think that`s an outrageous.
MATTHEWS: And another thing they`re going to tell the soldiers, you guys are getting to dock your pay while the politicians fat and happy back in Washington are getting their money.
ROBINSON: Yes, I know. Look, Democrats are in the situation because they are in a minority, right? I mean, you can`t govern from the minority. And so, you know, the bill was engineered with military pay and a bunch of other stuff and. And so they can be put in that position.
You know, one thing Senator Kennedy said, though, I`m a little less pessimistic that he is in terms of whether there could be a majority or 60- vote majority even in the Senate for DACA.
MATTHEWS: I think so.
ROBINSON: Versus wall. I think there might be. I think people read that poll, 87 percent of people support it. Yes that.
MATTHEWS: And they put them together.
ROBINSON: Yes, they put them together.
MATTHEWS: What about all these poison pills? Do you think they will pass these things like chain immigration they call it?
ROBINSON: Family reunification. They call it chain migration. That`s really complicated.
MATTHEWS: I don`t think they get the votes.
ROBINSON: I don`t think there is 50 votes for that. And I don`t think you can do that in 17 days.
MATTHEWS: I`m more optimistic about the good stuff.
Kasie, last question to you. Do you think the good stuff will get through here? Do you think it will get through, the DREAMers` cause and not too much messiness? How it is looking right now?
HUNT: I do think, Chris, that there is enough in theory, momentum around fixing this problem for the dreamers that really, I think just the realities is they can`t do it, it`s going show that the government really is incredibly broken.
HUNT: Because, I mean, the president has said this. He has said I want to do this for these kids. I don`t want this to be a problem. Paul Ryan has said I want to fix this. Everyone. That`s why the shutdown was so remarkable. Not only do Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House, but it was over an issue that in theory everybody says that they support. And so we will see if those -- basically those negotiations are riding on whether or not those 20 senators can continue to trust each other and figure this out. And that`s going to -- the questions in my mind, is that going to carry the day? And what`s Paul Ryan going to do.
This is going to be a crucible for him potentially. A real leadership test. And you know, I`m not sure.
MATTHEWS: The House has always been the problem on immigration. It was problem back with Boehner and Hastert and all. They just can`t seem to get it through the right wing seats throughout in the house.
Thank you so much, Kasie, I think the Senate looks better though, Kasie Hunt and Eugene Robinson, of course.
Coming up, Chuck Schumer says negotiating with Donald Trump is like negotiating with Jell-O. Even top Republicans have no clue where the President stands on the issues right now. Where has the President been doing these talks and the shutdown? He has been sitting at the White House complaining about like Mrs. Habersham. We didn`t get his cake this year. He was supposed to have a big party on Saturday. He had to stick around in Washington. That`s all we know about him. He is unhappy about not getting his birthday cake.
Plus, the President`s son, Eric, says the shutdown was a good thing for Republicans because it made Democrats look bad. Is he right? Who have the winners and losers? We will get to that in a minute.
And "Saturday Night Live" asked a serious question about Donald Trump. Does anything he does even matter? Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The President of the United States, refers to African countries hunts as pooh-pooh holes and says all Haitians have AIDS. Does it event matter anymore?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s really bad. I has to matter, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actually, it does not matter. Zero consequences and everyone just moves on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: It is funny stuff about a serious line across this country nothing matters that Trump does.
Finally, let me finish with Trump watch. He won`t like this.
This is "Hardball," where the action is.
MATTHEWS: Well, last night in Philadelphia, the crowd at Lincoln Financial Field witnessed a wonder. I don`t know how to describe the feel. We`re not used to it in Philadelphia. We`re supposed to lose to the impressive Vikings.
For five minutes, with Minnesota driving down the field, I thought that was what was happening in the beginning of the game. Then something truly wonderful happened in south Philadelphia, victory, awesome, spectacular victory, not losing by a half-a-touchdown, but winning by 38-7, an astounding, historic upset in Philly.
So, now the Eagles are headed to the Super Bowl, of course, and to something they`re not used to at all, having most of the country -- watch this thing two weeks from now -- pulling for them, not the Patriots. That will truly be something.
And I don`t want to forget last night, however, ever. My old city needed that win. Boy, did they win that and need that win. And they won it in magical style.
Fly, Eagles, fly.
We will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will bring America to a new level. I will negotiate deals that nobody can negotiate like I do, nobody. I know everybody that I`m running against. I mean, nobody is going to be able to do the kind of things I can do.
It`s supposed to be, you can get along with Congress and you cajole and you go back and forth and everybody gets in a room and we end up with deals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Everybody gets in a room, except you, Mr. President.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, welcome back to HARDBALL.
During the campaign, candidate Trump positioned himself, as you just heard, as a deal-maker who could fix Washington. But the events of the past several days have left many to wonder, where is that deal-maker? And what does he actually want in this deal?
Throughout the weekend, the president remained mostly silent and seemingly disengaged, only communicating with a few fellow Republicans.
Well, "The New York Times" reports that: "The president was urged to step back from the fray, and for a second day he vented to aides that he wanted to do more to get involved."
His lack of clarity on immigration, however, seemed to complicate the debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with Jell-O. That`s why this compromise will be called the Trump shutdown.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I`m looking for something that President Trump supports. And he has not yet indicated what measure he is willing to sign. As soon as we figure out what he is for, then I would be convinced that we were not just spinning our wheels.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The Tuesday Trump, if he comes back, then we will get a deal. If they keep pulling him back, it`s going to be hard to get this issue over.
SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Well, what has been difficult is dealing with the White House and not knowing where the president is. And that was what was holding us back and holding Mitch McConnell from his commitment.
QUESTION: How has that changed?
FLAKE: No, it hasn`t. But that`s what I`m saying. I don`t think it will change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, much of the weekend`s drama stems from the president`s vacillating comments, of course.
Earlier this month, the president promise to sign whatever was put before him in terms of dreamers. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When this group comes back, hopefully with an agreement, this group and others, from the Senate, from the House comes back with an agreement, I`m signing it. I mean, I will be signing it. I`m not going say oh, gee, I want this or I want that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: For more, I`m joined by Ruth Marcus, of course, deputy editorial page editor for "The Washington Post," and Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union.
Start with Ruth and then to Matt.
I want to know how this looks, because the president said, if the House and the Senate got together, I will sign it.
Well, that`s not easy. It doesn`t happen like that. There is the position of the Senate Republicans and the Democrats in the Senate, and maybe they will reach some sort of consensus and make it over the House. The House may not even take it up. Doesn`t he know that?
RUTH MARCUS, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, I believe that the leader of his party usually leads his party and doesn`t sit there and wait passively for something to come to him.
And that was a remarkable montage, not of Democrats complaining about the Republican president and not knowing his position, but of Republicans complaining about the Republican president and not knowing his position.
MATTHEWS: Is he against the dreamers or for them? Because he has said he is for them, and he is not acting that way.
MARCUS: Well, he is for them. And from my point of view, he is allowing his support for the bill of love, as he called it...
MARCUS: ... to be undone by people who are less for the dreamers than the president has proclaimed himself to be.
MATTHEWS: What is this, the hidden hand of Eisenhower? Who is he pretending to be here?
MATT SCHLAPP, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF POLITICAL AFFAIRS: I read that book.
MATTHEWS: I read that book. Greenberg, yes.
MATTHEWS: Greenstein. Greenstein, yes.
What is this presidential behavior of hiding in like the -- what is it? Peter the hermit. What is he doing hiding in the White House?
SCHLAPP: Look, nobody who voted for Donald Trump thought that he would be the legislative director for country.
They all realized that he was going to set a big picture, which he did.
MATTHEWS: What is his position on dreamers? What is his big picture on dreamers?
SCHLAPP: He would like to get to a deal on dreamers. He just wants to couple it with reform of immigration, which a lot of people have been talking about for a long time.
And I think we can get a deal. I think it`s possible to get a deal. Both sides are going to have to give. Look, any amnesty on the Republican side, even to dreamers, is politically charged. That is not an easy thing to do. He is willing to say, I will take the heat, but I want to see something done on this other side too, so that we actually control who comes to our country.
Otherwise, you just have this amnesty question every decade. And it`s an insane way to do your immigration policy.
MARCUS: Matt, how is the president`s position or positions been helpful to achieving a dreamer deal here?
SCHLAPP: We wouldn`t even be talking about this, Ruth, if he hadn`t convened those senators in the Cabinet Room and had this conversation.
Let me tell you. You guys can make fun of it with Jell-O and everything else. He won the showdown. It`s Trump 1, Schumer 0. And the question is now does this set the table to actually do real immigration reform? I`m hopeful we can do it.
MARCUS: Just for the record, we wouldn`t be talking about it if the president hadn`t rescinded DACA, which was a program that was going on.
SCHLAPP: That`s not true. That`s not true.
MATTHEWS: Let`s wind this back to reality.
There was a bipartisan immigration bill which was pretty damn comprehensive when Ted Kennedy was still alive. It had the support of Lindsey Graham and Lamar Alexander and all kinds of people.
SCHLAPP: Except, who didn`t it have the support of? Barack Obama.
MATTHEWS: The House. It didn`t have the support of the House.
SCHLAPP: Barack Obama.
MATTHEWS: Of course he supported that bill.
SCHLAPP: He did not support the Ted Kennedy bill when George W. Bush was the president.
MATTHEWS: It passed the Senate.
SCHLAPP: And when he had 60 votes in the United States Senate and could have jammed through anything on immigration, he didn`t pick it up.
So, he liked it from...
MATTHEWS: Where do you get this from? It passed the Senate with his support.
SCHLAPP: Ted Kennedy was awfully -- no, back when George W. Bush was president.
MATTHEWS: I`m talking about five years ago, not a thousand years ago.
SCHLAPP: Yes, when he didn`t have...
MATTHEWS: Why are you saying that the Democrats are the fault that House- led Republicans won`t even bring it up?
SCHLAPP: Let me answer fast. I will be fast.
MATTHEWS: Why won`t they bring it up in the House?
SCHLAPP: My only point is, is that when the Democrats had the supermajority, they could have gotten it done, and they chose not to.
MATTHEWS: When are the House-led Republicans going to bring up immigration?
SCHLAPP: Trump is going to make them do it.
MATTHEWS: When is that going to happen?
SCHLAPP: I think it`s going to happen soon.
MATTHEWS: So they`re going to vote? Well, that`s good news.
MARCUS: Trump`s going to make them do it. After the Senate will pass something?
SCHLAPP: I think Paul Ryan also wants to do it. No, I`m not so sure what the order is going to be, Ruth, but, look, I think the president is dead serious.
MATTHEWS: We made news here. And, by the way, no Hastert rule. None of this thing about there has to be a majority...
SCHLAPP: I didn`t say that. I didn`t say that.
MATTHEWS: Oh, well, wait a minute. You`re going have a majority of the Republicans for the dreamers?
SCHLAPP: You got to look at the details. What kind of deals do they knock out? I want to see the deal.
MATTHEWS: Why are you guys so cagey?
SCHLAPP: I`m not cagey.
MATTHEWS: You`re laughing. You`re laughing as you talk. You think it`s a joke.
MATTHEWS: No, but you think it`s a joke.
SCHLAPP: No, I think this is awfully serious. I would like to see us get a deal. I think we can get a deal.
MATTHEWS: So you`re for the dreamers becoming protected?
SCHLAPP: I want to see the deal. I would be for it, if you coupled it with a change on chain migration and a change on the diversity lottery system and some kind of deal on the wall funding, which Barack Obama...
MATTHEWS: But you keep coming up with these partridge in a pear tree, one more thing.
SCHLAPP: They don`t have to do the deal. But that`s the deal that is possible to get through.
MATTHEWS: OK, I don`t think -- look, Ruth you tell him.
MARCUS: What do you want me to tell him?
MATTHEWS: Will there be a deal? Will we get past this argument that never seems to end?
MARCUS: Well, the thing about Jell-O is, I think that Senator Schumer was a little unfair to Jell-O, because Jell-O, once it comes out of the mold, kind of holds its shape.
And the question is...
MATTHEWS: It gels.
MARCUS: It gels, as it were.
MARCUS: And the president has changed what shape this deal needs to be.
You keep sort of piling additional things in there. That`s going to be really hard for Democrats to swallow.
SCHLAPP: Schumer lost to Jell-O.
Look, I think there is a deal there if they do the dreamers, because the president doesn`t want to be stuck with imprisoning these people and then deporting them. It`s not going to look good.
You remember Elian Gonzalez, one guy going back to Cuba? Imagine 800,000 people who are innocent people being kicked out of the country after being arrested. It`s not going to look good for him.
Secondly, I think you do something on the wall, because protecting this country from illegal entry is something people agree on as part of a law, if it`s reasonable. I think there is a deal there.
But then you add all this other stuff. What you want to do is poison, it sounds like to me.
MATTHEWS: You want to try to prevent the Democrats from doing what they want to do.
SCHLAPP: No, but you shouldn`t give out visas to come to this country in a lottery. It should be because they have the economic skills we need. We shouldn`t be displacing American workers willy-nilly.
MATTHEWS: Did your grandparents have the economic skills when they came here?
SCHLAPP: They passed -- they came here legally.
MATTHEWS: Oh, OK.
SCHLAPP: And they passed every standard that we had. And we did not -- they didn`t -- you couldn`t just walk over the border.
MATTHEWS: You know what we have on the wall of our house? We have the indentureship papers from our ancestors.
SCHLAPP: God bless them. God bless them.
MARCUS: You know what standard my grandfather passed? He had $10 in his pocket.
MATTHEWS: I know.
You know, thank you, Ruth Marcus, Matt Schlapp.
Matt, you`re a tough conservative. I guess you`re proud of that.
MATTHEWS: Up next: The president`s son says the shutdown was a good thing for Republicans because it painted Democrats in a bad light. Is he right? At the end of the day, which side is coming out on top of these negotiations? That`s to be decided.
I think there is still a good chance for the dreamers, and I think Mitch McConnell has got his head on this one.
This is HARDBALL, where the action is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What the president did clearly worked.
The vote just came in 81-18. I would say that those numbers are much more in the president`s favor than in Senator Schumer`s favor. I`m not sure what other positive things came out of this weekend for Democrats.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: She is so depressing.
Anyway, welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, paid for by your tax dollars, claiming victory for President Trump after the Senate passed their stopgap funding bill to reopen the government.
Well, over the weekend, the president`s son Eric Trump also declared the shutdown a win for the administration, saying it made Democrats look bad. And he is not really an authority. Let`s put that into place before we listen to him. Here he goes. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ERIC TRUMP, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: You look at this whole government shutdown, and the only reason they want to shut down government is to distract and to stop his momentum. I mean, my father has had incredible momentum.
He`s gotten more done in one year than arguably any president in history. And so how do they divert from that message? How do they save their own party, when they don`t have any leadership, they don`t have any good candidates out there, they don`t have a message of their own? How do they do that?
They obstruct. They distract. They try and place blame. And it`s the worst of government. And, honestly, I think it`s a good thing for us.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Honestly, father knows best.
Anyway, but voters seem to disagree. A new Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted in the days leading up to this shutdown found more voters, 41 percent, would blame congressional Republicans for the shutdown than Democrats. Only 36 percent blame Democrats. Not a big difference, but a difference.
The blame game over the shutdown could add to what already looks like trouble for Republicans at the ballot. And here is the big one. This is the one that matters. A new Washington Post/ABC poll out today shows voters would prefer Democrats by double digits -- look at this -- 51 percent want Democrats running the Congress, 39 percent.
That`s a generic congressional ballot. And that`s 12 points. That should be enough, even with all the gerrymandering and other crap that went on, for the Democrats to grab the House, if they hold that number. That`s after all the talking and barking, 51-39 Democrats.
Let`s bring in the HARDBALL Roundtable.
Yamiche Alcindor, of course, White House correspondent for "PBS NewsHour" now.
Boy, you`re rising up.
MATTHEWS: Sam Stein, of course, for The Daily Beast. And Jonathan Allen is national political reporter for NBC News Digital.
I want to start with the home team here.
Jonathan, this thing -- let`s think about you`re just a person you paid a little attention this weekend. You try to figure out today. You saw McConnell make some sort of deal, promising a vote, a vote, not a win, but vote, ayes or nays on the DREAM Act and whether they`re going continue it under law and codify it and take the executive order of Obama and make into it the law, these people get to stay here without the law bothering them.
It is likely that that will come to a vote in the Senate, as promised? Is it likely it will become law?
JONATHAN ALLEN, NBC NEWS POLITICAL REPORTER: So let`s start with this.
Sometimes, when you watch the Senate, and you`re looking behind to see -- you`re looking at the people out front and what they`re talking a , you have no idea what happened behind the scenes to get to that point.
Today, you were looking at the Senate and you could tell just by looking at the big fat smile on Mitch McConnell`s face that he had eaten Democrats` lunch.
MATTHEWS: You think so?
MATTHEWS: He has said that he has an intention to bring up an immigration bill if there is no deal before February 8. He has not committed to that.
And when he does bring that up, he is talking about a neutral bill with an open amendment process that is highly unusual for Senate. The idea that they`re going to come up with something that way in some short period of time before March 5 to get it through is insane.
Could it happen? I suppose stranger things have...
MATTHEWS: What about the 30 bipartisan senators who got together and are basically guaranteeing this deal?
Sam, they`re saying, according to -- if you listen to Dick Durbin...
SAM STEIN, THE DAILY BEAST: Sure.
MATTHEWS: ... those 30 people from both parties are going to make sure this vote comes about.
STEIN: Well, yes. So I`m a little bit more bullish than Jonathan is on this.
That being said, McConnell did promise Jeff Flake that there would be an immigration vote in January, and we know how that worked out. So, I`m not entirely sure how much you can trust... MATTHEWS: Do you think he`s a dishonest man, I mean, seriously?
STEIN: Well, I mean, he was to Jeff Flake. That`s objectively true. I don`t know how he is as a human being.
But this is the case, which is what Democrats are hanging their hat on. First of all, they erred in probably getting into this shutdown mess to begin with. But now that they`re in it, they got off...
MATTHEWS: Did you say that at the time?
STEIN: Yes, for specific reasons.
MATTHEWS: OK, good. OK. I`m checking you.
STEIN: OK. For specific reasons.
One was to get this children health care issue taken off the ledger, so it can no longer be used as a political cudgel. And two is because they feel like they have a slightly more advantageous perch by which to negotiate an immigration compromise three weeks from.
Now, I don`t know if it`s going to go anywhere past the Senate. But let`s assume that you have an open amendment process on the neutral bill. That means that you need 60 senators to agree on one thing and nothing else to muddy the waters. It is possible. You can imagine a bill that is possible in which it`s the contrast of the Durbin-Graham compromise that maybe can get --
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Some wall, a lot of Dreamers.
STEIN: More wall than you expect because you need 60. Dreamer protections, something on visa lottery, something on chain migration, then you maybe can cobble it up, get a vote in the senate, assuming Mitch allows a vote and then it dies --
STEIN: -- because it never gets through the House.
JONATHAN ALLEN, NBC NEWS: That`s it. That`s exactly it. This only happens if McConnell and Schumer are behind it and there is a deal with Trump.
MATTHEWS: OK. Look, the trouble with that, and I understand pessimism sells. And I agree with it largely in terms of history. If that`s the case, Yamiche, then the president, this president is stuck with the Dreamers all getting arrested and deported in front of everybody. And everybody is going to watch this happen. You don`t think that`s going to happen?
STEIN: Well, there is one out, which is there is nothing that prevents Trump from pushing that deadline further down the road.
MATTHEWS: By executive order?
STEIN: He already hinted he would do it.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: He could do that --
STEIN: Not president.
ALCINDOR: Get into all the -- but I think that the thing that I sit on is the fact that if there is going to be something which I see from my reporting is that the DACA thing is probably going to be settled. I think they`re going get their money for their border security. They want $33 Billion. I think Democrats are going to give to it them.
But are we going have a situation where you`re going to end chain migration, quote/unquote, chain migration which is essentially every single immigrant in this country came here. Most people came here by bringing in their families. I don`t think there is any Democrats that are going to be able to go back to their constituents and say I was able to end that. I was able to vote for something like that.
MATTHEWS: So, that`s a poison bill?
ALCINDOR: Yes, that`s a poison bill.
MATTHEWS: OK, I agree with you. I don`t think the wall is.
Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us. And next, "Saturday Night Live" asked the question that`s on lat of our minds, what even matters anymore. At this point can this president get away with just about anything?
Well, the history so far suggests yes. In fact, yes. No more comments.
MATTHEWS: Well, welcome back to HARDBALL.
Whether or not Americans ultimately hold President Trump responsible for the government shutdown, he has proven to be Teflon Don, if you will, more than once. Trump has been able to stir up seemingly endless controversies without facing any consequences. This weekend, for example, the cast of "Saturday Night Live" tackled that issue with a skit called "what even matters anymore."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welcome to "what even matters anymore," the show where I tell you something our president did or said and you have to tell me does it even matter anymore.
The president of the United States refers to African countries as pooh-pooh holes and says all Haitians have AIDS. Does it even matter anymore?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s really bad. That has to matter, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mmm, actually, it does not matter. Zero consequences and everyone just moves on.
The president has an extramarital affair with a porn star right after his wife gives birth to his son, then he pays the porn star to shut up. Does it even matter to save his evangelical base?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To evangelicals, of course it matters. It`s against everything that they stand for.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`d think so, but no. They say he is just repented, and they forgive him. And Mike Pence is like, this my dude.
It doesn`t even matter anymore. Fake news, fake news!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`m back with the HARDBALL round table.
You know, the guy said, it reminds me of the old Jesse Jackson skit with the question that is moot. Remember? No matter what somebody said, the question is moot.
Yamiche, this time around, it makes a profound point. That he seems to be immune to the normal standards.
ALCINDOR: I think it`s because you`re really drinking out of a fire hose. There is this idea that it`s constant news cycles, constant controversies. So I think we have learned when you have one controversy, a small one that might mike your mother blush, then it all gets blown up. But if you do 18 different things, it doesn`t matter.
MATTHEWS: You`re all students, but I think I am too. But is this a message to all future politicians? Just show no shame and move on.
Gary Hart showed tremendous shame and got caught with a girlfriend with what`s her name? And, of course, John Edwards got involved, all this -- Wilbur Mills, Richard Nixon, they all had some element of shame. This guy just kicks to it the side.
STEIN: There is something to the side that if you don`t give in, you`ll survive. David Vitter, for instance, stayed in the Senate after his own scandals, but I --
MATTHEWS: He had home and away games going --
STEIN: I do think it matters. I do think it actually matters. You know, we say he is Teflon because he hasn`t left office. But the guy sits at like mid-30s popularity rating. We`re in an economy that is --
STEIN: Well, generously. We`re in an economy that is doing quite well. The stock market is doing quite well.
MATTHEWS: Why don`t the conservative Christian people care? Barack Obama given this song many times. It`s true. He lives a clean life.
MATTHEWS: He has never done anything wrong in terms of his marriage. He raises his kids properly. He uses good language. He does everything that very Christian conservative people believe in. He got no points.
ALCINDOR: Remember, that there are a lot of people that are voting on one issue, and that issue is abortion. So, if you don`t talk about abortion, there is that issue.
MATTHEWS: So, as long as he gives voice to oppositional abortion, just voice to it.
ALCINDOR: Yes, but the other thing is that his background is a reality TV star which means that you expect less. His voters that I`ve talked to expect less from him.
MATTHEWS: Yamiche, I thought what he told me, women should be punished for abortions, he didn`t say how. I said, oh, he is finished. He is finished. No! Nothing.
ALLEN: He was signaling to the base, it`s like the leadership in Washington, those base voters is like we never want to say that out loud. But there is a real belief in that. And it didn`t hurt him. I mean, I think it helped him.
MATTHEWS: You mean brutally pro-life.
ALLEN: That doesn`t hurt him in a Republican primary to be so pro-life. I think Yamiche is absolutely right. You know, it`s a good point you made about abortion being the single issue with those voters.
And I also think what`s interesting, you asked if other politicians could take a lesson from that, I don`t think other politicians have the time to do as many things as Donald Trump has done that would shame and embarrass everybody else in the country.
MATTHEWS: So, Sam`s point, they believed that all this extracurricular behavior exposed over the years doesn`t allow for abortion, that he never was involved in anything like that. They actually believe that?
MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you, because that`s why --
STEIN: I just want to say one thing.
ALCINDOR: They also voted for a, quote/unquote, wild card. I had so many supporters who said they kind of understood he was little bit of a guess, but they were going for him because he was interesting. He was the hot hand.
I had so many supporters who told me that. So, people in some ways expected this to be a little bit crazy.
STEIN: And I want to make one quick point, which I`ve talked to Trump aides about this. This isn`t an ethos. He firmly believes that he has thicker skin, and if he can just last longer than the opposition, take more hell than anyone else --
MATTHEWS: He believes that if he shoots somebody on Fifth Avenue, he is clean.
Anyway, the roundtable -- he said it. The round table is sticking with us. Going to come up and tell us things I didn`t know.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: When we come back, the HARDBALL round table gives us the buzz tonight in Washington. Back after this.
MATTHEWS: I`m back with the HARDBALL round table.
Yamiche, tell me something I don`t know. I know you`ve got something high, I`ve been watching you.
ALCINDOR: The FBI director threatened to resign amid basically pressure to fire his deputy. So, this is pretty big news.
MATTHEWS: Is this Wray?
ALCINDOR: Yes, this is Christopher Wray.
MATTHEWS: The current.
ALCINDOR: Yes, the current FBI director.
MATTHEWS: Oh my god, another one ready to fall.
Go ahead, Stein.
STEIN: I can`t stop that "Axios" scoop. But as of 6:00 p.m. today, Chuck Schumer and Donald Trump had not spoken about the government funding deal which does not give you much promise for -- the possibility of an immigration --
MATTHEWS: What happened to this long talk down there? What is, hour -- he went over the tail?
STEIN: Friday was big day for them. They haven`t talked since.
MATTHEWS: Go ahead.
ALLEN: U.S. conference of mayors is in town this week in Washington, D.C. There are at least four people who think they might be presidential material. Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Bill de Blasio of New York, and Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans and Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana. That`s going to be the hot buzz among --
MATTHEWS: I agree.
We`re going to try to get three at least, there is only room for three here.
Anyway, thank you, Yamiche Alcindor, Sam Stein, and Jonathan Allen. What a crew.
When we return, let me finish tonight with Trump Watch. You`re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Trump Watch, Monday, January 22nd, 2018.
I believe President Trump is headed where he doesn`t want to gone on immigration. If this deal between Mitch McConnell and the Democrats holds, there is going to be an up or down vote in the Senate on the Dreamers. I expect it to carry by well over 60 votes.
So, where does that leave the president? If after the Senate acts he does nothing or makes things worse for the 800,000 Dreamers, and the House of Representatives fails to act, Trump will have been the one responsible. He will have dropped the ball in the end zone. He will not only be the bad guy, he will be the one out there arresting the Dreamers.
He, Donald Trump, will be the one whose name is ordering the arrest and deportations. He, Donald Trump, personally.
I recognize the messiness and uncertainty of what will come before this. But in the end, it will be Trump who will have to live with a country without DACA.
Whatever you say about Donald Trump, he is a marketer. He knows what sells. The case of the Dreamers sells. In a country that agrees on little, four out of five agree on DACA. That`s rare.
And Trump knows it. He doesn`t want to build his reelection among the one- in-five who hate any mention of giving legal status to people who didn`t come here within the law. I predict Trump will have to reckon with the Dreamers before these 800,000 people will have to reckon with him.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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