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HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS for September 18, 2018, MSNBC - Part 2

September 19, 2018

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<Date: September 18, 2018>

<Time: 19:00>

<Tran: 091801cb.461>

<Type: SHOW>

<Head: HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS for September 18, 2018, MSNBC - Part 2>

<Sect: News; Domestic>

<Byline: Chris Matthews, Robert Costa, Heidi Przybyla, Betsy Woodruff, Paul


<Guest: Mike Murphy, Pramila Jayapal, Michael Moore, Glenn Kirschner, Bob


<High: The committee has scheduled a hearing next Monday over the

allegation against Kavanaugh. The woman who has publicly accused him, Dr.

Christine Blasey Ford, will get a chance to share her story if she accepts

the invitation. President Trump`s legal team is expanding in the face of

two federal investigations, but “The New York Times” says those lawyers are

struggling just to keep up the speed because they`re hampered in part by a

client, Mr. President. They`re not sure if he`s 100 percent honest with


<Spec: Mike Murphy; Pramila Jayapal; Rape; Justice; Women; Election;

Congress; Government; Politics; Donald Trump>


MATTHEWS: He has this sort of gut. I don`t like trade, right?


MATTHEWS: Or I don`t like alliances. I don`t like NAFTA. I don`t like NATO.

And then, no matter what anybody tells him in your book, he has a wall against it.

WOODWARD: And he`s obsessed with money.

And in these in NSC meetings, which you don`t often get a glimpse of...


WOODWARD: ... they will say, hey, look, all this money we`re spending on defense in South Korea or in NATO, and he will say, we`re being played for suckers.


WOODWARD: We are protecting them.

And the secretary of defense, Mattis, will say to him, no, no, we`re doing this for ourselves.


WOODWARD: If we had a chance to spend 10 times the money for this, we would do it.

And Trump goes back to this idea of -- of -- and that`s not the first week in office. That`s a year into office. He`s still...


What bugged me, besides so many things I learned in your book, is, he has no greater mission. He doesn`t seem to -- he sounds like Joe Kennedy, not Jack Kennedy, just money, transaction, no grander -- as you just said, no grander purpose for the United States of America in the world.


And let`s face it. Such a shame, because presidents can -- as we know, can do great things. They can say, this is the next stage of good for a majority of people in the country, not one party, not a base, not a bunch of interest groups, but the average -- you can figure that out.

There are certain things to do. And it doesn`t fit with this erratic agenda.

MATTHEWS: Well, he`s up against you now. And I have never noticed you having any ideology, Bob. I have never thought of you as a classic liberal in any way or liberal in any way.

Are you?

WOODWARD: What did he call me? A Democratic operative.

MATTHEWS: Not exactly.


MATTHEWS: I have known you a long time, and I have never sensed that about you, Bob. You`re the reporter.

Thank you, Bob Woodward.

The book`s called “Fear,” or if you`re buying a book over in Holland, in Amsterdam, it would be called “Angst.” Same deal.

Up next: The always outspoken Michael Moore joins us to talk about his newest documentary, “Fahrenheit 11/9,” and the central question facing Democrats: How do you beat Donald Trump come 2020?

And this is HARDBALL, where the action is.



MICHAEL MOORE, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: One thing was abundantly clear. These candidates were fighters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People deserve someone who is going to fight for the people and not the corporations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To be able to encourage someone to run for office, man, it is truly the lack of political will from our Democrats, and their backbone is literally just missing. Right? And you put both of those components together, and then on top of that, you`re taking money from the same folks the Republicans are taking money from?


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was a clip from filmmaker Michael Moore`s latest documentary, “Fahrenheit 11/9.”

The film examines the factors that led to the rise of the Trump presidency and impact it has had on the two years since the 2016 election, including what Moore calls the failure of Democrats to fight back.

I`m joined right now by Michael Moore.

Michael, thanks for coming on.

We`re going to promote the movie. It`s making a lot of noise, as you always do, and the right kind of noise.

Let me ask you, do you have any thoughts about this current mishegas going on right now with this court nominee?

MOORE: Well, yes.

I have thought for the last couple of months that any president who is under a criminal investigation possibly for treason should have the right to appoint no one to any office, especially such a high office as the Supreme Court. So, right there, that was wrong and still is wrong to begin with.

As far as what`s happening now with Justice Kavanaugh and the allegations, there should be a full investigation. They should not rush this. And the American people deserve the truth about who he is and what his character is.

And I was watching the news earlier this afternoon, and I heard somebody on this network say, back when they were teenagers. Well, I think now we know that he was 17, and she was at least a couple years younger.

MATTHEWS: Fifteen.

MOORE: And that makes -- she was 15, I believe.


MOORE: So he was either a junior or senior in high school, and she was a freshman or a sophomore.

So to just call them teenagers tries to soften what may be really going on here. So let`s call this what it is. Let`s have the investigation. And - - but Trump shouldn`t be appointing anybody at this point anyways until Mueller has completed his investigation.

MATTHEWS: You`re a pretty good prognosticator. You figured out that Trump was going to win in Michigan and win the country last time. You were about alone on that.

So, let`s talk about the elections of 50 days from now. Women -- my instinct is to say a lot -- from what I have been able to tell, certainly where I grew up, in Philadelphia and around the suburbs around Philly, I think the Democrats are going to clean up.

Women, who I think some of them had a problem with Hillary in personality terms, or men, that`s gone. Now they`re just going to vote philosophy. I think they`re going to sweep the House.

What`s your thinking?

MOORE: I don`t know. I mean, it could go either way.



MOORE: There could definitely be a tsunami of women and young people and people of color at the polls on November 6. I think everybody knows this is the most important election.

People ask me, well, what do you think about 2020? Who should run in 2020? My answer is, I don`t even know what 2020 is. There`s only one election, the most important election, and that`s November 6.

So if people get out -- I think that there`s enough good candidates, really good candidates, Chris, this time that are running, like you showed in the clip there, fighters, people who have a backbone.

The things that where -- why a lot of Democrats maybe have stayed home and have become nonvoters, I think maybe they will come back this time because who is on your ballot in your local elections, in your state elections, in your congressional district are fighters.

And -- and I would encourage people to check it out, because we have got good progressive candidates running. And we cannot only create a sweep here. It could be a sweep for real change, not half-measures, like we`re often used to.

MATTHEWS: You know, when I was 28 years old, I had run for the House against the machine. I know all about taking on authority.

And I`m wondering, how do -- the real authority figure I`m afraid of right now is Trump. And you talk in your documentary about it being not Hitler, because that`s dangerous to talk like that, but there`s something in the air right now with Trump that was like the `30s in Germany.

Tell me about what you fear most from this president.

MOORE: What I fear, not maybe so much from the president, is what I fear about ourselves.

I think we already got Trump`s number. He`s an autocrat. He doesn`t like democracy very much. But you can say that about just about every CEO. They don`t run their businesses as democracies. So they`re not inclined to that.

And the idea of one person, one vote, there`s 325 million of us, and less than 1,000 of them. So that one person, one vote thing isn`t good either if you`re rich.

I think what`s important here, when you talk about the `30s and Germany, is that Germany then was a very educated, enlightened, cultured society, and it was one of the most liberal democracies in the world.

And the Nazis won an election, and then there was a terrorist incident, the Reichstag fire. And Hitler said, we have got to clamp down, we got to ban these parties. And he consolidated power during a time when people were afraid.

That`s what I`m worried about, that, whatever happens under Trump, whatever national emergency or real emergency may happen, that we not allow him to take away our democratic rights because he has to protect us.

That`s what we have to be very, very cautious of when that point happens. And so I point that out in the movie, that there are these parallels.

But, as far as fascism, there was a book I read a number of years ago called “Friendly Fascism.” And the author said that the fascism of the 21st century would not come with concentration camps and swastikas. It will come with a TV show and a smiley face.


MOORE: And that is really how Trump and others like him are trying to commandeer the American public, through this kind of propaganda, and also by helping to dumb down the country.

Our schools aren`t what they used to be. Our libraries are closing. We have less and less of a diverse press. And, when you dumb down a country, you end up with a Donald Trump.

MATTHEWS: How do you put together -- there`s a couple times in our history when the left has been able to lead the center -- lead the center-left and the middle to a progressive agenda, the first and second New Deals, of course, Lyndon Johnson`s Great Society, a little bit under Obama, when the left has been able to lead the center-left and the middle.

How do you put together than kind of progressive coalition to beat Trump? I know you don`t want to do it yet, but 2020.

MOORE: I think that -- I think actually we should be talking about just left. We are a liberal country. We are the majority. Can you --


MATTHEWS: We`ve got 50 percent -- and can you get 270 electoral votes in the --


MATTHEWS: -- Electoral College coming 2020 on the left, hard left, only Left.

MOORE: If we have strong -- yes. No, I don`t call hard left. It`s like our parents used to go, he`s listening to that hard rock.


MOORE: You know, it`s rock and it is left.

The American people are very liberal. They take the liberal position on just about every single issue, whether it`s climate change, minimum wage, mass incarceration, equal pay for women -- you go down the whole list -- Americans take the liberal position.

So we are a liberal country. We got three million more votes in this last election than the other side. People should start acting like we`re the majority, because we are the majority. And I think that, Chris, try to look at it that -- I don`t think the old way of looking at it, in terms of being a moderate or being a centrist -- I think that`s hurt Democrats, because they haven`t taken a strong position.

I interviewed John Podesta for this film.

MATTHEWS: Okay. I disagree with you about one issue where you quoted me in a movie. I`ll disagree on the issue I was --



MATTHEWS: That clip had, late term abortion in Pennsylvania where I grew up is a killer.


MATTHEWS: Hillary went way too far on that. It`s one thing to be pro- choice, but you get into late term, which see, for whatever reason, down the line defend it, it was a big mistake with a lot of people I grew up with and I think it drove up, unfairly, totally unfairly the Trump vote. That`s what I think.

MOORE: So that`s your view.


MATTHEWS: It`s not economic issue. It`s cultural issue.


MOORE: That`s what your view of that, but here`s what I think. I think the America we live in now is -- it`s right now more than two-thirds of the electorate is either female, people of color or 18 to 35-year-olds or a combination of those three.


MOORE: That`s the America that`s voting now. It isn`t white guys of your age or mine.


MOORE: Not that you`re that much older. But I`m just saying that --

MATTHEWS: I don`t mind.

MOORE: I think --

MATTHEWS: I`m a fan of Michael Moore, so we`re going to come back with you next time. I`m out of time, Michael.

But last thought, quickly. I`m sorry.

MOORE: That this tsunami of women, of young people at the polls and on the ballot, this is what hopefully is going to save us. And everybody right now who`s watching me, just about -- unless you live in Montana or Texas, you live within a couple of hours` driving distance of a swing district.

Plan on spending at least one weekend in October getting out there, get out the vote. We`re the majority and it`s time to end this madness. We have to end it now. We may not make it to 2020 with the democracy that we want to have.

MATTHEWS: I`m with you, Michael Moore. Thank you and I hope everybody listens to that call to arms.

MOORE: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Up next, President Trump`s legal team is expanding in the face of two federal investigations, but “The New York Times” says those lawyers are struggling just to keep up the speed because they`re hampered in part by a client, Mr. President. They`re not sure if he`s 100 percent honest with them. We`re going to get to that.

You`re watching HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

With his former campaign chair cooperating with investigators against him, President Trump has even more reason to fear special counsel Robert Mueller. And now, “The New York Times” is reporting that the president`s legal team, such as it is, is at least partially in the dark about what might be coming next in the ongoing probe. That`s because Trump`s lawyers, quote, have only a limited sense of what many witnesses have told investigators.

Additionally, according to “The Times,” quote, it is not clear if Mr. Trump has given his lawyers a full account of some key events in which he`s been involved as president or during his decades running the Trump Organization. That`s in part because Trump`s former lawyer, John Dowd, took Mr. Trump at his word that he had done nothing wrong and never conducted a full internal investigation to determine the president`s true legal exposure. Wow.

I`m joined right now by the roundtable. Betsy Woodruff, political reporter with “The Daily Beast”, Glenn Kirschner, former federal prosecutor who`s worked with Robert Mueller, and Paul Butler is a former U.S. attorney.

Paul, I want to start with you. What good is a client that won`t talk to his attorneys?

PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: So, no defense attorney expects the client to be completely forthcoming. But what you do hope is they`ll tell you what evidence they think the government has. And that they`ll follow your advice.

President Trump is a lousy client for a lawyer because he doesn`t heed his own lawyers` advice and in this case, the initial lawyers that the president had, I don`t want to use the word “malpractice”, but there`s some things that they absolutely should have done. For example, they made this decision to cooperate with Mueller. They let White House staffers talk and they did not debrief them.

So, a lot of -- they didn`t know what they were saying. That`s, again, outrageous.

MATTHEWS: Glenn, when you read Bob Woodward, who was just sitting here a minute ago, you had the sense a lot of them are telling Bob Woodward stuff they never told the president.

GLENN KIRSCHNER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes. Clients lie to their lawyers. They just do. And, you know, we saw a perfect example of that when Jay Sekulow many months ago came out and said the president took no part in drafting the narrative concerning what happened at the Trump Tower meeting. Where did Jay Sekulow get that? From his client. From the president.

Giuliani had to walk it back when it was exposed as a lie, which proves the point that, you know, I don`t think the president has it in his DNA to be honest with his lawyers, particularly about his own wrongdoing.

MATTHEWS: So, this means when the Robert Mueller report comes out probably after the election this year, maybe Christmastime, I don`t know, under the tree, it`s going to come out, Trump`s lawyers starting with Rudy Giuliani on down will be surprised.

BETSY WOODRUFF, POLITICS REPORTER, DAILY BEAST: There`s a very good chance. Part of the reason for that is this is all consistent with Trump`s history of dealing with lawyers. If you talk to people who worked with him over the decades, he`s been involved in complex legal and financial situations in New York, a common thread is people complaining that he wasn`t forthright or that he didn`t pay his bills.

Part of the reason he started off with such an unorthodox legal team is that a lot of mainstream big legal firms didn`t want to have anything to do with him because they didn`t think he would pay them. So, his legal problems, some of them are self-inflicted.

BUTLER: I can actually help him out. I made a little list, three things the lawyers need to be prepared for. Trump`s defense attorneys. So, the first is get ready for incriminating statement from Paul Manafort. Mueller would not have made that deal unless Manafort had the goods on someone higher up in the food chain. That`s Trump`s family or President Trump.

Get ready for a damaging report from Mueller on obstruction, which could lead to impeachment if the House changes. And the last thing, get ready for Mueller to use Trump`s family members, a threat of prosecution of them as leverage against Trump.

MATTHEWS: To get what?

BUTLER: To make some kind of deal, maybe if Trump agrees not to run for re-election.

MATTHEWS: That`s the way I see it. I`m not a lawyer. That`s the way I see it because he`s not going to let his family go to jail. He is the Romanovs after all. They are the royal family.

In an attempt to undermine that prosecution, Trump yesterday ordered the Justice Department and FBI to release classified materials for political purposes, helping to show that the investigation is biased against him. Democratic Senator Mark Warner said today that the move could backfire against the president.


SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA), RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: The president has the right to declassify, but I can`t find any indication where a president would arbitrarily choose to declassify information in the midst of an investigation of his own campaign. And would again say, particularly for some of these individuals who may not have read the documents, be careful what you wish for.


MATTHEWS: He`s trying to show bias. What else can he say, Glenn?

KIRSCHNER: Yes, I`ll tell you. Chris, when I see this, it makes me think back to the 1980s when I was an army prosecutor, I was a JAG. And it was drilled into us that not only must you obey a lawful order, you must disobey an unlawful order. This looks like an abuse of power, this declassification for political purposes, I`m going to declassify what makes me look good, I`m not going to declassify what makes me look bad.

It`s the kind of abuse of power that I think DOJ leadership, the FBI leadership needs to stand up and address.

MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Betsy Woodruff. More time next time, Betsy.

And, of course, Glenn, thank you, Glenn Kirschner and Paul Butler.

HARDBALL back in a minute.


MATTHEWS: Tomorrow, one of the country`s best known presidential historians, Doris Kearns Goodwin joins me here to discuss the Trump era.

Be back in a minute.


MATTHEWS: “Trump Watch”, Tuesday, September 18th, 2018.

There are two verdicts available in the case of Brett Kavanaugh. The first is that he`s confirmed by this Senate, and sits on the Supreme Court for life, or for as long as he chooses, potentially taking him through almost half this century. The second verdict is that he falls short of the 50 votes need and the president sends up another nomination.

If Manafort gets confirmed, this president and Republican senators will have to carry the burden of what we now know about him. I wonder if they want to have a second member with the members of the Supreme Court with an accusation such as this lying against him like the ones against Clarence Thomas. I wonder if the best outcome right now would be for the president to simply withdraw Kavanaugh`s nomination now. He would be doing so after learning something important this weekend, admittedly late in the game, but nonetheless important.

President Trump has an unusually good foot to stand on between now and next Monday. But if he waits until Friday when Dr. Ford testifies, it will be reacting rather than acting, he will be moving with public opinion instead of acting on the facts.

The question of Brett Kavanaugh`s fitness for the country`s highest court does not begin with the country`s reaction to Dr. Ford story, or the Senate`s reaction. It began this weekend. Does the man who nominated Kavanaugh believe her? Does he believe her? That`s the question.

And if he does, he must remove his nomination.

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

“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.


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