Matthews Thinks Nunes Intel Is Fake; Smears Peter Schweizer, Tees Up Clinton Hack’s Excuses

MSNBC host Chris Matthews was off and running on Tuesday’s Hardball, engaging in loony speculation that House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes’s claims about Trump surveillance could be fake, legitimate claims by Peter Schweizer’s Clinton Cash were false, and teed up Jennifer Palmieri’s sad excuses that Russia was why they lost the election.

In his first segment, Matthews floated a conspiracy that Nunes met someone on the White House grounds that could have been a former staffer to assist in concocting these claims about the Trump team being caught up in surveillance that, in Matthews’s book, just “looks like a masquerade.” 

Matthews continued that, with these tale tales, he could simply request a meeting with President Trump to reveal “some hot stuff” that’d “help exonerate you or at least muddy the waters as he put it.”

Laughing like a hyena, Matthews added:

The whole thing is opera-buffer, whatever. It’s just a big parody. There's no way he had a conversation like that with the President. He can't say your people told me or I got a mole in here. I got a former staffer working here. It's an insane conversation, and you know what, Michael, it didn't happen. It didn't happen. Somebody put together this whole masquerade that they would have because all Trump works for is keeping the news a little better than it would be otherwise for a couple days and he gets through the night[.]

As for Schweizer, Matthews introduced Tuesday’s Trump tweets about the Intelligence Committees, the Clintons, and Russia to then use — of all places — to argue that Schweizer’s claims about the Clintons, speeches to Russian oligarches, and uranium were false:

Well, it should be noted that Politifact, which checks on facts, has deemed all those statements by the Breitbart people misleading. Anyway, the allegations come from a book Clinton Cash, written by Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute which is co-founded by his honor, Steve Bannon. Anyway, at 7:16 this morning, President Trump then promoted a segment on Fox about Podesta's alleged ties to Russia. At 7:17, Mr. Schweizer appeared on air to peddle an old allegation he raised in August with Bannon while they were writing for Breitbart. 

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It’s rich that Matthews chose Politifact seeing as how even The New York Times reported about Schweizer’s allegations that money flowed to the Clinton family and their allies amid a Russian atomic energy company’s takeover of “a Canadian company with uranium-mining stakes stretching from Central Asia to the American West.” 

Despite a series of clarifications muddying the waters, the 4,300 word story stood for itself (as did subsequent stories here).

Palmieri arrived after Matthews’s Schweizer attack to suggest that, despite their insistence at the time that they were to not be trusted, they faced news coverage “dominated” “for three solid weeks...about the context of John Podesta's e-mails.”

“And it was just — every day blocked out the sun. Every day that is what we were dealing with. But, it is — but again, we're even now getting deflected by, like, the details what occurred on the campaign trail as opposed to what the Russians were trying to do,” she added.

Republican strategist John Brabender pumped the brakes on the hysteria about Russia and the election outcome, but Palmieri shouted him down:

PALMIERI: Ne — never — never — John, never in our history —  never in the history of our republic have you had another country — a semi-hostile country like Russia —

BRABENDER: — I don't think the Russians probably had a lot to do with that.

PALMIERI: — tried to interfere to affect the outcome of an election because they didn't like Hillary Clinton and they wanted Donald Trump as president. 

BRABENDER: Okay then let me ask you this. Do you think you lost the race because of the Russians' involvement? 

MATTHEWS: Oh, here we go.

PALMIERI: That doesn't — that doesn’t — that doesn’t — that doesn’t matter. What matters is that the Russian government had — came in here with the intent of interfering in our elections, and they succeeded and people are still not taking it seriously. 

Seeing as how he had earlier engaged in conspiracy theories, Matthews speculated: “Brabender, you know how the game is played and I think Trump may have been involved.”

Here’s the relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on March 28:

MSNBC’s Hardball
March 28, 2017
7:11 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: I guess we're still at this whole question of this sort of merry go round. This chairman of the committee goes to the White House, maybe the EOB. We don’t know where he went. The executive office building — we don’t know. He goes in there. He says he gets cleared in but won't say how he cleared in. He won’t say which White House staffer got him in, won’t say what he got. Then he shows up at the White House the next morning to report on what he got from the White House. The whole thing looks like a masquerade. 

(....)

MATTHEWS: All you have to do is imagine he asked for a meeting with the President and said, I got some hot stuff for you. This is going to help exonerate you or at least muddy the waters as he put it. It says there was some surveillance done of your people, not during the campaign. There wasn't any wiretaps, there wasn’t anything ordered by the former President, none of that, but there is this thing where there's this surveillance where some of your guys names showed up or they were recognizable. Trump would say, well, where did you get that from? He said, well, I got it from the EOB, from the White House. Well, tell me where you got it? No, I can’t. It's a secret. The whole thing is opera-buffer, whatever. It’s just a big parody. There's no way he had a conversation like that with the President. He can't say your people told me or I got a mole in here. I got a former staffer working here. It's an insane conversation, and you know what, Michael, it didn't happen. It didn't happen. Somebody put together this whole masquerade that they would have because all Trump works for is keeping the news a little better than it would be otherwise for a couple days and he gets through the night. As Frank Sinatra would say, it’ll get you through the night. Michael, this whole think was just to muddy the water for a couple days and have us talk about it instead of talking about the investigation of his contacts with the Russians all during the campaign.

(....)

MATTHEWS: When things get tough, President Trump deflects and often distracts. When news broke that his campaign was under investigation for ties to Russia, he accused President Obama of wiretapping him. When Director James Comey publicly confirmed the C — FBI investigation, Nunes tried to shut the hearings down entirely. And now, Trump is accusing the Clintons of their own shady dealings with Russia. He tweeted: “Why isn't the House Intelligence Committee looking into the Bill & Hillary deal that allowed became uranium to go to Russia, Russian speech...money to Bill, the Hillary Russia “reset,” praise of Russia by Hillary, or Podesta Russian company. Trump Russia Story is a hoax, [hashtag Make America Great Again].” Well, it should be noted that Politifact, which checks on facts, has deemed all those statements by the Breitbart people misleading. Anyway, the allegations come from a book Clinton Cash, written by Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute which is co-founded by his honor, Steve Bannon. Anyway, at 7:16 this morning, President Trump then promoted a segment on Fox about podesta's alleged ties to Russia. At 7:17, Mr. Schweizer appeared on air to peddle an old allegation he raised in August with Bannon while they were writing for Breitbart. 

(....)

JOHN BRABENDER: I mean, the only thing that really came out is that the Clinton campaign colluded with the DNC to game the system against Bernie Sanders. If the Clinton campaign wouldn't have done that, there wouldn't have been anything for the Russians to have leaked. 

PALMIERI: I mean among the things that they did was, you know, was for three solid weeks have news be dominated that was about the context of John Podesta's e-mails other than what the — so they did do real damage there.

MATTHEWS: Sure. They had Podesta making unkind comments about the candidate. They had a lot of stuff. That was to create disruption.

PALMIERI: And it was just — every day blocked out the sun. Every day that is what we were dealing with. But, it is — but again, we're even now getting deflected by, like, the details what occurred on the campaign trail as opposed to what the Russians were trying to do.

(....)

BRABENDER: Jennifer, I've done a lot of campaigns too and in a presidential race, both sides are dealing with something big on a weekly basis. Donald Trump did, the stuff you dealt with Comey —

PALMIERI: Ne — never — never — John, never in our history —  never in the history of our republic have you had another country — a semi-hostile country like Russia —

BRABENDER: — I don't think the Russians probably had a lot to do with that.

PALMIERI: — tried to interfere to affect the outcome of an election because they didn't like Hillary Clinton and they wanted Donald Trump as president. 

BRABENDER: Okay then let me ask you this. Do you think you lost the race because of the Russians' involvement? 

MATTHEWS: Oh, here we go.

PALMIERI: That doesn't — that doesn’t — that doesn’t — that doesn’t matter. What matters is that the Russian government had — came in here with the intent of interfering in our elections, and they succeeded and people are still not taking it seriously. 

BRABENDER: I agree and that’s what should be investigated.

PALMIERI: Yes, it should be investigated and it should be investigated, but — 

BRABENDER: But now we’re trying to pin this on the Trump people.

(....)

MATTHEWS: Brabender, you know how the game is played and I think Trump may have been involved. 

NB Daily Video Chris Matthews Jennifer Palmieri Donald Trump Devin Nunes
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