Amidst the explosive New York Times story on Tuesday night about the supposed James Comey memo, MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews informed viewers that the two institutions he’s most entrusted his faith in during these tumultuous times are large, liberal newspapers and lefty bureaucrats in the mold of Sally Yates.
Late in the commercial-free Hardball, Matthews stated out of the blue that “I have confidence in two forces” to tell him the truth and maintain integrity, with the first being “straight front page media.”
Matthews meant to allude to The Washington Post, but in classic Matthews fashion, he name-checked The Wall Street Journal twice:
I think it's better than it's ever been in years. I think the trade craft of the top metropolitan papers is unbelievable right now, the people we have on the program from the Times and Journal especially and, in some cases, The Wall Street Journal as well.
As for his second institution, he cited government workers:
And I also have faith in the civil service. I think people like Sally Yates save us every day of the week. I think those people do their jobs. They’re not — some of them may be Democrats and liberals even progressives, but they do their job and uphold their service. I think Trump can't stand either one of those two groups because they confound him and limit his power and he hates that.
This assertion probably resonated with few Americans, but the other noteworthy pattern was Matthews claiming that Senator Angus King (I-Maine) is a “middle of the roader” and thus his calls for Trump’s impeachment should be taken seriously.
King must have realized after CNN’s Wolf Blitzer nudged him in that direction it worked, so the roles were reversed as King’s insistence on impeachment left Matthews convinced.
Turning to Washington Post reporter Greg Miller and USA Today’s Heidi Przybyla, Matthews exclaimed what a statement by “an independent” and “pretty much a middle-of-the-roader.” Later in the show, Matthews hailed the “moderate” King as someone who’s maybe the only one left in the Senate whose politics are “prudent.”
If King is this bipartisan as Matthews claims, that’s fake news. According to the American Conservative Union scorecard, King’s lifetime rating is a whopping 6.25 out of 100. That’s certainly not indicative of a moderate like, say, Congressman Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), whose lifetime ACU score is 58.67.
Here’s the relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on May 16:
May 16, 2017
7:13 p.m. Eastern
CHRIS MATTHEWS: If turns out that the evidence is solid, that the then-FBI director had contemporaneous and accurate notes of a conversation he had with the President of the United States in which the President of the United States asked him to drop a case against his then-National Security Adviser, if that's the case and later on he fires that FBI director and the causality is fairly very implicit there, is that a case for obstruction of justice, Senator? Or else, why are we investigating this if it doesn't have that value? In other words, if doesn’t lead to a prosecution or an impeachment, why are we studying this case at all?
MATTHEWS: You just heard him say that the definitely that the Senator just said he's an independent. I think he’s pretty much a middle-of-the-roader. He said the evidence they're looking at right now, if they get it, is serious business. This is going to be an obstruction of justice charge, an article of impeachment basically.
GREG MILLER: Yeah, I mean, so these stories of the last few days, they take you in similar but slightly different directions. This story about what he's disclosing to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador, that really gets to the sort of his fitness for office. What is he doing? Why does he do this stuff?
MATTHEWS [TO JEFF MERKLEY]: You heard your colleague, Angus King, an independent who votes with the Democrats from Maine who’s talking about wanting to get more information. But it's the information he wants. As he said, Jack Webb, just the facts. But the facts he's looking for are a confirmation of what's been reported, which is there's a memo out there that said the President tried to get the case dropped against the guy who was trying to get immunity so he could perhaps testify against the President. This is very much connected to Russia and Trump. You just need those two words to cover the news lately — Russia and Trump. They're useful proper nouns that get you through all of this. Explain. What do you think of this impeachment possibility? What's more needed to prove obstruction of justice than the President fires the guy coming after him after asking him to drop the case? At more do you need?
MATTHEWS: We just had a United States Senator on, a moderate. I think if there are any left, it's Angus King. That name by the way. Angus King, Maine, independent. I think he's pretty prudent in his politics and Maine is too and he said it's a question of getting the evidence, but he's also saying if you go down that road and find the evidence the President did in fact offer — ask this guy to drop the case, you are going down the alley that takes you, with the proper evidence, to a charge of obstruction of justice, which is impeachable. It’s a high crime.
MATTHEWS: You know, I have confidence in two forces — straight front page media. I think it's better than it's ever been in years. I think the trade craft of the top metropolitan papers is unbelievable right now, the people we have on the program from the Times and Journal especially and, in some cases, The Wall Street Journal as well. And I also have faith in the civil service. I think people like Sally Yates save us every day of the week. I think those people do their jobs. They’re not — some of them may be Democrats and liberals even progressives, but they do their job and uphold their service. I think Trump can't stand either one of those two groups because they confound him and limit his power and he hates that.