‘Hardball’ A-Block Freaks Over ‘Delusional,’ ‘Strong Man’ Trump, Compares Him to John Wilkes Booth

Day after day in the Trump era, one has to wonder if the left and their media allies will run out of panic buttons to push. Such was the case Tuesday night on MSNBC’s Hardball as host Chris Matthews and his A-Block panelists accused the President of being a “delusional” “strong man” than ever and akin to John Wilkes Booth agreeing to criminal questioning without having to talk about Ford’s Theater.

Matthews started the show by screeching “strong man” and added after the opening credits that “President Donald Trump's behavior over the last week is yet more evidence that he yearns to be a strong man, more autocratic than democratic, unbound by law, precedent or the truth.”

 

 

He also wondered upon reading a Trump tweet about the possibility of Russian interference in the 2018 midterm election “if Trump knows he is channeling Richard Nixon with those words when Nixon was caught up in a scandal of his own” when he pondered staging a break-in at the Republican National Committee following the one carried out against the Democrats.

“Well, this comes as Trump threatens political retribution against numerous former intelligence officials who have criticized his behavior towards Russia. Republican Senator Bob Corker said today that Trump’s threats to pull their security clearances resembles the behavior of an autocrat,” Matthews gleefully added.

Chiming in as the token liberal Republican, Susan Del Percio opined that it’s clear that “Donald Trump is a lot more of a simpleton than Nixon was” because “he is just looking for anything to muddle up the environment.”

MSNBC legal analyst and former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks also sounded the alarm, telling Matthews that there’s “[s]o many similarities between the Nixon Watergate and what’s happening now” but these times are “much more threatening because at least the people who were involved in the crimes were Americans” while “[t]his one is a foreign adversary of ours and that makes it much more serious.”

On Trump’s idea of revoking security clearances from former intelligence officials, the PBS NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor spoke like a true liberal journalist, offering spin that “[t]his is not about politics” but instead protecting American national security (instead of John Brennan and James Clapper enriching themselves with cable news deals and leaking to journalists).

Matthews later took aim at House Speaker Paul Ryan dismissing this hysteria as Trump “trolling” everyone, shouting about Ryan being “so chicken” and showcasing “how, through all of this, Republican members of Congress have largely stood by this President.”

Mother Jones’s David Corn later responded:

It’s lying and then when you have Paul Ryan said, it is just trolling. Well, no, it’s not just trolling. They are doing this. So, you have a liar, an autocrat, and someone who talks as if he’s delusional all at once and may — trying to distract us from the big picture, what he did with Putin, what’s happening with the investigation, The failure of the tariff war and all about his dangling this craziness in front of us and we keep chasing after it. 

The crudest comparison came on the back end of the A-Block when, after reading a Bloomberg piece about demands from Trump’s legal team for a Mueller interview, Matthews compared Trump to Booth:

This is sort of like John Wilkes Booth will take any question except the question with Ford’s Theater. I mean, this is about sorry, this is about obstruction. It is the first tranche of charges that are expected to come from Robert Mueller’s team. Obstruction of justice charges. He says I won’t talk about obstruction of justice because that gets to motive and I’m not going to give you my motive.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on July 24, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
July 24, 2018
7:00 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Strong man, let's play Hardball. [HARDBALL OPENING CREDITS] Good evening, I'm Chris Matthews in Washington. President Donald Trump's behavior over the last week is yet more evidence that he yearns to be a strong man, more autocratic than democratic, unbound by law, precedent or the truth. Last week in Helsinki, he denounced the intelligence community, praised the work of a Russian tyrant and talked of sending American officials over to Russia for interrogation. This week, he’s cried delegitimate reporting as fake news, attacked his own Department of Justice and threatened war with Iran as if taking the country to war was entirely up to him. Now he is accusing the Democrats of what he stands accused. After the special counsel established that the president was aided by an illegal Russian conspiracy, Trump is trying to desperately turn the tables, fearing the prospect of big losses in 2018, he’s saying with no evidence that Russians will be out there helping the Democrats this November. “Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!” Wow. I wonder if Trump knows he is channeling Richard Nixon with those words when Nixon was caught up in a scandal of his own. After the break-in in the Democratic National Committee, Nixon suggested that his operatives stage a similar break-in at the Republican National Committee to create the appearance that the Democrats were just as bad as the Republicans.

(....)

MATTHEWS: Well, Trump's tweet today suggested the Democrats will benefit this fall from Russia's interference. It’s particularly ill-founded considering that, just last week Putin admitted that he wanted Trump, a Republican to win in 2016. 

[PUTIN VS. JEFF MASON AT HELSINKI]

MATTHEWS: Well, this comes as Trump threatens political retribution against numerous former intelligence officials who have criticized his behavior towards Russia. Republican Senator Bob Corker said today that Trump’s threats to pull their security clearances resembles the behavior of an autocrat. 

REPUBLICAN SENATOR BOB CORKER: I can't even believe that somebody at the White house thought up something like this. I mean, when you’re going to start taking retribution against people who are your political enemies in this matter, that’s the kind of thing that happens in Venezuela where I was just recently, so you just don't do that and I can't — I can’t believe they even allowed it to be aired. Just to be honest, it is a banana republic kind of thing. 

(....)

DEL PERCIO: And Donald Trump is a lot more of a simpleton than Richard Nixon was. And, at this point, he is just looking for anything to muddle up the environment and not put blame at his own feet. The fact is the way he has been acting has hurt Republicans in swing districts and the — we are seeing more and more proof in the polling that the Democrats are off to at least take back the House with 23 seats and maybe go as high as 40. 

MATTHEWS: Yeah, but it’s not because of the help of the guy — the Rasputin over there. 

DEL PERCIO: No, absolutely not. It’s because of the — Donald Trump is colluding to create this bad problem. 

(....)

JILL WINE-BANKS: So many similarities between the Nixon Watergate and what’s happening now. Only now I think is much more threatening because at least the people who were involved in the crimes were Americans. This one is a foreign adversary of ours and that makes it much more serious and Donald Trump makes up things. He says them repeatedly. He’s learned that if you say them over and over often enough that people will believe it and that’s why he keeps saying no collusion. That’s why he keeps saying things that have absolutely no facts behind them just like this. It's clear from our intelligence reports and from the indictment that the Russians were trying to help Nixon — I'm sorry, were trying to help Trump. 

MATTHEWS: Same difference. 

WINE-BANKS: They have merged in my mind. 

MATTHEWS: I know. Well, let me go back to Yamiche on this question. You have Bob Corker, I know he is one of the first Amendment Republicans because they can only speak on their way out, right? He’s a First — like Charlie Dent and the rest of them and Flake. They’re all talk. He says this third world stuff. The kind of stuff you get in a Third — I am going to yank your clearances kind of stuff. 

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: I mean, here’s the thing. I — obviously, as a reporter, I’m not going to comment on whether it’s right or wrong to do that. But there’s this idea that president trump is politicizing every part of the government, including things that weren’t politicized. You have the FBI, the DOJ, now you have whether or not high ranking security officials are going to be able to have the security clearances if they have to give their opinions on things. The reason why they keep their security clearances is because they need to be consulted at times if something big is happening, if you need to go back to talk to a former CIA director. That’s not about politics. That’s about whether or not there’s a national security risk and you need to go back to the guy before you. So, this President is saying I don't like what you are saying about me and I’m personally affronted by saying what you’re saying about me, so I am going do this to you. 

(....)

HOUSE SPEAKER PAUL RYAN: I think he is trolling people honestly. This is something that is in the purview of executive branch. I think some of these people have lost their clearances. Some people keep their clearances. That’s something that the executive branch deals with. It’s not really in our purview. 

KASIE HUNT: But is — I mean, with the banana republic comments that some of your colleagues have made. 

RYAN: I think he’s just trolling people. 

MATTHEWS: What does that mean? We know what trolling means, causing the other side to get upset, get them to say stupid stuff. But why would the Speaker of the House be so chicken as to not do it? Anyway, it’s another example of how, through all of this, Republican members of Congress have largely stood by this President. As the Washington editorial — as The Washington Post editorial board writes: “From some combination of fear, coercion and willing appeasement, members of President Trump's party who should know better debase themselves...in service of his petty whims.” Meanwhile, a White House spokesman said tonight that the President has begun the mechanisms to remove security clearances from the individuals named yesterday. David Corn, why can't somebody who’s on the left, right, and center have the same rights? Why can’t a critic of the President have the same rights as an ex-spook — an ex-intelligence official as someone out there kissing his butt all day. It’s the same government. A little freedom would help.

(....)

CORN: You know, each — we’ve become normalized to Trump's craziness and today, it’s gone from 11 to 12 to 13 to 15 and —

MATTHEWS: The number of people he’s yanking? 

CORN: — in terms of the level of nuts, I mean, he has now said Russia does meddle but for the Democrats. I mean, you know — 

MATTHEWS: Oh, I see. 

CORN: — that’s a complete flip. Then, this banana —

MATTHEWS: That is not a hoax. A hoax is not a hoax.

CORN: — no, it’s not a hoax now. It was a hoax, and now it is not a hoax.

MATTHEWS: So, we’ll make up a hoax.

CORN: It’s completely — it doesn't have a sense of logic. It’s lying and then when you have Paul Ryan said, it is just trolling. Well, no, it’s not just trolling. They are doing this. So, you have a liar, an autocrat, and someone who talks as if he’s delusional all at once and may — trying to distract us from the big picture, what he did with Putin, what’s happening with the investigation, The failure of the tariff war and all about his dangling this craziness in front of us and we keep chasing after it. 

(....)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, Bloomberg is now reporting that, according to Trump laywer — he is a lawyer, isn’t he — Rudy Giuliani: “Trump would agree to an interview Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators if it’s limited to questions on whether his presidential campaign colluded with Russia to avoid the chance of a perjury charge. Trump is demanding in return,” for being questioned, “that he isn't asked questions about obstruction of justice....under a proposal the president’s legal team has submitted to Mueller.” Let me go to Yamiche on this. This is sort of like John Wilkes Booth will take any question except the question with Ford’s Theater. I mean, this is about sorry, this is about obstruction. It is the first tranche of charges that are expected to come from Robert Mueller’s team. Obstruction of justice charges. He says I won’t talk about obstruction of justice because that gets to motive and I’m not going to give you my motive.

NBDaily Campaigns & Elections 2018 Congressional Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Trump-Russia probe MSNBC Hardball Video Government & Press Chris Matthews Yamiche Alcindor David Corn Susan Del Percio Donald Trump
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