Matthews on Sessions Firing: Trump’s Started a ‘Street Fight’ That ‘Threatens...His Liberty’

MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews opened Wednesday’s show following the midterm elections and the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions on a tour de force, deeming Sessions' axing “a lightning strike” by the President as he “struck out at his enemies,” including Special Counsel Robert Mueller because it “threatens Trump’s family, his presidency, and perhaps even his liberty.”

Rarely pausing to catch himself, Matthews unleashed from the opening tag of “street fight” and, from MSNBC’s headquarters in New York, he declared that “[i]t was a big fight — a big night, rather, for Democrats last night, taking control of the House of Representatives, giving this country a vital check on this President.”

 

 

Matthews continued to spout off, seeming to suggest that the chances of Trump facing prison time were at stake (click “expand”):

Then obviously suffering from that rebuke at the ballot box, Donald Trump struck out at his enemies today with all of his fury. He dumped the Attorney General he’s never forgiven for betraying him, striking through the hours of after hour election morning grogginess to put his own man as Attorney General, where he can crush the historic probe that threatens Trump’s family, his presidency, and perhaps even his liberty. Pushing out Jeff Sessions and bringing in the obliging Matt Whitaker is a lightning strike just hours after the midterm congressional elections....It gives him an A.G. whose views of presidential power comports with those of the new Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh...Trump now moves to utilize his broad notion of executive power to quash Mueller before Mueller strikes at Trump’s family, a step he has reason to fear is imminent.

Matthews returned to this line of thinking in his show-ending “Trump Watch” commentary, trying to explain the hysteria by admitting that the Sessions firing was expected but not the day after the election.

“Donald Trump brought this street fighting ways to the White House when he came there and when someone is coming at you, you strike before they strike you and today, Trump struck and it won't be the last time,” Matthews opined before predicting that acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker “will accept as normal political behavior that others might easily discern as advancing a criminal conspiracy by Russians.”

The MSNBC pundit then signed off: “What's Trump up to? Trump wants to eliminate a threat to his family, his presidency and perhaps even his liberty. This is going to be one of the great fights in the history of the American government and politics and that's Hardball for now. He's fighting for his life.”

In between, various guests reaffirmed Matthews’s ego. Legal analyst Mimi Rocah stated her case that firing Sessions was “as bad as him having fired Mueller and maybe even worse” because of Trump has proven to be “a very smart calculating guy” in this scenario because Whitaker “can control not only the Mueller investigations but the Southern District of New York into the Trump Organization, any cases that Mueller farmed out to the Eastern District of Virginia.”

Mother Jones’s David Corn resurrected what’s quickly become one of the more tiring phrases used in the liberal media in a “Saturday Night Massacre.”

“So I think to truly get away with smothering this, even strangling it budgetarily, you know, speaking would take a lot of people it go along with that and if they don't, you could have something that looks 100 times worse than Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre,” Corn predicted.

While bizarrely struggling to parse together his view of how the President views the government, Matthews told Corn:

He sees the federal government as a family prop — Oprah — family business and the way he looks at it perhaps like an organized criminal at times and I think he looks at it this way, there was a mention of a wartime consigliere. he wants somebody like that in the justice department for him. He's not going to take a licking. He's not going to let his kids go to prison.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on November 7, click “expand.”

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

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Street fight. Let’s play Hardball. [HARDBALL OPENING CREDITS]. Good evening. I’m Chris Matthews up in New York. It was a big fight — a big night, rather, for Democrats last night, taking control of the House of Representatives, giving this country a vital check on this President. Then obviously suffering from that rebuke at the ballot box, Donald Trump struck out at his enemies today with all of his fury. He dumped the Attorney General he’s never forgiven for betraying him, striking through the hours of after hour election morning grogginess to put his own man as Attorney General, where he can crush the historic probe that threatens Trump’s family, his presidency, and perhaps even his liberty. The new A.G., in brazen loyalty to Donald Trump, the man as well as the President, has declared his personality hostility to the Mueller investigation. In that closer to Trump’s heart, the new AG has declared that notorious June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in which Donald Trump, Jr. met with Russian agents offering dirt on Hillary Clinton was merely normal political business and no basis for a prosecution. Pushing out Jeff Sessions and bringing in the obliging Matt Whitaker is a lightning strike just hours after the midterm congressional elections. It gives Trump what he set his heart on since becoming President — an attorney general who will protect him. It gives him an A.G. whose views of presidential power comports with those of the new Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh and with Kav — with Whitaker heading Justice, with Kavanaugh as the deciding vote on the nation’s highest court, Trump now moves to utilize his broad notion of executive power to quash Mueller before Mueller strikes at Trump’s family, a step he has reason to fear is imminent.

(....)

7:10 p.m. Eastern

MIMI ROCAH: And that’s why, I think this is — I think, Chris, as bad as him having fired Mueller and maybe even worse and let me tell you why. First of all, he’s done it in this sort stealth way. I mean, I don't know I've thought of Trump as a very smart calculating guy, but he is here now. 

MATTHEWS: He is President. He got there somehow. 

ROCAH: Well, yeah. Well and we can debate that another time.

MATTHEWS: And when I walked past Trump Tower here on Fifth Avenue I don't know about how but I'm impressed. 

ROCAH: But this —

MATTHEWS: He does own that building. I think he does.

ROCAH: But this is a very calculated move that he did.

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

ROCAH: He put this guy in who can control not only the Mueller investigations but the Southern District of New York into the Trump Organization, any cases that Mueller farmed out to the Eastern District of Virginia. 

MATTHEWS: Whitaker’s got all this.

ROCAH: He has got more control now over lots of different arms going into Trump's family. And that is really dangerous, and he's got cover now.

(....)

7:14 p.m. Eastern

DAVID CORN: You know, Chris, we call this the Mueller investigation, but really it’s an FBI investigation. It was started by the FBI after Comey was fired. The special counsel was appointed to oversee it and run it, but so, if you get rid of Mueller, that doesn't necessarily end the investigation. You would have to get the FBI to shut it down, to fire all those prosecutors, and that brings the FBI director and lots of other officials into the picture and the question is would they go along with it? So I think to truly get away with smothering this, even strangling it budgeitarily, you know, speaking would take a lot of people it go along with that and if they don't, you could have something that looks 100 times worse than Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre. 

MATTHEWS: So you don't think he'll fire Mueller? 

CORN: Oh, I'm not sure right away, but I’m not sure he understands this. You get rid of Mueller, it doesn't mean the investigation goes away unless you're willing — ordering the FBI to shut it down, which is kinda what Nixon went — lost his presidency by trying to shutdown the FBI investigation of Watergate.

MATTHEWS: Yeah. Well, all I know is Trump and you know him too, David.

CORN: Yeah, I know.

MATTHEWS: Everybody else here knows him and Trump sees the presidency as a family acquisition. 

CORN: Yep.

MATTHEWS: He sees the federal government as a family prop — Oprah — family business and the way he looks at it perhaps like an organized criminal at times and I think he looks at it this way, there was a mention of a wartime consigliere. he wants somebody like that in the justice department for him. He's not going to take a licking. He's not going to let his kids go to prison.

CORN: You’re right. I think that’s Trump.

MATTHEWS: He will not let that happen. And I'm just watching how many steps will he take to prevent that from happening, because he will take those steps. 

(....)

7:59 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Trump watch Wednesday November 7th, 2018. Did we expect the day after the midterm elections to be like this? No. But did we know this day would come? Yes. Donald Trump brought this street fighting ways to the White House when he came there and when someone is coming at you, you strike before they strike you and today, Trump struck. And it won't be the last time. He forced out his AG and filled in the post a man who will honor the fullest notion of the President’s powers, who will accept as normal political behavior that others might easily discern as advancing a criminal conspiracy by Russians. What's Trump up to? Trump wants to eliminate a threat to his family, his presidency and perhaps even his liberty. This is going to be one of the great fights in the history of the American government and politics and that's Hardball for now. He's fighting for his life.


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