Watch Matthews Start Screaming Indiscriminately at Panelists Over Whitaker

A few segments before his unhinged rant suggesting prayer should be outlawed concerning tragedies like the California bar shooting and that gun rights don’t come from God, MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews showed his disdain for the President and acting Attorney Matt Whitaker by screeching out of the blue at friendly panelists.

This bizarre tangents came to a boil when he didn’t so much ask a question of The Washington Post’s Robert Costa as he did blurt out that Trump has “got steel [balls] to pulls this off” by firing Sessions and replacing him with Whitaker.

 

 

Matthews kept screeching and when he was done, Costa only got out eight quick words (one sentence) before Matthews lost it (click “expand”):

MATTHEWS: How come we all thought he couldn’t do this and now he’s just done it in our face and nobody is trying to really stop him from doing this? He's taking control of his own investigation, an investigation of him. It's all in his control now. It's breathtaking, and nobody in the Republican Party or in the Democratic Party has stood up and said we're going to stop this. This will not stand. No one is saying this about his picking of Whitaker. How come? 

COSTA: Well, Democrats are certainly calling for his recusal. 

MATTHEWS: Of course, they're calling for — that is so wifty. I don't co what the word is. Of course, he's not going to recuse himself. He took the job not to recuse himself. Why would they call for him to do it? He's now the acting attorney general. He doesn't have to listen to Democrats. 

COSTA: Well, they’re going to make a choice, are they going to call for the President's impeachment for this kind of move. 

MATTHEWS: Do you think they will? Do you really think they will for picking the guy he wants as attorney general? That's — that’s impeachable? 

COSTA: We haven't — we haven’t seen that kind of message yet from the Democrats. 

MATTHEWS: Keep listening.

COSTA: In fact, the Democratic leadership talked about a possible deal with the President. 

Matthews discarded Costa and went to former Democratic Congresswoman Liz Holtzman (NY), telling her that he’s “never seen such wet liberalism.” #Awkward. But Matthews kept moving, bemoaning: “Wet, gooey, gee whiz, please recuse yourself. How about using the power given to you by your office and stopping this?”

Holtzman replied that “[i]t's not an issue of weak liberalism,” but rather “just weakness because this is something that affects Republicans. Democrats, independents” as people must ask if America has become “a banana republic.” 

Matthews hit back that “[w]hen you got bananas for the opposition, you have a banana republic” and cast doubt on the idea of these Justice Department moves being taken to the courts because Trump has “just stacked” it “with his guy, with his deciding vote, is going to pull away his new acting attorney general.”

When New York Times columnist Bret Stephens brought up subpoenas, Matthews suffered another outburst and wondered if the Sergeant at Arms would try to serve a subpoena against the President by dragging him by force from the White House (click “expand”):

MATTHEWS: Who enforces those subpoenas? What court? 

STEPHENS: Well — 

MATTHEWS: Ha. 

STEPHENS: Well, maybe. 

MATTHEWS: You think — you think Kavanaugh, his first major act in history, is going to be the fifth vote for — 

HOLTZMAN: You should know this. Congress can actually haul someone who’s in contempt of congress into their office. 

MATTHEWS: What? They’re going to send the sergeant in arms? 

HOLTZMAN: You betcha. 

MATTHEWS: Alright. Okay, Elizabeth. That's an absurd [sic]. They're going to send the sergeant in arms, a political appointee to go to the White House and demand the President show up? Come on.

STEPHENS: Well, Congress has subpoenas and if Trump wants — 

MATTHEWS: Come on.

STEPHENS: — to make himself look guilty, the quickest way he can do that is trying to — is trying to quash — quash the report.

“[Y]ou don't have to like him or respect him. That's easy, but look what he's pulling off here. He actually is pulling a Inchon landing like MacArthur in the Korea. I’m going in behind. I'm going in behind Rosenstein. I'm going to make the whole probe by Mueller ineffective because I’ve got the attorney general on my team now,” Matthews added.

After Matthews again complained about “wet liberalism” with Democrats refusing to go beyond rhetoric or calls for impeachment, he concluded with Stephens and how unlikely it is that Whitaker will recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller probe.

Costa added that any refusal by Whitaker to take any hypothetical advice from DOJ ethics lawyers about recusal “would raise questions about your status as a lawyer.”

“Well, I got to tell you. Trump will be surprised by this, in fact, some commanding authority below the new acting attorney general below even the cabinet that's going to tell Trump what he can do,” Matthews surmised.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on November 8, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
November 8, 2018
7:05 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: And I think that he's got steel ones to pull this off. I mean, it’s unbelievable. He didn't go to Rosenstein. Everybody in the planet said he's got to go to Rosenstein as the fallback if he gets rid of Sessions. Out of nowhere, he picks in this guy who auditioned for the job of Trump protector for months. He got the job. How come we all thought he couldn’t do this and now he’s just done it in our face and nobody is trying to really stop him from doing this? He's taking control of his own investigation, an investigation of him. It's all in his control now. It's breathtaking, and nobody in the Republican Party or in the Democratic Party has stood up and said we're going to stop this. This will not stand. No one is saying this about his picking of Whitaker. How come? 

ROBERT COSTA: Well, Democrats are certainly calling for his recusal. 

MATTHEWS: Of course, they're calling for — that is so wifty. I don't co what the word is. Of course, he's not going to recuse himself. He took the job not to recuse himself. Why would they call for him to do it? He's now the acting attorney general. He doesn't have to listen to Democrats. 

COSTA: Well, they’re going to make a choice, are they going to call for the President's impeachment for this kind of move. 

MATTHEWS: Do you think they will? Do you really think they will for picking the guy he wants as attorney general? That's — that’s impeachable? 

COSTA: We haven't — we haven’t seen that kind of message yet from the Democrats. 

MATTHEWS: Keep listening.

COSTA: In fact, the Democratic leadership talked about a possible deal with the President. 

MATTHEWS: I'm going to go to Liz Holtzman. I mean, I’m not saying anybody in the past is better than today, but I have never seen such wet liberalism. Wet, gooey, gee whiz, please recuse yourself. How about using the power given to you by your office and stopping this? And nobody — he’s picked his guy to take — he’s not going to answer questions. Giuliani is working in the back room. Chris Christie wants to be the full-time attorney general. They're all in this together. They're not going to give it they got it. 

LIZ HOLTZMAN: Right. 

MATTHEWS: And he lost 35 to 40 seats in the House. He's still grabbing for power. 

HOLTZMAN: It's not an issue of weak liberalism. It's just weakness. 

MATTHEWS: It is — it’s weakness. 

HOLTZMAN: It’s just weakness because this is something that affects Republicans. Democrats, independents. Are we a banana republic, do we have a President of the United States who can stop investigations into himself, his family, his friends? 

MATTHEWS: When you got bananas for the opposition, you have a banana republic. I don't hear anybody saying we're going to fight this in the courts. 

HOLTZMAN: It needs to be fought in the courts and it's not clear who's got the power to do it. There are a few other questions here. Is the appointment even legal? Forget about a recusal. 

MATTHEWS: You say legal. That means the Supreme Court that he’s just stacked with his guy, with his deciding vote, is going to pull away his new acting attorney general? You really think this Supreme Court, led now by the decisive vote of Brett Kavanaugh, who also was picked because he's a Trump guy, who believes in — right? This guy, Bret Stephens, and this guy, Matt Whitaker, all believe in strengthening the power of the President.

BRETT STEPHENS: Well, I mean, look. We're going to find out if Whitaker actually tries to quash the investigation. Look, the good news is that the Mueller probe is far -- 

MATTHEWS: How about starving it? Forget squashing it. How about getting rid of their computers and staff? 

STEPHENS: There are all kinds of ways. You’re absolutely right. There are all kinds of guerilla-style tactics that Whitaker can employ to basically destroy the Mueller investigation. I don't think it's going to be so easy for him to do that. Why? First of all, because the investigation is very far along. We’re now 18, 19 months into it. Secondly, Congress is soon going to have subpoena power to find out what Mueller knows, and thirdly — 

MATTHEWS: Who enforces those subpoenas? What court? 

STEPHENS: Well — 

MATTHEWS: Ha. 

STEPHENS: Well, maybe. 

MATTHEWS: You think — you think Kavanaugh, his first major act in history, is going to be the fifth vote for — 

HOLTZMAN: You should know this. Congress can actually haul someone who’s in contempt of congress into their office. 

MATTHEWS: What? They’re going to send the sergeant in arms? 

HOLTZMAN: You betcha. 

MATTHEWS: Alright. Okay, Elizabeth. That's an absurd [sic]. They're going to send the sergeant in arms, a political appointee to go to the White House and demand the President show up? Come on.

STEPHENS: Well, Congress has subpoenas and if Trump wants — 

MATTHEWS: Come on.

STEPHENS: — to make himself look guilty, the quickest way he can do that is trying to — is trying to quash — quash the report. I think Robert Mueller has sufficient political credibility, precisely because Democrats did — did make such gains in the House that it's dangerous for Trump simply to try to kill the Mueller probe. It simply makes him look guilty. 

MATTHEWS: Let's go back to how clever this President is and you don't have to like him or respect him. That's easy, but look what he's pulling off here. He actually is pulling a Inchon landing like MacArthur in the Korea. I’m going in behind. I'm going in behind Rosenstein. I'm going to make the whole probe by Mueller ineffective because I’ve got the attorney general on my team now. 

(....)

7:11 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS:  Liz Holtzman, I don't know the law like you do. Obstruction of justice, the President may have done it again, but they're not going to stop him, it seems, because it is within his legal power to pick an acting attorney general after he got Jeff Sessions to, “at your request,” Mr. President, I'm resigning. Creating an opening for his guy. 

HOLTZMAN: Well, but if the objective here by Trump was to stop the Mueller investigation, prevent his son from being indicted —

MATTHEWS: Right.

HOLTZMAN: — prevent Roger Stone from being indicted, prevent himself from being named in some kind of indictment, 

MATTHEWS: Right.

HOLTZMAN: — then it's definitely an impeachment offense. I don't know if it's prosecutable. 

MATTHEWS: Okay, well, here we go again. Wet liberalism. It's awful but we can't do anything about it.

(....)

7:14 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Well, Bret Stephens, I got to ask you the final question tonight, knowing all you know about this case, knowing who Matt Whitaker is, why he applied for the job, why he got the job as acting Attorney General. What on a score of 1 to 100 are the chances he will recuse himself from the Russian probe?

STEPHENS: Five. 

MATTHEWS: Five. You think he might do it? 

STEPHENS: I mean, zero being the least chance. I’d say there's a five percent chance. 

MATTHEWS: You think he's going to betray the President of the United States? 

STEPHENS:  Well, because he might be interested in bidding for the job, and I think if he quashes the probe when there’s serious investigations of — serious evidence of malfeasance, kills his chances of ever being attorney general for beyond the 210 days he has. 

MATTHEWS: Yeah, okay. Well anyway — go head.

COSTA: Chris, the DOJ may have to make a decision. He may not make the decision himself. DOJ ethics lawyers could say to Mr. Whitaker: “Sir, you can't oversee it.”

MATTHEWS: Is that binding, Robert? 

COSTA: It's binding for him to even practice law. If you get ethical guidance from the Department of Justice that you can't oversee an investigation and you refuse to comply, that would raise questions about your status as a lawyer. 

MATTHEWS: Well, I got to tell you. Trump will be surprised by this, in fact, some commanding authority below the new acting attorney general below even the cabinet that's going to tell Trump what he can do.


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