Cray, Cray: Maher, Matthews Go Off, Wonder If Trump Will Leave WH Peacefully

The crazy train flew off the tracks just five minutes into Tuesday’s Hardball, thanks to host Chris Matthews inviting on HBO’s Real Time host Bill Maher for roughly 10 minutes of banter about the President, the Russia investigation, and how neither believe the President will leave on his own terms and perhaps not even then. 

Matthews began by lamenting that Maher has been off for some time (since November) and asking what he made of “this massacre of democracy” by a President whom the media have been wondering “whether he's a Russian agent.”

 

 

Maher responded that “it’s about time” it’s been asked because he’s “been using the word treason and traitor for the whole time he's been in office” and while he initially received pushback, “I don’t hear that anymore.” He then suggested that Trump offering praise for Putin in Helsinki was akin to George W. Bush defending Osama bin Laden after 9/11.

When given the chance to opine on a New York Times report that the FBI investigated the President for being a Russian agent, Maher suggested that every Trump article should feature a lede that states “President Trump, who suffers from being a clinical narcissist.” 

Maher then went on a rant about getting Trump out of office (click “expand”):

[T]here is no difference in his mind, his sick mind between doing what is right for him and doing what is right the country....There is only what is right and good for Donald Trump. So, I don't know how we get out of this except by getting him out of office. I mean, I wasn't necessarily for impeachment until recently but I think you have to go ahead and do it. I know it’s pretty hard to convict, but if you don't do it with him, where is the bar? And what — what sort of damage is he going to do for the — for the next two years he is there in this office? I think the question for everybody is who — who’s side are you on? Are you on FBI's side? I mean, he’s got Republicans attacking the FBI and all our institutions. Are you with Trump, this one man — this sick man? Or are you with the FBI? Are you with the rule of law? Are you with Donald Trump? Are you with judges? Are you with everything we've basically built our country on? Or are you going to throw it all away for this one guy? I want to know what the Republicans — those enablers, the Lindsey Grahams are thinking? What are you lying to cover up for this guy and you don't even know what you're lying to cover up? 

Later, Matthews brought up a Washington Post column by Ted Koppel that wondered whether Trump would peacefully leave the White House and, if he did, would he reek havoc on our constitutional republic. 

Not surprisingly, Maher agreed with this fear and then offered that latest example in the liberal media of comparing Trump to Adolf Hitler (click “expand”):

I've always said that. He's going to go when he wants to go. I don't think — he was saying in the last election that it's rigged, except that he won and it wasn't rigged, but if he loses, he's already planted that seed with his people that the whole thing is rigged, that they're all against him. You know, if you can't trust the FBI and the Justice Department and the rule of law and the judges, well then obviously an election can be faked. So if everything is fake news and everything is rigged, when he loses the election, they're not going to accept that. That's what he knows. He has that army in the street. That’s what dictators want more than anything else. They don’t care about the rule of law. They care about the street. The gutterhead come can to power is that's what historians said about Hitler. That's what this is. 

Going further down the brain drain, Matthews invoked America in the same breath as Congo and Zimbabwe while Maher complained about how not enough Americans trust what The New York Times spoon-feeds them (click “expand”):

MATTHEWS: Let’s talk about permanent damage. You know, you and I read the papers. We keep up with countries that — like the Congo, what's going on in Zimbabwe. Poor countries that have just begun experimenting with democracy. They got tribal differences and every time a guy loses. They claim it was stolen. Every time they win, they try to arrest the guy they beat. It’s like Trump is like that. Lock her up was....his jingle for the last couple years.....He's teaching a good portion of the American people not to trust any objective fact, including numbers in election. 

MAHER: Well, that's how all dictators do it. They have to destroy truth first because if people reads the paper, if people knew it was going on, then obviously they would be upset but they don't and they especially don't hear it inside the Fox News bubble. So what you have is someone who can tell you what the truth is. They believe him more than what they believe in The New York Times because they don't read The New York Times. So you're left with a situation where there is no truth, where you're just going to pick sides and that's what we have. That’s why we have this terrible lack of bipartisanship. Forget about getting anything done in the country. We’re just sort of fighting for our life now as a country. 

After providing his take on the Steve King controversy, Maher pivoted back to Trump by stating that “the question we always have to ask is what will the Republicans put up with” even though “most of the country thinks that Donald Trump is a dangerous menace.”

“So you're either on that page or you are pro-dangerous menace and if the Republicans are going to go down this road where they are going to defend him, even when he is taking down the FBI, the Justice Department, those institutions, those pillars of our society, then I don’t know where we're going to go. We’re going to go someplace that isn't America anymore,” Maher continued.

In the next segment, Matthews asked Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell (CA) what he discussed with Maher about Trump leaving the White House (click “expand”):

MATTHEWS: [H]e said today he doesn't have any reason to believe Donald Trump will leave, physically the white house if he's not reelected or if he’s impeached and convicted. He's not convinced he would abide by the Constitution? What’s your view?

SWALWELL: There is no way. He is a fighter through and through, that that is one trait I will give him credit for. I think he thinks he’s above the law and he would never leave, which is the problem here. But we have to either impeach him in the Congress or impeach him at the ballot box but he's not going out — he’s not going out on his own. 

Matthews reiterated at the end of the show that what’s taking place in Trump’s American should only be popping up “in countries less committed to democracy than ours,” but in his mind, Trump has a permanent base of support that could lead to any number of scenarios.

When it came to offering specific conspiracy theories, Matthews offered possibilities ranging from creating a third party a la Teddy Roosevelt to “a new lost cause like we saw in the south after the Civil War” or simply decide that “the election results are fake news and refuses to budge.”

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on January 15, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
January 15, 2019
7:05 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATHEWS: I’m joined right now by Bill Maher, host of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO. Bill, thank you and we miss you and you're coming back and that's great. 

BILL MAHER: Thank you. 

MATHEWS: In the time you've been away and watching this massacre of democracy, this President has been asked whether he's a Russian agent now? You’d have to go back to the 1940s — Alger Hiss, you know, the Rosenbergs. I mean, the idea that the President of the United States is accused by the paper of record of working for the bad guys. 

MAHER: It's about time. I've been using the word treason and traitor for the whole time he's been in office and every guest I’ve had on the show has been saying I was an alarmist and I was over stating the case. I don’t hear that anymore. I hear those words used a lot more. That's what it is. What is it when you're plainly are with the people who are not us? Didn't we see that in Helsinki? Plainly, he was saying: “Given the choice I'd go with President Putin. President Putin says he didn't do it. I don't know why he would?” Can you imagine if Bush, after 9/11, had stood on the it rubble with the bullhorn and said: “Well, bin Laden says he didn't do it. I don't know why he would have.”

MATHEWS: That's what defense attorneys do. They defend their defender,

MAHER: Yeah. So —

MATTHEWS: And what do you make — what do you make of the fact that, if you look at this just as a citizen out there, they said The New York Times said the FBI, a bunch of bureaucrats really, not Democrats, investigated him because they thought his behavior matched that of an agent. He was doing things one after another, include firing the Comey that seemed to be in the interest of one party, the Russians and Putin. Is there anything in between — between guilty as charged and innocent? Because some people have to say, “well, maybe, there was some unwitting helping of the Russians.” I don’t understand that theory. Yours?

MAHER: No, I think what you have to understand about him is that he's this political narcissist. I think every article about Donald Trump should begin: “President Trump, who suffers from being a clinical narcissist” and go on with the story because there is no difference in his mind, his sick mind between doing what is right for him and doing what is right the country. He doesn’t — I don't think he thinks in terms of whether he's betraying anybody. There is no betraying. There is only what is right and good for Donald Trump. So, I don't know how we get out of this except by getting him out of office. I mean, I wasn't necessarily for impeachment until recently but I think you have to go ahead and do it. I know it’s pretty hard to convict, but if you don't do it with him, where is the bar? And what — what sort of damage is he going to do for the — for the next two years he is there in this office? I think the question for everybody is who — who’s side are you on? Are you on the FBI's side? I mean, he’s got Republicans attacking the FBI and all our institutions. Are you with Trump, this one man — this sick man? Or are you with the FBI? Are you with the rule of law? Are you with Donald Trump? Are you with judges? Are you with everything we've basically built our country on? Or are you going to throw it all away for this one guy? I want to know what the Republicans — those enablers, the Lindsey Grahams are thinking? What are you lying to cover up for this guy and you don't even know what you're lying to cover up? 

MATTHEWS: Well, that's a question if you step back 101 contacts between the Trump people going into the presidency, 101 contacts with Russians, I’ve spend my life with pretty much getting around and I haven't met many Russians. Maybe one or two by accident. All these 100 Russians and I got nothing against people of Russia, but how many contacts can you have without somebody saying what's up? Even the Republicans. 

MAHER: And this is just what we know he does plainly, what he does in public, what he does in front of the cameras. I mean his defense seems to be “I was only giving orders.” What we're going to find out in the Mueller report, I have no idea but it’s going to be more of the same. Look, it's not that complicated. If, at some point he couldn't borrow money from anybody else, so he got it from the Russians. Cut to the hookers in the hotel room. I mean, that’s what this whole thing is about. He is into them. I don't know if it was witting or unwitting and I say when you're a narcissist like him, it doesn’t really matter. He doesn't think that far ahead. He doesn't think. He just says — this is what I wish people would start understanding. He just says at any given moment what he wishes the reality was. “I told — 

MATTHEWS: Well, here’s a —

MAHER: I made Kim give up his — yeah? 

MATHEWS: — Ted — Ted Koppel wrote a beautifully written article saying watch out when this guy is out of office, whether the voters kick him out in 2020 or the Mueller report leads him to be impeached and convicted. Either way, he's going to be out there. I just looked at his latest numbers Trump's at 31. That's 1/3 of the country is strongly behind him. Do you think he’s going to go? You suggested he may not leave? 

MAHER: Yes. I've always said that. He's going to go when he wants to go. I don't think — he was saying in the last election that it's rigged, except that he won and it wasn't rigged, but if he loses, he's already planted that seed with his people that the whole thing is rigged, that they're all against him. You know, if you can't trust the FBI and the Justice Department and the rule of law and the judges, well then obviously an election can be faked. So if everything is fake news and everything is rigged, when he loses the election, they're not going to accept that. That's what he knows. He has that army in the street. That’s what dictators want more than anything else. They don’t care about the rule of law. They care about the street. The gutterhead come can to power is that's what historians said about Hitler. That's what this is. 

MATHEWS: Let’s talk about permanent damage. You know, you and I read the papers. We keep up with countries that — like the Congo, what's going on in Zimbabwe. Poor countries that have just begun experimenting with democracy. They got tribal differences and every time a guy loses. They claim it was stolen. Every time they win, they try to arrest the guy they beat. It’s like Trump is like that. Lock her up was his — what his — what do you call it? His jingle. His jingle for the last couple years. Arrest Hillary Clinton as a joke and when he doesn’t like something, as you say, if he had lost the election in the Electoral College, he would have said it was stolen. He's teaching a good portion of the American people not to trust any objective fact, including numbers in election. 

MAHER: Well, that's how all dictators do it. They have to destroy truth first because if people reads the paper, if people knew it was going on, then obviously they would be upset but they don't and they especially don't hear it inside the Fox News bubble. 

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

MAHER: So what you have is someone who can tell you what the truth is. They believe him more than what they believe in The New York Times because they don't read The New York Times

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

MAHER: So you're left with a situation where there is no truth, where you're just going to pick sides and that's what we have. That’s why we have this terrible lack of bipartisanship. Forget about getting anything done in the country. We’re just sort of fighting for our life now as a country. 

MATHEWS: What do you make of this Steven King thing today? I'm not talking about the novelist, the guy who writes the scary stories, This guy from Iowa, finally, he's been pushing the envelope for years like Don Imus used to do and now he’s doing it, they finally today passed a resolution in the U.S. Congress saying this is awful, we don't believe white house supremacy. They're making it official.

MAHER: I mean look where the bar is, Chris, that we're cheering the Republicans because they say they don't believe in white supremacy. This is how far down we've gone. This is where they draw the line. I'm glad they drew the line somewhere because I was beginning to wonder if they would ever draw a line. But again the question we always have to ask is what will the Republicans put up with? That’s what it comes down to. Obviously most of the country thinks that Donald Trump is a dangerous menace. So you're either on that page or you are pro-dangerous menace and if the Republicans are going to go down this road where they are going to defend him, even when he is taking down the FBI, the Justice Department, those institutions, those pillars of our society, then I don’t know where we're going to go. We’re going to go someplace that isn't America anymore. 

MATHEWS: Who could rebuild the country of all the candidates you’re looking at? Are you ready to look at something and see something there that might lead to a truly great presidency with all these 30 people talk about running in 2020? 

MAHER: Well, any presidency would be better. I’m glad we’re having a big field because I want the Democrats to find the best candidate available. I want them to go through a rigorous primary process. I think most people are saying that on the left and that's a good thing. So, I don’t about all these people. You know, people are asking all the time, what do you think of Beto? I don’t know. It's like a band. I just heard one song so far. I want to hear more but I really don't know a lot of their stuff and that’s true with a lot of these people and we’re going to find out and that's what's good because I want the most talented politician to emerge. We all want that. We want someone who can beat Donald Trump. That’s the most important thing, so we'll find out who that is and I like a lot of the people I see so far. 

MATHEWS: You're a smart guy, Bill Maher. Thank you so much. I can't stop laughing when I’m on your show but when you’re here, you're so damn smart. Good luck with the show. Season 17.

MAHER: Well, thank you. 

MATHEWS: 17, talk about maturity. Real Time premieres this Friday at 10 o’clock Eastern on HBO and Bill will be back at the Mirage in LA — Las Vegas, actually, starting February 15th. You’re great and I've seen you in person too. 

(....)

7:24 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Do you think — we just had Bill Maher on. I know he’s a comic by profession.

DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN ERIC SWALWELL (CA): Smart guy. Yeah.

MATTHEWS: But he's one smart analyst and you’ve been on the show and he said today he doesn't have any reason to believe Donald Trump will leave, physically the white house if he's not reelected or if he’s impeached and convicted. He's not convinced he would abide by the Constitution? What’s your view?

SWALWELL: There is no way. He is a fighter through and through, that that is one trait I will give him credit for. I think he thinks he’s above the law and he would never leave, which is the problem here. But we have to either impeach him in the Congress or impeach him at the ballot box but he's not going out — he’s not going out on his own. 

(....)

7:59 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a question about the future. In countries less committed to democracy than ours, you can count on the winner of an election screaming that the loser be arrested and while the loser screams the election was rigged. Well, this is the language and mentality that Donald Trump has brought to American politics in the 21st century. The language and mentality that denies objective fact, including the fact of who won or lost an election. Ted Koppel, the great broadcast journalist, wrote a frightening article in today’s Washington Post on what a former President Donald Trump might do if told to leave the White House, either by the Congress or the voter. Koppel writes that Trump, even in defeat, could remain powerful and he has a point. A new Quinnipiac poll out today has Trump’s approval rating at 41 percent, up a bit since the government shutdown began. 33 percent are strongly approving of him. Well, Trump’s numbers haven't really changed since 2016 and what if he decides to form a third party after his presidency like Teddy Roosevelt did in 1912? What if he decides to lead a new lost cause like we saw in the south after the Civil War? What if he declares the election results are fake news and refuses to budge? Who knows? Do you?

NBDaily Push to Impeach Trump Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Trump-Russia probe MSNBC Hardball Chris Matthews Bill Maher Ted Koppel Donald Trump
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