Hope Restored? ‘Hardball’ Celebrates Manafort Ruling as Proof of ‘Collusion’ by Pro-Russia Trump

Following Tuesday’s devastating scoop for the liberal media that the Senate Intelligence Committee had not found evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, Wednesday’s Hardball celebrated a federal judge’s ruling that Paul Manafort had lied about his contacts with pro-Putin individuals as a sign that there was indeed “collusion” and, therefore, the President’s in trouble.

Less than a minute into the show, Matthews could barely contain his glee, proclaiming that The Washington Post is now reporting on the possible fulcrum of the Russian probe, a story of secret plans and a smoke-filled room high above Fifth Avenue” that “appears central to proving the campaign engaged in a conspiracy with the Russians.”

 

 

“It might have been what The Post is calling the fulcrum of the whole deal, the lock-up and the link-up, rather, that will lead to a lockups of — between Russians and the Trump people,” he added five minutes later.

Perhaps even more enthralled by this was Mother Jones’s David Corn, who insisted that this meant collusion took place between Trump and Russia (click “expand”):

CORN: This is the collusion. I mean, we’ve had examples of public collusion. This is private collusion. One thing that didn’t come up in the timeline you just put up, was that a few days before this meeting, Kilimnik sent Manafort an e-mail saying, our friend wants to talk to you. He has messages for you about the future of his country. This is regarded as a reference to Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch very close to Putin. So Manafort says, fine. I’ll see you Tuesday. Fly in and I will meet you. So he was responding to request basically to meet with an emissary of Oleg Deripaska and then why does —

MATTHEWS: And this guy, it is Kilimnik.

CORN: — it’s Kilimnik. And so —

MATTHEWS: At the cigar bar.

CORN: And then why does he lie to Mueller and the others? Cause they —

MATTHEWS: And why did they leave if separate exits? And why did they leave out separate doors?

Moving to the B-block, Matthews falsely asserted that, “on everything,” the President has sided with Russia which even Corn took issue with by insisting that they “stick to the core matter” of collusion:

David, I have to tell you, I’ve watched him. We’ve watched him. He has been Russia’s best friend, on Syria, on everything, on Ukraine, on Crimea, on nuclear INF, on blowing apart NATO, the worst thing that ever confronted Russia, really broke the back of the Soviet — the Soviet empire. Everything that Russians don’t like, he’s attacked. Everything the Russians like, he’s been for.

On Ukraine, the Trump administration has repeatedly sided with the government that’s been under siege from years by Putin. In December 2017, he approved lethal arms sales to the Ukrainians, who are locked in a years-long battle with Russian-backed separatists. So it’s not something that would be pleasing to Moscow. 

On Syria, the U.S. military has conducted airstrikes on the Syrian military following a chemical weapons attack, which is backed by Russia. And when it comes to the INF Treaty, the U.S. announced its withdrawal because of repeated Russian violations of the treaty. So leaving a treaty that Russia had been ignoring isn’t exactly kneeling before Putin either.

But wait, there’s more! Matthews made the case that Trump knew about Paul Manafort’s relations with Putin-friendly individuals because the candidate-campaign chairman relationship is on par with a patient-dentist relationship. 

Yes, really. Here was Matthews (click “expand”):

You know, Glenn, I did work in politics for years and I’ll tell you one thing that people don’t know about outside politics. When you write a speech, you write the speech for the guy you’re writing it for or the woman you’re writing it for. You know them, you know who they are, you know what they want and, by the way, the minute they read it, they say, this is what I want. There’s always that hand-in-glove relationship. It’s always there. It’s like a dentist. You go to the dentist, you don’t tell the dentist which teeth to work on. You don’t tell him how to work on them. You just trust him. He’s your agent or she’s your agent. That’s how it works. You don’t get orders. It’s all about a relationship. It’s sort of a symbiotic relationship. Paul Manafort was brought in as Mr. Russia, Mr. Connection with the pro-Russian Ukrainians. That was who he was. He may have looked like a croupier, but that’s who he was.

Before he went to commercial and then segments on border security talks, the Green New Deal, and defending Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro from John Bolton, Matthews asserted that this New York City cigar bar will be as infamous as the room at the Watergate where the break-in took place: “This is going to be a location, this cigar bar, like Watergate. This is going to be one of those locations where you’re going to look up and say, you know what? That’s where they cut the deal.”

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on February 13, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
February 13, 2019
7:00 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: We have some late breaking news tonight. The federal judge in the case of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has sided with the special counsel, ruling that Manafort lied the prosecutors in violation of the plea agreement he struck last fall. Most important, one of Manafort’s lies involves his contacts with Konstantin Kilimink, a business associate with ties to Russian intelligence. It comes just as we get a glimpse now of how the Trump campaign may have colluded with the Russians. The Washington Post is now reporting on the possible fulcrum of the Russian probe, a story of secret plans and a smoke-filled room high above Fifth Avenue. As we first learned Monday, this was a meeting in August of 2016 that according to Mueller’s prosecutor “goes....to the heart of what the Special Counsel’s Office is investigating.” It appears central to proving the campaign engaged in a conspiracy with the Russians. The meeting took place in Manhattan in an exclusive cigar club called the Grand Havana Room which bills itself as prestigious with an air of quite elegance that is a masculine but extremely modern setting.

(....)

7:05 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: It might have been what The Post is calling the fulcrum of the whole deal, the lock-up and the link-up, rather, that will lead to a lockups of — between Russians and the Trump people.

(....)

7:13 p.m. Eastern

DAVID CORN: This is the collusion. I mean, we’ve had examples of public collusion. This is private collusion. One thing that didn’t come up in the timeline you just put up, was that a few days before this meeting, Kilimnik sent Manafort an e-mail saying, our friend wants to talk to you. He has messages for you about the future of his country. This is regarded as a reference to Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch very close to Putin. So Manafort says, fine. I’ll see you Tuesday. Fly in and I will meet you. So he was responding to request basically to meet with an emissary of Oleg Deripaska and then why does —

MATTHEWS: And this guy, it is Kilimnik.

CORN: — it’s Kilimnik. And so —

MATTHEWS: At the cigar bar.

CORN: And then why does he lie to Mueller and the others? Cause they —

MATTHEWS: And why did they leave if separate exits? And why did they leave out separate doors?

CORN: — this is what Manafort says. You know, we talked about this plan to bring peace in the Ukraine that could lead to the lifting of sanctions, but he tells Mueller, we didn’t talk about it again after that meeting. One of the lies that he’s been charged with here or found to have lied, is that he continued to work on that plan with Kilimnik through the election, after the election, into 2018. So here was Manafort trying to work on a pro-Russia initiative while he knew Russia was trying to help Trump, so if it’s not an explicit quid pro quo, you have to believe there’s a lot of nodding and winking in that meeting and afterward

(....)

7:24 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: David, I have to tell you, I’ve watched him. We’ve watched him. He has been Russia’s best friend, on Syria, on everything, on Ukraine, on Crimea, on nuclear INF, on blowing apart NATO, the worst thing that ever confronted Russia, really broke the back of the Soviet — the Soviet empire. Everything that Russians don’t like, he’s attacked. Everything the Russians like, he’s been for.

CORN: Let’s stick to the core matter here. The Russian attack on the U.S. election in 2016 to help Trump and to sow disorder here.

MATTHEWS: Right.

CORN: Trump, throughout the campaign, kept saying it wasn’t happening. He was colluding with the Russian disinformation campaign to deny it was happening, and then, throughout his presidency, has not taken it seriously and we had that tragic press conference in Helsinki, when he kind of said:’ Well, Putin says he didn’t do it. Our guys said he did. I don’t know. Putin has a point.’ So, again and again and again, on the core — he took an oath to defend this country and he has not defended against this attack from Russia and, in fact, he helped the attack occur by denying it was happening and now we have this collusion — that’s the word for it here — between his campaign chairman and an emissary of Putin’s closest oligarch, one of his closest oligarchs, in the middle of the campaign and whether Trump knew about it or not, can you, you know, you have been around Washington a long time. We have seen many campaign and political scandals where, even if you’re not the principal — you’re the principal, you don’t know about it, but your chief of staff does something wrong.

MATTHEWS: I know how it works.

CORN: You get held responsible. So, Trump is responsible for his campaign reaching out, at the request of Oleg Deripaska, to have this meeting and cut whatever deal that then the judge tells us Manafort has lied about consistently after he got caught.

MATTHEWS: You know, Glenn, I did work in politics for years and I’ll tell you one thing that people don’t know about outside politics. When you write a speech, you write the speech for the guy you’re writing it for or the woman you’re writing it for. You know them, you know who they are, you know what they want and, by the way, the minute they read it, they say, this is what I want. There’s always that hand-in-glove relationship. It’s always there. It’s like a dentist. You go to the dentist, you don’t tell the dentist which teeth to work on. You don’t tell him how to work on them. You just trust him. He’s your agent or she’s your agent.

KIRSCHNER: Yeah.

MATTHEWS: That’s how it works. You don’t get orders. It’s all about a relationship. It’s sort of a symbiotic relationship. Paul Manafort was brought in as Mr. Russia, Mr. Connection with the pro-Russian Ukrainians. That was who he was. He may have looked like a croupier, but that’s who he was.

KIRSCHNER: And, Chris —

MATTHEWS: That’s what he looks like, but he was working with the Russians. Trump says, you’re the guy who worked with the Russians. You’re the guy that is pro-Russia against the Ukraine. You’re the guy who is — okay, that’s — how can we work with these guys? It’s obvious.

KIRSCHNER: And to button up what David just said, what do we now know from Andrew Weissmann, one of the lead prosecutors on the Mueller team? What did he say in open court? This “goes” right “to the heart of” what’s being investigated, which we all know is Russian collusion, Russian conspiracy and so, when you put all these pieces together, it’s all there in plain sight.

MATTHEWS: This is going to be a location, this cigar bar, like Watergate. This is going to be one of those locations where you’re going to look up and say, you know what? That’s where they cut the deal.

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