Crazy Train: ‘Hardball’ Panel Offers Conspiracies on Mueller Report, Trump as a Dictator

Tuesday’s Hardball saw an opening panel led by host Chris Matthews that showed the desperation of the liberal media following Attorney General Bill Barr’s Sunday letter on the main conclusions of the Mueller report. In roughly 15 minutes, they peddling conspiracy theories that this rollout was conceived of some time ago, that Barr was picked solely to save Trump, and that America’s now a “crazy country” because it elected Trump.

Like far too many of his colleagues in the press trying to still muddy the waters on Trump, Matthews wanted to know why “[i]f the President was so damn innocent, why does it take two years to get cleared of collusion” even though Mueller led “a thorough-going investigation we had to have in this country.”

 

 

Sniveling liar and former Obama administration official Ben Rhodes was one of Matthews’s panelists, ruling that he will not “accept the four-page memo of an attorney general” because he “auditioned for the job wrote a memo to Trump saying that the Mueller investigation was discredited.” 

It’s safe to say he would accept the findings if it were Eric Holder or Loretta Lynch and move on, but none of his pals run the Justice Department.

Using a rather low bar, Rhodes hit back at the Trump presidency by holding up the Obama White House as more credible because “in eight years, there were zero indictments in our administration” while “[t]his special counsel administration yielded many indictments of people around Trump.” That’s like saying the Obama presidency was scandal-free!

Moments later, Matthews formally launched this conspiracy theory about Barr, Trump, and co. hatching this plan to mislead the world (click “expand”):

MATTHEWS: [I]t seems to me there is some sort of cleverness behind what Trump's up to here and perhaps with the help with Bill Barr. The man he put in as attorney general. Remember how W. claimed the presidency in 2000 real quick and said I won, Gore lost? And he created that sort of reality for a while so that when we went to the recount and always seemed like Gore was the poor loser, even though I think he was being the honest guy of accepting the results of the numbers.

(....)

RHODES: [I]f you watch the last few months, this felt very orchestrated. You know, right after the midterm elections, he fires Jeff Sessions. He puts in place Barr. Again, a man who had written a memo saying the Mueller investigation was not credible....They knew that Bob Mueller plays it straight and he’s silent and that Bob Mueller was just going to file the report and not say anything. And they knew that Congress was not going to see the report right away because they knew it was going to go first to the attorney general's office. So what they would have this window to shape public perceptions of what happened. So, Barr gets this report. Nobody one else has seen it. Barr gets interpret this report to Congress in this four-page memo.

Matthews next presented his evidence-free claim to Congresswoman Val Demings (D-FL), who agreed.

PBS NewsHour White House correspondent and liberal shrill Yamiche Alcindor then jumped in to compare Trump’s behavior as President to those of authoritarian dictators Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un (click “expand”):

I would just add this. I wrote a story about two years ago about people that grew up in authoritarian regimes seeing echoes of that in President Trump. He likes these figures like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un. In some ways, they’re the people that say if they lost an election — even if they won an election, I'm going to jail my opponent. I’m going to make sure that these people pay. That's the difference usually between America and third-world countries and other places. And as a result, we see that part of President Trump’s personality coming out after the Mueller report.

“If I lose, it's rigged. If you win, you go to jail. That’s the deal in crazy countries. Anyway, we thought we weren’t a crazy country until recently,” replied Matthews.

Hinting at Democrats seeking and “reveal[ing]” harmful information concerning Trump, Rhodes explained:

And first of all, let's not forget this investigation has uncovered a lot of criminal activity. What’s going to happen now. The Republicans know the Democrats have control of the House. There are going to be investigations that do reveal corruption, that do reveal all kinds of misdeeds probably by this administration. The Mueller report will ultimately get out and there will be very damming information after the President.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on March 26, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
March 26, 2019
7:03 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS:  First of all I just want to make a little plea here. If the President was so damn innocent, why does it take two years to get cleared of collusion? Two years by a man he honors now? Robert Mueller digging in and finally after two years he's able to clear him collusion and still says I can't exonerate him on obstruction. And he says it was a waste of time. It was the opposite of a waste of time. It was a thorough-going investigation we had to have in this country. We had it because we're vigilant about our democracy. We did it. It turned out, in one case, to be exonerating, perhaps and in other case definitely not exonerating.

(....)

7:06 p.m. Eastern

BEN RHODES: Well, Chris, I mean, this is consistently his play, to try to rally his base, fire people up. The fact of the matter is if he felt so good about what's in this report, than why won’t let the report be released.

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

RHODES: He's President, he can declassify anything he wants. So, the first thing is I'm not, for one, willing to just accept the four-page memo of an attorney general who auditioned for the job wrote a memo to Trump saying that the Mueller investigation was discredited. Let’s see this full report, first of all. Then the President’s proclivity to attack his enemies with no basis. I mean, Chris, in the clip you played, accusing Obama administration of all kinds off things with no specifics. So, this a man who criticized a very thorough investigation as a witch hunt, then standing there with absolutely nothing to back it up, accusing his predecessor of, you know, high crimes and misdemeanors without absolutely no supporting evidence. The fact of the matter is — Barrack Obama — in eight years, there were zero indictments in our administration. This special counsel administration yielded many indictments of people around Trump. Frankly, his lawyer was caught up committing a crime that Trump directed him to commit, Clearly his lawyer was committing a crime that Trump directed him to commit. So Trump doesn't want to talk about that. He wants to talk about the people he wants his supporters to attack and that's not a way to lead this country. 

(....)

7:09 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: I want to go back to Ben on the one thought because it seems to me there is some sort of cleverness behind what Trump's up to here and perhaps with the help with Bill Barr. The man he put in as attorney general. Remember how W. claimed the presidency in 2000 real quick and said I won, Gore lost? And he created that sort of reality for a while so that when we went to the recount and always seemed like Gore was the poor loser, even though I think he was being the honest guy of accepting the results of the numbers. So, what could Trump be up to saying I won, I'm exonerated, these other guys are the bad guys. They’re the felons basically, not me, and then we finally do see the Mueller report a month from now, two months from now they already won the PR battle. Is what they are — because otherwise, it doesn’t make sense because if they’re going to be completely shattered by the results of the Mueller report when it does come, why are they lying if they're lying? 

RHODES: Well, Chris — 

MATTHEWS: What’s the plan here?

RHODES: I think you're 100 percent right and if you watch the last few months, this felt very orchestrated. You know, right after the midterm elections, he fires Jeff Sessions. He puts in place Barr. Again, a man who had written a memo saying the Mueller investigation was not credible. Then they knew that they had in Bob Mueller who somebody, unlike James Comey — remember when James Comey decide not to charge Hillary Clinton, he went out and gave a press conference and talked about all the concerns. They knew that Bob Mueller plays it straight and he’s silent and that Bob Mueller was just going to file the report and not say anything. And they knew that Congress was not going to see the report right away because they knew it was going to go first to the attorney general's office. So what they would have this window to shape public perceptions of what happened. So, Barr gets this report. Nobody one else has seen it. Barr gets interpret this report to Congress in this four-page memo. Trump is out with a vengeance declaring victory even though Trump himself — if we — if the reports are right, the White House hasn't even seen this report, so Trump is out saying it fully exonerates him and what happens? He has one part of the media that is immediately going to rally to his side. You know, his right-wing media has his back. Then all anybody else has is this letter from Barr essentially saying that the report validates Trump's version of events, even though we have this much bigger caveat from Bob Mueller saying that on the question of obstruction of justice he is expressly not exonerating Trump, right? And if the obstruction of justice is —

MATTHEWS: I’m with you. Well, you’re with me.

RHODES: Yeah.

MATTHEWS: We're together on this. Let me go to the congresswoman because this is about an old in line of politics is timing is everything. The timing of this, so he gets to shape the opinion. The President himself gets to shape the opinion about the verdict on him. He gets to do it thanks to Bill Barr, the man he put in to help him do it perhaps and now months from now, we’re told today, we might get the full report. By then everything is jelled and Trump has won it the argument. What do you think of that, congresswoman?

CONGRESSWOMAN VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): We know that William Barr was auditioning for the job when he wrote his 19-page report basically saying the President could not obstruct justice. But you know, if, the President had full faith and credit now in the Mueller investigation and in the Mueller report, the Mueller investigation also clearly shows that Russia deliberately and intentionally interfere would our election. So maybe the President, while we're waiting for the release of the report, he can spend his time holding Vladimir Putin accountable and — and making sure that Vladimir — Russia is not able to interfere in our 2020 election. 

MATTHEWS: Well, that would be smart presidency. 

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: I would just add this. I wrote a story about two years ago about people that grew up in authoritarian regimes seeing echoes of that in President Trump. He likes these figures like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un. In some ways, they’re the people that say if they lost an election — even if they won an election, I'm going to jail my opponent. I’m going to make sure that these people pay. That's the difference usually between America and third-world countries and other places. And as a result, we see that part of President Trump’s personality coming out —

MATTHEWS: So true. Thank you.

ALCINDOR: — after the Mueller report.

MATTHEWS: If I lose, it's rigged. If you win, you go to jail. 

ACLINDOR: That’s — that is the —

MATTHEWS: That’s the deal in crazy countries. Anyway, we thought we weren’t a crazy country until recently.

(....)

7:13 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Well, let me go to Ben on this because you handle public relations as part of national security concerns in — and again, back to you, what is their plan here? If it comes out in a couple of weeks, if it takes longer, I’d like it to come out next week and I think there will be pressure on Mueller to do so. But what are — what is this gnashing of teeth about? What is this attempt — they're not going to get rid of Adam Schiff. He’s going to still be the chairman of intelligence. They’re not going to get out of the Congress or out of that committee. They're not going to get people made persona non grata on television. I think people like John Brennan have admitted they overreached in what they said before about the President's potential collusion with the Russians and I think it’s a very honest thing by him. Others will do the same. But this is an honest investigation and I think people should be proud we have these kinds of investigations by somebody as good as Mueller who even the President praises, but what's this trashing going to accomplish, Ben? 

RHODES: I’ll tell you exactly what, Chris. And first of all, let's not forget this investigation has uncovered a lot of criminal activity. What’s going to happen now. The Republicans know the Democrats have control of the House. There are going to be investigations that do reveal corruption, that do reveal all kinds of misdeeds probably by this administration. The Mueller report will ultimately get out and there will be very damming information after the President. They are preemptively trying now to discredit anything that Democrats do or any future discovery of things that Trump has done. They want to take this moment use it for maximum purchase, right? So that Trump is the aggrieved party, there’s a deep state, there’s a witch hunt and they're trying to color in their supporter's minds whatever happens in the future. This is clearly the PR strategy. They know there’s going to be more damaging information. They're trying to get ahead of that and make just this a he said/she said thing and that Trump's opponents — they’re saying because of this last couple of days and because of Barr’s memo, they’re using that to say that whatever happens from now on is an extension of this deep state exercise and a classic muddy the waters kind of strategy. 

NBDaily Mueller Report Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Trump-Russia probe MSNBC Hardball Robert Mueller Chris Matthews Yamiche Alcindor Donald Trump Bill Barr Barack Obama Ben Rhodes
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