‘It Locks in Our Destiny’; Matthews, Friends Give Cheesy Pep Talks on Impeachment Eve

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‘Twas the night before the impeachment hearings, when all through the newsrooms, all the creatures were stirring, even the mice; The guests were properly made up and full of notebooks with care, in hopes that Adam Schiff would soon be there......

Yes, it was quite the feeling of gleeful anticipation on Tuesday’s Hardball on the eve of Wednesday morning’s first televised House impeachment hearings, as host Chris Matthews and liberal mouthpieces in the press provided pep talks while framing the matter in such stark terms.

 

 

Right from the get-go, Matthews was giddy (click “expand”):

Show time. Let's play hardball....15 hours from now, the American people will for the first time hear the full case for impeaching President Donald Trump. Tomorrow morning at 10:00 eastern, the House Intelligence Committee begins the first public hearings of the impeachment inquiry....Republicans and Democrats have already begun to lay out their plans for making a case to the American public and one Democratic aide told NBC News the first three to testify are, “all strong character witnesses. All three bring credibility to the impeachment inquiry.” The aide added that Ambassador Taylor, “is going to lay everything out tomorrow” and Yovanovitch is going to, “tug at America's heartstrings” on Friday. According to an internal memo, Republicans will try to focus on President Trump's state of mind...and like the Watergate hearings of 1973 when former White House Counsel John Dean riveted Americans, people watching on television, Democrats plan to use tomorrow hearing’s format and enormous power to sway public opinion. A Democratic aide told NBC News “if the American people only watch the first hour, they'll hear plenty....The first hour of each hearing is designed to be a blockbuster.”

Going to liberal stenographer and colleague Heidi Przybyla, Matthews wondered if the logic for impeaching Trump “will.... come across to the person who normally watches not this network but watches maybe something — an entertainment probe or Jeopardy or something like that.”

Also flashing loyalty by reciting strands of the Democratic narrative ad nauseam, Przybyla hyped that “[t]here’ll be drama, Chris,” but “in a different way than the Mueller hearing because it's not going to be coming from dais and from the Congress members” and instead “the witnesses.”

Remember how the Mueller hearing was supposed to be a huge nail in the coffin of the Trump presidency? Oh, right. It was a dud.

Matthews moved in the B-block to framing the impeachment hearings as real-life incarnations of courtroom, military, or mob movies (see the transcript below for all the examples). 

Here’s one example (click “expand”):

MATTHEWS: Tomorrow, this is going to be it basically. I love courtroom movies. I'm not a lawyer — maybe I'm glad I'm not a lawyer but I love courtroom movies. They're always great. This is going to be a courtroom drama tomorrow morning with star witness where people like Bill Taylor and Kent and later on Yovanovitch are going to stand up there to the pressure of the other side of the, you know, when they’re cross-questioned by the other side.

JOSHUA GELTZER: And to keep the Hollywood framing, it's important, I think, for Democrats and for the public to understand this isn't a sequel, it's a remake[.]

(....)

MATTHEWS: So when we hear Adam Schiff, who is a prosecutor from out in LA and he's also a guy who wrote screenplays, you know, as part of his allocation. He is interested in a good drama and the good story-telling. When he's asked these questions, he will know the answers. 

But Matthews saved perhaps his biggest histrionics for his closing commentary. 

Once again, he giddily stated that “14 hours from now, we will begin to see how high stands the case for this President's impeachment” and “also but perhaps as important how solid in their judgment are those who are arguing for it” before again wistfully recalling the Watergate hearings.

Calling Trump’s call with Zelensky “a classic definition of corruption,” Matthews swooned that “20 million people could be watching these two gentlemen testify tomorrow, an equal number watching on evening network news, millions more in the prime time hours here and on other networks tomorrow night.”

Matthews hilariously boasted on his partisan show that “[i]t’d be helpful from people who watch from their homes or listen at their workplaces to make their own judgments” before arriving at his apocalyptic conclusion, which was that the conclusion Americans come to about the case against the President “locks in our destiny”:

If we believe Trump's behavior representing this country in this matter departs from what we hold acceptable, this is what we need to say and say loudly. If we think Trump’s pressing this foreign leader for personal dirt, even to the point of denying him critical military assistance is business as usual, so be it because if we say this kind of conduct is predictable, I predict we’re going to get a lot of it in the future and that's why we think of tomorrow hearings and those to follow truly matters, because it locks in our destiny. 

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on November 12, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
November 12, 2019
7:00 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Show time. Let's play hardball. [HARDBALL OPENING CREDITS] Good evening. I'm Chris Matthews in Washington. 15 hours from now, the American people will for the first time hear the full case for impeaching President Donald Trump. Tomorrow morning at 10:00 eastern, the House Intelligence Committee begins the first public hearings of the impeachment inquiry. U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent will testify followed by former Ambassador to Ukraine Marine — Marie Yovanovitch on Friday. Republicans and Democrats have already begun to lay out their plans for making a case to the American public and one Democratic aide told NBC News the first three to testify are, “all strong character witnesses. All three bring credibility to the impeachment inquiry.” The aide added that Ambassador Taylor, “is going to lay everything out tomorrow” and Yovanovitch is going to, “tug at America's heartstrings” on Friday. According to an internal memo, Republicans will try to focus on President Trump's state of mind, but one indication recently of Trump's state of mind was the latest evidence he just tried to cover up. The New York Times reports he's discussed firing Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson who he blames for reporting the whistle-blower complaint to Congress that ultimately touched off the inquiry and like the Watergate hearings of 1973 when former White House Counsel John Dean riveted Americans, people watching on television, Democrats plan to use tomorrow hearing’s format and enormous power to sway public opinion. A Democratic aide told NBC News “if the American people only watch the first hour, they'll hear plenty....The first hour of each hearing is designed to be a blockbuster.”

(....)

7:05 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS [TO HEIDI PRZYBYLA]: As a journalist covering this thing, do you see the clarity and do you see the drama coming together with the clarity? I know Nancy Pelosi. I think she's been wonderful putting together a focused point of contact. This President sold his office to get the dirt he wanted for personal reasons. It was a clear case of bribery. I want, in this case, dirt, but I'll give you public service in exchange for it. Will that come across to the person who normally watches not this network but watches maybe something — an entertainment probe or Jeopardy or something like that? Will they come in and say let me pay attention to this now? 

HEIDI PRZYBYLA: There'll be drama, Chris. There will be drama in a different way than the Mueller hearing because it's not going to be coming from dais and from the Congress members questioning every five minutes. It’s going to be coming from the witnesses. I’ve interviewed people who are very close to this process. They say it's going to go very quickly. They're going to bring Bill Taylor in, they're going to establish his pedigree as a Vietnam veteran, decorated veteran, someone who served in the Foreign Service for decades, very credible. And they're going to move really quickly to the meat of it, Chris and I'm told there are three things in particular from his closed door testimony they want to prompt him on that draw a direct line to Trump. First, it is that Gordon Sondland, the EU Ambassador, told the Ukrainians directly they weren't getting any money until they did a statement on Burisma. That's that energy company linked to Hunter Biden. The President — again, Trump’s name every single time comes up in this. The President wanted Zelensky, himself, personally, go to the microphone and announce the investigation. He just wanted the announcement so he could muddy Joe Biden and that everything depended on that. The White House meeting, the military aid, everything. He wanted Zelensky, “in a box.” These are things you're going to hear tomorrow in rapid succession. They tell me that they're not going to go much further than 20 minutes, 25 minutes before they start hitting the public with these facts.

(....)

7:23 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: They want to rub her out. As they say in mob movies rub her out, just get her out of the picture so they can do her thing. 

JOSHUA GELTZER: Right and he was working with Ukrainians as well as within the U.S. government to try to get her pulled out of there and ultimately he was successful. 

MATTHEWS: Tomorrow this is going to be it basically. I love courtroom movies. I'm not a lawyer — maybe I'm glad I'm not a lawyer but I love courtroom movies. They're always great. This is going to be a courtroom drama tomorrow morning with star witness where people like Bill Taylor and Kent and later on Yovanovitch are going to stand up there to the pressure of the other side of the, you know, when they’re cross-questioned by the other side.

GELTZER: And to keep the Hollywood framing, it's important, I think, for Democrats and for the public to understand this isn't a sequel, it's a remake and here’s what I mean by that. A lot of us have followed the blow-by-blow the past few weeks. We think we have an understanding of what happened, why there were improprieties. 

MATTHEWS: Down in the SCIF?

GELTZER: That’s right. The goal here is not to necessarily extend that story, it's to take the best parts of that story, the clearest parts of that story and ensure all of America, not just those of us who have been tracking the ins and outs, but the country as a whole, understands that. 

MATTHEWS: So when we hear Adam Schiff, who is a prosecutor from out in LA and he's also a guy who wrote screenplays, you know, as part of his allocation. He is interested in a good drama and the good story-telling. When he's asked these questions, he will know the answers. 

(....)

7:26 p.m. Eastern

JOSH LEDERMAN: But they have to really play carefully. Do they go too far? Overreach is major concern for Democrats right now and that's why they've tried to not tack on all these other potential issues that a lot of Democrats want to tack on, including stuff from the Mueller Report. 

MATTHEWS: Oh yeah, like the Emoluments Clause, which they all love to do.

LEDERMAN: Right exactly because then it makes it much easier for the Trump White House to say, look, this is just an attempt to throw anything at the presidency that sticks. 

MATTHEWS: You never give them the weakest link because they’ll pull it apart.

GELTZER: That’s right. Stick with your strongest story.

MATTHEWS: You only give strong links.

GELTZER: That’s right. The other stuff is in the background and sets a context of understanding this President inviting, welcoming, amplifying foreign election interference, but you stick to the key story here.

MATTHEWS: There was a great line in the story Patton where Patton and another one of the generals said we could still lose this war in Europe. Do you think the Democrats could still lose this fight for a full vote of say, 230 Democratic votes for impeachment? At least the Democratic side? Can they still lose this tomorrow in the next couple of days? 

GELTZER: I suppose it's a bit like a trial in this sense, which is you never know how things will play until you see them play. But it seems like we have such key, primary sources —

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

GELTZER: — to suggest improprieties, to suggest a president was trading public trust for personal, political benefit. That if that's a case they want to make, it's there to be made. 

(....)

7:58 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: 14 hours from now we will begin to see how high stands the case for this President's impeachment. Also but perhaps as important how solid in their judgment are those who are arguing for it? I remember the sobriety with which members of the House Judiciary Committee back in the summer of 1974 voted articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon and today we face a very basic case that Donald J. Trump sought the — sought a bribe from the country of Ukraine, that he demanded that in order for it to receive critical U.S. military aid, it must undertake a public investigation of Trump's political rivals. It is a classic definition of corruption, to trade public trust for private benefit. The purpose of tomorrow's testimony from Bill Taylor and George Kent is to exhibit the experience of two seasoned federal employees as they confront a hijacking of U.S. security policy to advance the President's personal agenda. 20 million people could be watching these two gentlemen testify tomorrow, an equal number watching on evening network news, millions more in the prime time hours here and on other networks tomorrow night. It’d be helpful from people who watch from their homes or listen at their workplaces to make their own judgments. If we believe Trump's behavior representing this country in this matter departs from what we hold acceptable, this is what we need to say and say loudly. If we think Trump’s pressing this foreign leader for personal dirt, even to the point of denying him critical military assistance is business as usual, so be it because if we say this kind of conduct is predictable, I predict we’re going to get a lot of it in the future and that's why we think of tomorrow hearings and those to follow truly matters, because it locks in our destiny. 

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