Matthews, Steele Mock Benghazi, Fast & Furious; GOP ‘D***ing Around’ at Hearings

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On Thursday’s Hardball, MSNBC political analyst Michael Steele reminded viewers why there’s no reason to consider him a conservative or Republican. Not only did Steele bash the investigations into the deadly Benghazi terror attack and Operation: Fast and Furious, but he seemed to express disappointment with Congressman Will Hurd (R-TX) for not leaning toward impeachment. 

And if that wasn’t enough, host Chris Matthews also mocked Benghazi and insisted that House Republicans are “dicking around” with Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) being both an SOB and “a bully” during this inquiry to impeach and then attempt to remove President Donald Trump.

 

 

Going to Steele, Matthews kvetched that Republicans are “not really arguing” the left’s case on impeachment, but instead “just saying” stuff “like Benghazi and as it’s like in, you know, Manchurian Candidate, just show the right playing card.”

Steele took things one step further, decrying both of those Obama-era investigations as wastes of time: “How much investigation did we do on Benghazi, Fast and Furious and what were the outcomes? But what it did was set in motion a narrative they could always come back to.”

He then went onto bash his supposed party for their “pathetic performance” that was “so pathetic at the end, they couldn’t ask questions because they knew the moment they did [Fiona Hill] would shred them alive on live television.”

In the show’s B-block, Matthews speculated about whether a hypothetical scenario in which John Bolton would testify could cause, at minimum, there to be a Senate majority voting for Trump’s removal, “that change changes the way this is going to be read.”

Steele largely rejected this. Instead, he joined his fellow faux Republicans, Never Trumpers, and cable news types in expressing disappointment with Hurd for not being their congressional sycophant (click “expand”):

STEELE: I think the final moment of today's hearings sort of clarified to me to your point, Eli, where Republicans are. I listened to Will Hurd. Will Hurd, basically —

MATTHEWS: The Texas congressman.

STEELE: — the Texas congressman retiring from congress who was always considered sort of a maverick because he was sort of independent in his republicanism, today landed right on the front porch of Donald Trump and — and pretty much said, eh, there's nothing here. I don't see any reason to vote for impeachment. So that sends a signal to the Senate there is no movement among Republicans.

Moments later, Matthews chuckled at clips of Republicans at the hearing and said this to former Obama official Katrina Mulligan (now with the Center for American Progress):

What do you make of the — they didn't have much to play with. They're sitting like with poker with, like, an eight in it. I mean, that’s all they had. And they’re looking at a high eight. I mean, they didn't have anything and so they're dicking — dicking around basically. 

And in reference to Jordan, Matthews boasted that Hill “was a sharp thinking, economical talker, didn't waste a word” while Jordan looked like “one of the SOBs” “at the jock table” and “looks like a bully.”

“He was put on the committee for a reason and you saw today especially why they wanted him on the committee. He carried the water he needed to carry, the way he needed to carry it and it was to muddy up the witnesses as best he could, but he couldn't with Fiona,” Steele replied, which was ironic considering he had laid out his own job description for MSNBC.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on November 21, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
November 21, 2019
7:11 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Michael Steele, we sat around our offices today for a couple of minutes today. We didn't waste much time on it, trying to figure out what the Ukraine conspiracy was. It's totally fiction, but the beauty of it is, my producers have argued, and I think they're right because it's so murky.

MICHAEL STEELE: Right.

MATTHEWS: They’re not really arguing it. They’re just saying —

STEELE: They just it.

MATTHEWS: — they just say, like Benghazi — 

STEELE: Right.

KATRINA MULLIGAN: Yeah.

MATTHEWS: — and as it’s like in, you know, Manchurian Candidate —

STEELE: Right. Right.

MATTHEWS: — just show the right playing card. 

MICHAEL STEELE: How much investigation did we do on Benghazi, Fast and Furious and what were the outcomes? But what it did was set in motion a narrative they could always come back to. 

MATTHEWS: A buzzword. 

STEELE: A buzzword and so here we are again. We watched a pathetic performance. Too — so pathetic at the end, they couldn't ask questions because they knew the moment they did she would shred them alive on live television and that's the reality that I think a lot of Republicans in that room confronted. To the point that after they would trash her, they'd get up and leave the room. They weren't man enough to stay. 

MATTHEWS; Yeah, I know. They didn’t ask any questions at the end.

MULLIGAN: Yeah, they really didn’t.

(....)

7:24 p.m. Eastern

ELI STOKOLS: He's not coming forward on his own, and I think that the calculations, you know, the Democrats are looking at this, they understand the Republicans are not moving. None of this has really moved a single Republican that they know of, and so would John Bolton be enough to do it? Well, maybe — but maybe John Bolton but they understand this is something they can't let drag out for months and the Republicans, you know, I talked to a Republican today and said, you know, if this is so important and it's not about politics, who cares about the calendar? Go to court, get John Bolton, and get the information out, but Democrats just don't believe that is going to change the outcome of this. 

MATTHEWS: Well, there's two outcomes, Michael. There's the one where you get 67 votes in the Senate. 

STEELE: Yeah.

MATTHEWS: That might be a long shot. But you get a handful of Republicans on top of 47 Democrats, you get a majority vote for conviction of removal from office. I think that changes the way this is going to be read and therefore a guy like John Bolton could bring a Murkowski, a Cory Cardner, could bring a Susan Collins. It could be a handful perhaps. 

STEELE: Yeah, I think that's right on its face, but I think the final moment of today's hearings sort of clarified to me to your point, Eli, where Republicans are. I listened to Will Hurd. Will Hurd, basically —

MATTHEWS: The Texas congressman.

STEELE: — the Texas congressman retiring from congress who was always considered sort of a maverick because he was sort of independent in his republicanism, today landed right on the front porch of Donald Trump and — and pretty much said, eh, there's nothing here. I don't see any reason to vote for impeachment. So that sends a signal to the Senate there is no movement among Republicans.

(....)

7:26 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: What do you make of the — they didn't have much to play with. They're sitting like with poker with, like, an eight in it. I mean, that’s all they had. And they’re looking at a high eight. I mean, they didn't have anything and so they're dicking — dicking around basically. 

MULLIGAN: Yeah, I mean, look, after being demolished one after the other asking Fiona Hill questions, every time she would just sort of very effectively take the question, say a little bit that sort of led you into thinking she was going in one direction and then she would just turn that right around and just eviscerate the question and she wasn't to be trifled with. Look, she knows her brief. She comes from the intelligence community. She's a trained briefer. She knows how to convey the information that she is there to convey, and she's not going to let anybody deviate her from that, and we saw that in the testimony and we also saw that in the substance what she was telling us about the action she took. 

MATTHEWS: Michael, she was a sharp thinking, economical talker, didn't waste a word and then these guys — this guy, Jordan, I've said it off camera, he looks — reminds me of the bad guy at the jock table at Holy Cross. One of these guys — not all jocks are bad guys, obviously. Some are scholar athletes, but he's one of the SOBs —

STEELE: Yeah, I was — yeah.

MATTHEWS: — and he looks like a bully. 

STEELE: He was put on the committee for a reason and you saw today especially why they wanted him on the committee. He carried the water he needed to carry, the way he needed to carry it and it was to muddy up the witnesses as best he could, but he couldn't with Fiona.

NB Daily Congress Trump Impeachment Libya Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Fast and Furious MSNBC Hardball Video Chris Matthews Donald Trump Michael Steele Jim Jordan
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