On Thursday night, MSNBC hosts Ari Melber and Chris Matthews were surprisingly tough on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's line reported on Wednesday by Politico that, “I don’t want to see [President Trump] impeached, I want to see him in prison.”
First up was Melber, who stated this during his show The Beat: “Is this the Democrats' version of 'lock her up?' I mean, there was a judicial, legal, process. We've covered it extensively. It did not result in an indictment, whether you like it or not...If she is making prison-esque, jail-esque references....does she risk getting close to a 'lock her up' frame?”
During the next hour on Hardball, Matthews put the criticism of Pelosi even more starkly to the dismay of former Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY), who had been a top Pelosi lieutenant:
"Now the Speaker of the House is saying [Trump] ought to be in prison. Imagine that you live in some rinky-dink country out in the world that has always looked up to ours. You know, some fourth-world country, doesn't even have democracy. And here we have the leader of the opposition, saying the other guy ought to be in prison. This is the stuff we used to see in Pakistan in the old days. Defeat the guy, then hang him."
Bloomberg's Shannon Pettypiece tried to downplay Pelosi's comments, but Matthews stood firm and wasn't having it (click “expand”):
MATTHEWS: But I don't believe she will be for impeachment a year from now. See you do that, but, Shannon, All the reporting said she is delaying. He’s saying “I want to hear from one more witness,” “I want to hear Don McGahn,” “I want to hear from Mueller,” “I want to hear from —” Nobody believes that after those hearings, we’d have a front page story the next day — McGahn says he told him to fire Mueller, right? But he didn't follow-up. He — he didn't fire Mueller. He didn’t say, “well, where’s the case? I can see this coming apart.”
SHANNON PETTYPIECE: Yea, I mean, our reporting indicates that this “prison” comment was meant to mean more exactly what you were saying that “I don't want to impeach.” Let's find any other method than impeachment, like indict him and put him in prison after he’s out of office.
MATTHEWS: She didn’t say that. She said I want him in prison.
PETTYPIECE: Well, because she didn't want to impeach him. She said I don’t want to impeach.
MATTHEWS: She didn’t say I want to have a trial.
PETTYPIECE: Well, I believe the full quote was “I don’t want to impeach him. I want him in prison.”
MATTHEWS: “I want him in prison.”
PETTYPIECE: But as an alternative, I will do anything other than impeach this President.
Of course, it's not that Melber/Matthews were suggesting that Pelosi is being too tough on President Trump. To the contrary, it seems they'd rather see the Speaker throw in with the Rashid Tlaibs of the world, of impeach the “motherf----er”fame.
Note: After calling it a “fourth-world, rinky-dink” country, we probably shouldn't expect to see Chris Matthews appointed Ambassador to Pakistan anytime soon.