Chris Matthews: Hearings Are ‘More Like the O.J.' Simpson Murder Trial

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MSNBC opened the impeachment hearings on Wednesday pretty much with what you would expect from the liberal network. In addition to bringing on truth-challenged Brian Williams (perhaps not the best person to opine on ethics in public life), Chris Matthews compared the proceedings to the O.J. Simpson trial.  

After mentioning Watergate, Matthews offered up a comparison to the ‘90s biggest murder trial: “I was just watching the vote in the House Judiciary Committee in the summer of 1974 where you saw six or more Republicans vote for impeachment, for that first article of impeachment. It's much more tribal today. I mean, these hearings today are going to be much more like the O.J. trial, the great trial at the end of the 20th century, where people took sides very quickly.” 

 

 

Though some might point out that Simpson was acquitted, Matthews obviously didn’t mean anything positive with a comparison to a man many still think guilty of a brutal double murder. The Hardball host added, “It wasn't so much about the facts, it's about your perspective, your history as a human being in this country.” 

It’s clear just who in this country Matthews thinks is the most delusional, asserting that Trump is clearly guilty: 

And I think [Republicans are] going to try to shift the attention from this simple matter of bribery, where the President, acting like a crooked local official, simply said, “Yeah, I'll get you your foreign military assistance to fight off the Russian tanks, but first I want you to do me a favor, though.” That's what a local pol would do, a magistrate would do in the old days of Philadelphia, where, “Yeah, my drawer's open, I need something here before we go on with this,” for a zoning variance or anything. 

MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace linked the impeachment hearings to... the Super Bowl: “This is what I keep thinking about. Other than Super Bowl, a sporting event, maybe the finale of Game of Thrones, there are not that many things that everybody watches together on TV.”    

MSNBC opened the hearings coverage with a blood red graphic of the President. Williams dramatically explained, “Well, good morning from our NBC News headquarters here in New York.... Day 1,028 of the Trump presidency. Day 1 of the public impeachment hearings that could put this presidency in peril.” 

 

 

A partial transcript is below: 

MSNBC live impeachment hearings
11/13/19
9:01

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Well, good morning from our NBC News headquarters here in New York. I'm Brian Williams along with Nicolle Wallace. Day 1,028 of the Trump presidency. Day 1 of the public impeachment hearings that could put this presidency in peril. We'll take you live to the hearing room on Capitol Hill, normally the home of the Ways and Means committee, where these once-in-a-generation proceedings will unfold. And if the Democrats are going to convince the American public that the president should, in fact, be removed from office, the heavy lifting starts right now with these first two witnesses. 

9:40 AM ET 

BRIAN WILLIAMS: What you're describing sounds a lot like the questioning each weeknight on Hardball, the host of which is standing by join us. A student of history and host of Hardball, Chris Matthews. Chris, I've been thinking of you a lot lately because of these rampant comparisons to Watergate in the popular media. 

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Right. 

WILLIAMS: I am of the opinion that this has nothing to do with that. The phone in our hand changes the entire argument. The American attention span is shot. We now have so many sources of news. People who make the comparison between viewers of this today and viewers of watergate are missing the point. Your thoughts. 

MATTHEWS: Well, I was just watching the vote in the House Judiciary Committee in the summer of 1974 where you saw six or more Republicans vote for impeachment, for that first article of impeachment. It's much more tribal today. I mean, these hearings today are going to be much more like the O.J. trial, the great trial at the end of the 20th century, where people took sides very quickly. It wasn't so much about the facts, it's about your perspective, your history as a human being in this country. And I think they're going to try to shift the attention from this simple matter of bribery, where the President, acting like a crooked local official, simply said, “Yeah, I'll get you your foreign military assistance to fight off the Russian tanks, but first I want you to do me a favor, though.” That's what a local pol would do, a magistrate would do in the old days of Philadelphia, where, “Yeah, my drawer's open, I need something here before we go on with this,” for a zoning variance or anything. 

It's total corrupt political behavior. But on the other side, the other side, as you're pointing out with the cross examination there, you're going to have the Republicans shifting against the guilt or innocence of the defendant here, the President, to the guilt or innocence of the deep state of the Democrats, of the media. They're going to do everything they can to shift the question to do you like liberal Democrats? Do you like Adam Schiff? Do you like Maxine Waters? Do you like any of these people? Do you like AOC? They're going to shift the question away from the guilt or innocence of the President, which is not really debatable. We know the facts of that conversation, to do you like these people you're watching in these hearings? Do you like these Democrats? I think that's where we're going to end up at the end of the day, tribally. 

9:45

NICOLLE WALLACE: This is what I keep thinking about. Other than Super Bowl, a sporting event, maybe the finale of Game of Thrones, there are not that many things that everybody watches together on TV. And there haven't been very many things — 

WILLIAMS: Communal  experiences.

WALLACE: And in politics, I mean, each party every four years has its own convention and for three nights each side watches their convention. But this is six networks today, I think, covering the same live event. I think it's unknowable what people will experience when they watch it.

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