Chris Matthews: ‘I Just Don't Get Argument’ That Bidens Aren't Relevant

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Given his tendency to just say whatever comes to mind, sometimes even the liberal Chris Matthews will float comments not considered acceptable to the official MSNBC line. On Tuesday, he blurted out that “I just don’t get [the] argument” that Joe and Hunter Biden should be ignored at the Senate impeachment trial. Though he called Donald Trump’s claims about the Democrats “smears,” the Hardball host at least understood why they might be relevant. 

During a roundtable discussion, Caroline Fredrickson of the liberal Brennan Center for Justice flatly declared, “The Bidens aren't relevant to the proceedings.” Matthews spat back, “The Republicans say they are.” He lobbied, “You don't think in the courtroom of theater, which where we are right now... that people aren't curious if Hunter Biden testified. You wouldn't be watching 20 million, 30 million people watch the show?” 

 

 

Matthews added, “To the appetite and interest of the viewer it's relevant.” He then labeled the Bidens necessary for the trial, at least for show:  

The President’s being impeached about digging up dirt on the Bidens and you’re saying what the Bidens are doing isn’t relevant? I just don't get that argument. It's the heart of the case, what the President was trying to do, smear the Bidens, whatever he’s trying to do. He’s obviously trying to smear them. What was he going to use to smear them? 

Later in the same hour, Matthews talked to Democratic Senator Jon Tester and conceived a conspiracy theory where Senators like Lisa Murkowski and Lamar Alexander would be bought off: 

 

 

Do you get the sense that maybe the White House is working on Lamar Alexander, working on Murkowski, trying to figure out what moment state issues that can be resolved quickly for the benefit of their constituents? I’m not kidding. This — it seems they don't want to get past Saturday at the latest. They want this over with if they can lock in a couple of those doubtful senators, they've won. That’s all they have to do is lock in Murkowski, Lamar Alexander and usually when votes get really close in either body, the White House can win because they can get those people on things that matter at home. Your thoughts?  

A transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more: 

MSNBC Impeachment coverage 
1/28/20
11:06

CHRIS MATTHEWS; Lamar Alexander, is it open to a deal? Isn't he putting out things on the shelves he might be interested in in Tennessee? Aren't we watching this process begin? 

CAROLINE FREDRICKSON (Senior fellow, Brennan Center for Justice): I think there are a lot of Republicans who are indicating there might be something they'd be interested in. I think Chuck's point is absolutely on target that the Bidens aren't relevant to the proceedings. 

MATTHEWS: The Republicans say they are. 

FREDRICKSON: If there was an issue about Hunter Biden committing some kind of an illegal act, then the U.S. Justice Department should have been engaged in that process and you wouldn't have had the chief prosecutor in Ukraine say there is nothing here. The prosecutor that they're now defending, that Biden wanted fired. So, I mean, I think it's really mixing apples and Oranges. 

MATTHEWS: You don't think in the courtroom of theater, which where we are right now — We’re not in this courtroom. We’re in a courtroom of theater — that people aren't curious if Hunter Biden testified, you wouldn't be watching 20 million, 30 million people watch the show? 

FREDRICKSON: No question about it. It sill doesn't make it relevant to this actual impeachment proceeding. 

MATTHEWS: But to the appetite and interest of the viewer it's relevant. 

FREDRICKSON: Well, that’s true, but they can watch Real Housewives of New Jersey. 

MATTHEWS: The President’s being impeached about digging up dirt on the Bidens and you’re saying what the Bidens are doing isn’t relevant? I just don't get that argument. It's the heart of the case, what the President was trying to do, smear the Bidens, whatever he’s trying to do. He’s obviously trying to smear them. What was he going to use to smear them? 

11:20

MATTHEWS: The pressure's mounting on those senators in the U.S. Senate to answer one key question, will they or won't they call witnesses in the impeachment trial this week? As new details from John Bolton have come out to light, the book is sitting in the hands of the NSC, Democrats will need at least four Republican defections to vote to subpoena Trump’s former National Security Advisor. That’s John Bolton. 

Joining me right now is Democratic Senator Jon tester from Montana. It's great to have you on, senator. So do you get the sense that maybe the White House is working on Lamar Alexander, working on Murkowski, trying to figure out what moment state issues that can be resolved quickly for the benefit of their constituents? I’m not kidding. This — it seems they don't want to get past Saturday at the latest. They want this over with if they can lock in a couple of those doubtful senators, they've won. That’s all they have to do is lock in Murkowski, Lamar Alexander and usually when votes get really close in either body, the White House can win because they can get those people on things that matter at home. Your thoughts?  

 

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