Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 04/07/15
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Rebellion on the right.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have a message!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
PAUL: A message that is loud and clear and does not mince words. We have
come to take our country back!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
PAUL: Today, I announce, with God`s help, with the help of liberty lovers
everywhere, that I am putting myself forward as a candidate for president
of the United States of America!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Good evening tonight. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
So the campaign has been launched, and so have the torpedoes. The same
right-wing faction that distorted John Kerry`s war record is back
distorting Rand Paul`s anti-war record, loaded with dark money paid by
secretive fat cats hiding behind a front called the Foundation for a Secure
and Prosperous America. The people we called pigs back in the 1960s are
out there bankrolling the war hawks, trying to destroy the only Republican
voice who dares challenge the relentless right-wing call to war with Iran.
The day that Rand Paul announced for president, this faction of secret
money and right-wing war hawks is spending dark money, with no names
attached, of course, to silence the one GOP voice that endangers their
endless push to derail the talks with Iran and speed us on our way to yet
another Gulf war.
In his presidential announcement today, Senator Paul laid out a core vision
that railed against the U.S. occupation of foreign nations. Here`s Paul.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: At home, conservatives understand that government is the problem,
not the solution! Conservatives should not succumb, though, to the notion
that a government inept at home will somehow succeed in building nations
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
PAUL: I envision America with a national defense unparalleled,
undefeatable and unencumbered by overseas nation-building!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
PAUL: Let`s quit building bridges in foreign countries and use that money
to build some bridges here at home!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I got the message.
Howard Fineman`s the global editorial director for the HuffingtonPost. He
joins us from Louisville, your old stomping grounds.
Well, you know, there was a lot of nice things in there, the usual things,
pro-Israeli, pro-hawkish, but buried in that speech…
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:
MATTHEWS: – was the inevitable, relentless, I am Ron Paul`s son. I am
Rand Paul. I don`t buy any of this stuff. I`m not going to war, and I`m
not pushing nation building anywhere. Your thoughts.
FINEMAN: It`s very interesting, Chris. Ron Paul was there in the crowd.
There was – on the stage. There was some talk that he might not even
come. He did. He did not speak, but his silent presence there gave
guidance to what his son said.
I agree with you. I think Rand Paul said all of the proper things about
Iran. He said all the proper things about radical Islam. He said all the
proper things about Congress being allowed to – being required by law to
sign off on whatever deal is done with Iran.
But separate from Iran, I think you`re right. I think he really sought to
give himself the credentials to be a guy who said, Sure, I`m for a strong
defense, but I`m for a sensible one, and not for nation building. Don`t
forget, Chris, that George W. Bush said the same thing…
FINEMAN: – when he was running for president in 2000, and of course, it
didn`t work out that way. It was just the opposite.
And I think Rand Paul is here to tell the Republican Party and the country,
this time, he means it and we mean it, and it`s going to be one of the big
fault lines, if not the big fault line in the Republican campaign to come.
I agree with you about that.
MATTHEWS: Well, what about this ad campaign put together by the people –
Rick Reed (ph), the same guy and his team that put together the swift-
boating of John Kerry back in 2004? I mean, there you have – you have
people that seem to be afraid of this guy.
I mean, does he have the firepower that the hawks, the war hawks, the old
piggish money, we called it in the `60s, this dark money, lots of it,
pouring into this campaign to run against him – are they afraid of this
guy, that he might just win the nomination or that he might change the
debate? What are they afraid of?
FINEMAN: Well, I think – I guess they don`t want to take any chances.
It`s fascinating, Chris, because Rand Paul is running a general election
campaign at the beginning of the primary season. And he`s running an anti-
establishment, anti-big government, almost `60s-style campaign. He`s
against the system. He`s against both parties. He`s against Washington.
His slogan is “Defeat the Washington machine,” and of course, the
Washington machine since late 2001 has been a war-making machine.
There was an amazing echo of the `60s, Chris. You and I are old enough to
remember that. There was a kind of against the system with a capital
FINEMAN: – tenor to what he`s doing. Now, it might not work at all
because he`s not doing micro-strategy with the evangelicals and with all
the other micro-forces in Iowa, and so forth. But he`s going big. It`s
either going to not work at all, or it could work in a way that the
establishment and the dark money don`t want to see happen.
He`s a kind of loose atom that can break up the usual course of chemistry
in American politics, and that`s probably why they`re worried about him.
MATTHEWS: Well said, Howard Fineman. Thanks so much, from Louisville,
your old stomping ground. Thanks for coming in.
FINEMAN: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: We couldn`t have had a better witness down there than you.
As I mentioned, the same right-wing group that engineered the Swift Boat
attack on John Kerry back 11 years ago is trying to torpedo Senator Rand
Paul. The group, as I said, called the Foundation for a Secure and
Prosperous America – isn`t that wonderful – refuses to declare its
donors, of course. It`s spending a million dollars in dark money on a
smear ad they say will run 80 to 90 times every day in very early primary
states and caucus states.
Here`s some of that spot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rand Paul sports Obama`s negotiations with Iran, but he
doesn`t understand the threat.
PAUL: You know, it`s ridiculous to think that they`re a threat to our
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rand Paul is wrong, and dangerous. Tell him to stop
siding with Obama because even one Iranian bomb would be a disaster.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, as I said, here`s the people behind that ad. We should
always let you know who the ad`s being paid for by – the Republican
strategist Rick Reed, who ran those Swift Boat ads. As Bloomberg News
reports today, Reed was the architect of that 2004 Swift Boat Veterans for
Truth campaign that attacked John Kerry`s national security record
And here`s Republican strategist Dallas Woodhouse (ph) on Fox News today
with his advice on how Rand Paul can prove his foreign policy bona fides.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DALLAS WOODHOUSE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: His sort of world view may not be
fitting the world as a lot of people see it right now. He`s got to prove,
in my opinion – Rand Paul`s got to prove that he will nuke a Muslim
country if we have to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: He will nuke – nuke – drop a nuclear weapon or more than one
on an Islamic country. That is the new standard, according to the crazy
right, and I think we just heard it. And I`m being nice.
Anyway, David Axelrod was senior adviser to President Obama, and Michael
Steele was RNC chair. Both are MSNBC political analysts.
Hold on there, David, I want to give Michael a chance. Your party seems to
be have a voice, it seems to be generally hawkish – and big money is
especially hawkish. They always are. They want to protect their property
MATTHEWS: But why – does Rand Paul have a prayer of being a sort of an
old-style libertarian who says, You know what? Let`s do it here in
America. Let`s not go nation building overseas.
MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think he does,
and I think it goes to a little bit of what Howard said previously. I
listened to that section of the speech on foreign policy very carefully,
and what I took away from it was a hawk with common sense.
He`s not out here saying that we`re not going to engage in the world and
we`re not going to protect the interests of the United States, but we are
going to apply common sense to those situations, which is how he tried to
distinguish himself from Barack Obama and the disagreements he may have
with that strategy.
This type of rhetoric, you know, about dropping a nuclear bomb on a Muslim
country – Americans don`t want to hear that. I don`t care what your
stripe is, at the end of the day, I really don`t believe the American
people go, Now, that will solve our problem.
STEELE: I think what they`re looking for…
MATTHEWS: Do you think they might take offense at that…
MATTHEWS: – whole Islamic world?
STEELE: You got a billion-some people out there who are sitting there
going, Really? You want to nuke my grandmother?
So the idea is bringing common sense to this long debate on foreign policy.
Chris, note this. Before we got into this new phase of hawkishness, rank-
and-file Republican were moving away from that. They were battle-weary.
STEELE: They are very much concerned about the buildup and the spending in
the defense area. So I think there`s a space for Rand Paul to engage the
conversation. He unfortunately is going to have to deal with some of this
MATTHEWS: You know, David, the ironies keeping building up. The Iraq war
stands as history, and the people on the hard right don`t want to admit
that it`s still there. And yet when they use this Hitler/Munich connection
thing, they don`t admit that the simple fact that the only country that
Iran is occupying now, if you will, the Czechoslovakia of the 21st century,
is Iraq, the country we gave them in the Iraq war. We turned it over to
the Shia and their militias. That`s the only country anybody gave away in
this era. It`s not the liberals and the Democrats, it`s the crazy right-
winger of Scooter Libby and Dick Cheney and Wolfowitz and that crowd.
DAVID AXELROD, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, many of the same voices that
we hear now and who are behind this ad and some of these attacks are the
same people who urged us into Iraq in the first place.
And you know, I was with Obama back in 2002 when he was a state senator
running for the Senate, and he said that his concern was that the war would
unleash sectarian strife…
AXELROD: – would lead to an occupation of undetermined length, cost and
consequences, and would make us the target of extremism in that region.
All of that came true. And now these same folks, having been so wrong
about that, are wrong again. And Rand Paul deserves credit to the degree
he`s willing to stand up.
Here`s the problem he has, Chris.
AXELROD: And that is you have to hold your position. Now, he signed – he
signed the Tom Cotton letter that was a torpedo aimed right at the heart of
those talks on the Iranian nuclear program. You know, he wanted to cut the
defense budget. Now he wants to add to the defense budget, and so on. And
so he has to decide where he`s going to be. He`s been a little promiscuous
in his pronouncements…
AXELROD: – over the last couple of years…
MATTHEWS: You think he`s…
AXELROD: – and now that he`s a candidate…
MATTHEWS: – covering himself?
AXELROD: – he`s going to be held – I think he`s trying to – I think he
is. I think he`s been a bit of a contortionist…
AXELROD: – trying to touch a lot of bases at once. You`re not going to
get away with that as a candidate. He`s going to be held to a higher level
of scrutiny now, and it`s going to be more difficult.
MATTHEWS: Yes, well, Senator Paul also hasn`t been afraid to take on the
neocons like Dick Cheney, who I just mentioned, in the past.
Here`s Paul back in 2009 talking to a Las Vegas gathering of Republicans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: When the Iraq war started, Halliburton had a billion-dollar no-bid
contract. Some of the stuff has been so shoddy and so sloppy that our
soldiers are over there dying in the shower from electrocution. Dick
Cheney then goes to work for Halliburton, makes hundreds of millions of
dollars (INAUDIBLE) CEO. Next thing you know, he`s back in government and
it`s a good idea to go into Iraq. It became an excuse. 9/11 became an
excuse for a war that they already wanted in Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: So that`s the kind of talk I hear in my crowd!
MATTHEWS: Halliburton? I mean, Halliburton, he`s a war profiteer, he`s
selling shoddy goods to our fighting men. This is the toughest left-wing
attack you can make on any hawk, and here he is to a bunch of college
Republicans, and they`re apparently buying it!
STEELE: Well, but I think –
MATTHEWS: Look at the millennial vote on this guy. He does very well
among younger people.
STEELE: I think it`s also reflective of a voice that has largely been
stilled or silent within the GOP. It is – you know, it is not this
lurching back into the past and that approach.
STEELE: I think what Rand Paul is looking to find is a new space, and the
difficulty he`s going to have to deal is with these type of Swift Boat ads
that sort of peg and define…
STEELE: – his – his philosophy. It`s either – you know, you`re either
an isolationist or you`re a hawk. Well, guess what? That`s not how the
world is shaped (ph), and I think the reality is something that he`s trying
to bring the party into.
MATTHEWS: Yes. I think he`s much more comfortable in the Robert Taft
wing, but that`s – you can you make your point. Go ahead, David, last
AXELROD: Well, what you can`t do, Michael, though, is take two positions
on the same – you can`t be diametrically opposed on the same issue. You
can`t be for Cotton and the talks in Iran. So you know, those kinds of
things are problematic. You want to get kids, but you`re a climate change
denier. These are the kinds of problems that he`s going to – these are
the circle that he`s going to have to square here in this campaign, and
it`s going to be tough, I think.
MATTHEWS: I guess you can`t be Buffalo Bob and Bates Motel at the same
MATTHEWS: I`m sorry. They`re – Bates Motel has already been taken by
Anyway, thank you, David Axelrod. Figure that one out. And thank you,
Michael Steele – trying to make sense of the Republican Party.
Coming up – the lobbying campaign on the Iran deal. President Obama is
trying to keep Democrats in his corner, of course, but he may have lost a
big one. New York`s Chuck Schumer called for giving Congress the power to
reject the agreement.
Also tonight, HBO`s John Oliver gets tough on NSA leaker Edward Snowden,
and Hillary Clinton gets very close to her big announcement. We think it`s
within a week now.
And the great Carole King`s going to join our roundtable tonight to tackle
all that. Before that, actor Russell Crowe will be here. He`s the
director and star of a new movie about the war that created the Middle East
we face today.
Finally, “Let Me Finish” with the appeal of Rand Paul.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, Senator John McCain is planning on running for reelection
in 2016. The five-term Republican from Arizona told NBC News he`s more
than ready for another campaign. McCain has frequently criticized
President Obama, of course, his 2008 rival, on foreign policy, and he has a
lofty perch from which to do it, same (ph) thing (ph) as chairman of the
Senate Armed Services Committee, which he now chairs.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, the president continued his
push to sell the deal with Iran that he says is our best chance to keep
that country from being able to get a nuclear weapon. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Currently, the breakout
times are only about two to three months, by our intelligence estimates.
So essentially, we`re purchasing, for 13, 14, 15 years, assurances that the
breakout is at least a year.
It`s a hard argument to make that we`re better off right now having almost
no breakout period, no insight, and letting them rush towards a bomb than
saying, over the course of 15 years, we have very clear assurances that
they`re not going to do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Republican leaders have strongly criticized the deal, of
course, so far, and Senator Mitch McConnell said the parameter of the
interim deal, in essence, establish an internationally recognized 10-year
nuclear research and development program.
House Speaker John Boehner said it is clear that this deal is a direct
threat to peace and security of the region and the world.
And Tom Cotton, one of the Senate`s chief critics of a deal, called it
complete capitulation. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: There is no deal framework with Iran.
There`s only a list of very dangerous U.S. concessions (INAUDIBLE) Iran on
the path to a nuclear weapon. This is a complete capitulation by the
United States, a sad day for our country and for the hope of world peace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the White House is also expressing concern about efforts
by Senate Foreign Relations chair Bob Corker to force an Iran deal to get
approval from Congress. Politico reports that at least a dozen Democrats
support that move, including leaders like Chuck Schumer of New York. That
means it is close to a veto-proof majority of 67 senators who could say, We
in the Congress must decide this thing.
Is the goal, by the way, to give Congress a voice on the deal, or is it to
find a way to kill the deal? That`s a great question. Is it decide or
I`m joined right now by Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut and “The New
York Times” great reporter Peter Baker.
Senator, do you think those who are in your caucus, especially that dozen
or so – do you think they`re voting to kill this deal in its bed, or its
crib, if you will – it`s not even resolved yet – or just to get –
exercise – just to exercise congressional prerogatives?
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, I think there`s this appropriate
hangover still from the Iraq War, in which Congress feels guilty that we
didn`t oversee the conduct of foreign policy by the president. And so
Congress wants to get back in the game.
The question is how and when do you do that? I don`t think the Democrats
who are supporting the Corker bill want to kill the deal. I just think
that they are trying to set this new precedent by which Congress is
actually going to weigh in on matters of foreign policy.
And so my quibble is just about timing. I think there may be a time and a
place to weigh in, but if our negotiators are telling us that if we pass a
bill now, in the next few weeks, that we are actually less likely to see a
final agreement that we can vote up or down on, I don`t know why we would
move forward, given that admonition.
There may be a time and a place for Congress to weigh in on the nuclear
agreement, but if our negotiators are telling us that we`re undermining
them by doing it now, I don`t see the real reason to rush.
MATTHEWS: Wouldn`t a vote by the Congress reinforce the letter sent by Tom
Cotton and other senators to the ayatollah that said don`t trust a deal
made by the president, because it will be written in disappearing ink and
it could be taken back? I mean, if you have a vote, it seems to me you`re
just saying, yes, it`s not his to say.
MURPHY: Well, I mean, here`s the two sides of the Corker bill.
You can look at it as an effort to undermine negotiations, but you can also
look at it as fairly innocuous, in that it essentially says that Congress
has the right and ability to vote on a deal once it`s inked. Now, you
don`t need to pass a bill now to tell Congress that it has the ability to
way in a negotiated deal once it`s done.
So, there`s an argument to be said that passing the Corker bill today isn`t
that big of a deal, because even without it being passed, Congress still
has the ability to weigh in when the deal is done.
And, frankly, I just hope that we have the maturity to wait, given the fact
that we still have the ability to take a vote, if and when we ever get to a
final negotiated agreement.
MATTHEWS: Well, the Israeli government, of course, Bibi Netanyahu leads
that government. And other critics of the deal are ramping up their
efforts to kill this deal, kill it in its bed.
Here was Israeli`s prime minister, the prime minister himself on “Meet the
Press” this weekend. Let`s watch Bibi here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “MEET THE PRESS WITH CHUCK TODD”)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I think this is a dream deal
for Iran and it`s a nightmare deal for the world. I think the real problem
in the Middle East is not the democracy of Israel that has shown restraint
and responsibility, but it`s countries like Iran that pursue nuclear
weapons with the explicit goal first of annihilating us, but also
ultimately of conquering the Middle East and threatening you.
CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, “MEET THE PRESS”: It sounds like you would want the
U.S. Congress to do everything in its power to kill this deal? Is that
what you would like them to do?
NETANYAHU: I would like the United States and the other members of the P5-
plus-one to get a better deal. There is still time. It`s time. You can
ratchet up the sanctions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Peter Baker, it seems like he does what a lot of politicians do.
And I understand that.
You have a strong position, but you don`t want to unsheathe it. You don`t
want to say you really want the deal dead. But there he is, again, this
notion of conquest, that Iran is basically Hitler, they are going to
conquer the Middle East the way that Hitler conquered continental Europe.
The metaphor is always out there. So, it seems to me that he really does
want to kill the deal. That`s my thinking.
What`s your assessment here?
PETER BAKER, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, “THE NEW YORK TIMES”: Well, it`s
You know, the day after he made those remarks to Chuck Todd, his minister
of intelligence gave out a list in Jerusalem of, here are the things we
think you ought to add to this deal to make it a more palatable deal. Now,
these are conditions that will probably never be accepted. They definitely
go much further than the American negotiators and the European and Russian
and Chinese negotiators have been able to get out of Iran.
But what`s interesting about it was, it was the first time they kind of
laid out concrete specifics…
MATTHEWS: Yes, I saw that.
BAKER: – that went beyond simply saying no enrichment, no program
It doesn`t mean that there`s going to be an agreement, but it does suggest
that they are bargaining at the same time they are trying to, as you say,
probably see if they can`t kill it altogether.
MATTHEWS: It seems to me, Senator, that Netanyahu is of course a man of
the right. Fair enough. He was elected, rather well, in fact.
He is setting new and higher standards. For the Palestinians to get a two-
state solution, he wants full recognition of Israel, not just as a
sovereign state, but as a Jewish state, a Jewish state. He wants them to
say that. And now he`s saying he wants Iran – in the paper today – he
wants Iran to recognize Israel and established diplomatic relations as sort
of a side deal here.
It just seems to me, Senator, that he`s really demanding a lot here. If
this is a worthy contract or a deal we`re trying to make, he`s making it
harder to make one.
MURPHY: And you hear that from Republicans in Congress as well. it`s a
rewriting of history to say that we are renegotiating with Iran right now
over the nuclear program, but also their support for terrorism, their
ballistic missile program…
MURPHY: – their human rights record.
The fact is we have sanctions that will hold against Iran on all of those
other things, and, of course, there is this very valid argument that
there`s a fight happening inside Iran right now between the moderates, who
want to negotiate on many of these other issues, and the hard-liners.
If the moderates win and get this deal inked in the end, it is going to be
a lot easier, theoretically, to come to the table and work on all these
other issues. But to go back and say that we`re not going to enter into a
nuclear agreement unless they give us side deals on A, B, C, and D, that`s
just not why we entered into these agreements – these negotiations in the
first place. And we should just admit that.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut and Peter Baker
of “The New York Times.”
Up next, the Academy Award-winning actor Russell Crowe is going to be here,
right at this table.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “GLADIATOR”)
RUSSELL CROWE, ACTOR/DIRECTOR: Are you not entertained? Are you not
entertained? Is this not why you are here?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Great scene.
Welcome back to HARDBALL.
He defeated adversaries in “Gladiator” right there, cracked codes in “A
Beautiful Mind” and navigated the high seas in “Master and Commander,” my
Now Academy Award-winning actor Russell Crowe has made his directorial
debut with a new film called “The Water Diviner” – `Water Diviner,” for
Westerners. It`s set 100 years ago in the aftermath of World War I. It`s
about the father`s request – a father`s request to find his sons who went
missing in action in Gallipoli in present-day Turkey, which was one of the
bloodiest campaigns of that war.
Crowe plays Joshua Connor, who makes the dangerous journey during the
ethnic and religious conflicts at the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Here`s a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE WATER DIVINER”)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Not swimming?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: No. What are you doing with your farmer?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: There`s a supply ship back to Constantinople in two
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: May you could help him until then.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You know what the chances of finding his boys are.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: We have the day they were killed. I know the area.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Yes, we both know it, but why change everything for
one father who can`t stay put?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Because he`s the only father who came looking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by Russell Crowe himself, the director and
star, as you just saw, of “The Water Diviner.”
You know, so much of this, as you`re an expert on maps and everything…
CROWE: Evening, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Evening to you.
That this is about the beginning of really all the trouble we have had in
the Middle East. It`s about the original design after World War I, the
Ottoman Empire carved up by Churchill and the rest of them in Iraq and
Transjordan and Syria. And there you are trying to save your sons who got
killed in that disastrous campaign.
CROWE: Well, it`s a big journey that Joshua goes on, particularly for the
time period we`re talking about. There`s no easy way of getting from
Australia to Turkey at that point in time. It probably required five boats
or something, you know? But there`s no other way of communicating.
You think about the horror people must have gone through at that stage.
Their sons leave, go off to war, and, you know, very seldom will they have
any communication until they find out there that they have either not
survived or survived, and the war is over.
MATTHEWS: I heard late today, in getting ready for this, that, until World
War I, there was no expectation of getting a body back. If you got killed
in a war, you were thrown in a mass grave. And that was the end. You
heard they were there, but that was it.
CROWE: – how they handled it.
Yes, one big deep bloody hole, as they used to say, and they just scrape
everything in, but not just the men, horses, mules, whatever else was
killed as well.
MATTHEWS: Australia is very much like to me – I always think of it as the
somewhat better American at times. You`re more cowboyish than we are, more
American at times. And yet you have had this history of being treated as a
colonial people by the Brits.
You were sent to war, the British war, in World War I. You guys fought in
CROWE: We weren`t sent, actually.
MATTHEWS: Well, you didn`t get a vote on it.
CROWE: Yes. All those men were volunteers.
CROWE: The British government and the Australian government reached an
agreement of federation in 1900. Australia became independent, New Zealand
around the same time.
So the significance of this particular battle, Gallipoli, is it`s the first
time that Australians and New Zealanders are fighting under their own flag,
not as an extension of the British Empire.
CROWE: But every single man in that force, that expeditionary force was a
MATTHEWS: Yes, but I have seen so many movies, whether it`s “Gallipoli”
itself or it`s “Breaker Morant,” and this historic resentment against the
Brits for using you guys as cannon fodder.
CROWE: You have had exactly the same thing.
MATTHEWS: This resentment…
CROWE: You have had a historic resentment against the Brits as well.
MATTHEWS: – the cannon fodder you guys were used in a war that was not
your own war. You can say they volunteered, but they were fighting for the
king and country, and they got killed and they were slaughtered.
CROWE: Yes, but the nature of how they died and the numbers that died,
that was – I think it was a massive and, like, an emotional affecting
surprise to Australians, because, as I said, society gathered around and
said, if you`re young and you`re able, you have to go and defend the
MATTHEWS: Yes. Yes.
CROWE: – and encouraged…
MATTHEWS: Did you get respect? Because I sense in the movie, seeing it
today, that your character, the father, Joshua Connor, goes over to try –
just to try to get his three sons` bodies back to take them back to
Australia, and you weren`t getting treated that well by the Brits there.
CROWE: Well, there`s four British characters in the movie.
And I think, over the course of the film, there`s definitely a balance in
terms of the British reaction. You`re probably speaking more specifically
about the character of Captain Brindley, whose job it is to account for all
And he knows the impossible task that Joshua has put in front of himself.
To go into a battlefield that is four years` cold to look for what
essentially can only be bones, you know, was, to his mind, to Brindley`s
mind, this man is just getting in the way of him doing his job.
So, I don`t decry that that guy would have that attitude. I understand his
attitude. But also look at what he does. He doesn`t arrest Joshua, which
he could do. He doesn`t imprison him. He actually ends up buying him a
ticket home. Now, he takes him – or wants to take him to that boat under
MATTHEWS: Well, he took away his passport.
CROWE: I think he`s being about as decent a man as he can be in the
position that he`s in.
CROWE: But there`s a balance with the English characters.
I think the best soldier on display, for example, is Lieutenant Greeves,
CROWE: – guard. And he`s the guy that brings the Turkish officers to
the postwar battlefield.
And you see him acting in, you know, the most strict ways, as a soldier.
And the other character, you have the young lieutenant who is Brindley`s
assistant, who offers to arrange an appointment with the Red Cross.
So, I think there`s definitely a balance. And war affects obviously people
in very many different ways. But if you had that job of Brindley, and a
man like Joshua came into your realm, you would probably want to just stop
that whole idea of a civilian exploring the battlefields to his own
MATTHEWS: Just for us movie buffs, could you repeat the words you spoke at
the Academy Award when you won best actor for “Gladiator” and how you paid
tribute to your director?
CROWE: Well, we were just chatting about that. It`s funny when you look
at the footage back.
MATTHEWS: Come on. Give me the performance. I owe this award toward
bloke Ridley Scott, to Ridley Scott.
CROWE: What is funny about that, if you watch that footage, I list all
these other people. In fact, somebody told me recently that I thanked 25
people in that speech. And I don`t say him.
And you can see him getting more and more despondent, thinking that I had
forgotten about him. But what I`m actually doing is platforming him.
MATTHEWS: Building it up, building toward the great conclusion.
MATTHEWS: Russell Crowe, it`s an honor to meet you. I`m one of your big
CROWE: Cheers, mate.
MATTHEWS: Up next: John Oliver makes Edward Snowden squirm, and everyone
is waiting for Hillary to make her move, which I think is within seven days
of now. It could come any day.
Anyway, the very political and singer/songwriter Carole King is going to
join our roundtable tonight. We hope she comes back again and again.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
PAGE HOPKINS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Page Hopkins with breaking news.
A white police officers in North Charleston, South Carolina, has been
charged with murder following a traffic stop and shooting on Saturday.
Bystander video provided to “The New York Times” shows the police officer
firing on the apparently unarmed black man as he fled the scene.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOPKINS: That shooting occurred – that shooting occurred on Saturday just
moments after a struggle between those two men.
The police officer says that he feared for his life. The victim, Walter
Scott, was shot five times, as you can see in that video.
Let`s bring in former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt, along with former ATF
Special Agent Jim Cavanaugh. Both are MSNBC laws enforcement analysts.
Thanks for joining us this evening, gentlemen.
CLINT VAN ZANDT, MSNBC ANALYST: Sure.
HOPKINS: Just quickly looking at that video, Clint, it doesn`t appear that
the officer is in danger, because the victim is running away from him.
VAN ZANDT: You know, Page, Jim and I just talked about this.
And basically there was a confrontation. There was some type of a
struggle. The subject may have taken the officer`s Taser, which would have
been his first choice of weapons, perhaps, in this case.
But once the subject runs, once he drops the Taser and runs from the
officer, that threat has stopped at that point with the Taser being dropped
and the subject running. And, you know, I`m sure Jim`s position – but I
can speak on mine as an FBI agent. The only time you can use deadly
physical force is when you fear for your life or fear for the life of
HOPKINS: Right. Right.
VAN ZANDT: And this video indicates that the guy was running the other
way. So, the officer had nothing to fear.
HOPKINS: It sure looks that way.
JAMES CAVANAUGH, MSNBC ANALYST: Yes, absolutely.
The officer is not in imminent threat of death, as Clint said, or great
bodily harm to himself. Nor are others in that threat. There`s nobody
HOPKINS: There`s nobody there, right. Right.
And once the struggle over the Taser stops, Page, once that stops…
CAVANAUGH: – and the man runs away, there`s no reason for deadly force.
The first shot, the man is 10 steps away. He goes behind the tree when the
officer shoots him. And he continues to shoot a series of shots, about
eight shots. And the man is struck five times and killed.
And then later in the video, the officer walks back 30 or 40 feet…
CAVANAUGH: – and gets the Taser and appears to drop it next to the man,
clearly, you know, trying to make it look like the Taser was there.
You would never drop – first of all, you wouldn`t pick up evidence in that
CAVANAUGH: But, secondly, even if you picked it up, you wouldn`t drop it
next to the victim, so clearly an attempt to place evidence to justify the
And the police department and the DA…
HOPKINS: Acted very quickly.
CAVANAUGH: Very quickly.
HOPKINS: Very quickly.
CAVANAUGH: Within hours of the video, the DA got a warrant.
And that`s the kind of justice we need to see in America when officers use
excessive force. Unfortunately, it happens. It happened here.
HOPKINS: And before I let you gentlemen go, the Justice Department is
investigating. What factors do you think they`re going to be looking for?
HOPKINS: I`m sorry.
VAN ZANDT: You know, parts of the issue, of course, is just, it`s a white-
on-black crime, but would this officer have done this had it been a
Caucasian as well as an African-American? They`re going to have to look
into his background –
HOPKINS: OK. Unfortunately…
VAN ZANDT: – and see what might have led him to do that.
HOPKINS: Thank you.
OK. Thank you so much, Clint Van Zandt and Jim Cavanaugh.
This story is continuing to unfold. We`re going to keep you up to date –
right now, we`re going to take you back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
As we know, HBO`s John Oliver doesn`t always substitute real journalism for
jokes, but Oliver went to Moscow to speak with NSA leaker Edward Snowden,
who Oliver called the most famous hero and/or traitor in recent American
history, in what ended up being a very tough journalistic interview which
aired Sunday on HBO`s “Last Week Tonight.”
Snowden is the former National Security Agency subcontractor who made
headlines in 2013 when he leaked classified documents to the media on the
government`s domestic surveillance programs.
Oliver confronted Snowden about his knowledge of those documents and the
possible harmful consequences of his actions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN OLIVER, HOST, LAST WEEK TONIGHT: How many of those documents have you
EDWARD SNOWDEN: I have evaluated all of the documents that are in the
OLIVER: You`ve read every single one?
SNOWDEN: Well, I do understand what I turned over.
OLIVER: There`s difference between understanding what`s in the documents
and reading what`s in the documents.
SNOWDEN: I recognize the concern.
OLIVER: Because when you`re handing over thousands of NSA documents, the
last thing you want to do is read them.
SNOWDEN: In my defense, I`m not handling anything anymore. That`s been
passed to journalists and they`re using extraordinary security measures to
make sure that this is reported in the most responsible way.
OLIVER: “New York Times” took a slide, didn`t redact it properly. And in
the end, it was possible for people to see that something was being used in
Mosul on al Qaeda.
SNOWDEN: That is a problem.
OLIVER: Well, that`s a (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
SNOWDEN: It is a (EXPLETIVE DELETED), and these things do happen in
reporting. In journalism, we have to accept that some mistakes will be
made. This is a fundamental concept of liberty.
OLIVER: Right. But you have to own that then. You`re giving documents
with information you know could be harmful, which could get out there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, joining the roundtable – I`m thrilled to be joined by
political activist and legendary singer/songwriter, all one person, Carole
King. Also with me now is “Washington Post” opinion writer Jonathan
Capehart, and Susan Milligan of “U.S. News and World Report”.
So, what did we all think? I`m not sure what I think. I mean, he did say
it, very interesting, he`s either a hero or a traitor or a villain or
whatever. He did let some stuff out that may have hurt us.
CAROLE KING, SINGER/SONGWRITER: I come down on the side of he`s not a
hero. I see him as somebody who was very careless. He had a point to
make. The point I think needed to be made that we need to look at this and
have a debate, but I don`t think he did it in a wise way or a helpful way.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, THE WASHINGTON POST: I agree with Carole. I`ve written
about this many, many times. People like to compare hIm to Ellsberg who
also leaked the Pentagon papers, gave them to “The New York Times”, gave
them to “The Washington Post”.
He never left the country. Ellsberg never left the country. In fact, he
turned himself in in Boston. He stayed in this country, allowed himself to
be held accountable for his actions. He was a man of principle and a man
Edward Snowden, every interview I have seen him give, he has this sort of
smug entitlement –
MATTHEWS: Yes, what about the – I mean, one thing – I`m glad you brought
Ellsberg up, because people don`t know that memory, but he was giving out a
Rand report that should have gotten out. It was made to be reported.
That`s why they created the Rand report.
SUSAN MILLIGAN, U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT: Right. And Ellsberg had
worked on it. He knew what was in it. He thought the country needed to
know. It was a very, very targeted release. And as you said, he took –
he accepted the consequences for it.
What Snowden did was this wholesale document dump and got on a plane and
left the country like a coward, and now is presenting himself as this hero.
He doesn`t want to be Daniel Ellsberg. He wants to be a Julian Assange,
and I don`t think that`s anything you want to aspire to be.
MATTHEWS: OK. This is always going to be tricky, the question of how much
truth do we have, how much do we get, and how sloppy is that? It was a
great John Paul Sartre, or John Paul Sartre line, which is: we don`t always
do what, but we are responsible for who we are.
And he`s responsible for everything that happened here. And we have –
that`s a grownup position.
You know, 150 people were killed, mostly Christian students over in Kenya.
They were massacred at a university in Kenya by four members, four people
of the extreme Islamic group al Shabaab.
Now, Kenya is fighting back. Kenya fighter jets bombed two al Shabaab
training camps up in Somalia, and Kenya`s army spokesman told the BBC that
the bombings are part of a continued process right now, and engagement
against al Shabaab which will go on.
Meanwhile, survivors are speaking out about their terrifying experience
inside that school during the attack. Here`s one survivor`s account.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gunmen at first they were not talking until they
occupied the hostels where we were sleeping. By then they could just speak
loudly and say that, “We are here to kill and to be killed”. I had to step
over blood and the dead bodies of my closest friend and very good friends
of mine. And it was bitter. It`s even now bitter to remember. Having
know that they are very innocent people, who were good friends and very
close friends of mine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, I have great feeling – I spent a lot of time in
Kenya, and I`m just looking at wildlife, but hanging around in Lamu, in
Mombasa, in Nairobi. I`d been through (INAUDIBLE) in the Peace Corps,
hitchhiking up around there.
This is a vulnerable, it`s like Athens against Sparta. It`s a good
country. It`s not a military state. They don`t spend time their time
marching around in uniform on a gun play. And yet, they`re right next to
these dangerous people from Somalia, most of them.
CAPEHART: Yes, I`ve visited Kenya, gosh now, more than ten years ago in
Nairobi, walked around, not as Peace Corps volunteer, but as a reporter,
went to the largest slum in sub-Saharan Africa –
MATTHEWS: My wife and daughter have been there, working for an orphanage
for AIDS kids.
CAPEHART: Yes. I mean, it will take your breath away, the deprivation.
But, you know, what Kenya has been going through for decades now, with the
U.S. embassy bombings that happened there, sort of not like Somalia, but
terrorist attacks have been happening there. It`s a terrible time.
MATTHEWS: Why are they hitting Kenya? What`s the point? They kill modern
shopping mall, which looks like one here, a university, probably the first
in their generation to get to go to university, the parents were so proud
of them, there`s a chance to go to modernity and the modern world, to join
the world. They must hate that, the Somalians – Shabaab people.
CAPEHART: Well, sure, they hate that. But I mean, I guess, you know, the
question of why is it happening there? Why is terrorist action happening
there? Why are terrorist actions happening in all of these, quote/unquote,
It`s because folks don`t like what those kids represent. They don`t like
what the West represents, and think will do anything and everything they
can for try to destroy it in their eyes, but I think, as we`re all saying,
we`re still standing, despite the terrorist actions, we`re all still
MATTHEWS: Yes. You guys want to say something? I`m rooting for this guy.
Uhuru Kenyatta is not a day at the beach. But he ain`t perfect. But he`s
a leader of a country that`s under assault. I`m rooting for him now.
KING: And that`s one of the things the president is doing. He`s
partnering with people in this endeavor, and, you know, there is a
strategy, there is a comprehensive strategy that the president has, which
is an antiterrorism campaign, but it`s not anything you can sort of base on
MATTHEWS: He`s also going over there, Susan. That`s a big deal. I hope
he doesn`t call that trip off in July, because that`s a statement.
MILLIGAN: It would be a statement either way. I wondered myself when this
happened, I wondered if that was an effort to try to keep him away.
MATTHEWS: We have other friends in the world besides the Middle East. We
have real friends like Kenya, and I hope we can stand by them. I mean it.
The roundtable is staying with us.
And up next, we`re on high alert for Hillary. The announcement could come
any day. We`ve had heard Thursday, I think next Tuesday is more reliable,
next Tuesday, which is equal payday, which would make sense symbolically.
We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Well, tomorrow on HARDBALL, Candice Bergen will be with us.
She`s at the center. She was at the center of the culture wars back when
Dan Quayle, he`s went after Murphy Brown for having a baby without a
husband. It wasn`t her fault she doesn`t have a husband.
Anyway, that`s great stuff and that`s tomorrow on HARDALL.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the roundtable.
You saw the camera coming in on Carole King and Hillary Clinton.
Jonathan Capehart is also here, and Susan Milligan.
So, you want to endorse Hillary tonight?
KING: Absolutely, if she runs.
MATTHEWS: You are really part of the team. That is the veil that
everybody wears, like, well, it`s up to her, we don`t know.
Susan, is that the really, the ground rule? Can you actually say now, I
know she is running? Are you allowed to say that in the inner circle?
MILLIGAN: I think so. I think in, you know, the last campaign, she made
the mistake of trying to be the inevitable candidate. And this time, she
pretty much is the inevitable candidate. So, there`s no dancing around
KING: But she is not thinking like that.
MILLIGAN: No, smartly so.
MATTHEWS: – authoritative.
But let`s start with you, Jonathan, what is going to be different this time
from the Mark Penn effort?
CAPEHART: I think this time, she – look, there is no question that
Hillary Clinton is qualified – highly qualified to be president of the
United States. What we don`t know if she can successfully run a campaign
to be president of the United States.
We saw what happened in 2008.
MATTHEWS: What is more important? Being able to run or being able to do
CAPEHART: Well, you got to run to get the job. And remember –
MATTHEWS: But we have people who wanted who haven`t been able to do it.
CAPEHART: Well, sort of, but the inevitability thing was a problem in 2008
because she didn`t plan for after Super Tuesday. This go-around, given
what we`ve been hearing about the small venues and things like that, she is
making it clear that she wants to connect with every day people to show
that when she`s humble enough to ask someone –
MATTHEWS: So, the listening tour, Carol?
KING: Well, the listening tour, that`s what –
MATTHEWS: It will start next week again.
KING: That`s what she did in New York. When you talk about her running a
successful campaign, she ran two and I think she did really well. I think
the person Hillary Clinton is going to be who she is, and she is a
MATTHEWS: How do you – you know, this is true of a lot – some
politicians are exactly what you see in television, OK? I think she is one
of the real 180 differences. She is very just fun to be with. She`s
happy, she`s upbeat, she`s trusting.
And yet, when she gets on television like a lot of politicians, they get –
they get formal. Is that a woman – is a professional woman now forced to
be – TV formal, you know what I mean. Formality is important.
MILLIGAN: Chris, you were around for the `92 campaign. You remember what
she got put through starting back in `91, `92.
MILLIGAN: And so, she becomes guarded.
The thing is, is that she doesn`t need to be guarded because she doesn`t
say stupid things when you`re on the phone with her. She`s smart, she`s
warm, she`s funny. There is no reason to sort of put her in a situation
where she has to watch everything that comes out of her mouth. I do think
that what will be different is in 2008, she didn`t want to run as the woman
candidate and didn`t want to be defined that way.
And I think this is absolutely the time to run as a female candidate.
MATTHEWS: How about as her generation? How about running openly as a
grandmother, is that part of it?
MILLIGAN: Did you say our generation?
MATTHEWS: I`m older than her and everybody here, I`ll say that, but I know
from experience that the word grand mom is not grabbed on to.
KING: It is absolutely what we need, when you`re looking for a leader.
KING: If you saw that picture, that was me and my daughter and my
granddaughter with Hillary. And that speaks to what the multi generation -
MATTHEWS: And you`re very comfortable in your skin, as we say in politics.
Anyway, Carole King, I`m going to hear your song all tonight again, going
to bed, you`ll be on the pillow (ph) with me.
Jonathan Capehart, thank you, buddy. You`re the only guy here, and it is
very tough here right now.
Susan Milligan, just kidding, it`s always fun.
When we return, let me finish with the appeal – yes, I`m saying this, my
friends on the left, of Rand Paul. He has an appeal. Don`t kid yourself.
And you on the right – tough.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with the appeal of Rand Paul.
I can see why people from both parties are going after this guy, even on
the very day, he announces for president. He is a danger to conventional
politics in this country. He`s going to challenge government intrusion in
our lives, willing to challenge America`s intrusion into foreign countries,
especially that sad, tragic mission we call nation-building.
On an electoral level, I think those who put down Senator Paul should
observe his ability to win elections. He beat Trey Grayson, who Mitch
McConnell was pushing for the Senate nomination in Kentucky, and then he
killed Jack Conway by a dozen points in the November elections. So, he`s
got an appeal at home.
But is he a true libertarian? Does he truly oppose government getting
excessively into what should be individual decision making? He is against
NSA surveillance and drones, but not so quick.
On social issues, we see him buying into the conservative Republican line.
Here is where it is tricky. He didn`t like the 1964 civil rights bill,
because it denied the rights of people to do business with the people they
want to do business with.
So, where does that put him on this Religious Freedom Restoration Act?
Does the business have the right to deny service to a gay couple? Does it?
Can the government require business to do business with someone the owner
doesn`t want to do business with? Can it, Senator?
How libertarian is Rand Paul?
Ands that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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