Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 09/01/15
STEVE KORNACKI, GUEST HOST: A police officer is dead, and a massive
manhunt is under way for his killers.
This is HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Steve Kornacki, in for Chris Matthews.
And tonight, there is a lot of political news, including Jeb Bush
finally firing back hard at Donald Trump. We`ve got Bush`s attack. We`ve
got Trump`s response. That is coming up.
We will also talk to the attorney for that county clerk down in
Kentucky who is defying the Supreme Court by not issuing marriage licenses
to same-sex couples. She says it violates her religious beliefs.
But we begin this hour with the manhunt under way northwest of
Chicago. Police are searching for three suspects. This after an officer
was shot and killed this morning. The shooting happened in the town of Fox
Lake, Illinois. That`s close to the Wisconsin border. The officer has
been identified as Charles J. Gliniewicz. He`s a 32-year veteran of the
town`s police force, married and a father of four.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR DONNY SCHMIT, FOX LAKE, ILLINOIS: Tonight, not only did Fox
Lake lose a family member, I lost a very dear friend. Understandably, our
officers are having a very difficult day today. We lost a family member.
They`re dealing with the loss of their colleague, partner, while also
identifying efforts to find the person responsible for this senseless
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Now, police say Officer Gliniewicz was on routine patrol
when he began pursuing what he called suspicious activity. The Lake County
sheriff`s office said he was on foot pursuit before contact was lost.
Officer Gliniewicz was later found near a marshy area, stripped of his gun.
He died at the scene.
Here is audio from another officer who arrived on the scene.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Send everybody you possibly can. Officer is down.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Police are using helicopters, K-9 units and SWAT teams to
hunt down three suspects, one of them described as a black male and two
white males. The FBI, ATF and U.S. Marshals have joined the intense search
NBC`s John Yang is in Fox Lake. He joins us now with the latest. So
John, three suspects at large. What can you tell us right now about the
hunt for them?
JOHN YANG, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, this hunt is still going strong,
Steve. Just about – less than half a mile up the road this way, I can see
flashing lights, a huge police presence. Above, you can hear the sound of
a helicopter hovering over. Across the street, a staging area. You can
see vehicles from several police, sheriffs, state police in the area, all
focusing on this little town, about 10,000 people, of Fox – Fox River.
This all happened about 8:00 o`clock this morning, the police officer,
as you said, on a foot patrol – a foot chase, rather, after three
suspicious people. This hunt still going on, going into its – now closing
in on its tenth hour as they still hunt down these three people. They are
still looking for them, and this hunt is still going strong, Steve.
KORNACKI: And John, do we have a sense of what kind of search
perimeter they`ve set up there, how big it is, how quickly they were able
to establish that after the incident this morning?
YANG: It`s hard to say because they haven`t established – they
haven`t shut down sort of a big area. There seems to be a housing
subdivision up here that is sealed off. You have police surrounding the
area, cutting off streets going into it. It`s heavily wooded. They`re
obviously giving the three suspects cover, as it were.
The one thing they are worried about, they`d like to get this done
quickly, if they could. Sundown is about 90 minutes away. You start
losing light. The helicopters – there is infrared technology. They`ve
got federal officials in here, U.S. Marshals, ATF, FBI and a whole array of
state and local officials.
KORNACKI: And John, if you could just tell us a little bit about the
community up there, too, Fox Lake. We`re outside of Chicago, pretty far
outside of Chicago, I guess. Tell us a little bit about the town. What`s
the reaction there? Is this a town that`s afraid right now?
YANG: This is a town very much afraid. They`ve asked people to stay
indoors, keep behind locked doors, to keep an eye out, to look for anything
The schools were on lockdown today. They delayed the closing of
schools, the release of students, by an hour. They asked parents to drive
to the schools to pick up their children. The children were walked out by
law enforcement and by school officials, walked out to their cars.
The commuter train station here was closed all day long, only reopened
during the evening rush hour, people saying that they really would like
this to get over with because they want to be able to go back to their
homes and be – feel secure once again – Steve.
KORNACKI: All right, John Yang live in Fox Lake, Illinois, thank you
for that report.
And Jim Cavanaugh is a retired special agent-in-charge with the ATF.
He`s now an MSNBC law enforcement analyst. And Manny Gomez is a retired
Jim, to you first. So we have this sort of unofficial – I don`t know
if deadline is the right word, but sunset coming, as John Yang said, 90
minutes from now. What is law enforcement doing and what can they do
between now and sunset to try and expedite this?
JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, they`re going to
have a hard time trying to rush it. I mean, tonight, they`re going to have
the infrared, they`re going to have the air, they`ll have some advantages
at night, Steve, and they`ll try to, you know, leverage that.
But there`s nothing to say absolutely that these killers are still in
those woods. I mean, how did they get to the cement plant? You know,
normally, when criminals go to do something – and they were doing
something there – we don`t know if they were casing the place, going to
steal something – were they burying something or digging something up?
It`s kind of a remote place.
And they were doing something when the lieutenant saw them. And most
likely, they got there in a vehicle. So they could have been running
toward or going to get to their vehicle or going to a vehicle stashed on
the road behind there. And if they didn`t make it to the vehicle, they
could have slipped away before a perimeter could be set up.
Now, that`s not to say they`re not in the woods. Maybe they were on
foot and they are in the woods. So law enforcement has to deal with both
of those possibilities.
KORNACKI: Let me ask you, Manny, too, about this – I mean, our
understanding here is the officer saw suspicious activity, alerted, you
know, his base about suspicious activity, then he pursued it by himself.
Is that – is that a common tactic in policing, when there`s multiple
potential suspects, to go and track it down yourself?
MANNY GOMEZ, RETIRED FBI AGENT: Well, we`re talking about a small
town here of 60,000. This lieutenant was a police officer for over 32
years. He was highly experienced and highly trained. He made a judgment
call to go after these people by himself. Obviously, he was very
experienced, and he felt that he could handle this by himself.
He did call for backup, which is the proper procedure. And could he
have waited from backup? That`s a judgment call. However, the suspects
were getting away. So he called for backup, he was going after the
suspects, and obviously, something went very wrong very quickly.
KORNACKI: Yes, and I mean, Jim, obviously, it`s speculation at this
point, but you`ve seen, you know, so many instances like this before,
tragic instances. I wonder – I mean, to kill a police officer, it almost
feels like something – something heavy had to be going on there that
they`re trying to cover up for them to have the instinct to actually kill a
CAVANAUGH: Right. Either something heavy was going on there, or
these guys have, you know, deep prior criminal records and they don`t want
to go back to jail. So it could have been a burglary, it could have been,
you know, anything, could have been drugs, or could have been an assault,
could have been a murder they were covering up, they could have been, like
I say, digging something up or burying something.
He could have seen them walking out of the woods with a shovel and
said, you know, What are you doing at the cement plant? And he pursues
them, and you know, this is the result. So something is afoot criminal
going on. He recognizes it, Lieutenant Joe, and he pursues them and pays
with his life.
Now, these guys, Steve, they could be in Chicago watching the news,
flipping the channels, trying to see what`s going on because if they made
it to a vehicle, I mean, they could be out of that area in just a few
So what the detectives and agents got to do is they got to go back to
all those businesses on that street, because this is a small town, and
they`ve got to lock down every camera.
I`m sure they`re doing it – locking down every single camera, know
every single vehicle that passed through that town from, you know, the
midnight the night before until, you know, shortly after the lieutenant was
murdered and try to identify every car and have the residents say, If you
were on that road between midnight, and you know, noon, you need to come
into the police and talk to us. We need to take your car off this film
until you`re down to the one because – or the dashcam video of the
They`ve got to find something that`s going to link these guys`
identities if they`re not in those woods.
KORNACKI: Yes, and Manny, let me ask about that. We always – I
mean, we learn so much about these investigations from TV, from “CSI,”
whatever, the sophistication of technology right now. What kind of
forensic evidence do you think is left behind here that could provide some
GOMEZ: Well, the forensic evidence is going to be on the gunbelt.
They apparently took the firearm from Lieutenant Joe, and there may be some
fingerprints or some forensic evidence in the uniform or the gunbelt of
this police officer. There could be some forensic evidence in the woods.
But like Jim said, and I totally agree, in today`s environment, it`s
very difficult for these guys to get away with this. They`re going to be
checking cameras. They`re going to be checking videos. They`re going to
be – there`s ATF, FBI, local police, state police looking at this case and
trying to find out within the next 48 hours, which is crucial, if there is
any video of any vehicle, of any persons of interest that they could come
And then the investigation continues until they track these killers
down and bring them to justice.
KORNACKI: All right, Jim Cavanaugh, Manny Gomez, appreciate the time.
GOMEZ: Thank you.
KORNACKI: All right, we`ll continue to track developments from the
manhunt in Illinois throughout this hour.
But up next, 2016 politics. Jeb Bush is no longer ignoring the man
who knocked him from the top spot in the Republican field, Donald Trump.
Bush has a tough new attack on Trump, but is it too little and too late?
Plus, the county clerk in Kentucky who is openly defying the United
States Supreme Court, refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex
couples. We will talk to her attorney tonight.
And there`s nothing damaging in the latest batch of Hillary Clinton e-
mails, but that`s not stopping the right wing from stoking the notion that
her presidential campaign is ready to implode.
And finally, he may not be the front-runner in Iowa yet, but Dr. Ben
Carson is surging. And if Donald Trump isn`t worried, well, maybe he
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
KORNACKI: Well, it was a brutal day for stocks on Wall Street today.
After stocks plummeted and then rebounded last week, concerns about China
and its weak economy again fueled a sell-off here in the U.S. The Dow
closed down nearly 470 points and the S&P and NASDAQ both finishing down 3
Be right back.
KORNACKI: Welcome back to HARDBALL. After days of getting slammed by
Donald Trump, the Bush campaign is hitting back and hitting back hard. The
final straw seems to have been this incendiary video that Trump put out
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH (R-FL), FMR. GOV., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, they broke
the law, but it`s not a felony. It`s kind of a – it`s – it`s a – it`s a
– it`s an act of love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Today, the Bush campaign released a minute-and-a-half video
going right after Trump`s past support for liberal policies and for Hillary
Clinton. Here`s part of that video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: I lived in New York City and
Manhattan all my life, OK, so you know, my views are a little bit different
than if I lived in Iowa.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Partial-birth abortion.
TRUMP: I`m very pro-choice. I am pro-choice in every respect, and as
far as it goes.
As far as single-payer, it works in Canada. It works incredibly well
The fact is that 25 percent for high-income people, it should be
Hillary Clinton, I think, is a terrific woman. I mean, I`m a little
biased because I`ve known her for years.
I know her very well. She`s very talented and…
I live in New York, she lives in New York, and I`ve known her and her
husband for years, and I really like them both a lot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you identify more as a Democrat or a
TRUMP: Well, you`d be shocked if I said that, in many cases, I
probably identify more as a Democrat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then why are you a Republican?
TRUMP: I have no idea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: But trump wasted no time hitting back. He tweeted, quote,
“Yet another weak hit by a candidate with a failing campaign. Will Jeb
sink as low in the polls as the others have who have gone after me?” And
he said, “While millions are being spent against me in attack ads, they are
paid for by the bosses and owners of candidates. I am self-funding.”
This afternoon, Trump put out this new video on Instagram with the
caption, “No more Clintons or Bushes.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We recognize the commitment of someone who has
devoted her life to public service. I want to say thank you to both
Secretary Clinton and to President Clinton.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What does that make Hillary Clinton to the Bush
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My sister-in-
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: So who`s winning this political slugfest? I`m joined by
NBC News senior political correspondent Perry Bacon, Salon editor-at-large
Joan Walsh and HuffingtonPost Washington bureau chief Ryan Grim.
Well, Joan, I`ll start with you. Trump`s been out there taunting and
tormenting Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush fires back with a very slick and sort of the
kind of attack you`d expect to be mounted against Donald Trump. Donald
Trump fires back.
Who is winning here, Trump or Bush?
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think Trump is
still winning. And I mean, his sense is so theatrical, Steve. I mean, he
uses a Willie Horton kind of ad against Jeb Bush, the same kind of ad that
his father used against Michael Dukakis. It`s brilliant. You feel like
he`s playing on that, that we know that and we`re going to enjoy it a
little bit more because of it.
But I will say that I actually thought that Jeb Bush`s ad was pretty
good, you know? I thought that if people really get his closeness with the
Clintons, his being pro-choice, saying over and over, I`m pro-choice, I`m
pro-choice, that could hurt him.
But Trump is right. Nothing has hurt him so far. The people who`ve
taken swings at him, if anything, they`ve gone down in the polls. Bush has
been sinking. I don`t know that you can win an insult contest with Donald
KORNACKI: Well, since he jumped into the race (INAUDIBLE) Trump has
focused a good portion of his attacks on Jeb Bush. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I`m not worried because how can Bush be in first place? This
guy can`t negotiate his way out of a paper bag!
TRUMP: And the poll just came out, and I`m tied with Jeb Bush. And I
said, Oh, that`s too bad. How could I be tied with this guy? He`s
terrible! He`s terrible.
Remember this, Jeb Bush will never take us to the promised land. No
matter what you do, it`s not going to happen.
There should have been two million people watching. You agree? About
2 million. That`s been sort of standard, two million people. They had 24
million people. Who do you think they`re watching, Jeb Bush? Huh? I
don`t think so.
How about Florida? I have a governor – we have a low-energy governor
and we have a senator, and we`re leading big in Florida.
If you want a nice person, honestly, you should vote for Jeb. The
country`s going to go to hell, but we won`t talk about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: You know, Perry, I`ve been saying for a while I listen to
Donald Trump do this, and I can just imagine the Republican heads nodding
and saying, Yes, we are so sick of politics, we`re so sick of our spineless
party, and everything that Jeb Bush is saying and doing is typical of a
politician, is typical of everything we`re sick of.
PERRY BACON, SENIOR NBC POLITICAL REPORTER: I think that`s right. I
mean, what you`re seeing so far, Trump is doing well, he`s doing well in
the polls. I do think in this particular case, Bush benefits because the
Trump ad, if you look at it, we kind of already know Jeb Bush is the
candidate who`s more pro-immigration. The Trump ad was good, but it`s
still something we already know.
(INAUDIBLE) the Trump story, I think a lot of voters I talk to don`t
really know that Trump has taken all these kind of liberal stands, his love
of the Clintons. I think that ad will (INAUDIBLE) voters in Iowa and New
Hampshire (INAUDIBLE)add new information and maybe raise some doubts about
Trump. So I thought it was smart for Bush to push this out. It`s smart
for Bush instead of attacking from the left to some extent to attack Trump
from the right.
KORNACKI: Yes, and Ryan, I wonder, too, about, you know, the ability
of Trump to deflect these – I mean, we saw in the first debate, when he`s
asked about the Clintons, you know, he basically says, Look, I bribed them
to come to my wedding.
That`s essentially what he said at the first debate. And his defense
for all this is basically, hey, look, I was a businessman. I gave money to
every politician. I wanted favors from them. Now I`m here to clean and
save – clean up the system and save the system.
Do you think that buys him leverage – excuse me – leeway with
RYAN GRIM, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Yes, I think it does.
People know he`s from Manhattan. And I think Jeb might be
overestimating how damaging it is to hear Trump say, I don`t know why I`m a
Republican, because a lot of voters in the Republican Party and who will
vote in Republican primaries don`t like the party either. And they will
tell that to pollsters. They will tell that to anybody who asks.
Democrats, a lot of them will say the same thing. “I`m not a Republican.
I`m a conservative.”
They know Trump is angry. They know he says whatever he`s thinking.
I do think that some of that stuff is new information, and certainly if he
had some kind of pro-life supporters, and they see that, that`s going to
give them a lot of pause. But, beyond that, I don`t think it does a ton of
damage to him.
KORNACKI: Well, on “The Tonight Show” last night, Chris Christie,
another candidate out there, was asked about Donald Trump, and Christie`s
own role in the debates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON”)
JIMMY FALLON, HOST, “THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON”: Donald
Trump now is the lead – is in the lead of all these polls. Is this a
surprise to you? Do you know anybody – did…
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, no, I
completely expected that. Didn`t you?
CHRISTIE: Of course. Everything he does is fabulous, spectacular,
FALLON: Yes, it`s huge.
CHRISTIE: It`s the best.
FALLON: The last debate, the folks – I was waiting for you to talk.
And I was sitting there…
CHRISTIE: Me, too.
FALLON: Do you jump in? Are you allowed to jump in?
CHRISTIE: Well, no, you`re not supposed to. But a few people did.
FALLON: I know.
CHRISTIE: But I didn`t think that was appropriate for that night.
FALLON: It seems to be working for whoever did it.
CHRISTIE: But, by the way, stay tuned on September 16.
CHRISTIE: We may be changing tactics. If I go – if I get to like 15
questions in a row, count them at home. If I get to 15 in a row, they`re
going to go, uh-oh, he`s going to go nuclear now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Joan, he wants to – I think he wants to mix it up with
Donald Trump. I think he thinks he`s got nothing left to lose at this
point. If there`s anybody capable of getting into that kind of insult
contest with Donald Trump, it`s Chris Christie.
WALSH: That`s true.
I think there`s really no way to go nuclear and to get attention
except to mix it up with Trump. But on the other hand, Rand Paul tried it
and he came off like a little kid. Christie might have more gravitas to do
that, but, again, I think it`s a sign of desperation that he`s threatening
to go nuclear in the next debate.
He really isn`t – that doesn`t have any kind of a winning message.
So he`s hoping he can get some attention by, I assume, mixing it up with
Trump. But I don`t think that that`s really going to help.
KORNACKI: Yes. And Perry, I mean, is this – the whole Trump
phenomenon, the fact that he`s endured, the fact that he`s thrived through
all these things that are supposed to kill him in politics, in the
Republican Party especially, are we learning something about the Republican
Party that maybe we didn`t know? Is he shattering some of the sort of
truisms that have been out there about Republican politics?
BACON: I`m not going to say that, Steve. I think I want to wait and
see he wins a couple primaries first.
I still think the fact that he hasn`t been endorsed by any Republican
lawmakers, the establishment doesn`t like him, I think we are learning that
– remember, in 2011, Herman Cain went up and went down really quickly. I
think Trump because of – I think one thing Trump has taught me at least is
a candidate who is really good at manipulating and getting media coverage
and who is really savvy about the media can kind of ride that wave longer.
I wouldn`t initially had thought calling Lindsey Graham`s cell phone
and announcing it on television was a great idea, but Trump seems to
understand the modern media in a way that I would say no other candidate
does. I think that`s the lesson, is, if you can keep yourself in the
attention all the time, that can help you rise in the polls and get people
to kind of tune in to you.
He`s – 24 million people watching a debate because of Donald Trump,
that does help you. That is a skill. I would say Bernie Sanders should
learn from that in some ways.
KORNACKI: Well, Ryan, Perry raises a very interesting point and I
think a key point for Trump in terms of, if he`s really going to have a
chance of winning this nomination, that we`re going to have to get to the
point where real Republican elected officials start saying, you know what?
He`s our guy. We endorse him. He`s got to get some real endorsements.
Can you imagine that happening over the next few months?
GRIM: You know, if he comes out of Iowa with a win and then comes out
of New Hampshire with a win, then he rolls into South Carolina, where he
could be popular, then he starts getting delegates who are talking about
going to the convention, and then you start thinking, look, OK, are we
going to have some type of a brokered convention or some kind of chaos on
the floor here?
And then people follow winners, not necessarily serious people or
people they agree with. They follow power. So it could beget itself.
KORNACKI: Yes, that was – when I saw Jeff Sessions, the senator from
Alabama, get up on stage at that rally in Mobile and put that hat on, that
“Make America Great” hat on, I said, you know what? I think he might be
able to get some endorsements here.
WALSH: I agree.
KORNACKI: And if he does, then I think he`s a real contender.
WALSH: I agree.
KORNACKI: Perry Bacon, Joan Walsh, Ryan Grim, thank you all for being
WALSH: Thanks, Steve.
KORNACKI: All right, coming up, in defiance of the United States
Supreme Court, a county clerk in Kentucky refuses to issue marriage
licenses to same-sex couples, says she is acting under the authority of
God. I will speak with that clerk`s attorney next.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this what you want to remember, that you stood
up for this, that your children have to look at you and realize that you`re
a bigot and you discriminate against people? Is that what you want to
have? Is that what you want?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God`s word.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God does not belong in the county courts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was the confrontation in a Kentucky courthouse this morning as
Rowan County clerk Kim Davis refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex
couples because of her religious beliefs. Last night, the U.S. Supreme
Court refused to hear the case between Davis and gay and lesbian couples.
The Supreme Court`s move means that Davis has no legal authority to
withhold the licenses, but still she won`t budge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Supreme Court denied your stay.
KIM DAVIS, ROWAN COUNTY, KENTUCKY, CLERK: We are not issuing marriage
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Based on what?
DAVIS: I would ask you all to…
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you not issuing marriage licenses today?
DAVIS: Because I`m not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But why?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Under whose authority?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whose authority?
DAVIS: Under God`s authority.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Lawyers for the couples want Davis to be held in contempt
of court unless she starts issuing the licenses.
And this afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning ordered
Davis and her staff in his court Thursday for a hearing on the matter. In
August, Bunning ordered Davis to grant licenses to same-sex couples, noting
– quote – “Her religious convictions cannot excuse her from performing
the duties that she took an oath to perform as Rowan County clerk.”
Davis, who was elected to the clerk post in 2014, stopped issuing any
marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld gay marriage in June.
She wants her name to be removed from the marriage license because of her
Joining me now is attorney Mathew Staver. He`s the head of the
conservative Liberty Counsel group, who is representing Kim Davis.
Well, Mat, thanks for joining us. I appreciate it.
And let me ask you this. The Supreme Court in this country says that
gay marriage is legal. A gay couple wants to get married, they can get
married. They are constituents of hers in her county. Why does she get to
deny them something the Supreme Court says they`re entitled to?
MATHEW STAVER, ATTORNEY FOR KIM DAVIS: Well, the Supreme Court has
never ruled on this issue with regards to religious freedom. And she`s
protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, the
Kentucky Constitution, and also the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration
And she`s just simply asking for accommodation. The issue is really
not really whether these individual can get a license. They can drive 30
minutes in any direction and get a license.
KORNACKI: But, Mat, hang on. I mean, now, that`s – they can drive
30 minutes in any direction. They live in the county. They`re taxpayers
in the county. They`re constituents of an elected official.
She gives out marriage licenses as part of her job, and the Supreme
Court has said they`re entitled, under the Constitution of this country, to
get married. And she says, my religious beliefs don`t allow for gay
Why does she have that right as a public official? I understand what
you`re saying if you`re talking about, hey, coming into her house, coming
into her business, something like that, it`s a private business, a private
house. I understand your point. This is a public official. These are her
STAVER: Well, the Supreme Court has also said that just because
you`re a public employee, you don`t lose your constitutional protection.
She has the same First Amendment and other religious freedom
protections and rights of conscience. She doesn`t lose that simply because
she becomes a public official. She`s been in this office for 27 years, as
the clerk now for almost a year. She`s just simply asking for an
And the accommodation is very simple. Just remove her name from the
license. That`s all she`s asking. She doesn`t want the license to be
issued under her name. It could be issued in the authority of the state of
Kentucky. She said that she would record that, she would file it, just
like she does any other document.
But with having her name affixed to it, that`s where the problem is
with regards to her own identity and her religious convictions. It`s a
very easy accommodation. In fact, the head of the clerks of the courts of
all of the Kentucky clerks has recommended that as an accommodation for all
the clerks. It`s reasonable. That`s what we should do, rather than
forcing her to violate her conscience.
KORNACKI: Well, wait a minute. Where does this stop, though? What
about a religious objection that – maybe it`s this clerk, maybe it`s
another clerk who says, I don`t think that a couple that`s been divorced, I
don`t think one of them should have – should be remarried? Does the clerk
get to say, I`m not giving you license for that?
STAVER: Well, in this particular case, no one doubts her sincerity.
No one doubts the collision.
KORNACKI: Mat, excuse me. I don`t doubt her sincerity either, but
I`m asking, where else does this extend? If she says she has a moral and
religious objection to same-sex marriage, I think it raises the question,
does she have a moral and religious objection to a divorced person getting
remarried? Does she have a moral and religious objection to somebody who
is engaged in premarital relations getting married?
Where does this end?
STAVER: Well, that has never been the issue.
The issue was that, from the time that she began, marriage has always
been one thing, and it`s been between a man and a woman. Two months ago,
that changed. And so the job duties changed. The fact of the matter is,
is that she has a right to have her faith accommodated, her convictions
And there`s easy ways to do this. The governor could fix this in a
heartbeat. The Kentucky Clerks Association recommends an accommodation.
This is an easy fix. In any situation, not every religious objection can
be accommodated. You have to look at the facts and circumstances. Are
there other options that are available to accomplish the same goal?
And here there`s clearly options available, and those options should
KORNACKI: Do the people – we played the video at the top there.
It`s arresting footage, if anybody wants to watch all of it online or
something. But we played the footage.
Do the people in that office today trying to get married, those same-
sex couples in the office, do they have a right to get married?
STAVER: Well, they can get married anywhere, but they don`t have a
right to have Kim Davis…
KORNACKI: Well, they can`t get married – right now, they can`t get
married in this county.
STAVER: Well, they don`t have a right to have Kim Davis give her the
The Supreme Court has never said that your right requires someone to
actually participate in your particular conviction or your belief or your
activity. They can get a license anywhere if they wanted to. That`s not
KORNACKI: Sir, they cannot get a license in Rowan County right now
because your client says it`s against her religion.
STAVER: Well, our client needs to be accommodated in her conviction.
It`s a conviction that we have accommodated through many years. We
have accommodations of all different stripes and levels with public
officials. We have private individuals. That`s what the essence of
America has been about, to accommodate and protect religious freedom, not
to coerce and trample someone`s conscience rights.
It`s a very simple fix. This is way beyond what it should be in its
magnitude. Kim Davis just simply wants to be treated with the same dignity
and respect that anybody else who has a conscience conviction is treated
with. And that`s why we have the First Amendment. That`s why we have the
individual state constitutional protections.
KORNACKI: I imagine those same-sex couples in committed relationships
also would like to be treated with that same dignity as well.
Mat Staver, attorney for clerk Kim Davis, I appreciate you joining us
Up next: thousands of Hillary Clinton e-mails released. And while
they`re revealing, so far, the right has failed to find a smoking gun.
Plus, we will have the latest on that manhunt in Illinois.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
RICHARD LUI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi. I`m Richard Lui with breaking
The manhunt continues near the Wisconsin-Illinois border for three
suspects wanted in the fatal shooting of a police officer in Fox Lake,
Illinois, authorities saying the suspects should be considered armed and
Let`s go straight to NBC`s John Yang, who is on the scene and
reporting on this in Fox Lake.
John, good day to you.
And the most important question, I guess, at the moment is, how is
that search going now in the last hour that you have heard?
JOHN YANG, NBC CORRESPONDENT: The search still going strong, Richard,
even as the sunlight begins to fade here.
We`re about an hour away from sunset. The focus appears to be a
housing – a residential neighborhood just a little bit to the northeast of
me, a heavy police presence, a helicopter that`s been hovering low over the
scene since we got here. It`s still going strong. This incident, of
course, began some 10 hours ago, and the search still going on, this
community, as these three accused cop killers, or suspected cop killers,
still on the loose, people advised to stay in their homes, this community
in virtual lockdown and on edge – Richard.
LUI: NBC`s John Yang.
No doubt very difficult for the police force there, as they mourn the
loss of one of their own. Thank you so much.
We now take you back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My use of
personal e-mail was allowed by the State Department. It clearly wasn`t the
best choice. I should have used two e-mails – one personal, one for work.
And I take responsibility for that decision. And I`m confident that this
process will prove that I never sent nor received any, any e-mail that was
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was Hillary Clinton at a press conference on Wednesday, answering
questions relating to the private e-mail server she used to conduct her
work as secretary of state.
Today, as part of a judge`s order from back in May, the State
Department released the largest batch of Clinton`s e-mails to date. An
additional 7,000 pages, including 125 e-mails that, while not classified at
the time, they were sent, have been subsequently classified by the State
Among the highlights is the memo from Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal
in which he says that House Speaker John Boehner is, quote, “despised by
the younger more conservative members of the House Republican Conference.
They are repelled by his personal behavior, he`s louche, alcoholic, lazy
and without any commitment to any principle.”
Another email Clinton received shows her apparent interest in the
political ambitions of David Petraeus, who according to email, quote,
“freely talked about running for president” at a dinner in 2010.
One e-mail actually shows how Clinton had difficulty receiving a
public statement from her staff. She wrote, “It`s a public statement, just
e-mail it.” And her aide responded, “I share your exasperation, but until
ops converts it to an unclassified male system, there is no physical way
for me to email it.”
This latest batch of emails does not appear to show that Clinton had
any knowledge of the potentially sensitive material that crossed over her
server. But even if these emails never present a legal problem for
Clinton, there are always political implications.
I`m joined by the HARDBALL roundtable, Heidi Przybyla is a political
reporter with “The USA Today”, Richard Fowler is a nationally syndicated
radio talk show host, and Lisa Lerer is a political reporter to “The
Well, Heidi, let me start with you.
So, OK, this is round, you know, 6,000 of this right now. We know the
initial scandal – if you want to call it that, was the fact that she has
the private e-mail server in the first place as secretary of state. What
is it at this point that is driving this story along so that every time
this happens, it`s big news?
HEIDI PRZYBYLA, USA TODAY: Well, two things. First of all, it feeds
a 20-year narrative that critics of the Clinton family have been feeding
and cultivating for 20 years starting with Whitewater, that they are
secretive and that they are somehow not to be trusted. You see that
showing up in the poll numbers. And so, of course, they`re going to keep
hammering this every time these emails come out.
And, secondly, just the nature in which the Clintons handled this,
it`s going to come back and bite them several times. Instead of just
releasing everything all at once in one big dump, we`re going to, via the
courts, see several dumps of these e-mails. Of course, this is the August
summer season when the news cycle maybe is not as hot.
And so, as things pick up more in the campaign trail and we see what
these subsequent drops that really there is no smoking gun in here, maybe
it will ebb a bit. But there will be several rounds of this.
KORNACKI: Well, Chairman Reince Priebus released this statement from
the Republican National Committee on Clinton`s e-mails last night, quote,
“On hundreds of occasions, Hillary Clinton`s reckless attempt to skirt
transparency laws put sensitive information and our national security at
Well, Richard, you know, I guess to me when I look at this, I think
there isn`t, you know, the smoking gun evidence as – as Heidi is saying or
the smoking gun evidence about, knowingly putting classified information
into these e-mails. But at the same time, I do feel there is that history
of secrecy. We see these devastating poll numbers for Hillary Clinton when
it comes to her trustworthiness, to her honesty to how people about her
I think the headline itself, every time we have another e-mail
release, it almost sounds almost sinister. There`s another release of the
secretive e-mails. There`s almost an implication there that something is
RICHARD FOWLER, NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: I think you`re
exactly right, the fact that we see these headlines over and over again
force people to believe this. There`s no smoking gun. There`s been no –
she`s violated no loss whatsoever. But yet and still, the conservative
right are really pushing this narrative that Bill and Hillary Clinton are
evil and untrustworthy and you can`t trust them.
So, every time you see that headline, Chris, the first thing you
assume is she did something wrong here. What I think the secretary is
going to have to do is she`s going to really have to get out in front of
this. Sit down to a big major interview. Answer all the questions, no
question is off the table and put this behind her for this campaign to
KORNACKI: Lisa, the other thing here, as we put some of the clips in
there and the intro is Sid Blumenthal, this shadowy figure who has been
around Hillary Clinton for so long, the Obama administration, I guess,
didn`t want him in an official position in the State Department saying some
really inflammatory things on these emails.
Talk a little bit about that relationship between Hillary Clinton and
Sid Blumenthal. What role does he play in her political life?
LISA LERER, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: Well, he`s played a really longtime
role here for Hillary Clinton. He`s been a longtime confidant of Hillary
and the Clinton family. And as you pointed out, he`s controversial not
only among Republicans but among some Democrats, the Obama administration,
and even some in Clinton`s orbit who see him a little bit as a conspiracy
theorist. He was a very staunch defender of Clinton against through claims
of a vast right wing conspiracy.
The issue today with these emails now that we`re dealing with is that
while he was contacting Clinton and corresponding with her quite a lot,
there are at least – there are hundreds of e-mails from Sid Blumenthal to
Clinton in just this tranche that we got last night of these emails. He
was also being paid by the Clinton Family Foundation.
So, there are questions about whether there was a conflict of interest
here. You know, was he sort of advising her and taking money from her? It
gets a little complicated and certainly Republicans think there`s an awful
lot to dig into here.
KORNACKI: You know, the Heidi, I guess the bottom line, we`re going
to do the political fall of this, the bottom line question is, as we say,
there`s those poll numbers that do not look good for Hillary Clinton when
it comes to her, how honest is she, how trustworthy is she? Then again, as
you say, it`s a 20-year story.
Those poll numbers for both Clintons have not been good for two
decades now. Bill Clinton managed to get elected twice.
Has this story or is this story doing anything – doing any additional
damage that wasn`t already there when it comes to honesty and
PRZYBYLA: So, I think that it is, absolutely. But the big question,
Steve, is who is it doing the damage with? Because when you peel back the
poll numbers and you look at the internals, the people who have given her
the highest, biggest spike in her unfavorability ratings are who,
Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. These are people, as you
know, who are never going to vote for her and certainly don`t matter in a
When you look at her numbers among Democrats, she`s inched up a few
percentage points which is not to be dismissed. But when you look at the
Bernie Sanders phenomenon in Iowa, which is, what everybody is focused on,
that is in Bernie`s own words, a pro-Bernie Sanders reflection. It`s not
necessarily anti-Hillary Clinton.
So, I think, yes, the answer is yes to your question, but most of that
damage has come from Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who
had kind of a honeymoon period with her when she was secretary of state.
She had very high poll ratings. Now, she`s coming back down to earth and
those ratings, she`s clearly back in the political arena and the more
KORNACKI: Yes, 2011 seems like a long time ago right now.
The roundtable is staying with us.
Up next, behind the scenes of Donald Trump`s showmanship, Ben Carson
has been quietly rising in the polls. What is behind the rise of this
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
KORNACKI: The president has gained two new supporters for the Iran
nuclear deal. Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey and Delaware Senator Chris
Coons, both of them Democrats came out today in favor of the agreement.
And that means that President Obama is now just one vote short of what he
would need to uphold a potential Republican veto.
A congressional vote on the deal is expected mid-month. We`ll be
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Washington is broken. The
political class broke it. Please join me for their sake. I`m Ben Carson
and I approve this message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: We are back with the roundtable, Heidi, Richard, and Lisa.
That was Dr. Ben Carson railing against the political class in his first ad
buy of the 2016 cycle.
A one-time underdog, Carson has rapidly gained in the polls since the
FOX News debate early last month, especially in the crucial first caucus
state of Iowa. According to the latest poll from Monmouth University,
Carson has now jumped into a first-place tie with Donald Trump, both at 23
What`s more remarkable is that Carson has gained 15 points since that
same poll was conducted back in July. While the former Iowa favorite,
Scott Walker, has fallen – get this – he`s fallen 22 points. He`s down
all the way to just 7 percent now.
There`s no doubt that Ben Carson`s rise is fueled by the wave of anti-
establishment zeal that`s overtaken the Republican electorate. A national
poll by Quinnipiac shows a whopping 73 percent of Republicans in this
country prefer a Washington outsider as president than someone with D.C.
experience. Democrats feel the exact opposite, 77 percent of them say they
want someone with Washington experience, while just 18 percent would like
It`s a pretty stark contrast in opinion.
Well, let`s get to the panel on this. Richard, let me start with you.
So, look, I mean, Donald Trump, it`s the summer of Trump. I totally
get the Trump surge in the polls. He`s all we talk about. He makes a lot
of noise. He says provocative things. I really am at a loss to understand
what is fueling this rise by Ben Carson in the last few weeks, because for
all I can see in that first debate, he practically disappeared on stage.
FOWLER: I think you`re right, Chris. He definitely disappeared in
the first debate, but what he`s been able to do is he`s had a really good
ground game. He spent a lot of time in Iowa, a lot of, you know, shaking
hands and getting to know them and beyond that. Because he`s so mild
mannered, because he`s such a nice guy, right? It sort of really adds to
his popularity in the state, right?
Because of that, the Republicans in Iowa definitely believe that
Washington is broken. And they want an outsider. And Ben Carson fits the
mold. He`s not as bombastic as Donald Trump, but yet, he understands how
to talk to these voters. That`s why he`s the marquee candidate going in
Now, the question is, how long will he last? Will he, you know, sort
of survive the Trump attacks that are will be coming his way very shortly?
Will he survive the attacks from a lower tier candidates like a Scott
Walker or a Jeb Bush? That`s still up for debate, and that`s what we
should be watching for in the next coming weeks.
KORNACKI: That`s I`m wondering about that, too, because – you know,
the comparison with Donald Trump all this summer, when he started rising in
the polls, everybody said, well, look back four years ago, Herman Cain,
Michele Bachmann, any of these guys who surged for a few weeks in 2011 and
disappeared the minute they got scrutiny.
Trump has survived the scrutiny. When you look at Ben Carson, is he
equipped to survive that kind of scrutiny, too, or does he fit more of the
profile of a Bachmann or Cain or another one of the short-lived phenomenon
LERER: Well, what`s unbelievable about Trump is the smartest minds in
Washington, you talk to people in this town, and nobody knows how this
story`s going to end. No one quite understands that rise of Trump, and
they don`t understand the fall of Trump will look like. Many people think
it will happen. And if that is the case, Carson is very well-positioned to
wait this out.
The thing about Ben Carson that a lot of people don`t know is that he
has a lot of money. He`s an excellent fund-raiser and he`s done very well
with small-donor donations. So, he really has the funds to wait out Trump,
see if he implodes, and if he does, be the guy in Iowa waiting to pick up
his Trump`s support.
And, Heidi, quickly here, I mean, the other side of this, we put it up
there, Scott Walker, what a disaster for him right now in Iowa. A must-win
state for him.
PRZYBYLA: Scott Walker`s only path to the nomination, unfortunately,
ran through Iowa and we`ve seen a pretty stunning fall, as you mentioned.
He`s made a number of gaffes, including recently his comments about
potentially building a wall along the Canadian border, which just make him
a little bit, you know, of a joke on some levels. And he`s just, more
importantly, though, beyond that, he`s just kind of fading into the
background. It`s not that he`s made any one particular major stumble.
KORNACKI: Yes, it is – a 22-point drop this summer. That is
Heidi Przybyla, Richard Fowler, Lisa Lerer, appreciate you all being
HARDBALL is back right after this.
KORNACKI: That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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