Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 09/30/15

April Ryan, Dana Milbank

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Trump fights Obama, backs Assad. Hillary
nails enemies on Benghazi.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening, I`m Chris Matthews, on a wild and strange night in American
politics. Donald Trump, riding a triumphant lead in a new poll, says the
U.S. should step back and let Vladimir Putin bomb ISIS. The problem for
Donald Trump is that Putin`s bombers weren`t bombing ISIS today. They were
bombing the non-terrorist forces over there fighting Assad.

Meanwhile, back home, Kevin McCarthy, the man who would be speaker, has
admitted that the strategy behind those endless hearings on Benghazi was
what everyone on the other side thought from the start, to knock down
Hillary Clinton`s poll numbers.

McCarthy was defending his record to Sean Hannity last night and arguing
his speakership would deliver victories for Republicans.

And then he said this.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), MAJORITY LEADER: What you`re going to see is a
conservative speaker that takes a conservative Congress, that puts a
strategy to fight and win.

And let me give you one example. Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was
unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a
select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.
Why? Because she`s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that
had happened had we not –




HANNITY: – something good, I give you credit for that.


MATTHEWS: Unbelievable! Let`s bring in Washington Pulitzer Prize-winning
columnist Eugene Robinson, MSNBC national correspondent Joy-Ann Reid and
the HuffingtonPost`s global editorial editor – director – we didn`t need
this much firepower! – Howard Fineman. We don`t need this much firepower
to step on an ant!

ANALYST: Shorten the title.

MATTHEWS: This is the dumbest – dumbest statement I`ve heard since 47
percent, since that guy up in Pennsylvania said, This is why we screwed the
blacks out of voting, so we would win an election.

He`s admitting that the strategy – that`s the word he used – was to get
Hillary`s poll numbers down. That`s why we have Trey Gowdy out there
acting so piously –

FINEMAN: Yes, well –

MATTHEWS: – about going after the truth.

FINEMAN: We don`t need little Toto to pull back the curtain on the fake
Wizard of Oz.



FINEMAN: I`ll do it myself! Here I am! And I think what Kevin McCarthy
is doing – and he`s a nice guy, but not known as the master strategist –

MATTHEWS: Yes, I know.

FINEMAN: – is – is – is to appeal to the conservative base. He`s
trying to lock up – what he`s doing there, at the risk of sacrificing any
credibility of his own party, is to say, Look, I`m going to allow the
attack dogs – I`m so conservative, I`ll allow the attack dogs to go after
Hillary in that committee.

That`s what he was doing internally, but it was a disaster in terms of
global politics.

MATTHEWS: I just love it when a Lanceman (ph) of mine –


MATTHEWS: – makes an ass of himself! I mean, I have to tell you, Kevin
McCarthy, nice name, it`s really pretty, and yet he comes out and acts like
a fool.


MATTHEWS: Because he gives away the whole strategy the Republicans have
been following for years, which is, We`re out to get Hillary.

REID: Yes, and remember –


MATTHEWS: That`s why we go after things like this.

REID: There have been, you know, what, a dozen different probes about
Benghazi. None of them have found any wrongdoing. They put the select
committee together, where Trey Gowdy promises it`s aboveboard, it`s

And all Kevin McCarthy left out was, We will be renaming this the committee
to prevent the election of Hillary Clinton. And by the way, his audition
to be speaker before was – he was whip, right, the guy who couldn`t count
votes for John Boehner and wouldn`t prevent Boehner from being humiliated
by bringing bills to other floor that couldn`t get enough Republican votes.
So he`s not ever been really that talented.

MATTHEWS: Gene, how do you –


Republicans there –

REID: It`s a lot of people.


MATTHEWS: How can you write a clever, sophisticated column, as you a
couple times a weak, about something so ant-like mentally?

ROBINSON: One might try!



ROBINSON: One might try!

MATTHEWS: Let`s watch this because there is a pattern here. For those on
the progressive side, you`re going to love this. This is but the latest
example of a politician on the right coughing up the truth. Remember these
gems? Here they are.


BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: You said, quote, “The single most important thing we
want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” So how
do you respond to those Democratic lines of attack?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: Well, that is true. That`s
my single most important political goal, along with every active Republican
in the country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think all the attention drawn to voter ID
affected last year`s election?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I think a little bit. I think – we probably had
a better election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Think about this. We cut Obama by 5 percent, which was

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that probably voter ID had a – helped a bit in

MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), FMR. GOV., PRES. CANDIDATE: There are 47 percent of
the people who will vote for the president no matter what, all right?
There are 47 percent who are with him, who are (INAUDIBLE) who believe that
they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care
for them.

But my job is not to worry about those people. I`ll never convince them
(INAUDIBLE) personal responsibility and (INAUDIBLE) What I have to do is
convince the 5 to 10 percent in the center.



MATTHEWS: You know, it reminds me of the great – late, great Arlen
Specter saying, “The reason I switched parties is so I can remain


MATTHEWS: They just –


MATTHEWS: – admit it! They just give the truth out if you listen

ROBINSON: The classic definition of a Washington gaffe, which is
accidentally telling the truth. You know, thanks to Michael Kinsley, who
invented that cliche.


MATTHEWS: – truth spoken without sodium pentathol, even. But first of
all, we had the guy, who was probably the bartender, who caught the 47
percent. But then these guys just cough it up without even being tricked!

REID: Well, and then they don`t learn from the mistakes of their friends,
right, because you have Jeb Bush now saying, Well, I won`t give black
people free stuff. That`s how I`ll show them respect.

MATTHEWS: “Free stuff”?


ROBINSON: “Free stuff.”

REID: Right? So he`s doing it, too. And I think they walk into what I
guess you could call gaffes because they`re pandering to the part of their
party that`s making them lose.

MATTHEWS: OK, here`s – it was great for Hillary, of course, because she`s
been the victim of this. She`s not always the victim, but in this case,
she clearly was because they keep pounding that Benghazi drum like a toy
drum, boom, boom, boom, without any noise – well, noise, but no music or
lyrics coming out of the drum.

A spokesman for Hillary Clinton called it a damming display of honesty.


MATTHEWS: Hillary Clinton herself was asked about it today in an interview
with the Reverend Al Sharpton.


REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC: What is your response to McCarthy`s comments?

to tell you I find them deeply distressing. I knew the ambassador that we
lost in Benghazi. Along with him, we lost three other brave Americans who
were representing us in a very dangerous part of the world.

When I hear a statement like that, which demonstrates unequivocally that
this was always meant to be a partisan political exercise, I feel like it
does a grave disservice and dishonors not just the memory of the four that
we lost but of everybody who has served our country.



MATTHEWS: Well, that was certainly edifying, but I`m not sure that was the
counterpunch that I would have given. I would have slugged the guy –


MATTHEWS: I`ve been waiting to catch you with your chin out. You put it
out, I`m knocking you down.

FINEMAN: Even though – even though McCarthy has given them the truth
here, and thus an opportunity –

MATTHEWS: Admitted the whole thing was political.

FINEMAN: – I think it – I think the Democrats, whether they`re for
Hillary Clinton or not, members of Congress who are Democrats need to use -
- for strategic reasons, need to use this as an opening to just lay these
people out.

MATTHEWS: Yes. How do you do that – how do you do that using the

FINEMAN: Well, I think – well, I think – how do you do it?

MATTHEWS: Because a lot of people say we`re going to shut down the – the
Trey Gowdy committee –

FINEMAN: Well, if I were Hillary`s campaign, if I were a friend of
Hillary, I would go to the Democrats on the Hill and said, Look, I`m not
asking you to necessarily support me. But here are the – here`s the
Republicans using the august machinery of the Congress –

MATTHEWS: And lots of money.


FINEMAN: – and lots of money and wasting money and wasting everybody`s
time. Why don`t you just take them out? Now`s the chance to take them
down a peg or two on their relentless partisanship. It`s not about me, she
could argue –


FINEMAN: – it`s about the process. And I think she should be
aggressively doing that.

MATTHEWS: Well, what would then happen?


MATTHEWS: What would then happen if you – if you shamed them a little?

REID: Absolutely, and I think because they have the perfect person to do
that in Elijah Cummings, who was so effective during the IRS debacle at
constantly exposing what he was accusing Darrell Issa of naked partisanship
– he`s a great speaker on it – they need to get people like Elijah
Cummings out there.


REID: And as you said, if – I mean, they`re sticking their chin out on
the Republican side.


REID: Someone needs to hit them.


ROBINSON: It`s predicated on the assumption that there is still shame in
American politics.


ROBINSON: I`m not sure there is. But you`re right that Elijah Cummings is
very good.

REID: He`s very good.

FINEMAN: I`d ask Bernie to help out, too.


FINEMAN: I`d ask Bernie Sanders. If I were Hillary, I`d say, Hey, we`re
in a great, dignified contest here. Why don`t you help me slam these

MATTHEWS: We don`t have Robert Welch, the great Army counsel, anymore,
like with McCarthy, “Have you no shame? Have you name decency?”

Anyway, last year, just to put another nail into this coffin, Darrell Issa,
who was chairman of the House so-called Oversight Committee, led his own
so-called investigation into the Benghazi attacks. He tried to make
something stick against Clinton. He said he had suspicions that Secretary
Clinton issued a standdown order the night of the attacks – suspicions.
Is that was investigations are about?

Let`s watch him in action.



answer of when the secretary of defense had assets that he could have begun
spitting (ph) out (ph), why was not one order given to turn on one
Department of Defense asset? I have my suspicions, which is Secretary
Clinton told Leon to stand down. And we all heard about the standdown
order for two military personnel.


MATTHEWS: Well, how`s that for slander? That charge has been shot down by
every investigation. Even Republicans on the House Armed Services
Committee concluded in their own report there is no standdown order issued
to U.S. personnel in Tripoli who sought to join the fight in Benghazi.

Howard, this whole attempt – I – my – I`ve tried to figure it out, like
they did when they Swift Boated John Kerry – you take something like his
opposition to the Vietnam war after he got home – as a Vietnam Veteran
Against the War – and you conflate that with, Oh, he was a lousy soldier
when he was over there, lousy serviceman, which he was not – he won a lot
of medals.

And so in this case, they say because there was some screwup in the way
they presented what happened, somehow Hillary, during the action in real
time somehow let her good friend die on purpose because she wouldn`t act.

They have never been able to prove it, but they keep throwing it out there.
And that to me is the evil of this whole Benghazi deal, make Hillary look
like she killed her friend.


MATTHEWS: And that`s what they`re trying to say –


ROBINSON: It`s been done before. Vince Foster.

MATTHEWS: Vince Foster.


FINEMAN: As long as I`m dispensing free advice for the Hillary – for the
Hillary Clinton amen chorus, amen choir, I`ll suggest a few other people –
some military people. This is a big opportunity for her. She`s been on
the defensive now for weeks and months. And you`re – and – and McCarthy
is correct. Her numbers have gone down in terms of trustworthiness –

MATTHEWS: Because you keep –


FINEMAN: I`ve been saying for a long time she needed a break. She had to
catch a break somewhere.

REID: Right.

FINEMAN: This is a break.


FINEMAN: She better make – she`s got to make the most out of it, on the
military front, on the credibility front, on the partisan politics front.

MATTHEWS: You know what I`d do? I`d do (ph) a cris de guerre on a
different passionate level than her. I`m different than her, obviously.
She`s running for president. I`m doing this.

But this is the time you give your speech, your cris de guerre. I did
everything humanly possible. I really liked that guy. Unlike you folks, I
knew him and liked him. He was my friend. He was serving the United
States but also serving me as secretary of state.

From the second I heard he was in trouble, this is what I did. I did
everything – we just couldn`t get there in time.


REID: Yes, and her fans –


MATTHEWS: – by the way, and you couldn`t get there in time to stop the
World Trade Center from blowing up, and you were here. So I mean, things
are not always possible.

REID: Yes, absolutely, and she`s going to have an opportunity when she
goes before the committee to sit in that chair and have that “Have you no
shame” moment.

But you have to remember, too, that. as Howard was saying, the wellspring
of the “e-mail-gate” scandal is also Benghazi, and a lot of people forget
that the origins of that story is that this committee is trolling through
Hillary Clinton`s e-mails, hoping they can find the smoking gun to prove
that she killed her friend. That is what this is about. It`s about –

MATTHEWS: It`s a trolling party right now.

REID: It`s – absolutely.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Gene Robinson, as always, who will find this
column easy to write –


MATTHEWS: – Joy Reid – maybe too easy – Howard Fineman – you have –



FINEMAN: Can I say on Gene`s behalf, they`re all hard to write.


MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) guys are staying with us. We got a big show

Coming up – Donald Trump`s still the top dog. Wait`ll you see these
numbers, 10 points ahead of the nearest rivals, and those rivals don`t
really look like presidential actual candidates. All the elected officials
are down in, like, the single digits. So he`s not only done well in the
numbers again, but he`s squeezing down to starvation the people you can
actually imagine being president.

Plus, Russia launches air strikes in Syria. Putin says he`s targeting
Islamic State, but the Obama administration says today those air strikes
from Putin`s airplanes are attacking not ISIS targets, they`re attacking
the good guys over there, the ones we`re using are (ph) helping to fight
Assad. What an unbelievable situation going on there. And we`re going to
have more on that as we come (ph) on the show tonight.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Well, CNBC has released criteria now for their Republican
presidential debate – Republican debate – on October 28th, at the end of
this month. To take – to make the primetime debate, candidates must have
a polling average of 2.5 percent in certain (INAUDIBLE) – by the way, that
rounds up to 3 – conducted between September 17th and October 21st.

You don`t have to much (ph) to get in these debates! Those who don`t make
that cut will appear at a lower teal (ph) happy hour debate held at 6:00
Eastern, so long as they have above 1 percent. Boy, this is really
scraping the bottom of the barrel to find candidates!

We`ll be right back Gee!



DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t know what we do about –
these guys know. The good ones, they know. But we have people that don`t
know. Either they don`t know what –

MATTHEWS: That`s Donald Trump on the campaign trail up in Keene, New
Hampshire. We`re going to listen to him for a bit.

TRUMP: But we have to be tough and we have to be smart. At the same time,
I want to rebuild this country. We have bridges that are falling down. We
have 60 percent of our bridges are in danger – 60 percent! We have
roadways that are coming apart.

We have airports that are third world. I mean, you go over to Qatar, you
go over to Saudi Arabia, you go over to some of these countries – China –
you see airports the likes of which you have never, ever seen before. Then
you come back and you land at LaGuardia –


TRUMP: It`s true – potholes. Potholes. You land at LaGuardia or Newark
or LAX, and you walk into a filthy terminal that`s falling apart, with
broken terrazzo floors, and that`s all we have.

We used to be the leader. We have to rebuild our own country. And you
know, when you owe $19 trillion and you want to take care of the vets and
you want to build up the military – because I will build up the military
so big, so strong –


TRUMP: – nobody`s going to mess with us! Nobody. Nobody!

Now, with that being said, but you have to know when to use it. You have
to know when, right? I mean, you have to know when. So in 2004 and 2003,
I said, Don`t go into Iraq. I didn`t know that much about Iraq, but I knew
this. Iraq and Iran are always fighting. And they`re equals. They go 10
feet this way, they go 10 feet this way, then they use poison gas or Saddam
Hussein, who was terrible – then the other side uses – but then they rest
for a few years. Then they start fighting. Nobody ever moves, right? Is
that right?

So I said, I don`t know if they have weapons of mass destruction – turned
out to be false – but if they do, they`re going to use it on Iran, OK?
That was Iraq. But if you ruin one of those two powerful agents, the other
one`s going to take over and it`s going to be a disaster in the Middle
East. You`re going to have a totally destabilized Middle East.


That was in Reuters 2004 in June or July – big story, Trump opposed to
doing it. Now, again, I`m the most militaristic person in this room. But
you got to know when to use it. It`s like, also, I said, Well, wait a
minute. Of all of these guys that blew up the World Trade Center, they all
went back to Saudi Arabia, the families! They sent their families back a
day early to Saudi Arabia!

I said, But why are we going after Iraq right now? The families went back
to Saudi Arabia. They didn`t go back to Iraq. I think one might have.
Nobody knows. We know nothing. We know nothing. We know nothing.

But I said, You`re going to destabilize the Middle East. So here`s what
happens. We totally wiped out Iraq, totally destabilized the Middle East,
gave other people ideas that you can actually knock these things out.

Iran, as you sit here tonight, is taking over Iraq, which by the way, has
one of the richest oil reserves in the world. Their oil is unbelievable in
Iraq underground, one of the biggest in the world. So they totally take
over and they`re going to very soon. So we spend all this money, all these
lives, all these wounded warriors. We get nothing! We got nothing because
we have stupid leadership.

Now, if you know anything about the Soviet Union, if you want the real
truth, the Soviet Union broke up because they spent so much money in
Afghanistan. OK? They spent so much money that they were going bust.

And that`s the primary reason or certainly one of the primary reasons that
the Soviet Union broke up. The Afghanistanian people, great fighters,
always have been, known. I have a friend of mine, he`s a big war
historian. Among the best fighters, Afghanistan.

So, the Soviet Union – so now we have the Soviet Union wants to go to
Syria. And they want to knock the hell out of people. And we are fighting
Assad, because Assad is our enemy, and we are fighting Syria. Now, Syria
wants to fight Assad.

Think of this. Just put it together. A lot of people – I get a little –
they said, oh, that`s not really nice, what he said. Give me a break. So,
you have ISIS that wants to take on Assad. So, we are fighting ISIS, but
we want to fight Assad.

Why don`t you let those two fight for a little while and take over the




TRUMP: Right? I mean, I guarantee you that Assad is sitting back saying,
that president is one of the dumbest human beings on earth.


TRUMP: It`s true.


TRUMP: So, you have ISIS that wants to fight Assad. And ISIS can`t
because we`re bombing them. We are not doing the job, but we are certainly
hurting them.

So, they are not going after Assad. Now you have Russia and Iran. Now,
Iran became powerful because we gave them so much money, aside from the
nuclear, which they will have, believe me. But we gave them $150 billion.
So, now they`re feeling their oats. They`re going to be terrorists all
over the world. They have so much money.

And to them, $150 billion ,that is real money. With us, not the same. So,
now you have Iran and you have Russia on the side of Assad. But they both
want – Russia does want ISIS out, because they don`t want them coming into
Russia. They don`t want them crossing borders and they don`t want them
coming into Russia.

You have the migration because Syria is such a disaster. And now I hear we
want to take in 200,000 Syrians. Right? And they could be – listen, they
could be ISIS. I don`t know.

Did you ever see a migration like that? They are all men and they are all
strong looking guys. Did you see it? They are walking and there`s so many
men. There are not that many women. And I`m saying to myself, why aren`t
they fighting to save Syria? Why are they migrating all over Europe?


TRUMP: So now – now you have this guy, Secretary Kerry, maybe the worst
negotiator. I think he will go down as a worse secretary of state than
Hillary Clinton because of the deal.



TRUMP: And she was terrible. But I think he is going to down as worse
because of this deal.

So, now you have him saying we are going to take in maybe – the number I
am hearing, it is inconceivable. It started off with 10,000. The other
day, I heard 200,000. We are going to take in 200,000 Syrians or wherever
they come from. We have no idea. There is no identification, there is no

And I will tell you right now – and I am putting everybody on notice –
and hopefully this gets outside of this room. And I guess it will with all
these crazy cameras going back there. I am putting the people on notice
that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration that, if I
win, if I win, they are going back. They are going back. I`m telling you.


TRUMP: They are going back, because military tactics are very interesting.

This could be one of the great tactical ploys of all time, a 200,000-man
army maybe. Or if you said 50,000 or 80,000 or 100,000, we have got
problems. And that could be possible. I don`t know that it is. But it
could be possible.

So, they are going back. They are going back. I`m just telling them.


TRUMP: So, if they come, that`s great. And if I lose, I guess they are
staying. But if I win, they are going back.

And I know a lot of people would say, oh, that`s not nice. We can`t afford
to be nice. We are taking care of the whole world. We`re losing our
shirts on everything we do. Everything we do.



TRUMP: So, tonight, I`m doing a show on CNN at 10:00. And the question
was asked to me, why don`t you give us policy, policy with respect to
attitudes on war in the Middle East? Why don`t you tell us exactly what
you are going to do in Syria, what you are going to do in Iraq?

I said, I don`t want to tell you. It sounds terrible. I really know a lot
about it. I think – I think my biggest – I think, other than jobs –
everybody says – you know, CNN did a poll. I`m through the roof on jobs,
through the roof on leadership, through the roof on almost everything,
other than some people don`t think I`m a nice person. I am a sort of low
on that.

But, you know, ultimately, I am a nice person. I love people. I want to
help people. But, you know –


TRUMP: Thank you.


TRUMP: You know?


TRUMP: Actually, you know where I do best favorables? In New Hampshire,
Iowa and South Carolina, because they got to know me. I`m here so much.
Those are the places.



TRUMP: So, once I get out, I think people will find out.

You know what? I just want to do the right thing. And I tell the story
about a woman who said, do you think you are nice enough to be – I said, I
think it is going to be about competence this time. People are tired of
being pushed around. They`re tired of it.

But I said to person, nice person, Don Lemon, I said, Don, I want to be
unpredictable. I had an article about not so long ago – a business
article. And I beat some group of people. I love winning. Oh, I love –


MATTHEWS: Well, that`s Donald Trump tonight at a campaign rally in Keene,
New Hampshire.

Jeb Bush is also holding a rally in the Granite State. He`s in Bedford,
New Hampshire. Trump still holds the top spot in the Republican contest
across the country. The latest “USA Today” poll has Trump leading the
field. It`s 23 for Trump, Carson, Fiorina down at 13, 10 points out, and
then the pack of people way down below.

The same poll finds that a third of Republicans say President Obama is a
Muslim. And if you are wondering who that group supports, it`s Trump by a
mile. So, the people who believe Obama is a Muslim like Trump.

We are back with Eugene Robinson, Joy Reid, and Howard Fineman.

And just moments ago, Trump took on his rivals as only he can. Let`s
listen to him here.


TRUMP: And they asked Bush, what do you think of Rubio? Rubio comes out
and he`s talking about Bush. And what do you think of Rubio?


Oh, he is my dear friend. He is so wonderful. I love him so much.


TRUMP: Then there is Rubio, who is running against Bush, and he probably
shouldn`t be, from a loyalty standpoint.

The veterans know what I mean about loyalty. Right? Right? Right?


TRUMP: So, they ask Rubio, what do you think of Bush? Oh, he is my dear
friend. Wonderful. Just wonderful.

They hate each other. They hate.


TRUMP: Trust me, I know.


TRUMP: They hate so much. They hate more than anybody in this room hates
their neighbor.



TRUMP: Any – but it`s political (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Do you understand?


MATTHEWS: OK. That word he used was B.S., the long form of B.S.

But, look, what I watch there – and it is somewhat mesmerizing if you
don`t get into the fine point.

You can start this, Gene.

It seemed like he was saying the kind of thing that Pat Buchanan said
during World War II or about World War II. He`s younger than that. He
said, let the Russians fight the Nazis and see who wins. The hell with
these guys. They`re a bunch of – they`re both bad, Stalin and Hitler

He is saying, let Assad, who we don`t like as a country, fight ISIS, who we
fear, and let them duke it out.


MATTHEWS: And that sounds fairly appealing to Americans who don`t want to
get in this fight.



MATTHEWS: Mostly everybody.

ROBINSON: It is a kind of simplistic playground thing to say.

MATTHEWS: OK. Why is it wrong?

ROBINSON: However, however, he is saying it in the absence of a credible
U.S. plan to affect events on the ground in Syria, right, because what
we`re doing now is not –


MATTHEWS: It`s the only game in town, right, because the president – and
we both like the president`s policies generally, but he doesn`t have any
anti-ISIS policy.

ROBINSON: That`s not an easy thing to come by. Right? But he doesn`t
have one.

MATTHEWS: I know. Trump has got one. Trump has something. He would just
let them fight it out.


MATTHEWS: Putin is going to be on their side. They`re all jumping in
this. They`re going to fight it out to the end. And what did he say?
Pick up what is left of the rubble?

REID: Pick up the remnants. Pick up the remnants on the terrazzo floors
he`s going to put in.



MATTHEWS: What is terrazzo?

REID: He knows. He`s a builder.


MATTHEWS: It`s not parquet, right?

REID: But what is Thomas Friedman wrote a column saying not far from the
same thing, that essentially if Vladimir Putin is fool enough to get
himself entangled in this – this mess that we have created between Iraq,
Iran and Syria, then let him go for it and see how that works out. He is
saying something that isn`t – even Thomas Friedman sort of agrees –


MATTHEWS: OK. The fly in the ointment is that Assad is not a good guy.
And Assad – somebody is directing those Russian planes today to bomb the
non-terrorist forces over there, the few – the skimpy little forces of
freedom over there.

FINEMAN: Well, what we are witnessing here is the on-the-fly, accidental,
but very interesting alliance between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump
against Barack Obama.


FINEMAN: Vladimir Putin –


MATTHEWS: But the right wing has liked Trump, has liked Vladimir.


FINEMAN: Vladimir Putin found a way at the United Nations, because of the
fact that we don`t have anti-ISIS policy, to propose himself as a leader of
World War II anti-Hitler-style coalition.


FINEMAN: And what Trump is doing here also is tying this issue into
immigration, saying –

MATTHEWS: Perfectly unitary theory.

FINEMAN: Unitary. And watching Donald Trump do this is like –

MATTHEWS: Explain his line –



Well, what he`s saying is, if we don`t support Assad and keep some
semblance of order, however cruel, that is going to mean even more migrants
and refugees. And the United States is going to take hundreds of thousands
of them.


MATTHEWS: And that 200,000 will become an army in our country.


FINEMAN: A secret army, a Trojan horse army.


FINEMAN: And I, Donald Trump, if I am elected, will send them immediately
back out of the country.

Watching him operate, it`s sort of like watching a safecracker. He is kind
of listening as he is turning the tumblers and, bang, something clicks, and
he connects it up with an emotional issue. And that is what keeps him
afloat. I was saying, we have been watching the speech tonight. He hadn`t
said anything new or interesting.

REID: Right.

FINEMAN: But he kind of stumbled on –

MATTHEWS: That`s the news.

FINEMAN: That`s the news.



ROBINSON: I`m going to send them –


FINEMAN: I`m going to send all the migrants back.

MATTHEWS: Do you realize how popular that will be on the right? I`m
talking about emotionally.


MATTHEWS: Republicans and some Democrats, a lot of Democrats, because
there`s – look, I have a deep theory about this, and people on the left
will challenge it. I don`t think it is all about racism.

I think it`s about, well, clannishness, of course, and American nativism,
of course. But there is also a sense that nobody is watching the door,
that nobody is looking out for a reasonable regulation of immigration,
nobody is figuring out a reasonable level of spending by the government,
nobody is really doing the job of protecting the interest of the average
American. They`re not getting the job done, Republican or Democrat.

They`re fighting with each other, protecting interest groups. And they
don`t really look out for us. Trump comes along, the guy on the horse, and
says, I will do it. I will build a damn wall. It`s better than nothing,
because they are not doing anything. Nobody believes in the wall who has
got a brain, but at least he`s saying something.

REID: Right.

MATTHEWS: Now he`s saying, I`m going to send 200,000 Middle Easterners who
we don`t know, don`t speak our language, have a different religion –



ROBINSON: But he is going to send them home.


MATTHEWS: By the way, they will be tagged on the way in. They will be
easy to find. It`s not going to be hard to do it, but what a – what a

REID: Yes.

And Howard describes him as a safecracker. To me, he sounds like a right-
wing talk radio host, because, as you said, he sort of talks through a lot
of – some conspiratorial things, some things that the working-class guy,
particularly working-class white Americans, have been listening to for 30-
something years on talk radio, which is the message you just said. Nobody
is looking out for you. I`m going to look out for you.

That`s the core of his message. He is like a right-wing talk radio host
running for president.


MATTHEWS: What do other politicians promise? They will look out for us.
Do they?

REID: And they don`t do it.


MATTHEWS: I know. We don`t have an immigration policy. We don`t have a
reasonable fiscal policy in this country that people can actually
understand, Keynesian, whatever. It never makes any sense. It`s whatever
they end up spending.


REID: Yes.

MATTHEWS: And whatever is left.

REID: And he is saying, politicians won`t do it, but I will.

MATTHEWS: And when he says a $19 billion – $19 trillion debt, I`m sorry,
it works. It works with regular guys out there. I`m sorry, not just
working-class. They go, wait a minute. What is the plan here? How much
debt can we accumulate before we tilt?

ROBINSON: Well, he promises to increase it, though.


REID: By spending lavishly on the military, and the terrazzo floors are
going to cost money.


MATTHEWS: Can we get a reading on that word, terrazzo? Anyway –

ROBINSON: I think you could go for Carrara, I think, the Carrara marble,
but –




Anyway, my thanks to you, Gene Robinson, who has gone off the planet here,
and Joy Reid. And thank you, Howard Fineman.

It`s hard to keep up with this guy. It`s hard.

Stay with us. We have got much more HARDBALL tonight.

But, look out, Republican establishment. You are losing. And much more,
by the way, of the stunning admission by the new, well, speaker of the
House, I guess, that the Benghazi investigation was a scam. It was all
about politics. And Kevin McCarthy, Mr. Speaker, you spoke those words.

We will be back.


what`s happening.

Hurricane Joaquin is getting stronger as it barrels towards the Bahamas.
Top sustained winds are at 85 miles an hour. The storm is expected to hit
the East Coast early next week.

The governor of Oklahoma halted the execution of Richard Glossip an hour
before he was set to be put to death to limit questions about a new legal
injection drug.

A law that provides medical help for 9/11 first-responders is set to expire
at midnight tonight – now back to HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Well, the big story on Capitol Hill today is that epic gaffe, that epic
gaffe from the man who wants to be the next speaker of the House. Kevin
McCarthy unfortunately has an Irish name. Once again, here is what he said
last night about the Benghazi committee, just a second here, and Hillary

Here`s a guy admitting that the whole ball of wax, the whole purpose of all
these stupid hearings on Benghazi wasn`t to find out what really, really
happened. It was to screw Hillary Clinton. Let`s watch.


see is a conservative speaker that takes a conservative Congress that puts
a strategy to fight and win.

And let me give you one example. Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was
unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a
select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.
Why? Because she is untrustable. But no one would have known any of that
had happened had we not –


SEAN HANNITY, HOST, “HANNITY”: I agree. That`s something good. I give
you credit for that.


MATTHEWS: What, was the guy on sodium pentathol?

I`m joined by tonight`s roundtable, David Corn, Washington bureau chief for
“Mother Jones” magazine and an MSNBC analyst as well, April Ryan,
Washington bureau chief at American Urban Radio Networks, and Dana Milbank,
a political columnist for “The Washington Post.”


Dana, I`m going to start with you because you are writing brilliantly. But
you don`t have to be brilliant about this. What a rMDNM_doofus. What a
rMDNM_doofus. What a rMDNM_doofus. He comes out – a schlemiel, whatever
the latest Yiddishism is. This guy, he comes out and says the reason we
had this strategy was, the reason we investigated Benghazi, in quotes, is,
it was a way to get Hillary Clinton`s numbers down. That was our strategy.

classic case of the old Michael Kinsley rule that a gaffe in Washington is
when you accidentally speak the truth.

And that`s what was so devastating about this, moments after he is
basically named the speaker.


MATTHEWS: I hate to ask the word, April, but to use the word loosely, what
was he thinking? What was he – was he just kissing up to Sean Hannity?


Freudian slip, a slip that reflected a thought.


MATTHEWS: What did he intend to say?

RYAN: I`m not in McCarthy`s brain. But that is the problem.

But this is a bigger issue. And the problem is, I talked to Congressman
Elijah Cummings before we went on the air.


MATTHEWS: A great man.

RYAN: Yes, great guy from Maryland.

MATTHEWS: Ranking Democratic on that committee.

RYAN: Yes.

MILBANK: Not Irish.


RYAN: OK. But the congressman said to me, he said, the sad part about
this is the families came to us after they have learned –

MATTHEWS: The families of these Foreign Service officers.

RYAN: Yes. The families came to them. The families came to them and
asked them to perform the investigation to the best of their ability. They
wanted answers.

And he said they have gotten no answers at this point, $4.5 million and
counting, unlimited money dedicated to this. And they are just running
this in the hole because they wanted to go against Hillary Clinton.

CORN: You know, this wasn`t a slip of the lip.



CORN: What he was doing, he was pandering. This is a guy who is trying to
replace John Boehner –

MATTHEWS: To show what a –


MATTHEWS: – he is.


CORN: – who had to leave because the Tea Party didn`t like him.

And he is saying, hey, we conservatives, we can do things in Congress. We
can hold investigations for partisan ends and get Hillary Clinton`s number.
This is –

MATTHEWS: This is why the U.S. Congress about 8 percent approval rating on
both sides, because Harry Reid does the same thing. All they do is meet
for the purpose of trying to embarrass the other side. That`s all – it
used to be one political party kept the other one honest. Now one
political party makes sure the other does –


MATTHEWS: Your thought, Dana?


MILBANK: It may be pandering but you may be giving him too much credit
saying it is premeditated. Now I`ve been studying how Kevin McCarthy talks
sometime and watching him deal with English language.

MATTHEWS: You wrote that he can`t talk.

MILBANK: It`s like watching a child play with a loaded gun. The members
in his caucus were elevating him to the top speaking position in his party
and have to realize there is no telling –

MATTHEWS: What`s his problem with the language, by the way? He`s going to
be speaker of the House and Boehner –

CORN: Speaker. Speaker. He`s been speaking.

MATTHEWS: Why can`t he talk?

MILBANK: People have literally said to me, is it dyslexia? Is it an
impediment of some sort? There is no indication coming from his office.
He seems to have trouble between the thought and his brain and when it
comes out of his mouth.


MATTHEWS: Your comment sounds worse than Dan Quayle, which is really

MILBANK: He is – he is – I say he is the Yogi Berra of our time.

MATTHEWS: But there was a point to what Yogi said.


CORN: Yogi is entertaining.

APRIL RYAN, NATIONAL URBAN RADIO NETWORK: This man can be the speaker of
the House. That is the point. He is letting us know what the thought is.
It`s not all –

MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s talk about the Democrats. Isn`t this the opportunity
for them to pick up the chips and say, we got candidates frontrunner now?
We don`t know all before. But as Howard said a while ago on the program
tonight, he said, this is a time to get together and say here is a chance
to turn the table on the red hot Republicans. Here`s a chance to show that
everything they have been mouthing, all their campaign propaganda is all
just that. Here is a chance to reset the table. Let`s talk policy now.

CORN: There`s –

MATTHEWS: Hillary can do that.

CORN: There is a little problem because Hillary has been trying to do
that. Bill Clinton came out, the big gun the other day, to try to do that,
but she has her own credibility problem. I know when I say this on the
show, not on Benghazi but other issues.

MATTHEWS: Like what?

CORN: On the emails for instance.

MATTHEWS: What is her problem?

CORN: She hasn`t always been square with what she said.

MATTHEWS: What is she hiding?


CORN: Maybe nothing.

MATTHEWS: See, that`s the weird thing about these scandals.

CORN: Maybe nothing.

MATTHEWS: How can you have a scandal without a scandal?

CORN: Because when it first came out her people said she didn`t violate
regulations. She wasn`t in sync with regulations. She has several times
said things that weren`t true. I don`t think this is the biggest scandal
in the world. I think the way she`s handled it has been atrocious and it`s
clearly have an impact on her trust ratings.

MATTHEWS: I agree with that.

I don`t understand the hesitation to come out with things, like to say the
other day, when they 30,000 e-mails that she kept as private and were going
to be destroyed, according to her lawyer.

CORN: They weren`t destroyed.

MATTHEWS: Then she said I don`t need them anymore, is apparently what she
said to my people.

That doesn`t sound right. You don`t say about 30,000 pieces of mail that
includes your life stuff in it. You don`t say I don`t need them and you
say get rid of them or I want to look at them or something. Put them in
safe keeping.

You don`t say I`m not going to need them anymore.


RYAN: Because of who she is and what she means to this nation, she still
has – whether it`s personal e-mail or public e-mail, the email for
government – she needs to keep her e-mails. You are exactly right.

CORN: That is why she can`t come out and make the strongest case for

MILBANK: McCarthy`s statement is going to make it much easier for
Democrats, bury the Benghazi –

MATTHEWS: McCarthy is a home run for Dems.

MILBANK: Bury the Benghazi scandal, but she still has to testify.

CORN: That is the big thing.


MATTHEWS: Last night, Kevin McCarthy was asked to assess how well John
Boehner did as speaker.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Give me a grade for John Boehner as speaker of the

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), MAJORITY LEADER: I think John Boehner deserves
a B-minus, because one thing I will tell you.


HANNITY: Oh, come on.

MCCARTHY: You may disagree with me.


MCCARTHY: He won a majority. We got the highest margin we had before. We
lowered the deficit within there, but you know what? There is a lot more.
We passed 300 bills this year. You look into the Senate. They had him


MATTHEWS: If the guy is going to be speaker calls his boss is still the
speaker a B-minus, what do the Democrats give him? What kind of – this is
grade deflation.

CORN: What is he going to give himself? Is he going to do better than
Boehner in terms of moving bills and getting them passed the Senate?

RYAN: President Obama gets a better grade than that, he said he was a good
man and never –


MILBANK: This is why you should expect a government shutdown in December.
He is frightened of the caucus that he can`t say a nice word about John
Boehner? What`s he going to do to stand up to them?

MATTHEWS: Dana, you are a student of this. The reason he can`t give an A
minus or a B-plus or even a straight B is because he is scared of the
rabbits up on the hill –


MILBANK: He`s afraid of three dozens –

MATTHEWS: – the centrists, the reasonably not right wing people are so
afraid of that 50 Freedom Caucus it`s called. They are frightened. They
are scared.

MILBANK: He is going to let them drive off the cliff.

RYAN: McCarthy is going to use this in December to rally the groups, to
rally the troops who are fractured, as Joy Reid likes to say for her book.
These people who are not together he is going to rally them and we are
going to have a problem with the Planned Parenthood thing. We`re going to
get through now until December, but we`re going to have a major problem
with the budget and –

MATTHEWS: All that lying about the Planned Parenthood thing, that was
yesterday`s lie.

RYAN: It`s a lie but they are going to try to work it. They will try to
work it.

MATTHEWS: It was not a product of abortion. It was not a product of
anything to do with Planned Parenthood and they said so.

Anyway, David, April, and Dana are staying with us.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Well, the U.S. government will not be shutting down tonight.
And today, Congress approved a stopgap measure to fund the government
through December 11th just hours before the midnight deadline tonight. So
the bill goes to President Obama for signature and expect a big fight and
possibly a showdown and a shutdown come December.


We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Well, the rocketing big news tonight from Donald Trump, he wants
to send back – he promises to send back all Syrian refugees he expects to
come in this country between now and his inauguration in 2017. All of them
go home if he gets elected, he says.

Here he is just moments ago making that point.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now I hear we want to take in
200,000 Syrians, right? And they could be – listen, they could be ISIS.
I don`t know. Did you ever see a migration like that?

And I`ll tell you right now, I`m putting everybody on notice, hopefully
this gets outside of this room, I guess it will with all these crazy
cameras going back there. I`m putting the people on notice that are coming
here from Syria as part of this mass migration that if I win, if I win,
they`re going back. They`re going back. I`m telling you. They`re going


MATTHEWS: I bet that`s tomorrow morning`s headlines in the major papers.
Trump still holds the top spot in the Republican contest, believe it or
not, like it or not. The latest poll has trump leading the field again.
Trump 23, Carson and Fiorina ten points back, Rubio, nothing, 9. Bush,
nothing, 8. Cruz, 6.

We`re back with David, April and Dana.

When you look at that list, and you can see – I hope we keep that list up
there. What shows you is the starvation of the second half of the list.
All of the electeds, all the people who held governor or Senate positions
or currently holding them, everybody who hasn`t had a job in government or
politics, Fiorina, Dr. Carson and Trump himself are dominating.


CORN: Add that up. One out of two GOP voters want to put in the White
House someone with no experience governing. No experience. Carly Fiorina
had a bad record –

MATTHEWS: No guilt. No guilt for being –

CORN: Ben Carson no experience in politics at all. So that shows you that

MATTHEWS: OK. Imagine if McConnell ran for president.



MATTHEWS: They`d laugh them off. If Boehner tried to run, if McCarthy
tried to run. They hate what is going on in Washington because anything is
going in Washington. They`re so angry.

CORN: It is not just Washington. They don`t even like outside governors.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, this is real stuff. So, Hillary Clinton if she gets the
nomination, is going to be able to be the government candidate. But,
unfortunately, the way this thing is going on the right, she`ll be the

But I don`t think the whole country is exactly the same as the Republican
right. I don`t think so.

RYAN: Let me say this, Hillary Clinton –


MATTHEWS: They don`t like Trump, the rest of the country.

RYAN: I think what we`re seeing is the phenomenon. It is very base. You
don`t even need to have a poll for this.

People are tired, like you said. People are sick and tired of having their
jobs, money played with. And just their life circumstances played with.
People want to be able to live free.

But wait a minute, Hillary Clinton, if she were to become president, she is
the one who has the pedigree that no one else has. She is the woman of
diplomacy. She has been –

MATTHEWS: Is that what the public wants?

RYAN: Do people want to go to war? We are war weary.

MATTHEWS: Do you think Hillary`s a dove?

RYAN: I think she`s a dove. She –

MATTHEWS: I pray –

RYAN: I believe she is a dove. She is a woman of – I believe she is a

MATTHEWS: I don`t think so.


RYAN: She has a heart – she has an iron fist with a velvet glove on. But
I`ll tell you, she`s a woman of diplomacy. She`s looked over executive
branch issues with her husband, Bill Clinton, who she`s now bringing out,
who is –

CORN: So rational.

RYAN: I am. I need to be rational with your –


MATTHEWS: I worry about her glove and somebody else`s fist as I do with
all politicians. One thing to use words, metaphor, for the guy out there
fighting and the woman out there in the trenches, it is real. Not a


RYAN: I do believe she –

MATTHEWS: Usually stupid enterprises.

RYAN: She`s a woman of diplomacy.

MILBANK: She`s certainly no dove compared to the current incumbent.

RYAN: She was a secretary of state which is diplomacy.


MILBANK: On this other topic here, I wouldn`t count out the establishment
and the Republican Party and those with experience.

MATTHEWS: Like who?

MILBANK: Well, Marco Rubio –

MATTHEWS: Who can win the nomination? Rubio still in the running.

MILBANK: I won`t need to count out Jeb Bush at this point.

This is why Scott Walker got out of the race, or ostensibly, and saying, we
need to get something as an alternative to these guys, it`s hard to imagine
that the Republican Party –

MATTHEWS: Dana Milbank, look me in the eyes, remember this moment. Jeb
Bush will not be the nominee. He will not be the nominee.

RYAN: I feel so sorry for him.

MILBANK: But it`s not going to be Donald Trump. At this point, last time,
we thought it was going to be Herman Cain.

MATTHEWS: Your newspaper has him in third chance. They got him in the
running now. Whatever it was before –

CORN: The GOP establishment will have an interest in trying to consolidate
behind one of the non-outsiders, maybe Marco Rubio more than Jeb Bush and
so at the end of the day, you`re going to have a couple of outsiders and
one or two maybe establishment choices, and it is still up to the GOP base
to decide if they will accept Rubio or Jeb Bush –


MATTHEWS: Let me – you first, two big news developments tonight, one is
that it is coming out today, not just that Donald Trump says he`ll throw
back 200,000 Syrians back to the Middle East, whether he is or not, whether
there`s going to be 200,000, but the big development is, it turns up his
call for us to support Assad and Putin has ended up with the Russian air
force bombing the good guys in the Middle East.

Is that going to offend the people`s support or stop the people for
supporting Trump?

CORN: No, no. I think this is the Middle East. It`s a mess. Obama has
screwed it up. Let Putin and ISIS fight it out. I think it will be fine.

MATTHEWS: OK. Will Clinton be able to exploit the fact that they lied
about it they ran trumped up Senate hearings to hurt her? Will she able to
exploit it?

RYAN: Her husband will.

MATTHEWS: That`s smart.

MILBANK: I think the Democrats have a rallying point here. And they`re
not going to shut down the Benghazi hearing, but they`re making it look
like –

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you. Tonight, we showed you enough of Trump to get
the point across, to get news without letting him go through his usual
repetitive stuff.

By the way, I watched him earlier tonight and he`s repeating every line we
heard before. I don`t think we need that –

RYAN: Do you think he`s fired?

MATTHEWS: No, I`m not in that position yet. Very funny, though. There
may come a day when the country may offer that verdict.


RYAN: You`re fired.

MATTHEWS: Thank you to my roundtable tonight, David Corn, April Ryan,
she`s the giggly one, and Dana Milbank.

HARDBALL back after this.


MATTHEWS: Well, last night, the news was how the critics lied about
Planned Parenthood. It was a mother of a still born baby, that picture,
that was not anything to do with Planned Parenthood. The thing we
discovered tonight was that – well, the Republicans built up a big case
about Benghazi and they admit today, Kevin McCarthy, the new speaker,
admits it was all about politics, all totally, utterly strategic
partisanship. It`s not going to make them look good after this.

Anyway, that`s it for HARDBALL tonight. Lots of news keeps coming.

“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.


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