Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 12/4/2015
Date: December 4, 2015
Guest: Shawn Henry, Scriven King, Seamus Hughes, J.M. Berger, Megan
Murphy, April Ryan, Paul Singer, Megan Murphy, Carole King
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Is this ISIS?
This is HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
The FBI is now investigating the San Bernardino massacre as an act of
terrorism. Based on what we`re hearing tonight, this could be the first
successful ISIS-inspired attack within the United States.
Chilling new details tonight about what may have motivated the
attackers, Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, to leave their 6-
month-old daughter with their grandmother – her grandmother and commit
this massacre. NBC News reports that Tashfeen Malik, seen in this photo
now, pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi on Facebook
just hours before the attack, according to law enforcement sources.
And a senior counterterrorism official tells NBC News that Farook was
in contact with ISIS sympathizers, who delivered words of encouragement to
Well, late today, attorneys for the Farook family held a press
conference. The described Malik, the wife, as isolated and conservative.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHAMMAD ABUERSHAID, Farook FAMILY ATTORNEY: She was primarily a
housewife. She had only come over here in 2014.
DAVID CHESLY, FAROOK FAMILY ATTORNEY: She was a very, very private
person. She was – she – she was – she kept herself pretty well
isolated. She was very conservative.
ABUERSHAID: The men did not interact with her, and the brothers did
not actually ever see her face. They`ve never seen her face because she
did wear a burqa. So they just knew her…
QUESTION: Totally covered?
ABUERSHAID: Yes, she was totally covered. So they just knew her as
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, they also described Farook as introverted. They said
he had no friends that they could identify.
Well, the head of the FBI, James Comey, spoke to reporters today in
Washington, seeking to tamp down fears of a terror cell here in the U.S.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: So far, we have no indication that these
killers are part of an organized larger group or formed part of a cell.
There`s no indication that they are part of a network.
Again, I quickly add, it is early. We`re still working very hard to
understand. But I wanted you to know that so far, we don`t see such
We know that this is very unsettling for the people of the United
States. What we hope that you will do is not let fear become disabling,
but to instead try to channel it into an awareness of your surroundings, to
get you to a place where you are living your life, but if you see something
that doesn`t make sense, you say something to somebody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: We`re also getting unprecedented access inside the
attackers` home. The landlord allowed the press to tour the location just
hours after authorities raided it for evidence. It was a surreal scene,
Their baby`s crib remained adorned with toys. A teddy bear was still
in its box. Children`s books and games were strewn about the house. There
was a computer, shredded documents and Qurans.
And we`re getting a first look at the homemade pipe bombs the
attackers rigged to detonate at the scene of the massacre. And new
reaction tonight from Farook`s brother-in-law, who says that Farook –
well, he knew was not radical, the one he knew.
But we begin tonight with the latest on the investigation. NBC`s
chief justice correspondent Pete Williams – Pete.
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Chris, the FBI is calling this a
terrorism investigation, certainly is a new chapter, but it doesn`t really
functionally change much. The FBI has already been all-out on this
investigation from the beginning.
The FBI director told us today that the agents investigating this case
have developed indications that, as he put it, the killers were becoming
radicalized, and that there`s indications of an influence by a foreign
Now, he wouldn`t be specific about which terror organization. He
didn`t say anything about whether it was ISIS or any other. He did say he
did not think the couple from San Bernardino was part of any larger cell or
network or group. And he said they`ve not identified anybody else who was
involved, including the person who three or four years ago bought the
assault rifles for Syed Farook.
He did say that it`s true that Farook had been in contact with some
people in Los Angeles who were in the past investigated by the FBI, but he
said there`s nothing about that contact at the time that it in any way
elevated them or suggested anything suspicious.
Now, there`s one other piece of information about this that became
public today. Agents disclosed, or I should say investigators disclosed
that the wife, Tashfeen Malik, posted on her Facebook timeline, just as the
shootings were beginnings, a statement of support for the ISIS leader, Abu
Bakr al Baghdadi. It was taken down by Facebook a short time later.
Comey was asked about that today, He declined to comment. The FBI in
Los Angeles said it was aware of it and investigating – Chris.
MATTHEWS: Well, thank you. That was Pete Williams, of course.
I`m joined right now by NBC`s Blake McCoy, who is outside the
attackers` home itself. Thank you. Give – what are you able to find out
there? We were out there watching it in the beginning today. What more
have they discovered in the house?
BLAKE MCCOY, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, we know the FBI wrapped
up their search of the house overnight, which is how reporters were allowed
inside today. The landlord came right up, took down that plywood and let
It was mostly personal items found inside, although we did see
computer monitors. The hard drives had been taken by the FBI, as you would
expect. From court documents today, though, we are learning that in the
garage behind this apartment there was what`s essentially a bomb-making
factory. We knew they found 12 pipe bombs in that garage, as well as
thousands of rounds of ammunition, but we`re now learning through those
court documents that there were also materials to make more bombs.
It appears they were making the bombs on site, things like metal
tubing, wires, powder, so you know, a bomb-making factory here at this
We also learned today that near the site of the shooting, where those
14 people were killed, authorities were able to recover two crushed
cellphones. So they have taken those away for analysis. They`re hoping to
be able to get some forensic evidence out of this. In their words, they
think that the computers and those crushed cellphones could have, quote,
“golden nuggets” of information that could shed more light on a motive and
exactly who these people were corresponding with before they went on this
rampage – Chris.
MATTHEWS: Blake, you`re there, I`m not, but try to put this together
for me. We watched pictures there today of what looked like a regular
American home, the baby – the crib, the teddy bear, the toys, and so
Westernized. They were raising this – hoping, it seems to me, to raise
this kid as American as anybody else, with all the American paraphernalia
of a middle-class family, working family. And yet – and yet – they`re
MCCOY: Yes, and I spoke…
MATTHEWS: How does it look like when you look through the house? Did
you see that dichotomy between the attempt to assimilate as Americans and
be like the rest of us, and a clear-cut plan to blow us to hell? That`s
what doesn`t – I`m trying to figure how you can see that (ph) I don`t see
that coming together.
MCCOY: It doesn`t add up, Chris. And we spoke with the landlord and
said, When they signed this lease in May, did you notice anything
different? He said, No. It was a couple. They had a new kid. They
seemed very nice. He actually had five applications for this very
apartment. He chose this couple. He wasn`t forced into choosing this
So you`re right. This was a – this was a couple, by all accounts,
living the American dream. We know Farook made about $70,000 a year, so
certainly wasn`t marginalized, wasn`t hurting, had a good job with the
It`s baffling. And it is baffling to residents in this community. As
one neighbor told me, if it can happen here in Redlands, California, and
San Bernardino, California, it really can happen anywhere.
MATTHEWS: Thanks so much, NBC`s Blake McCoy.
For more on tonight`s big story, we`re joined by Shawn Henry, who was
the executive assistant director of the FBI, and Scriven King, who is a
national security analyst at Terror Asymmetrics Project. Gentlemen, thank
you for joining us.
Shawn, you first. What do you make of this? Because I think – I
don`t know. I don`t get it. They seemed like they wanted to be an
American couple. They had a kid here. They didn`t have to have a kid.
They had a kid, and they`re raising the kid, like, you know, Joey Smith or
Joey whatever. And I don`t understand. But at the same time, they`re
planning a plot against America itself. Your thoughts.
SHAWN HENRY, FMR. FBI EXEC. ASST. DIRECTOR: Well, I listened to the
lawyers on the lead-in to the show here, Chris, and they`re talking about,
you know, she`s a regular housewife. Regular housewives I know don`t carry
assault rifles and kill people day-to-day. I`m concerned about…
MATTHEWS: You doubt the testimony of the relatives.
HENRY: Well, she`s not – she`s certainly not a regular housewife.
She was involved in a terrorist act…
HENRY: … this week. She killed 14 people or was involved in the
killing, the murder of Americans.
MATTHEWS: You think that kind of aggressiveness might be available to
people when they hang out with somebody. You`d see it.
HENRY: You know – you know, you would think that that would be…
MATTHEWS: And they`re carrying an AR, whatever.
HENRY: … you might see it.
HENRY: There certainly was some training, I would imagine, the way
she was engaged not only at the scene of the murder, but post, when she was
engaged with the law enforcement officers and she was engaged with them in
My concern about this whole investigation is what are we looking at
back in Saudi Arabia, as well as Pakistan? Was she the one who came here
and radicalized him? That`s something I`d be concerned about and something
I`m certain the FBI, along with the intelligence services in both Saudi and
Pakistan, are going to be working with…
MATTHEWS: Do you think she could have agreed to marry him with a plan
already afoot to use him as a terrorist?
HENRY: It`s certainly a supposition, but I think it is an
investigative angle that law enforcement, the FBI, should be pursuing. If
she actually – he was on a dating site, if perhaps she was actually
looking for a way to get here to the United States – I think it`s
something to pursue and to rule out.
MATTHEWS: OK. Shawn, another simple question. I go back to my
normal American question. When you have a young couple – and in my
family, I`ve got them – who raise kids, the whole life is around the kids
– the kids cry, you stay up all night, you feed them, they burp, they
throw up. You live with them. You change their diapers. That`s what you
do all day with young kids.
(INAUDIBLE) have a kid they seem to be raising as a classic American,
with the teddy bear, the whole routine. Why are they doing that at the
same time they`re fighting – or waging jihad against our culture?
HENRY: Well, perhaps they`re looking to fit in and to assimilate into
society, to ensure that others see them as a classic American. It could be
part of the larger ruse.
MATTHEWS: Is it a Potemkin village? Is it a ruse. Shawn, your view?
SCRIVEN KING, TERROR ASYMMETRICS PROJECT: Yes, sir.
MATTHEWS: Same – the question to you. What is this, a Potemkin
village, what we saw today, this American scene in this house with a
regular calendar on the wall and a kid`s crib, all this paraphernalia of
Americana and all this attempt to try to become an American. I mean, the
cultural statements are all over the place. And then we find down in the
garage an arsenal.
KING: Yes, it`s an interesting sort of dichotomy that`s going on
here. I`d like to address a few points.
MATTHEWS: Well, what about – how do you put that dichotomy together?
How do you make – have you ever seen a case like this, where terrorists
are trying to assimilate?
KING: Yes. Sure. I mean, we ask intelligence operatives to do the
same when they go overseas.
KING: You know, it`s all about establishing a cover.
MATTHEWS: I get you.
KING: And so I would imagine that it would be a matter of operational
protocol for a group like ISIS, or their sympathizers for that matter, to
avoid detection by assuming a regular, as you put it, American life.
MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) You agree with that?
HENRY: I think that could be part of that whole ruse, trying to
assimilate, look like they belong, and then use that as an opportunity…
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s go back to this right now. Scriven, you first
then Shawn. Same question to both of you. How much of this is passive and
how much of it is lone wolf, passive on behalf of perhaps ISIS. Somebody
wants to join them, they`re willing to take them. They want to blow up
some Americans, go ahead. Do it. You`re MacGyver-ish. You can put
together a bomb, go ahead, do it.
How much of this is operational from overseas?
HENRY: I don`t know that we can determine whether it`s operational
from overseas or not. I think that ISIS has been very clear – fight where
you stand, do whatever you can do to impact the West, to carry jihad, to
support the caliphate. And they are telling people, clearly, You don`t
have to come to Syria. You don`t have to come to Iraq. Fight where you
are because you can carry the fight to the West.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scriven.
KING: This is – this is – this is part of their – of their whole
operational strategy, and they`ve had this for quite some time, as Shawn
had pointed out earlier, where they – they allow you to take it upon
yourself to be an independent franchise.
This is not going to necessarily a new thing with ISIS or groups
affiliated with them, or the groups that they formally belong to. We saw
the same thing with al Qaeda. It allows them an opportunity to use the
lone wolves as an extension of their ability to do what they need to do
most, which is to kill at will.
MATTHEWS: Well, we just had the FBI director, Comey, say that he had
no idea, no reason to believe there was more to it than what we`ve seen.
But of course, they didn`t know there was this to begin with, Scriven.
They didn`t know what we`re watching here this week was going to happen
now. So how do we know they don`t know there`s more to it?
My question is, is your hunch here that this is part of a web or
simply a single thing in San Bernardino, California, out of no – all over
this country of 350 million people, this is the one thing we`re looking at.
It`s all by itself. Or is this part of a series of attacks we`re going to
KING: Sure. If I – I`ll engage in a little supposition here. I
firmly believe that this could possibly be or that there`s some inclination
of a – of sort of an ISIS sympathizer vibe here. I don`t think that this
is indicative of any sort of organized support.
There are certain links in the chain that are a bit missing that we
would expect to see. For instance, we would like to see a claim of
responsibility by ISIS in a more formal fashion stating that, These are our
guys. These shooters belong to us. Look at what we`ve done. And we
haven`t had that.
There`s an also number of other things (sic), the lack of operational
security that they took post-attack. They left the house intact, which if
you`re going to plan an operation and you`re concerned about subsequent
operations, you would want to secure the place where (ph) which you were
planning these attacks.
KING: You also wouldn`t want to build bombs in the same location that
you`re going to be conducting operations…
KING: … in case you`re discovered. So this to me looks more –
according – in accordance with what the FBI has also said, indicative more
of – of ISIS sympathizers.
MATTHEWS: Sympathizers only, not operation – not operational.
Anyway, thank you, Shawn Henry and Scriven King. Thank you. Sorry about
getting your names mixed up. It`s Friday night here.
Coming up, we`ve got nor (sic) information – actually, new
information about the presence of ISIS in this country and the tools the
terror group uses to recruit Americans, like we`ve been watching here. And
Our coverage continues after this.
MATTHEWS: Well, late today, NBC`s Chris Jansing interviewed Syed
Farook`s sister. Here`s some of that interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS JANSING, NBC CORRESPONDENT: What have these last few days been
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A bad dream, a horrific nightmare. (INAUDIBLE)
to go back to my normal life.
JANSING: How did you find out that your brother was a part of this,
that your sister-in-law was a part of this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I found out on the news.
JANSING: What goes through your mind?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shock, disbelief, they have the wrong person.
JANSING: And now, just today, the FBI said this is a terrorism
investigation, which means your brother and his wife are considered
terrorists. Can you wrap your head around that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Not at all. I mean, I had absolutely no
idea that they were involved in anything like that or that they were even
capable of doing something like this.
JANSING: Well, who were the people you knew?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, my brother, brother that I grew up, the
shy introvert, you know, kept to himself, quiet, you know, kid that we knew
that grew up and got married. And his wife was recently here. She was
only here for two years. We didn`t really know her that well.
JANSING: Did you ever see anything about him or about her that would
suggest to you that they could be radicalized?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Never.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Chris Jansing will have her full interview with the
sister tonight at 10:00 Eastern on “THE LAST WORD.”
Our coverage of the terror in San Bernardino will continue tonight
right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: The investigation so far has developed
indications of radicalization by the killers and of potential inspiration
by foreign terrorist organizations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was FBI Director James Comey on the unfolding investigation in
the San Bernardino shooting today.
Well, the discovery that Syed Farook was in touch with ISIS
sympathizers has raised new concerns about ISIS influence here in the
United States and the threat of homegrown or homeland terrorism.
Just before Thanksgiving, ISIS released a propaganda video suggesting
that Times Square in New York was a target for the terror group. It was
one of the many public attempts to inspire and recruit potential
sympathizers here in the country.
However, much of their effort is less overt. A new study published on
Tuesday of this week by the Program on Extremism at George Washington
University has revealed that hundreds of Twitter users in this country are
actively abetting ISIS by spreading their message online.
They have identified about – they have identified about 300 now as
American supporters of ISIS – got it, 300 Americans working for the other
side – and found that many have also threatened – strengthened their
interest in ISIS` narrative through face-to-face relationships. People are
getting together, not just online, but in person.
According to the study, 56 individuals have been arrested in ISIS-
related charges this year alone, which represents the most terror arrests
in a single year since the 9/11 attacks themselves. And a total of 71 have
been arrested since early 2014.
I`m joined right now by Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program
on Extremism at George Washington University ,as well as J.M. Berger of the
Brookings Institution, author of “Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the
Name of Islam.”
J.M., start off with this. What was your reaction? How does – what
we have seen here – if a woman in her 20s marries a guy, a sort of a mail
order bride, they meet over in the hajj over in Saudi Arabia, in Mecca,
they get married, they come back, they`re here for a while, and after a
while, they get involved in terrorism.
They start arming up. They get demolitions together. They got all
kinds of ordnance, explosives. They got semiautomatic rifles,
semiautomatic pistols, and thousands and thousands of rounds of ammo. And
these are the facts. How do you put it together?
J.M. BERGER, EDITOR, INTELWIRE.COM: Well, there is a lot that we
don`t know about this case yet.
We are really getting dribs and drabs of information. I think it is
really premature to try and figure out exactly what happened. I do think
that there does there seem to be some connection to ISIS, a nexus to ISIS
I think it is probably pretty unlikely that this was specifically
directed by is, but again every day we hear something new and we hear
something that was reported yesterday is wrong, so I don`t want to get too
far ahead of the facts.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of the fact that the woman in this case,
Tashfeen Malik, there`s – we finally got a picture of her today – she is
so quiet, she is so humble, she`s just a quiet housewife, and yet she is –
she is putting out Facebook postings in the very moment of the crisis when
she is involved in shooting all those people, 35 people, that she manages
at that time to take the time to put up a posting of herself and her
devotion to the head of ISIS?
What do you make of that?
BERGER: Well, if that is the case, and that is what has been reported
so far, it makes sense.
If you`re going to carry out terrorism, often, you want to have that
attributed to the group that you`re supporting. That does not always
happen. In the Boston Marathon bombing, for instance, there wasn`t a
specific group that they were supporting. So, there was no claim.
But it`s more common that, at some point, you`re going to leave some
kind of bread crumbs that indicate why you are doing what you are doing.
MATTHEWS: Seamus, put it together as best you can. There are a lot
of facts. There are a lot of facts. A lot of rounds of ammo. A lot of
pipe bombs. A lot of evidence that these people were up to something for a
good bit of time.
SEAMUS HUGHES, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: That is absolutely
So, the Program on Extremism, we looked at the ISIS American recruits
here in the States, and we looked at 7,000 pages of legal documents and
found that 56 people were arrested this year alone. And we also had a team
of researchers looking online. And we found 300 Americans that were active
This case is similar to other cases in terms that there`s not a
profile for people that are involved in this. They run the gamut. They`re
old. They`re young. They`re rich. They`re poor. They`re integrated.
They`re not. They`re high school kids and they`re college educated.
It is very hard to paint a picture on this.
MATTHEWS: And when you say they`re integrated, you mean there are
some who seem to be of assimilated nature, they want to be Americans, they
like our culture, they want to join it, and at the same time they want to
blow it up? I don`t get that.
MATTHEWS: You have actually seen cases of people who seem on the
surface to be trying to fit into our culture?
And the vast majority of the cases of people in the legal system are
U.S. citizens, and they live relatively normal lives. They grow up here.
They play soccer here, and things like that. And then at some point in
their life, they decide to make a radical shift. And that shift can happen
over the course of weeks or months.
MATTHEWS: What about the case of a mole, where you have someone here,
potentially a mole, who comes over here as a mail order bride, meets
through social media, answers this guy`s quest for love, if you will, and
somehow from the time they marry over in Mecca, they come back here and
Does it make more sense that she came radicalized with a mission or
that she was radicalized while she was a quiet housewife in San Bernardino,
California? What is more logical?
HUGHES: Well, we have seen the role of the women in terrorism. It is
not a particularly novel thing. We have roles of women.
What is novel in this is that it was a woman that was a mass shooter.
And it`s possible that she was radicalized before and came over here, but
it is also entirely likely that she was radicalized here. We thought about
it. When you look at the ISIS cases, it becomes an echo chamber, where
it`s reinforcing beliefs, where what you think, your husband and your wife
can reinforce your beliefs. And then we see that online and in person.
MATTHEWS: Well, these – of those arrested in ISIS-related charges
here in the U.S., the majority were American citizens; 40 percent were
converts, if you will, to Islam, I mean, religious converts, according to
the study. And 55 percent of the arrests were carried out because of a tip
from an informant or through a law enforcement sting.
And, J.M., give us some sense about what – if this case had never
happened and you were not thinking about this case in particular, because
you have been cautious here – and I understand the professional need for
that – but what we do know, outside of this case, as what has been going
on in terms of recruitment, possible mail order bride situations, whatever
the technique is to try to get people in this country to be radicalized?
BERGER: Well, there is two pieces of recruitment in the United
The first is online. And that is pretty systematic. It`s very
heavily staffed. There are ISIS supporters who stalk all kinds of
different online communities looking for people who might be vulnerable to
their message, people who might be expressing support or unhappiness in the
United States, anywhere they can get a wedge in.
At the same time, we have also seen that there are on-the-ground
recruitment networks that are operating here. And Seamus` report talks
about that to some extent.
In Minneapolis, certainly, we have seen that. We have seen several
arrests of people who were arrested on the basis of being ISIS recruiters,
not just being ISIS supporters. So, it is kind of a full-court press.
Social media gives them a lot of power that they did not have before
that the older jihadist recruitment networks didn`t have, because they can
scour thousands or hundreds of thousands or millions of people, looking for
just a few people who are unbalanced or unhappy or politically
disenfranchised or whatever their reason, and something that gives them an
opening to get in there and start worming their way into their heads.
MATTHEWS: Would it fit that pattern for someone who was a lonely
heart, a guy having a hard time meeting someone he wanted to meet, a woman,
a young woman he wanted to marry?
He said – apparently, perhaps the standards that he was setting –
that Mr. Farook was saying was, I just want someone that can be any culture
of the world, but as long as they are religious, and they wear a burka. It
wasn`t much of a demand, but it was pretty clearly leaning toward a very
BERGER: Well, the facts of this case, I think, are still unclear, but
there are certainly – I have seen ISIS recruiters do follow matrimonial
They follow sites that try and fix up Muslim marriages. And they are
looking for anybody that they can kind of work with. And we talk about
this some, and there has been some study of it, but I think it is still a
kind of underdeveloped area of study, but we do see that marriage is very
important for people who are recruited to go to ISIS.
People who go to ISIS territories, their success of recruiting women
is partly based on the promise of making some kind of love match when you
get there. So, there is an element of this that has an appeal to people.
It is lonely people are vulnerable I think is the simple way to put it.
MATTHEWS: I think that is fair enough.
Anyway, that seemed to have been the case with those English girls as
well. They are very active on the young, youth front, I should say, which
has a lot to do with wanting to find a partner in life.
Anyway, thank you, Seamus Hughes. And, thank you, J.M. Berger.
Up next, when we come back, Donald Trump opens a huge lead. Wait
until you catch these numbers. It may have something to do with what
happened in Paris. I think so. He up 20 points now in the latest polling,
20 points. He has opened up a spread. With the threat of terrorism
dominating the campaign, Trump is getting stronger. Got it?
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
With the country focused on the threat of terrorism, Donald Trump is
showing real strength in the polls. A new CNN/Opinion Research poll out
today shows Trump surging nine points since October all the way to 36
percent among Republican registered voters. That is registered voters.
And that is 20 points ahead of his nearest rival, who is now Ted Cruz, who
climbed to 12 points to second place, and with 16 percent, actually –
right – I think 12 – he rose 12.
And Ben Carson is dropping, down eight points to third place with just
14 points. He`s way off the mark. Overall, 52 percent of Republicans –
this is what I`m fascinated with – now say Trump is the candidate with the
best chance of winning the general election next November. That is up 14
points since August, when just 38 percent said that Trump had the best
chance to beat the Democrat, who we presume now is probably Hillary.
For more on Trump`s growing lead in the polls, let`s bring in the
HARDBALL roundtable. April Ryan, my friend, is White House correspondent,
all over the place today, for American Urban Radio Networks. Paul Singer
is Washington correspondent for “USA Today.” Megan Murphy is Washington
bureau chief for Bloomberg News.
All three of you, take the time you need, up to a minute or two.
MATTHEWS: Why is – what is the connection between Paris and
everything else that is going on? Is it the weakness of the other
candidates, the inability of Dr. Carson to talk about foreign policy? Is
it Trump`s tough, bully boy, I`m the toughest kid on the block?
Is it as simple as that, April?
APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: It not simple.
Part of the problem is, is that we are in a time when there is a
threat against this country and other world countries. And we have to
really have somebody there who knows foreign policy, knows how to be
diplomatic when diplomacy is called for.
MATTHEWS: Is that what Trump has got?
MATTHEWS: Well, I`m asking you, why is he…
RYAN: I giving you Carson and I`m coming to Trump.
MATTHEWS: Are you fighting the polls here?
RYAN: I`m not fighting. I`m just telling you what I see.
MATTHEWS: OK. You are fighting the polls.
RYAN: So, anyway, no, but also you need someone to be hawkish when it
is time to be hawkish.
But when it comes to Donald Trump, Donald Trump, according to a lot of
people I have talked to in Washington, outside of Washington, they feel he
is a bully. They feel that he has a lot of people who follow him that are
– have bigoted ideas.
Now, when you put those two together, yes, there is a section of this
country that believes that he and this bullying attitude can push forth and
do something on foreign policy. But we are at a time that we need someone
MATTHEWS: So, you would not vote for Donald Trump?
RYAN: I am not going to tell you who I am going to vote for.
MATTHEWS: OK. No, I`m just teasing. I`m just teasing. It is
Friday. But that was a strong case.
Why do you Trump is going – now, let`s put it in perspective. April
is certainly right. And 36 percent of Republicans registered voters, could
be about 18 percent of the country, one in five. It could be. That is
PAUL SINGER, “USA TODAY”: But I think that Trump benefits to some
degree from the Paris attacks, because – my joke is that Donald Trump is
not burdened by self-doubt, and the American people at the moment are
afraid. People are – my mother calls me. Have you seen what is on TV
People want to be assured that there is a strong man, a superman who
can sort of, don`t worry, I got it all.
MATTHEWS: Remember Reagan in `80? I got to tell you, when we had our
hostages taken, none of them got killed, fortunately, because of the way
Carter handled it.
But that sense of weakness drove a lot of middle-of-the-road people to
vote for a guy on the right they normally wouldn`t have voted for.
SINGER: That`s right.
MEGAN MURPHY, BLOOMBERG NEWS: I think that that is exactly it.
MATTHEWS: Reagan Democrats, they`re called.
MURPHY: This is it.
It`s the culmination of the four-decade-long trend of the white
working class into the Republican Party. And what you see with Trump is
that this is when – this might be the economic and ideological tipping
point of this party away from sort of – this is an anti-free trade and
anti-immigrant and anti…
MATTHEWS: Anti-war, really, too, ironically.
MURPHY: Into this – into someone they think is telling them the
straight talk and is giving them a sense of connection back to an America
they once knew, a strong America, an America that provided for its
families, an America where you could seek a better opportunity, and a
That message, which none of us, I think, no one sitting at this table,
no one in the media ever predicted to resonate, is resonating this cycle.
MATTHEWS: You can say I have not predicted it, but I think what is
going on here is a failure of the political establishment.
And this rabble-rouser comes out and says, I can solve all the
problems those guys can`t solve. They can`t solve illegal immigration.
They just keep talking about it. They can`t solve the loss of industry in
every major city in America. I`m going to do something about it. And, by
the way, we`re going to stop fighting stupid wars.
Anyway, Trump is also by far and away the most trusted out of all the
GOP candidates to handle the big issues. Look at this; 55 percent say they
trust Trump to handle the economy. That`s over a majority; 48 percent say
they trust him the most to handle immigration, because they`re anti-illegal
immigrant, of course.
And 46 percent say they trust him to handle ISIS, and 30 percent say
they trust him to handle foreign policy.
He is apparently top all of those, April.
RYAN: I can understand the economy. He`s a billionaire.
MATTHEWS: He`s rich.
RYAN: He`s rich.
And he`s got celebrity. That`s what he made his life around, the
money, and then the celebrity came. But that is a whole different area
than being in politics. This is a whole different game.
MATTHEWS: Yes, but it is something. A lot of these jokers who run
for office have never done anything. What has Jeb Bush done?
RYAN: But fighting ISIS is different.
MATTHEWS: Have you seen his book? It is all these phallic, high
skyscrapers he has built. And everybody says, God, he can put those
buildings up. At least he can do something.
SINGER: But Trump also comes across as being authentic in a sort of
politician sense the way other politicians don`t, right?
I mean, remember, the Republican accusation against Barack Obama is
that he uses a teleprompter. Donald Trump doesn`t use a teleprompter.
MATTHEWS: I like that. I like that stuff.
RYAN: Obama has policy with the teleprompter. Obama has policy with
a teleprompter. What does Donald Trump have? He is bullying people from
the microphone from his podium.
MURPHY: It`s more than that.
He is tapping into – people feel disrupted. They feel disconnected.
They feel like they don`t have anything to hang onto. He is giving them
what they need to feel like they are part of…
MURPHY: It doesn`t matter.
MATTHEWS: Why does Hillary has to answer for her hair all the time,
which, like most people, you never know what is going to – you have bad
Trump always has a bad day. And we have just accepted that strange
RYAN: I`m probably the least qualified to answer on hairstyle.
MATTHEWS: Paul, you answer it.
SINGER: But you would vote for your crazy grandfather, who is a bit
of a kook and has odd hair.
MATTHEWS: We will be right back with tell me something I don`t know,
which is always my favorite part of the show.
We`re back to that, because we have had crisis. We`re going to get
back to the basic. Tell me something I don`t know. It`s the reason we
watch this stuff. Let`s go.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the roundtable, April, Paul and Megan.
Let`s go, April, you`re first. Tell me something I don`t know?
APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORK: Next week, there is a big
minister ecumenical meeting with a presidential candidate and it is not
Donald Trump. It`s on the Democratic side. Bernie Sanders is going to
Baltimore to meet with a bunch of ministers in the midst of all that`s
happening in the Freddie Gray case. He`s going to meet with the ministers,
Reverend Jamal Bryant, the man who is very upset with Donald Trump meeting
with these black ministers last week. He`s holding this meeting, and not
only will they have this meeting. They`re going to take a walk in the
Sandtown-Winchester area where Freddie Gray lived and was murdered.
MATTHEWS: And that`s just Bernie Sanders, not everybody else.
RYAN: Just Bernie Sanders, yes.
PAUL SINGER, USA TODAY: Something you may not know that I`m thinking
MATTHEWS: Because he`s trying to get some minority support.
SINGER: I am betting $10 that we are not going to hit our December
11th deadline for funding the government. We`re going to need an
extension, possibly a couple of days.
SINGER: Shutdown threats will be everywhere by Thursday, but we`re
not going to shut down.
MATTHEWS: Because Ryan won`t do it?
SINGER: Because Ryan won`t do it.
MATTHEWS: Because Boehner gave him a great deal.
SINGER: But they`re going to have to they`re going to have three or
four things. They`re going to have to fight over, and the Democrats are
going to have to swallow something they don`t like.
MEGAN MURPHY, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Back to my favorite, Donald Trump is
releasing the medical records next week as he going to be combating the
accusations that he has not been transparent about the tax business and
next week comes –
MATTHEWS: Who`s been asking for his medical records? Nobody.
MURPHY: Some reporters are asking about it.
MATTHEWS: What are the suspicious he`s got?
MURPHY: Bad hair. Bad hair day.
MATTHEWS: It is always a sneaky thing, and there is always something
sneaky that we want to find out about these guys.
RYAN: And his coloring is orange. And he is orange with bad hair, so
you need to find out the medical stuff, right? Why are you looking at me
SINGER: Best health care that money can buy, right?
MATTHEWS: I`m just trying to figure out your motive by going after
Anyway, thank you for the round table tonight.
MATTHEWS: Yes, he is.
April Ryan, Paul Singer, and Megan Murphy.
When we come back, we are going to end this week with a real star, the
great Carole King who is coming here. She`s in town this weekend to
receive the prestigious Kennedy Center Award. And this is HARDBALL, the
place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let`s get back to southern California now. NBC`s Gabe
Gutierrez who is with us. He has been talking to the Muslim community out
there in Riverside – Gabe.
GABE GUTIERREZ, NBC NEWS: Hey, there, Chris. Good evening.
We are hearing that one of the two mosques where Farook was he
worshipped at this mosque. He was a devout Muslim who very much kept to
himself, and he even offered to help the members of the community with the
other problems that they had. For example, helping one person whose car
had broken down, and today, members of the Muslim community here in
afternoon prayers they got the together and they wanted to emphasize that
this, these actions in no way exemplify the Muslim faith.
We spoke with one person who knew Farook. Here`s what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just found out. I am in shock. I found out a
few minutes ago. I am hurt. I`m hurt, because this is, like I said, I
have been coming here for 25 years, and almost never the community knows
me, but they don`t have a personal relationship with me like he did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUTIERREZ: Again, many people in the community just expressing
disbelief and expressing how they had no idea that Mr. Farook could have
done this. They also expressed disbelief in any suggestion that perhaps
his wife may have played any role in the radicalization. They say that his
wife pretty much kept to herself and many people in the community did not
But again, members of the Muslim community wanted to stress that they
condemn this terrorist act, and some of them do fear a backlash both here
and throughout the country – Chris.
MATTHEWS: Well, if they fear, that I have a right to do it, but the
people watching this show, of course, will understand that you don`t
criminalize a group of people, because one person has committed a terrible
act or two people, and one who came to this country joining a person here,
and there`s, you know, almost 2 billion Muslims in this world. We better
not get into that.
Thanks so much, Gabe Gutierrez.
GUTIERREZ: Yes, that is exactly right. You bet.
MATTHEWS: Thanks so much for joining us with that point of view.
We`ll be right back.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MATTHEWS: What a show.
It`s been a tough day and a tough week for the country. I`m pleased
therefore to end our show this Friday night with a real star, Carole King.
Besides being one of the great songwriters of modern times she hasn`t
been shy about sharing her political views. She`s an avid supporter of
Hillary Clinton, an outspoken advocate for wilderness preservation, and
this weekend, Carole King will be among the five performers honored by the
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts at their 38th annual
celebration of the arts.
Carole, thank you so much. You`re now in league – I went through the
list that won the Kennedy Center Awards. Frank Sinatra, Mary Martin, Bruce
Springsteen, it`s quite a list to be on now.
CAROLE KING, MUSICIAN: It`s absolutely – I think Katharine Hepburn`s
on that list, too, which I did not know.
KING: It`s amazing. It really is amazing. Sometimes, you know, it`s
so big I can`t take it in.
MATTHEWS: Well, something else is going on in your world besides
being a great songwriter. Everything`s in my head now from going over your
songs. Even “Locomotion” with little Evie. You wrote that.
Let me ask you about Hillary Clinton.
KING: OK. I am an avid supporter.
MATTHEWS: What is it?
KING: She is the most capable. She`s really smart. She does her
homework. She relates to what people actually need.
And there`s been all this demonizing of her for a reason, because she
is so capable, they have to find some way to get after her. But I just
think she`s great. And the fact that she`s a woman is certainly a plus,
but it isn`t about that she`s a woman. It`s about that she is the most
MATTHEWS: What do you make? We`ve had suffrage in this country since
KING: And can`t get an ERA.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Women have had the technical right to vote almost a
century now, going on exactly a century. Do you think – I look at all the
states. Not all the states are equal in this department. States like
California and New York are very good for women. You`ve seen that. Even
New England`s very good. Massachusetts, and places like that, Pennsylvania
and Ohio not so great. The south not so great.
KING: Other than Idaho.
MATTHEWS: Not so great.
So it is an uneven situation in the Electoral College for Hillary to
do. I expect she will carry certain states and have a hard time in some
KING: Well, first of all, it depends on who`s running against her.
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s talk about Trump –
KING: And, by the way, she is not yet the nominee technically.
MATTHEWS: I know.
KING: So, we`re going to assume we have to get –
MATTHEWS: You can assume that. I think she will be.
But let me ask you about it. I think Bernie Sanders had his run, and
I think that run sort of wore out there. But let me ask you about her
against Trump because right now, Trump, most Republicans now believe he
will be the nominee. Extraordinary fact, but it`s true.
Her against him. How`s that look?
KING: I think she wins. But there is a key to that, and that is that
I`m one of the people who are absolutely horrified that a person that full
of hate, that spews that hate would be our leader. And I know there are a
lot of other people, I talk to them from both parties, independents who are
equally horrified. But the way we don`t have him be the president is if
all of us who are horrified get out and vote.
MATTHEWS: Yes, it could it be that people are so disgusted with the
establishment? I mean, there`s some reason why they`re going to this guy.
He`s never held office.
KING: Well, I would say look at who`s in charge now in terms of the
MATTHEWS: Nine percent approval of the U.S. Congress right now,
Carole, 9 percent. That`s almost as low as Jeb Bush`s. Almost as low as
Jeb Bush`s numbers.
KING: Well, that`s another story. But no, you know, here`s an
example. Yesterday I was on the hill, and there`s this Zadroga Act, which
is the 9/11 first responders bill to get them health care, which I think
Hillary worked on when she was a senator. Carolyn Maloney worked on it. I
was out there with these people. They won`t renew that, and Mitch
McConnell won`t bring it up for a vote.
Why is anybody from any party not bringing this up for a vote? It`s
ridiculous. These were our first responders.
MATTHEWS: Yes, they`re the ones – our heroes.
MATTHEWS: Everybody cheered them after 9/11.
KING: No wonder people don`t like Congress.
MATTHEWS: Carole King, thank you. By the way, good luck saving
wilderness country. I love places – I went out there a couple years ago
to Montana and Wyoming. It`s unbelievable. And Idaho.
KING: It`s –
MATTHEWS: Sun Valley, places like that. Ketchum.
MATTHEWS: The premier saloon. You wait three hours for a steak and
it`s worth it. It`s fantastic out there.
Carole King, it`s an honor. You`re going to be honored along with
people like Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Frank Sinatra. What a list
you`re going to be on. They`re all going to welcome you there this
Thank you, Carole King, for giving us something good to talk about in
We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with some joy for a happy weekend. I
say it to all who live in our country tonight but especially to those who
are deeply and personally committed to its ideals. When you think about,
it there is one truly different fact about we Americans, it`s that you can
become one of us. All you have to do is love this country and commit
yourself to it, make America your country with all your heart.
Well, part of that commitment is accepting the commitment of others
who`ve done the same. I say this for the obvious reason, don`t you think?
It`s out of the fear that the very worst will come out of this horror in
San Bernardino, that a lot of us Americans will start to reject the basic
Again, it`s that you can become one of us. So, not being much
different than anyone else watching right now, listening to me, I know the
emotions that come up with this kind of thing happens. I`m as
nationalistic as anyone. You know that.
But I also know on my better moments that being an American
nationalist means rooting for our compatriots who came here from different
places. Because unless we stick to what that is and what our country`s
based on, we`re going to see a lot of coming apart that`s truly scary – a
blowing up of what holds this country together and makes it exceptional.
And that would be an explosion far worse than any pipe bomb could cause.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>