Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 12/28/2015

Guests:
Paul Singer, Francesca Chambers, Clarence Page, Susan Milligan, Dave Weigel, Rebecca Berg
Transcript:

Show: HARDBALL
Date: December 28, 2015
Guest: Paul Singer, Francesca Chambers, Clarence Page, Susan Milligan,
Dave Weigel, Rebecca Berg

JOY REID, GUEST HOST: Trump throws shade at big bill.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening, everyone. I`m Joy Reid, in for Chris Matthews.

And we`re awaiting a campaign rally in Nashua, New Hampshire from the
man who continues to top the Republican presidential polls. Yes, you
guessed it, Donald J. Trump. We`ll bring that to you live when it happens.

Meanwhile, let`s start tonight with what seems to be the front-
runner`s attempts to vault right past the primaries and look to a general
election matchup with Hillary Clinton. Case in point, Trump`s escalating
attacks on the man who, legend has it, encouraged him to run for president
in the first place, Bill Clinton.

According to Trump, the former president and his scandals are fair
game for attacks today. Trump tweeted today, “If Hillary thinks that she
can unleash her husband with his terrible record of women abuse while
playing the woman card on me, she`s wrong.”

On Saturday, he tweeted, “Hillary Clinton has announced that she`s
letting her husband out to campaign, but he`s demonstrated a penchant for
sexism. So inappropriate.”

That followed Hillary Clinton`s own charge – the Clinton campaign`s
own charge of sexism against the Republican front-runner last week. Trump
used a vulgarity last week to describe Clinton`s loss to Barack Obama in
2008, and here`s how Secretary Clinton responded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FMR. SEC. OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I
really deplore the tone of his campaign and the inflammatory rhetoric.
This is not the first time he`s demonstrated a, you know, penchant for
sexism, and so I`m not sure, again, anybody is surprised that he keeps
pushing the envelope.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Now, yesterday, Trump made it clear that he was ready and
willing to go after the former president as a way of attacking Secretary
Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think he is fair game
because his presidency was really considered to be very troubled, to put it
mildly, because of all the things that she`s talking to me about. I mean,
she`s mentioning sexism.

I turned her exact words against her from that standpoint. And she`s
got to be careful. You know, it`s got to be fair. Now, we all have to
fight fairly and we have to fight, you know, for the good of the country,
for the good of the people, for the good of everybody. But we have to
fight fairly. And she`s playing the woman`s card. And it`s, like, give me
a break.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: All righty. And late today, the Clinton campaign responded,
quote, “Though Donald Trump pushed around nearly all of his fellow
Republicans, Hillary Clinton won`t be bullied or distracted by attacks that
he throws at her and former president Clinton.”

They also announced Bill Clinton will make his first campaign trip for
his wife. He`ll visit New Hampshire next week.

Eugene Robinson is a columnist with “The Washington Post” and MSNBC
political analyst. Francesca Chambers is White House correspondent for
“The Daily Mail.” And Paul Singer is Washington correspondent for “USA
Today.”

OK, Francesca, I`m going to come to you. I`m going to play the woman
card just a little bit.

(LAUGHTER)

REID: The idea and the irony of Donald Trump accusing Bill Clinton of
being sexist and having a penchant for sexism – respond. Your thoughts?

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, “THE DAILY MAIL”: Well, I think he`s trying to
take the issue off the table. I think we all remember so well in that
first Republican debate, when Megyn Kelly came in with some of the names
that he`s called women in the past, and he didn`t like that very much.

And so what I think that Trump was trying to do here was say, Look,
you know, if you want to call me a sexist, I`m going to bring up some of
the things that your husband`s done. And I don`t think Hillary Clinton
necessarily wants him to do that, wants to have that conversation during
the presidential race all over again. So she could possibly back off on
this issue.

REID: But you know, Eugene, my question is whether or not it`s
realistic to expect this campaign to be litigated on the basis of the
1990s. For a lot of younger voters, they probably don`t even know what
Donald Trump is talking about. Is that smart politics to use the sort of
throwback strategy against somebody who isn`t even running for president?

EUGENE ROBINSON, “WASHINGTON POST,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well,
you`re right, it – a lot of younger voters won`t respond. Trump`s base
probably will respond. These are people who generally probably don`t like
Bill Clinton very much. And so they`ll be, you know, egging him on, I
imagine.

You know, if you`re Hillary Clinton, seems to me you have to think
that you bring Bill Clinton along and so you bring Bill Clinton`s past
along, and indeed, the whole Bill and Hillary Clinton past along. And
that`s been litigated and relitigated. I can`t imagine that she`s
unprepared to litigate it again.

REID: Yes, indeed. And you know, Trump is not – of course, the
first Republican to try this gambit, to try to rile up the Republican base
by attacking Bill Clinton.

Earlier this year, some of you may recall Senator Rand Paul repeatedly
took swipes at the former president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He took advantage of a
girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office. There is no excuse
for that. And that is predatory behavior.

– a predator, a sexual predator, basically, repetitive. You know,
there`s dozens or at least a half a dozen public women who`ve come forward.
Some of them did sue (ph) in the job (ph) place.

I really think that anybody who wants to take money from Bill Clinton
or have a fund-raiser has a lot of explaining to do. In fact, I think they
should give the money back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: And Republican leader Reince Priebus got in on the act, and he
also attacked Bill Clinton, tweeting, “Remember all the Clinton scandals?
That`s not what America needs again.”

So Paul, I`m wondering if Republicans are so wedded to the `90s
version of the anti-Clinton playbook that they really kind of can`t get off
this page.

PAUL SINGER, “USA TODAY”: Well, there`s no reason for them to get off
this page. I mean, I think this is the double-edged sword that is the
Clinton name. And this is something that Hillary Clinton knew she was
carrying into the election, is that you have the successes, as the
Democrats would phrase it, of the Clinton administration. You would have
her successes, as the Democrats would phrase it, of being part of the Obama
administration. But you carry years of baggage.

If it is a Trump-Clinton campaign in a general election, or in fact,
anybody against Hillary Clinton in the general election, we`ll be hearing
again about the Rose Lawfirm billing records, about what happened to
Whitewater, about does Bill Clinton have illegitimate children hiding in
Alabama someplace? This is going to be part of the conversation because
it`s part of how you take down a Clinton in any election. It`s got to be
on the table.

REID: The question I have to ask, though – and I`ll come to you,
Francesca, on this – is that for women voters, the idea that you attack a
woman who has her own credentials that she`s running for president on, and
that your attacks are based on her husband, I`m wondering if you`re hearing
any campaign operatives that it might not be such a good idea to not focus
on the woman who`s running, but go after her man?

CHAMBERS: Well, another issue here that`s dangerous for Donald Trump
is that he`s also on his third wife. He`s twice divorced. You know, this
is sort of a topic that I don`t think that he would want anyone to be
looking into his past and his past marriages and bring up his personal
life.

In fact, when it`s come up on the campaign trail so far, he hasn`t
taken every kindly to that and has really hit out at some of the reporters
who have done that. So again, it comes back to the fact that, is this what
Donald Trump wants to make this election about?

REID: Yes. OK, well, Donald Trump is, of course, not the first to do
this, but Republicans are not all on board, necessarily, with the idea of
getting Hillary by going after her husband. On Fox News today, Carly
Fiorina was asked if Bill Clinton was fair game. This is what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Of course Bill Clinton`s
fair game. He`s a former president. But you`re not going to beat Hillary
Clinton by attacking Bill Clinton. You`re going to beat Hillary Clinton –
I`m going to beat Hillary Clinton by attacking her track record and her
lack of trustworthiness. Of course, she`s going to play the woman card.
That`s what she does.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: And Mike Huckabee also seemed conflicted about the new Trump
attacks. He said Clinton was fair game, but he also said attacking the
former president could backfire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE (R-AR), FMR. GOV., PRES. CANDIDATE: Nothing`s backfired
on Donald Trump yet. I`d put my money on him. And I think the Clintons
have vulnerability here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) the mainstream media tells us that
Bill Clinton`s an asset. Is he really a liability for Hillary Clinton?

HUCKABEE: He`s probably not because he`s still immensely popular with
Democrats, and that`s what this process is right now. He`s still popular
with a lot of Americans. Frankly, after seven years of Obama, a lot of
Republicans would take Bill Clinton back, warts and all, just because at
least he understood how to govern.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: And Eugene, I`ll come to you on that very point because if, in
fact, you want to make this election about Bill Clinton, Republicans would
then have to also remind the public of the parts of the Clinton
administration that they frankly like, namely, the economy, no?

ROBINSON: Yes, they would. And people would bring that up if the
economy did very well under Bill Clinton. And look, you know, Bill Clinton
has an eight-year record as president. There are highs and there are
certainly lows.

If you want to go back through all of that, I think it`s at best a
wash for Republicans. And potentially, it does turn off, I think –
certainly turns off Democrats with whom Bill Clinton is – remains popular.
And I think it turns off a lot of independents, as well.

So I – you know, I don`t know if anybody really wants to go down that
road. But we`ll see. Donald Trump is expert at going down roads that
nobody thinks he`s going down, right? So who knows? He might let loose
with both barrels.

REID: And indeed, Paul, I`m wondering if it makes sense as a
strategic matter for the party to essentially decide it`s going to go down
the road of being the party that hectors a past president about sex.
Didn`t Republicans try that playbook in the `90s and lose spectacularly
doing that?

SINGER: Well, be careful not to conflate what Donald Trump`s strategy
du jour is with what the Republican Party wants its strategy to be. In
fact, be careful not to conflate what Donald Trump is saying today with
what Donald Trump`s strategy is. I`m never entirely sure that he`s got
strategy.

I will say that one of his top advisers is a guy, Roger Stone, who`s
written an entire book about, you know, Clinton sex scandals of the past.
So it`s it`s not unfamiliar territory for Trump.

But again, you know, Bill Clinton will be part of the conversation if
Hillary Clinton is the candidate. She`s already said he will be an
adviser. He`ll have a role in the White House. So it`s fair to say, Well,
what are you going to call on Bill Clinton to do, and do we trust Bill
Clinton, based on his record? I mean, that`s just going to be part of the
campaign.

Pretty sure of the rest of the party is not all that interested in
sort of again relitigating the Monica Lewinsky story. Lord knows I`m not
interested getting back into that again. I`ve been down that road once
before.

(LAUGHTER)

REID: Yes.

SINGER: But we`re going to hear about it. I mean, it`s going to –
it`s going to come up, no matter what, if Hillary Clinton is in this race.

REID: All right. Well, Donald Trump was greeted this morning with a
scathing editorial in “The New Hampshire Union Leader” newspaper.
Publisher Joseph McQuaid wrote, “Trump has shown himself to be a crude
blowhard with no clear political philosophy and no deeper understanding of
the important and serious role of president of the United States than one
of the goons he lets rough up protesters in his crowds. He reminds us of
the grown-up bully Biff in the `Back to the Future` movie series.”

And in an interview with WMUR today, Trump called McQuaid a real low-
life and he pointed out that McQuaid is backing Chris Christie.

Eugene, Donald Trump started off his remarks saying that, you know, we
really ought to be talking about things that are for the good for the
country.

ROBINSON: Yes.

REID: Is the proper deportment for a president calling people a low-
life? And didn`t he essentially kind of prove McQuaid`s point?

ROBINSON: Well, of course, that`s not proper decorum. And of course,
he did kind of prove the point. But that seems to be kind of beside the
point with Donald Trump, at least at this point of the campaign. When he
goes off the rails like that, it seems to embolden and encourage his
supporters rather than turn them off. So I think he knows that.

You know, to go back to something that Paul Singer said which I think
is absolutely right, Donald Trump may not have strategy, but he has
instincts. And he tries things out and he sees how they play and he reads
the room. And he – and he comes to a decision about whether he wants to
pursue this sort of line of attack.

That`s what he did with Jeb Bush and “low energy.” You know, that got
a response out of the crowds. It got a response out of Jeb Bush. And so
he kept pushing it and pushing it and pushing it. And I suspect that,
depending on the response he gets on going after Bill Clinton, he`ll decide
whether or not to pursue it.

REID: Yes. Indeed.

And Donald Trump stepped up to the microphone. He`s at the podium.
When he starts making his remark – I think we`re going to go to him right
now and see what he has to say. Let`s take a listen.

TRUMP: You know, I miss – thank you. We have to get out and vote.
Remember that folks. No matter what`s going on in your life, if you`re
feeling miserable, if you`re depressed, if you`re down, if you`re –
whatever the hell, you lost your job, like everybody else is losing their
job, you have to get out and you have to vote because, you know, I was
watching today television. They say, Well, if Trump – we get by far the
biggest crowds. Like, it`s not even a contest. And they said, Well, if
those people actually go out and vote – but you know, the dishonest press
back there, they say, But I don`t think they will.

I think they will. But they said – they said no. They said, If they
actually go out and vote, the people that show up, like, in Iowa, where we
had massive – the same thing – Virginia, Dallas, Oklahoma, South
Carolina, North Carolina – we have these massive rallies. And it`s
incredible. And they said, Well, if they vote, Trump wins. They actually
said that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ba-ba-booey! (ph)

TRUMP: Ba-ba-boey.

(CHEERS)

TRUMP: And we have to get out. We have to get out. We have to vote.
OK.

So you know, we`ve had some amazing news. I`ve missed this. You
know, for, like, a week-and-a-half, we`ve sort of been in limbo, right?
All I could do is tweet. It was driving me crazy because there were no,
like, events or anything planned. But we all had a good Christmas, right?

(CHEERS)

TRUMP: Good. Merry Christmas. We say merry Christmas. Other people
won`t say merry Christmas. They`ll say, Oh, happy holiday. Happy holiday.
Merry Christmas, folks.

(CHEERS)

TRUMP: Merry Christmas. The polls have been fantastic. You`ve seen
the polls that just came out, and today one came out, Rasmussen, where I`m
tied with Hillary. But don`t worry. That`s going to end.

(CHEERS)

TRUMP: We`re going to be – we`re going to be far ahead. And Fox
came out a couple of weeks ago and we were leading. And another one came
out, we were leading. We`re doing very well.

We haven`t started on her! You know, she says, Oh, we`d love to run
against Trump. It`s her worst nightmare.

(CHEERS)

TRUMP: These people – these people back here, they said, Well, the
Hillary campaign said they`d love to run. Yes. She wants to run against
me instead of somebody else.

I guarantee you – you know, and I explained – I tried to explain to
Chuck Todd and all these guys. You don`t understand, Chuck. When they say
they want to run against Trump, that means they don`t want to run against
Trump. They don`t understand.

You know they report – yes. But then tonight, somebody reported that
they are absolutely going crazy and they are devastated over what Trump is
saying!

Now we`re getting back to the basics, OK? Look at what`s happened
with the Republicans. Every single person that`s gone after me is gone.
They`re gone. They`re gone!

(CHEERS)

TRUMP: When I say gone, they`ve either left the race or they`re down
in the very, very low portion. They`re low! (INAUDIBLE) you just said one
(ph). But they`re low.

With all the millions that we`re spending and – I mean, they`re
spending, I guess – so you saw the one where I`ve spent essentially
nothing and Bush has spent $59 million. He`s down toward the bottom with 3
percent or 2 percent of something. And we have – we actually had a poll
come out 42 percent. We had 39 percent. Look at these polls. It`s crazy.
We have – we have numbers.

We have to go through them, right, go through them for a second. We
have to.

(CHEERS)

TRUMP: You know, they always say, Why do you go through the polls?
Because I`m winning! Honestly, if I wasn`t – I have to be honest, if I
wasn`t, I wouldn`t be talking about them, I`m telling you. And the other
candidates – He always talks about the polls, we don`t. Well, they
shouldn`t because they`re not winning!

So we have a lot of good ones – CNN, 36 percent. Think of it. Cruz
is 16, Carson`s 14, Rubio`s 12, Christie`s 4, Bush is 3 percent. After –
how about this, you spend $59 million and you`re 3!

But you know what`s impressive is the economy – Trump is 55 percent.

(CHEERS)

TRUMP: On the budget, Trump is 51 percent. How about this? And
remember, that`s out of 15 people. You know, it was 17, now it`s 15, now
it`s dropped, 14 – it`s going down! It`s going to go down quickly.

By the way, one thing I have to tell you. New Hampshire will always
maintain its place if I win, OK? Just so you understand. You know there`s
a big movement…

(BOOS)

TRUMP: There`s a big movement to put you at the back of the pack or
the middle of the pack so it would no longer be the same thing. You`ll
never see me again, but you will see me because I have so many friends.
You`ll never see a lot of people again.

But there`s a big movement to put New Hampshire way back. I don`t
know why. I don`t know, is it retribution? Is it they don`t want it?
They don`t like it? Because you have a lot of power. I mean, you have a
lot of power and…

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: Buy (ph) it.

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: We could – yes, they have problems. I mean, they have a
heroin problem that`s really incredible. I mean, I hear so much about that
from the people up here. And you know, we`re going to wall. We`re going
to have a real border.

(CHEERS)

TRUMP: That whole heroin thing – I`ll tell you what. We got to get
it under control. But I hear more about it from here than I do anyone
else. You don`t think of it in terms of New Hampshire, but whenever I`m up
here, I hear more about it here. And we`ve got to solve the problem and we
got to help the people that are hooked because they get hooked and it`s not
easy.

But on the budget, I`m 51 percent. That`s 51 percent with 14, and
actually, when they did this, 15 people. See, 51 percent. I`d be happy if
I had 51 percent with two people, right? OK? On illegal immigration –
listen to this – 48 percent because they know I`m not going to play games.

I saw one of the people that I`m running against the other day. They
came up and they said, We`re going to build a wall. First time he said
that! My wife was listening. She said, Darling, he`s copying you. He
said the exact same words. He said, It`s going to be a big wall. It`s
going to be a great wall. And he said the same words! Listen to it. I
listened to it. I said, What are we doing here? The guy is copying.

You know, if you remember, when I started, when I started this whole
dialogue and we announced on June 16th at Trump Tower, and I said illegal
immigration and we`re going to stop it. Everybody said, Oh – and I went
through and the papers and I was getting absolutely – Rush Limbaugh,
who`s, like, a great guy, said he`s never seen anybody receive so much
incoming. I was getting – these guys were killing me!

And then within two, three weeks, all of a sudden, it started, like –
and people were saying, You know, I think he`s right. And then you had
Kate, beautiful Kate from San Francisco and had Jamil (ph) from Los
Angeles, you had a woman, a female, a veteran, a wonderful woman, 66-year-
old veteran who was raped, who was sodomized, who was killed by an illegal
immigrant who was here, who was not supposed to be here, came in a number
of times. Like, the Kate – the Kate horrible person came in five
different times, at least, that they know of. And all of a sudden – and
these are just – these are three instances…

REID: All right, that was Donald Trump speaking at a campaign rally
in Nashua, New Hampshire.

I`ll come to you first on this, Paul. So Donald Trump doesn`t really
make news in these rallies. It`s just about the people who like him being
able to be in his presence. And I wonder if, when you`re doing reporting
on this, whether or not establishment Republicans are concerned that this
sort of minimalist approach is working and that nothing they`re trying to
do to promote their alternative front-runner ideas is working.

PAUL SINGER, “USA TODAY”: You know, we posted a story today at “USA
Today” that we were counting up some Facebook data.

And in the week running up to Christmas, Donald Trump got 50 million
interactions on Facebook, which basically doubled the amount of all the
other candidates combined. That`s like likes, and shares, and posts, and
comments; 50 million people in a week were talking about him.

And there is no way you could get any other message out over that kind
of noise. So, for any Republicans concerned about – particularly if
you`re looking at the establishment Republicans of Washington wanting to
hold onto the Senate, where there`s a bunch of more centrist races they are
facing in places like New Hampshire and Colorado and Nevada, they are very
concerned that a Donald Trump message that is this bellicose could really
be detrimental to their efforts in those states.

Now, the other question is, if there is a different candidate other
than Donald Trump in the race, does that person get tarred with some of
what Donald Trump has said?

REID: Right.

And, Francesca, this bellicose, but also this content-free. He is not
having to do or say anything to keep his supporters loyal. Trump said in
that little path that we played there that the Democrats only pretending to
want to run against him. In your reporting, they`re not pretending, right?
They really actually wouldn`t mind running against this guy.

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, “THE DAILY MAIL”: Well, I don`t think that
Hillary Clinton would necessarily mind running against him vs. a Marco
Rubio, who is young, dynamic, Hispanic.

I think she would much rather run against someone like Donald Trump
instead. And also listening to what Donald Trump was talking about
tonight, one of the other things that he is very good at doing
instinctively, as we were noting before, is that he hits the media a lot.

Tonight, again, he called them the dishonest media. This also goes
back to what he did in New Hampshire today. Conservatives love hitting the
mainstream media, the – quote, unquote – “liberal media.” And Trump has
really picked up on that and aggressively in his rallies hits the media
over and over again.

If you have actually ever been to one of them or listened to it
through, he spends a lot of his time actually hitting the media in those
rallies. And it`s working for him.

REID: Yes. We`re going to – I`m a big skeptic of what you just said
about Marco Rubio. We`re going to unpack that a little bit more,
Francesca, later in the show.

But I want to give you the last word on this, Eugene.

A lot of what you`re hearing, what Francesca mentioned about attacking
the media, the sort of way that he goes after the crowd, does it remind you
of Sarah Palin as much as it does me?

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. It`s kind of Sarah
Palin, but he is frankly better at it.

Trump is – look, he is, sort of in a weird way, an astounding
political talent, if you look at where he came from, right, never having
run for anything, never having been elected to anything, and look where he
is now. And he has a way of sort of staging and conducting these rallies
that has mesmerized a lot of people.

And so you can never say never with the guy at this point. I do
believe that Hillary Clinton would absolutely love to run against Donald
Trump, because she`s got to calculate that there are a lot of Republicans
out there who just won`t be able to pull the lever for him, who just won`t
be able to vote for Donald Trump and will just stay home.

And I think that is probably a good calculation. But we will just
have to see if people vote for him when the caucuses begin and the
primaries begin, and just a few weeks away.

REID: Yes, indeed, indeed. Eugene Robinson, Francesca Chambers, and
Paul Singer, thank you all.

And coming up, a decision in Cleveland from the grand jury which was
deciding whether to press charges against the two police officers who shot
and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

Plus, Mayor Rahm Emanuel changes policies on police shootings in
Chicago, this after two people were left dead in a police-involved
incident over the weekend.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

We have got two big headlines tonight involving police shootings.

In Cleveland, a grand jury has chosen not to indict any police
officers in the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot by police
while carrying a pellet gun in November of 2014. Prosecutor Tim McGinty
told reporters today that he and his team recommended no charges.

Rice`s family has been critical throughout of the prosecutor`s
handling of the case.

And, tonight, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has cut his vacation short
after more calls for his resignation following another police-involved
shooting over the weekend.

On Saturday morning, Chicago police fatally shot 19-year-old Quintonio
LeGrier after responding to a 911 call regarding a domestic dispute. A
statement by the police department says officers opened fire after being
confronted by a – quote – “combative subject.”

NBC`s Chicago affiliate is reporting that LeGrier`s mother says her
son developed a mental illness this fall, but that he was not violent. IN
a brief statement about the incident, police said that 55-year-old Bettie
Jones, LeGrier`s neighbor, was accidentally struck and tragically killed
during the incident.

The medical examiner has ruled both deaths as homicides. The city`s
Independent Police Review Authority is investigating the shootings. In the
aftermath, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has ordered a series of police reforms.
Officers involved in shootings will now be placed on administrative duty
for 30 days.

In addition, he has directed authorities to conduct a review of the
de-escalation policies, including how officers respond to mental health
crises, saying – quote – “The changes we have made are just a beginning,
not an end.”

We are joined by NBC`s Sarah Dallof in Chicago.

All right, Sarah, so the mayor has said changes will now be made,
putting officers on administrative leave. I`m wondering if the mayor
explained why that policy wasn`t in place before, and what other changes is
he proposing?

SARAH DALLOF, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, you mentioned the changes
to put people on administrative leave for 30 days.

He doesn`t touch on why that wasn`t done before. He focuses instead
on the future, saying that this will allow them to assess the officer`s
training and if they are fit to go back to duty during that 30-day period.

Another critical change that he is looking at is an overview of the
crisis intervention and de-escalation policies of the department. Those
are basically guidance to officers on how to work with or deal with someone
who is suffering from an emotional disturbance or any mental illness.

It`s interesting to note, Joy, that currently those policies that are
in place, they don`t require any mandatory training. The training itself
is in fact voluntary. And less than 20 percent of police officers here in
Chicago have undergone that training.

Now, when the mayor said he was cutting his vacation short to come
back here, he said that is to address and to continue to work on building
trust between the community, law enforcement and officials. He is expected
back here tomorrow. I asked his spokesman, will there be any press
statement? Will he be visiting the family?

That spokesman said that: We will lay out what he plans to do in the
next steps when he arrives back here in Chicago.

REID: All right, thank you to NBC`s Sarah Dallof in Chicago.
Appreciate it.

Now, this latest incident comes after the release of police dash-cam
video showing a Chicago police officer shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times in
2014. The fallout resulted in first-degree murder charges against the
officer and it also prompted the resignation of the city`s police
superintendent, as well as the chief of detectives and the head of the
Police Review Authority.

The fallout from that incident evoked an emotional reaction from Mayor
Emanuel. Here he is addressing a special session of the city council
earlier this month.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAHM EMANUEL (D), MAYOR OF CHICAGO: One young man asked me a simple
question that gets to the core of what we`re talking about. He said, do
you think the police would ever treat you the way they treat me?

And the answer is no. And that is wrong. And that has to change in
this city. That has to come to an end and end now. No citizen is a
second-class citizen in the city of Chicago.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Clarence Page is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist with “The
Chicago Tribune,” and Ron Reagan is an MSNBC contributor.

Clarence, I want to come to you first for your knowledge of Chicago.

That was a lot of emotion that you saw out of Rahm Emanuel about a
month ago. But one wonders whether actual procedures were changed between
the Laquan McDonald, the huge blow-up over that incident, and two people
being shot, one of them purportedly by accident?

CLARENCE PAGE, COLUMNIST, “THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE”: Right.

One thing you see there is in that video clip is Mayor Emanuel trying
to change the conversation, trying to change his previous stance, which had
been one of passive almost indifference, as far as most people were
concerned, when the Laquan McDonald case first broke, before the video came
out. This was over a year ago. The mayor says he never saw the video,
even though he knew about it.

And, of course, the head of the state`s attorney`s office didn`t act
on it. You didn`t much action at all until the video came out. And then,
suddenly, we had a national controversy. And now Mayor Emanuel is trying
to turn things around to show that he really does care, he really is trying
to do something to change the department and change the culture, because
there is an old-time Chicago police culture and political culture I
shouldn`t have to go into detail on, frankly, that any mayor has to contend
with.

And Mayor Emanuel didn`t think it was that important until the Laquan
McDonald controversy blew up and there`s talk about him quitting or being
impeached if they can get a bill through the state legislature. And so,
obviously, there is a great concern now, and including from Mayor Emanuel`s
office, about changing that atmosphere.

REID: And, Clarence, knowing what you know of Rahm Emanuel, how
likely would it be that either he or, quite frankly, Anita Alvarez, who is
facing the same call that she ought to step down, how likely it would be
that either of them would fold and leave office?

PAGE: Well, you will see Donald Trump step down before Emanuel will.

He was reelected last spring, and while people had not seen that
Laquan McDonald video yet. And people find that to be suspicious. No one
is charging him directly with a cover-up. There is no knowledge of
anything like that. But the coincidence is just too great that the mayor`s
office and the state`s attorney`s office seemed to be sitting on the case,
rather than moving ahead with it.

Now, state`s attorney Alvarez, that is a different story. She is
facing a primary in March. And she`s got some stiff opposition. And she
is in political trouble right now, mainly because of this issue.

REID: Yes.

And, indeed, Ron, I want to broaden this out, because, today, you did
have the Cleveland prosecutor, Tim McGinty, also say that there would be no
charges, that his office recommended the grand jury not indict in the Tamir
Rice case. So, this is not just a Chicago problem, obviously.

RON REAGAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: No.

REID: Do you see the portent of political problems for prosecutors
like McGinty, like Alvarez, who are Democrats in these big cities, based on
these cases?

REAGAN: Well, the problem with the prosecutors that you see, whether
they`re Democrats or Republicans, is that prosecutors don`t prosecute when
– most of the time, it seems, when police are the target of their
prosecution.

McGinty`s remarks after the grand jury came back refusing to indict
the officer in Cleveland were in defense of the officer. And, in fact, he
put expert witnesses on the stand who in fact defended the officer. That`s
not what he, as a prosecutor, is supposed to be doing there. He is
supposed to make the case for prosecution, and let somebody defend the
officer, as I understand it.

REID: I mean, and, Ron, you know…

REAGAN: But this is – you are right. This is a much bigger problem
than Chicago.

We have got a problem in this country with police violence and police
gun violence. We have a problem in the country with violence and gun
violence in general, so perhaps that is not surprising. But too often now,
we have seen videos where, at the very best, you can say that the police
officers in question, as in the Tamir Rice case, exhibited flawed tactics
and too, too quick a resort to violence there, indicating a lack of
training on their part.

And then there is the accountability issue, which we have already
touched on with the prosecutors who don`t prosecute cops.

REID: Yes, indeed.

And, very quickly, Ron, what would a process look like to change that,
because if – if – I mean, dash cams won`t change that, right?

REAGAN: No, it`s got to start – a main element does have to be
retraining of police officers.

They don`t de-escalate. Look at what happens in England. Recently,
just a week or two ago, there was a man in a tube station in England
attacking people with a knife, and eventually lunged at police officers who
responded with a knife. Did they shoot him? No, they didn`t. They
eventually subdued him, de-escalated the situation, and subdued him without
anybody being harmed, except I think one person was cut in a minor way by -
- in the initial attack.

Here, that man would have been shot and killed instantly by police
officers…

REID: Yes.

REAGAN: … as soon as he made a move for them.

Why can`t we teach officers here to de-escalate situations, and not
resort to often fatal violence over trivial offenses?

REID: Yes, and particularly since, as is the case in Chicago, the
training on de-escalation at the moment appears to be optional.

REAGAN: Exactly.

REID: Clarence Page – Clarence Page and Ron Reagan, thank you both
so much for being here.

PAGE: Thank you, Joy.

REID: Yes.

And we are back with much more HARDBALL right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ERICA HILL, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hello. I`m Erica Hill. Here`s what
is happening.

At least 43 deaths in seven states are being blamed on a massive storm
moving through the middle of the country, that storm also causing
widespread flight delays and cancellations during this busy travel week.
At least 1,400 flights have already been canceled.

And the rain that caused flash flooding in the south is expected to
turn to snow, sleet and freezing rain as it moves into the Northeast.
Officials say power outages are likely in some areas.

HARDBALL is back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Congressman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina is expected to offer his full
support to Marco Rubio at a campaign event in Iowa tomorrow. Best known
for his role as chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Gowdy
revealed some of what we can expect to hear tomorrow in a statement over
the weekend.

“Marco is a rock solid conservative and a strong leader we can trust.
I look forward to campaigning in Iowa with him, and introducing my good
friend to voters across the state.”

Now, while it`s sure to be a big moment for Rubio, the expected
endorsement comes as establishment candidates are struggling to gain
traction against Donald Trump and other Washington outsiders. According to
the latest CNN/Opinion Research Poll the combined support for outsider
candidates Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson represent 67 percent of
the Republican electorate right now, 67 percent. While establishment
candidates Marco Rubio, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush garner a combined total
of 18 percent.

Donald Trump was quick to go after Gowdy today, slamming him for his
handling of Hillary Clinton during her 11-hour testimony before the
Benghazi Committee in October.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He hopes he does a better
job than he did at the Benghazi hearings, because they were a total
disaster. He didn`t win with those hearings. It was a total, not good for
Republicans and for the country. I mean, beyond Republicans, it was very
bad for the country. So, I hope he does a lot better for Marco than he did
for the Benghazi hearings.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: I`m joined now by the HARDBALL round table. Susan Milligan is
a political writer with “US. News and World Report”, Dave Weigel is a
national political reporter with “The Washington Post”, Rebecca Berg is a
national political reporter with “Real Clear Politics”.

Rebecca, I`m going to come to you first. In any political universe,
is it a good thing for Marco Rubio to have the backing of an
establishmentarian like Mr. Gowdy?

REBECCA BERG, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Maybe in an alternate political
universe, not in the one we are currently living in because – here`s the
thing: in this election cycle, Republican voters have been drawn to Donald
Trump because he is not a Republican elected official, because he
represents the exact opposite of what we consider the Republican
establishment.

And, Trey Gowdy, though well respected among conservatives and was one
of the first elected officials to come of the Tea Party wave, the fact is
he is an elected official. So, it doesn`t do Marco Rubio a lot of good in
terms of getting votes from some of these Trump supporters to have Trey
Gowdy backing him. What it does do and what it might do is help Marco
Rubio establish himself as the natural moderate or moderate to conservative
alternative to Donald Trump. It`s a really crowded lane right now and he
might need that report.

REID: Yes, and again, 18 percent – all the national moderate
Republicans 18 percent.

Now, even if an establishment like Marco Rubio manages to win in New
Hampshire, the primary calendar appears to favor a conservative like Trump
or Ted Cruz. Among the 12 Super Tuesday states that hold their contest on
March 1st, there are more deep red in southern states than past election
cycles. They include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, and
Ted Cruz`s home state of Texas.

And, Dave, I`ll come to you on this – there are a lot of
establishment people who love Marco Rubio, who want to put forward theories
of how Marco Rubio could become the nominee. Explain given that map and
that math, where does Marco Rubio win, even if he wins New Hampshire?
Where else could he possibly win?

DAVE WEIGEL, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I`m not trying to dodge the
question, but I think all Republicans would tell you that they don`t really
know what his path is until after Iowa, after New Hampshire. There is an
expectation if he gets the ticket out of Iowa, he moves up to New
Hampshire. If he`s second or wins New Hampshire, then maybe one of the
other alternatives drops. But a lot of his fate depends on how long Jeb
Bush wants to stick in this, whether Chris Christie outperforms in New
Hampshire.

Factors like that, everything I mention is a momentum factor. And the
Trey Gowdy endorsement is another one of those, frankly. This is somebody
who famously and rather proudly does not get that involved in grassroots
machine-building politics, but is behind Rubio because his nomination makes
the most sense from his perspective rebranding the Republican Party.

That sort of the argument Rubio has throughout. He needs other people
to punch each other out in order for him to fill that role. He is not
filling it himself or building the kind of campaign that wins in Alabama
himself.

REID: Dave, I love the mustache, but you kind of did dodge the
question but you still didn`t name a state that he can win.

When we come back, I`m going to go to Susan first. And the roundtable
is going to stay with us.

And up next, if Trump voters can be won over by another candidate, is
that candidate maybe Bernie Sanders? The socialist from Vermont thinks he
can lure Trump`s populist supporters who are fed up with the status quo.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID: Gallup released its poll today naming the most admired men and
women. Not surprisingly among the men, President Obama came in first. But
look who is tied for second place, Pope Francis and Donald Trump.

On the other side, for the 20th year in a row, 20, Hillary Clinton was
named the most admired woman.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID: And we are back with the roundtable.

Now, this weekend, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders
made an appeal to Donald Trump supporters in an attempt to persuade white
working class voters to back him over the Republican front-runner. Sanders
is saying that his message, much like Trump`s, addresses middle class
anxiety over jobs and the economy.

Here`s Sanders yesterday on “Face the Nation.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Many of Trump`s
supporters are working class people and they are angry. And they are angry
because they are working longer hours for lower wages, they`re angry
because their jobs have left this country and gone to China or other low
wage countries. They`re angry because they can`t afford to send their kids
to college and they can`t retire with dignity.

So, I think four years, working class and middle class support, I
think we can make the case that if we really want to address the issues
that people are concerned about, why the middle class is disappearing,
massive income and wealth inequality in this country, that we need policies
that bring us together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: And Trump responded on Twitter this morning saying, “Strange,
but I see wacko Bernie Sanders allies coming over to me because I`m
lowering taxes while he will double and triple them, a disaster.”

All right. Susan, I promise to come to you, so you drew the short
straw, you`re going to have to talk about this one.

SUSAN MILLIGAN, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT: Everything is a disaster.

REID: Exactly. Well, I wonder because in New Hampshire, Susan,
there`s such a huge percentage of that voting population, more than 40
percent, that are independent. So, it makes sense for Bernie Sanders to go
for any independent. Some of them could be Trump people.

But in your view, which is more likely – independents who lean
towards Trump deciding to vote for Bernie Sanders because they have more
influence in that primary or hard core Trump supporters somehow deciding in
Alabama that they`re OK with Marco Rubio?

MILLIGAN: OK. Well, those are apples and oranges here. I don`t
think you can look at Alabama until we`re done with Iowa and New Hampshire
first of all.

Secondly, I don`t agree that Cruz has that much of a natural regional
advantage in the South. I think his advantage is mostly among
evangelicals.

But when it comes to Sanders and Trump, it`s actually not as crazy as
it sounds at first that Trump would be appealing – excuse me, that Bernie
Sanders would be appealing to Trump voters because sometimes when you`re on
the opposite end of the spectrum, they meet together behind the curtain.
And, you know, there are also anti-Hillary people who are supporting Trump.

So, it is possible he could get some of those independents to come
over. I don`t see people going the other way. I don`t see would-be
Sanders supporters voting for Trump.

So, you know, look, he`s not going to get Clinton people to come over
to his side, or determined Clinton people. I don`t think it`s out of the
question he could pick up some Trump voters in New Hampshire.

REID: And we don`t have hardly any time at all, but I want to come
back to you quickly, Dave, because the reason I ask the question is because
the idea you can get a Trump type voter to vote for Marco Rubio seems to be
more absurd than the idea that a working class person who like Donald Trump
might consider Sanders. Is that question insane? Let`s say South
Carolina, not Alabama?

WEIGEL: Not in the same question. There are people who hate what
they see as the political system. Even though Bernie Sanders has been part
of it for half of his life, they just don`t see him as dishonest.

That`s one – a strategist who worked for Romney last time was telling
me with amazement, what sound like general amazement that Bernie Sanders is
the most popular, most well liked candidate running, and that`s pretty
transferable. There are voters who are not going down a checklist of
policies who want somebody attitudinally, culturally, who seems to be anti-
Washington and both of those guys fit the bill. So, more voters than you
might think.

REID: All right. I feel more sane.

We`re going to have more HARDBALL after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID: We`re back.

Quickly, tell me who`s going to win New Hampshire, D and R. Starting
with Rebecca.

BERG: Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side. Donald Trump by a lot
for Republicans.

REID: All right. Susan?

MILLIGAN: I`m going to say Clinton on the Democratic side, although
Sanders is going to do respectively. I think on the Republican side, I`m
going to say Rubio.

REID: All right. And let`s go to Dave Weigel, with the great
mustache.

WEIGEL: I think Clinton narrowly on the Democratic side and Trump in
New Hampshire, but the race for second place will all pronounce the guy who
comes close to Trump as the real winner, the real comeback kid.

REID: All right. Thank you very much to the roundtable, Susan
Milligan, Dave Weigel and Rebecca Berg.

That does it for me and HARDBALL.

“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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