Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 1/8/2016
Date: January 8, 2016
Guest: Jennifer Rubin, Jeremy Peters, Molly Ball, Hillary Clinton, Jay
Newton-Small, Moira Demos, Laura Ricciardi, Dean Strang
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The president and Secretary Clinton both call out
Bernie Sanders on guns. This could be the Democratic issue.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
Secretary Clinton is on the line right now from California to respond to
what President Obama has said about denying his presidential endorsement to
anyone, any candidate who refuses to support what he calls “common sense
gun reforms.” His spokesman, Josh Earnest, suggested this afternoon that
this condition could apply to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Here`s what the president wrote in his op-ed in today`s “New York Times.”
“Even as I take continue to every action possible as president, I will also
take every action as a citizen. I will not campaign for, vote for or
support any candidate, even in my own party, who does not support common
sense gun reform. And if the 90 percent of Americans who do support common
sense gun reform join me, we will elect the leadership we deserve,” close
Well, that seemed to be a clear swipe at Bernie Sanders. And here`s what
presidential press spokesperson Josh Earnest said today when asked about
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I certainly noticed that
Senator Sanders told one of your colleagues-slash-competitors here – when
asked this very question, he was eager to point out that Senator Sanders
had made clear that he was willing to revisit that position.
That`s exactly the goal here, right? We want people to change their minds.
We want members of Congress to start taking different positions.
So again, I`m not familiar with Senator Sanders`s record, so maybe this is
something that he said on many previous occasions. But if not, I`m ready
to start taking some credit for changing some minds on Capitol Hill.
Well, again, I – as I just acknowledged, I`m not familiar with the ins and
outs of his record. But if he – if Democratic voters across the country
confirm that he is the Democratic nominee, then I`m confident that we`re
going to spend some time here learning about his record and learning about
what is on his agenda to make that decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now on the telephone by Secretary Hillary
Clinton. Madam Secretary, thank you for joining us.
What is the issue here between yourself and Senator Sanders?
HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FMR. SEC. OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via
telephone): I think it`s pretty much what the president has said, Chris.
He has made a powerful statement about the urgent need to end the epidemic
of gun violence in our country. And his new executive action includes
steps that I have advocated for throughout this campaign.
And as he said, voters should not support any candidate who does not
support common sense gun reform. We`ve got to get a handle and deal with
the fact we`re losing 90 people a day to gun violence.
So Democrats have a real choice here. And I think it`s important for
Democrats to know that 10 years ago, gun safety advocates wanted to make
gun makers and sellers have to go to court to answer for their reckless
disregard of human life because, after all, if an auto company sells an
unsafe car, you can sue them, unsafe food, unsafe tools, unsafe toys. The
makers can all be sued.
So the NRA wrote this bill that said no one can sue a gun maker or a gun
seller and called this the most significant piece of pro-gun legislation in
20 years. And when it really mattered, Senator Sanders voted with the gun
lobby and I voted against the gun lobby.
So this is a significant difference, and it`s important that – you know,
maybe it`s time for Senator Sanders to stand up and say, I got this one
wrong. But he hasn`t. He`s defended his vote time and again. He said he
would have considered changes to the law. But you know, that was three
(ph) months ago.
And there`s been no effort to introduce anything in the Congress or to
stand with, you know, those Democrats who want to repeal this, you know,
really irresponsible blanket immunity that was voted in for the gun makers
MATTHEWS: Given all that`s happened, Madam Secretary, in the last several
months, the horror we`ve seen with these mass shootings, do you believe
that gun safety reform is a central issue of 2016?
CLINTON: Absolutely, Chris. You know, I totally agree with what President
Obama has said. Guns should be a central voting issue. I have been
speaking out about it throughout this campaign. Certainly, I`ve used my
debate appearances to make that case.
And I think Senator Sanders has been wrong on gun safety. And he`s wrong
on the fact that this is a leading cause of death for young people in our
country, particularly young African-American men. So it represents a very
clear choice in a Democratic primary.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about – you mentioned the first debate, when you
did go through a list of items in which you disagreed with his position on
gun safety questions. Do you want to go through that list again? There is
a pattern here, I believe you`re arguing.
CLINTON: Well, there is because Senator Sanders voted five times against
the Brady bill. Five times. And it has been the principal instrument for
us keeping more than two million guns out of the hands of fugitive felons,
stalkers, the people who should not have them in the first place.
He voted against closing loopholes. In fact, he voted for what we call the
Charleston loophole, which is what enabled the killer in Charleston to get
a gun after three days, even though the background check had not been
completed. And as the NRA itself has said, he voted for their most
important priority in 20 years, namely giving immunity from liability to
makers and sellers.
So this is a pattern, and it`s a pattern that I have been calling out,
voting for guns on Amtrak and all the rest of it, because we`ve got to, as
a nation, really stand up for common sense gun safety measures.
And the fact is, Chris, that a very big majority of Americans and even a
majority of gun owners support the platform that I have been advocating for
and support the executive actions that the president has outlined.
MATTHEWS: Well, here`s Senator Sanders, Madam Secretary, telling my
colleague, Andrea Mitchell, today that he does support President Obama`s
executive action on gun safety. Here`s Senator Sanders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, there are a
lot of candidates running in the House and the Senate who may be opposed to
sensible gun control legislation. I happen not to be one of them. I
strongly support the executive order that the president is working on right
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, there he is. What do you make of that defense? He says
he`s in line with the president and he`s not one that the president is
talking about. He`s not one of those who opposes common sense gun reforms.
CLINTON: Well, that`s at variance with his record. You know, Senator
Sanders and I have some differences on policy. He cited (ph) out some of
those from his perspective this week. And today, I`m taking this
opportunity to comment, in light of the president`s remarks, about our
differences on guns.
And my record is very clear on prevention. I`ve been calling for strong
efforts to fight gun violence throughout this campaign, big (ph) fighting
on this issue because I have met too many of the family members of victims
of gun violence now, you know, going back to my time as first lady, as
senator on this campaign trail. And we`ve just seen too many gun deaths,
and we can`t afford to wait.
And I`ve raised this issue before, standing next to Senator Sanders. He`s
refused to give a straight answer. He could today introduce legislation to
repeal the immunity that was given to gun makers and sellers. I hope he
will join me and the president in supporting real change. And that`s what
I`m looking for.
MATTHEWS: Madam Secretary, I believe he said he will not change his mind
on that point. But thank you so much for calling in to the program
tonight. Secretary Clinton, thank you for joining us.
Sam Stein is with the HuffingtonPost and he`s an MSNBC contributor, of
course, and “Time” magazine`s Jay Newton-Small is the author of a great new
book, “Broad Influence.” It`s about women – little play on words there.
But let`s talk about that, the fact that the secretary wants – is joining
this debate right now at a heated moment after the president writes a piece
in “The New York Times,” after Josh Earnest basically points to the bit
(ph) in the direction of Bernie Sanders, to put it lightly.
And there she is. I think it`s good timing for her to come on the program
and make a point. But go ahead.
SAM STEIN, HUFFINGTONPOST, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I guess I was struck
at how motivating an issue this has become for the Democratic Party. We
associate gun politics as an incredibly motivating issue for the…
MATTHEWS: … progressive cause.
SAM STEIN, HUFFINGTONPOST, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It is gradually…
MATTHEWS: I mean…
STEIN: It`s gradually quickly became a progressive cause in light of this
– repeated instances of mass shootings or high-profile shootings, if you
want to use that phraseology. And for her to be so aggressive and pointing
out what are actual differences – they are – they`re substantive
differences – but the manner in which she went after him, which has been
more aggressive than on any other topic, suggests that her campaign
realizes, too, that this is an incredibly motivating issue for the
MATTHEWS: Yes. You know, one of the rules of politics I`ve learned along
the way – and I like to keep the list up – up to date – is, Go where
your opponent can`t go. And go where you believe, of course, in the
policy, but go to the policies he or she can`t abide by.
Is Vermont – is the issue of gun rights, 2nd Amendment rights, such a hot
issue among the traditional – not the Ben and Jerry`s Democrats up there,
but the people who`ve been living up there for years, you can`t mess with
the gun owners? Is that why she`s going after this, he can`t change his
mind? He says he won`t change his mind. He`s going to keep the immunity
for the manufacturers of guns.
JAY NEWTON-SMALL, “TIME”: And that`s interesting because, you know, it`s
not so much a Democratic liberal progressive issue as it used to be rural
versus urban issues, right? And there are a lot of rural Democrats, like
Bernie Sanders, who do support the NRA, who do support gun rights. And
it`s interesting that she`s pushing this so hard because New Hampshire is a
state – is one of the states that does really support gun rights.
NEWTON-SMALL: So she`s clearly making the bet that by pushing it this
hard, she`s going to get Democratic votes for it.
MATTHEWS: And she`s trying to – we`ll see how it works in Iowa and New
Hampshire. You`re right, they`re not the easiest states to go today…
STEIN: No, no, no.
MATTHEWS: … for the gun issue. But nationally, I think it`s a winner
Anyway, thank you, Sam Stein.
STEIN: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Jay Newton-Small. And thank you, Secretary Clinton.
Coming up – police in Philadelphia release dramatic video of a shooting
attack on a police officer there in West Philly. The gunman said he was
inspired by ISIS. We`re going to talk to former Philadelphia mayor Ed
Rendell and terrorism analyst Malcolm Nance coming up next.
Plus, the documentary series that`s captivating viewers across the country.
Tonight, the filmmakers behind “Making a Murderer” are with us here, along
with the defense attorney for the man convicted of murder.
And is 2016 turning out to be the year where anything goes? Donald Trump
has hijacked the Republican Party, and you could say the 2016 race, with
nasty talk, and street fighters like Ted Cruz and Chris Christie are
certainly in the mood.
Finally, “Let Me Finish” with our trip last week to Israel.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, amid this week`s turbulence on the stock market came a
strong jobs report, but (INAUDIBLE) look at this! The economy added nearly
292,000, almost 300,000 jobs this month, showing great solid growth in this
country. The unemployment rate remains unchanged at just 5 percent.
But stocks closed down again this afternoon, capping off one of the worst
market weeks ever. There`s something perverse about the stock market in
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. ISIS and terrorism have been thrown
back into the headlines tonight in violent fashion. A dramatic scene
played out last night in Philadelphia. Police call it an assassination
They released a harrowing video today of a man who attempted a police
ambush last night by firing at a police officer 11 times, striking three of
those times. After the officer is hit, the wounded officer pursues the
gunman on foot. It`s all on the tape. And it`s miraculously he survived.
Authorities say the gunman told police while in custody that he pledged
allegiance to the Islamic State.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD ROSS, PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMANDER: The suspect in question is a
30-year-old male from Yaden (ph). He has a Philadelphia address, as well,
I believe. He`s confessed to committing this cowardly act in the name of
Islam. According to him, he believes that the police defend laws that are
contrary to the teachings of the Quran.
You can see the male in question going towards the police officer,
Hartnett, already firing. Second shot, he is literally inside that car.
He`s got his arm extended, firing at Officer Hartnett. I`m absolutely
amazed that Officer Hartnett is here with us today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: That`s the police commissioner in Philadelphia. Police have
identified the shooter, there he is, as Edward Archer, who lived just
outside Philadelphia. He had a criminal regard. According to court
documents, he was scheduled to be sentenced next week after being found
guilty for fraud.
But – oh, actually, in 2013, he had previously been arrested and charged
in Philadelphia for aggravated assault, firearms offenses, conspiracy and
making terroristic threats. And last year, he was paroled after pleading
guilty to carrying a firearm without a license and simple assault.
Well, the incident the other night is already reverberating on the campaign
trail. Here`s Ted Cruz today in Iowa.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Today in Philadelphia, a
police officer was shot multiple times by a man who was trying to
assassinate him, who has pledged his allegiance to ISIS.
Thankfully, the officer is alive. Our prayers are with him that he heals
and heals quickly, and we thank him for his bravery and courage defending
But we need a president who`s clear and steely-eyed and understands the
danger we face. And I`ll tell you this. We will have a commander-in-chief
under who we will not weaken and we will not degrade. We will utterly and
completely destroy ISIS!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Malcolm Nance is MSNBC terrorism analyst, and Ed Rendell`s the
former governor of Pennsylvania and the former mayor of Philadelphia.
Malcolm, thank you for joining us. This guy – I just came across some
evidence he was over in Egypt for what, 10 months, recently. We don`t know
how – what his stages of radicalization, such as they are. What can you
take of this case already?
MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC TERRORISM EXPERT: Well, this clearly appears to be a
case of self-inspired radicalization. The question is, at what point along
this spectrum did he actually start making contact with people who led him
to believe that he needed to come home and carry out an act which involved
taking – you know, taking on a police officer and perhaps dying violently
to further what he believed is his version of Islam.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Governor, thank you. I didn`t know whether to call you
Mr. Mayor again, which was one of the great jobs you had in your career,
but you were a great one. And I – and you used (INAUDIBLE) you know, “A
Prayer for the City” is a wonderful book Buzz Bissinger wrote about you
going to hospitals when policemen have been shot.
This guy was shot and hit three times, shot at 11 times at close range, and
there you see him with the guts and the courage to go after the assailant,
with three bullets in him. I was – forget the terrorism aspect of this.
Talk about toughness!
Look at this! Wait`ll you see this (INAUDIBLE) get out of the (INAUDIBLE)
here he comes. I mean, been shot three times, and look, he`s still making
– look at him! He`s hobbling over there, chasing the guy!
Pretty impressive. Mr. Mayor?
ED RENDELL (D), FMR. PA GOV., MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, he actually
shot the guy, and helped bring him down by shooting him and injuring him.
Look, first and foremost, it reminds us – in this era of controversy
between citizens and police, it reminds us what a very difficult job police
have. In Philadelphia, which has better race relations, better
relationship between the police and the community, thanks to Mayor Nutter
and former police chief Ramsey – even in Philadelphia, there are 200 times
a year when police get targeted by someone who comes upon them and wants to
do violence with them – 200 times. It`s amazing. So that`s lesson one.
Lesson two is, we need to know more about this. His mother indicated to
police that he is mentally ill. He had head injuries inflicted by playing
football and a moped injury. He was recently talking to himself, hearing
voices. And they tried to get him to go in and seek medical help, but he
would not do it.
So, there is a lot at play here. And I don`t think we know exactly. Was
he radicalized? Was he doing it just as an attempt to get ISIS` attention?
Was he doing it based on orders, as you said, Chris? I don`t think we know
enough to really come up with firm conclusions.
MATTHEWS: Well, as we said, it`s remarkable. The mayor said – the
governor said that the officer, he has survived so far. He has been
wounded three times, but he is up there.
Listen to police radio, by the way, after Archer opened fire. Listen to
these dramatic moments.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JESSE HARTNETT, PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT: Got some shots fired. I`m
shot. I`m bleeding heavily.
911 OPERATOR: All cars stand by. We have an officer shot, 6-0 and Spruce.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And again, after he was breathing – breathing – or bleeding
heavily, the officer in question went out there and chased the guy and shot
him and brought him to justice.
Let me go back to the expert, Malcolm.
This question of whether a guy or – it usually is a guy – is truly
radicalized, or would use it as some sort of emotional of a public cover
for just anger, how do you – does it matter at this point? If you`re out
shooting cops, does it matter whether you`re just doing as some sort of
subterfuge for another motive, or it truly is your motive if you say you`re
working for ISIS?
rMD-BO_MALCOLM NANCE, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, I don`t think it
matters at all once you have reached that point where you feel that you`re
going to go out and carry out an act, whether it`s in the name of ISIS or
whether it`s in the name of some other factor that has pushed you beyond
your ability to control yourself.
The governor is right in some respect, that at this point, you know, this
individual set up an ambush at 60th and Spruce. It`s a very narrow street.
He could have gone two blocks further in or three blocks further in into
Market Street, where he would have had his choice of police cars that would
have been going by.
He had an operation in his mind that he had set himself to and he waited in
the middle of the night for a police car to come in and do this opportune
attempt to assassinate.
So whatever his purpose was, he had it that he was going to take on this
force and he was going to kill at least one police officer for whatever his
ideological motivation was. And we need to get to the bottom of that. We
need to find out, did he get radicalized overseas, or was this some part of
a mental defect that has been identified here?
MATTHEWS: Yes. It is interesting, not Market Street, not Chester Street,
but on Spruce Street. Thank you so much. I love my geography.
Thank you, Malcolm Nance, for being an expert.
And, Governor, you`re always right, not just occasionally right. You`re
always right. I think there is a mis-appreciation there, there for a
Anyway, much more about the hot national politics ahead in the show
tonight, but, up next, it`s a documentary series that`s actually captured
this country`s interests. I`m going to speak with the producers of the
Netflix hit series “Making a Murderer,” as well as the attorney for the man
convicted of murder in the case.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
“The New York Times” says the popular 10-part docu-series on Netflix called
“Making a Murderer” has given rise to an army of armchair detectives since
its release the week before Christmas.
The documentary follows the case of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man who was
falsely convicted of sexual assault back in 1985. And after serving 18
years in prison, Avery was exonerated, only to be arrested and charged with
the local murder of a local photographer.
It has became a true life phenomenon, gripping views and triggering debate
over whether Avery is guilty as charged or was railroaded by the local
sheriff`s department he was suing at the time. Well, here is the scene.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We told him he could expect people would say that this
was just a get rich effort, that family private matters would now be
public, and now don`t be too surprised if people say some things about you
that you have never even heard before. They`re just plain false.
The one thing we didn`t tell him is that you have to be careful when you
bring a lawsuit against a sheriff`s department in a community where you
still live, because you could end up getting charged with murder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do we have a body or anything yet?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t believe so.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have Steven Avery in custody, though?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the documentary series presents allegations by defense
attorneys of police misconduct and casts doubt on much of the evidence used
to convict Avery.
Well, as a result, nearly 300,000 people have signed petitions for
President Obama to pardon Avery. But the White House announced that the
president cannot pardon him because it`s a state matter.
But criticism of the show is also making headlines, and the prosecutor who
that convicted Avery says the filmmakers withheld facts from the views and
portrayed a lopsided view of the case.
Yesterday, I spoke with the filmmakers themselves, Laura Ricciardi, and
Moira Demos, who spent 10 years producing this documentary.
MATTHEWS: Laura, is there enough information, if you watch the whole docu-
series, if you watch it all the way through, is there enough information
for the people out there to decide on the innocence or guilt of Mr. Avery?
LAURA RICCIARDI, FILMMAKER, “MAKING A MURDERER”: No.
That was not our endeavor, actually. What we set out to do was document a
30-year story essentially of one of Wisconsin`s first DNA exonerees, who
two years after his release from prison was charged in a new crime.
Interestingly, though, at the time Mr. Avery was charged in the new crime,
he did have a federal lawsuit pending against the county in which he was
charged yet again and against two of its former law enforcement officials.
So, the timing of the re-arrest was of interest to us, as well as
everything that had come before.
MATTHEWS: Moira, let me ask you about this question.
Apparently, the people that watched the show, almost 300,000 of them,
believed that there was conclusive enough information in your docu-series
to exonerate or to acquit. That is how they`re viewing it, and 300,000
people signing petitions. They don`t want a new trial. They want a
So, clearly, the way that people are watching this show, they`re coming out
saying this guy was railroaded.
MOIRA DEMOS, FILMMAKER, “MAKING A MURDERER”: Well, I think that speaks to
the fact that the American public does not have a firm understanding of the
process of justice.
I mean, even if you read that petition that is online, you know, it says
that they think that Steven`s due process was violated, and he should be
pardoned. If his due process was violated, if that is their opinion, the
solution to that is that he should get a fair trial.
So, the question of the series is not innocence or guilt. The question is,
was this a fair process?
MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you about the implication. I guess there`s an
implication. You tell me, either one of you – that the police abused the
evidence, that they cooked it up, that they somehow take a vial of blood
from the previous case of the defendant, and planted it so that he would
look guilty, that they moved the keys to his house, the woman – the
victim`s car to his house to make it look like he had something to do with
it, and they somehow moved to put his perspiration on the latch hood of the
I mean, doesn`t it suggest that the police played the game here of
convicting a guy they may have thought was guilty, but they were out there
to misuse evidence to prove it, either one of you?
RICCIARDI: Well, the defense had multiple theories, actually, one of them,
as you state, was a framing evidence, that Steven Avery, in their opinion,
was framed by a law enforcement. And what they expressed to us in the
documentary and in the court essentially was that this was what they
thought, the evidence they had presented.
And that is one of the arguments they took to the jury. But they also
argued cognitive bias, essentially, tunnel vision on the part of law
enforcement. They also argued that the forensic science evidence presented
by the state was unreliable. So there were multiple theories that were
raised by the defense, but I think people are mostly talking about the
MATTHEWS: It seems to me that if you suggest in your doc that the police
moved the keys over to the guy`s house, that they planted blood from the
old charge out of the crime lab, and went in it with a hypodermic needle
and took out the blood and then planted it somewhere, still leaves open the
problem of the defendant or the convicted person now, Steven Avery`s
perspiration on that latch hood.
How did the defense attorneys explain that fact?
DEMOS: You`re referring – it`s funny that you mention that it`s
perspiration. They don`t know what it is. It`s…
MATTHEWS: DNA. It wasn`t blood. It was not something from the crime –
it was not something from the crime lab that could have been used from a
previous case, is all I`m saying.
DEMOS: That is true.
Had that scene been developed as a scene in the series, you would have the
prosecution saying his DNA was found under the hood latch. And then you
would have had the cross-examination of their witness. And what came out
in court was that this witness, Nick Stahlke, from the crime lab had been
examining Steven`s Grand Am, his personal vehicle, and after examining
that, he went over and looked at the hood latch of the car, and he did not
change his gloves.
And the defense made an argument that there was the potential for
contamination. It was not a piece of evidence that really went very far in
the courtroom. So, it was not one that made it into the series.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you both. A lot of your viewers believe that the
guy, Steven Avery, has been railroaded here, based upon the 10-part docu-
series. Do you believe that, either one of you?
RICCIARDI: No, I would not say that I believe that.
The question I really think is, you know – well, first of all, this was
not an exploration for us of whether Steven and Brendan Dassey had done
this or hadn`t done it.
I mean, we were really looking on a more macro level. We were talking at
the system as a whole. This was much more of a procedural than that.
MATTHEWS: So you don`t have an opinion?
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, Moira, the question again. What do you think?
DEMOS: I don`t know if Steven is innocent.
What I can look at is, as Laura said, the process. Was this a fair
process? Is this how I would want to be treated as an accused? And I can
have an opinion about that.
I would want to be treated a lot better as an accused. I would not want so
many irregularities in my investigation, in my prosecution. I would not
want so much pretrial publicity. So the question is, can we rely on this
MATTHEWS: Well said.
RICCIARDI: Yes, and just to be clear…
MATTHEWS: In other words, you both think it might be better off having
RICCIARDI: Well, just to be clear, Chris, I have no idea whether or not
Steven Avery or Brendan Dassey had had any responsibility with respect to
the death of Teresa Halbach.
But if you`re asking whether I believe the state met its burden here in
either case, my answer, my personal opinion – although I think we sort of
in our culture overvalue people`s individual opinions – but mine would be
MATTHEWS: OK. Well said.
Thank you so much for coming on HARDBALL, Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos.
Thank you both for this great film.
MATTHEWS: Steven Avery`s attorney, Dean Strang, who is featured in the
documentary, has been called America`s new favorite defense attorney and
compared actually to Atticus Finch. He joins me now.
Dean, it`s a nice thing to be compared to.
Do you have an indication at all as to which is the actual guilt or
innocence of this man, Steven Avery, in this murder case?
DEAN STRANG, ATTORNEY FOR STEVEN AVERY: I have got the same doubts, Chris,
that I have had all along.
I don`t know for certain that he is innocent. I do know that I have never
been convinced by anything close to the burden of proof here that he was
MATTHEWS: What was his sweat DNA doing on the latch hood of her car?
STRANG: It was not sweat. I mean, that was an argument. His DNA was on
the trunk of the car. That could have been transferred to that surface by
any other surface that had his DNA.
MATTHEWS: So you`re saying again the police railroaded him.
STRANG: By skin or by…
MATTHEWS: I mean, somebody would have had to do that.
STRANG: No, no, no, not intentionally. That is a great example of a
transfer that could have occurred inadvertently, simply by contamination
using a latex glove, touching his DNA, and later touching that surface.
MATTHEWS: OK. How did her keys get in his house?
STRANG: I don`t know.
Also, what I don`t know is why it would have taken seven searches of a tiny
bedroom in a mobile home to find a key supposedly lying out in the open. I
don`t know where the other keys that used to be on that key ring were.
MATTHEWS: Well, that all – indication is that you think the police – OK.
Let me ask you about something that has nothing to do with the police and
Why did this guy go out three weeks before and buy handcuffs and leg irons?
What good use would you put to them?
STRANG: I think those – I think those, as I recall, were things that his
girlfriend or he had bought at an adult, you know, sex shop.
MATTHEWS: Leg irons?
STRANG: They were described as leg irons. I didn`t ever see anything that
I would describe as leg irons.
I recall, you know, essentially sex toys.
MATTHEWS: Any chance this guy gets a retrial, as you see it right now?
STRANG: I don`t know. His chance lies probably, realistically, in newly
That could be scientific. That could be factual.
STRANG: You know, somebody who has been carrying a secret. I don`t know.
That will remain to be seen.
MATTHEWS: Dean Strang, thanks so much for coming on HARDBALL tonight.
It`s a tricky situation.
STRANG: Up next, facing an onslaught of attacks, Chris Christie says Marco
Rubio can`t – catch this – slime his way to the White House. That`s how
dirty it`s getting; 32 days out from the New Hampshire primary, things are
getting nasty, personal, slimy in the Republican race for HARDBALL.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Well, last night, Republican chairman Reince Priebus says if Donald Trump
or Ted Cruz wins the nomination, he can be sure that they will unite, the
party will unite behind them. In fact, the entire party will be behind
them. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Right now, the two leaders in the polls by far are
Trump/Cruz, some establishment people hate them. Do you believe in your
heart you can pull the party together if they win?
REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: I – 100 percent. And, you know, the
unifying thing about what I have to do is that no matter who you`re for,
everybody can agree we have to have a national party and infrastructure
that has its act together.
I honestly – Sean, I talked to all of our leaders in our party. Everybody
is going to get behind whoever the winner is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Donald Trump is on the cover of “Time Magazine” this week
with the title, “How Trump Won”. The magazine said that Trump has taken
the party away from the old bosses, quote, “At a time when the crown
princes of Republican Party can`t mount so much as a two-car parade, Trump
is drawing the biggest crowds by far. He has the largest social media
footprint and launches the sharpest attacks on Hillary Clinton, while
attracting the greatest number of potential recruits to Republican ranks.
As a result, Washington insisters from both parties are now calling around
to GOP heavies asking, do you know anybody in Trump`s campaign? Who was on
his foreign policy team? I need to get to know them fast. That`s pretty
I`m joined right now for the roundtable tonight: Jennifer Rubin is a writer
for “The Washington Post”, Jeremy Peters is a reporter with “The New York
Times”, and Molly Ball with “The Atlantic”. They`re all heavyweights.
Reince Priebus, sort of a Don Knotts move there –
JENNIFER RUBIN, THE WASHINGTON POST: He has sort of a twitch, yes.
MATTHEWS: Is this because he`s afraid if he doesn`t say what he just said,
then Trump will say, I`m not being treated fairly?
MATTHEWS: I`m walking.
RUBIN: Right. And no one in that group who will be on that stage thinks
that the Republican Party will hold together for either one of these guys,
most particularly for Trump. There will be a fisher in the party, and
people talk about third water runs –
MATTHEWS: So with an establishment third party candidate, isn`t that an
JEREMY PETERS, THE NEW YORK TIMES: If you think they`re having aneurism
over Trump, the thought of Cruz is even more terrifying to the Republicans.
MATTHEWS: It is to me. Cruz isn`t even entertaining.
PETERS: That`s right. If either one of these guys get the nomination,
Republicans are going to lose 40 seats.
RUBIN: The difference between Trump and Cruz is, the party ends if Trump
gets the nomination, they`ll just lose the election if Cruz gets it.
MOLLY BALL, THE ATLANTIC: What you see with Reince Priebus here, there is
no Republican establishment anymore. These people are powerless. They are
BALL: I know some Republican leaders, they`re so powerless and quaking in
MATTHEWS: OK. Here`s what`s going on. Also what`s going on is this sort
of secondary fight. Chris Christie is up in the ante in this ongoing
street fight with Marco Rubio up in New Hampshire.
Responding to Rubio`s attacks on his conservative credential this week,
Christie told “The Washington Post” that, quote, “I just don`t think that
Marco Rubio is going to be able to slime his way to the White House. He
wants to put out a whole bunch of negative ads, go ahead. I hope he will
acknowledge at some point that I couldn`t care less.”
This is like trash talk at a football game.
BALL: Absolutely. I mean, Christie is in his element with this stuff. He
loves it, right? He is never happier when he has somebody to go after.
MATTHEWS: Christie likes this stuff.
MATTHEWS: Remember, it all started with none of your business, Gail.
Remember the call in person –
BALL: Well, and it`s so ironic that he is accusing Rubio of being the
slimer and then he goes off.
MATTHEWS: Explain the fight. Why are these two guys who are junior
welterweights of this campaign, why are they fighting with each other?
RUBIN: They are fighting with each other because one of them is going to
be the last man standing on the, quote, “establishment side”, which may not
exist. That`s the mainstream, the somewhat conservative people. They`re
going to duke it out, first of all, in Iowa. Look to the fight over third
and fourth –
MATTHEWS: Anyway, but Christie interestingly delivered his most blistering
attack on Rubio to date, in an interview Wednesday actually with Laura
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This guy is spoon-fed
with every victory he`s ever had in his life. That`s the kind of person we
want to put on the stage against Hillary Clinton? I don`t think so.
She`ll pat him on the head and then cut his heart out.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: She`ll pat him on the head and cut his heart out. Is this the
way of working against the cute aspect of Marco Rubio? OK, a good looking
guy, he`s very smooth, well-turned out. So, let`s turn that to
disadvantage, make him spoon-fed, make him cute, Hillary Clinton will pat
him on the head and then cut the little kid`s heart out.
PETERS: Exactly. It`s almost infantilizing, because what he is doing here
is he`s going after one of Rubio`s biggest vulnerabilities, the fact he is
young, he`s boyish, he`s inexperienced. But nobody can belittle an
opponent like Chris Christie, maybe except for Donald Trump.
You have Christie`s strengths really coming out I think as he feels more
and more pressure to stand out in Trump`s huge spotlight, he`s going to be
MATTHEWS: By the way, I hate to be regional and tribalist, but he is the
only Catholic from the northeast running in this race. Nobody understands,
there is still a Catholic crowd out there, Irish, Italians, who hated
Massachusetts, moved to New Hampshire to get away from the taxes and the
RUBIN: So, the interesting thing is –
MATTHEWS: You don`t like it, this guy?
RUBIN: – Trump is trying to do to Rubio what Trump did to Bush, in other
words, to be the big mano guy, watch the other guy kind of faint or
crumble, Rubio is no Bush.
MATTHEWS: They all look politically correct compared to this guy. Here`s
Maine Governor Paul LePage, who endorsed Christie in July. He delivered a
speech Wednesday of this week in which he made a racially charged remark
about drug dealers trafficking heroin into his state of Maine. Let`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. PAUL LEPAGE (R), MAINE: Number one, I got a bill into the legislature
right now to take the traffickers. Now the traffickers, these are people
that take drugs. These are guys with the name D-money, Smoothy, Shifty,
these types of guys that come from Connecticut and New York. They come up
here, they sell their heroin and then they go back home. Incidentally,
half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave, which
is sad because we have another issue we have another issue that we got to
deal with down the road.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: It`s a potential embarrassment for Chris Christie, who supported
LePage in his reelection campaign two years ago. In turn, LePage has
campaigned with Christie in New Hampshire, appearing with him just last
month. And, today, the Maine governor apologized for those remarks.
What do you make of this, molly?
BALL: Well, look, I have a hard time getting exorcised about anything Paul
LePage says. If you followed this guy`s career up to now, this is only the
latest in a long string of outrageous remarks that he`s made. And so, if
Christie wasn`t embarrassed to campaign with him before, I don`t see why he
would be embarrassed now. This guy is kind of like Trump. He says things
that aren`t politically correct.
MATTHEWS: Got it. I think the standards dropped dramatically.
Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us.
And up next, these three are going to tell me something I don`t know.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: President Obama has vetoed a bill that would repeal Obamacare
and also defund Planned Parenthood. In a letter to the House of
Representatives, the president wrote, quote, “Republicans in the Congress
have attempted to repeal or undermine the affordable Care Act over 50 times
rather than refighting old political battles by once again voting to repeal
basic protections that provide security for the middle class. Members of
Congress should be working together to grow the economy, strengthen middle
class families and create new jobs.”
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable.
Jennifer, tell me something I don`t know.
RUBIN: The most interesting thing a happening in right is not Donald
Trump, but an effort on behalf of Republicans with Democrats on poverty
reform. A guy by the name of Robert Doar at AEI, son of John Doar, who was
a famous lawyer at the Justice Department worked with Bobby –
MATTHEWS: Sure. Civil rights guy.
RUBIN: Exactly. He`s brought together Republicans, Democrats, Brookings
guys and AEI guys. They put out a report on poverty, one on hunger. Paul
Ryan who met up with Doar is going to be meeting with the Republicans.
MATTHEWS: I`m glad the AEI is now doing something on economics instead of
that neocon rant they always do.
Go ahead, Jeremy.
PETERS: We all caught a bit of the wind of Marco Rubio boots controversy
this weekend. Boot-gazi, Bootgate, which way you want to call it.
MATTHEWS: How tall is he?
PETERS: Five-eight, 5`9”.
MATTHEWS: How tall is boots?
PETERS: They`re good like two-inch chunky heel anyway.
So, there might have been a little bit of a thinking that that could have
feminized him a bit. So, today, what does the campaign released? An ad
butching him up, showing him tossing a football around.
MATTHEWS: Butching him up, what a phrase.
Go ahead, Molly.
BALL: I got to plug my –
MATTHEWS: Butching him up. That`s never been used before.
BALL: Got to plug my big piece this week. You can find it on
TheAtlantic.com. It`s about working families. They attempt to make an
equivalent for the tea party on the left. Try to move the Democrats, try
to move the national conversation.
MATTHEWS: Who`s the leader of that?
BALL: Dan Cantor is the national leader. They have been very effective in
New York. Trying to take it national.
MATTHEWS: Is it Bernie stuff?
BALL: They`ve endorsed Bernie. The question is, in the era of Bernie, can
they do that?
MATTHEWS: I want to read that. That`s great.
Thank you to our roundtable, Jennifer Rubin, Jeremy Peters and Molly Ball.
When we return let me finish with our trip last week to Israel.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.
Last week when I was off the show, Kathleen and I were over in Israel. It
was my seventh visit to the country. And I`m always anxious to get back
especially to the religion sites of the holy man himself.
I should say that one reason is I spent a good bit of time in Jerusalem
back in, believe it or not, 1971 when I was on my way home from two years
in Africa with the Peace Corps. I lived much of that time in a cheap hotel
Nablus Road right above Damascus Gate to the old city.
In fact, here`s a picture what it looked like early until the 20th century
and how it looked like last week. Not much different, Damascus Gate.
This part of Jerusalem never changes. When I`m in the old city of the
Jerusalem or the Church of Nativity, not far away in Bethlehem, there`s
nothing – actually, nowhere else I want to be. There`s something
powerfully, spiritually home about the feeling.
I can only tell you the joy I get just wandering through the close passage
ways. There they are of the ancient city, moving from the Christian
quarters of the Muslim and Jewish quarters in space of a few minutes.
Visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, listening to the call to prayer
even as ultra Jewish men rush past on the way to the western wall. A
powerful sight for prayer and historic connection for those of the Jewish
faith everywhere. And, of course, all the time hearing the bells of the
old Christian churches.
We also did some political stops. Here is Kathleen and I with one of our
heroes, former Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who`s
been a guest on HARDBALL over the years and retains the man`s optimism and
vision for the future of the Middle East. He never gives up.
I also had an interesting meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu. It`s clear to me he wants to end the division fought often here
on this show over the Iranian nuclear deal. He could not have been more
generous, believe it or not, with his time.
And the great thing about Israel is its loud vigorous democracy. It`s a
country where everyone sees himself or herself as a prime minister, fully
within their rights to say what they think about the person holding that
job at any given time. And unlike so many countries in that region of the
world, the people of Israel are not afraid to speak their minds, including
what they think on any given day about their elected prime minister.
A personal note, I will not deny what takes me back to the holy land is a
wild mixture of my religious faith, my nostalgia from where I could roam
the land, that land with all the time in the world and with my appetite
which you all know for a good argument. In all three regards, I feel when
I`m in Israel to be very much at home.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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