Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 5/19/2016
Date: May 19, 2016
Guest: David Weigel, April Ryan, David Drucker, Lesley Stahl, Tara Maller,
Susan Page, Anne Gearan, Christopher Dickey
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The leading suspect, terrorism.
And this is HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
We`re following the latest on Egyptair flight 204, (sic) which crashed into
the Mediterranean Sea last night with 66 passengers and crew on board. And
here`s what we know at this hour.
A U.S. intelligence senior official tells NBC News there is strong
indication that an explosion blew the plane apart. That`s based on
infrared sensors of the area. Egypt`s civil aviation minister has told
reporters this was more likely a terror attack than some sort of mechanical
Meanwhile, officials in Greece gave some insight into what happened. They
say shortly after the plane entered Egyptian air space, it swerved sharply
and then lost altitude.
Well, today both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton blamed the crash on
terrorism. Donald Trump tweeted this morning, quote, “Looks like yet
another terrorist attack. Airplane departed from Paris. When will we get
tough, smart and vigilant? Great hate and sickness.”
And we will get the latest on the investigation in a minute, but Donald
Trump is on stage right now with New Jersey governor Chris Christie. It`s
a fund-raiser to help pay off the governor`s campaign debt.
Let`s listen to Trump.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: … my friends are
here tonight. We`re all in the construction industry.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: Governor Christie contributed more to the pension system than any
other governor in New Jersey state history, right?
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: Governor Christie brought the insolvent – and this was important -
- the insolvent New Jersey unemployment insurance trust fund back to
solvency. And I will tell you it was done in at least two years ahead of
schedule. So that`s a pretty good track record. And that`s just a few of
the things, all right?
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: That`s just a few. So we`ve had an interesting time. And you know
it all started. And Chris was out there and I was out there. And I have
to say one of the more interesting parts was – I was watching the debate
because I had one debate that I really enjoyed because I was watching. And
I like Marco very much. But Marco was over here, Chris was over here, and
I was standing there.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: And I watched it happen! No, I watched it happen, and it was – I
MATTHEWS: Here is what we`re going to do. We`re going to go in and out
and see if he talks about terrorism, and then we`ll go to him. Right now,
this is political stuff we`re going to skip right now.
Anyway, let`s get to the latest on that investigation into what happened
with Egyptair flight 804.
MSNBC`s Craig Melvin is in Charles de Gaulle airport right now in Paris.
He`s our first guy on the ground, Craig, the feeling over there is what,
wonder or suspicion? How would you describe it?
CRAIG MELVIN, NBC CORRESPONDENT: I would describe it as a bit of both,
Chris Matthews. Sixty-six people were on board, as you said. At this
point, they are still calling this a search and rescue effort. But you`ve
got to wonder how much longer that`s going to be the case as this thing
I just heard you mention what our intelligence in America is saying with
regards to imaging, the infrared imaging. At this point, imaging tells us
that there was a sort of explosion. Was it a technical problem that caused
the explosion, or was it something far more sinister than that? Was there
a person that managed to smuggle a bomb on board this Egyptair flight?
I can tell you that right behind me here at Charles de Gaulle
International, there are roughly 87,000 employees – 87,000 employees.
Right now, we`re told that the records of some of those folks are being
scoured. They are looking for any type of connection, who had access to
We can also tell you that before that plane left from here in Paris headed
to Cairo – before that, it took a trip to Tunisia just yesterday, and as
you know, northern Africa has become a hotbed for terrorism. That`s been
the case for a number of years now. So folks are looking at who had access
to the plane there.
Egyptair, of course, an airline that has been roundly criticized for much
of the past year. Back in October, of course, there was the bomb that was
smuggled aboard the plane. More than 200 people died, around October 31st
of last year. That was a flight that originated in Egypt.
So lots of questions, Chris. But right now, we`re just a few hours into
the investigation, so a number of officials have said this is obviously
going to be something that takes a fair amount of time. But at this point,
all indications point to terrorism.
MATTHEWS: Craig Melvin, right on the ground there for us, thank you so
Let`s move on right now to some of the experts. We`ve also got joining us
right now chief NBC News chief global correspondent Pete (sic) Neely. Here
he is now with a report from him on what`s going on there.
BILL NEELY, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Chris. I`m at Cairo airport, where
the families of the Egyptians on board have been all day, looking for
answers, mourning their possible loss and deep in grief.
They are at the very center of this. It was an Egyptian plane, most of the
dead Egyptian, and it crashed, it fell into the sea in Egyptian waters.
Whatever happened on that plane happened very quickly because there was no
distress call. And whenever a plane falls from the sky as this one did,
twisting and plummeting very quickly without a mayday call, it does raise
the specter of terrorism. Normally, the Egyptians are very circumspect on
this. They don`t say very much. But today, the Egyptian prime minister
made the point of saying they weren`t ruling anything out as a cause,
including terrorism. And indeed, the transport minister here at the
aviation ministry said terrorism was a more likely explanation for the
missing plane than mechanical failure. But
as I said, it`s early days yet. We`ve had no claim of responsibility from
ISIS here. And remember, they were responsible for the downing of that
Russian Metrojet airliner, killing all on board, and they boasted about it
very quickly after the airliner went missing and said that they had used
explosives in a soda can. So far, no claim of responsibility, no proof
that this was a bomb.
And indeed, if you were to think about the motivations of a bomber in
Paris, say, why would they choose to ignore an American plane, a Western
plane at Charles de Gaulle airport and instead bomb an Egyptian airliner?
As ever, Chris, lots of unanswered questions. Back to you.
MATTHEWS: OK, NBC`s Bill Neely (INAUDIBLE) in Cairo.
NBC`s Kerry sanders is here in Washington with more on the investigation
itself. Kerry, thanks for joining us. I can think of a reason why you go
after Egypt, because the whole goal of ISIS and the Islamist terrorist
movement is to try to knock off these moderate pro-Western Arab
governments, and you want to destabilize the economy of Egypt. If this is
terrorism, it would have an economic purpose, if it is.
KERRY SANDERS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, there`s really strong
indication that this is terrorism, although you can`t conclude that at this
point because there are so many pieces of the puzzles there yet to come
together. But Chris, I think you`re onto something there.
You know, at this point, we already have one false lead in terms of
thinking that they`d found the debris, and it turns out they did not find
the debris. The goal, of course, is to find not only the debris field, but
to find what`s called the black box. It`s actually orange. It`s a flight
data recorder and another one that is a cockpit voice recorder.
The data recorder gets thousands of pieces of ongoing telemetry, how the
engines are running, the temperatures, everything. So it can determine, up
until the plane fails, whether it was a mechanical problem or whether
perhaps it was something else.
And then the cockpit voice recorder, which is important, is it`s recording
the conversations in the cockpit. So if somebody broke into the cockpit,
this would have picked up the sounds of somebody in there making a threat
or the pilot and co-pilot talking, not when they`re transmitting back to
first the Greek authorities and then the Egyptian authorities at the air
traffic control, but just their conversations.
But this has a pinger on it and it pings out a sound for about 30 days.
The water there where it`s gone down in the water, as you go down up to two
miles in this area where we believe the plane may have gone down, the
temperature of the water drops into the upper 30s, which means the battery
in here is not as strong as it would be if this was, say, on land. On
land, the pinger might last up to 90 days.
Now, this is primarily an overseas operation between the Greeks, the
Egyptians and the French trying to find this. But the United States is
helping. A P-3 Orion, which is a Navy ship or Navy aircraft, has taken off
from Sicily during the daylight hours, flying, trying to look down. And it
drops down little sono-buoys. They`re like little parachutes that come
down. They hit the water, and then they sort of get a look at possibly
spotting some debris. When the sun comes back up, a P-3 Orion will again
take off and see if they can see something in the area.
Now, finally, if they do find something – let`s say if they find the
debris field and they want to find this black box and it`s two miles down,
how could they do that? Well, there is the technology and it`s been
successful before. It`s an ROV, a remotely operated vehicle. You can see
one here. This is a system that goes down autonomously and it goes down –
what we`re looking at right now is something that maps with sidescan radar
and actually looks – sidescan sonar and looks at the debris field. And
then they put the ROV down, and the ROV can then maybe find it, and not
only find it, but an arm can go out, retrieve it and bring it to the
SANDERS: But Chris, you know, these are a lot of pieces of the puzzle of
what they could do, but you know, as you think about it, MH-370 – they`re
still looking for that information on that one from two years ago.
MATTHEWS: Wow. Kerry Sanders, great reporting.
I`m joined right now by Malcolm Nancy, NBC News terrorism analyst and the
director of Terror Asymmetrics Project, and former CIA military analyst
Tara, let me ask you about my suppositions here. Doing it over water,
people tell me that slows down the investigation. If you went to create
terrorism, which is to create fright and almost inexplicable terror, you
say, Let`s make it three or four days or two weeks or a month when they
don`t know how this plane went down or even if it was terrorism.
Second, the insult to Egypt, which depends on tourism from Europe and here,
so much, in fact, that is its product, kill the tourism in Egypt, like they
did when they killed the plane coming out of Sharm el Sheikh on the way to
Moscow, I mean, to Russian tourists.
TARA MALLER, COUNTER EXTREMISM PROJECT: You`re absolutely right. There
were also Westerners on the plane, so it could have been a multi-hit,
hitting French passengers. There were Egyptians on the plane.
The one thing that is strange – and I agree with everything you said –
that they haven`t claimed it yet. I I`d be interested to see in the next
24 to 48 hours if there`s a claim issued.
Groups like to claim these attacks. These are high-profile, media-
MALLER: … attacks. They use it for propaganda. They take video footage
of the planning of these attacks, and they try to use this to motivate
people to join the cause, and they use this material on line to recruit
So I`d be curious if there`s a claim that happens from ISIS or an ISIS
affiliate or an al Qaeda affiliate, to be honest, either in – you know,
they mentioned northern Africa. The plane was there. There are al Qaeda
affiliates there, as well.
MATTHEWS: Malcolm, what do you see when you look at this, as of the
information available now? What do you see?
MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, I can – very early on, I
assessed that this was obviously, or we had indications that it was an
explosive device which was placed on the aircraft.
Unlike most people, I have a very hard time believing that this was a
device – if it is a device, it`s very speculative now – that was placed
on in Paris. I think most likely, during the maintenance phase in Cairo,
it would be much easier to get the device onto an aircraft. It could fly
its leg off to Eritrea, Tunisia to Paris, and the mate up with its bomber,
who would have to manually detonate it at attitude.
Very strange that they waited – you know, I mean, you could sit and watch
on the flight map as you`re flying, but they waited until they went over
from Athens control to Alexandria control and wanted to detonate it in the
middle of the Mediterranean Sea closer to Egypt. That`s very unique.
MATTHEWS: Do you have the same thinking I do, that that was to insult
Egypt, to make sure they got the mailing address right, that, We`re out to
get you guys, or was it to make it harder to get the information for a
while so we could spread fear?
NANCE: Well, absolutely, but I think both. I think Egyptian fingerprints
are all over this. If this was actually a device that was planted in
Paris, that was plotted in Europe, you wouldn`t not go to Charles de Gaulle
on a one-time strike – because this is never going to happen again, really
– the security measures are going to be put in place.
You wouldn`t waste that weapons system by just putting it on an Egyptair
airliner with 66 passengers unless you had access to that aircraft early
on. You would go and try to do the Pan Am flight 103 routine, where you
put it on a U.S. airliner to blow up over the Atlantic Ocean, or a large
European carrier with 200 or 300 passengers on it.
So I believe that this has something to do with Egypt`s politics.
Certainly, there`s an ISIS affiliate group there. And there`s also al
Qaeda affiliates. And they wanted to make sure this plane went down as it
was approaching Egypt, or it was just the easiest way to get that weapons
MATTHEWS: I`ve heard the phrase for hours this afternoon watching this
develop, “inside job” because, you know, as Malcolm said, you know, you are
checked by the equivalent of TSA when you get on the plane. You can`t
carry a bomb through the – through the – through the checker. You can`t
just – Here`s my bomb. There`s no way you`re going to sneak it through,
So it has to get on some other way, through the people putting food on the
plane, people gassing up the plane, people cleaning the plane. And Tunis
and Asmara, Eritrea, are the other stops in the hours before…
MALLER: Exactly. So the plane had had multiple stops. But I wouldn`t
fully rule out the possibility that it could have been out of France. I`m
not saying that that`s likely, per se, but France does have the highest
amount of foreign fighters going into Iraq and Syria. It has the highest
population that`s been radicalized…
MATTHEWS: Could it be a worker?
MALLER: It could be somebody on the inside. I mean, what intelligence
officials are going to be looking at, in addition to the passenger list and
putting that against the terror watch list…
MATTHEWS: It just hit me. This is the kind of thing, Malcolm, that really
stuns us civilians here. Why would they be checking the passenger list at
this point against the terror list? Why wouldn`t that be done before
NANCE: Well, I`m sure it is done at a cursory level, you know, as they go
through the flight manifest to make sure that people who are on their list
of suspected personnel don`t get into Europe or don`t come into Egypt from
However, here we`re talking about clean skin agents. We`re talking about
people who may not have had any previous association with terrorism…
NANCE: … but which may have a circuitous route to that, where they may
have had a relative who was put in prison or who may have been part of the
Sinai, you know, ISIS groups there. So now they`re going to do a deep dive
into the background of those passenger and the crew, which is probably
likely where we`re going to find the fault (ph) in this mission.
MATTHEWS: Have you also thought back to the Egyptair co-pilot who
committed suicide over – coming out of New York?
MALLER: Have I what?
MATTHEWS: Have you thought about that case, too?
MALLER: Yes, there have been multiple cases – I mean…
MATTHEWS: And the Egyptian government still denies it was a suicide case.
MALLER: But that`s what`s interesting in this case. The Egyptian
government came out pretty early suspecting this was terrorism. That`s not
actually what they usually do. And U.S. intelligence came out pretty early
saying that it`s likely to be a bomb on board.
That suggests to me there might be some additional evidence that there was,
in fact, a bomb, whether that`s from imagery they have or some other, you
know, intelligence that they have behind the scenes.
But again, it`s too early to say until we see exactly what they`re looking
at on the intelligence side.
MATTHEWS: So when are we going to know what happened?
MALLER: I give it, you know, a week or so to see if there`s a claim made
and to look at the passenger list, the crew list. And if they recover the
wreckage, that will…
MATTHEWS: I have to tell you, one of the greatest trips, if you can afford
it – we did it once in our life – was to go to Egypt. And if this kills
tourism at one of the amazing tourist spots in the world, if you go see the
pyramids and everything and – and the Valley of Kings – if that kills
that tourism over there, their greatest prize, it`s going to really hurt
Egypt. And it`s (INAUDIBLE) everybody who doesn`t get the chance to go
there, and they`re not going feel like going there right now.
Anyway, thank you, Malcolm Nance, and thank you, Tara Maller.
Coming up – much more to come on the crash of Egyptair flight 804,
including the political reaction here at home, which you can tell is going
to be heated. Donald Trump took to Twitter early today to say it looked
like terrorism. Hillary Clinton today saying Trump`s unqualified to be
president, but she has also pointed to terrorism here.
Trump`s holding a campaign event, as I said, in New Jersey there (ph).
We`re going to keep doing a peek-a-boo into what he`s doing. If he says
anything important or newsworthy, we`re going to get to it. He hit back,
of course, against Clinton, and we`re going to hear that in a minute.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, as we continue our coverage of Egyptair flight 20 – 804,
we also continue to watch that event in New Jersey, where Donald Trump is
now fund-raising for his ally, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey.
We`ve got more polling, by the way, on the presidential race, as once
again, the issue of terrorism is front and center in the campaign.
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
We`re, of course, following the developing news tonight about EgyptAir
Flight 804, which went down over the Mediterranean early this morning.
Also tonight, Donald Trump is holding a fund-raising rally, kind of a
hybrid event in New Jersey, to help Governor Chris Christie retire
Christie`s campaign debt.
Well, Christie, who, as a candidate, called for a more hawkish approach to
fighting terrorism, endorsed Trump this February. Anyway, tonight`s fund-
raiser comes after Trump tweeted early today his reaction to the news of
the EgyptAir tragedy, writing – quote – “Looks like yet another terrorist
attack. Airplane departed from Paris. When will we get tough, smart, and
vigilant? Great hate and sickness!”
Anyway, Trump posted the tweet at 6:30 this morning, hours before Egyptian
officials cited terrorism as a possible cause of the plane`s disappearance.
Anyway, a new national poll, catch this, by CBS and “The New York Times”
this evening shows Hillary Clinton leading Trump by six points, 47-41,
nationwide, six points. It comes on the heels of a FOX News poll which is
very reliable, which shows, by the way, a three-point lead for Clinton –
I`m sorry – three-point lead Trump over Clinton, 45-42.
So put them together, make your own stew, they`re very close.
Now Clinton is challenging Trump`s credentials when it comes to fighting
terrorism. In an interview on CNN today, Secretary Clinton laid out her
case as to why he, Trump, is not qualified to be president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN: Do you think that Donald Trump is qualified to be
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, I do not.
And I think, in this past week, whether it`s attacking Great Britain,
praising the leader of North Korea, a despotic dictator who has nuclear
weapons, whether it is saying pull out of NATO, let other countries have
nuclear weapons, the kinds of positions he is stating and the consequences
of those positions and even the consequences of his statements are not just
offensive to people. They are potentially dangerous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, just moments ago at his event in New Jersey, Trump hit
back at Secretary Clinton. Here he goes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bernie Sanders said that Hillary
really isn`t – essentially not fit to be president. She is not qualified
to be president.
You know why? He said because she suffers from bad judgment. So, today,
she made the statement. You know, she won`t use the term radical Islamic
terrorism. You understand that.
TRUMP: She won`t use it. She refuses. You know why she won`t? Because
her president won`t use it. That is why.
And I`m saying to myself – and it`s a terrible thing, and he essentially
should not be running for office. He doesn`t have the right to run for
office. And I`m saying to myself, what just happened about 12 hours ago?
A plane got blown out of the sky. And if any think – if anybody thinks it
was not blown out of the sky, you`re 100 percent wrong, folks, OK? You`re
100 percent wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: This is the heart of the campaign, right here, I think.
Susan Page is Washington bureau chief for “USA Today.” Michael Steele was
chair of the Republican National Committee and he is an MSNBC political
analyst. And Anne Gearan is national politics correspondent for “The
Susan – everybody, take this. Either it`s intuition on the part of Trump,
which is fair in politics. Intuition is important. He says he hunched it
out that the odds are overwhelming that this is terrorism, from all the
effects here we`re seeing, all the information available.
The attack on him is he is not prepared to make these kind of decisions,
which is a fresh attack from Hillary Clinton. They must have written this
a few days ago, but it`s coming out today. Either it`s intuition on his
part, which should be valued to some extent, or it`s irresponsible to make
the claim before any of the information really got jelled, to say this is
terrorism, and, by the way, it`s Islamic terrorism, basically.
SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, “USA TODAY”: So it would be for
Donald Trump to have done this everybody had not come to this conclusion by
the end of the day. Right?
MATTHEWS: But was it a hunch? Was it a guess?
PAGE: Well, I`m sure it was a guess. He didn`t have inside information
about the nature of the attack.
PAGE: And Hillary Clinton was out there pretty quick in the morning saying
that it was apparently an act of terrorism.
But, yes, you know what? He`s not only got instincts, but he has got the
guts to just say it out loud without any hesitation, even though you don`t
know for sure whether it`s true. Even tonight, we don`t know for sure
whether it is true, although it certainly looks that way.
MATTHEWS: But, Anne, this is part of thing that I call shooting the moon.
He knows his odds are naturally he will lose, so he has to shake this thing
up and do things most candidates would consider less than calculated risks.
They`re uncalculated risks, and he is willing to do them because he knows
he has got to beat somebody who has all the cards.
ANNE GEARAN, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: Well, absolutely.
And I disagree only slightly with my esteemed colleague Susan. I don`t
think it would have redounded that badly on him if it turned out – if it
still turns out to be wrong.
MATTHEWS: It would go to the other way, though. If somebody said this is
not terrorism, and it turned out to be terrorism, they would look the fool.
GEARAN: Absolutely. Absolutely.
But he is doing exactly what he has been doing all along and he has
profited by it at every turn.
PAGE: It reinforces the idea that he is such a strong leader that he can
make these declarations without actual – any information.
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: That is really the key part.
I mean, he got out there this morning, 6:30, tweeted that out there,
because he knew that is what people, when they got up this morning, that`s
what they are immediately going to think, because Islamic terrorism is real
And because – that`s why tonight he`s sitting there, and she won`t even
use the term. She won`t even call it what it is. That is not leadership,
folks. I laid it this morning. I took the risk and called it what it was.
And people appreciate that. And I really think that is a space that he is
going to try to occupy throughout this campaign. And it`s going to be
interesting to see how hard Hillary Clinton is going to be able to hit him
with that and have it really…
MATTHEWS: How long does your luck run, though, Michael?
STEELE: That`s a good one.
MATTHEWS: It is shooting the moon. You`re really hoping that you can keep
doing it. You have to keep doing it.
STEELE: Chris, we`re a year into his doing that. We`re a year into his
shooting for the moon, and so far the moon has got a lot of holes.
MATTHEWS: Here comes Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton has a new line on him, which may work. A lot of producers
here think it will work today. Secretary Clinton now says that Trump is
being used as a terrorist recruiter because of his Muslim ban. Let`s
watch. She`s also saying he`s dangerous, a new phrase, trying to make him
into Barry Goldwater of the 21st century.
Here it is, her new line of attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: When you say we`re going to bar all Muslims, you are sending a
message to the Muslim world, and you`re also sending a message to the
terrorists, because we now do have evidence, we have seen how Donald Trump
is being used to essentially be a recruiter for more people to join the
cause of terrorism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the Trump campaign, of course, reacted to that tonight in
a statement – quote – “The fact that Hillary Clinton thinks the temporary
Muslim ban, what she calls the Muslim ban, promotes terrorism proves Bernie
Sanders was correct when he said she is not qualified to be president.”
Anne, this is going to go on from that second – what the first Tuesday
after the second Monday of November. We now know how the calendar works.
But it is her – every time I see Hillary Clinton – and I know how good a
lawyer she must have been. And she is very good at getting evidence
together, getting a good team together, and arraying an argument.
It`s almost like a fixed army. And there she is running against this guy
that is doing it like this. He`s playing the craps table. He is – and
she is using very – what kind of a president do we want in the 21st
century? A deliberative president, equipped with a good briefing and smart
people around her, or a guy out there on the street corner just doing it
instinctively? What do we want?
GEARAN: There are actually a lot of – there are a lot of Hillary Clinton
supporters now who are saying just that. You know what? This is a
We have somebody who shoots from the hip, who says whatever comes into his
head, and so far that is working for him. And we have someone who is
deliberative and iterative and this, plus this, plus this, plus this, so
which one do you want?
They`re not going to try to make her in any way into that. And, I mean,
who knows? I can`t answer your question of which one do we want.
MATTHEWS: In debates, I think she has got the advantage, because she will
be pretty prepared.
GEARAN: If she can get her argument out. Right?
STEELE: That`s going to be his ace in the hole.
GEARAN: He can just zing in and say whatever he wants.
MATTHEWS: He will come up with something wild and crazy, but the
moderators will keep it pretty much to the inside the…
STEELE: To the extent that they can.
MATTHEWS: This is an asymmetric battle here. They are not the same
GEARAN: Well, and there`s a creativity gap, too, right?
STEELE: Exactly. Exactly.
GEARAN: He can – whatever he wants.
MATTHEWS: She wouldn`t go for stand-up comic. That wouldn`t be one of her
But she is very good when she is ready. I have seen her in these 11 hours
of taking on Republicans in the House committee on Benghazi, and she just
flipped – one after another, she knocked one after another off. It was
PAGE: And it`s not like it`s – she is not George McGovern. She`s not
even Barack Obama running against a more hawkish, more muscular Republican.
She is more hawkish than Donald Trump when you get down to actual policies.
That gives her an ability I think to respond on these issues that she
wouldn`t have if you had kind of the traditional Democrat vs. Republican.
MATTHEWS: Oh, no, I agree with that. I agree.
I think Trump is inexplicable hawk vs. dove, because, as everybody says,
one day, he will say let`s mow them down, the next day, I`m not getting
involved with that crap. He is either a guy avoiding trouble or the guy
looking for trouble.
STEELE: Yes, but because she`s coming off more of a neocon than the GOP
MATTHEWS: That`s true.
STEELE: … that becomes a little bit of a problem for her with Bernie
still very much in this fight for the remainder of this program, folks.
MATTHEWS: I agree.
STEELE: So progressives are out there listening to her talk about the way
she is talking, thinking, really?
MATTHEWS: So Charles Krauthammer, and the rest of those guys, Bill
Kristol, wait until Bernie is out of the fight before you endorse Hillary
Clinton. Right? That would be advisable, right?
MATTHEWS: Anyway, I think Eliot Cohen, some of the more moderate hawks,
will be moving in there for Hillary.
Anyway, thank you, Susan Page.
It`s great to speculate, but – about that stuff. It is going to be
interesting to see whether the hot hand turns out to be a consistent hand,
and that is Trump, because he shoots – he`s a gunner, as they say in
basketball. How about that game last night?
STEELE: It was awesome.
MATTHEWS: It was awesome. Steph Curry, I have never seen anything like it
in my life.
Anyway, Susan Page, thank you, Michael Steele, Anne Gearan.
See, we have other lives.
When we come back, new information on our top story, the crash of EgyptAir
Back with more after this.
MATTHEWS: We have more information now on the investigation into what
happened with EgyptAir Air Flight 804 last night.
Anyway, the plane took off from France`s Charles de Gaulle Airport shortly
after 5:00 Eastern time last night. It never made it to its destination of
Cairo. You`re looking at the map there.
Christopher Dickey is the world news editor for The Daily Beast. He lives
in Paris and has years of experience covering the Middle East. He`s with
us now from New York.
Christopher, thank you so much.
Just from your wide-ranging instincts and capital of information, tell us
what it looks like to you at this point.
CHRISTOPHER DICKEY, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, I think the best theory I have
heard is actually very similar to what Malcolm Nance was talking about
I was talking to some French counterterrorism experts earlier today. And
if it was a terrorist event – it`s still a very big if, notwithstanding
what Donald Trump has to say about it – if it was a terrorist event, the
most likely scenario is probably that the bomb was put on before it got to
Paris, and was detonated by someone on the plane who boarded in Paris, but
who has a clean skin, didn`t have anything to implicate him as a terrorist.
That probably is the most likely scenario for a terrorist event.
How do they – you talk about clean skin, meaning someone who has not been
put on a list, because they haven`t done something wrong. But in a world
where you have people working at Tunis Airport, you have Asmara in Eritrea,
you have people, all these different locations where the plane stopped and
they get refueled, they get refitted with food and everything else and
cleaned out maybe in some cases, plenty of opportunity to drop something in
a corner somewhere, how can you possibly check out all the various people
who come from those areas and make sure they are not – they have not been
radicalized as of a week ago or a month ago?
DICKEY: Look, you can`t.
If there is a chance that the bomb was put on in Paris, you have to
remember that there are 86,000 employees at Charles de Gaulle Airport. And
you can`t be sure that all of them are absolutely hostile to jihad. In
fact, you can`t be sure that some of them are not radical jihadis. They
may not be wearing beards and thobes, but they may sympathize with radical
DICKEY: They may be like some of the people we saw in the Paris attacks in
So, you can`t be sure of that. Obviously, you interview people. You do
screening tests of various kinds. You try probably to put in police
informers who will give you some idea. But 86,000 people, that is a lot to
MATTHEWS: I was just thinking back over the patterns.
Every time – I`m sure you have done it many times as an expert in these
world affairs issues, that you try to find some sort of plan, sort of trend
line. And you look back at EgyptAir, what happened in `99, where someone -
- the co-pilot just locked the door of the cockpit and said his prayers and
then put the plane into the Atlantic Ocean, killing everyone, including
The Egyptian government never accepted that as a suicide or terrorism. And
then, of course, what happened on the plane from Sharm el-Sheikh headed
them the Sinai out to the former Soviet Union to Moscow, another plane that
was clearly a terrorist strike.
And you go, is this a concerted effort to bring down the economy, the
government, the society of a relatively moderate country – or moderately
led country like Egypt? Is this what this is all about?
DICKEY: Well, I think this clearly targets Egypt and its tourist industry.
That was certainly what the Sharm el-Sheikh bombing was supposed to do.
You used to have thousands and thousands of Russians coming to Egypt. Now
basically you don`t have Russians coming to Egypt. The whole tourist
industry has been dying in Egypt. A good friend of mine is a very senior
guy in that industry.
He is here in New York, right now, was coming here yesterday to try and
promote tourism, and then, of course, it was a disaster last night.
Obviously, it targets that. But I think one of the interesting things
about this bombing is that it is so Egyptian.
It is an EgyptAir flight. It`s not a full flight. Obviously, Egypt is a
target. But if we were really talking about ISIS, if we were talking about
them going for a big score, this would not have been a big score.
DICKEY: Also, what is interesting is that the Egyptians have acknowledged
very quickly that this probably was terrorism.
And Nancy Youssef, one of the Daily Beast writers, who is of Egyptian
background, has written a very interesting piece, saying much more than any
of these other incidents, this one really affected Egyptians. There may
have only 30 Egyptians on board as passengers, but everybody in Egypt feels
like they knew those people in one way or another.
And the government is responding very differently as a result.
MATTHEWS: Well, for whatever reason, Christopher, I have grown up rooting
for that country, with all its problems. I love Egypt. I have been over
there a few times when I was in the Peace Corps and later with my family.
I think the greatest trip – I said that a few moments ago. The greatest
trip we were ever on as a family was that Nile trip. And now to have that
basically unreachable by most people now – anyway, maybe it will get
cheaper. I don`t know what is going to go on, but it`s a terrible,
terrible, terrible situation over there.
Thank you so much, Christopher Dickey, for joining us tonight.
DICKEY: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Up next, the other big political story of the day. Hillary
Clinton says she will be the Democratic nominee. She just says it as a
definite fact. She is calling on Bernie Sanders to help unite the party,
even though he is still campaigning like heck right now.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Well, we continue to follow events in the
crash of EgyptAir, the Flight 804, of course.
But let`s go now to NBC`s Hallie Jackson. She`s at a fundraiser, a sort of
hybrid event. It was both a rally and fundraiser, never heard of one of
those, that Donald Trump just wrapped.
Hallie, what – give us the sense, the attitude of that event, and the
HALLIE JACKSON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: If you didn`t know it was a
fundraiser for Governor Chris Christie, Chris, you would have thought it
was another Trump rally and had that feel and had same vibe. Christie came
out and introduced Trump, talking about him, just like he would in a
campaign event, and came out and delivered basically the stump speech, with
a few additions, including for example, a litany of accomplishments for
Chris Christie right off the top.
But the real news comes about his comments on Egypt Air, the plane crash.
You know Donald Trump tweeted about that this morning. Now, he is adding
to those comments. He was talking about the remarks made by Hillary
Clinton in which she said he was not qualified for office. And he said he
is thinking to himself what happened 12 hours ago? He said, quote, “a
plane got blown out of the sky, and if anything, if anybody thinks it was
not blown out of the sky, you`re 100 percent wrong, folks? OK?
That`s a quote from Donald Trump about the situation that happened that
happened obviously overnight with that EgyptAir crash, Chris. And one of
the first comments we`ve heard publicly from Trump, a reminder that this is
his first public remarks. These are his first public remarks, since May
7th, when we last saw him out holding a rally.
I would point out one other piece of news coming from tonight`s event, that
is when he discussed the list of the Supreme Court pick, who he would like
to pick if you were to end up in the White House, who his nominees to the
Supreme Court would. He had 11 names on that list, and Chris, Donald Trump
said tonight he expects to be adding to that list of names soon. So, if
you thought that was a definitive or exhaustive list of names, think again.
MATTHEWS: Well, he`s keeping on the offense, that`s for sure. Hallie
Jackson, thanks for the reporting on the Trump event in Jersey.
We`re going to get back right now – we`ll be right back in a moment.
MATTHEWS: Well, there is more big political news today when Hillary
Clinton said – catch this – she said it, unequivocally, “I will be the
nominee of the Democratic Party”, nowhere messing from her. She calls for
Bernie Sanders to unite behind her now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CNN)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: So you get into the general election if you`re
the nomine for you party?
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will be the nominee for my
party, Chris. That is already done, in effect. There is no way that I
CUOMO: Bernie Sanders is saying he is going to fight all the way through
the convention. It`s different.
CLINTON: Well, he has to do his part to unify. He said the other day that
he will do everything possible to defeat Donald Trump. He said he`d work
seven days a week. I take him at his word.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Anyway, David Weigel is a reporter for “The Washington Post”. April Ryan,
of course, is White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks,
and David Drucker is with “The Washington Examiner”.
Quickly, we`ve got to run through this. This seems to be an asymmetric
battle. But let`s talk about the burbs around Philadelphia, which I really
do think if you just go to Pennsylvania and score that for the next six
months, you`re going to know who is going to win. Trump does what? How is
he doing, according to your reporting, among the suburban moderate
DAVID WEIGEL, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, the Democrats already knew he was
doing better than they would like in Pennsylvania, but what worried them
from the primary and since the primary, is that there are moderate
Republicans they thought would be screaming and running from Trump, and
they`re not. And, frankly, because I think in part Trump doesn`t care
about social issues, as seen by the Supreme Court list, he does what seems
Because he`s not an ideologue like the guys they think vote against like
Santorum, he is playing with people that have given up on Republicans for
those reasons. They like the businessman quality. They like what we call
straight talk, yes.
MATTHEWS: April, your thoughts about this?
APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORK: He is playing the general
election game right now. One thing we know that in the Philadelphia area,
they have had problems with manufacturing, like many other urban cities
have. And he is talking about he is not for this trade deal. He is not
But then he is also talking the Democratic speak. He`s talking about
raising the minimum wage. So, he is pulling in people, real people who
have real needs.
MATTHEWS: That is why Bernie Sanders is so mad. He says he is taking away
all the working people.
DAVID DRUCKER, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Look, I think one of the reasons
people are so surprised is they forget that Trump`s primary victory, his
nomination victory, was fuelled in part on moderate Republicans and liberal
MATTHEWS: I saw that. He won the moderates and liberals.
DRUCKER: Right. So, you look at Trump and you listen to his tone and you
think to yourself right winger and you see the Tea Party support that he
has and the conservative support, but really, the reason he won he is
getting the 2012 Romney vote. So it`s really not surprising that the
moderate Republicans in PA are supporting him.
The question is, are there more of them in the general election than there
were in the primary or not?
MATTHEWS: I think they`re different people than they were four years ago.
MATTHEWS: I think people are much more upset with the status quo and the
They don`t like the way things have been going. Look at every MSNBC poll.
One direction, 60 percent something, we`re going in the wrong direction.
Anyway, David Weigel, April Ryan and David Drucker.
When we return, the latest on the investigation into the crash of that
EgyptAir jetliner. HARDBALL back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: The FBI, as you would expect, is working with
our partners around the world to try and gain a better understanding of
what happened. We, in the national security business and law enforcement
business, have tried to make the world very small. So, when something like
this happens, we talk to each other and share information and that process
is going on right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s FBI Director James Comey on the investigation into
the crash of EgyptAir 804 and what security officials are doing here.
Let`s get to the latest now from NBC News justice correspondent Pete
Williams – Pete.
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, and, Chris, the FBI
director also said this afternoon, that was an appearance in Chicago, that
the U.S. has no evidence of what happened, no evidence that anyone has
claimed credit here. So, there is still no indication of what happened.
Now, the military satellites did not pick up any kind of blast or heat
signature that would suggest an explosion but we`re told by other
intelligence officials that there were indications of a potential explosion
around the time the plane disappeared. What the cause of that, if in fact
there was one, of course, you couldn`t tell from that intelligence.
So, officially, we`ve been hearing the same thing from American officials
all day. They simply don`t know what happened that cause that plane to
crash. They can`t say whether it was an act of terrorism. They haven`t
ruled anything in or out, and a lot is going to depend on finding the
parts. And, of course, those all important flight data recorders, Chris.
MATTHEWS: But it`s about two miles deep there, isn`t it, in the
Mediterranean? Is that going to be hard finding expedition there to
WILLIAMS: No. They say that the depth of Mediterranean is not going to be
a show stopper in terms of recovering those black boxes.
MATTHEWS: OK. Well, great. NBC`s Pete Williams, thanks for reporting.
When we return, we lost an icon of television journalism today. Morley
Safer died at the age – there he is – of 84. Longtime “60 Minutes”
colleague Lesley Stahl is going to join us next to talk about.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
For over 45 years, legendary correspondent Morley Safer reported for “60
Minutes” on the issues that defined American life. And today, Safer died
just a week after retiring. He was 84.
Well, Safer`s legendary work as a correspondent in Vietnam during the 1960s
revealed the true and often ghastly realities of that war. His reporting
was crediting with beginning to drive a public opinion against the Johnson
administration`s policies in Southeast Asia.
I`m joined right now by Safer`s long time colleague at “60 Minutes”, Lesley
It`s so great to have you on, even at this time. Her new book is “Becoming
Grandma: The Joys and Science of the New Grandparenting”.
Well, this is like fiddler on the roof tonight, Lesley. Sunrise, sunset,
we`re talking about the loss of your pal and how you`re getting to be an
LESLEY STAHL, 60 MINUTES: Both at the same time.
MATTHEWS: So, let`s talk about Morley Safer. What I like, I know him, I
believe in schmaltz, more than most people know I do, I loved the stuff he
did that was softer. I know he did the Vietnam hard reporting from the
field. It was a real combat, of course.
I love the stuff he did with Jackie Gleason, I mean, playing pool. The
STAHL: Me, too. Well, Morley was the king of quirkiness. He was a
brilliant, gorgeous writer as everybody knows. His writing was infused
with great wit. He was droll, you know?
He was debonair. The body of work was extraordinary, because as you said,
it started with him as a war correspondent and a very brave one. He came
under fire. He was in a helicopter that crashed.
But when you do think of Morley`s pieces, you think of the off beat ones.
As you said, he played pool with Jackie Gleason. There he is with Meryl
My favorite is the one he did about how the people of Finland loved to
tango. It was just hilariously funny. Look with him with his women. He
always kind of flirted with the women. Look at that.
MATTHEWS: He was one of the incredible faces that wouldn`t have made it in
some sort of modeling audition but, God, he is fascinating to look at, the
amount of movement in that face when he would talk.
He also made people, he respected people. I saw the interview he did with
Alec Baldwin, tough questions about parenting and, yet, it didn`t seem to
bother Alec Baldwin, who was touchy. It was interesting.
STAHL: Well, you don`t know, they`re under the cameras and the lights but
Morley did have a kind face and a kind way about him. It has been a bad
time at 60 minutes with Bob Simon and Mike. Bt Morley – Morley worked
until the very last minute, basically. He basically retired a week ago.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about your book. I really want to know what you
think about being a grandma.
STAHL: It`s the best thing in the world. You know, I interviewed Morley
for the book and he told me that his only regret in life is that he didn`t
have his daughter early enough. He waited too long because now he said he
was too old to ever know the story of his grandchildren.
STAHL: And I get that. I get that.
MATTHEWS: But you are appreciating that and writing about it.
STAHL: I wrote about it and I interviewed him. I interviewed Bob Simon
for the book.
MATTHEWS: Yes, we lost him, too.
STAHL: Are you a grandfather?
MATTHEWS: We have two, Brandon and Julia. We`ll talk about that, maybe
Anyway, Lesley, I`ve always been a big Lesley Stahl fan.
STAHL: And I`m a Chris fan, right down the line.
MATTHEWS: Well, thank you. We like that.
Thank you so much.
MATTHEWS: That is HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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