Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 5/27/2016

Ann Coulter, Richard Fowler, Jennifer Jacobs, Ken Vogel, Bob Shrum, Artie Muller


Date: May 27, 2016

Guest: Ann Coulter, Richard Fowler, Jennifer Jacobs, Ken Vogel, Bob Shrum, 

Artie Muller


Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Well, the Trump tempest roared into San Diego today, bringing thousands of 

protesters along with it.  You`re looking at footage right now of those 

protests outside the convention hall where Donald Trump just wrapped up his 

rally, at least four major groups of organized demonstrations against 

Trump, including the San Diego Democratic Party.

Well, police shut streets and attempted to separate Trump supporters from 

his detractors, but there were clashes like this one between protesters and 

the police.  Police have begun making arrests. 

More than 10,000 people packed into the auditorium to hear Trump speak, and 

the line to get in stretched for blocks.  Trump told the crowd he was going 

to build a wall, of course, between United States and Mexico.  He also said 

he was going to do great with Latinos and African-Americans.  Let`s watch 

that part.



the wall!  We`re going to build the wall!  We`re going to build the wall.  

Latinos for Trump!  I love you!  You know…

AUDIENCE:  Build the wall!  Build the wall!  Build the wall!

TRUMP:  Build the wall!  We`re going to do great with the Latinos because 

I`m going to – I`m bringing back jobs!  The Latinos, African-Americans – 

we`re doing great with African-Americans!  They want jobs!  We`re losing 

our jobs to everybody!

I started talking about illegal immigration, tremendous problem.  I don`t 

think this would be a problem that would even be discussed, frankly, if we 

didn`t do it and put it as part of our campaign.


MATTHEWS:  NBC`s Katy Tur and Jacob Rascon are in San Diego.  I`m also 

joined by MSNBC`s Joy Reid, the host of the new great show “AM Joy” – well 

named – and author Ann Coulter.  Thank you all for joining us. 

And I guess we start with the reporters.  Katy – I`m now hearing feedback.  

I just love the hear it.  Katy – that echo notwithstanding.  Let`s talk 

about this issue.  The big crowd – how would you rate Trump`s crowd today?

KATY TUR, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Unfortunately, Chris, I am going to guess 

that you stopped talking because I can`t hear you any longer.

But here`s what`s going on right now.  There are thousands of protesters 

that are here.  The police were trying to keep the Trump supporters 

separate from the protesters.  By doing that, they made the Trump 

supporters, 10,000 of them inside, file out the back door of the convention 


But as you can see down in the distance, underneath the “Historic heart of 

San Diego” sign, a number of Trump supporters went all the way around into 

the Gaslight district to where the protesters are.

A moment or two ago, we saw a number of fights break out, punches being 

thrown, arrests being made.  Thousands of protesters here, many of them 

peaceful, some here to look for a fight.  Some tried to break through 

barricades to confront cops, getting pushed back down. 

But San Diego was at the ready for anything, any sort of confrontation.  

They`ve got riot police here.  They`ve got SWAT police, who had been lining 

the convention center.  Now, though, many of those SWAT police are still 

there, but a number of other high (ph) tactical police down in the melee 

itself, trying to keep order.

But again, Chris, what they were trying to do here was they were trying to 

keep the supporters of Donald Trump and the protesters separate.  Most of 

the time, when there is an issue, it`s when the two sides come together.  

So they tried – slightly successful, slightly unsuccessful, as you see.  

We`ll see if anything else happens as this day unfolds.  Back to you.

MATTHEWS:  Well, you know, it`s been called a clash.  I guess I use this 

word, too.  But what I`m looking at here is police in a stationary position 

and people throwing stuff at them. 

Is that a clash?  Can you hear me, Katy?

Well, let`s go to Jacob Rascon.  We`ll get better sound equipment here.  

Let`s go to Jacob Rascon.

This looks to me, the way Katy described it, the protesters want to get to 

the Trump people, and the police are trying to do their job and keeping 

them from doing so.  I don`t see that as a clash.  I see somebody doing 

their job.  But go on.

JACOB RASCON, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  We see this, Chris, almost every time it 

gets really bad.  This is what happens.  The protesters stick around 

through the rally, and then the Trump supporters, who you`ll see right 

here, are let out, usually by another way.  And then the protesters who are 

still around, usually the ones who are more prone to want to pick a fight, 

are the ones who are over here, for example, trying to find the supporters. 

As Katy said, we had a number of fights break out.  We had moments ago 

three people walk past us in handcuffs.  And as you`re going to see here, 

you have more protesters who are now crossing the street, and they are 

trying to get over to the Trump supporters. 

So best laid plans.  San Diego police has been really on top of this with 

the barricades, with the buffer zones, 100, 200 feet.  But this is what 

can`t really be controlled, is after everything is over, and the Trump 

supporters and protester go their separate ways and simply try to meet 

somewhere else.  And then the clashes happen. 

That`s what we saw in Albuquerque.  That`s what we saw in Chicago.  That`s 

what we saw in a lot of areas.  It`s what – it`s best laid plans, they 

work until after the rally is finished.  That`s what we`re seeing out here, 


MATTHEWS:  And Jacob, you`ve been great at this.  By the way, your 

reporting`s been great.  I just want to – have you been able to hear from 

any of the – I mean, a crowd is made up of individuals.  There are 

individual people in that crowd. 

They may be behaving like a crowd, but individually, have any of them told 

you – is it that they don`t like the bad trash talk from Trump about 

rapists?  They don`t like the wall talk?  What is it they don`t like?  They 

don`t like the deportations, probably.  I`ve seen some of those signs.

RASCON:  Yes, the wall is one of the big issues.  And of course, we`re 20 

minutes away from the border right now, Chris.  In Albuquerque, that was 

the big issue, as well.  The talk of deporting the illegal immigrants, as 

Trump says, that gets at them.

But what we have found, and we found it here, is that once the organized 

protesters, the four or five groups who came – very organized, very 

prepared – once they left, what we started to see were those who were 

angrier stick around.  And they started to shout not only “F Donald Trump,” 

but “F the police, F the police.”

And we saw, and I think you showed some of the video earlier, it was almost 

as soon as the organized protesters left that we saw the angry ones climb 

up and try to actually get past police.  And that`s when they were hit with 

the baton, hit with the baton, and then the entire crowd turned on the 

police and started to shout, “F the police.”  And then what`s when we saw 

the SWAT officers.

(INAUDIBLE) turn over here and see this.

MATTHEWS:  Yes, watching – we`re watching…

RASCON:  You`re seeing on the left side, Chris – you`re seeing some Trump 

supporters.  And then on the right side, you`re going to see the Trump 

protesters.  This is what has happened many times.  The barricades are put 

in place.  Everything`s prepared.  It works for hours, and then after the 

rally, they find a way to meet each other.


MATTHEWS:  So here we`re hearing “USA!” from the American – well, the 

people taking the conservative view, let`s put it that way, the ones with 

the U.S. flags.  This is some – it looks to me like they want to stick 

around and taunt a little bit, too, the pro-Trump people.  Is that going 

on, as well?


RASCON:  Chris, I`m going to be honest, it`s very hard to hear your 



RASCON:  But again, I`m going to tell you…


RASCON:  … what you`re looking at are the Trump supporters in the “Make 

America great again” hats.  Usually, they come out of the rally and they`re 

riled (ph) up, and they`ve just been with Trump for an hour.  They`re very 

excited.  They`re very eager to talk about protesters.  A lot of times, 

Trump talks about the protesters in the rally.  They`re excited when 


What we`re seeing now, there are no police officers in between.  There`s no 

buffer zone in between the Trump supporters and the protesters.  Again, 

this is where it gets messy.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  Well, take care.  Take care of yourself there, Jacob.  

We`ll be back to you and Katy in a minute. 

We`re going to bring in our commentators, Joy Reid and Ann Coulter.  Joy 

Reid first, my colleague, what do you see here?  What does it mean to you?

JOY REID, HOST, “AM JOY”:  You know, Chris, I think that this is the shape 

of things to come.  I think that we are going to have a long, hot summer 

leading into a fall campaign that is going to break down along this very 

fault line because I think that immigration and unlawful migration was sort 

of the casus belli of the Trump war against the Republican Party and 

against Republican elites.  It was the straw that broke the camel`s back in 

terms of the bargain that Republican elites have for 30, 40, 50 years made 

particularly with working class white voters.  You give us your votes, 

we`ll get low taxes for ourselves and deregulation.  And we`ll give you 

sort of cultural tschotchkes.  We`ll say we`re with you on prayer in 

school, religion.


REID:  We`re with you on gay marriage.  But when it came to immigration 

reform, something that George W. Bush wanted to do, something that the 

Republican National Committee saw as a way to expand the Republican 

electorate by bringing in Latinos – that was it.  And I think Trump ran 

right into that breach.  He has got these votes.

This is their issue.  This is the fundamental issue that animates support 

for Donald Trump…


REID:  … this idea that…

MATTHEWS:  Well, what – what…

REID:  … we are taking this country from them.

MATTHEWS:  Who else is stopping illegal immigration?  Who else is doing 

anything to stop illegal immigration?  (INAUDIBLE) anywhere doing it, to 

stop it?

REID:  Well, I can tell you that at the moment, net migration from 


MATTHEWS:  No, no!  Who`s doing anything…


MATTHEWS:  I know.  I know.  I know the arguments.  I know.

REID:  … zero, right?  So…

MATTHEWS:  That`s not an answer, though, Joy.  What in the law – who is 

coming up with a way with (ph) enforcing the law?  Is anybody?

REID:  Well, I think if you ask advocates for the dreamers, et cetera, they 

would point very angrily at the White House and say that the Obama 

administration, which has had more deportations than George W. Bush ever 

did – they`ve been very aggressive, ICE has, about deporting people from 

the country.

So the administration, actually, right now has been the sort of tip of the 

spear of being extremely aggressive.  And in addition to the fact that the 

economics have reduced migration to zero, I think a lot of particularly 

younger activists actually are pretty angry at the Obama administration for 

the way that…

MATTHEWS:  I know they are.


MATTHEWS:  I can understand different sides here, and I can also understand 

that nobody`s come up with – it`s the one part of our legal system, one 

part of our social system where no one`s come up a connection between the 

law that we pass and enforcement. 

OK, pass the most liberal program in the world for bringing people into the 

country, and then enforce it.  I don`t hear Democrats or progressives 

talking about enforcement of any kind, for any kind of law, no matter how 

liberal it is, Joy.  That`s my problem, that you can`t have a legislature 

in Washington that`s controlling the country, representing the people, that 

can`t seem to pass any law on immigration they`re willing to enforce.  

That`s the problem.

REID:  Well, the reality is, though, that Democrats actually did get a law 

through.  I mean, you have a bill that the Republican House of 



MATTHEWS:  What did that do to stop illegal immigration?  Would that have 

stopped – would that have stopped illegal immigration?

REID:  A lot of advocates for the dreamers, et cetera, feel that the law 

was actually too heavy on enforcement and that the balance of enforcement 

versus admittance was actually weighted on the side too much of punishment.  

Democrats and some Republicans, to their credit…


REID:  … people like John McCain, tried to get that law passed, but 

Republicans wouldn`t allow it. 

MATTHEWS:  I know.

REID:  They won`t allow immigration reform to get through the Senate and 

the House.  They just won`t allow it.

MATTHEWS:  OK, I hear the words “immigration reform,” I`ve heard the word 

“reform” all my life, and I`m a little skeptical whether “reform” means fix 

the problem, if you think there is a problem.

Ann Coulter, I think there`s a disagreement here, and it`s pretty profound, 

between people who think illegal immigration`s a problem and those who 

don`t.  They say, We`ll live with it.  People come in here.  We`ll take 

care of them (INAUDIBLE) best (INAUDIBLE) assimilate if we can.  If we 

can`t, we`ll just live with it.

I don`t hear Democrats out beating the drum to fix a problem of illegal 

immigration.  I don`t hear it.  I don`t hear Republicans stopping illegal 

hiring for one second or one cent wanting to stop the illegal hiring.


exactly right.  Who are the other Republicans who want to enforce laws that 

were passed and are on the books?  Well, there`s one in the Senate, Jeff 

Sessions.  There are about five in the House, and that`s pretty much it. 

You have 100 percent of Democrats and 95 percent of Republicans who are 

indignant that the public wants written federal laws on the books enforced.  

That is some sort of extremist position!

Well, OK, if you want open borders, pass a law for open borders.  But in 

fact, both Republicans and Democrats have contrived, have gotten together 

and tried to pass amnesties three times in the last 10 years, at least 

twice being supported by the president and the majority party in both 


And how did it get shut down?  By the American people rising up in a rage!  

And I mean, the unfortunate thing about these protests you`re showing, 

which really do make me so angry because there were 10,000 people inside 

the stadium tonight – the reports are it was one of the most diverse 

crowds anyone has ever seen.  You have Mandarin Chinese with signs for 

Trump, “Make America great again” written in Mandarin.


COULTER:  You have groups, huge groups of Hispanics, and they`re all 

chanting “Build the wall” because you got it right before when you slipped 

and said something about the protesters versus the Trump supporters and you 

called the Trump supporters the Americans.  They are the Americans!

MATTHEWS:  That was a slip.  No, first of all, that was a slip.  I was 

looking at the American flags against the Mexican flags.  And it was a 

slip.  And I tell you…

COULTER:  But they are…

MATTHEWS:  … I don`t know, I assume most of the people…

COULTER:  … standing for being Americans…

MATTHEWS:  … there are Americans…

COULTER:  … whether they`re Mandarin…

MATTHEWS:  But I assume most of the Hispanic people there are Americans or 

they wouldn`t be out protesting.

COULTER:  No, but whether they are Hispanic or Mandarin, the ones inside 

the stadium are Americans and think of themselves as Americans and want the 

laws enforced!  And it`s just unbelievable…


MATTHEWS:  You caught it.  It was a slip.  I mean, it wasn`t intentional.  

I can tell you. 

Let me go to Katy Tur right now.  Katy, what are we doing?  What`s going on 

right now?

I can`t hear anything.  What`s going on?  We can`t hear…

TUR:  Well, right now, right in this melee, this crowd right now, there`s 

two people who are going at it debating the merits of the wall.  And what 

you have is the protesters on this side and you have the Donald Trump 

supporters on the other side.  There`s a Confederate flag, as well as some 

American flags and Mexican flags here.

This scene has been playing out in city across city.  And you might think 

that the Donald Trump campaign would be unnerved by this.  But the reality 

is, when I`ve had private conversations with a number of their aides, they 

say this sort of thing only helps their cause.  It only helps their 

message.  These images are images that gird his supporters, that embolden 

them, that make his supporters like him more because they feel that he is 

being – standing up for their rights, instead of backing down to what they 

call PC culture. 

Right now, we have riot police behind me who are trying to move the line.  

They have their batons out.  They`re trying to push these protesters back.  

It`s really not working very well, frankly.

MATTHEWS:  This is terrible.  We`re going to keep covering this…


MATTHEWS:  I hope it doesn`t get any better.  (sic) I mean, this is 

terrible, what`s going on right now.

TUR:  … right this way.

MATTHEWS:  Confederate flags, American flags Mexican flags.  This – I`m 

going to stick with this.  Jacob Rascon, are you there and reachable?  Is 

the sound working with you?  We can`t get to Jacob.  I`d rather get back to 

the action here.

Joy, your thoughts here about this.  American flags, Confederate flag now 

showing, Mexican flags – I never thought the Mexican flags was a 

particularly good public relations move here by the protesters.  But your 


REID:  Well, I think that – and I think Ann really sort of got to it.  A 

person who was a Trump supporter landlocked in Indiana or in West Virginia 

is not concerned about Mexican migrants pouring over the southern border.  

That isn`t the point. 

It is a symbol for a larger context, which is what I call demographic 

panic, this notion that “they,” in scare quotes, are taking away the 

country from “us,” in scare quotes, this idea that there is an ethnic sort 

of war being waged against people who consider themselves more legitimately 

America.  This is old America versus new America, and I think that 


MATTHEWS:  Well, you think that`s true?

REID:  I do.  I think…

MATTHEWS:  You think people were here legally – let`s just try the law 

question.  I know it`s ethnic, but – people who`ve been here a generation 

or two legally, even if their parents came not that way, do you think 

people don`t think of them as Americans?

REID:  I do.  I think that if you look at polling, particularly of Trump 

supporters, they overestimate the percentage of Hispanics who are in the 

country illegally.  They think it`s like 70 percent, when it`s like 15 

percent, right?  They think and perceive people who are of Hispanic 

heritage as being illegitimately in the country.  If they hear someone 

speaking Spanish…

MATTHEWS:  Well, they`re voting.  That can`t be the case.


MATTHEWS:  … percent of the electorate is Latino.

REID:  Right.  And they believe that if they`re voting, they`re voting 

illegally and they`re sneaking into the polls and they believe if they`re 

speaking Spanish, they`re violating some sort of compact with the rest 


There is a sense of demographic panic that`s taking place…


REID:  … as the younger generations are more and the more non-white.  And 

let`s just be frank.  “Illegal immigration,” quote, unquote, unlawful 

migration is a symbol for demographic panic.  And that is what Donald Trump 

is stoking.

MATTHEWS:  Yes.  Well, I made that same mistake myself tonight, looking at 

the American flags and saying “the Americans.”  What a terrible mistake.  I 

apologize for that to everybody.  I mean it.

COULTER:  But it isn`t!  As I told you, they have Mandarins in the 

audience.  They have Hispanics in the audience!

MATTHEWS:  OK, I didn`t see all those, Ann.


REID:  Asian-Americans.

COULTER:  … exactly the opposite demographic panic!  It has nothing to do 

with demographics!

REID:  It`s called Asian-Americans, Ann.  Asian-Americans…

COULTER:  It has nothing to do with…

REID:  … not Mandarins.

COULTER:  It has nothing to do with – with – with demographics.

REID:  That`s throwback language.  It`s not 1913.  They`re called Asian-

Americans, not Mandarins.

COULTER:  Anyway, I was saying it has nothing to do with demographics.  It 

has to do with whether you are here legally or illegally, whether you 

consider yourself an American, whether the laws on the books are going to 

be enforced!  We are having an invasion of people…

REID:  But if…

COULTER:  … across the southern border…



REID:  If your default in discussing Asian-Americans is to call people 


MATTHEWS:  I think we`re…


REID:  … not bringing back arcane language here, Ann.  Let`s just…


REID:  … talk about people as Americans, Asian-Americans.  That`s the…

COULTER:  No!  You`re not going to police my language!  They are Mandarins!


COULTER:  It`s written in Mandarin!

MATTHEWS:  I think somebody just said and I agree with, which is if you 

consider yourself American, you are.

Anyway, my thanks to Katy Tur and Jacob Rascon on the ground in San Diego.  

Joy Reid and Ann Coulter, thank you for that.

Coming up, the Democratic playbook.  Donald Trump has defied all 

expectations in his candidacy so far, but he`s also brought together 

Democrats in the fight against him.  How do Democrats like Hillary Clinton, 

Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren unite in a winning strategy against Trump?  

That`s going to be something.

Plus, on the eve of this Memorial Day weekend, I`m going to speak with 

Vietnam veteran Artie Muller (ph) as his motorcycle event, Rolling Thunder, 

rolls into the capital – the nation`s capital right here around me and 

also talk about their invited guest to Rolling Thunder who`s not – well, 

his name is Donald Trump.

We`ve also got the HARDBALL roundtable tonight coming here, and they`ll 

tell me something I don`t know this Friday evening.

And finally, “Let Me Finish” tonight by paying tribute to an unusual hero 

of the equality movement. 

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS:  Well, Marco Rubio has emerged from hibernation, after bowing out 

of the Republican presidential race back in March.

And he`s vowing to do all he can to prevent Hillary Clinton from becoming 

president.  Earlier today, Rubio tweeted – quote – “In Florida, only two 

legitimate candidates on the ballot in November.  I won`t vote for Clinton.  

And after years of asking people to vote, I won`t abstain.  If you can live 

with a Clinton presidency for four years, that`s your right.  I can`t and 

will do what I can to prevent it.”

As far as Rubio`s political future goes, he said he doesn`t expect to run 

for reelection in what could become a vulnerable GOP Senate seat in Florida 

this November.  

We will be right back.  




he started his campaign in his very first hour criticizing and insulting 

immigrants.  You know.  

He called immigrants rapists, murderers, criminals.  It was disgraceful.  

And then he went onto insult women, to insult John McCain, a war hero, to 

insult, to make fun of a man with a disability, to denigrate Muslims.  

Honest to goodness, there`s nobody left by the time he gets finished.  


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  

That was Hillary Clinton last night in California blasting Donald Trump, of 

course, whom she hopes to face in the general election.  But before that, 

she must first finish off, if you will, Bernie Sanders, who is mounting a 

very aggressive challenge ahead of the California primary coming up on June 


Chris Jansing covers the Sanders campaign for NBC News.

Chris, what`s happening?  You`re not where the action is right now, this 

awful stuff going on in San Diego right now.  


CHRIS JANSING, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  I know.  I`m just hanging out over the 

Pacific Ocean.  And I`m listening to what`s going on there.  And I`m 

thinking, we thought the Democrats had a lot going on.

And, actually, to be fair, they do.  The last 24 hours have been dominated 

by this back and forth over whether or not Bernie Sanders would actually 

debate Donald Trump.  They were talking about the biggest stadium in 

California and getting the networks to pay millions of dollars, how many 

millions of people would watch it.  Would it be the biggest debate in the 

history of debates?  

And, of course, in the end, after saying he would, then he wouldn`t and 

then he would, Donald Trump late this afternoon puts out a statement and 

says, look, it looks like Bernie Sanders is in second place.  I`m not going 

to debate the second-place person.  

What it did do was obviously, though, was really tweak Hillary Clinton at a 

time when was once a double-digit lead here in California has dwindled to 

within the margin of error.  Last couple of polls had them two and three 

points apart.  

In the end, look, you know what the numbers are, Chris.  This isn`t going 

to change the outcome of this.  What it would do, if Bernie Sanders wins 

here, is give him some more momentum going into that convention.  He`s 

already won these delegates on the platform drafting committee.  

But they want more.  And when I say they, his supporters, who I talked to 

again this morning south of Los Angeles.  They want him to continue to 

push, push Hillary Clinton to the left.  They have got some issues that are 

key for them, things like the $15 minimum wage.  

So, this is really a fight here.  They`re both up on the air on television.  


JANSING:  Both of them are having all of these events.  And they think that 

by the time the 7th comes around, Bernie Sanders could have had 250,000 

people to events here in California – Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  Chris Jansing from beautiful California right there on the 

water.  What a shot.  Thank you so much, Chris, for that reporting.  

Assuming that she will be the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton is 

throwing everything she has at Republican Donald Trump already.  But will 

any of these attacks stick?  Great question.

Bob Shrum is a veteran Democratic strategist OK.  And Ron Reagan is an 

MSNBC political analyst.

OK.  Here we go.  

Bob Shrum, Donald Trump goes after Hillary Clinton on everything.  I think 

he basically goes after her.  He is after the Vince Foster story, accusing 

them of hanky-panky or mayhem or whatever the hell he`s accusing them of 

these days, going back to Whitewater, digging up some more dirt on that 

apparently, having his research staff dig that up.

Everything he throws at her, and it keeps her busy.  I guess that`s his 

strategy.  Just have her always on defense.  

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Well, she`s not on defense.  I think 

she`s doing a very good job of going after him.  

What she wants to do is define him going into the general election.  He`s 

helping by what he says at all these rallies.  I do hope that they 

supplement this with a real positive advertising campaign for her before 

the convention, because she needs to reconnect with people.  They need to 

have a better understanding of her.  

And then, in the acceptance speech, which is the only unmediated 

communication that`s watched by tens of millions of people, she needs to be 

able to deal with the stereotypes about her, not by refuting them 

specifically, but demonstrating qualities of leadership, empathy, the 

capacity to connect with people.  

MATTHEWS:  How about the trustworthiness one?  Would you address that 

personally?  Would you take that on?  

SHRUM:  You can`t address trustworthy by saying, I`m trustworthy.  You have 

to demonstrate it.  

But I think, if people see her in an acceptance speech, where they`re 

really listening to her, and they believe her, they believe that she means 

what she says, that will begin to change that number.  

Look, Al Gore moved about 17 points in an acceptance speech in 47 minutes 

in 2000.  So, I think that`s the challenge she faces.  

MATTHEWS:  Ron, what do you think of this?  You haven`t been on lately.  

So, I`m wondering what your big thoughts are about this.  Look, Hillary 

Clinton is running for the nomination.  It looks like Bernie Sanders could 

knock her off in California.  He could win the last round even after she`s 

– it`s going to be like the War of 1812.  The last battle comes about 

after the war is decided.  But it`s not going to be clear-cut at all, it 

looks like.


I mean, listen, if Bernie Sanders takes California, that`s a big chunk of 

delegates.  It`s winner-take-all there.  He could nearly catch her.  I 

haven`t done the math just recently, but he could nearly catch her in terms 

of pledged delegates.  

But she still – she needs to be pivoting towards Trump.  She`s still the 

presumptive nominee.  And she needs Bernie Sanders` supporters, of course, 

to be on board with her.  So, she can`t waste her time attacking Bernie 

Sanders.  She has to assume that she`s going to be nominee, play nice with 


Elizabeth Warren, the possibilities of her as a V.P. choice, that would be 

very pleasing for the Sanders supporters, one would assume.  Now, Elizabeth 

Warren has been doing a great job going after Trump on Twitter.  

MATTHEWS:  Well, that`s the great question.  

Bob, you first, and then Ron on that, because I watched the 2000 race you 

mentioned, and I watched Ralph Nader running as the third-party candidate.  

He was getting up about nine points, pushing almost to double digits.  Gore 

had to move over to the left to catch him.  He got him down to three 

points, not enough, of course, because of Florida.

But he got him down, but at the cost of moving away from the center.  Can 

Hillary Clinton risk going over to the left to try to match Bernie?  Will 

she lose the center?

SHRUM:  I don`t think in 2000 we moved to the left.  The truth of the 

matter is that we went after Nader on – with advertising.  


MATTHEWS:  But you joined him in his critique of the corporate country, the 

corporate America, didn`t you? 

SHRUM:  No.  No.  No.  

Gore had his own critique of what was going on.  He certainly wasn`t 

repeating what Nader said.  Look, I think there`s a basis here for Sanders 

and Clinton to get together.  I think it involves a reform of the 

nominating process and I think it also involves some platform 


But in New York, she basically endorsed the $15-an-hour minimum wage.  I 

don`t think this is going to be as tough as we commentators and people in 

the media make it out to be.  I think he`s going to come on board.  He said 

she`s clearly better than Donald Trump.  

And I think he is going to help to bring his people around just as she 

helped to bring her people around in 2008.  


MATTHEWS:  I didn`t understand you.  When you say we – won`t be as tough 

as we commentators, you mean you`re saying it`s not going to be tough, but 

I`m saying it`s going to be tough, so the we doesn`t really apply here, 



MATTHEWS:  What do you mean by that we?  


MATTHEWS:  No, what it means is, I`m wrong and you`re right is what you`re 

really saying.  

SHRUM:  No.  What I mean is the media love this fight and assume there will 

be a fight.  

MATTHEWS:  Stop talking about media.  


MATTHEWS:  OK.  You`re on the air as a commentator.  OK?  You`re one of 

them.  So, I`m playing innocent here.


SHRUM:  I know.  I`m commenting on the media.  

But I do want to say, by the way, Ron`s absolutely right about the 

potential power of Elizabeth Warren on a ticket.  And it`s not just because 

she appeals to the left.  I think her appeal goes across the board.  

MATTHEWS:  Ron, you think that ticket is a good ticket, the two, Hillary 

Clinton and a woman to her left, Elizabeth Warren?  You think that makes 


SHRUM:  I do, and for a variety of reasons.  I think Elizabeth Warren is 

just very strong.  

In fact, the danger to Hillary Clinton is being overshadowed by Elizabeth 

Warren.  But Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton on the same ticket vs. 

Donald Trump pushes all of Donald Trump`s buttons, doesn`t it?

He`s going to be going up against two tough women who can, frankly, take 

him apart in a debate.  Either one of them could.  

MATTHEWS:  With Carly Fiorina for secretary of commerce.  We will throw 

that one in to drive him really crazy.


MATTHEWS:  Anyway, thank you.  Have a happy, a good Memorial Day weekend, 

as we mark an important part of our country`s legacy.

Anyway, Bob Shrum and Ron Reagan, thank you.  

SHRUM:  Thank you.  

MATTHEWS:  Coming up, marking Memorial Day.  We honor those who died for 

our country this weekend.

And Up next, I`m going to speak with a Vietnam vet who has organized 

Rolling Thunder to bring attention to prisoners of war and Americans 

missing in action.  

HARDBALL back after this.  


MATTHEWS:  That`s Memorial Bridge crossing for Virginia.  You can see 

Arlington behind there, Arlington Cemetery.

Anyway, welcome back to HARDBALL.

That`s the sound of Rolling Thunder, the motorcycle rally rolling into 

Washington last year.  Nearly 19,000 bikers attended then, bringing the 

crowd total to over a million people here.

Well, the event, which has been held every Memorial Day weekend for nearly 

30 years now as a tribute to prisoners of war, basically in Vietnam, and 

Americans missing in action over there, this year, Donald Trump will be in 

attendance, where he`s set to speak here in Washington on the Mall Sunday 


Artie Muller, a Vietnam vet, is executive director of Rolling Thunder.  

What`s the message, sir?  


MATTHEWS:  I mean, it`s fun.  Everybody comes to town here.  

MULLER:  Well, yes.  

But through the years, our government has constantly told us that anybody 

that was captured and alive was dead.  About seven or eight years ago, 

Russia found one POW they had during – they captured during World War II.  

And they put him in an insane asylum because they thought he was crazy.  

A new doctor was in there, and the guy said a few words.  And he said this 

guy isn`t crazy, he`s just Hungarian.  So, after being held up for 50 years 

like that, they finally let him go back home to Hungary.  

And February of this year, Russia found – had another prisoner.  And he 

was in Hitler`s Panzer group, the tanks.  And he was captured during the 

war, and he was 14 when he was in the group.  And he just got released this 

past February.  

MATTHEWS:  What about Vietnam?  Anybody, any infantry guys?  We never 

discovered any infantry?  And we know the flyers, they got out, but what 

about the infantry people?  Do we have anybody over there, any evidence of 

an American still held?  

MULLER:  Yes.  

There`s been plenty through the years.  And, what do call, DPMO just takes 

it, looks at this, and says, well, that person is a liar.  They`re crazy.  

What do you call it?  They don`t do the investigation they`re supposed to 


They really never sat down and talked to these countries and said, well, 

why don`t you turn over any POWs you do have?  Find them and we can end 

this issue.  

I don`t care what country is it, and whether it`s Southeast Asia, whether 

it`s Russia or China or North Korea.  Nobody is gaining anything by holding 



It makes sense to me.  I don`t know why they would torture somebody.  They 

probably – well, I don`t know.  

MULLER:  Yes, neither do I.  

And a lot of it is maybe they don`t want to be caught with holding the bag.  


Thank you.  Good luck this weekend.  

Why are you having Trump, by the way?  

MULLER:  We just figured…

MATTHEWS:  Do you invite everybody, or just him?  Did you invite Hillary?

MULLER:  No, we invited him.  No. 

MATTHEWS:  Most of the guys like Trump?  

MULLER:  Yes.  


MULLER:  We need some change in the government.  

And I think Congress and the Senate is a little afraid of him because they 

can`t buy him.  We need somebody to take over this country and run it the 

way it`s supposed to be.  

Obama has put this country in such debt.  


MULLER:  How are we going to repay that debt?  We et Hillary in there, it 

will be more debt.  

We have our military that`s retiring, and they`re making them pay for their 

health care now.  And she says, well, if I become president, I`m going to 

give all the illegals free health care.  How can we afford that package 

when we can`t afford…

MATTHEWS:  Did she say that?  

MULLER:  Yes, she did.  


Well, thank you, Artie Muller.  I got to check that one out.  Thank you for 

coming on.

MULLER:  Thank you.  

MATTHEWS:  Up next, too good to be true?  Bernie says he is willing to 

debate Donald Trump, but what does the GOP nominee-to-be say?  We have got 

his answer next.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. 



DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I think it would get high 

ratings.  It would be in big arena somewhere.  And we can have a lot of fun 

with it.  We`ve had a couple of calls from the networks already.  

KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  If you raise $10 million, you`ll get on 

a debate stage with Bernie Sanders?  

TRUMP:  I`d love to.  You know, I would love to.  



That was, of course, Donald Trump yesterday sounding interested at that 

point at a debate with Senator Bernie Sanders.  Well, today, he changed his 

tune.  He said, “Now that I`m the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems 

inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher.  Therefore, as 

much as I want to debate Bernie Sanders and it would be an easy payday, I 

will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, 

probably crooked Hillary Clinton or whoever it may be.”

Trump sounded a similar note at his rally this afternoon.  Let`s watch him 

from here.  


TRUMP:  You know what, you don`t want – if you`re in first place, you 

don`t want to debate a guy who`s in second place.  But it could be I`ll end 

up with Bernie.  But I hear what they`re going to do.  They don`t want 

Bernie, because, look, he`s a socialist.  Give me a break.  

Have we come that far?  Have we come that far?  I don`t think so.  


MATTHEWS:  Well, here`s how Senator Sanders responds to the news that Trump 

won`t debate him.  



going to debate me.  I heard he was not going to debate me.  I heard he was 

going to debate me, and now you`re telling me that he`s not going debate 


Well, you know, I hope he changes his mind again.  I mean, Mr. Trump is 

known to change his mind many times in day.  I would – Trump goes around, 

he`s a bully.  He`s a big tough guy.  

Well, Mr. Trump, what are you afraid of?  


MATTHEWS:  Well, why Trump changed his mind?  

I`m joined with tonight`s roundtable.  Richard Fowler is nationally 

syndicated radio host.  He`s right to Jennifer Jacobs is right one over 

there, she`s nationally political reporter for “Bloomberg Politics”, Ken 

Vogel is chief investigative reporter for “Politico”.

So, in order, let`s start going here.  Why did this not happen?  Pretend 

we`re all Don King here.  What happened to this fight?  How come it`s not 


RICHARD FOWLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  I think Trump has no need to debate 

him.  I mean, he`s like, I can sit back and watch this whole popcorn fight 

finish between Hillary and Bernie and not get in the middle of it.  

But to be honest, the only person that benefits from Bernie/Trump debate is 

Bernie Sanders.  It puts him on a main stage, that puts his ideals out 

there.  And so, he wants to debate like hell.  

MATTHEWS:  I think he would be declared winner from the start.  

FOWLER:  Oh, yes.

MATTHEWS:  I just see these things, go Bernie, beat the spread.  You know, 

he beat the flashy guy from New York.  I can see the way it works.

JENNIFER JACOBS, BLOOMBERG POLITICS:  But Trump could have had him stand up 

there and be forced to either attack or defend Hillary Clinton.  Trump 

could have stood there and lashed out at Hillary Clinton over and over 

again and waited to see.  

MATTHEWS:  Hillary would be the collateral damage.  

KEN VOGEL, POLITICO:  I find it one thing we can say what it wasn`t about 

was propriety.  Trump said, it would inappropriate, like all of a sudden, 

Trump cares about what is appropriate.  Come on now.  We don`t believe 


I actually wonder if maybe his people were telling him or maybe the 

Republican Party was telling him you don`t want to get in the way of this.  

Let them duke it out.  It could have really caused mischief.  

MATTHEWS:  You first along back here, in roundtable style.  Here we are 

Friday, 27th of May, right, getting close to July.  Which way is this race 

shifting, inside the Democratic Party and across the board between the two 

parties?  Which way is it – where are the movement that you see right now?  

Who`s winning, who`s losing?

VOGEL:  Yes, some of these polls are even ahead of Hillary Clinton in key 

battleground states were really shocking.  And I think we see some –  

MATTHEWS:  We`ve got a new one with him ahead.

VOGEL:  Some of the same adjustment of expectations that we saw during the 

Republican primary, people were like, you know what, maybe he`s not a 

laughingstock.  Maybe he has a chance.  

He`s the Republican nominee.  He has a chance of beating Hillary – he has 

a chance of being next president of the United States despite the fact that 

all conventional wisdom would say his candidacy that really has no 


MATTHEWS:  Jennifer – Jennifer, what`s going on?  

JACOBS:  Oh, I think it`s just a strong contrast with Hillary Clinton and 

Bernie Sanders.  Her – she and her campaign like to be 100 percent in 

control of everything.  And that`s just not happening in the 2016 cycle.  

You saw Donald Trump dispatch all his GOP competitors.  And Hillary Clinton 

just hasn`t been able to do that.  It just seems like she`s maybe on two 

tracks.  She`s got one track where she`s trying to get to the numbers to be 

the nominee and, secondarily, she`ll wait and figure out how to bring the 

Sanders people on board.  

MATTHEWS:  We have to take a break.  

By the way, I just want to go over somebody said before tonight.  I have to 

get this straight.  When I saw the Mexican flags, and I saw the American 

flags arriving, I said the Americans.  I should have never made that 

reference.  I feel terrible.  

Just because you`re waving an American flag doesn`t make you better than 

somebody on the other side of the argument who doesn`t have the flag with 

them.  It`s not true.  It`s not true.  That isn`t the fact.  

Anyway, up next, a live update as protests get heated in San Diego.  Well, 

watch, this is still going on, this stuff.  

HARDBALL back after this.  


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back.  

Let`s go back to San Diego and NBC`s Jacob Rascon.  

Jacob, what`s happening right now?  

JACOB RASCON, NBC NEWS:  All right.  So, in the last few moments, what 

we`re seeing is riot, police in full riot gear who have come in between the 

supporters and the protesters.  But, really, there are supporters who are 

mixed in with the protesters.  I personally saw several fights break out.  

They started throwing water and somebody had pepper spray.  One of the 

supporters sprayed it.  Everybody else could – you could smell it.  You 

could feel it.  

I was hit in the head with some water.  On and off, there were fights 

because some on either side had just mixed in with one another.  

Right now, what I`m looking at is police in full riot gear with batons 

pushing people back, pushing me back.  As I`m speaking, I`m watching and 

for the most part, they are divided.  Trump supporters on one side.  

Protesters (AUDIO GAP)

Protesters crowd, they chose to come over.  Go ahead, Chris.  

MATTHEWS:  I was going to ask you, why are the Trump people sticking 

around?  Just to taunt the protesters.  Why don`t they leave?  

RASCON:  So, it`s on both sides, Chris, I would say.  The protesters who 

come and stick around want to stick around because they want to meet the 

supporters who are coming out.  And I don`t know who starts it really 

because the supporters are let out and the protesters start yelling at 

them, but the supporters also just saw Trump, they heard him talk about 

building a wall, they`re excited about it.  

And they come out and this is what happens.  We see the clash.  

MATTHEWS:  Let me ask you, are they still separated, the two crowds, 

physically?  The Trump people and the protesters, are they still separated?  

RASCON:  You know what, as we were speaking and I was telling you that the 

police in full riot gear were trying to separate them, there aren`t enough 

of them to separate the crowd.  Because right now I`m looking at a big 

crowd of supporters and protesters face-to-face, throwing water bottles at 

each other, shouting insults.  

And it`s worth noting that getting in between most of these fights are a 

few people, one man in particular wearing a “free hugs” shirt, several 

others who jump in between all the fights they can, who are sort of 

neutral.  Not the police, of course.  And say, don`t fight, keep it 

peaceful.  Usually they`re successful.  But there aren`t enough of them.  

As I said, we`ve seen several fistfights break out.  

Now, it`s worth noting as well – I see my cameraman.  We kind of got lost 

in the fights.  The police have declared for the first time an unlawful 

assembly, which is the warning, the first one that they give before they 

say they`re going to make arrests for the first time.  They`ll make a 

couple more warnings then start moving in and arresting people.  That`s 

what has happened in Albuquerque.  That`s what happened in Anaheim.  And 

that`s what will happen here.  

MATTHEWS:  Hold on now, Jake.  Take care of yourself.  Let`s bring in Jim 

Cavanaugh, the expert.  

Jim, it seems to me, as you said in an earlier appearance on this network, 

this is going to be a rolling thing.  It`s going to go from now at least to 

the conventions.  Will police have to mount up, bulk up with more officers 

on the street, more weaponry, more whatever, horses even, and that will 

rile up the crowds to escalate as well?  


I think we`re going to see this all summer.  I don`t see an end to it  

I think you see the thin blue line in action here, but it`s reserved police 

action.  These are officers dealing with civil disobedience, so far on a 

minor scale.  I mean, it`s water bottles thrown, a lot of the taunting, 

people dancing in the street.  But, you know, fights break out, some 

arrests made.  

But like Jacob said what`s going to happen now is unlawful assembly is 

declared and you`ll see that team of tactical officers in the near future 

probably try to move that crowd, without gas, just by walking and walking 

and try to move the crowd to disperse the crowd.  They`ll kind of try to do 

that slowly.  If there`s violence, they`ll try to arrest those people 


MATTHEWS:  So I don`t know how to explain this.  Maybe you can.  But we`re 

looking at people who are angry.  And it seems to me that they`re angry 

because of the insult.  It`s like insult to injury.  

They`ve had a hard time, some of them in this country, when a lot of them 

have had problems with not having documentation, all that.  And then to 

have someone go out there and call them rapists, you know, build a wall to 

keep you out, to keep anybody like you out.  What has caused this anger 

level?  Were they trying to figure it out?

CAVANAUGH:  Well, I think, you know, you`ve hit it on the head, Chris.  

When we talked the other day, you talked about pride.  You talked about it 

earlier today.  

That the people with the Mexican flag are Mexican-Americans.  The people 

with American flag are American.  All these people are Americans.  And 

they`re all going through these opposing views.  

When you insult someone`s heritage, insult them for who they are, when you 

insult someone for who they are by calling Senator Warren a derisive name, 

like Pocahontas, you insult all Native Americans.  People take these things 

emotionally deep.  

So, the commanders of the police have to understand that.  There`s a lot of 

emotion there.  

MATTHEWS:  Yes, okay.  

CAVANAUGH:  They`ve got to keep those separated.  

MATTHEWS:  Well said, Jim.  We`ve got to get back now to  Jim Cavanaugh – 

thank you..  

Let`s go back to Jacob Rascon.

Jacob, you`re there.

RASCON:  Yes, we just watched what was almost a fistfight between a member 

of the media and one of the protesters.  And then again we have on my left, 

we have the police in full riot gear, they`re standing there making sure 

that they don`t spill onto the streets over there.  They have the batons 

out, of course.  Then over here, if we swing around, we`re going to now 

look at where the protesters and supporters are not separated.  They mingle 

here one and another.  

We see here on the left, several of the protesters.  We see here on the 

right a lot of make America great again hats.  It`s really that maybe there 

aren`t enough of them right here.  We know there`s a big police presence 

300 feet away.  

We`ve seen the SWAT team.  We have seen the few hundred police officers.  

But they`re not here, they`re not separating for some reason any longer 

this crowd.  Again, they`ve declared an unlawful assembly.  They say they 

will protest, that they will arrest people.  

I`m hearing it again, the warning about the unlawful assembly.  Usually, 

they give three or four of these warnings and then start closing in.  They 

go after one or two, they arrest them, and then some people get scared and 

they leave.  

We`ll see if that happens again.  We`ll go in here.  It looks like police 

in full riot gear are trying to get in and separate the crowds really for 

the third or fourth time.  We`ll see if they`re successful this time.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They moved him out like he was Donald Trump (ph).  

MATTHEWS:  Let me go back to Jim Cavanaugh.  

Jim, you see the maneuvering going on by the police.  

CAVANAUGH:  Yes, it`s very good, Chris.  

What they`re trying to do is separate.  But of course, you understand that 

you can`t tell by everyone what they look like, who they support.  So they 

try to do it in general to get between people.  

What they try to read too though is the psychology of the crowd, the mood.  

And right now, it`s not very violent or anything and they`re reading that, 

the police are reading that.  Because if you start with a lot missiles 

being thrown and windows being broken and fights and assaults, then the 

tempo of the violence increases.  With a crowd, it can happen quickly.  

So they`re keeping it down.  The police aren`t pressing it very hard but 

they`re making their announcements.  They know this crowd is OK right now 

for violence.  It`s not a mob.  It`s just demonstrators.  It`s democracy, 

it`s always a little messy.  

But I think San Diego PD is right now, they have their finger on the tempo, 

they`re doing just the right thing.  Not too much, not too little.  Just 

the right thing.  

MATTHEWS:  Richard Fowler wants to get in here – Richard.  

FOWLER:  Well, Chris, I`ve covered both Ferguson and Baltimore, and I think 

what you can sense from that crowd is there`s a lot of anger in this 

country.  Whether you`re Mexican, whether you`re African-American, there`s 

anger.  And this anger`s playing out in this election, right?  You see it 

on the Bernie side, you see it on the Trump side.  

Politically, what Hillary Clinton is going to do here is figure out a way 

to encapsulate this anger and use it for her campaign.  Right now, she`s 

not doing it, but this is – 

MATTHEWS:  Well said.  I think that`s a part of the story we`ve got to 

cover greater.  We wish more opportunities than just looking at this kind 

of situation.  

Anyway, Jacob, you`re back on.  

RASCON:  All right, Chris.  We just want to talk to somebody who`s willing 

to talk without saying F-Trump.  This is Daniel.

Daniel, you`re from San Diego?  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  From Chicago originally, I came here when I joined the 

Marine Corps.  

RASCON:  Why did you feel it was important for you to come out here?  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Just to show that Trump is pure evil.  If you vote for 

him, it`s evil.  It`s not good for our country.  I`ve got to show support 

for the protesters against Trump.  He`s not helping the country.  

RASCON:  What is your top beef with Trump?  What most makes you upset about 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What he says about Mexico, building a wall.  Like it 

wouldn`t be the USA without Mexico.  We`re all the same.  

And I know he`s making a difference between the rich and the poor.  He 

cares about the rich people, he don`t care about the average people.  

RASCON:  You`ve been here watching the back and forth, the fighting, the 

police coming in.  What do you make of all of this?  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It`s crazy.  Like I think it would be crazy, somebody`s 

running for president and you see how many people what this brings up.  Him 

just running for president.  Look at it, brings out all these different 

emotions, it`s crazy.  


RASCON:  I think we`re going to go.  Thanks, Daniel.  

Go ahead, Chris.  

MATTHEWS:  Thank, Jacob Rascon, good reporting there.  

We`re hearing a very loud crowd there.  It`s hard to tell how close they 

were.  They must have been very close to your microphone because it was 

really a roar.  

Let me get some thoughts here.  

Jennifer, you`re watching this as well.  

JACOBS:  It looks like neither side wants to let the other side win.  They 

don`t want to back off and let the other side – give them more space.  

They just feed off each other`s energy.  It seems like there`s some real 

outrage on the one side and the other side, they seem to just – you know, 

it`s those racial contrasts played to those nationalist white voters that 

Donald Trump is trying to maximize.  

MATTHEWS:  We`re also hearing passions on the other side.  The protesting 


VOGEL:  It`s a microcosm.  

MATTHEWS:  As Richard pointed out, we don`t know.  That voice we`re hearing 

in a crowd, of course.  

VOGEL:  And it`s a microcosm of Donald Trump`s campaign.  He is exploiting 

something that is out there, a real feeling among the electorate.  

MATTHEWS:  Does this work?  

VOGEL:  It obviously did work, he`s the Republican nominee.  

MATTHEWS:  No, no, I mean, in the general?  

VOGEL:  That`s the open question.  Hillary Clinton may not be the perfect 

opponent to challenge it, because she is also so deeply unpopular, in a 

totally different way.  

MATTHEWS:  No, but she doesn`t cause riots.  

VOGEL:  That`s right.  The exact opposite.  

FOWLER:  Riot is based on the idea of excitement.  Whether it`s anger or 

excitement – what Hillary Clinton has to do is catch it, put it in a 


MATTHEWS:  Historically, America goes to the safe candidate.  Hillary looks 

safer than this.  

Anyway, my thanks to NBC`s Jacob Rascon doing great reporting out there in 

San Diego.  Also to my roundtable, Richard Fowler, to my left, Jennifer 

Jacobs, they didn`t give enough time tonight.  Well, we have to cover the 


That does it for me and HARDBALL tonight.

Our coverage continues with my colleague Chris Hayes on “ALL IN.”




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