Hardball With Chris Matthews, Transcript 10/3/2016
Date: October 3, 2016
Guest: Laura Bassett, John Feehery, Susan Page, Kellyanne Conway, Michelle
Bernard, David Fahrenthold
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The tax man cometh.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
You know those old Polaroid photographs, you`d shoot the photo, then and as
you shook the paper, you`d see the picture slowly come into view before
you? Is that what we`re seeing with Donald Trump?
Day after day, the real man reveals more and more of himself. We watch him
on stage or read his tweets and hear what he says on Fox, and gradually,
the picture comes into focus. It hasn`t happened all at once. His people
get him to use the teleprompter so he won`t speak what he really thinks off
the cuff. But he does it anyway, whacking away at Hillary as a crazy,
criminal, whatever. He can`t be stopped from gradually, relentlessly being
We have the popular image of Trump, the successful real estate developer,
for example, who celebrates his wealth and business acumen, the man who ran
casinos, luxury hotels, and even an airline. But then you have the other
Trump, the one that emerges from reporting like this weekend`s bombshell
“New York Times” story.
That`s the Trump that according to “The Times,” declared a $916 million
loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a tax deduction so substantial, it
could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for
up to 18 years.
Well, the Trump camp has neither denied nor confirmed the reporting.
Surrogates like Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani, in fact, spent the
weekend saying the story shows their candidate is actually a “genius” –
that`s the word used – for successfully navigating and avoiding the tax
Well, today on the trail, Hillary Clinton took a swing at her opponent.
His name is Trump. Let`s watch her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: In the debate, he said it
was smart to avoid paying taxes. Yesterday, his campaign was bragging it
makes him a genius. Here`s my question. What kind of genius loses $1
billion in a single year?
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: This is Trump to a T. He`s taken corporate excess and made a
business model out of it. He abuses his power, games the system, puts his
own interests ahead of the country`s. It`s Trump first and everyone else
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: She`s rolling up the score! Trump defended his business success
at a rally out in Colorado today. Let`s watch it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I understand the tax laws better
than almost anyone, which is why I am one who can truly fix them.
As a businessman and real estate developer, I have legally used the tax
laws to my benefit.
Honestly, I have brilliantly – I have brilliantly used those laws.
The news media is now obsessed with an alleged tax filing from the 1990s…
TRUMP: … at the end of one of the most brutal economic downturns in our
I was able to use the tax laws of this country and my business acumen to
dig out of the real estate mess.
I reached within myself and delivered for my company, employees, my family,
and the communities where my properties existed, and I really delivered.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Meanwhile, Trump the campaigner are also continued to come into
focus this weekend. While advisers and supporters like Newt Gingrich and
Marsha Blackburn have publicly pleaded with Trump to stay on message, Trump
went spectacularly off script on Saturday night. He mocked Hillary Clinton
for her illness, her state of mind and her marriage. Let`s watch him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: She`s supposed to fight all of these different things, and she
can`t make it 15 feet to her car. Give me a break! Give me a break!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: She`s got bad temperament. She`s got – she could be crazy. She
could actually be crazy. She should be in prison, let me tell you. She
should be in prison.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: Hillary Clinton`s only loyalty is to her financial contributors and
to herself. I don`t even think she`s loyal to Bill, you want to know the
TRUMP: And really, folks, really, why should she be, right? Why should
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Wow. And for more on the real Donald Trump, I`m joined now by
NBC`s Hallie Jackson in Richmond, Virginia – she`s right at the VP debate
site for tomorrow night – “USA Today`s Washington bureau chief Susan Page,
she`s with us, and HuffingtonPost, of course, global editorial director
Howard Fineman, also an MSNBC political analyst.
Hallie, you`re on the site right now, but let`s talk about Donald Trump
this weekend. Was there an effort to get him to talk along the lines that
he could win the election? Now, I`ve been saying this myself. He had a
winning message for weeks. The polling we`ve got tonight to show you shows
that he`s blown it. He`s blown away the role that he had, a lead in this
campaign. He`s now down behind her, a switch of about 5 points on average.
That`s – that can be lethal in a campaign at this point, a month out from
Why doesn`t he talk about the issues that got him to where he is, jobs,
illegal immigration, stupid wars? Why is he talking about Machado and
talking everything else that will never get him a single vote?
HALLIE JACKSON, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Right, and Bill Clinton and Hillary
Clinton and all of these questions. He seems to be unable to help himself
at times, Chris, when you look at what happened Saturday night, and I think
there was evidence of this today.
His campaign wants him to be talking about jobs and about the economy and
about national security. I had an adviser, somebody close to the campaign,
say to me today, I wish I didn`t have to go out and talk about these
issues. I will because the media is picking up on it, but I would rather
be talking about, you know, national security and some of these issues that
have put Trump where he is.
The problem is, he cannot help going back after Hillary Clinton when he
feels attacked. That is what you saw Saturday night in the sound bite that
you played from his rally in PA. Today, he tried to get back on message.
And let it be noted that on Saturday, too, his campaign had a script that
he was supposed to be delivering that night, and we saw again and again him
veer off that script. Rather than looking at the prompter, he riffed.
Today, he was at that national security forum. He was talking with
veterans, trying to get back on message. But with Trump, we have seen it
MATTHEWS: I just wonder, of all the things you can use against Hillary
Clinton in a legitimate debate – you can make all kinds of attacks, I`m
sure everything`s fair these days – but calling her crazy is nutty itself.
Nobody thinks Hillary Clinton is crazy. She`s one of the most sound minds
around. You may not like the mind, but it is sound as hell.
Anyway, let`s look at those brand-new national poll…
MATTHEWS: Go ahead, Hallie.
JACKSON: (INAUDIBLE) Chris, I remember talking to you two months ago about
something very similar to this. Donald Trump takes the attacks against
him, and oftentimes, he turns those exact same attacks around on whoever is
hitting him. So when Hillary Clinton and her campaign comes out and calls
him unhinged, for him…
MATTHEWS: I get it.
JACKSON: … he turns around and calls her crazy. This fits the pattern
that he has, you know, delivered on for the last six months.
MATTHEWS: We used to use that when we were 5 years old, that tactic. It
was “So`s your old man”…
MATTHEWS: … at 5 years old, we`d do that.
Anyway, let`s take a look at the brand-new national polls out today which
tell you that Trump`s been off message. He`s not winning. According to a
new CNN/ORC poll, Trump leads – Clinton leads Trump by 5 points
nationally. Look at these numbers, 47 to 42. Now, this is important.
That`s 5 points. Last month, Trump was ahead by 2 points in the same poll.
That`s a shift of 7.
In the new “New York Times” poll, CBS poll, together, Clinton leads by 4
points, 45 to 41. Last month, the two were tied. So we`re seeing roughly
a 5-point shift.
I want to go to Howard Fineman Here. Howard, you`re seeing – even I
remember (INAUDIBLE) you and I have watched these campaigns. A 5-point
shift is a big deal.
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST GLOBAL EDITORIAL DIR., MSNBC POLITICAL
ANALYST: It is a huge deal, especially this late, and supposedly with an
electorate that`s mostly locked in.
FINEMAN: The last week that he`s had is the worst political week I can
remember any national politician ever having. I`m surprised that he`s even
at 40 percent. I`m surprised…
MATTHEWS: That shows you…
FINEMAN: … packed it up and gone home. And that`s because there is a
strong constituency that`s going to reach out to him, regardless, as an
agent of change.
MATTHEWS: I agree. I agree.
FINEMAN: And we know who those people are. However, he has not expanded a
– he`s back to the core that he was at a while ago, when he – and he blew
an opportunity this last week, starting with the debate, continuing through
today, to expand that base.
MATTHEWS: Susan, if he wins the election – and it`s still possible – the
headlines in your paper, on the front page of “USA Today,” are not going to
be he won because he won the battle of Machado. It`s going to be because
he was able to exploit a perfect storm of anger over illegal immigration,
bad trade deals that cost us lots and lots of manufacturing jobs, and
stupid wars. You can write the headline now if he wins, but he`s not even
writing the headline himself.
And by the way, another point of politics. At this point in the campaign,
the average person is paying attention. Six months ago, when he was saying
a lot of this stuff, a very small percentage were watching. He doesn`t
seem to know that he has the potential to go out on that debate platform or
any one of these rallies and speak to a huge audience and change a lot of
minds with what he said in the beginning.
He doesn`t seem to know that it`s the big circus now. It`s not the little
SUSAN PAGE, “USA TODAY”: Because the landscape is there for a change
MATTHEWS: Thank you. I agree with you. It is not a year for “steady as
PAGE: In fact, that`s the problem that Hillary Clinton has. This is a
year for change, for fresh blood, for shaking things up. But he goes too
far. He – he…
MATTHEWS: Well, what`s Machado, Ms. Machado, Alicia got to do – his bad
treatment of somebody 20 years ago. I mean, it was bad. It`s objectively
bad. He treated a little person, a person without any power, badly. You
apologize, you move on. You say, That wasn`t a good moment for me. You
know, I`m sometimes get in a rush. I`m under pressure like everybody else,
and this beauty contest stuff is a business like everything else. There
are ways you can answer it without prostrating yourself on the ground.
PAGE: Right. And…
MATTHEWS: But you have some dignity (INAUDIBLE)
PAGE: … you can also say, I`ve changed my views on things. People
change their views on things like gay marriage and explain it and people
can accept it. People don`t expect you to be set and perfect forever and
FINEMAN: He`s unwilling to do it, Chris. He`s just personally unwilling
to be told.
MATTHEWS: Well, sometimes, you have to stoop to conquer. Anyway, I
mentioned Trump`s surrogates fanned out across the country, all the
networks across the country, over the weekend to defend the candidate from
the “Times” story about his not paying taxes, or not – well, getting a tax
break of almost a billion dollars back in `95.
Their message – this is insane – Trump`s a genius. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI (R), FMR. NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Our response is he`s a
genius. I mean, the reality is…
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A genius?
GIULIANI: Absolute genius.
It`s a perfectly legal application of the tax code, and he would have been
a fool to not take advantage of it.
GIULIANI: Great men have big failures…
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right…
GIULIANI: … and then they take those failures and they turn them into
great results. I`d rather have a genius like Donald Trump running this
country than someone like Hillary Clinton.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There`s no one
who`s shown nor genius in their way to maneuver around the tax code, as he
rightfully used the laws to do that.
This is a guy who, when lots of businesses went out of business in the
early 1990s, he fought and clawed back to build another fortune, to create
tens of thousands of more jobs. And this is actually a very, very good
story for Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, Hallie and everybody else, when you sit down and do
your taxes, if they`re not too complicated to do yourself at some point,
but most people do – some people use the short form. People look for
deductions. They really do. The husband and wife usually, if they`re a
couple, sit there and sweat it out and they try to be honest.
Now, they`ll take the breaks that are thrown at them, but they generally
go, You know, let`s be straight on this and we`re going to go to bed
tonight feeling good about ourselves. We`re going to do this honestly.
And those people who do that go, I`m getting screwed, I`m paying a very
high percentage, I don`t make that much money, if you add together payroll
tax and income tax and all the other taxes, property taxes. And they go,
I`m being honest, at least. I`ll live with that. I`m an honest guy, an
Then they see Trump, Mr. Wonderful, taking tax breaks for a billion
dollars. They go, I`m a chump. I`m a chump because the big shot there
with the big gold building and the beautiful wife showing off, that guy is
bragging about being – let me get this right again, dear – a genius.
That`s what the guy has to say to his wife. I guess I`m not a genius,
dear, because we didn`t get any money back this year after paying our
taxes. I guess I should study how to be a genius.
It`s insane, the politics of this! Forget morality. Why are they putting
these guys out on the road to say he`s a genius when he`s playing defense?
JACKSON: So a couple of points. One, because that, I am told, is coming
from Donald Trump himself. I`m told by a source familiar with this
process, with this thinking process, that Trump does believe that this tax
issue is going to be overall net neutral for him, that it is not actually
going to hurt him with voters because, Chris, of the flip side of what you
are talking about, that it is potentially relatable that somebody would
look for tax loopholes and tax deductions because a lot of those folks, mom
and dad at home or whatever, filling out their W-2s, going to H&R Block,
are looking for deductions that would help them ultimately save money.
What you are seeing from Donald Trump surrogates and what you are seeing
from Donald Trump himself today at his two stops in Colorado is the
portrayal of Donald Trump as the ultimate success story, somebody who did
maybe lose nearly a billion dollars in a single year in the mid-`90s, but
who went on to have, in his view, success, you know, 10, 15, 20 years
later. That is how Trump is hoping to frame and spin this.
Now, there is a sense, potentially, starting to bubble up with people close
to the campaign that what if there is more? What if there are more tax
numbers that come out, tax releases that come out? How does Donald Trump
then handle that narrative? But at the moment, Trump – again, from what
I`m hearing – doesn`t see this as harmful to his campaign.
MATTHEWS: I just did the math. You have to work – most people would have
to work 2,000 years to make this kind of money…
FINEMAN: I know. I know…
MATTHEWS: … 2,000 years…
MATTHEWS: … even get near his tax break!
FINEMAN: Well, former senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey, who worked with
Trump on some of this stuff, told me the other day, said the story of
Donald Trump is he became addicted to tax losses. He became addicted –
that his business became the manipulation of the tax code…
FINEMAN: … yes – not the actual construction of buildings. And what
Trump did was continue to use the tax breaks to then turn the business into
one of branding and fame and not construction of buildings.
MATTHEWS: Do you understand that? It`s in the paper today.
FINEMAN: And one thing that it`s done is reinforce the question about why
he doesn`t release his tax returns, which…
MATTHEWS: I think we know!
FINEMAN: Eight out of ten Americans say they think he ought to, it would
be the right thing to do. And so it`s underscored the fact that he hasn`t
done that. It raises questions about his – about how well he ran that
business, and also just about the general fairness about not paying…
MATTHEWS: OK, guess who has to defend all this stuff tomorrow night? Mike
MATTHEWS: … all this stuff he doesn`t know anything about, guys.
FINEMAN: The real import of this to me is when Donald Trump gets backed
into a corner, he reacts with 3:00 AM Tweets. The big potential damage, in
a way is not even just this story itself. It`s if in the debate next week,
that he`s in…
FINEMAN: … the town hall on Sunday, if he`s backed into a corner, who
knows what he says in front of those people in that town hall.
MATTHEWS: Yes. And town halls are not a great place to talk about
somebody else`s sex life.
FINEMAN: We`ll see if he listens.
MATTHEWS: Town halls are essentially anti-squeamish. They do not like
conversations about infidelity and stuff like that. Even though whatever
(ph) they think when they`re in the back room or the guys are in the locker
room talking, they don`t like it out in public because it affects their
FINEMAN: I agree with Hallie it`s the ultimate test of whether he can
discipline himself. You`ll see that on Sunday.
MATTHEWS: We`ve had a few of those tests already.
FINEMAN: We already had a few, and he failed them all. Maybe he`ll pass
MATTHEWS: He`s still a billionaire. Anyway, thank you – he`s going to
end up rich. Anyway, thank you, Hallie Jackson. Thank you, Susan Page.
You have a good assignment there, Hallie. And thank you, Howard Fineman,
Coming up – Donald Trump continues to struggle with women voters, whether
he`s interrupting his opponent, which he`s done – I`ve done that, too –
or criticizing the weight of a former Miss Universe, Trump`s got a serious
gender gap, don`t you think? And now a new report from the Associated
Press sure is not going to help him with women voters. We`ll get the
reaction to that from Trump`s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway. She`s
Plus, more bad news for Trump. The New York attorney general, a Democrat -
- you know, he has his own reasons for doing this – has served a “cease
and desist” order against the Trump Foundation, meaning the foundation can
no longer solicit money in the state of New York.
Well, the power of parody on “Saturday night live” continues at its
greatest Saturday night. Let`s watch a bit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEC BALDWIN, “SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE”: My microphone is broken.
BALDWIN: She broke it with Obama. She and Obama stole my microphone.
They took it to Kenya!
BALDWIN: They took my microphone to Kenya, and they broke it and now it`s
BALDWIN: And do you hear that? It`s picking up somebody sniffing here. I
think it`s her sniffs. She`s been sniffing all night. Testing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon, what a duo. “SNL`s” impressions
(ph) (INAUDIBLE) candidates (INAUDIBLE) of course. Remember Tina Fey`s
Sarah Palin? What will Alec Baldwin do to Donald Trump?
Finally, my “election diary” for tonight, October 3rd, on the eve of the
vice presidential debate.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, you saw the national polls a moment ago. We`ve got also a
big round of battleground state polling taken since last Monday`s debate.
For that, we check the HARDBALL “Scoreboard.”
According to new polling from Quinnipiac, Hillary Clinton now has a 5-point
lead over Donald Trump in Florida. That`s a big development. It`s Clinton
46, Trump 41, with Gary Johnson down at 5. The race in Florida was tied,
by the way, in the last Quinnipiac poll, so (INAUDIBLE) matters.
Next to North Carolina, where the poll now has Clinton up by 3. It`s
Clinton 46, Trump 43 and Johnson at 7. That`s roughly where the race was
in the previous poll.
In Pennsylvania, Clinton leads by 4, 45 to 41, again, not much change since
the last Quinnipiac. Next to Ohio, is Donald Trump still holding his 5-
point lead, 47 to 42. He was up 4 points in the previous poll. Now to
Virginia, where a new poll from Christopher Newport University has Clinton
up by 7 points. It`s Clinton 42, Trump 35, with Johnson getting up to 12.
Clinton`s 7-point lead is in line with RealClearPolitics average of all the
polls and 1 point higher than last week`s poll.
He needs to get Virginia, Trump does. He needs Pennsylvania, took, and
he`s not getting it.
And one more poll to tell you about, Colorado, where a new Monmouth poll
has Clinton up by 11, Clinton 49, Trump at 38. And recent polling in
Colorado has been neck and neck. But an earlier Monmouth poll from July
had Clinton up by 13. So it`s a back-and-forth out there.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She can`t make it 15 feet to her
car. Give me a break.
TRUMP: Give me a break.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: Give me a break!
She`s home resting right now. She`s getting ready for her next speech,
which is going to be about 15 minutes, and it`s going to be in two or three
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome to HARDBALL.
Donald Trump continued his attacks on his opponent`s stamina Saturday
night, delivering a mocking impression of Hillary Clinton, who last month
had trouble, as we all know, getting to her car during her bout with
Well, throughout this campaign, we have seen Trump, when challenged by
women in a professional setting, has responded publicly with crude or
First, it was his comments about – about Megyn Kelly, then his remarks
about Carly Fiorina`s face. And now it`s his recent criticism of Hillary
Clinton`s stamina and even her look. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: You have even said she doesn`t look presidential.
TRUMP: I really do believe that.
QUESTION: But what do you mean by that?
TRUMP: Well, I just don`t think she has a presidential look. And you need
a presidential look.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, now an Associated Press report says there are claims that
Trump – Trump behaved similarly towards women off-camera on the set of
For instance, Trump called for female contestants to wear shorter dresses
that also showed more cleavage. Others said they only had professional –
only had professional experiences with Trump. So, there`s people on both
sides in the argument, largely against, of course. That`s why they wrote
Anyway, the Trump campaign denied the allegations in a statement. “These
outlandish, unsubstantiated and totally false claims, fabricated by
publicity-hungry, opportunistic, disgruntled former employees have no merit
Meanwhile, “The New York Times” reported yesterday Hillary Clinton engaged
passively or directly in efforts to discredit her husband`s accusers –
quote – “Privately, she embraced the Clinton campaign`s aggressive
strategy of counterattack. Women who claimed to have had sexual encounters
with Mr. Clinton would become targets of digging and discrediting, tactics
that women`s rights advocates frequently denounce.”
I`m joined right now by Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.
Put it all together, Kellyanne.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Hey, Chris.
I loved “The New York Times” article. I thought it was terrific, because
basically it said that Hillary Clinton went to blame and shame the women
who had sex, consensual sex, with her husband over a number of years.
We all – well, not all of us, but those who don`t remember can go Google
it, her on “60 Minutes” in 1992, standing – sitting by her husband,
plaintively nodding her head in silence while he lied to the country about
not having an affair with Gennifer Flowers, only to discover the very next
day there were tapes confirming that affair, audiotapes.
And what was Hillary Clinton`s first instinct? It wasn`t to be angry at
her husband, according to this “New York Times” report. It was to blame
the woman and dig up dirt on her. And I commend this “New York Times”
story for everybody, because it shows how Hillary Clinton reacts when
people around her, in this case her husband, have done something to wrong
She goes right after the innocent people.
CONWAY: And I think it`s very important, because even Gloria Allred is
quoted in this “New York Times” article, someone who was a Clinton delegate
to the convention, Chris, somebody you and I both know and I`m sure respect
mightily, she says, listen, it`s terrible that you would try to dig up a
woman`s sexual past and hire a private investigator.
And then she goes on to say, I don`t think Hillary should have done that,
but, hey, I like her position on abortion.
MATTHEWS: I saw that, yes.
CONWAY: This is how she treated those women.
MATTHEWS: Well, she just said she liked her generally. Yes, Gloria Allred
said she liked her generally.
Let me ask you about the Associated Press story that ran today attacking,
with all kinds of comments, not all on one side, some defending Donald
Trump, about his behavior as head of “Apprentice,” and his backstage
behavior matching some of his rough behavior lately.
What do you make of that kind of set of charges? Do you think it was all a
put-up job by the other side, or what do you think?
CONWAY: Look, “The Apprentice” was one of the most successful shows in its
day. And it generated many opportunities, including, if not especially,
for women who participated.
I mean, Omarosa is one of our best surrogates, most ardent supporters of
Donald Trump. She obviously was there the first or second season, I
believe. And I think some folks just – there`s publicity to get. There
are scores to settle if they didn`t win.
But I was especially – I was especially excited to see the number of
people who came forward and said, this was a wonderful experience for them,
when they were on “The Apprentice.”
CONWAY: And, look, I can take you upstairs here in Trump Tower, Chris, any
day of the week and introduce you to people, women who have worked for
Donald Trump for years, if not decades, who have nothing but great things
to say about him as a boss.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s talk about what we see.
Why was he making fun of Hillary Clinton physically this weekend?
CONWAY: Have you heard what she says about him in a given day? Did you
watch her in that debate?
MATTHEWS: No, but why does he call her – well, he calls her crazy, a
criminal. “Lock her” up is the song, the big slogan out there.
Why does he make fun of her physically, that she had – everybody knows she
had pneumonia, and she had a – she basically collapsed. Why do you make
of somebody who collapsed because of a sickness? Why is that funny?
CONWAY: Well, first of all, when she collapsed on 9/11, and her campaign
lied about it for a number of hours, including to…
MATTHEWS: And that justifies…
CONWAY: No, he said nothing. He said nothing that whole day. He was
And since then, she`s done nothing but attack him. That aspirational,
uplifting, optimistic campaign her campaign promised, yes, that`s gone.
CONWAY: And all they do is attack Donald Trump.
Their entire campaign is about Donald Trump. He talks about issues. They
talk about him. So, if he wants to go out there and talk about her fitness
for office, whether it`s – whether it`s her record as secretary of state,
her unremarkable record as – record as senator, or her stamina, then he`s
welcome to do that.
Why is he – why is he supposed to be the victim who just rolls over every
time she and her surrogates attack him?
MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s talk about the big story this weekend, which is
“The New York Times” basically reported – they got somebody who walked
into there with – apparently with an address of Trump Tower. I have no
idea who the source was, this tipster, put it in the mailbox of this
reporter of “The Times.”
She put it in the paper, which basically Trump got a $900,000 – or $900
million tax loss in 1995, which apparently can be spread among a number of
years to his advantage.
Taking a tax loss like this, what does it do to his image as a guy watching
out for the regular guy out there, regular person? How`s it match up with
So, Donald Trump is the art of the comeback. He wrote a whole book about
it. Most people couldn`t absorb a loss like that and reinvest it over the
years, take those losses, carry them forward that the tax code allows you
No one, including “The New York Times,” denies that it`s all legal. Donald
Trump has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes over the years,
federal payroll taxes, state, city, and local taxes, excise, property, real
And so he`s – let`s not forget that he`s paid hundreds of millions of
dollars in taxes. I verified that number with his accountants and his
And on this one, very few people were betting on New York a lot, and he
did. He bet on New York, the job creation, the community revitalization.
And this is the American entrepreneurial story. The tax code allows you to
carry forward these losses.
“The New York Times” in no way says that he did not pay taxes for 18 years.
It says that this loss could have allowed him not to pay taxes. He may not
have. Nobody knows that for sure
MATTHEWS: Fair enough. I`m talking politics here. You`re talking a
defense of it.
But let me ask you this. He has made statements attacking Americans who
don`t pay taxes, some people poor or aren`t making income to pay taxes,
others who are making money on the hedge – hedge fund operators, and
they`re not paying taxes.
He has made that wrong. He has said it`s wrong not to pay taxes, per se.
Well, why isn`t he wrong?
CONWAY: He`s paid hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.
MATTHEWS: If it`s wrong per se not to pay taxes – no, when he says –
well, that year, do you think he paid in `95? Do you think he paid any
taxes with a $900 million tax loss?
CONWAY: I think that`s why you have a couple of pieces of paper from one
year 21 years ago, because there were years, I`m sure, where he was very
MATTHEWS: Well, we could have more, Kellyanne. We could have more papers,
if he`d release them.
CONWAY: And paid an awful lot in taxes.
MATTHEWS: Well, the only reason that little bit of paper that you just
minimized is because somebody basically outed him, at least on one return.
And the question you have to ask yourself is, if a little bit of
information is bad for the guy, maybe a lot of information is better, but
public isn`t going to think that, unless you show the paper. They`re going
to think it`s worse.
CONWAY: Sure, but, Chris – but, as you said in your earlier segment, not
everyone`s going to think that`s bad. A lot of people will think, this is
what entrepreneurs do. They carry forward those losses over time, and
that`s what – that`s what the tax code allows you to do.
I also want to say, this guy has built things his whole life, buildings,
projects, public works, projects, careers, opportunities. Hillary Clinton
has destroyed – what job has she ever created? What does she know about
It`s just remarkable. Look, let`s give the guy his due as a successful
businessman who`s hired thousands of people over the years, thousands of
women over the years. He`s evaluated some of them to the highest positions
in his corporation and certainly his campaign.
MATTHEWS: Kellyanne, thank you.
CONWAY: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: I think he should refocus on the things that got him this far.
Dance with the one that brung you, illegal immigration, bad trade deals
that cost us…
CONWAY: Job patriotism.
MATTHEWS: And stupid wars. Talk. It`s a perfect storm. Get back to
Forget Machado. That`s a loss. Move on. There`s a tax loss. Move on.
CONWAY: Great advice.
MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now – but thanks so much. Thanks so much,
Right now, we have got Michelle Bernard, president of the Bernard Center
for Women and columnist for the “U.S. News & World Report.”
Thank you, Michelle.
Kellyanne knows what she`s up against here, the behavior towards women,
towards Hillary, who is the first woman candidate, I think, is very much
deleterious to Trump`s efforts to get women in the burbs, which is who he
is aiming for.
MICHELLE BERNARD, FOUNDER, BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN, POLITICS AND POLICY:
Well, to get women anywhere, whether we`re talking about red state
feminists or blue state feminists.
Everyone – women are going to look at all of the statements that Donald
Trump has made, not just about Hillary Clinton, but about women over his
lifetime. And it`s troubling. People ask, what do – what – who`s the
best candidate for women and what do women want? Women do not want to
elect a child in chief. We`re not looking to provide…
MATTHEWS: Do you think that`s the image he has?
BERNARD: Well, no, that absolutely is the image he has.
I can see his chief of staff, if he were to be elected, walking in and
saying, Mr. Trump, is your train running too high or is it running too low?
We don`t want a president who can`t regulate. His temperament is
And with respect to what Kellyanne was saying in terms of Mrs. Clinton and
her husband`s affairs in the past, I think it shows her humanity. She was
not in a position of power over any of these women, as Donald Trump has
been year after year. We don`t have…
MATTHEWS: But you wouldn`t justify her trying to silence these women,
BERNARD: No, I wouldn`t justify her silencing these women, but what I
would say is that, for any woman who has dealt with a husband and
indiscretions in the past, that feel that Donald Trump is putting her on
trial for staying in her marriage and trying to find a way to discredit
women or figure out things about the women…
MATTHEWS: And he says she`s not loyal to Bill Clinton. I don`t know what
that means, unless he`s talking about NAFTA. I don`t think he`s talking
BERNARD: I don`t know what he means, but I think he should tread
carefully. He`s been married three times. Women are very interested in
MATTHEWS: You`re talking about Trump was married three times.
BERNARD: Trump has been married three times, and two of his wives appear
to be much, much younger than him.
There have been stories about him going out with his first wife and having
dinner with the father.
MATTHEWS: This is the troubling area. But go ahead.
BERNARD: No, well, it is a troubling area.
But if you want to get into a woman`s head and think about what we`re
thinking when we`re going to the ballot box, it`s not just fiscal
discipline and issues of the economy and national security and child care
and all of the issues that men care about, which are just as important to
Women want to know that there is a person in the White House that sees the
humanity in both men and women. And you have to seriously ask yourself, if
a candidate looks at a woman and says, “It would be a pretty picture to see
you on your knees,” is that somebody who cares about the humanity of women?
I don`t think so.
MATTHEWS: You have made it clear.
MATTHEWS: I think men – good guys would also agree with you.
MATTHEWS: But, anyway, thank you, Michelle Bernard.
Up next: Trump`s rough patch continues, as the attorney general for the
state of New York clamps down on the Trump Foundation. They`re going after
that. That`s ahead.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
With only five weeks left until Election Day, Donald Trump is hoping to
turn his campaign around with a swing through Colorado today, but his
message was steered off-course when earlier today it was reported that the
office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who`s a Democrat
supporting Hillary Clinton, ordered the Donald J. Trump Foundation to stop
fund-raising in New York state because it`s not properly registered.
Specifically, a cease and desist letter found that the Trump Foundation was
engaged in solicitation or fund-raising activities in New York state in
2016, is not and was not registered.
The action comes in the wake of a report by “The Washington Post” that
found that the Trump Foundation lacks the certification required for
charities that solicit money.
When asked about the letter, Trump campaign press secretary HOPE HICKS
issued the following statement: “While we remain very concerned about the
political motives behind A.G. Schneiderman`s investigation, the Trump
Foundation nevertheless intends to cooperate fully with the investigation,
because this is an ongoing legal matter. The Trump Foundation will not
comment further at this time.”
For more on this story, I`m joined by the guy who wrote the piece, David
Fahrenthold of “The Washington Post.”
David, this – you`re behind this whole thing. You came up with the
This crime – you know what bugs me? These guys now just break the rules,
pay the fine, and move on. It`s become the cost of doing business. Now,
they now will have to pay a fine, apparently, right, something like that?
Is that what they will face, the Trump people, for not registering?
DAVID FAHRENTHOLD, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: The most painful part of it for
them is going to be that they have to submit to financial audits of the
Trump Foundation going back years, all the years in which they were
supposed to be licensed to raise money and they were not. That`s going to
be the hard part.
They will have to bring in auditors to really look in Donald Trump`s
foundation`s books, which hasn`t happened ever, I don`t think.
MATTHEWS: Why does “The Washington Post” have to tell the New York state
government how to operate? How come they didn`t know that Donald Trump has
a foundation and he`s never bothered to register it?
FAHRENTHOLD: They were investigating him.
I don`t know what – they hadn`t come across this part of it yet. I
actually was talking to a law professor for another story. And she said,
look, look at this these four letters on the Trump Foundation`s Web site,
on the New York charity site.
MATTHEWS: OK. Here`s the dirt I see. Why is the foundation making
payments to Pam Bondi, the attorney general in Florida, when she decides
not to investigate Trump U?
FAHRENTHOLD: So, the Trump Foundation…
MATTHEWS: Isn`t that a little, a little smelly?
FAHRENTHOLD: Certainly. That`s one of the things they`re looking into.
The Trump people say it was all just an oversight. But the Trump
Foundation made an illegal political gift to a group supporting Pam Bondi
in 2013, just at the time her office was considering launching an
investigation into Trump University.
MATTHEWS: And that was an accident?
FAHRENTHOLD: They say it was an accident.
MATTHEWS: Who told them it was an accident? How long – someone else had
to tell them, right?
FAHRENTHOLD: Yes, me.
MATTHEWS: See? It`s called rolling disclosure. They tell you the truth
when they have to.
Thank you, David Fahrenthold. You`re working on that Pulitzer.
Up next, the power of – you probably have one.
The power of “SNL.” How can Alec Baldwin`s impersonation for Donald Trump
affect this race? The roundtable is coming here next.
And you`re watching HARDBALL – there he is – look at that – the place
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
As we`ve been talking about, Donald Trump had a rough few days following
“The New York Times” story that he could have avoided nearly two decades
paying taxes. “The Associated Press” story that prompted Trump demeaned
women, on the set of his show, “The Apprentice.” And today`s news that the
New York attorney general has ordered a cease and desist order to the
Donald J. Trump Foundation after the report that the charity lacked the
proper authorization to seek public donation.
Anyway, Trump`s had a rough couple of days, we all agree on. On “Saturday
Night Live,” he was mocked by the premiere of “SNL,” which parodied last
week`s presidential debate with the stars Alec Baldwin playing Trump. Here
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE”)
KATE MCKINNON AS HILLARY CLINTON: This man is clearly unfit to be
commander in chief.
ALEC BALDWIN AS DONALD TRUMP: Wrong.
MCKINNON: He is a bully.
BALDWIN: Shut up.
MCKINNON: He started the birther movement.
BALDWIN: You did.
MCKINNON: He says climate change is a hoax invented by China.
BALDWIN: It`s pronounced “ji-na” (ph).
MCKINNON: He hasn`t released his tax returns, which means he`s either not
that rich –
MCKINNON: Not that charitable –
MCKINNON: Or he`s never paid taxes in his life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: It turns out to be true, actually, I guess.
Let`s bring in the HARDBALL roundtable, Eugene Robinson is a Pulitzer
Prize-winning opinion writer with “The Washington Post”, Laura Bassett
covers politics for “The Washington Post”, and John Feehery is a Republican
I got to get to you, John, first on this baby. Do you think, do you know
inside, if this is causing any kind of freeze up of the campaign? Or is it
just a bad week?
JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, you know, Trump has bad weeks
and then he has good weeks and he has bad weeks, and you know, this is
another one. The polls haven`t seemed to move that much. I think there`s
MATTHEWS: Well, five points on average.
FEEHERY: Well, a little ebbing and flowing, but not too bad. The fact is
that the Hill is panicked about it. The question is, is the campaign
panicked? And can they do anything about Trump and his behavior?
He has his own game plan in his own head, doing his own thing. We`ll see
if it works.
MATTHEWS: Well, what about these battleground states. If you look at the
states that are going to matter, I think we`ve all been looking at the same
Looking at these, basically, Colorado now. Let`s look. They`re showing
they`re moving in Hillary`s direction. A Monmouth University poll shows
Clinton with an 11-point lead out in Colorado. Quinnipiac shows Trump
leading by five in Ohio. But Clinton leads by five in Florida. By four in
Pennsylvania, is up by three in North Carolina.
A Bloomberg poll also has Clinton up in North Carolina, but only by one.
So, the states that are going to probably decide this, I always tell
people, a firewall against Trump is Pennsylvania and Virginia. He`s not
going to get `em, and without `em, he can`t win.
What do you think is going on?
LAURA BASSETT, THE WASHINGTON POST: I mean, I think I would much rather be
Hillary Clinton right now than Donald Trump. It`s five weeks until the
election and the swing voters are starting to turn against him. He had a
really bad debate performance –
MATTHEWS: Is it women?
BASSETT: I think women are turning against him. Suburban moms didn`t
appreciate the things he had about Alicia Machado and the things he said
about Hillary Clinton`s physical appearance. And I think independent
voters are turned off by the idea that he`s actually not as great as a
businessman as he says he is. He lost almost $1 billion in a year –
MATTHEWS: Yes, but he got it back. He`s got a lot – I do not understand
why people of regular income argue about a guy who`s got, in the billions,
in the billions –
MATTHEWS: It`s a lot of money!
EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: It`s a lot of money.
MATTHEWS: He`s rich!
ROBINSON: You know, in my opinion, I actually think –
MATTHEWS: Beyond belief rich.
ROBINSON: From this awful, you know, week as horrible as it is, right?
That are really bad for him are, number one, the idea that he doesn`t pay
federal taxes. That – I think that resonates the people. They were
talking about it in my barbershop today. And when they talk about it in
the barbershop, I think it resonates with people.
MATTHEWS: People who do pay taxes.
ROBINSON: And as Laura said, the way he treats women, I think that, you
know, time after time, example after example, I think it sort of seeps in.
And I think it keeps those suburban women that he needs, in the suburbs of
Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. and Cleveland and all – and these
places, from giving Trump a chance.
MATTHEWS: Laura, you`re the one woman here, I`ve got to get the answer
from you. There`s new women and old school women. My mom was pretty old
school, you know, dad was the boss – she made all the decisions, but he
thought he was the boss, you know? They put up a lot of crap, they had to
stay at home, raise the kids, do everything, keep the checkbook, do
everything, and yet they get pushed around a bit.
And that`s the older woman, 60, 70 years old. How are they going to react?
The younger woman is more professionally inclined, sees more opportunities
than her parents did. Give me a look at both of them.
BASSETT: I think no matter what age the woman you are, no matter whether
you`re a professional or stay-at-home mom, Donald Trump has said something
to insult you. When he was married back in the `90s to Ivanka (ph) Trump,
he shamed her personal appearance after she gave birth, he said he wasn`t
attracted to her anymore.
BASSETT: He fat-shamed Kim Kardashian, he shamed Heidi Klum, he takes Miss
Universe and says she`s gained too much weight. I mean, no matter –
MATTHEWS: Why is he free from this standard?
BASSETT: Why is he – oh, exactly.
MATTHEWS: All I see is this gigantic tie.
ROBINSON: Keep in mind, by the way, that women in their 60s now are
boomers. They`re baby boomers. They`re not women who would be in their
90s or whatever –
MATTHEWS: You`re updating me rather than – you`re cruelly updating me
ROBINSON: I`m so sorry.
MATTHEWS: You`re so right. Women in their 70s and 80s would be old
MATTHEWS: I met a woman in a doctor`s office, 97 the other day. There`s a
lot of women in that grade.
FEEHERY: And if women are fed up with the political system and want to
change, they`re going to vote for Trump or if they`re going to vote for
somebody else. If they want the status quo, if they like the fact that
Hillary is the first female president –
MATTHEWS: Suppose they don`t like the status quo, but don`t like Trump`s
FEEHERY: I think that`s the big quandary they`re in and trying to go both
ways. And Trump has to figure this out, because if he doesn`t, he`s going
to lose his election.
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s talk about the veterans thing. He made his shot
today. Explain it, though, Laura. I mean, he said, basically, that some
people get PTSD and some don`t, same conditions as a battlefield.
BASSETT: Yes, he was talking about veterans suicide and he was saying
they`ve seen some really terrible things and some veterans can`t handle it.
I think that a lot of people interpreted that as a really mean comment, as
him saying that they`re –
MATTHEWS: Joe Biden did.
BASSETT: Right. As him saying they`re weak, for –
MATTHEWS: Was that the right thing for a guy running for commander in
chief to say, that some guys can`t hack PTSD –
BASSETT: I didn`t take it that way. I didn`t think that it was –
FEEHERY: Well, listen, I think he`s going to still have the veterans vote.
They all strong support him. The guy he talks to.
MATTHEWS: Even though this?
FEEHERY: I think he`s –
MATTHEWS: Gene, last word. Is this going to hurt him? Because he made
that shot about John McCain not being a hero. There`s a pattern here.
ROBINSON: It`s not going to help him.
MATTHEWS: He`s not a warrior. He wasn`t there.
ROBINSON: It`s not going to get him any new votes.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us.
And up next, these three will tell me something I don`t know. We`ll be
right back. This is the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, tomorrow night, stick with MSNBC for complete coverage of
the vice presidential debate tomorrow night. At 7:00 p.m. Eastern, join me
for a special edition of HARDBALL live from Longwood University in
Virginia. Then, at 8:00 Eastern, I`ll join Brian Williams and Rachel
Maddow for full team coverage.
Tim Kaine and Mike Pence take the stage at 9:00 for the debate and we`ll
have full post-debate coverage and analysis throughout the night here on
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable right now.
And, Eugene, tell me something I don`t know.
ROBINSON: So, “The New York Times” got the Trump tax return in the
reporter`s mailbox today. There was a virtual traffic jam at “The
Washington Post” mailroom. First, people had to find it and then go
through it. Nobody goes through the snail mail anymore. Unfortunately,
nothing was found that I know of.
MATTHEWS: This is bilateral. OK.
BASSETT: Huff Post has a new tool –
BASSETT: – an election forecast machine that sort of eats all of the
national and local polls and fits them out into a prediction. And it
predicted today that as of now, Trump has a 16 percent chance of winning.
MATTHEWS: What`s Hillary`s? Eighty-four?
BASSETT: Yes, 84. Good math.
FEEHERY: My upset special. Todd Young beats Evan Bayh, who`s been
effectively portrayed as a Washington lobbyist by the Young campaign and
all the outside money. So –
MATTHEWS: Even money?
FEEHERY: Even money. I`d give an edge to Todd Young.
MATTHEWS: I love that guy`s name. Todd Young. What a great name for a
Thank you, Eugene Robinson. Thank you, Laura Bassett and Feehery.
It`s heating up. Cantor is the guy that puts the gun together.
Anyway, when we return, my election diary for tonight, October 3rd, on the
eve of the vice presidential debate.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Election diary, Monday, October 3rd, 2016.
The campaign continues on agenda set by Hillary Clinton and followed by
Donald Trump. That course is directed toward winning women, especially
those more conservative married women living in the suburbs, voters who
could elect either of the two major candidates. If they go for Trump, the
state of Pennsylvania, for example, is within reach. If not, his goose is
It`s remarkable to see how effective Hillary Clinton has been the past week
in undermining Trump with his powerful swing electorate. She`s singly
responsible for bringing the experience of Alicia Machado, the former
beauty queen to the presidential conversation. Because she`s done it,
Trump has been pulled off his position. Every since the debate, the man
who should be talking bad job-killing trade deals, uncontrolled immigration
and stupid Mideast wars has been contorting himself, trying to defend
himself against the accounts given by Ms. Machado.
Well, thanks to a mysterious tipster, Trump now also finds himself
defending himself for being a beneficiary of a near billion dollar tax
loss. Instead of talking about his success in building, he`s drawn into an
interminable discussion of why he spent so much effort getting out of taxes
and why that makes him, to use his word, smart.
Well, to win, a candidate needs to focus on his or her issues. Trump has a
bit more than a month now to get that done.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR, “ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES”: Tonight on “ALL IN”
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Here`s my question, what kind
of genius loses a billion dollars in a single year?
HAYES: An October surprise for the ages.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I understand the tax laws better
than almost everyone, which is why I am one who can truly fix them.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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