Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 10/31/2016

Guests:
Susan Page, Kellyanne Conway, Claire McCaskill, Larry Sabato, Celinda Lake, Kurt Eichenwald
Transcript:

Show: HARDBALL
Date: October 31, 2016
Guest: Susan Page, Kellyanne Conway, Claire McCaskill, Larry Sabato,
Celinda Lake, Kurt Eichenwald

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Halloween politics.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Fallout from FBI director James Comey`s bombshell announcement last week
reverberated on the campaign trail today. On Friday, Comey told Congress
that the FBI had learned of new e-mails that appear to be pertinent –
appear to be pertinent – to the investigation into Clinton`s use of a
private server.

Today, Donald Trump praised Comey for his guts. Hillary Clinton called the
decision to go public this close to an election “pretty strange.” NBC News
reports that since Sunday night, FBI officials had been going through the
e-mails, which belonged to a top Clinton aide, Huma Abedin. The e-mails
were found on a computer belonging to her estranged husband, Anthony
Weiner.

Two former attorneys general, Eric Holder and Alberto Gonzales, criticized
Comey. Eric Holder wrote, “I am deeply concerned about FBI Director James
B. Comey`s decision to write a vague letter to Congress about e-mails
potentially connected to a matter of public and political interest. That
decision was incorrect. It violated long-standing Justice Department
policies and tradition, and it ran counter to guidance that I put in place
four years ago laying out the proper way to conduct investigations during
an election season,” close quote.

Anyway, Alberto Gonzales had this to say earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALBERTO GONZALES, FMR. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: I didn`t
understand it. I didn`t understand what he was saying, what he was trying
to say. I didn`t understand the purpose of the letter.

To me, it was very inconsistent with the protocols that presently exist at
the Department of Justice. You typically do not comment on investigations,
on ongoing investigations, and of course, that protocol was breached this
past summer, when Director Comey gave that press conference talking about
the investigation.

I really worry that in this particular instance, the FBI director has made
an error in judgment in terms of releasing this kind of letter, which
really says nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, also today, NBC News reported that the FBI has been
conducting a preliminary inquiry into Paul Manafort, of course, Donald
Trump`s former campaign manager, for his business ties overseas. It`s
called an inquiry, not a full-blown criminal investigation. Manafort said
he never had dealings with Vladimir Putin`s government and said he was
aware of no investigation into the matter.

Anyway, late today also, Tim Kaine knocked Comey over a CNBC report that
the FBI director didn`t want to name Russia as meddling in the U.S.
election, according to a former senior law enforcement official who spoke
to NBC News. Comey felt an announcement would have been, as interfering in
a U.S. election, might violate Justice Department guidelines.

We are putting it all together here. Joining me right now with the latest
is NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams.

What a day, too much news, but a lot to figure out, but you`re the guy. Do
we have any evidence – just to clear the air left, right and center for
all our viewers right now, does the report that came out Friday evidence
any indication that Hillary Clinton is guilty of anything besides what
everybody else may have thought generally before, any evidence of criminal
misbehavior by her because of this report?

PETE WILLIAMS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: No, and it couldn`t have because at the
time the director wrote the letter, the FBI had not analyzed the e-mails on
the laptop computer belonging to Weiner because they didn`t have the legal
authority to look at them in detail. Now, they got that on Sunday night,
and for the last 24 hours or so, they have been going through these e-
mails.

But we don`t know what the results of that are yet. They had hoped, Chris,
that they could perhaps say something in the next day or so. There was
some optimism about that Sunday and this morning, but that`s fading a
little bit, but no one is for sure – is sure how long it`s going to take.
But we just don`t know that they have found anything new in this collection
of e-mails, and that`s the critical question.

MATTHEWS: Well, since the process is now public that they`re looking
through the 650,000 e-mails to try to isolate those that would have been
sent during her term as secretary of state…

WILLIAMS: Right.

MATTHEWS: I assume there would be a way of quickly getting down to the
subset of those important documents. Since that`s a doable job, it`s the
task at hand, could we have by the end of the week a progress report that
says, So far, we`ve found nothing troubling or nothing criminal, or
something like that that contains the possible consequences of this report
last Friday?

WILLIAMS: Yes. I think the answer to that is yes, if they`re done.
That`s the question. That`s the FBI`s goal is to do what you just said, to
say what they can say. The Justice Department fully concurs. They sent a
letter today to members of Congress who had written to Comey and to the
attorney general on Friday, and they said now that they`re committed to
moving as expeditiously as possible.

MATTHEWS: And we have no idea whether that would mean a success by Friday,
for example, the last big news window before the election.

WILLIAMS: Right. No way to tell.

MATTHEWS: OK, great reporting. Thank you, Pete Williams.

WILLIAMS: You bet.

MATTHEWS: I know you`re going to be leaning over their shoulders like a
helicopter mom for the next week!

WILLIAMS: That`s right!

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, sir.

WILLIAMS: You bet.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, since Friday, Donald Trump has spent plenty of time
talking about the news. Let`s watch him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The FBI would never have reopened
this case at this time unless it were a most egregious criminal offense.
Hillary set up an illegal server for the obvious purpose of shielding her
criminal conduct from public disclosure and exposure.

We all know about Hillary`s mounting legal troubles that she`s brought onto
herself with her willful and deliberate criminal misconduct.

This is the biggest scandal since Watergate. Hillary is the one who broke
the law over and over and over again. We can be sure that what is in those
e-mails is absolutely devastating!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s bring in Kellyanne Conway. She`s, of course,
campaign manager. Kellyanne, thank you so much. I`ve known you forever,
but let`s get to the problem tonight.

Does Donald Trump know anything beyond what he heard from the director of
the FBI on Friday? Has he any independent information about the
criminality, if there is such criminality, by the secretary of state –
former secretary of state? Does he have anything beyond Comey?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: No. No, we do not. But I was
completely confounded that Hillary Clinton today at a rally said, Why in
the world would the FBI do this investigation, interfere with the election,
if they have no evidence? And she knows that`s a misstatement. I know she
and her staff are very fond of the 5th Amendment, but they ought to get a
refresher on the 4th Amendment.

You know, Chris, you can`t get a search warrant without some kind of
evidence. And that`s what we have here. It`s not like Huma Abedin…

MATTHEWS: What is the evidence?

CONWAY: Well, we don`t know! The FBI…

MATTHEWS: You say there`s evidence. How do you know there`s evidence?

CONWAY: Chris…

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: You can`t get a search warrant – excuse me – you cannot get a
search warrant under the 4th Amendment without showing some kind of
evidence that justifies you to get a search warrant. Everyone knows that.
If the Clinton people really want to know, if they claim they want to know,
then ask Comey to reveal the moving (ph) affidavit. Ask him to reveal the
search warrant.

MATTHEWS: But the investigation of Hillary Clinton`s possible misuse or
mishandling of classified information is an ongoing investigation. Hasn`t
that investigation got authority to continue and to get the necessary
warrants to complete it? Why would it have to show criminal information –
since the investigation has never really been called off, it`s continuing,
why would it need evidence of criminality to continue?

That`s what I don`t get. It isn`t a brand-new investigation, it`s an
ongoing investigation. Why would it require evidence or probable cause of
criminality at this point to proceed?

CONWAY: To retrieve somebody`s laptop who failed – who actually…

MATTHEWS: Well, they have the laptop.

CONWAY: … violated the law and failed to turn it over – pardon?

MATTHEWS: They have the laptop. They`ve been investigating it with regard
to the sexting by – alleged sexting by the former congressman. But they
have now…

CONWAY: Alleged? We`ve all seen his pictures.

MATTHEWS: … this additional warrant to show it. I don`t think that
requires evidence or probable cause of criminality because it`s an ongoing
investigation.

CONWAY: And Chris, I don`t think anybody…

MATTHEWS: That`s what I think is a good point. Do you have a response to
that?

CONWAY: Yes, no, well, my point`s good, too, that you wouldn`t under the
4th Amendment to be able to get all these search warrants without further
evidence.

I read the same reports that you read, and the reports I read over the
weekend claimed that when perhaps FBI agents started reading through these
e-mails, closed them up, and said, There`s something there.

MATTHEWS: OK.

CONWAY: Or I guess people who are investigating Anthony Weiner`s
pedophilia closed it up and said, There`s something there.

But listen, to the electorate, it doesn`t matter, and you know it. Those
undecided voters are decided about one big thing. They don`t want to vote
for Hillary Clinton. If they did, they would take the person they`ve known
for decades and say…

MATTHEWS: OK.

CONWAY: … I think your experience is the right kind of experience, I
think you represent the right kind of change, I can look past your serial
lying of many decades. And you know darn well they`re hesitant and
reluctant to vote for her.

This is going to hurt her in the polls continually. We`re within 1 point
in the ABC/”Washington Post” poll. We were 12 points down last week. The
statewide polls are tightening.

MATTHEWS: OK…

CONWAY: We`re going to win your home state of Pennsylvania.

MATTHEWS: OK – well, if you do, you might win the presidential election,
I agree with that. That`s a big if.

Let me ask you about this “egregious” – I`ve been watching the candidate,
Mr. Trump, on this. He`s not just saying some evidence to justify
investigation or probable cause. He`s accusing her of egregious criminal
behavior. His charges are almost – he said it`s worse than Watergate. It
sounds like it`s impeachable already.

What evidence does he have that she`s committed crimes that are
impeachable, already, before she`s even elected, if she`s elected? What`s
impeachable that she`s done?

CONWAY: He didn`t say she was impeachable.

MATTHEWS: He said it`s worse than Watergate! He said it`s worse than
Watergate!

CONWAY: And it is. Perhaps it is. We don`t know that yet, but we know
that…

MATTHEWS: He does. He says it is.

CONWAY: … the cloud of corruption follows the Clintons – well, you know
what, Chris? He`s not under investigation, let alone two of them by the
FBI in the same year. So let`s keep our eye on the ball here. Who`s…

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I`m just wondering if the charges are not…

CONWAY: Why are – hold on!

MATTHEWS: … incredible at this point.

CONWAY: Why are we having this conversation in the first place? Chris,
why are we having this conversation in the first place? She set up a
home…

MATTHEWS: Because the FBI has issued a report that it`s continuing an
investigation.

CONWAY: No.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Go ahead.

CONWAY: No. This is her fault. She set up a home-brewed private server
that she was not allowed to have.

MATTHEWS: OK.

CONWAY: She was lying from the beginning about it. She did it to hide e-
mails. She BleachBitted 33,000 e-mails to hope that they would be
permanently deleted. 17,000 others never got turned over.

I mean, come on! This woman lies about lying, and now we have another
investigation to see if her lying about lying perhaps is on somebody else`s
laptop in an unrelated investigation because her closest adviser, the woman
she calls her surrogate daughter, for God`s sake, is married to a guy who`s
sexting pictures of his private parts to a 15-year-old girl in North
Carolina!

MATTHEWS: You`re not blaming…

CONWAY: I mean, how is it Donald Trump…

MATTHEWS: … Huma for that. Please.

CONWAY: How is it Donald Trump`s fault?

MATTHEWS: How can you blame the two women for the behavior of the men…

CONWAY: I didn`t!

MATTHEWS: … or the male in this case?

CONWAY: Chris, I didn`t blame them. Hold on. And you know it. I didn`t
blame them for the behavior of their husbands. In this case, I`m telling
you why we`re having this conversation. You`re saying it`s because of
Donald Trump. I`m telling you Donald Trump didn`t…

MATTHEWS: OK.

CONWAY: … text pictures of himself, didn`t set up a private server as
the secretary of state. He didn`t break with protocol. He didn`t use his
State Department as a concierge for foreign donations.

MATTHEWS: OK.

CONWAY: I mean, this is all on her!

MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you, before we toilet paper both houses
completely – and you`re doing a great job of it, Kellyanne – let me ask
you about Paul Manafort.

NBC is reporting tonight – NBC News is reporting tonight that the FBI has
begun what they call a preliminary inquiry, not a full-scale criminal
investigation, of Paul Manafort`s relations with foreign interests. Your
thoughts. Is this the reason that he left the campaign? How`s that for a
hard question?

CONWAY: No, well – no, Mr. Manafort and the campaign severed ties in
August. And I saw that same NBC News report that you`re speaking of and I
saw Paul Manafort quoted in there. He said there is no investigation that
he knows of and he think it`s a complete distraction.

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you.

CONWAY: That`s all I know.

MATTHEWS: Kellyanne, you`re always welcome on the show. Your candidate is
especially welcome. You can bring him along next time.

CONWAY: You got it.

MATTHEWS: We`ll talk later on the phone. As always, thank you, Kellyanne
Conway…

CONWAY: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: … campaign manager for Donald Trump.

Anyway, Hillary Clinton seemed to question the motives of James Comey
today. She`s getting very tough on the FBI director. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: It took a lot of guts. I really
disagreed with him. I was not his fan. But I`ll tell you what. What he
did, he brought back his reputation. He brought it back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Let`s go right now to Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of
Missouri and Hillary Clinton supporter, and a former attorney general of
that state.

You know the law. You know how these prosecutions work. What did you make
of Comey`s announcement on Friday, Senator?

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: Well, technically, I wasn`t the
attorney general, Chris. I was elected prosecutor in Kansas City and an
assistant prosecutor for a number of years, spent a lot of time prosecuting
cases in the courtroom.

And here`s what I was taught as a prosecutor. The facts are your friend
when you`re seeking justice. And until you know the facts, keep your mouth
shut. And what happened here is Comey opened his mouth when he didn`t know
what the facts were.

It is clear they have no idea what these e-mails are. But yet breaking
every protocol and precedent – and you know, when you have Chuck Grassley,
the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee, writing a letter today,
saying you`re not being fair to Secretary Clinton…

MATTHEWS: OK.

MCCASKILL: That is verbiage right out of Chuck Grassley`s letter.

MATTHEWS: Well, we don`t know…

(CROSSTALK)

MCCASKILL: … sense of the outrage.

MATTHEWS: We`re shooting in the dark here because the FBI has announced
that they`re looking into – well, they`re going to look into these e-
mails. The reporting has said that. And the question, of course, is
whether they have metadata, did they know where these e-mails were coming
from. If they knew where the emails were coming from, that they knew they
were coming from the former secretary of state at the time she was
secretary of state to Huma Abedin and somehow found their ways onto Anthony
Weiner`s phone or desktop or – I guess it was his laptop. If that all
happened, isn`t that stuff – evidence they should be looking at?
Shouldn`t they be looking at that evidence?

MCCASKILL: It`s fine they`re looking at the evidence. But the point is…

MATTHEWS: OK, well, they`re just reporting that that`s what they`re doing.

MCCASKILL: But the point is, he should not be telling anyone about an
investigation in the context…

MATTHEWS: They can`t do it without a warrant, apparently.

MCCASKILL: … of 11 days from the election. Well, it doesn`t matter…

MATTHEWS: They needed a warrant to do that.

MCCASKILL: They didn`t have to get a warrant, but they did get a warrant
and – you know, because they probably could have worked out a way to get
permission, although it`s a little tricky because it was on Weiner`s
computer.

But the point is, Chris, that when he wrote the letter, he had no facts.
And he`s got the resources to tell us what`s in those e-mails. He`s got
over 13,000 FBI agents and a budget of over almost $9 billion and…

MATTHEWS: OK. What do you want him to do now? What do you want now?

MCCASKILL: I want him…

MATTHEWS: Because you have leverage now.

MCCASKILL: I want him…

MATTHEWS: You can`t have him stop what he did on Friday. Do you want him
to report by the end of the week or the next 24 hours or 48 hours
evidence…

MCCASKILL: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: If there`s no evidence of criminality, say so.

MCCASKILL: Absolutely. All hands on deck. All hands on deck because I
think when you look at the breadth and depth of investigation they
conducted, dozens and dozens and dozens of FBI agents, and Comey said it
wasn`t even close in terms of there being any criminal conduct and that all
of the people who investigated the crime agreed…

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CONWAY: … there was no criminal conduct…

MATTHEWS: Well, why would he do this?

MCCASKILL: … that took a year! And they looked at a lot more e-mails
than they looked at – that are supposedly…

MATTHEWS: Well, what – OK…

MCCASKILL: … relevant on this computer.

MATTHEWS: Senator, I have a great respect for you and I have for a long
time. But here`s a simple question. When you think about who`s the enemy
of your party here, who`s the enemy of Hillary Clinton, trying to hurt her
campaign – and I think that`s the implication here – is it the Republican
Party led by Jason Chaffetz over in the House, is it the RNC, is it the
candidate, Trump, or is it the institution of the FBI, which is probably
pro-prosecution – they`re probably conservative men and women over there,
mostly men. It`s the FBI! As I said on Friday night, it`s not the Peace
Corps. They have an attitude about who they think are bad guys.

So my question is, what is driving the FBI director? Why did Comey do
this, according to your thinking?

MCCASKILL: I think he probably tried too hard to do more than what the FBI
ever does. In the summer, when he, you know, did the press conference
trying to somehow appease the people – because the facts didn`t support a
criminal charge, so he somehow wanted to make them feel better. And then
once he started going down that road, he had a hard time figuring out how
to stop going down that road. So I think this is his error in judgment.
It is his mistake.

But let me be very clear about who the problem is here. The problem is a
man running for president that we don`t want our children…

MATTHEWS: OK.

MCCASKILL: … to want to be a role model. It is a man running for
president who brags about grabbing women`s genitals and calls them pigs and
dogs. It`s a man running for president who has no transparency, has
stiffed contractors, lied in lawsuits, committed fraud, and by the way, has
never laid out a real plan on how he can change anything to make things
better for American families.

MATTHEWS: If he`s that bad – and I`ve heard this critique and I sometimes
share it. If he`s that bad, how could he possibly beat the former
secretary of state next Tuesday?

MCCASKILL: Well…

MATTHEWS: How could he possibly win if he`s what you describe?

MCCASKILL: First of all…

MATTHEWS: How could he possibly beat her…

MCCASKILL: … I don`t believe…

MATTHEWS: … a very qualified candidate?

MCCASKILL: I don`t believe he can. But Hillary Clinton has a problem, and
that is she wears the scars of decades of public service, and those scars
were delivered by a Republican attack machine…

MATTHEWS: OK.

MCCASKILL: … that has chainsaws for hands. And time after time, they
have come after her. And I think the American people need to take a deep
breath and look and see what a fighter she is. It doesn`t matter…

MATTHEWS: OK.

MCCASKILL: … if the FBI has done something outrageous or whether there`s
another accusation that is without merit. She keeps fighting, and she
will, for America`s families and I believe she`ll win next Tuesday and be a
great president.

MATTHEWS: OK. Thanks so much, Claire McCaskill. By the way, I do think
he`s going to carry Missouri, but I`m not going to ask you to comment on
that.

What`s coming up next – the polls are showing eight days out, and how`s
Friday`s news from the FBI changing the shape of this race? We`re going to
look at the polls, take a really good look at the polls and see what has
changed, if anything, since Friday in these three days. Anyway, the
polling has shown wide swings over the past week. We`ll take a look, a
hard look at those numbers right coming up next after the commercial.

Plus, Donald Trump has seized on the Clinton e-mail story throughout his
campaign, going as far as to say that Secretary Clinton, to her face, that
she`d be in jail if he were the president. I don`t think that helps Trump.

Anyway, now a new report shows Trump`s companies have defied court orders
and regularly destroyed, hidden documents, including e-mails. We`ve got
the reporter who broke that story tonight. There it is on the cover of
“Newsweek.”

And the three things about the presidential campaign you might not know as
Trump and Clinton make their closing arguments to the juries. That would
be us.

Finally, my “election diary” for tonight, October 31st, Halloween – that`s
tonight – as the campaign enters its final week.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Well, we`ve got a tight race now in the deep red state of Utah.
And for that, we check the HARDBALL “Scoreboard.”

Take a look at the new poll from “The Salt Lake Tribune” – a great
newspaper, by the way. Donald Trump is getting 32 percent of the Utah vote
– 32 for Trump. Evan McMullin – he`s close behind at 30, and Hillary`s
at 24.

I think McMullin can win that one. A win for McMullin in Utah keeps Trump
from winning 6 electoral votes, making his road to 270 a bit narrower,
don`t you think, because Utah`s supposed to be Republican.

We`ll be right back.

Donald Trump is getting 32 percent of the Utah vote, 32 for Trump. Evan
McMullin, he is close behind at 30. And Hillary`s at 24.

I think McMullin can win that one. A win for McMullin in Utah keeps Trump
from winning six electoral votes, making his road to 270 a bit narrower,
don`t you think, because Utah is supposed to be Republican.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Donald Trump`s supporters are hoping the FBI`s announcement on Friday has
the potential to swing the race to him and before voters go to the polls a
week from tomorrow.

But polls out today show that James Comey`s decision does not appear to
have had a big effect on voters, not at least – at least not yet. Let me
say it right.

On a new online poll by NBC News, it shows the race virtually unchanged
since last week. Clinton has actually gained a point and now leads by six,
with 47-41 being the national matchup, according to us. All the other
polls are different.

A Politico Morning Consult poll taken, for example, entirely after Comey`s
announcement shows Clinton maintaining just a three-point lead nationally,
which is the same as her margin also before the FBI`s investigation came
out.

And an online poll of 12 battleground states by CBS News and the YouGov
further shows that voters are split along party lines over Comey`s
announcement.

But among independent voters – I found this very interesting – 26 percent
say the news makes them less likely to vote for Clinton, and that figure
matches up to exactly with those identifying themselves as Republican. So,
independents and Republicans look at this news from Friday the same way.

This comes as Donald Trump this week targets blue states, including
Michigan, Wisconsin, New Mexico, in an obvious attempt to open, widen his
path to victory in the Electoral College.

I`m joined now by the great Larry Sabato, director of the Center for
Politics down at UVA, as well as Democratic pollster Celinda Lake.

But this is not, really, I don`t think, a – as I told Celinda, Larry, a
partisan discussion. I want to know what you think you see in the numbers.

Celinda, first, looking at all the numbers, we had such a bombshell. I`m
sure the ratings for this and all the other programs went through the roof
on Friday night, because when the FBI director, who had been the favorite
of the Democrats and had said there`s nothing there just in July, comes out
and says, oh, well, there`s something there, we don`t know what it is, all
of a sudden, it`s bombshell.

(LAUGHTER)

CELINDA LAKE, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Well, yes, I think voters have no idea
of what to make of it.

And I would say three things. First of all, over a quarter of the voters
have voted already. So – and then the undecided vote is down to 5 or 6
percent. And, as you said, a quarter of independents and Republicans both
think this is something major.

What I think is the major news, three-quarters of Republicans say, I don`t
care. It`s – I have already made up my mind.

MATTHEWS: Is the cake baked?

LAKE: The cake is baked, unless there`s something revealed.

And it`s not revealing that you`re looking at 650,000 e-mails that you have
no idea what the content is and no suspicion that there`s anything in
there.

MATTHEWS: You know, Larry, I`m looking at the most caked – the most baked
cake, which is the African-American vote, which is so solidly Democratic,
and has been for decades now since the `60s, I mean, solidly, about 90
percent.

They`re not even interested in this story. They have already made up their
mind. They`re Democrats to the bone. They`re going to vote for Hillary,
and that`s it. And Hispanic voters, on the other hand, are looking at this
seriously along the lines of whatever they`re concerned about. They are
concerned about this much more so, 3-1, I noticed, than African-American
votes.

Your thoughts?

LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA CENTER FOR POLITICS: Well,
I think Latinos are pretty solidly in the Democratic camp.

In fact, what`s been quite amazing is that Clinton has been at the same
level as Obama finished in 2012, which was higher than in 2008, among
Latinos.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

SABATO: I don`t think they will flake away because of this.

But, Chris, you know, it`s not so much, in my mind, at least, a question of
whether Clinton still wins. I think she does, unless it`s Dewey defeats
Truman again, and every single poll is wrong. And back then, you only had
three polls. So, this is hundreds of polls.

What I think is of concern to Democrats, legitimately, is that, as
Clinton`s percentage of the popular vote goes down, as maybe she loses some
of the really close battlegrounds, if this story continues, you`re going to
have Democrats who might have won Senate seats and might have won House
seats not win. It`s the Comey effect.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Is that Lee Atwater`s picture behind you there, Larry?

(LAUGHTER)

SABATO: It is. He gave that to me years ago.

MATTHEWS: OK. No, I`m knocking it, but he was the guy who infamously,
notoriously said he was going to make Willie Horton, the guy who got
charged with rape and everything after he got out on his pardon or
whatever, his furlough, he said, I`m going to make him Dukakis` running
mate.

LAKE: Yes. Yes.

MATTHEWS: I`m amazed they haven`t made Anthony Weiner Hillary`s running
mate at this point with FBI wanted posters up for both of them.

(CROSSTALK)

SABATO: Give them time. Give them time. They got a week.

(CROSSTALK)

LAKE: Well, you said the right thing earlier on. And I thought it was
amazing the man had to say it. What, are we blaming the women for the men?
Come on.

MATTHEWS: Well, I know. It`s not Huma`s fault that the man…

LAKE: A lot of women have married the wrong guy. OK?

MATTHEWS: He wasn`t sexting her.

LAKE: Right, unfortunately.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, the FBI`s announcement Friday could further threaten
Democratic chances of retaking control of the Senate.

A new Monmouth poll out today shows that Republican candidate – look at
this in Indiana, fascinating – Todd Young, boy, that`s a great name for a
newcomer, has overcome Evan Bayh`s former six-point lead in Indiana`s
Senate race. The candidates are now tied 45 all.

In Florida, yesterday`s NBC News/”Wall Street Journal”/Marist poll shows
Marco Rubio widening his lead over Patrick Murphy. He`s up by eight.

A couple things here. People feel like they have given the guy a whooping,
like they gave Marco Rubio in the presidential primary. OK, they can let
him back in the house. He`s had his whooping. I see that.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: But what is this thing about – and I have also noticed another
pattern. You show any lack of interest in being a senator, like you leave
for a while and come back, whether you`re Bob Kerrey or you`re Fritz
Mondale, they don`t put you back in.

LAKE: Yes.

MATTHEWS: They just don`t let you back in.

LAKE: It`s really interesting, because they think also your interest was
about higher ambition, not about us. So, what about us? We want somebody
totally focused completely on us.

MATTHEWS: Who wants the job.

LAKE: Right. It`s not about us.

MATTHEWS: Larry, that`s so interesting. They say they want people to lust
after office.

LAKE: They don`t.

MATTHEWS: But they really want you to show complete appetite for the
office you`re seeking. And if you show anything like, I think I will lobby
for a while or do something else or take a break, Larry, it`s tough to come
back. You can`t come home again, as Thomas Wolfe once wrote, to the
Senate.

SABATO: No, that`s true, although Evan Bayh was in a beautiful position in
the summer. He shocked the Republicans by coming back in, and he had $9
million leftover in his campaign account.

He`s beloved in Indiana. His problem is, he didn`t keep up his ties to
Indiana during the six years he was away. He was a lobbyist. And, also,
look, because Pence was put on the ticket, and because Indiana is normally
a Republican state anyway, Trump is doing relatively well there.

And you can bury somebody in coattails. Obviously, Clinton and the
Democrats hope that she buries some Republicans, and I think she will, in
some deeply blue states.

MATTHEWS: That`s a hell of a mixed metaphor, bury somebody in coattails.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: But we`re going to go with that tonight, Larry. Thank you.

SABATO: Sorry. Sorry, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Two guys did come back, heroes of mine in different ways, Barry
Goldwater and Hubert Humphrey. Both went back to their states and were
beloved for the rest of their careers.

LAKE: Yes. Yes.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Larry Sabato.

They never lost their roots.

Celinda Lake, thank you.

LAKE: Thank you very much.

MATTHEWS: Let me take it back.

Up next: new details from “Newsweek”`s cover story this week about Donald
Trump`s, his own missing e-mails. How`s that for a turnaround? His e-
mails that he scratched off the public list. Anyway, “Newsweek” reports
his companies have regularly destroyed or hidden documents, often defying
court orders to do so – to keep them, actually.

That`s next.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Never in history have we seen
such a cover-up as this, one that includes the total destruction of 33,000
e-mails.

Hillary bleached and deleted 33,000 e-mails.

She bleached and deleted 33,000 e-mails after a congressional subpoena.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: He hangs on to that word bleached like a life preserver. He
loves the word bleached.

Anyway, welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was Donald Trump attacking, of course, Hillary Clinton for deleting
33,000 e-mails from her personal server. It`s a frequent and popular line
of attack for the GOP candidate, on the campaign trail. We have all heard
it.

But, this week, “Newsweek” magazine reported that Trump`s own e-mail
troubles, according to the “Newsweek” article, are in order to delay –
were used in order to delay court cases. Trump companies have – quote –
“over the course of decades systemically destroyed or hidden thousands of
e-mails, digital records, and paper documents demanded in official
proceedings, often in defiance of court orders.”

For more on this, I`m joined by the author of the article, Kurt Eichenwald,
senior writer for “Newsweek.”

So, Kurt, this is, of course, ironic, because he`s been blasting away on
her on the e-mails. Fair enough. But now he`s done it?

KURT EICHENWALD, “NEWSWEEK”: He`s done it, and in…

MATTHEWS: Against court orders, criminally?

EICHENWALD: Against court orders.

He has been, in case after case, delaying production of documents and e-
mails that were being demanded. And then, when they finally get around,
they say, oh, we deleted them. Oh, they`re gone.

In fact, they actually said for a couple of years that a server that people
were trying to get ahold of didn`t exist. And they said it under oath.
And then, when they turned around, eventually, when they got – when other
information turned up, they said, oh, yes, the server exists. There are no
e-mails on it anymore.

MATTHEWS: Well, you know, I guest most people want to know whether he`s an
honest businessman or not. Is he?

EICHENWALD: No.

MATTHEWS: Explain.

EICHENWALD: Donald Trump has been engaged forever in pushing things too
far, in rule-breaking, in…

MATTHEWS: Is he a deadbeat?

EICHENWALD: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Most people know what that is. Somebody you do business with –
first of all, you cut somebody`s lawn, and they don`t pay you, or they
don`t – you`re a newspaper boy – I have been there – and they hide on
Friday when you come around to collect.

I mean, some people are deadbeats. And they find a way of keeping a little
more money in their pocket by not paying their bills. Is he one of them at
the big time?

(CROSSTALK)

EICHENWALD: Absolutely.

But this is a guy who, you know, he got $140 million loan from Deutsche
Bank, the only bank that will still give him money. Interest rate –
interest payment comes up, he says, I`m not paying it. And they have to go
to court in order for him to pay the money.

MATTHEWS: So, that`s his cash management technique? Don`t pay your bills.
Do it until they sue you. And then slow-walk them when they sue you for
documents.

EICHENWALD: And destroy the documents while you`re slow-walking them.

They just shredded them. They just – and this was not just in civil
litigation. This was also when the federal government was going after him.

MATTHEWS: Well, how does he get vendors if he has a reputation like this?
Why do people say, I will put the ceiling on for you, or I will do the
flooring, or I will do the whatever, the wallpapering, whatever, if you
know he`s not going to pay you?

EICHENWALD: Because he`s Donald Trump, and people will always give him the
benefit of the doubt.

Plus, until now, you know, who actually was hearing all of this?

MATTHEWS: But what about…

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: He`s got a campaign guy, Fabrizio, who I have known forever.
He`s a famous Republican pollster. He owes them $750,000. Well?

EICHENWALD: Yes, he ain`t going to see that.

MATTHEWS: He ain`t going to see – he isn`t going to see that? No.

(LAUGHTER)

EICHENWALD: I mean, this is this is his way of working, you know, is
that…

MATTHEWS: The people – be honest with me, because people are only going
to get one shot at your piece here. And congratulations on this kind of
enterprising work.

Did people talk to you like we`re talking here about him, that, when you
bumped into people, they said, oh, you got to know this guy`s M.O.?

EICHENWALD: I actually have known Donald Trump since 1987.

I was covering him back when I was covering the financial world. And he
had that reputation then. He has a reputation…

MATTHEWS: People will bad-mouth him?

EICHENWALD: People bad-mouth him all the time, reckless, irresponsible,
doesn`t play by the rules. And…

MATTHEWS: Well, they`re afraid of him, then, because you`re the one
reporting. They`re not.

Thank you, Kurt Eichenwald. Great enterprise reporting, and timely.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Up next…

EICHENWALD: I was surprised.

MATTHEWS: People love irony, and they love get-even stuff where there`s
back-and-forth.

Anyway, HARDBALL roundtable will be here with everything you need to know
about what`s happening on the campaign trail today. We got some
heavyweights joining us. Kurt Eichenwald was one of them.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both went on offense today – have they
ever been off it? – as the Democratic nominee weathers a new cloud of
controversy for having her use of a private email server.

Here`s Donald Trump today on the campaign trail, out in Michigan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have to give the FBI credit.
That was so bad, what happened, originally. And it took guts for Director
Comey to make the move that he made in light of the kind of opposition that
he had with their trying to protect her, from criminal prosecution.

What he did, he brought back his reputation. He brought it back. He`s got
to hang tough, because there`s a lot of people want him to do the wrong
thing.

This is the biggest scandal since Watergate. Hillary wants to blame
everyone else for her mounting legal troubles, but she has brought all of
this on herself.

Six hundred and fifty thousand. You know what I call that? That`s the
mother lode.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Meanwhile, Secretary Clinton took on the FBI for announcing the
investigation into the e-mails. The new ones, just days before Election
Day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Why in the world the FBI
would decide to jump into an election with no evidence of any wrongdoing,
with just days to go? That`s a good question. And first of all, for those
of you who are concerned about my using personal e-mail, I understand, and
as I`ve said, I`m not making excuses. I`ve said it was a mistake and I
regret it. And now, they apparently want to look at e-mails of one of my
staffers and by all means, they should look at them. And I am sure they
will reach the same conclusion they did when they looked at my e-mails for
the last year. There is no case here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, the latest “Washington Post”/ABC News poll shows that 59
percent of registered voters have an unfavorable impression of both Trump
and Clinton. Her dead even, like the Redskins and the Bengals, dead even.

Anyway, for more on the scorched-earth tactics in this race, let`s take a
look at our HARDBALL roundtable – Howard Fineman, a familiar guy here,
global editorial director of “The Huffington Post,” Susan Page, Washington
bureau chief with “USA Today”, and Jonathan Capehart, opinion writer for
“The Washington Post”. We`ve got heavyweights here, heavyweights.

You know, I think it`s kind of dismal they have a 59 percent dead even
negative. That`s high. That`s not a happy – it`s Halloweenish, but it`s
not happy for Christmas is coming –

HOWARD FINEMAN, THE HUFFINGTON POST: It`s appropriate for Halloween, and I
don`t think there`s anybody who studies politics who`s covered it the way
we have for a long time for heavyweights. We`ve never seen a presidential
campaign this negative, this sort of lacking in the lift of a driving –

MATTHEWS: Yes!

FINEMAN: No talk of the future, no talk of the sunny road ahead and the
hope that we would have. The word hope has basically been banished from
this campaign.

MATTHEWS: I`m with you!

FINEMAN: And it`s grim. It`s extremely grim. There`s never been anything
like it in our memories.

MATTHEWS: OK, I go back to 1952, and the only thing I can think of is `68
after Bobby and Martin Luther King were killed. All of that stuff, we`re
left with an old liberal who`s been around too many times, Humphrey, and
another guy looks like he`s passed his sell-by date, too. And we end up
choosing between Nixon and Humphrey.

Oh my God. Humphrey was the hawk. We have to choose. It`s not quite that
bad. It`s close.

SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY: That was like “Morning in America” compared to
this.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes.

PAGE: Because one thing is –

MATTHEWS: Why are they both even at 59?

PAGE: Why are they higher? Why aren`t the negatives higher given that the
nuclear warfare that`s gone on between the two sides? I mean, it`s – it`s
– and given the nature of this campaign, because it`s not just this
negative, it`s that it`s caustic in a way that I think campaigns have not
traditionally been –

MATTHEWS: Crooked Hillary, over and over and over –

PAGE: I`ve never seen a campaign where a guy uses a nasty nickname all the
time.

CAPEHART: All the time. And his stump speech, despite this great news
from his perspective, his stump speech is still the same. And I would have
to disagree with Howard in that, you know, this is a – it is relentlessly
negative campaign, but it`s not like Hillary Clinton hasn`t been talking
about a more stronger together, hopeful future. Like, I`m the nerd sitting
at my desk watching these campaign rallies. And she does have a hopeful
message. The problem is, it`s being drowned out by, like, that –

FINEMAN: But most of her –

MATTHEWS: Her “Daisy” ad –

CAPEHART: Wait, wait, wait. You`re talking about ads, I`m talking about -
-

(CROSSTALK)

CAPEHART: I`m talking about the –

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Look at this right now. The Clinton campaign released a new TV
ad today, using the original “Daisy” girl, that young girl, from that 1964
Lyndon Johnson campaign ad. Watch this ad and tell me if she`s still
running a positive, uplifting campaign. Just –

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was me in 1964. The fear of nuclear war that we
had as children, I never thought our children would ever have to deal with
that again. And to see that coming forward in this election is really
scary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump asked three times –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three times, why can`t we use nuclear weapons?

TRUMP: I want to be unpredictable!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What safeguards are there to stop any president, who
may not be stable, from launching a nuclear attack?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The commander in chief is the commander in chief.

TRUMP: Bomb the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: OK, that was uplifting campaign of Hillary Clinton.

FINEMAN: Also, that was two – and also, they used the Joe Scarborough,
our colleague, who once upon a time was a Republican member of Congress,
they used Michael Hayden, who was in a Republican administration. So I
think they`re going there after the proverbial suburban, college-educated
women voter.

PAGE: But you know, the most powerful part of that ad, it`s not the
Republicans, it`s not the woman, whose 6-year-old was in the original
“Daisy” ad, it`s Trump`s own words. That`s a part of the ad –

MATTHEWS: The words that were bleeped out.

PAGE: And also the idea, I want to be unpredictable when you`re talking
about nuclear weapons.

FINEMAN: I`m surprised they were as restrained as they were.

MATTHEWS: Even Nixon who believes in the mad bomber theory. You don`t
actually say it.

CAPEHART: Right, right, but also, that ad, is sort of like cancels out
what I said before, but I would argue back, that you`ve got to do both
things at once. He is – he is a target-rich environment, when it comes to
being the poster child for everything that you don`t want in a president.
And everything that you should fear in a person like that, being, sitting
in the Oval Office, literally with the country`s life in his hands.

MATTHEWS: It`s all over the place, this negative.

Here`s North Carolina Senator Richard Burr. I don`t know him very well,
here he is in a tough re-election fight in North Carolina tonight. He`s in
hot water for a remark that`s caught on tape, everything gets caught on
tape now, during a meeting with Republican volunteers.

In the tape, he joked that gun owners may want to put a bull`s-eye on
Hillary Clinton. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SEN. RICHARD BURR (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Nothing makes me feel any better
than I walked into a gun shop and there was a copy of rifle men on the
counter. It`s got a picture of Hillary Clinton on the front of it. Got a
little bit shocked at that. Didn`t have a bull`s-eye on it, though.

(LAUGHTER)

(END AUDIO CIP)

MATTHEWS: Susan, why do people tell jokes, as if only the people in the
room is listening. I mean, I remember Gary Hart talking to a gay group in
L.A., making fun of the solid waste dumps in New Jersey. My dad heard that
in New Jersey. Everything hears everything now.

Why do they think just the gun owners?

PAGE: Assume you`re always being taped. Assume every e-mail you write is
going to be read by somebody who don`t want to read it.

FINEMAN: Especially the FBI.

PAGE: It`s like your mother told you to behave, right?

CAPEHART: And why are people joking about assassinations of political
figures? Particularly, people running for president.

MATTHEWS: So why are they? Answer the question?

FINEMAN: Because apparently, it plays well to that particular crowd.

MATTHEWS: And by the way – let`s go on the record. He knows he did
wrong, but he also knows he was talking to a group that liked it.

FINEMAN: But, Chris, a theme throughout the edges of the Republican
campaign, and not always the edges, over the last few months, has been
comparing – talking about – you know, Thelma and Louise, going off the
end of the cliff, you know, there`s been a lot of pretty violent language
used about Hillary Clinton in this campaign, and Barack Obama, as well.

MATTHEWS: Dangerous stuff, because everybody`s listening. Anyway –
including people who are unstable, anyway, are listening.

We`re all here, we`re all stable, I hope, and we`re going to tell me
something – you guys, something I don`t know. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Ohio Governor John Kasich has consistently said he won`t support
Donald Trump for president. Well, today, Kasich voted absentee when he
voted and he wrote in McCain. Wow.

Kasich`s spokesman also reports the governor also voted a straight
Republican the rest of the ballot, but not at the top.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL round table, including the arched
eyebrow of Jonathan over there.

Howard, by the way, tell me something, look at that arched eyebrow.

CAPEHART: I`ll tell you when it`s my turn.

MATTHEWS: OK.

FINEMAN: OK. This is something that you know and you`ve said a million
times and I`m going to remind you of it.

MATTHEWS: I`m ready.

FINEMAN: OK, Pennsylvania is the far wall for Hillary. If you look at the
Electoral College map, Trump is gaining in some other states here. But as
long as she`s got Pennsylvania – now, the Republicans may take the Senate
race there but she`s got the presidential. As long as that`s the case, the
math doesn`t work for Donald Trump.

MATTHEWS: Pennsylvania polka, yes, that`s it.

PAGE: All right.

MATTHEWS: I agree – by the way, I agree with it completely. There`s
something about higher educated women around the Philadelphia suburbs, 22
percent of the states. Minorities in Philadelphia, they are just –
there`s just too many of them for angry white man to overcome, if you will.

PAGE: Millennials is also a very important group for Hillary Clinton and a
group for whom she still has problems. In our new “USA Today”/Rock the
Vote poll out today, she dropped six points among millennials in just two
weeks, but she has a big advantage with millennials which is the people
they listen to.

Sixty-nine percent of the millennials tell us it`s important to us what
Barack Obama recommends. He`s recommending Hillary Clinton.

Sixty percent say it`s important what Bernie Sanders says they should do.

What about Rudy Giuliani? Because we asked Republicans. A third of
millennials want to listen to what Rudy Giuliani says they should do.
Twice by parents.

MATTHEWS: Great news.

CAPEHART: Mine`s really short, but the Clinton campaign is going full-on
at war with FBI Director Comey. At 5:00 this afternoon, Robby Mook, the
campaign manager, did a call with the press and went right on the record
with the – against the FBI director, saying if you`re going to go after
Hillary Clinton on the e-mails, why aren`t you going after Donald Trump and
his ties to the Russians?

MATTHEWS: I think it`s Paul Manafort`s ties, isn`t it?

FINEMAN: No, this wasn`t about Manafort. This is about the question
whether the Russians have been hacking into the American political system.

(CROSSTALK)

FINEMAN: He doesn`t want to talk about it.

MATTHEWS: I got that. There`s two pieces to this.

Anyway, thank you, Howard Fineman, Jonathan Capehart, and Susan Page.

You want to arch the eyebrow one more time?

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, that`s memorable.

When we return, my election diary for this Halloween. And that was
Halloween. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Election Diary Monday, October 31st, 2016.

It`s Halloween, the goblins are out and every house is getting toilet
papered. Sorry. I was describing the presidential campaign in its last
dying week, or has it already ended and we`re just now getting the aroma.

I just checked and offered them to you the unfavorable numbers of the two
presidential candidates, and here we go. Trump, 59 percent unfavorable.
Hillary Clinton, 59 percent unfavorable. Boo. Just like the Redskins and
the Bengals yesterday in London tied in overtime.

This is a result you get on a scoreboard at the end of a presidential
campaign has been composed largely of the nasty. For Trump, “Lyin` Ted” of
the primary has given way to “Crooked Hillary”. No need to say anything
more, just keep it saying to every voter every day of the year, and as it
happens in most wars, one side`s tactics has soon been copied by the other.
Hillary Clinton`s campaign is now in the stretch a stop Trump campaign.

And this is not to say both campaigns are equally bad. That would be an
absurd accusation. Trump`s, which started with a message of change, has
become nothing but a personal assault on his rival. The tragedy in this,
eight days before the election, is that people have so little reason to
feel good about what is happening in this, the greatest represented
democracy in human history and that`s us – and happy Halloween.

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.

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

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