Five killed & others injured in shooting. TRANSCRIPT: 6/28/2018, Hardball with Chris Matthews.
Date: June 28, 2018
Guest: Shannon Pettypiece, Adriano Espaillat, Karine Jean-Pierre; Dahlia
Lithwick; Rob Reiner
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: What kind of a country do you want to live in?
This is HARDBALL.
The good evening. I’m Chris Matthews in Washington where tragically, we
are once again monitoring a mass shooting in this country. This time in
Annapolis, Maryland at the capital of Gazette, a newspaper owned by “the
According to police, five were killed and several others gravely injured
after a suspect entered is the office of the newspaper and opened fire.
During the incident, one of the Gazette’s journalists tweeted there is
nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you are
under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.
For the very latest, I’m joined by NBC News investigative reporter Tom
Tom, what have we learned about the suspect so far?
TOM WINTER, NBC NEWS INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Chris, a little bit of late
breaking detail here that the suspect has been positively identified
through the use of facial recognition software and facial recognition
abilities of law enforcement to be able to match this person’s picture with
the government databases.
This reporting from myself, Pete Williams and Jonathan Deets (ph), the
suspect have then identified as a white male age 39. And right now, police
are conducting a court authorized search of this person’s home. He is from
Maryland. We don’t have the specific town or city. We also don’t have his
specific name. But again, Chris, the suspect’s been identified as a 39-
year-old white male described to my colleague Jonathan Deets (ph) as having
a minor criminal history. The person was recognized through facial
recognition software. They were able to get a picture of him and then
match it into a database.
The reason why police were having to do that is because the suspect has
been described to us as not being cooperative. In addition of that, Chris,
it’s been described he was somehow able to obscure his fingerprints. So
normally, if a person is not being cooperative and normally, if a person
doesn’t have an I.D. on them, they are able to use fingerprints to be able
to try to identify them through some sort of a government database if
somebody will a prior criminal history.
We are told that somehow, he was able to obscure his fingerprints so they
could not get a match that way and that’s why they had to go to the very
modern day facial recognition software to identify him.
MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Tom Winter.
Now to the epic battle over President Trump’s Supreme Court pick to replace
Anthony Kennedy. It’s impossible to see another decision that will have
greater or greater shape the kind of country we do live in. The Supreme
Court has proven his willingness to decide Presidential elections, the
number of guns in the country, the power of money in our politics and on
Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell clearly plan to jam what will be a 30-year
choice through Congress which is four months to go before the people will
speak in issues midterm’s elections.
Last night in North Dakota, Trump called Kennedy a very special guy and
praises the timing of his decision to step down. Let’s hear it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I’m very honor that he chose
to do it during my term in office because he felt confident in me to make
the right choice and carry on his great legacy. That’s why he did it.
We have to pick a great one. We have to pick one that’s going to be there
for 40, 45 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Forty or 45 years. Well, that’s even longer than I thought.
Well, some Democrats are prepared to play HARDBALL on this point arguing
that Mitch McConnell set a precedent in 2016 with his strategy of blocking
former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland.
While on Tuesday of this week, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said
refusing to allow the American people to weigh in as McConnell argued in
2016 would be the height of hypocrisy. Some of his colleagues echoed that
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: We realize the fact that Obama’s
final year was taken away from him to make an appointment. So that was a
new standard. It was a low standard if you will. But it was a standard.
And I for one and I think others haven’t forgotten that. And you know, as
you sow, so you reap.
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: Remember what senator McConnell told us
when there was a vacancy under President Obama? Too close to the election.
Let’s let the people decide. We are four months away from election. Is
senator McConnell prepared to keep this office vacant until after the
election? I hope so.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: I think we will do everything we can to
make the case it should be after the election because that’s exactly what
they did with the Merrick Garland nominee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: The number two Senate Republican John Cornyn was asked if his
party would follow this example, its own example.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democrats are calling now to delay the consideration of
a nominee until after the midterms.
SEN. JOHN CORNYN (D), TEXAS: It isn’t going to happen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why not?
CORNYN: We are going – we have the same President. We will have the same
President after the midterms as we have right now. So this lame argument
that’s being made somehow analogizing this to the transitioning from
President Obama to President Trump doesn’t work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Today senator McConnell once again proved he is without shame
renewing his call for a vote on Kennedy’s successor by the fall and
defending his decision to refuse a hearing for Merrick Garland because he
was nominated by a Democratic President. Here we go.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: This is not 2016. There aren’t
the final months of a second term constitutionally lame duck presidency
with a Presidential election fast approaching. We are right in the middle
of this President’s very first term.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: For more I’m joined by Rob Reiner, actor and director of “Shock
and Awe,” Dahlia Lithwick is a senior editor and legal correspondent for
Slate and Karine Jean-Pierre, senior adviser from Moveon.org.
Rob, thank you for joining us. I have this another lay of concern here.
This Supreme Court when it’s full up with nine justices will decide the
fate very well of this President. We have got a special counsel loaded for
bear. All kinds of issues obstruction of justice and possible collusion
with the Russians and how – what materials and what testimonies have to be
accepted, whether he has to testify or not. And they are going to let him
pick one of the people to decide his own fate.
ROB REINER, DIRECTOR, SHOCK AND AWE: That’s the biggest problem. I don’t
think we should get hung up on the egregious effects of what Mitch
McConnell did to Barack Obama and a tit-for-tat kind of thing. We have a
President of the United States that right now is under investigation for
possibly conspiring with a foreign enemy power to disrupt our democracy and
steal an election.
I don’t think we want as Americans to allow somebody who is possibly
colluding with a foreign enemy to making choices that are going to affect
our lives for the next 30, 40 years. That’s the issue. And make no
mistake about it. We cannot allow this. We have to see what happens with
the Mueller investigation, whether or not Donald Trump is guilty or not
guilty of major, major crimes. And if he is, he should not be allowed to
pick the next Supreme Court justice.
MATTHEWS: Dalia, the question there it seems to be a matter of timing. Do
they have the vote after the election or after Mueller made his call and
the court decisions have been made? You know, it seems to me you could
also think about getting Kennedy to stick around for a while and serve a
few more months. It wouldn’t kill him. Serve a few more months while we
do have a full-court without having to put Trump’s pick in being there to
decide Trump’s future.
DAHLIA LITHWICK, SENIOR EDITOR/LEGAL CORRESPONDENT, SLATE: I don’t think
there’s any chance of Kennedy sticking around. I think he quite
deliberately chose that July date. That’s when he is out. I do think it
leaves the rest of us confounded by this problem of are we going to really
let Donald Trump vet somebody cross-examine somebody, set out litmus tests.
He has already told us he has a litmus test around Roe. Litmus test and do
the kind of thing we know he has done to Jeff Sessions and Jim Comey and
ask for pledges from loyalty. And while I would like to believe that no
nominee is going to pledge that loyalty, it just seems to me unbelievably
problematic that the President is going to pick a judge who will, as you
just heard very likely fit in judgment over some piece of what Mueller
produces whether it’s can a President pardon himself, can a President, can
a sitting President be indicted.
All of that could very, very likely come before the court. So it’s a very
odd thing that Trump is in the business of vetting that person right now.
MATTHEWS: Karine, the people have to fight this nomination. I mean, the
Democratic leaders. They have got to get out to make this case. They
don’t have parliamentary tricks or whatever (INAUDIBLE). They have got to
slow this thing down so the voters get to talk first, I think. Your
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, SENIOR ADVISOR, MOVEON.ORG: No, that’s exactly right.
I think that they can’t play nice. There is no playing nice here.
Everything is at stake. Our fundamental rights are at stake here when you
talk about affirmative action, abortion, when you talk about environmental
issues, LGBTQ issues, everything is at stake.
And it is true, the one thing that is also very scary, this is like the
worst case scenario here, Chris. Because the other thing too is with
Russia, with the Russia investigation, he could be buying himself a get out
of jail free card with this pick.
This is someone who doesn’t believe in the rule of law. He thinks he is
above the law. And even during the Nixon times, the Supreme Court had to
jump in in Watergate. So there’s a lot here at risk. And we have to make
sure that the senators, Democratic senators on the inside match the
intensity on the outside that they’re going to see from activists from
voters from Americans.
MATTHEWS: Rob, I know you care about these social issues and individual
rights issues like choice. But I think this Supreme Court by 5-4 has shown
its amazing brazenness. It picked a President, W, took us to war your
movie “shock and awe.” That’s very relevant. And took us to war with a
President who is the only President I can imagine in this planet who would
have taken into that war. They picked them, the Supreme Court. Then they
decided they are going to let unlimited money play a role in the United
States political elections with the Citizens United and no check on the
power of people to buy guns. No limited. It used to be something to do
with founding a militia. They dropped all that language. This court is
unbounded in its power. And it’s not just the social issues we fight about
like abortion and marriage equality. It’s everything. It’s all political.
REINER: And wherever you come down on any of these issues, I would hope as
an American you don’t want a potential criminal choosing one of our Supreme
Court justices. That’s what it comes down to. I mean, I don’t care
whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice, I happen to be, you know, pro-
choice. And I happen to be in favor of gay rights and civil rights and
workers rights and all those things. And those things are in jeopardy.
But wherever you come down ideologically, we can all agree that we
shouldn’t have a potential criminal choosing our next Supreme Court
MATTHEWS: So let’s talk numbers. We often do it at election time. But
now we have to look at it again. There’s 50 Republicans in the Senate, 51
if John McCain could get back and vote. Although his vote would be up in
the air even on this one, I think even on this one and we have 49
Democrats. It couldn’t be closer.
Democrats are also looking, of course, to try to get two moderate
Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski, both women
of Alaska as allies in stopping a Trump Supreme Court pick.
Well, today Senator Collins was asked what she would expect from any
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does the nominee have to commit to you he or she
would uphold the precedent of Roe versus Wade in order to get your support?
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I always have a thorough interview with
judicial nominees for the Supreme Court, for circuit courts and one of the
questions that I always ask is do they respect precedent. From my
perspective, Roe v. Wade is an important precedent and it is settled law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Senator Murkowski of Alaska didn’t explicitly address the issue
but said in a statement my standards for Supreme Court nominees are
extremely high. It is my longstanding practice to carefully scrutinize the
qualifications of the judicial nominees and to cast an independent vote.
Let me go to Dahlia and then back to everybody else. You know, I have had
experience with Trump on this. I asked him whether a woman should be
punished. He said there needs to be some form of punishment. Now, that’s
a weird answer. I have no idea what he is talking about. Was he was
talking about prison? Was he talking about finding on some new form of –
I don’t know what he is talking about.
But that’s what he talks like. He also talked in the wilding incident
where those kids were accused of murder in Central Park, he said we have
got execute kids who are in their sub teens basically. So we know his
views are harsh. And they are not about individual rights or the rights of
defendants or young people.
So if he picks somebody like himself, man or woman, it’s pretty scary.
Suppose he picks a Trump in that person’s thinking. So how can you count
on him picking a Justice Kennedy in a million years? Just a thought.
LITHWICK: Well I think, Chris, on the issue of Roe v. Wade he has promised
us, he ran on the overt promise for the first time in history, I will have
a litmus test. Here are 25 people. Each of them will pledge to overturn
Roe. So this is not in dispute. He has pledged it.
But I would go further and [say be really careful about fetishizing the
language of what you heard Susan Collins say was as long as it’s good
precedent and that person props it is good precedent, I’m going to be OK.
You can do away with Roe v. Wade. You can hollow it out from the center.
It’s been happening in the states for years now without explicitly
overturning it to. So to fetishize the language of will this person or
will they not overturn Roe is to really miss the big game. Are they going
to hollow out will the core of Roe?
MATTHEWS: will they going to get rid of undue burden? Are they going to
say there can be a burden? You have to go to a hospital. All these things
they come up within taxes to make it more difficult for a person living in
a rural setting to have that choice, Karine.
JEAN-PIERRE: Yes. I mean, look. The list that he has been talking about,
the 25 list, that’s the federalist list of outside conservative group,
everybody on that list is to the far right of Kennedy. He is not going to
replace Kennedy. So we have to understand, we can’t be fooled here,
whoever he picks is going to try and get rid of Roe versus Wade.
MATTHEWS: He wants that.
JEAN-PIERRE: And he wants that. That’s who he wants. So that’s what’s
going to happen. The person that gets picked is going to cement all of
Donald Trump’s horrible policies.
MATTHEWS: I want to go back to Rob on that.
Rob, I don’t know if I talked to you about this. But were you taken with
the fact he said to me it’s interesting language, almost creepy language,
there needs to be some form of punishment for the woman. I asked about it,
for woman. He said yes, the woman. He thought about it, yes. And there
is some form of punishment. That’s biblical answer.
REINER: And you were the only one to be able to nail him down on that and
get his true answer to that. And I put it to people. The pro-life people
think of abortion as murder. They say it, they’ve said it over and over.
Well, what is the punishment for murder? It’s either life in imprisonment
or the death penalty.
So what are we talking about here? Are we saying that the woman and the
doctor both have to be put in jail for the rest of their lives or executed?
I mean, what are we talking about? This is crazy. This is absolutely
crazy and there’s so much more going to be at stake than just the abortion
rights. That’s going to be front and center. But how do you ooh
MATTHEWS: Anyway. I saw your movie “Shock and Awe.” I got an advance
view of the movie. I think it’s very important historically, not just
dramatically for the American people to know how we got into the God damn
war in Iraq. You told it how it happened and the courageous reporters from
knight rider who out there all alone said there was no WMD. It was all a
Anyway. Thank you Rob Reiner. Thank you, Dahlia Lithwick and Karine Jean-
Coming up, I President Trump flacks for Moscow again ahead of his meeting
with President Vladimir Putin coming up. Once again, Trump is pouring cold
water on the idea that the Kremlin even hacked any of the 2016 election.
What are you talking about? Every one of our intelligence agencies says
they did. So why is he so hell bent on making nice with the Russian strong
Plus a federal judge orders the Trump administration to reunite the roughly
2,000 children who have been separated from their parents at the border.
But with the children now scattered all across the country, how are they
possibly going to get those families back together that quick?
And with Obama’s legacy being torn part, what would it take to motivate the
Democrats in 2018 and 2020? The HARDBALL roundtable tackles that and the
way forward Nancy Pelosi her path back to the speakership is getting
Finally, let me finish tonight with Trump watch. You’re watching HARDBALL
where the action is.
MATTHEWS: In addition to gloating about the new vacancy on the Supreme
Court, President Trump last night launched a series of blistering attacks
against Democrats in Washington. Here are the highlights or dim lights
depending how you see it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: One of my biggest critics (INAUDIBLE) man named Joe Crowley got his
ass kicked. He was going to take Nancy Pelosi’s place and I was so
disappointed because I want to keep Nancy Pelosi right where she is with
Maxine Waters. They keep talking about this blue wave. Their blue wave is
really sputtering badly. The red wave is happen. Now they say, you will
admit, a thing comes out, a couple polls, a number of polls that he is the
most powerful, most popular Republican in the history of the party. Is
there any better place to be on a nice beautiful evening in North Dakota
than at a Trump rally, right? We’re having a good time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: We’ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Will you meet with President Putin, sir, and where?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Most likely. John Bolton is
over there now. He’s over in Russia right now. So we will probably be
meeting some time around my trip to Europe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was President Trump yesterday on his planned meeting with Russian
leader Vladimir Putin, which is now set to just after the upcoming NATO
summit in Europe next month. It’s going to be in Helsinki, Finland.
The announcement comes amid new signs that this president is determined to
embrace – that’s the right word for it – the Russian autocrat without
holding him to account for the cyber-war he attacked against us in 2016.
Seventeen months after the U.S. intelligence community concluded that Putin
ordered an influence campaign aimed at the United States’ presidential
election, Trump still appears eager to whitewash Russia’s role in attacking
Unbelievably, Trump today tweeted Putin’s denial. He’s quoting Putin.
“Russia” – this is Trump., president of the United States. “Russia
continues to say they had nothing to do with meddling in our election.”
What, is he flacking for Moscow?
We have seen since day one that Putin has had a mesmerizing, almost
hypnotic hold on this president, an allure that has confounded America’s
alliance, as it should.
Every time the subject comes up, Trump talks about what a good thing it
would be to get along with Russia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If we have a good relationship with Russia, believe me, that’s a
It would be a fantastic thing if we got along with Putin and if we got
along with Russia.
Yes, I think we got along very well. And I think that’s a good thing.
That’s not a bad thing.
I hope that we do have good relations with Russia. I say it loud and
clear. I have been saying it for years.
I want to be able, because I think it’s very important, to get along with
I think I could have a very good relationship with Russia and with
President Putin. And if I did, that would be a great thing.
If we can get along with Russia, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing.
But getting along with Russia would be a good thing, not a bad thing. And
just about everybody agrees to that, except very stupid people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Excuse me.
I’m joined right now by Shannon Pettypiece, White House reporter for
Bloomberg news. David Corn is Washington bureau chief at “Mother Jones”
and an MSNBC political analyst.
Excuse me. I want to go to David, men first in this one instance.
This guy has been writing about this Russian thing for a long time.
Why, when you really get down to it, putting apart all ideological
thinking, just straight evidence, why does Trump want to have this love
affair with Putin against all the evidence he’s out to screw us?
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: He identifies with Putin. He seems
to want Putin’s respect and legitimacy. And he wants validation from
Putin. He’s been saying for…
MATTHEWS: It’s not a great country. And he’s not a great leader. Why
does he want his respect?
CORN: He’s a strongman. He’s an autocrat. He does what he wants to do.
And I think he actually likes – I think he likes the fact that Putin
attacked the United States and got away with it. This tweet that you just
showed on the screen – I mean, there are a lot of outrageous things that
happened today and this week.
The earth should have stood still for this tweet at least for 20 seconds.
MATTHEWS: To say, I’m quoting them.
CORN: A foreign adversary attacks the United States, and our whole –
House Republicans, Senate Republicans agree with the intelligence
community. Every U.S. intelligence official that Trump has appointed
MATTHEWS: Shannon, I know you’re young for this.
MATTHEWS: But like had Roosevelt – had Franklin Roosevelt after Pearl
Harbor had said, no, I believe Tojo when he said they weren’t responsible
for the attack on Pearl Harbor. I don’t believe our Navy.
SHANNON PETTYPIECE, BLOOMBERG NEWS: People in his own administration
disagree with his stance on Russia. He has been advised by national
security advisers, by the intelligence community that this meeting with
Putin is a bad idea. You shouldn’t do it.
He was advised not to congratulate Putin on his election. He has been
advised over and over again to a tough stance.
MATTHEWS: Why is Bolton playing his leader dog on this?
PETTYPIECE: And Bolton has completely shifted course in his rhetoric on
Russia. He was – set a very strong course on Russia.
But, listen, this president is not taking advice from anyone anymore. It’s
very true that he is following his instincts. He continues to be
emboldened to believe to follow his instincts.
And those in his administration now, they can speak up, they can advise
him. But once he says he’s not going to do it, they have to get in line.
MATTHEWS: Well, the news of the Trump-Putin meeting has alarmed America’s
NATO allies, who wanted to demonstrate a united front against Russian
Well, Axios reports that, according to a senior European official, the fear
is that Trump will provoke a fight with his closest allies and then lavish
praise on a dictator, as he did on Kim Jong-un. Axios also reports that
President Trump showed disdain for the transatlantic alliance, saying NATO
is as bad as NAFTA. It’s much too costly for the United States.
Well, NATO allies may have good reason to worry, since President Trump has
repeatedly questioned America’s commitment to the alliance. “The
Washington Post” reported this week that, in March, “The Swedish prime
minister explained to Trump that Sweden, although not a member of NATO,
partners with the alliance on a case-by-case analysis. Trump responded
that the United States should consider that approach,” in other words, not
really being in NATO anymore.
Well, during the campaign, Trump also has said unless NATO allies paid more
for their defense, he was open to scrapping the alliance altogether.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I will tell you about NATO. It’s obsolete and we’re paying too
much money. Either they pay up, including for past deficiencies, or they
have to get out. And if it breaks up NATO, it breaks up NATO.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Let’s go to the accounting here on this.
What can Putin do for Trump in response to him going over there and kissing
him over in Helsinki? What can – if you were a Trump person, what would
you be able to say we’re going to get out of it?
And, two, worst-case scenario, suppose this takes this – suppose Putin
takes this whole thing as a breakup of the Western alliance. He starts
grabbing for the Baltic countries. He starts really getting aggressive,
knowing that we’re not going to go to their aid.
CORN: Well, that’s what he wants. Putin has a strategic aim.
In this book I had, “Russian Roulette,” with Mike Isikoff, we talked about
how he had a three – a plan for years on how to break up Western liberal
democracies, the alliances, undermine their elections. The United States,
we were just one of a piece of that.
So, he has a strategic aim. Trump, there’s no strategic aim here. What
does he want from Putin? He wants a bear hug. He wants to go horse
riding. That’s really what it’s about.
MATTHEWS: Bare – without shirts on?
CORN: He can’t sit down with our allies and have a civil conversation
about policy issues. He wants a headline.
MATTHEWS: Yes. You mean no tangible results? Shannon, no, could he come
back from Russia – or from Helsinki with nothing?
PETTYPIECE: Well, that has been one of the questions, is, what is in this
Same with North Korea. What is in it for the U.S.? Trump has said he
wants help with Syria. OK, fine.
MATTHEWS: I agree with that, if he could do it. But what help are we
going to get?
PETTYPIECE: But even what is in our national interests that would be
bigger than Syria? Well, telling Russia to knock it off, to not attempt to
invade our allies anymore, like the Ukraine, or maybe moves towards the
MATTHEWS: Is there any chance – you know this.
Is there any chance he would give us some help with Syria? I always
thought there needed to be something to break up this sort of deadlock in
the Middle East. If he drops support for Syria, Syria – the government
PETTYPIECE: Right. Well, that is a possibility.
And also a possibility, but an unlikely one, is that Trump will tell Putin
to knock it off and to keep out of meddling in our elections, meddling with
our adversaries, and meddling with our allies.
MATTHEWS: Well, they would have to admit that they did it then.
MATTHEWS: That’s the problem.
CORN: I think there seems to be zero chance that he will take a strong
stand on Putin.
Putin has shown again and again and again that he has no interest in
getting rid of his alliance with the Syrian government. So, what does
Trump want? He wants what he got out of the Kim Jong-un meeting,
headlines, in which he says, North Korea threat doesn’t exist anymore.
He doesn’t care about the details. He wants the glory, the headlines. He
wants to create a story.
MATTHEWS: Well, that won’t work if he invades and grabs Latvia. It’s not
going to work.
CORN: No, it doesn’t matter. He wants a story for his followers who
follow the headlines.
MATTHEWS: Last word from you.
PETTYPIECE: And Trump’s base does not have the as negative view of Putin
as many in the intelligence or foreign establishment – foreign policy
MATTHEWS: He seems to like the guy riding around on a horse.
PETTYPIECE: He views him as a strongman.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Shannon. Shannon Pettypiece, thank you, and
David Corn, expert on Russia.
Up next: A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to reunite
families separated under that zero tolerance policy, calling it a chaotic
circumstance of the government’s own making. That’s a judge talking.
Will the administration comply? Will it do it? Can they do it fast?
There is no system in place to track these kids’ whereabouts. So, how are
they going to find them?
This is HARDBALL, where the action is.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Amid the chaos and confusion and cruelty created by the Trump
administration’s forced separations of families, first lady Melania Trump
made her second trip to the border, providing another P.R. push to paper
over what remains a bureaucratic catastrophe.
On Tuesday night, a Republican-appointed – Republican-appointed federal
judge in California gave the White House 30 days to reunify migrant
families separated at the border.
In the judge’s ruling, he wrote: “The unfortunate reality is that, under
the present system, migrant children are not accounted for with the same
efficiency and accuracy as property. Certainly, that cannot justify or
satisfy the requirements of due process. Placing the burden on the parents
to find and request unification with their children under the circumstances
presented here is backwards.”
The judge also issued a nationwide injunction against further family
separations. The Justice Department has not indicated it will appeal the
injunction against the judge.
Anyway, in a Senate hearing, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar,
who is responsible for these children, struggled to say with any clarity
how many had in fact been reunified. Let’s watch the secretary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RON WYDEN (D), OREGON: I want to know about the children in your
department’s custody. How many of them have been reunified?
ALEX AZAR, U.S. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: Well, that’s exactly
what I’m saying. They have been placed with a parent or other relative who
is here in the United States.
WYDEN: How many? How many?
AZAR: Several hundred.
WYDEN: Of the…
AZAR: Of the 2,300-plus that we – that came into our care. We currently
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: For more, I’m joined by U.S. Congressman Adriano Espaillat,
Democrat from New York City.
Thank you, Congressman.
REP. ADRIANO ESPAILLAT (D), NEW YORK: Thank you so much.
MATTHEWS: Tell me. You have been out there. You know what we don’t know.
What’s it like on the ground with these kids?
ESPAILLAT: Well, I went to visit one of the centers where – that’s
providing services for them, and they told me that there’s 239 of them
there, 100 of which have been placed with some relative.
Now, these kids are coming with little notes attached with a safety pin.
That’s how they are getting them together with their relatives. The
federal government is doing very little to reconnect the children back with
And I met with some of the fathers at the federal facility on Father’s Day.
And they told me how their children were being ripped away from them. In
fact, many of them just broke down because they told us how, at the border,
when they were questioned, the first thing that came to question was
whether or not they were the real dads.
They were alleging that they were tracking young children. And so many of
them, when they told the story, they broke down. This is what is going on,
on the ground. These children are not being helped by government.
It is in fact the service providers that are doing much of the groundwork.
They came from Arizona, from California. There’s 700-plus of them in New
York state, 239 of them in my district. And I went to visit them. They’re
resilient kids, but I cannot guarantee that they haven’t been traumatized.
MATTHEWS: And you’re up on the border between Manhattan and the Bronx.
ESPAILLAT: That’s correct. Yes.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this talk about trafficking.
What is that? Is that just a bogus claim? Who is saying there’s been
tracking with these kids?
ESPAILLAT: Well, if one of the males, if a father is coming with their
child – and very often a father is the one also that brings the children,
because that’s a very dangerous journey.
ESPAILLAT: So, immediately, the allegation would be, is that your child?
And they told us, the children were holding onto their legs.
MATTHEWS: Well, they know it. So, why are they challenging that? Why do
they think that is…
ESPAILLAT: I think that’s just the modus operandi down there at the
MATTHEWS: Well, hundreds of demonstrators stormed a Senate office building
here in Washington earlier today to protest the Trump administration’s
forced family separations.
More than 500 people were arrested today. There some of them are as they
chanted “Abolish ICE.” Many were wearing the same Mylar blankets that were
distributed to migrant children at the border. Those are the things that
look like aluminum paper.
Anyway, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is one of the people arrested.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D), WASHINGTON: I just got arrested with a group of,
I don’t know exactly how many, but over 500 women, at least 500 women, who
took over the center of the Hart Senate Building, protesting the inhumane
and cruel zero tolerance policy of Donald Trump and this administration,
the separation of families, the caging of children, the imprisonment of
asylum seekers who just seek a better life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Now, Congress has an oversight role here.
You have a judge who has enjoined them to get these kids home to their
parents in 30 days. How do you guys – how can you pressure that?
ESPAILLAT: Well, first of all, that, judge was very clear, 30 days, and
two weeks if the child is under 5 years old.
So, clearly, there’s a present danger, clear and present danger for these
children. We should be holding hearings immediately on the situation with
these children and how they have been ripped away from their families.
There’s just no way about it. I will continue to visit some of these
sites. I’m going back again this week and see how the kids are doing.
MATTHEWS: Your background is Dominican.
ESPAILLAT: That’s correct.
MATTHEWS: Congratulations. What a guy you are. Thank you. It’s so
impressive, your whole life.
ESPAILLAT: And I’m not a shortstop.
MATTHEWS: No, your whole life is so impressive. Thank you, U.S.
Congressman Adriano Espaillat of New York City and New York State.
Up next: The Obamas’ legacy is being destroyed. The Supreme Court is
hanging in the balance. What will it take to fire up the Democrats in the
Senate, and how much of a role will President Obama play in taking on
Trump? He’s going out there to campaign. We will see how hard he’s going
You’re watching HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: Are you fired up? Ready to go? Fired up?
Ready to go? Fired up? Ready to go?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Well, that didn’t work.
Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was President Obama working up a New Hampshire crowd in 2016. CNBC is
reporting the former president is expected to head back into the campaign
this fall. That’s welcome news for Democrats looking to motivate or
energize their voters.
Without major gains in the House and Senate, Democrats face another two
years on the sidelines. However, or already, Obama’s legacy has been
systemically dismantled and the Supreme Court is on the verge of being lost
for generation to come, a couple of generations.
I’m joined right now by the roundtable, Yamiche Alcindor, White House
correspondent for the “PBS NewsHour”, Jose Aristimuno, he’s a former
Democratic National Committee press secretary, and Peter Emerson is a
All of you, let’s talk about the Democrats. I’m focused on them and I want
to know what they’re going to do to deal with this nomination.
Trump thinks women should be punished for abortion. We know his thinking.
He says he wants to get somebody in there who’s going to get rid of Roe v.
Wade. He’s clear as he can possibly be the kind of judge he’s going to
What do the Democrats do to fire up the base and make enough noise to stop
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, PBS NEWSHOUR: I don’t think
Democrats can stop it. From a procedural point of view, the Republicans
have the votes they need without the Democrats to do this. I think that
during the midterms –
MATTHEWS: Don’t let them off hook. The vote hasn’t been taken yet.
Peter, it hasn’t been taken.
PETER EMERSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Exactly.
MATTHEWS: They can get people to vote against it. I’ve got a half dozen
Supreme Court nominees in recent years that got knocked off in this
process. It’s doable.
ALCINDOR: Susan Collins and Murkowski both voted for Neil Gorsuch. He was
someone who is pro-life. There is, of course, a case now that because
things are different, that they now feel compelled to not vote for someone
who might overturn abortion and Roe v. Wade. But, of course, the most
important thing from the White House sources that I’ve been talking to, the
most important thing to the president is that person is young, is going to
be pro-life –
MATTHEWS: Forty-five years.
ALCINDOR: – and they’re going to be super conservative.
MATTHEWS: He wants them in for 40 to 50 years. He said today.
JOSE ARISTIMUNO, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Look, the same thing the
Republican leadership did to us a few years back, trying to block
nominations, we need to do the same thing. There should be no nomination
till after the midterm election.
MATTHEWS: Peter, how do they galvanize enough people to stop this?
Because they had to go beyond parliamentary procedure. They do have the
number. It seems to me people in the past have had enough juice to have
been able to stop these things.
EMERSON: Well, exactly, it’s about emotions. And right now, you’ve got
the minority leader of the Senate, Chuck Schumer, standing in front of a
bunch of microphones begging for fairness. That’s not going to motivate
You and I have both been in the Senate. You know, there’s procedural
parliamentary rules where they could slow it down long enough to get into
the field and really put pressure on elected and candidates right now.
MATTHEWS: They put the pressure on these women who are pro-choice. By the
way, Senator Collins of Maine and Murkowski of Alaska, you could argue this
a number of ways. If you’ve already vote for one of Trump’s nominees for
the high court, you do get some cover here.
You can say to your people back home, I passed one of them. I’m not going
to pass this other one. I have discernment. I can accept one but not this
I do say – I’m talking about Heitkamp and Donnelly and people like that,
and Manchin, the conservative Democrats.
MATTHEWS: Can’t they use that as an argument? We gave him one, I’m not
going to give them two. Not in one season.
ALCINDOR: I mean, they could but they’re all in districts – I think
Democrats don’t – I mean, that they can find a way to not vote for a Trump
appointee. Republicans on the other hand, Susan Collins and Murkowski have
shown they will vote for someone who is pro-life. As a reporter, I don’t
see them now saying they would not vote for someone for those reasons.
MATTHEWS: Let me get to the real politics of this. If you’re a Democrat
running for election or you’re just a Democrat in office right now, should
you take this to the people? Should you go out there and talk to voters
about this, get them excited, get them writing letters, get them going to
rallies? Should you wake up the Democratic Party, especially its base, or
just slip and slide along and said, oh, we’re one vote short. We can’t
EMERSON: This is the party that is leaderless. You’ve got to take it to
the people. And this is a moral issue. This isn’t just a political issue.
Where is the representation in the Senate and the house like John Lewis?
Angry and ready to go to jail for principle? That’s what the Democratic
Party and the base is demanding.
ARISTIMUNO: Democrats have been asking for these sort of issues to bring
it back to the voters. There’s another issue. We know the family
separation. There’s a bunch things this administration has been doing.
So, Democrats need to say if you want this all to stop, you need to elect
Democrats come November.
MATTHEWS: Well, for Democrats it’s not just messaging. It’s leadership as
you guys are saying. The top three Democrats in the House have been in
Congress for a combined 93 years. It’s almost comical.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is 78, Congressman Steny Hoyer, the number two
guy, is 70. I think those dates are wrong. It’s the other way around.
But let’s go, the number three Democrat, Congressman Jim Clyburn is 77.
They’re all in their late 70s.
The fourth ranking member, Congressman Joe Crowley of New York, lost his
primary to 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Here’s what she said when asked if it was a time for a change of party
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDDATE: I do
think that we do need to elect a generation of new people to Congress on
both parties, you know? I think that some of the issues that we have today
may have to do with some of the calcified structures and relationships.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What do you think, Yamiche? Is there going to be – is this
dynamic out there right now, younger voters getting elected? Is this going
to shake the leadership?
ALCINDOR: I think that if more people get elect, if we see more people
being ousted from incumbents actually losing to young, kind of progressive
people who are kind of in the wing of Bernie Sanders, I think then the
Democratic Party starts looking at leadership. But look at the Democratic
leadership is also what Congress looks like. I used to cover Congress.
You walk around those hallways, their people are very old. I’m not saying
that as a critique. I’m just saying that as an observation, there are a
lot of people who are older staffers.
MATTHEWS: Compared to you, everybody is old.
ALCINDOR: True, but you see that staffers are running a lot of things.
And you see these young staffers who are on the bench essentially.
Democrats have a lot of youth, a lot of people who are smart that could run
the party but people just stay in office –
MATTHEWS: I look at the loss of Joe Crowley, who I know a bit, and I
talked to him today, and I have to tell you – it’s not just he’s taken out
of the line of succession, which is obvious, he’s out of the business right
now politically. He was one of Nancy Pelosi’s people out there. She had
people like Jack Murtha in the East Coast, all kinds of people looking out
for in the cloak room, building up support. She’s lost a real ally in
Crowley, not just successors.
ARISTIMUNO: Chris, this reminds me of the great song by Bob Dylan, “Times,
they are achanging.” This is just that.
Now, look, I’m OK with Nancy Pelosi, I respect her. I think she’s a
phenomenal fund-raiser for her party. She can stay in power. But as long
as she welcomes the new voices such as Alexandria into the party, really,
but I mean really welcome them.
EMERSON: There’s nobody in leadership in the House. The youngest two are
number seven and number eight in the House. On the Senate side, it’s even
There’s no sense and I’ll make it a critique that there should be younger
faces because these faces –
MATTHEWS: Here’s what I believe, if Nancy Pelosi doesn’t become the
speaker next year, or Democratic leader, she’ll have to be replaced by
another woman. There’s no way – because a lot of these primary fights are
women having a chance to come forward. A woman has to replace a woman. I
don’t think – I’m looking at Bustos. I’m looking at Cheri.
Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us. You’re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: We’ll be right back with the HARDBALL roundtable. It turns out
we had the ages of the Democratic leadership correct.
Be right back.
MATTHEWS: We are back with the roundtable.
Yamiche, tell me something I don’t know, because you’re always good at
ALCINDOR: A non-profit aligned with Mitch McConnell is launching a digital
media ad blitz focused on electing or having a conservative replace Justice
Kennedy. They’re spending something like $100,000 in states like Florida,
Indiana, West Virginia, so Republicans are taking this seriously and
they’re coming to voters.
MATTHEWS: Hope the Democrats do.
Let me go to Jose.
ARISTIMUNO: So, FEMA, the FEMA housing assistance who is helping Puerto
Ricans in Orlando who moved here because of Hurricane Maria is set to
expire this Saturday, June 30th. Governor Rick Scott needs to step up to
the plate. Very disappointed in the federal government. About 600
families are going to be placed on the street.
EMERSON: Follow the money. I had dinner with Senator Udall during his
MATTHEWS: New Mexico.
EMERSON: Yes, exactly, to the Mexican border. He discovered that one
facility, one detention facility, costs $400,000 per day or $2,000 (AUDIO
GAP). There’s a less expensive day, $4.50. Why? The largest private-
owned prison system political action committee gave the Trump campaign
MATTHEWS: People incarceration for –
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you. I’ve heard of that in Pennsylvania. Thank
you, Yamiche Alcindor, Jose Aristimuno, and Peter Emerson.
When we return, let me finish tonight with “Trump Watch”. He won’t like
tonight. And you’re watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: “Trump Watch”, Thursday, June 28th, 2018.
What I said last night about the need to resist having a Trump-like justice
on Supreme Court is true tonight. It will be just as true 30 years from
now when that Trump-like justice will have worked his will for three
I say this because there’s nothing that the Congress decides this year or
the years ahead that is likely to matter as much as this decision. We
attacked and invaded Iraq because we had the one president that would have
taken on such an extraordinarily horrible and stupid course.
Never forget, it wasn’t the American people who picked W. It was the five
Republican voters on Supreme Court. They picked that president. That
limited man who called himself the decider who decided on this war of
We live in a country where guns are everywhere now. Assault rifles, guns
that serve as fully automatic, guns with ammo magazines and allow some
killer standing in a school to kill everyone in a classroom. It was this
5-4 Supreme Court that broke with long constitutional history to declare
owning a gun of any kind is an unrestricted and unrestrictable right,
ignoring all the words of the Founding Fathers that they were talking about
the need to raise an armed militia.
It was this 5-4 Supreme Court that money should have unrestricted power to
turn American elections, that the side with the most dollars should have
the biggest unlimited voice in our popular elections. So, don’t let anyone
tell you picking this decisive member of the Supreme Court is not
essentially a political decision, to pick a Republican justice is to have a
Republican court. If the Democrats and the United States Senate cannot
resist Trump’s putting the country’s highest court in a death grip, they
will and should pay an insufferable price.
Now is the time for political warfare, not after this election when the
enduring historic damage had already been sustained.
That’s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
“ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” starts right now.
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