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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 03/10/15

Guests: Carol Leonnig, Susan Page, Nicholas Confessore, Eric Greitens, TadDevine, Margaret Carlson, Harold Schaitberger

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The server will remain private. Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. Secretary Clinton did everything right today but deal with the problem. She said she will not release the server that contains the e- mails, those 30,000 e-mails today she said she had ordered destroyed. But without the server, of course, there`s no way for her skeptics out there, her critics, political rivals or anyone, to know what`s contained in the 30,000 messages. It`s up to whether people are ready to take her word that none of those messages dealt with policy, politics or her handling of dicey situations. She basically said, Trust me -- trust her not to have deleted e-mails dealing with policy, politics or whatever. I said this afternoon that there were two questions the former secretary of state would have to confront today. Would she release the server? And would she give back the money the Clinton Foundation had gotten from governments which countenance bad treatment of women? She gave her answer to both. It was the same answer, No. Susan Page is the Washington bureau chief at the "USA Today," Carol Leonnig is a reporter with "The Washington Post" and Michael Steele was RNC chair. Let me start with Carol Leonnig. Your view about this first press conference. Do you believe that she dealt with the answers that will be the story for the next several days? CAROL LEONNIG, "WASHINGTON POST": I think it was good to hear former secretary of state Clinton give in her own words what was her reason for using a private e-mail for all of her government business. I do think she avoided some questions or giving the specific answers to some key questions. For example, how was this set up? And who approved it at the State Department? My colleague, Anne Gearan, asked that question, but the answer that the former secretary of state gave was that this was a system set up by her husband some years ago. It didn`t really explain whether or not State -- the State Department bought into this plan.   As you know, Chris, from the conversations we`ve had before, the State Department has a pretty firm policy that day-to-day government operations should be conducted on government e-mails at the State Department. So many employees now are asking, why did the secretary of state in this case feel that she could do the opposite? It`s true, you can use personal e-mail. For sure, you absolutely can. But you`re supposed to be having it sent to or saved by the State Department in an e-mail server controlled by them. MATTHEWS: But Carol, she said that it was inconvenient for her to do that, to have two sets of phones and two sets of e-mail accounts. LEONNIG: Well, it`s interesting because it`s -- you know, I see her point, and on the other hand, most of the reporters in the room probably questioning her have one device that accepts several different kinds of e- mail accounts. I do. As well, there were other cabinet secretaries at the time who, you know, had the troublesome problem of carrying around two devices, and there are cabinet secretaries of her stature or during her tenure who had one that accepted both e-mails -- both e-mails accounts. So it`s -- it`s hard to totally 100 percent buy the convenience argument because it`s possible... MATTHEWS: Yes. LEONNIG: If she could set up her own server in her home, it`s possible for her to get her own e-mail on one device. MATTHEWS: OK. Well, in her press conference today, Hillary Clinton said she used a private e-mail because it was convenient. Here she is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON, FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE: When I got to work as secretary of state, I opted for convenience to use my personal e-mail account, which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal e- mails instead of two.   Looking back, it would have been better if I had simply used a second e-mail account and carried a second phone. But at the time, this didn`t seem like an issue. Looking back, it would have been better for me to use two separate phones and two e-mail accounts. I thought using one device would be simpler, and obviously, it hasn`t worked out that way. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Secretary Clinton also said she decided which e-mails should be part of the public record and everything else was deleted, she said, at her orders. Here she is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: We went through a thorough process to identify all of my work-related e-mails and deliver them to the State Department. At the end, I chose not to keep my private personal e-mails, e-mails about planning Chelsea`s wedding or my mother`s funeral arrangements, condolence notes to friends, as well as yoga routines, family vacations, the other things you typically find in inboxes. No one wants their personal e-mails made public, and I think most people understand that and respect that privacy. I have absolute confidence that everything that could be in any way connected to work is now in the possession of the State Department. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, this leaves open the question of, how do you get to the bottom of this. If you`re an arch-critic of the secretary -- you don`t have to be an arch-critic, just a skeptic -- for example, you`re Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the Benghazi committee -- he says, I`ll never be able to know one way or the other if something hasn`t been hidden or destroyed by her, unless I get that server. SUSAN PAGE, "USA TODAY": It`s kind of in the nature of our system that we rely on checks and balances so that Hillary Clinton doesn`t get to decide what e-mails apply, right? We have someone independent who takes a look at that. But that didn`t happen. She says, We reviewed them and I`m confident... MATTHEWS: Who`s the "we," by the way?   PAGE: Well, we don`t know who the "we" is. And she says, We`re -- there weren`t any breaches. There were no security problems. How do we know that? So it seems to me that while she began to address some of these questions, she didn`t settle these issues, and this is not going to be the last time she`s going to be forced to address them. MATTHEWS: That reminds me -- you know, not that it`s the same thing. She`s not impeachable or anything like that. She`s not guilty of anything like that. But she worked on the Clinton -- I mean, I`m sorry, the Nixon impeachment committee. She knows all about how these stories develop. It starts with, What do you know, when did you know it? It ends up being, Release the tapes. It always ends up, once the public finds out there`s some source of fact that you`re holding back, and they ask for it. MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, yes... MATTHEWS: And eventually, some judge says you have to give it up. Now, maybe there won`t be a judge in this case. It`ll always be hanging on her, How come you didn`t release (INAUDIBLE) STEELE: This is her 18-minute gap because she`s not releasing the server... MATTHEWS: I wish I hadn`t fed you that. STEELE: I know. But you did, and I`ll take it. MATTHEWS: So she`s Rosemary Woods. STEELE: Yes, this is -- well, in effect, she is. She`s not only Nixon, but she is Rosemary Woods in that she`s controlling the ultimate apparatus here, which is the server. And the server will -- is the forensic -- it has the forensic evidence you need to see exactly what those 30,000 e-mails contained. MATTHEWS: Right. STEELE: The easiest thing for Hillary Clinton to do is to give over that server to the government...   MATTHEWS: Who would you trust with it? Who wouldn`t exploit the personal stuff or the political stuff that`s in there... STEELE: Well, you would... MATTHEWS: ... that`s not relevant to anything else? STEELE: You would presume the State Department taking control of that, maybe some independent organization or body also being a part of that process, that they would not release those personal e-mails relating to her (INAUDIBLE) MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you a question. Suppose -- both of you can answer this. Let me go to Carol Leonnig on this. Is there a legitimate place for political conversation on the e-mail? For example, suppose she called up or e-mailed somebody, What`s the story on this guy Menendez, the new chair or the ranking member on Foreign Relations? I can`t get him. "The Times" has been after him for months or years. How do you keep that information private, like, political scuttlebutt? LEONNIG: Well, I mean... MATTHEWS: Does she have a right to keep that secret, political scuttlebutt? I think so. LEONNIG: As -- as -- I suppose you could argue that she has a good reason to, but it is on her State -- if she was use a State e-mail, if she had, it would all be FOIA`ble. I mean, one of the big problems here, Chris, is that a lot of organizations have FOIA`d State Department e-mails looking for hers. And maybe they have their partisan reasons. Maybe they just want to know how she conducted business. But many of them have been told over the course of their FOIA lawsuits, their public records lawsuits, that there`s, sorry, no records from the secretary, without being told, Sorry, the secretary never used a dot-gov e-mail. MATTHEWS: Wow. LEONNIG: You know, and I want to go back to something Susan said, too, that`s interesting. You know, how do we know? How do we know that it was a secure server, that there were no security breaches? It took a long time for the White House to realize that its e-mails, or its server, rather, was being hacked by the Russians, and we reported on that back in December. How does Hillary know that she didn`t have any of her communications spied on or hacked on by any of the governments that might be wanting to do that, or non-quasi-governmental groups? As well, to say that the -- it was on property protected by the Secret Service -- how does the Secret Service protect from that kind of hacking?   MATTHEWS: Yes. LEONNIG: They`re not capable of that. MATTHEWS: There`s some tradecraft going on today. I`m not knocking it if it was tradecraft -- opening up with a speech condemning the Republicans for their letter to Tehran, to make -- give that a -- trump the other story, talking about her mother`s funeral, Chelsea`s birth and marriage? STEELE: Deflection. MATTHEWS: It was all focusing on something besides the question at hand here... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... something. STEELE: And starting with a foreign reporter, a foreign correspondent to ask the first question. MATTHEWS: Well, Nick gets to decide. STEELE: You know? (LAUGHTER)   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Andrea is so aggressive. STEELE: Who the hell is Nick? MATTHEWS: Andrea was talking. You could hear Andrea yelling, I`m here! (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: I have a question. You`re going to give it to somebody... STEELE: But the perfect Clintonian move. It was deflection away from the central reason we were all here. And even the lead-up to that -- I`m here today to discuss a matter that`s been in the news lately, Iran. Well, no, Hillary, we`re here... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I know that part. But let`s talk about something that the guy at the bar -- or not the -- not the guy at the bar -- next October of `16 -- it`s going to matter because it`ll be in the debates. STEELE: Right. MATTHEWS: Hillary Clinton was also asked about the foreign donations controversy at the Clinton Global Initiative, which took millions from foreign governments with questionable human rights and women`s rights records.   Here was her response to that, and I think this is probably more important than everything we`ve been talking about. Here it is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: With respect to the foundation, I am very proud of the work the foundation does. I`m very proud of the hundreds of thousands of people who support the work of the foundation and the results that have been achieved for people here at home and around the world. And I think that we are very clear about where we stand, certainly where I stand, on all of these issues. There can`t be any mistake about my passion concerning women`s rights here at home and around the world. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: So the question is, why do you take money from governments that don`t agree with you on women`s rights? PAGE: So she`s right. We all know where she stands on empowerment of women and girls around the world. She has a long record with that. That`s not the question, as you point out. It`s who are you getting money from? Did they expect -- why were they giving money? Did they expect to curry some kind of favor with either the secretary of state at the time, or was somebody who they expected to be running for president? So -- so I -- you know, the -- I think the e-mail question is important for transparency of government, but when you talk about the appearance of conflict of interest and of the power of money in American politics, that is an issue that seems to me has more standing with voters. MATTHEWS: I think a better question, a good question, another question is, do you think these foreign leaders did this out of charity or for influence? STEELE: Oh, absolutely influence. MATTHEWS: I mean, you would ask that question of anybody...   (CROSSTALK) STEELE: ... access to a former president, access to... MATTHEWS: Yes, future president. STEELE: ... a future president, secretary of state. Absolutely, it`s about influence. MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you for joining us, both of you, Susan Page, Carol Leonnig, thank you, from "The Washington Post," and Michael Steele. Coming up: Can Hillary Clinton contain the damage? We`re talking politics coming up next. She`s expected to announce her candidacy for president next month. Did she say enough today to start to put this thing in the rear-view mirror or not? Is this problem still out there? Plus, the growing outrage over the Senate Republicans` letter-writing campaign to the hard-liners over in Iran to scuttle the nuclear talks. The senator behind the letter, Arkansas`s Tom Cotton, says it was absolutely appropriate to do an end run around the White House. As they used to say in Britain, He would say that. And two students at the University of Oklahoma have been expelled for their part in that racist chant caught on tape. We got new details on that coming up. And a lot more about the Hillary situation. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: On Sunday, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California said that Hillary Clinton needed to step up and explain the e-mail controversy. Well, today, Feinstein told reporters that she was satisfied with Secretary Clinton`s remarks. Here`s Senator Feinstein.   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: See, I think the important thing was that she stepped forward and talked to people, and I think people will be reassured listening to it. Now, I know this is, look, the most popular political figure in the country right now. And there is an effort from an opposition party to demean and diminish her any way they can. I think most people agree that personal e-mails should be private material. I mean, if I have an e-mail with my husband -- you know, I`m not an administration official, but if I were, should I disclose that? I don`t think so. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Back with more on Hillary Clinton`s e-mails after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: We have more than met the request from the State Department. The server contains personal communications from my husband and me, and I believe I have met all of my responsibilities, and the server will remain private. And I think that the State Department will be able over time to release all of the records that were provided. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. More now on today`s top story as Hillary Clinton holds an official press conference for the first time in years, actually, to address this growing controversy surrounding her private -- or her e-mails. As you heard there, the server will remain private, which is the key statement, I thought, today. It comes just a day after Clinton surrogate James Carville went on the attack, calling this story -- the entire story, in fact -- a concoction of right-wing talking points. Here he is blaming it all on people he said fed the story to "The New York Times" for their purposes. Here it is.   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: "The Times" gets something from some right-wing talking points... (CROSSTALK) CARVILLE: You know, "The Times" took right-wing talking points -- the press, you know, which took right-wing talking points... -- right-wing talking points... Where do you think the e-mail story came from? ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Let me... CARVILLE: It came from Republican staffers. That`s where it came from. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, today, Hillary Clinton took a much less incendiary approach to addressing the controversy. Here she is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)   CLINTON: I have absolute confidence that everything that could be in any way connected to work is now in the possession of the State Department. I did it for convenience, and I now, looking back, think that it might have been smarter to have those two devices from the very beginning. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Right now, I`m joined by "Washington Post" opinion writer Jonathan Capehart and "New York Times" reporter Nick Confessore. Nick, let me start with you about this. You -- both of your papers broke a lot of this story, but first line of attack was from David Brock, and then it was from James Carville, the "ragin` Cajun," blaming right-wing forces. This is what was done during the Monica affair. Right-wing forces are behind it all. Don`t look at the facts. Don`t look at the story. Focus on where it came from. That was the first attack. And then waiting about eight days now, and then she`s come out today saying, basically, it was convenience that made me do this thing. I`m not releasing the server. You got to take my word for this. I only deleted private stuff dealing with my mother`s funeral and my daughter`s wedding, that sort of line. And so it really does rely, I think, on this kind of Rorschach test. What do you think of Hillary Clinton? Do you believe her or not? Her base will love what Carville said, spewing (ph) the attack line, and they`ll trust her. Her critics will not. People in the middle, we`ll have to see. What`s your view of how this is going to go over politically, what she did today? NICHOLAS CONFESSORE, "NEW YORK TIMES": I mean, I think James Carville would, you know, be very happy if we used talking points that pro-Clinton organizations send around and base stories on that. I think there are reasonable questions that reasonable people have about the e-mails and their provenance and the security questions around the server. I think there are always people who hate Hillary Clinton who are not going to be satisfied by any answer. But there`s a middle ground here of people who are asking real questions about, again, security, about government records and her compliance with federal rules. MATTHEWS: What about the question I raised this afternoon? Will we ever get to the bottom of this from the point of view of Trey Gowdy or the point of view of any columnist, anybody in the country will (ph) never be able to prove that there wasn`t something in there, in fact, batches of things in that that might have embarrassed her with regard to various controversial, dicey questions like Benghazi, but not just Benghazi, that she didn`t just destroy that (INAUDIBLE) destroying 30,000 e-mails.   CONFESSORE: The irony is here is that she`s kind of backed herself into a corner. It`s hard to ever know what was deleted. It`s hard to take at face value. MATTHEWS: No, you get the server, you can tell. With the server, you can tell. CONFESSORE: Yes, it`s just -- yes, if you have the server, but if they have in fact deleted thousands of e-mails from the server that were personal, according to them, it`s impossible to know what those e-mails were, how personal they were. MATTHEWS: Is it? You can`t retrieve them? You can`t retrieve them? I thought you could. CONFESSORE: I`m not a forensics expert, Chris. (CROSSTALK) CONFESSORE: So, I don`t know what the limits of retrieval are. MATTHEWS: Everybody is telling me forensically that you can get them. We will have to talk about that later. CONFESSORE: It`s possible. Look, she has a right to keep her personal e-mails private. Not every e-mail by a public official is open to inspection. But the problem is that she used the server exclusively for all her official e-mails. And that is not the way the system was intended to work. MATTHEWS: Jonathan, how is this going to go on, on the editorial pages, the op-ed pages?   It seems to me that "The Wall Street Journal" op-ed page will say she`s not coming clean, and I think Trey Gowdy, who heads up this bipartisan committee looking into Benghazi, will say another example of cover-up. JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look, Trey Gowdy and the Benghazi committees, Trey Gowdy has his position on that committee because the Republicans on the Hill won`t give up Benghazi. MATTHEWS: But doesn`t that give just them a bottomless opportunity? CAPEHART: Well, sure. Of course it does. It breathes some new life into this limp -- the limp corpse... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: They can close the committee down tomorrow and say we were stymied. CAPEHART: Sure. They can -- yes, sure, they can say that. But that doesn`t mean that there aren`t legitimate questions raised by this whole situation. Our editorial page today took it a step further and said, what`s happening here with this e-mail situation and her handling of this leads to questions about what this could mean if she indeed gets the Democratic nomination and does indeed become -- is elected president of the United States. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Where do you go with that? What do you mean? About her pattern, her practice of public life? Is that what you mean? CAPEHART: Well, in terms of here you have a situation, questions are raised, we have been talking about this story now for eight days, and she`s finally come forward.   I mean, I have been saying for at least half that time she`s got to come forward and answer questions so that people can understand whether her rationale or excuse is reasonable. MATTHEWS: What do you think of her tradecraft today, both you guys? Starting off with a statement about Iran and the letter, it looked to me she was trying to trump her own story there. And then the old trick of calling on a foreign reporter. They ask an American political question. CAPEHART: Although -- although... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: That looks like the old game. I`m sorry. (CROSSTALK) CAPEHART: But the Turkish reporter is the dean of the U.N. press corps. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: OK. So you think she had to do that? (CROSSTALK) CAPEHART: Yes. That was a matter of protocol. That was a matter of protocol.   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: But then she was trying to hold off against people that know what they`re talking about, like Andrea Mitchell, pretty strongly. CAPEHART: Well, Andrea Mitchell got the second question. MATTHEWS: She really ran in there with that. (CROSSTALK) CAPEHART: To me -- which said to me that she was not hiding, that said Secretary Clinton was not hiding. (CROSSTALK) CAPEHART: Say that again? MATTHEWS: Why did she say, it`s up to Nick? (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Nick on this, Nick Confessore.   Not you, Nick, but she had her Nick, and she wasn`t going to let Andrea get that first question in. She said the questions come from Nick. I don`t know, not always. CONFESSORE: Well, that was Nick Merrill, I assume, who was moderating the Q&A. MATTHEWS: Yes, of course it was. CONFESSORE: But the Turkish reporter actually asked a decent question, to his credit. So, I`m not sure that was a huge problem. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Yes, but it was the same question she just spent -- yes, but she answered it for 10 minutes beforehand. He repeated the question. Anyway, columnists are giving Hillary Clinton zero cover right now. Dan Balz writes today in "The Washington Post" -- quote -- "All the words Clinton has offered about moving politics into a different space sound rather disingenuous when she reinforces past practices of secrecy rather than transparency." Eugene Robinson writes: "The Hillary Clinton e-mail controversy is a reminder of one inescapable fact. She comes with baggage. Not the kind of that fits in the overhead bin either. I`m talking steamer trunks. How could anyone serve four years as secretary of state with no official e-mail account, instead conducting business from a private address with its own domain and server. The answer is deliberately." Well, that`s tough. CAPEHART: Yes, it`s tough. MATTHEWS: These are not right-wingers.   CAPEHART: No, these are not right-wingers. And to go back to the question you asked Nick earlier, and to this whole point about the Clintons, I have long argued that all of us, every last one of us here on the set, watching television, view the Clintons through a funhouse mirror. Whatever they say, whatever they do is colored, distorted, warped by our views of them. So she could have come out there today and given a completely reasonable, rational explanation for everything that happened. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: But, no, we wanted an explanation. They want the server. (CROSSTALK) CAPEHART: And we still would be having this conversation. MATTHEWS: They watt server. It`s about hard information. She wasn`t going to turn it over. (CROSSTALK) CAPEHART: Right. But having said all that, even though we`re looking at them through this funhouse mirror, there still are questions. There are more questions... (CROSSTALK)   MATTHEWS: OK. Will this stop before we get the server, or is this going to die without us getting the server? CAPEHART: I think it very well might die without getting us the server. MATTHEWS: What do you make? What do you make, Nick? Will it die before we get the server, the actual hard information, what she was doing on that e-mail? CONFESSORE: I think hell will freeze over before that server becomes public. The question is whether the relevant officials at State will have access to all the e-mails on it so they can make the decision about what is private and what is government. MATTHEWS: Well, a great phrase to come on a day we were at the U.N. together, until hell freezes over, the great comment by Adlai Stevenson during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I`m sitting here until hell freezes over. A great man. Thank you, Jonathan Capehart. Thank you, Nicholas Confessore, for that literary allusion. We will have much more on Hillary Clinton later in the hour with the roundtable, when they get here. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.   We have been talking about the travails of Hillary Clinton today, and none, I think, can compare with the tragic suicide of her good friend and White House colleague Vince Foster back in 1993 It followed a brutal assault on Foster by conservatives and by the anti-Clinton media. It concerned his work as President Clinton`s counsel. In another tragic incident just last month, Republican candidate for governor of Missouri Tom Schweich took his own life after he said that the state`s Republican Party chairman was waging an anti-Semitic whisper campaign against him, spreading false rumors that he was Jewish. For his part, the party chairman, John Hancock, did say that it`s possible he spoke about Schweich`s religious background, but denied having mischievous intention or malicious intention. And in his eulogy, former United States Senator John Danforth denounced the claims that pushed Schweich over the edge and reflected on the state of politics today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN DANFORTH (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Since Thursday, some good people have said, well, that`s just politics, and Tom should have been less sensitive, he should have been tougher. He should have been able to take it. It amounts to blaming the victim and it creates a new normal, where politics is only for the tough and the crude and the calloused. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by Eric Greitens, a potential Republican candidate for governor of Missouri and a former Navy SEAL who`s worked with veterans suffering from mental and emotional distress. What do you think? Anyway, and your new book out today, it`s called "Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life." And it applies the lessons he`s learned overseas to overcome hardships in civilian life. How about political life? You know, I thought back about Vince Foster, that tragedy, because he was being hounded by newspapers like "The Wall Street Journal" editorial page and brutally treated in a way that he had never been used to. He called Washington a blood sport in one of his last words.   Eric, what do you make of how valuable is your book going to be to people in this terrible situation, in the vice they find themselves in, in public life with the squeezing? ERIC GREITENS, FORMER U.S. NAVY SEAL: Well, I think everybody needs to build resilience, Chris. And that`s really -- that`s what this book is about. It`s about how you deal with pain, how you deal with fear, how you deal with suffering, and what we know is that there is a path through pain to wisdom. There`s a path through suffering the strength and there`s a path through fear to courage, if we can find a way to build the virtue of resilience. And I just want to say about Tom Schweich, you know, it was a tragic loss of a really dedicated public servant here. And one of the things that I believe we have to do in a case like this is, you have got to do two things. One is you have got to find a way to honor the legacy of those who have passed, and at the same time, what we also have to do is find a way to support the living. That means supporting Tom Schweich`s family, and it also means, Chris, supporting anybody who`s in a situation like that. As you know, I have worked with veterans over the course of the last seven years, and I would say to anybody right there -- now who is out there who has a thought like this, just take a breath, take a moment, call a friend, call a hot line. And know that there are friends who are out there ready to support you. MATTHEWS: What about this political environment that I work in here, and I program -- I have people on who have lived in it where you will find people spreading rumors about you, you will have people saying terrible things about you, jumping on you when you have a fall? It`s rough. And it`s personal, and it hurts. And yet people go into this business facing it because there`s still some scum around, to be honest about it, who really deal in this stuff. They really deal in dirt on people. And in this case, accusing a guy of being Jewish because his background is Jewish and he`s Episcopalian, it`s irrelevant, we have no religious test in this country. That`s a fact of our Constitution, and yet some character out there pushing the story, thinking it`s going to hurt the guy, it doesn`t shock me. It`s a little out of date, but it doesn`t shock me that this is going on here. GREITENS: Yes, well, I think what`s really important is that if we want decency in public life, we have to be decent. If we want courage in public life, we have to bring courage. If we want to have compassion in public life, we have got to have compassion. You know, there`s this great quotation from Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said that what you do thunders so loudly that I can`t hear what you say. And so what I have always found in my life is that we have to go out as leaders and we have to set the example and we have to bring these value of courage. We have to bring compassion. We have to bring decency and honor into the work that we do. And that applies not just if you`re in the space of public service. It applied when I was a Navy SEAL. It applied when I was working with veterans. It applied when I was doing work like you did, Chris, when you were in the Peace Corps.   I worked with families overseas in Bosnia, with refugees, people who lost their homes. MATTHEWS: Good for you. GREITENS: I worked in Rwanda with kids who had been abandoned and abused. And in all of those situations, what you have to bring is discipline, bring courage, bring compassion, and do so because you always have to remember the purpose that you`re there to serve, and that`s to make a real difference, create a result in somebody else`s life. MATTHEWS: There are people like Bill Clinton who can do it. I`ll tell you, they have been battered and beat up. Sometimes, it`s their fault, sometimes, it`s not. And they just keep going on. He says, I`m like one of those big plastic things and air inside with the sand in the bottom. I just bounce back up every time. And I guess that is what your book is about, resilience. Thank you very much for joining us, Eric Greitens. Thank you for joining us. We`re out of time. GREITENS: My pleasure. MATTHEWS: Up next, back to our big story of the day, Hillary Clinton, of course, and what she went through today in addressing her e-mail controversy. Plus, the outrage grows over Republican efforts, those 47 Republican senators, to tank the Iran talks. The roundtable is coming up to go after that. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)   RICHARD LUI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi. I`m Richard Lui in the MSNBC newsroom. A jury says Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams copied Marvin Gaye to make their 2013 hit "Blurred Lines." Jurors awarded Gaye`s children more than $7 million. A vote on the confirmation of Loretta Lynch is expected next week. President Obama nominated her in November to replace Eric Holder as attorney general. Worries about the rising dollar and interest rates jitters sent the Dow sliding more than 300 points today. The S&P and the Nasdaq also fell more than 1.5 percent each -- now back to HARDBALL. MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. When it comes to the controversy over Hillary Clinton`s e-mail, her Democratic rivals in 2016, such as they are, have been reluctant to even weigh in. Today in Washington, at the International Association of Firefighters` presidential forum, former Maryland Governor Martin O`Malley, who is considering a White House run, was asked about Hillary`s e-mail saga and dodged the question. Here he is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) QUESTION: Governor, anything you would like to hear from Hillary Clinton today? MARTIN O`MALLEY (D), FORMER MARYLAND GOVERNOR: No, not really. QUESTION: Not really?   Should she be more transparent? (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Wow. Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb also took a pass when asked. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) QUESTION: Does it not give you an opening, if you wanted it, to talk more about perhaps why you`re more of a transparent candidate? JIM WEBB (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: I think it`s a good opportunity for Secretary Clinton to come forward and to explain the situation she`s been in. QUESTION: Do you think people are right to be concerned about the transparency of her e-mails? WEBB: Again, I think that the best thing is to listen to her views, and people will make conclusions in a better way than I can. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: It`s going to be one exciting Democratic primary fight, isn`t it? And last week, when a CNN reporter tried to ask Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren about the situation, a staffer shielded her and deliberately blocked the senator from answering. Warren climbed into an elevator without even looking up.   Well, joining me -- I think we have got more fight out of this crowd. Joining us now in the roundtable of HARDBALL tonight, Harold Schaitberger. He`s president of the International Association of Firefighters. And Margaret Carlson is a reporter for Bloomberg. And Tad Devine is a Democratic strategist of some note. He`s advising Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. He is also considering -- who is also considering a presidential run. Let me start with you. You`re in the fight. Why is everybody afraid to even, like, put on the big gloves and sort of say, yes, it would be a little better on her to answer these questions, or something slightly aggressive? TAD DEVINE, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: I don`t think anybody feels they will get advantage from engagement at this stage of the process. MATTHEWS: But what kind of campaign is it going to be? They`re running against her for president. DEVINE: Well, I don`t know what kind of campaign O`Malley is going to run or Webb. But I think, if Bernie Sanders decides to run for president, it`s going to be a very different campaign than... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: He`s not going to mention Hillary? DEVINE: No, he`s not going to and he never has, and I`ve worked for him, when he`s run for Congress and present it, he`s never attacked an opponent, he`s never run a negative ad.   MATTHEWS: How about comparison ads? DEVINE: No, not all. MATTHEWS: No comparison? DEVINE: No, listen, he`s going to run against something. It`s going to be the enormous greed that`s strangling the middle class of America right now. MATTHEWS: Who is he talking about? DEVINE: He`s talking about the billionaires that are buying -- MATTHEWS: No, which politicians? DEVINE: He`s not -- listen, it`s not going to be against Hillary Clinton. I mean, they have real differences on real issues, and they have records that are different. I mean, for example, he voted against the Iraq war, she voted for it. OK, so there are differences in their record. But it`s not -- he`s not good to run a campaign, if he decides to run, against her. He`s going to run against what he thinks is killing America right now. MATTHEWS: Yes, I was with him with that war, by the way, as we all know. Go ahead. MARGARET CARLSON, BLOOMBERG COLUMNIST: Other than Bernie Sanders, who`s going to run a different campaign, according to Tad, and I`m sure he will because he`s a different kind of guy.   MATTHEWS: It`s a different kind of campaign not mentioning your opponent`s name. CARLSON: But the three that you brought up in the intro, there`s no reason for them to jump in negatively right now when the press is doing it for them. MATTHEWS: That`s a good point. That`s why the Republicans -- CARLSON: They`ve all been introduced to the public positively, so why go negative right now when there`s no purpose to it. MATTHEWS: Yes. Harold, it seems like the Democrats and the polls are just in for Hillary, 86 percent. I`ve never seen numbers like this. I`d have to go back to maybe Ed Muskie back in `72 -- just kidding, but they did have a frontrunner, or Teddy Kennedy, who`s unbeatable against Carter and lost, but I guess everybody is looking at the polls saying only 14 percent of the Democratic Party have any problem with Hillary Clinton. That`s not many votes for me right there. HAROLD SCHAITBERGER, PRES., INTERNATIONAL ASSOC. OF FIREFIGHTERS: I think it`s fair to point out there is, you know, a strong Democratic support for the secretary. But I would also remind you, Chris, that history would show that in 2003, there was a candidate that was clearly going to be the nominee. His name was Howard Dean. Along the way, in the summer of 2003, came somebody named Senator John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton was a candidate in 2008. MATTHEWS: By the way, what did you think of that piece today that had been -- your rank-and-file raising -- lack of interest I would say in Hillary Clinton as a president? SCHAITBERGER: I think -- I read that, and I think Dana selected -- MATTHEWS: Dana Milbank. SCHAITBERGER: Dana Milbank selected some of those comments, but I think that -- right, with our leadership there, they understand this is a process we go through.   MATTHEWS: What`s your percentage Republican in your rank-and-file? SCHAITBERGER: About 44 percent. MATTHEWS: Which way? SCHAITBERGER: Republican. MATTHEWS: It`s high for a union. SCHAITBERGER: It is, but it also is a membership that when we do our work, we make our decision, we give our endorsement, we have an extremely high, last time, 68 percent of our members will follow our endorsed position. MATTHEWS: Let`s go back for the opportunity for the Republicans, I don`t think they`re going to be talking about the servers in six months. They don`t even know what a server is, probably, and they don`t have to know. DEVINE: Somebody who waits on you in a restaurant. MATTHEWS: Yes, server, yes. This whole thing, let`s get serious. Let`s forget which party it is. If you heard a presidential candidate run a foundation that was taking foreign money from countries that were not exactly, OK, Algeria, countries that treat women very badly, for example, and you`re the candidate saying I`m running on women`s issues, how do you explain that in a debate? Say October 15, there`s a big debate somewhere in St. Louis, and the Republican guy stands up and says, OK, I`m not perfect, but why did you take all that money from these foreign governments and why don`t you give it back? Because they`re always going to -- they didn`t do it for good reasons. They gave us money for influence. That`s why they did it. Now, you may have taken it for goodwill or good gamesman (ph). They didn`t do it do to that. They did that to get in you, to get a piece of you.   So, why did you take it? DEVINE: I don`t think the donations to the Clinton Foundation are going to be an issue. MATTHEWS: You don`t think so? DEVINE: No, I don`t, because the Clinton Foundation does a lot of good work. MATTHEWS: Oh, I know that. DEVINE: Countries like Saudi Arabia are allies. MATTHEWS: You don`t think the Republicans are going to raise this issue? DEVINE: They`re going to try to raise, but I don`t think it`s going to go anywhere. MATTHEWS: I think it`s bigger than e-mail, much bigger. DEVINE: It`s not giving money to her and her campaign. It`s giving money to a foundation that does a lot of good work. MATTHEWS: That they control.   DEVINE: Yes, but I really don`t think that`s going to be the issue. I think the e-mail issue is real -- MATTHEWS: Let me ask you a legitimate question. You`re getting into a position that I don`t think is defensible. When you have a presidential library that`s being built, it`s a good cause, educates people. Every foreign dictator in the world gives to it, you know that game they play. That`s the way to get into the pocket and the hearts of the -- into the guts of any American politician. They don`t give it because they like the guy. They want influence. That`s like anything does. Why are they giving us money for this stuff? CARLSON: It`s just like domestic politics. MATTHEWS: Are you agreeing with hem? CARLSON: No, I`m not. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: -- to meet some people. The guy at a bar says they took money from these people. Your thoughts? CARLSON: Yes, Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers are not giving money to our candidates not to influence them. They want to -- it`s pay to play. MATTHEWS: They want it their way.   CARLSON: The same thing happened, I think, these countries are hoping to get at least goodwill from the Clintons if not more -- (CROSSTALK) CARLSON: If we find out -- MATTHEWS: -- an opponent in the race had been taking money, he was a bagman for somebody, wouldn`t you go after them? DEVINE: If it tested well in a poll, sure, I go after them. MATTHEWS: OK, thank you. You`re unbelievable. These guys are scrupulous -- SCHAITBERGER: I disagree with Tad about the e-mails, though, because my sense is this is typical more Washington chatter than anything. This has a partisan smell to it. MATTHEWS: Yes, but it didn`t come from the partisans. SCHAITBERGER: Well -- MATTHEWS: Are you going to buy into the Carville theory that the right-wing talking points were handed over to "New York Times"? SCHAITBERGER: Isn`t he always right?   MATTHEWS: He`s smart. He ain`t always right. Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us. And up next, that effort by Republican senators to go around the White House and scuttle the nuclear talks with Iran before they get signed. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: The president of the University of Oklahoma has expelled two students for the roles in the singing of a racist chant as part of a fraternity event. According to the university president, David Boren, the students who were identified played a leadership role in that incident which was caught on video and distributed through social media. Boren says the university has zero-tolerance for threatening, racist behavior, and the investigation into the incident is ongoing. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: The recent letter from Republican senators was out of step with the best traditions of American leadership and one has to ask, what was the purpose of this letter? They appear to be two logical answers. Either these senators were trying to be helpful to the Iranians or harmful to the commander-in-chief in the midst of high-stakes international diplomacy. Either answer does discredit to the letter`s signatories. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Boy, I wish that was the only topic at hand. I love the way she handled that. Anyway, that was the reaction from Hillary Clinton to the 47 Republican senators who sent a letter to leaders in Iran, the right wing guys over there, trying to explode the nuclear talks.   Vice President Joe Biden also blasted them, the senators, saying the action was "beneath the dignity of an institution I revere". He`s talking about the U.S. Senate. "The New York Daily News" went much further with this provocative cover, calling the 47 senators who signed it "traitors". That`s perhaps too strong. The letter`s organizer, freshman Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, said this wasn`t about undermining the president, rather they were making clear to the Iranians that Congress needed to approve any deal reached, but what kind of deal would that look like? From what Cotton has said, it seems pretty clear he wants no deal at all, at least not one with a credible chance of being reached, of course. Here he is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would an acceptable deal look like to you? SEN. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: Complete nuclear disarmament by Iran. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: In other words, no deal. Cotton has also said the goal of our policy should be regime change, sound familiar? This morning, he said there was no one in Tehran to deal with. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COTTON: There are nothing but hard-liners in Tehran. They`ve been killing Americans for 35 years. They killed hundreds of troops in Iraq. (END VIDEO CLIP)   MATTHEWS: And while he now says he isn`t trying to undermine the president as recently as January, the senator down is there spoke about the true goal of congressional action, stop the negotiations altogether. Here he is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COTTON: Certain voices call for congressional restraint, urging Congress not to act now, lest Iran walk away from the negotiating table. Undermining the fabled yet always absent moderates in Iran. But the end of these negotiations isn`t an unintended consequence of congressional action. It is very much an intended consequence, a feature, not a bug, so to speak. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: We`re back for the roundtable, Howard, Margaret and Tad. Margaret, I`m going to start with this. I thought the Republicans learned their lesson. You notice we don`t have the right to go into Iraq. They all feel now that they were bamboozled by W. and the neocons. There`s nobody saying we should have gone into Iraq on Republican side. Here this guy is blowing the bugle for another war, a war. CARLSON: Right. I mean, I think he wants to be the Ted Cruz of foreign policy. He`s been in the Senate for 60 days. He comes out with this, the author of this letter and what it shows is that they hate Obama more than they care about, you know, America`s foreign policy. They just want -- they want to blow this up at any cost because they hate Obama. MATTHEWS: Why does anybody here think they want to blow up the talks before they reach a conclusion, before we find out what the deal is, Tad? Why are they afraid of a deal if they don`t know what it is? DEVINE: One, to undermine the president, which they have done for a long time. That is their strategy, that`s why hey almost defaulted the debt of the United States of America --   MATTHEWS: Are they afraid we might have a successful deal that stops the Iranians from building a bomb? DEVINE: Yes, I think they`re afraid that the president will have political success and they will do anything to stop it, no matter what the issue. MATTHEWS: You mean, he`ll earn his Nobel Peace Prize? I`m dead serious. He would deserve it if he cut this deal. DEVINE: They have a political strategy. They`ve been following it since the day he was inaugurated, to stop him at every turn, no matter what the issue. There used to be issues outside of this, you know, that the politics would stop at the water`s edge, that the national debt, you know, we wouldn`t bankrupt the United States. But those are gone now. These guys are willing to do anything to undermine the president. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: -- Mitch McConnell, that was certainly Newt and his crowd, they all got together and planned this. SCHAITBERGER: Well, I think it`s -- MATTHEWS: Politics. SCHAITBERGER: -- worse than undermining the president. I think this is such an extraordinary sign of disrespect for our government. And to -- this is really more of an attack and a continued attack on the president and just another issue to -- MATTHEWS: I think it`s nothing like you lied, that crazy guy yelled and this whole Netanyahu thing. We got our own leader, world leader we`re going to have here, not you -- you know depose you and bring in Netanyahu. That`s what it seemed like. CARLSON: Yes, and we have 47 presidents signing the letter. By the way, let me congratulate --   MATTHEWS: Senators. CARLSON: Senators, excuse me. Senator Bob Corker -- MATTHEWS: Good for him. (CROSSTALK) CARLSON: Not signing. MATTHEWS: Susan Collins did the same thing. CARLSON: The White House doesn`t reach out enough to Bob Corker. He is somebody that is -- MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about that because he was on that bill with Menendez. Menendez is a little busy right. CARLSON: Yes. MATTHEWS: Corker was also nice to join the other side, reasonableness.   Today, Senator Cotton said the threat of military force is the only message governments like Iran understand -- the threat of force. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COTTON: Israel struck Iraq`s nuclear program in 1981 and didn`t reconstitute it. Israel struck Syria`s nuclear reactor in 2007, they haven`t yet reconstituted it. Rogue regimes have a way of getting the picture when there is a credible threat of military force on the table that we will not allow them to get the worst weapons. That`s why it`s important we have the credible threat of force on the table that would only enhance the ability to get a better deal that leads to Iran disarming its nuclear weapons program. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: You know, I think we constantly underestimate the country of Iran. I don`t like their policies, nobody here does but to keep treat them like they`re little puddle, nothing country. They`re not Iraq. They`re not Syria. They`re Iran. Iran is a real, major country. CARLSON: Yes. I mean, they have education -- MATTHEWS: That`s why Israel worries about them, not because they`re not tin pot dictator. CARLSON: That Cotton wants Israel to be running our foreign policy here, by the way. DEVINE: The president said the Iranians cannot have nuclear weapons. He`s made it clear, OK? And he will use force if necessary. He`s made that clear, as well.   MATTHEWS: I agree. I say that about any president. SCHAITBERGER: And that`s why this is just another partisan attack on the president as opposed to the substance of trying to really influence policy or this agreement. CARLSON: You know, I looked at today. All the companies doing business with Iran, I mean, it`s amazing. I mean, they`ve got this integrated economic system -- MATTHEWS: I think -- excuse me, Margaret. I`m going to say, someday, if we`re going to look back on this era, and they`re going to say, this president was treated worse than anybody by his opponent. And they`ll think, what was it? What was it about? And they`ll remember what it was about him. (CROSSTALK) CARLSON: Read the Ferguson e-mails. MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you. Harold Schaitberger, Harold, I always - - I grew up with -- Philly, they don`t have (INAUDIBLE) Harold not Howard. Margaret, Maggie, thank you, dear. Maggie Bresnahan (ph), please. And Tad Devine, smart guy. We`ll be right back after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: 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 Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>