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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 06/22/15

Guests: Mayor Steve Benjamin, Joshua Dubois, Robert Costa, JonathanGilliam, Kirsten Gillibrand, Anne Gearan

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The right decision. Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. It took a few days, but the tragedy in Charleston turned some heads, perhaps some hearts as well. This afternoon at 4:00 PM, the governor and both U.S. senators of South Carolina, all Republicans, all called for bringing down the Confederate flag, ridding it from the grounds of the state Capitol. No one was more impressive in this regard than Governor Nikki Haley. The galloping horse of history rode by, and she mounted it with dignity, courage, and yes, charm. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Today, we are here in a moment of unity in our state, without ill will, to say it`s time to move the flag from the Capitol grounds. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Something important happened right there, the cause, the defiant resistance to federal authority, redolent of triumphant Yankee troops and fearful imagined black helicopters was bumped aside this day by the repulsion by black and white alike at the spectacle of racial hatred that showed its face in the Emanuel AME church. And yes, it is political. Some leaders in the Republican Party -- Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, George Pataki, Michael Steele -- made their positions clear up front. Others have taken some time to consider the politics. Here`s what`s wonderful here and what`s powerful. Whatever else is going on in American life right now, the decision on who to lead this country is now this country getting serious this June. The fact that Jeb Bush is coming up in the polls tells us that. The fact Hillary Clinton is riding high says the same about the Democrats. We will learn from the debates, of course, to come this summer on both sides. We will enjoy them. But both sides are now headed to the business not of politics Louisiana-style, as entertainment, as a dazzling dance through a summer jamboree of ideology from the compelling Bernie Sanders to the fiery Ted Cruz, but the business of actually picking leaders who can make us a better country by grabbing the reins, and yes, doing it like Nikki Haley did just this afternoon. Steve Benjamin is the mayor of the state capital of Columbia, South Carolina. Flanked by a bipartisan group of politicians including Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, Governor Nikki Haley today said it was time to remove the Confederate flag from the property of the statehouse. Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HALEY: For those who wish to show their respect for the flag on their private property, no one will stand in your way. But the statehouse is different, and the events of this past week call upon us to look at this in a different way. My hope is that by removing a symbol that divides us, we can move forward as a state in harmony and we can honor the nine blessed souls who are now in heaven. We are not going to allow this symbol to divide us any longer. The fact that people are choosing to use it as a sign of hate is something that we cannot stand. The fact that it causes pain to so many is enough to move it from the Capitol grounds. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, the news was greeted with cheers by many, including here on MSNBC by a son of South Carolina, Eugene Robinson. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Having grown up there, I`m stunned to have seen that tableau that we just saw. I thought it was a hell of a speech. You know, I would on many political issues disagree with Nikki Haley, but just -- again, as Harold said, as an American, I had to be proud of her today, of her performance, of what she said, of the way she said it. It was pitch perfect. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: The way she said it. Mayor Benjamin, thank you for joining us tonight. In so much of politics -- and I`ve covered it now for -- I`ve been in it for, like, 40- some years -- I have to tell you, most of the time, it`s just going to the usual battle stations. Everybody does what you expect them to do. Today, I thought your state across the board looked so good. MAYOR STEVE BENJAMIN (D), COLUMBIA, S.C.: Sure. Well, I couldn`t agree more. Chris, I want to thank our governor. She was flanked on her right by Congressman Jim Clyburn, on the left by Senator Tim Scott. It showed people exactly what South Carolina is. We are good people, smart people, compassionate people. And so often, we forget that symbols have power and that rhetoric, the rhetoric that we see on TV and that we read in the papers, that we see on line -- that these things help drive our public conversation in a way that does not necessarily represent the people of our state very fairly. The governor did a great job today. And it`s so important because you hear calls and catcalls from the left and from the right, Why not sooner? Let me tell you what. It took some courage to step up and do what she did today. It took courage for all of those men and women surrounding her from both parties, including some independents and some people who are -- who are very far left and some who are very far right, like Libertarians. But they stood together and showed there was one South Carolina. Our state motto is "Dum spiro spero" -- While I breathe, I hope -- and we showed the this was a very important first step that we`re making towards reconciliation in South Carolina.

MATTHEWS: Well, it makes me proud to have an honorary degree from the university down there (INAUDIBLE) it makes me really proud of South Carolina, as a visitor who`s been honored there. Let me ask you about what it means to you, just as an African-American guy from down there. When you saw that flag at your state Capitol, the town you represent as mayor, and you saw it flying up there every morning when you went by there and you see it on the license plate of a car driving by, a pickup truck, a regular -- what does that flag say to you personally? BENJAMIN: Well, Chris, you`ve been to South Carolina. Every street you go down, if you`re heading north or south, it`s named after someone from the revolutionary war or someone from the Civil War. This year, as the mayor of Columbia, the first African-American mayor of Columbia, we commemorated the 150th anniversary of the burning of Columbia. I got my start in politics and social justice and Civil Rights as president of the USC chapter -- University of South Carolina chapter of the NAACP marching on the state Capitol, marching on the sands of Myrtle Beach to bring the Confederate battle flag down from our state Capitol. So to say that -- this is something that so many people -- and I`m so thankful to all of our leaders here today, but it`s so important to recognize that so many people, so many who`ve gone on to glory have given the time and energy and resources over the last 55 years, some names we will never hear, and some who, thank God, they`re still with us, like state senator Kay Patterson (ph), who worked to make this day happen. It`s incredibly moving to me. We`re making a step in the right direction, and we`re trying to make sure that we build a South Carolina that our children are going to inherit. And I`m very proud of my state this day. This is a very important step in the right direction. The legislature still has to act. And then, hopefully, after we get this issue behind us, this major issue, this major symbolic obstacle, then we can talk about some other important issues, too, how to educate children, how we -- how we get people health care. There`s a lot more to... MATTHEWS: Good luck to you. BENJAMIN: Thank you. MATTHEWS: And congratulations, I mean it... BENJAMIN: Thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS: ... for the role you`re playing in the building of a better state. Thank you so much... BENJAMIN: Thank you. MATTHEWS: ... Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina. One of the very most prominent Republicans to speak out about removing that flag was Mitt Romney. He tweeted, "Take down the Confederate flag at the South Carolina Capitol. To many, it`s a symbol of racial hatred. Remove it now to honor Charleston" -- he did that a couple days ago. Well, today, former New York governor George Pataki, a 2016 candidate, as well, made an equally direct call. Here he is. This is before what happened with the governor. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE PATAKI (R), FMR. NEW YORK GOV., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My position on this is very simple. The flag should go from the state Capitol grounds, period. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Jeb Bush was also clear in his attitude. In a statement he made over the weekend, he said, "My position on how to address the Confederate flag is clear. In Florida, we acted, moving the flag from the state grounds to a museum, where it belonged. Following a period of mourning, there will rightly be a decision among leaders in the state about how South Carolina should move forward, and I`m confident they will do the right thing." Ohio governor John Kasich said -- this is -- he said this before today. "If I were a citizen of South Carolina, I`d be for taking it down," while other Republicans dodged the question. Here they are. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The people of South Carolina have dealt with this issue before. They have found a bipartisan consensus over a decade ago on moving the flag to a new location. And I have confidence in their ability to deal with that issue again. So I think it`s important to let the people of South Carolina move forward on it. This is an issue that they should debate and work through and not have a bunch of outsiders going in and telling them what to do. RICK SANTORUM (R-PA), FMR. SEN., FMR. PRES. CANDIDATE: I take the position that the federal government really has no role in, certainly, what the state`s going to do. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re a candidate for president. Do you not have a position on the this at all? SANTORUM: I`m not a South Carolinian. MIKE HUCKABEE (R-AR), FMR. GOV., PRES. CANDIDATE: Those of us running for president -- everyone`s baited with this question as if somehow, that has anything to do whatsoever with running for president. And my position is it most certainly does not. CHUCK TODD, HOST, "MEET THE PRESS": Are you comfortable displaying the Confederate battle flag in public? HUCKABEE: I don`t personally display it anywhere, so it`s not an issue for me, and so that`s an issue for the people of South Carolina. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina also said they would leave it up to the people of South Carolina. You know, we`re going right now -- here they are -- I think we -- OK, we just lost the prompter for some reason. I`m going to go on to our guests anyway right now. Joshua Dubois, thank you for joining us, and Robert Costa.

JOSHUA DUBOIS, FMR. SPIRITUAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Nice to be here. MATTHEWS: You know, I`m fascinated by this topic (ph) because it`s a time when you ask a politician, Who are you? DUBOIS: Yes. MATTHEWS: And they give you an answer on these kind of questions. It`s a Rorschach test. DUBOIS: Yes. MATTHEWS: And they give you different answers. And I was so impressed with the guys who jumped forward and said, Yes, this has to go down. DUBOIS: I think it is impressive, and this is a historic moment for the state of South Carolina. I thought Governor Haley did the right thing. Now, there`s a question of follow-through, as well. We`ve got to get two thirds of the statehouse to vote for this to be moved. And is she going to use her political capital to call... MATTHEWS: She`s got it. DUBOIS: Yes, well, I think she can and... MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) what happened to your optimism? I mean... DUBOIS: I think she will. I actually think she -- I think she`ll do it.

MATTHEWS: What wants to be a diehard on this? Do you think somebody really wants to be, I fought for that flag to the last second? DUBOIS: Well, I hope not. But they also need to ask the question about the mindset in that state that`s holding onto that flag. Is she going to have conversations in here state to get to the bottom of that issue? MATTHEWS: Robert, I`ll tell you, I lived through the Kennedy assassination. I think it changed. I knew it was a commie left-winger who did it, but to most people on the right, they felt so bad about it, it really changed a lot of hearts for a long time. LBJ didn`t have a tough campaign that year because nobody really wanted to fight against the Kennedy legacy at that point. Nobody. ROBERT COSTA, "WASHINGTON POST": I agree. And look, I wasn`t surprised by Governor Haley. I was down in Charleston from the night it happened, and I saw her when she walked into that Embassy Suites hotel and she went up to the second floor. She met with the families a few hours after the shooting. They were screaming, crying. I saw her face when she left that room. I knew that flag was coming down. MATTHEWS: Yes, she was crying (INAUDIBLE) COSTA: History changes politics... MATTHEWS: I think you said that on Friday. History changes politics. COSTA: You know, this is the moment you see Walker, you see Rubio, you see how they respond. Presidential campaigns -- they always are trying to control events, but it`s really about the things you can`t control that tell us the most. DUBOIS: And just listening to some of those answers, honestly, they felt like states` rights answers... MATTHEWS: Yes! DUBOIS: ... which is why we got into this problem in the first place, right?

(CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Rubio and Santorum were so unconfident of who they are, they didn`t have a gut reaction. They don`t -- they don`t know what to... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... and Huckabee said they were being baited. This isn`t about the theory of evolution, Governor, the kind of thing he`s always afraid of. And one reason why they don`t like moderates or liberals moderating their debates is they don`t want be asked basic questions, like, for example, When do you think the earth began? Oh, I can`t handle that one. And this -- all we`re asking is, What do you think about the flag, an immediate question, not a theoretical one. And he says, We`re being baited. What did Huckabee mean by that? He doesn`t like serious questions. COSTA: They want to have a conservative conversation. They want to run the primary on their terms. But unfortunately for them, events happen, and you`re forced to respond. DUBOIS: And you know what? That`s going to -- that may help some squeak through a primary, but in the general election with independent voters, they want someone that has a gut instinct that`s... MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk turkey. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Who are they appealing to when they want to keep the flag up there? COSTA: Well, John McCain talked about this in 2000. He was afraid of going up against those who see it as a symbol of history, of their own history with the South and the Confederacy.

DUBOIS: Well, they`re appealing to... MATTHEWS: By the way, that flag went up in `62... COSTA: That`s right. MATTHEWS: ... 1962. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: It was put up there in the middle of the Civil Rights movement. So it wasn`t a symbol of the old cause of, you know, Robert E. Lee and that generals that were good generals at all. It wasn`t about courage. It was about opposing Civil Rights. DUBOIS: And Chris, I tell you, they`re not just appealing to people that like the Confederate flag. They`re appealing to people who hold onto a Confederate mindset, and that is the problem. It`s a sort of a dark underbelly of their political strategy, and I think it`s going to come out and people are going to see it for what it is. MATTHEWS: Will the Southern strategy work in the Republican Party this year? DUBOIS: Maybe in the primaries, but definitely not in the general election. MATTHEWS: Do you think it`ll work in the primaries? DUBOIS: I hope not. I hope it won`t.

MATTHEWS: After what I saw today... DUBOIS: I hope it won`t. MATTHEWS: You know what? I saw today a party in the polling we just did -- we`re talk about it later in the show, on NBC and "Wall Street Journal" -- it shows party moving back to the center-right, you know, the fact that Bush is back in the running and looking good, and the fact that Rand Paul, who I sort of like on some grounds because I have a little libertarianism -- he seems to be fading. I think Hillary Clinton is riding strong, no matter what anybody says about Bernie. COSTA: Well, Hillary came out there and gave a big speech on race. Clinton got out in front of this, and you had Republicans kind of waiting to see how it unfolded. That told us a lot. DUBOIS: Yes. MATTHEWS: Well, Bill Clinton. COSTA: No, Hillary Clinton got out there and she gave a speech on race. She confronted this... (CROSSTALK) DUBOIS: ... voting rights, you know... MATTHEWS: Yes. We`ll (INAUDIBLE) more about that. Anyway, Joshua Dubois, thank you very much. DUBOIS: Thanks for having me.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, as always, Robert Costa. Coming up -- police may be closing in on those two killers who broke out of that New York prison. They found DNA from one of the escaped -- two of them, by the way, in a cabin that was broken into 20 miles from the prison. We`ve got new details on the manhunt. Looks like they`re getting close, really close. Plus, the race for 2016, our new NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll, which I mentioned, has some good news, I said, for Jeb Bush, even better, much better for Hillary Clinton. With a tight race on the horizon, it looks like both parties are getting behind their best prospects. Hillary`s ahead of Bernie by 60 points! Also tonight, the shocking number of sexual assaults on college campuses in the country. New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand wants to do something about it. She`s going to be here. Finally, "Let Me Finish" with my 35-year stroke of luck. You can figure that one out. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We`re coming back with the latest on that manhunt for those two escaped killers. It looks like they`re getting close. Seventeen days after the prison break, the trail`s heating up again. HARDBALL returns after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAJ. CHARLES GUESS, NEW YORK STATE POLICE: We have developed evidence that the suspects may have spent time in a cabin in this area. We have law enforcement officers from around the state and around the nation here today searching for more evidence. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Investigators are following a brand-new lead in the manhunt for escaped convicts David Sweat and Richard Matt up in upstate New York. Multiple sources confirm today that DNA from both prisoners was found at a hunting cabin over the weekend in the small hamlet of Owls Head in Franklin County. The owner of the cabin reported the break-in on Saturday, saying an individual fled -- an individual fled once he arrived. Well, among the recovered items were a pair of bloody socks and prison-issued underwear. The search now centers in that area, which is about 20 miles west of the Clinton Correctional Facility they escaped from. So capture looks close. I say that as an amateur. In his news conference today, Major Charles Guess of the New York State Police declined to comment on those DNA results, but indicated the evidence was a significant development in the search. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GUESS: We have recovered specific items from that cabin. We have forwarded them to the appropriate laboratories and reached conclusive determination, but we`re not prepared to release that evidence at this time so we do not jeopardize the continuity of the investigation. It`s a confirmed lead for us. It has generated a massive law enforcement response, as you can see. And we`re going to run this to ground. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, the news came just after police searched the towns of Amity and Friendship close to the border with Pennsylvania, where a witness reported a possible sighting of the convicts. Police later declared those area clear. In other words, that wasn`t real. David Sweat and Richard Matt were first reported missing 17 days ago, on June 6th. Multiple sources tell NBC News now they appear to be traveling together still. I`m joined right now by NBC`s Stephanie Gosk in Owls Head, New York, and former FBI special agent Jonathan Gilliam.

Stephanie, we`ve got a lot of stuff coming out here -- DNA by both of them, a jug of water, a bloody sock, which tells you they`ve been going through some hell there, peanut butter jars (INAUDIBLE) How do we know how this looks -- and also, how far could they have gotten in 48 hours, since Saturday? Not very far. STEPHANIE GOSK, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, probably not, especially if they`re on foot, which is what it would appear to be. I mean, this is incredibly significant. You have more than two weeks. They have had 2,000 tips and law enforcement like to say, look, every single one of those tips, we`re going to track down. So, if you imagine 1,999 weren`t great, this one was pretty comparable in comparison. And what you have is not only a place where they actually were outside the prison, but also potentially a day, if that cabin owner did indeed see one of them trying to flee. So, it is a significant development for the police on the ground here. And you can see that as they all descend upon this very small town. MATTHEWS: Jonathan, can you project their ability to move, how far they`re able to move in 48 hours, based upon -- assuming that gentleman they saw escaping -- that guy saw escaping was one of the two of them. Can you project how far they go now, given how far they could go in two weeks? If they went 20 miles in two weeks, does that mean four miles in two days or what? What can you tell from that? JONATHAN GILLIAM, FORMER U.S. NAVY SEAL: Well, what we can predict is the pace at which they potentially could walk, which is about three miles an hour, you know, and that`s fast over rough terrain. But let`s say they have a railroad track or they locate a power line where it`s all cleared out of the way. And those run for thousands of miles. So, if they could clip along at two to three miles an hour, I mean, you do the math. That`s a pretty good ways. I have a feeling that these guys had probably been held up in this cabin or they may actually find other cabins they have been held up in, because I have been saying all along, if they didn`t have help on the outside, they had to turn to crime in order to support themselves, because they have to have food, water and shelter. And so they broke into a place. That`s what always gives these guys away. Often, it`s the orange jumpsuits, but the gift that the prison system here gave to them were green jumpsuits, just like a camouflage outfit. MATTHEWS: Let me get back to Stephanie. What do the authorities think is behind this adrenaline, two weeks with apparently no food? They end up grabbing a jar of peanut butter and water. That`s pretty basic protein.

GOSK: Well, it`s interesting. This area, the Adirondacks, is littered with hunting cabins. And the hunting season is two, three, maybe four months out of the year. And the rest of the time, those places are totally empty. And a lot of times, the hunters will store canned food and all sorts of things in these hunting cabins. If they knew they were there and it`s pretty easy to find them -- we were on some of the back roads. There are lots of these kind of access trails that lead up to these cabins. If they knew, Sweat and Matt, that they were there, then they probably knew that they could stay there for a couple days, and obviously food and shelter being what they needed to figure out immediately once they broke out. MATTHEWS: Stephanie, what is the strategy right now? I have heard about concentric circles. You start one circle heading out, then another circle coming in. What do you know about the strategy of catching these guys in a net, in a dragnet right now? GOSK: We have... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Let me go to Jonathan Gilliam. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: No, go ahead. Go ahead, Stephanie. (CROSSTALK) GOSK: ... the last couple of hours have been significantly restricted.

MATTHEWS: Jonathan, tell me about the strategy usually employed by authorities in these manhunts for dangerous criminals. GILLIAM: Well, I mean, the ideal strategy which you were talking about earlier would be where you have a quick reaction force, that once they get one of these tips, that they can quickly move, you know, 20 to 40 officers rapidly to this location, so they can start searching out. But the problem with that is, is that you`re constantly trying to catch up with the guys as they move forward. So, you also want to be able to deploy people, you know, optimally to a point where they could have walked in that period of time, since the call came in. And they would search in. And then you set up a blocking force around that with local authorities and aware people that live in that area. But I`m not real sure how that`s working here or not, because I have heard conflicting reports that they are just throwing everything they have at certain big leads and they start at the point of origin. That`s kind of a mistake when you`re trying to search for somebody that is moving. MATTHEWS: Lastly, I want to go to Stephanie on the final look. How optimistic are they at this point, having gotten real -- this isn`t a guess -- they have got DNA. They have got an actual location of these guys 48 hours ago. GOSK: You certainly see an energized law enforcement out here on the streets and stuff, Chris. But I got to tell you, they were like that last week as well, and it`s really difficult to tell. I tracked the Eric Frein case in Pennsylvania for awhile, and there was that same exuberance around a lot of the hot leads that they got as well that turned out to be nothing. You definitely have a very professional force out here and they certainly seemed to be energized by this new information. MATTHEWS: DNA is tough stuff to beat. Anyway, thank you, NBC`s Stephanie Gosk, and, of course, Jonathan Gilliam. Thank you both for joining us.

Up next, the crisis on college campus. These are amazing statistics and they`re not good. One in five women say they have been sexually assaulted on campus. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is taking the lead to stop this stuff. She joins us next. And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Here`s a shocking statistic. One in five college women say they were sexually assaulted in the past four years. According to "The Washington Post" and the Kaiser Family Foundation, that includes everything from forced touching of a sexual nature to rape. The poll also found that very few of those victims reported to police or to university authorities. Well, critics say many colleges are more concerned with trying to preserve their image than they are with -- about holding perpetrators accountable. What can be done to address the crisis? Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York State has been outspoken on the issue. She is sponsoring legislation that would establish new standards for how colleges deal with this sexual assault problem and penalize schools that mishandle the cases. I spoke with Senator Gillibrand about it. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MATTHEWS: I guess everybody who is a father who has sent a young daughter to college is stricken by this news. One in five women who sign up as freshman are likely -- or in fact do get assaulted sexually.

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: These statistics on this issue is alarming. And what we need to do is flip the incentives on these institutions, because, right now, it`s not worth their while to report these cases. So, what we`re trying to do is create transparency by having an online survey where students can actually talk about the climate of their campus, where they feel unsafe, if they have ever been raped, what happened? Did they report? If not, what happened? We also need to be able to have more tools to hold these schools accountable. That`s why we have increased fines, so we can actually hold them accountable when they`re not reporting these crimes or adjudicating them properly. We also want to professionalize the process, Chris, so we have a lot of training and we have a confidential trainer on campus who can take these students through what their options are, and so that there is a uniform process at every school for how these cases are reviewed. We basically need to flip the incentives on these schools, so they can begin to get it right. MATTHEWS: Well, I think a lot of fathers try to encourage their daughters when they`re making a decision, if they get to make a decision, to go to a more conservative campus, or a campus they feel is safer, there`s less sexual pressure. What is your experience about that? Do you think some schools are better at handling this kind of misbehavior, this crime and others are not? GILLIBRAND: To be honest, Chris, I really haven`t seen a campus that gets it right or has gotten it right historically. Whether it`s a big campus, small campus, public or private, they have issues of sexual violence on those campuses. And so what we have to do is give schools more tools to have a better system, a better process. We need to be able to support survivors, so they know what their options are. We need to have communications with law enforcement, so there is a plan in place if someone does want to go to law enforcement and go the criminal route. So, those are all things that are lacking on most school campuses today. So, I think, if we professionalize the system, if we have this survey, then you as a parent will have more information about which schools are safe, which schools have a better climate, and which schools take this issue seriously. MATTHEWS: How do you -- and this is a tricky question because I`m sure there are cases of dishonest claims, but maybe a very small percentage, very small, frivolous charges -- but how do you protect the innocent on both sides of these cases? Is there a way to keep it confidential?

GILLIBRAND: Yes. MATTHEWS: And then also -- I don`t want to get too concerned about that, because if it`s an actual felony we`re talking about, that`s the way it works. A person is allowed to charge somebody with a felony. That`s the way it goes and it becomes public. That`s the way things work in our society. GILLIBRAND: Right. Right. So, the reason why there is a dual system is so that you can have a way to handle this case if the survivor doesn`t feel comfortable going through a criminal trial. That could take a year or two or three. It will obviously change her life and her college -- time at college. So, sometimes, a survivor just wants a review process to have an opportunity to either have her perpetrator be expelled from school or, if there is insufficient evidence and he can`t be held responsible, to have some accommodations. So, only a school can change her class schedule, so he`s not sitting next to her in science, to make sure she can have a dorm that is safe. Those are accommodations that can happen. But if you professionalize the process, then you are going to make sure there is more process for both those who are accused and those who are survivors, and they`re accusing a student. You need to have fairness there, and we made sure in our bill that we do that. MATTHEWS: Senator, you have done really great work in the military in this regard. What is the difference between the campus and the military base. Is there a difference or is it the same kind of dangerous condition potentially? GILLIBRAND: You know, there`s a lot of similarities. Both are closed systems where there is no accountability. And both systems desperately need to be professionalized. In the military, a commander is making the decisions, not a trained prosecutor. If that commander isn`t knowledgeable or doesn`t look at all the evidence, the decision might be wrong. It needs to be professionalized. That decision needs to be made by a trained military prosecutor who has no skin in the game, who is not biased, who doesn`t know the victim and doesn`t know the perpetrator. The college system, you have got universities who often want to just shove this under the rug. It`s more valuable to them to have no reporting and no press on an issue than to actually see that justice is done. So, in both instances, the incentives are wrong. And we need to flip the incentive to make sure there is real transparency and accountability. MATTHEWS: How does it look for the bipartisan support for this bill actually becoming law and bringing this kind of law and order to the campus?

GILLIBRAND: I`m very optimistic, Chris. We have got a bipartisan group of senators across the spectrum, from the most ideologically conservative to the most liberal. And I`m optimistic that we will support -- we will actually have a vote on this bill. We will be having hearings as well. And we will be able to pass the bill. We need to work hard and we need to really amplify our advocacy. So the reason why I`m so hopeful, Chris, is this is a movement that was started by young women, young women and men across the country who experienced sexual violence and didn`t see justice done. And so they are speaking out and they`re telling their stories passionately. And if their schools won`t listen, they will tell it on the front page of "The New York Times." And that`s what is making the difference, this boldness, this ability to stand up and courageously speak truth to power. And they`re -- these young women are inspiring. They have certainly inspired me to action. And I think they will be successful in their quest. MATTHEWS: It`s great having you on. It`s a good cause you`re fighting there. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, thanks for coming on HARDBALL. GILLIBRAND: Thanks, Chris. Thank you. (END VIDEOTAPE) MATTHEWS: Up next, we may be looking at a Hillary-Jeb race after all next year. We have got our new NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" polling, and while things are looking up for Jeb, they are looking even better for Hillary. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RICHARD LUI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi. I`m Richard Lui in the MSNBC newsroom. The Pentagon says a high-profile ISIS leader was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Mosul. Officials say the militant was a person of interest in the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The body of former White House chef Walter Scheib has been recovered from the mountains near Taos, New Mexico. Scheib set out for a hike last weekend and never returned. He served under President Clinton and George - - President George W. Bush as chef. And a severe storm is packing high winds barrelling across the Midwest, damaging homes and downing trees. Hundreds of flights were canceled at O`Hare -- now back to HARDBALL. MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Our latest NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll just out has both parties coalescing around their best prospects, I would say. Let`s start with the Democrats. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is dominating the 2016 Democratic field and leads her newest rival -- that`s Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders -- by 60 points. That`s 6-0 points -- 92 percent of Democratic primary voters say they could see themselves voting for Secretary Clinton. That number is up by six points just since March. Well, turning to the Republican field, 75 percent of Republicans can say themselves -- or see themselves voting for Jeb. That number is up by 26 points since March, when only -- back then, only 49 percent said they could see themselves voting for him. Jeb remains the GOP`s front-runner in the NBC poll, leading the crowded field with 22 percent, followed by Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee. And looking at hypothetical matchups from the general election, Hillary Clinton leads Jeb Bush by eight points. She leads Marco Rubio by 10. She leads Scott Walker by 14, although most people don`t know what Scott Walker looks like. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Anyway, joining the roundtable tonight, David Corn is Washington bureau chief of "Mother Jones," Anne Gearan is political correspondent with "The Washington Post" and Perry Bacon is senior political reporter for NBC.

Let me go to you, Anne Gearan. You`re out there on the road. Bernie got a big crowd out there in Denver. Ed Schultz was jumping up and down about it tonight. Those crowds are fun. But it looks to me like, when people get down and they`re asked by pollsters in a scientific poll, which we have here, they say Hillary. ANNE GEARAN, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yes. There is a -- there is a difference between, I think, the enthusiasm factor that -- that we`re seeing people turning out for Bernie, because he`s interesting, he`s fun. MATTHEWS: Is it just weekends with Bernie? (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Just kidding, just kidding. GEARAN: I mean, it`s something, right? It`s real and it isn`t something that Hillary can completely discount. But you`re right, when people get down to actually answering the question, could you see yourself voting for her -- you know, well, more than 90 percent say yes. MATTHEWS: Well, that`s the question. I`ll go to Perry on this because I think I know your answer. But you can do it your own way. DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: How would you know (ph)? MATTHEWS: You know, Maureen Dowd, at her usual bee sting of Hillary Clinton this weekend, I mean, she`s going after Clinton, she`s very effective. I don`t know if they can stand reading her, basically saying she didn`t make a gutsy decision about trade. She isn`t being forthright. She`s being Clintonian.

But she`s also making the joke and it`s a tough nasty joke, that she`s really trying to pretend she`s Elizabeth Warren. That she`s a person of the left. Is Hillary making a mistake out there to try to be like Bernie, to try to be like Hillary, rather than be her own center-left self, if you will? PERRY BACON, NBC NEWS: You know, I don`t totally agree with that. I think that a lot of these issues in terms of racial inequality, that`s who she`s always been. She`s always talked -- MATTHEWS: Trade. BACON: The one issue of trade, I think is what is she for? I think this whole data gathering about I need to get more details or I need to understand more, take a position. I don`t think this is wise. It`s not going to hurt her in the primary. She`s going to win the primary, but I think she doesn`t want to build the idea she won`t say what she`s for or what she`s against. I think this trade thing went on long enough. We have enough information. Obama has point of view, Warren has a point of view -- MATTHEWS: OK. Voting and taking position, somebody said to me is a statement of character but not always. In other words, it shows we have guts to do it. Is this an issue to go down on the sword? I mean, it`s a tough question for her, and Trumka and the whole gang of them, every labor union we know, does she believe in free trade enough to take on that fight? CORN: The thing is -- MATTHEWS: I mean, I think she`s made mistakes in the past like the Iraq war. CORN: I think there are -- there are a lot of substantial arguments against it. "The New Yorker" had a great piece -- MATTHEWS: With her, where is she on this?

CORN: The question is, we don`t know what she is on some of these very -- MATTHEWS: But, historically, she`s pro-free trade. On this one, she is. CORN: But you can be pro-free trade and not like this agreement because of some very particular -- MATTHEWS: Well, say how do you fix it? CORN: Well, then you say -- yes, exactly. You can say she doesn`t have to be consistent with the pro-free trade position in the past and be in favor of this. She can be against this -- MATTHEWS: Is this going to hurt her politically? CORN: No. MATTHEWS: I show in the polls nothing is hurting her. GEARAN: I mean, they are banking clearly on this being over by the time anybody actually casts a vote. MATTHEWS: The Republicans think they`ve got Hillary in some Achilles heel position with the server at her house. I think average voters, at least my age I think sometimes, they`re older, I don`t know what a server is. I don`t know what a server. I guess I can be told what it is. I don`t want to think about what a server is. Why would anybody vote on the -- think of somebody come out in the voting booth in 2016, well, you know, I was for her until this server issue arose. There`s no such person. CORN: But this is they`re trying to get to the issue that, there`s something shifty about --

MATTHEWS: What is this that she`s hiding? There is nothing to hide. CORN: It doesn`t matter. BACON: She`s hide her e-mails, Chris. MATTHEWS: What is in there? BACON: I don`t know what is in there. We don`t know. They`ve been erased. CORN: They can be really bad because we don`t know. Then we just keep banging this drum. It`s about getting their voters out and keeping some doubt alive so if something else comes along, they can say -- see, we told you. It`s a pattern. MATTHEWS: It could be just a political business that she`s hiding. Why do you close the door at night, to hide something? No, just to close the door. It could be she wants to talk to the governor of Nebraska or the senator from this, or some contributor out in California. How is the kid doing at Sanford? I hope he gets in. That kind of conversation. GEARAN: Yes, certainly, I mean, a fair amount of the e-mail she destroyed or had destroyed is probably of that nature. But what the Republicans are getting at here is that there is a question mark and to the extent they can keep it going, as you said, they have something of an issue. I think most of the people listening and for whom that resonates would never consider voting for Hillary Clinton anyway, right? CORN: Yes. MATTHEWS: I think Hillary`s questions are usually about you and most people make up their mind about Hillary based upon who they are, what they think of a very successful woman, what they think about our times, what they think about ideology. It`s not details.

Anyway, 67 percent of those surveyed just now said they would be satisfied with Jeb and Hillary if they were the nominees of the two parties. Only 31 percent said they wouldn`t like that. And only 4 percent of voters were concerned about political dynasties, too many people running for president from the same families was among the lowest of the top concerns for those being polled. Isn`t that interesting? People always said, I don`t like negative campaigning, and yet it`s the negative ad they remember. They said they don`t like big money in politics. It`s the big money that pays for those negative ads. CORN: They don`t necessarily vote for candidates who rail against big-money politics. When a poster asks you something and you kind of have an answer that you think you should give as opposed to how things really affect you. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: You don`t know, if pollsters expecting it, if you`re a better person to say. CORN: Yes, no one likes negative ads but they work and it`s -- MATTHEWS: What about this dynasty question? BACON: On this dynasty question, I don`t -- I think this poll is not showing us enough. If you`re a Democrat, who are your choices? If Hillary Clinton is running against Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Warren, people were excited about, that might change the response. Similarly, Jeb Bush right now is running, and people still only know who Marco Rubio and Scott Walker are. I do think when it gets closer, people I talk to do say, really in America, Bush and Clinton again? This is not who we are. This is not Britain. I think people are more concerned about particularly Republicans in that poll were already concerned about it, because they don`t like Jeb Bush very much. MATTHEWS: For a reason, not because he`s a Bush. (CROSSTALK)

BACON: He`s a moderate. Right. MATTEWS: I like the fact one of the number one things they say about Bush is he`s a liberal. They don`t mean that with love. Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us. And up next, more on the potential pitfall for Hillary Clinton, trade. This is HARDBALL, a place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Don`t you love it? Pope Francis is once again rankling conservatives. This time, he`s taking on guns. The Holy Father is on pastoral trip in Turin, and he says people who manufacture guns and weapons and call themselves Christians are hypocrites. That`s the pope talking. Last week, he released an encyclical saying that global warming is real, it`s manmade and urgent actions needed to be done to combat. He`s getting the round -- making the rounds on the right, I`d say, the Holy Father. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We`re back with the roundtable, David Corn, of course, Anne Gearan, of course, and Perry Bacon, of course. You know, it`s fascinating what isn`t of course is the pope is talking about stuff that matters right now through our politics. The gun issue is the hottest American issue overtime. It`s always there, like race. The pope says, you know, we shouldn`t even be making them. That`s a pretty strong statement.

GEARAN: Absolutely. MATTHEWS: And Hillary. GEARAN: That`s the pope saying we shouldn`t be making them is a lot stronger than any American politician is ever going to say. But it`s really interesting. You had Obama and then you had Clinton a couple days later both making pretty strong statements in favor of more gun control than we currently have. Hillary saying that the president doesn`t get enough credit for what he`s trying to do. What she didn`t say how she would get past the impasse that he`s had in Congress. I mean, there`s just -- it`s -- the issue has been dead in the water. MATTHEWS: Checking out -- they always say -- I understand guns don`t kill people, people kill people. OK, that`s the way they kill people, with guns. But there is an argument to be made if it`s people not guns -- let`s check out the people buying guns. I mean, that would be a reasonable thing to go to and say, no, you can`t be insane, you can`t be a murderer, you can`t say, I`m going to kill my wife and have a gun. You can`t -- there has to be some rules. CORN: You know, the Republican Party wants a waiting period for any woman who wants an abortion, yet they hate waiting periods for guns and they try to fight those things. They try to -- MATTHEWS: Who needs a gun that fast? CORN: You know, that`s the question. Who needs a gun that fast? I mean, they always come up with arguments. Someone who is in danger, you know, it`s the good guy or good gal with a gun myth. What the pope said was really very interesting, because he wasn`t talking about gun control, he was talking about a gun as an act of violence -- MATTHEWS: How many guns do we have in this country right now?

CORN: Several hundred million. How immoral to make them. MATTHEWS: We have more guns than people. We`re like New Zealanders with sheep. CORN: Yes. MATTHEWS: Only instead of sheep, we have more guns than people. CORN: I want to see how Wayne LaPierre and the NRA now have to take on the pope. It`s one thing to take on Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. MATTHEWS: The way Jeb did other day. BACON: Dismiss him completely. MATTHEWS: This isn`t my -- he`s out of his lane. CORN: Yes, well -- BACON: I mean, the core challenge is Hillary`s and Obama`s ideas are not enough. The problem is we have like 300 million guns. You probably going to have gun buyback program or something like that, something that`s bigger. It`s not totally clear that background checks can stop you if your gun isn`t given to you by a family member or friend. Guns are not always just sold. There are other ways to get guns. The solution has to be bigger than what they`re talking about now. Hillary and Obama, it would seem. I don`t think, she (INAUDIBLE) proposal as all as far as I can tell. If she comes out with a strong gun proposal in the campaign, I would be very surprised. Obama sort of avoided the issue in `08 and `12 --

MATTHEWS: How about a Supreme Court with common sense? How about a Supreme Court that says, you know, you can`t have guns for all occasions? The right to bear arms is related to the right to militia. That`s the way it was written. We`re going back to the way it was written. They always like, they always say, as written, you know? Literal interpretation. They seem to ignore that militia thing. CORN: Bill Clinton actually tried when he was president to ban a certain type of gun. You know, they sought weapons ban. MATTHEWS: It worked for a while. CORN: There were a lot of loopholes in it and they made a lot a compromise, which weakened it. But, you know, that was -- he passed that bill. He passed that bill -- MATTHEWS: That`s one reason why they lost to Congress in 1994. GEARAN: Exactly. CORN: The ammunition -- the ways of dealing with ammunition. MATTHEWS: They lost the Congress after that. CORN: There are things you can do that won`t solve the problem, but they will work at the margins at least, and then you sort of come in. BACON: They lost Congress and health care, too. They thought that was worth doing. So, if they really care about the gun issue, they may actually push it beyond --

MATTHEWS: What they need and I`m not sure she`ll ever get this. When you walk into the voting booth come November, and you have to make that big decision, you probably made it weeks before, but you have to make that big decision, the gun owner is thinking about his gun as he goes in to vote. The person who believes in gun control is thinking about the unemployment rate, women`s rights, racial rights, foreign policy, five or six other things that are on their mind before they get to gun. And that`s why the gun owners always win -- BACON: Well, this is perfect political science expert, where enthusiasm, you know, is in the favor of a very small minority of people but who care about it so much that it scares the politicians. I mean, you`re right. They are so passionate. If you are for gun rights, it is not your top issue. It`s number one, two, and three. MATTHEWS: OK, great question. Why did Hillary Clinton sort of dodge the trade issue? Which I understand because of the unions who are Democrats and support the Democrats, and yet not dodge the gun issue? What are the politics? Guns are hotter issue. BACON: Until she comes up with a gun control plan, I don`t know that she`s embraced the gun issue. I don`t know what her plan is. That`s the issue, she was more forthright because most of the Democratic Party is for gun control. And most of the Democratic Party is not for -- MATTHEWS: Two-thirds of the Republican Party is gun owners. She`s not running for the Republican nomination. BACON: Precisely. CORN: And not getting those votes anyway. MATTHEWS: I like the way you finish my sentence. We`re getting very accommodating. Anyway, thank you, David Corn. Thank you, Perry Bacon. And thank you, Anne Gearan of "The Washington Post". When we return let me finish tonight with my 35-year stroke of luck. That`s what I`m calling it. You`re watching HARDBALL, a place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with my family celebration. Yesterday, June 21st, was the first day of summer. It was Father`s Day. It was also our 35th wedding anniversary, 35. Of all the breaks in my life, and there have been a number, meeting and finding a way to Kathleen Cunningham`s heart was at the top because she is the top. When we met, I was working in the back room of the White House running for someone else. Kathy was writing for Channel 7. Here also was someone else. She was also working for someone else. I was a back room guy in politics. She was a news producer. When I tell people what I learned about marriage all these years besides the role of luck in it, is it`s about the common values. If you get them, sticking together is easy. When you agree on religion, on children being important, on family being important, on trying to be nice. My great break in life was meeting someone like that, spending my life with someone like that. Kathy is my ambassador to people. Acting on my own, I don`t think I would be living in such a large world, not by a stretch. As I said, it was our 35th wedding anniversary yesterday. If my luck holds, I`ll ill keep on doing what I`m doing right here. As I`ve told you before, she`s hoping to do important things in public service. Michael, Thomas, Caroline, Sarah, Julia, and Brandon are, of course, our joy. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END 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.>