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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 07/17/15

Guests: Mubin Shaikh, Robert Costa, Tony Shin, Melody Lardner

STEVE KORNACKI, GUEST HOST: The search for a motive in the Chattanooga attacks. This is HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Steve Kornacki, in for Chris Matthews. We`re learning new details about yesterday`s shooting at two military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the gunman behind them. According to federal investigators, the attack is being looked at as an act of terrorism. Mohammod Youssef Abdulazeez was armed with at least two rifles and one handgun. A law enforcement official tells NBC News one of those weapons was an AK-47 type assault rifle. Authorities have still not identified a motive, and the shooter has not yet been linked to ISIS or any other terror group. And sources tell NBC News that so far, nothing has turned up on his electronic devices, no suicide video or manifesto. Investigators say they are looking into his recent travel overseas. Last year, he flew to Jordan, where his family is from. He didn`t return to the United States for seven months. Also today, we learned the identities of all four of his victims. Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Sullivan served two tours in Iraq. He`s from Hampton, Massachusetts. That`s in western Massachusetts. Staff Sergeant David Wyatt served one tour in Afghanistan and two in Iraq. He`s from Burke, North Carolina. Sergeant Carson Holmquist of Polk, Wisconsin, served two tours in Afghanistan, and Lance Corporal Skip Wells joined in February of 2014, and he is from Cobb County, Georgia. For more from Chattanooga, I`m joined now by NBC`s Sarah Dallof. So Sarah, what -- Sarah -- excuse me -- what is the latest you are learning on the scene there?   SARAH DALLOF, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, good evening, Steve. Investigators, as you know, have been working around the clock to try to answer these difficult questions ever since the shooter opened fire on this recruiting center here behind me, spraying some 25 bullets into the storefront. Now, what we`ve learned today is that he had at least three guns. Now, according to a law enforcement official, one of them was an AK-47-type assault rifle, one was a 12-gauge shotgun and one was a .9-millimeter pistol. The shooter also appeared to be wearing a load-bearing vest that he had stocked with extra ammunition. We`re told that he purchased one of those guns from a dealer, one at least from a private individual. Unsure about how he obtained that third firearm. Now, according to the FBI, it appears that the shooter was killed by Chattanooga police and did not take his own life. Those police officers were praised by the police chief this afternoon, who says officers actually dragged one of their wounded colleagues out of the line of fire and into safety. He called them heroes. He described yesterday as the saddest and yet the proudest day of his career. That wounded officer is said to be in high spirits, although, Steve, we have been told he is in a lot of pain right now. Back to you. KORNACKI: All right, Sarah Dallof on the ground in Chattanooga, thank you for that report. And for more now, we`re joined by NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams. So Pete, Mohammod Youssef Abdulazeez -- what more do we know about him right now? PETE WILLIAMS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the authorities are trying to figure out still what the motive was, why he did this. They say they don`t know yet. All of his electronics are up here at the FBI lab in Quantico, where they`re going through them and trying to figure out what they can find from there. They`re also looking at his travel. He`s been to Jordan several times. He started traveling there when he was in high school. He took trips that ranged between a couple of weeks to a couple of months, sometimes traveling with his father. And one of the most interesting trips to the FBI is the trip he took last year, the most recent one, which was to Jordan for about seven months, six to seven months. They want to know whether, while he was there, he went to any other Middle Eastern countries. He had two passports, an American passport because he was a U.S. naturalized citizen, and also a Jordanian passport, and he could have used that to help cover his tracks, if you will. Now, they don`t know if he did, but they`re asking our foreign intelligence service partners to help them figure out whether he did travel outside of Jordan and where he went in Jordan. These are all questions that are unanswered at this point.   They`re -- they really don`t know what the motive was, and they hope to know in the next day or so if they can get anything out of the electronic devices. But so far, nothing has come forth to indicate what it might be. KORNACKI: And Pete, there have been these widely circulated blog posts, and I guess one maybe from a few days before this happened, where possibly, apparently, maybe the shooter is talking about, Life is short, we need to submit to Allah. What do you know about the authenticity of those blog posts? Is that something that`s getting -- I imagine that`s getting a lot of scrutiny here. WILLIAMS: That, along with anything else they can find that he may have written. That one was written -- that last blog post was July 13th, three days before the shooting. So they want to know what exactly -- there`s two ways to read that. One is that it seems to be just the expressions of a devout Muslim about the need to serve Allah. But there`s another way to read it, where he says, Life is bitter, and he talks about the people who served Allah with jihad. So it`s hard to know exactly what that means. Let me put it this way. They don`t find that in any way conclusive. KORNACKI: All right. Well, earlier today, Congressman Michael McCaul -- he`s the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee -- he said that he believed the gunman was inspired by ISIS. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R), TEXAS: We`ve seen too much of this traffic. There are too many warning signs. The targets are identical to the targets called by ISIS to attack. So my judgment and my experience is that this was an ISIS-inspired attack. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: Now, later at a press conference, the FBI special agent-in- charge, Ed Reinhold, was asked about that speculation from the congressman. He said he couldn`t confirm it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)   ED REINHOLD, FBI SPECIAL AGENT-IN-CHARGE: At this time, we have no indication that he was inspired by or directed by anyone other than himself. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: Well, so Pete, I wonder if you could sort of parse that for us or maybe take a shot at it because what the congressman is basically saying there is, Hey, look, you know, this is too much of a coincidence. You look at the sorts of attacks that ISIS is calling for, the sorts of targets they`re talking about, and this fits it to a tee. WILLIAMS: Yes, and frankly, there are a lot of people inside law enforcement who are saying the same thing, and in the intelligence community, as well. Congressman McCaul was careful to say that was his own conclusion, based merely on what is publicly known. And the FBI has said they`re just not there yet in terms of the investigation. But you know, I think one reason that they can`t take their eyes off the terrorism possibility is the fact that this was -- these were military facilities that were attacked. And one of the themes in ISIS social media repeatedly over the past six months is, Attack military facilities. Just today, the military has again tried to adjust to this. The Marine Corps has shut down its recruiting centers within 40 miles or so of where the attack was. It`s told people not to wear their uniforms just as a prudent response to this. But you know, we`ve heard of this advice to military people, not to wear their uniforms in public. We`ve heard about U.S. military bases going to a higher level of security for months now precisely because of this constant barrage of social media suggestions that people attack military targets. KORNACKI: All right, Pete Williams from NBC News, thank you for your time tonight. I appreciate that. And here`s more from Congressman Michael McCaul, again, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, earlier today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MCCAUL: I have a lot of emotions about what happened yesterday. This is the event we`ve been most worried about, and then it happened. I don`t know how many more of these could happen, but I can tell you there are ISIS investigations in all 50 states across the United States of America.   They`re permeating our society and this country through the Internet and through social media. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: I`m joined now by Mubin Shaikh, a self-described one-time supporter of militant jihadi culture. He eventually turned his back on radical Islam and went to work for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service as an undercover operative. Mubin, thanks for joining us. So I`m just curious, based on your sort of intimate knowledge of this world, when you look at the clues that are out in public right now, this question that`s being raised of, you know, was this a lone wolf, was this somebody who was simply inspired by something overseas, could there have been more coordination with a group overseas -- there`s this trip to Jordan that`s coming under some scrutiny now. Does this look like anything in particular to you? MUBIN SHAIKH, FMR. COUNTERTERRORISM OPERATIVE: Yes, I think the signs are there, as many other individuals have suspected or speculated, that it`s ISIS-inspired at this point. And the difference between inspired and directed is simply if you -- if you just subscribe to their ideology and you self-activate and you act on your own behalf, they will take credit for it. But directed means you went somewhere, you received training from someone, they told you specifically which targets or maybe they told you to scope out the targets, and then you went and did the attack. In this case, this guy went to a military recruiting center, drove 10 miles, went to another military facility. I mean, it was very deliberate. It seems that he`s -- he`d probably done surveillance of the targets already. He could have just -- you know, he had enough guns and ammunition to hit civilians, but he didn`t. And I`m suspecting that you will see probably some kind of foreign grievance attached to this, probably related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a consistent theme with domestic terrorist attacks. KORNACKI: And I think what you`re describing there, the difference between the inspired and directed attacks -- the inspired ones, in a way, I think, probably cause more worry over here because they seem less -- less capable of us stopping in any way because you`re -- you`re not trying to break up a network that might have all these communications going on and extensive planning and coordination.   You`re just talking about an individual who maybe is in a chat room or reading a message board on line, gets an idea in their head, and the next thing you know, you`re -- they`re acting on it. Seems that`s a scarier possibility to a lot of people. SHAIKH: Yes, rightfully so. I mean, and even in your scenario, you assume that he`s in chatroom and he`s leaving a digital footprint. Digital footprints can be detected. The worst is where they don`t leave a digital footprint. In this case, you know, these two blog posts, for example -- and you could read into those -- those blog posts. For example, the one where, you know, he gives a parable of the men describing the elephant. You know, he talks about making hejira (ph), emigrating to the supposed caliphate. This is ISIS-speak. The idea that -- or the fact that he attacked in Ramadan itself, this is exactly what ISIS was saying, you know? And the idea that -- I mean, he`s a devout Muslim. You know, he was up on DUI charges. It`s possible that, you know, because of the shame and guilt of that -- he was -- I think he was supposed to be up in court to deal with that issue. Maybe that was an aggravating factor in this and kind of made it easier for him to just go out in a blaze of glory. KORNACKI: I`m curious, too, if you make anything of the seven-month trip to the Middle East that now the FBI is going to be looking closely at. I mean, on the one hand, maybe it could be just to visit family. On the other hand, you know, speculation would be maybe there`s some kind of coordination going on on a trip like that. Or maybe it`s something in between, where there`s just exposure to ideas maybe he wouldn`t get over here. I`m curious what you make of that. SHAIKH: Yes, it`s -- of course, hindsight is 20/20. We`re going to scrutinize that trip moreso than we would normally. But if we heard that somebody, you know, was going to the Middle East, that`s not a red flag. People do that all the time. I`m curious to see -- he didn`t manifest any kind of sudden religious change before he went. That sudden change happened after he went. So it does beg the question, you know, what happened while he was there? Did he actually meet someone and was radicalized by somebody, and thus maybe it was -- it`s a directed attack? Or did he just go there and see for himself? Was he just watching the news and saw what was happening and decided to blame the U.S. it, for whatever it could have been? He could have, you know, bought into the narrative of ISIS. You know, there`s a lot of sympathies in Jordan. There`s certain segments in Jordan that do have sympathies towards ISIS, so... KORNACKI: All right, Mubin Shaikh, appreciate your time tonight. Thank you very much. SHAIKH: Thanks.   KORNACKI: And much more from Chattanooga later in the hour. But coming up, 2016 politics. Donald Trump`s the Republican front- runner in yet another national poll, and he`s turning the Republican race into a roast. And that giant sucking sound you hear, it`s Trump hogging the spotlight from the rest of the field. Plus, Hillary Clinton and the other Democrats running for president are all on stage in Iowa for the first time together tonight. Clinton`s looking to avoid what happened in Iowa to her eight years ago, where she finished in third place behind both Barack Obama and John Edwards. Remember him? The right wing is trying to turn the horrible chain of events in Chattanooga into Benghazi Lite. We`ll look at the political pile-on from the likes of Trump, Jindal and Krauthammer and why it sounds so familiar. Finally, also, selling the Iran nuclear deal. President Obama has his work cut out for him with Congress, and now top Democratic senator Chuck Schumer of New York said he has no problem voting against the president. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KORNACKI: Former U.S. congressman Michael Grimm has been sentenced to eight months in prison. The Republican from New York`s Staten Island pled guilty last year to tax fraud following a federal investigation into his campaign finances. Prosecutors had asked for two years in prison. Defense attorneys had argued that Grimm should not serve any time at all. Grimm resigned from his seat last December after winning reelection. Be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will make America great again, better than ever before. We`ll do it fast. We`ll do it effectively. And you are going to love the job I do! That I can tell you. That I can tell you. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) TRUMP: Appreciate it. And remember, the silent majority is back, and don`t forget it. This is the silent majority. And thank you. Thank you. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was Donald Trump stumping last night in New Hampshire, flashing his usual bluster and bravado to the Granite State faithful, who were eating it up. And they`re not the only ones. According to a new Fox News poll out just today, 70 percent of Republicans say that they agree with Trump`s controversial comments about Mexico. The cover of "The New Yorker" speaks for itself. Trump`s belly-flop into the race has thrown the Republican primary into chaos. Trump is the front-runner in that Fox poll with 18 percent. He now leads Scott walker by 3, Jeb Bush by 4. Those three appear to be pulling away from the field just a little bit. Since June, Trump`s gains have been -- well, they`ve been huge. He`s up 14 points in just a matter of weeks. But over that same time, Walker has managed to gain 3 points, as well, and Jeb Bush has gained 2 points. But if you`re outside that top three, your support is either drying up or it`s going nowhere. Eugene Robinson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist. Robert Costa is a national political reporter. Both are with "The Washington Post." So Robert, let me start with you. In terms of taking the oxygen away from the rest of this field, the effect Donald Trump has had -- the one candidate whose been really interesting for me to watch in terms of how he`s dealing with Trump has been Ted Cruz because Ted Cruz is the only one who`s out there saying nice things about Donald Trump. And what I`m reading that as is a calculation by Ted Cruz that this Trump thing has a shelf life, and that when he implodes, Ted Cruz, by being nice to him now, will be able to vacuum up his voters then. Is Ted Cruz making a smart calculation with that?   ROBERT COSTA, "WASHINGTON POST": "The Post" got that scoop this week. And I think Cruz has a strategy here, but it could be a risky gamble because Donald Trump -- he`s an unpredictable politician. Even if you think you`re courting him, you`re doing all the right things, you`re going to Trump Tower, that guarantees nothing. You say one line against Trump in a debate, he could get angry. That support, possible support, could evaporate. KORNACKI: Well, so Eugene Robinson, do you think -- is he helping -- I mean, we know he`s hurting, you know, for instance, you know, Marco Rubio. We haven`t heard that much from him lately. Is there anybody in this field that Donald Trump, besides Donald Trump himself, that Donald Trump`s candidacy is actually helping at this point? EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think you could argue that he`s helping Jeb Bush, in that he`s taking away from the others, right? You saw Trump and Walker and Bush in a top echelon, and everyone else losing support. So he`s hurting all the others. He -- he could establish Jeb Bush as sort of the safe, sane establishment alternative. And, you know, Scott Walker, we will have to see. He just announced. Let`s see if this sort of bump that he`s getting persists. But, right now, I would have to say potentially Jeb Bush. But wait until the first debate. KORNACKI: Well, life after Trump is proving difficult for many candidates in the Republican field. According to that Fox News poll out today, the support for Ben Carson, the darling of the Tea Party movement, has been cut in half since Trump got in the race. The support for Ted Cruz -- we mentioned him a minute ago -- another Tea Party loyalist, that`s also been cut in half. Mike Huckabee`s support has dropped by a few points. He`s an evangelical candidate that you would not expect to be significantly impacted by Trump. Rick Perry is fighting for relevancy in this early stage of the race. Trump is going at him hard. Perry is now at 1 percent. There are also long shot candidates like Lindsey Graham and George Pataki. They have gone from barely registering in the polls to not registering at all. Robert Costa, we played that clip right there. He`s talking about the silent majority, a term we haven`t heard used since Nixon days. Donald Trump says he`s bringing the silent majority back. I look at his gains, I look at those numbers we just put up, and there`s also some other polling out this week that showed his approval rating, his popularity specifically with Tea Party voters has just completely turned around in the last month. They were against him. Now they`re very much for him. When Donald Trump says the silent majority, is he talking about the Tea Party? COSTA: In a sense, he is, but he`s also talking to people who are fed up and frustrated with politics in general, who aren`t part of the normal Republican coalition.   I was at that Phoenix rally with Mr. Trump, walked around him, shadowed and reported as he navigated that convention center. And he met so many people who aren`t the normal CPAC conservative crowd. These are people who are just really not voting for the last cycles. Now they see in Trump an outsider they can maybe rally around. This is why he scares those rivals on the right, because to see someone who is not only eating into the conservative bloc, he`s building his own new coalition that has some independents, moderates in it as well. KORNACKI: And, Gene, the other thing is, you look at those polls, the rules that are in place right now, this first Republican debate, we`re now only about three weeks away from that. And we have seen in the past, these debates, they can make or break candidacies. They`re saying the top 10 in the polls coming into that debate get a ticket, they get to go on stage. The rest of them, forget it. They`re not there. Donald Trump is -- first of all, he`s going to cost somebody else, maybe a sitting governor, a senator, something like that, a spot on that stage. He`s also making it impossible for those candidates to get attention right now to make sure they`re in that top 10. ROBINSON: That`s absolutely right. He`s keeping them out of the running right now. And then wait until you get to the debate, because guess who`s going to hog the attention during that session, however long it lasts? It`s going to be Donald Trump. He knows how to get attention. And he`s better at that, I would venture, than any of the other Republican candidates or perhaps better than all of them put together in getting attention. You give him that sort of stage, he could go after Bush, he could go after -- I think Rick Perry may try to go after him, if Rick Perry makes the debate. And Trump would just jump all over him. It`s going to be entertaining. COSTA: Steve... (CROSSTALK) KORNACKI: Yes, go ahead, Robert.   COSTA: One thing I noted, when I was with Trump, I asked him about the debates. And you know what he said? He shrugged. He said whatever, because he actually doesn`t think he needs the debates as a launching pad. He can go on TV any day, talk to any news outlet, make news, put the pressure on his rivals and his competitors. And so he actually doesn`t see the debates as that important. He sees it as his opportunity to hog the stage and let the cards fall where they may. KORNACKI: All right, thank you to Gene Robertson, Robert Costa. Actually, we have to cut in there with some breaking news to bring you. A brushfire has jumped a highway in Southern California. You`re looking live right now at a picture of Interstate 15 at the El Cajon Pass. Several cars are on fire right now. There are reports that some people may have suffered burns. We`re going to listen in to the coverage from our NBC station KNBC. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... extend that fire hose as close as possible to the fire I`m going to go ahead and pan over to the right, which is going to be towards the north. And you can see that that car carrier that is now burning out of control, several cars on fire there, the cab of the car carrier, as well as a couple of SUVs sitting right above it there, a very significant fire now just a hundred feet north of that original car fire. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And, Chris, you mentioned those people who are walking along the shoulder. We saw that as well and speculated perhaps they were being led by fire crews, but your impression is that, no, they were not. (CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right here, there does not appear to be any authority leading them in any one direction. These are folks who are literally left on the freeway now with themselves and their property, the property being their vehicles, and many of them abandoning their vehicles, some folks actually walking closer to the flames. You know, this is such a dangerous situation.   You still have parts of the guardrail that are on fire here. You can see different posts with flames skirting the freeway here and fires breaking out now left and right. It`s just a terrible situation. And folks are literally walking in the middle of all this. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chris, we`re going to stay on your pictures here. It looks like we have two major fires burning, the car carrier that we`re looking at right now, and then just I would say less than a quarter of a mile away from that, we have the other fire. But we have with us on the phone someone with the U.S. Forest Service. Are you with us still? U.S. Forest -- no, we seem to have lost him. All right, Chris, we`re going to go back out to you at this point. Where is the closest water as best you can tell out there? Other than what is being dropped from the water-dropping choppers, where are they having to go to get any kind of resource? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without speculating too much, I really can`t say, because there`s really no body of water too close to here. And that would explain why the water drops are, if you will, few and far between. It`s just hard to make out. I cannot think of any body of water in this vicinity, but you can see another fire now breaking out, just -- breaking out, rather, just to the west of the freeway, just off the freeway here, just a couple of feet from the guardrail. But this -- again, this is all the southbound lanes, so at the top part of your screen is going to be the west side of the freeway. And there`s hot spots breaking out on the west side, as well as the east side, folks walking on the freeway and again that car carrier going up in flames. Here comes another water drop as they try and get more water. He just used his Bambi Bucket to drop some more water over the west side of the freeway, but now that car carrier, that fire just continuing to spread. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And there`s nowhere to go. The cars are not backing off the freeway. These cars appear to be abandoned at this point?   UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as we know, at this point, it appears that all of these cars, according to CHP, upwards of 70 or 80 vehicles at least have been abandoned here and left to burn until they can get this fire under control. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, Chris, looking at a map, the only lake I see really nearby is Lake Mathews, and that`s not even close. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s not too close. That`s not too close. And there goes the boat. The boat that we were just looking at there has caught on fire. That just happened in the last 30 seconds. That happened in the last 30 seconds. That`s just how quick. All it takes is a little ember to travel across these lanes and another car catches on fire. And there you have it, now eight vehicles and a boat, so just a situation that`s continuing to spread. And as we can see, it`s obvious that resources at this point at this location are very limited, firefighters really running out of options here, relying mostly on those helicopters to get as much water on here as possible. But this appears to be getting worse before it gets better. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. We want to once again, if people are joining us, give them a location on this. This is the 15 Freeway just north of the 138 and south of Oak Hills exit here. And, Chris, you were very quick on the scene here. I guess for people who are just tuning in and watching this, they have to be stunned by seeing this. How did it get to this point? Normally, when there`s a brushfire this close to the freeway, they shut down the freeway. How did it happen? Can you explain it to us? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the only way that I can imagine that these folks managed to get this close to the flames, I mean, we heard reports when the fire broke out shortly after 2:00, if I`m not mistaken, that this was indeed a rapidly spreading fire. And we hear that quite often. Depending on the amount of fuel in any given brushfire, that dictates just how quick and how rapid that fire will move. And when they say rapid, sometimes, they really mean a rapidly spreading fire, and it just may have happened all too quick for any authorities to get on scene to break up traffic, to develop a traffic break and keep these people out of harm`s way. Fortunately, as we have heard, most of them have been able to self-evacuate. Some folks have been injured. We`re still working on those numbers. But it appears that whatever happened here shortly after 2:00 happened so quick that there are a large number of innocent bystanders, drivers, motorists who are on the 15 Freeway and they were just unable to escape, at least get their cars out of harm`s way. We just hope that as many as possible were able to get out of their cars and at least save their own lives and their own family`s lives, their passengers, but you can see a lot of cars going up in flames.   (CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chris, I have seen so many people on the side of the freeway. So, that`s at least some good news, that we do know people did manage to get out. We don`t know if everyone got out. But Tony Shin is in the thick of it now. And he joins us now live. Tony, where are you? TONY SHIN, KNBC REPORTER: I`m just north of the 138, probably about 1,000 yards. And take a look behind me. You can see, as we head north right there, that`s the 15 Freeway where right below that smoke plume is the 15. And let me tell you, the traffic is absolutely horrific right now. A lot of people trying to head north on the 15, they are getting angry. I have seen people drive wildly trying to head north toward this fire, I`m guessing to try to get home to Hesperia or Victorville or somewhere in the high desert, not realizing what kind of danger they`re heading to. That`s one of the reasons why we pulled off and said, you know what? Let`s get off on the 138. It`s a safe distance away. We can see what`s going on and you can see what`s going on. There`s a lot of smoke, there are huge flames. The wind is picking up right now. I mean, since I have been here for the past, what, five, 10 minutes, the wind has really gone up dramatically. I just lost my phone connection. So if you`re trying to talk to me, I hope you understand, I`m going to try to redial in. In the meantime, I can tell you that we haven`t seen any traffic going north on the 15 at this point. Of course, southbound traffic is stopped. A lot of people are trying to get home. They`re just going to have to be patient, because at this point, as you can see, this fire is just burning out of control. It`s a very scary situation. We all know exactly how dry it is out here. And then when have that wind picking up, this is exactly what can happen. Now the question is, what started this fire? That`s the big question. Was it a careless situation with a cigarette thrown out a window? Was it some kind of catalytic converter? These are things that they are going to be looking at once this is over. But once again, before I send it back to you, you can see this plume of smoke. And right now, it looks like this fire is heading up the hill towards the Phelan area, so, just to give you an idea of what it looks like from our vantage point.   We will go ahead and send it back to you in the studio. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know what, Tony, we want to remind people, too, unless you see these pictures, you couldn`t believe it was happening here. The 15 is shut down in both directions. And we want to remind people, we`re glued to the television and the pictures coming in live from the area. But if you have to step away, you can also watch this on our NBCLA app. We`re streaming this live. There, see another water-dropping chopper trying to put out this fire. KORNACKI: All right, been listening live to coverage from our affiliate out there in California. Joining us now live from our Los Angeles bureau is NBC News correspondent Hallie Jackson. Hallie, what can you tell us? HALLIE JACKSON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: As, Steve, you look at these pictures, they`re stunning. We have learned new information from Cal Fire, which is that there are some burn victims because of this. We don`t know how many at this point, but we know that several ambulances, two medevac choppers are on scene. So, some victims burned, some we understand suffering from smoke inhalation as well. Some 500 acres have burned from what`s being called the North Fire. It`s incredibly fast-moving. And possibly some homes or buildings have been destroyed. There are mandatory evacuation orders in place for the area around this. And you look at this, you heard it from the chopper pilot there on KNBC. People haven`t seen something like this before. We`re looking at maybe a dozen cars, maybe more catching fire. We have been watching here in our Los Angeles newsroom. One by one, you`re seeing the flames spread, firefighters trying to get in there. But so far, even airdrops, we have seen at least three or four airdrops, water of course being dropped on the cars.   That basically did nothing, Steve. You just saw a big plume of steam. And now if we`re looking further down the highway, you can see another section where at least one, two cars are on fire, plus the front of that tractor-trailer. This shows no sign of stopping any time soon, Steve. We understand there was a drone in the area before. Here in California, especially in Southern California, we have had problems with drones flying over wildfires and firefighters being forced to call off the aircraft. Luckily, that did not happen in this case. The drones went away, according to Cal Fire. That`s a good thing. But obviously it`s something they`re keeping an eye on, but this absolutely stunning. At one point, Steve, we even saw people walking on the highway past where these cars were burning to get their cars, which were further up the freeway out of the way. So, it`s certainly -- to say it`s a mess is an understatement. KORNACKI: And, Hallie, I wonder for viewers who don`t necessarily know the geography of Southern California, the West Coast, we`re watching this here from New York City. JACKSON: Yes. KORNACKI: This is El Cajon, California. This is about, what, 10 miles east of San Diego? JACKSON: Yes, it`s actually out by San Bernardino, the Cajon Pass. You might have heard it on KNBC. They said, if you`re going to Vegas, don`t go that away. It`s a place where people kind of head especially when they are east of the city. It`s not an especially populated area, but it`s certainly incredibly busy, particularly -- remember, right now, it`s 4:30, the beginning of rush hour. So, you see all the cars that are on the highway. People have no place to go, particularly the ones that are behind the response team. We saw some fire trucks and firefighters on the highway there. KORNACKI: And this is -- you were saying it sounds like you have not seen something like this before. We hear all the time about the drought conditions in California, the risks of fire, but seeing a fire spread to a highway like this, this is not something you have seen happen out there? JACKSON: You know I haven`t been in L.A. quite that long, Steve, but it`s certainly unexpected to see.   We have wildfires all the time. There have been hundreds so far this year already. And the drought conditions certainly mean they`re spreading faster than ever, particularly when you combine them with the extreme heat that we`re seeing in the summertime. But to see something like this, right, to see something where the wildfire -- and, again, we don`t know what started this car fire, but where you see this so close together, it`s incredibly unusual. And to see -- look at this -- a dozen cars completely engulfed, it`s wild. KORNACKI: It also seems -- you mentioned there were the water drops that -- we saw a couple of those take place in these shots. We saw a boat that was being towed by one of these cars catch on fire just as the camera was shooting it. JACKSON: Yes. KORNACKI: It seems right now, I`m just looking at all of the burning and all of the smoke on my screen, and I`m really not seeing much water being brought in there right now. It seems maybe authorities still just figuring out how to approach this. JACKSON: You know, think about the danger though when you get to something like this, right? Cars on the freeway, you don`t know how much gas is in these cars. You don`t know what could happen if this fire continues to spread. We have seen airdrops, though. The helicopters have come over. They have dropped. Unfortunately, it hasn`t appeared to do much when you look at the intensity of these flames. KORNACKI: Yes, it looks like we`re seeing a helicopter... JACKSON: There`s one right now, yes. KORNACKI: ... hovering right there. Yes, it looks like another one of those water drops. And, again, this is -- it`s 7:30 here on the East Coast, 4:30 on the West Coast. So, we`re talking basically rush hour traffic here on a summer Friday. This must have just brought this portion of Southern California to a complete -- a complete standstill.   JACKSON: And, as you might imagine, it`s on every news station here in Los Angeles, here in Southern California. Everybody has broken in, since we are right around news time, to let people know, stay away from this area. The last thing the firefighters need is more people coming in, more people driving this way. If you can avoid this area, obviously, you need to. But even in our own newsroom here, Steve, people are sort of glued to this as we watch another water drop. But even there, the water drops, you see the orange flames fly right back up. KORNACKI: Right, look at that. I mean, again right now, what they`re fighting this with right now, the fire, seems no match. Right now, again, just to update viewers, if you could, Hallie, you were saying the medical situation here, there are, you`re reporting, several burn victims. What exactly do we know on that front? JACKSON: Correct. Unfortunately, the information is still coming in. But we have confirmed -- and we want to be careful with our reporting -- that there are injuries from burns. We don`t know how many victims, as we take another look there at the wildfire that`s further -- further off the highway. So, we don`t know how many victims from burns. We don`t know how many have inhaled smoke, although there are some patients being treated. The medical response is pretty intense, as you might imagine, ambulances, two medevac choppers that are out there on scene. So, even sort of the responders are still trying to gather this information and figure this out as we`re reporting it. KORNACKI: And, Hallie, too, I wonder if you can just tell us, life in California, we know about the water rationing that is taking place, the limits on water use that are taking place. Life in California right now, with the incredible drought conditions out there, the risks for fires like this, what`s it been like out there the last year or so, the last few months?   JACKSON: Awful. In a word, not good. We talk about it all the time with California fire officials. And it`s something that we don`t get on the East Coast. You don`t see it the same way back East, but out here, people know that wildfires are kind of a way of life. California officials have warned that because of the drought, there`s more -- they call it fuel for the fires. Obviously, we`re talking about brush. We`re talking about timber that`s just dried. It is like lighting a match to brush, basically. So it goes up faster than we have seen. It`s possible -- we said it last year, we`re saying it again this year from California officials that this could be the worst wildfire season yet. It`s obviously a concern. It`s something that we have to live with here in Southern California and really throughout the West on a daily basis. There`s not much you can do, other than try to be responsible with how you interact with the environment. KORNACKI: And, again, if you`re just joining us and looking at these pictures, to update you on what we`re following right now, this is a wildfire that`s jumped on to Interstate 15 in Southern California. This is El Cajon, California. That is to the east of San Diego. You`re looking right now at a tractor-trailer that`s caught on fire. Looks like -- we were looking there a minute ago at some firefighters who were actually on the ground behind it with some water, with some hoses. We have also been seeing -- there you go -- you can see it there on the side of it right now. There are a number of vehicles right now on that highway that are on fire. We have actually -- in the last 10 minutes of watching this, we have seen vehicles catch on fire. This is obviously a very volatile situation. There are -- there`s a helicopter, at least one helicopter -- there`s probably multiple helicopters flying overhead that have been dropping water intermittently. It -- as we have been seeing, it hasn`t done much at this point. That`s obviously an incredible fire they`re up against there. And Hallie -- Hallie Jackson is joining us from -- from Los Angeles, our reporter out there. Hallie Jackson, the weather obviously, it looks like a nice typical southern California day. Is it particularly hot out there today, particularly dry? HALLIE JACKSON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: You know, interesting that you ask that, Steve, because we just got word from Cal Fire in about the last two minutes, that this is a wind-driven fire. It`s very windy where this is happening. So, that is a huge factor in this. That`s visible even to the naked eye.   Look how far the smoke is blowing. I mean, you can see it, it`s not heading straight up, right? You can see the wind is taking it up the pass. So, that`s the latest information from Cal Fire. As for the weather, it`s a typical -- I would say it`s a typical July day for California. Hot, obviously, but nothing particularly extreme. I want to remind you, too, we`re zoomed in on this picture because it`s stunning. I mean, we`ve seen -- even as we`ve been talking, Steve, in that last 10 minutes, this fire starting at the cab of the tractor trailer. It spread almost halfway down the truck. However, if you pull up, you can see how big this is together, some 500-plus acres. There are mandatory evacuations in place. People are being forced to leave their homes because of this, to make sure that they stay safe. So, that`s worth mentioning as well. KORNACKI: All right. And again, I say that was El Cajon, California. It`s actually, the Cajon Pass, where this is playing out, in southern California, Interstate 15. Those are -- that is where the images you`re seeing on your screen are coming from. Look at the black smoke coming out of that tractor trailer right now. MSNBC`s Chris Hayes joins us now from Los Angeles. Chris has been reporting on the drought in California all week. So, Chris, we just cut in 15 minutes ago. We`re looking at this incredible scene on the Interstate, I guess, south of where you are right now. Just your reaction looking at this? CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC`S "ALL IN" HOST: Well, you can see -- you can actually see the plumes of smoke emanating up over the Santa Monica Mountains, which are right behind me here, over my right shoulder. We`re here at the Griffith Observatory. You know, this has been already a really bad fire season. We saw that 50 percent year over year increase in calls to Cal Fire, that was reported by "The New York Times". This weekend, I did a flyover with the air chief for the San Diego department. He was just pointing out all the spots that they have fought fires last year. They had seen last year historically anomalous behavior. He said, starting in May which is before fire season starts, they have some of their biggest fires. They saw fires burning along the coast. If there`s anything anomalous here, it is how quickly this fire moved and the fact that he got to that freeway before it could be evacuated, the cars.   That gives you a sense of how fast it moved. And the reason it moved that fast is that it was burning up a slope. In California, in southern California, development tends to be along the ridge line. That puts freeways and houses in the path of fire burning up a slope. Fire burning up a slope, wildfire burning up a slope burns much, much faster because it keeps the fuel ahead of it. So, that is where the kind of arrow target area is, whether it`s a freeway that`s carved into the hillside or whether it`s been a development. And we know this thing came very fast. San Bernardino Fire Department saying this was a 500-acre fire that moved so quickly, they were able to get people there out of their cars. But, obviously, that`s why you`re seeing those abandoned cars there. And a lot of people right here looking at this, who live in California a long time, saying they`ve never seen water drops on top of burning steel cars on top of a highway. KORNACKI: Yes, it`s been amazing just watching these pictures. And also, I mean, at this point, those water drops not able to accomplish much. I mean, we`re looking at the tractor trailer and just look at -- incredible smoke coming out of it, and, of course, a number of other vehicles, if you widen up the shot there, it went further up the road. Yes, go ahead. HAYES: Steve, if I -- let me just say that this also presents a real problem for the firefighters on the ground there. Generally air drops like the ones you`re seeing right now are used to support those on the ground who are actually putting the fire out. The way those fires get put out on the ground is that they dig trenches and they`re able to cordon it off and put it out. That`s a very tricky situation here where you`re doing air drops on top of literally thousands of gallons of flammable gasoline in a huge stretch of freeway that`s been closed off. That is a different sort of animal than the standard procedure by which they`re going to attack something on the hill side there. KORNACKI: Yes, you can see in the shot that water being dropped. Chris, just the idea of the brushfires, these wildfires that start sort of out of nowhere and suddenly spread very quickly. This is a day-to-day fact of life in California. HAYES: It`s a day to day fact in California. As the San Diego fire air activities fire chief was telling me, you need three things. You need fuel, you need wind and you need a spark. It`s not a question of if. It`s a question of when. What has happened during the drought is it has exacerbated the amount of dry fuel. The drier it is, the more things that build up, the more things build up, the more fuel you have. The drier it is, the faster and more quickly it burns. Today, what`s moving this fire so quickly, according to San Bernardino Fire Department is the high winds. We can feel how breezy it is over here. And that`s what`s pushing that smoke that`s billowing up over my right shoulder right here.   But the issue isn`t that these wildfires didn`t happen before the drought. The issue is that the drought greatly intensifies. And it intensifies each year. We`re now three years in a row, the three driest years in the history of California record keeping, which goes back to the mid-19th century have been the last three years. That produces more and more dry fuel for these fires to burn. And fire departments up and down the state already heading into this fire season have been girding for what they think was going to be possibly one of the most catastrophic they faced. KORNACKI: Yes. Again, these images you see on the screen right now, this is Interstate 15, Cajon Pass, Southern California. We`ve been focused on the most dramatic shot right now, which is this tractor trailer that`s been on fire. And now, it`s just black smoke gushing out of that. There had been occasional periodic water drops from helicopters overhead. We have seen some firefighters on the ground trying to get close to this thing. As Chris says, a very dangerous situation for firefighters on the ground. This is rush hour in southern California on a Friday in summer. And, Chris, you mentioned the drought -- the three most recent years being the three worse in terms of drought for California. Do you have are there some numbers you can put in terms of what drought means? How long are we talking about without rain or with limited rain? HAYES: Well, again, the rain in southern California is sparse to begin with, right? So the diminution in actual rainfall here has been -- it depends upon the year in the 20 percent to 30 percent range below normal. But in some places that plummets all the way down to 80 percent less than normal. We`re seeing reservoir draws, some of which are at half of their level. Most of the water for that state is coming from the snowpack that`s far away from here that`s in northern California. But even the dry areas of California throughout the southern California area which is typically arid have been much drier the last three years. KORNACKI: All right. Chris Hayes in Los Angeles, your show is going to start in a few minutes. We`re going to let you go, get ready for that. But appreciate you taking a few minutes right now. Let`s go back now to NBC`s Hallie Jackson. She is in Los Angeles. So, Hallie, as we continue to look at these images on our screen, have you learned anything more from authorities on this situation? JACKSON: A little bit here. Yes, one of the questions you might be asking yourself if you`re watching if you`re watching is why aren`t fire trucks closer, right? Why aren`t they able to pull water on the ground and bring it up quicker than they have been, although you see a firefighter there now?   Here`s the reason, as these cars saw the fire creeping toward them, obviously, people abandoned their cars. They left them right on the highway. So, there`s nobody in them. That`s what`s creating a real problem, a bottleneck for firefighters trying to get closer to the scene as it pulls out, you can see how big it is. Chris made some excellent point and let`s expand on some of those and just flesh out the numbers. This year so far in California, there have been some 3,300 fires, right? That is up from an average over five years of about 2,200. So, we are seeing more fires this year than normal. And when Chris talks about a fire burning up a canyon, that is a real concern. That is one of the most dangerous places to be, and that`s why fire spread so quickly. We`re in the fourth year, remember, of this historic drought here in California. And that is, again, providing fuel for these fires. There`s also something called the Santa Ana winds here in southern California. Folks who live here very familiar with it. And that can be obviously a problem. We often see them actually right around this time in the afternoon, as you see sort of the way that the ground heats up and the wind picks up. Oftentimes, you`ll see wildfires kick in. Again right now, I`m looking at the clock, 4:48 here in L.A. So, that`s another issue that firefighters have been contending with. So, hoping to, obviously, get a handle on this fire. Crews are out there. You`re seeing the drops, the choppers, one for medevac and one for serious burn victims, as well as the aircraft that is trying to get a handle on this. Oftentimes, if this were a land wildfire, if this were over let`s say an area of forest, you might see what are called retardant drops. You can see some of those red streaks. That`s retardant that has been dropped. Obviously very difficult to do on a highway near where there are people. So, that`s another concern for the crews out here. KORNACKI: Yes, Hallie, this is obviously a very volatile situation right now, the risk of this spreading further. Is there any sense how long this would take to get under control? JACKSON: Great question. I couldn`t answer that. And I think that we`re just going to have to wait and see. KORNACKI: All right. Hallie, stay with us. And joining us now is Melody Lardner. She`s from the U.S. Forest Service. So, Mel, maybe I can ask that same question to you right now. I guess, first of all, the risk that this thing spreads and gets much, much worse than we`re seeing right now -- what is the risk of that right now?   MELODY LARDNER, U.S. FOREST SERVICE (via telephone): Well, the fire jumped Interstate 15, so we have the vehicles on fire but also of concern are the homes to the north of this area. We have a mandatory evacuation in what`s called the Baldy Mesa area. And they have set up an evacuation area and called for evacuation of those scattered homes in that area. KORNACKI: And have you ever seen or heard of a situation like this before where the fire actually does jump the interstate and vehicles catch on fire like this? LARDNER: Yes, we have seen it happening. Not probably not to this extent, but I`m aware of. We have had vehicles catch on fire across the freeway in the past. KORNACKI: What`s -- are there a set of conditions that need to be in place generally for that to happen? I mean, cars are just -- is there a car just driving and there`s a spark or something? What would happen? LARDNER: Well, it`s a busy Friday afternoon. We have a lot of vacationers and travelers on Interstate 15, both commuters and vacationers for the weekend. And this is one of those narrow crossings through the mountains and so, it was busy with traffic. They also have construction, so it`s, you know, reduced lanes and a lot of slow traffic moving through there. And the fire moved at a rapid rate of spread. KORNACKI: In terms of controlling this right now, again, we have been keeping an eye on that tractor trailer. You can still see flames there. You can see an incredible amount of black smoke. We have been watching these helicopters overhead that are dropping water. Now, you are seeing firefighters getting closer. A plane now, looks like coming in that might be carrying some water as well. In terms of getting this fire on the interstate under control, Mel, how long would something like that take? LARDNER: I have no estimate of that. They are working as hard as they can to control the fire on those vehicles. They are dropping water, as you said. They also have some hoses to some of them. Emergency equipment is having difficulty getting through because of the congestion and abandoned vehicles that are left on the freeway with no keys and no way to move them. And then we have multiple vehicles on fire. KORNACKI: And in terms of the conditions that we were talking about. There`s obviously, there`s high winds today. This is a part of the state. This is a part of the country that doesn`t get that much precipitation to begin with. There`s the drought on top of this.   Are there other factors that make something like this sort of go into the equation? LARDNER: Well, it`s very high temperatures today. It`s been in the mid to high 90s today. And as you said, the winds are gusting through this pass, which they often do, and it`s burned in heavy brush and grass, which allows the fire to move at a rapid spread. KORNACKI: We have, as we look at that airplane again, we`ve been showing some shots of that. We have our local affiliate out there, KNBC that`s covering this again, this wildfire that has jumped Interstate 15 in southern California. Our affiliate has been providing constant coverage of this since it happened. Let`s go back and listen to them. REPORTER: That large big rig, a complete loss, Chuck. TV ANCHOR: It`s going to be interesting to see if they use the big ten tanker on the freeway portion of the fire or the brush fire portion of the fire, because as you know, it drops so much water, it`s extremely dangerous for anyone on the ground, if they were to try it over the freeway. But who knows? They could either do one, let`s see what`s going to happen here. REPORTER: I would venture to say he`s going to aim for the larger body of fire with the fire retardant. He`s going to be aiming for -- especially now, reports of structures being threatened. I would imagine that may be his focus. As we`re certainly as we get more information to try to find those structures that are going up in flames. But right now, all eyes on this group of cars, abandoned cars, we should say, most of them we believe have been abandoned. Again, this is all taking place on the southbound lanes of the 15 Freeway, just south of Oak Hill Road, south of Hesperia this afternoon. TV ANCHOR: So, Chris, you were talking about those structures. We were talking with the fire captain and those structures are in the Baldy Mesa area. He did confirm that structures had burned there. He didn`t have a number on it. He also confirmed there were evacuations. This again in the foothills of the Baldy Mesa area. TV ANCHOR: We just got confirmation the fire is up to 2,000 acres -- 2,000 acres on this fire. As we look down on this large big rig that is still burning on the side of the 15 Freeway. Not on the side, it`s still on the 15 Freeway as well. We got the ten tanker, the big DC-10 tanker circling above. We are waiting to see where it`s going to drop. Either make a drop on the freeway or further up the hillside where some homes are also threatened. Now, you are looking at the northbound lanes of the 15 freeway into the Barstow area. Are those lanes open or are they shut down?   REPORTER: I`m sorry, Chuck. We`re just trying to find the DC-9. I missed that question. One more time? TV ANCHOR: I`m just wondering about the northbound lanes, are still they shut down, if they open those up. We have a picture from the ground of the DC-10. REPORTER: The northbound lanes were getting through earlier. I can`t see where traffic was shut down. I can tell you, as we try and find that DC-10, once again, what I can tell you is that traffic is completely jammed in both directions, including the northbound side of the 15 Freeway. So, even if it`s not shut down, traffic is at a standstill coming in from San Bernardino. Again, both directions, northbound and southbound, these lanes here at the center of the fire are the southbound lanes. But to answer your question, Chuck, not clear if they have gone ahead and shut down the northbound lanes. I believe -- was that the DC-10 that made that drop, Nick? TV ANCHOR: Well, there`s also -- the DC-9 was flying around. You have two large passenger jet aircraft that are being converted for fire use flying in the area here. Once again, we remind you just how tricky it is, because you are in a pass, you got winds to deal with and everything else. So, it is very tricky flying to try to get those water drops right on the spot. REPORTER: Yes, it`s quite a sight. As you can imagine, News Chopper 4 flying above all the fire flight with the numerous air tankers operating in a very close proximity. Such meticulous work as they get into the thick of the smoke and make these drops, one by one, not only air tankers, but helicopters and all of the resources you see here this afternoon. Again, right now, we are keeping an eye on this truck fire, which they had been using helicopters to try and drop water on the fire. That may help with this container here, we have no idea what was burning in there. But when you have all those other cars were filled with gasoline, presumably. That`s just very difficult to control. But, finally, what we do have is firefighters in place with hose lines to prevent the fire from spreading. And that is something we did not have a couple hours ago, when this fire started. TV ANCHOR: And their main issue right here is trying to get the fire out so they can cool down some of these adjacent cars and move them off the freeway. You know, we are concentrating on the I-15, but we want to mention that this fire has spread, as Chuck said. It`s up to 2,000 acres, the foothills of Baldy Mesa. Structures have burned there. The mandatory evacuations going on in the Baldy Mesa area. Let me just give you the locations on that. East of sheep creek road, north of the I-15, west of the I-15, south of Felan Road. So, that`s the area they are concentrating on. We understand structures have burned there and there are mandatory evacuations.   KORNACKI: We are going to pull out of the coverage from KNBC. Again, looking at that wildfire that`s jumped on to Interstate 15 in southern California. We are going back to NBC`s Hallie Jackson, who is live for us in Los Angeles. Hallie, what`s the latest you can tell us? JACKSON: Quick wrap here, Steve. We know that wind gusts right now in that area are 35 to 40 miles an hour. No confirmed number of burn victims, but there are some patients being treated for that and for smoke inhalation. Approximately, 15 cars have burned. And we`re learning now from fire officials, 2,000 acres burning from the north fire, this wildfire that is out by the Cajon Pass. That is up from 500, Steve, when you and I started talking less than a half hour ago. We are going to keep an eye on this. You see the tankers flying. We know that there are choppers doing water drops, as well as there for medical evacuation. We are going to keep an eye on this. Back to you. KORNACKI: OK. Yes, as we heard from our affiliates coverage out there. Obviously, it`s a dangerous situation on the ground. We have been watching these water drops from these helicopters. A dangerous situation for them, trying to navigate the high winds we`ve been talking about, trying to navigate those clouds of smoke, the black smoke and in between all of that, trying to drop water on to the very, sort of specific, almost pinpoints of fire along Interstate 15. Again, this fire we have been told now has spread to 2,000 acres, a wildfire that jumped on the interstate. This is outside of Los Angeles and southern California. It is now 5:00 on, almost 5:00 on the West Coast. So, we are basically talking rush hour here in one of the most heavily congested parts of the country, southern California. All these cars on the road and again, we have been watching these situation for the last half hour. And again, we can just -- I just want to see what that`s showing there. We actually have reached the end of our hour of coverage on HARDBALL. That`s going to wrap up things up for us right now.   Chris Matthews is going to be back on this seat on Monday. But our coverage of all that`s happening in Southern California will continue right now on "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES." 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.>