IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 08/10/15

Guests: Jonathan Allen, John Brabender, Katie Packer Gage, YamicheAlcindor, Michael Tomasky, Michelle Bernard, John Feehery

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC GUEST HOST: Donald Trump, three strikes but not out. Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Steve Kornacki, in for Chris Matthews with the latest Trump controversy. First, he accused Mexico of sending rapists across the border into the United States. Then he went after Senator John McCain, saying he likes people who weren`t captured. And this weekend, he attacked Fox News host Megyn Kelly for what he deemed a nasty question at the debate about his past comments on women. Late on Friday, Trump had this to say about Kelly. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions. And you know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her -- wherever. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: Those comments were interpreted by many to be referring to Kelly`s menstrual cycle. Trump strongly denied that. He said only a, quote, "deviant" would think that`s what he meant.   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: In discussing it later, I said blood was -- she was so angry that blood was coming out of her eyes, blood was coming out of her -- and then I didn`t even finish the answer because I wanted to get onto the next point. But I was referring to -- or if I finished it, I was going to say ears or nose because that`s a common statement. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: Now, Trump has continued attacking Kelly, tweeting out a link today to an interview Kelly did with Howard Stern back in 2010 that included sexual questions. Trump said, quote, "Oh, really? Check out innocent Megyn Kelly`s discussion on Howard Stern`s show five years ago. I am the innocent pure one." And on "MORNING JOE" today, Trump said that he is the one who`s owed an apology. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: The fact is, she asked me a very inappropriate question. She should really be apologizing to me, you want to know the truth. And other candidates have said that. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: Trump`s attack on Megyn Kelly has been criticized by many of his Republican opponents for the White House. This afternoon, Hillary Clinton said the Republican Party is going to have to deal with Trump. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FMR. SEC. OF STATE, PRES. CANDIDATE: I`ve said it was offensive. I was said it was outrageous. I stand by that. I think more people should say the same. They should be going after him. The Republican Party`s going to have to deal with him.   (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: Hillary was also asked about Trump`s charge last week that she showed up at his wedding because she had no choice. Trump said that he donated to the Clinton Foundation and then said, Be at my wedding. Here`s Hillary this afternoon. (END VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: It`s all entertainment! You know, I mean, I think he`s having the time of his life, you know, being up on that stage, saying whatever he wants to say, getting people excited both for and against him. QUESTION: Are you seeing a side of him that you hadn`t seen before? CLINTON: I didn`t know him that well. I mean, I knew him. I knew him. And I happened to be planning to be in Florida, and I thought it would be fun to go to his wedding because it`s always entertaining. Now that he`s running for president, it`s a little more troubling. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: I`m joined now by NBC`s Katy Tur. Jonathan Allen is chief political correspondent with Vox News, and "Washington Post" opinion writer Jonathan Capehart, an MSNBC contributor. Well, Katy, let me start with you. I mean, in politics, what we`re used to seeing is when a candidate says any of the things that Donald Trump has said over the last month, it all -- sort of hell rains down upon them. That candidate gets into a defensive crouch, starts apologizing, starts -- you know, sort of blushing a little bit. We`re not seeing any of that from Donald Trump. Is that because Donald Trump thinks he can talk his way out of this? KATY TUR, NBC CORRESPONDENT: You know, Donald Trump`s not a politician, and so far, he has talked his way out of it. After the McCain comments, he quickly pivoted to giving out Lindsey Graham`s phone number, and suddenly, everybody was talking about that. He`s been successful at refusing to apologize and just barreling through all the controversy, and that`s what he`s doing again right now.   It`ll be interesting to see if he`s going to be able to maintain his level of support. I personally think he will. I think those that want to support him are going to continue to support him. They believe that these comments were fair game. He keeps saying that the media is out to get him, that the media is attacking him, and they`re people who believe that that`s true. So Megyn Kelly is just falling into that corner of just another media personality who`s going after the poor innocent Donald Trump. Those who don`t like him, on the other hand, find these comments particularly offensive, and they`re the ones who are coming out and screaming about this and getting very angry about it. But Donald Trump is not a politician. Donald Trump has made a career out of being outrageous, made a career out of touting himself as the best and most important and smartest person in the room. If you look at his Web site, he`s got nothing about policy issues, no issues page whatsoever. Instead, it`s touting how he`s a great businessman. He went to the best schools, Wharton, even that he was Emmy-nominated for his hosting of "The Apprentice." KORNACKI: Well, the fact that this is Fox News, this is a Fox News personality that Trump is going after here, I think is a big part of this story, as well. And today, Trump tweeted out that, quote, "Roger Ailes just called. He`s a great guy and assures me that Trump will be treated fairly on Fox News. His word is always good." And meanwhile, Fox News host Steve Doocy tweeted that Trump will appear on the network tomorrow to discuss his relationship with the channel. Well, Jonathan Capehart, this dynamic is really interesting to me because the one piece of conventional wisdom is you can`t run in the modern era for the Republican nomination for president and be at war with Fox News. And we looked at this a couple days ago and said Trump`s now at war with Fox News, this isn`t going to last. But now we find out he may be going back on the network. He may have had a friendly phone call with Roger Ailes today. And oh, by the way, this whole controversy with Megyn Kelly and the comments about blood -- that`s barely been mentioned on Fox News the last few days. JONATHAN CAPEHART, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. So it`s interesting he had that conversation with Roger Ailes because they both need each other. I mean, Donald Trump is big with the Fox News -- big with the Fox News audience, and if Donald Trump is going to be a viable Republican candidate, he needs the Fox News Channel to be one of now the many outlets to get his message out. But the folks who are voting in the Republican primaries are the folks watching Fox. What I find interesting here, Steve, is that we`ve heard a lot from Donald Trump since Friday. We have heard nothing from Megyn Kelly. And so I`ll be curious to see if she says anything tonight on her show about this entire controversy at all, whether she has a personal response or if her show addresses it in any way. And I`m -- you know, I have no idea what she would say. But it`s clear that when it comes to thick skin versus thin skin, like, you have to have a thick skin if you`re running for president, and Donald Trump, with his constant thrashing out against enemies, calling them losers and zippo and low in the ratings and dumb and stupid -- he`s got incredibly thin skin. KORNACKI: Well, meanwhile, a new on-line survey conducted by NBC News and SurveyMonkey in the wake of last week`s Republican debate shows Trump maintaining a strong lead. He`s at 23 percent among Republican. That is 10 points higher than his closest competitor, who is now Ted Cruz in this new survey. Trump also holds a strong lead in Reuters/Ipsos on-line survey, also taken since the debate. And meanwhile, a new PPP poll from Iowa also shows Trump leading the field among Republicans there.   So Jonathan, again, we`ve seen this movie before. We saw it after the John McCain comments. Oh, this is going to be the end of him. All the Republican now have an excuse to pile on Donald Trump. Watch those poll numbers collapse. Now, this is still a little bit early here, but we have three bits of evidence in these polls that are coming out today that at least in the immediate aftermath of this debate, Donald Trump did not go down at all. JONATHAN ALLEN, VOX: Yes, I think what we`re seeing is that there`s a solid base of support for him, and the people who support him are sort of anti any establishment. So any time he gets in a fight with anybody who`s perceived to be the establishment, whether it`s the media or another candidate, it just reinforces their belief in him. You know, and on the Megyn Kelly issue, I think it`ll be interesting to watch her show, as Jonathan was saying, see what she says tonight. But if Donald Trump were behaving this way in any other context toward her, we could call that harassment. And I think it`s gotten to a point that`s particularly ugly. And I can only say that I have tremendous respect for her for not engaging in it. CAPEHART: That`s a great point. KORNACKI: Well, who`s -- here`s my question, though, with this whole Fox News-Trump relationship. Who is more scared of who here? (LAUGHTER) KORNACKI: Because typically, the Republican candidate would be terrified of negative coverage on Fox, but Trump`s out there saying, Hey, look, you`re Fox. You just shattered all the existing records out there for audience for a debate. You just got a rating that nobody could believe. They had 25 million people watching your debate, and you only got that rating because of me. ALLEN: Yes, I mean, the -- he talks about his ratings the way that some people talk about their wives, or you know, talk -- I mean, it`s interesting to watch. I mean, this is -- Jonathan was talking about thin skin and thick skin. And this is a thin skin guy who`s obviously very sensitive to his standing and has a pretty big ego, and to support that, he talks about his ratings. And you know what? He did do it. He did the ratings. And my guess is that Megyn Kelly`s show tonight`s going to be highly rated, as well. So Jonathan`s absolutely right. These two entities need each other. I think it makes sense that they`ll come back toward each other. The Republican Party should be very, very worried about that because if Fox News is suddenly in the Trump camp, that`s problematic. KORNACKI: Well, Trump`s swipe at Megyn Kelly drew strong criticism also from his opponents in the Republican race.   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH (R-FL), FMR. GOV., PRES. CANDIDATE: Come on! Give me a break. I mean, are we -- do we want to win? Do we want to insult 53 percent of all voters? What Donald Trump said is wrong! That is not how we win elections. And worse yet, that is not how you bring people together to solve problems. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA GOV., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it`s cowardly to share those kinds of demeaning, insulting comments. CARLY FIORINA (R-CA), FMR. H-P CEO, PRES. CANDIDATE: They were completely inappropriate and offensive comments, period. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: And Trump struck back at Fiorina, tweeting, "I just realized that if you listen to Carly Fiorina for more than 10 minutes straight, you develop a massive headache. She has zero chance." Well, Fiorina, of course, did get a real boost from this debate, as well. She was in that second tier kids` table debate, they called it, our own poll showing that she did -- she was declared the winner by more Republicans than anybody else. But Katy Tur, let me ask you, this is something we have been seeing since last month. We`ve seen Lindsey Graham out there. We`ve seen Marco Rubio out there. We`ve seen Jeb Bush out there talking about how inappropriate Trump`s comments are, how wrong the tone is, how self-destructive it is for the Republican Party to have somebody out there saying these sorts of things. It has not budged his number. What is it going to take for one of these candidates to break through with that message? TUR: I don`t know. I honestly don`t know what it`s going to take. I think that, again, if you like Trump, you`re going to continue to like him. I think he`s appealing to that outsider base. But I don`t think that he`s going to be able to maintain a lead in the polls and get the nomination unless he starts to branch out.   In order to branch out, he`s going to need to start presenting some policy issues. He`s going to need to show substance behind all the tough talk. He`s going to talk -- he needs to talk about how that wall is going to be paid for, how it will be built, his immigration stance, how he feels about health care more than just we need to repeal "Obamacare." But we have, you know, four, five, six months to go before the first primaries and caucuses, and he`s got some time to do that. Right now, he`s sucking all the air out of the room, and he`s continuing to get the headlines with these outrageous statements and he`s continuing to lead in the polls. So I think it`s just one of those things where we`re going to have to wait and see as it goes along. But he`s going to need to, at some point, start making a broader appeal to the Republicans. KORNACKI: Well, yes, Jonathan Capehart, that`s one of the things I`m trying to figure out when I look at these polls. We show him 23, 25, 26 percent. He`s in first place. But he`s been in the low mid-20s, and I`m trying to figure out if that means that the other 70, 75, 80 percent of the party is hardening in its opposition to him. Is he at 25 percent and in first place because there`s 16 other candidates out there? But if this thing gets thinned down over the nest few months, is he still going to be at 25 percent, or is there room for him to grow this? CAPEHART: There is room for him to grow this, and that`s assuming if Senator Ted Cruz gets out of the race before Trump does, that assumes that Ben Carson gets out of the race before Trump does, that assumes that Mike Huckabee gets out of the race before Trump does. There are people -- this is one of the reasons why Ted Cruz will not criticize Donald Trump. Cruz is counting on Trump to get out of the race sooner rather than later, but definitely before he does, and Cruz wants to be the beneficiary of those Trump supporters. So you know, the other thing about Donald Trump`s numbers and why his numbers -- and what I find so concerning, that why he keeps rising in the polls -- he`s not rising in the polls because of a position on, say, like a fair tax proposal, or as Katy was pointing out, an alternative to "Obamacare" or a, you know, strong stance on foreign policy. Each time he has risen in the polls it`s been because he`s done some -- he has tapped (ph) into, quote, "the anger of the electorate -- Mexicans coming over and they`re rapists. John McCain isn`t a war hero because he got captured. And the thing I found most offensive about that debate was not the interaction back and forth between Megyn Kelly and Donald Trump, it had to do with the fact that he called out by name Rosie O`Donnell after a list of really derogatory words. So he trashes veterans. He trashes immigrants. He trashes women. And his poll numbers still keep going up. He`s tapping into anger, but it`s a hate-filled anger, and that`s a problem for the Republican Party and a problem for the country.   KORNACKI: Yes, no, and the other -- the other piece of this, too, is you look at when it`s other politicians, other candidates, other people with official titles before their name who are all calling him out on this, I think one thing that may animate his supporters is they hear all that criticism, they see it`s coming from politicians, and saying they`re supporting Trump is away of saying to all those politicians they don`t like, you know, Go screw yourselves. That`s essentially the message they`re able to send right now by saying they support Trump. Anyway, thank you to Katy Tur, Jonathan Allen, Jonathan Capehart. And coming up, Jeb Bush says Donald Trump is costing the Republican Party women voters. Lindsey Graham says he`s inflicting fatal damage and is urging the 2016 field to stand up to him. We will look at the damage Donald Trump is doing to the GOP`s 2016 chances. That is next. And later, can Donald Trump seriously -- be serious about running for president when he doesn`t have a single substantive policy position on any of the issues? Plus, tensions are high on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. One year after the shooting death of Michael Brown, the Missouri city erupts in violence again. The White House is at war with Chuck Schumer over the nuclear deal with Iran. President Obama is pushing hard for that deal, but Schumer, the incoming Senate Democratic leader -- he`s against it. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KORNACKI: 28,000 people showed up to see Bernie Sanders speak in Portland last night. Nearly 20,000 of them packed an arena, thousands more were on hand in on overflow space. No surprise the liberal icon has a strong following in the deep blue state of Oregon, but still that number surpassed any candidate so far this cycle. Meanwhile, on Saturday, Sanders was stopped as he began speaking in Seattle when two protesters supporting the Black Lives Matter movement took to the podium and disrupted his rally. The senator never gave his prepared speech. Later that night, he went on to draw a crowd of 15,000 people at a separate event in Seattle. Be right back.   (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: Certainly, I think going third party`s a death wish. And so I don`t think that`s any secret at all. But I don`t see that happening. You know, you can`t win an election against Hillary Clinton unless you`re running as a Republican. So Donald Trump gets that, and so we do, too, and I think this is all going to work out just fine. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, who after Thursday`s debate, appeared confident that Donald Trump will not torpedo the party`s chances in 2016 with a third party bid. Many Republican candidates, however, are not as optimistic. Yesterday, Rand Paul wrote an editorial in which he argued that Trump has no place in the party. Quote, "It sounds too much like he is someone used to bullying to get his way. What do you do to a bully? you stand up to him. If he`s willing to possibly give the election to Hillary, he shouldn`t be on that stage. That should be our first and uniting principle. We don`t need a bully and we don`t need another president who think he is king." And Senator Lindsey Graham told "The Washington Post" that the party needs to intervene -- quote -- "It`s just like driving by a car wreck without rendering aid. Donald Trump is an out-of-control car driving through a crowd of Republicans, and somebody needs to get him out of the car. I just don`t see a pathway forward for us in 2016 to win the White House if we don`t decisively deal with this. Everything is being placed in jeopardy by the antics of Mr. Trump, and we`re at a crossroads as a party." I`m joined now by John Brabender, Republican strategist with the Santorum campaign, as well as political consultant Katie Packer Gage. She`s the former deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney back in 2012. Well, John, let me start with you because you got a dog in this fight, so to speak. You guys have to deal with this issue that all the other candidates out there who are not named Donald Trump have to deal with. And I wonder if you take any lessons when you look at Lindsey Graham. We just had the quote from him there. Lindsey Graham had been one of the most vociferous critics of Trump in the Republican field right now. Trump is bragging and saying, look, he didn`t get any traction out of that. He was kept out of the main debate last week. Rand Paul, the early polling evidence we have seen since the debate shows Rand Paul is actually dropping. He stood up to Donald Trump, he stood up to the guy he calls the bully in that debate. He`s dropped, it appears, since the debate. Is there a lesson in there for candidates about what happens when you go after Donald Trump right now?   JOHN BRABENDER, SANTORUM CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Well, I think the bigger lesson for Republicans is, all we`re doing is helping Hillary Clinton and basically writing ads for them by our behavior. And we need people who are willing to be adults in the room and say, quit it, stop it right now. No more of this. And whether it`s the party, I think it could also be the other candidates. I know a number of the candidates. You had mentioned one, Rick Santorum -- and others have come out and said, enough is enough. We have to stop this and get focused on beating Hillary Clinton, instead of beating ourselves, and let`s call for an end to the personal attacks. It`s got to stop. It`s got to stop now. KORNACKI: Wait. Which -- when you say it`s got to stop, which way has that got to stop? Is it -- because it looked like, in that debate, Trump - - on Thursday night, Trump took a step back. He had the chance to repeat some of the stuff he had said about Jeb Bush. All he would say is, you know what, actually, I have a lot of respect for Jeb Bush or something along those lines. He didn`t -- besides the Megyn Kelly incident, he wasn`t going after those candidates. It seemed like he might be moving towards a truce with them. Now he`s back to attacking them, they`re back to attacking him. BRABENDER: Yes, but he`s also attacking a lot of other people. And the problem is, he`s taking time away from other candidates who have things to say. And I`m not just talking to Trump. I think the Chris Christie-Rand Paul exchange was probably not real helpful, either. Look, you have Katie on. Her candidate last time, Mitt Romney, and my candidate, Rick Santorum, did 20 debates together, had massive differences. But they were always done respectful. In fact, when Rick Santorum`s daughter got very ill, one of the first calls I got was from Katie asking, how is she? Where is the respect that we can have for one another, because we`re the same party? And if we`re not going to be, we are not going to win in 2016. KORNACKI: Well, Katie, let me ask you how you think the party should be handling this, because it`s interesting. I think Dave Weigel in "The Washington Post" was looking at those comments from Reince Priebus, looking at some of the other candidates, and saying they are trying to kill him with kindness. The idea that Trump is this guy -- he`s sort of all over the map when you look at it. One day, he`s saying Jeb Bush couldn`t negotiate his way out of a paper bag. The next day, he`s up there on the debate stage saying he`s a great guy. So, the idea there being that if you say just a few nice things about Trump, it can make all the difference in terms of what he fires back with.   KATIE PACKER GAGE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I mean, to borrow a line from my former boss Mitt Romney, this ain`t bean bag. Republican presidential politics is a pretty intense exercise. I don`t think it`s Reince Priebus` job or the Republican Party`s job to say a candidate can or cannot be involved in a debate. There -- Trump is a legitimate candidate that has support from a corner, a very small corner of the Republican Party, and he has a right to be there. It`s the job of the other candidates to put a message forward that won`t start to overshadow that. And that will happen. Trump is sort of capped out at this 20 percent area. His support hasn`t grown since the debate. You know, some of these other candidates are diminished, but I don`t think because they tangled with Trump, but because some of the other candidates stepped into the spotlight and have soaked up some of that spotlight. You have seen Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina and others have sort of stepped up and had more support and that`s come from somewhere. I don`t think Trump has taken support from anybody else. I think his support right now is a little bit stagnant, but there is a core of people that are going to stick with him, no matter how obnoxious and bullying he is, but it`s not enough to win the Republican nomination. KORNACKI: That`s an interesting -- that`s an interesting point. And I`m curious about that, because you say he hasn`t broken past 20, 25 percent. Of course, none of the others have even gotten close to that. So, he`s ahead of anybody else individually. And I think some people look at those polls right now and they see Ted Cruz there in second place or they see Ben Carson in third place and they would say, look at some of the -- the sort of extreme rhetoric that Ted Cruz has put out there or that Ben Carson has put out there. What is to say those voters wouldn`t turn to Donald Trump if they didn`t have those options? GAGE: I think we have seen that in some of the polling data. They asked question, who would your second choice be? And the reality is the more reasonable voters within the party are divided among 16, 15 candidates. And so of course it`s largely diffuse. But at some point, this is going to come down to a couple of candidates, and Donald Trump is not going to be able to get a majority of Republican voters at the end. And so we`re spending an awful lot of time talking about a guy that is not going to be the Republican nominee for president. And to John`s point, we`re missing opportunities to be talking about Hillary Clinton and some real problems that she has that she should have to confront. KORNACKI: John, what`s your advice to your candidate? You`re watching this guy completely take control of the debate. He`s out there saying the things about Megyn Kelly and others. What`s your advice to the candidate when he`s asked about Donald Trump? BRABENDER: Well, yes, first of all, what -- any of the candidates, whether it`s my client or anybody else, it`s, first of all, focus on your race.   I mean, a year ago -- or -- I`m sorry -- four years ago, the main characters at this point high in the polls were Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney ended up making it past Iowa and farther, obviously, and became the nominee. But two of those didn`t get to Iowa, and one didn`t get past Iowa. So, it`s extremely fluid. The other thing I would say to everybody, stop fearing Donald Trump and discuss with him on the issues. I hear nobody debating about his ridiculous answer on health care last week. And we should be engaging him more on issues and less on the sort of entertainment sides. KORNACKI: All right. John Brabender, Katie Packer Gage, appreciate you both joining us. GAGE: Thanks, Steve. KORNACKI: And, up next, we`re going to go to Ferguson, Missouri, where violence broke out on the anniversary of Michael Brown`s death. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KORNACKI: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Nerves are frayed in Ferguson and Saint Louis, Missouri, as protesters mark the one-year anniversary of the killing of the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. Last night in Ferguson, police say two rival criminal groups started firing at one another. And police ultimately shot and wounded one man who remains hospitalize in critical condition. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)   JON BELMAR, SAINT LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI, POLICE CHIEF: There is a small group of people out there that are intent on making sure that we don`t have peace that prevails. I don`t know how else to say that. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: Attorney General Loretta Lynch condemned the shootings, tweeting: "Violence obscures any message of peaceful protest and places the community, as well as the officers who seek to protect it, in harm`s way." Earlier today, Moral Monday protesters breached police barriers in acts of civil disobedience at a federal courthouse in Saint Louis. There were some arrests. And a state of emergency has now been declared in Saint Louis County. Joining me now from Ferguson, Missouri, with the latest is "USA Today" reporter Yamiche Alcindor. So, Yamiche, let me start with, I remember last year, around this time, I would be sitting in on this show with you looking ahead what we could expect that night. And we always said, what is going to happen after sundown? That was sort of the worrisome time. What is the expectation for tonight when the sun goes down out there in terms of what is going to happen? YAMICHE ALCINDOR, "USA TODAY": Well, people here are really on edge, because people all know what you just said, that really it`s -- you don`t have to worry about the daytime as much as you have to worry about the nighttime here. And I think people really are kind of expecting anything. Last night really was the -- the protests were lulling. Police officers were kind of getting ready to go home. I was kind of walking back to my car. And then, out of nowhere, we heard a barrage of gunshots. So, I think that people here are really kind of on edge and have no idea what to expect. But I as a reporter think that we probably should be a little bit cautious because we know that, when the sun comes down, that really those people that Chief Belmar was talking about, those people that are not there for peace, come out. KORNACKI: Yes, you mentioned last night. We`re looking at some of the footage there.   You also -- you were on the ground last night. You took some of footage it. Let`s take a look. You took this just moments after the gunfire erupted. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of here! Move! Now! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get behind the cars, guys. (SHOUTING) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have no protection out here. Get behind those cars. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on, Yamiche, go. You are not leave -- getting out -- going out on this street out here tonight. Baby, go. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: Yes, Yamiche, I just wonder if you could describe a little bit more the scene and what you witnessed last night. I mean, there`s -- there are protesters out there. Then there are people that have nothing to do with the protests who come out. What is the balance like between those two groups? What`s the interaction like? What did you witness? ALCINDOR: What I witnessed was really more protesters, more peaceful people, but those people in small numbers that maybe are 10 to 15 people at most against we will say maybe 100 to 200 people that are there peacefully, those small number of people, that 15 people, once they armed and once they have an agenda for violence, I saw people just start shooting.   So, I didn`t actually see the gunshots, I should say, but really what I heard is really -- I really heard those gunshots. I mean, I really saw a terrified scene. I had never seen police officers running behind their vehicles, telling everyone to just duck down. Usually, police officers are giving people advice and tell them, get out of the street or do whatever. But in this case, really, everyone just was terrified. And at the last end of that video, I really heard one of the protesters yelling at me, telling me, you need to get out of the way, because, after awhile, I didn`t really realize, but that the gunshots were just feet away from me. So, really, what I saw was just almost pandemonium and chaos after those gunshots were heard. And it was a long period of time. I would say -- it felt like -- 50 gunshots feels like forever. It felt like I had ducked down and I heard gunshots and I got back up, thinking, OK, well, let me see go what I can report, and, lo and behold, more gunshots. So, it was really, really terrifying last night. KORNACKI: Yamiche Alcindor from "USA Today," thank you, and stay safe tonight. ALCINDOR: Thanks. KORNACKI: And up next: Donald Trump is big on talk, but short on specifics. Can he continue his streak as front-runner without offering up any specific policy positions? You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RICHARD LUI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Richard Lui in the MSNBC newsroom. Protesters are being arrested in Ferguson, Missouri, after briefly blocking traffic on Interstate 70. Authorities declared a state of emergency earlier as they prepare for more protests marking the one-year anniversary of the killing of Michael Brown. Colorado`s governor declaring an emergency, as millions of gallons of contaminated water flowed into the Animas River from an abandoned mine.   And the death toll from the Legionnaires outbreak in New York has risen to 12 from 10 previously. So far, 113 cases have been reported -- now back to HARDBALL. KORNACKI: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Donald Trump continues to sit at the top of the polls, but he`s starting to feel the heat as he faces increasing scrutiny either wavering on or not taking positions at all on important public policy matters. "The New York Times" wrote last week -- quote -- "Mr. Trump`s positions have an improvisational air, shifting in their specifics as he seems to dream them up or reconsider them on the fly and out loud in free associative speeches or shoot-from-the-hip interviews. Waffling, flip- flopping and inconsistencies, all of which might hobble a conventional candidate, have not dimmed Mr. Trump`s appeal to his Republican supporters." This morning on "The Today Show," Trump was asked about his evasiveness on policy by but NBC`s Savannah Guthrie. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE TODAY SHOW") SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, CO-HOST, "THE TODAY SHOW": You have actually been criticized for being more bluster than detailed. If you look on your Web site -- and I did so this morning -- there aren`t any detailed specifics or policy papers that you might see on another candidate`s Web site. One expert I read said, you`re like everyone`s uncle George at Thanksgiving, saying you have all the solutions to the problems, but no specifics. Would you acknowledge you need to get... (CROSSTALK) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know what? You know what? I will tell you what, Savannah. I will tell you what, Savannah. They had 24 million people watching. It was the largest in the history of FOX and the largest in all of cable television history, 24 million people. If I wasn`t on the show, they would have had two million people watching, and they probably wouldn`t have had that many.   So, you know, the other candidates are very lucky because at least people are watching what they`re saying, as opposed to nobody caring. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: "MORNING JOE"`s Mika Brzezinski also tried to nail Trump down on specifics this morning, but to no avail. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MORNING JOE") MIKA BRZEZINSKI, CO-HOST, "MORNING JOE": How would you approach the issue of equal pay and also helping more women get access to capital -- capital, which they struggle with? TRUMP: OK, well, let me just tell you, this is the kind of a question I should have been asked. With me, Mika, I would be the best for women, the best for women`s health issues. BRZEZINSKI: The question is about equal pay. Republicans repeatedly voted against it. How would you get equal pay passed and how would you enforce it? And the question of access to capital for women? TRUMP: Well, look, as far as questions like that, Mika, I`m not going to do it on the show. I don`t want to discuss it in the show. I want to discuss those questions at a debate and save them for a debate, but all I can say on women`s issues and women`s health issues, there will be nobody better than Donald Trump. But I`ll come out with policy on that and make on the future. I just don`t want to discuss it now. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: All right. Time now for the HARDBALL round table. Michael Tomasky is a special correspondent with "The Daily Beast", Michelle Bernard is president of the Bernard Center, and John Feehery is a Republican strategist.   Well, John, let me start wit you, talking about your party. So, that 20 percent to 25 percent that is supporting Trump in the polls, I get the impression they are not too concerned with, not too hung up with all of these policy issues that he`s not said much about right now. I guess my question is, you look at the rest of the party, 70 percent, 75 percent of it, is the rest of the party different or can he appeal to them as well without saying anything of substance? JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: That`s a really good question. I think Donald Trump is a serious threat to the conservative movement because you have all these conservatives that are flocking to him even though they can`t stand most of the policy positions he`s taking. Now, he`s being very inconsistent, but as (INAUDIBLE) once said, inconsistency is a hobgoblin of little minds. And I think for Donald Trump, you know, his mind is so big and so great and he`s so smart, as he keeps telling us, that he goes well beyond policy. This is a cult of personality, not a cult of policy. KORNACKI: Well, that`s -- there some value to that, I think in politics Michael Tomasky. Think of Richard Nixon back in 1968 with his plan to end the Vietnam War. He would tell everybody he had the plan. He wouldn`t tell them what the plan was or think of Eisenhower running at the end of the Korean War, he had to play and, you know, he was going to go visit but wouldn`t tell you what he was going to do, but people liked the idea of Dwight Eisenhower ending the Korean career, the idea of Richard Nixon ending the Vietnam war. It seems there`s a lot of voters out there, they don`t care about the specifics. They like the idea of Donald Trump being there to deal with these problems. MICHAEL TOMASKY, THE DAILY BEAST: Trump is selling himself, Steve. He`s not selling any particular set of policy ideas. And he`s saying when he is asked about policy, the main thing I`ve heard him say is, we need a tough person in there. We need a negotiator in there and get rings runaround us by China and OPEC and other people. We need a negotiator and businessman in there and that`s what is appealing to people. Now, interesting little point here, he did write a policy book in 2011. I actually read it. And it`s apparently being reissued. He`s got policies in there. They are kind of from my point of view the same old Republican policies -- you know, cut taxes, much lower tax rates, only three tax brackets, raise the retirement age and so on and so on and so on. He has them. Maybe he`s just forgotten them. He better go read the book, whoever wrote it for him. KORNACKI: He says more specifics are coming soon. We`ll keep an eye on that. Meanwhile, conservative commentator Amy Holmes said Trump`s appearance on "MORNING JOE" this morning was a missed opportunity for him.   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) AMY HOLMES, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: I thought it was amazing this morning after 72 hours of being pummeled for his remarks regarding women, Megyn Kelly and others, that when he`s finally given the opportunity to address women`s issues in a substantive policy-driven way, he said, eh, I`ll talk about it later. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: Well, Michelle Bernard, I guess I`m not surprised by that actually. I`m sitting there wondering, let`s take the issue of equal pay for women. I`m getting the sense in the Republican primary, your position on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act or next step to combat pay equity legislatively, I`m not sure that matters that much in the Republican primary, am I wrong? MICHELLE BERNARD, BERNARD CENTER: Well, I think -- I do think it`s actually going to matter. I think what happened this morning -- I have to take a step back, though, and reiterate what Amy Holmes said, which I absolutely agree with, because if you think even more from a women`s perspective or even from a father`s or husband`s perspective about what Donald Trump said to Mika Brzezinski, when I heard him utter the words, "I will be better for women than anybody else", all I could think was, how are you going to be better for women when you call women who you find unattractive "pigs" and "dogs" and "ugly"? Are you going to be married to more attractive or more helpful to women if you decide to get married again? I mean, exactly how on earth are you going to be an attractive candidate for women? It is going to matter in the Republican Party because Donald Trump has put the Republican party in a position now where they are going to have to explain the party`s stance on issues for example like Planned Parenthood. On abortion, on the Violence Against Women Act, on the Lilly Ledbetter Act, on equal pay for women. We had in 2012, a Wisconsin state senator who said and -- I`m paraphrasing here, Steve, but he literally said something in talking about Wisconsin`s fair pay act that one could arguably say that money is more important to men than it is in women. Well, thank you, Donald Trump, because comments like that will come back to hunt the Republican Party in 2016 and every single person who is running for their party`s nomination is going to have to explain how this is the party of women. KORNACKI: But let me -- in term of the immediate goal has -- that Trump has right now, John, winning the that Republican nomination, getting through those Republican primaries, here`s what I`m interested in, what is the price that he is going to pay for the past positions he`s taken that are at odds with consecutives, for in that debate saying that single-payer worked well in Scotland and one other country for favoring I think a wind fall tax on the wealthy in 1999, saying he was pro-choice before. Are those things he can wash away by saying, hey, I don`t believe them or is there a price to be paid for that? FEEHERY: Well, Steve, that`s a great question and I think that`s the question that the conservative movement that seems to care so much about these issues has to ask itself. Do they prefer Donald Trump`s flamboyance, and frankly his association towards Republican issues, or they care about, you know, the actual issues themselves? And the conservative movement itself has to rise up and say Donald Trump cannot be our guy because he does not share positions.   KORNACKI: All right. The round table is sticking with us. And up next, the White House takes on Chuck Schumer after the New York`s Democratic senator announces he won`t support the Iran deal. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KO9RNACKI: A plurality of Americans say they are not sure whether Congress should approve the Iran nuclear deal. Just 27 percent say that Congress should vote in favor of the agreement, 32 percent say they should not approve it, 41 percent aren`t sure. Meanwhile, a majority of Americans, 61 percent of them, say they have no trust in Iran to abide by the terms of the agreement. Just 6 percent say they have a lot of trust in Iran to follow the rules. Be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: This was one of the most difficult decisions that I had to make. I will support the motion of disapproval against this agreement. I believe we should go back and try to get a better deal. The deal has too many flaws to support and, therefore, I must oppose it. (END VIDEO CLIP)   KORNACKI: We are back. That was New York Senator Chuck Schumer earlier today speaking for the first time about his opposition to the Iran nuclear deem. Since coming out against that deal, Schumer`s relationship with the White House and the president has deteriorated. The headline in "Politico", "Schumer, White House at war over Iran." President Obama`s former chief strategist David Axelrod tweeting, "Facts are facts and politics is politics. Schumer made a digs based on politics, not fact." Now, Schumer is the all but certain replacement to Harry Reid as the next Democratic leader in the Senate. But on Friday, White House press secretary suggested that could be in jeopardy as a result of this decision. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is a question for Democratic senators and this is a vote that they will cast in early 2017, but I certainly wouldn`t be surprised if there are individual members of the Senate Democratic caucus that will consider the voting record of those who say they would like to leave the caucus. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: Now, "Politico" also reported Schumer can`t believe the White House leaked on Thursday night he was going to vote against the deal. Schumer addressed that today as well. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SCHUMER: I talked to the White House Thursday evening. It somehow looked out Thursday night. But I made it public. My intention was to make it public Friday.   (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: Back now with the round table, Michael, Michelle and John. Michael, let me start with you. You can call me really, really cynical on this one. But I always think, you know, you can be against something or you can be really against something. I`m looking at Schumer`s play right here. I`m seeing peer politics. His constituency is against this. He`s now on the record opposing it. But he waited a long time to come out and say it. And he`s doing it in a sort of wishy-washy way. He`s not there saying this is Neville Chamberlain all over. None of that overheated rhetoric here. So, he`s not doing anything that will really sink this deal. TOMASKY: I don`t think that`s particularly cynical, Steve. I think that`s just politics. We know how politics works. A lot of times in a legislative body, a legislator will cast a certain vote, will not feel, you know, not absolutely crushed if the vote goes the other way, let`s just put it that way. But I do think that, you know, it`s an interesting question how many votes Chuck Schumer is going to influence here. I have been talking to senators and Senate aides over the last few days about this question. I have been getting very different answers. But this is one now you said call me cynical. I`ll say here, call me Pollyannaish. I think this is one of those cases where life will be like the movies and senators actually will, for the most part, vote their conscience on this. KORNACKI: So, Michelle, what about that backlash that we see -- you know, the White House obviously is not happy that this is the position he`s landed on. But Schumer is the right now has those votes to be the next Democratic leader in the Senate. There is some grumbling on the Democratic base that, you know, you can`t be a Democratic leader and oppose the White House on something like this. Would it take, though, Schumer actually killing this deal or being credited with killing this deal, to seriously threaten his position as Democratic leader? BERNARD: I don`t know if it`s this vote in particular that could threaten it. But the fact that they even raised it or even gave hint of a possibility, to me says that there is a lot more going on in the cauldron and anything is possible. Is he going to get elected as the next Senate majority leader? Probably.   But I will be very interested, particularly going into a 2016 election with Hillary Clinton at the top of the Democratic ticket if we don`t start to see a lot more talk about Patty Murray or Elizabeth Warren as the real, quote/unquote, "progressives" in the Senate that are for the most part either supportive of the president`s policies or are the real progressives in the party and people questioning whether or not it is time for a Democratic woman to lead the Senate. KORNACKI: You got to keep in mind, too, of course, that Chuck Schumer recruited so many of those senators now who ran in 2006, 2008, even since then, been very close to them. He`s developed a lot of relationships there. Probably something he can fall back on a situation like this. BERNARD: Absolutely. KORNACKI: But, John Feehery, I`ve got to ask you, John Feehery, I have been seeing the last couple of days, Ted Cruz saying nice things about Chuck Schumer, Mike Huckabee saying nice things about Chuck Schumer. You guys in the Republican sides got to be enjoying this one, because here`s one where the Republicans are uniformly against this thing, and the divisions are actually on the Democratic side. FEEHERY: Well, it validates the Republican perspective that this is a bad deal. I think that helps Republicans as they make their argument that this is not a purely partisan ploy to counter the president. But they really strongly disagree with this whole deal and I think that Chuck Schumer is going to be fine in running, keep in mind Chuck Schumer is a long-timer, and President Obama is a short-timer. For Josh to get himself involved in that is kind of crazy. Chuck Schumer raised a lot of money for a lot of other candidates. And he`s the deal-maker. Ultimately, he will make a good minority leader. And I want to emphasize a minority leader. (LAUGHTER) KORNACKI: Michael Tomasky, let me ask you, quickly, January, 2017, is Chuck Schumer the Democratic leader in the Senate? TOMASKY: As things stand now, I think so, yes. BERNARD: Michelle Bernard, do you agree? BERNARD: I actually do agree, but I think there`s going to be a little bit of a fight to get there.   KORNACKI: All right. Michael Tomasky, Michelle Bernard, John Feehery, we appreciate you all being with us. We`ll be right back. TOMASKY: Thank you. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KORNACKI: That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now. END 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.>