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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 11/18/15

Guests: Christopher Dickey, John Negroponte, Shawn Henry, Sen. Al Franken,Jeff Flake, Simon Marks, Steve Israel, Megan Murphy, Jeremy Peters, AprilRyan

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: ISIS threatens New York, Times Square targeted. Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington with breaking news of a brand-new ISIS propaganda video threatening Times Square. The highly produced on-line video shows a suicide bomber donning a bomb vest. It also shows images of Times Square in New York City. Those images of New York aren`t new. They were originally published in April. But New York police tonight say the video reaffirms the message that New York City remains a top terror target. The NYPD says that it sees no current or specific threat to the city as yet. Anyway, the video comes just days after another ISIS video threatened Washington, D.C., and it comes the same day as a dramatic police raid outside of Paris this morning. We begin with NBC`s Katy Tur, who is in Times Square. Katy, thank you. Give us a sense of how seriously the NYPD are looking at this, obviously, propaganda threat that`s now on line? KATY TUR, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, the NYPD is looking at it seriously, as they look at everything seriously. They say they are always on high alert here in the city and they have been on high alert since 9/11, Times Square especially, where you see a number of heavily armed officers. These officers around the city have many radiation detectors. They have them on their hips. They`re there to detect any change in radiation just in case a dirty bomb is out there. They have hundreds of counterterrorism officers deployed throughout this city. They say that the city is the most heavily fortified and most heavily armored, the most heavily protected city in the world, and that they are standing by that. Times Square, especially, you saw in that ISIS propaganda video that there was an image of TGIF in Times Square and also an image of Gap in Herald Square. Just down the block from where we`re standing right now, in 2010, there was an attempted bomb that was set off by a man named Faisal Shahzad in a car. It was stopped by a good Samaritan. A guy working a kiosk selling tourism things saw smoke coming out of this car, alerted the NYPD, and they came and were able to -- to work out the situation and not have anyone harmed. He was arrested. They are always prepared for something like this to happen in the city that they tell me, there`s a number of suspicious package alerts we get in this city on a weekly basis. And the NYPD says that while this video is frightening and it`s certainly coming on the heels of the Paris attack, they want to stress that there is nothing new in this video. The images in the video are not new. The images of Times Square and of New York City are old. There`s no indication that there is any imminent threat for New York, Chris.   MATTHEWS: You know, it strikes us down here in Washington is after threatening this city in that last ISIS threatening note, they now change the destination. It`s as if they weren`t getting enough excitement by threatening the nation`s capital. They had to go after the commercial and media center of the country. TUR: I think what they`re trying to do is stoke fear. And I think what we saw in Paris is that they hit areas that were soft targets, areas that did not have a heavy police presence. In Paris, most of Paris is a very touristy area. The area that ISIS hit there in the 10th Arondissment -- that is an area that is frequented by French people only. It is not what was considered a heavily -- a heavy target, whereas New York City is pretty much a prime target, all of it. What I would be thinking along the lines of ISIS is that they would be trying to -- and I don`t know, but it -- are they trying to use New York City or Washington to catch us off guard somewhere else, a softer target maybe in the center of the country. I don`t know this, but it certainly would -- there`s chatter among experts when you talk to them about just how worried they are about ISIS in this country. MATTHEWS: Do you get a sense from the people around you -- it`s hard to tell the crowd -- is the crowd pulling back from the square or not? TUR: No. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people that walk through this area every single day. They are used to this. The tourists that are here are still taking pictures. It is still Times Square. They`re still enjoying themselves. People are still coming to and from work. There`s no indication that anybody is on any higher alert. This city has been expecting and waiting for something to happen, hoping that it doesn`t happen, since 9/11. They are used to a heavy police presence... MATTHEWS: OK. TUR: ... especially after Paris. They are used to seeing what they call Hercules officers roaming the city with heavy artillery. They`re used to seeing this show of force of the NYPD officers and the cars streaming down the street. So life is going on as usual, at least for now. MATTHEWS: OK, thanks so much, NBC`s Katy Tur at Times Square. Anyway, New York mayor Bill de Blasio will be here on this show tomorrow night to talk about it. I`m joined right now, however, by Christopher Dickey, world news editor for the DailyBeast and author of "Securing the City: Inside America`s Best Counterterrorism Force, the NYPD."   Christopher, thank you for joining us. You`ve got both perspectives tonight, New York and Paris. Put them together, the way the police in both cities have handled this. CHRISTOPHER DICKEY, DAILYBEAST: Well, I think the thing we learned from Paris is just how vulnerable a city can be even when it`s very well protected. You know, I heard the person who was on before talking about the Hercules teams, all the police presence there is in New York City. And there are 35,000 police in New York City. That ought to make you safe, but if terrorists are going to hit sidewalk cafes, if they`re going to hit nightclubs, the way they did here, it`s very hard to protect those places. And the only way to do it is through really superb intelligence collection because you can`t put cops everywhere. MATTHEWS: Tell me, if you can about the organization that led to the horror in Paris on Friday. We`re going to get to the police raids last night in a moment, but tell us about the role of Mr. Abaaoud and the role that a ringleader plays, as you know it. DICKEY: Well, I think he was a ringleader, that`s right, but not the mastermind of this. There are some real masterminds putting together a -- really, a global terror campaign for ISIS. Abdelhamid Abaaoud is a guy who was a sort of a go-between. He had a lot of connections in Brussels that were useful to ISIS. He had gone back and forth to Syria. And they used those connections in order to organize this operation here. But he was also kind of a poster boy for ISIS. They like to put these guys up and say, This guy`s a real hero, we`re going to make a star out of him. But that actually argues against him being the mastermind. They`re not going to waste a mastermind as a poster boy because this guy is going to get killed soon. MATTHEWS: Sophisticated stuff. Thank you very much, Christopher Dickey. There was a dramatic scene this morning north of Paris as French police carried out a truly spectacular assault on terrorists holed up in an apartment. French authorities were hunting for the ringleader of last Friday`s attack. They engaged in a fierce gunfight with a well-armed ISIS terror cell. Well, two people were killed in that, including a woman who blew herself up in that raid. Eight people were arrested. The Paris prosecutor today said police encountered major resistance. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) FRANCOIS MOLINS, PROSECUTOR (through translator): Tonight, five police from the raid were wounded. It was a very difficult assault. The bulletproof of (ph) the apartment resisted (ph) through the first charge, and this allowed the terrorists to prepare their retaliation. Uninterrupted shooting went on for about an hour.   (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, NBC`s Keir Simmons is in Paris and is following the latest development. Keir, it looks like they got there in time to stop what they were prepared to offer to bring about as (ph) another terrorist attack. KEIR SIMMONS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: That`s what they`re saying, Chris. That`s what they think they did. And just to let you know, I`m standing in front of a memorial here next to the Bataclan concert hall, the place where so many people were killed, so people are breathing a sigh of relief here that another one of these massacres was not carried out by this terrorist cell. You were talking about Abaaoud, the guy that they believe was the linchpin in all of this, and they still don`t know whether he is the person that they killed in those raids this morning. They know, of course, that he is not the person that they arrested. But by the way, Chris, the security and intelligence services here in France and in many countries across Europe will be stunned that they think now that that mastermind is here. He had previously been seen in Syria with ISIS, and the whole assumption was that he was still there. It will be deeply troubling to know that he will have made that journey from Syria to Europe, if indeed, that is the case. But they clearly thought he was there because I know you`re seeing pictures there now of the extraordinary firefight that played out, 5,000 rounds fired, 110 police officers involved. As you mentioned, the cousin of Abaaoud, a woman, blew herself up with a suicide vest at the beginning. This firefight was so intense that they`re now saying that that building, they think, in part, is uninhabitable. But Chris, they will have got evidence from that third floor apartment, just as they will have got evidence from the car that was abandoned, just as they will have got evidence from the cell phone that was found by members of the public here. So while these possibly a number of cells have been able to carry out this massacre in Paris, they have also lost -- left a lot of traces that will be helping security and intelligence services track them down and track their accomplices down and try to get a better grip on who is where and who is threatening Europe from ISIS. MATTHEWS: Thanks so much, Keir Simmons in Paris. For more now, I`m joined by Ambassador John Negroponte, the former director of our national intelligence effort -- he`s the vice chairman of McLarty Associates -- and Shawn Henry, president of Crowd Strike and former executive assistant director of the FBI.   Mr. Ambassador, thank you. You know, when I thought of this -- and I`m a civilian in this in every regard -- I was thinking it wasn`t until the French had this attack last Friday that they could move with real emergency authority to really go after these people they`d tracked down and really force their hand. The fact that a woman committed suicide, blowing herself up, the fact they were shot at -- they exposed the danger posed by these terrorist groups by going after them and forcing their hand. It was pretty dramatic. JOHN NEGROPONTE, FMR. DIR. OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Right. And this is really unprecedented. We didn`t know this kind of capability existed near the heart of Paris, or in the heart of Paris. So I think what was just said about gathering evidence and picking up whatever they can now from these different items that they`ve captured, and so forth, people who they may have in detention, we`re going to get a better idea of whether this really can happen again in a short period of time because when you look at the operation, it was very complex, three different groups and so forth communicating, moving back and forth between Belgium and France. Do they have the capacity to conduct one or several more of these in a short timeframe? I think we`ll get a better handle on that... MATTHEWS: Well, this is... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: This is the problem we have in free societies. The prosecutor in France said today they know there`s thousands of people in France who are militant, who are radicalized and ready to act, but they can`t touch them until they act. Obviously, in a free society, you have to by law. NEGROPONTE: Right. MATTHEWS: Habeas Corpus. You don`t just arrest people. But here they sort of forced their hand. They challenged them where they were. They had the weapons, the suicide vests, or whatever equipment they had to blow themselves up, and they forced them to admit in their own defense that they were the bad guys, to put it in idiom (ph). It`s dramatic stuff, but it does realize the limits of a free society. You can`t act until you`ve got emergency power to go and basically take them. NEGROPONTE: Right. But I think now they`ve got something to work with and they`ll be able to work their way -- I have a lot of confidence in the French intelligence and security forces. I think they`re very competent.   MATTHEWS: Well, let me go to Shawn on that. Shawn, give us a sense -- what I`ve been trying to figure out here is how do you roll it back? How do you get on offense here against those people who are sitting there, waiting for their chance to call the shots? As the guy said on his radio or his cell phone before he threw it in the trash can, We`re making our move. SHAWN HENRY, CROWD STRIKE: You know, Chris, it is -- it`s all about intelligence. One of your prior guests said earlier you can`t put a police officer in every cafe and every bar and every stadium. What you need to do is look in advance, look for this information, the intelligence that`s going to allow you to take the type of actions that we saw today in Paris. We`ve got hundreds of people or thousands of people who are radicalized living in cities and nations that have tens of millions of people. You`re looking for a needle in a stack of needles. And these terrorists are living among us, and it`s all about trying to identify in advance so that you can disrupt them. They`ve done it here successfully here over the last few days. Obviously, they didn`t do it prior to what happened on Friday. Unfortunately, that`s one of the challenges here for the security services is trying to maintain people`s civil liberties and rights and still look for those bad people by using really good, valuable intelligence, Chris. MATTHEWS: And they only had the authority to do it because of the emergency decree over there. Let me ask you, Mr. Ambassador -- you were down in Honduras. Strange situation, five people all using Greek names, apparently, having come through Greece with Greek passports, but they`re Syrians. And there again, we have the old ambiguity. Are they just five guys looking for work in the States, to go work in a restaurant, or are they ready to do trouble to us? HENRY: Right. And we have no idea at this particular point in time. But we also know that there`s this huge migration leaving (ph) out of Syria. Three or four million people have left the country. More are bound to leave in the coming weeks and months. And so out of desperation, I think people will try any route. These people took a very circuitous route, and for all we know, that they were just seeking employment, as you said. Let me just say one thing about... MATTHEWS: Go ahead. We got time. NEGROPONTE: ... France. I think that -- I mean, France is in a very unique situation here. Ten percent of their population is Muslim. They have a lot of North African and other...   MATTHEWS: And a distinct community, too. NEGROPONTE: (INAUDIBLE) distinct community. They`re sort of ghettoized. It`s -- they have a tremendous challenge on their hands. MATTHEWS: All it takes is a kid in his 20s or late teens even to say, I don`t like it here. I don`t like these people. I don`t like the way I`ve been treated, and you`re radicalized, and then it`s a couple (ph) matter then of getting weapons. And in this country, that`s the easiest thing in the world, to get weapons. Anyway, John Negroponte and Shawn Henry. More with you next time, Shawn. Thank you for coming on. Coming up now, lawmakers on Capitol Hill -- a couple of senators -- all the senators were briefed today on the ISIS threat. We`re going to talk to two of those lawmakers next about the security in this country and the strategy. What`s our government up to to make sure it doesn`t get here, or when it does get here, it`s stopped? And later, here it comes, the political fight here at home. President Obama is mocking his Republican critics now in the snarkiest of terms, I think. HARDBALL`s coverage of the terror in Paris continues after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: The U.S. ambassador to France, Jane Hartley, sat down for an exclusive interview with Thomas Roberts here today on MSNBC. She said the fight against terrorism cannot be left to just one country. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JANE HARTLEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO FRANCE: I think if we look at what`s happened over the last week -- and this was discussed in the meetings yesterday with Secretary Kerry -- first, a Russian plane that was downed, an attack in Beirut, now this attack in Paris -- I think what we are all coming to the conclusion is, you know, terrorists don`t know any borders. This is not about France. This is not about one country. All of us have to work together to defeat this terrible threat of terrorism.   (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, the breaking news, of course, we`re following tonight is the release of a new ISIS video that suggests in pretty dramatic terms that a terror target is now New York City. Anyway, a highly produced propaganda video -- you`re looking at it -- does not contain details, and senior law enforcement officials here say there is no specific threat information yet. Well, late today, high-level officials from the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the Pentagon and the State Department briefed U.S. senators on Capitol Hill on the latest developments on the terror threat, the Paris attacks, and of course, the refugee crisis and issue. I`m joined first by Senator Al Franken, Democrat from Minnesota. He was in tonight`s briefing. Senator, what can you share about New York, about Washington, about France, and how goes the fight against terrorism? SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: Well, there is no known threat, actionable threat that we know about, or that they knew about. A lot of what we discussed is the refugee question. You know, these -- these refugees are vetted. They are mainly women and children, families headed by women. There are people who have medical issues. I argued today on the floor of the Senate that it`s in keeping with our values that we don`t interrupt bringing in these incredibly vulnerable people. We are talking about 10,000 out of four million. And the image that I can`t get out of my head is of that 3-year-old boy washed up on that island in Turkey. That`s my grandson. And we have a tradition in this country that is about bringing people who are vulnerable, refugees who are escaping horrors like we have seen this week, and bringing them to -- that is what the Statue of Liberty says, bring me your tired, your poor. I think that we have to be consistent with our values. People are afraid. And I understand that. What we saw in Paris is very scary. Paris looks like a lot of American cities. But we can`t operate out of fear. And we vet these people through many layers of vetting. Only 2 percent of the people that we let in last year were men of military age. That`s 40 people. And they are vetted one layer after another.   MATTHEWS: Right. Let`s take a look at this more hawkish mood in the country tonight. According to new polling from NBC News, a majority of the country now opposes the government`s plan to increase the number of Syrian refugees entering the United States; 58 percent say that overwhelming military force is the best way to defeat terrorism; 65 percent say they support sending additional groups to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria. I know this country may appeal fickle, but how do we deal with the politics of this, Senator, when the country now says ground troops to fight ISIS, American troops? FRANKEN: We have made this kind of mistake before. Listen, we have to take it to ISIS. But this is going to be a -- this is going to be a long, long campaign. And we have done this before. We have reacted to something very horrible that happened in our country, and we went to war, and we went to war in Iraq. And that is no small part responsible for what we are seeing right now. So, people have to understand that we don`t want to get into a land war again in this region, because this doesn`t turn out good. Now, we need to pulse our diplomacy. You`re -- I have been listening to the show. We have heard about the bombing of the Russian plane. We need to engage other allies in the region, and maybe some enemies, too, in this fight, including Turkey, including Saudi Arabia. And we need to pulse our diplomatic piece by engaging Iran in this and Russia. But to go into a major land war in this region, it -- that`s a slippery slope. And we did also get a lot of information about what we are doing to -- in the region to ISIS. And we are trying to reduce the area that they operate in, and we are successfully beginning to do that. But this is a long fight. MATTHEWS: Thanks so much, Senator Al Franken of Minnesota. Last night, President Obama criticized the Congress for seeking a pause -- that`s a new word -- in refugees coming in here from Syria. Let`s watch the president. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have been waiting for a year-and-a-half or more for legislation that would authorize the military activities that we are carrying out in Syria as we speak, and have not been able to get anything out of Congress.   And now suddenly they are able to rush in, in a day or two to solve the threat of widows and orphans and others who are fleeing a war-torn land, and that`s their most constructive contribution to the effort against ISIL? That doesn`t sound right to me. And I suspect it won`t sound right to the American people. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, yesterday, in an op-ed piece for "TIME" magazine, Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona and Tim Kaine of Virginia slammed the Congress` inaction. They wrote, "ISIS must take comfort in the seeming ambivalence of Congress." Well, Senator Flake now has a bill in the works with Dianne Feinstein of California which they are calling a bipartisan solution to the Syrian refugee issue. I`m joined by Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona. He`s a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. Senator Flake, you have always struck me as nuanced in your politics, which is always impressive these days. There`s not much of that around. How do we deal with a refugee situation? I have been asking why four million refugees from Syria only include four individuals willing to fight ISIS. Why are they all -- are they all conscientious objectors? Why is a country leaving a country behind? Why aren`t they fighting for their country in Syria? Just that question. I would like your answer. SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Well, you would hope that they would want to fight for their country. And I think a lot of them probably are willing to. It has been tough, though, given the situation there and all the competing groups they are fighting to, I guess, have them involved. So, unfortunately, as you mentioned, four million of them have left the country. And... (CROSSTALK)   MATTHEWS: What do we do with the ones who want to come here? How do we get people in this country without having a problem like we had in Paris? One of the refugees that came in was part of the terrorist operation on Friday night. FLAKE: Right. Well, we do have a pretty thorough vetting process. And I know that the president was very critical of those who -- the governors and others who are concerned about this. But, frankly, the administration hasn`t done a very good job explaining what this process is. And I`m comfortable with the process. Frankly, of all the concerns we have out there -- and there are many -- the refugee program is probably down the list a bit. The regular visa programs that we have, asylum programs that we have, those are much more a concern, and the visa waiver program that we have that Senator Feinstein and I will address tomorrow. MATTHEWS: How does that work? Tell us what that is going to do. It`s news to us. FLAKE: Well, with visa waiver, we have about 39 countries in the world that it is not required for them to get a visa to come to the U.S. We have a visa waiver program that includes countries of the European Union. So, the concern is that a lot of homegrown terrorists, if you will, that are French citizens or Brits or Germans or others, and unless there is another thing that disqualifies them, they are not even required to get a visa to come to the U.S. So, what we will introduce tomorrow is legislation to say that if anybody has traveled to Iraq or Afghanistan -- I`m sorry -- Iraq or Syria in the last five years from these European countries, they wouldn`t qualify for the visa waiver program. They could still come to the U.S., but they would have to go through the process of getting a visa. MATTHEWS: I see. Well, that seems moderate. Thank you so much, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona. Up next, can the world eliminate ISIS, really? And if so, who takes part in that effort? And how does it happen? A lot of talk about eliminating or destroying ISIS. People love those words, destroy especially, but nobody is talking really about winning.   This is HARDBALL and our continuing coverage of the terror in Paris. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. The Kremlin security service announced yesterday that traces of explosives were found in the wreckage of the Russian Metrojet airliner which exploded over Egypt, killing all on board. Well, today, in an English-language ISIS propaganda magazine, ISIS released a photograph of the improvised explosive device they said they used to take down that plane. It shows the explosive material contained in a simple soda can armed with a detonator. There it is. The development comes as Russia launches a new bombardment of Syria, including strikes on the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa. President Vladimir Putin has vowed to punish ISIS. But previous Russian strikes in that country, which began in September, have targeted the so-called Syrian opposition forces instead. In other words, they have been fighting on behalf of the government in Damascus. Well, now, in the wake of ISIS attacks on France and Russia, of course, is there a chance for a greater collaboration with Moscow among the French and us and the Russians? I`m joined right now Simon Marks, president of Feature News -- Feature Story News, as well as MSNBC political analyst Sam Stein of The Huffington Post. Gentlemen, here is the problem. We look at the world. Usually, if everybody is a victim, we always see ourselves as potential victim, as the superpower. France and Russia, why don`t we join together, the big boys, and beat up the midget, the J.V. or whatever we are calling them lately, Is? Are we going to join together? SIMON MARKS, FEATURE STORY NEWS: Well, look, there`s no question, Chris, that is what Francois Hollande wants to achieve, and he is coming here next Tuesday to sit with Barack Obama at the White House. Then, Thursday, he will be in Moscow. He is clearly trying to negotiate some sort of an agreement, serve as the bridge between Washington and Moscow over this. But we shouldn`t get too excited about what Putin did today.   Those bombing raids were focussed partly on Raqqa, but only partly on ISIS in Raqqa. The Russians themselves concede that they also went after what they describe as terrorist targets in Idlib and Aleppo. Those are two places where ISIS is not strong. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: But they don`t suspect -- they don`t suspect... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: They suspect ISIS. And how does a strongman, a bully, whatever you want to call him, a dictator, Vladimir Putin, not pounce on the enemy of his country? MARKS: There`s no reason for him not to pounce over the short-term on ISIS. But I don`t see him make at this point making a long-term bargain to do a deal with Barack Obama. The safest bet in Vegas tonight is not on Putin doing the right thing. It is on Putin doing what he thinks is most in Russia`s interest. And... (CROSSTALK) MARKS: ... Barack Obama. MATTHEWS: Well, how does he keep the loyalty of the nationalistic Russians, who are very fragile right now? They have lost their superpower status. They get hopped up faster than most people in the world on his behalf. Why would they not expect him to deliver, kill the bad guys? MARKS: One, because he says he is killing the bad guys. So, first of all, there has been this opaque version of events on the ground in Syria over who he is really going after.   MATTHEWS: Yes. MARKS: He has claimed ISIS, but he`s gone after Syria`s opponents. MATTHEWS: OK. I`m giving Sam a chance here. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: President Obama -- I was talking during the break there. We got caught talking. SAM STEIN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. MATTHEWS: I mean, here they are head to head, a great scene. Does that mean the president is ready to do business with a guy who he obviously has distaste for? STEIN: Well, I think Simon was getting at the sticking part here, which is what happens after the bombing, what do you do with Assad, which has always been the sticking point, the diplomatic problem here. The administration has steadfastly said that they can`t have a fully comprehensive Syria solution if Assad remains in power, because he is a motivating factor for the terrorists. MATTHEWS: And also for the refugees. STEIN: And for the refugees as well.   MATTHEWS: Right. STEIN: And so until they can actually resolve that element, I think these are talks. I don`t think you can actually get anywhere on the long term in terms of a collaborative U.S.-Russia... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: But, politically, how does the president push with this status quo policy, which may be brilliant, but it`s not active? People don`t see us doing something to get something done. STEIN: And that is the great quandary that the administration is facing here, which is essentially, how do you sell don`t do something stupid? MATTHEWS: Yes. STEIN: And if you talk to people within the administration`s orbit -- it`s not necessarily in the administration itself -- there is not delight that Russia is getting more involved here, because obviously people want to have the U.S. as a preeminent power, but they are not displeased that Russia is getting involved here. They`re not totally alarmed by this. MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you this. Sam, you know politics as well as I do. Isn`t there something we should look like we are doing? What are we doing? I don`t see us really doing anything. (CROSSTALK) STEIN: No, and I think that`s -- this is the problem that the administration has, is, how do you show action without doing overreaction? And if you step back a little bit and you put aside the Lindsey Grahams of the world and I think Jeb Bush today, who was calling for more ground forces...   MATTHEWS: Yes, and the American people. (CROSSTALK) STEIN: Basically, the candidates in the realm of the candidates all are arguing for the same sort of prescription, right, which is a more robust bombing. MATTHEWS: Bomb the S. out of them. STEIN: Yes, bomb the hell out of them, more special ops, more regional allies buying into the strategy. And that is basically the gist here. And so if you are looking at sort of the totality of the policy prescriptions, they are limited. MATTHEWS: You know what it looks like to me? Dainty. STEIN: It could be. MATTHEWS: And dainty doesn`t sell in this country. I`m amazed how quickly the numbers have gone up to put ground troops over there, having seen what we did when W. was in there with that idiotic policy of other going to Iraq. STEIN: Well, I would suspect that they would go down a little bit as we move away from Paris.   (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: As we move away from Paris. STEIN: Yes. MATTHEWS: Paris is big in our thinking right now. We are back to french fries. No more freedom fries. STEIN: Only the opposite way, yes. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... point of view. Anyway, thank you, Simon. MARKS: Thank . MATTHEWS: rMDNM_Simon Marks, thank you. STEIN: Thanks, Chris.   MATTHEWS: Sam Stein. Coming up, President Obama battles with Republican presidential candidates -- we just talked about that -- as the debate heats up over here at home over whether to accept Syrian refugees in the U.S. This is always not my backyard, or not in my back arrondissement. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. We are following breaking news tonight newly released ISIS propaganda video shows images of Times Square in New York suggesting that ISIS is looking to target New York as the next target of attack. The video does not contain any details, of course, about a plot against New York. That is not the way ISIS deals with things. The FBI released a statement moments ago saying, quote, "While there is no specific articulable threat to the city at this time, the FBI New York Joint Terrorism Task Force continues to vigilantly work with NYPD and other law enforcement partners to keep the community safe and fully investigate any threat information." Anyway, I`m joined right now by New York Congressman Steve Israel. I think if you want to cause trouble in this country, threaten New York. We are -- it is the media capital of the world. It is like an old -- I don`t know -- juke box or something, not a juke box, pin ball machine. All the lights and bells go off if you say New York. Are you worried up there? REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: Well, look, we have known New York has been a threat since 9/11. We live with it every day. This is life as we know it.   So, while the federal government says it is not a credible threat -- it may not be a credible threat, it`s a threat to my constituents. We worry about it. We should worry about it. MATTHEWS: Yes. ISRAEL: And that`s why we just got to make sure that we`ve got the vigilance necessary to protect against it. MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about something real, and that is the probable flow of immigrant -- migrants, of course, they`re called refugees into this country from Syria itself. You`re going to vote on that issue tomorrow. How do you see the Republican measure which apparently is attractive to a lot of Democrats, which would make it tougher to get into this country as a refugee? ISRAEL: Well, look, we have -- I`m hoping and I`m working for a bipartisan resolution that stipulates two things. Number one, that we`re going to keep the American people safe. There is not a Republican or Democrat in Congress who doesn`t believe that we should do more to keep the American people safe. So, that is our top priority. That`s got to be just absolutely implicit in this bill. At the same time, I just want to make sure that where you have a Syrian mom who is trying to protect a child from radicalization and indoctrination or even worse, from torture by ISIS, who`s fleeing ISIS, that we don`t slam the door on that person, that we don`t send those people back to be radicalized and indoctrinized. So, where there are common sense exceptions -- and I think most Americans agree with this -- where there are common sense exceptions that don`t pose a threat. But first and foremost, our job is to keep the American people safe. I hope we can have a vote on a resolution tomorrow that embraces those two notions. MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, U.S. Congressman Steve Israel of New York state. Now to the political fight over terrorism with our people here. Speaking from the Philippines, by the way, President Obama ripped into Republicans who want to turn away Syrian refugees from coming into U.S. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)   BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These are the same folks who suggest they are so tough that just talking to Putin or staring down ISIL or using some additional rhetoric somehow is going to solve problems. But apparently, they are scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America as part of our tradition of compassion. Now, first, they were worried about the press being too tough on them during debates. Now, they are worried about 3-year-old orphans. That doesn`t sound very tough to me. They have been playing on fear in order to try to score political points or to advance their campaigns. And it`s irresponsible. And it`s contrary to who we are. And it needs to stop because the world is watching. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Republican presidential candidate and Texas senator, Ted Cruz, responded to the president earlier today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me suggest something, Mr. President, if you want to insult me, you can do it overseas, you can do it in Turkey, you can do it in foreign countries, but I would encourage you, Mr. President, come back and insult me to my face. Let`s have a debate on Syrian refugees right now. We can do it anywhere you want. I prefer it in the United States and not overseas where you are making the insults. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, let`s bring in HARDBALL round table for a HARDBALL discussion. Megyn Murphy is Washington bureau chief from Bloomberg Business, Jeremy Peters is reporter for "The New York Times", and April Ryan is White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio. April, thank you for joining us as well.   Let me ask you starting with, April, I don`t think a president should ever get snarky. Why did he do it there? Why is he making fun of the Republicans? Because he let somebody like Cruz come back on equal terms against him and be equally snarky. APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO: This is a weighty issue. And you`re right, it`s a back and forth snarkiness when there`s a serious issue. It`s a serious issue in Paris and there`s concern of a possibility here, and that`s the last thing you need. What is at issue is the fact that the Parisians are trying to make sure their land is safe. And they are also trying to balance the issue of letting the Syrian refugees come in. And we have an issue here where we have the FBI doing the same thing that`s happening in Paris. They are trying to find those who are sympathizers of the terrorists. What is happening is I am hearing from my sources in intelligence that many of these sympathizers have gone underground in this country. So, while we are going through all of this here and in Paris, it needs to be, I guess, a peace accord between Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and President Obama right now. MATTHEWS: Good luck with that one. Jeremy, the immigration thing, the refugee thing -- this strikes at everybody`s NIMBY, not in my backyard mentality. It`s the easiest vote in the world is for a governor to say not here -- even if he can`t enforce it constitutionally. How do you get hurt doing that? JEREMY PETERS, THE NEW YORK TIMES: They can`t -- MATTHEWS: It`s an easy one. It`s a cheap one. PETERS: Exactly. And as you pointed out, that`s why this is appealing to Democrats in the House and the Senate who are going to be asked to vote on this right now. The president will be veto it, of course. MATTHEWS: Chuck Schumer saying perhaps a pause.   PETERS: Right, of course, he will. MATTHEWS: That will be a safe position. But it`s damn political. PETERS: Absolutely, it is. I mean, if you look at the polls on this, the public wants the refugees stopped. They don`t want them coming into the country. I think that it`s not an unreasonable position to defend to say, look, until we know who these people are and we are able to properly vet them, we`re going to have to put a pause on this. MATTHEWS: Hey, look, everybody`s got an ethnic attitude about this probably. They think everything is bad whenever we challenge people. We all liked the Vietnamese coming here because they were on our side. They were fighting for (INAUDIBLE). They were going to get screwed when they lost the war and we know they`re going to lose it, right? So, they`re over here doing well, and incredibly well-received and doing incredibly. We don`t have a side in Syria. It`s on our side fighting the other side, going to war with them, doing the best to defend their country like the Vietnamese did. I have said this last night, 4 million refugees, four people have joined our effort to fight the bad guys. Why one in a million is going to fight for their own country. They`re all contentious objectors. It isn`t just children and babies. Look at the people on the boats. Every guy seems to be alone, a bachelor in his 20s. Some of them should be willing to fight for their country if we are thinking about it. The American people want to send our troops from Arkansas and Louisiana to fight in a place they don`t speak the language, they don`t belong there and we don`t want the Syrians to do their own fighting. It doesn`t make any sense. PETERS: This is where Congress has the opportunity to lead. And so far, it`s completely abdicated their responsibility. That`s declare war. MATTHEWS: I don`t know why we are not trying to fight allies. Why aren`t we recruiting -- why aren`t we recruiting Syrians to fight for Syria? MEGAN MURPHY, BLOOMBERG: What you are talking about is -- MATTHEWS: Is it too bizarre to ask this question? MURPHY: But the issue is, why you see 3 million and 4 million people streaming out of Syria is because they are subject to the same completely barbaric acts of terror with their houses bombed, with people beheaded, with people crucified on crosses in public squares.   MATTHEWS: What do you think the North Vietnamese were like in the VC and the way they behave in battle? They didn`t take any prisoners. By the way, what do you think the South Koreans were like, but the South Koreans fought, the South Vietnamese fought. Why don`t the Syrians fight? MURPHY: I think we have to be clear about separating the politics of this. The politics are -- MATTHEWS: I asked the question, why are we fighting Syria when the Syrians won`t? The roundtable is sticking with us. And up next, Donald trump launches a new political advertising touting his plans for ISIS and Syrian refugees. He`s not mincing words, of course, because we can`t use the words he is using on the air. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Seventy percent of Americans say the U.S. and its allies are losing the fight against ISIS. That`s according to a new survey from NBC News taken after the Paris attacks. Just 24 percent of us, that`s less than a quarter, say the allies are winning. And as we mentioned earlier, 65 percent saying ground troops to fight ISIS over there in Iraq in Syria. Broken down by party, that number consists of 84 percent of Republicans and 54 percent. Catch that, a majority of Democrats. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)   MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable, Megan, Jeremy and April. Donald Trump is polling away in the new polling up in New Hampshire and his tough talk on terrorism may be fueling that rise. According to WBUR poll, Trump is at 23 percent, ten points ahead of Dr. Carson and Marco Rubio. And a brand-new FOX News poll just out tonight has Trump at 27 percent, 14 points ahead of Rubio. And today on the conservative Boston radio show, there are so many of the conservative shows out there, Trump slammed President Obama. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think he`s a threat to our country. I mean, he must have some kind of a thing going, because you know when you see that he won`t even call them by their name, attack after attack after attack. (END AUDIO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Anyway, weekly, I`m going to have a minute here for everybody, but Megan, Jeremy, and April. Is Trump going to be there in February, yes or no? MURPHY: Absolutely. PETERS: Yes, but I don`t think he`s going to be the president.   MATTHEWS: No, February. Let`s think two months ahead. PETERS: I don`t know whether or not he`ll be the nominee. (CROSSTALK) RYAN: I did not say it. MATTHEWS: OK, where do you think he`ll be? RYAN: He`ll be there. Money, money, money, money MATTHEWS: I don`t think -- RYAN: Yes, it is, because he can pay! MATTHEWS: What are you -- you`re getting closer. You`re getting so close. (CROSSTALK) RYAN: I`m sorry, money talks. And other stuff walks.   MATTHEWS: I think he`s into American nationalism and has figured it out. MURPHY: He`s tapped into the perfect moment right now. People are craving strength, he`s showing it across foreign policy. RYAN: And they love him because of his political money, as well as his entertainment values. MATTHEWS: I think there`s more to it than that. I think he`s like the money that types merry Christmas, he has typed American nationalism. RYAN: He has typed -- MATTHEWS: Thank you, Megan Murphy, Jeremy Peters, April Ryan, who continues to resist my thoughts. We`ll be right back after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a shift in the world. There are big, bright signs out there that the country, our country, is looking for a big strong leader. I`ve shown you polls of Donald Trump opening up a lead in New Hampshire. Not a big lead, but a wide one when the people running against him, especially Dr. Ben Carson. You know, nothing concentrates the mind, we know, like the threat of imminent danger and Ben Carson is not the guy you call when you hear that ISIS is coming. No one thinks of him as commander in chief material.   So, the question is, who is? Well, Hillary Clinton sure is. I`m hardly alone in believing she is more hawk than dove, more ready to send in military force than certainly I am, just far more of an interventionist than she is, doesn`t like going somewhere. Anyway, I see her as much stronger on offense, right now, perhaps than I have a right to believe. On the Republican side, there are a pair of clear winners. Donald Trump is an American Putin, nationalistic, bullying, touchy. Marco Rubio is hawkish, as well, if his voice seems trained to appeal to his contributors. He sings the songs of those who want the United States to be forever aggressive in fighting Arabs anywhere. It`s no more complicated than that. Cruz is another potential winner in all of this, except that you have to be truly miserable to have a down beat view of the world here and elsewhere to choose him as our next president. I mean, so manifestly dreary in voice and public personality. Who would like to live in a world Ted Cruz acts as if he were born to, born to carry the burden of? So good news for Trump, bad news for those who still hope we, Americans, could have had better options. I`ve said it before. If he`s still up in November, why do we think he won`t be up in February or June. Trump is still there at the top. That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>