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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 11/19/15

Guests: Michael Schmidt, Robert Costa, Heidi Przybyla, Erin McPike, Bill deBlasio

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The terrorist ringleader is dead. This is HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. Tonight, we in the U.S. get confirmation that French police have killed Abdelhamid Abaoud, the main -- the man who coordinated the ISIS attack that killed -- in fact, slaughtered -- 129 people last Friday night in Paris. We`ve got stunning first-time pictures of last Friday`s attack, and a newly released recording of the police raid on the ISIS hideout yesterday. Meanwhile, law enforcement officials here in the U.S., from the FBI to the NYPD, say there`s nothing to indicate that terrorism in France will lead to an attack here. Yet concerns remain high. Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, will be with us here tonight on HARDBALL to talk about how his city can save itself from terror. Anyway, the ISIS fear has also upped the political heat, obviously. The two leading presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, both based in New York, are out there trumpeting their dueling attack on ISIS. We`ll get to that soon. But we begin tonight in Paris, and the big news that the ringleader of last week`s terror attack was killed in a spectacular raid yesterday north of Paris. A French broadcast network released dramatic audio made by a neighbor. In it, you hear police confronting a woman, Abaaoud`s cousin, who moments later blows herself up. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (subtitles) Where is your boyfriend?    UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (subtitles) He`s not my boyfriend! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (subtitles) Where is he? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (subtitles) He`s not my boyfriend! (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Meanwhile, there`s stunning video, really stunning, from Friday`s terror attack. -- -- obtained the security video from one of the cafes the terrorists hit. There you see the moment a gunman begins firing on the restaurant, as startled customers desperately run for cover. A different angle shows the employees behind the bar ducking for cover as the bullets begin flying. They and the others race away. The most disturbing part of the video shows the gunman walking up to the restaurant outside and pointing his gun at a patron who is under the table. Luckily, his gun jams, the gunman walks away, the woman survives. For the latest, I`m joined by NBC`s Kelly Cobiella over there in Paris. Kelly, thank you for joining us. And I guess the big new is we have finally confirmation, Kelly, that -- that Abaoud is dead. KELLY COBIELLA, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes, huge news today in Paris, Chris, and a big victory for French security services and French intelligence, really, getting this guy. I want to tell you a little bit about that particular raid, the raid at Saint-Denis, because the team leader for that raid spoke to French television station BFM-TV, and he described what happened yesterday morning as they went in. He said they went in about 4:16 in the morning. They didn`t have an exact layout of the apartment building or the apartment itself, but they knew where the front door was.    He said they put explosive charges on the door. Something didn`t go right. They didn`t blow the door in. He said they lost the element of surprise. He said they gave the people inside just enough time to arm themselves and to put on explosive vests. And he said once that happened, gunfire started. And he said it was an intense gun battle for a good 30 to 45 minutes, a gun battle inside this apartment building with these people. He said they used everything in their arsenal, he said, drones, robots, of course the police dog who died in that raid. He said if it weren`t for that stupid door -- his words, "that stupid door" -- it could have been a different situation. But as we know it, that raid lasted seven hours, more than seven hours. And the end of it, two suspected terrorists dead, Abaoud, of course, and that female suicide bomber, as well. And Chris, this was such an intense and violent raid that we understand the floor of that apartment actually collapsed. And it was extremely difficult, as we now know, to identify Abaoud, which is why it took, what, 24 hours to do it, Chris. MATTHEWS: Well, one question, last for you, Kelly. What -- why did it take -- well, let me put it this way. How did Abaoud elude authorities? He was able -- according to what I`ve seen, he`s been able to run back and forth to Syria. He goes all over the place. Did he have phony passports? He wasn`t running around on his own name, was he? COBIELLA: Well, this is the big question. This is what security services have to figure out here in France and throughout Europe because there have been lots of different reports, none of them confirmed yet by NBC News, that he had been spotted in different countries at different times over the past year. We understand that he was in Syria. We believe that was 2013, 2014. He may have come back to Europe around 2014, but Chris, we really don`t have the exact timeline of his travel yet. And this is something that the interior minister here in France brought up today when he was talking, when he was confirming Abaoud`s death, he said, You know, we need to have some sort of concerted effort Europe-wide to share intelligence and share information about people who are coming into this country. Different countries have different watch lists, and they`re not sharing information as much, probably, as they could in order to track some of these people. There are a lot of them, Chris, but the interior minister`s point once again was, We`ve got to figure out a way to share intelligence a little bit better. MATTHEWS: Well, Kelly Cobiella, thank you so much, from Paris. Thanks for that report. This afternoon, FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch briefed reporters on the terror threat here in the U.S. And here was Director Comey.    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: We are not aware of any credible threat here of a Paris-type attack and we have seen no connection at all between the Paris attackers and the United States. ISIL and its supporters put out all kinds of propaganda, like videos and magazines, but that is not credible intelligence. Of course, we investigate all those propaganda threats, but instead, the threat here focuses primarily on troubled souls in America who are being inspired or enabled on line to do something violent for ISIL. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, NBC`s justice correspondent, Pete Williams, was at that briefing today. Pete, thanks for joining us. And you saw what we did. And how -- how -- why are they so confident that there won`t be a lone wolf attack in the next few days, even? PETE WILLIAMS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, they can only say what they know, Chris. And what they say is, what they`ve been focused on here all along in terms of the ISIS threat is not the kind of thing we saw in Paris -- in essence, a plan that is produced somewhere and exported to another country, but rather the continued influence of ISIS propaganda here, finding people in the U.S. that are willing to carry out attacks. They believe that they have identified the number of people who are responding to those attacks, and they put that number today for the first time at -- the FBI director said dozens, dozens of those that the FBI believes are most inclined to want to follow along on ISIS`s advice. That`s what he says the FBI has been doing since the Paris attack, focusing intensely, ratcheting up the surveillance of those people who are already being watched. But he also gave us some other information today, Chris. He said that the number of people believed to have gone from the U.S. to Syria, associated with ISIS and then come back to the U.S. is in the teens. Now, you know, we have heard for weeks this number 250 Americans who have -- potential foreign fighters, but he said that`s the number of people who have tried to go and couldn`t, who have gone and not come back, who have gone and gotten killed. The number of people who`ve actually been there and been with ISIS and come back, he said, is in the teens. Such a contrast to this huge number of people, estimated at 5,000 in Western Europe, who have done that. So that`s a big change. And the other thing he told us is he has seen no indication that any ISIS members overseas have tried to come to the U.S. in the past days and weeks. MATTHEWS: Well, that`s all good news for us. Thank you so much, Pete Williams, for joining us. Anyway, U.S. Congressman Michael McCaul, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee itself, said today the threats across -- or against New York and Washington should be taken seriously. That`s his call. Let`s watch.    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. MIKE MCCAUL (R), TEXAS: I`m always worried about New York. I travel to New York periodically to check with the NYPD and the FBI, you know, state and locals. New York, Washington, D.C. -- they`re crying out for attacks right now in these two cities. These are the two biggest targets in the United States. And I think our sense of security has been heightened, but I`m very worried, when you look at the number of arrests that have taken place in the last year, the thousand investigations in all 50 states now that the FBI is conducting, and the return of foreign fighters to the United States, all ticking time bombs. This is a very high-threat environment. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, those comments echoed a similar warning earlier this week from Senator Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member, the Democrat, of course, with the Intelligence Committee in the Senate. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: I`ve never been more concerned. I read the intelligence faithfully. ISIL is not contained. ISIL is expanding. They`ve just put out a video saying it is their intent to attack this country. And I think we have to be prepared. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Laith Alkhouri`s an MSNBC terrorism analyst, and Michael Schmidt is a reporter with "The New York Times." Laith, how do we put that together, the expertise coming from the Justice Department, from Pete Williams and his reporting there, which is one side saying there`s no reason to believe there`s going to be something bad happening in the new future based upon what happened in Paris. Then you have the politicians talking. You know, and Feinstein`s an impressive person. I don`t know McCaul very well. But they`re talking about deep concern. Which is it? LAITH ALKHOURI, MSNBC COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Look, I think this is all unpredictable. You cannot predict, you know, some attack where there is much secrecy revolves around it. Look, the threat to New York remained steadfast before ISIS issued the video and after ISIS issues the video. New York City is probably the number one most desirable target among jihadists worldwide, whether ISIS, al Qaeda or, you know, a dozen other radical factions.    So we have to take the threat pretty seriously, but it`s not because ISIS released a video about it -- they have recycled this footage before -- but because New York City remains the number one threat for jihadists. They said so. MATTHEWS: Well, here`s an interesting thing. I read something really good in "The New York Times" today by Michael Schmidt, who`s sitting with me today. And it`s about the challenges that U.S. counterterrorism officials face monitoring home-grown terrorists. This is really well written, I think. And it scares me. "For FBI agents, watching an Islamic State suspect in the U.S. is a study in anxiety. Being an Islamic State sympathizer is not against the law. Neither is expressing hatred for the United States on Twitter. Buying guns is also legal, and investigators have watched nervously as terrorism suspects passed background checks and purchased guns more than 2,000 times in the past decade, according to government data." We live in a free society. I think he wrote it very well there. We live in a free society. You put together access to guns, which we`re notorious for in this country under the 2nd Amendment, all the 1st Amendment freedom of assembly provisions of our Constitution, you can do anything you want up until you commit an actual crime. But once you`ve done that, all we can do it put the police tape out and collect the bodies. That`s our problem, isn`t it. MICHAEL SCHMIDT, "NEW YORK TIMES": Well, the NRA actually defends the selling of guns to these people. They say, Look, they haven`t been charged with anything. They`re still under investigation. It`s too general. So why can we restrict their 2nd Amendment rights? MATTHEWS: Well, why would -- why don`t we give rifles our enemies in the field when we go to war? They haven`t shot at us yet. SCHMIDT: Well, they say... MATTHEWS: This is crazy. SCHMIDT: They say, legally, there`s no way... MATTHEWS: I know legally, but law enforcement -- I`m getting to the question. Law enforcement has to apprehend a criminal before they commit the crime or else there will be a crime. And in the case of terrorism, these things are not done on the spur of the moment. People plan them. They do, in fact, conspire to commit a crime. So a crime is being committed. You just have to detect it, right? SCHMIDT: Well, so this is what the FBI does. They try to anticipate this. And they`ve got heavy surveillance on these people, physical surveillance, electronic surveillance, and they`re trying to figure out when are they going to commit the crime? When do we move in and get them? So that`s how they try and offset it.    MATTHEWS: What I notice, Laith -- you get back in here. It seems that what we saw the other day with the French police going up against a reinforced door -- they had to blow it apart to get to the bad guys in their hideout -- those people were ready to act, but the government couldn`t act, the police couldn`t act, and so they forced the hand of the terrorists to defend themselves and to blow themselves up and to shoot back. It`s so ironic that the police need a crime on the basis of which they can then get emergency powers, they can use those emergency powers to rush these people and thereby force them to fight for their lives and expose the fact they`ve got all the weaponry in the world, and bombing equipment in the world, to commit a terrorist act, thereby showing their hand. It`s a weird kind of Catch-22. ALKHOURI: Yes, I mean, look, the security forces had, you know, very legitimate reasons why they raided that apartment building. They didn`t raid it, you know, out of a vacuum. They had apparently legitimate sort of intelligence that led them to that exact location. But I would add that, you know, when we talk about surveillance and when we talk about, you know, freedom of speech and so on, I think what the government and security forces need to be doing is that follow every single lead and then finally have some sort of targeted surveillance against a small and elite group of people in order to see if they are conspiring to commit an act of terrorism. Otherwise, there are no leads. MATTHEWS: Well, somebody said that`s looking for a needle in a haystack of needles. Anyway, Laith Alkhouri, thank you, and Michael Schmidt. Coming up, Hillary Clinton lays out her vision and strategy for fighting ISIS, and it`s in sharp contrast to the bombast we`re hearing from the Republican front-runner, fellow New Yorker Donald Trump. And later, the debate over Syrian refugees. We`re going to meet a member of Congress who`s actually opened his own home to a refugee. Plus, the terror threat here in New York, at home. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is coming here to HARDBALL live tonight. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Well, the French police leader of Friday night`s Bataclan raid is speaking out, disguised, actually, by a mask to protect his identify. He spoke with "NIGHTLY NEWS" anchor Lester Holt for an exclusive interview.    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LESTER HOLT, ANCHOR, "NBC NIGHTLY NEWS": This was the first thing that went through the door. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly. HOLT: And it`s pretty obvious what happened. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. As soon as we opened the door, the terrorists, one of the terrorists shot, like, between 25 to 40 rounds of AK-47 bullets, so 7.62 (ph) caliber. HOLT: And that`s -- these are these holes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly. Immediately, we got a guy in the middle of the group get hit in the hand. So he fell down because of the pain and... HOLT: One of your officers was hit. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes, in the middle of the group. So we cannot take care of him. We still go. That`s what we -- before and when we prepared (INAUDIBLE) OK, if one of us get wounded or something, nobody stop. We`re still going. There was another group after us, ready to take care of the wounded officer. HOLT: You can`t afford to pause. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, we can`t afford that.    HOLT: So you`re coming in. They`re shooting at you. Did you get eyes -- were you able to see the hostages? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, the first thing we saw that the guy shooting, and a lot of -- maybe 20 hostage between the shooter and us. HOLT: On the floor? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the floor, one of -- some of them -- one of them on the floor. So we were not -- we cannot shoot at the time because it was too risky for the -- for the hostages. But we keep going, keep going, keep going. At one moment, there is some stairs. We didn`t know about it. And the shield (ph) fell down on the hostages. So the first two guys were (INAUDIBLE) without any protection, and they still go. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: What great reporting there. Anyway, this captain`s team also served in a support role yesterday in the Saint-Denis raid. And we`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our strategy should have three main elements.    One, defeat ISIS in Syria, Iraq and across the Middle East. Two, disrupt and dismantle the growing terrorist infrastructure that facilitates the flow of fighters, financing arms and propaganda around the world. Three, harden our defenses and those of our allies against external and homegrown threats. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: That, of course, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton calling for an intensification of President Obama`s effort to fight ISIS and terrorism around the world. Her approach stands in contrast with the front-runner in the Republican Party, also from New York, Donald Trump. This is what he says he would do. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would bomb the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of them. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) TRUMP: I would blow up the pipes. I would blow up the refinery. I would blow up every single inch. There would be nothing left. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Clinton said troops on the ground are necessary, but they shouldn`t come from the United States. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)    CLINTON: Like President Obama, I do not believe that we should again have 100,000 American troops in combat in the Middle East, but we can and should support local and regional ground forces in carrying out this mission. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Trump said twice this week that he would send U.S. troops to fight ISIS. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) TRUMP: If need be, yes. JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR: So, would you at least be willing to send 10,000 U.S. troops over there? TRUMP: Yes, I would, but, Joe, I would engage other countries. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Clinton and Trump are leading their parties, of course. They`re offering a stark contrast in how to defeat ISIS. Ron Reagan is an MSNBC contributor. And Robert Costa is a reporter with "The Washington Post."    Ron, thank you. Why don`t you come here? Give us a sense of the quality, the quantity and the tone of the difference between these two front-runners and how they would get the people we now see as the bad guys. RON REAGAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you see -- you`re essentially seeing with Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump the difference between the two parties. On the one hand, you have a party that is made of -- at least nominally, of adults. This is a sophisticated, multilevel sort of plan that she has laid it here. It`s essentially a neocon plan. And we could argue about that in terms of how many troops of ours when -- if we`re talking special forces are going to end up on the ground. But, to contrast, you have got Donald Trump, who really doesn`t know anything about this and is relying on bluster: "I will bomb the -- out of them" is not a strategy. It`s an attitude. It`s a gut feeling. And it`s understandable, and I`m sure it will appeal to some people, but Hillary Clinton is at least dealing with her mind. She`s got a plan that comes from the intellect, and not just the gut. And that`s the basic distinction between the two, I think. MATTHEWS: No, I think -- I think, Robert, that Hillary Clinton is hugging very close to Obama`s strategy. Maybe it`s a nuance. Maybe it`s an embellishment, but I wouldn`t call it a radical change. That`s strategic for a lot of reasons, I would think. She doesn`t want to get too far from Obama in a way that would look critical, but then again, she risks not being a change agent. She begins to sound like the way things are. And most people don`t like the way things are. ROBERT COSTA, "THE WASHINGTON POST": They may not, but she`s already running a general election campaign. She`s speaking right to those voters who want a steady hand. The primary, in effect, when it comes to foreign policy, it`s over in the way she`s campaigning. MATTHEWS: I got you.    So, she doesn`t have to match the bluster of -- or the B.S. or whatever you want to call it of Donald Trump for the next three or four months, because she`s going to win the nomination? COSTA: Plus, as a reporter, you have to look behind the bombastic rhetoric of Trump. He`s been running a noninterventionist campaign this entire time. MATTHEWS: Yes. COSTA: He`s been more in the Rand Paul-Ron Paul wing. And the key line in that press conference, he said, if need be. He`s not in the Lindsey Graham wing, saying to have troops there now. MATTHEWS: So, what is he saying? Everybody says, if need be. COSTA: He wants to have aggressive airstrikes. He wants to bomb the heck out of them. But when it comes to having a force over there long- term... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: OK. Isn`t that the American nationalist experience, attitude right now, Ron? People want to get talk -- they really do want tough talk, but they don`t want us there where we can get picked off, torn apart, and basically buried in the sand, like we have been in these last wars. REAGAN: Well, indeed. And that`s the difficulty, particularly for Hillary Clinton. And she stressed, of course, in her remarks that she wanted other people to do the heavy lifting in terms of boots on the ground.    MATTHEWS: Yes. REAGAN: She named in particular our Saudi and Turkish allies in terms of helping out in the fight, which they really haven`t done so far. MATTHEWS: What`s your bet on that happening? Ron, what`s your bet on that happening, on the Saudi... REAGAN: I would not put any money on that happening. History would suggest that they`re not going to be eager to get into this fight. And there are all sorts of reasons. We could talk to -- talk about that, but we don`t have time. MATTHEWS: Yes. REAGAN: But Trump`s strategy of just bombing them, bombing the -- out of them, you can bomb all you want, but you have to be able to take and hold ground. Somebody is going to have to have boots on the ground to take and hold ground. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: What`s the sweet spot? COSTA: I think what Chris is saying, Ron, and I think that`s what -- when you talk too Trump campaign aides, he`s looking for the sweet spot on foreign policy. There`s still a weariness within the Republican Party about the George W. Bush era. There`s not a move to shift right back to it just because of Paris. MATTHEWS: We have had two wars over there and we haven`t really come out any better.    But anybody who bets on the Saudis, they don`t do their own laundry, they don`t do their own -- they don`t sweep their own floors. They bring in the Bangladeshis to do everything. Why would they fight a war? Who -- what is the Saudi Arabian army anyway? COSTA: There`s no expectation, when you talk to most lawmakers on Capitol Hill, that the Saudis are going to buy in. This is really waiting to see what NATO does. MATTHEWS: Well, does anybody think Portuguese troops or Belgian troops are going to go in there? Why do we keep talking about stuff that isn`t going to happen? COSTA: Because people like to frame things in American politics, in both the GOP and Democrat, as a coalition. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Coalition of the willing has included us. REAGAN: Well, that`s true, but, Chris, we also don`t talk about things that are happening. And that is, for decades, Saudi Arabia has disseminated a Wahhabist Islamist philosophy to mosques and madrasas all over the world. And that forms the backbone of ISIS` philosophy or ideology. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: That`s really done hell in this country. It`s called 9/11. Thank you, Ron Reagan. Thanks for coming. It looks like you got some sun over there.    And, Robert Costa, thank you for joining us. Up next, as Congress and the president battle over what to do with Syrian refugees, I will speak with one congressman who has actually taken a refugee into his home. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: There is still evil out there. We cannot ignore it. We cannot contain it. We must defeat it. And we must protect our people. The country is uneasy and unsettled. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: God, it sounds like Luke Skywalker. Anyway, welcome back to HARDBALL. That was the speaker of the House himself, Paul Ryan, voicing his concerns over Syrian refugees coming into the country after the Paris attacks. The House today, by the way, approved legislation that would toughen the scrutiny of Syrian refugees wanting to enter the U.S. Forty-seven Democrats, by the way, voted with the Republicans to require tougher screening for Syrian refugees.    Let`s bring in the HARDBALL roundtable. Heidi Przybyla is the senior political reporter for "USA Today." Perry Bacon is NBC News senior political reporter. And Erin McPike is a political reporter with Reuters. Heidi, it seems to me that this bill is going nowhere. Harry Reid on the Senate side, he is in a minority position, but he`s a master of parliamentary trickery. He says he`s going to kill it, forget it. It`s not going to happen. So all this talk about higher standards of who gets in the country is just political posturing. HEIDI PRZYBYLA, "USA TODAY": It`s not political posturing even if they kill it, which they probably will, because the Senate has its own bipartisan bill that Dianne Feinstein and Senator Flake are sponsoring. MATTHEWS: But not this? PRZYBYLA: No, because this is a knee-jerk reaction to focus on the people and the risk that isn`t there. It`s not the proven risk. The proven risk is this visa waiver program. MATTHEWS: People carrying European passports... PRZYBYLA: Yes, people carrying European passports MATTHEWS: ... who can whiz into the country, despite the fact they have been back to Syria back and forth to Syria 50 times. PRZYBYLA: Right. Right. Fifty percent of the refugees who are coming in...    MATTHEWS: So your argument, because you`re being an arguer with me, you`re arguing that it`s somehow good -- some good has come from this Republican thing today they passed today? PRZYBYLA: I wouldn`t go that far, because I think... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I thought you did. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: I thought you did, suggesting that somehow at least -- that it somehow ignited the high I.Q. and grownup-ness of Dianne Feinstein. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I think she needed this from the Republicans to do that. PRZYBYLA: The Republicans will keep pushing this. And this could potentially become a much bigger mess, because they will try and attach it to a spending bill, and, yes, I think it will continue to stoke the fears of the American people. MATTHEWS: So, they will keep pushing this tougher standards for admission by the refugees, whereas the -- Heidi points out the real threat, as we know, from the members of the cells over there, the sleeper cells, the activists who are actually plotting against us who carry passports, like those people apparently who did all the hell last weekend. PERRY BACON, NBC NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, 2,200 refugees have come from Syria in the last five years. This is not a huge number of people coming in, in the first place.    Actually, Michael Chertoff wrote a letter with Napolitano today that the White House released saying that he thinks the current refugee policy is very rigorous. Michael Chertoff, of course, a Republican, served under Bush. So, that tells you, this issue may be, like you said, a knee-jerk reaction. That said, this is not going away, because you know this, that the government funding runs out December 11. And the Republicans are already saying they`re going to think about pushing this and sort of forcing Obama to sign this or they are going to have a government shutdown. And the polling on this issue is with the Republicans, not with the president. MATTHEWS: So the public doesn`t want to take any chances. ERIN MCPIKE, REUTERS: Well, that`s right. But, look, it`s a Republican base issue. And a couple of Republicans were alarmist about it at the beginning. And that`s how the Republican base works. Something catches fire, and then all of the Republicans are jumping on board. But what they are suggesting here is a very bureaucratic, difficult thing to do, when already the administration is saying it is still going to be an 18-to-24-month screening process. The administration didn`t even really have time to message this, because the Republicans acted so fast. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: OK. The president -- we will have a new president within, what, a year-and-a-half, less than a year-and-a-half now. Is Obama worried, though, that if he lets anybody in who becomes a terrorist, he will be blamed personally? BACON: I think that`s true. He will be blamed. And I think the congressmen are worried about that, too. And this whole certification process in the bill basically requires the FBI director and the head of... MATTHEWS: CIA director.    BACON: The CIA director to personally certify that... (CROSSTALK) BACON: It becomes the blame game. MATTHEWS: So, it becomes a simultaneous equation. Everybody has to say that this person is safe. And even then, I guess there`s also a way to share the blame if the guy goes bad. (CROSSTALK) PRZYBYLA: Well, that`s the thing, is, there will be no blame, because the program would effectively be brought to a halt. To go through all of those hoops, these refugees would be caught in some kind of an immigration purgatory. And so, yes, that... MATTHEWS: If they`re caught. PRZYBYLA: Right. MATTHEWS: Well, wasn`t one of the people involved in Paris on Friday night a refugee who came in through the flow, through Greece from Syria? (CROSSTALK)    BACON: That`s not totally -- you know, there`s still some investigation of it. That`s not totally confirmed yet. So, I do think that we`re -- we should look into this more. Like I said, the U.S. has not, up to now at least, had a refugees-causing-crime- problem. That said, I understand -- I understand the congressmen`s reaction to this and the governors` reaction to this. This is scary. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I`m impressed the governor said up in New Hampshire, facing a knife-edge close election with Kelly Ayotte for the Senate seat up there, comes out with a conservative side, a Democrat. MCPIKE: Yes, of course. Look, the national media is covering what the Republicans are saying. It`s actually local press that is starting to talk to each of these Syrian refugees in some of these local places and saying, look, these people are not terrorists. Here is what happening with -- when Syrian refugees are actually placed in certain communities. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: I know. I know. But we understand America about this. I think we all get it. It`s a country that is spooked by this kind of terrorism. And it just is. It`s very reasonable to understand it. You don`t have to agree with it. Our roundtable is sticking with us. Plus, the mayor of New York City is coming here to talk about the threat against his city. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.    (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL DE BLASIO (D), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: I`m here this evening with Commissioner Bratton and other leaders of our police department and the men and women of our department who patrol Times Square to make very, very clear that the people of New York City will not be intimidated. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, late last night, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, as you saw there, spoke out from Times Square after ISIS released a propaganda video suggesting that the iconic Midtown neighborhood of Times Square was a target of the terror group. While many of the clips of New York were used in previous ISIS video published in April, the implied threat comes now in the wake of Friday`s attacks in Paris and just a week before the Macy`s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In the reporting from Paris this week, we have learned from French officials now acting under a state of emergency that there are potentially hundreds or thousands of individuals in that country who have become radicalized, but haven`t yet acted criminally. Similarly, as FBI Director James Comey warned last February, there are investigations into the people in various stages of radicalizing here in our 50 states. I`m joined right now by the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio. Mr. Mayor, it`s great to have you on the show, although it is a sad time. DE BLASIO: Yes.    MATTHEWS: What do you -- what do you think of when you think about the threats to New York and the fact that there are, we are told, radical people -- radicalized people, who haven`t committed any crimes, and therefore can`t be picked up, but are right now thinking how much they hate this country, hate your city, and might well be on the verge of a criminal act? DE BLASIO: Chris, I think that the New York City Police Department is prepared in every way -- I really do. The fact is that we obviously know of some people who have been a cause for concern, and there`s a long history of ensuring that those people don`t do anything to harm this city. We`ve had 14 years since 9/11. And there`s not been a successful terrorist attack. Now, the reason I think we can say with some assurance we`re going to continue that tradition is because we have an extraordinary anti-terror capacity in this city. For a long time, New York City has maintained a separate anti-terrorism capability. We work now more and more closely with our federal partners, but we have our own capacity, including offices around the world, the NYPD, that gather intelligence, help us prepare. We just added 500 anti-terror officers, our critical response command, to help prevent terrorism, but also in the event we have a lone wolf that was undetectable, so that we can respond with a heavily armed, well-trained force very, very quickly, even at multiple locations. So, we`re in a high state of readiness and we have a great track record of prevention. MATTHEWS: You know, years ago, John Lindsey, the mayor of New York, he was a Republican, but he said there`s no Republican way to collect garbage. His argument was some things just have to be done regardless of your ideology or party label. You are a pretty well-known progressive, sir. And I wondered if -- is there a nuance of difference in the way you would go after the situation or Rudy Giuliani would go after it ideologically, or is it just a question of police work? DE BLASIO: Well, I`d say a couple of things. First, I think a muscular capacity is something that probably cuts across party lines in this city. And Mayor Bloomberg put together a strong anti-terror element in the New York City Police Department. I give him a lot of credit for that. We`ve had to add to that and build upon it, because we`re dealing with a new threat with ISIS and new dynamics. That`s why we added 500 more officers, a lot more training and equipment, et cetera. In terms of some of the strategies we employ -- look, I believe fundamentally that one of the best strategies is to draw all communities closer to our city government, to our police -- MATTHEWS: Yes. DE BLASIO: -- so that there`s actually the trust and the flow of information. That includes our Muslim community. We`ve worked very hard to improve our policies, to end some of the surveillance efforts that people in the Muslim community found to be an invasion of their right, to add new elements. For example, we`ve added two school holidays, Muslim school holidays that have been very, very important, passionate cause of concern for the Muslim community for years. That is part of saying to the community, look, we are all together, the vast majority of Muslims in this city and this country, a law-abiding loyal Americans. We want them to know we`re with them and they`re with us in the fight against terror.    MATTHEWS: That gets to my point. This week, the front-runner, of course, of the Republican side, if you look at the polls, Donald Trump of New York, said he`d strongly consider -- these are careful words -- closing mosques as a counter-terrorism measure if he was president. On Monday, I asked former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani whether he agreed with Trump. Here`s what Giuliani had to say. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: I don`t agree you shut them down, but I do agree that you can have police in there listening to what they`re doing. In fact, I`m the mayor who put the police in, Bloomberg continued, and de Blasio took them out. It saved us, I would say, two or three attacks. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: He`s talking about putting police into mosques. Sir, where do you stand on that? DE BLASIO: We believe that we have exceptional intelligence gathering capacity and the ability to prevent attacks without violating people`s constitutional rights and without alienating the very community we want to work with us more closely. NYPD is very much on top of the situation, including people that might be a cause for concern, but we don`t achieve that by, quote/unquote, "putting people in mosques". We don`t achieve that with some of the other -- previous efforts that were very alienating to the community. We achieve it with good police work, good partnership with our federal authorities, which, bluntly, there wasn`t enough of in the past. And now, there`s a seamlessness between the FBI, NYPD and other agencies. But, look, let`s get to the Trump quote. It is absolutely a misunderstanding of the United States Constitution and our values to say let`s think about shutting down a house of worship. That goes against the founding ideals of the country. And think about, if you`re a Muslim- American, law-abiding loyal citizen, think about what that sounds like. Chris, you`ve talked a lot about the history in this country of Catholic leaders -- obviously, we all think about what JFK went through when he ran for president -- what if people were saying at any point of history, let`s close down Catholic churches because we disagree with what some cardinals are saying or what senators were saying? It really flies in the face of our values, and bluntly, it`s almost like propaganda for our enemies who want to convince Muslims around the world that America is their enemy. We should be disproving ISIS`s theories, not helping to reinforce them.    MATTHEWS: You know I love our country`s freedom and -- we were talking tonight about "The New York Times". You probably read today, Mr. Mayor -- Mike Schmidt wrote it. He put together the conundrum that the law enforcement people at the federal level are facing. You do in New York City since it`s maybe a target, who knows? And the talked about the problem that the FBI anxious, because they know that people are out there who make speeches against our country, who Twitter really anti-American lines, they talk about support for ISIS even directly. They also have access under our Second Amendment outside of New York to go around and buy a heavy hardware. They can buy AK-47. So, we have a country, you put the First and Second Amendment together, and you throw in zealotry, religious-based zealotry, and we have a problem of predicting how the powder when it`s going to blow. Doesn`t that worry -- it worries me. DE BLASIO: It worries me for sure, but I want to start at the beginning. Those same exact facts you`ve delineated are exactly right. Well, that`s what`s going on with militias around the country, that aren`t about foreign terrorism. They`re homegrown, sadly. They target law enforcement officials willingly, that and they in the same exact reality. They`re people who use violence against America, against law enforcement. They can get those weapons as you described. These campus shooters who often don`t have any ideology, they have a mental health problems, they can get these weapons. You`re entirely right, the laws in this country governing the use of guns don`t stop this violence from happening in many, many forms, but I agree with you, possibly the most galling of all is that a terrorist who wants to attack the United States of America and says it out loud can still get a gun at a store in this country even if they`re on a list that identifies them as a danger. You know, I`d like to believe that the NRA and others -- MATTHEWS: Two thousand of them have done it. DE BLASIO: Say again? MATTHEWS: Two thousand have done it.    DE BLASIO: Two thousand have done it. MATTHEWS: According to -- have done it. And, by the way, the NRA is nondiscriminatory when it comes to who gets guns. They`re for everybody getting them, including terrorists. DE BLASIO: Well, this is -- you know what? Maybe -- maybe this is a moment for some revelation, because people are waking up to the threats we`re facing around the world more and more. Maybe it`s something that will jolt the debate in this country on the availability of guns, just like the campus massacres. I`ve got to believe at some point there`s a critical mass that actually changes our politics and changes our policies. MATTHEWS: You know, I thought when Bobby Kennedy, the senator for New York, was killed by an Arab terrorist, because he didn`t like what Bobby was saying about, where we should our embassy in Israel, that was the basis of his mission, if you will, Sirhan Sirhan. I wrote my congressman. I thought that would stir a change on gun control. It didn`t. Anyway, Mayor De Blasio is going to stick with us. I want to talk to you -- thanks for sticking around -- I want to talk about this refugee debate, which is very related to the one we`re talking about, the fears people have. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Republican front-runner Donald Trump was asked if he would consider registering Muslims in a database and tracking them by their religion, according to Yahoo, he wouldn`t rule it out. Quote, "We`re going to have to -- well, we`re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely," Trump said, when presented with the idea. "We`re going to have to look at the mosque. We`re going to have to look very, very carefully." We`ll be back with New York Mayor Bill De Blasio, right after this.    (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We`re back with New York Mayor Bill De Blasio. Now, let`s talk about another matter, the long-term issue of Syrian refugees, Mr. Mayor. Republicans have taken a tough stand opposing their admission to the country. Let`s look at what 2016 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said about the debate yesterday. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The people who are pushing for us to take them in, interestingly, they`re not pushing for them to come into their neighborhoods. I don`t say people saying let`s send them to Martha`s Vineyard, let`s send them to Chappaqua, let`s send them to the upper west side of Manhattan. You know, the people who are asking for this live behind gated communities and are generally guarded by armed guards. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Mr. Mayor, I don`t know how ethnically directed that was, but it sounded -- DE BLASIO: Wow. MATTHEWS: -- like that. I mean, Martha`s Vineyard and the upper west side. I would be careful the way this guy does his targeting. But I don`t think you have gated communities along Amsterdam Avenue, just a thought.    DE BLASIO: Yes, Broadway, not a lot of armed guards and gated communities on Broadway, New York City. That is a correct statement, Chris. Unbelievable. Chris, I -- look, the bottom line here is, this is the kind of thing that really speaks against everything we are as a country. We are a country of immigrants. We are a country that is known for being humanitarian, compassionate in the world. We are trying to send a message to 1.6 billion Muslims, the vast majority of whom are peace-loving, law-abiding, that we care about them and their humanity, too. And here are hundreds of thousands of people being forced out of their country by Muslim extremism, by terrorism, and instead of embracing them and saying how can we help, here we have presidential candidates acting like we`re no longer America, we no longer want to help people in need. I referenced the other day a study or I should say a public opinion survey. This -- you`ll appreciate it this as a student of history. 1938 "Fortune" magazine survey of American voters: 67 percent said we should not accept Jews fleeing Nazi violence and persecution. 1938. And look at the results of the policies that then ensued because of public opinion. We can`t let this kind of negative attitude underlie -- undermine I should say who we are as Americans. MATTHEWS: By the way, I just read Martin Goldsmith`s book about that, about his going back over -- what happened to his relatives who were on the St. Louis -- DE BLASIO: Right. MATTHEWS: -- who were sent back to Europe and that was not a good end for any of them. Mayor De Blasio, thank you so much for coming to us from New York. DE BLASIO: Thank you, Chris. MATTHEWS: When we return, a member of the United States Congress who himself took in an Iraqi refugee.    You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Joining me right now is U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton of Massachusetts. He`s a member of the Armed Services Committee, was captain in the marines, served four tours of duty in Iraq, earning the Bronze Star. Congressman Moulton voted no today on that House bill to restrict Syrian refugees. In 2007, Moulton`s family actually hosted an Iraqi refugee. Congressman, tell us about Mohammed, the guy you befriended and who you trusted and brought to this country. REP. SETH MOULTON (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Mohammed`s amazing. And honestly, I don`t know anyone who more exemplifies the American dream. He actually came to the United States on his own on a Fulbright scholarship to get his master`s degree and intended to go back to his home in Iraq. But his family was persecuted when he got here. They actually had to move cities because they were so threatened by the insurgents. And so, he sought asylum. And while he was seeking asylum, he lived with my parents. Now, since then he became one of the first Arabic -- the first Arabic teacher at a local high school. He`s become a real friend of the community, a regular speaker at Rotary Club events and everything else. The community, my hometown, embraced him, and America is better off for having him here -- someone who literally put his life on the line for our country when he was my translator in Iraq. MATTHEWS: You know, we all love when people become Americanized. We love people coming here and becoming American. I love in fact what Rubio talks about his grandfather teaching him American values in Spanish. How do we get people to assimilate? I mean, that`s what people are afraid they`ll stay in their own community, they might be radicalized. We don`t know what`s going to happen. But if they`re American, really do become Americans, talk like us even, we really do like it. MOULTON: Well, that`s right. And you know --    MATTHEWS: It`s not like we`re against foreigners if they become Americans. MOULTON: It`s actually not that hard. All we need to do is uphold our values and show the world that our values apply to all. And we`re not going to make caveats for Muslims or Syrians or whatnot. We need to uphold the values that make us strong and are opposed to the values that ISIS is trying to defeat us with. MATTHEWS: Thanks for coming through the rain up in New York tonight to get on the show. Thank you. U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton of Massachusetts. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. 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