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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 11/24/15

Guests: Yamiche Alcindor, Simon Marks, Greg Miller, Jeff Mason, April Ryan,Sabrina Siddiqui

STEVE KORNACKI, GUEST HOST: Chicago`s mayor calls for calm after the release of a videotape of a white police officer shooting and killing a black teenager. This is HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Steve Kornacki, in for Chris Matthews. Breaking news tonight. Chicago is bracing for protests after the release of dashcam video footage that shows Chicago officer Jason Van Dyke shooting and killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in a deadly and disturbing confrontation last October. Officer Van Dyke has now been charged with first degree murder for shooting McDonald without legal justification. The dashcam footage has been known to reporters and local activists for some time. They`ve been seeking its release for months now, and a county judge ruled last week that the video must be released to the public. Prosecutors describe the video as, quote, "violent" and "chilling." There is no audio on this recording. What you will see is graphic. It does not have sound, though. It is graphic, however, and it may be disturbing. (VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: What you just saw there is a portion of what authorities have released tonight. We have stopped the video after those first shots were fired. Now, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and the police superintendent addressed the volatile situation in a press conference that wrapped up just in the last hour, Mayor Emanuel urging his city to remain calm.   (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL (D), CHICAGO: I understand that people will be upset and will want to protest when they see this video. But I would like to echo the comments of the McDonald family. They have asked for calm and for those who choose to speak out to do it peacefully. They say they do not want violence to be resorted in Laquan`s name, but let his legacy be better than that. It is fine to be passionate, but it is essential that it remain peaceful. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: And NBC`s Morgan Radford joins me now from Chicago. So Morgan, this video had to come out. There was a court order saying so. I know the mayor earlier this year had not necessarily been in favor of that. Now people, as our viewers -- as we all are, just digesting this for the first time. Set the scene for us, what`s going on in Chicago right now. MORGAN RADFORD, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, we`re bracing because this is a city on the edge. We`re bracing for protests tonight, and again protests that are scheduled on Friday. But Steve, I want to walk you and the viewers through this video that we saw just released now. In it, you see Laquan McDonald standing almost eerily in the center of the street, and then you see him clearly walking away from the police dashcam video. Then suddenly, you see him spin. You can`t tell if he`s spun by his own volition or he`s spun by the power of the bullet because immediately, you see him drop down in the middle of the street and see smoke rising from his body and his body suddenly jerking. Again, this is a video, as you mentioned, that the Chicago Police Department did not want released for months. But in fact, the family of Laquan McDonald also didn`t want this video released. They have called for peace on the streets of Chicago tonight. And you even heard Mayor Rahm Emanuel just an hour ago saying, We understand that it`s fine to be passionate, but it`s essential to remain peaceful. Meanwhile, right behind me, 37-year-old Officer Jason Van Dyke is behind bars, and this is the courthouse where he was charged today with first degree murder. Again, this is one of the few times in Chicago`s history that an on-duty police officer has been charged with such a crime, Steve. KORNACKI: All right, NBC`s Morgan Radford in Chicago, thank you for that. And joining me now are MSNBC national correspondent Joy Reid, MSNBC law enforcement analyst Jim Cavanaugh and national reporter Yamiche Alcindor.   Jim, I want to start with you, but first, I want to make sure to get in here -- this is a statement -- we saw the video, we saw portions of the video for (ph) you (ph). Here is a statement from the attorney for the officer who`s charged here, Officer Van Dyke. This is what he is saying about the video. Quote, "The video by nature is two-dimensional, so the problem is it distorts distances and distances, and depth perception are important. The most critical problem is that the video does not depict what my client was seeing. It is not a video from the eyes of my client." So Jim, the lawyer for the officer here is basically saying, Look, if you had a video camera from the perspective of this officer, you`d be seeing something very different right now. How does that sound to you? JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I mean, that`s the argument that the officer`s attorney is going to make, certainly that, you know, he saw maybe he thought he was coming toward him. But one thing that`s telling in this video is you can see the white lines of the street, so you can see where Laquan McDonald is and you can see where the officer who fired 16 rounds at him is standing, as well. And you can pretty well, you know, figure out that distance. And I`m sure the detectives and the Cook County DA did that. Also, this is not a shoot situation. I disagree with that assessment. This man has a knife, and you have distance. He`s on a deserted street, and you have multiple officers. You also can get the protection of your vehicle from a man with a knife. And you do -- it`s you back off. There`s a fence on the side, and you try to keep him penned in toward the fence. If he advances on an officer, aggressively advances, certainly, you could have the right to shoot him and continue to shoot him until he stopped advancing, even multiple shots. But in this case, the man`s walking parallel to the officer. The officer could take a step back. There was already distance between them. And of course, shooting him on the ground, I mean, just outrageous. I mean, first degree murder is what the DA said. I mean, I think the video is going to be very difficult for the officer to overcome. KORNACKI: Yes, Joy, on that point there, first degree murder -- a lot of people -- again, we showed a portion of the video there, but a lot of people surprised not so much that the officer is being charged but that the charge is first degree murder. So unusual to see that charge brought against a police officer. What do you think of that? JOY REID, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and I think that the cynics would suggest that first degree murder is such a high bar that it might be difficult to actually convict on it, unless Chicago -- unless Illinois law provides for lesser included offenses that the prosecutor then argues for at the closing of that trial. So I think there are legitimate questions that are raised in these cases, what level of charges are brought. But I think the other big question here is the time that it took because while we are just seeing this video for the first time as the result of a lawsuit, a freedom of information lawsuit that was filed by an independent journalist, the Chicago Police Department has had this video for a year. This shooting took place in October of 2014. So the Chicago Police Department, and presumably the city of Chicago, the DA, they`ve known the facts of this shooting.   And as Chris Hayes, our colleague, has been discussing on the air in the hour before this one, the fact that that was known did not prompt these charges to be filed six months ago or eight months ago or ten months ago or a year ago. So I think that what the public is looking at is a situation where cities remain incredibly reluctant to bring charges against police officers even when such blatant facts are known to them. And I think that`s what people are out there protesting about, not so much about whether or not they can see a videotape. KORNACKI: Yes, and Yamiche, we`re talking now about protests presumably starting tonight in Chicago, the city bracing, Mayor Emanuel calling for calm here, calling for nonviolent protests. Obviously, I think back, you know, a year, a year-and-a-half ago to Ferguson. I know you covered that. There were a couple days there, we would get to about this time of day and we would start asking the question, Well, what does tonight hold? This video, as we -- again, just out, everybody`s digesting it for the first time. What do you expect Chicago`s going to look like tonight? YAMICHE ALCINDOR, NATIONAL REPORTER: I think Chicago has a lot in common with the other cities where we`ve seen things either get a little bit dicey or things get even sometimes violent. I think, though, that Chicago has all these leaders and all these people in the family of this young man urging for peace. And I think that in that regard, we`ll see, I think, peaceful protests in Chicago because Chicago is a place that people know that these things -- that officers -- it`s hard to charge officers, that they know that violence prevails (ph) that city. They know that there`s segregation blacks and whites -- between blacks and whites in that city. It has a long history of racial issues. So I think that`s to say that this one issue is -- this one video might push people over the edge could be naive, this idea that this city knows issues -- you know, that they had that little boy, the little 9-year- old get shot for what police were calling a gang shooting. All those things have been happening in Chicago, and we`ve been talking about Chicago for years now. So I can`t say that this video of this young man, while tragic -- and myself watching it was kind of overwhelmed with grief and really sad for that young man`s family, no matter what happens for that officer, whether or not he`s actually ultimately convicted or not, just the fact that you can watch somebody`s life end, someone who`s only 17. But I think what you have these people asking for peace, asking for calm, kind of like Trayvon Martin`s family did, kind of like Michael Brown`s family did, it`s going to be up to Chicago how they take this. But I`m kind of of the thought that Chicago`s going to be able to protest peacefully. They`re going to be able to get their words out. And when I say peaceful, I mean they`re still going to be passionate. They`re still probably going to be yelling at police officers` face. There might be still -- they might still be something that`s hard to watch. But I think -- and when I think of peaceful, I think of -- I don`t know if we`re going to see looting. I don`t know if we`re going to see cars burning. So that`s what I mean by peaceful, but I think the passion will still be there.   KORNACKI: Well, Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, was adamant in tonight`s press conference that Officer Van Dyke does not represent the culture of the Chicago PD. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) EMANUEL: Anybody who is there to uphold the law cannot act like they`re above the law. And that is both (ph) a principle that is used to make sure it reflects the culture in the police department. And I want to say one thing. There are men and women, both in leadership (INAUDIBLE) and rank and file, who follow and live by that principle every day. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: All right, so Joy, you have the mayor there appealing to the community, saying, Look, you know, don`t judge the police department by this one officer, urging calm. What do we know about the relationship between the black community in Chicago and Rahm Emanuel? Is he -- and his police department. Is he in position right now to make a statement like that and be viewed credibly? REID: Yes, I mean, I don`t think that just based on, you know, my understanding of Chicago politics, that he is overwhelmingly popular with African-Americans, Mayor Emanuel. But I think that what will be most dispositive in the way that people view the Chicago police will not be this video, it will be the comportment of police officers during the protests because I think we need to have a bit more nuanced understanding of what takes place when masses of people take to the streets in these Black Lives Matter protests. I covered the 40,000-person-strong march in New York, which was entirely peaceful because police officers, whatever people were chanting as they were walking through the streets, however passionate the protesters were, did not react to those protests, whereas in Ferguson, you had a highly militaristic reaction. You had pepper spray being used. You had tear gas being used. You essentially had a military-style response to peaceful protests that heightened the tension. I think that much of what happens in Chicago tonight is up to the Chicago Police Department, quite frankly. The protesters that are out there are not protesting a non-indictment. They`re not out there protesting what they see as a lack of justice. In this case, from the point of view of the family, justice has been done. There`s been a settlement in this case, and there have been charges. So I think that what you ought to expect is that people will exercise their 1st Amendment rights and that the city of Chicago`s public safety department will simply keep public safety. And I think if there`s no confrontational sort of stance between the two, I think that things will be peaceful and fine.   KORNACKI: All right, thank you, Joy Reid, Jim Cavanaugh and Yamiche Alcindor. And we should note, there are at this moment that we know of no protests going on on the streets of children. We will wait to see what the night brings as people digest news of this video. We`ll have much more, obviously, throughout this hour on the reaction in the city of Chicago. And coming up -- President Obama and French president Hollande plan their strategy against ISIS, but their plans to build a broad coalition to fight the terror network took a hit today when Turkey shot down a Russian fighter plane. That`s ahead. Plus, don`t look now, but here comes Ted Cruz. With two months to go before the Iowa caucuses, Cruz is soaring in the polls while Donald Trump is getting blasted for, quote, "racist lies." And the focus on terrorism is causing voters in New Hampshire to give Chris Christie a second look. Can the New Jersey governor make an improbable comeback on the campaign trail? Finally, the HARDBALL roundtable will surprise us all by telling me something I don`t know. It`s actually not that very hard to do. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KORNACKI: We are coming back with the fight against ISIS, President Obama and French president Hollande today vowing to destroy the terror group, and much more on the release of that videotape showing a Chicago police officer fatally shooting a black teenager in Chicago. Back after this.   (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KORNACKI: And welcome back to HARDBALL. Eleven days after ISIS terrorists murdered 130 people in Paris and France`s government vowed merciless war against the group, that country`s president, Francois Hollande, met with President Obama at the White House this morning to discuss the fight. Both leaders said the countries were on the same page. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re here today to declare that the United States and France stand united in total solidarity to deliver justice to these terrorists and those who sent them and to defend our nations. This barbaric terrorist group, ISIL or Daesh, and its murderous ideology poses a serious threat to all of us. It cannot be tolerated. It must be destroyed. And we must do it together. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: But trying to build a broad coalition to defeat ISIS just got a lot more complicated. Earlier today, Turkey`s air force shot down a Russian fighter jet, a dramatic event that was captured on videotape. According to Turkey, the Russian plane ignored repeated warnings not to enter its airspace. Russia has denied that. Not surprisingly, there was a combative reaction from Moscow. According to NBC, quote, "Visibly furious, Russian president Vladimir Putin responded to the Turkish version of event by calling the event a stab in the back by terrorist helpers." President Obama said Russia`s actions in Syria have made this kind of conflict more likely. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: I do think that this points to an ongoing problem with the Russian operations in the sense that they are operating very close to a Turkish border and they are going after moderate opposition that are supported by not only Turkey but a wide range of countries. (END VIDEO CLIP)   KORNACKI: Jeff Mason covers the White House for Reuters, Simon Marks is chief correspondent for Feature Story News, and Greg Miller is a national security correspondent for "The Washington Post." Well, Simon, let me start with you. You`re sort of an expert when it comes to Putin and Russia. So this military plane being shot down today by Turkey -- Putin obviously very mad about it. The question is, what is he going to do about it? SIMON MARKS, FEATURE STORY NEWS: Well, look, I think, Steve, that it provides him with a major opportunity to continue down the path that he`s on. Look at what happened today. For the first time in 50 years, a Russian fighter jet was shot down by a member state of NATO, and then Turkmen rebels -- Vladimir Putin will argue allied with the United States - - killed the two pilots as they were parachuting to what they thought was safety by shooting at them with small arms from the ground. If you`re Vladimir Putin, you will certainly communicate your fury about this. And you will also say that this demonstrates why the United States is absolutely on the wrong track in Syria, and that`s why you will reject overtures by Francois Hollande in the Kremlin later this week to get on board with that coalition. KORNACKI: And President Obama sending sort of the exact opposite message about Russia today. He called Russia the outlier in the war against ISIS. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: We`ve got a coalition of 65 countries who`ve been active in pushing back against ISIL for quite some time. Russia right now is a coalition of two, Iran and Russia supporting Assad. I think it`s important to remember that we`ve got a global coalition organized. Russia`s the outlier. We hope that they refocus their attention on what is the most substantial threat and that they serve as a constructive partner. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: Well, Greg, if Russia is the outlier, it`s a pretty big outlier and it`s very active in Syrian airspace right now. If you`re going to have a united front against ISIS, something that does include Russia, how would it be possible to get everybody on the same page right now? GREG MILLER, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Right. And what happened today just shows how combustible things are around Syria. As chaotic as they are inside that civil war, where you have so many different factions fighting one another, the players involved now on the outside reaching into Syria, it`s also extremely complicated.   You would have thought, after the Russian airliner was downed by the Islamic State, that that would have given Russia abundant motivation to begin targeting the Islamic State and not the enemies of Assad as obviously, but this just frays whatever potential there was for some agreement between Russia and the rest of the coalition that Obama just mentioned. KORNACKI: Now, Jeff, in terms of the United States in France, because that was the meeting at the White House, those two presidents getting together, they claimed they pledged joint resolve to go after ISIS. I know Hollande basically said he didn`t want a commitment of French ground troops. President Obama certainly hasn`t been interested in American ground troops. Did you see any strategy, a specific strategy emerge from this meeting today? JEFF MASON, REUTERS: Well, I think the first bit of a strategy that they articulated is that they want to coordinate more. That`s something that President Obama made a point of saying in his opening statement. They want to share intelligence better. And they want to work together to bring a coalition together that is strong and that can fight against Islamic State, or ISIS. In terms of ground troops and any sort of a strategy there, you`re absolutely right. Both presidents said they do not intend or desire to send troops from the United States or from France on to the ground. And I don`t expect to see that changing any time soon. KORNACKI: Yes, Jeff, I guess that`s the question then of ground troops. You certainly have others, particularly on the Republican side, who are talking about larger commitments of ground troops. Obviously, you couldn`t have a Republican president for more than a year, if at that. But what would it take at this point to shift the discussion to actually putting ground troops over there? Is that something that you could see on the horizon at all? MASON: I don`t see that on the horizon under the Obama White House, absolutely not. Remember, this is a president who came to power on the back of a promise to take American forces off of the battlefield. He did that in Iraq. He did that in Afghanistan, or is doing it, and he`s certainly not eager to start sending more troops back on to the battlefield in the last year that he`s president. On the other hand, he`s sensitive to the criticism that he`s not doing enough. And that`s why he`s continuing to articulate the fact that this broader strategy, piece by piece, and getting a lot of countries in on it together, and also showing the solidarity that he showed today with Hollande is the way to go. KORNACKI: All right.   And, Greg, you recently reported on the ISIS propaganda machine inside Syria. You talked to defectors and prisoners. And you wrote -- quote -- "What they described resembles a medieval reality show. Camera crews fan out across the caliphate every day, their ubiquitous presence distorting the events they purportedly document. Battle scenes and public beheadings are so scripted and staged, that fighters and executioners often perform multiple takes and read their lines from cue cards. You`re describing a very sophisticated propaganda machine here. Tell us a little bit about that. MILLER: It`s -- one of the defectors that we talked to described it as an army of propagandists, that this is a -- this exists as a special class within the Islamic State that has privileges that even fighters don`t enjoy, including better cars, better homes to live in, better salaries. It`s that big a priority for the Islamic State. And what you just alluded to is this level of control and scripting and orchestration that happens inside Syria. And then this group takes advantage of the chaos of the Internet and social media to get its message out to followers in a very broad, global way. KORNACKI: All right. Jeff Mason, Simon Marks, Greg Miller, thanks for your time. Appreciate that. And coming up, Ted Cruz is on the rise, while Donald Trump is getting skewered by "The New York Times" for spreading what they call racist lies. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KORNACKI: Welcome back to HARDBALL.   New numbers out of the crucial state of Iowa may soon change the dynamic of the Republican race for president. The newest Quinnipiac poll of likely Republican caucus-goers shows that Senator Ted Cruz has skyrocketed into second place with 23 percent. He is just two points behind Donald Trump. That is within the margin of error. That is a 13-point gain for Cruz in Iowa just since last month. And that gain appears to be coming at the expense of Ben Carson. He has seen a significant 10-point drop in the state in the same time. In many ways, Cruz is tailor-made for the electorate of Iowa, where roughly six in 10 Republican voters identify themselves as evangelical Christians. He`s conservative. He has got strong evangelical appeal. And despite holding elective office, he is still anti-establishment. Throughout this race, Ted Cruz and front-runner Donald Trump have avoided direct attacks on each other, but Trump did issue a warning to Cruz earlier this month on CNBC. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, he`s been very nice and very supportive of everything I have said, more than anybody else, and we will see what happens. If he catches on, then I guess we will have to go to war. But so far, we haven`t. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: And I`m joined now by NBC`s Hallie Jackson, Robert Costa, national political reporter at "The Washington Post," and NBC`s Katy Tur, who`s at a Trump event in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, that`s going on behind her right now. Robert, let me start with you just on this poll out of Iowa now and where this Republican race stands in Iowa. So, it looks like, is this as simple as, the evangelicals who are such an important part of that Republican electorate in Iowa, they`re giving up on Carson and they`re moving to Cruz? ROBERT COSTA, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I wouldn`t say they`re giving up on Carson. They`re certainly starting to fade away from the doctor. You see people Cruz connecting as someone who is a movement conservative, who has roots on the right. When I was there with Cruz over the weekend, he was connecting with them in a visceral way, talking about his faith and the future of the country.   And he`s avoided attacks from Trump for this entire campaign, but they could be coming as he continues to ascend. KORNACKI: Yes, Katy, that`s something I`m starting to notice with Ted Cruz. He made a kind of opaque statement over the weekend, saying that some in the Republican Party, he refused to name names, but he said some of the rhetoric has not been helpful on immigration. He talked about how tone matters. He is saying he doesn`t think Donald Trump will win Iowa. And Donald Trump saying he is not going to put up with it. At what point does he start turning on Ted Cruz, do you think? KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, they have had this unofficial alliance so far, but he has said repeatedly that he`s only a counterpuncher. So far, Ted Cruz himself hasn`t warranted a counterpuch from Trump. But then again, Carson didn`t really punch Trump, and Trump started punching him quite hard, mercilessly criticizing him when he started to beat him in polls in Iowa, just being mercilessly -- being merciless with it. I`m sorry. It`s so loud back there, it`s hard to hear myself think. So we do expect that if anyone is going to start punching first, it`s going to be Donald Trump. It`s unclear what he`s going to punch Ted Cruz on. He`s not quite as vulnerable, certainly, as Ben Carson was. KORNACKI: Yes, I think Donald Trump considers it a punch if you move ahead of him in the polls. That`s the lesson I learned from the Ben Carson example. Anyway, Trump today was pressed -- over last night was pressed about the inaccurate statistics that he retweeted on Sunday. These are statistics that falsely suggested that African-Americans are responsible for a majority of homicides against whites. Here`s how Trump explained himself to Bill O`Reilly. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE O`REILLY FACTOR")   BILL O`REILLY, HOST, "THE O`REILLY FACTOR": I never saw any racism from you. However, when you tweet out a thing -- and this bothered me, I got to tell you -- you tweeted out that whites killed by blacks, these are statistics you picked up from somewhere, at a rate of 81 percent. And that`s totally wrong. Whites killed by blacks is 15 percent. Yet you tweeted it was 81 percent. Now... DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bill, I didn`t tweet. I retweeted somebody that was supposedly an expert... O`REILLY: Yes, but you don`t want to be... (CROSSTALK) TRUMP: ... and who was also -- a radio show. O`REILLY: Why do you want to be in that zone? TRUMP: Well, hey, Bill, Bill, am I going to check every statistic? I get millions and millions of people. (CROSSTALK) O`REILLY: You got to. You`re a presidential contender. You got to check. TRUMP: I have millions of...   O`REILLY: Don`t do this. Don`t put your name on stuff like this, because it makes the other side, it gives them stuff to tell the ill- informed voter that you`re a racist. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: And Trump also tripled down on his claim that he saw a video of thousands of New Jersey Muslims celebrating on 9/11. And in a scathing editorial today, "The New York Times" compared Donald Trump to demagogues like Joe McCarthy and George Wallace, writing -- quote -- "America has just lived through another presidential campaign week dominated by Donald Trump`s racist lies. In the Republican field, Mr. Trump has distinguished himself as fastest to dive to the bottom. If it`s a lie to vile to utter aloud, count on Mr. Trump to say it often. History teaches that failing to hold a demagogue to account is a dangerous act. It`s no easy task for journalists to interrupt Mr. Trump with the facts, but it`s an important one." Well, Hallie, let me ask you about that, because the principle "The New York Times" is talking about there is certainly a well-established one. At the same time, there`s a school of thought out there that if the media in general and an outlet like "The New York Times" in particular with such a reputation on the right for being a liberal organ, that if they try to -- quote -- "hold Donald Trump accountable," it only makes Donald Trump`s base rally around him that much more, no matter what they`re saying. HALLIE JACKSON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: That`s exactly it, Steve. And when you`re reading this op-ed from "The New York Times," this editorial piece, all I can think is, Donald Trump does not care what "The New York Times" has to say about him. And if he does care, it`s so that he can hold it up in front of his crowd of thousands, so that everybody can jeer "The Times" and jeer the rest of the media. This is something that Donald Trump has done well, that Ben Carson has does well. They have taken questions about some of their rhetoric, about some of their incorrect claims, and they flip it around. They make themselves into essentially the victim. They portray themselves as victims of a biased and liberal mainstream media. It works with their supporters. I spoke with one woman over the weekend in Iowa. She`s an undecided voter. This was just a couple of days ago. And I asked her about some of these claims that Trump is making. And she said, "Yes, they may not be right, but I don`t trust the media to tell me that they`re not right." KORNACKI: Yes. So, Robert Costa, I`m trying to play this out a little bit. We have Ted Cruz moving up in Iowa right now, this one poll showing almost a tie in Iowa right now. For the Republicans who are looking to trip Donald Trump up, I guess the scenario would be, you would need Cruz or somebody, but let`s say it`s Cruz, to knock him off in Iowa.   Then you would have to go to New Hampshire, Trump right now ahead in New Hampshire. He`s basically doubling up his nearest competitor. When you look at New Hampshire, who`s the biggest threat to him there? If it`s Cruz in Iowa, who`s the biggest threat to Trump in New Hampshire? COSTA: Well, in the polls, Trump is way ahead in New Hampshire. Christie`s trying to come back with town hall meetings. Rand Paul has a libertarian base there. You see Senator Graham is taking trips, talking about his hawkish views. And I think Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio`s campaigns are making a real play for New Hampshire. At the same time, there`s a reluctance, Steve -- and I have spoken to many of these establishment donors today -- to take on Trump. They`re not funding the anti-Trump super PACs. They`re not putting the big money against him. One of the reasons is, they think, if they engage, everyone else who has done so has stumbled. The other reason is, if they take out Trump, they think Cruz will rise, and Cruz will become even more formidable. KORNACKI: Yes. Excuse me. Yes. And, Hallie Jackson, Robert Costa, Katy Tur, thanks for joining us tonight. Excuse me there. And when we come back, we will go back to the breaking story out of Chicago, the release of that video of a black teenager shot and killed by a white police officer. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) PAGE HOPKINS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Page Hopkins. And here`s what`s happening. President Obama has awarded the Medal of Freedom to 17 recipients, including Steven Spielberg and Barbra Streisand, as well as baseball great Yogi Berra, who was awarded the medal posthumously. It is the nation`s highest civilian honor.   An explosion on board a bus in Tunisia has killed at least 12 presidential guards in the country`s capital. No group has claimed responsibility for that blast. Two deadly attacks earlier this year were claimed by ISIS -- and now we`re going to take you back to HARDBALL. KORNACKI: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Now back to our top story tonight. Protesters are in the streets of Chicago after the release of a disturbing video showing a Chicago police officer shooting and killing a black teenager. Jason Van Dyke, the white Chicago police officer who shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald to death in October of last year, is facing first-degree murder charges tonight. Just a short time ago, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy pleaded for calm. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GARRY MCCARTHY, CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: People have a right to protest, people have a right to free speech, but they do not have a right to make criminal acts. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: And joining us now is the HARDBALL roundtable, April Ryan is White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, Sabrina Siddiqui is a reporter for "The Guardian", and here in New York, we have MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber. Well, Ari, you`ve been following this very closely. Let me start with you. What do we know on the terms of the timing of all of this? I know there was a court order that the video had to be out by tomorrow. Some people look at this and say, what I do this at night if you could have waited until tomorrow morning? ARI MELBER, CNN CHIEF LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically, the short answer to that, in the start of the video, which people can view online at, we`re not showing all of it because it`s so graphic, but in the start of the video, the police basically put up the notation that says, this officer was indicted on first-degree murder. You get the impression that the timing of the release of the video was synced, A, to a court ordered deadline tomorrow, and, B, trying to get it out only after there was some prosecutorial action on this case, although first-degree murder caught everyone by surprise. That`s very high and unusual. It hasn`t happened in Chicago for decades. All of this, of course, was for a long time just rumored and no action was taken because the prosecutors hadn`t moved legally, and the video was basically being held back. Mayor Emanuel himself not saying he wanted it out yet. They said that was to help the investigation to run its course.   As you and I have been talking about throughout the day, Steve, the big question was, why the investigation like this when the underlying incident is all on video, why would it take over a year? KORNACKI: And what about that charge? You were saying, first-degree murder so unusual, when you were talking about this a little bit earlier in the year, first-degree murder against a police officer is so unusual. How hard in a court of law is that going to be to prove? MELBER: It would normally be very hard. It goes above and beyond misuse of the weapon and or what we call excessive force and goes into the officer`s mental mind state of saying that he was essentially trying to have a premeditated intentional killing for no reason or justification whatsoever, or that he had sort of a depraved heart, you know, complete lack of regard for human life. Now, look, I just watched the whole video in its context in the newsroom. It is hard to watch. It is graphic. It is a mowing down of a human being. We don`t have all the words to really express what it is, but I can tell you that those 13 seconds that have been referred to, that the prosecutors reference as part of the reason she went for the first-degree murder charge are agonizing, because 13 seconds of this individual, McDonald, on the ground, barely moving, and bullets flying in, in, in, 16 shots, in a row. It is legally, completely unjustified. That`s all on video. KORNACKI: April, let me ask you about the reaction that we`re seeing here, the handling of this by Rahm Emanuel, by Garry McCarthy, the police superintendent in Chicago. We`ve seen incidents that are somewhat similar here. Baltimore, Ferguson, over the last year, other places. When you saw the mayor, saw the police superintendent, when you listened to them, what do you make of how they`re handling this? APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: As a journalist, I was surprised that Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, had not seen the video that was getting ready to be released. It did not seem like he was operating from a stance of power and understanding fully, by not seeing that video to understand what was so compelling to the police department to request calm. That`s one of the things that stood out, and Ari is exactly right. But I also find something very interesting about this whole -- timing of everything. Ari is right about -- they pushed it up to the deadline, to release this video. But I also think about the time when this happened, October 2014. This was just months after Ferguson, New York, North Charleston, and, you know, some other places. So, there was a climate in this nation that would not have allowed for this video to come out without there being unrest. I mean, we saw what happened in Ferguson, we saw what happened in New York and in other places and Baltimore. So, this is a very interesting situation and you just have to wait -- KORNACKI: That`s interesting. Do you think it was a wise decision, then, to wait to release this video? MELBER: Are you asking April or me?   KORNACKI: April. It sounds like that`s what she`s saying. Is that right? RYAN: What I`m saying -- I`m not saying they made a wise decision. What I`m saying is that the timing -- this was October 2014. Before that, just months before that, you had Ferguson, which was a hotbed. You had New York, with Eric Garner. Then you had North Charleston. You had issues going on, and what I`m saying, I`m thinking the mind-set there was, OK, we`re going to push it up to the very end, but also this nation is a hotbed with this right now. So, I`m not saying that they were justified in what they were doing, but I`m looking at the timing and trying to understand as a journalist why they would wait and why this was, when it first went out in the news, it was a story about 200 to 300 words. MELBER: Just to jump in, I think April makes a very understandable point, because of those public safety implications. But, again, this is not only about those kind of decisions. There is a legal process, and there is freedom of information. That is the law that justified this release. RYAN: Right. MELBER: The idea being -- and I`m sure we`re in an agreement generally, I understand you`re talking about what the officials have to think about. But, again, in the courts, this is public information. That`s why it`s out. RYAN: Right. MELBER: And the citizens of Chicago have a right to view this type of material and make up their own mind. Whether there were charges or not, once that process plays out. And so, I think it`s understandable we`re seeing a so far, peaceful protests and everyone hopes they remain peaceful from people saying, this is information we are entitled to. This is how we self-govern. RYAN: You`re exactly right, Ari. KORNACKI: It`s been 90 minutes so far by the city of Chicago and the rest of America, a lot of the world, for that matter is digesting this video and we`ll be reacting so it certainly tonight, tomorrow, and in the days ahead. The roundtable is staying with us. Up and next, voters in New Hampshire seem to be giving Chris Christie a second look.   This is HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KORNACKI: Can Chris Christie be the next comeback kid in New Hampshire? Be right back with the HARDBALL roundtable. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KORNACKI: Chris Christie has emerged as a dominant force on the big issue on the campaign trail, terrorism. Front page of "The New York Times" reports that the issue has breathed new life into his struggling presidential campaign. This weekend in New Hampshire, Christie spoke personally about confronting terrorism. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For lots of other folks in this race, the results of radical Islam are theoretical, but not for me. You know, I was named U.S. attorney for New Jersey on September 10th, 2001. When you asked me, do I believe it`s legitimate to call it radical Islam? It is murderous radical Islam. And we need to come to grips with that. I live in and see the world the way it is. And as president, I`ll govern a world as it is. Not as I wish it were. (APPLAUSE)   (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: And Christie also told the crowd that he feared for his wife`s survival on September 11th. She worked two blocks from the World Trade Center. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRISTIE: While we were on the phone, the second plane hit the second building. And she said to me, "I have to go. They`re telling us we have to evacuate to our basement. I`ll call you as soon as I can." For the next 5 1/2 hours, I didn`t hear from my wife. I was thinking about, not having my best friend, I was thinking about what I was going to tell my children. I was thinking about what kind of single parent I would be. And at 2:35 in the afternoon, the phone rang. And it was my wife. (END VIDEO CLIP) KORNACKI: And we`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable -- April, Sabrina and Ari. Sabrina, we talked earlier in the show about Iowa. The story in Iowa right now is that Ted Cruz powered by evangelical voters really moving up out there. How about Chris Christie in New Hampshire? He`s doing this the sort of traditional New Hampshire way. We saw that town hall footage a few weeks ago on addiction. Now, he`s in the same setting talking about terrorism. I`ve always though, he`s particularly strong in the sort off the cuff settings, fielding questions from the crowd. Is there space in New Hampshire for Christie to do what Cruz is doing out in Iowa? SABRINA SIDDIQUI, THE GUARDIAN: Well, Chris Christie is certainly putting all his eggs in the New Hampshire basket. That`s where he spends the most amount of time. And certainly, like you said, he is strongest when he gets personal, when he`s able to personalize an issue playing out on the ground. He did it with heroin, now with terrorism.   What`s interesting is that story he`s telling about 9/11 is a story he`s been telling throughout the course of his presidential campaign. I heard him tell that story in New Hampshire two months ago. But the thing is, that in the wake of these terrorist attacks in Paris, it`s really hitting home for more a lot of people. I think there`s a lot more potency to the story when he tells it now versus over the summer when there wasn`t a lot of conversation around ISIS in the same way that we`re having it at this moment. I also think that, by and large, the Republican candidates have more or less the same strategy when it comes to ISIS, that the administration is already putting into effect right now. So, they need to find ways to differentiate themselves. And for Chris Christie, it happens to be the fact that he has lived through the greatest terrorist attack in this country. And so, he`s kind of playing into the emotions of the people in this particular campaign. KORNACKI: And, you know, April, New Hampshire is different than Iowa. Iowa is dominated by evangelical Christians in the primary. New Hampshire is a very secular state, even in that Republican primary. I think only about a fifth of the voters in New Hampshire Republicans are evangelicals. So, if there`s going to be somebody who moves up on Trump, there`s that lane, I guess, Christie, Bush, Kasich, Rubio, there`s room for one of them to emerge. RYAN: Well, like you were saying, New Hampshire is more secular. I think Chris Christie has a lot of secularism to him but at the same time, he is capitalizing as Sabrina said on this momentum. You know, he touched a tangible chord right now because of what`s happening in Paris and the fact that there is an ISIS threat. And he also, you know, to push it even further, he`s been talking about the fact that he was the New Jersey state`s attorney at the time he prosecuted terrorists. You have to already remember, this is the peace. It was al Qaeda at that time. Al Qaeda has been degraded severely. Now, we`re dealing with ISIS who is this administration says has been degraded by 25 percent, but you still have the 75 percent out there. But when you say that you have dealt with the terrorists, that does strike a chord that you`re a fighter. But we`ll see how much any of the states, the early voting states and the caucuses will really believe and put the power of the vote behind him. KORNACKI: All right. The roundtable is staying with us. Up next, they tell me something I don`t know. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.   (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KORNACKI: All right. We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable. April, here`s a challenge for you. Tell me something I don`t know. RYAN: All right. All right. There is an effort in the House Judiciary Committee to push the no-fly for foreign terrorists bill out of the committee by Christmas. What it will essentially do is basically put these young, new terrorists that go from here that are built here and going to fight over in the caliphate, basically, they are not able to come back to the United States, fly back or any kind of way. So that`s what they`re trying to do. KORNACKI: All right. I didn`t know it. Sabrina? RYAN: I`m glad you didn`t. SIDDIQUI: Well, you were talking earlier about the ISIS propaganda machine. I was actually on the campaign trail in Iowa with Marco Rubio n the last few days, and I spoke with him on Saturday. He told me this weekend that he actually thinks that we should counter the propaganda machine by conducting high profile raids on ISIS that we publicize. He wants to show the world that they`re not invincible. And as part of that, he said, you know what, put it up on YouTube if you have to. The world should see them suffer defeats and counter this narrative they`re somehow invincible. KORNACKI: All right. And, Ari? MELBER: There`s Randy Moss news in Washington, and it`s not football. That`s the name of the Obama appointee who will be the judge in the big Benghazi case against Trey Gowdy. That was news as of today. We`ll see what happens.   KORNACKI: All right. If it was the football player, I might have known. But I didn`t know that. Thank you to my roundtable tonight. April Ryan, Sabrina Siddiqui, and Ari Melber. That is 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.>