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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 4/13/2016

Guests: Nicholas Confessore, Bob Cusack, Linda Stasi, Jane Sanders, Joe Conason, Sabrina Siddiqui, Mark Simone, Christine Quinn, Cornell Belcher, Anthony Weiner

Show: HARDBALL Date: April 13, 2016 Guest: Nicholas Confessore, Bob Cusack, Linda Stasi, Jane Sanders, Joe Conason, Sabrina Siddiqui, Mark Simone, Christine Quinn, Cornell Belcher, Anthony Weiner

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Trump to Reince Priebus, You`re fired!

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews up in New York.

It`s a hostile takeover. Donald Trump`s going to war with the head of the Republican Party, someone named Reince Priebus, over the delegate selection process. He told "The Hill" newspaper, "It`s a disgrace for the party, and Reince Priebus should be ashamed of himself. He should be ashamed of himself because he knows what`s going on."

Well, Trump, who`s won the most votes and garnered the most delegates, has called the process of the Republican Party corrupt, rigged and a scam.

Here he was on CNN last night.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Colorado thing was very, very unfair. And I thought Louisiana was very unfair. I won Louisiana. I won it easily.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You won the popular vote...


TRUMP: I won the popular vote, and because of all the shenanigans that goes on -- and...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you call them shenanigans, but those are the rules. And didn`t you know those rules?

TRUMP: You know why the rules -- I know the rules very well, but I know that it`s stacked against me by the establishment.


MATTHEWS: Well, in response to the charges from Trump, a clearly exacerbated Priebus tweeted -- isn`t that great, Reince Priebus tweeted -- "Nomination process known for a year and beyond. It`s the responsibility of the campaigns to understand it. Complaints now? Give us all a break."

Well, is the party heading for a candidate with the most delegates against a system being used to stop him before the Republican convention come July?

Nicholas Confessore`s a political reporter for "The New York Times," Linda Stasi is a columnist with "New York Daily News" -- the very impressive "Daily News" these days -- and Bob Cusack, editor-in-chief of "The Hill" newspaper. He interviewed Trump.

Let me go to you, Bob. You`re a way (ph) -- look, it seems to me like Trump is doing what you do in a game, you ride the ref, in this case, Reince Priebus, who`s not as big a guy as you might think, being chairman of the party. He`s riding him, saying, Look, if I don`t get this nomination with all the votes I`ve got, I`m getting screwed, and this little guy is the one doing it to me because he`s letting it happen. He is sitting there, letting everybody play their games to keep the guy with the most votes, the most delegates from being the nominee, which most Americans think is democracy. Your thoughts.

BOB CUSACK, "THE HILL": Yes, I think he`s -- I think he`s putting Priebus on notice, just like he did with the third party bid. He`s upset. He`s calling him out. They`re not going to agree on Colorado. They`re not going to have a revote.

But there are other calls that Priebus is going to have to make, who`s on that convention Rules Committee, if there`s a brokered convention, who`s going to chair that Rules Committee. It`s going to be very important.

So I think this also helps Trump because this is an anti-establishment move. He`s trying to grab momentum back after losing Wisconsin. So I think Trump sees it as a win/win.

MATTHEWS: I think here in New York, you`re allowed to be mouthy here.



MATTHEWS: Right? Right, Linda?

LINDA STASI, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": (INAUDIBLE) tabloid. We`re always mouthy.

MATTHEWS: I mean, the idea he`s out there, you know, talking trash, knocking little Reince Priebus, who nobody knows or likes or even has any idea what he is.

STASI: I don`t like him. I don`t...


MATTHEWS: His name is so strange.


NICHOLAS CONFESSORE, "NEW YORK TIMES": He`s actually a very popular, you know, party leader. Come on.

MATTHEWS: Among whom?

CONFESSORE: Among Republicans.


CONFESSORE: And donors. You know, Trump is...


CONFESSORE: There is no evidence for anything that Trump is saying about Priebus, that he`s stacking it, that he`s rigging it. He is just bad at playing this game, Trump, and he`s mad at about it. And he woke up one day and realized he didn`t get what the rules were.

STASI: Oh, I don`t...


MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you this. Do you think -- would you like to be there explaining with your megaphone -- it`s not your job, but conceptualize this. How would you like to explain to the Republican people who voted for Trump that even though he got the most votes, the most delegates, we`re going to give it to somebody else?

How do you explain that, after decades and generations, the American people believing that the country`s getting more and more democratic, lower-case D -- we`re going away from senators being picked by state legislatures, we`re going away from presidents being picked by the House of Representatives in the old days.

We`re making it much more democratic, and all of a sudden, you say, No, we`re going back to the smoke-filled rooms. We`re going to let guys named Reince Priebus, who never got a vote from us, decide who our president is?

CONFESSORE: I`m not saying it`s a good system.


CONFESSORE: I`m saying it`s the same system...

MATTHEWS: No, I`m saying Reince has to defend it.

CONFESSORE: I know. Exactly. It`s the same system that they had a year ago when they set the rules, or two years ago. The problem is, it is rigged. It`s rigged on purpose. A party...

MATTHEWS: Who do you think...


CONFESSORE: Yes, but a party is a private institution.

MATTHEWS: Why not change the rules?

CONFESSORE: It picks its own leadership...


MATTHEWS: The public doesn`t think that way about baseball teams...


CONFESSORE: For Priebus.

MATTHEWS: ... or football teams. You don`t think you`re private companies. You think of them as the city`s teams. Anyway...

STASI: Yes, but that`s the whole point. They are private. They`re private. They make the rules. And people think when you go to vote that you`re just going to vote (INAUDIBLE) My guy is going to win if we get the most. It has nothing to do with that.

After McGovern, especially with the Democrats, they rigged it so that that couldn`t happen again, so that they couldn`t lose that way, that they can control it. So we`re not -- we`re not -- it`s not democracy.


MATTHEWS: ... the voters.

STASI: But we`re being -- we`re being controlled by the parties. And he`s not wrong.

MATTHEWS: OK, look at this...

STASI: Not (ph) that he didn`t know.

MATTHEWS: This could be the window that opens here in all this big fight about how many votes does he actually need. He doesn`t really need it -- 1,237. Here`s a member of the Rules Committee. His name`s Randy Evans, which is a more common name than Reince Priebus, I must say. The RNC rules (INAUDIBLE) he said -- he laid out how Trump can win at the convention. Watch this. This is an eye-opener here.


RANDY EVANS, RNC RULES COMMITTEE: If Donald Trump exceeds 1,100 votes, he will become the nominee, even though he may not have 1,237. If he gets less than 1,000 delegates, then I think we`re looking at a contested convention that could go on for many, many days. And then in the middle, there is that gray area between 1,000 and 1,100, and that`s where the unbound delegates or the delegates that have been released by other candidates come into play.


MATTHEWS: At least somebody has a thought here. I keep asking, What`s a gimme here? If he doesn`t get 1,237, is it 1,200? Is it 1,137? This guy says it`s if it`s 1,100, that`s close enough. You get -- it`s a victory. and by the way, he says if it`s below, 1,000, he probably won`t get it. It`ll be a contested election (sic), but it`s over 1,000, he could still win it then.

STASI: But I don`t know who Randy Evans is!


MATTHEWS: A member of the Rules Committee.

STASI: The truth is, these -- this guy has changed all the rules. This is going to be...


STASI: ... an absolute free-for-all. And...

MATTHEWS: Not exactly.

STASI: I think...

MATTHEWS: If the Republican Party gives this nomination to somebody who finds the way of squirreled into the nomination...


MATTHEWS: ... votes, that Trump will walk out the door, take his 1,000 delegates with him, walk across the street and say, I`m having nothing to do with this party. And if he`s really smart, he won`t run third party, he`ll just bring the house down.

STASI: Well, that`s what I said. He`ll bring the house down. When he says, If I don`t win, there`ll be a riot, that`s what he means. And he has fractured...

MATTHEWS: I agree.

STASI: ... the party so badly that I don`t know -- I mean, they look foolish now. They look like they`re limping along. They don`t know what`s what. He has thrown everything into total chaos.

CONFESSORE: If he can`t organize better, he`s not going to have 1,000 delegates follow him out of the convention. They`re all going to be Ted Cruz delegates secretly, right? Ted Cruz has organized...


MATTHEWS: Explain the thing Linda and I have been talking about here. If Trump gets the most votes, the most delegates, don`t people, like, think, You know what? That`s what we think of as democracy. That`s how we think it works.

CONFESSORE: Absolutely. There`s a huge gap between the perception of...


MATTHEWS: A second ago, you were saying you`re the mechanic of the party Rules Committee!

CONFESSORE: I`m just saying the rules are the rules, and they haven`t changed. He`s saying the rules have been changed. They`re being rigged against me. They were actually rigged years ago, before he was a candidate. That`s the point I`m making.

MATTHEWS: OK, well...

STASI: Everything he does is gigantic. So he says it, now, all of a sudden, everybody`s going to say, Wait a minute. They`re right. He has this very odd way...


STASI: ... of making everybody just pay attention to him.

MATTHEWS: Bob -- Bob Cusack, I have a sense that the Republicans who voted for Trump aren`t as docile as the Democrats are who voted for Al Gore and accepted defeat, even though he had 600,000 more votes than W. They just said, This is the way the system works, it`s the Electoral College, the Supreme Court said we can`t have a longer voter count in Florida. We`ll live with it, OK? I`m not sure the Trump-ites are like that. Just -- what`s your hunch?


CUSACK: No, I don`t think they`re like that at all, and that`s why there`s concern about protests in Cleveland. And whether it`s Trump or Cruz, there`s going to be one side -- or maybe somebody else, but I think it`s just going to be Trump or Cruz, probably. There`s going to be someone very upset and their supporters are going to be very upset. So they`re not docile at all. And you`re right, Trump is not just going to fade into the background if he doesn`t...

MATTHEWS: What are they going to do with the body?

CUSACK: He`s going to be all over the place.

MATTHEWS: I keep asking the same question. What do you do with the body? Trump is defeated after getting the most votes. What do you think you do with them? You bury them somewhere? He`s going to be alive. He`s going to own the media. He`ll be everywhere. And you won`t be able -- there won`t be a show on television that wouldn`t want him as a guest immediately after he gets screwed.

CUSACK: Exactly.

MATTHEWS: He`ll be everywhere!

STASI: And he will hand this election to the Democrats. If he doesn`t win, he will hand it. He will just give them a giant...

MATTHEWS: OK, back to Nick, who defends the establishment...

CONFESSORE: And if he does win, he probably still hands it to the Democrats, according to the polls...

MATTHEWS: Well, but not by -- not by his hands. He will try to win.

CONFESSORE: Right, but...

MATTHEWS: And if Hillary gets in trouble, it`s a possibility he wins the whole thing. It`s a possibility.

CONFESSORE: The polls show that he is not in great shape to win and Ted Cruz is not in great shape to win against Hillary Clinton.

STASI: I -- I`ve been...

MATTHEWS: I know Hillary Clinton`s the favorite. I know.

STASI: I`ve been in New York all my life. If anybody would have told me that Trump would have come this far, ever -- because at the beginning, I was...

MATTHEWS: Would he have believed it?


MATTHEWS: Would he have believed it, Linda? Would Trump have believed it?

STASI: No, I don`t think...

MATTHEWS: I have a theory that he never thought this would work.

STASI: I don`t think he did think it would work. He`s a publicity hound. He`s a character. And now he`s -- now he`s become the monster that he created. He`s become his own caricature.

MATTHEWS: So do you have the nerve to answer my question here?


MATTHEWS: Is the monkey that typed "Merry Christmas"?


MATTHEWS: He`s at the typewriter. He`s moving the keys around, and just happened to type "Merry Christmas." When he said...


STASI: No, I...

MATTHEWS: ... We either have a country or we don`t, when he captured that spirit of American nationalism in his campaign months ago, do you think he knew he was doing it?

STASI: Yes, I think he knew -- he knows how to win. That`s what he knows how to do. I`ve known him for many years. I`ve never known him to be a racist. I`ve never known him to be a sexist. But he knows how to win. And he looked and he said, These are the people that nobody has the nerve to talk to.


STASI: And I`m going to talk to them out loud.


STASI: But I`ve known -- you know. You live in New York. You couldn`t...


MATTHEWS: I grew up in Philly. I live in Washington. But let me ask you something...

STASI: But you couldn`t...


MATTHEWS: What about Cruz? I`m going to let you go, Ms. Stasi, until you tell me what you think of Cruz`s comment about -- about -- well, he said yesterday on the Glenn Beck show, taking (ph) Trump over the reported business (ph) (INAUDIBLE) He talked about dealing with mobsters. Here`s a typical, a typical Ted Cruz McCarthy comment. Let`s watch.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The idea that Donald is threatening delegates -- we`re seeing this pattern over and over and over again. Donald Trump`s campaign put out publicly to his supporters the phone number of the state chairman. He`s received over 3,000 calls and death threats.

Donald needs to understand he`s not Michael Corleone.

I understand that Donald has had some very shady business deals with people that are currently in prison, mobsters.

But the presidential should not be La Cosa Nostra.


MATTHEWS: How can a guy -- well, I know. I`ve been watching it. He did the same thing to Chuck Hagel. He`s Joe McCarthy. He makes these accusations that Trump is mobbed up, clear as a bell. What do you make of that?

STASI: First of all, I, as an Italian-American, really, really, really resent that comment because the truth is, every time somebody is bad, they`re immediately mobsters, they`re immediately Italian.

I have had -- that is a very racist thing to say, and that ain`t going to fly here in New York, Teddy boy. That ain`t going to fly. Where a lot of -- there`s a lot of Italian-Americans, and what he said to me is as racist as what Trump says about Mexicans! Sorry, but it is. You can`t just say that. You cannot say that.

And if you`re builder in New York, you can`t even -- how -- everybody in New York knows somebody that`s in prison or in the mob or something. If you`re in the media, if you`re anywhere, you do. What he said is racist and...

MATTHEWS: I don`t know anybody...


CONFESSORE: I don`t know anybody in the mob. Sorry!

MATTHEWS: Hey, Bob, do you know anybody in the mob?


CUSACK: No. No, I don`t, but...


MATTHEWS: ... you guys. I don`t want to know you. Anyway...

STASI: These are people that we`ve run across that -- that...

MATTHEWS: I don`t even want to go to that restaurant you`re supposed to go to meet them! I don`t want to be part of that!


STASI: Oh, come on! You know what that restaurant is?

MATTHEWS: I don`t know what it is.

STASI: Wall Streeters.


STASI: It`s full of Wall Streeters.

MATTHEWS: I have no idea (INAUDIBLE) I think it`s another one up somewhere else, uptown.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you. What do I know? I`m from Philly.


MATTHEWS: We don`t have this in Philly. Nicholas Confessore, Linda Stasi with her -- wow, that was quite a line there. That was what I would call a moment.


MATTHEWS: And Bob Cusack, thank you, from "The Hill," a great newspaper.

I`ll be sitting down, by the way, with Ohio governor John Kasich tomorrow at a town hall out on Long Island. You can catch it tomorrow at 7:00 PM Eastern, a whole hour with Kasich, who has some things to say about Donald Trump.

By the way, coming up right now, Jane Sanders will join us here on the set here in New York. Is that how you say it, New York? New York, New York, the town so nice, they named it twice. I`ll ask the top supporter for Bernie Sanders about his prospects in New York and the path toward victory when Democrats meet in Philadelphia.

Plus -- he spent 13 years on Capitol Hill representing New York. Former U.S. congressman Anthony Weiner`s going to be here. We`ll get his take on Tuesday`s primary. He`s a columnist now with a great American newspaper, "The Daily News."

Anyway, and who would have thought New York could have become the epicenter of presidential politics? The HARDBALL roundtable`s here to talk about.

Finally, "Let Me Finish" tonight with Donald Trump`s trump card. You heard it here, democracy.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Well, Maryland residents get their chance to vote in less than two weeks. And according to a new NBC-4 Marist poll, the two front-runners look to be in the driver`s seat. Let`s take a look at the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."

On the Republican side, Donald Trump enjoys a double-digit lead over Ted Cruz among likely primary voters in Maryland. It`s Trump 41, Cruz 29, Kasich 24. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton owns a commanding 22-point lead over Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side in Maryland. It`s Clinton 58, Sanders 36.

We`ll be right back.



SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will win a major victory here in New York next Tuesday!



MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was Bernie Sanders, of course, Tuesday predicting a major victory in New York, which is coming up next Tuesday. Today, he`s trying to get some of the momentum he`ll need to pull off that.

This morning, Sanders received the endorsement of the local Transport Workers Union, which has over 40,000 members. They`re the ones that run everything that moves in this city, including most employees of the subway and the bus lines here, here in New York City.

He also scored an endorsement from a U.S. senator finally, Democrat Jeff Merkley from Oregon, who wrote in a "New York Times" op-ed today that, "We need a wholesale re-thinking of how our economy and our politics work, and for whom they work." Merkley`s the first and only Democratic so far to back Sanders, while 40 senators have endorsed Hillary Clinton. So it`s 40 to 1 on that count.

Sanders then joined Verizon employees on a picket line in Brooklyn, where he fired up the crowd. Here he is.




SANDERS: Thank you for your courage in standing up for justice against corporate greed!


SANDERS: This is just another major American corporation trying to destroy the lives of working Americans!



MATTHEWS: Well, the new Siena poll of New York`s Democratic voters shows Clinton leading Sanders now by 10 points, but it`s narrowing. It`s now 52- 42. It was wider than that. However, Sanders, as I said, has closed the gap, gaining 8 points just since March. By the way, March was pretty recently. So Clinton has dropped by 3 there. He went up by 8, she went down by 3.

I`m joined right now by the wife of Bernie Sanders, Jane Sanders, which is an honor to have you on. Are you part of the thing now? You`re not -- you`re not like a sideliner. I can talk with you in HARDBALL terminology, right?


MATTHEWS: I can treat you like a pol.


MATTHEWS: Are you a pol?

J. SANDERS: No, I`m a wife.


MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask you about Bernie Sanders, the real Bernie Sanders. He always strikes me as a guy who had a belief, maybe when he was 20, maybe he was 22, maybe inherited the Democratic -- I`m not knocking it. The Democratic -- I`m not knocking it! You know, I know how to talk, too. Democratic socialist -- OK, where did it come from with him? Where did he develop that philosophy?

J. SANDERS: I think he learned early on, you know, that some people having a lot and some people having very little and not getting a fair shot wasn`t fair. And he felt it was unjust, and he`s always been that way. When he ran for president of his senior class, he ran on a platform to raise money for Korean orphans. And he lost the race, but his opponent raised money and the class did that.

MATTHEWS: Was that in high school?

J. SANDERS: In high school.

MATTHEWS: In Brooklyn.

J. SANDERS: In Brooklyn.


MATTHEWS: So he goes from Brooklyn to the University of Chicago, a very elite school.

And politically in the `60s -- he is my age, a little bit older than me -- it was the left. It was like one of those schools like Ann Arbor, or Madison, or Berkeley, a place where the action of the anti-war movement was, and the civil rights thing. So, he goes there.

And then he becomes a flatlander up in Vermont. He goes up to some Ben & Jerry`s country, which is...

J. SANDERS: Where town meetings happen.

MATTHEWS: Did he pick it out as a place where his politics could flourish?

J. SANDERS: No, no.

MATTHEWS: You`re sure?

J. SANDERS: Yes, positive.

MATTHEWS: Why did he pick Vermont?

J. SANDERS: Well, it`s funny. Things happen when you`re a kid.

He came to New York with his brother and he saw the tourist bureau and they had all of this information on Vermont ages ago, when he was like 12. And it never left him. And then he read about it.

MATTHEWS: So, he emigrated.

J. SANDERS: He did.


MATTHEWS: He emigrated to Vermont.

J. SANDERS: After college.

MATTHEWS: And all those years, he ran and lost. He ran on this -- it was a socialist...

J. SANDERS: Liberty Union.

MATTHEWS: Yes, Liberty Union. It was left party.

And he won and -- he lost and lost and lost, until finally he got elected mayor of Burlington, where you could prove yourself.

J. SANDERS: Well, he ran as an independent, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I know, but then he could become -- he could prove himself as an elected official.

J. SANDERS: And he did. He did.

MATTHEWS: And then he could make the elevation to Congress and Senate, right?

J. SANDERS: He hadn`t -- you know, all the time, I met him when he won mayor by 10 votes. The last election...

MATTHEWS: Is that why you liked him, he is a winner?


MATTHEWS: Come on. You joined -- you got on the winning team.


MATTHEWS: Were you with him when he was nothing?

J. SANDERS: I organized the debate when he was running. I listened to him. And I said this guy embodies everything I have ever believed in. I want to work with him, before he won. So, I`m pure.

MATTHEWS: Well, he is too in certain ways.

Anyway, speaking at an event held by the National Action Network today, Hillary Clinton turned her attention from the Democratic race to Republican front-runner Donald Trump. Here is Hillary Clinton today.


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Despite our best efforts and our highest hopes, America`s long struggle with racism is far from finished.

And we are seeing that in this election. When the front-runner for the Republican nomination was asked in a national television interview to disavow David Duke and other white supremacists supporting his campaign, he played coy. This is the same Donald Trump who led the insidious birther movement to delegitimize Barack Obama.

So, ugly currents that lurked just below the surface of our politics have burst into the open, and everyone sees this bigotry for what it is.


MATTHEWS: Well, it was great having Jane Sanders.

And I really think -- she thought we didn`t talk enough issues. I thought she talked about her husband, which was great, because a lot of people don`t know who the guy is. And she obviously loves the guy. And that`s always a good perspective on a human being. It`s important.

Anyway, I`m joined by right now -- that`s Cornell Belcher jumping in ahead of time there.


MATTHEWS: By the way, we`re joined by former speaker of the New York City Council Christine Quinn, who almost won the mayor`s race last time, who supports Hillary Clinton, as well as Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher.

Let`s talk about this New York politics here. It is really rough. I think Bernie is not getting heard. I think Cruz doesn`t know where he is at. Trump is playing it like a tuba. Right?

CORNELL BELCHER, FORMER OBAMA CAMPAIGN POLLSTER: He is home. I should give you home turf first on this.


BELCHER: But I was actually at Reverend Sharpton`s event today when Hillary was there and she was fantastic. She is knowledgeable. She is comfortable in that audience, in that setting that in a way that Sanders is getting there on.


MATTHEWS: Let`s talk turkey. We`re talking about ethnicity here. Right?


MATTHEWS: You talk around and around it.

This thing about chemistry, you know, I think I get it, but I am a white guy, so it is hard for me to get it. What is it about, the sense that you can get in a crowd of people, a church often, that these people who are visiting are comfortable here, or not?

BELCHER: I think it speaks to who they are. When someone is not comfortable with you, it pushes you back and you certainly don`t want to support that person.

She has a comfort level. And, again, she has been doing it longer, and with these groups longer, so that`s not a knock against Sanders, but it come across and it is a connection with this group that he is missing. When you looked at that Maryland poll, again, you look at all these states where you have diverse electorates, he is missing Latinos and missing African-Americans.

MATTHEWS: Have you noticed about Hillary Clinton -- you can make your case now, all right?



MATTHEWS: Not everybody -- I grew up in a pretty white neighborhood, Catholic. Everybody was white, and everybody was Irish or Italian, the same thing.

QUINN: I can relate.

MATTHEWS: And our Protestant neighbors, we sort of knew who they were, but we knew they were Protestants. But we didn`t hang out with them. That`s for sure. And that`s weird.

But, today, the Clintons, in Arkansas, I think, if you are a Southerner, you have to realize the fact that you have a large black population. That`s what the South is, the cotton culture and all that. Hillary Clinton seems to have surrounded herself with Cheryl Mills, Maggie Williams. It does seem like -- Huma Abedin. She doesn`t surround herself with a white crowd, per se, at all politically.

QUINN: I think Secretary Clinton is somebody who values diversity.

MATTHEWS: Socially even around her, I mean, really close in, yes.


I mean, she values diversity because she knows that`s how you get the best voices, the most different voices who really help you pull policy together. And really let me say why was Secretary Clinton so good today at the National Action Network?

Well, a number of reasons. One, she is in her hometown. That`s not her first time with Reverend Sharpton. That`s not even her 10th time at a Sharpton event. And she knows the issues of importance to the African- American and Latino communities because she`s taken them to Washington.

MATTHEWS: How do you run the show when Al is there?

QUINN: Pardon me?

MATTHEWS: Who wins when you are there with Al? Who is running the show, the guest or Al Sharpton?

QUINN: Well, clearly, it`s the Reverend Sharpton`s house and the reverend`s event.


MATTHEWS: I don`t think you can use -- quote -- "use" Al Sharpton.


MATTHEWS: I think he decides where his head is going, and his heart is going.

QUINN: Right, but she has been at his events, always responded when he has raised issues of concern for the African-American, Latino and low-income community. And that`s the difference in New York.

You can`t show up. You have got to have proved yourself before Election Day, and she has.

MATTHEWS: Cornell, how much of the city has tribalized, balkanized, if you will, to make it a nicer term? In other words, you carry one ethnic group, you get another group, you get Hispanics, you get Salvadorans, you get Dominicans? Is it done by that, by peoples, rather than individuals?

BELCHER: I think you can`t -- look, the whole country is tribalized, quite frankly, when you -- there`s...

MATTHEWS: Not out West in California. They don`t even talk like this out West.

My wife is...


MATTHEWS: They don`t know what I`m talking about when I say Italians. They don`t know what that is.

BELCHER: When you`re in L.A. and you`re a Latino in L.A., I think you understand that. But the whole country is tribalized.

But that`s not to say that is a bad thing, but each individual sort of ethnic group, they do have their issues, they do have their interests, and it`s OK to go talk to them about their interests and what`s important to their communities.

MATTHEWS: Do the leaders of those communities direct the vote?

BELCHER: That`s part of the problem. That`s what you`re seeing, Chris, with the Black Lives Matter piece which I have on MSNBC right now, is that so many of the young people are now saying no -- no disrespect to the old icons, but they don`t speak for us. And you have a celestial of people...


MATTHEWS: What is your take on that?

QUINN: No, I don`t think anybody controls votes anymore, like it used to be in the old-time ward bosses.

But the issue here of putting together a coalition, that`s what you need to get elected president of the United States. And if you look at who is supporting Secretary Clinton, to date, and she has gotten 2.4 million more votes than Senator Sanders, she has got a diverse coalition.

Does she have to do more for young voters? Yes. But he does not have that kind of diverse coalition.

MATTHEWS: So, the Hibernian Society doesn`t run the show anymore?

QUINN: The Hibernian Society may never have, but they certainly don`t now.

MATTHEWS: I see what you`re wearing, Christine. Go ahead.

BELCHER: Quickly, Chris, one of the things I do want to say that`s problematic for Hillary is the young people, 30 percent of them saying they won`t support her going in there.


BELCHER: The party is going to have to work really hard to bring those young people back in.

QUINN: But you know what? Hillary voters said that same thing about then Senator Obama. People will change.


MATTHEWS: I think that requires -- anyway, getting the young people to vote again in the fall, it`s going to be important for the whole Democratic Party.

QUINN: Absolutely.

BELCHER: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Cornell Belcher. Thank you, Christine Quinn. you`re quite a duo here.

Up next, former Congressman Anthony Weiner is coming here.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics, here in New York City, the town so nice, they named it twice.


MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger. Here`s what is happening.

The so-called affluenza teen has been sentenced to nearly two years in jail for a 2013 crash that killed four people. He fled to Mexico after violating his probation, but was captured and returned to Texas in January.

And President Obama made a rare visit to CIA headquarters today for briefings on the war against ISIS as the administration steps up air attacks on that extremist group -- back to HARDBALL.


CLINTON: I have noticed that under the bright spotlight and scrutiny of New York, Senator Sanders has had trouble answering questions. He`s had trouble answering questions about his core issue, namely, dealing with the banks. He`s had trouble answering foreign policy questions.

And so I look forward to a debate that is in New York with people asking the kind of questions that New Yorkers ask.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was Hillary Clinton poking her rival, Bernie Sanders, questioning whether he is surviving the scrutiny that comes with the rough-and-tumble of New York City politics.

One recovering politician, one who knows all about how tough it is interests Big Apple, is former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, Anthony Weiner also a columnist now with "The New York Daily News." He joins me now.

This is one -- you`re smiling at me, but this is something you know very well. It`s not just 24 hours. It`s hour-to-hour.

ANTHONY WEINER (D), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Well, also, the other thing that happens is that this is the one race where the candidates come to where this cauldron of where the media already is.

So, all the media covering them already knows New York, doesn`t have to go out and interview anyone. They think they all know it. It is rough-and- tumble, but to some degree it hasn`t really changed all that much. Subway swipes and eating sandwiches on Arthur Avenue, it hasn`t really changed the dynamic of the race very much. It`s still Bernie chasing Hillary.


MATTHEWS: Who is the home team?

WEINER: I think...

MATTHEWS: It seems like Hillary to me. WEINER: Yes, Hillary knows the stuff.

It is one thing to be born here. Hillary knows the stuff. She represented this area not too long ago and also has stayed in touch with it and lives in the state. So she has the advantage on that stuff.

But she has the advantage kind of substantively anyway. She is going to win the debate. She win debates. Like, she is really good at that. You can make an argument she is not on the best on-her-feet politician, but when it comes to substance and asking and answering questions, she is good at that stuff.

MATTHEWS: What do you think her problem is when she gets up on the stage and isn`t the one you know? You know Hillary. When you`re with her, she is a regular person. She can speak nonchalantly, casually in a way that is arresting and actually charming, to use an unusual word in politics.

WEINER: I have to tell you this. You know this.

You see a lot of politicians in public life who are really great behind closed doors, writing laws, and you`re like you`re a great congressmen. But you see them, they`re kind of awkward in other positions.

And then you people who are really glib and good with the shaking hands and that kind of stuff. She doesn`t have that. And I think she`s always -- and we have talked to this a bunch of times. She is held to this high standard she`s never going to attain.

MATTHEWS: But Bill, that`s her high standard.

WEINER: But that`s right. But I`ll tell you this. She is exactly the kind of person you want to be president in 2016. And just so you don`t get mail, my wife is the vice chair of the campaign.

MATTHEWS: I know. I know, Huma Abedin.

Let me ask you about Hillary. And my hunch -- I closed this doc I have been working on. I hope it will be out by Sunday here. I think that she is a veteran. She has been through a lot of battles. She`s got scars. She`s been through so many. It`s almost like you have seen a war movie, Norman Mailer war book, where the guy has been through so many fights, and you`re the -- you`re looking, at least I got a guy here who has been through a lot of wars.

I can trust them to get through this without shaking and choking.

WEINER: Right.

In boxing, you would say she is not a bleeder. She`s taken a lot and she`s going to -- and, by the way, that`s why -- that`s I think what increasingly Democratic primary voters are starting to think about,because they know they can`t afford that much of a risk on the other side. They can`t afford that much of a risk against Trump or Cruz in the general election, so they want someone who has kind of been through the ringer.


MATTHEWS: Explain the socialist thing in New York. I have noticed there`s a few red diaper babies. They grew up with real lefty parents back in the `20s. Does that socialist word work anywhere better here than anywhere else in the world?

WEINER: It probably works less...


MATTHEWS: Young people don`t mind it, I can tell you.

WEINER: No. Young people don`t mind it, and you probably see it on the Upper West Side. And there`s probably a lot of people who would say, heck yes.

And, frankly, I don`t get thrown by it either. Throwing those types of things around don`t really work here. You know, look, but the primary is not as liberal as you might think, because you know, look, there are a lot of suburban white, blue-collar Democratic votes that probably don`t look in the mirror and say, I`m a liberal, per se.

MATTHEWS: You mean from the peripheral ethnic areas of the borough.


MATTHEWS: I know the phrase.

WEINER: The boroughs, as we say, yes.

MATTHEWS: Breezy Point.


WEINER: There are not too many Democrats there in Breezy.



Anyway, I sort of tried to figure it.

Anthony Weiner, thanks for coming on. We will have you on again.

WEINER: It`s my pleasure. Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Up next, the HARDBALL roundtable is coming here with more on the battle for Broadway.

You`re watching HARDBALL here in New York, the place for politics tonight.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Donald Trump is hoping to win all the 95 delegates at stake next week, next Tuesday in New York state here, where he enjoys a home field advantage, you might argue. In fact, I think he does.

In a piece today titled "Long Island Is Both Hostile Territory and Fertile Ground for Donald Trump," Nick Confessore, who was here earlier, notes that Trump is admired among the working-class in the New York suburb, but -- quote -- "Long Island looms as a test of his broader appeal to suburban Republicans, a crucial constituency in national elections, but one that has turned against Mr. Trump in states like" -- I never think of these states as big suburban states -- "Iowa, North Carolina and Virginia."

By the way, Northern Virginia means women.

According to exit polls from the 2008 primary, Long Island represents 19 percent of the state`s total Republican electorate. That`s more than New York City, which makes up only 12 percent of the total Republican vote that -- well, that was that year.

As "The Wall Street Journal" reported last month, Trump has underperformed in the suburbs in the primary so far, and polls suggest his apparent weakness there could hurt him in a general election.

A national NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll in March showed a hypothetical general election matchup, Trump would lose suburban voters to Hillary Clinton by 13 points, 51-38. By comparison, Mitt Romney won those same voters by two points. So, that`s a switch around of 15 points.

I`m joined right now by the round table, Joe Conason, editor in chief of "The National Memo", Sabrina Siddiqui is political reporter with "The Guardian," and Mark Simone is a good friend of mine, radio host in New York`s WOR Radio, a very powerful signal here, and describes himself as a big Trump supporter.

So, Mark Simone, I`ve got to go to you, this whole thing about how Trump may -- I don`t know how Donald Trump can lose to a guy named Ted Cruz who knocks New York values, who seems like the ultimately out of towner, who has no urban aspect to him and uses McCarthyite stuff connecting Trump to Michael Corleone, I mean, not Michael, Don Corleone. I mean, what is this about? He hasn`t said a single thing right, Cruz, to win here?

MARK SIMONE, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: It`s about desperation. And, you know, they all tried it. Marco Rubio had this problem.

When you try to steal Trump`s act, you`ve got to know how to do it. Cruz left New York --

MATTHEWS: It doesn`t stick, huh?

SIMONE: No, you`ve got to do know how to do this stuff. That`s why Long Island is Trump country. You can drive around with a Trump bumper sticker, you`ll be fine. They love what he stands for. You might say, what about the rudeness, the brashness, for people of Long Island, he is Mr. Rogers --


MATTHEWS: Sabrina, are you surprised by this aspect of American life? I`ve always thought, New York City, its media, was every two hours, has to be retanked, refilled, and they`re looking for something that hurts, every two hours, they want something that hurts the politician.

SABRINA SIDDIQUI, THE GUARDIAN: Well, look, I think that, you know, it`s interesting, because there is this narrative of Donald Trump struggling among suburban Republican voters, and so, people are watching long island, does that mean he`ll have trouble there. I don`t think it`s necessarily true in New York, because it doesn`t resemble Iowa or Virginia.


MATTHEWS: I agree. By the way, the New York suburb is a guy who left 20 years ago from the boroughs.

SIDDIQUI: Exactly. So Donald Trump, you have to remember, does well in states that do not resemble the traditional Republican Party. You think about Massachusetts, which awarded him 49 percent of the vote. You`re not dealing with Republican who are socially conservative like they were in Iowa. And also, who else would they vote for. You know, in Iowa and Virginia, some of those suburbanites --

MATTHEWS: Nobody cares about --


SIDDIQUI: But over here, they don`t have another choice, and Donald Trump is a local hometown guy. Maybe John Kasich will get some votes.

MATTHEWS: Joe, I kind of agree with Sabrina, because I don`t think people vote on the gay rights issues or gay marriage. By the way, there`s a great movie that came out, this past year, "Brooklyn", about an Irish immigrant arrives here, marries a cool Italian, he`s a very good guy, right twist there, right? I kept thinking he`s going to do something wrong.

He`s a great guy, at the end of the movie, having sort of made it in this country in Brooklyn, they are talking about a buying a house on Long Island. I said that`s the American story right there.

SIMONE: They`re from Queens, Donald Trump is the hometown son to them.

JOE CONASON, NATIONAL MEMO: I mean, look, he is a number of advantages. You put your finger on it in the beginning. Nobody else to vote for in the primary, right?


CONASON: Cruz or Kasich, I mean, they`re not going to vote for those guys. They`ve never heard of them and they`re not going to vote for them.


CONASON: They`ve watched Trump on TV for years. He is from Queens. The Republican machine on Long Island, you know, not the greatest, sort of a tamely style old somewhat corrupt political machine is completely behind Trump. Joe Mandelo, the county leader --

MATTHEWS: Is that D`Amato`s old crowd?

CONASON: Yes, it`s D`Amato`s old crowd. They are just totally behind Trump. You know why? Because despite all the outsider rhetoric from Trump and all that, they`ve done business with this guy and his family for 50 years. I mean, please?

MATTHEWS: You`re leaning your head down.


MATTHEWS: They have done business with him. You sound like Cruz calling them the mob.

CONASON: No, not mob. Just straight forward, legal graft what we call it. This is how the Trump empire was built in New York. You know --

MATTHEWS: Let me tell you, I`ve lived my life in Washington. I lived my life with my wife, too, I mean, that was double entendre. But the fact is, New York is the media center of the world. John Lennon was here, he said this is the center of the consciences of the universe.

When New York has any event, any baseball player for the Yankees or all we hear about them, all we hear about is the Jets, you know, and anybody else, or the Giants. That`s all we hear about. Or the Rangers, that`s all we hear about.

So, my thinking is if Trump wins here next Tuesday, it`s going to be tuba sounding all over the world.

SIMONE: It`s Sinatra, you could make it here, you can make it any where. And, you know, a guy like Trump, building buildings, imagine what you have to deal with in New York, inspectors, regulations, who you have to take care of. And the RNC has spoofed him. That`s beyond anything --

MATTHEWS: How many jobs has Reince Priebus created? Is that too cruel? Trump`s created jobs. We`ll give him that. These buildings have to go up.

SIMONE: And you know, the Trump organization, I know the company well, everybody has been there 30 years, 10,000 employees, you never heard an employee say something bad about him.

MATTHEWS: By the way, as much as I`m pumping him right now, I think he could probably could kill it in the general, because I think there are a lot of independents, you`re talking about in the country, New York is going to vote for Hillary in the general.

SIDDIQUI: I was going to say, if there`s one group to watch when you`re looking at suburban population, it`s women. You remember what just happened in Wisconsin, where Donald Trump overwhelmingly lost among suburban women. I think, you know, when you`re breaking it down by area --

MATTHEWS: Northern Virginia is packed with single women, a lot who came to Washington to work and moved over there.

SIDDIQUI: Right. So, whether you`re in Virginia, whether you`re in Ohio, they`re in Ohio, you can go across the swing states and the married women vote will count a great deal.

CONASON: In the primary, they have nobody to vote for. In the general election, they will. So --

MATTHEWS: There is not a Ted Cruz waiting for them. There is a Hillary Clinton waiting for them probably.

Mark, in an interview with Trump on Tuesday, you encouraged him to run, you`re just a troublemaker, third party, if you lose the nomination at the convention in Cleveland. If you`re a Republican, even a Republican-leaning commentator, how can you be for that? Here is how he responded by the way. Here`s Donald Trump.


SIMONE: If they take it from you, you have to go through third party.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I`m going to look. I`m going to see. I have to be treated fairly, otherwise, I`ll be doing something people will be shocked at. But they have to treat me fairly.


MATTHEWS: He said he was going to run third party.


MATTHEWS: Why do you push him? Because that means the end of the center right coalition.

SIMONE: As long as we`re "The Godfather" theme, business is business.

MATTHEWS: Not for you. But how is the Republican Party when it split, we saw when Teddy Roosevelt, Trump`s -- a lot of us, heroes, he runs against Taft in 1912, and all of a sudden, we`ve got a President Woodrow Wilson. That`s what happens. No party can split and still win.

SIMONE: That is what you`re saying and every expert would say it`s impossible.

MATTHEWS: Because it`s always been that case.

SIMONE: Whenever that`s the case, Trump pulls it off. Let`s just test it, if anybody can pull it off, it is him.

MATTHEWS: You`re laughing.

CONASON: It`s great to have Mark explaining this.

MATTHEWS: The left, this is great. Because what happened with Ross Perot. He killed, I think on purpose, killed George Senior.

SIMONE: But you made a great point. Even if he`s not third party, he`s going to be on TV day and night. Either way, you`re going to have to face him.

MATTHEWS: Well, you`ve got to nominate him then.



MATTHEWS: Can you support him, if you are on the radio the day after he gets nominated, it happens around midnight usually, he gets nominated, and the roll is taken, he does get 1,237, or close enough to get the gimme, OK?

SIMONE: He`ll get 1,500.

MATTHEWS: OK, how do you defend the presidential campaign, the real thing? When he gets the nomination? How do you defend it?

SIMONE: It`d be heaven. You throw out the donors, you end K Street, you throw out the lobbyists.

Our manufacture money is 90 percent is wasted on fraud and bloat. It`s not $10 billion to build a bridge. It`s $800 million. Who better to fix it than this guy? It would be perfect.


CONASON: You mean after the four bankruptcies?

SIMONE: You don`t look persuaded.

MATTHEWS: No, I think -- I do think he knows how to put buildings up and if he`d ride on infrastructure, I hate that word every time, he works on rebuilding this country, I keep looking at stuff, highways and stuff, that used to be built in the `50s and `30s, we didn`t have as much money as we have now. We don`t build anything anymore.

Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us. Mark Simone is an instigator.

Up next, these three will tell me something I don`t know, an agent provocateur from New York City.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Well, MSNBC has a great line up for you tomorrow here. I said, I`ll sit down with Ohio Governor John Kasich in Long Island, in a town hall at 7:00 Eastern tonight.

And following that, catch Chuck Todd`s town hall with Texas Senator Ted Cruz, at 8:00 p.m.

And I`ll be back at 11:00 p.m. tomorrow night following the Democratic debate with the night`s key moments and top analysis on where the race stands just a few days ahead of the New York primary.

And we`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: We`re back.

Joe, Joe Conason, tell me something I don`t know.

CONASON: I don`t know if you don`t know, but Hillary Clinton surprisingly to some people is the person who is disclosed the most about her taxes, unlike Donald Trump is disclosed to refuse a single tax return, unlike Bernie Sanders, her primary opponent, who`s posted one form 1040, two pages. She and her husband have disclosed all their taxes going back to 1992. They`re all available online. So, I don`t know --

MATTHEWS: What`s the usual thing being hid here?

CONASON: Well, there are sources of income, like with her. It`s the speeches and the blah and the blah. We don`t know what Sanders or Cruz, Kasich or Trump, in fact. With Trump, there`s all kinds of questions about what are all the sources of income, did he give ever anything to his charities as he`s claimed to? He won`t disclose, he says he`s being audited. It`s a phony excuse.

MATTHEWS: Yes, that`s phony.

CONASON: Mrs. Sanders, who is here before, has promised to put up their tax returns, but we have yet to see.

MATTHEWS: Why won`t he release his tax returns? Either they are being audited.

CONASON: I have no idea.

MATTHEWS: It`s like, you know, the House is under, what do you call, being refurbished. What do you think?

CONASON: I don`t know.

MATTHEWS: Sabrina?

SIDDIQUI: So, my piece has to do with delegates again. Wyoming is holding its state Republican convention this weekend and Ted Cruz is the only one of the remaining candidates who actually plans to address the convention in person. Now, remember, Ted Cruz swept Colorado`s convention last weekend.

MATTHEWS: He likes conventions.

SIDDIQUI: Well, that`s his strategy when you go to these potential contested conventions.

Remember, Trump accused Ted Cruz or Trump`s campaign to have Gestapo-like tactics, scorched earth tactic. Well, Donald Trump, he has no plans to go to Wyoming. He`s sending Sarah Palin in his place.

SIMONE: Well, you and I had some Sinatra conversations. But you may not know, Trump was a huge Sinatra studier, fan, friend of Sinatra`s as well. Sinatra liked to make helicopter landings in front of audience and come out and make the --

MATTHEWS: Who was the boss? He or Trump?

SIMONE: Sinatra was always the boss.

MATTHEWS: OK, thank you. I want to thank my round table, Joe Conason, Sabrina Siddiqui and Mark Simone. Great to have you all. What a group.

When we return, a lot of stuff between the breaks you didn`t hear. I`m going to talk about democracy when we come back, which is the trump card of Donald Trump.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a word we`ve become use to in American politics -- democracy.

You know, we use to have a country where only land owners got the vote. Then another one got the vote eventually, after a lot of trouble, including a civil war and a dangerous civil rights struggle, every citizen of the country is supposed to be able to vote.

Let`s talk about how we pick a president. In the beginning, a lot of presidential elections were decided in the House of Representatives. That took this election away from the people and put it in the hands of the Congress.

It used to be that United States senators were picked by members of the state legislatures. And finally, an amendment to the Constitution gave people the right to elect senators.

It used to be men in hotel rooms decided who was nominated for president. Then, in the 1950s, and more and more each election year, people in primaries began to select presidents. That`s how we got General Eisenhower and Jack Kennedy, instead of people like Robert Taft and Hubert Humphrey.

And so, over time, we`ve gotten use to democracy -- real democracy where we the people pick the people running the country. Now, under the auspices of someone named Reince Priebus, we`re hearing that the process of picking presidents is something o be done to go back to the smoke filled rooms, supposed to be done by our bettors, those who know what`s good for us.

I don`t think people are ready to be told that, that they aren`t the ones to pick the president. I don`t think people are ready to be told by someone named Reince Priebus that he and other unknown figures are going to decide who the Republicans have picked for president. Whatever you think of Donald Trump, he has one overwhelming case to be made, that he should be the Republican presidential nominee of his party. He will be able to say something quite simple and inarguable, he got the most votes.

That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.