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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 5/20/2016

Guests: John Burton, Jeremy Peters, Molly Ball, Matt Schlapp, Amanda Terkel, Richard Thomas

Show: HARDBALL Date: May 20, 2016 Guest: John Burton, Jeremy Peters, Molly Ball, Matt Schlapp, Amanda Terkel, Richard Thomas


Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

On guns and terror, Donald Trump spent the day chasing the cowboy soul of the Republican Party. He spoke at the NRA`s national forum this afternoon and picked up the national group`s endorsement.

He said Hillary Clinton wants to take people`s guns away from them and abolish the 2nd Amendment.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The 2nd Amendment is under a threat like never before. Crooked Hillary Clinton is the most anti-gun, anti-2nd Amendment candidate ever to run for office. And as I said before, she wants to abolish the 2nd Amendment. She wants to take your guns away.

Hillary wants to disarm vulnerable Americans in high-crime neighborhoods. Whether it`s a young single mom in Florida or a grandmother in Ohio, Hillary wants them to be defenseless, wants to take away any chance they have of survival.

Hillary`s pledged to issue new anti-gun executive orders. You know that. This is the behavior, I mean, you could say of a dictator. This is the behavior of somebody, frankly, I think that doesn`t know what she`s doing. She`s not equipped to be president in so many different ways.


MATTHEWS: Well, Mr. Trump spent the morning knocking Hillary Clinton and sounding tough on ISIS. He tweeted, quote, "Crooked Hillary Clinton looks presidential? I don`t think so. Four more years of Obama, and our country will never come back. ISIS laughs." And more, "Crooked Hillary has zero imagination, even less stamina. ISIS, China, Russia all would love for her to be president, four more years."

Anyway, Trump said President Obama and Hillary Clinton`s response to terrorism has been too politically correct. Here he is.


TRUMP: We can be politically correct. We can be nice. We can`t afford to be so nice and so foolish anymore. Our country`s in trouble. ISIS is laughing at us.

We cannot continue to let things like this happen. We are being taken advantage of by radical Islamic terrorists. And we are -- this world is changing. And another couple of planes go down, Mika, you`re going to have a depression worldwide the likes of which you`ve never seen because nobody`s going to travel. And I will tell you four more years of a weak Hillary Clinton -- and that`s what she is -- four more years of that -- it will not work. It will not work.


MATTHEWS: Well, Robert Costa is national political reporter for "The Washington Post" and an MSNBC political analyst. Howard Fineman, of course, is global editorial director for the HuffingtonPost. He`s also an MSNBC political analyst. And my colleague, Joy Reid, is an MSNBC anchor.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you all. I want to start...


MATTHEWS: I want to start with Howard because I always like the people who are right in front of me. Howard, it seems to me he`s fought with the neocons, he`s fought with the establishment, beat them all.


MATTHEWS: But there`s a soul of the Republican Party. He`s going for that guy, probably a male, probably a white male, who lives somewhere in Michigan, Pennsylvania, in that industrial part of the country, in addition to the Appalachian area -- guns -- they -- if you`re for guns, you start at the Mississippi River and go all the way out to the edge of California and you got gun people.

But he`s picking up the East Coast part of that -- Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Wisconsin. He looks like he`s -- this looks like strategy to me. And he got their endorsement today, the gun folks.

FINEMAN: That`s right, Chris. Well, you and I are both from Pennsylvania and you know that guns are big in Pennsylvania not only because guns -- not only because of guns per se, not only because people hunt deer, and so forth, in the area between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, but because it`s symbolic of something.

MATTHEWS: Who was the last all-out liberal Democratic senator from Pennsylvania? Joe Clark (ph)...

FINEMAN: Yes, in the `60s.

MATTHEWS: ... beaten in `68 on the gun issue.

FINEMAN: Yes. But my point is it`s not only the gun themselves, it`s what the guns symbolize to people that he`s appealing to...


FINEMAN: ... which is the idea of frontier individualism, which is the idea of we`re not relying on the government...


FINEMAN: ... for protection. So it`s a symbolic thing. And yes, it`s men mostly, and yes, it`s white mostly. But that`s how -- if Trump is going to have a chance in the states you`re mentioning, he`s going to have to draw hugely from those kinds of voters, and they`re frankly going after them, and that`s what this is about.

MATTHEWS: And Joy, you know, it`s not so much an argument because Hillary Clinton has been pretty clear. She`s been pushing gun safety. I was watching her a month or so ago, I said, My God, you`re taking a chance here being so strong on gun safety.

I know it`s just the loopholes. I know it`s just the gun shows and stuff like that. But to the people who are 2nd Amendment people, it`s a threat to them. They take -- anyway, I think she`s staked out a very strong position on gun safety, and now she`s got to deal with the -- the results.

JOY REID, HOST, "AM JOY": Well, you know, I mean, and running against Bernie Sanders -- of course, Bernie Sanders has a position on guns that is closer to the NRA, more friendly to them, and Hillary Clinton`s been using that to get to his left on an issue.

But you have to remember they`re speaking to two completely different audiences. Trump is what I call getting to zero. He`s doubling down on the kinds of voters who are already Republicans, consolidating all of the different boxes he needs to tick under the Republican Party base, under himself, providing no alternatives. He`s for (ph) everybody. He`s with the evangelicals. He`s with the gun folks.

For Hillary Clinton, it`s a little different. She`s going to be tomorrow with the mother of Trayvon Martin in Florida. And she`s going after a different kind of voter, which is the suburban -- particularly the suburban woman who is concerned about gun safety...


REID: ... who is looking at something like Sandy Hook and saying that`s a horror we need to do something about.

And the more than 70 percent of Americans, especially in the suburbs and people of color, by the way, who are very, very...

MATTHEWS: I agree with you on that.

REID: ... concerned about these laws...

MATTHEWS: That`s so true.

REID: ... and she`s bringing out her base. They`re both basically getting to zero and trying to bring out their base.

MATTHEWS: I am so with you. I think everybody knows who`s going for who.

Anyway, let me go back to you, Robert Costa. In terms of a decision, was this any decision at all on his part? Or was Trump going to do this? I guess he got the national endorsement of the NRA, the National Rifle Association. He certainly got paid value today to go give that speech in Louisville.

ROBERT COSTA, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It`s a political move. It`s a chess move because look at a state like Pennsylvania. We`re talking about Pat Toomey up for Senate reelection in that state. He`s one of the big Republicans behind background checks, trying to appeal to those Philly suburban voters.

But Trump, by cozying up to the NRA, he`s really looking for the center of Pennsylvania, that more rural part of the state, trying to get those working class independents and conservatives to come out for him in major numbers.

MATTHEWS: My brother lives in Nutrapoli (ph), Pennsylvania, to the west of Allentown. He is with those guys all the way.

Anyway, Hillary Clinton pushed back hard against Trump yesterday calling his positions -- now, here`s her reaction. In addition to what you said, Joy, here`s the tough language. She said he`s potentially dangerous. Let`s watch.


HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FMR. SEC. OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The kinds of positions he is stating and the consequences of those positions, and even the consequences of his statements are not just offensive to people, they are potentially dangerous.


MATTHEWS: She wants to make him into Barry Goldwater back in the `60s, a guy who was -- had an itchy trigger finger on nuclear weapons, he was portrayed as having...


MATTHEWS: ... as dangerous.

FINEMAN: Well, it`s very interesting because Donald Trump has said as recently as this morning on "MORNING JOE" he would not have gone into -- he repeated, Iraq was a mistake. Libya was a mistake. I would not go to Syria.

So on the one hand, he`s playing the isolation guy in terms of the Middle East. On the other hand, he`s talking big and talking loud about arming other nations with nuclear weapons. And the rhetoric that he`s taking...

MATTHEWS: OK, explain that.


MATTHEWS: OK, what`s the logic? What`s -- there`s a logic to what he`s doing. It isn`t all -- there`s some inconsistency historically. But right now, he`s saying, We`re the tough, self-reliant Americans. We`re going to look out for ourselves. Screw everybody else. We`re looking out for us, number one.

FINEMAN: Right. And they`re also going to try to claim -- the Trump campaign is going to try to claim the mantle of Ronald Reagan on this, believe it or not, because Ronald Reagan was not a guy who sent troops to a lot of places.


FINEMAN: He was a guy who flexed American muscle by building up the Pentagon and then cutting a deal with the Soviets. That`s who they`re going to claim. Now, whether they can realistically and convincingly make that claim, I don`t know, but that`s the claim they`re going to make.

MATTHEWS: It`s so true about Reagan. Even when there...

FINEMAN: That`s the claim they`re going to make.

MATTHEWS: Even when there was -- the plane went down over South Korea...


MATTHEWS: ... the South Korean plane over Russia, the time that the American soldier was killed along the -- along the DMZ, basically, in East Berlin, Reagan did not go to war over that stuff. He saw it as stuff you have to put up with.

Your thoughts, Robert, because I think Reagan is...

COSTA: It`s old school.

MATTHEWS: ... in many ways, the gold standard for the conservatives.

COSTA: You call him an urban cowboy, but he`s a certain kind of urban cowboy. I think Howard`s spot on. We`re looking at Trump going back to old school Republicanism. Some call it realism. He`s been meeting with Henry Kissinger, talking to Jim Baker. On Monday, he`s going to meet with Bob Corker, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman.

Who is he not meeting with? He`s not meeting with the traditional conservative hawks, the George W. Bush people. And so that`s really sending the signal about what kind of Republican he is.

MATTHEWS: OK. Look who knocked him in your paper today, Robert Kagan, a reasonable neocon and a hawk who went all after him in a big box column today, Robert, really sticking it to him.

FINEMAN: Yes, and a lot of -- by the way, a lot of the other neocon types, like the Bill Kristols and so on, they`re -- they don`t want to have anything to do with Donald Trump.


MATTHEWS: At some point, the big story will be when Hillary swaps -- or grabs some of them.

Anyway, a new national poll for "The New York Times" and CBS shows Clinton with a 6-point lead over Trump -- we`ve seen that as of late last night, 47-41. But that is down from a 10-point lead a month ago, so he is -- at least in this poll, Trump is closing.

Anyway, meanwhile, there`s evidence the Republican Party`s falling in line behind Trump. Look at this! This is pretty astounding. Eighty percent of Republicans, four out of five, say their party leaders should support Trump.

Joy, this is a coming home faster than I expected to the party. They are people historically more obedient than Democrats. You know, it`s more like -- well, it`s more like Catholic school to public school...



MATTHEWS: They put their hands together. They don`t talk unless spoken to. But they do fall in line, they don`t fall in love. This is pretty quick to fall in line, though, I think, 80 percent say do what he wants. Back this guy.

REID: Yes, I think it`s just one other example of the fact that, you know, there are a certain number of elites in the Republican Party, really more in the conservative movement. There are the neocons. There are the movement conservatives. They`re the Erick Ericksons of the world who really detest Donald Trump because he refutes the idea that their version of conservatism has a broad base.

And quite frankly, what Donald Trump has disproved is that that base is as big as they thought it was. And there are a few showmen, a few talk radio people who are standing against Trump. But look, at the end of the day, Republicans come home to the Republican and Democrats do the same.


REID: And any Republican would be at around 40 to 44 percent.


REID: That`s the way it is, no matter...


MATTHEWS: ... the best question for you. OK ready? 88 percent is accounted for, 47-41 percent. OK, 88 percent. Who`s that other 12 percent that can`t decide right now between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? Who is it? Let`s guess about that. You start. Who`s in that 12? Who`s (ph) going to vote?

REID: We`re talking about what you call the suburbs and the exurban voter. I think that`s all that you have left because who Trump is talking to when he`s at the NRA and doing a sort of spaghetti Western version of Ronald Reagan -- that is a voter who`s already a Republican.

MATTHEWS: Did you just think of that?



REID: I mean, he`s doing that, right? He`s trying to be sort of a Reagan (INAUDIBLE) kind of guy. But those people...

MATTHEWS: The good, the bad and ugly, OK.

REID: ... are already Republicans. There`s nobody new there. What these guys are going to be fighting over are essentially suburban women and exurban women, the few...


REID: ... remaining swing voters left, and I think that`s what it is, the suburbs.

FINEMAN: I would add...

MATTHEWS: Lee van Cleef...


FINEMAN: I would add to that Hispanics in certain states. My sense of what the Trump...

MATTHEWS: Cuban-Americans?

FINEMAN: No, no. No, not -- leave them out of the equation. In talking to the Trump people, they know they`re not going to get 40 percent of the Hispanic vote nationwide. But what they`re looking at are some states in the middle -- again, Pennsylvania, Ohio, to take two, where there`s some Hispanics that they think they can get as part of the macho -- to use the Spanish -- part of the macho...

MATTHEWS: I get it. I get it.

FINEMAN: ... part of the macho culture. And it can be men or woman, but they`re Hispanics. They got to get -- Trump has to get his numbers up with those people. And that kind of appeal today...

MATTHEWS: It`s interesting.

FINEMAN: ... is part -- they think is one of the routes to those people.

MATTHEWS: OK, let`s get the final point here. Donald Trump last week told George Stephanopoulos his tax returns were none of your business, meaning none of George`s business. And now he could be the first major party candidate in 40 years to refuse to release his tax returns.

But today, "The Washington Post" reported there was a time, a third of a century ago, when Trump`s tax returns were made public, and it showed he paid zero dollars in income taxes to the federal government.

According to "The Post," quote, "The disclosure in a 1981 report by New Jersey gambling regulators revealed that the wealthy Manhattan investor had for at least two years in the last 1970s taken advantage of a tax code provision popular with developers that allowed him to report negative income."

Robert Costa, does that mean anything to anybody today, that back in the late `70s, he found a tax break that he exploited?

COSTA: Well, based on "The Washington Post" reporting, you got a sense that many people in the real estate industry -- they often pay low taxes or sometimes no income tax at all...

MATTHEWS: I agree.

COSTA: ... because of the way it`s all set up. And so that -- the thought about Trump -- it`s not so much about revealing his fortune, it`s about revealing his rate or his lack of a rate.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I think that`s a problem. And I think everybody sort of -- didn`t you all sort of smell this out, Howard, that real estate allows you depreciation on property on all this different (INAUDIBLE)

FINEMAN: Yes, but Chris, here`s the amazing thing. It`s become a standard procedure to release the returns. Even Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, said, Well, people usually do that. He said that just the other day. But my sense -- and Robert may know differently. But from my -- my reporting tells me that they think they can tough this out.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I know.

FINEMAN: Somehow, they`re going to go all the way from here to November and not release...


MATTHEWS: This is so tough because it`s almost like saying, I`m not going to debate. It`s one of these things that`s...


FINEMAN: I don`t know if they can get away with it. I just don`t know.

MATTHEWS: I don`t know. Anyway, we`ll see. Obviously, he has something he doesn`t want public and he`s willing to pay the price.

Anyway, Robert Costa -- because when in doubt -- I always figure if it looks better than it is, they don`t say anything. If it`s worse than it looks, well, there`s a reason for that not (ph) showing. Anyway, thank you, Howard Fineman. Thank you, Robert Costa. Thank you, thank you, Joy Reid. Everybody have a good weekend. And to be sure -- well be sure to join Joy this weekend at 10:00 AM Eastern for her show, "AM JOY," and her special guest, Harry Reid. That`s this weekend.

Is that Saturday and Sunday?

REID: We`re going to do a little on Saturday, a little bit on Sunday.


Coming up -- Hillary Clinton says she`s going to be a Democratic nominee. That`s a fact. Bernie Sanders is going all out, however, to win California and come into the Democrat convention at the height of his political powers. Yet despite that public show of force, Sanders is quietly telling some Democratic leaders he`ll be on board as Clinton takes on Donald Trump. Well, that`s ahead.

Plus, the latest on the investigation into what brought down that Egypt airliner over the Mediterranean. Wreckage has been found, but the cause of the crash remains, as we know now, a mystery.

And Donald Trump says it was a mistake for the United States to intervene in toppling Gadhafi. He talked about that. But in 2011, the year we went in there, Trump was calling for military action. Will voters give Trump a pass on his wildly changing positions?

Finally, the behind-the-scenes story of the Camp David accords, President Carter`s breakthrough peace deal between Israel and Egypt.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC ANCHOR: I`m Milissa Rehberger with breaking news.

An armed man was shot earlier outside the White House grounds, triggering a lockdown. NBC`s chief Pentagon correspondent, Jim muk -- Miklaszewski -- excuse me has the latest. Mik...


JIM MIKLASZEWSKI, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, Milissa, this place this afternoon suddenly exploded with shouts, with shots fired and heavily armed Secret Service agents running back and forth to their posts.

In somewhat of a bizarre story, eyewitnesses said that a man brandishing a weapon openly approached the guard checkpoint at the southwest corner of the White House grounds. And when the Secret Service agents and police ordered him to drop the weapon, put the gun down, put it down -- when he refused, one of the agents shot the -- shot the individual once in the chest. He`s currently at the hospital in unknown condition.

He`s identified as Jessie Olivera (ph) of -- of Pennsylvania. And it`s said by U.S. federal officials that it`s believed that this was an attempted suicide by cop, that the suspect actually said that he wanted to die before he was shot, Milissa.

REHBERGER: Was the president in any kind of danger?

MIKLASZEWSKI: Actually, the president was in no danger. He was out golfing somewhere. Now, Joe Biden was here at the compound. The whereabouts of the first lady and the two daughters at that time is unknown.

REHBERGER: All right, Mik. Thank you.

HARDBALL returns after this.



SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Before we will have the opportunity to defeat Donald Trump, we`re going to have to defeat Secretary Clinton!


SANDERS: We`re going to continue to fight for every last vote until June 14th, and then we`re going to take our fight into the convention!



MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Bernie Sanders said he wants to defeat Hillary Clinton. But yesterday Clinton insisted she will be the Democrats` nominee.



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN: So, you get into the general election, if you`re the nominee for your party.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will be the nominee for my party, Chris. That`s already done, in effect. There`s no way that I won`t be.


MATTHEWS: Well, "The New York Times" reported that Sanders is -- quote -- "newly resolved to remain in the race, seeing an aggressive campaign as his only chance to pressure Democrats into making fundamental changes to how presidential primaries and debates are held in the future. His advisers and allies say he`s willing to do some harm to Mrs. Clinton in the shorter term if it means he can capture a majority of the 475 pledged delegates at stake in California and arrive at the Philadelphia convention with maximum political power."

And "The Washington Post" reports that -- quote -- "The Democratic National Committee plans to offer a concession to Senator Bernie Sanders, seats on a key convention platform community, according to two people familiar with the conversations. The DNC and the campaigns will reach a final agreement, probably less than Sanders wanted, but more than the DNC originally offered, by the end of the week." That`s this week.

Anyway, can Democrats strike a deal with Bernie to avoid chaos at the convention? Or is he gearing up for a floor flight?

John Burton is chairman of the California Democratic Party. Joan Walsh is with "The Nation." And Jeremy Peters is a reporter for "The New York Times."

Chairman Burton, Congressman Burton, thank you for coming on.

It seems to me there`s a couple areas where Bernie has got a good argument. One is the way that the debates were scheduled on Saturday night or Sunday morning. The way the DNC put those debates together was to make sure nobody watched them.

And the other one is to try to get an evenhanded policy on the Middle East. A lot of Democrats would like to see that. There`s a lot of fish in this barrel, a lot going on in terms of the negotiations. But how do you see it`s going to work? Is Bernie going to deal or is he just going to fight?

JOHN BURTON, CHAIRMAN, CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Well, first of all, I know the answer was Joe Clark, OK?

MATTHEWS: Thank you, the last liberal from Pennsylvania, right.


BURTON: You got it.

I think Sanders is going to fight for issues in the platform. He wants some reforms for future Democratic primaries as far as debates are concerned and other issues. And I think there will be fights on the floor over platform, but that happened, you know, in `68 with the peace plank.


BURTON: The important thing for us as Democrats is to, when it`s all over, fully understand the enemy is going to be Donald Trump.

And we have to do everything we can, whether it`s Clinton or Sanders, to make sure that, after the convention, the party -- and the party meaning the Democrats, not political party, but Democrats -- understand that the future of the nation is at stake and we will pull together.

Chris, I was there in `68, when the McCarthy people, of which I was one, held out for too long before embracing Hubert Humphrey. Hubert held out a little too long before changing his position on the war. And we ended up with Dick Nixon.


BURTON: And those of us that are, unfortunately, old enough to remember that do not want to see that kind of mistake again.

MATTHEWS: Joan, let`s talk about the things that can be negotiated.

First of all, what do you think -- simple question, what do you think Senator Sanders is up to? He`s still trying to win, at least on paper. He says he`s trying -- that could be rhetorical. He knows the math as well as anybody. He sits there with Jeff Weaver. They know the math and the difficulty of surmounting these numbers.

But what does he want to do if he doesn`t win?

JOAN WALSH, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, I think he`s in a tough position. And I sympathize with some of his position, Chris, because he does want -- I think he knows he`s not going to win, that he can`t win.

I think he wants to go into Philadelphia with the maximum number of delegates, so that he can exert the maximum influence on the platform. And I think that`s fine. What I don`t think is fine if, when he says I can still win, he continues to feed a sense of grievance or that people have been cheated, like we saw with the Nevada situation, like we have seen, you know, in the New York primary, and people were kicked off the rolls in Brooklyn.

It had nothing to do with Secretary Clinton. Her people were kicked off the rolls. There have been some glitches along the way in this primary season that, unfortunately, the Sanders campaign and a lot of the more vocal supporters have blamed on Secretary Clinton or blamed on the Democratic National Committee that were not at all their fault.

So, it`s very important that, as he says I can win and I want you to come out and vote for me, he also stops feeding this sense of grievance that the rules are rigged and that he`s been treated unfairly in the voting process.


WALSH: We can debate about -- I agree with you on the debates. It was ridiculous and it didn`t help Secretary Clinton. She did really well in the debates. Everybody agreed.

MATTHEWS: Yes, why was she hiding from a real big, a prime-time debate?

WALSH: Right? Exactly. She didn`t help -- she definitely didn`t help Secretary Clinton.


WALSH: So, that`s what I think he`s trying to do.

MATTHEWS: Jeremy, let`s get to the point.

There`s some obviously low-hanging branches here that you could actually say we could fix the debate schedule. How about weekday nights in prime time? That would be simple. And how about in the foreign policy? To have a Democratic floor debate over Middle East policy is obviously risky with the donor class, if you will.

All of a sudden, the Democratic Party is not pro-Israel. But the other things -- the question is, is this going to end up making Hillary stronger in the general election or weaker?

JEREMY PETERS, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, the polls show that far more Americans felt that the primary process was harmful in 2008 than they do now. And given that it didn`t harm Barack Obama in 2008 hardly at all is proof right now to a lot of people that she will emerge just fine.

But I think you don`t need to be a negotiator a la Donald Trump to realize that this is his -- that is the Democratic Party`s first offer to Bernie. He wants more than just a few changes to the platform.

MATTHEWS: Let me go to John Burton, former congressman who has been in politics.

Let me ask you a simple question. Is this election out there come June, even though it is going to be after apparently the networks have already called it, saying Hillary has got the requisite number -- she`s gone over the top if she wins New Jersey.

By the time you guys vote and we have a count out there at 11:00 California time, or whenever it comes in, maybe 11:00 Eastern time, do you think this is going to be a close vote out there? How do you see it right now, the Democratic Party primary?

BURTON: Well, Bernie Sanders has a movement. Hillary Clinton`s got an election. They are two different things.

When you`re involved in movement politics, is -- you know, I have been actually -- more than I have been involved in elective -- it just -- it comes not from the head, but from your gut.

And I think it will be very interesting, if the Clinton people know that she has got it cinched before California finishes voting, the Sanders people, in my mind, will still turn out to vote to prove the point that they have things to say, things to change, and they want their voices heard.

And that`s a very strong impetus. Just this week, Facebook did some kind of voter registration thing. And I think like 200,000 new voters registered in like three days. And, you know, those people were not registering for more of the same. I think they were registering probably mostly for Bernie, maybe a little for Trump.

But I have no doubt in the -- you people that are smart, the talking heads, keep claiming that when it`s over -- and I believe this -- the Democrats will come home to Hillary Clinton, assuming she will get it. And I don`t assume anything until it`s over. But they`re going to all come home to one thing: The country cannot afford Donald Trump.

MATTHEWS: Well, backing you up there, Congressman, according to the "New York Times"/CBS News poll, 72 percent of Bernie Sanders voters say they will support Hillary Clinton in the end.

Anyway, it`s a higher number than eight years ago when just 60 percent of Hillary Clinton voters said they would support then Senator Obama. That`s interesting.

Anyway, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin said he spoke to Bernie Sanders on the phone recently and he`s confident Democrats will unite. Let`s listen to Senator Durbin.


SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: I looked at for, why did he call me? Well, we`re friends. But I think he called me because in the end he understands we have to make sure we come together as a party for the right values and for the right reason, making sure that Donald Trump is not the next commander in chief of the United States of America.


MATTHEWS: Well, that sounds like a final line there.

By the way, thank you, John Burton, because you`re right about Joe Clark. He`s the first big Senate -- first senator I ever got to vote for when I first voted. Anyway, he lost unfortunately.

Anyway, John Burton, thank you for joining us, Joan Walsh, as always, and Jeremy Peters.

Up next, new details on the investigation into what brought down that EgyptAir jetliner. Still trying to get it nailed.

Back and more after this.


MATTHEWS: More than 48 hours after EgyptAir Flight 804 went down in the Mediterranean, the mystery remains. What caused the flight, with 66 passengers and crew aboard, to suddenly fall from the sky?

Well, today, search crews located pieces of the plane, including luggage, passenger seats and human remains.

One new clue has emerged. NBC News confirms reports that data transmitted from the plane minutes before it crashed showed smoke on board the plane.

NBC`s Kerry Sanders joins us now.

Well, Kerry, a big question mark from me to you, what happened? Do we know yet?

KERRY SANDERS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, we`re getting more details.

When a plane is flying, it`s not only the communications from the pilot to air traffic control, but planes are also autonomously sending out data, streams of data at certain intervals that send information back to home base. It`s called ACARS, which stands for the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System.

ACARS provides information that is critical perhaps in this communication. We know that the pilots had been in communication on their radio with Greek authorities. But then when they got into Egyptian airspace, there was silence. Now, this may be why.

Let me tell you what was going on. There were three simultaneous events apparently happening, according to the ACARS system. First of all, two sensors from the cockpit`s right window go off. It shows that there is a problem with two of the windows inside the cockpit.

And at the same time, a smoke sensor in the forward lavatory goes off. That would be outside the cockpit, but just on the other side of the wall in the main cabin area.


K. SANDERS: Then, one minute later, there is smoke in the avionics compartment, which controls the plane.

Then another window sensor goes off inside the cockpit. And then, three minutes later, the ACARS system suggests that there are indications of pilot control and computer problems. And that of course is critical, because the pilots are trying to control the plane with all of this advanced avionics.

So, it`s possible, based on the ACARS information, there was a fire or an explosion that caused a catastrophic failure of each of these pieces of equipment that were going on, whether it`s windows, whether it`s computers, whether it`s something going on inside the lavatory, which, of course, is all focused in an area on this airplane, the way it was laid out, near the galley.

And, of course, the question now is, was something in the galley? We know that there have been bombs that have been made that can fit inside a soda can. And so there will be a lot of focus on trying to determine whether this ACARS data is revealing that there was a fire or a bomb on board.

But, again, it`s only pieces of the puzzle. Trying to find this, OK, this is the black box, is really going to be the most important thing that they can find somewhere deep in the Mediterranean -- Chris.

MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, NBC`s Kerry Sanders.

Up next, Donald Trump`s stunning 180-degree turn on whether or not we should have gone into Libya. He slams Hillary Clinton for wanting to go in, but, five years ago, he was right there with her.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

During a phone interview this morning on MSNBC`s "MORNING JOE," presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump said he would have stayed out of Libya back in 2011.


JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: Would you have stayed out of Libya?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would have stayed out of Libya, yes. I would have stayed out of Iraq, too.



But what Trump told "MORNING JOE" this morning is the opposite of something he said in his own video blog back in February of 2011 itself, right about the time the Obama administration was debating whether to intervene in that country.

At that time, Trump said that the United States should go in and stop Moammar Gadhafi.


TRUMP: We`re sitting around. We have soldiers all over the Middle East, and we`re not bringing them in to stop this horrible carnage. And that`s what it is. It`s a carnage.

You talk about all of the things that have happened in history, this could be one of the worst. Now, we should go in. We should stop this guy, which would be very easy and very quick. We could do it surgically. Stop him from doing it and save these lives.


MATTHEWS: So, which Trump are we getting in this election? Is he a hawk or a dove?

Joining me right now is tonight`s roundtable, Molly Ball, staff writer covering politics for "The Atlantic." Matt Schlapp was White House political director for George W. Bush and is chairman of the American Conservative Union. And Amanda Terkel is the senior political writer and politics managing editor at The Huffington Post.

Let me start with Molly at my end and go right through here.

A hundred percent inconsistency here from what he said he...


MATTHEWS: At the time of -- when we had to decide whether to go in or not.

I personally -- I`m a noninterventionist, but I remember clearly Samantha Powers, Susan Rice, and Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, all pushed for intervention, and they convinced the president to do it.

Trump apparently was part of that line back then. Now he`s saying he`s against that line as of this morning. Where is he? Where was he?

MOLLY BALL, THE ATLANTIC: Well, he was somewhere and now he`s somewhere else. Same with the Iraq war, right, because he has been in this campaign been very critical of the war. He`s on the record before the war as saying that he supported the invasion. So, and this is attention in his rhetoric. When he says --

MATTHEWS: Why would it change?

BALL: He said he`s militaristic.


BALL: Well, because he`s running this time as a non-interventionist. He`s running as an American --

MATTHEWS: Why would he switch?

BALL: That`s where he sees the electorate presumably and it seems to have worked for him so far.

MATTHEWS: Matt? Sounds like you to me, what you just said, Molly.


MATTHEWS: The tune -- if you want to tune your instrument to the current note, the note is non-intervention, right.

SCHLAPP: What`s the common thread? America. Let`s take care of America. Let`s take care of America`s economy. Let`s take care of America`s jobs.

The other thing is, is that let`s face it, it`s a war weary country. It`s been war weary for a long time.

There`s a reason why the right track/wrong track has been on the wrong track for 12 years. A lot of that is we feel a certain malaise about where things are at home.

AMANDA TERKEL, THE HUFFINGTON POST: And he thinks this is a way he can differentiate himself from Hillary Clinton, too, because, you know, she was in favor of the war in Iraq, intervening in Libya. He was too but he thinks he can say, no, I wasn`t.


TERKEL: I mean, he`s just lying. He will probably have a different position tomorrow if he thinks that`s the way the political wind --

MATTHEWS: It`s not that he`s changing his mind. He`s saying I never had a difference of mind

TERKEL: Right. He is actually just lying. I mean, he said, go look, there are tons of clips out there from before the war in Iraq where I`m opposing it. The media, look, there is nothing out there. He hasn`t been able to produce anything.

MATTHEWS: Look, let me ask about the political -- why is he doing this? It`s better to say I`m against it now and also been against it than to admit you`re for it, even if you`re people, reporters can point the inconsistency, right?

TERKEL: His supporters aren`t supporting him for rational reasons. I really looked at Donald Trump`s position on Libya.


MATTHEWS: Wow, rational is a harsh word.

TERKEL: Rational is the wrong word. But he`s not -- his supporters are not saying, I support Donald Trump because I like what he`s saying on Libya. A lot of it is very emotional. They like his character. They like who he is. They like he`s thumbing his nose at the establishment and he`s not doing what traditional politicians are. And that will come true even if --

MATTHEWS: Do you think he`s discovered nationalism, he wasn`t a nationalist four or five years ago? Nationalism, I`m convince, is his grandest pull. It`s us against Russia, us against the Mexico, Africans, every foreign (INAUDIBLE), Chinese, the Arabs, NATO powers. It`s not even racial. It`s just everybody else but us Americans. Here`s for us.

Stop being screwed around by the rest, push back and that includes don`t get entangled in Middle East wars.

SCHLAPP: I think it`s where a lot of Republicans are post-George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Why would people be against the Libya policy? Probably because it`s been a failure. Why are people looking at Iraq and say, not - -

MATTHEWS: It`s still there.


MATTHEWS: We`re stuck.

SCHLAPP: Even this president who ran on the fact we`d be out of some of these places hasn`t been able to convert on that. The fact is this: our economy is incredibly soft as well. As you know, that undergirds everything in politics. People don`t feel good about their economic situation.

MATTHEWS: You know, Ronald Reagan, in addition to other advantages, he was a lucky guy. He would go to these bite sized wars, Granada, in and out in three or four days, right? A lot of people got killed, things went wrong. Noriega down in Panama, in and out, you know? They made everybody feel good like the Falklands wars made Margaret Thatcher looked good. But they were over.

BALL: Well, because Reagan was not a big time interventionist.

SCHLAPP: That`s right.

BALL: Reagan was -- you know, Trump I think --

MATTHEWS: He was in and out.


BALL: -- he was very trying to minimize the footprints --

MATTHEWS: Bite sized wars.

BALL: Yes, and try to commit ourselves as little as possible to the foreign entanglements. You can say American first and have that not mean simply isolationism. You can have mean something different about America`s interests in different situations.

MATTHEWS: Well, here is in the present time. This is the new Donald Trump, new model this year.

Anyway, out at the campaign trail, he called for less intervention in the world. He also calls himself the most militaristic, catch this, even more militaristic than George W. Bush. Another angle to the man.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m the most militaristic person in this room, believe me. I`m the most militaristic person. Militaristic. Militaristic. Militaristic. I`m much more militaristic than Bush, even the brother.


MATTHEWS: It`s like generalissimo, Chiang Kai Shek, it`s like this guy, I`m going to war.

Why does that sell at the same time he`s selling non-intervention?

TERKEL: All right. He is carrying a big stick. He`s not being quiet about this. This is, again, this is Donald Trump where every day it seems like he has a different position. He can be whoever his supporters want him to be.

MATTHEWS: Yes, there`s a certain bottom line to where he is now. He`s for non-intervention now.

TERKEL: He is for non-intervention now. But he wants to hold out the threat of intervention. Make America great again. Everyone will respect America. And so, we should hold out the threat we can nuke the world if we want to.

MATTHEWS: I wonder if this conversation does any effect on anybody that likes him? Oh, these people are quibbling. (INAUDIBLE) I`m quibbling. You know, I don`t like to quibble.

Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us.

And up next, these people tell me something I don`t know on this Friday night. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Well, there`s been a lot of public controversy lately over the name of the football team here in Washington, the Redskins. Now, a new poll by "The Washington Post" found that nine in ten Native Americans say they aren`t offended by the Redskins` name, aren`t offended. "The Post" surveyed Native Americans in all 50 states over a five-month period ending last month. The Redskins are in a legal battle right now with the Federal Trademark Office over whether the name was offensive. Even President Obama said the team should think about changing it.

But team owner Dan Snyder celebrated the results of "The Post" poll and continues to say the Redskins name will never change.

And we`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable.

Amanda, tell me something I don`t know. I love scaring people.

TERKEL: So, Austria has their own Donald Trump who looks like he`s going to win the presidential election on Sunday. His name is Norbert Hofer I believe is his name. And he wants to build a wall.

MATTHEWS: Around Austria?

TERKEL: Somewhere around Austria. He wants to keep Muslims out. He`s against free trade, and he has a strong following of these young people who are calling themselves right-winged hipsters.

MATTHEWS: Handicapping, is he going to win?

TERKEL: He`s a front-runner right now.


SCHLAPP: I talked to several senior members of the Trump campaign. And those resumes are coming over the trends of these wounds are healing incredibly fast, faster than they ever expect.

MATTHEWS: Bob Corker for V.P.?

SCHLAPP: That`s -- it`s a live wire. I don`t know if I`d be for that, but it`s a live wire. At least he`s meeting with Trump.

MATTHEWS: Yes, that`s interesting.

BALL: You were talking earlier in the show about what Bernie Sanders might demand in terms of procedural reforms from the Democratic Party.

MATTHEWS: Even handling policy in the Middle East. That`s a biggie.

BALL: Well, I`ve been talking to Democrats about what they think he would go for, you know, particularly in terms of primary process, because there`s been so many complaints about that. Would it just be super delegate reform? Would he also seek to increase the number of open primaries? Would he try to get rid of the caucus system even though that has advantage to him?


MATTHEWS: Yes. I think all or nothing.

BALL: And the sense is, yeah, he would have more credibility if he was asking for things --

MATTHEWS: Thank you. I was pushing the other night on the show. I said, if you`re going to get rid of things like superdelegates and make it more democratic, get rid of caucuses and state consensus and state conventions, make one person, one vote. Keep it simple.

But the big shots in the party want the super delegates and the hard left people want those caucuses, right?

BALL: That`s right. So, it will be hard.

MATTHEWS: Well, compromise is compromise.

Molly Ball, thank you. Matt Schlapp, thank you, and Amanda Terkel.

When we return, the behind-the-scenes story of President Carter`s peace deal between Israel and Egypt. The actor Richard Thomas who plays President Carter in the new play "Camp David" joins us next.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.



REPORTER: The scene in the White House last night was almost unbelievable. Menachem Begin of Israel and Anwar Sadat of Egypt in a bear hug that celebrated the two agreements work out in 13 days of negotiating at Camp David. It will be the first time in history that an Arab nation has agreed to a peace treaty with Israel.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

The 1978 Camp David Accords were rare and historic achievement of presidential diplomacy. Brokered by President Jimmy Carter it was a photo finish conclusion of an intensive negotiation between the leaders of two adversarial countries in the Middle East, Egypt and Israel.

Yet the story behind the summit was fraught with tension, discord and animus than anyone knew at the time and it all played out over 12 days in the wooded campsite of Camp David, 120-acre presidential retreat north of Washington. That story`s being told on stage in a play "Camp David", a historical drama featuring Richard Thomas as President Carter.

Let`s take a look at a scene of Carter in a heated argument with Egypt`s President Anwar Sadat.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have known bigots all my life and they`ve almost always picked up a holy book to justify their prejudice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know nothing about our problems and yet you think you can solve them all ought once.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re right, you`re right. It was a crazy idea. Completely insane. Put an Arab and a Jew up on the top of a mountaintop in Maryland and ask them to make peace, what was I thinking?


MATTHEWS: "Camp David" opens tonight at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego, California.

I`m joined right now by actor Richard Thomas, who`s also famous for his role way back when on "The Waltons."

Richard, thank you so much for coming on.

RICHARD THOMAS, ACTOR: Thank you, Chris. Great to talk to you.

MATTHEWS: I worked for President Carter and I`m friends with a lot of people. And I had to ask you now, what did you learn? What will we learn as this maybe becomes a movie at some point, as from the stage flight, what have you learned?

THOMAS: You know, it`s been a wonderful experience and very honored to be in it and it`s been a great pleasure. Lawrence Wright is such an amazing writer and he`s just -- he`s managed to reduce this to four characters, you know, Sadat, Begin, Carter, and Rosalynn Carter in an hour and 45 minute play. And it`s very intense.

And we learn so much researching it. And it`s just been -- it`s been a wild and exciting ride. We had a great time in Washington at Arena Stage, and now, we`re having a great time at the Globe.

MATTHEWS: You know, the great drama of it is, of course, even though it ends well, it doesn`t seem like it when you watch it because --

THOMAS: That`s right. That`s right. You know how it`s going to turn out but five minutes before the end you say, wait a minute, did it all fall apart? It`s very suspenseful given that it`s history.

MATTHEWS: Yes, which of the two guys? I mean, all of we Americans, we all loved Anwar Sadat because he had the guts to go to Israel, to go to Jerusalem and really take the initiative and Begin was this tough old Likud guy. He was tough all along.

But -- and you see the play, you`re really struck with how gutsy Begin turns out to be.

THOMAS: Yes. One of the great things about what Larry has done is that he presents everybody`s arguments so convincingly that even if you come in with a point of view, or some baggage about what you believe about one side or the other, you have to pay attention to every side in the argument and he`s done it -- he`s done it wonderfully and we have some terrific actors to speak those arguments. So, it`s very exciting every night. The dialectic is terrific in the play.

MATTHEWS: You play the president and I think Jimmy Carter is great.

THOMAS: Me too.

MATTHEWS: And Rosalynn Carter, tell me about her role, because that`s something that didn`t get any press at the time.

THOMAS: Well, it`s one of the most exciting accomplishments of Larry`s in the play, is that he brings Rosalind in as the one person who can really talk to all three of these men. She brings in influences from the outside because as you know there were so many people at the time and there`s only four characters people in the play. So, she brings the outside views into the play.

But she`s the glue. She`s the one who really gets the men in the right place psychologically to make this happen and Hallie Foote is so great in the role. It`s a fantastic part. You would think Rosalynn Carter was a supporting role but she`s the steel behind this whole thing.

MATTHEWS: I`m so glad you have this part. Richard Thomas --

THOMAS: Me too. Thank you. It`s been a pleasure.

MATTHEWS: And thank you so much for coming on HARDBALL.

And this is HARDBALL tonight. Thanks for being with all of us.

And "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.