Show: HARDBALL Date: May 25, 2016 Guest: Deana Bass, Eli Stokols, Julia Reed, Jeremy Peters, April Ryan, Jane Mayer, Alex Bolton, Colleen McCain Nelson, Josh Gerstein, Dennis Williams CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Rocks fly, police hit at a Trump rally. Meanwhile, a State Department report on e-mail hits Hillary. Let`s play HARDBALL. Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington. Well, tonight, American politics is heading to a boiling point. The State Department`s inspector general today criticized Hillary Clinton`s handling of e-mail. Donald Trump was quick to jump. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: She had a little bad news today, as you know, from some reports came down weren`t so good. But not so good. The inspector general`s report not good. She doesn`t have the temperament to be president. She`s got bad judgment. She`s got horribly bad judgment. And that was stated by none other than crazy Bernie. With Benghazi and with our ambassador, remember... (BOOS) TRUMP: That`s all Hillary Clinton, folks. If she wins, you better get used to it because you`ll have nothing but turmoil and you`ll have nothing but four more years of Obama, and you can`t take that. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: There were more protests today outside Trump`s rally in Anaheim, California. Anyway, that was today. Demonstrators ripped apart Trump signs and burned Trump hats. Earlier today, on Twitter, Trump went after last night`s protesters in Albuquerque. He said, quote, "The protesters in New Mexico were thugs who were flying the Mexican flag. The rally inside was big and beautiful, but outside, criminals." Well, the scenes outside Trump`s rally last night were not pretty. Rocks flew, police were injured and people were arrested. Inside the auditorium, Trump mocked the sound of Hillary`s voice and her use of teleprompters. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I watched her speaking. We are going to win north and south and east and west! And I will never say this, but she screams. It drives me crazy! I didn`t say it. I can`t listen. She goes, And Donald Trump is a terrible person, and he wanted to buy housing when it was at a low point!
Who the hell doesn`t? Who doesn`t? (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Politico reported today that Trump plans to go after Clinton on another scandal from the 1990s, Whitewater. An e-mail from Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks was accidentally sent to Politico.
In it, a Trump campaign adviser asked a researcher at the Republican National Committee to, quote, "work up information on Hillary Clinton and Whitewater as soon as possible. This is for immediate use and for the afternoon talking points process," close quote. Anyway, we`re watching the Trump campaign right now, their strategy at work. It`s called attack, attack, attack. Also last night, oldies but goodies. That`s tonight. I`ve dug up some old interviews with Donald Trump that show him not at all interested in being president, but saying he would be willing to meet the usual disclosure requirements. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I`m not sure that I`d ever really enjoy the life of a politician, Chris. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... will you release your income tax returns? TRUMP: You know, it`s something I haven`t even thought of. But I certainly, I guess as I get closer to the decision, which I`ll probably make in February, it`s something I will be thinking of. They`re very big.
They`re very complex. But I would probably have -- I probably wouldn`t have a problem with doing it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: They`re very big. I make a lot of money. Anyway, Hugh Hewitt`s an MSNBC political analyst and host of "The Hugh Hewitt Show." Deana Bass, a former press secretary for Dr. Ben Carson in his presidential campaign. Eli Stokols is a national political reporter for Politico. So let`s start with this fact. There were four arrests last night. I don`t think it looked very good. I don`t think the Mexican flag particularly made the case you want to make if you`re out there trying to sell a point of view about assimilating new Americans, bringing them into the country, becoming American, however you get in. But your thoughts. HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: He does not need this. He does not want... MATTHEWS: You say that hurts him. HEWITT: It hurts Trump because it underscores the narrative that he will be a divider and that we`ll have years of this going on. He wants to focus on the State Department report. He wants to focus on it like a laser because it`s such a damning report on Hillary. Get rid of the arrests. Get rid of the rhetoric that heats things up. And go back to your playbook, which is attack Hillary on the fact that the culture she sets is one of secrecy, paranoia, and I think absolutely endangering national security! MATTHEWS: OK, it`s not the Nixon stuff and the Agnew stuff of encouraging minorities to look bad on television, it`s go after Hillary. DEANA BASS, FMR. BEN CARSON PRESS SECRETARY: I definitely think he does better when he`s going after Hillary, rather than when he wading into these things that, ultimately, get him into a place where people begin to call him a racist and he gets into that space. That`s never going to be good for the general election. But I think that it is important for us to point out that the people who are being arrested at these rallies are not people who are planting flowers and quilting quilts. These are people who are throwing rocks at police officers. So I think it`s important that we point out that this is not -- this does not make for good democracy when you are so angry at what you`re hearing that you want to shut down -- completely shut down the ability of people to speak on their own. You know, Donald Trump has the right to say what he wants to say, and these people -- they cannot throw rocks at police. They cannot destroy property.
So I think we have to make the distinction between... MATTHEWS: Yes. (INAUDIBLE) the conventions. That`ll be something. Eli? ELI STOKOLS, POLITICO: Well, it`s a self-fulfilling prophesy. You know, Trump says these things about Hispanics being violent, being criminal, and then you see on TV images of protesters with Mexican flags clashing with police. If this were the primary, it would probably be very helpful to Donald Trump to see that, but I think, to Hugh`s point, especially, you know, general election voters are trying to unify the party. Haven`t seen this for a while from Trump. He hasn`t been out doing rallies in places like this.
People are reminded of just how divisive he is. That`s not great as he`s trying to unify the Republican Party, and it`s not good, clearly, to show to... MATTHEWS: I think you`re so smart. STOKOLS: ... you know, electorate... (CROSSTALK) STOKOLS: ... general election voters. MATTHEWS: ... terrible November. STOKOLS: Yes, they want change, not anarchy. MATTHEWS: Anyway, last night, well, Hillary Clinton went after Trump for his comment on money to be made in a down real estate market. She accused Trump of wanting to make money off the people`s misery. Trump responded last night. His defense, I`m a businessman. Let`s watch this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: I see this lowlife tonight. You know, I see this lowlife. She puts on an ad, Did you know that Donald Trump was rooting against housing because he wanted housing to go down because he wanted to buy -- and they`ve got some clip of me from many years ago where I`m saying, yes, if goes down, I`m going to buy. I`m a businessman! That`s what I`m supposed to do! If she did it, she`d want to buy at the top. I like it -- if it goes down, it goes down. Hey, I feel badly for everybody. What am I going to do? I`m in business, OK?
Who the hell ever thought I was going to be running for political office before? (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, Clinton -- Secretary Clinton reacted to those comments today at a rally in Anaheim, California. Here she is. Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FMR. SEC. OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump actually rooted for the housing crash that caused five million families their homes. We called him out on it yesterday using his own words. And you know what he said in response? Well, he bragged about what he did. So a good result in Donald Trump`s world is he gets his and you get hurt. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: You know, she has a great argument there. The guy looked like a complete exploiter of disaster because when people`s home value goes down, that`s all they own. That`s all people own is the house. That`s the only value. And if you go out there and move around and pick up all the pieces, you`re just an exploiter. But she`s just not as good at this tit for tat. He loves this game of smacking back and forth, smackdown politics, and she`s there with her notes trying to keep up with this guy. HEWITT: Do you remember... MATTHEWS: His speed is different. And he can be rotten about this, but he seems to really relish this kind of combat. HEWITT: 1996 movie, "Mars Attacks" -- you remember Jack Nicholson`s the president? Everyone shoots everybody at every moment. That`s this campaign. Every night is another -- they got to stay on theme. They got to build a case, stay on theme about Hillary Clinton not being qualified. MATTHEWS: Who wins at this kind of combat? HEWITT: Ultimately... BASS: Donald Trump. HEWITT: I disagree. I think Hillary Clinton wins because she will underscore this volatility that scares people. BASS: No. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Who wins? BASS: I think that -- that because we -- because we`re in this space right now with Donald Trump -- he has proven over and over again that he wins.
He wins in 100... MATTHEWS: Trash talk. BASS: ... 140 characters a night over and over. HEWITT: Republican primaries, not the general. MATTHEWS: OK, let`s talk about this e-mail thing. We`re going to get to more in the next segment, but you know, I don`t know what the IG -- I`ve been hearing about rumors, like we all have. There`s (INAUDIBLE) What`s Comey going to do? Is he going to quit if this doesn`t go his way, and all this rumor, rumor, rumor. Finally, the IG does come out, show his head (ph), and this is what we`ve heard. He didn`t like the way she handled the e-mail. Is this a big issue? STOKOLS: Yes because of the skill that Trump has as a communicator. He paints with such a broad brush, "crooked Hillary," "crooked Hillary," repeating it over and over again. So people don`t have to read the entire article. They see a headline tomorrow about this, and they say, Sort of fits with what Donald Trump has been saying. MATTHEWS: OK, the specific charge of the IG is she didn`t turn over all the e-mails either at the time that she used them, just every day, a couple of them, or all at once when she left. That was the charge. BASS: Well, you know, I think that the entire e-mail scandal, whatever you want to call it -- I think it just proves that she does not have the judgment to be president. And I think that`s the argument that Bernie is making. That`s the argument that... MATTHEWS: Colin Powell didn`t have the... BASS: Well, I think that the difference between that -- and I don`t know the full details, but as I understand it, Colin Powell made -- he -- it was made aware that he was using a different e-mail... HEWITT: I read the report on the drive over. It`s damning because there are two segments in there. One, it compromises national security, what she did. Number two... MATTHEWS: Well, somebody could have hacked her. HEWITT: It was hacked. Mike Morell told me, former deputy director, a certainty that the Iranians and the Russians and the Chinese were into her server. So that`s the damning part. It`s like the volleyball set-up. Now the FBI`s going to come in and spike it. I think 18-USC-1924`s been violated. She has broken the law! MATTHEWS: Wow. Anyway... BASS: She`s broken the law, but she won`t -- nothing will happen to her.
She`s broken the law! MATTHEWS: Nothing will happen to her? How does that work? BASS: Well, I think that -- I think that -- in the same way that Donald Trump has proven that he has the ability to pelt and pelt and destroy, Hillary... MATTHEWS: Yes, we`re talking legal process. BASS: I know, but -- but... MATTHEWS: We`re talking about Comey and we`re talking about Loretta Lynch, the attorney general. Who`s going to stop her from getting -- if she does deserve justice here? BASS: Maybe I am naive in this, but I think that Hillary Clinton`s machine is... MATTHEWS: Is working in the Justice Department to protect her? BASS: I -- I think that... HEWITT: I did this (INAUDIBLE) I worked as the special assistant to the attorney general on foreign intelligence surveillance court. The FBI takes this very, very seriously. They will not let it slide. I don`t know about Attorney General Lynch, but I know that Director Comey... BASS: But what does... HEWITT: ... and the... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: You think they`ll walk if they don`t prosecute. HEWITT: Yes. I do. BASS: So... MATTHEWS: That`s hot -- that`s exactly the stuff I`ve been hearing. I don`t know if it`s true, but we`re hearing the same stuff. Anyway, Elizabeth Warren, the senator from Massachusetts, recently called Trump an insecure money grubber. Let`s watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: What kind of a man roots for people to get thrown out of their house? What kind of man roots for people to get thrown out of their jobs, to root for people to lose their pensions, to root for two little girls in Clarke County, Nevada, to end up living out of a van? What kind of a man does that? I`ll tell you exactly what kind of a man that does that. It`s man who cares about no one but himself! (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) WARREN: A small insecure money grubber who doesn`t care who gets hurt so long as he makes a profit off it! (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, everybody`s in the dirt here, even the great Elizabeth Warren. Trump knocked her, as well, today. Here he is going after Senator Warren. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I was being hit by Pocahontas. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) TRUMP: Pocahontas. That`s Elizabeth Warren. She gets less done than anybody in the United States Senate! She gets nothing done, nothing passed! She`s got a big mouth. And that`s about it. And they use her because Hillary is trying to be very presidential. She`s stopping with the shouting. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Eli, what do you -- first of all, he`s saying she`s shouting.
She`s not (INAUDIBLE) But what about you (ph) seeing (ph) Elizabeth Warren, who is sort of this fine Sir Galahad, a female Sir Galahad, perfectly clean, loved by the progressives, to use her as your attacker. Is that working, or is that just going to make her a sideshow fight for him? STOKOLS: I think they don`t have much of a choice because you saw how compelling she was when she was talking about two little girls in Nevada living out of a van, versus how not compelling Hillary is when she talks about this. I mean, to weaponize this attack against Trump, which -- you know, it`s about his greed. Greed with Donald Trump`s baked into the brand for 30 years. Everybody expects that. But it`s the lack of empathy, and that`s what she`s hitting at, and she communicates it so much more effectively. I think Hillary is going to rely on people to carry that message or to at least provide a template that she can follow... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Senator Warren`s sort of fresh off the bench. I mean, she has a regular job, the United States Senate from Massachusetts. She`s not been pounded for the last 20 years. BASS: She`s not been pounded, but I definitely think that she has the abilities to give it back to Trump in a way that Hillary Clinton just does not have the stomach for this... MATTHEWS: Who wins that fight just on that sideshow? BASS: In that fight -- Donald Trump will always win a fight when it`s social media, Twitter, pelting people with, you know, unflattering comments. Donald Trump will win -- he wins the fight. She`s going to -- she cannot continue to engage with him... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: ... Pocahontas, most regular people go, Why is he saying that?
And the answer from somebody who`s with him is, Oh, because she said she was part Cherokee on an application. (CROSSTALK) HEWITT: Start calling her Queen Circe (ph) from "Game of Thrones." I mean, that... BASS: But she can`t... HEWITT: She`s got that warmth problem. BASS: But she cannot continue to engage in this type of battle with him because he will -- he will raise the stakes and raise the stakes. And she -- she won`t -- she won`t continue to do it, even if she could (INAUDIBLE) MATTHEWS: You think this is short-term... (CROSSTALK) STOKOLS: She has working class appeal. She has credibility with those voters who cross over, Trump and Bernie voters, the disaffected middle class... MATTHEWS: She comes from, by the way... STOKOLS: That`s believable. MATTHEWS: ... pretty far down economically. STOKOLS: Right. That... (CROSSTALK) STOKOLS: She has credibility. She`s authentic with those people in a way Hillary`s not. MATTHEWS: I agree. That`s an interesting part of it. People think, you know, Ivy Leaguer and all that, or whatever. She comes from the working class. Anyway -- so did Pat Moynihan. Anyway, Hugh Hewitt, Deana Bass -- you surprise me, sir. I`m still trying to figure out who you`re going to vote for. Eli Stokols, thank you, Deana Bass. I think I know you`re going to vote for. I don`t know you (INAUDIBLE) this guy, and I`m still trying to figure him out. Coming up -- much more on those bad headlines for Hillary Clinton about the State Department`s inspector general report today. It says that she violated rules on e-mails while she was at State. And what does Clinton, the secretary, need to do now right now to limit the damage because there`s going to be some plus (ph) tomorrow? Plus, big news from a major labor organization tonight. We`re waiting to see tonight who the legendary United Auto Workers are going to back for president. Tonight right here, the international president, Dennis Williams (ph), is going to come here to announce and deliver their endorsement for president. Big news, big scoop here tonight. Also coming up, more vintage Trump from the interviews I`ve done with him over the decades. We`ll hear Trump in his own words, some of it consistent with what he`s saying now on the campaign trail and some of it not. Finally, three things you don`t know about the 2016 race. You`re going to hear them here. You`ll want to stick around for the HARDBALL roundtable.
And that`s tonight, too. And it`s all here on HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: President Obama says not to worry, he has faith in the American political system, even though it can look rather messy to the rest of the world. Here he was at a town hall today with young leaders in Vietnam. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think sometimes, other countries look at our election system and we think -- and people think, Wow, what a mess. But usually, we end up doing OK because the American people are good people. I`m optimistic that we`ll get through this period. And you know, one of the great things about the United States is that even when it makes mistakes, I think it`s able to adjust and recognize our mistakes, and then we correct course, and you know, take different steps. So -- so things are going to be OK. I promise. (LAUGHTER) OBAMA: All right. (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: It`s hard to read that crowd. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Bad news for Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton today. An independent audit conducted by the State Department`s inspector general says the former secretary of state violated the federal record-keeping rules. The report said, quote, "At a minimum,, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all e-mails dealing with department issues before leaving government service. Because she did not do so, she did not comply with the State Department`s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act," close quote. Well, the report says that former secretary Colin Powell also failed to preserve government e-mails when he was secretary of state. Well, Clinton spokesperson Brian Fallon released a statement following this up, saying, "Contrary to the false theories advanced for some time now, the report notes that her use of personal e-mail was known to officials with in the department during her tenure and that there is no evidence of any successful breach of the secretary`s server. As this report makes clear, Hillary Clinton`s use of personal e-mail was not unique, and she took steps that went much further than others to appropriately preserve and release her records." For more on the report, let`s bring in our politicos. Josh Gerstein, he`s right here. "The Hill"`s Alex Bolton, and "The Wall Street Journal"`s Colleen McCain Nelson. Well, Josh, I want you first here. Let me ask you, what`s the gravity of this report?
JOSH GERSTEIN, POLITICO: Well, it`s certainly not a crippling blow for Clinton or her campaign. But it really does wound one of her key talking points that she`s been using for the 14 months or so we have all been living through this story, which is that this was permitted under State Department policy, that she was allowed to use an outside e-mail account.
The report says you were not allowed to use an outside e-mail account as your primary means of e-mail, at least since 2005. And that clearly overlaps with the time that she was secretary of state.
MATTHEWS: Was she told at the time she went into State and became secretary of state, was she told by someone in authority you must not use a personal server? Was she ever told that directly? Do we have any evidence of that? GERSTEIN: I haven`t seen any evidence of that. And I don`t see any evidence of that in this report, although it was a rule that was on the books.
And it does appear that, at a few different instances, people inside the State Department raised concerns about this setup for security reasons or for record-keeping reasons.
MATTHEWS: To her? To her? Did they ever -- this is what bugs me about this whole discussion. Nobody has ever come forward and said to me Secretary Clinton was told, admonished, if you will, by someone in authority, you must use the inside e-mail of the State Department or else you`re breaking the rules.
And if that was never done, how can this be a serious infraction, if nobody ever told her not to do it? That`s all I`m asking.
GERSTEIN: Well, the question is whether should she have been familiar enough with the government`s policies, with the State Department`s policies, and frankly the history of her husband`s White House.
MATTHEWS: She was there for years. She was there for years. And nobody told me she was -- she was in violation and it`s still... (CROSSTALK) GERSTEIN: Clearly, a lot of those people there knew this was going on.
Brian Fallon`s statement is correct in the sense that there were dozens, if not more than 100 people that probably used that e-mail address. And no -- but none of those people may have known or not many of them may have known that this was her only e-mail system, and the people that did raise concerns inside, somebody inside allegedly told them to shut up. It doesn`t appear that that was a top-level Clinton aide. It appears that it was somebody further down in the bureaucracy.
MATTHEWS: This whole thing is difficult.
Colleen, what do you make? You may know we just had Hugh Hewitt on. He`s a conservative. He`s no friend of the Clintons. But he says there`s going to be trouble because Comey and the FBI believe there`s something here and they are going to want something done. And if Loretta Lynch decides not to prosecute, there`s going to be a rebellion. What do you hear?
COLLEEN MCCAIN NELSON, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Right. This is... MATTHEWS: Is that true, what I just said? MCCAIN NELSON: This is not the last word on this by any stretch. If the Clinton campaign and Brian Fallon are hoping that they can dispense with this quickly and say -- and put this to rest. MATTHEWS: You know what flacks have to do. He tried the minimize the report, yes. (CROSSTALK) MCCAIN NELSON: Right. The FBI absolutely is still looking into this. There are legal challenges that are still working their way through the courts. Those are going to yield depositions from Clinton aides and perhaps from -- and Clinton herself is going to be interviewed by the FBI.
There`s still a lot more to come on this subject. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Did you buy the allusion here? He used a hockey term. I will use a basketball term. He made it sound like an alley-oop play, that the inspector general puts the ball in the air and the FBI is going to stuff it. Is it like that? Is this a sequential thing coming here? MCCAIN NELSON: I don`t think this is an alley-oop play. No one is making that assertion who has... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: He was.
MCCAIN NELSON: ... direct lines into what`s happening.
But there`s certainly more to come. And Clinton is going to have to answer some tough questions, which she didn`t do.
(CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: We got a little parallel story. It`s not just Hillary Clinton facing troubles today. These are all a matter of degree. Alex Bolton, according to our report and your report in "The Hill" newspaper today, some Democrats are discussing whether Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz should step down before the party`s July convention in Philly. And one pro-Clinton Democratic senator told you -- quote -- "There have been a lot of meetings over the past 48 hours about what color plate do we deliver Debbie Wasserman Schultz`s head on." That`s a little reference to Salome and St. John the Baptist. But go ahead. ALEX BOLTON, "THE HILL": When I heard that, it really took me aback. And what really took me aback is that this wasn`t coming from a...
MATTHEWS: Salome. BOLTON: ... Sanders supporter. This was coming from a strong Clinton supporter. MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask you about the depth. How much scope or depth do you have to people who are convinced, who are ready now to dump her, who actually will say to you if I get in a room I will vote to dump her? How many people like that?
BOLTON: There are only a few people who are saying that.
But what they`re saying is that they`re having conversations with numerous colleagues. One source I spoke to said conversations with at least a dozen colleagues who have said that Wasserman Schultz is a concern.
And then speaking with other -- speaking with those colleagues... MATTHEWS: OK. What`s her problem? What has she done wrong?
BOLTON: She`s become the face of a rigged system, what Bernie Sanders calls a rigged system.
And the problem that Hillary Clinton... MATTHEWS: What did she do that is objectively recognized as rigging?
BOLTON: Well, right off the bat, scheduling only six debates. That was seen as disadvantageous to the Sanders campaign. MATTHEWS: And scheduling them at what times?
BOLTON: Scheduling on weekends and Saturday nights, when people aren`t likely to watch the debates. Also setting up this joint fund-raising committee between the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Also pouncing on Sanders so quickly during that dispute over the voter database in December, cutting off his access to this key database before the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary. MATTHEWS: Colleen, if she gets dumped as DNC chair, that impairs her chances to win her primary down there in Florida, I would think. It`s a pretty damning shot. MCCAIN NELSON: I would think so. It`s certainly not helpful. And obviously Sanders has helped her opponent by raising some money and bringing... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: He said so. MCCAIN NELSON: But the question for Democrats at this point is, do they want the mess of trying to get rid of Debbie Wasserman Schultz? And who is her successor? There are a lot of people who are willing to vote to oust her, but who is the person who everyone will support by Clinton and Sanders? MATTHEWS: Josh, how do you see this thing? Is this something that is going to happen before Philadelphia or not? GERSTEIN: I doubt it. The Obama White House has been at odds with Sanders for a long, long time.
There`s reports of personal sort of animosity between Obama and Debbie Wasserman Schultz for quite a while. But they have never brought down the hammer and tried to force her out. And I can`t see that they would think that this is great moment to do that.
MATTHEWS: The party nominee generally is in charge of picking the party chair, is that right? That`s the way I have always -- is that what is going to happen, Josh, that if Trump wins the nomination, it`s formalized, he wins the nomination, he gets to pick the party chair at that point or will -- it`s really up to him.
GERSTEIN: That`s been the tradition. But we have seen so many rules upended this year and so much tension between the establishment and various people running for the nomination, who knows if people would stick to those rules or not.
MATTHEWS: Good question, but I think they will.
Anyway, thank you, Josh Gerstein. By the way, it`s like the old phrase that`s for sure. I feel like saying that, because you`re so right. This is a weird year.
Josh Gerstein, good reporting.
GERSTEIN: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Alex Bolton, interesting reporting. We will see. I`m not sure if she`s going to get dumped, but you make a good case. Colleen McCain Nelson, thank you. I agree with your tradecraft.
Up next, it`s one of the largest, most powerful labor unions in this country, so who will the United Auto Workers back in the presidential fight? And who are they going to endorse? The president of that union is coming here right now sitting at that chair to make their endorsement here on this program. It`s called HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hello. I`m Milissa Rehberger.
Protesters refused to disperse after Donald Trump left the Anaheim Convention Center where he held a rally earlier. Mounted police tried to move back the crowds. Several people were arrested. The candidate was interrupted by protesters at several points during his speech. Some protesters threw rocks and water bottles at officers, but it was a far cry from the violent protests that followed last night`s Trump rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico -- back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders? That`s been the debate for months now within the richest union in the U.S. The United Auto Workers, which has been -- has more than a million active and retired members, has remained one of the few national unions to not yet endorse for president, until now, until this moment.
UAW International president Dennis Williams has said that the decision is made. And the group will be all in now.
And Mr. Williams joins me right now with an exclusive announcement, which is? Well, we -- the executive board voted unanimously to support Hillary Clinton for president of the United States.
MATTHEWS: So, you`re all in now?
DENNIS WILLIAMS, PRESIDENT, UNITED AUTO WORKERS: We`re all in.
MATTHEWS: And all your members are with you?
WILLIAMS: Our members will be with us.
MATTHEWS: What percentage of your members do you think come November will vote for Donald Trump?
WILLIAMS: Well, right now, we just did a poll. MATTHEWS: Twenty-eight percent? WILLIAMS: We had 28 percent in our polling, and I believe probably 6 percent.
MATTHEWS: It will come down to?
WILLIAMS: Six percent.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of the reason why almost a third of them are --
three out of 10 are now supporting Trump? What`s the impulse there?
WILLIAMS: I think there`s two issues, that when we did our polling -- and, by the way, before we endorsed, we did a lot of polling, focus groups.
We focused on what the members were saying. We had two great friends of labor, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. And it was a tough decision.
And I got to tell you, our membership was very split; 28 percent, we focused on Trump supporters. Immigration and trade was the two issues.
MATTHEWS: Yes. I understand. You guys are tough on trade, though, right?
WILLIAMS: We are.
MATTHEWS: You`re with Bernie, at least. Also, Trump, coincidentally, you`re with him.
WILLIAMS: Well, we`re with Trump on what he said, not what he says.
WILLIAMS: And I mean that because here he is in Detroit Michigan, says that he would stop Ford Motor Company from going to -- Ford.
Then he turns around in the same remarks and says, oh, by the way, I would close the plants in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, and all them. He didn`t name them, but he was talking about all of them, close them down, and then tell the workers, if you want your jobs back, come back for less money. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: He said he would do that? WILLIAMS: He did say -- "Detroit News" reported it out. MATTHEWS: When was this? WILLIAMS: This was a couple months ago, during the Michigan primary, by the way. MATTHEWS: So, he would have a lockout.
WILLIAMS: That`s what I would look at.
So, he was discounted immediately.
MATTHEWS: Does he think UAW guys and women are getting paid too much? WILLIAMS: Well, after following him for a little bit, and we watched all the debates, and you didn`t get much out of the Republican debate.
MATTHEWS: He`s tough on labor.
WILLIAMS: He`s tough on labor.
MATTHEWS: On wages. WILLIAMS: But here`s -- our members are focused on inequity in this country, the fact that women should get the same pay. MATTHEWS: Yes.
WILLIAMS: We`re focused on good-paying jobs in the United States.
And we are sick and tired of bad trade deals. MATTHEWS: Let me ask you this about your union. And you know the history.
And I will praise you. Clean union from the beginning. No mob stuff.
Never any. Always clean, because there are some that were. You had the Teamsters and all their mess over the years with Beck and Hoffa. But your union has always been liberal. You`re the guys that fought in the beginning for health care. You really set the standards. How come? Why are electrical workers such good clean union guys? I`m serious. What singled you out?
WILLIAMS: No, I think the United Auto Workers... (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: That`s why we have you on, because you`re pretty admirable.
WILLIAMS: Well, I appreciate that, Chris.
The fact is that our union has always been focused on the needs of the membership and social issues.
(CROSSTALK) WILLIAMS: We have been involved with the civil rights movement and apartheid all the way through. (CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Well, here you are openly endorsing Hillary Clinton.
What a word. Do you have a word for Bernie?
WILLIAMS: Yes, Bernie, it`s about time for unity. We love Bernie Sanders.
So, I don`t want anybody to misunderstand what we just did. We`re endorsing Hillary Clinton. She`s gotten three million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She`s our nominee.
It`s time to unite behind a strong candidate. And Hillary Clinton has proven she`s a leader. She`s been scrutinized. She`s been criticized.
And she is a tough individual.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
Dennis Williams, international president of the UAW, thank you for coming on.
And next, vintage Trump, a look back at my interviews with Donald Trump over the past two decades. I have a couple of them to show you tonight, a couple later down the week maybe. They`re interesting. It`s interesting to look into who this guy and what he was saying before he put his hat in the ring. We will be back with the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would not run under any circumstance if I didn`t think I could win the whole thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was Donald Trump saying in 1999 he wouldn`t run for president unless he thought he could actually win the whole thing. No college tries for him.
Well, now, 17 years later, he has got a decent chance of doing just that, winning.
A look back at my interviews with Trump over the past two decades reveal what is consistent with what we`re hearing now from him and what is not.
For instance, Trump in 2001 told me that he wasn`t suited for the Oval Office because he said he wouldn`t enjoy the job. Let`s watch him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I`m not sure that I would ever really enjoy the life of a politician, Chris.
I think that you`re just on all the time, and, by the way, no easy job.
This is really tough stuff. It`s just something that I don`t think would suit me very well. I don`t think I would enjoy it very well.
And to do something really well, you really have to enjoy it. As Vince Lombardi said, you have got to love it. And you do have to love it.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Anyway, in 1999, Trump acknowledged that, should he run for president, he would have to release his tax returns, which he said he would probably have to do, and he would probably do. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: When you run for president, will you release your income tax returns?
TRUMP: It`s something I haven`t even thought of, but I certainly, I guess, as I get closer to the decision, which I will probably make in February, it`s something I will be thinking of.
They`re very big. They`re very complex. But I would probably have -- I probably wouldn`t have a problem with doing it.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: "I probably wouldn`t have a problem with doing it," with putting out my income taxes. I`m joined right now by the roundtable.
Julia Reed is a journalist and author of the new book "Julia Reed`s South."
It`s the "Spirited Entertaining and High-Style Fun All Year Long."
That`s the long title, in fact. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: Jeremy Peters is a reporter for "The New York Times", and April Ryan, of course, my friend. She`s White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks.
Let me ask you about this thing about the joy he was going to get not running for president. Now, he`s changed. And the thing about I don`t like because I`m on television, are you kidding? He likes it all the time.
What`s changed? Is this his bucket list? Ten years later, he said yes. APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Actually, what`s changed is the fact that he`s older, he`s more settled. And this is something he`s never accomplished before, something new for him. This is a -- this potentially could be number one on his bucket list at age 69.
MATTHEWS: Sixty-nine. Jeremy, he says he`s going to release his tax returns. Those are things that are specific. He knew he had to do it way back in 1999. Why did he run if he didn`t plan to do what he said he`d probably have to do?
JEREMY PETERS, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I don`t think this is all well thought out as for an ordinary candidate like Hillary Clinton who has plotted this every step of the way for her entire life. I think his trick now, though, is to keep us talking about other things. He`s going to insult Pocahontas, he`s going to talk about Ted Cruz` father being on the Kennedy assassination, he`s going to talk about Bill Clinton being a rapist and murderer. And every second that he`s talking about that, we`re not talking about his tax returns.
MATTHEWS: OK. Hillary Clinton looks across him and says, why won`t you release your tax returns? Me and Bill have been doing it for 27 years?
Why don`t you do it? Why are you hiding? If she talked like him, he`d be in trouble.
PETERS: Yes, if they can make it stick. That`s the thing. But, you know, we in the media -
(CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: If you ever pay any taxes, prove it. PETERS: Exactly. MATTHEWS: Donald, prove that you paid taxes. RYAN: But there`s no law that says he has to show his taxes. Over the last 40 years that these candidates have given their taxes. He looks like something is wrong.
(CROSSTALK) JULIA REED, JOURNALIST & AUTHOR: He knows that he can get away with stuff because this election has proved it. So, he doesn`t have to do what he said he was going to do when he talk to -- MATTHEWS: Well, we know that back in the `70s, he didn`t pay any taxes at all. So, that`s a pretty leading indicator, a good one that he didn`t pay. REED: Even people who have to pay taxes don`t care about that with Trump.
His supporters, the more shameless he is, the more he talks about Pocahontas or whatever, they don`t care.
MATTHEWS: Let me tell you more on this, a little more biblical studies here. In 2003, I asked Trump which New Yorker he`d rather see as president, Rudy Giuliani or Hillary Clinton. Here`s what I got back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: You don`t have a favorite in that race? Let me ask you, who would you vote for, Hillary or Rudy?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Don`t ask me that question.
MATTHEWS: President of the United States. You can`t answer that question. TRUMP: Don`t ask me that question. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Don`t ask me that. I`m sorry. One he`s running against now and the other is backing him.
Now, he wouldn`t. Why won`t he take it?
(CROSSTALK) RYAN: He`s a shrewd businessman. He has business with both. I equate Donald Trump to a misguided new species of animal, part donkey and part elephant. I`m just -- he`s part -- I mean, a Republican versus a Democrat.
He doesn`t want to touch that one.
MATTHEWS: Right now he`s touching it. Hillary`s a low life.
(CROSSTALK) REED: He didn`t want to upset the apple cart which even then he was not as big a player as he thought. He was trying to be cool.
RYAN: But let me say this, though, back during the Clinton years, and I love to hear him talk about the Clintons. Back during the Clinton years, he supported the Clintons. I remember being at a fund-raiser in Trump Tower for Congressman Ed Towns who happens, full disclosure, who happens to be my cousin.
MATTHEWS: Is he?
RYAN: Yes. MATTHEWS: I like Ed Towns from Brooklyn.
RYAN: Yes, from Brooklyn.
He monopolized Bill Clinton`s time so much that people couldn`t take pictures with Bill Clinton who were there for the fundraiser. This is so interesting to hear this.
MATTHEWS: I was in crossroads in South Africa. That top township, it was great. The town was great. RYAN: I love it.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Trump has been consistent when it comes to foreign countries which he says are ripping us off. Here`s what he said about oil producing countries like Saudi Arabia 15 years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: You know, we protect all these countries and they use -- I can`t use the word screw on cable, but I will any way. We protect all of these countries and they screw us with our energy. It`s a terrible situation.
It shouldn`t happen. It`s happening in spades and something has to be done about it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: Well, you can say screw now. That`s how bad things have gotten.
Go ahead. Here he is being consistent because he says those countries have to pay their load. They`re screwing us on oil prices, the same attitude, nationalism, economic nationalism. PETERS: It is. I think, though, people vote their pocketbooks, right?
And where the Democrats have a vulnerability or they`ve seized on a vulnerability of his right now. It`s not just the income tax thing but this sound bite of his from a few years ago when he was rooting for the housing market crash, right?
MATTHEWS: Well, he says he was looking for opportunities in a low market.
PETERS: Right. OK. But good luck explaining that. You saw the statement he put out. It was the most nuanced parse thing I`ve heard ever Trump say.
I mean, so he`s up against the ropes on this and this is how Democrats win.
They make Republicans look like they don`t care. That`s what they have been unable to do with Trump.
It`s not but this contributes to a narrative he`s in it for himself. He doesn`t care about people like you and it totally undercuts his appeal as a savior --
MATTHEWS: Remember the patriarch Joe Kennedy, how he made money. He had cash when no one else did and he bought when it was done. So, people do that.
PETERS: People do that. Right, good luck explaining that to -- MATTHEWS: OK, the round table is sticking with us. Up next, these three will tell me something I don`t know, the best part of the show. This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Hillary Clinton appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show today as she played a game of who would you rather. The likely Democratic presidential nominee was asked to choose between two possible running mates and was presented with some interesting options. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ELLEN DEGENERES, TV HOST: All right. Let`s see. Mark Cuban or Joe Biden?
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, Joe.
DEGENERES: All right. You`re picking Joe? CLINTON: I got to go with Tony.
CLINTON: Got to go with Tony. DEGENERES: Bernie Sanders.
CLINTON: I go with Tony.
CLINTON: I got to go with Tony. What can I say?
DEGENERES: George Clooney.
CLINTON: Ooh! Well, Tony could be the first term and George could be the second.
DEGENERES: All right. (END VIDEO CLIP) MATTHEWS: That`s, of course, Tony Goldwyn who plays President Fitzgerald Grant on "Scandal." We`ll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: We`re back with HARDBALL roundtable.
Julia, tell me something I don`t know. Julia Reed, isn`t it great having you here? REED: It`s very lovely to be here.
People may have made a lot about the fact that David Duke, the white supremacists has thrown his support to Donald Trump, but who Trump reminds me of more than Duke by a long stretch is Duke`s old opponent that I covered in `91 when he was running against Edwin Edwards, same kind of thing. Edwards would say anything he wanted to. The more shameless he got, the more the supporters loved him.
He went before a group of Pentecostals and put a catch up stigmata on him and say he didn`t believe in the resurrection and they threw their votes.
What`s going to be really -- MATTHEWS: They threw votes for him.
REED: For him. It`s the same with Trump. You can`t kill these people off -- MATTHEWS: It`s the old joke. Who do you want, the Nazi or the crook? REED: It was, both is important and that`s what`s going to be important here, because even people who hated Edwin Edwards had to vote for him to keep Duke from the office and Republicans think that way with Hillary.
MATTHEWS: One of Tim Russert`s greatest questions ever was when he asked David Duke, what made you hate America so much that you became a member of the Nazi party? Jeremy? PETERS: I spent sometime on Capitol Hill today with Republicans and you`ll hear a lot of uneasy talk about Bob Corker angling for some type of cabinet position, maybe even the vice presidency in a theoretical Trump administration. Someone told me today that Corker`s aides have been asking journalists to pose the question to Corker about whether or not he`d be interested in the vice presidency.
MATTHEWS: Wow. That`s like the guy calling up and saying, I`m a friend of Donald Trump and I`m trying to get him on the television, yes, staying with Donald Trump. RYAN: Something different on the Hillary Clinton campaign. The mother of Eric Garner is supporting Hillary Clinton. She`s with one of the mothers that`s on tour with Hillary Clinton. And she said this a couple of weeks ago and I asked her on the phone today yet again and she says it again.
She said that when Eric Garner died July 17th, year anniversary coming up, she said that the police were called because there was a fight and he was breaking up the fight not selling Lucy`s, as people would report. MATTHEWS: And he was the big guy killed in a chokehold. RYAN: Yes, in a chokehold. He says 11 times, "I can`t breathe".
MATTHEWS: That was one of the simpler cases.
RYAN: Yes, there`s a federal grand jury investigation.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, thank you, Julia Reed. Thank you, Jeremy Peters, and, of course, April Ryan. That`s the last word.
Coming up, inside the world of dark money, how politics is influenced by a secret underground flow of cash from rich guys.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Many believe that money and politics is untraceable or unlimited or what`s referred to as dark money is having a corrosive effect on our politics.
Jane Mayer is the author of "Dark Money: The Hidden History of Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right." She joins me now.
Jane, we all know there`s big money in politics. How does it affect the way this country sets policy, the way people think, the way they read the newspapers, what`s in the newspapers? JANE MAYER, AUTHOR, "DARK MONEY": Well, it`s hugely influential and what people are doing is looking for money in the wrong places. They`re only looking at elections. What this book tells you is there is an underground machine basically that is pushing the point of view of the richest people in the country, they`re like the most powerful special influence organization, and they are pushing their point of view through a series of think tanks, academic programs, publications and front groups, and the front groups like played a huge party in the tea party and many other things.
It`s -- what you see in elections is just the tip of the iceberg.
MATTHEWS: You know, when you pick up the newspaper and you read the more intellectual part of the paper, the op-ed page, where all the great columnists are, you`re occasionally be the good guys like you know, you read for somebody you know, Tom Friedman or something you used to reading, but next to them, you have somebody from senior fellow, the Manhattan Institute, senior fellow, the American Enterprise Institute. Who is paying all these people?
MAYER: Well, the billionaires who fund them. I mean, that is the thing.
And their private interests they represent. This book tells the story about the Koch brothers. They represent the oil business and fossil fuel industry.
So, you will see things that question global warming everywhere, follow the money. It goes back to them.
MATTHEWS: These people like the Koch brothers, OK, they`re in the oil and gas business, every time we deregulate them helps them. Every time we lower taxes, it helps them. They ought to get write-offs for their political contributions because they`re so interested, financially interested in every candidate they put up. They get money out of these policies. MAYERS: Well, it`s interesting. You bring up the question of write-offs.
One of the things that the book talks about is how many deductions they take for this political work they do in the guise of it being so-called social welfare groups and charities. And, in fact, what many of these organizations do is push their private interest but masquerade as Republicans. MATTHEWS: How do they get into universities? Do they pay for chairs, the study of private enterprise or what?
MAYER: You laugh but they actually do and they have sent -- set up and funded private centers in many, many colleges and universities. There are over 300 colleges and universities in this country at this point with special programs pushing the point of view of these billionaires interests.
Some of them are state schools so you have government run schools taking private money to push this on kids. They see the kids as the future generation.
MATTHEWS: One last thing, a sort of like a low, below the radar, but it`s nuts. State legislators that all end up doing the same thing, copy cats, let`s come up with how about make the voter come in with an ID card put together by the government, system and you found out that`s been around from one state to the next. It`s ALEC or what some group put out. MAYER: Well, you have to hand it to them, they were pretty ingenious.
This is -- particularly the Kochs, they`re engineers. They looked at American politics and they thought -- how do you -- where are the widgets.
How do you get control of this machine?
They figured out state legislators are something neglected. They poured money into them.
MATTHEWS: And the Democrats and liberals missed all that. Anyway, you`re an unbelievable journalist. You`ve always unbelievable, Jane Mayer. "Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires", I should say it like billionaires, "Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right", Bernie has raised the issue here. He`s done a good job. Jane is telling you the story.
Buy the book and you`ll know about at the next meeting you have with somebody, bumping into somebody, you`ll money about money and how it`s working its way in politics. Usually on the hard right.
Anyway, this is HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END