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Hardball With Chris Matthews, Transcript, 6/13/2016

Guests: Val Demings, Susan Page, Bob Woodward, Starr Shelton, Tammy Baldwin, Patty Sheehan

Show: HARDBALL Date: June 13, 2016 Guest: Val Demings, Susan Page, Bob Woodward, Starr Shelton, Tammy Baldwin, Patty Sheehan


And this is HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Well, tonight, a stunned country is mourning the 49 victims of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history as the FBI calls the gunman responsible for the massacre a home-grown extremist.

Well, now, within hours of the horror itself, it`s become the front line of the American political debate. In the aftermath of the attack, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump took credit for having prophesied such horrors. Quote, "Appreciate the congrats," he tweeted, "for being right on radical Islamic terrorism. I don`t want congrats. I want toughness and vigilance. We must be smart."

Well, Trump followed that up with a criticism of President Obama -- the president himself. Quote, "Is President Obama going to finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism, or if he doesn`t should he -- he should be immediately resign in disgrace."

But Trump was reaching for something more sinister. Listen to what he said this morning about President Obama`s motives and possible loyalties.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He doesn`t get it, or he gets it better than anybody understands. It`s one or the other. We`re led by a man that either is -- is -- is not tough, not smart, or he`s got something else in mind. And the something else in mind -- you know, people can`t believe it. People cannot believe -- they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can`t even mention the words "radical Islamic terrorism." There`s something going on. It`s inconceivable. There`s something going on.


MATTHEWS: "There`s something going on." We`ll talk about that phrase.

Anyway, in dueling speeches delivered later today by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the contrast between their approaches to fighting terrorism was stark. In Clinton`s speech, she spoke about the killer and blamed the radical propaganda which recruited and drove him to commit yesterday`s horrors.


HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FMR. SEC. OF STATE, PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The Orlando terrorist may be dead, but the virus that poisoned his mind remains very much alive, and we must attack it with clear eyes, steady hands, unwavering determination and pride in our country and our values.


CLINTON: As president, I will make identifying and stopping lone wolves a top priority.



MATTHEWS: Donald Trump blamed the government for letting dangerous people into the country, calling the killer an Afghan, even though he was born here.


TRUMP: The killer, whose name I will not use or ever say, was born an Afghan of Afghan parents who immigrated to the United States. His father published support for the Afghan Taliban, a regime which murders those who don`t share its radical views. The bottom line is that the only reason the killer was in America in the first place was because we allowed his family to come here. That is a fact, and it`s a fact we need to talk about.


MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by "Washington Post" associated editor Bob Woodward, "USA Today" Washington bureau chief Susan Page and "Washington Post" columnist Eugene Robinson. Gene`s also, of course, an MSNBC political analyst .

I want to start with you, Bob, and ask you what did -- well, let`s just be blunt about it. Was he questioning the president`s loyalty when Trump said "There`s something going on here"? He seems to maybe know more about this than we do and will (ph) say. What`s he talking about there?

BOB WOODWARD, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, it`s nasty, vague and mean and unnecessary. And what people want to hear from the presidential candidates are practical and powerful solutions. How do we deal with this? And this kind of scurrilous talk serves exactly no purpose. It certainly does not serve Trump`s.

MATTHEWS: There`s a certain line there, if you go back. If it were just Joe Schmo saying this, it`d be one thing, but a guy who started out his sort of national career with birtherism, with statements like, No one knew him at school -- talk about murky, like was it really him signed up for all those years in school? Was that really the guy we`re calling president now -- and the idea he was born overseas, somehow snuck in the country subversively, and now to say there`s more to this than meets the eye -- you know, what`s he up to here?

SUSAN PAGE, "USA TODAY": So at the least, he`s saying...

MATTHEWS: About Obama.

PAGE: ... President Obama is inattentive, doesn`t pay enough attention to the issue of terrorism. And at the worst...

MATTHEWS: "There`s something going on."

PAGE: And at the worst, he`s saying there`s some other thing going on that I`m not going to say exactly what it is, that he`s a part of or he sympathizes with it or -- and that`s -- that`s the part that goes back to remind us of the birtherism, about, Is he really our legitimate president? It is -- is there a more serious charge you can make against a president than that?

EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I -- you know, I think there is something deeper and more sinister going on. He makes the implication or asks us to draw the inference that there`s something secret or a cult about President Obama in his very nature that -- and you know, what I think of is all these scurrilous allegations that he`s some sort of secret Muslim, and not just a secret Muslim, right, but a secret Muslim who, the inference we`re supposed to draw, sympathizes somehow with the radical Muslims who would destroy America. I mean, that`s -- that`s the smorgasbord of...


MATTHEWS: It`s an option.


MATTHEWS: I`ll take that cupcake. I mean, somebody might say, yes, I like the way the president talks. What do you think, Bob?

WOODWARD: Well, I think it`s so muddled, I mean, in the height of what is -- and makes no sense in what he has said is because Obama won`t use the language "radical Islamic terrorism," he should resign?

MATTHEWS: Well, he said that too today.


WOODWARD: People have suggested that presidents resign for some pretty serious offenses.

ROBINSON: Yes, I know. I know.

WOODWARD: But failing to use certain language is...

MATTHEWS: Usually it`s for using language, not for not using it!

WOODWARD: Well, sometimes it`s even for illegal action.


ROBINSON: ... I seem to recall a certain (INAUDIBLE)

PAGE: Choose what you want to hear, right? You can choose, Oh, yes, he`s not doing enough, or you can choose the more sinister language. And both - - you know, you could hear...


MATTHEWS: This is what Trump wants ultimately for his uncle when he says the president will say uncle. He forced him to show his birth certificate. It`s like calling the guy off to the side of the road and say, Let`s see your papers. (INAUDIBLE) to go back to Watergate lingo, I am not a Muslim?


MATTHEWS: Is that what he wants him to say? I am not a fifth columnist. I have no other ambitions but being a pretty good president, the way I see it.

Anyway, let`s take a look at the -- let`s go back to earth here now. In her speech today, Hillary Clinton warned against Trump`s proposed Muslim ban, which she said will alienate the Muslim community and the world. Let`s watch her.


CLINTON: Millions of peace-loving Muslims live, work and raise their families across America. They are the most likely to recognize the insidious effects of radicalization before it`s too late and the best positioned to help us block it. So we should be intensifying contacts in those communities, not scapegoating or isolating them.

Inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric and threatening to ban the families and friends of Muslim Americans, as well as millions of Muslim business people and tourists from entering our country hurts the vast majority of Muslim who love freedom and hate terror.



MATTHEWS: Well, you can like what she said there or not, but it`s clear what she meant -- let`s not gang up on all Muslims or make generalizations about them and start profiling them when it`s one or two people that do this kind of thing.

Anyway, in contrast, Donald Trump doubled down on his proposed Muslim ban, expanding it to include areas of the world, not just religions but areas of the world which have a history of terrorism itself. Let`s watch that.


TRUMP: When I`m elected, I will suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies until we fully understand how to end these threats. Many of the principles of radical Islam are incompatible with Western values and institutions.

The bottom line is that Hillary supports policies that bring the threat of radical Islam into America and allow it to grow overseas.


MATTHEWS: In an attempt to say "I told you so," which all politicians do all the time -- nothing new there -- he referred to this killer as an Afghan.


MATTHEWS: He was born in America, 14th Amendment, all the other things we celebrate here. If you`re born here, you`re here and you`re one of us, OK? Why did he do that? Why did he say an Afghan?

PAGE: Because it makes him sound more foreign and more sinister and more alarming and it provides more justification for his idea of an immigration ban, which would have done nothing about this particular...

MATTHEWS: Like the judge is a Mexican.

PAGE: Like the judge is...

ROBINSON: Well, if he said he was born in Queens, he`d have to say, Like I was also born in Queens.


ROBINSON: Born in New York, the same as Donald Trump.

MATTHEWS: So why did he say it?


MATTHEWS: Is it to argue that if just you have a pretty stiff immigration screen and you manage to find, almost like the Israelis do when you get on an El Al plane -- you got to do a 45-minute interview. But something more than that would maybe -- no, I`m sure it wouldn`t because the guys who are the real bad guys would know exactly what to say. First of all, they`d say, I`m a Christian or I`m not a Muslim or I`m Unitarian. I mean, I don`t know what the right answer would be.

ROBINSON: Exactly. No, it`s to create this atmosphere, and as Bob said, it`s very jumbled and it`s non-specific, but it`s -- you know, immigration from that part of the world bad, right?


ROBINSON: And so -- now, in the present case, the assailant in Florida was born in the United States 29 years ago. So what -- does he have a time machine to go back and sort of ban...

MATTHEWS: Well, he did go to Saudi Arabia a couple...

ROBINSON: ... immigration from Afghanistan...

MATTHEWS: ... times.

ROBINSON: ... 43 years ago?

MATTHEWS: He did -- but this guy, Bob, has a travel record which might put on some lights at the FBI.

ROBINSON: Well, and it did. It did.

MATTHEWS: He didn`t just grow up in -- you know, in the United States and hang around the neighborhood. He was over in Saudi Arabia twice, which should ring some bells.

WOODWARD: We have to deal with the reality there are many people who are Trump supporters who agree with this general line of criticism, and I -- you know, I don`t know how you deal with it. Hillary Clinton`s proposal of intensifying contacts within the Muslim community is quite right and sensible, but I mean, imagine if you`re the FBI director and you have to deal with this. I mean, it is a problem out there.

MATTHEWS: How do you know from the time a person`s radicalized to the time they act? Could be a day or two.

WOODWARD: And what`s radicalization? And what -- you know, how many...


ROBINSON: But we do catch people on their way to go fight for ISIS, catch people who are involved in plots. They don`t all get through. We catch some of them. And the reason we catch them is because of cooperation from members of the Muslim community. And so you want to -- you know, you want to blow that up?

MATTHEWS: Anyway, today, Secretary Clinton called for a stronger regulation on -- restrictions, actually, on guns, including restating -- reinstating the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. Here she is.


CLINTON: We have to make it harder for people who should not have those weapons of war. And that may not stop every shooting or every terrorist attack, but it will stop some and it will save lives and it will protect our first responders!



MATTHEWS: Well, Trump for his part accused Clinton of wanting to ban all guns.


TRUMP: Her plan is to disarm law-abiding Americans, abolishing the 2nd Amendment and leaving only the bad guys and terrorists with guns! She wants to take away Americans` guns and then admit the very people who want to slaughter us! Let them come into the country. We don`t have guns. Let them come in. Let them have all the fun they want.


MATTHEWS: Gene, that`s an interesting conspiracy theory. Disarm us on purpose so that the foreign evil ones can kill us all.

ROBINSON: Well, I mean, that`s insane.

MATTHEWS: That`s a plan. That`s her plan, according to Trump.

ROBINSON: I mean, that`s -- that`s -- that`s insane. You can -- you know, you can argue -- I actually think you can argue on both sides of the question of the -- of the -- of the terror list. How do you get on the list? How do you get off the list? I mean, this guy was on the list for a while, the terror watch list, and the FBI investigated him twice, interviewed him in person a total of three times and decided he was not a threat. Now, clearly, they were wrong on that...


ROBINSON: ... but the system was followed...

MATTHEWS: We have two guys from "The Post" here, two men from "The Post." (INAUDIBLE) involved in this one. What do you make of Trump saying you guys are shut out from any coverage of him because of your coverage of this thing today?

WOODWARD: Yes. I mean, this makes no sense and it won`t work...

MATTHEWS: Do you like this headline? Do you like that headline? Is that a true headline?

WOODWARD: You know, sometimes, there are headlines that don`t have all the clarity, but the idea that you sort of are going to systematically ban people -- I hate to go back 40 years, but Nixon on tape will say things like, "The Post" is going to have damnable, damnable problems, and then they got people...

MATTHEWS: OK, "Donald Trump seems to connect President Obama to Orlando shooting." Is that fair?


MATTHEWS: "Donald Trump seems to connect President Obama to Orlando shooting."

ROBINSON: Yes, more fair than not. I mean -- you know, I mean, he did with that sort of implication inference loop that I was talking about.

PAGE: It doesn`t matter. It doesn`t matter.

ROBINSON: Right...


PAGE: Sometimes you write bad headlines. Sometimes you do stories we have to correct. It`s part of the process. If you`re going to run for president, you`re going to get covered by an aggressive press.

WOODWARD: Yes, and I don`t think this will last. I think...

MATTHEWS: You`ll get back in? Robert Costa will be allowed to cross the line again and...

WOODWARD: Yes. And last time, Costa and I talked to Trump. He said...


WOODWARD: ... it was fair. I was accurate. And I mean, this is just -- this is not going to last. This will not stand, I hope.

MATTHEWS: OK. Well, thank you, Bob Woodward. Thank you, Susan Page. Thank you, Gene Robinson. We had the sluggers row here, murderers row, I think, from the Yankees in the old days. Thank you for coming on.

The latest on the investigation in Orlando coming up. Plus, we`ll talk to the former partner of one of the bouncers who was killed at the massacre at the Pulse nightclub down in Orlando over the weekend.

And later, the challenge of finding and stopping lone wolf attackers before they strike.

Right now, you`re looking at live pictures of a vigil -- there it is -- right now in Orlando itself as the community comes together to mourn 48 -- actually, 49 victims of Sunday morning`s attack.

HARDBALL back after this.


MATTHEWS: Well, a Snapchat video has emerged from inside the Pulse nightclub as shots broke up. This clip was posted by 25-year-old Amanda Alvear, who would later die in the massacre.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m at the club...


MATTHEWS: You can hear the gunshots. Friends of Amanda`s say while they escaped, Amanda told them she was hiding in the bathroom. They did not hear from her again after that.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, the investigation into Omar Mateen, the man responsible for killing 59 Americans at the Orlando nightclub -- Pulse is its name -- continues this evening. It`s the largest mass shooting in American history, and while ISIS has claimed the gunman as their own, there`s no evidence the massacre was directed in any way from overseas.

As FBI director James Comey said today, the attacker was radicalized, but it is still unclear which terror group he aspired to support.

Here is Comey.


JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: There are strong indications of radicalization by this killer and of potential inspiration by foreign terrorist organizations.

He said he was doing this for the leader of ISIL, who he named and pledged loyalty to, but he also appeared to claim solidarity with the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombing and solidarity with a Florida man who died as a suicide bomber in Syria for al-Nusra Front, a group in conflict with the so-called Islamic State.


MATTHEWS: What a great public servant Mr. Comey is.

Anyway, speaking from the Oval Office today, President Obama spoke about the global reach of terrorist propaganda and the challenge it presents this to country.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the biggest challenges we`re going to have is this kind of propaganda and perversions of Islam that you see generated on the Internet and the capacity for that to seep into the minds of troubled individuals or weak individuals and seeing them motivated then to take actions against people here in the United States and elsewhere in the world that are tragic.


MATTHEWS: Perversion of Islam. Very interesting phrase there.

I`m joined right now by Chris Jansing, who is outside tonight`s vigil down in Orlando -- Chris, take it away.

CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, this is something that the community had really wanted so desperately to do.

They were very concerned about having enough manpower to do security, but they decided that people so needed to come out and show solidarity. Look at the size of this crowd. It is a thick night here in Orlando, temperatures in the 90s. But the people are still streaming in.

And I just met up with three young men who knew one of the victims.

Eddie, Jeff and Colin join me now.

And you knew Eddie Sotomayor. Tell me about him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eddie was one of my first friends when I was in college, one of my first gay friends.

And I met him at a bar and we immediately became fast friends. And I was in the closet. I didn`t have many gay friends. And so I no longer live here, but we have kept up through Facebook and everything. And I saw him a few months ago. And he`s still somebody very, very special to me and he was a beautiful soul and he had an infectious laughter.

And he was a leader in the gay community. And he was very active. And the message I have is, if you don`t think that we`re people, you`re wrong. And if you think that there is a mild form of homophobia, then you`re wrong. And if you think -- and if you don`t do something about this, it`s going to kill me. It`s going to kill my friends and it`s going to kill my friends` friends.

JANSING: I know this is a very emotional time for you.

What made you have to come out here tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Orlando is such a tight-knit community. And we -- Orlando has been attacked, but as an LGBT community, we are so close and such one big family.

And when you attack one of us, you attack all of us. And every single person that I talked to has known someone on that list. We are -- if you didn`t know a single person there, you`re one degree away from knowing a person there.

This is such -- it hits so close to home that we have to be here for each other to support. And the turnout here tonight has -- is unbelievable for an Orlando community. And the love that I have seen on Facebook, on social media from my company that I work for has been unparalleled.

And I have not seen this before. And I think every single person out there that`s shown support to our community. We hear you. We are listening. And we need the continued support, not just today, not just tomorrow, but for the weeks to come for our community.

JANSING: And let me just ask you what it meant to you to have -- to come here tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it just meant showing that we`re still here.

A friend of mine so eloquently posted on Facebook this afternoon, the gay community was forged in the fire. We -- this unfortunately is no shocker to us. We`re used to this sort of persecution. And in spite of all that, we still choose to love. And I think that`s the message that you can see here is one of love and of acceptance.

And this doesn`t stop that. Like, we will continue that on, no matter how many, you know, outrageous acts of hate are committed against us. We`re here to love, and we`re not going anywhere.

JANSING: Colin, Jeff and Eddie, thank you very much for talking to us.

And I should say, while there obviously is a very strong showing here of the LGBT community, I have seen Muslims here. We see straight couples here. Seen a few families here. And, as I said, Chris, standing up earlier, I could see that people are still streaming in -- Chris.

MATTHEWS: I`m so glad we could get that report from you, Chris Jansing. What impressive people.

And now joining us from San Francisco is Starr Shelton, whose former partner, Kim -- K.J. was her nickname -- Morris was killed in yesterday`s shooting.

Starr, my condolences to you personally.


MATTHEWS: Starr, thank you for this.

Tell us what you can. You know what everybody is interested in. What was she like as a person? What was her job like? Being a bouncer has sort of a physical aspects to it. You got to get people out of a place that shouldn`t be there. You got to keep order.

What do you know that we should know?

SHELTON: Absolutely.

What I can tell you is that K.J. is a wonderful, wonderful person. Anybody that knows her or anybody that had the chance to meet her has known that about her and has felt her love and her care that she gives to the entire world.

I could say nothing bad about her. In terms of her job there in Orlando, she did just begin that job at Pulse about two weeks ago. And she did tell me that she was very excited to be there, because it was going to introduce her into the LGBT community there in Orlando.

And she actually felt happy and very comfortable in that environment. And I know she said that, you know, the people and the staff there, they were really wonderful people as well, and she really enjoyed working with each and every one of them.

In terms of that night, you know, I was able to speak to her that evening while she was working. I was able to send a text message to her at around 12:30 a.m. Orlando time. And I told her that I missed her. I`m far from her, and I always think about her. And I wanted her to know that I was thinking about her and I hoped that she would get through her shift OK.

And around 12:38 a.m., she did respond. And she was able to tell me that she missed me back. And I`m forever thankful that I did get that opportunity with her.

You know, I`m just really hurt and heartbroken that this type of violence did occur, and that her life was taken in this violent way.

MATTHEWS: What did you think of those three men we just heard from down there at the vigil?

SHELTON: I`m very -- you know, very supportive and I`m very glad that they still came out.

And a part of -- being part of the LGBT community, I would like to let everyone know, don`t be afraid. I know that there`s bad things and bad people out there, but we as a community must stand together and keep our ground and never fear anything. Love will win. It will win one day.

MATTHEWS: What are your speculations? Because we`re still trying to put a mix of motives that went into this. Maybe it had to do with a perversion of Islam. According to the records we have now, it does have something to with -- ISIS is claiming responsible for the -- responsibility.

What -- and then the anti-gay part of it, the homophobic part of it, how does it all fit together in your heart right now?

SHELTON: Honestly, my heart, it`s just a tragedy. I`m not sure exactly what his motive was. I do not know him or his family or anyone knowing him to what his intentions were.

But the very fact that something so tragic could occur just breaks my heart, that everybody was just there to love and have a good time and come together as a community. And, you know, as part of our LGBT community, we`re open to straight people and any other type of people that want to come and be part of us and join us and laugh with us and have a great time.

And the fact so much hatred and animosity could come to a place of so much love, it just breaks my heart.

MATTHEWS: Just think about somebody who planned to kill like that, just -- anyway, Starr, thank you for coming on. It`s not hard -- I mean, it`s not easy to come on in this. It`s a hard situation to face this.

Thank you for coming.

I can see the Golden Gate Bridge behind you. That`s always a nice thing to see.

And thank you so much for coming here tonight on this grim night.

SHELTON: Thank you for having me. Thank you.

MATTHEWS: And we will be right back. We will be right back.



SEDDIQUE MIR MATEEN, FATHER OF OMAR MATEEN: One time we were in Miami, we saw the behavior of two -- one couple, and he got a little bit ticked off.

QUESTION: What did he say?

MATEEN: Nothing, just, look at this.

QUESTION: And what did you see?

MATEEN: Well, there were two guys were kissing each other in front of the family and the kids.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was the father, of course, of the shooter telling NBC News that his son had a problem seeing two men kissing during a recent trip to Miami.

Anyway, the shooter`s anti-gay behavior it just one of the factors being considered as a possible motive for this massacre.

I`m joined right now by United States Senator Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, who actually was the first openly gay senator in U.S. history.

Senator, thank you.


MATTHEWS: So, you`re in the spotlight unfortunately now, sadly.

And we had these three guys on a moment ago with Chris Jansing who were spectacular in their emotions and their feeling and their guts.

BALDWIN: Yes. Yes. it`s so striking to listen to that.

You know, I on Friday had the chance to be at the opening ceremonies of Pridefest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They are celebrating their 30th year. Of course, June is Gay Pride Month, where there is a celebration of the progress made since the days of Stonewall, all of the efforts to fight discrimination and homophobia and hate.

MATTHEWS: Stonewall was the New York bar that stood up and said no more police raids.

BALDWIN: Absolutely, absolutely, and an end to that violence.

And so...


MATTHEWS: That`s, by the way, Stonewall, we`re looking at right now on the camera there, with those flags flying.


And so to wake up on Sunday morning and to hear this devastating news, and then I joined a vigil in Madison last night. I -- people of all ages, sexual orientations, gender identities gathering together, and certainly, to see the fear and the terror in the expressions of so many of those that gathered.

MATTHEWS: Put it together, if you can, Senator.

I`m about -- a bit older than you, I think. And I`m trying to think indeed how everything has changed, from the time when you were in high school and you told gay jokes, and to the idea that nobody would ever admit they were gay back then, I can tell you. And they were there, obviously.


MATTHEWS: And all the jokes.

And then progress, progress, progress. Don`t ask, don`t tell, that was some progress. People don`t like it, but it was progress. And then DOMA, and that was bad, and then moving forward to the Supreme Court decisions, to the day where polling shows overwhelming acceptance, if not celebration, acceptance.


MATTHEWS: How do you put this terror attack in the midst of all that progress?

BALDWIN: That we`re still -- there`s a long, long way still to go. There is just no question about that.

You know, I thought -- and I actually expressed this to the group at Pridefest in Milwaukee -- that imagine that first gathering where people would have been afraid to go because maybe somebody might recognize them or take a picture of them. They might be fired. They might be -- they might lose their housing.

Or, worst yet, they might get beaten up or have their physical security threatened, and then to see, all these years later, this tragedy.

Now, I also want to pull it together, because what we saw and what you have been covering is a U.S. citizen inspired by terrorists who was able to legally purchase a weapon of war and turned it on an LGBT community.


MATTHEWS: What good is a three-day waiting period? I`m serious. It`s not something to laugh about, but what in the world does that accomplish? In this case, nothing.

BALDWIN: Well, you know what?

I think we need to renew our press to close the terror gap. That would allow the FBI to deny a gun to somebody who they have been interviewing, that they`re watching, that they`re concerned about. It would take on the no-fly zone -- sorry -- the no-fly list, and it would take on the terror watch list.

MATTHEWS: So, if you couldn`t get on a plane, you couldn`t get a semiautomatic weapon.


BALDWIN: Isn`t that common sense?

MATTHEWS: Hillary Clinton said that today.

BALDWIN: Isn`t that common sense?

You know, this is not rocket scientists, but we see this nexus of hate, terrorism and easy access to weapons like this of people who shouldn`t have them.

MATTHEWS: Yes. What do you think of Donald Trump`s argument today we have disarmed our country and let in the dangerous people?

BALDWIN: You know, I can`t make sense of what he`s saying.

But this is a time when we have to come together as a country. We`re going to run into the same walls in Congress and elsewhere if people don`t come together and decide now is the time. How many times do we have to wake up and hear about an elementary school shooting, a theater shooting, a college shooting, a church or temple shooting?

We have to come together. And Donald Trump divides us and makes us weaker.

MATTHEWS: Somebody stopped me at the airport yesterday who was gay and talked about being gay and a little closer to my age, and he said maybe this all -- this horror will help make us more acceptable.

Imagine how horrible it is to say something like that.


MATTHEWS: Because anything that brings us together is good.

Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: No, not anything that happens is good, but it`s good that we`re coming together. Let me put it right.

I`m joined right now by Orlando -- thank you, Senator, for coming on.

Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, who joins us. Patty is the first openly gay person elected -- first official elected in Central Florida. She also frequently visited that club, the Pulse club, where the massacre took place.


MATTHEWS: Thank you.

Well, tell us everything you know that we don`t know, because that`s where we`re at right now, trying to learn motive. We`re trying to learn situation, the human aspects of the tragedy.

SHEEHAN: Well, in this situation, you know, now we have really gone from, you know, getting the victims out, getting the bodies out, and clearing the crime scene.

And now we`re in a situation where we`re taking care of trying to take care of the families. And Greenwood Cemetery is the city cemetery. I never thought I would ever have to as a city commissioner be taking action to put aside 50 graves for young -- young people in my community.

So, it`s very, very sad. But we`re going to do what we can to really help this community, to really help those families now. And there`s been $1.3 million collected through our Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center. And we`re coming together to help these families during this very tragic time.

Sorry if I`m not making a whole lot of sense. I have been up for about 21 hours now.

MATTHEWS: No, you`re making perfect sense. You`re making perfect sense.

SHEEHAN: Thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Well, God bless you. And take care. You`re doing the job of God. Thank you.

SHEEHAN: Thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Patty Sheehan.

Up next: new details on the investigation and possible motive in this massacre. I think we know a lot of the motives already. We are going to get up-to-the-minute reporting from NBC`s Pete Williams, who is always great, plus analysis from some top security experts.

HARDBALL back after this.



JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: You will notice I`m not using the killer`s name and I will try not to do that. Part of what motivates sick people to do this kind of thing is some twisted notion of fame or glory.



Anyway, that`s Comey, the FBI Director James Comey talking about what may have motivated the shooter in the Orlando terror this weekend.

Joining me right now with the latest on the investigation is NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams.

I really like this guy Comey, but anyway, let`s get over it. What do we know?

PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, just to pick up on what he was talking about today, explaining that the FBI did pretty thorough investigation of him in 2013 after he claimed to co-workers while a security guard at a local courthouse that he actually was part of the Mideast terror group Hezbollah, that he had relatives that were in al Qaeda, that he had friends who knew the Boston marathon bombing suspects, the Tsarnaev brothers.

So, the FBI did look at it, and it was a thorough investigation. They monitored his communications. They put him under surveillance, they sent an undercover operative to talk to him and talked a terrorism data base and interviewed him twice, and what they concluded is that he was all just full of hot air. That he was bragging about this stuff and he eventually admitted it, he said -- or claimed that he made all these statements because he was being teased and he thought he was a victim of job discrimination because he was Muslim.

Now, here`s --

MATTHEWS: Why did he want this -- was it for cache? I mean, what was his motive for wanting to be known as a terrorist, a sleeper cell basically?

WILLIAMS: Hard to say. I don`t know that they ever made any conclusions about what was driving it. They just concluded what he claimed wasn`t true. That he was not in fact -- any of these things were true.

But here is the thing, so during that investigation while it was going on for ten months, he was put on the terror watch list. If he had tried to buy a gun during that ten-month period then the FBI would have found out about it. There would have been alert sent to the investigators.


WILLIAMS: Hey, your guy is trying to arm himself.


WILLIAMS: Once the investigation closed, he was taken off the watch list. From then on if he tried to buy a gun, the FBI would never know. There`s no such mechanism for it. We asked Justice Department officials whether they should be and they said, well, maybe we should look at that.

MATTHEWS: Is there a coordination or synchronistic of being on a list that you`re not allowed to go on an airport and buy a gun? Is that the same list or is --

WILLIAMS: No, there is no such list. There is no list that blocks you from buying a gun and remember, some members of Congress thought there should be. They though, if you`re on the no-fly list, how can you not get on a plane but you can buy a gun? And they wanted Congress to change that, but it`s never been changed.

The only things that disqualify you from buying a gun under federal law are a felony conviction, a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction, being judged mentally defective and a few other things. But those are the main ones. And none of those

MATTHEWS: And he was clean. He had a clean record.

WILLIAMS: Absolutely. He was legally entitled to buy those two guns.

MATTHEWS: I always wondered about that is the big problem with all the proposals on gun safety, as good as they may be, they don`t catch somebody who has a clean record.

WILLIAMS: Right. Or someone who may have mental problems who has never actually been judged by a judge --

MATTHEWS: Adjudicated as having a problem.

WILLIAMS: That`s the phrase. Yes.

MATTHEWS: Pete, thank you so much for coming on.

WILLIAMS: You bet.

MATTHEWS: Pete Williams of NBC News -- thank you.

Let`s bring in now three terror experts. Clint Van Zandt, of course, is former FBI criminal profiler and hostage negotiator. He`s also an MSNBC criminal analyst. Laith Alkhouri is co-founder of Flashpoint, as well as an MSNBC terror analyst. And Shawn Henry served as executive assistant director of the FBI.

In the order which I introduced you, would you please tell me what you think this is all about if it hasn`t been already said many times?

Let me start with Clint.

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER/MSNBC CRIMINAL ANALYST: Yes. Well, Chris, number one, I think we see a hybrid. I think we`re seeing a combination of maybe some mental health issues, his former wife said he was bipolar. He had anger management issues. We`re seeing someone who as the director of the FBI suggests may have self-radicalized himself on the Internet.

Now, this is not two-way conversation. This is perhaps him doing searches himself. We have an angry frustrated individual. He doesn`t like blacks, women, he doesn`t like Jews. He doesn`t like gays.

And this is someone who perhaps is looking for an identity, someone almost like a cult, Chris. He`s looking for someone to say you`re okay and to embrace you, to take your ideas in. In this terrible psychological stew, I think we came up with this personality that committed this terrible act.


LAITH ALKHOURI, MSNBC TERROR ANALYST: So it really appears that this individual had a combination of radical views and some of those views in their own right were contradictory. You know, Hezbollah is actually one of ISIS` worst enemies.


ALKHOURI: So, to support Hezbollah and ISIS at the same time sounds like an extreme paradox.

But on the other hand, self-radicalization doesn`t have to take many months or many years. He could have held the views and began following is` videos a few months ago and reignited this kind of radical views more focused on ISIS` ideology. It`s still hard to tell but it is increasingly looks like he was not centrally connected to the group, although, that will be unveiled in the coming days or weeks.


SHAWN HENRY, FORMER EXEC. ASST. FBI DIRECTOR: You know, I agree with Laith and Clint right there. Let me take a different tactic, Chris. This is the new normal. There are thousands of people like this and you can see the challenges the law enforcement faces.

The FBI specifically had somebody under investigation for ten months. They used some pretty sensitive investigative techniques. They were not able to find anything that allowed them to take this guy off the streets, certainly nothing that rose to the level of probable cause where they could charge him with something and they, you know, they stopped their investigation.

And sure enough, something triggers this guy. Was it because he was homophobic? Was t because he had some mental issues? Was it because he had some violent tendencies or he was somehow radicalized online?

Whatever it may be, you can see how quickly something happens. Ten months of investigation and afterwards, this guy does -- takes it some act and kills 50 people.

MATTHEWS: Thanks for all of you, gentlemen, for bringing us up to date on the horror going on here -- Clint Van Zandt, Laith Alkhouri and Shawn Henry.

We`ll be right back with more from Orlando after this.



REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The chair asks that the House now observe a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the terrorist attack in Orlando.

Without objection, five-minute voting will continue. The unfinished business is on the vote and the gentleman from Illinois, Mr. LaHood, suspend the rules and pass HR-5312 unamended. I would say ayes and nays are ordered. The clerk will record the title of the bill.



MATTHEWS: We`re back.

That was the scene earlier on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. A moment of silence was disrupted 30 some Democratic members, including U.S. Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, who wanted to see action on gun safety legislation.

I`m joined right now by Val Demings in Orlando. She`s the city`s former chief of police and a 27-year veteran of the force down there. She retired in 2011.

You know, this is a combination crime of horror like we haven`t seen before. A gay club, a gay nightclub targeted by someone who says he was something to do with terrorism, something to do with foreign organizations, intent on hurting this country. It`s kind of a hybrid, if you will, crime.

How do we deal with this kind of crime? How do we prevent it?


You can only imagine how sad we are here in Orlando to believe that the deadliest mass shooting in America`s history happened in a place that is really supposed to be the happiest place on earth. And, you know, this particular case, when a person appears to be working alone, it is very difficult if they`re not tied to a particular organization or tied to a particular group that may be being tracked or followed or surveilled, it`s very, very difficult.

That`s why it`s so important, you know, that saying, if you see something, say something. It`s so important that ordinary people, family members, neighbors, co-workers, in this case co-workers were the ones who actually reached out and made some complaints about activity and behavior with this person. It`s so important that we continue to, as I said, if we see something, say something.

MATTHEWS: What do you think about guns? I know police officers like yourself have a mixed view. I`m not going to put words in your mouth. What do you think with people immediately come to the general quarters, on the liberal side of things, usually on the moderate say, say, you know, it`s a gun issue. Is it a gun issue, this one, this case?

DEMINGS: Chris, it is a gun issue. Forty-nine innocent people lost their lives in Orlando this weekend. The shooter, as we know, was carrying an AR-15, a military-style weapon with a high-capacity magazine. He could possibly have pulled that trigger 30 times before he needed to reload.

And we`ve got to come to a place, get the political courage and the political will, to pass legislation that really keeps guns out of the hands of terrorists, criminals, and mentally ill people. People who are just determined to kill Americans.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, as always, Val Demings. Thank you for joining us on HARDBALL tonight.

When we return, let me finish with Donald Trump`s open suspicions about the president.

HARDBALL back after this.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this. Let`s go over what Donald Trump said on FOX this morning about the president in regards to the terrorism in Orlando.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He doesn`t get it, or he gets it better than anybody understands. It`s one or the other.

Look, we`re led by a man that either is -- is not tough, not smart, or he`s got something else in mind. And the something else in mind, you know -- people can`t believe it. People cannot -- they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can`t even mention the words "radical Islamic terrorism".

There`s something going on. It`s inconceivable. There`s something going on.


MATTHEWS: What is it that Mr. Trump wants us to think when he says there`s something going on? Or he gets terrorism better than anybody understands?

What`s the forbidding prospect, the menace buried somewhere in the president Trump is considering but dare not identify?

Well, there are two interpretations, of course. One that the president knows as well as anyone that the terrorist threat right now is connected to Islam for the simple reason that the terrorists say so and give reason in their lives to make it appear so. Obama knows it but for global political reasons, to avoid inciting more East/West hostility, he refuses to connect the words, radical, Islamic, and terrorism in the same phrase. Is that what Donald Trump was saying when he said there`s something going on?

Or was it along the same lines as Trump`s vintage claim that the real man in the White House does not match up with the narrative we`ve come to believe, that he wasn`t as recorded born in Hawaii, that nobody knew him in school, that there`s something not on the level about who he actually is. In other words, that there`s something going on.

Donald trump`s claim to the more benign interpretation, that he was refusing the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism" for global diplomatic reasons, would be stronger if he had not made his first mark on the national stage, advancing the line that the president of the United States was a secret foreigner.

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.