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Hardball With Chris Matthews, Transcript, 6/14/2016

Guests: John Stanton, Heidi Przybyla, Ellen Nakashima, April Ryan, Dana Milbank, Jim Himes

Show: HARDBALL Date: June 14, 2016 Guest: John Stanton, Heidi Przybyla, Ellen Nakashima, April Ryan, Dana Milbank, Jim Himes

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Two against one.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

President Obama doesn`t like Donald Trump. If you didn`t know that yesterday, well, you know it today. In a speech today, the president launched a blistering takedown of Trump, strongly condemning his rhetoric and his proposed Muslim ban.

Now Trump is on stage at a rally in Greensboro, North Carolina, and he`s talking about the Orlando massacre and responding to what President Obama said about him today.

Let`s listen to Trump.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Again, North Carolina, special place. And you know, we went through a weekend the likes of which we should never have to see again. And I wrote a few things down that I want to read because we can`t let this happen anymore. We can`t. We have to be so tough. We have to be so strong. We have to be so vigilant. We can`t be led by weak, ineffective people! We can`t. They`re weak and they`re ineffective!

And believe me, Hillary Clinton -- weak, ineffective. You listen to her -- I don`t know if you know, she has 550 percent more people she wants to come in than Obama from a certain area where we just don`t know what`s going on.


TRUMP: We don`t know who they are, where they`re coming from. There`s no documentation. And the governors -- I just left some great governor, including, by the way, Pat, your governor. He`s doing a fantastic job.

But I just left a whole group of governors and they say these people are being put in their communities. They don`t even know who they are. They don`t know where they`re being put. They`re, like, being snuck into certain communities and government and governors don`t even know who`s coming in to their community. What a mess we have! What a mess we have!

And I just wrote some of this down, and well, we got to do it because, normally, I talk about jobs, which nobody can compete with us on jobs. Believe me. We`re going to bring them back from all these countries that have ripped us off like nobody`s ever been ripped off before!


TRUMP: We`re going to bring our jobs back. And guess what? We`re not going to let our companies leave anymore! There`s going to be a little bit of a repercussion when they start to leave. There`s going to be repercussions!

But as we all know, in Orlando over the weekend, a radical Islamic terrorist killed 49 people, at least, and wounded dozens more, dozens. It was the worst terrorist attack since September 11 and the worst mass shooting in our country`s history.

We want to live in a country where gay and lesbian Americans and all Americans are safe from radical Islam!


TRUMP: Which, by the way, wants to murder and has murdered gays, and they enslave women. Now, Hillary Clinton talks about women, and she talks about how she`s going to do. She plays the woman card more than any human being I`ve ever seen in my life. And frankly, I don`t even think women like her, from everything I see.


TRUMP: And yet she`s taking -- she`s taken $25 million from certain countries, and much more than that when you add it up, that treat women horrendously, that kill gays. And you know what`s going to happen, folks, and you know what we`re going to do right now? Let`s call for Hillary and Bill Clinton to give back the $25-plus million to the countries that we`re talking about!



TRUMP: Right. So the killer`s parents immigrated from Afghanistan...


TRUMP: ... as "The Washington Times" reported, the children of Muslim immigrant parents -- they`re responsible for a growing number -- for whatever reason, a growing number of terrorist attacks. The killer`s Afghan father supported the Taliban, which believes in violently oppressing women and gays. Violently. We`re not talking anything else. We`re talking violently.

Once again, we`ve seen that political correctness is deadly! They don`t want to talk about the problem!


TRUMP: And I watched President Obama today, and he was more angry at me than he was at the shooter!


TRUMP: And many people said that. One of the folks on television said, Boy, has Trump gotten under his skin. But he was more angry -- and a lot of people have said this. The level of anger -- that`s the kind of anger he should have for the shooter and these killers that shouldn`t be here!


TRUMP: Now there are reports that the wife knew about the attack. The second wife knew about the attack but may have not told the authorities. Nobody really knows. Her family reportedly is from Afghanistan.

According to Pew -- it`s a Pew report -- 99 percent of the people in Afghanistan support oppressive sharia law.


TRUMP: Immigration from Afghanistan has increased five-fold. We don`t know what we`re doing, folks! Every year, we bring in more than 100,000 lifetime immigrants from the Middle East and many more from Muslim countries outside of the Middle East.

A number of these immigrants have hostile attitudes. And it doesn`t take a big percentage. Look what one whack-job -- look at this one whack, this one horrible savage -- look what he did in a short period of time to great young people. Look what he did and look at the carnage and devastation and destroyed families that he`s caused.

So a number of these immigrants have hostile attitude toward women, toward gays, and people of different faiths, and that includes everybody. They`re hostile. If you`re not with them, it`s, like, forget it.

Hillary Clinton`s immigration plan would bring in millions of unvetted immigrants, or very poorly vetted. And how can you vet somebody when you have no idea where they come from, you have no idea about the paperwork? Frankly, they have better passports than we do because they stole our passport machines! How that happened is pretty amazing, all right? Including those who hate gays, women, Jews, Christians, everybody.

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s Donald Trump in Greensboro, North Carolina, right now.

Let`s listen now to President Obama`s blistering takedown of Trump earlier today, the president strongly condemning Trump`s rhetoric and his proposed Muslim ban.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims with a broad brush and imply that we are at war with an entire religion, then we are going the terrorists` work for them.

We now have proposals from the presumptive Republican nominee for president of the United States to bar all Muslims from emigrating to America. We hear language that singles out immigrants and suggests entire religious communities are complicit in violence.

Where does this stop? Do Republican officials actually agree with this? Because that`s not the America we want. We don`t have religious tests here. Our founders, our Constitution, our Bill of Rights are clear about that.

And if we ever abandon those values, we would not only make it a lot easier to radicalize people here and around the world, but we would have betrayed the very things we are trying to protect.


MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by conservative radio host and NBC political analyst Hugh Hewitt, as well as Heidi Przybyla, senior political reporter with "USA Today," and John Stanton, Washington bureau chief for Buzzfeed News. Thank you all for joining us.

Let me start with Hugh. Let`s talk sort of the big decision of the president to jump into this fight today. It`s now two on one. The president clearly must see some opening on the issue of the Muslim ban. Even in the aftermath of the Orlando horror, he still must think that most Americans will rally to a side that says, Let`s not discriminate on religion, even in this environment.

HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Chris, I think it`s a disaster for the president to have done this. Not only are people still in critical care and wounded by a terrorist, the dangerous actual talk that I immediately thought out when the president attacked Donald Trump today was -- comes in threefold, his "leading from behind" comments in August of 2011, his red line the next year that he crossed the following year, and of course, most obviously the JVs talk from August of 2014.

That`s the dangerous mindset, that they`re JVs, that they`re not dangerous, that we don`t have to be alert, we don`t have to be aware. And then you look at his foreign policy, whether it`s the disaster in Libya that created a second ISIS, the Syrian...

MATTHEWS: Yes, but what about the ban? What about the ban, the Muslim ban? That seems to be where Obama is -- that`s the line he wants to fight on.

HEWITT: The president -- the president wants to talk about strawmen. He wants to talk about bans that Donald Trump is not pushing as of Monday. He`s talking about geographical bans. And I think when he brings up this argument, though, the world`s going to remember JVs. They`re going to remember red lines. They`re going to remember...

MATTHEWS: All right...

HEWITT: ... leading from behind. That`s what he opened up today! You don`t want this campaign about foreign policy because his foreign policy is a failure!

MATTHEWS: Let me go to Heidi on this. Heidi, I think the president saw an opportunity here. Even after the horror in Orlando, involving someone who comes from a background, parents coming -- whose parents are immigrants from Afghanistan, I think the president must believe he can win on this line, "We do not discriminate."

HEIDI PRZYBYLA, "USA TODAY": Well, Hugh, I have to disagree with you because the president just did a version of what George W. Bush did after September 11 in terms of reaching out to the community that he knows would be most wrongly at risk of persecution in the aftermath of an event like this.

And I think, also, by focusing this on the semantics, it puts the onus on Republicans to explain specifically, in terms of policy, what would you do differently, because we are having this debate about semantics.

I will concede that it was probably not the smartest idea for the president to not be willing to call it Islamic terrorism because that is the threat that we`re facing. But now the Republicans have to explain in detailed manner, and Donald Trump, what they would actually do differently.

If you look at Paul -- even Paul Ryan`s plan today, it`s nickel and dime stuff. It`s not materially different than a lot of the stuff that the president`s already doing and that Hillary Clinton is also talking about in her detailed plans.

MATTHEWS: Just to get this straight, if the fight is over the ban, Hugh, you say the -- who wins? If the fight...


MATTHEWS: ... immigration policy as it relates to terrorism, who wins? The people who are the hardliners and say -- OK, you say he`s widening it to a geographic target. We`re going to keep (INAUDIBLE) But he hasn`t taken back his proposal for a ban on people of the Islamic faith.

HEWITT: The more...

MATTHEWS: He hasn`t taken it back.

HEWITT: ... that the country is talking about radical Islamic terror, the more that they`re talking about the war against ISIS -- and you having guests like Jeremy Workon (ph) last hour, Republicans win because this president...

MATTHEWS: Who did I have on in the last hour?

HEWITT: ... has put the country at risk.

MATTHEWS: I didn`t have anybody on the last hour.


HEWITT: Jebby Worf (ph) from "The Washington Post."

MATTHEWS: All right. All right. Fine. Let me go to this. John, what do you think?

JOHN STANTON, BUZZFEED: Well, I mean, I think (INAUDIBLE) this is now about geography is a kind of a cute way of getting around these Islamophobia question, right, because the places he`s talking about putting a ban on are predominantly Muslim countries.

So OK, we`re going no longer going to say Muslims, we`re going to say all the places that Muslims come from in the world are going to be banned from coming into the country. So it`s not much of a -- there`s no real change...

MATTHEWS: Well, at least you can tell -- at least you can tell where they`re coming from because it`s their passport. You can`t tell their religion unless they tell you.

Anyway, House Speaker Paul Ryan echoed Trump`s critics -- critics at a press conference today, speaking out against his proposed Muslim ban.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The vast, vast majority of Muslims in this country and around the world are moderate. They`re peaceful. They`re tolerant. And so they`re among our best allies.

I do not think a Muslim ban is in our country`s interests. I do not think it is reflective of our principles not just as a party, but as a country. And I think the smarter way to go in all respects is to have a security test and not a religious test.


MATTHEWS: Security test. Anyway, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, who strongly supported Trump after his first foreign policy speech, also spoke to reporters about Trump`s comments today -- actually, yesterday. And here`s what the senator had to say.


SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I continue to be discouraged by the direction of the campaign and comments that are made. I did not think yesterday`s speech was the type of speech that one would give who wants to lead this country through difficult times.


MATTHEWS: You know, it`s interesting to try to figure out who`s looking out for Trump on the Republican side, Hugh, and that`s where I think there`s a lot of scaring away from him. That`s what`s going on now.

I mean, I look at this latest poll that`s come out that shows Hillary above -- dramatically above him. Now, we`ll get to the numbers in a minute in both new polls. He made a mistake with the Mexican-American judge, and now he seems like he may be doing it again.

Here`s the Bloomberg, by the way, up 12 -- that`s Hillary 49 to Trump`s 37. That`s pretty dramatic. We`ve got another poll that has it about 7 up.

These polls come after the mistake, I believe, he made about the Mexican- American judge. Doesn`t this double down on his ethnic focus...


MATTHEWS: ... you`re an Afghan -- if you`re born here, you`re still an Afghan. You can be a judge first generation from immigrant parents, you`re still a Mexican. The language he uses suggests that assimilation doesn`t occur. People don`t become Americans. They remain the identity or continue to hold the identity of their ancestors who came here.

I don`t think that clicks with most people`s family experience. Most people do, whatever language they come or accent they come with, whatever look they come with, eventually begin sounding like the person next door in this country. And I think that`s the way that people look at it. What do you think?

HEWITT: I think people vote for the future of their children and they vote for a secure country, and they are going to be looking at whether or not Secretary Clinton, after all of her mistakes in Egypt, Libya, Syria, the Status of Forces Agreement, is fit to run the foreign policy of the country. They`re going to look at the server, out to the news today that the Democratic National Committee server...


HEWITT: ... was hijacked by Russians. People have to believe her server was totally compromised. It`s a binary choice, Chris. Who will protect children more, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton? Hillary Clinton is compromised and disqualified from being president because of her server...

MATTHEWS: So every time Trump has a problem, we`ll talk about Hillary`s problems.


HEWITT: ... her record as secretary of state.

MATTHEWS: No, no. You just shifted the topic every time. I mean, we`re talking about Trump tonight. You want to talk about Hillary.

HEWITT: I`m talking about the foreign policy debate that will frame this election about the future of this country...


HEWITT: ... after Orlando and a terrorist attack, when people...

MATTHEWS: So in future, I might as well ask you only about Hillary because that will be your focus.

HEWITT: No, I will talk about the election every single night. The election is a binary choice. It`s not one choice or the other, it`s a binary choice.

MATTHEWS: OK, the fallback position taken by Hugh Hewitt will be Hillary sucks.

HEWITT: Not Hillary sucks, that her record was horrible and her server was compromised...


HEWITT: ... and she is...


HEWITT: ... disqualified from being president.

MATTHEWS: OK. Back to this. Throughout the campaign, Donald Trump has criticized President Obama and Hillary Clinton for not using the words "radical Islamic terrorism." Well, today, both the president and Clinton countered Trump`s argument with their own rebuttals. Let`s see how they hold up here. Here`s first of all, Secretary Clinton.


HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FMR. SEC. OF STATE, PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Is Donald Trump suggesting that there are magic words that, once uttered, will stop terrorists from coming after us? Trump, as usual, is obsessed with name calling. And from my perspective, it matters what we do, not just what we say.



MATTHEWS: What do you think of that?


MATTHEWS: ... magic words, the abracadabra words that Trump wants used?

PRZYBYLA: Oh, look, I do think it was a mistake, like I said before, for the president to have this argument over semantics because...

MATTHEWS: You think he should have just buckled.

PRZYBYLA: Maybe because then it lays bare the fact that, like I said before, that there aren`t substantive policy differences in terms of what we`d actually do overseas. Until they want to say, We`re going to put additional ground troops there, there`s not a lot of...

MATTHEWS: I`ve been in this business long enough that if you have adversaries out there, they will take everything you say and twist it. I think the president`s afraid that every time he says "radical Islamic terror," even if he uses that phrase, they`ll say he`s attacking Islam. And they`ll quote him that way.

STANTON: (INAUDIBLE) left this out in the domestic arena way too long. It`s been...

MATTHEWS: You agree. You agree he should have just gone with it.

STANTON: Well, I mean, look, two years ago, when Ted Cruz started to push this, you know, radical Islamic terrorism, he doesn`t ever say it...


STANTON: ... the White House is, like, We`re going to ignore him because that`s kind of...

MATTHEWS: I think (INAUDIBLE) in on this, too, a lot of people...


STANTON: Yes, it`s gotten into people`s heads now. Americans...


MATTHEWS: And you think it hurts the president...


MATTHEWS: ... hiding something, or what does it suggest?

STANTON: I think -- I think...

MATTHEWS: A weakness?

STANTON: It`s just like Americans assume that that means that there`s something going on, yes.

PRZYBYLA: And I think...


MATTHEWS: ... sort of spooky thing he put out again yesterday (INAUDIBLE) the president would have different views here than (INAUDIBLE) tells about?

STANTON: Well...

MATTHEWS: Isn`t that murkiness?

STANTON: I mean, it does play to that. I think that`s separate from what --

PRZYBYLA: Well, that...


PRZYBYLA: That comment, even Republicans are widely pinning. Now, if you saw, Lindsey Graham was so outraged by that he -- that he was compelled to put out a statement because that...

MATTHEWS: That the president of the United States may have other -- maybe something else going on here.

PRZYBYLA: (INAUDIBLE) definitely...

MATTHEWS: Spooky music playing.

PRZYBYLA: ... definitely suggesting something sinister or something...


MATTHEWS: Yes, that he`s not really one of us.

PRZYBYLA: ... and the Republicans, as well...

MATTHEWS: Hugh, I understand you don`t agree with that thinking, so I want to give you a minute to respond. I think that Trump, who`s very smart -- I don`t think he`s -- I think he`s smart like Eisenhower was. You know, he`ll be a little bit awkward, but in the end, he got exactly the point he wanted to get across.

When he talks about the possibility there`s something else going on here, I don`t know what it is, or that it`s -- there`s something in the president`s motive that`s a little bit murky here, what do you think he`s doing when he says that?

HEWITT: Well, I reject any insinuation of that.

And I think it`s horrific that people would. I don`t know what Mr. Trump means. I hope he does not return to that line of argument. He ought to stick to the president`s record, which is abysmal abroad. He ought to stick to the server. He ought to stick to the script like Mitch McConnell said. Stay on the script, because it`s a comment like that that makes it hard for people like me to return to the fact that Syria is a nightmare and a catastrophe because he did not enforce the red line, that Libya is a branch of Syria and ISIS, because we came, we saw, he died.

Well, no, he didn`t. We didn`t stay. And so Trump needs to stay focused on the president`s fiascoes, not on these intimations. I agree with that.

MATTHEWS: I got a hit list like that, Hugh. My hit begins with, why did we go into Iraq? My list, by the way, continue along your line with why are we messing around with Gadhafi? Why did we get involved with overthrowing a government without any idea of the bedlam to come?

And what side are we on in Syria? Please tell me, somebody. Please tell me what we want to happen in Syria, because I don`t get it. I don`t get Hillary Clinton`s foreign policy on any of those three regards, but we all have our list.

Hugh, thank you for coming on. And thank you, Heidi Przybyla. And thank you, John Stanton.

By the way, isn`t your organization one of those banned by Trump these days?


MATTHEWS: What does that feel like? What does that feel like?

STANTON: It`s all right. It`s a bit of a badge of honor.

MATTHEWS: Is it like Nixon`s list?

STANTON: Yes. Yes.

MATTHEWS: You can put it on your Wikipedia perhaps.

When we come back, the latest on the investigation into the Orlando killer and new details about the wife of the shooter, think killer, and what she knew and when she knew it. This is a really horrible wrinkle coming here a lot of people are going to be surprised by and angered by, like everybody will be.

And this is HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS: Well, we heard Hillary Clinton use that term radical Islam. And today President Obama addressed his critics who demand he use that term as well.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If there is anyone out there who thinks we are confused about who our enemies are, that would come as a surprise to the thousands of terrorists who we have taken off the battlefield.

There is no magic to the phrase radical Islam. It is a political talking point. It is not a strategy.


MATTHEWS: We will be back with the latest on that investigation down in Orlando now focused on the killer`s wife when we come back.


We have got new details tonight on the investigation into the Orlando shooting massacre.

NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams is here with the latest on the investigation.

Pete, the wife, this is fascinating and staggering information we`re getting.

PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Well, here`s what we`re told by authorities.

Now, these are people who are familiar with what she has told the FBI. They say she`s told them that she was with him when he bought some ammunition and a holster a couple of weeks ago, that she drove him around to a couple of spots, including the Pulse nightclub, and that he expressed some interest in carrying out some kind of terror attack.

And she says that she tried to talk him out of doing anything, that one of the reasons that she drove him around was to have the opportunity to talk him out of doing anything that would harm people or that would be a criminal or terrorist act, and that she, of course, was unable to do so.

Now, the problem for her is, well, a couple of points here. First of all, Chris, number one is, the FBI doesn`t know whether what she is saying here is true. They know that the two of them were driving around to various spots and the question is whether they were conducting surveillance or casing them.

But the second thing is, they don`t know whether it`s true that she says she tried to talk him out of these things. That`s going to be something they will have to sift through. If it is true, if she did try to talk him out of it, if she had some sense that he was going to carry out a terror attack and failed to tell anybody, failed to tell the police, then she could face criminal charges.

It`s against the law if -- in those circumstances not to tell the police. So, they are considering charges against her. But they`re a long way from deciding whether to file them. They are a long way from knowing exactly what happened here. It`s the subject of great interest to them. I would say it`s the most active part of the investigation.

MATTHEWS: Under the law, just in general terms, Pete, if someone tells someone, I`m interested in doing something generically, like I`m going to kill a bunch of people, but it`s not a detailed commitment, it`s just an attitude I have, and I`m going to carry it out in some general way, is that an accessory position to be in, to know that without -- if the person doesn`t tell you what they`re going to actually do, go to the Pulse nightclub and shoot some people?

WILLIAMS: No, probably not.

But here`s the distinction. Under federal law -- this gets a little technical, but since you asked -- under federal law it`s illegal not to tell the police when a crime has been committed.

You may say to yourself, well, what crime was committed here? And the answer is that the government lawyers are looking at is the act of preparing for the attack, buying ammunition, buying holsters, driving around looking at sites. That`s preparation. That`s a crime.

If she failed to tell the police about that, they could charge her with this statute of failing to tell the police. Now, of course, that`s the federal side. The authorities in Florida will have their own interest in potentially filing charges. And they have a whole different set of statutes that may or may not have as high a bar as the federal one does.

So, even if -- even under this scenario that she`s off the hook with the federal authorities -- we`re a long way from knowing whether that is the case -- she could face state charges as well.

MATTHEWS: And who knows what she will say after she`s lawyered up.

Anyway, thank you, Pete Williams. Great reporting, up to date.

WILLIAMS: You bet.

MATTHEWS: Up next, the massacre in Orlando has reignited the political debate over gun safety reform. I`m going to talk right now to a Democratic member of Congress who protested the lack of action. And he did so on the House floor last night, a real protest against not doing anything.

And this is the HARDBALL -- this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: I`m really concerned that we have just today had a moment of silence, and, later this week, the 17th...

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Is the gentlemen stating a parliamentary inquiry?


Mr. Speaker, I`m particularly interested about three pieces of legislation that have been filed in response.

RYAN: The gentleman is not stating a parliamentary inquiry. The gentleman is not stating a parliamentary inquiry. The clerk will report the title of the bill.



MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was of course Democratic Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina on the House floor yesterday asking Speaker Paul Ryan to allow a point of order on the issue of gun safety.

Shortly after that request was denied by the speaker, the floor erupted, as several Democratic lawmakers chanted, "Where`s the bill?" and "No leadership."

And just prior to that, other members of Congress walked off the floor during a moment of silence honoring the victims in the Orlando shooting.

And one of those lawmakers, Democratic Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut, joins us now.

Congressman, tell us all about it. Give us the situation and your motive for doing it.

REP. JIM HIMES (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, Chris, I think this grew out a lot of frustration that a lot of members have had at just the steady, dreary regularity with which we`re doing moments of silence on the floor in Congress because there are mass shootings.

I -- coincidentally, Sunday night, the night before, after I learned about Orlando, came across one of the fathers of one of the kids that was killed 30-ish miles from my house at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. And I started thinking about that and saying, here the people, the Congress, that could actually pass some commonsensical background check, you know, basic bills that are supported.

You mentioned taking people who are on the terrorist watch list, no-fly list and not letting them buy guns, commonsensical stuff that`s supported by the vast majority of gun owners, much less Americans, but gun owners. These are the people that could get that done.

And yet how do we respond to the next atrocity, the last atrocity? We stop talking for 10 seconds. We get all serious for 10 seconds and we stop talking. So, what happened in the Democratic Caucus, people said enough. We actually have to act. Simply being quiet for 10 seconds is not enough.

So, you saw Jim Clyburn. He wanted to ask about whether some of the statements after -- remember, Jim Clyburn in South Carolina, where that horrible shooting in the church occurred -- whether -- whether the Republicans intended to do anything.

And, of course, he wasn`t recognized by the speaker, which is kind of a conspiracy breach of protocol for a member of the Democratic leadership.

MATTHEWS: To what? To be...

HIMES: To not be recognized.


Let me ask you the position of those who oppose everything you want to do. They don`t want to do even the most reasonable thing. They just vote it down, as you say -- to say, OK, if you`re too dangerous to get on an airplane, you`re too dangerous to get a semiautomatic weapon or anything like that.

Do they ever come up to you and say, well, is it just fear? I don`t want to be totally partisan here, but it seems to me, is it the slippery slope argument? In other words, if you say you can`t let potential terrorists have a gun, you will take it away from everybody? Is that what they say?

HIMES: This is a debate that has sort of descended into this world that doesn`t make anymore -- any sense at all, right?

You`re either pro-gun or you`re anti-gun. Well, what about most people like me who support Second Amendment rights, who enjoy recreational shooting, but we think that, like everything else we do, there ought to be some safety regulation on how we do it? Well, no, you`re either pro-gun or you`re anti-gun.


MATTHEWS: Yes, but the anti-gun people are not winning. So, it`s not like it shuts down both sides.

It seems to me that the pro-gun people have won the argument. They have made the case so powerful to the people. If you do anything on gun safety, really, you`re a bad guy.

HIMES: Right. And exactly, and they have won the argument, but not on the facts.

The facts are clearly on the side of people who say not anti-gun, but people who say we should have basic safety regulations. How have they won the argument? They have won the argument by using fear.

So, listen to Wayne LaPierre. He`s the high priest of telling Americans that President Obama is committed to taking away their guns. And, by the way, there`s all this sort of hazy, gray idea that what`s the agenda behind that? A federal government takeover of state governments? Is he going to promote his Islamic agenda? What is he up to?

MATTHEWS: Yes, I hear that.

HIMES: If somebody`s in your house, your only recourse will be a weapon.

The fact is that if you have a gun in your house, you`re a lot less safe than if they don`t.

MATTHEWS: A lot of people say they have guns because they want to have guns when the government comes to take away their guns. They want to be ready to fight back. What do you say to that?

HIMES: I`m on the Intelligence Committee. And I spend a fair amount of time with our special operations people.

And if Joe who is a software developer thinks that, in his untrained fashion, he`s going to beat -- and, by the way, this is of course a fantasy from start to finish -- is going to beat the 82nd Airborne, they got to come up with a stronger...


MATTHEWS: They want to go down fighting. I agree with you. The culture has gotten pretty out of hand.

Anyway, thank you, Congressman Jim Himes, for coming over here.

And, tomorrow, U.S. congressman Jim Clyburn, the aforementioned leader of the Democratic Party, will be here on HARDBALL talking about what he was trying to do yesterday.

Coming up: opposition research, oppo, on Donald Trump stolen by Russian hackers. This is Tom Clancy stuff. Stolen by Russian hackers. New details on what Putin`s government now has on Trump, what they have on Trump, because they hacked this out the DNC. Remember Nixon? Those people had stuff stolen out of the DNC the old way, sneak in, in the middle of night with taped doors and all that stuff? This has now been done electronically, a safety breach at the good old Democratic National Committee. We have been there before.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.



"The Washington Post" today broke the news that Russian intelligence agencies have hacked a computer network of the Democratic National Committee here in Washington, successfully breaking into and stealing the files of opposition research on, guess who, Donald Trump. While there`s no clear indication of Russia`s intent, "The Post" reports that the nature suggests it was an act of traditional espionage, not the work of criminal hackers. Also pointing out that Trump has not been a politician for very long. So, foreign agencies are playing catch up.

Two different Russian intelligence agencies were involved in the attack, including the Federal Security Service over there, which is formerly led by current Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Anyway, a spokesman for the Kremlin today denied, of course, any government involvement in the incident.

I`m joined right now by the reporter who broke the story, the scooper in charge, Ellen Nakashima of "The Washington Post".

Ellen, let me ask you about this. How did the Democrats at the national committee find out that the Russians had their treasure-trove of dirt on Donald Trump?

ELLEN NAKASHIMA, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right. Well, towards the end of April, Chris, the I.T., techie gurus at the DNC started to notice something a little amiss in their networks. They knew it was serious enough that they should probably call in the experts.

So, they alerted their leadership and their leadership called in CrowdStrike which is a cyber security firm. And CrowdStrike came in, started poking around and put its technology on their computers and found that this was pretty serious. This was not just --

MATTHEWS: So, when you hack, you leave an impact? You leave an effect?

NAKASHIMA: Right. What CrowdStrike did was they started looking around in the computers and servers for telltale signatures, malware, tactics and techniques of who might have been in the network, how long? How did they get in? What were they after? What did they see? What did they look at? What did they take?

MATTHEWS: How surgical was the hacking? Was it just to get the Trump load or was it to get a little more stuff, do we know?

NAKASHIMA: Well, there were two different groups as you mentioned. And the first group that came actually in came in the last year about a year ago. And they were really just sitting on the e-mail server and the chat communications and they were reading all of that. They didn`t touch the oppo research.

And the second group came towards the end of April and they are the ones who went into the database of the Trump file.

MATTHEWS: That`s all they wanted?

NAKASHIMA: It looks like that`s all they were interested in. Two separate groups operating independently, not coordinated.

MATTHEWS: Do we know why the Ruskies, as we used to call them, why they would want to know about our guy running for president? Is that the normal -- if I could consider this health intelligence gathering, you want to know who the leader of the country is.

NAKASHIMA: Completely. I mean, you would think we were doing the same. We would want to do the same. So, yes, it`s classic political espionage. And they are very interested in whoever might become the next president of the United States.

MATTHEWS: You know, when I was a presidential speech writer back in the `70s, they used to say anything you`re typing in the old executive office building where the speeches were, could be picked up by people driving along 17th Street.


MATTHEWS: And that`s old tech.

NAKASHIMA: And that`s old tech.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Congratulations.

NAKASHIMA: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: This sounds like Pulitzer Prize to me. Anyway, thank you. Ellen Nakashima, who broke the story. Scooped it.

Up next, the HARDBALL round table is coming here for our top story tonight, the searing attacks on Donald Trump by President Obama and Hillary Clinton today.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: We heard what Donald Trump said at the top of the hour about President Obama and Hillary Clinton. Well, he`s also calling out "The Washington Post" after his campaign revoked the paper`s press credentials. Let`s listen.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We just took the press kit credentials away. I love it. We just took the press credentials away from the dishonest "Washington Post". Why should I have people following me around, sitting up there like big shots and they write very untruthful stories? They write very untruthful stories. So, I did it with "The Washington Post". I`m so happy.


MATTHEWS: I don`t think they sit like big shots.

Anyway, the HARDBALL roundtable joins us next as President Obama and Hillary Clinton team up. It`s two on one now against Trump.



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We now have proposals from the presumptive Republican nominee for the president of the United States to bar all Muslims from entering America. We hear language that singles out immigrants and suggest entire religious communities are complicit in violence. Where does this stop?


MATTHEWS: Well, that`s President Obama today addressing the fight against ISIS, but also directly taking on presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. Of course, you heard it there.

Let`s bring in the HARDBALL round table right now.

Sam Stein, senior politics editor of "The Huffington Post", April Ryan is White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, and Dana Milbank is an opinion writer for "The Washington Post".

You guys are covering him now, right? The big change in editorial direction there. I don`t let everybody forget anything.

Let`s talk about -- he took a shot at you. I give you the first shot.


MATTHEWS: Trump, does he benefit by having two on one here against -- he`s taken on both guys, the president and the candidate?

STEIN: I don`t think so. If you`ve been following the polls, Obama`s popularity has really steadily risen to the point he`s measured at 53 --

MATTHEWS: Is it good for him to become a politician again?

STEIN: Probably not if you`re talking squarely about poll numbers but I think he says, what am I wasting it for? If I have political capital, I certainly want to defend my legacy. I also think it`s bigger than legacy for him. I think he actually genuinely believes what Donald Trump is saying creates a geopolitical quandary for the United States and he needs to stand against it.

MATTHEWS: I don`t think the president follows everything we say here, anywhere else. I think he lives in his own intellectual world. But he does seem to hear Trump. He hears him and it grates on him.


MATTHEWS: He goes back point by point with the guy.

APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORK: Let me tell you, this president is on social media, he sees what`s happening on social media, he also gets a daily rundown of what`s being said by Donald Trump and others as well as what we say about him. But Donald Trump is --

MATTHEWS: How is he on social media? This is news.

RYAN: How is he?

MATTHEWS: How does he do it physically?

RYAN: He has his BlackBerry.

MATTHEWS: Does he do that?

RYAN: Yes, he does. He has a Blackberry.

MATTHEWS: He doesn`t have BlackBerry people?

RYAN: The president makes sure he does not have misspellings like certain presidential candidates.

STEIN: You don`t follow him on Snapchat, Chris?



RYAN: So, anyway, the president is on social media.

MATTHEWS: So, he`s up there with the first lady and the kids --

RYAN: She`s on social media as well.

MATTHEWS: I`ve got to get back on this page. He does it with his thumbs?

RYAN: Yes, he does. Seriously, no, no, the president is really social media-savvy. They are on Facebook and Twitter and he`s well aware of the chat going on. He sees what Donald Trump says, he sees what we say in the press, he sees what other people say.

But the problem for this president -- once a politician, always a politician. This is a president trying to correct the record of someone who does not know about foreign policy as of yet. This president has said, he`s made the point that I have killed Osama bin Laden, I`ve killed other jihadis, to include, was it Jihadi John and others.

MATTHEWS: It is amazing that he has to point to the notch on this his belt to make a point.

RYAN: But he has to --

MATTHEWS: I know he has -- he felt he did.

Anyway, the president went further in his attack on Donald Trump today as did the Democrat who hopes to succeed him in the White House, Hillary Clinton. Here are both Obama and Clinton today taking to it Donald Trump.


OBAMA: There`s not been a moment in my seven and a half years as president where we have not been able to pursue a strategy because we didn`t use the label "radical Islam." Not once has an adviser of mine said, man, if we really use that phrase, we`re going to turn this whole thing around. Not once.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: First, he is fixated on the words "radical Islam". Now, I must say I find this strange. Is Donald Trump suggesting that there are magic words that once uttered will stop terrorists from coming after us? Trump as usual is obsessed with name-calling. And from my perspective, it matters what we do, not just what we say.


MATTHEWS: Very different styles, same target.

DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: Same target. That`s as it should be. I think it`s terrific for Hillary Clinton to have the president doing this.

MATTHEWS: Did they get him where they want him? Is the issue that they got him on the Muslim ban? They seem to be happy --

MILBANK: I don`t think the issue matters as much as that they`re talking about Trump. If this election is fought about Donald Trump, Donald Trump loses. If the election is fought about Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton loses. That`s why having the president in her camp -- who`s standing there next to Donald Trump right now? Jeff Sessions?


MILBANK: The rest of the Republican Party is running away from him.

MATTHEWS: Have you noticed how they`ve scattered? I mean, today somebody else put out -- it`s like there`s something came through in the PR the way it went out today, wait a minute, everybody`s hiding from him.

STEIN: Yes. I mean, there was an RNC statement today that didn`t mention Donald Trump, who is the party`s nominee. He lacks surrogates clearly. I think from a messaging standpoint --

MATTHEWS: Oh, yes, they put out the word that RNC told him not to do this or --


MATTHEWS: Who would put that out unless it was something to undercut and CYA?

STEIN: I think the bigger thing here though about the messaging, which is they`re out to portray Donald Trump as woefully ill-prepared for the job, as someone who`s completely in over his head. I think that`s why they went after the idea, all you have to do is say radical Islamic terrorism and suddenly, your problem goes away.

MATTHEWS: But is that a problem for him to say -- for Hillary not for the president not to say that? Would he be saying --


STEIN: -- Obama for years and he still managed to win 2012.

RYAN: He said it before. He said way before this.

MATTHEWS: He said radical Islamic terrorism?

RYAN: I`ve heard him say it before.

MATTHEWS: We`ll have to look this up.

RYAN: Look it up, trust me.

MATTHEWS: You have to look it up, you said it. Put a lot of work on my shoulders.

The roundtable -- just kidding -- sticking around for more.

HARDBALL returns after this.


MATTHEWS: You`re looking at a live picture right now from later tonight, we`re expecting Senator Bernie Sanders, he`s going to be meeting with Secretary Hillary Clinton in that place tonight. It`s a primary, of course, of District of Columbia being held, the final primary of this entire campaign on the Democratic side. Polls will close at the top of this hour. Senator Sanders says he wants to get a sense of where Clinton stands on the issues he cares most about.

We`re back with our group. Of course, Sam Stein, April Ryan, and Dana Milbank.

In that order, what are they going to get done? What those two guys going to get done tonight?

STEIN: Two things Bernie wants is reforming of the nomination promise, probably getting rid of superdelegates, top of the list, and then, of course, the platform. I mean, he wants the commitment to $15, I don`t think he`s going to get it, I think Clinton is steadfast at $12. But those are the things I`m looking for.

MATTHEWS: April, tonight`s -- value of tonight?

RYAN: Value of tonight is going to be huge in the beginning process of meeting each other and talking about demands and the beginning process of unification. But the Clinton camp has to remember the sanders people are saying that you can`t put Bernie in the corner.

MATTHEWS: What`s that mean?

RYAN: You don`t remember the movie "Dirty Dancing"? That`s what they`re saying. Yes, when Patrick Swayze told Jennifer Grey --


MILBANK: I think tonight`s a lot about symbolism more than what Bernie actually gets. Hillary may slip him a Xanax, just nod politely. You know, blows off some steam. The man needs some dignity, he`s not going to get a whole lot.

MATTHEWS: I think the stronger she looks the better for her.

Anyway, thank you, Sam Stein, April Ryan, Dana Milbank.

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.