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Hardball With Chris Matthews, Transcript, 6/15/2016

Guests: John Harris, Ron Fournier, James Clyburn, Ted Deutch, Cornell Belcher, Jay Newton-Small

Show: HARDBALL Date: June 15, 2016 Guest: John Harris, Ron Fournier, James Clyburn, Ted Deutch, Cornell Belcher, Jay Newton-Small

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Trump in slump.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Well, it`s been a rough month for Donald Trump. Last week, Trump was entangled in a fight with a federal judge after saying the judge`s Mexican heritage compromised his ability to give Trump a fair hearing. And now his reaction after the deadly attack in Orlando has opened him up -- Trump -- to new attacks from Hillary Clinton, President Obama and from his fellow Republicans.

And tonight, new polls confirm the Trump campaign is slumping. With a month to go until the Republican convention, Trump seems intent on doubling down, however, on his incendiary strategy that`s giving Clinton the upper hand and driving away members of Trump`s own political party.

Today, Trump took that strategy to another extreme, suggesting that if his proposals are not implemented, the United States is going to -- well, it`s not going to survive as a country.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We`re having the blood sucked out of us! We`re having horrible things happen where we`re allowing people into our country that don`t deserve to be in our country, and bad things are going to be happening.

It`s amazing that our country can continue to survive. But you know, eventually, it`s not going to survive, just so you understand. Eventually, it`s not. It`s amazing that our country can be abused so badly and not -- it`s just amazing -- and continue to survive. But it`s not going to continue to survive like this. It can`t. It`s impossible. It`s impossible.


MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by NBC`s Katy Tur, as well as "Time" magazine`s Jay Newton-Small and Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher. Thank you all.

This is a strange moment, Katy, and you`re the expert on Donald Trump. You`ve been watching him. You`ve had the bedside manner all this time, watching his medical chart go up and down. Why is he sticking to this ethnic line and it`s not working, first of all, the Mexican-American judge, now going after Islamic people? It`s not working. People are -- seem to be pulling back from it. Why is he digging in his heels?

KATY TUR, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, he -- it had worked for him, and that`s why he`s continuing to do it. Remember, every time there was a terror attack while we were in the primaries and Donald Trump came out with this red meat response, his poll numbers went up. So he believes that he knows better.

I just spoke with campaign source, who I granted anonymity to so he could speak freely, and they told me that this is something that Donald Trump believes is the way to go. They do believe that he is learning and that he`s going to catch on that this is not necessarily going to work for him in the general election, that skirting the line, playing on the line, this close to the line has worked up until now because he had so many other candidates he was going up against.

But now that he just has Hillary Clinton, all of the attention is on him and it`s on her, and everything he says is now being parsed by a number of different sources, the media, donors and also the Clinton campaign, that can come back at him with a very well-oiled machine.

MATTHEWS: Does he know that he only got 13 million votes in the primaries from the American hard right, largely, and he needs five times that number to win a general election? He can`t talk the way he talks to the hard right to the whole country because they don`t like listening to it. They may agree with him in a hunch, they are worried about people coming into the country, but they don`t like it put in those tribalistic terms. They don`t like it said that way...

TUR: Does he know...

MATTHEWS: ... because it sounds un-American. And they don`t like it. People in the middle and center right don`t want to be talked to or talked for that way.

TUR: He is being told that by campaign aides, I`m told. He`s also being told that by donors. He`s being told that by people within the Republican Party, Republican leaders. Everybody is telling him this, but for some reason or another, Donald Trump is not listening.

And that`s because, my sources tell me, ultimately, he thinks he knows better. He`s gotten this far in his career, in his business by being himself. And this is very common for folks who have been extraordinary successful in business to think that they know better than everyone else that`s around them.

It is a process, and his aides say that they are trying, but whether it actually works -- I don`t think there`s a lot of folks in the Republican Party right now who have that hope. They`ve been burned before. They believe they`re going to get burned again.

And the big issue they`re having right now is even if he does get elected, how can they trust him when he is in office that what he says in terms of policy or legislation or promises is something that actually will hold true or if he`ll change his mind the very next day.

MATTHEWS: Well (INAUDIBLE) Trump`s campaign, he has cited the polls as evidence of his own success. As recently as last night, Donald Trump took credit for making polling important. Let`s listen.


TRUMP: According to Drudge and "Time" magazine and Slate and, like, seven others -- they do polls now for everything. I think I`ve made polling a very important thing. I never used to hear about polls. All of a sudden - - because I like polls.


MATTHEWS: However, new numbers from NBC -- or ABC News and "The Washington Post" show that Trump`s standing with the electorate is deteriorating. Catch this number -- 70 percent of voters, 7 in 10, now say they view Trump unfavorably -- that`s 7 out of 10 -- which reflects a spike of 10 percentage points downward, or upward since last month more people find him unfavorable.

Anyway, Clinton has -- actually, Clinton has also reached a new high -- now, this is interesting, but still fares better than -- so she`s at 55 percent. That`s her highest unfavorable. So she`s not so much doing it great right now as he`s doing it bad.

And this comes after a new national poll by Bloomberg Politics that shows Trump has slipped 12 points behind Hillary. So he`s up by -- she`s up by 12, 49 to 37, now. That`s a strong lead even in the NBA these days with the 3-pointer. That`s a strong lead. Anyway, Bloomberg also found that a majority of voters nationwide, 55 percent -- catch this number, take it home with you -- say they will never vote for Trump. Well, that`s a majority of voters saying, I will never -- he or she or hear (ph) hey (ph) -- he or her -- will never vote for Trump.

This is his standing, Jay. I don`t know -- let me go to you. You`re the pollster (INAUDIBLE)


MATTHEWS: These numbers -- what do they mean? Do people say never -- do they -- do they actually -- are they committing on the Bible that they will never vote for this guy?

CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: There can be some wiggle room in that, but -- but what`s hard is that 70 percent unfavorable. I mean, you`re looking at historic numbers. And Chris, you know this as well as anyone.

It`s seldom we see a 10-point gap in any race these days because we`re so polarized.

MATTHEWS: It`s a 50-50 country.

BELCHER: It`s a -- right. And he is -- he`s fallen behind 12 points. You know...

MATTHEWS: What was it, the Mexican judge? Was that the one that jumped, that people just said...


BELCHER: I think it`s -- I think it`s...

MATTHEWS: I`m sorry, Mexican -- I don`t want to talk his language! A Mexican-American judge, a man of Mexican heritage. But he calls him a Mexican like he calls this other guy an Afghan.

BELCHER: The racial politics -- the racial politics isn`t playing for him. You`ve got 88 percent of minorities that have an unfavorable opinion of him. You need minority voters to win in this country now.

Another thing -- watching that clip, Chris, can you imagine that this is now the party of Ronald Reagan, where a guy`s downing America the way he`s downing and talking about our best days are behind us?

MATTHEWS: We will not survive.

BELCHER: We will not survive. I mean, even -- when you look at 37 percent, even Republicans are now beginning to shed (ph) away from him. That`s not the party of Reagan.

MATTHEWS: Yes. I`m thinking -- I`m thinking of a disco song, "I Will Survive," you know?


MATTHEWS: I think I`m more of that mood, actually!

JAY NEWTON-SMALL, "TIME": Well, I think -- I mean, look, everyone gets a bump when you`ve consolidated your nomination. And Hillary is getting this bump now. We saw this when Donald Trump had his bump, when he became the nominee...

MATTHEWS: So the Bernie -- the Bern -- the Bern for -- the ones who have Bern -- burned for Bernie are coming in to the Democrats.

NEWTON-SMALL: Yes, they -- but the thing -- the number that everybody should -- that Donald Trump should be particularly worried about is the "never vote for Trump" number, right, 55 percent of the country...

MATTHEWS: It`s powerful.

NEWTON-SMALL: ... says they`ll never vote...

MATTHEWS: What base. Your base is 45 percent. I mean, that`s your potential universe.

Anyway, House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has been a thorn in this guy`s saddle (ph), and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were both asked about Trump`s comments suggesting on Monday that President Obama had some sort of murky ulterior motive in the fight against terrorism -- in other words, he might be on the other guy`s side.

Both declined to answer. Watch.


QUESTION: Was it appropriate for Donald Trump to suggest that President Obama was somehow sympathetic to the cause of terrorists? Do you stand by your endorsement?

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I`m not going to spend my time commenting about the ups and downs and in betweens by the comments. I am not going to get into the day-to-day habit of commenting on what the president says and what our nominee says.

QUESTION: Donald Trump suggested that the president is sympathetic in some way to the terrorists and the killer in Orlando. Do you think that was an appropriate thing for him to say?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I`m not going to be commenting on the presidential candidates today.


MATTHEWS: That reminds me of Bill Maher`s new rule. We got a new rule today -- I`m not commenting on Trump because I don`t want to comment on what`s obviously, you know, a terrible thing to say, that the president might be on the other side of this fight.

BELCHER: The problem is -- the probably is -- whenever Ryan and Mitch McConnell are in front of cameras right now, they`re not talking about what they`re going to do in the majority. They`re not talking about what they want to do. They are defending Donald Trump. If you`re trying to hold the House and the Senate, it is a real problem that Donald Trump is sucking all the...


MATTHEWS: ... as we say in politics, cutting (ph) him from their -- Anyway, Trump today, Mr. Trump, had a message for wavering Republicans saying he can win without their support. Here he goes.


TRUMP: We have to have Republicans either stick together or let me just do it by myself. I`ll do very well. I`m going to do very well, OK? I`m going to do very well. A lot of people thought I should do that anyway. But I`ll just do it very nicely by myself. I think you`re going to have a very good result. I think we`ll be very happy. I`ll run as a Republican. Just -- I don`t -- you know, the endorsement thing, I`ve got -- by the way, I`ve gotten tremendous endorsements. But if I don`t get them, that`s OK.


MATTHEWS: Katy, you cover this guy. I don`t believe in psychobabble, but who`s he arguing with then? It seems like he`s arguing with something he`s hearing in his ear, somebody saying do something, and he`s saying, I don`t want to hear that. Who is he arguing with when he says, "I`ll do it myself"?

TUR: I think he`s arguing with everybody, frankly, because everyone is saying that he needs to change up his act. And we heard it on the Capitol today, Senator John Cornyn saying that he doesn`t want to get asked about Donald Trump until November 8th. And a number of -- a third governor is now saying that they don`t plan on voting for him, a third Republican governor in a blue state.

This is a big deal for the Republicans not to be able to coalesce around Donald Trump. He doesn`t want to hear it, from his own words. He believes he can do it on his own.

And it makes me think of that great Monty Python scene, where the black knight is dueling with the other knight and he cuts off his arm, and he cuts off his leg, and the knight refuses to acknowledge that he`s bleeding out of his arms or his legs, and he keeps calling it a flesh wound!


TUR: I mean, it just seems like he`s refusing to acknowledge the reality around him.

MATTHEWS: Can you tell me something, though? I love the backdrop you`ve got there. Is that an old 1950s movie theater, behind you, a single screen movie theater? What is the...

TUR: It`s a Fox theater. It is a -- it`s, like, a concert venue. They do movies here, as well. It`s historic in Atlanta, really very popular.


TUR: It`s Moorish (ph) design. It`s gorgeous on the inside. It`s one of my (ph) most iconic places in this state.

MATTHEWS: I hope they don`t tear down those. And some day, we find a use for those great old movie theaters with one big, gigantic screen, and that`s sort of classical artwork all around the ceiling.

Anyway, thank you, Katy Turn, and great backdrop. Anyway, Jay Newton-Small and Cornell Belcher.

Coming up -- Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders meet last night as the primaries finally wrap up. But even though the race is over, Bernie`s staying in. This is what I want to figure out. What is he, is he still a candidate? Apparently so. And he`s still not endorsing Hillary Clinton yet.

But we are learning more about what he wants from Clinton. You know, when you lose, you usually don`t make demands, but this guy`s got chutzpah up the kazoo, and he`s now determining what the Democratic Party`s going to stand for for us. Guess what? He lost. He gets the say-so. This is fascinating politics. I give him credit. He can pull this off.

Plus, Democrats in revolt. Senate Democrats filibuster for stricter gun laws while Democrats in the House are demanding some action from Republicans, who aren`t willing to act at all on gun safety. Will the country`s worst mass shooting change minds on the issue of gun control? Ask yourself if you think it will.

And two against one -- President Obama and Hillary Clinton are tag-teaming against Donald Trump. And as Trump`s poll numbers slump, he`s finding it hard to compete with the Democrats` due.

Anyway, finally, "Let Me Finish" with a suggest I have that Donald Trump change the subject.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Well, the Republican governor of Maryland has announced he won`t vote for Donald Trump. Larry Hogan, a Republican who had backed Chris Christie`s presidential run, said today he`ll have to figure it out when he casts his ballot and perhaps will offer a write-in candidate. Another blue state Republican, Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, has also said he won`t vote for Trump.

And we`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Last night, Hillary Clinton won the final Democratic primary contest, which took place here in the District of Columbia, and she won by nearly 58 points. Actually, she got 4 out of 5 votes here in the primary yesterday against Bernie Sanders.

Well, the D.C. primary marked the end of the long fight, of course, for the Democratic nomination, but Senator Sanders has yet to concede the race to Hillary Clinton or endorse her. And she`s, of course, the presumptive nominee now.

Well, the two Democrats met last night behind closed doors for more than 90 minutes and reportedly discussed a variety of progressive issues where they can find common ground, hopefully. They agreed to continue working on a policy agenda through the Democratic platform process, which, of course, goes all the way to the convention.

Earlier in the day, Sanders called for reforms to the Democratic Party itself, including -- well, we knew this was coming -- a change of leadership.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do believe that we have to replace the current Democratic National Committee leadership. We need a person at the leadership of the DNC who is vigorously supporting and out working to bring people into the political process.

We need real electoral reform within the Democratic Party. And that means, among many, many other things, open primaries. We need same-day registration, and that means that anybody in this country can walk in and get registered to vote on the day of primary or a caucus.

We also need, obviously, to get rid of superdelegates. The idea that we had in this case 400 superdelegates pledged to a candidate from eight months or more before the first ballot was cast is to my mind absurd!


MATTHEWS: I`m joined now by Joy Reid, the host of MSNBC`s weekend show, "AM Joy." And Ed Rendell is the former governor of Pennsylvania, former chair of the Democratic National Committee.

I`ve go to start with Governor Rendell. This is just the beginning, I guess, of his demands. They have to do with party rules, but we expect a lot more. There`s a Mideast fight coming up. We`ve got Jim Zogby in there and Cornel West. I mean, we got -- we got some people pretty red hot on some issues in there right now that are going to make some issues about foreign policy.

But let`s talk about these rules. Do you think the Democrats will get rid of superdelegates or just make them conform to the votes of their states, Governor?

ED RENDELL (D-PA), FMR. GOVERNOR, FMR. DNC CHAIRMAN: Oh, I think they`ll get rid of superdelegates. I think that`s a reasonable request for Bernie Sanders. I don`t think in today`s political world, we need superdelegates.

MATTHEWS: What about caucuses? I`d like to get rid of caucuses because they`re totally undemocratic.


MATTHEWS: But Bernie loves caucuses...

RENDELL: But if we`re trying to make it more democratic, caucuses should go.

And Bernie`s got to remember one thing, Chris, that a lot of these things, all the Democratic Party can do is recommend. What happens in same-day registration, that`s the states that determine that. Whether there`s a primary that`s closed or open, the states determine that. So the Democratic Party can only recommend.

And I think most of the reforms he`s talking about are correct, are right, and I think we should get behind them.

MATTHEWS: Before I get to Joy, I want to ask you about one last one. This is the one about open primaries. Now, they benefited Bernie, of course, and people like what benefits them, because young people who hadn`t registered as Democrats, who or independents or hadn`t -- they can now -- they can vote in open primaries.

Do you think Pennsylvania, for example, a pretty old state in terms of politics -- do you think that fits, to let people who are not even Democrats pick Democratic nominees? Does that work, culturally?

RENDELL: Well, I`m in favor of same-day registration. And same-day registration would obviate having to have open primaries because then you just go in and say, I`m registering as a Democrat." Boom. And you can vote in the Democratic primary.

MATTHEWS: And you can change under that system -- under that system, could you change from R to D or from independent to D?

RENDELL: On the same day, yes.


MATTHEWS: Well, that obviates it all. Great adjective -- great use of that verb, too. I like that, Governor. Obviate, I haven`t heard this on the program in 22 years, but here it is, obviate.



MATTHEWS: Arlen Specter would have liked that word.


MATTHEWS: I know. I know you did.

Arlen would have loved that, obviate. He would have gotten that right.

Anyway, Joy, Joy, let me ask you about this, as the young person here. Do you think this is all just sort of Bernie`s way of saying I told you so or I want a Democratic Party that`s conducive and welcoming to a Bernie Sanders, an independent? He`s not a Democrat. At least coming into the race, he wasn`t. He does attract a lot of enthusiasm. My sense is, he would not like to get rid of caucuses, because they are perfect for the old passionate types or young passionate types.

JOY REID, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. And he made that pretty clear, because caucuses not on the list of the things that he wants to change.

Yes, I think Bernie Sanders is coming in and obviously he supports the rules that help him, things like open primaries. The problem is, he`s making these requests pretty late in the game. He`s making them after having lost California.

I think Bernie Sanders` leverage was quite a bit higher before California, because it wasn`t clear how that was going to turn out. There were some polls that suggested it was very close. The Sanders campaign has been telling folks like me, other journalists that California was going to be their big stand.

And they were talking pretty tough about how well they could do there. He said he could win there. I think once he lost California, it became very difficult. And I`ll tell you what. As far as some of these other rule, as Governor Rendell said, some of these are not up to the Democratic Party. The DNC can do some things, like make Bernie Sanders a superdelegate, which Debbie Wasserman Schultz did.

But open or closed primaries are state party decisions. Other things about the rules are the Democratic National Committee broadly. And as far as replacing Debbie Wasserman Schultz herself, well, that would be in large part up to the president of the United States. And he hasn`t made any indication that he`s ready to abandon her.

MATTHEWS: It also seems, Governor, he wants to get rid of concession speeches. I have never heard a concession speech from this guy. He doesn`t do them. Is he ever going to concede to Hillary Clinton and say, you won, I lost?

RENDELL: Well, first of all, to give Bernie a little bit of slack here, Hillary fought to the last primary. We fought all the way to South Dakota. It was the last primary in `08.


RENDELL: And she didn`t concede until Saturday. So, Bernie has got Thursday, Friday and Saturday to go.

MATTHEWS: But we`re there. We`re getting there.

RENDELL: He`s got three days to go. That`s number one.

MATTHEWS: But we`re there. We`re getting there.


MATTHEWS: You think he`s going to meet that deadline of Saturday?



MATTHEWS: Why won`t he do it? Is it leverage? You know what the politics is. Does he get more leverage by...


RENDELL: I think he does by going on, because Joy is right about California.

But he also has leverage, because there`s that 10 percent of Sanders voters, maybe 15 percent, who aren`t there yet. And if this race tightens up, and I believe it will -- if this race tightens up, we`re going to need them. And Bernie has got the leverage.

But Bernie, I think, has a great incentive to concede before the convention, so he can make a prime-time speech. If he doesn`t concede before the convention, and the two candidates don`t get a chance to speak, we vote on Wednesday night, and only the winner speaks on Thursday.

So, if he want a prime-time speech, he`s got to concede before the convention. And that`s the time that`s really important. He`s got to tell his delegates, look, we fought hard. We lost fair and square. And I want you to be respectful to Secretary Clinton. And I want you to support her.


REID: If I could say, Chris, I think, in a lot of ways, Bernie Sanders has already gotten tremendous concessions.

In a lot of ways, you could say he`s gotten the fundamental things that he wanted. The Democratic Party is significantly to the left of where it was when Hillary Clinton first started running for president or when she first started thinking about it I think in 2008.

And he`s moved her and the party to the left on things like trade. He got her to abandon TPP. You can`t imagine Democrats now being for building that Keystone pipeline. Democrats are talking about income inequality in a way that is much more like Bernie Sanders.

Now, you could argue that Elizabeth Warren had a great deal to do that too, as well as Occupy. But Bernie Sanders is going to get a tremendous amount of the credit for having moved the party.

I think just as a tactical matter, you should be -- he should be -- he has been defeated. I don`t think there`s any question that it was a decisive victory for Hillary Clinton. But he should take some credit for what he has achieved, and not look like at this point he`s fighting personal battles with people like Debbie Wasserman Schultz. I think it diminishes what he accomplished.

RENDELL: Declare victory.

MATTHEWS: Well, I just want to say on this, like -- my view is that the Clintons, part of their economic success for the `90s was free trade or trade agreements.

And I think Hillary Clinton is a trader, maybe not a total free trader, but she`s much more on the side of the importance of trade as part of being part of the international economic community than Bernie Sanders is or maybe the platform. She may sign on the dotted line, but I think she`s for trade. I think she`s very smart about economics.

Anyway, thank you, Joy Reid. And thank you, Governor Rendell.

Up next, filibuster. Democrats demanding action on gun safety reforms take to the floor of the U.S. Capitol. Now, how do they turn this talk into action?

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: I shutter to think what it`s going to be like for Senator Nelson four years from now to talk to the parents of those that were killed this weekend in Orlando and tell them that, four years after Orlando, eight years after Newtown, Congress has been utterly silent.



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

Florida authorities say they have recovered the body of the 2-year-old boy who was dragged into a lagoon by an alligator near Disney World`s Grand Floridian resort. The child was snatched about 9:15 p.m. last night.

And Egyptian officials say the wreckage EgyptAir Flight 804 has been located in the Mediterranean Sea. The plane disappeared from radar last month on its way from Paris to Cairo with 66 people on board -- back to HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

We continue to follow developments in the investigation into the Orlando shooting massacre.

NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams is here with us.

Pete, thank you.

Let`s talk, if you can, on the latest on the wife of the shooter. What do we know about what action she took prior to what happened?

PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Well, it`s what she did and what she didn`t do that`s of interest to the FBI.

What they say she did is that she went with Omar Mateen when he bought some ammunition in a holster and that she drove him at one point to look at the Pulse nightclub. She`s told the FBI that she did so knowing full well that he was sort of casing the place.

But she says she drove him there because she wanted the opportunity to try to talk him out of doing anything. And then -- that was several days before the shooting. And then on the night of the shooting -- this is Saturday night leading into early Sunday morning -- they were in their apartment, and he said, I`m going to Orlando.

And according to what she has told the FBI, according to the folks we have talked to, she said, where are you going? He said, I`m going to visit friends, and left. And she before he left, well -- don`t, please don`t go up there and kill people at the nightclub. He left.

And then she feared -- even though he said he was going to go visit friends, she feared that in fact he was going up there to carry out that shooting at the nightclub, and she never warned anyone. She didn`t call the police. She didn`t call the club. She didn`t do anything.

MATTHEWS: Well, not to prosecute the case on air, but it seems to me the stuff we know she did, it can be established, I guess, that she traveled to the nightclub to case it, if you will. We know that she was with him when he bought the ammo. That could possibly be established.

But there`s no way to impeach her claim that she tried to talk him out of it.

WILLIAMS: That`s right.

And the ammunition, you could argue, she didn`t know what he was doing it for. But the casing part, at least by her own testimony, from what we understand, that`s troubling for her legally. But you put it all together, and it does seem like there could be case.

Now, the federal authorities insist that no charges have been filed, that they`re not imminent. And one reason for that, Chris, is that she`s a valuable witness to them. She was with Omar Mateen more than anyone elections in the time leading up to the shooting. So, they don`t want to shut her down as a witness. And if they bring charges and put her in handcuffs, then she`s likely going to stop talking to them.

So, they want to play this out as long as they can.

MATTHEWS: Great having you on. Pete Williams, thank you for -- NBC`s justice correspondent.

Joining me now to -- let`s go to the Congress right now, where Democrats launched a talking filibuster on the Senate floor today over gun control.

Let`s watch a bit of it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just can`t go on with business as usual.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve had enough of an inaction in Connecticut.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this individual could have been stopped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Moments of silence and expressions of sympathy are just not enough.


MATTHEWS: Well, the party is going for a no-fly, no-buy law, which would make it harder for terror suspects to purchase guns. And you may recall, last night, we showed you a video of Congressman Clyburn, Jim Clyburn, on the House floor, on Monday night, or Monday, asking Speaker Paul Ryan to allow a point of order on the issue of gun control.

Well, shortly after that request was denied, the floor erupted as several Democratic lawmakers chanted, "Where`s the bill?"

So, can Democrats get their colleagues across the aisle, the Republicans, to finally vote on gun legislation?

Joining me right now is U.S. Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina and U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch of Florida.

Congressman Clyburn, what made it -- what was going on in that Monday fight, and what does it tell you about the reaction you got when you raised the point of order?

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, thank you so much for having me, Chris.

Well, the fact of the matter is that, you know, Friday the 17th will be the anniversary of the Mother Emanuel massacre. One year ago, that took place.

At the time, we found out that that young man was not eligible to own a firearm or to purchase one. And the fact of the matter is, he did purchase a firearm, but because of a loophole in the law that says your background check must be completed within three days, and, if not, you can purchase the firearm.

Well, somebody keyed in some bad information. He may have given them bad information. But whatever it was, they did not detect that a problem had occurred until after the three-day period had expired.

We moved in that time to choke -- close that loophole and to say that you cannot purchase a firearm until the background check is completed. And the speaker, Republicans would not allow that legislation to come to the floor.

We`ve had legislation by Mark -- Mike Thompson, bipartisan, with Peter King, to say, if you don`t -- no-fly, no-buy. If you`re on the no-fly list, you ought not be able to buy a firearm. They would not let come to the desk. And you know this gentleman in Orlando was, at one time, on that list.

But when they closed the list or closed these investigations, he was ineligible to buy a firearm.


CLYBURN: Chris, I was arrested in 1961 for sitting in. That record is still there, and I`m asked about it every now and then.

And so, if from 1961 to now sitting in at a lunch counter can give you a record that`s always there, why is it that this gentleman had his file closed and now eligible to get a firearm? And look what has occurred.

This legislation, these three pieces of bills ought to be coming to the floor and ought to come forthwith.

MATTHEWS: By the way, congratulations on that arrest. I think that`s a mark of honor. Of course, I know you -- that`s why you brought it up, I know. But you should bring it up a lot.

Let me -- Congressman Deutch...


MATTHEWS: ... here`s the problem that I understand it. The Republicans say they don`t want a no-fly, no-buy law because they, for some reason, say you have to have a judge act in the case, in each separate case, just like, you know, asking for a search warrant.

But the problem with that is a search warrant is issued when you think the guy has done something wrong.

In this case, you`d have to stop him from buying the gun after you think he`s done something wrong, which would be too late. He already bought the gun. That`s why you think he`s up to something.

It -- the Republican plan makes no sense if you want to stop terrorism.

REP. TED DEUTCH (D), FLORIDA: Here`s why they`re not going to get away with this, this time.

MATTHEWS: The Republicans?

DEUTCH: The Republicans. We had the worst mass shooting in the nation`s history and the worst terror attack since 9/11, 49 people slaughtered.


DEUTCH: And there is no way that anyone can say with a straight face that, if you are a suspected terrorist, that you should be able to go in and buy an AR-15.

MATTHEWS: But what are they doing on the House floor? They`re fighting.

Congressman Clyburn, the leader there, why are they fighting him?

DEUTCH: Well, they`re...

MATTHEWS: They`re fighting you -- all you guys.

Why are they getting away with it?

DEUTCH: Because...

MATTHEWS: You say they won`t get away with it.

DEUTCH: Yes. Right.


DEUTCH: Right. And the reason that they`re fighting it, they`re taking -- they`re taking an extremist position. It`s the extremist position of the NRA.

MATTHEWS: I know, slippery slope.

DEUTCH: That`s -- that`s...

MATTHEWS: Do anything, and we`re having a roundup.

DEUTCH: This -- but the -- the position that we`re hearing from the NRA, the position that we`re hearing from Speaker Ryan is just so out of touch with the American public.

There is no -- right now, there is no way for federal law enforcement to prevent someone on the terror watch list from buying an assault rifle. That`s why my colleagues in the Senate are -- are in the middle of this filibuster. I stopped by to see Senator Murphy. They`re going to keep going. And that`s why we`re...


MATTHEWS: So a guy in a gun shop, when a guy comes in, walks in the door, has his money, I want to buy that -- that gun.


MATTHEWS: There`s no way that guy behind the counter will know whether that person is on the watch list.

DEUTCH: So they`re going to do...

MATTHEWS: Is that right?

DEUTCH: When they do -- when they do a background check, if it flags the terror watch list, the FBI will get notice, and there is nothing they can do to prevent the sale. I confirmed that with Director Comey.


What -- Congressman Clyburn, when are we going to know who won this fight?

CLYBURN: Well, we won`t know that maybe until November.


CLYBURN: Because I don`t believe that they have enough gumption, as we would say down South, to bring this legislation to the floor. If it comes to the floor, either one of these three bills, the hate crimes bill, the no-fly, no-buy bill, closing the loophole, any one of those three, I believe, will pass the House if it were to come to the floor.

The speaker won`t bring them to the floor.

And so we may have to...


CLYBURN: ... wait until November, when there`s a new Congress to get this done.

MATTHEWS: Yes, well, the speaker is obviously protecting his Republican members from having one of these votes, because they don`t want them voting either way, either to offend the NRA or not to be -- to be chased by you guys.

Anyway, thank you, Congressman Jim Clyburn.

CLYBURN: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: And Congressman Jim -- Deutch, thanks for coming on.

DEUTCH: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Up next, two against one. Donald Trump faces a two-pronged attack from the president and Hillary Clinton now. Can he withstand their dueling criticism and come out ahead?

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`ve seen our government mistreat our fellow citizens, and it`s been a shameful part of our history. This is a country founded on basic freedoms, including freedom of religion. We don`t have religious tests here. Our founders, our Constitution, our Bill of Rights are clear about that.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Well, that was a heated President Obama condemning Donald Trump`s anti-Muslim rhetoric just yesterday -- an unprecedented rebuttal by a sitting U.S. president who`s become one of Hillary Clinton`s most potent surrogates, if you will. The two are proving, by the way, quite a power one-two punch.

For more on this power couple, I`m joined by the HARDBALL round table tonight. John Harris, editor in chief at "Politico", Kristen Welker, NBC`s White House correspondent, and Ron Fournier, author of "Love That Boy". We`re going to get to your book in the next segment.

The president, I`ve never seen him having that kind of ringing voice, that sense of comfort in the pauses. That`s when you know someone is on top of the fight, that they can stop and move on to the next point. That shows character and political position.

Is he smart to go into the trenches against an active political adversary? Does he risk something in terms of prestige?

JOHN HARRIS, POLITICO: There`s a risk but I think he didn`t really go into a political trenches. He didn`t do what say Marco Rubio did during the nominating contest, which is to say, the way to take on Trump is by matching him insult for insult. You put yourself in a different level.

And I think what he and Secretary Clinton are trying to do is say, well, this is no longer a partisan matter. It`s more of a historical matter. Which side are you on in `64 on civil rights? Which side are you on in `53 on McCarthy or Ford on the isolation (INAUDIBLE)? Frame it that way. Your grandchildren will be curious about where you stand.

MATTHEWS: Well-said. In other words, as long as he maintains his stature, he can slug it out with guy. He can`t get into the mud throwing.

KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS: That`s right. That`s the same challenge the Clinton campaign has faced. I`ve been talking to them about their strategy for taking on Donald Trump for months and they say that`s the challenge, to walk a fine line without getting into the mud.

Remember, though, President Obama has been itching to get into the fight with Donald Trump.

MATTHEWS: Preventions.

WELKER: This is about protecting his legacy and, of course, it`s personal. The birther issue, which for Donald Trump, and also more recently, he suggested that he was in some ways responsible for or implicit in this latest terrorist attacks, so you could see the Donald Trump had gotten under his skin. This was a powerful, coordinated attack from President Obama and Secretary and I think it`s a preview of things to come.

And remember, they were supposed to be campaigning today in Wisconsin. That got cancelled, but it was like they were out on the campaign trail together yesterday.

MATTHEWS: Ron, risks and benefits of a president getting into the political trenches.

RON FOURNIER, NATIONAL JOURNAL: Donald Trump called him traitor. He called the commander in chief a traitor. He said that only white men can judge me. Mexican men can`t judge me.

Donald Trump`s last couple of weeks, I think we look back on these last couple of weeks, I can`t predict the future, but it sure looks to me like he`s lost the presidency.

MATTHEWS: What do you think is going on? Is it like the rock star -- I`ve never been one. They said the movie "Jersey Boys". You used to tell me how you behave after you sold 100 million records. Is it that Trump is up here and he can`t handle the attitude?

FOURNIER: Trump has always been -- he`s always been the most insecure man I`ve ever met in politics, which is saying something. He`s insecure.

MATTHEWS: How do you know?

FOURNIER: I`ve never met anybody who is so thin skinned and his self-worth over how much money he has, his poll ratings and TV ratings. What`s happening the last few weeks, all three are coming down. Even his financial advantage is being hurt by the bad branding he`s got here.

So, I`m really interested to see what`s happened when a guy is so tied up on those three things, when those start coming down, when his ratings coming down, when he realizes that 70 percent of the public can`t stand him.

MATTHEWS: Harry Truman has a quote here. If you can`t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

FOURNIER: He can`t stand the heat. He can`t stand the heat.

WELKER: To that point, Chris, I`ve been talking to a lot of top Republican officials and there`s a debate right now about what`s going on. Is he intentionally throwing this race or is he not aware of the fact that he`s in a general election match up?

What`s also interesting, though, is a lot of these top Republicans trying to reach out to his campaign. They`re not calling back. They`ve almost gone insular, and that`s making Republicans even more nervous. They`re shutting themselves off to key criticism that could help him turn this around.

MATTHEWS: Why is he doing this sort of Groucho Marx number, fighting the man in the house for a dollar, I don`t need anybody with me, I don`t need any allies. It`s just me against the world. Why would he want to start talking like that at the time he needs to bring senators and governors, there`s a lot of heavyweight governors in the Republican Party he could be bringing in.

HARRIS: He`s looking at the history of the past year where probably at this very table would have been a dozen time, maybe two dozen times. This time, too far. This time, too far. He says, play the tape.


HARRIS: I think that`s what Ron says is true. And I think he also says, like at some point, look at the results, I`m the Republican nominee.

Ron, did you predict it?


HARRIS: Chris, did you predict it?

MATTHEWS: That`s what the generals in World War II got wrong about in (INAUDIBLE), because Hitler had been right a couple of times. Different story, of course.

But the trouble with judging people by their media track record, it`s not reliable. Sometimes you can be right a couple of times and wrong 20 times.

HARRIS: All trends continue until they stop.

MATTHEWS: Until they stop.

FOURNIER: The electorate changed. As Chuck Todd says, we have a new jury now. It`s no longer just 30 percent of the public. Now it`s the whole country who is looking at a guy who`s melting down in front of them.

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about that because I said earlier in the show that he got 13 million votes in the primaries. That`s a lot of votes. But he needs 65 to win a general. That`s a whole new group of moderates and some liberals and a lot of center right people, center right suburbanites.

WELKER: And right now, you have more than 60 percent of women saying they`re not going to support him. I mean, that`s devastating and his unfavorable ratings at 70 percent. These numbers are disconcerting if you`re inside the Trump campaign. He came out today with a very fiery speech taking on Secretary Clinton, taking on President Obama, but he`s not turning the narrative around.

MATTHEWS: Last question, Ron, why is Hillary Clinton still going up in the negative. She`s up to their highest negative. So, 55 unfavorable, despite having a good speech last week and being on her game, she`s still going up in the negative category.

FOURNIER: Because what we talk about, we`ve been talking about the last year. Trust does matter. She doesn`t think credibility matters. They thought they could just plow through this e-mail scandal and they wouldn`t have a problem with their credibility. Once people don`t trust you, it`s hard to get them back and that`s why her numbers are going to be pretty --


FOURNIER: Her advantage is, he`s so much more unpopular.

MATTHEWS: Do you think she gets indicted?

FOURNIER: I have no idea.



WELKER: At this point, all signs, according to the people we`ve been talking to, point to no. She still hasn`t been contacted by the FBI.

MATTHEWS: That`s just a hell -- that`s news. It still hasn`t happened. You think if she was a subject of interest, she`d be a subject of investigation.

Anyway, thank you. That`s what I hear there`s nothing happening. Anyway, you -- I agree with you. Not happening.

Round table is staying with us.

And up next, these three will tell me something I don`t know.


MATTHEWS: We`ve got new numbers on how Donald Trump would fare against Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin. Let`s check the HARDBALL scoreboard.

According to the Marquette Law School poll, Clinton has a nine-point advantage there. It`s Clinton 46 in Wisconsin, Trump 37.

Meanwhile, in his bid to recapture his Senate seat in Wisconsin, Democratic candidate Russ Feingold holds a similar nine-point edge over incumbent Republican Senator Ron Johnson. It`s Feingold 51, Johnson down at 42. And we`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: We`re back with HARDBALL roundtable.

John Harris, tell me something I don`t know.

HARRIS: Big debate in Republican circles this week because of Trump`s meltdown. It goes over the polls that you showed you. Some people like seeing Trump do poorly because they think the sooner we get the guy off the stage, the better. But others are looking at those swing states, nine swing states, presidential swing states, also have competitive Senate races and a lot of Republican strategists are worried about Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire, a blowout.

MATTHEWS: Kristen?

WELKER: I was at the meeting with Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders last night. One of Sanders` top officials told me --

MATTHEWS: You were around the meeting.

WELKER: I was around the meeting. Yes, very important clarification. I wish I was in the meeting. And one of its top officials told me that going into that meeting, he was insistent. He`s going to stay into the race. Do the convention. Of course, we`ll have to see if last night changed his mind but tomorrow --

MATTHEWS: Ed Rendell was on and he said, you`ll have to forfeit the speech if you stick it out.

WELKER: Right, and that`s the critical question. He`s huddling with his advisers. And tomorrow, he has an online event with his supporters dubbed "The Revolution Continues".

FOURNIER: Interesting.

MATTHEWS: Ron Fournier, your book?

FOURNIER: Self-serving one. Father`s Day is this Sunday. I`ve got a book called "Love That Boy". I think you guys would not be surprised to know that both Bush and Clinton, and Obama were very good parents. When you read the book, I think you`ll be surprised to see what especially Bush and Clinton taught me about being a better father.

MATTHEWS: Really? Bush and Clinton?

FOURNIER: Yes. They met with my young son, who was autistic, and how they dealt with my boy and how they dealt with him better than I`ve been dealing with him was really revealing.

MATTHEWS: Don`t you all thought at your friends differently when they pay attention to your kids.

FOURNIER: Yes, that`s exactly what happens.

Reminding me -- and this is something you talk about all the time, the decency of our public service. Don`t forget that the men and women get in the business for something other than winning elections.

MATTHEWS: Go read the book.

Ron Fournier, with your writing ability and charm and personality and character, I`m sure it`s one of the best.

FOURNIER: Well, that is so sweet of you. Thank you so much.

MATTHEWS: That`s true.

Anyway, John Harris, thank you, editor in chief, what a title, Christine Welker, White House correspondent, Ron Fournier, author.

When we return, let me finish with the suggestion that Donald Trump -- actually, I have a positive suggestion for this guy. He`s on the ropes. I`ve got a suggestion -- change the subject!

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this week`s reversal of fortune, I`m talking about the big lead that Hillary Clinton suddenly holds in the national polls, a lead that is matched in all those states that had been seen up until now as up for grabs this November. What`s all this mean?

That Trump is doing something very wrong -- his attack on the judge, his call for an enlarged travel ban on Muslims, his failure to exploit the negative inspector general`s report on the Clinton`s handling of e-mail, his failure to counter her speech attacking him on foreign policy, all constitutes a failure to stay in the game. He`s hitting on the wrong places, failing to strike in the right ones.

Politically, Trump`s clearly in a slump and for good reason. He`s not doing the job of a Republican presidential nominee. He`s not uniting his party. He`s dividing it, leaving himself alone to confront the enemy.

Many would say the country is better off because of Trump`s drifting off and that said, I fore one would like to hear more of a Trump message that elevates the American political debate, about the need to rebuild this country, the cities, the subways, the railways, the bridges and, water and sewer systems. And not just what was built in the 20th or even 19th century, but what we need to do to catch up with the rest of the world.

I want to hear a Republican presidential candidate and a builder speak up about truly making America greater. And that means replacing the smell of decay with the smell of construction. Nearly every problem we face -- unemployment, underemployment, lack of jobs for our young people, lack of real economic growth, the hallowing out of our manufacturing base, our cities, our middle calls, all it have would be overcome if we`d just start building.

The rest of the world is. Why can`t we? Why can`t Trump?

Trump should get off the ethnic stuff that`s killing him and talk about the stuff that would really make this country not great again, but greater.

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.