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Hardball With Chris Matthews, Transcript, 6/30/2016

Guests: Richard Trumka, Peter Navarro, Jamal Simmons, Laura Bassett, David Catanese, Kellyanne Conway, David Weigel, Gregory Angelo, Blake Dremann

Show: HARDBALL Date: June 30, 2016 Guest: Richard Trumka, Peter Navarro, Jamal Simmons, Laura Bassett, David Catanese, Kellyanne Conway, David Weigel, Gregory Angelo, Blake Dremann

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: It`s an angry country, but who does it trust?

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Well, the faces are angry out there. You ask people what they think of the way the country`s going, you ask them what they think of politicians, of the Congress, and you get answered with a snarl.

You look at Trump, the guy out there challenging the system, and all you see are the people hitting back at him, big business, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and now organized labor, too.

The big question is jobs, why we`re losing the good ones, the jobs that let a father raise a family, get his kids into school, get a decent, even if a short one, a vacation come summer. Trump says we`re getting hammered by China and everyone else because of stinking trade deals, because we`ve got weaker, stupid or whatever people making them.

He promises to change all this, to start kicking some butt and start shoving back. Let`s watch him.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: America`s lost nearly one third of its manufacturing jobs since 1997. This is America we`re talking about -- since 1997 -- driven by these two. Hillary Clinton understood and backed and Bill Clinton certainly as the president initiatives. They are a disaster.

And now they want to go into TPP, Trans Pacific Partnership. That will make NAFTA, in my opinion, look like a baby. Now, we don`t play the game the way they play the game. They play the game to win. We play the game in this country to survive. We`re going to start playing the game to win.


MATTHEWS: Well, the two most pressing concerns for many Americans right now are terror, of course, and the economy. Donald Trump says he has answers to both. He`s going to renegotiate trade deals and get tough with China and he`s going to take the gloves off against ISIS. He says the country`s falling apart, that we have even worse to fear from Hillary Clinton.


TRUMP: The Trans Pacific Partnership is another disaster, done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country, just the continuing rape of our country.

Hillary Clinton unleashed a trade war against the American worker when she supported one terrible deal after another.

And you will be hurt worse than ever before if she becomes president.

ISIS was created during the Hillary Clinton regime. If she gets in, it`ll be massive and we wouldn`t even have a country anymore. We`re going to be afraid to walk outside.

They`re letting tens of thousands of people come in from Syria, and nobody knows who these people are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, but we went through that already.

TRUMP: And a lot of those people are ISIS.


MATTHEWS: NBC`s Hallie Jackson`s up in Manchester, New Hampshire, tonight. Hallie, this message -- is Trump back on beam, back on some sort of message that`s consistent economic nationalism? Is he back on that?

HALLIE JACKSON, NBC CORRESPONDENT: You know, I think he is, Chris, when you look at where he has been in his speeches and his remarks all week long about this, starting at the beginning of the week when he went to Pennsylvania, Western P.A., and delivered that forceful trade speech in which he outlined his trade policies, in many respects a split from some from in his party when it comes to, for example, TPP and NAFTA, he`s got into that war of words with the Chamber of Commerce.

He kept up at it again in Maine, listing sort of the action steps he wants to take if he were to become president. And we heard it again from him here today here in Manchester, focusing on trade, focusing on the economy, and really taking swipes at Hillary Clinton.

He at one point, Chris, said that it was him -- he took credit for Hillary Clinton`s reversal when it came to TPP, saying that she heard a speech of his and then changed her mind after that. I think the Clinton team would push back on that. Clinton herself has said that learning more about the trade agreement is what caused her role reversal or here shift in position.

But this is something that Trump has been hitting hard every single day this week, just about. He`s even said there`s nothing closer to his heart than trade right now.

MATTHEWS: So no more craziness this week? Can you say that? He isn`t talking about Mexican...

JACKSON: Well, no. No. I...


MATTHEWS: ... Mexican judge?

JACKSON: That wasn`t your question. The question was, has he kept up his focus on trade and the economy, which he has.

But then look at some of the other comments he`s made. So number one, even here just in Manchester, he made a joke that kind of raised some eyebrows. A plane flew overhead and he said, Oh, it`s a Mexican plane, they`re coming to attack us. He was clearly kidding, but it was still a moment that raised a few eyebrows here, at least.

And then he talks about Elizabeth Warren repeatedly, again and again. He has doubled down on his attacks against her for claims she exaggerated her native American heritage, including just this morning, when he told an interviewer that he believes -- and he was again joking here -- but saying that he has more native American blood than Elizabeth Warren does.

So he hasn`t totally backed away from some of his most controversial comments, and that`s why you`re seeing some concern still in the GOP from people like Mike Lee, from people like Mitt Romney.

MATTHEWS: Wow. Anyway, thank you, Hallie Jackson.

Donald Trump talks tough on trade importantly there and outsourcing jobs, talks about that all the time. But "The New York Times" reports, quote, "Such declarations are at odds with Mr. Trump`s long history as a businessman, in which he has been heavily and proudly reliant on foreign labor in the name of putting profits, rather than America, first. From cheap neckties to television sets, Mr. Trump has benefited from some of the trade practices he now scorns."

Well, the AFL-CIO has a new video pounding Trump on exactly that theme.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are the shirts made? Bangladesh. (INAUDIBLE) good.

TRUMP: I`m going to instruct the U.S. trade representative to bring trade cases against China!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ties? Where are the ties made? These are beautiful ties.

TRUMP: They are great ties.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ties are made in where, China? Ties are made in China.

TRUMP: In, in, in the United States!


MATTHEWS: Richard Trumka, of course, is president of the AFL-CIO, joins us. So that`s a pretty snappy ad there.

So let`s talk about this. You guys are -- you don`t like TPP. Hillary now doesn`t like it. Bernie Sanders doesn`t like it. Trump doesn`t like it.

Distinguish your opposition. You guys are tough on trade. I mean, I`ve worked with labor Democrats all my life, and I know the attitude about the Kennedy round ever since then. It`s been, This trade stuff is screwing us, right?



TRUMKA: There`s a reason for that. We`ve lost jobs. We`ve lost ground with every trade agreement...

MATTHEWS: So trump`s right.


TRUMKA: -- he`s right on that, but he`s a fraud.

MATTHEWS: OK, talk about it.

TRUMKA: Well, Trump was the chief cheerleader and beneficiary of the trade policies until he discovered that out in the hinterlands of Pennsylvania and Ohio, this is a powerful, powerful issue.

So then he flips over and now he is against trade. He`s got the right position right now, but nobody believes him because look what he does. I mean, you saw those products, shirts made in Bangladesh, ties made in China, television sets made overseas.

And then he has -- he taught a course at his university, defunct university, and said outsourcing is great, outsourcing creates jobs.

So he will say or do anything that needs to be said or done to help himself.

MATTHEWS: Let`s look at this. In the latest NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll, the one we use here, Donald Trump had a big lead among white voters without a college degree. He best Clinton among that group 54 to 31 percent.

And how`s Trump doing among union workers? Dennis Williams (ph), the president of the United Auto Workers, told me in May that an internal poll of his members showed Trump getting 28 percent support from the rank and file there. That`s not a huge number.

What do you -- what do you think it is?

TRUMKA: Well...

MATTHEWS: Trump -- among you guys, a big -- a huge international union and all the internationals -- - you`re laughing, but what is Trump doing, a third, a quarter?

TRUMKA: It would be less than that. He`s absolutely tapped into the frustration and anger that`s out there. And it`s justifiable frustration and anger. But he`s a fraud because he says one thing...

MATTHEWS: Well, how about Hillary?

TRUMKA: ... and benefits...


MATTHEWS: Look, Hillary is a great candidate, of course, in many respects, but on the trade issue -- a year ago -- I mean, Bill Clinton -- I saw him over in Japan supporting the TPP. Hillary Clinton -- we got the -- look at this! There he goes!

Earlier this week, the Republican National Committee blasted out this 2012 video of Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, praising the TPP, a deal she now says she`s against. But watch her in Australia. Here she is.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements, to open, free, transparent fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field.


MATTHEWS: Gold standard. Now it`s not the gold standard. What happened? You trust her?

TRUMKA: We said the same thing. We said the same thing about TPP. We hope it sets the gold standard...


MATTHEWS: ... is the gold standard.

TRUMKA: We hope TPP or TTIP does the same thing. But when you look at the details, when they come back, it wasn`t a gold standard. It was more like a lead standard that would sink every one of us. And so she did the right thing. She said this agreement...

MATTHEWS: You think she didn`t change her mind.

TRUMKA: Well, of course she did. But here`s the smart thing. You have a trade agreement that doesn`t work. It`s going to hurt people. It`s going to lose jobs. So what she said is, This doesn`t work. Trump was a cheerleader for that same trade. You`re not accusing him of changing his position.

MATTHEWS: OK. I -- I -- I`m trying to think out this Democratic ticket, you know, and Kaine`s had some bad press the last few hours. He may get by it. He may well get by it.

But I`m looking at Sherrod Brown, and I think he`s a perfect running mate (INAUDIBLE) I`ve been saying it for a year, Ohio, has kind of a tough guy atmosphere about him, he`s an Ivy Leaguer but he doesn`t play it up too big, luckily for him. He seems like a regular labor guy. He`s one of your guys.

TRUMKA: He`s a great guy.

MATTHEWS: Isn`t he a great running mate?

TRUMKA: He`s a champion of working people and...

MATTHEWS: Wouldn`t he be a great running mate for Hillary?

TRUMKA: A great running mate.


TRUMKA: There`s one down side to it. If he left, you have a Republican governor that would...

MATTHEWS: You got to think big.

TRUMKA: ... replace him with a Republican.

MATTHEWS: Richard Trumka, you got to this big here. You got to go for the mandate. You got to go for the mandate, not squeak it out one vote at a time. Anyway, I agree with you about that, but I think he would make a great ticket.

TRUMKA: So do I.

MATTHEWS: And I think Hillary needs a great ticket, not just her. You got to put that thing together.


MATTHEWS: ... like Biden. Wasn`t Biden great? Think about it. he is. It`s chilling (ph) how good he`s been as a VP. And a totally loyal guy. Anyway -- a lot of people would like to see him as president. Anyway, Richard Trumka, thank you.

TRUMKA: Thanks for having me, Chris.

MATTHEWS: You get me in a good mood when you come on the show. I like this labor feel around here.

President Obama has been making it clear he`s not going to let Donald Trump claim the mantle of populist champion without a fight. Let`s watch.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Somebody else who has never shown any regard for workers, in fact, has worked against economic opportunity for workers and ordinary people. They don`t suddenly become a populist because they say something controversial in order to win votes. That`s nativism, or xenophobia.

Mr. Trump embodies (INAUDIBLE) elites (ph) and has taken full advantage of it his entire life, and so he`s hardly a spokesperson for -- a legitimate spokesperson for a populist surge from working class people on either side of the Atlantic.


MATTHEWS: Well, Peter Navarro is a professor at the University of California Irvine and an economics adviser to Donald Trump. Let me ask you about this, Professor. When did -- when did Donald Trump become a trade -- an anti-trade warrior? When did he decide that we got to fight these trade deals? Do you know?


PETER NAVARRO, TRUMP ECONOMICS ADVISER: Go back to the clip on "Oprah." It`s a classic. And Chris, you (INAUDIBLE) to be having, like, a flashback here with -- it`s a page right out of your book, tipping the Gipper. I mean, you remember early `80s, we cut this trade deal with Japan, and all they did was cheat on it. And the next thing you know, Tip and the Democratic Congress is pushing on Reagan, pushing, Let`s have some tariffs.

And you know what? Reagan imposed tariffs on Japan. He was a free trader like Trump is, but Reagan also understood that fair trade was more important, and we got a good result there. And that`s -- that`s where -- where Donald Trump is, and I`ll tell you what...

MATTHEWS: Yes, Reagan also got 2 million bucks...

NAVARRO: He`s going to run the table...

MATTHEWS: ... the minute he left office from the Japanese.

NAVARRO: He is going to run the...

MATTHEWS: Remember that? $2 million in speaking fees for one trip right after coming out of office.

NAVARRO: Donald Trump -- Donald Trump is going to run the table with organized labor and with non-union labor. Think about this. AFL-CIO...

MATTHEWS: How about in his private business? Has he been...


MATTHEWS: Has he been consistent?

NAVARRO: AFL-CIO opposed the World Trade Organization entry. AFL-CIO opposed the South Korea trade deal. Hillary Clinton supported all those. Her husband signed China in. And that`s why there`s this disconnect.

I have the greatest admiration for Richard Trumka, Chris, but his rank and file -- they`re going to go in droves. It`s going to be Reagan Democrats all over again. It`s going to be over half of organized labor voting for Donald Trump because they understand this billionaire...


NAVARRO: ... has their interests at heart.

MATTHEWS: So every time somebody wants the working guy to vote for him, they drop their "Gs," is that how we do it? They`re not going to be votin` for him, not voting for him? I mean, you`re a professor!


NAVARRO: We can go to Cleveland or New Jersey or New York, and we all speak funny, Chris. You know, it`s not the king`s English...


MATTHEWS: I don`t have a Trump here, but I have a Trumka here, Mr. Trumka. Do you want to respond to this? This guy basically says he agrees with you on trade policy but he doesn`t agree with your candidate.

TRUMKA: You know, if you actually believe that our members are going to vote in overwhelming numbers for Trump, I have a U.S.-made Trump tie that I`ll sell you cheap.

NAVARRO: Hey, I`ll take that, Richard! I mean, here`s the thing, Richard. I understand your decision was tough. I have the greatest regard for Leo Girardi (ph) of the Steelworkers. You guys had a choice to make. But Donald Trump has a platform that you guys are dreaming about. He is taking every step...

TRUMKA: He`s a fraud.

NAVARRO: ... that the AFL-CIO has ever recommended...

TRUMKA: He`s a fraud.

NAVARRO: ... the president to take. And you are -- well, that may be, but we`re going to find out. And your workers...



NAVARRO: Your workers don`t believe he`s a fraud.

MATTHEWS: It may be that your guy...


MATTHEWS: I`m trying to follow your thinking here, sir.


NAVARRO: Donald Trump`s a guy that`s going to actually follow through. He`s not beholden to special interests, like Hillary Clinton. He is...

TRUMKA: Oh, I`m sure he`s going to follow through.


MATTHEWS: I don`t want to take (ph) you, Professor, but if you were one of my students, I`d say you just said it may be that he`s a fraud. What do you mean?


MATTHEWS: You just said it may be that Trump`s a fraud. What did you mean by that?

NAVARRO: I`m just saying -- well, here`s what I mean. Trumka says he`s a fraud. I said, Well, we`re going to find out. My view is, your workers don`t think he`s a fraud. I don`t think he`s a fraud, which is why I`m supporting him. And here`s the thing. He`s different from any politician that we`ve ever had running for president in the last 50 years. He can fund his own campaign. He`s not beholden to...


MATTHEWS: Let me ask you...

NAVARRO: ... the multi-national corporations that Richard Trumka always criticizes.

MATTHEWS: Let`s get back to...


NAVARRO: ... Boeing takes away.

MATTHEWS: I know -- let me ask you this. How`s the market doing now? We`ve got numbers that look OK. The market`s about where it`s been. It hasn`t jumped too much because of Brexit. We got a 4.7 percent unemployment rate, technically. What do you think in this country right now? What grade would you give us right now economically? How`re we doing?


TRUMKA: ... where you`re at. If you are in Donald Trump`s shoes, you are getting A-plus. The economy`s great for him. If you`re a worker, those he`s trying to woo and trying to give these fraudulent products to, you get about C or C-minus. We have flat wages for over four decades. He thinks our wages are too high.


TRUMKA: He says he wants...

NAVARRO: Richard...


NAVARRO: Richard Trumka right now -- Richard Trumka right now is giving Donald Trump`s speech. If you look at the speech today in New Hampshire...

MATTHEWS: Oh, I know.

NAVARRO: ... that`s exactly what Donald Trump said.


NAVARRO: ... no growth in wages, no growth in the economy and we got people sitting on the sideline, 20 million people want a job at a decent wage. Donald Trump is the guy who`s going to bring prosperity and wealth back to America...

MATTHEWS: I`ve learned one thing...

NAVARRO: ... by cracking down on the trade cheaters. What more could the AFL-CIO ask for, really?


NAVARRO: It`s really right in the center...


NAVARRO: ... of what the workers in this country need.

MATTHEWS: You know, it`s interesting, gentlemen, no one`s defending the way things are in this country. That`s probably a healthy situation. Both candidates are promising...

NAVARRO: It`s a terrible situation, Chris!

MATTHEWS: ... to make some changes.


MATTHEWS: Professor Peter Navarro, thank you, sir, for joining us from out west. And thank you, Richard, Trumka, old friend.

Coming up, new polling shows Trump losing ground among some Republicans, not (ph) all Republicans. He`s picking fights with his former rivals, the guys that ran against him. And now Senator Mike Lee of Utah, a close ally of Ted Cruz, is going off on an epic attack against his party`s pick for president. That would be Donald Trump. With the Republican convention less than three weeks away, can Trump reunite his fractured party? Doesn`t look like it.

Plus, some big developments as Clinton and Trump look for running mates. For the Democrats, does Tim Kaine`s disclosure he accepted gifts make him too much of a liability for Secretary Clinton?

For the Republicans, could Trump be zeroing in on -- here it comes -- Chris Christie? Can he cross that bridge? Lots of news on that front ahead in this show tonight.

And the HARDBALL roundtable is here, of course, tonight. They`re going to tell me something I don`t know about this presidential race.

Finally, "Let Me Finish" with this vice presidential hunting season we`re in. It is something. And it`s all going to happen this month.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Well, Donald Trump campaigned today in New Hampshire, a traditional swing state. But yesterday, he was up in Maine, which hasn`t voted for a Republican since 1988. Well, one reason Trump went to Maine is because it`s one of only two states in the country that split their electoral votes by congressional district, meaning Trump could lose the state but still pick up an electoral vote there.

The other state that does that, Nebraska. And coincidentally, the Clinton campaign went up with ads in Omaha today, hoping to snag that electoral vote in an otherwise red state.

And we`ll be right back.



SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: My hope is that he`s beginning to pivot and become what I would call a more serious and credible candidate for the highest office in the land.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell yesterday expressing his reservations about Donald Trump.

Well, less than three weeks until the convention for the Republicans, his comments reflect the concerns of his fellow lawmakers, many of whom are still hesitant, that`s putting it lightly, to lend their full support to their party`s nominee.

As Senator Dean Heller of Nevada told Politico today: "I`m opposed to this campaign. He did a lot of damage. It`s very difficult for him, as far as I`m concerned, to recover from his previous comments. I will give him a chance, but at this point I have no intentions of voting for him."

That`s a Republican senator saying he won`t vote for the Republican nominee for president.

Well, a new FOX poll out today reveals that those concerns are also shared by a majority of Republican voters as well; 51 percent, a majority of Republican voters, say they would prefer someone else, brand X, as their nominee, instead of Donald Trump. That`s pretty powerful stuff at this point.

It also shows Hillary Clinton with a national lead of six points, 44 percent to 38 percent. Yesterday, Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah went further than many of his colleagues in explaining why he wasn`t ready to endorse Trump. Here`s what Lee said in an interview with Newsmax.


SEN. MIKE LEE (R), UTAH: Hey, look, Steve, I get it. You want me to endorse Trump.

QUESTION: Well, I don`t understand why you`re not, really.


LEE: ... really well.


LEE: Well, we can get into that if you want. We can get into the fact that he accused my best friend`s father of conspiring to kill JFK.

We can go through the fact that he`s made some statements that some have identified correctly as religiously intolerant. We can get into the fact he`s wildly unpopular in my state, in part because my state consists of people who are members of a religious minority church, people who were ordered exterminated by the governor of Missouri in 1938.

And statements like that make them nervous.

QUESTION: Fair enough.

LEE: I`d like some assurances that he`s going to be a vigorous defender for the U.S. Constitution, that he`s not going to be an autocrat, that he`s not going to be an authoritarian, that he`s not somebody who is going to abuse a document to which I`ve sworn an oath to uphold and protect and defend.

I`m sorry, sir. But that is not an unreasonable demand.


MATTHEWS: I`m joined now by Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway, as well as political reporter Dave Weigel of "Washington Post."

Kellyanne, you get the first shot here.

Let`s talk about the situation with Trump a couple weeks out from the convention in Cleveland. You know, I was wondering. And you are the expert on this. Do you think if he had tried to woo the Republican establishment, the big shots in the Senate, the governors, if he went out and gave them a wet kiss and everything else, threw kisses at them, whatever phrase you want to use, would they have come running to him?

In other words, did he really have an option in the way he`s approached them?


But he also may alienate the millions of voters who have supported him and who will support him, Chris. Part of his entire campaign has been built on not needing the donor class, not needing the consultant class, running against Washington, not wanting to be part of Washington.

And that`s not going to change. The one thing that`s not going to change between now and November is that who is the Washington candidate, who`s the outsider, who is the insider, who is the insurgent? (AUDIO GAP) I think he should welcome (AUDIO GAP) elected officials at any level who want to support him.

But I would rather be him, who can`t get a handful of senators to say nice things about him, than to be her, who has got 58 percent in that FOX poll saying she`s corrupt, two-thirds of the voters in this country saying they don`t trust her, they think she`s dishonest.

And in the FOX poll you mentioned, Trump, for all of this -- for all this trash talk about him, Trump is winning independents, he`s winning white voters by 14 points, he`s winning men by double digits, he`s winning middle-income voters, he`s winning middle-aged voters.

So, with all -- with Hillary having all the king`s horses, all the king`s men and Donald Trump -- quote -- "not being able to unify his party" -- quote, unquote -- because some officials who represent the same political class he`s running against won`t support him, why in the world isn`t this woman at 70 percent?


Well, let me go to this with David here.

It seems to me -- and Kellyanne is a friend of mine and I like the way she did this, because you got to bring up Hillary Clinton if you want to unite Republicans. And it does unite Republicans. Fair enough. It`s your default position. Say Hillary Clinton.

(AUDIO GAP) scarecrows against each other. Don`t go in that (AUDIO GAP) There`s a scarecrow (AUDIO GAP) vote Republican. There`s a scarecrow there. They are running negative.

But there`s an outlet pass here, to use a football term. These guys are saying, OK, I`m a Republican. I`m Senator from Utah Mike Lee, a totally Republican state, and I`m not going to be a Republican booster of this candidate. They are opting out to some third world out there.

The Romney crowd, the Bush crowd, they are all saying, I`m not voting for Hillary. I may vote for Johnson, Gary Johnson or somebody, or sit home. They seem to -- it isn`t -- it works with voters, this, you got to vote against Hillary, but it doesn`t work with Republican leaders.

DAVID WEIGEL, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I think, so far, it`s not actually devastating the Republican Party.

First of all, Mike Lee is not in danger this year. Second, he`s on the Rules Committee, the Republican Rules Committee. He didn`t say there and he hasn`t said that he would vote to remove Trump from the nomination. So, I think he`s one of these Republicans who is willing to play an outside- inside game, where he criticizes Trump, makes sure his brand is not totally tied to him, but doesn`t try to elect Clinton.

MATTHEWS: Why does it work in Utah? Why does he want to be the outlier in Utah?

WEIGEL: Well, Trump is incredibly unpopular in Utah, for the reasons he brought up. And that state is not quite an outlier. Trump is doing a little bit worse...


MATTHEWS: Do the LDS people out there really fear that they will be threatened by this guy as president?

WEIGEL: Oh, yes, for the reason he said. If you are a religious minority, you hear what he said about Muslims, and you can cast that on to yourself. I think that`s very true.

There are places where that doesn`t matter for Trump. Utah is a place where it does matter.

MATTHEWS: I sense that among Jewish people, too. I think any small religion in terms of numbers is worried about Trump.

Do you think that`s true, Kellyanne, that people are afraid of...

CONWAY: No, I don`t think that`s true.


MATTHEWS: Well, you don`t think that is true. Why do I sense it?

CONWAY: I think it`s an overgeneralization, Chris. And I would -- I just would point out...


MATTHEWS: I can only go by my experience, Kellyanne. And I`m sorry if it seems like a generalization, but go ahead.

CONWAY: No, I still -- look, I still think people`s partisan affiliations are very important to them.

And those who practice their religion and believe that their religion -- we test in polls, Chris -- they believe that their religion is important to their political decisions, that those people, regardless of their denomination, they could be Muslim, they could be Jewish, they could be Christian, they could be agnostic, frankly, they could be evangelical, they could be Catholic, and they say, look, my religion is important to me when I vote.

But, look, I believe Mike Lee in that interview, the most important thing to him -- and he`s like an amazing senator, I think he`s fabulous -- the most important thing in that interview were the words Ted Cruz. He`s defending his friend.

And I worked -- I ran Ted Cruz`s super PAC. I think that`s a great defense of a friend and a friend`s father.

MATTHEWS: Explain that story. Tell that story about the father.

CONWAY: Well, really, the last day or -- I think the last day of the Indiana primary, Donald Trump said that -- insinuated there -- said that there were reports that perhaps Rafael Cruz was involved in the JFK assassination. I -- look...

MATTHEWS: And what was his source for saying that?

CONWAY: I have no idea. You would have to...


MATTHEWS: "The National Enquirer." "The National Enquirer." Donald Trump was saying "The National Enquirer" says this guy`s involved with killing Jack Kennedy. I can understand why Mike Lee`s upset.


CONWAY: I didn`t like that. But let me just say this to you.

I can understand why Ted Cruz, Heidi Cruz, Mike Lee, people feel a personal slight if you have said something about somebody`s father, somebody`s family. Nobody likes that.

MATTHEWS: How would you handle it? How do you handle it?

CONWAY: But I think that the most important part of Mike Lee`s interview was that he`s defending his friend.

MATTHEWS: How do you handle the fact you got -- you supported Ted Cruz. How do you handle the fact that Donald Trump said that Cruz`s father had something to do with Dallas?

CONWAY: Oh, I didn`t like it. I said so publicly at the time. But I support Donald Trump, and I will do what I can to help him be elected president.

His -- you may think it`s just a parlor game to mention Hillary Clinton`s name, but those are the two people running for president.


MATTHEWS: I agree. I supported your decision to do that, Kellyanne.

CONWAY: It is a choice. It is a choice.

MATTHEWS: I supported your right to point to the binary nature of presidential politics. I accept that.

But you don`t believe that Ted Cruz`s father helped kill Kennedy, do you?

CONWAY: No, of course not. I don`t believe that at all.

MATTHEWS: Well, why would Trump say that?

CONWAY: You would have to ask him. I think he`s explained it since. You would have to ask him.

But I also don`t think it`s a useful conversation going into the conventions. I think we should be focused on who they are selecting as V.P.

MATTHEWS: Oh, it`s not useful. OK. It`s not useful.


CONWAY: Wait. Why did Elizabeth Warren criticize Hillary Clinton as beholden to the banks and now she is her BFF?


MATTHEWS: You know who brought this up? Mike Lee, the guy you just paid tribute to. He is the one that brought up the fact that Trump had accused his best friend`s father of being some kind of assassin.

Anyway, let`s go to Dave.

CONWAY: And that that`s why he couldn`t support him.


WEIGEL: It`s telling, because what Republicans want to hear from Trump is be on message, use a teleprompter, but, also, if you are going to attack people and insult people and get the media chasing stuff, do it to Hillary.

And he said he would during the campaign. He promised these voters, hey, I haven`t even started on Hillary yet. That`s what irritates them. They just -- he can be as wild as he`s being, as long as it`s about Hillary Clinton.

They think -- we saw that with McConnell, other Republicans trying to push him in that direction. OK, if you are going to swing wildly and make the media report on this goofy stuff in "The National Enquirer," at least do it to them.

MATTHEWS: I see -- agree with you. I so agree.

There`s no such thing as bad manners if you`re a Republican.



MATTHEWS: It`s going to be pretty rough.

Anyway, thank you, Kellyanne Conway.


MATTHEWS: And when I try to support, you even fight that. Anyway, thank you, David Weigel.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, up next: a new era in the American military, how the Pentagon became more inclusive to the LGBT community, and they did it today. These are astounding developments in my lifetime, and coming quickly -- well, quickly, in the sense of day-to-day. All of a sudden, wow, another change.

HARDBALL is back after this.


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

Thirteen people have been arrested in more than a dozen terrorism raids following the attack at Istanbul`s airport. Four of those detained are foreigners; 44 people were killed in Tuesday`s attack. More than 200 others were wounded.

And airport closed-circuit TV image reportedly shows the terror suspects entering the airport and later unleashing violence. NBC News has not verified these images. According to a source, one of the suspected attackers arrived in Turkey from the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, a month ago.

And president Obama has signed legislation to address Puerto Rico`s financial crisis. It creates a board to oversee its finances and debt restructuring -- back to HARDBALL.


ASHTON CARTER, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: Our mission is to defend this country, and we don`t want barriers unrelated to a person`s qualification to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman or Marine who can best accomplish the mission. The reality is that we have transgender service members serving in uniform today. And I have a responsibility to them and to their commanders.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announcing the historic end today to the ban on open service by transgender Americans. The decision to lift the ban is effective immediately. And this comes at the tail end of a year-long review process.

Opponents expressed concern that this could harm readiness and effectiveness in combat.

But for more on the impact of this decision, I`m joined by Navy Lieutenant and member of SPARTA, a military LGBT advocacy group, Blake Dremann, and Gregory Angelo, who is of course president of the Log Cabin Republicans.

Gregory, you and I have been talking about this stuff for years, which is just development of...


MATTHEWS: How does this fit in the history of liberation, of recognition, of, if not celebration, certainly respect?

ANGELO: Well, yes, this goes back to integration of African-Americans into our nation`s military. This goes to integration of women into our nation`s military.

As you know, as your viewers know, Log Cabin Republicans spent years fighting don`t ask, don`t tell to allow open service for gay and lesbian service members in the military. And now we are able to welcome our transgender brothers and sisters to serve in the military.

They enlisted in military because they love this country, they want to protect our freedoms. They should be allowed to serve openly without fear of being discharged because of who they are.

MATTHEWS: Lieutenant, thank you for joining us.

My dad was in the Navy in World War II. And my two brothers were Naval officers. And my dad said years ago -- and he was no liberal. OK? He was no liberal. But he said there are a lot of gays in the military. That`s the way it is.


MATTHEWS: And he said it was almost like, that`s the way it is. What does your experience tell you? Tell us about your experience.

DREMANN: So, I have been in the Navy 10 years, commissioned out of OCS in 2006, deployed all over the world.

MATTHEWS: You came in, and your identity was what?

DREMANN: Female.


DREMANN: I have deployed all over the world.

I have done 11 operational deployments throughout my 10 years of service. And I...

MATTHEWS: How did it go personally?

DREMANN: It`s been -- personally, it`s been great.

I did the -- actually, I did the integration of women on submarines in 2011. I was one of the first female-bodied individuals to serve on submarines.

MATTHEWS: And how did that go? Because that`s often pointed to by people who haven`t been in the services. It`s very confined. It`s claustrophobic to most of us who won`t -- don`t want to get in one of those things that go underwater for miles and miles. What was it like in those close circumstances?

DREMANN: It was perfectly fine. We adapted to managing our own privacy.

And, in fact, we had a...


MATTHEWS: You state "we." Were there other people?

DREMANN: I mean the crew.


DREMANN: And we had three females on the boat, and we had to manage our own privacy with each other.

MATTHEWS: I got you.

DREMANN: In fact, we had a flip sign for the restroom for male and female for the officer restroom.

And that only lasted a little bit of time, before we moved that flip sign from the outside door, because there were two doors, from the outside door to the inside door, where it was on the shower door, so that we could all share the restroom without interfering with the privacy of somebody taking a shower.

So, we adapt to the different privacy situations.

MATTHEWS: Well, what do you make of this thing? We had a mention of -- well, you have to go first because you`re in the military -- about this causing problems with readiness. These terms like readiness come up. What does that mean? Ineffectiveness, what does that mean to critics?

DREMANN: They are afraid that transgender people are going to not be deployable, when, in fact, that`s just not true. We have...

MATTHEWS: How would that physically be a case? What would stop somebody like yourself from doing the job?

DREMANN: There`s nothing that stops me from doing the job.

MATTHEWS: What do they say, the critics?

DREMANN: They are worried about surgeries and things like that.

But we deploy -- DOD deploys transgender civilians. The State Department employs transgender civilians to remote locations. So, the fact that we would be non-deployable is a moot point.

ANGELO: Chris, the same boogeymen that you heard brought up when Log Cabin Republicans was fighting for open service for gays and lesbians in the military, oh, this is social experimentation in the military, or, oh, my goodness, we are going to have to worry about showers, whatever will our military do, look at Lieutenant Dremann here.


ANGELO: This is someone who served his country, continues to serve his country. And the military isn`t the one that has a problem with the implementation of this stuff. It`s the politicians that politicize...


MATTHEWS: So, military -- just to get the sense quickly, people identify - - how they identify in terms of gender is not as important as the duty you have. And people do identify. They know they are not at a club somewhere. They know they are on military time, right?


MATTHEWS: People adjust to the circumstances.

DREMANN: They adjust to the circumstances, absolutely.

MATTHEWS: I think that`s what happens.

Thanks for your service.

DREMANN: Yes, sir. Thank you.

MATTHEWS: I have seen "Das Boot." That`s the only thing I know about military -- submarine life. It`s hell of a movie about the Germans, remember, in World War II.

ANGELO: Oh, yes, famous movie.

MATTHEWS: They got the fruit hanging -- not the fruit -- the meat hanging. Everything`s hanging. It`s like you`re living in a -- everything is close together in those places.

DREMANN: It sure is.

MATTHEWS: It`s close together.

Anyway, thank you, Lieutenant Blake Dremann and Gregory Angelo, as always, with all the -- keep coming in with the progress.

Up next, veepstakes. Chris Christie. Do you believe it? Chris Christie`s on the list. And Tim Kaine are in the headlines as possible number two. But are these the best running mates for Trump and Clinton? Now, that`s a pretty good question -- 330 million people, and Chris Christie`s at the top of the list?

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.



The presidential veepstakes are gearing up and today, two prospective running mates are making some news. Not all of it good.

On the Democratic side, "Politico" reported today that Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, a leading contender to become Hillary Clinton`s running mate, quote, "reported more than $160,000 in gifts from 2001 to 2009, mostly for travel to and from political events and conferences, according to disclosures compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project."

Anyway, the givers include political supporters, a drug company that soon after bought a facility in Virginia, and Dominion, the state`s largest provider of electricity. While according to this report, Senator Kaine also received an $18,000 Caribbean vacation, $5,500 in clothes, and a trip to watch George Mason University play in the NCAA basketball final four."

All the gifts were legal under Virginia law. Unlike his successor, former Governor Bob McDonnell, all the gifts that came were properly disclosed publicly on paper.

Meanwhile, on the Republican side, "The New York Times" reports that New Jersey governor Chris Christie quote, "is among those being vetted as Mr. Trump`s possible running mate, according to people briefed on the process. Mr. Trump has said in interviews Mr. Christie would have a prominent place in a Trump White House."

Let`s bring in the HARDBALL roundtable today. Jamal Simmons is Democratic strategist, Laura Bassett covers politics for "The Huffington Post", and David Catanese is senior politics writer for "U.S. News and World Report."

Jamal, you first. I think I`ve laid it out. This guy has taken a lot of gifts, it seems to have a certain scent to it because we had this big Supreme Court case about his successor -- rather his predecessor down there.

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Right. Apparently, according to "Politico", he took gifts, he went to a donor`s house in the Caribbean, went to a basketball game, some other things, but in Virginia, these things are allowed.

MATTHEWS: Explain the clothes thing. How does somebody give you clothes?


MATTHEWS: Hey, anybody, want some clothes? I got clothes for you. It seems like an odd gift. A steak dinner, that`s one thing.

Hey, come on, I`ll buy you some clothes. It seems strange, Laura Bassett.

LAURA BASSETT, POLITICO: He over-reported the gifts.

MATTHEWS: Does it smell?

BASSETT: I don`t think it smells. He stayed at a friend`s house in the Caribbean, paid his own expenses. He overreported everything. He didn`t do anything illegal. It`s all within the bounds of --

MATTHEWS: So, he`s still in the running? Still in the running?

SIMMONS: I think he`s still in the running but he`s not the best choice.

DAVID CATANESE, U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT: He is the best choice. And he`s still in the running. And he can overcome this.

MATTHEWS: Has anyone ever given you clothes?


CATANESE: But look, I think he can overcome this if he`s conciliatory, talks about reform.

MATTHEWS: Does he have to say it was wrong, what he did?

CATANESE: No. He should stress that it was completely legal in Virginia. Look, Donald just --

SIMMONS: My theory is Democrats leaked this story, perhaps even Tim Kaine. They`ve got to inoculate him if they are going to appoint him to be vice president.

MATTHEWS: OK, I don`t think so.

Anyway, Kaine`s spokesperson tells HARDBALL, quote, "During his eight years as lieutenant governor and governor, Senator Kaine went beyond the requirements of Virginia law, even publicly disclosing gifts of value beneath the reporting threshold. He`s confident he met both the letter and spirit of Virginia`s ethical standards."

Are Virginia`s ethical standards good enough?



Let`s talk about Christie. Christie`s involved with the bridge scandal. We beat the hell out of it here. Everybody on this network and everyone else beat the hell out of the story. It`s a hell of a story. The cones did make sense, and he started off by saying, "Oh, yeah, I`m the guy that went out and put the cones out to stop the traffic."

But it`s a fact, they stopped traffic to make some kind of political message to somebody they didn`t like or tried to squeeze some mayor in Fort Lee.

Is he still the credible candidate for vice president?

CATANESE: I recently spoke to a Trump aide who is urging against a Christie appointment. But told me that Christie`s in the mix because Christie is in Trump`s ear and frankly, Christie wants it. So, a lot of people don`t want it.

MATTHEWS: There are time relapse pills coming down the road here. All the people who will testify in these cases against them, a lot of people have to squeal here. They might point to him.

BASSETT: It`s certainly bad timing with the trial coming up in September. I also think Christie`s a really dumb choice for Trump, because it`s basically Trump choosing his mirror image.


BASSETT: Christie`s a bombastic blowhard, he`s from New Jersey, and --

CATANESE: Nothing wrong with that.

BASSETT: He doesn`t help Trump pick up constituents Trump didn`t already have.

MATTHEWS: Why it`s going to be from Jersey?

BASSETT: Because Trump is from New York. Trump already had a --

MATTHEWS: Double-downing on what, Jamal?

SIMMONS: Well, he`s double-downing on attitude.

MATTHEWS: Perfect Philadelphia accent and one of the words I looked for was attitude.

SIMMONS: Trump/Christie versus Clinton/Warren is quite a choice for the American people.

MATTHEWS: Wait a minute, do you think it`s Warren?

SIMMONS: I do think it`s Warren.

MATTHEWS: Want to bet?

SIMMONS: You got to get the Bernie voters on her side.

MATTHEWS: Want to bet me?

SIMMONS: I`ll bet you.

MATTHEWS: It screws up my commentary.

BASSETT: What`s the question?

MATTHEWS: Let`s get back to square one.

BASSETT: I think it`s going to be Tim Kaine.

CATANESE: I think it`s going to be Tim Kaine. I think Corker, Jeff Sessions or a general for Trump. Trump has said he wants someone that can help him in Washington, right? Do something with Congress. Christie doesn`t have any Washington experience.

MATTHEWS: What do you think? You have a thought?

BASSETT: I think Corker is a good choice for Trump, probably the best choice.

CATANESE: Absolutely.

SIMMONS: Jeff Sessions. Let`s just have Alabama all the way in it.

MATTHEWS: You have attitude. I know what you`re doing. You`re trying to screw these guys.

Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us. And up next, these three will tell me again something I don`t know.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: We are going to have a really special show coming up on Monday, July 11th. Bill Maher is going to join us for the whole HARDALL that night. He`s always outspoken and he`ll have plenty to say heading into the Republican convention in Cleveland.

So, mark your calendar and join me with Bill Maher, as he plays HARDBALL next Monday, July 11th.

And we`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Back with the HARDBALL roundtable.

Jamal, tell me something I don`t know.

SIMMONS: You know, I`m working with a group called Democracy and Color. They have Senate rankings for all five Senate candidates in the NDCC on diversity, and they`re ranking them and a lot of donors are starting to pay attention to whether or not these rankings on diversity and how their outreach to the older Obama coalition are going to stack up.

MATTHEWS: How do you measure it? Staff?

SIMMONS: They`re looking in terms of staff, consultants, how much money they`re spending in field campaigns. They`ve got five different measures and donors are asking questions of politicians about how they`re campaigning.

MATTHEWS: OK, great.


BASSETT: The National Republican Congressional Committee has this program called Young Guns. It looks at up and coming people in the Republican Party. The average age of the Young Guns this year is 49. And it includes --

MATTHEWS: You find that ludicrous?

BASSETT: And it includes a 74-year-old woman who worked in the Reagan administration. So, they`re clearly having trouble with young --

MATTHEWS: No spring chicken there, eh. Anyway, why they always use the words guns? I think we don`t use that anymore, guns.

CATANESE: Keeping in the themes of veepstakes, I`m told that John Kasich was on Trump`s veep list initially about a month ago. Then, he went out publicly and said he wasn`t interested, and he started trashing Trump, saying he wouldn`t endorse him. So, Trump removed him from the list.

MATTHEWS: Where`s the surprise in that? If the guy starts dumping on you --

CATANESE: Well, the surprise is that he was initially on the list and now, he`s not -- now there`s backchannels between the two because they want his endorsement for the convention in Cleveland, because it`s a big black eye if you don`t have a sitting governor`s endorsement.

MATTHEWS: Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, as Tim Russert would say. Ohio is so important to both parties. Republicans can`t win without it. Democrats can cut their heart if they grab it.

That`s why Sherrod Brown makes sense.

Anyway, Jamal Simmons, Laura Bassett, and David Catanese.

When we return, let me finish with this vice presidential hunting season. I have some thoughts on this matter.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.

We are in the vice presidential hunting season. July, which starts tomorrow, will be the month that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton decide who they wanted as their running mates, who they want should they win the presidency, working two doors down from them in the West Wing. The veep`s job is not what it used to be. Abraham Lincoln`s V.P. went home to live in Maine, right?

Up until the Nixon presidency, vice presidents spent their days up on Capitol Hill, doing their one constitutional job, presiding over the United States Senate.

If they were to meet with the president, they had to get on a horse, or in a carriage, or in a limo, and ride down from the hill to see him. Well, starting with Nixon`s presidency, the veep got an office in the old executive office building across the West Wing Avenue from the West Wing.

Starting with Jimmy Carter, the V.P. got an office in the West Wing itself, as I said, two doors from the Oval Office. So, it`s a real close in position these days and in Washington, position is everything.

The question presidential candidates now have to ask themselves is, who do they want living and working and holding a position in such close proximity? They certainly don`t someone who repels them, someone who they can`t stand for some reason or can`t take, and they certainly don`t want someone they don`t trust being so close that they can learn their secrets, someone poking his or her nose into their business and dine out on it, write books about it, or drop a dime on them.

You want someone this close to be a secret keeper. There`s something else, you don`t want a lightweight. You don`t want someone on the ticket with you that isn`t capable of thinking like a president and have the beginnings of the ability to act like one.

We`ve had some real beauties of late, Dan Quayle, John Edwards, Sarah Palin. Call them boutique vice presidential nominees, because of a consultant`s theory they would appeal to this or that group, country folk, young women, or whatever.

One thing we don`t need in 2016 is for Trump or Clinton to pick a V.P. running mate based on an appeal to this or that group, someone whose best selling point is not who they are, but some demographic they`re supposed to arouse, for two reasons -- it`s an insult to the voter and an insult to the office. The one great way to tell a serious president is to see if he or she makes a serious pick of V.P.

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.