Show: HARDBALL Date: August 10, 2016 Guest: Willie Brown, Al Cardenas, Peter Mansoor, Rudy Giuliani, Ken Vogel, Victoria McGrane, Jason Johnson
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Second Amendment people.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
We`ve been watching this scene in New York at the Trump Tower, where a climber climbed the glass side of that building that serves as the headquarters, of course, of the Trump campaign. It`s also where the Trumps live. Anyway, just moments ago, police, grabbed that guy, pulled him into that open window there. See it? That`s how they stopped him (INAUDIBLE) at the 21st floor.
We`re going to get all the day`s news and the political news in just a second, including the continuing fallout from Donald Trump`s remarks yesterday that "2nd Amendment people" might be able to stop Hillary Clinton and her judicial nominees.
Anyway, but first, MSNBC`s Adam Reiss is outside Trump Tower with more on that climber, if there can be more. Adam, what is the story here, or is it just some guy seeking publicity, and that`s the end of the story?
ADAM REISS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): We`re not clear (ph) for that right now, Chris. Good evening. He didn`t make it to the penthouse, but he`s about to walk out of the front door of Trump Tower. We don`t know what he was trying to accomplish, what his message was.
For about three hours, he was able to climb almost a third of the way up Trump Tower. He made it to the 21st floor, as you just mentioned. When he made it to the 16th floor, EF (ph) (INAUDIBLE) -- it`s also called the Navy SEALs of the NYPD -- they blew out a window so they could grab him.
But they said he was being uncooperative. He moved towards the south of the building, and he continued his climb north with his suction cups. All afternoon, hundreds of people gathered here on 5th Avenue, on Madison Avenue, at times, cheering him, and at other times cheering the police. And when he finally made it into the window on the 21st floor, it was a bit of a scuffle as they tried to grab him, haul him in.
The police here just wanted to make sure everyone was safe. They were able to accomplish that, and right now, we`re waiting for him to come out of the front door. Police say he will be taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment and for observation -- Chris.
MATTHEWS: Taken to Bellevue. That`s an old phrase. Anyway, congratulations to the NYPD, the New York finest, for doing what they did and ending this without a tragedy. Thank you so much, Adam Reiss.
Anyway, Donald Trump is not in Trump Tower tonight. He`s in Sunrise, Florida, where he`s holding a rally set to begin any minute now. There the people are getting read for it.
Once again today, the Trump campaign and its allies are defending the candidate`s call yesterday to, quote, "2nd Amendment people" to stop a President Hillary Clinton from appointing judges. Many people heard him say that 2nd Amendment people might be able to stop her after she`d won.
Well, today, Trump said he was obviously referring to their votes before she won. Here`s what Trump said, by the way, so we can watch it again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Hillary wants to abolish -- essentially, abolish the 2nd Amendment. By the way -- and if she gets the pick...
TRUMP: If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the 2nd Amendment people, maybe there is. I don`t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Anyway, "The New York Times" lead editorial today called on Republicans to repudiate their nominee. "The Washington Post" editorial said Trump`s comments belongs on a list of "disqualifiers." That was their word. And "New York Times" columnist Thomas Friedman likened it to the right-wing rhetoric in Israel that led up to the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.
Well, today, Hillary Clinton said Trump was casually inciting violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Words matter, my friends.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: Yesterday, we witnessed the latest in a long line of casual comments from Donald Trump that cross the line. His casual cruelty to a Gold Star family, his casual suggestion that more countries should have nuclear weapons, and now his casual inciting of violence -- every single one of these incidents shows us that Donald Trump simply does not have the temperament to be president and commander-in-chief of the United States!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, for his part, Donald Trump seemed to reference the controversy in his remarks today when he accused the media of turning small stories into big things. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: A big part of the rigged system is the press itself because they can take a little story that isn`t a story and make it into a big story. It happens so much. Happens so much. And speaking of that, remember this. We have so many things that we have to protect in this country. We have to protect our 2nd Amendment, which is under siege.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: Remember that. It`s under siege.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: In a minute, I`m going to talk to one of Donald Trump`s biggest defenders, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Btu we begin with Katy Tur, who`s in Sunrise, Florida, where Trump is expected to take the stage at a rally this hour.
You know, I have a hard time figuring out Trump sometimes. Do you think -- well, this is an interpretive question and a tough one for you. But do you think Trump knows what he was doing, or he does this sot of automatically and then skips away from it as if it didn`t happen?
KATY TUR, NBC CORRESPONDENT: You know, you`re going to have to ask Donald Trump that. I`m not sure...
MATTHEWS: Thank you. I don`t think he`ll answer the question, but...
TUR: Well, I mean, listen, I think he`s gone off script a number of times over this campaign season and said a number of things that a number of other candidates would never have said or would have lost their candidacy over. And this is another example of that. The campaign, as you`ve laid out, is pushing back on this a lot, and I`m sure Rudy Giuliani will do that, as well, in a moment, saying that he was inciting voters to act, to use their influence, not to incite violence.
The issue, though, with the Trump campaign and why so few are giving him the benefit of the doubt today is that violence has been a predominant issue throughout his campaign now for 14 months, violence at rallies, Donald Trump talking about how he wants to punch a protester in the face, joking about how he can shoot somebody on 5th Avenue and not lose votes, saying, Get him out of here, protesters should be roughed up, maybe they should deserve to be roughed up, is a quote he said about one protester.
There`s a protester in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where Donald Trump was yesterday, but months ago, who sucker-punched a protester in the face.
So violence has followed this campaign throughout, and Donald Trump has done very little to push back on it. And while he hasn`t condoned violence, he hasn`t expressly condemned it, either.
MATTHEWS: Well, we`re going to keep trying to bore through this and figure out we get some resolution by the end of the week, but we will spend some time on it. Thank you, Katy Turn, down there in Sunrise, Florida, where Trump`s about to talk.
Well, was Donald Trump`s comment about 2nd Amendment people just a joke? Here was Mayor Rudy Giuliani yesterday explaining those comments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI (R), FMR. NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: So the Clinton people -- so the Clinton people -- this is how corrupt they are! From their days back in Arkansas, they were corrupt! This is how corrupt they are! They spin out that what he meant by that was -- that was a joke and that what he meant by that was that they would kill her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, former Trump campaign chairman Corey Lewandowski has this to say this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COREY LEWANDOWSI, FMR. TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: This was a joke that he made during a rally. This wasn`t something serious. He wasn`t inciting violence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And last night, Speaker Paul Ryan offered this explanation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It sounds like just a joke gone bad. I hope he clears it up very quickly. You should never joke about something like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, joining me right now himself, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. You`re laughing, but this is not -- to people like you -- your usual set of normal people that would (ph) think like you, Mr. Mayor, like the Speaker of the House and Lewandowski, although he has been removed from his position running the campaign, is still very close in heart (ph), apparently, with the candidate.
Is it a bad joke? What is it? What was he saying when he said...
GIULIANI: No. No, I`ll tell you exactly...
MATTHEWS: ... once she`s elected -- no, once she`s elected, there`s nothing we can do about it. Of course, the 2nd Amendment people may be able to do something about it. What did he mean by that?
GIULIANI: Chris, I can tell you exactly what he meant because I was with him throughout the entire thing. He meant that they should vote against her.
I`ll tell you how I know that. When the speech was over, absolutely no one thought anything wrong was said. We went to the airplane. We got a call on the airplane from the Trump campaign. And they said the Clinton people, the Clinton spin machine, which we all know exists, was trying to sell to the press the idea that what he meant was that they should somehow kill Hillary Clinton.
Donald Trump said that that -- I`ll use better language, but he said, That`s not true. I didn`t mean that at all. I never said that.
And then he went back over his comments, and he said, Oh, what I meant by that was they should vote against her. This is a made-up story, Chris. It is completely...
MATTHEWS: Well, why did he say so clearly, Mr. Mayor, that once she`s in office, there`s nothing we can do about it, except, of course, the 2nd Amendment people could do something?
GIULIANI: Then he went back and made a further comment on it, suggesting that maybe because of the power of the NRA and the 2nd Amendment people, particularly in some of the swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio -- maybe they can stop her from being president. That`s what he meant.
MATTHEWS: I`m not working for the Clintons. I can tell you that.
GIULIANI: Hillary -- Hillary Clinton...
MATTHEWS: There`s no history of me -- Mr. Mayor, there is no history of me ever working for the Clintons. So I don`t know what that means. You`re saying that a person watching that speech yesterday couldn`t get the idea that maybe he meant, Put your guns to work here?
GIULIANI: And if they got the idea and he tells you, That isn`t what I meant -- look, Hillary Clinton during the campaign against Barack Obama said she was going to remain in the campaign because, well, let`s remember Robert Kennedy was assassinated.
MATTHEWS: I know. I know.
GIULIANI: So tell me that wasn`t more insensitive...
MATTHEWS: Well, all you have -- the Speaker of the House...
GIULIANI: ... and that didn`t disqualify her...
GIULIANI: ... from being president of the United States.
MATTHEWS: OK, OK.
GIULIANI: Today -- - today...
MATTHEWS: You`re turning the attention on Hillary.
GIULIANI: Today, she proved that she ran a State Department that was pay- for-play.
MATTHEWS: OK, OK. We`re over...
GIULIANI: I could indict her...
MATTHEWS: Give me a minute...
GIULIANI: I could indict in about three weeks...
GIULIANI: ... for what she did with the Clinton Foundation and the State Department. We`re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars this corrupt woman...
GIULIANI: ... was getting, and what you`re playing is a remark that wasn`t meant in the way it is being interpreted.
MATTHEWS: Speaker of the House, the Republican speaker of the House, takes it as a bad joke. He shouldn`t have done it. He shouldn`t have joked about...
GIULIANI: Well, it wasn`t.
MATTHEWS: ... using the 2nd Amendment. He made a mistake. So -- so (INAUDIBLE) is the speaker of the House. Another person still (INAUDIBLE) in interpreting the candidate is Corey Lewandowski, who has been working with the guy for over a year. That guy`s got it wrong. So all the people that are reasonable, middle of the road -- I mean, people that are at least...
GIULIANI: What I`m telling you...
MATTHEWS: ... leaning in the direction of Donald Trump don`t read it the way you do.
GIULIANI: What I`m telling you...
MATTHEWS: ... interpretation.
GIULIANI: ... the Clinton campaign is deflecting...
GIULIANI: ... all of you away from the fact that the biggest story of the day...
GIULIANI: ... is what has happened with the Clinton Foundation...
GIULIANI: ... and the State Department. The Clinton Foundation is a racketeering enterprise...
GIULIANI: ... to enrich the Clintons, and the State Department has become a pay-for-play operation under Hillary Clinton. That is outrageous!
MATTHEWS: OK, let`s...
GIULIANI: Totally outrageous!
MATTHEWS: Mr. Mayor, let`s put the time of two minutes more on Trump`s problems, then we got three minutes on Hillary. I`ll give you more time on Hillary. But first of all (INAUDIBLE) Trump`s defenders conceded -- have conceded his words were poorly chosen yesterday about this 2nd Amendment crack. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was awkwardly phrased, though.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, well, it may have been awkwardly phrased. But he talks aggressively to the people, and I think that`s healthy, instead of hiding like Hillary Clinton does.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re treating Mr. Trump`s words like he is the most articulate person who`s ever graced our ears with his words. And that is not true. He is not a politician. He is not a person like -- like you, who`s very articulate, very well spoken. I mean, he is a business person. And he misspeaks a lot because he doesn`t speak for a living.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I interpreted it as something a guy says over the shoulder was wrong. He shouldn`t have said it. I don`t think he even fully appreciated what he was saying.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you mean by an "over the shoulder" comment? What was he referring to when he said that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t even know. And I don`t know if Donald Trump does.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, the incident, Mayor, reminds me of something. I have a long political memory, and you do, too. Remember the speech in 1964 at the Democratic convention at Atlantic City? It was given by a great man, John Pastore, the senator from Rhode Island.
Here`s what he said to the crowd. We can`t get the movie. It`s too hard to get. But here`s what he said. I never forgot this line. What does the Republican candidate" -- that was Goldwater at the time -- "choose to have anything mean at any given moment? This world cannot wait until Saturday to learn what he meant when he spoke on Monday. The man in the White House doesn`t have the luxury of a second choice. He has to be right the first time."
What is this problem over and over again, people like yourself, loyal people, have to go back and explain Trump over and over again when he makes these comments? Is it -- you think it`s all the Clinton campaign. That`s your explanation.
GIULIANI: I believe you -- I believe you attack him mercilessly, and you leave Hillary Clinton alone.
GIULIANI: The much bigger story today...
GIULIANI: ... is how she sold out the State Department...
MATTHEWS: How so? Explain it.
GIULIANI: ... to the Clinton Foundation.
MATTHEWS: Explain how she did it.
GIULIANI: How so? By taking money into the Clinton Foundation in the millions, in some cases, the hundreds of millions of dollars, $1.2 million speaking fees to Bill Clinton and then her and her acolytes, Huma Abedin and the rest of them, doing favors for the people who were paying large sums of money in order to get access to the Lebanese ambassador...
GIULIANI: ... in order to get uranium for Russia -- uranium for Russia! -- in order to get UBS off the hook from a case in which the IRS was trying to get UBS`s secret bank accounts, and Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, called them and said, Go easy on them. That`s right after, or right before Bill Clinton got a $1.2 million speaking fee. By the way, they`re joint filers, joint taxpayers.
I could indict them...
GIULIANI: ... if I were the U.S. attorney, under 18 USC section 701...
GIULIANI: ... which is the conflict of interest section, if I have it right, in a minute. And I believe, you give me enough time, I could develop a racketeering enterprise case...
GIULIANI: ... on the Clinton Foundation. It is a foundation that has been found to be a completely useless charitable organization, about 10 percent going to charity...
GIULIANI: ... and about 90 percent going to the Clinton people, including...
MATTHEWS: All right...
GIULIANI: ... the Clintons.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you this...
GIULIANI: That is a much bigger story...
MATTHEWS: Can I ask you a professional question? What is more professionally satisfying, defending Rudy -- defending Donald Trump...
MATTHEWS: ... Donald Trump, or attacking Hillary Clinton? What`s more satisfying?
GIULIANI: What`s professionally satisfying is defending Donald Trump because I know...
MATTHEWS: No, I don`t think so.
GIULIANI: ... because I know he`s a good man, and I believe Hillary Clinton from the day...
GIULIANI: ... she was a bag man for Bill Clinton...
MATTHEWS: Oh, you`re-...
GIULIANI: ... (INAUDIBLE) at the Rose lawfirm is crooked...
MATTHEWS: Bag man, OK.
GIULIANI: I believe she is dishonest and she is someone, as a U.S. attorney, I am outraged is running for president of the United States!
MATTHEWS: You never said any of this back during the days of 9/11 and everything. You guys were working together arm in arm, and you were working together quite well. You said a lot of good things about each other. Now, all of a sudden, since it`s a partisan arena right now, she`s no damn good. Where`d that come from? When did you come up with this verdict on Hillary Clinton?
GIULIANI: I have been -- I have been pointing out the crimes she`s committed for the last two years, if you paid attention, Chris, because became -- I had no idea she broke her promise that she wouldn`t be involved with the Clinton Foundation when she became secretary of state.
GIULIANI: I had no idea of that back then when she was senator from New York.
And by the way, she wasn`t a heck of a good senator. I never relied on her for anything. I always went to Chuck Schumer. All she was doing was running for president. When I was mayor of New York, the senators I relied were Moynihan, D`Amato and Schumer. They got stuff done for New York. She went around making speeches, promising jobs in upstate New York...
GIULIANI: ... which are now falling apart because of her ridiculous energy policies!
MATTHEWS: OK. She did get reelected. How`d that happen?
GIULIANI: Because this is a Democratic state, and they`d reelect a Democrat that`s in jail in some cases. I think we actually in our history have done that. This is the...
MATTHEWS: I want to ask you a question. Do you wish you`d ran against her?
GIULIANI: Hey, you can`t redo history, right? I got prostate...
MATTHEWS: Well, do you wish now that you`d ran against her? I mean, if she`s so terrible...
GIULIANI: I got -- I got -- maybe I...
MATTHEWS: ... for New York...
GIULIANI: The only -- the only way...
MATTHEWS: ... don`t you wish you ran against her?
GIULIANI: The only way I will feel guilty about this is if this woman, who should be prosecuted because nobody...
GIULIANI: ... is above the law -- if this woman becomes president of the United States, I will probably feel like maybe God gave me prostate cancer at the wrong time.
MATTHEWS: OK, because you did have a shot at her. But anyway, thank you, Mayor Giuliani.
MATTHEWS: ... a hell of a race against you...
MATTHEWS: Would have been a hell of a race between you and Hillary. Anyway -- maybe you can still get in this race. We`re going to have some more reporting by -- Mr. Mayor, thank you. We`re going to have some more about newly released Clinton e-mails coming up in the show.
But up next, reaction to Trump`s comments and what the mayor said here tonight in his defense. This is only get worse for Trump and his party, I believe. And already, one in five Republicans wants Trump to get out of the race -- 1 in 5, it`s about 19 percent now, openly telling pollsters, Get out.
Also, another round of high-profile Republicans have endorsed Hillary Clinton. They`re going directly across the aisle. As Trump struggles, members of his party continue to jump ship, and there`s no signs it`s letting up any time soon.
And from mocking a disabled reporter to telling me women should be punished for having abortions -- the HARDBALL roundtable is here with five other times Donald Trump has had to clarify something controversial that he said, and he had to keep explaining it.
Remember what John Pastore, by the way, said about Barry Goldwater -- the world can`t wait until Saturday to learn what the Republican candidate meant on Monday.
Finally, "Let Me Finish" by asking what Donald Trump thinks about people concerned with honoring the 2nd Amendment. I`m going to close on that tonight, my interpretation of what he said yesterday.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, a surprising number from our NBC News online survey.
Catch this; 72 percent of registered Republicans doubt that President Obama was born here in the USA; 72 percent doubt it. When asked whether they agree with the statement Barack Obama was born in the United States, 41 percent disagreed directly. Another 31 wouldn`t agree or disagree. So, they`re not willing to say he`s one of us.
That`s nearly three in four registered Republicans who still doubt the president`s birthplace five years after he made public his Hawaiian long- form birth certificate.
By the way, to those doubtful, Hawaii is part of United States, just to remind everybody.
We will be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
As Donald Trump manages the firestorm from his remarks about Hillary Clinton and the Second Amendment, his campaign is facing a series of dismal polls showing Trump quickly losing ground to his Democratic opponent.
Today, a new Bloomberg Politics national poll shows that in a head-to-head matchup with matchup, well, she is ahead 50-44. And that`s not hopeless, 50-44, after all this mishegas, if you will, a six-point difference.
In addition to that, a Reuters-Ipsos poll shows 19 percent of registered Republicans want Trump to get out of the race. That`s a problem. Now, that is one in five Republicans. The poll has -- taken before Trump`s Second Amendment comment of the other day. So, that really comes off of the Khan family problem.
We heard, by the way, just heard from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is trying to stop the bleeding, but can the campaign turn this around?
Willie Brown is the former mayor of San Francisco, a former speaker of the House out there. And Al Cardenas is a Republican strategist and former Jeb Bush adviser.
Mayor Brown, thank you for that, and Speaker Brown as well.
Let me ask you about this. You know, I read -- I don`t need any help from the Clintons. I heard it one way. I heard him talking in kind of aside, sort of a Kevin Spacey kind of aside. Well, Second Amendment people may have their means of doing this. I heard a direct hint at violence.
What did you hear?
WILLIE BROWN (D), FORMER MAYOR OF SAN FRANCISCO: I heard similar.
Let me tell you, when Donald Trump speaks, he has no idea what he is saying, of course. And seldom if ever has he been able to explain it. This is one of those that he cannot explain. He actually said exactly the interpretation that you just have given and I have given to it.
MATTHEWS: I watched him with Hannity last night. And Hannity knows what he is doing. And Hannity basically read to him his defense. And he goes, yes, that`s my defense.
MATTHEWS: He was leading the witness very effectively. But then he said, yes, that`s true. Yes, I didn`t really mean that. I meant get out there and vote.
AL CARDENAS, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE UNION: Well, look, the advantage Donald Trump has is there are so many tongue slips throughout so many months now that folks are primarily numb about this. They have mostly made up their minds. They think he has no filter.
MATTHEWS: Do they want him in the White House?
CARDENAS: Well, I think the number...
MATTHEWS: Are they that mad?
CARDENAS: They`re that mad. But they`re that mad to win the nomination.
But what I have seen, I think there is a second mind-set about this. The numbers that Paul Ryan got, defeating of far-right candidate in a primary, I think the party is coming together and saying this madness, this civil war in the party, this anger, look what it has resulted in.
And so I think if Donald Trump is doing one thing good for the party, it is a reassessment, a recalibration of who we are, and the fact that there`s been too much anger.
MATTHEWS: But are you a Trump party when you get down to the bottom of it? Or are you not a Trump -- is he teaching you what you aren`t?
I think he`s been great for the Democrats, because he`s taught them to be flag-wavers and talk about the values of this country, because they`re being challenged by Trump saying that we have to get great again, we`re not so great anymore.
CARDENAS: Well, you have got good things and bad things.
You have got the Elizabeth Warren wing, which will never be part of a majority of American. And you have got Donald Trump making you patriots. That convention certainly proved that.
MATTHEWS: ... patriots.
CARDENAS: But in our case, I think if Donald Trump does any good, it is to kind of put down the fire, the anger, the rhetoric that has brought us him.
Sixty-some percent of the people didn`t vote for him. And I think if you had to choose over again, I don`t think he would get 25 percent.
MATTHEWS: This is a strange enunciation by a good conservative, Al Cardenas.
But let`s get back to you, Mayor. Mayor, what do you make of this? Because I think the Democrats never looked better, or not in a long time, than they looked in Philly, because they are out there speaking about values. And the reason they were is, there`s a great opportunity to express a difference between them in partisan terms that puts them on a very good plane, I think.
BROWN: I, frankly, think the Democrats had the best convention. In all the conventions that I have seen or participated in, that was singularly the best show that I have ever seen involving politics.
And the Democrats did it in a way that it had credibility. They sounded sincere. Their conduct was sincere. And they didn`t go off of the deep end in terms of promising anything. And so it was a good thing for the Democrats.
On the other hand, Trump`s pure existence for the last 13 to 14 months has been a newsmaker, the idea that every day of the week, you could rely upon Trump. No matter how bad off you are, if you are Hillary, in terms of things you have said or you have done or been accused of, Trump will give you an exit.
And that`s what he does every time he opens his mouth. And that would be incredibly dangerous for this country.
MATTHEWS: I think of the young woman in "Sound of Music" that somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something right, because Hillary Clinton is being handed this thing, handed it.
CARDENAS: Yes. And not to let her off the hook, and...
MATTHEWS: Well, go ahead. That`s why you`re here.
CARDENAS: And Speaker is great.
But, Speaker, I was there in Philadelphia, and I saw a chairman ousted. I saw the Bernie Sanders people really passionate. I heard the booing. Now, I think for the outsiders, the optics were pretty good. But, inside, you still have a festering challenge there.
And, listen, with Warren and Bernie Sanders, and the movement, the activist primarily, are not overall happy with what`s going on. In our side, we have got a bigger problem. But this bigger problem that we have, I think is going to work out.
Mayor, contrast and compare like in school, Bernie Sanders and his challenge to the Democratic establishment of the Clintons and Donald Trump`s challenge to the establishment of Paul Ryan, who is looking very good these days.
BROWN: I don`t think that there has been ever any unity among Democrats that didn`t promote an opportunity for the left and the progressives to do their number.
Sometimes, they`re more dramatic than ever. After all, we have gone through this convention after convention after convention. And so the Democrats have not changed.
Donald Trump has brought a whole new deal to the Republican side of the world. As a matter of fact, it shouldn`t even be referred to as a Republican Party. That ought to be a third entity. It is the Trump party.
MATTHEWS: See, that`s how tough you can get these days, because that is playing it very tough.
CARDENAS: Here`s what I think has happened that people are not seeing.
I think this party has gone from Trump`s party when he got the nomination to Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell`s party. I think the last two week, or last three weeks, we have had a shift. And now the party is back in reasonable hands with good judgment. And I think that augurs well for the Senate, augurs well for the House, not sure about the Senate -- president.
MATTHEWS: Let`s think of what personality they`re thinking about when people walk into that voting booth in November. Are they thinking Paul Ryan or are they thinking Donald Trump?
MATTHEWS: You may be betting on Paul Ryan. But he may be smarter than Trump as a politician, but he doesn`t have the reach.
Anyway, thank you, Mayor Willie Brown. I`m sorry. Thanks for your time.
BROWN: It is the presidency we`re talking that.
MATTHEWS: That`s right.
BROWN: Not whether or not Trump ends up where he is. It is the presidency. And Hillary, in my opinion, is going to produce that.
MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you. Please keep coming on, Mayor Brown of California, San Francisco, former speaker of the House out there, and Al Cardenas, former head of the American Conservative Union and a great Republican of the future.
Coming up: Another batch of Clinton e-mails is out. We`re going to talk about that, because Rudy brought it up already. We got that coming. It`s not stopping all Republicans, of course. Even more are coming out and endorsing her today. I will speak to a new Hillary backer next.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger with breaking news.
The man who climbed up Trump Tower with suction cups is in custody after a two-hour standoff with police. Officers grabbed him and pulled him inside from an open window on the 21st floor. The candidate is not in New York. He is currently campaigning in Florida. The building houses Trump`s home, as well as his corporate and campaign headquarters.
A short time ago, the suspect was taken from the building on a stretcher and put into an ambulance headed to Manhattan`s Bellevue Hospital. Authorities have not disclosed a motive for this stunt -- back to HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
There are new questions tonight surrounding Hillary Clinton after never- before-seen e-mails were turned over to conservative advocacy group Judicial Watch. The State Department released e-mails Tuesday as part of a lawsuit the group brought under the Freedom of Information Act.
NBC`s Kristen Welker follows the campaign and joins us now from Des Moines.
Kristen, what is in there that does look troubling or illegal or whatever?
KRISTEN WELKER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Chris.
There are about two e-mails that we are focused on. In one, this was written in 2009. A former top aide to the Clinton Family Foundation, Doug Band, e-mails two top officials at the State Department, Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, and essentially tries to set up a meeting with a billionaire donor to the foundation with the U.N. ambassador -- U.S. ambassador, I should say, to Lebanon.
In that exchange, Band writes, it is very important, and the advisers essentially say, OK, we are going to work on this. By the way, I`m told that meeting didn`t happen.
In a second e-mail, that same adviser, Doug Band, requested that they look at one of the former workers for the Clinton Foundation for a potential spot at the State Department.
This is the type of exchange that does go on quite frequently with people essentially recommending people to the State Department. The Clinton campaign, as you can imagine, saying that, look, there is nothing untoward about these e-mail exchanges.
I will read you the statement.
They write -- quote -- "Neither of these e-mails involved the secretary or relate to the foundation`s work. They are communications between her aides and the president`s personal aide, and indeed the recommendation was for one of the secretary`s former staffers who was not employed by the foundation."
So, essentially, they`re making the case Secretary Clinton wasn`t involved in these exchanges. But, of course, Chris, as you know, there are these ongoing questions that whether or not the foundation tried to set up these types of meetings, donations, to impose undue influence on the State Department.
And that is something the Clinton family has long denied. This comes as Secretary Clinton has a lead in a lot of the polls in a lot of the battleground states, including right here in Iowa. And, Chris, her campaign also announcing today a new initiative to reach out to Republican and independent donors.
They`re trying to turn the page on this latest e-mail controversy and put it back on the race, which, as of right now, she appears to be winning -- Chris.
MATTHEWS: Neither snow nor rain nor whatever can stop you, Kristen. Thank you for reporting in the rain.
MATTHEWS: And I heard the thunder just then. Thank you. Get inside.
WELKER: A surprise storm.
WELKER: Thanks, Chris.
MATTHEWS: You`re taking on thunderbolts. Thank you, Kristen Welker.
Another former Republican lawmaker has announced he is backing Hillary Clinton, continuing the trend Republicans bucking their party presidential nominee, Donald Trump.
Well, this morning, former U.S. Congressman Chris Shays of Connecticut explained his decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER SHAYS (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Not hard to figure out. Donald Trump lost me a long time ago.
He does and says everything my mom and dad taught me never to say and do. He doesn`t understand the basic requirements of being president of the United States. And, frankly, he is dangerous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Well, Shays joins a growing list of new big-name Republican endorsements, including Bush 43 Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, former Ford Housing and Urban Development Secretary Carla Hills, former Maryland Congresswoman Connie Morella. She was our congresswoman for years. And former Bush Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte.
Our next guest, retired Army Colonel Peter Mansoor, was one of the first members of the Republican national security community to come out against Donald Trump. In March of this year, he signed an open letter saying a President Trump -- quote -- "would use the authority of his office to act in ways that make America less safe" and poses -- quote -- "a distinct threat to civil liberty in the United States."
Colonel Mansoor, thanks for joining us.
What is it? I ask this question because I like the get to the heart of darkness, if you will. I did that with Mike Murphy, the political consultant. What is it if you had to say to somebody really close to you that stops you, no matter what else happens, from voting for Trump?
COL. PETER MANSOOR (RET.), U.S. ARMY: Well, he lacks any kind of deep knowledge of foreign affairs, national security or history.
He speaks and acts impulsively. And although he says he`s going to surround himself with good people, he simply won`t listen to them. He is, in his own words, his own best adviser. And that means he`s going to shoot from the hip. He is going to act the way he sees fit to act.
And as we can see, with his recent statements, his judgment is suspect at best, and dangerous for someone occupying the office of the president of the United States.
MATTHEWS: What was your interpretation when you heard him yesterday? I`m sure you saw the clips when he said that, well, once she is in office, there is nothing we can. Of course, Second Amendment -- those Second Amendment people might be able to do something.
What did you hear? I know what I heard. And I didn`t need any help from the Clintons to hear it.
MANSOOR: Yes. You know, I didn`t even listen to anything the Clintons` campaign put out.
And to me, it was a hint at violence against Hillary Clinton should she be elected into office. I know I have had this battle over Facebook with my Republican friends all day. They see it differently. But I certainly had the same sort of interpretation that you did.
MATTHEWS: Quickly, do you think he is incompetent or is he a guy ignorant of things he should know? Or do you think he personifies a dangerous ideology? Which is it? Is he serious or clownish?
MANSOOR: You know, I think he is -- he says what he thinks. But I don`t think he has any sort of deep ideology.
He has pieces of ideology. But he basically says whatever comes to the top of his mind at the moment. And you have got to take it at face value. And if he actually believes these things that -- that he says, then why does he have to go back and clarify so many things all the time? It just makes no sense.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: I agree completely. Leaders have to lead. You can`t lead if people don`t understand you.
Anyway, Colonel, Peter Mansoor, for coming on.
Up next, did he mean it or didn`t he? I`ll look at some controversial comments that Trump has been making all along the line of his campaign, not just yesterday, but for months now. And it`s for every attempt to try to stop us from believing what he just said, or to think something else.
Anyway, you`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This individual a 20-year-old individual from Virginia. He came up here yesterday and stayed in a local motel. What he explained to us is that he wanted a personal meeting with Mr. Trump. He posted a YouTube video on Tuesday.
That video explains that. He did independent research and wanted to meet with him. That`s why he did what he did. There`s no time did he express that he wanted to hurt anybody. His sole intention was to meet Mr. Trump.
It took three hours to get him in custody. Upon getting him in custody, he explained the same thing. He wanted Mr. Trump`s attention. He wanted to meet him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, that was the police press conference in New York with the latest information that climber who scaled, a great word, Trump Tower, just a few minutes ago. And the guy apparently, according to that statement, the police said he wanted to meet Mr. Trump. You would think there would be easier ways.
Anyway, that climber is now undergoing, appropriately I`d say, psychiatric evaluation.
Welcome back. I like the way they say "take him to Bellevue." Unbelievable.
Anyway, Trump is defending his call for action among what he calls "Second Amendment people", pushing back against the notion that he was suggesting violence against his political opponent. Will he would, wouldn`t he (ph), at this point? It`s another example of pattern of behavior from Trump who now has a long history, a long one, of making controversial remarks, which he`s had to walk back.
Walk back is a new phrase. Clarify or otherwise clean up.
Let`s look at some other examples from throughout his campaign, this campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Written by a nice reporter. Now the poor guy, you ought to see this guy. I don`t know what I said. I don`t remember.
I didn`t know what he looked like. I didn`t know that he was disabled. I didn`t know it. I didn`t know it at all.
You know, you can see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her -- wherever.
I was referring to, or if I finished it, I was going to say ears or nose, because that`s a common statement.
I don`t know anything about David Duke, OK? I don`t know anything about what you`re even talking about white supremacy or white supremacists. You wouldn`t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about.
I totally disavow the Ku Klux Klan. I totally disavow David Duke. I`ve been doing it two weeks. This is -- you`re probably the 18th person that has asked me the question.
Russia, if you`re listening, I hope you`re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.
When I`m being sarcastic with something --
INTERVIEWER: Were you being sarcastic?
TRUMP: Of course, I`m being sarcastic.
MATTHEWS: Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as principle?
TRUMP: The answer is that, there has to be some form of punishment.
MATTHEWS: For the woman?
TRUMP: Yes. There has to be some form.
I must tell you this is the same -- my stance is the same stance as Ronald Reagan. If in fact abortion was outlawed, the person performing that act is responsible, not the woman.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by our roundtable tonight, Ken Vogel is chief investigative reporter at "Politico", Victoria McGrane is a political reporter for the great "Boston Globe", see how I pronounced that? "Boston Globe". And Jason Johnson is the politics editor at "The Root".
Jason, you start. What is this guy`s problem?
JASON JOHNSON, THE ROOT: He is from Queens. He should understand, say it to my face. This is the thing. He keeps saying this stuff and he keeps backing off of it. And that -- look, when I talk to my friends who are Trump supporters, that`s the thing that makes them angry. They`re like, we like him because he says what he means, means what he says and says by --
MATTHEWS: Does he know what he means?
JOHNSON: I think he knows what he means. I think he doesn`t care. But when you back off, you sound like a politician.
MATTHEWS: When you make fun of a guy because of a disability, that`s obvious, if you`re clearly mimicking or aping the guy and you say you`re not, what part of it would anybody like first of all?
VICTORIA MCGRANE, THE BOSTON GLOBE: Well, I think part of the problem is that --
MATTHEWS: Unless you`re eight years old.
MCGRANE: -- these off the cuff statements, sarcastic remarks, whatever you want to call them, they used to kind of slide off Trump. Even when he did backtrack on all of this, it wasn`t a problem. But now, we`re in the general election, and his -- the Trump supporters, this is what they like about him. That`s not who he needs to persuade now.
And these kinds of statements, the backing off, instead of saying "I`m sorry" really is leaving a lot of people unsettled.
MATTHEWS: Victoria, you first, quickly, I mean to Ken, the problem is, it is a main war piece in journalism. It`s -- I read the major papers today, the three big, "The Journal", "The Times" "The Post", and I`m trying to read them. I`m trying. They are struggling.
These main editors, you start, Ken, to try on write an objective statement about what the guy said when it`s in a controversy. Did he allude to, go get the gun and shooting somebody? Many people thought he did mean that.
KEN VOGEL, POLITICO: Yes, ion journalism, we face a lot of pressure to give people the benefit of the doubt, and we should. We should internalize it. So, even if it doesn`t fit with our narrative, or what the initial perception is, we also have what we call that "to be sure" graph, or we give the exculpatory information.
MATTHEWS: On the other hand.
VOGEL: Or the alternative possibilities. But it is getting harder and harder to do that for Trump, because he has this long history and what could he possibly mean other than what our first blush --
MATTHEWS: There is no lack, that thing with me about women. I think he didn`t know the pro-life position. You don`t punish the woman, because politically that would be outrageous, blame the doctor or whatever. He just didn`t know it. I mean, that was -- like he didn`t know about nuclear weapons. He apparently thinks nuclear weapons are to be used, not as a deterrent.
He doesn`t know that.
MCGRANE: And I think that`s why you`re seeing these relatively high profile Republican establishment figures coming out. Not only repudiating Donald Trump and saying, "I will not vote for him", but they`re voting, they`re saying they`re going to vote for Hillary Clinton. And some of them like Meg Whitman are saying they`re going to do everything they can to get her elected. That`s the narrative that`s building right now when a lot of Americans --
MATTHEWS: I`ll go back to something that`s always been a problem, I`ll call it his original sin. I`m not a moralist about politics. I like politicians.
When he said Obama wasn`t born in this country, first of all, it is impossible that he was not. His mother is white from Kansas. She married an African man. Maybe the guy was dodgy. He never really met the kid, never really met until he was 20-something.
But clearly, it is the mother. And she clearly did not skip over to Kenya just to have the kid so she could pretend to have the kid in Hawaii, it`s crazy talk, and giving the kid Barack Hussein Obama plotting --
MATTHEWS: -- to make him a president. It makes no sense unless you`re a racist and you want to believe it. You want to believe this, as Joe Biden would call, malarkey. You just want to believe the stupidity.
VOGEL: It`s the catch-22 of Trump`s political career. That was what really endeared him --
MATTHEWS: I love your word. Ken, I love you. You said endeared him. This endeared him, this lying about the guy being from Borneo or wherever the hell he`s from.
JOHNSON: You`re brave enough. The people, the Ohio, Youngtown folks that I know, they love it. They`ve been waiting to hear it.
VOGEL: There`s a hard feeling and you can`t get over it.
MATTHEWS: They also believe -- anyway, they also believe. I got a whole set of beliefs.
Anyway, thank you, Ken Vogel. Thank you, Victoria McGrane and Jason Johnson.
You have to come back. This is a group that I must see again. We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Well, you can play HARDBALL all week long online, follow the show on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook. You`ll get access to interviews, videos, behind the scenes photos as we hit the road covering this wild presidential campaign of 2016.
And I`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: When we return, let me finish by asking what Donald Trump really thinks about people concerned with honoring the Second Amendment. What did he mean?
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight by asking what Donald Trump thinks about people concerned with honoring the Second Amendment.
Now, there are at least two possible interpretations here. Let`s suppose he believes -- truly believes that the right to bear arms as enshrined in the bill or rights is a worthy constant in American values, that people who want it honored are doing what any good citizen might do, demand that our elected office holders honor their pledge to protect the right to bear arms, just as they do all the bill of rights. They`re simply being proud Americans, proudly and justifiably jealous of the rights secured in the Constitution and the amendments to it.
Is this what he meant yesterday, when he made that quick interjection, that Second Amendment people might have a way of stopping Hillary Clinton even if she gets elected and has the power to name federal judges? Well, if so, it`s hard to see capability such law abiding constitutionalist people would have to do such a thing. Why would such a Second Amendment crowd have any more capability to stop a duly elected, fully empowered President Clinton than anyone else?
Now, let`s look at the alternative interpretation of what Trump meant, when he made to decide to the rally audience yesterday. Did he mean by second amendment people, those with a different will, like their willingness to use their Second Amendment rights against the President Hillary Clinton, to take up arms against her?
If you find this funny, that Trump left open the possibility that this is just what he means, doesn`t it get to the heart of the problem here? Does it make a vital point that someone in Trump`s position right now should not be even hinting at such a prospect. Can we at least agree on that?
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END