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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 9/12/2016

Guests: Heidi Przybyla, Jonathan Allen, Steve Cortes, Dana Milbank, Anne Gearan, Ken Vogel, Yamiche Alcindor

Show: HARDBALL Date: September 12, 2016 Guest: Heidi Przybyla, Jonathan Allen, Steve Cortes, Dana Milbank, Anne Gearan, Ken Vogel, Yamiche Alcindor


Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Hillary Clinton is in Chappaqua tonight, resting from a weekend that wasn`t supposed to go this way. Diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday, she decided to, as they say in big-time sports, play hurt.

As can often happen, that turned out to be a bad call. Under the hot sun of Sunday morning, her condition turned for the worse. You can judge the pictures for yourself because video surfaced of Clinton waiting to get into her van after leaving the ceremony early yesterday. She was unsteady and clearly required support. She seemed to be losing her footing there.

She went to her daughter`s apartment next, later emerging and waving to the crowd. Unfortunately, a second decision was made to keep the whole matter from the public. That`s when a bad day took a turn for the worse. The Clinton campaign put out word that because of the heat down at that ceremony for 9/11, Secretary Clinton had simply left the occasion earlier than scheduled. Her people now say that keeping what actually happened secret was, as they said, a bad call. Here they are.


BRIAN FALLON, CLINTON CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: I think that in retrospect, we could have handled it better in terms of providing more information more quickly. In those 90 minutes, we were putting priority on making sure she was OK. I should say that as soon as she got into the vehicle, she was alert the whole time and was telling staff that she was fine.

But I do think that in those 90 minutes that elapsed, we could have gotten more information out more quickly, and that`s on the staff. That`s on us, and we regret that.


MATTHEWS: Well, it wasn`t until Sunday evening, however, that the campaign disclosed that Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday. To tamp down concerns, of course, her doctor put out a statement that Clinton was recovering "nicely."

Well, the other side raises two questions, I think, one that can be resolved quickly if dealt with honestly. That is Hillary Clinton`s health prognosis. If her pneumonia is of the type that can allow her to continue her campaign at the robust pace that`s needed, candidate or not, is it OK for her to get out there and keep being a candidate? And that`s a question for the doctors themselves.

The other question yesterday`s incident raised can only be answered by the voters` attention to the candidate. Are they willing to accept her instinct -- Hillary Clinton`s instinct for rigidly controlling information about herself? Are they open, given her other strengths as a possible president, to live with her propensity to release news only when releasing has grown to be the only option?

Are they ready to accept what`s called in politics "rolling disclosure," admitting to the truth only when the truth is out in the public already -- for example, when there`s an iPhone video airing that shows you being lifted into a car?

Well, this afternoon, Clinton tweeted, "Thanks to everyone who`s reached out with well wishes. I`m feeling fine and getting better." She also said, "Like everyone else, everyone who`s ever been at home sick from work, I`m just anxious to get back out there. See you on the trail soon." Well, that`s good campaign flackery.

Anyway, we do wish her well. Who doesn`t? Anyway, Clinton has canceled a trip to California for a fund-raiser. The campaign announced that Bill Clinton -- well, that makes sense -- will go in her place.

Meanwhile, both the Clinton campaign and Donald Trump are both promising additional medical information`s going to be released later in the week. We`ll believe it when we see it. Let`s watch.


FALLON: It is our intention that in the next couple days, we`re going to be releasing additional medical information about Hillary Clinton. We`ve been in touch with her physician this morning to get those materials together. We`re going to be releasing that to further put to rest any lingering concerns about what you saw yesterday.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Last week, I took a physical, and I`ll be releasing when the numbers come in. Hopefully, they`re going to be good. I think they`re going to be good. I feel great. But when the numbers come in, I`ll be releasing very, very specific numbers.


MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by NBC`s Kristen Welker. Let me ask you, Kristen, one simple question that`s going to linger. Did the Clinton campaign intend to keep secret, for whatever reason, her pneumonia prognosis from Friday until it became obvious something was wrong?

KRISTEN WELKER, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think there were discussions about how and when to disclose the information. I think you had a couple problems, Chris, behind the scenes. One, all of the controversies that were being spun up by some Republicans questioning Secretary Clinton`s health, and number two, the 9/11 memorial.

I have been told by Democratic sources close to the campaign, close to Secretary Clinton, she was not going to miss the 9/11 memorial. She was a senator on September 11. This was personal for her. So I think there was a sense in the campaign that the candidate was feeling pressure from all sides, and that`s part of what delayed it.

And you also had Secretary Clinton saying she could power through. She wasn`t coughing on Saturday, and so she felt as though she could go to the memorial. Now, based on my conversations with sources, there was an intention to at some point divulge the information to the public. But the question is when, how would that have happened, and would we know at this point if we didn`t have that video? Those remain open questions.

The campaign obviously pushing back on that, but it does feed into the broader questions about transparency. And I think that`s why you`re seeing her campaign officials come out today and say, Hey, we could have done a better job. I anticipate when Secretary Clinton gets back out on the campaign trail, Chris, she`s going to need to address that head-on to put this criticism to rest.

MATTHEWS: You know, the problem for me out there -- I`m not a big part of this story. Obviously, I`m a minuscule part of it. I`m just one of the people commenting on the campaign. And I`ve been saying there`s no real evidence of Hillary Clinton having a serious health problem.

And we were arguing that -- I was arguing that, of course, with former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani as recently as Thursday, and he was saying, Oh, no, look at the internet information, which is not very valuable, of course -- in fact, not reliable. But also, look at all the coughing spells she`s had.

When you covered, did you see any extreme coughing that would suggest pneumonia?

WELKER: Well, that cough that we saw about a week ago in Ohio in which Secretary Clinton really struggled to catch her voice and to catch her breath -- it was a coughing fit that went on for over two minutes. It was quite notable. She tried to joke about it. She said, I`m allergic to Donald Trump. But being there in the crowd, you knew that the cough was significant.

Now, of course, she said that that was a cough due to allergies, but now we have this diagnosis. The Clinton campaign, part of why they want to release the medical records is to make the point that the only thing that is wrong here is pneumonia and this is obviously something that is treatable with antibiotics.

Worth pointing out, Chris, a number of her campaign staffers also got sick with serious colds, and I know at least two of them who also had pneumonia. So it does seem as though there`s something going around the Clinton campaign. But other than that coughing spell, I didn`t see any signs that she was dealing with something serious.

MATTHEWS: I didn`t know we`d be doing so much work on the medical front, but we certainly are this campaign.


MATTHEWS: We`ll have to hear from Trump later this week, too. He`s also promised to put out his latest medical report from last week, his examination. Anyway, thank you, Kristen Welker.

Anyway, this morning, President Obama`s former chief of staff -- former chief strategist, rather, David Axelrod, ripped the Clinton campaign for its failure to fully disclose her illness. Quote -- he said, "Antibiotics can take care of pneumonia. What`s the cure for an unhealthy penchant for privacy that repeatedly creates unnecessary problems?"

That was a tough statement, and a crafted one, which shows he really wanted to say this. It wasn`t off the cuff. It was a tough comment by Axelrod about the Clinton campaign, which means Clinton.

Anyway, joining me right now is Jonathan Allen, the co-author of "HRC," a great book about Hillary, and Heidi Przybyla, senior political reporter for "USA Today" who wrote the main front story, the main bar (ph) story today.

Heidi, you first. I will get to the biographer here. What does this say, in all fairness, objectively? Does Hillary Clinton have a penchant for privacy beyond the usual normal American penchant to keep your own personal health to yourself?

HEIDI PRZYBYLA, "USA TODAY": Well, the answer to that is yes. But is this going to be a case that magnifies that and makes it a deal breaker for the American people? Probably not because you can look...

MATTHEWS: How about a week breaker?

PRZYBYLA: You can look -- you can -- you can look at -- a weak breaker, maybe. But you can look at the pieces of this and look at what Brian Fallon said and kind of put this together and figure out what happened here, which was she knew on Friday she was sick. She thought, I can take the antibiotics and power through this, and we`ll see what happens on Monday. Well, that didn`t exactly work out, and instead...

MATTHEWS: Do you think she was ever going to disclose, if she could get away with it?

PRZYBYLA: Who knows? Given the narrative that was already out there and being pushed -- by the way, I don`t think many people know this, but this has been going on for many months. "The National Enquirer" wrote a piece back in October saying she`d be dead in six months. There`s been stuff -- OK -- stuff like that out there that`s been circulating, but...


MATTHEWS: You shop in Safeway, you read the stuff in those papers, right?


MATTHEWS: Horrendous!

PRZYBYLA: Unfortunately for her, this takes some of that stuff mainstream.


PRZYBYLA: These people feel empowered.

MATTHEWS: How are they going to jump this, crosswalk this to a serious question of health beyond pneumonia? I had pneumonia about five or six years ago. It is very -- let me put it clearly. I`ve had malaria and pneumonia, pneumonia feels worse. It just makes you feel terrible. I ended up getting steroids to get through it. Or what are they called? Steroids, yes. And it was great.

JONATHAN ALLEN, CO-AUTHOR, "HRC": Did you hit a lot of home runs the next season?

MATTHEWS: No, no. It was only three or four days. But I`ll tell you, it took something like that to shake you out of the very bad feeling you have.

ALLEN: Yes, I mean...

MATTHEWS: It`s not crippling, it`s just bad.

ALLEN: I think that it really depends on what the Clinton campaign does from here. They say they`re going to release more medical records. I think that`s very important right now. The problem is that they weren`t being forthcoming.

MATTHEWS: Does this make Rudy look right?


MATTHEWS: OK, explain why it doesn`t because he was hinting all last week and before about how you got to go on the internet, you see how bad her sickness is. And I said, There`s nothing on the internet worth reading. But he kept talking about the coughing spells.

PRZYBYLA: That`s all they have, the coughing spells.

ALLEN: Look, four years ago, three years ago, Karl Rove went out and basically suggested she had brain damage. Remember "Benghazi flu"? The last...

MATTHEWS: Well, you`re getting further out. I`m saying, does a cough lead (ph) to a sign of pneumonia? Yes or no.

ALLEN: A cough is a sign of pneumonia.


ALLEN: I`m not a -- let me say I`m not a doctor. I may have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, but I`m not a doctor.

MATTHEWS: I never said you were!


MATTHEWS: Anyway (INAUDIBLE) incident has only amplified previous questions about her health. Just last week, as I said, former mayor Rudy Giuliani on HARDBALL brought up concerns -- I`m not sure "concern" is the right word from Rudy -- about Clinton`s recent coughing fits. Let`s watch.


MATTHEWS: Do you think there were any signs of illness last night by the former secretary of state -- signs of illness?

RUDY GIULIANI (R), FMR. NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: No, but I thought there were the day before...


GIULIANI: ... when she coughed for about, I don`t know, 15 minutes, and then she coughed on the airplane and then she spit something up and -- I don`t know what`s wrong with her, but they kind of hide her and...

MATTHEWS: Mayor, Mayor, Mayor -- have you got any evidence besides...

GIULIANI: I don`t!

MATTHEWS: Do you have any evidence that she`s ill? What is the evidence?

GIULIANI: I don`t. All I do is see all these incidents of her coughing all the time. I don`t know what it is. And I`ve seen her in several other situations where she didn`t look healthy.


MATTHEWS: Well, I say this in the crassest possible way, score one for Rudy, OK, because they did say the coughing suggested something more serious than just, you know, sort of you had a cold.

PRZYBYLA: Well, they didn`t have anything until now, and as you noticed today...

MATTHEWS: They`re going to run with this baby!

PRZYBYLA: ... they`re not talking about it because they think there actually might be -- might be -- a kernel of truth to it. So that is why it`s so important within the next few days for the Clinton campaign to come out with something more conclusive, to back up what Brian Fallon said, which is that there is no underlying condition.

MATTHEWS: OK. Why did they run on this thing months ago? Why have they been running, ranting on the topic of health care -- not health care...

PRZYBYLA: You mean of her health?

MATTHEWS: Yes! Why did they get onto this thing?

PRZYBYLA: Look at who some of the advisers are. I mean, this is a tried and true tactic. Didn`t they try to do the same thing in 1988 with Dukakis, kind of like just subtly? It`s not what...

MATTHEWS: They said he was seeing a shrink.

PRZYBYLA: It`s not what`s true that matters, it`s the suggestion. It`s the power of the suggestion. They even had Reagan say, you know...


PRZYBYLA: ... an invalid, right?

MATTHEWS: Exactly.

PRZYBYLA: And so it helped create the impression, and that was what was...

MATTHEWS: Well, it didn`t create her pneumonia, though. So that`s just what you`d call gratuitous or serendipity on their part.

Anyway, on Sunday, Donald Trump was characteristically -- uncharacteristically silent about Secretary Clinton`s abrupt departure from the 9/11 ceremonies. And this morning, he called in to -- you knew he`d do it -- Fox News and CNBC and addressed the incident. Here`s what he said.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I hope she gets well soon. I don`t know what`s going on. I`m -- like you, I just -- I see what I see. The coughing fit was a week ago, so I assume that was pneumonia, also. I mean, I would think it would have been. So something`s going on. But I just hope she gets well and gets back on the trail. And we`ll be seeing her at the debate.

Well, it`s interesting because they say pneumonia Friday, but she was coughing very, very badly a week ago and even before that, if you remember. This wasn`t the first time. So it`s very interesting to see what is going on. I want her to get better. I want her to get out there. I look forward to seeing her in the debate.


MATTHEWS: Where are we going on this?

ALLEN: Well, look, if you`re Donald Trump, this is the best moment that he`s had in the campaign in terms of discipline, right? He has been tweeting about her health. He`s been talking about it on the campaign trail, saying she`s got no stamina. And right now Hillary Clinton had the worst weekend of her campaign so far. And by the way, there`s some competition for that. She has the worst weekend of her campaign, and he`s getting out of the way of a story that she does not have control of.

PRZYBYLA: You know what, though? As long as there is not an underlying health condition with Hillary Clinton -- we`ve already seen a lot of her records. And now -- you know, this is double-edged. He`s going to have to release his fuller medical report right now because right now, all we have is a four-graph statement from a doctor saying he`d be the healthiest president in the history of the U.S., even though he would also be the oldest.

ALLEN: A doctor who had a five-minute writing of that.


MATTHEWS: OK, we`re going to finish up this topic because we have a much bigger one coming up right now, and that`s this question of "deplorables," the basket of deplorables that Hillary Clinton has done I think one of these snafus you make in politics where you discredit a whole bunch of Americans, like 47 percent, or people relying, as the president said, on their guns and their religion. Every once in a while, a politician makes a real mistake.

Anyway, joining me -- I want to thank you, Jonathan Allen and Heidi Przybyla.

As I said, coming up -- Trump isn`t talking about Clinton`s health. Instead, he`s hitting her for her comments that half his supporters are from, quote, "the basket of deplorables." Trump`s calling it the biggest mistake of the campaign, but it doesn`t compare to some of his own sugar plums.

Plus, new questions about the Trump Foundation. "The Washington Post" reports that Trump himself hasn`t contributed anything to it in years. Instead, the charity regifted other people`s money -- isn`t that nice? -- so that Trump himself would get the credit for the giving.

And the HARDBALL roundtable tonight`s here on the need for transparency from both campaigns.

Finally, my "Election Diary" for September 12th with just two weeks to go before the first presidential debate. Do you believe it? September 26th, coming on strong.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: We`ve got new polling showing a close race in some battleground states, but also in states that were not battleground at the start of the campaign. Let`s check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."

According to our own NBC News/"Wall Street Journal"/Marist polling, Hillary Clinton has a 1-point lead over Donald Trump up in New Hampshire. It`s Clinton 42, Trump 41. And that`s a state that was expected to be close, but Clinton held a wider lead in earlier polls.

Anyway, next to Nevada, and it`s close there, too. Clinton is up by a point over Trump, 45-44, another close one.

Now to two red states that Clinton has put into play. This is good for Clinton. In Arizona, Trump`s lead over Clinton is 1 point. It`s Trump 42- 41, again nastily close. And in Georgia, a state Republicans have won since 1996, Trump`s lead is 3. It`s Trump 46, Clinton 43, another one close to catch.

We`ll be right back.



HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump`s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.


CLINTON: Right? The racists, sexists, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.


MATTHEWS: You name it. Anyway, she just did.

Welcome back to HARDBALL. Donald Trump is slamming Hillary Clinton for that remark, which she made on Friday, describing half of Trump`s supporters as what she called "deplorables," a basket of them.

Anyway, here`s what Trump said in Baltimore today about that.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: She divides people into baskets as though they were objects, not human beings. After months of hiding from the press Hillary Clinton has revealed her true thoughts. That was her true thoughts. She revealed herself to be a person who looks down on the proud citizens of our country as subjects for her rule. The disdain that Hillary Clinton expressed toward millions of decent Americans disqualifies her from public service. You cannot run for president if you have such contempt in your heart for the American voter. And she does.


MATTHEWS: Well, in a statement over the weekend, Secretary Clinton expressed her personal regret for her comments, but did not actually apologize.

Here`s what she said: "I was grossly generalistic, generalistic, and that`s never a good idea. I regret saying half," in other words, not some other percentage of the Trump vote. "That was wrong."

I love the way she took back half.

Anyway, now the Trump campaign is out with a new ad to capitalize on what Hillary Clinton said. Here it goes.


NARRATOR: Speaking to wealthy donors, Hillary Clinton called tens of millions of Americans deplorable.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You could put half of Trump`s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables, right, the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.

NARRATOR: People like you, you, and you deplorable. You know what`s deplorable? Hillary Clinton viciously demonizing hardworking people like you.


MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now by NBC`s Hallie Jackson from Donald Trump`s rally in North Carolina right now, where moments ago, Trump invited some of his supporters up on to the stage so that they could rebut Clinton`s remarks. There they are.


MATTHEWS: So, Hallie, that`s show business. Go ahead. What do you make of it? Is he exploiting this through the roof?

JACKSON: Yes, definitely a moment kind of thing.

So, first of all, obviously, it is over. It wrapped up maybe 45 minutes ago, Chris. So, the room is being cleared out. But up on that stage behind me, Trump pulled up about 10 people, all of them to talk about how Hillary Clinton shouldn`t be calling them deplorable.

There was one couple that came up and said, we are the face. We are not the deplorable supporters, basically. So, Trump kind of letting other people do the talking for him. And he then took the stage and continued to go after Clinton in a way that saw him do in Baltimore.

And this was something that was echoed by Rudy Giuliani, by the way, who, as you talked about in the last segment, I think, had been one of the folks really pushing some of these discussions, these conspiracy theories, as the Clinton calls them, about her health, but who didn`t touch on that here tonight.

Instead, he also went after Clinton for the deplorables line. Here is the Trump campaign strategy. They believe they`re making this political calculation that this will be as damaging to her as Mitt Romney`s 47 percent comment, remember, last cycle was to Romney. And they`re also saying...


MATTHEWS: Sure. How could we forget it?

JACKSON: ... it`s not just that -- well, really. They`re not just going after the half that -- you noted she walked back saying half, leaving sort of an unknown percentage up there.

But they`re going after the other -- quote, unquote -- "basket." You heard Giuliani say, hey, she described this other basket as the poor people, the desperate people. That is something that RNC communications director Sean Spicer has been echoing today, clearly a line that surrogates are deploying to say that Hillary Clinton thinks all Trump supporters are essentially worthy of having her attention.

Now, that is obviously not exactly what Clinton said when you go back and look at the verbid. But there is a calculation being made that this is going to be ultimately beneficial to Donald Trump.

Does it come with political risks, Chris? Of course it does. A conversation about racism and sexism could potentially be damaging to Donald Trump. You look at that new "Washington Post"/ABC News poll showing that some 60 percent of voters believe that Donald Trump is biased towards women and minorities.

And, yes, while the distinction is drawn that while Clinton didn`t go after Trump himself for being deplorable, but his supporters, any conversation that involves racism and sexism -- a lot of political analysts are talking about this on both sides of the aisle -- could end up hurting Trump in the long run, unless he`s making the right bet here that people will see Clinton as more out of touch and as somebody who doesn`t care for them before November.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I just think a lot of people don`t like being called racist, no matter what their thinking is or their heart is. They don`t like it. They`re going to get angry about this, I think, from the other side.

Anyway, thank you.

You did a great job, by the way, on that aircraft carrier. That was great last week.

JACKSON: Thank you. Thanks. Appreciate that.

MATTHEWS: It was really great. Well, you got all those people involved. You got a lot of military service people involved in the conversation. I thought that was great.

JACKSON: Yes. Thanks.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, while Clinton said she regrets -- Secretary Clinton regrets characterizing half of Trump`s supporters as deplorables, a PPP poll from May -- this is not long ago -- showed that, among Trump supporters, catch these numbers, 65 percent, almost two-thirds, said they think President Obama is a Muslim, 65 percent of Trump supporters; 59 percent, three out of five, said they think he was not born in the U.S.

In other words, they`re birthers. Three out of five Trump people are birthers. And, as Hallie Jackson just said, a new "Washington Post"/ABC News poll finds that a majority of American voters, 60 percent, say they believe Donald Trump is biased against women and minorities.

So there`s a lot of numbers out there that do not look good for Trump.

I`m joined right now by Trump surrogate Steve Cortes, as well as MSNBC political analyst Jonathan Capehart, opinion writer for "The Washington Post" and host of a new podcast, "Cape Up."

It plays off your name, I guess.


MATTHEWS: Yes, it does.

Let me go to Steve.

Steve, what`s your thinking about the fact of these polls that show -- forget words like deplorable, baskets of deplorables or binders of women the other stupid phrases -- isn`t it true that we have polls out there showing a substantial majority of Trump supporters, self-identified supporters, have these attitudes about President Obama, the fact that he`s from some other country? They have this belief he`s a Muslim.

These are not nice things to be saying about someone who is clearly an American and has been going to Christian churches his whole life.


MATTHEWS: Your answer?

CORTES: Well, Chris, it`s not just that they`re not nice. They`re not true. OK? That`s what`s more important.

And I will tell you this. You have never heard the campaign talk about any of this lately. So, the president...


MATTHEWS: Lately, you snuck that little grace note in there. Trump is known as Mr. Birther.

CORTES: The campaign hasn`t talked about it.


CORTES: Look, the president is clearly a Christian American.

I have many, many reasons -- I have many issues with the president, but they are not his birth or his religion.

MATTHEWS: Why won`t Trump say so?

CORTES: I think he will. And, by the way, I am and many of his surrogates have.

MATTHEWS: What makes you think that, Steve? What makes you think he will say something he has refused to say for years?

CORTES: Well, I think he will.

But, look, here, I think, too, we can`t major in the minors. This is such a -- Donald Trump hasn`t mentioned his birth in an extremely long time. And no one credible in his campaign has at all this whole time in the campaign.


MATTHEWS: So, when he gets in the car if he wins and rides up to the Capitol, he believes he`s going to be sitting in the car next to a president, a person who is not a legitimate president.


MATTHEWS: That is not an insignificant belief on his part, if he believes it, if he really believes. But you say he doesn`t. But you say he doesn`t believe it.


CORTES: No. He -- listen, a very long time ago, he asked for proof. Proof was given. OK? The president is American. Case closed. Case closed.

MATTHEWS: And then?

CORTES: We don`t worry about it anymore.

MATTHEWS: Then? And then? And then?

CORTES: And he stopped talking about it. And he stopped talking about it. What we want to talk about, by the way -- listen, this is a red herring, because what we have is him not talking about that.


MATTHEWS: No. It`s a creation of your candidate...


MATTHEWS: ... he could dispense with in 10 -- we`re on live television. In two minutes, he could come up and say, I don`t believe that anymore. I believe this president was American-born. I think he`s native-born. He has a right to be president of the United States. I don`t believe he`s a Muslim. End it right there. That`s all he has to do.

But he`s not calling, if you listen for the next few minutes.

Jonathan, let`s go back to the issue at hand, this deplorables basket.

CAPEHART: Yes. Right.

MATTHEWS: She basically condemned the whole -- let me get it right. I`m not going to say a whole basket. A whole percentage around Trump voters, around 50 percent, she said are in this deplorable category, Islamophobes, xenophobes, whatever.

CAPEHART: Homophobes, yes, yes.


CAPEHART: I`m sorry, I cannot...

MATTHEWS: Is that good politics?

CAPEHART: Well, politically, you want to call it a gaffe. I don`t -- if she made a mistake...


MATTHEWS: No, I think it`s wrong. You don`t describe a quarter or a fifth of the American people as the bad guy.


CAPEHART: Her mistake was putting a number to it, saying half.


MATTHEWS: She has called them it deplorable. These people are deplorable.

CAPEHART: You just showed, Chris...


MATTHEWS: Just saying they`re deplorable as human beings. I`m just saying.


MATTHEWS: She`s running to lead the whole country.


CORTES: Calling tens of millions of Americans deplorable is incredibly disrespectful. It`s incredible elitist.

CAPEHART: You know what`s incredibly disrespectful, Steve?


CORTES: And it`s utterly out of touch.

CAPEHART: Having a candidate for president of the United States denigrate an entire group of people, suggesting an immoral and unconstitutional plan to deport 11 million people, including American-born immigrants, because they`re undocumented.

Don`t get into a conversation with me about what`s deplorable when you have a Republican nominee for president who...


CAPEHART: And that`s just one of the things in the so-called basket of deplorables.


CORTES: Illegal immigrants don`t have constitutional rights, first of all. Legal immigrants, who we love, and Americans have constitutional rights.

CAPEHART: Oh, no, no, no.


CAPEHART: Your candidate suggested that American-born immigrants whose parents might happen to be undocumented immigrants would also be a part of his deportation plan.

So, until you can -- until, Steve, you can come to me and to this conversation with an actual immigration plan, you have nothing to say.


MATTHEWS: Guys, I want to get back to a narrower question which we have on the table.

Trump`s running mate, by the way, Mike Pence, was asked on CNN this afternoon whether David Duke would qualify as one of those deplorables. Let`s watch that exchange.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN: There are some supporters of Donald Trump and Mike Pence who -- like David Duke, for example, and some other white nationalists, who would fit into that category of deplorables, right?

GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, as I have told you the last time I was on, I`m not really sure why the media keeps dropping David Duke`s name.

Donald Trump has denounced David Duke repeatedly. We don`t want his support and we don`t want the support of people who think like him.

BLITZER: Well, you call him a deplorable? You would call him that?

PENCE: No. I don`t -- I`m not in the name-calling business, Wolf.


MATTHEWS: Well, later on FOX News, Pence said of that interview: "They wanted me to start using terms that Hillary uses."

So, Steve, is that the issue, using Hillary-like words, rather than your own words, or is it he doesn`t want to condemn somebody like David Duke?

CORTES: Look, Chris, I don`t know how -- I don`t know how many times the campaign, Donald Trump and all of us need to say we denounce David Duke for the mainstream media to believe it.

Do we have it to beat him senseless on live air? Is that the only way that people are going to believe we denounce? David Duke endorsed Donald Trump. Donald Trump never endorsed him or his stupid bigotry. And we don`t support that at all.

And, a matter of fact, quite the opposite. And I`m very proud of Trump for this. We`re making a very deliberate and intentional outreach to African- Americans and Hispanic Americans to try to tell them that we have answers for the problems that are plaguing their communities and that we humbly and respectfully want to earn their votes. This has been the opposite of a racist campaign.

MATTHEWS: Well, in an apparent show of solidarity with fellow supporters, several Trump supporters, including Donald Trump Jr., posted this had image parodying Clinton`s remarks on social media.

But as NBC News points out, the picture included the image of a cartoon frog -- there he is, the green guy there -- that has become a popular symbol of white nationalists.

I didn`t know this. I`m learning it. As Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center told NBC News -- quote -- "The white nationalists are going to love this because they`re going to feel like, yes, we`re in there with Trump. There`s Pepe the Frog."

I know none of this stuff, but I now know it. I have just learned it today. Pepe the Frog is apparently some icon you put in your pictures to show solidarity with the alt-right.

CAPEHART: Right, with white supremacy.

It`s -- we have gone from dog whistles to full-on barking. No one is trying to hide anything anymore. And one of the things I was about to say at the beginning of the last answer is that this campaign has built its support and gotten the nomination because people gravitated towards Donald Trump because he -- quote -- "tells it like it is, he is against political correctness," and he -- quote -- "says things that I can`t say."

MATTHEWS: Like President Obama should not be president.

CAPEHART: Should not be president because...

MATTHEWS: Constitutional violations by him because he snuck in the country.

CAPEHART: Right, and he is an illegal occupier of the Oval Office.

MATTHEWS: You know, I wish they would drop it, because I would like to drop it.


MATTHEWS: But your guy, your candidate refuses to drop the issue of the legitimacy of this question. And it is not a nonessential question. It`s pretty darn fundamental.

CORTES: Chris, that`s not fair. He hasn`t mentioned that at all during this campaign.


MATTHEWS: What do you mean he hasn`t mentioned it?

CORTES: He hasn`t mentioned it.

And, Jonathan, what are you getting at? Are you saying that Donald Trump Jr. is a racist? Is that what you`re saying, because he retweeted something with an image that he probably knew nothing about? I certainly didn`t know anything about it.

CAPEHART: I didn`t even talk about Donald Trump Jr. We were talking about his father.

CORTES: OK. So his father is a racist?

CAPEHART: Oh, I`m on record as saying that.

CORTES: And are we going to just play the same old card...

MATTHEWS: No, it`s his son that is involved with that, retweeting that stuff.

CORTES: ... that the Democrats have played? Every time you guys get tired of talking ideas, you start name-calling, you call us deplorable. You call us racist.


MATTHEWS: When I accuse you of being an illegal immigrant, and you say -- and then I say I haven`t talked about it lately, why are you still mad at me, you will understand -- when you make a shot like a guy snuck somehow into the United States, who is the first African-American president, who doesn`t belong on the pictures of all the presidents in history, that somehow deserves not even an asterisk, that`s something you can`t just walk away from, you have got to walk back.

And your guy won`t do it. You can yell all you want and attack "youse guys, youse guys" but the fact is your guy won`t tell the truth about Barack Obama, the current president, yet he wants to be the next.

Jonathan Capehart, Steve Cortes, thank you.


MATTHEWS: Up next: New questions surround the Trump Foundation. An investigation by "The Washington Post" finds the charities re-gifting donations and taking credit for giving money away.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

"The Washington Post" reported over the weekend on their investigation into the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which they call a threadbare, skeletal operation.


According to "Washington Post" reporter David Fahrenthold, nearly all the money comes from people other than Trump. In tax records, the last gift from Trump was in 2008. Since then, all the donations have been other people`s money, an arrangement that experts say is almost unheard of for a family foundation.

One expert on charity, Leslie Lenkowsky, a former head of the Corporation for National Community Service, told "The Post": "Our common understanding of charity is, you give something of yourself to somebody else to help them. It`s not something that you raise money from one side to spend it on the other."

Joining me right now is Dana Milbank, the opinion writer for "The Washington Post."

Dana, what do you make of this -- it`s not a Ponzi scheme. It`s totally different. The money just comes in one door and out the other, and you get credit for it.


DANA MILBANK, OP-ED COLUMNIST, "THE WASHINGTON POST": It`s been a little bit like Trump`s overall business plan, which is basically take something of value, add your magical brand to it, and you have not actually added anything to it at all. Then you have...


MATTHEWS: You franchise the money.

MILBANK: Yes, basically, although it sounds like he was in some cases doing this without people actually realizing that all he`s doing is taking in their money and giving it to somebody else.

MATTHEWS: Did he give ever money to that charity for the veterans that he talked about when he had that big -- when he wouldn`t show up for the debate during the primaries, and then he ended up having an evening where he said, I`m going to give a million bucks to this thing?

MILBANK: He did, but only because my colleague David Fahrenthold was banging away at this thing, saying, where is the money? And finally he was forced to give away the money.

And that -- what David did here is went through all of the charitable records going back some 17 years, and there were cases like that there. He found five cases of these phantom contributions, where they say they gave the money, but the people who were supposed to receive it didn`t receive didn`t actually receive it.

MATTHEWS: How about giving the money to that attorney general after she decided not to prosecute the Trump University case?

MILBANK: And he`s already -- the foundation has already paid a fine for that one.

I think the most damning ones in here are the self-dealing ones, the one where they used charitable money to buy for Donald Trump a self -- a portrait made of Donald Trump and a Tim Tebow helmet. So, that...

MATTHEWS: What did they do with that? Give it away?

MILBANK: Well, we don`t know.

If he hasn`t given it away to somebody, that`s illegal.

MATTHEWS: These are carrying costs?

MILBANK: So, if we Donald Trump with an orange Gators helmet out there somewhere, we know that there`s a problem.

MATTHEWS: You mean that this foundation has costs?

MILBANK: It does indeed have costs.

The thing is, it`s a tiny foundation. He hasn`t put any money into it since 2008. They have something like $1.3 million total.

MATTHEWS: So, how much money did the Clintons give to their foundation? I`m just asking.

MILBANK: Well, I don`t know what -- I don`t know what they give to their foundation, but their foundation gives away $250 million a year. And this is orders of magnitude smaller.

This is really penny-ante stuff, and particularly in this days of Clinton`s...


MILBANK: ... deplorables.

MATTHEWS: What do you think of this?

There`s a lot of -- there`s a lot of enterprise reporting going on like this, which always seems to happen when nothing else is going on. People say, OK, time to do some research.

Have you got a sense, as a journalist, an opinion guy, have you got a sense that any news about Trump or Hillary changes anybody`s mind at this point? Does anything work to change opinion, shake loose people?

MILBANK: Certainly...

MATTHEWS: Are the minds made up?

MILBANK: Certainly about Trump, it doesn`t.

All along, there have been all kinds of things that, for anybody else, would have been deadly and disqualifying. No, I don`t expect this one will either. But that`s not a reason not to do it. This is really first-rate journalism my colleague has done.

MATTHEWS: Well, you have to do it now, rather than once somebody is elected.

MILBANK: Well...

MATTHEWS: But then they will really be mad at us.

MILBANK: They will really be mad at us, or maybe we will actually see the tax returns. We don`t have the returns, which is why you have to pore through the record books.


Response to the reporting here. Late today, "The Washington Post" reported that Hope Hicks, spokeswoman for Donald Trump`s presidential campaign, of course, said that Trump has given away tens of millions of dollars over his life. But according to "The Post", Hicks offered no details about that number. Well, here we are. That`s how the lay of the land right now.

Thank you, Dana Milbank.

Up next, the HARDBALL round table is coming here with the need for more transparency, don`t you think, from both the Clinton and Trump campaign. How about some tax returns? How about some medical information on time?

Plus, three things you might not the know about the presidential race coming up from our experts.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Sunday`s confusingly slow trickle of information from the Clinton campaign, the Hillary campaign, has left the team vulnerable to criticism that the campaign is not transparent. But some, many of the same transparency questions applied to Donald Trump and his campaign as well. To date, we have yet to see his tax returns and his own medical records, of course, although Trump says he plans to release the results of a physical exam he had last week.

Well, a recent NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll shows both candidates with high unfavorables, when it comes to being honest and straightforward, Hillary Clinton gets a combined 22 percent, very good, good rating, and a 56 percent very poor/poor rating. For Trump, it`s 35 percent very good/good, and 46 percent poor/very poor.

Well, you get the gist. It`s not good for either.

Joining me on tonight`s roundtable, Anne Gearan, national politics reporter to the aforementioned "Washington Post", Ken Vogel, chief investigative reporter for "Politico", which is always challenging "The Post," and Yamiche Inside -- Insider -- Alcindor, she`s also an insider, is a reporter for "The New York Times."

Yamiche, thank you and sorry for my foolish complaint about your name, my mistake about Alcindor. We know you so well.

Anyway, let`s talk about why the press is nonpartisan that covers a candidate like Hillary Clinton is concerned that she went off the grid, went off the scope on Sunday. We didn`t know where she was.

ANNE GEARAN, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, I mean, several things happened that are pretty disturbing. The first is that the reporters who were there with her -- some distance away from her but assigned to cover her as part of the protective pool, as we like to call it, noticed that she was gone and no one had told them that, and it was several minutes after they noticed she was gone that the campaign confirmed that, in fact, she was gone.

MATTHEWS: She made it on her own two feet all the way over to the van where she apparently collapsed.

GEARAN: She was away from where she had been standing. It`s not clear that she was in the van at that point, but then it was an hour and a half after that before the campaign explained where she was and what had happened.

MATTHEWS: Now, do you get, just the traveling pool has a ready car to chase the candidate or do you normally get a heads up they`re going to the next location and you follow them? Is that what happens?

GEARAN: A little of both. There`s a dedicated van that carries the reporters that goes along behind her.

MATTHEWS: Why didn`t they go behind her this time?

GEARAN: That is the question.

MATTHEWS: Who stopped them?

GEARAN: They were never told she left.

MATTHEWS: Didn`t they see her getting in the van?

GEARAN: No. They`re back where they were supposed to be and never knew she left.

MATTHEWS: A civilian took the picture with the iPhone.

GEARAN: Exactly.

KEN VOGEL, POLITICO: Right. And the press didn`t know where she was.

MATTHEWS: Suppose there was no civilian there that took the picture with the iPhone, would we know any of this, that she had pneumonia, would she know -- we know that she collapsed, would we know anything if it weren`t for that individual?

GEARAN: All we can say that we would know for sure that she left the location where she was supposed to be because there was a camera --

MATTHEWS: And showed up an hour and a half later and said it`s a beautiful day in New York, Mr. Rogers.


VOGEL: We wouldn`t necessarily know until she`s back --

MATTHEWS: So, do we now salute social media for doing their work or what?

VOGEL: I mean, that`s sort of one of the takeaways from this, but certainly they should under the rules we traditionally cover presidential candidates, they should make accommodations. That`s how -- I mean, your question about, do they provide, how does --


MATTHEWS: Well, does ever disappear for an hour or two and head back to his hotel or Trump Tower?

VOGEL: And Trump also does not have the protective pool arrangement. So, yes, theoretically, he could and, you know, that`s why we and the press are sort of putting forth this concerted effort, this pressure campaign --

MATTHEWS: Yamiche, is this the norm that the presidential candidates after they win the nomination are expected to be available 24/7? In other words, they`re on -- they`re somewhere like a GPS we can spot where they are and know what they`re doing?

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: From my understanding, if you have a pool and you`re being covered by the media, that we`re supposed to know where you are, we`re supposed to be updating us regularly. If you go missing in the middle of a 9/11 ceremony, you`re supposed to tell us this is where she`s going.

I -- I mean, as a reporter you can`t say whether or not we would have found all this information out. The fact that a civilian is the reason we see her getting into the van is problematic for the Clinton campaign and in some ways the protective pool and the pool is all based on trust. The reporters are trusting --

MATTHEWS: What came first, the chicken or the egg? Did they know about the iPhone when they came clean about where she was and what was going on? That she fainted?


GEARAN: Right. In the intervening hour and a half when she went to Chelsea`s apartment and recuperated, the video came out. So, by the time she left that apartment building they knew.


VOGEL: In fact, we report that had when she gets in the car to go to Chelsea`s, this is from Clinton campaign sources, she`s drinking water, cooling down in the back seat, it`s air-conditioned, but then she automatically very quickly starts strategizing about how to handle this and what the blowback is. So, you can imagine they`re discussing.

MATTHEWS: OK. Well, here`s Bill Clinton, an expert on all things, talking about his wife`s health in an interview with Charlie Rose I guess for tonight`s broadcast on CBS.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: She`s doing fine. She was even better last night before she went to sleep. She had a good night`s sleep. She just got dehydrated yesterday.

CHARLIE ROSE, HOST: Is that what happened, she got dehydrated?


ROSE: Because when you look at the collapse, the video that was taken, you wonder if it`s not more serious --

CLINTON: Oh, no.

ROSE: -- than dehydration.

CLINTON: She`s been -- well, if it is, it`s a mystery to me and all of her doctors. Today she made a decision, which I think was correct, to cancel her campaign day.

ROSE: Right.

CLINTON: To take one more day to rest.

ROSE: Is it possible she will be away weeks from the campaign trail?

CLINTON: No, not a shot. I`ll be lucky to held her back another day.


MATTHEWS: Well, the roundtable is staying with us.

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

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


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 and behind-the-scenes photos as we cover this wild presidential campaign.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL round table.

Anne, tell me something I don`t know. And you know everything.

GEARAN: Hardly. Well, no, Bill Clinton stole my tell me something because his office announced that he`s going to fill in for his wife at a fundraiser in California.

MATTHEWS: Well, you always a have spare, don`t you?

GEARAN: So, I have a spare, which is that the health information that Hillary Clinton will release either later this week or perhaps it`s looking more likely next week is not just going to be an update on the current situation. It`s going to be more of a retrospective, a full update on the overall health --


GEARAN: Yes, exactly, from more than a year ago.

MATTHEWS: I don`t think they need forever. They need recent history.


VOGEL: Donald Trump now talking about releasing more detailed medical records of his own, clearly trying to use this to his advantage. But he and the people around him are very sensitive to questions about his health to the point where we wrote in a story, we called him a 70-year-old corpulent junk food gabbling -- I had one of his people call me and say he could do more push-ups.

MATTHEWS: OK, Yamiche?

ALCINDOR: Mine is that I was talking to some battleground organizers for the Trump campaign and they are still frustrated that they are not getting the resources that they`re getting. So, even now, two months outside of the campaign, people are saying we don`t have enough offices, we don`t have enough volunteers, we don`t have enough money. So, that really tells you just how the Trump campaign is still kind of struggling to get set up.

MATTHEWS: I think he wants to win on television, just him, you know. The guy used to fight the machines, was it John Brown, or whoever the guy was.

Anyway, thank you, Anne Gearan, Ken Vogel, and Yamiche Alcindor.

When we return, my election diary for where this race stands right now just two weeks before the presidential debate.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Election diary Monday, September 12th, 2016.

Well, there`s nothing you don`t know about the term this weekend worked on the campaign for president. The question is what it will do to voters` loyalties. Will the decision by Hillary Clinton to keep the country in the dark on her medical condition matter to people or will it feed the concern that she prizes her privacy above all, that given a choice she will choose to keep matters from the public, basic human facts, like her having a case of pneumonia?

Well, this question took his position in the cue however, right ahead of her condemnation last week of the basket of deplorables, the phrase she chose to describe half of Donald Trump`s supporters. A friend of mine who worked for President Jimmy Carter once told me a rule of a former president, you get nowhere politically calling people racist. It doesn`t shame them and most certainly it doesn`t win them over to your side.

And yes, it does remind us of when President Obama, then a candidate, told that well-off San Francisco crowd about those benighted folks who cling to their guns and religion because they like the progressive awakening. And yes, it does remind us of when Mitt Romney four years later, insulted that notorious 47 percent as leaches on the body politic.

As an old TV commercial advises, it`s not nice to fool Mother Nature, it`s also not nice to fool a substantial bloc of the electorate whose basic human concerns you promise to depend when you run for president of the entire country. So, a good beginning of the week for Donald Trump because he showed the courtesy or at least the political facsimile to cool it.

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.