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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 10/21/2016

Guests: Anne Gearan, Curt Schilling, Jason Johnson, Jennifer Rubin, Roy Neel

Show: HARDBALL Date: October 21, 2016 Guest: Anne Gearan, Curt Schilling, Jason Johnson, Jennifer Rubin, Roy Neel

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Guess who`s coming to dinner?

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews, back in Washington from the Al Smith dinner last night.

Well, tonight Donald Trump`s race for president seems caught in a downward spiral, and he can`t seem to pull out of it. With 18 days to go until election, Republicans are panicked. Battleground state polls show Hillary Clinton rising. She`s gaining altitude in several red states, including Georgia, Utah, Arizona, and even Texas.

Meanwhile, a new NBC on-line poll out just today shows more Americans think Hillary Clinton won Wednesday`s debate in Las Vegas.

Well, last night Donald Trump got booed at the traditionally civil and actually friendly Al Smith dinner, when he called Clinton "corrupt" and anti-Catholic, he threw in. I was at the head table and could feel the strong reaction all around that room.

His allies, meanwhile, have spent the week defending his refusal to say he`d accept the results of the election and his slur that Clinton, Mrs. Clinton, is a nasty woman. Well, according to Robert Costa and Philip Bump of "The Washington Post," quote, "A wave of apprehension and anguish swept the Republican Party on Thursday, with many GOP leaders concluding it is probably too late to salvage his flailing presidential campaign. Republicans privately acknowledge it could be a landslide victory for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton."

In fact, look at this front page, the wood (ph) of "The New York Daily News" today. The cover argued that exactly that should happen. It was their editorial. "Bury Trump in a landslide," it roars. "Restore U.S. honor with giant defeat of the fear-mongering demagogue." Well, that`s pretty clear.

Also today, Vice President Joe Biden had a strong reaction of his own in Joe style to Trump`s comments in that "Access Hollywood" tape back in 2005. Here`s Joe -- joltin` Joe. Here he comes.


JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because I`m a billionaire, I can do things other people can`t. What a disgusting assertion for anyone to make!


BIDEN: The press always asks me, don`t I wish I were debating him? No, I wish we were in high school, I could take him behind the gym. That`s what I wish.



MATTHEWS: Well, meanwhile, at his rallies today, Donald Trump at times took a very different tone. Interesting to watch his tone, how it`s changed, reflecting on the past 16 months of the campaign. Let`s watch him.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You know what they all say, that it doesn`t matter if you win or lose? What we`ve done has never been done. It`s true, never been done in this country before, crowds like this, this whole thing, us getting the nomination -- it`s really us, but us getting the nomination.

And we`re going to do this for another 19 days. And then I don`t know what kind of shape I`m in, but I`ll be happy, and at least I will have known, win, lose, or draw -- and I`m almost sure, if the people come out, we`re going to win...


TRUMP: But I will be -- I will be happy with myself.


MATTHEWS: Well, joining me right now is NBC political director Chuck Todd. He`s also, of course, moderator of "MEET THE PRESS," "Washington Post" national political reporter Anne Gearan -- she`s also with me -- and "The Washington Post`s" columnist Eugene Robinson, who`s stuck in Vegas.

You`re allowed to leave now, Gene!


MATTHEWS: Let me -- let me go to Gene...


CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, "MEET THE PRESS": If the tables are rolling, man, why leave? Never leave when you`ve got a hot hand.

MATTHEWS: Gene, let me ask you about this sort of nostalgic voice from Trump after a fiery week, including last night`s dinner. He sounds like a guy that`s sort of resolved himself -- resigned himself to defeat.


MATTHEWS: That`s how I hear him.

ROBINSON: ... totally new. I mean, I haven`t heard anything like that from Trump all year, and it almost sounds introspective and self-aware, which are words that I would never use with Donald Trump or never would have used until we started hearing that. I mean, that`s the way a candidate talks when they kind of see handwriting on the wall or think they do. And then they`ll say, you know, But if everybody turns out, we`ll win. But the subtext is, I kind of think we`re not going to -- not going to make it.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me get to another crazy thing, Anne, and then we`ll get to the moderator because let me ask this. It seems like he`s doing things which are really strange, like -- first of all, flailing`s a pretty good word. Why is he going after Michelle Obama, who everybody likes and isn`t in this fight really as a personality, except as a -- you know, a surrogate.

ANNE GEARAN, "WASHINGTON POST": I mean, I have to assume it`s because he feels that Michelle Obama and Barack Obama have slighted him personally, and it`s a grudge. It profits him nothing politically to go after them. She`s popular among a lot of Republicans.


MATTHEWS: ... his opponent. Anyway, Donald Trump spent time at his rally today -- it was in Johnstown, and in Pennsylvania -- talking about both Clintons, both the president and the first lady. This is -- he`s always been told, focus your attention on the person you`re running against. Here he`s doing something else. Here he goes.


TRUMP: We have a president, all he wants to do is campaign, his wife, all she wants to do is campaign. And I see how much his wife likes Hillary, but wasn`t she the one that originally started the statement, If you can`t take care of your home, right, you can`t take care of the White House or the country? Where`s that? I don`t hear that. I don`t hear that. She`s the one that started that. I said, we can`t say that. It`s too vicious. Can you believe it? I said that. We can`t say -- they said, Well, Michelle Obama said it. I said, She did?


MATTHEWS: Well, Trump was referring there to comments Michelle Obama made in 2007, which were taken a shot against the Clintons during that primary fight between those two families, if you will.

Why is he doing this?

TODD: Well, he`s not nimble, but I get what he`s trying to do. He`s trying to say, Hey -- he`s trying to say, I know the Obamas are popular. And don`t you remember when they didn`t like the Clintons?


TODD: So for him, that was a nimble thing to do because he didn`t directly attack the two of them personally.


TODD: He said...

MATTHEWS: Well, he said he`s not doing his job!

TODD: Well, but it was more about trying to see if he can -- he`s been trying to recreate the wedge between the Obamas and Clintons for some time. It`s just not there.

And for the Obamas, it`s personal. That`s why she -- Michelle Obama agreeing to travel all the way to Arizona tells you a lot. And her motivation -- is it the Clintons, or is it Donald Trump? I think the problem for him is that the motivation is Donald Trump.

But let me also -- this was a good day for Pat Toomey. This was a good day for Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, and here`s why. If Donald Trump goes and spends the next 18 days doing what he did today, which is showing a little introspection, but travel to the base parts of Senate battleground states that also happen to be in the presidential battleground, Pennsylvania, North Carolina...


TODD: ... talk to his supporters without trashing other parts of the Republican Party, that`s something Pat Toomey can live with.

MATTHEWS: Because there`s two Republican votes coming this year.

TODD: Right.

MATTHEWS: There`s the Trump vote and a non-Trump Republican vote.

TODD: Right.

MATTHEWS: And people -- especially...

TODD: Toomey can campaign for the non-Trump vote, right.

MATTHEWS: Right. And Pennsylvania has a deep history of ticket splitting at the top. It`s lost some of it, but it may regain it this year if Toomey wins.

GEARAN: Yes. For sure. I mean, you`ve got Clinton campaigning there tomorrow with Tim Kaine in both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. And they feel very confident on the presidential -- in the presidential race, she`s far ahead in Pennsylvania. But they are trying to shore up the Senate, and in North -- excuse me -- in New Hampshire, as well.

MATTHEWS: You know, guys, when you see a big football power, a Big 10 team or a usual top 20 team, take on a small school, and then they -- the small school`s able to hold them off for the first couple quarters, and it`s 8 to -- 8 to -- 8 to 8 at halftime and it`s 52 to 8 at the end of the game because there`s depth.

TODD: Right.

MATTHEWS: You know, Gene, you take it on. I want you to watch this because Hillary`s got depth -- not the most exciting candidate we`ve ever seen, somewhat dull at times, somewhat robotic at times, but she`s always got the troops ready. She`s always prepared for the debate. She`s always got people -- handlers, corner people to help her get ready. She always has troops, and last night, she had joke writers.

This was a professional performance by Hillary Clinton, and Trump couldn`t match her in the field of joke performance and production. Here`s Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both speaking at the Al Smith charity dinner last night in New York. Some of their jokes landed. Let`s watch.


TRUMP: The media is even more biased this year than ever before. Ever. You want the proof? Michelle Obama gives a speech, and everyone loves it. It`s fantastic. My wife, Melania, gives the exact same speech...


TRUMP: ... and people get on her case!


TRUMP: And I don`t get it! I don`t know why!

HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: This is such a special event that I took a break from my rigorous nap schedule to be here.


CLINTON: And as you`ve already heard, it`s a treat for all of you, too, because, usually, I charge a lot for speeches like this.


MATTHEWS: Well, Bobby Kennedy famously said -- he was the New York senator, as well -- that you hang a lantern on your problem, and both of them were doing it. That`s why both those jokes worked. By the way, Melania`s a trooper. She took it. She took it on the chin and she laughed. And he didn`t laugh, but she was laughing at a good joke, and so was Hillary.

Anyway, but the audience turned on Trump -- and I was there, they really did -- when he seemed to go into parts of his stump speech to attack Clinton. You`re not supposed to do that at the dinner to raise money for the poor kids of New York, the church group, as well. Let`s watch him.


TRUMP: Hillary is so corrupt, she got kicked off the Watergate commission.


TRUMP: How corrupt do you have to be to get kicked off the Watergate commission? Pretty corrupt.

Here she is tonight, in public, pretending not to hate Catholics.



MATTHEWS: Gene, Hillary had professional material, wherever she got it. I said to her afterwards, Keep that team together, those were great writers. Keep doing it again, whereas -- there I was with her -- but Trump ran out of good material and went to the trash talk, and it just did not work. I don`t think it got him a single vote last night, anywhere watching. Your thoughts.

ROBINSON: Yes. I mean, you were in the hall, Chris, so you had that feeling. It certainly came through. I watched it on television. And you saw, number one, Hillary Clinton had better joke writers. She just simply -- he should have hired somebody to write some jokes.


ROBINSON: And the second thing is...

MATTHEWS: Aren`t there any conservatives in Hollywood? Maybe there aren`t any, I don`t know. Go ahead. I`m sorry.

ROBINSON: Well, you played the bits that worked. Hillary Clinton did what you have to do, which is self-deprecation. Donald Trump did kind of a bleak self-deprecation, right, because the joke was really about Melania, not about him. You kind of have to set it up that way, and then you can attack a little bit more. Hillary Clinton got that.

MATTHEWS: Well, this is the part of the thing that`s much more important. Both of you answer this. Something big`s gone wrong. Trump is not living in lala-land. He`s looking at the polls that we produce and you put on every night, and he knows what`s going on. It`s like a football game, at some point, they don`t show the score, you know, NFL games, they stop showing the score because it`s not fun anymore, it`s three or four touchdowns...

GEARAN: Right...

MATTHEWS: ... in the third quarter, even. And it`s still just the beginning of the fourth quarter, but there`s a game to be played here, and he`s acting like we`re all acting, it`s pretty much over.

GEARAN: Yes, it`s been a very slow reckoning, but we`re watching that reckoning happening. He`s actually -- you can see it. It`s a bit painful. He`s trying to figure out what the heck happened. He`s uncomfortable in this position. He doesn`t know how he got here. He`s lashing out and blaming other people, but he`s also looking at his own campaign, looking at himself, trying to figure out what happened.


TODD: I guess I`m just not convinced this lasts. I mean, I think...


MATTHEWS: I think that -- you know, look, at the end of the day, he`s a fighter, OK? That`s what he wants to do.

MATTHEWS: But he hasn`t...


MATTHEWS: ... reversed the spiral yet.

TODD: He hasn`t. And I`m not saying he`s -- I`m saying doing it is going to work. It may make things worse. If he goes about -- if he duplicates today, I think it is a recipe for salvaging...

MATTHEWS: You mean showing what?

TODD: Showing -- showing self-awareness. Doesn`t have to be humility, just a little self-awareness that, Hey, look, I know these polls are not looking so good. But you know what? You know, let`s -- we got to fight harder here. You know, it`s hard -- and even -- I thought his line by saying, you know, This rigged system, the best way to unrig it is to get out there and vote. That`s the right way to message if you want to run against quote, unquote "the system."

But we`ve seen him before, and I think "The Times" is already writing -- the fact that we`re all interpreting what he did today as a reckoning...


TODD: ... is just the type of thing that could set him off and say, Look at that! The media is trying to end this race early...

MATTHEWS: Yes, I know...


MATTHEWS: ... he has critics in the media, let`s not kid. Do you want to get the reality check? He`s got critics in the media. OK.

TODD: No, he does. I`m just saying, I agree that today he is self-aware and is feeling this -- what you just said there...


TODD: Boy, how did this go wrong?

MATTHEWS: Let`s get through something that goes -- we always call it brain soup, the part of you that you can`t shake. You know, you try, you cover it up, you put makeup on, political makeup on, you -- you do Tic Tac to make your breath better, but in the end, you`re who you are.

He can`t seem to get over his attitude towards Hillary. And whether it`s Elizabeth Warren saying he can`t stand losing to a girl, as she put it, or -- but last night, the other night, he said, "nasty woman." Now, we`ve been debating this among our producers, what that means. But that has reverberated.

GEARAN: Oh, yes. I mean, it actually -- it`s boomeranged on him, and now a lot of Clinton supporters and Democratic women generally are taking it as a badge of honor.

But I think what you said a moment before that is exactly right. He can`t quite imagine that here he is, on the same stage with her, and she`s winning and he`s not. It`s just -- there`s a disconnect there. And yes, it`s because he`s losing to a girl, but I think it`s also just he never imagined that he would be here and he would be losing to her.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I just wonder about that, Gene. Here`s a tall guy, like you are, and he`s big, and there`s Hillary Clinton, of modest height, average height, a woman. And I just -- and I was just thinking primordially last night, he can`t quite deal with that, that -- that...


MATTHEWS: ... that...


MATTHEWS: The juxtaposition is too much for him, that juxtaposition. Oh, I`m the loser and she`s the winner?


MATTHEWS: Go ahead.

ROBINSON: I think that`s a part of it, you know, and I think there is that sort of visceral reaction on his part to the fact that he`s losing to this, you know, person who`s female and smaller, and -- you know, and all of that.

But you know, in the end, I think Anne is right. How could he have imagined, you know, a couple of years ago that he would actually get to where he is now? And then how could he imagine that he wouldn`t -- that in the end, he would be beaten by, you know, a candidate who`s not the most popular in the world. And you know, unfortunately for him, he`s less popular than she is.

And I do agree with Chuck that he`s -- that he`s -- he`s, you know, self- aware today, but I wouldn`t bet a whole lot of money on tomorrow and the day after that because when in the campaign has he managed to kind of stick to script for -- you know, for a week at a time, say? It`s hard to put your finger on that.

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s wish them all a happy self-awareness day on Friday.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, I think you might be right, he`ll be coming at us with hatchets.

TODD: It`s a long time before election day.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, I want to pay tribute last night to, of course, Timothy Cardinal Dolan last night. He really was the peacemaker there briefly at that table. That scene was something else. And of course, to Al Smith IV, who put that dinner together. They raised $6 million for the poor kids of New York, for the archdiocese. It`s a great dinner.

Anyway, thank you, Chuck Todd, and thank you, Anne Gearan, and thank you, Gene Robinson.

Coming up, breaking news in the "bridge-gate" trial. Bridget Kelly`s diary -- wait`ll we read that! Anyway, the former aide to Chris Christie testified that she told the governor about the lane closures before they happened. This is not what Christie`s been telling us. So why did he tell reporters he knew nothing about it? Don`t know nothing. Well, that`s ahead.

Plus, from the baseball diamond to the town square, former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling this week says he wants to run against Senator Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts. He`s coming to HARDBALL tonight to talk about that and other things.

And nearly 70 percent of Americans think the loser on November 8th should accept the results of the election. But here`s a scarier thought. Less than half of Trump supporters say the loser should accept the outcome. Trump`s attack on the very principles of American democracy may be sinking in with his crowd.

Finally, my "election diary" for tonight, October 21st.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: We`ve got some new polling in the presidential race, and for that we check the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."

First to Virginia, where a new poll from Christopher Newport University has Hillary Clinton out -- look at this -- to a 12-point lead. That was going to be a tough state. She`s up by 12. Her lead in the poll was 15 last week. Maybe it`s closing.

Anyway, next to Georgia, where a new "Atlantic Journal-Constitution" poll shows Trump holds a 2-point lead still, 44-42. That`s the closest we`ve seen in the Georgia race since early September.

In Florida, a new FOX 13 Opinion Savvy (ph) poll has Clinton out in front by 4, Clinton 49, Trump 45, right in line with her RealClear average, by the way. I love average polls.

Finally, the Senate race in Indiana, the Hoosier State, where Democrat Evan Bayh holds a 6-point lead in a new poll from WISH-TV. It`s Bayh 49, Republican Todd Young at 43, for the seat currently held by Republican Dan Coats. Keep an eye on that seat.

And we`ll be right back after this.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

After nearly three years, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie`s former deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly broke her silence today under oath over the Bridgegate scandal.

Kelly testified in her criminal trial today that she told Christie, the governor, about a traffic study on the George Washington Bridge before sending an e-mail that it was -- quote -- "time for some traffic problems."

Kelly said she`d cleared a plan with Christie on August 12, 2013, a month before the lanes were closed for the supposed traffic study. Prosecutors said it was political retribution for the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, who refused to endorse Christie in his reelection bid, all old news, except for the testimony today under oath by Kelly.

But, according to Kelly, Port Authority official David Wildstein told her he wanted to use the traffic study as a strategy to prop up Christie for improving congestion at the George Washington Bridge. She said she brought the proposed study to Christie and the governor said OK.

Well, Kelly and her co-defendant, Bill Baroni, have pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy and fraud. Anyway, Governor Christie has in the past has denied that he knew before or while the closures were taking place.

Asked if he had anything to do with the lane closures in December 2013, shortly after the story broke, Christie joked about the incident. And we all remember this. Let`s watch.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Yes, I worked the cones, actually, Matt.


CHRISTIE: Unbeknownst to everybody, I was actually the guy out there. I was in overalls and a hat, so I wasn`t -- but I actually was the guy working the cones out there.

You really are not serious with that question. I don`t get involved in traffic studies. I don`t get involved in lane closures. I didn`t work the cones. Just so we`re clear on that, that was sarcastic.


MATTHEWS: Well, but a few weeks later, he fired Bridget Kelly for her role in the lane closures.


CHRISTIE: I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team. There`s no doubt in my mind that the conduct that they exhibited is completely unacceptable and showed a lack of respect for the appropriate role of government and for the people that were trusted to serve.

This morning, I have terminated the employment of Bridget Kelly, effective immediately. I have terminated her employment because she lied to me. I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution. And I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here.


MATTHEWS: Well, Adam Reiss, a producer for NBC News, has been in the courtroom all through this. And Howard Fineman, of course, is global editorial director of The Huffington Post and, of course, an MSNBC analyst.

Adam, first of all, I guess we have to get people the new facts today, what we learned today. All along, we have heard that word knowledge. The governor said he didn`t know about it before the bridge closures, didn`t know about them during it. Wildstein had previously testified, his guy there on the Port Authority, that he did know about it during it.

Now we`re hearing from Bridget Kelly he knew about it before. Is that the capsule there?


She said she had a conversation with him, face to face, a real bombshell in court today, a smoking gun, as it were. She said she told him there were going to be these lane closures in September. He didn`t seem to be fazed by it. She said, Governor, there`s going to be tremendous traffic at the George Washington Bridge. He didn`t really respond.

This was something that was going on in a very busy month of August. She said they had a lot going on. As you mentioned, this completely contradicts his testimony from the January press conference. He held a press conference for more than an hour, denying, one question after another, that he had any knowledge. He said, I called my staff together. I said, does anyone have any knowledge of these lane closures? No one raised their hand.

So, he says that he had no knowledge. In fact, today, Chris, just minutes ago, he again releases a press release saying he had no knowledge before and during the lane closures.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me go to Howard on this, on the political thing here.

This is a guy who had a good shot at the presidency as a moderate Republican, if you will, from the East, elected in a Republican -- or Democratic -- strongly Democratic state.


MATTHEWS: Then he became -- when that didn`t work out, he was going to be the number one surrogate for Trump. Now he`s off the field altogether.

FINEMAN: He`s totally off the field, and at a very inopportune time, because if Donald Trump goes down, the contest for the 2020 Republican nomination to pick up the pieces and reassemble the Republican Party will begin.

And had he not gone with Trump, and had he not apparently lied, the way it looks like he has, at least according to Bridget Kelly, he`d be the perfect guy to come in and try to take the Republican Party in another direction.


FINEMAN: He`s disappeared from the Trump campaign entourage. That happened right after he said it was unacceptable and unconscionable for Trump to say what he said on those tapes, those audiotapes.

So, he`s ruined himself with Trump. He`s out of the ball game with the party. And he`s on the defensive here legally.

MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Adam on this, so that people who have just got the news, like we`re getting it, I got it today, and the rest of us here, that he had -- that the testimony came through from Bridget Kelly.

In the beginning, he made light of the whole thing. Yes, I`m the guy out there putting the cones out.

Now, that struck me at the time. I`m always suspicious of politicians when they get cute. That was a cute answer. It wasn`t like, I knew nothing about it. It -- oh, yes, I`m the guy that put the cones out there, in other words, bullying the reporter into thinking that was a stupid question. How dare you say I would do something on that? So I`m like the handyman that goes out there and put the cones out

But he didn`t actually deny it, until he gets to that sentence where he says, I had no knowledge of it in its planning and preparation and design.

OK, that`s another clever way of saying, I didn`t know the interstices of this thing, but I damn well knew it was happening.

I always think of the old Thomas Jefferson line, the whole art of politics is the art of telling the truth. Did he tell the truth or did he lie?

REISS: Well, Chris, I can tell you that Bridget Kelly isn`t the only person saying that she told the governor. In fact, in earlier testimony, both David Wildstein, who is the government`s key witness and the alleged mastermind of this plot, and Bill Baroni, Bridget Kelly`s co-defendant, say that they were at an event on September 11, 2013

That was the week of the lane closures, right smack dab in the middle of the week of the lane closures. And there is a picture of the three of them together at the event, at Ground Zero, where, allegedly, they are talking about the lane closures. In fact, the testimony was that the governor was actually laughing about the lane closures.

Now, there was also testimony that they weren`t talking about the lane closures, in fact, they were talking about Governor Cuomo, New York`s Governor Cuomo, pulling up at the event in a motorcycle, and that`s what they were laughing at.

I can tell you, the defense is trying to print Bridget Kelly as someone who is sympathetic, that she was really a low-level functionary that really wasn`t involved in the inner circle of Governor Christie.

The prosecution, they will get their chance at her next week, and they will say that she was not only in the governor`s inner circle, but was very tight with him, very knowledgeable about everything that he was doing, and was certainly involved in this plot, in fact, was the one who said -- who sent that infamous e-mail, "Time for some lane closures in Fort Lee."

MATTHEWS: Yes, and she sounds like a political operative. I know what they are because I used to be one.

But let me ask you this, Howard. She`s the first one to say he knew about it beforehand. Wildstein and Baroni and the other guys are talking about during.

FINEMAN: Yes. Yes. And she`s no low-level functionary, by the way, whatever her defense people are saying. But to turn...


MATTHEWS: Well, they said he threw the water bottle at her, to treat her like she`s sort of a lowlife.


But to turn the lens around on this again for a second, Chris Christie is a guy who would be the emissary to working-class Catholics, among others, if he weren`t bogged down on this and if he hadn`t been -- taken himself out of the Trump campaign that he probably never should have gotten involved with to begin.


FINEMAN: But had he stayed there and stayed clean, he would be out there working the kind of places and states, in the industrial states, that Donald Trump originally targeted that he`s probably not going to win. It`s just another bad piece of news for Donald Trump.

MATTHEWS: He could have helped Mitt Romney win.

FINEMAN: He could have.

MATTHEWS: I thought he would have been great in Pennsylvania with that Italian-American background and the whole thing.

FINEMAN: And, again, he`s not going to be in any position, it doesn`t seem to me, given the way he`s played everything over the last couple of years, to help put the Republican Party back together if Trump loses.

MATTHEWS: Adam, how far are we from a verdict in this case, just so that gets cleared, that aspect of guilt or innocence in the criminal aspect here?

REISS: She will continue her testimony under direct on Monday, possibly get to cross-examination on Tuesday. The jury will then be charged. That is a somewhat lengthy process, maybe an hour-and-a-half, two hours, maybe more. The jury could have this case by next Wednesday.

MATTHEWS: Well, thank you. That`s great reporting. Thank you. I`m glad we have you on. Thank you, Adam Reiss and Howard Fineman.

Up next: Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is hoping to trade the pitcher`s mound for a political office. This week, he said he wants to run for the Senate against Elizabeth Warren up in Massachusetts.

He`s coming here to make his case.

This is HARDBALL, the place for that, for politics.


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

A number of popular Web sites were compromised today after a key Internet traffic company called Dyn was hit by a cyber-attack. Twitter, Netflix, and PayPal are among the sites affected. The Department of Homeland Security is investigating. The attack has come in waves and continues this evening.

Two construction workers drowned in Boston`s South End after a water main break caused massive flooding. Authorities say the two were trapped when water filled the trench they were working in -- back to HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Some would argue that there are two great American pastimes, baseball and politics.

Well, tonight, I`m joined by someone who wants to bridge both. Curt Schilling, the former All-Star pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, who`s a registered independent, and wants to run as a Republican, told a local Rhode Island radio station that he`s ready to run for Senate against Elizabeth Warren, pending his wife`s approval -- his wife`s approval.

The three-time winning World Series winner, who endorsed Donald Trump back in May, has been an outspoken critic of Hillary Clinton, saying she should be buried under a jail somewhere.

Well, joining me right now is the former pitcher and current CEO of 38 Studios, Curt Schilling.

Mr. Schilling, thank you. Congratulations on your career, especially the Phillies part. I`m always very fond of that part of it.

This seems to me -- I mean, everybody watching this show -- what an uphill battle you are even considering here. Massachusetts is well-known to be a liberal state. It may not be liberal day to day, I have noticed over the years, but it`s liberal in its politics.

And what do you make of that challenge that you`re up against? She`s pretty hot right now, politically, Warren.

CURT SCHILLING, FORMER MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER: Well, there are a lot of things that are pretty hot right now I think that shouldn`t be.

You know, I don`t believe the politics match the populace, as it`s represented, you know, in this country en masse. You know, again, but, as I have said before, it`s a family thing that`s going to have to be discussed before it even happens.

You know, there`s a lot of pieces that need to fall into place for something like this to actually occur. And I wouldn`t be doing it if I didn`t think I had a chance to win. So, we will see how that works.

MATTHEWS: Oh, I agree with that. That makes sense.

But let me ask you about politics. Baseball is a profession. Throwing a baseball 95 miles an hour is a profession, as you know. Only a couple people in the world can do it. I mean couple hundred maybe.

Politics, I have learned, having followed it for about 50 years, is a profession. You have got to learn it. Trump`s trying to learn it. He makes mistakes he doesn`t intend to make, and he makes them and it gets him into big trouble with people.

How are you going to learn politics in several months to take on a pro?

SCHILLING: Well, first of all, I`m not going to learn it, because I think learned politicians are exactly the reason we`re here.

I think this country, when you look at the amount of support Bernie Sanders had before the DNC rigged the primary, and when you look at the amount of Trump support -- got over, what was it, over a 17-candidate field, I think the populace is saying, we`re sick of learned politicians.

And so...

MATTHEWS: Yes, I agree with that, but what happens in the end?

In the end, the pros tend to win, because, as much as there`s protest and anger out there, it ends up that the populist candidate who`s new to the game or the contest makes mistakes, and makes enemies he didn`t intend to make.

Trump`s getting enemies now that have nothing to do with his message. His message is pretty -- you know, against trade deals, against uncontrolled immigration, against stupid wars. He`s had a pretty good argument, if he can focus on it.

SCHILLING: But, Chris, you know as well as I do Hillary Clinton will flip on the TPP as fast as her husband flipped on interns when she -- if she gets into office.

I mean, this is -- but I keep going back to the fact that we`re here because of learned politicians. And I think that you have seen -- I don`t want to -- this uprising of -- this groundswell of support, 20,000, 30,000 people at the Trump rallies, and 200 or 300, tops, at the Clinton rallies.

I think those are far more indicative of the populace than the polls that - - the media has made it very clear that your agenda is to make sure Hillary Clinton gets into the White House and Donald Trump doesn`t. And they have given way all hints of objectivity. And I think and I hope that the people are finally fed up with it.

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s a good point. And I don`t mind media criticism. It`s worthy. We have -- some of the people in the media have earned it. OK? And I think you`re right.

I look at the -- some of the newspapers, some of the commentators. I agree with you. But it`s a free country. You`re allowed to have an opinion, even if you`re in the media.

But let me ask you about -- unless you`re a straight news reporter, and then you better get it right down the middle.

Let me ask you about you. You had comments a couple hours ago with Jake Tapper, talking about the way the Jewish vote tends to go pro-Democrat, even though the Democratic Party is not as hawkish as the Republican on the Middle East, Republican Party is.

Do you want to clarify some of that? Because that`s a tricky topic with people. Anything to do with ethnicity or gender, I`ll tell you, is tricky, very tricky. So, here`s a chance.

SCHILLING: Well, Chris, I`m apparently an anti-Semite now because I had the gall and the audacity to ask someone of the Jewish faith why or how they believe people in the Jewish faith vote Democrat.

I mean, God forbid I would listen to someone of the faith, rather than the media, who clearly are not biased and don`t have an agenda. That, to me, is -- that`s just common sense.

I don`t want -- I don`t need Chris Matthews to tell me why people of Jewish faith vote the way they do. I want to ask someone of the faith.


SCHILLING: To me, that`s much more relevant.


SCHILLING: I think that -- and I don`t have a problem asking people questions like that, because I`m not trying to be offensive or racist. I`m clearly curious, because I have read my history. I understand my history, that this country feels so anti-Israel in the last 15 years, more so than at any point in my life. And I can`t figure that out.

MATTHEWS: Oh, well, that`s a legitimate debate we`re all going to have.

By the way, left, right on Israel, left, right on Bibi Netanyahu is a popular argument everywhere in the country, by the way. Especially in Israel, they argue about that stuff, which is a great thing over there.

But the problem is, people will say is -- and I will say it -- you can`t ask a person of a religious faith or a race to speak for that religious group and ask them to sort of account for it.


MATTHEWS: You ask somebody to account for it as an individual.

SCHILLING: No, you can`t. No, Chris...

MATTHEWS: Yes, go ahead.

SCHILLING: Not true, not true. Liberals do it with Christians all the time. Liberals do it with Christians all the time.

And I`m not going to play the victim game because I`m a white male Christian, which apparently makes me a racist to anybody, as long as -- if I don`t speak out in favor of whatever it is they want me to speak out of.

But, again, I want to ask -- and I`m tired of hearing moderators, I`m tired of hearing politicians tell me what I should care -- I`m tired of hearing the media tell me what I should care about. I`m an American citizen. I`m pro-life, I`m pro-Second Amendment, I love my Constitution and there`s a woman who possibly can go into the White House who`s done nothing -- I had to laugh.

I was listening to you before I came on, and the fact that -- and you`ve been around forever in the political game, and I say that, I guess, in a complimentary way --

MATTHEWS: I`ll take it as a compliment.

SCHILLING: But for you to say that Hillary Clinton -- but for you to say that Hillary Clinton comes armed with the truth, I literally spit out my water when I --

MATTHEWS: Did I say that? I didn`t say that.

SCHILLING: You said that Hillary Clinton --

MATTHEWS: That she had a hell of a lot of joke writers.

SCHILLING: You can go back and look at the tape. You said, she`s always ready and armed with the truth.

MATTHEWS: Armed with the truth? You can check the tape, that`s not the case, I would say.

SCHILLING: Right, right. But it was at the Al Smith dinner.

MATTHEWS: Be careful here.


MATTHEWS: Be careful here, because I didn`t say that.

SCHILLING: I -- she is, to me, such a -- she`s the epitome of what`s wrong with this country. She is an elitist. She is -- the thing that she`s done, the fact that she did what she did to those families of the Benghazi victims and she`s done what she`s done to the survivors in Haiti --

MATTHEWS: Let me clarify what I said, Curt, because I want to clarify while we`re talking. I pointed out that, you know, it`s like a team, a big tent team, or big team with a lot of depth, a lot of people on the bench, and they can come in in the third quarter, the end of the game, and they can win it. Whereas a smaller school doesn`t have that bench strength.


MATTHEWS: And Clinton has a lot of bench strength. She has a lot of lawyers and smart people helping her prepare for debates. She got a lot of people helping her with jokes, last night. She`s got a lot of that, and Trump, sometimes, with all his wealth, comes in like a one-man band.

That`s what I said. I didn`t say one person`s telling the truth in any general case.

SCHILLING: No, no, you mentioned --

MATTHEWS: Thanks for coming on --

SCHILLING: Thank you. But you did mention the truth.

MATTHEWS: We`ll argue about it forever -- I`ll check, as a courtesy. Thank you so much, Curt Schilling.

Up next, the Clinton campaign is going back to one of the most powerful moments of the campaign. They`ve released a new ad featuring Khizr Khan, the father, that`s the Gold Star father of the Muslim-American soldier killed in Iraq. That`s ahead.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.



DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Remember, folks, it`s a rigged system. Just remember it. It`s a rigged system. It`s a rigged system. Don`t ever forget it.

That`s why you got to get out and vote. You`ve got to watch, because this system is totally rigged.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was, of course, Donald Trump earlier today, with less than three weeks before the election, the Republican Party is still reeling from Trump`s refusal to clearly accept the results of the election. He keeps calling it rigged by its nature.

Anyway, "The Washington Post" writes, quote, "The Republican Party is in a state of turmoil right now, given Trump`s declaration to leave the country in," quote, `suspense."

According to a recent Politico/Morning Consult poll, all these polls out there, 68 percent of the voters think the loser of this year`s election should accept the results. Just 68 percent. That`s heartwarming.

And look at this, only 49 percent of Trump supporters say they think the loser should accept the results.

What are they supposed to do? Just not do it?

For more, I`m joined by the roundtable: Jason Johnson, political editor of "The Root", Jennifer Ruben, of course, she writes big opinion stories on "The Washington Post" at the bottom of the page, and Roy Neel is the director of Al Gore`s transition team. Remember that? Didn`t get much done, did you? Anyway, the author of the new book, here it is, "The Electors."

You know, I just -- silence is consent. It`s not comment. I remember it from "A Man For All Seasons". So, if a Trump supporter finds himself on November 9th having backed and voted for, great, a person who came up short, is their silence consent to the victory of the other party, in this case, Hillary Clinton`s party? What did silence mean? What do you have to do? I don`t want you gain by not saying, okay, you won.

JASON JOHNSON, THE ROOT: I think, nationally, yes. I think nationally you`re going to hear quiet.

But I think locally, it could be a problem. I think in those small central counties in Ohio, I think there`s going to be certain places in Georgia. I think there may be people who go marching to the local election board and say, I want to see the numbers myself, because I think Trump has fostered that kind of cynicism at the local level.

MATTHEWS: Will this be worse than it was, Jennifer? We`ve been through all these things about different counts. If Al Gore had asked for the full recount in Florida, who knows what the number was. If they had continued with the number, what would have happened? The Florida Supreme Court was a little bit Democratic, wouldn`t you say, and U.S. Supreme Court was clearly Republican.

Or the Ohio Medea Bowl (ph) in the counting machines, the election machines, there was a movie made about that. So, will it be worse than that?

JENNIFER RUBIN, THE WASHINGTON POST: No, it will be better than that, because if it`s not close, the charges of stealing the election or it being rigged become preposterous.

MATTHEWS: Yes, but these people are out saying Lyndon Johnson stole 100,000 votes, 100,000. That`s a big hat of votes, isn`t it?.

RUBIN: He`s going to have to steal 100,000 votes in Ohio, in Florida, in Pennsylvania. Thank goodness for the Electoral College, that`s one of the reasons, it gives legitimacy and strength to the winner`s majority.

MATTHEWS: And, Roy, they always point to the big cities who have large minorities in them. Have you noticed? It`s always Philadelphia, St. Louis, when they say East St. Louis, go away with it and Chicago. It`s always those cities that marked as, well, that`s where the stuff goes on, you know?

ROY NEEL, FORMER AL GORE CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, this is an incredible campaign. The Republicans are going to pay a big price for this. And as far as what happens right after the election, they`re going to have to deal with a four-year problem in their party.

The country will move on, just as they did in 2000, after Al Gore gave a gracious concession speech, terrific speech, the country moved on. And it will again.

MATTHEWS: Do you think the right is the same as the left and center right, in that regard? Do you think the right is as quick to say, this is the system works?

NEEL: Well, you`ve got the right and now, you`ve got the alt right.

MATTHEWS: I`m asking. I think the Democrats, except for a lot of people, there`s a lot of black caucus people who are very upset at Al Gore accepting that. I remember the whole thing about the vote and the Electoral College came up with, right?

JOHNSON: Yes, and I remember Stephanie Tubbs Jones being mad in 2004 and telling John Kerry that he needed to fight for more of the absentee ballots in 2004. So, they`re -- the left will be angry, but I don`t think you`re going to have the level of anger that we might see from Donald Trump`s quarter.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us.

Up next, they`re going to tell me what I don`t know. We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Well, in the last few weeks of the presidential race, the Clinton campaign has released a powerful new ad featuring Khizr Khan, remember the Gold Star father who lost his son in Iraq. Let`s watch this.


KHIZR KHAN, GOLD STAR FATHER: Only one American soldier died, and my son was Captain Humayun Khan. He was 27 years old. And he was a Muslim- American. I want to ask Mr. Trump, would my son have a place in your America?


MATTHEWS: We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Well, for Curt Schilling, I want you to see what I said earlier in the show, Mr. Schilling, about Hillary Clinton and what I said -- well, let`s watch this about her being armed with the truth. That`s what he said I said. Let`s see what I really said.


MATTHEWS: Hillary`s got depth. Not the most exciting candidate we`ve ever seen, somewhat dull at times, somewhat robotic at times. But she`s always got the troops ready. She`s always prepared for the debate. She`s always got people, handlers, people that help her get ready. She always has troops.

And last night, she had joke writers. This was a professional performance by Hillary Clinton.


MATTHEWS: Curt, the word was troops. I said it twice. You can watch this tape over and over again, if you will. I hit the corner on that pitch, don`t you think? I hit the corner.

Anyway, we`ll be back -- we`re back with the HARDBALL -- I got to make a baseball reference.

Jason, tell me something I don`t know.

JOHNSON: Perfect with baseball. Cleveland Indians finally back on the World Series, Northeast Ohio loves their sports. It turns out there`s one last surviving member of the original championship team. Donald Trump should bring him up there, might swing the vote.

MATTHEWS: OK, not Bob Feller. Just kidding.


RUBIN: Nevada`s Joe Heck fighting for his life, may determine control of the Senate. He backed away, actually unendorsed Trump and it didn`t make any difference.

MATTHEWS: I noticed that. I noticed that.

NEEL: A bit of history about the 2000 recount. We found that 3,500 people voted for Pat Buchanan who thought they voted for Al Gore. We would assume the Clinton campaign fixed that problem.

MATTHEWS: Yes. By the way, Pat agrees.

Anyway, Jason Johnson, Jennifer Rubin and Roy Neel -- thank you all.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Election Diary Friday, October 21st, 2016.

Something`s happened in this campaign. It was clear last night sitting up there at the Al Smith dinner in New York. There`s still nastiness in the battle between the two, but not the two-fisted rivalry that was. Trump is not just fading but falling right now like an elevator with the security ratchets not holding.

Let`s face it -- the campaign`s not like it was a week ago. Trump didn`t win the final third debate, and he had to. He needed to reverse the polls, and he didn`t. He needed to come up with a game changer and he couldn`t.

So, there`s a deadening presence in the air. Why, you must ask yourself, would Trump, a major party candidate, declare without any reason to do so that he won`t commit to ratifying the election verdict? Would a candidate who expects to win say that? Would a candidate with a chance to pull ahead in the final stretch say that?

No. There`s something new in the air, especially since Friday night, or Wednesday night I should say. Hillary Clinton has the sun shining in her face right now. Her opponent cannot fight off the aspect of a fighter hanging on in the late rounds determined to finish the bout with as much pieces of his pride that he can rescue.

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.