Show: HARDBALL Date: October 28, 2016 Guest: Annie Linskey, Heidi Przybyla, Mike Pence
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
We begin tonight with the breaking news some are calling an October surprise. The FBI is now reviewing newly released uncovered e-mails related to Hillary Clinton`s private e-mail server. We`re expecting Secretary Clinton herself to hold a press conference on the campaign trail in Des Moines any moment now, and we will bring you that when it happens.
In a letter sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee today, FBI director James Comey said, quote, "In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of e-mails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation." Quote, "I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these e-mails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation."
Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta called on Director Comey to immediately provide more information, and when I spoke with Donald Trump`s running mate, Mike Pence, today about the news in his first national interview since the story broke, he agreed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE PRES. NOMINEE: Well, obviously, it`s a very serious matter, but both Donald Trump and I commend the FBI for their transparency and their willingness to -- to move forward now that they`ve come across new pertinent information. I mean, they stand for the principle that no one is above the law, and we respect the integrity of what the director of the FBI announced to the Congress.
But what I will tell you is I just learned moments ago that John Podesta echoed what I said here in Pennsylvania today, is that the public always -- also has a right to know, and we`re really calling on the FBI to make this information public.
Chris, we have a national election of enormous consequence to this country in 11 days, and I truly do believe, as Abraham Lincoln said, give the people the facts and the republic will be saved. And so we`re calling on the FBI to make this information available to the American people.
The machinery of the justice system will work in its own time, but the American people -- the American people have a right to know what this new information is, and they can make their own judgment.
MATTHEWS: Do you believe the statement to the committee chairs is adequate, or would you like to see more information than was contained in Comey`s statement today?
PENCE: Well, I think that the notification by the director of the FBI today was appropriate, but it`s just so important that this new information come forward. Obviously, Chris, it`s in the midst of an avalanche of information that`s been coming out about the years of Hillary Clinton`s tenure as secretary of state, a private family foundation, the existence of a private server. When you know, we learn about quid pro quos that were offered by her State Department to change classified information status to the FBI, we learn of friends of the Clintons being flagged for contracts to rebuild Haiti, and on goes the list.
But now that the FBI has reinitiated this investigation, which is altogether appropriate because no one is above the law -- if there`s new pertinent information, that`s exactly what they should do.
In addition to that, Chris, we`re calling on the FBI to make that information public as the American people go through this moment of decision in the life of our nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`ll have more on my interview with Governor Pence coming up shortly. Anyway, the news today fired up Donald Trump, of course, and his supporters, who chanted "Lock her up" when Trump trumpeted it. Here he goes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: They are reopening the case into her criminal and illegal conduct...
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: ... that threatens the security of the United States of America!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: Hillary Clinton`s corruption is on a scale we have never seen before. We must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And here comes Hillary Clinton to the microphone. She`s going to address this FBI report today.
HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I want to say a few words and then take your questions. I have now seen Director Comey`s letter to Congress. We are 11 days out from perhaps the most important national election of our lifetimes. Voting is already under way in our country, so the American people deserve to get the full and complete facts immediately.
The director himself has said he doesn`t know whether the e-mails referenced in his letter are significant or not. I`m confident whatever they are will not change the conclusion reached in July. Therefore, it`s imperative that the bureau explain this issue in question, whatever it is, without any delay.
So I look forward to moving forward to focus on the important challenges facing the American people, winning on November 8th and working with all Americans to build a better future for our country. Thank you.
QUESTION: Have you or any of your advisers heard from Comey or anyone else from the FBI today? And are you concerned at all that (INAUDIBLE) classified information that you sent or received?
CLINTON: No. We have not been contacted by anyone. First we knew about it is I assume when you knew about it, when this letter sent to Republican members of the House was released. So we don`t know the facts, which is why we are calling on the FBI to release all the information that it has. Even Director Comey noted that this new information may not be significant, so let`s get it out.
QUESTION: Secretary Clinton?
QUESTION: You have 11 days to go. What would you say to a voter who right now will be seeing you and hearing what you`re saying, saying, I didn`t trust her before, I don`t trust her anymore right now, and they`re heading to the ballot box tomorrow?
CLINTON: You know, I think people a long time ago made up their minds about the e-mails. I think that`s factored into what people think, and now they`re choosing a president. So I would urge everybody to get out and vote early in all the states that have early voting because I think Americans want a president who can lead our country, who can get the economy working for everyone, not just those at the top, and who can bring our country together.
I offer that. I can do that. And I`m very confident that the American people know that, and we`re going to continue to discuss what`s at stake in this election because I believe that it`s one of the most consequential elections ever.
QUESTION: Thanks very much. Secretary Clinton, there are some reports that this -- these e-mails were found on devices that belonged to your aide, Huma Abedin, and her husband, Anthony Weiner. Have you spoken to Huma? Was she able to give you any information about that?
CLINTON: You know, we`ve heard these rumors. We don`t know what to believe, and I`m sure there will be even more rumors. That`s why it is incumbent upon the FBI to tell us what they`re talking about, Jeff, because right now, your guess is as good as mine, and I don`t think that`s good enough.
So we`ve made it very clear that if they`re going to be sending this kind of letter that is only going originally to Republican members of the House that they need to share whatever facts they claim to have with the American people, and that`s what I expect to happen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, thanks very much, everybody.
CLINTON: Thank you all.
MATTHEWS: Can (ph) somebody help (ph) me on this? That`s Hillary Clinton in Des Moines, Iowa, taking a couple questions there about this big FBI report today.
We`re joined right now by NBC News correspondent Pete Williams. Just a fact question along there. Didn`t that letter coming from the FBI director -- didn`t that go to the Senate chairs, who are all Democrats, (sic) as well? It didn`t just go to Republicans?
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: It went to 16 members of Congress, chairmen -- Republican chairman and Democratic ranking members of the House...
WILLIAMS: ... and the opposite (sic) in the Senate.
MATTHEWS: So it did go to -- it didn`t just go to Republicans like the secretary said just then?
MATTHEWS: OK. Just want to get the facts straight.
Anyway, we`re also joined by Robert Costa and of (ph) Kasie Hunt, as well. First to you, Pete. What do you make of this decision by the director of the FBI 11 days before an election to say he`s about to investigate something without telling us really what it is?
WILLIAMS: Well, what the FBI says is that he -- because he testified in July and told the House that they`d pretty much finished up the investigation, when he was told about these newly discovered e-mails, he felt he had to tell the Congress that it wasn`t done, that that testimony was no longer accurate and that he wanted them to know what the deal was.
Now, they`re well aware -- they were well aware of the criticism they`re getting now that they would get it, but they also say that if they`d waited until after the election and then it was discovered that this material was found, there`d be equal criticism that, well, You didn`t tell us before the election and now it`s -- you know, now we`re finding out too late. So either way, they felt it was a no-win situation and that they decided that the thing to do was to be transparent and tell them what they knew.
Here`s the thing that I found out, Chris. What they say is that while investigating Anthony Weiner, this allegation that he was sending improper text messages and photographs to an underage girl, they discovered that Huma Abedin had used the laptop computer that Anthony Weiner used -- had used it to e-mail Hillary Clinton. So that opened up a new -- a new category of e-mails, a new group of e-mails that have to be looked at.
They don`t know what`s in them. It is certainly possible that they`ve already seen them in investigating what was on the server. Some may be on there, some may not be. They`ve got to look at them. But they don`t know whether there`s any classified information or not. So that`s one very important thing to keep in mind.
But what they say is their investigation was to look at all the e-mails that were on her server. Here`s a new category of e-mails that they don`t know whether they were on the server or not, and so they`ve got to look at them, and that was their calculus.
MATTHEWS: Well, I guess you don`t know yet -- we don`t know yet whether there`s any reason to believe, probable cause or whatever the term of legal art is, to believe that these e-mails did deal in national security or classified material, information. In other words, could it mean they just discovered that there were e-mails per se without any reason to believe that they`re classified?
WILLIAMS: Right. Yes, but what they say is they`ve got to look, that their investigation was to look at the universe of e-mails that were sent to her on her private server. Now they`ve discovered a new source of them. They don`t know whether they`re already the ones that were on the private server or not, so they`ve got to look at them, see whether there`s potentially classified information, A, as you say. That`s going to take a while.
And then B, if there was and they decide that there were more classified e- mails on that server than they knew, does that change the bottom line calculation here, which is whether or not a crime was committed?
The legal experts I`ve talked to today say if it`s just a matter of numbers, that we knew before it was X e-mails and now we know it`s X-plus something, that may not change the calculation.
MATTHEWS: What right does the FBI have -- I don`t mean to mean it rhetorically. What right do they have to go from the e-mails related to Anthony Weiner`s sexting, if you will, or potentially did, and jump over and say, Oh, we`ve another e-mail account here on this laptop, let`s look at that one? Aren`t they limited somehow...
MATTHEWS: ... or they have the complete freedom to investigate anything they`ve got in their hands?
WILLIAMS: No, they have to go back and get a search warrant now to look at those additional e-mails, and they`re doing that now, probably already have it.
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you so much, Pete. It`s great having you, Pete Williams.
WILLIAMS: You bet.
MATTHEWS: Have a nice weekend. It`s a strange weekend already for this country.
Let me go to Kristen Welker -- do we have Kristen Welker now? Let me go rosta (ph) Costa now. And Kasie, you`re on this case. You cover Hillary.
KASIE HUNT, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and I...
MATTHEWS: What`s (INAUDIBLE) they just got the word -- they didn`t even get it on the plane, apparently, they said.
HUNT: They didn`t get word on the plane, no. They were flying, you know, as the plane was landing in Iowa and there`s spotty Wi-Fi. They had been talking to the communications director, but the reporters there couldn`t get this news until after they landed, and then we watched the Clinton campaign digest this over the course of the day.
This is pretty typical for how they tend to handle situations like this, takes them a couple hours to work through it. I think that, you know, you`re seeing frustration with Comey at a level that you didn`t see in the summer. I mean, they were frustrated with the way that Comey indicted her, essentially, in that press conference he held...
MATTHEWS: But he didn`t indict her!
HUNT: ... but in the end, he did what they needed him to do. And that was an unusual precedent to set anyway.
HUNT: But they -- you know, they felt a sense of relief. They felt like, OK, this is behind us, we`re done with it. Now that`s not (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: Aren`t they in a situation now that`s tricky now because having basically saluted the discretion of James Comey as FBI director in July saying there`s not enough here for a case, now they got to go back and say, Well, he`s no good? And by the way, I thought Hillary Clinton did put a little shot into his arm there when she said he only sent this letter out to Republicans. He sent it to both parties, but she wanted to do a little nudge there, looked (ph) to me.
ROBERT COSTA, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: The secretary mentioned the word "Republican" repeatedly during that news conference.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Like he`s somehow in league with Republicans.
COSTA: And if you couple Secretary Clinton`s remarks with what Governor Pence told you, you now have both parties, both campaigns asking for more disclosure from the FBI director.
MATTHEWS: Why would the Republicans want more, when they got all they need right now? She`s being investigated by the FBI for her e-mails and possible violation of the way she handled classified information. Isn`t that about as good as it gets?
COSTA: Well, there`s a cloud hovering over the campaigns...
COSTA: ... both of the. There`s an expectation on different sides of the political aisle about what actually is being investigated here. That`s the question mark. Secretary Clinton clearly feels comfortable with asking for more disclosure, for more information to come out. And Republicans...
MATTHEWS: Wait a minute! She just asked for more.
COSTA: She did -- she`s comfortable with asking for more information.
MATTHEWS: So she feels that she -- it`s just a matter of procedure.
HUNT: Right, and I mean, you can tell...
MATTHEWS: Oh, by the way. Just talk politics for three seconds here. You don`t want the name Anthony Weiner connected to you. You don`t. I just tweeted -- they`re -- I know the Trump people enough and we all know the Trump people. They`re going to make Anthony Weiner Hillary Clinton`s running mate in the next week. They`re going to run with this baby. They`re going to put those two faces together as much as they can. We all know that.
HUNT: I think that the private frustration and disdain among the Clinton campaign for Anthony Weiner is possibly at the highest level it`s ever been.
MATTHEWS: But they love him in the Trump campaign. He`s useful!
COSTA: But speaking about the politics here, when you look at Anthony Weiner, it`s not about the Clinton server. A lot of Democrats today are talking about how this is separate from Secretary Clinton`s e-mails. It`s about her associate, Huma Abedin, and it`s about Anthony Weiner. It`s about -- we`re not sure about what kind of correspondence.
MATTHEWS: You know, the reason we`re talking about this is Anthony Weiner`s sexting problem. And let me tell you, this is so -- everything in politics seems to go in circles, you guys. You`ve been through this before.
You know, first of all, it`s Whitewater. So Ken Starr is investigating Whitewater. Then all of a sudden, he`s investigating Paula Jones. And then all of a sudden, the same guy`s investigating, Oh, Monica Lewinsky! The things drip into each other. They just do.
MATTHEWS: ... one totally separate investigation, and it all of a sudden ends up going to Hillary Clinton`s White House chances.
COSTA: I was talking to Peter King today on the Homeland Security Committee, talking to other Republicans on Capitol Hill. There`s going to be a culture of investigation that persists in Washington should Secretary Clinton win the presidency.
MATTHEWS: Look at the pictures we`re looking at. This is the picture the Republicans want, Anthony Weiner with Huma standing next to her, trying to be supportive, trying to be a good spouse. And you can`t be better than her in standing by this guy. And Hillary Clinton stands by Huma because they`re friends as well as workmates, if you will.
COSTA: What about his mentor, Chuck Schumer, in line to maybe be Senate majority leader if the Democrats take over the Senate. Now Republicans are seizing on this across the map.
HUNT: And this is something -- I mean, Trump seized on this issue much earlier. I mean, he -- this is something that he brought up...
MATTHEWS: He didn`t have anything.
HUNT: ... and repeatedly said, but -- you know, that there were potentially concerns, and you know, lo and behold, turns out there`s a reason.
MATTHEWS: Well, the crowd in front of him is more extreme than he is. They`re yelling "Lock her up." Now they`ve got some ammo, if you will.
HUNT: One thing I will say about your point that this letter was not just sent to Republicans...
MATTHEWS: It`s not just my point. Let`s say it this way...
HUNT: ... the fact that...
HUNT: ... the fact that this was sent to all of the Republican chairmen and all...
MATTHEWS: And all the Democratic ranking members and chairmen.
HUNT: Democratic ranking members. The point is that they are -- this is an example of them trying to deflect. They`re trying to say that, Oh, of course the Republicans leaked this. I mean, you`ve covered Capitol Hill. The reality is...
MATTHEWS: Even though they...
HUNT: ... if you send a letter to 16 members of Congress, it is going to become public.
MATTHEWS: Yes, well, let me go back to that...
MATTHEWS: Why do you think Comey did it that way? Why didn`t he just put out a press release?
COSTA: Well, based on our reporting at "The Washington Post," because of his testimony to Congress, he felt he had to come forward with new information, if he had it.
MATTHEWS: OK, here`s the elephant in the room. Why 11 days before an election? Why not wait? Because if he had waited...
HUNT: Because if he had waited -- I think Pete touched on this. There`s a risk that if it`s discovered later, that Republicans have a revolt and that it calls into question the integrity of the FBI. And I think that`s part of the Clinton campaign`s frustration.
MATTHEWS: ... Hillary Clinton`s argument because it`s also Mike Pence`s argument -- not just because, but it is. If you just lay this out there now as a suggestion she`s liable to prosecution because she`s being investigated by the FBI -- there`s a lot of civil cases in history, by the way, where a politician can sue a local affiliate or a major TV network. You can`t put out "to be indicted" or is being "under investigation." Those are serious charges against somebody just to be investigated by the FBI.
COSTA: I mean, it`s an extremely loaded political moment we`re in right now. Regardless of what the director of the FBI chose to do...
MATTHEWS: He knew this was going to happen! He knew we`d be talking about it right now. He knows! But he chose...
MATTHEWS: ... not to put anything further out.
COSTA: He did. It was a total botch-up.
MATTHEWS: Then -- well, here`s a problem. Could it be that the institution of the FBI is law enforcement, relatively conservative organization. It`s not the Peace Corps, as I said. It`s for law enforcement. It`s tough.
And when the investigators find something, they go, Run with it. Something is good enough to move toward finding a case and making a case. They don`t want to hear that a case is dropped, right? So there`s an institutional pressure on Comey to come forward and push this case.
HUNT: Well, and I -- look, I think that there`s a sense inside the Clinton campaign that Comey is looking out for number one, and that`s...
MATTHEWS: The agency?
HUNT: Well, the agency and himself, as well, because -- I mean, you know, this was...
MATTHEWS: Well, he`s not a lackey of the Clintons.
HUNT: That`s certainly not the case, no. I don`t think anyone`s ever thought that. But I think, you know, there was a confidence in him. You know, he was somebody who was seen as politically pure, kind of above it all and he had that kind of...
HUNT: ... reputation
MATTHEWS: I always like to say, as a non-lawyer. It`s my one bragging point (INAUDIBLE) why don`t they get off their butts and move fast with this? In a couple days, they can look at all the e-mail. They can decide whether there`s anything that looks like a national security case there or not, or it`s just, What time are you -- what time are we meeting at the airport? What time`s the plane tomorrow, the kind of sort of day-to-day things that people -- an assistant does for somebody.
If that`s what it is, why don`t we get that past us and say (INAUDIBLE) what do you think about the latest from that ISIS report? OK if it`s there -- if it`s there -- we don`t even know -- as you suggest, we don`t -- and Pete suggests -- Pete was -- we don`t even know if there`s anything there!
COSTA: We don`t know. It`s a black box. And there`s pressure now from both parties to have the information out there. How could Comey come out with this letter and not have...
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think he`s going to have a lot of pressure...
HUNT: And there are people on the Hill already asking for briefings before the election. If that happens, I would expect some of that to leak out.
COSTA: Kasie`s so right. I mean, he may be brought to Capitol Hill.
MATTHEWS: I think Hillary Clinton is handling this pretty well. I want more information because the public always wants more information. It`s against her normal tendency. She`s now pushing for more -- for more, right, not rolling disclosure, the old Clinton method -- more, more, more. She must feel very confident she`s innocent here and wants the facts out. So I think it`s going to be interesting to watch this week develop.
Robert Costa, Kasie Hunt.
Coming up -- much more on this bombshell news from FBI Director James Comey, including more from my exclusive interview with Donald Trump`s running mate, Indiana governor Mike Pence, in his first interview since the news broke about the FBI reporting.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MATTHEWS: Well, just last night, Donald Trump questioned the integrity of the FBI. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The system is rigged. And I think the biggest rigging of all is what`s happened with the FBI and the Justice Department with respect to Hillary Clinton, because she is so guilty in so many different ways, that she shouldn`t even be allowed to run for president.
So, right there, the system is really rigged.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, what a difference a day make. Today, he changed his tune. Listen to what he had to say today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It might not be as rigged as I thought, right, right?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: I think they`re going to right the ship, folks. I think they`re going to right the ship.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: And they`re going to save their great reputation by doing so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: We will be right back after this with Trump`s running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
We`re continuing to follow today`s big news that the FBI is investigating newly discovered Clinton-related e-mails. We just heard from Secretary Clinton. She called on the FBI to release all the information it has immediately.
So, what effect will this story have on the presidential race coming up in 11 days? Is this the October surprise we always hear about?
Well, we have more now from my exclusive interview with Trump`s running mate, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, in his first interview since the story broke late today.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of the fact that this came from the Anthony Weiner investigation and somehow had to do with e-mail going to or -- to and from perhaps the Clinton people, Hillary Clinton perhaps herself, and her very close aide, Huma Abedin, and which was apparently the same e-mail address used by her husband, Anthony Weiner?
What do you make of the fact that that was the source of these new e-mails? NBC has just determined that.
PENCE: Well, if that bears out and that is, in fact, the case, I think it also speaks about the forthrightness and the integrity of the Department of Justice and the director of the FBI that, in an unrelated investigation, they came across new pertinent information related to Hillary Clinton`s operation of a private server and the potential that she further compromised classified information in this country.
I think the fact that they`re drawing that from another investigation is another reason to commend them. But, look, we recognize this is a -- this is as dramatic a choice in an election as I have ever witnessed in my lifetime.
Literally, we have in Hillary Clinton someone who has not only got a career of this pay-to-play politics and all of the noise and smoke around her years as secretary of state and the Clinton Foundation, but, as I said here in the suburbs of Philadelphia today, when it comes to national security, when it comes to our military, our place in the world, when it comes to reviving our economy, our Supreme Court, the choice could not be more dramatic.
So, the American people deserve all the information about all these candidates. And that`s why we`re encouraging the FBI to come forth. And my understanding is John Podesta made the same request today. Come forth with this information, so that the American people can make their decision with all the facts.
MATTHEWS: Well, to not properly handle classified information, is that a disqualifying factor for a candidate for president? If it comes out that she mishandled information intentionally that was classified, is that a disqualifier?
PENCE: Well, it certainly is a disqualifier for me.
But every voter in this country will make that decision. But it really is remarkable, as I said in our vice presidential debate, if either my son or Tim Kaine`s son, both of whom are serving our country as Marines, mishandled classified information the way Hillary Clinton did, they`d be at least court-martialed.
We see one case after another, General Cartwright and others, who face -- appropriately face severe consequences for mishandling classified information. And the fact that we have evidence of this, the private server that came out because of disclosures by "The New York Times" and now these e-mails have come forward, I just -- I think at the end of the day every voter will make their own decision.
But, for me, for my house, I truly do believe that her record, as well as the fact that she obviously mishandled classified information, had a private server that well compromised the security of the United States of America, certainly disqualifies her to serve in the highest office in the land.
MATTHEWS: Let`s just run through these to recap.
First of all, John Podesta in that note you mentioned, the chairman of the Clinton campaign, said that they`re reopening -- they`re not reopening the campaign, and you say they`re reinitiating the campaign. What`s the difference?
PENCE: Well, I think this is not really a time to parse words.
MATTHEWS: Well, is reopen a good word or not? Is reopen a good word or not?
PENCE: Well, I think when the director of the FBI, Chris, says that they found new pertinent information concerning the investigation into Hillary Clinton`s use of a private server, that means that they are moving forward and reopening the investigation that he had previously announced was closed.
I think that`s pretty obvious to most Americans. But the facts here are what`s most important, not the semantics. And, you know, the one thing John Podesta and I can agree on is, the American people have a right to know. They have a right to know what this new information is.
MATTHEWS: I`m sorry. That`s my next question.
I`m not clear on you. Do you believe that you should have -- that they are saying in the Podesta letter, he is saying in his statement that the campaign for Hillary Clinton believes more information should be released by the FBI than they have released? Do you believe that or just simply reproduce the letter that was sent to the committee chairs on Capitol Hill?
Do you want further information on what`s going on at the FBI in terms of this investigation, more information?
PENCE: Yes, absolutely.
I assume that the mechanism of our judicial system is under way to obtain access to that additional pertinent information that`s referred to. But it`s actually what is this those documents, what do they show that`s pertinent to the investigation of Hillary Clinton`s use of a private server during her term as secretary of state.
I think those documents may well be e-mail documents and should be made public. And they need to be made public in the next 11 days. The American people are -- there`s voting going on right now, not here in Pennsylvania, but in states all over the country. Early voting is already under way.
There`s hundreds of thousands of people in state after state that have already cast their vote. But the American people deserve to know, they have a right to know what this new information is. And the substance of that should be in the public domain before this election is over.
MATTHEWS: Last question. If all we get is the statement we got from the director of the FBI today, that they`re re-looking into this investigation as to how Hillary Clinton handled her classified information, is -- how should that affect the voter?
You have a chance right now to say so on national television. How should this information we got today affect how people vote regarding this presidential election?
PENCE: I think millions of Americans are deeply troubled by the pay-to- play politics and the benefits the favored few that is in evidence of what`s already out about Hillary Clinton`s years as secretary of state, the operation of a Clinton Foundation.
We found out "The Washington Post" story this week about Clinton, incorporated, where donors to the foundation were also encouraged to hire and provide personal income to former President Clinton.
And the American people are tired of this kind of politics that benefits the favored few. And it`s exactly the kind of politics that`s going to end the day that Donald Trump becomes president of the United States of America.
But I think the fact, Chris, that now that the Democratic Party, the Democrat nominee for president for the United States is under investigation by the FBI should be relevant to every American. They need to just think about that, reflect on that, because I truly do believe, in Donald Trump, we have the opportunity for a fresh start in America, back to a stronger, more prosperous America, and put all this fast and loose ethics of the Clintons behind us once and for all.
MATTHEWS: Those people out in the crowds yelling, I know you don`t agree with their language, but when they yell "lock her up," are they going to feel justified by this report from the FBI today, those people who yell that every time there`s a Trump rally?
PENCE: Well, I think the emotion that you see at Trump rallies around the country is a frustration of the American people that, when it comes to the Clintons, they just seem to operate by a different set of rules and held to a different set of standards.
But, today, with this action by the director of the FBI, I think millions of Americans can be encouraged that our Justice Department is once again -- it`s come across additional pertinent information about Hillary Clinton`s use of a private server, and by restarting this investigation, they have reaffirmed the principle that no one is above the law.
MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, candidate for vice president of the United States. Thanks for coming on HARDBALL tonight. Thank you, sir.
PENCE: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Well, the big news there is, he agrees with Hillary Clinton. He wants more information coming from the FBI, not just the statement they`re looking at it. He wants the substance of what they`re looking at, what concerns them, out there now within the next 11 days.
So, isn`t it interesting bipartisan agreement?
Mike Pence, the candidate for vice president, agreeing with Hillary Clinton, the candidate on the Democratic side for president.
Why did -- and here`s the question we`re coming up with next. Why did Director Comey drop this bomb today, a Friday, a week-and-a-half before an election? We`re going to find out what`s going on inside the FBI that may have prompted Comey to send this letter today.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have now seen Director Comey`s letter to Congress.
We are 11 days out from perhaps the most important national election of our lifetimes. Voting is already under way in our country. So the American people deserve to get the full and complete facts immediately.
The director himself has said he doesn`t know whether the e-mails referenced in his letter are significant or not. I`m confident, whatever they are, will not change the conclusion reached in July.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was Hillary Clinton, of course, just moments ago addressing the FBI`s new e-mail probe.
As we have been reporting tonight, FBI Director James Comey notified Congress in a letter today that newly discovered e-mails which emerged from a separate probe into Anthony Weiner appear to be pertinent to the information of Hillary Clinton`s private e-mail server.
It comes after Comey just a month ago testified to Congress that there was no new evidence that would warrant additional investigating at that time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since you announced that there would be no prosecution of Secretary Clinton in July, there have been several very material issues that are troubling. And would that not require a reopening of the investigation to solve those issues?
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: I haven`t seen anything that would come near to that kind of situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Comey`s letter today states that he learned of these new e-mails just yesterday and notes -- quote -- "The FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant."
I`m joined right now by MSNBC`s chief legal analyst, Ari Melber.
Ari, here`s a gut question and the nut of the matter. Is there any reason to believe now that there`s any probative evidence that suggests Hillary Clinton did something wrong based on that statement today by the FBI director, any reason to believe she`s done something wrong or they see something wrong?
ARI MELBER, MSNBC CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: No. There`s nothing in the letter that says that.
MELBER: No, not in the letter.
And all the letter says is, hey, I told Congress we were done reading e- mail when I testified under oath. And that was true then. We were done. We have now legally, lawfully obtained more e-mail, and we`re going to read it, rather than not read it, which is a prudent investigative thing to do.
But, this close to an election, needing to update your testimony sets off all these alarm bells.
MATTHEWS: But they have had this laptop in their possession for a while, I assume, based on...
MELBER: Absolutely five weeks.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, why didn`t they notice that there was an e-mailed address in there for Huma, that she had used it to do her work?
It doesn`t sound right. And if that`s all they know is there is now an e- mail address, if that`s all they know, then what`s new here, pussycat, if you will? What is new? What justified this Sturm und Drang, this big Friday night special, then, if all they know is there`s an e-mail account?
MELBER: Well, look, I think that`s the question, what`s new, pussycat?
The answer is, we have no idea. The letter only says they`re looking at two things, one, whether these new e-mails they have obtained have classified material. To your point, they got them from this other investigation over the last five weeks.
MATTHEWS: They had five weeks to decide whether they thought that`s the case.
And, two, whether there`s anything else of -- quote -- "importance" to the underlying investigation.
The standard, let`s remember, that Jim Comey said that he briefed the country and Congress on was, having reviewed tens of thousands of e-mails, they never saw any evidence of intent to mishandle classified information.
So, nothing they put out today changes that underlying legal reasoning, which is why this is lot more, Chris, about process than substance.
Having said all that, the bottom line, if you believe Jim Comey, is that he came to work yesterday and someone put this on his desk and said, here`s what we found. Do we want to look at it?
And investigators generally -- you were talking about this earlier in the show, the way Whitewater could turn into other issues, investigators generally, whether this is good or bad, they generally look at whatever they get and they want to look at all of it rather than closing their eyes to things, even when a case is closed.
The other key question here, Chris, and as a keen observer of politics, you already noticed it. This letter is not very clarifying. That`s why Governor Mike Pence just said to you on your show that he wants the same thing John Podesta wants and Hillary Clinton wants, that she said on your show on this hour in her press conference. They all want more information.
Why? The letter isn`t very clarifying. I think what we have from James Comey perhaps is an attempt to do the right thing, update Congress in a formal way but doing it either so sloppily or the wrong way that it has not had a positive outcome thus far in anyone`s eyes.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: OK. What did Jim Sensenbrenner allude to there a month ago? Because a month ago, he said there`s nothing to restart this investigation. So, he -- but Sensenbrenner had something in his craw there. He`d been hearing -- I`ve been hearing -- hasn`t there been pressure building within the FBI to do something differently than what they did in July when they said the case was closed?
MELBER: Yes, two things. You have Sensenbrenner, former chairman of the Judiciary Committee and a long time legalese, was basically getting at two things, one internal complaints within the FBI allegedly from some unnamed agents doing unauthorized leaks which, of course, is ironic given the topic, about how they thought this wasn`t pursued the right way. They disagreed with what their boss James Comey said.
Well, that happens in all kinds of workplaces. People disagree with the call.
And two, this question of whether anything released in the other hacks or WikiLeaks rose to the level of changing the outcome of the investigation?
The bottom line according to what the FBI publicly said and what you just showed in that clip was James Comey and others have said this kind of e- mails didn`t either give them anything they hadn`t seen before, anything that rose to the level of needing to look at it, whereas in contrast they are saying the e-mails they got from this other case does involve something they want to read.
Another final point, Chris. As you know, it`s not appropriate for federal law enforcement to be leaking about this other case. James Comey obviously deliberately omitted the name of the other case inquiry from this letter. So, there`s a problem here where James Comey is sending out what he considers to be a carefully circumscribed letter to Congress not naming Anthony Weiner in the case, because that`s not the point of what he was trying to update about his testimony, and then, boom, within an hour the entire news and political world is reeling because Anthony Weiner`s name is in this from an unauthorized federal law enforcement leak.
MATTHEWS: OK, what do you make of Hillary Clinton --
MELBER: So, there`s a lot of problems here.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, saying that this report coming from the FBI to Congress only went to Republicans? She put the little shiven (ph) into Comey. It didn`t just go to Republicans, that`s a fact. It went to Republicans and Democrat chairs and ranking members of the Senate and the House.
Why would she take that little shot? Was that a shot across the bow against Comey? Because it clearly was accusing him of partisanship in his statement today accusing him of partisanship?
MELBER: The implication I agree Chris was that somehow this was being fed to Republicans for Republican purposes. In fact, the letter looks like most oversight letters addressed to the chairman who have to be -- who happened to be in the Republican Party and CC`ing very clearly on page two of the bottom of the letter all of the Democratic ranking members.
MATTHEWS: And also, the Senate chairman as well.
MATTHEWS: Thank you.
Ari Melber, great reporting as always. Great analysis.
MELBER: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Up next, the HARDBALL round table be here with much more on the political impact of today`s announcement from the FBI. What will this mean for the election? Well, watch the newspapers tomorrow morning.
This is gong to be interesting how big they play it. Just 11 days to the election.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hillary Clinton`s corruption is on a scale we have never seen before. We must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Anyway, today`s bombshell couldn`t come at a better time for Donald Trump, of course. The five most recent national polls had Secretary Clinton ahead of Trump anywhere from three points -- I love this range -- to 14 points.
Anyway, today`s news may shift the enthusiasm toward his campaign. And given the life that he`s so desperately need.
For more, I`m joined by our round table tonight. "The Boston Globe`s" Annie Linskey -- Boston, by the way. It`s how you say it. "Washington Post" columnist Eugene Robinson, who`s an MSNBC political analyst and "USA Today" senior political reporter Heidi.
Let`s start here, Annie and then Gene. Political impact statement, please. If all we get is this, all we get is the squeezy little statement from the FBI director?
ANNIE LINSKEY, THE BOSTON GLOBE: I think if that`s it and I don`t think it will be it, I think there will be more. I think Comey is going to have to talk, but I think this ultimately blows over and the election is still advantage Clinton.
MATTHEWS: No loss in points?
LINSKEY: Maybe she loses a bit because of voter suppression, maybe there are some of those Republicans that were going to vote for her and they decided to stay home instead and that goes advantage Trump ultimately. Yes. It`s bad but I don`t know that it`s game changing or --
MATTHEWS: So, the news suppresses as well as Republicans. I didn`t know we were suppressing the vote.
EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: You know, I think it gives Trump a closing argument. He didn`t have one and so now he has one. He`s got something to focus on.
I assume this will be the closing argument because he wasn`t doing too well with the flailing he was doing the last couple weeks. So it may give his campaign focus and it -- you know, on the margins I think it`s -- it probably helps him perhaps with some Republicans, perhaps a little more enthusiasm among Trump followers who thought it was probably lost anyhow and might have been tempted to stay home, maybe they`ll come out.
You know, I struggle to see how it makes a major change in the basic situation of the race but we`ll see. Comey may well have to come out and say something.
HEIDI PRZYBYLA, USA TODAY: I think you raised the key question, Chris, that is how Trump handles it because Annie is right, at some point Comey, the pressure on him will be overwhelming and while he can`t give us a lot of information, we`ve already seen from the leaks that they can take things off the table. So, if Trump is out there saying where are the handcuffs, put her in jail, and some of this stuff comes out like whoops, actually these are duplicative e-mails or, you know, something --
MATTHEWS: Or we haven`t read them yet that seems incredible.
MATTHEWS: Pence handled it soberly I thought.
PRZYBYLA: I thought that was the right way to handle it because I think he knows -- and there`s even some sources saying that people who have started to look at this think that this is not a game changer -- again, this is all unsourced -- that you really run the risk of overplaying your hand.
MATTHEWS: What else do they have? What else do they have?
ROBINSON: Donald Trump, if he did not overplay it in any situation, that would be the news.
PRZYBYLA: That`s from the beginning, Chris, if you talk to a lot of people who are betting odds from the very beginning, the way that Hillary Clinton and possibly the only way it could have been brought down is on e-mails. And when that disappeared, this race really started to --
LINSKEY: And yet, you have an indictment really, that she could be indicted seemingly game changing. And the idea that there could -- that that could change and there would be an indictment in the next 11 days is preposterous, I think.
MATTHEWS: Redskins score on defense.
MATTHEWS: Anyway -- local concern in this part of the country.
Anyway, this thing about Trump and his inability to do something sort of reasonably, I saw it again today. The "lock her up" thing is so unfair unless you`re a Hillary hater every morning, every day -- morning is probably right time as they get up and hate her. But --
LINSKEY: I think if you`re Kellyanne Conway, you want to just find Donald Trump and just lock him in a room somewhere and get him to not say anything, because time and time again this cycle, you`ve bad news for Hillary Clinton and then Donald Trump somehow finds a way --
PRZYBYLA: You know what? There`s two more women who came out today and we`re not talking about them.
MATTHEWS: If he wants this to work and probably the same with all the major cable networks and broadcast networks, the picture of Anthony Weiner is back on television all over the place smelling up this thing. If Republicans have any brains or money left, they`re going to make him Hillary Clinton`s running mate, like they did Willie Horton. They`re going to find this guy and they`re going to put them right up there and say, Hillary and Weiner, you want to vote for Weiner? Go ahead vote for Weiner.
PRZYBYLA: Whether this is ultimately -- whether there`s any there there, it almost doesn`t matter because it`s going to bury a lot of these other headlines.
MATTHEWS: Here`s Donald Trump back in July going after Secretary Clinton because her top aide was married to -- well, still married to Anthony Weiner. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Why are they giving Hillary Clinton briefings? Because it`s going to get revealed. I mean, her number one person, Huma Abedin, is married to Anthony Weiner who is a sleazeball and a pervert. I`m not saying that -- I mean, that`s recorded history, right? I don`t like Huma going home at night and telling Anthony Weiner all of these secrets, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, there`s a lead. Did he get the heads up on this FBI report or what? That`s a while ago.
LINSKEY: That`s the thing about Trump. So often the things that he says that seem crazy end up having this kernel of truth to them later and that gives him that kind of authenticity and that`s what his gut seems to be --
MATTHEWS: Pillow talk between Huma and -- now it`s e-mail to be blunt about it, the same laptop with different e-mails. They used different e- mail addresses with the laptop. Somehow, the FBI is able to find out what -- how do they do this? Anybody know how it`s done? They can find out any messages on these things?
ROBINSON: I have no idea.
MATTHEWS: Let me tell you, they do have the ability.
Hillary Clinton was asked about the investigation`s connections to Anthony Weiner. Let`s watch that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Secretary Clinton, there are some reports that these e-mails were found on devices that belonged to your aide, Huma Abedin, and her husband Anthony Weiner. Have you spoken to Huma? Was she able to give you any information about that?
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, we`ve heard these rumors. We don`t know what to believe. And I`m sure there will be even more rumors. That`s why it is incumbent upon the FBI to tell us what they`re talking about, Jeff, because right now, your guess is as good as mine. And I don`t think that`s good enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Actually, that`s not true. NBC has determined it did come from that investigation of Anthony Weiner, whether you like it or not, Madam Secretary, it`s a fact.
But this attempt by her to blame it on the Republican FBI director by saying he only sent the report out to Republican --
PRZYBYLA: Not smart. Not smart. And she said that because the Democrats, they spent months praising James Comey as kind of this very impartial arbiter and hailing him, and now, in the first kind of shot across the bow to kind of even suggest that he`s --
MATTHEWS: Remember Dinah Washington, the great song, the great single, "What a Difference a Day Makes"?
ROBINSON: A day makes --
ROBINSON: It`s true. And I just keep reminding myself that there are 11 more of those things left, 11 more days. And so I wouldn`t be surprised.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Annie Linskey, thank you. Gene, your wisdom is overpowering sometimes. Heidi Przybyla, thank you so much.
When we return, let me finish with my election diary for tonight, Friday, October 28th. You didn`t think anything would happen this late in the week as the campaign gets rocked by another bombshell.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Election Diary Friday, October 28th, 2016.
Well, today, the FBI director put out word that the bureau is looking into e-mails related to its previous probe of Hillary Clinton. NBC learned that the e-mails were gathered in a separate probe of New York`s Anthony Weiner.
So, here we have one investigation that`s opened the door to another. The way Ken Starr`s probe of the death of Vince Foster and Whitewater led to the Paula Jones case and then to the matter of Monica Lewinsky. So, now, we have the case of the Hillary e-mails being reawakened by e-mails from the Anthony Weiner case.
Well, Friday night`s a bad night to make predictions. It`s the end of the week, not the beginning. The Hillary emails story will run through Sunday, of course, and will have two effects on the presidential campaign. It will hearten Republican campaigners and will cause doubt among those voters who had moved to Hillary as an alternative rather than a desired designation -- anyway, destination.
So, if all we get from the FBI director is what we`ve gotten so far, that there`s a probe brought back to life, the political power of this story will depend on how the two candidates decide and deal with it. If Trump is unusually calm and non-hysteric, he will gain some points, which could matter in the close states. If Hillary Clinton offers a strong front, takes the small hit and moves on, she could limit the impact to that. A few lost states but still a strong probability to win the election.
Maybe this FBI story this weekend will be the one last test of political fitness, not because of what it contains because we won`t know that until afterward, because of how this pair of candidates handle it. Keep watching.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END