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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 1/6/2017

Guests: Bill Nelson, April Ryan, Annie Linskey, Mark Lea, Sean Henry

Show: HARDBALL Date: January 6, 2017 Guest: Bill Nelson, April Ryan, Annie Linskey, Mark Lea, Sean Henry

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: A day of reckoning and horror.


Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Before we get to the shooting down in Fort Lauderdale, I want to give the guts of the report put out earlier today by U.S. intelligence agencies. It`s devastating.

It states that Vladimir Putin himself set out to tear down Hillary Clinton politically, personally. When it looked like she was going to win, Putin and his henchmen decided to undermine her presidency, crippling it from the start by getting Americans and the world to see the election as rigged.

When the race got close, Putin decided to go for the kill and do whatever he could to hurt Hillary chances. RT -- Russian television -- was part of Putin`s operation, pushing stories that Secretary Clinton had poor health, poor physical health, poor mental health.

Why did Putin do this? Well, according to U.S. intelligence agencies, he blamed Hillary for inciting mass protests against him beginning in 2011. He also had a grudge against her for what she`s said about him. We`ll get to that powerful report in a moment. It`s a big part of the show tonight.

We begin tonight with the breaking news out Fort Lauderdale, where five people are dead and eight are injured after a lone shooter walked into the baggage claim area of Fort Lauderdale International Airport and opened fire.


SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY: Shortly before 1:00 PM today, we had an active shooter inside terminal 2, the lower level by baggage. The active shooter shot at least 13 people. Eight people, as I know right now, are in area hospitals being treated. I don`t know the degree of their injures. Five people have succumbed to their wounds and tragically are dead.


MATTHEWS: According to the Broward County sheriff department, the suspect, identified as 26-year-old Esteban Santiago. Acted alone, according to them, and was taken into custody without incident. The sheriff said it was too early to discuss a motive.

Unsubstantiated reports that there was a second shooter created a chaotic scene at the airport late, and forced law enforcement to rush to a second site at the airport with weapons drawn. The airport remains closed even now.

Late this afternoon, we learned that President Obama was briefed by his assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism, Lisa Monaco. President-elect Donald Trump tweeted, "Monitoring the terrible situation in Florida. Just spoke to Governor Rick Scott. Thoughts and prayers for all. Stay safe."

Well, late today, Governor Scott spoke to reporters.


GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: The state of Florida (INAUDIBLE) Florida, law enforcement in this state will not tolerate evil acts. Whoever is responsible will be held accountable to the full extent of the law.


MATTHEWS: Well let`s go straight now to NBC News correspondent Kerry Sanders, who`s standing by at Fort Lauderdale airport. Kerry, some moment there -- for a while there, we thought there was more than there was, there was another shooter.

KERRY SANDERS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, and the reason for that was in the chaos, people thought they heard gunshots in terminal 1. Then there were some reports coming out of one of the parking garages that there was a threat there. And of course, the authorities were responding, I mean, SWAT teams running with guns out and ready to respond. As it turned out, it was more of a panic of the pandemonium of the chaos here.

Right there, there are still thousands of passengers who are stuck here at the airport. The roads are closed, passengers being told to shelter in place.

But we have a little bit of a change under way. As I say that, over in terminal 2, they`re beginning to tell the passengers, who`ve been trapped inside the terminal or outside on the deck up on the upper level, which is where their departures are, that they will soon be able to leave the airport.

But their process of getting out is going to be rather complicated. They`re going to be escorted from terminal 2 to terminal 1. This airport is a large airport, meaning that folks are going to have to walk from terminal 2 outside, up to terminal 1. Hopefully -- no all, but hopefully, most will be able to retrieve their one. And of course, many people were separated from their luggage.

Once they can make their way up to terminal 1, they`ll start working on the logistics to get people out of here. At the same time, some passengers are being told that if they live in the area and their cars are in the parking garage, the parking garage has now been swept and there does not appear to be any threats there. The authorities went through with bomb-sniffing dogs. It`s a huge, multi-deck parking garage. And so it took quite some time, but they believe that there are no existing threats. And so those that are locals who have landed at the airport or were here trying to leave and have their cars parked at the airport will be able to go to their cars and leave the airport. But this is going to take hours upon hours.

And as I`m standing here, Chris, all the way on the other side of the airport, there were passengers who were inside terminal 2 who had to flee, and when they fled, they`d already passed TSA security, so they were inside the terminal, sort of out at the air (ph) sides (ph). And so they ran out of the terminals onto the tarmac, where the planes park.

Well, then they were told to run across the airfield, and so they ran across the taxiway, across the runway, and all the way over there to a light (ph) that you can see in the background. I`ll step out of the way, perhaps, and we can sort of show you way over there, where those passengers are. Because it`s dark, they`re not going to be able to walk back, so they`re going to have to work some sort of bus shuttle system to bring them from there back over here.

The real question, of course, is why did this happen and how did the authorities react? Those who saw the gunman say that he seemed depraved and indifferent to the way he just callously took the gun, reloaded a magazine. It appears to be .9-millimeter, based on the photographs that have been taken by witnesses down there, a clip that can go in.

To regroup on the story, he flew in, we believe, from Anchorage from Minneapolis, changed planes, went from Minneapolis to Fort Lauderdale, got off, got his checked luggage. In his checked luggage, there was a weapon. Witnesses say he went into the bathroom with his luggage, took the pistol out -- we believe he loaded the pistol at that point -- came out and just began firing.

And while the authorities have this 26-year-old, Esteban Santiago, in custody, there really is no answer at this point as to whether he`s answering any of their questions, and that`s the homicide detectives from the Broward sheriff`s office, as well as FBI.


SANDERS: And of course, the leading question would be why -- Chris.

MATTHEWS: Lots of information, but not the ultimate question, why would somebody do this? Thank you, NBC`s Kerry Sanders.

Pete Williams right now, he`s with us, he`s NBC News justice correspondent. Pete, what do we know about the suspect, about this guy Santiago?

PETE WILLIAMS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: So he is 26 years old, born in New Jersey. Then the family moves to Puerto Rico. He grew up there in Puerto Rico. He joined the National Guard there and was deployed briefly overseas. He went to Iraq. He served there about 10 months, came back five years ago and was eventually discharged from the military two years ago.

But he`s clearly somebody that had mental problems. And I should emphasize at this point, Chris, that the investigators that looked at this see no sign of any kind of terrorism here. They are not considering this a terrorism act.

What the authorities tell us is that just a couple of months ago, Santiago walked into the FBI field office in Anchorage, where he was living, and told them that he was hearing voices, that the voices in his head were from the CIA and that they were telling him to watch ISIS videos.

The FBI said he`s -- many of his remarks were simply incoherent. They couldn`t understand what he was saying. So the FBI folks called the local police. The police came and got him and said, You know, we need to take you for mental health treatment. And he agreed to do so, and his family members say he was receiving mental health treatment.

Now, we`ve talked to some of his relatives that live in New Jersey. They say that he seemed to be fine, but that after he got back from Iraq, he was having these mental problems.

So the real question here is, of course, as Kerry said, why. But in addition, why today, why Fort Lauderdale? There doesn`t seem to be any Florida connection connection. He`s from New Jersey, lives in Puerto Rico, went to Anchorage to find work, had a son there. Why Fort Lauderdale? We don`t know.

One other quick thing here is witness have said that he got in an altercation in one of the flights that he took. He got on a flight to Anchorage -- from Anchorage to Minneapolis last night, and then flew again from Minneapolis to Fort Lauderdale today. On one of those flights, he got into an altercation. But whatever it was, it wasn`t serious enough that the airline called the police. They didn`t do it.

You know, that`s what usually happens. If there`s a serious altercation, they call -- they notify -- the airline radios ahead and the police meets the person and questions them and maybe detains and charges them. That didn`t happen.

Finally, I would just note that many people may not have heard of this, but it`s perfectly legal to check a gun in checked bags on airlines. Hunters, gun owners, gun enthusiasts do it all the time. Has to be in a locked case. You have to declare it. And authorities say that as far as they know, he did that. He followed those procedures with his handgun.

MATTHEWS: Everything was legal until he began shooting.


MATTHEWS: What a country. Thank you, Pete Williams, NBC News justice correspondent.

I`m joined right now by Mark Lea, who was in the baggage claim area and witnessed the entire event.

Thank you so much for coming on. You`re on the phone, Mark. Give us a sense or give a picture of what you saw today as you stood there at baggage claim.

MARK LEA, WITNESS (via telephone): Yes, well (INAUDIBLE) after we had gotten our bags from the baggage claim area after we got off our flight coming from Minneapolis. We were just getting ready to walk outside to get our, you know, transport over to the hotel. And all of a sudden, I heard, you know, three quick, you know, cracks, what I thought initially was fire crackers going off, and I -- after the first one, I immediately kind of turned in that direction, which at that point was probably 80 to 100 yards away from me.

After I -- when I saw the second and third rounds going off, I realized, no, that was no firecrackers. That was someone who was shooting. Then I saw the -- you know, saw the shooter (INAUDIBLE) and then he paused very briefly, continued to shoot as he was walking up on the baggage claim area.

As he got closer to the -- you know, the carousel where they baggage (INAUDIBLE) you know, he continued the shooting. There was no rhyme or reason to what he did, how he did it. He was not yelling, was not screaming. He was just quiet, did not say a single thing. Just -- like I say, he was just basically a point and shoot.

He was using .9-millimeter, basically had an eight-round magazine in it. He had -- must have had two other magazines that was already loaded because he had very brief interlude between changing magazines. So he did about roughly two dozen shots.

All this took place over a course of about 45 seconds, so very -- very quickly happening for that (INAUDIBLE) but people -- once the first shots went off, people were just panicking, were yelling, screaming, were frantically running to the exit as much as they can.

The people that were by the baggage claim carousels were diving underneath the chairs, up against the carousels, you know, for protection, behind their bags and everything else. And he just (INAUDIBLE) just walked up around, just shoot from that point-blank range, some, you know, at, you know, 10 feet away or whatever the case would be. So it was pretty -- pretty stressful, pretty hectic.

MATTHEWS: And you describe him as not sweaty or desperate looking but just calm and cold.

LEA: Calm. Yes, very calm. (INAUDIBLE) like I say, he did not say -- speak a single word, did not show any emotion whatsoever.

MATTHEWS: Did he seem to single out anyone or it was just random killing?

LEA: No. He was just random point and shooting. He just... (crosstalk) started walking (ph) a path (ph), and anything that was in his way, he shot.

MATTHEWS: And what were the ranges...


LEA: ... male, female, black, white, no difference.

MATTHEWS: Was he shooting people right at point-blank, and then when people began to run, did he, like pursue them with the gun, or how did he get so many people dead and wounded?

LEA: Well, when you have basically three magazines that`s enough (ph) to hold eight rounds per magazine...


LEA: ... that`s real easy to crack off a number of rounds, so -- but yes, he just (INAUDIBLE) you know, just, you know, methodically just kept walking around just shooting until he was out of ammunition. Once he was out of ammunition -- most of the shooting was around the carousel area, where -- like I say (INAUDIBLE) there of the people that hit (INAUDIBLE) deceased, you know, right there (INAUDIBLE) () I mean, so many (ph) people that he shot in shoulders and everything else, or just, you know, right there. I mean, it just...


LEA: ... a very surreal sight to see as you`re -- as -- after -- you know, after he got done shooting, like I say, I was kind of coming up around the back side of him little bit, watching out (ph) where he was and see if I could further (ph) people out of the airport, or whatever there`s some, you know, ladies that had falling (ph) (INAUDIBLE) time to get to out. And I can help them out and around and made my wife was out and safe and sound...

MATTHEWS: Oh, good for you.

LEA: ... I went back in and...

MATTHEWS: You got through this.

LEA: ... kind of got -- at one point, I was probably about 50, 60 feet away from him while he was still shooting. Once he got done shooting, then he basically kind of, you know, dropped the firearm down to his side in his right hand, kind of walked back toward the area that he was doing (ph).

When he got close to (INAUDIBLE) kind of door -- door three (ph) down there in the baggage claim, he basically just dropped the gun, made a couple steps, and then laid face-down, spread-eagled on the ground and waited for basically the deputy to come up. And once again, he still didn`t say anything and -- you know, I mean, the whole thing took place in about 45 seconds. The deputy came up probably (ph) behind him. He was on the ground for 10 seconds, waiting for the deputy to come.

I kind of followed the deputy up there, too, and just -- you know, just making sure because he was alone down there because at the time, there was no other deputies or anyone down on that main level. But after he had secured, you know, the shooter (INAUDIBLE) I stepped on the firearm just to make sure, you know, it was unloaded because I could tell because the slide action was back because I stepped on there until it was secured there about 20 seconds after, you know, the deputy secured the shooter, there`s another half dozen deputies came back in and rushed in, further secured the scene. And at that point, I just kind of started running around trying to comfort people or find out who needed help or whatever. And I kind of...


LEA: ... ended up the rest of the time (INAUDIBLE) comforting a lady from Council Bluffs who was basically shot through and through in the right shoulder, and basically, she was on the other side of her husband who was, you know, shot in the face, basically died on the scene there right next to another guy that was shot in the face, and just trying to console her and kind of keep her lucid and trying to minimize her going into shock anymore than what she already was.

MATTHEWS: Well, that was quite a report, sir. And I appreciate it so much, and take care of yourself. That was quite an experience to go through, and certainly hell to a lot of people involved. Thank you, Mark Lea, who was there at the event itself today.

Anyway, the suspect remains in police custody right now as they continue their investigation. For more on what`s next, we`re joined right now by former New York police commissioner Bill Bratton and former FBI assistant director Sean Henry (ph). Sean`s with me now, but Commissioner Bratton -- Commission, I mean, we live in a country with a 2nd Amendment, and apparently, you`re now allowed to carry firearms, even semi-automatic pistol with three clips, and you`re -- as long as you keep the clips away from the pistol, I guess, in your luggage, it`s totally legal. That`s what we face as a reality now.

BILL BRATTON, FORMER NYPD COMMISSIONER, NBC CONTRIBUTOR: That`s correct. Well, It`s always been a reality and (INAUDIBLE) lot of hunting weapons move through baggage. Let`s face it that he could have just a easily at Anchorage had that gun, not checked it, and started shooting people there. It just reinforces the idea of the availability of guns in America.

There`s not a cop in America, not a police chief in America that will not tell you that we are amazed that there are not more incidents like this. If this individual was, indeed, mentally deranged and that was a factor in this shooting, we have hundreds of thousands if not million of people that are dealing with severe mental illness. We have 300 million weapons in the country.

An awful tragedy today. We`ll see to learn from it. But the reality is in America today, you cannot prevent everything. And today, the actions of one man -- we`ve seen the chaos that that one individual caused and certainly the tragedy of those deaths and injuries.

MATTHEWS: So what do we do?

BRATTON: Well...

MATTHEWS: In terms of security in public places. What can do? Nothing. And you said...

BRATTON: Well, the irony...

MATTHEWS: I understand the fatalism of the thought because we live in a free country with a 2nd Amendment, and we live in a country like any part of the human race that has people with mental illness. And there`s a certain percentage of us who are defective that way. And there`s a certain number of guns, and all it takes is an overlay of a gun with a guy who`s defective mentally. I mean, it`s -- it`s mathematically, as you say, more likely to happen than it`s happened.

BRATTON: Well, that`s the reality we deal with. Fortunately, that (ph) we are able to prevent many of these that (INAUDIBLE) probably prevent more with better laws that -- ironically, I understand it was reported earlier in one of the newscasts that the Florida legislation next week is voting on a law that would allow the carrying of firearms in airport terminals. I don`t know if they currently preclude that or are they just going to enshrine it with a law down there.

But it will be very interesting to see what happens next week with the Florida legislature as to whether they`re going to allow guns on college campuses, as well as in airport terminals in light of what just happened in Florida today.

MATTHEWS: Unfortunately, people of sound mind are making decisions for people that are not of sound mind. Thank you, so much, Commissioner Bratton, for coming on.

BRATTON: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Let me go to Sean right now. Sean, thank you for this. What -- what -- it`s not terrorism, it`s this other thing, human malfunction, human anger, going back to the post office kind of situations we all learned about all those years, just anger.

SEAN HENRY, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Right. Well, you said it a little earlier. Right now, as this point in the investigation, the authorities are going to be looking a what the motivation it. They`re going to be looking at social media accounts.

They`ll get search warrants and subpoenas for e-mail addresses and for his residence, et cetera, see if there`s any writings, any communications he`s had with others, but trying to understand the totality of this to determined what actually caused him to do what he did.

MATTHEWS: It`s always interesting, in an intriguingly negative way, to think about mental incapacitation but competence. I mean, here`s a guy (INAUDIBLE) get an airplane ticket. He knows how to get guns. He knows how to line them up in different compartments, to follow the law, right? He knows how to find his way to that moment.


MATTHEWS: And then behave horribly.

BRATTON: No, that`s absolutely right. I mean, the mental health issue in this country is at staggering proportion. We`ve seen these incidents before. We have the free availability, 2nd Amendment, the right for people to carry weapons. How do separate those who are mentally incapacitated, those who have a violent streak, those who seek to do harm to law-abiding citizens. How do you cull them from those Americans who have the legal right to carry a weapon? That`s the challenge that we face today. I think that there`s got to be a review of that as we see what`s happened here in the last...

MATTHEWS: Are we a more violent society, sane or not sane? I was just in India for two weeks. It`s a very, what`s the right word, courteous country. People don`t blow their horns at each other. They show courtesy as they go in traffic. They`re not -- there`s not road rage going on. I - - I`ve always sensed, based on the stats, that not just counting guns, but other means of killing somebody, we`re a pretty violent society.

HENRY: Yes, there`s been studies that look at video games as an example, where there`s this certain permissiveness and kids kind of grow up in an environment where this is normal. And when they`re playing a video game, that this is part of the game, and life is not a game in that regard.

MATTHEWS: They think it is.

HENRY: Certainly not suggesting that video games cause people to do this, but when you talk about, what is the environment that enables people to operate in an irresponsible way, that could be a contributing factor.

MATTHEWS: Yes, like in the old days, when the mobsters began to dress like the mobsters in the movies. They began to act like the guys they saw.


HENRY: ... takes on a...


MATTHEWS: Anyway, it`s a horrible thing. And I just think it`s part of our free society.

And the -- well, you might say the fallout of a free society is occasionally people are going to do this kind of thing who have mental problems.

Anyway, thank you, Shawn Henry.

It`s a grim night. Boy, Friday nights.

We`re going to keep up with developments at the Fort Lauderdale Airport shooting, of course, but there`s a big political story today, of course. The heads of the country`s top intelligence agencies have now briefed president-elect Donald Trump. The day of reckoning arrived today.

And they told him it was Putin`s personal efforts to destroy Hillary Clinton that is behind all this. It was personal, it was political, it was Putin. They found out Russia conspired on all fronts to help Donald Trump, who they wanted to win. Those are the facts laid before the president- elect today. And we will see how he reacts.

That`s ahead.



MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

For weeks, Donald Trump has questioned, if you will, the evidence that Russia interfered in our presidential election. Well, today, he was briefed by the country`s most senior intelligence officials.

A declassified version of that briefing was released to the public. And I have read it.

The report from the CIA, FBI and NSA states -- quote -- "Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the United States presidential election. Russia`s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for president-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments."

I`m joined right now by NBC`s Ken Dilanian.

Ken, that could not be stronger or more clear.


And it answered a question that we had, which is, what were the motives? There had been a little disagreement in the reporting about what exactly was motivating Putin`s Russia. Was it just to destabilize American democracy? Was it actually to elect Trump?

And the U.S. intelligence community concluded clearly that by the end they wanted Trump to win.

MATTHEWS: And in the beginning, they wanted to make Hillary look so bad that, if she did win, which they thought she might, that she would be already crippled as president.

DILANIAN: Absolutely. So, it was win-win for them.

MATTHEWS: OK, what stunned me, although I`m not always so naive, R.T., Russian Television, is a propaganda arm, pure and simple, according to this report.


MATTHEWS: Pure and simple. It`s not partially propaganda. It`s a propaganda weapon.

DILANIAN: U.S. officials, as you know, have been saying that for some time. But this lays it out black and white. This is the assessment of U.S. intelligence community.

They talked about how much Russia spends on R.T. They talked about R.T.`s role collaborating with WikiLeaks. And what is pretty interesting, it`s been reported that Michael Flynn had a relationship with R.T., Trump`s national security adviser.

He went to Russia.

MATTHEWS: Well, he better end it.

Let ask you. What stunned me was that the R.T. -- I don`t watch it -- I never will -- but R.T. specifically targeted Hillary Clinton for charges of mental illness, physical illness, but that she has a screwball problem. They pushed that story because Putin wanted it pushed. That`s staggering.

DILANIAN: And Putin`s personal role in all this, which is explored more in the classified version of this report, is also surprising. He had a hand on the tiller here. He was driving some of this activity.

MATTHEWS: And the fact he did it because he was mad at her, like a high school kid, because she said nasty things about him.

DILANIAN: And the report also says that the Russians are going to use this as a blueprint. They will do this again in both U.S. elections and European elections, unless something changes.

MATTHEWS: How will we know it was them?

DILANIAN: Well, that`s about the disappointing thing about this report. Right? It doesn`t lay out of the evidence. We know from our own reporting it`s based on...

MATTHEWS: No, how will we know in the future that they go after somebody in New York or they go after somebody in Arizona, they picked out a politician they think is anti-Russian? How do we know that it was them?

DILANIAN: So, the hacking, the U.S. intelligence community knows their signatures, knows the malware, can track that kind of stuff.

MATTHEWS: Are they going to tell us? If you`re Joe Blow and you`re attacked, and you don`t know who has been attacking you, somebody is saying terrible things about you, will the NSA now tell you, oh, we got to tell you who is after you?

DILANIAN: I hope they do.

MATTHEWS: That would be nice. I don`t think they will, though.

NBC`s Ken Dilanian, thank you, sir.

DILANIAN: Great to be with you.

MATTHEWS: Just hours before today`s meeting with the spy agencies, Donald Trump told "The New York Times" the attention focused on this issue was a political witch-hunt. I have no idea what that is supposed to mean.

Afterwards, Trump described the meeting, however, as constructive.

This is from Trump -- quote -- "While Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber-infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations, including the Democrat" -- notice that word -- "Democrat National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election, including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines. There were attempts to hack the Republican National Committee, but the RNC had strong hacking defenses, and the hackers were unsuccessful."

That`s the statement put out by whoever works with Trump.

Anyway, Michael McFaul is the former U.S. ambassador to Russia and an MSNBC contributor. And David Corn is Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones" and also an MSNBC political analyst.

Mr. Ambassador, tell me about your experience with the Russians. This fits -- this is like one of the old notions of the Russians. They are spies, and they`re relentless at it. Your thoughts? How does this fit, what you read today?

MICHAEL MCFAUL, MSNBC ANALYST: Of course. They are relentless at it. They have incredible capability.

They`re active every day. I just got a message from my Gmail account today that: We have reason to believe that a government-sponsored agent is trying get into your e-mail.

They have not stopped because of the sanctions a couple weeks ago. But, obviously, here what is different is, we all do espionage, we all gather intelligence. Putin made a decision to use that intelligence that he stole for political purposes. And I can`t think of a time ever in American history where you had a foreign policy so directly involved in the outcome of a presidential election.

MATTHEWS: This hatred of Hillary seems almost beyond politics. He is mad at her because she, what, dissed him? How does he see it? What can you read in that report?

MCFAUL: So, I have been with the two them together. I have been with Mr. Putin when he talked about our former secretary of state.

The thing that really bothers him is that, after the parliamentary election in Russia in December 2011 that was grossly falsified, and it was discovered that election monitors showed that, she criticized that election. She criticized that election that his party did poorly in.

And he was extremely upset about that statement, and he made it known to our president. He made it known to me, people in the government. And that`s -- there are other issues, but that`s fundamentally the source of the personal vendetta.

MATTHEWS: Place this politically in this election. I don`t know if people would say it changed the results of the election, but what do you think, David, purposeful conspiracy to get Trump elected?

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that`s what the intelligence community has concluded. It certainly looks like that from the outside.

MATTHEWS: No, that that was decisive.

CORN: Yes. Well, what Donald Trump and his people say is, whatever happened -- and they don`t acknowledge it happened -- it has no impact on the outcome of the election.

But yet throughout end of the campaign, Donald Trump again and again and again was citing WikiLeaks. Look at WikiLeaks. He kept using -- he used the ammo that this operation produced quite well and quite repeatedly.

So, for him to say later, well, it had nothing to do with anything is just another of the many false statements...


MATTHEWS: I was at the Al Smith Dinner sitting up there at the head table when he came out and said -- made fun of Hillary Clinton and said she is here to prove she is not anti-Catholic, when in fact that`s exactly what came out the WikiLeaks thing.

CORN: And, again, David Frum had a good piece in "The Atlantic" the other day in which he talked about how Trump not only cited the WikiLeaks material, but he always exaggerated it, said it shows she`s corrupt, it shows she`s criminal.

MATTHEWS: Or that Donna Brazile is a media person, not a DNC chair, right.

CORN: So he used this.

You had Roger Stone, one of his unofficial advisers, saying, tweeting out, wait for the WikiLeaks drop. That`s going to change this election.

So, again and again, they used it, they cited it. And now after the fact, when it turns out, well, this all came from Putin, they say forget about it, it had nothing to do with the outcome of the election.


OK, according to a senior official who spoke to NBC News yesterday, -- quote -- "U.S. intelligence picked up senior Russian officials celebrating Donald Trump`s win."

The president-elect now, I guess, is the toast of Moscow right now.

But, Mr. Ambassador, what do you make of that? It`s not quite clear from the report we have gotten, the unclassified material, to what kind of a peanut gallery cheering section was this. Do we know?

MCFAUL: Everybody affiliated with Putin`s Kremlin and the government was fantastically enthusiastic about Donald Trump`s victory. You don`t need to read the SIGINT. You can look at my Twitter feed that night.

They clearly had a preference for him, not only because of what we talked about before, but because president-elect Trump has supported, on the campaign trail at least, many policies that Mr. Putin supports.


MCFAUL: So, when he says, we`re going to look into recognizing Crimea as part of Russia, if you`re Putin, of course you want that candidate to win vs. the other one.

If you say you want to shake up NATO, of course you want that candidate to win. So, you don`t need a Ph.D. in Russian studies. I have one. But you don`t need a Ph.D. to kind of figure this out. It`s clearly they had preference for president-elect Trump, at least the Donald Trump that spoke as a campaign candidate. We will see what he does as president.

MATTHEWS: Let`s give him a little bit here. According to that same report today that was put out by the CIA, DIA, and the NSA, which is very credible now, high confidence in it, one of the motives for Putin was -- it sounded positive to me -- he wanted the United States and Russia to be part of an international coalition to get ISIS.

What do you make of that? That`s a good goal.

MCFAUL: It`s a good goal.

As we speak today, Russia is pulling out the Syria, while we are bombing ISIS in something called Operation Inherent Resolve.

So, again, I published a piece today in "Foreign Policy" saying, if we can cooperate with them on things that serve American national interests, that`s a good thing.

But that does not excuse them in meddling in our election. I`m sorry. Those are two separate things. And we have really got to take this seriously, because they are going to have this same capacity in 2020. It`s not like technology is going to slow down, if we don`t think of this as a national security issue.

MATTHEWS: And this is an escalation, as the report made clear today by the agencies. This is an escalation on what the Russians have been doing.

Thank you so much, Ambassador Michael McFaul. And thank you, David Corn.

Much more on the politics of this report and what it means for Trump ahead.

We continue to follow developments, of course, in that shooting today at airport in Fort Lauderdale, five dead, eight wounded. We will have the latest when we return.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The United Airlines terminal by the baggage. We were waiting for our flight at 7:00.

And we were talking getting something to eat, and then we heard bang, bang, bang, bang, ran out, my son and I, Clay. And we got separated with my wife and two daughters. And people were just running, just running for their lives.



MATTHEWS: Welcome back.

Anyway, today`s shooting at Fort Lauderdale International Airport left five people dead and another eight injured.

And while there is no credible threat to any other airports in the wake of today`s attacks, security has been heightened around the country, obviously.

We have just gotten new pictures of Esteban, by the way, Santiago, taken into custody. There he is.

I`m joined right now by NBC`s Tom Costello, who is at Reagan National Airport.

Tom, we live in a world now where you can`t have a gun on an airplane, but you can one the minute you get off. You can have it in your luggage.


MATTHEWS: The Second Amendment is certain malleable. Go ahead.


MATTHEWS: Pardon me?

COSTELLO: No, you`re absolutely right. You can check a gun. You can check it legally

And the way that is happens is, you have to have had it in a locked hard- shell case. It has to have a lock on it. You have to separate out the ammunition from the weapon, and you have declare that to the airline.

Now, keep in mind there are many, many people who check a weapon, hunters who are headed to Alaska or Colorado or something. You have off-duty law enforcement officers. And you have gun enthusiasts who legally and responsibly check a weapon.

But this situation was something that nobody ever anticipated, that a potentially mentally deranged individual would get off a plane, get their weapon, and then go into the restroom, load it with bullets and start shooting people.

So, tonight, I can tell you the issue that is being discussed in high-level law enforcement circles is, do we have a whole new concern about the public areas that presumed were safe or relatively safe in an airport, and now we have not thought about introducing weapons in this fashion, and it creates a whole new dynamic? So, it`s a very big concern.

MATTHEWS: It`s interesting about how we have tried to evolve. It`s impossible to agree on this across the country about what the Second Amendment means.

For example, the Second Amendment does not allow you to carry a gun on an airplane, right? Why is that a place where you can`t carry a gun, where you can carry one in the baggage claim area?

COSTELLO: FAA rules and regulations, for obvious reasons, especially post- 9/11, do not allow a weapon on board an aircraft in a passenger cabin, although of course you will have some -- they`re called federal flight officers, I think is the correct terminology -- a pilot who is allowed and licensed to carry a weapon.

And that`s all post-9/11. But to this Second Amendment argument, there`s another dynamic here. I believe I heard you talking about it with Chief Bratton. And that is that New York is right now considering whether to legalize allowing people to carry weapons on college campuses, in government meetings, and in airport terminals.

Now, this has come up for a vote before, and it`s always died in committee because the committee chairman was not keen. But the committee chairman has now changed. And this new committee chairman down there in Florida has advocated for more -- allowing more open carry. So this is up for a vote in committee next week. We will see how that goes.

MATTHEWS: Yes, "Gunsmoke" is not just an old TV show.

Anyway, thank you, NBC`s Tom Costello.

Senator Bill Nelson is with us now. He`s a Democrat from Florida.

Thank you, Senator Nelson.

And I know you`re a moderate Democrat and I`m trying to figure out, where is this go? I mean, every time since Bobby Kennedy was shot and every time it`s a horrible incident with his Connecticut or it`s down there in Orlando, everybody says, well, we`re going to do something about this, and everybody just moves on to something else and rechecking the football scores five minutes later and thinking about something else.

Are we going to think about this or just move on?

SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: Well, I hope so, Chris, and as Tom pointed out, you don`t want to penalize the people who have legitimate uses for guns such as hunters taking guns on the airplane checked away, special compartment, special kind of luggage for the gun.

But, you know, what this really tells us this is a reminder of how vulnerable masses of people bunch together in small places. Remember last year the Brussels airport shooting. That wasn`t down at baggage claim like this was, but that was up outside the ticket counters and where people were queuing up to go through security. So, wherever you have these it`s going to be a soft target.


NELSON: And maybe not just airports, maybe train stations, maybe seaports and tragically as we saw in Orlando, in a crowded nightclub.

MATTHEWS: Short of a constitutional amendment which will never occur in our lifetimes the -- which would take three quarters of the states to basically changed in any way, substantially, the Second Amendment and taking a "que sera sera, what will be will be" approached, what`s in the middle between doing nothing and outlawing guns? What is in the middle, Senator, to mitigate against these kinds of situations, these kinds of tragedies?

NELSON: Well, what has to be in the middle is some kind of check, where there is reasonable reason to check common sense. Now, in this instant case, if this fellow had a mental illness and indeed it had been identified is a people with mental illness or not supposed to have guns.


NELSON: So, how can you police all of that to make sure that they don`t? That`s a very difficult thing to do.

In the case of going and buying a gun, if we had the background checks that was mandated, mental illness having been a judge mentally ill --

MATTHEWS: Yes, it takes a judge.

NELSON: -- that is one of things that would not allow them to buy a gun.

MATTHEWS: Yes, but if a guy like this, we don`t know all the facts, but he wouldn`t checked in somewhere or someone reported his misbehavior, odd behavior, and he was identified by some physician for example, or agency official. But if he hadn`t been adjudicated by a judge as mentally deficient, he wouldn`t be on that list.

NELSON: And that makes it all the difficult. You take the Orlando shooting, Mateen, he had actually been on the terrorist watch list. He had gone off of it.

If you just had a law that says if a person purchases a gun that has been on the terrorist watch list, the FBI should be notified so they can double- check, should he go back on the terrorist watch list? If that had been the law, Mateen would have never gotten that high caliber rapid-fire weapon that he killed 59 people.

MATTHEWS: OK. Well, we got to keep trying.

Anyway, thank you so much. I respect you a lot. Senator Bill Nelson of Florida.

NELSON: Bless you.

MATTHEWS: We want to get back to the big political story the day, however, the one that`s going to matter weeks from now in terms of the president- elect. The intelligence report on Russia`s hacking in our election to help him win. Vladimir Putin ordering a campaign to influence that vote here because he had a clear preference for Mr. Donald Trump and he didn`t like Hillary Clinton. That`s ahead.

You`re watching HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

As I mentioned, the declassified review of Russia`s involvement in 2016 election was released to the public today, and I`ve read the report. The report the intelligence community calls Russia`s meddling the boldest effort that the Kremlin has ever made, the Kremlin has ever made, to influence an election here. And it says the operation signals a new normal -- there`s a phrase -- in their efforts to target America and other countries around the world.

Well, late today, Donald Trump talked to "The Associated Press" about his briefing on the topic. He said he, quote, "learned a lot" but declined to say whether he accepts Russia`s role in election and I think he`s going to start to finesse that one.

I`m joined right now by our roundtable. Annie Linskey, national political reporter with "The Boston Globe", April Ryan is White House correspondent for American Urban Networks, and author of the book "At Mama`s Knee", and Perry Bacon is a senior political report with NBC News.

Perry, let`s go this way this time. Imagine -- I know you`re straight reporter, but I`m going to ask you to imagine -- supposed Hillary Clinton had gotten help from the Russkies from the old KGB man himself, the old commie himself, had gotten help of any kind in this election, what would the right-wing be saying?

PERRY BACON, NBC NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: They`ll be talking about it everyday. Donald Trump would tweet about it every hour, maybe trying to -- she`s now in office (INAUDIBLE) -- what a profound day to look at this though. We thought the into the Cold War happen right you know two decades ago, and now, we see on the front page the intelligence community defensively saying Vladimir Putin tried to change our elections and did succeed in picking his candidate over Hillary Clinton.

I mean, amazing finding. We knew the details of this already into this, but the report was so detailed in telling us exactly how it happened.

MATTHEWS: Yes, it was clear.

BACON: April, imagine that this was the flip side of this story and it was the Democrats or the more progressive elements in our society benefiting from alliance with the reds, with the communist. I mean, I just -- it`s -- maybe going -- in fact, imagine if Donald Trump had lost the Electoral College and won the popular vote by 3 million, what he`d be doing?

APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: You know, they called her crooked Hillary during the campaign. This -- if this would have happened, she wouldn`t have even made it. Her ticket would not have made it to January 20th.

But there is a serious problem here and I`m going back to something President Obama said a couple of days ago. He said that if indeed this was during the Reagan era, Reagan would be turning over in his grave about this. This is terrible. You`ve got people like John McCain who is a Republican --

MATTHEWS: If it was in the Reagan era, he wouldn`t be in his grave.

RYAN: That`s true, that`s true.

But you know -- yes, but this would never happen during the Reagan era. So, we have totally turned the corner, turned the page in history and this is leading us down a path that could be counterproductive.

MATTHEWS: It`s going to big time.

RYAN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Vladimir ain`t going to stop this kissy poo either.


MATTHEWS: He loves this guy.

LINSKEY: Well, to your point, though, the Democrats did have it and an example of somebody who`s been perceived as close to the Russians and that was Bernie Sanders.


LINSKEY: And you saw over and over --

MATTHEWS: How has he perceived this --

LINSKEY: Yes, as a socialist.

MATTHEWS: Yes, but the historic rivalry between the socialist and the communist.

LINSKEY: Sure. You get the idea of what the oppo would have looked like. I mean, it`s the counterfactual that you can see already people were saying, oh, Bernie Sanders, he --


MATTHEWS: OK, what is Trump going to do over all contrendre, how many days he`s just going to say, I`m not going to deny this anymore, he`s gonna try to change the subject? How -- when is he going to do it?

BACON: You get close to that today I would say. He -- if you look at his statement, he`s finally did not -- he stopped attacking the intelligence findings.

MATTHEWS: April, when he`s going to do his de-birther comment? Remember the de-birther --


RYAN: That`s exactly where I was going to go. If it took him years to do that, it`s going to take awhile for this.

MATTHEWS: We got to go right now to Governor Scott in Florida right now.

GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: -- patients. I did. And I walked the hospital and thank them.

I talked to some patients and, you know, they`re in there in good spirits. They, you know, this is this is a traumatic experience for them, but they feel blessed that they`re in at this hospital.

REPORTER: Governor, you mentioned Pulse. This is your second, a recent mass shooting, debate about guns and all that stuff right now. What`s your mind at right now?

SCOTT: Well, you know, look, this is not the time to talk about politics. But I`ll tell you what we have to do. We have -- we have an ongoing investigation. We have to make sure we know exactly what happened. We have to hold people accountable.

We have to mourn for those who have lost their life. According to law enforcement, five people lost their lives. So, think about their -- those individuals and their families lives are changed forever. Also have to pray for all those that are still going through the surgeries or aren`t you know having life-saving things, surgeries done to help them.

REPORTER: I`m sure you`ve been talking to the FBI. Do we have a motive or anything yet?

SCOTT: I`ve been talking to law enforcement, FDLE, FBI, local sheriff`s department. I`ve been kept apprised all day. It`s an ongoing investigation.

You know, I tell you what, everybody is working well together. I saw that after Pulse. State, local and federal law enforcement worked together. We`re blessed in our state, we`re at a 45-year low in our crime rate.

But this investigation will take some time and, you know, I`m -- expectation all of us have is that as law enforcement puts out information, we`ll find out why this happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`ll take one more question.

REPORTER: Governor, can you clarify the numbers, please, how many were seriously hurt?

SCOTT: According to law enforcement, five individuals lost their lives. Eight individuals were shot. That`s what I`ve been told by law enforcement but just remember there`s an ongoing investigation. They`re doing everything they can to take care of everybody. You know, other individuals ended up coming to our hospitals to make sure they were -- if they had injuries, that they were taken care of.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor, we have one more question here with NBC.

REPORTER: Can you tell us more about your conversations with the president and the president-elect?

SCOTT: Sure. The president called me probably now 30 minutes ago. He, of course, said his prayers were with everybody that was impacted, said that anything we need to make sure I gave him a call.

I talked to President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Pence earlier this afternoon. They basically said the same thing, their prayers are with us, any resources they can help with. That was -- I was talking to them while the -- no one was exactly sure exactly what happened.

And so -- but they were -- appreciate that both President Obama and President-elect Trump called and Vice President-elect Pence called. And appreciate it when something like this happens, you know that you have the support of the federal government.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, everyone.

SCOTT: Thanks, everybody.

MATTHEWS: That`s Florida Governor Rick Scott with the latest on the shooting death. We`ll be right back after this.



MATTHEWS: We`re back with Andy, April and Perry.

Don`t those names sound great?

Anyway, Donald Trump is just two weeks from assuming the highest office in the world and the middle of his ongoing feud right now with the intelligence community. Well, today, he picked a fight on another front with the man who replaced him on "The Apprentice," Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

This morning, Trump tweeted as follows, "Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got swamped, or destroyed, by comparison to the ratings machine." Anyway, Donald J. Trump, that was him, of course, "so much for being a movie star. But who cares, he supported Kasich and Hillary."

This means that Donald Trump, who has retained his executive producer title on that show, as well as a financial stake in "The Apprentice" show is now rooting against the success of his own show.

Schwarzenegger later returned the favor on Twitter saying -- this is really good -- "I wish you the best of luck and I hope you`ll work for all the American people as aggressively as you worked for your ratings." Good for Arnold.

BACON: Best two words in that? Who cares? Obviously Donald Trump.

MATTHEWS: Why would Trump trash his successor on the show he`s the executive producer.

Perry Bacon?

BACON: He told you, because his successor endorsed John Kasich and Hillary Clinton.

MATTHEWS: April, this is not even high school. It`s grade school.

RYAN: It`s low ball, that`s what it is. Let me say this --

MATTHEWS: Why would he do it? Is this one -- some people think all this is strategic. Wherever Trump faces a bad day coming -- and he knows today was the day that the CIA will say "you`re full of it", he says I`ll come up with another rabbit to put out for the press to follow. So, now, we`re talking about Schwarzenegger`s little tip or term.

Do you believe in the rabbit theory?

RYAN: Yes. For Donald Trump, yes, because he always is smoke and mirrors, when something there, I`m going to do something bigger to take your mind off and your eyes off of this.

But I also believe something, too, he can the executive producer of this and guess what? It`s a ratings push I believe as well.

MATTHEWS: You think it helps?

RYAN: I think it helps.

MATTHEWS: You buy all news is good for a show?

RYAN: I buy it, but I tell you what, check mate for Governor Schwarzenegger. Yes.

MATTHEWS: I thought he showed he`s gotten smarter than Trump on this one.

LINSKEY: I totally agree with you. I absolutely think it was a ratings play because now, like, even I want to watch the show.

MATTHEWS: You accept allies here.

RYAN: We`re in a tribe together, yes.

MATTHEWS: A lone person. Finish your thought.

LINSKEY: I even want to watch the show now. I mean, it`s like, oh, wow. That`s kind of interesting.

MATTHEWS: My EP here, Ann Clank (ph), has watched every single show for nine years.

Anyway, Annie Linskey, April Ryan, Perry Bacon, what mellifluous names.

That`s HARDBALL for now. Thank you for being with us.

"ALL IN" starts right now.