Show: HARDBALL Date: April 3, 2018 Guest: Francesca Chambers, Ginger Gibson, Eugene Scott
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Francesca, John, thank you so much for joining me.
Thank you for watching this evening. That does it for me. My friend Ari Melber will be back in this seat tomorrow evening. And I will see you tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m.
HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS starts right now.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Trump guards his rear. Let's play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I'm Chris Matthews in San Francisco.
President Trump finds himself tonight in a two-front war trying to kill off the notion he has been in bed with Vladimir Putin all the way to the White House. And two, trying to convince his hard right supporters that he is really out to stop illegal immigration wall or no wall.
But we begin with the break news of that shooting at the headquarters of You Tube just to the south of me in San Bruno, California. Police responded to reports of a shooting at 12:48 this afternoon Pacific Time. Aerial footage showed employees walking out of the building with their hands up. Police describe a scene of chaos when they arrived. Authorities confirm that a female suspect a woman in her 30s was deceased at the scene. Well, San Bruno police chief Ed Barberini briefed reporters just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF ED BARBERINI, SAN BRUNO POLICE DEPARTMENT: We did encounter one victim with apparent gunshot wound toward the front of the business as we arrived. Several minutes later while conducting a search of the premises, officers located a second individual with a gunshot wound that appears to may have been self-inflicted. We are still working on confirming that.
Two additional victims were located several minutes later at adjacent business. The extent of all the injuries of our victims are unknown right now. They were all transported for emergency medical care but they are all unknown. So if I missed that, we have four victims.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Just in the past hour, law enforcement officials told NBC they believe the motive was a domestically related dispute. ATF and FBI investigators were on the scene assisting local law enforcement agencies.
For more, I'm joined by NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams.
What do we have now, Pete, as of now?
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, so many times in a situation like this, Chris, we don't know what the motive was but we seem to know that tonight. What the authorities are telling us is that this woman came to the You Tube workplace with a specific target in mind. Someone she knew someone with whom she wanted to settle a grievance.
She shot that person, she may have shot a second person who was with him intentionally. We are not sure about the third person. The authorities have told us that the male that she shot is in critical condition in the hospital in San Francisco. The two the women are in serious and fair condition.
But this is not the kind of workplace shooting where someone shows up to send a message or try to try to create as much carnage as possible. This was someone who came there authorities say to settle a grievance.
As far as the firearm used, we are waiting confirmation of it. But all the indications we have had so far is that she had a semiautomatic handgun, a pistol. And semiautomatic simply means that it fires every time you pull the trigger. Witnesses have said they heard a number of shots. So the scenario would appear to be that the victims were outside eating lunch when this woman showed up with a gun, saw them there, opened fire, and then apparently the police say shot and killed herself.
So as we speak now, just one fatality. The gun woman herself, the assailant herself, three people in the hospital with gunshot wounds. And another person who was apparently injured probably running in the chaos with an injured ankle. So it could have been much worse. But the motive seems to be pretty clear tonight. This was someone trying to settle a grievance.
MATTHEWS: Pete Williams, thank you so much for that report.
Let's go to Zach Vorhes. He was an eyewitness. He is going to join us by phone. He is a You Tube software engineer who was actually in the building at the time of the shooting.
Zach, tell us what you went through?
ZACH VORHES, EYEWITNESS (on the phone): Hey, Chris Matthews. Yes, I was at my desk working when the fire army went off. And we all thought that OK, well, there's a fire alarm. We exited the back of the building. I had my electric skate board. I put the skate board on the ground and I started going down the hill towards the courtyard. And I heard some yelling going on. And when I arrived near the courtyard, I heard somebody yelling do you want to shoot me? And I looked to my left which was his right and I saw somebody lying on their back on the concrete with what appeared to be a gunshot wound through the stomach. And I say that because there was a red splotch on his shirt and he wasn't moving.
And at that point, I didn't really understand what was going on until I saw the door that separated the courtyard from the street open up. And a police officer came in with an assault rifle. And at that point, I ran away. I put my skate board down and I exited the area. I went to the parking structure and escaped to the side and made it out OK.
MATTHEWS: Was the voice, could you discern whether the voice was male or female that said do you want to shoot me?
VORHES: It was a male. It was a male. Yes.
MATTHEWS: So you believe it must be or was the person you saw on the ground wounded, badly wounded in the stomach?
MATTHEWS: Yes. And before I thought that that was the shooter but now I'm not sure. I think there might have been some sort of like verbal argument that was going on. And that's when I entered into the scene. But yes, it was a man is what I saw.
MATTHEWS: Scary reporting for you. Thanks so much, Zach Vorhes who work there at You Tube. And he witnessed the shooting.
Anyway, we are going to continue to follow any developments in the shooting throughout this hour. Of course, this is all live coverage right now.
But now to politics. President Trump hit on a wide range of targets today in a barrage of early morning tweets and then in multiple interactions with reporters, the President called out every network but one calling them all fake news. We know which one he skipped. He mocked the President of CNN, continued his attack on Amazon, threatened the government of Mexico, demanded credit for helping NATO, took jabs at Hillary Clinton and even Barack Obama and said he was sending the military to the border with Mexico. He send in the military down there. That was all before lunch today. Then in a joint press conference with leaders of the Baltic States, he derided the U.S. press generally. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Pick a reporter, please. You can pick a reporter, a Baltic reporter ideally. Real news, not fake news.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: What a chuckle. Anyway, President Trump again today defended the Sinclair broadcast group, the local news behemoth known to mix right- leaning commentary into their news coverage.
He tweeted, by the way, at 6:30 this morning. Quote "the fake news networks those that knowingly have a sick and biased agenda are worried about the competition and quality of Sinclair broadcast."
He also tweeted about the outlier poll that showed his approval rating higher than other polls have been showing him. Thank you to Rasmussen, he said, for the honest polling. Just hit 50 percent which is higher than cheating Obama at this time in his administration.
God knows where that cheat Obama phrase came from. It's not clear what earned the former President that nickname.
Anyway, Susan Page is Washington bureau chief of "USA Today," Robert Costa is national political reporter for "the Washington Post" and MSNBC political analyst, and Eddie Glaude, of course, is chairman of the center for African-American studies at Princeton and an MSNBC contributor.
Let me start with Susan. I have a sense that the President is fighting two wars right now as we said in the opening headline before he went into the shooting down here in San Bruno in California. I get the feeling that he is worried about people like Ann Coulter saying he has gone soft on the wall that he is not going to deliver for his base and even though maybe his numbers are high right now among his base, maybe up to the 40s, I don't think they are to 50, and certainly in the low 40s now, that he is afraid he is losing something. And that's why he is screaming all this crazy stuff about bringing troops to the border, et cetera. Your thoughts.
SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, USA TODAY: You know, I think we have really gone back to the future here as though we are back in 2015 and during the 2016 campaign. There was no issue that animated Donald Trump and his followers more than the issue of immigration and the concerns about what was happening coming over the border and the threats that they saw there. He is returning to those themes. And I think it reflects both a desire to kind of bolster his support among his base, you know.
And also it may reflect the fact he has seemed quite liberated from those who he had surrounded him on the White House staff, who are urging caution to him and not to the go with his gut, something if people like H.R. McMaster, for instance, or Gary Cohn or Rob Porter, I mean, people who urged him to think maybe think twice sometimes do not what his first instinct was. Those people have been either lost some of their power or gone away. And we are left with more a pure distillation of Donald Trump.
MATTHEWS: Robert, here is my theory about Trump's political goals. I think he wants to run right now for reelection. Who knows what he will decide in a couple years, but I think he wants to run. And I think his entire strategy comes down to two parts.
One, grab and hold 45 percent of the electorate, which was enough to get him elected the first time in the electoral counts (ph). Grab it hold. He now feels he has got hold of it thanks to Rasmussen's estimations. But still, he thinks he is pretty solid 45 now.
Hold on to that for all he has got. Fight on the wall, fight on immigration, fight on crime, whatever holds that action together and then wait for the Democrats to pick an opponent and knock his or her head off. In other words, go mano-o-mano against whoever they run. He wins that way but he is already setting up the first proposition which is hold 45 percent, that's enough to win and then knock the other guy's head off. That's what he's up to, I think.
ROBERT COSTA, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: He already has an election staring him in the face, Chris. The midterm elections this year and he is trying to rouse the base, not just looking to 2020 but to 2018.
My White House sources say the President believes talking about the wall, sending troops to the border is the way to get that base to turn out this November. But there's a divide in the Republican Party. Many congressional Republicans uncomfortable with the tact the President takes on some of these issues. The controversy he welcomes. They would rather run on the tax cut. But there's just not a coherent course with this is Republican Party and how they are going to approach the election.
MATTHEWS: Well, they never did like him. He beat them, remember, Robert. They didn't join them. He beat them.
COSTA: And they are not comfortable with his style of politics. They see him fighting with the media every day, picking new fights. Trying again focus on immigration. They think the immigration voter on the economic conservative side is already there. They are worried about the suburban voter who turned in Alabama in December, who turned in southwestern Pennsylvania this spring.
MATTHEWS: Eddie, let me ask you about this refresher course in Obama hatred. What is that about? Is that just playing the race card? I mean, when he goes after Obama, is has nothing to do with the current conversation at all and starts talking about cheating Obama. Is that just playing the ethnic thing? I mean, sometimes I wonder if that's what he does to keep that base happy. Your thoughts?
EDDIE GLAUDE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I think so, Chris. I think it is in part a part of the kind of race-baiting that is in some ways a feature of his invocation of the immigration question. He is appealing to the baser instincts of his base as it were. It's also a case study for fraud in terms of projection. There's something about his obsession with Obama and what he is constantly projecting on to him that suggests something about his psyche.
MATTHEWS: Go on. Follow this all the way. What is it?
GLAUDE: You know, in some ways it just seems to me that the success of Obama, the fact that Obama clowned him to use a kind of colloquial phrase clowned him that I forget which event it was.
MATTHEWS: The White House Press Correspondents dinner where he made a fool of him.
GLAUDE: Yes, exactly. The success of his administration over the eight years, the fact that Obama made fun of him or clowned him at the press club meeting, right, has made him the object of Trump's scorn. In other words, everything that Obama is Trump desires to be. So he projects his failures.
MATTHEWS: I look at the outer aspects of what you might envy in Barack Obama. He's a cool guy. Cool in a Sinatra way, and positive Sinatra way unlike Trump which is the bad Sinatra. In other words, he really is he cool. He has got a very successful marriage, great kids. First marriage, no disasters there. A great marriage all these years, real partnership. Ivy League education, a real one, by the way, with a Harvard degree and the top of it Harvard law degree. Are those the things that Trump despite his claim to billions, is that what he really wants that Barack Obama has? Is that your suggestion?
GLAUDE: In part, Chris, I should just be as explicit as I can possibly be. There seems to me, and I may be wrong here, but there's a bit of Obama is this uppity black person that we need to put in his place.
GLAUDE: He takes at every turn, he takes an opportunity to put Obama in his place.
MATTHEWS: Well, that is truly sad.
Anyway, for four days straight, by the way, Trump has tweeted about a caravan of migrants from Central America, probably Honduras marching through Mexico. Trump warned they are heading here. Well, the organizers of that caravan, so-called to dispute that. According to reports, the group has been stalled for days and Mexican authorities have offered temporary protection to some and deported so many others. Well, today President Trump took credit for that. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have just heard that the caravan coming up from Honduras is broken up and Mexico did that. And they did it because frankly I said you really have to do it. We are going to have a relationship on NAFTA, we are going to have to include security in NAFTA.
But the caravan doesn't irritate me. The caravan makes me very sad that there could happen to the United States. You have thousands of people that decide to just walk into our country and we don't have any laws that can protect it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: One of the organizers of the so-called caravan told "The New York Times" he predicted at most 10 percent to 15 percent of the actual participants would even seek asylum here in the United States.
Anyway, let me go back to Susan Page. This caravan thing is certainly iconic for Trump. The idea that there's armies of people marching off through Mexico into the United States unopposed is certainly a figure that -- certainly it's a frightening figure to those worried about or angry about illegal immigration that he can play to.
PAGE: Yes. Well, it's a rhetorical device that sets up a big threat. Now he also said that he may send U.S. troops to the southern border which would be a pretty significant escalation in efforts along the border in the absence of building the great big beautiful wall that he's had some trouble getting funding for.
MATTHEWS: What's a guy with a rifle, a soldier with a rifle, an M-16 would do to guard a boarder? Isn't that dangerous? They can't shoot people for coming into the country? I mean, I always wondered. That seems like a cumbersome deployment, Susan.
PAGE: Well, it is one that's been used before. George W. Bush sent National Guardsmen to the border, Barack Obama sent some, too. It sounded like --.
MATTHEWS: What were the duties?
PAGE: Well, their dues, I think were to patrol the border and try to keep people from coming over illegally. But I think President Trump will seem to be talking about a bigger deployment, more muscular deployment than his predecessors have done. And it's not entirely clear how that works in securing the border. But certainly, there is no issue President Trump talks about with more energy than this one.
MATTHEWS: We started shooting and killing people crossing the border just to get to America. That's going to be quite morally, morally unsettling, I think.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's horrible.
MATTHEWS: As you just mentioned, Donald Trump told reporters the military would be deployed to secure the southern border. Well, other presidents have sent National Guard troops to the border to help with surveillance and other forms of support. There were prohibitions against using active duty soldiers to conduct law enforcement operations within the United States. And later Trump was asked to explain what he meant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The Mexican border is very unprotected by our laws. We have horrible, horrible and very unsafe laws in the United States. And we are going to be able to do something about that hopefully soon. Hopefully Congress will get their act together and get in and create some very powerful laws. So what we are preparing for the military to secure our border between Mexico and the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, late today, White House press secretary announced that President Trump received aid briefing today that included mobilizing the National Guard.
Let me go to Robert on this. This does seem dramatic. You send soldiers down there in fatigues to guard the border. I would still think the question of how you use military is a bigger question than whether you do because when you bring them in the rifles, what do they do with those rifles?
COSTA: It's not just about the confrontation with Mexico. There's a political calculus going on inside of the White House right now. They know the President is very frustrated that he can't get a deal for the border wall. His signature campaign pledge and he is hoping White House officials tell me that by talking about militarizing the border, talking to the secretary of defense about putting troops there, that maybe he will bring the Democrats to the table.
But there's not a big appetite on Capitol Hill among Republicans or Democrats to have some kind of a major immigration pact at this moment just a few months before the midterms that would be a DACA deal for the border wall. And in lieu of that, he is moving on the troops and talking to Mattis - secretary Mattis.
MATTHEWS: I'm so discouraged by the quality of politics today. Why, Robert, you are as good at this as anybody, why don't they just cut a deal? You get a piece of the wall for DACA. Everybody is happy. Maybe not everybody is thrilled but they are happy enough. Why don't they just cut that deal? One thing for that thing.
COSTA: They be done some of that already. In this omnibus spending bill, there's a sliver of the wall here. There is a sliver of the wall there. At least this bolster boarders --.
MATTHEWS: There's no DACA there.
PAGE: There's no DACA and there is not really a border wall in the concrete sense.
MATTHEWS: Both sides know what they want. The moderate and progressives in this country and most people want something done for the DACA young people who were brought here young and most people are for them. And the wall thing hey, is another project to spend money on. But you know, I mean it would make him happy. And you can move on instead of this constant aggravation.
COSTA: Look, suburban Republicans in the Philadelphia suburbs aren't clamoring for a border wall to run on in a contentious midterm elections. The Democrats fear if they go for the border wall, Chris, where is that resistance? Where is that democratic base? And they are going to come out for a Democratic Party that supports a wall?
MATTHEWS: Schumer was for it. And we are going to go for it. It happens to right wing wanted to add in all the other stuff. Go ahead.
GLAUDE: And remember, Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham, they came up with a compromise that the White House then blew up which involved DACA and parts of the wall. So this is just boondoggle that -- this is part of something that I have been thinking about with regards to Trump. You can't pay attention to the way in which he is dealing with facts with regards to the merits of the question. You have to pay attention to the end game. I think Robert hit it right on the -- right on the head.
What he's saying about caravans, what he's saying about our weak laws, none of that bears any resemblance to the facts of the matter. What's interesting is the way in which he's trying to create a moral panic in order to justify cruel policies with regards to immigration.
That's the endgame. And we need to understand that and we need to treat it as such, and not deal with all the smoke and mirrors that he's putting forward.
MATTHEWS: The trouble is, being a demagogue is not a good long-term career path. It's good in the short run. And we all know that .
Anyway, thank you, Susan Page, Robert Costa, and Eddie Glaude.
Up next: the latest on the Russia investigation. The first sentence was handed down today, by the way. Big news today. Somebody's actually going to jail over this. It comes as we're getting new clues about the scope of Robert Mueller's full investigation. Lots more to it.
I say it's the iceberg. There's so much going on with this Mueller investigation that we don't know about yet. And, by the way, Mr. Titanic doesn't know either.
This is HARDBALL, where the action is.
MATTHEWS: Well, President Trump responded to the shooting today at the YouTube headquarters just a short time ago.
Trump wrote on Twitter: "Was just briefed on the shooing at YouTube's headquarters in San Bruno, California."
And here it comes.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with everybody involved. Thank you to our phenomenal law enforcement officers and first-responders that are currently on the scene."
You can take that for what it's worth.
We will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody has been tougher on Russia, but getting along with Russia would be a good thing, not a bad thing. And just about everybody agrees to that, except very stupid people.
QUESTION: How do you see Vladimir Putin? Is he a friend or a foe?
TRUMP: We will find out. I will let you know. I mean, there will be a time when I will let you know. You're going to find out very quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
After his meeting today with the leaders of the Baltic states, President Trump repeatedly insisted he's been tough on Russia, while maintaining he still wants a good relationship with the country that interfered, of course, in our 2016 election.
Of course, Trump's so-called relationship with Russia is precisely what the special counsel is probing right now. We want to know what that relationship is, of course.
Well, today, we saw the first sentence handed down in connection with the Russia probe. This morning, the London-based attorney who worked with Rick Gates and Paul Manafort became the first to receive jail time after pleading guilty to a count of making false statements.
Alexander van der Zwaan was fine and sentenced today to just 30 days in prison for lying to federal investigators. Specifically, he lied about his contacts with Gates and a business associate with ongoing ties to Russian intel, intelligence agencies.
I'm joined right now by Ken Dilanian, intelligence and national security for NBC News, and Jill Wine-Banks, a former Watergate prosecutor and W -- or actually MSNBC legal analyst.
We don't have much time here. I want to go to this.
First of all, Ken, it seems to me, when somebody gets 30 days in jail, maybe they were picked up for something like getting drunk somewhere or they're being -- getting off easy for something much worse. What is it here, 30 days?
KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, you're right, Chris, that he -- you're right, Chris, that he could have gotten up to six months.
But, really, he's a first offender. And there's some argument that, in many cases, somebody like this might not have been prosecuted at all, that the Mueller team really played hardball, because he did come clean and tell the truth before these charges were filed. They charged him anyway.
But he's getting the 30 days in jail. And he's a lawyer. He's going to lose his law license, presumably be disbarred. What this really underscores, Chris, is that these people can take your freedom away. They're not playing. And it's a message to hundreds of witnesses they are summoning before them that you had better not lie to the special counsel.
MATTHEWS: Jill, the first prosecution reminds me of Watergate, like everything reminds me of Watergate in this case. You start with the small fry, if you will, and you work your way up, punishing them along the way perhaps.
JILL WINE-BANKS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It does. And that is how we operated. You start building your case by getting the people who can give you someone higher up.
And, in this case, I think van der Zwaan was certainly a peripheral character, but it does show that you cannot lie, that they know a lot more in the prosecutor's office than you think they do, and that you must tell the truth. That's a very strong message to all future witnesses.
Don't think you can outsmart them. You can end up in jail for this.
MATTHEWS: Ken, why do you think the president keeps saying, I'm tough on the Russians, when the question before the court is, has he been too nice to them?
DILANIAN: Yes, it's a conundrum, Chris.
I mean, his administration has grown increasingly tough on the Russians with some actions in recent days. Nikki Haley at the U.N. has been condemning the Russians. But we're still waiting for Donald Trump himself to say a bad word about Vladimir Putin.
And in addition to the election interference, don't forget the Russians were involved in an attack on a U.S. base in Syria, not the Russian government, but Russian mercenaries.
DILANIAN: And, you know, they're allegedly involved in this poisoning of a British citizen in the U.K. that the Trump administration condemned.
But I don't recall Donald Trump specifically denouncing Vladimir Putin over it. And it's just really bizarre why he can't bring himself to do that.
MATTHEWS: Well, anyway, Nikki Haley has the makings right now of a real neocon to be.
Anyway, a new court filing has revealed more details about the broad scope of the Mueller investigation. It comes after Trump's indicted former campaign chairman Paul Manafort argued in court that the case against him is outside the bounds of the special counsel's mandate.
However, the highly redacted memo drafted last August shows that the Manafort inquiry was specifically approved by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who told Mueller to investigate -- quote -- "allegations that Paul Manafort committed a crime or crimes by colluding with Russian government officials, as well as crimes arising out of payments he received from the Ukrainian government."
Ken, let's go back to this. They're looking at collusion. They're getting -- they're working on Manafort, but not just about his role in possible collusion or probable collusion, but they're also going after his business affairs generally, which means he is really vulnerable.
DILANIAN: This is very significant, Chris, because some critics of the Manafort prosecution have argued look, money laundering, tax evasion, what does that have to do with collusion with Russia?
Well, now we have in black and white from the Justice Department that there are serious allegations that Paul Manafort colluded. And this could go to the heart of the investigation. Now, obviously, the special counsel has not confirmed that to his satisfaction. Otherwise, we would see charges filed.
But that is what he's investigating. And that's why -- you and I have talked about this a long time. I have long said you can't make the collusion case until you have Paul Manafort's testimony, arguably. And that's why they're going so hard after him. They want him to flip. They're putting all the pressure in the world on him, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me go to that.
Jill, it seems to me, if you stop a guy for speeding and you find he's got drugs in his trunk, you can hit him for having drugs. Well, we all know that's the way it works. That's how police work.
But in this case, they got to build a case for collusion. I don't think they're going to get an impeachment, even an impeachment, just on obstruction. They have to find an underlying crime that Americans under Trump's watch, his people did something.
That's just my -- is that your conclusion? Can you see something coming out of this if they can't show Trump collusion with the Russians?
WINE-BANKS: I think, if you're talking about Trump's base, yes, you need to show some sort of conspiracy working with the Russians.
I think, for the majority of Americans, for the 70 percent of people, you do not. And keep in mind, in Watergate, there was no underlying crime that the president was involved in.
MATTHEWS: Yes, but his people did it.
WINE-BANKS: He was involved in obstruction.
His people did it, yes.
MATTHEWS: His people broke into the Watergate. CREEP did it.
WINE-BANKS: That is true.
I still think that it's enough to have a real ongoing obstruction of justice by the president and his aides, who are deliberately trying to stop the investigation. They know there's something there, or they wouldn't be doing it. They know there's someone guilty involved in a conspiracy with Russia.
The Russians know something or have something, and that's why they're trying to stop the investigation. And we have to let the investigation go forward to find out the answer to that.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Ken on that question.
Do you think they have to show that Trump's people did something we didn't know about it? We know he fired Comey. We know he tried to protect Flynn. We know all that. Is that enough to impeach him?
DILANIAN: That's a political question, Chris. I think it depends on who controls the House of Representatives. Right?
But, I mean, clearly, the obstruction case looms large. And that has been -- that front has been pretty quiet lately. We're not sure. There has been some reporting that Mueller has that case in the bag, and he's holding it in abeyance and pursuing the collusion question.
But, you know, I can envision a scenario where Trump is not directly linked to collusion, but the obstruction case is still presented as grounds for impeachment. But that is very speculative, and we're a long way from that.
MATTHEWS: So you think it's going to take collusion to bring him down as president?
DILANIAN: I don't know. And I don't even know -- you know, we talking about collusion. There's no crime of collusion. Right? There's conspiracy.
MATTHEWS: Well, conspiracy.
DILANIAN: We reported a couple weeks ago that Mueller plans to indict some of the Russians who were involved in the hacking and leaking.
And the question is, can he pin any of that on anyone linked to the Trump campaign, and did Donald Trump know about it? That's going to be key, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Jill, while we have you, how do you see this case going?
WINE-BANKS: Well, I -- there's also a lot of...
MATTHEWS: Over the next year.
WINE-BANKS: There's a lot of evidence linking Russians directly to the campaign.
You have the hearing now that went forward on the sentencing that mentions that a government agent was in conversation with Rick Gates during the campaign and that he knew about it.
WINE-BANKS: So, there are things that link the campaign -- and Trump is ultimately responsible for that campaign -- to the Russians. And that could be the underlying conspiracy with the Russians.
We don't know what is known yet. But I see this going forward a step at a time. And I think that, in terms of Manafort, yes, there's a clear and easy case to make against him for money laundering and for the crimes that he has been charged with, but, hopefully, he's now starting to see how much more the prosecutors know, and will start to talk and admit what he has done in terms of the election, which Is clearly set forth in Rosenstein's authority to Mueller.
So it could go much further. And I think we could have a collusion, even though, as Ken said, there is no such crime as collusion. I have given up in trying to get people to stop saying that. It's conspiracy with a foreign agent that is the crime.
MATTHEWS: And you think that that would be enough for an impeachment process to go through, that you would prove that the president and his people did something to help the Russians do what they intended to do, in other words, conspired with them that way, that that would be enough?
DILANIAN: Oh, sorry.
WINE-BANKS: Yes. Sorry.
Absolutely. If you can prove that there was a relationship where the Americans worked with the Russians to interfere with the American election, that is clearly an impeachable offense. It's a criminal offense as well.
But, as Ken said, it is a political question as to what Congress will do with that information.
MATTHEWS: Ken, your thought?
DILANIAN: I think I agree with that.
Jill made a very important point awhile back about the most significant revelation to come out of the van der Zwaan prosecution was that Person A, the guy he lied about talking to, had ongoing connections to Russian intelligence during the campaign. And he was talking to Rick Gates, the deputy campaign manager.
So, that's a tantalizing clue that has emerged only in the last week, a new piece of information suggesting potential collusion. It doesn't prove it yet, but I really want to know what else Gates and this Russian intelligence officer were talking about, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Yes. I think we're going to van der Zwaan, to Gates, to Manafort, all the way up.
Anyway, thank you, Ken Dilanian.
DILANIAN: You bet. Thanks.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Jill Wine-Banks.
When we come back, we have a lot more on Trump's controversial plan to send troops to the Mexican border.
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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The -- first of all, the border, the Mexican border is very unprotected by our laws. We have horrible, horrible and very unsafe laws in the United States.
And we're going to be able to do something about that, hopefully soon. We are preparing for the military to secure our border between Mexico and the United States. We have a meeting on it in a little while with General Mattis and everybody. And I think that it's something we have to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Donald Trump told reporters he planned to have the U.S. military guard the southern border with Mexico, though He didn't provide much detail when asked about it later. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The Mexican border is very unprotected by our laws. We have horrible, horrible and very unsafe laws in the United States.
And we're going to be able to do something about that, hopefully soon.
Hopefully, Congress will get their act together and get in and create some very powerful laws. So, what we are preparing for the military to secure our border between Mexico and the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, late -- late today, the White House press secretary announced that President Trump received a briefing today that included mobilizing the National Guard.
Well, meanwhile, President Trump himself spent the morning attacking fake news, Amazon, Mexico, and Barack Obama.
For more, I'm joined by the HARDBALL roundtable tonight. Francesca Chambers, White House correspondent for "The Daily Mail", Ginger Gibson, political correspondent for "Reuters" and Eugene Scott, political reporter with "The Washington Post."
So, in that order, what do we do with troops with M16s, with rifles? I've wondered how you use soldiers to guard a border when they've got loaded rifles. Do they shoot people when they cross the border or watch them and not shoot them? I don't quite get the duty we're talking about here.
FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE DAILY MAIL: Well, it's not clear whether President Trump is talking about deploying the National Guard if he's talking about the Army, the Navy, we don't really have the details on that. And, importantly, as well, Chris, is how many military members is he talking about deploying down to the border. He said that he would be discussing this with General Mattis and others.
But Democrats are already saying that this would not be a good way to use the military's resources that they have better things to do in other places overseas although President Trump also today saying that he wants to take the military out of Syria, so seemingly one less responsibility for the military soon.
MATTHEWS: Ginger, it seems like if you can't build a wall, you brings troops in. I mean, that's what he seems to be doing.
He lost on the C.R., on the big spending bill. He couldn't get any substantial portion of the wall approved. So, he's got to say something to his people back home, who voted for him and say, look, I couldn't stop them with the wall, but I'm going to stop them with U.S. troops. That seems to be the iconic statement he's making here.
GINGER GIBSON, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS: Or you build the troops in to build the wall. Have no doubt the United States military could construct a wall very quickly, maybe with not the permit and processing they would use otherwise. But they could get the wall --
MATTHEWS: And the Army Corps of Engineers?
GIBSON: Well, the army -- not even just the Army Corps of Engineers. You bring combat troops in trained to handle logistic issues in war zones. The big question becomes, can he even do that? Does he need congress' approval?
And I've got two the words for you when you start talking about using troops in that way, and those are Lindsey Graham. He has repeatedly criticized the president for wanting to spend money on a wall on the southern border. And he's going to have a big say on whether or not Congress would sign off on such a thing. And I have a hard time believing he would have an easy sell on this one.
EUGENE SCOTT, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, Eugene I have to say.
MATTHEWS: I mean, Eugene, I'm sorry. We've got a lot of moves tonight, a lot of changes in the show because of what happened in San Bruno today.
Tell me, Eugene. What do you think he means when he says there's going to be troops in, because it's the news of the day?
SCOTT: Well, I think what he wants to do is reassure his base that he's taking this issue very seriously despite not delivering to them. Immigration is what he campaigned on. It's what he will be graded on, and it's what many people who were on the Trump train will think about when they head to the polls this fall and try to figure out if they're going to vote for lawmakers who are supporting Trump's vision for making America great again.
I don't think they'll bring more guns to the border. It's going to end up looking very well in his favor and in the party's favor as a whole especially when we talk how many of these individuals trying to get into the United States are minors.
MATTHEWS: Yes, of course, you know, and I think that's stupid. Of course, the Democrats are standing there empty handed. They don't have a progressive approach to deal with immigration. They haven't had one. They sit there and wait for Trump to make a fool of himself. I think that is going to be an opening he's always going to try to fill.
Anyway, the roundtable is sticking with us. You're watching HARDBALL.
MATTHEWS: We're back with the HARDBALL roundtable.
Francesca, tell me something I don't know.
CHAMBERS: Well, Chris, next week, President Trump will be in Lima, Peru at the Summit of the Americas, which will bring him face-to-face with Central American leaders. Now, this is important because he said today that he would try to cut off aid to Honduras and other countries like that if that caravan wasn't stopped.
Now, the caravan stopped, it could be a little bit awkward as he comes to Lima next week to meet with those leaders, and Enrique Pena Nieto, the Mexican president, will also be there. We'll be looking to see if they have a face-to-face meeting, as well.
GIBSON: The saga between the president and Amazon is not over. It's something we should watch closely. "Reuters" was the first report today the U.S. Chamber of Commerce criticizing the president for attacking American company.
We've been told by White House officials that while president Trump isn't considering taking action on Amazon right now, he could have his mind changed and we could see that position reversed. So, very much still up in the air.
MATTHEWS: I'm betting on Amazon.
SCOTT: Yes, despite the president consistently attacking CNN and "The Washington Post" and MSNBC, a new Monmouth University poll came out Monday saying that more Americans trust MSNBC and CNN than President Trump to deliver factual information.
MATTHEWS: Well, thank you, Eugene. That was a nice door prize for us.
Thanks so much, Francesca Chambers, Ginger Gibson and Eugene Scott.
Up next, my colleague Reverend Al Sharpton is here to talk about the legacy of Martin Luther King 50 years after his assassination.
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MATTHEWS: When we come back, the Reverend Al Sharpton joins me to talk about the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: We've got some difficulties ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now because I've been to the mountaintop.
Like anybody, I would like to live a long life, longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now.
And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people get to the Promised Land.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
That was Martin Luther King, of course, delivering his iconic Mountaintop speech exactly 50 years ago tonight in Memphis, Tennessee. He was assassinated the next day. That's tomorrow, 50 years ago.
I'm joined right now by Reverend Al Sharpton of National Action Network president and, of course, host of MSNBC's "POLITICS NATION."
Reverend, I never asked you this, but I think, give me -- give me the unadulterated story of the last several years of Dr. King when he was, you know, he came out against the Vietnam War that ticked off people in the middle and the right. He wasn't perhaps as militant as the black community leadership it was what it like to be Dr. King in those last couple of years?
REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, POLITICS NATION: Dr. King was very much in many ways unpopular. And he was standing alone. He was under attack by many on the right, including the liberals in the Johnson administration because he had come out against the war in Vietnam. Other civil rights leaders of national organizations attacked him, saying he was hurting the civil rights cause doing that. And he was under attack on the left.
Many of the more strident black power advocates had said nonviolence had run its course and wanted to see other things done. When he was killed, I was 13, I was born and raised in New York, it wasn't popular to be with Dr. King. I was a pointed youth director that year of his local chapter here. And it wasn't popular to be with Dr. King in the North because it was more strident.
So, I think people forget from the left and the right he was under attack which really showed the moral strength he had that he wouldn't waiver in terms of his tactics of nonviolence or his goal of world peace and, of course, racial equality.
MATTHEWS: And he at a time before a lot of people in the middle politically saw it, he saw the unfairness of Vietnam here and there, the injustice of the war.
SHARPTON: Absolutely. In fact, a year before his death, April 4th, '67, he came to New York and spoke at riverside church and came out against the war and marched with Dr. Benjamin Spock and others. And I remember when he last came to New York two weeks before his assassination, he came to install Reverend Ryan T. Walker here. Many of the so-called mainstream civil rights leaders that laud him did not want to be identified because they didn't want to alienate the Johnson administration.
So, he had a very lonely trek the last couple of years. But he was able to stand it and he didn't budge. He ended his life fighting on economic issues. He foresaw a lot of what we dealt with in my generation and we continue to deal with economic inequality, way before it was popular. He was trying to organize a poor people's campaign.
He went to Memphis to support a union of garbage workers. We'll be marching with them tomorrow in Memphis.
So I think that he had a vision that was way beyond his times and shaped the times in which we're living in. We're nowhere near where we need to be. Less than a week ago, I'm doing the eulogy over an unarmed black man shot in Sacramento. Dr. King talked about police brutality 50 years ago. We're still dealing with it but we've made a lot of progress because of what he did because he went from demonstration to legislation voter rights and Civil Rights Act. He changed America.
MATTHEWS: Reverend, thank you. It's great to have you as a colleague. And take care of yourself.
SHARPTON: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Reverend Al Sharpton, out there to Sacramento because he does go where he has to go.
We'll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: That's HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. I'll be back in Washington tomorrow night.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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