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9/11 first responder dies at 53. TRANSCRIPT: 7/1/19, Hardball w/ Chris Matthews.

Guests: Donna Edwards, Cornell Belcher, Jill Colvin, Jon Wolfsthal, KatieMuth

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  He`s in Twitter and he`d later pointed to the rainbow-colored building on his album cover.  I wanted to give you those updates.

That does it for The Beat.  HARDBALL is up next.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  California, here she comes.  Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I`m Chris Matthews back in Washington.  An afternoon poll today shows a big shake-up in the democratic presidential race after last week`s debate.  Biden is down big.  Kamala is up big.

Also, Donald Trump walks into North Korea, but then gets thrown by a high school question about western-style liberalism.

Plus, this look into political warfare up in Pennsylvania.


SEN. JAKE CORMAN (R-PA):  You need to follow the rules, Mr. President.

SEN. KATIE MUTH (D-PA):  This homeless living in shelters, he went to church --

CORMAN:  You need to follow the rules.  Point of order, Mr. President.  My point of order needs to be listened to.

MUTH:  And that is no way to live.  Some days, he never ate and slept on --

CORMAN:  Point of order, Mr. President.  Point of order.


MATTHEWS:  Tonight, I`m going to talk to that State Senator there who was shouted down by her republican colleague as she defended a program for the state`s poorest people.

We begin tonight with what a difference a debate makes.  The first democratic debate in its history now, a new poll out just today shows significant gains for Senator Kamala Harris, also for Elizabeth Warren and bad news for Joe Biden.

The CNN poll found the former Vice President maintaining his frontrunner status but down at 22 percent, down ten points since May.  California Senator Harris has evolved to second place at 17 points, up nine points for her, while Senator Elizabeth Warren gained, in her case, eight points to come in third and overtaking Senator Bernie Sanders who went down four points.

Kamala Harris` rise comes from a breakout challenge to Biden over his comments about working with segregationist senators and his opposition to federally-mandated busing back in the `70s.

Senator Cory Booker, who also criticized Biden`s comments about segregationists, took issue with what Biden said Friday about African- American teenagers.  Here goes Biden again.


JOE BIDEN, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT:  You got to recognize that kid wearing a hoodie may very well be the next poet laureate and not a gang- banger.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ):  As a guy growing up as a young black guy in America who was followed and surveilled, faced that indignity and even the danger of that, being perceived to be a threat, again, this is just another example of just conversations or lessons that Joe Biden shouldn`t have to learn.


MATTHEWS:  For more, I`m joined by Donna Edwards, former Maryland Congresswoman and Washington Post contributing columnist, and a great one at that.  I mean, I`m sorry, who am I to say, but you are a great writer.  Cornell Belcher, a democratic pollster, thank you.  And Howard Fineman, a veteran news analyst.

I mean, I`m serious.  I think I`m giddy about politics today, because it shows nights matter, Donna.  People watch.  They pay attention.  They make judgments.  They change their minds.  It shows there`re lights at home and people are home and they`re paying attention.

FMR. REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D-MD):  Well, that`s right.  And this was the beginning and Joe Biden got punched hard, and the question now is how he`s going to rebound or whether he can.  Look, there are two candidates --

MATTHEWS:  Who`s your bet?  Was it one off for her, one down for him or is this a trend setting evening last week?

EDWARDS:  I have so no money, so I`m not betting.  But, look, I think there are two candidates who are rising, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, and there are two candidates who are falling, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.  And now, the question is, you know, getting from now until the next debate in the fall, who the survivors are.

MATTHEWS:  Cornell, let`s talk about Bernie for having some fun here, because he was like Christopher Lloyd the other night in Back to the Future.  He`s just waving his arms around, talking about revolution.  Where we`re going, we won`t need roads.  I mean, what are we talking about?  Whereas Biden looked like he was out of his element, like it was strange environment to be in, like to have all this diversity around him, all this competition, all this modern quick talk.  He wasn`t really ready for it.

CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER:  Well, it`s surprising that he wasn`t really ready for it because I can`t believe that he wasn`t better prepped.  Because his response to Harris hitting him, he looked shocked and he actually raised his voice at her, which I was sitting there in the studio and I couldn`t believe that a veteran like this wasn`t prepared for that.  So he completely fumbled and he got and he got hit hard.

MATTHEWS:  He didn`t look at her, by the way.  He looked down.

BELCHER:  He didn`t look at her at all, which is a problem for a woman.  And he visibly raised his voice, a no-no, what you should never do.  He sort of lost his cool.  So she clearly shook him up.

And what`s interesting here is the numbers have tightened, but he still has a, what, 12 or 13-point lead among African-Americans and a larger lead amongst seniors.

I predict that that number among African-Americans is going to continue to shrink.  I actually -- I don`t have any money, but I`m betting that Harris over the next month or so will, in fact, take the lead here over Senator --

MATTHEWS:  That`s the norm, Howard.  That`s the norm where one person knocks another person down and a third party benefits.

HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC NEWS ANALYST:  Yes, that`s often the case.  And you can tell when the field is this big who ultimately is going to benefit from the shake-up.  But there is no doubt, the bottom line in this, and I`ve watched -- I don`t know, I`ve covered maybe 100 debates in my distinguished veteran career with NBC and MSNBC, I don`t think I`ve -- it`s rare that I`ve seen one that dramatic, that you could see right in that moment the politics changing.


FINEMAN:  Now, whether Kamala Harris is ultimately the beneficiary, you don`t know.  But what you do know is that Joe Biden, if not in free-fall, is in a slow leak situation here right now, and how he turns that around, I don`t know.

By the way, getting the endorsement of the black woman Mayor of Atlanta is impressive, but is not necessarily going to staunch the flow, I don`t think.

MATTHEWS:  What I liked about the other night was --

BELCHER:  Full disclosure, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is my client.


BELCHER:  And I think they needed her after that --

MATTHEWS:  Did they time this for later?  Did they hold it back?

BELCHER:  I think they had to pull her out now to stop the bleeding.

MATTHEWS:  What I find great, and I hope the audience watching this right now who is watching this, we`re talking right now, live, likes about it, what we thought was going on in the spin room, what we thought was going on covering it down there, what we saw at close range, what the candidates seemed to know, what this major main bar reporters, like Dan Balz at The Washington Post, all saw the same thing.  And this poll shows the people at home saw exactly the same thing.  So we`re all on one page.

This thing about fake news is B.S. because the polls reflected exactly what the best straight reporters and the opinion people like us saw with -- Biden had a terrible night, Kamala came on like gangbusters.  And my question to go back to the (INAUDIBLE), I`ll go back Donna on this, she had destroyed Brett Kavanaugh.  She went after -- she took apart Bill Barr, who is one tough customer.  Why didn`t Biden see he was the third strike?  Why didn`t he know she was going to do exactly the same thing to him?

EDWARDS:  You know what?  I think a lot of them watched before they watched the Wednesday night debate.

MATTHEWS:  The civil night.

EDWARDS:  The civil night debate.  And maybe they thought that it was going to be the same thing, everyone traveling in their lane and just answering questions, wrong, wrong, and wrong.  And I think in the debate coming up, somebody`s going to want to distinguish themselves and they`re going to try to figure out how to do it.  And now, Kamala Harris has to demonstrate not just that she can give a punch but that she can take one.  And we haven`t seen that from her yet.

MATTHEWS:  How do you go after somebody who is only really her first-term Senator, who`d rather from the left or the right?  Where do you go?

BELCHER:  You go after her record.  Look, none of these campaigns are paying me, so I shouldn`t be giving this advice, but you go after her record.  And I`ve got to say, they`re going to have to do some inoculating on her record because Joe almost went at it on stage because he`s a defender, she`s a prosecutor.  There is a lot to go after in a prosecutor`s office, especially when you`re talking about a liberal progressive base of the party.

MATTHEWS:  If somebody to her left would have to do that, who`s to her left?

BELCHER:  I think a lot of them actually are to her left on criminal justice issues.  I think her weakness will be criminal justice, on the criminal justice.  I think the argument, you`ve put away a lot of young black men in jail and how do you -- how do you, you know, account for that?

FINEMAN:  Right, that`s the possibility.  Everybody`s worrying about the blowback.  I don`t see any blowback yet on Kamala Harris.


FINEMAN:  But you`re right, It could be on that -- by the way, out in California, the people I`ve been talking to out there, her record as attorney general is mixed, not only on race but, in general, on getting things done.  The rap on her out there was great on T.V., not necessarily getting stuff done.

EDWARDS:  Well, look for Elizabeth Warren in this because, there, will you see somebody who slides up and who`s had a steady progress, you know, week- by-week.  Look for Elizabeth Warren.

BELCHER:  And this is what I`ve been thinking.  I think this is 2004 where you saw a lot of different candidates, right, be it Clark, be it Dean, be it Kerry, and remember, Joe Lieberman was in the lead for a while in 2004.  I think we`re at topsy-turvy time.

MATTHEWS:  I also think it comes back to the notion of sequence and dynamics.  Come next Iowa, it`s Iowa.  It`s not South Carolina.  It`s Iowa, white Iowa.  And Elizabeth Warren seems sort of Midwestern in a way even though she`s from Massachusetts now.  She seems Oklahoma a little bit, right?  She goes there, and then she goes and wins at home, at New Hampshire, then she goes.  So then the African-American voters thinking Elizabeth Warren is doing really well.  Am I going to bring Kamala into this or am I going to stick?

BELCHER:  The dynamic changes.  I remember one from 2008, said time and time again, it`s not a national race.  It`s a state-by-state race.  The dynamics will change state-by-state.  If she does well in New Hampshire and do well in Iowa, I think the African-American voters will be looking at her differently in South Carolina.

EDWARDS:  Well, Warren started out her campaign talking about black -- talking to black voters, especially talking to black women.  She`s smart on this.  And so I think, you know, there is a lot of time between now and certainly the fall and --

MATTHEWS:  Well, here`s a little weirdness.  During last Thursday`s debate, Donald Trump Jr. weighed in on Twitter.  He re-Tweeted a post from another person questioning Harris` ancestry, saying, quote, she`s not an -- she`s not an American black.  He later deleted the Tweet.

Several of Harris` democratic rivals rallied to her defense, condemning the attack as racist, including Biden, who wrote, quote, the same forces of hatred rooted in birtherism that questioned Barack Obama`s American citizenship and even his racial identity are now being used against Senator Kamala Harris.  It`s disgusting and we have to call it out when we see it.  Racism has no place in America.


EDWARDS:  That`s not a winner in the Democratic Party.  And, I mean, you cannot slice and dice.

MATTHEWS:  Well, who`s pushing this crap?

EDWARDS:  You know, look, clearly it`s the right, but you have the President --

MATTHEWS:  Why are they trying to do this?  Are they afraid she`s the winner now?

EDWARDS:  Because they know that it`s important for them in order for to win for them to divide people.  And they can slice and dice black folk, they can slice and dice white folk, they`re going to do that.

But here`s the thing.  Any of us who are black, I am, we know our family has a lot of history written all over the map and across, you know, the diaspora.  This really falls flat and especially falls flat among democrats.

MATTHEWS:  And I was thinking the fact that her father is from Jamaica, it`s still part of the slave trade.  What are we?  Kidding ourselves?  He didn`t take a vacation to go to Jamaica from Africa.  He was dragged over there.  And nowadays, nobody ever questioned that Sidney Poitier was African-American, I mean, this thing about her father is Jamaican.

FINEMAN:  Well, Chris, I think what the game on the Trump side among other things, aside from just trolling for the sake of trolling, is that they think it`s good to force the democrats to talk about race a lot.  I think they want that discussion.  They want the division.  They want it to seem like an argument in the party of minorities.  That`s how they think and that`s what they`re doing.

BELCHER:  I don`t think I`m black enough to talk on this issue.

MATTHEWS:  Sarcasm.  Yes, I`ve got to tell you something.  Cornell, don`t ever assume people get sarcasm on television.  You`ve got to be so careful, or irony.

Anyway, President Trump put out his take on Harris` debate performance and confrontation with Joe Biden on Saturday at a news conference in Japan.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT:  I think she was given too much credit for what she did.  It wasn`t that outstanding.  And I think probably he was hit harder than he should have been hit, Biden.

REPORTER:  Do you think Kamala Harris would be a tough opponent for you given what you saw in that debate?

TRUMP:  You never know who is going to be tough.  You never know.  One that you think is going to be tough turns out to be not much.


MATTHEWS:  He is -- I don`t know what to say when he puts on these performances.  You know, he`s obviously thinking in real-time and he`s just enjoying the fact that -- the focus, the whole world is watching him analyze the success of Kamala Harris.

FINEMAN:  He`s playing race, Chris.  He`s playing race there.


FINEMAN:  He`s playing race because he`s saying she was given more credit than she deserved and she hit the white guy too hard.  Come on, it doesn`t take -- it doesn`t take a race translator to see what Donald Trump is doing.  This is what he`s done his entire career.

EDWARDS:  But he`s afraid of her.

FINEMAN:  Going back to Central Park Five, you name it.  That`s what he does.

BELCHER:  That`s how he won, divide and conquer.  I mean, that`s --

MATTHEWS:  By the way, on that sad, tragic note, he accused the -- he said the five kids who were picked up in the Central Park Five for rape, accused of rape, should be executed for being accused, he`s been accused of rape one block from Central Park.  Has anybody thought about that little irony?

BELCHER:  How much does an ad in The New York Times cost these days?

MATTHEWS:  I remember the ad.

FINEMAN:  You can get one, Cornell.

BELCHER:  Yes, I think I`ll put one out.

MATTHEWS:  It`s a horrible thing to even talk about, the situation he`s in now and what he was going to do to those kids who were never convicted.

BELCHER:  Well, 20 plus, I think, assaults to this point.  I`ve lost count.  But 20 women have come out and talked about assault with this guy.

EDWARDS:  Rape or sexual assault.



MATTHEWS:  Yes.  Well, I`m sure he gives himself really high grades for being Donald Trump.  Thank you, Donna Edwards, very good, Donna.

BELCHER:  We`re just okay.

MATTHEWS:  My friend, Howard, you`re seeing through the veil of horror here is pretty good on Trump, because I didn`t catch that.  He is being mean -- she was being mean to the white guy.

FINEMAN:  It would be the first time I`d catch something you didn`t.

MATTHEWS:  That was great.  Keep looking though.

Does the presumed, by the way, leader of the free world, I`m talking about Donald Trump, know what liberal democracy means?  Does he know what the free world means?  Trump`s bizarre answer when asked about it left many people wondering. This is something you learn in high school, what is liberal democracy?  He`s not worried about the voting patterns in Berkeley, California.  What is he talking about?

Plus, take your children to Work Day.  Ivanka Trump, the diplomat, her awkward encounter with world leaders goes viral and why she was front and center in the G20 group picture.  It is the moment.  He thinks he`s brought a royal family to the world.

And from Pennsylvania, a nasty bout of partisan politics, catch this little bout.


MUTH:  I`m getting my health (ph) together and I`m working towards GED.

CORMAN:  This is your job.  Do your job, Mr. President.  Do your job.  You are not following the rules of the Senate, Mr. President.

MUTH:  I am scared of what will happen to me when I don`t have money to live anymore.


MATTHEWS:  Liberal democracy in action.  Anyway, today and tonight on HARDBALL, the democratic lawmaker stood her ground as a republican colleague tried to shut her down joins us live tonight, that woman, that State Senator.

Much more ahead.  Stay with us.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Fresh off the G20 summit over in Japan, Donald Trump became the first sitting U.S. President to set foot inside North Korea.  Accompanied by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, the President stepped over the DMZ after proposing an impromptu visit in a tweet a couple of days prior.

Well, that photo-op was followed by a meeting in which Kim agreed to restart the nuclear talks that broke down last February.

Well, today, the President Tweeted about Chairman Kim saying, we had a great meeting.  He looked really well and very healthy.  Our teams will be meeting to work on some solutions to very long-term and persistent problems, No rush.  But I am sure we will ultimately get there.

Well, this comes as The New York Times reports that the administration is weighing whether to accept a deal that would limit North Korea`s nuclear arsenal, limit it.  The concept would amount to a nuclear freeze, one that essentially enshrines the status quo and tacitly accepts the North as a nuclear power, something administration officials have often said they would never stand for.  Trump`s National Security Adviser John Bolton said a freeze had never been discussed by his team.

Separately, in a revealing exchange during an earlier press conference, Peter Baker of The New York Times, who is often with us here, asked the President whether he agrees with Vladimir Putin`s statement that western- style liberalism is obsolete.


PETER BAKER, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES:  Do you agree with him that western-style liberalism, as it`s been defined over the post-war period, is now obsolete and no longer relevant to today`s world?

TRUMP:  Well, again, he may feel that way.  I mean, he sees what`s going on.  And I guess if you look at what`s happening in Los Angeles where it`s so sad to look and what`s happening in San Francisco and a couple of other cities, which are run by an extraordinary group of liberal people -- I don`t know what they`re thinking. 


MATTHEWS:  I don`t know what he was thinking. 

We were all told, as we grew up, there`s something called Western liberalism, the free world is means having elections, rights for the citizens of that country.  He was talking about voting patterns among the Democratic liberal party in California. 

The problem is that Putin`s statement and Baker`s question were not referring to the West Coast of the U.S. in some partisan way, but to the Western countries of North America and Europe.  Likewise, Putin wasn`t talking about liberal people.  He was criticizing the historic tradition of classical liberalism that gave rise to democratic forms of government. 

I`m joined right now by Jill Colvin, White House reporter for the Associated Press.  Eugene Robinson is a columnist for "The Washington Post."  And Jon Wolfsthal is a former senior director of the NSC and a senior adviser to Global Zero.

Gene, I was floored by that. 


MATTHEWS:  And maybe went to Wharton and studied only statistics and accounting courses, but he didn`t ever learn that liberalism refers to democratic liberalism, which refers to the whole tradition going back to the Enlightenment?

ROBINSON:  No, he skipped poli-sci 101, apparently. 


ROBINSON:  He slept through that. 

MATTHEWS:  Why did he think Vladimir Putin was talking about the voting patterns in Berkeley and...

ROBINSON:  Because Trump.  You know, what do we know about him?  We know he doesn`t read.  We know he doesn`t know history.  And this is just maybe the most glaring example of that. 

But I`m not sure we should be that surprised anymore.  It was a stunning thing for a president of the United States to say, to not get in that setting.  But he didn`t get it.  Totally didn`t get it. 

MATTHEWS:  Jill, we often take pride -- I still do -- with the idea we`re leader of the free world, that we`re still setting the standard for freedom, all our freedoms under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. 

And that`s who we are.  That`s who we are at our best.  We`re the standard.  He doesn`t seem to understand the leader of the free world means leader of freedom, of liberal governments. 

JILL COLVIN, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, ASSOCIATED PRESS:  You know, he is a very unusual American president, as we saw him on the world stage there with the fellow leaders of the G20.

Who is he standing next to in that big photograph with all of the world leaders?  Justin Trudeau from Canada is there.  Theresa May is there.  Angela Merkel is there.  And who is the president hobnobbing with?  It`s Vladimir Putin.  It`s, you know, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, where they`re refusing to answer questions about Jamal Khashoggi. 

Those are the people that he feels the strongest ties to on that stage. 


JON WOLFSTHAL, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT OBAMA:  You know, I thought it was America first and we always sort of choose America`s side.  I guess it`s really Russia first. 

Have we seen a situation where Donald Trump sides against Vladimir Putin? 

ROBINSON:  Not yet. 

WOLFSTHAL:  If Putin says American liberalism -- Western liberalism...


MATTHEWS:  Well, that is a partisan assessment.  He`s on the same partisan side as Vladimir Putin. 

Anyway, in touting his relationship with Kim Jong-un, on the other hand, President Trump said the Obama administration had sought meetings with the North Korean leader, but were rebuffed. 


TRUMP:  President Obama wanted to meet, and Chairman Kim would not meet him.  The Obama administration was begging for a meeting.  They were begging for meetings constantly.  And Chairman Kim would not meet with him. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, several Obama administration officials have since denied Trump`s claim right there, including former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who said: "At the risk of stating the obvious, this is horse blank."

Let me ask you about this, Jon.  First of all, I don`t know.  My view is I`m at worst ambiguous in my thinking and ambivalent, because I think it`s probably better to be -- as Churchill would say, jaw-jaw is better than war-war.  It`s always better to be talking to the other guy. 

WOLFSTHAL:  Yes.  We want to be careful here.  All right?  There is nothing wrong in trying to engage in a diplomatic effort with North Korea.  We want to stop their nuclear weapons program. 

They`re still building nuclear weapons.  They`re still building ballistic missiles, despite Trump`s tweets that the problem is solved.

MATTHEWS:  So, they`re building the capability to hit other countries right now?

WOLFSTHAL:  Including us.

MATTHEWS:  Right now?

WOLFSTHAL:  And they haven`t stopped that for a minute while Donald Trump`s been president. 

But I don`t fault him for wanting to engage North Korea.  I fault him having three summits, giving away all U.S. leverage in terms of prestige, engagement, weakening sanctions, and getting nothing to show for it. 

MATTHEWS:  OK, let`s talk about what you think, then everybody else. 

When Erich Honecker, the last dictator of East Germany, I found out later, like we all found out later, his greatest dream was to be accepted at the White House.  As much as they saw with their side of the world against our side, they looked up to our side.  They knew West Germany was better than East Germany.  They knew America was better than Russia.  They were sure as hell about that. 

And they wanted to be received at the White House.  It`s a chilling thing for a leader to go in that door.  Dos Kim want that?  Does he want acceptance in the world by coming in the White House doors?

WOLFSTHAL:  He wants legitimacy.  He wants to be seen as equal among the major nuclear powers. 

He`s just not going for South Korea.  He wants to see what the other nuclear weapons states, China, Russia, the United States -- you remember that he...

MATTHEWS:  For what?  So he can intimidate the South? 

Or is he willing to walk through the door?  Is he going to walk through the door, Jill, so the international -- Washington -- world trade agreements?  Is he going to start trading in the world, joining the world?  Is that what he wants to do? 

COLVIN:  Oh, I think those are all important questions to ask. 

I don`t think we know exactly what his...

MATTHEWS:  If he does, then it`s a break for us, because then he really wants something that`s worthwhile for the world. 

COLVIN:  Oh, yes. 

And the president doesn`t seem to understand the very fact that meeting with him -- he extended an invitation standing next to Kim yesterday, saying, why not have you come to the White House?  Why not come to Washington?


MATTHEWS:  Well, then he is giving away all the marbles.

ROBINSON:  Well, he`s giving away that. 

I mean, it`s -- you know, this is the one area in which I actually think the Trump foreign policy has been more realistic, in that it takes as an unstated given that North Korea is a nuclear power now.

I mean, it is. 


ROBINSON:  We -- I don`t want it to be.  I hate the fact that it is.  But they`re not going to give up their nuclear weapons.  And maybe you can negotiate a freeze.  And maybe you can negotiate some sort of cap on it. 


WOLFSTHAL:  But we`re not negotiating a freeze with North Korea.  The administration is negotiating amongst itself. 

ROBINSON:  Oh, absolutely. 

WOLFSTHAL:  John Bolton on one said saying, OK, all up front, Donald Trump sort of dithering back and forth. 


MATTHEWS:  I think we got to continue this conversation.  This is a really good question about whether we can get anything done from this guy. 

Anyway, the president`s daughter Ivanka Trump took on a very public role during the president`s trip to the East. 

One video from the G20 has now gone viral, showing Trump`s daughter with British Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde. 

Here goes.  Did you ever go to a party where everybody else knew each other, and you came late, and you feel like you`re out of it?


MATTHEWS:  Here she is.

Anyway, "The Washington Post" described it as "Lagarde`s impatient side-eye as Ivanka Trump interjects in what appears to have been a back and forth between Macron and May suggests irritation at finding herself standing alongside the daughter of a U.S. president, rather than the president himself."

The presumptuousness of that family, I blame on him.  He seems to tell his son, his two sons, and his daughter that they are somehow part of this power. 

ROBINSON:  Well, in Ivanka`s case, went along to the summit.  She`s in the group photo. 

It`s just -- it`s astonishing.  She has no qualifications to do any of this.  And, accordingly...

MATTHEWS:  Well, there she is, look, right up there. 

ROBINSON:  Well, accordingly, you see how she was treated by the other world leaders, as if, what the hell is she doing here? 

MATTHEWS:  What is this, "Anastasia"?  Is this the lost Romanov?


WOLFSTHAL:  I will do this with my family, my kids who, love "Hamilton," right?  She`s Aaron Burr.  She wants to be in the room where it happens. 

They think that, just by being with Trump, you get entrance.  And, in fact, most people have to work their entire lives and become experts.


ROBINSON:  ... know something.

WOLFSTHAL:  God forbid you should actually be an expert.



AOC went after her today.  I mean, AOC is on the Democratic progressive left, but she saw it and said, this is ridiculous, I threat . 

COLVIN:  What was interesting was, she had actually been invited to that little talking point thing that happened actually before a summit that she had been invited to, which just shows you the extent to which the other leaders recognize the way that the president wants his children to be treated and use that as a tool to try to get...


MATTHEWS:  OK, it all fits together.  It`s a monarchist notion he has.  He has a monarchist notion of the American president.

It was an acquisition he wanted when he won in the Electoral College.  He owns it now.  He can share it any way he wants.  He can share it with his kids, like a monarch. 

WOLFSTHAL:  Well, look, the president does have the right to choose who he wants us as his advisers.  It`s just he`s chosen advisers that aren`t very good at their jobs. 


MATTHEWS:  Aren`t you kind?


MATTHEWS:  Anyway, thank you.  We don`t like -- no, they can`t come back here on HARDBALL.  We want a little tough.

Anyway, I think it`s ridiculous.  And I have been calling them the Romanovs since the day he started giving jobs to her and giving jobs to his kids.  I said this has been a problem the beginning.  It will always be a problem.  And that`s why nepotism is bad. 

Jill Colvin, thank you, Eugene Robinson, as always.  I had to give you that one about Western democracy. 


MATTHEWS:  Anyway, Jon Wolfsthal, thank you. 

Up next:  The Trump administration says reports of overcrowded, unsanitary conditions at migrant detention facilities are unsubstantiated.  Well, we have reporters to disprove that. 

But NBC News got its hand on a report from an internal government watchdog, the I.G. of that organization, that says conditions in one facility are so bad, agents were worried about a violent uprising. 

They were giving these people money for food because they needed it.  These are government agents trying to help the people that they`re protecting, and they saw it as protecting, which is great. 

You`re watching HARDBALL. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL. 

The Trump administration has called reports of poor conditions for migrants in border facilities unsubstantiated.

But now NBC News has exclusively obtained internal reports from the office of the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, warning about the consequence of those terrible conditions at an El Paso border station.  There it is. 

Those documents from nearly a month ago raise concerns about overcrowding, prolonged detentions, high incidence of illness, and concerns that rising tensions could turn violent.

And one report documented 155 adults being confined in a cell built for 35. 

Additionally, detainees had limited access to showers and were wearing soiled clothing for weeks. 

Last week, the acting secretary of homeland security pushed back on reports made by several lawyers that Customs and Border Protection facilities were leaving children similarly in inhumane conditions in an overcrowded detention facility in Clint, Texas.

Let`s look.


KEVIN MCALEENAN, ACTING SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY:  Unsubstantiated allegations last week regarding a single Border Patrol facility in Clint station in Texas created a sensation.

Contrary to the reporting, children in CBP custody of the border are receiving access to key supplies, including toothbrushes, appropriate meals, blankets, showers, as soon as they can be provided, and medical screening. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, more than a dozen Democratic members of the U.S. Congress visited El Paso and Clint, Texas, to investigate the condition of some of those facilities.  Here are some of them. 


REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX):  We came today and we saw that the system is still broken, that human rights are still being abused. 

REP. JUDY CHU (R-CA):  I will never forget the image of being in a cell and seeing 15 women, tears coming down their faces as they talked about being separated from their children. 

REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY (D-MA):  We need a system that works, that is humane, and that is compassionate, and that keeps families together. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, for more, I`m joined right now by Julia Ainsley, NBC News correspondent who broke the story of the internal DHS reports. 

First of all, you came up with a report from inside, from the inspector general of Homeland Security. 


MATTHEWS:  So are they lying to the public what they know is the truth.  They`re covering it up? 

AINSLEY:  Well, it`s a good question. 

What we got was, through a FOIA request...


MATTHEWS:  Freedom of information.

AINSLEY:  Yes, that`s inside baseball, freedom of information, where they turned this over. 

But this was not something that was supposed to be made public.  These are from initial visits, where investigators went to different facilities run by Border Patrol and the El Paso sector. 

One of those, of course, would be the Clint facility that we discussed last week.  And they found these terrible conditions.  Some of them were so bad, as you mentioned, that they thought that they might have hunger strikes or riots.

They had four showers, Chris, for nearly 800 immigrants.  So when you hear things like acting Secretary McAleenan and saying, look, these children are getting showers as soon as we can get them, well, how soon is that when you have four showers for 800 people? 

MATTHEWS:  These people are not just economic migrants.  These aren`t people coming here looking for a better job, better life.  These are people coming from hellholes, from countries where there`s law -- no law and order, that there`s gangs, right?

AINSLEY:  A majority of them are seeking asylum and they`re Central Americans. 

And it actually said in the report that the morale was dropping among border agents, because they said, why do we continue to have to lock these people up when they`re coming here legally or they`re turning themselves in to claim asylum?  Why do we continue to have to lock them up? 

Now, one shred of optimism in all of this is the border bill that passed last week that would give $4.5 billion more for more detention space, so that this overcrowding doesn`t occur.

But I don`t know...

MATTHEWS:  Are they going to put more -- they talk about cages for kids.  Are they going to build larger, more humane facilities with this -- all this money? 

AINSLEY:  Well, yes, this is the longer-term facilities where people are supposed to go.  They`re not supposed to be held in the cages or these facilities we`re describing. 

They`re supposed to get Health and Human Services, if they`re a child, or, if they`re a single adult, they go to ICE.

MATTHEWS:  What I was struck by was the reporting -- I think it`s in your reporting -- that some of the border agents, Border Patrol people, have actually dipped into their own pockets to pay for people`s food. 

AINSLEY:  Yes, it was -- wasn`t clear whether or not they were getting reimbursed, just based on the report. 

But it said that they were using credit cards that weren`t supposed to be for that purpose and buying $10,000 of food a day.  So I think what we have to ask at the end of all of this is, even if you expand the space, even if you get more money to increase detention into infinity, have you actually learned lessons of how to manage a population, how to get food, how to get hygiene, basic things?

MATTHEWS:  Well, it`s never going to stop, as long as those parts of Central America are not fit to live in, and you have hell on Earth there.

They`re going to keep finding a better life up here.  I mean, that`s -- that asylum situation ain`t going to change. 

AINSLEY:  Well, and it`s been an issue since 2014 with the Obama administration.  We have seen ebbs and flows. 

Some would say we have pull factors here, but there are certainly push factors, as these people try to escape violence and poverty. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, thanks to you, we know what`s going on. 

AINSLEY:  Thank you. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you -- and not thanks to the government -- Julia Ainsley.

They were keeping a secret their own inspector general report about how bad things were.  Meanwhile, their P.R. operation is totally 180.

Up next: a Democratic -- actually, a dramatic confrontation up in Pennsylvania, up in Harrisburg, as a Republican lawmaker tries to shout down a Democratic colleague.

That Democratic lawmaker, that state senator, is coming up here next. 

By the way, she looks really good in that picture.  She makes her point.  She`s got the guts to keep talking.  The Republicans, whatever the parliamentary situation, look terrible.  


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Chaos erupted on the floor of the Pennsylvania state Senate last week as senators were debating a bill that would end a program that keeps what helps the state`s poorest people. 


STATE SEN. KATIE MUTH (D-PA):  I`d like to rise to offer an official statement to put on the record from Mr. John Boyd.


MUTH:  Mr. John Boyd, I`m here to express my gratitude and ask for the support to protect General Assistance.  I`m alive today because General Assistance is supporting my stability and help me live independently again.


MATTHEWS:  Well, there you saw Democratic State Senator Katie Muth trying to read a letter from a former homeless man who benefitted from the state program, calling it a second chance at life.  Who you didn`t see but clearly heard was the Republican Senate majority leader Jake Corman who was shutting down Muth after having made a motion to cut off the debate.  His yelling continued during her entire statement. 



STATE SEN. JAKE CORMAN (R-PA):  Mr. President, you need to follow the rules.  Point of order, Mr. President.  My point of order needs to be listened to.  Point of order, Mr. President.  Point of order. 

MUTH:  He was homeless living in shelters.  He went to church to church, soup line to soup line.  And that is no way to live.  Some days, I never ate and slept on benches or on the sidewalk.

CORN:  This is your job.  Do your job, Mr. President.  Do your job.

MUTH:  I`m getting my health together and I`m working toward my GED.  I heard General Assistance could end as early as August the 1st.  General Assistance helped me to get my GED and see my therapist, my psychiatrist, and my doctor.  Where will I get quarters to do my laundry if I don`t have General Assistance?


CORMAN:  This is about the operation of this Senate, which we all voted unanimously to support these rules by the Senate that you are ignoring.  You`re ignoring the rules, Mr. President. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, both parties, Republican and Democrat, accused the other of trying to hijack the process.  Eventually order was regained and the Pennsylvania senator approved eliminating that program by a 25-24 vote, even with two Republicans siding with the Democrats. 

And the Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, signed the measure as part of the budget last week.  As "The Philadelphia Inquirer" reports, GOP lawmakers tucked the program`s elimination to a bill that Wolf was hard-pressed to veto.  It also provides Medicaid dollars to Philadelphia hospitals. 

Well, that same senator was being shouted down on the Senate floor will not be shouted down.  Here, she`s coming up next. 

You`re watching HARDBALL.



MUTH:  Without General Assistance, people have nothing to lean on.

CORMAN:  You need to follow the rules, Mr. President. 

MUTH:  Progress gives people support and help get back on our feet for a second chance at life.

CORMAN:  Mr. President, point of order.  Point of order!  Point of order, Mr. President! 

MUTH:  Please work to save General Assistance and allow for it to continue so people can start brand new with a fresh start just like me, John Boyd.

CORMAN:  Point of order, Mr. President, point of order, Mr. President.  Mr. President, start following the rules. 


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was Democratic Pennsylvania State Senator Katie Muth last week in a video that has gained a lot of national attention.  You can hear the Republican Senate leader there Jake Corman shouting her down continually.  While Senator Muth was making the case against a measure that would end a state assistance program for some of the state`s poorest people. 

And even though the measure was approved, Muth has said she will continue to fight to revive the program from its elimination.  The freshman state senator tweeted: I won`t go down to bullies.  I won`t back down to them or those who try and harm others.  Shame on those elected officials who voted to strip away these vital resources.

Well, the video caught the eye of at least one 2020 Democratic candidate, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, shared the video online writing: Keep persisting, Senator Muth.

I`m joined right now by here, Pennsylvania State Senator Katie Muth. 

Why was the Republican -- he sounded like he was being dismembered, he sounded like he was fighting for his life.  What was the hysteria about?  I mean, look at the guy, it was awful.  Why didn`t he say point of order in he disagreed with the parliamentary situation?  I didn`t get it. 

Your thoughts about that experience? 

MUTH:  I think it`s a very good point to bring up.  He sounded like he was in tremendous distress for someone who makes over $120,000 a year was actually shouting at a story about a man who was homeless for 25 years, benefitting from a program that helped him stay on his feet, so it is the irony of the situation. 

It definitely turned into something that I didn`t expect, but I was prepared to tell Mr. Boyd`s story and it was important for me to get through the whole thing.  So, backing down was never really an option.  You know, it`s important to have everybody hear this story and why this program helps so many Pennsylvanians, over 11,000 Pennsylvanians, whether they`re veterans, permanently disabled, temporarily disabled, people coming out of the hospital, people with cancer, you know, people that have PTSD issues, domestic violence victims that don`t have financial security. 


MUTH:  To leave. 

Often that money is what allows them to leave.  So it`s a program that is truly impactful and as I said, it`s shameful that it was voted to be eliminated. 

MATTHEWS:  It`s $200 for people, for public assistance who can`t work, is that what it basically is? 

MUTH:  Yes, it is.  And it`s a temporary assistance program.  Many of the people end up going on permanent disability or temporary disability, so it`s just to make ends meet.  It can help pay utility bills, buy soap, deodorant, items that, you know, food stamps or something else wouldn`t speed limit for.  They use it for bus fare, medical co-pays. 

So, this is money if they`re eventually put on disability, and Mr. Boyd himself has been waiting himself for two years to be put on disability, the federal government refunds the state for this money.  So, again, it`s one of these programs that really is the extra helping hand and often is the difference between a roof over your head or not. 

MATTHEWS:  We`ve spent a lot of time -- you hear a lot about San Francisco and places like that that have a big homeless situation.  I haven`t seen it as much as I hear people talk about it all the time.  This is an effort to get people out of homelessness, right? 

Explain how this fella, Mr. Boyd, was able to get out of homelessness and is he still vulnerable to being out there on the street? 

MUTH:  So he had been homeless for 25 years, going in and out of shelters and soup kitchens, and because of this program he`s able -- he`s now in an apartment.  You know, he`s able to make ends meet.  He`s getting his GED. 

He does have PTSD and he discussed that as I read in the story and how to go -- how this helped him pay for therapy and psychiatric and doctor visits.  So, he is a great example of someone really if you`ve been homeless for that long, it`s almost a statistical anomaly to be able to survive that long.  So, you know, people do rely on this lift up to get them to the next phase, and so to have a meaningful life. 

And I think, you know, it`s -- it`s, again, it`s something that eliminating -- it is August 1st, people are left out in the dust.  And so, we`re trying to replace this with something very similar in the interim of having it passed for a long term.  So, you know, myself and three other newly elected senators dropped a memo today for a bill to come out late this week for a emergency relief plan to help, hopefully, compensate. 

MATTHEWS:  I`m always fascinated with political mission and why people go into public life and take all the risks that go with it.  What was it that got you, as somebody from a suburban county, mainly Chester County, to get interested in something that so often affects the streets and in big cities, they`re just -- you know, for psychiatric reasons or bad luck end up without a place to live. 

MUTH:  You know, that`s a really good point in that, you know, general assistant recipients are in all 67 counties of our commonwealth.  So there is no county that doesn`t, you know, have people relying on this.  While my Senate district has parts of three different counties, Chester, Montgomery and Burks, there are, you know, over 300-some people which I represent that are relying on this resource. 

So, yes, it is higher in more city-like areas, Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, but, you know, these are still people that need to be heard and represented and Mr. Boyd is not my constituent, but after I met him on Monday, he had come up to the capitol the day we had our committee hearing for this bill, and he spoke exactly what I read at the press conference we had on Monday, and obviously not everyone attends that. 

And after hearing him and meeting him and seeing him stand in a building that has gold-plated chandeliers and marble floors and this, you know, he`s telling the story of survival and how this really impacted him and, you know, for me, it`s -- there wasn`t another option other than to tell -- make sure he had an opportunity to have his heard -- his story heard by more than just that press conference.  And if people wanted to vote on this program to be eliminated, I -- it was imperative to have his voice heard before that vote. 

MATTHEWS:  Senator, keep at it.  I love politicians like you that get out there and take a lot of heat and get their points across.  The stupid Republicans in this case, they`re not always stupid, obviously, but making a cause celebre out of this have given you the statement to make that you just did.  Thank you so much, Senator Katie Muth of Pennsylvania. 

Up next, honoring the sacrifice of a 9/11 first responder who died this weekend.  Remember him?  He was the one with Jon Stewart when Jon Stewart made his impassioned statement. 

You`re watching HARDBALL.


MATTHEWS:  The 9/11 first responder who appeared before the Congress last month asking that it extend the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund died this weekend.  He was 53 years old.  Luis Alvarez, a detective in the New York Police Department, was diagnosed with cancer linked to the three months he spent working at Ground Zero.  He was the detective who sat next to longtime "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart detailing the 68 rounds of chemotherapy he had gone through. 


LUIS ALVAREZ, 9/11 FIRST RESPONDER:  It is my goal and it is my legacy to see that you do the right thing for all 9/11 responders.  We were there with one mission, and we left after completing that mission.  I have been to many places in this world.  Excuse me -- and done many things.  But I can tell you that I did not want to be anywhere else but Ground Zero when I was there. 

We were part of showing the world that we would never back down from terrorism, and that we could all work together.  No races, no colors, no politics.  You all said you would never forget.  Well, I`m here to make sure that you don`t. 


MATTHEWS:  Well, the House Judiciary Committee voted later to extend the fund.  The full House will vote on it later this month. 

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the Senate will work to pass the needed measure by August.  For this, Luis Alvarez deserves our gratitude and, of course, our admiration. 

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.