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Hardball With Chris Matthews, Transcript, 7/1/2016

Guests: Jay Newton-Small, Tara Maller, Ishaan Tharoor

Show: HARDBALL Date: July 1, 2016 Guest: Jay Newton-Small, Tara Maller, Ishaan Tharoor

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Trump attacks left and right.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Well, we`re here covering the hostage situation in Bangladesh, of course, where as many as nine gunmen have taken hostages at a cafe in that diplomatic zone of the capital city.

But our big story again tonight is political and it`s here at home. Donald Trump, whether you`re gaga for him or terrified against him, is something we haven`t seen quite before. He`s taking on the big business types who love getting cheap labor here or even cheaper abroad. He`s taking on the liberals and also the business types who love loose borders, taking on the neocons and other hawks, the Bushes and assorted others who look for every chance to jam us into yet another foreign war.

Well, this week, his focus was economic nationalism.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We`re being destroyed by trade, which we`ll talk about. We`re being destroyed at our borders.

TPP will destroy you, folks. It will destroy you. It`ll take any vestige that we still have left in our country. It will destroy you.

People are sick and tired of being ripped off with our jobs leaving our states, with our jobs leaving our country, with the money. They get the money. They get the jobs. We get nothing.

We`re going to put America first. I have to say it. We don`t put America first. We don`t put America first.


TRUMP: We don`t put America first. And we have to.

Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very, very wealthy, but it`s left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is totally controlled by the special interest groups, folks, just so you understand it.


MATTHEWS: Well, Trump`s out there rallying those sick of lost industrial jobs, sick of seeing their kids leaving home, looking for work that`s nowhere to be found, sick of their sons and daughters being sent into the Middle East to screw with another regime change, sick of nothing being done about illegal immigration.

And this -- what he`s saying, what he`s selling as only Trump can do -- is why, despite all his zany comments about Mexican judges and cracks about attacks from Mexican airplanes and because of his nasty call for an eye for an eye approach to terrorism, is why he`s threatening Hillary Clinton in places that used to be safe, like Pennsylvania, which NBC today switched from leaning Democrat to toss-up, and why in a dangerous world with yet another terrorist attack today, this time in Bangladesh, Trump may be once again on the way back from a slump.

Eugene Robinson`s a columnist for "The Washington Post" and Robert Costa`s a national political reporter for "The Washington Post." Both are, of course -- and good for us -- MSNBC political analysts.

Gene, it does seem to me he had a terrible two or three weeks because he went off into the crazy little thicket of zaniness, the Mexican judge, the...


MATTHEWS: You know the story. And yet when he gets back to economic nationalism, that is his bread and butter. It`s about jobs. It`s about fear of immigration, fear of bad trade deals, fear of losing your children.

You`re up in Scranton. You`re up in Erie, Erie, Pennsylvania. You`re living on Social Security and Medicare, I`m describing most people up there. They`re older. What do they want? Their kids to be living close enough to them that they can visit once in a while, not be running desperately off to the Southwest or someplace else for a job and a life.

ROBINSON: Yes, what got Trump to this point are, I think, basically, two issues, this economic nationalism and immigration, right. And -- and in -- in some ways, I think immigration may be the more visceral of the two issues, but there`s certainly an appeal -- an appeal in communities, Rust Belt communities that have been left behind, that are not participants in globalization in a meaningful way, certainly aren`t getting anything out of it, just objectively are not getting anything out of it. And people there are desperate. I mean, and you know, we should -- we should all get out of -- outside the Beltway more and...

MATTHEWS: Oh, I agree with that. David Brooks did in his column today. I want to go -- you know, it seems to me that it`s not -- he`s not running as Mr. Chamber of Commerce type. He`s not running from the Rotary. He`s running from -- he`s against the big shots. It`s a real -- I`m not going to (INAUDIBLE) because everybody on the left will say I`m cheering for the guy, but there`s something different going on. It`s a cross-cut he`s attacking. Anybody with clout he seems to be against, even though he`s Mr. Big-Time himself.

ROBERT COSTA, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: We`re watching the crumbling of this Republican consensus that has been in place at least since George W. Bush, Ford interventionism, supply side tax cuts. Trump`s taking an axe to that consensus.

MATTHEWS: By the way, you`re right because it`s everything little W -- I shouldn`t say "little W," but W, the president, pushed for. He was good on immigration. He was positive on it. He was big on foreign wars, right? And he was a free trader. That`s right, he`s running against W!

ROBINSON: Well, he is. He`s running against W. He`s running against what, frankly, has been the consensus of the establishments of both parties, right...


ROBINSON: ... not the tax stuff, but certainly interventionism and certainly free trade (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: Well, it`s the one thing the Republican Party politically (INAUDIBLE) it`s losing its -- I mean, just look at the polling on Congress, Republican Congress. It`s there.

COSTA: You`re right. And after Ronald Reagan, you saw the rise of Pat Buchanan and his populist conservatism. You saw after George W. Bush, the rise of the Tea Party, this anger about the banks being bailed out. But it never became a coherent political movement until you had the celebrity candidate, Donald Trump, step into the fore.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, there`s a new -- just to go back to what I said about Pennsylvania, there`s a new NBC News map showing the updated battleground states. These are the states that are going to decide the election, NBC thinks. The toss-up states include older industrial states like New Hampshire -- it`s not a big state, but it`s pivotal -- Pennsylvania, which is pivotal, and Ohio, of course, Michigan, Wisconsin. By the way, those two are considered still "lean Democrat."

What do you make of that? Pennsylvania has always been the state that Republicans sort of lust for, if you will. They go, Oh, that`s the one we`re going to grab!

ROBINSON: But they don`t get it, though. It`s just like fool`s gold for the...


MATTHEWS: You don`t think they`ll get it this time?

ROBINSON: Well,I think Pennsylvania is tough. There`s something about Pennsylvania. You look at it, they always...


ROBINSON: They always think they`re going to get it...


ROBINSON: ... and they don`t get it!

MATTHEWS: Because they feel it when they go up in the T, when they go up in the smaller...

ROBINSON: Yes, exactly.

MATTHEWS: Of 50 or 60-some counties in Pennsylvania, 60 are conservative. So you -- and then it`s just Philadelphia County -- here`s what happens. Mr. October, President Obama...


MATTHEWS: ... will go up to Philadelphia. He`ll go to north Philly, he`ll go to Germantown, he`ll go to northeast Philly, he`ll go to west Philly, he`ll go to the burbs, he`ll go to Delaware, Montgomery and Bucks County.

And in every area, he will zoom up the vote. He`s just going to do it.


MATTHEWS: And he`ll pull in a half million majority, plurality, coming out of the southeast of Pennsylvania. And you`re laughing now...


MATTHEWS: ... because it will break the heart of the right-wingers.


MATTHEWS: He can do that.

COSTA: The test for Trump this month with trying to get back on script, with the vice presidential pick is, can he convince those suburban voters outside of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia that it`s socially acceptable, that it`s OK to be publicly for Trump. For now, a lot of those suburban voters, and the Obama people know this, Obama can fly in and say, Look, Trump`s just not part of your -- your lifestyle. He`s not like you politically.

MATTHEWS: He`s also got to break into the union guys, the police and the firemen, a lot of them Irish guys...


MATTHEWS: ... up in northeastern Philadelphia, that last pocket up there of Republicanism. He`s got to get that, too, because if he`s going to stop that -- that -- he`s going to have to overcome minorities and liberals, and big city people are minorities and liberal people, generally.



MATTHEWS: Anyway, yesterday, Donald Trump said he feels like he`s running against two political parties, as we said. Let`s watch this cross-cut thing he`s doing, which makes him interesting. Let`s watch.


TRUMP: You know, when you have guys like Kristol, Bill Kristol, who`s been calling it wrong on me for two years -- when you have all these guys -- and you know, it was a rough primary and they got beat up and -- but they went after me, too. And you know, we beat them up, and now they don`t want to endorse. And you know, it`s almost in some ways like I`m running against two parties.


MATTHEWS: And there he`s taking on the super-hawk, Bill Kristol, smart guy, has a lot of influence, but he`s a hawk.

Anyway, meanwhile, today in Colorado, Sarah Palin issued a warning to Republicans who aren`t backing Trump, the anti-Trump crowd. Here she goes. Let`s watch.


SARAH PALIN (R-AK), FMR. GOV., FMR. VP NOMINEE: That gang, they call themselves the never hashtag, the -- whatever, OK.


PALIN: Well, I just call them Republicans against Trump, or RAT for short.

We`re talking about the direction of our country, our children`s future, the direction of the Supreme Court, all of this hinging on the next election. And at such a time as this, you cannot be lukewarm. We`re going to take our country back, and you`re either with us or you`re against us!


MATTHEWS: Where do you think that stands right now? Is that too old? Is that yesterday, or is that -- you know, Tina Fey, get ready for "Saturday Night Live"?


MATTHEWS: I think she`s compelling. There`s something about her. I don`t ignore her. Anyway, I don`t know what it is.

ROBINSON: Well, I think she`s beyond that phase of her political career.

MATTHEWS: You think the novelty is gone?

ROBINSON: I don`t think she -- yes, I think the novelty is gone. There`s a set of people to whom she really appeals. There`s a set of people to whom she is Tina Fey. She`s a joke. And you know, look, I don`t see Donald Trump going out of his way to get that much closer to Sarah Palin.


MATTHEWS: I think she has tremendous performance ability. The way she moves her voice, she moves it up and down -- there`s one of her octaves she works which is pure sarcasm, where she makes fun of the liberals, you know? She`s got a lot of talent that way. But I`m sure you`re all laughing at her. Go ahead.

COSTA: You remember that last scene of the movie "Game Change"...


COSTA: ... where one of the McCain advisers says she`ll be forgotten in a few weeks, and then they start hearing the chants, Palin! Sarah! And this is what we`re seeing. That Palin pick in 2008 -- a few years later, she`s still around. Jeff Sessions, Palin, all these economic nationalists -- they`re controlling the Republican Party.

MATTHEWS: Well, I liked the guy -- I liked Woody Harrelson playing Steve Schmidt, who said, She doesn`t know anything.


MATTHEWS: I am not an elitist, but that was a funny line. Anyway -- anyway, thank you, Gene Robinson, who`s (INAUDIBLE) Robert Costa -- never will be one.

Coming up, terror in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Bad news -- well, it`s happening again, hostages held in a bakery this time as an ISIS news agency reports the group claims responsibility. So it looks like an ISIS operation.

HARDBALL returns after this.


MATTHEWS: We`ve got new numbers from a key toss-up state this November, and it`s Iowa. Let`s check out the HARDBALL "Scoreboard."

According to the new Loras College poll, Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by, wow, 14 points in the Hawkeye State. It`s Clinton 48 percent, Trump down at 34 percent.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: We`re continuing to monitor the breaking news from Bangladesh. Of course, as many as nine gunmen stormed a popular restaurant in the diplomatic zone of the country`s capital. An unknown number of people are being held hostage right now. The ISIS-affiliated news agency, by the way, said the terror group itself was responsible for the attack. So it looks like an ISIS operation.

This is the second major terrorist attack this week. On Tuesday, of course, three men blew themselves up in Istanbul`s main airport, 44 people were killed.

I`m joined by Malcolm Nance once again, the executive director of the Terror Asymmetrics Project and an MSNBC terrorism analyst, Laith Alkhouri, director of Middle East and North African research at Flashpoint. He`s also an MSNBC terrorism analyst. And Ishaan Tharoor, who`s foreign affairs reporter for "The Washington Post."

I want to start with Ishaan here. Tell me about this. And what -- what is it -- what do we know?

ISHAAN THAROOR, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, we don`t -- there are a lot of details that we don`t know. As you said, eight to ten gunmen apparently have stormed into a very popular eatery in a very upscale neighborhood in the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka, and they`ve kept an undetermined number of hostages, many of whom are foreigners. I...

MATTHEWS: What would be the motive for -- let me go to Malcolm on this. What would be the motive for taking hostages? I mean, you have -- that puts yourself in a barricade situation, by definition. You`re surrounded, by definition. You have hostages, something to negotiate with, by definition.

But what -- what does that yield for somebody if they planned it this way?

MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, hostage barricades are about gaining concessions in the traditional sense of hostage barricades. We live in a world now where there is no traditional hostage barricade, where you have an armed criminal or an armed group that wants to make a point and get a concession, perhaps escape.

We`re in the world of suicide hostage barricade, where it is an international spectacle, they hold hostages and then they mass murder the hostages and themselves.

So what they want is they want what we are giving them right now. They want global media exposure and they`re getting it, and then only along their own timeline will they determine that they`ve had enough.

MATTHEWS: Well, if that`s the accurate prescription here, what is the -- the -- the plan? I mean, that`s the accurate diagnosis. What`s the prescription? Do you have to rush them?

NANCE: Well, in a circumstance like this, that`s going to be completely dependent on the capacity of the Rapid Action Brigade, of the Bangladeshi paramilitary forces, or if they can get some assistance, external assistance by, like, the Indians or even support from the United States for advice on how to do a direct assault on that facility.

That`s a linear (ph) assaulted building. There`s just one open -- wide open area. The hostages are all going to be massed on the floor. The terrorists are going to be up there surrounding them. And it`s just going to be a bloodbath if they go in, in a traditional method.

We already saw there may have already been a short assault that wounded or killed several of the Bangladeshi officers. This is going to take expertise, and they`re going to have to do it relatively fast because the terrorists are going to get antsy. And then once they`ve got -- reached their peak of patience, then they`re going to either extract a concession or they`re going to start killing hostages to get their point across.

MATTHEWS: Laith, your thinking about this in terms of coordination. What`s it tell you about the level to which this is coming from an organized terrorist group?

LAITH ALKHOURI, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, just in comparison to the previous attacks that have unfolded in Bangladesh in the past eight to ten months, this seems to be the most coordinated of all of them. Not only the most coordinated, this seems to have targeted also a large crowd of people, while previously, there were assassinations targeting between one and three people.

So this seems to be more sophisticated. It`s involving more attackers. It`s clearly aimed at foreigners or what they refer to as, you know, Western targets. But so yes, the level of coordination and sophistication has risen, indeed.

MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Ishaan. Is this an attempt to reach Western people, people that are ex-pats, diplomats, people like that, people with money, people with foreign relatives, people with influence, people who we want to save.

THAROOR: Right. Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: From outside.

THAROOR: Gulshan, the neighborhood where this is happening, is sort of the kind of epicenter of power and wealth in Dhaka. It`s where a lot of the diplomats live. So it`s targeting both, you know, foreigners, but also the well-heeled of Bangladeshi society.


THAROOR: People who perhaps support the regime...

MATTHEWS: Is this sort of like Georgetown?

THAROOR: That`s a very accurate description -- beautiful, leafy, a very tranquil place in a city that`s otherwise very chaotic and teeming.

MATTHEWS: I do think of Bangladesh as a country offset by not just poverty in many cases, most cases, but also bad flooding and difficult, low-lying land and stuff like that that`s difficult...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It exists on the periphery of the American imagination in many ways. But it`s -- you`ve got to remember it`s a huge country.

MATTHEWS: It`s a modern Islamic country, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, and it has more Muslims than any Middle Eastern country.

MATTHEWS: Yes! I wanted to bring that up today earlier because I kept thing about -- because I remember the break between East and West Pakistan, which was itself a result of partitioning of South Asia.

Let me go to Malcolm, on 4th of July. What do you feel? What`s your instincts tell you about our own situation here coming into the 4th of July week?

NANCE: Any time I see a terrorist attack internationally, the first thing that I think of is that U.S. law enforcement needs to understand that some attacks are done for strategic purposes on another part of the planet in order to draw your attention to that attack.

And you may think that you`re increasing security, but what it may actually be, in fact, is another left hook coming from another direction to strike in your country. So we had the attack in Istanbul. Now we have this coming out attack of potentially ISIS in Bangladesh. We should be taking no chances.

That being said, the American public should understand that ISIS is not their travel agent. ISIS should not be able to determine whether we can celebrate our holidays peacefully. That`s law enforcement and intelligence`s job, and we should celebrate this holiday as best as we can.

MATTHEWS: Laith, how do you see the fact that ISIS claimed credit for this one, but not for Turkey, not for Istanbul. What`s the thinking here? Do you trust them when they say it`s theirs? Do we take it as credible, or do we wonder why they don`t take credit for some? How do you look at the truth or -- truth and reality here?

ALKHOURI: Well, look, ISIS sometimes releases statements on attacks that it did not actually direct or orchestrate simply to capitalize on the frenzy and exploit it for propaganda purposes.


ALKHOURI: But it seems likely so now that ISIS might have a bigger involvement than previously thought.

There`s a confusion whether ISIS or al Qaeda were behind it or some inspired individuals, but now it`s clearly pointing the fingers at more a ISIS-directed attack, just because we saw an ISIS-affiliated media agency release three consecutive statements with updates on what`s going on inside, even mentioning number of casualties.


ALKHOURI: So I expect that, once the attacks are done, that ISIS might release an official statement detailing more of what has actually taken place.

MATTHEWS: Ishaan, following what Malcolm Nance just said about the possibility of a left hook, this sort of combination thing, do you see them that coordinated, that they might do something like this to distract us, distract the world, then punch us here at home?

THAROOR: I think there`s a risk that we may be overstating their capacity, as well as their coordination.

MATTHEWS: When`s the last coordinated attack on the United States since 9/11? We have had a lot of lone wolves operating, but have we had a coordinated attack?

THAROOR: You can perhaps think of the al Qaeda Yemeni branch`s efforts, the underwear bomber and all that, the parcel bombs. Those count as something. I don`t know if...


MATTHEWS: Well, they`re attempts, at best -- at worst.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you.

Speaker in Denver this afternoon, by the way, Donald Trump said we have to get tougher taking on terror. He said terrorists would prefer a Clinton presidency. Let`s watch.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are going to protect our country from terrorism, OK, folks? We are going to be so smart and so vigilant, and we are going to get it so that people turn in people when they know there`s something going on.

We have a president that doesn`t want to mention what really happened. It`s called radical Islamic terrorism. Right? That`s what happened.

The only thing they understand is strength and toughness. And we are weak. We are weak. And Hillary is weak as you get. Hillary is a weak person. She`s a weak person. They will not understand Hillary.

They want her to get in so badly. They have dreams at night and their dreams are that Hillary Clinton becomes president of our country, believe me.


MATTHEWS: Malcolm Nance, what do you make of that?

NANCE: That`s laughable. OK?

We have already seen ISIS use Donald Trump in their propaganda directly. I will go so far as to say Donald Trump is the ISIS candidate. He inflames the passions of people in the West to perform Islamophobia, to draw recruits to them, to make them say, this is what America is. They are willing to compromise all of their values in an effort to come and kill us.

Believe me, what they don`t want is, they don`t want a realpolitik, coordinated, global assault on their caliphate. They want someone to go off into space and inflame the other 1.6 billion Muslims, so that they can come off the fence and join ISIS and other groups. He is really, really speaking off the hip.

MATTHEWS: I agree with you. I agree with you. I think that is smart.

I think what the enemy in this case of ours, not natural enemy, but enemy in this case of terrorism, wants an East/West fight.

NANCE: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: And their real goal is to unseat all the moderate leaders in the Arab and Islamic world, bring them all down. Their caliphate isn`t going to California and Kalamazoo.

Their caliphate is where they want to take it. And the way they do that is to divide the Arab world and Islamic world on their side.

Anyway, thank you, Malcolm.

And the way they do that is to have a bad guy like Trump.

Laith Alkhouri, Malcolm Nance, and Ishaan, thank you -- Tharoor.

Thank you so much.

Much more on this situation in Bangladesh later in the hour. As news develops, we will give it to you.

We`re coming back with next with: Bad judgment? Here`s something to have a little fun with. Just as Hillary Clinton hits her stride against Trump the last couple weeks, Republicans seize on the private meeting, it may have been by chance, probably was, between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton out in Phoenix, Arizona, the investigation, right in the middle of that investigation of Hillary Clinton`s e-mails. Those two get together.

So, why did the former president hand the GOP this political gift? And that`s what they are going to use it for, a gift.

And that`s next. You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.



LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: No matter how I viewed it, I understand how people view it.

And I think that because of that, and because of the fact that it has now cast a shadow over how this case may be perceived, no matter how it`s resolved, it`s important to talk about how it will be resolved.

It`s important to make it clear that that meeting with President Clinton does not have a bearing on how this matter`s going to be reviewed.


MATTHEWS: Love the way she`s explaining that.

Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was, of course, Attorney General Loretta Lynch. I shouldn`t say of course -- but at the Aspen Ideas Festival, defending her decision to meet with former President Bill Clinton on the tarmac. Let`s get this straight, on the tarmac in Phoenix, Arizona.

The 30-minute social chat, as she called it, has created something of an uproar amongst some Democrats and certainly among Republicans.


TRUMP: When I first heard that yesterday afternoon, I actually thought they were joking. I thought the people that told me was -- you know, I said no way. There`s just no way that`s going to happen. And it happened. And I am just -- I`m flabbergasted by it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do think that this meeting ends the wrong signal, and I don`t think it sends the right signal. I think she should have steered clear even of a brief casual social meeting with the former president.


MATTHEWS: Well, the meeting brings unwanted attention, of course, back to Secretary Clinton`s e-mail situation, whatever it is, and gives Donald Trump the opportunity to question whether voters can trust the Clintons.

Here`s what Trump said today.


TRUMP: As you know, Hillary is so guilty. She`s so guilty. You can read them right off here. And how that`s not being pursued properly.


TRUMP: And I think that he really -- I think he think he really opened it up. He opened up a Pandora`s box, and it shows what`s going on and it shows what`s happening with our laws and with our government.


MATTHEWS: Well, this unforced error, if you want to call it that, which has slowed the momentum of the Clinton campaign, at least for a couple days, is a reminder that while Bill Clinton can be one of her strongest surrogates, of course, he can also be one of her largest headaches.

Let`s turn to the HARDBALL roundtable, Perry Bacon, senior reporter for NBC News. Jay Newton-Small is a correspondent with "TIME" magazine. And David Corn is Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones" and a political analyst for NBC. Let me -- MSNBC.

I should point out we just got the news that Andrea Mitchell is reporting that the FBI is going to interview Hillary Clinton as part of this case as early as tomorrow and perhaps at her home here in Washington.

What do you make of that? We knew this might be coming, but only might. But a lot of people have said, hey, Hillary hasn`t even been interviewed, there`s no case here. But now that`s not a defense.

JAY NEWTON-SMALL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, "TIME": Well, we knew there was the possibility it was coming. We always said that this might happen.

And I think they almost have to do it at this point just to show that there isn`t any bias. We`re doing -- we are moving along the case. We`re still going along.


NEWTON-SMALL: Yes, just to like -- because if there`s any question that there`s favoritism here or anything else, obviously, Donald Trump is going to jump all over it. Right? The Republicans will.

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Donald Trump will jump over this no matter what.


MATTHEWS: What do you think`s going to happen here? What`s your bet?

CORN: Well, I don`t think she`s being indicted. I don`t know if anyone`s being indicted.

MATTHEWS: You don`t think so?

CORN: And he has already said, if there are no indictments, it shows that it`s crooked, the system`s crooked.

There are people out there wearing T-shirts that Hillary Clinton should be in jail for this, without knowing any of the facts. And so as a political football, it`s not going to lose any air. It`s just going to get -- be kicked around even more so.


MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s go to some of the things we know.

Huma Abedin, the other day, who everybody likes -- she`s a very likable person -- she`s obviously very dignified in her approach to the job working for Hillary -- said in testimony, according to Politico the other day, that Hillary Clinton made all the big calls on this e-mail thing.

Is it possible, though, that somebody below her might get in trouble because of steps they took about reckless handling of -- it isn`t a big political thing if you get down to the FBI level -- how did you handle this government information? Did you protect top-secret? Did you handle it with care? Were you reckless or not, by objective standards?

There is such a thing as an objective standard of judgment here that I would like to think our FBI civil servants are going to follow.

PERRY BACON, NBC NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Which is what she was trying to say. She was saying that the agents, the career people are going to make the decision, not me.


BACON: I thought it was striking today that she basically all but admitted, I did something wrong, I would not do it again.

It`s rare for people in Washington...


MATTHEWS: And, also, I will not exercise prosecutorial discretion here. I will do what the FBI agents lean toward.


CORN: But you have to remember, not everything that`s wrong is illegal. The way they set up the server was wrong. It violated...


MATTHEWS: I`m just talking about one issue. Will there be an indictment at any level by any of the people there? The fact that they are having an interview with her, you say is just to cover -- just to cover the...


NEWTON-SMALL: Well, you can`t investigate her e-mails. You can`t have her staff saying that she made these decisions and not ever talk to her for the investigation.

I think that everybody would have said that`s kind of ridiculous. You have to interview her at some point. The question, though, is separate from, will there be indictments down -- for her staff?


MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about the tarmac meeting.

CORN: Dumb.

MATTHEWS: Explain. Explain...


CORN: Dumb, capital D.

MATTHEWS: By whom?

BACON: That`s right.

CORN: By Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch.

They should put Bill Clinton, I think, on an island for the next four months.


CORN: I really believe, for all the good he can do as a campaigner, he has this...


MATTHEWS: Has he lost his touch?

CORN: He has this ability to blow up.

I don`t know if -- he hasn`t lost, I think, his touch as a candidate, but, certainly, he`s shown poor judgment.

MATTHEWS: He`s going to speak at the convention. They are not hiding this guy.


CORN: Let him speak.

MATTHEWS: Your theory that they`re going to hide him...


CORN: Let him speak at the continue, then put him back in a box.


NEWTON-SMALL: And he will do well at the convention. He always gives amazing convention speeches. Right? He can be an amazing asset.

MATTHEWS: OK. We all know him as reporters. I have bumped into him. I have had my scuffles with both him and his wife over the years, but he`s always gushing and friendly.

He`s like a big -- I said it on Andrea`s show -- today, D-A-W-G, the big dawg.


NEWTON-SMALL: Yes, he`s like a golden retriever. He`s super excited to see everybody all the time.


MATTHEWS: You know what they talked about? They talked about what? They talked about...


BACON: Apparently, they said they talked about grandchildren. We have no idea what they talked about.

But I can imagine Lynch, a former president walked on the plane to talk to her, I`m not entirely -- I`m not surprised she didn`t say, move, get off the plane.

She made a mistake. She said so. But it was a mistake by her but, really, Bill Clinton, he knows what`s going on.

MATTHEWS: She should have said, be gone, be gone?

BACON: She couldn`t have said, be gone.

But Bill Clinton has to know better. I`m shocked.


CORN: I can`t see you.

MATTHEWS: Anyway, because of the intense scrutiny and negative criticism, the attorney general did defend the Department of Justice and publicly confirmed that she would accept, big word here, the FBI recommendations, in other words, as they come. Here it is.


LYNCH: People have a whole host of reasons to have questions about how we in government do our business and how we handle business and how we handle matters.

And I think that, again, I understand that my meeting on the plane with former President Clinton could give them another reason to have questions and concerns also. And that is something that -- and that`s where I thought -- that`s why I said it`s painful to me, because the integrity of the Department of Justice is important.


MATTHEWS: What do you think about the discretion here? You think there is a natural discretion that she`s yielding up? The attorney general decides which cases to prosecute, how tough to bring the charges?

CORN: But usually not. Usually, most cases from the Justice Department do not go up to the attorney general for decisions, and particularly when it comes to the handling of classified information.

These cases are rarely brought forward, because they are hard to prove. And you have to get into motivation. And, again, a mistake is not necessarily a crime. So, in normal circumstances, it probably wouldn`t get up to her.


MATTHEWS: OK, but I read -- somebody told me in the Petraeus case, the FBI urged a very tough sanction, and Eric Holder in that case, the A.G., said, no, a little lesser, misdemeanor charge.

NEWTON-SMALL: I just think if you don`t -- if the attorney general cannot talk to the relatives of anybody in Washington or anybody in Washington who is potentially under investigation by the FBI, she would not have a terribly large circle of people to talk to ever.



BACON: This case, when I heard about this, I was like, what is she thinking? I think everybody in Washington thought that, too.

MATTHEWS: OK. Well, the roundtable is sticking with me.

By the way, up next, veepstakes, a little fun now. Here`s my question, no B.S. here. Who is actually being considered for number two on Trump`s ticket and on Hillary`s? Who is actually being -- I know who they`re talking to. We got to do an Italian. We got to do a black. We got to do what -- a Native American. None of that. Who is actually being considered?

You`re watching HARDBALL. They always did this.



CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": Are you being vetted? Have...


WALLACE: You have not submitted any information?

GINGRICH: No. Nobody`s called me. Nobody`s said, would you like to be? Nobody`s said, would you be willing to be considered? Nobody has said anything.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was former Speaker, for good reason, Newt Gingrich last weekend, saying he had not been contacted about -- contacted about becoming Trump`s running mate.

But, today, "The Washington Post" reports "Trump`s campaign" -- in quotes - - "has begun formally vetting possible running mates, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich emerging as the leading candidate, followed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie."

Well, the report also says -- quote -- "Gingrich and Christie have been asked to submit documents and are being cast as favorites for the post inside the campaign. Gingrich in particular is the beneficiary of a drumbeat of support from the Trump confidants such as Ben Carson."

NBC News also confirmed that Indiana Governor Mike Pence is being vetted as part of Trump`s vice presidential selection process and, according to sources, will travel to the New York area today to meet with Trump this weekend.

We are back with Perry, Jay and David.

Seriously, seriously, the six wives club, the six wives club, the Republicans will kill them with that, three wives apiece. And they`re running on the family values train. I mean, give me a break. It will never work.

CORN: Trump already has no steam...

MATTHEWS: They will kill them. Hillary will kill them.

CORN: ... on the family values train. He is off the family values train.

But it`s not just the six wives. It`s the ethical violations. It`s his own business deals.

MATTHEWS: Can somebody remind -- OK. Magazine and author here, why was Newt Gingrich only speaker for a brief time? What happened? Why did they run him out of not just the speakership but run him out of the House?

JAY NEWTON-SMALL, TIME MAGAZINE: Well, there was an attempted coup.

MATTHEWS: What was his dalliance at the time that they`re running? Bill Clinton, they`re putting him --

NEWTON-SMALL: With his current wife, Callista. They were having a little bit of an affair.

But this is -- it`s just as much as Donald Trump says he will line up all of the women who Bill Clinton potentially had affairs with, they could line up, the Democrats could line up on the stage all the women they were once married to.

MATTHEWS: It`s funny but it just seems an odd choice for the Republican team.

PERRY BACON, NBC NEWS SR. POLITICAL REPORTER: Also, Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich ran for president. They were not terribly effective candidates.

MATTHEWS: We are talking about possible indictments involving e-mail. There are at least plausible indictments coming on bridgegate. It looks like a tough customer to me. Why would you put a guy up there, you think I was moving the cones? You`re not going to put cone head on there. You`re not going to put this guy out there as your running mate with all that stuff coming.

CORN: He can`t even win his own state of New Jersey. This is my question about Newt Gingrich. Is there any angry white guy out there who says, I`m not going to vote for Trump, but if he puts Gingrich on the ticket, I will?

MATTHEWS: By the way, Georgia`s a great prospect for the Republican -- for the Democrats. Let`s get back to this. I think "The Washington Post" is crazy or Trump`s crazy.

BACON: Trump`s crazy.

MATTHEWS: Who do you think would help him?

BACON: Pence would be much better. A new person, a new figure, conservative Christian, he appeals to the base that`s wary of Trump. He`s very pro-life.

MATTHEWS: Indiana?

BACON: Indiana.


MATTHEWS: Give me another one.

NEWTON-SMALL: Well, I mean --

MATTHEWS: Corker. What happened to Corker?

NEWTON-SMALL: Corker, I don`t know that Corker would do it. I don`t know that Tom Cotton would do it. Tom Cotton -- people talked about Tom Cotton, the senator from Arkansas.

MATTHEWS: Bates Motel?


NEWTON-SMALL: I don`t know that -- he once ran for president.


MATTHEWS: Mary Fallin, the governor of Oklahoma. She would be great because she`s a woman and she`s from a state that although it`s red --

CORN: Fallin or Pence would legitimize Trump in the way Gingrich and Christie cannot. They are serious people, very conservative.

MATTHEWS: Unhyphenated Republicans.

What about Thune? South Dakota. Is he too tall?

NEWTON-SMALL: He`s too boring.

BACON: I agree. He`s been in the Senate so long and made no impression.

Pence is a much better politician. He`s much better campaigning. They were both on the Hill together for awhile. I think Pence is a little better.

CORN: I look at Pence and I look at Mary Fallin, and I see them as serious people and I don`t know why anyone serious would want to tie themselves to Donald Trump. I mean, it`s almost --

MATTHEWS: Because they are tough. And they are main chancers. Sometimes people in life take chances. They say the odds are against this working but if this works, I will be a hero in the Republican Party.


MATTHEWS: I can see your point of view. But they don`t look at it the way you just did. They don`t say we have a running mate for a bigot. They don`t look it that way.

CORN: Paul Ryan sees it that way.

NEWTON-SMALL: That means they are betting they have the ability to rein him in, the ability to discipline him in ways nobody else has so far.

MATTHEWS: Cheney did it with W, because they thought they put this big anchor under him politically.


NEWTON-SMALL: Vice presidential candidate cannot fix all these problems. The first -- the ideal candidate is going to be a half-black, half Latino woman millennial veteran. That would fix your problems but it`s impossible. There is no such thing as a magic unicorn vice president who will fix his candidacy.

MATTHEWS: Jay, you can talk like that.

Anyway, thank you. We`ll be right back with everybody.

The roundtable is sticking with us. They`re going to tell me something I don`t know, as they often do.


MATTHEWS: Forty-three million Americans are heading out of town, their town, for Fourth of July holiday weekend and they`re lucky when it comes to gas prices. Look at this -- the average cost of a gallon of regular, $2.28 right now according to AAA. Prices this week are at their lowest for the holiday since 2005. That`s really kind of a tax cut if you think about it. It`s money you don`t have to spend.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: We`re back with our roundtable.

And Perry is the first to tell me something I don`t know.

BACON: Remember two years ago, no one wanted to be anywhere near Barack Obama who was running for office. Allison Grimes wouldn`t say she voted for him either. That was the extreme example of it.

MATTHEWS: I never understood.

BACON: So, now on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton is going to be in Charlotte, North Carolina with Obama, of course. But so are the Democrat, Roy Cooper running for governor there, they are also showing up, too. You are seeing the Democrats now, Obama`s numbers are way up and Democrats, he`s no longer viewed as kryptonite. They actually think he could help them win elections.

MATTHEWS: It could be, because his numbers now are passing 55 percent. They could be at 60 percent soon. I do think he`s Mr. October. I think he`s Reggie Jackson. I think he`s going to come in in October and carry places like Philadelphia with 90 percent. He`s going to sweep and people like Katie McGinty. If she wins it will be because of him.


NEWTON-SMALL: As you know, Chris, I did a profile of John Podesta recently. One piece of information that didn`t make it into the story is that he`s a hardcore "X-Files" fan. In fact, he`s a hardcore conspiracy theorist, actually. And so, for his birthday, the campaign tried to get him a role on the reboot of the "X-Files" but they already finished taping. Instead they got him props from the series. They are amongst his most treasured possessions.

MATTHEWS: And he believes this stuff. He believes in extraterrestrial and all this stuff.

NEWTON-SMALL: He absolutely wants to free the information so everyone can get it out there.

CORN: He`s also a big fan of roller coasters.

Mine is there are some Trump delegates who are so worried about violent protests and even possible ISIS attacks at Cleveland --

MATTHEWS: Aren`t you? Aren`t you?

CORN: -- at Cleveland, they are so worried they decided, they have announced they are bringing their guns to the convention. They can`t bring them in the hall but they say, you know what, we`ll be at restaurants, we`ll be at hotel rooms, and anything is up for grabs. And they`re advising other delegates that they come armed as well.

MATTHEWS: Give me another double. I`m loaded, I`m packed. I`m great, the Long Branch Saloon. But I do agree with them about the fear factor. We don`t know what`s coming.

CORN: I don`t know if we want people shooting ISIS suspects.

MATTHEWS: I agree.

Perry Bacon right now, Jay Newton-Small and David Corn.

Well, when we return, we`re getting an update on that terrible situation in Bangladesh at this hour. We don`t know what`s going on. It`s a hostage situation, could get worse.

HARDBALL returns after this.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

We continue to follow breaking news out of Dhaka, Bangladesh, where there`s an ongoing hostage situation as I said at a cafe in the city`s diplomatic zone. You`re looking at the map here.

Joining me right now is Nabiha Chowdhury. She lives in Dhaka, just a few blocks from the cafe.

Nabiha, tell us what you can about the situation there right now.

With me now in D.C. tonight is Tara Maller. She`s senior policy adviser for the Counterterrorism Project.

What do you make of a hostage situation? What would be the motive here?

TAR MALLER, COUNTERTERRORISM PROJECT: Sure. Well, a hostage situation has two motives. One, they get to incite fear with the large scale hostage event, and two, it gets media attention for a long period of time. We`ve seen the Bangladeshis have not gone in yet. So, until, you know, something happens here, they`ve not gone in yet. So, it garners media attention, it provokes fear and it shows a level of coordination that they were able to go in there with guns and hold a significant people in a soft target for a substantial amount of time.

MATTHEWS: Yes, but it seems to me there`s a definition here. If it`s a hostage situation, it means a barricade situation. A barricade situation means you`re either going to give up, put your hands in the air, and give up, get some concessions, but you lose.

MALLER: Well, usually with ISIS, you see law enforcement go in quickly, because there tends to be not a desire to negotiate. They want to kill people they`re holding hostage. In this case, they have not stormed in yet. But usually they think that ISIS is not going to negotiate for some sort of an outcome. And they`re worried that they`re going to inflict damage on the hostages.

MATTHEWS: What`s your assessment? What`s your instinct at this point watching this pattern?

MALLER: Well, I think this is clearly ISIS related. I mean, ISIS has claimed it, unclear if they directed it. It`s on the string of a number of attacks, in Lebanon, in Yemen, we saw in Istanbul. And it`s the peak season of Ramadan right now. So, I don`t think it`s surprising --

MATTHEWS: Explain that part again. They don`t respect the holy season as a time of peace. They respect it as what?

MALLER: Well, when you`re doing an attack like this, tomorrow is a very significant day for Ramadan. So, we can expect more attacks in the next few days. It`s the end of Ramadan. ISIS has been calling for attacks during this period. People who carry out attacks during Ramadan thinks it`s, you know, a more holy time to carry out attacks for martyrdom in their religious -- perversion of religion I should say, extremist ideology.

MATTHEWS: Does this have to do with us, the United States? Yes, any of these attacks.

MALLER: Yes. I mean, it has to do with us. This is a western target and diplomatic enclave.

MATTHEWS: So, there`s a lot of Europeans there and other Asian people from other capitals.

MALLER: Just like the airport, it`s a not just a Turkish site. All international travelers go through this site. Yes, both these targets are western targets. There`s nationalities from all over the world presumably in this enclave and also in Istanbul airport.

MATTHEWS: Do you expect they`ll discriminate among the hostages?

MALLER: That`s a good question. We`ve seen in some cases, they do sometimes do that. I think most of the time in this cases, they tend to be fairly indiscriminate, they`re there to cause as many casualties and many deaths as possible. It remains to be seen if they`ll try to negotiate, but I find that highly unlikely based on --

MATTHEWS: What do you do if you`re head of Pakistani security? What`s your best move? I mean, among the bad options, what`s your best option?

MALLER: In this hostage case right now, I think they`ll need to go in there and --


MALLER: Rush -- like we saw happen in other hostage cases. In the Bataclan, eventually, they had to go in, you can`t just stay like this forever because they can turn on the innocent victims and kill them anyway.

MATTHEWS: Would you tear gas or something like that? Do you ever try to drop a smoke bomb? How do you confuse the situation enough when you`re coming in and no one knew what you`re doing?

MALLER: I haven`t rushed into hostage sites. You`re getting a little bit beyond my expertise. But, yes, they usually go in with a team of individuals. They usually have night vision goggles to give them an advantage.

But again, this is not, you know, the FBI doing this, it`s the Bangladeshi police force, so not potentially as high caliber.

MATTHEWS: Try to do this, it`s something at me as a general observer, I look at the pattern. And I see the lone wolves in the United States and they`re just -- we have to live with that. It`s a free country. People are inspired to do bad things as well as good things.

MALLER: Right.

MATTHEWS: That`s going to happen, as long as you have free communications in the Internet. People are going to get angry and upset, people with psychological problems even. They`re going to get involved like San Bernardino, we`re going to have situations like that. There hasn`t been a successful operation, check me on this, a successful operation in the U.S. since 9/11 that`s gotten through.


MATTHEWS: We`re working hard to make sure it doesn`t happen here.

MALLER: Yes, I think sometimes it gets lost in all these attacks. They`re horrific, awful attacks. One individual in Orlando can cause a lot of damage. But we`ve not seen a high level, orchestrated, highly funded, highly coordinated, with a lot of (INAUDIBLE) involvement like a 9/11-scale attack, which is way beyond what we`ve seen --

MATTHEWS: We`ve seen the Boston marathon, two brothers from Chechnya. They had their own lone wolf imperatives to do what they did. And San Bernardino, the husband and wife team. We had Ft. Hood.

We`ve had these cases where it`s people who have been inspired to do something, but we haven`t seen direction, have we?

MALLER: Right. But these individuals are inspired through online contact with these groups. And they are sort of taking on the ideology. And ISIS now is claiming these attacks even when there`s not operational support. ISIS claimed the Orlando attack.

MATTHEWS: Let`s talk about this month.


MATTHEWS: We`re in it, I worry about July. We have the Fourth of July and two political conventions.

MALLER: And the Olympics and soccer games in Europe. With the end of Ramadan, July 4th weekend, probably see heightened security alerts, you have the Olympics going on, sporting events traditionally a target and political conventions.

You`re exactly right. Lots of soft targets.

MATTHEWS: I think the Trump people have a right to be worried. I hope they don`t have everybody armed up, but I do think it`s a magnetic target.

Anyway, Tara Maller for coming up. We shouldn`t have you on so often. It just means more trouble.

MALLER: I know, it`s bad. I wish I could come on for a good news story.

MATTHEWS: We`ll have to have you on just for that.

That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

By the way, enjoy the Fourth of July.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.