July 3, 2013
Guests: P.J. Crowley, David Rohde, Dennis Ross, Robin Wright, Joseph Haynes
Davis, Ashraf Khalil, Joel Rubin
(LIVE ZIMMERMAN TRIAL COVERAGE)
JOY REID, GUEST HOST: OK, we`ll go back to the George Zimmerman trial in a
But first, we`re following breaking news out of Egypt, where President
Mohammed Morsi has been overthrown. And we`re going to talk with former
assistant secretary of state for public affairs P.J. Crowley.
P.J., react to these extraordinary developments today. It was just in 2011
when we saw scenes similar to this the Arab spring, the overthrow of a 40-
plus-year dictatorship, replaced with an elected government. Now that
government has fallen.
P.J. CROWLEY, FMR. ASST. SECRETARY OF STATE FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS (via
telephone): Well, I don`t think we`re -- we should be surprised that in
Egypt`s advance to democracy that it`s going -- it was never going to be a
straight line. And we`ve seen mistakes made. We`ve seen the fact that you
have a duly elected leader but not one who is necessarily governing
democratically, or certainly not governing inclusively.
So we know that democracy is about more than just elections and that
building the institutions of democracy, the traditions of democracy, will
take years, if not decades.
REID: And P.J., do you think that it`s wise for the Obama administration
to hang back and let this play out before making any statement?
CROWLEY: Well, even back in 2011, we recognized that the events were going
to unfold in Egypt, decisions made by Egyptians that the United States
would have influence only in the margins. We`re in the same circumstance
Obviously, the administration faces a difficult decision in terms of how to
interpret what`s happened. We have laws that govern the assistance that we
provide, you know, to the Egyptian government. As a tradition, if
governments overthrow democratically elected governments, there are
But there`s some flexibility here. If this -- if these events move Egypt
forward towards a deeper, a more inclusive democracy, I think the
administration may interpret events one way. Obviously, if the military
takes over and it has the trappings of an autocratic state, even for a
temporary period of time, that will have different implications.
REID: And P.J., does it help that in the case of Egypt, the U.S. has long-
standing ties to the military, knows its leaders very well? I mean, we
(INAUDIBLE) $1.6 billion in aid to Egypt. Much of that is military aid.
Is it helpful, I guess, in this case, that the ties we have are with the
institution that has taken -- essentially taken down the democratically
CROWLEY: Well, no question. Not only ties to the military, which will be
making some key decisions here, but also ties to opposition figures. And
this is crucially important. I mean, just as we`ve seen that the Morsi
government did some things right, a lot of things wrong, so in the last two
years, the opposition has been splintered, ineffective.
You know, this -- this amazing picture that we`re watching, these people
know what they`re against. They don`t necessarily entirely agree about
what they`re for. And so the opposition will have to come together and
create a unified vision for Egypt and participate in a process that carries
The Muslim Brotherhood will have a challenging decision to make.
Obviously, they`re disappointed with the events of today, but they still
have a right to be part of the process moving forward, hopefully, learning
lessons from the past year.
REID: And I want to bring in two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Rohde, a
columnist for Reuters, formerly of "The New York Times." David, thanks for
DAVID ROHDE, REUTERS COLUMNIST (via telephone): Thank you.
REID: I want to ask you about that opposition. Earlier, Ayman Mohyeldin,
our correspondent who`s there in Cairo, talked about the opposition and the
sort of picture, the tableau that was created by the military leaders when
they announced the change in government. They had leaders from youth
movements. They had leaders from secular and religious movements.
And they also had Mohammed elBaradei, who most people remember from the
United Nations during the whole run-up to the war in Iraq and his
pronouncements regarding whether or not the government then of Saddam
Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. He`s sort of a known
Is he somebody that you could anticipate may actually have a leadership
role in a future Egyptian government?
ROHDE: He could, but the problem is that this opposition and elBaradei
himself is not overwhelmingly popular. There is a large contingent of
Egyptian society that supports the Muslim Brotherhood. And this is -- in
the short term, it might stabilize the situation, but in the long term,
this could lead to more violence and even the radicalization of Muslim
REID: OK, we`re going to take a quick break, and on the other side of the
break, we`re going to have Richard Engel, our correspondent, who`s live in
Tahrir Square. He will give us a live update when we come back.
REID: Continuing to keep our eyes on both the George Zimmerman second
degree murder trial and the developments in Egypt. And still with us,
Pulitzer Prize winner, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Rohde,
columnist for Reuters and formerly of "The New York Times."
And David, if you could just sort of give us a sense of how the U.S.
diplomatically now would deal with Mohammed Morsi. I mean, he was
democratically elected, has now been ousted. We`re not clear of his
But assuming he is safely in the country, is it a situation where the U.S.
would want him to leave, would allow him to stay? Like, how -- but
assuming -- yes.
ROHDE: It`s going to be extremely difficult. Most supporters of the
Muslim Brotherhood and most sort of Islamists in Egypt and I think even
across the Middle East will see this as an American-backed coup. They will
-- whatever really happened, they will think the U.S. somehow, with their
ties you were talking about earlier with the U.S. military -- they`ll think
the U.S. somehow gave this green light and that -- you know, this is the
first democratically elected president of Egypt, an Islamist who says he
also believes in democracy, you know, has been ousted.
And it plays into this view of sort of American hypocrisy, that we support
democracy at home but we don`t support it abroad. I`m not defending Morsi.
He`s done a terrible job governing Egypt. But there is a problem here in
terms of our consistency towards supporting democracy.
REID: Is there any way to craft a statement out of the White House that
both respects the will of the people of Egypt, which is clearly -- as you
can see from those pictures that we`re looking at from Tahrir Square,
people are elated at this change of government. This was regime change
that they wanted. And that is a part of the democratic process, the
consent of the governed.
But is there a way to craft a statement that doesn`t seem hypocritical, in
a sense, because this was a democratic government that was ousted?
ROHDE: I think we -- you know, the United States has got to push for
elections as quickly as possible. You know, Morsi has become very
unpopular. You know, one immediate question is, is Mohammed Morsi going to
be allowed to run in the new elections? Will the Muslim Brotherhood be
allowed to put up another candidate? I think they should. I think that,
you know, it would be much more effective if they had been forced from
power in an election. The sooner an election can be held and the will of
the people can be seen, you know, the better.
This is a enormous country of 80 million people. It`s a huge outpouring of
the street in Cairo. But there are -- there`s a very large number of
Egyptians, particularly in rural areas and that tend to be poorer, that do
support the Brotherhood. And I just fear more polarization and more
REID: I mean, in a way, David, what you`re describing is a lot like Iran,
isn`t it, where you have people in the provinces, out in the countryside
who do support the more Islamic government, the more religious government.
And then you have a secular element in the country.
But in Egypt, there`s this other irony that I want to ask you about. The
military, who the U.S. obviously has more contact with, is the elite, let`s
face it, in Egyptian society. And part of the problem that people
apparently had with Morsi was this sense that the economy was not working
for the average person -- high unemployment, food lines, people not being
able to make it economically, and the sense that Morsi wasn`t doing much
Is there any irony that, essentially, the people have turned to their own
elite to change their government?
ROHDE: It is. And this is one of the fears, that these protesters now
celebrating, you know, so joyously might -- you know, the military might
turn out to be not as sort of generous in terms of democracy and freedom of
speech and all the things that they`re talking about.
You know, the Pakistani military -- it`s a great question you`ve asked and
it`s absolutely true. There`s an epic kind of struggle going on between
these kind of liberal urban populations in Iran, in Egypt, in Tunisia, in
Turkey in the Taksim Square protests, and then more conservative sort of
And the key is to kind of let these twos groups, you know, fight it out, if
possible at the ballot box, reach compromise. It`s been too polarized in
Egypt. It`s very hard for the U.S. to end that dynamic.
But I just think, you know, it`s very -- it sounds idealistic, but the
answer is sort of -- to bad democracy is more democracy, you know, not
coups. And these -- there has to be a -- I hope a resolution somehow
democratically to this power struggle in Egypt.
REID: OK, David, thank you. We`re going to take a quick break. We will
have more on the developments in Egypt, and of course, updates on the
George Zimmerman trial when we come back.
REID: The jury in the caves George Zimmerman, the second-degree murder
trial, has been sent home. So court is adjourning at this hour.
So, we are going to giving you updates on what happened today.
But, for now, we are following events in Egypt, where the government of
President Mohammed Morsi has been toppled by the military there.
We now have on the phone Dennis Ross, a former U.S. diplomat under both the
first President Bush and under President Clinton and a former adviser to
then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
And, Dennis, you have advised both presidents, a former secretary of state.
What would be your advice at this moment? What would you be telling John
Kerry in the situation we`re seeing in Egypt now?
DENNIS ROSS, FORMER U.S. ENVOY TO MIDDLE EAST: Well, I think the key thing
for us is to focus on principles and not personalities.
I think the -- we have a huge stake in Egypt not being a failed state. We
have a huge stake in trying to see if there can be a managed transition
now. And we also have a stake in changing the impression that seems to
exist among a great part of the Egyptian public that somehow we were
backing the Muslim Brotherhood against the interests of the Egyptian
public, which I think is not what the real position of the administration
was, but it was a perception that took hold.
So I think, right now, our focus should be very much on emphasizing the
need to create a stable political transition, and our support for basic
principles which relate to respecting the rights of all, insuring
nonviolence, making sure that elections can be held at an appropriate time,
creating an inclusiveness, which is -- I think the greatest single failure
of the Muslim Brotherhood and President Morsi was that they made no effort
to reach out and include others. They focused on control, and they didn`t
focus on governance.
REID: And, Ambassador Ross, is it important what becomes of Mohammed
Morsi? Is it important that he be allowed to freely participate in any
future elections, or do you think that it`s important that the U.S. find a
way for him to be escorted out of Egypt? What do you think about that?
ROSS: Well, I think the latter may be important, because I think right
now, if anything -- and this may sound quite ironic -- I suspect that
military -- yes, I think the -- I think that the military may be protecting
Morsi, as much as anything.
Given where the crowds are right now, the mood of the crowds, I think that
right now that President Morsi himself probably doesn`t want to be exposed
a great deal. So it may be escorting him out is as good as anything,
although I do think, if there`s going to be elections, there should be a
sense that everyone -- there should be an inclusive approach to elections.
There should not be an exclusive approach to elections.
REID: And I will ask you one more question, Ambassador Ross. How
confident are you in the military`s claims and their promises to uphold
democratic institutions, to hold elections, to return to civilian
ROSS: I actually think that they are quite committed to that because I
don`t think, as an institution, they want to be responsible for managing
the Egyptian economy right now, given all the challenges.
You know, if you look at what General al-Sisi has been saying for some
time, he kept saying that we need to see a dialogue on the inside. You
know, the military will only intervene if necessary. The military doesn`t
want to intervene. We want to prevent the black tunnel from being entered
This is not something that they entered into with any great eagerness. I
think they felt that there was a real danger that the country was going to
collapse if in fact they didn`t intervene and President Morsi didn`t take
seriously some of the warnings that were being made. I actually think that
the military at this point will probably go to some lengths to try to
demonstrate that all corners of the public should be involved in this, that
there should be a kind of institutional approach, a new constitution being
drafted and elections held as soon as they can be held and in an
environment that makes them possible to be held in a way that`s both stable
and free and fair.
REID: We certainly hope so.
Well, NBC chief correspondent Richard Engel joins us now live from the
Cairo, from Tahrir Square.
And, Richard, this must feel like deja vu all over again. I still remember
you standing in quite the same position back in 2011, the Arab spring, the
toppling of the dictatorship then. Does it feel like the same energy, the
same demands and the same elation that took place then?
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: There are similarities.
The crowds are about the same.
What`s different this time, back then, the crowds were mostly just here in
Tahrir Square. Now, you have crowds here in Tahrir Square, a similar --
not quite as large, but similar gathering in front of the Ittihadiya
You can`t see it, behind this building, also crowds in the streets. So, if
anything, it seems like maybe even more people in Cairo are celebrating.
Back in the Mubarak days, it was somewhat more emotional, because Mubarak
had been in power for 30 years. A lot of people were never sure if that
moment would come. Many more people had died for that revolution.
Hundreds of people had died. The square had been attacked.
Someone is doing circles with a motorcycle in the square, if you hear that
buzzing. I will keep talking and hopefully you can understand me.
This time, it was peaceful. It was quick. You don`t -- you didn`t have
the body count. So there is just a sense of happiness. It`s not tinged
with the -- with the memories of the martyrs in Tahrir Square. Two-and-a-
half years ago, there were a lot of posters of people who died for this
This, there haven`t really been very many people killed. There was a
violent incident overnight. The real question is now, will this be as good
as it gets? Will violence follow this? And how will Morsi supporters
react? How will the people who didn`t win out tonight and who now feel
disenfranchised, will they become an insurgency?
I worry -- and I almost hesitate to mention it -- but I worry about what
happened in Algeria. In 1992, there was an election. The Islamists won.
And the military canceled the election, and then you had a civil war, with
more than 100,000 people dead.
It doesn`t seem like they`re heading in that direction, but you could have
an insurgency in this country that goes back underground that could cause a
lot of problems for this country.
REID: No. And, clearly, Richard, you make an excellent point, because
isn`t it going to be important now, the protection of the Muslim
Brotherhood and their supporters and of Mohammed Morsi, because should
violence come to them, then the nightmare scenario you just talked about
could indeed take place?
ENGEL: It wouldn`t just be about people here attacking the Muslim
They feel that this has been an affront, not to just President Morsi, but
that this is an international conspiracy against Islam and against
political Islam. And, therefore, you are tapping into a well, a very deep
well of passions, and it wouldn`t take much to inflame them.
I think the places immediately to watch would be the Sinai. The Sinai has
become somewhat overrun by Islamic radicals. If they fear that the
Egyptian military is now more solidly in control and that they could be
attacked, you could see them becoming more aggressive. You could see areas
of traditional hard-core Islamic militant groups in towns like Minya and
Asyut that suddenly become violent again.
The army will have to negotiate this carefully. And if, as you just were
suggesting, the army or even vigilantes here suddenly go on a campaign to
crack down on everyone who was in power before, then the -- the country
will become much more divided.
I want to bring in Robin Wright, a senior fellow analyst and a senior
fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
And, Robin, Richard Engel, back in 2011, one of the other sort of iconic
images that I remember from that time was him standing in Tahrir Square and
people chanting, "The army and the people are one," people putting flowers
and garlands into the turrets of weapons and really feeling a sense of
trust and bond with the military.
Do you get the sense now that that trust is deserved, that that trust is
earned, that we in the United States and that the people in Egypt, those
people demonstrating in Cairo, can really trust the military to eventually
turn power over to a civilian government?
ROBIN WRIGHT, SENIOR FELLOW, WOODROW WILSON CENTER: Well, this is a very
controversial point, because the military actually was in power for 17
months after ousting President Mubarak.
And it became very controversial and there were protests on the streets and
at Tahrir Square demanding that the military hand over power. It became
extraordinarily controversial. And so the military has to ensure that this
time around, that there is a vast transition, that it doesn`t seem to be
wanting to hold onto power.
Remember, all of the presidents since the monarchy ended in the early 1950s
have been former leaders within the military. And there has been a fear
within Egypt that the military, the old regime is really trying to wiggle
its way back into power through the military.
And so the challenge for the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, as it`s
called, will be to make sure that it is seen as just a very temporary
transition, and not something that`s trying to take over power again.
REID: And, Richard, can you respond to that point as well? Because,
indeed, trust in the military is paramount for this to work. Right?
People have to believe that the military means what it says.
You get a sense from the people you`re talking to there in Tahrir Square
that they don`t expect to have to return to the streets again, as they did
before and try to get the military to move out of power.
Do we have Richard?
ENGEL: There`s a -- I`m not sure. Can you hear me?
Then, I was saying I think there`s a couple of different ways of looking at
this. The people here in Tahrir Square see this as a call that was issued
to the military. The military responded. And they are trusting the
military to be a custodian for a transitional period.
And, by the way, the military didn`t just announce this alone. There were
members of civil society present with the military. Nobel laureate Mohamed
ElBaradei was supporting of this announcement. Members of the clergy, both
Muslim and Christian, were supportive of this announcement.
So, that`s the way it`s seen here. On the other side of town, the Muslim
Brotherhood supporters see this as an opportunity that the military used to
carry out a coup against them, to carry out a vendetta, if you will,
against its old enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood.
Probably, both of these are a little bit true. The people here certainly
did ask the military to intervene, and now the military has intervened, and
they are trusting the military to have a transition. And the military has
never liked the Muslim Brotherhood and was apparently always looking for
some sort of opportunity to sideline them, not necessarily come back to
But the Muslim Brotherhood didn`t like -- the military didn`t like what the
Muslim Brotherhood was doing. Many of the Muslim Brotherhood`s supporters,
their sons and cousins and family members, were signing up for the
military. The Muslim Brotherhood was trying to take over the rank and
file, replace many of the mid-level commanders both in the army and the
And the army felt, if this continues, in three years, the institution of
the armed forces, which is largely secular, would be eroded. So I think
both are somewhat true. There was a call that was responded to. And the
Muslim -- and the army saw the an opportunity to stop the Muslim
Brotherhood before it got more deeply rooted in the society.
REID: All right, Richard Engel proving why he is the best in the business.
And, Robin Wright, thank you both.
I want to bring in Jonathan Alter, author of a new book about President
Obama and his enemies, looking at sort of his -- his dealing with his
adversaries here in the United States.
But in the situation that we`re facing now, looking at those pictures in
Egypt, in Tahrir Square, how does the president navigate this based on his
history, based on what you have learned in putting your book together? Is
this a president who is going to be able to come out and navigate that sort
of careful strait between supporting democracy and supporting the people on
JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It`s very tough. It`s a very
And we have a very experienced diplomat, Ambassador Anne Patterson, who is
over there, and you could argue that she -- even she, with all her
experience in Pakistan and other postings, has kind of fumbled the ball a
little bit, because we were not able to be give the protesters, give the
opposition the sense that, if we weren`t on their side, we at least were
consulting with them enough and hearing them enough.
And they perceived that we were too much in bed with Morsi. So he`s going
to having to show very quickly that he is in support of this change.
REID: All right, Jonathan Alter, thank you very much.
And coming up, we are going to join HARDBALL in progress with the latest on
the George Zimmerman trial.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
We continue to watch the celebrations, actually, in Cairo. Look at them
right now, live, after the military ousted Egypt`s elected government over
We are going to have more on that in just a minute, but, first, the latest
in the George Zimmerman case with MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Bloom and right
now Joseph Haynes Davis, a criminal defense attorney in Florida.
Mr. Davis, I`ve got get to you because I know you have to leave. Let me
give you something you haven`t been asked because this is what I love to do
on this show.
JOSEPH HAYNES DAVIS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, sir.
MATTHEWS: Supposed everybody -- and, by the way, I`m surrounded by people
who think he`s guilty, all my family, my liberal sons, my liberal wife,
everybody thinks the guy -- Zimmerman is the bad guy. So, I live in that
I have some other people that have different views, too.
DAVIS: I understand.
MATTHEWS: Now, my question to you, it`s a really scary one, OK? Imagine
that somebody was 10 feet away from this horror that happened that night in
Sanford and took a crystal clear picture of everything that happened.
Everything that happened from the time these two guys met, however he came
out of the bushes, didn`t came out of the bushes, walked toward him, didn`t
walk toward him, everything including what looked to be a fight that ended
in a wrestling match, that ended up with a gun going off -- I still think
people would have different verdicts.
And the reason I say that -- I`m asking you I should say --
MATTHEWS: -- is because people talk about the surrounding context. They
talk about the fact he shouldn`t have gotten out of his car before the
encounter occurred. He shouldn`t have had all this police mentality going
through his head. He isn`t a cop, why was he thinking like one?
And all that and they say, well, that`s what matters. And not what
happened in the scuffle. And then other people would say, it`s the scuffle
that matters, it`s what actually happens. So, my question to you, is that
a problem we have here, that even the facts aren`t going to clear this
DAVIS: It might be. But, Chris, it`s my understanding that some of the
jurors, up to four of them, are familiar with, quote-unquote, "guns". It
has been reported.
And as a result, I believe that the fact that he left the car in light of
something suspicious for me is telling.
Now, again, ethically, because I`m a member of the bar and it`s a case in
front of a court that I practice in front of periodically, I`m not going to
sit here and make a prediction or do anything unethical on the Chris
DAVIS: But I can say, as a concealed weapons holder, when you see trouble,
you report it. And you walk away. And you stay within your safe zones.
That`s how we are trained. That`s how we think.
MATTHEWS: But is the penalty for that murder two?
DAVIS: It quite possibly can be depending on a sequestered jury panel.
MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you for joining us. We`ll get back to you next time
we get hold of you. We want you back.
DAVIS: Yes, sir.
MATTHEWS: Joseph Haynes Davis, criminal attorney, who practices down
Let me go to Lisa Bloom for perhaps, I remember you saying the other night,
of course, I`m always looking for controversy here. I heard you say the
only thing that matters in this case is not the box it came in, not all the
racial history, the 450 years of bad history, and all kinds of questions
about police and everything else in our system and not the question whether
this guy thought he was a cop or possible vigilantism. The only thing that
matter was, what happened when these two guys met and who ended up feeling
that they were in danger of losing their life or facing grievous bodily
injury and therefore drew the gun and used it -- you stick to that?
LISA BLOOM, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think what I said was that the
legal question is at the moment that George Zimmerman pulled the trigger
and took the life of this teenager, was he reasonably in fear of great
bodily injury or death.
MATTHEWS: That`s what he said.
BLOOM: That`s the legal standard. That`s such a difficult question to
answer because you do have to take into account the entire context. You
know, here`s a piece of evidence in this case, Chris --
MATTHEWS: Why do you have to take it in context? You`re saying it
differently this time. Lisa, you`ve changed the way you`re saying it. Why
is the context --
BLOOM: I don`t think I`m saying it differently, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Why is it -- if you said the question is his mindset, was he
danger he thought of great bodily injury or death, if he thought that at
BLOOM: Reasonably fear.
MATTHEWS: Well, if he`s right in his testimony, if he`s right, his head
was being pounded into the sidewalk. That`s his testimony. If it`s true,
or is it true, we don`t know. But if it`s true, was he within his rights
to make that judgment?
BLOOM: OK, but the prosecution says his injuries weren`t that bad. Maybe
his head was pounded once. Maybe he got punched once. Maybe he was just
scratched a little bit --
MATTHEWS: How many times would you let your head be pounded if it`s true -
BLOOM: You can`t take out a gun and shoot and kill someone.
MATTHEWS: But if it`s true, how many times would you let your head be
pounded into the cement if it`s true, if it happened that way? How many
times would you go for it -- two, three?
BLOOM: But look, I wouldn`t assume an African-American kid walking around
in my neighborhood is up to no good, follow him against the advice of
police, you know --
MATTHEWS: OK, sure, that`s all part of the story.
MATTHEWS: But you`re the lawyer. What is the criminal charge here, murder
two, what has that got to do with his mindset 10 minutes before? What`s
the mindset 10 minutes before have do with it?
BLOOM: Oh, it has a lot to do with it.
MATTHEWS: How so?
BLOOM: It has a lot I because a finding of murder two is a finding he
intentionally took this life with a depraved mind. Can I just quickly tell
you about this piece of evidence that I think is important that nobody`s
BLOOM: George Zimmerman had a bluff from the lead investigator who said,
"You know what, we have a videotape of this incident." It turns out there
is no videotape of the incident, but Zimmerman responded with elation. He
was so hopeful. He said, "Oh, I`m so glad. I hope there is a videotape."
MATTHEWS: Which tells you?
BLOOM: He pointed out some video cameras in the community he hoped would
lead them t a videotape.
MATTHEWS: Which tells you?
BLOOM: Does that tell you something?
MATTHEWS: What`s it tell you?
BLOOM: That he thinks that his story is true. Whether it`s true or not,
when he says Trayvon Martin was on top attacking him and assaulting him, he
was very -- either he was very hopeful there was a tape or he`s an
extremely good actor.
MATTHEWS: And if the tape did tell the story that he told, would he be
BLOOM: If he was getting his head pounded, and he was getting punched in
the face and as he says, Trayvon Martin threatened to kill him and reached
for the gun, clearly, that would be a self-defense acquittal verdict.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, Lisa Bloom, please, thank you for joining us again.
We`ll have you back as often as we can get you. Thanks for joining us,
When we return, millions of Egyptians are celebrating at this minute, near
midnight over there. The ouster of the country`s Islamist president, the
one they elected. What does the military coup mean for our own country?
That`s always my question.
U.S. interests here, United States. How are we doing in this thing? It
looks like we have nothing to do with it.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, the State Department is warning U.S. citizens now living
in Egypt, right now in that country, to leave the country at this time --
immediately, in other words, because of the continuing political and
clearly social unrest after today`s military coup. The State Department is
also warning U.S. citizens to put off travel to Egypt at this time. There
goes the tourist business.
We`re going to get back to the incredible demonstrations in Cairo in a
HARDBALL, back in a moment.
MATTHEW: Well, the big celebrations continue over there in Tahrir Square.
Look at that, the scene of a dramatic series of political military events
today in Cairo. President Mohammed Morsi is out. He was ousted by the
military of that country.
The constitution there has been dissolved.
Well, joining me on the phone right now from Cairo is "Time" magazine
correspondent Ashraf Khalil, who has been on the ground both at the square
and at today`s Muslim Brotherhood rally. And also we got joining us
tonight, former State Department Egypt desk officer, Joel Rubin.
Joel, I get to you in a minute. I want to get to Mr. Kahlil over there.
Mr. Kahlil, it looks to me that the United States might be a little better
off in the short run because we now have a government run by the military
which seems to be a stabilizing force against a government that looks like
it was moving more and more Islamists and therefore at some point, anti-
American. How do you read it?
ASHRAF KHALIL, TIME MAGAZINE (via telephone): Well, it`s hard to read
where U.S. interests lie on this current situation. You do certainly have
the end of the Muslim Brotherhood leadership, although the Muslim
Brotherhood leadership was never overtly anti-American. You had the
military, which is now in charge has strong ties to the Americans, but the
Muslim brothers played nicely with Washington, they said the right thing
about Israel, didn`t cause any waves.
So, they weren`t anti-American or anti-American interests. The incoming
government, whatever form it takes, will probably be less threatening to
American citizens and that`s a good thing. But there is also a precedent
that has been said with an elected president being ousted for bad politics,
essentially, after one year. That might cause a problem in the U.S. in
terms of stability. Because if whoever is the next president, you can bet
the Muslim Brotherhood will be out there screaming for his head and causing
So, it`s hard to tell. It`s a very mixed bag from the U.S. prospective
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Joel Rubin. You know, after years of listening to
the BBC on radio when I was in the Peace Corps, I always said conditions
are stable in the Levant or somewhere, in the Argentine or somewhere.
Generally, old powers like us, we`re an old power now, like stability.
What are the chances we`re going to get stability in that country where
tourism will come back, the economy will pick up and they`d be less chance
of the country getting radicalized after this?
JOEL RUBIN, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well, Chris, stability`s
what Egyptian people are calling for. And I think as he points out, the
last year, the last two years, in fact, have been very destabilizing for
Egyptian politics and Egyptian people. But they did also come out of three
decades of, quote, "stability" which clearly was a facade.
So they`re going to need to be inclusive. This process has to be different
from the last one where the government was led by the military, then the
Muslim Brotherhood took over and really ran roughshod, that is, over the
rest of the players in Cairo. It needs to be more inclusive.
And we saw today in the press conference when the announcement was made of
this takeover the broad swath of Egyptian society represented.
Nonetheless, the Brotherhood, they`ve been in this battle and this type of
battle before, decades of it against Mubarak and the Egyptian military.
So, they do have a vote and a voice. It`s essential that in the days ahead
that those in the Brotherhood who are not necessarily behind Morsi but can
be engaged are engaged, and that they`re not made to be outside of this
upcoming political process.
MATTHEWS: OK. Mr. Khalil, the problem with military -- the good thing
about military coups is they settle things down the short run. The bad
thing about them is they know nothing about politics or democracy. Can
this military government that`s taken over today find a way to infuse
itself with the Democratic voices of the various elements of Egyptian
KHALIL: Well, if they`re going to do that, they`re going to have to learn
the lessons from the last time they ran the country, which was just a year
ago. There`s definitely -- keep in mind, the 15 months after Hosni Mubarak
was pushed from the stage by the original revolution, we were run under the
military, under the supreme council of the armed forces. And it was kind
of a disaster for all parties.
They were unpopular, they were repressive. They were very thin-skinned.
They seemed to hate being hated like that. They weren`t used to being in
the position where people were chanting against them. They really, really
didn`t like it.
And so, that`s why there`s a strong possibility they`ll try to do it
differently this time. In the announcement by the defense minister, it was
a very different tone that when the military was running the country after
Mubarak. It wasn`t just some press conference with the general sort of
waving the finger at the camera, which happened a lot in that first year
after Mubarak. This was very inclusive. You had the Mohamed ElBaradei,
you had the Coptic pope, you had the head of Al-Azhar.
They really tried to present a broad inclusive picture. So, the hope is
they`ve learned their lesson from their last very recent and very
disastrous attempt to run the country.
MATTHEWS: Great thinking and great reporting, Ashraf Khalil from "Time"
magazine, and Joel Rubin. I think it`s fascinating. We have a military in
this part of the world that wants to be popular. It knows the mistakes of
the past. This may be a good sign for a future stability in Egypt tonight.
We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.
The U.S. policy in the Arab world tonight is up in the air. We used to be
able to count on our allies in the region, Egypt, Jordan and the moderate
Palestinians. We used to count on countries that were mischievous and
rejectionists but were no strategic threat to our ally Israel -- those
being Iraq and Syria.
Well, today we face question marks in all those countries -- if not now, at
some point in the very near future. The challenge from Iran remains, of
course, as it has for a while, ever since the overthrow of the shah. The
question now is for us and it is a huge one is how to settle down a region
that seems increasingly prone to blowing its top.
President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry, and the rest of the American
team I assume are giving this one all they`ve got.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
Have a safe and happy Fourth of July.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>