updated 5/7/2015 9:49:00 AM ET 2015-05-07T13:49:00

Show: HARDBALL
Date: May 6, 2015
Guest: Cindy Boren, George Mitchell, April Ryan, Ryan Grim

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Is the United States about to invade Texas?

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

In parts of this country, people don`t live in imminent fear of
invasion, and certainly not by forces of the U.S. government. They don`t
see black helicopters leading an advancing army set out to disarm, silence
and enslave them.

And then there`s Texas, where some fear the federal invasion is
already set for this summer. The politicians down there are talking darkly
now that coming with the hot months is an all-out U.S. Army assault aimed
at bringing the Lone Star State to its knees, smashing away its rights and
bringing the Texas people themselves into wartime captivity.

In this latest chapter soon to arrive of this country`s paranoid
history, the politicians down there are pandering to the idea in Texas that
a U.S. military training exercise called Jade Helm 15 has, as its real
design, a mass-scale federal invasion of the state that has been part of
the union, of course, since the Texas Republic joined up with us in the
1840s.

Last week, citing worries about safety and constitutional rights,
Texas governor Greg Abbott called in the state`s guard, he said, to address
concerns of Texas citizens and to ensure that Texas communities remain
safe, secure and informed. "I am directing the Texas state guard to
monitor Operation Jade Helm 15."

And over the weekend, Ted Cruz said the Pentagon assured him that his
own government`s military was not invading Texas, but that didn`t stop him
from playing carnival barker for the conspiracy theorists. Here he goes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I understand
the concern that`s been raised by a lot of citizens about Jade Helm. It`s
a question I`m getting a lot.

And I think part of the reason is we have seen for six years a federal
government disrespecting the liberty of its citizens, and that produces
fear. When you see a federal government that is attacking our free speech
rights or religious liberty rights or 2nd amendment rights, that produces
distrust as to government.

When the federal government has not demonstrated itself to be
trustworthy in this administration, the natural consequence is that many of
the citizens don`t trust what it`s saying.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: And Texas U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert put out this sugar
plum of a statement yesterday. Quote, "Patriotic Americans have reason to
be concerned. I was rather appalled that the hostile areas in the exercise
amazingly have a Republican majority. The tone of the exercise needs to be
completely revamped so the federal government is not intentionally
practicing war against its own states."

Where do we go with this one? Howard Fineman, who can handle
anything, has to handle this one, global editorial director, of course, of
the HuffingtonPost, and David Corn is the Washington bureau chief with
"Mother Jones."

Gentlemen, two of my favorites, I don`t know where to start, except
there are parts of this country -- represented well, by the way, by Louie
Gohmert...

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: And by the way, we`re going get to the fact there are
actually some surprising heroes down there, like -- who actually say this
is crazy.

DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Well, it
seems like Governor Abbott, Louie Gohmert and Ted Cruz are turning the --
you know, the Lone Star State into the loon star state...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

CORN: ... by -- you know, By going ahead and basically -- this stuff
percolates on the conspiratorial right, which sometimes...

MATTHEWS: When did you hear of it first, that there was going to be
U.S. Army invasion which is actually an exercise?

CORN: Someone like Alex Jones who, you know, is a 9/11 truther, and
you know, believed in FEMA concentration camps and goes after the
Bilderbergs, and has had Rand Paul on his show, and Ron Paul, as guests
over and over again was really pushing this hard.

And then it kind of jumps into the bloodstream, you know, of the more
mainstream politicians. And Ted Cruz and Greg Abbott get out there, and
they have this sort of ruse. We are responding to the concerns that people
are saying. You know, it`s not like, These people are crazy and we`re
going to tell them they`re crazy. It`s, We`re responding to the concerns.

But by doing that and saying, We`re going to have the Texas guard, you
know, monitor this, you`re basically ratifying people`s concerns about
something that is completely made up.

MATTHEWS: Howard, you react to this. The U.S. military put out a
press release announcing the Jade Helm training exercise back in March.
And last week, they sent one of their commanders to a Texas meeting in
Bastrop County down in Texas to explain the purpose of the military
exercise to the local citizenry.

It didn`t go well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First and foremost, we`re (INAUDIBLE) truly
invested in everybody`s personal rights and their privacy. That`s what we
live for. We live to support the Constitution of the United States. And
that`s what everybody wants to live by. And that`s what we`re here to do.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t be offended if I told the colonel that I
didn`t believe a single word that he just said!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we have a federal government that cannot tell
the truth, how do we know that what you`re saying is true?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You may have issues with the administration. So
be it, OK? But this institution right here has been with you for over 240
years, period.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a preparation for martial law!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s because it is not a preparation for martial
law, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s what you say.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: "That`s what you say." Howard, I don`t want to get into
regional attitudes by us three Northerners here, but let me tell you...

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST GLOBAL EDITORIAL DIR., MSNBC POLITICAL
ANALYST: Oh, go ahead.

MATTHEWS: Yes, go ahead. But this is crazy. And the people down
there in Louie, what`s his name, Gohmert`s district looked like a bunch of
these people in that room were hooting and hollering, saying the feds are
coming. The black helicopters are coming. We don`t believe this guy in
fatigues, Lieutenant Astoria (ph), is to be believed because he`s saying,
We`re not invading your state.

FINEMAN: Well, Chris, I wish I could laugh about this. I thought it
was an exceedingly sad and memorable moment when that military officer
looked to his chest and held up the insignia of the U.S. Army, the name
U.S. Army, and appealed to people`s belief in that, if not the
administration of the United States of America, not the federal government
per se.

It`s easy to laugh about this stuff, but like David, I`m sure -- I`ve
covered many races in Texas. I`ve been all around Texas. And Texas is the
home -- because of its history, it`s the home of the -- it along with South
Carolina are the two homes of the sort of rejectionist front of the federal
government in the United States.

And that attitude hasn`t completely disappeared, and Texas is the
place where it`s nurtured like in a hot vat. And people like Ted Cruz --
and Rand Paul, by the way, who similarly didn`t dismiss this totally and
make fun of it -- those two guys are responsible, in my mind.

They don`t have the guts to stand up there and tell those people to
pipe down. They`re going to feed it. They`re going to feed it with
everything they`ve got because they`re going after 10,000 voters on the
right in places like Iowa and South Carolina.

MATTHEWS: So they`re pandering, and they`re also demagoguing...

FINEMAN: They`re pandering big-time.

MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at This. here`s -- we`re going to bring
in right now Todd Smith. He`s a Republican from Texas who served in the
state legislature for 16 years. He says Governor Abbott is pandering to
idiots.

Thank you so much for joining us, Mr. Smith. And we were watching
that group of people there. Now, maybe they are a strange lot of people,
but everybody on camera range there was acting like they really thought
they were having the wool taken over their eyes, that there`s going to be a
federal military invasion of Texas this summer in that military exercise,
and that this loyal Lieutenant Colonel Astoria who`s there, working to try
to explain what`s actually happening, is lying to them.

TODD SMITH (R), FMR. TEXAS HOUSE MEMBER: Yes, it`s certainly a
concerning trend in the state of Texas. Having served in the legislature
for 16 years, I have had the opportunity to observe personally as the
primaries have changed from the George W. Bush primaries that I was
originally elected into, into something that he wouldn`t recognize today.

It is embarrassing. It is humiliating. And for it to be coming out
of the governor`s office is what prompted me to write a letter so that
people understood that there are some thinking Republicans that find great
offense with what is happening and being said.

MATTHEWS: Yes. I got one for you. Governor -- former governor Rick
Perry has emerged as a rare voice of sanity in this debate. Here`s what he
told reporters just yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK PERRY (R-TX), FMR. GOV., FMR. PRES. CANDIDATE: You know, I`m one
of these guys, I think it`s OK to question your government. I do it on a
pretty regular basis. Military is something else. You know, I think our
military is quite trustworthy. The civilian leadership, you can always
question that, but not the men and women (INAUDIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: I love that. There (INAUDIBLE) I think he looks better in
glasses, by the way. But the fact is, he`s sound as a dollar there, saying
you can mistrust the government all you want, but does anybody think the
United States military, the Army -- it`s fairly nonpartisan...

CORN: Well...

MATTHEWS: ... is coming to invade?

CORN: It made me think, though, that he was saying, Well, you know,
Obama might want to do this, but the Army won`t let it happen.

FINEMAN: Right. Exactly.

MATTHEWS: That was subtle.

CORN: But at the same time, you know, Texas is a state now that gets
more federal spending than federal taxes it pays. So right now, it`s
getting more out of the federal government than it kicks in. And it`s
worried about being invaded by...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: That`s a good Marxist analysis! It is...

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: None of it makes any sense!

MATTHEWS: OK, let me go back to Mr. Smith on it. Mr. Smith, when I
see that woman in the picture there in that room, in that town hall, she`s
laughing, OK? So I just wonder. Some of the people there are more sober,
more scared maybe.

Are the people when they say the Army`s coming, the black helicopters
are coming to collect all the guns and silence people -- do they mean that
actually, or is it some kind of metaphor they`re talking in, that they mean
a slow erosion of our rights? Or do they really mean the government is
coming in with helicopters and armor and the infantry?

What do they think is going to happen here this summer?

SMITH: You know, I can`t tell you what is going through the most
extreme elements` minds. But what I can tell you is that the people of
Texas, the overwhelming majority of Texans, are not concerned about that.

What is a concern is that a tiny, tiny, tiny extreme faction of the
state is gaining greater and greater influence in Republican primaries to
the point of influencing the governor`s office. You know, dealing with
cranks has always been a part of running for office, but it`s sort of the
numbers and the extent of it that has changed in the last 15 years.

MATTHEWS: Howard, your thoughts about this. You`re taking it
seriously.

FINEMAN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: And I guess there`s comedy in this because I did see that
woman laughing. I just wonder whether this wasn`t just one good carnival
she was attending.

FINEMAN: Well, I think there`s something...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know...

FINEMAN: There`s something to what you`re say, Chris about the
emblematic nature of it.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

FINEMAN: And I think that`s part of it. But no, I think -- I think
the disaffection, the disillusionment, the alienation from the federal
government, even, as David says, while taking money from the federal
government, as well -- that`s very real. This is the distilled -- you
know, this is the distilled essence of it.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

FINEMAN: But it pervade a whole lot of Republican Party rhetoric
today in what used to be called the mainstream Republican Party. And
people like Ted Cruz -- forget about the governor. I mean, he`s not
running for president. I`m looking -- I`m looking at people like Ted Cruz,
who`s in the United States Senate, and Rand Paul, who`s in the United
States Senate, both of whom are running for president, both of whom are
running presumably to be president of all the people, and to become
president of the very institution that they`re sowing fear and distrust
about, the federal government.

That`s always been a pattern in American politics. But this is taking
it to a dangerous extreme when you`re basically saying, The United States
military is against you and is going try to lock you up. That`s a huge
paranoid theme in right-wing literature. It`s been that way for 50, 75
years. And it`s come back around again in a way we haven`t seen in a long
time.

MATTHEWS: I want to appreciate both of you guys coming on, Howard, of
course, David. But I want to also thank especially Todd Smith coming from
Fort Worth. And that Republican Party you speak of, the party of James
Baker and the rest of them, and George Herbert Walker Bush, I think is
still alive. Good luck in taking back your party down there.

Coming up -- "deflate-gate." That`s what we`re calling it. The
National Football League finds that some personnel on the New England
Patriots likely did deflate those footballs on purpose on the way to the
Super Bowl. That`s the big story breaking this afternoon.

I know it`s sports. We`re going to cover it because it`s about a big
national fascination in this country, the Super Bowl. And that teams (ph)
like the quarterback on that team, the hero, Tom Brady, probably knew about
what is going on here. So what`s the league going to do about the fact
that the star quarterback of the Super Bowl-winning Patriots actually knew
that they were deflating the balls to his liking against the regulations,
if this is all true?

Plus, Hillary Clinton is talking like a progressive on domestic issues
and less like a classic Clinton Democrat. Is this a statement of
ideological change on her part, or smart politics by a candidate catering
to all the needs of the Democratic constituency groups so they don`t go
looking elsewhere for a candidate?

And wouldn`t you know it, Ted Cruz is blaming President Obama for not
stopping that terror attack in Texas.

Finally, "Let Me Finish" with that news, the New England Patriots
quarterback, Tom Brady, as I said, probably knew that the game was being
rigged.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(NEWSBREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. The NFL released the findings of
its investigation into the New England Patriots` "deflate-gate" controversy
today, and the news isn`t good for the Super Bowl champions and their star
quarterback, Tom Brady.

In January, the NFL found 11 balls used by the Patriots in the AFC
championship game were deflated below league regulations. In effect, Brady
had an advantage gripping the ball. The report concluded today, "It is
more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in
violations of the playing rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to
circumvent the rules." Wow!

And the report found, quote, "Based on the evidence, it also is our
view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady was at least
generally aware of the inappropriate activities." The report cleared the
team`s head coach, Bill Belichick, and the team`s senior management.

It found that two men, the team`s locker room attendant and an
equipment assistant, probably released the air from the game balls. The
locker room attendant, Jim McNally, is seen on security footage just prior
to the game taking the bag of balls into a locked bathroom for nearly two
minutes, enough time, according to the report, to deflate them.

According to a report again, last year, McNally boasted in a message
to his colleague, quote, "that he was the deflator." The deflator. What
does this mean for Tom Brady and the Patriots?

Rob Simmelkjaer is host of "SPORTS MATTERS" on MSNBC`s "Shift." Cindy
Boren is with "The Washington Post." Thank you both for joining us.

Let me go to you, Cindy. So what is going to happen? Is there any
chance the world (ph) will take back the Super Bowl victory? You laugh...

CINDY BOREN, "WASHINGTON POST": No, that sounds like someone who bet
on the Seahawks to win. No, I don`t think so. Right now, it`s in the
hands of Troy Vincent, who is the vice president in charge of the football
operations for the league. He`ll decide the punishment. You`ll notice
this isn`t Roger Goodell. This is the -- you know, Troy Vincent deciding
what will happen. He can punish them by suspending Brady, by fining him,
you know -- fining him is not really going to accomplish a lot.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: What does it mean to you? You care about sports.

BOREN: Oh, it means...

MATTHEWS: What does it mean to you about -- I mean, anybody who`s
ever thrown a football knows that there`s a difference in how much air`s in
it, how easy it is to throw it, you know, and you get it just right, at
just the right -- you can throw a good spiral maybe...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: ... if it`s too blown up, it`s hard.

BOREN: Exactly. Exactly. Yo-Yo Ma knows when his cello is out of
tune.

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in 2006 created this rule whereby they
could -- the home team would supply its own -- each team would supply its
own footballs. Before, the home team did. Well, it`s pretty clear that
there was a reason for that. These guys know what they want. They know
exactly what they want.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

BOREN: And the equipment managers are the guys who take the new
footballs and get them ready for that. They`re the ones who break them in,
rub dirt on them and all that.

So the idea that these two guys would do this without the awareness of
Tom Brady is, according to Ted Wells and his group, preposterous.

MATTHEWS: Well, back in January, we all know this, everybody, whether
you follow sports or not, Tom Brady denied knowing anything about what
happened to those balls. Let`s watch him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Are you comfortable within yourself that nobody on Sunday
on the Patriots side did anything wrong?

TOM BRADY, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: I have no knowledge of anything. I
have no knowledge of any wrongdoing, of any...

QUESTION: You`re comfortable saying nobody did anything wrong?

BRADY: Yes, I`m very comfortable saying that. I`m very comfortable
saying that nobody did -- as far as I know. I don`t know everything. I
also understand that I, you know, was in the locker room preparing for a
game.

I don`t know what happened over the course of the process with the
footballs. I was preparing for my own job and doing what I needed to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Rob, it seemed to me he was familiar with the word process.
And I always thought watching that myself, it was like Clinton, when he
said I had no sexual relations, whatever the phrase he used. It seemed a
little odd at the time, the way people speak when they`re not quite wanting
to tell it all.

And he was saying, I had no knowledge of the process. But he did know
about the process. What did he know, logically? Wouldn`t he want the
football to be the way he wanted it?

ROB SIMMELKJAER, NBC SPORTS: Well, listen, Chris, there are text
messages in this report that are reproduced that, if you believe the
messages and the messages that were being sent at the time when they didn`t
know there was any controversy, these two clubhouse attendants, one of them
is saying, I talked to Tom about this. He didn`t like the fact that the
ball was too inflated.

This is going back to a regular season game against the Jets earlier
this year. So these text messages make it pretty clear that Tom Brady, not
just for this AFC Championship Game, but previous games this year, was
aware of efforts to deflate the footballs, not just to a level that he
liked, but to a level that was below the standards set by the NFL.

So that is why Ted Wells` report says it`s more likely than not that
Tom Brady knew about this. So this process he is talking about apparently
included a point when the clubhouse attendant snuck away with the balls
into a bathroom, took out a little needle, and deflated the balls. That`s
part of this process.

MATTHEWS: Cindy, what I found interesting was when they were talking
back and forth, these characters. They`re talking about well, I will give
him a watermelon, like a big heavy football, or I`m going to give him a
balloon, a real softy.

So they knew all about the texture, the whole feel of a football.

BOREN: Well, they know what he wants.

MATTHEWS: And they were playing games, yes.

BOREN: They know -- every equipment manager for every team in the NFL
knows exactly what the quarterback of that team wants in a football.

And they clearly knew what Brady wanted. Now, there is no actual
smoking pressure gauge that leads right to Tom Brady. But, you know, the
Wells committee found that it was pretty clear.

MATTHEWS: Let me give you a shot at it, Rob. What is the consequence
of this if it gets out that it`s accepted as fact that this commission
report is true, that the team manipulated the pressure on the ball, they
took advantage to give themselves an edge, they basically rigged that game,
the AFC game and maybe other games?

Is this going to put an asterisk next to them in the record books?
Will this go in the history books? Well, they won the world championship,
but there was that penultimate game where they were playing that little bit
of hanky-panky there with the pressure gauge?

SIMMELKJAER: Listen, I think are two consequences. One, I think the
NFL will discipline the Patriots. I think we will see a fine. I think we
could very well see draft picks taken away.

And I think we could very well see a suspension given to Tom Brady
going into next year. I think those things are all very much on the table.
But I think, Chris, to your question, the longer-term issue for the
Patriots is the brand of the Patriots, the legacy of the Patriots. And
even though Bill Belichick is not implicated in this report, this is still
another example of playing fast and loose with the rules under the Bill
Belichick regime.

They were found guilty in the Spygate case a few years back of spying
on other teams with video cameras on the sideline and looking at their
signals.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

SIMMELKJAER: And this is now another example of the Patriot way, as
it`s called in New England, being a way that is a little bit edgy with the
rules of the game.

And I think that`s something they`re going have to live with for the
rest of this Bill Belichick era.

MATTHEWS: Well, just my guess, but the front page, top of the fold of
the Seattle and the Boston newspapers are going to be all over this. This
is not a sports page story. This is A-1, top of the fold, front page.
This is going to be huge in those cities. And I will bet you that the
Seattle fans, and that`s the whole Western United States, because I went to
the Super Bowl, are going to be ripped over this thing.

They`re going say that they should have won the whole thing.

Thank you, Rob Simmelkjaer, for joining us tonight. And thank you,
Cindy Boren, here with me.

Up next, the Iran nuclear deal. The war hawks are still trying to
kill the deal.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Senate leaders are now trying to outmaneuver Senator Tom Cotton of
Arkansas` efforts to basically kill the nuclear deal with Iran. Cotton is
clearly not happy with that. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: If you don`t want to vote, you
shouldn`t have come to the Senate. If you`re in the Senate and you don`t
want to vote, you should leave. As the senator from Florida said
yesterday, be a talk show host. Be a columnist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, that senator from Florida he spoke of is Senator
Marco Rubio, a Republican candidate for president, who is equally peeved
apparently that his Iran deal amendment is being blocked.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If these
negotiations keep going on, we`re going to end up building the bomb for
them at the rate it`s going.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, joining me right now is someone who knows a lot about
the Senate, the Middle East and getting deals and agreements accomplished,
former Senator and former Senate Majority Leader Senator George Mitchell,
author of the new book "The Negotiator."

And welcome back to HARDBALL. Senator, thank you so much.

And for my people and your people, thank you for what you did in
Northern Ireland, because nobody thought that could be done.

GEORGE MITCHELL, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Thank you. Thank you.

MATTHEWS: And it looks like it`s working.

They don`t love each other, be the Protestants and the Catholics, the
Nationalists and the Unionists are getting along wonderfully thanks to you.

Let`s look at the Middle East, which is a real conundrum. It seems
like President Obama is trying, at great risk, to try to find a deal to
contain the ambitions, apparent ambitions of the Syrian -- the Iranian
government, the mullahs, to build a nuclear weapon. Is it going to work?

MITCHELL: I think it can, although we won`t know for sure until we
see the final terms of the agreement, particularly with respect to
verification.

But the issue is very clear. Iran must not get a nuclear weapon.
There are two ways to accomplish that, by negotiation or by war. It`s
plain common sense to try to negotiate an end to it if you can before
turning to the extreme and what should be the last resort of a war.

The interim agreement accomplished a great deal more than the critics
believed it would. Remember, when it was announced, the critics said it
was 100 percent sellout to Iran, that Iran would not comply with the terms
of the agreement. Now, ironically, many of those same critics are saying,
let`s keep the interim agreement in place.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

MITCHELL: Now the argument they`re using, which really doesn`t make
any sense, is that the U.S. should walk away from negotiations, increase
the sanctions, and Iran will capitulate and come crawling back.

That`s a fantasy. It`s not just the U.S. and Iran. It`s the U.S.,
Russia, China, Germany, Britain, France on one side of the table and Iran
on the other.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

MITCHELL: If they reach an agreement and the United States Congress
derails it, there is no possibility that the other countries, especially
China and Russia, will continue and increase the sanctions.

So the sanctions, which are the reason that Iran is at the table,
which are effective because they are universal, not just unilateral U.S.
sanctions, will go from universal to unilateral...

MATTHEWS: Yes.

MITCHELL: ... and therefore from effective to ineffective. And what
they will accomplish is the exact opposite of what they say they want, Iran
then with a clear path to a bomb and the U.S. Congress having sidelined an
agreement that was entered into by six major countries in the world.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Take it a step further. I know you have done this in your
head. I think the enemies of this deal, of this negotiation want it to go
that far. They want us to bomb Iran, kill any chance of rapprochement
between our countries for decades to come, killing it, because their
biggest fear -- this includes Putin and the hawks in Israel and the hawks
in Saudi Arabia.

Their biggest fear is that somehow Iran will settle down, it will
become a regular country, but a powerful country. And it`s in their
interests that Iran not become a powerful country, even if it`s tamed.
They don`t want it to be powerful. They want us to be at war with Iran and
they want to try to destroy Iran.

MITCHELL: Well, I don`t know.

MATTHEWS: Tell me why that doesn`t -- Putin, isn`t he more afraid of
an Iran-American friendship than he is of a nuclear-armed Iran? Doesn`t he
fear most that? Don`t the Saudis fear that? They`re afraid of an old
Iran, like the shah, where we did get along with them. Am I being an
extremists in my thinking here?

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

MITCHELL: I don`t know.

MATTHEWS: Because I think they`re out for real trouble, the enemies
of this deal.

MITCHELL: There may be some who believe that. I`m not sure that all
do.

One of the ironies of this situation is that, in the Middle East,
there are so many overlapping, even contradictory conflicts, that you can`t
see what will happen if there is an outbreak of violence.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

MITCHELL: That`s why it`s so important, I believe, for Israel and the
Palestinians to reach agreement on a two-state solution. That`s why it`s
so important to prevent Iran from a nuclear weapon.

MATTHEWS: Will Hillary, if she is president -- and she has a very
good shot at being the nominee of the Democratic Party, your party. And
she also has a very good shot of winning the general. Will she stand up to
Netanyahu, because he will still be there, and try to get a two-state
solution?

MITCHELL: Oh, I think so, yes. In fact, she stood up to him and
others when she was secretary of state on these issues, although, keep in
mind, we are friends and allies with Israel.

We are committed, appropriately, to Israel`s security behind -- and
existence behind reasonable and defensible borders.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

MITCHELL: And we are committed to their having a reasonable and
sustainable sense of security for their citizens.

Our disagreement here is not over the goal. The goal is to prevent
Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. That`s very important, because an Iran
with...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: I agree with that. But Netanyahu doesn`t share our goal of
a two-state solution.

MITCHELL: No. No, that`s right. Well, he is back and forth on that.

But on the issue of Iran, we do share with the people of Israel the
view that Iran should not get a nuclear weapon. The question is how best
to achieve that.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Yes.

MITCHELL: And I think the course that the president is following is
the correct one. Now, I believe it will come down in the end to the
verification proceedings.

The president of Iran, the Ayatollah Khamenei have both said Iran does
not want a nuclear weapon. But the actions of their government contradict
their words.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

MITCHELL: So you can`t trust them. That`s clear. It cannot be an
agreement based on trust.

Will the agreement contain verification procedures sufficient to
satisfy, not just the people of the U.S., but the other five countries and
the people of the world, that Iran will do what it says it will do in the
agreement?

And that`s one reason why the relief from the sanctions is conditioned
in the agreement upon their compliance with the steps taken to prevent them
from getting a weapon.

MATTHEWS: Right. That`s clearly stated. Thank you so much.

The name of the book is -- as you can see why -- "The Negotiator."

Thank you, Senator George Mitchell, the author.

Up next: Hillary Clinton seems to be moving to the left, or is she
simply catering to the pent-up needs of the Democratic base, which are very
pent up actually lately?

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Make no mistakes.
Today, not a single Republican candidate, announced or potential, is
clearly and consistently supporting a path to citizenship, not one. When
they talk about legal status, that is code for second-class status.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was, of course, Hillary Clinton yesterday in Las Vegas calling
out the Republicans for treating immigrants as second-class citizens.
Strong stuff there. She defended President Obama`s use of executive
orders, by the way, when it comes to immigration reform and said she would
go even further than he has to prevent hardworking immigrants from being
deported. Here she is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: I will fight to stop partisan attacks on the executive
actions that would put dreamers, including those with us today, at risk of
deportation. And if Congress continues to refuse to act as president, I
would do everything possible under the law to go even further.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, most people think that Secretary Clinton needs to
keep that successful Obama coalition of voters together in 2016 if she
wants to make to it the White House this time around, a coalition of
Latinos, African-Americans, young people, and progressives alike.

Well, last week, in the wake of the unrest -- well, it`s worse than
unrest -- the tragedy in Baltimore, Hillary addressed the treatment of
African-American men by the criminal justice system. Here she is on that
point.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is something
profoundly wrong when African-American men are still far more likely to be
stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes, and sentenced to
longer prison terms than are meted out to their white counterparts. We
need to restore balance to our criminal justice system. Now, of course --

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: And when it comes to the hot potato of trade issues,
Hillary pushed for the president`s Trans Pacific Partnership when she was
secretary of state. Here she was.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: We are also pressing ahead with negotiations for the Trans
Pacific Partnership -- an innovative, ambitious, multilateral free trade
agreement that would bring together nine Pacific Rim countries, including
four new free trade partners for the United States and potentially others
in the future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: But last week, this headline appeared in "The Huffington
Post" -- "Hillary Clinton opposes major Obama trade policy."

So, is Hillary Clinton shifting to the left on public policy issues to
keep the Democratic base energized?

April Ryan is the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio,
Ryan Grim is Washington bureau chief for "The Huffington Post", and E.J.
Dionne is an opinion writer with "The Washington Post".

Thank you all for joining us.

And I want to start here and work our way across, jump in here.
What`s Hillary doing to position herself to run for president that`s
different from where they were say back in `92 and `96 and 2008?

APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO: Well, one, we have a different
time. We know this. But she`s got to make herself stand above the present
like she`s going to do more, because everyone is attacking President Obama.
He is the one to -- I guess it`s his record and her record as well. But
she is trying to say I`m going to go far -- go farther than this president
has done, particularly when it comes to issues of trade and when it comes
to immigration.

And they`re saying that they`re not giving out all the information
when it comes to trade. But they`re saying that what they`re going to do
is deal with issues of increased wages, also prosperity and security.

And when it comes to immigration, this president has done as much as
he can do. That`s what the White House is saying.

So, she is saying she is going to take it further.

MATTHEWS: How do you do that without Congress?

RYAN: I don`t know. We`re trying figure it out. And it is legal
that she can do that, go beyond --

MATTHEWS: Yes, with or without Congress.

Ryan?

RYAN GRIM, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Well, earlier today, we reported that
John Podesta when he was at the Democracy Alliance was asked about this,
the chairman of her campaign. And he said, can you make this go away?

MATTHEWS: Trade? The trade issue.

GRIM: Yes, the TPP, TPA.

MATTHEWS: That`s a pretty strong statement. We don`t want to take a
position.

GRIM: Right. And he was just articulating what is the reality about
the political situation that she faces here. There is no upside for her in
endorsing it. But if she condemns it, then she alienates President Obama
and people who are supporting him.

MATTHEWS: Hard choices.

GRIM: Hard choices.

MATTHEWS: That`s what her book named. That`s her book. That`s what
politics is about, making those decisions.

GRIM: Can you make this hard choice go away? Yes.

MATTHEWS: No Democrat likes to deal with the trade issue. Bill
Clinton when he ran waited way to the end of the campaign to take a stand
on NAFTA. I was there actually that day when he gave his speech. He said
he endorsed it, and almost everything else he said was critical of it.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: What happened to the Democratic Party? It used to be the
conservative party was for tariffs and protectionism and the liberal party
was for free trade. I mean, Kennedy was for free trade.

E.J. DIONNE, THE WASHINGTON POST: The loss of American jobs is what
happened. The globalization -- it`s technology. It`s globalization.

But I want to say something about this movement of Hillary Clinton.
The whole country has moved. When Bill Clinton ran for president, he was
coming off the Dukakis campaign where he got a really hammered as what
Robbie showed in his video on being soft on crime. And we were getting out
of a crime wave.

Everybody has moved to a new position and said, wait a minute, those
draconian penalties we put in way back then are locking up way too many
people, particularly African American men for too long. That`s a consensus
position.

Same on inequality -- she is talking a lot more about inequality.
Guess what? Everybody has been talking more about inequality since Occupy
Wall Street, including the president.

So, I think she is shifting in a way that the party and large parts of
the country shifted. Now, I suspect if Bill Clinton were running for
president right now, he would be taking some of the same positions she is.

RYAN: But, you know, Chris, I think E.J. is right there. Is this
issue now with trade as it relates to Baltimore and this magnifying glass
on Baltimore and --

MATTHEWS: No jobs for young men.

RYAN: Right. And what happened in Baltimore, and this is something
that the Clinton camp is trying to work with, in Baltimore, there was a
place called Sparrow`s Point, Bethlehem Steel. The globalization and this
global trade helped Beth Steel leave Baltimore. And you had so many people
who didn`t have a college education, but a high school education, who wound
up working at Beth Steel. So, once they lost their jobs, what do you do?

Now the Clintons -- excuse me, the Clinton camp is saying that plays
into their economic plan. And they are, again, for increased wages,
security, and prosperity. But they say with their ten-point plan, they`re
going to figure out how to work this out.

MATTHEWS: I want them to tell us how they`re going to bring back jobs
in the city.

RYAN: Yes, that`s true.

MATTHEWS: Because i think that is the answer.

RYAN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: We`ll be right back. The roundtable sticking with us.

And next, Ted Cruz is blaming President Obama for not stopping that
terror attack in Texas. He is blaming him personally.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: We`re back with the roundtable, April, Ryan and E.J. Dionne.

Anyway, the FBI has yet to complete its investigation now into Sunday
night`s shooting in Garland, Texas. But that didn`t stop Republican
presidential candidate Ted Cruz from politicking and politicizing the
attack. In a statement to "The Dallas Morning News," Senator Cruz blamed
the White House, of course, for not preventing the attack and likened it to
the Boston marathon bombing in the 2009 Ft. Hood shooting.

Quote, "Once again as with Nidal Hasan and the Tsarnaev brothers, we
have radical Islamic terrorists who this administration knew and yet failed
to connect the dots to prevent this act of terrorism. It underscores the
need for vigilance and also underscores the concerns with this
administration`s inability to combat radical Islamic terrorism."

One of the gunmen by the way on Sunday night`s shooting, Elton
Simpson, had been known to the FBI since 2006. He was charged in 2010 for
planning to join a terror group in Somalia. But he was only convicted for
the lesser charge of lying to a federal agent.

Ryan, these are going to be part of our lives forever. We have lone
wolves, people who are loyal to the Islamist, whatever you call it, for all
kinds of reasons. They`re angry at the world but they`re ready to go kill.
They don`t have to get any orders from overseas.

And this guy, Ted Cruz, is blaming Obama personally for what happened
the other day in Texas.

GRIM: Yes, and there is a serious inconsistency with what Ted Cruz is
saying, if you look at what he said all day long.

The other thing he complained about was that the United States
government or he flirted with the idea that the United States government
might be doing some military exercises in Texas.

MATTHEWS: Yes, we just did that.

GRIM: So, on the one hand, he doesn`t want the federal government to
have anything to do with Texas. On the other hand, he wants an omniscient
government that can tell when somebody is self-radicalizing watching
YouTube or on Twitter.

And the other thing that Cruz won`t want to talk about is that --
there are two elements: one is radicalization; the other is access to guns.
This is Texas. So, you know, he has access to whatever weapons he wants to
find. If there were background checks in place, then maybe you start to
walk backwards and law enforcement finds out, oh, this is not somebody we
want armed to the teeth.

MATTHEWS: Well, this is the big problem we have because we find a guy
like this guy, Simpson, is a trouble -- troublemaker. I mean, he -- I
don`t want to put him down, but he`s like -- I will put him down. He was
going to go to Somalia and join up. He lied about wanting to go over so
they let him walk with a lesser charge.

But we can`t -- can we take people we know having committed serious
crimes and basically imprison them? That`s what the right wing seems to be
saying we can do, E.J.? What are we going to do with the guy --

DIONNE: First of all, I just want to underscore Ryan`s point. We are
supposed to do absolutely everything to stop terrorism but we can never
take a gun away from anybody, even if they have been convicted of a crime
or something like that.

MATTHEWS: Or have the government to do it.

DIONNE: Yes, there is a deep inconsistency there. But I think if you
want to sort of criticize the government, Peter King was somewhat more
responsible.

MATTHEWS: Oh, sure.

DIONNE: Where Peter King, who`s a pretty hard line guy said, look,
maybe with he should have more surveillance on somebody who was --

MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at Peter King on that point. A good
point.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: I do believe in having more
surveillance of people in the Muslim community, because that`s where the
threat comes from. But I think we, as a country, have to come to the
realization this is a war we`re in and that you have to -- you have to
respect people`s constitutional rights and you shouldn`t have this absolute
strict interpretation, because to me, it`s very reasonable in a time of
struggle we have right now that a person who pleads guilty to a terrorism
charge should receive more surveillance than the average person.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Question, when do you put the hard watch on the guy, April?
When do you just begin to just hover over the guy, watch his every move,
who hasn`t committed a serious crime yet?

RYAN: You have to be very careful. This is a fine line. You have to
be careful of their rights. You have to be careful of profiling. But you
also have to watch them.

But I`m thinking --

MATTHEWS: Peter, by the way, didn`t say be careful.

RYAN: No, he did not. He did not.

MATTHEWS: He said, lean in on these guys.

DIONNE: The first part was wrong, I think, because you can`t just
say, follow Muslims around. There are millions of law-abiding citizens.

MATTHEWS: How about a suspect, somebody you think is going to do
something?

DIONNE: Yes, the last part was reasonable.

RYAN: But you have to be careful. There is a fine line.

But I`m also thinking back to a time -- remember here in Washington
years before President Obama, we had the gentleman who -- loosely termed --
that shot up the Holocaust Museum.

MATTHEWS: Right.

RYAN: And he was being watched. He was being watched by federal law
enforcement. So, you know, he went off --

MATTHEWS: And killed the African-American guy at the door to get in.

RYAN: So this whole situation has got to --

MATTHEWS: You say fine line. But where is the line?

RYAN: I don`t know. They`ve got to work it out.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Somebody is dangerous. He makes it clear he wants to go to
Somalia to join the jihad or whatever, join the al Shabaab, and you know he
is trouble, but he is a free American.

GRIM: Supporting terrorism is a crime. If the FBI suspects somebody
is trying to participate in a crime, then they can legally, you know,
investigate.

MATTHEWS: Surveil him.

RYAN: They have to have evidence to make sure.

(CROSSTALK)

DIONNE: When the government goes too far, we`ll criticize the
government and that`s the way we are.

MATTHEWS: It`s called harassment, and people make a big issue about
it, and they should.

Anyway, April Ryan, thank you. This is a fine line. But the key line
of our lives looking forward -- when do you go from fear of somebody to
taking away their rights? Ryan Grim, thank you, and E.J. Dionne.

When we return, let me finish with this news -- star quarterback Tom
Brady probably knew that the game was rigged.

You are watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.

I had an uncle who whenever someone left his wife, ran off with
someone or got caught stealing money from the show, he`d offer an all-
purpose incantation -- it`s like everything else. Some government screw-up
gets unearthed, it`s like everything else. Somebody does a below code job
on a bridge and there is a crash -- it`s like everything else, he`d say.

It was hard to argue with my uncle because there was, on even a little
examination, a common thread to all those stories. It`s that people find
ways to let down the system, let down society, let down you -- the person
who wants things to be like they are supposed to be.

And so, it is with the news, that the star quarterback of the New
England Patriots, the Super Bowl champs of the world, probably knew that
some guy in equipment was letting enough air out of the football so that
he, Tom Brady, could get a better grip and throw a better pass. That our
hero, to the extent he knew it was being done, knew what the game was --
the game was, to whatever extent he was deflating that ball, being rigged.

Yes, as my uncle would be saying right now -- it`s like everything
else.

In other words, it`s just another case of people cheating the system,
of getting theirs as the expense of keeping the system honest, like
cheating on your spouse, cheating on your taxes and embezzling on the
company books.

Go ahead, say it doesn`t matter but first, say it ain`t so. Excuse me
for living, I`d just like to know if you did it.

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

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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