updated 6/23/2015 9:13:01 AM ET 2015-06-23T13:13:01

Show: HARDBALL
Date: June 22, 2015
Guest: Mayor Steve Benjamin, Joshua Dubois, Robert Costa, Jonathan
Gilliam, Kirsten Gillibrand, Anne Gearan

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The right decision.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

It took a few days, but the tragedy in Charleston turned some heads,
perhaps some hearts as well. This afternoon at 4:00 PM, the governor and
both U.S. senators of South Carolina, all Republicans, all called for
bringing down the Confederate flag, ridding it from the grounds of the
state Capitol.

No one was more impressive in this regard than Governor Nikki Haley.
The galloping horse of history rode by, and she mounted it with dignity,
courage, and yes, charm.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Today, we are here in a moment
of unity in our state, without ill will, to say it`s time to move the flag
from the Capitol grounds.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Something important happened right there, the cause, the
defiant resistance to federal authority, redolent of triumphant Yankee
troops and fearful imagined black helicopters was bumped aside this day by
the repulsion by black and white alike at the spectacle of racial hatred
that showed its face in the Emanuel AME church. And yes, it is political.

Some leaders in the Republican Party -- Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, John
Kasich, George Pataki, Michael Steele -- made their positions clear up
front. Others have taken some time to consider the politics.

Here`s what`s wonderful here and what`s powerful. Whatever else is
going on in American life right now, the decision on who to lead this
country is now this country getting serious this June. The fact that Jeb
Bush is coming up in the polls tells us that. The fact Hillary Clinton is
riding high says the same about the Democrats.

We will learn from the debates, of course, to come this summer on both
sides. We will enjoy them. But both sides are now headed to the business
not of politics Louisiana-style, as entertainment, as a dazzling dance
through a summer jamboree of ideology from the compelling Bernie Sanders to
the fiery Ted Cruz, but the business of actually picking leaders who can
make us a better country by grabbing the reins, and yes, doing it like
Nikki Haley did just this afternoon.

Steve Benjamin is the mayor of the state capital of Columbia, South
Carolina.

Flanked by a bipartisan group of politicians including Republican
senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, Governor Nikki Haley today said it
was time to remove the Confederate flag from the property of the
statehouse. Let`s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HALEY: For those who wish to show their respect for the flag on their
private property, no one will stand in your way. But the statehouse is
different, and the events of this past week call upon us to look at this in
a different way.

My hope is that by removing a symbol that divides us, we can move
forward as a state in harmony and we can honor the nine blessed souls who
are now in heaven.

We are not going to allow this symbol to divide us any longer. The
fact that people are choosing to use it as a sign of hate is something that
we cannot stand. The fact that it causes pain to so many is enough to move
it from the Capitol grounds.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, the news was greeted with cheers by many, including
here on MSNBC by a son of South Carolina, Eugene Robinson.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Having
grown up there, I`m stunned to have seen that tableau that we just saw. I
thought it was a hell of a speech. You know, I would on many political
issues disagree with Nikki Haley, but just -- again, as Harold said, as an
American, I had to be proud of her today, of her performance, of what she
said, of the way she said it. It was pitch perfect.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: The way she said it.

Mayor Benjamin, thank you for joining us tonight. In so much of
politics -- and I`ve covered it now for -- I`ve been in it for, like, 40-
some years -- I have to tell you, most of the time, it`s just going to the
usual battle stations. Everybody does what you expect them to do. Today,
I thought your state across the board looked so good.

MAYOR STEVE BENJAMIN (D), COLUMBIA, S.C.: Sure. Well, I couldn`t
agree more. Chris, I want to thank our governor. She was flanked on her
right by Congressman Jim Clyburn, on the left by Senator Tim Scott.

It showed people exactly what South Carolina is. We are good people,
smart people, compassionate people. And so often, we forget that symbols
have power and that rhetoric, the rhetoric that we see on TV and that we
read in the papers, that we see on line -- that these things help drive our
public conversation in a way that does not necessarily represent the people
of our state very fairly.

The governor did a great job today. And it`s so important because you
hear calls and catcalls from the left and from the right, Why not sooner?

Let me tell you what. It took some courage to step up and do what she
did today. It took courage for all of those men and women surrounding her
from both parties, including some independents and some people who are --
who are very far left and some who are very far right, like Libertarians.

But they stood together and showed there was one South Carolina. Our
state motto is "Dum spiro spero" -- While I breathe, I hope -- and we
showed the this was a very important first step that we`re making towards
reconciliation in South Carolina.

MATTHEWS: Well, it makes me proud to have an honorary degree from the
university down there (INAUDIBLE) it makes me really proud of South
Carolina, as a visitor who`s been honored there.

Let me ask you about what it means to you, just as an African-American
guy from down there. When you saw that flag at your state Capitol, the
town you represent as mayor, and you saw it flying up there every morning
when you went by there and you see it on the license plate of a car driving
by, a pickup truck, a regular -- what does that flag say to you personally?

BENJAMIN: Well, Chris, you`ve been to South Carolina. Every street
you go down, if you`re heading north or south, it`s named after someone
from the revolutionary war or someone from the Civil War.

This year, as the mayor of Columbia, the first African-American mayor
of Columbia, we commemorated the 150th anniversary of the burning of
Columbia. I got my start in politics and social justice and Civil Rights
as president of the USC chapter -- University of South Carolina chapter of
the NAACP marching on the state Capitol, marching on the sands of Myrtle
Beach to bring the Confederate battle flag down from our state Capitol.

So to say that -- this is something that so many people -- and I`m so
thankful to all of our leaders here today, but it`s so important to
recognize that so many people, so many who`ve gone on to glory have given
the time and energy and resources over the last 55 years, some names we
will never hear, and some who, thank God, they`re still with us, like state
senator Kay Patterson (ph), who worked to make this day happen.

It`s incredibly moving to me. We`re making a step in the right
direction, and we`re trying to make sure that we build a South Carolina
that our children are going to inherit. And I`m very proud of my state
this day. This is a very important step in the right direction.

The legislature still has to act. And then, hopefully, after we get
this issue behind us, this major issue, this major symbolic obstacle, then
we can talk about some other important issues, too, how to educate
children, how we -- how we get people health care. There`s a lot more
to...

MATTHEWS: Good luck to you.

BENJAMIN: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: And congratulations, I mean it...

BENJAMIN: Thank you, Chris.

MATTHEWS: ... for the role you`re playing in the building of a better
state. Thank you so much...

BENJAMIN: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: ... Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina.

One of the very most prominent Republicans to speak out about removing
that flag was Mitt Romney. He tweeted, "Take down the Confederate flag at
the South Carolina Capitol. To many, it`s a symbol of racial hatred.
Remove it now to honor Charleston" -- he did that a couple days ago.

Well, today, former New York governor George Pataki, a 2016 candidate,
as well, made an equally direct call. Here he is. This is before what
happened with the governor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE PATAKI (R), FMR. NEW YORK GOV., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My
position on this is very simple. The flag should go from the state Capitol
grounds, period.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Jeb Bush was also clear in his attitude. In a statement he
made over the weekend, he said, "My position on how to address the
Confederate flag is clear. In Florida, we acted, moving the flag from the
state grounds to a museum, where it belonged. Following a period of
mourning, there will rightly be a decision among leaders in the state about
how South Carolina should move forward, and I`m confident they will do the
right thing."

Ohio governor John Kasich said -- this is -- he said this before
today. "If I were a citizen of South Carolina, I`d be for taking it down,"
while other Republicans dodged the question. Here they are.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The people of South
Carolina have dealt with this issue before. They have found a bipartisan
consensus over a decade ago on moving the flag to a new location. And I
have confidence in their ability to deal with that issue again. So I think
it`s important to let the people of South Carolina move forward on it.
This is an issue that they should debate and work through and not have a
bunch of outsiders going in and telling them what to do.

RICK SANTORUM (R-PA), FMR. SEN., FMR. PRES. CANDIDATE: I take the
position that the federal government really has no role in, certainly, what
the state`s going to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re a candidate for president. Do you not
have a position on the this at all?

SANTORUM: I`m not a South Carolinian.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R-AR), FMR. GOV., PRES. CANDIDATE: Those of us running
for president -- everyone`s baited with this question as if somehow, that
has anything to do whatsoever with running for president. And my position
is it most certainly does not.

CHUCK TODD, HOST, "MEET THE PRESS": Are you comfortable displaying
the Confederate battle flag in public?

HUCKABEE: I don`t personally display it anywhere, so it`s not an
issue for me, and so that`s an issue for the people of South Carolina.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina also
said they would leave it up to the people of South Carolina.

You know, we`re going right now -- here they are -- I think we -- OK,
we just lost the prompter for some reason.

I`m going to go on to our guests anyway right now. Joshua Dubois,
thank you for joining us, and Robert Costa.

JOSHUA DUBOIS, FMR. SPIRITUAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Nice to be
here.

MATTHEWS: You know, I`m fascinated by this topic (ph) because it`s a
time when you ask a politician, Who are you?

DUBOIS: Yes.

MATTHEWS: And they give you an answer on these kind of questions.
It`s a Rorschach test.

DUBOIS: Yes.

MATTHEWS: And they give you different answers. And I was so
impressed with the guys who jumped forward and said, Yes, this has to go
down.

DUBOIS: I think it is impressive, and this is a historic moment for
the state of South Carolina. I thought Governor Haley did the right thing.
Now, there`s a question of follow-through, as well. We`ve got to get two
thirds of the statehouse to vote for this to be moved. And is she going to
use her political capital to call...

MATTHEWS: She`s got it.

DUBOIS: Yes, well, I think she can and...

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) what happened to your optimism? I mean...

DUBOIS: I think she will. I actually think she -- I think she`ll do
it.

MATTHEWS: What wants to be a diehard on this? Do you think somebody
really wants to be, I fought for that flag to the last second?

DUBOIS: Well, I hope not. But they also need to ask the question
about the mindset in that state that`s holding onto that flag. Is she
going to have conversations in here state to get to the bottom of that
issue?

MATTHEWS: Robert, I`ll tell you, I lived through the Kennedy
assassination. I think it changed. I knew it was a commie left-winger who
did it, but to most people on the right, they felt so bad about it, it
really changed a lot of hearts for a long time. LBJ didn`t have a tough
campaign that year because nobody really wanted to fight against the
Kennedy legacy at that point. Nobody.

ROBERT COSTA, "WASHINGTON POST": I agree. And look, I wasn`t
surprised by Governor Haley. I was down in Charleston from the night it
happened, and I saw her when she walked into that Embassy Suites hotel and
she went up to the second floor. She met with the families a few hours
after the shooting. They were screaming, crying. I saw her face when she
left that room. I knew that flag was coming down.

MATTHEWS: Yes, she was crying (INAUDIBLE)

COSTA: History changes politics...

MATTHEWS: I think you said that on Friday. History changes politics.

COSTA: You know, this is the moment you see Walker, you see Rubio,
you see how they respond. Presidential campaigns -- they always are trying
to control events, but it`s really about the things you can`t control that
tell us the most.

DUBOIS: And just listening to some of those answers, honestly, they
felt like states` rights answers...

MATTHEWS: Yes!

DUBOIS: ... which is why we got into this problem in the first place,
right?

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Rubio and Santorum were so unconfident of who they are,
they didn`t have a gut reaction. They don`t -- they don`t know what to...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: ... and Huckabee said they were being baited. This isn`t
about the theory of evolution, Governor, the kind of thing he`s always
afraid of. And one reason why they don`t like moderates or liberals
moderating their debates is they don`t want be asked basic questions, like,
for example, When do you think the earth began? Oh, I can`t handle that
one.

And this -- all we`re asking is, What do you think about the flag, an
immediate question, not a theoretical one. And he says, We`re being
baited. What did Huckabee mean by that? He doesn`t like serious
questions.

COSTA: They want to have a conservative conversation. They want to
run the primary on their terms. But unfortunately for them, events happen,
and you`re forced to respond.

DUBOIS: And you know what? That`s going to -- that may help some
squeak through a primary, but in the general election with independent
voters, they want someone that has a gut instinct that`s...

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk turkey.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Who are they appealing to when they want to keep the flag
up there?

COSTA: Well, John McCain talked about this in 2000. He was afraid of
going up against those who see it as a symbol of history, of their own
history with the South and the Confederacy.

DUBOIS: Well, they`re appealing to...

MATTHEWS: By the way, that flag went up in `62...

COSTA: That`s right.

MATTHEWS: ... 1962.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: It was put up there in the middle of the Civil Rights
movement. So it wasn`t a symbol of the old cause of, you know, Robert E.
Lee and that generals that were good generals at all. It wasn`t about
courage. It was about opposing Civil Rights.

DUBOIS: And Chris, I tell you, they`re not just appealing to people
that like the Confederate flag. They`re appealing to people who hold onto
a Confederate mindset, and that is the problem. It`s a sort of a dark
underbelly of their political strategy, and I think it`s going to come out
and people are going to see it for what it is.

MATTHEWS: Will the Southern strategy work in the Republican Party
this year?

DUBOIS: Maybe in the primaries, but definitely not in the general
election.

MATTHEWS: Do you think it`ll work in the primaries?

DUBOIS: I hope not. I hope it won`t.

MATTHEWS: After what I saw today...

DUBOIS: I hope it won`t.

MATTHEWS: You know what? I saw today a party in the polling we just
did -- we`re talk about it later in the show, on NBC and "Wall Street
Journal" -- it shows party moving back to the center-right, you know, the
fact that Bush is back in the running and looking good, and the fact that
Rand Paul, who I sort of like on some grounds because I have a little
libertarianism -- he seems to be fading. I think Hillary Clinton is riding
strong, no matter what anybody says about Bernie.

COSTA: Well, Hillary came out there and gave a big speech on race.
Clinton got out in front of this, and you had Republicans kind of waiting
to see how it unfolded. That told us a lot.

DUBOIS: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Well, Bill Clinton.

COSTA: No, Hillary Clinton got out there and she gave a speech on
race. She confronted this...

(CROSSTALK)

DUBOIS: ... voting rights, you know...

MATTHEWS: Yes. We`ll (INAUDIBLE) more about that. Anyway, Joshua
Dubois, thank you very much.

DUBOIS: Thanks for having me.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, as always, Robert Costa.

Coming up -- police may be closing in on those two killers who broke
out of that New York prison. They found DNA from one of the escaped -- two
of them, by the way, in a cabin that was broken into 20 miles from the
prison. We`ve got new details on the manhunt. Looks like they`re getting
close, really close.

Plus, the race for 2016, our new NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll, which
I mentioned, has some good news, I said, for Jeb Bush, even better, much
better for Hillary Clinton. With a tight race on the horizon, it looks
like both parties are getting behind their best prospects. Hillary`s ahead
of Bernie by 60 points!

Also tonight, the shocking number of sexual assaults on college
campuses in the country. New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand wants to do
something about it. She`s going to be here.

Finally, "Let Me Finish" with my 35-year stroke of luck. You can
figure that one out.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`re coming back with the latest on that manhunt for those
two escaped killers. It looks like they`re getting close. Seventeen days
after the prison break, the trail`s heating up again.

HARDBALL returns after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAJ. CHARLES GUESS, NEW YORK STATE POLICE: We have developed evidence
that the suspects may have spent time in a cabin in this area. We have law
enforcement officers from around the state and around the nation here today
searching for more evidence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Investigators are following a
brand-new lead in the manhunt for escaped convicts David Sweat and Richard
Matt up in upstate New York. Multiple sources confirm today that DNA from
both prisoners was found at a hunting cabin over the weekend in the small
hamlet of Owls Head in Franklin County.

The owner of the cabin reported the break-in on Saturday, saying an
individual fled -- an individual fled once he arrived. Well, among the
recovered items were a pair of bloody socks and prison-issued underwear.
The search now centers in that area, which is about 20 miles west of the
Clinton Correctional Facility they escaped from. So capture looks close.
I say that as an amateur. In his news conference today, Major Charles
Guess of the New York State Police declined to comment on those DNA
results, but indicated the evidence was a significant development in the
search.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GUESS: We have recovered specific items from that cabin. We have
forwarded them to the appropriate laboratories and reached conclusive
determination, but we`re not prepared to release that evidence at this time
so we do not jeopardize the continuity of the investigation.

It`s a confirmed lead for us. It has generated a massive law
enforcement response, as you can see. And we`re going to run this to
ground.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, the news came just after police searched the towns of
Amity and Friendship close to the border with Pennsylvania, where a witness
reported a possible sighting of the convicts. Police later declared those
area clear. In other words, that wasn`t real.

David Sweat and Richard Matt were first reported missing 17 days ago,
on June 6th. Multiple sources tell NBC News now they appear to be
traveling together still.

I`m joined right now by NBC`s Stephanie Gosk in Owls Head, New York,
and former FBI special agent Jonathan Gilliam.

Stephanie, we`ve got a lot of stuff coming out here -- DNA by both of
them, a jug of water, a bloody sock, which tells you they`ve been going
through some hell there, peanut butter jars (INAUDIBLE) How do we know how
this looks -- and also, how far could they have gotten in 48 hours, since
Saturday? Not very far.

STEPHANIE GOSK, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, probably not, especially if
they`re on foot, which is what it would appear to be.

I mean, this is incredibly significant. You have more than two weeks.
They have had 2,000 tips and law enforcement like to say, look, every
single one of those tips, we`re going to track down.

So, if you imagine 1,999 weren`t great, this one was pretty comparable
in comparison. And what you have is not only a place where they actually
were outside the prison, but also potentially a day, if that cabin owner
did indeed see one of them trying to flee. So, it is a significant
development for the police on the ground here. And you can see that as
they all descend upon this very small town.

MATTHEWS: Jonathan, can you project their ability to move, how far
they`re able to move in 48 hours, based upon -- assuming that gentleman
they saw escaping -- that guy saw escaping was one of the two of them. Can
you project how far they go now, given how far they could go in two weeks?
If they went 20 miles in two weeks, does that mean four miles in two days
or what? What can you tell from that?

JONATHAN GILLIAM, FORMER U.S. NAVY SEAL: Well, what we can predict is
the pace at which they potentially could walk, which is about three miles
an hour, you know, and that`s fast over rough terrain.

But let`s say they have a railroad track or they locate a power line
where it`s all cleared out of the way. And those run for thousands of
miles. So, if they could clip along at two to three miles an hour, I mean,
you do the math. That`s a pretty good ways.

I have a feeling that these guys had probably been held up in this
cabin or they may actually find other cabins they have been held up in,
because I have been saying all along, if they didn`t have help on the
outside, they had to turn to crime in order to support themselves, because
they have to have food, water and shelter.

And so they broke into a place. That`s what always gives these guys
away. Often, it`s the orange jumpsuits, but the gift that the prison
system here gave to them were green jumpsuits, just like a camouflage
outfit.

MATTHEWS: Let me get back to Stephanie.

What do the authorities think is behind this adrenaline, two weeks
with apparently no food? They end up grabbing a jar of peanut butter and
water. That`s pretty basic protein.

GOSK: Well, it`s interesting.

This area, the Adirondacks, is littered with hunting cabins. And the
hunting season is two, three, maybe four months out of the year. And the
rest of the time, those places are totally empty. And a lot of times, the
hunters will store canned food and all sorts of things in these hunting
cabins.

If they knew they were there and it`s pretty easy to find them -- we
were on some of the back roads. There are lots of these kind of access
trails that lead up to these cabins. If they knew, Sweat and Matt, that
they were there, then they probably knew that they could stay there for a
couple days, and obviously food and shelter being what they needed to
figure out immediately once they broke out.

MATTHEWS: Stephanie, what is the strategy right now? I have heard
about concentric circles. You start one circle heading out, then another
circle coming in. What do you know about the strategy of catching these
guys in a net, in a dragnet right now?

GOSK: We have...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Let me go to Jonathan Gilliam.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: No, go ahead. Go ahead, Stephanie.

(CROSSTALK)

GOSK: ... the last couple of hours have been significantly
restricted.

MATTHEWS: Jonathan, tell me about the strategy usually employed by
authorities in these manhunts for dangerous criminals.

GILLIAM: Well, I mean, the ideal strategy which you were talking
about earlier would be where you have a quick reaction force, that once
they get one of these tips, that they can quickly move, you know, 20 to 40
officers rapidly to this location, so they can start searching out.

But the problem with that is, is that you`re constantly trying to
catch up with the guys as they move forward. So, you also want to be able
to deploy people, you know, optimally to a point where they could have
walked in that period of time, since the call came in. And they would
search in.

And then you set up a blocking force around that with local
authorities and aware people that live in that area. But I`m not real sure
how that`s working here or not, because I have heard conflicting reports
that they are just throwing everything they have at certain big leads and
they start at the point of origin. That`s kind of a mistake when you`re
trying to search for somebody that is moving.

MATTHEWS: Lastly, I want to go to Stephanie on the final look.

How optimistic are they at this point, having gotten real -- this
isn`t a guess -- they have got DNA. They have got an actual location of
these guys 48 hours ago.

GOSK: You certainly see an energized law enforcement out here on the
streets and stuff, Chris.

But I got to tell you, they were like that last week as well, and it`s
really difficult to tell. I tracked the Eric Frein case in Pennsylvania
for awhile, and there was that same exuberance around a lot of the hot
leads that they got as well that turned out to be nothing. You definitely
have a very professional force out here and they certainly seemed to be
energized by this new information.

MATTHEWS: DNA is tough stuff to beat.

Anyway, thank you, NBC`s Stephanie Gosk, and, of course, Jonathan
Gilliam.

Thank you both for joining us.

Up next, the crisis on college campus. These are amazing statistics
and they`re not good. One in five women say they have been sexually
assaulted on campus. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is taking the
lead to stop this stuff. She joins us next.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Here`s a shocking statistic. One in five college women say they were
sexually assaulted in the past four years. According to "The Washington
Post" and the Kaiser Family Foundation, that includes everything from
forced touching of a sexual nature to rape.

The poll also found that very few of those victims reported to police
or to university authorities. Well, critics say many colleges are more
concerned with trying to preserve their image than they are with -- about
holding perpetrators accountable.

What can be done to address the crisis?

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York State has been outspoken on the
issue. She is sponsoring legislation that would establish new standards
for how colleges deal with this sexual assault problem and penalize schools
that mishandle the cases.

I spoke with Senator Gillibrand about it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEWS: I guess everybody who is a father who has sent a young
daughter to college is stricken by this news. One in five women who sign
up as freshman are likely -- or in fact do get assaulted sexually.

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: These statistics on this issue
is alarming.

And what we need to do is flip the incentives on these institutions,
because, right now, it`s not worth their while to report these cases. So,
what we`re trying to do is create transparency by having an online survey
where students can actually talk about the climate of their campus, where
they feel unsafe, if they have ever been raped, what happened? Did they
report? If not, what happened?

We also need to be able to have more tools to hold these schools
accountable. That`s why we have increased fines, so we can actually hold
them accountable when they`re not reporting these crimes or adjudicating
them properly.

We also want to professionalize the process, Chris, so we have a lot
of training and we have a confidential trainer on campus who can take these
students through what their options are, and so that there is a uniform
process at every school for how these cases are reviewed.

We basically need to flip the incentives on these schools, so they can
begin to get it right.

MATTHEWS: Well, I think a lot of fathers try to encourage their
daughters when they`re making a decision, if they get to make a decision,
to go to a more conservative campus, or a campus they feel is safer,
there`s less sexual pressure.

What is your experience about that? Do you think some schools are
better at handling this kind of misbehavior, this crime and others are not?

GILLIBRAND: To be honest, Chris, I really haven`t seen a campus that
gets it right or has gotten it right historically.

Whether it`s a big campus, small campus, public or private, they have
issues of sexual violence on those campuses. And so what we have to do is
give schools more tools to have a better system, a better process. We need
to be able to support survivors, so they know what their options are.

We need to have communications with law enforcement, so there is a
plan in place if someone does want to go to law enforcement and go the
criminal route. So, those are all things that are lacking on most school
campuses today. So, I think, if we professionalize the system, if we have
this survey, then you as a parent will have more information about which
schools are safe, which schools have a better climate, and which schools
take this issue seriously.

MATTHEWS: How do you -- and this is a tricky question because I`m
sure there are cases of dishonest claims, but maybe a very small
percentage, very small, frivolous charges -- but how do you protect the
innocent on both sides of these cases? Is there a way to keep it
confidential?

GILLIBRAND: Yes.

MATTHEWS: And then also -- I don`t want to get too concerned about
that, because if it`s an actual felony we`re talking about, that`s the way
it works. A person is allowed to charge somebody with a felony. That`s
the way it goes and it becomes public. That`s the way things work in our
society.

GILLIBRAND: Right. Right.

So, the reason why there is a dual system is so that you can have a
way to handle this case if the survivor doesn`t feel comfortable going
through a criminal trial. That could take a year or two or three. It will
obviously change her life and her college -- time at college.

So, sometimes, a survivor just wants a review process to have an
opportunity to either have her perpetrator be expelled from school or, if
there is insufficient evidence and he can`t be held responsible, to have
some accommodations. So, only a school can change her class schedule, so
he`s not sitting next to her in science, to make sure she can have a dorm
that is safe.

Those are accommodations that can happen. But if you professionalize
the process, then you are going to make sure there is more process for both
those who are accused and those who are survivors, and they`re accusing a
student. You need to have fairness there, and we made sure in our bill
that we do that.

MATTHEWS: Senator, you have done really great work in the military in
this regard. What is the difference between the campus and the military
base. Is there a difference or is it the same kind of dangerous condition
potentially?

GILLIBRAND: You know, there`s a lot of similarities. Both are closed
systems where there is no accountability. And both systems desperately
need to be professionalized.

In the military, a commander is making the decisions, not a trained
prosecutor. If that commander isn`t knowledgeable or doesn`t look at all
the evidence, the decision might be wrong. It needs to be
professionalized. That decision needs to be made by a trained military
prosecutor who has no skin in the game, who is not biased, who doesn`t know
the victim and doesn`t know the perpetrator.

The college system, you have got universities who often want to just
shove this under the rug. It`s more valuable to them to have no reporting
and no press on an issue than to actually see that justice is done. So, in
both instances, the incentives are wrong. And we need to flip the
incentive to make sure there is real transparency and accountability.

MATTHEWS: How does it look for the bipartisan support for this bill
actually becoming law and bringing this kind of law and order to the
campus?

GILLIBRAND: I`m very optimistic, Chris. We have got a bipartisan
group of senators across the spectrum, from the most ideologically
conservative to the most liberal.

And I`m optimistic that we will support -- we will actually have a
vote on this bill. We will be having hearings as well. And we will be
able to pass the bill. We need to work hard and we need to really amplify
our advocacy.

So the reason why I`m so hopeful, Chris, is this is a movement that
was started by young women, young women and men across the country who
experienced sexual violence and didn`t see justice done. And so they are
speaking out and they`re telling their stories passionately.

And if their schools won`t listen, they will tell it on the front page
of "The New York Times." And that`s what is making the difference, this
boldness, this ability to stand up and courageously speak truth to power.
And they`re -- these young women are inspiring. They have certainly
inspired me to action. And I think they will be successful in their quest.

MATTHEWS: It`s great having you on. It`s a good cause you`re
fighting there.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, thanks for coming on HARDBALL.

GILLIBRAND: Thanks, Chris. Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEWS: Up next, we may be looking at a Hillary-Jeb race after all
next year. We have got our new NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" polling, and
while things are looking up for Jeb, they are looking even better for
Hillary.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RICHARD LUI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi. I`m Richard Lui in the MSNBC
newsroom.

The Pentagon says a high-profile ISIS leader was killed in a U.S.
airstrike in Mosul. Officials say the militant was a person of interest in
the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

The body of former White House chef Walter Scheib has been recovered
from the mountains near Taos, New Mexico. Scheib set out for a hike last
weekend and never returned. He served under President Clinton and George -
- President George W. Bush as chef.

And a severe storm is packing high winds barrelling across the
Midwest, damaging homes and downing trees. Hundreds of flights were
canceled at O`Hare -- now back to HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Our latest NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll just out has both
parties coalescing around their best prospects, I would say. Let`s start
with the Democrats. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is
dominating the 2016 Democratic field and leads her newest rival -- that`s
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders -- by 60 points. That`s 6-0 points -- 92
percent of Democratic primary voters say they could see themselves voting
for Secretary Clinton. That number is up by six points just since March.

Well, turning to the Republican field, 75 percent of Republicans can
say themselves -- or see themselves voting for Jeb. That number is up by
26 points since March, when only -- back then, only 49 percent said they
could see themselves voting for him.

Jeb remains the GOP`s front-runner in the NBC poll, leading the
crowded field with 22 percent, followed by Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Ben
Carson, Mike Huckabee.

And looking at hypothetical matchups from the general election,
Hillary Clinton leads Jeb Bush by eight points. She leads Marco Rubio by
10. She leads Scott Walker by 14, although most people don`t know what
Scott Walker looks like.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, joining the roundtable tonight, David Corn is
Washington bureau chief of "Mother Jones," Anne Gearan is political
correspondent with "The Washington Post" and Perry Bacon is senior
political reporter for NBC.

Let me go to you, Anne Gearan. You`re out there on the road.

Bernie got a big crowd out there in Denver. Ed Schultz was jumping up
and down about it tonight. Those crowds are fun. But it looks to me like,
when people get down and they`re asked by pollsters in a scientific poll,
which we have here, they say Hillary.

ANNE GEARAN, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yes.

There is a -- there is a difference between, I think, the enthusiasm
factor that -- that we`re seeing people turning out for Bernie, because
he`s interesting, he`s fun.

MATTHEWS: Is it just weekends with Bernie?

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Just kidding, just kidding.

GEARAN: I mean, it`s something, right? It`s real and it isn`t
something that Hillary can completely discount. But you`re right, when
people get down to actually answering the question, could you see yourself
voting for her -- you know, well, more than 90 percent say yes.

MATTHEWS: Well, that`s the question. I`ll go to Perry on this
because I think I know your answer. But you can do it your own way.

DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: How would you know (ph)?

MATTHEWS: You know, Maureen Dowd, at her usual bee sting of Hillary
Clinton this weekend, I mean, she`s going after Clinton, she`s very
effective. I don`t know if they can stand reading her, basically saying
she didn`t make a gutsy decision about trade. She isn`t being forthright.
She`s being Clintonian.

But she`s also making the joke and it`s a tough nasty joke, that she`s
really trying to pretend she`s Elizabeth Warren. That she`s a person of
the left. Is Hillary making a mistake out there to try to be like Bernie,
to try to be like Hillary, rather than be her own center-left self, if you
will?

PERRY BACON, NBC NEWS: You know, I don`t totally agree with that. I
think that a lot of these issues in terms of racial inequality, that`s who
she`s always been. She`s always talked --

MATTHEWS: Trade.

BACON: The one issue of trade, I think is what is she for? I think
this whole data gathering about I need to get more details or I need to
understand more, take a position. I don`t think this is wise. It`s not
going to hurt her in the primary. She`s going to win the primary, but I
think she doesn`t want to build the idea she won`t say what she`s for or
what she`s against.

I think this trade thing went on long enough. We have enough
information. Obama has point of view, Warren has a point of view --

MATTHEWS: OK. Voting and taking position, somebody said to me is a
statement of character but not always. In other words, it shows we have
guts to do it.

Is this an issue to go down on the sword? I mean, it`s a tough
question for her, and Trumka and the whole gang of them, every labor union
we know, does she believe in free trade enough to take on that fight?

CORN: The thing is --

MATTHEWS: I mean, I think she`s made mistakes in the past like the
Iraq war.

CORN: I think there are -- there are a lot of substantial arguments
against it. "The New Yorker" had a great piece --

MATTHEWS: With her, where is she on this?

CORN: The question is, we don`t know what she is on some of these
very --

MATTHEWS: But, historically, she`s pro-free trade. On this one, she
is.

CORN: But you can be pro-free trade and not like this agreement
because of some very particular --

MATTHEWS: Well, say how do you fix it?

CORN: Well, then you say -- yes, exactly. You can say she doesn`t
have to be consistent with the pro-free trade position in the past and be
in favor of this. She can be against this --

MATTHEWS: Is this going to hurt her politically?

CORN: No.

MATTHEWS: I show in the polls nothing is hurting her.

GEARAN: I mean, they are banking clearly on this being over by the
time anybody actually casts a vote.

MATTHEWS: The Republicans think they`ve got Hillary in some Achilles
heel position with the server at her house. I think average voters, at
least my age I think sometimes, they`re older, I don`t know what a server
is. I don`t know what a server. I guess I can be told what it is. I
don`t want to think about what a server is. Why would anybody vote on the
-- think of somebody come out in the voting booth in 2016, well, you know,
I was for her until this server issue arose. There`s no such person.

CORN: But this is they`re trying to get to the issue that, there`s
something shifty about --

MATTHEWS: What is this that she`s hiding? There is nothing to hide.

CORN: It doesn`t matter.

BACON: She`s hide her e-mails, Chris.

MATTHEWS: What is in there?

BACON: I don`t know what is in there. We don`t know. They`ve been
erased.

CORN: They can be really bad because we don`t know. Then we just
keep banging this drum. It`s about getting their voters out and keeping
some doubt alive so if something else comes along, they can say -- see, we
told you. It`s a pattern.

MATTHEWS: It could be just a political business that she`s hiding.
Why do you close the door at night, to hide something? No, just to close
the door. It could be she wants to talk to the governor of Nebraska or the
senator from this, or some contributor out in California. How is the kid
doing at Sanford? I hope he gets in. That kind of conversation.

GEARAN: Yes, certainly, I mean, a fair amount of the e-mail she
destroyed or had destroyed is probably of that nature. But what the
Republicans are getting at here is that there is a question mark and to the
extent they can keep it going, as you said, they have something of an
issue.

I think most of the people listening and for whom that resonates would
never consider voting for Hillary Clinton anyway, right?

CORN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: I think Hillary`s questions are usually about you and most
people make up their mind about Hillary based upon who they are, what they
think of a very successful woman, what they think about our times, what
they think about ideology. It`s not details.

Anyway, 67 percent of those surveyed just now said they would be
satisfied with Jeb and Hillary if they were the nominees of the two
parties. Only 31 percent said they wouldn`t like that. And only 4 percent
of voters were concerned about political dynasties, too many people running
for president from the same families was among the lowest of the top
concerns for those being polled.

Isn`t that interesting? People always said, I don`t like negative
campaigning, and yet it`s the negative ad they remember. They said they
don`t like big money in politics. It`s the big money that pays for those
negative ads.

CORN: They don`t necessarily vote for candidates who rail against
big-money politics. When a poster asks you something and you kind of have
an answer that you think you should give as opposed to how things really
affect you.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: You don`t know, if pollsters expecting it, if you`re a
better person to say.

CORN: Yes, no one likes negative ads but they work and it`s --

MATTHEWS: What about this dynasty question?

BACON: On this dynasty question, I don`t -- I think this poll is not
showing us enough. If you`re a Democrat, who are your choices? If Hillary
Clinton is running against Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Warren, people were
excited about, that might change the response. Similarly, Jeb Bush right
now is running, and people still only know who Marco Rubio and Scott Walker
are. I do think when it gets closer, people I talk to do say, really in
America, Bush and Clinton again? This is not who we are. This is not
Britain.

I think people are more concerned about particularly Republicans in
that poll were already concerned about it, because they don`t like Jeb Bush
very much.

MATTHEWS: For a reason, not because he`s a Bush.

(CROSSTALK)

BACON: He`s a moderate. Right.

MATTEWS: I like the fact one of the number one things they say about
Bush is he`s a liberal. They don`t mean that with love.

Anyway, the roundtable is staying with us. And up next, more on the
potential pitfall for Hillary Clinton, trade.

This is HARDBALL, a place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Don`t you love it? Pope Francis is once again rankling
conservatives. This time, he`s taking on guns. The Holy Father is on
pastoral trip in Turin, and he says people who manufacture guns and weapons
and call themselves Christians are hypocrites. That`s the pope talking.

Last week, he released an encyclical saying that global warming is
real, it`s manmade and urgent actions needed to be done to combat. He`s
getting the round -- making the rounds on the right, I`d say, the Holy
Father.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`re back with the roundtable, David Corn, of course, Anne
Gearan, of course, and Perry Bacon, of course.

You know, it`s fascinating what isn`t of course is the pope is talking
about stuff that matters right now through our politics. The gun issue is
the hottest American issue overtime. It`s always there, like race. The
pope says, you know, we shouldn`t even be making them. That`s a pretty
strong statement.

GEARAN: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: And Hillary.

GEARAN: That`s the pope saying we shouldn`t be making them is a lot
stronger than any American politician is ever going to say. But it`s
really interesting. You had Obama and then you had Clinton a couple days
later both making pretty strong statements in favor of more gun control
than we currently have.

Hillary saying that the president doesn`t get enough credit for what
he`s trying to do. What she didn`t say how she would get past the impasse
that he`s had in Congress. I mean, there`s just -- it`s -- the issue has
been dead in the water.

MATTHEWS: Checking out -- they always say -- I understand guns don`t
kill people, people kill people. OK, that`s the way they kill people, with
guns.

But there is an argument to be made if it`s people not guns -- let`s
check out the people buying guns. I mean, that would be a reasonable thing
to go to and say, no, you can`t be insane, you can`t be a murderer, you
can`t say, I`m going to kill my wife and have a gun. You can`t -- there
has to be some rules.

CORN: You know, the Republican Party wants a waiting period for any
woman who wants an abortion, yet they hate waiting periods for guns and
they try to fight those things. They try to --

MATTHEWS: Who needs a gun that fast?

CORN: You know, that`s the question. Who needs a gun that fast?

I mean, they always come up with arguments. Someone who is in danger,
you know, it`s the good guy or good gal with a gun myth. What the pope
said was really very interesting, because he wasn`t talking about gun
control, he was talking about a gun as an act of violence --

MATTHEWS: How many guns do we have in this country right now?

CORN: Several hundred million. How immoral to make them.

MATTHEWS: We have more guns than people. We`re like New Zealanders
with sheep.

CORN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Only instead of sheep, we have more guns than people.

CORN: I want to see how Wayne LaPierre and the NRA now have to take
on the pope. It`s one thing to take on Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

MATTHEWS: The way Jeb did other day.

BACON: Dismiss him completely.

MATTHEWS: This isn`t my -- he`s out of his lane.

CORN: Yes, well --

BACON: I mean, the core challenge is Hillary`s and Obama`s ideas are
not enough. The problem is we have like 300 million guns. You probably
going to have gun buyback program or something like that, something that`s
bigger. It`s not totally clear that background checks can stop you if your
gun isn`t given to you by a family member or friend.

Guns are not always just sold. There are other ways to get guns. The
solution has to be bigger than what they`re talking about now. Hillary and
Obama, it would seem. I don`t think, she (INAUDIBLE) proposal as all as
far as I can tell. If she comes out with a strong gun proposal in the
campaign, I would be very surprised. Obama sort of avoided the issue in
`08 and `12 --

MATTHEWS: How about a Supreme Court with common sense? How about a
Supreme Court that says, you know, you can`t have guns for all occasions?
The right to bear arms is related to the right to militia. That`s the way
it was written. We`re going back to the way it was written.

They always like, they always say, as written, you know? Literal
interpretation. They seem to ignore that militia thing.

CORN: Bill Clinton actually tried when he was president to ban a
certain type of gun. You know, they sought weapons ban.

MATTHEWS: It worked for a while.

CORN: There were a lot of loopholes in it and they made a lot a
compromise, which weakened it. But, you know, that was -- he passed that
bill. He passed that bill --

MATTHEWS: That`s one reason why they lost to Congress in 1994.

GEARAN: Exactly.

CORN: The ammunition -- the ways of dealing with ammunition.

MATTHEWS: They lost the Congress after that.

CORN: There are things you can do that won`t solve the problem, but
they will work at the margins at least, and then you sort of come in.

BACON: They lost Congress and health care, too. They thought that
was worth doing. So, if they really care about the gun issue, they may
actually push it beyond --

MATTHEWS: What they need and I`m not sure she`ll ever get this. When
you walk into the voting booth come November, and you have to make that big
decision, you probably made it weeks before, but you have to make that big
decision, the gun owner is thinking about his gun as he goes in to vote.
The person who believes in gun control is thinking about the unemployment
rate, women`s rights, racial rights, foreign policy, five or six other
things that are on their mind before they get to gun. And that`s why the
gun owners always win --

BACON: Well, this is perfect political science expert, where
enthusiasm, you know, is in the favor of a very small minority of people
but who care about it so much that it scares the politicians. I mean,
you`re right. They are so passionate. If you are for gun rights, it is
not your top issue. It`s number one, two, and three.

MATTHEWS: OK, great question. Why did Hillary Clinton sort of dodge
the trade issue? Which I understand because of the unions who are
Democrats and support the Democrats, and yet not dodge the gun issue? What
are the politics? Guns are hotter issue.

BACON: Until she comes up with a gun control plan, I don`t know that
she`s embraced the gun issue. I don`t know what her plan is. That`s the
issue, she was more forthright because most of the Democratic Party is for
gun control. And most of the Democratic Party is not for --

MATTHEWS: Two-thirds of the Republican Party is gun owners. She`s
not running for the Republican nomination.

BACON: Precisely.

CORN: And not getting those votes anyway.

MATTHEWS: I like the way you finish my sentence. We`re getting very
accommodating.

Anyway, thank you, David Corn. Thank you, Perry Bacon. And thank
you, Anne Gearan of "The Washington Post".

When we return let me finish tonight with my 35-year stroke of luck.
That`s what I`m calling it.

You`re watching HARDBALL, a place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with my family celebration.

Yesterday, June 21st, was the first day of summer. It was Father`s
Day. It was also our 35th wedding anniversary, 35. Of all the breaks in
my life, and there have been a number, meeting and finding a way to
Kathleen Cunningham`s heart was at the top because she is the top.

When we met, I was working in the back room of the White House running
for someone else. Kathy was writing for Channel 7. Here also was someone
else. She was also working for someone else. I was a back room guy in
politics. She was a news producer.

When I tell people what I learned about marriage all these years
besides the role of luck in it, is it`s about the common values. If you
get them, sticking together is easy. When you agree on religion, on
children being important, on family being important, on trying to be nice.
My great break in life was meeting someone like that, spending my life with
someone like that.

Kathy is my ambassador to people. Acting on my own, I don`t think I
would be living in such a large world, not by a stretch. As I said, it was
our 35th wedding anniversary yesterday. If my luck holds, I`ll ill keep on
doing what I`m doing right here. As I`ve told you before, she`s hoping to
do important things in public service.

Michael, Thomas, Caroline, Sarah, Julia, and Brandon are, of course,
our joy.

And 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.
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