updated 11/19/2015 10:29:35 AM ET 2015-11-19T15:29:35

Show: HARDBALL
Date: November 18, 2015
Guest: Christopher Dickey, John Negroponte, Shawn Henry, Sen. Al Franken,
Jeff Flake, Simon Marks, Steve Israel, Megan Murphy, Jeremy Peters, April
Ryan

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: ISIS threatens New York, Times Square targeted.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington with breaking news of a
brand-new ISIS propaganda video threatening Times Square. The highly
produced on-line video shows a suicide bomber donning a bomb vest. It also
shows images of Times Square in New York City. Those images of New York
aren`t new. They were originally published in April.

But New York police tonight say the video reaffirms the message that New
York City remains a top terror target. The NYPD says that it sees no
current or specific threat to the city as yet. Anyway, the video comes
just days after another ISIS video threatened Washington, D.C., and it
comes the same day as a dramatic police raid outside of Paris this morning.

We begin with NBC`s Katy Tur, who is in Times Square. Katy, thank you.
Give us a sense of how seriously the NYPD are looking at this, obviously,
propaganda threat that`s now on line?

KATY TUR, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, the NYPD is looking at it seriously, as
they look at everything seriously. They say they are always on high alert
here in the city and they have been on high alert since 9/11, Times Square
especially, where you see a number of heavily armed officers.

These officers around the city have many radiation detectors. They have
them on their hips. They`re there to detect any change in radiation just
in case a dirty bomb is out there. They have hundreds of counterterrorism
officers deployed throughout this city. They say that the city is the most
heavily fortified and most heavily armored, the most heavily protected city
in the world, and that they are standing by that.

Times Square, especially, you saw in that ISIS propaganda video that there
was an image of TGIF in Times Square and also an image of Gap in Herald
Square. Just down the block from where we`re standing right now, in 2010,
there was an attempted bomb that was set off by a man named Faisal Shahzad
in a car. It was stopped by a good Samaritan. A guy working a kiosk
selling tourism things saw smoke coming out of this car, alerted the NYPD,
and they came and were able to -- to work out the situation and not have
anyone harmed. He was arrested.

They are always prepared for something like this to happen in the city that
they tell me, there`s a number of suspicious package alerts we get in this
city on a weekly basis. And the NYPD says that while this video is
frightening and it`s certainly coming on the heels of the Paris attack,
they want to stress that there is nothing new in this video. The images in
the video are not new. The images of Times Square and of New York City are
old. There`s no indication that there is any imminent threat for New York,
Chris.

MATTHEWS: You know, it strikes us down here in Washington is after
threatening this city in that last ISIS threatening note, they now change
the destination. It`s as if they weren`t getting enough excitement by
threatening the nation`s capital. They had to go after the commercial and
media center of the country.

TUR: I think what they`re trying to do is stoke fear. And I think what we
saw in Paris is that they hit areas that were soft targets, areas that did
not have a heavy police presence. In Paris, most of Paris is a very
touristy area. The area that ISIS hit there in the 10th Arondissment --
that is an area that is frequented by French people only. It is not what
was considered a heavily -- a heavy target, whereas New York City is pretty
much a prime target, all of it.

What I would be thinking along the lines of ISIS is that they would be
trying to -- and I don`t know, but it -- are they trying to use New York
City or Washington to catch us off guard somewhere else, a softer target
maybe in the center of the country. I don`t know this, but it certainly
would -- there`s chatter among experts when you talk to them about just how
worried they are about ISIS in this country.

MATTHEWS: Do you get a sense from the people around you -- it`s hard to
tell the crowd -- is the crowd pulling back from the square or not?

TUR: No. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people that
walk through this area every single day. They are used to this. The
tourists that are here are still taking pictures. It is still Times
Square. They`re still enjoying themselves. People are still coming to and
from work. There`s no indication that anybody is on any higher alert.

This city has been expecting and waiting for something to happen, hoping
that it doesn`t happen, since 9/11. They are used to a heavy police
presence...

MATTHEWS: OK.

TUR: ... especially after Paris. They are used to seeing what they call
Hercules officers roaming the city with heavy artillery. They`re used to
seeing this show of force of the NYPD officers and the cars streaming down
the street. So life is going on as usual, at least for now.

MATTHEWS: OK, thanks so much, NBC`s Katy Tur at Times Square.

Anyway, New York mayor Bill de Blasio will be here on this show tomorrow
night to talk about it.

I`m joined right now, however, by Christopher Dickey, world news editor for
the DailyBeast and author of "Securing the City: Inside America`s Best
Counterterrorism Force, the NYPD."

Christopher, thank you for joining us. You`ve got both perspectives
tonight, New York and Paris. Put them together, the way the police in both
cities have handled this.

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY, DAILYBEAST: Well, I think the thing we learned from
Paris is just how vulnerable a city can be even when it`s very well
protected. You know, I heard the person who was on before talking about
the Hercules teams, all the police presence there is in New York City. And
there are 35,000 police in New York City.

That ought to make you safe, but if terrorists are going to hit sidewalk
cafes, if they`re going to hit nightclubs, the way they did here, it`s very
hard to protect those places. And the only way to do it is through really
superb intelligence collection because you can`t put cops everywhere.

MATTHEWS: Tell me, if you can about the organization that led to the
horror in Paris on Friday. We`re going to get to the police raids last
night in a moment, but tell us about the role of Mr. Abaaoud and the role
that a ringleader plays, as you know it.

DICKEY: Well, I think he was a ringleader, that`s right, but not the
mastermind of this. There are some real masterminds putting together a --
really, a global terror campaign for ISIS. Abdelhamid Abaaoud is a guy who
was a sort of a go-between. He had a lot of connections in Brussels that
were useful to ISIS. He had gone back and forth to Syria. And they used
those connections in order to organize this operation here.

But he was also kind of a poster boy for ISIS. They like to put these guys
up and say, This guy`s a real hero, we`re going to make a star out of him.
But that actually argues against him being the mastermind. They`re not
going to waste a mastermind as a poster boy because this guy is going to
get killed soon.

MATTHEWS: Sophisticated stuff. Thank you very much, Christopher Dickey.

There was a dramatic scene this morning north of Paris as French police
carried out a truly spectacular assault on terrorists holed up in an
apartment. French authorities were hunting for the ringleader of last
Friday`s attack. They engaged in a fierce gunfight with a well-armed ISIS
terror cell.

Well, two people were killed in that, including a woman who blew herself up
in that raid. Eight people were arrested. The Paris prosecutor today said
police encountered major resistance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANCOIS MOLINS, PROSECUTOR (through translator): Tonight, five police
from the raid were wounded. It was a very difficult assault. The
bulletproof of (ph) the apartment resisted (ph) through the first charge,
and this allowed the terrorists to prepare their retaliation.
Uninterrupted shooting went on for about an hour.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, NBC`s Keir Simmons is in Paris and is following the latest
development. Keir, it looks like they got there in time to stop what they
were prepared to offer to bring about as (ph) another terrorist attack.

KEIR SIMMONS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: That`s what they`re saying, Chris.
That`s what they think they did.

And just to let you know, I`m standing in front of a memorial here next to
the Bataclan concert hall, the place where so many people were killed, so
people are breathing a sigh of relief here that another one of these
massacres was not carried out by this terrorist cell.

You were talking about Abaaoud, the guy that they believe was the linchpin
in all of this, and they still don`t know whether he is the person that
they killed in those raids this morning. They know, of course, that he is
not the person that they arrested.

But by the way, Chris, the security and intelligence services here in
France and in many countries across Europe will be stunned that they think
now that that mastermind is here. He had previously been seen in Syria
with ISIS, and the whole assumption was that he was still there. It will
be deeply troubling to know that he will have made that journey from Syria
to Europe, if indeed, that is the case.

But they clearly thought he was there because I know you`re seeing pictures
there now of the extraordinary firefight that played out, 5,000 rounds
fired, 110 police officers involved. As you mentioned, the cousin of
Abaaoud, a woman, blew herself up with a suicide vest at the beginning.
This firefight was so intense that they`re now saying that that building,
they think, in part, is uninhabitable.

But Chris, they will have got evidence from that third floor apartment,
just as they will have got evidence from the car that was abandoned, just
as they will have got evidence from the cell phone that was found by
members of the public here.

So while these possibly a number of cells have been able to carry out this
massacre in Paris, they have also lost -- left a lot of traces that will be
helping security and intelligence services track them down and track their
accomplices down and try to get a better grip on who is where and who is
threatening Europe from ISIS.

MATTHEWS: Thanks so much, Keir Simmons in Paris.

For more now, I`m joined by Ambassador John Negroponte, the former director
of our national intelligence effort -- he`s the vice chairman of McLarty
Associates -- and Shawn Henry, president of Crowd Strike and former
executive assistant director of the FBI.

Mr. Ambassador, thank you. You know, when I thought of this -- and I`m a
civilian in this in every regard -- I was thinking it wasn`t until the
French had this attack last Friday that they could move with real emergency
authority to really go after these people they`d tracked down and really
force their hand. The fact that a woman committed suicide, blowing herself
up, the fact they were shot at -- they exposed the danger posed by these
terrorist groups by going after them and forcing their hand. It was pretty
dramatic.

JOHN NEGROPONTE, FMR. DIR. OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Right. And this is
really unprecedented. We didn`t know this kind of capability existed near
the heart of Paris, or in the heart of Paris.

So I think what was just said about gathering evidence and picking up
whatever they can now from these different items that they`ve captured, and
so forth, people who they may have in detention, we`re going to get a
better idea of whether this really can happen again in a short period of
time because when you look at the operation, it was very complex, three
different groups and so forth communicating, moving back and forth between
Belgium and France.

Do they have the capacity to conduct one or several more of these in a
short timeframe? I think we`ll get a better handle on that...

MATTHEWS: Well, this is...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: This is the problem we have in free societies. The prosecutor
in France said today they know there`s thousands of people in France who
are militant, who are radicalized and ready to act, but they can`t touch
them until they act. Obviously, in a free society, you have to by law.

NEGROPONTE: Right.

MATTHEWS: Habeas Corpus. You don`t just arrest people. But here they
sort of forced their hand. They challenged them where they were. They had
the weapons, the suicide vests, or whatever equipment they had to blow
themselves up, and they forced them to admit in their own defense that they
were the bad guys, to put it in idiom (ph).

It`s dramatic stuff, but it does realize the limits of a free society. You
can`t act until you`ve got emergency power to go and basically take them.

NEGROPONTE: Right. But I think now they`ve got something to work with and
they`ll be able to work their way -- I have a lot of confidence in the
French intelligence and security forces. I think they`re very competent.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me go to Shawn on that. Shawn, give us a sense --
what I`ve been trying to figure out here is how do you roll it back? How
do you get on offense here against those people who are sitting there,
waiting for their chance to call the shots? As the guy said on his radio
or his cell phone before he threw it in the trash can, We`re making our
move.

SHAWN HENRY, CROWD STRIKE: You know, Chris, it is -- it`s all about
intelligence. One of your prior guests said earlier you can`t put a police
officer in every cafe and every bar and every stadium. What you need to do
is look in advance, look for this information, the intelligence that`s
going to allow you to take the type of actions that we saw today in Paris.

We`ve got hundreds of people or thousands of people who are radicalized
living in cities and nations that have tens of millions of people. You`re
looking for a needle in a stack of needles. And these terrorists are
living among us, and it`s all about trying to identify in advance so that
you can disrupt them.

They`ve done it here successfully here over the last few days. Obviously,
they didn`t do it prior to what happened on Friday. Unfortunately, that`s
one of the challenges here for the security services is trying to maintain
people`s civil liberties and rights and still look for those bad people by
using really good, valuable intelligence, Chris.

MATTHEWS: And they only had the authority to do it because of the
emergency decree over there.

Let me ask you, Mr. Ambassador -- you were down in Honduras. Strange
situation, five people all using Greek names, apparently, having come
through Greece with Greek passports, but they`re Syrians. And there again,
we have the old ambiguity. Are they just five guys looking for work in the
States, to go work in a restaurant, or are they ready to do trouble to us?

HENRY: Right. And we have no idea at this particular point in time. But
we also know that there`s this huge migration leaving (ph) out of Syria.
Three or four million people have left the country. More are bound to
leave in the coming weeks and months.

And so out of desperation, I think people will try any route. These people
took a very circuitous route, and for all we know, that they were just
seeking employment, as you said.

Let me just say one thing about...

MATTHEWS: Go ahead. We got time.

NEGROPONTE: ... France. I think that -- I mean, France is in a very
unique situation here. Ten percent of their population is Muslim. They
have a lot of North African and other...

MATTHEWS: And a distinct community, too.

NEGROPONTE: (INAUDIBLE) distinct community. They`re sort of ghettoized.
It`s -- they have a tremendous challenge on their hands.

MATTHEWS: All it takes is a kid in his 20s or late teens even to say, I
don`t like it here. I don`t like these people. I don`t like the way I`ve
been treated, and you`re radicalized, and then it`s a couple (ph) matter
then of getting weapons. And in this country, that`s the easiest thing in
the world, to get weapons.

Anyway, John Negroponte and Shawn Henry. More with you next time, Shawn.
Thank you for coming on.

Coming up now, lawmakers on Capitol Hill -- a couple of senators -- all the
senators were briefed today on the ISIS threat. We`re going to talk to two
of those lawmakers next about the security in this country and the
strategy. What`s our government up to to make sure it doesn`t get here, or
when it does get here, it`s stopped?

And later, here it comes, the political fight here at home. President
Obama is mocking his Republican critics now in the snarkiest of terms, I
think.

HARDBALL`s coverage of the terror in Paris continues after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: The U.S. ambassador to France, Jane Hartley, sat down for an
exclusive interview with Thomas Roberts here today on MSNBC. She said the
fight against terrorism cannot be left to just one country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JANE HARTLEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO FRANCE: I think if we look at what`s
happened over the last week -- and this was discussed in the meetings
yesterday with Secretary Kerry -- first, a Russian plane that was downed,
an attack in Beirut, now this attack in Paris -- I think what we are all
coming to the conclusion is, you know, terrorists don`t know any borders.
This is not about France. This is not about one country. All of us have
to work together to defeat this terrible threat of terrorism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, the breaking news, of course,
we`re following tonight is the release of a new ISIS video that suggests in
pretty dramatic terms that a terror target is now New York City. Anyway, a
highly produced propaganda video -- you`re looking at it -- does not
contain details, and senior law enforcement officials here say there is no
specific threat information yet.

Well, late today, high-level officials from the Department of Homeland
Security, the FBI, the Pentagon and the State Department briefed U.S.
senators on Capitol Hill on the latest developments on the terror threat,
the Paris attacks, and of course, the refugee crisis and issue.

I`m joined first by Senator Al Franken, Democrat from Minnesota. He was in
tonight`s briefing. Senator, what can you share about New York, about
Washington, about France, and how goes the fight against terrorism?

SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: Well, there is no known threat, actionable
threat that we know about, or that they knew about.

A lot of what we discussed is the refugee question. You know, these --
these refugees are vetted. They are mainly women and children, families
headed by women. There are people who have medical issues.

I argued today on the floor of the Senate that it`s in keeping with our
values that we don`t interrupt bringing in these incredibly vulnerable
people. We are talking about 10,000 out of four million. And the image
that I can`t get out of my head is of that 3-year-old boy washed up on that
island in Turkey. That`s my grandson.

And we have a tradition in this country that is about bringing people who
are vulnerable, refugees who are escaping horrors like we have seen this
week, and bringing them to -- that is what the Statue of Liberty says,
bring me your tired, your poor.

I think that we have to be consistent with our values. People are afraid.
And I understand that. What we saw in Paris is very scary. Paris looks
like a lot of American cities. But we can`t operate out of fear. And we
vet these people through many layers of vetting. Only 2 percent of the
people that we let in last year were men of military age. That`s 40
people. And they are vetted one layer after another.

MATTHEWS: Right.

Let`s take a look at this more hawkish mood in the country tonight.
According to new polling from NBC News, a majority of the country now
opposes the government`s plan to increase the number of Syrian refugees
entering the United States; 58 percent say that overwhelming military force
is the best way to defeat terrorism; 65 percent say they support sending
additional groups to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

I know this country may appeal fickle, but how do we deal with the politics
of this, Senator, when the country now says ground troops to fight ISIS,
American troops?

FRANKEN: We have made this kind of mistake before.

Listen, we have to take it to ISIS. But this is going to be a -- this is
going to be a long, long campaign. And we have done this before. We have
reacted to something very horrible that happened in our country, and we
went to war, and we went to war in Iraq. And that is no small part
responsible for what we are seeing right now.

So, people have to understand that we don`t want to get into a land war
again in this region, because this doesn`t turn out good. Now, we need to
pulse our diplomacy. You`re -- I have been listening to the show. We have
heard about the bombing of the Russian plane. We need to engage other
allies in the region, and maybe some enemies, too, in this fight, including
Turkey, including Saudi Arabia.

And we need to pulse our diplomatic piece by engaging Iran in this and
Russia. But to go into a major land war in this region, it -- that`s a
slippery slope. And we did also get a lot of information about what we are
doing to -- in the region to ISIS. And we are trying to reduce the area
that they operate in, and we are successfully beginning to do that. But
this is a long fight.

MATTHEWS: Thanks so much, Senator Al Franken of Minnesota.

Last night, President Obama criticized the Congress for seeking a pause --
that`s a new word -- in refugees coming in here from Syria. Let`s watch
the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have been waiting for a
year-and-a-half or more for legislation that would authorize the military
activities that we are carrying out in Syria as we speak, and have not been
able to get anything out of Congress.

And now suddenly they are able to rush in, in a day or two to solve the
threat of widows and orphans and others who are fleeing a war-torn land,
and that`s their most constructive contribution to the effort against ISIL?
That doesn`t sound right to me. And I suspect it won`t sound right to the
American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, yesterday, in an op-ed piece for "TIME" magazine, Senators
Jeff Flake of Arizona and Tim Kaine of Virginia slammed the Congress`
inaction.

They wrote, "ISIS must take comfort in the seeming ambivalence of
Congress."

Well, Senator Flake now has a bill in the works with Dianne Feinstein of
California which they are calling a bipartisan solution to the Syrian
refugee issue.

I`m joined by Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona. He`s a member of
the Foreign Relations Committee.

Senator Flake, you have always struck me as nuanced in your politics, which
is always impressive these days. There`s not much of that around. How do
we deal with a refugee situation? I have been asking why four million
refugees from Syria only include four individuals willing to fight ISIS.
Why are they all -- are they all conscientious objectors? Why is a country
leaving a country behind? Why aren`t they fighting for their country in
Syria?

Just that question. I would like your answer.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Well, you would hope that they would want to
fight for their country. And I think a lot of them probably are willing
to.

It has been tough, though, given the situation there and all the competing
groups they are fighting to, I guess, have them involved. So,
unfortunately, as you mentioned, four million of them have left the
country. And...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: What do we do with the ones who want to come here? How do we
get people in this country without having a problem like we had in Paris?
One of the refugees that came in was part of the terrorist operation on
Friday night.

FLAKE: Right.

Well, we do have a pretty thorough vetting process. And I know that the
president was very critical of those who -- the governors and others who
are concerned about this. But, frankly, the administration hasn`t done a
very good job explaining what this process is.

And I`m comfortable with the process. Frankly, of all the concerns we have
out there -- and there are many -- the refugee program is probably down the
list a bit. The regular visa programs that we have, asylum programs that
we have, those are much more a concern, and the visa waiver program that we
have that Senator Feinstein and I will address tomorrow.

MATTHEWS: How does that work? Tell us what that is going to do. It`s
news to us.

FLAKE: Well, with visa waiver, we have about 39 countries in the world
that it is not required for them to get a visa to come to the U.S. We have
a visa waiver program that includes countries of the European Union.

So, the concern is that a lot of homegrown terrorists, if you will, that
are French citizens or Brits or Germans or others, and unless there is
another thing that disqualifies them, they are not even required to get a
visa to come to the U.S.

So, what we will introduce tomorrow is legislation to say that if anybody
has traveled to Iraq or Afghanistan -- I`m sorry -- Iraq or Syria in the
last five years from these European countries, they wouldn`t qualify for
the visa waiver program. They could still come to the U.S., but they would
have to go through the process of getting a visa.

MATTHEWS: I see. Well, that seems moderate.

Thank you so much, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona.

Up next, can the world eliminate ISIS, really? And if so, who takes part
in that effort? And how does it happen? A lot of talk about eliminating
or destroying ISIS. People love those words, destroy especially, but
nobody is talking really about winning.

This is HARDBALL and our continuing coverage of the terror in Paris.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

The Kremlin security service announced yesterday that traces of explosives
were found in the wreckage of the Russian Metrojet airliner which exploded
over Egypt, killing all on board.

Well, today, in an English-language ISIS propaganda magazine, ISIS released
a photograph of the improvised explosive device they said they used to take
down that plane. It shows the explosive material contained in a simple
soda can armed with a detonator. There it is.

The development comes as Russia launches a new bombardment of Syria,
including strikes on the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa. President Vladimir
Putin has vowed to punish ISIS. But previous Russian strikes in that
country, which began in September, have targeted the so-called Syrian
opposition forces instead. In other words, they have been fighting on
behalf of the government in Damascus.

Well, now, in the wake of ISIS attacks on France and Russia, of course, is
there a chance for a greater collaboration with Moscow among the French and
us and the Russians?

I`m joined right now Simon Marks, president of Feature News -- Feature
Story News, as well as MSNBC political analyst Sam Stein of The Huffington
Post.

Gentlemen, here is the problem. We look at the world. Usually, if
everybody is a victim, we always see ourselves as potential victim, as the
superpower. France and Russia, why don`t we join together, the big boys,
and beat up the midget, the J.V. or whatever we are calling them lately,
Is? Are we going to join together?

SIMON MARKS, FEATURE STORY NEWS: Well, look, there`s no question, Chris,
that is what Francois Hollande wants to achieve, and he is coming here next
Tuesday to sit with Barack Obama at the White House.

Then, Thursday, he will be in Moscow. He is clearly trying to negotiate
some sort of an agreement, serve as the bridge between Washington and
Moscow over this. But we shouldn`t get too excited about what Putin did
today.

Those bombing raids were focussed partly on Raqqa, but only partly on ISIS
in Raqqa. The Russians themselves concede that they also went after what
they describe as terrorist targets in Idlib and Aleppo. Those are two
places where ISIS is not strong.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: But they don`t suspect -- they don`t suspect...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: They suspect ISIS. And how does a strongman, a bully, whatever
you want to call him, a dictator, Vladimir Putin, not pounce on the enemy
of his country?

MARKS: There`s no reason for him not to pounce over the short-term on
ISIS. But I don`t see him make at this point making a long-term bargain to
do a deal with Barack Obama.

The safest bet in Vegas tonight is not on Putin doing the right thing. It
is on Putin doing what he thinks is most in Russia`s interest. And...

(CROSSTALK)

MARKS: ... Barack Obama.

MATTHEWS: Well, how does he keep the loyalty of the nationalistic
Russians, who are very fragile right now? They have lost their superpower
status. They get hopped up faster than most people in the world on his
behalf. Why would they not expect him to deliver, kill the bad guys?

MARKS: One, because he says he is killing the bad guys. So, first of all,
there has been this opaque version of events on the ground in Syria over
who he is really going after.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

MARKS: He has claimed ISIS, but he`s gone after Syria`s opponents.

MATTHEWS: OK. I`m giving Sam a chance here.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: President Obama -- I was talking during the break there. We got
caught talking.

SAM STEIN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

MATTHEWS: I mean, here they are head to head, a great scene. Does that
mean the president is ready to do business with a guy who he obviously has
distaste for?

STEIN: Well, I think Simon was getting at the sticking part here, which is
what happens after the bombing, what do you do with Assad, which has always
been the sticking point, the diplomatic problem here.

The administration has steadfastly said that they can`t have a fully
comprehensive Syria solution if Assad remains in power, because he is a
motivating factor for the terrorists.

MATTHEWS: And also for the refugees.

STEIN: And for the refugees as well.

MATTHEWS: Right.

STEIN: And so until they can actually resolve that element, I think these
are talks. I don`t think you can actually get anywhere on the long term in
terms of a collaborative U.S.-Russia...

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: But, politically, how does the president push with this status
quo policy, which may be brilliant, but it`s not active? People don`t see
us doing something to get something done.

STEIN: And that is the great quandary that the administration is facing
here, which is essentially, how do you sell don`t do something stupid?

MATTHEWS: Yes.

STEIN: And if you talk to people within the administration`s orbit -- it`s
not necessarily in the administration itself -- there is not delight that
Russia is getting more involved here, because obviously people want to have
the U.S. as a preeminent power, but they are not displeased that Russia is
getting involved here. They`re not totally alarmed by this.

MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you this. Sam, you know politics as well as I
do. Isn`t there something we should look like we are doing? What are we
doing? I don`t see us really doing anything.

(CROSSTALK)

STEIN: No, and I think that`s -- this is the problem that the
administration has, is, how do you show action without doing overreaction?

And if you step back a little bit and you put aside the Lindsey Grahams of
the world and I think Jeb Bush today, who was calling for more ground
forces...

MATTHEWS: Yes, and the American people.

(CROSSTALK)

STEIN: Basically, the candidates in the realm of the candidates all are
arguing for the same sort of prescription, right, which is a more robust
bombing.

MATTHEWS: Bomb the S. out of them.

STEIN: Yes, bomb the hell out of them, more special ops, more regional
allies buying into the strategy.

And that is basically the gist here. And so if you are looking at sort of
the totality of the policy prescriptions, they are limited.

MATTHEWS: You know what it looks like to me? Dainty.

STEIN: It could be.

MATTHEWS: And dainty doesn`t sell in this country.

I`m amazed how quickly the numbers have gone up to put ground troops over
there, having seen what we did when W. was in there with that idiotic
policy of other going to Iraq.

STEIN: Well, I would suspect that they would go down a little bit as we
move away from Paris.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: As we move away from Paris.

STEIN: Yes.

MATTHEWS: Paris is big in our thinking right now. We are back to french
fries. No more freedom fries.

STEIN: Only the opposite way, yes.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: ... point of view.

Anyway, thank you, Simon.

MARKS: Thank .

MATTHEWS: rMDNM_Simon Marks, thank you.

STEIN: Thanks, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Sam Stein.

Coming up, President Obama battles with Republican presidential candidates
-- we just talked about that -- as the debate heats up over here at home
over whether to accept Syrian refugees in the U.S. This is always not my
backyard, or not in my back arrondissement.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

We are following breaking news tonight newly released ISIS propaganda video
shows images of Times Square in New York suggesting that ISIS is looking to
target New York as the next target of attack. The video does not contain
any details, of course, about a plot against New York. That is not the way
ISIS deals with things.

The FBI released a statement moments ago saying, quote, "While there is no
specific articulable threat to the city at this time, the FBI New York
Joint Terrorism Task Force continues to vigilantly work with NYPD and other
law enforcement partners to keep the community safe and fully investigate
any threat information."

Anyway, I`m joined right now by New York Congressman Steve Israel.

I think if you want to cause trouble in this country, threaten New York.
We are -- it is the media capital of the world. It is like an old -- I
don`t know -- juke box or something, not a juke box, pin ball machine. All
the lights and bells go off if you say New York.

Are you worried up there?

REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: Well, look, we have known New York has
been a threat since 9/11. We live with it every day. This is life as we
know it.

So, while the federal government says it is not a credible threat -- it may
not be a credible threat, it`s a threat to my constituents. We worry about
it. We should worry about it.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

ISRAEL: And that`s why we just got to make sure that we`ve got the
vigilance necessary to protect against it.

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s talk about something real, and that is the probable
flow of immigrant -- migrants, of course, they`re called refugees into this
country from Syria itself. You`re going to vote on that issue tomorrow.

How do you see the Republican measure which apparently is attractive to a
lot of Democrats, which would make it tougher to get into this country as a
refugee?

ISRAEL: Well, look, we have -- I`m hoping and I`m working for a bipartisan
resolution that stipulates two things. Number one, that we`re going to
keep the American people safe. There is not a Republican or Democrat in
Congress who doesn`t believe that we should do more to keep the American
people safe. So, that is our top priority. That`s got to be just
absolutely implicit in this bill.

At the same time, I just want to make sure that where you have a Syrian mom
who is trying to protect a child from radicalization and indoctrination or
even worse, from torture by ISIS, who`s fleeing ISIS, that we don`t slam
the door on that person, that we don`t send those people back to be
radicalized and indoctrinized.

So, where there are common sense exceptions -- and I think most Americans
agree with this -- where there are common sense exceptions that don`t pose
a threat. But first and foremost, our job is to keep the American people
safe. I hope we can have a vote on a resolution tomorrow that embraces
those two notions.

MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, U.S. Congressman Steve Israel of New York
state.

Now to the political fight over terrorism with our people here. Speaking
from the Philippines, by the way, President Obama ripped into Republicans
who want to turn away Syrian refugees from coming into U.S.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These are the same folks who
suggest they are so tough that just talking to Putin or staring down ISIL
or using some additional rhetoric somehow is going to solve problems. But
apparently, they are scared of widows and orphans coming into the United
States of America as part of our tradition of compassion.

Now, first, they were worried about the press being too tough on them
during debates. Now, they are worried about 3-year-old orphans. That
doesn`t sound very tough to me.

They have been playing on fear in order to try to score political points or
to advance their campaigns. And it`s irresponsible. And it`s contrary to
who we are. And it needs to stop because the world is watching.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, Republican presidential candidate and Texas senator, Ted
Cruz, responded to the president earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me suggest something,
Mr. President, if you want to insult me, you can do it overseas, you can do
it in Turkey, you can do it in foreign countries, but I would encourage
you, Mr. President, come back and insult me to my face. Let`s have a
debate on Syrian refugees right now. We can do it anywhere you want. I
prefer it in the United States and not overseas where you are making the
insults.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s bring in HARDBALL round table for a HARDBALL
discussion.

Megyn Murphy is Washington bureau chief from Bloomberg Business, Jeremy
Peters is reporter for "The New York Times", and April Ryan is White House
correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio.

April, thank you for joining us as well.

Let me ask you starting with, April, I don`t think a president should ever
get snarky. Why did he do it there? Why is he making fun of the
Republicans? Because he let somebody like Cruz come back on equal terms
against him and be equally snarky.

APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO: This is a weighty issue. And you`re
right, it`s a back and forth snarkiness when there`s a serious issue. It`s
a serious issue in Paris and there`s concern of a possibility here, and
that`s the last thing you need.

What is at issue is the fact that the Parisians are trying to make sure
their land is safe. And they are also trying to balance the issue of
letting the Syrian refugees come in.

And we have an issue here where we have the FBI doing the same thing that`s
happening in Paris. They are trying to find those who are sympathizers of
the terrorists. What is happening is I am hearing from my sources in
intelligence that many of these sympathizers have gone underground in this
country.

So, while we are going through all of this here and in Paris, it needs to
be, I guess, a peace accord between Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and President
Obama right now.

MATTHEWS: Good luck with that one.

Jeremy, the immigration thing, the refugee thing -- this strikes at
everybody`s NIMBY, not in my backyard mentality. It`s the easiest vote in
the world is for a governor to say not here -- even if he can`t enforce it
constitutionally. How do you get hurt doing that?

JEREMY PETERS, THE NEW YORK TIMES: They can`t --

MATTHEWS: It`s an easy one. It`s a cheap one.

PETERS: Exactly. And as you pointed out, that`s why this is appealing to
Democrats in the House and the Senate who are going to be asked to vote on
this right now. The president will be veto it, of course.

MATTHEWS: Chuck Schumer saying perhaps a pause.

PETERS: Right, of course, he will.

MATTHEWS: That will be a safe position. But it`s damn political.

PETERS: Absolutely, it is. I mean, if you look at the polls on this, the
public wants the refugees stopped. They don`t want them coming into the
country. I think that it`s not an unreasonable position to defend to say,
look, until we know who these people are and we are able to properly vet
them, we`re going to have to put a pause on this.

MATTHEWS: Hey, look, everybody`s got an ethnic attitude about this
probably. They think everything is bad whenever we challenge people. We
all liked the Vietnamese coming here because they were on our side. They
were fighting for (INAUDIBLE). They were going to get screwed when they
lost the war and we know they`re going to lose it, right?

So, they`re over here doing well, and incredibly well-received and doing
incredibly. We don`t have a side in Syria. It`s on our side fighting the
other side, going to war with them, doing the best to defend their country
like the Vietnamese did. I have said this last night, 4 million refugees,
four people have joined our effort to fight the bad guys. Why one in a
million is going to fight for their own country.

They`re all contentious objectors. It isn`t just children and babies.
Look at the people on the boats. Every guy seems to be alone, a bachelor
in his 20s. Some of them should be willing to fight for their country if
we are thinking about it. The American people want to send our troops from
Arkansas and Louisiana to fight in a place they don`t speak the language,
they don`t belong there and we don`t want the Syrians to do their own
fighting. It doesn`t make any sense.

PETERS: This is where Congress has the opportunity to lead. And so far,
it`s completely abdicated their responsibility. That`s declare war.

MATTHEWS: I don`t know why we are not trying to fight allies. Why aren`t
we recruiting -- why aren`t we recruiting Syrians to fight for Syria?

MEGAN MURPHY, BLOOMBERG: What you are talking about is --

MATTHEWS: Is it too bizarre to ask this question?

MURPHY: But the issue is, why you see 3 million and 4 million people
streaming out of Syria is because they are subject to the same completely
barbaric acts of terror with their houses bombed, with people beheaded,
with people crucified on crosses in public squares.

MATTHEWS: What do you think the North Vietnamese were like in the VC and
the way they behave in battle? They didn`t take any prisoners. By the
way, what do you think the South Koreans were like, but the South Koreans
fought, the South Vietnamese fought. Why don`t the Syrians fight?

MURPHY: I think we have to be clear about separating the politics of this.
The politics are --

MATTHEWS: I asked the question, why are we fighting Syria when the Syrians
won`t?

The roundtable is sticking with us.

And up next, Donald trump launches a new political advertising touting his
plans for ISIS and Syrian refugees. He`s not mincing words, of course,
because we can`t use the words he is using on the air.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Seventy percent of Americans say the U.S. and its allies are
losing the fight against ISIS. That`s according to a new survey from NBC
News taken after the Paris attacks. Just 24 percent of us, that`s less
than a quarter, say the allies are winning.

And as we mentioned earlier, 65 percent saying ground troops to fight ISIS
over there in Iraq in Syria. Broken down by party, that number consists of
84 percent of Republicans and 54 percent. Catch that, a majority of
Democrats.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: We`re back with the HARDBALL roundtable, Megan, Jeremy and
April.

Donald Trump is polling away in the new polling up in New Hampshire and his
tough talk on terrorism may be fueling that rise. According to WBUR poll,
Trump is at 23 percent, ten points ahead of Dr. Carson and Marco Rubio.

And a brand-new FOX News poll just out tonight has Trump at 27 percent, 14
points ahead of Rubio.

And today on the conservative Boston radio show, there are so many of the
conservative shows out there, Trump slammed President Obama.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think he`s a threat to our
country. I mean, he must have some kind of a thing going, because you know
when you see that he won`t even call them by their name, attack after
attack after attack.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MATTHEWS: Anyway, weekly, I`m going to have a minute here for everybody,
but Megan, Jeremy, and April.

Is Trump going to be there in February, yes or no?

MURPHY: Absolutely.

PETERS: Yes, but I don`t think he`s going to be the president.

MATTHEWS: No, February. Let`s think two months ahead.

PETERS: I don`t know whether or not he`ll be the nominee.

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: I did not say it.

MATTHEWS: OK, where do you think he`ll be?

RYAN: He`ll be there. Money, money, money, money

MATTHEWS: I don`t think --

RYAN: Yes, it is, because he can pay!

MATTHEWS: What are you -- you`re getting closer. You`re getting so close.

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: I`m sorry, money talks. And other stuff walks.

MATTHEWS: I think he`s into American nationalism and has figured it out.

MURPHY: He`s tapped into the perfect moment right now. People are craving
strength, he`s showing it across foreign policy.

RYAN: And they love him because of his political money, as well as his
entertainment values.

MATTHEWS: I think there`s more to it than that. I think he`s like the
money that types merry Christmas, he has typed American nationalism.

RYAN: He has typed --

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Megan Murphy, Jeremy Peters, April Ryan, who
continues to resist my thoughts.

We`ll be right back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with a shift in the world. There are big,
bright signs out there that the country, our country, is looking for a big
strong leader.

I`ve shown you polls of Donald Trump opening up a lead in New Hampshire.
Not a big lead, but a wide one when the people running against him,
especially Dr. Ben Carson.

You know, nothing concentrates the mind, we know, like the threat of
imminent danger and Ben Carson is not the guy you call when you hear that
ISIS is coming. No one thinks of him as commander in chief material.

So, the question is, who is?

Well, Hillary Clinton sure is. I`m hardly alone in believing she is more
hawk than dove, more ready to send in military force than certainly I am,
just far more of an interventionist than she is, doesn`t like going
somewhere. Anyway, I see her as much stronger on offense, right now,
perhaps than I have a right to believe.

On the Republican side, there are a pair of clear winners. Donald Trump is
an American Putin, nationalistic, bullying, touchy. Marco Rubio is
hawkish, as well, if his voice seems trained to appeal to his contributors.
He sings the songs of those who want the United States to be forever
aggressive in fighting Arabs anywhere. It`s no more complicated than that.

Cruz is another potential winner in all of this, except that you have to be
truly miserable to have a down beat view of the world here and elsewhere to
choose him as our next president. I mean, so manifestly dreary in voice
and public personality. Who would like to live in a world Ted Cruz acts as
if he were born to, born to carry the burden of?

So good news for Trump, bad news for those who still hope we, Americans,
could have had better options. I`ve said it before. If he`s still up in
November, why do we think he won`t be up in February or June. Trump is
still there at the top.

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

Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>