updated 11/30/2015 9:42:53 AM ET 2015-11-30T14:42:53

Show: HARDBALL
Date: November 25, 2015
Guest: Michael Tomasky, Liz Mair, Ira Acree, Areva Martin, Rick Pearson

JOY REID, GUEST HOST: Holiday fear factor.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Joy Reid, in for Chris Matthews tonight from New
York.

Nearly 47 million people are expected to travel this week for
Thanksgiving, but it comes at a time of heightened alerts and fears of
terrorism. On Monday, the state Department Issued a worldwide travel alert
calling on U.S. citizens to exercise vigilance when in public places or
using transportation overseas.

The FBI issued a bulletin warning that terrorists could try to
replicate the recent Paris attacks on a smaller scale. Since that attack,
ISIS has pumped out a steady stream of propaganda videos including threats
against Washington, D.C., and New York, where at least 3.5 million people
are expected to line the streets for tomorrow`s Macy`s Thanksgiving Day
parade.

Today, the president and top security advisers reiterated that there
is no known specific threat to the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, right now, we know
of no specific and credible intelligence indicating a plot on the homeland.

As Americans travel this weekend to be with their loved ones, I want
them to know that our counterterrorism, intelligence, homeland security and
law enforcement professionals at every level are working overtime. They
are continually monitoring threats at home and abroad.

In the event of a specific credible threat, the public will be
informed. We do think it`s useful for people as they`re going about their
business to be vigilant. If you see something suspicious, say something.
That`s always helpful. But otherwise, Americans should go about their
usual Thanksgiving weekend activities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Now, as President Obama urges Americans to go about their usual
business and enjoy the holiday, America is a country on edge. In a recent
"Washington Post"/ABC News poll, more than four in five people said that
they thought a terrorist attack on the country was likely in the near
future.

And for more on the president`s remarks, I`m joined by NBC News
national correspondent Peter Alexander at the White House.

All right, Peter, get across sort of what were the basic remarks that
the president had for the country today.

PETER ALEXANDER, NBC CORRESPONDENT: well, I think what was as
important as the remarks was really the optics of this moment here. Over
the course of the last several days, we`ve heard President Obama make it
very clear to Americans that there is no specific and credible threat and
try to reassure Americans, as well.

But this was an image of him standing alongside the top
counterterrorism, homeland security, national security advisers in this
country. And the message, I think, in simple terms was basically, Let us
do the worrying. You do the celebrating. You do the enjoying. And if you
do see something, please let us know about that, as well. We will keep you
posted, as well.

The White House recognizes this president has faced a lot of
criticism. A majority of Americans have not been satisfied with his
handling of terrorism, don`t believe that he has a clear strategy against
ISIS, and they wanted to try, as best they could, calm some fears going
into this holiday weekend to give people the best sense they could of where
things stand at this moment.

REID: And Peter, one of the groups that`s doing the vigilance is the
FBI. Can you tell us what was behind the bulletin from the FBI this week?

ALEXANDER: Yes, so they put out this bulletin that they share with
local law enforcement officials, as well. And it said a variety of things.
Among them, it said that overseas, while the biggest fear is associated
with a Paris-style attack, that here at home, the real threat that they
worry about comes from lone wolf type attackers, more specifically
homegrown extremists.

There was actually another bulletin that went out today. These
bulletins are generally fairly routine. This one had only limited details
in it, but it made a point to police that they are likely aware of right
now. It said that attackers, in its words, could try to capitalize on the
Thanksgiving holiday to promote their agenda.

That`s the backdrop for law enforcement across the country, their
primary concern, as we said, those homegrown extremists, the primary
locales they have to protect, those soft targets. Even if they can`t stop
every site from being a potential target, their hope is that by being
present, they can not just reassure but potentially prevent and also serve
as a deterrent, as well.

REID: All right, Peter Alexander, thank you.

Jonathan Dienst is chief investigative reporter for NBC 4 in New York
and an NBC News contributing correspondent.

All right, Jonathan, so let`s talk about just pegging off of what
Peter Alexander talked about in this FBI report on lone wolf attacks. How
does the FBI decide what to protect, what to prioritize? You`ve got
football games going on tomorrow. Of course, you`ve got the Macy`s
Thanksgiving Day parade. How does the agency even begin to prioritize?

JONATHAN DIENST, NBC CONTRIBUTING CORRESPONDENT: Well, the priority
for New York FBI right now is this parade. They have a command center up
and running around the clock as the parade preparations are underway. The
police commissioner and the mayor just a short time ago held a news
conference of their own, saying there are no specific threats, the police
commissioner himself going to be on scene, attending the parade along with
thousands and thousands of police officers for this crowd that`s expected
to come close to about three million people expected to be in Manhattan
tomorrow to take part in this parade, and the NYPD deploying all of its
anti-terror units, helicopters in the air, extra cameras, bomb-sniffing
dogs.

So both at the federal level, at the local level, a massive show of
force both out on the streets, and also what we won`t see, which is behind
the scenes, the intelligence gathering, the constant monitoring of any
possible threats. But again, as of now, police and FBI officials telling
us there`s no specific threats.

Now, there have been a couple of leads that have been run down in New
York and Washington, but we`re told federal and local investigators tracked
those down and determined them to be washed out, that they`re not credible.
But that`s the type of work that`s being done around the clock to try to
ensure tomorrow`s parade, the upcoming Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting
among the celebrations that they`re keeping a close eye on here in New
York.

REID: And Jonathan, just really quickly because we know that every
year, there are massive security preparations for the parade, for the tree
lighting, et cetera, as there are probably around the country for
Thanksgiving celebrations.

Are you seeing, just as a reporter, a demonstrable increase in that
kind of security this year versus any other year?

DIENST: What`s happening here in the New York area is our police
departments are increasing their counterterrorism deployments and training.
So we were just given an inside look this past week of counterterror units
in training, in action, doing everything from active shooters to terrorists
taking over an office building and how police are training their
counterterror units to respond, 500 new counterterror unit officers being
deployed by the NYPD. That`s all they`re going to do.

So add that to 3,000 regular police officers who`ve gotten
counterterror and active shooter training, you are talking about a
considerable investment in the ability of the police departments in this
New York area to respond to the active shooter, to the terror incident.

But again, the key, all law enforcement tells us, is the intelligence
and advance. You don`t want the frontline troops to be the ones stopping
it. You want the intelligence in advance to sweep up any lone wolf or ISIS
cell that may be out there, and that is the hard work that is done behind
the scenes that we often don`t see.

REID: All right, Jonathan Dienst, thanks very much.

DIENST: Thank you.

REID: This afternoon, Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson said
that counterterrorism officials are focussed on threats from potential
Paris copycats and lone wolves.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEH JOHNSON, DHS SECRETARY: We in the U.S. government know of no
specific credible threat of a terrorist plot to the homeland. What we are
focused on and continue to be focused on, as we have before Paris, are
potential copycat acts similar to things that occur overseas. We`re
focussed on the lone actor, as well. And we`ve seen some of that overseas
and here in recent months.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Laith Alkhouri is an MSNBC terrorism analyst and director of
Middle East and North Africa research at Flashpoint.

OK, Laith, so we just heard Jonathan Dienst talk about the importance
of having intelligence in advance, rather than just relying on law
enforcement to respond. How do intelligence agencies even begin to piece
together the threats from potentially just individuals who are inspired by
organizations like ISIS but not even connected to them?

LAITH ALKHOURI, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Look, we know that law
enforcement, whether on the local or federal level, are conducting active
surveillance. That`s on the one hand. But on the other hand, we heard
from the U.S. government before that there are active terrorism
investigations taking place in, essentially, every single state. so the
threat from homegrown terrorism and violent extremism is actually very
real.

It`s just I believe that there is no credible specific threat stemming
after the Paris attacks that is posing a threat to the homeland, especially
here in New York. But since groups since 9/11, groups like al Qaeda, ISIS
and others, have voiced, have expressed their opinion about attacking, have
vowed to attack New York, have vowed to attack Washington. So we need to
be very, very vigilant despite the lack of actual specific threat to the
homeland.

REID: And Laith, I`m wondering, is there still considerable chatter
that even takes place, places like on line, on Twitter, one social media,
since these groups must know that they`re being monitored, right? The
common sense belief would be that those sites are being monitored.

So is there some other way that these organizations or individuals are
communicating?

ALKHOURI: Absolutely. There are, you know, areas of the Internet
that are under-scrutinized, like in the dark Web, for example, where we
know that, you know, ISIS and other groups are operating and propaganda
distribution and fund-raising, but also in communications. There are a
number of tools that are encrypted so they don`t allow, you know, law
enforcement to be able to eavesdrop on suspicious communications.

We see that a lot of ISIS supporters are shifting to these encrypted
platforms gradually but definitely steadily. And so, you know, these
platforms are there and they exist, and those guys are using them.

REID: And really quickly, Laith, I have to ask you how much law
enforcement is focusing on homegrown terrorists that have nothing to do
with the Middle East or Islamic terrorism. Vox News recently has a report
out saying since that 9/11, domestic terrorists killed 74 people, 48 have
been killed by right-wing extremists versus 28 from jihadi-related
extremists.

How much focuses on domestic -- strictly domestic terrorism this
holiday?

ALKHOURI: I mean, it`s very hard to discern how much focus is split
between here and there. But I think, you know, this goes into a larger
picture, which is, you know, if white supremacist groups start putting out
beheading videos and start vowing to conduct suicide bombings in the heart
of the United States, then much more attention will be given to those
groups.

But the mere fact that we are so struck by, you know, the footage that
comes out of the Middle East, North Africa and other places showing
beheadings, showing bombings, and of course, that all cemented in our
memory with the Paris attacks, showing such an aggressive raid by ISIS
operatives, too close to home here in the West, I think that raises the
level of paranoia and insecurity.

REID: All right. Laith Alkhouri, thanks, as always, my friend. Have
a great holiday.

ALKHOURI: Thank you, Joy.

REID: Thank you.

All right, coming up -- dangerous talk. Donald Trump`s divisive and
some would say dangerous rhetoric may be revving up his base, but it`s also
drawing increasing alarm from members of his own party. And now some
Republicans are belatedly organizing to try and take down the GOP front-
runner with just 10 weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses. The question,
though, at this point, can Trump be stopped before he locks up the
Republican nomination?

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID: Some good news for the millions of Americans hitting the road
this holiday weekend. The average price of regular gasoline is $2.20 a
gallon. That`s the best Thanksgiving weekend price since 2008. Just three
years ago, in 2012, it cost drivers $3.50 a gallon to gas up.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID: Welcome back to HARDBALL. As the editorial board of "The New
York Times" put it yesterday, America has just lived through another
presidential campaign week dominated by Donald Trump`s racist lies.

Agree or disagree, it has been quite a week for Trump. After calling
for the surveillance of mosques, Trump supported an unprecedented national
database to track Muslims in the United States. He`s called for a return
to Bush-era practice of waterboarding, and he`s repeatedly claimed that
thousands of American Muslims actually cheered the attacks on 9/11, a claim
that`s demonstrably false.

A day after a Black Lives Matter activist was roughed up at a Trump
campaign rally, the GOP front-runner suggested the African-American
protester deserved what he got. And he later retweeted a chart of
inaccurate crime statistics that falsely stated that blacks were
responsible for most homicides against whites.

Most recently, in a move that "The New York Times" has called
outrageous, Trump last night mocked a "New York Times" reporter who suffers
from a physical handicap limiting the movement of his arms.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You got to see this guy.
Oh, I don`t know what I said! Oh, I don`t remember! He`s, going, like, I
don`t remember! (INAUDIBLE) Oh, maybe that`s what I said!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: And that report is according to Politico. And now Ohio
governor John Kasich, who`s far back in the Republican pack, is out with a
provocative new Web ad intended to show why a Trump presidency is not just
bad for America, it would actually be dangerous.

In the ad, Colonel Tom Moe, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam,
paraphrases the famous text written by anti-Nazi pastor Martin Niemoeller
after World War II to make a stirring plea to those supporting and indeed
tolerating Trump within the GOP.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You might not care if Donald Trump says Muslims
must register with the government because you`re not one. And you might
not care if Donald Trump says he`s going to round up all the Hispanic
immigrants because you`re not one. And you might not care if Donald Trump
says it`s OK to rough up black protesters because you`re not one.

Think about this. If he keeps going and he actually becomes
president, he might just get around to you. And you better hope that
there`s someone left to help you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: I`m joined now by Republican strategist Liz Mair, who`s
launched a new super-PAC to try and stop Donald Trump, as well as Michael
Tomasky of the DailyBeast and MSNBC political analyst Howard Fineman of the
HuffingtonPost.

And Howard, I`m going to come to you first on this Kasich ad because
it strikes me that the ad is intended to try to prick the conscience of
Trump supporters, but I`m wondering if you think that the ad might just
actually insult them by essentially implying that they are affiliated with
Nazism or fascism?

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST GLOBAL EDITORIAL DIR., MSNBC POLITICAL
ANALYST: Well, it runs that risk. Having attended some Trump rallies and
been with his supporters there, most of them are decent people who don`t
think in those terms.

Now, that`s the voters. Donald Trump himself is guilty as charged.
He`s guilty of using every tactic of incitement and race and resentment and
ridicule and tumult that he can. That`s Donald Trump. That`s not
necessarily his supporters.

And separating those supporters from Donald Trump is what all of the
next couple of months are going to be about in the Republican race.

REID: And Michael, you`ve written specifically about the "F" word,
the word "fascism," which has been used by some Republicans. You had Bush
adviser John Noonan (ph) who said that forced legal registration of all
U.S. citizens based on religious identity is fascism, period. Nothing else
to call it.

There`s the Iowa radio host named Steve Deace who said that, If Obama
proposed the same religion registry as Trump, every conservative in the
country would call it what it is, creeping fascism. You had the adviser to
Marco Rubio, named Max Boot, say, Trump is a fascist, and that`s not a term
I use loosely or often, but he`s earned it.

And then, of course, your piece in the DailyBeast where you ask,
"We`re at the point where we`re debating whether the responsibility front-
runner is or is not objectively a fascist. Who in the Republican Party`s
going to step up here?"

I`m wondering if that kind of talk, because it`s not just directed at
Trump -- like the Kasich ad, it also is directed at his supporters, that
Republican base voters, winds up backfiring on people like Kasich.

MICHAEL TOMASKY, DAILYBEAST: I think it probably does, to some
extent, Joy, sad to say. You know, Trump`s supporters -- they`re with him.
You know, we -- they`re -- it`s not a majority of the country by any
stretch of the imagination. It`s not a majority of the Republican Party
electorate. But they are with him.

They are with -- they have already made up their minds. And if you
start tossing around the word fascism or creeping fascism or whatever you
want to say, that`s not going to make those people say, oh, gee, I didn`t
realize I was supporting a fascist. I had better back off. That is going
to get their back up and that`s going to make them all the more ardently in
support of him.

It has to be done a different way and it has to be done by Republicans
themselves. I am a kind of dissenter on this Kasich ad. I think if John
Kasich has something to say about Donald Trump, just stand up and say it
yourself. And I would say that to a lot of other Republicans, too,
including Republicans in the United States Senate and United States House.

REID: Yes.

And, you know, Liz, this ad strikes me -- obviously not being a Trump
supporter, it strikes me as a really powerful ad that would, in a general
election, actually be really quite powerful. And I think I might be more
with Michael Tomasky in the primary. But you actually have a super PAC
called Trump Card LLC, which is trying to go at it I`m presuming a
different way to try to stop Donald Trump.

LIZ MAIR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes.

REID: So, tell us what your super PAC is trying to do and how does it
differ from the Kasich approach?

MAIR: Right.

I think, as you have seen from Kasich, obviously, they are using a Web
video to get media. But we are thankfully not hindered with the difficulty
of having to advance a particular candidate. We are just basically
focusing on Donald Trump.

So, while what they did, I think, may work very well in terms of
getting John Kasich more mentions and more bookings and put him more in the
spotlight, we don`t really need to worry about any of that. We just need
to worry about going after Trump.

And from our perspective, he does have a couple of liabilities. One
of the big ones, we know from focus-grouping that has been done is his
supporters are not aware of the fact that he is supportive of socialized
medicine, and he likes the Canadian health care and he likes the British
health care system.

And when they find that out, they don`t like it. We also know that
his supporters firmly believe that he is an A-plus business success and are
completely unaware of the fact that he has actually had numerous, very
major business failings. And so I think the more that his business record
is examined, the more that is going to help in terms of the profile that he
cuts with those supporters.

In addition to that, we also know that they see him as being quite
apart from the normal political class, somebody who is not capable of being
impacted by special interests. I think the more that he comes to be seen
as a walking, talking special interest himself, which he very clearly is --
and if you look at his habits of abusing eminent domain, that is a really,
really nice case in point.

I think that is also potentially going to erode support. And then the
tricky one, which I think is what this ad is kind of getting at and what
the Kasich super PAC ad is also getting at, is the issue of his gaffes,
because obviously a lot of Trump-supportive individuals really like this,
like, he is not politically correct, he just tells it like it is, he`s a
real keeper.

They like that sort of aspect of him, but also we do know that they
are very concerned that he will at some point go too far and say something
that basically throws the entire election to whoever they don`t want,
whether that is Marco Rubio, whether that is Hillary Clinton.

And so one of the issues for us is identifying what that is, what`s
the too far thing, and making sure that people are actually aware of that
and are hearing that. And I think we have seen Trump have to walk back
some of his remarks in past. And so that is a guide to the fact that he is
cognizant that he can go too far.

REID: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

REID: And yet, Liz, and yet, and yet "The Washington Post" is
reporting today that, according to a top Republican strategist, Trump
supporters are not easily swayed by traditional political messaging.

And what they said is: "They are incredibly angry. He is the first
guy in their mind who speaks to that anger in a visceral way. They have a
deep longing for that."

In addition to that, data from the Public Religion Research Institute
out last week sheds light on the kind of anger that they feel. Namely, 80
percent of Trump supporters say they believe immigrants are a burden on
this country. Furthermore, 74 percent of Trump supporters say
discrimination against whites is a problem.

Howard, I fail to see how talking to angry, disaffected, working-class
-- basically working-class white voters who are just angry in their deep id
are going to care about Trump`s business record or that he once supported
universal health care.

FINEMAN: No, they`re not going to care about that, I don`t think.

And I just came back from a meeting of Huffington Post editors from
around the world in Madrid, of all places, where they were taking note of
the 40th anniversary of the death of Francisco Franco, who was the ultimate
modern fascist leader.

And what fascism was about there and what the Europeans who are
looking back at the U.S. are seeing in Donald Trump is a guy who conflates
his own personality and his own quirks with a powerful state. In other
words, he is not a libertarian. This is about as far from libertarianism
as you`re going to get.

This guy is for big government as long as he is running big
government. And what he is telling those people at those rallies that I
have attended, and the reason they are embracing him is that he is saying:
I will simplify all of this. I will get rid of all of the complexities.
Everything that you need, all your fears will be answered because of me and
me alone at the big giant lever of government.

That is what fascism was in Spain. That is what the Spanish people
have spent a generation trying to live down. That`s what Europeans who ask
me about Donald Trump ask me about. They don`t think he`s a joke. When
they look at Donald Trump, they see an American version of things they have
had to deal with in modern European history. And they don`t want to see it
on their shores, although, ironically, because of arguments about refugees
and race and religion in Europe, they have got the same problems over there
emerging in Europe right now.

REID: Yes. And we have got to go.

But, really quickly, Michael Tomasky, is there any one of those 14
Republicans that you can see actually making the case against Donald Trump
successfully to that base?

TOMASKY: Maybe Lindsey Graham makes it.

(CROSSTALK)

REID: Well, that`s no hope at all.

(LAUGHTER)

TOMASKY: But he`s got 1 percent.

(CROSSTALK)

REID: We got to go. Thank you so much.

Liz Mair, Howard Fineman, and Michael Tomasky, who has killed all
hope.

(LAUGHTER)

REID: Up next, we go live to Chicago one day after charges are filed
and a video released of a white police officer fatally shooting a young
black man.

HARDBALL is back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAHM EMANUEL (D), MAYOR OF CHICAGO: Do we have to make change?
Absolutely. It`s always working towards a culture that understands that
you`re accountable. It`s an honor to serve the public. And because you
serve the public, you`re not above the law, but you actually are there and
you will be held accountable like everybody else, and accountable not just
like everybody else, but to a higher standard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel last night talking about police
accountability after the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by a white
Chicago police officer named Jason Van Dyke in October of last year.

Dash-cam video released yesterday by authorities, a portion of which
you see here, shows McDonald being shot 16 times, including while he was on
the ground. Now, we stopped the video after the first shots were fired.

Van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder and Chicago`s top
cop is promising justice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARRY MCCARTHY, CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: The officer in this
case took a young man`s life and he`s going to have to account for his
actions.

And that is what today is all about. Today is about accountability.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Many in Chicago are upset that it took 13 months for the video
to be released.

But, tonight, a spokesperson for Mayor Rahm Emanuel disputes any
notion that he withheld the tape from the public. The mayor`s spokesperson
e-mailed the statement to HARDBALL -- quote -- "This case, including the
video, was turned over to prosecutors within days of the incident. As the
state`s attorney said yesterday, the course the city took was in the best
interest of law enforcement officials in allowing them to conduct the
investigation which led to the first-degree murder charge that was filed
against Jason Van Dyke yesterday."

And I should note that the president has also made a statement about
the Laquan McDonald shooting, saying that all Americans should remember the
tragedy and saying he was disturbed by it.

Joining me now from Chicago are Rick Pearson of "The Chicago Tribune,"
Pastor Ira Acree of the Saint John Bible Church, and attorney and legal
expert Areva Martin.

And I want to go to you first, Reverend Acree.

What do you want to see happen now in the McDonald case?

IRA ACREE, PASTOR, GREATER SAINT JOHN BIBLE CHURCH: Well, in my
community, many people feel betrayed and violated, and they are insulted by
the fact that the mayor and the superintendent is making this about one
cop.

We see a system that has betrayed us. We see even the potential of
three entities of government working together in collusion. We want a
special prosecutor to look at this, because many of us have questions.

Why did it take 13 months for this case to come to light? And then a
video had to be forced to be released by a judge. Five months -- I mean --
pardon me -- $5 million was paid to the family member, and this family
member didn`t even raise the child. This child was a ward of the state.

Many people feel Anita Alvarez has lost all of her moral authority.
So, certainly, we need an independent prosecutor to look at this right now.

REID: And, Rick Pearson, you cover politics in Chicago.

What we just heard from Ira Acree, from Reverend Acree, were
allegations essentially of collusion, of a cover-up by the city. In
reporting on this case, do you get the sense that the city came together
and colluded, including that settlement, which did come about a month after
the discovery by a reporter of the autopsy report showing that McDonald,
that the young man was shot 16 times and not one time?

Do you see evidence that the city conspired to cover up this case.

RICK PEARSON, POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE": I can`t say
that we see evidence, but there`s certainly some valid questions here.

You touched on the fact of that settlement. That settlement came just
a week after the mayor`s reelection campaign. And though the mayor says he
did not see this video until shortly after it was released yesterday, there
is a lot of people who are questioning whether there was some kind of
political motivations here.

The fact that a settlement was reached before a lawsuit, before any
kind of action had taken place, there is a lot of complaints in all parts
of this city over what took so long.

REID: Yes.

And, Areva Martin, very briefly, the other thing that you are hearing
from a lot of people on the ground is the prosecutor overcharged this case
in order to essentially lose the case. Do you see evidence of an
overcharge in the case of this young man?

AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY: Well, clearly, there is going to be some
question about she can prove premeditation, which is required for first-
degree murder.

And I think some people are concerned that she did overcharge the
case, one, to appease what she thought would be the community that would
protest, as we see they are doing, and perhaps to -- as you just said,
perhaps not to be successful in the trial of the police officer.

And the other thing that I think we have to look at in these cases
that keeps coming up time and time again is the culpability of the other
officers. If officers are covering up what they see as criminal activity
by officers, they need to be prosecuted as well.

It`s not enough to just prosecute the cop that pulled the trigger. If
we are going to really address the systemic problem we have in police
departments around this country, we have to look at everybody involved,
including prosecutors, but definitely those other cops who have information
and cover up for their fellow officers.

REID: Yes, we certainly have only seen charges against one of those
officers in this case. Very important point.

Thank you to all three of you, Rick Pearson, Ira Acree, and Areva
Martin. Wish we had more time. Thank you.

All right, and up next: Cruz control. Ted Cruz is rising in the Iowa
Republican polls. If it ultimately comes down to Cruz and Trump, what does
that fight look like?

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger.
Here`s what`s happening.

President Obama and his family participated in a service project,
serving food at a homeless shelter.

NFL Hall of Famer Frank Gifford had a brain condition often linked to
head trauma, like concussions. His family disclosed the diagnosis.
Gifford died this summer at the age of 84.

And a U.S. official says the deadly bombing of a Doctors Without
Borders hospital in Afghanistan last month was a tragic mistake. The crew
of the gunship that fired on the compound relied on a physical description
provided by Afghan forces, which led them to attack the wrong target --
back to HARDBALL.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t believe Donald
is going to be the nominee. And I think, in time, the lion`s share of his
supporters end up with us.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

REID: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

That was Senator Ted Cruz in a radio interview last month saying that
Donald Trump will lose the Republican nomination and predicting that he,
Ted Cruz, will inherit Trump`s supporters.

New polling from Quinnipiac shows Cruz in a statistical tie with Trump
in Iowa, but Cruz`s gain in support doesn`t come from former Trump
supporters, as he predicted. It appears to be coming at the expense of Dr.
Ben Carson, who has declined by 10 points since last month.

Now, for months, Cruz and Trump have avoided attacking each other and
have largely agreed on policy. And Cruz is seemingly content -- has been
content to just draft behind Trump`s momentum and wait.

But now it seems Ted Cruz is looking to differentiate himself from the
GOP front-runner.

First, Cruz declined to back a national registry of Muslims in this
country with Trump`s support. Here is what he said on Friday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, listen, I`m a big
fan of Donald Trump`s. But I`m not a fan of government registry of
American citizens. The First Amendment protects religious liberty. And I
spent the past several decades defending religious liberty of every
American.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Then, on Monday, Cruz took another subtle and in many ways
ironic swipe at Trump on immigration, telling "The Associated Press" that
"Tone matters. Are there some in the Republican Party whose rhetoric is
unhelpful with regard to immigration? Yes."

As Sahil Kapur of "Bloomberg Politics" observed today, Trump`s bravado
gives Cruz a chance to paint himself as something nobody in Washington
would accuse him of being, prudent and measured.

I`m joined now by HARDBALL round table: David Ignatius is a columnist
for "The Washington Post", Anne Gearan is a political correspondent with
"The Washington Post", and Sahil Kapur is with "Bloomberg News".

And, Sahil, I just read your quote about the measured Mr. Cruz. I`m
going to come to you on this first. Give us some of the ways that Cruz is
trying to distance and differentiate himself from Donald Trump.

SAHIL KAPUR, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Joy, the big thing that is happening is
that Cruz realized after four months of Trump being in the lead, something
like four and a half months, Trump is not going to fade on his own and Cruz
is going to have to make these distinctions. He is starting doing that
with Senator Rubio a few weeks ago. Now, he`s doing that with Trump.

He`s essentially presenting himself as the reliable conservative
version of Donald Trump, the one who`s been saying these things for a long
time, the one who`s not just an opportunist and someone who the base can
trust.

He is using the fact that he has been in the Senate. He`s had, you
know, a long voting record, of voting almost perfectly with ideological
conservative groups and he`s distinguishing himself as someone who will
stand by conservative principles and constitutional principles. That`s
what we are seeing right now.

REID: And, Anne Gearan, you know, my theory has always been that the
Republican Party is this three-legged stool of sort of Wall Street kind of
elites. You`ve got your sort of blue collared white vote that Donald Trump
is appealing to, and then you got the evangelical piece.

We know that Ted Cruz is rising with the evangelical part. Out on the
campaign trail, what is Cruz doing to try to appeal to those other two
components of the Republican base?

ANNE GEARAN, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think it`s interesting.
You are seeing him start to, in some ways, pattern himself after some of
the things that have been successful for Trump without doing the full
showmanship and certainly without going as far on any of these issues as
Trump has gone.

I think he is starting to be more populist. He is starting to have
more of an every man`s stance that certainly has done well for Trump and,
certainly, as we were just discussing I think that he is now making what
may turn out to be a smart play here where he`s calling Trump out, as Trump
gets to the edge of the cliff he is saying, hey, look, I wouldn`t be the
guy who jumps over that cliff.

And to the extent that there is a sort of more measured and moderate
Republican sentiment that kind of likes Trump but doesn`t like everything
he says, he is positioning himself to be a good alternative.

REID: Pretty extraordinary that the measured moderate alternative
would be the guy that pushed the House to shut down the government.
Interesting times that we live in.

All right. David, speaking of the cliff, you wrote a scathing column
today about Trump`s inflammatory rhetoric, following the Paris attacks.
You said, "Trump appears to be enflaming the situation deliberately to
advance his presidential campaign. These aren`t just a politician`s
exaggeration, they`re dangerous fabrications meant to engender fear at a
time when calm is needed."

But I wonder, David, if what Donald Trump is actually doing is
appealing to the true sentiments or of at least a substantial portion of
the Republican base?

DAVID IGNATIUS, THE WASHINGTON POST: There are a lot of Republican
voters who agree with Trump about immigration. Polls show that. There are
a lot of Republican voters who want that get tough strongman/bring America
back no matter what. Donald Trump was saying he thought waterboarding was
great in a recent comment.

What I try to say in my column this morning is that if you talk to
counterterrorism professionals, law enforcement, intelligence officers,
people who are working 24/7 to try to keep the country safe, they will tell
you that we depend on the willingness of Muslim Americans to cooperate with
law enforcement in their local communities if they see something going on,
if they see young people who are becoming extremists to speak up and help
address that.

And it`s precisely the fabric of trust that those people have for the
United States, feeling they`re part of the country. I think Trump is
risking and undermining. I heard today after that column from a number of
people who were from this world that deals with terrorism on a daily basis
who basically said we share the concern. I think Trump is going to have to
--

REID: Can I ask you quickly, David, because are they also concerned
that other candidates are going in Trump`s direction to include people like
Marco Rubio, who`s more of a neocon, but who are going -- they`re not going
away from Trump`s rhetoric, they are also ratcheting up the bluster.

IGNATIUS: They certainly have hawkish conservative lines on foreign
policy. In terms of really inflammatory rhetoric about Muslims, about
Syrian refugees, Trump and Carson have been out on the wing. It`s
interesting that Ted Cruz, hard to say that Ted Cruz moderate alternative
in any sense to Donald Trump.

He did call him out on the question of database for Muslims, as a
constitutional scholar, he thinks that is impermissible.

REID: Yes.

IGNATIUS: So, you know, what I`d say about Cruz is he is the outsider
who might be able to win if you think that Trump has gone so far that he
begins to fall off the cliff.

REID: Yes. Interesting. OK, the roundtable is going to stay with
us.

And coming up, we`re going to take a look at the Democratic side of
the race for 2016. New numbers for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
That`s up next.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is hard to believe
that this is my seventh year of pardoning a turkey. Time flies, even if
turkeys don`t.

(LAUGHTER)

MALIA OBAMA, FIRST DAUGHTER: That was good. That was good.

BARACK OBAMA: I thought it was good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: You can look at it, but it`s still not (ph) funny.

Washington is a city of tradition and today with no exception. Today,
President Obama flanked by fashionable first teenagers Sasha and Malia
performed the annual pardoning of the national Thanksgiving turkey. This
year`s lucky fowl is Honest, and Honest`s alternative Abe. That`s right,
Honest and Abe.

It was the 68th year the turkeys pardoned by America`s chief
executive, and the two lucky birds will move to Leesburg, Virginia, where
they will be happily ensconced in a nice safe turkey farm, far away from
hungry humans.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID: And we`re back with the roundtable, David, Sahil and Anne.

And let`s turn to the Democrats now. There`s good news for Hillary
Clinton in Iowa, where she appears to be holding her lead over Bernie
Sanders. That`s according to the latest Quinnipiac poll. Hillary has the
backing of just over half of likely caucus-goers. In Iowa, Sanders gets 42
percent.

Now, what accounts for her strength there and how important is winning
Iowa if Bernie Sanders has any shot of upending Clinton`s path to the
nomination.

And I want to come to you first on that, Anne, because I have been out
there with you on the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton. "The New York
Times" has a piece out today where they talk about the fact that Hillary
has the heart -- doesn`t have the heart of Iowa, she has their heads.

Does that matter if, in the end, she also has the win in Iowa?

GEARAN: Well, I mean, they are banking on the fact that, no, in the
end, it doesn`t matter. She certainly is out there trying to win hearts
but this poll shows -- is essentially unchanged from a month earlier. And
one of the most interesting things in it is that more people in Iowa say --
more Democrats say that they like Bernie Sanders` leadership on the economy
over Clinton`s, and yet, a majority support Clinton.

So, some of the same people who have a preference for Sanders`
economic policies pick her. The only reason to do that is because they
think she can win.

REID: And, Sahil, isn`t that the bottom line here, is that Democrats
are not so much concerned with having a 2008 sort of emotional connection?
They are interested in winning the election. And isn`t that Bernie
Sanders` biggest problem?

KAPUR: Absolutely. Joy, this is a mind versus heart dilemma that
candidate -- that Democrats are having, which is the way one strategist put
it to me. Sanders is seen as the long-standing, consistent progressive,
who has been saying these things, talking about income inequality and
climate change for a long time. Clinton is seen as someone who`s motivated
by a mix of pragmatic and political considerations.

But at the end of the day, Democrats overwhelmingly see her as
likeliest to win as the best person to carry their torch to a general
election, which they real size probably not going to be easy to win --

REID: Right.

KAPUR: Given the fact that Democrats have held the White House for
two terms now.

REID: And very quickly, David, on the issue of international security
or national security and terrorism, what does it mean that Bernie Sanders
has stayed on his economic message and has been the only candidate not to
add national security to the his rhetoric on the stump or change his view?

IGNATIUS: It means that he knows what his strength is. It also means
to me that he continues in some ways to be a protest candidate, even in his
own mind and not a convincing person who could win the nomination and
become president.

It was very interesting that he just -- even in the aftermath of
Paris, didn`t want to take on foreign policy.

When he does, it`s his very liberal view. The United States should
not lead in the world. We should stay out of these conflicts, and I think
he doesn`t want to change that in the wake of Paris.

REID: Yes. At all.

OK. The roundtable is going to stick with me, because up next, these
three are going to tell me something that I don`t know.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID: We are back with the HARDBALL roundtable.

All right. David, tell me something I don`t know.

IGNATIUS: Barack Obama`s new best friend in the Middle East is the
leader of the UAE, Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed. President Obama has talked to
him at length three times in the last month about Syria.

REID: All right. Interesting.

All right. Anne?

GEARAN: So, Monday, 13 women Democratic senators will endorse Hillary
formally and have a fund-raising event for her in Washington. It`s the
largest such event that`s been held so far, and it shows her lock on the
elected Democratic legislators. The only problem is there are 14 women
Democratic senators. Can you guess which one won`t be there?

REID: Please, just tell us.

GEARAN: It will be Senator Warren, will not be there.

REID: Oh. Well, that`s interesting.

All right. Sahil?

KAPUR: Joy, since it`s Thanksgiving, I want to tell our viewers that
a recent poll asked Americans which presidential candidate they believe is
most likely to ruin Thanksgiving, and Donald Trump won by a 2:1 margin.
Second was Hillary Clinton. Also the same poll found that by 3:1 margin,
Republicans oppose President Obama`s executive order to pardon the turkey.

So, happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

REID: Well, happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

And very follow-up to Anne, is there forgiveness between the Clinton
camp and some of those women senators who weren`t with her last time?
Because I know there were some tension before.

GEARAN: Yes, there has been largely. Warren clearly is holding out
for a little while.

REID: He`s holding out. The question is, holding out for what? It`s
going to be interesting to see whether she ultimately actually lands in a
camp, because it`s true, she should naturally -- think be with Bernie but
she ain`t with him either. Has Bernie gotten any endorsements,
congressional?

GEARAN: Yes, a few and some in state houses as well.

REID: Yes.

GEARAN: But Clinton is so far ahead.

REID: He`s so far ahead.

All right. Well, thank you very much to my roundtable, David
Ignatius, Anne Gearan and Sahil Kapur.

That is HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. And a very, very
happy Thanksgiving, from all of us here at HARDBALL."

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


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