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'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

July 16, 2013
Guests: Kisha Hebbon, Margie Omero, Kirsten Gillibrand, Barbara Boxer

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Inside the jury room.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in San Francisco.

"Let Me Start" tonight with this. A juror speaks. Juror number B-37 said
that there was a difference in the initial vote when they started
deliberations last Friday in Sanford, Florida. Not all of the six women
had the same judgment of what they heard during the many weeks of trial of
George Zimmerman. One of the jurors, according to juror B-37, wanted to
convict the defendant of second degree murder. Two of the jurors were
ready to convict on manslaughter.

So this raises the question, at least to a degree, of whether a stronger
prosecution case or a weaker performance by Zimmerman`s high-quality
defense team would have made the difference late in the day.

Well, the questions people are focusing on deal with the ability of this
particular jury to understand what it`s like to be a black youth in today`s

To use that familiar phrase, do they get it? Do they know what it`s like
to have people suspect you of the worst because of what you look like, what
you`re dressed like or some combination?

And are the people making their judgments about this case looking at the
narrower question of guilt or innocence that the jury was asked to decide,
not what`s happened in this country over the centuries and decades, not
what happens every day today on the highways, on the streets and in the
stores of America, where young African-Americans get singled out and often
humiliated, but what happened in those very few moments or less when the
tragedy reached its climax.

As I said last night, we need a larger jury to see the larger pictures and
to make the larger judgment. Does anyone disagree? Billy Martin is a
criminal defense attorney. "The Washington Post`s" Jonathan Capehart is,
of course, an MSNBC contributor.

Gentlemen, thank you. I want to hear all your judgments. I have my own.
I want to hear yours. This is my listening time. I`m learning a lot about
America the last few days.

Let`s look at this right now. One of the six jurors, as I said, spoke out
for the first time last night on CNN. She didn`t identify herself, but she
did speak openly about the case, apparently candidly. Who knows. She said
she didn`t think race played a role in Zimmerman`s thinking that night --
in his thinking. Let`s listen.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Why do you think George Zimmerman found Trayvon
Martin suspicious, then?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because he was cutting through the back. It was
raining. He said he was looking in houses as he was walking down the road,
kind of just not having a purpose to where he was going. He was stopping
and starting. But I mean, that`s George`s rendition of it.

COOPER: Was that a common belief on the jury, that race was not -- that
race did not play a role in this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think all of us thought race did not play a role.


MATTHEWS: Well, she also said she thought Zimmerman was well intentioned
that night. Let`s watch.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think his heart was in the right place. It just
went terribly wrong.

COOPER: Do you think he`s guilty of something?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he`s guilty of not using good judgment. When
he was in the car and he called 911, he shouldn`t have gotten out of that

COOPER: Do you have any doubt that George Zimmerman feared for his life?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had no doubt George feared for his life in the
situation he was in at the time.


MATTHEWS: Billy Martin, you`re a skilled trial attorney, one of the best.
Tell me what you think about that comment. What does that tell you about
the case, the way it was fought by the prosecution, the way it was defended
by the defense team?

comments mean to me and what they signify to me is that she did not get it
in terms of understanding race relations and race in America.

I start at the beginning. You have a young 17-year-old kid who happens to
be African-American, who`s walking through a neighborhood, coming from a
convenience store, and he`s followed. That kid probably had real fear in
his life when he tried to lose Mr. Zimmerman and he could not. He was
frightened for his life.

And to hear her say that she didn`t think that race played a role -- as a
black man, as a father of a young black kid, I would think that -- what
first came to my mind was, I`m in trouble, and I`m running for my life or
I`m trying to lose this kid.

And I think that the prosecution did not put on a very good case, and I
think that the prosecution allowed the defense to talk about George
Zimmerman`s story. You hear this juror and you see the familiarity with
the -- with George Zimmerman --

MATTHEWS: Yes, she called him George.

MARTIN: She calls him George. She calls him George. And you can see that
she bought George`s story, and George Zimmerman never testified.

I think the prosecution made a colossal mistake, the biggest mistake in
this trial, when they allowed George Zimmerman`s statements to come in in
their case in chief through the detective and then through his friend.


MARTIN: I think it was a big mistake.

MATTHEWS: Also, the fact -- and you have to allow for the fact, there he
was, sitting several feet from her for all these weeks. Maybe she did
develop an identity with this guy. Who knows.

But here`s my larger -- well, it`s not a larger question, it`s my only
question. Do you think there was a way for the prosecution to skillfully
and effectively present the experience, as they understood it to be, of
Trayvon Martin in those critical moments? In other words infused with the
knowledge you`ve just given, in terms of social reality in this country,
racial reality, how could they have presented in court a sort of a virtual
picture of what this young guy was going through right up until he was
shot? How could they do it? Is it impossible?

MARTIN: I don`t think it was impossible. I think the -- I think what the
prosecutors had to do here was make it simple, keep this case very simple.
He was following -- the evidence will show that George Zimmerman called the
police to say that he was following this young man, and the police told him
not to, "We don`t need you to do that," that he was carrying a gun, that at
some point, that gun came out.

If they had kept that simple, without putting his statements in, I think
the jurors would have been confronted with a different case, and George
Zimmerman would have been forced to take the witness stand to tell his
story directly and been subject to cross-examination.

MATTHEWS: Jonathan, let`s go to the -- let`s go to the political part you
and I are more familiar with. Of course, you`re an African-American, so
you are familiar with this -- have you ever been bothered by police? Have
you ever been bothered by people in a way you could describe that said,
They`re just looking at me as a black guy? No matter what I`ve done in
school, no matter how well I`ve behaved in my life, they`re looking at me
in profile terms?

mean, I`ve never had a situation with the police. But I have had the more
mundane, in other ways more corrosive interactions, from not being picked
up by cabs in New York City --

MATTHEWS: Oh, yes.

CAPEHART: -- years ago, and there I am standing with an L.L. Bean tote
bag and dressed in a jacket and tie, and cabs wouldn`t stop, and I had to
come up with my own ways of getting cabs in New York City.

And just recently, my mother and I -- Mother`s Day -- we went into a local
store right here on 14th Street, and you know, we were greeted at the door
by this -- by this young person. He said hello, and we kept walking around
the store, looking around. And every time we turned around, there was this
guy. And my mother felt so uncomfortable, she said, Let`s get out of here.
Every time I turn around, he`s underfoot.

MATTHEWS: Unbelievable.

CAPEHART: So those are the situations that I have to deal with still to
this day.

MATTHEWS: How does that influence -- or rather, inform you, as to what you
saw that you -- I`m not going to put words in your mouth. Did you see
something in that trial that these white women, or mostly white women, five
out of six, with an Hispanic woman, didn`t see in terms of the testimony,
the actual hearing of the evidence?

CAPEHART: Yes, well, Chris, there`s not enough time in your show to go
through all that. But I think there two reasons why probably race didn`t
come into the trial as prominently as I think a lot of people thought it

And it boils down to two rulings against the prosecution by Judge Nelson.
One, she said that the prosecution could not say in its opening argument
that Trayvon Martin was racially profiled. She said that they could say he
was profiled, and people could make their own inferences from that.

The other thing that she -- the other ruling that she made against the
prosecution was saying that all of the -- all of George Zimmerman`s 911
calls could not be played in court, only some of them.

If all of them -- and I think they numbered more -- more than 25 or 30 --
if they were all played and the jury could hear over and over and over
again George Zimmerman saying that the people he`s talking about are black
males, African-American males, teenage -- black teenage males, that I think
the conversation might have gone a whole lot differently, and most
certainly, race would have to have come up in that jury room.

MATTHEWS: OK, well, let`s take a look at what Eric Holder, the attorney
general, had to say. He was addressing the NAACP down in Orlando late this
afternoon, where he talked about the Trayvon Martin killing. Let`s watch.


President Obama in urging all Americans to recognize that, as he said, we
are a nation of laws and the jury has spoken. I know the NAACP and its
members are deeply and rightly concerned about this case as passionate
Civil Rights leaders, as engaged citizens, and most of all, as parents.

This afternoon, I want to assure you of two things. I am concerned about
this case, and as we confirmed last spring, the Justice Department has an
open investigation into it.


HOLDER: Now, while that inquiry is ongoing, I can promise that the
Department of Justice will consider all available information before
determining what action to take.


MATTHEWS: Attorney General Holder also spoke about the Trayvon Martin case
in personal terms, as you just see. Let`s listen to more.


HOLDER: For all the progress that we`ve seen, recent events demonstrate
that we still have much more work to do and much further to go.

The news of Trayvon Martin`s death last year and the discussions that have
taken place since then reminded me of my father`s words so many years ago,
and they brought me back to a number of experiences that I had as a young
man, when I was pulled over twice and my car searched on the New Jersey
Turnpike when I`m sure I wasn`t speeding, or when I was stopped by a police
officer while simply running to catch a movie at night in Georgetown in
Washington, D.C. I was, at the time of that last incident, a federal


MATTHEWS: Well, the attorney general also said that Trayvon`s death caused
him to sit down with his own son to talk about the issues of being a black
man in America. Pretty strong stuff.

Let me go back to Billy Martin in this and your sense -- let`s get to the
question of the attorney general here. He`s definitely in the determining
seat here, not just the hotseat. He has to make a judgment call whether
there is a good case to be made about a civil rights violation here. What
do you see?

MARTIN: Chris, I had the pleasure of serving as a federal prosecutor with
the attorney general. I know the attorney general. I know that he will
look at this -- he and his staff will look at this to see if Zimmerman`s
prior statements, his prior positions brought race into it and they can
show that he was, in fact, violating Trayvon Martin`s civil rights. He`ll
look at it.

It did not come in in this trial because of some of the rulings of the
court --


MARTIN: -- but the totality of the circumstances will let him decide if
George Zimmerman actually profiled and stalked Trayvon Martin and that
leads to a civil rights violation. It should be investigated.

MATTHEWS: Let me get down to the narrow point here. And I don`t want to
say something that offends anybody, but I`m trying to find out the law
here. If he says in the tapes that you have evidence of now, with the
dispatcher, where he -- does he ever say that there were African-American
kids before, young adults, who had been involved with burglaries? Did he
have an identification of previous people who had been involved or
suspected of committing these crimes in the neighborhood as African-

Does that is constitute profiling for him to look for people who meet that
description, Billy?

MARTIN: I`m not sure. I`m not sure, Chris. Jonathan may be a better
source for that. I don`t know -- I don`t know the previous 911 calls.

MATTHEWS: Yes. OK, Jonathan, do you have any knowledge? I`m just asking
the political -- or rather the logic question. If you`re looking for
particular suspects, like two Irish guys are involved in some IRA incident,
and you`re not looking for people generally guilty because you think
there`s an ethnic profile that`s relevant, but you know you`re looking for
a particular description, is that profiling?

CAPEHART: Right. Right. And --

MATTHEWS: I wouldn`t think so, if that`s the case.

CAPEHART: Well, in George Zimmerman`s calls, he does identify the people
he`s alerting the police to or complaining about to the police. My
question is, do all of those calls rise to the -- meet a legal standard for
the Justice Department, or at least as part of a legal standard the Justice
Department can use to prosecute George Zimmerman? That is what I`m not
clear on.

MATTHEWS: Well, I trust -- I trust the attorney general. I hope he makes
the right call, and I hope it ends up being the right one in terms of how
the case turns out. I think to bring the case and fail wouldn`t accomplish

But anyway, Billy Martin, sir, it`s great to have you on. And Jonathan, as
always. Thanks for that personal account, though. I mean, people like me
need to hear that stuff. I`ve been hearing them in the last few days, and
I`m -- I`m kind of amazed because people have never come and -- friends of
mine haven`t told me this has been happening to them right through their
adult successes. You know, it doesn`t seem to help to succeed. Sorry for
us. Sorry for you, too, Jonathan.

Anyway, witness for the prosecution. When Rachel Jeantel testified, many
thought she damaged the prosecution`s case. Many did. But last night, we
got another side of her altogether. So why didn`t the prosecution do a
better job of preparing this young woman for her day in court?

Also, some of the mud atop Virginia`s governor Bob O`Donnell`s (sic)
finally beginning to fall on the Republican who wants to succeed him, Ken
Cuccinelli. What a race that`s going to be.

And look who`s joining Kirsten Gillibrand in her effort to combat sexual
misconduct in the military. A couple guys I don`t usually like, Rand Paul
and Ted Cruz, are joining the good guys on this one. On this one.

Finally, "Let Me Finish" with the memories of another case like this, the
O.J. case. I covered every night of it for a year.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Trayvon Martin`s friend, Rachel Jeantel, was a major focus of
George Zimmerman`s trial, of course. But how did her testimony play to the
jury? According to the juror who spoke out last night on CNN, Jeantel`s
message simply didn`t come across as credible.

The juror said her poor communications skills -- that`s the juror speaking
here -- played a role, and the fact that she used phrases the jury didn`t
understand. Well, ultimately, the juror said she felt sorry for the 19-
year-old -- that would be Trayvon Martin -- who clearly didn`t want to be
where he was. I actually felt sorry for the witness.

Also last night, Jeantel spoke out for the first time since the trial,
telling CNN she thought things would have been different that night if
Trayvon were white.


RACHEL JEANTEL, FRIEND OF TRAYVON MARTIN: It was racial. Let`s be honest,
racial. If he were white -- if he was -- if Trayvon was white, he had a
hoodie on, would that have happened? Because (INAUDIBLE) that was around
7:00 o`clock or something. That`s around that people walk their dogs.
People stay outside.

You tell your child, When you see a grown person follow you, Run away, and
all that. You going to stand there? You going to tell your child to stand
there? If you tell your child to stand there, we`re going to see your
child in the news.


MATTHEWS: Well, Jeantel also talked about Zimmerman`s injuries.


JEANTEL: When somebody bash somebody, like, blood people (ph), trust me,
the area I live, that`s not bashing. That`s just called whup-(EXPLETIVE


MATTHEWS: Well, was Jeantel better able to express herself on television
there than in the jury room, or in the courtroom? What does that say about
the prosecution case? Did they fail to better prep her before her

With me now is Seema Iyer. She`s a criminal defense attorney. And Kisha
Hebbon was a prosecutor. Thank you, ladies, for coming on tonight.


MATTHEWS: I want you to try to stick as much as you can to the trial and
what we missed, what failed, what succeeded, what the jury should have seen
and didn`t see. Let`s keep it within the legal framework, not the social
framework, although that may be relevant. If it is, let me know.

Let`s start with you, Seema. What about that witness? She didn`t seem to
want to be there. How about motive? I got the feeling watching her that
she had an attitude about being there, which could have been based on
anything, but it seemed like she just didn`t want to be testifying in that
case. And I think that hurt the prosecution.

SEEMA IYER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Chris, she didn`t want to be there.
She showed that she was recalcitrant from the minute she walked in. And
who do I blame? Not this 19-year-old young woman. It is the prosecution.

Now, you asked us to keep it legal. Chris, this is what we do. And I`m a
former prosecutor. As a criminal defense attorney, you woo your witnesses.
You court them. You keep in touch with them. You make them comfortable.
You make them believe in you and believe in the case. And you make them
feel welcome from the moment they walk in.

She was not prepared. And why -- we know she wasn`t prepared? Because,
for instance, with that letter that they were trying to get into evidence,
clearly, the prosecutor did not know that Ms. Jeantel could not read
cursive handwriting, and, instead, she was embarrassed.

The prosecution could have prevented this embarrassment by stipulating to
the letter in evidence with the defense. I can go much more further with


IYER: But you can also see my article on this case,, Chris.

MATTHEWS: OK. So, basically, they made a lot of technical mistakes in
asking their -- their witness, the prosecution -- witness for the
prosecution, if you will, to read a letter they hadn`t even gone through
with her.

In other words, she said -- I remember from the testimony, she just didn`t
-- she says, I can`t read cursive writing. In this case, it may have been
somebody`s particular cursive writing.

But what about this -- would an African -- let me be very ethnic now --
would an African-American associate in that prosecution team have been more
helpful in being a liaison between the prosecution boss whoever it was and
the witness? Would that have helped?

KISHA HEBBON, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I don`t think that`s relevant, because
any trial attorney is going to prepare their witness for trial.

As Seema said, it`s very clear that the prosecution did not sit down with
Ms. Jeantel, they did not go over every question with her, they did not
make her feel comfortable. And what surprised me is they did not prepare
her that she would be there for a long time and just to remain calm when
she`s cross-examined.

That`s one of the things I always do when I prepare a client or any witness
for a trial. I prepare them for the questions. I go through each
question. And I make sure they feel comfortable, and credibility is key in
any jury trial. And, unfortunately, I think the prosecution blew this

MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s get into the particulars here. I want you to start,

What could the witness there for the prosecution, could she have said --
Jeantel, Rachel Jeantel -- could she have said to that jury of six woman
that would have altered their judgment?

IYER: What she could have done is just been -- her demeanor was off -- and
presented the inconsistencies that, frankly, were trivial to the relevancy
of the case.

And again I just -- Chris, I`m sorry, I put this on the prosecution. There
were so many questions that Don West posed to Ms. Jeantel about Trayvon
Martin, what was he thinking and why was he doing certain things?

Chris, that is legally objectionable. You cannot ask a witness on the
stand about what someone else -- someone else who frankly is dead -- what
they were thinking and what they were doing because you did not observe it,
and that is state of mind. So I put this on the prosecution.

HEBBON: And I also agree that with Ms. Jeantel`s demeanor and her somewhat
aggressiveness, it kind of put in the jurors` minds that, OK, if she has
the type of attitude, is that what Trayvon Martin had?

IYER: That`s right.

HEBBON: Is that why --


MATTHEWS: What about the cracker comment? I`m a Northerner. Cracker is
not a word I hear from black or white. It must be a local term, Southern,
I guess, but certainly Southern.

What did you make of -- didn`t she say something that didn`t seem to bother
her as an ethnic term of derision?

HEBBON: Yes, I think it was an ethnic term and I think that she being 19
years old did not think of the consequences of using those types of terms.


HEBBON: And I think it did hurt the prosecution to bring out that type of

IYER: But it also went to how authentic Rachel Jeantel was, and again
tying this back into the case, during summation, the prosecution did not
vouch for Rachel Jeantel enough, did not promote how authentic and how
honest she was about her observations during the incident.

MATTHEWS: Let`s take one last look at this. Here last night, the juror --
and she was quite effective with a lot of people last night on CNN -- she
was asked about Jeantel`s testimony, actually. Let`s watch what she said
last night.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn`t think it was very credible, but I felt very
sorry for her. She didn`t ask to be in this place. She didn`t ask -- she
wanted to go. She wasn`t to leave. She didn`t want to be any part of this
jury. I think she felt inadequate toward everyone because of her education
and her communication skills. I just felt sadness for her.


MATTHEWS: Seema and then Kisha, both of you, my reaction to this juror who
is speaking out now is not good.

IYER: Neither is mine.

MATTHEWS: I get the feeling that everything -- everything she`s saying is
filtered through a P.C., politically correct, say the right stuff. You`re
sympathetic to everybody, you love everybody, and you don`t think race had
anything to do with this stuff, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I just
thought it`s so antiseptic. I don`t buy it.

Your thoughts, Seema first.

IYER: If we didn`t think race was involved in this case or involved in the
verdict, we certainly do now after hearing from her.

And, Chris, let me just remind everyone, her husband is an attorney. So
that type of sanitary or sanitized interview --

MATTHEWS: I get you.

HEBBON: -- may -- that`s where it may have come from. Frankly, she was
completely patronizing in saying that Rachel Jeantel was inadequate or felt
inadequate because she was uneducated.

She`s 19. She -- give her a chance to get an education.

MATTHEWS: I know. I agree.

HEBBON: Right.

MATTHEWS: Kisha, your thoughts on what do you think of the juror who is
speaking out now and apparently has a book ready to go with --

HEBBON: Yes, I think that juror did use the politically correct lingo.

And I think there was not any sincerity in whether this woman felt insecure
or felt some type of way about her lack of education or ability to
communicate. I think the juror was patronizing. And I do think that it
showed that the juror did not give this woman any credibility whatsoever
and just basically wrote her off to be someone who didn`t know what she was
talking about and didn`t give it much help for the prosecution`s case.

MATTHEWS: I think if you`re prejudiced in favor of George, you probably
would like to see the failure of that witness to do as badly as she did.

I get the feeling there`s some of that at play here. We`re all human. And
I`m watching.

Anyway, thank you. Great witnesses, you two were and experts.


MATTHEWS: Seema Iyer, thanks very much.

I`m not being patronizing. You laugh. Don`t laugh when I say stuff. I
mean it.


MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Kisha, for coming on as well.

HEBBON: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: We will be right back after this.


MATTHEWS: Back to HARDBALL. Now to the "Sideshow."

The Kremlin is turning back the clock. In a move that seems reminiscent of
Soviet era bureaucracy, the agency responsible for Russian security is
ditching their computers and resorting to typewriters -- that`s right,
typewriters -- in order to prevent the kinds of computer leaks that have
recently embarrassed the National Security Agency.

They`re reportedly spending the equivalent of $15,000 on a new set of the
old-fashioned typewriters to make the switch. And while it`s hard to
envision Russian officials using such an antiquated relic in the electronic
age, Photoshop makes it possible to imagine what it would look like.

Here`s a mockup of Russian President Vladimir Putin typing away at a
meeting in the Kremlin, another of Putin taking notes at a summit with
Obama. And last, but certainly not least, here`s the obligatory shot of
Putin on horseback shirtless doing this typing.

Well, next up: President Obama honored George Herbert Walker Bush at a
ceremony yesterday commemorating the former president`s work with the
Points of Light Foundation. And, as usual, the former president who turned
89 last month was wearing a pair of attention-grabbing socks. And
following the event he presented Obama, the president, with a pair of his

But this isn`t the first time Bush`s socks have turned heads. Here he was
with the Houston Texans cheerleading squad last month.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a special guest tonight, for which I`m very
honored, President Bush.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We went to visit President Bush in December when he
was obviously in the hospital. We went and delivered him cookies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much for coming. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They called me. They said, President Bush wants to
come to tryouts. Is that OK? I`m like, well, like I can say no.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To see him in such high spirits giving roses to all
the new 2013 cheerleaders was great.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love your socks, too.



noticed them.



MATTHEWS: That`s all it takes, is wild socks, I guess. Anyway, looks like
he was having fun and is having fun in life these days.

Well, "The Daily Show" was back last night, and John Oliver didn`t shy from
the subject on everywhere`s minds, the Zimmerman verdict. Here he was
weighing in on the controversy.


story. And it is hard to make a case for it not being at least partially
about race.

It definitely has some racial undertones, if not racial-only tones.


OLIVER: Is there anything that we can learn from this terrible tragedy?

Let`s hear from George Zimmerman`s defense attorney.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The prosecution raised this question about whether
the outcome would be different if the races of the defendant and the victim
were different.

would having been different if George Zimmerman was black for this reason.
He never would have been charged with a crime.

OLIVER: Yes. I suppose the one thing that our justice system is notorious
for is how lenient it is on black people.



MATTHEWS: Well, up next, Virginia`s Republican governor has been rocked by
scandal, of course. And now it`s rubbing off on the Republican in the race
to succeed him, Ken Cuccinelli.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


"Market Wrap."

The Dow losing 32 points, the S&P 500 down six, the Nasdaq off eight
points. U.S. homebuilders are more optimistic about future home sales.
Homebuilders` confidence surged six points in July to its highest level
since January 2006. Industrial output up 3 -- 0.3 percent in June.
Manufacturing got a boost as assembly lines turned out more cars. Profits
doubled at Goldman Sachs in the second quarter to $1.93 billion.

That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide -- now back to HARDBALL.

MATTHEWS: Back to politics and welcome back to HARDBALL.

There are two marquee races in this country in this year, New Jersey and
Virginia governor. And in Virginia, the consequences of a swing state
going Democratic makes the stakes in this contest even higher. That`s why
the investigation of current Governor Bob McDonnell for accepting lavish
gifts from a donor is being watched so closely for ripple effect into the
governor`s race this November.

Republican gubernatorial candidate and current Attorney General Ken
Cuccinelli, a real right-winger, who has had interaction with the same
donor in question, although not on the same scale as the governor, is being
dogged on the campaign trail as we speak with questions about the

The "Virginian Pilot" newspaper headlines says it all: "McDonnell`s Woes a
Topic of Cuccinelli Town Hall."

Well, today`s Daily Beast headline reads,"Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell`s
Scandal Spills Over to Ken Cuccinelli."

Cuccinelli has been a Tea Party favorite for some of his extreme views.
How extreme? Catch these. He supports personhood, which gives legal right
to fetuses at the second of conception. He altered the Virginia state seal
for modesty. There he did. The original seal shows the bear breast of the
goddess of virtue. When Cuccinelli had lapel pins made with the state seal
is, the goddess` breasts were covered.

And he discovered -- discussed concerns about getting a Social Security
number for a soon-to-be-child. Catch this wacko.


child on Monday, if he`s not born before, and for the very concerns you
state, we`re actually considering, as I`m sure many of you here, didn`t get
a Social Security number when you were born.

We`re -- they do it now. But we`re considering not doing that. And a lot
of people are considering that now because it is being used to track you.


MATTHEWS: Well, he should be equally paranoid about his friends as he is
about the government.

Well, despite all of what you just heard from this guy, Cuccinelli is in a
neck-and-neck race for governor of Virginia.

Michael Steele is a former chairman of the RNC and an MSNBC contributor of
great report.


MATTHEWS: And Margie -- Margie Omero is a Democratic strategist.

You don`t have a chance, Margie, against this guy.

But let me start with you.



MATTHEWS: Can the Democrats leverage the problems of the current governor
to winning the seat for governor this November?


So, I think Ken Cuccinelli has a variety of things that make him
vulnerable. It`s not just about the Bob McDonnell scandal. He has to run
from his own record. He has to run from the record of his lieutenant
governor candidate, who has also said even more extreme ideas. And you see
it right now. He`s vulnerable. He is losing in the polls. He`s being

And every day that all of these scandals is in the news is more time that
he is not getting his own message out.

MATTHEWS: OK. Tie him to the scandal.

OMERO: Time for the scandal? No, it`s all --


MATTHEWS: Can you do that? Can you tie him to the scandals of McDonnell?
Can you do that tonight?

OMERO: Absolutely.

Well, first, it`s not just about Bob McDonnell`s scandal. It`s also -- Ken
Cuccinelli also had undisclosed gifts and undisclosed stock investments
with the same donor. It`s not just he had relationships or interactions
with that donor. He had the same exact problem. He also -- when the chef
who is part of this -- also part of the scandal, the mansion chef, came to
Cuccinelli and said, there are some problems going on in the governor`s
mansion, and he did nothing for almost a year.


OMERO: So, it`s not just Bob McDonnell is the governor and so these
problems are also Ken Cuccinelli`s. They are also Ken Cuccinelli`s own
problems. He has the same problems in addition to all the other things --

MATTHEWS: Did he take a stock tip from that guy to get the $4,000
advantage there that he picked up quickly on a very small investment?

OMERO: Yes. I don`t think I`d be taking a lot of tips from Ken Cuccinelli

MATTHEWS: But do you think he got a stock tip, because that`s the issue

OMERO: You know, I don`t know. I mean, I think one issue for voters is
not necessarily the stock tip. He`s just not disclosing this information.
He`s not following the ethics haw that exists. And he`s trying to pretend
that, you know, he just did it inadvertently.

MATTHEWS: Michael Steele, it looks like this race is going to size up
roughly, there`s going to be debate tonight or tomorrow night (ph), which
basically is going to test whether McAuliffe can debate a seasoned pro.


MATTHEWS: It`s Cuccinelli`s cultural conservatism against the problem of
corruption in the governor`s mansion it seems are the big issues right now
bouncing each other off perhaps, or not. Your thoughts?

STEELE: I think that there`s a little residual drag on the Cuccinelli
campaign. Nothing damaging or earth-shattering at this stage simply
because we`re at the end of July, in the middle of the summer. Polls out
this week show him only four points down in that race. You know, voters
haven`t focused in on it.

I think one of the things the Cuccinelli campaign has to do is to very
appropriately address as many open questions with respect to his campaign
and his personal relationship with this individual irrespective of the
governors, as much as possible before you get into that Labor Day window
where voters do come back in, they start to focus on the campaign and begin
to make up their mind about the next leadership of the state.

I think Cuccinelli can do that. He`s got the room to do that and I think a
lot of this is a lot of whistling past the graveyard for Democrats,
thinking OK, this is a moment to pounce. But I`d be very careful because
four points down in July is not earth-shattering.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you --

OMERO: There`s a movement. There`s a lot of fast movement. I mean,
McDonald`s numbers have dropped 12 points in just a month.

STEELE: OK, that`s great. But McDonnell is not running for governor. So,
it`s irrelevant.


MATTHEWS: We`ll be back on this one.

By the way, actually every single candidate who once since Jimmy Carter`s
day back in the `70s has represented the party not in the White House. So,
it`s obviously a Cuccinelli advantage historically here, just because
that`s the way it always works in Virginia. They love to react to what`s
going on negatively in the White House.

Anyway, thank you, Michael Steele. Thank you, Margie Omero.

Up next, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand`s effort to change the way the
military handles sexual assault gets a big boost from unlikely duo, Tea
Partiers Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. Strange bedfellows here.

Senator Gillibrand joins us next.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Get ready for a Republican civil war out in Wyoming. Liz
Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, announced in a
video to supporters that she will challenge former -- actually fellow
Republican Senator Mike Enzi. And while Wyoming`s a deep red state, she
threatens to divide the state`s Republicans.

Perhaps anticipating Cheney`s moves, Senator Enzi announced today he`s
running for re-election and many Republicans say he hasn`t done anything to
warrant stepping aside. But that`s not stopping Cheney.

By the way, it is Cheney. He`s about to take one on the chinny.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has been a force --
actually a fierce advocate for removing sexual assault cases from the
military`s usual chain of command. And a junior senator from New York, she
has been whipping up her colleagues to fight for the support.

Today, Gillibrand scored a big victory in getting closer to the 51 votes
she needs to force one of the biggest changes in the history of military
justice. Tea Party Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz joined in Gillibrand`s
fight as of now.

Let`s watch.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I thought the motive was good for the bill,
but I think the bill`s even stronger. I see no reason why conservatives
shouldn`t support this. The only thing I think standing in the way is just
sort of the status quo.

And Senator Boxer was actually right. Everybody says they`re against
sexual assault. Why don`t we -- if it appears as if there is some
deterrence to victims reporting the crime, why don`t we fix it? So, I see
no reason not to fix it. I`m glad to be part of the process, if I can.


MATTHEWS: Well, if Gillibrand does score an upset victory in the Senate
and getting it passed, the support of Cruz and Paul could be a long part of
that, a big part of that, to winning over the Republican-controlled House
of Representatives thereafter.

Senator Gillibrand joins us now, along with her colleague, the great
senator from California, Barbara Boxer.

Senator Gillibrand, you`re going to rewrite the history books how to deal
with these people. You`ve got two fringes here, and you managed to get
them to join a mainstream good bill. How did you do it?

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: Well, this is a common sense
solution to a very, very tough problem. We`ve got 26,000 cases of unwanted
sexual contact, abuse and rape in the military today, but only 3,300 are
actually being reported and only one in ten are going to trial.

So what the victims have told us is they want on the activity. The chain
of command is the problem. They`re not seeing justice being done and they
want us to take it out of the chain of command.

Both Senator Rand Paul and Senator Ted Cruz believe in a solution -- a
solution that`s common sense and frankly, it`s not a Democratic idea or
Republican idea. It`s just a good idea.

MATTHEWS: Let me go to Senator Boxer, who`s been in this fight a long time
for sexual equity and respect I should say. Are you amazed that these two
guys on the far right who may well be leading the band in 2016 on the
Republican side for president are joining in what you I believe think is a
good cause?

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: This gives me renewed faith that we
can take an issue that makes sense and we can take it can take to it the
liberal wing, the moderate wing, the right wing, the left wing -- we can
take it to everybody. And partnering with Kirsten, as I have, and we have
many other Republicans and Democrats working with us, such as Senator
Grassley who was at the press conference today.

I think what people want to see us do is just this -- work together.
Chris, we have a 90 percent problem. What do I mean by that? Ninety
percent of sexual assaults are not reported. Only 10 percent are reported.

And the reason is very clear: over 20 years, the military has been
promising to take action on sexual assault. They`ve done literally very
little to make it go away. We have thousands of felons walking around the
military, because frankly, they got off scot-free. No one ever reported

And I`m so proud of Senator Gillibrand. We are working together. And I
will tell you, it`s cooperation all the way, with so many of our female and
male senators from both sides of the aisle.

MATTHEWS: Let`s talk turkey about getting this into law. Senator
Gillibrand, you have to get this on the floor. You have to pass it on the
floor, get the amendment brought up and taken over. Are you going to face
opposition from Senator Levin, the chair of the committee?

GILLIBRAND: Well, Senator Levin doesn`t support this amendment, but there
are many, many senators who do. And we are working our way to getting the
51 votes we need to pass this amendment, to change how these cases are
dealt with. We want the decision-makers to be objective, trained, military
prosecutors, not the chain of command where there could be bias, where this
could be a lack of training or a lack of ability to understand what these
cases are actually about.

MATTHEWS: How many votes have you got?

GILLIBRAND: We have almost 51.

MATTHEWS: How close?

GILLIBRAND: Very close.

MATTHEWS: Close enough?

GILLIBRAND: Not yet. But we will get there.

BOXER: It`s very close.

GILLIBRAND: We`re very close.

My goal, Chris, is to spend the next several weeks talking with our
colleagues one-on-one about their concerns.

Everyone in the Senate wants to solve this issue. They don`t want sexual
assault and rape in the military because it`s undermining our military
readiness. It`s undermining good order and discipline.

And the reality is if we want to have the best fighting force in the world,
in the future, we have to make sure all of our best and brightest can
serve, and not have these victims have to suffer through the crimes without
being able to get the justice that they deserve.

MATTHEWS: You know, Senator Boxer, I`ve known you a long time. You know,
I didn`t know about the gravities. These aren`t about office mismanagement
or bad words used or "hey, sweetie, nice gun" or something, it was about
criminal actions.

BOXER: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: We`re talking assault. We`re talking rape. And they`re getting
away with it.

Also, it affects some men -- on men on men cases which most guys weren`t
even aware of.

Your thoughts.

BOXER: Well, Chris, half of the victims are men. Let me just tell you
you`re exactly right. We`re talking about violence.

This isn`t about, you know, somebody looking at someone and winking at
them. This is about serious violence, men on men, men on women. This is
what we`re facing, 26,000 of these cases.

I`ll tell you one extremely fast story. I stood next to a woman named
Stacy (ph). She joined the Marines when she was 19.

A sergeant took her out for a drink. He drugged her. He dropped her in
front of the bar at 4:00 a.m.

You know what happened? All the facts were in evidence. Nobody disputed
it. The commander said, you know, he said to the guy, "You just leave the
military. That`s your best deal before you get into any trouble. So, he
got out scot-free."

And they investigated her for drug use because of that night. And she was
drummed out of the military. Finally, 10 years later as a result of this
legislation, she`s come forward to tell her story.

We need the support of the American people. I hope they`ll weigh in and
let all of our colleagues know to get on that bill, the Kirsten Gillibrand
bill. I think it`s such a good bill.

MATTHEWS: Senator Gillibrand, who should we write? Who should people who
watch this show write? Any particular targets of opportunity in the Senate
that should be talked to by people watching this show, women especially

GILLIBRAND: My view is you should let your member of coming and your
senator know how you feel about this issue. We need to have justice done
for victims.

We have to listen to the victims. They`re the one who is saying we don`t
trust the chain of command -- the chain of command aren`t taking these
cases seriously.

And interestingly, among the people who do report these crimes, 62 percent
are actually retaliated against for reporting the crimes.

So I think every senator should hear from their constituents about why this
is so important. It`s essential that the American people are heard on this

MATTHEWS: It`s great to hear from you. The only thing I got a problem
with this, I think it may be a weird problem but it may be a good thing. I
think you guys unintentionally are pushing Rand Paul and Ted Cruz to the
front of the Republican Party. And if those guys -- either one of them
gets the nomination in 2016, Hillary will have a cakewalk.

Anyway, thank you, Kirsten Gillibrand and Senator Barbara Boxer for joining
us. I`m sure that`s not your intention.

When we return, let me finish with some lasting memories of another
celebrated case, the O.J. case.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this:

I imagine, maybe I`m wrong, that some people like me have found their mind
bouncing back this week to the O.J. Simpson verdict. I covered that trial
of Simpson for double murder in its entirety. Every night I watched it as
it ranged widely the question of evidence custody, to something called
contamination of blood evidence, to what a police officer said in an
interview for a movie script, to the glove, of course, and whether it fit.
It went on and on, and grabbed the attention of the country.

I thought O.J. did it, and I still do. I believe the prosecution case of
Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden. The jury didn`t that. To the
surprise to a lot of people, including some sitting right near him that
night, that day he was acquitted and set free.

Again, I was stunned by the verdict, especially after hearing that it had
been arrived at after just two hours. I`ve never changed my mind about
what happened that night in Los Angeles.

When Mr. Simpson got convicted to that other charge out in Las Vegas, I
figured it brought with it some compensating justice, if you will. So I
don`t hold it against people who don`t like verdicts. My father was a
court reporter in Philadelphia for 30 years, told my brothers and if you`re
guilty of something, get yourself a jury because you can never predict a
jury. If you`re innocent, he said, try to get a judge to hear the case.
He or she will be your best bet to see the truth of what actually happened.

So, we`re at it again, questioning a jury`s judgment. I always thought the
judgment in the O.J. case was really about the bad old history of the L.A.
police. Hopefully, it did some good, that judgment. The verdict I didn`t

Well, maybe this one will achieve the same in the end, a good result. At
least for the future.

And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.

"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.



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