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HARDBALL for January 8, 2016, MSNBC - Part 1




Newton-Small, Moira Demos, Laura Ricciardi, Dean Strang>

President Obama vows not to support any Democrat who opposes reform. A

Philadelphia police officer is shot multiple times in an assassination

attempt by a man who says he was inspired by the Islamic State. Republican

chairman Reince Priebus says if Donald Trump or Ted Cruz wins the

nomination, he can be sure that the party will unite behind them.>

Guns; Terrorism; Police; Philadelphia>

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: The president and Secretary Clinton both call out Bernie Sanders on guns. This could be the Democratic issue.

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.

Secretary Clinton is on the line right now from California to respond to what President Obama has said about denying his presidential endorsement to anyone, any candidate who refuses to support what he calls "common sense gun reforms." His spokesman, Josh Earnest, suggested this afternoon that this condition could apply to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Here`s what the president wrote in his op-ed in today`s "New York Times." "Even as I take continue to every action possible as president, I will also take every action as a citizen. I will not campaign for, vote for or support any candidate, even in my own party, who does not support common sense gun reform. And if the 90 percent of Americans who do support common sense gun reform join me, we will elect the leadership we deserve," close quote.

Well, that seemed to be a clear swipe at Bernie Sanders. And here`s what presidential press spokesperson Josh Earnest said today when asked about that.


JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I certainly noticed that Senator Sanders told one of your colleagues-slash-competitors here -- when asked this very question, he was eager to point out that Senator Sanders had made clear that he was willing to revisit that position.

That`s exactly the goal here, right? We want people to change their minds. We want members of Congress to start taking different positions.

So again, I`m not familiar with Senator Sanders`s record, so maybe this is something that he said on many previous occasions. But if not, I`m ready to start taking some credit for changing some minds on Capitol Hill.

Well, again, I -- as I just acknowledged, I`m not familiar with the ins and outs of his record. But if he -- if Democratic voters across the country confirm that he is the Democratic nominee, then I`m confident that we`re going to spend some time here learning about his record and learning about what is on his agenda to make that decision.


MATTHEWS: I`m joined right now on the telephone by Secretary Hillary Clinton. Madam Secretary, thank you for joining us.

What is the issue here between yourself and Senator Sanders?

HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FMR. SEC. OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): I think it`s pretty much what the president has said, Chris. He has made a powerful statement about the urgent need to end the epidemic of gun violence in our country. And his new executive action includes steps that I have advocated for throughout this campaign.

And as he said, voters should not support any candidate who does not support common sense gun reform. We`ve got to get a handle and deal with the fact we`re losing 90 people a day to gun violence.

So Democrats have a real choice here. And I think it`s important for Democrats to know that 10 years ago, gun safety advocates wanted to make gun makers and sellers have to go to court to answer for their reckless disregard of human life because, after all, if an auto company sells an unsafe car, you can sue them, unsafe food, unsafe tools, unsafe toys. The makers can all be sued.

So the NRA wrote this bill that said no one can sue a gun maker or a gun seller and called this the most significant piece of pro-gun legislation in 20 years. And when it really mattered, Senator Sanders voted with the gun lobby and I voted against the gun lobby.

So this is a significant difference, and it`s important that -- you know, maybe it`s time for Senator Sanders to stand up and say, I got this one wrong. But he hasn`t. He`s defended his vote time and again. He said he would have considered changes to the law. But you know, that was three (ph) months ago.

And there`s been no effort to introduce anything in the Congress or to stand with, you know, those Democrats who want to repeal this, you know, really irresponsible blanket immunity that was voted in for the gun makers and sellers.

MATTHEWS: Given all that`s happened, Madam Secretary, in the last several months, the horror we`ve seen with these mass shootings, do you believe that gun safety reform is a central issue of 2016?

CLINTON: Absolutely, Chris. You know, I totally agree with what President Obama has said. Guns should be a central voting issue. I have been speaking out about it throughout this campaign. Certainly, I`ve used my debate appearances to make that case.

And I think Senator Sanders has been wrong on gun safety. And he`s wrong on the fact that this is a leading cause of death for young people in our country, particularly young African-American men. So it represents a very clear choice in a Democratic primary.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about -- you mentioned the first debate, when you did go through a list of items in which you disagreed with his position on gun safety questions. Do you want to go through that list again? There is a pattern here, I believe you`re arguing.

CLINTON: Well, there is because Senator Sanders voted five times against the Brady bill. Five times. And it has been the principal instrument for us keeping more than two million guns out of the hands of fugitive felons, stalkers, the people who should not have them in the first place.

He voted against closing loopholes. In fact, he voted for what we call the Charleston loophole, which is what enabled the killer in Charleston to get a gun after three days, even though the background check had not been completed. And as the NRA itself has said, he voted for their most important priority in 20 years, namely giving immunity from liability to makers and sellers.

So this is a pattern, and it`s a pattern that I have been calling out, voting for guns on Amtrak and all the rest of it, because we`ve got to, as a nation, really stand up for common sense gun safety measures.

And the fact is, Chris, that a very big majority of Americans and even a majority of gun owners support the platform that I have been advocating for and support the executive actions that the president has outlined.

MATTHEWS: Well, here`s Senator Sanders, Madam Secretary, telling my colleague, Andrea Mitchell, today that he does support President Obama`s executive action on gun safety. Here`s Senator Sanders.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, there are a lot of candidates running in the House and the Senate who may be opposed to sensible gun control legislation. I happen not to be one of them. I strongly support the executive order that the president is working on right now.


MATTHEWS: Well, there he is. What do you make of that defense? He says he`s in line with the president and he`s not one that the president is talking about. He`s not one of those who opposes common sense gun reforms.

CLINTON: Well, that`s at variance with his record. You know, Senator Sanders and I have some differences on policy. He cited (ph) out some of those from his perspective this week. And today, I`m taking this opportunity to comment, in light of the president`s remarks, about our differences on guns.

And my record is very clear on prevention. I`ve been calling for strong efforts to fight gun violence throughout this campaign, big (ph) fighting on this issue because I have met too many of the family members of victims of gun violence now, you know, going back to my time as first lady, as senator on this campaign trail. And we`ve just seen too many gun deaths, and we can`t afford to wait.

And I`ve raised this issue before, standing next to Senator Sanders. He`s refused to give a straight answer. He could today introduce legislation to repeal the immunity that was given to gun makers and sellers. I hope he will join me and the president in supporting real change. And that`s what I`m looking for.

MATTHEWS: Madam Secretary, I believe he said he will not change his mind on that point. But thank you so much for calling in to the program tonight. Secretary Clinton, thank you for joining us.

Sam Stein is with the HuffingtonPost and he`s an MSNBC contributor, of course, and "Time" magazine`s Jay Newton-Small is the author of a great new book, "Broad Influence." It`s about women -- little play on words there.

But let`s talk about that, the fact that the secretary wants -- is joining this debate right now at a heated moment after the president writes a piece in "The New York Times," after Josh Earnest basically points to the bit (ph) in the direction of Bernie Sanders, to put it lightly.

And there she is. I think it`s good timing for her to come on the program and make a point. But go ahead.

SAM STEIN, HUFFINGTONPOST, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I guess I was struck at how motivating an issue this has become for the Democratic Party. We associate gun politics as an incredibly motivating issue for the...


MATTHEWS: ... progressive cause.


MATTHEWS: I mean...


STEIN: It`s gradually quickly became a progressive cause in light of this -- repeated instances of mass shootings or high-profile shootings, if you want to use that phraseology. And for her to be so aggressive and pointing out what are actual differences -- they are -- they`re substantive differences -- but the manner in which she went after him, which has been more aggressive than on any other topic, suggests that her campaign realizes, too, that this is an incredibly motivating issue for the progressive base.

MATTHEWS: Yes. You know, one of the rules of politics I`ve learned along the way -- and I like to keep the list up -- up to date -- is, Go where your opponent can`t go. And go where you believe, of course, in the policy, but go to the policies he or she can`t abide by.

Is Vermont -- is the issue of gun rights, 2nd Amendment rights, such a hot issue among the traditional -- not the Ben and Jerry`s Democrats up there, but the people who`ve been living up there for years, you can`t mess with the gun owners? Is that why she`s going after this, he can`t change his mind? He says he won`t change his mind. He`s going to keep the immunity for the manufacturers of guns.

JAY NEWTON-SMALL, "TIME": And that`s interesting because, you know, it`s not so much a Democratic liberal progressive issue as it used to be rural versus urban issues, right? And there are a lot of rural Democrats, like Bernie Sanders, who do support the NRA, who do support gun rights. And it`s interesting that she`s pushing this so hard because New Hampshire is a state -- is one of the states that does really support gun rights.


NEWTON-SMALL: So she`s clearly making the bet that by pushing it this hard, she`s going to get Democratic votes for it.

MATTHEWS: And she`s trying to -- we`ll see how it works in Iowa and New Hampshire. You`re right, they`re not the easiest states to go today...

STEIN: No, no, no.

MATTHEWS: ... for the gun issue. But nationally, I think it`s a winner among Democrats.

Anyway, thank you, Sam Stein.

STEIN: Thanks, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Jay Newton-Small. And thank you, Secretary Clinton.

Coming up -- police in Philadelphia release dramatic video of a shooting attack on a police officer there in West Philly. The gunman said he was inspired by ISIS. We`re going to talk to former Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell and terrorism analyst Malcolm Nance coming up next.

Plus, the documentary series that`s captivating viewers across the country. Tonight, the filmmakers behind "Making a Murderer" are with us here, along with the defense attorney for the man convicted of murder.

And is 2016 turning out to be the year where anything goes? Donald Trump has hijacked the Republican Party, and you could say the 2016 race, with nasty talk, and street fighters like Ted Cruz and Chris Christie are certainly in the mood.

Finally, "Let Me Finish" with our trip last week to Israel.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Well, amid this week`s turbulence on the stock market came a strong jobs report, but (INAUDIBLE) look at this! The economy added nearly 292,000, almost 300,000 jobs this month, showing great solid growth in this country. The unemployment rate remains unchanged at just 5 percent.

But stocks closed down again this afternoon, capping off one of the worst market weeks ever. There`s something perverse about the stock market in this country.

We`ll be right back.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. ISIS and terrorism have been thrown back into the headlines tonight in violent fashion. A dramatic scene played out last night in Philadelphia. Police call it an assassination attempt.

They released a harrowing video today of a man who attempted a police ambush last night by firing at a police officer 11 times, striking three of those times. After the officer is hit, the wounded officer pursues the gunman on foot. It`s all on the tape. And it`s miraculously he survived. Authorities say the gunman told police while in custody that he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.


RICHARD ROSS, PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMANDER: The suspect in question is a 30-year-old male from Yaden (ph). He has a Philadelphia address, as well, I believe. He`s confessed to committing this cowardly act in the name of Islam. According to him, he believes that the police defend laws that are contrary to the teachings of the Quran.

You can see the male in question going towards the police officer, Hartnett, already firing. Second shot, he is literally inside that car. He`s got his arm extended, firing at Officer Hartnett. I`m absolutely amazed that Officer Hartnett is here with us today.


MATTHEWS: That`s the police commissioner in Philadelphia. Police have identified the shooter, there he is, as Edward Archer, who lived just outside Philadelphia. He had a criminal regard. According to court documents, he was scheduled to be sentenced next week after being found guilty for fraud.

But -- oh, actually, in 2013, he had previously been arrested and charged in Philadelphia for aggravated assault, firearms offenses, conspiracy and making terroristic threats. And last year, he was paroled after pleading guilty to carrying a firearm without a license and simple assault.

Well, the incident the other night is already reverberating on the campaign trail. Here`s Ted Cruz today in Iowa.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Today in Philadelphia, a police officer was shot multiple times by a man who was trying to assassinate him, who has pledged his allegiance to ISIS.

Thankfully, the officer is alive. Our prayers are with him that he heals and heals quickly, and we thank him for his bravery and courage defending us.

But we need a president who`s clear and steely-eyed and understands the danger we face. And I`ll tell you this. We will have a commander-in-chief under who we will not weaken and we will not degrade. We will utterly and completely destroy ISIS!



MATTHEWS: Malcolm Nance is MSNBC terrorism analyst, and Ed Rendell`s the former governor of Pennsylvania and the former mayor of Philadelphia.

Malcolm, thank you for joining us. This guy -- I just came across some evidence he was over in Egypt for what, 10 months, recently. We don`t know how -- what his stages of radicalization, such as they are. What can you take of this case already?

MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC TERRORISM EXPERT: Well, this clearly appears to be a case of self-inspired radicalization. The question is, at what point along this spectrum did he actually start making contact with people who led him to believe that he needed to come home and carry out an act which involved taking -- you know, taking on a police officer and perhaps dying violently to further what he believed is his version of Islam.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Governor, thank you. I didn`t know whether to call you Mr. Mayor again, which was one of the great jobs you had in your career, but you were a great one. And I -- and you used (INAUDIBLE) you know, "A Prayer for the City" is a wonderful book Buzz Bissinger wrote about you going to hospitals when policemen have been shot.

This guy was shot and hit three times, shot at 11 times at close range, and there you see him with the guts and the courage to go after the assailant, with three bullets in him. I was -- forget the terrorism aspect of this. Talk about toughness!

Look at this! Wait`ll you see this (INAUDIBLE) get out of the (INAUDIBLE) here he comes. I mean, been shot three times, and look, he`s still making -- look at him! He`s hobbling over there, chasing the guy!

Pretty impressive. Mr. Mayor?

ED RENDELL (D), FMR. PA GOV., MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, he actually shot the guy, and helped bring him down by shooting him and injuring him.

Look, first and foremost, it reminds us -- in this era of controversy between citizens and police, it reminds us what a very difficult job police have. In Philadelphia, which has better race relations, better relationship between the police and the community, thanks to Mayor Nutter and former police chief Ramsey -- even in Philadelphia, there are 200 times a year when police get targeted by someone who comes upon them and wants to do violence with them -- 200 times. It`s amazing. So that`s lesson one.

Lesson two is, we need to know more about this. His mother indicated to police that he is mentally ill. He had head injuries inflicted by playing football and a moped injury. He was recently talking to himself, hearing voices. And they tried to get him to go in and seek medical help, but he would not do it.

So, there is a lot at play here. And I don`t think we know exactly. Was he radicalized? Was he doing it just as an attempt to get ISIS` attention? Was he doing it based on orders, as you said, Chris? I don`t think we know enough to really come up with firm conclusions.

MATTHEWS: Well, as we said, it`s remarkable. The mayor said -- the governor said that the officer, he has survived so far. He has been wounded three times, but he is up there.

Listen to police radio, by the way, after Archer opened fire. Listen to these dramatic moments.


JESSE HARTNETT, PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT: Got some shots fired. I`m shot. I`m bleeding heavily.

911 OPERATOR: All cars stand by. We have an officer shot, 6-0 and Spruce.


MATTHEWS: And again, after he was breathing -- breathing -- or bleeding heavily, the officer in question went out there and chased the guy and shot him and brought him to justice.

Let me go back to the expert, Malcolm.

This question of whether a guy or -- it usually is a guy -- is truly radicalized, or would use it as some sort of emotional of a public cover for just anger, how do you -- does it matter at this point? If you`re out shooting cops, does it matter whether you`re just doing as some sort of subterfuge for another motive, or it truly is your motive if you say you`re working for ISIS?

rMD-BO_MALCOLM NANCE, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, I don`t think it matters at all once you have reached that point where you feel that you`re going to go out and carry out an act, whether it`s in the name of ISIS or whether it`s in the name of some other factor that has pushed you beyond your ability to control yourself.

The governor is right in some respect, that at this point, you know, this individual set up an ambush at 60th and Spruce. It`s a very narrow street. He could have gone two blocks further in or three blocks further in into Market Street, where he would have had his choice of police cars that would have been going by.

He had an operation in his mind that he had set himself to and he waited in the middle of the night for a police car to come in and do this opportune attempt to assassinate.

So whatever his purpose was, he had it that he was going to take on this force and he was going to kill at least one police officer for whatever his ideological motivation was. And we need to get to the bottom of that. We need to find out, did he get radicalized overseas, or was this some part of a mental defect that has been identified here?

MATTHEWS: Yes. It is interesting, not Market Street, not Chester Street, but on Spruce Street. Thank you so much. I love my geography.

Thank you, Malcolm Nance, for being an expert.

And, Governor, you`re always right, not just occasionally right. You`re always right. I think there is a mis-appreciation there, there for a split-second.

Anyway, much more about the hot national politics ahead in the show tonight, but, up next, it`s a documentary series that`s actually captured this country`s interests. I`m going to speak with the producers of the Netflix hit series "Making a Murderer," as well as the attorney for the man convicted of murder in the case.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

"The New York Times" says the popular 10-part docu-series on Netflix called "Making a Murderer" has given rise to an army of armchair detectives since its release the week before Christmas.

The documentary follows the case of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man who was falsely convicted of sexual assault back in 1985. And after serving 18 years in prison, Avery was exonerated, only to be arrested and charged with the local murder of a local photographer.

It has became a true life phenomenon, gripping views and triggering debate over whether Avery is guilty as charged or was railroaded by the local sheriff`s department he was suing at the time. Well, here is the scene.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We told him he could expect people would say that this was just a get rich effort, that family private matters would now be public, and now don`t be too surprised if people say some things about you that you have never even heard before. They`re just plain false.

The one thing we didn`t tell him is that you have to be careful when you bring a lawsuit against a sheriff`s department in a community where you still live, because you could end up getting charged with murder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do we have a body or anything yet?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t believe so.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have Steven Avery in custody, though?


MATTHEWS: Well, the documentary series presents allegations by defense attorneys of police misconduct and casts doubt on much of the evidence used to convict Avery.

Well, as a result, nearly 300,000 people have signed petitions for President Obama to pardon Avery. But the White House announced that the president cannot pardon him because it`s a state matter.

But criticism of the show is also making headlines, and the prosecutor who that convicted Avery says the filmmakers withheld facts from the views and portrayed a lopsided view of the case.

Yesterday, I spoke with the filmmakers themselves, Laura Ricciardi, and Moira Demos, who spent 10 years producing this documentary.


MATTHEWS: Laura, is there enough information, if you watch the whole docu- series, if you watch it all the way through, is there enough information for the people out there to decide on the innocence or guilt of Mr. Avery?


That was not our endeavor, actually. What we set out to do was document a 30-year story essentially of one of Wisconsin`s first DNA exonerees, who two years after his release from prison was charged in a new crime.

Interestingly, though, at the time Mr. Avery was charged in the new crime, he did have a federal lawsuit pending against the county in which he was charged yet again and against two of its former law enforcement officials.

So, the timing of the re-arrest was of interest to us, as well as everything that had come before.

MATTHEWS: Moira, let me ask you about this question.

Apparently, the people that watched the show, almost 300,000 of them, believed that there was conclusive enough information in your docu-series to exonerate or to acquit. That is how they`re viewing it, and 300,000 people signing petitions. They don`t want a new trial. They want a pardon.

So, clearly, the way that people are watching this show, they`re coming out saying this guy was railroaded.

MOIRA DEMOS, FILMMAKER, "MAKING A MURDERER": Well, I think that speaks to the fact that the American public does not have a firm understanding of the process of justice.

I mean, even if you read that petition that is online, you know, it says that they think that Steven`s due process was violated, and he should be pardoned. If his due process was violated, if that is their opinion, the solution to that is that he should get a fair trial.

So, the question of the series is not innocence or guilt. The question is, was this a fair process?

MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you about the implication. I guess there`s an implication. You tell me, either one of you -- that the police abused the evidence, that they cooked it up, that they somehow take a vial of blood from the previous case of the defendant, and planted it so that he would look guilty, that they moved the keys to his house, the woman -- the victim`s car to his house to make it look like he had something to do with it, and they somehow moved to put his perspiration on the latch hood of the car?

I mean, doesn`t it suggest that the police played the game here of convicting a guy they may have thought was guilty, but they were out there to misuse evidence to prove it, either one of you?

RICCIARDI: Well, the defense had multiple theories, actually, one of them, as you state, was a framing evidence, that Steven Avery, in their opinion, was framed by a law enforcement. And what they expressed to us in the documentary and in the court essentially was that this was what they thought, the evidence they had presented.

And that is one of the arguments they took to the jury. But they also argued cognitive bias, essentially, tunnel vision on the part of law enforcement. They also argued that the forensic science evidence presented by the state was unreliable. So there were multiple theories that were raised by the defense, but I think people are mostly talking about the frame theory.

MATTHEWS: It seems to me that if you suggest in your doc that the police moved the keys over to the guy`s house, that they planted blood from the old charge out of the crime lab, and went in it with a hypodermic needle and took out the blood and then planted it somewhere, still leaves open the problem of the defendant or the convicted person now, Steven Avery`s perspiration on that latch hood.

How did the defense attorneys explain that fact?