The Beat with Ari Melber, Transcript 9/15/17 Trump supporters burning “MAGA” hats
Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER
Date: September 15, 2017
Guest: Ryan Girdusky, Howard Dean, Joan Walsh, Jamal Simmons, Jason
Maloni, Ken Vogel, Nick Akerman, Barbara Res, Shawn Henry, Franklin Foer,
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Well, I`ll tell you. I`ve done a lot of lawn
mowing. That was something my dad always made us do at home and it seems
like this guy has got the work ethic.
TODD: Yes, he does. I love it.
MELBER: Chuck, have a great weekend. Thank you as always.
Now, everyone is always asked what if anything would turn off Trump`s base.
The answer today, working with Nancy Pelosi on immigration. Trump heading
into the weekend with his supporters, you`ve got to see this, literally
burning with rage.
Today, they are lighting Make America Great Again gear on fire over this
rumor of a possible Dreamer deal. These are real photographs from real
Trump supporters - the hats, the sweatshirts up in smoke. Trump`s base
And for those who couldn`t burn their MAGA gear inside their buildings,
they went into the trash. Some ex-supporters made videos that are
spreading online about torching their hats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: DACA, to stay in Afghanistan, and to violate several
campaign promises leaves me no choice. You have become the swamp. Either
drain the swamp for you will never make America great again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Your move. The reference there to Trump`s campaign promises,
deporting Dreamers and building that wall, both right now, this week, in
Now, the base which he once bragged would, of course, stick with him
infamously even if he shot someone, some of the base is boiling. And Trump
was back out today perhaps responding, perhaps not. We`ll show you the
tweets. He brought up the travel ban and chain migration in all caps.
This does look like some sort of new territory. Many people in Trump`s
base have stuck through him through many controversies, from the campaign
fights over the Access Hollywood tape to Charlottesville, to disclosures in
the Russia inquiry of his own son agreeing to meet with people offering
help from Russia in the campaign.
There is also a split here from Republican establishment leaders.
Now, I am going to speak about all of this with our special political panel
tonight. You see them there, some familiar faces.
But, first, we turn to what might be a new face. Ryan Girdusky is a
conservative who endorsed Trump the day he announced, voted for him in the
primary and the general and is a writer at the conservative blog Red Alert
But he is part of this effort saying he`s outraged by Trump sharing this
image of his own burning Make America Great Again hat on Twitter. Ryan,
what moved you to go from being a Trump voter to burning your hat?
RYAN GIRDUSKY, SENIOR WRITER, RED ALERT POLITICS: Just the betrayal over
DACA. I mean, we did not vote for Trump. Trump`s base did not - whatever
you`ve heard on, this network or other networks. We didn`t vote for him
because he`s a reality star or because of his hair, because he is funny.
We voted for him on serious policy issues - immigration, trade, foreign
policy. And we took blow by blow. This is the final straw.
DACA is a serious issue. If DACA passes, if DACA - if the DREAM Act
passes, it will result in millions of new immigrants and Trump was the
anti-amnesty candidate. And it`s an absolute betrayal. And Trump
supporting should absolutely keep burning their hats.
MELBER: You say betrayal. Do you think he`s lying?
GIRDUSKY: Lying to who?
MELBER: Lying to people. If he campaigned on this, the wall, deporting
Dreamers and then he seems to have a different view in office, do you feel
GIRDUSKY: I don`t know if I feel lied to because there have been certain
policies that he`s gone forward. The travel ban, for example. He kept to
his promise. He stuck to his guns. Despite even a court case, he stuck to
his guns. And I can condone him for that. That`s amazing.
And he`s done other things as well. But at the same exact time, this is a
huge, huge, huge issue. And I think that a big problem is that Trump has
surrounded himself with people - people in the White House who don`t share
Gen. Kelly, for example, at DHS, did not share Trump`s vision whatsoever.
Nikki Haley doesn`t share his vision on foreign policy. Marc Short doesn`t
share his vision. Personnel is policy.
And I don`t believe it`s in the president`s best interest, it`s in his
base`s best interest to surround himself with these wishy-washy, sometimes
Democrats, generals and billionaires.
MELBER: And these are powerful images, controversial images that you and
others are putting out. Do you think President Trump is seeing what you
GIRDUSKY: Well, I have heard that he has, not just myself, but other
people. I heard that he has seen these images and that he did respond
because, today, he responded, we need to end chain migration.
OK. You can`t get that with the DREAM Act, you can`t get that with amnesty
for DACA. And he also sent a fundraising email that`s saying read my lips
basically, we are not going to pass, we`re going to build the wall.
Well, OK, Mr. President, if that`s true, do it. Do it first.
MELBER: Final question, Ryan. And I appreciate getting your perspective
here tonight. Final question. Do you think Donald Trump is taking people
like you, your votes, for granted?
GIRDUSKY: We`ll see. We`ll see. If the DREAM Act happens, yes. If DACA
doesn`t happen and he reverses course and he changes his ways, no, then
he`s hearing us loud and clear.
The base is powerful. Conservatives are powerful. We have to make it
known we`re not going to sit there and take those.
MELBER: Ryan Girdusky, a day one endorser of Donald Trump and a
conservative writer online, thanks for giving us your perspective tonight.
GIRDUSKY: Thank you.
MELBER: I want to turn to our panel. National Affairs Correspondent for
The Nation, Joan Walsh; former Vermont Governor, DNC Chair; Howard Dean;
and Jamal Simmons, a veteran of many Democratic campaigns.
Governor, what we seeing here and what you think of what Ryan said?
HOWARD DEAN, FORMER GOVERNOR, VERMONT: Well, I think like most Trump
supporters, he has his facts wrong to begin with.
Of course, it`s not going to increase the number immigrants in this country
if you pass the DREAM act because they are already here and they`ve been
here for many, many years. And that`s why so many Republicans actually
believe that the DREAM Act is a good thing and that we may get a deal.
It won`t just be a deal between Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Donald
Trump. It will be a bipartisan bill. And those are pretty rare and I
think it would be good for the country.
But, often, these folks who consider themselves very conservative Trumpers
just don`t know what the facts are and they wish the facts were different
and they keep pretending they are.
JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, “THE NATION”: Well, first of
all, I think Ryan is fine, burning his Make America Great hat because
Donald Trump is wearing that USA hat. It costs $40 online at his website
and he would like everyone to buy that. So, he`s totally cool with the
burning of the hat.
I feel for Ryan. I do feel like they`ve been betrayed. I also feel that
Ryan may be fine because I don`t necessarily believe that any deal will
happen. I think that Donald Trump has said things and flip-flopped and
It`s a long road before we have a DREAM Act. And I also want to reassure
Ryan, but I probably can`t, but the Dreamers are not bringing in more
people. They really are - I`m on the left, Ari, as you know. And on the
left, there are a lot of people who are saying, we`re pointing to the
Dreamers too much, we`re using them like the American Dream, the cream of
the crop, the really good immigrants and we should care about all
immigrants. I agree with that.
But the Dreamers really are people who I think most - I know most
Americans, by opinion polls, believe should be here. They have been here
for their lives. We`ve educated them and they are doing great things. So,
the idea that they are somehow low lives and they don`t belong here, no one
MELBER: Jamal, on the politics of this, we see some people burning their
hats. It`s not everyone yet, but you can`t start a fire without a spark,
as the old chorus goes. And you have something here that, obviously, could
continue to grow when we`ve seen Donald Trump get way with other things.
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Ari, it`s amazing that this is a
thing that would be the straw that breaks the camel`s back for some of
I mean, it`s not Russia, it`s not anything going on with the business
dealings, it has to do with immigration. And from day one, as you called
the last guest, you called him as one of his day one supporters.
From day one, Donald Trump came out against Mexican American immigrants,
calling them rapists and other things.
I think, for too many Donald Trump supporters - I don`t know your earlier
guest, I don`t want to categorize him individually, but for too many Donald
Trump supporters, Make America Great Again was a euphemism for make America
And I think they are incredibly concerned that he`s going to keep
immigration coming into the country. At one point, they said they were
against illegal immigration. Yet, a month ago, Donald Trump said he wanted
to cut legal immigration in half.
This is about Latin American, Latino citizens or Latino human beings coming
across the southern border. It`s not about Eastern European waitresses in
New York City. Nobody is rounding them up. It`s not about Canadians who
are overstaying their visas in places like (INAUDIBLE) in Michigan. This
is about Mexican-Americans and people from south of the border, and we`ve
got to be honest about that.
MELBER: Well, I appreciate you raising that because the travel ban is
often referred to as a shorthand to a few of the countries that were
picked, but it also has a ban on refugees who are overwhelmingly
humanitarian aid crises.
Young refugees, according to the experts, don`t pose any kind of militant
threat, depending on how they`re screened and there`s a very lengthy
And yet, I`m going to play you Rep. King here saying this is the turning
point, this is the reversal item. And as you say, it seems to be a real
obsession with immigration from certain places. Congressman King, take a
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CONGERSSMEN STEVE KING: I think something is going to have to reverse here
with this president`s policy or it will just blow up his base. I mean,
this was a straight-up promise all the way through his campaign.
What it means is that the base will leave him. They won`t be able to
defend him anymore.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MELBER: And, Jamal, that`s part of what we`re seeing.
SIMMONS: That`s right. Listen, here is a place where the politics gets
tricky for Donald Trump. If there is something that comes back from the
Russian investigation, if there is something that comes back from his shady
business dealings, will there be a conservative infrastructure that puts
pressure on the people in Congress to keep him in place.
If that conservative infrastructure begins to crumble, you may actually see
people in Congress begin to hold this president accountable, and that`s
something, I think, would drive him crazy.
MELBER: Gov. Dean?
DEAN: Well, the Republican establishment is going to throw Trump over the
side if his numbers get worse or if he finds something with Russia, no
I actually think Trump`s base is only terrifying to Republicans who`ve
basically sod themselves to the devil over the last 20 years on racial
issues and immigration issues.
So, it`s not clear to me that this is about nothing more - I think this is
just nothing more than just politics as usual. I think the Trump base is
fairly irrelevant to Democrats and to moderate Republicans because they
don`t - there`s only - there`s, what, 30 percent of them. That just
doesn`t include that much of a fear factor, except in Republican primaries.
MELBER: Right. I mean, the burning hats are interesting because, as you
know, governor, they`re burning hats. I mean, their hats on fire. So,
there is something interesting about it.
And yet, to your point, the political map does not require getting into
that garbage can, Joan, and pulling out the hat and winning that person
over because Romney had 47 percent, Trump had 46 percent. Hillary Clinton
is on her book tour talking about the how and the why.
Democrats can win without any of those 46 percent. And yet, having said
that, and I acknowledge that politically, it is interesting to look at
these numbers of Trump voters, most of whom do not support deportation for
This is a new poll - 26 percent, yes, deport Dreamers. The other larger
plurality saying something else short of deportation and that`s Trump
WALSH: It`s fascinating to me, Ari, because I think there is a mismatch
between what we see in the media and even that middle core of Trump voters.
They may even think they`re racist. But when it comes to the Dreamers,
they kind of get that they have been here all their lives. It will be very
cruel to throw them out.
But I think we have to worry about them. I think Trump has to worry about
them. I think that he is definitely cozying up to Chuck and Nancy. He
likes to talk about them in order to poke McConnell and Ryan in the eye.
But he needs McConnell and Ryan. This is a very dangerous thing for him to
do. He`s doing it because he likes being liked and they are acting like
they like him. It`s like sixth-grade stuff right now. But I can see him
totally turning his back on Chuck and Nancy and the Dreamers. I don`t
think this is a done deal at all.
MELBER: Well, they did a linguistic analysis on the campaign trail. The
Trump speech was read at fourth grade level. So, if you`re saying this is
sixth grade, that is -
WALSH: He`s graduated. That`s two years ago.
MELBER: That is an improvement. I want to thank Joan Walsh, Gov. Dean and
Jamal Simmons. I`m going to see some of you later in the show.
Coming up, the Trump White House refusing to come clean about who is
visiting Mar-a-Lago. There was a lawsuit deadline of today. And THE BEAT
has our own reporting on who`s been there. It should be interesting.
Also, what is happening with the wall and why Trump seems to be misleading
about where those renovations are coming.
And then later, I am going to speak live on THE BEAT to the woman in this
photo, a long-time Trump executive, about how he hypes buildings, but
doesn`t always deliver.
And Facebook under fire for the way it took rubles from the Russians during
I`m Ari Melber and you`re watching THE BEAT.
MELBER: One of the most significant developments in Bob Mueller`s Russia
probe is actually, when you think about it, the hardest to see. It`s the
questioning that investigators do in that secret grand jury room.
So, all we can see today is this, witnesses departing the grand jury.
That`s a Paul Manafort aide confirming - in this discussion right here
you`re going to hear, he`s confirming that he complied with Mueller`s order
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON MALONI: My name is Jason Maloni. I`m president of JadeRoq. I was
ordered to appear before the grand jury. I answered questions and I have
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What types of questions did they ask?
MALONI: That`s all I have to say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That`s all he had to say and that`s fair. There is nothing
negative to be assumed from a witness testifying, although it`s certainly a
burden on many of the people involved in the investigation.
Other news, though, today is the Trump administration catching heat in
another legal case. The judge ordering Trump to release the names of
presidential visitors at Mar-a-Lago during his presidency by today.
Now, they put out a list of only 22 people from one weekend`s activities in
the Japan state visit. And that`s, obviously, weird because Trump is
apparently not complying with the judge`s order by only releasing one
weekend`s list of names.
We know, from public accounts, way more than 22 people have been to Mar-a-
Lago during that period this year. There is a Democratic group that says
reports shows the numbers over a thousand.
Now, today at THE BEAT, we looked at public reports of visitors. And here
are just some of the people who did apparently visit and were left off this
Trump list of visitors that they are ordered by a court to provide.
It ranges from reality show cameos like Real Housewife cast members,
Countess Luann and Jill Zarin to donors like the billionaire Koch Brothers.
Their visit was reported by “The New York Times`” Ken Vogel to prominent
commenters on the Russia case, like Alan Dershowitz, who has criticized the
inquiry and also declined to answer questions on this program about whether
he`s ever been compensated to represent Trump.
So, while some of those names may not matter, others certainly do, which is
why the ethics group that is suing for the names, and they are also suing
over Trump allegedly taking foreign government money, says that today`s
filing was spitting in the eye of transparency.
They say they`ll be fighting this in court.
With me now is former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman and Ken Vogel of
“The New York Times” who did some of the reporting we just relied on.
Ken, start wherever you want. There is a lot here.
KEN VOGEL, “THE NEW YORK TIMES” POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, Ari. Obviously,
if there is - if we believe that there is either a public policy or a legal
reason, why these names should be released, the names in the visitor log to
Mar-a-Lago, as the court evidently did in ordering this release, then this
disclosure today does not meet that legal rationale.
It`s a very partial list. It includes, as you mentioned, just 22 names,
including like the names of the Prime Minister of Japan, a butler and a
garbage van driver.
MELBER: Very partial? I mean, this is months and months and months and
they say here is one weekend`s names. It`s like they want to - as a
lawyer, I look at, it`s like they are deliberately trying to look defiant.
What the strategy is, I don`t know that we know.
VOGEL: Yes. And their crew has indicated that they will push for more
names. It`s unclear what the court will do.
On the other story that you mentioned, Jason Maloni, the Manafort spokesman
testifying, I think that`s interesting because we still haven`t seen the
grand jury really go for the folks, subpoena the folks at the core of this,
particularly when it comes to Paul Manafort who Jason Maloni is a spokesman
They are still very much around the edges, building the case, some of the
key folks who work with Paul Manafort and some of the jobs that are in
issue, including for the pro - the Russia-aligned president of Ukraine,
former president Viktor Yanukovych. Those folks have not heard at all from
the special counsel.
So, we`re still kind of in the outer layers of the onion, as journalists or
prosecutors talk about building the case. They start with the outer
layers. We`re still there, suggests that there is a long way to go, both
in terms of the investigation and in terms of the time that it`s going to
drag out before we really get to the heart of the matter.
MELBER: The outer layers of the onion, Nik, and as you know, when you cut
in deep to the onion, you start crying over the legal fees.
NICK AKERMAN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: The legal fees are enormous,
MELBER: So, I want to show you a little bit of context from a different
grand jury, the Clinton grand jury, and reporting back then about how
onerous this can be.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fighting legal battles on two fronts and facing
attorney fees that could run $2 million dollars a year. President Clinton
has now asked the public to help foot the bill.
Corporations and political action committees cannot contribute, but
individual lobbyists could still write the Clintons a check.
They are confident here the president will raise the money he needs, but
it`s still an embarrassment and there could ultimately be a political price
to be paid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And these legal bills are stacking up for a lot of people who work
AKERMAN: Right. I`m sure they are. But, again, I think it`s very
important to know who`s funding people, who`s paying these legal based
bills, just the same way it`s important to know who`s going to Mar-a-Lago,
who are the people that are influencing the president of the United States,
who are the people that are funding his legal defense. I mean, I think
that is critical for the public to know.
MELBER: And that goes to who else Mueller needs to talk to. I want to
play for you a former candidate in Secretary Hillary Clinton speaking to
our own Rachel Maddow here last night, zeroing in on the Facebook piece,
which we`re just hearing more and more about. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We now know
that they were sowing discord during the election with phony groups on
Facebook. They were running anti-immigrant, anti-me, anti-Hillary Clinton
demonstrations, and so we`re going to make Facebook own up to everything.
They`ve just begun to own up. They have a long way to go before they get
to where they need to be in my opinion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Do you think she`s overstating the case and how does Mueller get
into all of that data, the metadata? Will that be key to the case he`s
making or potentially making?
AKERMAN: It`s absolutely critical. I mean, I think she may be overstating
the case in terms of what can be done with Facebook.
But what information Facebook has? They know who the Russians were
targeting with respect to these phony stories. They know the demographics,
they know the geography. And what they need to do is take all of that data
and compare it to what the Trump campaign was doing with their data mining
If you recall, the person who was in charge of the data mining, which meant
trying to go in and target the Trump voters and the Clinton voters, to
suppress the Clinton vote and to bring out the Trump vote.
So, if you can sort of take those two datasets and compare them, I think
you might find some very interesting conclusions.
That is, do they match up? Do the Russians - what they were doing, does
that match up to what the Trump campaign was doing?
MELBER: Right. Does any of the data have the clues? You follow the data.
And, Ken, of course, you follow the money. I know, in your reporting, you
always say, it`s just dollar-dollar-bills-you-all. I think that`s how
you`ve always put it.
And Sen. Warner was calling on Facebook as well, Democratic intel member,
and he`s talking about how they bought these election ads, tweeting “they
paid in RUBLES.” Seriously, Ken, how much is it following dollars versus
VOGEL: Well, certainly there - I think we`re seeing just the beginning of
the way that social media can be sort of manipulated in ways that are
either illegal, if it come - it would be illegal if there were US persons
who are knowingly coordinating with foreigners to place ads that were an
attempt to influence the election.
I don`t know that we can definitely prove that. It took Facebook this long
just to own up to the fact that it actually - to be charitable here, to
determine that this actually occurred and that Russians were the ones
placing these ads and that they may have been (INAUDIBLE).
MELBER: I appreciate that. You`re a charitable guy. Nick, I don`t feel
that charitable right now. Facebook is an incredibly powerful,
politically-connected group and they declined to commit to releasing even
information about the Russian government backed Facebook posts, groups and
paid ads to the users who encountered them.
So, that means, if you`re a Facebook user and you sign away all your rights
is over here, right?
MELBER: Americans are realizing this company has all this info about you.
And unless pressured, they don`t care about keeping it safe and it can ruin
your credit history and your life.
And Facebook is doing this in a civic and political way. How do you put
legally the pressure on these companies?
AKERMAN: I think the way to do it is that Mueller has to subpoena these
MELBER: Should Mueller subpoena Zuckerberg?
AKERMAN: He should subpoena Facebook for sure. I mean, that data, as I
mentioned before, could be critical in proving collusion between the
Russian government and the Trump campaign.
MELBER: And I don`t think we`ve seen leaks to that effect yet.
AKERMAN: I don`t think you`re going to see any leaks to that effect. I
think that evidence - what you have here with Facebook is really unusual
because you can tell from these ad buys exactly the demographics that they
were targeting, you can tell the geography they were targeting, and then
you take that and compare it because that could turn out to be a critical
evidence in proving collusion.
VOGEL: You know what, guys, if I might, just real quickly, I don`t think -
I`m not convinced on the collusion on the social media standpoint. I
watched the Trump campaign up close. I talked to people who worked on that
They could barely collude with themselves. They literally had a website
initially that was accepting donations. And the information from donors
was not automatically populating into their donor file and their voter
file. They had to do that manually.
So, I don`t think the Trump campaign was super sophisticated on this front.
MELBER: You`re saying, during the campaign, you didn`t see the technical
proficiency to collude even if they wanted to?
VOGEL: Exactly. Certainly, early on. That said, I do agree that we`re
just seeing the tip of the iceberg as to how a foreign actor or someone who
is just trying to make mischief in the election could do that using social
media, whether or not there was a willing participant who was actively
working with them, who was involved in the election.
So, I think that this is something that does get to the heart of Mueller`s
investigation, not from the collusion standpoint, but from the Russian
meddling standpoint both in 2016 and to really root out the ways in which
foreign actors could try to create mischief going forward in future
MELBER: Ken Vogel and Nick Akerman, out of time. Thank you both. Up
next, we have our investigation into Donald Trump`s border wall and whether
the reality is anything close to his rhetoric.
I`m going to speak to a former Trump executive right here about all of
And later, could be Russia`s next hack. Our experts talk about a hack so
dangerous it`s called The Big One.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Sometimes Donald Trump has to give up on his own
story, even running from a classic campaign pledge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will build a great wall
and Mexico will pay for the wall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: The cliche is campaign and poetry, govern and pros. For Trump,
apparently, it was campaign on Mexico buying the wall and govern on America
buying the wall. But by the way, maybe it`s not a wall it is and more of
an ongoing renovation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The wall will come later. We`re right now renovating large
sections of wall, massive sections making it brand new. We`re doing a lot
of renovation. We`re building four different samples of the wall to see
which one we`re going to choose. And the wall is going to be built. It
will be funded a little bit later.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And as we reported on THE BEAT, those renovations are from Obama
and Bush-era projects, not the Trump administration. Today`s New York
Times suggested on the front page, Trump`s following an immigration agenda
increasingly set by Democrats. Was this always Trump`s plan though, just
promise a wall that would never get built? We answer that question tonight
by turning to a special segment first on THE BEAT. I`m joined by an
Executive who works with Trump for 18 years, even overseeing construction
at Trump Tower, watching Trump pitch other long shot construction projects,
some of which never became reality. I`m joined now by Barbara Res, former
Executive Vice President at the Trump Organization. Thank you for being
BARBARA RES, FORMER TRUMP ORGANIZATION EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT: My
pleasure. Thank you.
MELBER: When you see him promise this much on the wall and then keep
moving the goalposts, is it consistent with what he was like in business or
RES: Well, it`s consistent to an extent. He – lots of times he did he
what was expedient or what was necessary to win over what you know, he was
trying to accomplish. So he would move along as time went on. The clear -
- the clear example of my mind is on the West Side Yards when he was going
to do a project there. We were going to do a different project and he
ended up making a deal with the local people who objected to the project
and they came up with a plan for like a wall of buildings along the river.
But the problem was, there was that highway there. So, you know, you
didn`t see the buildings from the river, you saw the highway built just
behind it. So they decide that had they would put the buildings, they
would bring the West Side Highway in under the buildings and make this
beautiful landscape therein –
MELBER: Big promise.
MELBER: It didn`t happen.
RES: No one ever thought it would happen.
MELBER: Did he think it would happen?
RES: No, no.
MELBER: He knew.
RES: Of course.
MELBER: Let me read from I believe that same story here. Even Mr. Trump
who once called himself the number one fan of getting the highway down –
what you`re talking about, this big idea – now says he`d actually be
better off economically and logistically if it remained in place.
RES: Well, yes. So, I mean, you know, it was what the people wanted to –
what the people wanted to hear. And yes, he wasn`t alone on that. I think
the people of the planning commission also knew this was never going to
MELBER: So is this like a bubble that never pops or in your experience
with Donald Trump, does it eventually pops?
RES: It depends. You know, sometimes he really starts out wanting to do
something and thinks he`s going to accomplish it and then you know, has to
back away from it. But sometimes he does accomplish what he says he is
going to do. What the wall in Mexico, he never thought was going to build
MELBER: You`re view of having – you worked with Trump for 18 years.
MELBER: Whether the wall was serious in his mind or not, you think –
RES: Oh, I don`t see how he could possibly have been. I mean, it`s
ridiculously expensive. It`s unnecessary. It`s – it was the window
dressing. It was something that he could feed to his – to his audience
and you know, build the wall, who is going to pay for it?
MELBER: Right. Let me ask you this. There`s a lot of things that go on
in government that don`t get enough attention. Speaking with you briefly -
- and we were talking about the appointment of new federal prosecutors
because he fired them all. Put a pie chart up and show everyone based on
gender. This is breakdown of Donald Trump`s appointments to be
prosecutors. You`re a woman who was a high-level executive, what do you
think of that?
RES: I don`t think that`s Donald. To be honest with you, I don`t –
MELBER: But that is Donald because those are his appointments.
RES: Yes, they`re his appointments but I don`t think he dictated, I don`t
want any women attorneys working for the government. He used to hire, I
mean, I don`t know about now, but he used the hire very strong women.
MELBER: So he`s just letting other people call the shots on those
RES: I think that he`s just paneling. You know, whoever he – whoever he
want. You know, just give me what I want and you can go ahead and do
anything. He does have a very sexist group with – you know –
MELBER: Around him.
RES: – some of the things that they`ve done. Yes.
MELBER: Final question Barbara, because you have such an interesting front
row seat to what is now history in the making. Did you ever think during
those 18 years that he would become President?
RES: No, absolutely not. He talked about it once in a while and it was
kind of like joke among the group. But then, I never thought that any
personal without any political ability would be running for President,
maybe governor or something.
MELBER: Right. Did it turn out to be a joke, or is this – is this
snapping? This is – we`re not a movie, right?
RES: No, I`m afraid this is real. We have to make the best of it.
MELBER: That`s – I – you know, that`s a great point to end on. I should
end on my interviews by asking, is this real? Barbara, thank you so much
for coming in. I really appreciate it. And don`t forget to check us out
on Facebook and Twitter, @THEBEATWITHARI. You can tell us your view of
whether there`s any hats you want to burn from anyone`s political
operations. Now, ahead, I have my own special breakdown of how Trump
painted himself a new corner of his base. The burning hats are actually a
symptom of a deeper problem in the administration, I`ll explain it. And
also, since it is Friday, it is time to “FALLBACK.” That`s also coming up.
MELBER: Now we turn to the largest breach yet of America`s a Power Grid
and a Russia link group may be behind it. Wired reporting hackers gaining
direct access to the U.S. Power Grid controls. That means they could
actually shut down an American Power Systems with real-world consequences.
Experts say there is a similarity to past hacks tied to Russia. Now, a new
book outlines a scarier scenario, The Big One, the inevitable mega-hack
that rumbles society with its core, disrupt financial system so that
fortunes disappear in an unrecoverable flash or trigger an actual explosion
of infrastructure that kills. Critical infrastructure can be seriously
compromised. Hackers can wreak havoc with the push of a button. All they
need is to penetrate any insecure system and they have managed to do this
before. A recent attack on U.S. nuclear power stations which was public in
July was then pinned to Russian hackers. Their motivation?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUAN ZARATE, NBC NEWS SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: To send a message.
To say back off because we have the ability to strike you in the heart of
your core system. Your networks that matter to your economy and to your
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Joining me now is Shawn Henry, a former FBI Official and Chief
Security Officer at CrowdStrike and Franklin Foer who work with Facebook
founder Chris Hughes at the New Republic and wrote that new book World
Without Mind. Sean, how worried should we be about this new reports that
hackers can get into the Grid?
SHAWN HENRY, CROWDSTRIKE CHIEF SECURITY OFFICER, AND FORMER FBI OFFICIAL:
Well, I think we should be very, very concerned. It`s not that they can,
they have. They`re already – they`re already there and they have been
there. We`ve recently seen just in the last six months, kind of a
resurgence in the energy sector. We`ve seen that previously with some of
the groups that we`ve been tracking going back three or four years. But
these recent excursions into the networks, actors who have access and have
actually been able to take screenshots of control panels demonstrates that
not only do they have the access but with that access, they have the
capability to start manipulating systems, potentially turning off some of
MELBER: And Franklin, this feeds right into the longer term stuff you`re
looking at which I think is designed to just completely scare everyone. I
don`t know whether you know, a massive blackout is more dangerous than
people waking up and finding out their savings is completely gone and what
that does to a society as you propose. What did you find can be done about
the things that you`re scaring with?
FRANKLIN FOER, THE ATLANTIC STAFF WRITER: Well, a lot of my book is about
the power of four companies Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple, which are
these incredibly powerful monopolies. And part of power is that they stand
between us and information and that they`ve acquired all this control that
they can exert without a whole lot of our awareness of their control over
markets, over media, over information, and to an extent over our democracy.
And when you look at the way the Russians operated over the course of the
last election, they had a pretty acute understanding of the power of these
networks and the vulnerability of the networks. And what we`ve seen is
that Facebook, for instance, doesn`t really take much responsibility for
what it does and it has created this situation where it has powerful
network where people can be manipulated very easily and they`re just very
vulnerable to the type of exploitation that bad actors can exert.
MELBER: Right. You talk about Facebook and I mentioned you worked for a
former Facebook co-founder. I remember during the 2016 campaign, Roger
Stone said it was only Podesta`s time in the barrel. It seems like to some
in California, it`s Mark Zuckerberg`s time in the barrel. You write that
he basically allowed through Facebook the posting of a steady stream of
fabricated right-wing conspiracies that boosted Donald Trump`s candidacy,
and you say it`s galling to watch Zuckerberg walk away from the
catastrophic collapse of the news business and the degradation of American
civic culture because this sign has played such a seminal role in both.
FOER: What Facebook has done is it`s created these two hive minds that are
highly susceptible to fake news and propaganda because we want to hear
things that confirm our biases. And so, if we get news that seems to
confirm our biases, we don`t really check the authority of that news or the
veracity of the news. We tend to accept it. And I think that Zuckerberg
deserves to be held to account for that.
MELBER: Last question to you Shawn then. What else has to be done so we
are less vulnerable to these types of hacks?
HENRY: So we`re talking about the types of hacks related to these energy
companies. I think there are a number of things. First of all,
organizations have to be much more proactive in constantly assessing their
environment and hunting for malicious software and adversaries who are
actually in their environment. And then beyond that, I think there`s got
to be more from a government perspective in terms of how do we deal with
nation`s states? How do we define what the red lines are? And that if you
cross the red lines, is to what the repercussions are going to be? We`re
in a world now that is completely connected and when we see an attack like
this, we`re going to see some cascading impact and it`s going to be
devastating. As Franklin has described in his book, nation states have to
have these discussions to set the tone and ensure that we`re working in the
proper parameter to save our country.
MELBER: Right. And the main thing about Franklin`s book, don`t read it
right before bed. It is not that time to read.
FOER: It`s not that scary.
MELBER: It is. It will keep you up at night. But buy it either way.
Franklin, thanks (INAUDIBLE), Shawn, your law enforcement experience always
valuable. Thank you, both.
And don`t to go bed just yet either. Ahead, how fake deadlines in Chuck
Schumer`s a hot mic led to that torching. And also, it`s Friday, so you
also know what that means on THE BEAT. It`s time to “FALLBACK.” Stay with
MELBER: It`s easy to forget Republicans wanted this month to be about
taxes. An agenda item that was supposed to unite the GOP as it returned
from Congressional Recess in a way that Health Care and Immigration has
not. Republicans trying to spotlight taxes but then Donald Trump got
involved and he made life worse in a very particular way. First, Trump
overreacted to immigration pressure from the right. It`s a legal fact that
Trump could continue or end protection for the DREAMers. It`s an executive
order. He holds the cards. But when Republican AGs picked a fight with
Trump and set a manufactured deadline for when they`d sue over DREAMers,
the White House can get sued by anyone. It didn`t mean anything but Trump
took the bait. This was not a real deadline. It was a plan to file a
As NBC reported at that time, some though began treating the suit as a
concrete deadline and it was not one. So Trump responded with that
announcement that he would deport DREAMers as those Republicans AGs wanted
but in six months from now. A new made up deadline. And that drew
blowback from another wing of the Republican Party, plus Democrats, plus
some business leaders, so Trump started reacting to his reaction to the
lawsuit threat huddling with Schumer and Pelosi and trying to stake out a
new plan to protect DREAMers from deportation. And here`s what`s important
about that. He didn`t have to rush that plan out either. His own deadline
is six months away and again this was supposed to be tax month. But Trump
did rush which led to Schumer celebrating his strategic breakthrough in
that hot mic moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: He likes us. He likes me
anyway. Mr. President, you`re much better off if you can sometimes step
right and sometimes step left. If I have to step just in one direction,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And that candid moment raises the question what`s hotter than a
hot mic on the Senate floor? The answer is a Trump hat on fire.
So you see the hat, getting that Fahrenheit 451 treatment from some Trump
supporters, burning the icon of Trumpism. And that reportedly had Trump
fuming like one of his red-hot hat. Now, let`s be clear. Expressive
speech is protected in America. The courts protect your right to burn our
sacred flag. You certainly can burn any political object you want. It may
even give some people an impulsive pleasure. As Ray Bradbury explores in
his book warning against censorship, Fahrenheit 451, it was a pleasure to
burn a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and
changed. But starting a fire is also dangerous because you can only
control where it starts, never where it ends.
And there are two political fires burning right now. One from Trump
supporters enraged by that broken promise and one from Trump who had no
factual reason to dive into the DREAMers debate before he had a plan ready
and that was the first fire he set when he was apparently indifferent to
the cards he held. The second fire burning from Trump getting outsmarted
both by the GOP leaders who originally pushed him to do something on
DREAMers before he was ready, then by these Democratic leaders pushing
back. And what does it mean to get outsmarted by leaders like that?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Our leadership is stupid. These are stupid people. So bad, these
are stupid, stupid people and they`re leading us right down the tubes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: It`s Friday on THE BEAT and that means it`s time to “FALLBACK.”
Your favorite segment with its own soundtrack. “FALLBACK” is a chance to
tell someone from this week to chill out relax or maybe even reassess.
Your choices, Joan Walsh back with us along with Comedian Seth Herzog,
again Jamal Simmons. Joan, who needs to fall back?
JOAN WALSH, MSNBC NATION`S NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Obviously Sara
Huckabee Sanders. She really needs to stop telling ESPN to fire Jemele
Hill. Jemele did go out on Twitter and call Donald Trump a white
supremacist but there`s a danger Ari, as you know, when you defend white
supremacists, you might get child a white supremacist and you might be one.
And honestly, if she should be fired, then we`ve got to go – we`ve got to
take the way back machine, not just the fallback machine so that NBC can
fire Donald Trump for claiming that Barack Obama was not born in the United
MELBER: Right. You`re saying if we`re going to discipline people for
WALSH: So Sarah, come on, just leave it alone. You`ve got a lot more
MELBER: Seth, who needs to fall back?
SETH HERZOG, AMERICAN COMEDIAN: Steve Mnuchin needs to fall back. Enough.
First of all, buy a vowel. There`s enough consonants in a row. I don`t
even understand. It`s like three C, Zs, anyway. His whole opinion, he
flies down to Kentucky to see the eclipse but then they accuse him of using
a government plane. He`s like I use government plane. Why do I even care
about the eclipse? I`m from New York. New Yorkers don`t care about
MELBER: Yes, he says, people in Kentucky took this up very seriously.
Being a New Yorker, I was like the eclipse, really. I don`t have any
interest in watching the eclipse being a New Yorker.
WALSH: That`s a lie.
HERZOG: I never seen such an arrogant nerd in my entire life.
MELBER: Is that the typology you see?
HERZOG: That is the typology I see. I also –
HERZOG: I also see –
MELBER: What does it say?
HERZOG: But I mean, also – like New Yorkers went crazy.
WALSH: I was on the Great Hill with like thousands of people in Central
HERZOG: There was a run on the glasses.
WALSH: We shared our glasses. I mean, it`s so – it was so awesome.
HERZOG: You had to. People were going crazy for those shades. It felt
like the end – the end of the world. It felt like that because everyone
was like, I need glasses.
MELBER: Yes, Jamal, who needs to fall back.
JAMAL SIMMONS, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I started out this segment
wanting to have a good fun time about this guy of (INAUDIBLE) in California
who wanted to get rid of J.J. Abrams from the Star Wars movies. But then
Joan Walsh in that first segment we did just brought me down. I cannot –
I cannot believe that Donald Trump – so I looked it up while this was –
while we were off air for a bit. Donald Trump is actually selling those
hats for $40 a piece on his website.
MELBER: On disaster tours.
SIMMONS: That means the President of the United States (INAUDIBLE) is on a
disaster tour and he`s selling baseball cap merchandise. The – he claims
to be a billionaire. I just can`t – you know, I`ve been in and around the
presidency in my entire adult life, I have a lot of respect for it and it`s
like the president is running a long con. I can`t believe –
WALSH: Do you think?
SIMMONS: – that this guy is in the office.
MELBER: It`s incredible. I have one that is really important, I mean,
really significant fall back as something we`ve been talking about here on
THE BEAT. I`m going to play a commercial and then explain to you who needs
to fall back. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we did do has we introduced pumpkin to spice. Us
here, Starbucks, we said, hey pumpkin, meet spice. You guys are going to
be best friends. I kid but they are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: I think I need pumpkin spice to fall back. It is a flavor that
we`re seeing running all over every category. We`ve checked Pringles,
salmon, salsa, glue sticks, cheese, you don`t know pumpkin spice Pringles,
HERZOG: Have you had it?
MELBER: No, if I`m telling pumpkin spice Pringles to fall back, that means
I`m not eating it. Come on.
HERZOG: Maybe you should have one first. They`re spicy and pumpkiny.
WALSH: No, I`m with Ari. It`s got to – it`s got to fall back. It`s got
to go. It should be banished – it all should be banished.
MELBER: What about solutions? I vote for more gingerbread latte. I was
about to say that, oh my god.
MELBER: It`s the best – it`s the best flavor latte.
HERZOG: I love the heat that`s happening here.
WALSH: Yes. Nature, nature.
MELBER: We have fun. No one knows to this day what this segment is about,
this “FALLBACK” segment.
WALSH: We don`t.
MELBER: We don`t know who what it is. Joan, Seth, Jamal –
HERZOG: Thank you, Joan.
MELBER: Thank you all. I will be back at 10:00 p.m. Eastern filling in
for Lawrence O`Donnell. Right now though, you can see “HARDBALL” with
Chris Matthews now.
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