THe Beat with Ari Melber, Transcript 9/20/17 Hurricane Maria & Mexico earthquake
Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER
Date: September 20, 2017
Guest: Joyce Vance, Richard Painter, Francesca Chambers, Michael McFaul,
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST, “MTP DAILY”: Ruhle is filling in for Ari.
Stephanie, and you were down there in the Caribbean as well. It`s just
heartbreaking to see them get battered yet again. And I know you`re going
to be covering this as well anyway.
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC HOST, THE BEAT: Chuck, it`s extraordinary. Think
about this. Puerto Rico was offering the aid to St. John and now Puerto
Rico needs water and aid themselves.
TODD: Right. And there are people in St. John that ferried to Puerto
Rico for refuge.
RUHLE: Huge amounts of people who have been in shelters for days and other
shelters are overcrowded. All right, thanks so much, Chuck.
TODD: The nightmare in the Caribbean. All right.
RUHLE: Indeed. Have a good night. All right. Welcome. You`re watching
THE BEAT and we are tracking two major natural disasters tonight with human
suffering on a biblical scale.
Right now, Puerto Rico is in the dark as Hurricane Maria knocks out power
across the entire island. The catastrophic storm leaving massive damage in
And in Mexico City, desperate rescue efforts are underway after that
devastating 7.1 earthquake. An elementary school collapsed capturing the
attention of the entire world. Now, the search is on for survivors trapped
in the rubble.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The only thing that they have said
is that we go to forensic centers and hospitals to verify if our family is
there. But my family has gone there and we don`t have news of our family
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It was horrible. And when the
dirt cloud came down we saw the school had come down.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is about 20 kids that we still don`t know how
they are, if they are even alive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I am waiting to see if she makes
it out. I hope my mother is alive. I`m hoping she is alive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: A three-story story school flattened like a pancake, but where we
start this evening is the disaster in Puerto Rico. I spoke with the San
Juan mayor earlier today just as the storm was hitting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, SAN JUAN MAYOR: Almost half of San Juan is flooded at
this point. This is devastation and I have never seen in my 54 years of
life. We are looking at four to six months without electricity in the
island nation of Puerto Rico.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Look at those palm trees. NBC`s Gabe Gutierrez is live in San
Juan. Gabe, I`ve been speaking to you throughout the day and it appears
the rain has stopped, but the devastation remains. Look at just behind
you, my gosh.
GABE GUTIERREZ, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Stephanie. The power of this
hurricane was just immense.
Yes, the rain has stopped, but we`re really just starting to assess the
damage right now. You can see the power of the storm knock this car over.
We`re not sure where exactly it was to begin with. It may have been in a
parking structure up there and somehow flew down here. We`re still trying
to figure that out. We just got to the scene.
But I want to show you a little bit more and some of the things we`ve been
seeing. And it`s been difficult to get around, frankly. You see so much -
so many toppled trees and downed power lines.
This isn`t actually some of the worst that we`ve seen. We were - managed
to get further out and see a collapsed home, but it`s difficult now to
really get around. And there`s been flooding in different parts of this
So, it`s a devastating situation. The San Juan mayor says that they`re
getting ready right now to assess the damage and to see which people might
need search and rescue missions. There`s no good tally on how many people
are injured, how many people might have been killed here in San Juan.
People are just starting to drive around the area, but that is dangerous.
There`s a curfew that`s now going to be in effect, starting at 6 pm
Stephanie, communications are down. And actually, I can`t hear you any
longer if you have any more questions because our phone line just went
But if you`re still hearing me now, I can tell you some residents here are
still in shock. Some of the water has been raising in different parts of
There is concerns about storm surge. And, really, right now, they`re
trying to account for how much this island is damaged. But local
authorities are saying this is unlike anything that we`ve ever seen and
they worry that clean up here and the recovery is going to take quite a
long time, Stephanie.
And as you know, this island with its weak infrastructure, this is going to
be extremely difficult. We`re still waiting to see the full extent of this
damage. Stephanie, I am going to send it back to you.
RUHLE: Thank you, Gabe. That infrastructure, the power system there that
is 44 years old. After Hurricane Irma pretty much missed Puerto Rico,
there was almost a sense of relief that FEMA insurance would come in and
they could use that money towards upgrading that infrastructure. And now,
they have been hit so devastatingly hard.
I want to bring in NBC`s Tammy Leitner. She`s on the phone also in San
Juan where she is riding out the storm with FEMA first responders. Tammy,
you`re on the phone with us because we`ve lost your shot. The signal is so
weak where you are. Give us the latest.
TAMMY LEITNER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That`s right, Stephanie.
There is really only one room that we`re able to get a cellphone line out,
and that`s where I am right now talking to you.
I can tell you that the first responders that we rode out this storm with,
about 300 of them from across United States, they have not even been able
to get out there and assess the damage.
Part of the reason is that there are some trees down and blocking most of
the cars, and so they`re not able to get over them. But we do know that,
across the island, it`s 100 percent power outage. And as you mentioned,
it`s a very antiquated power system that likely will take months to restore
They have put in place a curfew from 6 pm until 6 am. We know that the
airport is closed until Saturday because of damage. And President Trump
has promised federal resources here.
But, really, the big question is how much damage is there. Because the
first responders have not been able to get out and assess things, people
are assuming that it`s bad, and it is bad, but they just don`t know how bad
it is yet, Steph.
RUHLE: In the near term, what`s needed for recovery? I mentioned it to
Gabe last week, San Juan, Puerto Rico was sort of the recovery hub for the
Virgin Islands. They used St. Croix and San Juan as the place to send
boats from, with water and tarps and food and clothing. What does San Juan
LEITNER: At this point, it appears that they need an awful lot. I can
tell you that the 300 first responders that are here now, they were here
because of Irma. And remember, Puerto Rico avoided that direct hit. It
did suffer some damage.
And so, those first responders were here taking care of things and they
were about ready to leave the island when Juan came in about - the next
hurricane coming through and they were told to stay.
They had no idea. They actually told us they don`t usually sit and hunker
down and wait out a storm. They had no idea that it was coming this way
and it was a very different scenario for many of these first responders.
They`re just anxious to get out there and see how they could help.
RUHLE: Lucky that they are there. All right, Tammy. Thank you so much.
We have to take a turn now to the Mexico City earthquake.
As we speak, rescue workers and volunteers are digging through the rubble
to find survivors. Some with their bare hands, rock by rock. Two hundred
and twenty-five people are confirmed dead. And at this hour, that number
is expected to rise.
In Southern Mexico City, parents are desperately waiting for word about
their children missing after an elementary school collapsed, 22 children
confirmed dead, but 30 are still unaccounted for.
NBC`s Ron Mott is live in Mexico City. Ron, what is happening where you
are? Those desperate parents just outside the school gates waiting and
RON MOTT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Right. And that is a way south of
Mexico City, Steph, and we can give you a little bit of good news to that
death toll number that you just mentioned, 225.
Just within the past 30 to 40 minutes, they have lowered that number by 2
to 223. And most of those deaths occurring in and around the capital city
Now, this building back here was a six-story - let me just interrupt myself
and you see them raising their hands. There are soldiers raising their
And what they`re trying to do there is to get the crowd`s attention
gathered here, to get people to lower their voices because they are
communicating in that rubble with an unknown number of people who are alive
RUHLE: Ron, just walk us through that again.
MOTT: We believe the number of people still sort of missing, who have not
been brought out this building, is between 12 and 14. They have brought a
number of people out of this building.
And so, what they`re doing right now is getting the voices to be lowered
here, so that they could communicate with these folks. They have been able
to get them food and water.
There are some people trapped in what was a fourth-floor conference room
and they are sort of in, what they call, a triangle of life, if you will.
The floor above them, the concrete floor above them has fallen at an angle.
Like - so, they are in that triangle up against a wall.
And so, they have been able to communicate with them throughout the day.
Some of their family members and friends are off camera just over here
waiting for word on when they`re able to pull them out, but this is a very
delicate operation, Steph.
As you can imagine, any wrong move and you may send debris down into that
area where these folks are getting some valuable oxygen to keep themselves
going, while this delicate rescue effort goes on.
Now, just in the past five or ten minutes, some workers came over and cut
some of this wrought iron gate because they`re going to make - fashion
something to try to tunnel down into that fourth-floor area, so that they
can try to get to those folks one by one and maybe create a space of 22, 23
inches wide to be able to pull them out.
Again, we don`t know how many people are live here. We do know there are
people alive here and they have communicated throughout the day with them.
We are now past probably 27 hours or so, since this earthquake hit, a very
And, again, this office was full of young people, looking for work and
crowding into many of the conference rooms in areas in this building when
this earthquake hit and caused a good portion of this building to collapse
probably down to the second floor or so. Stephanie, let`s send it back up
RUHLE: Ron, before you go, I mean, this is stunning. One more time
because, as we look at video, a number of times, we see that rescuers with
both hands in the air. And now that signals they hear some sort of voices
coming from inside. Now, the sounds that they`ve heard, do we know that
the people trapped inside, do we know that they are injured in anyway?
MOTT: We would presume that they have probably suffered some at least
surface injuries from just all the dust and debris and the rocks and
whatnot falling around them.
But, apparently, they`re in pretty good shape enough to communicate what
the rescuers who are trying to get to them, how they were managed to - able
to get them food and water throughout the day, we don`t quite know, but
there are some openings in that sort of triangle of life where these folks
are trapped. There are other areas, we believe, where people are still
We do know about a gentleman who is on the second floor. Now, that`s four
stories below that rubble you see behind me and that may take a lot longer
to get to him, but the folks on the fourth floor, they believe, they have a
better shot, obviously, of getting to them earlier before they get to the
gentleman on the second floor.
But in communicating with all of the folks who are alive in there, they
seem to be in pretty good shape to manage to hold on, keep themselves
encouraged and they`re raising hands again to try to communicate again once
more with folks in the building to see exactly what they need and what
they`re feeling at this moment.
RUHLE: I mean, stunning watching this unfold, that triangle of life, those
pockets that Ron is talking about, again, it is making me think of that
elementary school. It was a three-story building that simply collapsed
like a pancake.
Twenty-two lives already lost, 30 children still unaccounted for. We can
only hope and pray that there`s another triangle of life down there at that
school and rescuers can get to them.
Joining me now on the phone from Mexico City is David Luhnow, Latin
American Editor for “The Wall Street Journal”. David, thus far, how is the
Mexican government responding?
DAVID LUHNOW, LATIN AMERICA EDITOR, “THE WALL STREET JOURNAL”: Well, a lot
better than they did in 1985. Of course, Mexico went through a big 8.1
earthquake in 1985 that killed more than 6,000 people.
And at that time, Mexicans felt their government was really AWOL. And many
historians now point to that as the moment when Mexico really started
shifting toward democracy. The ruling party ended up with a big black eye
after that earthquake.
So, I think, nowadays, Mexican politicians are really aware of the
reaction. The president has been flying around the country, leading
politicians have been turning up at the different rescue sites offering
There are about 25,000 soldiers, federal police and other marines on the
streets, trying to help with the rescue efforts. So, I think they`ve
learned their lesson. And this time around, they`re reacting a lot more
RUHLE: How much of the city is without power?
LUHNOW: Not much. Only about 15 percent. In fact, most of the damage -
Mexico City was built on a former lake bed. The Aztecs founded the city on
a lake and used to get around in canoes.
So, when the Spanish came in, they put the city on top of the former lake
bed, and that`s one reason earthquakes are so harrowing in Mexico City, is
that soft soil can amplify the earthquake waves and make it feel like a
bowl of jello.
But there are only parts of the city that are on the former lake bed.
Other parts are on the bedrock and those fared very well.
The parts that are on the lake bed where where the buildings collapsed and
where there`s been some trouble.
Power has been restored to basically most of the city. In some areas, it
hasn`t yet, but because they don`t want to turn it on and hamper rescue
efforts in case there is fallen cables.
RUHLE: One more before you go. We are talking so much about the victims,
but there is also heroes there. Your paper, “The Wall Street Journal”
reporting volunteers who are known as Mexico`s Moles. Who are they?
LUHNOW: Well, they came up in the wake of the 1985 earthquake precisely
because the government was nowhere to be found. Volunteers decided to get
into the rubble and inch their bodies through to rescue people.
And ever since then, they became known informally as the topos, which is
Spanish for moles. So, they`re human moles that climb into rubble.
They`ve become quite famous not only in Mexico, but around the world.
They`ve gone to Iran, Indonesia, other places that have suffered tragedies
and tried to rescue lots and lots of people from these places.
We have spoken to many of these guys. We spoke to a 70-year-old today,
full of life. He spent ten hours trying to get at one of the trapped girls
in the primary school and this is what they do.
They, obviously, pull out a lot of bodies in addition to finding survivors,
but they say that every survivor makes the rest of it worthwhile.
RUHLE: Wow, a 70-year-old rescuer full of life trying to save lives.
David, thank you so much for your great reporting and keeping us up on this
massively important story that we have to continue to focus on as the
search and rescue continues. We are going to take a break now.
Ahead, breaking news on the Russia investigation. Bob Mueller demanding
the White House submit documents about Presidential Trump`s time in office.
And former President Obama unloads on the GOP healthcare plan, his most
direct and blistering attack since leaving office. And my one-on-one with
Michael Bloomberg on jobs, North Korea and President Trump`s cellphone.
I`m Stephanie Ruhle in for my friend Ari Melber and you are watching THE
BEAT on MSNBC.
RUHLE: Welcome back to THE BEAT. I`m Stephanie Ruhle. Just moments ago,
President Trump bragging about Senate Republicans` new healthcare plan and
saying something is going to happen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe that Graham-
Cassidy really will do it the right way. And it is going in the right way.
There`s tremendous support from Republicans. Certainly, we`re 47 or 48
already senators. And a lot of others are looking at voting positively. I
think it`s actually much better than the previous shot, which was very
sadly let down.
I thought that what I want - I would go to the Oval Office, sit down on my
desk and there be a healthcare bill on my desk, to be honest. And it has
been looked at that way. I think a lot of Republicans are in embarrassed
Obamacare is a disaster. It`s a wreck. It`s a train wreck. And it`s only
And I must be honest with you. Whether it happens or not, something is
going to happen and it`s going to be positive. We think this has a very
good chance, but Obamacare is only getting worse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Also today, former President Barack Obama back in the spotlight
with his toughest attack on GOP leaders since leaving office. The former
president criticizing Senate Republicans for that controversial healthcare
bill that`s going to the floor next week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For the first time,
more than 90 percent of Americans know the security of health insurance.
Paying more for insurance or being denied insurance because of a pre-
existing condition or because you are a woman, that`s not a thing anymore,
we got rid of that. And people are alive today because of it and that`s
Now, the legislation that we passed was full of things that still need to
be fixed. It wasn`t perfect. It was better. And so, when I see people
trying to undo that hard-won progress for the 50th or 60th time with bills
that would raise costs or reduce coverage or roll back protections for
older Americans or people with preexisting conditions, the cancer survivor,
the expecting mom or the child with autism or asthma, for whom coverage
once again would be almost unattainable, it is aggravating.
And all of this being done without any demonstrable economic or actuarial
or plain common-sense rationale, it frustrates. And it`s certainly
frustrating to have to mobilize every couple of months to keep our leaders
from inflicting real human suffering on our constituents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Joining me now Andrew Slavitt, the former acting administrator for
the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, and Bill Burton, a former deputy
White House press secretary. Both served under President Obama.
Gentlemen, I don`t have to ask. Neither of you like this new bill. But is
Obama speaking out, and in such an aggressive way, a sign of how worried he
is? Over the summer, we were all very focused on healthcare, but this
thing could actually get through and people aren`t really paying attention.
Let`s start with you, Andy.
ANDREW SLAVITT, FORMER ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, CENTERS FOR MEDICARE &
MEDICAID: Well, look, I think President Obama is actually saying even less
than what most Americans are saying.
And most Americans are saying we don`t want 30 million cut off healthcare,
we don`t $4 trillion cut from Medicaid, most of it from kids and people
We don`t want to lose preexisting condition protections and we don`t want
to see our premiums go up next year by 20 percent. That`s what this bill
I think that - the fact that it`s being rushed means that we need to rush a
little bit to pay attention to it, so I`m glad he spoke out today.
RUHLE: While it`s also rushed because they`re trying to get this thing
through. Jimmy Kimmel, we know, took aim at Sen. Cassidy for the new
bill, which he says fails the famous Kimmel Test. Look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, THE JIMMY KIMMEL SHOW: This guy, Bill Cassidy, just
lied right to my face. Stop using my name, OK, because I don`t want my
name on it. There`s a new Jimmy Kimmel test for you. It`s called the lie
detector test. You`re welcome to stop by the studio and take it any time.
BILL CASSIDY: There was a personal attack and I can`t help that.
LINDSEY GRAHAM: I wished he would have called Senator Cassidy to ask him,
is what I`m reading true, because he heard some liberal talking points that
are absolute garbage. He bought it hook, line and sinker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Bill, this is personal. It is personal for the 130 million
Americans with preexisting conditions. And we know that it`s personal for
Jimmy Kimmel, whose son had open heart surgery when he was just 3 days old.
So, you walk me through it. Does this bill fail the Kimmel test? Lindsey
Graham could have a point.
BILL BURTON, FORMER DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It absolutely
fails the Kimmel Test. It was very simple. There were four parts of it.
And on every single front, on whether or not it capped insurance premiums
if you had a problem, whether it harmed people who had preexisting
conditions, all the different pieces of it, were not held up by Cassidy and
And it`s really a disaster. And a lot of people care about this a great
deal. But the politics on this is very tough for Republicans as well
because if it really does make it through the Senate, as people are
predicting next week, it goes over to the House.
And the states that are most affected by this have the most members who are
imperiled on the Republican side. Take California, my state, for example -
$78 billion is set to be cut from healthcare in California. We`ve got
seven Republican members of Congress here, who are in seats that Hillary
Clinton won. And I dare them to vote for this bill that would harm
California, in particular, so much.
Second, New York, my home state, $45 billion cut. A lot of members who are
in districts that Hillary Clinton won. So, I think the politics of this
are bad, the substance of this is awful and Republicans just have a real
RUHLE: OK. Andy, I said earlier that people aren`t paying attention to
healthcare, I don`t mean entirely. But over the summer, that`s what
absolute all eyes were on. And now there are some distractions, but within
the Republican Party, things still seem to be divided.
We know that Rand Paul is the first hard no and President Trump tweeted
today that Rand Paul is a negative force. Is the reason it`s so hard for
the Republican Party because what President Trump promised and offered on
the campaign trail is so different from what, let`s say, Freedom Caucus
SLAVITT: Well, I think repealing the ACA was an easy thing to say for the
last seven years. I think actually coming up with policies, which reduced
premiums and improved care for people, that`s something that they just
And you can really tell, it really just shines through when you look at
what the tactics are to try to convince the last couple senators to come
onboard. Trying to bribe Lisa Murkowski, a very principled senator; trying
to put a test to John McCain to see if he meant what he said.
Trump and McConnell, very clearly, make no mistake, they`re testing the
mettle of John McCain to see if he meant what he said.
None of those things have to deal with healthcare, none of them have to do
with health policy. Chuck Grassley said, in fact, today that the real
reason to vote for this bill is because they made the promise, not because
it had anything to do with the policy.
RUHLE: OK. Then, Bill, if this bill is going to hurt so many Americans,
this is what blows my mind, Rand Paul says it leaves too much of Obamacare.
So, if the Rand Pauls of the world think this thing is too generous, and so
many others think it`s stripping Americans of their needed healthcare, how
are the Republicans ever going to get anything passed?
BURTON: Well, here`s the problem for Republicans. Their dirty little
secret is that they don`t care about healthcare. They want to take the
money that`s in Obamacare right now and take it out of it and put it into
tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. That`s the strategy.
So, when they`re trying to deal with the policy of it, there`s nothing that
they can do that makes it look good because it`s all bad. They`re just
trying to cut money out of it.
RUHLE: Hold on. Do you think it`s completely fair to say that
Republicans, by and large, across the board, all those lawmakers just don`t
care about healthcare?
BURTON: I think that Republicans do not think that the government should
have the kind of role in healthcare that Obamacare provides.
And what they`re trying to do is lessen than that, so that they can take
that money and put it where their priorities are, which is tax cuts for the
RUHLE: All right then. Well, they`re going to have a big week ahead. We
know they`ll be working overtime. Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining
me this evening and sharing your thoughts.
BURTON: Thanks, Stephanie.
RUHLE: We`re going to take a break. Next, breaking the news on the
Mueller investigation - and this is big - Robert Mueller demanding
documents and emails about President Trump on very specific events. The
latest on that is next.
And later, my sit-down interview with Michael Bloomberg and how he is
trolling President Trump. Guess what Michael Bloomberg did today? He
brought together world leaders and business leaders. I`m pretty sure
President Trump said that was his game plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, CEO, BLOOMBERG L.P.: One time I talked to him after he
got elected. He did give me his personal cellphone number.
RUHLE: And did you call him?
BLOOMBERG: I`ve never called him, no. No, thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC ANCHOR: Now to breaking news, on the Russia
investigation. Turn up the volume for this. The New York Times reports
Special Counsel Bob Mueller is now demanding White House documents about
President Trump`s actions as president and he is looking for information
about several specific episodes. The first, Trump`s meeting in the Oval
Office with Russian officials including the Foreign Minister and the
Russian Ambassador the day after he fired the FBI Director James Comey.
That`s the meeting where Trump reportedly called Comey a “nut job” and said
firing him had relieved the pressure of the Russia investigation. Mueller
also wants documents about two other incidents.
The firing of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and how the White
House responded to questions about Don Jr.`s Russia meeting at Trump Tower.
With me to break down with this could possibly mean, Joyce Vance who served
as U.S. Attorney in Alabama during the Obama Administration, Richard
Painter, Chief White House Ethics Lawyer, also Twitter (INAUDIBLE) under
George W. Bush and Francesca Chambers, White House Correspondent for the
Daily Mail. Joyce, let`s start with you. Robert Mueller looking for
documents about specific actions not on the campaign trail but since
President Trump is in office. Why?
JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, the focus has shifted a little
bit now. It`s clear that Mueller is focusing on obstruction. He is
focusing on both the President`s motivation for the firing of the firing of
former FBI Director James Comey but also some of this record collection
suggests looking to gather information about the President`s close
associates. Perhaps to see if there was a conspiracy or some other sort of
criminal network involved in that firing.
RUHLE: Richard, we know we like to talk about ethics with you. Beyond
unethical, focusing on wrongdoing, what do you make of the interest in that
Trump Tower meeting that Don Jr. had and the decision that was made by team
Trump about how they handle it, what to say to the media?
RICHARD PAINTER, PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH`S WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER:
Well, the problem is that that meeting clearly was collaboration between
the Trump campaign including the President`s son and the Russians. There
was collaboration. And after that meeting, there was an effort to
mischaracterize the meeting. To lie to the press about what was going on
at the meeting, to say they`re just talking about adoptions of Russian
children. And apparently, the President of the United States was involved
in advising his son to tell lies to the press. Now, that`s not in and of
itself a crime but the problem is that the subject matter of that meeting
was under criminal investigation by Robert Mueller.
And so if the attempt is to get his son to tell a story that it is a lie to
the press, and then lock himself into that lie so he then – the same thing
would be repeated by having others to Robert Mueller, to the federal
investigators, that would clearly be obstruction of justice. So what
happened with the respect to that meeting is critically important, as well
as what happened with respect to firing James Comey, the FBI Director
because if James Comey was fired because of the Russia investigation, in
order to put a stop to the Russia investigation, which the President pretty
much admitted in front of the Russian Ambassador there in the Oval Office,
if that`s what really happened, I think there`s a very strong case for
obstruction of justice. He has the power to fire the FBI Director but not
the power to fire the FBI Director in order to obstruct an investigation of
the collusion with Russia.
RUHLE: It might not be illegal to lie to the press but it does make you
wonder why are they doing it. Francesca, what effect is all of this having
on the White House? President Trump loves to say things operate like a
well-oiled machine but we know there are people within that White House,
many who have their own independent lawyers. What are the request like
this for e-mails after e-mails from different incidences, what`s that doing
to the team inside the White House?
FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, DAILY MAIL: Well,
Stephanie, we already know that there are people who work in this White
House who also may have to talk to Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel. He
wants to speak to Reince Priebus, he wants to talk on Sean Spicer, neither
of whom work at the White House anymore but he also wants to speak to Hope
Hicks who is the current Communications Director at the White House and a
close aide to Donald Trump. So what we learned today from The New York
Times reporting is really a natural evolution. He wanted to speak to them,
now he`s looking for additional documents from the White House around these
firings. And there`s some ironing here, Stephanie. The former FBI
Director reportedly told Donald Trump three times that he wasn`t under
investigation and he has testified that he did tell him that. But because
of that firing, now the Special Counsel investigation has expanded and
Donald Trump and his White House associates could be under investigation
RUHLE: What a tangled web. Joyce, Washington Post as Mueller also asked
for any e-mail or document the White House holds which relates to Paul
Manafort. Now, I remember just a couple of months ago, Sean Spicer trying
to downplay Manafort`s involvement in the campaign, saying, he was a
volunteer for a short period of time. And we know that`s not true. So
what could they be looking for now?
VANCE: Everybody involved in this entire scenario, individuals, the White
House officially has denied that there was any collusion with Russia. But
Bob Mueller`s job is to look behind that (INAUDIBLE) assertion. You know,
as a prosecutor, every time you have an investigation like this, everyone
that you`re looking at tells you, of course, we didn`t do anything wrong.
Of course, we didn`t break the law. But Mueller is now pushing on those
sorts of assertions in a really hard and fast way. And the focus is in
many ways on Paul Manafort. There are reports tonight that he had an e-
mail exchange in which he suggested that he wanted to brief Russian
oligarchs who are close to Putin directly about progress in the campaign
right around the time that President Trump became the nominee. So Manafort
is now the focus. If he can be flipped by Mueller`s team, he can provide a
lot of insights into who did what, when they did it and why they did it.
And that may well be the shortcut to concluding this investigation.
RUHLE: Richard, quickly, why is Mueller interested in President Trump`s
Oval Office meeting with the Russians? We might not like the way the
President conducts himself but why would that meeting be of interest to the
PAINTER: Well, if he fired Director Comey in order to put a stop to the
Russia investigation, which is basically what he said in the Oval Office
with the Russian Ambassador. If that`s really why Director Comey was fired
in order to obstruct the Russia investigation, that is obstruction of
justice, clear and simple, that in and of itself. So I think all the
circumstances surrounding that meeting, why the President said what he said
is important to find out to determine the ultimate question which is why
was Director Comey fired? And the President once again has the right to
fire the FBI Director but not the right to fire FBI Director in order to
obstruct an ongoing investigation of the collaboration with the Russians.
And there`s obviously collaboration. They got to stop denying that. The
only question there is whether it was illegal collaboration. But the
obstruction of justice and the lying ultimately may be what puts an end to
this White House. They are in serious trouble on this.
RUHLE: Well, that`s what Robert Mueller wants to know. What I want to
know is this report that some of President Trump`s legal bill are being
paid for by his campaign and RNC. I find stunning given what a mega-
successful business magnate he is. Stunning that he would have somebody
paying his bills. Noteworthy. All right, thank you all so much for
joining me this evening. We`re going to take a break. When we return,
fascinating new reporting on how Russian operatives pushed pro-Trump
rallies during the election through Facebook. Will Mark Zuckerberg be
called to testify on this one? What is Facebook? Is it a platform, is it
a media company, what are their standards and how did this stuff happen?
RUHLE: Welcome back, you`re watching THE BEAT. Breaking news on the
Russia meddling investigation. And this was the big scoop by our friends
from the Daily Beast who are reporting Russians appeared to have used
Facebook to push pro-Trump rallies in 17 United States cities. The group,
“Being Patriotic, is the first case of Russian provocateurs successfully
mobilizing Americans over Facebook in direct support of Donald Trump.
Here`s a look right now at your screen at the Facebook page promoting an
August flash mob rally in Florida, complete with Hillary Clinton behind
bars. The group organized more than a dozen pro-Trump rallies in Florida
during last year`s election. The leader of the Senate Intel Committee is
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, are you satisfied with Facebook`s level of
cooperation with the committee right now?
SEN. RICHARD BURR (R-NC), CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I think what I
am, I`m interested in what all the social media platforms know about
activities on their platforms by specifically funded by Russians. And I
believe that`s something that is worthy of an open hearing. And I plan to
move to that sometime in October.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you hoping with members of Facebook coming to the
BURR: I think – I think it will be an invitation to a lot of folks on the
social media platform.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: They found ads being paid for in rubles by some Russian accounts.
There`s going to be a lot of questions and one big one. Will Mark
Zuckerberg be called to testify? My goodness, this story is getting more
and more twisted. Coming up, what President Trump left out of his
controversial speech to the United Nations, and ahead, someone else is
speaking this week. My one-on-one interview with Michael Bloomberg. What
he has to say about the Trump administration and how they`re doing so far.
RUHLE: Welcome back, you`re watching THE BEAT, I`m Stephanie Ruhle.
President Trump`s speech to the U.N. is still getting a lot of attention
today especially for what he did not say. This is the only time in the
entire speech that he mentioned Russia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United Nations Security
Council recently held two unanimous 15-0 votes adopting hard-hitting
resolutions against North Korea and I want to thank China and Russia for
joining the vote to impose sanctions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Did you hear that? That was it. Thanking Russia for help on North
Korea. No mention at all of Putin`s secret plot to interfere in our
election. One person who gave high marks to Trump`s speech was the Russian
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: The United States wants to lead
by example and not otherwise. And that the U.S. would not impose its way
of life on others. I think it is a very welcome statement which we haven`t
heard from an American Leader for a very long time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: There you have it, a very welcome statement. With me now, someone
who surely knows how the unpack this, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia
Michael McFaul. Ambassador, I`m not even going to ask you, should Trump
have called out Russia? He didn`t, so what does that tell you?
MICHAEL MCFAUL, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: Well, the
paradox, of course, is that the main theme of his speech was about
sovereignty, right? He used that word many times. He said we need protect
our own sovereignty and other countries, do, too. But Stephanie, you just
did a story right before the break about Russia`s violation of our
sovereignty last year. When they`re organizing demonstrations inside our
country in support of one candidate over another, that`s a violation of our
sovereignty. So he failed to talk about that for sure but he also failed
to talk about Russia`s violation of Ukrainian sovereignty. He had one line
in the speech where he said, we have to push back on the threats to
sovereignty to Ukraine and the South China Sea. It`s not a threat to
sovereignty, it is a violation of their sovereignty when annex territory.
So there was a lot not said about Russian violations of sovereignty around
RUHLE: All right, we`ll compare the tone of President Trump`s speech
yesterday to what we heard from Obama today. Let`s take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because the world has
never been healthier or wealthier or better educated, or in many ways, more
tolerant, or less violent than it is today.
TRUMP: Major portions of the world are in conflict, and some, in fact, are
going to hell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: I want to talk about how those messages are perceived around the
world. Clearly, President Obama`s is far more optimistic and President
Trump is far more draconian but there are a lot of people suffering. When
President Obama gave his State of the Union Address in 2016, he said the
economy is having extraordinary recovery and anyone who doesn`t see that is
peddling lies. But that sort of led to the rise of that forgotten American
Trump supporter, so when those two men are giving such different messages,
how is it being received?
MCFAUL: Well, analytically, if I can put on my professor hat for a minute.
The data that President Obama was talking about is empirically true.
RUHLE: It is.
MCFAUL: And over decades and even hundreds of years of history, people are
going to look back at this time for the world as a time when more people
came out of poverty than any other time. But the perception – and I`m
glad you make the distinction that that`s different, right? If you feel
like your boat is not rising either in America or in other places where
there are populous movements then you`re feeling disenfranchised and you
want change. Both of those things can be true. The biggest difference –
I actually was part of the team that helped to write President Obama`s
first speech to the General Assembly back in September of 2009. And if you
go back and look at that speech, the biggest difference is that Obama`s
message is one of cooperation so that you can be better off and we can be
better off to the world. President Trump`s speech was much more Manichean
and zero-sum. You know, if you do not do this, we are going to have to fix
it on our own terms. That`s a very different kind of message.
RUHLE: President Obama`s message has always been as a message of hope.
One of the issues we face is so many people feel hopeless and we got to
help them out. Ambassador, thank you so much. I appreciate you joining me
MCFAUL: Thanks for having me.
RUHLE: Next, my interview with Michael Bloomberg.
RUHLE: Today I caught up with Michael Bloomberg on the sidelines of the
Bloomberg Global Business Forum. We started with his views on the Trump
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, CEO, BLOOMBERG L.P.: I did say that I think some of
their policies where they want to create jobs really go in the wrong
direction. Global trade is one of the keys to reducing poverty around the
world and one of the keys to creating jobs in America. We will not have a
future or anywhere as nice as good a future, and is an inclusive a future
if we don`t welcome people from outside who will come here and start new
businesses and come here and learn about America and when they go back, be
people we can sell things to. So that`s, for example, walking away from
TPP does not make any sense. And Hillary was trying to walk away from it
as well. But that trade agreement would have protected America, given it a
big market in a big part of the world for American goods and cut out China.
And now what`s happened is all of those countries are making deals with
China when China is maybe, in the end, would wind up being one of our major
competitors. We`ll still do big with them and we should have friendly
relationships with them but they`re going to be on the other side of a lot
of the trade deals and now we`re not going to have those allies.
RUHLE: When you talked about job creation, I`ve heard you speak in the
past why it`s a mistake to bring back coal in terms of economically and the
environment. But today, you are surrounded by other business leaders in
technology. Should technology be the industry that the administration
thinks more about?
BLOOMBERG: I think the first thing is that the government shouldn`t think
about who the winners and losers are. Coal is going away for very – two
very substantive reasons. The one I care about is coal kills. It`s
polluting the atmosphere and hurting the climate. But more importantly for
getting – for reducing coal jobs and coal output, is it`s just not
competitive anymore. Today natural gas, frack is much cheaper to use and
solar and wind are cheaper still. And those coal jobs are just not coming
back. There`s no way anybody is going to go and buy more coal where if
they put a solar panel out they could have a better deal or they can put a
windmill out or use frack natural gas.
But the government shouldn`t be picking winners and losers. What the
government should create the environment where businesses can thrive and
let capitalism work. And what you say, what does that mean? Well, the
first thing is opening your border to people from around the world who want
to come here, work here and create new businesses, come with new ideas,
that`s the first thing. That kind of stuff government can do. What can
you do for the retail business? Well, it would be nice to talk nicely
about our neighbors because if your neighbors don`t come here and patronize
our stores, then there`s no business and the stores close and fire these
RUHLE: OK, without you saying his name, you`re clearly trolling the
President saying it would be nice to talk nicely. Why don`t you have this
conversation with President Trump? He needs this information.
BLOOMBERG: Well, the one time I talked to him after we – after he got
elected, he did give me his personal cellphone number.
RUHLE: And did you call him?
BLOOMBERG: I`ve never called him. No. No thank you. Look, the
administration doesn`t need any advice from me.
BLOOMBERG: Lots of people have given him advice and he`ll decide what
advice to take or not. I`m not in the administration, that`s what the
people in the administration should do. They`re the ones that should sit
around and decide what works and they should listen to people and they call
for advice and we write editorials all of the time recommending what the
President should do and shouldn`t do. What we don`t do is we don`t sit
there and take nasty swipes at him. No matter what you feel, that`s not
productive. What I would like to do is to help the country. I plan to
live here the rest of my life, my daughters plan to live here, my grandkids
have plan to live here. And I want this country to be better.
RUHLE: You do believe in America first as an American Entrepreneur.
BLOOMBERG: Yes, sure.
RUHLE: But it`s not America only.
BLOOMBERG: Well, you can`t in this world be only. I think when people
talk about what we should do with North Korea, the first thing is you`ve
got to circle your wagons, you`ve got to get all the countries working
together. And for us to pull away from those kinds of relationships in
this day and age of global trade, global communications, global climate
problems, that sort of thing is as you would say in (INAUDIBLE). You just
can`t do that. We need more allies to work together and in this day and
age than ever before. You are not going to have jobs here unless we open
our borders. You`re not going to have jobs here unless we do more trade.
We`re going to downsize in ways that we don`t want to do.
RUHLE: Michael R. Bloomberg, was a smart guy. That does it for me.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2017 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2017 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the