The Beat with Ari Melber, Transcript 9/25/17 Pressure on Feds for Puerto Rico help
Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER
Date: September 25, 2017
Guest: Laura Packard, Joan Walsh, Neera Tanden, Peter Daou, Paul Butler
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST, “MTP DAILY”: It looks like we will know who
gets the news first if Biden does decide to run for president in 2020.
That is going to do it for tonight. We will be back tomorrow with more
“MTP Daily” and THE BEAT with Ari Melber starts right now. Good evening,
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST, THE BEAT: Good evening. And thank you, Steve. It
is hard to keep score when there are no rules, which is why tonight we
begin our show with three top stories.
Tonight, our top story is Trump`s attacks on the NFL as the White House
doubles down on Trump`s impulsive campaign.
But, tonight, our top story is also Trump`s new travel ban, a longer,
broader plan to restrict immigration indefinitely.
And tonight, our top story is also Trumpcare. Protests breaking out. With
the key deadline looming, the Republicans` longest-running campaign promise
is clearly not this president`s priority.
Those three stories are all the top story and each reflect a particularly
corrosive tension of the Trump presidency.
Now, the most concrete action is definitely the travel ban. Its growth,
showing how much the Trump administration is doing on policy while the
president`s feuds and tweets grab attention.
Remember, the old ban was pitched as a temporary three-month experiment.
And this revised ban is slated as permanent. So, in many ways, this today
is more far-reaching policy than the first travel ban and it`s revealing
that for many Americans and leaders right now, this bigger, broader ban is
getting less attention than that shock of the first travel ban, which
seemed to plunge the nation into a weekend of chaos.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Protests throughout the country at airports. This as
President Trump`s executive order that bans refugees from predominantly
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s unprecedented what we are seeing here. The
protests still going strong here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That was then. But, today, apparently, this permanent larger
travel ban is not considered the most shocking thing Trump has done in even
the past 48 hours. Today, the Supreme Court ordering new briefings on the
legality of this ban.
Then there is healthcare, which Trump spent a year hammering on the
campaign trail as his priority.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: On my first day, I`m going
to ask Congress to send me a bill to immediately repeal and replace
We will be able to immediately repeal and replace Obamacare.
We will repeal and replace the horror known as Obamacare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That was campaign season. And when Trump first got to Washington,
he took a bizarre victory lap on the White House lawn when the US House
passed an Obamacare repeal.
That proved premature. It`s been all lap, no victory on healthcare for
Trump. This week is, of course, this deadline for a bare majority vote to
reform Obamacare. So, it`s literally Trump`s last best chance this year.
And yet, unlike the travel ban, where the machinery and bureaucracy of
executive government turns on no matter what Trump does with his day,
healthcare is a hands-on legislative battle. Different senators rolling
out different plans.
Right now, Graham and Cassidy pushing the latest shot at Trumpcare, but
they`re floundering without White House leadership. That`s good news if
you like Obamacare. It`s bad news if you wanted Trumpcare.
And while most voters fall into one of those two categories, for or against
Obamacare, it`s becoming clear Donald Trump does not.
He didn`t care much what was in that first Trumpcare bill that he
celebrated in the White House lawn, first praising it, ultimately calling
it mean. He doesn`t seem to care much that he`s squandering this last shot
at Obamacare right now this week, by stoking a totally random fight with
This is what a honey badger presidency looks like because honey badger
don`t care. The honey badger, as you may know, does what it wants and
doesn`t care about anything.
And lest anyone think this comparison is unfair to President Trump, please
note it was offered as praise by none other than Steve Bannon, who famously
said Trump`s erratic campaign performances were classic honey badger.
Honey badger don`t care, not about healthcare, not about the Republican
Party and certainly not about the rights and the role of free speech and
protest on the field or off.
The fight has just begun. And with this presidency, the most important
thing is having something to fight about, not necessarily getting much
We bring in our panel, Shelby Holliday, a reporter with “The Wall Street
Journal”; Margaret Carlson, a columnist with “The Daily Beast”; and James
Peterson, Director of Africana Studies and Professor of English at Lehigh
Professor, I start with you. The president in many ways doesn`t care about
some of these policy deadlines, and yet he sure knows how to start a fight.
JAMES PETERSON, DIRECTOR OF AFRICANA STUDIES AND PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH,
LEHIGH UNIVERSITY: He does, Ari. And I`m not sure if this is strategy or
just sort of the chaotic consequences of a sort of haphazard, legislatively
challenged troglodyte because when we look at what`s happening here, there
are some consequences that are working in his favor.
You now remember when the initial travel ban happened, and I was on the
ground at Philadelphia International Airport where there were thousands of
people protesting, that required a certain level of like organization and
getting out the word and getting people there.
There is none of that mobilization happening right now because the efforts
of resist was going on and this administration is now diffused across these
three top stories.
So, you have some folks trying to marshal support around resisting this new
and more permanent travel ban. You have some folks really sort of
wrestling with the ineptitude of this administration in terms of Puerto
Rico and the US Virgin Islands and the disaster relief that`s required for
You have some folks who are worried and focused on healthcare, trying to
wrestle with healthcare and then some folks fighting the culture wars in
terms of the NFL.
The consequences of this, whether it`s a strategy or not, are such that the
president wins. He is winning when he is on Twitter, talking about the
NFL, talking about players, privileged millionaires, so on and so forth.
That`s a win for him in this particularly chaotic environment.
MELBER: Well, now I want to share, Shelby, some criticism of Donald Trump.
This is naturally from Donald Trump.
He wrote at one point on Twitter, “President should not be telling the
Washington Redskins to change their name. Our country has far bigger
problems! Capitol, focus on them, not nonsense.” As you know, there is a
Trump tweet for everything.
SHELBY HOLLIDAY, REPORTER, “THE WALL STREET JOURNAL”: Yes. This kind of
reminds me when job numbers came out and Trump had previously said job
numbers are fake, they are phony, they don`t matter. And then, Sean Spicer
said with the big grin they might have been fake then, but they are very
real now, ha, ha; the president told me to say that.
Donald Trump, as he became president, had a whole new set of rules. And
so, we are seeing that with a lot of these issues.
I think what as shocking to people with the NFL protests is he - to borrow
a rap lyric, he said “don`t hate the player, hate the game.”
Just because one player might be protesting, or in this case, now a few
hundred, boycott the NFL. And I think that shocked a lot of people, not
just sports fans, but across America.
With the travel ban, I think it`s exactly right that these issues are
really distracting a lot of the resistance movement. Donald Trump is a
honey badger, but he is like a whack-a-mole honey badger. He pops up all
over the place and Democrats are having a really hard time keeping him down
and figuring out how to resist anything, whether it`s policy or just a
MELBER: Right. Well, Margaret, build on Shelby`s point about the game.
Another the line would be the game done changed and Donald Trump clearly
trying to change the focus. The question ultimately though is not whether
he excites or upset people this week.
If you look at this healthcare deadline, will historians look back at that
this is an amazing way to squander what was supposed to be purportedly a
priority of his?
MARGARET CARLSON, COLUMNIST, “THE DAILY BEAST”: Trump has shown himself to
be somebody who can live without a friend, but not without an enemy. So,
things were too placid. He is in Alabama and he needs to start a fight and
it needs to be divisive and needs to get that crowd excited, and so he
decides to do something that in the end unites two people that are usually
not united, team owners and team players.
Some of those owners, who are his donors and his friends, and now they are
on the other side with the players that he attacked.
I think also the player thing is it`s like people don`t like Congress, but
they like their own congressmen. People may not like everything about the
NFL, but they usually like their own team.
CARLSON: So, this did not cut clean for him, but he may not care. He just
likes the excitement of the fight.
MELBER: No, he don`t care. I mean, that`s my big argument tonight. He
CARLSON: He don`t care. And the other part is that the healthcare thing
is virtually over in my estimation.
MELBER: You think it`s over. You think Trumpcare is dead.
CARLSON: Today, like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee saying, they are not committed
to this healthcare bill.
MELBER: So, you think it`s dead.
CARLSON: I think it`s dead. I think Mitch McConnell may not bring it to
the floor. It`s that dead.
MELBER: Wow. Go ahead, Shelby. That would be striking because this is
the last chance to do it on reconciliation, to do it on 51 vote. Trump was
tweeting once upon a time, “Gosh, the filibuster gets in the way.” Well,
this is the last week where the filibuster is an issue for them if they can
find their caucus, Shelby.
HOLLIDAY: Part of the question too is like, is it the chicken or the egg.
A lot of people say Donald Trump whips up controversies when he`s trying to
cover something else up. In this case, is it the healthcare bill failure
or does he whip up controversy and therefore things like that healthcare
MELBER: And I`m going to interrupt you. For breaking news, we have Susan
Collins announcing a no vote on healthcare. A moment ago, we were
discussing whether it`s dead. It is now formally a whip count, according
to NBC News, they cannot find a majority.
Susan Collins, breaking news here, announcing she will also be a no vote.
Margaret, that follows of course John McCain last week. That would leave
them with no legislative path to a majority unless they flipped other
votes. This is big news, Margaret.
CARLSON: Well, there isn`t one. And why would Mitch McConnell want to
make his caucus take a vote where they know the outcome. It would be
And, Ari, if I can just rewind, I think there would be a fourth story if we
didn`t have the NFL in there, so maybe Trump is right. We`d be talking
about Jared Kushner having an email problem that is precisely the same as
Hillary Clinton`s. Are we going to lock him up?
MELBER: Yes. I mean, that`s a huge story. In fact, we have some special
reporting on that later in the show. But, yes, certainly, a fourth story
to your point.
Professor Peterson, Susan Collins, no vote here is it would seem a nail in
the coffin of Trumpcare 2.0. It comes on a day, as we`ve discussed, where
there was no White House effort here to do much to win her over.
There were legislative schemes. We were hearing about leaks, about how
much money might be headed over to states like Maine and Alaska on what
sounded like a political appeal. Her no vote clearly a sign that didn`t
work. What does it say to you that, on this day, with all these stories,
the big news tonight is Trumpcare 2.0 also failing in the Senate
PETERSON: This administration is very weak or has very, very limited
capabilities when it comes to policy formation. They can talk a great
game, but they don`t understand how to whip votes. They don`t really
understand the machinations of Congress and lawmakers. Like, they don`t
know how to get in there and do the work.
He had this idea that he wants to like cut deals. And unfortunately, the
leadership of the Republican Party allowed that sentiment to trickle down.
So, McConnell and these other guys think they could just say, hey, we`re
going to give this to Alaska or we`re going to give this to this state.
That`s not the way the legislative process works. Once the information
starts to unfurl out, it started to unfurl out of this, 32 million over the
next decade or so will lose healthcare, no pre-existing conditions
protections, all the things that really matter to the American people,
we`re talking about 60, 70 percent of all American people, those things
were not in this bill.
And so, folks began to understand this more as what they needed to do in
order to get to some sort of distant tax reform or tax breaks that they
want to put in place, those things are just not possible without leadership
from the White House.
Think about the Obama White House, whether you agree with them or not,
there were very, very sophisticated in terms of how they whipped votes, how
they went into the legislative process, how they dove in, and how they had
hearings, it was a very sort of sophisticated and a hard push to get the
legislation that that particular administration wanted.
The Trump administration just doesn`t seem to be capable of doing those
things. Look at the things we`re talking about, though. The reality is
there are 3 million Americans in Puerto Rico right now without power and
running out of food and things like drinking water. I mean, that is - the
urgency of that should trump all of these other stories, but the policy
messes and the incompetence and the inability of this administration is
hard for us not to watch, Ari. It`s like a political train wreck.
MELBER: It is. As you`re speaking, we`re putting up on the screen no
references to Puerto Rico in the president`s tweet storms. Most on sports,
a few on healthcare.
I`ve just gotten here in the newsroom the statement from Senator Collins, I
think which gives insight into her thinking and also into these tricky
politics of healthcare for the Republican Party because this isn`t just a
no vote, this is a statement that really, Shelby, reads like a (INAUDIBLE)
across Trumpcare 2.0.
She says there are three big reasons why she`s a no vote. Number one, cuts
to Medicaid. That`s something that Democrats have been saying is a real
problem with these Republican proposals.
Number two, she says weakening protections for people with pre-existing
conditions. That`s something we`re going to discuss actually later in the
hour with a cancer patient I want to speak to, who has got concerns about
the draft bill. But that`s been a big sticking point because Republicans,
some had inaccurately claimed, this would be just as good on pre-existing
conditions. Here`s a Republican Senator Collins - breaking news - saying
And then three, she says physician, patient advocates and hospitals agree
the versions of this legislation would lead to higher premiums, Shelby.
And I want to go to you in a second. Frank Thorp, I know, for this
breaking news is joining us also by phone, our Capitol Hill producer and
intrepid journalist, who`s been keeping a whip count. Frank, what can you
FRANK THORP, NBS NEWS PRODUCER AND OFF-AIR REPORTER: Well, third vote is
effectively a vote that kills the Graham-Cassidy proposal. If all three of
these Republicans were to vote against the measure, they lose the 50 votes
that they need to actually pass it.
This has basically been expected. She`s been telegraphing - Susan Collins
has been telegraphing that she would be voting no for days now, actually
even last week, at the end of last week, but she was waiting for this CBO
score, the score from the Congressional Budget Office that lets them know
about the budgetary effects of this bill.
The question now becomes really whether or not they actually decide to vote
on the bill at all. And this will probably be a decision that leadership
will have to make by tomorrow. The Republicans will meet at a conference
tomorrow for lunch and they`ll decide whether or not they want to put
themselves through the idea of actually voting on a bill that they know is
going to fail just to get people on the record.
There are some Republicans who say, let`s have the vote, let`s actually
have this vote, let`s get people on the record, let`s show who wants to
actually repeal Obamacare or at least repeal Obamacare in the way that this
Or there are other senators - I just spoke to (INAUDIBLE) who said no why
would we want to put ourselves through what we did in August.
MELBER: Frank, I want to be clear on the point you`re making because we`ve
been just reporting this out here in the top of our show for viewers that
we have these three critical Republican no votes, that this brand-new third
no vote from Susan Collins joining McCain and Paul, along with the overall
whip count means that according to the current numbers this Trumpcare bill
would fail. Is that correct? This would fail if it were voted on at this
THORP: That`s right, yes. So, they need 50 votes. Republicans need 50
votes to pass this measure. They could only lose two. There`s only 52
Republicans in the Senate. They can lose two Republicans. They had
already lost Rand Paul, they had already lost John McCain. That was two.
And Susan Collins become the third. That means that they only have 49
votes, and 49 votes doesn`t get you a bill passing in the Senate right now,
especially under reconciliation.
They only need a simple majority, but they just don`t have it right now.
So, Susan Collins -
MELBER: Stay with me, Frank. I just want to - stay with me. I want to go
back to Shelby on the point here that Susan Collins isn`t just saying she`s
a no vote, and she`s effectively, as Frank is reporting, killing this bill,
she ran through pre-existing conditions, higher premium costs and basically
humanitarian Medicaid concerns that Democrats have been hitting.
HOLLIDAY: She`s been very thoughtful throughout her opposition. And I
know it angers a lot of Republicans, but she has approached this in a very
thoughtful way and she gives reasons every time she opposes the bill.
I would say there will be a lot of talk about a victory on the Democratic
side or a loss if you`re on the Republican side. But down the road, we
don`t know what this means. We don`t know if Donald Trump will want to
make Obamacare fail as he has pledged to do in the past. Obamacare is not
sustainable as is right now.
And I think there will be instability in the markets, insurance payments,
what this means for Americans who do rely on Obamacare. The president said
the other day that he will get a victory one way or another. So, I think
he`s looking at other measures if and when this bill fails.
MELBER: It`s very significant. And, Margaret Carlson, Yogi Berra used to
joke, predictions are hard to make, especially about the future. But we
got on the air tonight with you making the prediction that this was going
to die, that there would not even be a vote.
Mitch McConnell, has he been outmaneuvered?
CARLSON: Well, I think Mitch McConnell wasn`t totally on board for a whole
new whack at repealing Obamacare. The skinny repeal failed. Then Graham
and Cassidy come up with this 11th hour and they`re going to ram it
And if anything, it`s worse than skinny repeal. And at the outset, you
could see, you could add Murkowski to this. There`s probably four votes.
Rand Paul is usually unreliable. So, you don`t know about him.
But you had three, and now with Paul, you have four. And there are others
that have said they don`t like. Lamar Alexander doesn`t like this bill.
So, the idea that you`re going to have another public hanging of yourself
strikes me as totally ludicrous.
Let me add, Republicans are being saved from a disaster because if this
bill passed, they would pay a price for so long for doing so much harm to
so many people.
HOLLIDAY: That was precisely John McCain`s point when he released his
statement in opposition.
MELBER: Look, panel, stay with me. There`s a lot here in this breaking
news. But what I want to bring in here is Congressman Sean Patrick
Maloney, a Democrat from New York, who has also worked in the Clinton White
Big news coming out of the Congress. Your view is this, Obamacare fully
saved, and what do you think happens now with Susan Collins` announcement.
REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D), NEW YORK: Well, look, it`s clear that this
bill shouldn`t go anywhere, isn`t going anywhere. And so, a lot of us
would like to get around to doing our jobs, which is to work together to
fix what`s not working and to keep what really is working.
And there are real examples of both. So, we ought to sit down across the
aisle and get to work, and stop being distracted with these endless efforts
to do the wrong thing, which is to throw the baby out with the bathwater
and hurt a lot of innocent people.
So, I`m glad Susan Collins has done what she`s done. I hope we can get on
to real discussion of fixing what`s wrong with healthcare.
MELBER: And how does that work? Is your view basically here that Donald
Trump has lost twice now when the reconciliation rules kick in, which is
something our viewers have heard a lot about, that basically after this
week, it gets much harder for the Senate to do anything to gut Obamacare?
Is your view that this waits for two more years at least?
MALONEY: Well, look, we don`t have a presidency to waste. I think those
of us in the Democratic Party ought to wake up to the fact that these
problems are real and we should fix them. And that doesn`t mean by the way
that you have any predetermined outcome.
There`s a lot of good ideas for how to fix what`s wrong in our healthcare
system. It`s still cost people way too much. We`ve got to bring the cost
of prescription drugs down. We need to work on the cost, not just the
coverage. And we can do that. And we can do that in a bipartisan way.
So, I`m very hopeful that when we stick a fork in this thing and it`s
finally done on Trumpcare, we can get back to doing our jobs.
MELBER: Do you think that President Trump helped, hurt or made no
difference in the Senate effort on Trumpcare in this vote this week?
MALONEY: You`ve seen the president all over the map on healthcare. I
think most of the Republicans in the House and the Senate would tell you he
has been part of the problem, that he has not been focused, that he has not
been up to speed on the details, didn`t even know what was in most of the
legislation, and was saying things often that made their lives harder.
Now, I don`t mind if it means that we`re going to stop talking about a bill
that would have stripped coverage from millions of Americans, that would
have hurt people with disabilities, that would have destroyed the guarantee
of Medicare and Medicaid, that would have experimented with block grants,
and we don`t even know what that would`ve meant, a bill by the way that
would have cost my state, New York, $45 billion over 10 years.
So, there are all kinds of reason we are glad this thing is gone. It`s
like a horror movie, though. There is always one more scare here.
But the job we ought to be doing is working with each other to fix what`s
not working, bring people`s healthcare cost down, get them better care.
MELBER: Congressman Maloney on a busy time on Capitol Hill with this
breaking news that Trumpcare appears to be failing. I want to thank you,
Margaret Carlson, Shelby Holliday, and Professor Peterson, all a part of
our breaking news coverage. Thank you very much.
We`re going to fit in a break. And coming up, that other big story
Margaret mentioned, a Trump email controversy. News breaking that Ivanka
Trump as well as Jared Kushner both using personal email accounts for
government business. We have a special panel on that.
And on THE BEAT later, my interview with a STAGE IV cancer patient who was
blocked by President Trump on Twitter. She wants to speak out anyway and
we will have her here live.
I`m Ari Melber and you`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.
MELBER: We`re back with breaking news. The US Senate is poised to reject
efforts to basically do anything on Obamacare. We can show you the scene
at the US Senate today. Long lines to protest the first and only hearing
on that last-ditch Republican bill to repeal Obamacare.
Susan Collins now, within the last ten minutes, announcing her decision
against the bill, which would seem to doom it as we were just reporting
Today`s protest a reminder of how this debate is not just about politics
and that real people speaking out maybe what saves Obamacare.
Now, not everyone can make it there to the Senate in person, but they`re
getting heard in other ways. Take Laura Packard, a 41-year-old with a
curable Stage IV cancer. She`s a self-employed consultant who is on a
basic plan through an Obamacare exchange.
And since her diagnosis in April, she`s racked up over $200,000 total in
medical bills, but so far has only had to pay about $250 because of her
Now, this week President Trump`s Twitter account blocked Packard after she
made an appeal to him about her condition and the healthcare bill. The
president basically announcing that he wants to disappear Packard`s message
from his account.
And she posted a new response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA PACKARD, CANCER PATIENT: I know I don`t look so good. I`ve been
undergoing chemotherapy since May. And it takes a lot out of you. It`s
really important that you hear us, that you see us. We need the
protections of the Affordable Care Act, so that people with pre-existing
conditions will be covered.
We need somebody that will stand up for us rather than selling us out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Many citizens are now sharing Packard`s appeal online. But by
blocking Packard, Trump, of course, has drawn a lot of criticism, including
a legal challenge that basically argues that by blocking her, he`s breaking
I want to bring in Laura Packard who joins me now. She`s now joined a long
list - Stephen King and others - who have been blocked by the president.
Trump`s effort to disappear these critics, as I mentioned, facing this
Ms. Packard, thank you very much for joining me today. How are you?
PACKARD: I`m doing well. I just finished up my 11th chemo, maybe an hour,
couple hours ago. So, I`m glad to be here.
MELBER: The president blocked you, what do you want to say to him?
PACKARD: Well, I find it both funny and really scary what`s going on in
our country. But what I want to say to the president and also to my
senator, Sen. Heller, is that 32 million people will lose their health
insurance if this latest version passes. And all of us with pre-existing
conditions are at risk.
And this isn`t something that anybody plans for. I certainly didn`t wake
up expecting to have cancer. It came as a complete shock to me.
But anybody that has a body is at risk for various diseases or even just a
bad car accident on the way to work. And that`s why everybody needs and
deserves affordable comprehensive health insurance.
MELBER: We have breaking news, as you well know, since you sat down at the
top of the hour to join me today and tell us about your experience.
Susan Collins announced that she is going to vote against this Trumpcare
2.0. That brings it up to three Republican no votes and would appear to
save Obamacare, although this is not, as you know, the first time we`ve had
these fights. What`s your response to that news?
PACKARD: Well, I think it`s great news and I`m glad that Senator Collins
is listening to the people in Maine and the people around the country
because, any given senator, they`re not only voting for their state,
they`re voting for all of us.
So, I`m thrilled. I`m not sure I trust that news yet because we`ve seen
this happen before in the House where it looked like it was defeated and
then it came back again. Unfortunately, this bill is kind of like cancer.
You think you have licked and then it comes back. But that`s why we`re
continuing to fight for this right through September 30.
MELBER: I totally hear you on that. I want to read to you something from
the First Amendment Center at Columbia that we mentioned is suing the
president over this because they basically have the view “the president is
violating the First Amendment when he blocks people from a public forum
because their criticism of his policies. If the First Amendment means
anything, it means a person can`t be silenced by government officials
simply because the official disagrees with what she has to say.”
That`s Katie Fallow, the attorney there in that suit. I want to hear your
view of that because some people say, gosh, there is so much attention on
Twitter or the president uses it too much. We know he uses it to pick
You were using it to, of course, to try to say something to him and were
blocked. Do you – do you have that view that this might actually be a
violation of your free speech rights the way the President is blocking you?
LAURA PACKARD, CANCER PATIENT BLOCKED BY PRESIDENT TRUMP ON TWITTER: Well,
I think as long as the President uses his Twitter account as part of the
Presidency of the United States, making official pronouncements and so on,
then blocking citizens is removing our access to a part of this government.
So I think that not only does it show immaturity and strange choices to be
spending your time playing on Twitter when terrible hurricane is
demolishing Puerto Rico and North Korea is threatening us all. I think
it`s extremely poor choice of his time to be spending hours on Twitter
talking about the NFL or whatever. But apart from that, as U.S. citizens,
we should have access to his message and blocking people because he`s
having a bad hair day or whatever, I think, is wrong.
MELBER: It`s fascinating to hear your perspective and you make it so
clearly. I want you to stay with me. What I want to do is bring in Neera
Tanden who has worked for Barack Obama on health care as well as Hillary
Clinton. And I`m also joined by the Nation`s Joan Walsh. Neera, I wonder
what you think watching all of this and if there`s anything you want to say
NEERA TANDEN, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I think
Laura`s voice is exactly what this debate is about. And idea that
President Trump wouldn`t want to hear from her or members of Congress not
want to hear her voice is really what`s so insane about the situation we`re
in. This bill is – does harm to the health care system of America, it
does harm to people. CBO just found that millions of people will lose
coverage. And Laura`s voice is absolutely the voice President Trump and
the Senate should hear from. So the idea that he blocks her is part of one
of the reasons why we`re in this situation. Those voices aren`t being
JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: The President is
just such a whiny little man. And I salute Laura for her effort to speak
so incredibly calmly and with such information to try to educate him, even
if he can`t be educated. I just want to add, I`m really happy that Senator
Collins has come out tonight but I kind of feel the way Laura does, that
this bill is like cancer. It can often come back and we`ve seen, you know,
we saw it in the House. I don`t know – I would love to see Senator
Murkowski make it clear she is a no. I do not trust Rand Paul. He made a
lot of noise last time around and then voted for it. So I don`t feel
particularly – that we`re particularly safe yet.
And I would also add, last point, Laura`s Senator Dean Heller is not only a
voice or vote for the bill potentially. He put his name on this bill.
They named it, we don`t say whole name but it`s the Graham, Cassidy,
Heller, Johnson, for Ron Johnson, because getting Dean Heller`s buy-in was
so important to Senator Graham. It`s just mind-blowing. He`s the most
vulnerable Republican Senator as well he should be. This is not going to
go over well for him.
MELBER: Well, Laura, go ahead – go ahead.
PACKARD: Can I have a word to say about that too. As my U.S. Senator, I
feel extremely let down. We know that he knows this is a bad idea because
he came out and did the press conference with Governor Sandoval a few
months ago and talked about all the ways in which this bill would be bad
for Nevada, so we know he knows. And do, why is he now putting his name on
it and trying to take insurance from up to 32million Americans and put all
of us with preexisting conditions at risk? So it doesn`t seem like he`s
listening to the people of Nevada.
MELBER: Right. Well, Laura, reading about and watching you online and the
work you`ve done in sharing your perspective and your story, it`s
incredibly dignified, it`s incredibly courageous so I`m glad you made time
to join us on busy news day. And given the lawsuit and given that there is
this wider question of whether the President is abusing his power and his
control over government resources to hear from people, people like you. I
guess he didn`t want to hear from you, we did. So I`m glad you joined us.
And thanks to Neera and Joan as well. Thank you.
Next, as I mention, this e-mail controversy in the Trump White House, Jared
Kushner and Ivanka Trump using private e-mail – sound familiar – for
government business. That`s straight ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMERICAN CROWD: Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Trump campaigned on “lock her up” as an attack on Hillary
Clinton`s use of a private e-mail on issue that did generate an
investigation, one that ultimately clear her of criminal wrongdoing. Now,
Donald Trump`s says he hasn`t used e-mail but guess what, top aides in his
family do and they were just caught using personal e-mail for yes,
government business. Today, e-mails leaking from a FOIA request showing
Ivanka Trump using her personal e-mail account for government work first
reported by Newsweek. And her husband, Jared Kushner using a private e-
mail account for government business for months this year.
His lawyer confirmed that to Politico saying, it was fewer than 100 e-mails
and then all non-personal e-mails were forwarded to Kushner`s official
address. That forwarding is required by federal law. Kushner also under
scrutiny involved Mueller`s Russia inquiry which could force him to turn
over relevant e-mails from any account. Now, Hillary Clinton`s use of
private e-mail was more widespread than this first reports about Kushner
and Trump, though proportion was never really a concern of the Trump
campaign which argued vociferously that any private e-mail used was
basically either grounds to fail a background check or even a total
disqualification for office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s unbelievable how
Hillary Clinton got away with the e-mail lie, the e-mail scam, the e-mail
She should have been disqualified for running for President from the first
batch of e-mails.
DONALD TRUMP JR., EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TRUMP ORG: The fact that she didn`t
get indicted is disgusting quite frankly. This is evasion of justice.
This is bad stuff.
If Hillary Clinton were elected, she`d be the first President who couldn`t
pass a basic background check.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: I`m joined now by Peter Daou, former Clinton Aide, has worked for
several Democratic candidates and back with me, the Nation`s Joan Walsh.
Joan, go ahead.
WALSH: Hypocrisy maybe, a little hypocrisy. I mean, what strikes me, Ari,
is that these people are so arrogant and so entitled that they would be so
cavalier as to do this. They were part of a campaign that chanted “lock
her up” over Secretary Clinton`s use of private e-mail. They know the
extent to which father and father-in-law made this disqualifying for
Secretary Clinton, and they can`t be bothered to actually obey the rules
that apply to government officials like them? I don`t know exactly if it`s
laziness if it`s just rules are for other people, but as well as Bob
Mueller, I know that Congressman Elijah Cummings, the Ranking Member of the
Oversight Committee would like to see these e-mails and he`s requested them
in a letter that`s out tonight.
MELBER: Peter, are you having common cause with many Clinton supporters
all over the country screaming about this? What do you make of this?
PETER DAOU, FOUNDER AND CEO, VERRIT: You know, I think Joan rightly
focused on the audacity, not just the hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is obvious but
I think it`s that sense that there`s no accountability. I mean, with
everything that we saw at 2016, to go ahead and do this shows a sense that
they are above accountability. And when we see that with public servants
it`s quite disturbing and I think that`s the piece of it that concerns me
MELBER: Right. And some of this is political culture where there are
plenty of double standards as people seek to tear each other apart.
Another large part of it though Joan is media culture. And I want to put
up on the screen, we checked it out, March 2015, back in the day, front
page, New York Times, Clinton used personal e-mail at State Department. It
is big, it is bold. The New York Times, a paper of record that influences
our political culture, there you see it. And I have the New York Times
today, and you have to go to A-18 and you have to zoom in really far, here
ion THE BEAT, you know, we have good cameras but you have to zoom in really
far to get anywhere near a readable article, 18 pages into the paper. As
someone who worked for Clinton, what do you think of that?
DAOU: I`m not surprised. I mean, the e-mail story was covered more than
Watergate or any political scandal in U.S. history. If you actually look
at the numbers, maybe it`s astonishing. To see this is just a par for the
course. I mean, it`s a double standard. But that double standard matters.
A lot of people say you`re looking back when you talk about 2016 but these
double standards matters for all future elections.
MELBER: And so, again, this is something Joan where – it`s not that every
story has to become another media thing, but does seem with the benefit of
not only hindsight but now a live action comparison, you know, Maggie
Haberman was covering the Trump campaign for the Times and she`s
(INAUDIBLE) this story on 18. I know it`s not only her, it`s editors, it`s
New York Times Management, it`s a whole political culture, but 18 pages is
long distance for an e-mail story that also has something political
reporters usually like which is the whiff of hypocrisy.
WALSH: Right. And yes, I don`t know why it`s not on the front page. I`m
sure Maggie would like a front-page byline. She`s a competitive reporter.
But I`m going to go back to what Peter said about accountability because
this is also hard for reporters. Now, there have just been so many
scandals, even just looking at Jared and Ivanka, all the self-dealings, the
Kushner family offering Chinese – Visas to the Chinese, Ivanka`s various
trademark issues, the President`s own self-dealing as people stay at his
D.C. palace hotel and make him richer because they want access. The Mar-a-
Largo visits as well as membership.
MELBER: Right. And there`s so much there.
WALSH: It goes on and on.
MELBER: Peter, before I let you go, I do want to ask you about Verrit
which has been criticized. It`s the new group you`ve created here. I want
to put up a couple of the headlines – talking about media coverage –
Verrit pro-Clinton platform looks worse and worse, pro-Hillary Web site
looks like – according to Politico – North Korean agitprop. One writer
said this isn`t useful to anyone, Verrit`s collection is filled only with
carefully curated cards that confirm Clinton voters` views, the idea that
it becomes another media bubble. I want to give you the benefit of
DAOU: I appreciate that. The way I see it is we`ve been so conditioned to
hear negative news about Hillary Clinton, the Web site that I started with
wife that simply says positive things about her is looked at somehow
propaganda. But if you look at the headlines, if you look the facts on
this site, they`re really pretty straightforward, and they`re for a
specific audience. So we take that criticism and strides. Stuff that`s
related to Hillary Clinton will get attacked but we`re driving forward and
the audience and the community we speak to is very excited about the
project and thanks for asking.
MELBER: Yes, it was interesting. It`s another thing I want to get to.
Peter Daou and Joan Walsh on the e-mails as we say, but his e-mails. Thank
you for being here.
Ahead, why did the federal government – this is an important one – wait
ten months, until this past Friday to tell states they were targeted by
Russian hackers? And we`re going to have more on those comments from Susan
Collins here, the breaking news on health care. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: Obviously this was an issue to which I`ve
given a great deal of thought because there are many problems in the
Affordable Care Act that do need to be fixed. However, it was clear to me
that the Graham-Cassidy bill was not the answer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Breaking news here. Republican Senator Susan Collins there just
explain why – brand new sound – she`s a no vote on this Republican
attempt to repeal ObamaCare. The deadline, of course, this week and that
position could all but kill this bill and does save ObamaCare on Republican
opposition. Collins` opposition means formally now. We can count for you
three GOP Senators on the record saying they`re against the Republican
bill. And that is more than they can afford to lose. That news broke here
in our hour on THE BEAT and we have more on it throughout the hour.
Ahead though, why didn`t the Trump administration tell the public which
specific states were targeted by Russian hackers?
MELBER: New details on the Trump administration`s Friday warning that 21
states were targeted by Russian hackers. The list we now know includes key
swing states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia that is
according to a tabulation from the AP. By waiting ten months to even
inform these states, the Trump administration clearly added to confusion.
A top elections official in Wisconsin, for example, was testifying this
summer that he thought they were not hacked because the Trump
administration would have told Wisconsin if they were.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there a right of the public in your state to know?
MICHAEL HAAS, ADMINISTRATOR, WISCONSIN ELECTION COMMISSION: Yes, I believe
there is. If there was a hack into our system, we believe in transparency
we would want to let the public know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you know whether Wisconsin was attacked?
HAAS: We have not been told that we were – that there was an attack in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: We have not been told. The Trump administration may be moving
pretty slowly. Bob Mueller, though, moving fast, seeking new information
from Facebook plus White House phone records from Air Force One. Let`s get
right to it with former Federal Prosecutor Paul Butler. Why would the
government wait ten months to tell these states they were hacked and do
they think they contributed to the confusion we just showed in the hearing?
Wisconsin officials saying, well, I don`t think we were. We would have
been told by now.
PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Absolutely. So this is the call
of the Department of Homeland Security. They had information that certain
states have been hacked. We should understand that elections are run by
states, not by the federal government. But certainly, states depend on the
government for intelligence, including whether the Russians are trying to
take over the elections. So it`s hard not to think of this as a political
decision. Ari, I don`t know if you have heard, but there has been a
Special Counsel appointed to investigate collusion with regard to the
Russians. So there`s no good law enforcement reason to sit on this
information so (INAUDIBLE) politics.
MELBER: Right. Well, Professor, you taught me a lot over the years about
law and sometimes we get into real you know, tricky, technical matters.
This one doesn`t feel technical. I`ll read to you what Mark Warner said
about it. Any homeowner would expect the alarm company to inform them of
all break-in attempts, even if the burglar doesn`t get inside the House.
Do you think that`s the right way to read it?
BUTLER: Absolutely. So states were actually demanding to know from
Homeland Security. You have this information, would you please tell us,
were we hacked because we have these very important midterm elections
coming up in 2018, and if we were subject to some kind of takeover by the
Russians, we need to know that in order to be secure.
MELBER: And Professor, as a former federal prosecutor, you know the power
of all kinds of different record evidence. What do White House phone logs
provide Mueller? They`re not transcript, presumably. They`re just about
how long the different calls occurred with regard to the Don Jr. meeting.
What was he looking at there?
BUTLER: You know, this is a classic law enforcement tool. It used to be
called pin registers. It`s just a list of all of the telephone numbers
that were dialed incoming and outgoing kind of like caller I.D. So it
gives you information about whether and who Donald Jr. was talking to.
Again, it`s not the same as a listening device, so not what was said, but
really important information that they wouldn`t have without the subpoena.
We got to remember for subpoenas, the standard probable cause that a crime
has been committed. So even for a search warrant, their haste`s got to be
a showing by the Special Counsel that that`s what happened.
MELBER: Paul Butler, I appreciate you making it clear, as always for us.
BUTLER: All right. Great to be here, Ari.
MELBER: We have brand-new reaction coming into the newsroom here from a
voice on ObamaCare. Host Jimmy Kimmel reacting now to the news that this
bill that he has been speaking about all last week may be dead in the
Senate. I`m going show to it you right after the break.
MELBER: More on that breaking news we`ve been reporting all hour.
Reaction already pouring into the big news that Republican Senator Susan
Collins registers her no vote on the Republican health care bill which
could kill the entire bill. Jimmy Kimmel, who`s been such a central voice
in this fight already tweeting a response, thank you, Senator Collins, for
putting people ahead of party. We are all in your debt. One person who
hasn`t tweeted about health care yet though after this big news broke, the
man tweeting still about the NFL. President Trump writing, General John
Kelly totally agrees with my stance on NFL players and the fact that they
should not be disrespecting our flag or great country. Always timely there
with his input.
You can always find us on Facebook on Twitter @THEBEATWITHARI or you can
always e-mail me at ARI@MSNBC.COM. Our question tonight is whether you
think the coverage of the concurring e-mail scandals has been fair. Let us
know what you think. I am Ari Melber. This is THE BEAT with Ari Melber.
We`ll be back at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. You can check out Hillary Clinton on
Chris Hayes tonight, 8:00 p.m. And right up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris
Matthews starts now.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Political football. Let`s play HARDBALL.
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