Lawyers off Trump legal team before starting. TRANSCRIPT: 03/26/2018. The Beat with Ari Melber

Simona Mangiante, Daniel Goldman, Julia Ioffe, Heber Brown, Robbie Myers

Date: March 26, 2018
Guest: Simona Mangiante, Daniel Goldman, Julia Ioffe, Heber Brown, Robbie Myers

KATY TUR, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I don`t know about that. Genetically
engineered pig cells? Just like bunnies used to make or never make.

Listen. We are all for advances in food science, not really, but kosher
pork feels like a contradiction in terms, just like jumbo shrimp.
(INAUDIBLE) with that kosher too. So feel free to enjoy your artificial
pork if you choose. You can have some cheese on it, too, I guess.

But the MTP DAILY team is sticking with brisket.

That is all for tonight. THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER starts right now. And
Katy Tur is going down to Kases (ph) to get a brisket sandwich with some
spicy mustard and some white toast and sour pickle.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Are you trolling me with crave (ph), Katy?

TUR: I am. I`m going to be enjoying it while you are, I don`t know,
talking. Doing something legal.

MELBER: Doing something legal. I appreciate this very Jewish bacon toss.

TUR: You are welcome. I think it sounds gross. I think the guy just
really got sick of turkey bacon. Really wanted a bacon cheeseburger and
has found a way to do it.

MELBER: Great. Well, keep cooking, Katy. Keep cooking.

TUR: I will.

MELBER: Our top story tonight is about Donald Trump`s priorities in the
face of two very different legal threats. Think about it. Stormy Daniels
breaking her silence in the most watched “60 Minutes” episode in over a
decade, fighting back against efforts by Trump to silence her in secret
arbitration. That`s one story.

And also Bob Mueller bearing down on Trump as his administration reels from
very big new shakeups to what is a dwindling legal team. And this sets up
a pretty stark contrast.

Right now, Donald Trump is employing more lawyers to silence women who may
talk about him than he has lawyers defending him in the criminal probe into
his campaign and administration. Consider that in Trump`s litigation
against Daniels and other women he is deploying Michael Cohen, Trump org
lawyer Joe Martin and that new addition, Charles Harder, plus whatever
junior associates those lawyers are employing. While in the Russia probe,
trump`s team has dwindled down to just Jay Sekulow and Ty Cobb after
removing the lawyer in-charge, John Dowd, removing Mark Kasowitz, removing
their legal spokesperson, Mark Corallo and removing a lawyer Trump had just
announced last week, Joe diGenova.

To put it another way, when Mueller`s prosecutors call the White House
today, just anytime, with Dowd and diGenova out, there`s only one person
left who actually still has attorney-client privilege to keep Trump secrets
who can pick up the line. That`s Jay Sekulow.

Now as for these new departures Trump`s allies pushing a big public story
that diGenova could not represent the President because of conflicts with
other clients named legal person I just mentioned. One of the people
removed from the legal team, Mark Corallo.

The problem with this story is, one, diGenova had been publicly
representing Corallo since January. So this isn`t some surprise from the
weekend. And tow, Corallo waived this conflict.

There are also reports that Trump quote “didn`t believe he had personal
chemistry with the new lawyers.”

OK. I`m obligated to tell you about those stories even if they are cover
stories. Now let me give you some wider context as we kick off our evening
and some very special guests ahead. Because while Trump allies talk up why
he doesn`t want certain lawyers, the President is currently outgunned
against Mueller, because a lot of lawyers don`t want to work for Trump.
Which is a remarkable thing to say about a personally wealthy sitting
President as “New York Times” Trumpologist Maggie Haberman noted. She was
part of breaking his latest stories and consider all the reports of top
firms and famous lawyers who refuse to defend Trump against Mueller,
including powerhouse Republican Ted Olson who stopped by MSNBC today but
declined to offer the President any legal advice on TV, something that we
know he likes when it does happen.

Now to be fair, there are, of course, all kinds of different reasons why
different lawyers won`t want to do this gig from politics to conflicts to,
how do we say it, to working for a client like Donald Trump.

But I can also report for you tonight, based on public evidence that there
is a big reason why many people in the legal profession don`t want to work
for Trump. And it comes down to a question that lawyers ask just about as
often as Beyonce used to ask back in the Destiny`s Child days, can you pay
my bills?

Top lawyers saying when it comes to Trump quote “the guy won`t pay.” There
was an exhaustive “USA Today” report showing hundreds of contractors
including lawyers detailing how Trump would basically steal their services,
their money by refusing to pay the bills he owed. A problem so rampant,
one law firm sued Trump, their owned client over a half a million dollars
on legal fees in 2008. Another, we looked at this, sued the Trump
organization and his company for $94,000 in unpaid legal fees and costs.

Let`s get into it with defense attorney Ross Garber. He has represented
three Republican governors in impeachment proceedings. He knows his way
around the unique challenges of this kind of case, as well as Richard
Painter, a White House ethics chief under Republican George W. Bush. His
watchdog crew is suing the president over ethics issues. I want to mention
he has form an exploratory committee for a potential political bid, a
potential Senate run in Minnesota.

Welcome to both of you.

Richard Painter, what do you make of Donald Trump at the very time that
Mueller`s gotten more cooperation and more progress, Donald Trump down to
basically to one lawyer with attorney-client privilege?

Well, it`s a very dangerous situation for the President. He needs to find
some good lawyers who will represent him. He has got a lot more exposure,
certainly on the criminal side and I think on the impeachment side for the
Mueller investigation than he does from the Stormy Daniels situation.

But looking at it from the lawyers` vantage point, all lawyers don`t want
to get involved with the obstruction of justice investigation by Bob
Mueller, particularly, if the President is going to continue to obstruct
justice and may lie to Bob Mueller on their watch. No lawyer wants to be
the lawyer for a client who is lying to the feds, particularly to Bob

So I could easily say, what is happening here is the lawyers would love to
work on the sex scandal side of things. Lawyers will work on the side of a
sex scandal. It`s relatively low risk for the lawyer, lots of great
reviews and entertainment. But messing around with Bob Mueller is not
something that a lawyer wants to do unless that lawyer`s going to have a
client who is going to behave himself and not obstruct justice. And
unfortunately, this gentleman, our President, does not fit the bill. In
addition to the fact that he doesn`t pay his bills.

MELBER: Well, and you get to the bill that. Ross, before I get into a
longer analysis from you, yes or no, given all your experience representing
some Republican chief executives, would you consider represent the
President if asked?

ROSS GARBER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I never talk about who I might represent or
might not represent.

MELBER: I mean, that`s a yes or no question. Is that a yes or a no?

GARBER: The answer is who knows.

MELBER: The answer is who knows. OK. I`m going to keep you honest on

The second piece as you know is the Destiny Child`s piece. And I don`t
know if you remember when Beyonce was in Destiny`s Child. Can you pay my
bills, can you pay my automobiles? Joe Scarborough raising the same point
here. Take a listen.


JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST: One, Donald Trump doesn`t pay his legal fees.
Donald Trump doesn`t pay any fees.


MELBER: Ross, do you think that`s hurting the President getting counsel

GARBER: No. Actually, I don`t think that`s a big issue at all. If you
are looking to make a lot of money, representing a public official or the
office of a public official is not the place to look. I don`t think it`s a
fees issue.

I mean, honestly, I think the big issue is number one, I think the
President is probably not taking this seriously enough. I think he thinks
that because there was no collusion, he shouldn`t be so worried. So I
think that is one issue. I think he is misperceiving the risk.

And I think number two is he is probably looking for lawyer love in all the
wrong places. It seems like the folks he is talking to are primarily, you
know, the usual suspects, the same D.C. crew, and yes, it`s completely
understandable that he had have a tougher time engaging some of those folks
in this representation, because they may be thinking about the next case
and the next case and the next case.

MELBER: I want you folks to stay with me. And I want to add to our
coverage Shelby Holliday, reporter for the “Wall Street Journal” and Lanny
Davis, who is special counsel to President Clinton.

Before we move to some of the other issues, Lanny, your view on all of this
about the lawyers.

all, hello to Richard Painter. He cross-examined me once in the Bush White
House. I didn`t think I would survive that cross examination. I think I
had passed it.

MELBER: How long was it? How long did that go?

DAVIS: He is a tough ethics lawyer and he is the best there is.

Here is my answer. Number one, if you are going to work for a client like
Donald Trump with a record of nonpaying, you get paid up front. And you
get paid a large lamp sum up front. So that should not be an issue.

The real issue that Richard raises is that I have never worked for a client
that has lied to me or that I could trust not lying to me. There`s no way
that I`m sure he is not interested in me or any lawyer could represent a
client who lies to the lawyer, much less to the prosecutor. And that`s the
reason I have friendships with many of the people that you were showing in
photographs who had turned down Donald Trump. That`s the reason he can`t
find a great lawyer. It`s because he has lied to the American people. We
know that. But he has also lied to his own lawyers, and no lawyer will
take a client who lies.

come down to one of Donald Trump`s favorite words, winning. That is
something Donald Trump has in common with all of the people who allegedly
want to represent him. They want to win. And this is not a slam dunk
case, if it were I think you would see a lot of lawyers throwing their arms
up wanting to represent the President.

I do think that twitter is a big problem. The President went on twitter
the other day to say don`t listen to the fake news. Plenty of people want
to represent me. That`s just simply not true. And twitter continues to be
this President`s problem in terms of making statements that could obstruct
justice, that could be intimidating potential witnesses, that could be
tainting the jury.

And so the president, someone said he is not taking it seriously. There is
a lot of evidence that points to that. And generally, people want to win.
You would not take a case you knew you are going to down in flames. And
I`m not suggesting that that`s what the President`s doing. He obviously
denies all the allegations.

MELBER: What do you think, Shelby, what do you think of the rather ham-
handed announcement of these lawyers joining last week and now they are not
being in? People wake up Monday night if you had a nice weekend or you
watched “60 Minutes”, now you are catching back up and you go, oh, this guy
on FOX who had the conspiracy theories. It was going to be the new
aggressive message machine for Trump is actually off the team already.

HOLLIDAY: It is sloppy. Legal experts say this was just simply sloppy.
The President didn`t do due diligence. He didn`t do his vetting. It
causes another public relations problem for him. Unclear if he cares about
that. But it does also give us hint about Mark Carallo`s testimony and may
be confirms the fact that Mark Corallo has testified against the President.
Again, I don`t know this first hand. But we get a lot of hints every time
these things happen. And so, this is an incident where we can glean some

MELBER: What did you think of that, Lanny?

DAVIS: Well, first of all, we have several stories. Number one, a waiver
is a waiver. The first story that we got from Trump naturally was non-
truthful when he said there were conflicts. And I don`t know why Joe
diGenova went along with that. Apparently the President or somebody in the
White House said there was bad chemistry with Joe diGenova. The fact is I
don`t think Joe diGenova or Victoria Toensing, two great lawyers, could
work for a man who lies to them. And I have a feeling that the parting was
mutual because sooner or later, no lawyer is going to last when they know
that client lies.

And one of the things I point out through six years, seven years of
Whitewater in the White House. There`s only one lawyer who represented
Bill Clinton and all the way through impeachment, the same lawyer and the
same law firm. And people like me and lots of other lawyers stayed loyal
to President Clinton.

And the fact is this man doesn`t command loyalty among people who work in
the White House. Forget about lawyers. And that kind of bad chemistry
between client and lawyer is impossible. It`s poisonous.

MELBER: Well, you make the fascinating historical point, Lanny. And it is
one that is contrast because viewers may think, God, it seems like they
fire a lot of people all the time. And there is turnover, president
administration and the cabinet for example.

But to your point, the notion of this much turnover week to week in the
people who know your secrets and who are there to stand between you and
your aides and jail is something else entirely.

Lanny Davis, Richard Painter, Ross Garber, and Shelby Holliday, thanks to
each of you.

Also new tonight, Stormy Daniels, brand-new, filing a new suit against
Michael Cohen, Donald Trump`s lawyer. It all relates to that “60 Minutes”
interview. And claims that Trump`s data firm may have broken the laws
sending these foreigners to work on American election. If you are watching
THE BEAT last week, you saw us break that story.

We also tonight have new reporting on the collusion question, a former
Trump aide who was encouraged to pursue foreign contacts. I`m going to get
the exclusive reaction from his wife, who is now a witness for Bob Mueller.

And if it is Monday, it is time to get real on THE BEAT. We are going to
look at the bigger, more important story that you may have missed.

I`m Ari Melber. You are watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.


MELBER: Breaking tonight, Stormy Daniels now suing Donald Trump`s lawyer,
Michael Cohen for the first time for defamation. She is essentially adding
him in to the ongoing lawsuit against Trump after suggesting that she says
it was unfair that he lied about her based on what she has been saying
about a history with Donald Trump. All this, of course, coming after last
night when she broke her silence in the most-anticipated “60 Minutes”
interview in years. New reports tonight show is the most watched episode
in over a decade, 22 million people watching it. Daniels talking all about
Donald Trump.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: You were 27. He was 60. Were you physically
attracted to him?


COOPER: Not at all.


COOPER: Did you want to have sex with him?

DANIELS: No. But I didn`t say no. I`m not a victim. I`m not –

COOPER: It was entirely consensual.

DANIELS: Oh, yes, yes.


MELBER: Interview gives Daniels a big platform to tell her side of the
story, saying they slept together once. That she chose to do that freely.
But everything changed when she did an interview about that history and
found herself confronted by a stranger threatening to hurt her in front of
her daughter.


DANIELS: I was in a parking lot, going to a fitness class with my infant
daughter, taking, you know the seat`s facing backwards in the back seat,
diaper bag, you know, getting all the stuff out. And a guy walked up on me
and said to me, leave Trump alone, forget the story, and then he leaned
around and looked at my daughter and said a beautiful little girl. It
would be a shame if something happened to her mom, and then he was gone.

COOPER: You took it as a direct threat.

DANIELS: Absolutely. I was rattled. I remember going into the workout
class and my hands were shaking so much I was afraid I was going to drop

COOPER: Have you seen the person again? But I - if I did, I would know it
right away.


COOPER: Did you go to the police?



DANIELS: Because I was scared.


MELBER: Legally, that was the most important part of the interview,
Daniels launching a pretty serious allegation at somebody allegedly around
the current President. And it may hurt investigation.

Now the White House and Trump`s legal team deny this affair and that threat

Now part from that moment, the rest of the interview was striking more as
content than substance. Americans tuned in, perhaps savoring how Daniels
keeps turning the table on a man, Donald Trump, who regularly traffics in
vulgarity, obscenity and rule breaking for himself but doesn`t like it when
anybody else does.

Trump is the first President to sue a woman in order to enforce a hush
money contract as that odd court filing showed. Daniels was defying it
last night as well as the threats of financial ruin, a moment of public
defiance that apparently many Americans saver.

Interview did not provide much evidence of anything else nor any suggestion
that Trump or his lawyer broke election law, legal point we previously
reported on this show were the one likes Trump or his lawyer or not.

Interview never really answered why Daniels wants to speak so badly now
after she did take this money in 2016 not to speak. But maybe didn`t have
to. Maybe when facing off against an adversary like Donald Trump, internal
consistency and logic are less important than a confident, spectacle. And
by that score, Stormy could still be ahead.

I`m joined now Vox Media`s Liz Plank who writes about feminism and has been
covering this story. What did we learn?

LIZ PLANK, SENIOR PRODUCER, VOX MEDIA: Well, look. A lot of the details
that we learned from the “60 Minutes” interview were details we didn`t
necessarily want to know, right. There were a lot of details about, you
know, More evidence of Donald Trump`s sort of incestual-ish (ph) interest
in the women he is, you know, dating or sleeping with that look like his
daughter. We had a lot of details that I won`t go into of what he does
when he, you know, sleeps with a woman.

But look, the Stormy Daniels story was never actually about sex. It was
always about power. It was never really about a porn star, it was about
corruption. And what we learned in the “60 Minutes” interview is something
that we already knew from the Russia probe which is that Donald Trump
surrounds himself with people who are not necessarily his employees. He
surrounds himself by people who are fixers, right. People who are thugs in
some ways if some of these allegation are true. And that is the real sort
of takeaway.

MELBER: Right. The only allegation to be clear was her saying something
about what he said in comparing her allegedly to his daughter, which is
presumably denied. I want to play it, because it`s something that two
women have talked about, let`s take a look.

We are going to take a look at Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. These
are two women who in interviews have talked about the point you have

PLANK: Right.


DANIELS: He is like, wow, you, you are special.

you are really special.

DANIELS: You remind me of my daughter, you know. He is like, you are
smart, beautiful.

MCDOUGAL: He said I was beautiful like her and, you know, you are a smart


MELBER: So that, I just want to give context to what you were discussing.
And there is another part of this interview that has been consistent with
Stormy Daniels` past statements. I want to read what she said in an old

She said Donald Trump`s obsessed with sharks. Terrified in sharks. He was
like I donate to all these charities. I would never donate to any charity
that helps sharks. I hope all sharks die. He was like riveted. He was
obsessed. And let`s take another look at similar moment last night.


DANIELS: I remember arriving, and he was watching shark week. He made me
sit and watch an entire documentary about shark attacks.

COOPER: It wasn`t at that point a business meeting, it was just watching
shark video?



MELBER: This is what we believe to be the episode.

PLANK: How do you, how do you know this?

MELBER: We tracked it down, because she referred to it as something about
USS something and this was airing then on Discovery where shark attack ever
ocean of fear, 2007.

PLANK: And what is Donald Trump`s fear of sharks tell us about Donald

MELBER: I ask you, my guest on this TV show.

PLANK: Well, I find it interesting that he watches a documentary about
something that he is afraid of, right? Wouldn`t you not watch the –?

MELBER: He`d be so terrified and he is watching it like riveted, yes.

PLANK: Yes. So he is taking pleasure in something that he is very afraid
of. That`s, if I was his therapist.

MELBER: Which you`re not.

PLANK: I`m not. No, for the record. Thankfully. I think that would be a
big, big piece of work.

MELBER: What is shark represent though, as my final question to you?
Something he can`t control?

PLANK: Lawyers? That lawyers are sharks.

MELBER: Lawyers are shark. You had the right answer and I didn`t know it.

PLANK: That`s my best guess.

MELBER: Great. Liz Plank, thank you.

PLANK: Thank you, Ari.

MELBER: Thank you for being you.

Up ahead, breaking news. White House lawyers now reviewing, it just broke
within hours, some loans to Jared Kushner`s own family companies.

And later, they called him a low-level coffee boy. New reporting on a
guilty Trump aide who had contact all the way to Steve Bannon and new
collusion questions surrounding many of the aides he was in touched with.
The wife of that confessed guilty Trump aide who is also a Mueller witness,
she is on THE BEAT exclusively with me tonight up ahead.

And the Senate judiciary committee now demanding Facebook`s Mark Zuckerberg
come speak. That story also ahead.


MELBER: The other top story tonight, as Trump shakes up his legal team,
Mueller is gathering information from cooperating witnesses from Flynn to
George Nader to George Papadopoulos who reportedly got the whole Russia
probe started as one of the first people to flip. The Trump White House,
of course, pioneered their distancing defense on him, calling him
everything from a coffee boy to a little staffer, but could he have the
last laugh?

There`s a new story here, I don`t know if you have seen this yet, the
“Washington Post” making waves because they have new emails revealed that
suggest Papadopoulos was up to some pretty high-level contacts.

Now what does it mean? I will, in a moment, ask my exclusive guest, his
wife, Simona Mangiante, who has an inside view of the case from her time
speaking directly to Mueller`s investigators.

But “the Post” reports that Papadopoulos had contact to the top of the
campaign, including Bannon, that he got foreign policy results. He pitched
as a home run idea an Egyptian diplomacy meeting. Bannon liked it, but he
said he worried it would be hard to quote “sell Donald J. Trump.”

Papadopoulos got the meeting done, and even included Jeff Sessions and Mike
Flynn who was also conferring over email with Papadopoulos.

With those newly-revealed emails we turn to someone in the know, Simona

Thanks for being here.

Good evening, Ari.

MELBER: Good evening. When you look at this kind of report coming out and
you know that George, of course, has been cooperating, and you spoke with
Mueller`s investigators as well, does this match your understanding? How
often was George talking to senior echelons of the campaign while he was

MANGIANTE: When I read his article, it definitely confirms what I
mentioned in my first interview on TV and the interview I held also with
you. George had a significant role within the campaign. He was constantly
in touch with high-level officials. It was never in any extent considered
a coffee boy.

I understand this missile strategy from the White House created a
contradiction of something that is, to me, evident when we look at
different sources even from me. When first I heard that George
Papadopoulos was a low-level volunteer, insignificant in the context of the
Trump campaign as foreign policy adviser, I knew of course immediately that
is a contribution is very different. And that said, the fact that it was
based in London is very important because all his communication happened
via e-mail so they can be documented. And apparently, the Washington Post
found the source to corroborate this information.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Can you say whether you or George were involved in
giving these e-mails to the post?

MANGIANTE: Absolutely not. None of us.

MELBER: You were not.

MANGIANTE: None of us, not to me, not George.

MELBER: So someone else – because it makes him, I think it`s fair to say,
it makes him look better. It makes him at least look more linked up than
the Trump aides have said. And you`re saying that, too, and I understand,
of course, you`re loyal to him. But that`s implication of the article.
And the other thing I want to play for you is Attorney General Jeff
Sessions who had to do this dance. Others have pointed this out where he
basically argued your husband, George Papadopoulos was very unimportant, as
we`ve said, and yet he also seemed to know about him, which suggests some
sort of first-name basis level of import. Take a look.


and was concerned that he not go off somewhere pretending to represent the
Trump campaign.


MELBER: What do you think of that idea, that he was pretending to
represent Trump?

MANGIANTE: Absolutely not. He was a surrogate of the campaign, as proved
by those e-mails. He was constantly acting with approval of the campaign
and he was authorized by Bryan Lanza to release the only interview to the
Russian media Interfax. He organizes the meeting with el-Sisi, the
Egyptian President. He was the only one to talk to the Israeli, most
famous energy conference. I`m not sure this profile can be qualified by
somebody acting freelance simply on his own initiative. This would not be
coherent even with the fact that they hold him in the campaign until the
transition period if he was acting on his own.

MELBER: Stay with me. What I want to do is add in a former Federal
Prosecutor, Daniel Goldman as we think about these issues. Attorney
General Jeff Sessions who I just played, of course, we later learned was
under a potential review for criminal lying about Russia contacts, which is
a related issue that I just showed. And then take a look at this. A
source is contradicting the line I just played. U.S. Attorney General Jeff
Sessions` testimony that he opposed this proposed Trump campaign meeting
with Russians, contradicted with by three people talking with Reuters
who`ve spoken about the matters with Mueller. Line that up with what
Simona just shared with us in this – in this Washington Post article.

that the Washington Post got these e-mails as you just pointed out. That
it`s not coming from George Papadopoulos or Simona. And certainly, the
Trump administration has been trying to distance itself from George
Papadopoulos and anything that he knows. We know that George Papadopoulos
was the first person to learn about the e-mails. And so it makes sense
that they`re trying to distance themselves. But, as we see in that
reporting by the Washington Post, there was some receptivity by the
administration to some of what George was selling. There was also some
resistance. And it`s even noted in his statement of offense to which he
pled guilty that he, that they, there was at least one administration
official who said, stop, tell him to stop, Trump will never do this.

MELBER: Right, although some debate about that. Simona before I let you
go, anything you can tell us about how George is doing, what`s on his mind?
What`s he thinking as he watches this all unfold?

MANGIANTE: He was very surprised, but I must say in a positive light
because this corroborate the message I`m trying to deliver, to give more
realistic interpretation of his contribution to the campaign, a
representation of what he did in the campaign. So I completely agree that
this strategy to distance from George makes sense, because he was the first
one and only one, I don`t know, to receive – to have offered this e-mails
(INAUDIBLE). On the other hand, the dismiss of his contribution to the
campaign is not true. It`s simply not true.

MANGIANTE: Right. And you`re raising something that a lot of folks are
buzzing about in Washington which is you talk about e-mails on Clinton,
whether those are the next charges that Mueller may have against Russians
or whomever, who actually did the hacking. Simona Mangiante, as always,
nice to talk to you. Thanks for being here.

MANGIANTE: Thank you very much. Thank you.

MELBER: Dan Goldman, stay with me. I want to bring you into another big
story here. There`s a memo which I have here that we first brought you
Friday night on THE BEAT. This is from Rudy Giuliani`s law firm. It was
advising the Trump digital operation Cambridge Analytica about how to avoid
breaking the law telling Steve Bannion, Trump donor Rebekah Mercer, and
that group CEO Alexander Nix that anyone who`s not a citizen shouldn`t be
involved in substantively managing these campaigns.

Now, today new details about how Cambridge may have ignored that warning.
The Washington Post revealing the company sent dozens of foreign workers to
advise Republican in 2014, and that has led to this. Have you seen this
yet? Brand-new watchdog group now filing federal complaint alleging
Cambridge violated election law by participating in the decision making of
wait for it, the Trump, Cruz, and John Bolton operation, plus, 37 states
attorneys general, leaving Mark Zuckerberg to take on the big questions.
Daniel is with me and I`m joined by a Julia Ioffe, a Contributing Writer at
the Atlantic, and an expert in the region. Julia, I wonder what you think
of all this coming together. The benign view is a lot of old stuff looks
bad today. The less benign view is Rudy Giuliani`s firm was telling you
don`t do this, and it seems like you did some of it.

this wasn`t the only warning that Cambridge Analytica got that you know,
it`s in violation of U.S. Federal Law that you can`t have foreigners
working on your campaign. What`s interesting to me is that you know, as
the Cambridge Analytica story comes together, we see how much of the
trolling and the kind of the Facebook fake news, psycho analytic stuff was
coming not just from Russian bots, but from Brits helping an American
company bankrolled by Mercers, staffed by you know, Steve Bannon and other
Trump aides. How much of this was truly domestic.

MELBER: Daniel?

GOLDMAN: Well, think the other interesting thing about the memo that you
just identified is that it is addressed to Steve Bannon. So what that does
is, it really eliminates, at least for Bannon, and one could presume that
he transferred this information to other people, a defense of, I didn`t
really understand the nuances of the federal campaign finance law, so I
didn`t really know whether, whether to what extent foreigners can be
involved. It is OK for foreign nationals to have some role in the campaign
as long as they`re not the decision-makers.

MELBER: You`re saying legally it`s bad for him because he chose – he
knew, and the question is, did he act like he knew?

GOLDMAN: Right. And the – well, the question is, was – did he defer or
did he allow foreign nationals to have any role in the Trump campaign.

MELBER: Right, and as you know, M.C. Lyte always said act like you know
because if you`re acting like you don`t know what the law is but you`ve
been warned by Rudy Giuliani not to break that law, your mental exposure is
probably worse. I want to play the which whistle blower interview to
battle all this. Take a listen.


company was warned that Alexander Nix should recuse himself of substantive
management duties of the company as CEO and they were also warned that the
company shouldn`t be sending foreign citizens to go and run American

MELBER: So Giuliani – I just want to make sure –

WYLLIE: That advice was completely – was disregarded.


MELBER: Julie, when you look at all this, it does paint a picture that
would seem to be bad for an America first Republican campaign.

IOFFE: Right, but it`s also not that surprising that Steve Bannon, the
disrupter who wants to break all kinds of existing norms and rules in
American politics just threw caution to the wind and said you know, screw
it, we`re going to do things our way and we`re going to break even more
rules. It turns out you know, some rules are you know, federal election
law, and you can`t really just throw them to the wind.

MELBER: OK. On that – on that note, Julia Ioffe, and Daniel Goldman,
thanks for being part of our coverage. Up ahead, Donald Trump`s allies are
calling this a distraction. The Stormy Daniels allegations, the Bob
Mueller probe, they say Trump wants to focus more on real issues. I have a
special report about a Trump campaign promise that you should hear fact-
checked. That`s coming up. But, an all-new “REAL LIST” when we`re back in
90 seconds.


MELBER: It`s Monday on THE BEAT, so it`s time for a new segment we`re
liking to do on Monday, it`s called “THE REAL LIST”, where we focus on
what`s important in the world, what`s real in the news and people who were
doing something positive or significant. You know we care about it if we
have a graphic, guys. It`s Robbie Myers, former Editor in Chief of Elle
Magazine, a Consultant on women`s issues and fashion and Doctor Heber
Brown, Senior Pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore, Founding
Director Cross Freedom School and always bringing the cap bringing the hat,
doctor. Looks good.


MELBER: It looks good on T.V. Who`s on your real list, sir?

BROWN: The first person – the first group of people on my “REAL LIST,”
Maxine White and Julius Tillery. These are farmers in Eastern North
Carolina who are utilizing their genius in growing food and moving food to
improve the health conditions of their community and beyond. Maxine White
started a food hub in a small town of Bethel, North Carolina, a small
country town, but is doing amazing things through her food hub. She
brought 800 eggs to Baltimore recently and had me moving eggs around the
city. And Julius Tillery is a farmer. fifth generation cotton farmer and
has a company called Black Cotton.

MELBER: Doctor, I see you. We got it up on the screen. I see you with
those eggs, dr. You look good with those eggs.

BROWN: I`ve been moving eggs all week. All week I`ve been moving them.
And Julius, he takes cotton and makes butte nears and home decor out of
cotton from his cotton farm. A young farmer doing innovative things, but
they`re making agriculture real cool, and I know a lot of people are
focussed on fresh food and local food. We also got to help the farmers in
the country as well like Maxine White, Julius Tillery and so many others.

MELBER: Robbie, who`s on your real list?

you know, if five days left of women`s history month, and I think it`s time
we look at three young women who I think are going to make history going
forward. They are from of course the march over the weekend. And the
first one is Emma Gonzalez. I mean, I – you know, it`s too bad that the
NRA was so cynical about who was really putting this march together and who
was behind it because you can`t watch this young woman talk and not talk
for almost six minutes and not cry. It was so incredibly moving.

The other young women is Naomi Wadler who you know, at this moment we`re
all talking about intersectionality. She`s representing three things when
she stood up the yesterday. One is the Black Lives Matter Movement, one is
the Women`s March and Feminism and one, of course, is Gun Control. And she
stood up there because she wanted to talk about all of the women of color
who are victims of gun violence who are not recognized regularly in the
news, and the third one, of course, is Yolanda Renee King. She has some
good DNA. And talk about celebrity, real celebrity, nine years old, she
said enough is enough.

MELBER: And you put it there. And I`ve got to think, I don`t want to make
assumptions about anyone in the country, but I was down there covering the
march and I saw a lot of people in the march and I think that would be on a
lot of people`s list. Mine relates that which is policy. A big thing that
came out as we were watching this over the week was OK, what is going to
happen. And so, if you – if you look at this on the basis of what comes
next, you know, let`s look at actual detailed proposals which in some ways
can be less exciting in some of the great leadership we saw and great
speeches. I wanted to put three policy items on the “REAL LIST,” the first
is the assault weapons ban, which Senator Feinstein did passed. When
people say, you can`t pass this into law, it was law and it expired under
the compromise they have. She`s still pushing that.

Number two would be this bump stocks issue. The Trump administration, I
want to report the facts, did move forward on a rule. The next step as it
goes through what`s called an administrative comment period, and I think
we`re going to keep an eye on what happens with that and whether it really
becomes a permanent rule. And third, probably the most ridiculous thing
that people can`t understand around the world, this no-fly list. We got
people, we won`t let them on planes, but they can buy guns. There`s a bill
to change that. That`s also on my “REAL LIST.” Quick final thought, Dr.

BROWN: I know you`re a hip-hop head on the low, Ari. We know your secret.
Listen, I got to give it up to Maimouna Youssef, she did a tiny desk
concert with Common recently. This sister can sing, she can rap.
(INAUDIBLE) raised in D.C. as well. But listen, I want soccer moms
everywhere, impress your children tonight by telling them about Maimouna
Youssef, Mumu Fresh and put that in the Youtube tonight.

MELBER: All right, Dr. Brown giving out Youtube tips and representing the
locals, keeping it local on the national news. I love it. That`s why we
want to do this every Monday. I hope you both come back, Robbie Myers and
Dr. Heber Brown. Up ahead, my special report on Donald Trump`s major
policy priority and whether it`s getting done.


MELBER: There are many other stories besides White House chaos and Russia
and Stormy Daniels. Donald Trump often said his presidency is all about


the urgent need to rebuild and restore America`s depleted infrastructure.

It is also time to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.

Our infrastructure will again be the best in the word. We used to have the
greatest infrastructure.

Well, we`re going to get infrastructure. Infrastructure is the easiest of
all. We`re very well on our way.


MELBER: The easiest. This week Trump is heading to Ohio to promote a plan
to attempt to get more bipartisan support. When the White House is under
fire, there are speeches and press events rolled out about infrastructure.
It`s become a kind of a recurring promise, approaching the mythical status
of the famous briefcase in pulp fiction. You can`t quite see it, but you
want to know what`s in it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is it? What is it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that what I think it is? It`s beautiful.


MELBER: Keep Marcellus Wallace`s the briefcase in mind as you try to
follow this plot because Trump has declared it infrastructure week three
different times. First, June 5th, 2017, right before James Comey`s highly
anticipated testimony about Trump firing him.


JAMES COMEY, FORMER DIRECTOR, FBI: It`s my judgment that I was fired
because of the Russia investigation. I was fired in some way to change or
the endeavor was to change the way the Russia investigation was being
conducted. That is – that is a very big deal.


MELBER: Trump spoke but he didn`t offer funding for infrastructure or even
a legislative proposal. Then just two months later, Trump unveiled a
second official infrastructure week on August 14th.


TRUMP: We`ve just had a great set of briefings upstairs on our
infrastructure agenda. My administration is working every day to deliver
the world-class infrastructure that our people deserve, and frankly, that
our country deserves.


MELBER: That was the stated reason to address reporters at that fateful
day at Trump Tower, which now even as allies view as one of the low points
of his young presidency.


TRUMP: I think there`s blame on both sides. You look at – you look at
both sides, I think there is blame on both sides and I have no doubt about
it and you don`t have any doubt about it either.


MELBER: There was a doubt about it. But note the only reasons Trump aides
had him in that fateful Charlottesville press conference was to talk
infrastructure and that`s what he talks about which raises the question of
how much he cares. Now let`s go to February 2018. The White House again
declared, you get it by now, infrastructure week. Although John Kelly was
under fire over domestic abuse allegations involving an aide and the news
was breaking about Trump paying hush money to a former Playmate. Now,
beyond the event, Trump has signed orders about infrastructure, but mostly
they create advisory councils about infrastructure. So it`s sort of an
endless loop of infrastructure ceremonies and talk followed by more talk.
This has been the pattern from the start. Steve Bannon`s first interview
after the election said conservatives would go crazy over his trillion
infrastructure plan. When he left in August 2017, the White House had
never even sent any plan to Congress.

Over a year into the Presidency, Trump did send a February plan with about
$200 billion proposed in federal spending. It`s about 20 percent of what
Bannon promised. Mostly it asks states to do the rest. While the
president ran on being a deal maker, let`s also note, just last week, they
had a big budget process, and he didn`t use that to get much for
infrastructure. Instead, he complained about his own bill. Now in
contrast to Trump`s single proposal, Democrats proposed a much larger
trillion dollar infrastructure plan, or look at John Thune proposed six
different infrastructure bills compared to Trump`s one. But as Trump heads
to Ohio this week to talk infrastructure again, it`s obviously just a
politician talking about a popular topic without doing anything, which is
exactly what Trump ran against.


TRUMP: Obama is all talk and no action.

The years of all talk, no action politicians like her will end.

Typical politician, all talk, no action.

We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action.

The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.


MELBER: This isn`t the hour of action. Trump`s now been on the job for 14
months of inaction on infrastructure. A time period when the U.S. got a D-
plus on the issue and Americans face danger on a third of all public roads.
You know, many people believed Trump back on the campaign trail when he
railed against politicians who just talked. And let`s be clear. Donald
Trump was channeling a long-standing skepticism towards talkers in the
culture. Shakespeare wrote that talkers are no good doers. We use our
hands, not our tongues. Or take a more modern bard, Quavo from the musical
group Migos who says walk it like I talk it. Because if you don`t walk the
walk, it`s just not real. So Trump can fly to Ohio this week, and he can
talk infrastructure again and he can rail against politicians who talk
without action. But for those who listen closely, they may hear a
politician fronting and indicting himself.


TRUMP: Typical politician, all talk, no action.

We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action.

The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.



MELBER: News breaking in our hour about Donald Trump`s son in law and
Adviser Jared Kushner. White House law now looking into two loans that
were made to Jared Kushner`s family business and the price tag, half a
billion dollars. This coming from the Wall Street Journal reporting the
White House Counsel`s office is reviewing whether these loans, one from an
investment firm and another from a big bank Citigroup may have violated any
legal or ethical guidelines which do attach to an aide like Kushner. It
builds of course on New York Times report last month that the loans may
have come after Kushner with his White House job was meeting with key
executives from those very two same firms. That does it for me. Thanks
for watching our show. I`ll be back here tomorrow night, 6:00 p.m.
Eastern. “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews is up next.



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