Trump’s twitter feed losing influence. TRANSCRIPT: 5/28/19, The Beat w/ Ari Melber.

Sean Eldridge, Steve Israel, Tom Coleman, Bill Kristol, Anthony Scaramucci, Jeff Jarvis

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST:  I`m not saying the troll helps but it`s what we



All right.  Carol, Eugene, Adrian, Matthew, thank you all.  I`m up against

the clock.  That`s all we have for tonight.  We`ll be back tomorrow with



“THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER” starts right now.  Good evening, Ari.  Lots of

live action events, man, good stuff.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  And we`re keeping an eye on all of it.  Thank you,

Chuck Todd.


We have, as mentioned, a ton to get to.  We are tracking this town hall. 

This is the first Republican lawmaker to call for Donald Trump`s

impeachment.  You`re looking at the questions he gets as he answers, Justin

Amash there in Michigan.  It will be interesting to see if the questioners

ask about some of these topics of the day.


Meanwhile, Donald Trump back in the United States after literally – it

sounds bad but it`s just the news, literally using a dictator`s words to

attack a domestic political rival.


We also have new reporting on how Donald Trump`s Twitter habit is actually

increasing.  You may have heard about that.  But also some measures that

people are responding less to him.


But we begin with, as mentioned, this picture right here.  Something you

don`t see every day in American life.  A member of the president`s

political party, Justin Amash, having his first public appearance since he

basically endorsed impeaching or at least holding impeachment hearings for

the president and his party.


This is Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Today, he tweeted that Barr has so far

successfully used his position to sell the president`s false narrative to

the American people, this will continue if those who have read the report

do not start pushing back on his misrepresentations and share the truth.


Amash is alone among Republicans in Congress at this point, but there are

and we`ve been counting now 38 Democrats open to beginning impeachment





TODD:  Why do you think you can`t convince a majority of House Democrats

that it`s time to impeach him?


REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI):  No, I think it is moving towards that.  It`s

going to demand it.  It already is.


REP. JOHN YARMUTH (D-KY):  Impeachment is a political act but I`m one of

those who believes that we will inevitably have an impeachment proceeding.




MELBER:  Inevitable is a strong word.  Activists meanwhile are ramping up

pressure on Democrats in Congress.  There`s a progressive group with 2.4

million members that is launching a new bid to push Democrats in Congress

to begin the impeachment hearings.


This is what Speaker Pelosi has said is not necessary yet.  Senate

Republicans vowing to quickly quash any impeachment charges were they to

receive them.  Senator Graham saying it would be quickly disposed of. 

Republican Senator Cornyn says it would be defeated.  Or take a look at

Senator Tillis who calls of this a “purely political exercise.”


In a moment, I`ll be joined by a former Republican lawmaker who disagrees

with his party and is also saying it`s time to address what he calls an

illegitimate presidency.


But I begin with “New York Times” Columnist Michelle Goldberg and Sean

Eldridge, founder and president of Stand Up America, the group advocating

impeachment.  Good to have you both here.







MELBER:  Why are you doing this?


ELDRIDGE:  Look, the president of the United States broke the law, right? 

If you read the Mueller report, he not only welcomed an attack on our

country, on our elections by a hostile foreign power.  He then broke the

law to obstruct justice and hide the truth about his ties to the Kremlin,

his team`s criminal conduct.


And the Mueller report is very clear that it is up to Congress to hold a

corrupt president accountable.  You may have seen that over 900 former

federal prosecutors said that if Donald Trump were not the president of the

United States, he would be charged the crime of obstruction of justice.


And I don`t believe that anyone in our country is above the law.  So I

think it`s time for impeachment proceedings.


MELBER:  So you make that case.  I think a lot of people listening would

say you make it clearly.  What does it say about the state of the

Democratic Party that it takes you, a former congressional candidate, a

self-described activist, but it takes you to lead this charge?


Why is this not coming from the Democrats and their leaders who many of

them of have law degrees, many of them study these issues, and they`re not

yet where you are apparently?


ELDRIDGE:  Well, I think, as you mentioned, we`re seeing a change.  We`re

seeing more and more members of Congress speak up in support of impeachment

proceedings.  I think we all need to sort of take a deep breath and take a

step back from the day to day political chatter and think about what`s at



I know we`re going to talk about the political consequences of impeachment. 

And I know there`s a lot of fear around that decision.  But at the end of

the day, if we don`t act, we`re telling Donald Trump that it is OK to break

the law.  We are telling future presidents it`s OK to abuse their power.


When I think about impeachment, honestly, I don`t think about Nancy Pelosi. 

I don`t think about Mitch McConnell.  I think about my 1-1/2-year-old son

who doesn`t know who Donald Trump is, who`s going to go to school and learn

about this man who was our president, who broke the law.


He`s going to learn about the Mueller report.  And he`s going to learn

about how our country responded.  I want my son and future generations to

learn that the American people and Congress stood up and said, this is not



MELBER:  And before I bring in Michelle, who`s written a lot about this

just on the activism you`re pushing, will there be any consequence for

Democrats who don`t do what you say is the right thing?


ELDRIDGE:  I think that there are huge consequences of inaction.  Not just

emboldening Donald

Trump but I run a progressive organization with over 2 million community

members across the country.


These are the folks who knocked on doors, who made phone calls, who

volunteered, who donated to get this Congress elected last year.  And

there`s a lot of fear and concern about how Donald Trump`s base is going to

respond to an impeachment inquiry.


I think that we should also be concerned about how progressives want these

elected officials to do their job.  They don`t want to elect people who are

going to govern by fear.  They want people who are going to govern by

principles and protect the rule of law.


GOLDBERG:  Yes.  I mean to me, kind of one of the biggest problems with

impeachment – with the refusal to impeach, one of the dangers in Democrats

refusing to impeach is that it`s so disingenuous and everybody can see it`s



It is so obviously driven by fear of backlash, right.  Nobody out there I

think believes that the majority of the Democrats in Congress actually

don`t believe that Trump merits impeachment or that he`s committed crimes

or impeachable offenses, right.  They kind of know that it`s a purely

political – there`s actually nothing more purely political than the

refusal to impeach.


MELBER:  You`re arguing that the members of Congress who are holding back

are full of it?


GOLDBERG:  I think that – well, look, I think that worrying about

emboldening Donald Trump is a legitimate thing to worry about.  And so I

think that they are kind of concerned about the future of this country just

like everyone else is.  But I think that their calculation is sort of

transparently political.


MELBER:  Right.  So it`s almost like we`re sitting here at a table in New

York and you almost feel like, that`s interesting, what if we had a sitting

member of Congress right here respond to you?


GOLDBERG:  Well, so I was – I went to a conference –


MELBER:  We do.


GOLDBERG:  Oh, OK.  Well look, let me ask –


MELBER:  I`m breaking the fourth wall because he`s been patiently waiting. 

And I want to introduce you, for further response to Michelle.  This is

former Congressman Steve Israel from New York.  He is now director of the

Cornell University Institute of Politics and Global Affairs.  And basically

knows a lot about what your caucus is up to.


I want to give Michelle the chance to finish.  But I`m bringing you in

earlier than planned because it`s very important, what you`re saying.  What

would you say to the Democratic Caucus here when you say that it`s

transparently political?


GOLDBERG:  Just want to have the chance to, right.  So I was asking – I

asked Congressman Hakeem Jeffries this last week.  You know, he`s one of

Nancy Pelosi`s kind of chief lieutenant.


And I said you know, how do you tell the American people that Trump is

illegitimate, that he has clearly committed crimes and impeachable

offenses, that he`s obviously obstructed justice, but that you`re not going

to impeach him, that the time is not yet right?  How do you think that

people respond to that or make sense of that?


And he kind of – what he said to me was basically, you know, we didn`t

campaign in 2018 on impeachment, we didn`t campaign on obstruction of

justice.  We campaigned on lowering prescription drug prices, which to me

that may be true.


Although, I actually think that one reason all those women turned out in

2018 was because – less because of this kind of “kitchen table issues” and

more because of the existential threat of this presidency.  But again, he`s

basically saying that this isn`t a politically viable course of action. 

Not that it`s not warranted.


MELBER:  Congressman?


STEVE ISRAEL, FORMER CONGRESSMAN:  Well, look, let`s fast forward. 

Politics is about standing up on principle.  But you can`t be effective on

principle if you lose elections.


So let`s fast forward.  Let`s say that the Democratic Caucus agrees they`re

going to impeach Donald Trump.  And let`s say that they go through this

impeachment process.


We know one thing that is clear, we can disagree on the political fallout

but we do know that the Republican Senate will not remove Donald Trump from

office, which in my view gives him license to triple down on how he acted

on the Mueller report.


Remember the Mueller report?  All he did is just said, “I`ve been

exonerated, no collusion, no obstruction, I did nothing.”  Imagine how –

what Donald Trump will do if he is acquitted in impeachment.  I think what

he does is he goes into Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and states that

Democrats need to steal away from him, say I was innocent, they divided

this country, re-elect me.  I –


MELBER:  So your stance is that, to Michelle`s point, a political



ISRAEL:  Yes, it is.  There are to political battlegrounds –


MELBER:  We appreciate your honesty.


ISRAEL:  Two political backgrounds –


MELBER:  Wait.  But how do you go there and say, as someone who served in

this Congress, and you know Speaker Pelosi, and I believe you hold her in

high regard.


ISRAEL:  Yes, I do.


MELBER:  How do you say you take an oath to uphold the constitution and

then you have a political exception to it?


ISRAEL:  We should let the facts go where they may, which is why you have

these multiple investigations.  And if, in fact, these investigations

reveal that there is, number one, impeachable conduct and number two, a

consensus, it doesn`t have to be a majority of Republican senators, but

maybe there will be several more than Justin Amash by himself.


If there is that consensus, then maybe impeachment is an option.  I just

warn – to Sean`s point about his 1 1/2-year-old baby, look, I don`t want

to set the precedent.  I get the precedent, Sean.  But what I worry about

is I don`t want your 1 1/2 child to have four more years of Donald Trump

which I believe –




ISRAEL:  Let me finish.  Let me finish.  Not only four more years of Donald

Trump but a Republican rubber stamp majority in the House and the Senate. 

That gives us a very different country.


MELBER:  Do you want to tell us – and you don`t have to.  Do you want to

tell us your child`s name?


ELDRIDGE:  His name is David.


MELBER:  So we can talk about David.  We don`t have to keep saying, 1 1/2-

year-old child.  But – and I don`t want David to be just a side note in a

news debate.  I don`t want that for David.  It`s a joke.


ELDRIDGE:  I think that we – there are a lot of assumptions.  There`s a

lot of people saying we know how an impeachment inquiry is going to impact

the 2020 election but the answer is –


MELBER:  I`m going to moderate this carefully.  Respond to exactly what the

Congressman said.  Wait, wait, wait.  The congressman makes a specific

assumption, that many viewers I think would understand.  That`s why it`s a

hard debate.


Even if you are concerned about what`s in the Mueller report, the

congressman says the Senate would acquit.  Do you disagree with that?


ELDRIDGE:  So I think there are two important points here.  One, we need to

set a historical marker down and say this behavior is not acceptable.


MELBER:  Even if you grant his point and they would acquit, you still

believe that?


ELDRIDGE:  Yes.  And I don`t know why we`re so afraid of an election in

which we might have one party says that no one in the United States of

America is above the law, and the other party says, actually, we believe in

cronyism, we believe in corruption, we think the president is above the



I`m not afraid of that debate.  Of course, we have to talk about health

care.  Of course, we have to talk about working wages and growing our

economy but let`s not be afraid of the debate –


MELBER:  Michelle, then the congressman.


GOLDBERG:  OK.  So I would say I also have small children but who are old

enough to know who Donald Trump is and who are genuinely scared of him and

it breaks my heart that he`s their image of what was a president is. 

There`s nothing that fills me with greater horror than the idea of re-

electing Donald Trump.


But I just don`t understand why people are so sure that having months-long,

dramatic congressional – that having months of dramatic congressional

testimony and hearings, then you`re going to have this kind of show trial

in the Senate that they`re going to dispose of very quickly.


I understand that they`re not going to remove him but I don`t understand

why anybody thinks these months of televised, dramatic hearings where the

country is going to be riveted is going to help Donald Trump.


And as it is now, he`s completely emboldened by the refusal to impeach.  So

imagine if we don`t impeach and then he`s re-elected.  And then kind of

Democrats have to face the humiliation of their own cowardice.


ISRAEL:  We should ask the 40 Democratic members of a House Democratic

majority what they think.  Because they`re the ones who are doing the town

hall meetings.  They`re the ones doing the Supermarket Saturdays.


And I talk to them frequently.  You know what they tell me?  In those 40

districts which were flipped from Republicans, their constituents aren`t

talking about impeachment.


They`re talking about Medicare.  They`re talking about prescription drug

prices.  They`re talking about Trump`s behavior.


If in those districts, if the narrative is dominated by impeachment, you

lose the majority, I believe.  And one more point, in terms of the

presidential election, look, this is a quintile election.  Thirty-five

percent of the electorate locked in for him, 45 percent locked in against

him.  This is going to be the 20 percent that haven`t made a judgment.


MELBER:  You`re saying some of what matters is what your colleagues – and

again, you did this job and you`re in this caucus.  You know these people.


You`re saying it`s what they`re hearing at the town halls.  I`m being told

my producer, we told folks at the top of the broadcast, we would bring

anything interesting out of the Justin Amash town hall which is happening

right now and we have it.


This is, of course, a Republican congressman, although considered sometimes

libertarian and critical of his party.  here he was discussing these very

issues just now.  New sound and listen to the response he got.




REP. JUSTIN AMASH:  I think it`s really important that we do our job as a

Congress, that we not allow misconduct to go undeterred.  That we not just

say someone can violate the public trust and that there are no consequences

to it.


We can`t let conduct like that go unchecked.  Congress has a duty to keep

the president in check.




MELBER:  You`ve been listening to brand new sound from Republican Justin

Amash, the only member of the Caucus to openly support impeachment hearings

for President Trump.  My panel stays and I want to bring in, as we advance

the conversation, another former congressman, Republican Tom Coleman, who

just wrote a piece saying that Donald Trump and Pence are effectively

illegitimate and should be impeached.


Good evening, thanks for coming on THE BEAT.



entertaining to listen to your guests there.  I almost felt like they

needed a referee.


MELBER:  A referee.  Well, maybe they had enough time to talk and I was

only refereeing part of it.  They`re still here as is your former colleague

here.  What drew you to reach this conclusion and what response, if any, do

you have to what we heard from Congressman Amash and the panel you`ve been

listening to?


COLEMAN:  Well, I would have to associate myself with Sean and Michelle`s

comments.  I think they`re spot on.  In fact, they would be the same

comments that I would make.


If you condone wrongdoing, which is what Donald Trump is all about, then

you`re going to encourage it.  And if you encourage it, you`re going to

lose the rule of law and possibly risk our democracy.  I don`t have a 1-

1/2-year-old but I have three granddaughters and that`s good enough for me.


MELBER:  I mean David is the – David Eldridge or David?


ELDRIDGE:  David Eldridge.


MELBER:  David Eldridge is definitely the extra booking we didn`t know we

had tonight.  But congressman, you`re speaking about the generations that

follow us, which is what was brought up.


COLEMAN:  Right.


MELBER:  You are known to many who follow Congress as – I think it`s fair

to say extremely conservative, fair?


COLEMAN:  No.  I would consider myself a middle of the roader.  I had a

Democratic district that as a Republican I had to, you know, get re-elected



MELBER:  What was your NRA rating?


COLEMAN:  I couldn`t have been too conservative –


MELBER:  What was your NRA rating?


COLEMAN:  The NRA ended up defeating me because I voted for the Brady Bill.


MELBER:  But didn`t you have a good rating?


COLEMAN:  No, absolutely not.


MELBER:  No?  OK.  Well, look –


COLEMAN:  I had an F rating.


MELBER:  You had an F?


COLEMAN:  I think so.  It was D or F because they spent in today`s dollars

probably half a million dollars against me in `92 to defeat me.  So I`m no

friend of the NRA.


MELBER:  We`ll follow the evidence and credit you for all of that.  So not

assuming conservative.  You describe yourself as a constitutional centrist? 

You tell me.


COLEMAN: Yes, a centrist.  I was not a bomb-thrower.  I was not of the

Gingrich group.


I got things done because I worked with Democrats.  So compromise is not a

dirty word to me.  But I really think and I`m so glad to hear the

discussion here today, about the reasons why we should go forward on



And I don`t need – think you need to put out a big bulletin board and say

impeachment`s beginning.  Have these hearings.  Have – Mr. Mueller has to

come up.  He has to have a complete testimony in public.


He may not want to do it, he may not like doing it, but I do believe he

owes it to the country and future generations to put a face on this report

and answer questions from the members of Congress.  You know, it`s 430

pages and nobody`s going to go through it, unless you`re in Congress or

perhaps in the news media, all of it.


But there`s enough in there for impeachment.  It`s an abuse of power.  It`s

the obstruction of justice.  It`s the collusion.  You know, he says there`s

collusion in there, it`s coordination, cooperation.


When your campaign manager sits down with a Russian intelligence asset in

New York and gives them the polling of your campaign and a strategic

document on how to win the Midwest states, and that`s exactly what they do,

you`ve got some collusion going on and it`s wrong.


And Congress needs to step in and have these hearings.  And if it becomes

evident that he should be impeached, then pursue that.


ELDRIDGE:  Well, I think he raises an extremely important point, which is

most Americans have not read the Mueller report.  I don`t think most

members of Congress have read the Mueller report.


That`s part of why these impeachment hearings are so important.  We need to

air the evidence for the American people.  They need to hear for their own

– see with their own eyes and hear themselves, Trump`s criminal conduct.


The reality is if anyone else in our country did what Donald Trump did,

they`d be heading to jail, they`d be indicted.  And so we need to lay out

that criminal conduct for the American people.


MELBER:  Michelle.


GOLDBERG:  Yes.  I mean I think that the point of impeachment hearings is

not that we think we`re going to remove Donald Trump before the 2020

election.  The point of impeachment is to have these hearings, to have this

kind of systematic laying out of the evidence, not just of his obstruction. 

And I agree, collusion, with regards to Russia and the cover-up with the

Mueller probe.


But emoluments, abuse of power, all sorts of – there`s the corruption that

we all talk about kind of how to talk about, because it`s so sprawling that

it`s difficult for even people who follow it full time to get your head

around, right?  You need to have months of that being laid out

systematically for the American people –


MELBER:  I got to get Congressman Israel in because it has been three-on-

one.  Your closing argument?


ISRAEL:  And I lived to tell the tale.  Look, Adam Schiff, Elijah Cummings,

Jerry Nadler, other members of Congress doing these investigations.  I

think I agree with my former colleague.  You don`t need to put impeachment

on the table.  That doesn`t mean suspending these investigations.


Investigate, subpoena, do your due diligence, exercise your constitutional

oversight responsibilities.  And if facts emerge that lead to impeachable

offenses or at least allegations that are credible, and there`s political

consensus, go for it.


MELBER:  Congressman Coleman, bring us home, sir.


COLEMAN:  OK.  I think we should not sell the American people short.  If

there are going to be T.V. hearings, and there will be T.V. hearings, you

can remember what Watergate was like.


It was every day, it was a new drop, a new drop, a new drop.  It ended up

that the Republicans, who were all against all of that, went down to the

White House and told Richard Nixon he had to go.  Thirty of those

Republicans in the Senate are up next year for re-election.


If you got only 20 out of the 50-some that we`ve got right now over there,

you`ve got two-thirds to impeach.  I don`t think you need to give that up

because it`s going to be powerful when Robert Mueller gets up there and

tells the truth about this president.


MELBER:  Congressman Coleman, thank you for joining us and I`m glad you

corrected me on what I mischaracterized on your record.  Always open to



Congressman Israel, thank you for being here.  Michelle Goldberg and Sean

Eldridge, leading this fight, a fascinating conversation.  And again,

please send our best to David.


Coming up, Donald Trump praising a foreign dictator and invoking his words

to attack Joe Biden, what?


Also, new reporting on a major change in Trump`s Twitter habits that could

be a sign he`s getting less bang for his buck there.


And my special report on Donald Trump and the language of the Oval Office. 

All that and a surprise guest tonight.  I`m Ari Melber.  You`re watching





MELBER:  Many Americans traveled over the holiday weekend and the president

is one of them.  He`s already back home after his trip to Japan where he

ended up praising a dictator`s insults about Vice President Biden.




REPORTER:  Does it give you pause at all to be appearing to side with a

brutal dictator instead of with a fellow American, the former Vice

President, Joe Biden?



statement that Joe Biden is a low-IQ individual.  He probably is based on

his record.  I think I agree with him on that.




MELBER:  Republicans outraged as well as many other people.  Take this

former advisor to Romney who said, “Can you imagine Bill Clinton saying he

and Saddam Hussein are in agreement in their shared criticism of George

Bush?”  This is the latest and, of course, the record of all kinds of

support, rhetorical and otherwise, for strongmen and dictators.


Take a look at trump siding with Kim Jong-Un and against his own national

security advisers over whether North Korea has actually broken U.N.

security resolutions which is a much more significant version of perhaps

the same tendency.  The whole issue is over these new missile tests.




TRUMP:  My people think it could have been a violation, as you know.  I

view it differently.  I view it as a man, perhaps he wants to get

attention.  And perhaps not, who knows.


He knows that with nuclear, it`s never going to happen.  Only bad can

happen.  He understands that.  He is a very smart man.  He gets it well.


REPORTER:  You`re not bothered at all by the small missiles?


TRUMP:  No, I`m not.




MELBER:  Bill Kristol, a conservative writer, former Republican White House

aide, and director of the group Defending Democracy Together.  Do you

diagnose this as a strongman thing or a cheap shot, a Democrats thing or

something else?



also a failure to any sense of what it means to be president of the United



I mean, a long time ago, I was Vice President Quayle`s chief of staff, we

made many foreign trips.  There`s something about standing up there in a

foreign country with the American flag behind you and the flag of a host

country with a foreign leader next to you.


And every president and vice president I`ve watched, and I believe this is

really true about how they think about it, feels a little different then. 

You don`t feel – you sort of put aside the domestic squabbles, you try to

speak for the country, you speak for the whole country, not just for your

supporters.  You don`t attack the most recent vice president of the



Maybe, maybe you differ on some issue if you have to in a polite way to

make clear to your host and to the world that some policy has changed. 

That`s obviously – that does happen.  But I mean the fact that Trump has

no inner sense of the inappropriateness of what he did, it reminds one that

he hasn`t grown at all in office, he`s gotten worse.


I do think this is another reason why people, my Republican friends who

have justified, rationalized, acquiesced on Trump, it`s going to be OK, he

kind of figuring it out.  He`s getting worse, he`s not getting better.


MELBER:  Well, that`s your view and then the consequences, of course, are

not just the language.  In other words, he could have said this about any

given person and it might have been a cheap shot.


But it goes also to the policies that he`s endorsing on the fly with the

countries and the leaders that he cozies up to.  And for that, Bill, take a





TRUMP:  I have President Putin.  He just said it`s not Russia.


I will say this.  I don`t see any reason why it would be.  President Putin

was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.


CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, FOX NEWS:  Question.  Did NBS lie to you, sir?


TRUMP:  I don`t – I don`t know.  You know, who can really know?  But we do

have an ally and I want to stick with an ally that in many ways has been

very good.


And then we fell in love, OK?  No, really.  He wrote me beautiful letters. 

And they`re great letters.




MELBER:  Do you think he gets tricked by these authoritarians?


KRISTOL:  No, I think he likes authoritarians.  I mean he couldn`t care

less that they have American blood on their hands.


They don`t think of the blood of their own citizens.  And really, you just

feel physically sick watching that, honestly.


Again, American presidents have made all kinds of mistakes and some of them

have said too nice things about dictators.  I mean there are many, many –

no president`s been perfect in this way.  But this – putting together

those quotes really tells you we`re in a totally different place than from

any other president, I think.


MELBER:  Yes.  Our producer researchers pulled those quotes because again,

it`s not just words as you`ve been arguing.  It goes to national security

policy at a time when we don`t even think publicly, to our knowledge, that

we have, a code red type test yet.


Bill, I want you to stay with me because we`re going to do a couple of

special things.  So Bill sticks around.


Later in the show, we talk about why Trump`s biggest digital political

weapon might be failing and why that matters.


Also, I have a very special guest when we come back for more on all of this

in just 30 seconds.




MELBER:  We`re back as promised with Bill Kristol and joined by Anthony

Scaramucci who did a stint as a White House Communications Director and is

a very vocal defender of the president.  Good to see you both.



to be here.  Bill`s still negative on the president, catching a little bit

of that.


MELBER:  Well, one of the things we try to do is have substantive

discussions on this show.  We did that with two sides of an issue at the

top of this show.  We`re going to do it right now.


So I want you both, as I know you will, to lead with the evidence. 

Anthony, you just heard Bill Kristol lay out what I think to a lot of

viewers is a very persuasive case. Bill added that he was personally –

physically nauseous by the President`s conduct.  You could disagree with



But what he laid out and what we showed was a pattern of cozying up to

authoritarians, to strongmen, to dictators in a way that Bill argues is

contrary to the national security interest to say nothing of what a cheap

shot it was at Biden on foreign soil which is the kind of thing that as you

know, your party used to make a big deal out of.  So I give you your time

to respond.


SCARAMUCCI:  OK, well, you guys would probably be surprised with this.  A

lot of what Bill said related to the Joe Biden stuff I actually agree with. 

I guess the issue that I have and I want to ask Bill and you this question,

I think the President feels like he`s under siege and I think he feels like

a lot of the attacks on him particularly the propagation of the Mueller

report, now the move for the impeachment process and all that other stuff

has painted him into a corner which is why he is reacting the way he`s



MELBER:  And just to get you – just to get you on the record, and then

I`ll take your point to Bill.  What was wrong with what he said about Biden

on foreign soil?


SCARAMUCCI:  Well, I don`t – I don`t anybody that`s been studying the

foreign policy of the United States or has been studying the presidency

over the – let`s say since the end of the Second World War thinks it`s a

good idea for any president to go on the attack of a fellow American that

served the country the way the President did.


OK, so the President will agree with me on that, but I think that`s bad

news.  And then secondarily, the North Korean dictator has not yet complied

with some of the agreements that he was talking to President Trump about

and so then to decide with him because he called the Vice President Biden

low I.Q., it`s not helping the President.


MELBER:  You think that`s not positive.  But you`re –


SCARAMUCCI:  If I`m a supporter – if I`m a supporter of the President, I

would say to the president, that`s not helping you, sir.  You got 36

percent of the people.  They`re going to stay with you.  You need 15 to 18

percent of the people to win, and you don`t want people disinfecting from

you over style.


MELBER:  Anthony, you talk like he`s almost watching.


SCARAMUCCI:  He might be watching.  He has a tendency to record a lot of



MELBER:  And then what are you`re saying to Bill is that having conceded

some of that ground, you`re saying that you still think there`s an unfair

pursuit of him post Mueller report?


SCARAMUCCI:  There was obviously a you know,

Obviously, an intellectual and he`s very thoughtful about – some of these

weren`t very well read.  So I`m asking Bill to put himself in the

president`s shoes or be for a second the president, one of the president`s

advisors.  Can he understand at times where the president is coming from as

a result of the onslaught that he`s taken for the last 27 or 28 months?


MELBER:  Bill?



– the President said things about John McCain and many, many other things

that were pretty indefensible long before Bob Mueller – he`d ever heard of

Bob Mueller.  But I take you know, Anthony knows him so I take your word

that maybe he`s wounded and lashing out a little.  His advisors should tell

him not.


I respect Anthony Scaramucci for saying what he just said.  I wish some

Republican elected officials who were elected by their constituents to

serve the United States had as much courage as Mr. Scaramucci who`s a

friend of the President and who has no stake in saying what he just said

but I think just said – but said when he believes.


MELBER:  What about –


KRISTOL:  Isn`t that amazing, actual Republican senators and congressmen

are less forthright and criticizing the president than Anthony Scaramucci.


SCARAMUCCI:  Well, I`m not really trying to be critical as much as I`m

trying to be constructive.


KRISTON:  You`re just honest.


SCARAMUCCI:  I`m just saying there`s no value to that.  And so what I don`t

like also about the whole Trump support thing is that it`s become very

binary.  I don`t think it needs to be that binary.


MELBER:  It doesn`t have to be as binary.  Let me get you –


SCARAMUCCI:  You`re all in the tank or then, therefore, you`re against him.


MELBER:  Sure.  So Anthony and Bill, let me –


SCARAMUCCI:  I`m for him but I want to do better.


MELBER:  – let me get you both – let me get you both on something else. 

You talk about the learning curve.  I mean, Donald Trump either is so

ignorant of how the Constitution works that he thinks he can bully the

Congress out of its investigative role or he knows it`s bad which would be

worse and he`s just trying to extort them.


But rather than playing, I`ll just read to you when he said.  We`re going

to do the same thing.  We`re going to grind the government to a halt. 

We`re not going to govern, Anthony, if they don`t cease the investigations. 

Isn`t that a misunderstanding of our Constitution?


SCARAMUCCI:  No, well, that`s his playbook.  I mean, that`s been his

consistent playbook for 40 years.  Somebody that`s attacking him, he`s

going to punch back seven times and so he views this going on with the

Congress as an attack.  He feels like the Mueller report – and again we

can debate the Mueller report, but at the end of the day there`s nothing

that I can see and Bill can disagree me on this, but there`s nothing

prosecutable.  I read all 448 pages of report.


Some of it smells bad, some of doesn`t make the president look good, I`m

not here to be an apologist for the president but I`m here –


MELBER:  But you saw – Mueller`s view is that Donald I`ve tried to

obstruct the probe.  That`s bad.  You can disagree, but that`s what Mueller


SCARAMUCCI:  I understand that, but if you looked at the comments section

in the report, a lot of what he was doing was a result of his personality

in terms of wearing everything on his sleeve and less so related to

criminal intent or what`s known as –


MELBER:  Would you say – would you say, Anthony, he has an obstructive



SCARAMUCCI:  I would say that he has a protective and a defensive

personality.  And I think – I think at the end of the day – I mean,

William Barr up until a couple of weeks ago was a very well-respected guy

in Washington, 45 years in Washington.


Rod Rosenstein who I went to law school with was literally in my section. 

We know each other for 33 years.


MELBER:  Was he a gunner?  Was he a gunner?  I bet he was a gunner.


SCARAMUCCI:  Well, let me tell you something about him, OK.  He`s a by-the-

book sort of a guy.  He`s like a Boy Scout.  So to me –


MELBER:  Not a bad thing.  It just – I know that you`re like you raised

your hand a lot.  You want to get in?


SCARAMUCCI:  I didn`t, actually.  I was hiding in the back, actually.  I

was smart enough to know that I wasn`t the smartest so I was hiding in the



MELBER:  You were hiding in the back of the Harvard law class?


SCARAMUCCI:  I was, actually.  You could ask anyone.


MELBER:  We`re out of time.  You know, I find that hard to believe.


SCARAMUCCI:  I can`t believe I`m running out of time.  The point I`m making

is those two guys made a summary conclusion.  A lot of people disagree with

the politics.  But at the end of the day, OK, the President is like OK,

that`s over, 26 months later, let`s move on and let`s govern so that`s

where the frustration.


MELBER:  Right.  And that – and you bring that perspective.  And Bill, I

got to cut it off here.  You`ve got more time in the earlier segment. 

Again, I appreciate both you have in the debate, and Anthony make it some

of the points that Bill was giving you credit for.  How about that,



SCARAMUCCI:  I just want to be honest.  I think it`s important at this

point we got a call like it is.


MELBER:  And again, not to make light, but Bill did you know Anthony was

hiding to avoid being seen while at Harvard Law?


KRISTOL:  I`ve always thought that with his character.  A kind of shrinking


MELBER:  You take –


SCARAMUCCI:  I broke out of my shell after I met you, Kristol.  A couple of

the basic that we`ve done on the live stage.


MELBER:  You know, you take the – what is that word?  Risible, I believe. 

You take the risible surprises where you can.  Scaramucci, Kristol, thanks

to both of you.  We have a lot more in the show, believe it or not.  Donald

Trump`s biggest weapon finding diminishing returns.  We`ll explain.  And

later, my breakdown of Donald Trump`s profanity.  Does it matter and does

it expose some hypocrisy when we come back?




MELBER:  President Trump has broken many negative records.  He has the most

false statements and lies by a sitting president the highest vacancy and

turnover rates for several key departments.  And now, he`s actually

breaking some new rhetorical ground.  He swears in public more than any

other president.  The New York Times even dubbing him The Profanity



As a long time performer and self-self-appointed kind of improvisational

shock-jock, Donald Trump has a keen sense of where the line is even when he

crosses it.  For example, as we get into some of these swearing

controversies, consider this.  He leans more on light cuss words like crap,

and hell, and damn, while then sprinkling in the kind that we literally

have to bleep out.





the hell they are.  I fired his ass so fast.  It`s (BLEEP), OK.  It`s

(BLEEP).  This is the a worst damn stage I`ve ever seen.  You bring your

whole damn family wherever the hell you are, I love you.  They make the

crap right there.




MELBER:  Now, this is unusual for a sitting president, but Donald Trump has

long cast himself of course as an outsider in business in media and he was

swearing long before he got into politics as well as on the campaign trail.




TRUMP:  Get that son of (BLEEP) of the field right now.


She said he`s a (BLEEP).


We`ll beat the (BLEEP) out of them.  Let them beat the (BLEEP) out of ISIS

also.  If he gets the nomination, they`re going to sue his ass off.


Whoever the hell brought this mic system, (BLEEP) the son of (BLEEP) who

put it in.  You shouldn`t pay the best, sir.


I would bomb the (BLEEP) out of him.


You bet your ass I`d approve it.  You bet your ass.


I don`t give a damn.  You can tell them to go themselves.


It`s political (BLEEP).  Our country is going to hell.  It`s going to hell.


Good seeing you (BLEEP).




MELBER:  This is real stuff and you could say he does it to get attention,

we`re here dealing with it, but it also shows you part of the way that

Donald Trump appeals to his supporters and how he`s positioning himself.


Now a couple quick points.  Number one, fewer claiming let`s get this out

of the way, that language choice is the top list of issues for a America or

a president, obviously.  And also note the past presidents famously

repeatedly swore in private from Lincoln to LBJ, dirty words are nothing

new as a Rolling Stone report on that whole issue has noted.


But there are also some receipts here that do matter.  Number one, many

current Trump supporters used to protest exactly the kind of language you

just saw from the president they now loyally support.  One example would be

of course in the religious side and it may be genuinely felt, take

Evangelical leader Billy Graham.


When he learned about his favorite President Nixon swearing in private, he

said this.  He was hurt by President Nixon and the things he said when the

Watergate tapes came out.  He`d never heard President Nixon cuss, used

profanity.  So that was a shock to him and he felt a little bit betrayed by



Let me repeat – let me repeat that, a little bit betrayed, betrayed by the

fact that Nixon privately used that language.  My point here is not to

referee whether that was the right reaction or not, but there`s hypocrisy

for any such religious leaders who won`t even mention Donald Trump doing

this in public.


And you may remember how leaders in the Republican Party and I should note

some Democrats we`re leading very high-profile efforts in the 90s to crack

down on obscene language in music and film.  That`s why we have those

parental advisory labels and a lot of other stuff.


Now let`s get into what Trump is doing here.  This has become so common

people analyze it.  There`s even a thing called a swearing expert Melissa

Moore who was an author to wrote a book about this and she analyzes it as

part Donald Trump`s careful image making, that it`s all strategic because

he creates an impression by swearing that he`s saying what he thinks and

“telling it like it is.”


Now, other presidents have used this type of language behind the scenes. 

George W. Bush was once overheard at a campaign event in 2000 calling a

reporter, get this.  This was a scandal at the time.  Calling a reporter a

“major-league a-hole.”  Or President Obama, he was known in private to

sometimes use profanities.  And the public may not have known about this

much until he admitted it actually himself in a 2015 Jerry Seinfeld

interview.  This was near the end of his presidency.




JERRY SEINFELD, COMEDIAN:  Does it help with your stress level?  Because

I`m going to say it helps much.  This son of a bitch.



say –


SEINFELD:  This rat bastard comes in here – and it really blows off steam



OBAMA:  Yes, bad stuff or stupid stuff is happening, absolutely, right,

every day.  So you have to be able to just make fun of well, a lot of that.


SEINFELD:  Yes, of course.


OBAMA:  That was even dumber and more annoying than usual.  That`s when

cursing is really valued.




MELBER:  The President is saying cursing is valuable for venting.  But with

Trump, it`s public.  The New York Times Peter Baker compares him to a

shock-jock Howard Stern explains this kind of talk is what Trump uses to





HOWARD STERN, COMEDIAN:  I knew he was a good communicator.  And what do I

mean by good communicator?  He talked like a dude.  He just knew how he

knew the audience.  He knew how to play to them and they liked him.




MELBER:  They liked it.  And people are free to choose to like it.  The

point is as Donald Trump swears his way to different types of headlines, we

should keep in mind the hypocrisy of some of his supporters, the double

standards and what counts for a scandal these days, and we should decide

whether we want to patrol for more or less of this in public life even if

it`s not the biggest issue in the world.


Now coming up, new data showing that Donald Trump`s Twitter habit is

actually hurting him.  We`ll explain.




MELBER:  Donald Trump is having Twitter problems.  Take a look at some of

this data which shows that interactions with his tweets, that`s when people

or media respond has been falling drastically from just under 0.6 percent

when he was first elected to now a much lower figure.


Now, this decline that you see there is happening as Trump tweets more

often.  I am joined by Jeff Jarvis was a prominent digital expert and media

critic, Professor of Journalism at the Craig Newmark School, and a Writer

for the media vlog BuzzMachine, so a good person to have.  Thanks for being




I`m honored to be here, Ari.


MELBER:  You look at the declining chart and people who are opposed to

Donald Trump might say well this is an interesting metric that they might

see as good news because so much of what he tweets is the most

controversial, baseless, often packed with lies, so this declining chart to

them would be good news.


On the flip side, the data shows that because he`s tweeting more often,

it`s spreading it out.  We on this show have a policy where we don`t read

off the tweets as news for just the words in them.  They have – they have

to actually do something like when he announced the military policy change,

we did quote that.  Given all of that together, what do you see is

important in this story?


JARVIS:  You know, I was just thinking the other day, honest to God, that I

don`t read his tweets anymore.  I have – I refuse to follow him so I have

a tweet deck column just for Donald Trump and I used to check it every day

and I just stopped.


I hate people who repeat themselves.  I hate people who repeat themselves. 

You know – and he just does it over and over and over again.  We`ve heard

all.  We`ve heard everything he has to say.


MELBER:  So you think – and look, one of the very fair criticisms of the

press during 2016 was just overly regurgitating, so only his rallies, not

all the rallies.  You could be C-SPAN and show all the rallies, but there

was a fair criticism that his rallies were getting covered more than his

Republican opponents, more than Democrat.


Well, we`re going to put it back up on the screen.  The bottom line of this

decline here would suggest that also with Twitter the public, not the

press, the public is interacting less as time goes on.  They also

determined that some of this is worth tuning out.


JARVIS:  I think so.  And I think that the real question for me, Ari, the

next study I want to see is what are we doing in media because we are

amplifying his messages.  I do not think we should write a story every

single time he writes a tweet.


MELBER:  Right.


JARVIS:  We`re amplifying what he says.  I just saw Biz Stone co-founder of

Twitter was an Oxford today, and he said before the Pelosi video of last

week`s kerfuffle was brought on by media.  It was seen a total of 300 times

on Twitter.


We in media are amplifying this junk and we`ve got to do something else. 

I`ve argued for some time I want to see the New York Times just – and the

Washington Post just have a standing headline.  This is what he tweeted

today and put it all there unless it`s major and give it context but stop -



MELBER:  Well, you`re making – and you`re speaking as a digital analyst. 

You also wrote this book about how Google works.  You`re describing that

the internet gives us a very rapid feedback loop.  It can be incredibly

powerful for activism.  We`ve had activists from black lives matter who

record something and within hours it`s national, and they say that helps



You`re saying it also can be quite negative when the Pelosi stuff while

there is a way to fact-check it, you`re saying, overreacting to it creates

the problem that you claim to be fact-checking?


JARVIS:  Yes.  And I don`t want to see Twitter or Facebook in the position

of fact-checking anybody, certainly not you or me or even Donald Trump.  I

think that we in the democracy are having a conversation we`re reloading

how to have a conversation after the Gutenberg era.


We`re figuring out how to talk to each other and there are voices who were

never heard in big old mainstream white old media that enabled things like

Me Too and Black Lives Matter and Living While Black.  And so I think we

have to treasure all of that in democracy while putting up with the guff of

Donald Trump.


MELBER:  And wasn`t it Shawn Carter who said hashtags and retweets 140

characters in these streets.


JARVIS:  Mose Allison said, if silence was golden, you couldn`t raise it

dime because your mouth is on vacation – and your – and your brain is on

your vacation and your mouth is working overtime.


MELBER:  What do you – you`re reading.


JARVIS:  I`m reading.  I had to.


MELBER:  Let me see.


JARVIS:  I went on Twitter –


MELBER:  Give it here.  What do you have?  Give it here.


JARVIS:  I went on Twitter and I asked for help.


MELBER:  This is a crowdsource lyric.


JARVIS:  That`s a crowdsource lyric.  I said I got to.  I got it in some



MELBER:  Well, we appreciate you being a good sport.  I appreciate you

preparing for THE BEAT, sir.  And wasn`t it – wasn`t it Simon and

Garfunkel who said, that`s the sound of silence.


JARVIS:  I have nothing more to say.


MELBER:  We`ll be right back.




MELBER:  Have you noticed a lot of people are running for president?  Well,

we have on THE BEAT and we have been doing big interviews.  And tomorrow

I`m thrilled to tell you the Mayor of New York City and now a 2020 Dem

presidential candidate Bill de Blasio will be on THE BEAT tomorrow.  We`ll

also have Kurt Anderson, Eugene Robinson, and Maya Wiley.  So a big show

tomorrow night which I`m looking forward to.


Now, before I let you go and go to “HARDBALL,” I want you to know later

tonight, Sen. Kamala Harris will be here on Lawrence O`Donnell for a

special edition, it`s a town hall.  They are live from Wofford College in

South Carolina 10:00 p.m. Eastern.  That is the third primary state and it

should be a doozie of a town hall.  Don`t miss it.


But don`t go anywhere right now because of course, Chris Matthews is about

to talk to Mayor Pete on “HARDBALL”  next.







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