Trump’s twitter feed losing influence. TRANSCRIPT: 5/28/19, The Beat w/ Ari Melber.
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
more MEET THE PRESS DAILY.
“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,
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
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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
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.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: Thank you.
SEAN ELDRIDGE, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, STAND UP AMERICA: Thanks for having
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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 –
GOLDBERG: But –
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
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
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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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
We can`t let conduct like that go unchecked. Congress has a duty to keep
the president in check.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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.
REP. TOM COLEMAN, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Hi, Ari. Thank you. It was
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
THE BEAT on MSNBC.
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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, Kim Jong-Un made a
statement that Joe Biden is a low-IQ individual. He probably is based on
his record. I think I agree with him on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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
BILL KRISTOL, DIRECTOR, DEFENDING DEMOCRACY TOGETHER: I think both. And
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
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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
And then we fell in love, OK? No, really. He wrote me beautiful letters.
And they`re great letters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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.
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: It`s good
to be here. Bill`s still negative on the president, catching a little bit
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
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?
BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR AT LARGE, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I don`t know. I`m not
– 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
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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You people don`t care who
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JERRY SEINFELD, COMEDIAN: Does it help with your stress level? Because
I`m going to say it helps much. This son of a bitch.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I curse. I curse. I
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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
JEFF JARVIS, PROFESSOR OF JOURNALISM, CRAIG NEWMARK SCHOOL: Thank you.
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.
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
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
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.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the