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The Beat with Ari Melber, Transcript 7/28/17 Ethics Report: Bannon operating "shadow press"

Guests: Howard Fineman, Rick Tyler, Erin Gloria Ryan, Erin Gloria Ryan, Andy Card, Kurt Bardella, Ben Smith, Michael Isikoff, Richard Painter

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: July 28, 2017 Guest: Howard Fineman, Rick Tyler, Erin Gloria Ryan, Erin Gloria Ryan, Andy Card, Kurt Bardella, Ben Smith, Michael Isikoff, Richard Painter

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST, MTP DAIL: That`s all we have for tonight. If it`s Sunday, we`ll have much more on the White House shakeup and all of this chaotic week on "Meet the Press". Be sure to check out our 1947, the "Meet the Press" podcast because my guest this week, Ari Melber. And Ari picks things up right now for us on THE BEAT.

Mr. Melber, good evening. I hope we have enough news for you to cover.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST, THE BEAT: I think we have a lot of news, a breaking news shows. And I enjoyed the podcast. Thanks again, Chuck.

TODD: You got it, brother.

MELBER: A big show here. This round goes to Anthony Scaramucci. He now reports directly to the president and Reince Priebus does not. Trump removing Priebus today and naming a new Chief of Staff.

Today, Friday, July 28, 2017, is the day President Donald Trump formally admitted there is something wrong with the Trump White House. Something is not working and someone is getting canned.

Reince Priebus was the most high-ranking establishment Republican in Trump`s White House. And he was not just fired tonight. He has been attacked, humiliated, derided and dissed in the most personal terms before now being shown the door.

And it would be easy to fixate on all that dramatic treatment, but that would obscure the deeper reasons that Donald Trump is shaking up his White House staff so early in his tenure tonight.

Russia consuming this presidency. Congress overriding Trump on sanctions. Just this week, Republicans losing that big healthcare vote early this morning as White House staff spent their time infighting in the lead up to the vote instead of helping out.

Trump reportedly calling John McCain with a last-ditch plea and he gave it a thumbs down, along with the entire bill.

And that is part of why Trump has now announced just within these past 90 minutes that Reince is out and John Kelly will take over leading the White House staff.

And he`ll have his hands full because this move also clearly and publicly reinforces the power Mr. Anthony Scaramucci who reports directly to the president.

Think about this here on this blockbuster Friday evening. Almost everyone, across all party lines, all over this country, this week thought Scaramucci had a terrible, even embarrassing time.

But according to his boss, it was a good time, it was a great week. And for now, apparently, at the Trump White House, that`s all that matters.

I want to get right to the breaking news. Howard Fineman is global editorial director for "The Huffington Post;" Rick Tyler, Republican strategist, former advisor to Sen. Ted Cruz; and Erin Gloria Ryan, a senior editor at "The Daily Beast".

Rick, why is Reince out and why did it go down like this?

RICK TYLER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Reince has been isolated for a long time. Effectively, there has been no chief of staff for quite a long time.

Look, I think I`m beginning to believe that Scaramucci was brought in for a purpose and it was to humiliate Reince.

And unlike Sessions, who people rallied around and had support, nobody came to Reince`s defense. There was no one left in the West Wing to support him and it became untenable and he had to leave. My guess is he probably read it on Twitter along with the rest of us.

MELBER: Although "NBC News" reporting that - from Peter Alexander, there were sources saying he may had the resignation as soon as yesterday.

But what he read before that on Twitter and "The New Yorker" magazine and everywhere else was a kind of shaming and a kind of disgusting level of personal attacks that is really unbecoming.

ERIN GLORIA RYAN, SENIOR EDITOR, "THE DAILY BEAST": Right. But this isn`t the first time Donald Trump has done this, is it?

Marla Maples found out that she was getting a divorce from the "New York Post." Donald Trump has always used the medium at his disposal to communicate to people that he wants to humiliate that they`re out of his way.

Sessions was somebody that he confronted not in person, but on Twitter. And Marla was somebody he confronted through the tabloids.

Donald Trump is using Twitter now the way that he used tabloids in the 80s and 90s, except this time there`s no gatekeepers. There`s no editors between him and the headline he wants. He can just write the headlines and we have to chase the headlines and report on them.

MELBER: We`re getting a lot of updates into our newsroom as check the story. Stay with me, Rick. Stay with me, everyone. I`m being told that we have now Andy Card, a fitting guest as a former chief of staff to George W. Bush.

Can you hear, Andy?

ANDY CARD, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I can. It`s great to be with you. Obviously, this will be a very memorable day.

MELBER: It is a memorable day. And it`s the first day that Donald Trump has taken action with regard to his own view of failures or problems in the White House. Have you ever seen a chief of staff remove like this and what does is it mean?

CARD: I`m sure this is the first chief of staff removed in the way that he was removed and it was kind of tawdry, awkward, uncomfortable, unfair, but it`s reality.

And now, we have to all rally to make sure that Gen. Kelly, the new Chief of Staff, is in a position to help the president do his job. And that is a major responsibility.

Wouldn`t it be hard - to say nothing of Gen. Kelly`s background, which is widely respected, but wouldn`t it be hard, in your view, in a political climate like this to have someone with no political experience be chief of staff. Does that mean effectively that role will be played by other Trump loyalists in the White House?

CARD: A general, first of all, has to understand politics and has been part of it for a very long time. I know that he did work on Capitol Hill. He was a congressional aide when he was a junior officer and I know he worked at the Pentagon. And I know that he did a great job in the field, in the tough role as commanding troops during a highly politicized effort to discuss what was going on in the war.

So, I think he is wary of the needs and the way Washington DC works. So, he`s not a neophyte.

He is also from Boston. So, I kind of celebrate that because (INAUDIBLE), so does he. At least we know how to speak the Boston accent. And I think that he`s a good choice. He`s an adult. He has the courage to speak truth to power. He`s demonstrated that.

And he understands the consequence - he really understands the consequential policy, and that`s something that`s very, very important. So, it`s not just about understanding what policy is and how it should be implemented, but he understands the consequence of policy.

MELBER: Right. I take your point that he`s operated in the climate. That would mean, Howard Fineman, that he also understands the shelf life or half-life of a loyal Trump aide can be very short indeed.

Howard, listen to Donald Trump speaking about Reince Priebus on election night.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I`ll tell you Reince is really a star. And he is the hardest working guy. And in a certain way, I did this. Reince, come up here. When is Reince? It`s about you did this, Reince? My God.


MELBER: There is the embrace, Howard. What happened?

HOWARD FINEMAN, GLOBAL EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, "THE HUFFINGTON POST": Well, first of all, don`t forget that during the campaign when the whole bus incident happened with Billy Bush comments and so forth that shocked so many people about what the then candidate Trump had said earlier on, Reince Priebus suggested that the candidate Donald Trump might want to consider dropping out of the race.

I don`t think Reince ever recovered from that, to begin with. He was on borrowed time from the moment he became chief of staff. He was never given the authority to really run the White House. He was never highly regarded by other people. He was called Reincey by the president as though he were a pet and not the chief of staff.

The good news for Anthony Scaramucci is that he got his man. He got Reince Priebus. Priebus is out.

The bad news for Scaramucci is that the new chief of staff is a Marine Corps general retired. And I`m wondering how long Kelly is going to put up with the idea that Scaramucci can talk to Donald Trump anytime he wants without going through the Marine Corps chain of command. That will be interesting to see.

And I`ve also got to say that the way this was - I know there`s a word that`s out today supposedly that Reince Priebus knew all about this yesterday and they`re going through the motions. I don`t buy it for a second.

I think this was executed gangland style. They flew for this event, at which the president widely - lavishly praised Kelly, who was about to take over. Then when they get back to Joint Base Andrews, the Trump stays on the plane.

The president asks Reince to stay behind. They have a discussion. Then Reince Priebus gets off the plane, gets in - according to the (INAUDIBLE) report, then gets in a car with two other Trump aides, who then after a few seconds or so, get out of the car and leave Reince Priebus alone in the car to read the tweets announcing his own dismissal.

That`s the way I put the tick-tock together. That is remarkable and a humiliation that indicates to me that they must`ve actually gotten Priebus on some leaks - he and his people on some leaks. Scaramucci showed them to Trump and that was it.

By the way, the only other reason why Priebus was staying around was to try to work on the healthcare bill. Once the healthcare bill went down at 1 o`clock in the morning last night, Priebus` alleged close relationship with Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, no longer mattered -

MELBER: Is it alleged?

FINEMAN: You know what I mean? Because nobody was taking Priebus seriously. That`s my point.

MELBER: No, I think your point stands. I want to bring in Rick Tyler, who has advised senators.

Howard makes a couple of important points. One, the gangland style nature of this. I mean, it is rough and tumble.

TYLER: And classless.

MELBER: And ugly. But two, this is the context of healthcare. In other words, it`s not just that Scaramucci calls up magazines to do, as Buzzfeed put it, a Mean Girls style take down of people. It`s also that they couldn`t get the job done on healthcare this week, although I don`t know that Priebus would be the one to blame.

TYLER: No. I mean, he was the chief of staff, but he wasn`t chief legislative liaison. And even though he has a very close relationship with the speaker, he`s not a legislative policy person. He`s a political guy.

But the question is going to be, who does Scaramucci now report to.

MELBER: The president. It says in the written statement that he reports to the president.

TYLER: That`s what it was before, but is it now, with Kelly on as chief of staff. Because if Kelly doesn`t have absolute - I don`t know if Andy Card is still on - would comment on that.

CARD: I would love to comment on that.

TYLER: He needs absolute authority and it cannot be unclear.

MELBER: Andy, go ahead.

CARD: Gen. Kelly understands what leadership responsibility is. He`s demonstrated - he`s respected it. He`s respected a chain of command. And I do believe that he will bring important leadership discipline to the organization at the White House. And I hope that it includes the reality that you can`t really serve the president well as a chief of staff if you are not all informed.

So, people should respect the chief of staff`s responsibilities and role. And my rule was that the chief of staff should know before, during or after when a meeting with the president has taken place. Preferably before. You`d like it to be during because you`d like to be there for many of the meetings.

But at a minimum, respect the chief of staff`s burden enough to tell the chief of staff you talked to the president and this is what we talked about. Then the chief of staff can get on and talk to the president about whatever it was that that person said to the president.

And I was fortunate to work in a White House, with the president backed me up on that kind of discipline. He was wonderful at making sure that - it wasn`t that I was "the gatekeeper" or wouldn`t let people see the president.

I said if you`re working for the president and you need to see the president, go see the president. If you want to see the president, you better not go. It`s got be a real need. And I want to know about it before, during or after. I`d prefer to know about it before.

RYAN: Well, I think that it`s a nice idea that one, like, disciplined and kind of order oriented person could right this ship.

I think imagining that somehow Kelly could turn this White House into a functioning machine is like thinking that you can throw a non-rotten banana into a pile of rotten bananas and then all of the other bananas are suddenly not going to be rotten anymore.

I think this White House is not in any -

CARD: That`s a little cruel.


MELBER: So, Andy, I`m going to come back to you in a second. Go ahead.

RYAN: At no turn has this White House demonstrated functionality. And I don`t think that sort of introducing one competent person is going to change that.

MELBER: Let me bring Andy back in. Andy, Erin Gloria Ryan making the point that even a very disciplined general can`t personally train someone if they`re not willing to go to the gym.

So, you may hire the personal trainer and he may be a great personal trainer, but if you`re still going to tweet at 4 in the morning and not go to the gym, how does that leave him in a position to bring discipline to the White House, Andy?

CARD: Well, I`m hoping that - first of all, remember probably the most disciplined that Donald Trump had in his life was when he went to military school. So, he may have had a little taste of that as a very young student and maybe to reflect on the discipline that was at military school and respect the general that will now be right down the hall, who`ll be responsible for what happens in the White House and listen to him.

And I hope that Gen. Kelly will introduce him to discipline in a nice way. Obviously, you want to be the chief of staff that works the way the president works best. So, you have to accommodate the president`s style, but that doesn`t mean that you should allow him to be, I`m going to say, so undisciplined that the impulsive nature of his activities is the norm. You want that to be the exception.

MELBER: Howard, go ahead.

FINEMAN: All right. Listen to what we`re saying here. We`re now treating the president of the United States, perhaps appropriately, as a 15-year-old boy at military school.

And don`t forget that the military mind goes in both directions. Gen. Kelly (retired) knows who is the commander-in-chief is. And the commander- in-chief is the president of the United States. And if the president of the United States says, you know, I want to be able to talk to Anthony Scaramucci anytime I want to, maybe I`ll let you know, maybe I won`t, he`s going to go ahead and do that.

I would also say that Kelly has been around the president enough to know how Donald Trump operates. And I don`t think he`s under any illusions that that`s going to change.

MELBER: Absolutely. I mean, one more point that I want to place when Paul Ryan is down here - hold on, hold on, hold on. Andy, I know it`s hard because he`s on the phone. Andy, hold on one sec.

The issue you raise, Howard, was tested, in that they rolled out a travel man under this DHS secretary. And it was so fast and so unprofessional and so unclear with regard to Green Card holders and veterans and foreigners and Iraqi translators that the whole thing had to be blown up and started over.

So, there are some test points here where the Donald Trump style has superseded. Rick Tyler, take a listen, though, to Paul Ryan talking about his very good friend Reince Priebus and what he hoped would happen earlier this week.


REP. PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I only heard about this. I`m not sure what the whole interplay is. All I would say is, as you know, Reince is a very close friend of mine. Reince is doing a fantastic job at the White House. And I believe he has the president`s confidence.

So, if those two gentlemen have differences, my advice would be to sit down and settle your differences.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...remain as chief of staff?

RYAN: I think Reince is doing a great job as chief of staff.


TYLER: I don`t think that Reince and the speaker were either talking or he was protecting him. Reince hasn`t been effectively the chief of staff - but the - I mean, the whole point I think that Andy was trying to say, and I won`t put words in his mouth, in a very nice way is hopeless because this president is not going to change.

He is not going to run on the chain of command. He`s not going to be disciplined. He`s not going to change the way he does things. And your example of the rollout on the travel ban was an excellent point to that. And then the transgender tweet is another point. I mean, it goes on and on.

MELBER: Let`s look, Erin, at the context. There is the drama. There is the hate tweets. There is the wannabe fake macho rivalries in this administration, which clearly look like classic studio gangster behavior.

There`s a distinction here between real gangsters who are tough and studio gangsters who basically go into the music studio and pretend to be tough. And there`s all this.

So, if you`re still tough, why don`t you call up Steve Bannon yourself and say what you have to say instead of calling "The New Yorker" magazine.

TYLER: I would watch this.

FINEMAN: This would be great stuff.

RYAN: We can`t get out of it. And the thing is like, Scaramucci has actually written a few self-help books, which I have read. Not recommended.

A couple of them, he mentions that - he kind of positions himself as this person that learns to be what he wants to be from watching movies and TV about things.

It`s like a derivative of a derivative of a derivative. So, it`s a guy trying to be a Wall Street guy that he saw on TV.

MELBER: It sounds like you`re saying he is a synthetic mortgage-backed security derivative.

RYAN: Right, right.

MELBER: But I was told not to make any derivative jokes.

Howard, I want to put one thing up on the screen and have you respond to it. So, my point being, there`s all that fake drama and all of that supposed tough talk. And then there`s the policy failures.

Take a look, the Obamacare votes. This was the whole point in the strategy. There is the sanctions votes, which are telling the president on a bipartisan basis, we don`t trust you on Russia.

There is the GOP pushback on all of this. And then you think about Jeff Sessions, Howard, and Donald Trump being told, you don`t get to name your own attorney general if you want to replace him. That`s how much Republicans have stopped trusting him. That`s the policy context for this week, right?

FINEMAN: Yes. And there`s almost a complete disconnect between actual legislating and administrating and getting things achieved in the country and the unbelievable show that we are watching at the White House.

And by the way, Anthony Scaramucci, as you say, studio gangster, is a mirror image of the man who now seems to be so enamored with him, the president of the United States.

They`re both on the same reality show wavelength. And I think that`s why Trump and Scaramucci are currently getting along.

But the question I would ask about healthcare, about sanctions, about tax policy, about all the things that the president supposedly wants to do, is John Kelly really going to be the guy to do that? Is John Kelly going to really be the guy who can get the Hill going, who can really reach out to leaders on the Hill, not just in the Republican Party, but even in the Democratic Party.

Maybe he`s got some native skills from Boston, as Andy would probably put it, that will help him. But you`ve got at the White House now generals who don`t have - who are political within the context of the military, but aren`t political. And you`ve got a bunch of business people, including a bunch of hedge fund managers - you`ve got hedge fund managers and generals and no political people to actually run the government and get policy done.

And I`m not sure that this is going to solve any of that. How do they connect to the Washington that the president either calls the swamp or the sewer depending on the day. He`s got to find a way to do that.

RYAN: Well, I think what`s really interesting about this whole studio gangster thing is like, to build on the point that the last guest was making, that is not the same as making policy.

Like, a studio gangster win might be like an interesting tweet that everyone responds to. People are crazy about this thing he`s said about Steve Bannon. But the reality is, that doesn`t accomplish anything, except this very temporary feeling of victory that is completely hollow and doesn`t do anything for the American people or this administration.

TYLER: You have to put the failure of this - I think this week is different. People say Trump said that. But this is the worst week for the very reasons that the healthcare bill failed because he was supposed to be the chief persuader of the country to get it done and he squandered that opportunity.

And the sanctions bill, don`t underestimate, that is the entire US Congress saying we don`t trust you because they`re taking away a tool that he should have to negotiate with Putin about whatever he wants to accomplish with Russia vis-a-vis Crimea, Ukraine, trade, et cetera, and they`ve taken it off the table.

Putin knows that. It`s a humiliation, yet they had to do it because they don`t trust him with it.

MELBER: It`s extraordinary, Howard, and it goes to a shift - a shift that started clearly in the Congress with Republicans on these issues, on sanctions and on the pushback to the notion of replacing Grassley - excuse me, replacing sessions and judiciary chairman Grassley saying, we won`t hold a vote this year.

You`ll be stuck with Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is his worst nightmare from Russia. And a little later in the hour, we`re going to talk about the Russia angle of all of this. That was a real rebuke.

And then, Scaramucci comes in and actually those reports today, Trump "loves what he said" in the vulgar, profane interviews.


MELBER: But how can you score this as anything other than Trump conceding something is not working when he has to replace the chief, and yet is he doubling down as he did in the campaign. We`ve seen this cycle before. He turns to the uber-loyalists.

I mean, he`s not exactly known for having a team of intellectual rivals to begin with. But when pressed, he turns to the uber-loyalists, the original people and they go into his deepest instincts.

FINEMAN: Right. He turns either to long-time friends from New York, Gary Cohn or, in this case that we`ve been talking about, Anthony Scaramucci because he`s familiar with those New York people.

Or he goes to the military. Don`t forget H.R. McMaster, the national security advisor, is active duty military. He`s literally in the chain of command under the commander-in-chief, the president of the United States.

So, sure, Trump looks for those kinds of reassurances, looks for the loyalty that goes in his direction unquestioningly.

I`ll tell you, the number one thing that any real chief of staff would do would be to either limit or take away or supervise the president`s relationship with his most important thing in life, which is his phone and his Twitter account.

Could that ever happen? Could anybody conceive of that happening? If you can`t conceive of that happening, then this is going to continue the way it is.

And I spent most of my time on the Hill this week. The Republicans, senators and - especially the senators, who view themselves as independent any way, are getting pretty darn tired of Donald Trump.

They don`t like the way he attacked their former colleague Jeff Sessions. They`re going to now watch, as I`m sure, Trump is going to distance himself from and maybe start berating Mitch McConnell.

They`re not going to like it, but they better get used to it because that`s what the president is going to do.

MELBER: Stay with me. Our breaking coverage is continuing. We are not going to take a break, but we do have a brand-new statement and the first official statement from Reince Priebus, who has been ousted as chief of staff, announced via Twitter. I want to read to you, our viewers here what Reince Priebus is saying about this very tumultous day in the Trump White House.

"It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to serve this president and our country. I want to thank the president for giving me this very special opportunity. I`ll continue to serve as a strong support of the president`s agenda and policies.

And then he continues - and this is a very gracious note of departure - "I can`t think of a better person than Gen. John Kelly to succeed me and I wish him God`s blessings and great success."

Reince Priebus - if you`re just joining us, we`ve been reporting on this blockbuster news - the most significant staff change in the Trump White House to date, just over six months in and the chief of staff is out.

President Trump ousting him, announcing it by Twitter, just about 110 minutes ago. My panel stays with me. And joining me now, in addition, is Kurt Bardella, he`s a former Breitbart new spokesman. He`s worked closely with Steve Bannon and advised conservative causes.

Kurt, we can definitely benefit from some of your expertise here and we wanted to bring you in specifically on the question of Steve Bannon`s fate because Anthony Scaramucci didn`t just say Reince was on the way out and he didn`t just say he would have a lot of power reporting directly to the president, he also said really objectionable things about Steve Bannon that we`re not going to give airtime to.

And basically implied that he had the upper hand. And then, in Breitbart today, there was interesting pushback. That`s the site that you, of course, advised that it is sympathetic to Steve Bannon and he used to run, where they started arguing that this is all becoming the Anthony Scaramucci show and that that President Trump will be out of the news. That`s the kind of thing that might upset him.

Walk us through what Breitbart is doing and the future of Steve Bannon in this context.

KURT BARDELLA, FORMER BREITBART NEWS SPOKESMAN: Well, I think Breitbart is trying to illustrate really what got Steve in trouble.

Remember, when Steve was on the cover of "Time Magazine," that`s kind of when this tension between him and Donald Trump started. Trump was very vocal and visibly vocal and kind of smacking down Steve, and there was speculation that Steve may not survive at that point in time just a few months ago.

And now, Breitbart is trying to illustrate for the president that, hey, this guy is doing the same thing that got you so upset at Steve, hoping that that either creates a situation where Trump comes down on Scaramucci or Scaramucci maybe backed off a little bit in his public attacks of Steve Bannon.

I think at the end of the day, the reality is, whether it`s Jeff Sessions or Steve Bannon and, obviously, Reince Priebus, these are people who were very publicly humiliated by one of their own colleagues, who reports directly to the president, doesn`t even report directly to the new White House chief of staff.

This isn`t going to stop. I think Scaramucci is trying to really remove anybody that he thinks could be an obstacle to his power base. I mean, it`s very - we`ve heard the analogy of this is so Game of Thrones like, and these people within the White House build their own fiefdoms, their center of power.

And when they have the upper hand and they`re kind of the new shiny toy on the shelf for Donald Trump, they try to use that moment to neutralize anybody that could be a possible threat to them.

MELBER: And based on your knowledge of Bannon, will he find a way to wriggle out of this?

BARDELLA: Well, Bannon is a - if anything, he`s a survivor. He`s someone who will scratch and claw. He`s a street fighter. And we saw already how he was resilient enough to overcome the previous attempt to try to have him removed.

And I think - again, the one thing to keep in mind is, while all this is going on, there`s still this big Russia investigation being conducted. And as long as that`s the case, Steve made himself instrumental to the president in leading the messaging, leading the fight back, the pushback, the aggressive style against that.

And I think the one thing the president is going to keep in mind is that, as he tries to carve out people - he needs as many people in his boat as he could possibly keep while this Russia situation is still unfolding.

Kurt, stay with us. For folks who are just joining us here as we approach 6:30 p.m. on the East Coast, I`m Ari Melber. This is THE BEAT.

And we have a breaking news story here, the most significant staff change in the Trump White House. Six months in, Reince Priebus, the chief of staff, ousted, replaced by Gen. John Kelly on a week that was really a parade of horribles for this administration by any outside estimation, although Donald Trump clearly doubling down with the ones (INAUDIBLE), with the originals, with the loyalists.

Here, on THE BEAT, we had a very special one-on-one conversation planned with Ben Smith, a special guest and editor-in-chief of "BuzzFeed" who recently wrote "the swamp is getting tired of winning," where a source told him the establishment has ruled Washington for so long, it`s entrenched and powerful, it`s proving harder to kill than we envisioned.

But Ben has been a good sport about joining our breaking news panel.

BEN SMITH, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, BUZZFEED: Nothing like breaking news.

MELBER: Something we both are ruled by. Did you see this coming and what does it mean to have John Kelly as the chief of staff, but Anthony Scaramucci acting like a chief of staff?

SMITH: I mean, I think everybody saw this coming. We`ve all seen that Trump humiliates and berates people for a while until they leave. That seems like that`s the pattern.

I mean, Kelly is someone he doesn`t know as well and who comes from a military background and is going to be - I think at least try to operate totally differently than this sort of inexperienced, freewheeling White House, although he`s totally inexperienced in running a White House.

MELBER: Andy Card earlier was saying, well, he`s been around Washington. But your view is that this is a very special role.

SMITH: It`s, obviously, a difficult role for very sophisticated political operators. But I think you know what Trump has been doing over the last few weeks is sort of switching from trying to run the government or the country or even the White House to sort of staging a show and casting and Anthony Scaramucci is a great - is somebody who I think was working on getting his own show, maybe head his own show for a little while. And I think was cast in a role and he`s playing it.

But I think - I saw your previous guest referred to a Game of Thrones, but this is really like much more the Bachelorette. I mean, this is a reality show.

Is Reince doing "Hannity" tonight? Usually, like as on the Bachelorette and ends with sort of the exit interview. But I mean - yes, but I think the drama has sort of replaced governing.

MELBER: Well, and that goes to a larger question here and I`ll bring back in the panel with Ben first. Does Donald Trump at this point having struggled so mightily with creating policy in reality - and we just went through it - on Russia sanctions, on ObamaCare, on this transgender policy that he proposed by tweet and then it was announced the military is not going to take it as policy until they get a lawful order and we haven`t heard yet any lawful order. Has he moved from giving up on trying to be America`s Chief Executive and instead is only going to be America`s chief content officer?

SMITH: I mean, yes. I think - I think right. He`s failing as President, succeeding in the production of reality show. I mean, it`s incredible television. I mean, you know, it even supplanted what was going to be a really fascinating interview with me. But like you know, like - you know, I mean, it`s totally riveting. Like all your ratings are up. Everybody`s ratings are up. It`s an incredible show. Now I guess the question is like, you know, this is the country that wants the bachelorette. Maybe that`s - maybe that`s what people voted for and want to get reelected on.

MELBER: Well, and this (INAUDIBLE) was saying earlier. And I watch TV, I participate in TV sometimes. I`m not against TV but speaking, if I may be so idealistic, speaking as a citizen, if Ben is right about that theory, that makes me really sad.

ERIN GLORIA RYAN, SENIOR EDITOR, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes, and also, you know, to your bachelorette point, disagree, I think it`s definitely Game of Thrones but not in a macho way. It`s like Game of Thrones because like that show is about a bunch of people fighting over stupid garbage while this massive existential threat looms over them and threatens to eliminate all of them. That they could unite and take on together but that they`re actually going to be overcome by because they`re so focused on grappling for individual power. That seems a lot more analogous to what we`re seeing right now than like, oh you get a rose and you cry in the car but then you`re fine and you come back and gets (INAUDIBLE) on the reunion show.

MELBER: Howard, go ahead.

FINEMAN: Well, I was just going to say that to try to put a little possible substance into the reality show theme that we`re focusing on right here. I think substantively by picking General Kelly who comes from the Department of Homeland Security, don`t forget. Donald Trump is going to double down on both the theater and the reality of his anti-them campaign. The immigrants, the terrorist threat, I think in terms of what happens on the streets of America, it`s quite possible that what Donald Trump is saying, yes, we`ll have this theater back in Washington but the way I`m going to make myself popular, the way I`m going to get things done is I`m going to be the tough cop on the street when it comes to immigration and terrorism.

That they`re really going to focus on that because that`s something that as Commander in Chief and as the Head of the government, he can do a lot with executive power and not even worry about or even think about the normal process of legislating and so forth. This is what autocratic - this is what people with an autocratic mentality do. They focus on law enforcement. They focus on invaders, they focused on foreigners. And that is substantive, that`s not a laughing matter in part of what`s going to happen here.

MELBER: No it`s not a laughing matter and it`s easy to forget in the news cycles Ben, but this Scaramucci tear began with him his falsely accusing Reince of a felony. I should note as a lawyer that the false accusation of a crime is itself per say slander. So when you total it all up, the only person who came close to breaking the law this week based on the public evidence was Scaramucci, not Reince. But he immediately echoed the boss to Howard`s point with the idea that Justice Department is there to go after leakers and anyone who disagrees with them.

SMITH: Right. And I think you know, when things - there is a way for things and the leak investigation could, to cross from the non-sense theater into ruining people`s lives. I do think that as Howard said, the one - Trump has been unable to predict power apparently because he doesn`t stand for anything. He doesn`t know what his views are and has no core principles on things like health care. And so, nobody - so when he says go do my bidding, nobody knows what that means. The one exception to that is immigration where he clearly - where he`s basically said to ICE take off the gloves. They know where he`s coming from, they know he -

RYAN: Yes but he`s antagonizing Session who is like always been such a tough voice in line with Donald Trump`s anti-immigration stance. So that also kind of contributes to the (INAUDIBLE) of all of this. It doesn`t make any sense what`s happening right now, it doesn`t make any sense. And I think, you know, talking about substance versus like kind of a humorous like removal from this situation. So then the only way to deal with this is to take a step back and not see how horrible it is for like a second. But this is really serious and people`s lives are hanging in the balance and the future of the American Democracy.

MELBER: Right, and this all comes at an inflection point for the ongoing investigation. Our panel stays with me as part of our breaking coverage though. We have Richard Painter, a former White House Ethics Lawyer for Bush 43, Michael Isikoff, Chief Investigative Correspondent from Yahoo! News. Michael, do you see the staff shakeup and the pressures on the Trump White House as relating to the ongoing Russia inquiry?

MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO! NEWS: Well, certainly to some extent, it`s the Russia inquiry that has inflamed President Trump, has caused him to lash out at members of his staff. So to some extent, you know, Priebus has gotten the brunt of it. Although I suspect the failure to pass a health care bill is probably part of that, probably a bigger part of it. I should say also, you know, this is a day after Congress pass this Russia Sanctions legislation which is really ironic because - I mean, first of all, it`s the one major piece of legislation that Congress has passed and it`s the one thing President Trump did not want to have on his desk. So there`s an irony there. And then if you go back to the Russia investigation, what started it all at least as far as White House conduct is concerned, it was the firing of Mike Flynn because he had assured the Russian Ambassador Kislyak that sanctions would be revisited and possibly lifted once President Trump took office and then he misled Vice President Pence about it. So what`s the major thing that get accomplished in the Trump Presidency, Congress passes a legislation that locks in those very sanctions that Flynn was talking about lifting?

MELBER: Right. I mean, you capture perfectly because we`ve been doing a lot of theatrical comparisons here to help us understand it. I mean, Michael, what you`re describing is the Trump administration trying to tell the Russians, we can ease up on you and the collective bipartisan power of the United States Government because this is still a multi-prong Democracy saying no which is like the scene in the wire when he says, you want it to be one way and it`s the other way. And that`s what the Congress basically told President Trump. He doesn`t get to exercise as much foreign policy power as every other President has. Talk about humiliating, in some way that`s more humiliating than all of the mean tweets but it`s only substantively humiliating. Richard Painter, you have been an outspoken critic of the way this White House has run from the beginning. You have suggested at times that there is an ethics cloud and potential at times a criminal question hanging over this White House, your views, Sir, of this rather dramatic Friday afternoon ousting of Donald Trump`s Chief of Staff?

RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER: Well, I think that Kelly is a serious person. The problem that he`s dealing with is there a lot of people in the White House who are not taking their jobs seriously. People who are lying publicly in the most ridiculous manner and the President himself is tweeting all sorts of things. And quite frankly, he doesn`t know what policy he wants. He just want a health care bill with his name on it. I suggest that the Democrats ought to propose - put a bill through with a universal health care single payer and call it the Donald Trump Makes America Great Act and he`d probably sign it. It`s about the President`s ego rather than the clear plan for moving forward. And that is not the way to run a White House. Now you know, I think that General Kelly is a man with experience and understands rules and importance of rules and obeying the rules, so I hope there`s a new attitude here. And with respect to the Russia investigation, what they ought to let it alone. Let Bob Mueller do his job, stop tweeting about it, stop commenting about it, stop insulting Muller and his staff, let them do their job, stop lying about contacts with the Russians and -

MELBER: Well, let me ask you this Richard, do you - Richard, do you think that General Kelly can get the President to stop tweeting about the ongoing investigation?

PAINTER: Well, I think he ought to give it - give it a good try because that has just makes it worse and worse every time the President jumps into this Russia thing and starts tweeting about it and calling it fake news. It`s making it much worse. It, of course, puts it in the news cycle. It`s the President himself who puts the Russia investigation in the news cycle. If he just climb up about it and the rest of the White House Staff, it would probably the next story when Bob Mueller has an announcement to make. But no, he keeps tweeting and we keep talking about it in news. So, I think that General Kelly ought to give it a shot at least to persuade the President to act professionally, focus on his policy priorities I he has any policy priorities and do his job and the others in the White House too. I think there`s a lot of people that might have to get fired to make this a professional White House.

MELBER: I`m being told here in our news room - this is developing story - I`m being told that the White House has now put forward a brand new statement we`re about to air for the first time which has a rather remarkable factual claim. This is Sarah Huckabee Sanders moments ago, take a listen. Can I get a -


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: - about this started with the President and Reince about two weeks ago in terms of timing. I know everybody has a lot of questions on that.


MELBER: Let`s - you know what, let`s just play that if we can one more time because I think the context is her saying this entire firing occur or began occurring weeks ago. But I want to make sure we have that right. Let`s listen again.


SANDERS: The conversations about this started with the President and Reince about two weeks ago in terms of timing. I know everybody has a lot of questions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This has nothing to do with Anthony Scaramucci?

SANDERS: No, it doesn`t.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any change for Steve Bannon?

SANDERS: I`m sorry?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When did you find out about the decision?

SANDERS: Guys we`re not going into all of the processes. I`ve given you all I have.


MELBER: I want to make sure we get that right in fairness to the White House and to our viewers. Howard Fineman, that is an assertion there, brand new that the conversation is about this with Reince began two weeks ago.

FINEMAN: It was all part of the orderly, slow stately march of events at the White House. I agree with what Ben said which is that - you know, Reince Priebus has been on a short timer for months, if not from the day he was sworn in. He didn`t have the President`s confidence this part because of what happened with the campaign. He was seen as a Washington insider and by the way, not that effective one anyway. So this - do they - I think there`s been times all through the first six months where the President has been on the verge of telling Reincey to get lost, to get out. It didn`t happen. Whether they broach the topic a few weeks ago, it`s quite possible but I don`t think it was final and for sure, and impossible to avoid anymore or now is the time to do it when the - when the health care bill came down. Because as long as the health care bill was still a possibility, there was some, perhaps, residual value in having Priebus around because of his relationship to Paul Ryan, because the bill would have to go back to the House, he have to massage the House and Ryan would be important to that. Once the bill went down, there was no reason left to keep him, none whatsoever and there have been very little before that.

TYLER: Well, the President had been asking donors and advisors about you know, do you like Reince? Should we place him - that`s been going on since the very beginning. But here`s the - here`s the things that the new Chief of Staff I don`t think is going to be able to solve. One is, we were told through the campaign that Donald Trump had a set of skills, that he was a deal maker, that he can make deals with Congress and everybody believed that, and he can make the foreign policy deals. It turns out revealed this week, he doesn`t have those skills. He literally does not have the skills to bring people on board to get behind a piece of legislation and the whole process bores him.

MELBER: Do you think he knew he didn`t have those skills or thought -

TYLER: I think Donald Trump thinks he`s the best at everything. The second thing that was revealed hits week is Donald Trump`s base was absent. Where were the rallies, you know, repeal and replace healthcare? Where were the marches? Where were all the calls to the members of Congress that you got to repeal healthcare? They didn`t exist. And finally, it reveals how dysfunctional Donald Trump is as a CEO or a manager.

MELBER: Ben Smith, I want to read to you a Donald Trump tweet.

SMITH: Oh, please.

MELBER: But curveball.

SMITH: That`s why we watch television, Ari.

MELBER: Curveball -

SMITH: Tweet speaks aloud.

MELBER: Curveball it`s an old one. Donald Trump, 2012. Three Chiefs of Staff in less than three years of being President part of the reason Obama can`t pass his agenda.

SMITH: It is - I mean, one of the wonders of 2017 that there`s no hold Donald Trump tweet for every moment. There ought to be like a calendar. The - I mean, I think you know, one thing I would say is that this is - I mean, this was also how he ran his campaign. There was constant infighting, constant leaks, (INAUDIBLE) you know, constant turnover of senior staff and then fighting and drama. And I think it was way to - I mean, really maybe the apprentice is the right analogy. But I think Donald Trump is incredibly good at monopolizing attention. And that that has been the goal and it just not turn out to be a good way to get things done.

MELBER: As part of our breaking coverage, I`m happy to say my colleague, Chuck Todd, managing out of "MEET THE PRESS" and host of "MEET THE PRESS DAILY" joins our special coverage. Chuck, what have we learned both about what Donald Trump thinks, of how things are going given this change, and what is now (INAUDIBLE) out of the White House which is a suggestion that they had been at work at this for some time.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Look, this is acknowledgement that he knew it wasn`t working. That he knew that for whatever reason and, you know, you can make an argument that it was President Trump that was preventing Reince Priebus from being -- from being able to actually be Chief of Staff. I mean -- and, you know, there has always been some question, did he ever actually get empowered to do the job that he was appointed to? But look, you`ve got to say on paper, this is a very traditional Washington way to react to a bad period. I think you can look at it in this way, it`s an acknowledge that it wasn`t working. He`s on his second Chief of Staff, second Communications Director, second Press Secretary, second National Security Adviser, second Deputy White House Chief of Staff and it`s day 189.


TODD: So, that is an acknowledgement that what -- it wasn`t working. But let`s give him credit here. If you think about Donald Trump`s orbit of people -- and at the end of the day, he`s got to appoint somebody he`s familiar with. I -- somebody addressed this question to me about three weeks ago, who is the -- who is sort of the calming big name, gravitas, Washington man or woman that could calm things down? You know, Bill Clinton, after the Mack McLarty, brought in Leon Panetta, I believe. It was that and then Erskine Bowles sort of people that were there to sort of reassure Washington at that moment in time. After things were going south with George W. Bush, he brought in both Josh Bolten and Ed Gillespie, and it sort of calmed the waters, at least, a little bit with some in Congress.

And it wasn`t obvious who Donald Trump could turn to. We know he wasn`t enamored with the -- with the -- with the Republican establishment. John Kelly makes a lot of sense. And the President clearly does listen more to generals than any other political entity in this town. But ultimately, whether John Kelly succeeds is going to be based on whether the President empowers him to succeed. You know, does Jared Kushner report to the President or to John Kelly? Does Anthony Scaramucci report to the President or John Kelly? And does Gary Cohen report to the President or John Kelly? You know, does H.R. McMaster report to the President or John Kelly?

And ultimately, I think that`s going to be the test of whether can -- did John Kelly get those assurances going in? Can he bring his own staffers with him? That`s also another thing we don`t know yet. So, I think on paper, this is the right potential call for him in order to sort of turn the page but it only will work if he empowers him.

MELBER: And I hate to boil it down too much. But when you look at this week, did Reince Priebus lose or did Anthony Scaramucci win?

TODD: I guess -- look, Reince -- I never thought -- I never figured out how Reince Priebus was ever going to win in any of these situations. I mean, the President was almost, I mean, my gosh, there`s a -- I`m sure you guys have been discussing this but there was a -- there`s already been one source, The Wall Street Journal was reporting that apparently the President was disappointed that Reince didn`t even fight back with Scaramucci during this bizarre feud, public feud that went this week, which is as one for -- in some ways, very Trumpian, right? You know, that it`s something that we know this President -- he respects somebody who`s willing to fight back sometimes more than somebody who wants to sweep stuff under the rug. But I guess you could say Scaramucci won, but did he? I mean, I think he wanted to be Chief of Staff, ultimately.

MELBER: Right. He did.

TODD: So, you know -- so, let`s just say, yes, Priebus lost but, you know, Scaramucci survived. How about that?

MELBER: What is what I want to do, Chuck, stay with me. Panel, stay with me. I want to bring in Kristen Welker to talk to me in short for a moment here about what we`re hearing at the White House.

KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, I think this is a moment of discord and division here and there`s a hope that this is going to be a reset, to some extent, in talking to officials here behind the scenes. There has been a sense for some time that Reince Priebus was on his way out, that the President was not satisfied with not only his fighting sense this week but his leadership abilities more broadly, particularly when it comes to some of the President`s legislative goals like health care. And that health care defeat last night, I am told, was really the death nail for Reince Priebus.

But I think that there is still a lot of concern here about, well, what happens next to the point that Chuck was making, who will effectively be answering to the Chief of Staff? Will Anthony Scaramucci be answering to him or to the President? Right now, it seems like he has a direct line to the President. And there is a lot of frustration about Anthony Scaramucci`s comments this week about, the extent to which he targeted the President`s top officials. And what you have are a lot of other people here watching their back, which is not a productive way to work.

MELBER: Targeted? I mean, Kirsten -- Kirsten, I`m not putting you on the spot for your own view, but do people within the White House feel that this complete decorum busting set of attacks is being rewarded? How else could one interpret it?

WELKER: Right. There`s no doubt about that. There are some here who feel as though that type of language, that type of behavior, those type of tactics shouldn`t be tolerated. The question is, how does the President feel? It is my sense that he`s OK with it. And that there are some people here who are sort of brushing aside what we saw from Anthony Scaramucci, others who are laughing it off. But there is a group of people here that`s quite concerned about the fact that it`s being tolerated, and to some extent, endorsed. And so, will John Kelly be able to put a lid on that type of behavior?

I think the other thing to watch moving forward, Ari, is this, the President likes the type of bravado that we`ve seen in Anthony Scaramucci but he doesn`t like it when someone gets out ahead of him, becomes too big of a star, if you will. And so, I think that could potentially be a challenge for the new Communications Director to walk that fine line between being outspoken but at the same time, not overshadow him when it comes to making headlines. He has been in the headlines a lot this week, he headlines have been about him and not necessarily the President. I think that`s going to be a challenge for him moving forward, and certainly, something that we`ll be paying close attention to, Ari.

MELBER: Fascinating and another busy Friday night at the White House, Kirsten Welker. Thanks for joining us here on THE BEAT. Erin Gloria Ryan, you were -- you were nodding your head.

RYAN: Well, I was just, you know, agreeing with what Kristen was saying. We don`t know what`s going to happen, none of us know what`s going to happen. We`re all just trying to guess based on the past. But here`s what we know about the way that Trump has run the White House in the past, we`re using words like street fighting, Game of Thrones, brawling, gangsters. These people are focusing on this very pugnacious interaction. Like this idea that Reince didn`t fight back hard enough and that`s somehow made Donald Trump mad, it`s ridiculous. If you ran a clothing store like that, your clothing store would go out of business, much less the world`s biggest super power like that. It`s really disconcerting, just as an American, even removed from my place in the media, to see this happening. It`s horrifying.

MELBER: Ben, do you buy that?

SMITH: There`s a broad disconnect, though, between the (INAUDIBLE) machismo playing out inside the White House. And really, just the weakness of the administration, like, they are not able to project power. And they did the -- you know, they have no foreign policy, they can`t get basic things through Congress.

RYAN: They`re costplaying power, that`s what they`re doing.

SMITH: Yes. But meanwhile, Congress spits on their -- in their face yesterday on the most importantly, you know, piece of foreign policy legislation, the Russia sanctions. And I think, like, there`s a strange gap between like their anger and all their bravado, that`s all directed inward and just the total inability to get things done.

MELBER: Well, it`s in order. Michael Isikoff, it`s inward and it`s always about them. People can debate whether it is a reprieve or not that the health care bill was voted so dramatically down by John McCain early this morning. But it certainly was not pushed over the line by a White House Communications Director who could only talk about himself and other people who work in the White House. To say nothing of the fact that he is worth $40 million, trying to figure out, you know, his sale of his company, and he`s attacking Bannon who`s worth between $20 and $50 million and they`re all talking about each other, and not about health care.

ISIKOFF: Yes. Look, I mean, there are core questions about just the functioning of the government here, just to state the obvious. The President now doesn`t have a Homeland Security Secretary. In fact, it`s not even clear who the acting secretary is going to be. There`s no issue more central to his agendas than immigration. DHS is the department in charge of implementing that agenda. He has already got a beleaguered Attorney General in limbo. So, I mean, just in terms of central questions about having a functional government, you know, it seems to me, if anything, those are even amplified this evening.

MELBER: On that, some news updates here that I will share and we can digest, Michae Isikoff, you mentioned DHS, reporter Shane Harris saying he spoke with DHS spokesperson who says the department has "no guidance on who is now the acting Secretary of Homeland Security." A discussion earlier in the hour about law and order and domestic security. It seems at this hour, five minutes to 7:00 p.m., that is an unknowable, which is an issue if, god forbid, something of a national security disaster level incident occurred and you didn`t have that acting person.

Number two, reporter Tara Palmeri quoting an anonymous White House official, and I`m not sure why, what I`m about to read you should necessitate anonymity. But Anthony Scaramucci still reports directly to POTUS, not new Chief of Staff Kelly. Now, because there`s so much White House talk about leaks, Richard Painter, maybe you can walk us through how that works because that would seem to be an anonymous leak. We don`t know whether that`s Anthony Scaramucci saying that or not, Richard.

PAINTER: That`s probably him making it very clear that he has a direct report to the President, which is unusual. Usually the Chief of Staff, people report to the Chief of Staff. And this sets us up for a situation. We`re going to have warring camps inside the White House once again. It`s a very disorderly situation. They also need to stop talking like gangsters. I mean, the language they`re using, you know, belongs on the Sopranos or something like that. This is a professional operation; it`s supposed to be in the White House.

There should be a command structure, where people are reporting to the Chief of Staff and they`re coordinating their policy. They`re focusing on communications when they need to make communications, telling the truth, not repeatedly lying to the American people on the White House lawn. I`m going to say once again, I think that Kelly -- if General Kelly is going to do a good job here, he`s got to fire a lot of people, or at least get a lot of people to stop talking to the media because they`re making fools of themselves. And we`re not just talking about the President himself.

MELBER: Right. And Kurt Bardella, I just want to -- as we digest all of this here, as the hour comes to a close, look at all of the people who have been ousted within these first six months, National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, FBI Director, Jim Comey, Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, although, in an awkward twist, he was still working today, helping get out the word about all of this stuff including Reince Priebus, his former boss and a long-time ally from the RNC, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and privately counsel Marc Kasowitz, the very dramatic lawyer who was brought in and brought out of Russia. Kurt, from your time around Breitbart in the conservative ecosystem, was this the expectation for how Donald Trump would manage?

BARDELLA: No. I think that they believed that upon taking office that they would be able to go gangbusters and be wildly successful, and all the things that they`ve tried to do and have failed miserably on, they thought that they would happen very quickly and very easily. And now, I think that can serve as circles. I mean, really, the most, I think, important thing that happened this week really in that world was to fight with Jeff Sessions, where it put them squarely in the middle. Where for the first time, you had conservatives and conservative publications and commentators having to criticize the President, who they have bent over backwards to try to defend every single thing that he has done that`s been awful. They were actually put in the middle and had to criticize the President for the first time.

Breitbart was putting up stories talking about how Jeff Sessions has been a hero and an ally. It was an unusual dynamic that might have represented the first real splintering. And I think everything that`s happened in the last 72 hours shows that there are also that Donald Trump might just start turning on everybody. And that for people in Congress, they are very concerned that now Trump is just going to go gangbusters and attack them because the one thing, the one person was standing in between the House Republican Conference and the Senate Republican Congress was Reince Priebus, and now, that`s been removed. And slowly over time, we`re seeing Donald Trump remove people that might have been willing to walk into the Oval Office and saying no to him and he`s fired them all or (INAUDIBLE)


MELBER: Right. And give some context, Erin Gloria Ryan, I want to get your final thoughts as you look at this rather telling comparison for first chief of staff in other administrations than Donald Trump, 842 days for Rahm was considered fast at the time, far more for Bush there, 1900. This change at the top coming this fast, 190 days.

RYAN: Yes. Well, for, you know, Donald Trump is a person who`s obsessed with size. He loves to talk about things being big crowd size, number size, whatever. And those numbers don`t lie. They`re just -- his numbers are smaller than the other numbers and that is indicative of some very deep problems.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reince just never fit in culturally with this -- with this White House. And I suspect you`re going to see more mini-mes like Scaramucci than you will Reince Priebuses in the future.

MELBER: It is a -- it is a striking day after a striking week. The big stories, health care, Russia, a boy scout appearance that was unrivaled, an attempted ban on the men and women who served the Armed Service who happened to be transgender and apparently, it withdrawn after the tweet or at least not acted upon, and we close with the report we had in our hour that there is no information on who is the acting head of the DHS. But that does it for THE BEAT. I hope you have a great weekend. I`ll be back Monday at 6:00 p.m. Eastern if you want to rejoin. And keep it locked at MSNBC because "HARDBALL" starts right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump to Priebus, you`re fired. Let`s play HARDBALL.