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The Beat with Ari Melber, Transcript 9/19/17 Manafort reponds to wiretap reports.

Guests: Howard Dean, Rachael Bade, Leah Wright Rigueur, David Ignatius, Chris Murphy

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: September 19, 2017 Guest: Howard Dean, Rachael Bade, Leah Wright Rigueur, David Ignatius, Chris Murphy

KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: - father. But a senior Trump aide tells "NBC" that President Trump`s use of the phrase was "all him" and that "he doesn`t need any help in the branding department." So true.

That`s all for tonight. THE BEAT with Ari Melber starts right now. Ari, you`ve got to take this thing away from me. I lost the reins at the top of the show and it`s just been a train wreck ever since.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST, THE BEAT: Well, you know what Elton John says in Rocket Man, don`t you, Katy?

TUR: No, Ari. Enlighten me.

MELBER: He says, "I`m not the man they think I am back home." The idea that going into outer space can really change your perspective on things.

TUR: Thank you. It`s fascinating that you just dropped that.

MELBER: Well, you dropped it. I`m just dropping -

TUR: Dropping it back.

MELBER: Based on what you dropped.

TUR: I think if we`re going to do this, Ari, we`ve got to do fish lyrics at each other. We`ve been to a concert.

MELBER: I refuse. I respectfully decline. But, Katy Tur, I know you`re busy balancing. I`m going to say a lot of anchoring and your book tour. Congratulations -

TUR: Thank you, Ari Melber. Appreciate it.

MELBER: I hope people check it out.

TUR: I do too. In book stores now.

MELBER: We turn now to a bit of a more serious topic. Developing news breaking in the last hour. Paul Manafort responds.

The president`s former campaign chair is now punching back after reports that he was allegedly wiretapped before and after the election.

Here is a new statement just now into our news room from Manafort`s spokesman and I`m going to unpack it for you.

First, he says, "If true, it is a felony to reveal the existence of a FISA warrant" - those foreign surveillance warrants - "regardless of the fact that no charges ever emerge. The DOJ`s inspector general should immediately conduct an investigation into these leaks" - which I`ll explain - "and to examine the motivations behind a previous administration`s effort to surveil a political opponent."

Manafort also demanding right now that if there are transcripts, the DOJ should release them now.

Now, the context, these alleged wiretaps were continuing into this year when Manafort was known to speak with President Trump. And it`s "unclear whether Trump himself was picked up on the surveillance," according to that CNN account.

And that`s not all. The other bombshell story still reverberating today. "The New York Times reporting that after that early morning raid on Manafort`s house in July, Mueller`s team informed Manafort they did plan to indict him.

Meanwhile, another top Trump aide today is laying out a public defense. This is new. Michael Cohen, Trump`s personal attorney and executive, who infamously asked the Kremlin for help with a Trump business project in Moscow in 2016, was out there in the Senate today, denying that either he or Trump colluding with the Russians.

And he got specific. Let me explain. He said he was never paid by the Russians or anyone else to hack or interfere with the election, to hack Democratic Party computers.

Or specifically, he denied creating fake news stories to assist the Trump campaign. All of that from Cohen`s opening statement to Senate investigators, which we would normally be reporting on on a day like this, but this was no normal day because after Cohen emerged from behind closed doors for just over an hour - and you see him there with his lawyer in the Senate Harte Office Building - something weird happened.


STEPHEN RYAN, MICHAEL COHEN`S ATTORNEY: The committee has chosen to postpone today`s meeting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you say why was it postponed? Why was it postponed?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why was it postponed?

MICHAEL COHEN, PRESIDENT TRUMP`S PERSONAL ATTORNEY: Just a comment. It`s tough for me to have to answer (INAUDIBLE).


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was it your request to postpone? Was it your request to postpone?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What were you doing there today if you weren`t (INAUDIBLE).

COHEN: (INAUDIBLE) giving all the information.


MELBER: That body language is what it looks like when one lawyer is trying to get his client another lawyer to not speak to the press. Although we lawyers - sometimes, we can`t stop speaking.

Now, here`s what`s important here. The Senate leaders did later say Cohen should not have released that statement I just read to you and that they want him to now testify in public on October 25th.

They are treating this as a breach. So, as these investigations all close in, today, we are seeing some strong reactions. Cohen breaking his agreement with those Senate investigators. That`s at least according to the chairman and ranking member from both parties.

And then, Manafort pushing back on this allegation that he was targeted in a wiretap and suggesting that, if he was, this may raise the specter of Obama administration political retribution.

I`m lucky to say we have a great panel to digest all of this. "NBC`s" chief White House correspondent Hallie Jackson, who has been covering these stories for some time; former Watergate prosecutor, Nick Akerman, a partner at Dorsey and Whitney; and Anne Gearan of "The Washington Post", a veteran of many of the issues I just mentioned.

I want to start with you, Nick, on this brand new Manafort statement. In fairness to Paul Manafort, ending up in surveillance doesn`t mean you automatically did anything wrong. His statement does not suggest a formal confirmation of this account.

And there are - as we`ve explained before, and I`m going to have a bigger legal dive later in the show, there are multiple ways to end up in a surveillance stream. What do you view as the work he`s doing in this statement and how ominous or acerbic do you see this reference to political opponents?

NICK AKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: I think, look, they went into a federal judge with probable cause, a very detailed affidavit that set out exactly why it was they wanted to put that wiretap on his phone.

They followed the law. The judge directed that there be this wiretap and they were able to do it again later on after they had stopped it. These affidavits are not something that`s a couple pieces of paper. I mean, this is something that is quite extensive that can go for 30, 40, 50 pages.

MELBER: What about Manafort`s concern that, if it is leaking, that itself is a crime?

AKERMAN: It may be. It depends who leaked it. Yes, sure, it can be a crime. And he wouldn`t know one way or the other, to tell you the truth, whether or not he had been the subject of such a surveillance.

MELBER: Right.

AKERMAN: So, this whole thing could be a lot of nothing. On the other hand, he has been told he`s going to be indicted. He`s been given a target.

MELBER: Right. According to that target reporting. Anne Gearan, there has been a lot of adjectives thrown around, red hot, high stakes, shock- and-awe.

I don`t know that those are that helpful for understanding the investigation. I do think that some of the leaks we`re seeing suggests the stage we`re in.

I want to read you from Susan Hennessey, who is a former counsel at NSA. She says "Mueller`s investigation has reached a critical stage. He may soon start making allegations in public. The search warrant for Facebook is indication of investigation reaching critical mass. The idea that these aren`t just leaks from people touched by, but rather they`re going somewhere."

ANNE GEARAN, NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yes. I mean, Mueller has over the last several months not only amassed a large staff of investigators who are looking into, from what we can tell by, what we know what they`re looking at and their own backgrounds as investigators, the potential for financial crimes, potential for shenanigans in past business deals and, obviously, any nexus to Russia.

Given the length of time that those investigators have all been working and what we`re now seeing happening with Manafort, it`s logical to assume that Mueller is getting close to the point when he either brings an indictment or threatens an indictment in order to get something else he wants.

I want to say one thing about FISA, though. I mean, it`s not one judge, it`s a panel of judges. It`s a secret court of federal judges who have to review these requests from the federal government before they grant a FISA warrant for an investigation, which would then lead to the wiretap. And it has to involve a foreign subject.

So, if, in fact, Manafort was the subject of a FISA warrant that allowed the wiretap, it`s because they would have thought or had probable cause to think that he was doing something nefarious with a foreign power, a foreign businessperson, foreign something or they wouldn`t have been before FISA at all.

HALLIE JACKSON, "NBC NEWS" CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: So, Paul Manafort`s spokesperson`s statement that just came out a couple minutes before this show does a couple of things, Anne and Nick.

And when you look at the discussion of threatening an indictment, there has been a lot of talk about in that "New York Times" piece. That is exactly what happened.

To see who exactly is going to flip, what will they say and how much will they say, all of that right now, as it relates to Manafort and Mike Flynn, is speculation, but it is certainly going to be a factor that we`re going to be looking at over the next period of months.

Here`s what the spokesperson for Paul Manafort said. He threw up a shiny object and said, hey, this could be a crime. And as you point out, he`s right. It could actually be a felony.

But the other part of it is he said, hey, release it all, I call on the Department of Justice to release everything, take a look, my client did nothing wrong. That is never going to happen. They had nothing to lose by coming out and saying this.

MELBER: Hold on. Hold on, Hallie Jackson. You are not suggesting that these lawyers for Paul Manafort would make a demand upon the government about which they know the government cannot comply.

JACKSON: I`m just saying. From a PR perspective, that statement did what it needed to do. But you know what it didn`t do, it didn`t say anything about the veracity or not of that report.

MELBER: Well, that`s the most interesting part. And again, I say this a lot. And sometimes people think I`m being annoying. It is true in fairness to people caught up in investigation that being caught on surveillance or being interviewed or going before the grand jury doesn`t mean anything automatically negative. We say that a lot around here.

The response, though, here has not been to speak publicly to this report, about the targeting or about whether he`s facing an indictment threat or basically an indication of being a target. It is much more, as you say it, to throw it back at them and say, well, maybe you should be under the gun.

Meanwhile, the politics of this, which I want to get you on because you were all over 2016 campaign trail, is was Paul Manafort the most important person with these high-level contacts both in the Trump campaign apparently going to Russia or was he some guy that no one can remember.

I want show Donald Trump at the convention when he did seem to know who Paul Manafort was. RNC Convention, Donald Trump.


DONALD TRUMP, THEN-REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Paul Manafort has done an amazing job. He`s here some place. Where is Paul? Paul Manafort. Oh, good, he made it.

Paul Manafort has done a fantastic - and all of Paul`s people. Paul brought on staff and we really do. We have a great staff of talented people. A great staff.


MELBER: Hallie, is that the truth or is it the later Sean Spicer denial that this was some rando-volunteer?

JACKSON: And the implication that Paul Manafort really had nothing to do with the campaign. No, that is not the case, right? You can tell all you want after the fact that Paul Manafort wasn`t involved, but he was a peripheral player. He was not.

He came in - remember, the context of when he came in, this moment when the never Trump drum beaters were sounding the alarm, when he thought, hey, maybe there is a chance.

When we were out there covering the primaries that Kasich is going to do something, there might be delegate drama. So, Paul Manafort was brought in for that, to try to work the room there. And then, was ended up elevated, right, to this position of importance inside the campaign.

He was the de facto campaign manager, Ari, until all this Russia stuff and his connections to Viktor Yanukovych and all these other people started trickling out, and he himself acknowledged when he stepped back, he said, I don`t want it to be about me, right? I want it to be about then-candidate Donald Trump and his campaign and what he`s pushing for.

But the bottom line is, yes, he was involved. You might hear Sean Spicer or whomever say, no, he was just a sideline player. That is noise. That is not the case.

GEARAN: He was the turnaround artist. He was the guy who was supposed to come in and fix the campaign when things were falling apart. Trump kept doing stuff every day that made his own situation worse. Delegates were peeling off. Supporters were peeling off.

JACKSON: His family members were a fan of Corey Lewandowski.

GEARAN: Right. Here was this guy, this experienced Republican hand who, yes, had spent the last several years doing stuff that people were a little unsure about, involving foreign clients, but his background was as somebody who understood the delegate process, somebody who understood the Republican Convention rules and he was supposed to fix things.

AKERMAN: But don`t forget, he was also the person that was at that June 9 meeting at Trump Tower. I mean, he was there with Don, Jr. He was there with Kushner. He was there with all of the Russians when they were supposed to show up with all of these documents that incriminated Hillary Clinton. So, he was a key person in this whole Russian situation as well as the campaign.

MELBER: And, Hallie, why was he working for free for the Trump campaign?

JACKSON: Because it served his interests. I mean, one perhaps charitable explanation and one that you had heard from the time was that he was the guy who was not like a player in politics at the moment.

He`d been around a long time before, he was considered kind of this guy from the old guard, coming back. When he came back, I think a lot of people went, `wow, him?`

Pulled up the photo albums from back in the day. So, perhaps, he saw it if you`re going to look at it from one perspective. It`s a chance to try to reobtain some relevancy inside the political sphere in DC, make some connections.

He had a consulting firm. Not the worst thing in the world, get your name attached to a guy who was heading over to the RNC. That`s my explanation.

AKERMAN: Don`t forget. He was brought in by Roger Stone. Roger Stone was the individual that put him in there as campaign manager. He recommended him to Donald Trump.

MELBER: What is the investigative significance of the ongoing conversations between Manafort and Trump reportedly occurring long after he vacated the campaign?

AKERMAN: Well, the significance is that Donald Trump could have put himself in the soup by saying something incriminating. What were they talking about -?

MELBER: Is it possible that the president is on a tape somewhere? We talked about the Nixon tapes. He set up those tapes. You think it`s possible that President Donald Trump not during the campaign, but after the November election could be on a tape that Mueller has.

AKERMAN: Could be. I mean, because what were they talking about? Manafort presumably had nothing to do with the president at that point. And it was at that point that Trump was saying, oh, this guy really had nothing to do with me and nothing to do with the campaign.

MELBER: Yes. A lot of questions. And I will note the obvious, which sometimes - it`s our job. We anchor and sometimes we say obvious things. But there have been a lot of reports that Paul Manafort has not come out and specifically addressed. He has been a fairly quiet person in this inquiry.

Tonight, here, within the last hour, him breaking his silence through his spokesperson. Hallie Jackson, Nick Akerman, Anne Gearan, a power panel, thank you so much.

So, how exactly does the FBI do this kind of secret surveillance? I have a legal breakdown. I`m going to walk it through for all of you right after the break.

And does this new Republican healthcare bill pass the so-called Kimmel test. The late-night host tweeting he is going to weigh in on that in his monologue tonight. I have an exclusive interview with Sen. Chris Murphy.

All that, plus the world`s reaction to Trump`s debut at the UN and those comments about "destroying North Korea." I`m Ari Melber and you`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.


MELBER: Welcome back. And now to our break down. That CNN report that the feds wiretapped Trump aide Paul Manafort, which NBC has not confirmed, has an explosive account in it that secret evidence suggests "Manafort encouraged Russians to help the Trump campaign."

And that`s a big claim and evidence indicates the head of Trump`s campaign was encouraging Russian meddling. But what is the evidence? Let`s break down the long legal road that may have led to a wiretap of Paul Manafort.

Reportedly, the feds began looking at him as the subject of an investigation in 2014, scrutinizing his work in Ukraine, including with Russia-friendly operatives. Now, that inquiry was discontinued sometime last year with no charges for a lack of evidence.

Manafort was then reportedly tapped again in some manner in the fall of 2016 and early 2017, part of the FBI`s efforts to investigate ties between the Trump campaign associates and Russian operatives.

Now, Manafort, of course, was fired in 2016 August of that year and he continued conversations with Donald Trump before and after the election. This could include the time that he was allegedly tapped.

"Manafort and Trump kept talking by phone until lawyers for the president and Manafort insisted that they stop."

So, that is the background. But, legally, how do one of these wiretaps come about. Well, let me walk you through it.

The FBI first can ask the DOJ to make a wiretap request. Then the DOJ decides if it has a legal case for a warrant. And for these types of foreign warrants, the request then goes to a special secret foreign surveillance court.

If anything out of that court warrant that`s approved is used and becomes lawful evidence, it can go into any court case.

The question of whether there is evidence here. Now, Manafort is not only not confirming this story, but within the last hour says, if there is any evidence, he`s asking for it to be immediately released.

And with me now for more is former FBI agent Clint Watts and former federal prosecutor Cynthia Alksne.

I want to ask you, Clint. If you get a warrant to do it, how does this tap work and what do you get out of it for the authorities?

CLINT WATTS, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Yes. So, it has to be limited to an individual and a scope, meaning that whenever the application goes forward, you can`t collect information on everything. Even if it is collected, it needs to be minimized.

So, anything that isn`t pertaining to your actual investigation has to be narrowed down and minimized to protect any innocent people that come in or anything that`s outside of that scope.

So, it could become a very narrow tool. Once that`s employed, then it goes to dedicated communication devices that are confirmed to be with that person or known to be connected with that person. So, that could be email addresses, phone numbers, things like that. That`s where the actual collection is done. And that would be done through whatever the provider of that communication service is.

So, it is very narrow. And there`s a key thing that people should remember about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It is about state sponsors, either a foreign terrorist organization or a state-sponsor of espionage.

And the standard is lower. You`re looking for probable causes. If somebody is an agent of a foreign power, it does not mean that they are involved in any criminal activity.

And important to know in this story is that this was picked up, it sounds like, overseas. There was some sort of intercept that must have mentioned Manafort. So, they may have been trying to actually pull this application together, not just to see, was he an agent, but to see if there`s any connection or anything of value related to it.

So, I think people need to be careful not to move too far down the road with their assumptions when we really don`t know what the target of this was or what the scope of it was.

MELBER: Right. And you`re speaking to an important point that`s come up a lot. And, Cynthia, we`ve cited reporting by CNN - again, I mention "NBC News" has not confirmed - about the notion that Manafort is being picked up in this surveillance.

One possibility is that he was explicitly targeted. The other is, of course, is as we`ve reported many times, people can get picked up in surveillance in all sorts of ways.

But if he was targeted and if, as I quoted, there were discussions with the president, could those ever be used in a potential case?

CYNTHIA ALKSNE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, they could be. But, first of all, we don`t know what the conversations are and we have to be careful not to jump to conclusions what the conversation would be about.

And according to way these warrants - they work, it`s very important, if he starts a conversation with a president about Thanksgiving, they`re not supposed to listen to that. They are only supposed to listen to what has to do within the scope of the warrant.

So, it really depends on what was said. And if it falls within the scope, then it`s criminally indictable.

MELBER: How do they do that? Because you could imagine a conversation with a person, be it Donald Trump or any other person, might jump from topic to topic?

ALKSNE: Right. Well, they make a determination. They`re trained. They make a determination. If it seems like it`s about something totally unnecessary or unimportant, they turn it off and they stop listening.

MELBER: Clint, when it comes to the secret surveillance court, it has, by the way, been a matter of some controversy on the left and the right for being too permissive, for granting warrants to just about anyone.

And then there`s a counter argument that, no, it`s a rigorous process and the reason why the acceptance rate - the warrant rate is high is because people only go in there when they really have espionage and other bad stuff, to use a legal term of art.

Let me play for you Jim Comey describing what he thought the thickness, the requirements were just to get these kind of warrants. Let me play it.


JAMES COMEY, FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE FBI: The FISA applications are almost always - have skinny risks, but significantly thicker than my wrist. It is a pain in the neck to get permission to conduct electronic surveillance in the United States. A pain in the neck and that`s great.


MELBER: The pain in the neck standard, if you will, is the idea that you really have to have something to get in there. How do you view it?

WATTS: Yes. I agree completely with that assessment. It is the most intrusive and most difficult form of an investigation tool that you ever try and go after as an investigator and it`s very difficult to get.

The amount of evidence that you have to build up for, the reporting requirements that go along with it are very significant and they take an overwhelming amount of manpower to actually keep up with.

So, any investigator that`s going to push for that level of intrusiveness and that technique is going to put in a lot of hard work, do a lot of evidence collection and only those applications that are sound actually move forward to the actual court for some sort of ruling on it.

So, I do agree that the only reason that you see a very low declination rate essentially that comes on those applications is because there`s such a rigorous process to get there and you always try and avoid using that technique at all costs.

MELBER: And, Cynthia, in cases you`ve worked, do you find that individuals who ought to know better, folks involved on the periphery of a criminal enterprise or otherwise engage in ongoing unlawful conduct still end up saying things they shouldn`t say, and that`s why these taps are valuable because folks watching at home and watching movies think - yes, go ahead.

ALKSNE: It is shocking what they say. But I want to echo what Clint is saying. I think it`s really important. And that is, not only is the FISA Court very rigorous about what it`s willing to grant, but there`s a huge process at the FBI, and it`s a big bureaucracy and you`ve got to go through all the steps, and then it goes to Justice and you go through stacks and stacks of steps and approvals. It`s not easy to get these warrants.

MELBER: Stacks on stacks on stacks.

ALKSNE: Stack on stacks. Lot of bureaucracy.

MELBER: Amen. Well, sometimes people say that`s good for people`s Fourth Amendment rights. Clint and Cynthia, thank you both for your expertise on this. Thank you.

Coming up, does the new GOP healthcare pass that famous Kimmel test. He`s actually going to weigh in on that and I`m going to speak with Democratic Senator Chris Murphy.

Plus, President Trump facing a roomful of world leaders vowing to take on North Korea and dubbing Kim Jong-un "rocket man." What was wrong with that speech according to some critics ahead.


MELBER: Another important story right now. Republican senators working on a new push to undercut Obamacare. And if it feels like Groundhog`s Day, maybe it`s because it is for some people.

Once again, days before a final Obamacare deadline, Mike Pence racing from New York to Washington to throw his weight around the capital. Republicans could only lose two votes here.

Now, they`ve already lost one, Rand Paul. While other key hold-outs are saying this about what is now called the Graham-Cassidy bill.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any update on where you stand on Graham-Cassidy?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, senator.

MCCAIN: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a lot of concern and it`s very difficult to evaluate a bill when you don`t have the CBO analysis.


MELBER: No CBO numbers yet. And Republicans know this is it as a parliamentary matter. Lindsey Graham, who named the bill, and, obviously, co-sponsored it has warned if it doesn`t pass, Republicans could face something they think is terrifying.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Paul Ryan told me to my face, if you pass it, we pass it. You can have different opinions about the quality of this bill. At the end of the day, this is the only process left available to stop a march towards socialism.

It`s pretty well clear to me where the country`s going under ObamaCare and Bernie Care.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Bernie Care. Rachael Bade is Congressional Reporter from Politico covering health care. Leah Wright Rigueur, a Historian from Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Dr. Howard Dean, former Governor, and DNC Chair. Governor/Doctor, I start with you, a march toward socialism.

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR: Yes, Lindsey is -- I like his foreign policy. He just sticks to foreign policy. This is ignorant. The truth is, this is an insurance-based bill. It was written as an insurance- based bill and it was written by people from the insurance industry. I mean, it`s ridiculous this kind of talk.

MELBER: When you say insurance base, you mean it`s going to help companies more than patients?

DEAN: No. I not talking about (INAUDIBLE) bill. I mean, I`m talking about ObamaCare. It was a bill written by and for insurance companies. It does do a lot of good things but to say it`s socialism is ridiculous. It is a private sector bill. It`s a silly thing to say and it`s not true.

MELBER: You`re saying that Lindsey Graham is full of it because he literally referencing a market-based solution?

DEAN: I wouldn`t say he is full of it but I just say he doesn`t know anything about health care and he should stick to foreign policy because that`s his area of expertise.

MELBER: Governor, you`d never say -- you`d never say --

DEAN: And furthermore, Cassidy is a doctor. He should -- he`s going to take $2 billion away from the people Louisiana if this bill passes. That`s his home constituency. They pay his salary, not the Koch Brothers. Get with the program and stop this ridiculous bill.

MELBER: Professor Rigueur, building on that point and how this affects people, pre-existing conditions, a lot of discussion about that. I want to read here from an analysis from Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "Insurers would still be required to offer coverage to people with pre- existing conditions but they could offer them plans with unaffordable premiums of thousands or tens of thousands of dollars per month." What does that mean?

LEAH WRIGHT RIGUEUR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY`S KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT PROFESSOR: So, it feels a little bit like we`re experiencing someday deja vu here, right? Different games, slightly tweaked plan but still doesn`t pass the, you know, the -- cool bill but it still doesn`t pass the Kimmel test in terms of providing people with affordable and acceptable health care. And so, this is the real problem.

This is the dilemma for the GOP, kind of rushing things in here without having a CBO score and having a bill that inherently does not allow people to -- people to have really good and quality health care, and also make cuts in areas that were -- even Republican Senators have said are, you know, over the line. Just too much in terms of providing health care for their people. I think, you know, to Governor Dean`s point, you know, 33 percent of Americans support single payer, 60 of Americans think that the government should be responsible for health care. And that`s something that the Republican Party really has to take into account.

MELBER: And Rachael, the issue seems to be, the closer Republicans get in public perception to undermining ObamaCare, the harder it is to do. And so, there was a whole big fight than they lost. Everyone remembers McCain`s no vote. Now it seems to be (INAUDIBLE) back and I think for the -- for the normal people around the country they will -- is this real? Is this happening? Are they closer? What`s your view?

RACHAEL BADE, POLITICO CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: You know, they certainly have an uphill battle. And they have some whipping to do if they think they`ll make it -- this pass. You`re going to see as you`re talking about now, a lot of the same debates right now were conservatives who want to take this bill a little further to the right. And then you have more moderate centrist Republicans who are worried about their constituents losing health care, getting kicked off Medicaid. So, I think -- my Republican sources on the Hill are basically telling me that there`s something different right now.

And that is that we`re nearly ten months into the year and they don`t have a single big legislative accomplishment coming out of Congress. Trump is getting mad. He`s -- you know, having Chinese food with Chuck and Nancy and cutting deal with Democrats on the debt ceiling. He`s talking about working with them on DACA and tax reform. They`re saying this is a warning shot right now and they want to get their act together and show them that they can do something not only just for him but for themselves and for the mid-term elections as well.

MELBER: Right. Well, Governor Dean, as you know, Bob Marley among others said every little action, there`s a reaction. And so maybe dinner with Chuck and Nancy, the reaction is House Republicans demanding another go with this. Your view of the politics which you know quite well?

DEAN: The politics is money. The Koch Brothers have basically said -- told Paul Ryan, they`re not going to help unless they get rid of this bill. So this is about money from the Koch Brothers. I think it`s a disgusting undermining of American -- of American health care and American politics. There are -- I mean, I can`t imagine, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins who voted for this -- voted against this before and got a hero`s welcome at home are going to vote for this. I can`t believe Shelley Moore Capito is even thinking about this. West Virginia is one of the most Medicaid dependent states in the entire country. This is totally contrary to what the people of their own party who voted for Donald Trump want or need.

MELBER: Well, and to that point, Governor, this isn`t negotiation toward some other middle ground. I mean, I want to put up on the screen what`s in the Graham-Cassidy bill because we get all these different terms flying around. Some of the key points to know, no true protection for pre- existing conditions, a gutting of those essential health benefits. Ending the Medicaid expansion which is not only, of course, people who might have less annual income but is also an overwhelming number of seniors and people with disabilities who need that, and then repealing the mandate. So as far as I understand it, and you`re the doctor, but as far as I understand it, this is in some ways a harsher version of reform than earlier Trump care.

DEAN: This is the worst version of reform and it decides that it takes money away from the states both Republican and Democrats who did the right thing and ensure many people as possible and gives it to the states who did nothing, like Lindsey Graham`s state. It is a disgraceful bill. It`s based on money and envy and there`s no merit to this whatsoever.

MELBER: And Rachael, speak to the policy point the Governor just raised which is something that Rand Paul also noted, the criticism that this bill basically try to shuffle money specifically over into Republican states.

BADE: Look, I think that I have a lot of people in Congress who are concerned about how states that took Medicaid expansion, are basically -- what is going to happen to them? What is going to happen to them when they lose a bunch of this money that they`re losing to help people who can`t afford health care right now? So I think that that policy debate or that policy point is absolutely valid. But you also have to look at Republicans are hearing from the more traditional wing of the Republican Party on the further right side of the party. And they`re talking about driving down prices and you know, yes, people are worried about people with pre-existing conditions and those folks being priced out of market.

But if you talk to conservatives on the Hill, they`ll argue that you know, we got to do this to bring down prices. And we got to think about what`s best for you know, the majority of Americans. So it`s -- you know, it`s not that a lot of Republicans don`t want to do this. In fact, I would say that probably 80 percent of my sources and lawmakers on the Hill that are Republican want to do this and are not really concerned about all these things.

MELBER: Right. All these other things being I think somewhat we`ve been discussing the gap between the political pressure and what is actually a comprehensive health care plan. It`s going to work at the state level because this will be judged if it passes for years to come. Rachael Bade, Leah Wright Rigueur, and Howard Dean thank you all. I appreciate it. Now, ahead, whether the health care bill can pass the Kimmel test, as I mention, I`m going to speak with Senator Chris Murphy and Donald Trump bringing his Twitter insults all the way to the U.N.


MELBER: There are some pundits who like to talk about you know, those moments when Donald Trump became the President. Well, maybe today was not one of them.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States has great strength and patience but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocketman is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.


MELBER: How did it play? Well, there`s Trump`s Chief of Staff John Kelly during the speech at the U.N. Now, this is just a moment in time. We don`t know what Kelly is thinking there as he puts his hand to his face but it`s getting a lot of attention, that picture. Also, world leaders looking on at times stone-faced as Trump warned of a quote hell on earth and boasted about America going it alone.


TRUMP: Major portions of the world are in conflict and some, in fact, are going to hell. I will always put America first.

We can no longer be taken advantage of or enter into a one-sided deal.


MELBER: With me now is David Ignatius, Foreign Columnist and Associate Editor for the Washington Post covering Trump`s speech, How do our allies view Trump`s performance today? And he talks about the most surprising thing in the speech. What is it?

DAVID IGNATIUS, THE WASHINGTON POST FOREIGN COLUMNIST AND ASSOCIATE EDITOR: To me, Ari, this may shock your viewers, the most surprising thing when you got past the grossly undiplomatic language was, what a conventional speech it was. I thought he didn`t add any new specific threats about Iran, tearing up the agreement. He was surprisingly supportive of the United Nations as an institution, as a conflict solver. He said at one point dealing with North Korea really is problem at the United Nations or should be the job of the United Nations. I thought the rhetorical overkill was so pronounced that I think leads people to overlook what are to me some important aspects of the speech.

This was a President who then months ago, I thought, was setting out to basically wreck the international system on which the United States is depended for its security, its prosperity. And I saw the language in this speech contrasted even with his inaugural speech, to be different and more supportive. It was a President who was accepting that the international institutions, the U.N. in particular, matter to the United States. And I just would note that. I mean, I`m not going to tell you that I think that was the right language to use, talking about the rocket man but I think it`s worst looking at some of the details in the speech because of they really do contrast with where he seemed to be at the beginning of his Presidency.

MELBER: Well, I think what you are articulating here in this annual sort of historic forum is very familiar to our viewers. Not to suck up to my viewers but I think they follow politics closely and know that Donald Trump has a long history of trying to get credit for screaming about things without ever doing anything about them. Whether that`s the swamp or the wall or now a slightly more perhaps internationally esoteric set of issues about whether or not he`s actually going to do anything about how United Nations runs or whether the (INAUDIBLE) structure changes or who`s on Security Council or how these things are negotiated. I mean, there`s a lot of stuff there that he may just be screaming about it. I will play for you his Reaganesque moment of attacking the U.N. although with his typical Trump being over flair. Take a listen.


TRUMP: The United Nations is not a friend of democracy. It`s not a friend to freedom. It`s not a friend even to the United States of America, where, as you know, it has its home.

Did you ever hear that he the United Nations solved a problem? It`s become a political hornet`s nest. The United States pays much more than anybody else even though other people benefit much more than we do. So we`re going to get it stopped.


MELBER: So, that was him telling his supporters this is how he`ll deal with the U.N. Did he say to it their face today or did you find that he focused on some other issues?

IGNATIUS: I thought that he made several important statements about the U.N. over the last two days. I thought in Monday`s sort of odd session to discuss U.N. reform, he very much committed himself and his -- I think his favorite diplomat, Nikki Haley to this project of U.N. reform which does matter. Anybody who follows the U.N. knows that it really is too bureaucratic, it wastes too much money. Trump is far from alone in thinking that. The new Secretary General Guterres is quite aggressive on this reform issues.

He now has strong direct support from Trump. The other thing I was pleased to see. I`ve been distressed as I think many observers have been by the way in which Rex Tillerson the Secretary of State has backed away from human rights issues. So I was noted with interest that Trump specifically called out the U.N. human rights body which does have too many human rights violators as members and said that that`s not appropriate. And I think again, observers of the U.N. who like the see it be more active wouldn`t disagree with that.

MELBER: Right of the so a few reasonable ideas tucked under the rocket man headline. Out of time, David Ignatius, thank you so much.

IGNATIUS: Great, thanks for having me.

MELBER: Absolutely. Now, is the new GOP health care bill passed the Kimmel test? The host responding, and I`m going to talk about it with Senator Chris Murphy.


MELBER: Here`s something interesting. Late Night host Jimmy Kimmel back in the news about health care. You may remember in May when he gave that emotional monologue about his baby son`s emergency heart surgery.


JIMMY KIMMEL, ABC HOST: They did an echocardiogram, which is a sonogram of the heart and found that Billy was born with a heart disease. If your baby is going to die and it doesn`t have to, it shouldn`t matter how much money you make. I think that`s something that whether you`re a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right? I mean, we do.


MELBER: Then Republican Senator Ben Cassidy pledged to uphold a Kimmel test about any health care bill that he would support. Now many analysts say Cassidy`s new bill doesn`t come close to passing that test and late today, Jimmy Kimmel tweeting this photo with his son and writing, Billy is helping me write tonight`s monologue. I`ll give our thoughts on the Graham-Cassidy health care bill.

I`m joined by Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat from Connecticut, a member of the relevant committee who has been speaking out on this all over the place. Thanks for making time on a busy day. First, this question, in your view, does this fail the Kimmel test and thus, is Senator Cassidy going back on his word?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D) CONNECTICUT: This is a big fat F. This fails the Kimmel test worse than any other version of Trumpcare. And the irony of this is that the reason that Bill Cassidy was on that show is because he proactively made a statement during the prior debate that any bill that Republicans considered should pass the Kimmel test. That`s why he got to be on primetime late night T.V. and the bill that his name is now attached to violates that test in a way that none of the other previous versions did. The reason for that is that it A, allows every state to waive the protections for people with pre-existing condition and then it essentially requires them to waive that protection because it gets rid of the individual mandate. Without the individual mandate, every single insurance executive and expert will tell you cannot protect people with preexisting conditions. (INAUDIBLE) eliminate those protections.

MELBER: So, Senator, on that policy point which is so important, you`re saying that under the facts of the bill, this new proposal, this new stab at repealing ObamaCare or doing some Trumpcare would make it easier to discriminate against people with those conditions at the state level?

MURPHY: It will guarantee that states have to remove the protection for people with preexisting conditions because without a mandate for healthy people to buy insurance, no state can require insurance companies to charge sick people and healthy people the same thing. So this is the first version of the bill that has been introduced as the seventh version. This is the first version that`s been introduced proactively forces states to repeal the protection for people with preexisting conditions. It`s the most extreme on this issue. And the irony is it`s the guy who said that he was going to stand up for people with preexisting conditions that`s introducing it.

MELBER: Right, irony being a very nice word for it. And I know that you are a collegial senator. Another word here on the fact would be blanket and obvious hypocrisy given his prior claims to do something for people with those conditions. Let me ask you this way, that`s the policy. What about the politics. Health care is something that Republicans did get clobbered on, that did become a source of a civil war between Donald Trump the President, the Party, the blame, the tweets. Do you know politically why they`re going back at it and do you think they have a better chance this time?

MURPHY: Well, the issue of repealing healthcare is kind of like the zombie apocalypse for Republicans. It won`t die. And I think they remain worried about a very small sliver of the Republican base that may give them trouble when primary time comes around. The overall numbers are the same when polls come out about this version of Trumpcare. It will still be at about 17-20 percent approval rating. But you know, they`re worried about a small segment of Trump loyalists and the Republican Party that might come after them if they don`t pass this. It`s all about politics, it has nothing to do with policy. And the end result is that a lot of people are going to get hurt and a lot of people are going to die if this bill passes.

MELBER: Turning to Russia while I have you, new reports that Paul Manafort may indeed be a target of the Mueller investigation, that is to say, that he could face future indictment and that he was wiretapped with his contact with foreigners and that some investigators believe he was seeking Russian help to tip the election. Do you view these new reports as something we have to wait and see and unpack or does it look to you like a key element in the case that there was some kind of collusion?

MURPHY: Well, I mean, the smoke continues to billow and billow. And it`s really hard to believe that there isn`t fire underneath. I think you have to go back to the beginning. Paul Manafort was a very curious choice to be Campaign Manager. He had largely been out of U.S. politics for a long time that never managed a race like this. His only real qualification was that he had been working in Ukrainian and Russian politics over the course of the better part of the decade. So you have to ask why was he picked in the first place, was it because of his connections to Russia? And maybe Mueller is starting to see some of those questions right now.

MELBER: And finally, do you think President Donald Trump may have to ultimately testify? Are you prepared to rule that in or out?

MURPHY: He absolutely may have to testify. In the end, you know, Mueller is going to have to answer one central question. Did the President of the United States know about collusion between his campaign and the Russian government if they can prove that it happened? So first he`s going to try to figure out whether the proof of that collusion exists, more evidence suggests that it did today than six months ago. The second question will have to be whether Donald Trump knew about it and only Donald Trump can answer that question really.

MELBER: Only Donald Trump? Interesting.

MURPHY: Well, not only Donald Trump, there`s other people that can answer that but he would be obviously definitive on that question.

MELBER: Right. Senator Murphy, thank you for making time on a busy day.

MURPHY: Thanks.


MELBER: And that`s our show. You can always find us on Facebook or Twitter @THEBEATWITHARI or e-mail me. Thanks for watching. "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews starts right now.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Don`t mess with Mueller. Let`s play "HARDBALL."



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