Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: October 10, 2017 Guest: Jill Wine-Banks, Nick Akerman, Maya Harris, Jamil Jaffer, Howard Dean, Jan Schakowsky
KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST, "MTP DAILY": Ari, I`m handing it off to you almost right on time.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST, THE BEAT: Always on schedule, always on time. That`s Katy Tur.
TUR: That was me. That`s my nickname.
MELBER: Thank you. Have a good one.
TUR: Bye, Ari.
MELBER: We begin our show here with two developing stores that are hitting the newsroom right now. They`re both on Russia.
Donald Trump breaking what had been a three-week Twitter silence to respond to Senate Intelligence Committee. We`ll show you what he said and how it`s not accurate in just a moment.
But I want to begin with the push for a Trump brawl, and not one with Bob Corker. The target is Bob Mueller.
Trump loyalists with White House access apparently panicked about how Trump`s criminal defense attorneys have an acquiescent approach to the Russia probe.
This is all from a new "Associated Press" report that we got. It says these Trump backers want the street fighting tweeter to criticize Mueller with abandon.
In fact, they view Trump`s lawyers here as naive to the existential threat facing the president. So, what is going on?
Well, here is the context for this potentially important dispute breaking into the open right now. Trump`s loyalist clearly worried that Mueller`s investigation could ensnare Trump`s family or even the president himself.
And they want to face down that existential threat now. Right now.
But Trump`s lawyers aren`t worried about that. And the lawyers` theory of the case here on the Trump side is that the farthest Mueller will really go would be to indict some former employees.
And this is interesting because their view does overlap with some key reports in "The New York Times." First, that bombshell that dropped on September 18 that Mueller already told Paul Manafort he would be indicted, meaning he is a target of the investigation.
And then, this weekend`s reporting in "The Times" that Mueller is building cases against Manafort and Flynn, which raises the question, would Michael Flynn talk if granted immunity. It`s not a hypothetical. We actually know he would, if you believe him, because he said he would.
In that March 30 statement, Flynn`s lawyer saying he had a story to tell if granted immunity and otherwise he would plead the Fifth.
Never mind that back in the campaign days, you may remember, Flynn had a different idea of what it means to plead the Fifth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: When you are given immunity, that means you probably committed a crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And the Fifth Amendment is actually the dividing line here between the strategy of Trump`s lawyers and these calls for more aggression from Trump loyalists.
The Trump lawyers seem to think the farthest this goes is a few former staff. The loyalists worried those staff could get immunity and start talking.
The other news today here, the Republican chair of the House Intel Committee, you may remember, who recused himself from the Russia inquiry is now behind subpoenas to the partners of Fusion GPS, the research firm behind the famous dossier.
And then, there`s the other story I told you here at the top of the hour about Trump and Russia. The president in a brand-new interview saying that, number one, none of this changed the vote with Russia, which so far is not in dispute; and then, two, brand-new, Donald Trump falsely suggesting the Senate Intel`s interim update last week presented some kind of findings on collusion.
"They just said there`s absolutely been no collusion. They just said that yesterday. Two days ago. Senate. There`s been no collusion," he told "Forbes".
But that is not what the committee said. The GOP chair actually said they didn`t know enough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICHARD BURR (R), CHAIR OF THE SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: The issue of collusion is still open that we continue to investigate both intelligence and witnesses and that we`re not in a position where we will come to any type of temporary finding on that until we completed the process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Those words clearly contradict the president`s new claim in this "Forbes" interview, which we just got in the newsroom.
And before I had sat down right here, our staff was able to reach out to the Senate Intel Committee to ask him about all this and they said the senator`s depiction of the facts speak for themselves.
I`m joined now by two former Watergate prosecutors, Jill Wine-Banks and Nick Akerman, now a partner of Dorsey & Whitney. Also, with me, Maya Harris, a former senior advisor to Hillary Clinton.
Jill, what does it mean when the president makes this kind of statement in the heat of this investigation?
JILL WINE-BANKS, FORMER WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: It means he`s not listening carefully because it was very clear to anyone listening that the Senate Intelligence Committee said it is still investigating collusion.
And we can assume that Robert Mueller is still investigating collusion and obstruction, in addition to collusion. So, we`re looking at two separate crimes. And both could or could not involve the president. We won`t know that until the investigation is completed and the office is shut down. At that point, we may know.
MELBER: Nick, he has every right to deny anything and make any statements about his own belief, views or opinions. Does he have the same right and is it the same responsibility exercised, at least what his lawyers would tell him, to mischaracterize, mislead about what the Senate Intel Committee just said?
NICK AKERMAN, FORMER WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Well, it`s typical of what he does. It`s typical of what his family does. I mean, he has lied so many times about everything, why would we be surprised that he lies about what the Senate Intelligence Committee did?
He also kind of mischaracterized what this whole Russian collusion is about, trying to say that the Russians didn`t actually impact any votes. The question isn`t whether or not the Russians got into the voting machines. The question is whether or not the Trump campaign colluded with -
MELBER: Interesting. You think he`s trying to move the goalpost? I mean, the opening question was, did you all team up illegally to do anything. And now, it`s, well, maybe it didn`t change the vote. That`s not the criminal line, is it?
AKERMAN: No, it`s not. I mean, it`s not what they`re investigating. What they`re looking at is whether or not they did this micro-targeting of Hillary Clinton voters to try and suppress the vote and to go after the Trump voters to get them out and did that in conjunction with the Russians. That`s the issue.
It doesn`t have to do with people going into the voting machines and changing the votes. It may very well be that that was done, but that is not the central focus of this Russian collusion investigation.
MAYA HARRIS, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR TO HILLARY CLINTON: I think that`s right. And I would want to go back to something that you were saying, which is about his lying. And I`m sort of with Corker here, though I don`t know exactly why it is that Trump tweets things and says things that aren`t true.
And I think to the point of what is unfolding right now and the conflict that`s happening between the kind of the political strategy and the legal strategy, this is exactly why Trump just needs to stop talking.
And I think that it is very risky for this White House to engage in a fight with Mueller and engage in a public fight over what`s happening here with the investigation for a number of reasons.
It can reaffirm the idea that there`s an obstruction of justice going on here. The Trump oft-tweeting and his tweets can be taken as some kind of signaling to people to not participate in the investigation.
It can actually piss off jurors, the grand jurors, who like you and me are regular people and who think that they are engaged in something that`s important and legitimate and to have the subject of the problem out there disputing it, calling it a fake process. They don`t think they`re involved in a fake process. And the number one rule is you don`t piss off the jury.
Coming back to Trump and his previous behavior, it sort of creates more like legal headaches, like admissions, like going on an interview and trying to dispute what`s happening and effectively saying that the reason I fired Jim Comey because he`s looking into Russia.
And so, I just think in this entire arena that it would be well served for Trump to kind of stand down and stop commenting, whether it is lying or misrepresenting or creating new problems.
MELBER: And, Nick, do you think this tension that "The AP" is reporting between the political loyalists and the lawyers means anything in the long run?
AKERMAN: I think it means something to Donald Trump. I think it`s going to make him probably go after Mueller again at some point just because that`s the way he is.
But the bottom line is, I agree with Maya. I mean, this is going to do nothing but create more problems for him. The prosecutors have the subpoena power with the grand jury.
If the Trump lawyers don`t play ball and they don`t turn over documents, they`re going to be held in contempt. They`re going to go into court. And under US v Nixon, he`s going to have to turn over any documents that are relevant to this investigation.
MELBER: Right. That`s a privilege case that you know something about.
I want to go to Jill here. Take a listen, Jill, to the discussion around Jeff Sessions, who, again, in this "AP" report also figures in because Donald Trump, according to this reporting, sitting there, huddling with loyalists, is getting all this input about Russia and hitting harder and he then says, well, blame Sessions, which is something, of course, we`ve heard. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am disappointed in the attorney general. He should not have recused himself.
Sessions should have never recused himself. And if he would, if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else.
I`m very disappointed with the attorney general, but we will see what happens. Time will tell. Time will tell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And, Jill, this comes on a week where we have heard, thanks to NBC`s reporting, as well as "The Washington Post" and other outlets, that Trump is bumping up against a lot of different concern about how many top people he can even get away with firing.
The reports being that Gen. Kelly just wants him to kind of make it to Christmas without removing any other key cabinet officials, which keeps presumably Tillerson and Sessions safe if he follows the rule.
WINE-BANKS: I think even if Sessions hadn`t recused himself, you would`ve seen a cry for a special prosecutor. You needed an independent person, not the person who is reporting to the president, to investigate when the issues involve presidential culpability.
And this issue of whether he should cooperate or not, I think, has been clearly established by the Watergate case. He can stonewall all he wants, but, eventually, the courts are going to order him to comply.
They`re going to tell him he has to turn over the documents, so he may as well do it with less hostility than what happened in the Watergate case. It would help him more to just give them over.
Now, of course, if the tapes, the evidence equal the tapes that Nixon had to turn over, it`s going to be very damaging to him, whether he cooperates in giving them or he`s forced to give them.
Eventually, the evidence will speak for itself. And I think that we need to let the case go forward. We need to let Mueller continue his investigation.
And I think, to something Maya said, that it`s not just the grand jurors who are going to get pissed off, the voters are going to get pissed off. Even his base is eventually going to get tired of listening to him denying things that the facts prove are the opposite of what he`s saying.
And so, it could hurt him electorally as well as in terms of the legal consequences.
MELBER: And, Maya, on that, sometimes there`s so much news, we don`t get it all into the opening script.
The other item here, reports here, according to "Bloomberg", that Facebook is reaching out to Congress and that Mark Zuckerberg is personally directly phoning members of Congress because there is going to be a lot more pressure on whether your campaign, which got more votes, but, as they say, got them in the wrong places, was hobbled by a social media effort run out of the Kremlin that might have significantly impacted things?
HARRIS: Well, he`s getting out front, I think, in anticipation that the Congress is actually going to take some steps to try to ensure that this doesn`t happen in the future. So, in some ways, in a preemptive way.
But, look, I think it`s important for him to apologize for his initial - suggesting that Facebook had nothing to do with it. I think it`s important that they`ve taken some steps. I think it`s important that Twitter and Google are entering the conversation.
But I think we are so far from a solution yet. When you look at it, Twitter, Facebook and Google are the three largest media companies, even though they don`t necessarily want to describe themselves that way. Sixty seven percent of Americans actually say that`s where they get their news.
And these industry leaders need to exert leadership -
MELBER: And need to step up.
HARRIS: And step up and actually institute some transparency, some accountability and, certainly, some of the kinds of controls that we have in other media.
MELBER: And there will be a hearing. So, we`re going to see what they say.
I want to thank you, Maya Harris, Nick Akerman and Jill Wine-Banks, each of you, for our segment tonight.
Now, there are other reports today. Trump aides building a system to contain his emotional outburst. NBC`s Hallie Jackson is here to break it down.
And later, the story of Republican donors in revolt over congressional failures. We`re not just going to talk about it. I`m going to speak to one of those donors in an exclusive on THE BEAT.
And later, the organization devoted to the IQ test is calling Trump`s bluff. We will explain.
I`m Ari Melber and you`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What does the president expect from the secretary of state to be effectively where he`s questioning his intelligence?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Again, he wasn`t questioning the secretary of state`s intelligence. He made a joke. Maybe you guys should get a sense of humor and try it sometime, but he simply made a joke.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: LOL. Trump back to the joking defense. "Forbes" had asked him about Rex Tillerson calling him a moron and Trump said he`d win an IQ test against his chief diplomat.
So, reporters raised the kerfuffle even during today`s meeting with Henry Kissinger, now that White House is laughing it off.
There is also a club for people with high IQs, Mensa. Today, they say they`re offering Trump the chance to make good on his pledge and/or joke, announcing "American Mensa would be happy to hold an IQ testing session for President Trump and Secretary Tillerson.
Trump also continuing his debate with the top Republican foreign policy voice in Congress Bob Corker.
Some have been covering this as more Trump feuding, but that may give him too much credit. He didn`t start either of these and both involve foreign- policy Republicans concerned about the risks Trump poses as commander-in- chief. And they see more behind the scenes than the rest of us.
Add to that, the three reports today that Trump staff are worried that he`s a pressure cooker about to explode, a situation leading staff to create a series of "guardrails" they use to push the president away from rash decisions.
Guardrails! Which raises the question, is that how you say "adult day care" in 2017. I`m joined by Hallie Jackson, NBC`s chief White House correspondent; Jamil Jaffer, former senior advisor to Sen. Bob Corker himself; and Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor, doctor and former DNC chair.
Hallie, walk us through what`s happening here.
HALLIE JACKSON, NBC`S CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You`ve seen what you`ve described here over the last, what, 24, 48, 72 hours here the White House, here from President Trump.
So, let me give you kind of an analogy here. What you have is the Chief of Staff John Kelly, who has worked to try to streamline and structure the flow of information and these so-called processes.
You hear it about a lot here at the White House in these private conversations, by which the president gets information, by which he`s interacting with people here, in order to kind of change the way that the president was working from the prior chief of staff, Reince Priebus. That is not new, right?
What seems to be new is that as the president has had these sort of processes streamlined, he is looking now for other outlets by which to do what he used to do, which is to get on a phone, he would see people, people who are in and out of the West Wing, he would talk with friends from New York, talk with friends wherever.
Because there has been less of that, you`re seeing the president work the outlets that he has, it seems, which is on Twitter, for example, talking about Bob Corker, talking about Rex Tillerson in some of these interviews.
And I can tell you this from my experience here, he`s also more engaged with reporters to a degree. So, for example, when is leaving to go on these trips out on the South Lawn, he`ll stop and take several questions in these so-called pool sprees.
He`s stop and talk with reporters, which is where some of these comments are coming from that have raised some of these eyebrows.
MELBER: Yes. So, Gov. Dean, is he just seeking interaction, but with him that`s dangerous?
HOWARD DEAN, FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR: Yes. Yes and yes. It is dangerous. This is a guy who doesn`t really have much sense of his self. He`s a very strange person, I think.
And the Corker exchange is really incredible. I know Bob Corker fairly well. And I respect him. I don`t always agree with him, but I think if all those Republicans were like Bob Corker, we would actually get something done.
So, how this gets started, I do not know, but it`s bizarre.
MELBER: Jamil, you worked for Bob Corker. What was he trying to do here? And is it working?
JAMIL JAFFER, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR TO SEN. BOB CORKER: Look, Ari, I think that Bob Corker is a straightforward guy and he`s actually trying to help the president here.
He thinks the president has a decent agenda. I think he thinks the president is right on Iran, right on North Korea, within guardrails of what you might be doing, but I think he thinks the president is right on tax cuts if balanced properly with spending cuts.
And so, I think Bob Corker wants to help the president move his agenda forward, but it`s very hard to do when the president`s lightening up (ph) members of his own administration and Congress on Twitter in 140 characters at once.
MELBER: And the president said Bob Corker caused the Iran deal.
JAFFER: (INAUDIBLE). Bob Corker was steadfastly opposed to the Iran deal. There is one person responsible for the Iran deal, and that is President Barack Obama.
Bob Corker ensured that Congress got to see the deal, something President Obama didn`t want. He had pushed (ph) a vote on it. And by bipartisan margins of both houses, including (INAUDIBLE) to the Senate (INAUDIBLE).
MELBER: Jamil, is Trump confused or lying?
JAFFER: Look, I`ll just put it point blank. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it from the podium. Donald Trump said on Twitter. It`s just not true. They ought to issue a correction.
MELBER: Hallie, I want you to listen to Newt Gingrich talking about all this. Also, an FOT, friend of Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Trump automatically hits back at every - anybody. I mean, it just is an instinctive. It goes back to his New York days. And he seems to be virtually uncontrollable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: So, Hallie, did the guardrails control it? Can they?
JACKSON: Well, I think that what you`ve seen is that even when guardrails are tried to be put into place, the president does what the present wants to do because he feels he is the president.
And I actually think what`s most interesting from Newt Gingrich today, obviously, a longtime ally of the president`s, is that he also said that picking a fight with Sen. Corker is not helpful.
Newt Gingrich is correct. And I will tell you that, based on conversations that I have had late today here at the West Wing, folks understand and acknowledge that they need every single Republican senator vote they can get on, for example, tax reform, which is what the president`s travelling to Pennsylvania tomorrow to talk about.
So, they understand that, yes, it`s not great for the president to get in a fight with Sen. Corker. At the same time, there is blame casting, if you will, that Sen. Corker, the specter has been raised, is trying to get attention for what he wants out of this tax deal as it relates to deficit and there`s a reason why he`s been making a little bit more noise publicly than he has in the past.
MELBER: Well, I`ll let Jamil back in on that. Jamil, it seems more like your old boss was actually just really worried about how Trump`s attitude affects the foreign policy planning and potential wars the US may get into.
JAFFER: Look, Bob Corker loves this country. He wants America to be strong in the world. He`s been - felt free to criticize President Obama when President Obama was wrong and he feels free to criticize this president when this president is wrong.
And he wants the president to be successful. He`s really been trying hard. Since the campaign and since the president took office, Bob Corker has worked aggressively with the president to try and help him move the nation forward.
And the president ought to respect that and work with the leadership in the Senate, whether it`s Mitch McConnell or Ben Sasse or Bob Corker or Rex Tillerson or Jeff Sessions -
MELBER: That`s the bummer of this. Howard, you listened to Jamil, who says Corker loves this country. I`m sure Jamil does. I`m sure we all do.
But the problem is, after acting this way and trying to do all these things and having the supposed general agreement with Trump, it hasn`t gotten Corker anything because he doesn`t respect it?
DEAN: Well, Trump is totally unreliable. He has no word that`s worth anything. So, you can`t - I mean, look at the DACA stuff that`s going back and forth with Pelosi and Trump thought - I mean, Pelosi and Schumer thought they had a deal with Trump, and Trump thought so too. His word has never been any good, even when he was a real estate guy.
Corker is a pretty straightforward guy. Is he a pal? Sure, he`s a pal. He was a mayor. He actually got stuff done by working together with all kinds of different people. Trump has no record like that whatsoever.
MELBER: Gov. Howard Dean, Jamil Jaffer and Hallie Jackson at the White House, thank you all. Interesting times.
Now, Republicans in Congress just blew through a deadline for children`s healthcare. This is important. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky joins me next about the challenge ahead.
And political burnout. It`s real. Trump can cause it. And there are solutions. We have an expert on strategy and mental peace later in this show.
MELBER: Now, we turn to an urgent health care issue. While Republicans failure to repeal Obamacare was big political news, Republicans just blew through a key deadline that has American children on pace to lose their healthcare coverage. Nine million children impacted since Republicans missed the deadline.
Now, the actual money starts running out in just 51 days. Here at THE BEAT we are tracking it with this countdown clock. And this is not typically a partisan issue. Republican Orrin Hatch created the program with Ted Kennedy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TED KENNEDY, FORMER SENATOR: I think that children`s health is not a Republican or a Democratic issue. It`s an American issue.
SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE: Let me tell you something. I think it`s one of the most important things we can do is to help people who cannot help themselves.
We`re talking about kids here who cannot help themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: We`re talking about kids here and presidents in both parties have signed bills continuing the program over the next 20 years. In fact, we began covering this on THE BEAT last week when I spoke to a father who says his daughter could lose her epilepsy medicine if Congress doesn`t act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID BERZONSKY, FATHER OF A DAUGHTER WHO COULD LOSE HER EPILEPSY MEDICINE: It`s good health insurance. It`s reliable health insurance. And it`s the kind of health insurance I was able to count on when my daughter began to have seizures and was able to focus on caring for her and not worrying about how to pay the costs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Democratic Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Illinois serves in the committee that oversees this program. Thank you for joining me for something I know we both think is important. What is the hold up?
REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Well, first of all, let me just thank you because so few - so little focus is on this issue right now. I think the Republicans want it that way.
The hold-up is in so-called the pay for. How are we going to pay to cover 9 million children in this country?
You`ve talked to that parent. Parents all over the country are in real distress right now, wondering if their children are going to get that healthcare. What they wanted to do in order to pay for this program was to cut Medicare. That`s where they wanted to get it and what we call the prevention fund, things that go to immunization and other things that children need as well.
And so, it`s really a cynical move right now. And they knew, of course, for two years that the September 30 deadline was coming up, but they were so busy trying to repeal Obamacare that they just didn`t have time to get to it.
And now, we`re just fighting over the kinds of unacceptable pay-fors that they want.
MELBER: Congresswoman, you know, I like to try to be fair to everyone and describe things fairly and people can make up their own minds. Honestly, what you`re describing, what I`ve read, is that the current position of House Republicans is to hold this money hostage for children unless other cuts are made to health care. Is that -- is there any other way to say it?
SCHAKOWSKY: No. I think that would be a good way to say it. I mean, they are taking 9 million children and saying, well, you know, if we can`t get the cuts in Medicare if we can`t take money out of this prevention fund, but I`m sorry, then the children are going to have to suffer. And then turn around and say it`s really the Democrats that don`t want to sit down and negotiate this. You know, Ari, since 1997, since the children`s health insurance program that CHIP passed, 68 percent drop in the number of uninsured children in this country. This is such an important, an important -- and there are places to get money. If we wanted to get some real money to fund these programs like the community health centers on the CHIP program, we could look to the pharmaceutical industry, the cost of drugs. There`s plenty of money there that we could use to pay for these programs.
MELBER: Congresswoman, we know that Congress has blown through the deadline because the majority there. We are tracking it here, 51 days, obviously important to a lot of people. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, thank you for joining me.
SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you, Ari.
MELBER: There`s a new report in the Washington Post busting President Trump for making, count them up, 1,300 false claims since election. But how does that checkers avoid burnout? We are really asking and we`ll explain. Also, later, a BEAT exclusive, a major Republican donor that he is cutting the party off, he`ll tell us why. And Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie joining the course of public accusers against Harvey Weinstein. I have a report on that at the end of the show and some new words from actress Mira Sorvino that everyone needs to hear.
MELBER: Can we have some real talk for a minute? Do you ever get tired of this political era? Do you ever worry about burning out? Imagine how the fact checkers feel. All they do is fact check a President who according to a new report in the Washington Post, has made history with 1318 false or misleading claims just since he`s taken office. That`s five falsehoods a day and that`s assuming Trump is as misleading on the weekends as he is the rest of the week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We`ve signed more bills, and I`m talking about through the legislature, than any President ever.
They were people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. They had a permit. The other group didn`t have a permit.
The people of this country want tax cuts. They want lower taxes. We`re the highest taxed nation in the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Those false claims can be enraging or exhausting especially because as a reality show character and politician, Trump feeds off emotional outrage which raises the burnout question. Are you falling into Trump`s trap by getting mad about Trump? You know, so far as he`s president, he seems to be saying to the nation, I`m not a leader, I just troll a lot. And some people are tired of being trolled and want to drop out and turn away from the news or politics. But experts say the key to avoiding burnout is approaching Trump or all politics in a mindful way.
Author Robert Wright arguing outrage feeds Trump while more focus activism can address what got Trump elected, globalization, trade, immigration, and technological challenges. Right is our special guest on THE BEAT, he`s the author of books on both Game Theory and Buddhism. And we`re also joined by one of our favorites to Harvard Kennedy Schools, Leah Wright Rigueur. Thank you, both. Robert, what kind of activism do you think both works and avoids this burnout?
ROBERT WRIGHT, AUTHOR, GAME THEORY AND BUDDHISM: Well, I think mindful activism does. First of all, in the instance, I think mindful meditation can help prevent burnout. It can make you more emotionally resilient. But I think that to leave it at that kind sells it short. I think that being mindful, and to some extent, I just mean in the everyday English sense of the world of being kind of careful and attentive to all relevant factors. I think being mindful like when you`re on social media, for example, can help you engage in a way that is more constructive from your point of view. And if you are an opponent of Trump`s, as I am, it can keep you from you being emotionally reactive in a way that feeds his narrative, and I think consolidates his base.
MELBER: Well, you say that use that word and people say what does that mean, I mean, Barack Obama is known for being very deliberate and thoughtful and mindful. And Leah, he has spoken out about when people get frustrated, think back to what so many people have been through and how much more difficult it may have been previously. Here he was on the Selma anniversary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you think nothing has changed in the past 50 years, ask someone who lived through the Selma or Chicago or Los Angeles of the 1950s. Ask the female CEO who once might have been assigned to the secretarial pool if nothing has changed. Ask your gay friend if it is easier to be out and proud in America now than it was 30 years ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Leah, what do you think the Obama approach would be to here to avoid burnout?
LEAH WRIGHT RIGUEUR, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC POLICY, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: Well, you know, Barack Obama in the past couple months hasn`t been able to help himself and has spoken out a few times, too. So I do think that part of this is, you know, part of what Obama is saying is, you know, think about what our ancestors have done. Think about that kind of resilience. With that said, the circumstances, the moment we`re in right now, are in some ways kind of uniquely different which calls for a uniquely different approach. So I think you know, one of the things that we can talk about, we can really talk about is how to kind of alleviate or how to kind of deal with this idea of outrage and how to feel with fatigue.
And you know, one of the things that we can do, we can talk about pulling back and using social media strategically, especially now that we know that Russia has, you know, Russia intervened in Facebook and Twitter and Google to sow discord and you know, take advantage of partisanship and polarization. But the other thing that I think is really important, and this goes to Robert`s point as well, is not allowing the chaos, right, and the kind of the craziness of the President and the President`s White House -- the White House.
So the chaos of the White House to really determine you know, your response or your reaction. So really figuring out how not to let the White House drive the narrative. I think a lot of that has to do with the outrage and the fatigue that people are feeling particularly since in any given day, Trump wakes up and determines the agenda for the day just by the amount of tweets that he sends out. So part of this is putting the agency and putting the -- back in the hands of the people.
MELBER: Robert, yes -- so Robert, how do you do that? How do you stay authentic but not be ruled by what you might call I guess political emotions every day?
WRIGHT: Well, I think the first step is to recognize that often our outrage serves Trump`s purposes. I mean, I think political polarization serves his purposes, to some extent. Certainly, you know, I just wrote this piece on what I call mindful resistance in Vox and I use this example of a tweet that got like 7,000 retweets. And the tweet was something like, it was just like, Trump is a terrible person stoking the instincts of terrible followers. And I just made the point that you know, when we send the message that we consider all of his follower`s terrible people, that reinforces his narrative that these snooty coastal elites hold his followers in contempt. That`s what helped him get elected. And the other thing is that when we essentialize his followers that way and think that they`re all racist or all stupid when in fact it`s much more complicated than that, we`re not going to think clearly about what exactly got him elected and how we can keep him from getting elected again.
MELBER: And --
WRIGHT: I mean, as for the question -- I mean, as for the question of how you do it, I think, first of all, just being conscious of the problem gets you somewhere. But also genuinely think that actual mindfulness meditation, I have a daily practice, makes you more aware of your feelings such as outrage. You`re more likely to observe them welling up and then be less reactive and more reflective and actually pause and decide, is it good to retweet this?
MELBER: It`s fascinating what you say and I think it resonates as well because if the typical liberal thing is not to try to give everyone a judgment and never a second chance, right, then you`re not defined by one mistake or one vote even if people strongly disagree on the vote and what it represents. Robert Wright, I hope you come back and Leah Wright Rigueur. Thank you, both.
WRIGHT: Thank you.
MELBER: Now, we want to ask you, how are you avoiding burn out? You can tell us at Facebook or Twitter @THEBEATWITHARI or you can e-mail me. What are you doing to avoid political burn out right now? And still ahead, our exclusive, widely Republican donors revolting against the GOP. I`m going to speak to a GOP mega-donor threatening to pull the plug on Republican campaign funding. And later, Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow joining many other women publicly accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct, that story later tonight.
MELBER: Now tonight, exclusive on THE BEAT, Republicans facing a revolt from top donors threatening to cut off funding. My exclusive guest is Dan Eberhart who says he`ll pull his support if Republicans don`t get their act together. Eberhart is the very first GOP insider quoted in an explosive Bloomberg article about the backlash for the GOP with "no legislative wins despite their majority." The report noting Republicans are blowing a once in a century chance to expand their majority. Where will disaffected donors go? Well, most aren`t interested in Democrats but Steve Bannon is now recruiting funders to back candidates to challenge incumbent Republicans, a headache for McConnell and Paul Ryan as Bannon wages an assault on the Republican establishment.
Now, according to federal records, Finance and Oil Executive Dan Eberhart has donated more than $160,000 to Republicans since 2012, and now he says he is sick of Republican leaders squandering this moment. Welcome. And Dan, do Congressional Republicans or Senate Republicans have to worry about losing your support? And have you met with Steve Bannon about all this?
DAN EBERHART, CEO, CANARY LLC: Good evening, Ari. Thank you for having me. I mean, I think the answer to the question is yes. Obviously, the Congressional Republicans have you know, accomplished quite a bit more but in the Senate, things seem to be stuck. I don`t have the numbers in front of me but I believe this year, something like 370 bills have been passed in the House and I think about 280 of those are still sitting in the Senate. Obviously the most notable of those is the, you know, ObamaCare, or some kind of repeal and replace or quantifiable, you know, fix to ObamaCare which I think has been disaster. But there`s also many more bills that have received less headlines.
MELBER: Do you think Mitch McConnell is bad at his job?
EBERHART: I think that, you know, I liked his strategy and how that played out with Gorsuch. But I think that I feel pretty frustrated right now, I feel like the dog caught the car and didn`t have a plan in terms of repealing and replacing ObamaCare or fixing ObamaCare. You know, we`ve got the Senate majority, 52 Senators, also potentially the tie-breaking vote if we need it and Mitch McConnell doesn`t seem to be able to get the caucus to walk in the right line. You know, for me, I feel like the ObamaCare repeal and replace mantra has been something that the Republicans have told donors, they`ve told voters so many times over the years that they`ve elevated it to where its core to the brand. And I think that the failure to get something done in Washington now that they have both Houses and the executive branch, it`s just a travesty.
MELBER: Right, I mean, you`re a business guy. Repealing ObamaCare was core to the Republicans` marketing. I don`t know if it is core to the product anymore for the reasons you just outlined, that they`re in charge of all the political branches. And what about Steve Bannon here who`s trying to give them more headaches since -- has he met with you, has he approached you for money?
EBERHART: Yes. I met with Steve Bannon last week and I`ll keep a private conversation private but you know, I think he is a brilliant strategist and I think he feels emboldened by what happened you know, in Alabama. And I think that quite frankly, I think that you know, McConnell`s star has faded a little bit and Bannon`s star is rising with what`s happened. I think that the move -- the move that the Senate Leadership fund in McConnell made in Alabama has completely backfired. I think as opposed to saving one of their own, I think that they`ve emboldened Bannon and emboldened a bunch of conservative voters across America that are ready for change and they`re wanting to use the majority instead of just kind of sit there in D.C. and be the majority. They want to use the majority and they want to move forward.
MELBER: Would you give more money to McConnell or his picks at this point?
EBERHART: The way I feel right now, probably not. Look, I`m a life-long Republican. I want us to win. I think we have the best ideas for America and the best ideas for everyone`s future. But I`m extremely frustrated that if they aren`t going to use the majority and don`t have an actual plan that they can use to pass legislation then what`s the point?
MELBER: You know, Mr. Eberhart, we talk a lot about the politics there and the GOP civil war, and also the folks on the inside doing the meetings and moving the money around, which is a part of our politics. Very interesting to get some of your perspectives. Thanks for being on THE BEAT.
EBERHART: Thank you for having me.
MELBER: Ahead, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie join this growing list of women accusing Harvey Weinstein of misconduct. I have a report on that important story, up ahead.
MELBER: Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was fired from his own company Sunday after the New York Times reported extensive allegations of sexual harassment facing new allegation and leaks about his conduct today. The very latest comes from two of Hollywood`s most famous actors, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie who both say Weinstein abused his power to harass them. They gave their accounts to the New York Times and those accounts come on the same day the New Yorker published the results of 10- month investigative report by Ronan Farrow who`s also Contributing Correspondent for NBC News. With accounts from 13 different women alleging Weinstein harassed, attacked, or assaulted them, and this including allegations of forcible sexual contact.
The article details how 16 former or current Weinstein company employees say they observed inappropriate office conduct or sexual harassment painting a picture of a widespread office culture of coercion, harassment, and intimidation. Now, Weinstein`s representatives have issued a blanket denial of any "nonconsensual sex or acts of retaliation" to the New Yorker saying, "any allegations of nonconsensual sex were unequivocally denied. There were never any acts of retaliation against any women." The report also includes a leaked recording which the New Yorker magazine says NYPD made while investigating claims in 2015 that Weinstein groped a young woman he met previously at a social event.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HARVEY WEINSTEIN, FILM PRODUCER: I`m telling you right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do we have to do here?
WEINSTEIN: Nothing. I`m going to take a shower. You sit there and have a drink.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t drink. Can I stay on the bar?
WEINSTEIN: No, you must come here now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I don`t want to.
WEINSTEIN: I`m not doing anything with you. Now you`re embarrassing me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know, I don`t want to. I`m sorry. I cannot. No, yesterday was kind of aggressive for me.
WEINSTEIN: I know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need to know a person (INAUDIBLE)
WEINSTEIN: I won`t do a thing. Please. I swear I won`t. Just sit with me. Don`t embarrass me in the hotel. I`m here all the time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know, but I don`t want to.
WEINSTEIN: Please sit down. Please, one minute. I ask you. Go to the bathroom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please, I don`t want to do something I don`t want.to.
WEINSTEIN: Go to the bathroom. Come here, listen to me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to go downstairs.
WEINSTEIN: I`m not going to do anything. You`re not going to see me again after this. OK? That`s it. If you -- if embarrass me in this hotel.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m not embarrassing you. It`s just that I don`t feel comfortable.
WEINSTEIN: Don`t have a fight with me in the hallway, please. I`m not going to do anything. I swear on my children. Please come in. I`m everything. I`m a famous guy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m feeling very uncomfortable right now.
WEINSTEIN: Please come in now, and one minute, and if you want to leave, when the guy comes with my jacket --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why yesterday you touch my breast.
WEINSTEIN: Please, I`m sorry. Just come on in. I`m used to that. Come on. Please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re used to that?
WEINSTEIN: Come in.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, but I`m not used to that.
WEINSTEIN: I won`t do it again. Come on. Sit here. Sit here for a minute, please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I don`t want to.
WEINSTEIN: If you do this now you will (INAUDIBLE). Bye. Never call me again. OK? I`m sorry, nice to have --I promise you I won`t do anything.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know. But yesterday was too much for me.
WEINSTEIN: The guy is coming, I will never do another thing to you. Five minutes. Don`t ruin your friendship with me for five minutes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know, but it`s kind of like it`s too much for me. I can`t.
WEINSTEIN: Please. You`re making a big scene here. Please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, but I want to leave.
WEINSTEIN: OK. Bye. Thank you.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MELBER: Prosecutors say they investigated that case thoroughly and they say they did not have sufficient evidence to charge. Many of the accounts emphasize that Weinstein was a powerful and connected businessman, and he aggressively used that power allegedly to intimidate these victims and accusers. His company racking up over 300 Oscar nominations working with the biggest stars, and he donated to Democratic Party leaders. Today Hillary Clinton said she`s shocked and appalled in response. Mira Sorvino won an Oscar for her performance in the Weinstein movie Mighty Aphrodite. And in today`s New Yorker account, she says Weinstein harassed her and she believes he retaliated against her because she resisted him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIRA SORVINO, ACTRESS: It`s a travesty that this sort of behavior is normalized and accepted for decades in this industry. And I`m very pleased that this is all coming to light, you know. These are very bad things that he did. And you know, he has a lot of strengths. A lot of people admire him, including myself for many of his talents but this is not the way that men can act towards women anymore in this country. It is just not. And so the more all these cases come to light and the more people have the courage to speak out, the more that young women will be protected and maybe we`ll move into a future where my daughter is not going to have to be worried about being harassed on the job.
MELBER: Sorvino is one of more than now 20 accusers speaking out to achieve the change she outlines there. That is our report on this but I can tell you just moments ago here during our broadcast, the Obamas also released a statement and we will add to it our coverage. They say, "Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein. Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable regardless of wealth or status. The Obamas continue in their statement, "we should celebrate the courage of women who have come forward to tell these painful stories. We all need to build a culture, including by empowering our girls and teaching our boys decency and respect so we can make such behavior less prevalent in the future." That is our broadcast for tonight. "HARDBALL" with Chris Mathews is up next.
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