Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: October 23, 2017
Guest: Juliet Huddy, Cecile Richards, Bill Browder, Michael McFaul, Nikki Sixx
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST, "MTP DAILY": It is just not worth it, ever. That is all for tonight. Chuck is going to be back tomorrow with more "MTP Daily." THE BEAT with Ari Melber starts now. Good evening, Ari.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST, THE BEAT: Good evening, Steve. And as we always say at this time, I was see you later, alligator.
KORNACKI: After a while, crocodile.
MELBER: Oh, wow. It happens. Thank you.
Now, Donald Trump started the day tweeting in defense of his condolence call to the widow of Sergeant La David Johnson, but he ducked the topic when asked about it today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, do you regret that Myeshia Johnson was upset by your phone call?
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump, do you regret that Myeshia Johnson was upset by your phone call?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump, is there anything more you`d like to say to Myeshia Johnson?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell the public what happened in Niger?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, any questions on the ambush?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have a response to Myeshia Johnson, Mr. President?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you talk to us about Niger, Mr. President?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Condolence calls to Gold Star families are not usually political controversies, but President Trump made this a controversy, leading to more push back from grieving families, including from Myeshia Johnson today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MYESHIA JOHNSON, WIDOW OF SERGEANT LA DAVID JOHNSON: The president said that he knew what he signed up for, but it hurts anyways. It made me cry because I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said it. He couldn`t remember my husband`s name.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, "ABC NEWS" CHIEF ANCHOR: The president said that the congresswoman was lying about the phone call.
JOHNSON: Whatever Miss Wilson said was not fabricated. What she said was 100 percent correct.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Is there anything you`d like to say to the president now?
JOHNSON: No. I don`t - no. I don`t have nothing to say to him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Now, let`s remember, Gen. John Kelly deployed his considerable stature to back Trump and try to frame this as a fight between a serious president and a loud, lying member of congress.
Then the tape surfaced showing it was Kelly who had his facts wrong. And today, Miss Johnson`s remarks show you that you can take Congresswoman Wilson out of the picture and you still have the words of a grieving mother contradicting the word of a president, a president who we have to note has literally broken records for his misleading and false statements in office.
Gen. Kelly, it is not too late for you. You can correct this record, so we can all move on. But asking people to move on without correcting this record isn`t moving on at all. In fact, it is contrary to the accountability required by our constitutional system where no politician and certainly no general is above America`s checks and balances.
In a moment, I`m going to speak to Congresswoman Maxine Waters joining me on this issue live. She is part of a joint call from the CBC urging Gen. Kelly to apologize for "blatant lies" about Congresswoman Wilson.
But, first, I want to look at what happened in Niger and the widening fallout across Washington. So, I`m joined by Malcolm Nance, a former DHS counterterror and intelligence officer, as well as longtime journalist Kurt Andersen, who is also the author of the book "Fantasyland," pretty relevant to part of this debate.
Malcolm, what do you make of where this goes now, as the military is trying to do relatively serious or nonpartisan briefings, but with the undertow of a president who continues to want to submerge everyone in what appear to be falsehoods?
MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, right now, the Department of Defense and Special Operations Command and Africa Command are all going to be doing deep-dive, after-action reports to get to the bottom of how this ambush formed, how the personnel on the ground managed to fight on the ground.
And there`s one thing that`s sort of missing from this story. Sergeant Johnson got separated at some point, but he did manage to move a mile away from the contact point. That shows that he was fighting on the move. He was fighting and evading as a single man unit.
And the defense department is going to investigate that and they are going to want to know how he got separated, what kind of combat support was brought in there and whether it could be done faster.
But there are two stories going on here. There is a political story and then there is the story of these four heroes on the ground and their special forces ODA and how they managed to survive overwhelming odds. And all of these stories are eventually going to come out.
MELBER: And Gen. Dunford gave this briefing today, Malcolm. Here`s what he said about the information that`s owed to the families.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: And with regard to being transparent, I think we do owe the families, any American people transparency in incidents like this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: How should that work, Malcolm, given something you understand better than most of us, which is the aspects of this that are sensitive even as they say they want to rule out what happened, so people know?
NANCE: Well, to a certain extent, we`ve had problems with this issue before, the transparency of the administration when a loved one, a member of the armed forces die.
You might remember the issue with Pat Tillman when he was killed in Afghanistan, former NFL player who became a Ranger, went into contact. And the initial report was - is that he was killed in combat by an enemy force, turned out to be friendly fire.
These issues should have been worked out in advance. These families deserve to know as much as humanly possible about the loss of their loved one.
I served 20 years. I know exactly the pain that some of these families are in. And they need to know that this nation is taking care of them. Not that they`re taking care of the time line, not that they are taking care of some political activity or embarrassment.
And that`s why your first point about Gen. Kelly needing to come out and apologize, if that`s what it takes to settle this issue and to give that family transparency. It`s not one family. It`s four families and, by extension, all the families in the armed forces that are watching this.
MELBER: And not to be parsing, because you and I are getting at the same thing, but I`m not saying whether he should apologize or not, I don`t necessarily see that as my role, Kurt.
I`m saying that the record suggests a falsehood. And so, as a journalist, I`m pointing out the falsehood, I`m going to keep pointing it out, I`m going to play for you for your response what Gen. Kelly said in going after this congresswoman and doing it while - he wanted especially to be treated with a deference of a military officer and he played that up, while making a false political attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The congresswoman stood up, and in the long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there in all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That attack stays on the record. The video has been played. MSNBC went to the trouble of playing the entire video, so everyone could see it in context and make up their own mind. Where do we go from here?
KURT ANDERSEN, AUTHOR, FANTASYLAND: HOW AMERICA WENT HAYWIRE: A 500-YEAR HISTORY: This has been a series of lies. This only became an issue when Donald Trump made it one in this impromptu press conference by lying about having written to almost every person who`s died and lying about his predecessors never calling the survivors of dead soldiers and marines.
So, those two lies existed. Gen. Kelly gets out there, does perfectly fine moving - beginning of this thing, and then, as you say, pivots to this lie about what the congresswoman had done at a dedication of the FBI building he attended a few years ago.
It`s extraordinary. This doesn`t need to exist. The Niger event is an event of a kind that happens. It could have been put away. Donald Trump could have answered that initial press conference question with, my heart is with the survivors and the brave men who died.
He wasn`t asked any pressing question. He was asked why haven`t you said anything about this, Mr. President.
MELBER: Right. And let me play for you John McCain, Kurt, military service, not a prerequisite to doing anything, but pretty notable to hear Sen. McCain go there, as they say. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We drafted the lowest income level of America and the highest income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur. That is wrong. That is wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Kurt? I loved that, of course, because, of course, he didn`t say - and like Donald Trump, he found a doctor to get his post-college deferment on the basis of a possibly spurious bone spur, but it was more elegantly done for that.
No, precisely. And it, of course, brought up this greater, larger issue. Back then, before we had an all-volunteer armed services of the incredible economic inequality that pertains to those who do and don`t serve.
MELBER: Your readers, who we count I think among some of our viewers, will note your use of the word spurious, along with the word spur, which makes you a better writer than so many of us.
Kurt Andersen and Malcolm Nance, thank you both.
I want to turn now, as promised to Congresswoman Maxine Walters, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, who has called on Gen. John Kelly to apologize to Congresswoman Wilson.
Congresswoman, what have we learned? What is your view of where we go from here? And what is it incumbent upon Gen. John Kelly, Chief of Staff John Kelly to do now that the video has been exposed?
REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, Gen. Kelly can take the responsibility for admitting that he was wrong, that he had lied on the congresswoman.
I think it`s important for us to all work to get this behind us. First of all, we should make it absolutely clear that our heart goes out to the families of all of the soldiers who were killed in Niger. And we should let them know that not only do they have our condolences, but we stand with them and we appreciate the sacrifice that they all are making.
Having said that, this president, President Trump did it again. He has the most distorted leadership of any president I`ve ever known or heard about.
Here he had the opportunity to make the condolence call, to do it properly, to recognize this family and their grieving, and also to know the name of the soldier who had been killed.
He did not remember the name, he didn`t handle it well. And even if he had been counseled to talk about, perhaps, young people going into war, into service like this understand the risks that are involved, but he didn`t do it correctly and he needs to admit that.
First of all, he needs to apologize. He lied on other presidents that had gone on before him and saying they didn`t do it as well as he did, that he called everybody.
And then, in typical Trump fashion, he gets off the phone when he is challenged and then he backtracks, and he tries to call all of those families. He gets his personnel to identify all of the families who have lost members in service to this country and then he tries to make up by sending some kind of a letter or note to them.
It is so unconscionable in the way that he manages his leadership. Having said that, and Gen. Kelly has had a good career. And to have his career really basically undermined by the president of the United States because he`s trying to protect the president and standing up for the president when the president did not deserve to be stood up for, now he`s damaged himself.
His credibility is at question. And so, he needs to call the congresswoman and apologize. He lied on the congresswoman. He said he was there, he said he heard her, and then, when the video clip was played, that basically demonstrated exactly what she said and how she said it, it was obvious that he had lied. And so, he needs to apologize.
If the president will apologize to Mrs. johnson and if Gen. Kelly will apologize to congresswoman, then I think we can put this behind us. But until that is done, it is not going to go away.
You`re absolutely correct. All of the women of the Congressional Black Caucus have come together and we`re demanding an apology. We`re sick and tired of women being undermined, being dismissed, and black women, in particular, being called names. She was called wacky.
Fredericka Wilson is an honorable member of the House of Representatives that we all respect.
MELBER: Let me ask you about that in particular because I follow the CBC and it does a whole range of work on policy, but you`re bringing it up. Is it your view that she was being treated differently because of her race and gender?
WATERS: I think that goes along with it. He seems to have this tendency to talk down to people of color, to treat them with disrespect. And I think this adds to it. I think the fact that, first of all, he called her wacky, secondly, that he didn`t back down, that he simply talked about her in a way that was not respectful, I think that, yes, I think this adds to the suspicion of him and the way that he thinks about minorities and black people, in particular.
MELBER: Congresswoman Waters, thank you for coming on THE BEAT.
WATERS: You`re welcome. Thank you.
MELBER: Appreciate it. Coming up, I have an interview with a top Putin critic who found himself put on the most wanted list. The Kremlin potentially silencing critics by using global policing and what`s the Trump administration`s response.
And later, there are some new whopping revelations about Bill O`Reilly`s handling of sexual harassment lawsuits. We`re going to talk about that and women`s rights in the Trump era. My special guest tonight, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards.
And later, Motley Crue star Nikki Sixx is going to be here to talk about the opioid crisis and his own heartfelt worlds for people who might be struggling with addiction. I`m Ari Melber and you`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.
MELBER: New developments in the Russia probe tonight. Donald Trump is not paying for a big chunk of his own legal bills, instead the RNC donors forking over about 400k for his criminal defense. But new reports that he will pay other people`s bills, including some of his staff.
While legal, ethics experts like Walter Shaub say a target of investigation paying for the legal fees of other witnesses could create conflicts.
And a report by "USA Today" found Trump has often stiffed lawyers and contractors, leaving people wondering whether staff may ultimately still be holding the bag.
While all that may be bad news for the Trump White House, not all Mueller news is about Trump. There are reports today that Mueller is scrutinizing a major Democratic lobbyist, Tony Podesta, the brother of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, the issue being the Russian-friendly Ukrainian political projects which hired Paul Manafort as well as Podesta`s company.
Now, as usual, Mueller not commenting on these reports, but Trump is, speak out a little bit. There`s a new interview where he says nobody at DOJ has asked him for an interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s a report that you`re - your legal team is saying, yes, do an interview with Robert Mueller. Is that what you`re going to do?
TRUMP: I don`t know. I mean, nobody has asked me to do that. There is no collusion. I can tell you that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: I`m joined now by Shelby Holliday, a business and politics reporter at "The Wall Street Journal" and Betsy Woodruff, politics reporter at "The Daily Beast."
Betsy, we`re seeing in dribs and drabs and people who follow this come across your name as one of the reporters breaking these stories. But the investigation is proceeding. The Podesta news shows that the interviews that have been confirmed with people like Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer show that. What else are you seeing? And is it getting to the point where that question asked is relevant? Will the president testify?
BETSY WOODRUFF, POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE DAILY BEAST": It`s certainly relevant to ask if the president could be considered a witness of this probe. In the past, special counsels have questioned presidents, particularly, Jack Danforth, when he was a special counsel, investigating the Waco debacle, had a phone conversation where he interviewed then President Bill Clinton.
So, there`s absolutely precedent for Mueller to speak with Trump. That said, we can`t predict if it is going to happen or not.
What we do know is that over the last week and likely for at least next two weeks, current and former White House staff are sitting down for interviews with Mueller and his team. And as I`m sure your viewer understand, that`s a legally risky situation because it`s likely there will be FBI agents present for those interviews. And if any of the White House staff answering questions deliberately lie, they could face legal liability.
So, while some folks close to the White House want to suggest this Podesta news might mean Mueller has changed his focus, the reality is the Mueller probe is complex, it`s a lot bigger than most public reports are able to explain in a clear away and it`s not necessarily something that`s going to be over anytime soon.
MELBER: And, Shelby, this comes while there are reports that basically the congressional side of this, there`s a lot more partisan drama. Bipartisan accounting, according to "The New York Times", is the extraordinary investigation appears to be dwindling.
Republicans in both chambers eager to wrap up the investigations before too long. That`s a ship from the opening, at least in the Senate, where things looked bipartisan.
SHELBY HOLLIDAY, BUSINESS AND POLITICS REPORTER, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Right. I mean, you have to realize they have elections coming up. So, of course, they want to wrap things up. This is not a pretty topic for Republicans regardless of where they stand on the issue.
And that`s because it has to do with Russia`s interference in the election.
I think the significant news about Podesta - Mueller investigating Podesta is that, first of all, this transcends politics. Mueller is not a political hack. So, that`s evidence that there is something big going on here.
It also had to do with work that was done well before President Trump announced his candidacy. Whether or not that benefits Trump remains to be seen.
But it`s also not a rabbit hole. I was talking to some FARA experts. And they basically said -
MELBER: As one does. As one does.
HOLLIDAY: On first glance, this looks like this might be a rabbit hole, it might be unrelated to the probe and he might be going down these political channels, but it`s not because it`s all connected to Paul Manafort, who, as we know, was President Trump`s campaign chair.
So, the noose is tightening on Manafort.
MELBER: Speaking to experts on the Foreign Agents Registration Act, it`s a fun thing to do.
HOLLIDAY: There aren`t that many of them because nobody talks about this law much until this year. They all said the fact that Rachel Maddow is doing segments on FARA just blows their mind. (INAUDIBLE) nobody talks about that.
MELBER: Because it is obscured. And that is, by the way, the law that would also potentially hit the Podesta group.
Betsy, when you look at that and you look at sort of that motivation, the idea that - of course, it`s not a rabbit hole and that Bob Mueller is going to go where he goes. There is an argument that all of this can be good news for Donald Trump if there`s no findings of collusion because then anyone else hit off the playing field, we know he can get rid of staff, he`s done that before, right?
WOODRUFF: Right, exactly. We know Mueller is going to follow the investigation where it leads. What this also means, though, is that Rod Rosenstein, he`s the number two at Justice Department, is going to potentially have to make some big decisions.
If you look at the regulation that put the special counsel in place, it specifically dictates that, if Mueller or anyone else, acting as a special counsel finds evidence of a crime that`s outside the scope of his or her mandate, then they have to go to the attorney general, in this case Rod Rosenstein is the acting attorney general to decide what to do with that evidence.
So, potentially, Rosenstein could be in the position of deciding what to do with what Mueller and his team find here.
Another piece that`s really important, as far as Manafort and Podesta, is that the work the Podesta group was doing on behalf of Ukrainian clients is something (INAUDIBLE) back in August. It`s really troubled human rights folks and former American diplomats.
They were especially trying to persuade journalists and lawmakers that the 2012 Ukrainian elections were completely above board, clean, nice, unquestionable election. While - when that election happened, the Podesta group`s clients, they had their political opponents in prison.
It was a kind of propaganda peddling that deeply frustrated human rights activists, frustrated people who care about good governance in Ukraine, and there is certainly a lot of material for Mueller to dig in on as he is looking at the work that that lobbying company did.
MELBER: Right. And some of that goes to a lot of things in Washington that may be legal or on the line that could disgust the average observer. And now, you`ve got an investigator really digging into it, regardless of party.
Shelby Holliday, Betsy Woodruff, thank you both for your expertise.
Ahead, a billionaire anti-Putin activist was put on the most wanted list and said the US may have overreacted. He joins me to explain.
And the secret Trump Tower meeting. He knows the Russians in that room and has crossed swords with some of them. I`m going to ask him about that.
Later, new revelations about the Bill O`Reilly sexual harassment scandal. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards on that and much more ahead.
MELBER: Tonight, new details about sexual assault allegations against a powerful man. Wait, that line could accurately apply to a lot of things, to Harvey Weinstein, to Donald Trump, but tonight it`s actually Bill O`Reilly, under fire for settling a suit alleging, among other things, non- consensual sex.
The headline comes as 38 women stepping forward to accuse director James Toback of sexual harassment, which he denies. And it`s all related to the larger fight over women`s rights here in the Trump era.
Tonight, the battle growing over as well an undocumented teen who the Trump administration is trying to prevent from giving a lawful abortion in Texas, as well as Trump`s latest memo that could spell disaster for women`s reproductive health.
I`m going to discuss all of this with Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, right here with me on THE BEAT live.
But let me give you an update on the latest with Bill O`Reilly. This is really unusual. "The New York Times" with a blockbuster story of a $32 million settlement, over sexual harassment allegations, which came from a formal "Fox News" analyst.
Now, to put this reported settlement amount in perspective, consider that a big wrongful death settlement is a fifth of that, about $6 million.
Now, NBC has not independently verified this amount and O`Reilly denies the allegations as lying, saying this to two "New York Times" reporters who broke the story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O`REILLY, FORMER "FOX NEWS" HOST: We have physical truth that this is (EXPLETIVE DELETED). OK?
This is horrible. It`s horrible what I went through. Horrible what my family went through. This is crap. And you know it. It`s politically and financially motivated. And we can prove it with shocking information.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That is part of O`Reilly`s side as well as his denials, which we`ve been reporting. For another side of this, we go to former "Fox News" host who came out today speaking on "Megyn Kelly Today". (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIET HUDDY, FORMER ANCHOR, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: I`m terrified, I`m actually terrified. And I don`t know why I`m about to cry but it`s just -- it`s difficult, many women go into the settlement agreement because they just don`t want to face what potentially could be coming at them. Again, it`s - - you`re dealing with a corporation, filled with people who are going to do everything they possibly can to make sure that they win and you don`t.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And I`m joined by as promised, Cecile Richards. What is your accounting of all these allegations stacking up and coming out?
CECILE RICHARDS, PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Well, it`s horrifying. I mean, beginning with Harvey Weinstein stories and continuing on. I think as you`re seeing of course, across the country, there`s not a woman in America who isn`t now reliving some experience. And I just really want to thank the women who have been brave enough and had the courage to come forward. I think it`s establishing how prevalent this is. And I think the frightening thing and it will get to this is just actually how prevalent it may be now even with the policies of the U.S. government.
MELBER: Right. Well, and when women know that it`s prevalent, that it`s an epidemic or that it is so prevalent it is seen as something that you sadly must get through, and must deal with, and get on within work environment, what does it take to make men aware of how prevalent this is? Because there seems to be a group of people doing the predation, that`s bad and then a whole group of people who essentially silently enabling it or in denial how prevalent it is.
RICHARDS: Well, obviously we`re concerned about -- and we see this at Planned Parenthood every day, you know, we treat women who are survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. This is not a new issue. I think what`s new is finally people are talking about it out in the open. And it has been good to see male allies speaking up but to even have a government now that is denying women a most basic fundamental access to health care, to reproductive health care and reproductive rights like the Texas case, makes it even more disturbing because it really means -- you know, and as you`ve said, there`s like young woman now in Texas who`s really literally held hostage by the Trump administration.
MELBER: Right, so walk us through this. You look at the headline here, and this is an undocumented individual, who would otherwise typically have the right to at least medical treatment and care, which in this case -- you can put up headline up right here -- detained immigrant asking a full appeals court to let her get this apportion. Explain what`s going on.
RICHARDS: Correct, now, this is a young woman who is apprehended, was put into a shelter in Texas, found out very soon thereafter that she was pregnant. What said immediately, I want to terminate this pregnancy, went through all of the judicial bypass, that of course in Texas it`s very difficult for young women to get an abortion, was agreed to by a judge, scheduled for September 28th and then the Trump administration began to get involved. And this woman is still being held hostage, denied her legal right to terminate a pregnancy. And that is -- I mean, it`s just a tip of an iceberg.
MELBER: So, are they trying to make example out of her?
RICHARDS: Well, I think she -- I mean, she obviously is an example. There`s now litigation going on and a lot of folks are involved in trying to help make sure this young woman can get the health care she deserves. And what -- it`s really, I think exposing is who this administration has put in charge of our government. We look at Scott Lloyd who`s in charge of young people who are in you know, unaccompanied minors and refugees. He has personally taking an interest in effort to try to denying this young woman access to abortion. In fact, told the center where she`s living that she couldn`t go and get the medical care and in fact, referred and insisted that she go to anti-abortion center to try to talk her out of the decision that she had made.
MELBER: Also, a leaked memo from the Trump administration claimed by Crooked Media, they do a podcast and other things that they want to take money from women`s health care and encourage people instead to do "fertility awareness birth control."
RICHARDS: I know, Ari, this is going to be hard because they`re way too young to know about this. But back in the day, there was something called the rhythm method, which was before women had access to birth control. That was you just trying --
MELBER: I`m happy to learn from you.
RICHARDS: Yes, I don`t know. I don`t want to --
MELBER: Educate me about things how they used to be.
RICHARDS: I don`t think you want to go this direction but basically it`s - - they tried this memo that has leaked that`s saying they`re trying to keep women from using birth control now and instead use rhythm method and hope for the best.
MELBER: So that`s crazy right?
RICHARDS: Well, what it really results in is, of course, millions of unintended pregnancies --
MELBER: And isn`t that -- this is what -- this is the thing, and I know you do this every day. Isn`t that what they`re also opposed to?
RICHARDS: Right. Well, the crazy thing too is that we`re at a historic low for teenage pregnancy in the U.S. 30 year low for unintended pregnancy because of the good work of Planned Parenthood and other folks who provide birth control. So they`re really literally trying to undo that, and as you say, and you know, try to reduce the family planning program that millions of women rely on successfully to plan their families. So it`s all part and parcel I think of an administration that have put people who are putting their own politics ahead of the health and well-being of women and that`s what`s really scary.
MELBER: We always learn -- having you on is like -- is like having book --
RICHARDS: I got a lot more where that came from.
MELBER: -- sitting down on this chair. We learn so much from you every time I get to talk to you. Thank you very much. From Planned Parenthood Cecilia Richards. Coming up, the American born businessman targeted by Vladimir Putin speaking out and he has inside Intel he says on what Kremlin -- what Kremlin organizers were doing with the Trump Tower Meeting. That`s next.
MELBER: New allegations tonight that Vladimir Putin is abusing an international law enforcement organization, Interpol, to target a critic and potentially try to bar him from entering the U.S. The target, Bill Browder, an American-born Financier who works in London and has become a major foe of Vladimir Putin. Remember the now famous adoption sanction law that Russian allegedly raised in that Trump Tower meeting? Well, the road from that leads back to Browder. It was his lawyer who Putin had jailed indicting custody and the U.S. passed the sanctions in response to that death. Now tonight the is Browder is saying that Putin is again putting him on an international fugitive list through Interpol and thinks that Trump administration responded by denying him paperwork he needs to visit the U.S.
Now, Trump administration is pushing back tonight, more on that in a moment. But the prospect that the U.S. is doing anything to play into Putin`s hand right now drawing bipartisan outrage. John McCain, a Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, pushing DHS to clear this up. The top House Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee telling the Trump`s State Department immediately reverse this decision. Now, Browder is at the center of other open Russia issues in the adoption sanctions law, the Magnitsky Act has been a new development event to people who hear about it during the 2016 campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you know what the Magnitsky Act was?
DONALD TRUMP JR., EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: I never even heard of it before you know, that day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: But Bill Browder has actually been working to punish Putin and his regime for years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bill Browder has dedicated his time and his resources to uncover the truth.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: The man`s name is Bill Browder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bill Browder from Chicago.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bill Browder was for years the largest foreign investor in Russia and Putin`s champion but he turned into dogged adversary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: With me now is that adversary Bill Browder. Thank you for joining, I know it`s busy time for you. Under the Trump administration late today, the customs and border patrol put out a statement saying that you do have valid authorization. What is your response and what happened to get to this point?
BILL BROWDER, CEO, HERMITAGE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: Well, first of all, I`m not sure if that is true. I read the statements and based on the timeline, they claimed that they had cleared up this problem on Wednesday the 18th of -- last Wednesday. But I didn`t actually get my revocation of my -- of my ability to travel to America until Thursday. So I think there`s still some issues to be ironed out. I`m very happy that the authorities in the U.S. want to solve (AUDIO GAP) basically become Putin`s -- fall into Putin`s hands as using -- becoming a tool for Putin to punish me. But this whole -- this whole incident has been left a little bit of a bad taste to my mouth.
MELBER: Do you belong on the Interpol list?
BROWDER: The person who belongs on the Interpol list is Vladimir Putin. Vladimir Putin is a criminal, he`s a killer, and he was responsible for covering up the murder of Sergei Magnitsky, my lawyer who was killed in police custody in 2009. And it`s just crazy and ironic that instead of him being the criminal, he then tries to label me as criminal and then go to Interpol to try to have me arrested in any border I cross so I can be sent back to Russia. It`s an insanity.
MELBER: Well, I want to ask you more about that and you`ve been a leader on this stuff for a while, that people sometimes say thing are Kafkaesque to refer to literary criticisms of unjust systems. I wonder if we`re reaching a point where we need to describe this as Putinesque because people know you`re your lawyer died in a Russian prison under those questionable circumstances. And yet, I`m reading here from the New York Times today the new accusation is all the more sinister for its cartoonish details. Russian prosecutors contend, Mr. Browder, that you colluded with an agent of Britain`s Foreign Intelligence Agence to cause the death of Magnitsky by persuading Russian prison doctors to withhold care. Your response.
BROWDER: I think -- I think that`s about the silliest thing I`ve ever heard. So -- and to add one more element to it, so according to their version, I did all that terrible stuff and then I spent the last eight years traveling all over the world fighting for justice and trying to get the people who killed Magnitsky prosecuted. You know, what it says to me is that Putin is kind of losing his mind a little bit here. He`s gotten so crazy about the sanctions that have been put in place, the U.S. Magnitski Act. Just last week, the Canadians passed the Magnitsky Act, here in London in May, we passed the Magnitsky Act. Putin hates it so much that he`s starting to get crazy. He hates it because he`s got a lot of money, huge money in the west and this particular piece of legislation potentially freezes and seizes that money.
MELBER: Stay with me. I want to bring in the former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul who actually spoke out about this recently as the story was breaking. Ambassador, your view of what we just heard, the latest which is the Trump administration asserting that they thought they cleared this up by the middle of last week. Mr. Browder saying that timeline doesn`t quite add up. And your view of the claim that maybe to sanctions are hurting Vladimir Putin`s pocketbook.
MICHAEL MCFAUL, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: Well, with respect to what is DHS is saying, what the State Department saying, and what Bill knows, I`m glad they`re taking it seriously and they should get it cleared up right away. I consider it an embarrassment to my government, to my country that there was any ambiguity about the fact that Bill Browder should be able to allowed to travel to our country. So that`s with respect to that. With respect to the larger thing, of course, Bill is right. I`ve listened to Vladimir Putin said across the table from him and I`ve listened to him talk about the Magnitsky then Act, now Law. He doesn`t like it for all the reasons Bill just said. And therefore Bill is one of his enemies. And you see by this action that he will use any means that he can to try to go after his enemies. And we need to be vigilant in fighting against them.
MELBER: Bill, you have clashed with the Putin government. They remain part of the investigation into among other things the Trump Tower meeting. Based on your knowledge of how Vladimir Putin operates and any evidence you might have, do you believe that he was directly orchestrating that infamous now meeting at Trump Tower with Trump campaign leadership?
BROWDER: I have no -- I have no doubt in my mind that Putin was doing everything he could to try to influence U.S. policy and particularly policy towards these sanctions. When that meeting was set up, when this Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer got that meeting, you can be absolutely assured that Putin was involved in the planning and the execution of that meeting. It was too important an interaction for Putin not to have been involved in. He`s a KGB officer, they don`t leave anything to chance, they plan everything out right to the last detail in the KGB.
MELBER: So briefly on you and then I`m going to ambassador, you`re view is based on your knowledge, that`s not something that would be freelanced at a lower level. And then second, for the benefit of our viewers, you have crossed paths (INAUDIBLE) with that Russian-linked lawyer. So do you have biases against her here or you feel you can separate whatever those financial disagreements where -- with how the Kremlin runs these operations?
BROWDER: Well, I haven`t had any bias against the lawyer and I don`t even have any financial disagreements against with her. I was working with the U.S. Department of Justice. I was a witness in a -- in a criminal case and a civil case in which the U.S. Department of Justice froze money from the crime that Sergei Magnitski exposed in Russia and her client`s money was frozen. So basically I`m working with the government here. And so, when I see a woman who`s effectively representing accused money launderers who and then trying to -- effectively she`s trying to change U.S. law, this is not bias, this is just about stating that you know, it`s absurd that a Russian can be running around trying to spend millions of dollars influencing U.S. policy and think that that`s OK and not even report it under any of the reporting guidelines that are required when you do that sort of stuff in Washington.
MELBER: And Ambassador, final word from you and on the view that sanctions maybe working. Although we hear a lot about how sanctions are either not enough or to some degree people claim they`re irrelevant sometimes.
MCFAUL: Well, I take two things on that. I mean, one, economists have tried to measure the impact on the economy and they differ on that. But everybody believes they`re having some economic effect on Russia. Whether you think it`s one percent of GDP or 0.5. Everybody sees that. But number two, the evidence is much easier. Why if they`re not working is Vladimir Putin trying so hard to lift them? Why is he sending Veselnitskaya to meet with the Trump campaign to talk about lifting sanctions if he doesn`t believe they`re having an effect? To me, it`s pretty straightforward that they are having an effect.
MELBER: Ambassador McFaul, you have a way of cutting through it, even though there`s a lot of names and details to keep track of. And Bill Browder, I know we`re coming off a long day for you and it`s later in London, thank you both for joining.
BROWDER: Thank you.
MCFAUL: Thank you.
MELBER: And still ahead, my exclusive interview with Motley Crue`s Nikki Sixx on the opioid crisis. He battled addiction for years and tonight he tells his story. That`s next on THE BEAT.
MELBER: My next guest knows the opioid problem well. Nikki Sixx was the co-founder and bass player for the heavy metal band Motley Crue. He was a drug addict, heroin in 1987. He was actually pronounced clinically dead for two full minutes after an overdose. But he got clean and has stayed clean and been a voice for different drug policies, writing books like The Heroin Diaries and a new Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times calling for a more treatment-oriented approach to this crisis saying no one is a junkie by choice, and no junkie is a lost cause. Joining me now on THE BEAT is Nikki Sixx. Thanks for being here.
NIKKI SIXX, MUSICIAN: How are you doing?
MELBER: Doing great. You are someone who has not only survived but thrived. Let`s start with how you got into drugs, why do people turn to drugs?
SIXX: I think people turn to drugs for different reasons. I believe that us addicts are born with this disease, even though there is an invisible line where if you keep using it long enough, you head into serious addiction and it`s hard to get back to just using lightly, let`s say. For me, it was around lifestyle of rock `n roll. A lot of my heroes were using drugs and drinking. And I -- you know, I adhered to that. I lived that kind of a lifestyle. And it worked until it quick working. And I say that to a lot of addicts that, you know, it does quit until it quits working and it will quit working eventually.
MELBER: And you`ve been a voice for a lot of people. Obviously, people look up to you. They love your music. Music brings people together. You`re trying to start I think a broader conversation. I notice with the reissue of the book, you also have this map on your Web site, sort of a heat map. And you want people to share their experiences. And we can see the dots around the country. Explain that.
SIXX: Yes. Well, what`s cool about the heat map is that people can anonymously go on and plug in their location and write their story or read other people`s story. And also you can get a lot of data on the state of the epidemic that we`re living in right now.
MELBER: And when you look at this as something that has a policy component, right, how do you compare from your view as an advocate what is going on in the opioid crisis to maybe some of the drugs that were proliferating when you were coming up as a rock star?
SIXX: Well, when I was coming up, so far as I know, there were no pill forms of heroin. If there were, I was never introduced to it, thank God. But a lot of -- a lot of people that are dealing with addiction right now, they`re dealing with it on a pain pill level. And it`s being prescribed to them usually for a good reason, for dealing with pain itself. But then when they`re overprescribed and insurance companies are lax in following up on whose giving these prescriptions filled and how many prescriptions can be filled at a time. I know CVS recently talked about only releasing one week worth of pain pills at a time so that people can`t abuse them and can`t also sell them to people who are -- you know, they`re in high demand. They`re very expensive. And when people can`t get these pills, then they`re then going to interest street. And then you`re dealing with needles and unregulated drugs. And you have a lot of overdoses there as well with the medications being prescribed.
MELBER: There is a lifestyle aspect to this but there`s also a creative part. As you know, a lot of people in creative industries run into this. They come from abuse, sometimes people say yes, you know, maybe I don`t need it, but I think I play better with it or I`m more creative with it or have more fun with it. What do you say to that and do you think you`re getting more done now when you`re sober or how do you compare to when you weren`t?
SIXX: Well, I was thinking about 1987 and how I was barely able to get an album done and a tour. And actually the tour was canceled, the last part of the tour. And in 2017, I`m able to do a radio show, write books, do photography, you know, be a better husband, a father and be part of these conversations that were happening. So I really think the sobriety gives you more energy and more creativity.
MELBER: I love it. I love that part of what you`ve been writing and saying to people. I think you`re an influential person to do it.
SIXX: Yes, thank you.
MELBER: And I think when it comes to addiction and drug challenges or for a lot of people what a mental health challenges, being reminded there are so many people out there who battle this. There`s nothing wrong with being in the battle, the most important thing is to get through it. You`re obviously thriving. Nikki Sixx, thanks for spending some time on THE BEAT.
SIXX: Yes, thank you. Thank you guys very much.
MELBER: Absolutely. The book is The Heroin Diaries and it`s out this week in let`s tenth-anniversary edition.
MELBER: Tonight, Rachel Maddow has a very special guest. You can see it - - I don`t know how to do this very well -- right here. Attorney General Eric Holder, his first interview since leaving office. We will all be watching. You may want the watch as well, 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Straight ahead, "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Firefight. Let`s play HARDBALL.
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