Chris Matthews book Transcript 11/9/17 The Beat with Ari Melber

Guests: Joan Walsh, Carrie Sheffield

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: November 9, 2017 Guest: Joan Walsh, Carrie Sheffield

TODD: We`ll be back tomorrow with more MTP Daily. "THE BEAT" with Ari Melber starts right now.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: We begin with breaking news tonight that could hinder Republican election prospects in the Senate and which is much more important, to be clear, than just campaign politics.

Roy Moore won an upset battle for the Alabama Senate nomination with a boost from Steve Bannon. Moore was ousted from a judicial post over his allegedly moral crusade to erect a Ten Commandments monument outside his courthouse. Tonight he faces moral accusations over violating essentially those commandments as well as laws on sexual contact with minors.

He`s accused of pursuing a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old when he was 32. This according to a big report in the "Washington Post" breaking tonight. The accuser in this case is on the record under her own name. Now she alleges that when Moore was a prosecutor, he approach her and her mother during a nearby child custody hearing. Then he took her a few days later and drove her to his home in the woods where allegedly he engaged in sexual contact. And, quote, "Two of the woman`s childhood friends say she told them at the time about this alleged contact."

Republican Party leader Mitch McConnell already saying Moore must step aside if the allegations are true. Moore denied these allegations as, quote, "garbage and baseless political attacks."

The allegations of course are especially striking here because Moore has built his entire career on self-proclaimed religious righteousness.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: Our rights don`t come from government. They don`t come from the Bill of Rights. They come from Almighty God.

Maybe, just maybe, we`ve distanced ourselves from the one that has us in his hands to heal this land.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Tonight, Moore, the Republican Senate nominee, stands accused of one of the most serious sex crimes, sexual contact with a minor. As a politician, Moore has argued consensual adults between adults of the same gender should be illegal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOORE: Homosexual conduct should be illegal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should be illegal.

MOORE: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: There we are. And I`m going right to my panel. David Frum is a former Bush 43 speech writer, Roland Martin is host and managing editor of News One Now, and Joan Walsh, national affairs correspondent at "The Nation."

Joan, beginning with you. Your reaction to this set of allegations. This woman speaking out on the record. And as I say, coming against a politician who`s made moral and even perceived sexual morality. The center piece of his entire political career.

JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: We`ve seen it before, Ari. He appears now to be kind of creepy hypocrite. And, you know, as a journalist, we`re all journalists. We`ve all seen good work. We`ve seen bad work. This reporting by these three female, I should add, "Washington Post" reporters has the -- it`s the hallmark of good reporting.

We`ve got four women on the record and we`ve got about another 25 sources who were told about these various contacts in real time. We`ve got the mother of the 14-year-old victim. The victim is now I believe 52 who, you know, feels guilty looking back at the fact that she -- this man preyed on this young woman, said he would take care of her so her mother didn`t have to bring her into a child custody hearing.

So it`s just a set of accusations, so foul. And, you know, the fighting back now is, it`s fake news from, you know, the national Democrats. That`s just not true. There`s no evidence of that. And I`d really like to hear more Republicans than Senator John McCain. He is the only one who`s come out and said he`s got to step aside. Everybody else is saying if this is true.

How are you going to determine whether it`s true, Mitch McConnell? 30 people on the record isn`t good for you? Excuse me, I misspoke. I don`t think all 30 are on the record. But the four women, who alleges it occurred, their names are on the record. They`re Trump voters. They live, I believe all of them still live in Alabama. They are hurting, they are embarrassed. I don`t know what more the Republican establishment is going to need to say, this sounds very believable and we`re concerned and we need to you step aside.

MELBER: Well, Roland, journalistically we`re obligated to repeat the denials. That is a part of this story and this will take time to ferret out, although Joan mentions this is not a random blog post or a social media accusation. This has been reported, as been, in the "Washington Post Standards," it has people on the record.

When you look at this, Roland, what do you think it means in a town -- we`re here on an evening in Washington town that`s seen its share of hypocrisy. But these allegations suggest extreme hypocrisy for former Judge Moore.

ROLAND MARTIN, HOST AND MANAGING EDITOR, TV ONE`S NEWS ONE NOW: Well, the issue is not what happens in D.C. It`s what happens in the state of Alabama. I want to know what`s going to happen with these white conservative evangelicals who moralized, the question is, will they make a judgment or will they simply say, well, you know what, we forgive.

You already have the Alabama auditor who has made this utterly ridiculous comment by saying, well, you know, I mean, Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult and they had Jesus.

[18:05:04] So it`s not necessarily legal. And you`re going, I`m sorry, are you actually saying that? But also keep in mind, it was a few years ago when you had a federal judicial nominee who was accused of domestic violence where Alabama officials waited a very long time to go against him. It was (INAUDIBLE) who was the first one to say he needs to withdraw and it forced the others to come out. What white conservative evangelicals do would determine what happens to Roy Moore.

MELBER: Yes. I mean, just to give context to that before I go to David. The Alabama state auditor, quote, because you said it, and I heard it. But I thought, wow, is everyone at home processing that? Let me read it. "Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There`s just nothing immoral or legal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual."

WALSH: Can I just --

MELBER: I will say as a journalist, it is illegal. But go ahead, Joan. And then David.

WALSH: I also have to say as a -- someone who was raised Catholic, the principle that Mary actually did not conceive the normal way, that this was a virgin birth, that she was -- God sent Jesus to her and Joseph took care of him, there was nothing inappropriate, shall we say, about that.

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: Come on, stop reading the bible.

DAVID FRUM, FORMER BUSH 43 ECONOMIC SPEECHWRITER: I think we need to get drawn down this theological --

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: We`re way out of my lane of religious expertise, David. But go ahead.

FRUM: So here are a couple of observations. The first is, I expect there`ll be more such revelations that someone who has done this in this many times in the same way, obviously, again assuming the stories are true, but they do seem credible, there`s a pattern here and the pattern will repeat. So there will be more such cases I imagine that we will hear.

One second, I think it`s important to say, look, the moral test is 366 days in the rear view mirror. Republicans will rally to him. The shock always diminishes. If on -- within the first 24 hours, you`re not out, you`re probably staying. And Daniel Dale of the "Toronto Star" has been calling Republican county chairs all over the state. I don`t think he`s found yet one who is prepared to pull the plug on Moore.

And remember, this is going to be a very important seat. Moore only have - - will have the seat, should he win, for two years, but those are the two years in which the tax plan will be voted. And of course control of the Senate is in the balance. 2018 is a very difficult, precarious year for Republicans. If the seat is given away in 2017, it could well be decisive to the outcome of majority control of the Senate in 2018.

MARTIN: But they`re not worried about that. Here`s why. First and foremost, Article 1, Section 5. The Senate does not have to seat him even if he wins. Republicans in Alabama will likely say we have limited options to remove him from the ballot. Polls show he is up some 17 points. The strategy will be, look, weather thing out, hopefully in a red state like Alabama he beats Doug Jones.

If he wins, the Senate chooses not to seat him. The governor simply makes another appointment who is a Republican who will appoint a Republican. And so -- the hope, though, is that he`s able to still beat Doug Jones in the general election. That`s the real issue there. But they understand, they control levers of power. The Senate does not have to seat him even if he wins.

FRUM: That`s too many moving parts. If he wins, he will be seated and he will be -- just like the Congressman Gianforte, who beat up a journalist.

WALSH: Right.

FRUM: People thought that was, you know, unusual. But he is seated and he`s a crucial part of the tax reform coalition.

Look, the Republican hold on power is very precarious. The record of legislation is very thin. And I think a lot of Republicans at some level know they have only a certain number of months to make their impress on the record before events catch up with them.

MELBER: And for a party that is evangelical and it`s dealing with someone who was claiming to be a religious moral leader, what does that tell us?

MARTIN: It tells that first of all white evangelicals do not care because if you look at Jerry Falwell Jr., you look at Ralph Reed, you look at Tony Perkins, you look at Robert Jeffords, you look at how they have defended anything and everything that Donald Trump has said and done. They don`t care.

White conservative evangelicals also care about power. All they care about is a right-wing judge on the Supreme Court. All they care about are the same judges on the federal bench. They don`t care. They are not -- as I`ve said before, not criticize Paula White. They are not about the prophetic P-R-O-P-H-E-T. They care about profit, P-R-O-F-I-T. That`s their focus.

MELBER: And let me go back to Joan on one more point because Roy Moore is someone that many of us have followed for a long time. I mean, I was following him when he was making his signature issue. The Ten Commandments statue.

WALSH: Sure.

MELBER: Again can`t be said enough because it`s -- I don`t know what it is. Shakespeare, "House of Cards." I`m out of references, Joan. And if you know me, you know it`s hard for me to run out of references.

WALSH: Very hard, Ari.

MELBER: But I will read to you his other defining position in this Trump era and the undercurrents that David Frum was elucidating. Roy Moore also holds the position, we`ll put it on the screen, that Keith Ellison, a duly elected member of Congress, should not be allowed in Congress because of his religion which happens to be Muslim -- Joan.

[18:10:10] WALSH: And he denied a lesbian mother custody of her child even though the -- her ex-husband apparently had some abuse allegations against him simply because she was a lesbian. So he`s a real enemy of freedom, he`s a real enemy of gay and lesbian people, of women, of people of color.

I just want to -- I want to sound like the optimist which I rarely am especially in the last year, since last November 8th. But I think you`ve got to look at Virginia. I know, David. Don`t -- I`m not saying that Alabama is Virginia. But the backlash --

MARTIN: It`s not.

WALSH: It`s not. I know it. I`ve been there. No -- you know. It`s not Virginia. I`m not saying that. But I think you have to look at what happened in Virginia with these women rising up and running and possibly helping Democrats take over the state house on Tuesday night.

I don`t think Alabama women are going to sleep through this. And I hope that there`s some good local and national organizing around it that is trans party. That it just -- you can`t treat women like this anymore.

FRUM: In Virginia, the local Democratic Party chose a candidate for governor who fit with the voters they needed to win in the state. In Alabama, for reasons I don`t understand, I`m not a Democrat, they decided that they wanted to have a national liberal icon. Not a competitive Alabama candidate.

MELBER: And the last thing we didn`t get to because it`s early in the story, we`ll bring more coverage as warranted is whether any law enforcement aspect to more recent charges also impacts this race. We`re not there yet but we have seen patterns before.

I want to thank Roland Martin and David Frum right here in Washington for the analysis.

Joan Walsh, stay with me. There is another thing that we have to get to later in the show.

Coming up, NBC has new reporting on this Trump 2013 trip to Moscow. His longtime bodyguard talking about key claims in the dossier. Trump allies say it helps. We`ll explain.

And also, Jeff Sessions is being called back to Congress after his revelations cast what could only be called serious doubts on his statements sworn under oath. I have a lawmaker here live who will be questioning the attorney general.

And later, Sean Parker famously played by Justin Timberlake in the movie, but now in real life he is taking on the Facebook`s effect on our society.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN PARKER: It literally changes your relationship with society, with each other. God only knows what it`s doing to our children`s brains.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: I have a special report on that and Mark Zuckerberg next later in the show.

But first, Chris Matthews is here speaking about his new book and the Democrats` big wins this week.

You`re watching THE BEAT. I`m Ari Melber. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:15:44] MELBER: President Trump`s long time bodyguard Keith Schiller told House Russia investigators that during Trump`s 2013 trip to Moscow, a Russian offered to, quote, "send five women to Trump`s hotel room." Sources telling NBC News`s Ken Dilanian, Schiller saw this offer as a joke and said, "We don`t do that type of stuff."

Now Trump allies stressed the denial, offers another rebuttal to allegations in the dossier that Trump himself has raised.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s all fake news. It`s phony stuff. It didn`t happen. It was a group of opponents that got together. Sick people. And they put that crap together.

Does anyone really believe that story? I`m also very much of a germaphobe, by the way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Today, Schiller`s lawyer also says these leaks about his new testimony are coming from, quote, "partisan insiders" from the House Russia probe.

We have a panel but I want to begin with a news report from NBC`s Ken Dilanian.

Ken, this denial essentially backs up Trump`s previous claims, right?

KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: It does in a sense, Ari. And the reason Keith Schiller, his longtime bodyguard was asked about this is because, as you said, this dossier written by the former British intelligence officer alleges that Donald Trump was cavorting with prostitutes at this hotel on this trip in 2013 in Moscow.

So Keith Schiller tells a different story. He says that he was in a business meeting at lunch time and a Russian participant in that meeting offered to send five women to Donald Trump`s hotel room. Keith Schiller said he took that offer as a joke but he also said he turned it down. And then later he discussed it with Donald Trump as they were walking to Trump`s room for Trump to go to bed, Schiller testified. He testified that he stood outside Donald Trump`s door for a time and then went to bed himself.

Now Democrats drilled down on the idea that Schiller couldn`t rule out or couldn`t say what happened after he left Trump`s hotel room. But Schiller was pretty adamant that what was described in the dossier didn`t happen -- Ari.

MELBER: Right. And just briefly, Ken, you can have Democrats put up any type of theory about what may have happened in their imagined minds in a hotel room but the new information we`re getting here from this testimony is a person saying this stuff didn`t happen.

DILANIAN: That`s right. A former -- NYPD detective, excuse me, under oath (INAUDIBLE) described it and he`s saying this didn`t happen.

MELBER: Let me bring in NBC national security reporter Julia Ainsley who has also been following the Russia probe and a former Watergate special prosecutor Nick Ackerman.

Nick, prosecutors sometimes look at things more aggressively than others. But how do you view this development?

NICK ACKERMAN, FORMER WATERGATE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: I mean, I view this as an absolutely dynamite development. To me, this confirms the Steele report and the dossier that this did happen. I mean --

MELBER: How does it do? How does it do that when you have a bodyguard saying no?

ACKERMAN: Because you`ve got a bodyguard who is a longtime loyalist, who actually admitted that Trump was offered five women up to his hotel room. You have to ask yourself. Why did he make that admission? From a prosecutor`s standpoint, my guess would be, he had to do it because other people who are honest, who are third parties, overheard that admission. Overheard that statement.

And so Keith Schiller had no choice but to admit to that unless he wanted to put himself into a perjury box. What he did is he pulled the old selective memory trick. Yes, I remember what everybody else remembered about the offer. But I do know that when we went back to the hotel room -- no one is ever going to be able to testify to that. Because it was just me, Donald Trump and some Russians who are never going to testify to that.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: Julia --

ACKERMAN: To me, this is extremely disturbing.

JULIA AINSLEY, NBC NWS NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: So I think what we want to look at here is why Trump had this offer in the first place. And when investigators are looking into this 2013 trip to Moscow, they may want to know how the Russians, and they have already been cultivating Trump, someone that they could have kompromat, what we call blackmail over him, what they could getting on him that they could hang over him later in exchange for influence.

Of course at this point he wasn`t a political influencer but he was a very wealthy individual in the U.S. And so this will be of interest to congressional investigators and to the Mueller investigators who want to know how Russia was trying to pin Trump at this early period in time.

[18:20:02] MELBER: Do you want to give a score card? There`s a lot of different reactions to your piece. And Nick Ackerman here is giving a view, but the "Daily Caller" today, a conservative site, says no, this helps Trump.

Do you want to get into that scorecard?

DILANIAN: I wouldn`t go so far as Nick went. But I think it`s interesting and notable, certainly, that the idea of Russian women to Donald Trump`s hotel room was raised, you really can`t imagine that offer being made to Barack Obama or George W. Bush. I think that`s why people are reacting to this.

And as Julia said, there is a history of Russian kompromat, particularly at this hotel. The Ritz Carlton in Moscow is reputed to be wired for sound and video as a honey trap by the Russian intelligence services.

MELBER: Nick, I mean, you`d need more, though, right?

ACKERMAN: Well, you don`t have proof beyond a reasonable doubt or even by a preponderance of the evidence. But if you look at the character of the individual involved. You look at the witness that`s involved and his closeness to Trump, the fact that he even mentions that there is an offer of five women to go to his hotel room and you compare that to the Steele dossier, it corroborates half of the story. I mean, it`s not like there was nothing that was ever said about prostitutes or women.

MELBER: Ken Dilanian with the report, Julia Ainsley with the analysis and Nick Ackerman with, as we always get from you, a theory of the case. We may be talking about this again at some point.

Thank you all.

Up next, Jeff Sessions facing new questions about lying about meetings with Russians. A Democrat on the committee that is going to question him next week is here.

And his wrenching fight over whether to stand up to Trump more forcefully. Chris Matthews talks about that and his new book, on THE BEAT tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Jeff Sessions is facing heat for allegations he lied in one of the only settings where lying is actually a crime. Downplaying his contact with Russians before Congress. Now he will face Congress again. This is a high stakes judiciary hearing next week and he`ll be asked about this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[18:25:02] JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I didn`t have -- not have communications with the Russians. And I`m unable to comment on it.

SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: You don`t believe that surrogates from the Trump campaign had communications with the Russians? Is that what you`re saying?

SESSIONS: I did not and I`m not aware of anyone else that did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That isn`t true. And we know that because of Mueller`s new indictment. Meanwhile, Carter Page also alleging that he told Sessions he was talking with the Russians.

With me now, Congressman Ted Lieu, Democrat from California who serves on the House Judiciary Committee. Congressman Lieu and 16 of his colleagues actually have sent a letter to the attorney general demanding answers about all of this.

Congressman, what do you want to ask Jeff Sessions?

REP. TED LIEU (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Let me first say I don`t even know why he is still our attorney general. He lied under oath at least twice. Those are felonies. He should have resigned long ago.

(CROSSTALK)

LIEU: I`m going to ask him about --

MELBER: Do you consider -- you consider Attorney General Sessions an unindicted felon at this point?

LIEU: Absolutely. And just -- you know, this is not jaywalking. This is lying to Congress under oath in order to get confirmed. So there`s not only a statute on perjury. There`s a second federal statute that says you can`t lie to Congress because it`s such a big deal when executive officials would do that to members of Congress. So he shouldn`t even be attorney general.

But I do look forward to having him in the House Judiciary Committee this coming Tuesday and look forward to asking him questions.

MELBER: That`s a strict reading of the situation. You said there`s a law, you say he violated it and your application of that law would be to essentially remove him from office and have further sanctions is what you`re advocating. The flip side, as you know, is the concern laid out as well by some of your colleagues that there may be some sort of effort to set up Jeff Sessions for a fall so Donald Trump can pick a new attorney general who would have more control over Bob Mueller. Your view of that side of it?

LIEU: That is a legitimate point of view. I`ve thought about it but I`ve also concluded that the rule of law is more important. We can`t have our nation`s top law enforcement official have committed perjury. Those are felonies.

And keep in mind, what`s keeping Donald Trump from trying to fire Robert Mueller is not really Jeff Sessions. It`s political pressure, it`s also the history of Watergate. He knows full well that when Richard Nixon fired three DOJ officials in Saturday night massacre, that rapidly led to his downfall.

MELBER: That`s interesting. So you`re saying this discussion of recusal which is important, which lawyers fixate on, is actually, you think, less of the motivating factor than the wider impact of what it would mean to have Donald Trump order anyone be it Rod Rosenstein or a new attorney general to try to do something to Mueller.

LIEU: Absolutely. I am convinced if Donald Trump fires Special Counsel Mueller, he will be impeached.

MELBER: Do you think Donald Trump thinks so?

LIEU: I have no idea what the president thinks. I really don`t. But real quick, back to Jeff Sessions.

MELBER: Yes.

LIEU: Not only did he lie under oath to Congress, he also submitted a false SF 86 security clearance form. I have filled these out before and on there it says if you make a misleading statement or omit material information that`s also a felony.

MELBER: It`s also a felony.

LIEU: He checked the box saying he basically had no contacts with Russians.

MELBER: Before I let you go, the other story making the rounds, and we were reporting on earlier, is this new testimony from Keith Schiller, President Trump`s bodyguard, about offers made in Moscow. Your view of that report?

LIEU: I think that`s pretty important testimony because it corroborates that Russia would do these kinds of things. They will try the blackmail you. They certainly offered his son five women to see Donald Trump. That`s a pretty important fact that now we know this is how the Russians operate.

MELBER: Interesting.

Congressman Lieu, thank you as always. Appreciate you being here.

LIEU: Thank you.

MELBER: After the break, I have Chris Matthews on THE BEAT talking about Donald Trump as well as his new book and RFK. And later Sean Parker, this is Facebook`s first president, famously played by Justin Timberlake in the "Social Network" has some new serious criticism about the platform. I`ll explain how it leads back to Zuckerberg later this hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: A big week in politics and Chris Matthews here with me. The Democrat sweep this week has many forecasting that they can win the midterms and take subpoena power to investigate the Trump administration. The obvious implication is Democrats would be tougher on Trump than Republicans. Now, there has always been partisanship but it`s worth remembering it wasn`t always this way. When Robert Kennedy served as Chief Counsel of the Senate Labor Rackets Committee, one of his investigative priorities was bad for his party. He targeted and investigated some of the most powerful labor leaders in the Democratic Party. RFK pleading for legislation to deal with mob groups criticizing both parties for failing to act.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, FORMER UNITED STATES SENATOR: But it`s only going to be passed now to representatives if the people themselves take an interest. If people contact their Congressmen and urge them, put them to vote on the legislation because you have no group now that`s pushing the legislation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: The investigations were so politically risky, the candidate fought against his own father`s concern that investigating Democrats could hurt JFK`s Presidential ambitions. Now, these questions of principle over party resonated in the Trump era where defining issues back then. Eugene McCarthy, primary President LBJ over Vietnam that ultimately led Bobby Kennedy, the most iconic Democrat alive, to also challenge LBJ, the most powerful Democrat in the country. It was a decision he agonized over.

But as Chris Matthews writes in his new book, Kennedy`s desire was to heal the country`s wounds, close the gap between black and white, rich and poor, even between generations and aware of the tremors ahead can be joked grimly. He`d also be creating a gap of his own by splitting the Democratic Party in three pieces. Principle over party, it`s what McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy agonized over and acted on. Today maybe Republicans are wondering if there`s a leader in their midst to follow that path to eventually challenge President Trump. Joining me now is author Chris Matthews. The book is Bobby Kennedy, A Raging Spirit and it debuted at number two on the bestseller list. Is there an RFK type leader today?

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: No. I think that we can keep looking for one. I think the Democrats had an empty bench because they thought Hillary would be president for eight years and that turned out not to be the case. So they`re kind of left without a first string to throw out to the country. But I think what makes Bobby the un-Trump was that he focused on empathy. He really did care about people in trouble. He cared about McCarthy, Joe McCarthy when he became an old drunk, killing himself over booze -- with booze. He care about -- you know, he went out and looked for people to care about. He went out to Mississippi (INAUDIBLE) and looked for kids with distended stomachs living on molasses all day.

One kid eats all (INAUDIBLE) all day with sugar enough to keep him moving. He cared about the poor whites. You know, he didn`t look at them, he didn`t dismiss them as Archie Bunkers or deplorables. He worried about people like on the back of the book who had squad, who had nothing. And I think he was good at that. He was good at putting -- adding to, not subtracting from the Democratic Party.

MELBER: This book is fascinating in each chapter, literally and figuratively of his life. But it came alive the most to me when you explore the choice he had to make over Vietnam and LBJ. And you quote from Jack Newfield who wrote, if Kennedy doesn`t run in 68, the best side of his character will die. It will die every time a kid asks if he is so much against Vietnam, how come he is putting party above principle. Talk about that choice?

MATTHEWS: He went through everything he could not to run. He said with Ted Sorensen and he went over the meet with the new Clark Clifford, the new Secretary of Defense secretly in the -- at the Pentagon, trying to work out some kind of commission that would be a soft landing for Johnson`s war policy. Some way Johnson could use it, that they could agree to change the policy to pull back from the hawks. And at the end, Johnson wouldn`t go along with it and he had to announce. He really did not want to have to run. And because the reason I don`t think he wanted to run was what you just talked about in the introduction. Bobby wanted to replace his brother jack as President. He wanted to come in, bring back the new frontier, begin to work on all the things that Jack had worked on, everything. And he knew he had it in `72. It was going to be handed to him. All the party --

MELBER: It would -- it would be easy.

MATTHEWS: All the party regulars would say, you know, Bobby, it`s now your turn. Johnson is finished, you can take over. And so it wasn`t like with McCarthy. McCarthy really had nothing to lose. McCarthy was our hero growing up. We all supported him in the beginning but we never thought he could beat Johnson. We figured Bobby -- it would take a Bobby Kennedy to beat a Johnson.

MELBER: You also write about emotion. You write about the grieving that he went through and you liken it to someone coming back from a war. And in those days you write that it was time to just tough it out. Nowadays we have a maybe a richer language for emotion or trauma.

MATTHEWS: No, I think you`re right, Ari. I think it was PTSD and I think it was --- imagine you devote your entire life -- well, your adult life. He gets out of law school, he wanted to be a prosecutor. You made some decision like that. You make a decision. Everything he did was to prosecute the bad guys. He was doing that back in `53.

MELBER: Right. And he didn`t care which (INAUDIBLE).

MATTHEWS: And he was going after the bad guys. And then you know, his brother said, I need to you win this election for Senate. And he went up and gave up everything and went and worked for him. Then McCarthy, I mean, he was a good guy`s bad guys kind of guy. (INAUDIBLE) my job in life is to get bad guys. And then somewhere in his life, near end, the last five years, he said you know, there`s no point in chasing villains forever because eventually, they destroy themselves like all these man`s killers end up going -- caught up with the gunfire. The assassins end up miserable, either they`re dead or whatever. And he said I`ll going to focus on victims.

MELBER: Last question is you mentioned law school. Something we learn about our case of the attorney general, the commitment to civil rights. There`s a lot of talks as you know in America about states rights. Just like there`s a lot of talk about statues these days. And you quote him tearing through what he viewed as this false choice and you quote him saying, how long can we say, "to a negro in Jackson, when war comes, you`ll be an American citizen. But in the meantime, you`re just a citizen of Mississippi and we can`t help you.

MATTHEWS: Right. I think he became a real champion of civil rights because he got involved in the struggle. I think he was shocked that the hatred down south. At one point he said to his people down there, when he was about to bring in the federal troops to get James Meredith registered at the University of Mississippi. He said if anybody lays a hands on this guy, shoot him. He was not going to put up with anybody killing a guy who was American. A good American James Meredith had been an Air Force Veteran, had worked his way, had good grades in school. He was a perfectly in applicant for college and the only way they rejected him, and their pushing putting about his because (INAUDIBLE) would not register a black guy at the University of Mississippi. So here`s the primary university of the state of Mississippi unavailable for black people. And Bobby said that`s over.

MELBER: Chris Matthews, thank you. An honor to be on with you here in your town in Washington.

MATTHEWS: Thank you for your lead-in every night.

MELBER: Be sure to pick up Chris` book, it is Bobby Kennedy, The Raging Spirit. A story of one of America`s greatest political figures. And of course "HARDBALL" tonight right after THE BEAT. Don`t go anywhere we will be right back.

And up ahead, Facebook`s downside from a man who knows the site better than almost anywhere else.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN PARKER, FORMER PRESIDENT, FACEBOOK: How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible? And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Former Facebook President Sean Parker there speaking out about what`s wrong Facebook. I`m going to build on his critique with a message for Mark Zuckerberg next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don`t even know what the next thing that`s going to happen. How big they can get, how far they can go. This is not time to take your chips down. A million-dollar isn`t cool. Do you know what`s cool?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A billion dollars.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Justin Timberlake famously played Sean Parker, the billionaire tech guru who befriended Mark Zuckerberg and shape Facebook`s early days. The real Parker was the first President of Facebook, but in a new interview, he says the company stokes social media addiction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PARKER: The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, was all about how do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible. And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Parker says that dopamine engages customers and made them over three million -- $300 million and made Zuckerberg a billionaire. Facebook has become so dominant their addictive business model is reshaping society.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PARKER: Literally changes your relationship with society, with each other, with, you know, it probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. It -- God only knows what it`s doing to our children`s brains.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: God may know but so do tests with magnetic resonance imaging. They show that when teenagers see their own photos get liked on Facebook or Instagram, they get a jolt to the brain the same parts of the brain activated by winning money and eating chocolate. Powerful. Now Parker says he and Zuckerberg understood that consciously.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PARKER: The inventors, creators, you know, and it`s me, Mark, it`s the, you know, Kevin`s sister on Instagram, it`s all of these people understood this consciously. And we did it anyway.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Now, these are not the first businessmen to hook people with catchy products. And while it gets more complex for marketing to children, we consumers are responsible for how we use products. But Sean Parker`s candor here, facing tech`s tradeoffs and the impact on society is a welcome contrast to his business partner Mark Zuckerberg who`s been defensive when Facebook is criticized for its impact or fake news.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: Studies have actually proven that the more connected we are, the happier we are and the healthier we are too.

Personally, I think the idea that you know, fake news on Facebook of which you know, it`s a very small amount of the content, influenced the election in any way, I think is a pretty crazy idea.

When it comes to news feed ranking, I actually think we`re very transparent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you even allowed at this stage, Mark, to express any doubt, or to show any signs of pressure because so many people are watching you so closely and parsing every word you say so carefully?

ZUCKERBERG: You know, it`s funny. I`ve noticed that the press and the world`s opinion of us really goes in cycles.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: If there are cycles, they`re not all arbitrary. We here have been reporting on Facebook more recently because one, it was a key platform for fake news and foreign propaganda in the election. And two, when that was exposed, the company initially denied the facts. It all goes back to a misleading concept we`ve reported here before. Facebook likes to pretend it`s neutral and treats neutrality as a road to more money and less regulation. That`s why Sheryl Sandberg who got her start in the Clinton administration can claim they have "no politics."

In fact, sitting next to Mark Zuckerberg, she said in a Charlie Rose interview, we`re not experts on the political process. And Zuckerberg said politics is "above my pay grade." Is politics above your pay grade, Mark? It wasn`t above your pay grade when you held a fund-raiser at your home for Chris Christie when he was planning a presidential bid in 2013 or when you personally donated to Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, John Boehner, Orrin Hatch or Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, or when your company`s PAC spent over $600,000 in 2016 alone, about, 55 percent to the GOP and 44 percent to Democrats.

How do you donate to candidates and host political fund-raisers and say you`re not involved in politics? How does a Web site publish a daily news feed and then say it`s not involved in news and how does a business famously sell ads in rubbles and then tell us it is shocked that Russians bought these political ads. Now maybe if you have enough money in Silicon Valley, you can say anything and people act like it`s logical. Maybe Facebook doesn`t even know how ridiculous it sounds which is why it keeps having to clarify claims after public outrage and response. Let me be clear.

At this point, Mark, we don`t even know if you know you were wrong that fake news or you really believed it had no impact on this election. Maybe you`ve been down so long, it all looks like up to you. But you and your site are too important to keep doing this badly because Facebook is the backbone of the internet. Facebook is global. And as Sean Parker`s character predicted, we all live there now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We lived in farms and then we lived in cities and now we`re going to live on the internet.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, THE LATE SHOW: No one have summed up the mood of the country better than a cyclist who went viral last week for giving the President`s motorcade the finger. Long may she wave.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: As future says, you`re going viral for the family. The cyclist in that viral photo did flash the middle finger at President`s motorcade in Washington. Her name is Juli Briskman. A photographer with The Guardian captured that moment. And in the following week, Washington Post said it was the middle finger salute seen around the world. Some criticizing the gesture. Briskman says she even began to receive threatening e-mail and messages and then she was fired from her marking job when she informed her employer Akima that she was the cyclist in that photo. Now, I just spoke to Briskman about the moment next to the motorcade.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JULI BRISKMAN, CYCLIST WHO GAVE TRUMP A MIDDLE FINGER: I was fairly certain it was the President and I got angry and I started thinking about all the things that are wrong with this administration and I flipped him off.

MELBER: What angers you about President Trump`s leader or administration?

BRISKMAN: What angers me is that I don`t think that he`s a great leader. I mean, first of all, I wouldn`t even call it leadership. It angers me that he conducts policy by Twitter. It angers me that he wants to kick DACA recipients out of the country. It angers me that he couldn`t pass health care. And he`s trying to dismantle it now from the inside. I could go on and on. I tried to send a message. The only way knew how with me being on my bike and you know, having bulletproof glass between myself and him, that was the only way I knew how to send the message.

MELBER: What do you say to people who object that this was disrespectful to President Trump and that the President deserves more respect.

BRISKMAN: I would say I completely disagree. I don`t think this President respects the office so I`m not going to respect the office or him. I don`t respect him. I don`t think he respects his role on the world stage, on the national stage. And honestly, as an American, I`m not required to respect him --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That was our discussion. I want to go to Joan Walsh, National Affairs Correspondent for the Nation and Kerry Sheffield, a Conservative and Founder of Bold Media. Because this is something that`s getting a lot of discussions, Joan, I don`t know why things go viral. I don`t know if you know. But in talking to Juli, it`s clear she has touched some kind of nerve on both sides. Your view of this as a political piece of action or speech from a citizen.

JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: I think she`s perfectly within her rights and I think she`s great. I think she`s a national hero. I think she did what a lot of us would do if we came across the motorcade, Ari. And the idea that she lost her job for it is absolutely outrageous. She went to the company. She said that this had happened, she said she was the person in the picture and they retaliated against her. I can`t believe it.

MELBER: Carrie, even if one quibbles with this form of expression which is legal and lawful and protected by the constitution, do you really think that this person should have lost her job?

CARRIE SHEFFIELD, FOUNDER, BOLD MEDIA: Well, I certainly respect her right to express herself in the way she did. We have the first amendment. I also respect the company`s -- their right to respond as well and their right to the first amendment and their right of freedom of association under the constitution, so it`s the same thing. And I would definitely not call her a national hero. I mean, she was talking about the fact that there was bulletproof glass. I would hope that the President is protected. And you know, you don`t have to respect the President to respect the fact this is a free country and that we do have freedom of expression. And frankly on the left, we seen people shutting down freedom of the speech on campus, we see on Berkeley shutting down, we see violence, Steve Scalise a Congressman gunned down, an attempted murder of his life.

MELBER: Which is -- you -- hold on. You mentioned two things, one a horrific shooting or assassination attempt and two free speech. Both important topics, but as you know, Carrie, not the actual topic. We invited you on to debate. We can always change the subject of debates, but this debate is about this speech. I want to play for you President Trump and the way he speaks about people because the respect that some allies of his are demanding doesn`t seem to be something that even in the office of President he`s sharing with everyone else. Take a listen on the NFL.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wouldn`t you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say, get that son of a bitch off the field right now? Out, he`s fired! He`s fired! That`s a total disrespect of our heritage, that`s a total disrespect of everything that we stand for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Carrie, on that, I`ll ask you and then Joan can respond as well. If you didn`t like Juli`s "vulgarity," what about the Presidents there?

SHEFFIELD: Sure, well, I mean the President has the first amendment right as well as the players have their first amendment right too, which I respect both. I also respect the NFL`s right to respond to that. So I mean, it is freedom of speech. The way you have a victory in freedom of speech is to not shut down freedom of speech, it`s to have more speech, to have dialogue. That`s what we really in this country, is to have left and right actually dialoguing. And look, I understand where she`s coming from. I was a never Trump conservative. I was very concerned about a lot of the rhetoric that I was seeing coming from then Candidate Trump as well. I get that. But the response -- what I`ve seen from the resistance, I found it very troubling because it`s mirroring and doing the exact same thing that they say -- you know, we were -- we have tolerance, we have inclusion. I just don`t see that happening.

WALSH: I don`t see how giving someone a finger is not inclusion. I mean, she didn`t confront him verbally, although she would have been within her rights to do it. You know, she riding a bicycle. She sees him, she does it spontaneously. She`s on her own time. You know, I think it`s completely defensible and I think it`s crazy she got fired. She also alleges that there are -- you know, there were people making ugly social media posts about libtards at her -- at her company that were not punished or fired. So there are also seems to be a double standard here.

MELBER: So -- because I asked the question of Carrie, Joan, I`m going to ask you the question as well. We`re in -- it`s like we`re in a debate club here. Here`s some of the controversial things that Donald Trump has said famously about his opponents in both parties, about all the nicknames, everyone remembers them. Some of them are racially incendiary like about Senator Warren. Some of them are just silly like little Marco. They range and many people in the country and not just the resistance, Joan, say this is demeaning our politics. Having stipulated the rights here and the idea that people shouldn`t have a chilling effect or lose their jobs over it, what about the stylistic point I guess, Joan. What about the idea that it`s better for the resistance not to go down that road that looks as Carrie argues a little like Trump.

WALSH: You know, it`s not like Elizabeth Warren gave the president a finger. A private citizen did it riding her private bicycle, didn`t know anyone was photographing her. So it`s not as though Hillary Clinton, Kirsten Gillibrand, Stephanie Schriock, Bernie Sanders, went out and gave Trump the finger. A private individual did it. She got caught, it went viral, a lot of us you know, really saluted her. But, you know, I probably wouldn`t do it. I certainly -- I wouldn`t do it publicly. I will trash him with words, but I probably wouldn`t do that.

MELBER: Joan Walsh and Carrie Sheffield, an interesting debate, one that clearly a lot of people are clearly having. Thank you for being on THE BEAT. That does it for our show. Chris Matthew was here on THE BEAT and now he`s on "HARDBALL" so stay tuned. Chris Matthews` HARDBALL up next.

MATTHEWS: Trouble in Alabama. Let`s play HARDBALL.

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