IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Donald Trump Jr. Messaged with WikiLeaks Transcript 11/13/17 The Beat with Ari Melber

Guests: Barbara McQuade, Joyce Vance

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: November 13, 2017 Guest: Barbara McQuade, Joyce Vance

KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST, "MTP DAILY": That is all for tonight. Chuck will be back tomorrow with more "MTP Daily". THE BEAT with Ari Melber starts right now. Ari, the hour goes by so much faster when you`re down here in DC.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST, THE BEAT: Well, Washington is a place with a lot of distraction. What can I say? Thank you, Katy.

TUR: I think we just have more fun down here. Maybe that`s what it is.

MELBER: Fun. Fun and games. Tonight, we have a lot of show to bring you. We begin with the breaking news, something you don`t often see, a full- blown Republican revolt in the scandal over Roy Moore exploding to a level rarely seen.

The big news here is that four days after those allegations first broke in "The Washington Post", accusing Moore of engaging in sexual activity with teenagers as young as 14, Mitch McConnell now tonight formally completely turning against him.

He says he believes the women accusers who have confronted Moore publicly. He says Moore should step aside. And that`s not all.

The man who is literally in charge of Senate re-election campaigns for the Republicans, Sen. Cory Gardner says tonight, if Moore wins, that`s still no good and that he is now saying the US Senate should expel him in the event of victory.

The talk of this extraordinary step is a sign of how fast this story is moving even inside loyal Republican circles in Washington.

Today, a new accuser - this is new from what we reported late last week. In a new press conference, Beverly Young Nelson making these allegations that Moore also sexually assaulted her. At the time, her age was 16. And she said, right off the top, this accusation has nothing to do with politics.


BEVERLY YOUNG NELSON, ACCUSER OF ROY MOORE: My husband and I supported Donald Trump for president. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the Republicans or the Democrats. It has everything to do with Mr. Moore`s sexual assault when I was a teenager.


MELBER: Nelson rounds out that accusation explaining she was a teenager, as you heard her say, that Moore was a DA, they were actually in a locked car. This next part I have to warn you is graphic.


NELSON: I thought that he was going to rape me. I was twisting and I was struggling and I was begging him to stop. At some point, he gave up. And he then looked at me and he told me - he said you`re just a child and he said I`m the district attorney of Etowah County. And if you tell anyone about this, no one will ever believe you.


MELBER: No one will ever believe you. That is the question on the table tonight. A new accuser who does believe her and how will the Republican Party and the Senate evaluate all this.

I`m also, of course, obligated to read you the response. Moore`s campaign saying, "Judge Moore," he`s ex-judge at this point, "is an innocent man, has never had any sexual misconduct with anyone."

"The New York Times" reporting meanwhile that there are at least two White House aides who have an idea to get the Republican Party out of this very obvious scandal mess.

The idea is that there might be a way to get Attorney General Jeff Sessions out of the cabinet and then the Alabama governor might appoint him to the senate if Moore were elected and expelled.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, a top Trump aide said this.


MARC SHORT, WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: Roy Moore has said that, this week, he plans to come forward with more evidence to support his innocence.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST, "MTP DAILY": And if that evidence doesn`t work, what does that mean? You guys are going to step in? Is this Senate seat that important?

SHORT: There`s no senate seat more important than the notion child pedophilia, Chuck. I mean, that`s the reality. But having said that, he has not been proven guilty. We have to afford him the chance to defend himself.


MELBER: I`m joined by "The Wall Street Journal`s" Shelby Holliday, as well as Joan Walsh, national affairs correspondent for "The Nation".

Joan, this has evolved a lot. Your take on what it means? And is the response from these senior Republicans in Washington different for a good reason or different because this is politically overwhelming?

JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, "THE NATION", AND MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it`s different for a good reason. I mean, it is politically overwhelming, but I`m going to give them the benefit of the doubt that they`re just disgusted by what they have heard, Ari.

And this woman who has come forward today is so painfully believable. We haven`t had that yet. We`ve had reports, interviews in print in "The Washington Post" and elsewhere that recount these awful experiences, but there`s nothing like when you are watching this woman fall apart.

MELBER: Can we pause on the point you`re raising? You used the term - you said painfully believable. And here`s a woman who has lived her life, this is for her an old and, clearly, a traumatic memory.

WALSH: And she says she`s a Trump supporter. She`s in Alabama. When you say painful, what kind of pain are you talking about?

WALSH: It`s painful to watch it as a woman. I hope as a man as well. I think you see authentic pain and grief in her tears from something that happened such a long time ago.

So, I think that that - a lot of these people came out before her testimony, but this is going to, I think, push more Republicans out of this "if it`s true" mentality.

I`m fascinated to see what the president will do.

SHELBY HOLLIDAY, REPORTER, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Well, I think the fact she was willing to go on camera - and not only did she say it doesn`t have to do with politics, but she also said I would be willing to testify, I would be willing to say this under oath. It makes it compelling.

You could see how hard it was for her to come forward and say these things. You`re not just reading a print article and some quotes.

But Roy Moore also says Gloria Allred is out to get him and he`s calling this a witch-hunt, which is a term we`ve heard throughout the past year.

And at this point, Alabama polls are unreliable. They came out right after this incident - or "The Washington Post" article. It`s unclear how voters are reacting. But at this point, you can certainly see some of these Republicans breaking away from Moore in down in Alabama because of these allegations.

MELBER: And what`s fascinating, Shelby, even if they don`t break away, we`re reporting on a special election to fill this seat - and the Republicans in Congress, if they`re to be believed are saying tonight, this is new as of Monday night, if the Republican wins, we`re going to expel him from the Senate.

HOLLIDAY: Right. So, that gets tricky because I was speaking to some legal experts today and they said, it would be hard for the Senate to expel a candidate whose allegations were known before the election.

In other words, voters knew what he was accused of. If they still choose to elect him, that gets him into political hot water. It`s not to say they can`t do it, but are you going to override the will of voters who knew about all of these allegations, who watched that video, who read these articles and still voted for the man?

MELBER: And here was the Sean Hannity interview, which has gotten a lot of attention. This is where Roy Moore did come out to speak on the record at least and discuss the aspects of this that are, I think, hard to put into words because they`re the permission of parents to date individuals and whatnot. Take a listen.


SEAN HANNITY, HOST, "THE SEAN HANNITY SHOW": Would it be unusual for you as a 32-year-old guy to have dated a woman as young as 17? That would be a, what, 15-year difference or a girl of 18? Do you remember dating girls that young at that time?

ROY MOORE, REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE FOR ALABAMA: Not generally, no. If I did, I`m not going to dispute anything, but I don`t remember anything like that.

HANNITY: But you don`t specifically remember having any girlfriend that was in her late teens even at that time?

MOORE: No. I don`t remember that and I don`t remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother.



WALSH: He`s all, but admitted it. Not the assault on the 14-year-old, but I don`t generally do that, I don`t generally - generally would mean maybe all of your girlfriends are 16. That wasn`t generally true. But it`s not a denial that somebody or two or three were 16.

The other thing that came out this weekend, Ari, I think first to "CNN" and then she posted herself on Twitter, another assistant district attorney who worked alongside Roy Moore said everybody knew he dated these young girls.

He went to football games and the malls to meet them. And we all thought it was kind of creepy.

MELBER: Right. And he signed yearbooks, which is not itself illegal.

WALSH: Do you have the shot?

MELBER: "To a sweeter, more beautiful girl, I could not say Merry Christmas." - this is Christmas 1977 -Love, Roy Moore, DA, Old Hickory House. Again, that`s what we would call circumstantial evidence. Alone, it doesn`t do much. It might - just as you used the word creepy or weird, unusual.

But together with the record - I`m also being told from the control room, there is breaking news from Sen. Lindsey Graham speaking out here on expulsion. Let`s see if we have that.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I suggested it would be best for him, the state, his family, the GOP and the country if he stepped aside. I just think there`s no good outcome for Mr. Moore. Even if you win, you lose because you`re coming to a body where people are already calling for your expulsion.


MELBER: It`s hard to think, Shelby, of any other race in at least modern political history where someone was actively running and being told -

HOLLIDAY: Please don`t run.

MELBER: Yes. Not only please don`t run, but the content of your accused of as been corroborated to the point that people in your own party, who generally would give you the benefit of the doubt in a political tie or a he said/she said - as is sometimes the quote, this is a he said/they said, not a he said/she said - very rare to see someone saying that from their own party.

HOLLIDAY: That`s a really good point. And these are senators and representatives who gave President Trump the benefit of the doubt just a year ago. So, the has turned with Roy Moore.

But we saw Sen. Jeff Flake just say, if I were voting in this election, I would vote for a Democrat. Sen. McConnell - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is saying I believe the women.

Everybody is asking Roy Moore to step down. So far, he`s given no clues that he is actually willing to do that.

MELBER: Shelby Holliday and Joan Walsh, thank you both. It`s an extraordinary story since it broke Thursday. It`s been our top story every night for good reason. Thank you both for your analysis.

We have a lot more, including Steve Bannon trying to do a "weaponized hit" on Judge Moore. He is explaining he`s going to hit back at fake news response.

Also, breaking into our newsroom this hour, there are new reports exposing Don, Jr. was privately conducting communications with WikiLeaks in the campaign. And the Mueller investigation hitting the White House. The key staff are questioned by the Mueller team.

And later in our hour, Mark Zuckerberg - I don`t know if you heard - he just finished a tour of America and mentioned all the time he spends abroad. I have a special breakdown tonight on just who he`s talking to overseas.

I`m Ari Melber and you`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.


MELBER: Our breaking story tonight, this political fight over Roy Moore actually boils down to what he`s accused of and who you believe. And this may be a test of the new fake news defense because it`s not just a choice between Roy Moore and Doug Jones now.

People are pushing a choice between Steve Bannon`s "Breitbart" and "The Washington Post`s" reporting. Bannon alleging the original report was a political hit. Here`s what he said before the new accuser came out today.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER CHIEF WHITE HOUSE STRATEGIST: We must find out that what happened down there was Republican operatives had this information or were concocting some of this information, working with "The Washington Post", had dropped this weaponized hit on Judge Moore and then bang, bang, bang, hit it right away with all of McConnell`s lackeys.


MELBER: Now, that tracks with Moore`s argument that the real scandal is the article.


MOORE: In the next few days, there will be revelations about the motivations and the content of this article. They will be brought to the public.

You`re going to find in the mainstream media, either tonight or tomorrow, I think there`s going to be some pretty interesting stories about how that information got dropped.

MELBER: Bannon going further. He`s sending two of his own employees from "Breitbart" to Alabama - this was over the weekend - with what appears to be an explicit agenda to discredit "The Post" reporting and boost their candidate.

Also, Moore says, he may sue "The Washington Post".

I`m now joined by the cohost of MSNBC`s "Velshi & Ruhle", Stephanie Ruhle, a journalist around these parts, and a former aide at the "Breitbart" organization Kurt Bardella who has found ways to break ranks with Bannon over some issues.

Stephanie, I start with you. As your journalist, there is plenty of political motivation in what comes to reporters and sourcing. But what do you think of Steve Bannon basically explicitly sending his staff out to help this candidate and find whatever they can with this fake news defense?

STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC CO-HOST, "VELSHI & RUHLE": The fake new defense is nonsense. Here`s why. It could be a political hit job and it also could be true. The two are not mutually exclusive. And Steve Bannon is playing a dicey political game here.

Let`s be honest, Steve Bannon wants to run for president. Steve Bannon has Rebecca Mercer and Bob Mercer behind him. This could actually, from a political standpoint, be a win for GOP leadership if they took this opportunity to say, this is too much. We`re not going to support a guy like that.

I understand - while I may not agree with it - why you saw Republicans stand with President Trump after the "Access Hollywood" tape came out because this is the president of the United States, this is the guy we`re betting on, it`s gone too far.

But we`re talking about the State of Alabama where lots of people in Congress haven`t even been. Why are you going to stake your career, why are you going to stake your reputation on this nonsense?

MELBER: "Breitbart" here is - Kurt, is, I guess, wading into new territory, right? I mean, they`re not just a website. They`re basically saying we`re going to go out and be what they call a rebuttal or a fact- check when actually it looks like they`re the fake news. But in classic projection format, they`re calling everyone else the fake news. Discuss.

KURT BARDELLA, FORMER "BREITBART" SPOKESMAN: Yes. They`re basically the propaganda arm of the Roy Moore campaign just as they acted that way for the Donald Trump campaign. They`re not a news organization. They`re not interested in finding facts, they are not interested in reporting objectively, they are interested in trying to spin and distort and, ultimately, really lie to the people that are reading "Breitbart" every day and trying to form informed opinions from there. It`s a scary prospect.

But, really, Steve is putting a lot on the line right now and he`s really jeopardizing the future. At some point, the candidates he`s going to line up behind, and he`s talked very bombastically about this league of extraordinary candidates that he`s going to run against all of Mitch McConnell`s guys in the Senate, they are going to get asked, how do you feel about having someone endorse you who stood by a child molester, a child predator, how do you feel about that?

It`s going to be organized against him. And it`s interesting he`s been quiet since the second person stepped forward today at the Gloria Allred press conference. It will be interesting to see if they change their tone at all after that because he`s really putting himself out on a limb all by himself.

RUHLE: Also, let`s talk about "Breitbart" for a moment. How long can "Breitbart` think they`re going to be taken seriously when they repeatedly write articles praising Steve Bannon, talking about Steve Bannon and his tough talk and his leadership when he runs the organization.

Remind me to start a newspaper that writes stories, damn, that Stephanie Ruhle, she`s great on TV. I mean, that is a joke on top of a joke.

When you look at that right there, that video that you showed, you`ve got Dina Powell sitting next to Steve Bannon when he was part of the White House, this is the woman who ran Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Initiative.

What pony is Steve Bannon getting on that he thinks this is going to get him to victory? Great. A very small sect of the country in a certain state are going to back him big time? How does he possibly think this is going to broaden his brand?

MELBER: Well - and, Kurt, you`ve worked around Republican politics. Mitch McConnell is not known for sticking out his neck out first. He`s known for reflecting, like a weather vane, what`s going on with his caucus.

Here he was saying I believe the women. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe these accusations to be true?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I believe the women, yes. I think he should step aside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you encouraging a write-in campaign for Sen. Strange?

MCCONNELL: That`s an option we`re looking at.


MELBER: Kurt, you see there. First of all, it`s important that he`s taking that stand regarding what the facts that have been gathered regarding the women`s accusations.

But, second, the expulsion, he`s not yet all the way there. We`ve reported on others. Walk us through the GOP on this right now.

BARDELLA: Well, this is turning out to be a perfect storm for Republicans in the senate. They cannot have someone who has been accused of these things being a United States senator, caucus with them, someone that they have to try to court their vote to move an agenda forward -

MELBER: Is it worse if he wins for the Republican Party?

BARDELLA: It`s a disaster for the Republican Party because one of two things will happen. They`ll either have to sit him and he`ll be there every day and this would be a story and a narrative that will not go away, or they`re going to try to expel him, which will create a completely different Republican versus Republican fight.

The conversation of trying to unseat someone who has been elected by the voters with all of this out there, that is not the narrative you want, especially going into 2018.

RUHLE: All right. Let`s talk risk management for a moment. Again, from a risk management perspective, by the time the "Access Hollywood" tape came out, when President Trump himself said I do what I want, I grab them by the X, you can do what you want when you`re a celebrity, Republicans looked at it, right or wrong, and said from a risk management perspective, I`ve got to go with this guy, I don`t want to see Hillary Clinton be the next president of the United States. You get that.

We`re talking about a small-time race in Alabama. Those two are not the same. This could actually be a moment for President Trump to say thanks, but no thanks. Think about how far that would go.

President Trump gets whacked right, left and center for morally reprehensible behavior. How about Ivanka Trump?

Ivanka Trump has said repeatedly that her brief is the advancement of women and girls. Now, she`s on this tax reform tour. She has been absolutely dead silent since election today.

I think, two weeks ago, in a speech overseas, she said no one should ever accept sexual harassment and made no comments about her father or anything else. How about now, Ivanka? You want to back women? This is your moment.

MELBER: Stephanie Ruhle, laying it down. Kurt Bardella, thank you as well for your insight.

And don`t forget to watch "Velshi & Ruhle". That`s weekdays 11 AM Eastern.

RUHLE: And 9 AM.

MELBER: Well, but without him.

RUHLE: Great. So, 9 AM, just me.

MELBER: 9 AM, that`s what we call an impromptu tease. Stephanie Ruhle, thank you.

Now, the other breaking story we`re going to get to. These new reports, Don, Jr. talking to WikiLeaks during the campaign. And why does Trump say he still believes Putin? Former intelligence directors say Trump is getting played. I have a former CIA staffer for insight.

And the Mueller investigation hitting the West Wing.

And then later, we reported on Mark Zuckerberg`s Russia meeting. Who else is he meeting abroad? I have a special breakdown later in the show.


MELBER: Donald Trump raised suspicions about his relationship with Vladimir Putin during this international trip.

Take a look at Dmitry Peskov. That`s Vladimir Putin`s spokesman. His job is to relate what Putin thinks just like Sarah Huckabee Sanders does for Trump.

So, it was a little odd that after the Putin-Trump meeting, Trump dabbled in the apparent role of spokesman for Putin by focusing on what he believes.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe that President Putin really feels, and he feels strongly, that he did not meddle in our election.

What he believes is what he believes.


MELBER: Trump added that he believes Putin when he tells me that. There`s this conventional wisdom, maybe you`ve heard it, that Trump says what he wants, sticks to his guns and gets away with all of it.

It`s not really true. Trump backtracks a lot in response to criticism which he got for these new comments.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Putin was a trained intelligence officer. He was trained to manipulate people and that`s exactly what he did here with President Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do think both the Chinese and Russians think they can play him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Mr. Putin is very clever in terms of playing to Mr. Trump`s interest in being flattered. And also, I think Mr. Trump is, for whatever reason, either intimidated by Mr. Putin, afraid of what he could do or what might come out as result of these investigations.


MELBER: And soon Trump was walking back his words.


TRUMP: As to whether I believe it or not, I`m with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with their leadership. I believe in our intel agencies.


MELBER: OK. So, what are we to make of this? Does Trump believe opposing things on different days? Maybe. Or maybe this isn`t about his true beliefs at all.

Maybe there are wider forces at play in this unusual approach to the Kremlin. After all, it was in a meeting with Kremlin diplomats at the White House when Trump boasted about relieving pressure by firing Comey and telling the Russians Comey was a "nut case", a firing that was notable for two reasons of interest to Bob Mueller.

One, Trump famously admitted the Russia thing was on his mind when he did the firing. And, two, Trump`s reasons for firing Comey involved Stephen Miller, who helped to draft the letter about it, a letter that actually never made it to Comey because the White House lawyer said it was too problematic.

We can tell you tonight that letter is in Bob Mueller`s possession and now so is Stephen Miller`s interview notes. We`ll explain.

Ned Price, a former CIA analyst, writing in "The Times" today that it is time to call out President Trump for the denial of Russian interference. And former US attorney Barbara McQuade.

We`re going to get to the Miller interview with Barbara. But, Ned, starting with you, everything I just reviewed is, as they would say in the famous movie "The Fugitive," it`s hinky, it`s weird, it doesn`t mean we know why, but it is weird. So, walk us through the diplomacy and the security here of Trump`s back and forth.

NED PRICE, FORMER CIA ANALYST: Well, Ari, I think what we actually see here from President Trump over the past few days is in some ways very familiar.

It`s a tragedy in three acts. It`s the same thing that we saw in the aftermath of Charlottesville. He starts out saying what he believes, in this case that Vladimir Putin was telling the truth, he didn`t know anything about this.

He backtracks, presumably at the urging of his aides, who noted the media firestorm this has created, and I`m sure very soon we`ll once again hear from President Trump his doubts about this Russia thing as hoax, as fake news.

This is a line that President Trump has propagated since even before he became president. In the third debate with Hillary Clinton, he casually cast aside these findings. He did the same thing as president-elect. And he`s done it before as president of the United States.

MELBER: Right. And, Barbara, Stephen Miller has this outsized role. It is extraordinary. We have so much news as is the case these days, but it would be extraordinary to just land in November and realize that this top aide to the president is being questioned in a criminal probe.

He`s not a former aide. He`s not a campaign aide anymore. He works in the White House. And to remind viewers, he is someone who has taken a very robust view of White House powers under Trump. Take a look.


STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: There`s no such thing as judicial supremacy. What the judges did, both at the 9th and at the district level, was to take power for themselves that belonged squarely in the hands of the president of the United States.

We have a president who has done more in three weeks than most presidents have done in an entire administration.

The end result of this, though, is that our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.


MELBER: But, Barbara, the powers of the president are being questioned. And Stephen Miller is literally being questioned.

BARBARA MCQUADE, FORMER UNITED STATES ATTORNEY FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN: Yes. And this tells me that Robert Mueller is still very focused on this investigation into obstruction of justice by President Trump. It seems that he wants to get to the early draft of this letter, explaining the reasons for firing Jim Comey. If those reasons are because I want you to stop the Russia investigation, and I think we have further evidence that the President may have been trying to obstruct this investigation by the firing. I think even the comments that Ned talked about relating to why President Trump acts so strangely with respect to Vladimir Putin, I think even that shows perhaps evidence of a motive to obstruct justice. He does not want Robert Mueller or anyone else to know what really happened in this election and does not want the world to know what Russia knows about him. It does seem like that as a possible motive.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: And Ned, I don`t know how much hip-hop you listen to. There`s a famous song "It`s going down in the DM" that refers to direct messaging. That`s sort of the new report here from the Atlantic about Don Junior DM`ing with WikiLeaks which itself is not if so facto automatically bad but it`s a secret correspondence that relates to your purview which is how the U.S. Government Intelligence Agencies view WikiLeaks at this point. I mean, he`s having this private DMs.

NED PRICE, NBC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, that`s right Ari. I have to admit, I`m not familiar with the song but I am familiar with the Twitter DM story. Look, I think this story tells us two things. One, it should put to -- put to rest any doubt that WikiLeaks was not in cahoots with the Russian government in propagating information that they had that they could get their hands on to advantage now-President Trump and denigrate then- president -- then-candidate Hillary Clinton. But secondly and I think, more importantly, it really shows two kinds of collusion.

One is that collusion that we`re most often focused on, that is the collusion behind closed doors, these furtive messages back and forth, the Trump Tower meeting. In this case, Don Junior corresponding with WikiLeaks, WikiLeaks secretly asking him to push out information which in at least one case he did. But secondly, it`s collusion in plain sight. It`s the type of collusion that we saw when President Trump during the final month of the campaign referenced WikiLeaks 163 times during that single month alone. It`s the collusion in plain sight that we saw when Don Trump -- Donald Trump Jr. sent out via Twitter the link that WikiLeaks asked him too. So --

MELBER: Well, let me-- let me go to Barbara because you`re saying it`s collusion in plain sight and there are a lot of national security reasons why that concerns people. But Barbara, the flip side legally is people who say well, collusion is not a crime, you need conspiracy to do something illegal. What is your legal analysis of any liability with the DMs here or is it just communication based on what we`ve seen from them?

MCQUADE: Yes, I think what we`ve seen so far is not on its face a crime but it really begs the question about are there further communications. If you look at the communications, it don`t sound like the first time they`re talking. There`s no who is this, why do you want from me? It sounds like part of an ongoing conversation. So if for example, you could show that Donald Trump Jr. or other members of the campaign were directing WikiLeaks or assisting them in hacking into computers, that could be a violation of federal statute that makes it a crime to hack into computers. And so, I think we want to know more of the story but this is certainly very alarming to see this kind of communication going on.

MELBER: Barbara McQuade and Ned Price, thank you both. I appreciate it. Coming up, if Roy Moore does win the Alabama race, could he face expulsion? Could he even face -- some are raising this -- charges somewhere, depending on the accusations that come out? It`s a breaking story. We have more on that tonight. And later, Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg wrapping up his U.S. tour. Tonight, I have a special breakdown beyond the U.S. and his work overseas and why it matters. That`s ahead.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- favor not seating him under Article One, Section Five?

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Yes. I think that-- I just don`t expect that it will get to that. I don`t think he can win a race now. I hope that we can get another Republican on the ballot. If we can`t, then there`s no way that we ought to support this Republican.


MELBER: That is breaking news there. Just into our newsroom airing for the first time. Another Republican Senator, this time Jeff Flake who`s tangled with Donald Trump on Roy Moore. And if he wins the Alabama election, the question is would the Senate try to stop him from serving? This is not a hypothetical anymore. Senator Cory Gardener who heads the Republican`s re-election efforts says if he refuses to withdraw and wins, he should be expelled. That takes the two-thirds vote. The Senate can expel a member.

Now, this has actually happened 15 times including fourteen members who were kicked out for the original sin of supporting the confederacy. But the last time this even came close in modern era was 1995 over sexual misconduct allegations. The Senate Ethics Committee voted unanimously to boot Oregon Senator Bob Packwood. There were multiple allegations of sexual harassment. Then, Packwood went ahead and resigned that day before a full Senate vote on expelling him. Who was the chairman of the Ethics Committee at the time, a younger Mitch McConnell?


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: The Committee has heard enough, the Senate has heard enough, the public has heard enough. He used physical coercion against his victims, frightening them and causing them severe emotional distress.


MELBER: I`m joined by CNBC`s John Harwood and a former U.S. Attorney in Alabama Joyce Vance who is a supporter of Democrat Doug Jones in that race. John Harwood, that was a different Mitch McConnell there saying that it was enough.

JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That`s right. And he said it`s enough today by removing the if true part of the statement. He came out and said I believe the women and the allegations they`ve made. And I do believe if Roy Moore wins the race, that Republicans would vote to expel him. However, by taking more aggressive stance, Mitch McConnell does two things, Ari. One is he protects his members not equivocating and making it seem like they`re taking a stronger stand. But secondly, if he, in fact, gets write-in campaign he is encouraging, that might ensure that Doug Jones wins the election because any write-in candidate, as long as Roy Moore`s name is still on the ballot is going to split the Republican vote. So Mitch McConnell may be making the calculation that protecting his current members of his caucus is more important than winning that 52 seat, holding that 52 seat.

MELBER: Joyce, you know this state, you know some of the law enforcement figures in the state. These new allegations coming out are rocking a lot of people in Washington who say they didn`t know. People around the country probably wouldn`t know. What do you know?

JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: So these allegations came as surprise in Alabama. Think what you will of Roy Moore, I don`t think very many people saw this coming outside. Apparently, we`re told of people who live in the Gadsden area. The question going forward is how today`s new revelation will hit Alabama voters. Tonight on the nightly news, many people who live here are seeing for the first time Beverly Nelson who came forward today. She discusses something more in line with what we saw young Senator McConnell describing, a violent assault. An assault where she was in essence kidnapped, detained in a car against her will, and efforts was made to assault her. She was shoved from the car. Whether or not this will changes the hearts and minds of Alabama voters, I think it`s something that`s very likely.

MELBER: And that`s a big question. We were just showing her speaking out there in the press conference on the screen. I want to play something from her lawyer, Gloria Alred who is a familiar face to many people in this kind of situations. And made the due process point that putting aside the statute of limitations or any criminal inquiry with regard to the Senate they could look hear testimony. They could look into this if it gets to that point. Take a listen.


GLORIA ALRED, AMERICAN ATTORNEY: We urge the United States Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a public hearing as soon as possible. Beverly is willing to voluntarily appear at such a hearing to testify under oath.


MELBER: John Harwood, that might be worthwhile or necessary depending on the outcome of this race. If there`s any kind of process like the one we`ve showed Mitch McConnell overseeing in the Ethics Committee context with Senator Packwood, also politically which it infuses all of this, it would be a nightmare for Republicans.

HARWOOD: It would. And that`s not going to come to pass, I don`t believe unless Roy Moore wins the race. But I agree with Joyce, it`s getting increasingly difficult to see him winning the race. The polling has tightened, there`s one outlier poll that showed Jones ahead. I think the more realistic Democrats think that this is competitive, that they`re in the game. But boy, Alabama has shown a penchant for electing theatrical clowns as Howell Raines, the former Editor with the New York Times who somehow put it in an op-ed over the weekend. But to combine the theatricality with the evidence of moral turpitude I think is something that even with a very conservative state, with a state that`s suspicious of the outside news media, suspicious of Democrats and Liberals, I think that`s going to be very difficult for Roy Moore. And if he does win, you`re right, that`s going to be a big headache for Republicans.

MELBER: And Joyce Vance, just briefly, we had the map before. The age of consent is in every state and federal law 14-year-old, you cannot legally consent. Any education there needed? Because we heard Alabama Republican officials imply that the 14-year-old could give it, which isn`t true.

VANCE: Right. That`s not true. And even as these young women become 15 or 16, there`s still some question under the law. But Ari, we`re not going to see a criminal prosecution here. Back at the point in time where these acts would have occurred, Alabama had a three-year statute of limitations. So that means this won`t be criminal. The real question like John says is, is this now enough for Alabama voters to put aside their dislike and their disdain for the media in Washington and New York and accept the allegations?

MELBER: Joyce Vance and John Harwood, thank you both on this story. Up ahead, Mark Zuckerberg just finished a very publicized tour all around America but it`s actually his trips overseas that bear more scrutiny. I have a special breakdown ahead. And later a deadlock in the key rivalry trial of Senator Menendez, an update for you on that tonight.


MELBER: This weekend Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg completed a tour of the U.S. that took him to 20 different states. And in his final address, he said many parts of America are foreign to him because he spends so much time abroad.


MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: Running Facebook, which is a global company, you know, I`m more likely to end up traveling to a capital city in another country than I am to a lot of places in our country.


MELBER: That`s a key point. What happens at Harvard doesn`t stay at Harvard. Facebook is a global company. 85 percent of its consumers are abroad. And while Zuckerberg does this P.R. talking to random customers in American cities, we should note he does government relations, talking to autocrats in a lot of those foreign capitals including his outreach to Putin`s prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, whom he met in Moscow in 2012. Zuckerberg posting on Facebook, at the time, good conversation with Medvedev. The New York Times reported then that Russia was an important test case for the balancing act Facebook is undertaking. Countries that are important commercially would have heavily regulated their old media if not censored it and adding two of Facebook`s largest investors are Russia. One of those investors was Yuri Milner and it wasn`t exposed until just last week that his stake in Facebook-linked directly back to Kremlin funding.

Now, of course, his foreign links are under new scrutiny because of Facebook responses to Russian meddling. But the public interest issue here is actually broader than Russia. And tonight, as part of our ongoing reporting about Facebook`s powerful and sometimes hidden role in geopolitics, let`s look at Facebook`s links beyond Russia to another authoritarian governments abroad. Take Turkey, where the Erdogan government has been condemned by human rights groups. In May, his guards even attacks protesters on American soil during a trip to Washington, D.C. The same government under investigation for potentially offering Mike Flynn a $15 million bribe to kidnap one of its enemies from right out of Pennsylvania.

Now, at times Facebook suggested would stand up to censorship in countries like Turkey. After the horrific Charlie Hebdo murder in Paris, a reprisal from publishing images of Mohammad, Zuckerberg said that when he reflected on the attack "we all need to reject a group of extremist trying to silence our voices of everyone around the world. I won`t let that happen on Facebook. I`m committed to building a service where you can speak freely without fear of violence," which sounded good. And then in Turkey Facebook began censoring yes, images of Mohamed himself. Zuckerberg though defended that action as required by local laws saying every country has laws limiting certain expression. Content that defames a Turk is illegal in Turkey.

Now, during that period in 2014, Turkey actually had the second highest number of censorship requests of any country in the world. And by the next year, Facebook increase in content restriction jump to 137 percent. Now the argument there in Turkey is legal that like it or not, they have to comply with those local laws. But how far does that logic go? It brings us to a last repressive government, China, with over a billion potential Facebook accounts just waiting to happen if Zuckerberg can win over those country`s leaders.

But the government actually banned Facebook there in 2009 after riots. The site is still accessible in Hong Kong and Taiwan. And this is another place where you can see Mark Zuckerberg`s hands-on priorities. Mark personally visiting the country seven times in just five years, just like he met with the Kremlin, a contrast to the man you see on the far right, sending only his lawyer to American Congressional hearings about Russian meddling. Mark has even touted his language skills there as well.


ZUCKERBERG: (Speaking Chinese)


MELBER: Zuckerberg and his lieutenant Sheryl Sandberg have long viewed China as a frontier for connecting the world.


SHERYL SANDBERG, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, FACEBOOK: You know, if your mission is to connect the entire world for all the reasons we`ve been (INAUDIBLE), you can`t connect the whole world and not China. Well, we`ll have issues but since for right now we`re not available and we don`t have immediate path to become available, it`s not -- these are not policy decisions we have to make.


MELBER: No, they`re not. At that time, the policy decision she was referencing was the one that is actually haunting Mark Zuckerberg today. How do you preach community empowerment and free speech and then go cut deals with China, Turkey, and Russia? In fact, our reporting shows the rougher the government, the more cards they hold. Former FBI Special Agent Clint Watts who was recently warning Congress that while the American constitution protects speech and profits for the social media companies, in countries like Russia, the government can literally shut off the internet or Facebook when they choose. He explained that on THE BEAT.


CLINT WATTS, FORMER SPECIAL AGENT, FBI: Russia has a choke point on the internet. They actually dominate. They have a system that actually sits on top of the internet cables that come into the country, and they can shut off these social media companies if they wanted to.


MELBER: That`s the kind of power standing between Zuckerberg and China`s markets, which is exactly why Facebook began developing censorship software to appeal to the Chinese government. The New York Times reporting Facebook quietly developed software to suppress posts, a feature created to help Facebook get into China. And the new feature "takes content blocking a step further by preventing that content from ever even appearing in China`s feeds in the first place if it was deployed." That`s what Facebook apparently was willing to consider to do to get into China.

Now, let me be clear. No one is saying that companies can function the same in every single country. Every global company has to follow a lot of different rules around the world. But this wider global lens is revealing for us here in America. Because once you see what Facebook is willing to do elsewhere, huddle with the Kremlin, cut the deals in Turkey, even innovate new censorship models in China, it`s a reminder that Mark Zuckerberg can get a lot done when he sets his mind to it, but when his money on his mind. And it puts Facebook`s claims of a kind of naive ignorance or technical inability in a new light.


ZUCKERBERG: Personally, I think the idea that in a 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.


MELBER: Crazy. Mark, as we`ve reported, backtracked on that. And Facebook did even hire fact checkers to deal with the fake news problem. But a new report today in the Guardian notes that Facebook refuses the disclose the data on the effort. And one of those very fact checkers tells the Guardian the fake information is still going viral. That`s from someone speaking anonymously from inside Facebook. So let`s take a breath and let`s note the huge contrast here for Mark Zuckerberg. In Turkey, Mark found a way to eliminate and censor posts at that government`s request. In China, Mark reportedly has his own engineers innovating new censorship tools as a kind of a menu for a government that hasn`t even allowed them in the country yet.

And in America, the nation where mark got his education and his network and his citizenship, and he tells us he can`t even clamp down on the fake news, let alone begin the harder work of reckoning personally with how Facebook was used by U.S. enemies to distort American democracy. But if you listen closely to Mark Zuckerberg, those contrasts are not apparent. They`re not on the surface. Because like a lot of people out in Silicon Valley, he still invokes the word responsibility as a mere brand. And he says he`s proud of how seriously Facebook takes its role as a news platform.


ZUCKERBERG: We build technology but, you know, we feel responsible for how it`s used. We don`t write the news that people -- that people read on the platform. But at the same time, we also know that we do a lot more than just distribute news and we`re an important part of the public discourse. And I -- you know, reflecting on 2016, this is just something that I am proud that people in this company take this so seriously. Because I know that people in our community are -- you know, we`re just a small part of it, the social fabric around the world but we are a part of that. And I think we do have a big responsibility to get that right and to keep on doing better and better.


MELBER: Something he`s proud of. Mark, if Facebook`s record right now on news and facts and censorship is what you`re proud of, what aren`t you proud of?


MELBER: I promised an update on the Menendez trial. The Jury said they`re deadlocked today and the judge is ordering them to reconvene tomorrow for more deliberations and we`ll have more updates on that as warranted throughout the week. But that does it for this show. I`m out of time. I`ll see you tomorrow at 6:00. HARDBALL with Chris Matthews starts now.



Copy: Content and programming copyright 2017 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2017 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.