Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: November 17, 2017 Guest: Nancy Giles, Bill Kristol, Howard Fineman, Renato Mariotti, Aisha Moodie-Mills, D.L. Hughley, Nancy Giles, Bill Kristol
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST, THE BEAT: Good evening, Peter. Thank you very much. Tonight, we begin with many important stories. There`s breaking news on Jared Kushner and the Russia probe, including our own NBC`s Ken Dilanian.
Also, there`s new poll numbers on Roy Moore and the Alabama Senate race that are in some ways surprising.
Later in the show, because it`s Friday, we have comedian and activist D.L. Hughley. I am excited about that.
But we start with our top story here. Donald Trump weighing in on allegations of sexual misconduct, but not the allegations against Roy Moore or not the allegations against Donald Trump himself. No, he is weighing in only on allegations against Senator Al Franken.
This is, we should note, Trump`s eighth day without directly addressing the pedophilia allegations against Moore, but he does criticize Al Franken "lecturing" about sexual assault.
Now, as we have reported, the allegations against Moore and Franken and Trump are each quite different. Though Trump`s decision to selectively address allegations against others did raise a barrage of questions about these new attacks as well as his past today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it also fair to investigate this president and the allegations of sexual misconduct made against him by more than a dozen women?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, I think that this was covered pretty extensively during the campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How is this different?
SANDERS: I think, in one case, specifically, Senator Franken has admitted wrongdoing and the president hasn`t. I think that`s a very clear distinction.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some critics have said that it was hypocritical of the president to tweet about Al Franken and not weigh in on Roy Moore.
SANDERS: He has weighed on Roy Moore. He did it while he was on a foreign trip in Asia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it still the White House`s position that all the women who have accused the president of sexual misconduct are lying?
SANDERS: The president has spoken about this multiple times throughout the campaign and has denied all of those allegations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Several political leaders and commenters arguing, though, throughout the day and tonight that Donald Trump really shouldn`t be the one throwing stones in this particular debate.
There`s a new report that quotes some of the 14 women who have accused Donald Trump of misconduct, saying, "I feel like we were forgotten about and there was no justice."
The White House responding by saying that, in contract, and you just heard some of this, they say, well, Donald Trump never admitted wrongdoing, while Al Franken does.
But there are other political leaders tonight, independent analysts and some feminist advocates who say the issue is whether the allegations are true, not only how accused politicians respond.
Reporters Jennifer Bendry and Igor Bobic surveying several Republican senators today on why they believe Moore`s accusers and not Trump. And I`m going to read to you what those writers summarized their finding as because they interviewed several Republican senators. And they say they have no idea why and they don`t want to talk about it. That`s one report about those Republicans.
Now, that`s the state of play in Washington. What about Alabama? This is that new polling I mentioned, and it`s got some striking shifts. First, the new Fox News poll suggesting the allegations are hurting Moore, he`s down eight points to Democrat Doug Jones. That`s a big shift.
On whom voters believe in Alabama, now they`re split. Thirty-eight percent say they believe these allegations against Moore. Thirty-seven percent say they do not.
Some Republicans leaving Moore. Thirteen percent say they will now vote Democratic. But the largest gap in Alabama is a gap seen across the nation, a gap between genders.
We can report for you that Moore holds a 12-point lead among men in Alabama right now and he trails among women by 26 points. If those numbers were to hold, Moore would probably lose this once Republican safe seat because of a coalition of women across party lines.
I`m joined now by Nancy Giles, an Emmy award commentator and host of "The Giles Files Podcast" on iTunes; Joan Walsh, national affairs correspondent at "The Nation"; and Bill Kristol, editor-at-large for "The Weekly Standard."
Joan, what do you think of those numbers?
JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, "THE NATION" AND MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: They`re amazing and they`re impressive and they`re encouraging, Ari, because they have to include some Republican women, some independents, white women.
A lot of us were very disappointed back last November that white women went for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton despite those allegations of those 14 women. So, to learn now that Alabama women are taking these accusers seriously and it`s changing their votes presumably, that`s great news.
NANCY GILES, HOST, "THE GILES FILES PODCAST": I agree. I mean, it`s the coalition that we hoped had happened for the presidential election that didn`t. Maybe it`s a giant wake-up call, maybe it`s the details and the amount of women that were witnesses to it and the detailed reporting of "The Washington Post" and every other news organization about what happened.
Maybe it`s a little detail like Roy Moore calling that other girl and saying what are you doing right now and she said I`m in trig class.
I mean, the idea of a person that`s running for Senate that could say something as absurd as, well, I`ve got all the mothers` permission before I did, that`s just - it`s messed up, it`s wrong, and I applaud Alabama women right on.
MELBER: Bill Kristol, in politics, we often use categories, and they are often overly determined. We turn to you sometimes as a conservative and sometimes as a Republican.
I`ll turn to you - having heard these two guests, I turn to you as a man. What do you think as a man hearing that the big gap right now in Alabama is male voters in what is, obviously, a more conservative state still sticking by Roy Moore and women voters of various parties really turning on him and appearing to believe the women and believe this is disqualifying.
BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Well, I salute the women of Alabama. But I would say, incidentally, the gap among men is only 12 points. I bet in a normal Republican/Democratic race, the gap is 25 points.
So, I bet there`s been - if you look at the "Fox" poll, I believe there`s erosion among both sexes and there are some men who care about this issue.
I think someone mentioned - Joan and Nancy mentioned Alabama women. I think that`s very important. These are charges made by women who live in Alabama, who have lived in Alabama. It`s not some outer state.
Roy Moore`s campaign keeps saying it`s an outer-state hitjob by "The Washington Post", but these are women on the record talking about what happened in their state. And that, I think, makes it really credible and brings it home to the citizens of the state.
I notice that the Moore campaign, and this is clever, if you want to give him credit for cleverness on this, is trying to make it all about Gloria Allred, an out-of-state lawyer who shows up with her client and not making it about the actual women in Alabama who were the original focus of "The Washington Post" story, really about whom the most shocking claims have come and utterly unrebutted incidentally, I believe, right?
The original really shocking claim about the 14-year-old girl, there`s no contesting of that, is there? And calling the high school and getting - pulling the girl out of trig class, that`s not being contested.
Look, Moore has learned from Trump, never admit anything. Deny everything. Find one possible weak point, the signature or something in the yearbook, who even knows, go on the attack, obsess about that, attack Gloria Allred.
It`s just like Trump with Russia. Don`t bother even talking about it. Just attack Hillary Clinton and the uranium case.
GILES: I know. I totally agree with Bill. And the thing about it is that Trump just obfuscates. He throws other things in the way, so that people can be distracted.
Moore`s attorney wanted to focus on whether the yearbook is actually legitimate, whether it`s authentic, which again doesn`t say that he didn`t do it, doesn`t say that he didn`t sign it or anything like that. It`s these weird offshoot things that they can try to focus on and distract people from the main thing, which is the guy likes teenaged girls and had no problem showing it.
WALSH: And pretty much told Sean Hannity that last week. I mean, that`s what got him in a lot of trouble.
GILES: That was the most bizarre -
WALSH: Even for Republicans, that set of interviews, conversations that he had with Sean Hannity where he was like, I can`t say, I didn`t generally date teenagers -
GILES: But if I did it, I ask their mothers.
WALSH: And anybody I dated, I ask their mothers. If you need to ask somebody`s mother, you should not date them.
GILES: Don`t you think that`s not a defense?
MELBER: That was a definite admission against interest would be how it would go. If you had someone on the stand and you got them that far, that would hurt their defense.
The other part of this is what is sometimes called the counteroffensive, Joan, or the head fake. The idea that if you intend to countersue, and Roy Moore has talked about doing that and talked about going after these women that that somehow might make it seem - I`m not saying this is true, but might make it seem like you had some winning arguments on your side.
Here was how Donald Trump famously predicted he would do something that he did not ultimately do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She said I made inappropriate advances. Look at her. Look at her words. You tell me what you think. I don`t think so. I don`t think so.
Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you. Man! You don`t know. That would not be my first choice.
Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign. Total fabrication. The events never happened. Never! All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Joan, there`s much to deal with there. I would only ask you to start with the threat he didn`t make good on because we are seeing that replayed. And I will stress it again in fairness. Not everything here is the same. But there are some of the same tactics of trying to get voters to think, well, if Moore is going to sue, maybe he has a point. But Donald Trump never did that.
WALSH: Donald Trump didn`t do it. Roy Moore isn`t going to do it. But let me say, let me give Roy Moore just a little bit of credit here, Ari, because he`s not such a pig that he has yet said that these girls were too unattractive for him to harass them.
And that`s basically what Donald Trump was saying. And I was in Greensboro where he said it. I was there in the crowd and the crowd loved it. Look at her. Would I ever?
So, Roy Moore, let`s give him some credit. He hasn`t done that yet.
GILES: Well, when he made those remarks, I remember in seeing the crowd`s reaction, thinking I am now living in bizarro world. This is what this guy is using as an excuse for repeated accusations that were eerily similar of sexual misconduct.
Why would I pick her? And the crowd, not an all-guy crowd, women also were going to go, yes, she wasn`t cute enough. It`s crazy. It`s sickening.
Yes. You`re right, at least Roy Moore didn`t do that. Isn`t that sad? That`s a low bar.
MELBER: As they say, I`ve use this line before, but it keeps arising. There`s a country music line, Bill Kristol, "from the gutter to you is not up." And in the case of those kind of statements about trying to excuse that kind of conduct, it might apply to people who say it the Trump quote (ph) there.
Bill Kristol, final thought from you, though, on the Republican politics of this. Washington is saying no. Alabama, we reported, is split. What happens to the GOP with the Roy Moore situation?
KRISTOL: As I see, the Governor of Alabama said she`ll support Roy Moore. The congressmen are supporting him. I think once you rationalize Trump, you leads you down a path where you rationalize all kinds of Trump-like behavior, and that`s what`s happening here.
MELBER: Joan Walsh, I want to thank you for being here. Nancy Giles and Bill Kristol, stay with me. We have a lot more on a Friday on THE BEAT.
Coming up, that other breaking story on the Russia case. Details about Jared Kushner`s back door overture with the Russians.
And new reports on Steve Bannon`s potentially secret role in backing up Roy Moore. What is he saying to Sean Hannity?
And later, I`m going to tell you about the late-night vote that moved the Senate one step closer not only to tax reform, but to gutting Obamacare and quite a shouting match as Democrats try to stop it.
And later, the comedian, the activist, the man, D.L. Hughley is here on THE BEAT. Couldn`t be more excited for something to brighten up this week.
I`m Ari Melber. You`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.
MELBER: Breaking news. MSNBC reporting on a previously undisclosed meeting between Jared Kushner and a Putin ally. Now, this was first hinted at in a letter from the Senate Judiciary Committee to Kushner`s lawyer, which we reported on earlier this week, asking for e-mails that had not apparently not been properly disclosed about a "Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite" that Kushner allegedly shared with a campaign official.
Now, all of this relates to a Putin ally named Alexander Torshin. He is a banker and he has been alleged to have links to Russian organized crime.
NBC`s Ken Dilanian, part of the team breaking this story; and I`m joined by global editorial director for "Huffington Post" Howard Fineman; and former federal prosecutor and a current candidate for Illinois attorney general, Renato Mariotti.
A mouthful of panelist introductions and a mouthful of a story, Ken. I want to begin with you explaining why this matters and then give you the chance to explain the other piece to this, which is that Kushner may have known more about WikiLeaks contacts than he admitted under oath in his interviews with Congress.
KEN DILANIAN, NBC NATIONAL SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE REPORTER: Sure, Ari. Well, as you can imagine, as soon as the Senate Judiciary Committee said that there had been a Russian backdoor overture that Jared Kushner failed to disclose, we all set about trying to report on what exactly that was.
And the answer finally emerged from sources today that it involved this character, Alexander Torshin, who is the deputy head of the Russian central bank and also has been accused by Spanish prosecutors of having mob ties. Now, he denies this.
And the interesting thing, why I think this matters is because, according to our reporting, Kushner ended up rejecting the idea of a meeting with this guy. But then, he shows up at a private dinner with Donald Trump Jr. at a National Rifle Association event back in May 2016, around the time all these e-mails were happening.
Apparently, he did succeed in infiltrating his way into the Trump inner circle. And this is a guy who is close to Vladimir Putin and who has these alleged criminal ties that he denies.
What`s also important about this is that Kushner failed to disclose this, according to the Senate Judiciary Committee, failed to disclose that he was on this e-mail chain, so it`s another in the latest round of disclosure problems with Jared Kushner.
MELBER: And WikiLeaks?
MELBER: On WikiLeaks, Jared Kushner was asked in his testimony to the congressional committees whether he was aware of any contacts, any campaign contacts with WikiLeaks, and he said not that I know of.
But we know from the reporting in "The Atlantic", confirmed to us by sources today, that Don, Jr. forwarded an e-mail to him about his contacts with WikiLeaks on Twitter and Jared Kushner forwarded that on to (INAUDIBLE) -
MELBER: And this goes - let me go to Renato on this because, Renato, this is where there is a big difference between testimonial forgetfulness and evidentiary forgetfulness.
And I`m not just speaking that way because I want to be as annoying as possible. I`m speaking that way because lawyers know that it is possible, as Jared Kushner has said and others have said, I get so many e-mails I don`t remember it, I don`t remember it on the spot.
If you want to be kind you can give benefit of the doubt to that testimonial forgetfulness. But walk us through from your view as a prosecutor and one who has handled a lot of these matters why it looks so much worse with e-mail because you`re not on the spot. You have a team of lawyers that can go through all the e-mails and are supposed to fork them over.
RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, that`s right. So, look, in terms of answering questions in front of Congress, one of the questions that I get from folks on Twitter all the time is, hey, how do they keep saying I forget this, I don`t recall that, how do they get away with that?
And the truth is that in order - while it`s a crime to testify falsely before Congress or to lie even to an FBI agent, you have to prove that the person knowingly and willfully did so.
So, for example, if he says I didn`t - if he told Congress I did not communicate with WikiLeaks or I don`t believe anyone in the campaign did and now you can see that he was forwarded the DMs, he can say, look, I forgot. I get, like you said, I get a million e-mails. I totally forgot.
And the government would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. So, you talked about doubt a minute ago. Beyond a reasonable doubt, they`d have to prove that he knowingly and willfully was lying when he made that statement.
Whereas if, on the other side, you are talking about, Ari, if you`re disclosing - if you fail to disclose e-mails that you do have, that`s going to raise a lot more questions business, as you point out, you have a team of lawyers. Jared Kushner is able to afford and has hired some really high-powered lawyers to look through this stuff.
And so, it`s going to be very hard for them to explain why they did not produce documents that were requested by Congress.
Now, I don`t know -
MELBER: Let me bring Howard in. I mean, Howard, the other guy has got big questions. You get the simplest one, no offense.
HOWARD FINEMAN, GLOBAL EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, "HUFFINGTON POST": Well, thank you.
MELBER: But there`s a thing called Ctrl+F. And you can Ctrl+F for WikiLeaks and make sure, if you`re looking for it, that it exists on any of the documents and hand them over to Congress if they ask for them.
Why don`t you walk us through how Chuck Grassley got mad enough about this to be involved because he`s a Republican. I don`t think he`s going to be just willy-nilly about this.
FINEMAN: No. And when congressional committees, especially ones with subpoena power and investigative duties on the Hill, ask for documents, they want the documents. And you either produce them or you don`t produce them. It`s not as fuzzy as you were saying about recollection.
There are subpoenas that you can issue for documents, and that`s really what`s at stake here. But the larger picture is we see increasingly numbers of areas where the investigators, both on the Hill and Bob Mueller, are looking at areas of possible collusion.
You`ve got that meeting at the Trump Tower. You`ve got the relations with WikiLeaks, which is presumed to be a Russian front and has been called so by the American intelligence agencies.
You`ve got Jared Kushner increasingly looking as a center of traffic, if you will, of possible Russian connections. And you`ve got the campaign meetings. You remember Papadopoulos talking about that campaign meeting the other week.
So, this is like a disease that`s spreading in different areas. And you look for the hot spots and Mueller and the other investigators have many more of them now than we knew about a month or two ago.
MELBER: So, speaking on that then, Ken, you hear all this, what is the plan moving forward then on the congressional investigation side with this issue?
DILANIAN: Well, they want Jared Kushner to come back up and testify and explain these new discoveries.
MELBER: And you`re saying they want Jared Kushner in a way they didn`t before to come back. That`s how big this is?
DILANIAN: Oh, yes, absolutely. No, this is a big discrepancy on the WikiLeaks thing and also on the disclosure issue. And I`ve heard from a lot of people who really want him to explain, in particular, his testimony on WikiLeaks, how he could say that he was not aware of any contacts between WikiLeaks and the campaign, Ari.
MELBER: And, Howard, sometimes you have an extra meeting with someone because you miss them. You want to see them again. But this is a little different than that.
FINEMAN: Yes. And, again, it`s about how come you didn`t produce the stuff you were supposed to produce? And that`s crucial.
As you know as a lawyer, when you ask for documents, you either turn the documents over or you don`t. If later, people find documents that you didn`t turn over, that is a much more clear-cut case of lack of cooperation with investigators than a lack of memory.
MELBER: Renato, final thought?
MARIOTTI: Sure. I think I suspect Kushner is going to be able to get off the hook with Congress in terms of criminal or more serious liability. But they should be asking questions. And if your senators are not, you need to be pressuring them to do so because it`s pretty outrageous.
MELBER: All right. Ken and Renato, thank you very much. Howard, stick around. We have more on this Friday edition of THE BEAT with you.
And up next, the puppet master. NBC News now reporting on what Steve Bannon was secretly telling conservatives about how to handle the Roy Moore scandal and a fight erupting over what could be Donald Trump`s last chance to gut Obamacare. We have some amazing footage. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAYLA MOORE, ROY MOORE`S WIFE: We as women are united in our support for Judge Roy Moore.
He is a hero.
He`s an honorable Christian man.
He`s been tried and convicted by the mainstream media.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Roy Moore defiant in his race for the Senate tonight. His campaign featuring his wife, clergy, and other women leaders who are still backing the ex-judge, amidst these allegations from now nine women accusing him of sexual misconduct. That`s the story in public.
But we also want to show you some new reports about what`s happening in private. Steve Bannon reportedly exerting his influence, trying to rally or cajole Republicans who are still thinking about ditching Moore in Alabama.
NBC reporting Bannon push back on key players, including personally lobbying Sean Hannity, allegedly telling him to "shut it down" when it comes to criticizing Moore over allegations of, yes, let`s remember, pedophilia.
The report comes amidst Hannity`s backtracking because he had talked tough about Moore and set that 24-hour deadline and then backed down.
Bannon also leaning on establishment conservatives and telling them allegedly to "back off." Bannon comparing the Moore scandal, as some other have, to the "Access Hollywood" tape, arguing, though, that that did not hurt trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE BANNON, FORMER CHIEF WHITE HOUSE STRATEGIST: Billy Bush Saturday to me is a litmus test. It`s a litmus test. People didn`t care. They knew Donald Trump was just doing locker room talk with a guy and they dismissed it. It had no lasting impact on the campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: I`m joined now by Aisha Moodie-Mills, president of Victor Fund, and back with me Howard Fineman in Washington.
Aisha, at the top of the show, we covered a lot of this on the ethics and on the hypocrisy. I want to talk to you about the narrative because Steve Bannon is saying something there that may be upsetting to people, but that I think some people believe, which is, well, maybe all that stuff didn`t hurt Donald Trump.
Is that even true or did it hurt Donald Trump, as evidenced in the fact that he got fewer votes than the first woman nominee running, that he has the lowest approval rating of any president in modern history, that we are living through weird times, yes, but maybe the bad stuff people heard had an effect even if through the electoral college he became president?
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS, PRESIDENT AND CEO, VICTORY FUND: I really appreciate talking about the narrative here, Ari, because this guy is a puppet master and propaganda machine.
MELBER: Steve Bannon?
MOODIE-MILLS: Steve Bannon. So, all Steve Bannon has done over the last several years was create false narratives or to create narratives to try to move the American public in directions that they didn`t even they wanted to go or did want to go.
So, yes, I think that to your original question, I think that it absolutely hurt Donald Trump. The reality, though, is that it didn`t hurt him enough to keep him from becoming president.
And the fact that Steve Bannon would sit there and try to spin this as well, these conversations about assault and pedophilia and just harassment of women generally don`t actually matter and people don`t care is really problematic. And he is absolutely the guy focused on the narrative and that is what is so problematic about this.
MELBER: And, Howard, I`d love to get your thoughts on that as well as listen to this exchange in the White House briefing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Steve Bannon is sending a strong message to the establishment to back off of Roy Moore. Is the president`s allegiance Steve Bannon in any way influencing his response?
SANDERS: The president doesn`t have an allegiance to Steve Bannon. The president has an allegiance to the people of this country and nothing else.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Has he spoken all to Bannon or any others?
SANDERS: Not that I`m aware of.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FINEMAN: Well, first of all, Steve Bannon doesn`t feel threatened by Donald Trump. Steve Bannon ran Roy Moore against the sitting senator Luther Strange and won the primary, won the Republican primary. Bannon thrives on this kind of conflict. I would expect him to be down in Alabama, walking the pair of cigar and hand you know, with his cane as he plays Winston Churchill of the Deep South in his own mind.
MELBER: I don`t get the reference but it is evocative.
FINEMAN: Well, the thing is he wants to take on the -- he wants to take on the establishment. Roy Moore is his way of doing it. He would rather lose with Roy Moore than go begging to the White House on this. And I don`t think Donald Trump is going to -- Donald Trump is going to help up to a point, but he`s certainly not going to take on Steve Bannon directly, I don`t think. President Trump has already lost that ball game. He committed lots of time and effort and money to try and support Luther Strange, and Bannon rolled him in Alabama. Donald Trump, I think, is going to stay away and guess hope without saying directly that Roy Moore wins the race.
MELBER: Well, this is important Aisha, I think Howard makes a deep point here about the shrinking role of Donald Trump who is the President of the United States, lawfully elected. But there is a little bit of a mall cop at a distance thing here where from far away, you`re like is that a big cop? And if he`s yelling at you -- and then you get up close, no, it`s a mall cop and there`s nothing wrong with being a mall cop but it`s different than being a police officer.
And Donald Trump went around the country yelling at everybody what a great, powerful businessman he was and how he was going to reform the Republican Party. I was at the rallies and he was telling people we`re going to drain the swamp. We`re good at this. They don`t know what they`re doing. And speaks to Howard`s point that actually it`s the Steve Bannons and local Alabama Republican officials that are running this game and Donald Trump has had his larynx removed for eight-day because he has nothing to say about these allegations of pedophilia.
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS, PRESIDENT, VICTORY FUND: Yes, well, you know, I think we`re really realizing that Donald Trump didn`t actually win an election. He was actually the guy who was in the right place at the right time and there are a whole lot of other puppet masters including Vladimir Putin who actually helped him win an election. And Steve Bannon is rubbing that in his face right now for sure. One thing I want to highlight though is that we are still playing politics and letting all these guys poke out their chest and like you know, dance with one another or not around who`s actually going to win.
And the truth is that nobody is really acknowledging these women who are coming out and speaking out. The fact that there was a rally today of these women who didn`t even acknowledge the fact there are several women who are in pain, right, who have like allegations that are true, who have experienced something that was hurtful is really important and it matters and people are watching that. And so I think that part of the narrative does matter, the part that it`s not actually there, having women all over this country are seeing that and hearing that and hearing what`s not being said. That`s why "Me Too" has really jumped up. I think it`s going to hurt the Republicans in the 2018 election, the fact that they have no empathy, that they don`t care about women and what`s happening to them. I think it`s really going to come to bite them at the end of the day.
MELBER: Well, it`s a point that requires more meditation but is a fitting one to stop and reflect on so thank you. Aisha Moodie-Mills and Howard Fineman, thank you, both. Ahead, this clash getting personal over a plan that could be Donald Trump`s last hope to actually gut ObamaCare.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: With all due respect, I get sick and tired of the --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Regular order, Mr. Chairman. Regular order.
BROWN: -- and over and over again. How many times --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Talk about reclaiming my time. We`ll show you more of that next and why it matters. And also as promised the great D.L. Hughley on Trump and Bob Mueller and politics in America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: The first thing they want to do is give tax cuts to the rich. That`s just what`s -- it`s in their DNA. It`s what they`re going to do.
SEN. ORIN HATCH (R), UTAH: I come from the lower middle-class originally. We didn`t have anything. So don`t spew that stuff on me. I get a little tired of that crap.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Tired of it. Well, another story in Washington that could actually impact your money and your health care is this Republican march towards a tax bill this week and it`s not just about taxes. Democrats now warning that this bill would cut Medicaid and it also includes a poison pill for ObamaCare. Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown went in on Republican Senator Orrin Hatch about the bill last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: I saw the playbook on how President Trump and majority Republicans were going to sell this tax cut because they know -- they fundamentally, intuitively know, all of you do, that the public always knows that when Republicans are in power, the first thing they want to do is give tax cuts to the rich. That`s just what it`s in their DNA. It`s what they`re going to do. We know that. So they fundamentally -- and the Chairman laughs but he knows over 40 years that`s always true, but the public fundamentally just intuitively, almost viscerally understands that that`s what they`re going to do so the tax cuts are not really going to be for the middle class no matter how many times they sing that song. How many times do we do this before we learn this?
HATCH: Listen, I`ve honored you by allowing you to spout off here. And what you said was not right. That`s all I`m saying. I come from the lower middle class originally. We didn`t have anything. So don`t spew that stuff on me. I get a little tired of that crap.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Here are the numbers. The bill would raise taxes on most Americans making less than $75,000 by the time all the changes run their course through2027. Now if you are a member of Donald Trump`s family and you`re watching right now, just a few people, you would get a break of ultimately over $1 billion. Now Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill also gave Senator Hatch the business about real cuts to Medicaid and his fake news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: So, in order to save these poor people $43 billion, you`re cutting $364 billion --
HATCH: Senator if you would yield -- if you would just yield for a second. There are no cuts to Medicaid in this bill.
MCCASKILL: I beg your pardon, this is the CBO score, Mr. Chairman. I`m reading right off the CBO score. $179 billion in reduced Medicaid subsidies.
HATCH: Well, there are no cuts.
MCCASKILL: I beg your pardon. That`s where the money is coming from. Where do you think the $300 billion is coming from? Is there a fairy that`s dropping it on the Senate? The money you`re spending is coming out of Medicaid and subsidies to people who make less than $50,000. So you`re trying to shop this baby like you`re giving a $43 billion savings to people who make $50,000 a year?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: You can see why this matters. Now the committee that was meeting just there, they passed this bill. No Democrats supported it. And here is one of the most important and under-reported developments in this whole week we`ve had. As I mentioned at the top, this same bill would destroy a key part of ObamaCare, the individual mandate. Some estimates say that would ultimately result in the loss of health care for 13 million Americans. To put that in Claire McCaskill`s words, a lot of people would suffer unless a fairy dropped some new plan on the Senate. And this tax bill could definitely end up as an ObamaCare repeal bill and a lot more on where this is headed next week.
As for our next segment, something a little different. One of the original kings of comedy is here. D.L. Hughley on THE BEAT talking comedy, politics, and a whole lot more, that`s next.
MELBER: On Fridays, we do like to lighten it up a little on THE BEAT. And I`m pretty excited about our next guest. One of the original kings of political comedy, D.L. Hughley. He broke out on the scene as a comic on Russell Simmons iconic Def Comedy Jam on HBO.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: D.L. Hughley!
D.L. HUGHLEY, STAND -UP COMEDIAN: Welcome to Def Jam. (INAUDIBLE) black president, you all get ready for questions at the White House you never heard before.
Mr. President, Air Force One is your plane, not your shoes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: The show recently celebrated Def`s 25th anniversary. D.L. was there with his good friend Dave Chappelle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUGHLEY: I hate reading. I always have. I hate the School House Rock. I hate it all.
DAVE CHAPPELLE, COMEDIAN: I used to love School House Rock. As a matter of fact, the only reason I understand what`s happening in the news is because of School House Rock.
HUGHLEY: I`m just a bill. Yes, I`m only a bill and I`m standing here on Capitol Hill
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: But it turns out D.L. Hughley isn`t always looking at politics only through the lens of humor. He has gotten really serious about the Trump Presidency, a side that we`ve seen with other late-night comics in this era. Seth Meyers weighing in on the Charlottesville rallies in a serious way, Jimmy Kimmel making that emotional appeal about health care, and the great Dave Chappelle saying look, the whole Trump thing actually makes it harder for comedians. Now Hughley and I recently got to connect because it turns out he is obsessed with the Russia probe, an issue we discussed on his podcast and in our conversation I started by asking why he`s following Russia so closely.
HUGHLEY: Because I think that America hated the Kenyans so much that they -- that they let the Kremlin decide who the President was.
MELBER: You`re saying -- you`re saying Americans hated the Kenyans. You are referencing the birth of Barack Obama that then they went with the Kremlin. What do you mean?
HUGHLEY: Sure, sure, sure. Absolutely. I clearly believe they it had any other elected official, had that been a Democrat or anybody with that tenuous connection, they wanted to investigate Hillary Clinton`s e-mails like it`s ironic to hear Donald Trump talking about Hillary should be investigated. She`s been investigated for 30 years. But the -- yet the Russia -- the Russia scandal has gone on too long. Those arguments are like kind of don`t compute.
I`ve been going -- my investigation has been going on for six months but the other one it went off for years has not been long enough. But I just - - I honestly think that if you had anybody else in this kind of situation with this many liars and tenuous connections, that you can`t tell me a person that isn`t connected to Russia in some -- the high-level person that hasn`t had some undisclosed interactions with Russia. And I think people always talk about the smoking gun. But if you watch any crime show you know you don`t need a smoking gun, you need a preponderance of the evidence.
MELBER: Right. Well, and you mentioned the undisclosed aspect whether it`s Jeff Sessions keeping it from the Congress, which is going to be a big issue, he`s testifying soon or Jared Kushner. On your podcast, we talked about this because you speak sometimes you know, even more clearly and bluntly than I do. Let`s play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUGHLEY: I`m going to speak to you from a candidate who comes from a different perspective. My mother said if you`re not telling the truth you`re lying, right? Is that a lie?
MELBER: I could -- go ahead, go ahead.
HUGHLEY: Jeff Sessions lied, right, on the form, right?
MELBER: He didn`t tell the truth because he didn`t -- well Kushner did not disclose the contacts and Sessions in Congress did not disclose Russia contact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And you explained to me that sometimes even if it`s not technically provable, you can tell when you think someone`s lying.
HUGHLEY: Rich white people get to obfuscate. They get to say -- they get to have the gradations of the truth. But there is -- Donald Trump is by far known to be a liar, a prevaricator, we know he lies a lot.
MELBER: The Washington Post found he lied more than any other president.
HUGHLEY: We don`t need a newspaper to do it. All you have to do --
HUGHLEY: He lies a lot about a lot of things. He lies when the truth will do. And so, you have Jared Kushner who lied, you have Don Junior who lied, you had Manafort who lied. It`s hard to find a person that told the truth. It`s just amazing how Donald Trump proves that a white dude`s luck is better than a black guy`s Harvard education. Because you would never tolerate --can you imagine America actually tolerating this level of incompetence, this level of indifference and these tenuous connections to a foreign power? They thought he was a Muslim and wanted to impeach him. So it`s just -- it`s just so disingenuous to me.
HAYES: Donald Trump is not that funny. He doesn`t claim to be but he does use jokes in a very clever way sometimes to push things that aren`t funny at all. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I`m very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll.
Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you`re protecting their head, you know, the way you put the hand over -- like don`t hit their head and they`ve just killed somebody, don`t hit the head. I said, you can take the hand away, OK.
Russia, if you`re listening, I hope you`re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUGHLEY: I don`t think -- I think that the idea -- if he wants to be funny, he should come on Def Jam. But the idea -- listen, I haven`t seen a man like his whole -- if you -- when we were talking about a year into his Presidency, right, so about -- next week will be a year since he was elected. And his sole kind of claim to fame is to have overturned a lot of what President Obama did.
MELBER: Do you think Donald Trump is insecure that Barack Obama was a better president?
HUGHLEY: Absolutely. Listen, any dude that has a comb-over like that, lies to itself all the time. No, I`m just telling you. No, it`s just -- it`s true. If you comb your hair and think people can`t tell, that`s the same kind of dude that believes he won by 4 million, that his wife loves him. You know, it`s like --
MELBER: Well, but you know, we push back in the press. Now I got to push back and say you`re saying this during an interview where you`re wearing a hat.
HUGHLEY: Yes, but I`m -- look at here, look at here. Let him do that. I do a headgear -- I wear a hat because I`m cool.
MELBER: D.L. Hughley, you are cool. I really appreciate you coming by.
MELBER: And no arguing with that. Coming up, the votes are in. Who is falling back this week? That`s next.
MELBER: It`s Friday on The Beat, and you know what time it is? It means it`s time to fall back. A little time of the week where we talk about who needs to take a chill. I`ve got Sam Seder, an MSNBC Contributor and Host of Majority Report show, Nancy Giles is a CBS Sunday Morning Contributor and Host of the Giles Files Podcast. Everybody is doing podcast these days. Bill Kristol, where`s your podcast?
BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: It`s at weeklystandard.com.
MELBER: There it is. We got to add that to your intro. So he`s got one too. And Bill Kristol, our friend from the Weekly Standard. We`re going to go around the horn, starting with you, Nancy. Who needs to fall back this
NANCY GILES, HOST, GILES FILES: I think Ivanka Trump needs to fall back. And mostly her silences need to fall back because she`s somebody who`s an unpaid Adviser to Donald Trump. For starters, I don`t think she should ever use a line in a tweet that starts with "there`s special place in hell for" when you`re talking about you know, people who are sexual predators, considering people that are in her immediate family. And also she`s supposed to be sort of a liberal, one of the thoughtful people in the administration that`s supposed to advise her father. Where is this since she`s been silent on LBGTQ, silent on anything that helps women`s contraceptive rights, on the Affordable Care Act? She`s not really inserted herself or anything that she says that she`s supposed to be doing into anything tangible, other than branding.
MELBER: You -- and you don`t just want her to fall back, you want her silence to fall back, like a Simon and Garfunkel fallback.
GILES: Yes, very well said.
MELBER: The sound of Ivanka`s silence. I get it.
GILES: The sound of silence. You got it.
MELBER: Sam, who needs to fall back?
SAM SEDER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I want to sort of split the title between Steven Mnuchin and his wife. They were at the Mint sort of I guess basking in the glow of Mnuchin`s signature.
MELBER: As one does when you`ve been to the Mint.
SEDER: Of course, but look, at one point, they got to learn -- look, first of all, I don`t know why they`re there this week. They get a calendar, they`ve got to realize that they`re pushing a tax bill right now that is going to cut taxes on millionaires and billionaires. And they may want to try to downplay that a little bit. Instead, they head to the Mint, she dresses like she`s about to kidnap some Dalmatians or something like that.
GILES: Like --
MELBER: Cruella de Vil. Cruella de Vil.
SEDER: and so I just -- I think they need -- they need some advice and or at the very least, they need to just back off a little bit.
MELBER: Bill Kristol, who needs to fall back this week?
KRISTOL: It was just (INAUDIBLE) one. I couldn`t agree more but you know what`s amazing is how effective it is to say as a Republican, how incompetent the Democrats have been at exploiting that photo for example. Shouldn`t that have been all over the place in the last 24 hours really? I mean, if -- anyway, Democratic -- if I were a Democrat, I would be frustrated first, but not as frustrated as I am as a Republican I suppose. The House of Representatives needs to fall back. The sex scandal there hasn`t gotten -- I mean, Senator Franken and Roy Moore, it obviously these are individuals I suppose issue to cover but it turns out the House of Representatives has a slush fund that they use to pay off people -- compensate people I suppose -- people who have made charges of sexual harassment of different kinds against members of Congress.
This money has been secret. It`s unclear what the legal authority for this. It`s unclear what legal process by which one determines which claims are legitimate, which aren`t. But think of this. These are our represent ties, it`s our money, we don`t know anything about it. I really think it`s -- that`s untenable. That needs to be made public. And I think it`s made public incidentally when you get to the issue of who else knew about this beyond the individuals who were charged, you have sort of an institutional- wide scandal, the equivalent of you know, Roger Ailes and Bill O`Reilly at Fox News. And I think at that point you have could have a big issue in 2018, which is that whole place -- and this has been for years, not just under Republicans, is a kind of club where they`re protecting each other, and it`s our money and they`re our representatives.
MELBER: Right, and you`re talking about the systemic part. We saw this with police accountability issues as well, where you find out taxpayers are funding the compensation, which is not typically the purpose of giving someone a cost or a fine, which I think is very important. I have no way to transition from that other than to say I`m glad you brought it up and we`ll cover it more because my fall back is a little more random, quite honestly. It`s a terrifying headless robot that we don`t think needs to exist. Take a look at this. I`m all for innovation. It`s been a long week but Boston Dynamics is selling this headless robot it does what you just saw. Nancy, they need to fall back with the robots.
GILES: How much -- how much does it cost?
MELBER: I have no idea. Look into this and it`s expensive but we can`t get exact estimates but they have the ads.
GILES. It`s frightening I think.
SEDER: What does it do?
MELBER: You just saw what it does.
GILES: It just creeps around on its yellow body.
MELBER: Look, that`s what it does and there`s a great article here on the Verge that goes into more depth about the creation of these robots, and they aren`t good at doing anything. I just wonder where we`re headed.
GILES: Wasn`t he cut from Robocop One --
KRISTOL: They`ll be anchoring the show on cable television is where they were headed.
MELBER: That`s not allowed.
KRISTOL: Or they`ll be -- of they`ll be the guest. They`ll be the guest. They won`t be the anchors, they`ll be the guest.
MELBER: No. Stick with your line, Bill. We end the week, Nancy, with Bill Kristol just burning me.
GILES: I don`t think he meant it intentionally, but that is quite funny.
MELBER: Final fallback from you?
GILES: But there`s a season two of Mama June, from hot to not or not to hot that was frightening. Honey Boo Boo`s mother a second season of her show. Please, help me.
MELBER: There we go. Well, we`ve -- you know what, we covered it all. Sam, Bill, and Nancy thank you so much. I hope you guys have a great weekend. I will see you back here at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Monday night, and HARDBALL with Chris Matthews starts now.
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