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House passes bill ending government shutdown Transcript 1/22/18 The Beat with Ari Melber

Guests: Ed Markey

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: January 22, 2018 Guest: Ed Markey KATY TUR, MSNBC: Hey, Ari. Everyone is doing these handoffs about football today. And I don`t like football. So I`m just going to smile and nod politely until we have baseball back on the TV.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: I prefer baseball as well, but I`m not a big sports person to begin with.

TUR: I do like the story about the Philly cops racing the poles.

MELBER: Yes. Well, look. I look forward to do this again someday on the right topic for both of us. Thank you Katy Tur.


MELBER: It is 6:00 p.m. in Washington and you are looking at it. The federal government is winding down the first whole work day of this 2018 shutdown. And it may be the last day of the shutdown. What you see on your screen is the House voting right now to make it official to reopen the government, the plan would do that for at least three weeks and that is all thanks to a statement of intention by Mitch McConnell which Democrats say they will accept for now.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: So long as the government remains open, it would be my intense to take up legislation here in the Senate that would address DACA, border security and related issue.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: We expect that a bipartisan bill on DACA will receive fair consideration and an up or down vote on the floor.


MELBER: Now this deal is under voting right now, but the reaction has already been swift. D.C. Democrats say they got a Republican concession they didn`t have last week. A plan in some form to get their DACA vote. Some liberal grassroots activists though less optimistic, saying Democrats could be caving in slow motion.

Meanwhile, the GOP tonight pushing this brand-new attack on Chuck Schumer before the voting is even done. The RNC putting some of the quotes of criticism on this sort visual press release and saying that Schumer is basically a failed Trump and they call this quote "the art of the fail."

As for Republicans they say they stare down the Senate Democrats to get this government reopen just one day into the gambit.

Now, who is right tonight? I tell you this. If you hear anyone offering an immediate answer, it is nothing more than a prediction, because if this all leads to some sort of solution on DACA, then Democrats will have strengthened their hand. If it all leads to an open government and no DACA deal then Republicans would have seemed to have evaporated Chuck Schumer`s attempt at leverage.

Right now at this hour, with these votes still going down, nobody really knows who won. Meanwhile, the White House is pushing out photos all weekend of the President allegedly working. Though his empty desk picture there has drawn some ridicule.

Democratic leader Chuck Schumer arguing Trump has been MIA since Friday.


SCHUMER: Since our meeting in the oval office on Friday, the President and I have not spoken. And the White House refused to engage in negotiations over the weekend. The great deal-making President sat on the sidelines.


MELBER: Ultimately, there were 16 Senate Democrats voting against this deal that`s in the House right now, showing more strain within the Democratic Party. And one of them joins me at the top of our broadcast, Democrat Massachusetts senator, Ed Markey.

Thanks for making time. You voted on something that would have kept the government closed tonight. Why?

SEN. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Well, I have been saying, now, through the fourth now continuing resolution that I was not going to vote for another continuing resolution which is a CR, which, in Republican hands means cannot resolve until they resolve this issue of the DACA, the DREAMers. And once again they did not do so. But they also did not give the defense department a budget for the year. They did not give community health centers a budget for the year. They did not give families which need opioid treatment a budget for the year. They did not give to Texas and Florida and Puerto Rico the disaster funding which they need.

So this has been going on since October first. It`s now almost a third of the way through the fiscal year, and the Republicans have yet to finish any of those things. They continue to hold each of those programs hostage. So my vote --

MELBER: And senator, I have to ask you this. And I understand what you are saying. And we have covered that on this broadcast. We have covered the lack of funding for children`s health care and the problems in that short-termism approach on the Republican side.

But I have to ask you on the Democratic side, what does your leader, Chuck Schumer, what does your party get out of closing down the government for one work day and then allowing it to be reopened?

MARKEY: Well, I think from senator Schumer`s perspective, he finally has a day, a date on which there will be ha vote a vote on the issue of DREAMers. Although there is no guarantee that anything will pass. There`s no guarantee that we will actually have done anything under the defense budget or community health or disaster relief or opioid treatment. There`s no guarantee of any of that. But at least rather than have it go on for month after month for the entire year, at least what Chuck was able to do was to get a moment where there will be a vote on that one issue, on the DREAMers.

MELBER: So Senator, was that a good enough deal? Did Chuck Schumer in your view improve the standing here?

MARKEY: Well, I think I trust Chuck and I trust Dick Durbin in a room to do their absolute best. I don`t trust the President. I don`t trust the Republicans. But I think that Chuck and Dick did what they had to do in order to get in the room, in order to try to see if there is any sincerity. I mean, thus far, the President has not done his job.

Bill Belichick told the patriots yesterday, do your job. Well, the same thing is true for the President. Do your job, Mr. President. Try to find a way of resolving this issue. He is gone incommunicado once again in terms of an attempt to resolve these issues. We could easily consume all of the time that was just purchased by this shutdown without anything having been resolved once again.

MELBER: And the last question is one that drives a wedge between you and the part of the Democratic caucus that stood more firm today and the rest of your colleagues which is the argument has been well in three weeks. If McConnell and the President don`t keep their word you can close down the government again if you need. Do you believe if they don`t keep their word that your party will be united on that? Or will you be somewhat split as were you today where some say keep fighting while the leadership made a different call?

MARKEY: Well, I would hope that we would resolve all of these issues. But let`s be honest. For all intents and purposes of the Republican Party has had the government in a slow-down, shutdown mode since October 1st. We don`t have a budget on the defense budget. The people understand it. That`s why the soldiers, sailors, marines don`t have a guarantee. There`s no long-term predictability. And so does every director of a community health center, every opioid treatment center in America. So they have already been slow-rolling the government the entire way. We are just adding a little more honesty to the whole debate so the American people can understand what the Republicans have been doing.

The Republican paradox is they don`t believe in government, but they have to run for office in order to make sure the government doesn`t work. They now control the House, the Senate and the presidency, and they are still trying to pretend that they are outsiders, that they don`t have a responsibility for making sure the government works for a third of the way through the fiscal year. They still have not produced a government that gives stability, especially to our military around the world.

MELBER: Well, as they said on "Saturday Night Live," they have been busy because last year, you know, they passed one bill. That was at least the joke on "weekend update".

Senator Ed Markey --.

MARKEY: Can I just say this.


MARKEY: In "Hamilton", there`s a great scene where the greatest song is where Hamilton and Madison and Jefferson go into the room. It`s the room that where it happens. But right now, the Republicans are all like Aaron Burr on the outside of the room even though they control the House, the Senate and the presidency, pretending that they are not the deciders.

They are. It`s the room where these issues get resolved. The room where it happens that they still have not created. The President must convene that room, and we will resolve these issues. I`m very skeptical.

MELBER: Sir, you are probably much more erudite amateur historian than I am. But I believe Burr, also, you never could get a straight answer out of him and that made it harder to get to a deal.

MARKEY: If you are making an analogy to the Republican leadership or the House and presidency, I agree with you 100 percent, Ari.

MELBER: Senator Markey, thanks for joining us here on a big night as the government prepares to reopen. Appreciate it.

I want to turn to the broader discussion because people trying to make sense of this. Sarah Badawi is from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which is opposed today`s Democratic deal from the left, Democratic strategic, Cornell Belcher, a former advisor to Barak Obama and "New York Daily News" columnist, Mike Lupica who is itching to talk sports and we are not going to allow it because we have other things to talk about.

And just for viewers here joining us 6:08 on the east coast, 6:-08 in Washington. We are looking at the tail end of this House vote. The yeas stacking up here to reopen the federal government after one work day closed.

Cornell, as someone who has been through these fights, including when Barack Obama had the government closed on him by Republican Congress. Your view of what we are seeing right now, tonight, in the government reopening.

CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think you are seeing something that`s a little different than what you saw in the past. Because in the, seeing right now is you are seeing a President that, and I got to borrow from some senator Schumer is you know negotiating with Jell-O, because arguably, Graham and Durbin went to the White House and thought they had deal, right. They thought they had a deal. They found out they did not have a deal when they got to the White House.

Schumer went to have burgers with the President and thought he had a deal, but when he left the White House, of course, he didn`t have a deal. You know, Schumer and Senate Democrats are taking a lot of hits from the left saying they didn`t stand and fight. But I think the forest and the trees. And I think the big picture here is this has never happened, Ari, is that you have had Democrats go to the math and willing to shut down the government to protect DREAMers, right. I think that`s kind of a big deal. And you talk about a proposition that Democrats are on the side of --


MELBER: Cornell, I got breaking news. We are witnessing --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A motion to reconsider is laid on the table.

MELBER: The gaveling of this vote which at last count was 265 to 149. We are looking at the tail end of the process, 6:10:00 p.m. on the east coast on the house Floor for what is still a very rare event. The closing and reopening of the federal government, when this is formally gaveled.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ask for unanimous consent to take from the speaker`s table --.

MELBER: Governor McCarthy here doing the formal work to have this consideration finalized.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senate concur resolution 33. Concur resolution providing for a correction in the enrollment of HR195.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there objection to the consideration of the concurrent resolution? Without objection, the concurrent resolution is agreed to and the motion to reconsider is laid on the table!

MELBER: What you have there is the pretty standard procedural process where there is sometime a motion to reconsider. That has been rejected. And the House is on the road to reopening the federal government. 6:11:00 p.m. on the east coast.

Cornell, I`m removing the clock from the screen. That clock can be something that sometimes feels overly dramatic or if you work in certain parts of the military and the shutdown goes for many days it becomes a very real part of one a one`s life.

We have removed the clock. We can report the federal government officially opened as planned by the Congress. It would still of course formally have to sign by the President to become a concurrent resolution under the law. I`m done with the procedural part of the broadcast. If you have not turned off the television, I promise you that`s the end of it.

What I want to do is give the time back to Cornell and go around the horn. Sir, your point.

BELCHER: No. You know, my last point was just simply this, is that in long term, you know, Senate Democrats take a lot of heat from the left about sort of, you know, caving in on this. But long term, look, they force the government to take up DACA and take up the DREAMers. They have a promise from Mitch McConnell. Is it everything that the left would want? No, but I think it is a step forward.

MELBER: Sarah? Sarah, your views, is this a good deal for Chuck Schumer?

SARAH BADAWI, PROGRESSIVE CHANGE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE: No, it`s a terrible deal. I think what we saw today when the Senate Democrat caved is exactly why the American public is confused about what the Democratic Party stands for. When you declare battle on Friday and cave on Monday, it`s no wonder people are uninspired in this moment.

Instead of talking about process, we should have seen Democrats seizing this golden opportunity to show what Republicans do when they hold power. They hurt kids and they want to tear families apart. That`s what we should have been talking about instead of how many days we have to fund this or that. We should have really leaned into the real people who are going to be hurt.

And what`s most amazing is Republicans are presenting this as a false choice. The DREAM act and CHIP are wildly popular programs that are supported by voters of all stripes. So it should be no problem to pass this legislation.

MELBER: Well, and Sarah, you are making an argument I have heard from folks. Do you basically think that if this was how it was going to go down, the Senate Democrats shouldn`t have bothered with trying to shut down the above the in the first place?

BADAWI: No, I think we actually had to fight this fight in this moment. People were fired up and they want us to see us stand for something. Republicans have known that these programs are popular, and they pay a lot of lip service to passing them, but yet, they refuse to bring them to a vote. If it`s not simple, bring the DREAM act to the floor. Have a clean vote and move on with things. But instead they forced this moment because we wanted to tie to something that was must-pass legislation.

MELBER: I hear you on that. Let me get Mike in. Because Cornell is saying hey, it`s hard to deal with people who don`t want to make deals. Sarah is saying, look, you have to fight harder than a day`s worth. Where do you come down, Mike Lupica?

MIKE LUPICA, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: There was no point keeping this government shutdown for one week or two weeks or all the way to February 8th. I respectfully disagree. In politics now, the long game is three weeks.

I think Schumer is playing a long game here. But he did not cede the high ground here today. The high ground is fighting for DREAMers. That is the fight the he is fighting. And it happens to be a noble fight. Now he has to trust Mitch McConnell, which is a sketchy thing in this day and age, because there`s always a chance McConnell is going to roll you down the line.

But if McConnell doesn`t roll him and he does protect the rights of DREAMers, Ari, these young people were never meant to be bargaining chips, ever. And Bernie Sanders says it will be a stain on this country if they get deported. The stain is that they are being used as pawns the way they are now.

MELBER: Well on that point, let me show Congressman Gutierrez today. Take a listen.


REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: I`m disillusioned. I think they are caving. You know, Democrats are pretty good at articulating values, but a little weak on defending them.


MELBER: Cornell, isn`t the real test here not which words people use today but whether if McConnell doesn`t put up the vote the Democrats are prepared to double down and shut down the government again or not? Because ultimately, they are dealing with people in the Republican side who if nothing else have proven they will go hardball tactics. I mean, look at now Judge Gorsuch. Look at all of these other fights they have. Isn`t that really the question as what happens in three weeks if there isn`t a DACA bill?

BELCHER: I think, you know, I can agree with Sarah and I certainly can agree with Mike.

But the thing here is that we are going to have to have a political solution to this, right? And in the end we want to sort of talk about Senate tactics and Lord knows, you know, Senate Democrats are doing their best to try to make, you know, Mitch McConnell do what the majority of Americans want to do. But in the end --.

MELBER: No, I don`t. I don`t want to talk about senate tactics. It`s hard and boring. So it`s, there`s no payoff. It`s confusing and it`s boring.

BELCHER: But in the end, there`s going to have to be a political solve to this and it`s going to have to be through the American people. Look. Again, the DREAMers and immigration reform here is not about close proposition with the majority of voters. Democrats have to take this, not just on the Senate floor and close down the government but take it into the fall and campaigns and wedge and contrast hard with Republicans on wanting to tear families apart and send these children that know nothing but America to another country.

MELBER: And so we are running over on time because of all the breaking news. But Sarah, in a few sentences, is what you are asking your members to do? And Mike, final thoughts in a few sentences.

First, Sarah.

BADAWI: Absolutely. I think right now we need to highlight the fact that when Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House, their priorities rest in hurting kids and tearing families apart. That has to be the Democratic message in this moment. And frankly, what we got from this deal is nothing, a promise to have further debate on immigration reform with no solution in the foreseeable future.


LUPICA: Ari, in a time when the DREAMers feel voiceless in this country, Schumer is the good guy here. He has become their voice. And we have just to see what happens in three weeks. And if we get there again, maybe McConnell`s betting that the Democrats don`t have the resolve to shut down the government again.

MELBER: Yes. I mean, I think that`s one through-line we maybe have some consensus on among the different views on the panel. There may be that that. And the question her is not who has the hottest take immediately, because I just don`t think it is knowable. But who is going to have the long memory.

Sarah Badawi, Cornell Belcher, and Mike Lupica, thank you each.

Coming up, a White House aide that even some Republicans are now turning on for these immigration problems. Stephen Miller and what is he up to?

Also a brand-new filing with the FEC that the Trump campaign allegedly broke the law with that hush money. A new break in that story tonight.

And later, I have a special beat report on what we were just discussing, the DREAMers and how Donald Trump is breaking potentially with generation of bipartisan consensus about immigration law. I`ll explain later in the show.

I`m Ari Melber. And you are watching "the BEAT" on MSNBC.



MCCONNELL: As long as the government remains open, it would be my intension to take up legislation here in the Senate that would address DACA, border security and related issues.


MELBER: It would be my intention. Those are the words that ended this shutdown with the vote moments ago in the House. But will Mitch McConnell ultimately push forward on an immigration deal, and how would it fare the White House but new reports say hardline immigration for Stephen Miller maybe calling the shots? Senator Lindsey Graham says intention won`t work if Miller is at the helm.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Every time we have a proposal, it`s yanked back by staff members. As long as Stephen Miller is in-charge negotiating immigration, we are going nowhere.


MELBER: Our own reporting that criticism you just heard reflects the fact that Graham has been trying to throw Miller under the bus since the s-hole meeting. He sees Miller as essentially poisoning Trump`s thoughts on the immigration deal. And the "Washington Post" revealing that Miller`s close relationship with Trump has consequences with insider describing the 32- year-old advisor as influential, combative, an advocate, yes, but also an opportunist, a true believer and even a puppeteer. A hardliner on immigration and one of the last survivors in Trump`s inner circle.


STEPHEN MILLER, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR: We will have a lawful immigration system and we will enrich and benefit our country. But the President has made clear he believes that should be a merit-based system. It is pro-American immigration reform. We are ending unskilled chain migration. Our duty is to U.S. citizens and U.S. workers.


MELBER: Miller also allegedly endeared himself to Donald Trump by saying this last year.


MILLER: 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: Will not be questioned.

I`m joined by Stephanie Ruhle of "MSNBC Live," weekdays at 9:00 a.m. eastern and co-host of MSNBC`s "Velshi and Ruhle" as well, and Bill Kristol, editor-at-large of "the Weekly Standard." Two individuals who will be questioned and who do questioning. Imagine that in a democracy.

Stephanie, my first question for you. Stephen Miller`s power, why are we hearing so much about it right now?

STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC ANCHOR: Because Steven Miller and John Kelly have had tremendous influence over the President. I have spoken to people inside the White House. Senior advisers to the President who said he had a deal with Chuck Schumer on Friday. And before that, remember President Trump telling Dianne Feinstein, I would sign a clean bill. We want a bill with heart. And then you have John Kelly and Steven Miller with their hardline stance road blocking things.

Well, guess what, you may have seen a compromise today. But Mitch McConnell is in the hot seat, because he has said, trust me, I`m going to deliver. And you don`t have to just listen to us.

Look at the polls FOX News is putting out. The majority of the American people want a resolution for the DREAMers. And the issue that the President faces is the information he has from Steven Miller, from a John Kelly, this hardline stance is not fact based.

And the President is putting himself in a corner. So while he goes out there and you look at the ad that was sponsored by a Trump campaign team saying supporting illegal immigrants, not good citizens, it`s simply not a fact. These aren`t criminals.

The 21 people who were arrested at the 7-Eleven weren`t committing carjacking crimes in a parking lot. They were working. Just like DREAMers who ate doctors who are now being forced out of the country.

Many people criticize the Obama administration saying -- they spent too much time and effort on putting -- on transgender bathrooms in school saying that might be important to a small portion of America but not of the wider population. You have got situation here with the wider population of the United States wants a considerate solution. And listening to a guy like Stephen Miller and John Kelly here may not be the right answer of the President. And people inside the White House are saying I`m not touching it.

MELBER: Well, build on that point, Bill Kristol. Because you have worked in the White House. And part of the pushback from Sanders today that I don`t think was totally off base is she said why is a senator attacking a staffer by name? Why has he sort of grown to this level? Is it a statement about the weakness of the consistency of the President`s approach? Or something unique about Miller himself in your view?

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Isn`t there a story when the Jews are being persecuted in Russia over a century ago, they didn`t want to attack the czar? And they would say the czar is a good guy, but it is just as terrible advisers? It`s not just the Jews, but any persecuted group. If you had to keep in good graces from the government, it was (INAUDIBLE) government. Lindsey Graham doesn`t want to criticize the President by name, so he is criticizing Steven Miller, which I guess he is free to do, but it`s a little silly, honestly.

MELBER: You agree with total silly?

RUHLE: I don`t know if it`s silly.

KRISTOL: And yes. And let me just say, I mean, look. The President`s spokesman this afternoon - I mean, and look, Miller`s influential, but Trump - he works for Trump. I mean, I think it`s a way of Lindsey Graham avoiding putting responsibility where it should be with the President. And I would say I think is going forward. I think there`s a deal to be done, a sort of DACE for border security deal. But to a degree the White House is insisting on dealing with what they call chain migration, family unification, it gets very complicated. And people can - I think Mitch McConnell is serious when he says they are going to bring stuff to the floor, but whether they can actually get a majority for anything in the senate and the same majority, majority to the same bill, the House is very much a question.

And interestingly, this fits into what Stephanie was saying, but it shows this isn`t just a problem from last weekend. The President`s spokesman said this afternoon, if I`m not mistaken, the President would not sign a bill that was simply DACA for border security. That they want to deal with so-called chain migration. That is a very complicated issue.

DACA runs out in what, March 5th, I think?


KRISTOL: And I think there is - personally, if you care about that and you`re OK with border security, that`s the deal that has to be done. And if the White House continues to insist on dealing with the whole question of the much broader way we do immigration here, chain migration or family unification. That gets very hard I think.

So I think it`s a real problem. It`s not just a matter of Steve Miller`s a bad guy. I think this White House is now making it very hard to see exactly what deal we get on immigration.

RUHLE: But Air, remember, President Trump doesn`t like to hear anybody`s name but his own. You remember the "Saturday Night Live" skit that got under his skin when we heard President Bannon, President Bannon.


RUHLE: Lindsey Graham calling out Steven Miller. President Trump likes to live in a world of I and I alone, President Trump. He may not want Steven Miller`s name front and center. So this could be, you know, some crafty work on the part of Lindsey Graham.

And also, Bill brings up a really good point. CHIP is no longer on the table. So for strategic Democrats, they now have the chance to say we took care of nine million American children, and now let`s do something on DACA. And while I completely understand the far left can say how could you possibly cave on these important and desperate stories from these DREAMers? That`s important, but you`re smoking something if you thought that Republicans were going to make a deal on DACA, when you got John Kelly and Stephen Miller in Donald Trump`s --.

MELBER: And luckily, for Bill Kristol, we are out of time or I would ask him what are they smoking and we just step aside.

Bill Kristol --.

KRISTOL: I defer for you guys, I defer to you guys on that.

MELBER: Bill Kristol and Stephanie Ruhle.

RUHLE: Nothing in the house but Jeff Sessions.

MELBER: Thank you. Yes, exactly.

You can also catch Stephanie weekdays, as I mentioned, 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. on MSNBC and Saturdays 12:30 p.m. eastern.

Up ahead, news on the adult film star Stormy Daniels and her alleged consensual affair with Donald Trump. This is bran-new, a watchdog group filing today a legal, federal complaint against the Trump campaign over the reported payout and what that could spell in court. Whose money did Donald Trump`s lawyer use?

And later, as I mentioned, this is my beat Special Report tonight. Donald Trump and the DREAMers, while breaking with a long-standing bipartisan president is so important to what comes next. That`s my breakdown ahead.


MELBER: Apart from the government shutdown, and apart from the fallout over Donald Trump`s immigration comments and apart from Donald Trump feuding with his own Chief of Staff today, the other big story right now is developments in those reports that Donald Trump allegedly paid money to silence an adult film actress so she wouldn`t talk about their history.

Now, first, there was this report about the alleged payment before the 2016 election and there were records showing Trump`s lawyer created a private company to hide the payments. Trump`s aides say little about the payment allegation but they do deny reports that this woman, Stormy Daniels had a consensual relationship with Trump allegedly in 2006. And apart from that underlying allegation, there are actually two larger questions to this story. One, does it add any credibility to the allegations against Trump in the Russia dossier and two, is there anything here that`s a legal problem? Because tonight, a non-partisan government watchdog group says yes. They argued that the payments themselves are a problem and they filed two federal complaints alleging a federal legal violation.

Now, I spoke with the lawyer here on THE BEAT. we spoke to this lawyer from a group that says the Trump campaign could be in trouble if this money was for electioneering. They believe it was because they say the money was designed to influence the election and to prevent a recipient from talking to the press three weeks before the Presidential Election. Now, it`s not a slam dunk case by any means. Legally, the good news for Trump comes from the John Edwards` case, where a jury rejected a legal theory that payments to a relationship should be regulated as campaign expenses. The point there was even if you hated what John Edwards did, the jurors weren`t convinced that a private payment was campaign matter.

Legally though, there`s also bad news for Trump here as well. Any FEC or prosecutorial probe of these issues would put this whole story and these alleged payments and these alleged gag orders under subpoenas and under way more scrutiny. Now I turn to Shelby Holliday, a Wall Street Journal Reporter, and Natasha Bertrand a Staff Writer at the Atlantic. Natasha, the last time we spoke about this, it was the dossier angle. As someone who`s covered that case, a lot of the legal questions, your view of what it would mean if there was an FEC investigation of all this.

NATASHA BERTRAND, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Right, well, exactly like you said. This would just open up a whole new realm of scrutiny into what the Trump campaign did during the election to cover up potential misdeeds. I mean, we saw that Michael Cohen set up this LLC. Well, did he set up LLCs for other issues that the Trump campaign kind of just wanted to go away? Was this a pattern of behavior of kind of illicit transactions that Mueller or perhaps any other investigator would want to go back and examine to see whether or not there was just something bigger there that they were trying to cover up especially as it relates to a potential money trail between the Trump Campaign and the Russians. So this is definitely very significant development.

SHELBY HOLLIDAY, REPORTER, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yes, it does bring up a lot of questions about whether or not the President is susceptible to blackmail and the extent to which his team goes to cover things up, to cover up bad decisions and bad behavior is great. My Wall Street Journal colleague has reported, set up an LLC, they`re using pseudo names, it`s a six-figure payment, it happens right before the election. So there could be other things that come up because of that. There`s also people involved in this case. And since you went there, I`ll go there too, who might be relevant to the dossier, which a lot of that is unsubstantiated. But Michael Cohen for example and then Trump`s bodyguard Keith Schiller is named by Stormy Daniels as her point person. She would always call him.

Well, he`s important because he`s testified in front of Congress, we don`t know -- I don`t know if he`s talked to Mueller, but he may be of interest with some of the claims in the dossier. And then on a separate note, legally as you mentioned, John Edwards, when he got in trouble for what was alleged to be an in-kind donation, hush money, really, cover-up money, a lot of embarrassing stuff came out about him and his relationship and personal life and whether or not that would get the President in legal trouble, it would certainly be embarrassing and it would be a major turn off to these white college voters who we`re seeing flip away from the GOP in our recent polls.

MELBER: Yes, and Natasha, the fact that it is independent groups pursuing this, there is not public evidence that the President`s Democratic opponents are digging into this that much. Republicans have definitely been vocal when they`ve had these kind of stories against Democratic presidents.

BERTRAND: Right, and that`s definitely interesting. I mean, it`s something that they obviously don`t want to draw attention to. I mean, the fact that he may or may not have had this relationship with a porn star back in 2006. But this is definitely something that whether or not his opponents look into it, whether or not politically it becomes an issue, it`s definitely going to be something that investigators want to know more about because it just -- it creates more of a likelihood that the things that were described in the dossier about these kind of escapades that happened when he was in Moscow actually did occur, and that of course raises the possibility, well, you know, was he susceptible to blackmail.

MELBER: Right, and that goes to the interaction he had with Jim Comey, where he exploded by Comey`s account under oath at the -- at him for trying to warn him that this material was out there. The point from the FBI`s perspective at that point in time was not that they care whether it was true or not but rather we need you to know there are credible reports that foreign governments would be trying to weaponize this. So it gives a lot more credibility to that -- to that storyline which doesn`t tell us about of course some of the underlying issues as we always care for and as always mentioned, and some of the underlying relationship has been repeatedly denied.

Natasha Bertrand and Shelby Holliday, thank you, both. Up ahead, one commercial break and then I`m going to give you my big special report on why there is more to the shutdown deal than just what was negotiated, larger questions about the bipartisan tradition for protecting child migrants. And later, another big story that we`re going to include in our broadcast. There were thousands in the streets this weekend, the one-year anniversary of Trump`s inauguration, that`s later in the show.


MELBER: Now, to my special report tonight. More than any other single issue, the shutdown debate has turned on the DREAMers. What`s the right legal status for 3.5 million undocumented young people who grew up here but are not citizens? If you listen to the Trump White House, you might think the answer to that question is hard or ideologically polarizing. You might even think Senate Democrats were over the line for demanding an answer up until tonight`s vote. And to be fair to the wider immigration debate, there are polarizing immigration questions like how many refugees should we really admit or how do you reform Visas for workers with special skills?

But the fact is that policies to protect, rather than punish child immigrants have not been very polarizing. That`s a historical fact. The reason is pretty fundamental. As a society, we don`t tend to punish babies and four-year-olds and eight-year-olds for what their parents did. As a political matter, neither party has historically argued the government should use deportation to break up families. Take President Reagan, who backed amnesty for undocumented immigrants who put down roots in the U.S.


RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and who have lived here even though some time back they may have entered illegally.


MELBER: Reagan`s Republican rival and running mate George H. W. Bush held the same line in their 1980 primary debate.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think that children of illegal aliens should be allowed to attend Texas public schools free or do you think that their parents should pay for their education?

GEORGE H. W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t want to a whole -- if they`re living here, I don`t want to see a whole, I`m thinking six and eight-year-old kids being made, you know, one totally uneducated and made to feel that they`re living outside the law. These are good people, strong people, part of my family as a Mexican.


MELBER: Reagan went on to sign a bipartisan immigration reform law and issued guidance protecting some undocumented children from deportation while their parents pursued citizenship. His immigration commissioner announces that undocumented children would qualify for protection even if they came here with their parent.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most times a child would qualify. They either came in with their parent or parents before (INAUDIBLE) so they`d be covered there, or they were born here, in which case, they would be allowed to remain.


MELBER: Then when Reagan`s vice president succeed him, Bush used his own power to prevent the deportation of 1.5 million undocumented immigrants and children based on the same premise, to keep families together. It was called The Family Fairness Policy.


H. W. BUSH: It also credits the special role of immigrants to America, and it will promote a more competitive economy, respect for the family unit. This bill is good for families.


MELBER: His son, George W. Bush signed the Child Status Protection Act excepting children from being deported after aging out at 21.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the great reasons America became a great power in the 20th Century is because we welcomed the talent and the character and the patriotism of immigrant families. There are differences between an illegal immigrant who crossed the border recently and someone who has worked here for many years and has a home, a family.


MELBER: Three Republican presidents, one principle defending undocumented children. When Obama came into office he pursued a bipartisan deal on immigration but found like George W. Bush that Congress wouldn`t play ball. So like those presidents, Obama used executive the power to extend protection to undocumented children through DACA.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents` arms or are we a nation that values families and works together to keep them together?


MELBER: That order gave all the DREAMers protection, but not certainty, because, without Congress, it`s not a law. It`s an order that can be reversed any day by any president, which is, of course, what candidate Trump pledged to do.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will immediately terminate president Obama`s illegal executive order on immigration.


MELBER: Trump campaigned by saying what he thought people wanted to hear. And when he won, his campaign rhetoric suddenly contradicted the kind of president he wanted to be or wanted to be depending on the day, because Trump suddenly wanted everything to know he loves kids. He didn`t want to be the first president who would prioritize deporting them.


TRUMP: I love these kids. I love kids. I have kids and grandkids, and I find it very, very hard doing what the law says exactly to do. We`re going to show great heart. DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me.


MELBER: So difficulty that Donald Trump then reversed himself again, announcing he`d cancel Obama`s DACA order and pave the way for deportations.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Protests erupting nationwide after the Trump administration announced he will end DACA.


MELBER: But Trump did not cancel DACA immediately. He announced he would cancel it in six months, a timeline totally made up. And the logic doesn`t make much sense. If you think DACA`s wrong or unconstitutional, then you just stop it immediately. And if you don`t think that, there is no reason to cancel it before Congress works out a long-term solution, but Trump acted under pressure.


MARIA BARTIROMO, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: 11 states led by yours, State of Texas, are threatening to sue the Trump administration if it does not follow through on the President`s campaign promise to end the program protecting DREAMers.


MELBER: That was in the summer, and it may have scared Trump. But that fear would be based on ignorance, because no matter what a President does a state will sue. Ask Obama who had ObamaCare lost to the Supreme Court three different times with 50 states, any big policy can catch a case. But now here we are because Donald Trump made up a six-month deadline. Remember, he can move it or cancel it. He could leave DACA in place until Congress brings a solution coming out of this shutdown discussion, and he repeatedly told Congressional leaders he would sign DACA into law.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have breaking news for you. I have the statement from -- joint statement from Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi about their dinner at the White House tonight. We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I am disinclined to believe anything that Donald Trump says about his own future behavior or that anybody else says that Donald Trump has committed to anythinng about his own future behavior until I actually see the behavior.


MELBER: Rachel was disinclined. Rachel was right. That skepticism was warranted. Trump made a very similar promise in another recent Dem meeting.


TRUMP: This group and others from the Senate, from the House, comes back with an agreement, I`m signing it. I mean, I will be signing it. I`m not going to say oh, gee, I want this or I want that. I`ll be signing it because I have a lot of confidence with the people in this room that you`re going to come out with something really good.


MELBER: But Trump couldn`t live with that deal he had agreed to, just like he couldn`t live with his old hard-line campaign attacks and he also couldn`t live with his own softening of his own prior hardline attacks. If Donald Trump had any knowledge of immigration law or any interest in American history, he`d know this issue is not supposed to be hard part. Presidents sticking up for children is a bipartisan tradition. Trump made it hard because he didn`t know the score when he started negotiating up to this big shutdown debate we`ve had, and that`s the first rule of negotiating something Trump claims to be good at.


TRUMP: I make deals. I negotiate.

I`m so anxious to negotiate.

Nobody can out-negotiate these deals.

I am a deal maker and that`s what the country needs is a deal maker.

I am going to make great deals for our country.


MELBER: Mr. President, here is the deal right now. You set a deadline for when you`d start deporting children unless Congress acted. Then you said you had a deal with Congress, then you blew up that deal. If you make a deal and don`t stick to it long enough to sign it, you will push people to find other ways to try to force your hand. And since this is a democracy, not a dictatorship or a scripted reality show, you won`t always have the final say by yourself, even when you the top job. You don`t get to skip the hard part because you only run a coequal part of government, which of course was recently was shut down. You can`t just yell what you want or go home.


TRUMP: There`s an expression, go big or go home. I like it a lot. You go for the fences, you go all the way, or just, you know what? Go home.


MELBER: Trump is learning you can`t just take his ball and go home on this one. Donald, your home is now literally the government. You live in the White House. And all of this history and it`s important to follow the march of this history is larger than slogans. Donald Trump has plenty of homes, in Washington, New York, Florida. The undocumented children whose lives are hanging in the balance as this debate continues right now, they believe they have only one home. Maybe it`s worth reflecting on that and since history shows the fate of these children has not typically or necessarily always been a partisan divide. After this history tonight, this last word on going home, Mr. Trump, it goes to one of your fellow Republicans.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Be compassionate and understanding of these 800,000 children. When you tell them to go home, the only home they know is America.



MELBER: Women`s March was this weekend. A chance for women and empowerment, for human rights, for immigrant rights heard all the way over the world including New York, all the way to Paris, where women protested despite the weather.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it is so important to reiterate that we don`t support Trump and that we are still fighting and that we are still resisting. And a year later, it doesn`t matter if the weather is like this. We are still coming together, and we`re going to still fight.


MELBER: And protest on the streets of L.A.


NATALIE PORTMAN, ACTRESS AND ACTIVIST: Because of you, the revolution is rolling. You told the world that time`s up on violence. You told the world that time`s up on silence.



MELBER: Busy show on THE BEAT. Thanks for watching. I`ll be back at 6:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow. "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews starts now.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Fly Eagles, fly. I had to say it. Let`s play HARDBALL.


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