Lawyers off Trump legal team before starting. TRANSCRIPT: 03/26/2018. The Beat with Ari Melber

Guests: Simona Mangiante, Daniel Goldman, Julia Ioffe, Heber Brown, Robbie Myers

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: March 26, 2018 Guest: Simona Mangiante, Daniel Goldman, Julia Ioffe, Heber Brown, Robbie Myers

KATY TUR, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I don`t know about that. Genetically engineered pig cells? Just like bunnies used to make or never make.

Listen. We are all for advances in food science, not really, but kosher pork feels like a contradiction in terms, just like jumbo shrimp. (INAUDIBLE) with that kosher too. So feel free to enjoy your artificial pork if you choose. You can have some cheese on it, too, I guess.

But the MTP DAILY team is sticking with brisket.

That is all for tonight. THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER starts right now. And Katy Tur is going down to Kases (ph) to get a brisket sandwich with some spicy mustard and some white toast and sour pickle.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Are you trolling me with crave (ph), Katy?

TUR: I am. I`m going to be enjoying it while you are, I don`t know, talking. Doing something legal.

MELBER: Doing something legal. I appreciate this very Jewish bacon toss.

TUR: You are welcome. I think it sounds gross. I think the guy just really got sick of turkey bacon. Really wanted a bacon cheeseburger and has found a way to do it.

MELBER: Great. Well, keep cooking, Katy. Keep cooking.

TUR: I will.

MELBER: Our top story tonight is about Donald Trump`s priorities in the face of two very different legal threats. Think about it. Stormy Daniels breaking her silence in the most watched "60 Minutes" episode in over a decade, fighting back against efforts by Trump to silence her in secret arbitration. That`s one story.

And also Bob Mueller bearing down on Trump as his administration reels from very big new shakeups to what is a dwindling legal team. And this sets up a pretty stark contrast.

Right now, Donald Trump is employing more lawyers to silence women who may talk about him than he has lawyers defending him in the criminal probe into his campaign and administration. Consider that in Trump`s litigation against Daniels and other women he is deploying Michael Cohen, Trump org lawyer Joe Martin and that new addition, Charles Harder, plus whatever junior associates those lawyers are employing. While in the Russia probe, trump`s team has dwindled down to just Jay Sekulow and Ty Cobb after removing the lawyer in-charge, John Dowd, removing Mark Kasowitz, removing their legal spokesperson, Mark Corallo and removing a lawyer Trump had just announced last week, Joe diGenova.

To put it another way, when Mueller`s prosecutors call the White House today, just anytime, with Dowd and diGenova out, there`s only one person left who actually still has attorney-client privilege to keep Trump secrets who can pick up the line. That`s Jay Sekulow.

Now as for these new departures Trump`s allies pushing a big public story that diGenova could not represent the President because of conflicts with other clients named legal person I just mentioned. One of the people removed from the legal team, Mark Corallo.

The problem with this story is, one, diGenova had been publicly representing Corallo since January. So this isn`t some surprise from the weekend. And tow, Corallo waived this conflict.

There are also reports that Trump quote "didn`t believe he had personal chemistry with the new lawyers."

OK. I`m obligated to tell you about those stories even if they are cover stories. Now let me give you some wider context as we kick off our evening and some very special guests ahead. Because while Trump allies talk up why he doesn`t want certain lawyers, the President is currently outgunned against Mueller, because a lot of lawyers don`t want to work for Trump. Which is a remarkable thing to say about a personally wealthy sitting President as "New York Times" Trumpologist Maggie Haberman noted. She was part of breaking his latest stories and consider all the reports of top firms and famous lawyers who refuse to defend Trump against Mueller, including powerhouse Republican Ted Olson who stopped by MSNBC today but declined to offer the President any legal advice on TV, something that we know he likes when it does happen.

Now to be fair, there are, of course, all kinds of different reasons why different lawyers won`t want to do this gig from politics to conflicts to, how do we say it, to working for a client like Donald Trump.

But I can also report for you tonight, based on public evidence that there is a big reason why many people in the legal profession don`t want to work for Trump. And it comes down to a question that lawyers ask just about as often as Beyonce used to ask back in the Destiny`s Child days, can you pay my bills?

Top lawyers saying when it comes to Trump quote "the guy won`t pay." There was an exhaustive "USA Today" report showing hundreds of contractors including lawyers detailing how Trump would basically steal their services, their money by refusing to pay the bills he owed. A problem so rampant, one law firm sued Trump, their owned client over a half a million dollars on legal fees in 2008. Another, we looked at this, sued the Trump organization and his company for $94,000 in unpaid legal fees and costs.

Let`s get into it with defense attorney Ross Garber. He has represented three Republican governors in impeachment proceedings. He knows his way around the unique challenges of this kind of case, as well as Richard Painter, a White House ethics chief under Republican George W. Bush. His watchdog crew is suing the president over ethics issues. I want to mention he has form an exploratory committee for a potential political bid, a potential Senate run in Minnesota.

Welcome to both of you.

Richard Painter, what do you make of Donald Trump at the very time that Mueller`s gotten more cooperation and more progress, Donald Trump down to basically to one lawyer with attorney-client privilege?

RICHARD PAINTER, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER UNDER GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, it`s a very dangerous situation for the President. He needs to find some good lawyers who will represent him. He has got a lot more exposure, certainly on the criminal side and I think on the impeachment side for the Mueller investigation than he does from the Stormy Daniels situation.

But looking at it from the lawyers` vantage point, all lawyers don`t want to get involved with the obstruction of justice investigation by Bob Mueller, particularly, if the President is going to continue to obstruct justice and may lie to Bob Mueller on their watch. No lawyer wants to be the lawyer for a client who is lying to the feds, particularly to Bob Mueller.

So I could easily say, what is happening here is the lawyers would love to work on the sex scandal side of things. Lawyers will work on the side of a sex scandal. It`s relatively low risk for the lawyer, lots of great reviews and entertainment. But messing around with Bob Mueller is not something that a lawyer wants to do unless that lawyer`s going to have a client who is going to behave himself and not obstruct justice. And unfortunately, this gentleman, our President, does not fit the bill. In addition to the fact that he doesn`t pay his bills.

MELBER: Well, and you get to the bill that. Ross, before I get into a longer analysis from you, yes or no, given all your experience representing some Republican chief executives, would you consider represent the President if asked?

ROSS GARBER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I never talk about who I might represent or might not represent.

MELBER: I mean, that`s a yes or no question. Is that a yes or a no?

GARBER: The answer is who knows.

MELBER: The answer is who knows. OK. I`m going to keep you honest on that.

The second piece as you know is the Destiny Child`s piece. And I don`t know if you remember when Beyonce was in Destiny`s Child. Can you pay my bills, can you pay my automobiles? Joe Scarborough raising the same point here. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST: One, Donald Trump doesn`t pay his legal fees. Donald Trump doesn`t pay any fees.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Ross, do you think that`s hurting the President getting counsel today?

GARBER: No. Actually, I don`t think that`s a big issue at all. If you are looking to make a lot of money, representing a public official or the office of a public official is not the place to look. I don`t think it`s a fees issue.

I mean, honestly, I think the big issue is number one, I think the President is probably not taking this seriously enough. I think he thinks that because there was no collusion, he shouldn`t be so worried. So I think that is one issue. I think he is misperceiving the risk.

And I think number two is he is probably looking for lawyer love in all the wrong places. It seems like the folks he is talking to are primarily, you know, the usual suspects, the same D.C. crew, and yes, it`s completely understandable that he had have a tougher time engaging some of those folks in this representation, because they may be thinking about the next case and the next case and the next case.

MELBER: I want you folks to stay with me. And I want to add to our coverage Shelby Holliday, reporter for the "Wall Street Journal" and Lanny Davis, who is special counsel to President Clinton.

Before we move to some of the other issues, Lanny, your view on all of this about the lawyers.

LANNY DAVIS, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, first of all, hello to Richard Painter. He cross-examined me once in the Bush White House. I didn`t think I would survive that cross examination. I think I had passed it.

MELBER: How long was it? How long did that go?

DAVIS: He is a tough ethics lawyer and he is the best there is.

Here is my answer. Number one, if you are going to work for a client like Donald Trump with a record of nonpaying, you get paid up front. And you get paid a large lamp sum up front. So that should not be an issue.

The real issue that Richard raises is that I have never worked for a client that has lied to me or that I could trust not lying to me. There`s no way that I`m sure he is not interested in me or any lawyer could represent a client who lies to the lawyer, much less to the prosecutor. And that`s the reason I have friendships with many of the people that you were showing in photographs who had turned down Donald Trump. That`s the reason he can`t find a great lawyer. It`s because he has lied to the American people. We know that. But he has also lied to his own lawyers, and no lawyer will take a client who lies.

SHELBY HOLLIDAY, REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Right. And it might come down to one of Donald Trump`s favorite words, winning. That is something Donald Trump has in common with all of the people who allegedly want to represent him. They want to win. And this is not a slam dunk case, if it were I think you would see a lot of lawyers throwing their arms up wanting to represent the President.

I do think that twitter is a big problem. The President went on twitter the other day to say don`t listen to the fake news. Plenty of people want to represent me. That`s just simply not true. And twitter continues to be this President`s problem in terms of making statements that could obstruct justice, that could be intimidating potential witnesses, that could be tainting the jury.

And so the president, someone said he is not taking it seriously. There is a lot of evidence that points to that. And generally, people want to win. You would not take a case you knew you are going to down in flames. And I`m not suggesting that that`s what the President`s doing. He obviously denies all the allegations.

MELBER: What do you think, Shelby, what do you think of the rather ham- handed announcement of these lawyers joining last week and now they are not being in? People wake up Monday night if you had a nice weekend or you watched "60 Minutes", now you are catching back up and you go, oh, this guy on FOX who had the conspiracy theories. It was going to be the new aggressive message machine for Trump is actually off the team already.

HOLLIDAY: It is sloppy. Legal experts say this was just simply sloppy. The President didn`t do due diligence. He didn`t do his vetting. It causes another public relations problem for him. Unclear if he cares about that. But it does also give us hint about Mark Carallo`s testimony and may be confirms the fact that Mark Corallo has testified against the President. Again, I don`t know this first hand. But we get a lot of hints every time these things happen. And so, this is an incident where we can glean some information.

MELBER: What did you think of that, Lanny?

DAVIS: Well, first of all, we have several stories. Number one, a waiver is a waiver. The first story that we got from Trump naturally was non- truthful when he said there were conflicts. And I don`t know why Joe diGenova went along with that. Apparently the President or somebody in the White House said there was bad chemistry with Joe diGenova. The fact is I don`t think Joe diGenova or Victoria Toensing, two great lawyers, could work for a man who lies to them. And I have a feeling that the parting was mutual because sooner or later, no lawyer is going to last when they know that client lies.

And one of the things I point out through six years, seven years of Whitewater in the White House. There`s only one lawyer who represented Bill Clinton and all the way through impeachment, the same lawyer and the same law firm. And people like me and lots of other lawyers stayed loyal to President Clinton.

And the fact is this man doesn`t command loyalty among people who work in the White House. Forget about lawyers. And that kind of bad chemistry between client and lawyer is impossible. It`s poisonous.

MELBER: Well, you make the fascinating historical point, Lanny. And it is one that is contrast because viewers may think, God, it seems like they fire a lot of people all the time. And there is turnover, president administration and the cabinet for example.

But to your point, the notion of this much turnover week to week in the people who know your secrets and who are there to stand between you and your aides and jail is something else entirely.

Lanny Davis, Richard Painter, Ross Garber, and Shelby Holliday, thanks to each of you.

Also new tonight, Stormy Daniels, brand-new, filing a new suit against Michael Cohen, Donald Trump`s lawyer. It all relates to that "60 Minutes" interview. And claims that Trump`s data firm may have broken the laws sending these foreigners to work on American election. If you are watching THE BEAT last week, you saw us break that story.

We also tonight have new reporting on the collusion question, a former Trump aide who was encouraged to pursue foreign contacts. I`m going to get the exclusive reaction from his wife, who is now a witness for Bob Mueller.

And if it is Monday, it is time to get real on THE BEAT. We are going to look at the bigger, more important story that you may have missed.

I`m Ari Melber. You are watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Breaking tonight, Stormy Daniels now suing Donald Trump`s lawyer, Michael Cohen for the first time for defamation. She is essentially adding him in to the ongoing lawsuit against Trump after suggesting that she says it was unfair that he lied about her based on what she has been saying about a history with Donald Trump. All this, of course, coming after last night when she broke her silence in the most-anticipated "60 Minutes" interview in years. New reports tonight show is the most watched episode in over a decade, 22 million people watching it. Daniels talking all about Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: You were 27. He was 60. Were you physically attracted to him?

STORMY DANIELS, CLAIMS HAD AFFAIRS WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP: No.

COOPER: Not at all.

DANIELS: No.

COOPER: Did you want to have sex with him?

DANIELS: No. But I didn`t say no. I`m not a victim. I`m not --

COOPER: It was entirely consensual.

DANIELS: Oh, yes, yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Interview gives Daniels a big platform to tell her side of the story, saying they slept together once. That she chose to do that freely. But everything changed when she did an interview about that history and found herself confronted by a stranger threatening to hurt her in front of her daughter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANIELS: I was in a parking lot, going to a fitness class with my infant daughter, taking, you know the seat`s facing backwards in the back seat, diaper bag, you know, getting all the stuff out. And a guy walked up on me and said to me, leave Trump alone, forget the story, and then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said a beautiful little girl. It would be a shame if something happened to her mom, and then he was gone.

COOPER: You took it as a direct threat.

DANIELS: Absolutely. I was rattled. I remember going into the workout class and my hands were shaking so much I was afraid I was going to drop her.

COOPER: Have you seen the person again? But I - if I did, I would know it right away.

DANIELS: No.

COOPER: Did you go to the police?

DANIELS: No.

COOPER: Why?

DANIELS: Because I was scared.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Legally, that was the most important part of the interview, Daniels launching a pretty serious allegation at somebody allegedly around the current President. And it may hurt investigation.

Now the White House and Trump`s legal team deny this affair and that threat allegation.

Now part from that moment, the rest of the interview was striking more as content than substance. Americans tuned in, perhaps savoring how Daniels keeps turning the table on a man, Donald Trump, who regularly traffics in vulgarity, obscenity and rule breaking for himself but doesn`t like it when anybody else does.

Trump is the first President to sue a woman in order to enforce a hush money contract as that odd court filing showed. Daniels was defying it last night as well as the threats of financial ruin, a moment of public defiance that apparently many Americans saver.

Interview did not provide much evidence of anything else nor any suggestion that Trump or his lawyer broke election law, legal point we previously reported on this show were the one likes Trump or his lawyer or not.

Interview never really answered why Daniels wants to speak so badly now after she did take this money in 2016 not to speak. But maybe didn`t have to. Maybe when facing off against an adversary like Donald Trump, internal consistency and logic are less important than a confident, spectacle. And by that score, Stormy could still be ahead.

I`m joined now Vox Media`s Liz Plank who writes about feminism and has been covering this story. What did we learn?

LIZ PLANK, SENIOR PRODUCER, VOX MEDIA: Well, look. A lot of the details that we learned from the "60 Minutes" interview were details we didn`t necessarily want to know, right. There were a lot of details about, you know, More evidence of Donald Trump`s sort of incestual-ish (ph) interest in the women he is, you know, dating or sleeping with that look like his daughter. We had a lot of details that I won`t go into of what he does when he, you know, sleeps with a woman.

But look, the Stormy Daniels story was never actually about sex. It was always about power. It was never really about a porn star, it was about corruption. And what we learned in the "60 Minutes" interview is something that we already knew from the Russia probe which is that Donald Trump surrounds himself with people who are not necessarily his employees. He surrounds himself by people who are fixers, right. People who are thugs in some ways if some of these allegation are true. And that is the real sort of takeaway.

MELBER: Right. The only allegation to be clear was her saying something about what he said in comparing her allegedly to his daughter, which is presumably denied. I want to play it, because it`s something that two women have talked about, let`s take a look.

We are going to take a look at Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. These are two women who in interviews have talked about the point you have raised.

PLANK: Right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANIELS: He is like, wow, you, you are special.

KAREN MCDOUGAL, CLAIMS TO HAVE AFFAIRS WITH RESIDENT TRUMP: And he said you are really special.

DANIELS: You remind me of my daughter, you know. He is like, you are smart, beautiful.

MCDOUGAL: He said I was beautiful like her and, you know, you are a smart girl.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: So that, I just want to give context to what you were discussing. And there is another part of this interview that has been consistent with Stormy Daniels` past statements. I want to read what she said in an old interview.

She said Donald Trump`s obsessed with sharks. Terrified in sharks. He was like I donate to all these charities. I would never donate to any charity that helps sharks. I hope all sharks die. He was like riveted. He was obsessed. And let`s take another look at similar moment last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANIELS: I remember arriving, and he was watching shark week. He made me sit and watch an entire documentary about shark attacks.

COOPER: It wasn`t at that point a business meeting, it was just watching shark video?

DANIELS: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: This is what we believe to be the episode.

PLANK: How do you, how do you know this?

MELBER: We tracked it down, because she referred to it as something about USS something and this was airing then on Discovery where shark attack ever ocean of fear, 2007.

PLANK: And what is Donald Trump`s fear of sharks tell us about Donald Trump?

MELBER: I ask you, my guest on this TV show.

PLANK: Well, I find it interesting that he watches a documentary about something that he is afraid of, right? Wouldn`t you not watch the --?

MELBER: He`d be so terrified and he is watching it like riveted, yes.

PLANK: Yes. So he is taking pleasure in something that he is very afraid of. That`s, if I was his therapist.

MELBER: Which you`re not.

PLANK: I`m not. No, for the record. Thankfully. I think that would be a big, big piece of work.

MELBER: What is shark represent though, as my final question to you? Something he can`t control?

PLANK: Lawyers? That lawyers are sharks.

MELBER: Lawyers are shark. You had the right answer and I didn`t know it.

PLANK: That`s my best guess.

MELBER: Great. Liz Plank, thank you.

PLANK: Thank you, Ari.

MELBER: Thank you for being you.

Up ahead, breaking news. White House lawyers now reviewing, it just broke within hours, some loans to Jared Kushner`s own family companies.

And later, they called him a low-level coffee boy. New reporting on a guilty Trump aide who had contact all the way to Steve Bannon and new collusion questions surrounding many of the aides he was in touched with. The wife of that confessed guilty Trump aide who is also a Mueller witness, she is on THE BEAT exclusively with me tonight up ahead.

And the Senate judiciary committee now demanding Facebook`s Mark Zuckerberg come speak. That story also ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: The other top story tonight, as Trump shakes up his legal team, Mueller is gathering information from cooperating witnesses from Flynn to George Nader to George Papadopoulos who reportedly got the whole Russia probe started as one of the first people to flip. The Trump White House, of course, pioneered their distancing defense on him, calling him everything from a coffee boy to a little staffer, but could he have the last laugh?

There`s a new story here, I don`t know if you have seen this yet, the "Washington Post" making waves because they have new emails revealed that suggest Papadopoulos was up to some pretty high-level contacts.

Now what does it mean? I will, in a moment, ask my exclusive guest, his wife, Simona Mangiante, who has an inside view of the case from her time speaking directly to Mueller`s investigators.

But "the Post" reports that Papadopoulos had contact to the top of the campaign, including Bannon, that he got foreign policy results. He pitched as a home run idea an Egyptian diplomacy meeting. Bannon liked it, but he said he worried it would be hard to quote "sell Donald J. Trump."

Papadopoulos got the meeting done, and even included Jeff Sessions and Mike Flynn who was also conferring over email with Papadopoulos.

With those newly-revealed emails we turn to someone in the know, Simona Mangiante.

Thanks for being here.

SIMONA MANGIANTE, WIFE OF GUILTY TRUMP AIDE, GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS: Hi. Good evening, Ari.

MELBER: Good evening. When you look at this kind of report coming out and you know that George, of course, has been cooperating, and you spoke with Mueller`s investigators as well, does this match your understanding? How often was George talking to senior echelons of the campaign while he was involved?

MANGIANTE: When I read his article, it definitely confirms what I mentioned in my first interview on TV and the interview I held also with you. George had a significant role within the campaign. He was constantly in touch with high-level officials. It was never in any extent considered a coffee boy.

I understand this missile strategy from the White House created a contradiction of something that is, to me, evident when we look at different sources even from me. When first I heard that George Papadopoulos was a low-level volunteer, insignificant in the context of the Trump campaign as foreign policy adviser, I knew of course immediately that is a contribution is very different. And that said, the fact that it was based in London is very important because all his communication happened via e-mail so they can be documented. And apparently, the Washington Post found the source to corroborate this information.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Can you say whether you or George were involved in giving these e-mails to the post?

MANGIANTE: Absolutely not. None of us.

MELBER: You were not.

MANGIANTE: None of us, not to me, not George.

MELBER: So someone else -- because it makes him, I think it`s fair to say, it makes him look better. It makes him at least look more linked up than the Trump aides have said. And you`re saying that, too, and I understand, of course, you`re loyal to him. But that`s implication of the article. And the other thing I want to play for you is Attorney General Jeff Sessions who had to do this dance. Others have pointed this out where he basically argued your husband, George Papadopoulos was very unimportant, as we`ve said, and yet he also seemed to know about him, which suggests some sort of first-name basis level of import. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL, UNITED STATES: I pushed back at his trip and was concerned that he not go off somewhere pretending to represent the Trump campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: What do you think of that idea, that he was pretending to represent Trump?

MANGIANTE: Absolutely not. He was a surrogate of the campaign, as proved by those e-mails. He was constantly acting with approval of the campaign and he was authorized by Bryan Lanza to release the only interview to the Russian media Interfax. He organizes the meeting with el-Sisi, the Egyptian President. He was the only one to talk to the Israeli, most famous energy conference. I`m not sure this profile can be qualified by somebody acting freelance simply on his own initiative. This would not be coherent even with the fact that they hold him in the campaign until the transition period if he was acting on his own.

MELBER: Stay with me. What I want to do is add in a former Federal Prosecutor, Daniel Goldman as we think about these issues. Attorney General Jeff Sessions who I just played, of course, we later learned was under a potential review for criminal lying about Russia contacts, which is a related issue that I just showed. And then take a look at this. A source is contradicting the line I just played. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions` testimony that he opposed this proposed Trump campaign meeting with Russians, contradicted with by three people talking with Reuters who`ve spoken about the matters with Mueller. Line that up with what Simona just shared with us in this -- in this Washington Post article.

DANIEL GOLDMAN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Absolutely. It`s interesting that the Washington Post got these e-mails as you just pointed out. That it`s not coming from George Papadopoulos or Simona. And certainly, the Trump administration has been trying to distance itself from George Papadopoulos and anything that he knows. We know that George Papadopoulos was the first person to learn about the e-mails. And so it makes sense that they`re trying to distance themselves. But, as we see in that reporting by the Washington Post, there was some receptivity by the administration to some of what George was selling. There was also some resistance. And it`s even noted in his statement of offense to which he pled guilty that he, that they, there was at least one administration official who said, stop, tell him to stop, Trump will never do this.

MELBER: Right, although some debate about that. Simona before I let you go, anything you can tell us about how George is doing, what`s on his mind? What`s he thinking as he watches this all unfold?

MANGIANTE: He was very surprised, but I must say in a positive light because this corroborate the message I`m trying to deliver, to give more realistic interpretation of his contribution to the campaign, a representation of what he did in the campaign. So I completely agree that this strategy to distance from George makes sense, because he was the first one and only one, I don`t know, to receive -- to have offered this e-mails (INAUDIBLE). On the other hand, the dismiss of his contribution to the campaign is not true. It`s simply not true.

MANGIANTE: Right. And you`re raising something that a lot of folks are buzzing about in Washington which is you talk about e-mails on Clinton, whether those are the next charges that Mueller may have against Russians or whomever, who actually did the hacking. Simona Mangiante, as always, nice to talk to you. Thanks for being here.

MANGIANTE: Thank you very much. Thank you.

MELBER: Dan Goldman, stay with me. I want to bring you into another big story here. There`s a memo which I have here that we first brought you Friday night on THE BEAT. This is from Rudy Giuliani`s law firm. It was advising the Trump digital operation Cambridge Analytica about how to avoid breaking the law telling Steve Bannion, Trump donor Rebekah Mercer, and that group CEO Alexander Nix that anyone who`s not a citizen shouldn`t be involved in substantively managing these campaigns.

Now, today new details about how Cambridge may have ignored that warning. The Washington Post revealing the company sent dozens of foreign workers to advise Republican in 2014, and that has led to this. Have you seen this yet? Brand-new watchdog group now filing federal complaint alleging Cambridge violated election law by participating in the decision making of wait for it, the Trump, Cruz, and John Bolton operation, plus, 37 states attorneys general, leaving Mark Zuckerberg to take on the big questions. Daniel is with me and I`m joined by a Julia Ioffe, a Contributing Writer at the Atlantic, and an expert in the region. Julia, I wonder what you think of all this coming together. The benign view is a lot of old stuff looks bad today. The less benign view is Rudy Giuliani`s firm was telling you don`t do this, and it seems like you did some of it.

JULIA IOFFE, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Yes, and it sounds like this wasn`t the only warning that Cambridge Analytica got that you know, it`s in violation of U.S. Federal Law that you can`t have foreigners working on your campaign. What`s interesting to me is that you know, as the Cambridge Analytica story comes together, we see how much of the trolling and the kind of the Facebook fake news, psycho analytic stuff was coming not just from Russian bots, but from Brits helping an American company bankrolled by Mercers, staffed by you know, Steve Bannon and other Trump aides. How much of this was truly domestic.

MELBER: Daniel?

GOLDMAN: Well, think the other interesting thing about the memo that you just identified is that it is addressed to Steve Bannon. So what that does is, it really eliminates, at least for Bannon, and one could presume that he transferred this information to other people, a defense of, I didn`t really understand the nuances of the federal campaign finance law, so I didn`t really know whether, whether to what extent foreigners can be involved. It is OK for foreign nationals to have some role in the campaign as long as they`re not the decision-makers.

MELBER: You`re saying legally it`s bad for him because he chose -- he knew, and the question is, did he act like he knew?

GOLDMAN: Right. And the -- well, the question is, was -- did he defer or did he allow foreign nationals to have any role in the Trump campaign.

MELBER: Right, and as you know, M.C. Lyte always said act like you know because if you`re acting like you don`t know what the law is but you`ve been warned by Rudy Giuliani not to break that law, your mental exposure is probably worse. I want to play the which whistle blower interview to battle all this. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTOPHER WYLIE, FORMER DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA: The company was warned that Alexander Nix should recuse himself of substantive management duties of the company as CEO and they were also warned that the company shouldn`t be sending foreign citizens to go and run American campaigns.

MELBER: So Giuliani -- I just want to make sure --

WYLLIE: That advice was completely -- was disregarded.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Julie, when you look at all this, it does paint a picture that would seem to be bad for an America first Republican campaign.

IOFFE: Right, but it`s also not that surprising that Steve Bannon, the disrupter who wants to break all kinds of existing norms and rules in American politics just threw caution to the wind and said you know, screw it, we`re going to do things our way and we`re going to break even more rules. It turns out you know, some rules are you know, federal election law, and you can`t really just throw them to the wind.

MELBER: OK. On that -- on that note, Julia Ioffe, and Daniel Goldman, thanks for being part of our coverage. Up ahead, Donald Trump`s allies are calling this a distraction. The Stormy Daniels allegations, the Bob Mueller probe, they say Trump wants to focus more on real issues. I have a special report about a Trump campaign promise that you should hear fact- checked. That`s coming up. But, an all-new "REAL LIST" when we`re back in 90 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: It`s Monday on THE BEAT, so it`s time for a new segment we`re liking to do on Monday, it`s called "THE REAL LIST", where we focus on what`s important in the world, what`s real in the news and people who were doing something positive or significant. You know we care about it if we have a graphic, guys. It`s Robbie Myers, former Editor in Chief of Elle Magazine, a Consultant on women`s issues and fashion and Doctor Heber Brown, Senior Pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore, Founding Director Cross Freedom School and always bringing the cap bringing the hat, doctor. Looks good.

HEBER BROWN, SENIOR PASTOR, PLEASANT HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH: Good to see you.

MELBER: It looks good on T.V. Who`s on your real list, sir?

BROWN: The first person -- the first group of people on my "REAL LIST," Maxine White and Julius Tillery. These are farmers in Eastern North Carolina who are utilizing their genius in growing food and moving food to improve the health conditions of their community and beyond. Maxine White started a food hub in a small town of Bethel, North Carolina, a small country town, but is doing amazing things through her food hub. She brought 800 eggs to Baltimore recently and had me moving eggs around the city. And Julius Tillery is a farmer. fifth generation cotton farmer and has a company called Black Cotton.

MELBER: Doctor, I see you. We got it up on the screen. I see you with those eggs, dr. You look good with those eggs.

BROWN: I`ve been moving eggs all week. All week I`ve been moving them. And Julius, he takes cotton and makes butte nears and home decor out of cotton from his cotton farm. A young farmer doing innovative things, but they`re making agriculture real cool, and I know a lot of people are focussed on fresh food and local food. We also got to help the farmers in the country as well like Maxine White, Julius Tillery and so many others.

MELBER: Robbie, who`s on your real list?

ROBBIE MYERS, FORMER EDITOR IN CHIEF, ELLE MAGAZINE: My "REAL LIST" is -- you know, if five days left of women`s history month, and I think it`s time we look at three young women who I think are going to make history going forward. They are from of course the march over the weekend. And the first one is Emma Gonzalez. I mean, I -- you know, it`s too bad that the NRA was so cynical about who was really putting this march together and who was behind it because you can`t watch this young woman talk and not talk for almost six minutes and not cry. It was so incredibly moving.

The other young women is Naomi Wadler who you know, at this moment we`re all talking about intersectionality. She`s representing three things when she stood up the yesterday. One is the Black Lives Matter Movement, one is the Women`s March and Feminism and one, of course, is Gun Control. And she stood up there because she wanted to talk about all of the women of color who are victims of gun violence who are not recognized regularly in the news, and the third one, of course, is Yolanda Renee King. She has some good DNA. And talk about celebrity, real celebrity, nine years old, she said enough is enough.

MELBER: And you put it there. And I`ve got to think, I don`t want to make assumptions about anyone in the country, but I was down there covering the march and I saw a lot of people in the march and I think that would be on a lot of people`s list. Mine relates that which is policy. A big thing that came out as we were watching this over the week was OK, what is going to happen. And so, if you -- if you look at this on the basis of what comes next, you know, let`s look at actual detailed proposals which in some ways can be less exciting in some of the great leadership we saw and great speeches. I wanted to put three policy items on the "REAL LIST," the first is the assault weapons ban, which Senator Feinstein did passed. When people say, you can`t pass this into law, it was law and it expired under the compromise they have. She`s still pushing that.

Number two would be this bump stocks issue. The Trump administration, I want to report the facts, did move forward on a rule. The next step as it goes through what`s called an administrative comment period, and I think we`re going to keep an eye on what happens with that and whether it really becomes a permanent rule. And third, probably the most ridiculous thing that people can`t understand around the world, this no-fly list. We got people, we won`t let them on planes, but they can buy guns. There`s a bill to change that. That`s also on my "REAL LIST." Quick final thought, Dr. Brown.

BROWN: I know you`re a hip-hop head on the low, Ari. We know your secret. Listen, I got to give it up to Maimouna Youssef, she did a tiny desk concert with Common recently. This sister can sing, she can rap. (INAUDIBLE) raised in D.C. as well. But listen, I want soccer moms everywhere, impress your children tonight by telling them about Maimouna Youssef, Mumu Fresh and put that in the Youtube tonight.

MELBER: All right, Dr. Brown giving out Youtube tips and representing the locals, keeping it local on the national news. I love it. That`s why we want to do this every Monday. I hope you both come back, Robbie Myers and Dr. Heber Brown. Up ahead, my special report on Donald Trump`s major policy priority and whether it`s getting done.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: There are many other stories besides White House chaos and Russia and Stormy Daniels. Donald Trump often said his presidency is all about infrastructure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re here today to discuss the urgent need to rebuild and restore America`s depleted infrastructure.

It is also time to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.

Our infrastructure will again be the best in the word. We used to have the greatest infrastructure.

Well, we`re going to get infrastructure. Infrastructure is the easiest of all. We`re very well on our way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: The easiest. This week Trump is heading to Ohio to promote a plan to attempt to get more bipartisan support. When the White House is under fire, there are speeches and press events rolled out about infrastructure. It`s become a kind of a recurring promise, approaching the mythical status of the famous briefcase in pulp fiction. You can`t quite see it, but you want to know what`s in it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is it? What is it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that what I think it is? It`s beautiful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Keep Marcellus Wallace`s the briefcase in mind as you try to follow this plot because Trump has declared it infrastructure week three different times. First, June 5th, 2017, right before James Comey`s highly anticipated testimony about Trump firing him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES COMEY, FORMER DIRECTOR, FBI: It`s my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation. I was fired in some way to change or the endeavor was to change the way the Russia investigation was being conducted. That is -- that is a very big deal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Trump spoke but he didn`t offer funding for infrastructure or even a legislative proposal. Then just two months later, Trump unveiled a second official infrastructure week on August 14th.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We`ve just had a great set of briefings upstairs on our infrastructure agenda. My administration is working every day to deliver the world-class infrastructure that our people deserve, and frankly, that our country deserves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That was the stated reason to address reporters at that fateful day at Trump Tower, which now even as allies view as one of the low points of his young presidency.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think there`s blame on both sides. You look at -- you look at both sides, I think there is blame on both sides and I have no doubt about it and you don`t have any doubt about it either.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: There was a doubt about it. But note the only reasons Trump aides had him in that fateful Charlottesville press conference was to talk infrastructure and that`s what he talks about which raises the question of how much he cares. Now let`s go to February 2018. The White House again declared, you get it by now, infrastructure week. Although John Kelly was under fire over domestic abuse allegations involving an aide and the news was breaking about Trump paying hush money to a former Playmate. Now, beyond the event, Trump has signed orders about infrastructure, but mostly they create advisory councils about infrastructure. So it`s sort of an endless loop of infrastructure ceremonies and talk followed by more talk. This has been the pattern from the start. Steve Bannon`s first interview after the election said conservatives would go crazy over his trillion infrastructure plan. When he left in August 2017, the White House had never even sent any plan to Congress.

Over a year into the Presidency, Trump did send a February plan with about $200 billion proposed in federal spending. It`s about 20 percent of what Bannon promised. Mostly it asks states to do the rest. While the president ran on being a deal maker, let`s also note, just last week, they had a big budget process, and he didn`t use that to get much for infrastructure. Instead, he complained about his own bill. Now in contrast to Trump`s single proposal, Democrats proposed a much larger trillion dollar infrastructure plan, or look at John Thune proposed six different infrastructure bills compared to Trump`s one. But as Trump heads to Ohio this week to talk infrastructure again, it`s obviously just a politician talking about a popular topic without doing anything, which is exactly what Trump ran against.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Obama is all talk and no action.

The years of all talk, no action politicians like her will end.

Typical politician, all talk, no action.

We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action.

The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: This isn`t the hour of action. Trump`s now been on the job for 14 months of inaction on infrastructure. A time period when the U.S. got a D- plus on the issue and Americans face danger on a third of all public roads. You know, many people believed Trump back on the campaign trail when he railed against politicians who just talked. And let`s be clear. Donald Trump was channeling a long-standing skepticism towards talkers in the culture. Shakespeare wrote that talkers are no good doers. We use our hands, not our tongues. Or take a more modern bard, Quavo from the musical group Migos who says walk it like I talk it. Because if you don`t walk the walk, it`s just not real. So Trump can fly to Ohio this week, and he can talk infrastructure again and he can rail against politicians who talk without action. But for those who listen closely, they may hear a politician fronting and indicting himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Typical politician, all talk, no action.

We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action.

The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: News breaking in our hour about Donald Trump`s son in law and Adviser Jared Kushner. White House law now looking into two loans that were made to Jared Kushner`s family business and the price tag, half a billion dollars. This coming from the Wall Street Journal reporting the White House Counsel`s office is reviewing whether these loans, one from an investment firm and another from a big bank Citigroup may have violated any legal or ethical guidelines which do attach to an aide like Kushner. It builds of course on New York Times report last month that the loans may have come after Kushner with his White House job was meeting with key executives from those very two same firms. That does it for me. Thanks for watching our show. I`ll be back here tomorrow night, 6:00 p.m. Eastern. "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews is up next.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Defenseless. Let`s play HARDBALL.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END