Russia fires back: expels 60 U.S. diplomats. TRANSCRIPT: 03/29/2018. The Beat with Ari Melber

Guests: Sam Nunberg, Randy Credico, Margaret Carlson

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: March 29, 2018 Guest: Sam Nunberg, Randy Credico, Margaret Carlson

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: People you know on the show tonight, Sam Nunberg and Randy Credico.

KATY TUR, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I must ask you a question.

MELBER: Wow. That was the prepared fun now.

TUR: It wasn`t actually. I thought of it off my head.

MELBER: Well, you are that smart, Katy Tur. Thank you.

TUR: I am.

MELBER: Tonight, we begin, new tensions with Russia, and Bob Mueller opening a new front on the Russia probe. First this big news, Russia hitting back, kicking out 60 diplomats from United States. This is days, of course, after the Trump administration did what many said had been too long at time coming, expelling 60 Russians as punishment for Russia taking that blatant move of allegedly poisoning a former Russian spy of theirs on Western soil in UK.

This news comes as Mueller is asking questions about the Trump campaign specific Russia contacts at the GOP Republican convention in 2016, and why the GOP suddenly strangely softened its stance against Russia. It is a question indicted Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort has faced before.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST, MEET THE PRESS DAILY: There has been some controversy about something in the Republican Party platform that essentially changed the Republican Party`s view when it comes to Ukraine. How much influence did you have on changing that language, sir?

PAUL MANAFORT, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISOR: I had not.

TODD: Everybody on the platform committee had said it came from the Trump campaign. If not you, who?

MANAFORT: it absolutely did not come from Trump campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That was the public denial then. But the new focus is on Manafort, not just from a journalistic line of questioning, but people with subpoena power. And it comes of course as he is in a different story. The White House scrambling to try to push back against these credible "New York Times" reports, that Trump recently, the recent ousted lawyer John Dowd was dangling the idea of pardons to yes, Paul Manafort, as well as Michael Flynn.

Now I want to be clear, Dowd is denying this story (INAUDIBLE) this week. Mueller not likely to just take him at his word, though. And we know, Mueller is not afraid to get tough with lawyers. He fought famously before, yes, Paul Manafort`s lawyer to testify before a grand jury and one, it wasn`t just aggressive, it was almost unheard of.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s unusual for the government to subpoena somebody`s lawyer, period. I mean, if you have watched one episode of "Perry Mason," you know how weird this is, right. When lawyers and their clients talk to each other, those communications are protected by attorney- client privilege. Trying to force an attorney to testify about something related to his or her client, that is very unusual.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Unusual, but Mueller pulled it off. He won that battle in court, making Manafort`s lawyer testify. Now Mueller has more questions for Manafort`s lawyers as well as now, Donald Trump`s most recently departed lawyer.

I want to turn now to Bill Kristol, editor-at-large for the "Weekly Standard," Margaret Carlson, a column for "the Daily Beast" and a very special guest, Michael Conway, an attorney who served as counsel to House judiciary committee during Richard Nixon`s impeachment.

Ad Michael, in a moment I`m going to ask you about a whole another piece of this story. And whether the abuse of pardons itself can be grounds for impeachment.

Before we go there, Bill Kristol, your view of all of these breaking news I just ran through and the heat on the lawyers.

BILL KRISTOL, FOUNDER/EDITOR-AT-LARGE, WEEKLY STANDARD: The Mueller probe moves ahead. He has done a lot more than people realize and probably knows a lot more that people realize. I meant because they are doing some dramatic things than people realize. I think Donald Trump may realize, however, that things are getting hotter for him. And I continue to think that the prospect of an attempt to fire or limit somehow Mueller`s investigation and/or the prospect of pardons remains very real. I think Trump thinks that is - he has wanted to do it for all along and I got think he is thinking the moment is close.

MELBER: And the idea that it is Flynn, Margaret, is very important because this was the fight before all of these got started. Before there was a Bob Mueller special counsel probe. There were credible reports of Donald Trump trying to do what a part in my due now before there ever was a need for one which is stop the probe into Flynn and James Comey testified to this under oath.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: General Flynn at that point in time was in legal jeopardy. My understood and to be saying that he wanted me to do is drop any investigation connected to Flynn`s account of his conversations with the Russians. I don`t think it is for me to say whether the conversation I have with the President was an effort obstruct. I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Margaret, how does that testimony connect to this new report?

MARGARET CARLSON, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, Trump has always felt very protective towards Michael Flynn. And he said in his conversation with Comey, that he was good guy and did and couldn`t Comey see a very clear to let him go.

In the press, we see Trump walking to the helicopter on the south lawn, he says then, I am not talking about a Michael Flynn pardon yet. The yet, I think is the word to concentrate on. He is always wanted to do it. And I think as Bill says, I think he is closer to feeling the hot breath of Mueller on his neck than we know. And is more likely to, now that Dowd is gone, to put into operation getting rid of Mueller and to use that massive, broad pardon power.

MELBER: That`s very evocative. Does that make Mueller sort of a Wolf? Is that like an animal breath or --?

CARLSON: I don`t know. You choose the animal.

MELBER: Well, Michael will tell you analogies are powerful and story- telling as well is in (INAUDIBLE). And I turn to you, Michael, for something you flagged that I think is going to interest a lot of people, whether Donald Trump and John Dowd realize it or not, everyone knows of course obstruction was this key part of the impeachment of Richard Nixon.

But maybe Trump and Dowd don`t know that congressional investigators at the time specifically looked at the abuse of, yes, the pardon and clemency power and whether it was an effort to silence potential witnesses. Sounds familiar?

What we don`t know if Donald Trump directed John Dowd to do any of that or if he offered anything exchange for pardons to be clear. But let`s show you exactly what happened in that Nixon era.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: From article 1 of the House judicial impeachment article stating that Nixon was trying to cause defendants to quote "expect favored treatment and consideration in return for their silence or false testimony. So right there, that is an impeachment article. That is a type of legal history looking at the very issue of the abuse of pardons in that way.

And that is not all. The House judiciary report expands on the issue saying not only did Nixon let others discuss pardons, but he personally discussed potential clemency for a Watergate co-conspirator.

Michael, as I mentioned, you were in the middle of this. Do you see any of this potentially applying if there was a misuse of the pardon power today?

MICHAEL CONWAY, ATTORNEY: Absolutely. It`s a complete parallel with what President Nixon did. In that case the burglary you referred to is Howard Hunt. And Howard Hunt wanted clemency. And (INAUDIBLE) who was a member of the White House staff went to Howard Hunt`s lawyer. He did talk to Howard Hunt directly and held out - dangle I think is the best way to describe it, the concept of clemency.

Howard Hunt then pled guilty and wanted to be out of prison by Christmas of that year. And Colson talked to President Nixon about it. President Nixon in one of the White House tapes, acknowledges that he thought, well, you know, maybe there`s family circumstances and so forth that could lead to clemency. And it wasn`t just Howard Hunt. In order to get favorable testimony from a couple of other aides, including John Mitchell and Jed McRuder (ph), he pulled his staff to go out and pulled out the prospect of potential communication which --.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: And the key there to imply that today is, if you watch judge Napolitano or the President`s allies, they are going to say, hey, this is a lawful power. It`s a constitutional power. Your point is that even if Nixon did have that power, I don`t think that`s up for debate, the abuse of it was a potential ingredient of impeachment. Do I have that right?

CONWAY: Absolutely. I mean, the pardoned would still be effective. If he pardon Flynn, Flynn is pardoned, at least from federal crimes, obviously, as you all well-know not from state crimes. He could still be prosecuted there.

But yes, it is an abuse of this power to do this if it`s for a corrupt purpose. The corrupt purpose is not just protecting President Trump himself, but protecting his campaign, protecting his associates, protecting his family members.

MELBER: Bill Kristol, what do you think of this theory and do you think it`s known in the White House?

KRISTOL: I think it may be known, but I think they - we will see what they think. I mean, he keeps testing. I mean, Trump, you and I have discussed this before, Ari, and I think you and I are in a minority but I think we are right in understanding Trump, which is, of course, he is an adolescent --

MELBER: I`m fine being in the minority, if I`m right.

(CROSSTALK)

KRISTOL: It`s the best of all worlds.

MELBER: Are you (INAUDIBLE) is right, then great. Thank you.

KRISTOL: Totally. Absolutely.

So here - I mean, everyone says he is, you know, he is volatile, whatever the last person he sees on TV. He gives them a job. Like all of this is true. But at the end of the day, directionally, Trump has a few thing he cares about and he moves towards those goals. And whether that policy goes that he cares about tariffs and so forth. Or in this case impeding and stopping and blunting and removing if possible this whole investigation. And he makes fits and starts. And as he did with other policy issues, the Iran deal. He wants to get rid of it. He gets talk to (INAUDIBLE) for three or four or five months. Then he gives moves further on to getting rid of it and finally, he is going to and so forth.

And it think that`s very much what`s have been happening in this case. He keeps testing the waters. He goes forward. He pulls back a little. And he has gone pretty far, if you think where we are now, and without, you know, without much in the way of checks from Republicans.

And that`s the key to me. That if Republicans on the Hill have not stepped up in any authoritative way, and said Mr. President, this you cannot do. And an absent of that, I just have to think, he keeps on moving forward.

MELBER: Yes. And let me link that for Margaret, with news today that Andy McCabe, who was the only deputy FBI director ever fired in American history, and obviously the only one fired after a false set of attacks posted online by a President on twitter, he has launched a defense fund. You can see it there, him and his family and his dog, and he is an FBI veteran. And they say in the first eight-year estimates are up over $115,000, which doesn`t necessarily mean anything either way, because people in politics, I`m sure can draw from all sorts of corners of sources.

But Margaret, it does speak to what`s going on in America right now, which is someone who served their country for these 20 years and rose to number two. At one point he was acting FBI director, was fired after a haranguing political rant from the President, you know, literally days before his pension would kick in, on and when, and when I say these things, people think, I`m being unfair. This is just what it was, on secret evidence that still has not been revealed or disclosed. And so, I wondered if to Bill`s point Margaret, that is the kind of thing that is Trump test and said, look, I can fire the FBI director and the deputy director and muse about pardons and yes, I`m get hit a little but nothing really bad is happening to him by the Republicans.

CARLSON: Well, Trump also had laid some groundwork here. I mean, I think Andy McCabe evokes tremendous sympathy because of how Trump laid it out that, you know, his wife is a loser and he is going to be fired for cost on the eve of his retirement where he would get his pension. That just evokes sympathy.

But only from about maybe half of the country. The other half of the country has been convinced by Trump and his allies in the Congress, is the FBI is a corrupt institution that filled with people from the deep state. And you know, lawyers like Joe diGenova, that fabricated (ph) evidence and frame the President. So there are these two tracks going along. And Trump gauges which ones is more important to him and which one has Mueller have it any one time. And then he pushes a little bit further. I mean, he has floated firing Mueller a couple of times. And he floated firing Andy McCabe and that he did it.

MELBER: Right. So buckle up. Whether or not you can feel the Wolf breathing on your neck as you put it Margaret.

Margaret Carlson, Michael Conway, Bill Kristol, thanks to all of you for you expertize.

Coming up, I turn to my exclusive report, something we have been working on for a long time on questions facing Roger Stone and why he is a key figure in the Mueller probe. New reporting and special guest as I mentioned, Sam Nunberg and Randy Credico are here live in studio.

Also, a new step back from the stormy Daniels` attack on Donald Trump as a new claim about why Trump`s lawyer paid out the money.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The truth is he loves the boss and --.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He did it out of love.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He did it --.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: What`s love got to do with it?

And what`s wrong with this picture? A fact check on a new claim about the border wall. I`m going to show you that in a moment. It that wall new? Well, all of you can tell us. We will have the facts.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Now to our exclusive report tonight and some very special guests.

Bob Mueller just dropped a tantalizing clue in this Russia probe. A court finding alleging a former Putin spy worked with Paul Manafort in 2016. This is one of the first Mueller filings suggesting a direct link between Manafort and Russia that campaign. And experts are if Mueller is turning to the most blatant 2016 crime. The hack of Democratic emails which could explain one name that stands out in a subpoena that recently leaked.

After 10 months of secrecy former Trump aide Sam Number disclosed a special counsel subpoena showing Mueller demanding information on key Trump aides. Notice all of them were on the official campaign during 2016 except one person, longtime advisor, Roger Stone. He stands out because he was not on staff in 2016 when Trump won the nomination and when that criminal hack occurred. But he is closer to Trump than most operatives.

Stone famously begin working for him all the way in 1988. He and his lobbying partner, Paul Manafort advised Trump in business. Stone also helped Trump in 2000 when he flirted with a reform party bid. And he helped launch this Trump presidential campaign in 2015.

News anchors were wondering who would help this man`s long shot bid while Stone professed his loyalty.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The old guy who`s been around forever, Roger Stone, maybe?

TRUMP: Roger always wanted me to run for president. And over the years, every time a presidential race came up, he always wanted me to run.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you remain with Donald now throughout the campaign?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ll do whatever the Donald asks me to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Stone now in the middle of intrigue in this probe, just as the self-promoting provocateur put himself in the middle of controversies from Nixon to Bush.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP ADVISOR: You play by the rules as they are written, when they change the rules, you change the way you play the game.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: The game has changed because defendants have been changing into felon before our eyes - Mike Flynn, Rick Gates, flipped it.

And that bring us to this special report tonight. Questions for Roger Stone.

We know Bob Mueller has questions about stone because he is subpoenaing other people about their contact with Stone. We know even Roger gets his behavior was suspicious as he recently told MSNBC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: Wouldn`t you consider that suspicious behavior if you were Mr. Mueller?

STONE: Yes I would look for any proof that I had advanced knowledge of the content or the source.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: But in public, Stone has not been consistent as he put it there the proof. Even after boasting a contact with key foreign players in the center of the 2016 meddling. So question number one, why is Mueller, even investigating a person who is not formally on the Trump staff in 2016. The answer begins with Stone`s rule. Even though he left the campaign in August 2015, always put yourself at the center of controversy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STONE: It is better to be infamous, than never to be famous at all. Stone`s rule.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Associates of Trump and the Trump campaign, people like Roger Stone, for example. "The Atlantic" magazine tonight also released direct messages between trump campaign associate, Roger Stone and WikiLeaks. From a campaign advisor for the Trump campaign named Roger Stone.

A long time Trump advisor Roger Stone.

Roger stone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: The idea that Mueller`s investigating Stone is not only based on the subpoena. We know Mueller has questioned other witnesses but not Stone yet, suggesting, he could ultimately be more than a witnesses. Now, one of the few people who has been inside the grand jury told us he sees a potential case against Stone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAM NUNBERG, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDE: They are trying to set up a perjury case against Roger Stone and I`m not going to have them. Roger is my mentor. Roger is like family to me and I`m not going to do it. I`m not going to do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: And Sam Nunberg argued that Stone got himself into this mess.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NUNBERG: I said to Roger, you are giving yourself a lot of exposure, claiming that you are in communication with Julian Assange.

MELBER: They asked you about his dealings with Julian Assange.

NUNBERG: Yes, they did. They asked whether Roger tell me about his dealings with Julian Assange or his communications with Julian Assange during the election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Which brings us to question two, why did Roger Stone promote WikiLeaks in Julian Assange so much? Stone didn`t technically work for Trump in 2016. But Trump the candidate touted WikiLeaks over 140 times in the month before voting. Stone not only hyping Assange but weighing into debate over whether he was doing Putin`s biding.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STONE: He is a courageous journalist who has an incredible track record for accuracy and authenticity. Say this about Julian Assange, I reject the idea that he is a Russian asset. I reject the idea that WikiLeaks is a Russian front.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: And that is not all. The very filmmaker who made this documentary I just excerpted told us that Stone was trying to arrange a personal visit to Assange during the campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In July and in June of 2016, we -- he told us that he was trying to meet with Julian Assange. We spoke with him about the possibility of bringing our crew to London to film them meeting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: And by this year, Stone making good with a London visit where he left a note for Assange. Now Stone`s defenders say that note and reports of an icy set of twitter messages between Stone and WikiLeaks could show he doesn`t have some great intermediary back channel to Assange.

Which raises question number three, why did Stone claim he did have an intermediary with Assange and then back pedal?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STONE: I actually have communicated with Assange, I believe the next dump of documents pertain to the Clinton foundation, but there`s no telling what the October surprise may be.

No, I have not spoken to Mr. Assange. I have not met with Mr. Assange, and I never said I had. I said we communicated through an intermediary, who was a mutual friend.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Never said I had.

Stone later claimed he couldn`t reveal that intermediary unless he was authorized. Then Stone flipped again revealing the supposed intermediary was Roger Credico, a radio host who has done more interviews with Assange that almost any reporter in America, they talked about everything from politics to whether Russian meddling is a Hillary hoax.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Putin to me is a consummate politician for Russia. A little less consummate when dealing with the rest of the world, but still pretty skilled. That was a historical moment that the Democrats could have had.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They certainly could. My opinion is this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They could have had it. But they were successful in hyping up this Russia narrative and thereby distracting from what would be the normal course of things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: So Credico matters given his rare access to Assange and this public link Roger Stone. But when Credico broke his silence and spoke out on THE BEAT, he totally contradicted Stone`s current story, saying one, he didn`t authorize Stone to release his name and more importantly Credico said Stone lied and he was not the intermediary to Julian Assange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Did you ever carry messages from Julian Assange and what he planned to do to anyone else in the world?

RANDY CREDICO, RADIO HOST: No, absolutely not. I totally deny.

MELBER: You deny that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: So Stone`s former mentee and associate, throwing cold water on his defense, which bring us to question four, why is Stone turning on them and just about everyone else except Trump and Assange?

In the past month, Stone has published several newsletters, clapping back at all kinds of opponents. He has put out these deep state propaganda cartoons that look like a (INAUDIBLE) of mortal combat and a kind of a James Bond DNC. He says Nunberg now quote "struggles with his demons and did a disservice." He says Credico has faulty or selective memory. He slammed the filmmaker who he trust enough to spent months on the road with saying they are trying to get on TV to promote his great movie.

Now I have covered Stone for years. I have interviewed him on air during the 2016 campaign. He told a conservative Web site that MSNBC has talented reporters he respects. He added I like Chris Hayes. I really like Ari Melber.

And that`s another story Stone is flipping on. He attacked our channel. And now dubs me quote "a Stone hater."

Then one of his newest attacks singles out the "Daily Beast" as a source of recycled quote "bullschiff." An apparent portmento (ph) of Congressman Adam Schiff`s name.

Now why this fixation on "the Daily Beast?" Well, we have reached the final Roger Stone question, perhaps, why contact the hacker Guccifer? And did Stone know he worked for Putin? Because "the Daily Beast" is who reported the hacker of the DNC emails, that big crime that started all, wasn`t a rogue whistleblower, they say it was a Putin spy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The investigation of Russian interference in our election has taken a new and important turn.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: So even if you put aside Mueller`s Stone subpoena, and put aside Stone`s public defense of Assange and Stone`s claimed intermediary to Assange and Stone`s attempt to meet with Assange, you could even put aside the logical ethering of Stone`s defense by his own associates, Nunberg and Credico, who I will speak to in a moment, and you could put aside Stone`s apparent prediction that WikiLeaks material was going to come out before it leaked. Put all that aside and you still have Roger Stone publicly confessing the contact with alleged Putin spy behind the criminal hacking of the DNC emails and an international election conspiracy to subvert American democracy.

It is a lot. Kind of leaves to the guests. Maybe the only question left for Roger Stone, if he does ever face Mueller`s investigators. At this point, is your best defense to tell them I lied about everything?

Let me bring in tonight`s special panel. I have Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign aide, who has been involved in this. Nick Ackerman a former assistant special Watergate prosecutor who interviewed Roger Stone during the Watergate investigation. I`m also joined by Randy Credico who I mentioned is an associate of Roger Stone and a frequent conversation partner interviewer of Julian Assange.

Gentlemen, thank you for coming to one table to talk about this.

CREDICO: I can`t tell you how thrilled I am, really.

MELBER: You are thrilled?

CREDICO: Yes.

MELBER: Why are you thrilled, Randy?

CREDICO: Because I like this kind of atmosphere. Vince McMahon should be the host of this show.

MELBER: Well, we are going to do -- you make a wrestling reference. I believe I was. We are going to wrestle with the facts here. There`s a lot on the table.

Sam? Is Roger`s best defense saying he lied about all this stuff?

NUNBERG: Well, first of all, I think I have said this publicly but I will flat out say the minute he told me on phone that he met with Assange, I assumed he was lying. It`s something Roger does. It is one of the Stone rules to tactic. It`s a Trump tactic too. Take credit, insinuate yourself.

MELBER: When you say something he does, you mean Roger Stone lies to people like you, his mentee?

NUNBERG: Yes. I call it (INAUDIBLE) exaggerations. I mean, you know, I think that I never asked really for the specifics of how he met with him. I never asked this or that. In fact I said this on another station, what I did ask him immediately was, does he have new information on Benghazi. And Roger, as he said publicly said to me, no. It was on the Clinton foundation. And as think - I think I`m pointing out to you before there was no new information on Benghazi or the Clinton foundation that Julian Assange then released. I continually told them throughout that process. You are giving yourself a lot of exposure here. He told me that Julian Assange is not connected with the Russians. I said you can say whatever you want, go argue with the intelligence agencies. And if Hillary Clinton wins, she is going to go after you.

MELBER: What about this new report that you have, Putin`s intelligence service involved in the criminal hacking.

NUNBERG: Right.

MELBER: And Stone`s response is not, I didn`t know that if true, that`s bad. But rather, that`s not true.

NUNBERG: That`s -- you know, it`s continued to be. Roger -- that`s Roger`s - one may believe that actually, but that`s part of his, you know, he works on info-wars. He has a different set of foreign policies views and domestic views.

MELBER: I`m not talking foreign policy. I`m saying you hear that. Imagine it`s whatever adversary, Iran, North Korea, Russia, you hear that his is who hacked our democracy, criminal through hacking emails.

NUNBERG: They tracked it.

MELBER: And instead of saying that is bad, he denies he ever said it. What does that tell you?

NUNBERG: I don`t know, what is that supposed to tell me?

NICK ACKERMAN, FORMER WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Even more so. I mean, "the Washington Post" has reported that in the spring of 2016, before anybody knew about the hacking by the Russians into the Democratic National Committee, Roger Stone was telling people that there is going to be these emails that a group has that WikiLeaks has and that they`re going to be publishing these during the campaign and they`re going to cause a lot of problems for Podesta and for Clinton. I mean doesn`t that contradict what you were told?

SAM NUNBERG, FORMER AIDE, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: You`re talking (INAUDIBLE) but he never said that. Sir, you`re talking about The Washington Post story which I was quoted as on the record and it was by Josh Dawsey and I had gone --

AKERMAN: No, this is not the Washington Post story. This is a completely different story about another source that they had, that related -- completely unrelated to you that had totally different information.

NUNBERG: Look, I think Roger needs to explain that. I`m not a special pleader here for Roger. Roger said -- Roger said the other day and he said it on the --

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: But you are loyal to Roger.

NUNBERG: I am loyal to him.

MELBER: And you`re loyal to him and saying on television that he`s a liar. That`s his best defense at this point.

NUNBERG: Yes, I would just say he said to me --

MELBER: Randy --

RANDY CREDICO, RADIO HOST AND COMEDIAN: I said earlier to him that you too have a tattoo of Roger Stone on your back. Is that possible?

NUNBERG: I can`t get a tattoo.

MELBER: Roger has a Nixon tattoo on his back, so that is layered.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: Let me ask you -- let me ask you, Randy.

CREDICO: Yes.

MELBER: Sam says Roger`s a liar, but that might say --

CREDICO: He was lying.

MELBER: You said he was lying and that might be --

CREDICO: He exaggerates.

AKERMAN: He exaggerates. Isn`t that lying?

CREDICO: No, that`s not lying.

MELBER: Randy --

CREDICO: Roger --

MELBER: Randy, I haven`t -- I haven`t done the question yet. Here`s the question, you`ll know it because it has a question mark at the end.

CREDICO: Good humor.

MELBER: Now, Julian Assange --

CREDICO: Yes.

MELBER: Do you have any way of know whether Assange believes Roger is lying?

CREDICO: I can tell you for sure that Roger had no contact with Julian Assange, either before or after. You`re going to have to find somebody else that is the person that is the transmitter.

MELBER: But you`re not the intermediary? So let me ask you --

CREDICO: No, no, I`m saying that Roger had no contact ever.

AKERMAN: Why was Roger Stone saying that --

CREDICO: No, why he`s saying --

MELBER: You said -- you said number one -- hold on, hold on. I just want to be clear --

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: I want to be -- Randy, I want to be very clear. You have previously said that you were not his intermediary, and you also saying your belief based on your knowledge of both these two men is that they didn`t have direct contacts. So let me go to Assange --

CREDICO: I know Assange very well --

MELBER: Yes you do.

CREDICO: -- and I can tell you with authority that Assange never had conversations with Roger Stone or an intermediary and there`s no reason to do it.

MELBER: So the next -- and the next question I have for you is, how is Assange viewing all this? When is that last time you spoke? Does he think that Roger Stone is trying to trade on WikiLeaks for his own agenda?

CREDICO: I think he knows that Roger Stone who was outside of the office that was dressed like Jimmy the Cricket with the hat on and everything last month. He likes attention. Sam said he insinuated himself into this story, the Podesta e-mail, you have to parse that e-mail by -- or that tweet by Roger Stone. It says Podesta`s, and the "the" and the "be", you don`t know if he`s talking about the Podesta brothers if you want to get them --

AKERMAN: There`s no question. He wasn`t talking about the Podesta brothers. That`s total nonsense. You can tell just from the context, look what happens immediately afterwards. That`s when the e-mail came out --

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: Hold on, hold on, hold on. I am going to -- wait.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: Randy, we`re going to go Nick and then back to you. Go ahead, Nick.

AKERMAN: Yes, I mean, that is the truth. I mean, look. You took the Fifth Amendment when you were questioned before the committee, correct?

CREDICO: Yes, just like the Hollywood --

AKERMAN: Yes, and you took the Fifth Amendment and you basically said a truthful answer to questions asked would tend to incriminate me, correct?

CREDICO: Have you at long last no sense of decency applying that?

AKERMAN: Didn`t you take the Fifth Amendment?

CREDICO: I did.

(CROSSTALK)

CREDICO: Why? Because I want to be entrapped -- I want to be entrapped by the FBI or by the -- I didn`t want to be entrapped by the FBI or by Congress.

(CROSSTALK)

AKERMAN: Entrapped? All you have to do is tell the truth.

CREDICO: Well --

AKERMAN: And are you telling the truth now? You`re not under oath now, so why should we believe you if you go before a House Committee assert the Fifth Amendment because you`re claiming a truthful answer which can incriminate you.

MELBER: Let me take -- now, let me take it to you Randy`s term --

CREDICO: This guy is harder than Richard Pointer -- Painter.

MELBER: Randy`s term but only if you answer. He raises a fair point.

CREDICO: Which one is that?

MELBER: I`m going to give it to you, if you took the Fifth previously on the grounds it may incriminate you, and now you`re not under oath, why should Americans believe you as you`re seeming to both say Roger is lying as he`s in the center of this probe but you also seem to be offering the defense about Podesta. Why should we believe you? Your turn.

CREDICO: Why as a lawyer do you not subscribe for people to invoke the Fifth Amendment? There are reasons why people do invoke. Hillary Clinton`s two aides invoked the Fifth Amendment, were they lying last year? So I invoked it because I do not want to sit down with that committee, I do not believe in that committee, I am not happy with Adam Schiff. I think there is a lot of Russia phobia. I call it Russia vaping. That is what is going on right now.

MELBER: And when is the last time you spoke to Roger Stone?

CREDICO: I don`t know, like a week and a half ago.

MELBER: Did you speak to him after you spoke out on THE BEAT?

CREDICO: He may have e-mailed me. We communicate, you know, it`s a very weird thing.

MELBER: It is weird and that`s why we`re trying to get to the bottom. Did he view what you said was helpful to him?

CREDICO: He told me to do something, all right? He said do your impression from Godfather, I don`t know any Roger Stone.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: Hold on. Same question -- same question for you.

NUNBERG: Yes.

MELBER: When was the last time you spoke to Roger and does he view what you`re doing as helpful?

NUNBERG: Well, he doesn`t view it as helpful. And the last time I spoke to him was the Saturday before my Friday grand jury appearance and I`m not going to speak to him until this whole investigation is done. But I just want to say --

CREDICO: Why not?

MELBER: And what do you think is going to happen if he goes in to speak to Mueller? Because we just laid out a lot of questions that are problematic for him, and he different than you, appeared to keep a relationship with Donald Trump. All of this talk about WikiLeaks in the close of the campaign, don`t you think that he has to answer for that in a more serious way, to clear his name if his name can be cleared?

NUNBERG: I think he`ll just say, look, he wouldn`t say he was lying, he`ll say I was joking as he`s trying to say it. I mean, the joke is essentially on me because that`s why I got called in I think one of the primary reasons by Mueller`s, special counsel, but I think he`ll say that he`ll show his passport as he did on Newsmax the other day, and he`ll just say look, I never met the guy and the guy has denied that. So -- and I think you`re right. Another point about Roger is, and let me just -- very quickly, is right around early August is when he told me he met with Assange and I think that that time is into when Trump had asked for the e-mails. And he`s always trying to --

MELBER: When Trump publicly ask Russia about the e-mail?

NUNBERG: Correct. And I think he`s trying to ingratiate himself back with Trump. I don`t care about Trump. He`s irrelevant to me if I have a relationship with him again. Roger does. They have a long-term -- you know, they have a long relationship.

MELBER: This is what I`m going to do, and I want to go -- I got to fit in a break, but I`m going to keep you all here. And it`s only going to be a 90-second break. Nick Ackerman, I want some of your legal -- hold on, I want your legal rebuttal to some of this, and I also want to ask you about Julian Assange being cut off from the internet this week. Your response to that as well as your told me that he sometimes watches --

CREDICO: He watches your show.

MELBER: So we`ll talk about that as well. We`ll talk about that and we`ll come back in 90 seconds, everyone stays.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Welcome back to THE BEAT. We are in the middle of a special discussion, appearances that we have not ever had on television live before which is Sam Nunberg who`s faced Mueller`s Interviewers, Randy Credico who`s interviewed Julian Assange three times, more than most American journalist, and former Watergate Prosecutor Nick Akerman who I mentioned once questioned Roger Stone in the Watergate proceedings. For viewers just joining us, we went through a lot of the open questions of Roger Stone. We know he has been a subject of a Mueller subpoena. We know that he says he hasn`t been yet, and we know that to put it kindly, one of his best defenses given the criminal exposure he has at this point is to say he lied about everything during 2016 more or less. With that, I want to go out to Nick Akerman. Your view legally and factually on what you heard here at the table and what the key questions are for Mueller?

AKERMAN: Well, it seems to me that the key question, which I put to both gentlemen is what was Roger Stone doing talking to Guccifer 2.0, communicating with him on a regular basis, communicating -- claiming to communicate with Julian Assange, repeated times and backing off it. What was any one person doing communicating with those two people while they were releasing all of these e-mails stolen from the Democratic National Committee?

MELBER: And Sam, I`m going to go to Sam on that. Did he ever say anything to you that made him -- that made you think he knew that the actual source of Guccifer might be a foreign intelligence operation?

NUNBERG: No, he argued with me constantly about it that it wasn`t the Russians. And I --

MELBER: That it was not the Russians?

NUNBERG: And I said to him -- and I continually said to him, you can think that perhaps it`s true, but why don`t you go and argue with the -- with our national intelligence agencies when at this time, it looked Hillary Clinton was going to be president and there was surely going to be repercussions for what Roger Stone was doing.

MELBER: And let me play -- there was an exchange that you had with him about whether he could go to London and meet Assange, and this goes to his state of mind and his exposure. He rebuts it. He calls you out, his mentee. I want to play -- this is new. Roger Stone on the radio, on Infowars rebutting the idea that you had said that he talked about going to London to meet Assange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROGER STONE, FORMER CAMPAIGN ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: I got him off the phone when he said, do you have plans for the weekend, and I said, yes, I think I`ll fly to London and have dinner with Julian Assange, it was a joke.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Was it a joke?

NUNBERG: I don`t -- that`s not the way I recollect it. That`s not the way I recall it but that`s Roger.

MELBER: Was that a no?

NUNBERG: Was it a joke to me that he --

MELBER: Was it a joke? Yes or no.

NUNBERG: I didn`t it was a joke.

MELBER: No, you didn`t take it as a joke?

MELBER: -- Trump defense, oh, I want the Russians to go steal 30,000 emails from Hillary Clinton, he says it very seriously, very methodically, and then later claims it was a joke.

CREDICO: I love WikiLeaks. I love WikiLeaks.

MELBER: Randy -- it`s close, it`s close Randy.

CREDICO: It`s close. WikiLeaks.

MELBER: Now, let me put up on the screen the person you (INAUDIBLE) Julian Assange. He did post a tweet about Sam Nunberg`s appearance here. I know somebody says it does look like a loop but we can put this up. He said basically "astounding 35-minute interview between Trump campaign aide and Roger Stone associate Sam Nunberg and myself. This is something he presumably watched from his exile in London, but this week, he won`t be able to do that because they`ve cut off his internet access. What do you think of that?

CREDICO: I think it`s horrible and I hope that the president of Ecuador reconsiders because he already lives in a spot that`s smaller than the green room here, OK. And he gets no sunlight, he doesn`t get to see his kids or his mother, he doesn`t get to see anything. So he`s been there for 5 1/2 years.

MELBER: What about the finding -- and I understand that, something that you and I both care about, the treatment -- the treatment of people. And I understand that, although his case is complex.

CREDICO: Why is it complex?

MELBER: Well, I`m doing --

CREDICO: He`s a journalist like you.

MELBER: Randy, Randy --

AKERMAN: A journalist? He`s a criminal. The guy belongs in federal prison.

CREDICO: Nonsense.

MELBER: Randy, Randy --

AKERMAN: He has stolen secrets -- he has stolen secrets, he works for the Russians. All of the intelligence agencies have pinned him. (CROSSTALK)

AKERMAN: We got all five of them saying that.

(CROSSTALK)

AKERMAN: Where were you the last time-- the intelligence agency, when did you ever work for the government?

CREDICO: I don`t know.

AKERMAN: When?

CREDICO: When my uncle works for the CIA.

MELBER: Randy, final question. Randy, final question.

CREDICO: This is it? Why? He got -- all right, he steal half of my time.

MELBER: The reason -- I understand your point about the treatment, and I think it`s a fair point, and you make some fair points when you`re not doing the impressions. You`re better off the impressions. Wait, that wasn`t an invitation to do on. I want to read to you with this, Assange breached a written agreement not to send out messages that interfere in other countries business. What do you say --

CREDICO: He`s a journalist.

MELBER: -- what do you say to that idea of interference?

CREDICO: He`s a journalist. All right, if it were the old president of Ecuador, this wouldn`t happen. This happens to be Catalan which is part of Spain which is basically a new Frankonian government, the Spanish government. They have their own deep state. And this is him supporting the Catalan freedom fighters.

MELBER: And briefly, in a sentence or two, when you look at what Mueller has left, do you see him more likely to proceed on the criminal hacks or on WikiLeaks role? Nick?

AKERMAN: I think it`s going to be on both. I think it`s going to be -- the criminal hacks is going to be the central indictment to come down. It`s going to be a major conspiracy based on the federal hacking.

CREDICO: Am I going to go to jail and be on that show Lockup?

AKERMAN: Who knows?

CREDICO: I`ll be on that show Lockup if Mueller goes at me. By the way, we never even get to see Mueller. We got like eight seconds of --

MELBER: You know the segment is over when it`s over and it`s over. Sam, Randy, and Nick, thank you for coming and doing this. I appreciate your time. I appreciate you taking the questions. Roger stone`s invite to come on the show remains open. Up ahead, something very different. A developing story about this effort to get Trump deposed about Stormy Daniels and things get a little personal, wait until you see who Michael Cohen`s new lawyer is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Let`s turn to some other stories, shall we? There is developing news on the Stormy Daniels-Trump battle. A judge denying a request by her lawyer to get Trump deposed as well as Michael Cohen. They say it`s premature. Stormy`s saga going from ugly though to personal, David Schwartz making the rounds. He`s been popping up everywhere in the last day. He represents Michael Cohen, he`s the lawyer for the lawyer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID SCHWARTZ, LAWYER OF MICHAEL COHEN: She shot the story around and then they went to Michael Cohen and said, hey, give us $130,000 and we can make this go away.

MEGYN KELLY, NBC NEWS HOST: You are claiming that Michael Cohen, the President`s lawyer and fixer a Ray Donovan character never ever told Donald Trump about it

SCHWARTZ: Never, never told him.

KELLY: And Michael Cohen dispensed $130,000 of his own money and never sought reimbursement from Donald Trump?

SCHWARTZ: 100 percent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Schwartz was pushed on that claim and you can hear the audience react.

KELLY: What`s the truth?

SCHWARTZ: The truth is he loves -- he loves the boss, and --

KELLY: He did it out of love?

SCHWARTZ: He did it -- everybody should want an employee like this, who will be so loyal, so loyal to your boss, so loyal to your boss, that you will protect that person. You know what --

KELLY: They`re laughing at you, openly. Come on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Margaret Carlson is back with me. Should everyone want an employee like this?

MARGARET CARLSON, COLUMNIST, BLOOMBERG NEWS: I want to be loved that way. You know, the interesting thing about what happened today is that it`s not really a setback and that it was filed early on his deposition request and you can refile it. What David Schwartz did was to call Michael Cohen a fixer, happily call him a fixer, in order to make it seem as if Michael Cohen was totally in charge of what happened. But, you know, I think Trump made a colossal error, lowered thereby Avanatti, that by filing this $20 million lawsuit for damages, he`s admitting that he -- it wasn`t just Michael Cohen, that he was Dennis Dennison, and that he`s part of the paying out of hush money to keep Stormy Daniels quiet and this is -- this is a suit because she breached the agreement that isn`t really an agreement because it wasn`t signed. But isn`t that, Ari, I mean I`m just a country lawyer and you`re really a lawyer. Isn`t that an admission that he is part of this and he does need to cover it up?

MELBER: Yes, I mean I think that`s the basic implication, even if they are kind of bobbing and weaving and they have a temporary procedural victory of the President learned today he`s not going to be deposing anytime soon. But all of that action in the case suggest that he is on the other side of the table which is a big problem. Margaret Carlson, I don`t know if you watched the last segment.

CARLSON: I do, it was worth it. It was worth it. You can keep me waiting anytime.

MELBER: Thank you, Margaret and we`ll have you back on THE BEAT soon. Up ahead, one more very important thing on immigration fact checking Donald Trump`s new pledge and promise of why he says he`s building the wall already. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: For many conservatives, Donald Trump`s promise to build a wall is the top promise. That may be why Trump is tweeting out pictures of what he claimed was "the start of a southern border wall," and why he said this today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We started building our wall. I`m so proud of it. We started -- we started -- we have $1.6 million and we`ve already started. You saw the pictures yesterday. I said, what a thing of beauty.

You saw those beautiful pictures and the wall looks good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: This is the re-election argument even though it`s not true and it`s not his wall. Workers are actually fixing a part of a fence in California and it`s not new. It began in the `90s. Trump can`t actually take credit for the update because this project came under an `09 order from Obama. The border patrol meanwhile in San Diego tweeting this photo from a month ago. The wall not built yet and of course, not paid for by Mexico. Some supporters getting antsy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The most important thing that President promised, his number one priority was getting that border wall built.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I`ve been quite clear about which promises he has broken. To build a wall and deport illegals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What he promised was a wall. It`s been 15 months. They want the damn wall Kellyanne.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Fake news or fake wall, that`s the question.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: That is our show. We are done. I`ll see you back at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews starts now.

STEVE KORNACKI, NBC NEWS NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: More drama for the Trump White House. Let`s play HARDBALL.

END

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