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Trump throws Giuliani under the bus. TRANSCRIPT: 05/04/2018. The Beat with Ari Melber

Guests: David Corn, Morgan Pehme, Karen Hunter, Chika, Ross Mathews

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: May 4, 2018 Guest: David Corn, Morgan Pehme, Karen Hunter, Chika, Ross Mathews

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. We begin with breaking news.

Rudy Giuliani goes under the bus and it exposes how concerned Donald Trump is about the Stormy Daniels payment.

Trump on stage in Dallas at this NRA convention. He didn't mention Rudy Giuliani or Stormy Daniels, but as he was going on stage Rudy in full damage control mode with a correction from his bombshell revelation that after all this Trump actually did pay Stormy Daniels by repaying Michael Cohen $130,000.

Here is the quote, "there is no campaign violation." He argues the payment would have been done in any event whether Trump was a candidate or not. But his own boss undercutting him hours earlier saying he didn't have the facts straight.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Rudy is a great guy but he just started a day ago. And he is going to be issuing a statement, too, but he is a great guy. He knows it's a witch-hunt. That's what he knows. He has seen a lot of them. He started yesterday. He will get his facts straight. He's a great guy.


MELBER: Giuliani's statements also trying to clarify the timing of the Stormy Daniels payment. He says that it had nothing to do with the President's knowledge or understanding of these matters. He is basically trying to clean up this mess.


RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LAWYER: Imagine if that came out on October 15th, 2016, in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton. Cohen made it go away, he did his job.

(END VIDEO CLIP) \ MELBER: Imagine if it came out at that time. Of course, that's one of the issues that's under investigation. What was the motivation and did the timing of the campaign have something to do with it. Stormy Daniels' lawyer last night says now that looks like proof that this was potentially about the campaign. The correction, though, does not correct Giuliani's biggest revelation, what's actually important about all of this, that Donald Trump despite many other statements denials and what now look to be lies, was behind the hush money payment to this adult film actress.

Look at this headline Wednesday night, for example, Trump acknowledges porn actress payoff from "The New York Times." that does not change with all of today's back and forth. Trump standing by his story, though, and claims it never changed.


TRUMP: We are not changing any stories. You are going to see -- excuse me. Excuse me. No, but you have to -- excuse me. You take a look at what I said. You go back and take a look. You will see what I said.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You said no when I asked you --

TRUMP: Excuse me. You go take a look it while we said,


MELBER: You go back and take a look. You go back and take a look. OK. Here it is.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?

TRUMP: No. Michael is y attorney and you will have ti ask Michael.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know where he get the money to make that payment?

TRUMP: No, I don't know.


MELBER: So that was what he said which is totally contradicted by the new defense. And then factor in Rudy Giuliani's comments from Wednesday that still stand.


GIULIANI: Having something to do with paying some Stormy Daniels woman $130,000. I mean, which is going to turn out to be perfectly legal. The President repaid it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I didn't know. He did.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But do you know the President didn't know about this? I believe that's what Michael had said.

GIULIANI: He didn't know about the specifics of it as far as I know, but he did know about the general arrangement that Michael would take care of things like this.


MELBER: He didn't know about the specifics of it. Well, tonight it's Rudy Giuliani struggling with the specifics and that's not a criticism, that's just literally according to Rudy Giuliani.

I turn to Joyce Vance, a former federal prosecutor. Hal Raines, a former executive editor of "the New York Times" and Michael Waldman, president of the center for justice and President Clinton's former speechwriter and a lawyer as well.

Joyce, what do you make of the -- they used to call it non-denial denial of this non-clarifying clarification?

JOYCE VANCE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: So at the end of the day Rudy can characterize these events and these payments however he wants to. It's not -- not a criminal violation is what he is saying. But it doesn't really matter to the investigators in the southern district of New York. They will look at the facts and they will make a decision about whether this is a criminal sort of a campaign finance violation or something regulatory that they should send to their colleagues at the federal election commission for regulatory which is not a criminal sort of follow-up.

But this effort to characterize it and re-characterize it and change the facts really comes to nothing because the facts are already baked in. It's already happened. Investigators will track it down and this I think will end up being something of a sideshow.

MELBER: It's a sideshow, but it goes to the sort of endless assault on veracity, aka, lying all the time that really characterizes a lot of people who work for Trump and the President himself.

And Michael Waldman, I want to play for you because we don't want to just let it go. Michael Cohen is Trump's lawyer, David Schwartz is Michael Cohen's lawyer. He went out in public settings recently and stated the opposite which is how we know several people are lying. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are claiming that Michael Cohen, the President's lawyer and fixer, Ray Donovan character, never ever told Donald Trump about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never. Never told him.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hundred percent.


MELBER: Michael, it's not 100 percent, though, it's closer to zero now by their own admissions.

MICHAEL WALDMAN, FORMER CHIEF SPEECHWRITER FOR PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: I'm reminded of that line from the Marks Brothers movie who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes? And that the video evidence of them lying and lying and lying is funny. But it's not really funny to see this kind of assault on the truth and assault on the rule of law that it undergirds.

I agree that it may turn out that the campaign finance violations may not ultimately be as big as we see them right now. I have wondered about that, although I will note I read a tweet yesterday explaining the section of the federal election law that shows this is a clear violation and the tweet came from George Conway, Kellyanne Conway's husband. But I think that the degree to which people are lying and tap dancing to try to deny this thing does make you wonder what else there is there. Was there structuring of the pages to try to hide it from regulators? What other kinds of lies were told to banks about what kinds of loans they would get to create this fund. There may be more here even sexier than a campaign finance law violation.

MELBER: Well, is anything sexier than a campaign finance law violation?

WALDMAN: Not to some of us.

MELBER: Yes. Look, I think what you are talking about is the stream of lies and how a first lie might not actually trigger a criminal felony but a later lie might. We have reported on this show why it's unlikely that the theory that this was a campaign donation would ensnare these people but that does not mean as you and other lawyers I think have discussed that there aren't these financial issues because lying to a bank is a biggie.

Hall Raines, I want to play for you another portion of the FOX News Empire where all these stories get sort of slowly and painfully unspool. Here is Neil Cavuto longtime loyal talks anchor putting out his criticism about all of this.


NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NWS ANCHOR: Let me be clear, Mr. President. How can you drain the swamp if you are the one who keeps muddying the waters? Your base probably might not care, but you should. I guess you are too busy draining the swamp to ever stop and smell the stink you are creating. That's your doing. That's your stink. Mr. President, that's your swamp.


MELBER: Hal, what does that tell you about the political side and the FOX media side of this, too much for even some of them?

HAL RAINES, FORMER EXECUTIVE EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, I hope they haven't let Rupert Murdoch find out that they have discovered journalism over there. But I think it made me sad to see Rudy floundering on Sean Hannity's show.

In 1993 I was a newly appointed editorial page editor of the "New York Times" and my colleagues and I decided we could not endorse Rudy because he was insensitive and overzealous. Well, it turned out that a zealot was exactly what was needed to fix a very broken city. So I remember him when he was successful.

It's scary now to think about him in this -- in feeble state it seems to me advising a President who is frantic and unstable to begin with. So I think it's -- it defies description to try to figure out who to choose between Trump and Rudy as being more dangerous right now, but Trump because he is President obviously is the more dangerous.

MELBER: Well, Joyce, you hear Hal's prescription there and in feeble zealot. It does not seem that Rudy Giuliani in his public performances, respectfully observed, it does not seem that he has a full mastery of what's happening and how to execute on it.

VANCE: Perhaps the most headline statement that came out of a former U.S. attorney's mouth in the course of this week's event was when he called the FBI agents who were working on the case in the southern district of New York storm troopers, comparing the people that he had worked with and served alongside to Nazi soldiers. That was really a shocking thing to hear coming out of his mouth. And it's consistent with the strategic missteps he has taken this week.

He has done nothing to move the President further away from criminal danger. He has done nothing to clarify the story. If anything, he is just made a more difficult path forward for the lawyers who will work with him and who will have to come behind him and clean up this week's disarray.

MELBER: Hal, I want to turn to you for a more difficult question, but we know from your long service in journalism you are good at this kind of thing. I want to ask you about the negative space in the painting. The thing that's not happening that we are always told would happen because the Christian wright and the conservative values organizations and the evangelical right cared deeply about the personal behavior of politicians and especially the President.

And what might have been missed amidst all of this super drama this week and all of the people putting their feet in their mouth and issuing their clarifications is the President now has squarely admitted to paying this woman in direct connection to the allegations of this extramarital affair. And I ask you for your view of why we are not hearing any outrage for any of those groups affiliated with Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

RAINES: Ari, I was thinking about that today. As an Alabamian I remember when only a small group of people in Alabama, the black preachers of the states were willing to say that the South's governments were immoral and unconstitutional. That's now accepted wisdom but the entire white church of the south was silenced not to mention the politicians and the business community.

What I'm wondering now, what I'm not hearing, is any statement of outrage. Where are the preachers of America when morality is legitimately at the center of our national life? And I think director Comey was correct today on CBS when he said this is about values and supporting our institutions and it is imperative that Americans who believe in the normal political process and the rule of law start speaking out. That's what's missing in the picture to me.

MELBER: Michael?

WALDMAN: Yes, and I suppose I would say in addition to asking where are the preachers on a different plain, I suppose, where are the lawyers? Respect for the rule of law, respect for law enforcement.

MELBER: Michael, I see the lawyers all over the place.

WALDMAN: Well, where are the lawyers who aren't on someone's payroll speaking out about the basic issues that we have a rule of law. You had Donald Trump today going before the NRA trying to change the subject from the Stormy Daniels/Michael Cohen issue by attacking Robert Mueller to the NRA to cheers. This is a degradation of the entire view of law enforcement and of the rule of law, which has now become a political fight. It's as if it's already in the arena of fighting over impeachment, in fighting over votes in Congress and we all need to remember on the Russia matter, on all these other things what the fundamental deep issues are that are at stake here. This is not just a dramatic if overwritten script, this is really about what our constitution and rule of law stand for.

MELBER: Right. And how does the script end? That really to the points I think each of you are making tonight, that's up to everyone. That's up to us to figure out where the lines are. Joyce was speaking about the really horrific storm trooper comment coming from someone who actually was literally protected by those people. I mean, physically with guns, Hal and Michael speaking about the people who defend our institutions, our laws and our ethics to the extent we have a public discussion of them in this country.

So thanks to each of you for kicking off the show.

Hal and Michael leave. Joyce, stay with me I have other questions for you.

Coming up we will turn to Trump tackling this other issue in the legal team on his Russia probe, whether or not he will ever talk to Mueller.


TRUMP: I would love to speak. I would love to. Nobody wants to speak more than me. If I thought it was fair, I would override my lawyers.


MELBER: And it might not be all bad news for Trump. Paul Manafort has a tricky challenge to Mueller's authority in federal court and we will take you inside that courtroom today and show you exactly what happened.

Later the RNC dropping money on one of Trump's favorite properties.

And we have a special fall back Friday featuring the young artist whose challenge to Kanye West went viral.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. West, take a seat, overtime it seems is get getter harder to ignore you. No matter how much money you have when that check clears don't forget your children are still black.


MELBER: I'm Ari Melber. You are watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.


MELBER: Donald Trump not only undercutting his own lawyers on Stormy Daniels, we were just discussing that before the break, he is also doing a similar thing when it comes to another big legal question whether he will ever talk to Mueller.


TRUMP: I would love to speak. I would love to. Nobody wants to speak more than me. In fact, against my lawyers because most lawyers say never speak on anything. I would love to speak. Because we have done nothing wrong. If I thought it was fair, I would override my lawyers.


MELBER: Trump saying he would override his lawyers if it were fair, but doesn't even seem like he is listening to them. Consider again last night Giuliani would not say whether Trump wanted to do this Mueller interview saying on the advice of counsel he is keeping a closed mouth and open mind. Of course, that was hours before Trump opened his mouth.


TRUMP: I have to find that we are going to be treated fairly because everybody sees it now and it is a pure witch-hunt. So you have all these investigators. They are Democrats, in all fairness Bob Mueller worked for Obama for eight years.


MELBER: Not quite. Bob Mueller was FBI director under Obama for about five years. That was after he was appointed and served for seven years under George Bush.

Now, I'm joined by Ned Price, a former spokesman for the national security council and former prosecutor Joyce Vance back with us.

Ned, it would seem that you have a potentially legitimate legal strategy. I would give these lawyers at the White House credit as I would any set of lawyers to try to use what leverage they have which is the prospect of the interview while negotiating its terms. That's pretty standard. What they don't have is a client who will even briefly pretend that he will go along with that strategy.

NED PRICE, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, that's exactly right, Ari. You know, President Trump said today he would override his lawyers if he deemed Bob Mueller would be fair. Well, this is the same President who has called Bob Mueller and his team of prosecutors he has labeled them a whit-hunt, he has called them angry Democrats. He has said they are out to get him, you know.

I think the odds of President Trump coming out and openly stating that Bob Mueller will be fair are about as good as Paul Manafort getting another campaign job. So I think what we are going to see when it comes to Donald Trump, he is going to pin the blame on his lawyers when and if this interview does not come to pass. He will just as he has done in other contexts say, look, I wanted to do this, but on advice of counsel, on advice of my advisers I'm not going to go forward with this.

And we saw something very similar, Ari, just a few weeks ago in a different actual foreign policy context. Trump said he wanted to pull all of the troops out of Syria. He wanted to be out of there tomorrow. And then literally almost the next day he came out and said I talked to the military, talked to my generals, can't do it. He pinned the blame on his military just as I suspect he will pin the blame on his lawyers in this case.

MELBER: Joyce, I don't know if you have ever seen two people who pretend they want to fight but they keep saying hold me back and they don't ever actually get into the fight. Have you ever seen that happen?

VANCE: All the time.

MELBER: So there seems to be that aspect of Donald Trump telling us every day I would love it, I can't wait. I wish you would. It's like he's got all the rhetorical bombast of going into this room with Mueller but none of the ability or the real intention to do it. Is that a fair assessment and that his lawyers are essentially holding him back on purpose at this point?

VANCE: I think it's a fair assessment and it's a good moment for us to step back and think about what it really means. If instead of the President of the United States he was a bank robber or a drug dealer and he said, I'm not going to comply with the requirements, with the demands of the criminal justice system because I don't think the prosecutors are fair.

Of course, everybody would laugh and a judge would order him into court and he would get his day in court. He would have an opportunity to prove his innocence or his lack of guilt, but he would have to participate in the system, just like every other defendant.

Here for the President to engage in this kind of rhetoric is to very clearly plant the flag and say that he is above the law. He is above the rule of law. He doesn't have to be treated like everyone else. We heard Rudy Giuliani say earlier this week that Ivanka couldn't be interviewed, that the American people wouldn't stand for it. It's time for people to stand up and say, just like everyone else who is under investigation by federal prosecutors, the President has to submit with lawful demands. He doesn't have to go in for an interview, that's absolutely his right to decline to do it voluntarily, but he would have to comply with a grand jury subpoena if one were issued.

MELBER: Right. Then you have the subpoena fight.

Ned, finally on that, what do you think of this idea that Ivanka is both a high level government employee but also just a daughter and Rudy thinks they get to decide which days she is a daughter on?

PRICE: Well, she is in fact both of those things, both of those things are facts, but when it comes to any sort of legal protection or legal liability in this case, she is a senior advisor to the President. She is a public official. Her father knew this when he appointed her to this position. She should have known this when she accepted this position. She cannot enjoy all the benefits of government service with none of the -- none of the drawbacks that come with it. And frankly, there shouldn't be these drawbacks.

As most senior advisers to the President are not hauled before a grand jury, certainly most are not subpoenaed, but in this case this is not most administrations and I think we could see one or both of those things in this case.

MELBER: Ned Price and Joyce Vance, thanks to both of you.

Coming up, we turn to what Mueller's prosecutors were talking about in court today in going after Paul Manafort's money trail.

Also tonight, a report that Mueller is focusing intensely now on someone you may have seen talked about on this program, the longtime Trump advisor, Roger Stone.

And later a foreign government exposed for putting millions into an apartment deal at a major Trump property.



TRUMP: (INAUDIBLE) judge in Manafort case says Mueller's aim is to hurt Trump. Do you believe that? This is what we are up. It's called a witch- hunt. I tell you folks, we are all fighting battles, but I love fighting these battles.


MELBER: Donald Trump today seizing on a federal judge's skepticism about who should prosecute Paul Manafort, Bob Mueller or other independent federal prosecutors in Virginia. This judge hitting Mueller's team with several tough questions on that front. But Bob Mueller's prosecutors had an answer. They say they followed the money and found that these allegations against Manafort are still tied to their collusion investigation.

Meanwhile, CNBC reporting Mueller is focusing sharply on Manafort's former deputy Rick Gates and his links to Trump aide Roger Stone. If you watched THE BEAT, you know we have covered Roger Stone a lot. He is a longtime confidant to President Trump. He even pushed Trump to consider running for President multiple times before 2016 as far back as the '80s.

Now, in a moment, we are going to hear directly from a filmmaker who spent five years embedded with Stone for the documentary "Get Me Roger Stone."


TRUMP: Roger always wanted me to run for President.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was like a jockey looking for a horse. You can't win the race if you don't have horse. And he is a prime piece of political horse flesh in my view.


MELBER: Political horse flesh, always a couple (ph) that. Manafort, Gates and Stone are all linked of course through the lobbying firm that they ran for many years. That's where Gates got his start as an intern. Now Roger Stone has been under mounting scrutiny which we have been covering in our investigate reports because he talked about communicating directly with WikiLeaks, although that was later basically denied by WikiLeaks itself.

He also bragged about having contact with a hacker who was later exposed to be involved with Russian military intelligence. That's like the heart of collusion. And now Bob Mueller's interest goes well beyond even WikiLeaks. Take a look at all the names mentioned in Mueller's questions for Trump which recently leaked to the "New York Times." Those are people mentioned. Out of those, we can show you those who reportedly have yet to be questioned by Mueller's team. Remove the Russians, then say remove the family members, that's a special category and you only have five names left. Two of those reportedly not questioned in these headlines today. And then you are left with the picture on your screen. One person who wasn't questioned because he was indicted and the other person is Roger Stone.

As we have discussed on this show, you don't want to be the last one into Bob Mueller's interrogation room.

As promised we turn to filmmaker Morgan Pemmy and NBC's Ken Dilanian. He was in court today with the Manafort hearing. And I'm also joined by David Corn, Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones and author of the book "Russian Roulette."

I'm starting with David and then Morgan, Roger Stone as I just showed looks to be in a tough spot why?

DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER JONES: Well, it's hard to figure out what Roger Stone did or did not do because he has said so many different -- given us so many different versions. During the campaign, he claimed he was in touch with WikiLeaks while WikiLeaks was getting stolen material from the Russians and disseminating it. You know, he also -- and you know, this may not be a crime -- he was providing cover to the Russian operation. He was out there talking to Guccifer 2.0, that was the internet Russian persona that was leaking some of the stolen e-mails in the summer of 2016 and while he was doing that he was writing pieces, going on Alex Jones and he was saying Guccifer 2.0 has nothing to do with the Russians. So whether or not that's a criminal matter for Robert Mueller, it certainly is an act of cooperating, collusion, with the enemy to cover what they were doing. He provided support to Russia.

MELBER: Right. So you're raising -- you're raising three important points. I'm going to turn to Morgan with the number one. You're saying there's really bad stuff for American democracy that might not technically be a felony that's suggested by Stone. Number two, there may be felonious contact and number three if we're all going to be as fair journalists as we can, it's very hard to know when Roger is doing something he said he's doing because he's all over the place, Morgan, you are the expert here. You had the experience with Roger that LL Cool J famously documented when he talked about people who lied about the lies that they told. How do you get through the fog?

MORGAN PEHME, DIRECTOR, GET ME ROGER STONE: You know, it's certainly getting to a point where it's becoming very suspicious that Roger hasn't been called in by Mueller yet. This week one of his proteges Michael Caputo was called in by the Mueller probe and Michael Caputo, like Rick Gates had been a driver for Black, Manafort, and Stone which was essentially an intern/assistant/protege. And so, you know, basically Mueller is closing in on Stone by -- in association with all of the people around Roger and his orbit but they haven't reached Roger yet. So that leads me to believe that they're making sure that they have a strong case as bulletproof and insightful questions as they can ask him as possible when Roger finally does get into the hot seat.

MELBER: Right. Well, either gets in the hot seat or as we've covered people who are last are either getting really tough questions or they might never get interviewed because they get indicted. Ken Dilanian, I want to play for you some more discussion of this famous firm. I mean, normal people will be excused for not remembering or knowing that there was this lobbying firm that literally had Manafort, Black, who has worked for McCain and Stone all together at one point plus Gates as we were just discussing. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- try to use our relationships that we had built up first through the young Republican and to create a business that would focus on political consulting.


I think what we provide for our clients, be them foreign countries or corporations or individuals is a superior understanding of how Washington works.


MELBER: Ken Dilanian, I ask you on this Friday evening, was Black, Manafort, and Stone the "S"?

KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS INTELLIGENCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Look, they -- as this film wonderfully described, they really were the first to monetize their service on political campaigns and trade on that access and become lobbyists and they also sort of revolutionized the representation of foreign governments in Washington and they made a lot of money doing it and they did it for years and they were mainstream in the Republican Party. So it's just -- they are a fascinating firm to look at.

MELBER: And also speak while we have you to what you saw in court today because this was tougher questioning about at least who should take this case.

DILANIAN: It was remarkable hearing. It was supposed to be a routine hearing on Paul Manafort's motion to dismiss the charges against him in Virginia. The Republican-appointed judge T.S. Ellis just teed off on the entire premise of the Mueller investigation. Now, he was really engaging in some provocative rhetoric and he may end up ruling with the government in the end. You've been inside courtrooms, Ari, you've seen this many times but he did raise some fundamental questions about how these bank fraud charges against Paul Manafort that go back to 2005 relate to the question of Russia collusion. And he especially asked how it could be that the Justice Department previously investigated these charges yet now the Mueller team says these charges arose from their investigation. The Mueller lawyers responded that look, Paul Manafort was a key figure in the Trump Campaign, they investigated his ties to Russia, they followed the money and these are the crimes they found in terms of bank fraud and money laundering. The judge pretty much said, look, you just want to squeeze Paul Manafort to flip on Donald Trump which is manifestly true but the Mueller team didn't want to admit that in court, Ari.

MELBER: Right, and you have the ability to squeeze people, the jurisdictional question is more narrow, which is should this get farmed out to another office and Mueller has shown that when he thinks that's warranted in the Michael Cohen case, he did it. The other amazing thing which I'm going to hold up in the hearing today is I'm holding up this now infamous redacted memo, the judge was asking, David Corn, to get the unredacted version of this. I'm sure you and everyone interested in this case would also love that, the judge has maybe a better argument than the rest of us. But this is the redacted secret authorization that Rosenstein gave Mueller to go after extra stuff. We don't know exactly what because it's a black box. What did you think of this memo being raised in that hearing today?

CORN: Well, you know, the judge kind of was suspicious of Bob Mueller's office when they said everything that's redacted there is unrelated to the Manafort prosecution. We've revealed when we filed this document earlier that portion of the document and he seemed to suggest that he thought something else was going on. I mean, we would all like to see it to get the full scope of the investigation. On the Black-Manafort point, though, one thing, because I covered these guys 30 years ago, one thing they were infamous for is they made millions of dollars, Manafort, Stone and Black and Gates and everybody else by representing foreign thugs and dictators. Whether it was Marcos in the Philippines, Jonas Savimbi of Angola, that became one of their go-to specialties which brings us to Manafort representing Yanukovych, the interrupt politician President of Ukraine which has led to the problems he's had today.

MELBER: Yes, and you mentioned that and you think about the now infamous report they got a law firm to write that's become under criminal probe as well to discredit Tymoshenko, one of his rivals. I guess we'll fit in a break although there's plenty more to discuss. Excellent panel, excellent insights. Morgan, Ken, and David, thank you all. Straight ahead on THE BEAT, the RNC meeting today, any guesses where it's being held? We're going to go inside the money that is funneling and self-dealing some critics say to Trump properties. But first, it's Friday and who is falling back tonight? I'll tell you when we come back with some very special guests in 90 seconds.


MELBER: It's Friday on THE BEAT and you know what that means, it is time to fall back. We have a very special panel, Karen Hunter is host of the Karen Hunter Show on Sirius XM and a Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist, Ross Mathews, a T.V. Host and a regular judge on VH1's RuPaul's Drag Race. He got his start of course as Ross the Intern, he will also be hosting the Glad Awards this weekend and he was on Celebrity Big Brother with non-other than Omarosa. Who can forget that? And I'm happy so say we are joined by Chika, a 21-year-old rapper who's freestyle lyrical responses to several popular artist, have gotten a lot of attention. Recently she took on Kanye West's praise for Donald Trump with a rebuttal that she rapid over a Kanye beat.


CHIKA, RAPPER: Now, Mr. West, take a seat, I implore you, overtime it seems it's getting harder to ignore you. You undue the progress of the geniuses before you. It don't matter how much money you got or you lack when that check clears don't forget your children are still black. Trump want us to reform us. Built him up from nothing and now this how he rewards us. How you say you Yeezus, but do nothing to restore us. You support the people up in power that abort us.


MELBER: That video has gotten well over six million views and recognitions and shoutouts from a lot of big names from Loni Love, Ice-T, Leslie Jones, and many others. Welcome. This is -- this is a good one in my personal opinion. Chika, I was one of many people who watched what you put up and so many viewers on THE BEAT who felt that you made several important points, we just showed some of them. We're flagging that video in the way that you took on what Kanye had said, and so I want to go to you here with who is your fall back this week?

CHIKA: Of course, I have to say my fall back has to be Kanye. We thought he would -- we thought he would lighten up after last week's shenanigans and that is not the case. He recently went on TMZ and decided to show his entire behind and tell everyone that slavery was a choice and that he thinks that everything he's doing right now is under the guise of free thinking. I don't necessarily find that to be true and I think that he should be a little bit more responsible with the fact that he has such a large platform and that his words hold so much weight to so much people and we have to live with the consequences of what he says even though he doesn't have to.

MELBER: Karen, do you want to speak to that before I get your fall back?

KAREN HUNTER, HOST, KAREN HUNTER SHOW: No, she -- listen, I'm not going to mess with Chika here. She's got all the words and the word is abhor and Kanye is abhorrent for sure. And no, she said everything that needed to be said regarding Kanye. Drop that mic.

MELBER: The mic was clearly dropped and there was a loud -- a loud set of reverberations there because people saw what you said. I would say as anyone even who wants to give artists perhaps even any artist the benefit of the doubt, given the series of things that Kanye has been saying, it's sort of -- it leaves even the most benevolent mindset really no place left with him. Karen, who is your fall back?

HUNTER: And I'm sad to say this on public mainstream television, but it's Camille Cosby. I need her to fall bay back. The reference to Emmett Till, a boy, 14-year-old boy from Chicago visiting his relatives 1955 dragged from his bed at 2:00, 3:00 in the morning for allegedly whistling. Yes, we find out later on this woman's deathbed that he did nothing. Was brutalized over a two-day period and thrown in the Tallassee River with a 200-pound fan wrapped around his neck. That's a lynching. That's a lynching. What's happening to Cosby, a man of great privilege, a man who has joked about Spanish fly, who under oath with a deposition admitted to drugging women, what has happened to him is karma. So I get the preservation of a legacy and I get the preservation of wealth, but to make the comparison to a lynching of Emmett Till in her statement with so much indignation kind of undermines her complicity in his behavior. So that's all I will say about that.

MELBER: It's strong and it's an important piece when you think about a lot of -- a lot of what we've been processing coming out of that -- out of that Cosby verdict. Ross, there is a saying in television news of a hard turn. I don't know if you've ever heard that.

ROSS MATHEWS, TELEVISION HOST: Oh, I know a hard turn and luckily I can make one.

MELBER: Go for it. Who's your "FALLBACK?"

MATHEWS: Well, listen, we're talking about some very serious issues here. Kim Jong-un is a very serious issue, but my issue with him is not serious except it is to me. I think he needs to fall back with these monotone one color pant suits, OK. If you're going to wear a onesie every single day, could you do a brother a favor and throw in a print? You have a meeting coming up, it's a very important meeting. Think about -- make a statement when you're making a statement. Give me a -- like a paisley, a print, a polka.

HUNTER: A polka would be an issue. It would really be an issue --

MATHEWS: Is it too much to ask? Is it? A splash of color.

HUNTER: Maybe a scarf.

MATHEWS: Girl, you trying to kill me with a scarf.


MATHEWS: If Kim Jong-un walks up with an ascot on that day you are welcome.

MELBER: Well, Ross, let me push you on this. You know, we always ask follow-up questions in these -- in these hard-hitting news segments. Didn't Coco Chanel say always remove one accessory before leaving the home and how does that apply if you're only wear one thing.

MATHEWS: Who would have thought that me coming on your show and you would be the one quoting Cocoa Chanel?

MELBER: Hey, don't box me, brother. Don't box me.

MATHEWS: You put -- you literally put me in a box, but I am proud of you. I am proud.

MELBER: It's Friday night, we are in "FALLBACK" boxes. I'll give you guys mine. My "FALLBACK" for the week, look at this that he headline. A veterinarian was charged with smuggling heroin inside puppies. This is now a federal narcotics charge. They were little liquid bags of heroin inside the puppies. I want to tell the veterinarian to fall way back. Obviously, I'm against all types of heroin smuggling but there's something extra messed up about doing that to puppies. I would think we could all agree. Chika, do you have any other fall backs?

CHIKA: Rachel Dolezal.

HUNTER: What did she do now? Did she do something?

CHIKA: She is at her Caucasian shenanigans. Yes, she is.

HUNTER: What did she do?

CHIKE: She's definitely just was given a Netflix show and I feel like it's ridiculous that we reward her delusional behavior with ways for her to --

HUNTER: Wait a minute, Chika. She was one of the best NAACP heads in Spokane, Washington. She did the work. OK.

CHIKA: Right.

HUNTER: She taught black women about their hair.

CHIKA: Did she.

HUNTER: I don't know why are you trolling Rachel Dolezal.

CHIKA: I feel like Rachel really just needs to stop going to beauty supply stores. I think we're done with it. We're over it. I feel like the bronzer is tired and I think that she needs to fall all the way back with that. I hope she has a soft place to land, but it doesn't need to be Netflix. It might -- it can be Youtube or something, you know, but it's definitely, I think --

HUNTER: You're over it.

CHIKA: -- a little strange for her to have a show.

MELBER: What about -- Chika, what about SoundCloud for her?

CHIKA: I don't think that that platform deserves that. SoundCloud has been through enough. They almost went bankrupt. So I don't -- I don't think we need to punish SoundCloud any more than what they've already been through and I use that platform and I would love the opportunity to share it.

MELBER: Ross, final thought?

MATHEWS: Final thought, well, I have one last "FALLBACK." You know, there has been all these T.V. reboots. There's Roseanne, there's Will and Grace, there's Full House, listen, I love all of this, but can I just ask Hollywood to maybe have a new idea? I'm sorry. I mean, listen, I watch them all. I love -- I mean, I love pop culture but I don't like this trend of, oh, let's just do that over again. Come on. You're better than that. Let's think of something brand-new and wow everybody. They're bringing back Murphy Brown because that's what the kids want.

HUNTER: Well, they could use more diversity. That will help, maybe.

MATHEWS: I mean, I watch Murphy Brown but diversity is not a bad idea.

HUNTER: I'm just saying. We've got ideas all day.

MELBER: I got to say -- the only other thing that I have to say is I really wish I was there in person with each of you. This is a tremendous "FALLBACK" panel. I hope --

MATHEWS: I know. I want to get to Giuliani.

MELBER: Well, we'll get you back and we will get to Rudy. Karen Hunter, Ross Mathews and Chika, thanks to each of you. We have one more big thing tonight when we come right back.


MELBER: Now, we turn to an important story that's not getting enough attention. The Republican Party is the poring donors' money directly into Donald Trump's pocket. Consider that right now, RNC officials are gathering in South Florida at his Doral Golf Resort. The RNC is spending almost half a million dollars for the spring meeting there. Now, of all these properties, Doral holds a special place new Trump's heart. He held his last Miss Universe there before running for President. He used the contestants to help make an event out of the opening of a new golf course.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In high heels and short skirts, a bevy of beauties helped Donald Trump tee off the new Red Tiger Golf Course at Trump National Doral Monday morning.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I guarantee you, no matter what sport, that was the best-looking gallery in the history of any sport.


MELBER: In the middle of the campaign, Ivanka Trump who of course is now a government employee unveiled the resort's new spa complex.


IVANKA TRUMP, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: 800 acres is big. It feels big. And then you start to get to work and you realize just how big 800 acres is and just how much work it takes to renovate it.


MELBER: So big, so many acres. As a candidate, Donald Trump never missed an opportunity to name drop Doral.


TRUMP: This is the best course there is. You know, some of the players that just walked off they said this is as good as it gets.

Doral, where right now we have the world golf championships.

I buy Doral in Miami. It was a mess. Now it's the hottest resort.

Including Doral in Miami. You know Doral. And as you know, Doral which I own, iconic assets, some of the, you know, Doral in Miami.


MELBER: And it's properties like Doral that are now a key part of how Donald Trump is getting money out of politics as well as obviously the White House. Look at this recent report which found his businesses have brought him more than $15 million from political groups and federal agencies. One of the biggest sources of revenue for Trump is the RNC. It spent more than $700,000 at Trump properties since the beginning of last year. His own re-election campaign is also steered about half a mil there. Now, remember, a lot of the same conservatives that donate to Donald Trump and the RNC have been railing against people who take advantage of government handouts. This former Political Strategist Chai Komanduri noticed on THE BEAT this kind of money is unprecedented in our democracy.


CHAI KOMANDURI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Donald Trump has monetized the White House. He has made $1.2 million from political groups who have rented Trump properties over the last year. The previous record was $100,000in terms of political groups.


MELBER: Now, before he took office, Trump left the impression he was actually going to step away from all these businesses.


TRUMP: My two sons who are right here, Don and Eric, are going to be running the company. They are going to be running it in a very professional manner. They're not going to discuss it with me.


MELBER: They're not going to discuss it with him. But it is Donald Trump who personally benefits from the Trump Organization profits which is why he seemed so intent on selling Doral. This is also bigger than Doral. However many acres Ivanka told us it was, this is a microcosm of the Trump business-government nexus. Since becoming president, remember, he lost a lawsuit for refusing to pay contractors, he's also fighting to get out of paying Doral property and employment taxes, that's government tax, and Doral was also the place where Donald Trump asked for another kind of subsidy, a foreign government subsidy.


TRUMP: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.



MELBER: Donald Trump is at the NRA convention today in Dallas. Here's what just happened.


TRUMP: Thank you, Kanye, thank you. Don't talk. You may make them and him angry. We are going to have to outlaw immediately all vans and all trucks. Knives, knives, knives, you know what I say? Bye-bye, got to get on the plane. (INAUDIBLE) some tractor.


MELBER: And that is your Friday night haiku and that does it for our show. I'll see you back here Monday night at 6:00 p.m. Eastern but "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews starts right now.


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