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ABC cancels high-rated "Roseanne". TRANSCRIPT: 05/29/2018. The Beat with Ari Melber

Guests: Chuck Nice; Aisha Moodie-Mills

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: May 29, 2018 Guest: Chuck Nice; Aisha Moodie-Mills

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chuck. Thank you very much.

Our top story is about that gasoline. It is about why words matter. How casual racism can swiftly be punished in 2018 and why, even in the Trump era, it is not always safe out here for Trumpism.

Today began with Roseanne Barr who is of course in charge of top rated sit come, a reboot to the Trump era, and a long track record of getting away with or even being rewarded for her many offensive tirades. Well, tonight something different. The day wrapping up with Roseanne writing herself back into history literally. Her show is now history again. Canceled for her racist attack on former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett.

Her career is history for power house agents dropping her late today. And her long running attempts to throw out vitriol and then say it`s a joke, that`s history too. You can see here her original tweet likening Valerie Jarrett to the baby of the planet of the apes and the Muslim brotherhood and her bad joke apology five hours later. Not enough to stave off any of these consequences.

Now ABC did not cancel Roseanne today because they learned about what she stands for. The corporation, I want to be clear tonight, has long known what she stands for. ABC canceled Roseanne today because it had to.

Valerie Jarrett spoke to MSNBC tonight about the decision. And note, that while Roseanne may have wrongly and narrowly viewed Ms. Jarrett through strictly a racial lens, in these new comments I`m about to show you, Jarrett emphasizes she has more power than many other people in this country. She has more defenders and more friends and more followers so that while racism is always, of course, wrong whether it`s casual or formal or systematic or offered as some kind of quote "bad joke." Valerie Jarrett is telling us all tonight, she is actually more concerned about the insidious and damaging impact of this kind of racism on so many other people living through all of this right now.


VALERIE JARRETT, FORMER OBAMA ADVISOR: I think we have to turn it into a teaching moment. I`m fine. I`m worried about all the people out there who don`t have a circle of friends and followers who come right to their defense. The person who is walking down a street minding their own business and they see somebody cling to their purse or want to cross the street or every black parent I know who has a boy who has to sit down and have a conversation, the talk, as we call it, and as you say, those ordinary, examples of racism that happen every single day. And I think that`s why I`m so glad to be here this evening talking with all of you.


MELBER: To be here this evening, she is referencing this discussion of civil right and race relations with Joy Reid and Chris Hayes that airs tonight.

Now, it could not, of course, have been specifically timed for this latest Ambridge. But it`s a sour if obvious thing to note that just about any week there would be something to discuss. Consider that just this month the NFL has barred its players from kneeling on the field to protest racist police brutality. The two African-American men were arrested as a Starbucks in Philadelphia while waiting inside for a friend, an employee called the police and we know what happened after.

That this month we also saw the release of such familiar body cam footage again showing the arrest and this time the tasing of an NBA player Sterling Brown. This was after he was walking out of a drugstore, apparently peacefully, the mayor condemning his own police in that incident or consider that this year alone at least nine unarmed African-American men have already been killed by a police. That`s a wider context as these comments reverberate.

I am joined by the reverend Al Sharpton who is host of MSNBC`s "Politics Nation" and was with Ms. Jarrett earlier today. Comedian Chuck Nice who is guest hosted "the View" on ABC as well at Aisha Moodie-Mills, Democratic strategist and analyst.

Reverend Sharpton, I wonder if you could begin by talking to us and educating us about the point that Valerie Jarrett made because she was asked about racist comments against her but she broadened it immediately to what she called the talk, the fact that people in this country who happen to be black live and operate in fear of being killed for no reason, that this casual racism if we want to call it that, these Roseanne tweets exist in a much more harrowing context every single for many people. If you could start there and tell us whatever else you want about what you saw today being out there.

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Well, I think that what Ms. Jarrett was raising is that when she was attacked in very racial terms compared to an ape. I mean, we are back to blacks being monkeys, many of us came out right away, certainly I did and others saying that ABC had to deal with it. But what she was saying is, what about ordinary, average unknown blacks that have to go through this every day.

All people of other races or persuasions meaning religious beliefs or whatever and that we have got to deal with this as a systematic problem that is not held accountable. And I think that`s part of the town hall meeting that Chris and Joy and I and Ms. Jarrett were part of -- apart of here in Philadelphia that will air tonight is that this is an everyday thing but the danger of what we saw with Roseanne is the normalizing of it as a high level.

Roseanne is not a comedian in a nightclub. She is a number one television artist. She is a defender of this President. And one of the things I think we need to understand is we knew that racism hadn`t gone anywhere, but it`s been emboldened by a President that built his career in birtherism, which in itself was race base and has given these dog whistles that empower someone like Roseanne but reality set in because ABC cannot do business and continue to have somebody like that as their lead show.

MELBER: Rev., Did we learn anything new about Roseanne today or did she just finally get caught in a situation where the company had to go a different direction which is to say, were they profiting off this for as long as they could happily and then today they just realized they couldn`t?

SHARPTON: I don`t think we learned anything new about Roseanne. I think we learned something new about ourselves and that is if we resist in an affirmative and aggressive, we can make things become enforced in terms of stopping this. And I think that what ABC and all the politics going on there, with their sale and merger and this and that, they could not afford even though she is a highly rated show when they saw a buildup of resistance.

You had Wanda Sykes quit the show who was one of the contributing consultants, a real act of heroism by Wanda Sykes. So, as this thing began to build up, I think that they understood that you may duck all you want, you can`t duck your consumers and we learned our power if we resist. We didn`t learn anything new about Roseanne.

MELBER: You should listen more to Valerie Jarrett`s response to this.


JARRETT: Tone does start at the top. And we like to look up to our President and he feel as though reflects the values of our country. But I also think every individual citizen has a responsibility too and it`s up to all of us to push back. Our government is only going to be as good as we make it be. And as the Reverend always taught me, you know, people on the inside have to push hard and people on the outside have to listen.


MELBER: This is a Trump story.

AISHA MOODIE-MILLS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: This is absolutely a Trump story. And you know, I tried to have empathy for a lot of the Trump supporters for the folks that Roseanne thinks that she represents, claims that she is the mouthpiece for. But at the end of the day I really don`t believe that working class people and that all white working class people hold the same bigoted, ignorant, racist views that they do.

And Valerie Jarrett is so right. Like we need those people to step up and say whoa, right. Like I appreciate you reflecting part of my economic experience back at me, but like I`m not a bigot. I`m not a racist. And they need to be the ones that we hear from on twitter coming for the President and coming for Roseanne. And that`s the bigger conversation.

The reality is that that show, that revival shouldn`t have happened in the first place. We knew who she was. We always knew who she was and the fact that the dollars mattered a lot more than character is something I hope that is changing just generally. That consumers are no longer interested and investing and supporting people who just are nasty like jerks.

MELBER: Well -- and so, Chuck, first of all, as the comedian on the panel, it would be very interested to see how you make it funny on a night like tonight.

CHUCK NICE, COMEDIAN: And here`s a joke about it --

MELBER: That`s your cross to bear.

NICE: Is that my cross to bear?

MELBER: That`s your cross to bear but because you bring an experience within the entertainment part of this, I want to ask you about that. Because to build on Reverend Sharpton`s point, part of what Donald Trump found going into the election in 2016 was that the market for racist bertherism was underserved, that John McCain, whatever you think of his politics, when he was running and a woman stood up in his rally and famously said, well, you know, he was from Kenya, John McCain in the middle of the campaign, when his political future mattered said no, we don`t do that.

NICE: Right.

MELBER: And so, Trump saw that and saw a market and boy was a bigger market than some people wanted to admit. ABC saw that market and they said, you know what? To your point we are going to go for that. And then today they had to back off.

But how do you as an entertainer see an environment where if there is a market that traffics in that, it`s going to get served when it is profitable until shame overrides profit?

NICE: Well, I mean, there`s no shame in the entertainment game, period. That`s all there is to it.

MELBER: Is this -- are you saying there`s no shame in the game?

Reverend, did you know there`s no shame in the game?

NICE: I think we just discovered something.

SHARPTON: It`s a news flash to me. It`s a news flash to me.

NICE: But no. Seriously, here`s the thing. The President is a reflection of the country. Unfortunately, what we don`t want to do is look in that mirror. So when you look at America, the President represents a very significant part of this country that is indeed racist, that is indeed bigoted, that is indeed hateful.

Now, here`s the problem, you can`t apologize for being that, OK. You apologize for stepping on somebody`s foot because you are genuinely sorry and you move on. You can`t apologize for being a bigoted. You have to repent. And what has to happen in America is we have to have a repentance when it comes to the bigotry and hatred that is pervasive in our society.

MELBER: So Reverend, we are talking about repentance, so we are going to go from the comedian to the reverend. Try to a little repenting right now.

I wonder if you could build on what Chuck is saying that there is a sort of tequila theory of Donald Trump that the country has all this tequila through the election, wakes up, says, OK, that happened and then did the tequila reveal who we really are or did it make us go further and farther and somehow be worse than we are because sometimes it can reveal truth and sometimes it can make you behave worse and that America, and I`ll say it because tonight`s the kind of night to talk about it, white America needs to look at this and say, yes, if you voted for Trump because you are pro- life and Hillary was pro-choice and that`s often the dividing line, then fine. Then you can explain that because you feel that way. But if you did traffic in Trump because you like this kind of Roseanne thing and you want to compare human beings to ape, we need to repent and deal with that before we go forward.

SHARPTON: I think that what we have seen is that a lot of this was there, some was just latent and became worse because you have got to remember now that you have the premature of the oval office sanctioning these kinds of dog whistles or outright blatant Islamaphobia, racism, homophobia, and this question of misogyny outright.

I mean, you got to remember, he violated every one of these and was elected President and stands there in the oval office and goes in the residence of the White House tweeting this stuff. So it makes people that were underage, worse. It makes people that are already there feel emboldened and those of us that are opposed to this kind of bigotry, who are I believe still a majority of the country, because don`t forget we made progress. We didn`t get everything we wanted, but we made progress.

I think the majority starts looking like we`re marginal rather than mainstream. And I think what we saw today is people said to ABC, no, we are the mainstream and we are not going to tolerate this. And I think we got to demonstrate it at the polls and we got to demonstrate it with our pocket books.

MELBER: Right. And there is power to that because the headline tonight is major company taking a financial hit for what they can no longer defend. I mean, Roseanne was gangbusters as a network reboot.

Chuck, take a listen to bill on a point that the three of you has made, the Donald Trump has been all in this for a while.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When Mexico sends its people, they are not sending their best. They are bringing drugs. They are bringing crime. They are rapist. A total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our countries representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.

Look at my African-American over here. Look at him.

You also had people that were very fine people on both sides, you had people in that group -- excuse me --


NICE: I want to meet that African-American.


NICE: Yes, that one guy. Look at my African-American. I`m just saying.

You know what? Here`s the thing. Those aren`t dog whistles. What he did was, he turned the dog whistle into a public address system. And he screamed it loud and he screamed it clear and you heard the cheers of the people who actually agree with that. And you know, part of that is why the reason that he is President.

But the cool thing is, thank God it`s happened. It`s out. It`s out. It`s out. OK? It`s like, America`s out of the closet right now. The whole world is looking at us right now, OK. We are the drunk uncle at the cookout. That`s all there is to it.

MELBER: They have tequila at the cookout?

NICE: Yes. Tons of it.

MOODIE-MILLS: Well, and the people are rising up. I mean, if there`s anything positive to come out of this, yes, like we are showing our true colors but we are also seeing an entire nation that is moving whether it be women, whether it be the immigrant community, whether it be just people in color of general and of course black people talking about how our lives matter. And we are mobilized, we are energized. And I think that, you know, Rev., who has been doing this work forever, could attest to the fact that this ground swell of energy isn`t going anywhere. And I`m expecting that that`s what`s going to be but continues to move us forward despite this little blip on the map of history.

MELBER: Yes. It is a big story. It is a culture story. It is politics story. And it is financial story. So I think that`s a fitting point to reflect on.

Aisha Moodie-Mills and Chuck Nice, thank you, both. Rev., stay with me. I have more to ask you about.

You can also see the full discussion tonight with Joy Reid and Chris Hayes and Rev. is a part of as well. "Everyday Racism in America." That`s 9:00 p.m. tonight.

Now coming up, WikiLeaks responding to exclusive reporting we did on Julian Assange in the Russia probe here on Friday. Also, Ivanka Trump`s business gets a nice big boost from China as her dad makes a big concession to the Chinese government. We stay on the (INAUDIBLE) story.

Another important thing on THE BEAT tonight, Harvey Weinstein`s lawyer announces the case is absurd. Well, I have an exclusive with an actress who accuses Weinstein of rape. That`s on the show tonight.

And new revelations about Trump`s relationship with TMZ and the tabloid press.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where did you get the showmanship from? Who are you? Who is Donald Trump?

TRUMP: That is the longest interview I have ever done in my life and intense.


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


MELBER: New witnesses leaking about the Mueller probe which is how we can report tonight Mueller continues to press for more information on Roger Stone, a former Trump aide. Saying Mueller`s investigations pressed him with contact with Stone. Pus, WikiLeaks` founder Julian Assange.

Now the leak is new. The questions about Stone came in March when FBI agents confronted Ted Malloch at a Boston airport. Mueller has subpoenaed two other Stone associates and his claim to intermediary to WikiLeaks Randy Credico alleged Friday on THE BEAT that Stone is threatening him to impact the outcome of the probe.

So where`s stone in all of this? Well, the self-proclaimed provocateur has a message strategy of course. He now argues that any charges that could come would mean he has been framed.


ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDE: Hi, folks. I have broken no laws and done nothing wrong. But I will be targeted in an effort to Trump up charges against me to get me to turn on Donald Trump. Not happening.

It is now abundantly clear that special counsel Robert Mueller intends to frame me on some conjured up concocted offense in an effort to leverage my testimony against the President of the United States.


MELBER: Stone`s former associate Randy Credico also said on Friday that Julian Assange would talk to Congressman Adam Schiff about all these open questions if Schiff will see him in London.


RANDY CREDICO, ROGER STONE`S FORMER ASSOCIATE: I went down there to ask him if you want to get to the bottom of all this, then go to London. I had gone there with a mandate from Assange for Mr. Schiff to go over there and interview him.

MELBER: You have Julian Assange willing to speak to Adam Schiff`s committee?

CREDICO: Yes, yes. He told me to talk to Schiff --

MELBER: When did he do that?

CREDICO: Just before I went down there. It was a secret mission.

MELBER: And why does Assange, in your view, want to speak to Adam Schiff?

CREDICO: Because he could clear it all up. He is ready to talk to Adam Schiff. If he wants to go over there, he is waiting for him.


MELBER: Now what everyone thinks of the credibility of Stone or Credico or Assange, testimony is powerful if Assange speaks it could impact the Mueller probe. And Credico statement made many headlines as soon as he got off THE BEAT set.

They also drew a rebuttal from WikiLeaks. They say Assange speaks for himself. And a pretty firm statement from Adam Schiff which doesn`t deny that Credico relayed the offer but as the committee would be willing interview Assange when he is in the U.S. in custody, not before.

Note what`s happening there. That is cold water on the offer if there is an offer, but it`s also a supremely odd statement from a congressional investigator considering the U.S. has not publicly charged Assange with a crime, which means there`s literally no current legal basis for him to be in custody in the U.S.

I am joined by "the Wall Street Journal" reporter Shelby Holliday who has been all over the story and former Watergate special prosecutor, Nick Ackerman.

Shelby, what do you think?

SHELBY HOLLIDAY, REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: There are lots of interesting developments. And you know, one thing as journalist we try to do is take each piece of evidence and see what it means. But it`s very clear as you report on this story that there`s likely a lot more evidence that we haven`t seen.

For example, these emails. We covered the story about Roger Stone telling Sam Nunberg, he dined with Julian Assange. That was an email nobody had seen until we sighted. It indicated -- then a few weeks later we reported this story that Roger Stone was seeking damaging information about Hillary Clinton through his alleged back channel, randy Credico. No one had seen that.

So it`s very possible that there are a lot more emails. There could be a lot more contact. One thing that`s very clear, though, is if you look at some of the people subpoenaed surrounding Roger Stone and questioned including Ted Malloch, who you just mentioned, the questioning revolves around and sort of seems centered on this line of questioning around WikiLeaks, which could be at the center of any sort of conspiracy if there was one, because Roger Stone seems to predict and know a lot about what WikiLeaks would release.

MELBER: Right. Could be -- could be some day in the future and yet --

HOLLIDAY: I have to say Roger Stone denies that WikiLeaks is connected to Russia and he thinks he did nothing wrong.

MELBER: Right, but that would be the future date, nick. It was very odd on Friday night after Credico made news on THE BEAT to see Schiff`s office refer to Assange in custody. There`s no legal basis for him in custody right now.

NICK ACKERMAN, FORMER WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Not right now but there maybe a sealed indictment on Assange that hasn`t been released.

MELBER: Do you think that`s why they said that?

ACKERMAN: Probably because he was involved in massive leaks of classified information for the U.S.

MELBER: But wouldn`t that itself be somewhat inappropriate for Congress to gesture towards, it`s sealed for a reason?

ACKERMAN: Right. I would think so, but I wouldn`t be surprised if there`s a sealed indictment somewhere on Julian Assange.

MELBER: Why did you read Adam Schiff to respond so strongly to that in that way?

ACKERMAN: I think he must believe for some reason that Julian Assange, if he gets out, there is going to be extradited to the United States. He must to have some reason to believe that.

MELBER: Now Roger Stone, we showed the video there. Everyone understands he is a provocateur. You have known him since you questioned him in the Watergate investigation which we discussed on air. What is Stone doing right now speaking so much when he is smart enough to know it`s better to lay low?

ACKERMAN: I don`t know what he`s doing. I mean, he is right in the middle of one area that is definitely a crime. That is the theft of the emails from the Democratic National Committee. He is a person who knew about those emails before the public did. He has made all kinds of contradictory statements about what he knew, when he knew it, who he spoke to? He spoke to Guccifer 2.0 who first released them. He spoke to WikiLeaks who also released them. He is right in the middle of what we know is definitely a federal crime. The question is, is he involved in a conspiracy? Is he part of a conspiracy to get those emails and use them to help Donald Trump get elected?

HOLLIDAY: Another thing that you focused on THE BEAT and I think is worth reminding the viewers is the timeline here is still a little bit unclear but it`s very important, because Roger Stone made a lot of predictions in August. He talked about Podesta`s time in the barrel. He talked about October surprises. He talked about information WikiLeaks might have.

He says that Randy Credico is his back channel all along. And when he testify in front of the House committee, he said they asked him a specific question about August 12th and his answer was related to Randy Credico being his back channel.

Credico denies that he was and says he had no contact with Julian Assange or anyone at the embassy until August 25th when Julian Assange did his radio show. So that leaves this major -- if that is the truth and we don`t know for sure, that leaves this hole in the story of who did Roger Stone get this information from and why would he have known it before Randy Credico could have?

MELBER: I got to go. I know you are a big fan of Randy Credico`s show, so you are probably listening at the time.

HOLLIDAY: Well, I enjoyed seeing him on the show just as much as I liked seeing Roger Stone on "Meet the Press" and other various television shows. And you know, as journalist, we can gauge some of those things that they are saying and compare it to emails that we have\ or other communications.

MELBER: Right. There`s a lost fact checking going around with this crew.

Shelby Holliday and Nick Ackerman, thank you both.

Up ahead on THE BEAT, ethics lawyers alarmed Ivanka`s Trump fashion company potentially getting special treatment.

Also, Harvey Weinstein`s lawyer punching back against the charges against him. I have a Weinstein accuser who joins me on THE BEAT.

But first, there`s a new expose that reveals Donald Trump`s special relationship with TMZ and how he might be leveraging. The reporter who broke that story is live with me when we back in just 60 seconds.


MELBER: The other top story tonight revealing details about Donald Trump`s relationship with a top tabloid that builds on Trump`s known relationship with "the National Enquirer." This time it`s TMZ, of course, better known for its coverage of the Kardashian and Wilbur Ross. But "the Daily Beast" reports TMZ is aligned with Trump. Its founder has gotten access like this interview with Trump as President-elect.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell me what the Trump White House would look like because your place is a little like Versailles.

Where did you get the showmanship from? Who are you? Who is Donald Trump?

If you had to define yourself as a smart person, a sobbing person, you know, a tenacious person, which of those most suits you in terms of who you are as a guy?


MELBER: Now sources telling "the Daily Beast" that TMZ`s leader, Harvey Levin there carried favor with Trump and his attorney Michael Cohen by covering for Trump during certain struggles.

Take the Access Hollywood scandal. TMZ pushed articles about Clinton`s alleged affairs. And a positive story about a beauty pageant winner`s experienced with Trump.

Then when a Trump accuser shared her story of allegedly being groped by Trump on an airplane, one source says Levin quote "made it his mission for days to discredit her." TMZ confirming Levin`s personal involvement in that story, but stressed it was just part of TMZ`s news gathering.

Now two days after adult film star Jessica Drake accused Trump of sexual assault, TMZ published an article implying that it was all a publicity stunt because she also opened an online sex shop. A source alleging TMZ also sought some kind of financial approval from their parent company to buy a Trump tape. Now, it is unclear whether the goal there was to publish the tape or help hide it.

I am joined by the "Daily Beast" reporter who broke this story, Lachlan Cartwright. He was the Executive Editor of the National Enquirer. Thanks for being here.


MELBER: You got a hot one. But is your story that TMZ likes Donald Trump which is perfectly fine or that TMZ is doing something untoward on behalf of Donald Trump?

CARTWRIGHT: So Ari, based on multiple interviews, dozens of former and current TMZ staffers detail a pattern that was going on in the newsroom of teams in the lead-up to the election. One former staffer actually referred to it as a propaganda operation. They went from covering the Kardashians and Britney Spears and Justin Bieber, usually -- usual celebrity stories and they began printing, running stories that were very pro-Trump and you`ve shown some of the examples there on the screen. Now, I never talked about sources or sourcing, but one of my best sources for this story was because if you look through the archives of the Web site, straight off the Access Hollywood Tape runs, they begin running stories to help bolster Donald Trump. Now, other staffers tell us there were phone calls, direct phone calls going on between Donald Trump and Harvey Levin and tips that were being passed to the Web site from Trump.

MELBER: So what is the core allegation here? Is there some sort of quid pro quo that you are hunting? Well, I think the relationship was beneficial to both parties. For Donald Trump, you have this huge platform. And it`s not just, you got remember this, the TMZ T.V. show on Fox which is massive and so you know, he gets you know the free publicity and His image bolstered on those platforms and hobby as you saw they got (INAUDIBLE) one of Trumps first interviews. He then goes to leverage that for a T.V. show called at Outfoxed I believe. I`m sorry, Objectified, my bad. And then our sources say that he has a meeting in the Oval Office which was previously being reported. And during that meeting, Donald Trump insists with getting a Benjamin Netanyahu to appear on that T.V. show. Indeed, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli leader appears on the first episode of that Objectified T.V. show. So it worked both ways.

MELBER: Investigators have looked at this in the context of the National Enquirer where people may be surprised to find that these outlets sometimes are helping kill stories on behalf of their more powerful sources. Are you finding that with TMZ and Trump?

CARTWRIGHT: Look, our reporting up until this point has indicated anything like a catch and kill. There was certainly a curious incident that occurred with a tip regarding a potentially damaging tape of Donald Trump, and I want to be very clear with this, we have not seen this tape and in the course of our reporting we spoke to as I said more than a dozen people. We did not come across anyone who has laid eyes on the tape. But what I do want to say is multiple TMZ staff has said that a tip came through on -- through the TMZ tip box around October the 13th, so just after Access Hollywood had come out. This is also around the time they`re trying to hush up Stormy Daniels. The tip comes in, it`s an e-mail tip. It`s from an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles, Melissa Dagodag, a woman that we tried to reach and speak within the course of this reporting --

MELBER: The point is, is that they were going to run the tape or no.

CARTWRIGHT: Well, here we go. So the point is that Harvey Levine hustles resources to go and meet this tip say. He seeks financial approval to the upper echelon of Time Warner. It goes as high as the Chairman, financial approval is given and the general counsel Jason Beckerman of TMZ confirmed this account. They go to meet this Melissa Dagodag lawyer, a woman and meet is canceled. She explains to them or in first that this tape is highly -- potentially high damaging tape has been bought off the market. We don`t know by who and we`re pursuing inquiries as we speak.

MELBER: Right. But a person -- a person watching this say me, the host of the show, can`t quite tell what you`re saying. Are you saying that`s a bad thing? I mean, they might try to buy evidence to run it. If they ran it, that would make them journalistic. Are you saying something else?

CARTWRIGHT: Well, what I`m saying as that reporting is indicated that this was a highly curious situation and TMZ -- several TMS staffers, seven sources indeed said it was very unusual for Harvey Levin to go out himself and meet a tipster you`re --

MELBER: You`re implying -- you`re implying -- you`re implying they`re trying to bury the tape to help Trump but you don`t -- you can`t quite say that on T.V.?

CARTWRIGHT: Our reporting is continuing and you`ll hear the latest on that --

MELBER: All right, all right. Your reporting is continuing. I appreciate you breaking a big story and telling us part of it. I understand that you may have lawyers who won`t let you say all of it. Lachlan Cartwright, thank you very much. I want to turn to another story that`s very important on the corruption beat. Ivanka Trump, China giving her seven new trademarks on products. This includes housewares, cushions, baby blankets, this is then a week later her dad makes a concession of the Chinese government easing restrictions on a Chinese tech company that had been sanctioned for doing business with countries like Iran and North Korea that Trump says he wants to be tough on. Now, Ivanka of course also works in the White House and while she said she stepped away from her business, the company has been winning dozens of trademarks from China last year. She also sat next to the Chinese President at state dinner at Mar-a-Lago the same day. Yes, China granted her another trademark. In fact, since the inauguration, sales of Ivanka`s products have been soaring the biggest spike coming on the day this happened.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Go buy Ivanka`s stuff is what I would tell you. I going to -- I`m going to -- I hate shopping and I`m going to get something for myself today. She`s -- this is just it`s a wonderful line. I own some of it. I fully -- I`m going to just give it -- I`m going to give a free commercial here and go buy it today everybody. You can find it online.


MELBER: David Frum was a Speechwriter for George W Bush, a Senior Editor at the Atlantic and Author of a Trump Book. This type of normalized circumstantial evidence of corruption seems pretty blatant at your view.

DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: I would be very careful. I wouldn`t say one way or the other, whether there was an explicit quid pro quo for any aspect of this. We don`t know that. But what is astonishing is the idea that White House staffers are operating businesses, and not only any business but global businesses while working for the President and while having other presidential staffers, I`m touting their wares on T.V. Kellyanne Conway was disciplined, well reprimanded for those words, but she was not disciplined although they`re completely inappropriate and probably illegal. But the President, his family, they are continuing to operate a business and it has been going on for so long. You can`t do a show every day about how unprecedented, how shocking this is, but it remains unprecedented and shocking.

MELBER: Very well-put and the history is instructive because they are doing what they`ve always done but at a time that they work in government without having apparently given a lot of thought to what that usually entails in those obligations. Take a look at some of the past Ivanka Trump branding exercises.


IVANKA TRUMP, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Hi, I`m Ivanka Trump. I am on set of my very first fragrance photo-shoot.

I felt that there was a void in the marketplace for design-oriented luxury jewelry.

Watches which launches at December during the (INAUDIBLE) are well.

Happy shopping. Take photos and post them on Facebook and Instagram and share them with me with #IvankaTrump.


MELBER: A certain point you say, well, why does this person need to hold a White House job? Wouldn`t it be better for everyone including her business that they seemed still interested in to just go do that separately?

FRUM: Well, even if you do it separately, I mean the whole Trump experience is raising questions that, however -- whatever happens to this presidency, the country will have to wrestle with. In other authoritarian and semi-authoritarian countries, it`s pretty common for corruption to be eroded not to the head of state directly but to members of the family, the son, the son-in-law, the daughter, the daughter-in-law will become the richest people in the country. United States has historically not done very much to impose ethical standards on those members of the President`s family who don`t work for the President.

If Ivanka and Jared Kushner had not made a mistake in going to the White House, they could right now do all kinds of astonishing Kazakh things and have no scrutiny of it. So we may need given this experience to really rethink this. But at the moment, the fact is Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are government employees as is President Donald Trump by the way, he`s also a White House employee, and all of them are operating -- Donald Trump is not for presses not to operate it but just to be the beneficial -- beneficiary of it although he knows where the money is coming from. But Jared and Ivanka are operating businesses.

MELBER: And just briefly, you`re -- the word there`s Kazakh, is that right?

FRUM: Well, because in Kazakhstan is probably one of the most famous cases where the family of the head of state has become enormously wealthy.

MELBER: And what happens in Kazakhstan doesn`t always stay in Kazakhstan.

FRUM: It turns out there`s a lot to learn from Kazakhstan.

MELBER: David Frum, we always learn a lot from you know. Thank you very much.

FRUM: Thank you very much.

MELBER: Up ahead, we`re going to take a turn to an important story we`ve been covering on THE BEAT. Harvey Weinstein`s lawyer in court trying to defend him and I am joined for an exclusive interview with an actress who accuses Weinstein of rape. That`s ahead.


MELBER: Harvey Weinstein`s criminal defense attorney was back in court today with a new defense. And Weinstein accuser Natassia Malthe an actress will join me in a moment to discuss her allegation that Weinstein raped her in 2008. Now Weinstein`s attorney was in court for two hours today. He`s now arguing that Weinstein might not get a fair trial and then added this defense on the courthouse steps.


BENJAMIN BRAFMAN, ATTORNEY FOR HARVEY WEINSTEIN: I`ve really never been in that position where I am defending a crime which is serious on its face but when you drill down into it based on my investigation also in my opinion absurd.


MELBER: Actress Natassia Malthe joins me now along with her Attorney Gloria Allred who`s representing several women accusing Weinstein of sexual misconduct. Over 90 have come forward publicly. Natassia, thank you for taking some time to join us. What is your reaction having seen the arrest of Harvey Weinstein last week and the defenses that his lawyers are putting out in this case?

NATASSIA MALTHE, ACTRESS: I think it`s a -- it`s a very complex situation. My first reaction to the visual images were you know, I felt very uncomfortable and I find it sad. And the first thing that came to my mind were children, you know, seeing their dad handcuffed and I don`t think anybody could feel good about that, having kids see that and being that kind of situation. So that`s what -- that was my first reaction.

MELBER: So you empathize with him as a human being going through this situation on Friday, I would say probably apart from your history with him. You`ve alleged that he basically tried to get you to exchange sex for potential career opportunities?

MALTHE: I think, you know, I received a script the day after the incident and I call it the shut your mouth script. And I believe that abusing your power to such an extent is extremely violent against a woman who doesn`t have power. And also the fact that everybody knows in Hollywood how much power he has and a one phone call away from destroying anything that you`ve built. I don`t entirely see this as his fault because there are so many yes people around him. There were so many people who if I mentioned it to anyone they -- it was like a glaze over their eyes. There is something in that business that I could feel on a daily basis that was pure violence against women trying to work themselves into a successful role.

MELBER: Let me turn to Gloria Allred. Part of what we`re hearing here is that it may start with accountability for one individual, but there is a lot more work to be done if you`re going to deal with a system corporate, personal, social that reinforced this conduct for so long.

GLORIA ALLRED, LAWYER: Well that`s true, Ari, and as a matter of fact, in the lawsuit that I have filed against Harvey Weinstein we are -- we`ve also amended it now to include members of the board of directors of The Weinstein Company in the lawsuit that we have filed. So yes, but I do agree with her that others were also enablers and will determine who those enablers were, not ready to reach a conclusion yet. I think that Mr. Brafman`s defense today of Mr. Weinstein is patently absurd. The "even if a woman had a 10-year consensual relationship" and I don`t know that she did because I don`t know those facts involving that particular alleged victim and I don`t represent her, but even if that were true, it doesn`t mean that on any individual time or occasion she can`t say no and that no must be listened to.

So it`s possible to be raped. Again, I don`t know what happened here whether he raped her or not but it`s possible even if you have a consensual relationship. We know that in many states, a wife can be raped. She has the right to say no even if she`s in a long-term marriage with her husband. So I don`t know what he`s getting to. It may be that he`s just you know, clutching at straw trying to think of some kind of defense, casting couch, I don`t know what he`s going to bring to bear. But I think it`s going to be tough for him as a defense attorney.

MELBER: And Natassia, final question to you. What would justice look like here in the in the case of Weinstein in your view?

MALTHE: You know, I have a very huge imagination and I sometimes look at the world through other kinds -- another kind of glass -- other kinds of glasses. And you know, I don`t believe how criminals are treated in the United States and anywhere. The jail -- the jail system I find that to be a very outdated system and I would like it to be more of nurturing and rehabilitation for people who make wrongs. I in my own brain have thought anyone who conducted and contributed to this terrible culture towards women should dedicate their life to fixing that wrong.

MELBER: Gloria Allred and Natassia Malthe, thank you both very much.

ALLRED: Thank you.

MELBER: Up next, Kellyanne Conway says it`s time to stop talking about 2016. I have an explanation about where she got that wrong with some tape next.


MELBER: The Russia probe gets lots of attention. It could be the biggest scandal since Watergate but like any investigation, it is about the past. Trump aids say when Democrats play up Russia they`re basically wasting time talking about a past election.


CONWAY: Every time they talk about this, they are talking about the 2016 election. And so we don`t want to talk about the 2016 election.


MELBER: Conway does have a point. Democrats did lose the electoral college in 2016 and they might need a broader message for 2018 than re- litigating the past. To put another way, you can drop all the disrecords you want but when people get up and dance at the club, it`s usually for a good song, not just a disc track, ask Pusha T. But I digress. Even if Kellynne Conway is onto something, her boss is not following her advice. Donald Trump can`t stop talking about 2016.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would have won the popular vote if I was campaigning for the popular vote.

And those mass, those electoral mass, they were all red. Beautiful red.

In the last election, we defied every expectation and totally proved the pundits wrong.


MELBER: Trump actually spent this Memorial Day weekend talking about why Hillary lost and why Obama thought she was going to win. Just imagine if someone actually counted how much Trump brags about the 2016 victory. It would take forever. Well actually, it turns out someone does count. The new site Slate notes Trump bragged about 2016 seventy times and when he does cut back just like dieting, doesn`t seem to last. The longest he has gone without bragging about 2016 is thirty days. Now the bragging is, of course, the public part. There`s also signs that Donald Trump focuses on 2016 as a kind of self-care. He keeps red maps showing his victory around the office for personal moral support. So yes, Kellyanne Conway may be right that obsessing about the past can get excessive. Now, who`s going to tell him?


MELBER: While we were on air, we just got a new filing in this Michael Cohen case. You may recall that Trump`s lawyer had been fighting to keep evidence away from the feds. Well, this filing shows he`s losing that fight pretty badly. The feds have now gotten over 292,000 items of evidence. And this filing says they`ll actually get over a million more tomorrow unless a judge finds some kind of privilege. The debate is over what`s attorney-client privilege and what are personal items, but what we`re seeing in these filings day by day is that most of the evidence on Michael Cohen is going to the feds. And that does it for our show tonight, I will see you back here of course at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews is up next



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