Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: June 7, 2018
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chuck. Thank you very much.
I want to begin tonight with four facts that underpin the top story.
One, Donald Trump is under investigation for obstruction of justice.
Two, several of Trump`s former aides have plead guilty or been charged with crimes related to obstruction like lying to the feds.
Three, the man who literally ran Trump`s campaign was accused this week of witness tampering. One of the more serious ways to obstruct any probe.
Four, Bob Mueller is finding new leads by looking through witnesses` phones and reading their once encrypted messages.
And then five, one of the most powerful people in Trump`s orbit is Sean Hannity, conservative activist and TV host who reportedly speaks to Trump daily and one of the only other clients as Trump`s embattled lawyer, Michael Cohen.
But take that all in right now, those five facts, because they make what we are about to show you especially legally significant. I don`t mean this as some sort of media commentary story. I mean this as a story about what`s coming out of Trump White House. Because that same influential man, Sean Hannity, is now literally telling potential witnesses and subjects in the Mueller probe to destroy the evidence and hammer their phones into pieces.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: They are demanding that witnesses turn in their phones, follow Hillary Clinton`s lead. Delete all your emails and then acid wash the emails and hard drives on the phones. Then take your phones and bash them with hammer into little itsy-bitsy pieces.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Hannity`s defender may call that sarcasm or poetic license but words are words. Sean Hannity lives off his words and we know they have a huge impact. And another way to understand those words, why this is such an important story tonight, if anyone actually does what Sean Hannity says there, they would be committing a crime. If Sean Hannity were their lawyer and told them to do it, he could be disbarred and even charged.
This is what`s going on in the country right now as Mueller gets closer to potential targets. This is not a drill. This is not just any random commentator. People around Donald Trump may reasonably and logically proceed that those words in what Sean Hannity is saying is effectively speaking on behalf of Trump.
Now Donald Trump not only channels the FOX News channel, he recruits from it. Higher staffing, hiring criminal defense lawyers right off the screen and now there are new reports that Trump might try to hire FOX personality Jeanine Pirro to take measures at the justice department that his current appointees will not take.
Political reporting and this is a serious process with an interview for her for tough jobs at DOJ and even potentially including a pact to being Bob Mueller`s boss. Let me say that again, a pact to being Bob Mueller`s boss.
Now, while Pirro is a lawyer, legal experts know she has far less federal experience than most top DOJ officials do in either party and either administrations. And she has a far more questionable background for the kind of public partisanship and conspiracy theorizing that typically in any other administration tends to disqualify people from law enforcement posts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: This is a fishing expedition for the dirt started really bad with Jim Comey. He turned into a political whore. This guy McCabe needs to be taken out of in cuff.
Hillary and Bill making money on the deal.
Obama and the Clintons sold us out. Look.
These people belong in jail. Lock her up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Now tonight, Trump`s actual employee, Rudy Giuliani, is pushing a conspiracy theory that Mueller will frame or trap Donald Trump. The exact angle, Hannity has been pushing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Mueller is laying a huge perjury trap for the President of the United States. Special counsel obsessive determination to set a perjury Trump for President Trump. And I would argue he would be stepping right into a perjury trap.
And the only point of the presidential interview is to set a perjury trap.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Take it all in. Take in together. You know, one of common critiques about Donald Trump is he lives in a TV world and acts like the reality show star he once was. Now that critique seems to assume there are limits to his approach and that when it makes contact with the real world, he will suffer.
But Donald Trump is President. This Congress rarely stands up to him. So if he does empower enough people from FOX News and hire enough people from FOX News, then maybe someday Donald Trump won`t actually be the odd man out anymore. The justice department itself could be run by TV performers and the show will be in charge of reality.
I`m joined by former Watergate specialist Nick Ackerman, former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance, and Natasha Bertrand who is covering the Mueller probe for "the Atlantic."
Nick, do you see this as something larger than a story about a loud commentator, an entertainer if you will, but rather a story about the thinking in the White House and the way they are approaching no probe?
NICK ACKERMAN, FORMER WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Yes. I think that the thinking in the White House is to tamper with witnesses. What Sean Hannity admitted to and actually was enticing people to do and asking them to do was to destroy evidence which is a violation of the witness tampering statute. It`s not just people who destroy testified but it`s also people who actually ask others to do it.
I mean, if you just look at the language of the statute, whoever knowingly persuades another person or attempts to do so with intent to cause or induce any person to alter, destroy, mutilate or conceal an object with intent to impair the object`s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding commits a 20-year felony.
He is doing it on TV. We have a rash of witness tampering going on right now. We have got it with Manafort who is going to have to answer to this tomorrow before a judge and may go straight to jail as a result. We have it with Donald Trump who is making up the story for Don Junior that can be used by Don Junior and others to make a false story over the June 9th meeting. This is all witness tampering.
This is a crime that didn`t even exist back in the Watergate days. This is a crime that`s been separated out what was a five year felony that Congress is now made a much more serious crime with a punishment of up to 20 years.
MELBER: Joyce, let me play for you a little more of Sean Hannity because, of course, there`s a wide berth for free speech, for sarcasm, for jokes, for all of that kind of thing. And yet, this does come in a context in a week of the actual tampering that`s going on and the really, I would say, to some degree, unprecedented language from a White House not saying Donald Trump innocent but rather he can obstruct what he wants which gets very close to an environment of obstruction encouragement.
Here was Hannity last night talking about removing sim card and using bleach bit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Remove the sim card and then take the pieces and hand it over to Robert Mueller and say Hillary Rodman Clinton, this is equal justice under the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOYCE VANCE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Hannity seems to be well versed in how to wipe out a phone so I guess if I were Bob Mueller I might have some questions for him about what he has been doing to his own devices.
But look, this is reprehensible conduct. No responsible person on television, no responsible so-called journalism should be advocating for people to destroy evidence in a serious federal investigation. It`s reprehensible. It`s sadly more of what we have come to expect from the people that this President surrounds himself with.
One would to hope that FOX would perhaps impose some sanctions on Hannity for this conduct. But I don`t think that we will see him prosecuted. Federal prosecutors give people a wide berth on first amendment related conduct. And so, unless there is something more specific to link it up, I think that this will be what we often categorize as awful but lawful conduct.
MELBER: Right. And Natasha, I`m not suggesting here that these words alone constitute a crime. Although that would be a pretty low bar for discussing whether, as Joyce said, this is proper, this is responsible especially if we are talking about how the nation should run and Sean Hannity has done many, many programs about law and order and accountability and what should happen to people who don`t follow the law. These obviously are our laws that govern respect for government investigations.
More broadly, take a listen to him and Trump echoing each other.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Your communities are being hurt and you are paying a lot of money because of illegal immigrants, crimes and drugs that are coming across the border.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will get the criminals out, drug lords, to gang members. We are getting them out.
HANNITY: When it comes to recognizing the violence that took place and both sides were involved in fighting.
TRUMP: I think there`s blame on both sides.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Natasha, given your close eye on the probe, walk us through the role that someone like Hannity plays in your view of the rather extraordinary rapport that Jeanine Pirro could and potentially be in lined to become Bob Mueller`s boss.
NATASHA BERTRAND, REPORTER, THE ATLANTIC: Well, Donald Trump really likes people who defend him on television. I mean, he pretty much spends a very good portion of his day every day watching FOX News. And he watches for surrogates, he watched for people who will go out there and defend with what is pretty much indefensible at this point which are kind of baseless attacks on Robert Mueller like Giuliani said that, you know, this was all an attempt to frame him.
But I think it`s also really important to mention that Hannity is not a neutral player in all this. I mean, Sean Hannity has potential legal vulnerability especially because there is evidence that perhaps he was talking to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks during the -- after the election when Julian Assange reached out to a twitter account that he thought belonged to Sean Hannity and said let`s communicate on another platform. That`s evidence that perhaps Sean Hannity did have prior communications with Julian Assange.
And then there was also the issue of whether or not he was involved in any way in this relationship between Keith Davidson, the former attorney for Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen. Of course, he had hired Michael Cohen to be his attorney so there are some kind of weird relationship there. And he was mentioned in court filings that were submitted by Michael Avenatti whose Stormy Daniels` current attorney yesterday.
So Hannity`s attacks here are not all in an effort to defend the President. He also faces exposure in a way that perhaps he is trying to pre-empt now.
MELBER: Right. Which you raised great points given the primacy of Michael Cohen this week.
Nick Ackerman, I want to read a little more of Sean Hannity`s version of events because we played the sound people can judge them for themselves. It is "Washington Post" write-up notes that he would then say he was kidding and then repeat the advice.
Quote "my advice to them, not really kidding. Bad advice follow Hillary`s lead." But "the Washington Post" noted then he raise it again in a serious discussion with attorney Joe diGenova who like so many of these players that are complexly interrelated would actually had briefly been announced as a criminal defense attorney for Donald Trump. So it is not -- look. Let me put it like this. That show, with all due respect, is not known for its comedy or bond homey.
ACKERMAN: No. But it`s also very similar to what I used to see when I prosecuted organized crime figures. What they would do is they come on hard. They tell people to destroy the evidence, to get rid of the evidence and then they just say, I`m just kidding. I mean, it was kind of like a wink and a nod but what they want you to do is to destroy the evidence.
MELBER: It is like don`t tell anyone about that deal we did but, you know, LOL, isn`t that funny? I mean, what`s the punch line there?
ACKERMAN: Right. It is like there`s the truth and there`s the truth.
MELBER: Yes. I mean, this is the kind of conversation you could repeat over and over again. And I guarantee you if you show up at that hearing tomorrow for Paul Manafort, you are going to get a similar story that he didn`t really mean it. He was just reaching out to old friends. He really didn`t want them to change their story. He was just doing an investigation for his own case. You are going to see the same nonsense.
MELBER: And let me get Joyce on that briefly. Do you think it`s more likely now that Paul Manafort will face pre-trial detention?
VANCE: I think it`s very likely that Manafort will face pre-trial detention. I have never seen a prosecutor who wasn`t outraged and a judge who didn`t share at least some of that outraged when a criminal defendant who has been told he can`t commit any new federal crimes or any other crimes at all while on release.
When he goes out to tries to tamper with witnesses that calls the integrity of the criminal justice system into question. Our trials are predicated on the fact that witnesses will go in and testify truthfully and a jury can reach a conclusion about what really happened in a situation where the government has charged criminal conduct. So this sort of thing that Manafort has done really strikes it at the core of what the criminal justice system is supposed to keep from happening. I think he goes to jail.
MELBER: Wow. Joyce Vance, Natasha Bertrand and Nick Ackerman, thanks to each of you.
Up ahead, Giuliani turning his sights in a personal attack on Stormy Daniels saying she is not credible because of her job.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: I`m sorry. I don`t respect a porn star the way I respect a career woman or a woman of substance or a woman who has great respect for herself as a woman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And today, Democrats taking Trump to court for profiting off the presidency. We have the senator leading that very case on THE BEAT tonight. And Trump standing by an embattled cabinet official who has become the poster boy of the swampiest of the swamp.
A minute later, "Art of the Deal" co-author Tony Schwartz says Trump is playing on emotion and you have to understand it to fight it.
I`m Ari Melber. You are watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.
MELBER: Stormy Daniels put more heat on Donald Trump with that new lawsuit this week alleging Trump and Michael Cohen tried to unethically conspire against her with her former lawyer. Now the heat maybe getting to Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani who lashed out at Daniels as not credible because she work in the adult film industry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: I`m Sorry. I don`t respect a porn star the way I respect a career woman or a woman of substance or a woman who has great respect for herself as a woman and as a person that isn`t going to sell her body for sexual exploitation. Very, very credible source. Stormy, the porn star. The business you are in entitles you to no degree of giving your credibility any weight. Explain how she could be damaged. She has no reputation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Couple things. First, this is a legal dispute and as a matter of law Daniels profession irrelevant to her credibility. Counselor Rudy Giuliani, of course, knows that. Second, Trump pays Daniels, lied about it, then admitted to part of it. The only people who have been caught publicly lying in this dispute are Donald Trump, that`s Rudy`s client, and Michael Cohen, who is under investigation, not Daniel Daniels. Third, if you do follow Rudy Giuliani`s logic that there would be something wrong with porn stars, what about men who then sleep with them and pay them to be silent.
That`s exactly what NBC News asked Rudy Giuliani today. He paused, and then said, my guess the same thing applies but that is not the issue. Arguing that Daniels has denied the relationship before admitting it. And fourth, as so often is the case these days, the tape tells the story. So let`s compare Giuliani`s argument about Daniel`s respectability to yes, his own client.
GIULIANI: I`m sorry, I don`t respect a porn star the way I respect a career woman or woman of substance or a woman who has great respect for herself as a woman and as a person that isn`t going to sell her body for sexual exploitation. Oh, very, very credible source. Stormy the porn star.
TRUMP: I`m automatically attracted to beautiful. I just start kissing them. It`s like a magnet. When you`re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the (bleep). Do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: When you are a star. Yes, let`s talk about the credibility of self-declared stars. So that`s part of what the President`s lawyer is using his public platform to argue today. This is not normal. Then Rudy Giuliani brought up Daniels looks or his opinion of them which drew swift condemnation.
GIULIANI: I don`t even think there`s a slight suspicion that is true when you look at Stormy Daniels. I know Donald Trump and --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let`s respect her.
GIULIANI: Look at his three wives. Beautiful women, classy women, women of great substance. Stormy Daniels.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just infuriates me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Misogynistic fool. Are you kidding me?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Being an adult film star does not make you a liar.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rudy Giuliani thinks that the way he is going to protect the President of the United States is try to demean and degrade a woman who has brought what appears to be a pretty credible charge against the President.
MELBER: Christina Greer is a fellow NYU McSilver Institute. Sophia Nelson, a former council to the GOP House oversight committee and author of the "Woman Code."
CHRISTINA GREER, FELLOW, NYU MCSILVER INSTITUTE: I mean, I think so many people all day have just been saying how infuriating this is. But we have to remind people who Rudy Giuliani is. Keep in mind, this is the man who race baited David Dinkins for four years when he was mayor, the first black mayor of New York City. In the same exact way that Donald Trump race baited President Barack Obama for eight years. So we see why these two are attached.
Stormy Daniels profession has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not she is bringing a credible accusation against this President. And he knows that. And he knows that there are 19 other women in the wings who have seen the way Stormy Daniel has been treat bid the media and the Republican Party and that`s why many of them have not spoken up. And so, we are not saying that`s their fault at all.
But we know the way that this country, this patriarchal country has always treated women, full stop. Right? This is a country based on, as I have said before, capitalism, white supremacy, anti-black racism and patriarchy. And we see it played out every single day with this rigid (ph) administration.
Stormy Daniels` occupation has nothing to do with the fact that Donald Trump is a pathological liar as is his lawyer. And so, why can`t we get back to the real issue. The real issue isn`t Rudy Giuliani being in Israel waving a towel and, you know, just spouting off at the mouth. We have actually gotten used to that by now. We actually have to constantly zoom back in on the facts.
What are the facts, Rudy Giuliani? Your client lied. Your client said that he didn`t pay off someone and now we find out he did. Your client consistently surrounds himself with liars. Your client consistently surrounds himself with people who are willing to lie for Donald Trump.
So let`s focus on that, not the occupation of Stormy Daniels. Stormy Daniels was an astrophysicists. That doesn`t mean that Donald Trump didn`t sleep with her and pay off her, right. So why are we even talking about this? Because I think this goes deeper to this puritan values of this nation that have never been fully true because we also know the porn industry is a billion dollar industry. It`s not just the people who star in it. It`s the people who support it as well.
MELBER: Well, I think one could make the argument if we are going to talk about porn, Sophia, I think one can make the argument that men would be the biggest driver of pornography if we are assuming that there is something -- some issue there.
SOPHIA NELSON, FORMER HOUSE GOP COMMITTEE COUNSEL: Well, a couple things. One, I see this a little bit differently. Actually what Rudy Giuliani was trying to do, Ari, is one of the oldest legal tactics in the book. When you get a witness in a case and if that witness happens to be, let`s a prostitute, what does the lawyer do? He attacks her credibility so that somehow what she saw, what she heard, what she experienced isn`t it true. And what Giuliani is trying to do here is he is absolutely trying to smear this woman who, by the way, based on everything I have read about her, I follow her tweets. She`s very self-confident. She`s very comfortable with what she does for a living. She`s not shy about it.
The fact that she stood up to the sitting President of the United States of America when, as you say in your lead in, 19 other women have ducked and hidden and I understand why because they don`t want to go through this type of smearing. The real issue here is as I have been saying on your show every time, the problem here is one man named Donald J. Trump. He is the problem. He is the person that lacks credibility. He is the person that has had issues sleeping with playmates and porn stars, you name it. He is the problem.
MELBER: Yes. And if Rudy is going to go there, now is the part of the newscast because it`s 2018 where we talk about cameos in soft porn play videos. We are not going to show the video. It`s 6:25 p.m. 3:25 on the west coast. But we will read about it.
BuzzFeed reporting that Donald Trump made an appearance in explicit 2000 playboy video. Trump`s role relatively quote "benign." It depends what you think of that, but centers on him breaking a bottle of champagne on a playboy branded limo while several of the playmates visit New York City.
I mean, as with all of these story, you can`t make it up. The thing that Rudy is saying is legally invalid, logically ridiculous but also happens to also be hypocritical in the sense that Donald Trump also appears in these kinds of films.
NELSON: Well, look. I think that whether or not he is in films is I`m not as interested in that as I am in pattern and practice of lying, smearing, (INAUDIBLE) tactics where we have lawyers fixing things and we have people going to people and threatening them in parking lots as Stormy Daniels said happened to her.
He is the problem. But the point about Giuliani I think is the worst spokesman in the history of spokesman. And if he was my lawyer, I would have fired him a long time ago because I think he keeps getting the President in deeper trouble, Ari. I don`t think he is helping him a whole lot.
GREER: Well, Giuliani is just like Trump, though. Trump said he is going to rule by chaos. Every time Giuliani said something, it is often that is contradictory from the mornings and evening when he shows up on all these different shows.
Trump actually loves it because we are chasing sometimes the wrong thing in the media. We are now talking about Stormy Daniels and Stormy being insulted. We are actually not talking about Donald J. Trump as a sitting President who is pathological liar.
MELBER: I think you made a great point. And that`s part of the policing as well is how much time and effort do you give to (INAUDIBLE) and also covering everything else and everyone dealing with it. We have talk about the (INAUDIBLE) defense before on this show with Rudy Giuliani. What you get is more just the messy defense. I mean, it is just wild messy and then you have to decide how close do you want to get to the mess?
GREER: Well, I mean, we also know with Trump, I mean, he likes to throw mud. And so, everyone ends up getting sort of sifting through the mud while trying to find the truth. But as we are doing that, it is just, you now, he is like tar actually. The more you touch him just the deeper and deeper in it you get. And unfortunately, as a nation, all 320 million of us are now attached to him.
MELBER: Right. And I think it was just as (INAUDIBLE) who said it`s hard to stay clean when you are riding dirty.
Sophia Nelson and Christina Greer, thank you both.
Up ahead, unprecedented hearing today. A federal judge looking at how people want to sue Trump over those foreign money payments. Senator Blumenthal is here to explain.
But first, Trump`s EPA chief under fire for new corruption alleges as well as a bizarre lotion errand and a used mattress. We will be back in 60 seconds.
MELBER: Now to other top story tonight. It`s about blatant corruption that reaches to the very top of the Trump administration but also lotion. Trump`s EPA chief now facing 15 different ethic investigations over corruption and abusing his power. Some involve the environmental health of entire country. Others involve be pettiness scale that is actually hard to phantom like tonight`s news that Pruitt may have violated federal rules by demanding his security guards find his favorite moisturizing lotion.
Now, if you want to be extra fair to any -- is he bureaucrat perhaps you can make an excuse for why a guy on the go might need someone to pick him up a personal item here or there, be it a lotion or a sanitizer or whatever you need to get through the day.
But as with so many things Pruitt, the details don`t help him. Taxpayer cover his $3.5 million annual security detail. And he not only task them with buying lotion but quote "directed agents to drive him to multiple locations in search of a particular lotion on offer at Ritz Carlton hotels. today Vox reporting that the Ritz-Carlton sells its own branded Jasmine moisturizer lotion at $27.00 for a 17-ounce bottle and this quest for soft skin it`s not isolated. Other leaks show Pruitt wasting $1,500 taxpayer dollars on twelve custom fountain pens, what, $60,000 on fancy flights and hotels, and another $43,000 on a soundproof phone booth. But here`s the thing about these leaks that are exposing Pruitt`s alleged grifting. It`s not just abusing his job and wasting the public resources, there may also be a kind of a neurosis here. Consider that he apparently made special arrangements to keep getting discounted lunch at the White House mess hall until they literally asked him to stop noting we love having Mr. Pruitt but it`s not meant for everyday use. One of his bills there is $400.
So from the lotion, to the pens, you start to wonder if there`s any perk or discount that Pruitt`s not too ashamed to try and cop. To paraphrase the rapper 21 Savage, Scott Pruitt is the type to stand in line for free stuff which of course is not cool. Now of all the discounts, here is the one that seems more like Pruitt ended up playing himself because he was busted for pushing his aides to get him a deal on a used mattress from the Trump Hotel. Now look do, what you want. But if you are into the kind of discount that comes with a mattress that other people have already used wouldn`t you still lean towards one that has a single previous owner, not hundreds of different hotel guests per year? Joining me now on this important story it`s Sam Seder Host of the Majority Report podcast. Go ahead.
SAM SEDER, HOST, MAJORITY REPORT: Thank you for the pen. I -- you know, I really don`t have an explanation for the list of things this guy goes out.
MELBER: Well, neither do I. Neither do I.
SEDER: I mean, maybe he`s trying to curry favor and say the dog drop, I`ve had this for this mattress for years. But I mean, at the bottom line, there is a quality of low-level local politician corruption that you see not just with Scott Pruitt. I mean, in some ways he`s sort of a metaphor for the whole administration. You know, I`m going to become an alderman because I`m going to get the proper zoning for my hardware store. You see --
MELBER: Is the -- is the metaphor that we`re all forced to sleep on a used hotel mattress?
SEDER: On some level, yes. That that is basically -- I don`t know how to explain that. I mean, I don`t know if there was some type of like prank that he was going to do or --
MELBER: As a lawyer, I could give you the counter-argument for one of them.
MELBER: And that would be maybe that Ritz lotion is just that good.
SEDER: Well, it`s possible I don`t want to get into you know, sulfates and whether or not you even need that but -- because that`s not my expertise either. But the idea that you get into a position and you just take as much as you can, that you get into government service because it gives you basically an entree and to get whatever you want and take whatever you want I think is the organizing principle of the vast majority of people who enter into the Donald Trump administration. And you know, then the other question is like what`s it going to take for this to get fired and why is that such a steep hill to climb? I mean --
MELBER: What`s it going to take and does the proverbial fish rot from the head? Does the proverbial free lotion grifting come from the very top? I mean, this is something that Donald Trump is somewhat known for. Take a look at him talking about Pruitt just this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Administrator Scott Pruitt, thank you, Scott, very much. EPA is doing really, really well. And you know, somebody has to say that about you a little bit, you know that Scott. But you have -- you`ve done -- I tell you, the EPA is doing so well people are really impressed with the job that`s being done at the EPA.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEDER: Look, as much as Donald Trump I think is -- appreciates a good thief and someone is going to take a little bit more than they should, this is the type of thing that got a lot of other people fired it seems to me, in the administration.
SEDER: So you got to ask like what`s going on here. And I think frankly the answer is Harold Hamm. Harold Hamm was the guy who was instrumental in putting Scott Pruitt on there. He was co-chair of one of Scott Pruitt`s re-election campaigns. He is a billionaire fracker who has pushed a number of federal and legislation and I think this is a function of Donald Trump you know and Scott Pruitt having basically a sugar daddy. And I think that that sugar daddy is Harold Hamm. And -- because if getting a used mattress doesn`t get you fired from Donald Trump who sort of you know, he wouldn`t hire Bolton the first time around because he didn`t appreciate his mustache, I don`t know that anything can. And you have to ask why. I mean, who`s protecting this guy? And frankly, I think it`s this billionaire fracker.
MELBER: Right. And that`s -- it`s a great point you raise and it also goes to what does matter here which is beyond the bizarre sheer embarrassing pettiness of much of the behavior it goes to an idea that government is for sale and for his personal enrichment which is a huge problem and not, I should mention an ideological issue. That`s not a left or right thing, that`s just whether you`re honest in government. Sam, stick around as we turn to another issue. I want to bring in a Senator as promised. This is an unprecedented case unfolding today. There`s 200 different Democratic legislators who have taken Trump to court over those foreign money contributions. The lead plaintiff is Senator Blumenthal and he`s telling a federal judge through his lawyers that Trump is taking money from these foreign governments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: The issue here is not only about honesty in government or corruption, it`s about national security. Who would have thought, I never did, that I be on the steps of a courthouse trying to enforce the emoluments clause against the President of the United States? It`s never happened before because presidents have obeyed the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Donald Trump never divested himself from his companies. His children allegedly run them and he keeps his stake. I want to bring in the senator to discuss all of this. Senator Blumenthal joins me on what is obviously a busy day for you and your co-plaintiffs. Why was it important to you to take this extra measure? You have powers in the Senate, you can hold up appointees, you have your voting power, but you`re going to the third branch, why?
BLUMENTHAL: Ari, ironically going through the federal courts is the only way, literally the only game in town as a means of enforcing the law. The President is flagrantly and deliberately taking payments and benefits from foreign governments whether it`s through the Trump Tower in New York, from the Chinese or the Trump Hotel in Washington D.C., from Saudi Arabia and countless other governments or through the $500 million dollar loan from the Chinese in effect to his resort in Indonesia and approvals by the Indonesian government. We know about those kinds of payments and benefits only because of our free press reporting them. He has disclosed nothing. And essentially we cannot do our job when refuse to --
MELBER: Right, you saying -- you`re saying something so important. You say he`s disclosed nothing. The original promise was that the Trump Organization would voluntarily quantify and turn back over any money directly from foreign governments are you saying that they have just completely breached that?
BLUMENTHAL: We have no way of knowing because he has refused to disclose to us truthfully and accurately. And so our plea to the court is we need to do our job representing the American people and were the only ones who have standing that is the right to bring this kind of lawsuit in court to enforce what is really the chief anti-corruption provision in our law and in the United States Constitution and that`s why we`re in court.
MELBER: So let`s go -- let`s go inside the court. You mentioned that and a lot of our viewers know about that because folks like (INAUDIBLE) and Richard painter had a sued that did run into those standing questions of whether they even get to bring it on appeal, yadda yadda. You guys have more success but how did it actually go in court today? I mean, you obviously are hoping to win but can you substantiate or provide us any evidence of why today might have gone your way or did it not go your way?
BLUMENTHAL: In 45 years in the courtroom, Ari, I`ve never predicted the outcome. I`ve never said I`m confident or optimistic but I was very, very hopeful and encouraged because the judge was asking all the right questions. He clearly understood the issues. What was most dramatic is his understanding that we need to do our jobs and we can`t do it if the President refuses to come to us for approval of his payments and benefits. That`s what the Environment Clause says. The President of United States has to come to Congress before he receives these kinds of payments and benefits and the judge clearly understands that we need to do our job.
MELBER: And Senator before you join us, we were discussing the Pruitt ethics scandal with Sam Seder who I think has a question.
SEDER: Well Senator, I guess I had a question on the Emoluments was just simply if there is no mechanism, if there`s no disclosure whatsoever, how can the Emoluments Clause mean anything if there`s absolutely no way in which you can judge whether or not it has been in some way in infringe upon?
BLUMENTHAL: Good question. And the answer is that the refusal of the President to follow the law, putting himself above the law, if the courts refuse to intervene, we`ll make that Emolument Clause dead letter. But it can be enforceable and we`re asking the court to issue an order telling the President you`re not above the law, you have to come to the Congress and seek its consent, its approval or disapproval, and that requires that you tell the Congress about these payments and benefits.
BLUMENTHAL: They can`t be office gated.
MELBER: Senator Blumenthal on this busy day in court, thank you for joining us. Sam Cedar, thank you for everything we talked about. Up ahead, Donald Trump talking about the meeting with North Korea and says it`s all about attitude. Art the Deal Co-Author Tony Schwartz is here to talk about Trump`s emotional wavelengths next.
MELBER: Foreign policy can be complicated but today President Trump says his North Korea plan and the meeting there is all about attitude.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think I`m very well prepared. I don`t think you have to prepare very much. It`s about the attitude, it`s about willingness to get things done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: The willingness to get things done which is in contrast to people who don`t want to get things done. This is, of course, a classic Trump thing saying he doesn`t need to have the details. For him, it`s all about kind of the emotion of the event and the attitude. My next guest Co-Author of the Art of the Deal Tony Schwartz says the impact of Trump`s most common emotional appeal focuses on anger designed to trigger all kinds of emotions, fury, even hatred within people who become his supporters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Get him out of here. Get out.
I`m angry at our leaders for being so damn stupid.
But if you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you.
I like to punch him in the face I`ll tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Schwartz argues the effect of these kinds of appeals to anger is to actually overpower reason. Emotion takes control. He compares it to a person trying to ride an elephant but you lose control to the more powerful animal. Now politicians of all stripes have long appealed to emotion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, they`ve the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I end tonight where it all began for me. I still believe in a place called hope.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`ve never been more hopeful about our future. I`ve never been more hopeful about America. And I asked you to sustain that hope.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Those emotional peels were from winners. There are others like Michael Dukakis and John Kerry who were perceived at least as focusing more on competency or their technocratic expertise and they lost the presidential race. But Trump isn`t just rattling people with raw emotion, he`s tapping into these deeper feelings and fears which aren`t about choosing between different outcomes but sometimes eliciting reactions that are even uncontrollable in the people around the country. I`m joined by Tony Schwartz. He`s also CEO the Energy Project and Bestselling author of The Way We`re Working Isn`t Working. Explain what you mean by emotion towards anger.
TONY SCHWARTZ, CEO, ENERGY PROJECT: Well, we have two selves. We have as you pointed out in your intro, we have the rider which is the rational self. That`s who we think we are. And then we have the elephant -- and by the way, this metaphor comes from a guy named Jonathan Haidt at NYU. We have the elephant which is --
MELBER: Why don`t we have them here?
SCHWARTZ: Good question. Good question. I think you should invite him on, he`s brilliant. Then we have the elephant which actually is dominating our behavior an awful lot of the time, and that elephant is the irrational, the reactive, the fear-driven part of ourselves that is at great odds with who we think we are. And in a world in which a guy like Trump is playing on fear all the time, what he`s doing is he`s stirring up the elephant. And in his own behavior, he`s normalizing the reactivity that we see in the world. So you know, I was thinking today about that famous book Hannah Arendt`s book Banality of Evil about the Eichmann trial and her point is that the main fear you have is to normalize this kind of behavior. And what happens our brains, we use our brains when we misuse our brains. We misuse our brains to rationalize the worst behaviors that we are guilty of where -- that we reactively -- we reactively do.
MELBER: It seems that you`re pinpointing two things. One, the power and primacy of anger even in a modern society that thinks it may have basically handled some of this. But two, a kind of personal or intellectual vanity that if we individually or collectively think we`re better than this, then we`re not going to be as ready to spot it when it happens.
SCHWARTZ: That`s absolutely right. We think that we are way more evolved than we actually are. And the ability to step back and watch yourself, particularly watch the activation of your own body when you`re feeling a sense of danger or threat and that anger or that frustration or that fear starts to arise, to be able to watch that, you know, what Trump`s providing is an object lesson for everyone in what not to do. It`s to what we need to be able to do is actually make that leap to get away from that intellectual vanity from that hubris. We need to move from hubris to humility.
MELBER: So let`s take that to the other big macro debate which is what`s true and what do you believe or does everyone have their own truth or emotional truth. Michael Wolff made a very concise defense of his book that is also highly disturbing if you believe in facts. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL WOLFF, AUTHOR, FIRE AND FURY: My evidence is the book. Read the book. If it makes sense to you, if it strikes a question, if it rings true, it is true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: If it rings true to you, it is true.
SCHWART: I mean, that`s that is a disturbing comment to make. We do act on that on that -- on that assumption. In other words, if somebody -- if something feels right, we assume it is right. And if we don`t misuse reason to rationalize after the fact, if we use reason to cut through the emotion then it becomes our ally. So we need to be able to span back to take a deep breath, to feel our feet and to ask ourselves these reflective questions as opposed to simply descending to the -- to the reaction that Trump wants us to and that he has normalized and that he has made every day in our lives.
MELBER: Right. And when you say it that way it`s very important because that`s not just about judging other people with whom you might disagree, it`s seeing that in the Wolff case a confirmation, bias something we talked about before to prove what you might dislike about him is the other side of the same coin because you`re seeking that emotional validation. Tony Schwartz --
SCHWARTZ: As always.
MELBER: As always, thank you for being here. And when we come back, there is one other thing I want to tell you about. Stay tuned.
MELBER: Maybe watch THE BEAT, but do you ever listen to it? We are excited to tell you we have launched the show podcast. You look for the purple podcast icon on your iPhone home screen. Click there, go to the search bar, type in THE BEAT with Ari Melber or Melber if you`re short on time and you click on it. You could find the show and extra. Our entire unedited interview with Sy Hersh, for example, is on there, something you`ll only find out in our podcast. Stay tuned.
MELBER: Tomorrow will mark a key moment in the Russia probe, the deadline for former Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort to respond to Bob Mueller`s motion dramatically to revoke his bail over witness tampering. That filing is tomorrow and we`ll be covering it on THE BEAT. You can find us of course at 6:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow. "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews is up next.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: From America`s Mayor to Trump`s attack dog. Let`s play HARDBALL.
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