Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: June 12, 2018 Guest: P.J. Crowley; Rich Galen, Shelby Holliday, Meek Mill, Jordan Sieve
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Look at all that red. Look at all that red. Something about these cats (ph) brought this city together. And that, we are next.
That`s all for tonight. We will be back tomorrow with more of MTP DAILY.
THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER starts right now.
Good evening, Ari.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Chuck, I don`t want to put you on the spot on live TV but I`m hoping someday when I have worked here long enough, you will take me to a game.
TODD: Let`s do it, man. Hockey, baseball or basketball. You pick it.
MELBER: You bring sports. I`ll bring some lyrics. And we will both leave hopefully more knowledgeable than we started back --.
TODD: Absolutely. Although, I think it`s weird for a Seattle grunge guy to be such a rap guy. I`m just saying.
MELBER: We love (INAUDIBLE). That`s all from Seattle as well. We love it all.
Thank you, Chuck Todd, as always.
TODD: You got it.
MELBER: I will take you up on the rain check.
And tonight, I have to tell you. We actually have an exclusive set of guests for the show.
But first, breaking right now, I want to tell you. There is a warning and a new filing from Bob Mueller that election meddling by foreigners he believes is still ongoing and he names quote "uncharged individuals and entities." We are going to have a lot on that filing. We just got it in the newsroom.
Also, one of our exclusives tonight is Senator Jeff Merkley. I`m sure you have seen what he has been doing, shining a spotlight on Trump administration policies to split immigrant families. He is my guest tonight.
Also my guest tonight, musician Meek Mill is here exclusively on what`s important about his legal fight.
And I also have, yes, I told you. We think it is special. I also have some beat news regarding comedian David Chappelle. All of that tonight.
But we begin with the top story. And that is Donald Trump now praising Kim Jong-un. Their new summit is precedent breaking by any standard. But will this deal hold or will it unravel? Experts note that the joint statement that was leased here has zero structure to verify. North Korean claims that they will, in the future, eliminate their nuclear arsenal.
You may recall Ronald Reagan used to say trust but verify. Well, Trump says trust and then later we will see if this was a mistake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I do trust him. Yes, I know. Will I come back to you in a year and you will be interviewing and I will say, gee, I made a mistake, that`s always possible. So I think he trust me and I trust him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Some Republican senators already drawing different conclusions. They see trust issues with North Korea and are demanding a vote on any full deal. Here is the number two Republican in the Senate John Cornyn and foreign policy hack, Lindsey Graham.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you insist on any agreement be approved by the Senate?
SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: I think it should.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Not only do I want to see the details, I want to vote on them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Trump also stating that there is some kind of an agreement to stop U.S. military exercises with South Korea known colloquially as war games. But then Trump`s own team members add there will be some exercises that will continue.
Now, other details of the meetings are sparse. Trump does say that he showed Kim a fake movie trailer of sorts on an iPad and we can show you part it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Destiny pictures presents a story of opportunity. A new story, a new beginning. One of peace. Two men, two leaders, one destiny. Will this leader choose to advance his country and be part of a new world? Be the hero of his people? Will he shake the hand of peace featuring President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un, in a meeting to remake history?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: You can`t make it up because they are making it up as they go along. Now, some reporters literally perceive the video to be North Korean propaganda. It was not. It is, as we labeled there, a White House video.
Now, does this mean that we know today what`s happening and if it`s good or bad which is a question we always look at when we think about what our Presidents are doing abroad particularly when nukes are involve.
Well, look. It is very easy to get lost in a sea of hyperbole that is 2018. This meeting was unusual. The diplomatic experts say it is literally impossible to state tonight at this hour whether it will be a success leading to peace or a failure with the U.S. giving something up and then backsliding towards tense relations or something more like ultimately another Trumpian nothing burger where the hype is exciting and the commercials are catchy but once you dig in you find you are not loving it.
I`m joined by Evelyn Parkas, MSNBC national security analyst and former deputy assistance defense secretary for Russia and she loves a good (INAUDIBLE) reference, I`m sure. P.J. Crowley, a former assistant secretary of state under President Obama and Rich Galen, a Republican political strategist, former press secretary and director of communications for Newt Gingrich, and Dan Quayle, this is what we call heavy foreign policy hitters.
Evelyn, feel free to debate the premise. Your thoughts on the notion that we cannot know at this hour whether this is a success yet, but we might end up not loving it.
EVELYN FARKAS, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT DEFENSE SECRETARY FOR RUSSIA: Yes. Well, I agree with you. There`s absolutely no way with can know, Ari, how this will end up because it`s a process. I think we have to praise the President for sitting down with the North Korean leader. Most of us don`t like the fact, you know, most Americans, most people who followed North Koreans don`t like the fact that this brutal dictator is, you know, on equal footing now with our President and has entered the world --
MELBER: Is that too much to give up or was that the right one?
FARKAS: Well, I think -- so the rest of my sentence would be, maybe not. Because if -- maybe the CIA psychologist know something about Kim Jong-un that we don`t know and maybe that video is the way to get through him, to really kind of bolster him and give him the, I guess, the strength of spine that he would need to really reform and make some changes inside North Korea and freeze and ultimately get rid of this program.
But the process is going to be long. There are a lot of details that need to be worked out. You know the saying about the devil is in the detail. There are lots of devils running around. We have been down this road before which is why Congress is so skeptical.
MELBER: But you are open to the idea that there is an (INAUDIBLE) basis for this to be a good thing?
FARKAS: Well. I haven`t seen a lot of evidence, yes. But I`m trying to maintain an open mind.
MELBER: Why is it hard for you to say yes to that? Is that how you feel? Is that how you feel?
FARKAS: I mean, so far, he hasn`t -- the North Koreans haven`t done anything different from the past. Meaning, they, you know, closed up the nuclear testing facility, the island. You know, they closed up the entrances to the mountain. They blew up or they destroyed the missile testing facility. Those things are irreversible rather. They probably have other facilities. We have seen in the past when I went there in 2008. Right after that, they blew up this (INAUDIBLE) tower for the plutonium program. So all this is not unusual.
But I haven`t seen any reason to think that they are going to cheat yet. We have to try. This is a new leader. None of the previous negotiations have included Kim Jong-un.
FARKAS: So it is possible, given the fact that he was trained in the west and he has actually undertaken some economic measures in his country that go further and appear to be more permanent than what his father did.
P.J. CROWLEY, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I think the one thing of value that we have at this point is the White House won`t call it a freeze for freeze, but that`s kind of what it is. They are not firing any missiles or testing any nuclear weapons and we are not going to do provocative exercises for the foreseeable future.
You know, we can live in this space for a while. We are certainly better off than we were six months ago when the President and the chairman were comparing the size of their relative nuclear buttons. We are certainly better off than we were ten months ago when we were discussing fire and fury.
MELBER: Does the size of a nuclear button affect the size of the arsenal?
CROWLEY: Well, you know. But to pick up on what Evelyn said --
MELBER: It was just a joke.
CROWLEY: North Korea has-- you know, the President is leaning too far forward, I think. He says believes he has a commitment from Kim Jong-un to actually denuclearize that he really means it unlike previous North Korean leaders. The first thing that pops into my head, you know, is losing the football. But, you know, Mike Pompeo will have a chance to test this. The sooner he does, the better.
MELBER: Rich Galen, you know, there`s one thing everyone always says about North Korea as a country, right?
RICH GALEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes. They party like it is 1493.
MELBER: That and you know where you throw a good party is obviously, I think you are onto something. You throw the best parties, I mean really big out door, exciting, all night parties. You throw them on the beach. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They have great beaches. You see that whenever they are exploding their cannons into the ocean, right. I said, boy, look at that. Wouldn`t that make a great condo? And I explain it and said, you know, instead doing that, you can have the best hotels in the world right there. Think of it from a real estate perspective. You have South Korea, you have China and they own the land in the middle. How bad is that, right? It`s great.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALEN: Well, it means -- I am a New Yorker so I understand New York humor maybe more than people from Iowa or Missouri.
But there was a greater truth in something that he said there. And that is it`s like a real estate deal. Donald Trump sees everything like it`s a zoning fight. I mean, there is a winner and a loser. You can get in. We can get the curve cut. We can get approval to plant trees. So let`s get the hell out of here. And the nuances of everything that has to happen next are lost on him.
Now, he did say last night that in six months he might come back and say, well, I was wrong and then again, he added the New York humor, I`ll find somebody to blame it on. But I think even Donald Trump realized after he finished with all the speaking in exclamation points as he often does that maybe he got out, as P.J. said, a little too far out in front of himself and maybe he is claiming -- he is giving Kim Jong-un credit for something he doesn`t deserve credit for.
MELBER: Well, we know that he listens to certain feedback in the press more than his own aides. And part of what that does is make this a very chaotic process as we have seen on other issues where he does course correct in certain ways but it`s after the headlines are out. it is the reverse of the policy-making process that I think the three of you are familiar with even from different parties where there is a lot of interagency memoranda preparations because it is better generally for U.S. interest to get it right the first time.
With regard to the course correction, Rich, take a look at one of the headlines that obviously is bothering Trump tonight. Kim made no specific commitment to relinquish his nuclear arms and ballistic missiles. Gave no timeline for which he would do so. Rather he committed solely to abiding by mostly symbolic agreement he had made during the summit with South Korean president Moon Jae-In in April. The headline being Trump out-foxed. A lot there for him not to like, Rich.
GALEN: Well, that`s true but did nothing -- I mean, I know everybody has been saying that Trump got nothing in return for what? I mean, nothing that Trump said is irreversible either. Somebody said yesterday, I think senator Cotton said in the last hour that the next joint operation with the South Koreans is about a year away so we can reverse on that.
The only thing you can`t reverse is the image of those flags which is irritating at best and kind of alarming at worst. Trump didn`t give anything away.
MELBER: Evelyn do you agree?
FARKAS: I think that there is cause for a great concern so I start off positive. But the timetable. We don`t know the timetable is going to be. When is the next meeting?
The North Koreans refuse to actually give an inter-locketer. Who is meeting with Pompeo? That`s odd because (INAUDIBLE), I have meet with her before, she was there. He could have picked her or that actual, the foreign minister of North Korea. And that was odd. That means that is something we have to negotiate with them.
Second, the maximum pressure. It`s not just economic sanctions. It`s also the military pressure of our ongoing deterrents. So he exercises giving that to them right off the bat, I think was a bad move because we have given away some of our maximum pressure with that.
Also the fact the President mentioned eventually, perhaps removing troops from the peninsula. I mean, that is to me an outrageously ambitious and very, I think not very responsibility statement at this point in time. We got to deal with the nuclear issue. But we still have the conventional threat unless the North Korean government changes substantially. And then you still have the issue of China and Russia because our troops are there for regional security purposes as well as to throw (ph) the North Koreans.
MELBER: Right. Well, it`s an educational listing to you as you break down all these different nuances whether or not the President had all of that, you know, atop of mind or not.
My follow-up question for you is, would you like to see more from the trailer that he showed Kim Jong-un?
FARKAS: Yes, I would, actually.
MELBER: You know what, roll it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A new world can begin today. One of friendship, respect and good will. Be part of that world. It comes down to a choice. On this day, in this time, at this moment, the world will be watching. The future remains to be written.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Evelyn, can you --?
GALEN: Who thought bumper cars were a good idea?
MELBER: Evelyn, can you really debate that point?
FARKAS: No. The future remains to be written, Ari. I can`t argue that point.
MELBER: Anyone else?
GALEN: Well, there`s another piece of this. I talked to a senior member of the House foreign affairs committee today. And he was particularly concerned not so much on the military side although he had concerns about that. But he was concerned that the Chinese don`t use yesterday as an excuse to begin rolling back sanctions that we are depending on them to maintain -- to the extent that they maintain even now. But he said that that`s something that he and some of his colleagues we are going to be looking at very closely. The economic side of this as supposed to just the military.
MELBER: P.J., building on Rich`s point that I think we have heard from people who are sympathetic to this, although I would be remiss if I didn`t point out that a lot of conservative commentary and FOX News had been very critical of Barack Obama when he talked about outreach to some foreign leaders including North Korea, on the idea that you are giving something away. But even putting hypocrisy aside, it is not just the meeting. It is done in a very Trumpian way which means he is not really going in like a tough dealmaker, you know, with an icy stare and seeing what happens. He can`t help himself and it seems in contrast to Pompeo and the type of advice that, again, each you have given Presidents to be cautious going into something like this, he goes full Trump and starts praising Kim Jong- un. Take a look at the range of praise.
It`s coming. I swear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It`s an honor to be with you. Very great honor. Thank you.
Great personality and very smart.
He`s a very talented man.
We have developed a special bond.
Very smart. Very good negotiator. Wants to do the right thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: P.J., coming from the office of the presidency and given what we have reported last night and what many other outlets have reported extensively on. (INAUDIBLE) international and others documenting the type of regime we are dealing with and the human rights strategies (ph), is that giving up too much?
CROWLEY: Well, I don`t buy the argument that engaging in adversary constitute appeasement. And I will --.
MELBER: I got to jump in. That`s not what I asked you.
CROWLEY: No. But I will give Trump the benefit of the doubt.
MELBER: I`m going to have to go lawyer and narrow the question. The question on the table is a part from the sort of strong man of whether that appeasement is. Rather than going into the meeting cautious, having a President who speaks and gives away that much trust to that kind of dictator, yes or no because I want your analysis, but is that giving up too much?
CROWLEY: Not necessarily. As I was going to say, counselor. That, you know, I will give Trump the benefit of the credit, you know, a benefit of the doubt that he is trying to make Kim comfortable enough on the global stage that he is willing to give something up. I think, you know, one of the questions here is, is there a coherent U.S. strategy going forward to get -- to reach this because you have Trump flattering Kim, you know. You have vice President Pence and national security advisor Bolton, you know, threatening the Libya model, you know. So, you know, going forward, you know, what is there -- how much time are they going to give, you know, Kim, you know, to make a very, very difficult decision. The bottom line is what Kim wants. He wants everything he just got in Singapore. And he wants to keep his nuclear weapons.
MELBER: So you are saying something very interesting. I mean, you are a former Obama official, but you are saying this might be strategically intelligence by Donald Trump. And if that is the case, you are for it?
CROWLEY: Well, I mean, I understand the flattery and the tactic that the President is using. Count me among the skeptics who don`t think ultimately that Kim is going to give up as much as the Trump administration is demanding.
GALEN: But look back -- you only have to look back 18 hours before that with Trump and Justin Trudeau. About a couple of months ago, Trudeau and Trump were filling out the form to be on dancing with the stars together and then he is calling him a weak and whatever.
MELBER: Well, I think, Rich, in fairness to the President, I think the difference there though, of course, is that Canada has always been a huge rival and military threat to the United States.
GALEN: Well, there you go.
MELBER: So you know --.
GALEN: Nobody on the planet at this point, certainly not Kim Jong-un, should believe that Donald Trump can`t pirouette, to finish the metaphor, on a dime and go after him verbally if he has to.
MELBER: (INAUDIBLE). I`m happy to close it down in the (INAUDIBLE).
We had a very seasoned and intelligent set of experts here with some lively basic changes. I appreciate each of you.
Evelyn Farkas, P.J. Crowley and Rich Galen, thanks so much you guys.
GALEN: Thanks, Ari.
MELBER: Now coming up, we have a lot. There is this breaking news, a new Mueller filing revealing in court that he believes Russia election meddling is ongoing. And what he wants a judge to do about it, that is big.
Also, new reports Trump will set up tent cities for immigrant children separated from their parents. This is an important story and Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley is on THE BEAT for that.
Also, did you hear that Jared and Ivanka made $82 million from their private business while working for you in government? We will explain what is problematic about that.
And the rapper/musician Meek Mill on his battle for justice and his headline making crusade. He is here with me for his first time on THE BEAT to talk about what comes next.
I`m Ari Melber. And we will be right back.
MELBER: Some important breaking policy news on immigration tonight.
The Trump administration now planning to build tent cities to show their migrant children, many of whom are isolated or orphaned by Trump`s hard line policies. The administrations had rolled out policies that separate children from parents who entered the U.S. illegally.
Jeff sessions says that is the right thing to do. Now he has issued executive guidance limiting the asylum that the U.S. traditionally grants to women pleading abuse and gang violence.
Here is Jessica Alvarado from Honduras. She fled there seeking asylum to protect her against threats of violence, domestic abuse and murder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSICA ALVARADO, UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
ALVARADO: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Today, her lawyer tells THE BEAT, this new Trump policy will directly affect our case.
I`m joined now by Democratic senator from Oregon, Jeff Merkley. He was trying to enter immigration detention center in Texas last week and was barred by police. That video got a lot of attention.
Senator, your view of the significance of these reports of these tent cities.
SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D), OREGON: Well, it`s a horrific situation. For the first time in U.S. history we are taking those who are fleeing persecution abroad and instead of treating them respectfully. Instead of holding up the torch with lady liberty, we are instead saying if you are fleeing persecution and you wash up on our shores, we are going to treat you as a criminal and take away your children. That has an enormously destructive impact on parents. And it is a huge trauma for the children. Never before had we hurt children nor to influence parents. It`s absolute wrong thing to do.
MELBER: Senator, I wonder if we can dig into what Jeff Sessions is saying. He is a former colleague of your as well as the attorney general. Because we have all heard the legal argument that at a certain point a country can`t necessarily let in everyone who might have a good claim. And that is one of the arguments over limits immigration.
What strikes me as different, and I want to take this argument seriously, is the idea that these aren`t valid claims to begin with which seems pretty hard to defend given these people seem like the most likely and needed asylum. Take a listen to attorney general Sessions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Powerful incentives were created for aliens to come here illegally and claim fear of return. In effect, word spread that by asserting this fear they could remain in the United States. The vast majority of the current asylum claims we`re seeing are not valid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Your view of the substantive argument he is making. That these are invalid claims and the fear of return which is one of the ways as you know people get asylum. They say they would be literally deported back to place where they might be domestically abused or killed by a gang that that itself should no longer be grounds.
MERKLEY: Yes. So the argument he is making that some of the claims are illegitimate, that`s determined through an intense review process. Hearing for asylum. And unless you can really document what happened to you beforehand and you can document the fear of return, you are turned down for asylum. And you are returned. You are deported.
But if you are while waiting that asylum hearing and your claims are found to be valid, it makes a lot of sense for your family to be kept together, to be strengthen as their new arrivals in United States. If you are being returned to your host country, if you are going to be deported after that, you are again makes sense to the family who have been kept together.
Why add insult to injury and hurt these children in the root to sending them back. Keep them together until the hearing. Either they get to stay or they go. But in either case, we haven`t perpetrated an additional level of abuse.
MELBER: What do you think about what is admittedly a smaller issue which is whether this is a deterrent. There are folks who might not agree as far as the policy is going but think well, if the United States is sort of too hospitable then people in these other countries will hear about it and they will come rushing here and they will be greater migration. Do you see any evidence that this crackdowns are actually going to reach and dissuade the kind of people in the kind of situations that they are fleeing from to come here.
MERKLEY: Think about this core argument. The argument is if we inflict trauma on children and where ca get back to where they came from, other families will not seek to come to the United States.
Are we really saying, and by the way, the administration is saying, that they are inflicting trauma on children to influence adults. There`s no moral code in the universe that supports being destructive to children to influence the future decisions of other adults. There`s no religious code in universe that supports that type of construction, of abusing children today to influence some other group of adults somewhere else in world.
MELBER: Well, you put it like that. I mean, you are making a profound moral point which is that for all the talk of allegations of people are quote-unquote "using their children to try to set up shop here, what you are articulating for us is moral program (ph) for the U.S. government trying to turn those children into pawns or individuals, minors who should be punished to warn others which is way you put it is instructive and frankly, chilling.
Senator Jeff Merkley, I know you have been working on this issue a lot. We appreciate you making time on THE BEAT.
MERKLEY: You are welcome. Thank you for covering it.
MELBER: Thank you.
An important discussion.
Now up ahead on THE BEAT, Meek Mill is back on stage with a new fight for criminal justice. He is my guest exclusive tonight along with his attorney.
But first, this is breaking right now as I mentioned. A new filing from Bob Mueller that warns election meddling is still ongoing from quote "uncharged individuals and entities." That means other people he has not identified publicly yet, that story when we are back in 60 seconds.
MELBER: Breaking news right now. Bob Mueller warning publicly that some of the information his team and investigators are gathering could, he worries, end up in hands of Russian intelligence.
Now, all this has to do with 13 Russians and three companies that Mueller has already charged for the election meddling. You remember that occurred back in February.
Now, lawyers for one of the company have already met with the special counsel team. But Mueller wants to go further. This is what the new filing does. It asks a judge to bar those people from potentially handing over leaking or doing anything with that information to these other charged individuals. He argues in the court filing, releasing information would quote "assist foreign intelligence services particularly those of the Russian federation., A.K.A. Putin and suggesting that Mueller knows other people who could be charged next or ongoing interference. And this is the part I`m going to dig into with my expert guest because he says he identifies "uncharged individuals and entities that the government believes are continuing to engage an interference operations like those charged in the present indictment. Nick Akerman is a former Watergate Special Prosecutor, Shelby Holliday Reporter for the Wall Street Journal has been all over this story. Nick, this is new and this is Bob Mueller trying to protect his operation. What does it mean?
NICK AKERMAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, what he`s trying to protect are his investigative techniques, how he goes about doing an investigation, what his agents are doing and what other agents have done within the government to uncover the evidence that they have in this case. It goes to possible other cooperating witnesses, other possible informants. What he`s concerned about is if somebody was able -- foreign intelligence was able to look at this entire file, they`d be able to divine from that all kinds of things, like what they should do to better protect themselves if they`re going to try and interfere with our elections, what they should do to try and identify other cooperating informants and sources within their own government that might be giving up information to the U.S. government. I mean this is not information that`s necessarily classified but it`s important information in terms of the government`s ability to investigate these kinds of cases.
MELBER: When you see Bob Mueller do this and the headline to some people is OK, he`s referring to ongoing Russian meddling, some people might be like yes, heard about that it`s like they keep doing it. Why legally does he say that here? Why does he say it -- again, I`m reading from this brand new filing he believes this is an allegation that they are "continuing to engage in interference operations like those charged in the indictment?
AKERMAN: I think he has evidence that that`s ongoing. I think he`s got people who are telling him that. he`s got investigations that are showing that.
MELBER: Could those being new crimes?
AKERMAN: Oh, of course, it could be an ongoing crime. It could be coming from national security wiretaps. It could be from a whole series of host informants that they`re using. And so they want to protect how they`re going about doing this. They don`t want to advertise to the world this is how we uncover our evidence, this is how we make our cases and that`s what they`re trying to protect here.
SHELBY HOLLIDAY, REPORTER, WALL STREET JOURNAL: I also thought it`s interesting in here, he talks about the relationships of charged and uncharged parties, foreign entities, and government. I don`t know if that means there is an uncharged government. Nick said it could be a Russian government agency --
AKERMAN: I think it`s a government agency.
HOLLIDAY: But another thing that he points out in this and I think it`s important is not only would it identify perhaps uncharged individuals and also the sources and methods but if this discovery also contains a massive amount of information about American victims who thought that they were communicating with U.S. accounts and said they were Russian accounts. We`ve reported at the journal a lot about people who are caught up in these weird schemes that the Russians were involved in and it`s very embarrassing for their information to be public.
MELBER: And you`re putting your finger an important point here that Mueller is pursuing which is when Americans got mixed up in this were they unwitting which make them victims or were any of them witting were they uncharged entities who are involved in America --
HOLLIDAY: That`s a really good point.
MELBER: -- who wanted to cooperate.
HOLLIDAY: That`s a very good point so that could also be --
MELBER: Or collude if you want to use --
HOLLIDAY: Right. He might be wanting to protect victims and also people who could be charged with crimes. But we`ve talked to a lot of Americans who helped Russians set up some of their rallies, who participated in schemes, fake propaganda podcasts, a lot of them when we call them are embarrassed that they were, in fact, communicating with Russian accounts so, therefore, the special counsel doesn`t want their names out there, and it could put a target on their back.
MELBER: It`s hard to keep up with real podcasts let alone fake podcast. It`s a lot of podcast.
HOLLIDAY: So much fake podcasting.
MELBER: It`s a lot of fake news. I want to move to one other important story. I mean, the Russia stuff here is huge. We got it into our show as breaking news but the other big thing you should know about, there`s these new financial numbers that reveal Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump made $82 million in outside income last year including $3.9 million alone Ivanka got from the Trump Hotel in D.C. which has been accused of conflicts of interest. All this as the family talks up how they`re not taking any government salary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- is a high-quality person. He works for nothing just so you know, nobody ever reports that but he gets zero. He doesn`t get a salary nor does Ivanka.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She and her husband Jared have roles in the White House so you`re basically a dual income family.
IVANKA TRUMP, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: Actually, we don`t take an income. So we`ve waived our salaries, so we are no income family right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: I mean, it`s so funny as you know. It`s a very hilarious thing to be a no income family pulling down $82 million. I wonder -- I wonder what you think this does as we get the facts. It`s almost like there`s a part of the Trump-Ivanka nexus that doesn`t care or understand that there is transparency rules which they brought on themselves. And I don`t know if you ever watch the A-Team but Mr. T would always say you brought this on yourself. If they hadn`t come into government to take these special plum nepotistic positions, we wouldn`t be learning as much about the financial disclosures. At some point do they look at this and say number one, wow, we have to give up a lot of information and number two, do you think this reflects areal corruption conflict of interest for the White House?
HOLLIDAY: Well, I just think it`s bizarre that they`re spinning it in this way when you can turn around and say, are you benefiting from patents that you`re getting from China? Are you benefitting possibly from a bailout for Jared Kushner`s building in New York? There are a lot of different ways that it appears as if they are benefiting financially. So I just think you bring it on yourself when you talk about how you`re no income family yet millions of Americans can turn around and say I`m not so sure that`s the case.
AKERMAN: That`s absolutely right. I mean, the appearances here are terrible. I mean, when Ivanka -- when the Chinese government announces that they`ve issued four more trademarks to Ivanka`s brand when she`s manufacturing her stuff all overseas including China in the Far East, I mean, the obvious question is would she have gotten that if her name was Ivanka Jones? I doubt it. I doubt it. And that`s the problem is that people are going to consistently think that she is making money as well as everybody in this administration is making megabucks off of the government. That`s what they`re doing. They`re using this as an ability to line their own pockets and increase their income which is not what government service is about.
MELBER: Right. And that`s why we wanted to make sure to report on this. We`re going to stay on this as we keep an eye on those disclosures Nick Akerman and Shelby Holliday thank you both. Coming up, this is an important criminal justice story. A man put in prison for literally popping a wheelie on a dirt bike. He`s out on bail but there`s news in the case tonight. The artist Meek Mill is herewith me on THE BEAT for an exclusive next.
MELBER: Now we turn to a story that sparked a national debate about America`s harsh criminal justice system. How a Philadelphia judge sentenced a man to up to four years in prison for riding a dirt bike.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Meek Mill is said to be arraigned today on reckless endangerment charges for allegedly riding an ATV through Manhattan. Investigators say he posted a video on social media showing him riding the ATV and doing wheelies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That sentence for wheelies brought outrage because of his harshness and drew attention because of the defendant. You just heard him mention there in the news report multi-platinum hip-hop artist Meek Mill. And unlike most inmates serving long sentences for even nonviolent probation violations, Mill had the resources and the fame to fight this case. On the day he was released, he was seen jumping into a helicopter and flying to a basketball game flown by the owner of the 76ers. Now he is performing again and using different transportation at a concert this weekend. You see him here pulling up on the kind of dirt bike that was part of the probation violation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Isn`t this what they`ve been waiting for? Heads up!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: While Mill is free, this case is far from over. Today the Pennsylvania Supreme Court deadlocked three to three over his request to get the probation judge removed over alleged bias. That means this judge stays on the job and Mill is actually due back in court on Monday. He says he is now working on advocating wider criminal justice reform speaking at the Innocence Project Gala last month. He joins me for his first interview since the court`s ruling today and his first time on THE BEAT his lawyer Jordan Sieve is here as well. Thank you both for doing this. Why did you ride into that show on a dirt bike?
MEEK MILL, RAPPER: I thought it would be good entertainment if I came to the show something like the dirt bike, wouldn`t it? It turned out to be good. Everybody liked it. It was exciting. We added excitement to the show, so you know --
MELBER: And your message there is that`s not the kind of thing that gets most people arrested.
MILL: Not that I ever heard of coming up in America. I got four years sentence for that same type of wheelie, just about seven months ago, something like that.
MELBER: And Jordan, when we look at this case, this ruling today had some good news and that three of the top judges in the state said there was reason to remove this judge, in this case, yes but you didn`t win. Where do you go from here?
JORDAN SIEVE, LAWYER OF MEEK MILL: Well, as you said, it`s very significant that three of the six Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices that ruled in the case said that Judge Brinkley should have removed herself from the case and that she`s undermining people`s belief in the fairness of the justice system. So next steps are we actually have a hearing before Judge Brinkley on Monday. A hearing that she`s ordered despite the fact that both Meek`s team and the District Attorney`s team agree that no hearing is necessary because he`s entitled to a new trial. But despite that, Meek and the taxpayers of Pennsylvania are being put to the burden of conducting a hearing on Monday before Judge Brinkley.
MELBER: Meek, you`re here in part because you make music that a lot of people like and know about and that makes you famous. But you`ve been talking about how the problems in your case are something that a lot of people deal with who don`t have your resources. And yet also there`s some weird things the judge for example you say asks you to sing a Boyz II Men song and give some kind of shout out, wanted you to change your record label for a local manager. Is your case about a judge who did individual things wrong or is your case about systemic racism?
MILL: You know, I just think some of the things in my case were kind of unethical and had nothing to do with me being on probation. The reason why we here, the reason why I`m out on bail is actually approaching. We`re talking about officer who the District Attorney is not standing behind his testimony. Three other people actually were -- had their cases vindicated because the District Attorney couldn`t stand on the testimony of the same cop that arrested me so it was like it`s 12-13 years later why am I even still on probation, having to go to trial on Monday? I`m basically having a hearing to almost decide if I have to go back to trial in this case when people have already had a cases thrown out due to the integrity at the same cop that arrested me. So --
MELBER: Isn`t that the bigger question? In your view, what is this spotlight about the way probation works at least for people who don`t have enough money to fight it?
MILL: Can I explain it? I`m on it right now.
MELBER: Jump-ball, you want to take the question? You go first.
MILL: Yes, if I drive through the Lincoln Tunnel right now, I could be arrested just from crossing a state line by mistake. And I could be just going to a certain store through the tunnel. And I`ve been on probation about what 11 years of my life so far my whole adult life just dropping through a tunnel to send me back to prison for four years especially while I`m out on bail, popping on a wheelie. Actually getting a speeding ticket can send me back to prison for a long time.
MELBER: So you`re something that might actually surprise a lot of people watching at home which is people think about reoffending as committing another crime or committing violence which is a good reason to put someone back in jail. You`re saying this is stalking you where lawful activity of a narrow nature based on what one judge decides ten plus years after your infraction, it could put you in jail.
MILL: Yes, they put me in jail. Actually, in New York, I was actually charged with an F1 felony for wheeling in a motorcycle. That`s an F1 felon, that`s a serious offense. And actually the court of New York actually dismissed the charges but I still went back to Philadelphia in front of a Philadelphia judge and still was like sentence for the charges that I that was dismissed in New York.
SIEVE: But I think -- but I think, Ari, you hit on an important point which is probate -- long probationary sentences like Meek has had since he was 19, he`s now 31, long probationary sentences put people in this cycle where even a technical violation such as a travel violation for someone like Meek goes to report his schedule for popping a wheelie which the case was ultimately dismissed could land someone back in jail. And in this case actually did land Meek back in jail for two to four years.
MELBER: And so you`ve become a cause which has got to be somewhat interesting for you to be inside of. I was listening to the new Pusha T where he says, angel on my shoulder what should we do? Devil on the other, what would Meek do? Pop a wheelie, tell the judge to Akinyele. Tell the judge basically go away. What did you think hearing yourself in that -- in that new song?
MILL: I just thought it was a compliment when Pusha T name and the song What Would Meek Do? Pusha T. (INAUDIBLE) some great artists, I just took it as a compliment. I don`t really think the whole song was like based off of me but --
MELBER: Well, it`s called What Would Meek do?
MILL: Yes, I know. It`s Like Pusha T said What Would Meek Do? So I took it as a big compliment. You know, there`s two great artists that`s doing their thing. You know, that was his opinion.
MELBER: You work on these issues systemically. Are you going to advocate for other individuals by name the way we`ve seen some people do it, state and federal clemency or how do you want to help those people that are still in?
MILL: Actually my lawyers actually are trying to help me attach their selves to a few guys. One of the guys his name is Eric (INAUDIBLE) that I spend a lot of time with in prison. He has like a messed up case where he almost -- he basically proved his innocence but due to certain statutory and laws that was created that even if you prove yourself innocent you still can`t get out. And so you know, me and Michael Rubin, we`re working on our own foundation. We didn`t actually gather everything up but we come up with something real powerful to get it back and bring a bigger platform to criminal justice reform and make some things work.
MELBER: Jordan Sieve and Meek Mill working on this case as it goes forward, thank you for coming on THE BEAT and telling us about your work.
MILL: Yes, thanks for having me too, man.
MELBER: An important discussion to have in a story will stay on. Meanwhile, Dave Chappelle is endorsing a candidate for the first time. That story is next.
MELBER: You know, very few self-declared experts saw the Trump era coming but one person who was not surprised as Dave Chappelle. In fact, he said he saw it on the horizon obviously in Ohio where he lives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVE CHAPPELLE, COMEDIAN: Eight years later I`m pulling up to the polls again. This time I`m driving a brand new Porsche because the Obama years were very good to me. I was early voting and when I parked my car I figured out something that it would take the rest of the country another week to figure out. I understood that Donald Trump was going to be our next president because in Ohio, unlike D.C. you could see the results in the parking lot.
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MELBER: Days after the election, while many were in something of an intellectual political dais, Chappelle broke down Trump`s victory in a memorable SNL appearance which went on to win an Emmy. Now if the roots of Trump`s victory were uncomfortable for many, that`s really not an issue for Dave Chappelle. He began his career by joking about things that make people very uncomfortable like perceived race relations at the office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great job, buddy. You`re the man. Here`s some skin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vernon got along with all of the people he worked with which in his heart of hearts made him feel like an Uncle Tom. Though he could have ignored the simple comment, his mentor made Vernon decided to keep it real.
CHAPPELLE: Get your (BLEEP) hand out of my face.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Now, for all of David Chappelle`s biting social and political commentary, consider this. He has never formally entered the political arena until now. He is now endorsing and campaigning for former NAACP Head Ben Jealous who`s running for the Governor of Maryland. This is Chappell`s first-ever endorsement. The two have known each other for decades. So it`s all pretty interesting. I for one would love to ask Chappelle why he is he getting involved in campaigns now, what does he think of today`s politics. Heck, I`d love to have Chapelle on to talk about well anything. Tomorrow we get to do that. I`m excited to say Dave Chappelle is my exclusive guest right here on THE BEAT. He will be joined tomorrow with Ben Jealous and they will talk about what they`re doing on the campaign trail. So that should be exciting. I hope you join us tomorrow and when we come back an update on these new Mueller filings. Stay with us.
MELBER: More on that story breaking late today, Bob Mueller telling a judge tonight he doesn`t want the Russians messing with his investigation. This is a new court filing where he warns that the Russian election meddling is still going on right now and he has information about people that have not yet charged and wants a judge to keep a lid on who gets any access to intel from the probe. That does it for me. I will see you back here tomorrow when Dave Chappelle and Ben Jealous are my exclusive guests talking about Chappelle`s first-ever political endorsement. We`re looking forward to that. As for right now, "HARDBALL" is up next.
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