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Manafort lawyers push to get him out of jail. TRANSCRIPT: 7/6/2018, The Beat with Ari Melber.

Guests: David Cicilline; Terry O`Neill; Mara Gay; Rachel Crooks, Mychal Denzel Smith, Christian Finnegan, Big Sean

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: July 6, 2018 Guest: David Cicilline; Terry O`Neill; Mara Gay; Rachel Crooks, Mychal Denzel Smith, Christian Finnegan, Big Sean

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

We are covering several stories tonight, hours after Donald Trump attack the Me Too movement in a bizarre and negative exchange at that rally. I`m going to speak tonight exclusively with a woman who accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct during the 2016 campaign and how she is involved in politics today.

Also, the Scot Pruitt ousting was important, but that`s not the only problem in the Trump cabinet. I bring to you tonight a Special Report with a new look at another embattled cabinet member Betsy Devos.

Also, an important update on a significant story that we brought you here last night on THE BEAT, the Trump baby blimp. And what`s happening in London that may not stay in London. It`s a story that as you know, we are committed to. And I`m bringing you that later in the show.

But we begin with Donald Trump`s former campaign chief fighting to not only get out of jail on those Russia related charges, but fighting for more. Paul Manafort has now been in jail for three weeks. But a new court filings, his lawyers are asking if he get out now, they say, that he has been faced with solitary confinement, locked in his cell at least 23 hours per day which they argue makes it effectively impossible for him to prepare for trial. Of course, that would mean it`s impossible for many, many poor defendants around the country to prepare for trial.

Mueller`s team has a response that Manafort actually is exactly where he should be, in jail because he allegedly tried to obstruct justice by coaching and tampering with witnesses, and that the limits he is dealing with are, there you go, common for incarcerated defendants pending trial.

Manafort`s lawyers also arguing today to move his Virginia trial from Alexandria to Roanoke, arguing there`s been too much negative press coverage for him there and the voters in the D.C. area may be biased against him because of his links to Donald Trump. Of course, Donald Trump has played down those very links.

Now, meanwhile, Paul Manafort is under all of this strain. This is who Donald Trump is talking about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We won by 44 points over a Democrat. Now it was crooked Hillary, but still, she is a Democrat. She gets special treatment under the justice department.

CROWD: Lock her up, lock her up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: And as Trump eggs on that lock her up crowd, there`s another person worrying about being locked up and it`s not a Hillary Clinton aide. It is Donald Trump`s long-serving former lawyer Michael Cohen who is in the middle of this strain and this stress that we have been reporting on. And he has hired someone to help him with all this. Hillary Clinton`s most -- one of his most well-known lawyers and allies, Lanny Davis who served Bill and Hillary Clinton to handle this "onslaught," quote/unquote of what`s expected from team Trump.

Now the context on this is significant. We have discussed this immediately since the news broke. This is not any lawyer. There are all kinds of lawyers you could hire to do all kinds of legal tasks. This is a serious and well-known Hillary Clinton surrogate. If there`s one thing Lanny Davis has had plenty of practice at, it`s defending someone against the likes of Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LANNY DAVIS, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT CLINTON: Have you no sense of shame left, Mr. Trump? Donald Trump did not apologize to a gold star mother and he didn`t apologize to the women that he bragged about sexually assaulting. The reckless, volatile, unstable judgment of Donald Trump --.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He put out a financial disclosure form.

DAVIS: Why are you evading my question?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who have been lying to the American people. They lied about nothing --.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Here, not to evade any questions, Emily Jane Fox, the senior reporter of "Vanity Fair" who has covered Michael Cohen for years and spoken with him. She`s the author of "Born Trump about the Trump family." And lawyer, Maya Wiley who is the former counsel to the mayor of New York City.

Maya, the significance of Lanny Davis in this highly unpredictable legal fiasco.

MAYA WILEY, FORMER COUNCIL TO NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Well, it`s a very smart move. I mean, he has got Guy Petrillo, who is an excellent criminal offense attorney who has also -- was the head of the criminal division at the United States attorney`s office for the southern district. What he`s added in the form of Lanny Davis is someone who`s literally been a fixer for the Clintons during the Ken Starr investigation who actually his job was to be the public spokesperson. In essence, he was a volunteer for the Clintons who was essentially out there to be the person who pushed back very hard on the narrative and created narrative about Ken Starr`s poor judgment.

Something really interesting about Lanny Davis is he did an interview in which he talked about first making the mistake of going after Ken Starr as an ideologue, you know, a conspiracy -- Republican conspiracy against the Clintons and learned to shift after having a conversation with John McCain to making it much more about judgment.

I think this is very interesting because my guess is this is going to be a role he is going to play for Michael Cohen, although in this instance possibly helping to restore some credibility to Michael Cohen if and when he flips. Because if he flips, one of the things that any good defense attorney is going to do is rip his credibility to shreds.

MELBER: Well, when you put it like that, is it like an organ that you can have a credibility transplant.

WILEY: You can`t.

MELBER: You can`t?

WILEY: You can just have a -- they have made it a noun. Steve Bannon made it a noun in the White House. You just need a Lanny Davis.

MELBER: You need a Lanny Davis.

Listen to Lanny Davis talk about the issue of the relationship you have with your clients and whether they are liars or not. Because what we saw in very unusual public form was the breakup between Trump and Cohen. When he infamously said on air force one, he is still my lawyer, you go ask him, putting more heat on him which led to the raid and other things or at least they followed subsequently. Lanny was speaking actually on THE BEAT about the relationship you have with a client and truth. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID: I have never worked for a client that has lied to me or that I could trust not lying to me. That`s the reason he can`t find a great lawyer. It`s because he has lied to the American people. We know that. But he`s also lied to his own lawyers. And no lawyer will take a client who lies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Which goes to the problems Donald Trump has had getting his own lawyers. What do you see as the key relationship here for Michael, someone that you spent time with?

EMILY JANE FOX, STAFF WRITER, VANITY FAIR: This is a very important role to Michael personally. Because the thing that has rankled him the most in all this, of course, is the effect on his family. I think what has rankled him second most is his inability to be able to speak on this. His former counsel refused to let him speak to the media, I think wisely. He is entering a new phase in which he, again, will not be able to speak to the media on his own accord. We saw that On the Record interview with George Stephanopoulos. But beyond, I don`t think will be talking to the press anymore. So that we will have a Lanny Davis who will be able to speak on his behalf, it`s something that I think Michael is very much looking forward to. He has been pretty much silent for about a year now.

MELBER: Isn`t that small fry compared to being worried on the going to jail?

FOX: I don`t think that they are mutually exclusive. And I think, yes, the major concern is if he is going to end up indicted or charged with something, whether or not he`ll flip. But Michael Cohen is someone who has for years been a pit bull, been an attack dog, been an attack dog for his former boss and someone who has defended himself. And so, something that has been on his mind is, when am I able to defend myself? And I think now he is breathing somewhat of a sigh of relief to know there will be someone at least defending him for once. He certainly has not got that from the President.

MELBER: Well, and that goes to the psychological strain, Maya, where some of these stories they involve people, and if you are a human being you care about how it affects people, even those who have made mistakes. But when you look at this as the character side of it, this remarkable soap opera, in Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, we have people who have fundamentally lived highly privileged lives. I mean, we are talking about multimillion dollar townhouses and travel and this life, their highly connected real estate and political friends and all this money who in a very short time face the kind of seismic defenestration that most people don`t feel. So in a sense they are falling faster, harder farther than most people ever will.

WILEY: It`s a big drop from the top of Trump tower.

MELBER: Yes.

WILEY: And I think what part of what we are seeing with having Lanny Davis part of this story now is -- remember that Lanny Davis actually did also represent two dictators. We should just say that. He would defend himself and say that he was representing them in order to bring greater democracy to the countries that they were actually behaving very badly. But I guess this is the point, right, is that while these folks are falling hard and fast, they haven`t hit the ground yet.

MELBER: Right.

WILEY: They haven`t hit bottom. And so what we are seeing is the efforts to pad that fall. That`s what Lanny Davis represents, I think, for Michael Cohen, for Paul Manafort going in to try to get himself out of prison, out of his pretrial detention and solitary confinement in order to prepare his trial in order to prepare his trial and still defending themselves.

MELBER: Right, and you are saying it`s a hard fall.

WILEY: It`s a very hard fall.

MELBER: I think it was Jimmy Cliff who said the harder they come, the harder they fall.

WILEY: Don`t do the crime if you can`t do the time.

MELBER: One and all. If you don`t do the crime, you can`t do the time. Anything?

WILEY: No.

MELBER: Nothing. OK.

WILEY: And you are not going as to Jay-z.

MELBER: Emily emailed me about Kanye once.

FOX: I did.

MELBER: After a show.

FOX: I did.

MELBER: So I know you listen to Kanye.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: We are going to turn to a member of Congress, I`m not going to ask him for music quotes. But when you look at the legal fallout from this Russia probe, Donald Trump also set for a 101 meeting with Putin on July 16th. Now, last night Trump addressing his critics who say Putin will get the upper hand.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And I might even end up having a good relationship. They`re going, will president Trump be prepared, you know, president Putin is KGB and this and that. You know what, Putin is fine. He is fine. We are all fine. We are people, will I be prepared? Totally prepared. I have been preparing for this stuff my whole life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Rhode Island congressman David Cicilline, serves in the foreign affairs and judiciary committees.

Congressman, thanks for making time on THE BEAT. Your view on the substance, what`s at stake on these types of meetings and the bizarre optics of the clip we just played, Donald Trump I guess sorts of trying to have I don`t know fun with it for the people at the rally.

REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D), RHODE ISLAND: Well, I mean, it`s very disturbing. Obviously, Vladimir Putin is not fine. This is someone who led an effort to interfere with the American presidential election. Just this week, the Senate intelligence committee, Republican-led committee confirmed that, that this was a Russian effort led by Vladimir Putin to help Donald Trump and undermine the cast of Hillary Clinton. This is a person who invaded another country. The President talks about borders, how important borders are, apparently, not for Vladimir Putin.

But this is a very significant meeting. And the fact the President makes jokes about it, I mean, his last meeting with a dictator Kim Jong-un, when he met alone with him is apparently when he agreed to stop exercises with South Koreans without the knowledge of the defense secretary, the secretary of state or the South Koreans and got nothing for it.

So I`m very concerned that he is going to have a summit with someone who he doesn`t understand is an adversary of the United States, a brutal thug who is undermining the western alliance, undermining American national security interests around the world and he is going to walk out of that meeting, having conceited something and getting nothing in return.

So he ought not to be joking about it at rallies. He should spend time studying and preparing for a very challenging encounter.

MELBER: He also has a quality of spinning together everything with the bias that he brings to it. And as you know, his own loyal supporters do tend to listen to him. So take a look at what he said trying to tie the trade war, which even conservatives and Republican economists have criticized into the Russian issues last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We are paying for anywhere from 70 percent to 90 percent to protect Europe. And that`s fine. Of course they kill us on trade, they kill us on other things. So they want to protect against Russia. Yet they pay billions of dollars to Russia, and we are the shmucks paying for the whole thing?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Is that right?

CICILLINE: Yes. I mean, it`s just this idea of just putting -- conflating all the issues into one and undermining our relationships with key allies and important trading relationships we have with key allies. He seems to have this incredible fondness for dictators and strong men. I mean, he has called Kim Jong-un an honorable man. He says Vladimir Putin is fine and he attacks people who he has strong alliances with and important trading relationships with.

But this is part of a larger effort just to distract and confuse and bring a lot of chaos so that people won`t focus on things the Democrats are fighting for, to create good paying jobs, to drive down the cost of health care, drive down the cost of prescription drugs, rebuild the infrastructure of our country, and make America the best, you know, have the best infrastructure in the world.

You know, there are a lot of things we should be focused on. But every day it`s more chaos and more confusion, sort of unwinding important alliances we have around the world, and he is sort of in this speech kind of put it all together in one thing.

He attacked the Me Too movement. He praised Vladimir Putin. He attacked our trading partners. Doesn`t make a lot of sense. They are not completely connected. But it`s speaking to this sort of base of the party or the base of the Trump supporters. And really, I think, an effort to distract from what`s not getting done, to raise family incomes, reduce the cost on people`s lives and make sure folks have the skills necessary for jobs in the 21st century, which is what we should be focused on.

MELBER: Right. And you are hitting a lot of issues on why the foreign policy matters and what the stakes are here at home.

Congressman Cicilline, I really appreciate it. My thanks as well, Emily Jane Fox and Maya Wiley on all of these issues.

Coming up, the Access Hollywood president actually attacks the Me Too movement last night. We have an exclusive interview with Trump accuser and now political candidate Rachel Crooks next.

Also, Scott Pruitt out, the focus turning to Betsy Devos, our Special Report on America`s schools.

And an important update tonight on the Trump baby blimp in London and why it may be going global.

All that, plus rap star Big Sean is here to talk with me about renaissance for jobs in the key American inner city.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Donald Trump addressing the Me Too movement directly for the first time last night in that speech, and using it as a punch line. So in a moment I turn to an exclusive interview with Rachel Crooks, one of the 19 women who has accused Trump of sexual misconduct.

But first, I want to show you exactly what happened. This is a story that you can imagine any president doing would be a very big deal. Here is the president of the United States mocking alleged victims as a way to take a political jab at Senator Elizabeth warren.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: In the middle of the debate, when she proclaims that she`s of Indian heritage, we will take that little kit and say -- but we have to do it gently because we are in the Me Too generation. So we have to be very gentle. And we will slowly toss it, hoping it doesn`t hit her and injure her arm.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Warren on responding, my criticizing Trump for the testing of DNA of migrant kids taken from their parents and being too incompetent to reunite the families.

Now Trump`s apparent mockery of Me Too comes on the same day that he also took an action many people in the movement feel is very disturbing. Giving a top White House job to Bill Shine, a FOX executive ousted over accusations that he enabled or stood by during multiple reports of sexual misconduct in that office by Roger Ailes, as well as Bill O`Reilly, both of whom were also, of course, defended by Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In an interview with the "New York Times," Trump called O`Reilly a good person. Trump said I think he shouldn`t have settled, adding I don`t think bill did anything wrong.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST, MEET THE PRESS DAILY: Finally, Roger Ailes, is he helping you? Is he advising you?

TRUMP: I can tell you that some of the women that are complaining, I know how much he`s helped them. He`s a very good person. I`ve always found him to be just a very, very good person.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: I`m joined by Rachel Crooks who accused Trump of forcibly kissing her without consent when she was working at Trump tower in 2005. And she is now running for office in the Ohio state legislature.

Rachel, first, your reaction to what the president said last night.

RACHEL CROOKS, ACCUSED TRUMP OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT: Well, thank you for having me, Ari. You know, of course, nothing that president Trump says anymore shocks me. But I think it`s truly despicable, you know, that he would mock the Me Too movement and, of course, say many of the other egregious things he made comments about.

But yes, nothing shocks me. He, of course, would make fun of it. He hasn`t been held accountable for his own actions so he would make light of the Me Too movement. That makes perfect sense to me.

MELBER: What does your candidacy say to women who look out in this environment and see on the one hand, the world is changing. In some ways, it involve accountability, however delayed. But in other ways see this kind of behavior at the top of the federal government?

CROOKS: Yes, I mean, the silver lining to President Trump`s tenure has been that women are uniting and resisting and we are fed up with this behavior. That is what Me Too is. My candidacy is built on this idea that politicians, though, seem to not be held accountable. And President Trump is the epitome of that. So I will continue to speak out so that I can be a voice for women who, you know, don`t feel like their voices are being heard.

MELBER: And I`m curious, before we turn to our wider panel, what kind of reaction do you get from voters? I mean, how many people see this as a positive or important thing that you are doing, and how many, I imagine, because any local race can be about local issues, see this as an aside and are focused on what you are going to do for Ohio?

CROOKS: Yes. Mostly locally, everyone is very focused on what I can do for the district. But of course I think nationally people are very engaged and encouraged by my candidacy because, you know, it is in direct response in some ways to the me too movement and president Trump being in office and not being held accountable for his actions and it continues. And the Republicans who are sort of letting him go, and not holding him accountable, I think are complicit in these actions. And I hope in November that America votes, votes them out.

MELBER: Yes. Stay with me. I want to add in Mara Gay who works in "New York Times" editorial board and Terry O`Neill, a former president of the National Organization for Women and serves now as executive director of the National Employers` Association.

Mara, this is one of the many stories when you look at the President`s behavior last night where running the thought experiment, which is part of what we try to do if you look at a story objectively, what would the response be if President Obama said something like that last night, or a President Bush, or president Carter, any other president speaking that way about what is, again, as you know, allegations of criminal conduct, it would be the biggest thing going on.

MARA GAY, EDITORIAL BOARD, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I just want to say, first of all, that I believe Rachel Crooks. I believe the other some 18 women who have come forward with allegations about the President. And I just find it extremely disturbing that this would be seen and would actually be a useful political line for the president.

I mean, I`m looking at the president but I`m also looking at this cheering crowd of his supporters who are reacting with such tribalism, with such cruelty. And I can`t -- maybe I`m just naive, but I really can`t believe that all those people are in their heart bad people. I just wonder if, you know, honestly they are under some kind of a spell. And that does not absolve anybody of taking responsibility. But, you know, you can`t help but see that and just want to register every voter imaginable.

MELBER: Well, you say spell. There`s plenty of research on group and mob dynamics, and whether in a one-on-one conversation that type of thing or that type of thing with an objection, with someone saying wait a minute, why are you making light of violent crime, which is really what we are talking about would go differently, but you say you were disturbed as well by the reaction?

GAY: I am. And again, I think part of the problem with -- part of how we have come here is by not actually holding all voters, and I would say specifically white voters, frankly, holding folks accountable as adults. So that is an issue.

But I do think that you mentioned Barack Obama. I mean, that`s someone who for all of his -- whatever his faults were, was appealing to the better angels of our nature. And there is a lot of honor in that. And Donald Trump is the exact opposite and does not absolve voters of individual responsibility. But I think it does say that leadership matters, that the morality or lack thereof of the people in office matters, and it does seem like some parts of the country, they`re not really thinking with their head or their heart. They\ are thinking in a mob mentality, and that`s really disturbing.

MELBER: Terry?

TERRY O`NEILL, FORMER PRESIDENT, THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN: Yes. Or a tribal mentality. I think that`s absolutely right. I do take some comfort in the recent polling that has been done showing that there`s an increasing gender gap so that in the 2016 elections, very shamefully from my point of view, 63 percent of white men, 53 percent of white women, and 80 percent of why evangelical Christians voted for Donald Trump, I don`t think you see those numbers today. I think in particular Trump`s real -- these are atrocities being committed at the border, separating families, taking tiny children away from their parents, and putting them in cages. I mean, this kind of thing is actually developing an enormous gender gap right now according to the polling.

My hope is that more women, and very specifically more white women will have their eyes opened to what it is they voted for.

MELBER: Right. Terry, take a listen to the way the President does speak about women.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Maxine waters, a very low IQ individual.

You know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.

Such a nasty women.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have called women you don`t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals. Your twitter account --

TRUMP: Only Rosie O`Donnell.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Terry?

O`NEILL: Five million people around the globe protesting his inauguration on the day after he was inaugurated in January 2017. I think, are exactly what you were just showing just now? That is -- what resulted from that is an up-swelling of people saying this is outrageous. In fact, I think that the explosion of the Me Too movement was -- that you can connect the dots directly from Donald Trump bragging in the Hollywood access tapes about committing sexual assault, all the way you connect those dots to the women`s march on Washington the day after the inauguration, to what we are seeing now which is just women are absolutely stepping up. I`m so thrilled that Rachel Crooks is running for office. She is one of dozens and really hundreds of women that have stepped up to run.

MELBER: Well, let me go to Rachel on that. We talked substance. We talked some policy context. On the politics, Rachel, do you think there`s a high odds that what Donald Trump said last night might help your candidacy?

CROOKS: I mean, of course, it, I think, energizes the women that are running once again, you know, whenever he makes fun of something like this, and women, you just heard all those comments that you played. He has no regard for women, and it`s sad. We are over half the population. I mean, he has daughters. You know, the fact that he goes through life with just complete disregard for women is infuriating. And I think that`s why you see so many women running because the highest man in this country is, you know, behaves this way and we are fed up with it. We want equality at work and we want to feel like we can walk around and be respected. And he`s just the antithesis of that.

MELBER: Rachel Crooks, Mara Gay and Terry O`Neill, thank you for this important conversation. Appreciate it.

GAY: Thank you.

O`NEILL: Thank you.

MELBER: Up head on THE BEAT, there is an effort to do something a little different in troll Trump. There are new developments in yes, the giant diaper-clad baby Trump blimp. We will give you those.

But first, my special report on Trump`s controversial education secretary with new reporting from inside the education department when were are back within 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Turning out a special report on Donald Trump`s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos who is rolling back years of policy in ways that could affect millions of students, maybe students in your own household. In the past few months she`s scuttled hundreds of civil rights probes that were underway from the Obama administration and cut off programs that were designed to enhance diversity across American schools. She also dismantled protections for students at for-profit schools. And DeVos came in as one of Trumps most controversial cabinet picks. The question that critics pose was whether she was more focused on business approaches than the public interest. What we`re doing tonight is looking at how the record is bearing out. Consider three years ago she said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BETSY DEVOS, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: We`re the beneficiaries of startups, ventures and innovation in every other area of life but we don`t have that in education because it`s a closed system, a closed industry, a closed market. It`s a monopoly, a dead end.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: So what is she doing about her so-called monopoly dead end? Well, we`re seeing her tenure touch on virtually just about all the controversial big-ticket items in Donald Trump`s presidency, from civil rights, to guns, to of course immigration. Consider that DeVos refuses to say whether migrant kids split from their own parents would get to go to school or not and she`s stunned many educators by testifying that teachers could become part of immigration enforcement because they could then be able to call border agents to report on undocumented families.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADRIANO ESPAILLAT (D), NEW YORK: If a principal or a teacher finds out that a certain child is undocumented or his or her families or members are undocumented, do you feel that that principal or teacher is responsible to call ICE and to have that family reported?

DEVOS: Sir, I think that`s a school decision. It`s a local community decision.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: She also struck a very Trumpy tone on another fairly basic policy point, the issue over whether one admits that guns are dangerous inside school.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: You can`t say definitively today that guns shouldn`t be in schools?

DEVOS: Well, I will refer back to Senator Enzi and the school that he was talking about in Wapiti, Wyoming. I think probably there I would imagine that there`s probably a gun in the school to protect from potential Grizzlies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Potential Grizzlies. That was back in January but it was more than a gaffe. We want to show you the facts in policy because she`s now leading a commission on school safety but says the entire effort will not even discuss gun violence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: So you`re studying gun violence but not concerning the role of guns.

DEVOS: We`re actually studying school safety and how we can ensure our students are safe and --

LEAHY: Well, --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: How can you ensure students are safe in school? Well, look at what endangers their safety. 59 school shootings, 59 deaths, 96 injured since DeVos was confirmed last year. Now, she also was part of funneling millions of dollars in donations to the Republican Party which put her on the map for the Trump Administration but had zero prior experience in public education, something which critics say is part of the problem and has become very obvious in her public statements.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MAGGIE HASSAN (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE: So were you unaware what I just asked you about the IDEA that it was a federal law?

DEVOS: I may have confused it.

LESLEY STAHL, JOURNALIST: : Are the public schools in Michigan gotten better?

DEVOS: I don`t know overall. I can`t say overall that they have all gotten better.

STAHL: The whole state is not doing well.

DEVOS: Well, there are certainly lots of pockets where the students are doing well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: And those kinds of appearances did open her up to ridicule all the way over on SNL.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t -- I don`t know anything about school but I do think there should be a school.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think the problem is that the words that were coming out of my mouth were bad and that is because they came from my brain. Look, I may not be very good on camera but behind the scenes, my ideas are much worse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Is it funny or is it true? Many critics are saying that record has become clear and some of those ideas are actually much worse. DeVos reversing Obama policies for sexual assault protections on campus, dropping bathroom rules that were designed to protect students who identify as transgender, and then pulling out -- pulling out on guidelines that protect disabled students. Now, DeVos is a longtime advocate for private schools often at the expense of public education. That`s a big and complex debate but she`s been criticized for sometimes seeming to downplay the problems that students do face in underperforming schools.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STAHL: Have you seen the really bad schools and maybe try to figure out what they`re doing?

DEVOS: I have not -- I have not -- I`ve not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.

STAHL: Maybe you should.

DEVOS: Maybe I should. Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Lesley Stahl there on 60 Minutes. Maybe you should, a fair point to raise with someone in charge of all the schools. I mean the ones that are perfect, they might need less attention. Now here at THE BEAT, we reached out to the Education Department for this report to ask a follow-up because more time has gone by. Has DeVos actually gone out and visited any of those underperforming schools since March when she said that. Well, we found that just two of the schools out of the 24 she`s visited are characterized as underperforming. In fact, the majority of the school visits during this period were to foreign overseas schools like those in England, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. Now, there are about 75 million students herein the United States and many different types of schools worth visiting. At least some, maybe half ought to be the underperforming ones if they`re the ones you want to help. The bigger point here as we see the record is that the thing said that things flagged those so-called gaffes, they`re making their way into education policy here in the Trump administration. And perhaps that dead end is something that Ms. DeVos was seeing in her own future.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEVOS: It`s a closed system, a closed industry, a closed market. It`s a monopoly, a dead end.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: One of those weeks but it is Friday on THE BEAT and that means it`s time to fall back. I am joined tonight by Mychal Denzel Smith Author of Invisible Man: Got The Whole World Watching, the New York Times dubbed him the Intellectual in Air Jordans and also here comedian Christian Finnegan, one of the original panelists on VH1`s The Best Weeks Ever. He`s performing next weekend at the D.C. Improv Comedy Club that`s why we`re using the special sound effects. Those are Improv sound effects. Who needs to fall back?

CHRISTIAN FINNEGAN, PANELIST, THE BEST WEEKS EVER: I`m going to say the people who designed fireworks, they have to fall back.

MELBER: OK.

FINNEGAN: It`s just it`s the same ones every year. I mean, every year diapers have like new technology and funnels and irrigation systems and we`re still stuck with the same fireworks. As far as I can tell, there`s only three types. There`s the one that`s just like the ring like the sort of circle ring and then there`s the one that comes down like -- yes, that`s the ring one --

MELBER: Yes, sure.

FINNEGAN: And then there`s one that comes down like a spider --

MELBER: I like the spider one.

FINNEGAN: Right, and then there`s that one that sort of explodes and has like the shimmery jazz hands. You know I mean? We`re just kind of --

MELBER: Well, that`s a -- I mean, let`s put that one back up. That is a firework. That`s what I think of as a firework. Christian, you want to take that away from us?

FINNEGAN: Come on, can`t we just move on a little bit? I mean just -- can we all stare at the sky really like --

MELBER: You want your fireworks to be like iPhones where every six months I`m being told I need a new one?

FINNEGAN: I just want to see something -- I want to be dazzled. I want to be wooed.

MYCHAL DENZEL SMITH, AUTHOR, INVISIBLE MAN: You`re not dazzled by things exploding in the sky? I mean, that`s really dazzling.

FINNEGAN: Yes, I guess I mean --

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: I think this is more about you. This is what`s going on here. Who needs to fall back?

SMITH: I think Senator Chuck Schumer needs to fall back. For what did -- in the past couple weeks he`s shown and just how out of touch Democrats are and that they can`t read the room. Democratic leadership in denouncing Maxine Waters for her calls for being uncivil to Trump Administration officials and not backing her, Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, folks not backing her up. And also he called -- this report of him calling Donald Trump privately to ask him to nominate Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. I mean, when do we get a real opposition party? That`s what --

MELBER: I think a lot of people identify with what you`re saying. Who else needs to fall back?

SMITH: Well, the other person who needs to fall back is the Florida police officer who recently went to a Burger King and ate most of his burger that he ordered before thinking that there was dirt in his burger. Apparently, he thought it was first bacon but then thought that it might be dirt and went to Facebook to rant about how these this anti-police you know attitude has infected so many people and the people at Burger King put dirt in his burger. But it turns out it was just seasoning. It was salt and pepper.

MELBER: Maybe he thought they were trying to put dirt on his name.

SMITH: Possibly.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: Christian, do you ever get laughed like that at your shows where people were just laugh? Would it be nice?

FINNEGAN: Never, just full on (INAUDIBLE).

MELBER: No you only get the pure real laughter. My fall back is just for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel lotion. They need to fall back for making such good lotion that it jeopardized a cabinet officials career. I just think that`s -- I think that`s to be fair. You could you see it there. And by the way, it`s lightly scented with sweet notes of jasmine in Bergamo that could tempt even the most disciplined EPA official. So Mychal Denzel Smith, Christian Finnegan, thank you for being here on "FALLBACK FRIDAY." Still ahead, we have a lot more in the show. My update on the Trump baby blimp and the rap star Big Sean is here.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: It may be hard to remember but when Donald Trump was running for president, he talked a lot about inner cities. Now that he is president, he`s called for actually slashing funding for those very same areas. People in cities like Detroit raising money to improve their own neighborhoods. In fact, Detroit native and hip-hop star Big Sean is helping in that effort. He`s been lending his star power to do concerts in the area. He`s a five-time Grammy nominee who has run with the likes of Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Kanye West and joins me on THE BEAT. Thanks for joining me and tell me what you`re working on.

BIG SEAN, RAPPER: Thanks for having me. Well, as you can see I got the train station behind me in Detroit and this is a legendary landmark in a city that`s been abandoned since I`ve been born -- you know what I mean -- since 1988 for 30 years. So Ford is revamping it. And not only that, they`re pouring so much money into the neighborhood so like for the past few years the Renaissance to Detroit has been going on like new stadiums, new energy, hotels that have been abandoned like my whole life tastes like new businesses everywhere. But this is the first time that it`s actually hitting a neighborhood and this marks that. It`s a complete difference than what it used to be a few years ago.

MELBER: A lot of your music focuses on ambition, on drive, entrepreneurial attitude if you want to call it that. You know, why is that so important to you because that`s different than as you know what some people think about hip-hop or about sometimes what people frankly think about young black men? You`re focusing on a lot of positivity in business. Tell me about that.

BIG SEAN: Because I feel like that`s what we need. I feel like we need that empowerment, that encouragement. I have a responsibility and I`m not saying every song I do is to inspire and to do this but it is in a way even if it`s a song like from One Man Could Change The World to a song like Bounce Back, it`s just different inspirations at different ways.

MELBER: You mentioned Bounce Back. Explain for the people because you know, we might have some parents of your fans watching. What does that mean when you say last night I took an L, but then you bounce back?

BIG SEAN: I mean last night I took an L, you know that could be a loss, that could be a lesson too though. Lately, I`ve been not looking at things as lost as I`ve been looking at them as lessons. You know, you look at that there`s no such thing as losing truthfully so that`s what that -- that`s what that is and that`s the mentality I`m trying to teach. And coming from a city like Detroit, that`s all I`ve been taught is to be a boss. You know, boss up and give back to the people you love and put the people you -- put the people who deserve to be put on, put them on. Give them opportunities. Give them dreams. Give them something to look up to.

MELBER: I`m going to ask you about another lyric because that`s part of what we do sometimes here on THE BEAT. When you say focus on the inner me, never on the enemy. What are you getting at there because you know, a lot of people think of what`s happened on the internet, what`s happening with everyone showing off, there`s a lot of constant competition or focusing on opponents. What are you getting at there?

BIG SEAN: I`m focusing on the power of self-development, you feel me? Because when -- that`s how you truly win in anything because that`s what you want to bring to the table is your best self. You know, so that`s what that`s all about.

MELBER: Immigration has been a big issue obviously in the country and the humanitarian crisis. This is something you`ve already been involved with. I know you did a song with Coldplay that touches on these issues. I know there`s a clothing line about supporting immigrants. Why was that important to you and what do you -- what do you see when you look at what`s going on right now, the debate over these Trump administration policies.

BIG SEAN: It`s funny how we live on one planet but it feels like we had all these different worlds right? And my biggest thing is just equal opportunity. People getting an equal chance, a fair chance at what they want to do, where they want to be, and where they want to go.

MELBER: You said it`s Big Sean and they also call you Sean Don. You know you`re popping when you have -- you know you`re popping when you have more than one nickname.

BIG SEAN: Yes, I got a few nicknames. That`s one of the most popular. I`m sure you got a nickname too man.

MELBER: Well, the nicknames here -- you know, we keep -- we keep them pretty under wraps. We try to be real serious here on the news. Big Sean, I`m a fan. A lot of people are interested in not only what you`re doing but your message. Thanks for spending time with us.

BIG SEAN: No, thanks for having me and thanks for recognizing the message.

MELBER: And that`s not all. Another nickname we`re looking at, the nickname for the Trump baby blimp. An update on an important report next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Now we turn to an update on a story we first brought you last night, the Trump baby blimp which British activist launch to troll Donald Trump on his visit next week. This giant diaper-clad Trump baby blimp is set to fly over London in an attempt to humiliate President Trump and trigger his documented insecurities that some people think he`s a baby. British officials have cleared take off for the Trump baby blimp and activists raise enough money online it apparently takes about $23,000 to fly a baby this size. But here`s the new development in this story tonight. This Trump baby is hauling in a lot of cash. Activists now nearing $40,000, that is actually more than this baby`s London voyage will costs.

And tonight, I can report organizers pledged to use this money to expand operations and take the Trump baby on a world tour. Now, where will the Trump baby blimp fly next? At this hour I can tell you we just don`t have any of those locations confirmed but organizers are actually taking requests online from other cities that expect a Trump visit. A Trump baby blimp World Tour could rile up the President because he is known to get angry at the notion that he is a baby.

As we noted in our reporting on this last night, journalist Josh Green reported on how Donald Trump screamed at Paul Manafort during the campaign when he was greeted with news that Manafort tried to persuade him through T.V. interviews saying "you think you`ve got to go on T.V. to talk to me? You treat me like a baby. Am I like a baby to you? Trump yelled according to Green. I sit here like a little baby and watch T.V. and you talk to me? Am I an effing baby, Paul? There are also reports out of London that Trump supporters are punching back at this whole baby name-calling thing the only way they know how with baby name-calling creating their own counter baby balloon that depicts Trump`s nemesis London Mayor Sadiq Khan to then fly over London at the same time and they`ve raised $26,000 that say Trump won`t even care about the baby attack that they are countering.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s here to do more important things than worry about some protesters on the street.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s coming into the lion`s nest -- lion`s den and it`s going to be really fun to watch.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it is kind of embarrassing to Britain actually. I mean, again, we always stand side by side with each other and is this the way you welcome a good friend?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Is this the way you welcome a good friend. Well, the question presumes that the U.K. and the U.S. are friends. But there is an old foreign policy saying countries don`t have friends, they have interests to go and others have been attributed for that quote and critics, of course, say Donald Trump`s approach to immigration and trade has change America`s interest abroad. And this saga may give way to who knows, maybe a new saying, baby`s don`t have friends, because they`re babies. Now, as these two baby blimps take flight, maybe we can all sit down and reflect and how to act a little less like babies and a little more like diplomats. That is our final word and I`m sure you`ll agree it`s fitting place to end THE BEAT tonight. "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews is up next.

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

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