Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: July 27, 2018 Guest: Tara Dowdell; Michael Avenatti, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Patrice Cullors, David Corn, Tony Schwartz
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: That`s all we have tonight. We Will back Monday with more MTP DAILY. And if it is Sunday, it is MEET THE PRESS on NBC. So I will see you Sunday morning.
THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER starts right now.
Good evening, Ari.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. I want to hear more about this vodka and where I could get it.
TODD: The horse radish in (INAUDIBLE) vodka, Maria Butina, apparently it was her favorite.
MELBER: It sounds nice.
TODD: I`m picking that up, yes.
MELBER: It sounds like perfect vodka for pass-over. That`s what it makes me think of.
TODD: I like that. That`s an answer -- that`s the better answer to any of the four questions.
MELBER: Chuck, have a great weekend. We will be watching.
I will tell you, watching THE BEAT tonight, we have quite a show. We are going to talk with Michael Avenatti about his Stormy Daniels hearing today. New legal news there.
We are also going to look at the Trump team basically going all out civil war with Michael Cohen and former Apprentice start is actually going to be here to talk about that.
And a new series we are doing tonight begins with Tony Schwartz on Trump`s the state of mind as we see Mueller bearing down.
But I begin with breaking news. The claims by Michael Cohen that Donald Trump was in on a potential conspiracy at Trump tower are the big news right now. They are being taken seriously at the White House. Donald Trump is formerly denying he was in on this meeting or that he approved it before it happened. Cohen, though, reportedly willing to tell this entire allegation directly to Bob Mueller. Now, Donald Trump says, no, he didn`t know about the meeting, something he and his son have insisted over the last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you know at the time that they had the meeting?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I didn`t know anything about the meeting. It must have been a very unimportant meeting, I never even heard of that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you tell your father anything about this?
DONALD TRUMP JR., PRESIDENT TRUMP`S SON: No. It was such a nothing. There was nothing to tell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: There was nothing to tell. Do you believe Don Jr. and Donald Trump? Or do you believe these reports that Michael Cohen says there was something to tell and they were in on it?
Here are the other indications that Trump had some kind of heads up. Three hours after Don Jr. confirmed the Trump tower meeting in an email, then candidate Trump promised a press conference with, yes, new dirt on Clinton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week. And we are going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons. I think you`re going to find it very informative, and very, very interesting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Don Jr. says the Russians didn`t give him any actionable dirt and the promised press conference on the Clintons never occurred. But the Russians did appear to score a victory with this access to the campaign at the highest levels. Of course, we are also learning that the Russian lawyer at the meting was not only connected to the Kremlin, she was a high- level trusted adviser. Emails disclosed that showed she worked as a ghost writer or other Russian government lawyers, got help from senior Kremlin personnel on her own cases and all of that helps add context to what was going on and how high level of a conspiracy this may have allegedly been.
All of this swirling today with Don Jr. and Bob Mueller in the mix. And look at this quite amazing photograph that has just gone public. This is a scene you are looking at today at D.C.`s Reagan airport, you can see Bob Mueller, the special counsel sitting just a few feet away from Donald Trump Jr., of course at the center of this part of the investigation, who is there on the phone plank flanked by what looked to be security. That was the scene just this morning as they prepared to board their planes.
I`m joined now by former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance, a conservative opinion writer for "the Washington Post" Jennifer Rubin, and David Corn has been covering this story since day one for "Mother Jones."
David, as we look at that photo, and we will put it back up on the screen, walk us through what you see between these men here separated by just a few feet, the special counsel`s office tells us Bob Mueller was not aware that that was Donald Trump Jr., and that they are not confirming that aspect of it. But what do you see in this photo?
DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER JONES: What I see is the guy in charge of an investigation and a guy who is the subject of an investigation that just got more profound.
We have to preface everything, Ari, with if the account from Michael Cohen is true, but, but, but. So if the account is true, it is a tremendous change in the landscape. What it does is show us two things. One, that Donald Trump, from the very beginning, was in on an attempt at collusion, an attempt to conspire with a plot that was described to Donald Trump Jr. as a secret operation by the kremlin to help Trump. So if Trump knows about that from the very beginning, and is in on it, I think that has a lot of legal, but even more so, political implications.
Plus if he`s told about this, and even if nothing came out of the meeting, remember throughout the whole campaign and up to now he keeps denying or dismissing the Russian operation. Could have been a 400-pound guy in a basement. The Russians didn`t do this. We don`t know the Russians did this. They kept doing that.
Well, if he was told in June 2016 that Russia wanted to work with him on a secret plan to help him and hurt Hillary Clinton, and then went through all those denials, well, it shows he was covering up for Putin and for Putin`s operation. So collusion and coverup, each side of this equation just got deeper.
MELBER: You say covering up for Putin. Jennifer Rubin, all of this investigative breakthrough stuff is coming on the heels of what remains a highly controversial summit between these two men. Here was Putin inviting Trump to the Moscow for a meeting today.
JENNIFER RUBIN, OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We are ready to invite President Trump to Moscow. Be my guest. He has such an invitation, and I told him that. I am ready to go to Washington as well. I repeat, once again, if the right conditions for work are created.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUBIN: The right conditions for work. Isn`t that an ominous phrase? What does he want up front? It makes everyone, Democrats, Republicans, members of his own administration, very nervous what he is doing in these two-hour, one-on-one meetings with Putin.
You know, something strikes me, as David was talking about this meeting, even the fact of the meeting, the fact that his people took a meeting with Russian operatives is itself then leverage and a reason for blackmail because if that comes out during the campaign, oh, they were conspiring with the Russians, that in itself is a way of applying pressure to the President. So the President from day one has been very upset that somehow his entire presidency would be discredited by the notion that the Russians had helped him.
Guess what? The Russians did help him. If he knew about that, that`s reason to fire James Comey, reason for him to craft a phony explanation for that meeting in Trump tower. It`s reason for a lot of behavior that seemed odd at the time but in fact now can just be seen as a direct coverup.
MELBER: Right. And Joyce, this goes to the other part, we try to be very fair and precise here. We have had jay Goldberg, a Trump lawyer on, and other Trump surrogates. We had Madison Gesotto on this week up to the perspective on the Cohen news.
But the only accurate way to refer to the Trump tower set of statements from the President is that he has been repeatedly lying and caught lying about it. That`s a journalistic established fact at this point. And so, what do you as a prosecutor think when you look at that? Let me look at this sound byte here from MEET THE PRESS when they initially lied and denied dictating this air force one statement. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President was not involved in the drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement. It came from Donald Trump Jr.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He certainly didn`t dictate. But, you know, he -- like I said, he weighed in, offered suggestion like any father would do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: As I say, that`s not true and it comes from the lies at the top from Donald Trump, Joyce. And so, when you look at that part of it, without presupposing anyone`s guilt, but just knowing they were lying about that, and then you add Michael Cohen here potentially alleging to Mueller that Donald Trump had all this advance notice, what does that do to the investigation in your view as a prosecutor?
JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: You know, the President`s coverup here, the statement that he dictated on air force one has never made any sense. On the one hand if the meeting was unimportant, and as someone said at the time a nothing burger, then why does the President go to the trouble of lying about it? That statement that the President drafted for Don Jr. has only ever made sense if this meeting was critically important, and equally important to cover up.
So now what we see, if Cohen`s statement is true, and David Corn is correct, we need to understand whether it can be authenticated, and also precisely what Cohen will have to say when he makes it. But if it turns out to be true, a lot of these pieces, puzzle pieces that are scattered across the table start to click into place.
MELBER: And we will put up, while you are talking, we`re going to put up when the President`s lawyers admitted they lied about all this. Go ahead.
VANCE: Yes. No, I would say both on the collusion piece, collusion is a lot more likely, if the President knew about this meeting in advance, and authorized it, and by the same token the obstruction part of the equation really comes into focus here. You know, we have always had this really strange statement in July where the President goes out, he is campaigning, and he says, Russia, if you are listening, here is what you can do to help me out, find Hillary`s emails.
That`s always seemed a little bit auk awkward and out of place. Perhaps we will ultimately understand that as Trump taking advantage of whatever was offered to him during this June Trump tower`s meeting. Perhaps everything they`ve said to us about this meeting so far has been a lie, and it really was a proffer of whatever Russia can do to help you win.
MELBER: That statement you cite was two years ago today. Happy anniversary, David Corn.
CORN: Yes. And it`s a statement that we know more about now because the indictment that Robert Mueller put out recently of 12 Russian military intelligence officers who were involved in hacking the Democrats to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton, in that indictment Mueller describes this day as the day late at night. He puts that into the indictment for a reason, late at night they started targeting or trying to penetrate Hillary Clinton`s own personal emails, and emails of people on the campaign as if they were taking Donald Trump`s instructions and guidance.
So here, you know, to go back to Joyce`s point, we understand more now. If Donald Trump was told about this meeting, it means he was told that Russia wanted to help him secretly. And here he is now publicly communicating with Russia say, hey, this is how I want you to help. I mean, collusion, conspiracy, obstruction, coverup, all these narratives which intertwine are bolstered by Michael Cohen`s account if true.
MELBER: And so Jennifer, when David lays it out like that, it`s chilling because the more benign earlier interpretations that were available were lower-level people did this, or everyone`s an idiot, and they didn`t really understand all the meetings they were going to. And by the way, idiot defenses can work in the law. It`s not a crime to be stupid and go to the wrong meeting.
What David lays out when you put these pieces together, according to Cohen`s theory of the case. We always can report there will be denials, there will be other perspectives. But according to Cohen`s theory of the case, you are adding testimonial evidence that suggests, no, they weren`t idiots. At a very high level they had a lot of information that they then acted on.
RUBIN: And all the idiot behavior was in one direction. No one ever thought, oh, I met with the Russians when they didn`t. They kept saying they never met with the Russians when they did.
Every piece of evidence that we have seen, the public statements, the private statements, the fact of the meeting, the attempt to cover up the meeting, it all makes sense only if there was an attempt to solicit help from the Russians. And if you recall way back when the Trump people have always said what`s so bad about taking a meeting like this this? Anyone would take information if they were offered. That`s how campaigns run.
That was a very telling statement. Because I think it suggests to us that that`s what they thought. They thought, hey, the Russians are going to help us, that`s swell. And it`s only been as time goes on that they realize how politically and legally perilous that was. So hence the coverup.
MELBER: Right, because you are not supposed to hijack elections with foreign governments.
RUBIN: Yes, who knew? Right?
MELBER: Who knew?
CORN: No one ever told them that. You know, they were novices.
MELBER: I want to thank Jennifer Rubin and Joyce Vance.
So David, real quick. Have you been on fallback Friday?
CORN: No, I have not. Could it perhaps happen today?
MELBER: It could happen today, a year in. We are going to take and I love to get both you in someday as well. Thanks to each of you for being part of our top of the news coverage here.
Coming up, new reporting on how Trump`s legal team says they might quote "bury Michael Cohen."
Meanwhile, Michael Avenatti is here live coming out of his court fight in the Stormy Daniels case.
And I`m going to hear from a former Apprentice star about what loyalty means in the Trump organization which is now under a microscope.
Plus, we are debuting a new series today with Tony Schwartz, author of "the art of the deal," and just going to talk a lot about the pressure facing Trump.
All that, plus, of course, fallback Friday and our most awkward moments of the year. You are watching a special edition of THE BEAT on MSNBC.
MELBER: There is news tonight that shows Donald Trump is genuinely nervous about the risk Michael Cohen now poses. The political world shocked by these leaks that Cohen would put Trump squarely inside a potential conspiracy to get Clinton material from the Russians. Trump now savaging his former fixer On the Record. His aides are telling reporters they will bury Cohen, calling him a weakling and a traitor.
"The Daily Beast" reports Trump`s furious and swearing about Cohen. The attack on Cohen is weak was previewed earlier this week by the man who served as Trump`s lawyer before Cohen, Jay Goldberg on THE BEAT.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY GOLDBERG, FORMER LAWYER: If you spend five minutes with Michael Cohen, you know that he is not strong. He is weak. It`s odd to say this, but when he said that he would stand up for the President, I knew from talking with him for less than five minutes that he was sufficiently weak, that he would cave in with respect to any wrongdoing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Meanwhile, Trump`s current lawyer is reversing his past praise of Cohen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP`S ATTORNEY: He doesn`t have any incriminating evidence about the President or himself. The man is an honest, honorable lawyer.
I expected something like this from Cohen. He`s been lying all week. Or for -- he`s been lying for years. There`s nobody that I know that knows him that hasn`t warned me that if his back is up against the wall, he`ll lie like crazy because he has all his life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: In a moment I`m joined live by Michael Avenatti about all of this.
But first, how does this battle go down when all of it can involve the Trump organization, the history of the Apprentice? Before all of that, I bring in Tara Dowdell, a former contestant on "the Apprentice" and a Democratic operative.
You have lived many lives.
TARA DOWDELL, DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVE: Yes.
MELBER: There you are.
DOWDELL: There I am.
MELBER: When you look at this and Cohen`s involvement in the Trump organization, what do you see as key in this fight.
DOWDELL: Well, I think what is going to be key in this fight is for Trump is going all about the PR. And so it all going to be about the spin, all about the deny, deflect, attack.
As far as Cohen is concerned he`s going to have to be very careful, because I`m not a lawyer like you, but I think we all know when you are under a criminal investigation yourself and you are seeking to be a cooperating witness, the last thing you want to be doing is talking, right. Any good lawyer will tell you to keep your mouth shut.
But what Cohen clearly wants to do is he wants to go head on at Donald Trump. I think he is a man, and I have said this before, and actually some people doubted me on this, I think he is a man that`s been sending smoke signals to Donald Trump for the past several weeks. And I think those smoke signals went unrequited. And so I think he is now a man scorned. And I think that he wants to settle scores. Trump has betrayed him multiple times and I think this was the last straw.
MELBER: Well, you are not a lawyer, but you are an apprentice, or at least you played an apprentice on a reality show. When you look at this situation, something that many of us have grappled to understand, and you were closer to it at an earlier phase of Trump`s life. Certainly Michael Cohen has seen Donald Trump screw other people. What is it about some of these people around Trump that they see that happen to another people and they don`t think it will happen to them?
DOWDELL: It is actually mind boggling thing because literally, when I was on the apprentice, there were people were threatening to sue Donald Trump at that time. Those people then went back to basically work on his campaign after threatening to sue him and/or initiating the process of suing him. So it is actually mind boggling.
I think what it is, is that Trump attracts people who are like Trump. So a lot of people that choose to be in his orbit are people who are looking to ride his coat tails of fame. And I think that that becomes paramount for them. And so, that`s the overriding issue. And so, I think Michael Cohen was one of those people.
One of the things that Trump is notorious for is not paying people. And what he tells the people that he does not pay is that just use my name. Tell people you did work for me. That`s the value.
MELBER: You are alleging that he tells people to say my name?
DOWDELL: Say my name, say my name.
MELBER: Say my name, say my name, say my name.
DOWDELL: That`s right.
MELBER: Well, you know, we are doing an awkward montage later in the show, but I wanted to have some --
DOWDELL: You wanted to get it out there early.
MELBER: It`s live. It is still a live show tonight.
DOWDELL: All right.
MELBER: Tara, as always, thank you for bringing your experience and insights here.
I turn now as promised to Michael Avenatti, attorney for Stormy Daniels and a rumored Iowa visitor. You are going to Iowa, why?
MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS ATTORNEY: Well, it`s not my first visit to Iowa. As you know, I grew up in (INAUDIBLE) state, Missouri. So I`m going to our neighbor to the north.
MELBER: I know people who grew up in Missouri but aren`t going to Iowa.
AVENATTI: Well, they must not have good taste.
MELBER: Well, everyone is interested in your expanding role, your portfolio, your politics. Walk us through what happened in court today because your case still continues.
AVENATTI: Well, we had a very good morning in court today, Ari. As you know, Michael Cohen and the President have sought to place a gag order, have the court place a gag order over me and prevent me from coming on shows like this and talking about the case, and talking about the evidence to you and your audience. And it was a very good morning. The judge took it under submission. He hasn`t issued a ruling yet. But I would be shocked if he granted the motion.
Michael Cohen and the President`s attorneys were almost laughed out of court. The judge was very critical of the motion. And expressed considerable skepticism on the legal arguments they were making, and for good reason, because they were absolutely baseless. And it wreaks of desperation.
MELBER: It seems like they want to silence you. People can understand why. But what about the argument that you savaging Mr. Cohen at times could affect people`s opinions of him and thus jurors?
AVENATTI: Well, I don`t put a lot of credence into that, Ari, because, as you know, when it comes to jury selection, the court can guard against any bias that a juror may come to the court with. And usually does guard against that.
You know, it`s interesting to me that Michael Cohen`s attorney was arguing so vehemently that I should be gagged and should not be able to speak openly. And look at Rudy Giuliani`s comments last night about Michael Cohen on Chris Cuomo show, he called him a pathological liar. He said he has been lying for years, months, weeks. He said that a fact finder could not or should not trust him in a trial.
I mean, those comments were far beyond anything I have said about Michael Cohen. Why isn`t Michael Cohen`s attorney trying to have a gag order placed on Rudy Giuliani, which by the way, would actually, probably be very damaging to my case, because Rudy is the best attorney working on our team.
MELBER: I know you feel that way.
I mean, the other thing I really want to ask you about is some other news you have broken. You sort of have been a source of not only ideas and opinions, but also information in this case. You have new women you say are coming forward. I`m wondering why now. So I want to get your answer to that.
Let`s fit in a quick break. We will come back in just 30 seconds with Michael Avenatti.
MELBER: We are back with Michael Avenatti who says today there are new women coming forward claiming they were also paid by Donald Trump or others for their silence. He (INAUDIBLE) mentions it could even include the same tabloid company if the middle of this whole Cohen case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AVENATTI: There are three additional female clients of mine that have not been disclosed that were paid hush money prior to the 2016 election, whether it be from Michael Cohen on behalf of the President, an entity that Michael Cohen formed, or AMI, that`s what I`m saying?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But those women had a relationship with the President, with Donald Trump?
AVENATTI: Well, last time I checked they weren`t just handing out checks to anyone whether they had a relationship or not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Michael Avenatti, making news.
Why are you putting out the idea that there are these three women now? And why are you putting it out in this manner without more information or their names?
AVENATTI: Well, I`m not putting the idea out there, Ari, I`m stating a fact. I have three clients that have hired me as their counsel. Each of them had a relationship with Mr. Trump. Each of them were paid hush money prior to the 2016 election. And the time had come to disclose that. And we Are going to be disclosing additional details here hopefully shortly, as soon as the clients authorize me to release specifics relating to their each individual instance. But here`s what I find to be --
MELBER: I want to hear you on that, but let me press you on that. There have been other times in this wide-ranging case where you have put out substantiating information, written information or you have made a client available for public interviewing. That`s usually in our business how we verify facts.
Here you are asking people to take it on your authority without the additional information. And this has been going for a while. What, in your view, is holding them back, or why not more information now?
AVENATTI: Well, because it`s a big decision for each of these individual women to come forward and release their name and provide specifics. I mean, this is serious business, Ari. You know, you subject yourself to this scrutiny of the press and you subject yourself to the scrutiny of FOX News and others when you do that. It`s a very, very serious decision, a big decision for them. But, look, if people don`t want to believe me on it, that`s fine. I mean, I think that`s pretty risky in light of my track record over the last six months.
MELBER: Do at least one of them involve AMI?
MELBER: And that would be a previously undisclosed, it is not Karen McDougal, correct?
MELBER: So you are talking about something that is very significant that is embedded in the wider news you made in the clip we just showed. If at least one of them involves AMI, then you are saying this company, which is under significant scrutiny in the Cohen case, by the feds in New York, was also doing something else allegedly on behalf of Donald Trump?
MELBER: Could that then raise their exposure for campaign finance violations, or other misleading of the authorities about what they were doing with that money?
AVENATTI: Yes. And I think it will do the same for Michael Cohen.
And let me tell you what I find most interesting, Ari. It`s late now on the east coast. We haven`t got a single denial from Michael Cohen, Lanny Davis or Donald Trump or Rudy Giuliani. Not a single denial. No one has come out and said, oh, that Avenatti guy doesn`t know what he is talking about, it never happened. What does that tell you?
MELBER: They have said that before, Michael, to be fair.
AVENATTI: Yes, and they have been wrong.
MELBER: They are On the Record saying you don`t know what you are talking about.
MELBER: When you look at AMI figuring into all this, it is hard to understand why a corporation with its own self-interests in profit interest would get so deeply involved in taking these risks on behalf of another person. Can you shed any light on that?
AVENATTI: Well, I think it may come down to a personal relationship and how tight the individuals at the top of that company are or were with Donald Trump at the end of the day. I mean, I think that probably would help explain it. But, you know, as we have talked about before, this is a President that demands loyalty from everyone and provides loyalty to no one with the exception of Vladimir Putin.
MELBER: Well, I appreciate the nickname there.
Let me play you one of the theories that comes up with this, because the tape -- the Cohen tape which of course, it is true that you said would come out and would have Trump on it, and it did. Well, first the idea that they were nervous about what would happen if they didn`t have, as you put it, such a close friend at the head of that tabloid company, this is reporter Betsy Woodruff, take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETSY WOODRUFF, REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST: The reason that that conversation happened, according to a source familiar with it, is because David Pecker, who is the head of the parent company of the "National Enquirer" told President Trump that he was thinking about leaving that company. Trump then thought, oh no, if my ally leaves this tabloid company, the company could then go ahead and publish the Karen McDougal story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: What is your assessment of that?
AVENATTI: Well, my assessment is, is that they were wise to think that that would be a concern. And I think that ultimately what you are going to find out is that one of the reasons why they moved away from that concept, that use of AMI as to some of these other payments was for this exact concern. That is why the $130,000 payment to my client, for instance, was not made through AMI. That`s why the two additional payments that I referenced last night were not made through AMI for this exact reason. They wanted to close the circle, if you will, so that the president thought he had greater protection with his fixer, Michael Cohen, who turned out not to be tough and not to be too smart.
MELBER: Do you have reason to know or believe what AMI got in return for spending this money?
AVENATTI: No. But I can -- I can, you know, speculate that it would have to be access for preferential treatment. I mean, I don`t think they did it out of the gracious -- good graces of their heart.
MELBER: No. I mean, that`s not what corporations are known for, and it`s not even what their fiduciary duties provide for. As to Michael Cohen`s assessment, a potential factual assertion that Donald Trump did OK the Trump Tower meeting, was that news to you when that news broke last night?
AVENATTI: No, it was not news to me, nor it was news to me today when they immediately went after or last night and today, immediately went after Michael Cohen and now claim that he`s a liar. You know, this is going to be quite a show, Ari, that`s going to play out in the coming weeks and months. You know, I think on your show, it was the first instance back in early May that I said that they`d put too much faith in Michael Cohen -- I mean, anybody could see that. What`s so ironic to me is, and you played the clip earlier from the president`s former attorney, you know, everyone that knew Michael Cohen or had anything to do with him knew that he wasn`t that tough and he wasn`t that smart. It`s amazing this president would trust him with his innermost secrets. And it just goes to show what a complete lack of judgment the president has in so many aspects of his life.
MELBER: That`s an interesting point. It`s your opinion, but it`s somewhat grounded in the risks we`re seeing. When you just said, though, a moment ago in response to my question that you knew this, it wasn`t news to you. How did you know that Michael Cohen had collusion-related evidence?
AVENATTI: Well, again, Ari, I`m not at liberty to get into details of all of my sources and how I know things. But again, you know, a lot of my predictions have turned out to be spot on in this case.
MELBER: Well, we ask you these questions because a lot of people do want to know how you know things.
AVENATTI: Well, and as you know, we have a concept under the law relating to attorney work product.
AVENATTI: And we`re not at liberty to disclose a lot of that information, very similar to journalists.
MELBER: Michael Avenatti, always interesting, a lot of these threads running together here on this Friday night. Thank you for being on THE BEAT. I also want to mention, thank you for the time you spent with me because this Sunday Michael and Liz Plank are joining me for a beat podcast extra -- exclusive additional conversations including Michael Avenatti as a potential presidential candidate. You can download it at Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcast. That`s out this weekend.
Now, up ahead, we have the impact of crushing legal pressure on Trump`s state of mind, the co-author of "The Art of the Deal" is here. And if it`s Friday, it`s time to fall back. We have a very special one later this evening.
MELBER: It is Friday on THE BEAT, and you know what that means, it is time to fall back. A very special "FALLBACK FRIDAY," I`m joined by Ibtihaj Muhammad, an Olympic fencer, and the first Muslim-American woman to actually wear a hijab during the Olympics. She also made Times list of "100 Most Influential People" and her new memoir "Proud" comes out this week. So, it`s the right time to have you here. I`m also joined by Patrice Cullors, co-Founder of Black Lives Matter, which has a five-year anniversary, she`s also the author of a New York Times` best-seller: "When They Call You a Terrorist." And a friend of THE BEAT who is not -- I repeat not -- on Times "100 Most Influential" list, Washington Bureau Chief for Mother Jones, David Corn. Eat your heart out, David.
DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF FOR MOTHER JONES: I`m told I came in at 103. Sometimes you just don`t get the breaks.
MELBER: They tell a lot of people that. Ibtihaj, why don`t you take us off? Who needs to fall back?
IBTIHAJ MUHAMMAD, OLYMPIC FENCER: I would say the U.S. government. Stop separating parents from their children.
MELBER: Yes. I mean, this has been one of the most divisive things in a very divisive era of the Trump administration.
MUHAMMAD: I visited the U.S.-Mexico border recently with athletes for impact. And it really opened my eyes to a lot of things that I feel like where the general public is not familiar with what`s going on.
MELBER: And it`s interesting with the Olympics side of it, right, because you probably spend so much time in an environment where you`re thinking about what, even in competition, what we share in common with other countries.
MUHAMMAD: Oh, yes. I mean, sport teaches you so much: How to appreciate one another for our differences. And also, these unique qualities we each have that should bring us together.
MELBER: Yes. Who needs to fall back?
PATRICE CULLORS, CO-FOUNDER, BLACK LIVES MATTER: Well, I want R. Kelly to fall back. Just recently came out with a song, a 19-minute song called "I admit", essentially admitting that he commits child sexual abuse and that he does, in fact, a cult in his home. And it was disturbing, frustrating, and it was like one of those moments where I was like, if the country and the R&B world doesn`t make him fall back, I don`t know what will.
MELBER: And isn`t this one of those moral situations where, yes, someone can put something into the world that people like, you know, Bill Cosby made a show, and you can talk about parts of the show that you like. It does not cancel out other facts that are found about their conduct.
CULLORS: That`s exactly right. And with R. Kelly, this has been an issue with him for years. I mean, he has been sexually assaulting and preying on young women and girls for a very long time. People have talked about it in the black community, outside of the black community. So that, I think for him to write the song and put it out on the Internet, and the way it was just so incredibly disgusting, and so many of us were like, Black Twitter in particular was like, you know what, black women on Twitter were like: You need to fall back.
MELBER: Right. Also, by the way, shout out to Black Twitter, shout out. Do you think he was hoping to sort of exploit and use the song to try to gain some currency with all this or cancel out the issue?
CULLORS: I think he`s doing what a lot of men do under patriarchy which is be in denial. And also, to be absent from the realities of harming women, you know. For R. Kelly, he thinks, well, I`m offering this life for women, and they are consenting to it. But he`s actually not talking about the power that comes with being an artist, with being an older man, and living inside a sexist environment.
MELBER: I think it`s very important you bring it to the table. And then, of course, the legal side is something we`ve covered, which is when you`re below the age of consent, that`s why legally you cannot have consent, something that obviously he has been accused repeatedly, incredibly, of violating. David Corn, I understand you have a political fallback for the week. What do you got?
CORN: Jim Jordan, Republican Member of the House of Representatives from Ohio. He wants to be speaker of the house if Republicans continue control of the House after the coming elections. He also has been in the news for something much different than politics in the last couple weeks. He stands credibly accused of having been a wrestling coach at Ohio State University in the 80s and 90s when the athletic department`s doctor was abusing student athletes. And the accusations against him from athletes who worked with there, worked with him at the time, student athletes, is that he knew about this, and he did nothing.
He, of course, says he had no clue. But we`re up to 10, 11 or so student athletes who`ve said he must have known. It was impossible for him not to know. So, rather than falling back and coming up with a credible response to that, he`s decided to move ahead and try to become speaker of the house, while also, and this is a double dip here, promoting all sorts of crazy deep state conspiracy theories about the Trump-Russia scandal, and interest declared, at least two of them involved me. So, I`m asking Jordan to take a step back and deal with that controversy rather than trying to lead the House of Representatives.
MELBER: Right. David, you make very important points there on the story that deserves attention. It almost makes me wonder whether Time Magazine got it wrong about you.
CORN: Well, my mom thinks so.
MELBER: And yet, you`re not top 100 at the end of the day. That`s just a fact.
CORN: That is true. Neither are you.
MELBER: See, if you leave a long enough pause, anything can happen. Neither are you. David Corn gets the last burn of the segment. My special thanks to David, Ibtihaj and Patrice for this "FALLBACK FRIDAY."
Up ahead, there`s new legal heat on Donald Trump. His long-time lawyer turning on him. And we`re going to get into our first ever edition of "STATE OF MIND" with Tony Schwartz next.
MELBER: Today wraps up two of the most stressful weeks of Trump`s presidency, the international condemnation of his bizarre embrace of Putin, followed by one of his most loyal fixer`s warning that he`ll tell Mueller that Trump did OK the infamous Russia meeting at Trump Tower.
Now, those two stresses are linked. They pose more intricate questions than the daily news cycles sometimes can handle. Which brings us actually to our new segment with a special friend of THE BEAT, Tony Schwartz. This is called "STATE OF MIND." And we aim to get to the root of some of the bigger issues in our society here. Now, many people hesitate to admit how stress and emotion impact decisions, especially if they fear it could look weak or irrational. And Tony Schwartz argues that kind of blind spot is even larger for Trump, who insists he has a flawless temperament.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I also have a much better temperament than she has.
Well, I think I have a great temperament. I have a great temperament. I have one of the great temperaments. I have a winning temperament. We need a strong temperament, and that`s all it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That temperament, of course, being tested, and Trump`s own aides are coddling it at times, trying to limit the news and negative info that reaches him. Schwartz writes in a new piece today. Trump`s grip on reality will likely continue to diminish as he faces increasing criticism, accusation, and potential criminal indictments. What happens to a leader who emplaces this kind of bunker mentality to avoid stress? Is Trump seeking a kind of a narrow-minded cocoon of a, say, tortured snowflake deluding himself to believe that all critics are just haters, and accountability is just what his enemies want? I`m reminded of something Canadian Philosopher Aubrey Drake Graham once said: "I got enemies, got a lot of enemies, got a lot of people trying to drain me of my energy."
We turn to Tony Schwartz, CEO of the Energy Project. Drake, of course, is known as an emotional celebrity and the problem in that line, which reflects a real thing, is overidentifying any criticism as trying to destroy you rather than deal with it. Does Trump also have that problem?
TONY SCHWARTZ, CEO, ENERGY PROJECT: This piece I have done with the Psychiatrist Bandy Lee in Politico today, it`s really about the notion that people who have Trump`s psychological disposition -- Bandy`s interviewed a thousand of them in her role as a forensic psychiatrist, have this vast emptiness that is filled only by external praise and adulation. And when they begin to feel that they`re not getting enough of it, it`s a catastrophic, internal experience. That`s what Trump is having right now.
MELBER: What`s striking about that is we often talk about how different he is from other presidents. That`s something other politicians have. And when I worked in Congress, you would see them, maybe they didn`t make it all the way to the White House, people who were anti-social, sometimes tortured and seemed to need to be on the go, in the action, getting praise while maybe other parts of them were, as you put it, less full.
SCHWARTZ: Yes, that`s why they say Washington and Hollywood have a lot in common. The people who seek most intensely public attention are very frequently the people who don`t have any inner resources. They don`t have a sense of themselves absent the external world applauding.
MELBER: Like, it`s like these freaks who want to work on T.V. every day or host a T.V. show.
SCHWARTZ: It`s hard to imagine. I don`t really -- I haven`t met those people.
MELBER: What is wrong with your psyche in your life if you need to be on T.V., hosting a T.V. show. It was something I wondered. They have no self-awareness either. Turning back to Donald Trump. Let me play for you how he dealt with a security analyst in his previous life that was pretty interesting. Take a look.
SCHWARTZ: I love security analyst.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The chairman of the company that I worked for was faxed letter written by Donald Trump. What he wanted was a public apology or the firm to dismiss me immediately or he would institute a major lawsuit against the firm. They escorted me to the door. I have been a security analyst for over 50 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Why is that public apology so important?
SCHWARTZ: Who apologized?
MELBER: Donald Trump demanding, he wants a public apology, why?
SCHWARTZ: Because he is so thin-skinned. And if a person criticizes him, it feels like an inner explosion. Imagine what he`s feeling right now at these walls closed around him, as the people who have been most loyal to him start to turn on him. It`s just got to be a feeling of extraordinary fear that is unacceptable to him because he can`t stand the experience of weakness or vulnerability. And so, what he does in is to acts even more aggressively.
MELBER: So, does that make him obsessive and emotional in dealing with these open legal probes?
SCHWARTZ: Well, yes, indeed. He`s clearly an obsessive guy. He`s obsessive sometimes strategically, sometimes reactively. I`ll give you an example of the obsessiveness strategically is when he says no collusion, no collusion, no collusion. What is he doing? He is hoping, he has learned that if he repeats it often enough, even if it`s totally false, visibly false, people or a significant number of people will start to believe him.
MELBER: State of mind, state of mind, state of mind is what we`ll take from that because this is a series we`re going to continue and try to go a little bit deeper. So, Tony Schwartz, I appreciate you being here and being a part of it.
SCHWARTZ: Thank you.
MEBER: Up ahead, there are some moments that have left many of us speechless. We`ll explain also a programming note I will be in for Rachel Maddow tonight, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on MSNBC.
MELBER: Now, the report on Facebook, a story we`ve been tracking a lot this year. The stock took a huge hit today after suffering one of the biggest one-day losses in history. $120 billion down on Thursday. Mark Zuckerberg himself, losing over 15 billion. Facebook reporting fewer users. This is, of course, after years of privacy and political scandals, and of course, also its problems dealing with Russian interference which it initially laughed off.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK ZUCKERBERG, FOUNDER, FACEBOOK: Personally, I think the idea that, a fake news on Facebook of which it`s a very small amount of the content influenced the election in anyway, I think, is a crazy idea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Now, this week, we are marking THE BEAT`s one anniversary, and our producers have found some of the most awkward moments -- the longest silences, and of course, some painful tosses. Now, because this may be hard to watch, we have a countdown clock for you to help us all get through it together.
MELBER: He says, I`m not the man they think I am back home. The idea that going out to outer space can really change your perspective on things.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. It`s fascinating that you just dropped that.
MELBER: Jay-Z always says, the streets are watching.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, he does.
MELBER: Doesn`t he?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He does, Ari.
MELBER: Is this -- in real life, or is this fantasy, but this is real life, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you have it.
MELBER: Yes, just holding the silence there.
It is big. There`s so much on the Internet. Internet joke, quiet panel.
Just a sanction joke, there, Brian. Yes, nothing. Nothing, no response.
Classic Miranda joke. I`m looking at faces, yes, a moderate hit, not a big hit.
Babies don`t watch a lot of T.V. news.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got to go rest my voice. So, I`m just going to -- yes, you`re right. He doesn`t like it.
MELBER: You know what, I`m going to add one more thing. When you say I have to go rest my voice, it could leave with the impression that you want this moment to end.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Glad you brought that.
MELBER: You want to end on a slow hand shake.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very slow. Real slow. Yes, very, very slow.
MELBER: Yes, like almost, you want it to end.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is true.
MELBER: Where is Lawrence O`Donnell, is he going to come down?
MELBER: We made it. Turns out silence can be powerful.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END
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