Trump tells sessions to "stop" Russia Probe. TRANSCRIPT: 8/1/2018, The Beat w Ari Melber.

Guests: Cynthia Alksne; Christian Farias; Elie Honig; Richard Painter

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: August 1, 2018 Guest: Cynthia Alksne; Christian Farias; Elie Honig; Richard Painter

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: See how this all case plays out. But be warned, you will be well advised not to mess with honey badger. Ho how do I know? A little bird told me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello. Watch out says that bird.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: That`s all for tonight. We will be back tomorrow if honey badger lets me with more "TP DAILY.

THE BEAT WITH AIR MELBER start right now.

Good evening, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chuck.

It sounds like when it comes to copy right law, honey badger do care.

TODD: Honey badger do care. There you go.

MELBER: There you go. And as you and I know, it was a big Steve Bannon saying as well.

TODD: That, and a defensive back for (INAUDIBLE). So go figure.

MELBER: Culture brings everyone together, even for the smallest moments.

Thank you, sir. Will be seeing you soon.

I will tell you on THE BEAT, we have a big show tonight, Donald Trump coming to Paul Manafort`s explicit defense on this day two of his federal trial. And with analogies like these, who needs Donald Trump? We are going to get into why, and I don`t know how else to say this other than with a smile like he is trying to defend Manafort tonight by comparing him to the murderous gangster Al Capone. We are going to get into that.

Also later, I have a new report on how Trump is lying more and what we should actually do about that in our democracy, which we think is important.

Later, I`m going to joined by the coauthor of "the art of the deal" for our special state of mind series.

So a lot to get to. But we begin with breaking news. This is not a drill, and this is not a normal news alert. What I am reporting tonight, what you may have heard about, because it broke today, is evidence of a potential crime committed by the President in plain sight.

The top story tonight and in many ways for the Russia probe the only story is public Presidential conduct that would be unthinkable in any other era. President Trump doing in public what got Richard Nixon in so much trouble when he did it in private. Something that would make any citizen without regard to party very concerned tonight. Allegedly abusing the power of office to try to shut down a probe into his own White House.

Words that apply to Nixon that undid his presidency and words that are advanced tonight. So let`s get into the story. You may know if you watch this news program, we don`t typically tweet Donald Trump`s tweets as news stories because most of them are not news. Many of them are not factual, some of them are outright lies and a great many of them are ploys designed to hijack the conversation, distract the media or troll the notion.

So ley me explain up front why we are doing something different tonight. President Trump is telling the attorney general to shut down the Mueller probe. He is stating it in public and in writing that Jeff Sessions quote "should stop the probe now." To be clear, if Donald Trump made that order in a private meeting with Jeff Sessions, or on a phone call to the DOJ or held a big press conference on the White House lawn and demanded it, if any President did that it would be huge news, it would be potential evidence of obstruction.

So here we do begin with this part of the story, Donald Trump, this is how he made the basic order. Writing that Sessions who is, of course, recused from the Russia investigation under the guidance from the DOJ should quote "stop it right now," the top House Democrat investigating responded by saying this is quote "an attempt to obstruct justice in plain sight."

And this comes just days after we learned that Bob Mueller was looking at whether these other things that Trump does and says, whether they occur on twitter or wherever they occur, are part of the elements of the case of obstruction of justice, which according to at least past congresses, is something that, again, I don`t usually refer to out loud on this show, but something that past congresses have found to be an impeachable offense.

So that is all the big news tonight. What is Donald Trump`s doing about it? Well, they are saying these words, which I just reported, which you can read, which are out in the open, aren`t really what they say they are.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP`S ATTORNEY: He used a word should. He didn`t use the word must, and there was no Presidential directive that followed it. He didn`t direct him to do it. This whole obstruction of justice thing is nonsense. If he wanted to obstruct it, he would obstruct it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: It comes after Rudy Giuliani, the President`s lawyer on this probe has argued that when Trump does something on twitter with 54 million people watching it happen, it can`t be bad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GIULIANI: First of all, you know, obstruction by tweet is not something that I think works real well. Generally obstruction is secret, it`s clandestine, it`s corrupt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

This is something we have reported on as well previously on this program. The defense that something done in public would be sneakier done in private is not a defense of the conduct, it`s just sort of a weird after the fact rationalization. The idea that Trump shouldn`t, according to Giuliani have legal exposure for any mistakes or any crimes, potential crimes that one commits in public. And this obviously would be helpful to Donald Trump because of many things that he has done that are in question about this investigation have occurred in public.

He publicly admitted that he fired Comey with Russia on his mind. He publicly suggested he could fire Sessions for the same goals. And he publicly asked a foreign government, as we all know remember as an issue in this open case to hack his political rival.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Russia, if you are listening, I hope you are able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Just because you do something that sounds bad, looks bad or is potentially criminal out in the open, on cram camera, on twitter, wherever, does not mean as a legal matter you can`t be held accountable for it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I could stand in the middle of fifth avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn`t lose any voters, OK. It`s like incredible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Donald Trump made that claim, as sort of rhetorical gambit about a hypothetical murder with the idea that even that would be something his supporters would standby. That isn`t usually a positive thing to say about other people. And we don`t know whether his supporters would stand by it. What we do know in a matter of law is that kind of thick is not something that federal investigations will allow.

Now in a moment, I`m going to be joined by Richard Painter, an ethics lawyer from the Bush administration who has a lot of thoughts about this.

But I begin with former federal prosecutor Cynthia Alksne, and Christian Farias, a league writer for "New York magazine."

Cynthia, this does seem significant. Is it an element of potential obstruction?

CYNTHIA ALKSNE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I don`t think it`s an element of obstruction. I think it`s something that goes in an obstruction indictment. I think it`s a statement of the President, which is admissible. I think it shows consciousness not only this but all the other tweets are -- show different levels of consciousness of guilt. And they show, and they`re important for the proof of intent. But it`s not -- I don`t think it`s a separate count. And I say that because I also think there is --

MELBER: Yes. We are starting out real lawyerly. When I say an element, I mean, does it go to part of the obstruction of evidence in the case of intent and goals? I didn`t say count.

ALKSNE: Sure. I think it goes to intent and his goals. I think there is plenty of obstruction evidence, and there will be even more obstruction evidence, good old fashioned bread and butter obstruction evidence and then this will be part of the indictment. And part of the evidence that is given to either a jury or in an impeachment trial. But standing alone I don`t think it`s a count.

MELBER: Right. I mean -- who cares whether it`s a count.

ALKSNE: Well, some people do. Some people do. But I don`t.

MELBER: Right. And let me bring Christian in. I mean, the question is whether this adds to the case against the President for potential obstruction of justice. What would happen if Barack Obama or George W. Bush or any other President out of the blue stood up in public, in whatever medium, whatever way and said to their recused attorney general, shut down, immediately, the probe into my campaign?

CHRISTIAN FARIAS, LEAGUE WRITER, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: People would be calling for his head. We know that because we have seen it. When he mentioned things about the Hillary Clinton investigation, and people`s heads collectively exploded.

But here, more importantly, as the prosecutor was saying this is one piece of a larger puzzle that shows that there is certainly a consciousness of guilt. This goes to the question of whether what`s bothering the President so much that on the very same day that one of his former campaign chairman has gone on trial, he has the presence of mind to say these things, to shut down the probe completely.

MELBER: Well, as you say, on the very week that the campaign chair is on trial, the first trial that Mueller has reached.

FARIAS: Exactly. And the fact that this has happened in the context of this. And this is not even the main trial that Mueller will be handling. We know that there`s a separate D.C. trial where the stakes are much higher. But that, this is happening as all of these revelations are coming up during trial as the prosecutors are in court preparing their arguments. There`s certainly something there that he is issuing this order to the department of justice, which has control, oversight over other prosecutors, and certainly strength in the case from obstruction.

MELBER: I want you both to stay with me as promised. I`m bringing in Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer in the Republican administration. He is now running as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota.

I go to you, sir, on this central question, does this statement account as evidence or an element of potential obstruction by Donald Trump?

RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER CHIEF WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER: Well, it`s certainly evidence of obstruction of justice. And first, we really have to worry about the mental stability of our President when he is incriminating himself on twitter. And this is a very, very damaging, very incriminating tweet.

It`s part of a long pattern of obstruction of justice. He fired James Comey. He has repeatedly tried to pressure Jeff Sessions to un-recuse and fire Robert Mueller. And the prosecutor will find evidence of obstruction inside the White House, I`m sure.

But, you know, the House and Senate Judiciary Committee should be investigating this. We are pay past the time of 1973 where they were investigating Richard Nixon. And I`m shocked that there is no investigation for obstruction of justice and abuse of power and other high crimes and misdemeanors.

MELBER: Let me ask you, Richard, why do you think that tonight we are in a place that is past where we were with Nixon regarding Presidential obstruction? What supports your view on that?

PAINTER: I think we were past that point when he fired James Comey. It was quite clear he fired James Comey in order to obstruct the Russia investigation, and he admitted to that in front of the Russian ambassador in several TV interviews. And we should have had hearings in the House and Senate Judiciary Committee at the same time that Robert Mueller was hired. And that`s the way it was done in the Nixon days. They had the House and Senate actually doing their jobs and investigating. This is and has been evidence of obstruction of justice going all the way back to the Comey firing, at least. And it`s shameful it`s not being investigated. He ought to be out of office by now.

MELBER: And I know that you speak as someone who is running for a Senate seat. So we are getting a window into what you would do if in that body.

Cynthia, take a listen to how Donald Trump used to say he would deal with these type of matters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I said on the department of justice I would stay uninvolved. Now, I may get involved at some point if it gets worse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: What does it say to you about the case against him if he is now getting more involved in the week of his campaign chairman`s trial?

ALKSNE: You know, I think there`s a couple of reasons in there. They are pretty interesting legally. One is, Giuliani dropped this little gem in his unhinged interview that they had sent a proposal to Mueller`s office in which the President would agree to testify. And they had a proposal. And it`s been 11 days and they have heard nothing. And I think that`s freaking them out. Because what we know is, of course, that when a person moves from the subject of an investigation to the target of an investigation we don`t send -- we don`t subpoena them anymore. I think they are afraid that that`s what`s going on. In addition --

MELBER: Let`s slow down on that very important point you`re making so everyone is staying with you. You are saying that the fact that Bob Mueller`s team is potentially no longer in active negotiations for an interview could suggest that their posture has changed from gathering information from the President, as a subject, which is bad, but middle bad, to not seeking his testimony because they view him as a target, which is bad, super bad?

ALKSNE: Exactly. And I mean, I think -- in addition, I think they are playing with his head, and Giuliani`s head, which isn`t apparently that hard, but by just not responding I think that has upped the pressure and the tension. And then not only the fact of the Manafort trial, but what happens in the course -- right before these trials is witness statements are turned over.

Now Giuliani probably knows, because the Manafort lawyers have given it to him, he knows all kinds of information about what Gates is saying. And that has also made him unhinged. When he becomes unhinged, his client becomes unhinged. The two of them behave unprofessionally and ridiculously.

MELBER: Right. And you are putting your finger on that which goes to all the rumors that Giuliani started about this pre-meeting that he claims didn`t happen, but he wanted to talk about anyway, Christian, which here on THE BEAT with our legal experts we have referred to as a dinner that didn`t occur, but where sushi was served which is that paradoxical. It`s the legal version of an (INAUDIBLE) staircase.

And so to Cynthia`s point, how much of this obvious freak out in your view from your reporting and your understanding is a product of recent things that Trump and Giuliani have learned and has made them scared?

FARIAS: One things that Trump team has learned is that Bob Mueller, not just in Virginia, but also in D.C. has put a lot of pressure, a lot of trial tactics that should truly freak them out. Manafort has dropped an appeal before the D.C. circuit that shows that truly his lawyers are weary, that his lawyers perhaps are getting tired about all this pressure that Mueller is putting on them. And ultimately, of course, Trump is verifiably freaked out that he might flip. He was there at the --

MELBER: You think that sign here is worrying about new flipping. As we have been told many times that`s not in the cards, by so-called experts.

FARIAS: Absolutely, right. Even yesterday Manafort`s lawyers said that no, there`s no way I`m cooperating with the special counsel. And if anything, all this just sticking to your guns of Manafort`s family shows that, who knows, maybe he is waiting for that olive branch with Trump perhaps to happen later. And you have never heard Manafort say anything bad about Trump at all. Whereas all these other witnesses and who have flipped or have pleaded guilty obviously are not in the President`s graces anymore.

MELBER: Right.

FARIAS: And it`s very likely he will pardon him. But Manafort is still hanging on tight. And that tells me something that perhaps Trump doesn`t want him to do something that might incriminate him further.

MELBER: Right. Which is a part of the big guessing game.

Christian Farias and Cynthia Alksne, thank you both.

Richard, stay with me. I want to ask you about another part of this story.

Coming up, Trump`s comparison of Manafort to, yes, Al Capone. I have a prosecutor who literally rolled up the mob, as Hannity (ph) organized crime right here in New York. A very special guest.

Also, this new report on Trump lying more than ever before.

And Barack Obama getting involved in the Midterms.

All that, plus, as promised, Tony Schwartz on how to keep your brain sane in these times.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Call it Donald Trump`s Al Capone defense. Today on what is just the second day of Paul Manafort`s trial, Donald Trump comparing his former campaign chair to the notorious mobster asking who was treated worse, Al Capone, legendary mob boss, or Paul Manafort, political operative.

Trump has made this bizarre comparison before.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: If Paul Manafort who really is a nice man, you look at what`s going on with him, it`s like Al Capone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 2005 tax case.

TRUMP: On a case that`s very old. It`s a sad thing. It`s a very sad thing for our country to see this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: So, to be clear, comparing the defendant to Al Capone is usually something prosecutors or critics do. Because as a story of crime and punishment Capone is a person who did many bad things and got in trouble for only some of them, facing charges for tax evasion and not the other violence and murders his gang was accused of.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, he is making over $3 million a year, but he has paid no taxes, nothing is in his name. If we can establish any payments to him at all, we can prosecute him for income tax evasion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said we can prosecute him for income tax evasion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Try a murderer for not paying his taxes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s better than nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Try a murderer for not paying his taxes. That`s the movie version. In real life, that 1931 trial was a national spectacle. There were cameras outside the Chicago courtroom, citizens were gathered out front, and obviously concerned about more than tax evasion.

But because of his reputation as a violence gangster, famously also portrayed by Robert de Niro, there was the denial of violence with a twinkle in the eye.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I grew up in a tough neighborhood and we used to say you can get further with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word. And then that might have been true. Sometimes the reputation follows you. There is violence in Chicago, of course, but not by me, and not by anybody I employ.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Not by anybody I employ. Note, that is a specific denial of a conspiracy, which is, of course, a key charge in the Russia probe. Now, that jury disagreed. Capone caught an 11 year sentence, Manafort faces more time than that if convicted. And legal experts do say the prospect of dying in prison can change the minds of even the most stubborn defendants which applies to tax alleged tax evaders as well (INAUDIBLE).

So the question that hangs over what is now day two of this trial, why is Donald Trump comparing his former campaign chief to a gangster? Could this trial change Paul Manafort`s mind? Or is he ready to face the risk of prison and death, pondering, I don`t know, some later salvation.

To quote another man steeped in the criminal mind-set, the musician master P, the question may boil down is there heaven for a gangster, is there even for a gangster, gangster.

I`m joined by now Elie Honig the former federal prosecutor for the southern district of New York. He led the organized crime unit and even prosecuting a case against alleged (INAUDIBLE) John Gaddy Jr. A perfect guest and expert for this.

And Richard Painter also back with me, a Senate candidate and former lawyer in a Republican administration.

I begin with you, is there heaven for a gangster, number one? Two, what in God`s earth is Donald Trump doing comparing this man to Al Capone? And three, when you look at the legalities of this case, how does it relate to how you approached Mafia?

ELIE HONIG, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR,, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Yes. There are a lot of parallels between the cases I used to do going against the Mafia and this case, sad to say. But the number one similarity is you are trying to penetrate a closed, secretive, potentially criminal organization. And the number one way you do that is by flipping people, by getting cooperating witnesses.

And I think you hit on something. I think the President is probably scared to death that Paul Manafort may try to flip, if he is convicted.

MELBER: You read that as what`s happening this week. In other words, for a long time Trump dismissed Manafort and avoided talking about him. Lately, as we showed, he has been talking. We can even show he has been tweeting more about him lately, a handful more tweets up from zero. You are saying that means what?

HONIG: Yes. He could be trying to soften up Manafort. The biggest - I think the biggest nightmare for Trump right now is if Manafort flips. And you said it. I agree with you, I do not think Paul Manafort is willing, if he gets convicted to go die in jail. If he gets convicted, he is 69 years old, he will die behind bars.

MELBER: So you think that is the change agent here?

HONIG: Yes, I think it could be. You know, you can cooperate after conviction. You may not get as good of a deal. I have done it. I had a mob boss who we convicted of murder. He got sentenced to life. We thought he had dynamite information, same way Mueller might think Manafort has dynamite information. We went into the jail and asked him if he would cooperate. He said no, he was an old-school standup guy. But the point is, prosecutors are still sometimes willing to cooperate defendants after conviction.

MELBER: But your office, and this is the office that now is handling the Michael Cohen case. I mean, you are educating us on some really interesting background stuff. You are saying that as a matter of prosecutorial tactics, you are prepared, even with a life sentence to dial part of that back to get information.

HONIG: Absolutely. It`s a balance. How bad of a guy is it? But how good is his information? The guy I was talking about, we thought he had the keys to the castle? And I think Manafort, can you imagine? Can you imagine getting to see and to brief him as prosecutor learn everything he knows, that`s a gold mine. If I was in their shoes, and I convicted Manafort, he was willing to come in, I absolutely would pay the price for it.

MELBER: That is fascinating coming from you as someone who led the organized crime work. And that is not shoes many people have filled. As a prosecutor you know how to spot unanswered questions. You did not answer the master p question.

HONIG: Is there a heaven for gangsters?

MELBER: Yes.

HONIG: I think so. I think they are sitting around like the old sofa clubs in Queens having coffee.

MELBER: And that is nice place. So there is salvation.

HONIG: I think so.

MELBER: Richard Painter, having solve the more many physical aspect is I turn to you on Donald Trump`s shifting approach to Manafort.

Take a look at how he used to talk about him, because this does backs up the point just made on that he is now warming to him after dismissing him. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Paul Manafort was replaced long before the election took place. He was only there for a short period of time.

Now, Paul Manafort`s a nice guy. But, you know, he worked for me for a very short period of time, literally, like, what, a couple months, like Manafort has nothing to do with our campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: How do you view that shift, which has clearly changed now that the trial began?

PAINTER: Well, President Trump is very, very worried that Paul Manafort is going to flip on him. And I believe the prosecutors would offer Manafort a very good deal because from a law enforcement perspective, while he`s done some very bad things, he is not a threat to our society at this juncture. Donald Trump and various other people who are in high parts of our government are a threat and there`s an ongoing conspiracy to obstruct justice. There may very well be ongoing collusion with the Russians that is extremely dangerous for our national security.

So the prosecutors are going to offer Manafort a very good deal. I certainly would if I were the prosecutors to get the information on the people who are really dangerous, who have been colluding with the Russians, obstructing justice, and really have betrayed our country.

So yes, if I were one of those people in the latter group I would be scared to death of Paul Manafort cutting deal with the prosecutors.

MELBER: The other thing about the Capone argument is there are even conservatives, right, who are not just reflexively Trump critics who think this plays into some public onramp to what would be a very controversial pardon to say the least.

I`m reading here from "The Spectator," conservative publication. Quote "Trump is using the Capone comparison to set the stage to pull another Arpaio, depict Manafort as victim of the deep state, who is unjust predicament can only be rectified by a Presidential pardon." Your thoughts?

HONIG: Yes. That could be the case as well. And I think there`s a lot of signals being sent, at a minimum here. And you know, the other possibility is, again to use the mob lingo, Manafort is being a standup guy, and that means someone you don`t plead, you don`t talk, you don`t cooperate. You go through with your trial and take your consequences.

In the normal world they go to jail. Here, it`s an exceptional circumstance, it could be the sort of unspoken understanding could be Paul, you stand up, and I`ll take care of you.

MELBER: Right, which is, itself, potentially inappropriate, yes.

HONIG: Absolutely. It would be a very questionable use of the pardon power.

MELBER: Right. And that goes back to a report we have done earlier on the show about how while the pardon power is unilateral, so President gets to do it. It has legal force immediately as we all know, it doesn`t mean it can`t be an abuse of power. Just like auctions it off or a political way which auction on the senate seat, a unitary power that was an abuse.

HONIG: Yes. The fact that the President has a constitutional power doesn`t mean he can`t use it in a criminal way. I think that`s a perfect example. What if the President tweeted pardons for sale $10,000 each, make check payable to Donald J. Trump. That has to be a crime.

MELBER: Right. I do want to say in fairness the check would be made payable to Trump organization so he could pay lower taxes on it.

HONIG: Good point.

MELBER: I think you were unfair in saying it would be a personal check.

HONIG: I thought it is good point.

MELBER: I think that is --. And just, Richard, I just want to be fair.

HONIG: Good point.

MELBER: Elie, you have been really valuable for us on this story given your experience. I would love to have you back at this table for more of the Manafort coverage.

HONIG: Anytime.

MELBER: And Richard, you are already what we call ibn a business a repeat offender. So you know I want you back as well, sir.

PAINTER: Absolutely, happy to be here.

MELBER: Thank you both for your expertise.

Up next, there is a big sign Donald Trump may be cracking under the pressure. That`s when we`re back in just 30 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Donald Trump does have problems with the truth, and it`s getting worse. There`s a new report out today showing Trump has been tripling down on how often he makes misleading statements or lies.

"The Washington Post" reporting over 4,200 false or misleading claims, that`s how they put it in the presidency thus far. Now, he was averaging what they call five false claims a day, now it is up to 16 daily, this summer. The latest example the strange argument for Voter I.D. laws last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Only American citizens should vote in American election which is why the time has come for Voter I.D. And if you go out and you want to buy groceries you need a picture on a card, you need I.D.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: You don`t need an I.D. to buy groceries. You can get any kind of fruit I.D. free. Trump may be doing something deeper here though, attacking the notion the truth exists and fact-checking is valuable.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Oh, believe me, if it`s off by one-hundredth of a percent that`s like I end up getting Pinocchio`s, right? False stories, all made up, lies, lies. No witnesses, no nothing all big lies. I better say think otherwise they`ll give you a Pinocchio.

And just remember what you`re seeing and what you`re reading is not what`s happening.

I don`t like Pinocchio`s.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: I`m joined by Mike Lupica from the New York Daily News and Margaret Carlson from The Daily Beast. Margaret, why is it according to the fact checkers getting worse?

MARGARET CARLSON, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, he may feel more cornered as the Manafort trial begins as you know Giuliani has waited 11 days for a response from Mueller to his offers of an interview and what might be in there which may mean that he`s a target or not. And just the pressure of the Mueller investigation, it`s heating up and so this is a guy who lies for reasons. I mean, you know, he started with a lie, the birther lie, the huge lie. It worked, he got hooked, and then he lies kind of recreationally, like for no reason at all it`s just a natural thing to do and he can`t really help himself.

MELBER: Well, it`s important you bring up Birtherism, Mike, because that was a factual assault, a lie, that also related to a kind of cultural ethnic assault that other Republicans, many as I`ve said on this show before to their credit were not engaging in. John McCain famously rebutting that during the campaign. And Trump stood up and saw oh that`s a market opportunity to the Republican Party. I can do that. And this Washington Post fact check and I want to say it`s sad to show but this is part of what we`re doing. When you divide up the lies, you see there are more on immigration and foreign policy which relates to the other countries in the world, then even the Russia probe where everyone knows he`s lied a lot about a lot of things. What does it tell you to pick up on Margaret`s insight there that he`s lying so much in that way as a kind of aggression?

MIKE LUPICA, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Yes, but I don`t think it`s aggression, Ari. I think Mueller is like a boxer who keeps cutting off the ring on Trump. You`re right to bring up the birtherism thing. His political career was built on that lie. And then he`s been going on and on and you know, we can call him on him all he we want but there`s enough suckers out there who would believe this President if he told them water wasn`t wet. He continually says that the media is the enemy of the people. And you know what happens if you say that lie often enough, you goon squads like he had last night and in Florida --

MELBER: Right. And we have up on the screen Trump supporters according to a new poll say they actually rely on him, 91 percent rely on Trump more than any other source for accuracy

LUPICA: And I mean, you look at the volume of lies, it`s -- the old Knicks in the 90s when Pat Riley coached him, he said foul on every play because they`re not going to call all of it, OK. And he just thinks if he drowns you in lies that you will spend all of your time trying to tell people the truth. And what happens is this presidency goes along is that the assault on truth becomes as profound as the assault on civility, the assault on good grammar. And you see what he`s like in that festival of lies last night in Tampa because it`s easy to be tough when there`s a mob in front of you but the mob really likes you.

MELBER: Right, but they`re on your side. Well, Margaret speak to this point that Mike raises that Donald Trump is the Patrick Ewing of lies.

CARLSON: Well, there is a deluges, there is a flood, there is a tsunami, I don`t know what metaphor to use here. And you know, last night he he`s so encouraged in it by a crowd like that and he feels so powerful that he can incite them to turn on the press the way you did. And you know when you look at that tape you wonder where is that anger coming from both him and the people in the audience? What do they have to be that angry about? It`s kind of frightening to see. But the idea that the lies are accelerating, I think it`s you know, 16 a day what`s it going to be by you know, after the midterms? The -- you know, if there`s -- if there`s heaven for a liar, Donald Trump will be in it.

MELBER: Are you -- were you watching the show earlier?

CARLSON: I was. I -- you know, I can`t say gangster the way you do so --

MELBER: No, but I didn`t know you were -- Margaret Carlson`s of Master P fan, who knew? Let me play another moment about the truth from this Trump rally. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s great that he supports Ron DeSantis. If he thinks he`s good then he must be good. He`s right with everything else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you willing to take his word for it, whoever Trump says to vote for you vote for?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do. Anything he says, I -- he has -- everything he says it`s true, it comes true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: The "comes true" does a lot of work in that sentence, Margaret, and in fairness, there are people who I do think would say that about Barack Obama. In other words, I don`t think there`s anything unusual about having supporters who believe in you right? That`s what popular politicians tend to have. The difference is, walk us through the political reality is Margaret of a person thinking that about someone who as we`ve just showed to watch the poster is literally lying more than any president in history.

CARLSON: Well, you know, Mike said the water wet thing and it reminded me that woman also said that you just had on the screen said that she was at the inauguration and therefore she knows how large the crowd was. Well, she doesn`t know. But also on that very day, you`ll recall that as Trump stood speaking to the crowd, that was in ponchos and raincoats and had their umbrellas up, he said the sun was shining. So she believed that too. And you do want to believe your leaders are telling the truth, and since he has worked it as dictators do into her believing him more than her eyes or any of the you know, Pinocchio giving fact checkers then there`s like no getting through to her. And so when Nixon lied, we figured it out and his people came to realize he was lying. That`s not going to happen here.

MELBER: There were consequences -- there were consequences, there was also no internet. This is a one as we often do on this show in this news environment, this is a profoundly depressing segment about the civic baseline of democracy, Mike Lupica just laughing. I want to know what`s in your latte and how you keep such a great demeanor but you get the final thought.

LUPICA: OK, forget Master P, OK. This is for Margaret Carlson because I know she loves --

MELBER: No, no sir. No, I will not forget Master P. How dare you. How dare you.

LUPICA: No. As Drake -- as Drake says Ari, I don`t know why they`ve been lying, their stuff isn`t that inspiring except he didn`t say stuff.

MELBER: Wow, I`m speechless. My executive producer just said to me my ear wrap and I think he means wrap up this segment but it could also mean what a great rap.

CARLSON: No more rapping. No more rapping.

MELBER: Mike Lupica with great cheer during troubled times, Margaret Carlson our Washington expert, thank you both. Up ahead we turn to a different president, former President Obama has been steering clear politics but he`s getting involved in the midterms. We`ll explain how. And Trumps Art of the Deal co-author revealing what to do about this moment in American life, Tony Schwartz for our State of Mind segment, that`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: The U.S. economy is doing well by certain measures but many Americans not feeling that which is a dilemma for this edition of state of mind with Tony Schwartz who says the way we live now can really wear people down. From the foreign strain and our political system right now to Donald Trump`s attacks on whole ranges of people in America to all the normal real-world stresses that affect our well-being which new studies show is actually declining. On a global scale despite America`s relative affluence, the U.S. has fallen for spots to number 18 on the list of happiest countries. That`s a list you want to be on. Relative is the key word here because on a grand scale, the U.S. does face less disease, absolute poverty, fewer life-threatening risks than say 50 years ago. In fact, that`s something President Obama highlighted when he was trying to buck up a worried nation right after he handed those Oval Office keys to Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will say something that may sound controversial -- that by just about every measure America is better and the world is better than it was fifty years ago, thirty years ago or even ten years ago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: If so many things are looking up, our state of mind question tonight why do so many people feel so down. We turn to Tony Schwartz, CEO of the Energy Project Co-Author of the Art of the Deal and the author of The Way We`re Working Isn`t Working. You use the word survive and that is something that`s clearly out there right now. Will a constitutional democracy as we know it survive? Will multi-cultural pluralism as many Americans felt we were building survive this political era? And then how do we survive day to day with a life worth living? There was a someone who went through this in a very real level. An Admiral who was tortured in Vietnam for eight years. That`s a situation people remember as well from John McCain who said you must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end which you can never afford to lose with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality. That is the idea that you have optimism while knowing that nothing can be taken for granted.

TONY SCHWARTZ, CEO OF THE ENERGY PROJECT: That was Jim Stockdale who actually also ran for Vice-President with Ross Perot who made that statement. And the notion is that you can be simultaneously committed to the belief that there will be a way out and you must at the same time be totally attentive to the brutal reality of your everyday lives.

MELBER: Stockdale also had one of the most memorable beginnings to any debate, who am I, why am I here? And he was so obscure at the time that many people didn`t know.

SCHWARTZ: You know, who am I, why am I here is actually a really good question for people to ask themselves in this moment because if you can ground yourself not in the external world that is surrounding you but in your own values, in your own principles in your own beliefs, if you have that inner North Star and you can reconnect to it, it`s way to feel rooted in a very windy hurricane like time.

MELBER: Right. I think Trump as someone who`s setting a standard for the country is very much into melodramatic almost cartoonish version of cutthroat win at all costs. Take a listen to him talking about living a life with killer instincts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I do understand this all basically a game. We`re all here to play the game and we`re all hopefully going to play it well but some people obviously can`t play it well. The world made up of people with either killer instincts or without killer instincts, and the people that seem to emerge, all the people that are competitive and driven and with a certain instinct to win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That`s certainly true in business, in sports, but most of the people who`ve become president have a public service model about serving the country, how do you contrast that because he really is the first true business president with no public service experience.

SCHWARTZ: What you just observed, he was probably 35 years old when he said that, was the tragedy of Donald Trump which is that there is such a complete sense of emptiness inside him that the only way he can restore his sense of self-esteem and it`s a black hole keeps pouring out as he tries to pour more in it is to focus on the external measures of his success and this notion that you either win or you lose. How tragic is that? I mean, that is such a -- what it is, is it`s not human. It lacks humanity.

MELBER: Right. It`s one -- it`s one lane.

SCHWARTZ: It`s a binary view that says good, bad, right, wrong, and it leads you to the idea that the ends justifies the means.

MELBER: I want to get you on one other thing which is on the world happiness report they note the U.S. ranking is falling partly because of ongoing epidemics of untreated depression. How do we as a society have these conversations also including mental health without stigma?

SCHWARTZ: What we have to do and I have one other thing I want to say so I`m not going to let you go quite. What we --

MELBER: You`re not going to let me go.

SCHWARTS: Well, I`m not going to let you go.

MELBER: I`m hosting this show.

SCHWARTZ: You`re in charge. Or as my grandson says you`re in charge.

MELBER: You could do depression and the extra topic you.

SCHWARTZ: Thank you so much. What we have to do is simply acknowledge that we are complex human beings and depression and anxiety are part of the whole. And the idea that we have to hide it and in corporate -- in the corporate world or in the political world to acknowledge that you`re depressed, I mean, it costs Thomas Eagleton the nomination notes fights president back in 1972. The idea that we still can`t acknowledge that each of us is struggling with our own set of demons is the cause of our needing to put up a mask that drains our energy.

Here`s a joyous thing that I was able to do today. I wrote checks to 12 non-profits today ranging from the Planned Parenthood to the ACLU that all come from my royalties from the Art Of The Deal and I`ve committed to give all of those royalties away specifically to causes that protect and stand for the groups that Donald Trump is attacking. So it`s interesting to me that he has a billion dollars and I`m the ghostwriter. He has promised many times that he would give away the money that he earned from the Art Of The Deal. So far as we know, he`s given away not one dollar. I challenge him to match my donation.

MELBER: That`s an interesting challenge. We will put it to him. People do know you as the Author of Art Of The Deal. Do you think you or Mark Burnett are more responsible for the personality that is now --

SCHWARTZ: T.V. is -- T.V. is much more powerful than the written word. We know that and the other thing is I know Mark Burnett has not begun to do his penance.

MELBER: So your challenge tonight is to Donald Trump and Mark Burnett.

SCHWARTZ: It surely is.

MELBER: Tony Schwartz, State of Mind, thank you very much. President Obama meanwhile is making new moves on the midterms. We`re going to show you that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: There`s been a big political question about Barack Obama, and here it is. New York magazine asks where is Barack Obama and many of his supporters have clamored for him to get more involved in the Trump era. This week Beyonce and Jay-Z, concert goers in D.C. did catch Barack Obama out with his wife Michelle jamming.

If you watch this show you know I think they both have good taste but there`s more. On Monday, Obama emerged in a very political way with his former Vice President Joe Biden on a very public trip to a D.C. bakery.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hold on, hold on, what are you getting?

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I got one of those -- whatever they the hell they call it.

OBAMA: It`s a "Whatever the hell they call it?" I think I`ll have to get one of those too.

BIDEN: Get the boss one of those, too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Now, there`s more and it`s what`s happening behind the scenes without cameras but we want to show it to you because it`s newsy. The Obamas now endorsing 100 midterm candidates. That`s putting their name and their support behind key people running to try to get the Democrats the House back. They`re even saying they`re going to go out in the field and do campaign events. The endorsements are a splash from an Obama who according as we just showed to you that many people has been somewhat quiet. As we like to say around here, watch this space.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Before we go, I want to tell you can always find our podcast when you look for the purple podcast icon on your iPhone`s home screen, you click it. Go to the search bar and type in Melber or THE BEAT with Ari Melber and you`ll see our show page. You can get our shows commercial free and extra content. I am in tonight for "RACHEL MADDOW" at 9:00 Eastern if you want to check that out. Up next, it`s "HARDBALL."

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

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