President Trump admits campaign sought Russian help. TRANSCRIPT: 8/6/2018, The Beat w Ari Melber.

Guests: Rosie O`Donnell, Barbara Res, Rob Reiner

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: August 6, 2018 Guest: Rosie O`Donnell, Barbara Res, Rob Reiner

KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: That`s all for tonight. We will be back tomorrow with more MTP DAILY.

"THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER" starts now.

Hi, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Katy. Thank you very much.

Tonight, we have breaking news in this Mueller probe and some special guests later in the show. Trump critic Rosie O`Donnell actually joins me for a special exclusive interview about this bug White House protest she is involved in today.

Also, former Trump org executive Barbara Res is here with a story to tell on the bombshell news of Donald Trump admitting he had lied and that the real goal of the Trump tower meeting was to do something that may be illegal, get foreign help for his campaign.

But our top story is breaking news from inside the trial of Paul Manafort.

One of Donald Trump`s top campaign aides just confessed to crimes in open court. I could tell you tonight, Monday, August 6th is now a turning point in the Trump presidency and in this Mueller probe because this is the first time a Trump aides has directly admitted to his own crimes in front of the nation. This is not a rumor tonight. This is I not a speculation. This is not a tweet that can be taken back. This is not even a secret plea deal where we wonder what is inside it.

Today, for the first time people across the nation are hearing the result of a former top aide to the current President, walk into the courtroom, swear to tell the truth under oath and admit he is a criminal. Today is the first day we heard from a witness cooperating with Mueller out in the open. The man of course is Rick Gates. And he not only confessed his own crime, he did something that is even more legally important that we are going to break down tonight. Because he is speaking at the bank and tax fraud trial of his former boss and friend, Trump`s former campaign chair, Paul Manafort who is faced a pile of evidence for Mueller`s team that he false tax returns, that he committed bank fraud, that he lied about millions of dollars in loans.

And now let me give you this key exchange that happened late today in court. Mueller`s prosecutors pressing Gates.

Were you involved in any criminal activity with Mr. Manafort? Gates replies critically quote "yes."

Mueller`s prosecutor follows up and said, did you commit any crimes with Mr. Manafort? And Gates answers clearly, yes.

That is what a direct confession sounds like. It is very unusual to have a senior campaign aide confessing to crimes committed allegedly with the campaign chair in open court, right here, year two of a relatively young presidency. Gates served in Trump`s campaign. He was originally charged in the case as a coconspirator. Then he struck this deal with Mueller in February pleading guilty to conspiracy in line with the FBI.

But this is important and it goes to how Manafort`s team might try to attack what looks like bombshell direct testimonial evidence against him today. New charges could be brought if Gates violates that agreement, like if he lies today.

Now it was made clear in an exchange between Gates and one of Mueller`s prosecutors, all of that. But that is still on the hook.

Now inside the courtroom, we can also report beyond the words, which of course, the transcripts that we read, there was drama captured only by reporters in the room because no cameras are allowed in federal court.

Paul Manafort was seated. As he sits there awaiting his feat in this trial, he was just feet away from Rick Gates. And he stared him down as Gates made this rather bombshell allegation against him.

We begin with NBC`s intelligence and national security reporter Ken Dilanian. He was inside the courtroom. Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor in the southern district who handle organized crime cases and prosecuted a case against John Gotti Junior. Former federal prosecutor Kathy Fleming is also part of our special coverage and has handled her own mafia cases in New Jersey. And Jennifer Rubin, a conservative writer from the "Washington Post."

An all-star panel, if I may compliment you all.

We begin outside of court with Ken. What was the significance in your view of Rick Gates taking the stand? Is this a testimonial turning point, if you will, in the trial? And what did you see with your own eyes, the tension in the room?

KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS INTELLIGENCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: It was absolutely riveting, Ari. I do think it was a turning point. Because up until now the jury has heard from witnesses who worked for Mr. Manafort, who sold him goods, but nobody that actually knew his state of mind. Nobody that knew his motives.

Well, Gates does that. And it was incredible, as you suggest, that to see Mr. Gates who worked for Paul Manafort for ten years as his protege walk into that courtroom and take a seat just feet away from the defendant. And then as you said, Gates went into this sort of ritualistic process that you see in trials with the cooperating coconspirator where they essentially have to confess all their bad acts to the jury upfront because the prosecution does not want any surprises on cross examination.

And there actually was a surprised - I mean, obviously, we knew that Gates have been indicted on the tax and the bank fraud charges. He admitted to all that. But he also admitted to embezzling money from Paul Manafort.

The defense had alluded to this on its opening statement. And we all wondered what that was about. There has been no evidence presented to suggest that that happen. Well, it turns out it did happen. Gates is admitting to it and he volunteered that information. He said to the prosecutors as part of his plea agreement where they told him, look, pal, you need to tell us every bad thing that you did. He did that. When he say he submitted false expense reports and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars to be wired from those overseas accounts that Manafort didn`t know about.

Now, will that hurt his credibility? Absolutely, it will. But he was upfront about it. He essentially admitting I committed all these crimes. And if I lie in the stand now I`m going to lose my deal, lose any chance of a reduced sentence. And people wonder, will the jury believe somebody who has admitted a liar. Well, a jury believes (INAUDIBLE) who admitted to 19 murders and helped convict the mobster John Gotti.

This is how it works as you know, Ari, because you are a lawyer. Cooperators don`t tend to come from little sisters of the poor. They are usual criminals part of the conspiracy. They have come clean and that is exactly what we are seeing today and it was very dramatic.

MELBER: Elie, was this in your view the most important day thus far in the Manafort trial?

ELIE HONIG, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR IN THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Yes, absolutely, Ari. You know, here we go. It is game time. And Manafort`s lawyers said made very clear they are going to be coming out guns blazing against Gates.

And you know, as Ken said, cooperator testimony usually starts almost like a confessional. They have to put out everything bad they have ever done. And so, Rick Gates will probably spend a good part of tomorrow admitting all the crimes he has committed.

Now, the problem for Manafort`s attorney are they have to walk a really narrow tightrope here, which is yes, Rick Gates committed all these crimes that he is telling you about. But my client, Paul Manafort, knew nothing about it. The boss, the guy in charge, the guy who made the big money, the guy with the python jacket, he had no clue. And that is tough cell in terms on common sense.

The other thing that Mueller`s team has really done a good job of is sort of laying the foundation to protect and support Gates beforehand. You know, every witness who has come to the stand already, the book keeper, you know, the vendors have said the same thing. Manafort was in charge. Manafort knew where every dollar and every cent went. So the prosecutions now has the luxury of being able to put on Gates and he sort of pre- supported in his testimony?

MELBER: Cathy, your view of the prosecution strategy here?

CATHY FLEMING, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I think they had to put him on. There was some discussion about not putting him on the stand. That I think that was a sign that the prosecution team thought they had a pretty strong case without him. And they have shown some strengths in the case. When they had the accountant saying, they asked directly, did you have foreign accounts and the answer for Mr. Manafort directly was, no. And then they showed foreign accounts. That`s pretty hard evidence to rebut.

So I think that they thought we really do have to put Mr. Gates on to talk about the inside view as to what happened here. It`s a risk for both sides, though, as strong as it does to talk about what happened on the inside and what happens here, this is also fun for the defense side. This is where you get to show where people may not only be singing but composing. This is where you get to show where they be exaggerating and this is where you may get to show that perhaps he forgot to tell a few things to the prosecutors, that perhaps Mr. Manafort knows.

So it`s really a game changer on both sides. And it will be interesting to see what he says and how he says it. There`s a lot of incentive for him to make sure that those prosecutors are pleased by what he says and how he says it. And it`s a pretty good strategy for the defense to show he has really done everything he can do to make sure that the government, the only people who can ask for a reduced sentence. They don`t have the power to do it. The judge can`t even do it on his own. Except to get, of course, give whatever sentence he wants. But for five K-motion (ph), a downward departure motion for cooperation, those prosecutors have to be pleased with his testimony.

MELBER: Right. You are talking about the fact the Mueller`s prosecutors still hold a lot of these cards. Y

Eli, let me read a little more from the stub that Gates said that makes him sound bad which is a part of our analysis here.

He says quote "I added money to expense reports. I created expense reports to pad his salary by several hundred thousand dollars."

How do prosecutors preempt what Manafort`s lawyers and any decent lawyers will do, which is say, well, sounds like this guy was in it for himself. Maybe he was the leader of the criminal conspiracy and maybe projected it around a lot of other people in the business.

HONIG: Yes. The thing you have to sort of learn as a prosecutor, sometimes you have to embrace the bad, right. Your cooperating witnesses are cooperators for a reason. They are going to will be unsavory characters. They are going to be people who committed crimes. The key is, you know, we always tell juries it`s not about whether you like Rick Gates, it is about whether you believe him. And sure, he has lied, but as Cathy said, his interest now, self-interest now and surely he is a self- interested person is to tell the truth because ultimately, what he needs is a letter from the prosecutes. And nothing will tick off a prosecutor more than learning something about the corroborate tore for the first time in cross-examine. That`s why you spend days and days with the co-operators and say, you have to tell me everything you did that is bad. And then it is going to be up to the jury whether the evidence supports that or not.

MELBER: So Jennifer, here we are ten minutes in and we have been fully living in the trial and legality of that. I wonder if you could widen us out to the impact of this and the potential politics of it. We all have heard about how hard core Trump supporters may never change their mind. But for a president who came in with the thin mandate, no popular vote, 46 percent, he can`t really afford to lose a point or two at all. And I wonder if you think there are people out of here in this country who when they look up and clear away all of the drama and politics and see a legal process with a Republican like Rick Gates saying, I got busted, did this stuff, Manafort led it and this is the way we did business and this was who Trump put in charge of the campaign. Does that at some point in your view catch up with him?

JENNIFER RUBIN, OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think there are three aspects to that. And I do think it matters.

First, I think it is going to be very hard to say that Mr. Mueller did not have good reason to be investigating these people. This is not a witch hunt. These people didn`t commit one little stray crime. Gates is out there confessing to a bunch of crimes. And they have Manafort pretty much did ride on a bunch of crimes. So the idea that Mueller is out there just kind of wasting everybody`s time, I think it is really going to go by the wayside.

The second thing I thought was very interesting was that liars lie and cheat in big ways and little. One of the things he confessed to was violating his -- the terms of his parole. He was 15 minutes late. He supposed to be home at 11:00 p.m. and came home at 11:15. And that goes to what your other guests were saying, you have to confess to everything. You want no surprises.

The main take away I have is, my God, Donald Trump was surrounded by a bunch of crooks. And not only was Gates on the campaign but he was in the transition as well.

MELBER: That`s right.

RUBIN: This is the guy who says, I only hire the best people. The best people are liars and cheats and arguably tax evaders and embezzlers. It is kind of peculiar, isn`t it, the kind of people that Donald Trump surrounds himself with. Michael Cohen, Gates.

So I think this association in not - with not just one person, but a whole bunch of people who are committing crimes and being charged and confessing to crimes. I think that does rub off. And these people look - it looks like a cess pool.

So fair or not, I think simply the association and the willingness of these people, the desire of these people to work for Trump and Trump`s embrace of them looks really bad.

MELBER: Now Jennifer, briefly. I have to ask you, is cess pool just a fancy word for swamp?

RUBIN: Yes. It sure is. And it is goes beyond swamp. Swamp sort of refer to the business as usual which everyone accepts and is legal. This goes one beyond this. This is the illegal swamp. This is stuff that people don`t even thinks is par for the course. This is above and beyond.

MELBER: Right.

RUBIN: So I think it also sheds really a lot of light on -- remember just a few days ago, I know it seems like years when President Trump was saying, Paul Manafort, what a great guy. Why are they putting him through this? That`s the President of the United States endorsing these guys?

So it really does, I think, reflect on Trump`s character, on the associations he makes, on his judgment. And I think Americans are kind of get an earful in the next few days and weeks and months.

MELBER: And Ken, coming again out of the courtroom when this has been a such dramatic series of events, to the time when Donald Trump has tried to overshadow the festivities, if you will, the courtroom procedures. With this is still our lead story because it`s so important.

I wonder if you could tell us a little bit more from your reporting about the tensions we saw with the judge. It`s not all good news for Mueller, although experts telling us they keep methodically moving forward on this case, but walk us through some of the tensions there between the judge and Mueller`s prosecutors and what you glean from that.

DILANIAN: Yes. Judge Ellis, Ari, Judge TS Ellis here is here I Alexandria, is a judge who likes to impose his will on the courtroom. One of our commentator said some judges are could tend to be umpires. This one wants to pitch and plays shortstop.

He regularly interjects himself into the examination particularly chastising prosecutors I have noticed about their questions, whether they are leading or compound. There was recently a tense moment, according to our producer while I was out here, where the judge tried to rush the prosecutor, Greg Andre (ph), and said, let`s get to the heart of the matter. And the prosecutor actually did respond and said, we are at the heart of the matter, judge. And the judge barked back, don`t interrupt me, and then they had a sidebar. I mean, tensions are really on display.

And there is larger issues, not just arguing, because the judge has kept out of this trial, some evidence of prosecution want to introduce by Paul Manafort`s lavish lifestyle, that the luxury goods purchased with his allegedly ill-gotten gains. So that`s definitely been a factor here.

I also want to point out, Ari, that even if this jury decides they do not believe Rick Gates, even if Rick Gates collapses on cross examination, we have seen a lot of evidence that is entirely independent of rick Gates of crimes on the part of Paul Manafort, specifically that he had all these overseas bank accounts in Cyprus. And on his tax returns, he said he didn`t have them. And Gates have nothing to do that. I mean, Gates was a signatory in the overseas bank accounts but there`s no dispute that this bank accounts existed. The only thing the defense is arguing about that that it wasn`t a crime, he didn`t intend to violate the law. But they had a treasury agent on before Gates who outlined the rules about that and they are pretty clear. You have to disclose a foreign bank account. Manafort did not do that.

MELBER: Ken Dilanian, with the hot seat at the court, Cathy Fleming, thank you. Jennifer Rubin and Elie Honig, thanks to s each of you for being on THE BEAT.

Coming up, live Rosie O`Donnell is on THE BEAT. She wants to talk about protesting the White House tonight and why she is back in the news.

Also later, a legal breakdown of Donald Trump`s stunning admission about the Russia meeting, past lives and future strategies.

Also, we have a Trump organization executive. You see her there on the screen at Trump`s side. She worked for him for 20 years.

And later the one and only Rob Rainer talking about truth and consequences for lying in American life and culture.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Former Trump aide Rick Gates is not the only trump figure confessing right about now. President Trump himself admits the infamous Trump tower meeting was designed to get campaign help from the Russians.

That is new. And let`s stop right there and underscore what it means. The President admitting to a key element of a crime attempting to get foreign help in a U.S. campaign. Now, if you actually get that help, like getting money or a thing a value from a foreigner, that`s a felony.

Now Trump is admitting the attempt part in a new tweet, writing the goal was to get information on an opponent from the Russians.

So with this partial confession, Trump is handing evidence to Mueller. He is building the case for criminal intent against himself and his campaign. He is showing that he previously lied.

Why would someone do that? Well one reason is if Mueller can already prove these things, then the strategy may be to try to put more of them out first and then claim it`s all old news later. Whatever the strategy, though, let`s focus tonight here on the facts and ramifications. Trump team`s current defense indicates their old defense was false.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump Junior said in a statement he asked Jared and Paul to stop by for what the President`s son called a short introductory meeting. We primarily discussed a program about the issue of Russian children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don, did the issue of adoption -- near and dear to my heart because I have two Russian adopted sons. Did that come up?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the meeting with the (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like I said, that was the primary thing we had spoken about in the meeting. That`s not the premise that got them in the room. And they started essentially, you know, bait and switch to talk about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Trump Junior there caught on tape accusing others of bait and switch. Now, it`s Trump`s own team admitting they did the bait and switch in defending all of this. Now Trump has also put his lawyer out in the cold, Jay Sekulow forced to explain why he put out that false information.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY SEKULOW, TRUMP`S ATTORNEY: The President was not involved in the drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement. It came from Donald Trump Jr. I had bad information at that point. I made a mistake in my statement. So I think it is very important to point out that in a situation like this, you have over time, facts develop.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Facts develop. And Trump, of course, infamously crafted the misleading statement with Hope Hicks. Mueller`s team had already interviewed her. But guess what, she was spotted on air force one again this weekend. It was hours before this new tweet.

So Trump and his son lied in their old defense that the meeting was about adoption. And that old lie itself could be a crime if anyone told it to federal investigators. That old lie also can be evidence of intent to obstruct justice if prosecutors can prove they were trying to cover up what happened to authorities.

And the main reason you have for Trump to logically admit any of this now, would be to try to again get ahead of Bob Mueller if he thinks the truth is coming out any way.

I`m joined by now by MSNBC analyst Malcolm Nance, the author of "the plot to destroy democracy."

When you look at this, if this is bad for Trump, it is coming from Trump. So what is your theory from an investigative and investigative perspective about why it`s coming out now?

MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC TERRORISM EXPERT: Well, there is two things that I believe. I think there may be a factor to it that Trump is trying to get out ahead of it. That may have been discussed at a meeting and it just popped out.

But you know, Trump has a pattern of speaking that we all know. And it is lie, deny and then arrogantly confess. We have seen that before, you know. I mean, when he had his interview with Lester Holt or he admitted he wanted to fire Comey and it was about the Russian thing.

So I think Sekulow, you know, that is really needs a psychologist more than it needs a national security analyst. But I think that he was arrogantly confessing as in his mind a way to explain away their strategy that there is no - that, you know, whatever they were doing there was not illegal. And that sounds like a hybrid of Giuliani and Trump.

MELBER: Is it bad if they went into the meeting to get foreign help and then attended the meeting trying to get foreign help but ultimately didn`t get the help?

NANCE: Well, you know, I`m not the perfect analyst on this. So I`m going to quote someone who knows it very well. Congressman Ted Lieu uses an example as a military judge advocate. General lawyer (ph) where he says, suppose I have two air force airmen and one of them says, hey, I have been talking to Colombian drug lords and they are going to ship me cocaine but we have to have a meeting with them. And the other goes, well, if what you are saying is true, I love it. Right there at that point, they have committed conspiracy. And that is precisely what Mueller and everyone else is saying. And I think it`s starting to sink into the Trump team that what happened in conspiracy so they need to talk it away in the court of public opinion because that will, of course, end up possibly as part of impeachment hearings.

MELBER: The other part of this that you are very familiar with is how propaganda and disinformation can be laundered through media, through conversation and even what we consider a robust civic society like our own.

NANCE: Right.

MELBER: And so, Donald Trump seems to be trying to not only move the gold post and probe but to get a wider group of Americans, perhaps even beyond his core supporters to say, well, I think I heard about this. Is that all there is? And so, look at this in the context on his past statements about what everyone tries to get off. This is what`s done. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think from a practical standpoint most people would have taken that meeting. It`s called opposition research or even research into your opponent. In the case of Don, he listened. I guess they talked about -- as I see it, they talked about adoption and some things. But nothing happened from the meeting. Zero happened from the meeting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: How do you draw the line of the communication technique there to this weekend?

NANCE: Well clearly, there`s a legal strategy behind that Giuliani is behind. Which is create a cloud of doubt and then create a false reality of what is happening. The false reality is no collusion, no collusion. And the secondary false reality is none of this is a crime, therefore the President has done nothing wrong and this is just usual.

We all know there that it is a crime. There are actual U.S. codes that are being violated when you commit conspiracy to defraud the United States or the conspiracy in order to, you know, essentially rig an election.

They are trying to say, that`s not true. And what you are going to hear is a mountain of people follow that up because as he see the propaganda, you know, environment it filters down to his people and then they in the broader audience with using FOX News, will just create a new reality in which he might have to face the Congress with.

MELBER: Right. And that`s the information you work for your part that I think is fascinating with concerning how people go from, well, it`s just about adoption, so it`s OK to --. Well, yes, they lied about by adoption, it was actually to get help from Russia but it is still OK.

Almost out of time so final word.

NANCE: Next week could be crimes or not crimes out of these guys. And I suspect that`s where they are going to go.

MELBER: Malcolm Nance who has been following this from the beginning. Thank you as always. Good to see you in person, sir.

Straight ahead, Rosie O`Donnell joins me live in 30 seconds from Washington where she is leading an anti-Trump protest at the White House.

Hi, Rosie. I will see you in 30 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Welcome to THE BEAT. I`m joined live by Rosie O`Donnell, a comedian and an actress, former talk show host and an outspoken critic of President Trump.

Tonight, you are live from Washington. You are leading a protest with a whole range of cultural leaders and Broadway performers in front of the White House. I will mention as part of the series of nightly protest that have been going on a Trump`s door since the controversial meeting with Putin in Helsinki.

First of all, Rosie, thanks for coming on THE BEAT to talk about this. It is nice to see you.

ROSIE O`DONNELL, COMEDIAN/ACTRESS: I`m really happy to be here. I`m sad it is not fallback Friday. But still I will do my best.

MELBER: You know what? We will begin by saying you are welcome for any fallback Friday.

People know you. You are famous. You have tangled with this President. Walk us through what you are doing right now tonight. Why is this important?

O`DONNELL: Well, when I watched the Helsinki summit and I, too, watched our President abandon our nation and be totally the betrayer that he is, I was horrified but I was working on a movie, Showtime series rather called "Smelt" and I wasn`t able off to come down here to protest, to join in the last 22 days. But luckily, we got a (INAUDIBLE). That was a little bit of a surprise to everyone. So I called (INAUDIBLE) and asked him to get a bunch of Broadway people together so we could show up and support the people at the Kremlin annex who have been protesting there for 22 nights in a row since that summit where he really staked his claim in Russia as opposed to the United States.

MELBER: Do you think, Rosie, I was thinking about this and I want to ask it you point-blank. Do you think this is one of those periods in history where you have been proven right, where people who may not have given you the benefit of the doubt and thought you and Donald Trump had some sort of quote-unquote "celebrity feud," have come to learn things about him that reflect a problem with his leadership, why he is not fit for office? Has that been a turning point since Helsinki? Because we have heard from more people and more people across the spectrum that Helsinki raised profound questions about whether he should be president.

O`DONNELL: Well, he should not be president and I don`t think he`s a legitimate president. I believe if it weren`t for Russia, he never would have won and I think the reason he`s not so panicked about Russia is because he knows they`re going to try again to do exactly what they did in 2016. Although the media won`t say it yet, they actually gave him the election. I believe that firmly and I think a lot of people do. I think the media is a little bit slow, mainstream media in coming around to where they actually are. It took you a long time to call him a liar and the man has been lying every day since he`s been in office. So you know, I think Helsinki was the last straw for a lot of people and it was like forget it, you can`t get more blatant than what he did right there, swore his allegiance to Russia, not to his own country. And I believe he should be impeached. I`m sickened by Congress that doesn`t call for impeachment when we have evidence of his horrible high crimes and misdemeanor.

So it`s not that I want to be proven right, but people thought we had a feud. I`ve never spoken to the man. He was never once on my show ones as a sweeper when I was making money but I never spoke to him in my life. And what he did, the way he kind of bombarded me and tried to change what the public opinion was of me with the help of the National Enquirer and Fox News is exactly what he`s done since he`s been in office, to people lifetime civil servants, the head of the FBI, the CIA, you know, our allies across the world. So what he did to me was more like foreshadowing of what he was going to do to all of us. And as I know from the last decade, it doesn`t feel so good.

MELBER: Well, it`s an interesting point you raised that I would like to explore with you because this is something we`ve seen and we`ve it in societies where democracy is in peril that it becomes difficult for the society to deal in facts and policy if powerful people or the leadership turn everything into personal bullying or worse. We`ve seen that, as you say, with you. We`ve seen that as a political strategy with potentially of truth tellers, if you think James Comey tells the truth under oath, and we`ve seen it with the press. I want to -- with that context, go back to what is a low point, not to play it to be rude, but it was a political strategy that when he was pressed on his treatment of women which is only become more exposed and more problematic, he personally attacked you. Let`s take a look at that moment from the debates.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Only Rosie O`Donnell.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: What was he doing there in your view --

O`DONNELL: The worst part of that is this huge response.

MELBER: Go ahead.

O`DONNELL: The worst part is the huge response. You know, he`s like a bad stand up comic in the Catskills who gets one sloppy line out and then talks about it for four months. You know, he told everyone they laughed at that, that was the funniest thing. He was allowed to with help from the mainstream media and MSNBC, all he had to do was look at the tapes from "MORNING JOE" from 2007, they had him on once a week and they all ganged up. Willie Geist was very anti-Rosie O`Donnell, so was Joe Scarborough, so was every single reporter on Fox. And it went on and on and on. And when he would go on and lied and say the show was canceled, the show was not canceled my friend, I left the show and left $100 million on the table because I wanted to go home and parent. He changed the narrative and the narrative and the factual truth about who I am to the public of America when I was not on every day to rebut it.

If I was -- if I was on there, I don`t think it would happen because people would go, I see what she is, I understand what she is. But when he was the only one doing it, and nobody would stand up to him and they would let him. It was as if only Rosie O`Donnell could be only the 700 girls who are missing from the border, only Stormy Daniels, only all these Mexicans that he derides and diminishes every chance he gets. You know, he`s a horrible, horrible human with no soul and he has a very serious mental distorted. There are so many psychiatrists who are trying to get out but duty to warn, they wrote a book. This guy is a no (INAUDIBLE) mentally stable enough to run this country and he should be impeached and every congressman who hasn`t filed should lose their job.

MELBER: You mentioned some of my colleagues who have their own T.V. shows so as my practice I will let them respond how they want with their own T.V. shows. With regard to the activism -- well you know that`s how I am. That`s the lawyer in me, Rosie. With regard to the activism --

O`DONNELL: Yes, that`s good.

MELBER: -- how does it work? We have seen the flip side and it`s part of what you`re mobilizing or what you`re doing with people. We have seen record-breaking numbers of women running for office, we`ve seen record number of LGBTQ candidates. New York Times has a story on that out. We`re seeing this uprising and the culture seems to be part of that. What do you think is important in direct action activism to recruit new candidates particularly young women candidates and others, how do you view that as part of this?

O`DONNELL: Well it is part of it because he`s a misogynist man and what he does is denigrate the most vulnerable and he considers women not equal to men and therefore yes, you can make fun of them. You could say that they`re not appealing to you, as if women want to be appealing to him, as if women are walking around going my god, I`m so upset, Donald couldn`t get it up for me. Are you kidding me? I mean, this man is like a joke and mainstream media treated him as a legitimate candidate as if they were two equals, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And it was a falsehood from the start and I think the best thing that we can do is encourage people to vote because come November we`re going to save democracy or we`re going to lose it. That is the whole thing.

If we save democracy and we turn the House, he`s gone. And it might take however long it takes for the impeachment trial to go out but we`re going to start the healing in America. We`re going to have to start not being on different sides and understand that what this man did was unfair and inhumane and even to the people who trusted him the most. That`s what`s heartbreaking. You see these people at these rallies, most of them paid to be there screaming about you know, that he`s right and letting all their racist deep dark horrible corners of their soul flourish. It`s really -- it`s so against everything America, it really is. And I hope that we can flip this and save democracy. If we can`t, I got a you know, I got a believe that fascism will take over in America and that will be the death of democracy this 200 and something-year-old experiment.

MELBER: Right. You`re worried about the state of the nation in our constitutional democracy. We hear that day in and day out from all people different walks of life. You mentioned the rallies. I think we`ve seen terrible acts of hate and bigotry and violence even at these rallies. I think there also are plenty of people who go to them who are interested in Trump or conservative and are not racist. I want to play for you something though that we did see that`s alarmed a lot of people including the United Nations as you know which is something that we`re more customers seeing in other countries which is the head of the government trying to rile up people against the Free Press which is our First Amendment. Take a look of course at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They can make anything bad because they are the fake, fake disgusting news and even these people back here, these horrible horrendous people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Do you have a concern --

O`DONNELL: You know, when someone dies maybe he`ll shut up.

MELBER: Well, that`s what`s I`m asking you is --

O`DONNELL: When someone dies maybe he`ll shut up.

MELBER: -- do you think that this conduct and language from the President raises a risk of violence in this country?

O`DONNELL: Without a doubt and he`s doing dog whistles every day. And he`s shouting out to people who try to fight off their own internal racism. He`s encouraging them. You know, when he goes after LeBron James, are you kidding me, on the day after he opens a school in Ohio, he`s going to go after LeBron James? You know, it`s crazy to me the way -- the people that he attacks. And someone will get hurt, someone will die, and someone did. Heather died in one of those rallies right? How many more people are going to have to die before we realize what a horrible bully pulpit he has? No president has ever used it for the way that he has and it`s been a disgrace to democracy our standing in the world what America is about and will return to being as soon as he`s out.

MELBER: The irony --

O`DONNELL: Ari, id love to ask you if you could --

MELBER: Go ahead.

O`DONNELL: Is to take on the case of reality winner. No mainstream media will take her case on. Here`s a young girl who warned all of us, who was a patriot who served in the Armed Forces, who said Russia hacked our elections and it affected the results, you know where she is, in jail. You know who else is in jail for Russian hacking right now, no one. Just reality winner, a twenty-something-year-old girl. I don`t understand why it`s not national news.

MELBER: Well that`s the important case. I think it goes to the final thing I want to ask you about. You and some of the folks you`ve worked with are very critical of the role of the media and I`ll say in all honesty I think television media in the Trump phenomenon, that`s something that we`re accustomed to more the right wing of criticisms of saying oh liberal media, mainstream media, I noticed you use that term as well. What do you think is the corrective? What do you think is important dealing with someone like this that requires scrutiny and attention but obviously exists to troll the media and in your narrative at which I`m asking you about you argue, you basically beat the video game to some degree in 2016, what do you want to see different as a final question?

O`DONNELL: Well I`d like you to stop covering his rallies, number one. There`s no reason to cover his rallies. All he does is lie, incite violence and threaten journalists, if not celebrities or other world leaders. I don`t think you should cover his rallies at all and I think that you should denounce all the lies that Fox News tell them and correct it. When someone sits across from you and tells the blatant lie rather than calling it a mistruth of maybe they didn`t understand it, say no you`re lying. I hope today on the on the White House lawn, I need some of the press corps so I can say do what Jim Acosta did. Get up and walk out. Next time Sanders lies to you, stand up and walk out. That`s the only way we`re going to change it. They`re lying to us so much and nobody seems to care anymore. You got to care. You got to bring a whistle to the White House Correspondents and you got to blow it every time she says something that`s a lie which will be pretty much the entire conference.

MELBER: As we were hearing your remarks, we`re looking at live pictures of part of the protest you`re leading there in front of the White House. Rosie O`Donnell, very interesting to hear from you directly. I appreciate you coming on THE BEAT and I mean it, we`d love to have you in "FALLBACK FRIDAY" as well. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Any time. I got my rap quotes ready for you, Ari. If you don`t know, now you know.

MELBER: If you don`t know, now you know. A little Brooklyn Biggie Smalls. Thank you, Rosie.

O`DONNELL: There you go.

MELBER: Up ahead, we are going to look deeper at the statement of the Trump Tower meeting. Why Trump is changing his tune and why it is a lie. Also, we`re going to speak to a former Trump executive about Don Junior`s meeting as well and whether Trump is business, as usual, would have been in the loop. That`s ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: The other top story tonight is the exposure on the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians. Donald Trump`s clear bombshell admission that he was lying, the true goal was to do something that might be illegal to get foreign help with his campaign but he still added one more thing that may or may not be true, that he claims he didn`t know about it. But when did he learn about it? Is it even plausible given what we`ve learned and what`s come out that there was this significant meeting in Trump Tower and he was out of the loop? Well, we like to people go to people who have reason to know Barbara Res so you see on the right in that photo who worked for Trump inside that very tower. She was a top executive for 20 years and she joins me now.

Barbara Res is also the author of All Alone On The 68th Floor. It`s a -- it`s an evening of powerful guests if I say so myself. We add you to the roster so first Barbara, thanks for being here.

BARBARA RES, FORMER EXECUTIVE, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: My pleasure.

MELBER: Based on your knowledge of how Donald Trump works, how the Trump Organization functions, do you think that this ongoing defense is plausible and probably true or implausible and probably false?

RES: Based on my opinion, and that is based on my experience, I think it`s not true. I can`t imagine on a circumstance in which Donald Trump would not know about something that important being planned in a meeting. In my experience, we often -- even meetings that we were planning to attend that we were attending because other people were not high enough for Donald to attend, we would discuss them beforehand.

MELBER: Beforehand.

RES: He often told us what to say what to ask.

MELBER: Yes. I mean, one thing that many of us have in common with Donald Trump is haggling. Who wants to pay full price, am I right? Let`s take a look at him you talking about that and details. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: When people come in to buy something especially very rich people, they see details. If something is wrong, they see it and it reflects in the price. That`s why I`m up early in the morning to check every detail of my construction sites.

What is that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Can you haggle without details and can you brag in a public speech as he did that he`d have new dirt on Clinton if he wasn`t read into the details?

RES: Yes. I and that occurred to me at the time when he -- when he said that and then a few days later we learned about the meaning. I mean, absolutely.

MELBER: And so, when he does this thing that he`s doing now, what do you recognize it as? He clearly wants to help his son. There`s widespread report that he`s worried that Mueller could indict his son, but I can tell you, I`ll give you my analysis and I`m curious on yours, if you are in trouble for the criminal mindset of obstructing a probe and you do things that reveal more of your criminal mindset, you`re not helping your son, you`re potentially hurting him.

RES: You would say that and that would be a normal reaction but that`s not the way Trump thinks. I mean, he thinks he can do everything and improve every situation. He thinks he has control and that`s what he`s doing. He`s exercising control.

MELBER: And so, do you think in trying to seize that control he may be losing control?

RES: I think ultimately you will be losing control. I don`t I don`t see it right now. I mean, some people are saying yes but other people looking at the situation wondering where we`re going to go with Mueller and what`s going to happen so we have to stay tuned.

MELBER: We will stay tuned. Barbara Res, someone who was there in the building, thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. Up next the filmmaker and increasingly active Political Activist Rob Reiner, come on over here. He`s here next after the break.

ROB REINER, FILMMAKER: Am I going to stand the whole --

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Donald Trump`s new admission that he was lying about the Trump Tower meeting was so brazen and so dramatic it could be a Hollywood movie confession scene. And that`s why in a moment I`m joined by filmmaker and activist Rob Reiner who knows his way around a plot. First, let`s look at the context. It was just last year when Donald Trump said that his sons meeting with the Russians was only about Russian adoption. Then this weekend, he comes out and says no it was to get information on an opponent. Foreign information could be a crime. In other words, Trump is telling everyone he was lying. This is the kind of moment you rarely see where a main character if you will, a protagonist admits they were lying, something we`ve even seen in Rob Reiner`s own films.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To blame means to bluff. So you`re probably playing cards and you cheated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Liar! Liar! Liar!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want answers?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I`m entitled.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want answers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want the truth you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can`t handle the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The movie was about 80 percent accurate in 20 percent book which I guess by Hollywood standards is an accomplishment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: An accomplished. Rob Reiner is here, the director of the films you just saw. A Few Good Men as well as the new film "Shock And Awe" which deals with government lies.

REINER: Right.

MELBER: Thanks for being here.

REINER: My pleasure.

MELBER: Lies.

REINER: Yes.

MELBER: Why do people admit them and keep getting away with them in plots including potentially this American plot?

REINER: Well, they get away with them in plots until somebody uncovers the lie and that becomes a big focal point of the story when all of a sudden the story flips because a lie is exposed. We are having an experience with a guy who lies all the time.

MELBER: Constantly.

REINER: Constantly lies and is lying right to our face and we have not as yet gotten to that point where those lies become the plot twist that flips and nails them. There`s something that`s been was told to me and when we were doing the case against a proposition eight which was to establish marriage equality. One of the lawyers says to me, you know, you can say whatever you want on television but the minute you go into a courtroom and you put your hand on the Bible and swear to tell the truth, you have to tell the truth. That`s the reason why this President who is a pathological liar is not going to talk to Robert Mueller. He is incapable of telling the truth. But at certain point he`s going to hit the wall where the truth and reality are going to come and smack him upside the head and he`s going to have big problems, big, big problems.

MELBER: Sort of an oops upside your head moment.

REINER: But -- and it`s going to be the biggest political plot twist you`ll have ever seen in the history of this country because you`ve got a guy lying -- by way admitting to crimes all over the place. Everybody in this administration is committing crimes and admitting to it but at a certain point, they`re going to be held accountable. The first step is for us to take back the House and start having the right kind of hearings that will get the truth out and then ultimately over time people hopefully will come around to accepting the truth because if we don`t then we don`t have democracy anymore.

MELBER: I wonder in your view about a character who knows they`re lying versus doesn`t care and doesn`t keep track of it. We showed a few good men where what is so unrealistic what rarely happens in the courtroom no offense is a bit of what Donald Trump does on Twitter we`re somewhat actors says yes, no, you know what, everything I said was bull. I was lying. Now I`m saying this which always raises the question why would we believe you now. Take a look at Donald Trump lying based on what we`ve been able to figure out about his well known and documented practice of pretending to be another person his spokesperson which is a lie and then he lies about. Take a look at this from the "TODAY SHOW."

REINER: John Barron, here we go.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think you can use Donald Trump now, and you can just consolidate it. I think last year somebody showed me the articles and I think he had 200 and 200.

It was not me on the phone. And it doesn`t sound like me on the phone. I will tell you that, and it was not me on the phone.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

REINER: OK, so, first of all, it was him on the phone. And when I heard this, this was during the campaign. I learned about this habit that he has of going on and talking as this guy John Barron or one of these other characters. I thought to myself this guy is certifiably insane because think about this for a second. Who do you know that gets on a phone and pretends to be somebody else on this kind of level and talks to a journalist to get information out? That`s insane. That`s insanity. And I thought when I heard that is how could that guy be President? How are we going to allow a person who does a thing like that become President of the United States? And you know, it happened. But that`s as crazy -- that`s kind of beyond pathological. There`s some kind of mental illness that that allows for something like.

MELBER: But we don`t -- and we don`t know at a distance what it is. We know that he`s caught on tape. The tape plays and he has the ability to just say that wasn`t me or in this weekend`s version admit to his supporters I was lying the whole time and I want people to stay with me on that.

REINER: Yes, well I think you know, he has a certain cult of followers for whatever reason and going to follow him but he has no problem lying. It`s transactional. Does it help him to lie to that guy and say about Donald Trump on the phone? Yes. Does it help them to say that wasn`t Donald Trump? Yes. Whatever`s going to help them at that moment, that`s what he does and he doesn`t care about the you know, the ramifications of it. And with 15 seconds to go, Rick Gates` testimony today as someone who`s been following Russia strikes you as an important today?

REINER: It is. I don`t think it`s as important right this second because it`s ultimately about Paul Manafort`s you know, financial dealings but he will also have a lot of information about Manafort`s connection to Russia and his connection to Trump.

MELBER: Rob Reiner --

REINER: Thanks.

MELBER: You can handle it. You handle the truth. Thank you for being here.

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

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