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Increasingly tense on capitol hill. TRANSCRIPT: 10/3/2018, The Beat w Ari Melber.

Guests: Christina Greer, Liz Plank, Ben Cardin, William Cohan, Caroline Ciraolo, Lloyd Doggett, Mark Osler, Katty Kay

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: October 3, 2018 Guest: Christina Greer, Liz Plank, Ben Cardin, William Cohan, Caroline Ciraolo, Lloyd Doggett, Mark Osler, Katty Kay

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: All we need is a painting. Of course, if the president`s personal taste is (INAUDIBLE), wall project could get expensive pretty quickly. We wonder if the U.N. would pay for it or if they`re going to make the United States pay for it.

That`s all for tonight. We`ll be back tomorrow with more MTP DAILY. "THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER" starts right now. Good evening, Ari.

ARI MELBER: Good evening, Chuck.

We have a lot of news going on. A classmate of Judge Kavanaugh is retracting his support. He joins me exclusively tonight. Reverberations as well from "The New York Times" tax fraud story and we`ll take a deeper look into what is now being exposed as decades of fraud and conning.

Also, a lawmaker who wants to get Trump`s tax returns joins me as well. But we begin with the Kavanaugh investigation. It is getting increasingly tense on Capitol Hill, the Kavanaugh probe hits the homestretch. Senator Corey -- Senator Corker, I should say, saying today that Republicans are expecting the FBI to send the transcripts of these interviews that they have done. They`re going to send them in today. So a lot happening right now. We`ll be tracking the response.

The questions about the independence of the probe though have also been mounting. One source telling NBC there`s now frustration inside the FBI. The key leads are not being pursued and dozens of relevant witnesses may never weigh in. Republicans still plan to vote this week. Many want the FBI report to be publicly released.

While some of the same protests that were so effective on Friday are continuing today, increasing tension around the Senate. You`re seeing police there escorting Senator Collins. They have now been routinely escorting many different lawmakers given the ongoing protest and the sensitivity. So that is the heat. How is everyone taking it?

Well, that`s really our top story and where we begin. How this pressure right now appears to be unnerving Donald Trump and potentially boosting the odds of some of the anti-Kavanaugh protesters. Trump reverting to old form. Outing himself by mocking Dr. Ford in his Thursday rally and that, of course, contradicts his own claim that he respected her position from just one day earlier.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You cannot say that we have done anything but be respectful. And I do and I respect her position very much. I respect her position very much.

What he`s going through, 36 years ago this happened. I had one beer, right. I had one beer. Well, you think -- no, it was one beer. Oh, good. How did you get home? I don`t remember. How did you get there? I don`t remember. Where is the place? I don`t remember.

How many years ago was it? I don`t know. I don`t know. I don`t know. I don`t know. What neighborhood was it in? I don`t know. Where`s the house? I don`t know. Upstairs, downstairs. Where was it? I don`t know but I had one beer. That`s the only thing I remember.


MELBER: So there is Trump`s reversal and it`s all interrelated now because as he does this, as he pushes back towards the way he wants to engage these kinds of accusations of sexual assault, he is as a factual matter alienating the very Republican swing votes that Kavanaugh needs. So here are two of them going from praising Kavanaugh`s credentials to now in response explicitly rebuking Trump`s new comments.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: He clearly has very impressive credentials and extensive experience. The president`s comments were just plain wrong.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Judge Kavanaugh whose dedication and commitment as a volunteer basketball coach I think demonstrate and says a good deal about that character. To discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right. It`s just not right. I wish he hadn`t done it. It`s kind of appalling.


MELBER: So the trend line there looks pretty simple. Add Trump and you lower Kavanaugh`s odds which is why so many Republicans have been trying to keep Trump on the sidelines to begin with. But, of course, we do know the odds themselves are objectively high in a Senate controlled by Republicans. So to stop Kavanaugh, we are still in a place where -- and when you look at this, when you look at the undecideds, you need to flip two of the remaining swing Republicans and opponents of Kavanaugh would have to hold on to every Democratic vote if they want this change.

I`m joined tonight by Fordham University`s Christina Greer and Liz Plank, the senior producer for Vox Media. Thanks to you both for being here.

The FBI report moves forward and any moment could go to the Senate. There`s not a lot of expectation that it`s going to change the bottom line calculus.

CHRISTINA GREER, PROFESSOR, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: Yes. I think what`s really sad is that everything is left up to these few swing Senators. And I think that there`s some real questions about not just the process but Kavanaugh himself as a man and his past behavior.

And the sad thing is we`re only looking at three Republicans. Those are the potentials that could turn this nomination on its head. What about the other Republican Senators? You know, why aren`t they actually being called to the mat? These are some real concerns.

The FBI is rushing through an investigation. They`re talking to not enough people. There are so many people who are trying to come forward saying, "I`m trying to talk to the FBI, they`re not even calling me back." Why are we putting it up to Collins, Murkowski, and Flake who`s known to kick up stand and then go straight to the president? Why are we asking on the Republicans?

Don`t you find this offensive? This is a job that, you know, is tenured for life and this man has some real questions about his character and his past behavior. Why can`t we slow this down? You all were fine to slow down Merritt Garland. Of course, it didn`t have any of these problems and that`s why the process moved forward.

So that to me is the frustrating part because we`re seeing the fraying of the three branches of government and the separation of powers really dissolving with this president who sort of leads by public opinion. And we`re seeing more and more senators performing for the audience of one that you talk about quite a bit.

LIZ PLANK, SENIOR PRODUCER, VOX MEDIA: Right. I mean what the president did last night, I think what we`ve seen unfold over the last few weeks, is that the Republican Party set a really low bar for what it means to be a man in 2018. From Donald Trump using his position as the most powerful person in the country to go after a woman who`s already risked her life to give her testimony and speak up at hearings to down palette candidate.

I mean like Kevin Kramer to say that, you know, if this is the standard for a man, then no man will ever get nominated to the Supreme Court. Saying that basically having attempted to rape someone is, you know, the exception or sorry, is the rule rather than the exception. I`ve actually been talking to a lot of Republican men, primarily younger Republican men who are really disgusted by what they have seen unfold. And obviously, the women are leaving the Republican Party in droves but they might lose also some support for men, to your point, if more Republicans don`t speak up.

MELBER: The other part of this is whatever the FBI finds, what is being learned through the vetting process of these hearings. You know, the hearings are usually so carefully orchestrated that you don`t necessarily get a ton of information about what`s really going on. Here, in what many people feel is a negative way, you`ve got a whole window into Brett Kavanaugh. How he deals with pressure, how he deals with being evaluated or judged, being not the judge in this particular proceeding and then his basic squareliness (ph) over things that shouldn`t be hard to address.

So take a look for example at Leahy questioning him about this reference to Bart O`Kavanaugh. And before I play it, I`ll just give everyone the facts as we like to do around here because we have this new letter that`s come out where Kavanaugh himself was describing his friends, his loud obnoxious drunks in the 1983 high school letter and then he signs it Bart. And then he has this little phraseology there but whether or not you think this is great taste or not, it doesn`t seem like something that the average person forgets that they had a nickname, they signed it, they know it and yet this was how he dealt with it when questioned under oath.


KAVANAUGH: I think he picked out names of friends of ours to throw them in as kind of close to for characters in the book.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: I`m trying to get a straight answer from you under oath. Are you Bart Kavanaugh that he is referring to, yes or no?

KAVANAUGH: You`d have to ask him.


MELBER: What does that tell you about? Again, that`s separate from the validity of the allegations. It just goes to why are you lying about your nickname?

PLANK: Right. And if you`re lying about the small things, then how do we know that you`re not lying about the big things? And it seems to be the standard that Brett Kavanaugh hold himself to but it`s also the same that Donald Trump has set for the entire party. And once again, when you speak to a lot of Republicans who are moderate, they don`t like that.

Donald Trump does not speak for them and Lindsey Graham and, you know, Orrin Hatch and all of these other, you know, very high ranking members basically agreed to lie on behalf of the president. It worries a lot of Republicans. This is not going to look good for the midterms.

MELBER: I want to talk to you about what Trump is doing on the spectrum of false accusations because in the legal system as well as in any notion of fairness, when there are false accusations, they are very problematic, right. And there are certain groups in America, we`ve seen African- American men often profiled and faced extra accusations. In Europe, you can look at times where Jews are the first to be blamed for anything.

So there is a whole reason why this gets people concerned. I want you to listen to what Donald Trump is doing in suggesting that this is now a national epidemic for men or certain men. Take a look.


TRUMP: Your son could do great. Mom, I did great in school. I`ve worked so hard. Mom, I`m so pleased to tell you I just got a fantastic job with IBM. Mom, a terrible thing just happened. A person who I`ve never met said that I did things that were horrible and they`re firing me from my job, mom. I don`t know what to do.


GREER: Well, we know that this president uses racist dog whistles all the time, which I call dog barking. But here, he`s using a gender dog whistle, right. He`s going after men. Fifty-three percent of white women saying, you know, "This could be your brother. This could be your son. This could be your father." Stick with me, you know, it`s not that bad. I mean yes, we all lie. What are you going to do?

I mean I think it`s also interesting in the sign behind him said "Finish the wall," right. First of all, he hasn`t started the wall. So I mean this president lies so frequently. And he`s called into question journalists and media professionals where he can say certain things and he`s tapping into his base. Because as Liz said, he`s worried about the blue wave that`s coming.

Most presidents, we look in the past, their first midterm election after they gotten elected, you know, they lose some seats. As we saw with Barack Obama, it was a shellacking and he lost, you know, the majority and we had divided government for the remainder of his tenure. So Donald Trump will be embarrassed.

He wants to -- you know he can say that it`s Russia. He can say that it`s the Clintons colluding against him and stealing votes but he knows he will probably lose some seats. And he can`t afford to lose the House, the Senate, and possibly this judicial nominee so he has to make sure that that 53 percent of white women is with him. Because I mean I`ve talked to some younger Republican men, they don`t want to be known as the party of racist or sexist.

MELBER: And I appreciate your eagle eye on the finish the wall sign. Much of this topic is serious but the finish the wall is a lighter note. Someday eventually, it will just say remodel the wall.

PLANK: Oh, yes.

MELBER: It`s fully built but then you want to refurbish.

GREER: Right, wallpaper and, you know --

MELBER: Above ground pool, there we have finish the wall in red. My thanks to Christina Greer and Liz Plank.

I`m keeping it moving because we turn next to U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat of Maryland. When are you all getting this FBI report and what`s it going to do in your view?

SEN. BEN CARDIN (D), MARYLAND: Well, we don`t know exactly when this report will be made available to us. We heard that it`s being transmitted as we are speaking now and it`s likely to be here late tonight or tomorrow. At that time, every member of the Senate will have an opportunity to review what`s in the report. But we`re also being told that the FBI did not interview Judge Kavanaugh or Dr. Ford which seems somewhat strange considering that the way you do an investigation is you talk to all the relevant witnesses and then you compare what they say.

MELBER: You think, Senator, you can draw a negative inference at this stage for who they haven`t talked to?

CARDIN: Well, I think it`s unfortunate that they did not talk to all relevant people from what I`ve been able to hear. Now, obviously, we`ll wait until we see the report, we`ll see what`s in that report but I would hope that they would do a thorough report and not be so concerned about having to get it in on a particular day. I mean whether it comes in this week or next week, we`re going to be here for the next several weeks. The Republicans are going to control the Senate until January. There`s not an immediate rush for this.

MELBER: I want the play a fact check we did because we did play the president`s comments as you`ve heard them and they have been reviled, rebuked by many in the way he sort of tried to mock Dr. Ford`s testimony. In fact, some of the things he said were not actually in line with her testimony. So I want to play that for your analysis. Take a look.


TRUMP: How many years ago was it? I don`t know.

CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, BRETT KAVANAUGH`S ACCUSER: In the summer of 1982, like most summers, I spent most every day at the Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

TRUMP: Upstairs, downstairs, where was it? I don`t know.

FORD: When I got to the top of the stairs, I was pushed from behind into a bedroom across from the bathroom.

TRUMP: I had one beer.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: With what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?

FORD: One hundred percent


MELBER: What is your view of the president undercutting her after claiming as recently as this week that he respected her position? And is it something for the process even if Senators disagree on the vote that really the Senate should be united in pushing back on?

CARDIN: Oh, absolutely. I was listening to Senator Flake and Senator Collins` comments about what the president said and I applaud their comments. The president was in a partisan environment. He`s tried to make this a partisan issue, then we`re told about a Supreme Court nominee.

The president`s comments were out of line. They were horrible. They should have no place in American politics. And it was just disgusting to hear what the president, how he handled this.

MELBER: And briefly, before I let you go, we have a new statement from your colleague Senator Schumer basically saying we believe more openness would be better. Some of our colleagues on the other side, Republicans clearly don`t share the view. And the reports that the White House has severely limited the investigation are deeply concerning.

Ultimately, are the Democrats moving toward a position of saying that there is something wrong with FBI report? Is that where Schumer and your caucus is heading?

CARDIN: Let`s wait until we see it. What we`re concerned about is that the FBI was limited by the White House. And despite the fact that the White House said they could do anything, it looks like they were restricted as to who they could interview and that`s just not right. So let`s wait to see what the report is about.

I hope that we can see it soon then we`ll have a chance to talk about it. I hope the public will have a chance to review the findings of these reports that we might have to redact certain information on sources because of confidentiality but there`s got to be more discussion. Let`s not pre- judge the report until we see it but we are concerned that it looks like they were restricted as to who they could interview.

MELBER: Understood. U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, thank you for your time.

Coming up, I`ll be joined by a former Yale classmate of Kavanaugh who is now withdrawing his support.

Also, the bombshell report on Trump`s tax reveals his claims about his wealth.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you sit in here with people around the table and you eat off with this gold, what do you think?

TRUMP: I say what am I doing here? How did this happen?


MELBER: And we`ll speak to a Democratic lawmaker who says they have a plan to get Trump`s tax returns.

Also, police officer charged with the murder of shooting of Laquan McDonald takes the stand this week, offers testimony that I`m going to show you his undercut by the video we have of the shooting. It`s an important story later on tonight.

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



TONY SCHWARTZ, AUTHOR, ART OF THE DEAL: It`s like the cover has been ripped off this man. Whatever myth there was, as you said earlier, that he was a self-made man or that he was even a legitimate businessman is gone forever.


MELBER: You`re listening to a man who has known Trump from the dump. Art of the Deal writer Tony Schwartz weighing in on the bombshell by the paper he used to write for, "The New York Times". Exhaustive front-page investigation the Trump family`s tax schemes and fraud, transferring hundreds of millions of dollars from Trump`s dad to him. And today, the White House says the story was false, recycled and boring.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you explain what is inaccurate about that story? If there`s anything that is actually inaccurate about it.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The totally false attack based on an old recycled news story. I`m not going to sit and go through every single line of a very boring 14,000-word story.


MELBER: They won`t go through every line but we will. Well, not every line but let`s look at the details which show why Trump may not want people reading every line because the story uses documentary evidence in over 200 tax returns to, yes, document how at every step of Trump`s career he was raking in not money from customers but money from his daddy. And then proactively denying that he was doing it because he was obsessed with building this myth of the self-made billionaire.

Take another article from the very same newspaper back in 1976. A "Times" profile that cast Trump as a Robert Redford look-alike chauffeured around New York in his Cadillac and ability to make his own money moves. He even quoted his father saying, "Everything he touches turns to gold." So that was the public pitch at the time.

But actually, his father and Trump knew there was no great gold in touch, more of a son seeking handouts. In fact, within weeks of that very "Times" piece, Fred Trump was arranging a $4 million trust for his son while Trump kept bragging he build things on his own.


TRUMP: At an age of 37, I don`t believe anyone has really ever built more things than we have in terms of the business that I`m in.


MELBER: Now, "The Times" document at that very time in the `80s, Trump was getting a salary from his dad, about a quarter of a million in today`s currency all the while saying it wasn`t easy.


TRUMP: It`s not been easy for me. It has not been easy for me. And, you know, I started off in Brooklyn. My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars.


MELBER: The evidence shows that is a wild lie because Fred Trump actually lent him over $140 million in today`s dollars. And this is not some kind of starter money for when he was in his teens or 20s or maybe a few gifts as he was growing up. What we find in the new piece is that while Trump was touting his riches on TV, he was getting some of the biggest gifts ever from his dad like in 2004 when "The Apprentice" premiered.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Money, money, money, money, money, money, money.


MELBER: You see both of those things you`re looking at on the left and right are 2004. Money, money, money but that was the year Trump got $236 million in today`s value from his father`s estate. Trump claimed, of course, he only got $1 million. Now, he could have said 1,000 or nothing. Those numbers are off by so many magnitudes that maybe the round million just sounded like a more realistic lie.

And the White House is casting the facts in "The Times" story as some kind of political attack. It`s not. It`s reporting. Facts are facts. And, of course, it was Republicans who raised similar alarms back before Trump had government power.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: He has spent a career of convincing Americans that he`s something that he is not in exchange for their money.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: He can release last year`s tax returns. He can do it tomorrow. He doesn`t want to do it because presumably there`s something in there that is bad.

RUBIO: Here is a guy that inherited $200 million. If he hadn`t inherited $200 million, you know where Donald Trump be right now?

TRUMP: No, no, no.

RUBIO: Selling watches in --


MELBER: Those are Republicans calling out Trump as a fraud. The only factual difference between then and now is how much more evidence supports the claims you just heard them make, including, of course, this massive report in "The New York Times". But all of this can also matter politically. Trump didn`t win the presidency by some big margin. He got fewer votes and squeaked in through the electoral college while withholding, as you heard the Republicans like Cruz say there, but withholding basic information about his taxes.

He knew the truth wasn`t going to help him in business or politics. The truth being that he was a very lucky heir so he spent decades hiding his parents help and claiming he got rich himself. And for people who follow the evidence, that myth is over.


SCHWARTZ: No one wants to say anymore that Trump has finally been caught, that the Teflon finally has been scratched. But I have to say the idea of who Donald Trump was that existed until today is gone forever.


MELBER: Now, Trump can keep claiming that his career hasn`t been as he put it, easy, or to paraphrase Three 6 Mafia that it`s hard out here for a con man when trying to get this money for the rent, for the Cadillacs, and the gas money spent.


TRUMP: It`s not been easy for me. It has not been easy for me.


MELBER: "The New York Times" report matters because it shows it has been easy for him. It has been easy handouts and easy inheritance well into middle age. And the big question now, tonight, is how these financial facts are catching up with Donald Trump.

Let me turn to two experts who are here to answer the big question on Trump`s fraud. We`re also going to be joined by a Congressman with a plan to get Trump`s tax returns. All that when we`re back in just 30 seconds.


MELBER: And we`re back digging into the questions about Donald Trump`s fortune with "The New York Times" expose and his dependence on his father, his reported involvement in fraud and tax avoidance.

I`m joined by a very special panel. Caroline Ciraolo is a former assistant attorney general for the tax division at DOJ where she served under Barack Obama. We also want to note her partner was part of Paul Manafort`s defense team. We put that disclosure in so you can factor it as you see fit as a viewer.

I`m joined by William Cohan, a special correspondent for "Vanity Fair". He worked on Wall Street and he`s written multiple books about the financial industry. In a moment, we add in a congressman who says he`s going to get these tax returns.

But Bill, starting with you. "The Times" report reveals what?

WILLIAM COHAN, SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, VANITY FAIR: Oh, my god, Ari. First of all, it`s an exquisite piece of investigative reporting. It literally rewrites the history books. Because as you said, I mean this whole myth of Donald Trump as a self-man made has been completely shattered. I mean there`s no recovery from this for him. And the question is, does it matter? Who knows but it reveals that the Trump family and Fred Trump working alongside his son Donald were exclusively good at avoiding 55 percent estate taxes.

Basically, essentially arbitraging the estate tax for the capital gains tax. The estate tax was 55 percent, the capital gains tax on what Donald eventually inherited was obviously much less. Instead of paying $550 million on this collective inheritance, they paid $55 million. That`s unbelievable.

MELBER: And Caroline, as you know, a big difference between making a mistake, incriminating a fraud is what your knowledge and intent is. And the law allows people to make certain kind of mistakes but it doesn`t allow you to just defraud what you defraud in the government on the tax side or other people.

And so without getting into the next step of why and how these things were investigated which gets very complicated, for the general public, I think one thing that comes through "The Times" report is that they knew what they were doing. And there`s other looser evidence of that that`s pretty fascinating.

I want to play for you Ivanka Trump from back in the day. We call this like an old school Ivanka B side where she`s reminiscing how Donald Trump would tell her that they didn`t have the money that he was probably claiming when he would talk to her, you know, privately when they walk through New York. Take a look.


IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD TRUMP: There`s a homeless person sitting right outside of Trump Tower. I remember my father pointing to him and saying, "You know, that guy has $8 billion more than me" because he was in such extreme debt at that point, you know.


MELBER: Caroline, what did you take from the knowledge that the Trump family, the Trump empire seemed to evince as documented by this article?



CIRAOLO: It`s nice to be here again. The article is very thorough and it`s based on, according to the article, thousands of pages of documents. It`s 14,000 words. This obviously took a lot of time and effort to investigate this. But there`s a lot about the father, the president`s father, and what he did during his lifetime.

I think if I were sitting at the Department of Justice and this crossed my desk as the head of the tax division, I would be very interested in looking into this. I would be reaching out to my colleagues at the IRS and I would want to discuss this but I would have some questions.

I would want to know first, you know, there`s an argument of reliance here. Have we explored -- have we, the government, explored whether there`s a viable defense of reliance. They say that they consulted with experts. They say that they provided the information to the experts. They acted in accordance with that advice. That sounds an unviable defense.

MELBER: Well, Caroline, if you`re going to get into reliance let`s step back and explain that for folks. You`re talking about the idea that oh, your lawyer or accountant told you could do something, right?

CIRAOLO: Talking about obtaining advice and acting in accordance with the advice, correct.

MELBER: And so I think again, without getting into whether anything`s chargeable, a lot of this is old. I mean, Donald Trump`s lawyer just confessed guilt to several felonies so I think reliance gets you a little trouble as well.

CIRAOLO: Well, that`s a fair point and you have no reliance defense if you colluded with your lawyer or if there was some type of conspiracy to violate the Internal Revenue laws with the professionals that are advising you. I don`t see in here that Michael Cohen was advising the president and his family or his father with respect to this. My only point is the fifth paragraph of the article reads like over accident and indictment. But I think you need to dig a little deeper because when you get further into the article, it states the defenses.

MELBER: Sure. Well, and Bill --

CIRAOLO: You know, of course, we relied on professionals. Yes.

MELBER: Bill, my understanding is you were also excited to discuss the potential reliance defense. No, I`m just kidding.


MELBER: Let me ask you this, Bill, let me pay for you Don Jr. talking about why they don`t want to release the taxes and whether any of this is a game changer. Take a look at the old defense.


ERIC TRUMP, SON OF PRESIDENT TRUMP: By the way, his tax return, I`m not sure if you do you ever see the Twitter pictures --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m sure it`s extraordinary.

E. TRUMP: It`s five feet tall. You would have a bunch of people who know nothing about taxes trying to look through and trying to come up with assumptions on things that they know nothing about. It`s -- it would be foolish to do.


MELBER: Pardon me, that`s the other son, Eric. And Bill, I wonder does any of what`s coming out put more pressure on Donald Trump to release these tax returns going into the next election.

COHAN: Well, voluntarily, Ari, I think we can forget about that. However, if after the next election the Democrats win the House, I can assure you the day after that they will begin issuing -- or in January they will begin issuing subpoenas for those tax returns because I think what this incredible New York Times article reveals is -- or makes me wonder now to see his tax returns is the question of did he pay a proper amount of taxes when he inherited this real estate and these other assets from his father, like when he was making these phony kind of salaries from managing these assets, these real estate for his father. But when he was getting -- when they set up the sham corporation and he was getting these huge payments, did he himself then pay taxes properly on that and from -- on that on that income? We don`t know that and we won`t know that until he releases that you.

MELBER: And that`s the important question. You mentioned subpoenas, Bill and Caroline, thank you both. I turn to Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett from the House Ways and Means Committee who has been talking about subpoenas and what Democrats might do if they win the election. Your plan, sir?

REP. LLOYD DOGGETT (D), TEXAS: Ari, thank you. The most important point is the one you made that Donald Trump is a self-made myth not a self-made man. He is phony through and through. We would know a lot more about it had his little Republican enablers in Congress not been protecting him and covering up his tax returns so that we would have at least the information from him that every prior president for many years Republican and Democrat candidate alike disclosed to the public.

Now, last Valentine`s Day 2017, I filed the first motion concerned about the Russian connection and how much Russian money might have been laundered in past Trump deals. He has some 564 entities that he is involved with in addition to his personal returns. Since then I filed a number of others seven in all as recently as last month and the Republicans have covered up and blocked every one of those because they don`t want to look under that rock and see what they might see.

In January, if the American people support a new Congress that will engage in oversight not just overlooked, then we don`t even need a subpoena. Under a law that dates back decades, the Ways and Means Chairman can simply request from the Treasury Department the Trump returns and he -- I believe will do that and will get the returns on those 500 plus entities all of the working papers as well to understand the returns, put a staff of CPAs to work looking and digging into those returns. Ultimately our committee can decide to disclose all or a portion of them.

MELBER: I mean, you`re making such an important point that I think sometimes gets lost. What you`re telling viewers is that forget who controls the entire Congress or laws passed which is a higher bar. You`re saying even if just the House flips, the committee that you`re on is going to use that procedural mechanism to get the tax returns and try to do meaningful oversight in the name of national security at anything else that is important there?

DOGGETT: Absolutely. We need to look at how much he`s been enriched by this Republican tax bill that he promoted with a special interest provision added at the last moment that benefits families just like his. We need to look at future tax legislation to see whether it`s about enriching American jobs or just enriching the Trump`s and we certainly need to explore the Russian connection. There was a time when Don Junior said the Russians were among their top investors, well let`s look at those entities that stretch from Manhattan to Azerbaijan and see what`s in there and who`s been involved.

MELBER: Congressman Doggett, I know you`ve been working on these issues as you mentioned which is why we wanted your voice on The Times bombshell. Thank you so much.

DOGGETT: Thank you.

MELBER: Up ahead, we look at the Kavanaugh interview and the job references that are being checked. I have his former law school classmate who`s retracted his support on THE BEAT next.


MELBER: Many experts have emphasized the current vetting of Brett Kavanaugh is not a criminal trial, it`s a job interview.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: This isn`t a criminal trial, this is a job interview for the highest court in the land.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this isn`t a court of law, this is a job interview for one of the most powerful jobs in the country.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: It`s not about a condemnation or a criminal trial about Kavanaugh`s guilt or innocence. This is a job interview.


MELBER: And even if the FBI is not checking with dozens of people who know Kavanaugh, just like other job interviews, the references are out there and some of them are pulling their support like law school classmates who knew Kavanaugh back in the day and supported him as recently as August. Former classmate Mark Osler says it`s not his old memories of Kavanaugh moving him, but Kavanaugh`s total lack of judicial temperament at last week`s hearing.

Attorney Mark Osler joins me on The Beat. And Mark, since you cite Kavanaugh is angry demeanor in your decision, let`s start there. Take a look.


BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: You`re asking about yes, blackout, I don`t know, have you.

KLOBUCHAR: Could you answer the question, Judge, just to you, that`s not happened. Is that your answer?

KAVANAUGH: Yes, and I`m curious if you have.

This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, revenge on behalf of the Clintons.


MELBER: Mark, what about that performance made you pull your public support for Kavanaugh your law school classmate?

MARK OSLER, FORMER CLASSMATE OF BRETT KAVANAUGH: Yes, you just played the exchange with my Senator Amy Klobuchar and that is something that really struck me. It`s the way he treated a co-equal branch of government that you know, world where we`re lacking civility in a lot of places, one that it needs to be maintained this is at that highest level between the branches of government. And there we saw an encounter that it`s far from what we hope for.

MELBER: Did you know that side of him?

OSLER: No, I didn`t frankly, and I was surprised. I sat and watched on my computer and more than anything, I was -- my first emotion was to feel sad that it was different than what I knew. Before I sign the initial letter in fact, I reached out to some of the people that I knew who practiced in front of that court, the circuit court for the District of Columbia. They reported that he was fair, that he was thoughtful, that he hired good clerks. That`s part of the reason I signed the initial letter. What we saw in the hearing was something that cut against those recommendations.

MELBER: Stay with me, Mark, I also want to bring in Katty Kay, an anchor for BBC News in Washington who`s been covering this story. Katty, what Mark is describing is the mask falling to some degree with Judge Kavanaugh in that dramatic hearing.

KATTY KAY, ANCHOR, BBC NEWS: Yes, and it`s interesting. We don`t have other reports prior to these confirmation process of people saying that Judge Kavanaugh had a terrible temper or was rude or interrupted in that way. That just hasn`t come up from other reports. But the other thing that we`re hearing from people who had supported Judge Kavanaugh and have now come out and said that they don`t anymore is the combination of Thursday -- last Thursday`s performance, the interrupting and this issue of whether he`s misrepresenting his past particularly perhaps in the Fox News interview where he paint himself as having had this background high school that was totally focused on service and sports and just academics and then the issue of the drinking. And I think that is causing some concern among some of his former classmates that he just isn`t representing things they were.

MELBER: And one of those former classmates, Mark here, I want to you when I play another thing that happened later in the hearing and so much happened that it`s hard to get your arms around all of it even as days go by. There was a whole period where apart from what one believes about the underlying allegations where he became -- and I don`t use this world lightly, but he became by the standards of a nominee being vetted relatively mutinist against the process of at least the senators from one party which is actually worse than if he became just wildly mutinist. He seemed both mutinist and partisanly so. And take a look where he basically started refusing to answer questions from certain Democratic senators among other things.


KAVANAUGH: I`ve kept such countless diaries for the last 38 years.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: Personally, do you think that`s the best thing for us to do? You won`t answer?

KAVANAUGH: This is a circus. The consequences will extend long past my nomination. The consequences will be with us for decades.


MELBER: You went to a pretty good law school, can you think of other graduates in your class or people you knew who`ve gone on to big things, public things who`ve acted that way in public?

OSLER: No, I can`t. And we have a number of classmates who have done wonderful things and I can`t. It`s particularly disheartening.

MELBER: You`re talking about Yale -- you know, I`m just -- I`m just an old school Cornell graduate which is as viewers may imagine nothing close to Yale which is the number one law school in the country. You`ve got classmates who`ve gone on to big firms, government jobs, summer judges, we both know. You`re just to be clear saying what`s on tape there you haven`t seen any of the map like that.

OSLER: No, not in their public lives, not close to that and certainly not in that kind of setting where it`s most important to model civility.

MELBER: Katty?

KAY: I mean I`m listening to Mark and hearing a sadness in his voice then it must be very difficult for friends of Brett Kavanaugh to see this what they see is a transformation. And the comparison that I`m hearing both from Democrats and from some Republicans is with Clarence Thomas in 1991 when Clarence Thomas did get angry with the whole way you know, famously called it a high-tech lynching. But he wasn`t partisan in that anger. He was angry at the whole Senate. He wasn`t directing it at one party or the other. And I think that is a distinction.

Now, to put the other side, you have Republicans saying look, the goal posts are being moved here. Initially, this was about sexual assault and now it`s his drinking, it`s whether there was whether he`s representing his childhood accurately, his high school years accurately, and that none of that is fair and they`re doing a character. They`re looking at his character issues now rather than just this issue of sexual assault.

MELBER: Katty Kay reporting from Washington Mark Osler sharing a story that you said yourself was somewhat difficult. I appreciate both of you joining us. Ahead we turn to a story that`s important here on THE BEAT we want you to see. Chicago police officer is on trial for first-degree murder this week and I have a special report on that next.


MELBER: Police officers who kill suspects are almost never charged with first-degree murder. But that`s starting to change. These cases move quite slowly. So while Chicago police shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald to death in 2014, the trolley officer in that shooting just hit its most pivotal point this week four years since the killing. Officer Jason Van Dyke took the stand to deny first-degree murder charges. This is the first time in over 30 years the Chicago officer has faced these kinds of charges.

But unlike many other shootings over the past decades, this entire encounter as you may recall was captured on video. You can see Laquan McDonald running down the street at night. A police cars pull up next to him and the dashcam video of him running there catches the encounter he appears to be sort of walking away from the officers, his hands out, and what we don`t show you in full is what comes next, officers advancing on him and shooting.

Now, the video scandalized Chicago. It led to the ousting of the police chief and a prosecutor accused of going soft on corrupt cops, plus, huge protests not only in Chicago but around the country. So now this week the officer takes the stand to defend with so many saw is indefensible in this encounter and he claims that teenager McDonald advanced on him.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was Laquan McDonald doing?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And could you see him, his face?

VAN DYKE: Yes, I could. His face had no expression. His eyes were just bugging out of his head. He had just this huge white eyes, just staring right through me. I was yelling at him drop the knife.


MELBER: The video does not show Laquan advancing on the officer, and prosecutors press this officer on why his claims cannot even be seen on this video.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you ever see Laquan McDonald do that on one of those videos?

VAN DYKE: The video doesn`t show my perspective. I was coming at a completely different angle.


MELBER: Now second guessing one or two shots in the line of duty, I will tell you reporting on these stories, that can be very difficult more so than I think some people realize. But this video showed Van Dyke unloading 16 shots into McDonald. In fact, we`re not allowed to show you the portion of the video where the next series of bullets one after another after another are fired into McDonald`s body lying on the ground. And we know that body was either dying or a corpse at the time while it caught all those bullets.

Now, prosecutors also pressed the officer on why he stepped towards McDonald who was surrounded by armed cops rather than step back.


VAN DYKE: I know they know, yes, not intentionally.


VAN DYKE: Not intentionally.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not intentionally?

VAN DYKE: I thought I was backpedaling that night.


VAN DYKE: Miss, I thought as backpedaling that night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You thought you`re backpedaling as you`re firing shot after shot after shot?

VAN DYKE: What I know now and what I thought at that time are two different things.


MELBER: Two different things according to the officer now. Now, Laquan McDonald`s family sees something different. This is his great uncle.


MARVIN HUNTER, GREAT UNCLE OF LAQUAN MCDONALD: When an officer who`s sworn to serve and to protect can gun down a citizen for no other reason than that he was black. Laquan McDonald represents thousands of Laquan McDonald, same black skin, same poverty.


MELBER: Nobody knows how this case will end. As always, this defendant is presumed innocent and the jury will hear the closing arguments starting tonight. But we do know from the data that the criminal justice system does not typically fire police chiefs for this kind of shooting or change the D.A. let alone charge an officer with first-degree murder. As I`ve reported, those three steps have already occurred and many experts in Chicago say it`s because of the video and the public pressure and the activism which got the video released.

That`s already changed, it`s already progress and I admit and I think we all know it is a very grim kind of progress for dealing with an irreversible tragedy. But as far as criminal justice is concerned, it is progress nonetheless. And because this shooting was caught on video, those defending it are left arguing that what you see on the video isn`t on the video.


VAN DYKE: The video doesn`t show my perspective. I was coming at a completely different angle.



MELBER: That is THE BEAT for tonight. We`ll be back at 6:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow. "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews is up next.