Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: October 5, 2018 Guest: Eleanor Clift, Neera Tanden, Nina Totenberg, Ilyse Hogue, Howard Dean, Rashad Robinson, Jarrett Adams, Big Daddy Kane
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Anyway, that`s all for tonight. By the way, Senator Leahy is a great amateur photographer so maybe he was just showing that off.
We will be back Monday with more MTP DAILY. And if it`s Sunday, it`s "MEET THE PRESS" on your local NBC station.
"THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER" starts right now. Good evening, Ari.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chuck. Thank you very much.
The votes are in. Republicans holding their ranks to elevate the most controversial Supreme Court nominee in at least a generation. It`s 50 Republicans and 1 Democratic Senator are backing Brett Kavanaugh. Today, we will bring you that story plus important news out of Chicago where an officer was convicted of murdering 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. That story is later.
Plus, a fallback Friday we all may need. So I encourage to you stay with us for the whole hour we have planned.
We begin though with this action on the Senate floor. Self-declared moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins once again proved to be a pivotal vote for the part right Trump agenda. The only thing moderate it turns about her approach to Kavanaugh was I guess her timing.
Collins was not the first Republican to support him. She was effectively the last and she announced her vote after another Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski broke ranks with Mitch McConnell to say that after all, we have learned in her view, Kavanaugh is not the man for the job right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: I did not come to a decision on this until walking into the floor this morning. I believe that Brett Kavanaugh is a good man. I believe he is a good man. It just may be that in my view he`s not the right man for the court at this time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Not the right man for the court. Meanwhile here, colleague Senator Collins offering a rebuttal to that, a 50-minute speech defending Kavanaugh and arguing that to deny him of this promotion would be effectively to presume people guilty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: This is not a criminal trial. The allegations failed to meet the more likely than not standard. Therefore, I do not believe that these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Moments after Collins made her announcement, Democrat Joe Manchin said he is also a yes vote drawing protests.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PROTESTERS: Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: As these scenes were playing out, Kavanaugh today decided to add one more word. He took the unusual step of running an op-ed in the conservative "Wall Street Journal" which follows on his appearance on "Fox News" to suggest at least to those audiences that he, "Might have been too emotional at that Senate hearing." He went on to tout his own fairness and blasted vicious allegations him and violent threats he alleges against his family.
In a moment, I`m going to go to our all-star panel, legal, political and otherwise to get into all of this. But we begin with U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the judiciary committee, a man who has been a part of this debate from the very beginning. If this vote count holds, that would mean that Senator Mitch McConnell wins again. In your view, is that an acceptable result or did he win dirty?
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: I am as sad and angry as I have been as a United States Senator because the only way that Republicans are succeeding is because they control all three branches of government. And they have engaged in a cover-up from the very start of this process. They have concealed millions and millions of documents.
And I`m going to court through a freedom of information suit to force the release of those documents, but it will be too late for the vote tomorrow. And they have short-circuited and straight-jacketed an investigation by blocking the FBI from interviewing more than 40 witnesses who could have provided the kind of corroboration that Republicans themselves have said has been lacking. So I think there needs to be an investigation of who dictated that witness list and who placed constraints on the FBI.
MELBER: You`re drawing different conclusions than Susan Collins. She went right after Dr. Ford`s credibility in a speech that was to be accurate, that was meandering. It was bizarre at times in the sense that it seemed to want to be all things to all people while landing on a very clear result. Here she was seeming to undermine Dr. Ford.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Four witnesses she named could not corroborate any of the events. None of them called her the next day or ever to ask why she left. Not a single person has come forward to say that they were the one who drove her home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: As you know, Senator, Susan Collins chose to seize the spotlight both in the way she wavered in her decision and the way she announced it today. And yet, as I mentioned, in trying to say so much in her speech, it seemed at times that she went further than just voting for Kavanaugh, but also seemed to go out of her way in closing to say that maybe you shouldn`t believe Dr. Ford.
Can`t you vote for Kavanaugh without going that far? Did she go farther than she needs to? Did you see a new side of her today? What did you make of it?
BLUMENTHAL: The Republican storyline has been consistently their talking points have been repeatedly, of course, they believe survivors. They believe them but they don`t believe that the survivor here, Dr. Blasey Ford correctly identified the sexual assailant. And essentially, the Republicans can`t have it both ways. The believe but really ignores very credible and powerful testimony of Dr. Blasey Ford that she was 100 percent sure. In fact, she repeated it in that testimony so absolutely powerfully.
And here`s the other point. The absence of corroborating evidence only because the investigation was prevented from going through those 40 witnesses, for Deborah Ramirez and for Dr. Blasey Ford who could have provided corroborating evidence. You can`t have corroborating evidence if you refuse to look for it.
MELBER: It`s fairly put. Senator Blumenthal, on what you describe as a disappointing day in your view, thank you very much for joining us. I appreciate it.
As promised, we turn now to NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg, Eleanor Clift, Washington correspondent for "The Daily Beast". Eleanor, as we say right here, that`s my best McLaughlin impression this week. And Neera Tanden, a former top aide to Hillary Clinton and now president, CEO of the Center for American Progress.
Dealer`s choice, I could start anywhere, but Eleanor, I begin with you. Was this time different or was this effectively more or less a rerun or reboot of Anita Hill in the way it all ultimately played out?
ELEANOR CLIFT, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, if you think of these as two bookends of women bringing allegations and men denying them, what happened with Anita Hill with Clarence Thomas looks almost innocent compared to today. I think as Nina Totenberg said nobody cried over Anita Hill when she was testifying. It was she was cool, professional. It was workplace harassment. There were lots of tears shed by women and maybe some men too when Christine Blasey Ford testified.
When Clarence Thomas was confirmed, 11 Democrats voted for him in a Senate that was controlled by Democrats. The two parties made a mess of things, but it was a bipartisan mess. You couldn`t single out one party and say it was their fault. I think the Republicans are clearly at fault here and I would use some of the same words as Senator Blumenthal did. It`s a cover- up. It was a sham FBI investigation. They didn`t find corroboration because they didn`t really want to look for it.
MELBER: And so to be clear, I mean Senator Blumenthal says that as a participant on the field as team blue. You happened to be adorned in blue today. That may be a coincidence but you`re not -- you`re saying as an analyst who covered both. The gender rift here now is stronger along party lines in your view.
CLIFT: Yes, I would definitely say that. And I think there is a poison that`s now been injected into the Supreme Court. This is not going to end with this confirmation. I think journalists are going to continue to seek out people to corroborate Dr. Ford`s story. I think you could have Democrats trying, again as Senator Blumenthal pointed out, trying to get the ordering documents for this investigation to sort of prove, if you will, that the White House dictated the parameters and that they didn`t really want the truth.
Now, I don`t know where any of this is all going to lead and maybe it`s a fool`s errand because you can`t really unseat someone once they are on the Supreme Court. But Susan Collins, to have her stand up for that long speech to basically try to reclaim the moral high ground for the Republican party and Justice Kavanaugh, I think that`s really a blot on her career.
MELBER: A blot?
NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT & CEO, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I mean I would add to that. I would say that Susan Collins did an incredibly -- she basically did a very partisan speech. She laid out rationales that really nobody believes. And she went to bat for team GOP. That`s basically what happened here.
And the idea that she wrote that this morning, I think a lot of people will look back in history and say Susan Collins and Flake basically worked with the White House to have an FBI investigation which would provide them cover. And that at the end of the day, they were always going to vote for Brett Kavanaugh and wanted an excuse to do it.
MELBER: Well, you are making an important point and a political point as you often do here that relates to some of the underlying issues of who do you believe and a feminist critique of what`s going on. But you`re also making a raw political point which is that Susan Collins was cast as wavering when in fact she may have been Mitch McConnell`s closer.
TANDEN: Absolutely. I think the idea that she was really ever in doubt has been just gamesmanship. And truly, just her not leveling with the voters of Maine. And so I think, now just going forward, I do think that Democrats, Progressives and Independent voters -- if you look at the polling, independent women have been moving strongly against Brett Kavanaugh and really the answer here is to engage in the elections. Because if we don`t like what this Senate did, we need a new Senate to act differently in the future.
MELBER: And I want to be clear since we talk a lot about who is saying what, Nina, and what`s true and some of it is not always immediately provable. What Neera is stating as a view about Collins is at odds with her claims. So somebody is right or wrong. Somebody might be misleading.
TANDEN: Well --
MELBER: No, I`m going to play it. Here`s Susan Collins`s take. She claims, Nina, she made this decision last night. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When did you make your decision?
COLLINS: I made it last night after finishing going through all the FBI reports. Believe me, I struggled with it for a long time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And Nina, the problem --
NINA TOTENBERG, LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, NPR: Well, actually --
MELBER: Go ahead.
TOTENBERG: I believe that she could well have made the decision last night and probably did. Susan Collins is a very thorough methodical legislator and she spent several hours going through this stuff. And unlike the rest of you, I thought it was an actually a pretty good speech. At least until the very end part about Christine Blasey Ford. But I thought she laid out the best moderate argument for Brett Kavanaugh as a judge, not being a right-wing idea log.
And I doubt that it is an accident that she ended up, a woman ended up as making the closing argument for the Republicans with two female Republican Senators sitting behind her, not in their usual seats --
MELBER: Right. I think we can play that while you talk about it.
TOTENBERG: -- but to just show that they were there.
MELBER: Put that up on the screen. Just go ahead.
TOTENBERG: But I thought it was a very effective speech. I think it`s entirely likely that she asked her staff to write her, if not one, but two speeches. She certainly would have preferred to vote for Kavanaugh from the beginning but I think she was very troubled by these allegations. I think he allayed her fears about Roe Vs. -- his views on Roe V. Wade. That was at the first point.
She`s doesn`t sit on the judiciary committee. She`s not a lawyer. She does her homework. She is a moderately conservative Republican and she ended up voting that way. And I thought it was actually a pretty good speech from the point of view that she wanted to make. It doesn`t happen to be the point of view of your other two panelists, but she isn`t a liberal Democrat.
MELBER: Sure. Well, two things. One thing is that Neera Tanden is about to fall out of her chair. And the second is - (INAUDIBLE) the respond. The second is, Neera yet to respond and also if that were true, then that would mean that Mitch McConnell may have been moving ahead, scheduling a vote without knowing his vote count which is unusually how he rolls. But Neera, go ahead.
TANDEN: Yes. I would say he usually does vote knowing -- he does schedule votes knowing his vote counts so I would imagine that some indications were made earlier this week. But I would also say, look, we have the evidence in front of us with what kind of judge Judge Kavanaugh or Justice Judge Kavanaugh would be.
In his speech last week, he basically said this was a Clinton conspiracy. He whipped it for Republicans to the extent that he had to write a "Wall Street Journal" article clearing it up and a kind of extraordinary act. So I guess we could take Susan Collins`s word that he`s going to be a person of judicious temperament or we could believe our eyes which is when push comes to shove, we had Judge Kavanaugh in front of us, attack Senators, go after them pretty harshly, attack the Clintons, talk about George Soros and a giant plot against him.
In a way, that is much more like Donald Trump than any sitting United States Senator. So I just respectfully disagree with the notion that this was a well-argued position. If it was a well-argued position, I think she would have much more addressed the actual things that have happened, much more addressed Dr. Ford`s testimony head-on, much more addressed the way he behaved head-on. She didn`t do that.
TOTENBERG: Well, I think that -- I`m not saying that she`s right. I`m saying that she made the best closing argument for somebody of her political persuasion that could be made. And it didn`t hurt that she was a woman making that argument. She would have voted to confirm Merrick Garland. She doesn`t vote against judicial nominees.
I think there was one district court judge, somewhere in the eaters of the past that she has voted against. She votes to confirm judicial nominees. And she clearly did not think this performance of Brett Kavanaugh`s merited her voting against him. Now, you can say that that`s wrong, but that it was her view.
MELBER: Right. Part of what you`re saying is her default is to go with the flow. There have been nominees though who have been knocked out for far less, Garland famously through the delay. But Harriet Meyers was picked by a Republican president. It was Republican Senators who said doesn`t meet the standard which doesn`t mean there was anything terribly wrong with her as a human being. It just means that they exercised the advice and consent that way.
Eleanor Clift, you get more time later in the show so stick around. My thanks as always to Nina and Neera for being a part of the coverage on this big night.
Up ahead, there is political pressure coming out of all of this. And later, as I mentioned, this breaking news out of Chicago, a police officer convicted of murdering 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. A big part of the story, the dash cam video. I have a special guest on why this matters and where we go.
And then later, who needs to fall back? Who do you pair with Eleanor Clift? Another legend, Big Daddy Kane on Fallback Friday.
Stay tuned. I`m Ari Melber. You`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. President.
PROTESTER: Senator Collins, please vote no. I am a voter from Maine.
PROTESTERS: Vote no. Show up for Maine women. Vote no. Show up for Maine women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Well, those are just some of the protests that are breaking up in the Senate today right before Senator Susan Collins announced her vote to back Brett Kavanaugh. Activists also created the campaign fundraising in order to try to oust Collins.
Now, she doesn`t have a declared candidate in her next re-election race. It`s all the way in 2020. But the effort basically, it pledges to donate to whomever her opponents are being and that site crashed today, an overloaded interest. Organizers tweeting Senator Susan Collins had more people motivated than they`ve ever seen. Now the only Democrat backing Kavanaugh, Joe Manchin also flaked by protests today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PROTESTERS: Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Those efforts come after much larger protests throughout the week that led to over 300 arrests. And strategists now from both parties said the heated battle will energize each of their basis for the midterms. Now, we don`t know what`s going to happen. This is a very unusual confirmation battle.
But you can see right here, the blue line is the overall congressional trend across multiple polls in the midterm ballots. It shows Democrats have been gaining lately after a dip this summer.
I`m joined right now on the politics of all this with former chair of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean and Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America which has been part of some of these protests.
Ilyse, if the vote count holds, Kavanaugh is headed for the Supreme Court. What do you do now?
ILYSE HOGUE, PRESIDENT, NARAL PRO-CHOICE AMERICA: Well, right now, what I wrote on my Facebook page is scream, donate to those who have stood with us, donate against who seem like they won`t. Tomorrow, we rally. Sunday, we start organizing for November.
And what I keep saying because I think it`s crucially important, Ari is that yes, November is coming. And yes, we are seeing more and more fired up women and not just Democratic women. I mean this is -- the Independent women have been bleeding from the Republican party because of this fight. But this is not just about November 2018. This is a moment in history that women will remember, we will tell our children, and it will be a very tough thing for the GOP to live down for generations.
MELBER: Governor Dean, you hear Ilyse make that argument and there was a Year of the Woman at other points in history that have been galvanized by these different big events. The other voting block if you want to do it by gender is men. And there`s a question about how men react to all this and especially how men look at what has become the face of the Republican party on these issues.
It didn`t have to be this way but look at Chuck Grassley just today going well out of his way beyond what he needed to, to sort of argue that maybe it`s hard to get women on the court because there aren`t women lawyers. Fact check, not quite true. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: We can`t do anything about that. You got to have a desire to serve.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just don`t want to be on the committee?
GRASSLEY: It`s a lot of work. I mean don`t forget, compared to a lot of committee meetings, we have an executive every Thursday. So it`s a lot of work. Maybe they don`t want to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Maybe women lawyers and women Senators involved in the U.S. Senate don`t want to do that. Howard?
HOWARD DEAN, FORMER GOVERNOR & FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: Yes. Grassley and Hatch kind of stand for what the Republicans have become, very old white people in a party that doesn`t look anything like the United States of America and doesn`t believe what most people in the United States of America believe.
The politics is really complicated, but here`s what I suspect is going to happen. First of all, I`ve long said that Susan Collins wasn`t likely to run for reelection and I don`t think she will. And if she does, she`s going to get beat.
Second of all, I do think that -- you know, this helps our base in the election. I would have preferred Kavanaugh not being appointed, but this helps our base because they`re the winning side. Now, they get to be a little more complacent and we are going to be really energized.
A huge number of women have been recruited to run, not just for the House and the Senate, but also for local offices. The largest number ever. And they have been trained and they have been well-financed. And the last problem is going to be Manchin. Manchin is really a major problem. Manchin was on track to win before this happened.
And we would like him to win, assuming he stays in the Democratic party, which he may not. He will lose votes that he needs. There are liberals in West Virginia and some of them are going to be pretty hard to attract. We need Manchin`s seat to get the 51 votes that I think we can get.
That is a huge question mark about that. I don`t know how this plays in West Virginia but it`s not going to help with this core base that he needs. It may help him with swing votes and that was his calculation.
MELBER: Right. And there`s also the rule of direct action protests which is different than just registering a vote. Ilyse, take a look at this moment with Jeff Flake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nobody believes me. I didn`t tell anyone and you are telling all women that they don`t matter, that they should stay quiet because if they tell you what happened to them, you are going to ignore them. That`s what happened to me and that`s what you are telling all women in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Ilyse, there is a lot of talk about the energy in Republican activism. There was a talk about the tea party. Where does this Me Too movement figure in your mind in the midterms to doing electoral work alongside what you just saw there, which is a direct action, even civil disobedience?
HOGUE: Yes, absolutely. I mean I think one of the things that the Republicans would forget is that literally thousands, tens of thousands, in some counts hundreds of thousands of women, tried to make our voices heard through the traditional means, through calling our Senators, through e- mailing, through showing up to their offices.
And yet, when some of those senators were deaf to our cries and we came, you know, our members came to D.C. to try and get them in the place that they work wherein a final bid to plea for them to do the right thing, then we get labeled as troublemakers. But don`t mistake, these are not two separate communities. If anything, the bonds between these communities have been strengthened through the Kavanaugh fight.
And so those who are more accustomed to protests are learning from those who are more accustomed to drive to the vote -- drive to the polls and vice-versa. And I think that this -- you know, I keep saying. Even if we lose the Kavanaugh confirmation, we come out stronger and you are going to see that not just in elections but in the policies that we are going to demand from our elected officials moving forward.
MELBER: Right. It`s very important points. My thanks to Ilyse Hogue and Howard Dean.
We are talking here about whether activism ultimately makes a difference and that`s the subject of our next story. It was four years ago that a Chicago police officer shot down Laquan McDonald. And many people said that would be the end of it like so many other cases. Today, that officer found guilty of second-degree murder, very unusual, very important when we`re back in just 30 seconds.
MELBER: The other top story tonight, a verdict in one of the highest profile police shootings in the nation. Guilty. You can see right here blared across the front page of the "Chicago Tribune`s" evening addiction - - edition I should say, the officer convicted there, Jason Van Dyke, second- degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery, one for each that Van Dye fired at McDonald in that 2014 shooting.
And this was caught on police dash cam video. City officials caught it, fought to keep it secret and today shows the jury used this video that you are watching to determine in their view that this was a murder by police. McDonald running down the street seeming to move away from officers and posing no lethal threat to them, only to be executed with 16 shots. That part, the jury saw but we can`t show you.
This video has sparked outrage, protests, the ousting of Chicago`s police chief and then the first murder charges for a Chicago officer in three Decades. Today, the jury completed the process of convicting on those charges.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the jury, find the defendant Jason Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder. We, the jury, find the defendant Jason Van Dyke guilty of aggravated battery with firearm, first shot. We, the jury, find the defendant Jason Van Dyke guilty of aggravated battery with firearm, second shot. We, the jury, find the defendant Jason Van Dyke guilty of aggravated battery with a firearm, 16th shot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: What you see there is the first murder conviction of a Chicago police officer in over 40 years. Van Dyke could spend decades behind bars plus the time for aggravated battery. Now, moments ago, McDonald`s family and supporters responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. MARVIN HUNTER, GREAT UNCLE OF LAQUAN MCDONALD: It gave us justice of which we seek and it also set a precedent across this country that now people can look to Chicago and they can come here and learn what was done to bring us to this moment and then they can begin to practice that in their towns and cities and bring justice for themselves.
The real crime here it`s not just the death in the 16 shots of Laquan, the real crime is the cover-up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That is what some of this change looks like. Chicago`s Mayor and police leadership have been urging calm and accepting any verdict but there`s other things that are not changing and I want to note this before I go to our experts, a disturbing and seemingly lawless statement from the union that represents police officers in Chicago tonight, and this really offers us a window into the sometimes open resistance of some police officers and following the rule of law whether you agree with the outcome or not.
The Police Union challenging the legitimacy of the jury system and this verdict tonight by saying "12 ordinary citizens were duped into saving the asses of self-serving politicians." I`m joined now by Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of Color of Change, the nation`s largest racial justice organization online which has worked on these issues, and from Chicago Jarrett Adams an attorney for civil rights case. He went to law school only after serving over nine years for a wrongful conviction that was ultimately overturned.
Thanks to both of you on a story that is significant across the nation. Rashad, this -- everyone can understand watching right now is different than how these stories usually start and end. Why?
RASHAD ROBINSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COLOR OF CHANGE: Incredibly different and I really do believe it starts with the folks on the ground in Chicago, organizations that really took this moment to build a movement. In a movement that not only on went after the Police Department but held the enablers accountable across the board. My organization Color of Change got very involved with local groups to oust Anita Alvarez, the former State Attorney who was part of the cover-up, made demands on Rahm Emanuel and others. Folks were relentless and actually there`s a new State Attorney in office right now that`s a direct result of the movement.
MELBER: So, this is a jury verdict which means its citizens reaching the conclusion. But you`re making a structural point here that if people had not changed, the prosecutors and the leadership in the city, you might have never gotten it to a jury.
ROBINSON: If the leadership of the city was not nervous about what was happening and people`s interest in truly holding not only the Police Department accountable but those who stood in the way of true justice accountable, we would not see this result. It`s a direct result of organizing, of mobilizing, and in this moment where we`re seeing so much news which can make us afraid and fearful about what the potential of our country is, understanding that organized communities oppress people rising up resisting, but also putting forward a true vision about what they want and who they want in office can win the day.
And I think that what`s happened in Chicago and the movement that is said across the country where now we have a national movement of electing reform-minded prosecutors around the country in places like Philadelphia, in Orlando and most recently in kicking out Bob McCulloch, the 27-year incumbent who did not prosecute -- in Ferguson who did not prosecute Darren Wilson who killed Mike Brown. And so, this is a movement and really that first spark really did happen with the leadership in Chicago ignoring that video, suppressing that video.
MELBER: Jarrett, you`re in Chicago, you know Chicago, you also know your way around the criminal justice system, as a defendant, as a former inmate, your conviction overturned rather dramatically. You went on the law school, now you represent others. When you look at this case, does it give you hope? Does it feel like the system that you`ve been inside is changing?
JARRETT ADAMS, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: You know, quite frankly. Well, first let me start off by my condolences to the family and I am -- I am praying that they will begin to start to heal from this process. You know, I`ll say this, Ari, I am you know born and raised on the south side of Chicago. I left you know, Chicago, started my practice in New York but I am often in Chicago. My mother still stays in Chicago. And so I am very much involved with everything in Chicago. And my heart was in my throat as I`m sitting here in Chicago in awaiting that verdict.
And you know, there were -- there was a community outcry that brought this on but I must acknowledge that there were two reporters, two reporters who started this and uncover the video that it took 13 months to be released. So while we should be you know happy that there is justice, we can`t really cheer as if the problems all over because you mentioned it earlier. The Police Union came out right away with a statement that continues and continues to break -- to further the gap of the community and the police.
MELBER: Does that give you chills? I mean, I think about it as an attorney. You don`t really want the police smack-talking jury verdicts like they can just disagree with that. We have to all except in a nation that`s a rule of law these outcomes whichever way they go.
ADAMS: Well, Ari, listen. I pray to God that the police spokesman for the Union who made that comment today doesn`t speak on behalf of all the police because if he does we really have a big problem.
MELBER: Rashad? Yes. I mean, I`ve sat across the table with you know, the head of the former -- the Head of the National Police Union you know, in the White House with the former president where I watched them say that you know, all this talk about racial profiling was new to them. The Police Union is an incredible problem for anyone that seeks justice because they continue to not even want to move a little bit on what`s actually happening in this country and in these communities.
What I will say though also is you know, what this speaks to is justice and progress is not a straight line. We will continue to see moments around this country where justice isn`t served, where video comes out and juries returned verdicts that seem crazy for many of us who watch these things. But what I do think we can learn from what happened in Chicago is that if we continue to organize and fight, if we move our protest to the ballot box and if we continue to hold those and office accountable, we can start building the power necessary to change both the written and unwritten rules that far too often make black lives not matter and make and allow police officers to believe that they are above the law.
That has to change in a democracy and in a country that needs to really atone for all of the ways in which black communities are treated like enemy combatants in their own neighborhood.
MELBER: And Rashad, the point you make I think dovetails with exactly what Jarrett is saying. There`s nothing to celebrate when you`re dealing with a tragedy but if the system works better, it`s cops and judges and lawyers will tell you then there`s preventive action. And so if there`s justice and accountability then hopefully there are in the future far fewer unnecessary shootings. That`s what the jury effectively found here. This was more than unnecessary. It was a second-degree murder.
My special thanks to Rashad Robinson and Jarrett Adams both so involved in this for joining us tonight.
ADAMS: Thank you.
ADAMS: Thank you.
MELBER: Thank you. Now, we take a turn because boy do we need it. It is Friday, who needs to fall back? Well, Big Daddy Kane and Eleanor Clift, they`re here next.
MELBER: It is Friday on THE BEAT and if there was ever a week for some serious falling back, it`s this when it is time to fall back. Today we are joined by the one and only Big Daddy Kane, a Grammy Award-Winning Rapper with several gold albums under his belt and hits like Smooth Operator and Ain`t No Half-Stepping. He`s worked with Quincy Jones, MC Hammer, Tupac, Jay Z, Common. MTV named him one of the greatest MC`s of all time. And Big Daddy is joined by The Daily Beast Eleanor Clift, the author of six books, a famous T.V. presence from her time when the McLaughlin group. She also cameod as herself in the movies Independence Day and Dave. Not bad.
ELEANOR CLIFT, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Murphy Brown too.
MELBER: And Murphy Brown which is back in the news.
CLIFT: That`s right.
MELBER: Big Daddy Kane, who needs to fall back?
BIG DADDY KANE, RAPPER: I guess I would have to say, Ted Cruz. Yes. I mean, I think that you know, for you to take a stand and be so far about a death penalty, you know, to the point that you feel that kids deserve it, that a rapist that didn`t murder anybody long deserved it, then you know, you should have these same views about someone else just being you know charged with something. You know, you can`t sit there and say that oh, he was just a kid. I mean, that applies all the way around.
MELBER: This idea that Republicans have suddenly decided to give Brett Kavanaugh a break for his teenage years while they`ve been doing a lot of "tough on crime" where they go after teenagers pretty aggressively.
KANE: Yes. I mean, you know me, myself I mean, I can`t sit there and condemn someone else if I`m not going to have the same views for the people that`s in my house. Yes.
MELBER: Yes, it does seem that the only time we see this sort of new comfort with youthful indiscretions by the Republican elite seems to be when it`s one of their own.
CLIFT: Well, and I really did come up in the Kavanaugh stuff. I mean, it was a lot about class. Kids sophomores in high schools renting beach houses, this was not a world that I was familiar with in Brooklyn and Queens. And yes, youthful indiscretions or of oh we didn`t teenage years, it shouldn`t matter. Now, I think they`re minded people can come down on both sides of whether what he was accused of if in fact, he did it, whether that was disqualifying or not --
CLIFT: -- but all of the excuses made for it, even you know, the fact that gee, we shouldn`t be shaming people who drink beer but there`s double standards for white people and black people when it comes to teenage pranks. A lot of young black men get killed for doing things that --
MELBER: Right. And we are reporting on some of that in this show.
CLIFT: Yes. And that`s very heartening that somebody is getting punished.
MELBER: There`s also just in the politics of it, Eleanor, when you look at some of the Republicans who were held out as sort of procedural heroes and then it turns out they`re not there. Who else is your fallback?
CLIFT: Well, Susan Collins was a big disappointment in trying to reclaim the moral high ground for the Republican Party. I look at her doing their dirty work so I put her there, but Lindsey Graham. Lindsey Graham, I guess if you`re a Republican Strategist, he actually reclaimed the Kavanaugh nomination when he had his outburst. He turned that hearing around.
MELBER: You think he turned it around?
CLIFT: I think he did.
MELBER: And he did it -- and he did it with anger with -- and he -- by the way, we talked about who`s bringing up what, he brought up his white maleness for whatever reason and said "because he`s a white male from South Carolina, he`s not allowed to talk but he`s going to." Let`s look at that moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: This is the most unethical sham since I`ve been in politics and if you really wanted to know the truth you sure as hell wouldn`t have done what you`ve done to this guy. This is hell. This is going to destroy the ability of good people to come forward because of this crap.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CLIFT: Well, now that Mr. Kavanaugh is likely to be installed on the court, maybe Lindsey Graham will go back to being his folksy South Carolina self, somebody who works across party lines. I wonder how he is dealing with the loss of John McCain, I mean that he really was McCain`s wingman. And so I`m thinking maybe that has something to do with his going off the rails.
MELBER: And I heard that that might make him a little more unmoored. Who else do you think needs to fall back?
KANE: Honestly, I probably have to say Kanye.
MELBER: Kanye West.
MELBER: He went out on SNL I and we have a little clip of this and you could speak to it. This was after the end of SNL so not everyone saw this on T.V. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KANYE WEST, RAPPER: They bully me. They bullied me backstage they said don`t go out there with that hat on. They bullied me backstage. They bullied me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KANE: I don`t think that you know, you should bully anybody for their political beliefs. And also, when you speak in politics, I don`t think that you know, if you`re black being a Republican is wrong and I don`t think that being a Democrat is right. You have the right to choose whatever political party you want to be a part of. However --
MELBER: However --
KANE: If it`s the type of situation where you defending someone that`s destroying your race, your education, so many other different things, you know, and blatantly just you know, supporting racism and being a sexist on television in front of everyone to see, I don`t see how you can respect that. So, it`s not about politics, it`s not about being a Republican or a Democrat, it`s about you know, the way a person is.
MELBER: Does it strike you that in the way that Kanye West talks about it, there`s actually a disturbing echo of the way Brett Kavanaugh supporters and other people talk about it which is people with a lot of privilege money and power saying they`re the victim, they`re being bullied. I mean, Kanye West is literally on T.V. wearing the red hat, so his notion that he`s being repressed doesn`t work because he`s out there with the platform.
KANE: Well, it als0o doesn`t work because he was wearing a Perrier bottle almost before.
CLIFT: I want to say something on behalf of black Republicans. I grew up in New York and I lived in Atlanta for ten years and I -- that was when I first saw black Republicans who were living the legacy of Abraham Lincoln and they were the -- they were the good guys and really -- I was -- it was my political awakening in Atlanta when the city was too busy to hate and there was a lot of a white progressive mayor who really worked at race relations.
But Republicans have been used as trophies in the Republican Party. They haven`t really been fully integrated, I don`t think, but -- and I don`t know if this era is the time for them. I think the Republican Party has a lot of soul-searching to do as to who and what they are.
MELBER: Right. Well -- and I didn`t know we were going to talk about black Republicans so much that`s like a Jay-Z song and he`s not even here to talk to you about it Big Daddy, but it is interesting and it goes to what you`re saying the moment we`re in which is on both race and gender. It`s not just politics. People are talking about whether they are under attack, their identities.
KANE: Yes. I have friends that are -- and black friends there are Republicans. So, I mean, you know, because you`re a Republican that doesn`t make you a bad guy.
MELBER: Sure, yes. I really appreciate you coming by. I always like meeting the legends. Big Daddy Kane and Eleanor Clift, or if we wanted to a rap name we could say Lil Eleanor with your blessing.
MELBER: Sweleanor, there it is.
MELBER: Thank you both -- thank you both. When we come back, a live update from Capitol Hill.
MELBER: It`s been a dramatic day on Capitol Hill where Kasie Hunt joins us. We`re told it`s quite tense. What are you seeing what happens next?
KASIE HUNT, NBC NEWS CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ari, it certainly was quite tense all through the day and there are still protesters behind me that you may hear as you and I had talked to each other. I think that the big question now is how does this play out both for individual members of the Senate but also more broadly as we start to look I think I`ve lost track. Forgive me, it`s been a long week but there are 30 something days until the midterm elections.
I had always thought all the way along that if in fact Judge Kavanaugh were confirmed, it would be something that ultimately would energize Democrats in the midterm elections, that it would make an already very angry a group of voters even angrier especially the women that we`ve been talking so much about. Whereas had you know Judge Kavanaugh`s nomination gone down, that Republicans would ultimately be more interested in showing up at the polls.
So I`m really interested to see how this motivates Democratic voters not just their base voters but across the board. And my big question is whether or not there is a miscalculation among Republicans about the broad impact of this. You know, we talk a lot about kind of a narrow basis of the parties but this is something that really broke through with a broad swath of the electorate especially younger voters. And I think that actually could have a bigger impact then a lot of these Republican leaders that have been in power for a while really realized.
MELBER: And that`s certainly a big question as both sides claim this will mobilize them. Kasie Hunt who has been doing triple duty all week on the big story. Thank you for making time for us tonight and we will be back on THE BEAT with one more thing.
MELBER: That`s our show. "HARDBALL" starts now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END