Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: October 8, 2018 Guest: Cornell Belcher, Jennifer Rubin, Tom Nichols, Shelby Holliday, John Flannery, Debra Haaland, Liz Plank, David Cay Johnston, Ike Barinholtz
KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: I`ll be back on the road tomorrow for my tour. Next up, Reno.
"THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER" starts right now. Hi, Ari.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Katy. Do you have a minute? You look like you`re having fun out there.
TUR: Sure, I have a minute.
MELBER: You know, I don`t like to get into the professional jealousy game, that`s not my style.
TUR: Go on.
MELBER: But you did land --
TUR: Go on.
MELBER: -- an interview, I don`t know if it was an exclusive or not. We can put it up on the screen. I saw it today, there with the bear. And I`ve got to say, that`s a big interview to get. Do you have any backstory for us?
TUR: It was a big interview. We tried for months to land this interview. The bear said he would only come on if Jacob Soboroff was there. So we had to get Jacob Soboroff to be there and Jacob just sat there and looked pretty but it was fun and fine. I did all the work.
MELBER: To me, it`s a reminder that amidst all these news stories and Lord knows, there`s a lot to worry about in the country, in the world. Sometimes you just have to pause and have a different kind of interview.
TUR: To pause, exactly. To pause. You`re very clever, Ari.
MELBER: Have fun out there. We`ll be watching for the next. I think you should make this a thing you do at every campus, if possible.
TUR: I will try, just so that you have the fodder to make fun of me.
MELBER: I`m not even making fun of you. I`m just happy. I`m just happy about all of it and we`re all looking for reasons to be happy. Katy Tur, have fun on the road.
I`ll tell you folks watching what our top story is. Twenty-nine days until the midterms and we`re seeing right now a political frenzy by candidates across the nation. The Dems deploying some of their most famous incumbents to stomping battleground states this weekend, urging liberals to turn out for the first national referendum on Trump`s presidency since he took office. Republicans, meanwhile, you may have heard, they`re saying that the battle and victory in the Kavanaugh fight is stoking their base.
Now, as always, in a run-up to an election, there is tons that we don`t know. But I`m going to begin tonight with what we do. The available data does not show Republicans are right about that. In fact, the latest polls show Democrats up by an average of six points across the generic ballot, up another eight in one poll taken in the middle of the Kavanaugh fight. It`s the kind of lead that could drive a blue wave in typically red states, according to Reuters.
And tonight, we can also report that the nonpartisan election forecasters over at the Cook Political Report mark eight more House races shifting towards Democrats, while, of course, Democrats also have a four-point edge in another new "Washington Post" poll. That`s 69 battleground House districts. Now, that is better than expected because most of those seats are in these places held by Republicans.
But if you look at that, that data that would seem positive for the Dems, they`re obviously walking a tricky line right now, because while indicators to the future can look good, they`re addressing party activists who are upset about the president and about Trump`s win on the Supreme Court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: This is not a time to curl up. It is not a time to shut up. It is not a time to give up. It`s a time to get up, to rise up, to speak up. It`s time for you not to wait for hope, but to be the hope.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), CALIFORNIA: The bottom line is that they may have the power right now, but we need to take it back. And the only way we are going to do that is when we get everyone out to vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And while Republicans are publicly saying they`re optimistic about November, new reports from behind the scenes show Trump aides already prepping for Dems to take back the House and then sic Congressman`s top investigators on Trump world.
Let`s get right to it. Cornell Belcher, Democratic strategist who has done polling for the Obama campaign and the DNC and Jennifer Rubin, a conservative opinion writer for "The Washington Post" and a critic of much of what Donald Trump has been doing.
Cornell, when you look at that back and forth that I just showed, how do Democrats walk that line? The data is good, the mood is sour.
CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think a couple of things, Ari. One is, the battleground poll is important for Dems to have an edge there. But generically in the national generic, and it goes back and forth, but if you look at 2006, the last wave election, Democrats, because of quite frankly structural problems and districting, Democrats need a 10 or 11-point generic going in and that`s fluctuated back and forth.
That said, the intensity thing is always a plus, but is it intense across the board with young voters in particular? I`m most worried about millennials not turning out. And if we have a 2014 or 2010 electorate, Democrats won`t do well. We need to expand the electorate. And I question whether or not we`ve done enough to dig into younger voters and make them motivated.
JENNIFER RUBIN, OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think there is a wishful thinking epidemic going on in the Republican party, that Kavanaugh is the solution to all their problems. As you mentioned, the polling data so far doesn`t show it. There`s another poll from "CNN" showing that Kavanaugh is very unpopular and he`s 20 points down with women.
And I think women are the Achilles heel for the Republican party. You see white women, college-educated women, college-educated whites in general, both men and women, shifting very heavily to the Democratic side. A lot of those suburban districts are the ones that are in swing states. And as far as the Senate goes, people forget, a year ago, Democrats were worried about Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, those aren`t even on the map anymore for Republicans. So Democrats have really narrowed the number of their incumbents that are at risk. And they`re still playing very competitively in places like Nevada and Arizona.
So always been an uphill battle for them to win the Senate but if I have to choose one party that you`d want to put money on, I would choose the Democrats.
MELBER: When you mention the women, there`s always been a gender gap here with 29 days to go, but we`ll show you how pronounced that is right now on the screen. When you see 54 percent among women, that`s a 14-point gap. And yet when you look at the House districts for men, it is exactly reverse, Jennifer.
RUBIN: Yes. I think the difference is that the men voters, Trump probably has just about all the male white voters he`s ever going to get. He actually did well. He keeps telling us he has a wrong statistic, but he actually did well with white women voters. So if those are the people who are now shifting allegiance or very motivated to turn out for Democrats, as we saw in my home state of Virginia last year, then that`s a boost for the Democrats.
And I think it`s that gap, both on education and on gender, that Democrats are banking on. Interesting point, though, that they have to also have some young voters turn out.
MELBER: Sure. Cornell, the other side of this is what is completely unknowable which is how does the Kavanaugh debate battle and now confirmation play out? Because there`s the substance of it, which is, as Jennifer was just speaking to, may drive even more women turnout, which, as a statistical matter, tends to favor the Dems. But then there`s the mood of always losing, even if the experts say, "Well, yes, when the Republicans control the Senate, no matter what was going to happen, they were always going to have that edge, right.
But the mood of that I think is captured here by "Saturday Night Live" this week. And I want you to watch this. I want your honest reaction, not just as a Dem but as a human being when you look at the way Chuck Schumer is being portrayed and how that echoes across the country. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Schumer, what went wrong?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, my doctor thinks it might be sciatica.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I mean with the Kavanaugh vote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, right. Yes. Well, the Dems lost another one. Yes. That`s what we do now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Cornell, that`s a sort of Chuck Schumer, you know, Montell Jordan, this is how we do it now. Is that a problem for the Dems if that`s how they`re seen?
BELCHER: Look, I think the truth of the matter is, women were against this Kavanaugh by better than 20 points. The idea that Kavanaugh is somehow going to be beneficial to you with so many women were against it I think is fool`s gold. That said, you know, what is Schumer to do? And so Schumer`s case is going to be, we need, in fact, a Democratic majority in the Senate. Because if we back have a Democratic majority in the Senate, we could have stopped this from going through.
So I think that`s a rallying cry. From a procedural standpoint, Schumer is in a tough place because, in fact, we don`t have the majority. We do not have the votes to stop that. We knew that months ago. You know, I give them some credit for putting up the fight that they put, given that we simply do not have the votes to stop Kavanaugh from going in. I think this is a rallying cry.
This is going to make the 1992, the Year of the Woman look pale in comparison to how sort of viscerally upset women are, both Republican, and moderate, and Democratic women across the board.
MELBER: And then there`s a question of whether Republicans are rethinking anything, even some Republicans, somewhere. Stay with me. I want to bring in the conversation Tom Nichols. He`s a professor at the U.S. Naval War College. He`s a former Republican staffer, and he just wrote in "The Atlantic" about why this Kavanaugh confirmation fight, among other things, has pushed him to leave the Republican party.
Tom, why right now?
TOM NICHOLS, PROFESSOR, U.S. NAVAL WAR COLLEGE: Well, it wasn`t just the Kavanaugh confirmation but I think this was really the last straw. Because at this point, I thought there is no future in the Republican party. There`s nowhere to go. There`s not going to be a rebuilding when this is over. There`s not going to be some kind of moderate center that`s going to emerge out of the rubble of the Trump years.
And I think when Susan Collins gave her speech, that sort of really struck me that the Republicans who didn`t abandon the president after Helsinki and that humiliation on foreign policy, they didn`t abandon him after this disastrous nomination process, which Democrats certainly bore their share of the responsibility for, there simply isn`t much of a future after this. And I think for me, it was time to go.
MELBER: You`re pessimistic, and you say broader than just Kavanaugh, the kind of the last straw of source. Let me read from your piece. You say the Trumpers and the hucksters and the consultants and the hangers-on are like the colony of bees that exist only to sting and die. And they`ve swarmed together in a dangerous but suicidal cloud, and when that mindless hive finally extinguishes itself in a blaze of venom, there will be nothing left.
I mean, first of all, this raises a question of whether you should be involved in any Harry Potter fanatics. I don`t know what`s your free time is like. But second of all, do you think it`s really that bad? I mean you think that the -- the way you`re writing, it`s almost like you`re saying the Republican party as you know it, will not survive Trumpism.
NICHOLS: I said when Trump was nominated that I didn`t think the Republican party could survive Trumpism. but I held out some hope that there would be some way to rebuild it. The problem now is Republican party is about negative goals. It`s all about anger and punishment and getting even and trying to trigger the libs and all the other things that are all negative goals. This is not the optimistic, can-do, forward-looking Republican party that I joined as a young man, and that existed for the decades after. This is really just a Republican party that`s angry at other people, angry at itself. And I don`t think there`s going to be much of a future for it after President Trump leaves.
RUBIN: Well, I`ve had a little bit of a friendly argument with Tom going on for a number of months, my position being that the Republican party was not redeemable. So, unfortunately, I did win that argument but --
MELBER: Tom, will you say here on national television that Jennifer won?
NICHOLS: Jennifer won the argument. Jennifer and I, for well over a year, have been having this discussion about, is it salvageable?
MELBER: I just wanted to confirm that. Jennifer, go on.
RUBIN: Tom is a gentleman and honestly the day is long. So thank you for that, Tom. But in all seriousness, the things that attracted Tom and I to the Republican party 20, 30 years ago, free trade, robust immigration, a values-based leadership in the world, respect for facts, a certain dignity, a certain humility, a certain style of governance, is completely gone in the Republican party. In fact, they attack all of those things that I just outlined.
So for us to stick around in a party which is not only intellectually bereft but as Tom said, but has become mean-spirited, nasty, and cruel quite frankly in the way they behave towards victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse. Really, it`s not a party I want to have anything to do with. And the question for people like Tom and I is where do we go? And that`s going to be the challenge for us, the challenge for the parties, and maybe for a third party candidate in 2020.
MELBER: Right. A lot of big questions here as we look towards what`s going to happen in the midterms.
Jennifer, Tom, Cornell, thanks to each of you.
Coming up, new revelations in a whole different story. Bob Mueller`s interest in the secret Republican effort to get the Clinton e-mails and perhaps buy them. We`re going to talk to a reporter who break the story and what Trump said today about the bombshell investigation into his money trail.
And the battleground states. Well, we`re going to go to one and hear how women voters are planning to hit back in what some are calling a Me Too election.
And then later, something a little different and should be pretty funny, there`s a new film "The Oath" with Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz and he`s here on THE BEAT tonight.
I`m Ari Melber and we will be right back.
MELBER: Now we turn to an investigation within the Mueller probe involving a political operative raising secret money to buy hacked e-mails to help Trump. That operative died in an apparent suicide last year. If this sounds more like a spy movie than a serious lead, the news tonight is that Mueller is taking it seriously.
"The Wall Street Journal" reporting Mueller`s team bearing down on the fundraising done by Republican Operative Peter Smith, a familiar name because he was so vocal about trying to capitalize on the news of the hacking of the Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Peter Smith and these people who he assembled, they apparently read the news that Democratic servers had been hacked by the Russians and they extrapolated. They basically mounted an effort to try to get Hillary Clinton`s private server e-mails off the Russians because they thought they must have hacked those, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: As Rachel reported, we have known Smith was on the quest for the e-mails and touting his links to Trump Campaign Official Michael Flynn, who is cooperating with Mueller. This new reporting shows Mueller probing how he not only got involved in October 2016 but secretly raised at least $100,000 from donors for the goal of buying the hacked e-mails. Now, that is a big headline, because that`s actual money raised for buying stolen goods, a potential crime.
If you`re involved in that, you can explain it away as a meeting that went nowhere or a joke about asking Russia to help you hack. Peter Smith was not just talking about those e-mails. He was talking money. As the rapper Young Dolph puts it, "If you ain`t talking money, I don`t want to talk." Smith is dead, so Mueller`s not investigating in order to charge him but who was Smith talking to? And That`s where the Russia probe meets Young Dolph. If you were talking money to Smith, now Mueller wants to talk to you.
I`m joined by "Wall Street Journal`s" Shelby Holliday, one of the reporters who broke this story and Attorney Maya Wiley, former counsel to Mayor of New York, MSNBC legal analyst, and another Former Federal Prosecutor John Flannery. Thanks to all of you.
Shelby, since you`ve been reporting this out, what is the verification of the actual fundraising due to the story?
SHELBY HOLLIDAY, REPORTER, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, it was a story because the money trail always matters. And so what we know is that he raised at least $100,000 from at least four people. And the timing is significant because it came just one month ahead of the election. And there was an e-mail sent out to some of his friends, some of his donors, and it was addressed to the Clinton e-mail reconnaissance initiative supporters.
And what he had been talking about was establishing a fund for -- a scholarship for Russian students. So we reported that that may have been a code for raising money for some sort of Russian initiative. And then in the e-mails, there`s a clue because he says the students are very pleased with the e-mail releases they`ve seen so far. And this e-mail came four days after WikiLeaks started dumping e-Podesta and also just a few days after DCLeaks was releasing more e-mails, damaging Hillary Clinton.
So it suggests in this e-mail that the students are pleased with the releases, hints at the fact that they`re talking about these e-mail releases. He had been on this mission to get Hillary Clinton`s e-mails. He was after those 33,000 missing e-mails that Hillary Clinton said were personal, she didn`t turn over to the government. According to his associate, he was convinced that those had been hacked and he was on a mission reaching out to people on the dark web to try to get those e-mails.
We have no idea if he actually got those e-mails. He did imply connections to WikiLeaks when he spoke to "The Journal" last year and he also implied connections with Michael Flynn which is significant because Flynn, as we know, is an adviser to the Trump campaign and also joined the administration before he was forced to resign.
MELBER: What does it mean that Mueller is looking at this and looking at the people talking money?
MAYA WILEY, FORMER COUNSEL TO NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Well, it`s not surprising he`s following the money. If one of the things he`s looking for as we know is whether or not there is collusion, literally a conspiracy to defraud the United States by working with Russians in order to win. And there`s lots of -- as we know and we talked about many times, there are lots of different connections to Russia that are closely tied to Donald Trump, as well as his own fabrication of his son`s reason for having the Trump-Russia tower meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya. Did I get that right? It`s Monday.
But I think the bottom line is, there`s no question that Mr. Smith looks like he committed a campaign finance violation. If he was having conversations with Michael Flynn, we know Michael Flynn has been cooperating and is quite guilty to perjury, had been having conversations with the Russian Ambassador, both during the campaign and as late as December 2016, then the question becomes, what has Michael Flynn been telling Robert Mueller`s team, and to what extent has that been connected to what they`re trailing in terms of the money, which is actually working with Russian hacking.
MELBER: John, where do you come down on this?
JOHN FLANNERY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, the thing that I find interesting is the juxtaposition of Trump saying on July 27 of 2016, "Russians, if you have e-mails, go get them." And then there`s corroboration that there were inquiries made by apparently Russian hackers. And then we have this "Independent relationship" in which Peter Smith is tied to Flynn and he`s trying to pay somebody, not for -- I don`t think the foundation really, but to get these e-mails.
And the final thing that really is of concern to me is in May of 2017, he commits suicide when the Special Counsel is appointed. And within 10 days after talking to a reporter, I believe with Shelby, and the -- he appeared to be in good spirits before that. So it`s like a Tinker Tailor Soldier thing. And I think that if you`re Mueller`s situation, you have other information that says this ties together neatly or it doesn`t, it certainly is a hypothetical worth investigating.
MELBER: Tinker Tailor being how this does seem to be like a movie plot. I found that movie hard to follow by the way. But I do want to be clear about what is known, again crediting "The Wall Street Journal" what Shelby writes, they make a point of saying, you know, he left a suicide note that read, "No foul play, whatsoever." And so Shelby, we haven`t seen, although it certainly always is going to be looked up by investigators. We haven`t seen investigators or authorities basically indicate there`s any concern here.
HOLLIDAY: No. And the police report says no foul play. He did also leave a note that said this is connected to his failing health and an insurance policy that was ending. But his death did come just a few days after Comey was fired and a few days before Mueller was appointed. So the timing is really interesting and something to look at.
Some of his associates said they had no idea they saw this coming. In fact, one of the people we talked to Charles Ortel spoke with Smith the day before he died about new projects that they were working on. And he said said Smith sounded really excited. So the death is very interesting.
And I`d also point out one other thing because you brought it up, Maya. In our original story by Shane Smith, hats off to Shane Smith for breaking this. He also told Shane that he was helping Flynn establish connections in relation with Russia during the transition. And so that part has also been very interesting to all of us because that`s when Flynn was speaking to the Russian ambassador.
MELBER: Well, from the portrait that emerges, he seems like a bit of a chatty guy, Maya, reading here from a Lawfare post, that`s a legal site we`re relying a lot, Tait explained that when he was talking about it, "Never expressed any discomfort with the possibility the e-mails were potentially from a Russian front, a likelihood he was happy to acknowledge."
What do you say to the flip side argument that if there had been higher level Russian collusion with Trump that involves transferring these e- mails, you wouldn`t need this Randall guy to buy them, because you would be getting them from the Russians?
WILEY: Look, I think we have multiple issues around hacking. And I think the idea that he could possibly have donors who were actually fundraising in order to buy opposition research doesn`t tell us that, what he knew or didn`t know, right? I mean if we`re talking about collusion, if we`re actually talking about conspiracy --
MELBER: Oh, that`s it.
WILEY: -- the question is, what did he know and was he connected to any part of it?
MELBER: You`re saying that if he was involved in a secret side block to buy, that doesn`t mean it disproves that there was a higher level secret plot to give --
WILEY: That`s absolutely true.
MELBER: -- because he wouldn`t know about that because he`s so random.
WILEY: That`s exactly right. And remember Roger Stone in all this who`s another --
MELBER: How could I forget Roger Stone?
WILEY: It`s impossible to forget Roger Stone. And there`s another adviser who`s also making comments at this critical period in time about e-mails and what would be forthcoming around Hillary Clinton. I mean there`s a lot of smoke around this, not that there`s some flames somewhere.
FLANNERY: Well, I think that the thing about the money that is a legitimate question is I wonder if they didn`t have a way to transfer from offshore expenses for logistical needs to make this work. And so one way to do it is to fundraise here to give it the appearance of being independent when the fact of the communication with Flynn contradicts that very principle.
So I think that what we`re doing is washing it for this foundation, using it for the hacking, and they did this perhaps because of time and logistics and they didn`t want to try to bring money offshore. We`ve seen what happens with that.
MELBER: Right. And we all remember how Tinker Tailor Soldier ends. Do you?
FLANNERY: No, I don`t actually.
MELBER: It is free on Netflix though. The Netflix is (INAUDIBLE) but it`s one of the movies you can get because they don`t have the greatest movie selection.
FLANNERY: Dude, you`re going around slamming Netflix?
MELBER: I`m not afraid of Netflix.
FLANNERY: I don`t know.
FLANNERY: OK, that`s what you do.
MELBER: Without your favor, sir. Without your favor.
John Flannery, Maya Wiley, and Shelby Holliday, thanks to each of you.
FLANNERY: Thank you.
MELBER: Meanwhile, Donald Trump now speaking out, slamming Dr. Ford as pushing a hoax. But the new polling shows women leaving the GOP over exactly that kind of stuff when we`re back in 30 seconds.
MELBER: Donald Trump`s new midterm message wraps a conspiracy theory in an attack on Dr. Christine Ford.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They`re thinking about impeaching a brilliant jurist, a man that did nothing wrong, a man that was caught up in a hoax that was set up by the Democrats. It was fabricated and it`s a disgrace. And I think it`s going to really show you something come November 6.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: But what will it show you? Well, Republicans have a major gender gap. We`ve been talking about that throughout our coverage tonight. Female voters in battleground House races, they prefer Democrats. And that trend, well you see here in the upward tick, it has been accelerating all the way since 2016. The blue line rising for Dems. The red line dropping for Rs. More women basically walking away from the Republican party.
Kavanaugh`s confirmation also has the organized women groups focusing energy on efforts to promote more Democratic candidates in targeted midterm races. And that`s happening. A record number of women are running and winning in the House and Senate primaries that we`ve been tracking and already occurred earlier this year. And one of those primary winners joins me now, Democratic Congressional candidate Deb Haaland of New Mexico, plus Liz Plank, a senior producer for Vox Media.
Deb, are you seeing any reaction among voters to the Kavanaugh debate? Or are you mostly hearing about other issues when you`re out campaigning?
DEBRA HAALAND, CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE (D), NEW MEXICO: Absolutely. Everyone is energized about the Kavanaugh issue. And look, November is coming. We`re ready to get out. We`re ready to make sure that voters get to the polls and my district alone is 60 percent women. So I`m anxious to -- for November 6 to get here because I believe the Democrats will win.
MELBER: Liz, you look at what`s happening, and in many ways, we are seeing a cultural moment. Taylor Swift who came out of country then went into pop and is known as one of the most popular artists in America, has never gotten into politics with any depth. Now she tells her 112 million Instagram followers to vote for Dems in the midterms. She says "I believe systemic racism that we`ll see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening, and prevalent. I can`t vote for someone will not be voting to fight for dignity for all Americans no matter their color or gender or who they love. And she`s someone with a huge followers. The president felt moved immediately to get into a little petty back and forth and it -- which is his nature. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, Marsha Blackburn is doing a very good job in Tennessee. I`m sure Taylor Swift that`s nothing or doesn`t know anything about her. And let`s say that I like Taylor`s music about 25 percent less now, OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LIZ PLANK, SENIOR PRODUCER, VOX MEDIA: He loves it right? That felt -- I mean, obviously Taylor Swift`s out words were -- made a lot of Republicans very angry. It seems like Donald Trump sort of revels in having celebrity drama go around him. But you know, at the same time this culture moment, this cultural moment that you`re talking about, the cultural war that the Republicans have loved to sort of wage whether it was around abortion or around gay marriage, now it seems to be obviously around gender.
And Donald Trump you know, this idea that men are somehow the victims in all of this has been something that he actually used a lot during even the 2016 campaign and in many ways cost him a lot of female votes, right? He obviously won with white women but it produced the largest gender gap in you know, American history since we`ve been reporting it actually. And yes, in the upcoming midterms there`s no sign of that gender cap actually lessening, it`s only getting bigger.
MELBER: You`re saying the gender gap is not something they can just shake off.
PLANK: I`m trying to think of another Taylor Swift song but I can`t.
MELBER: It`s delicate.
PLANK: It`s delicate.
MELBER: The gender gap fight is delicate?
MELBER: Not as good as the first one but I had to give you something.
PLANK: Right. Look what you need to do.
MELBER: So much Bad Blood. Deb, do you have a Taylor Swift reference ready?
HAALAND: I`m sorry I don`t.
MELBER: You don`t need to. You don`t need to. You`re running for Congress, you`re doing more important stuff than -- I won`t speak for Liz - - more important stuff than we`re doing here. You`re thinking about policy. On the more important point, I want to show you a fact check we put together here on THE BEAT because Donald Trump is doubling down today on attacking Christine Ford which is especially distressing to people considering that a formal debate with regard to the nominee is over. So he is doing it for other reasons, political gratuitous or otherwise. And we want to show people how his words line up, his allegations line up with what she actually testified to and get your view as someone running for Congress. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: How many years ago and said I don`t know.
CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, ACCUSER OF BRETT KAVANAUGH: 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: But I had one beer. That`s the only thing I remember.
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: With what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?
FORD: 100 percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And Deb, you mentioned your registered voters in your district being more women than men. What are you telling women and especially curious, what are you telling younger women who may be voting in some of their first elections or their first elections at the Trump era as the president continues to bear down and try to make Dr. Ford a political issue this week?
HAALAND: Right. Well, he`s done that on his own. You know, it`s -- we certainly don`t necessarily have to drill down on what the president has said every -- he`s been in plain view since he`s been in office and he would to say that he would work to discount women because he has been accused of sexual assault himself. So women are ready to vote. Women are ready to get out and pound pavement and make phone calls and ensure that we are electing Democrats across the country. I`ve seen it.
We have a record number of women of color who have won their primary elections across the country and to me that speaks volumes. He can complain about Dr. Blasey Ford all he wants. That isn`t going to change our minds.
MELBER: Deb Haaland a congressional candidate and female primary winner among other things as I mentioned in our coverage and Liz Plank, thanks to both of you for joining us. Up ahead, Donald Trump reacting to this bombshell New York Times reports that he`d lied all along about being a self-made billionaire. And then later, comedian Ike Barinholtz is here with a new movie with Tiffany Haddish all about what happens in the Trump era and triggering arguments with your own family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re arresting opposition leaders, Pat. It`s not the way it`s supposed to work in this country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then they shouldn`t be violently protesting, OK. And for the record, maybe more politicians should be in handcuffs. They`re all crooks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What a hot day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: There has been a lot in the news lately so you may have missed some of the fallout from that big New York Times expose about Donald Trump lying about how he made his money. Those questions finally coming up and hitting Donald Trump himself. The New York Times showed that he used sham corporations and fraud to inherit hundreds of millions from his father far more than that million-dollar loan he once claimed to get from Fred Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Very well documented, very well documented.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was it more than $1 million?
TRUMP: That`s been documented for many years very well, all public documents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: They`re not public documents. It`s a private company. Meantime, new reports the presidency has not been good for Trump`s business. Forbes reporting he`s actually lost over a billion dollars since taking office. And that despite Trump`s ongoing promotion of his brand, he has actually spent over a third of his time as president at one of the Trump properties, revenue at his Golf properties though weren`t helped enough. They still drop nine percent last year and Trump Tower condo prices now a third down from their highs. The Trump Hotel Empire revenues also down $30 million.
I turned now to a man who has been on this story for a long time David Cay Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-Winning journalist. He found the DCReporter.org. He`s the author of It`s Even Worse Than You Think, true but uplifting title. And he has a new piece in The Daily News about Trump`s tax cheating which would feel a new push to get big money out of politics. Welcome, sir.
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Thank you, Ari. The New York Times report which is very important and has at times been overshadowed by other also important things makes a point of noting that many publications including The Times credulously went along with this mythmaking and then it points to a few reporters Wayne Barrett and you by name who did it. So walk us through how you were ahead of this story and what`s important about The Times report.
JOHNSTON: Well, The Times report is incredibly important even if it doesn`t change one voters mind because it gives Congress a roadmap and the state of New York tax authorities a roadmap to investigate Donald Trump`s recent tax returns. And a way to go after the Trump`s civilly for all of the money that they should have paid and did not because there`s no statute of limitations on civil fraud though there is on criminal.
You know, back in 1990 Donald told me one morning he was worth $3 billion and I looked at him and said Donald, I don`t believe you. And he said what? And I said you can`t pay your bills. There are all sorts of people who are not being paid, if you`re a billionaire you would have a way, sell an asset, do something to pay these people. That very day he told another reporter he was worth $5 billion. He just makes it up. And the best proof of that is that as a candidate he told everyone he was worth more than $10 billion but as president, he had to sign under oath what his net worth is and it was only 1.4 billion. $9 billion because it was never there in the first place.
MELBER: And so how do you take what we`re learning from all of that reporting along with what I mentioned in the lead which is that Donald Trump is actually getting hit financially by being president whether he was expecting that or not and I can`t even imagine how you would calculate how much worse those properties would be doing if he wasn`t propping them up with all of his time at them.
JOHNSTON: Well, people who are customers are voting with their wallets. You know, Donald has told everybody his golf courses in Scotland one is worth over $200 million and the other one more than $100 million. They`re losing millions and millions of dollars every year because he has to publish their results and it`s all a fiction. He just makes it up. It`s a Potemkin Village of finance and Donald is -- dwells in this place as a financial vampire.
MELBER: Right. And Republicans used to be on this. Before I let you go, take a look at Republicans talking like David Cay Johnston once upon a time.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: This is a guy that`s taken Trump airlines, bankrupt Trump vodka, nobody wanted it, Trump mortgage was a disaster, Trump University was a fraud. I mean, he`s not as rich as he claims to be.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Maybe it`s that Donald Trump doesn`t earn nearly as much as he has so loudly told everyone. Maybe he`s not as rich as he says he is.
MITT ROMNEY, FORMER GOVERNOR, MASSACHUSETTS: Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Your final word, David.
JOHNSTON: Well, if Donald Trump is a billionaire, I`m the most handsome 24-year old man in America.
MELBER: Well, your facts are handsome and we need more pretty facts in a world of lies. David Cay Johnston, as always, thank you for coming on THE BEAT. Up ahead, as I`ve mentioned Hollywood taking on the Trump era and satirizing a new political movie that deals with both sides of the aisle but especially the Trump side. One of the stars actor Ike Barinholtz is on THE BEAT straight ahead
MELBER: There are 29 days until the Midterms. And for people who want to avoid this tense political season, you can always escape with a trip to the movies. But the Trump era has more movies turning political like the new movie like the new movie The Oath staring Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz who`s mostly known for comedy like playing and imposing for Russian baseball player on HBO`s Eastbound and Down or Of Course It`s Nurse Morgan and the Mindy Project on Hulu.
But in the oath, I tapped his pedigree as a funny relatable guy to get people to relate to the very serious prospects of American democracy slowly caving in under the pressure of a creeping authoritarian administration pressing citizens to sign a loyalty pledge. And his character grows frustrated as seemingly normal people around and accept those tactics and sue themselves with false conspiracy theories they read online. Now, the deadline for The Oath comes after Thanksgiving which leads Ike`s character at war with his family over the holidays.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shame on all of you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, that`s it. That`s it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that is it. That is it. You know what, I don`t want to eat with you people, so I`m going to take my food and my wine, and I`m going to sit in my car in the driveway and listen to some news and read some articles on my phone and eat my food, and you can sit here at the table and stuff your fat faces and talk about the people that are being brutally executed in the street by our police state. I`ll be on the driveway. Happy Thanksgiving, (BLEEP)! And save me some God damned pie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Here on THE BEAT is Ike Barinholtz, who not only stars on The Oath but also wrote and directed it.
IKE BARINHOLTZ, ACTOR: Happy holidays, everybody.
MELBER: Happy holidays.
BARINHOLTZ: I just want to say my character needs (INAUDIBLE) I don`t know if you heard. It was recently indicted in the Mueller probe.
MELBER: Was he?
BARINHOLTZ: He was at Trump Tower. He was at the meeting, Ivan Dochenko.
MELBER: And was he being paid by Alpha bank?
BARINHOLTZ: He was.
MELBER: It`s amazing.
BARINHOLTZ: I`m worried about him. Is this really Pete Williams mug? It`s a scotch.
MELBER: That`s your mug now.
BARINHOLTZ: And I don`t think a Christmas gift for my dad.
MELBER: Do you want THE BEAT pen while you`re going to the merch?
BARINHOLTZ: I`m just going to take a couple of these because I have a lot of family that are fans of the show so now I just not got a little holiday shopping. Thanks, Ari.
MELBER: You`re a funny guy.
BARINHOLTZ: Thank you.
MELBER: Eastbound and down and a lot of your other stuff is not political. Why`d you go political here? What are you trying to say?
BARINHOLTZ: Well, I think everything`s political now. I think in years past especially when it came to the holiday table, you can kind of sidestep politics and pivot to other things like football, you can`t do that anymore, T.V., you can`t really get into that too much. So you know, I just feel like it`s permeated kind of every layer that we have and I was actually after the election that -- after that Thanksgiving my mom and my brother and I got in this huge fight about the election during Thanksgiving dinner and I thought to myself, if we all voted for the same person, what`s happening at other holiday tables around the country so I wanted to explore that. I knew that arena was changed forever.
MELBER: You and your mom both voted for Jill Stein?
BARINHOLTZ: We both wanted for Jill Stein.
MELBER: Got it.
BARINHOLTZ: And we contributed -- I put in my entire 401k to the recount effort for her and we`re still waiting to hear -- Jill, if you`re watching, return an e-mail please. But no, you know we wanted to make a movie that explored the holiday table and kind of this tense political stress we`re all feeling and kind of blow it all up.
MELBER: Some political movies when Hollywood gets ahold of them are quite vague or more generic, this one feels very now. Let`s look at a scene where you`re tapping exactly into the MAGA --Trump supporter world where people don`t need legitimate fact-checking, sometimes they relied anything they found online. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s really shocking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unbelievable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did he do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing mommy, he didn`t do anything.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He didn`t do nothing. He lit a copy of The Oath on fire in front of some constituents.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And where are you getting this information from?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, yes, well, he`s a good source (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s verified.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s a verified (BLEEP) idiot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Why did you put that in?
BARINHOLTZ: You know, my character in the movie -- a lot of the characters in the movie are obsessed with the kind of you know, 24-hour news cycle and I just wanted to show kind of how too much of it coming from two different -- too many disparate sources can kind of confuse us and make us crazy. And yes, that was how I was feeling. It`s still how I feel right now. So I wanted to kind of just make fun of that. But we really do make fun of kind of the entire spectrum of the movie. It`s not just you know, I personally am liberal but I think if I admit a movie were like the liberal guy was this hero and he was a great guy they`d be kind of boring so --
MELBER: Let`s dig in on that because in this film a lot of people who are critical of Trump will see in it an endorsement of the concern that you can`t let little steps towards authoritarianism add up, that that is dangerous. What would you think Trump supporters might take from your movie?
BARINHOLTZ: On a -- on a basic level I think they would like that I portrayed the liberal guys kind of an insufferable you know, know-it-all who was willing to kind of throw out the baby with the bathwater so to speak. But I think unless you`re like super, super dug in and the far, far right or even the far, far left for that matter, I think you`ll watch this movie and you first and foremost you`ll laugh, you`ll be scared.
But the kind of the overall message of the movie is that we have a responsibility when it comes to like our family and our friends. It`s easy to be like my uncle he`s a Trump guy and I don`t want to talk to him anymore. That`s easy. The hard part is keeping these relationships alive and intact and healthy enough so when the winds do blow the other way we still have some connections to other people who don`t agree with this.
MELBER: And this is satirical. Final question, what is the easiest thing to satirize about today`s resistance and today`s Trump graph?
BARINHOLTZ: For the Liberals, it`s easy to satirize panic even though it`s a very real thing that I feel as a liberal, and I think it`s easy on the right to satirize the information that you`re getting and the validity of it.
MELBER: Right. And the difference between information and facts.
BARINHOLTZ: Yes and not you know, fake news, what we know is fake news which is I want to say the show having been here is real news.
MELBER: This is real news? Behind you, when you look behind, are those -- are those real desks?
BARINHOLTZ: Those are real desks, these are real people. This is not North Korea. They are actually -- one guy was watching us in YouTube clips but everyone else seems to be working.
MELBER: Ike Barinholtz, thanks for coming by. The movie is The Oath with Tiffany Haddish and it`s out in select cities Friday and everywhere October 19th.
MELBER: You are looking at the east room of the White House, 6:58 p.m. on the East Coast, as the swearing in of Brett Kavanaugh will happen momentarily. I can tell you Mitch McConnell entered the room to a standing ovation. You can see the preparations. This is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. Eastern and MSNBC will bring it to you live. I`m going to make an early handoff for that very reason for special coverage with Chris Matthews starting now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews. In Washington, there is outrage in this country today, and, of course, there is gloating on the other side. The outrage see a miscarriage of justice. A man raced into the Supreme Court, despite witnesses ready but not allowed to testify against him. The gloating is what we`re about to witness at the White House.
We`re just minutes away from President Trump holding a ceremonial swearing- in at the White House for the newest Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. After a bruising nomination battle that inflamed passions on Capitol Hill and, of course, across the country, Kavanaugh was officially sworn in after Saturday`s confirmation vote itself. But that didn`t stop President Trump from once again attacking Democrats early today about the fight.
TRUMP: I thought the way they behaved was absolutely atrocious. I`ve never seen anything like it.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END