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Republican candidates roll back Obamacare attacks. TRANSCRIPT: 10/18/2018, The Beat w Ari Melber.

Guests: Nicholas Kristof, Malcolm Nance, Anne Gearan, Morgan Pehme, Bill Burton, Chaitanya Komanduri

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: October 18, 2018 Guest: Nicholas Kristof, Malcolm Nance, Anne Gearan, Morgan Pehme, Bill Burton, Chaitanya Komanduri

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: So call up, get your reservations. Start camping out now.

That`s all we have for tonight from Las Vegas. We`ll be back in Washington tomorrow with a little less red eye I hope, with more MTP DAILY.

"THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER" starts right now. Good evening, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chuck. Thank you so much.

We have many developing stories right now. Donald Trump`s top White House lawyer is out and the lawyer who defended Bill Clinton during his impeachment is in.

Plus, new details on Paul Manafort`s talks with Bob Mueller himself and what he might be saying about Roger Stone. Also, Donald Trump`s name comes off another building with a lot of questions piling up about Trump Org`s business practices.

But we begin with the Trump administration now trying to save face amid these accusations that it has been working directly with the Saudi government to cover up the alleged kidnapping and killing of U.S. resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi. We are now 16 days away from when Khashoggi entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and the Saudis aren`t offering any answers to the public even as Turkish media has reported on some of these grisly details, gleaned from audio recordings which they say prove he was tortured and killed.

Late today, reporters put the question to Donald Trump if Khashoggi was dead.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It certainly looks that way to me. It`s very sad. Certainly looks that way. We`re waiting for the results of about three different investigations and we should be able to get to the bottom fairly soon.

REPORTER: What are you considering for possible consequences for Saudi based on those --

TRUMP: Well, it will have to be very severe. I mean it`s bad, bad stuff. But we`ll see what happens. OK.


MELBER: Trump appearing to shift his tone a touch there. "The Washington Post" meanwhile reporting the White House and the Saudi royal family are actually searching, forget this, "A mutually agreeable explanation" for Khashoggi`s death, one that will avoid implicating the crown prince. That would appear to be regardless of the facts. And then look at this, that`s even as mounting evidence points not only to the Saudi government`s knowledge of Khashoggi`s fate but the connection to the crown prince.

Now, that evidence includes "The New York Times" reporting one of the men named by the Turkish government as a suspect was traveling with the crown prince, photographed with him on trips to the United States, Spain, and France. Turkish media also indicating that suspect caught on camera, yes, entering the Saudi Consulate just hours before Khashoggi.

Today, there are also new signs that the Trump administration is trying to manage more of this fallout. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin pulling out of the planned trip to a Saudi conference. You may remember others pulled out first. He was sticking by. And then on the diplomatic side, Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State addressing reporters after he briefed the president on the meetings with Turkish and Saudi officials.


MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: They also assured me that they will conduct a complete, thorough investigation of all of the facts surrounding Mr. Khashoggi and that they will do so in a timely fashion. I told President Trump this morning that we ought to give them a few more days to complete that.


MELBER: Note the contrast from that, what you just saw, to this. The photo-op, the casual conversation, the laughter at times, in that meeting with the Saudi crown prince which was just this Tuesday long after a lot of this had come out and neither even mentioned Khashoggi by name.


POMPEO: We made clear to them that we take this matter with respect to Mr. Khashoggi very seriously. They made clear to me that they too understand the serious nature of the disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi.

Thank you for hosting me.

MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN, CROWN PRINCE OF SAUDI ARABIA: We are really strong and old allies. So we face challenges together, the past, the day of, tomorrow.

POMPEO: Absolutely.


MELBER: From Tuesday to Thursday, critics say that is what Trump administration diplomatic double-talk looks like.

Now, "The New York Times" is reporting that the Saudis are also considering blaming this killing on a top Saudi intelligence official that would be -- the idea to blame and deflect from the crown prince himself that three people with knowledge of those plans speaking out to "The Times" which also reports the close sources near the White House say that Jared Kushner has been pushing Trump to stand with the crown prince even given everything that`s come out publicly, arguing that outrage over Khashoggi`s disappearance will ultimately pass.

Well, it hasn`t passed tonight. And "The Post" today publishing Khashoggi`s final column which argued for, yes, more freedoms and more free expression across the Middle East.

I go now to "The New York Times," Nick Kristof. He writes today that Trump is kowtowing to a mad prince and Anne Gearan who`s been covering the White House response to Khashoggi`s disappearance, noting Trump seems eager to contain rather than confront the fallout, as well as MSNBC terrorism analyst, Malcolm Nance. A perfect panel here.

I start with you, Nick, on what we`re seeing is a type of ethical, moral, humanitarian pressure, call it whatever you want, something other than raw real politics seems to be having incremental pressure. What is your view?

NICHOLAS KRISTOF, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, I mean I think that there is very mild progress. I mean, you know, OK, it`s certainly good to see Mnuchin isn`t going to the investment conference.

But at the end of the day, you don`t see the U.S. clearly pursuing some kind of an investigation that will get the truth. You know, calling on the Saudis to spend a few more days investigating when this would essentially involve the crown prince investigating himself I think is a nonstarter. And we still seem to think that we have no leverage over the Saudis when, you know, we have nothing but leverage.

The Saudis rely on us for the thing they care most about which is security. And I really do fear that -- I think the latest report from "The Times" that there may be an effort to blame this on General Asiri I think is profoundly alarming.

Because there is some shared interest between the crown prince, the Trump administration and perhaps Turkey to come up with a fall guy, some explanation that is face-saving all around. But would be an insult to Jamal and would be a license for other autocrats around the world to do the same thing to journalists who bother them and then also find some fall guy down the road. We need to have consequences and I`m still not convinced that we`re going to see them.

MELBER: And, Malcolm, the references to a "investigation" themselves are a little rich at this point. You don`t need to be a detective, let alone an intelligence expert like yourself. If somebody walks into a building and never walks out, you have a pretty good theory of the case.

MALCOLM NANCE, TERRORISM ANALYST, MSNBC: Well, you have a good theory of the case that the individual has disappeared. For this particular circumstance and knowing what I know, I worked my entire career in the Middle East, there is most likely a videotape that was taken by this royal guard detachment which apparently carried out this abduction, murder, and dissection of Mr. Khashoggi.

So, the crown prince had to have some sort of evidence that this was carried out. But this is the fault line where we can see where the royal crown team will cut away General Asiri, the head of deputy director intelligence and say that this was a rogue operation.

MELBER: And then what would happen to him if that goes on?

NANCE: Well, what would most likely happen to him is quite simple. He will be banished to Mecca for the rest of his life where he can pray and study the Koran and that`s generally what they do. They`re not going to execute him unless they decide to do something very, very dramatic over there. But you have to understand --

MELBER: But then, just to pause, I mean you say it plainly because you`re so familiar with it. For those of us who are not thinking about how the Saudis run their game every day, that`s pretty cold that you`re on the team, you do your orders as carried out and then they might roll you up.

NANCE: But you have to understand that this is a very tribal society. And you`re not -- when you go after someone like General Asiri, you`re going to have to go after not just him, but his family, his extended family and so the crown prince will have to extend to them favors to allow him to take this fall so that he can, like Idi Amin, go to Mecca, confess to everything, do -- you know, and absolve the crown from any of these crimes.

MELBER: Right. Let me bring in Anne on why Donald Trump is accused of being so soft in these matters. None other than Vice President Biden who used to chair the Foreign Relations Committee who has some standing here making it plain today his view is it is a kind of love affair with autocrats. Take a look.


JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So I`m very worried that the president seems to have a love affair with autocrats and --


BIDEN: President Trump, yes. And the idea that he`s already making excuses before the facts are known, it`s typical but it hurts us internationally.



ANNE GEARAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, there is quite a lot there. Certainly, the Saudi context is a little different than some of Trump`s other dalliances shall we say with autocrats, Putin and Kim. Principally because Republican and Democratic administrations before his, have been accused of coddling the Saudis who do produce an enormous share of the world`s oil, have an enormous share of the world`s oil reserves and spread their money wide and wisely if their goal is to keep other governments accountable to them or in their debt.

But what Trump is doing here I think is really interesting. You saw him shift today. You played some of it earlier from a kind of a shrug, no one really knows what happened, that we have to wait and see, who knows, it looks bad to today saying that he believes Jamal Khashoggi is dead and that there need to be some consequences for that.

The consequences go directly to the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia and he has some choices to make going forward whether he sticks with his son- in-law and the bet that Jared Kushner has made on the Crown Prince MBS or whether he startst to pull away from that bet which he could do.

MELBER: And, Nick, let me read to you where a lot of Democrats are coming down in the Congress, from a new letter from 10 -- excuse me, 11 Democratic Senators saying they want all documents that pertain to any investments, or financial transfers from Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Royal family that have gone to Trump, his organization, et cetera.

On the one hand, it is a constant curious negative for American foreign policy in this era that unlike any other time in history, we as the American public, simply don`t know who has leverage over the president in a financial way. On the other, I wonder your view as a journalist whether you think the Democrats here are too quick to run to that theory before dealing with the wider national security question.

KRISTOF: No. I mean I think it`s a legitimate question. And my view is that there were a number of reasons together that impelled President Trump and Jared Kushner to focus on the crown prince. And I, you know, would not discount the possibility that financial issues matter partly. I think that may be true because the Saudis certainly perceive that they had a financial return by using Trump properties.

They seemed, after his election, to dramatically escalate their stays in the Trump properties in New York and Washington and in Chicago. And I think they probably did that for political reasons. But I do also think that President Trump and Jared Kushner also wanted to invest so to speak in the crown prince because they thought it would help the prospect of their Middle East peace plan being adopted. I think that was a major thing.

And I think they are also, you know, extremely hostile to Iran and kind of bought into the idea that the crown prince could help deliver a coalition that would eviscerate Iran. The problem is they seem to have focused on the wrong country in terms of the one that is profoundly destabilizing for the region.

NANCE: Well, in addition to that, that`s -- you know, we have this relationship with Saudi Arabia that extends all the way across every component of our defense industry. We provide them bombs. We provide them intelligence. We provide them strategic assets which we don`t expose to most other nations, certainly in the intelligence realm.

And not only that. We have a deep counterterrorism relationship with them which has to be maintained in order for us to, you know, keep the nation safe.

MELBER: So let me push you on it. When you were in government, did you ever get the view, whatever administration was in power that the -- as you`re calling the national security structure said, hey, be careful. This is a really special country.

NANCE: No, but we were always casual with the Saudis. I was with the Saudi Forces during the invasion of Kuwait, you know, and that was run by one of their princes. It was a different time than it is now. Saudi Arabia was more of a -- I Don`t want to use the word vassal state but a state which really relied on our security.

Now, given the, you know, the last 10 years, the war in Iraq, the amount of money that they can get from oil, they can buy their security now from Russia which wants to step in, weapons systems from China and they generally tend to spread out those purchases throughout NATO nations. But now, our leverage is going to go out the window to a certain extent. I mean if we stop selling them bombs, the Russians will run right in there and start selling them equivalent bombs.

And this issue of the murder of Khashoggi could, to a certain extent, break our relations with them but Donald Trump is not going to have that happen.

MELBER: Let me give the final word to Anne Gearan, of course, with "The Washington Post," the paper that has been the most intimately bound up with this. I want to read from your paper`s editorial out today after publishing his last column which is rather somber, of course. Your paper writes Mr. Khashoggi`s exile from Saudi Arabia to a position of public critic caused him anguish. He wrote, he would wake up every morning and ponder the choice I have made to speak my mind. In the end, he paid far too dearly for that principle and courageous decision.

That is a colleague of yours, Anne. And like other colleagues of yours, whether they`re U.S. residents or U.S. citizens or the foreign fixers and other folks who work in the region. There are a lot of people who risk their lives for the free press. There`s been a lot of discussion about the president of the United States not appreciating that to say the least. I give the final word to you on all of that.

GEARAN: Well, Jamal Khashoggi was a Saudi patriot, in addition to all of the other things that you just correctly ascribed to him. He wanted his country to do better and he wanted the country where he was living which was the United States to do better by press freedoms as well. And he used his post at the "Washington Post" to make that argument and his audience was partly other journalists and dictators around the world and partly he was talking to the Saudi royal family.

He was saying that people like him should have a voice and that he should be able to go home when he wanted to go home without fear of reprisal. In the last year of his life, he did feel under threat and we don`t know exactly whether he felt directly under threat the day that he walked into the Consulate. But it was important to him to get the paperwork that he was going to get there in order to marry his Turkish fiance. The reason he needed that paperwork is because he wanted to be right with the Saudi government when he got married.

MELBER: Right. I appreciate those details. And the whole story is something for all of us here in America to pause and reflect on. Particularly with regard to the current administration and where we are headed. So my special thanks to Anne Gearan, Nick Kristof, and Malcolm Nance. Thanks to each of you.

Coming up. The man who defended Bill Clinton during impeachment getting elevated to become the top lawyer in the Trump White House. What does that mean for a lot of issues?

Also, there`s new reporting on whether Manafort is now spilling the beans on his own partner for foreign lobbying, Roger Stone.

And later, the Trump name going down literally and there are questions about how the Trump Organization does business.

And we`re going to expose how some Republicans are trying to convince voters they support parts of Obamacare, that they were actually trying to repeal.

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


MELBER: Here`s an unusual story. The man who helped defend Bill Clinton from impeachment by a Republican House is now the top White House lawyer. At least temporarily, for Donald Trump. Don McGahn is officially out as White House Counsel and his replacement, you see, is Emmet Flood.

Now, Flood was serving as White House lawyer for the Mueller investigation. You see him there. He was also, as we mentioned, counsel to President Bill Clinton during some of the tensest times in that administration, impeachment. And you may also have to deal with his predecessor`s testimony.

"The New York Times" reporting this summer that McGahn cooperated extensively with Mueller, sitting for three interviews up to 30 hours of information dishing on the Comey firing, Donald Trump`s anger at Jeff Sessions and yes, his attempts to fire Mueller which could be an issue in an obstruction probe.

Flood reportedly headed to accept this White House Counsel job because, "It could pull him away from one of the main reasons he initially joined the White House, to represent another president in expected impeachment proceedings. That`s one way to put it.

His job though is now to focus squarely on the office of the presidency. We turn to an expert and friend of THE BEAT Joyce Vance, a former federal prosecutor and MSNBC legal analyst.

Joyce, speaking lawyer to lawyer, a lot of regular people would say, OK, they`re moving around the lawyers, who cares? But actually, walk us through why these are such distinct roles and why you think it might matter.

JOYCE VANCE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It looks like they`re moving around lawyers with very distinct areas of expertise. Don McGahn has really shaped President Trump`s legacy, reforming the federal courts. There were a lot of open seats at the end of the Obama administration. Now, for instance, two new Justices on the Supreme Court, the 5th and 9th circuit reshaped with Trump`s appointees.

But as we move past the midterms, the White House will need different expertise sitting in this those key legal seats. It looks like they`re now preparing to staff with people who understand intensive congressional investigations, perhaps even impeachment. Although that seems unlikely but they are clearly gearing up for different kinds of battles.

MELBER: I think when the history is ultimately written, Don McGahn will be such an interesting figure. And he was also via Jones Day the campaign lawyer. So he`s really been around everything and that`s how he puts it. Take a look at him in one of the most rare things he ever does. As a lawyer, he`s behind the scenes but he spoke at CPAC about this.


DON MCGAHN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Essentially, government law that the president has to encounter on a day-to-day basis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that involves you in just about everything?

MCGAHN: Unfortunately, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes. Hard for you to say I didn`t do it.


MELBER: As we see today officially draw close its 10 year, what do you think of Don McGahn the way he`s handled this role? Rachel Maddow, my colleague, who you have spoken to about this as well, has observed that "The New York Times" seems to have a lot of pro-McGahn sourcing about the lines he`s walked. But he also was the guy, if you believe the accounts up to today, tried to prevent Trump from firing Mueller which could have been a Nixonian level mistake.

VANCE: You know, McGahn has obviously walked a fine line, Ari. He`s represented by Bill Burke who also represents Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon that has led people to conclude that it`s unlikely that he`s a target of the investigation or one lawyer would not be permitted to represent all three of them. So that`s an interesting piece of information.

He certainly could be valuable as a witness. He was around for a lot of key points in time. And as you point out and Rachel has pointed out, there have been numerous stories casting him in the role of the good guy, taking steps to ensure that the balance doesn`t skew too far outside of our established norms.

MELBER: I think that`s well put. Would you be willing to sit through a 30-second break and join me and Nick Ackerman on the other side?

VANCE: Absolutely.

MELBER: All right. Hold on one second. When we`re back in 30 seconds, we turn to the Roger Stone news.


MELBER: We are back in this new information that`s coming out on one of Mueller`s central questions in the Russia probe. What did actually go down inside the famous 2016 Trump Tower meeting? "The Guardian" reporting tonight that the Russian billionaire who organized it formed an American shell company one month beforehand.

Now, Mueller already knows that we would think. And it`s coming after, there was developments about another central figure in the meeting who`s doing talking. Mueller reportedly pumping Paul Manafort now for information explicitly on Roger Stone. They are former business partners. And "CNN" reports Manafort has been to Mueller`s office at least nine times in the past four weeks alone for six-hour intel sessions.

Manafort and Stone have this long history. Their firm was Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly. And that photo there that you`ve seen before probably, that`s Manafort and Stone, was also a groomsman at Stone`s wedding. They are close friends to be sure. Now, Stone says he`s highly confident Manafort is aware of no wrongdoing on his part in the 2016 campaign. But he notes, it`s possible Mueller could charge him. And earlier this year, he acknowledged the possibility of indictment.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you are concerned about a potential indictment?

ROGER STONE, LONGTIME ASSOCIATE OF DONALD TRUMP: I`m concerned would be too strong.


STONE: I acknowledge that it`s a possibility.


MELBER: I`m joined by Nick Ackerman, a former assistant Watergate special prosecutor and former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance back with us.

Nick, if this is the quiet period for Mueller, one wonders what the louder period could look like after election day. What does it tell you that the Manafort meetings are going this long and that they involve Roger Stone, who we should say on your behalf full disclosure, you also interviewed back in the day when you were a Nixon prosecutor.

NICK ACKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT WATERGATE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: That`s correct. No. It says to me this is obviously what you`d expect Mueller to be doing. The first person you`d want to be talking to Manafort about is Roger Stone. They go back, as you mentioned, to 1980 as business partners. They have a longtime relationship.

It was Roger Stone that recommended to Donald Trump that he take on Manafort as his campaign manager or bring him into the campaign in March of 2016, who later became Donald Trump`s campaign manager. Roger Stone is right in the middle of everything. It all starts in the spring of 2016 or May of 2015, rather, when basically they go through this big charade of Roger Stone being fired from the Trump campaign, Roger Stone claims he quit. But basically he goes undercover to work on the Trump campaign.

And we know that during that period of time, up through the spring of 2016, he is talking to people, saying to them that he has had conversations with Julian Assange and others, that he knows that the Russians have hacked into the Democratic National Committee and that they`ve got the Hillary Clinton e-mails and other e-mails and documents from the Democratic National Committee.

He`s right in the middle of talking to Guccifer 2.0 who is the Russian operative that releases these e-mails. Early on in June of 2016, shortly after the Trump Tower meeting, he`s also talking and he claims to a number of people that he was talking to Julian Assange even though later on, he totally denies that.

So if you`re looking for the key weak spot in terms of who is the connection that makes the conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, it`s got to be Roger Stone. And the person who obviously should know the most about what Roger Stone was doing is Paul Manafort, his longtime friend and the campaign manager during the time when Roger Stone had all of these conversations.

MELBER: Right. And, Joyce, this goes I think to the limits of the movie analogies for understanding investigations, although we use them and we love them, but the notion that you`re always going up the chain is a little bit simplistic because Stone is probably roughly lateral to Manafort but Mueller seems to think it`s worth getting all this information as Nick says.

VANCE: You know, Nick, I think, is right that Stone have to be a primary focus of Mueller`s conversations with Manafort. But the way I`ve always viewed to the extent that there might be a conspiracy here, how it would work, is that it would be more like the hub of a wheel with different spokes going out from the hub to different parts on the wheel.

So the connection with Robert Stone or sorry with Roger Stone to Julian Assange might be one of those spokes and there could be other portions and other people involved in separate conspiracies who don`t know each other but all part of the effort to collude with Russia for the benefit of the campaign.

MELBER: Both of you, please stay with me. We`re going to go even deeper because before Manafort was talking to Mueller, he was talking to the filmmakers at the documentary "Get Me Roger Stone" which would prove to be more than narrative interest. This is verging on evidence. Take a look at him revealing how Stone recommended him to, yes, Donald Trump in that critical role as campaign chair.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did Roger recommend you for the job?

PAUL MANAFORT, DONALD TRUMP`S FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Roger was one of two or three people who strongly recommended me, yes. Even after Roger stopped being the political adviser to Trump, he continued to be a very important adviser and is to this day.


MELBER: And is to this day. Morgan Pehme directed that documentary and worked with Stone for more than five years.

Morgan, let`s pick up on what Manafort says right there. It reinforces Nick Akerman`s theory of the case that whether or not you were technically on payroll, this is a man who was intimately bound up at the candidate level which became, of course, the president level as an advisor.

MORGAN PEHME, FILMMAKER: That`s absolutely true, Ari. When in -- there`s a part in our movie when Manafort is hired and Roger tells a reporter that he`s back in the saddle with the Trump campaign. Roger put Manafort into the campaign. He was an inside man. It enabled him to have a great deal of influence in the in the center of the campaign. And ironically even though this was Manafort`s opportunity to get back on the national stage in an extremely important role, it ultimately has proven to be as undoing because of the guilty pleas that have been brought against him subsequently.

MELBER: So when you were interviewing a Paul Manafort at that time, what did you glean that applies today? Did you see any fissures in their relationship? Did you imagine that Manafort would be in a position to turn on Stone or would have negative information about him? Up to this juncture, to be clear about the evidence, we know that Paul Manafort has done more criminal activity than Roger who appears to be of interest but we can`t say anything more than that.

PEHME: I think that Roger is probably reeling from this latest revelation about Manafort cooperating with Mueller in regards to him. This will be a tremendous personal betrayal. Roger became friends with Manafort in -- when he was in his teens and Manafort and he were involving in Connecticut politics together. As you saw in that picture from our movie when Roger is 22, Manafort as a groomsman at his wedding, and when he`s 24 Manafort manages his successful campaign to become national chairman of the Young Republicans. So he and -- Roger Manafort go back as far as they possibly can go and he`s absolutely an extraordinarily significant person in Rogers life and if he`s dropping a dime on Roger that would be both painful for him on a personal level and of course on a legal level as well.

MELBER: And Nick Akerman, Sam Nunberg was someone who worked directly for Roger. Although they did have a falling-out, he provided his testimony as I think many people remember. And here`s what he said about all this in terms of his expectations after speaking to Mueller`s investigators on THE BEAT.


SAM NUNBERG, FORMER AIDE, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: When Roger is indicted, unfortunately, I don`t support it. You`ll have some --

MELBER: You expect him to be indicted?

NUNBERG: Yes, I do and you`re going to have some broad charge that he was part of a conspiracy to defraud America, then backed up with a bunch of financial charges.



AKERMAN: It`s not going to be backed up by a bunch of financial charges. It`s going to be backed up by the testimony of Paul Manafort, probably corroborated by his assistant Rick Gates, maybe even corroborated by Trump`s lawyer Cohen, and further corroborated by the former National Security Adviser. So either way, I think what you`re going to look at here is a case that could basically rest on a number of different witnesses, be corroborated by documents.

If you looked at that last indictment of the Russians relating to the conspiracy to break into the Democratic National Committee, a computer, and then staged the release of the stolen documents and e-mails. Roger Stone`s conversations with Guccifer 2.0 are specifically referenced as overt acts in that conspiracy. I think they`re going to see a whole series of testimony and documents supporting an indictment on Roger Stone.

MELBER: And Morgan, have you turned over any of your video materials or evidence to any authorities?

PEHME: No. I mean, I think that our film speaks for itself and you know, I`m not sure how this will all play out and it certainly -- it seems like it`s getting closer and closer to Roger every day and I`m sure that this is deeply concerning for Roger to be such a clear focal point of the probe at this point.

MELBER: Morgan Pehme who has been in the field, Nick Akerman and Joyce Vance, former prosecutors, thanks to each of you. Up ahead we turn to some new reporting on Ivanka Trump and whether she misled about Trump Organization projects in order to secure funding. And another Trump branded building ditching the president`s name after a fiery debate. Those are new pictures you`re seeing there. And later, Mitch McConnell, well, you have a problem Republicans running on ObamaCare and the Democratic strategist who`s worked for Obama joins me next.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Even after I`ve done all this, some folks still do you don`t think I spent enough time with caucus. Why don`t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell they ask. Really? Why don`t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?



MELBER: Everyone knows Republicans have spent years railing against ObamaCare. They`ve tried to repeal it dozens of times in the House. The politics though are changing. This is a story you may have missed but look with the Midterms approaching right now, Republican candidates in the Trump era changing their tune.


REP. MARTHA MCSALLY (R), ARIZONA: I voted to protect people with pre- existing conditions. We cannot go back to where we were before ObamaCare where people were one diagnosis away from going bankrupt.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We can protect pre-existing conditions and even you need to understand everyone agrees we`re going to protect pre-existing conditions.

REP. MIMI WALTERS (R), CALIFORNIA: Individuals with pre-existing conditions should not be denied health insurance coverage.

REP. DANA ROHRABACHER (R), CALIFORNIA: I`m taking on both parties and fighting for those with pre-existing conditions.


MELBER: Here`s your fact check. Every single one of the lawmakers that you just heard from voted to repeal ObamaCare and got those kinds of protections. It appears they`re trying to pretend that just didn`t happen. Now maybe that`s because ObamaCare now has record support among voters or maybe we`re getting close to what well, Barack Obama predicted.


OBAMA: They can call it Trumpcare, they can call it McConnell care or Ryan care, if it actually works, I will be the first one to say great. You should have told me that back in 2009, I asked.


MELBER: Here`s the catch with those Republican lawmakers are saying to get elected. It may not be what they do. In other words they may not be governing McConnell care, he himself pulled back the curtain admitting if Republicans get enough votes in these Midterms they`re going to go back and try to repeal ObamaCare again. I`m joined now by Bill Burton who served as Obama`s Deputy Press Secretary in the White House and Chait Komanduri who has worked both for the Obama campaigns and the Clinton campaigns.

Bill Burton, your old boss appears to have had it half right although as is sometimes the case with Barack Obama. He may have been a little optimistic. He was assuming a kind of governing honesty that they might take credit for it and support it. What we`re seeing I think as those clips show is taking credit for it and then turning around to gut it.

BILL BURTON, FORMER DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY, OBAMA WHITE HOUSE: Right, the problem for Republicans is that they don`t have credibility when it comes to health care. Part of it is because they`ve tried to repeal and replace ObamaCare dozens and dozens of times over the course the last couple of years and now there are candidates, there are incumbents are coming into this election cycle trying to fix their problem that they have with trying to end pre-existing condition coverage and trying to make it seem like that wasn`t the case. And now they`re all tangled up and knots trying to make a case on health care. And yes, I think President Obama was right. It`s now something that people really want. They expect that pre-existing conditions ought to be covered and Republican attempts to fix it are falling flat.

MELBER: And Chait, it`s something you know from working directly on campaigns is a lot of the stuff that political activists junkies, us political nerds like to talk about are not always the things that are moving voters. Joe Manchin, for example, is known to be a little more conservative or a little less Democratic on some of the hot-button issues. When you get to ObamaCare though out in a red state, he is as tough on this as anyone. Take a look.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Now the threat is Patrick Morsi`s lawsuit to take away health care from people with pre-existing conditions. He is just dead wrong and that isn`t going to happen. I`m Joe Manchin and I approve this message because for me it`s all about West Virginia.



MELBER: And he`s saying Obamacare is something that there`s no debate on for him.

KOMANDURI: Absolutely. And even Fox News`s own poll shows that ObamaCare or the Affordable Care Act is an all-time high in terms of popularity. 54 percent of Americans approve of ObamaCare. That`s significantly more than approve of Donald Trump or of the Republican Party. In addition to that, Democrats have a 24-point advantage on this issue. And if you look at certain key states, like Nevada and Florida, you see numbers that 68 percent 69 percent who want the pre-existing condition protections to remain.

MELBER: Right. And so Bill, building on that, when you talk about what`s the most important issue, economy is big, taxes is something we`ve seen some Republicans run away from, but look at this. 30 percent of voters right now Bill say it`s health care above even economy and jobs which is always a big issue. Bill?

BURTON: Well, people feel health care in a very real way all the time. You have a sick kid, you have sick relative, you`re worried about long-term care for older -- for older Americans and people are -- it`s on people`s minds because it`s so expensive and keeps getting more expensive. And Congress has not shown a will in the last several years to do anything about those costs that are going out of control. It`s a big part of the reason that this electorate right now is so focused on changing the makeup of Congress because if we keep Congress the way it is with President Trump in office, it`s going to mean more and more years of health care costs going up and a Congress that`s doing just nothing about it at all.

MELBER: Chait, you`re old enough to remember the old saying keep the government`s hands off my Medicare.

KOMANDURI: Correct, yes. We heard it a couple years ago.

MELBER: Tea Party days. But Medicare-for-all is a trickier issue I think than just talking about the pre-existing conditions. Republicans are bringing that up. They may think that it`s a chance to make the liberal Democrats look "too liberal." Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Medicare for all would guarantee that people had just a basic right to be healthy. We can`t do anything. We can`t work unless we`re healthy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democrat Mikie Sherrill is interested in Medicare for all, a dangerous socialized medicine scheme that would cost $32 trillion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That would end Medicare as we know it.


MELBER: Is this something that you think is a little trickier for Dems running right now?

KOMANDURI: Not really. Health care is an issue that voters implicitly trusted Democrats on. It is a major mistake and no decent political strategist would advise a candidate to go out there three weeks from an election and talk about an issue that there are 24 points down on. It is simply not their strength. And the idea that they are going to be going to an area that they are so weak on shows you their desperation these last few weeks before the -- before the election.

MELBER: Chait Komanduri and Bill Burton on health care, an important story to a lot of people that sometimes gets crowded out of the news cycle. We wanted to hit it. Thanks to both of you. Up next, Donald Trump`s name ripped right off of Manhattan building. This happened today and it comes amid bombshell revelations about angry residents and investors at Trump buildings around the world.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People really want to own what I do I`m known for getting the best locations and taking those best locations and building the best buildings.



MELBER: Here`s something you got to see. The Trump name going down today literally letter by letter. Their crews are moving the words Trump place from a residential building over on Manhattan`s Upper West Side. That`s because residents voted to strip the name down. Some embarrassed over the Trump Association. Now, removal of Trump`s names from buildings is become something of a trend in cities across the world and it can be for different reasons. But tonight we`re learning there are some deeper problems with many Trump-branded properties far more than simple residential shame. Trump though long boasting about his buildings.


TRUMP: People really want to own what I do because I`m known for getting the best locations and taking those best locations and building the best buildings.

People ask me, what is Trump stand for more than anything else. And if I use one word, it`s always quality. Big windows, great fixtures, beautiful kitchens.

Located in the center of Manhattan chic artist enclave, the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Soho is the site of my latest development.


MELBER: That site was not actually in Soho. In a new public -- ProPublica report shows these kinds of boasts were often misleading or downright fraud. And that left a trail of angry investors, busted projects, and the Trumps often still walked away with millions. So that is part of the context for these crews stripping Trump`s name down one more property today. This is not just about cosmetics. There is a growing anger as there has been more exposure and transparency of these business practices. This is important so let`s go through a couple facts. Take this tower in Panama City. Investors trusting Trump claims that the buyers had pre- committed to purchasing apartments.


IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF PRESIDENT TRUMP: We have many projects that are actively selling. I sold 40 units in Panama last month.

In Panama, we sold at a 500 percent premium to anything the luxury market has ever experienced prior to our entry.

It`s a 1,000-unit building. We`ve sold over 90 percent of it.


MELBER: That is a big assertion 90 percent sales. Those kinds of claims in real estate make a tangible difference in investors support and property resale. If a building has over ninety percent before it`s even done, well you`re looking good. That claim was false. It was misleading investors because three months after that interview, the Trumps had only moved their way up three months later to 79 percent. And that Panama project actually went bankrupt, but not before the Trump war walked away with $30 million.

Take a look at another example. Donald Trump with a hotel and Tower in Fort Lauderdale that he said was pretty much sold out there in 2006 April. In reality, two months later 62 percent in July had been sold. In the Dominican Republic Trump claiming to have $365 million in profit but an audit two years later revealed that number was inflated by $70 million. Or in Toronto, Ivanka claiming they had a tower that was "virtually sold out." Far from it, barely a quarter had been sold of those units.

The deceptive tactics don`t stop there. All of this reporting that has come out shows the Trump`s would suggest they were developing projects and then later claimed they weren`t. Here`s an important one in Baja, Mexico. Trump investing hundreds of millions and repeatedly portraying himself as the project`s developer as did Ivanka who now works in the White House. So watch as Ivanka goes from saying she`s literally "creating that property in Baja to disowning it when the building faltered."


I. TRUMP: We`re always ahead of the curve and this would be another example. We`re really creating northern Baja the best site in northern Baja and arguably in Mexico.

I actually chose to purchase a unit in the first tower. We were never the developer of this project and that was made clear. But I do want to be very clear that we are not the developer of Trump Baja.


MELBER: This is a Trumpian spin on a very old saying profit has a thousand parents, bankruptcy is an orphan. Now, Donald Trump may not have planned on winning the presidency and thus never expected this kind of scrutiny for his business but he did win the Electoral College and now we are seeing every day with these reports, with these investigations a spotlight on the way he and his family does business which could orphan many more projects before the Trump era is over.

Now up ahead, we have a news update. Michael Avenatti saying he has a date for when he wants to depose Michael Cohen straight ahead.



DONNY DEUTSCH, FRIEND OF MICHAEL COHEN: If there was collusion, I think Michael would know about it. He`s spending a lot of time with Mueller and in a very cooperating way. So I do not know this from Michael, but I would be shocked if at the end of the day, we`re not looking at both obstruction of justice and collusion from 40 different angles.


MELBER: Michael Cohen`s friend, Donny Deutsch, was on THE BEAT last night talking about what Cohen is telling the feds about collusion and other things. And now this very hour as is often the case, some late-breaking news on Cohen`s other legal issues. Stormy Daniel`s lawyer Michael Avenatti announcing on Twitter they have set a date to depose Cohen, December 13th, that is one day after his criminal sentencing date. Avenatti also requesting all recorded communications Cohen has with Trump. That`s a big ask. Avenatti, of course, has hinted he may consider a 2020 presidential run against Trump. Now, tonight he says he looks forward to disclosing the truth about Trump`s, "fraud and deceit."

Now, that is our show for tonight. We have a programming announcement before I go. Tomorrow we have a special pairing for "FALLBACK FRIDAY." Ethics expert Richard Painter and one and only comedian and cultural commentator Sinbad. They will be seated together with me. I am looking forward to it. I`m also in Los Angeles because I will be at Politicon this weekend along with several of my colleagues doing a panel on Saturday for the Midterms so you can always stop by if you`re in the L.A. area to see me, Lawrence O`Donnell, Joy Reid, Jacob Soboroff, and many others. Politicon this Saturday in L.A. That`s our show. "HARDBALL" is up next.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: A killing in Istanbul.


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