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Mueller prosecutors present evidence on Roger Stone. TRANSCRIPT: 10/22/2018, The Beat w Ari Melber.

Guests: Maya Wiley; Shelby Holliday; John Carlin; Howell Raines

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: October 22, 2018 Guest: Maya Wiley; Shelby Holliday; John Carlin; Howell Raines


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Press Pool experience. Put your seat in the upright lock position and get on board today.

KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: Oh, sadly that part of the exhibit is not real. But honestly, though, in this day and age, shouldn`t it be?

That`s all for tonight. We will be back tomorrow with more MTP DAILY.

"THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER" starts right now.

Ari, you do get a cocktail napkin with Air Force One engraved into it, though, or monogrammed into it if you get a chance to sit on Air Force One as a reporter.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: What about a toiletry kit?

TUR: I don`t think you get that. I think Donald Trump gets that. You know, he changed the towels out because he wanted them to be softer, the reporter to have that. Because they weren`t as soft as the towels that were on his Trump plane.

MELBER: Well, towels and thread count, those are important things.

TUR: It`s Air Force fun, Ari.

MELBER: It is fun, isn`t it? We haven`t done one of these in a while.

TUR: No, we haven`t. Should we keep going?

MELBER: Survey says --

TUR: I`m feeling good tonight. We can keep going. I can give you five more minutes. I can give you ten more seconds.

MELBER: Survey says -- do you know what survey says is a reference to?

TUR: Yes, I do.

MELBER: What is it reference to?

TUR: It`s a reference to the game show.

MELBER: Which one?

TUR: "Family Feud." Thank you. "Family Feud".

MELBER: I asked you first if you knew.

TUR: "Family Feud".

MELBER: I asked you first if you knew because I didn`t want to put you on this Fox "Family Feud".

TUR: "Family Feud".

MELBER: "Family Feud". Survey says --

TUR: Obviously.

MELBER: Survey says no. Always good to see you, Katy.

TUR: Survey always says yes. You`re not being truthful.

MELBER: Always good to see you.

TUR: Bye, Ari.

MELBER: We have several big stories kicking off this week.

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz making up in Texas. Will it be enough to save Cruz? We also have a video that you almost never see. Jared Kushner now speaking out on the record today. My breakdown on that later in the show. And a fact check on Donald Trump`s big argument as the midterms hit the homestretch 15 days to go.

But we begin with news in the Russia probe. Now, despite the usual pre- election secrecy, this is all because of Donald Trump`s own staff bringing up Russian election meddling in new talks with the Russians. Plus, new heat on Trump confidant Roger Stone.

The news tonight, the Trump administration sending National Security Adviser John Bolton to Moscow. And then he used his appearance today to bring back up 2016 election meddling, claiming that it "had hardly any effect." That assertion is making waves in Washington tonight because well, it undercuts Donald Trump by admitting a fact that Trump has often denied, the Russians did in fact interfere. It also goes way beyond Bolton`s purview to get into how much impact it had on the vote.

In other words, what does he know? The assertion is a long ways as well from Bolton`s own criticism of interference before he took this job. Consider that after that controversial Putin-Trump summit in Helsinki last summer. Bolton wrote that Putin lied to Trump. He also referred to the interference as a true act of war.

Bolton`s new statement also out of step with the justice department, which just issued these new indictments for a Russian meddling in the current midterms. That includes also public attacks on the "scandals" of Bob Mueller and his Russia probe. So as Russia interference continues in U.S. elections and casts this shadow over U.S. Foreign Policy, Bob Mueller meanwhile is continuing to gather evidence on whether one of Trump`s longest-serving advisers did team up with any foreign actors in 2016.

Mueller zeroing in on the name we`ve heard before. The question is whether Roger Stone and/or other Trump associates were discussing things with WikiLeaks that could amount to a crime. This is from a new "Washington Post" report, and it includes the details that Mueller`s prosecutors have presented over a dozen hours of testimony on Roger Stone to the grand jury. That is tech investigators are reviewing gigabytes of Stone related material.

A single gigabyte can comprise over 600,000 pages of text. That today, Stone said he never received anything from WikiLeaks or the Russians. That is a denial he, of course, has made before. Let`s get started with Maya Wiley, former counsel --


ROGER STONE: -- knowledge of the source, content or the exact disclosure timing of the WikiLeaks disclosures regarding the DNC. I do not regard Mr. Assange or WikiLeaks as Russian assets. I think Assange is a journalist.


MELBER: Before we get to Maya Wiley, a little bit of sound from Roger Stone. That was a past denial.

Maya Wiley, of course, former counsel to Mayor of New York City and MSNBC analyst. Shelby Holliday, a reporter for "The Wall Street Journal" covering Roger Stone. And in a moment, I should mention we`re going to be joined by a former chief of staff to Bob Mueller to dig further in.

But first on this news, Maya, what does it mean when you hear that this information is being presented to the grand jury?

MAYA WILEY, FORMER COUNSEL TO NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Well, what it means is they think they have evidence that merits the grand jury actually assessing it to determine whether or not there would be some indictable offenses. So it`s pretty significant if they`re taking it that route.

I think it also matters a lot because fundamentally, if there was a conspiracy to defraud the United States, right, which is essentially the legal claim that the Mueller team is investigating regarding the Trump campaign and the Russian government. It`s kind of critical to understand whether or not Roger Stone was having communications with either Guccifer 2.0 about those e-mails.

Remember that he did not come forward with all of the truthful information to the committee about his contact with the Russian who was offering $2 million for dirt on Clinton. All these things suggest that they`re trying to piece together the extent to which they can demonstrate not just that he may not have been truthful, which is perjury, but also whether or not he`s part of a conspiracy to defraud the United States.

MELBER: This comes at a time that there are lawyers in and out of the Trump orbit. Ty Cobb was part of the cooperative group that ultimately ended their tenure for what has looked like a way more acerbic and aggressive confrontational approach from Giuliani and Co. Here`s Ty Cobb speaking out today and rebutting one of the talking points that obviously president is calling this a witch hunt.


TY COBB, FORMER WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: It`s important to me not to have criticism wildly thrown back and forth and turn it into a Ken Starr-like process. I think it was largely successful on the front end. It`s deteriorated some on the back end.

GLORIA BORGER, CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST, "CNN": But he calls it a witch hunt. Do you think it`s a witch hunt?

COBB: I don`t think it is a witch hunt.


SHELBY HOLLIDAY, REPORTER, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Most of America actually doesn`t think it`s a witch hunt when you look at polls. Most are pretty confident of Robert Mueller`s work so far. I do think one interesting thing is we reported on Friday that the special counsel is continuing to look at Roger Stone and his associates, Jerry Corsi is one of them.

This is happening at a time where the special counsel is shedding staff and signaling that some key witnesses are ready to be sentenced. Mike Flynn, for example, coming up in December yet he`s still really is aggressively pursuing this line of questioning with Roger Stone, what he knew, who he knew it from, and what did he do with the information that he had if he did, in fact, have knowledge of WikiLeaks` releases.

Now Roger Stone sometimes says, you know, I predicted the release of Clinton Foundation e-mails and so, therefore, I didn`t know they had Podesta`s e-mails and he uses it as a bit of a defense. But keep in mind that the Guccifer 2.0 persona released e-mails related to the Clinton Foundation. And so there`s questions of WikiLeaks but you can`t ignore the Guccifer 2.0 persona either which was a conduit to WikiLeaks at the end of the day.

MELBER: You know I`ll tell you one question I get sometimes when you host a television show is, why do you interview this or that person, right? It`s kind of like --

HOLLIDAY: Good question.

MELBER: -- if you throw a big enough party, some of your friends say this person needs to be there or not? And reasonable people can disagree about that. Randy Credico is one of those people that is asked about. But our reporting, and our discussions with him, and I know you`ve intersected with him as a reporter on this story as well, have given insights into where they were going in the Mueller investigation. Here was Credico under my questioning about whether they were interested in Stone when he was a witness. Take a look.


MELBER: Were there any questions about Julian Assange?

RANDY CREDICO, COMEDIAN: Peripherally. Very -- that was not -- most of it was about Roger Stone.

MELBER: Do you think they are zeroing in on Roger Stone as a potential criminal target or not?

CREDICO: Well, they talked about Roger Stone most of the time. I mean, what do you think?


MELBER: What do you think, Maya? Most of it -- the key phrase there, most of it was about Roger Stone. So he goes in, spends hours with these talented lawyers who work for Mueller and they spend most of their time quizzing him about Stone.

WILEY: Well, look, Robert Mueller`s team is a very smart team. Randy Credico is the person that Roger Stone says connected him as a back channel to Julian Assange, which means whether or not Randy Credico says yes, I was, no, I wasn`t, rather than say Guccifer 2.0, right, to Shelby`s point, it matters. They`re going to want to really probe Credico on what his connection was, what he did in relationship to what Roger Stone says happened.

You know, a big part of what prosecutors do is try to assess the truth, who is being truthful, not just whether or not something happened but whether they can believe someone when they say that something happened --

MELBER: Right. Because the grayer --

WILEY: -- and Stone made very clear and has not been so forthcoming all the time.

MELBER: Right. And with rare exceptions, people who lie a lot to prosecutors have reason to lie. So that itself can become a lead.

I want you both to stay with me. I`m going to bring in a very special guest to THE BEAT, first time guest, Former Federal Prosecutor John Carlin. He was nominated by President Obama as the DOJ`s highest-ranking national security prosecutor. He also worked as Bob Mueller`s right-hand man. He`s chief of staff back when he was FBI director. And he`s the author of a new book "Dawn of the Code War", an inside look at how the DOJ and the FBI, including under Mueller, addresses cyber threats around the world.

First of all, thanks for coming on THE BEAT.


MELBER: John, you`ve been in the field. My first question to you is, what does it mean when we see the national security adviser of the United States give this assurance to Russia about their impact? And how does the DOJ, in your experience, stay laser-focused on preventing and dealing with this kind of crimes when there is so much other noise, foreign policy or political around this kind of investigations?

CARLIN: Look, I`ll say as a general rule, the career prosecutors and agents are going to be doggedly following the facts and ignoring the noise around them in Washington. And there is no one who is better at ignoring the noise and focusing on the job at hand than Bob Mueller. That`s been through throughout his career. From the marine he was when he was saving lives overseas, to the career federal prosecutor he was to the man I knew as director of the FBI.

And there`s an important story to be followed here. We don`t need to speculate. What we know now from the case that came out on Friday is that the reason why it`s so important that we find out exactly what happened in 2016 to our election is because Russia is at it again. They`re determined to attack not just our elections that are coming up here in 2018, but our democracy.

MELBER: Well, you mentioned that it was so significant, legally and politically in the electoral sense of Americans finding out this time beforehand, whether it is a tiny thing or a growing thing or we can`t determine how large thing. The fact that Americans are being put on notice before these midterms strike me as a very deliberate choice by the justice department.

Of course, it was not under the Russia probe, the special counsel probe that we got that particular indictment Friday. Do you think that`s sunk in on people how important that is because there`s been so much else going on since Friday?

CARLIN: You know I do worry about that, that this won`t work. This policy of the Department of Justice, the agents, the investigators, figuring out exactly how the Russians are conducting a multimillion-dollar cross-border campaign to undermine our election. They`re doing a fantastic job of laying out the facts but then ultimately it`s up to the American people to demand reaction to those facts that includes raising the cost from Russia.

And you`re seeing a very concentrated, strategic plan. Starting on September 25th, the justice department said, "Hey. It`s our new policy." We never had this written in our books. When I was a prosecutor, that we are going to make public election interference when we found it.

Now we know that on September 28th, there was a complaint that was returned under seal that showed exactly that, that there was a woman who was working for the Russians, spending millions of dollars trying to undermine, by attacking almost everyone in our system, and just trying generally to undermine confidence.

Then you had Friday, it wasn`t just the justice department released these facts that showed what she was doing and made it public. You also had the director of National Intelligence and the rest of the community warning the American people and those that are entrusted with protecting our elections, that the Russians are going to attack. So that`s quite a lot of information that was put out for us.

MELBER: Well, you have the prosecutor`s knack for a lot of detail in a concise space. It`s fascinating but also disturbing some of what you lay out. Because you worked so closely with Bob Mueller, I want to get your view and get your reaction here to the way Roger Stone has responded to these public reports.

Our reporting suggests, as we`ve shown, that he is at least of interest, appears to be at least the subject of the investigation, and people have testified to that effect. Roger has not said that he`s been called in to give his own testimony. But here are his attacks on your old boss, Bob Mueller. Take a look.


ROGER STONE, LONG-TIME TRUMP ADVISER: Out of control Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now poking through every aspect of my personal, social, family, business, and political life, grilling my long-time associates in an attempt to fabricate some offense in order to destroy me personally, and financially. I`m ready to fight. I will never roll on our president.


MELBER: John, prosecutors are not perfect by virtue of having the job. We cover all kinds of investigations. What is your view of Mr. Stone`s allegations, a serious one really of potential misconduct, that this is an effort to personally destroy him rather than gather facts?

CARLIN: There`s no one more by the book than Bob Mueller. And the fact that there`s any public conversation about Roger Stone`s role at all, I`m sure has nothing to do with Mueller or his team who are famous for not leaking. It`s a boat that never leaks a drop. I`m sure to the frustration of many of the reporters that work with you.

What they are going to do though is follow up on things like as they have already revealed in a criminal complaint, they know a Russian intelligence operative fed information that Russian Intelligence Operatives stole from the Clinton campaign and others to WikiLeaks. And they know that WikiLeaks then released then released that information in order to harm the campaign. They know that at the time that that occurred, there was a multimillion- dollar campaign to undermine our elections. And they know that that was directed by military and intelligence operatives in Russia.

So, of course, they`re going to follow up to see who might have been in contact with those Russian military and intelligence operatives.

WILEY: Absolutely. I think what`s so important about this is, remember that Roger Stone had a meeting with someone who -- offering dirt on Hillary Clinton who was a Russian for $2 million, and apparently, the problem was the price. So this isn`t setting up a --

MELBER: Price, not the treason, you`re saying?

WILEY: Exactly. I mean from all of the bread crumbs that Robert Mueller is following are actually on the ground and you can see them and you can follow them. So to suggest -- what Roger Stone is really doing is what he`s always done, he`s being a public bully to sort of suggest that -- for his own political ends, political ends of his allies and Donald Trump, he`s trying to distract.

But all of the facts may clear including his own refusal to be honest with the committee in Congress, in the House about the fact that he had the meeting in the first place tells us all we really need to know about Roger Stone.

MELBER: Maya Wiley and Shelby Holliday, friends of the show, thank you for joining us. And John Carlin, we hope you`ll become a friend of this show because we really appreciate your expertise tonight.

CARLIN: Thanks, Ari.

MELBER: Thank you all.

Tonight, Ted Cruz embracing the man who insulted his wife, called him a liar, all to save his political career.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He is not lying Ted anymore. He is beautiful Ted.


TRUMP: He is Texas -- I call him Texas Ted. I like him a lot. I actually like him a lot.


MELBER: Who knew? Meanwhile, a different form of President Barack Obama hitting the campaign trail, taking aim at the GOP.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Unlike some, I actually try to state facts. I believe in facts. I don`t believe in just making stuff up. I think you should like actually say to people what`s true.


MELBER: The man who ran Obama`s 2012 re-election campaign is on THE BEAT tonight. And Rob Reiner will break down some of the best and worst political ads we`ve seen so far.

And then later, I`m going to give you everything you need to know about what happened when Jared Kushner did something he almost never does, he spoke out loud, on the record, in public, today.

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


MELBER: Here is brand new footage out of Texas tonight. Donald Trump shaking hands with Ted Cruz in Houston. This is ahead of their joint rally. This is 2018 Ted Cruz, doing what 2016 Cruz would find unthinkable, asking Trump to save his career in his own home state of Texas. Rarely do you see a politician`s claims diluted this blatantly in the span of one election cycle.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: This man is a pathological liar. The man is utterly amoral. Donald is a sore loser, is proud of being a serial philanderer. I`m very glad that the president is coming on Monday to come down to Texas for a rally in Houston. Let me say in particular, Don, thank you for your father standing up in the face of that hatred that is directed at President Trump.


MELBER: Cruz shouting out President Trump and his family there, a total opposite of how Trump treated Cruz, defaming his father by baselessly accusing him of murdering a president and launching sexist attacks on Cruz`s wife, plus, of course, unloading on Cruz himself.


TRUMP: He`s a nasty guy. Nobody likes him. Nobody in Congress likes him. Nobody likes him anywhere once they get to know him.

You are the single biggest liar. You probably are worse than Jeb Bush. You are the single biggest liar.

Lying Ted. Holds that bible high, puts it down and then he lies.

I think he`s crazy. Honestly, I think he`s crazy.


MELBER: Critics say tonight`s rally reveals at least two things about Cruz. Politically, he`s in trouble in a close race with Democrat Beto O`Rourke. And personally, his response to Trump`s attacks is to give in rather than hold his ground. That`s bigger than politics. It really goes to your life ethic.

Now, some claim there are no rules in this kind of battles. Other people say there are lines that you cannot cross, that can`t be forgiven like family. That issue in the Trump-Cruz beef was also the issue in the beef between musicians Drake and Pusha-T. And Drake just explained some attacks cannot be forgiven.


DRAKE, MUSICIAN: Like rap purists and people who just love conversation. They love to say, "Hey man, there`s no rules in this." But there are rules in this. It`s like, I knew something was going to come up about my kid. The mom and dad thing, whatever. I`m going to tell you, wishing death on my friend that has MS -- I study rap battles for a living. Now, when you mention defenseless people who are sick in the hospital that passed away, there`s just a price that you have to pay for that.


MELBER: Tonight`s Trump-Cruz rally is the political equivalent of Drake and Pusha-T making an album together. That will never happen because apparently, family values are stronger in celebrity rap battles than in today`s Texas Republican politics.

For more, I`m joined by former "New York Times" executive editor Howell Raines. Are there no rules left? Not even defending your wife, your family?

HOWELL RAINES, FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": No. I think we`re in a new political world where there are no rules left. It`s in effect a circus and the only rule maker is the ringmaster, Donald Trump and that`s he`s making this poor man jump through loops.

Years ago, I saw people of character cozy up to George Wallace in Alabama after much soul-searching. This is - that was pea knuckle compared to what we`re seeing.

MELBER: So you think Drake is wrong and living in a bygone era saying there are rules you can`t break?

RAINES: I don`t know his business. I`m sure he knows rap battles and I can`t say his wrong for that reason. But I do think there are no rules on the Republican side of politics now.

MELBER: And the president was asked about this. I want you to listen to him here when confronted with -- and again, everyone says, "Oh, it`s all rhetoric." It is wrong. It is defamatory. It is outrageous to accuse someone of being involved in the assassination of an American president. Now, he has become the president, and this was his response to whether that worked out, that attack on Cruz.


REPORTER: Do you regret implying that Ted Cruz`s dad killed JFK?

TRUMP: I don`t regret anything, honestly. It all worked out very nicely.


RAINES: To have regrets in life or in politics, you have to have principles. And Ted Cruz told the truth in the campaign. He is a serial liar who has no regard for facts. That said, I`m a bit in awe today, after seeing "The Wall Street Journal" NBC poll this morning. He may not be a great deal maker, but I guarantee you he is a great closer. We`re seeing a ferocious closing in this campaign.

It reminds me -- I`m old enough to remember Muhammad Ali, and he was the most dangerous in the late rounds, in the final seconds of each rounds, when he would bewilder his opponents with a hurricane of punches. And I think that`s what we`re seeing from Trump right now. He is viciously effective as a closer.

And if you look in that poll today, you see he`s done something quite remarkable. He took a party that was sleepwalking, and he now has it as fired up, maybe more fired up than the Democrats.

MELBER: Well, you also have another comparison there, which is being able to take a punch, or in rope-a-dope in the rumble in the jungle, he took a lot of punches from foreman before coming back. And sometimes that`s the most dangerous thing. I want to also play a different person, Mitt Romney because it`s bigger than Cruz. You say, well, they were in this pitched primary battle but Mitt Romney positioned himself above Trump and above all this. Take a look.


MITT ROMNEY: If we, Republicans, choose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished. Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.

REPORTER: You led the "Never Trump Movement." I mean what happened with that? Why did you - how did you --

ROMNEY: Well, I don`t think that was the case. President Trump was not the person I wanted to become the nominee of our party, but he`s president now. The policies he`s promoted have been pretty effective, and I support a lot of those policies.


RAINES: Say it ain`t so, Mitt. You don`t have to do this in Utah. You`re going to win that race anyway.

MELBER: Yes, he doesn`t. Politically, he doesn`t need to do that.

RAINES: No, he really doesn`t. He really doesn`t. But I think the others in the Republican party do have to do that. And what is noticeable to me right now is he`s got his message, Kavanaugh, Khashoggi, jobs. The Democrats have a diffuse message and no national spokesman.

MELBER: Right. And what you`re hitting on is be careful underestimating Donald Trump. We were able to talk, Drake, Pusha-T., Ted Cruz, Mitt Romney, Muhammad Ali, we didn`t get to Taylor Swift. We`ll do that next time.

RAINES: Thanks, Ari.

MELBER: Howell, always good to see you.

Now, we`re going to turn to a prominent Trump supporter calling out Trump for lies and Barack Obama hitting the trail to torch Republicans when we`re back in 30 seconds.


MELBER: President Obama campaigned today in rallying voters to back facts over lies.


OBAMA: Unlike some, I actually try to state facts. I believe in facts. I believe in a fact-based reality and a fact-based politics. I don`t believe in just making stuff up. I think you should like actually say to people what`s true.


MELBER: Trump, though, has been busted for lying in his midterm speeches about everything from riots to giveaways to immigrants. Republican adjourned Congress, by the way, so you can`t have any more tax bills until after election. And that confirms Trump is lying in a specific pledge you`re about to see when he says he`s looking at a tax cut before November. Impossible while Congress is adjourned.


TRUMP: We are looking at putting in a very major tax cut for middle-income people, and if we do that it`ll be sometime just prior I would say to November.


MELBER: Just prior November, no. Meanwhile, the falsehoods are also being improvised. You can see that over a 24-hour period where Trump rifts on Democrats wanting to give away luxury cars.


TRUMP: Give them a driver`s license, next thing you know that want to buy him a car, then they`ll say the car is not good enough we want -- how about a Rolls Royce? They want to give them cars, they want to give them driver`s licenses. I said last night, what kind of car will they supply them, will it be a Rolls Royce?


MELBER: I`m joined by Jim Messina, Campaign Manager for President Obama`s 2012 re-election, former Maryland Congressman Donna Edwards, and Democratic Strategist Julianne Epstein. Welcome to all of you. Jim, I`ll start with you. President Obama faced down attacks from Trump including of course birtherism but he did it from inside the White House. What do you see is key to confronting this today?

JIM MESSINA, CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA`S 2012 RE-ELECTION: Look, it`s really important to have President Obama on the stump. He`s our best messenger. You know, in the Obama world you know he`s into it when he takes off the jacket and rolls up the sleeves and you could see him in full throat in Nevada and I think that`s absolutely crucial. He`ll be in Wisconsin on Friday. And you know, we need a national spokesperson here in the final few days making the case and continuing to fire up our voters.

Well, we know here you know, two weeks out is this is all about turnout and we need our voters turned out and that`s Barack Obama`s the best I`ve ever seen at.

MELBER: When you look at that, let`s take that point to Donna Edwards and President Obama getting into the facts but also getting into what he views as the hypocrisy of the Republicans juicing the deficit now, not caring about anymore after a lot of crocodile tears when he was in office. Take a look.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I was president and I was trying to fund early childhood education or trying to an infrastructure, they would say no, no, no we can`t do that, deficits are too high. Suddenly when it comes to giving up a trillion and a half dollars for folks who are already sitting pretty, don`t need it, weren`t even asking for it, suddenly deficits there`s no problem.


MELBER: Does that breakthrough, Donna?

DONNA EDWARDS, FORMER REPRESENTATIVE, MARYLAND: Well, I think it does and I think it puts into context what we`re fighting about. And I mean you know, Trump may be trying to give a tax break to middle-income people when Congress is in session, but let`s look at what he`s really doing. Definitely rolling back the rules around pre-existing conditions, Americans care about that. Definitely making certain that you know people who`ve had health care wouldn`t be able to have health care in the future. And I think the most important argument that can be made can be made by President Obama right now.

And let`s not forget, we`ve got other top surrogates going around the country too. And Democrats need this because we`ve got to make sure that our enthusiasm that we had through the -- through the primary season continues on to Election Day.

MELBER: Julian?

JULIAN EPSTEIN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think there`s a bigger point here and I think it`s you know, the old Mark Twain quote about lives can get halfway around the world before the truth has even gotten its bootstrapped on. And I think what President Trump is doing is a little bit of a sucker punch right now. We know he doesn`t have much of a record to run on. The White House has been in utter chaos. He`s been under investigation and he wants to reframe this campaign I`ll back along the identity politics debate of 2016. That`s why you hear him talking about immigration and terrorists and cheap shots, bullying on LGBT.

And I think the cheap shot is saying that the media, what Trump understands in a kind of a very savvy way is that these issues energize the right, they and or the left and that`s kind of a big sugar high for a cable television and other television ratings, and cable television tends to over cover this nonsense. And I think there`s a real question here as to how much coverage news reporting in print, television, or otherwise ought to be giving these constant lies --

MELBER: Well, Julian, I don`t feel high. Do you feel high? You`re on cable television right now.

EPSTEIN: Well, I think -- I think these things give -- the ratings are sugar high. I think the President understands that and that`s why he puts the red meat out on there. You know, you were quoting Drake. You know, Drake has to keep on the Drake thing. You know Drake says in one of his famous songs, I know they`ve been lying but you`re -- I know they`ve been lying but your stuff isn`t that inspiring. And I think that`s also an important subway for the Democrats right now.

I mean, I think the Democrats are running well against Trump. I think their numbers look good for the Midterms but I still think Democrats have a problem right now with white middle-class voters, with Hispanics, and with Millennials, and par that problem is while they I think been effective on health care, not enough people understand what Democrats are for.

So I think while the media has to put in proportionality, how much they`re covering Trump`s lies and Democrats ought not to take debate, I think Democrats have to lean in a little bit more about what they are for in this election cycle to get that energy that Jim is talking about to get that energy buffered up a little bit.

MELBER: Jim, you got Obama re-elected but did you bring a Drake quote?

MESSINA: It`s a great point and we all go Barack Obama elected.

MELBER: He`s not ready. I tell you what, in lieu of that, I`m going to play you a little more of your old boss President Obama because it really fits with the point that Julian made which is Trump pushing the culture war, want to be in fights, want to be back in the media stuff. The President -- former President today saying, wait a minute, there isn`t the kind of recovery that Trump promised. In fact, there`s a lot more to the story. Take a look.


OBAMA: By the time I left office, wages were rising, uninsurance rate was falling, poverty was falling, and that`s what I hand it off to the next guy. So when you hear all of his talk about economic miracles right now, remember who started it. Remember who started it.


MELBER: Jim, I`m going to push you on that. The economic history there is correct and we`ve been covering that. We covered the deficits on THE BEAT last week, but is remember who started it the right message for the Midterms or does that feel too much about defending one presidential legacy?

MESSINA: No. Look, it`s important to remind Democrats what we`re in, why are we are in this fight and what we need to do. We`ve all talked about this. This is about Democratic turnout right now right? We`re two weeks out. Donna has this exactly right. We need to fire our base up. And you know, I think let`s take a big picture for a second.

I think Donald Trump`s making a very big mistake for his party by nationalizing this election about him. Every place he goes -- he was on my home state of Montana last weekend and he spent the entire time talking about himself. Swing voters are really iffy on this guy. He`s a net disapproval with independent voters and he`s making this election all about himself which both fires up our base and hope -- and helps with swing independents. I think it`s a mistake.

MELBER: Right. We`re almost out of time. Donna, final word.

EDWARDS: Well, I just want to echo that because if you go from one district to the next district, people are running on the things that are important in those districts and that`s the way you win elections. And now 15 days to go, it`s about turnout, turnout, and turnout.

MELBER: Donna, Julian, and Jim, thank you for a lively conversation. Up ahead we have something rare. Jared Kushner speaking on the record. And first, Filmmaker and Activist Rob Reiner along with Comedian Joe Mande on some of the wildest campaign ads this cycle.


MELBER: From burger wars to shotgun-holding dads, days to go to the Midterms and the ads flooding the airwaves are remarkable. I am joined by Comedian Joe Mande and Actor, Director, and Producer Rob Reiner for a very special Midterm segment. Nice to see you both.


MELBER: You guys have seen Veep.

REINER: I have.

MELBER: So now we have life imitating the art. The zaniness of Veep which of course makes fun of the way our politics works. On the left you have Senator Joe Donnelly, he`s running for reelection Indiana, on the right lead character Jonah Ryan who in the show was running for Congress. This is truly unbelievable. Take a look.


SEN. JOE DONNELLY (D), INDIANA: For the most part I`m an easygoing guy. But not when Mike Braun keeps lying about my record.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Selina Meyer think she can jump our prosperity.

DONNELLY: The liberal left wants the chop defense spending.


DONNELLY: No way. I`m about giving our troops the edge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone is chopping back. Jonah Ryan, he`ll chop President Meyer down the size.

DONNELLY: I`m Joe Donnelly, and I approve this message.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m Jonah Ryan, and I approve this message.



JOE MANDE, COMEDIAN: Yes, I think it`s effective. I don`t know if that was deliberate but I don`t think it`s a bad thing to associate yourself with a critically acclaimed HBO show.

MELBER: Interesting angle. I don`t think they realized that they were living out the cliche of a politician.

MANDE: Right. But if I were his campaign manager, I would just say let`s do again. Let`s dress him up like Khaleesi, you know. Let`s dress them up like (INAUDIBLE), let`s have him drive constituents around and do taxicab confessions.

MELBER: Just run with it, Rob.

REINER: Well, there`s -- the line, there`s no more line. It`s one big blurry mess that we`re looking at. I mean, you know, somebody would come up to you say OK, we`re going to make a movie about a guy with wacky hair who`s a reality show host and he`s a failed businessman but he becomes President of the United States.

MELBER: You`re talking about Tekashi69 running for president.

REINER: Exactly, exactly. So the satire should be something that takes what is and bends it. We`re now living in a vise where you can`t satirize it anymore.

MELBER: I feel like you`re very close to saying if it bends it`s funny.

REINER: And if it break --

MELBER: It`s not funny. You`re too young for that but it`s Annie Hall reference.

MANDE: I get it. I`ve seen Annie Hall.

REINER: No, it`s not Annie Hall. That`s not an Annie Hall. That was --

MELBER: Fives and Misdemeanors?


MELBER: Closer.

REINER: Alan Alda.

MELBER: Alan Alda.

MANDE: Small Time Crooks.

MELBER: Crimes and Misdemeanors. We`re just listing names and movies. Richard Linklater who some people say is a better director than you.

REINER: I said it.

MELBER: You say that.


MELBER: He`s gotten involved. Here he was going after Ted Cruz with his own ad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A triple meat Whataburger too liberal, what does that even mean, Ted? I mean, everybody I know in Texas lacks Whataburger.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Just as a consumer, I`m a big fan of eating White Castle burgers. I like their little burgers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t even know what that is. There`s not a White Castle within 900 miles of Texas, Ted. Maybe up in Canada, but not in Texas.


MELBER: Effective?

REINER: Yes, really effective. I don`t know if you`ll play the last part because I saw that ad and he goes what is it, Ted? He goes that little breathing with the word Ted at the end. It`s very effective.

MELBER: People don`t like Ted Cruz.

MANDE: No. He`s a -- like a goblin, right? I know it`s a new show but he`s a goblin.

REINER: Well, no, it could be on Halloween.

MANDER: Right. That would be a scary --

REINER: The show could be on Halloween and they could dress up as Ted Cruz.

MELBER: Now, there`s the other thing that happens where these guys try to be funny, guys and gals try to be funny in their ads, this was the Republican running for governor in Georgia. Take a look.

REINER: Right.


BRIAN KEMP (R), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE, GEORGIA: I`m Brian Kemp. This is Jake. Young man interested in one of my daughters.


KEMP: Jake has laws running for governor. I said one --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cut government spending.

KEMP: Two --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take a chainsaw to regulations.

KEMP: Three --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make Georgia number one for small business.

KEMP: And two things if you go on date one of my daughters.


KEMP: And --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A healthy appreciation for the second amendment, sir.

KEMP: We`re going to get along just fine.



MANDE: I would love to see the outtakes from that, you know. Brian Kemp, why do I want to be governor? The kid is like because you hate minorities, no because you hate women, because you have a hole in your heart that can only be filled by corporate greed.

MELBER: Are you guys available to help anyone with campaign ads now that you`ve seen -- how you analyze this?

REINER: I`ve done -- I`ve done two -- I`ve done three campaign ads.

MELBER: Do you?

MANDE: No, but I`m down. I got all these ideas.

MELBER: You have a Netflix special.


MELBER: It`s the next logical step.

MANDE: I think so.

MELBER: Comedian Joe Mande and celebrated Director Rob Reiner, thanks to both you for being here.

REINER: Thanks.

MANDE: We`re the new Diamond and Silk.

REINER: Who`s the Diamond and who`s the Silk?

MANDE: You choose.

REINER: I don`t know.

MELBER: We`ll keep that question open, but up next Jared Kushner speaks my fact-check.


MELBER: Presidential family member and White House aide Jared Kushner broke his silence today in his first extended T.V. interview since Trump was elected. A 43-0minute discussion that was often boastful, sometimes defensive, and at several points honestly bizarre. Now, for context, before I break this down, here are some of the questions Kushner was presented with.


VAN JONES, CNN HOST: How did you get this job? I mean, it`s like you have like the dopest job in the world, like the secretary of everything. Did it bug you with them calling it secretary of everything?

Are you having fun because all we hear about is the chaos and the destruction and you guys are all going to be just blown away by a media war called what`s that, Mueller -- I mean from our point of view like you know, you like pinatas over there. Are you have any fun?


MELBER: So that`s what he was up against. But Kushner`s responses themselves presented an image of hard and quiet work.


JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don`t make a lot of noise. The noise is sometimes made about me but I try to keep my head down.


MELBER: Now, Jared Kushner is powerful but rarely heard so it is revealing to hear his own assessment of his work so far whether you agree with it or not. So here is how Kushner grades himself on the assignment of achieving peace in the Middle East.


KUSHNER: The President asked me to do the Middle East peace process which is something that I think we`ve made a lot of progress on. I`m as optimistic as you can be about that. I was given the Middle East peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians and I`ve dealt with a lot of the other regional partners in that effort.


MELBER: A lot of progress are the key words there from Kushner, but experts say there is almost no progress, no peace deal and the principles in this process haven`t even met in the past six months. That`s about 25 percent of the entire time Kushner has held this post. And today Kushner said his other big priority other than the Middle East is reforming the prison system. He cited his father`s time in prison and how he is working with Nancy Pelosi on a reform bill called the First Step Act


KUSHNER: And then there was one issue that was very close to my heart because I had a personal experience which was prison reform. If you have somebody in prison for ten years, you can say would you rather than go back after ten years of no programming to the streets? It`s called the First Step Act. The goals for it to be the first step towards hopefully broader reforms. I`m for progress, I`m for moving forward and I`m hoping that a lot of the people in the House and the Senate will be with us as well.


MELBER: He`s hoping and obviously there are ways that Donald Trump has dabbled on an individual basis with pardons. But Kushner has access to real power every day and yet let`s get into the facts. Here are just three of the prison reform bills that are talked about regularly. The Smarter Sentencing Act, the Sentencing Reform, and Corrections Act and as he just mentioned the First Step Act.

So if this is one of Kushner`s top priorities and he has this access to the president, have any of these bills passed out of Congress or gotten floor votes to test their support? No. None of them have ever gotten a vote on the Senate floor let alone a presidential signature from his father-in-law. So let`s be clear, whether the ideas expressed in those bills are good and whether Mr. Kushner sincerely believes them is fine. Open question, the Republicans controlled Congress and when they get a real Trump priority from the Trump White House like tax cuts or judicial appointments or Supreme Court nominations, they get votes. So it`s telling that here this is the result.

Now, those are Kushner`s own stated priorities. We also want to note that while he spoke for 43 minutes, he didn`t address his own record and conduct in matters like the Russia probe or his attendance at the Trump Tower meeting under investigation or advising on the firing of James Comey or his misstatements regarding his security clearance. This list as you may know if you watch the news goes on and on and on.

So on Kushner`s own priorities on prison reform and Middle East peace, no measurable result. And on a bunch of other issues, no discussion whatsoever in this rare chance to address the public. So here we are looking at this rare set of updates if you want to call them that from Jared Kushner and we have to ask how do you measure that kind of record for management? Well, there is a way to do it. We turn back to Jared Kushner who offered this tip today.


KUSHNER: In business, I would always say, if you can`t measure something, you can`t manage it.


MELBER: Before we go, I want to tell you about one more BEAT related item. A very special guest joining us tomorrow, Black Thought. He`s one of the co-founders of The Root. You might recognize for his music or their presence on the Tonight Show and it will be his first time on THE BEAT. We`re speaking on a day where he and a whole bunch of other artist are performing at a charity concert in Brooklyn with Tidal.

We`re talking not only about music but also the fight for criminal justice reform. If you`re watching the show tonight you might notice something that`s apparently The Roots and Jared Kushner have in common. We`ll get into all of that -- again Black Thought on THE BEAT tomorrow night.

Now that does it for our show. "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews is up next.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Trump at the gate. Let`s play HARDBALL.