Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: October 25, 2018 Guest: Frank Montoya Jr., David Chapman, Hakeem Jeffries, Neera Tanden, Marc Ginsburg, Tony Schwartz, Neera Tanden, Roberta Jacobson
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Tonight we continue our ongoing coverage of these pipe bomb mailings and the ensuing FBI hunt around the nation along with several other big stories.
Later I`m going to speak to Trump`s former ambassador to Mexico who`s discussing what is wrong with his leadership and a potential break in the Russia probe, Mueller obtaining evidence that may show a Trump ally knew about the Clinton e-mail hack before the general public.
Also tonight my special report on the security breach that goes to the top. Donald Trump leaving the door open for Chinese spies to listen to his phone calls.
But we begin with our top story, the president`s new response to the mystery of these explosive devices sent to Democratic leaders, resistance figures and a Trump critic at an address at CNN. Now the president has discarded his brief attempt to strike a note of unity today, turning to attack the free press and insinuating the media would somehow be to blame for a crime that is unsolved and therefore impossible to assign blame for yet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: While the target list has expanded to 10, that includes two devices sent to Joe Biden and another sent to the actor Robert De Niro -- he has publicly criticized Trump and also plays Bob Mueller on "SNL."
Now tonight investigators do not have a suspect or a motive. NBC reporting authorities probing whether some of these packages originated in Florida. They have been sent all over the place. The AP also just now reporting packages were processed through a single mail facility. And there are some new clues from the devices themselves. The one targeting CNN included a type of parody ISIS flag and the words "Get her done." These are both tied to conversations and memes that have circulated on the internet including on sites associated with far-right political association.
Again, though, authorities are not saying that means much yet about who the actual suspect is or what that person or persons believe.
Now in a moment I`m going to talk to my panel, which includes a current member of Congress, about the wider political climate and what Donald Trump is up to. But I want to begin tonight and give viewers, give you a sense of the latest investigation with people who know how this works, Frank Montoya, a former FBI special agent in charge. He also assisted in the Oklahoma City bombing investigation in `95. And David Chipman, former ATF special agent.
Frank, we ran through what little we still know here a day out or when this -- excuse me? Sorry. Can you hear me, Frank?
FRANK MONTOYA JUNIOR, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: I sure can.
MELBER: Sorry, I was getting some audio. So I was going to say, we`re about a day out from when this whole thing has become a national story. I went through a little bit of what we`ve heard which is not much.
What else has the FBI look for and how do they look at what I just showed on the screen, that apparent ISIS meme?
MONTOYA: Yes. There`s a lot of things to be looking at right now. First of all, you`ve got 10 devices out there. You have ten sets of packaging, you`ve got these reports that maybe they went to the same processing center. You`ve got a lot of folks from a lot of different agencies who are working together to add up all of these points of interests to try to determine who in fact could be doing this.
You know, I`ve heard a lot of talk about the devices themselves and signatures and whatnot, but the packaging may be just as important at this point in time especially if they all have the same features, the stamps, all the tape, you know, the address labels. All of that leads to a lot of good leading information including, you know, points of entry into the postal system if that`s the way they`re being sent. Do clerks remember anybody who might look like or who actually deposited these things there? So a ton to work with but yes --
MELBER: On that point --
MONTOYA: -- they got to sort through it.
MELBER: On that point, Frank, I mean, any viewers listening to you say that are going to think to all the crime serials people see on TV, we see investigators talk about stuff, I mean, you just made the point, is there video footage that`s going to be available from inside or near those facilities that could really narrow the pool of suspects?
MONTOYA: It`s possible. I mean, think back to Oklahoma City, for instance, and you know, the drawings that came out, the depictions that came out of Timothy McVeigh. I mean, they were individuals that remembered people acting a little bit oddly.
What`s interesting here is a lot of the return labels, they seem to come back to an address in Florida. What if these things are being mailed in Maryland or they`re being mailed in Omaha or in Little Rock? I mean, that`s not Florida. Does that stand out to whoever the clerks were that were processing these packages? So lots of things to work with at this point in time. Where they lead remains to be seen.
MELBER: David, your view of all that.
DAVID CHIPMAN, FORMER ATF SPECIAL AGENT: Yes, I think Frank`s right. There`s a mountain of evidence. And typically devices go off and you don`t have that.
What`s interested me the most today is some more clarity on the potential that the devices were actually delivered in different locations. If they were mailed from Florida, for instance, if that turns out to be true, it would be interesting that possibly some were delivered by hand in New York. A person can`t be in two places at once so that would be interesting. But we don`t know that yet.
There`s been also reporting that perhaps there were anti-personnel type items in these devices. Something you wouldn`t normally see in a hoax device. Clearly this was meant to cause public attention and spread fear, and it`s succeeded on that point. But now the leads are going to be followed, and I have total confidence in the coming days and weeks we`re going to catch who did this.
MELBER: And David, when you look at the kind of material, insignia and clues that are sort of sprinkled throughout this from the targeting to what`s in the bombs themselves, do you tend to read that at face value or do you think that might to throw investigators off the scent?
CHIPMAN: Yes, I think for investigators they just follow the leads that are in front of them. I know a number of cases I worked in 1991, a case where an insurance scheme was set up to look like it was a terrorist attack. Another one in Central Texas where someone sent a bomb to a domestic partner who worked at a probation parole office because they figured that it would be blamed on a parolee.
I can tell you cops and investigators study those cases. They know to just put their nose to the grind stone, look at the facts, follow those leads and leave it up to people like us on TV to speculate on motives, which really isn`t driving the investigation at this point. It will become important later.
David and Frank, thank you. We wanted to hear directly from investigators off the top.
But beyond the probe there is a new wave of attempted violence that has many people thinking about our civic and political life with an obvious context tonight. A president who`s responded to his liberal opponents being threatened by calling out protests against conservatives, failing to confront his own supporters, suggesting the jailing of one of the very opponents who was targeted yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: No one should carelessly compare political opponents to historical villains, which is done often. It`s done all the time. It`s got to stop. We should not mob people in public spaces or destroy public property.
CROWD: Lock her up. Lock her up. Lock her up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: President Trump went on to use that rally and Twitter today to exploit these attacks as the alleged fault of journalists who are literally among those targeted by some of these attempted bombs yesterday and also to joke that he was being nice during his political rally.
To report the obvious tonight Donald Trump`s partisan and at times glib response to this ongoing security emergency stands in total contrast to past presidents in both parties who faced down their own share of security scares.
We`ve put together this historical comparison.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to make clear our common determination. An act of vicious terror like this is clearly directed at the spirit of our own democracy.
TRUMP: The media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re a kind nation, compassionate nation. We`re a nation of strong values and we value life. Our government is doing everything we possibly can to protect the lives of our citizens. Everything.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There are those who like to fan fears, but over the long haul America does not succumb to fear. We master the moment with bravery and courage.
TRUMP: Normally I`d scream, they want a socialist takeover. Now I say, what`s a socialist take over? I`m trying to be nice. OK. Right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: To look at this comparison and where we`re headed, I`m joined by Neera Tanden, who worked for Hillary Clinton and President Obama, who we just saw there. And Ambassador Marc Ginsberg who served as a White House Middle East adviser as well as an ambassador in the Clinton administration.
I begin with you, Ambassador, the comparison.
MARC GINSBERG, FORMER ADVISER TO PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, it`s quite evident to me as someone who`s been unfortunately a spectator to the president`s own rants and raves Mussolini-style, let`s go get them, let`s body slam journalists, attacking viciously the opponents of the president and the Democratic Party.
Look, Ari, you and I know that when the president eggs on an audience there are people who are watching at home or who are in these rallies who consider it to be their duty if not their civic responsibility to go out and to harass as well as to perhaps think about how they can fulfill the president`s rhetoric in a way that is, shall we say, goes in a way that is violent.
Now that doesn`t mean that the president himself is encouraging that, but let`s be real. Those of us who are in the counterterrorism space, counter extremism space, on YouTube alone there are 300,000 videos how to construct a pipe bomb. It doesn`t take a lot for a lone actor whether they`re incentivized by the president`s rhetoric or perhaps incentivize, and I`m merely speculating, by a foreign power to engage in these tactics.
NEERA TANDEN, FORMER HILLARY CLINTON AND PRESIDENT OBAMA AIDE: Look, the president of the United States when it has gone after Maxine Waters, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Brennan, Robert De Niro, the people who received pipe bombs who as far as we know at this point where -- you know, there was basically an attempted mass murder, all of these people are targets that the president has laid out himself in his tweets, in his rallies.
And what I find truly shocking is that this happened in our country and within hours there was a rally, a political rally where the president`s supporters are chanting lock her up, and the politicians on stage can`t say stop. And I think the president, you know, I -- it`s the way he is. And no one was really shocked by it, that he`ll blame the media or blame someone else. But the fact that we have a president who unlike any other president targets people.
They are then the targets of attack and can`t say the simple words that, you know, I`m going to do better or recognize his own role in this is truly disconcerting. I mean, it`s just outrageous and ridiculous. But truly we`ve all lost words to describe the ridiculous situation that we`re in with President Trump.
MELBER: Ambassador, what do you think is the responsibility of people who have served like you have in national security and diplomatic positions within the government to try to reason with someone who, you know, in the rally last night at best appeared very glib, very unserious about this, and at worst, as many have suggested, appears to fan the flames of a climate where people are really going beyond the traditions of political norms that are basically a requirement of a peaceful civic society?
GINSBERG: Well, when you have a White House staff that can`t deal with this president effectively and actually get into fistfights with each other, so they exert violence within their own White House when they disagree with each other, the only way that I can think of, Ari, is that people of good intent, good Americans, all of us who are Republican, Democrat, independent, the best way to show the president that his glibness and his indifference, if not back of the hand attack still on the press, you know, I wish he would say, and I call on FOX News to stop its fake news attacks on Democrats. I haven`t heard him say that.
Let`s face it, it`s going to take voters to go to the polls and vote and put a Democratic majority in the House if not in the Senate in order to tell the president the American people are tired -- sick and tired of this type of rhetoric that is inflaming and putting the best lives of our country in danger.
MELBER: Well put and something to think about.
Ambassador Ginsberg, thanks for joining us.
Neera, stick around, I want to ask you about another development later in the show.
And now as promised, let`s turn to another guest of ours, current member of Congress, Hakeem Jeffries, representing New York.
Thanks for being here during a difficult time for New York and a lot of parts of the country.
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Thanks for having me.
MELBER: Your view of how the president is conducting himself and what is the nature of the threat as you see it in these attacks.
JEFFRIES: Well, it`s a serious attack that has targeted two senior presidents, high-ranking government officials and public figures who have been very critical of the president. That`s a very troubling pattern that suggests that there was provocation based on the politics of the moment that we`re in.
Words matter, leadership is important. It starts at the top, and the president has chosen to respond to the chaos, crisis and confusion of the moment by basically showing depraved indifference to human life. And that`s been shameful and shocking. And the only way for the American people to respond through their goodness is going to be through the power of the ballot that has been given to us by our founding fathers to show that this is not OK, that we are better than this and to impose a check and balance on this president on November 6th.
MELBER: So you think he`s making it worse?
JEFFRIES: He absolutely is making it worse. Presidents can either unite or they can divide. They can either bring people together or they can tear us apart. And Donald Trump has clearly chosen to tear us apart by showing indifference at best and definitely provocation at worst in terms of what has taken place.
It`s not even clear that he has the ability to show human compassion for what has taken place, and that is perhaps the biggest tragedy of it all. He`s been on this earth for 70 plus years. It`s clear to us that he is not going to change.
MELBER: He said yesterday during his more scripted part of this, well, we have to accept the outcomes of elections. But he was the first modern nominee of a major party who said at a presidential debate in front of everyone that he wouldn`t agree in advance to accept any outcome of the election, he would wait and see until election day, and he happened to win.
I wonder what you think of that contrast and the debate that`s going to continue I think as long as he`s president about when he comes out and he says the bare minimum of what it seems to be assigned or what`s on script and then goes on and acts in a way that`s contra to whatever was written to him.
JEFFRIES: Well, he`s someone who clearly has authoritarian tendencies. And when given the chance he always shows us who he is. Initially he`ll respond based on a script, show some humanity. But then when he`s unleashed from the script or a teleprompter basically communicate what he really thinks about the matter. And that is quite unfortunate because this is not a situation where it`s Democrats very Republicans, the left versus the right, progressives or conservatives. This is a life or death matter. This is when leadership is really required at the top, and he has failed the American people.
MELBER: Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, from New York, a place that knows these threats well, I appreciate you coming on our coverage tonight.
Coming up we turn to an NBC exclusive. Bob Mueller getting evidence that Roger Stone`s associate knew in advance possibly about a Russian e-mail hack. The reporter who broke the story is on THE BEAT.
Later my fact check on Donald Trump`s iPhone security lapse, foreign countries now spying in his on his conversations. He is doing that which he accused Hillary Clinton of.
Will anyone care?
And later, a special interview with a Trump whistleblower of sorts, the former ambassador of Mexico is speaking out about the border and much more. You`ll want to see that.
But first up next, Tony Schwartz is walking into THE BEAT set right now. We`re going to talk fear and what he knows about Donald Trump -- Tony, good to see you -- when we come right back.
MELBER: Our coverage continues with an unavoidably disturbing part of this story. President Trump`s response to this series of mail bombings, this ongoing mystery, he is now trying to blame others including the media for stoking anger.
I`m going to speak next to Tony Schwartz, the coauthor of "The Art of the Deal," who says that Trump`s reaction reveals a personal view that he`s under siege.
Now in Trump`s public response he called for the country to come together but then last night he singled out who should be blamed, the press.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: As part of a larger national effort to bridge our divides and bring people together the media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories. Have to do it. They`ve got to stop. Bring people together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: You know this man. What is he doing there and how do you combat it?
TONY SCHWARTZ, COAUTHOR, "THE ART OF THE DEAL": Well, I can answer the first. I`m not certain about the second. That`s pure projection. That`s putting on other people exactly what he`s feeling about himself because he can`t either bear to see it or because he literally doesn`t see it. But in these times when he`s under stress what you can count on is that in his public statements and in his tweets he`s saying what he is feeling himself but projecting onto his critics.
MELBER: He also works within the construct of the rules and why he`s trying to convey to his people that all the rules are basically bull. And some rules are up for debate. I mean, that`s what happens in a society. But some of the rules that he`s referring to right now are the rules that keep people safe. They`re the rules that make the difference between whether we have a civic society of debate or not, whether Secret Service agents have to die. An oath they take they`re willing to die, but whether they have to do die or not.
Those rules are pretty important. Take a look to the very glib way that he talks about the rules of a civil, safe, nonviolent discourse, also in that rally last night about being nice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And by the way, do you see how nice I`m behaving tonight? This is like -- have you ever seen this? We`re all behaving very well, and hopefully we can keep it that way, right?
TRUMP: We`re going to keep it that way. I`m trying to say that very nicely. I`m trying to -- see, normally I`d scream, they want a socialist takeover. Now I say, what`s a socialist takeover?
TRUMP: I`m trying to be nice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Like this is big joke. This is not a joke. This is not a drill. We`re all here making sense of it. He`s on TV, we`re on TV, we`re trying to deal with it. But we don`t know, and he doesn`t know whether tomorrow somebody gets hurt or the next day somebody gets murdered.
SCHWARTZ: Ari, his world is like this, so he`s living inside the reality which is, it`s all about me. And that begins with the rules don`t apply to me. So I can do whatever I want to do. I do believe he has rules, but the rules are for other people. He does not have any rules for himself, and that`s what you`re watching in this situation. He actually is acting as if he`s doing shtick. He`s at the comedy cellar on a Friday night, trying to get some laughs and the success of that is, did I entertainment them, not did I act in my role as the leader of the free world and the commander-in- chief in a time of great crisis to calm the waters and to establish what values we ought to live by.
MELBER: I also want to play from the campaign era his appeals to violence, which are quite relevant in this moment. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you, seriously. OK. Just knock the hell -- I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise. They won`t be so much because the courts agree with us, too, what`s going on in this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Given the time you`ve spent with him, what do you see as his relationship with the specter of violence? In the modern era, post-Civil Rights Movement that has been largely driven out of mainstream rhetoric until Trump. If you go back to the Civil Rights era, obviously racist governors and the abuse of the police powers you have it then, but George W. Bush didn`t talk this way. George Bush, Sr. didn`t talk this way. Barack Obama never talked this way.
Explain to us what you understand to be his fascination with violence and the way he`s infused that in his politics?
SCHWARTZ: So when I go back to the late 1980s, his obsession were -- he had two obsessions. One was with football and surrounding himself with football players, I mean, Herschel Walker and the USFL, and the other was with boxing, and you know, he was a huge boxing fan and boxing promoter. He loved black people to commit violence against other black people while he watched. So when he says, I`ll pay the legal bills, that`s a bully talking. You do the violence, I`ll --
MELBER: Right. Someone else do it.
SCHWARTZ: Yes. I`ll watch the violence. I wouldn`t go near it because it would terrify me, but I love watching it. Why? Because underneath that is rage. This is a man of great rage and the rage is, I`m -- he`s aggrieved. He`s in the business of being aggrieved, and he`s using that in these 10, 12 days leading up to the midterms to try to bring it out in all the people that are possibly going to vote on the Republican side during this next phase.
MELBER: Right. I mean, we are here in the context of the midterms.
Tony Schwartz, a man who knows these issues well, I appreciate your insights. Interesting if obviously a serious and sad time.
What we`re going to do is fit in a very quick break. We have NBC reporting exclusive on a break in the Mueller probe. Ken Dilanian is here when we`re back in 30 seconds.
MELBER: The other top story tonight, Bob Mueller closing in on Roger Stone`s possible links to WikiLeaks. Now you may have heard -- we`ve all heard a lot about Roger Stone. But the break tonight is in a story from NBC News` Ken Dilanian, reporting Mueller has gathered evidence on exactly how this information may have spread. A right-wing birther ally of Roger Stone`s potentially getting early intel, this is before those famed Clinton e-mails were out.
The man is Jerome Corsi. Mueller subpoenaed him last month over communications with Roger Stone. Now Dilanian reports a source who read some of these messages indicated there was advance knowledge which builds on the public boasting by both Roger Stone and this gentleman, Mr. Corsi, about these e-mails. Now he may not be a household name but has right-wing influence, a grandfather of the race-baiting birther movement.
He wrote this book, you see there, called "Where`s the Birth Certificate," a question that was ultimately answered when Trump embraced Corsi`s theory. Gotten a lot of attention and then President Obama released his long-form birth certificate.
I`m happy to say to report out this story we are joined by NBC News intelligence and national security reporter Ken Dilanian who broke it as well as Neera Tanden who is quite close to all of it.
Ken, starting with you, where does Mr. Corsi who may be, you know, not all that well-known, fit in exactly to a theory of the case here?
KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS INTELLIGENCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Well, we came across this information, Ari, when we were trying to figure out why Robert Mueller is parading all these friends and associates of Roger Stone before the grand jury. There`s been a lot of reporting on that. And we learned that one of the reasons is that there is -- there are communications from this guy, Mr. Corsi, to Roger Stone where Corsi claims to have had advanced knowledge that John Podesta`s e-mails were in the possession of WikiLeaks.
Now this is well before that was made public in October when WikiLeaks starting dumping those leaked e-mails. Now Corsi`s story to Mueller and to the grand jury, we are told, is that he didn`t have any inside knowledge. He wasn`t talking to anyone from WikiLeaks. He just simply figured this out. He intuitive this when he read the earlier DNC e-mails that have been hacked by the Russians and leaked by WikiLeaks. He didn`t see a lot of John Podesta in there and he thought, ah-hah, they must have Podesta`s e- mails.
Other people who have read those e-mails closely say that story doesn`t make any sense and they believe that Corsi is covering something up, but no one I talked to had any evidence that Mueller has found a piece of evidence, a document testimony that disproves Corsi`s story. What all this adds up to, though, is evidence that Stone and Corsi had advance knowledge that WikiLeaks had obtained these e-mails potentially from the Russians, and this all looks like Mueller is going the direction of investigating whether these men and other Americans were part of the conspiracy with the Russians.
DILANIAN: To defraud the United States essentially.
MELBER: And Ken, the issue for that though that might be good for at least some of the senior people in the White House is if you go down the road -- we`ve all heard of the term the unreliable narrator, that would be too kind and misleading. This gentleman would be more in the in the ballpark of a nutty narrator or a serial liar. And so you wonder whether this is good for some other people if this is where the trail leads to charlatans and liars that my colleague and yours, Rachel Maddow, has actually extensively documented some of his lies. With that in mind, for you on the other side, take a look.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: We`re going to start tonight right here. Mr. Corsi has a few pet theories. It`s not just President Obama`s birth certificate is fake and therefore President Obama is secretly not really the president. There`s also this theory that President Obama is both secretly gay and secretly gay married. Sorry, Michelle. WorldNetDaily guy Jerome Corsi also had the conspiracy theory that John Kerry did not really win his war medals in Vietnam.
He also has a conspiracy theory, I`m not sure I understand called the Shroud Codex, but the book has a nice cover. He also thinks that Hitler is not dead. Hitler actually escaped Nazi Germany and is now plotting the Fourth Reich. That is not a novel, that`s his history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Ken, if this is where Mueller is heading, is that good for the more serious players in the White House.
DILANIAN: Perhaps, Ari. You`ve raised a fair point. But this is exactly why Mueller is gathering every scrap of paper and electronic communication he can because you can`t rely on what any of these people say. But it`s also why he`s bringing them before the grand jury to lock in their stories. You don`t need a grand jury to interview witnesses as you know, Ari. The FBI can do that. Many observers have said that Mueller would not be wasting his time putting all these witnesses before a grand jury unless he had plans to charge somebody with a crime.
And one lawyer close to the case I talked to said he expected Rogers Stone to be charged. Stone himself has said he expects to be indicted. We`ll have to see what happens.
NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: So you know, what I found fascinating about this article is what`s truly amazing is Jerome Corsi`s explanation literally makes no sense. So as a prosecutor I would imagine if you have a witness who has a nonsensical explanation for why he had advanced knowledge about something or seemed to have advanced knowledge about something, the idea that you would look at John Podesta amongst hundreds or thousands of people from the DNC leaks makes zero sense. There`s just no reason you would do that.
So the fact that he`s come up with this bizarre explanation I would imagine is a reason why there is error zeroing in on this. So I think the real mystery question here is if there was advanced knowledge, who gave that advance knowledge. And they do seem -- the story indicates that there`s -- people -- that information was communicated to people on the campaign. And then the million-dollar question is if there was communications to the campaign about WikiLeaks, were there ever communications from the campaign about WikiLeaks, about when to dump, when to do things, when actions were taken. The WikiLeaks dumpings were strategically advantageous to the Trump campaign. I can testify to that.
TANDEN: They came out in a way that very much helped the Trump campaign and helped him to win. So I think this has always been an area of deep interest in the fact that does seem many people are lying about what they knew and when they knew it, would raise more questions for Mueller not fewer.
MELBER: Right. And you mentioned Jerome Corsi`s defense makes no sense, Neera?
TANDEN: Yes. I mean, it`s -- the reason why this makes no sense is there`s nothing in -- the DNC e-mails are about the DNC. There`s nothing in that one that would indicate that you would look at John Podesta or any other person in the Clinton Campaign or anyone else.
MELBER: Right. That he sort of -- he just intuited that. I would just say you know, because we try to be fair on the other hand making no sense is sort of Jerome Corsi`s things.
TANDEN: OK, fair. But I guess I`m saying, if you`re lying, if you`re if you have a nonsensical explanation to a law enforcement official or a grand jury, usually that indicates that you`re covering up something significant.
TANDEN: And that`s what the -- that`s what this story look to me.
MELBER: And now I have to fit in a break as we do around here. My special thanks to Neera for sticking around and Ken for breaking this story. Up ahead, Donald Trump`s former ambassador to Mexico putting him on blast for chaos. She will be live of THE BEAT interview. But first --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You want to fake this to finally investigate Hillary Clinton?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: The man who led the charge over Clinton`s e-mails now using his personal iPhone in a way that compromises security. I am taking on this important issue Donald Trump`s hypocrisy next.
MELBER: These are tense times for national security and yesterday Donald Trump said Americans Safety is his top priority. But despite stern and even public warnings that Trump must only use government phones to protect national security, a brand new report reveals Trump is still using his personal iPhone and now Russian and Chinese spies are exploiting that to listen to his calls and run counter Intel operations.
China even planning to use the information to keep a trade war going and escalate. There is a lot going on right now but this New York Times report is a true bombshell. In fact, the former top information officer in the George W Bush administration says tonight this looks like the largest, most significant breach of White House communications in history all because of Donald Trump`s personal carelessness sacrificing U.S. security. A supreme hypocrisy because it`s exactly how he campaigned against Hillary Clinton`s private e-mail server.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Clinton and her cronies have sacrificed your security.
This is worse than Watergate.
Lock her up is right.
I have never been so ashamed of this country as what`s gone on with Hillary Clinton.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: This goes way beyond Trump. Take a look at the RNC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: Who would trust Hillary Clinton to protect them? I wouldn`t, would you?
CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER GOVERNOR, NEW JERSEY: Answer me now. Is she guilty or not guilty?
MICHAEL FLYNN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR, UNITED STATES: Lock her up. Lock her up. If I, a guy who knows this business, if I did a tenth, a tenth of what she did, I would be in jail today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Flynn has since confessed to a crime, that was then but her e- mails. Well, tonight experts say foreign governments are actively exploiting Trump`s iPhone which authorities say did not happen with Clinton. In fact, the private server may have been a very bad idea but the FBI found no intrusion or cyber hack of that server. So as you listen to Donald Trump`s 2016 warning, note the reporting now shows what you`re about to hear applies to his conduct and not to his 2016 opponent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Her server was easily hacked by foreign governments, perhaps even by her financial backers in communist China putting all of America and our citizens in danger, great danger. This fact alone disqualifies her from the presidency. We can`t hand over our government to someone whose deepest, darkest secrets may be in the hands of our enemies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: By that Trump standard, he would be disqualified from the presidency and that`s the security part of it. Then you have the whole war over perception. Many people leading the political conversation in 2016 you may remember, fixated on Clinton`s e-mails. It was an all-consuming character scandal. Trump`s attacks widely echoed by his ally and sometime advisor Sean Hannity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: She`s the one who could have exposed American national security secrets. 99 percent chance that five intelligence agencies, foreign intelligence agencies hacked into that server, OK. That means she compromised American security at a high level.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Hannity said he was concerned about foreign intelligence hacking U.S. secrets. So how is he covering this now that that is literally happening under Donald Trump? Well, he didn`t mention the story at all in his broadcast yesterday after this story broke. That is one of many examples. In the final week of the 2016 campaign, the New York Times ran ten front-page stories on Clinton`s emails and a study on a range of media outlets found across 2016. Clinton`s e-mail was covered more than her policy positions and also more than the coverage of issues like Donald Trump`s ties to Russia, as the saying goes, but her e-mails.
The media and yes, that includes us, I am talking to you from a newsroom, treated the judgment of potential security risk in Clinton`s e-mails is literally one of the biggest stories of the year. And now the president is actually turning that security risk into a reality of compromise national security. And his fans meanwhile are still merrily chanting "lock her up" as they did last night. You saw it. Oblivious to the fact the president Trump is doing the very thing that they believe should have gotten her locked up.
Now, rallies on the other side of the aisle are not suggesting lock him up over this reporting. And when it comes to the iPhone, Trump should at least simply lock it up. Let`s be clear, that`s what the last president did following strict protocols for a secure Blackberry, following the rules so it was securely audited every 30 days. Trump meanwhile going 150 days without even following that rule.
And Trump`s phone is extra vulnerable we`re told, because it includes hackable functions like a mic and camera. Those are features President Obama avoided in response to the security protocol.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I get the thing and they`re all like well, Mr. President for security reasons, that`s a great phone, state-of-the-art, but it doesn`t take pictures. You can`t text, the phone doesn`t work, you know, you can`t play your music on. So basically, it`s like, does your three-year-olds have one of those play phones?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Obama was willing to give up those features for security, Trump is not. Political and media elites obsessed over Clinton`s digital habits. Now we can all see if Trump gets a pass on that conduct that experts report is far worse. But let`s be clear, the biggest problem here is not the rank hypocrisy or the craven double standards which are worth covering, nor even the corrosion in the basement of one more set of standards in this Trump era. The biggest problem has nothing to do with the politicians or the media, it has to do with the national security risks that the U.S. intelligence, military and diplomatic corps face.
The reporting tonight make no mistake, is that those risks are now greater. They are more severe and unnecessarily so because of the personal conduct of Donald Trump, the Commander in Chief. Now coming up, we have a former Trump Ambassador residing over chaos and speaking out live on THE BEAT. That`s next.
MELBER: Donald Trump facing renewed calls to try to tone down his rhetoric against Democrats in the press tonight amping up the anti-immigrant messaging as well with the Midterms approaching. Well, my next guest is actually a Trump Administration official and something of a whistleblower. Roberta Jacobson since served as the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico for a year under Trump. She`s been a diplomat for three decades with five different administrations. The context on her resignation comes in a new piece where she speaks out in the New York Times about the disorder and chaos of the administration including an eroding trust with key allies like Mexico. She tried -- she cites Trump`s rhetoric on the border wall. He went there last night.
TRUMP: Wait till you see what we`re doing with our border over the next few weeks. As you know we started the wall. But wait till you see what happens over the next couple of weeks. You`re going to see a very secure border. The military is ready. They`re all set.
AMERICAN CROWD: USA. USA. USA. USA.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Ambassador, did the way the President conducts himself make your job harder as a diplomat?
ROBERTA JACOBSON, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO MEXICO: Oh, infinitely, Ari. I mean it was -- it was much more difficult when you have an issue in which surprisingly or not all Mexicans agreed on that issue no matter what their political stripes that they were not paying for a wall.
MELBER: And the rhetoric is not the first time we`ve had, divisive foreign policy messaging. American presidents are criticized a lot throughout the world but you`ve served in other administrations. What was different in your view about this one?
JACOBSON: Well, I think, you know, what was different was it felt personal and indeed it was. When the President began a campaign by calling Mexicans rapists and criminals, that obviously hurts. One of your guest earlier talk tonight and talked about words matter, I think it was Congressman Jeffries. In the context of the domestic situation in the U.S., words matter overseas too. And people may be told President didn`t mean everybody, he didn`t mean you, he didn`t mean leaders, but the populations of those countries hear that and they take it to heart obviously.
MELBER: The old saying is that politics is supposed to stop at our water`s edge. Did you ever see or personally view anything coming from the White House of the Trump administration that seemed to politicize the security or diplomatic work you had to do towards Mexico?
JACOBSON: Well, you know, I don`t know that I would call it politicizing. Certainly, there were things that because of the political muscle memory of the President, it made the job harder. You know, whether it was NAFTA negotiations which had so many additional American demands that really had never been part of conversations over modernizing NAFTA. And clearly, some of those were politically inspired by various interest groups and not necessarily good for the country as a whole.
And so you know, it was -- it was very difficult to try and sit down and have the kinds of reasonable conversations that we needed to have which is not to say that we didn`t have them. Obviously, we worked -- we worked pretty well with Mexico on a lot of issues. But it became so much more difficult for the politicians in Mexico to defend that work. And when you constrain your partner`s that way, you don`t get the best results on issues that are critical to the U.S. like the opioid epidemic and security.
MELBER: Does it work to tell other countries oh just don`t take the president literally?
JACOBSON: Well, you know, Ari, I was at a conference in Mexico just a couple of days ago and someone who considers himself a Trump surrogate said just that. Don`t listen to what the President says, just watch what he and the government do. And I`m sorry it doesn`t work that way. As I noted, the U.S.`s approval rate has dropped 30 percent. I noted this in my op-ed. 30 percent in just a year and a half. That`s really hard to tell everybody in these countries don`t listen to what the president says about you, about Mexicans, or about Central Americans or others.
MELBER: Ambassador Roberta Jacobson, I appreciate your service and you telling us a little bit about your decision to leave government service. Thank you so much.
JACOBSON: Thank you, Ari.
MELBER: Up ahead, a convicted former Trump campaign advisor making his first appearance testifying before Congress today. A story you might have missed. It`s important. We have an update ahead.
MELBER: Another news update from Washington you might have missed. A key witness in the Mueller probe, the one who started it all and who pled guilty, former Trump aide George Papadopoulos made today his first appearance before Congress. You see him there walking in. now, he testified behind closed doors about what led to the Mueller-Russia probe so we don`t exactly what he said. The history, of course, you see him in the meeting with Donald Trump, he pled guilty to lying to the FBI. He was sentenced very lightly to just two weeks in jail.
The primary Russia probe in the House, which is on the Intelligence Committee, has largely been shut down. But remember, of course, the top Democrat who would take it over, Adam Schiff, in the event that the Democrats win the Midterms, he`s already said publicly he will reopen the whole thing, potentially calling more witnesses if the Dems do win in two weeks.
Also, I have one programming note before we go. We have a very special "FALLBACK FRIDAY" on THE BEAT tomorrow. Comedian Sinbad will join our friend ethics expert lawyer Richard Painter on who needs to fall back. That`s tomorrow on THE BEAT. A pairing you don`t want to miss in our humble opinion. That does it for our show. Again, we`ll be back 6:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow. But don`t go anywhere because "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews is up next.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Trump blames the media for the bombs. Let`s play HARDBALL.
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