IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Suspect arrested for bombs sent to Trump critics. TRANSCRIPT: 10/26/2018, The Beat w Ari Melber.

Guests: Amy Tarkanian, Clarence Page, Ted Lieu, Sinbad, Richard Painter

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: October 26, 2018 Guest: Amy Tarkanian, Clarence Page, Ted Lieu, Sinbad, Richard Painter


MELBER: Lashing out at opponents, the free press and complaining that this very severe security scare could hurt his party`s election chances, a comment drawing rebukes from all sides. An unusual message from a president, any type of president, on a day that would otherwise be a triumph of federal and local law enforcement activities.

The authorities arresting this prime suspect in the series of explosive devices that were sent to Democrats, as well as CNN, 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc arrested in Florida, a registered Republican who found many ways to advertise his political support for Trump.

Today also brought three new targets of these bombings, adding Senators Kamal Harris, Cory Booker, and former Intel Chief James Clapper to that large list across the map. The latest news came though just moments ago when Donald Trump said he will break tradition. He does not plan to ever call the other public officials targeted in this attempted bombings and that, of course, comes right after he`s been rallying supporters against the free press.


KELLY O`DONNELL: Will you call President Obama or any of those targeted to update them?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If they wanted me to but I think we`ll probably pass.

I get attacked. I think -- maybe more, maybe more than anybody. I can do the greatest thing for our country and on the networks and it will show bad.


TRUMP: They will take it back. He goes fake news. We all get attacked and we`re smart and we understand where they`re all coming from.


MELBER: Later tonight, Trump will headlight a political rally in North Carolina. You`re looking at live pictures there. Americans though still digesting these images from the suspect`s white van. You see it there when he was on the move.

It was covered originally in Trump political stickers, one side featuring multiple images of people who are, of course, targeted by these explosive devices. One says CNN sucks with the crosshairs over CNN anchor Van Jones and the words dishonest media.

Another shows a target right there over Hillary Clinton`s face. You can also see President Obama with a menacing target on him, as well as a right- wing meme that attacked Michelle Obama and a photoshopped image of Trump standing astride a tank. That has been popular online.

Now the FBI was careful to stress much is still unknown about the man who owned this van. While today, Attorney Jeff Sessions said this.


REPORTER: Could you tell us plainly, why was he targeting Democrats?

JEFF SESSIONS: I don`t know, other than what you might normally expect. He may have been a part -- appears to be a partisan but that would be determined by the facts.


MELBER: Appears to be a partisan. In a moment, we`ll talk about the partisanship, awash in this pace with E.J. Dionne and Mara Gay.

But I want to begin with an update from Frank Figliuzzi who, of course, is a former assistant FBI director for counterintelligence. He was the on- scene commander for the anthrax attack that killed a photo editor in 2001 and knows these situations well. What did we learn today that we didn`t know at the earlier pace before there was an arrest?

FRANK FIGLIUZZI, FORMER ASSISTANT FBI DIRECTOR, COUNTERINTELLIGENCE: So, well, we`re getting our first insights, Ari. You`ve already talked about it into what may be inside the mind of this man, it`s on the outside of his van and it`s on his social media and his Twitter feed. And he seems to be motivated by politics and partisanship.

And we see the FBI director and the attorney general clearly stating number one, not a hoax, not a conspiracy. Number two, this is about partisanship. Now, they`re going to have some time and effort to get into his head and have him articulate what`s going on. And I will warn you that it likely won`t make much sense to logical people but we are now getting our first insight into that.

MELBER: Right. So to be clear, we have been very careful on our coverage up until today about what we don`t know because you didn`t have a suspect. You certainly didn`t have the kind of images that you`re seeing now. What you`re saying from an FBI intel perspective, not a political one, we`re going to get to that later is that what we see on that van, what we see in that political imagery rhetoric propaganda you view as part of the investigation and the motive?

FIGLIUZZI: It`s going to go directly toward prosecutor`s decisions on what to actually charge ultimately, Ari. Because they`re going to be looking at the possibility of terrorism charges, weapons of mass destruction charges which I`ve seen charged for much less than this. So that does play into the prosecutor decision.

What was he intending? What was motivating him? What was the message he was trying to send? If it was political, you`re going to see additional charges laid on there, far more serious.

MELBER: As we keep moving here, Brad Galvan is a former ATF agent and a specialist in explosives joining us.

When you look at the emphasis of the FBI that these were real, the fact that they did not go off doesn`t mean they could not go off. What else are we going to learn about that piece of the investigation?

BRAD GALVAN, FORMER ATF AGENT: So because the devices didn`t function, doesn`t mean that they weren`t functioning devices. Either that they were not triggered in the manner that the bomber had designed them to be or maybe that there was a flaw in his design. He could have just done something wrong with the circuitry. But that doesn`t mean that they couldn`t function and that they weren`t fully functional and didn`t have all the necessary components which would actually make an improvised explosive device.

MELBER: And so when you look at the point that Frank mentioned in closing, could the nature of the explosives add to later charges as well?

GALVAN: Well, it certainly could. The number of devices that he`s used, each one is going to carry substantial charges. The fact that he put those into the mail service are additional charges. He also touched on weapons of mass destruction which is an additional charge. These are severe penalties.

And as of now, we have 13 separate individual incidents in which they will have multiple charges for each incident. So I see that the prosecutors are going to completely overwhelm him with appropriate charges which will send him away for a very, very long time.

MELBER: Brad and Frank on the investigation, my thanks to you both.

We do turn now to the politics. Barack Obama in Detroit at this hour for Democratic rally appearing with Eric Holder. Both of them, of course, are targets in these mailings. And Vice President Joe Biden, another target, said this.


JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This division, this hatred, this ugliness, it really has to end. And words matter. Our political opponents though are not our enemies. The press is not the enemy of the people. Folks, we`re a lot better than this. We just have to remember who we are, what we stand for as a nation.


MELBER: Joe Biden doing there what President Trump will not. We`re also learning about a new suspicious package today that was addressed to someone you may be familiar with, Tom Steyer who`s a Democratic donor. He`s appeared on television, was intercepted by investigators out in California.

Now, we don`t know, to be clear, how or if this relates to the other intercepted devices. But we did speak to Mr. Steyer because he fits into like George Soros, some of the people who are now in this literal battlefield. And when we spoke to him this week, here is what Steyer said on THE BEAT.


TOM STEYER, FOUNDER, NEXTGEN AMERICA: I view these attacks as profoundly anti-democracy and basic terrorist attacks. I`m very concerned about the safety and health of everybody that I work with but I don`t think that we can let this kind of terrorism change our participation in the American political system and in our democracy.


MELBER: That is one of the central questions we face.

And I want to turn to "Washington Post" columnist EJ Dionne and "The New York Times" Mara Gay.

Mara, when you look at this and the way the president is handling it, as we head into an election, what else should be done?

MARA GAY, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Frankly, I don`t think that we can expect at this point the president to act as we need the leader of democracy to act at this moment. I think it`s incumbent upon all Republican politicians in particular in this time of intense division and tribalism to condemn, not just these attacks, but to tone down their rhetoric and condemn overheated rhetoric that is not just partisan.

It`s not just about oh, let`s be together and let`s be unified. It`s about vilifying. As former Vice President Joe Biden said, vilifying our political enemies to the point where they are anti-American because they disagree with us or they are even subhuman in some cases. I mean some of this rhetoric is straight out of the white nationalist movement. And I think that needs to remain on the fringes of society instead of what President Trump has done and his movement has done which is to bring that and welcome that into the mainstream and so that`s acceptable behavior.

And that`s part of the problem. We really need to isolate political violence for the extremist anti-Democratic behavior that it is. It`s not acceptable. And our democracy can`t be healthy and function in an environment of political terrorism.


E.J. DIONNE, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think that the truth of the matter is that President Trump had shown from the beginning of his run for president that dividing the country is central to his strategy. So it`s not just that he is incapable characterologically of being a unifying president. It`s actually that national unity is the enemy to his political project. He has to keep people divided around race, around immigration, around gender to keep his movement going.

And the problem with expecting Republicans to speak out is Trump really has both -- he not only transformed the Republican base. The Republican base was moving in this direction before Trump came along and he just realized it early.

On the other side, I thought that speech by Joe Biden was fascinating because it`s not only what you would expect a president to sound like at a time like this but I think he actually laid out the rationale for a Biden for president campaign if he does run for president.

You can actually imagine Biden saying I`m only going to serve one term. Somebody has to bring the country together. I`m the guy to clean up after Trump, bring us back together and then we can move on. So I think you`re going to be hearing a lot of talk like that from Joe Biden, not only in this period but going forward.

MELBER: What does it tell you, Mara, that the president didn`t think twice about very directly saying this bothers him, these attempted murders, because they could hurt his political standing and the Republican party in the midterms?

GAY: Look, I think E.J. is exactly right. Division is actually the heart of his agenda. And I think that`s kind of a dark thing to consider but when you listen to the president, you can`t help but ask yourself is his interest in the American people and in democracy or is his interest in himself, in his party, in something else.

MELBER: E.J., take a listen to what the FBI director said about the work that went into solving this relatively quickly.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR, FBI: These are not hoaxed devices. I want to focus for a moment on the amazing work of our folks at the FBI lab. Based on their initial analysis, they uncovered a latent fingerprint from one of the envelopes containing an IED that had been sent to Congresswoman Maxine Waters. We have confirmed this fingerprint is that of Cesar Sayoc.


MELBER: It`s a contrast, E.J. to the president there praising the work of others, the public servants who risk their lives slamming that language of hoax or fake which, of course, the president braces. So I give that for your response.

And I also want to report to our viewers, NBC News, now 6:12 p.m. on the East Coast is confirming that Tom Steyer package, the Democratic donor, who we said had received a package, is related. That brings it up to a number of 14 people according to authorities in our reporting officially targeted by a suspect now who has been apprehended.

E.J., your view.

DIONNE: When you -- I think the first thing we should do is salute law enforcement for incredible competence. But I also think we should salute law enforcement for solving this thing so quickly and blocking some of this outlandish lying, this made-up stories that somehow -- and this was getting a lot of traction on right-wing websites and elsewhere that this was actually just a big hoax put on by Liberals. No, it wasn`t a hoax created by liberals. This gentleman, whatever we know about him, was clearly on President Trump`s side of politics.

The second thing we should contemplate is that tweet from the president where he referred to this as "bomb stuff". Now, that`s really amazing. These are potential attacks on I guess now 14 Americans if my math is right, and including two former presidents of the United States. And here you have President Trump referring to it as just "bomb stuff" and talking about his main concern being this could get in the way of the Republican surge that was allegedly happening. It`s just mind-boggling to contemplate that.

MELBER: And as you`re speaking, E.J., we are looking at a live picture here in Charlotte, North Carolina of Air Force One touching down where the president will give this political rally. You mentioned, E.J., the conspiracy theories and the voice that`s been given to them. NBC reporters heard that from some members of the rally awaiting the president.

I`m actually going to speak later to reporters on that as well as the Trump surrogate pressing them on those issues. The president will have a lot of people watching now. His first rally since -- his first public outdoor rally since this suspect was apprehended.

My thanks to E.J. Dionne and Mara Gay for joining us.

We have a lot more. As I mentioned, we`re going to speak later to a woman who said she was on the receiving end of a threat from this bomb suspect. She`s speaking out for the first time on THE BEAT. That`s coming up.

We`re also going to break down this extraordinary scene when a rally basically came today inside the White House.


TRUMP: They like the globe?


TRUMP: I like the globe too. I like the globe too.


TRUMP: I like the globe too but we have to take care of our people. We have to.



MELBER: And a story we`re staying on top of. Democrats in Congress now calling for a formal probe into Trump`s iPhone security lapse as Obama rips the hypocrisy.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the last election, it was Hillary`s e-mail. The Chinese are listening to the president`s iPhone that he leaves in his golf cart.


MELBER: But that`s not all. It`s a long week but it`s still THE BEAT and that`s why at the end of the hour tonight, I`m happy to say we will be joined by Sinbad and Richard Painter for a Fallback Friday we can all use.

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



TRUMP: There`s no blame. There`s no anything. If you look at what happened to Steve Scalise, that was from a supporter of a different party. You look at what happened to a numerous of these incidents, they were supporters of others.

REPORTER: Could you do something different in the way that you engage politically?

TRUMP: I don`t think so. I think that they were running a great campaign. People love what we`re doing. They love what we`re saying.


MELBER: Trump moments ago saying he`s in no way to blame for this problem we`ve had, the nationwide manhunt for packages and bombs sent to now 14 targets. Culminating an arrest today, authorities taking bombing suspect Cesar Sayoc into Florida custody. President Trump responding though by condemning the violence in his prepared remarks but then he quickly defaulted to attacking the free press.


TRUMP: We must never allow political violence to take root in America, cannot let it happen. And I`m committed to doing everything in my power as president to stop it. Americans must unify and we must show the world that we are united together in peace and love and harmony as fellow American citizens.

Come to think of it, who gets attacked more than me? I can do the greatest thing for our country and on the networks and on different -- it will show bad.


TRUMP: They will take it back -- he goes fake news.


MELBER: Trump also claimed today he wouldn`t name any specific news organization. The bomber, of course, targeting CNN in New York but this week Trump has been attacking CNN by name and publicly lamenting that this whole story could hurt him politically, writing that the bomb threat could hurt the Republicans in the midterms. Few presidents have ever said something like that in public, lamenting a security scare that could risk Americans` lives would simply hurt them politically.

The president`s comments, also comments we`re still learning the extent the bombing suspect`s activities, his public postings and other threats may not have been acted on. For example, Cesar posted violent rhetoric about many famous figures, Joe Biden and Eric Holder and people involved in politics.

Just this month, he wrote a threat on Twitter to Rochelle Ritchie, a political analyst who worked for Democratic Congresspersons. Cesar alluded to a silent boat ride writing, "Hug your loved ones real close every time you leave your home."

Rochelle Ritchie joins me live here on THE BEAT. She says the bomb suspect was threatening her. That was as recently as two weeks ago and it was after an appearance she made on another network. She`s currently a political analyst and a former press secretary for House Dems. I`m also joined by writer Jelani Cobb from "The New Yorker".

How do you feel tonight watching the arrest of this man who you now know threatened you this month?

ROCHELLE RITCHIE, SAYS BOMB SUSPECT THREATENED HER ON TWITTER: Well, I`m angry. I`m very angry. And I think that it is time for us to turn down the rhetoric. The clip that you played where the president was saying he`s willing to do everything in his power to make sure that, you know, we don`t have this political violence.

He`s willing to do everything except for change his own tone, exception for change his own rhetoric. And that is very frustrating for me. When I found out that I had been contacted by this bombing suspect, I was livid and I was scared. I was not only scared for myself but I was also scared for my family.

And I think what people fail to realize is that these packages are going to politicians and high profile celebrities. However, what`s not happening is that these packages are not being opened by President Obama, right. They`re not being opened by Hillary Clinton. Average Americans like myself, their staff, their assistants are opening these packages. My mail is not vetted through the secret service to determine if there`s Anthrax or pipe bomb inside of it and I live in Manhattan.

MELBER: Why do you think he targeted you?

RITCHIE: I have no idea. I know on that day -- he wrote me on October 11. And on that day, I was making some comments about Kanye West. And so I`m not sure if that is what sparked him to contact me. I know I`ve done some commentary on other more conservative networks so I`m not sure if that was it. But it was after an appearance that I had on that conservative network.

And I`m used to this. I`m used to being called the N word, the B word, or whatever. I don`t -- whatever, I don`t care. But when you start to threaten my life and you talk about --

MELBER: Right. You`re talking about the difference -

RITCHIE: -- my body in Everglades, that`s the different --

MELBER: You`re talking about the difference between rhetoric --

RITCHIE: Exactly.

MELBER: -- and this cognizable threat by a person who now we know is taking action.


MELBER: Stay with me, Jelani. I want to play for you the way Donald Trump has mainlined and encouraged violence as a political movement. Take a look.


REPORTER: Would you yourself pledge to tone down the rhetoric for the next few days?

TRUMP: Well, I think I`ve been toned down. You want to know the truth? I could really tone it up because as you know the media has been extremely unfair to me and to the Republican party.

They`re getting ready to throw a tomato. Knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously.

He`s walking out like big high fives, smiling, laughing. I`d like to punch him in the face. I tell you.

Get him out. Try not to hurt him. If you do, I`ll defend you in court. Don`t worry about it.

When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in rough. I say please don`t be too nice.

Any guy that can do a body slam, he`s my kind.


JELANI COBB, THE NEW YORKER: All right. Yes. This is the logical extension of the kind of campaign that he ran. And there`s a theme here, kind of consistently that when an incident like this happens, he makes the pro forma, necessary statement of oh, this is terrible but soon he kind of defaults back to the norm.

And so you notice that he was very ambivalent. And under pressure, he said some things about the horrific murder of Jamal Khashoggi and then he couldn`t resist going back to criticizing media again. And then in the midst of this, we`re seeing the people who have been targeted have all been targeted. If you look in his Twitter feed, these are all people who`ve found their way into his crosshairs on social media. And then someone is acting on this.

And we`ve seen consistently his presidency has been one in which he`s engaged with all of the rights, none of the responsibilities. And so if anything goes wrong as opposed to the buck stops here, it`s not my fault. I`m being wrongly blamed.

And so this is a kind of -- what is the presidency if not a person who sets the moral and social and cultural tone of the moment in which they preside? So he`s either inept and weak if he has nothing to do with this context or he`s irresponsible and refusing to take responsibility for what he has, in partly, inspired.

RITCHIE: Yes. Responding to that. I, as a former reporter, someone who worked as a press secretary for Congress, I tried to, as much as I can, be responsible in the way in which I frame my comments even if I disagree with someone that may have more conservative views. And it`s unfortunate that I`m able to do that as someone who is not the president of the United States and yet we have a president who is incapable of doing the same thing. He clearly lacks leadership.

And I also want to say that I did report this to Twitter. A lot of people ask me about that. I did report it to Twitter and Twitter responded to me and told me that the language that they saw was not abusive behavior. And now since right before coming on to your show, after I tweeted the photo, they have now sent me a message that said this was sent in error, that their previous message of saying this was not abusive was sent in error and now they realize that this language was abusive and they`ve since suspended his account.

But this is the thing, is it going to take a bomb going off? Is it going to take my body or someone else`s body being in the Everglades in order for the social media accounts to take what we`re saying seriously? And look, this is not just Democratic commentators that are receiving these sort of threats. Conservatives are as well. And it`s not OK on either side. I do not agree with harassing, following, punching people in the face. I don`t agree with any of that.

MELBER: But a public direct action is not morally or legally equivalent, even if it might be in someone`s face to the violence that we`re seeing right now.

COBB: No, absolutely not. But there is a language, there`s a long established law around incitement. We do believe that words that you express have some sort of correlation to people`s actions. Now beyond that, I think that resorting to political violence is self-defeating and extremely dangerous. But we`re not looking at an even-handed scenario here.

As a matter of fact, when studies have been done, we `ve seen I think the most recent ones said that two-thirds of the political violence in this country has been right-wing extremism. And it`s a kind of narrative around right-wing terrorism that we don`t realize that there`s this stream that goes from Dylann Roof to the copycat people who were inspired by Dylann Roof. He murdered nine African-Americans in the church in Charleston in 2015 to -- through Charlotte -- it ran through Charlottesville into what we`re seeing now.

And for a minute, I think we have to actually just be very clear and specific in our language. We are dealing with attempts at political assassination in the United States. And when that happens, you open up an entirely different set of political circumstances.

RITCHIE: And look at what just happened in Kentucky where the guy walked into the grocery store and shot a man in the back of the head. You know, I live, my family is in Lexington, Kentucky, not too far from Jefferson Town which is right outside of Louisville, Kentucky. And this man walked in and shot a black man in the back of the head because he was black. And that is where we are in this country.

MELBER: And that`s why when we talk about hate crimes mattering because of the target, when we talk about the political violence that is targeting as a matter of intent and that kind of terrorism because that`s an ingredient of it. That`s so important.

I really appreciate the conversation. I appreciate you sharing your story which is never difficult when it gets that personal. Rochelle Ritchie and Jelani Cobb, my thanks to both of you.

What we`re going to do is take a look in the next block at where this conversation goes and what the accountability should be.

Meanwhile, they are chanting lock them up inside the White House when we`re back in 30 seconds.



CROWD: CNN sucks. CNN sucks. CNN sucks. CNN sucks. CNN sucks!

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: We`re airing that for the first time you`re seeing what occurred just moments ago, a "CNN sucks chant" loudly breaking out. This is an hour before Donald Trump will take the stage in Charlotte and obviously, it`s on the same day that authorities arrested a person who tried to bomb CNN. Americans had been riveted by some of the images from his van plastered with pro-Trump stickers and violent imagery, and the sticker you see about fake news also the President`s obsessions on CNN. Trump fans typically attacked that including yet another scene, this was today inside the White House where Trump cabinet member Ben Carson did not condemn what was before him.


BEN CARSON, SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: The only thing you heard from a bunch of the media was Carson wants to triple the rest on the most vulnerable people. What a bunch of crap. And I -- what a bunch of crap.

AMERICAN CROWD: CNN sucks! CNN sucks! CNN sucks!

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Globalist, they like that. They like the globe. I like the globe too. I like the globe too but we have to take care of our people, we have to.


MELBER: A lot of parts of this are a tough topic and we`re going to get right into it tonight. In a moment I`m going to be joined by Clarence Page who`s been critical of much of this conduct at the Trump administration, but I want to begin with a well-established Republican official and Trump supporter Amy Tarkanian, a former Chair of the Nevada GOP. Thank you for joining me tonight.

AMY TARKANIAN, FORMER CHAIR, GOP NEVADA: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

MELBER: Isn`t this the wrong time for anyone affiliated with a Donald Trump, fans, supporter, cabinet member, the President himself to be denigrating a news organization that was the target of this bombing?

TARKANIAN: Well, I don`t think there`s ever a right time. We do have a president who has been unfairly treated by the -- by the majority of those in the media so you also have a president who is going to fight back. I don`t think it`s OK for rhetoric on either side whether it be with the media or with this administration, or on the left or on the right.

MELBER: Are those chants -- I`m trying to get a straight answer though. Are those chants that are targeting CNN and what Ben Carson couldn`t stand up to, are they wrong?

TARKANIAN: No, of course not. Those are not -- of course, yes they are, absolutely. I also want to play for you something else that`s got a lot of people concerned when you look at what`s happened and I said this earlier on my broadcast tonight, the FBI, these public servants deserve obviously some plaudits for what looks like a positive outcome of the operation, and yet this very rally I`m going to show you new reporting to get your response. NBC News talking to some Trump supporters who don`t believe what the Trump Administration`s own officials are saying about this suspect. Take a look.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you don`t think this guy actually sent these bombs to these individuals?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, probably not.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They probably had it done. They may have paid him to do it.


MELBER: That`s out there, that`s being mainlined. Do you want to say something to those Trump supporters who now allege that these targets sent the bombs to themselves contrary to what the FBI has found and put out today?

TARKANIAN: Well, I think that we should take a step back and once again like you said applaud, the FBI for their hard work in finding this crazy person. The President has said it himself, so for those Trump supporters who are following the lock and step with him I think that we need to take his direction and --

MELBER: But what do your -- we`ve covered Trump a lot and he`s around this, but I`m asking you as a former chair that Nevada Republican Party, what do you want to say to that person who`s at that rally who is alleging that the targets sent the bombs to themselves?

TARKANIAN: Well, you know, I mean, obviously you`ve got people who are far to the right, people that are far to the left, there are conspiracy theorists all over the gamut but we do know now without the shadow of a doubt and the president has also said thank you that the FBI has taken this crazed individual into custody. So I think that we need to move on and we need to take a step back and realize what --

MELBER: How do we -- but this is the issue, and I`m going to bring in Clarence Page and I`m asking you, as you know, I try to deal with these things in a civil way and for real. How do we move on before saying and I`ll say it, I`m not afraid of that person or anyone else. You and I have different roles but that person is wrong. They are wrong.

TARKANIAN: Yes, absolutely.

MELBER: So will you say that? Why is it -- why is it hard to get there?

TARKANIAN: No, it`s not hard to get there. But we -- but we can`t control crazy. We can still sit there and try to explain till we`re blue in the face that it is wrong. It is wrong whether if you`re on the left, it is wrong if you`re on the right. That kind of statement is flat-out wrong and I think as people in roles such as yours, such as mine, such as -- such as the President`s that it is our duty to make sure that we try to make sure that that lead by example. So I think this is very healthy discussion that we`re having and that hopefully people will listen and do the same thing.

MELBER: Stay with me, I want to bring in Clarence Page as promised from the Chicago Tribune. How do you view this when it comes to the question of political leadership? What I showed here from ben Carson had parts of what Donald Trump has said fall short of I think what Amy and I just talked about which is standing up unequivocally.

CLARENCE PAGE, COLUMNIST, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Well, the unfortunate thing about this whole episode is it`s showing us who Donald Trump`s true base is. Remember, the Republican Party like the Democrats really has several bases. Trump from the very beginning has appeals to the bases of the base I would say, those who are so distrusting of the system and so resentful of it that in many cases they hadn`t voted in years if at all, he brought them out. He really increased the vote output, the turnout among Republicans. And the problem these days is that among reasonable saying Republican incumbents, it`s hard for them to even criticize Donald Trump without risking their own political futures.

What should be done, Ari? We should be like we were after 9/11 when President George W. Bush brought this country together with his speeches, when members of Congress in both parties, you remember, in both houses came out in the steps they sang God Bless America together. I really have my doubts that we could get members of both parties to come together on the steps this weekend to sing God Bless America because there`s so much tension around this upcoming Midterm. And I`m afraid that this fellow whom the FBI has caught -- and by the way is ironically hear President Trump bashed the FBI one day as part of a deep state conspiracy and then praise them when they`re doing the job that they do so well. I think we would be in a real hard-press to find those moderate voices right now. I can`t remember an election in my lifetime that I`ve been more eager to see just get over with.

MELBER: Amy, briefly, we`re out of time but I want to give you a final thought.

TARKANIAN: Sure. Well, what the other gentleman just said is unfortunate if the fact that he doesn`t believe that we can come together this weekend. But I think that --

MELBER: I think he`s saying that`s the climate that he thinks Donald Trump has set.

TARKANIAN: Yes, oh yes, absolutely. But I think that if we can go out there, people such as himself, myself, and in you, Ari, and try to change the narrative and say hey, look we are excited about moving this nation forward together. Let`s see how we can work together. Let`s sit there and we can stand for what we believe in but we don`t need to throw punches and we don`t need to use foul language.

MELBER: Right. Well, and I -- to the extent there`s overlap with any of that across the different guests we`ve had tonight, we welcome it and it is a hard conversation for some reason at this point in history. Amy and Clarence, thanks to both of you. Up ahead, Donald Trump is under fire for these reports that spies are listening in on some of his phone calls and he won`t use a secure phone. Congressman Ted Lieu is here next.


MELBER: New fallout tonight over this bombshell report that foreign spies are able to listen to Trump when he uses his iPhone. Trump has resisted warnings to avoid the phones for that reason. Democratic members Congress now saying there should be a probe. The White House concerned about this story in the perception the Trump looks careless on national security. Aides deny that he still uses his iPhone and Trump personally denied this story with a post on Twitter that he rarely uses it iPhone and he wrote this tweet on his iPhone. The jokes write themselves.


SETH MEYERS, COMEDIAN: President Trump has two official iPhones, one that is used for calls and one that is used for Twitter and other apps. He also has an Android that he uses mainly as his vice president.

JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN: Every day, some poor Chinese spy has to hear a McDonald`s employee patiently explain to the president that he doesn`t know when the McRib is coming back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, you can`t take my iPhone. I`m up to level three of fruit ninja and my doctor says I`ve got to get my exercise and my fruit.


MELBER: I`m joined by Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu from the Judiciary Committee. Congressman, former President Obama also weighing in on this. Take a look.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hillary`s e-mails, we were hearing e-mails everywhere that this is a national security crisis, they didn`t care about e-mails. And you know how you know? Because if they did they`d be up in arms right now as the Chinese are listening to the President`s iPhone that he leaves in his golf cart. It turns out it wasn`t -- I guess it wasn`t that important.


MELBER: Congressman, snap.

REP. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Ari. Donald Trump needs to stop making phone calls from his cell phone now. He needs to do what Obama did. Obama had a cell phone, but he was not allowed to make phone calls from it because your communications on your cell phone can be intercepted at the network level. It has nothing to do with your phone, it`s an issue I`ve been working on for over three years, and if anyone has access to a telephone network, and the Chinese and Russians certainly do, they can listen in on anyone`s cell phone anywhere in the world if they have the cell phone number.

MELBER: So what are the Democrats going to do if this investigation goes forward, if you guys went back to House? Where does that lead?

LIEU: Certainly we`re going to have Oversight Committee hearings on the President`s use of the cell phone. In addition, we know there`s been other lacks, communications with the President. He has been using unsecured Wi- Fi at his resort Mar-a-Lago, he has left his cell phone in unsecured places. And again, this is something that doesn`t have to do with the President`s cell phone per se, so even his tweet shows he doesn`t understand the problem. One of the ways to intercept communications is at the network level. It has nothing to do with the phone, and the president just needs to stop making calls on his cell phones.

MELBER: Right it`s up in the sky. You heard President Obama make the comparison to Clinton. We should note so folks understand the facts that the FBI looked at this. They did not find evidence suggesting her e-mail server system were ever compromised by cyber means or foreign intrusion. What do you think about this supreme contrast that she wasn`t hacked, although she got all that negative scrutiny and he already has made himself vulnerable this way?

LIEU: It is absolutely hypocritical for the President to have constantly attacked Secretary Clinton for use of unsecured e-mail server when he`s using a phone over unsecured networks. And in addition, it`s not even just monitoring of the President`s cell phone, it could be that these four intelligence services are monitoring the cell phones of his friends. The President is a heavily protected asset but his friends are not so it`s very easy for the Chinese and Russians to monitor their cell phones so every time he calls them they can hear him on the conversations.

MELBER: Right. I mean, you make a secondary point that`s relevant to the intelligence and also to people that the President is calling which is he`s literally putting them in more danger or more exposure because of that combination as you`ve outlined. Congressman Ted Lieu, this is an important story at the time when there`s a lot going on. Thank you for making time to talk to us about it.

LIEU: Thank you, Ari.

MELBER: Coming up, we take a turn oh we sure could use it. I`m very excited to say that for the first time ever we`re bringing together Sinbad and Richard Painter for a special edition to "FALLBACK FRIDAY." That`s next.


MELBER: It`s Friday on THE BEAT and you know what that means, it`s time to fall back. We`re joined today by comedian so illustrious, so notorious, he doesn`t need a last name, Sinbad. Famous for not only his comedy but his commentary. You could catch him on a new series Rel on Fox.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When your mother first passed away I was kind of lonely in that house by myself do. I have moments we just call out to somebody and there`s nobody there. I just want you to know that never goes away. Look, I was trying to say some inspirational but it went where it went.


MELBER: And Richard Painter an ethics lawyer who serve in the Bush Administration and his current role, he works at CREW, the Citizens for Ethics. Sindbad, let`s start with you. Who needs to fall back?

SINBAD, COMEDIAN: Pete Davidson, man, and Ariana Grande. They both got to fall back together.

MELBER: Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande.

SINBAD: Yes, man, they got to fall back, man.

MELBER: They rush into this.

SINBAD: They didn`t just rush in, man. Rush means I love you. They had too much sex.

MELBER: Really, that`s your theory.

SINBAD: That`s sex. That`s sex. That`s heat, that`s -- you`re in -- you`re in heat. You`re not in love.

MELBER: You`re talking about passion and whether that can move you too fast in a relationship.

SINBAD: Oh yes. You`re like, oh my God, I`m going to marry you. I`m going to tattoo your name all over my arm. I`m going to put your name on my finger. No.

MELBER: And you have I see is that MLK?

SINBAD: MLK. Malcolm.

MELBER: Malcolm.


MELBER: Do you have an Ariana Grande tattoo.


MELBER: You don`t have room for that?

SINBAD: I don`t have it. It was small, small. Ariana would fit in right here, fit on your wrist, man.

MELBER: Richard Painter, who needs to fall back this week?

RICHARD PAINTER, Mitch McConnell, and that has nothing to do with sex. He`s running around saying that the deficit is to be blamed on entitlements and he talks about things like Medicare and other programs that middle- class Americans depend upon. I mean, there are entitlements we shouldn`t have, for example the tax cut in 2017 for the top one percent but Mitch McConnell`s out of control and if he wants to cut back on Medicare, I think the voters may cut back on Republicans.

And the others Kellyanne Conway she`s still talking about Hillary Clinton.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, Counselor to the President: With her Ivy League law degree and through her marriage to a much more popular, a man who actually was a two-term president that she`ll never be. I don`t like that kind of talk and I avoid it.


PAINTER: Well, Kellyanne Conway`s husband has an Ivy League law degree. He was my classmate at Yale. He`s an excellent lawyer and he started off supporting Donald Trump but take a look at his Twitter feed to Conway III, oh it`s wonderful.

MELBER: Well, and Sinbad, you see this sort of class warfare thing which is pretty silly to begin with because there`s plenty of accomplished, interesting, smart people who may not have gone to a certain school. But on top of that, they apply this very selectively.

SINBAD: None of these people understand the problems of folks trying to make it. You got people talk about you need Medicare, look at Mitch, if he`s a regular dude, he`s at that age. He`d be at the Rite Aid right now trying to pick up some medication, but he`s got great health care. So they -- when they say --

MELBER: That we pay for.

SINBAD: Yes, yes, but we`re the -- these are the people just eating the system up trying to stay alive, try to get medication. What`s wrong with these people?

MELBER: Another important issue is a "FALLBACK" that comes from a very special "FALLBACK" guest who basically is phoning in to THE BEAT so to speak. I want you to take a look. A lot of our viewers know her, I`m sure you do too. Donna Brazile, I wanted to pitch in a fallback today. Let`s take a look.


DONNA BRAZILE, FORMER CHAIRWOMAN, DNC: George`s Secretary of State Brian Kemp. It is time for him to recuse himself to allow every eligible citizen in the State of Georgia to vote, to process those voter registration forms, to allow people to get to the polls. Brian, you are fired.


SINBAD: You know, I understand his program. He just wants slavery back which is good for the economy. We just -- we just can`t have it. I just don`t think Americans would go for it. But then -- we`re not talking about in the 50s, we`re talking about the 60s, the same kind of voter fraud trying to stop you from getting to the polls. Back then they would try to scare you with the Klan. Nothing`s changed with some of these people.

PAINTER: I work with the Republican officials for a long time and I think it`s quite clear that all this voter integrity agenda is about trying to make sure that black people don`t vote and keep Hispanics away from the polls as well. We know what it`s about. There`s no evidence of a serious voter fraud problem.

MELBER: It`s great pairing to see Richard Painter and Sinbad together and my thanks to both of you and we will be right back.


MELER: There`s a lot going on right now including this Trump rally in Charlotte, North Carolina. We`re going to be watching on MSNBC to see what the president says tonight. Meanwhile, at the White House, he resumed his attacks on the media. We know that. But I also want to show you something else before we go. Here is the scene in Detroit where Barack Obama is about to take the stage tonight.

Earlier today, he was out campaigning and offered this critique on behalf of Democrats regarding Donald Trump`s health care policy.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He says I`m going to protect your pre-existing conditions while his Justice Department is in court right now trying to strike down those protections. That is not spin, that`s not exaggeration, that`s not trying to put a positive glow on things, that`s lying.


MELBER: As Drake would say, what`s that? Facts, health care still a big issue out there even as everything else has been going on in politics. Thank you as always for watching THE BEAT. I`ll be back here Monday, 6:00 p.m. Eastern. "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews is up next.


Copy: Content and programming copyright 2018 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2018 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.