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FBI investigating plot to frame Bob Mueller. TRANSCRIPT :10/30/2018, The Beat w Ari Melber.

Guests: Nick Akerman; John Flannery; Jennifer Taub; Shelby Holliday; David Corn; Joy Behar

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: October 30, 2018 Guest: Nick Akerman; John Flannery; Jennifer Taub; Shelby Holliday; David Corn; Joy Behar

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: By the way, we have one week left. You want more puppies with pumpkins, don`t you?

Anyway, that`s all we have for tonight. We`ll be back tomorrow with more MTP DAILY.

More puppies with pumpkins especially jack-o`-lanterns. But "THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER" starts right now. Good evening, Ari.

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

We have tons of breaking news right now. Mueller bearing down on Roger Stone as a new recording leaks. We`re going to broadcast that for you tonight.

Later, I have a fact check on the midterms in Trump`s rallies and "The View" meets THE BEAT as Joy Behar joins me live in about 20 minutes.

But first, our top story tonight is breaking news. Unlike anything we`ve seen this year, the FBI is now probing a credible plot to frame Bob Mueller. We rarely hear directly from Special Counsel Bob Mueller`s office, especially as an election approaches.

But tonight, we`re reporting a rare announcement from the Russia probe that confirms the FBI is now investigating an apparently credible plot to try to frame Mueller. An effort to smear him in order to either discredit him or get him potentially even removed from the probe into collusion in the Trump operation. This sounds big and unusual because it`s big and unusual. In a moment, I will be joined here on THE BEAT by someone who was approached by people apparently working on this scheme.

First, here is exactly what we know. Multiple news outlets reporting tonight on a plot by a Republican-linked to an operative. Excuse me, I should say Republican-linked operative trying to frame Mueller on what appeared to be made-up allegations of either harassment or sexual misconduct that would be pushed against Mueller."

"The Atlantic" reporting the details from a woman who recounted this explosive offer, up to $20,000 to make accusations of sexual misconduct or workplace harassment against Mueller. She says those would be false and she also says a Republican activist named Jack Burkman offered to pay off, "All my credit card debt, plus bring me a check for $20,000 if I would do it." So far, she obviously is not doing it.

And also, to cover any potential tracks, she says this offer came from someone refusing to use a normal phone line but asking her instead to talk on an encrypted app to evade authorities. "He said I want you to make accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment against Mueller. And I want you to sign a sworn affidavit to that effect."

Now, other evidence matches this account because Burkman just released a video online last week trying to smear Mueller along this kind of lines. Now, I`m not airing the audio of his words in our reporting tonight from the video because that`s not the headline. The headline tonight is that the smear plot itself is now under FBI investigation. That`s brand-new. Not that there`s any evidence supporting the smears apparently linked to Burkman.

And while the fallout from this quite strange story is obviously still reverberating because this is all brand new, legal experts and some White House veterans already noting that if the order of what I just told you had been reversed, if, for example, the world first learned about this kind of accusation in theory against Mueller before these leaks about its potentially illegal framing, well, it could have upended his career and the probe into the heart of the Trump presidency.


NICOLE WALLACE, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, MSNBC: It`s the kind of accusation that can ruin someone`s life. They were peddling something like this, and even their co-conspirator, the woman, had the, I guess, wherewithal to confess to reporters on the phone that she was being offered a lot of money to smear Robert Mueller.


MELBER: As for what I mentioned at the top of our broadcast tonight, the Special Counsel`s office rarely says anything on the record, certainly outside of the cases it`s pursuing, but not tonight. Mueller`s chief spokesperson going on the record stating, "When we learned last week of allegations that women were offered money to make false claims about the special counsel, we immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation." Peter Carr, Chief Spokesman to Bob Mueller.

Now in a moment, I can tell you I`ll be joined exclusively by a law professor who was also approached in the smear plot against Mueller. But I begin with some prosecutors who know their way around these issues. Former Watergate special prosecutor Nick Akerman and Former Federal Prosecutor John Flannery.

Nick, when you look at this unusual announcement and this unusual plot, what does it tell you that Mueller`s office is speaking on the record and referring it to the FBI tonight?

NICK AKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT WATERGATE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Well, I think this is very important for the public to know. I mean, this is a situation where everything has been thrown at Robert Mueller. They have tried to undermine him through the Congress. They have tried to undermine the Manafort jury deliberation.

You had one juror even referring to the whole investigation as a witch hunt, copying basically what Giuliani and Trump have been saying. They have tried everything. So it does not surprise me that they would go to this length of trying to obstruct this entire investigation by going directly after Mueller.

MELBER: You said they. Tonight, we`re looking at this plot to make false smears, sexual accusations against Bob Mueller. Who are they?

AKERMAN: Well, first of all, there`s Burkman. There`s the investigative firm that he`s working for. Somebody`s financing this. Somebody -- he is not doing this on his own. I mean if you`ve got an FBI investigation, they`re going to be looking at everybody that is involved in this plot.

MELBER: You worked on the Watergate investigation. There was a lot of talks there about money for political and counterespionage efforts in the U.S. that looked sloppy and the money led really high. Do you think that`s something that the FBI is going to look at here?

AKERMAN: Absolutely. I mean this is exactly what`s going on. This is like the end result of the meeting that occurred in Attorney General Mitchell`s office at the beginning of this whole Watergate scandal where they were looking at ways to try to and undermine people, compromise people, and to create false stories.

MELBER: Let me bring in John Flannery. Does the conduct described here -- it`s a breaking story. There`s much we don`t know. And as I say, we`re talking about one name on the record, this Republican-linked conspiracy theorist. But does the conduct described in these reports look to you like a potential crime?

JOHN FLANNERY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes, it does. I mean, the obvious is a continuation of the obstruction of the investigation. They have not really been able to lay a finger on Mr. Mueller. In fact, everybody started with praise for him. But now, as the election is about to end and he`s about to reactivate his office and to do who knows what with all sorts of suspicion about likely targets and reports, I think it`s time to re-up and to find a way to attack him.

And there are provisions both obviously use the conspiracy code and that could be overt acts don`t have to be crimes. But there are several provisions in obstruction of justice in which you`re impeding or you`re threatening or you`re harassing or you`re trying to affect or influence an investigation or an officer. In this case, perhaps Mr. Mueller. And there are very serious penalties involved.

A lot of these people, if they have done this, and that`s the hypothetical, the investigative hypothetical, did Burkman and others with sources of funds from whomever actually try to influence the investigation by false attacks against the Chief Investigator Mr. Mueller himself? If so, that`s big news.

MELBER: And who has $20,000 lying around to pursue this? This isn`t just a conspiracy tweet, as reported.

FLANNERY: Right. Well, and also I don`t know what her credit card debt is. And if there are women as have been reported, that is that they want to look and see what women were affected in this. That`s more than the one person that we have seen figured in today`s releases and press.

And it does seem to be linked back to Burkman, having in the sense that he`s announcing on November 1 we`re going to know what`s happening. And in the past, he`s offered $25,000 to anybody who would give any dirt on the FBI in connection with this ongoing investigation. So he has a track record which makes him a highly suspicious character worth investigating by the FBI.

MELBER: Let me pull on the thread as promised to the audience.

John, stay with me. Nick Akerman, thank you as always for joining us on a busy night.

I have an exclusive right now. Vermont Law School Professor Jennifer Taub who said she was personally targeted as part of this plot. She says a man approached her offering to compensate her for this kind of dirt on Mueller. And Jennifer joins me now. Thanks for joining me tonight.

JENNIFER TAUB, PROFESSOR, VERMONT LAW SCHOOL (via telephone): I`m glad to be here. Thank you, Ari.

MELBER: I think you may have some information that is of interest to people as we pull on these threads. I`m going to start by reading what you have provided to our newsroom here at THE BEAT, October 22nd e-mail.

A man contacts you, claiming to work for Surefire Intelligence and says, "It`s my understanding you may have had past encounters with Bob Mueller. I would like to discuss these encounters with you. I believe a basic call which I would compensate you for at whatever rate you see fit inside reason, would be a good place to start."

Reading continuing this, he says, "My organization is conducting an examination of Mueller`s past. Tell me a decent method to contact you by telephone or signal, and a beginning rate to talk with you about all encounters you`ve had with Special Counsel Mueller." It goes on to say, "We would likewise pay you for any references that you may have and appreciate your discretion. It`s very sensitive."

What did you make of that inquiry?

TAUB: I found it really creepy, to be honest with you. And immediately upon reading it, I went on the internet to try to find a phone number or some other method to contact the special counsel`s office. And all I could find was an e-mail so I immediately forwarded the e-mail. Just so I should add, I have never met Robert Mueller. I`ve had no encounters, no phone calls. So I don`t know him at all.

MELBER: You don`t know -- Jennifer, you don`t know Bob Mueller and you don`t know why they came to you other than I suppose that as a law professor, you`re in this space?

TAUB: I have no idea why they came to me. I mean, one thing I`m thinking is I had published an op-ed a few weeks earlier about the Kavanaugh hearings. Maybe that`s how my name got to these people. But certainly, I`m the last person you would want to send something to.

I found at the end of the e-mail, they said something like, you know, please be discrete or keep this confidential. And I found that so amusing the minute I pressed send to send it off to the special counsel`s office so they could look into it.

MELBER: So when did you --

TAUB: I want to say one other -- go ahead.

MELBER: Well, I just want to get these facts out. So when did you send it to Mueller`s office and did you hear back?

TAUB: I immediately sent it. I don`t know how many -- as soon as I could find the e-mail address, I sent it. And then I didn`t hear back but I didn`t really expect to hear back. I`m not sure. I assumed -- this was odd enough that I assumed I was not the only person being contacted. And I imagined probably other people had done the same and they were investigating it. And then we got overtaken by the terrible events of last week and I didn`t think much more about it until today.

MELBER: Did you view this inquiry as an effort to discredit him or find false material to attack him?

TAUB: I thought it was either that or some kind of set up of me. You know, sometimes we get very strange e-mails from people. But I was concerned enough about it that I took a screenshot and shared it with two friends. I have never shared a screenshot of a random e-mail but I shared it with a law professor and a former federal prosecutor.

And that`s actually how I even found out about this today. I was teaching all day and they happened to see the story that Natasha Bertrand put out and asked me to just --

MELBER: Sure, at "The Atlantic", which we quoted in our report and she`s, I should mention, a contributor here as well. You mentioned other former prosecutors. John Flannery is one.

John, a final thought on this or a brief question for Jennifer if you have one.

FLANNERY: Well, the brief question is, if they chose you and you had no relationship, it doesn`t show much investigation. And maybe they just hope that you would make a complaint and create a bogus story in terms of the dimensions of accusations against the special prosecutor without any real evidence that any such thing occurred.

And we`re just hoping that it would feed the right sound machine of attacking and believe to be true, attacking Mueller so that in the days ahead when he does do something, they`ll try to discredit it. I guess they hoped that -- when I say they, Rudy Giuliani and company, hope that the only attack on the president could be a report for impeachment that may or may not be made public, it may or may not be acted upon depending on what happens November 6.

MELBER: And I want to be clear because there`s so much flying around. You`re referencing the wider pushback from the White House. We`re not reporting any link whatsoever regarding his counsel and the attacks they have publicly made on Mueller and this very new, very explosive situation.

My thanks to Jennifer Taub for telling us about her side of the story. John Flannery, for your expertise.

FLANNERY: Thank you.

MELBER: We have a lot more on this right now. Another bombshell breaking in the Mueller probe is yes, there are tapes and Mueller has them. He`s listening to Roger Stone`s conference calls from 2016 where he`s heard saying he was at the time in touch with Julian Assange from WikiLeaks and revealing plans about those hacked e-mails before the election.

"The Wall Street Journal" Shelby Holliday broke this story. She`s about to join me.

Here, though, first, is Roger Stone on that conference call, August 4, 2016.


ROGER STONE, LONG-TIME TRUMP ALLY: In the background of this entire race going forward is the fact that Julian Assange, who say anything you want about him, he`s not a fool, is going to continue to drop information on the American voters that are going to roil this race. He has made that very clear.


MELBER: That same day, Stone sent former Trump Adviser Sam Nunberg an e- mail that stated, "I dined with my new pal Julian Assange last night." Stone later said that was just a joke. But it was seven days after that that he tweeted to the world, "Trust me. It will soon the Podesta`s time in the barrel."

Now, we know Mueller focus on Stone`s links to WikiLeaks and interviewing people about the calls. They were actually promoted online as a call with the political insider there. Stone has denied advance knowledge of hacked e-mails.


STONE: Let me be very clear. I had no advance knowledge of the source, content, or the exact disclosure timing of the WikiLeaks disclosures regarding the DNC. I received nothing, including allegedly hacked e-mails from WikiLeaks or Julian Assange or the Russians or anyone else.


MELBER: Question is, if he was making all these claims in public and on these conference calls, was any of it going back to the people running the Trump campaign? Well, I have news on that as well. Bob Mueller`s team questioning Steve Bannon about these very claims that Stone made privately about WikiLeaks. That`s also new tonight. A busy time.

Shelby Holliday, who broke the story, put this in context for us.

SHELBY HOLLIDAY, REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: So we know that we`re reporting today that Robert Mueller has subpoenaed people and records affiliated with these conference calls that Roger Stone held. They were started in August and they were promoted as biweekly conference calls with the man in the arena. You showed that graphic.

And on them, he would talk about his relationship and friendship with Paul Manafort. He would talk about the inner workings of the Trump campaign. He was an insider and that he had connections to the Trump campaign and so he talked about them on the calls.

He also talked a lot about WikiLeaks` plans to release e-mails and he used the quote, "Roil this race." And a witness in the probe, Jason Sullivan, who helped him organize those conference calls said, "He claimed contact with Julian Assange."

MELBER: Is the idea that him claiming it privately more operationally feels more real than what could be dismissed as public boasting?

HOLLIDAY: That`s possible. But it could also just be Mueller scrutinizing the number of times Roger Stone claimed contact with Assange. As you played, Roger now says he never had contact with Assange. But beginning in early August, he talked a lot about being in touch with Assange, having a foreshadowing of the materials Assange would release.

He went on Alex Jones` show and said he knew what was coming but he couldn`t say too much. And so now it appears that Mueller is looking at every single statement and scrutinizing what he said publicly or privately.

MELBER: And you`re being very careful, as you often are meticulous about it. And yet David Corn who is all over the story and also with me, there`s another way to look at what Shelby is saying, because if someone just lies a lot, whoever they may be, investigators find, oh, they lied 5 times or 10. That`s not altogether more interesting the tenth time.

If, though, there`s a different context, if they`re interviewing Bannon about this because they -- who has already been in for several days because they actually think some of these weren`t lies, wouldn`t that be worse potentially for Stone and anyone who worked with him?

DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER JONES: Well, I guess if you can get people testifying to private communications, particularly people who are in a position of trust with Roger Stone, then that may have more weight than him just saying what he says on Alex Jones` show or in these conferences in which he`s trying to basically separate people from their money.

Roger stone`s defense at this moment in time is that I am the world`s biggest liar. I publicly said again and again and again that I was in touch with Julian Assange, I knew what he was doing.

MELBER: Be honest, David. Do you find that a potentially credible defense?

CORN: Unfortunately, for some people, with Roger Stone, it is credible because it is --

MELBER: Was that a yes?

CORN: Because --

MELBER: David Corn, was that a yes?

CORN: Yes, it is a yes. Because he is known for lying and being a provocateur and saying whatever he thinks is necessary to say at that moment in time, particularly as a self-promoter. But at the same time, he was doing all this, he was also in touch with Guccifer 2.0, that Russian internet persona that we now know was a Russian intelligence front. And in public, he was saying the Russians are not involved with this at all.

He`s writing a story for Breitbart and going on and on, defending the Russians and amplifying Russian misinformation. So there`s a lot, not just on the WikiLeaks side but on the Russian side, for Roger to account for.

MELBER: What do you think of Bannon being hauled in?

HOLLIDAY: It`s really interesting because as we have been reporting at the "Journal", Mueller continues to bring Stone associates in front of the grand jury and in front of Mueller`s prosecutors. We know that some of his associates are still talking to Mueller. We know that they are scrutinizing every comment Roger Stone made in that time.

And so Steve Bannon coming in is significant not just because we know they`re focused on Roger Stone, but because he was actually running Trump`s campaign and that`s the big question here. Was there collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, vis-a-vis WikiLeaks?

MELBER: And David, before I let you go, your final thought on this bizarre effort that`s clearly of interest in Washington to try to frame Bob Mueller?

CORN: You know I think we still need to figure this out. It could be that the original letter was some sort of hoax to hook in reporters, to report something that wasn`t true. But your guest just coming on and saying she too was approached and there`s this Surefire outfit that really seems to be a bogus intelligence gathering outfit run by people who are completely unprofessional, there`s a lot more here.

Reminds me of the Peter Smith effort. Remember that during the campaign?

MELBER: Which Rachel covered a lot.

CORN: To try to get those Hillary Clinton e-mails from Russian hackers. There are all these players out there. We see them in every scandal. And I`m hoping that the FBI can get to the bottom of this. But you know what, if the Democrats get the House back, this is just one more thing for them to investigate because we may never hear what the FBI finds out about this subject.

MELBER: Right. And that`s where the subpoena power figures in.

David and Shelby, thank you so much.

Coming up on a breakdown, Donald Trump`s political promises that aren`t possible to fulfill. And I`m going to show you what happens when Trump`s "Fox News" propaganda is debunked on "Fox News".


SHEP SMITH, ANCHOR, FOX NEWS: There is no invasion. No one is coming to get you. There`s nothing at all to worry about.


MELBER: And the one and only Joy Behar is here on the show. Can`t wait to see her. She`s going to talk old Trump, new politics and a whole lot more.

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


MELBER: So a week from tonight, at this very hour, millions of Americans will be watching the polls close on TV and tracking clues for what kind of election night it will be. Will it be another 2016, a long night with a surprise for most politicos? Will it be a 2006 midterm backlash to a controversial Republican president that hands that speaker gavel back to Nancy Pelosi?

Of course, we never know until election night, but the clues on the week out show that despite Donald Trump`s attempts to troll and outrage his way into the headlines, the fundamentals show strategists in both parties, actually see the Democrats on offense. So yes, watch what the politicians do, not what they say. Trump has been talking up a host of last-minute midterm ploys, but his party`s spending and battle plan show a scramble to protect candidates even in red districts that overwhelmingly back Trump.

Take this Kentucky district that went for Trump by 15 points. Republicans sent Paul Ryan there today, deploying star power to a place that was once a safe seat. Same story in red South Carolina, a district that went for Trump by 13 points. Now, the GOP is buying ads there. So yes, there`s plenty of noise about these Trump rallies. But look, they are in these red places playing defense.

As for the swing districts that went for Trump last time, Democrats just pulled up five points in a key New York race. That`s one of the places where Independents are the key and more than half of them now disapprove of Trump.

Or take a red district that featured the tea party insurgency. That`s where Dave Brat once unseated a top Republican, you might remember, Eric Cantor. Now Dave Brat is in a dead heat with his Democratic challenger. A quarter of the voters there are Independent and most disapprove, you guessed it, they disapprove of Donald Trump.

So those are the races that actually could determine control of the House. Swing districts packed with Independents. If Donald Trump is such a great campaign asset, if his closing instincts are so good, surely he and the GOP are deploying him in those key districts, right? Wrong. And this is one of the largest signs of the political weakness for Trump right now.

Yes, of course, he`s campaigning and insulting and shouting, but he`s doing all of it at a huge distance away from these key districts. And that`s crucial for separating the signal from the noise.

Here are the places you`re looking at right now where Donald Trump has been holding this campaign rallies in the midterm homestretch the last two months. They`re almost all in states he won in 2016. So he`s actually sticking to defending red states where he retains support, not taking his message to those swing districts, let alone going on offense to win back any blue districts.

So yes, Trump`s holding lots of rallies, but no, they`re not generally in places likely to decide who wins the House a week from tonight. And while we know Trump loves spending money to put his name on anything, buildings, TV screens, whatever, consider how bad he knows he`s doing in these districts that he just approved his 2020 campaign spend $6 million on new ads this week that don`t even mention him.

We have all heard of the witness protection program. This is kind of a president protection program where he can kind of go underground. His former aide told us this is a necessity because even Republicans in the swing districts don`t like him.


SAM NUNBERG, FORMER TRUMP AIDE: In terms of Republican suburban or Republican Independent leaning women, what we have seen is, one, they do not like Donald Trump. They don`t like the tweeting. They don`t like the personality. It`s too much for them.


MELBER: It`s too much. So Trump`s closing argument is on defense in red states, for red states, with talk of immigration orders that he doesn`t have the power to order and ploys like sending troops to the border this week before the midterms for a caravan that is two months away. A fact check so glaring, it even occurred within the confines of "Fox News".


SEAN HANNITY, CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FOX NEWS: You have a highly organized, motivated, and an undocumented trove of migrants headed straight to the United States as we speak. Where are they from? Who brought them here? Why are they coming here? An obvious major security concern for the country.

SMITH: The migrants, according to "Fox News" reporting are more than two months away, if any of them actually come here. But tomorrow is one week before the midterm election, which is what all of this is about. There is no invasion. No one is coming to get you. There`s nothing at all to worry about.


MELBER: When your red meat message is getting grilled by your own side, you may have a problem. And when you`re one of the world`s most well-known self-promoters and you`re spending millions of dollars on ads so you can hide in plain sight, well, you may know you have a problem.

Now, that doesn`t mean anyone, certainly not me, knows what`s going to happen a week from tonight, because it depends on what everyone does a week from today. That`s the great thing about democracy. But sometimes in politics, just like in a bar, the loudest person in the room isn`t actually that confident and isn`t actually ready to win a big fight.

I`m going to get into all of this and a whole lot more when the one and only Joy Behar joins me live when we`re back in 30 seconds.


MELBER: How are you doing?

BEHAR: I`m over here.


MELBER: As promised, we`re back with the one and only Joy Behar, co-host of "The View", a longtime friend of mine if I may say.

BEHAR: Yes, you came to my birthday show at "The View". That was so sweet.

MELBER: But your first time on THE BEAT. Thank you for coming in.

BEHAR: You`re quite welcome.

MELBER: I want to start by looking at all of the fun and action, political action you`ve had in some of your time on "The View." Let`s take a look.



BEHAR: We are back with Senator John McCain. You stood up to that. Why are you so different from everybody else?

You know a lot about politics, you know about the law, but do you know about pop culture? That`s the question.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t know. We`re going to find out.

BEHAR: We need you to stay engaged.

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, you know I think -- and we need you guys to keep it going.

JAMES COMEY, FORMER DIRECTOR, FBI: I don`t know where that is today in the Republican party and so I`m just not comfortable being a part of it.

BEHAR: Which part bothers you though?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think it`s a give- and-take not just from the administration but also from the news media.

BEHAR: The media is supposed to not report on the fact that 95 percent of what he says is a lie?

You say the book that you wanted to. You should have said this or you shouldn`t done that. What -- say it now.


BEHAR: Say it.

We got you something that you can just wear this from now on.



BEHAR: Back up.

MELBER: You get to see a lot more of these people up close than most Americans.


MELBER: What have you learned seeing our politics up close in this country?

BEHAR: Well, everybody is you know, in the best behavior at the view and they`re scared of us too. They`re a little scared of us.

MELBER: You don`t seem that scary.

BEHAR: I`m not scared. Do you mean scary?

MELBER: You`re not scary, yes.

BEHAR: No, but they don`t know what`s going to you know, happen, what we`re going to say. I mean, even Joe Biden years and years ago told me he`s you`d much rather go on "MEET THE PRESS" then than The View because the "MEET THE PRESS" is very good (INAUDIBLE) with the View is (INAUDIBLE)

MELBER: It`s (INAUDIBLE) versus what`s the second one?

BEHAR: By the way, can we give a shout-out to that woman who told the FBI or told whoever --

MELBER: Jennifer Taub?

BEHAR: Yes, yes, about that they were telling her to say that Mueller sexually harassed her. I mean, he`s now --

MELBER: Can you believe that?

BEHAR: He`s now inoculated. It`s interesting against the sexual harassment claim because no one is going to believe it now.

MELBER: Isn`t that not the most wild story. I mean, we had the headline up here and it says a plot to frame Mueller. I mean, that`s where we are.

BEHAR: I mean, I like to say salute that lady.

MELBER: Yes, because she know what to do and she reported it in and now it`s as you say inoculated. I want to show some of your times with Donald Trump on The View.

BEHAR: Oh yes, I know him. I went to his first wedding -- second wedding to Marla, you know.

MELBER: They say the second wedding is the best one.

BEHAR: There wasn`t a wet eye in the room, Ari.

MELBER: Well, but you`ve also at times gotten along with him as we know.

BEHAR: Yes, who knew? Who knew he was such a psycho. I like the guy in a way. It was like, oh he`s a New York character and now you know --

MELBER: Character, yes. And I think that the funny thing about being -- I mean, I grew up on the west coast but you spend time in New York and you see some of these people up close and it`s different than the way the rest of the country might see them at a distance, perfectly poised and well presented on a reality show.

BEHAR: Well, New York as you know probably, did not vote for him.

MELBER: I heard that.

BEHAR: Yes, because we knew that we know.

MELBER: I didn`t know you were bringing news updates tonight.

BEHAR: Well, I sometimes I have to do that. But you know, we know the beast. We knew him. We get it. Just like you know, Michael Bloomberg said I know a con man when I say one and he`s a con man. So then New York as a hip to it. I mean, in the rest of the country, they really didn`t know him the way we do.

MELBER: Well, here, let`s look at you and him over the years.

BEHAR: All right.


BEHAR: It says it`s his own here so I believe him because I believe Donald. He`s this upstanding American. But America doesn`t believe him.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: OK, you ready? Come here. Just check it out, will you?

BEHAR: Well, it`s true. It`s real.

TRUMP: It`s not very pretty but it`s real.

You`re known as a patsy if you`re known as somebody that takes it. I think it`s terrible/

BEHAR: Well, but they ad hominem attacks. Those really are not effective.


BEHAR: Do you think he knew what ad hominem meant?

MELBER: No, I don`t think he knew but he -- but he`ll pick up one of the things because he is a real creative con type of salesman.

BEHAR: Yes, yes.

MELBER: He`ll pick up anything you say. You say ad hominem and he`ll say it back to you. You know, fake news was a term that was used to describe the right-wing articles that spread on Facebook in October that helped him. And after he heard the criticism, he grabbed it. Now everyone thinks it`s his term and he goes well, I guess I won.

BEHAR: Well, also locks them -- lock her up and build the wall, I think somebody mentioned it to him at the beginning of his one of his rallies he said hey that`s pretty good because they all responded to it. He`s not -- he doesn`t have his own mind. He picks up as you say.

MELBER: But did he change from those what we just saw?

BEHAR: Well, obviously, you know, I never thought that he would be this bad, never. Because even before he won, I said, well, if he wins God forbid, he can`t be really such a maniac. He`s much worse.

MELBER: You thought he would -- a lot of people said that well, if he wins he would get a little better more responsible and you think he`s worse.

BEHAR: Yes, I think he`s worse. I thought he was also a secret Democrat which he shows us he`s not. He`s not a Republican or a Democrat. He`s just an anarchist as far as I`m concerned. And I don`t mean that in an ad hominem sort of way.

MELBER: I also want to talk to you about the Democrats. You know, people love you, people really love you.

BEHAR: Not everybody but --

MELBER: A lot of people love you.

BEHAR: The right wing hates my guts. Come on, tell them.

MELBER: Well, here`s where I`m going. As we say in the business run and tell that, I`m going to run and tell you that a lot of Democrats love you, a lot of your viewers love you, and yet can you always give the love back when you see that there are mistakes that the Democratic Party does seem to make. I want to play for you, we put this together just some of the questionable calls over the course of just the Trump era and the question being for your consideration, do you really think the same people should be back in charge after the elections especially if they take back the House?

BEHAR: Nobody is perfect.

MELBER: Take a look.

BEHAR: All right, Ari.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The government this morning is back at work and boy, there`s a lot to do. Democrats are divided with some upset. Chuck Schumer didn`t fight longer to protect DREAMers.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Democrats raise the prospect, raised hopes that by sticking together through the shutdown and sticking to their principals they could somehow get protection for the DREAMers passed into law. that obviously didn`t happen.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Well, look, we`ve advanced the cause.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe Manchin was speaking. He just announced his support for Brett Kavanaugh.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: I`ve made my decision and I gave my reasons for my decision, but I had to deal with the facts I have in front.

MADDOW: Last night, top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer, someone inexplicably cut a huge deal. The Democrats agreed to essentially wave through 15 Trump judicial nominees.


MELBER: What grade do you give Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi?

BEHAR: Well, Nancy has been very effective in her job over the years. I understand. I mean, I`m not in the nitty-gritty of the of what goes on there but she`s been very good and I like Nancy. I think that you know, it`s fun probably to move on a little bit. You know, people do get older.

MELBER: Who would you get rid of first, Chuck or Nancy?

BEHAR: Well, Chuck -- you know, last time he was on The View, he came alive. It was like, wow. You know, he was like actually inanimated and everything. I didn`t think he was doing this big, which it`s like hello, Chuck, if you`re reading, yes, but when you`re reading a prompter, you obviously don`t need them, take them off.

MELER: I mean, when you see them get out work and then he says oh I made a deal with Mitch McConnell on these judges, and then they get worked over and then he says, they`re not being fair.

BEHAR: Well, because they don`t -- they don`t play with the same -- the same marbles. The Republicans are vicious. Mitch McConnell, I didn`t want to talk about him, I might think you have him on the -- I chose him for your throwback person.


BEHAR: "FALLBACK" person, that`s it. I chose him because I to me he`s like an impromptu comic. He makes up as he goes along, you know.

MELBER: Right.

BEHAR: Well, today I think I`ll change this rule and I think I`ll change that law and everybody says OK.

MELBER: And he just gets away with it, though.

BEHAR: And he gets away with it.

MELBER: He get away with it because the Democrats don`t fight harder.

BEHAR: They don`t have any power. We know -- we know that they have no power right now. Hopefully, I`m making a novena that next Tuesday they`ll get some power back so we can do something, turn the lights on with some power you know. And -- but he`s feckless.

MELBER: Can I show you also before we go, can I show you, Fred Armisen, doing you on SNL? Would you be OK with that?

BEHAR: Sure. You know, someday, Ari, I pray that a woman will be imitating me but as long as --

MELBER: Hey, fare. I`m tapping you. That`s fair.

BEHAR: Sure. Go ahead.

MELBER: Let`s take a look.

BEHAR: As if we never seen this, right?


FRED ARMISEN, ACTOR: You know what I always say? You know what I say? Who cares? Just go on and have glass of pinot grigio and go to bed, so what?


BEHAR: He has captured my philosophy. So what?

MELBER: So what? Who cares?

BEHAR: Don`t sweat the small stuff.

MELBER: But isn`t that your essence that you -- and that you can banter with so many people across politics and culture?

BEHAR: Yes, and not care. No, I care a lot. I care a lot.

MELBER: You care a lot but you`re also --

BEHAR: I have sleepless nights now.

MELBER: You care but you care in a nice authentic way. You don`t demean.

BEHAR: Other people, I try not to.

MELBER: You try not to.

BEHAR: Well, you know, it`s hard not to with the President Pinocchio in the White House. I mean, come on.

MELBER: You know what you`re being right now.

BEHAR: What?

MELBER: Ad hominem.

BEHAR: I being an ad hominem my own, you`re right.

MELBER: Joy --

BEHAR: Are we done?

MELBER: I thinks they`re telling me we`re out of time. Do you know how it works? You know how it works right here.

BEHAR: Yes, I know. I know, yes.

MELBER: Why do you have something else.

BEHAR: No, no, I`m done. I`m done.

MELBER: Are we done?

BEHAR: I`m done. Can I have this?

MELBER: You know what?

BEHAR: I`ll take this.

MELBER: Do you know what?

BEHAR: What?

MELBER: Who cares?

BEHAR: So what?

MELBER: We`re done. So what? We`re done. Joy Behar, thank you for coming by.

BEHAR: You`ve been begging me to come on. Was this -- was this good for you?

MELBER: You`re asking me was this segment good for me?


MELBER: I think it was great.

BEHAR: All right, well that`s all that it counts. `

MELBER: I have been begging you, you`re letting the audience in because we`ve known each other a long time and I said come on the show and then a year in you haven`t come on the show. Then they call me up, they say, come wish Joy a happy birthday. I said I`d love to. I also love it to be mutual.

BEHAR: Yes, when is your birthday.

MELBER: March.

BEHAR: I`ll be there.


BEHAR: All right.

MELBER: Joy Behar, the one and only. Coming up, the Democratic strategy in the face of some ugly rhetoric.


TRUMP: You know how the caravan started? I think the Democrats had something to do with it. And in that Caravan, you have some very bad people.


MELBER: But how do you actually address and confront that without playing into Trump`s hands? We have a very special guest George Lakoff, the framing master and Bill Kristol coming up.


MELBER: A catch-22 for the Trump era that you`ve probably talked about once or twice. How do you respond to him without playing into his hands? Trump today proposing one of the hardest lines ever on immigration. He says he would try to overturn birthright citizenship. He doesn`t have the power to do that so it`s another ploy. And that in a sense is similar to many of Trump`s Midterm messages claiming Democrats are an angry mob or they`re secretly paying for that caravan or saying the caravan includes Middle Eastern terrorists.


TRUMP: Go into the middle of the caravan, take your cameras and search. You`re going to find MS-13, you`re going to find Middle Eastern, you`re going to find everything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you saying that you have evidence that there are terrorists in the caravan right now?

TRUMP: Over the course of the year, over the course of a number of years, they`ve intercepted many people from the Middle East. They intercept --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But no proof that they`re in the caravan?

TRUMP: They could very well be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But there`s no proof.

TRUMP: There`s no proof of anything. There`s no proof of anything.


MELBER: There`s no proof of anything. There`s actually proof that that is false and probably a lie. George Lakoff is an expert on these debates in the language of political framing. He`s the author of Don`t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, and Bill Kristol joins me as well. Professor, you know the debate, what is the solution?

GEORGE LAKOFF, LINGUIST AND PHILOSOPHER: First, what to avoid. Avoid negating as in don`t think of an elephant. Don`t just negate a frame because that just helps the frame. What you do instead is you introduce your own frame. You know, if you`re going to talk about the caravan, you talk about a caravan of people who are fleeing poverty and gangs and crime, looking to work hard, earn a decent living and be free. You know, impose your frame.

Another thing, if you`re in the media, there`s a very important thing to do. Use truth sandwiches. Start with the truth. If there`s a lie what you do is given the truth you expose the lie, say it what it is, say the truth again then follow that up with the consequence of why the truth matters as opposed to the lie.

MELBER: You`re making Bill Kristol hungry.

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR AT LARGE, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: It`s a complicated recipe there for politics. I`m not an expert on this and honestly, I have given my failure to stop Trump in 2015-16 and other political failures. I`m not sure I`m the best person to speak about how to counteract really demagogic rhetoric.

MELBER: Is this --

KRISTOL: But I think you need to call -- I think you need to call --

MELBER: Is that pundit modesty? What is happening?

KRISTOL: It`s not yet. It`s a (INAUDIBLE) moment. You know, after Joy Behar and all that, I`m just intimidated by it to be on this very show here. But the -- I just do think at the end of the day for the sake of our public discourse though, you do have to call lies, lies. I mean you just need to say it. Now, maybe there`s more skillful, less skillful ways to say it politically but you cannot let him demonize immigrants, talk about them as less than human beings, terror -- you know, just whip up anger and anxiety. We`ve seen the consequences of this in the last week. And someone -- people need to stand up serious, people need to stand up and people who are not simply ideological opponents of his need to stand up and call the lies. That`s the one thing I would say.

I mean it`s great that Democrats are standing up to the Trump, but you know, if I were running a congressional race now with a swing district, I would find Republican voters, in fact, one group has done this Republican women for Congress -- for progress and find Republicans in that district actual people and put them on the air and say you know what, I usually vote Republican. That`s where I`ve been most of my life but I cannot vote for this man. That I think is a little more effective than someone on the other side simply saying boy Trump is getting worse and worse every day.

MELBER: Well, and George, you mentioned truth which fits into journalists and other people in that role. For opponents of Trump be they political electoral opponents or the so-called resistance, is it also about changing the subject? I mean, debating the caravan which is a far away thing isn`t really the most important thing in the country.

LAKOFF: Right. Changing the subject is very important. That is part of what is what reframing is, saying what you think is most important and getting it out there.

MELBER: I want to read a little bit of one of your essays, Trump covering for the GOP and you write Trump provides cover for Republicans, draws fire from progressives, protecting Republicans attacks on Trump aren`t directed at Republicans. As long as Trump is the enemy, Republicans are not. That`s so well stated. We`ve done reporting on this show about a lot of the wider agenda looking at what`s happening with ObamaCare which we hit several times this week, looking at Paul Ryan on deficits, it seems that by being a stylistic outlier Trump has given them that support as you identify.

LAKOFF: That`s right. Trump gives cover to Republicans. Republicans are saying all the same things. They`re saying all the things that support Trump. 85 percent of Republicans are Pro Trump but that doesn`t come out as such. Trump is taking the heat and he knows how to take it well and to turn it back.

MELBER: And Bill --

KRISTOL: And -- but he`s going to damage -- but he`s damaging Republican. I mean, Republicans are going to lose the House of Representatives because of Trump. The gender gap is a Trump specific thing. Republicans have held the House for what, 2o -- for the last 28 years. I`m not sure but 20 -- in the last 24. They -- the House is you know, to their advantage in terms of the districts and so forth. Now yet I think Trump is going to cost them the House. So I`m not so sure Trump is so wonderful for Republicans ultimately and I`m not so sure it`s unwise for Democrats at times then took hold Republicans responsible for what Trump is doing because he`s been lucky so far with the economy, kind of lucky in foreign policy, but at the end of the day, Trump is not going to succeed. Reality does matter. And if I were a Democrat, I would you know, make the case against Trump rather than sort of try to avoid dealing with him.

MELBER: Well, George, we have about 20 seconds left. Can you speak to that? Does realities matter?

LAKOFF: Reality matters and Republicans have supported Trump. They have legislatively supported Trump and they have supported Trump in the media so you know, it`s just false that they have been against Trump. I don`t hear a whole lot of Republican criticism of Trump.

MELBER: This has been interesting and we`ll do it again and maybe even with more time. And look, I think -- I think reality does matter. I`m going to land on that side of that particular debate. Bill and George, thank you both. Still ahead, Oprah weighing in on the terms. We`ll show it to you next.



OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: We`re independent and we know that we`ve lived long enough to understand that this is a really important moment in our country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Democracy depends on it.

WINFREY: OK. Not only democracy depends upon it, our country depends upon it. So vote, vote, vote, vote!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m not going to do that. November 6th, please vote.


MELBER: Oprah Winfrey making waves tonight with new message on the Midterms, vote. Women are expected to be a crucial factor on Tuesday. You heard Bill Kristol just talking about it. And I want to tell you something special we`re doing tomorrow. We`re going to have a panel of women candidates who are running for Congress from both parties and take a look at whether this could be another year of the woman. It`s an important conversation and we`re going to bring it to you tomorrow live at 6:00 p.m. Eastern on THE BEAT. We`ll be right back.


MELBER: Big news leading off our show tonight that Bob Mueller`s team had brought back Steve Bannon for a new interview on Friday. That`s interesting given the Roger Stone heat. Here`s what Bannon told me this summer about the way that he is a witness in the probe.


MELBER: Were you a witness of fact to the investigation regarding obstruction or collusion or both?

STEVE BANNON, FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST, WHITE HOUSE: I think I`m a witness of fact for all of it. I think I`m a witness of fact for all of it. I mean, they call you up there, they don`t bifurcate, they kind of go through the whole thing. And of course I`ve been to Capitol Hill, right, a couple of times so you know, I`m a witness of fact up there also.

MELBER: How many days did you talk to Mueller`s investigators?

BANNON: I don`t want to go into the details but I had a very thorough session, right. He did. There was over several days. I don`t want to be specific about how many.


MELBER: Several days, that was when we spoke earlier. You can add another one because Bob Mueller has called Bannon back. That does it for us. "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews is up next.


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