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Key FL county misses recount deadline. TRANSCRIPT: 11/15/2018, The Beat w Ari Melber.

Guests: Patrick Murphy, Alicia Menendez, Paul Butler, David Jolly, Jan Schakowsky, Brad Todd, Alex Harris

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: November 15, 2018 Guest: Patrick Murphy, Alicia Menendez, Paul Butler, David Jolly, Jan Schakowsky, Brad Todd, Alex Harris

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: And that`s all for tonight. We`ll be back with more serial jokes tomorrow, more MTP DAILY as well.

"THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER" starts right now live from Broward County, Florida. Ari, I just had a lot of Broward right here on set with Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Now, you take us to real Broward.


TODD: Good luck.

MELBER: Chuck Todd, you know there`s no better place to cover a close race than Broward County, Florida.

TODD: There you go. The Florida, Florida. Good luck, man.

MELBER: Thank you, sir.

I`ll tell you our viewers why we`re here. Today is the day. Moments ago, the state here made it official a second recount in this photo finish Senate race and this one is by hand. The first recount showed the results very similar to where we were last week. Republican challenger Rick Scott up 12,603 votes over the Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, a margin 41 votes higher than in the initial results.

Talk about a squeaker but the story today also included confusion, lawsuits, and even some missing votes as some counties failed to meet today`s deadline.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We gave a heroic effort. And given probably three or four more hours, we might have made the time. It was a heroic effort and we just completed uploading our Saturday results as is required in law.


MELBER: That was Palm Beach County, quite messy. Hillsborough County also saying they have to resubmit their original results because they had two power outages during the recount, counting roughly 850 fewer votes than they had from the original election day calculation. Now here in Broward, the center of so much controversy, Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes not answering questions when they announced they`ve finished this recount.


REPORTER: Supervisor, do you know how many votes we have?

BRENDA SNIPES, ELECTION SUPERVISOR: I`m sorry. We`ve been desperately trying to get the report done. We`ll put it on the website and everybody will be able to view it.


MELBER: I can tell you, I was in that room today. It was not exactly a show of force then they did announce the numbers, there were about 2,000 fewer votes than the initial results. That`s not a good thing because it would raise the question of where those votes went. A reporter who`s going to join us as part of our coverage this hour writing, "Every reporter in the room was confused about the discrepancy."


REPORTER: Could you read it one more time? Please read it one more time.

REPORTER: The number in the governor`s race doesn`t seem to add up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basically, we have -- we were unable to get all those vote by mail duplicates up in time for the 3:00 upload so those did not get uploaded and those are the votes that were uploaded.

REPORTER: So then how does it count? How did you meet the deadline?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I uploaded by 3:00 like I`m supposed to.

REPORTER: Are those identical to the first count or have they changed slightly?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have changed slightly.

SNIPES: And so we haven`t finished, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because we have not finished.


MELBER: All week there has been a crowd of protesters gathered outside the building where you just saw inside this election`s office. And today I spoke with some of the people here.


MELBER: What brought you out here today and how do you feel now that they`ve met this deadline today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. A lot of us out here are the grassroots in the ground. I didn`t even think it would be a close race to tell you the truth.

MELBER: What about you? What brings you here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. So I want to make sure that every legal vote is counted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m a Democrat. I`m going to be down here fighting to count every vote. All we want to do is count the votes.

MELBER: If I got to ask you who`s your friend here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, this is Desiree. She`s a little Trumpster.

MELBER: Now, when did Desiree first decide she was for Trump?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, when he was running. When he was running.

MELBER: OK. So he didn`t mess around with Cruz or anyone else?


MELBER: This is MAGA original day one. What does it say on the back? There we go, Trump MAGA.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump puppy. He is not a Democrat.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s been to the bridge. She greets him at the bridge. He`s given her a thumbs up from the limo. Donald Trump Jr. has gotten her.

MELBER: Can I shake her hand? All right. There we go. Nice to meet you. So what brought you out here? To watch the recount. And now that they`ve met the deadline, how are you feeling?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Listen, I`m nervous. I hope that we`re winning. I want to be like Trump. Yes, we`re winning but I don`t -- I believe that there`s some interruption going on.

MELBER: So even though they`ve released these numbers now and we were just discussing the Democratic margin went down about 600 votes, you`re still concerned about what?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re going to find them in that enterprise and maybe they`ll go to the doggie park and get the dog funds. They might go to shelters and see -- Desiree, did you want to vote?

MELBER: Dogs have a lot of rights. They don`t have the right to vote.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My dog was not counted. I`m really upset.


MELBER: Now, that`s true. Dogs don`t have the right to vote.

Let me bring in our panel on the ground here. Jason Johnson is politics editor for "The Root" and a friend of THE BEAT. Former Florida Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy back on the show, he`s with us earlier this week. And Alicia Menendez, a contributor at "Bustle" and co-host of PBS`s "Amanpour & Company". Great to have you all here.

Jason, this building behind us has been controversial.


MELBER: They returned the votes though and found the Democrat going down a little bit. Where do you see this going now? And does that give people more confidence that the Democratic fix wouldn`t seem to be in back there?

JOHNSON: Well, that`s not going to matter to the Republicans here who think that everything is fixed. I talked to people with their cue and on sure, those who think that this whole thing is a scam, who think that, you know, votes have been created out of thin air. So that`s not going to change the sort of conspiracy theories out there.

But I think for a lot of Democrats and a lot of Independents, they`re concerned the vote count keeps changing and it seems like it`s sort of like instant replay. We don`t care if it takes a long time. We just want to make sure you get the call right and that`s what`s not happening right now. You shouldn`t have this kind of discrepancies. And I think you`re going to have lawsuits and there are going to be concerns even after Monday when they do the hand recount.

MELBER: So you`re sort of taking the nuanced double position here. On the one hand, there is not the kind of fraud that the president has blatantly lied about.


MELBER: On the other hand, Florida didn`t do elections that well.

JOHNSON: No, they don`t. And the problem is they don`t even elicit the kind of passion that you need. I was just walking around this mall and this community area. This election center exists in a separate universe than everyone else around here. I asked people, "Are you concerned about the recount?" They`re like, "No". They`re concerned about these sports things, the Miami Dolphins and everything else like that. And that in and of itself is a problem. You would think there would be more people concerned about the future or the representation.

PATRICK MURPHY, FORMER CONGRESSMAN, FLORIDA: You`re exactly right. It`s frustrating how few people, you know, are really concerned about what just happened in this election. I mean this is the future of so many of our lives, of our livelihood here in Florida. And we had the pride of saying, "Hey. We had, you know, Senator Bill Nelson."

And we thought he`d get reelected as a Democrat. And we thought we`d have Andrew Gillum. Something like 41 or 42 polls said Andrew Gillum was going to win. Everyone`s excited about it. The rallies, it was sort of Obama- esque. Yet Senator Nelson and, you know, Gillum have both lost now it appears and people going about their lives after all the passion that was there.

MELBER: Now, you`re a former Democratic member of Congress here. You`re saying tonight you think they`re both losing, of course, these races are not called, that`s why we`re in a double recount.

MURPHY: We are in a recount and which is what the law states. Statistically speaking now, when you`re in this scenario, very few get overturned. When you`re talking about over 10,000 especially. We do have one Democrat now statewide, Nikki Fried, our agriculture commissioner, and she`s going to do a great job. She`s up over 5,000 votes but that too is going to a manual recount as well.

MELBER: So let`s do the numbers and then go to Alicia. The numbers you mentioned are backed up, 27 statewide recounts we`ve seen in the last 15- year period where they did a study. Only three reversed the first initial results that you had and there was a swing of about 282 votes, not the 12,000 we`re sitting on.

MURPHY: Right.

ALICIA MENENDEZ, CO-HOST, AMANPOUR: Right. I mean I think this is bigger than Florida. It`s bigger than Gillum. It`s bigger than Nelson. This is about a moment in our country`s history where the country feels so bitterly divided along partisan lines. Clearly, the state feels divided along those lines.

And so what is the one thing you can do in a moment when your democracy feels that fragile? You can guarantee that the participation, that electoral participation is guaranteed. And so I don`t think it is a bad move strategically for Democrats to say we`re going to be the party who insist that every vote gets counted even if the end of the day, that means that we lose.

MURPHY: Yes, it`s exactly right. Democrats aren`t, you know, alleging fraud. They`re not, you know, complaining that the Republicans are calling these conspiracy theories. It`s more about let`s do this right, not fast, and make sure every vote counts. And my case, not that it`s about me, it`s about everyone else but my vote didn`t count, right. I`m a former Democratic member of Congress and my signature hasn`t changed in 20 years and my vote didn`t count.

MELBER: And (CROSSTALK) because on the one hand, your right to vote is important. On the other, you`ve been dining out on that story all week.

MENENDEZ: I think that`s --

MURPHY: It`s not about me, Ari.

MENENDEZ: No, it clearly is about you. But what this is exposing is that we have a system that is not set up for optimal participation. And so, you know, part of it is about this signature match which my signature changes every 5 minutes so bless you that yours has been the same for the last 20 years but there are other things.

I mean do we want to be a country that shifts to automatic voter registration such that the onus of registering people to vote gets thrust back on the government rather than the individual? Do we want to have same-day voter registration? Do you want to have universal online registration? That`s the conversation we should be having, not talking about how loading machines are overheating.

MELBER: So we`re deep into this discussion and everyone has been sticking to the facts and the policy implications no matter who wins, which is I think a great thing for a news program. I do want to dig into the politics.


MELBER: Jason, which is you have a Republican party, even when it`s on pace to win for the reasons just stated, there is a complete attack on the legitimacy of an election system that Republicans in Florida oversaw. In other words, Ms. Snipes came into power under Jeb Bush.


MELBER: Governor Scott is in charge of Florida. So if there are problems in the way these elections are being administered, that starts with him and they don`t seem to care about that. Does that concern you for our democracy?

JOHNSON: Of course, it does. Look, he basically was trying to call troops. He`s been screaming guards and sending troops after Snipes just a couple of days ago because he was mad that he wasn`t going to win. I think these attacks -- not only are these attacks problematic but the sort of inherent dishonesty of saying this system is corrupt until I`m winning. I mean literally, the counts today actually expanded the lead for most of the Republicans.

So I think, look, if anyone actually cared about the functioning of Florida, the functioning of the country, what you would do is say the first thing I`m going to do now that I`m in office as a Senator, as a governor, I`m going to clean up these election receipts. Simple things, the undercount between the governor`s race and Senate race, you could fix that by just having touch screens that remind you, did you want to leave this blank? These are not complicated ideas.

The problem is I don`t think the Republican party is interested in that. They`re interested instead screaming that we have an unfair, a corrupted system by Democrats that we have to consciously battle against.

MENENDEZ: I mean the irony here is that everyone expects Scott to win. And then if you follow his logic, he has been ushered into office in an election that he believes was rife with fraud. So that would seem to then delegitimize his own power. I mean the whole thing doesn`t make sense.

MURPHY: Yes, just, you know, doubling down here. I hate to be a pessimist but I think Donald Trump and Rick Scott are sort of laying the groundwork for 2020 where we are -- and everybody probably going to have a close election, assuming Trump`s still in office, of course. But going to lay the groundwork for fraud and conspiracy, who knows where that goes but the fact that we`re having this conversation about signatures, about machines overheating in this day and age is somewhat laughable.

MELBER: Do you want to meet us here in two years, for 2020?

MURPHY: Let`s schedule right now, you know, probably Broward and Palm Beach again.

MELBER: Now, will you be telling your story about the 2018 election or you have a new story?

MURPHY: I`ll hang that out forever at this point, Ari.

MELBER: You know, Jason, narrative is very important.


MELBER: You`re a candidate for office. What I want to do is fit in a break. Jason and Alicia, stay with me. Congressman, as always, appreciate you --

MURPHY: Thank you.

MELBER: -- being a part of our coverage, knowing Florida so well as you do.

Coming up, we have a lot more. Donald Trump lashing out at Mueller and claiming to have inside knowledge now about the investigation and the blue wave getting bluer. We`ll tell you about the new Democratic wins in the House and what could be the fight of Nancy Pelosi`s political life. Some Democrats saying maybe she doesn`t have the votes.

And later, the architect of Donald Trump`s Obamacare repeal, he`s out of a job too.

I`m Ari Melber and you`re watching a special edition of THE BEAT on MSNBC.


MELBER: Donald Trump has spent the last three days with his lawyers working on answers for Bob Mueller. Apparently, it`s getting under his skin because now, he`s lashing out of the entire Russia probe, again despite his new A.G. Trump saying, "The inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess." And that`s the first time he`s claimed to have knowledge of the inner workings of Mueller`s team. It`s not clear what he might be referring to. It comes just over a week after he named that loyalist, Matt Whitaker, to oversee the probe right after the election.

Now Trump also says Mueller`s prosecutors are "screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want." Now, there isn`t a lot of evidence of that. And, of course, it doesn`t really match what we know from both Bob Mueller`s public life and the leak- proof investigation he`s been running. The special`s off -- I should say the special counsel`s office typically had no comment on any of this. Now, a federal judge meanwhile has ruled against the company run by a man known as Putin`s chief and said that most charges against that operation will stand.

I`m joined now tonight by former federal prosecutor Paul Butler and still with me on the ground here is Jason Johnson.

Paul, what does it tell you that Donald Trump has now put someone in that he thinks is better than Rod Rosenstein and Jeff Sessions at his goals for the DOJ and he`s still fulminating against this probe?

PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: So something is making President Trump run scare. Ari, I think there are three possibilities. The most notorious is that his dude Matt Whitaker is now in charge of the investigation. He`s getting information from Mueller. I hate to think that he`s sharing that information with the president but you can`t rule that out.

Other more benign possibilities are that he is debrief -- his legal team is debriefing other witnesses to the grand jury and they`re allowed to tell anybody what happens. Prosecutors can`t say what happened in the grand jury but witnesses can. Or the third possibility is his own lawyers are meeting with Special Counsel Mueller. Prosecutors usually give defense attorneys a heads up about what`s coming down the pike. What could be coming down the pike is more indictments including against Roger Stone or against Donald Trump Jr.

MELBER: Well, you mentioned Donald Trump Jr. He was out saying that he`s not worried. Jason, take a look.


TARA PALMERI, NEWS CORRESPONDENT, GOOD MORNING AMERICA: Are you scared that you could go to jail?

DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF DONALD TRUMP: I`m not because I know what I did and I`m not worried about any of that, you know. That doesn`t mean they won`t try to create something. I mean we`ve seen that happen with everything but, you know, again I`m not.


MELBER: He`s not worried.

JOHNSON: I don`t buy that. It`s like that old Chappelle so sketch. It`s like I`ll go to jail, I`ll go to jail. He doesn`t want to go to jail, he doesn`t want to be indicted, and he`s terrified. And he`s been saying this for weeks now.

I think the issue is he doesn`t know what kind of charges could be coming and that`s what`s interesting about what the president just said, "Oh, I think Mueller, the inside of this mess." They don`t know. they`re spitballing. They hope that Mueller will leave.

This whole investigation has been a still --they`ve been the New England Patriots. They don`t leak. They don`t talk. No one knows anything. And everyone is just hoping right now that when these indictments come out because it will be coming soon, I suspect they`ll be coming before the end of the year, they`re just hoping that the charges aren`t things that they can`t get out of court.

MELBER: Although, I wouldn`t always compare Mueller to the Patriots because he doesn`t cheat.

JOHNSON: Still doesn`t quite count as cheating if you still win. Just saying.

MELBER: We`re -- you know what, Eagle fans. That`s a bigger issue than the Russia controversy to try to get into that. I`m out of my gap. But I want to ask you what it means that we`re out of the so-called quiet period. Our viewers have learned a lot from prosecutors like yourself about how well it`s not a law, there is certainly a tradition of avoiding big moves before an election.

Donald Trump may not care about that but he certainly waited to do the Whitaker thing until after, maybe because he thought it would look bad, look guilty going right into the midterms, bring Russia back up. But Mueller hasn`t done anything big in public yet. Do you interpret anything from that?

BUTLER: Absolutely, that Robert Mueller expects the norms and traditions of the Justice Department. The Justice Department is not political and it tries not to influence how elections come out. So there`s been this policy of a 60-day rule. You don`t make noise in a case that might help political implications but then after, you can file stuff like what we saw filed yesterday with this intriguing clue about Rick Gates.

So Mueller said, OK -

MELBER: Let me read that and then you get your analysis on it. You`re talking about something a lot of people have been zeroing in on this. I`m going to read exactly what we have. This is from a new filing regarding Gates as you mentioned, Mueller saying Defendant Gates continues to cooperate with respect to "several ongoing investigations", Paul.

BUTLER: Well, this is juicy, Ari. So we know that other people are ready for sentencing like George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn but there`s something about this Roger, Gates that he`s not ready. And what else do we know about Rick Gates?

We know that even after Paul Manafort got fired, Rick Gates stayed on with the Trump campaign. He was riding around in that Trump plane in August of 2016. He was the campaign representative to the RNC and he even was part of the Trump inaugural team. So he`s -- knows stuff and now it`s in his interest to tell Mueller everything that he knows. He`s still looking at 10 years in prison. The more goods he gives, up the less time that he does. Again, whatever he`s told them, Mueller is good enough that Mueller wants to keep listening.

MELBER: And Paul, when we see several ongoing investigations, it`s also a reminder that while there`s been so much discussion about what Whitaker could do regarding Mueller, there is this set of open investigations in New York, totally different prosecutors have been farmed out relating to Michael Cohen confessing to crimes related to the campaign I should say, as well as whatever else they`re looking at. They might touch on Trump`s businesses. Go ahead.

BUTLER: So Whitaker directly supervises Robert Mueller now. Thanks to the president`s move. He`s still the boss of U.S. attorneys all over the country but he should not be involved in direct supervision. And so Mueller, very candid, very savvy farm off aspects of this investigation to other U.S. attorneys and that insulates those investigations in part.

But remember, Mueller still got the meat potatoes. His jurisdiction is collusion and obstruction. He`s hanging onto that. There was this idea that there`s going to be a report really soon and Mueller is going to go back to whatever he was doing. That filing yesterday, it sure didn`t suggest that it looks like Mueller has a ways to go

MELBER: So you`re getting into the org chart here. Your point is that while the special counsel is by its very nature and name special and we knew all about Rosenstein and now Whitaker having that direct oversight interaction, you`re saying the stuff in New York, the U.S. attorney level stuff, it wouldn`t really be appropriate for Whitaker to be involved in that day to day.

BUTLER: Not in a direct supervisor way. Again, he gets to make the ultimate judgment calls which is again why there are still grave concerns about Matt Whitaker being the chief law enforcement officer in the United States, given all these personal and professional conflicts that he`s got.

MELBER: I`m going to fit in a break --

BUTLER: He`s the boss of the U.S. attorneys.

MELBER: You`re saying he`s the boss. I mean we`re down here in Miami where we`ve been hearing about the other boss Rick Ross across the boss. Paul Butler --

BUTLER: And just real quick. If you`re in Miami, again, this attorney general, he`s got exposure there. That`s where the fraud that the company that he was the board of, there`s an FBI investigation in Miami he`s. He`s kind of the boss of that investigation as well, Ari. This man is a walking conflict of interest.

MELBER: Paul Butler know in every nook and cranny of this, I guess I was going to leave but let me go back to Jason and say, why so much stuff going down in Florida? That`s really the question.

JOHNSON: Well, I think because you have so many different opportunities here, both politically and financially, to get yourself in trouble. Whether you`re cutting deals on moral law, whether you`re cutting deals to sort of mess with the vote, this is a state where everything happens. And maybe at some point, everything will happen to the good for American democracy. We don`t know that yet.

MELBER: Well, in our reporting this week and I`m not saying this is a hundred percent true but I was told of this saying that Broward County is sometimes called the Florida of Florida.

JOHNSON: I can believe that.

MELBER: I believe it and I`ve only been here four days. Jason stays. Paul Butler, again thank you for walking us through so many of those intricacies.

We`re going to turn now to this growing blue wave. Democrats flipping yet another seat today. That`s when we`re back in just 30 seconds.


MELBER: Breaking news out here in Broward County. And I mean breaking. We just got this. Broward County now admits they submitted their recount numbers two minutes late and thus under the rules, the results apparently will not count. I want to tell you exactly what that means.

The entire developments, the drama, the protest, the counting, everything that`s been going on behind me the last few days, according to this breaking news tonight, that would be for nothing. Because the state is going to use the original vote totals while this manual recount proceeds under state law. Can`t make it up. Now, the situation here in Florida gets more chaotic by the day and we`re going to have more on that throughout our hour.

We`re not ignoring, of course, a lot of the national developments. The blue wave here is clearly growing as an epic rebuke of Donald Trump. Today, another Democrat flipping a Republican-held seat. This is Jared Golden beating an incumbent Republican in Maine. And as of tonight, that means Democrats have solidified a net gain of 35 seats in the House, the most in four decades, and that number itself could continue to grow as this counting continues.

The party meanwhile debating how to go forward and Congresswoman Marcia Fudge emerging as a potential challenger to Nancy Pelosi`s bid to be speaker once again. She says she`s been overwhelmed by the support she`s getting. Now, Pelosi responded today with this.


REPORTER: If the election were held today, do you have the votes to be elected speaker?


REPORTER: What do you make of Marcia Fudge trying to challenge or considering challenging you?

PELOSI: Say to everybody, come on in, the water is warm.


MELBER: I`m joined now by Democratic Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Illinois. She`s backing Pelosi. She`s on the leadership team as chief deputy whip, as well as David Jolly, a former Republican congressman from Florida.

Congresswoman, I`m going to go to you in one second. But given this breaking news, Congressman Jolly, your view of your great state not counting the Broward recount on a two-minute technicality?

DAVID JOLLY, FORMER REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN: You know, you can`t make it up. I think after this we`re going to have to visit election reform here in Florida. But what it all comes down to for Senator Nelson is whether or not the undercounts in Broward hold enough votes for him. That`s really what it`s going to come down to. We`ll see during the hand recount in the next 48 hours.

MELBER: Congresswoman Schakowsky, my good news for you is we didn`t book you to talk about Florida`s problems and I`m not going to ask you about them at this juncture.


MELBER: But I will ask you about this leadership team. Many people in the Democratic Party excited about this four-decade level historic endorsement from the American public, over a seven-point margin. But as, you know, a debate about Nancy Pelosi. What is the argument for her to be speaker once again and not say, as some other Democrats are arguing, that she`s done a fantastic job but there`s always room for new voices?

SCHAKOWSKY: You know Nancy Pelosi is as responsible as anyone for this blue wave for making it happen. She`s such an operational person, hard worker, made sure that she went to just about every state and every district and raise money and along with Ben Ray Lujan, our D-CCC Chair made this victory possible. And it`s just astounding to me that anyone within the Democratic caucus at a moment of great victory and opportunity would want to unseat this wonderful woman who as the speaker of the House the last time actually brought us the kind of health care that millions of Americans are benefiting from right now.

And I am really disturbed that -- you know, if there`s another name, then let`s have a vote. That`s what Nancy was referring to in that clip. Come on, come to the caucus, put your name out there and I assure you that Nancy Pelosi would overwhelmingly win and will win the vote within the caucus.

MELBER: Well, I remember the last time she said the water was warm, I think it was directed at Harold Ford Jr., and she certainly had the votes then. And she does know how to count. Let me play for you my colleague Rachel Maddow asking a question that I think dovetails with your argument which is if the House did so well, why is there talk about replacing Nancy Pelosi at all when the Senate Democrats didn`t do as well. Take a look.


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: So a lot of things are sort of percolating, even boiling over all at once. Today, House Democrats made noise about the possibility of choosing someone other than Nancy Pelosi to be the Democratic Leader and the Speaker of the House in the new Democratic- controlled Congress. This of course would be a classic Democratic Party move, right? I mean the party loses seat -- loses seats in the Senate and so they make zero changes to their Senate leadership.


MELBER: Congresswoman, would you say that if there`s a change we made it would start with Schumer and not Pelosi?

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Well, why would it be Nancy Pelosi? She has the votes. We`re talking about a very small rump group within the caucus that is saying that they will deprive Nancy Pelosi of being the speaker, a positions she so well deserves and has done so well and have really not a candidate to replace her. So it`s a creation of utter chaos at this moment when we want to be going ahead and she wants to be going ahead with an agenda to bring more health care, to lower the cost of prescription drugs. She has talked about this agenda through the campaign, and even now Nancy Pelosi is focused on what we`re going to do when she is speaker and we have this majority.

It`s really astounding to me and very frustrating that this small group would try to take that away. And I do think that there`s a bit of sexism here, you know. There`s a trending #Five White Guys and their effort to take this away from her when she would be the only woman at the small table with the top leaders in our country. I think that`s important in and of itself.

MELBER: And what specifically do you see the sexism, the notion that she has a good record and she is being challenged in a way the Chuck Schumer as a male Democrat is not or something else that you know about from within the caucus that`s a concern.

SCHAKOWSKY: You know, even ages is it is raised. You know with men, it seems that the more -- the older you get the more experienced you`re considered, with women, it`s more like now it`s time for you to move on and move out and I resent that.

MELBER: Yes. All fair points. David Jolly your view?

DAVID JOLLY (R), FORMER CONGRESSMAN, FLORIDA: I do think it`s time for a change. Look, I`m not inside the Democratic caucus, I`m no longer a Republican. I just think that after an election --

MELBER: Yes, what are you, man? What are you at this point?

JOLLY: I`m an Independent and I`m just putting my analysts hat on and suggesting that I`m surprised after this election. I think there`s an opportunity missed for Democrats not reaching for change. And what I mean by that is the inspiration seemed to come from Beto, it came from Gillum, it came from Abrams, and the leadership team of ten years ago surprises me. And what I -- what I would point out --

MELBER: Let me push you on that briefly, David.

JOLLY: Yes, push me. Push me.

MELBER: I`m going to push you on that.

JOLLY: Sure.

MELBER: You just named people though, I think to Congresswoman Schakowsky point who lost. Beto didn`t get the promotion, Gillum, I want to say is still in a recount but is not ahead. So you`re naming people who got a lot of attention but didn`t win the way that Pelosi put together a winning coalition. Your rebuttal, sir.

JOLLY: Sure. Or Ocasio-Cortez or the twenty members that won the suburbs that said they weren`t going to vote for Nancy Pelosi. Here`s my point. I agree with the Congresswoman. She -- Nancy Pelosi is an incredibly skilled tactician. She was a very successful Speaker of the House, I agree. She also though presided over the loss of the House in 2010 and over eight years in the minority for Democrats. So for Democrats who have been asking for the future, asking for change, it surprises me.

Look, I think Chuck Schumer (INAUDIBLE) is right, probably should go. On the issue of is it because Nancy Pelosi is a woman, no. I think Mitch McConnell should go, not because he`s a man but because I think he`s a face of the past within the Republican Party. It`s not that Nancy Pelosi is unqualified. Frankly, she`s probably the most skill to go toe-to-toe with Donald Trump. I just think it`s a return for the past at a time when the Democrats and the country are asking to go forward.

SCHAKOWSKY: Look, let me just say that even in the years --

MELBER: All right, well look, I got to --

SCHAKOWSKY: -- even in the years of the minority, Nancy was able to run circles around the Republicans, get appropriations bills with no poison pill riders on them. She is the best qualified and the people who brought us to this victory in the grassroots are supporting Nancy Pelosi. They want to see her, that woman, that skilled woman, the best fighter that we have, the best progressive that we have to be our leader.

And I think some of these renegades will find that there`s a price to pay within their own constituencies for challenging her not in the way that -- let`s have a real vote. Let`s have a head-to-head fight. Let`s have that -- let`s have an honest Democratic small D election. No. They want to just deprive her of it and there is no way out for them that I can see because they don`t have a candidate. Nancy is going to win.

MELBER: Well, strong words and a lot of passion here. We`ll be watching. Congresswoman Schakowsky and Congressman Jolly, thank you both. You`ve been inside that body, we appreciate it your insights.

JOLLY: Thank you. I appreciate it.

MELBER: I want to bring back the breaking news here with Jason Johnson and Alicia Menendez in Broward. Everything just changed in the last half-hour and everything that they just counted for those several days is not now going to be the count, Alicia.

ALICIA MENENDEZ, AMERICAN WRITER: I mean, I would actually toss it back to you as the legal expert of the three of us. I simply took the LSAT and didn`t go to law school. I mean, does -- is this grounds for yet another legal case? There have been like several dozen at this point, is this something that a Nelson campaign chooses to go back to the courts with?

MELBER: You`re certainly are in a situation when you`re building on a two- minute delay and whether that was formally uploaded and why was it processed at 3:02 and was it technically up at 2:59. There`s plenty for lawyers to argue over, Jason. I think what is so striking here is we were just having a conversation 20 minutes ago about why the legitimacy of this matters and why doing it the right way matters even if it doesn`t change the outcome.


MELBER: And everyone who`s not in a Donald Trump conspiracy theory understands that Nelson has a deficit that historically is unlikely to be overcome. But having been inside there for several days and watch the machine counting and watch all this, I have to tell you, the idea that this is all wiped out over a two-minute delay is a farce and is also very Florida.

JOHNSON: Well, yes. I mean Florida got Florida right? And worse than that, it`s a waste of time. It`s a waste of resources. Thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars of time and money have been effort -- had been spent throughout this state in this region to try and do this count and have it all get wiped away because somebody can`t figure out what their watch is supposed to do on a regular basis.

But I think this, and again the long-term issue is going to be what can we do to make sure that this doesn`t happen in 2020. Because I promise you, if this starts happening at a presidential level, if Rick Scott could threaten to send cops at the board of directors here at the precinct, you don`t think Donald Trump wouldn`t send the army to a state that he thought was somehow denying him a proper vote count? That`s the implication of what we`ve got going on here. That two minutes could end up being two months a lifetime in our democracy if we have similar problems down the road.

MENENDEZ: Ari, it`s my entire life defending the great state of New Jersey and now you`re forcing me to defend a great state of Florida. You know I think about the fact that this is also the state where we had the tragic Parkland shooting and where we saw students come forward and become national leaders on an issue that we`ve not seen adults be able to lead on. And I`ve been there, I`ve reported from there, and when you meet those young people and you see how excited they are to participate in our democracy, how excited they were to register to vote and to vote for the first time, it`s them that we have to keep in the forefront of our mind right?

This is one of the first time that they were going to be able to participate civically in our democracy and they deserve better than this right?

MELBER: Well, you`re making such an important point for all of us to consider as we have this breaking news and as I`ve been telling viewers, Broward County now not going to count the tally from the recount because it was submitted technically two minutes late. That`s brand-new. But to widen up to what you`re saying, when I say Florida, that`s shorthand for the Florida elections officials and the policy choice is made by individuals including as I mentioned earlier in the show Republican Governor Rick Scott who oversees all of this and is the chief executive.

Because this is also a state that had historically high turnout over eight million which is in a Midterm year which shows civic engagement, which also had a bipartisan coalition to restore voting rights to ex-convicts which is going to change the entire outcome potentially or at least the entire voting population in 2020. So there`s a lot of things that are happening that a progress here even as these officials seem to keep mucking it up.

MENENDEZ: Right 1.4 million new voters in Florida. And when I think back to those young people, one of the leaders of March for Our Lives said to me our politics is not built to match the speed and ferocity of my generation. And I`m thinking of her a lot today as we see that our actual machinery is not equipped to match the speed and ferocity of that generation. They have two years to pull their act together. You know, after what happened in 2000, the Supreme Court made Florida revisit build standards for how these ballots would be evaluated right? So that you would understand which colorings were letting and too dark, and what would count and what wouldn`t count. Clearly, there are bigger issues and those issues are infrastructure issues, they`re also personnel issues and the clock is ticking.

MELBER: Alicia Menendez and Jason Johnson, thank you so much. Up ahead in a different story, a federal judge has their view on this saying Florida is the laughingstock of the world. That was before this breaking news. We have a special report on all of that including what we`ve been seeing on the ground but also what Trump supporters are saying they`ve learned when the initial recount tally showed that the Democrat was slipping in votes. We`re back live from Broward County next.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn`t even think it would be a close race to tell you the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to make sure that every legal vote is counted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m a Democrat and you can tell I`m fighting here to count every vote. All we want to do is count the votes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Listen, I`m nervous. I hope that we`re winning. I want to be like (INAUDIBLE) winning.



MELBER: Back with this breaking news. The recount they`ve been conducting right here in Broward County will no longer count because the numbers were submitted two minutes past the deadline and the original vote totals will now be the baseline. The manual recount will proceed but it`s another twist in quite a story. And today a federal judge said Florida was the laughingstock of the world election after election and we chose not to fix this, A quote even more apt given the breaking news tonight.

Of course this recount is the first time since the 2000 recount, and for reporters, anchors, and many others have covered both stories, this is deja vu all over again.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: The State of Florida racing to complete a recount trying to process the more than eight million votes cast by the Thursday deadline.

Florida where the ballots will now be counted by hand.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Why would you put the Senate vote way down at the bottom left-hand corner?

These punch card machines are not that effective.

LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS HOST: They`re racing against the clock in Florida to finish a recount.

It all depends on a recount in the state of Florida.


MELBER: And there you have it. I`m just going by a man at the center of the recount in the state of Florida. This is Governor Rick Scott`s Senior Campaign Advisor Brad Todd right here with me, Brad Todd and Alex Harris, a Reporter for the Miami Herald who was in there with this breaking news. What did you see?

ALEX HARRIS, REPORTER, MIAMI HERALD: Right. Absolutely stunning news we heard today. We had been sitting there, we had just gotten the news that they had made it. They were 15 minutes ahead of deadline. They were ready to go and submit these results. Two hours later, they came back and said actually just kidding, we were two minutes late because the person who was in charge of submitting and results did not know how to work the Web site. So now the entire work -- weeks` worth of counting and recounting over.

MELBER: So they had the numbers and they say that the official in there who`s actually just putting them up, just hadn`t had enough practice on the Web site.

HARRIS: Right. He said it was a user error. He couldn`t didn`t know how to work the Web site and none of the results count.

MELBER: What was the mood in there when that news just broke.

HARRIS: Jaws dropped. The entire room was just stunned. Even the lawyers didn`t know what to say.

MELBER: Brad, your candidate may ultimately win here, and yet he has really sort of embarrassed to himself by saying all these things that aren`t true by alleging that this process was going to hurt him. In fact, before these numbers were just canceled out as we heard, the Democratic margin was decreased.

BRAD TODD, SENIOR ADVISOR, RICK SCOTT CAMPAIGN: Wait a minute, Ari, you know, every time when you were a kid you said the dog ate my homework, the dog really never ate your homework and they really didn`t have this issue of two minutes ahead of time. What happened was Rick Scott gained 779 votes in Broward County and they decided maybe that`s not a good thing. Let`s go the other way.

MELBER: Do you any -- do you have any -- let me ask first then, because you sound like your candidate. You`re saying something. Do you have any evidence you can offer, any specific evidence of the political nature of this problem.

TODD: Yes, they have announced the count -- they announce -- sure, she`s a partisan Democrat. She`s made strings and mistakes and this time they all benefited them.

MELBER: But I`m not -- that`s not what I`m asking. We`ve been covering Brenda Snipes problems. We`re all over that. She got a lot of problems. I`m asking -- I`m asking you if of any specific evidence that this was a political operation with regard to that two minutes.

TODD: Yes, 15 minutes ahead of time she says they can ounce the count. Two minutes ahead of time she goes boy, sure I`m proud of us of how we made it. We made it. We`re so proud of ourselves. Suddenly now after its 779 votes, the biggest differential in Rick Scott`s favor of any County in 67 counties in Florida, and they say oh no the dog ate my homework. The dog never eats your homework.

MELBER: Did you find when you were inside there any evidence that the two- minute air was a way to try to deprive Rick Scott of votes?

HARRIS: To me, it seemed like why would they do all of that work just to be embarrassed again? This is something that this elections department has been working really, really hard to avoid any more embarrassment, and here`s another one?

TODD: Their entire job involves counting votes and loading votes into the Secretary of State system. They`re all trained professionals. See, I`ll give them more credit. I think that they`re trained professionals they know exactly how to operate with Secretary of State because they interface with them every day.

MELBER: Well this is -- which is it? Is it that they`re incompetent which is we found that. We`re not here to say they`re good or bad, we found incompetence, or is it that they`re very competent at stealing elections which is what you and Rick Scott are alleging?

TODD: Here`s the thing. Fraud hides in the shadows of non-compliance. That`s where it goes. And we have a string of non-compliance out of Broward County, we have a string of non-compliance in Palm Beach County, and therefore you will never know if it wasn`t fraud. You know why, because the reason we have these anti-fraud laws in place is so everyone can know for certain there was no fraud. And when the election administrators don`t abide by anti-fraud laws --

MELBER: Well, they believe enough they`ve abided by them, and we were in there. We watched them inspecting all this. You`re making a new allegation --

TODD: No, Tuesday night --

MELBER: You`re making some news because this is the first time we`ve heard that the Scott Campaign responded. Your news is you have a secret theory that this was a political way to deny Rick Scott votes but you don`t have evidence for it.

TODD: I want to ask you if you think it`s a coincidence that every mistake this board of elections has made his favorite Bill Nelson. Is that a coincidence or not?

MELBER: I mean, last time I checked Bill Nelson is up -- I mean down 12,000 votes.

TODD: Every mistake they`ve made is suddenly favored Bill Nelson. Starting on Tuesday night, on Tuesday night every Elections Commission is supposed to announce the number of votes it has yet to tabulate. The reason they do that is so we all know the universe. We all know what`s still left to tabulate. It`s a very reasonable request, they failed here.

MELBER: Let me ask you one final question, we`re almost at a time. If Rick Scott does win, is he going to try to take any action to improve the election system because he was in charge of all of this.

TODD: You know what, we did. The State of Florida improve this election process after 2000. 65 out of 67 counties in Florida have had no problems. These least anti-fraud laws were passed unanimously in the Florida Legislature, unanimously. If Democrats didn`t like them the time to object was on the floor of the legislature.

MELBER: You`ve made some interesting allegations tonight, some relate to the incompetence that`s been documented, some have no support whatsoever. I appreciate you coming on the show to give your view.

TODD: Thank you.

MELBER: I appreciate your reporting.

HARRIS: It`s a live one down here at Broward and we will be right back. When we come back, the GOP is ObamaCare repeal push might be haunting some officials.


MELBER: We`ve been covering races that haven`t been decided yet here in Florida but in another part of the country a leader of the doomed Republican effort to repeal ObamaCare under Trump is in a race that is decided and they`re paying the ultimate price. New Jersey Congressman Tom MacArthur, now he authored a key part of the repeal bill that the House GOP passed in 2017. You may remember the famous celebration in the Rose Garden with President Trump. Plenty of cheers all around, there were reports that some lawmakers even wheeled in kegs of beer.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Congressman MacArthur and all the principal members of Congress who are standing with us here today, welcome to the beginning of the end of ObamaCare.

REP. TOM MACARTHUR (R), NEW JERSEY: This is a big day, it`s a first step, and I`m really proud to be part of that.


MELBER: The smiles didn`t last because the Senate did not go along with the bill. That was a celebration at the 50-yard line and a premature charade in the end. MacArthur though went back to his district and got an earful at a town hall.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do certain people deserve better health care than others?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife was diagnosed with cancer when she was 40 years old. She beat it, but every day, every day she lives with it. My children both had pre-existing conditions from birth, one cardiac, one thyroid. You have been the single greatest threat to my family in the entire world. You are the reason I stay up at night.


MELBER: Voters spoke that day and they spoke up again last week because NBC is declaring that MacArthur -- excuse me, MacArthur`s Democratic opponent Andy Kim has now won the Midterm fight. MacArthur out. And voters nationally also citing health care as the number-one issue in the polls of people who turned out last week. The larger trend, a majority of Americans now support Obamacare something we were covering from even before Election Day and that`s a political and policy reality that Republicans clearly ignored last week at their own peril.



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