Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: November 16, 2018 Guest: Howell Raines, Liz Plank, Betsy Woodruff, John Flannery, Mary Wilson, Nick Akerman; Sam Nunberg; Maya Wiley; Jay Rosen; Mark Thompson
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC: "THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER" starts right. good evening, Ari.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chuck. Thank you very much.
THE BEAT is back in New York tonight and it is a busy Friday. A federal judge appointed by Trump just handed him a big loss overruling Trump`s attempt to ban a reporter from the White House. Also tonight, new developments in the growing blue wave. We`ll get you up to speed. And a leak suggesting the feds may try to indict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. That case has all kinds of implications.
But we begin right now with Bob Mueller clearly raveling Trump who made some actual news when he spoke to reporters today revealing for the first time that after months of the negotiations which you certainly heard of by now, Donald Trump is taking Mueller`s questions on collusion, saying he`s now written up his answers to Mueller and stressing he did it all by himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My lawyers aren`t working on that. I`m working on that. I write the answers. My lawyers don`t write answers. I write answers. I was asked a series of questions. I have answered the very easily, very easily. I`m sure they`re tricked up because, you know, they like to catch people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: A president who is sued more than any president in history claiming he`s not relying on his lawyers for answering the questions in a legal case. I`ll just tell you, Donald Trump, way too experienced in courtrooms and deposition rooms to make that mistake. So that particular claim does sound false. But with or without lawyers, Trump committing his collusion defense to writing is an important development.
And so tonight, we know that was the backdrop for Trump`s recent early morning tweets talking about this probe where he made the potentially the self-incriminating boast that he has knowledge of the inner workings of Mueller`s activities and alleging, of course, without evidence that the prosecutors scream and shout and threaten people, comments he explained in a recent interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: On Twitter yesterday, you seemed a bit agitated about what you might be perceiving the Mueller investigation.
TRUMP: No, I`m not agitated. The whole thing is a hoax. There was no collusion.
REPORTER: Did anything trigger that set of tweets yesterday?
TRUMP: No, not at all. No, I`m very happy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: But for months until yesterday, Trump had barely mentioned Mueller. These new complaints come as Paul Manafort asked for more time to complete a status report that was actually due today and confirming they`re still meeting there, Manafort and his team, and cooperating and ready to fork over more details after Thanksgiving. Just like guilty trump and Rick Gates is still cooperating, as is Trump`s guilty former lawyer Michael Cohen who reporters actually spotted on his way to Washington to meet with Mueller`s team.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Cohen, what brings you to Washington, D.C. today?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Cohen, are you going to the Special Counsel`s office?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Cohen, how was your train ride?
MICHAEL COHEN, TRUMP`S FORMER LAWYER: Train was great.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: All those threads have fed a deep anxiety in the White House that Mueller is about to make another move. And we have quite a panel to break this all down, former Watergate Special Prosecutor Nick Ackerman, former counselor to the Mayor of New York City Maya Wiley, and former Trump Advisor Sam Nunberg who`s appeared directly before Bob Mueller`s grand jury.
And you`re here as a free man. Partly thanks to Maya Wiley.
SAM NUNBERG, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: That`s right.
MAYA WILEY, FORMER COUNSEL TO THE MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: You`re welcome.
NUNBERG: Thank you. Thank you very much.
MELBER: When you look at this and you`re the only person in this room who is actually then inside with those prosecutors, what do you glean from these developments and the way these folks some of whom you used to work with are cooperating?
NUNBERG: I think that in terms of the president perhaps -- and I can`t speak on behalf of them and I have to say this disclaimer I`ve had no communication with their lawyers or with them concerning anything like this, that it was no coincidence to me that they are working on these written responses after the results of the midterms. I`m not so sure perhaps that they would have given in any question -- any answers.
Because even if you read the recent book, "The Apprentice" by "The Washington Post" reporter, I can`t remember his name, one of the issues in terms of the original lawyer leaving Dowd was that he wanted to hand in a lot of written responses and Jay and the president had argued.
MELBER: You`re talking about the Woodward reporting in fear?
NUNBERG: No, there`s a different book, The Apprentice by "The Washington Post".
MELBER: The Miller book?
MELBER: Got it. Yes. And I believe both those books talk about the fact that to your point that Dowd as a criminal defense strategy didn`t want Trump giving up anything. He didn`t think he would tell the truth in any form.
NUNBERG: Yes. But particularly with the Mueller book, what they said was that Dowd, that there was a -- I believe there was an interview that was scheduled. It was going to be at Camp David. It was then canceled and that Dowd unbeknownst to Rudy and Jay, Rudy was involved then but Jay Sekulow who I say used to work for so long Jay. For Jay Sekulow, he was preparing responses to the 19 or so questions that they had. And they didn`t think it was a good idea because they don`t want to have the president giving any more written responses.
MELBER: Nick, that goes to something else that Donald Trump said in his little appearance today where he sort of made light of what he views as attempts to trick people into perjuring themselves. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They like to catch people, you know, was the weather sunny or was it raining. He said it may have been a good day. It was rainy. Therefore, he told a lie, he perjured himself. OK. So you have to always be careful when you answer questions with people that probably have bad intentions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Are written questions in this forum an issue for him for perjury or for the underlying collusion question?
NICK AKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT WATERGATE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Well, first of all, these written questions are written. The responses are done by lawyers. Donald Trump just basically signed off on these things.
MELBER: That was my impression.
AKERMAN: Yes, no decent lawyer would ever let him sit there and come up with his own answers because the odds are he would lie. You don`t trap somebody in perjury if they intentionally lie about something material, not about the weather, not about whether it`s raining outside. But it has to do with the substance of the investigation and whether or not the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government to help the Trump campaign win the election. That`s the issue.
So it`s not about whether it was raining. It`s not about some minor issue that`s not material to the Mueller investigation. And someone doesn`t go in and just trap themselves in perjury. You don`t get trapped into lying. You either tell the truth or you lie.
MELBER: And in that clip there, we saw, Maya Wiley, we saw Donald Trump who said, "Of course, it`s me. I don`t rely on my lawyers." Nick as a lawyer is dubious about that as in mine. We`ll get your view. But I want to play another Donald Trump in another legal litigation setting who was all about relying on his lawyers. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you do prior to signing this statement to assure yourself that you were accurately making the representation to the bank that you were entitled to draw down those funds.
TRUMP: I ask my lawyers. This one right here. I don`t know that. I just have -- you have to ask the lawyers about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILEY: Yes, you have to ask the lawyers. That just says it all. He is a person who understands that if you are going to make sure you do not get yourself into legal trouble, then you have your lawyers help you. Now, the lawyers can`t make up the facts unless they as well want to be in legal trouble, right?
MELBER: So let`s law school a little bit. What would be the hypothetical facts that you need, for example, if the question was, did anyone in the senior management of the campaign talk to you about stolen Russian information before it became public?
MELBER: How does the lawyer answer that question in the right way if they don`t know the facts?
WILEY: Well, they can`t -- they have to get the facts. This is the point. I mean he is submitting written questions and I think this is why unlike his answer in the suggestion I did it and it was so easy, it`s not so easy. I mean there are two issues. He -- did he receive information, what kind of information, and what did he understand about the source of that information, right?
So in other words, someone could say, oh, I heard that there were e-mails on Hillary Clinton. I was told there were e-mails on Hillary Clinton. I wasn`t told where they came from. That`s a very different answer than yes, Paul Manafort told me or Roger Stone told me that there were e-mails that, you know, Russians had hacked from Hillary Clinton or the DNC, and that they were going to be -- so there -- those are very different facts, right, in terms of legal liability.
So the question that lawyers have to go through is to talk to their client about -- they also have to go through the documents by the way. They`re going to go through his e-mails. They`re going to look at whatever they think the prosecutors have so that they also understand whether or not an answer looks or appears inconsistent with some documentation.
MELBER: Right. And there`s a Republican official, Nick, who was talking to reporters this week saying you can see in Trump`s body language all this week, there`s something troubling him that led him to believe the walls are closing in. They`ve been notified by counsel of some actions about to happen, folks are preparing for the worst.
If you think Roger Stone is a rogue operative who didn`t do anything wrong or you were in touch with him and he`s about to be indicted, that may not concern you. If, however, you think that you were talking to him on the regs about all kinds of stuff, that might be exactly the kind of thing that would make you nervous.
AKERMAN: And it`s not just Roger Stone. It`s a whole panoply of people that were involved in the campaign that were connected with Stone, that were connected with the president. I mean Roger Stone was -- I mean sure Sam know he was very closely connected to Donald Trump. I mean they`ve known each other for eons. It was Roger Stone who encouraged Trump to run for president. Roger Stone has been a basic fixture in New York politics for a long time.
MELBER: And when you were before the grand jury, they were asking you about Roger Stone.
NUNBERG: Yes. Well, one of the first questions I got from special prosecutor was how often did they communicate. And my answer was I don`t think they communicated often in October because the president was on the campaign trail. With that said, I also think --
MELBER: With that, so you gave them what you say is your accurate understanding of the information?
NUNBERG: Wait. And you also --
MELBER: And you were always with them.
NUNBERG: Correct, correct. And with that said also, as we saw with the Steve Bannon e-mails where Roger starts attacking me, I had nothing to do with it, but in that Haberman story, Roger was almost persona non-grata once Paul was out in terms of the upper management of the campaign. With that said, he could have had direct access.
But I just want to bring up another point though. Besides the conspiracy or the collusion, in terms of the president`s response is, what he`s also doing here and you know this from your Watergate experience is on the obstruction. It is going to be harder for Nadler and the Judiciary Committee to argue on obstruction, that he`s obstructed this case, he`s handed over documents, he`s never fired anyone, he has no -- he has cooperated.
MELBER: Did you just say Donald Trump has never fired anyone?
NUNBERG: Well, you`re talking -- yes.
MELBER: And you know that`s not true. I mean he fired James Comey and then put in the letter you cleared me of wrongdoing three times. He linked it in the letter.
NUNBERG: I`m talking about Mueller. He`s never fired --
MELBER: He`s never fired Bob Mueller. But "The New York Times" reporting he attempted to fire Mueller. It was only Don McGahn who interceded there.
NUNBERG: True but he didn`t.
MELBER: Let me ask you one more thing before we go. I`m glad we cleared up that little item of recent history. This is on the politics side and you know a lot of these folks. You`re familiar with the term "Talking trash". And then there`s the notion of hot trash. Trash so hot that it`s on fire. I`m referring of course to a dumpster fire and a critic of the administration who is also married into the administration. We call that married to the game. George Conway who`s married to Kellyanne Conway and here`s what he said that`s making some waves.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE CONWAY: We`re watching this thing and, you know, it`s like the administration is like a show in a dumpster fire and I`m like I don`t want to do that. I don`t know. But I realize, you know, this guy`s going to be at war with the Justice Department.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: What do you make of that kind of criticism? Is it fair and the Kellyanne Conway of it all?
NUNBERG: Well, in terms of Kellyanne Conway, I`ve -- my -- I`ve always said I don`t want to talk about this. But my interpretation has been that George Conway was more than happy to become solicitor general. Let`s remember that. He -- I don`t know the reason why he would through his nomination. But what I do know is once he left Wachtell, he wasn`t a partner anymore. He was of counsel. These cost millions and millions of dollars. And I always thought that that was one of the reasons --
MELBER: Do you think he`s -- and by the way, (CROSSTALK) into the details. This person who`s held himself out as Mr. Resistance who happens to be married to Kellyanne Conway and happens to be a long-standing Republican, you think there`s just a personal bitterness?
WILEY: I don`t buy it. I don`t buy it`s personal bitterness. I don`t think you as an attorney go and burn bridges like that where your wife is eating. You know you usually don`t mess with where you eat unless you really believe what you`re saying. If you think about some of his op-eds on the constitutionality of appointing Whitaker, I mean I don`t -- those are very, very, very big steps to take just because you`re mad and he did withdraw.
But I do want to go back to one other point quickly which is, you know, Roger -- there were -- Trump was talking about -- just going back to the issue of conspiracy. He was talking about e-mails before October. I mean he was inviting Russians in July. So I`m assuming that you got asked questions about communications between Roger Stone and Trump before that.
NUNBERG: Well, look, yes, they wanted to know why was Roger --
WILEY: And you --
NUNBERG: Was Roger, in fact, fired? They wanted to know how often do they communicate. They wanted -- what was his involvement with getting Paul Manafort hired? What was Roger`s relationship with the campaign? What did he tell you?
Look, Roger has a lot of problems with the campaign, in terms of personal grievances he has, in terms of complaining to me about the way he was treated at the convention, things like that.
WILEY: Let`s remember this is the important point that Sam just made. We know that Mueller has asked and Paul Manafort`s attorneys have asked for more time for their status report to the court. And we know that he was, in fact, helped into the position of chairman of the campaign by Roger Stone.
MELBER: I got to get into Georgia news so real quick, Nick.
AKERMAN: I mean the idea that Sam is acknowledging the question was whether or not Roger Stone was really fired from the campaign is really critical. Because what it looks like is that was a ruse for him to go underground and be in the spot where he had plausible deniability about anything he did that would then be related to the campaign.
MELBER: Right. And in fairness, I don`t know that the public facts go that far but they certainly support some exposure for the idea that Donald Trump keeps in touch with people long after they leave the official campaign or government payroll.
Nick Akerman, Sam Nunberg, thank you both. An interesting discussion. Maya comes back for a very special supreme Fallback Friday.
As I mentioned, we have a breaking news update here on Georgia breaking this hour. Democrat Stacey Abrams says she will officially end her bid for the governorship. She says she`s not formally conceding but notes that she cannot win the race against Republican Brian Kemp. Abrams also says she`s going to continue to follow federal lawsuit over what she calls the gross "Mismanagement" of the state`s elections, a shot directly at him. And we`ll keep you updated on that story. It`s certainly not over,
Now coming up, Donald Trump gets a major defeat in court today, handed down by a conservative judge. In Trump`s own words may have cost him in that fight. Also, the Republican who celebrated her vote to repeal Obamacare with a selfie at the White House now also out of a job from the blue wave.
And a secret plan to potentially indict Julian Assange and was accidentally unveiled in federal court. It is a wild story. It could have Russia implications. It definitely has First Amendment implications.
All that plus, as I was saying with Maya, a very special Fallback Friday with Mary Wilson from the Supremes. I can`t wait.
I`m Ari Melber and you`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.
MELBER: Donald Trump defeated in court today. The president had tried to ban a T.V. reporter from the White House but a federal judge promptly ending that effort, ordering the White House to return press credential to T.V. Reporter Jim Acosta who routinely clashes with Trump including that heated exchange at a press conference last week. Now, "CNN" where he works invoked a longstanding precedent to argue the White House cannot discriminate and restrict press access because it disagrees with what the press reports.
Now, a "CNN`s" White House Correspondent Acosta has developed his own style of tangling with Trump. And to be honest, the president clearly relishes parts of it because he makes the point of elevating Acosta and using him as a kind of a symbol for the perception of an overzealous and unfair press corps. But today`s ruling matters regardless of what one thinks about those press conferences because it does show the justice system swiftly working and Trump losing at least one battle in his war on the free press.
Let`s get right to it. I want to bring in Jay Rosen, Chairman of NYU`s Department of Journalism and an adviser for the correspondent a member- funded new site and Mark Thompson host of Sirius XM`s Make It Plain. Thanks to both of you being here on an important press story.
Why did Donald Trump lose this way and is this what he wanted?
JAY ROSEN, CHAIRMAN, NYU DEPARTMENT OF JOURNALISM: He lost because he had no fair procedures for denying Acosta press pass. He lost because he was clearly trying to take out his frustration on an individual reporter. And he lost because the White House kept shifting its stories about why he was doing this from one to another and the judge was not impressed with their reasoning.
MELBER: So you just said something important which is the shifting and the lying didn`t work on a single judge who`s a fact-finder which is very different from when it works on some of the media or some of our political discourse, the same tactic.
ROSEN: Yes, a single judge who was a Donald Trump appointee. That tells us that our system is still working to some degree because the law and democracies guardrails are still in place. So it was a significant moment for freedom of the press.
MELBER: Take a look, Jay at Acosta and Trump in one of their exchanges.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: What they said though is that we have to create rules and regulations for conduct. I think you should let me run the country, you run CNN.
ACOSTA: All right.
TRUMP: And if you did it well, your ratings --
ACOSTA: But let me ask -- if I may ask one question.
TRUMP: That`s enough.
ACOSTA: Mr. President, if I may ask one question.
TRUMP: Go ahead.
ACOSTA: Are you worried --
TRUMP: That`s enough. That`s enough.
ACOSTA: But Mr. President, I was going to ask one other --
TRUMP: That`s enough.
ACOSTA: The other folks --
TRUMP: That`s enough.
ACOSTA: Pardon me, ma`am. I`m -- Mr. President --
TRUMP: That`s enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: As a press critic having stipulated that the ruling was good, is that a perfect way for him to occupy that role?
ROSEN: Well, I think Acosta and "CNN" generally, also NBC, "Washington Post", "New York Times" represent hate objects for the president and he uses them to solidify his support with his base. In a way, he ran on this. He ran on the promise that he would put these people down for supporters who are alienated and angry with the news media and that is one promise he has kept. And so Acosta has sort of helped him do that with his style but the fact remains, you cannot discriminate against one reporter you don`t like and that`s what the court ruled today.
MARK THOMPSON, HOST, SIRIUS XM MAKE IT PLAIN: Well, etiquette`s even worse than discrimination. First of all, he did lose. That`s a big loss. He`s probably in denial about it like he`s in denial about losing to the blue wave but he continues to play to that base. That`s what he wants to do. He`s always targeted "CNN", always attacked "CNN".
Frankly, I wish -- I know there were some solidarity around the lawsuit but I think it`s high time the media`s overall approach reconsidered -- be reconsidered. Maybe he sees -- because he`s having a tantrum this evening saying if he does it again, I`ll walk out or I`ll throw him out. We need decorum which is really projection because, you know, that`s the conversation White House, how he needs to behave with decorum but he keeps having these tantrums. He`s still making these threats to a news agency that was targeted by a bomber wearing one of Donald Trump`s hats.
So in that regard, to me it`s even worse than discrimination. He has not let up at all and I think is furthermore proven just how much of a puppet he is to Vladimir Putin because he`s treating the press pretty much the same way Putin treats the press in Russia.
MELBER: Well, I wouldn`t say that the facts support going that far because Putin is widely accused of human rights abuses that involve jailings and killings. But I just want to put that on the record. I also want to look at the types of fights he picks because the "CNN" thinks seems to be its own thing. And I`m trying to cover that as objectively as possible. Viewers know they also are our competitor. There`s another thing he does that`s gotten called out more recently -
MELBER: -- which is attack reporters who are black.
THOMPSON: That`s right.
MELBER: It`s really that simple.
THOMPSON: Black women.
MELBER: Black women. Let`s take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You are a rude terrible person. What a stupid question that is. What a stupid question but I watch you a lot, you ask a lot of stupid questions. I know you`re not thinking. You never do. You`re creating violence by your questions, you know. You are creating you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: I show you that, Mark because how do you view that when so many of those interactions are -- and Trump understands this more than most politicians. He is a master of television production. They`re isolated shots of him. So does it come more from in your view a personal place about who he thinks should be questioning him or is it also do you think a type of theatre because he thinks his -- some of his supporters will get some kind of message from this?
THOMPSON: I think it`s both. And I do think it`s personal. I mean the expressions, he makes personal attacks calling people stupid, calling other people races, again more examples of projection. And again, I would say in terms of solid ear for the media -- solid ear from the media, the next time he holds a formal press conference, I think every news agency should send nothing but women of color to question him and one man Jim Acosta. All right. All nothing but women of color and Jim Acosta.
MELBER: Now, I think you`re just writing fan fiction.
THOMPSON: No, I mean I think that`s what needs to happen because, you know, he`s only speaking to these black women in their fashion and Jim Acosta. Now granted he`s attacked a few people on his network as well but of late this has gotten pretty, pretty bad.
MELBER: And finally, Jay, how does the press do better?
ROSEN: Well, I think they have to understand that the White House is no longer a place where they pick up useful information and interviewing the president is no longer a way that they can find out what`s going on in the country. What Trump says is as likely to misinform the public as it is to let Americans know what`s going on.
They have to understand that. They have to realize that we`ve seen that pattern already and we know what`s going to happen. And they have to bracket or displace Trump`s words from the center of the news and start to present their own portrait, not dependent on him of what`s going on. That`s a big shift from what the president says is news as a general rule of behavior.
MELBER: Right. You`re talking about a full paradigm shift of promises and you`ve been writing about that. But it`s so important because you don`t have to be an experienced journalist, let alone a journalism professor like yourself to know we`re in a different era.
MELBER: You have such a habitual liar running the federal government.
ROSEN: Yes, yes.
MELBER: And that means the people who cover information really have to change the way we cover information.
What I`m going to do is fit in a very quick break. Jay Rosen and Mark Thompson, thanks to both of you.
When we turn to the blue wave of flipping, I have some very special guests about why what used to be Reagan country is now blue when we`re back in 30 seconds.
MELBER: Now, the biggest political story of the month. This Blue Wave is driving even deeper into red territory and that`s with news coming into us tonight. Mimi Walters, the latest Republican to lose a House seat. This one to Democrat Katie Porter and that turns what used to be a Reagan Country stronghold out there in Orange County, California totally blue. You can see the shift right here on your screen between just one cycle from 2016 to 2018. Wow.
Now, like many Republicans, Walters was apparently hurt by her votes and long-standing position against Obamacare and for gutting the law. Here she was taking selfies in the infamous Rose Garden Party with Trump at the White House. We`ll show you those in a second. There she goes. That was something she was touting at the time that clearly hurt her. And it`s part of what you see on your screen now.
The 36 seats up from our projection of 35. The Democrats` biggest wave election since Watergate with women voters and women candidates. And before the election, you may recall we interviewed eight first time women candidates. Of those, we can tell you, three have won their races.
Joining me now --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEB HAALAND (D), NEW MEXICO CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT: There`s never been a Native American woman in Congress.
JAHANA HAYES (D), CONNECTICUT CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT: Connecticut as well has never sent an African-American woman to Congress.
KATIE PORTER (D), CALIFORNIA CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT: I`m a working single mom of three young children and it`s very much part of who I am.
HAALAND: I`m a single mom. I know what it`s like to struggle.
HAYES: I need to speak up for people like me, people -- my students, their families, my community.
PORTER: Our democracy is only as rich and as vibrant as the voices that we hear in it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: From candidates to Congresswoman. Joining me now is Liz Plank, host of Vox Media`s Consider It show on Facebook and Howell Raines, former editor of "The New York Times". Thanks to both of you for being here.
LIZ PLANK, HOST, VOX MEDIA SHOW: Thank you, Ari.
HOWELL RAINES, FORMER EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Thanks, Ari.
MELBER: Liz, this is a story that has unfolded over a long time. You can measure it from the Women`s March at the dawn of the governing Trump era. You can measure to the Me Too movement which often was non-electoral in its initial focus. Or you can measure it up to what we saw there which is a lot of women running who were telling us, as they told many people, they told voters, that in the old days, nobody asked them to run. And this year they said, "We`re running anyway."
PLANK: Right. And it`s very powerful not just to see these women running but to see these women win, right. After 2016, there was so much invigoration. The Women`s March was huge and the energy amongst women was huge but it was from largely a deception, right, a disappointment of seeing Hillary Clinton lose to one of the most unqualified man to ever run for president.
And so to see these women, these, yes single mothers, regular American women of all shapes and sizes, of all perspectives, of all, you know, ethnic, minorities to women of different sexual orientations, all of these women winning is very powerful.
MELBER: Howell, this blue wave seems to be building over day after day after day. I was down in Florida, we`ll talk more about that later. That`s a state where it`s not one election day, you know, it`s days. And we`re reporting tonight on a new seat in California because it takes so long. How does that in your view affect the way the media tells the story and the way the country understands just how big this election was?
RAINES: Well, I think it`s turned the wave into a bit of a slow rising flood but it`s here now and it`s a reality. I was tempted when you showed the map of California to say I`m glad the Gipper didn`t leave to live to see Orange County turned blue because that is the heart of Reagan country. I do want to say one thing though about this blue wave. It`s put a stack of blue chips on in the hands of the Democratic Party and I find it hard that they`re going to bet all those new blue chips on the old leadership of the Washington-New York axis as represented by Nancy Pelosi.
I think the message from middle America is they want a different kind of Democratic leadership and so I think the press may be going too quickly back to your question about coverage to assuming that her re-election is a certainty.
MELBER: Well you -- that`s been a debate roiling the party. Last night on THE BEAT we had Jan Schakowsky was part of leadership and was very tough in saying why would you change the woman who`s led the Democrats to the place where they have what we just showed a 40-year victory in the House? Meanwhile, far less talk and Rachel Maddow`s made this point as well about changing Chuck Schumer who`s sitting on losses. But there`s also the diversity aspects of this which is a big deal in a caucus for the Democrats that`s getting more diverse. Let me play Marcia Fudge talking about her meeting with Pelosi and about this question about a challenger. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARCIA FUDGE (D), OHIO: She did not tell me not to run. The meeting went very well. We had a good discussion. And I told her I`d get back to her. She`s done it well and she enjoys doing it. I have to decide if I want to do that too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LIZ PLANK, HOST, VOX MEDIA: Yes, I think you know, we`re used to seeing -- first of all, there`s been this freshman class right, of a primarily young women of color who have been very vocal. We had Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez who actually visited activist, environmental activists who were you know, taking over Nancy Pelosi`s office and making demands in terms of an environmental policy and I think that`s a really good thing. I think a lot of people in the media we went straight to, well this is division this is bad but this is making the Democratic Party better ultimately not just pushing them on it on the environment but pushing them to consider that the environment is related --
MELBER: And isn`t that -- what you`re saying, isn`t that part of what the tea party model is not obvious ideologically but politically was to keep pressing leadership. In other words, it`s not only whether Nancy Pelosi has the votes and stays leader but even if she`s leader, is there going to be upward pressure on this stuff?
PLANK: Absolutely. And we`re seeing you know, the conversation between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nancy Pelosi if we`re just going to use it as a sort of case study. It`s been really interesting to see them go back and forth. There`s not necessarily confrontation, it`s not the Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is going after her necessarily but she`s trying to yes, come to an agreement, trying to push the party on positions that ultimately led them to win this election in the first place.
MELBER: Well, and as Rick Ross says, idols can become rivals.
PLANK: There you go.
MELBER: Think about it Howell. Think about it --
RAINES: I`ve seen it many times.
MELBER: Well, there you go. Liz, I`m going to let you go. Howell, I`m going to keep you because I keep adding icons to our The Supremes "FALLBACK FRIDAY" with Mary Wilson which I`m just very excited about.
RAINES: I`m outgunned.
MELBER: My thanks to both of you in this segment though. And up ahead, before we go to "FALLBACK." This bombshell about Julian Assange, the DOJ inadvertently revealed that maybe they want to indict the WikiLeaks founder, and what does this tell us about Mueller circling, of course, Roger Stone. I`ve got new reporting on that as well next.
MELBER: Now here is a serious leak. We have now a revelation that federal prosecutors were at least exploring criminal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This is a bombshell and it comes basically as far as we can tell because a prosecutor made a mistake and inserted Assange`s name in an unrelated filing, a kind of a cut and paste error, referring to Assange`s "charge" and writing the complaint should "remain sealed until Assange were to be arrested." And the U.S. attorney says the filing was made an error. Assange right now of course still hiding out in Ecuadorian embassy in London and fears arrest from perhaps more than one country.
Now, let`s be clear about this story before we go any further. No one knows if this leak means that there are charges that would be brought because of WikiLeaks 2010 publishing of secret diplomatic cables, something the Obama administration explored but declined to do, or the more salacious more recent story of leaking information that is allegedly traced back to Russian hackers. We also don`t know if the charges would only be based on the publishing of material which sounds a lot like what news organizations do or does some other larger crimes, like actively conspiring with a foreign country or actively stealing material.
We do know though before I turn to my experts some salient fact here. In Bob Mueller`s investigation, he`s already referred to WikiLeaks in that indictment of 12 Russian hackers. He called it quote organization one and identified it as allegedly the place that Russia used to get their stolen e-mails out. I`m joined now by John Flannery, a former Federal Prosecutor and Betsy Woodruff, a Reporter for The Daily Beast. This is a story that many people have speculated about but Betsy this is the first time we`ve seen any public reference in any federal Justice Department material about doing this. So while it hasn`t been done, that alone is big. What`s your view?
BETSY WOODRUFF, REPORTER, DAILY BEAST: This is a mistake with massive consequences not just for America`s diplomatic relationship with the government of Ecuador and with the government of the United Kingdom, but also of course for the DOJ. This sort of pulls back the curtain in terms of how the United States government is thinking about Julian Assange. Now, one important word of caution here as you indicated a little earlier is that we have no idea what he could be charged with and it`s entirely within the realm of possibility that these charges are not exactly showstoppers.
One cybersecurity expert who I was in touch with earlier today pointed out that in the past it`s been reported that Julian Assange hacked or in somehow spied on the Ecuadorians who were hosting him in the Ecuadorian Embassy. If he were to use some tool like phishing in order to enact or use that type of surveillance, then that could potentially implicate him for computer crimes. That could be a crime totally unrelated to the privacy, secrecy work that he`s been doing that`s made him world famous over the last decade.
MELBER: Which is -- which is a good caution although, John Flannery, I`m not sure that if the activity occurred wholly outside the U.S. jurisdiction with no U.S. Nexus and I know it`s Friday night, I don`t mean everyone to get excited, I don`t know that they`d have much there. But let`s start with the most straightforward interpretation legally, John. If this were to be a charge only for the publishing of material by I guess the Trump DOJ, would that be concerning because that would potentially apply to all kinds of other publishers?
JOHN FLANNERY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, I think that the publishing of material alone without more would be close to the protections we`ve given to journalists. But I think the difference is that we`d have to look at here, we`ll have to wait and see the complaint or the indictment the results if there is one, would be, did he cooperate with Guccifer too. Did he have an intent to interfere in our election and to do irreparable damage concurrently in 2016 when the election was on.
MELBER: And you`re talking about conspiring. But if it was just the publishing, like take the 2010 cables which the Obama folks looked at, do you think that kind of prosecution could hold up in court just for publishing?
FLANNERY: Well, you`re talking about Chelsea Manning or you`re talking --
FLANNERY: Yes. Well, there was also a charge in that that might distinguish that. That is they held off prosecuting so it said, but he was involved in asked about decryption by Manning. And if he had done that, he might move himself into a different category. And there`s a question of knowledge intent and the kind of conduct and for what purpose, and the communication with Guccifer in the more recent one if that`s the one, involved timing with Guccifer for the release of the information that would directly have more momentum and affect the election. So I think that`s different than a journalist just publishing what he has.
Again we`re theorizing based on what has been public before by Guccifer and whether it was passed. It`s like a daisy chain that had come from the Russians to him, we believe so, and then it involved Roger Stone, and then we have Bannon saying he got it. And I`m not sure we can accept his story but that admission is significant because it connects the Russians through this interference with the campaign and sort of like the second act and I think Mueller`s investigation.
MELBER: Right. Betsy, the filing itself doesn`t have a direct link at all to the Special Counsel probe. Do you have any clues that suggest whether this might be related?
WOODRUFF: We just don`t know. And I would feel a little bit -- a little bit nervous speculating. One thing we do know is that people in the WikiLeaks orbit for years now have thought that there was a sealed indictment in the Eastern District of Virginia where this filing was made against Julian Assange. And that`s one of the major sources of concern for people in Assange`s orbited that that that charge was already on the books secretly. It`s totally plausible that that was there and that it predates the Mueller investigation at the same time, also possible that this is a new thing and that is part of the Special Counsel probe.
MELBER: And the cut and paste type of leaks, it`s just fascinating for those of us who`ve been watching this and we will stay on the story till we get more actionable clues. Betsy Woodruff and John Flannery, thanks to both of you. Up ahead, it`s been a long week. Who needs to fall back? Well, the Supremes` Mary Wilson is here straight ahead.
MELBER: It`s Friday on THE BEAT so you know it is time to fall back. And today we are joined by legendary singer Mary Wilson, Founding Member of The Supremes, that`s right. A group with 12 number-one hits, you know them, including Where Our Love Go and Stop in the Name of Love.
MARY WILSON, SINGER: That`s right. Think it over.
MELBER: She`s been inductee for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and author of a best-selling memoir, Dream Girl: My Life as a Supreme. Also, another icon is here, Maya Wiley, former counsel to the mayor of New York City and a Senior Vice President for Social Justice at the New School and another icon, Howell Raines former New York Times Executive Editor, the author of multiple books including another bestseller Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis. It is wonderful to have the three of you here together.
WILSON: Thank you very much.
MAYA WILEY, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you.
MELBER: Miss Wilson, I`ll begin to you with our big question. Who would you like to see fall back?
WILSON: Is it who? I don`t know if it`s who or it`s --
MELBER: It could be who, it could be what.
WILSON: Right. Now, my daughter -- I`m going to take this out of my ear.
MELBER: Take it out.
WILSON: I feel like I want to stop and sing. But anyway, thinking over. So I -- my daughter is 42 years old. She`s one of those Millennials, right? And when I go to a bank or Starbucks or whatever and they say Mary, and I`m looking at these kids who are like 15 years old calling me, Mary. Well, I`m 74 and a half years old. And so it took me a long time to grow up. Not that I`ve grown up yet but I still feel that the respect that elders -- we used to give our elders, you know, Mr. So and so, Miss So and so, it`s not very longer. And I know a lot of the Millennials are like CEOs of companies now. When we were young we didn`t have that.
MELBER: You didn`t have that.
WILSON: But that`s happening now right? And I just think that we need -- I want to give a little is it fall back now?
MELBER: Yes, "FALLBACK."
WILSON: We used to -- when I was growing up, we didn`t say that. Is that a new word made up by who?
MELBER: It`s a little new, yes. But it`s not just us on the show, it`s a real thing.
WILSON: No, I know that. But everyone`s changing the meaning of things, and we just -- girl, get out of here. You know --
MELBER: Right, get out of here. It`s kind of like "get out of here."
WILSON: So, that`s what I mean. So when they say that to me, I`m like well, what are they talking about fall back? Does someone fall back you know, or whatever?
MELBER: I think what you`re -- what you`re talking about, you know, we --
WILSON: You tell me what I`m talking about.
MELBER: Well, I`ll talk to you about what you`re talking about.
WILSON: I want to see your notes. No, go ahead.
MELBER: I got -- I need notes. That`s just shows I`m prepared but --
WILSON: Let me see those notes. OK.
MELBER: You`re -- we quote lyrics sometimes for inspiration, we quote the great Biggie Smalls, we talked about the Ten Crack Commandments, but I feel like -- I feel like you`re talking about the original ten commandments and one of them was honor thy mother and thy father, honor your elders.
WILSON: Yes, your elders and we don`t do that any longer. And I think that that`s something we should bring back, OK. That`s my thing. You can call me Miss --
MELBER: I`m just going to say, Amen.
WILSON: You can call me Miss --
MELBER: Can I say Amen?
WILSON: Amen. I mean, you can -- you can say, Miss Wilson, Miss -- you know.
MELBER: Miss Wilson.
WILSON: Thank you for that.
MELBER: You know what, I`m going to stick to that for at least for now.
WILSON: I mean, I am older. I don`t look older but you know, yes, I want that respect.
MELBER: Well, I don`t know if I could say this Miss Wilson --
WILSON: Who say that?
MELBER: I would say you look fly, can I say that?
WILSON: Now, how old are you?
MELBER: How old am I?
WILSON: Yes, you said I look fly. You know, I`ll talk to your mama about that boy.
MELBER: I`m 38.
WILSON: Oh my God.
MELBER: Does that mean I could say it or I can`t say it? I don`t know how this works.
WILSON: No, no, you can.
MELBER: OK, thank you.
WILSON: I have a son, a daughter 42. I mean, you can meet my son. (INAUDIBLE)
MELBER: OK, well, there you go. Maya, I think -- Maya, who needs -- Maya, first of all I`m sorry you can`t top that, but who needs to fall back?
WILEY: I really can`t top that. I just -- I do want to say for the record though that my two daughters would say, Miss Mary.
WILSON: Because you brought them up then, right?
WILEY: Because we brought them up to say -- and it was Mr. Howell within the southern tradition.
WILSON: Yes. Well, I`m from Mississippi so I know exactly what you`re talking about.
WILEY: I know. We got the Texas end of that. I had a long list this week so it`s a tough one but I am going to start with Representative Tim Ryan and his binder full of women moment when he talked about there being plenty of competent females who could be Speaker of the House. So as a confident female, I would like to say don`t call me confident.
MELBER: And fall back in the in that race. What about you Howell, who needs to fall back?
RAINES: I`ve got a targeted fall back that relates to another southern state, Alabama. I want to say to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions fall back into a rich Republican law firm or into a K Street lobbying firm and like make lots of money and don`t fall back to Alabama and run for your old Senate seat --
MELBER: Where he might try to run again now that he got out of the job.
RAINES: Against Doug Jones who`s off to a good start representing the working families of Alabama rather than its corporate leadership.
MELBER: Well, I mean that`s a strong one everyone and everyone is wondering what Jeff is going to do. I am fresh, fresh back from Florida today.
WILSON: Oh my God.
MELBER: My "FALLBACK" is for the Florida elections officials and Brenda Snipes who I could tell you from firsthand reporting have a lot of trouble just doing the job and making sure every vote counts which is an important job and it was all over the place. You couldn`t even predict what was going to happen. We`re going to show just a little bit of what we saw this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: The seal is being broken on these boxes of preserved ballots and the recounting underway.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They might go to the shelters and see Desiree, do you want to vote? Hi, my vote was not counted.
MELBER: Dogs have a lot of rights, they don`t have the right to vote.
BRENDA SNIPES, ELECTION SUPERVISOR, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIA: We`ve been desperately trying to get the (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did you meet the deadline?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I uploaded by 3:00 like I`m supposed to.
MELBER: Breaking news, Broward County now admits they submitted their recount numbers two minutes late and thus under the rules the results apparently will not count.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Meanwhile, in Florida we`re sort of running out of adjectives to describe what`s going on.
JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN: Of course this is on brand with the state slogan which is Florida where everything is wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILSON: Oh my God.
WILEY: Florida, where everything is wrong, says it all. I mean, come on. You know, there used to be a time when we had this thing called a civil rights movement. And when we had the civil rights movement, we were fighting for the right to vote. And now it`s as if the civil rights movement didn`t happen. If you look at Georgia, if you look at Florida, it`s just straight up old-fashioned poll tax like interference with votes from people they think will vote.
WILSON: And who would think that at this time in age you know, this would be going on? I mean, I remember my mom and couldn`t not read nor write. You know, she would run to the polls and vote because that was her right. She would be -- right now, she`d say hold on a minute girl, what`s going on here. You know, I`ve marched to be able to write -- to vote. So yes -- two minutes -- two minutes late?
MELBER: Two minutes, yes. Two minutes (INAUDIBLE). Almost as much as six. It is unbelievable. It is an honor to have you here and I will say, the only something else about Florida is amidst all of these problems there was a bipartisan coalition also restoring voting rights to ex-convicts last week so there was there`s progress mixed in with what we saw down there which was messy.
WILEY: Can we just agree that racism needs to fall back and anti-Semitism and some --
WILEY: I`m just going to say.
MELBER: And now they`re telling me I`m over time, but it was worth it.
WILEY: Yes, darling.
MELBER: Darling. Mary Wilson, thank you.
WILSON: I`m sorry.
MELBER: You`re a joy. You`re a joy. I love it.
WILSON: I thought you said I was a joke.
MELBER: A joy, a joy. And Mia Wiley and Howell Raines, thanks to all of you. If you`re in New York, one more thing you need to know. Check out Miss Wilson`s Cafe Carlyle debut November 20th through 24.
WILSON: Oh, thank you.
MELBER: That`s our show, "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews starts now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END
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