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Trump braces for reports on Manafort and Cohen. TRANSCRIPT: 12/6/18, The Beat w/ Ari Melber

Guests: Matt Miller, Astead Herndon, Joaquin Castro, Nick Akerman

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST:  All over the country as we`ve all said our goodbyes to President George H.W. Bush.  Those cannons were fired just prior to the concluding prayer at a private burial service at the Bush Library as the 41st president.  He was laid to rest next to his beloved wife and daughter.

That`s all for tonight.  We will be back tomorrow with more MTP DAILY. 

"THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER" starts right now.  Good evening, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Chuck and thank you for that.

We are covering a lot of big stories tonight.  There is new pressure on Trump family members because Mueller is readying for these key filings tomorrow.

Also, Donald Trump`s hypocrisy, this is new, put on blast today by his own undocumented housekeeper.  She`s obviously risking everything to speak out tonight.  We`re going to bring you that story later.  And I have a special report for you later tonight on Speaker Paul Ryan, his legacy and the lessons.

But we begin with the top story that is looking like everyone`s top story in Washington right now.  Bob Mueller with a deadline tomorrow for not one, but two guilty former Trump aides, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen which means Mueller could reveal details on why he ripped up Manafort`s plea deal.  Because to blow up that deal, Mueller must explain the nature of Manafort`s crimes and lies that led to what you might call their legal break up.

And there is no nice way to say this.  Manafort was convicted of being a liar, a cheater, and the head of an international financial criminal conspiracy.  So really people already know that.  What we don`t know is what else he did after all of that stuff that he got convicted for that got his big deal with the special counsel blown up.

And then there is this other deadline, 5:00 p.m. tomorrow, a sentencing r recommendation for Michael Cohen and that involves not only Bob Mueller who oversaw 70 hours of interviews with Cohen, getting all kinds of Intel, but also separate crimes investigated by those prosecutors in New York.  Now that could be very interesting tomorrow.

It could reveal new directions in the whole Mueller probe or in other criminal probes.  It could even suggest new names who could be in hot water in the special counsel probe which is why just about everyone in Washington right now I can tell you, Republicans and Democrats, Partisans, as well as reporters, everyone agreeing basically on one thing.  It`s time to gear up for Mueller Friday.

But I also owe you the facts beyond all that excitement which is, I have to tell you, it`s possible we won`t learn any big bombshell information tomorrow.  And that is, as you may have seen us do around here, because of this.  Mueller might not want us to know the information yet.  He might not want us to see it just like he didn`t with these Flynn filings.  So bob Mueller can take any sense of information he wants and he can redact it or he can submit it under seal.

So yes, I want to be clear, the excitement that you are hearing right now is real.  A lot of people, as I just mentioned, are excited to find out what`s going to be in these filings tomorrow.  And it could be a lot and could be public.  But no, it doesn`t mean that anything must be revealed because Mueller doesn`t have to reveal anything sensitive.  He can always show it to the judge to prove his case without showing it to us.

Now, with that in mind, think about where the White House is at.  New reporting tonight, they have no plan for how to handle the next stage of this with leaks that they are not even putting together even a draft plan that Trump sometimes rips up.  Explaining their approach now is more like, "Jesus, take the wheel, but scarier."  Take from that which you will a new reporting from "The Atlantic".

And then a piece of international news that`s also relevant.  Ecuador`s president today signaling that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could actually be extradited to the United States.  That obviously ties in with a lot of other loose ends that Bob Mueller is probing.

Let me bring in former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, former Chief Spokesman to the DOJ under the Obama administration, Matt Miller and Astead Herndon, a national political reporter for "The New York Times" who`s been covering a lot of this.

Matt Miller, your view as someone right at the intersection.  Tomorrow is one of those days, that was your job.  What can become public and what the public and the media makes of it?  As well as all the rules and ways that Bob Mueller can hold certain things back.  How do you view that and where do you see this going?

MATT MILLER, FORMER CHIEF SPOKESMAN, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT:  You know, Ari, I think you are right what you alluded to, man.  I think we will be once again kind of reading between the redactions tomorrow.  But there are a couple of things I can quick and hope to find out.  One in the New York filing.  I am actually most interested to see what the Southern District of New York has to say about Michael Cohen`s cooperation.

Remember, a few months ago in August, Michael Cohen stood up in court and said the president of the United States directed him to commit a crime and that they violated campaign finance regulations.  So we don`t know what`s happening with that investigation since then.  We know it`s ongoing.  And I want to -- I hope we will find out tomorrow how significant Cohen`s cooperation has been in that case in the extent to which it`s ongoing.

And then in the other filing, in the Manafort filing, I think the critical question is what were the lies that he committed?  Were they just related to his own personal financial dealings?  Were they related to his lobbying business?  Or was there some secret related to the president that he was trying to protect?

If it`s the latter, I think we`ll see it redacted.  If it`s the former, I think we`ll see it completely open because it doesn`t have anything to do with the rest of the investigation.  I think that`s a big question we should be looking for.

MELBER:  That is very big.  I`m going to go back to you on it and then Joyce.  Your view is, if the lies relate to something that brings in Michael Cohen and these other dealings we`ve been hearing so much about, that`s the kind of thing that Mueller may show to the judge to say hey, these are big lies but not show to us.

MILLER:  Yes, I think so because that relates to a lie involving the president and his campaign and the aspect of the Russia investigation.  That`s most likely something that Mueller is still investigating and he won`t want the public to know about it.  But more importantly, he won`t want the president, any other witnesses or subjects to know that.

That said, if it gets in front of the judge, you know, under seal, I think there is something important about these filings that getting them out of the executive branch and into the hands of an independent judge, if the investigation ever is shut down or ended, there`s someone else outside the executive branch who has the ability and the authority to make all of it public.

MELBER:  Joyce?

JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY:  So I think Matt is exactly right about this.  From a prosecutor`s point of view, you are hesitant to share information about your ongoing investigations in the public and that`s not because you are trying to keep it concealed, it`s not because you`re trying to disappoint people, it`s because you want the investigations to get to their conclusion.  You want all of the evidence that`s out there to get into your hands.

And for instance, if people become aware that they are investigated or if people learn precisely where you are headed, it can become more difficult to acquire that information.  It can even become dangerous for investigators.  So you will see prosecutors until everything is complete hold on to it very tightly.

And then there is a second layer of that.  Information that you obtained through the grand jury can`t just be released willy-nilly.  It`s very tightly constrained until it becomes used in court or in certain other situations.  So prosecutors have to hold that very closely.  I`m afraid that that`s what we will see tomorrow.  It may be disappointing.  Mueller has been much more --

MELBER:  Are you afraid -- Joyce, are you afraid as a news consumer who wants more exciting news tomorrow?  Is that what you mean?

VANCE:  Yes, I think for us news consumers, it may not be great.  He has been a lot more forthcoming I think in indictments than in these sorts of ancillary pleadings.

MELBER:  Right because I would imagine the other side of you -- and we are happy.  We`re very happy at MSNBC to have you so interested in interesting news days.  I imagine the prosecutor side, you would be perfectly comfortable with that because it may be the most judicious way for him to proceed.

VANCE:  Absolutely.  The prosecutor side of me is still at war with Matt telling Matt you can`t reveal any information in my cases to the public.  And Matt saying "Come on, just a little bit."

MELBER:  I want to ask you your view of all of the above, plus take a look at Rudy Giuliani speaking as he does in a manner that`s so odd about his client.  I don`t know why he said this but I will show you what he says now tonight.  "Answering these questions from Mueller for Trump was a nightmare.  It took him about three weeks to do what would normally take two days."

ASTEAD HERNDON, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES:  I mean I think I agree with the others on the question of the filings tomorrow.  We have seen the special counsel kind of prioritize these indictments over the plea filings.  And so we may not have the kind of bombshell evening that many of us have been hoping for especially from the news side.  And I think that we have seen the special counsel be really judicious in what he reveals to the public.  And I expect that probably to continue.

On this question of the president`s lawyer, I mean, you know, Rudy Giuliani has said so many statements to try to litigate this to the public.  I mean this seems like another one in which we don`t really know what to make of it.  You have the president himself that said previously that it was no problem for him to answer these questions, that he did it all himself.

Now, we have this president`s lawyer saying that it was a nightmare for him and it took three weeks.  You know what that means?  I mean it`s kind of unclear because as we`ve seen previously, Giuliani has often attempted to posture through the media and that has always had to come to the daylight with the president himself.

And so just because the president`s lawyer is saying one thing, we don`t know number one, sometimes we don`t know how accurate that is and other times, we don`t know if that reflects the president`s personal views and we can get the total opposite thing coming tweet tomorrow.

MELBER:  Right.  Well, and Astead on that, I`m going to give you a little more for your analysis.  And you report for "The New York Times" which is known as a very careful publication.  You don`t use the L word, lie, you know, liberally.  You don`t just throw out big attacks on folks without the evidence.  And here`s a little more of Rudy and he sounds like he is being candid.  I don`t know if he`s being fake handed or not but when you look at everything that`s happened, he says - this is in the reporting.  The president has devoted much energy to following Manafort`s case rather than prepping for the expected full Mueller report.  "The thing that upsets Potus the most is the treatment of Manafort," Giuliani said.

I wonder how, as an objective journalist, you view that statement because Paul Manafort is someone that previously Trump himself has tried to minimize, not oh, I care so much about how he was treated and but he only worked for me briefly.  He was out in it for himself, et cetera.

HERNDON:  Yes.  I think this actually squares what some of the statements we have seen from the president in the past.  When I hear that, I think about how the president has at times used his Twitter account to encourage people like Manafort or Roger Stone who have kind of defied the special counsel and other investigators and he has prized their "guts or loyalty" while at times he has derided people like Michael Cohen or who are said to have worked more closely with the special counsel.

And so this to me seems like another example of that where the president and those around him are giving kind of a thumbs up to those who stay kind of at arm`s length from the special counsel and saying that the president, that is behavior that he`s admired and he said that himself.

MELBER:  Right.  Matt, I want to bring you in on the other piece of this that I mentioned briefly on our top, a lot of different things happening.  But Ecuador is signaling in any way that Assange might actually get prosecuted somewhere is a shift and obviously comes at a fascinating time.  And there is a wide and long-running debate over whether WikiLeaks as a normal publishing outfit should be prosecuted for anything.

And then there is this narrower debate over whether at some point WikiLeaks or people involved in WikiLeaks did something that looked more like state action on behalf of Russia.  That brings us to a person named Ted Malloch who is not a household name but who was actually the person that Jerome Corsi reached out to try to get to WikiLeaks for Roger Stone.

And here is new reporting from "The Guardian" which is close to some of this British line of reporting saying basically Mueller`s investigators have now asked Malloch this academic about his frequent appearances on RT which is a close relationship with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Matt, do you see this as a place where Mueller may actually be finding a crime or he is just trying to get the ducks in a row of all these people around WikiLeaks?

MILLER:  I think there is potentially something here.  Look, this might be the links and the chain that we haven`t yet been able to see.  We know that on August 2, Jerome Corsi told Roger Stone the timing, rough timing in October and the content related to Podesta of the upcoming WikiLeaks dump.  We don`t know where Jerome Corsi got that information.

He says, and he told you, of course, that he kind of invented -- he came up with that on his own in a plane.  I don`t think anyone believes it.  Well, this "Guardian" --

MELBER:  Well, Matt, in fairness, he said on this program that it was a kind of "divine intervention" on a flight with his wife on their 20th anniversary.  It came to him and then he knew it.  And I just want to put that on the record as a serious claim.

MILLER:  Fair.  So maybe that`s a better claim to reality.  So back in the real world, we don`t know where he got it.  We don`t know where he got it from but we know that Ted Malloch was the person that he was going to reach out to or did reach out.  He says he didn`t get an answer.

And "The Guardian" now says that Ted Malloch who was frequently on RT, who talked to RT, that RT went that very day to the embassy and interviewed Assange.  So this is a lot of speculation.  We don`t know but you can see where the link would be which is from Assange to RT to Ted Malloch to Corsi to Stone and then maybe to the president or maybe somewhere around the step.

What we don`t know and what the prosecutor, what Mueller`s team will obviously be trying to put together is every link of that chain, interviewing everyone involved.  And we know they`ve interviewed a number of them, Corsi and Malloch, and trying to see whether they can put that together.  And obviously, if they can ever get their hands on Assange, if he is indicted or he seems to be -- he is indicted, if he is extradited, they can threaten him with charges and try, probably a long shot, but try to get him to cooperate as well.

MELBER:  And while I got you, did your old boss think that there was a good case to indict Assange at that point of history?

MILLER:  You know I should probably just talk about what the department did.  The department didn`t indict him.  There were no charges unsealed at the time.  It was --

MELBER:  Joyce, are you hearing this?  He`s going the full spokesman mode.

MILLER:  He was always --

MELBER:  Forget it.  I`m sorry I asked.

MILLER:  On the 2010 case which was just about publishing a leak from someone who could claim to be a whistleblower, it was very hard to see how the department could make a charge against him.

MELBER:  I think the Obama administration --

MILLER:  Since then -- yes.  Yes, it looks a lot more like espionage and looks a lot more like participating in the hack than it does publishing information from a whistleblower.

MELBER:  Right.  And we have to see where that evidence goes.  I think it`s important for everyone to remember, especially in this fever pitch why a lot of responsible prosecutors and attorneys didn`t think there was that case.  We have to see what the evidence is but the idea of turning Julian Assange strictly into a villain because of recent events legally doesn`t hold water unless, again, unless the facts change.

Stay with me.  I want to bring in Congressman Joaquin Castro who serves on the Intelligence Committee.  I appreciate you making time on a busy night, on Mueller Friday eve, sir.  What do you think is important out of all the different things that have emerged today?

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE:  Well, I do think that tomorrow is going to be very important.  I feel also that we are going to have more leads and a better understanding really of three categories, on collusion, on obstruction of justice, and on money laundering issues as it relates to President Trump and the people in his orbit.

I don`t know, none of us know how much of that is going to be redacted based on what we`ve seen already.  Probably a good bit.  But I think that we`ll come out of tomorrow with a better sense of where Mueller is going, who else may be in jeopardy of prosecution, and which strains of these things, which of those three buckets basically present the most danger for the president and his people.

MELBER:  And in the very sort of technical area of interbranch investigations which frankly a lot of people don`t think about all that often, what is your view of what Mueller has done here because there is some sort of quiet or careful communication between his Russia probe and the Congressional ones.  But now we`ve seen to have passed a turning point.  Well, for the first time, Bob Mueller has used lies to your institution as a matter to prosecute.

CASTRO:  Yes.  And I think that the Michael Cohen situation on lying to Congress was really just the tip of the iceberg.  I`ll tell you right now that Roger Stone, I`m almost certain, will be prosecuted for lying to the House Intelligence Committee.  In the same sitting, he first said to Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell that he had no advanced knowledge of the e-mail dumps.  And then when I followed up a few hours later, he admitted that he did.  So he basically gave us both sides of that answer while we were in the committee room.

MELBER:  I haven`t heard you go that far before.

CASTRO:  And so he lied to us.

MELBER:  You`re saying tonight you think there is already written record evidence that Roger Stone criminally perjured himself in testimony before your committee?

CASTRO:  Yes, absolutely.

MELBER:  And do you have knowledge of how the Mueller probe would deal with that?

CASTRO:  Well, I assume that at some point, they would bring forward that charge and then whatever else they may be charging Roger Stone with.  But I will say, Ari, if there is nothing else to charge Roger Stone with, he certainly lied to our committee.

MELBER:  Joyce, what do you think about that?

VANCE:  So it`s interesting when you compare transcripts.  Sometimes prosecutors are very hesitant to charge someone who clarifies their testimony in the same sitting where they say something that`s false.  This will turn on the details and if he is clarifying the earlier comments, he may get away with it.  If he`s told two different stories both under oath to the same sitting body, he`s in trouble.  And I would certainly defer to the Congressman who was sitting there and heard him do it.

MELBER:  Very interesting.  Final word, Congressman?

CASTRO:  No, I think that`s right.  But, you know, everybody I think after January or in January will have a chance to read the transcript.  But when you compare those two answers, at least for me in that room and I think everybody in that room, had the sense that this gentleman had perjured himself that day.

MELBER:  Fascinating.  And as I say, from you Congressman Castro, farther than at least I`ve heard Joyce Vance.  Matt Miller and Astead Herndon, thanks all for your analysis tonight.

Coming up, from the Moscow project to the Trump Tower meeting, we`re going to break down what Mueller`s filings could also do for one person in particular, Don Junior.  And this is pretty big.  Trump`s housekeeper speaking out, she says, on behalf of all the undocumented and taking on his hypocrisy a great personal risk.  We`re going to have Art Of the Deal co- author Tony Schwartz back on THE BEAT to discuss that.

And later, Sean Hannity Urging Mueller witnesses to defy the FBI.  It`s a long ways from his criticism of stop snitching.  And then, my special report on Paul Ryan, his legacy and what it means.

You are watching Ari Melber on THE BEAT.  Thank you.


MELBER:  Bob Mueller`s court filings tomorrow could dial up pressure on Donald Trump Junior.  Michael Cohen was once close to the family and met with all of the Trump family members I should say.  And he has been talking to Mueller.  The plea agreement shows those meetings go back to August, Cohen admitting he even lied about the outreach to the Kremlin about that famous Moscow Trump Tower idea.

He also dished about, and this is important, briefing family members of Donald Trump within the company.  Well, there are not too many people that fit on that list and Donald Trump Junior is a major player in the company.  Here is what Michael Cohen`s friend Donny Deutsch recently explained to me.


DONNY DEUTSCH, MICHAEL COHEN`S FRIEND:  This is just the tip of the iceberg.  I really believe, even post-Trump presidency, you`re going to see the Trump business empire being picked apart for the next 20 years.  It is basically built as a criminal enterprise.


MELBER:  That`s a man who knows what Cohen knows.  Now, there`s the other Trump Tower issue, the New York secret meeting with Russians that Trump Junior organized.  Paul Manafort played a central role there.  And let`s be clear, we don`t know what will be publicly released in anything that Mueller files tomorrow.  We could see a lot of redactions.

But we do know that Mueller asked Trump about the Trump Tower Moscow project.  That is a presidential level question and he asked Trump about Don Junior`s Trump Tower meeting.  Mueller`s raid on Manafort`s home was also to seek documents related to guess what, the meeting at Trump Tower.  Now, that is all out there.  We`ve put that case together.

And here is a former judge, Fox News legal analyst Andrew and his view on where this is all headed.


DAN ABRAMS, HOST, SIRIUS XM:  Do you think that any of Trump`s inner circle is now going to get indicted?

ANDREW NAPOLITANO, LEGAL ANALYST, FOX NEWS:  Yes.  I don`t know who.  But I do know that Donald Junior has told friends he expects to be indicted.

ABRAMS:  Do you expect he`d be indicted?



MELBER:  I`m joined by former Watergate Prosecutor Nick Akerman.  Nick, wow.

NICK AKERMAN, FORMER WATERGATE PROSECUTOR:  Yes, it`s not surprising.  I mean you don`t even have to wait for tomorrow.  We already know that Michael Cohen is going to be testifying about the Russian matter and the conspiracy between the Russian government and the campaign.  Because there will be no reason for Mueller to have him plead guilty to other changes relating to what was going on with Trump Moscow, unless he wanted to put Cohen on as a witness at a trial where he will be talking about all of his knowledge about what was going on with Russia.

MELBER:  That`s a very interesting detail point you`re making which is they already got Cohen on a bunch of stuff.  They could have cleared on through tomorrow without getting into that.  You`re saying they got into that because it related to another potential defendant and that defendant could be --

AKERMAN:  Other defendants.

MELBER:  Don Junior.

AKERMAN:  I mean sure.  As a prosecutor, I would want to have my witnesses plead guilty to something that relates to what they`re going to testify to.  And if you look at what he`s pled to with the Russian Trump Tower, it goes right into the sweet spot on the Trump Tower meeting and everything relating to the stolen documents and e-mails from the Democratic National Committee.

And it starts in June 4 with Don Junior getting the call, the e-mail from Ron Goldstone telling that he`s going to get the dirt on Hillary Clinton, that the Russian government is backing Donald Trump.  The only dirt we know about are the stolen e-mails.  We don`t know exactly what happened between that June 4 and June 9 meeting because there were phone calls that were made, all we have are the e-mails.

So we don`t know if the e-mails -- I mean originally Goldstone said they would go to Trump`s secretary, then he said he`d bring him personally.  But we do know that on June 7, Donald Trump after the New Jersey primary had a press conference.  Don Junior was right next to him.

MELBER:  Was right there and they were talking on it.

AKERMAN:  Right there at the time.  And he said that following week, he was going to have a press conference and explain all the bad things that the Clintons do.

MELBER:  Now, it`s possible that Don Junior has an overactive imagination and is paranoid and is worried he will be indicted for no other reason than that.  It`s also possible, as John Dean has now suggested, that Don Junior knows this or thinks this because he has been warned by prosecutors that he is a target.  Where do you come down on that?

AKERMAN:  Oh, I don`t think he even has to be warned by the prosecutors.  We now know about this joint defense agreement that`s going on among all the lawyers.  And everybody is feeding information into Donald Trump.  He knows what people are saying, who`s going in to see Mueller, what questions they are asked. I mean they have a direct pipeline into what was happening just by virtue of Manafort acting as a double agent sending information into the Trump legal team.

So they know what`s going on.  They know where the focus is here.  And obviously, they know what Michael Cohen can say.  I mean Michael Cohen through his lawyer has already said that Donald Trump knew about that June 9 meeting.  Now, they backed off on this.  The lawyer backed off --

MELBER:  Lanny was on both sides of that.

AKERMAN:  That`s right.  But you know that the Mueller team came down like a ton of bricks on him to make sure that he was not spilling the beans on what his client would say.

MELBER:  Nick Akerman, a master of the prosecutorial details, thank you very much tonight.

Meanwhile, Sean Hannity has new advice for people who are witnesses before their government, defy the FBI.  We will get into that in 30 seconds.


MELBER:  Donald Trump`s close adviser Sean Hannity has a new message to any witness thinking about cooperating with Bob Mueller, don`t be a snitch.


SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS:  If you`re like me, and you were -- grew up to revere an FBI agent.  And the FBI comes to your house and maybe some crime took place in the neighborhood, and maybe you have a little bit of information but you don`t quite fully recall everything, but you are pretty sure you do.  The advice I have to give you now is don`t talk to the FBI.


MELBER:  Wow.  That`s Sean Hannity giving out advice to his large audience saying, "My advice, don`t reveal", Hannity says, "what you know about potentially crimes that were committed."  It is a remarkable turnaround for Sean Hannity.  In fact, I want to show you this because it`s important.  He was a big public critic of a so-called stop snitching effort or the kind of rhetoric that in some areas where people were perceived as discouraging others from cooperating with police investigations.


HANNITY:  It`s called the stop snitching campaign and it is taking urban communities by storm.  The purpose, do not cooperate with police on a crime that you witnessed no matter how bad.  And the result is crimes across America going unsolved.  And what makes this movement more disturbing is that this backroom code of silence is being marketed by big corporations and fueled by the rap music industry.


MELBER:  Hannity railing against what he called the stop snitching and, of course, saying in his view, this was -- this is not what he is doing now.  I mean he would be the leader of this movement today if you want to call it that.  But he said this was all coming not from him but from urban communities.


HANNITY:  The people are dying in the streets in our cities and people are witnessing these crimes and there is a concerted effort not to tell the police or cooperate with the police.  That`s a phenomenon we better pay attention to or else more people are going to die.


MELBER: Now, Hannity is telling people not to snitch echoing Trump`s recent praise of Roger Stone for saying he won`t testify against Trump.  I`m joined by Jason Johnson, Politics Editor at  Jason, what do you make of this drastic, public, hypocritical, obvious change of heart?

JOHN JOHNSON, POLITICS EDITOR, THEROOT.COM:  Well, first off, it shows that Sean Hannity really doesn`t know his history of hip-hop because this all started as he was angry at Cameron for talking about stop snitching when it comes to the police.  But even Cameron said that that stems from a legitimate distrust of the police and law enforcement.

Sean Hannity has no reason to distrust law enforcement, he has no reason to distrust the FBI except for the fact that he`s wrapped up in the same sort of corrupt business that Michael Cohen and the President is involved in.  So you know, he`s not a snitch -- he`s not a witness in this situation.  He is going to snitch and that`s why he`s telling he doesn`t want other people to come forward.

MELBER:  It is really remarkable and why do you think that Sean Hannity believes he can get away with this?  In other words, if he wants to openly encourage people not to cooperate with the feds including his own former lawyer Michael Cohen who had that weird role of being allegedly a Hannity and Trump lawyer which Hannity didn`t disclose those audience, this is all public.  So don`t you think Hannity`s own viewers and followers are going to find out about this?

JOHNSON:  Yes, they will eventually.  And look, you know, Ari, honestly one of the main reasons Sean Hannity thinks he can do this is because he`s a rich white guy and he has seen throughout his life that the government and members of this administration will protect him whenever engage -- whatever behavior he wants to engage in.

But I got to go back to what Cameron actually said which started to begin with.  Cameron changed his mind last year, went on the air and said look snitches get riches, OK.  At this particular point in time, there is a value and actually snitching on this presidency.  These people are going to jail.  There are orange jumpsuits coming.  So Sean Hannity can tell people hey, don`t snitch, don`t work with the FBI.  Maybe he`s protected but I don`t think that applies to Papadopoulos, it clearly didn`t apply to Manafort, and a lot of other people are going to go down especially if they listen to Hannity. 

MELBER:  It`s a great point.  And given that Hannity is so closely affiliated with Trump, how often they talk, how much they align, this is even bigger than media hypocrisy.  It relates to someone who has the President`s ear.  I want to read a little more of this and ask you if you think this is channeling Donald Trump`s legal approach at this point.  Hannity is saying, never talk to, in spite of your love of law enforcement, FBI, don`t talk to them ever without the advice of legal counsel because if you say the wrong thing, you`re in legal jeopardy and they throw your blank in jail.

And I wonder about this sort of selective alleged civil libertarianism that we`re seeing from parts of the Fox News, Donald Trump supporting groups.

JOHNSON:  Right.  These are the same people who would constantly lecture everybody in this country.  Hey, look, if you`re not doing anything wrong, why would you ever lie to the police.  But it shows it at their core, Sean Hannity, many of the people who work at Fox, and lots of people were in the White House right now, they don`t believe in the rule of law.  They only believe in their own power.  If Donald Trump hadn`t done anything wrong, his son wouldn`t be afraid right now.  If Donald Trump hadn`t done anything wrong, then Manafort and 20 other people connected to him wouldn`t be going to jail.  And if Sean Hannity wasn`t knee-deep in the muck and at the swamp that he`s railed against as much as he happens to be, he keep his mouth quiet right now.  But he`s not going to because he`s just as dirty and guilty as the people he`s trying to defend.

MELBER:  Well, it`s a very important piece of this.  Because of his links to the President and because of the public record -- and that`s why we wanted to put a spotlight on it because it`s one thing to have a position that you`re more or less skeptical of this or that group, plenty of reporters -- plenty of lawyers have those views.  But for it to be so blatant the way he talked about "urban communities," the way he tried to put people on blast for stitching and then now for that stop -- so-called stop snitching effort and now doing this, I mean it`s just out there for everyone to see.  Jason Johnson, we always appreciate you coming by THE BEAT. 

JOHNSON:  Thanks, Ari.

MELBER:  Thank you, sir.  Up ahead, Speaker Ryan preparing to leave Congress.  My special report on what the facts show.  But first, undocumented workers at Trump`s New Jersey resort now speak out.  A housekeeper revealing what she calls abuse, insults, and humiliation.  I`m proud to say Trump`s Art of the Deal Co-Author Tony Schwartz who knows a thing or two about how he works will explain it all next.


MELBER:  Another important story that a lot of Americans are tracking today, the stock market rollercoaster which relates to Donald Trump`s leadership.  The Dow plunging again early today down almost 800 points before recovering and finishing 79 down.  Now, of course, there are a range of factors but market analysts are pointing to Donald Trump`s erratic comments and leadership about trade which has fed what they call unnecessary uncertainty. 

He had said that that deal with China was closed, then said he was quote a tariff man and threatened to bring the hammer down on China.  I`m about to speak with Tony Schwartz Co-Author of the Art of the Deal and a friend of THE BEAT who says the trade confusion is about something larger which is Donald Trump`s failure as a leader. 

Then you have Trump`s short-term obsessions.  One example, he recently told advisers he`s not worried about the national debt, something Republicans have campaigned on because he would be out of office before the bills really come due.  I won`t be here.  And Tony Schwartz has argued that Trump has also displayed a total lack of self-awareness.  The New York Times reporting today that Trump employed undocumented immigrants at his Bedminster Golf Course and one of them now going public saying "we sweat it out to attend his every need but have to put up with his humiliations and saying that his comments on the day that he said he would run for president were searing."


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  When Mexico sends its people, they`re not sending their best, they`re not sending you, they`re not sending you, they`re sending people that have lots of problems.  They`re bringing drugs, they`re bringing crime.  They`re rapists.


MELBER:  I`m joined by Tony Schwartz, CEO of the Energy Project and Co- Author of the Art of the Deal and The Way We Work Isn`t Working.  Always good to have you here.  This is perfect for you in the sense that this individual like you has worked with Donald Trump and come to adjust her view of Donald Trump and she says this tonight, I want to be clear about this with viewers, at great personal risk to her life to her deportation status.

TONY SCHWARTZ, CEO, ENERGY PROJECT:  You know, we are in a crisis of leadership which Trump is leading.  We need a form of leadership now, a transformational kind of leadership, more desperately than we`ve ever needed.  And what we have is the worst kind of leadership.  What we need are leaders who have a perspective or a worldview that is deeper and wider and longer term.  And instead what we have is a leader who is narrow and shallow and expedient.

And so it -- the critical element for our leaders is that they`re grounded in core values and that those values are what root them.  And what you see in a situation like this is that Trump will talk about undocumented immigrants in the way that serves him well and then hire them not only this woman but at Mar-a-Lago we know he`s done that.  He`ll hire them because it works for him.  And that`s the net that`s the narrow part of his perspective is that if it serves me it`s OK.

And then you go to China and what he just said about China in order to aggrandize himself right after the G20 all the great things that were going to happen and 24 hours later he realized, oh my God maybe this isn`t going to happen and I`m going to be humiliated and so he went the other way.  And what that is -- that is really addressing the longer-term peace which is what`s the impact when you say something like that when you`re the President of the United States and the answer is to totally upend the markets. 

MELBER:  Right.  You say the impact.  Lying is a feature not a bug for him.  He recently said that the reason that he didn`t achieve much in the last two years of his presidency here was that "he didn`t have a majority."  I didn`t have enough Republicans in the House. 

SCHWARTZ:  What did he need 420?

MELBER:  And so he`s lying about what he had to explain a truth which is they didn`t get a whole lot done legislatively.  I wonder how you view that in the context of leadership where you have someone who obviously has used lies to advance himself in business and politics.  And the two areas he seems to be struggling most right now are two forums where there is swift accountability for laws, the law, and the markets. 

SCHWARTZ:  The core of great leadership starts with trust.  So we know that if the people who are around you don`t trust you, then anything you say gets either dismissed or diminished.  That`s at the absolute heart of it for Trump.  And look what`s happened to the people around them.  They`ve all left.  They`ve either been -- they`ve either been kicked out or they`ve chosen to leave because they don`t see any path forward.  So this notion that lying is OK has just distorted what leadership means that it`s hard.

MELBER:  So when you look at this with the markets, is this something that you see as a longtime Trump observer that could actually impact him with people in the country who aren`t following the other stuff.  I mean, not everyone reads The Washington Post fact checker.

SCHWARTZ:  Well, mark my words.  If the -- if the market goes down another 400 or 800 points in the next few days, we are going to see a tweet from Trump about how it`s the fault of the Democrats or you know, global -- the fake global warming you know, advocates or some other (INAUDIBLE) idea.  Do I see that this would have an impact -- this would have a long-term impact?  There is no question that what Trump is doing is going to put him in a position where at some moment either this month, six months from now, or twelve months from now he`s going to have to face a public where even the economy is not going well.

I am fascinated to see in an appalled kind of way whether or not that means that he will successfully blame it on someone other than himself having taken total credit for its rise up until now.

MELBER:  Well there`s a saying on the internet about being a goat the GOAT, the greatest of all time.  He is the GOAT of scapegoating, and that`s not the kind of goat you want to be.

SCHWARTZ:  Yes, that`s from Henry David Thoreau.

MELBER:  That`s correct.  Well, Henry David Thoreau`s -- his remix.  Yes.


MELBER:  Tony Schwartz, always good to have you THE BEAT.  I appreciate it.  We`re going to fit in a break, and then as promised, my special report on Paul Ryan`s tenure as Speaker from hypocrisy on deficits to his inability to confront Trump and why it matters tonight.  That`s next.


MELBER:  Paul Ryan is now on a farewell tour as he retires from Congress capping a 20-year career that brought him second in line to the presidency.  He was a House Speaker at a momentous time, and tonight we bring you a special report on Ryan.  What did the facts show about his speakership and what can we all learn from what turns out to be a rather sad arc of Paul Ryan?  What can we learn about today`s politics?

Now our special report on Ryan deals and facts, in numbers.  And the facts suggests a wider verdict on the Republican Party`s modern approach to the budget, to deficits, and to the test of Trumpism.  So whatever Ryan`s reputation may be right now, let`s remember for starters, top Republicans used to herald Ryan as a budget wonk who would help their party fix America`s debt.


ERIC CANTOR (R), FORMER REPRESENTATIVE, VIRGINIA:  There`s been a lot of talk about his being a budget wonk and into the numbers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He understands the fiscal challenges facing America, our exploding deficits and crushing debt.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN:  He`s got bold ideas and he`s very smart.


MELBER:  Bold.  Ryan even argued that he would be bold when dealing with the first big challenge, Candidate Trump.  He held back his endorsement for a minute.  He even called Trump out for "textbook examples of racism during the campaign."


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  I`m just not ready to do that at this point.  I`m not there right now. 

Claiming a person can`t do the job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment.


MELBER:  OK.  But then how do you campaign for someone who does textbook racist things?  In Ryan`s case, loudly, giving Trump a full embrace with a prime-time speech at the GOP convention.  And in Ryan`s case cynically.  Because as Speaker Ryan would habitually lie and claim that he hadn`t seen what Trump said or did to avoid having to condemn it.  And that was an open secret that was so blatant it actually became Paul Ryan`s own punchline at the comedic Al Smith dinner.  This was during Trump`s first year in office.


RYAN:  Every morning I wake up in my office and I scroll Twitter to see which tweets that I`ll have to pretend that I did not see later on.


MELBER:  Very funny.  I want to be clear.  We`re not applying a random standard on Paul Ryan here to confronting Trump.  We are applying the Paul Ryan standard.  He said he`d stand up to Trump.  He proclaimed Trump`s comments were textbook racist.  And then even when he had the second most powerful post in Washington after the presidency, as Speaker Paul Ryan famously folded.

Now, what about Ryan`s other major stated passion, the hunger to balance the budget and cut the deficit which animated his early rise?  He even co- authored a book about how Republican young guns would take on the deficit and he sold himself as kind of a different type of new-school legislature.  A guy who would be as tough on deficits as he was in the gym.

RYAN:  Pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, lots of cardio, karate, jump training, yoga.

We think we ought to contain and control and cut spending.  We think we ought to get our deficits down not up.  We believe that we owe the American people a responsible, balanced, budget.


MELBER:  Balanced budget.  Deficits down, not up.  That was Ryan`s pitch.  We all heard it.  And then he got the gavel and he wielded it during two different presidencies.  And again, I`m just going to use the Paul Ryan standard, he failed.  Ryan became Speaker in 2015 when there was a roughly $438 billion deficit and he always thought the growth of that deficit to $793 billion.  It`s now on track to surpass $1 trillion.  Wow. 

So whether you think the deficits like super important or not as important, let`s be clear, as Paul Ryan prepares to leave, his big job he ran on cutting it. 


RYAN:  We think the wrong answer is to have a new gusher of spending, a new gusher of taxes, and a new gusher of borrowing. 


MELBER:  A gusher of borrowing which is what I just showed you he did.  And that`s not all.  There are some Ryan defenders who argue well, part of that was compromising on policy in the Obama era and that`s an argument.  But again, let`s just do the numbers.  The clearest exposure of the Ryan hypocrisy actually came just now in the last year because you had United Republican government and Ryan got one major bill passed into law in the Trump era, this $1.5 trillion tax cut which is growing the deficit.

So look at this.  When Obama specifically left office in 2016, the deficit was around $538 billion.  Under Paul Ryan and Donald Trump, the deficit now grows to $782 billion.  That is the change, that is the growth with your Paul Ryan Republican speakership.  Now Congressional budgeting can get complicated, but this is simple.  And I just want to put it down because we do the news here, first draft of history some people say.  Here it is. 

Paul Ryan sold out his promise to cut the deficit just like he sold out his promise to stand up to Donald Trump.  He literally built an entire 20-year career around claims of fiscal discipline, rising to be his party`s running mate and speaker, and when he got that power did the exact opposite of every single fiscal thing he claimed.  So his claims to erase the deficit have been so exposed, so blatant they too have become a punchline.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Our economic plan is simple, we are going to close loopholes, bring down tax rates, and erase the deficit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Can you please be more specific.



MELBER:  Paul Ryan maybe laughing.  He may go on to a lucrative job.  You may not care about selling out a career and acclaim philosophy.  He was also -- before I go I want to tell you this -- far less productive than others who had this speaker`s gavel.  Whatever you think of their ideology, Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi got several major bills through their House when they were speaker on all kinds of issues.  Paul Ryan basically jammed to major bill votes, only one of which became law which is the one that grew the deficit.  That`s Ryan`s report card.

Now, the accountability may already be kicking in.  Many of Ryan`s co- workers just lost their jobs coming out of his tenure.  He leaves as Democrats experienced a massive blue wave, they`ve gained 40 seats in the House.  That`s adding a new seat tonight.  The largest gain in decades.  It is a shoddy, hypocritical, and frankly embarrassing record.  I don`t say that as an outside opinion.  I`m judging Paul Ryan tonight through the facts and on the Paul Ryan standard.


MELBER:  A lot of things are going to happen tomorrow.  James Comey, former FBI Director, will testify before Congress, a closed-door session but the transcript will come out within a day.  Mueller`s team filing their sentencing memo on Michael Cohen and filing their memo on Paul Manafort.  We can learn a lot about his alleged lies and former Trump Campaign aid George Papadopoulos, he`ll get out of prison.  We`ll be covering it all for you on a special edition of THE BEAT tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. Eastern plus a special "FALLBACK FRIDAY."