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Cohen "lied" about Russia for Trump. TRANSCRIPT: 12/7/18, The Beat w/ Ari Melber

Guests: Neal Katyal, Michael McFaul, John Flannery, Nancy Gertner

TODD:  And then suddenly, people go wait a minute, I`m washing my hands of this guy.

PLETKA:  But when does Donald Trump ask himself enough?  When does that happen?

TODD:  Well, I have to say enough.  I already stole a little bit of Ari for a few minutes.  Tom, Mimi, Frank, Daniel, Cornell, Carol, it`s Brady Bunch.  Anyway, it does feel that way.  Thank you all.  We`ll be back Monday with more MTP DAILY.  Obviously, you know what Sunday is going to be about, "MEET THE PRESS" on NBC.

Ari Melber picks up the coverage now.  Ari, good luck.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  Chuck, I want to hold you over if you have a second.

TODD:  Go for it, I`ll take it.

MELBER:  There`s been a lot of talk about political synergy from this new Mueller filing.  We have some new synergy and that we`re going to pick right where you`re leaving off.  That`s my comment.  My question to you is take a step back from the law.  What do you think it means for America when you see a filing, you see the news today out of New York, the feds are saying the president of the United States directed a campaign-related crime by his lawyer?

TODD:  I think we`re going to learn in the next couple of weeks how much power the president has over this supposed 35 percent or 40 percent of the country, right.  We know a good 30 percent to 40 percent of the country lives in another world, has an alternative reality at times of what facts are and what are alternative facts, to borrow a phrase.

I will be curious.  These are legal facts.  These are done by a Republican named Bob Mueller.  You know, these are -- I`m curious to see how much it penetrates.  Keep an eye, though, on some Senate Republicans here.  The first ones to peel would be them.

Keep an eye on folks like Marco Rubio in particular.  Those would be sort of what I would call the center of the Republican conference.  If they start breaking from the president, watch out.

MELBER:  Right.  We`ll be watching all of that and we`ll be watching you on Sunday.  Chuck Todd, nice to be on your show and nice to see you tonight.

TODD:  Thank you, sir.

MELBER:  We do have the breaking news that I was just discussing with Chuck.  Bob Mueller revealing Michael Cohen`s crimes as well as new details on his ties to Russia with federal prosecutors in New York dropping the hammer and calling for substantial prison time.

Let`s get right to it.  Two major court filings that are out tonight.  One from Bob Mueller who says that Michael Cohen has been helpful in his Russia investigation and one from these prosecutors up in New York who say that Cohen still deserves years in jail for a criminal mindset that allowed him to basically commit a host of crimes.  All of this is a week before a judge will sentence Cohen for all the above.

Now, let`s look at the latest here in the Mueller filing which I was just discussing with darling Chuck Todd.  Because Bob Mueller says he`s not taking any kind of position on how much time Michael Cohen should serve but he does note that Cohen first came into his office, to Bob Mueller`s investigators, and lied to them.  And not just about anything but lied specifically about money that Cohen, Trump, and we know Felix Sater were trying to make in Russia.

Now then, Mueller says in the new filing that we just got in our newsroom that Cohen has now taken some steps to mitigate those lies and other crimes, that he gave crucial information about the Trump campaign in Russia.  This is after he was lying.  He started telling the truth Mueller says and he told the truth about Russian attempts to reach the Trump campaign dating back to 2015.  Also Russia-related matters, as Mueller puts it, that are "core to his investigation."

Mueller says Cohen learned about all of these things because of his "regular contact with company executives", a tantalizing reference to unnamed people in the Trump Organization, it could be employees, it could be family members.  Now while Mueller says Cohen has been helpful, these federal prosecutors in New York, not impressed at all.

I was reading this filing here moments ago and it is a thrashing.  They say Michael Cohen only gave up basically at the end when he had few other choices.  They hammer him and they note that he wasn`t ever actually formally a cooperating witness, that he didn`t do everything he could have done and New York prosecutors note he also committed four distinct federal crimes.

They say in their version of the case that he was motivated by personal greed, that he used his own power and influence for deception and that his actions were all a larger pattern of deception that basically permeated his entire professional life.  And they note where the law comes in, that federal guidelines would call for someone who`s committed these offenses to serve about 63 months in prison.  And they say while he should get a little bit of credit for what he did do on cooperating, he shouldn`t get much.  They call for roughly four years, what they call a substantial term of imprisonment.

All of this as we`re learning about Michael Cohen, Bob Mueller, just now this hour, filing another big, big document you may have heard about.  This is for Paul Manafort, the former campaign chair, and the "crimes and lies" that Mueller says justify them exploding his entire plea deal.  Now, that document, I can tell you, has been filed under seal which means as of this hour we don`t know what`s inside it.  But what we do know, it`s already a big day for Bob Mueller.

I want to get right to it with Maya Wiley who`s a former counselor to the Mayor of New York and she was a civil prosecutor in the same Southern District of New York, John Flannery, a former federal prosecutor, and as part of our special coverage, Nancy Gertner who has served as a federal judge and brings that perspective to all of what we`re learning today.  She`s now also, I should mention, a professor at Harvard Law School.  Welcome to the panel.

Maya Wiley, what do you think is most important in what Mueller is choosing to say and why your former colleagues at SDNY are coming down so hard on Michael Cohen and why they also put in there that President Trump directed one of Michael Cohen`s campaign crimes?

MAYA WILEY, FORMER COUNSELOR TO MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY:  I think you just said it, Ari.  I mean what`s really relevant here is you have a -- one, you have a document that makes very clear that there has been significant contact between those in Trump`s sphere and Russia.  We actually already knew that.

What we see now is the reverse side of it, meaning we have a long history between George Papadopoulos -- beginning with George Papadopoulos in March of 2016 who understands his job as connections to the Russians and in April and May communicating up the chain with the Trump campaign about meeting with Russia.  But we find out that Trump Moscow Tower deal was happening at the same time.  And back in November 2015, the Russians were also directly reaching out to the Trump world.

So we already knew that there was lots of contact with Russia even before this document.  What we`re seeing is that there`s a lot more that we did not know about.  That we also know that there`s going to be a continued investigation.  That`s quite clear both from the Michael Flynn filing, as well as from the fact that there was a lot redacted in that and the fact that the Manafort filing has been redacted.

In terms of the Southern District, it`s all kind of quite clear.  You know, what they`re saying quite frankly is, look, this guy didn`t do the right thing and by the way, he was a lawyer.  His obligation to do the right thing was heightened and he came in, he was not really -- he didn`t formulate a cooperation agreement.  He didn`t agree to talk to us about things that may be crimes that he was not already pleading guilty to and that should bring us right back around to the Trump Organization investigation that they`re still conducting.

MELBER:  Nancy, I`m thrilled that we have the benefit of your expertise tonight because this is now going right into Judge Lane.  How does a judge take these two very different recommendations, Mueller saying basically he lied but he helped, you figure it out and the SDNY where Maya worked saying this a bad dude, he is a criminal, he is a liar, he thinks he`s "above the law" and thinking about four years?  What does the judge do?

NANCY GERTNER, FORMER FEDERAL JUDGE:  Well, it`s -- the judge will have two alternatives.  I mean on the one hand, this is going to be driven by -- this is a train that`s driven by the prosecution because it`s the Mueller part that is the big question mark, right.  If it were just the SDNY part, then essentially Cohen would get time and the question is how much.  The Mueller part is what`s driving it.

Now, the fallacy of all that we`re talking about is that even if Cohen were sentenced tomorrow to, you know, four years, three years or whatever variation that is, he`ll continue to cooperate with the government.  The government has the ability to file, as you know, what`s called a Rule 35 Motion after the fact seeking a reduction in the sentence.

So while this didn`t happen in a very orderly fashion with him being a cooperating witness, the Rule 35 will continue to hang over him --

MELBER:  But do you think --

GERTNER:  -- and would lead to an adjustment.

MELBER:  Do you think a judge would give him years?

GERTNER:  You know I mean I`ve been speculating all day.  I think a judge will give him years in the face of the SDNY recommendation.  I don`t think the judge will give him four years.  It`s before a very tough judge actually.  Judge Pauley`s not someone who has been lenient on white-collar offenses.

And if you look only at the four corners of the Cohen -- of the SDNY stuff, you would say, you know, because of the amount of money involved that this guy would get some years.  But I say that`s speculating because what will happen is the government can -- the court can impose a sentence and basically stay the sentence, he continues to cooperate with Mueller and there can be a subsequent adjustment.

MELBER:  Sure, sure, but this is real stuff.  This is not a Papadopoulos time, John Flannery.  This is the contemplation of real-time real crimes, real felonies.  I just want to underscore --


MELBER:  -- we`re going to cover this in a couple ways throughout our show tonight, John but I want to underscore it is not normal, it is not an everyday event to have federal prosecutors go into court and say we proved this campaign crime.


MELBER:  This person admitted to it and it was done at the direction of the sitting president of the United States.  Your view of that piece of this tonight?

FLANNERY:  Well, that`s significant.  I mean, there`s almost nothing comparable since Watergate with this and to have a lawyer coming forward also follows that parallel.  But the thing that`s interesting here is you have a good guy, bad guy presentation by the special counsel versus the Southern District and the Southern District gave tough language like sometimes happens in a labor decision.

But then the result of five years, frankly, looking at his exposure and what he did which should be much more substantial than that.  And I do agree that they can come back and revisit it, but they don`t want to reward somebody who sort of cabined off what he was prepared to do there.

Now, on the other hand, we have the statement by the special counsel basically praising his cooperation despite his lies, despite who he is.  And so how do we justify that as a justice system?  Well, you know, they group together.  I mean this is the lawyer for the president --

MELBER:  Sounds like you don`t know.  I thought you had an answer, John, but then you said --

FLANNERY:  Birds of a feather.  Birds of a feather.  Birds of a feather.  I think of birds of a feather.  Not eagles, perhaps, but birds of a feather.  That`s my answer in this case.  And I think that we see that there`s been - - if you look at his history of lawyers, Mr. Trump, we go from Roy Cohn to Mr. Cohen and apparently we just don`t have as good a lawyer as Roy Cohn to do something too terrible and evil things that he did in the past.

MELBER:  Well, I would revise your remarks and then I`ll let you build on them.  I think what you have is someone who is as clearly criminal and deceptive as Roy Cohn.


MELBER:  But less effective.

FLANNERY:  I agree,

MELBER:  Less effective in the sense of getting away with that.  That goes to what I want to ask both of my prosecutors here about.  Fascinating narrative here that goes beyond what we knew two hours ago and I`m reading from the documents.  I hope folks will bear with me because this is pretty interesting.  Bob Mueller`s folks explain that the first time they talked to Michael Cohen was on August 7 "at Cohen`s request."  And in that meeting, they say Cohen did provide relevant information to other parts of the probe.

But then because they knew what they were doing when they sprung on him questions about the Moscow project, they write, "Cohen provided false answers in what he later explained was an effort not to contradict his congressional testimony" which we now know was perjury.  John Flannery, what does that tell you about the way they gathered and squeezed Michael Cohen and why are they revealing it now?

FLANNERY:  Well, I think they`re revealing it so that we know what we`re dealing with and that they have the advantage to press him, to tell the truth by taking his tape recordings and all of his letters and e-mails and the other witnesses they had to talk about him and to confirm what he had to say.  Also in there, they say, that we have by other means confirmed what he`s telling us and that they were help and he made some corrections even as he was talking to them about matters which gave him credibility as a cooperating witness in the special counsel investigation.

So I think that`s substantial.  I think the real question here is if we have Barr, what`s going to happen?  And, you know, when we move from Whitaker to Barr, we have a similar problem.  And that Barr is the same person who when they had the Iran-Contra investigation advised the president to pardon those people that might lead to Bush.  So have we really improved things?

MELBER:  You`re talking about news that at any other night we would have already mentioned but I literally haven`t yet which is for those who are just coming home from work on a Friday, President Trump announcing a new pick for an attorney general, William Barr, who actually served as attorney general in a Republican administration and is widely respected, Maya, considered a mainstream Conservative legal voice.

You know, you might say Matt Whitaker is about as low a Barr as you can get when it comes to credentials so I`m not interested in leaning into that comparison but he`s certainly no Matt Whitaker.  Although as John mentions, it is possible that what interested Donald Trump most about this new attorney general nominee was the fact that he went along with a group of political pardons, clearly self-interested in the Bush administration.


MELBER:  We`re going to get to more of that later in the show.  But Maya, I do want you to weigh in on the same question as John which is why are we learning about the way Cohen was brought into the special counsel probe tonight in your view?

WILEY:  We`re getting a very strong, very public signal that there is corroborating evidence.  That`s the way I read it.  I read we don`t have to just rely on Michael Cohen.  He walked in there -- the mistake he made, which is not one that a very, very accomplished lawyer would make, by the way, is he walked in assuming he knew what the prosecutors knew and that`s the thing you never want to do.

He walked in, he was surprised.  He wasn`t expecting to be asked those questions about the Trump Tower Moscow.  He then lied, which was dumb.  After that lie and in the remaining six sessions that he had, he came clean and that`s the kind of complexity of the story we`re being told.  Here`s a guy who`s kind of a career liar cheat.

He was perfectly willing to do it again but like any good solid prosecutorial team they had more information.  They knew that they had some facts that he didn`t know they had.  That also means they can prove it without him.  That means that even if his credibility is somewhat impugned, they have additional evidence.

MELBER:  Which when you put it like that -- and we just got all this so we`re just making sense of it.  When you put it like that, Maya, what you`re saying is, is a very elegant, implicit rebuttal to the Donald Trump claim that, well, Michael Cohen is saying anything to get out of trouble so he brought this seemingly bad stuff to Mueller and now they`re all chewing on it.

What you`re saying is this footnote actually elegantly shows, no, here is the timeline.  We had all the bad stuff.  That`s how we knew he was lying about it.  Now, he is one extra witness but not perhaps our primary one on Moscow Trump Tower.  Everyone is --

WILEY:  And corroborate with.  I mean cooperate with us and you`re going to be in a lot better position than if you don`t because we`re going to get you.

MELBER:  I want everyone to -- stay with me, John.  Stay with me, everyone.  There`s a whole other filing from Mueller regarding Paul Manafort tonight that I only mentioned briefly thus far.  NBC`s Ken Dilanian has been leading our reporting on this.  It`s heavily redacted but I want to get your view of what, if anything, wiggling from there.

KEN DILANIAN, INTELLIGENCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER, NBC NEWS:  So here`s what we learned, Ari.  And you`re right, it is significantly redacted.  So I think it`s not quite as newsy as the Cohen filings.  But we did learn that the special counsel is saying that Paul Manafort lied about his interactions with a man named Konstantin Kilimnik.  And that`s important because the special counsel in previous court filings has said that Kilimnik had ongoing ties to Russian intelligence.

And there`s a reference to a meeting between Kilimnik and an individual whose name is blacked out in the filing and the special counsel alleged that Manafort lied about that.  Robert Mueller also alleges that Paul Manafort lied about a wire transfer to a firm linked to Manafort, about another separate Department of Justice investigation that Manafort had offered some information about.

And lastly, the special counsel says that Paul Manafort lied when he said he wasn`t in contact with anyone from the Trump administration.  It turns out he was right up until May of this year.  And because of all of that, the special counsel has canceled Manafort`s plea agreement and he`s now facing up to 15 years in prison.

MELBER:  And so when you look at that line, does that relate in your view or is it possible to say to obstruction or to potentially collusion-related things since Kilimnik, as you mentioned, is one of the potential Russian- linked handlers here?  To Ken.

DILANIAN:  Oh, sorry.  I mean, I think -- I`m sorry, Ari, I thought you were talking to someone else.

MELBER:  I`m sorry.  I`m the anchor.  I`m supposed to use names.  That`s on me.  But to Ken Dilanian, how do you see the -- that type of lie?  Can you glean what part of the probe that hits?

DILANIAN:  I mean I think Kilimnik has been a mystery figure in terms of collusion and we don`t know exactly his role and it goes to the question of Paul Manafort`s role in any contacts with Russians during the campaign.  And because of the redactions, we just don`t see the full picture here, Ari.

MELBER:  Copy.  And I appreciate your precision on that.  Bringing back Nancy, our resident judge.  I want to go to some more of what Mueller has said basically through the Cohen filing because he`s getting into the Trump Tower deal more than we have before.  And he says a Moscow project was "a lucrative business opportunity.  It required the assistance of the Russian government.  And the Trump Organization company could have received hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian sources."

Nancy, do you view this as an indication that finances may be at the heart of Bob Mueller`s probe of what a collusion conspiracy looks like, money, and not just where it started, what we knew publicly which was about e-mail hacking?

GERTNER:  Well, I think that that`s how they got -- that`s why they followed Manafort.  In the litigation over whether or not the special prosecutor had a right to go after Manafort, one of the things they said is what they were doing was following the money.  Following the money that the Ukraine sources to Manafort.  And I think following the money is what they are doing throughout.

But getting back just to the sentencing issue.  I am reminded that John Dean, for example, when he testified before Congress, I believe he did some time for his role in Nixon`s obstruction of justice.  So the notion that Cohen would get some time, I think that this is right, would make some sense.  That was apropos of your -- the other question.

But the other thing with respect to the Russian issue, we have to step back.  It`s almost like -- it was -- we thought this case was about Flynn, Michael Flynn lying about his contacts with the Russians which, when if you recall Sally Yates said that that was an issue -- a concern about the Russians might be willing to extort from Donald Trump or it was a way of influencing them because people were lying about Russian contacts.

So even a failed Trump Tower project opens the opportunity -- opens the door to the Russians basically exercising influence on all of the Trump players because they were lying about it.  And the more significant, the contacts are, the more significant and the more substantial the financial dealings were, the more the Russians had on him.  And therefore that raises a whole host of other questions about Russian sanctions, et cetera.  So it`s -- we`ve now opened the door much broader to Russian influence, not just by dint of lying but by dint of the financial transactions.

MELBER:  Yes.  John, you almost get the feeling that they`re good at this and people with more ethics or more government experience may have better resistance and this crew clearly didn`t.

FLANNERY:  I think that`s true.  And, you know, nothing can overcome the greed motive.  I mean until the recent disclosures, I didn`t appreciate how much that Trump hoped to profit from lifting the sanctions as well as the Russians, as well as Putin.  But because of his investment in this Moscow project.  And because that he was being blocked by the same sanctions that were compromising the autocrats in Russia, he had that, not just the White House that he wanted to achieve but he also had this question of the sanctions lifted that benefitted Putin and himself.  And that`s really significant.

It`s very interesting to read the Manafort document that`s been produced and I`ve only had a second to look at it.  And I apologize for looking down but basically where they say he lied, that tells us what they have that`s true and can be proven.  And so that is interesting.  They also say in a couple of occasions that he said something and then when he was confronted with a fact, he changed it.

And we can`t ignore that he is at that same time sending information back to the Trump team as to what he`s being questioned about in this investigation.  So you have him lying and you have obstruction and cooperation with the west wing`s team representing Trump.  That`s significant.

MELBER:  Well, that`s such a significant point you raised because there`s been a lot of this that`s boiled down to black and white where people wrongfully think, oh, well, do you go after a sitting president for obstruction or not if that`s the only thing and where does that go?


MELBER:  But, in fact, as you allude to, John, at a minimum, we now have as of tonight Bob Mueller putting into the record and into court the two key people, the campaign chair and the long-time person lawyer both actively came in and lied to him.  Now, one of them got blown up over it, Paul Manafort.  The other tried to dial it back in Michael Cohen.

But the question, then, any investigators question becomes what does that fit into at the White House?  Who knew about that?  Did other lawyers know about that?  Active obstruction and the crime-fraud exception are going to come into play if you have employees of the White House or lawyers committing new criminal conspiracies.  And that is clearly implicated in here to say nothing of the campaign finance crime which is what I want to turn to next.

I want to thank Nancy for joining us.  I want to thank Maya, John, and Ken.  And I may come back to each of you in our rolling coverage so please stay close to your cameras.

What I want to do now is bring in Neal Katyal.  A striking deal here is that federal prosecutors as I mentioned in the Southern District do bring up Donald Trump in these new filings tonight.  They say Michael Cohen not only made illegal payments, we`ve heard about that.  But they say, in court, he made them "in coordination and at the direction of individual one."  That is Donald Trump.

I`m thrilled that as part of our special coverage Neal Katyal joins us.  And he argues, as a legal matter, prosecutors have concluded that Donald Trump is on the hook for that felony.  Our viewers may recognize you.  Of course, you`ve served in many high profile legal positions of the Justice Department, including as acting solicitor general.  So I know when you speak about what constitutes a felony, you don`t do so lightly.  Give us your analysis of that part of tonight`s news, sir.

NEAL KATYAL, FORMER U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL:  Sure.  So to me, the big news tonight is not about Michael Cohen, it`s not about Paul Manafort, it`s about one person, Donald Trump.  And this filing that you just started to highlight that was made today in the Michael Cohen case really does for the first time you have federal prosecutors essentially saying that Donald Trump committed a felony.

And here`s the way that works.  First of all, this is not a document by Mueller.  This is filed by Trump`s own Justice Department, by the Southern District prosecutors in New York and there are three pieces to the claim.  The first piece is the one you just read which is from page 11 of the filing which says that Cohen made these campaign finance payments at the direction of Trump.

And what we`re talking about here are payments made to two women for their silence for having alleged affairs with Trump and they were going to go public.  And what happened was that Cohen paid those folks and did so in a time when you`re only supposed to get $2700 to a campaign and that`s it for a very important reason.  Congresses said we don`t want rich people buying elections, we want transparency in our election process.  So at page 11, the Southern District Prosecutors say, "No, that was done at the direction of Trump."

Then the next key, page 12.  Page 12, the prosecutors say "the agreement`s principal purpose was to suppress this woman`s story so as to prevent the story from influencing the election, from influencing the election."  So they`re taking away the Trump defense which was there in the Edward`s case, oh I was doing it to protect my private life or something like that, these payments.  They`re saying "No, this was done with the purpose of influencing the election.  That`s what the campaign finance laws were all about."

And then lastly, page 23, a long description by the prosecutors of just how serious this violation of the campaign finance laws are, how it strikes a blow to our democracy.  There`s some pretty soaring language in there.  You put all three of those things together, the Southern District Federal prosecutors are alleging that the president committed a felony.

They`re not indicting him.  There he would have -- you know he has any number of defenses available to him but that`s the document they filed.  That`s some of the document I have not seen in my lifetime.

MELBER:  You say you haven`t seen that in your lifetime.  What you`re speaking to is that language of direction, you`re saying legally makes Donald Trump in the eyes of these prosecutors culpable for the criminal campaign finance violation that Cohen has admitted to?

KATYAL:  Correct.

MELBER:  And so is that the end of it or anyone watching is going to think OK, counselor, that sounds like a big deal.  You just said you`ve never seen anything like that in your life.  Do they do more with that?  this is separate from the Mueller probe.  Do they do more with that, the idea that Trump directed this criminal campaign activity?

KATYAL:  Right.  So if this were any ordinary individual, prosecutors then would be entitled to bring a case.  I mean what they`ve said here, they`re saying that we have, you know, reasonable grounds to believe this.  And so presumably, they have evidence besides Michael Cohen`s own statement.  They have some corroborating evidence to suggest this all actually happened.  And yes, they could, under those circumstances, indict an ordinary person.

Now, the justice department in two opinions has said that you may not be able to indict and try a sitting president.  Now, there are some disputes about that and maybe indictment, actually bringing the charges is different.  But so there`s one question about what can Mueller do, what can Southern District do in terms of can they indict the president.

Then there`s a whole separate realm of what happens in terms of impeachment.  The standard is high crimes and misdemeanors in our constitution and certainly --

MELBER:  Right.  And before --

KATYAL:  Sorry.

MELBER:  Before we even get there, I just want to pause on that piece of your analysis because some of this gets into, as you say, uncharted territory.  Are you basically telling us tonight, Neal, that if Donald Trump had lost the election, this is the kind of thing that as a citizen he would be indicted for along with Michael Cohen?  And it`s because he won the election, which this new filing argues was part of what Michael Cohen thought would help him win the election was this crime, that there`s a kind of reward then, a bonus?

KATYAL:  Right, exactly.  I mean if those three statements that I isolated from the prosecutor`s memo taken together established a federal felony and we do have a principle in America that no person is above the law.  And at this point right now, the thing that`s protecting the president from indictment appears to be not that he is some law-abiding person, there`s a lot here to suggest that there is a crime that has been committed and the only get out of jail free card he seems to be holding right now is the one that says, "Well, I`m a president, you can`t indict me.  Go home."

MELBER:  So you`re saying that`s a huge deal.  It jumped out to me as well in this filing which is why I mentioned it earlier why we`re happy to have you here.  In terms of journalistic rigor and fairness, I want to make sure we explore the other side of this because this is an explosive thing here on a Friday night.  We`re talking about a filing that talks directly to court about the president being an unindicted co-conspirator, not just a felony in concept but a felony that Michael Cohen has literally confessed to, which makes it worse for the president.

On the flip side, apart from the constitutional arguments about indicting which I think folks have heard about, isn`t there also a defense of the president that he may have been dealing with someone who is overzealous and did this the wrong way, that even if he directed the underlying activity hey, deal with this problem, he didn`t direct quote unquote the criminal intent.  Meaning, hide it, mislead the FEC, that kind of stuff to a degree that it became a crime.  Is there any defense for him there?

KATYAL:  Sure.  You know, the President is going to be able to say -- is going to try to say something like look, I didn`t intend it for campaign finance violations, I intended it to protect my family and my personal life, and this and that.  And all I`m saying is that what the allegations are in the filing today at page 12 when they say the principle purpose of the agreement was for campaign finance violations if that`s true, it knocks out that defense. 

Now, again, it`s all got to be proven up in a court just like any indictments got to be proven up in a court, but what we`re looking at today is something that really very seriously implicates the President directly in federal felonies.

MELBER:  And I would ask you how the President might understand this, but I`ll go ahead and share and spoiler alert, it`s not much but he`s posting tonight, "Totally clears the President.  Thank You."  Neal?

KATYAL:  Yes, I`m not sure he`s read the filing.  So I think if you just read those three pages of the filing, you add them up, it`s a pretty darn damning document.  And I can assure you that no one I know would want to be cleared in this way. 

MELBER:  I got a tell, control room, someone is holding down the button so I`m not hearing Neal.  The audience is getting more of you than I am Neal.  Say something else or give some analysis while they fix my audio.

KATYAL:  OK, great. So, you know, look, I think what happen --

MELBER:  Now, I hear you great. 

KATYAL:  OK, great.  So I think what the President is you know, like many people you know, willfully reading things that he`s seeing and saying oh you know, this isn`t a big deal.  I`m totally cleared.  But you know, the words are the words, and the words are really darn damning right now.  And if I`m the President tonight, I am beside myself in frankly frightened for the you know -- I know the President has a capacity for self-delusion, but this one`s a hard one.  Those words are black and white on the paper.

MELBER:  And then, while I have you, the other big news is William Barr appointed to be the new Attorney General taking over from Whitaker.  You are in a position to know him and a lot of people around him and know how DOJ works.  What is your view of that appointment?

KATYAL:  Well, first of all, it`s just a relief.  We have right now a fake Attorney General, someone who I don`t believe is actually constitutionally empowered to do the job.  So anyone that the President nominates and gets through Senate confirmation as a step up from what we have right now.  That`s number one.

Number two, Barr is an enormously distinguished qualified person who served as a great Attorney General you know -- you know, a while ago, two decades ago.  The question to me is not what did he do a long time ago as Attorney General but what are his views now, and he`s taken some views that I think some are found troubling about the Uranium you know, investigation, calling for the President`s targets to be investigated and the like.  We`ll have to see and figure out whether or not he`s really kind of changed.  You know, Donald Trump himself used to be a Democrat so you now, people change in two decades.  And so you know, I think it`s his current record now that we`ve got to evaluate.

And you know, I think on the Special Counsel`s stuff I can tell you that back in 1999 when we were drafting the regulations, I think he saw eye-to- eye with the way we saw it which was the Independent Counsel Act, that old statute the after Watergate was too strong a medicine and had dangerous constitutional ramifications, and that the Special Counsel regulations struck the right balance because they allowed for an independent prosecutor.  And he went and actually testified on the hill and celebrated that idea of an independent prosecutor sometimes when you have a politically sensitive investigation.

So at least again, if his old views are still his views today, that`s a heartening step.  It`s certainly not like what Matthew Whitaker has said about the Special Counsel so you know, my -- you know my judgment is kind of reserved at this point because I want to see what he said today, but certainly, his old views were good.

MELBER:  Well, that`s very interesting coming from you and particularly at a time where there is a rush I think with some reason to criticize a lot of what this president does no matter what.  You`re clearly looking into the depth of this individual, his record on these issues, and then, of course, he`s going to go through a confirmation process which as we all know you often learn new things.  Neal, I want you to stay with our rolling coverage as well, but I want to show the audience something else that goes into the Russia part of this. 

There are key parts of this Cohen filing that as we`ve been discussing go into not only how the Trump Tower project in Moscow was being developed and the idea of it being sold, but also why it was of such import to potentially Donald Trump in his company.  Mueller writing in court, new tonight, that it was a quote lucrative business opportunity that sought and likely required the assistance of the Russian government and saying Cohen was approached to set up a meeting between Individual One--that`s Trump and yes, Vladimir Putin.

Now, according to the filing, Cohen was told that this meeting would have a "phenomenal impact not only in political but in business dimensions as well and that there was no bigger warranty in any project than the consent of yes, that would be Putin."  Now, here`s Cohen in September 2015 talking about a Trump-Putin meeting.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER LAWYER, DONALD TRUMP:  There`s a better than likely chance Trump may even meet with Putin when he comes here for the United Nations.  People want to meet Donald Trump. 


MELBER:  Yes, they do.  I`m bringing in former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul who we`ve asked to call in so we can have the benefit of his analysis by phone.  As I mentioned, Neal Katyal is still with me for the law and Ken Dilanian who`s been reporting out the Manafort peace and other parts of this story.  Ambassador McFaul, this is a legal document but it`s also in many ways a peek into the national security and counterintelligence premises of the Special Counsel probe, something we don`t often see.  In your view, do they check out and what`s your wider reaction to what we`re learning?

MICHAEL MCFAUL, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA:  Well, I think we`re learning that Michael Cohen wanted to get rich after the elections and he had been focused on that.  He had been getting guidance from various interlocutors, to Russians as well about how to do that.  That`s why he had this theory that he needed to secure this meeting with Putin.  And by the way, I would concur that if you`re trying to do a big business deal in Russia, it`s always good to have President Putin as your partner.  And I think it`s really important to remember that they didn`t think they were going to win this election when all these contacts and conversations were happening, and Michael Cohen probably never thought he was going to go to the White House.  He was always looking to cash in on his personal relationship with the President to do this big deal in Russia. 

MELBER:  It`s such a great point.  I wonder if you would build on that, ambassador, because you`ve served in government, you have a sense of how a normal government officials and diplomats run and Michael Cohen is anything but.  This was a man who according to the evidence we have didn`t think Donald Trump was likely to win the campaign, although he took all sorts of acts on Trump`s behalf, and didn`t think he was going to end up in jail either based on the reckless conduct.  And yet, in a way, both those things are on the table.  I mean Donald Trump having won, and prosecutors recommending four years.

How does that contrast to say the way it`s supposed to be done when people that might be in your position are advising presidents and campaigns get into this murky world of becoming targets or becoming of interest to foreign officials?

MCFAUL:  Well, you know, I worked on Barack Obama`s 2008 campaign.  Let`s just be clear, you said normal right?  To the best of my knowledge nobody was trying to do business deals with foreign governments during that campaign.  That`s just crazy.  It`s just absurd.  Nobody would ever do that.  And number two, let`s be clear also, it -- you know, we need to learn or but it sounds like the candidates himself was also involved in this.  And in these deliberations and as (AUDIO GAP) that would be very consistent with other kinds of negotiations and conversations he`s had that he would be involved.

And number three, I just kind of want to keep reminding people, Ari, you`ve talked about it before but let`s remember it.  The same interlocutors that they have and talking about doing you know what they`re calling in these documents, the Moscow project, are the same people the Agalarovs who were the ones arranging the meeting in June 2016 to help Trump win, allegedly.  Let`s keep adding that adverb, providing some kind of compromise on Secretary Clinton to try to help him win.  It`s the same group of Russians that they`re dealing with.

MELBER:  Ken Dilanian, your view.

KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY REPORTER:  Well, yes, just to build on this.  I mean, the reason that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has said that they were pretty satisfied with Michael Cohen`s cooperation whereas the Southern District was not satisfied is because Cohan cooperated according to these documents extensively about the issue of Russia collusion.  I don`t think we should lose sight of that. 

And in fact, my colleague Carol Lee just flagged one particular part of this which is the document says that he cooperated about contacts within and around the White House, the Trump White House in 2017 and this year.  And that`s the first mention of really the Mueller investigation reaching into the modern Trump White House as opposed to the campaign.  And then also, this document makes clear that Donald Trump lied.  And I don`t use that term lightly.  When he said at his first news conference as president that he had no contacts with any Russians during the campaign, no dealings with Russia.

We had a hint of that with this whole Trump Tower Moscow project, but this document says that in September 2015 Trump personally conferred with Michael Cohen about reaching out to the Russian government and it seems to be related to the Trump Tower project because it seems to be the same individual who offered the campaign political synergy and synergy on a government level.  Now, obviously we don`t know from this document what was said, what Donald Trump said what Michael Cohen said, but it sure looks like Michael Cohen was a target of recruitment here by the Russians who were trying to infiltrate the Trump campaign. 

And the last thing that`s important here is that Cohen also talked about the circumstances of why he lied to Congress.  How and who he told and the circumstances of how he gave false testimony in Congress.  The implication there is that it wasn`t just Michael Cohen`s decision to tell those lies to Congress and I think there`s more to come on that, Ari.

MELBER:  Right.  And that`s where the Cohen and Manafort filings Neal Katyal both have clues about the notion that other people may have been involved in these things, other people involved in obstruction conspiracies.  Neal, I`m curious what you think about this odd use of the word synergy.  Those of us in normal life think of that as like a meaningless word that sometimes is thrown around and like corporation meetings, like we`re all going to be synergistic.  I`m not aware of it as a huge legal signifier.  It almost seems like Bob Mueller went out of his way in that filing to refer to an alliance, a synergy, between Russia and Trump officials without using the word collusion.  Do you read it that way or differently?

KATYAL:  Yes, I think that`s fair.  I don`t think this is like you know, McKinsey Consulting speak or something like that.  I think there`s something important going on here.  And I guess I`d say you know, it`s three things I would look to.  Number one, the Trump Tower meeting in June of 2016 which there have been so many shifting stories about, and today it was reported that at least former Mayor Giuliani is saying that they believe -- that Mueller believes that Manafort lied about Trump`s knowledge and that Trump actually had knowledge of that meeting before it took place.  You know, the chronology there was on June 3rd, you know, that Trump`s son was contacted by the Russians and you know said if this information is what you say it is, I love it and so on.

And the claim by some has been that Trump has said I never knew anything about this and so on.  We don`t know exactly what he told Mueller in his statement last week, but that`s one thing to think about.  The second thing to think about is this report that evidently there was going to be a 50 million dollar penthouse for Putin that was going to be -- you know, by Trump -- paid for by Trump and so on which would be a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. 

The number three as Ambassador McFaul was just saying, why is everyone lying about this?  Why is -- there`s so many different lies.  Lies from Cohen, lies from Manafort, you know, lies from people all over.  And then they say, oh, it`s no big deal.  It`s just Russian business and so on.  This is people who were you know, these are campaign officials and Trump`s personal lawyer dealing with the Russians and then lying about it, not just ordinary Russians but the Russian government, the Kremlin itself.  That`s a very, very -- you know, the American public should have known that before the election and this was hidden from them.

MELBER:  Right.  And that again goes to some of the connective tissue here which is the Southern District prosecutors say there are things that were hidden from the American public by Michael Cohen`s criminal acts that were basically campaign crimes.  No one can replay that and know whether it would make a difference.  Certainly, some of the incriminating information about Donald Trump`s lifestyle if you want to call it that was out there. 

Then in the Manafort filing which we are just digesting and which will some of it I`m going to hold up because it`ll remind viewers of some what we`ve been doing all week which is some of the hottest stuff is clearly redacted.  But what`s not redacted for your analysis Neal, and I know you`re doing this live with us is that there`s basically the idea that there`s an obstruction conspiracy, Mueller`s term between Kilimnik and Manafort, that Manafort lied about more than one thing that he interestingly provided "information about a different DOJ investigation.

So again we see Mueller saying here`s a Trump witness who was going to maybe help us with something else.  But then -- that Manafort changed his story with that.  And then finally and I wonder if you think what the legal significance of this is, finally what`s not redacted is Mueller saying that Manafort initially claimed he didn`t have any type of communication with anyone in the Trump administration and he never asked anyone to try to communicate a message with anyone in the Trump administration on any matter.  That, of course, is contradicted by Rudy Giuliani and others publicly boasting about their communications.

And then this, and again I`m reading from the new filing, a text exchange from May 26, 2018, of this year Manafort authorized a person to speak with an administration official on Manafort`s behalf.  How do you view that, Neal?  Why is it in the filing?  Why is it unredacted? 

KATYAL:  Well, yes, I think I probably don`t want to speculate on that yet because I want to think about that more and really study the filing closely so I`m starring in a punt on that one but maybe ken or others have some views.

MELBER:  This is -- yo, this is what we do around here.  No, I`m kidding, Neal.  I appreciate your precision.  Ken and John Flannery, if he`s still in the chair, we`re going live with no breaks here so I`m not always sure who`s around.  I`ll put the same question out though which is a Bob Mueller to put it in plain English is saying, John, Paul Manafort that lied to us and he was in touch with Trump people.  Go ahead.

JOHN FLANNERY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR:  Well, the plot continues.  You said it for me.  I would say, ditto.  I mean, the thing about the obstruction here is so strong, all the lives and everything we`re talking about.  What are they?  They`re consciousness of guilt.  We did something.  We`re covering it up.  We cover up to the last minute.  Even when we pretend to cooperate, we lie and then we run away.  It is -- the fox is going to ground and Mueller is as close as he could be to ramming speed.  I just -- I don`t know that we`re going to have a seasonal present, but he looks ready to me and I think a lot of people are going to be very unhappy.

And the question is, is it going to be a family plan are we going to start with the Trump family and the moneys that they have or are we`re going to look at the old gang.  We`re going to have Manafort again with his former partner Roger Stone.  I mean, the possibilities all seem reasonable and the is will they`d all be together.  I`ve always thought from the beginning this would be the third act and a three-part act.  One, here`s the equipment, we put it in place.  Two, this is how we dispense it.  And three, these are the Americans who betrayed their country and compromised us in foreign policy.  Also these guys could fulfill their greedy inclinations.  That`s what I think this is about. 

MELBER:  Well, and John, you know, a lot of it also goes to what Ambassador McFaul and others mentioned which is why are you lying.  Manafort is saying he`s having no contact with anyone the administration about anything.  That`s a far broader claim than you need to make.  You could be a defendant and you can talk to a friend who`s in government about baseball or about policy even if that`s your passion, and it won`t go anywhere near what your lawyers are telling you not to talk about.

So he makes the sweeping denial, and then Mueller busts him and says no, you were doing it in writing.  I mean, the arrogance, a text message in May to the administration.  And it also says and I`m sure there`s going to be nervous people in the White House tonight.  It says in this filing unredacted, Manafort also said he`d been a communication with a "senior administration official through February 2018 and a review of documents demonstrates additional contacts with "administration officials."  Who are they?  Did they ever lie?  John?

FLANNERY:  Well, this is the Trojan horse approach.  Everything else who`s int eh corner, he`s facing a big prosecution in D.C. and so he makes a false agreement and plea figuring at the end of this trail, if he does it right, he`ll get a pardon from a questionable source, Mister One, Mr. Trump.  And so what he does is he cooperates.  He lies when he can and he conveys the information back to the Trump people so they can prepare a defense and an attack on the investigation, pure obstruction.

Now, I don`t -- I can`t remember seeing a Trojan horse strategy like this certainly at a presidential level, certain in such a visible place.  But the reason we`re able to get at these guys is because they`re not that good at it.  They`re terrible liars.  They talk publicly all the time.  They talk inconsistently.  They have strategies that kids in the street wouldn`t have.  And because of it, luckily, the republic may be saved, and maybe some Republican Senator will find the backbone that Baker found during the Watergate thing.

MELBER:  Yes, I mean not to make -- not to make light of it, but you only have to get through you know, the first few episodes of season one of The Wire to know not to send the text messages.  John, stay with me.  There`s a whole other piece to this that we want to get to.  We`re not taking any breaks.  We`re in breaking coverage here.  But when you look at this filing from the Southern District of New York, it really hammers Michael Cohen not only for lies but for doing the opposite of what he had claimed in what you may have heard about on T.V. that he was "cooperating."

But in the new filing we have, prosecutors basically say he wasn`t cooperating enough and thus they represent that he should get substantial prison time for extensive deliberate and serious criminal conduct and they detail that.  The willful tax evasion, the false statements to a bank, illegal campaign contributions, and of course false statements to Congress.  The prosecutors also rebuked Cohen for what they call a criminal mindset that at his own option, he is above the laws of the United States. 

We`ve got all our experts back for this.  And I want to go to Maya who has basically worked in that office.  This looks to a lot of people like a stronger rebuke than you might have expected from the federal prosecutors there and they also go out of their way to say it wasn`t full cooperation.  Maya?

MAYA WILEY, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  I think it`s an understandable rebuke quite frankly, because as I said earlier, number one, this is an attorney.  This is someone who took an oath when he passed his bar exam that said he was going to uphold the laws and that he was going to hold the highest level of ethics as someone who was charged with the law.  Now, that -- what he also did was walked in as we`ve said and you know, he didn`t walk in and cooperate.  He pled guilty and then started trying to cut a deal for himself that would help him out. 

There was some indication in some news reports that suggested that he was in fact, holding out for a pardon and then kind of felt like he was getting thrown under the bus, and so maybe it was in his best interest to paint a different picture of himself.  So I think what you`re hearing from prosecutors is like look, we don`t like people who violate the law particularly when they do it over a course of years and then in and try to play us.  And I guess the DMX you know, argument on sentencing didn`t fly so well with them.  I mean, they actually make a reference essentially to that argument that somehow he hasn`t done anything as bad as some others.

And you know -- the then finally, I think they`re making quite clear while he has cooperated, it really does seem like he`s done it in a way that was really about his best interest.  Let me just say one other thing about why he made -- it was in his best interest.  Because the District Attorney of Manhattan, as well as the State Attorney General, are also investigating what we`re calling campaign finance law violations.  They`re looking at as state tax felonies and possibly misdemeanor crime in falsifying business records at the city level.  So what that is really saying is you`re not going to get a pardon if they find reasons to indict you and this at the level of the city or at the level of the state.

MELBER:  Sure.  Look, Maya, we`ve discussed the DMX defense earlier on the -- on the broadcast.  It says where my dogs at -- no it doesn`t say that.  But what it does say was, Neal Katyal, that other celebrity types and prominent people had been delinquent on their taxes and some have avoided jail time, maybe Michael Cohen should get that light a sentence, that light a slap on the wrist.  And as Maya alludes to, that was coldly rejected in this -- in this filing today starting with the fact that they really lay out that this was not a choice of full cooperation.  He was dragged to it by his -- by his decreasingly optimistic outlook of what he could get away with.

KATYAL:  I agree with Maya who was a great Southern District prosecutor and has done this before.  But I think I`d add one thing to what she said and what`s with what you`re asking about which is the prosecutors, they went out of their way to say this campaign finance violation is really severe.  They don`t have to use all the soaring language they used about democracy - - the threat to democracy and the things like that so it`s pretty powerful language.  And to me it suggests that they are really stealing themselves and laying down a foundation to say you know, these campaign finance violations of which there were two people involved, it was a you know two to tango, Michael Cohen and Donald Trump are very, very serious.

And so I think there`s a second piece -- a second move on the chessboard that`s going on when you look at that filing today.  And again it`s not a filing by Mueller, it`s a filing by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York that`s extraordinarily significant.

MELBER:  And I want to bring in Jennifer Rubin and also go to a broader point Jennifer is a Washington Post Columnist and a Conservative and a critic of Trump.  And I don`t want to wax too poetic here but I wonder if we could begin by noting, Jennifer, that this is a president who has taken extraordinary measures, identified by his own lawyers that some of them as potentially impeachable, to try to shut down and undermine the DOJ and prosecutors and rule of law.  And so I wonder if having gone through a lot of the details tonight, it`s fitting to turn to you and look at what is working career prosecutors doing their job, career prosecutors identifying individual one for directing this because that`s what the facts show. 

Apparently, they`re not afraid of what that means or Donald Trump will get in there.  They don`t have the same buffers that the Mueller prosecutor -- the prosecution team does.  And that I should note is the Southern District of New York where Donald Trump famously invited then U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to Trump Tower for the very rare and unusual step of having a meeting with the person who was the prosecutor for his jurisdiction trying to cultivate him when that didn`t work out firing him.  Preet Bharara has gone on to detail all of that.  Gosh, it looks pretty different now that we know that is the office that was going to go forward and give a four-year recommended jail sentence to Trumps then lawyer Cohen and recommend that and say that Trump directed it, Jennifer.

JENNIFER RUBIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Right.  I think there are about four or five key reassuring things that we can draw from the events over the last few hours.  The first is that facts matter.  And the facts, in this case, do not turn on the credibility of a single individual whether it`s Cohen, whether it`s Manafort.  Obviously, the Special Prosecutor has a wealth of information, the Southern District has a wealth of information, documentary, other witnesses, e-mails texts, and so facts do matter.  We`ve gotten so used to say well, nothing matters because Trump makes stuff up.  You know that doesn`t work in court because finally, we have the facts.  They`re presented to a court.  A judge is going to rule on sentencing, this is the real show so facts do matter.

Secondly, you have a slight difference of opinion here which shows how independent that Southern District of New York is.  Remember, the Southern District of New York is only involved with Cohen on the issue of the campaign finance issues.  Mueller with everything else.  He has perhaps been more helpful with Mueller which is why Mueller is willing to be more lenient, but he really hasn`t given enough or in the opinion of the Southern District, enough to justify a significant reduction in penalty.

And so you see these two branches of the Justice Department which are all under the executive branch taking slightly different positions.  That`s not bad.  That`s reassuring.  That`s saying people are exercising their independent judgment based upon the specific case before them which is different and based upon the facts before them which is different.  So that should be reassuring.  That all this bullying of the Justice Department has really amounted to nothing because people are doing their job and proceeding.

I think the third point that we should have is that it is going to be impossible I think at this point to either withhold a final report if we ever have a final report and or fire Mueller because what he is doing and what the Southern District is doing are now creating a parallel report if you will, in the public domain through the courts, through these filings, so we are getting to know in real time the extent of that information.

You can`t put the genie back in the bottle you can`t put the toothpaste back in the tube once that`s out there.  So in some ways they`ve created some protection for themselves.  And I think the final thing we should keep in mind these people who have been enabling Trump whether it`s Rudy Giuliani, whether it`s people in the White House who think it`s fine to lie for this guy, it`s fine to lie to the public, you can do whatever you want because your only client, your only responsibility is to Trump.  Those people are in a heck of a lot of trouble because those people may now be involved in actions which constitute obstruction of justice.  The fraud exception will be make it possible for lawyers to hide behind the attorney- client privilege.  And there should be a warning to people who work in government and to lawyers that you must conduct yourself within the confines of the law --

MELBER:  Right, that you ethical and legal obligations.  I want to do a lightning round with my large Mueller Friday Brady Bunch panel here.  Yes or no, lightning round, yes or no do the events and filings of today increase the legal exposure of individual one Donald Trump.  Yes or no, John?

FLANNERY:  Absolutely, yes.

MELBER:  Nancy?


MELBER:  Maya?

WILEY:  Oh yes.

MELBER:  Neal Katyal?

KATYAL:  100 percent.

MELBER:  Jennifer.

RUBIN:  Oh yes.

MELBER:  Ken Dilanian?

DILANIAN:  The answer is yes, because this has been the most consequential day yet of the Mueller investigation.

MELBER:  That is quite a statement given how many days there have been.  I want to give of special thanks to our entire panel and the legal analysis here.  And if you are joining us right now, you`ve been watching THE BEAT with Ari Melber on a day when Bob Mueller spoke through speaking indictments and the Southern District of New York spoke.  And what we heard were two different stories that intersect with criminal activity confessed as well as alleged in the case of Cohen, confessed an allege with Manafort and obstruction by people tied to the President of the United States, Individual One, Donald Trump, identified for the first time for directing a campaign-related felony.

A big day indeed.  Thank you for watching our coverage.  And don`t go anywhere because there is a lot more going on a lot of news developing over the course of tonight, and Chris Matthews has you covered.  "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews is up next.