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Michael Cohen denies visiting Prague. TRANSCRIPT: 12/27/2018, The Beat w. Ari Melber.

Guests: Clarence Page, Elise Jordan, Walter Dellinger, Noel Ramirez Sr., Noel Ramirez, Craig Floyd, Chris Redd

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: December 27, 2018 Guest: Clarence Page, Elise Jordan, Walter Dellinger, Noel Ramirez Sr., Noel Ramirez, Craig Floyd, Chris Redd

KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: Percent of the $5 billion that the president wants. This right here is the definition of fiscal sensibility people. And here`s the best part, free shipping. As long as the president is a member of Amazon Prime.

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

"THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER" starts rights now.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. We have a lot of developing stories tonight.

Donald Trump`s lawyer says he won`t answer any more questions from Bob Mueller and claims that Mueller should be investigated. Also, I`m going to show you a conversation with Michael Cohen advisor Lanny Davis about why he says the feds in New York are acting so tough and what it means for the Mueller probe.

And later, a BEAT special report. One week before Democrats retake control of the House, I`m going to get into what their mandate means and why so many pundits missed the blue wave and might still feel bad talking about it. It is an important story as we look over 2018.

But I begin with the panic we`re seeing from Donald Trump right now. There`s the growing investigations. Not just Mueller but also probing his campaign and business. There is the fallout from this decision to shut down the government. He said once it would be a Trump shutdown.

And what`s going the happen to his presidency when Democrats are in charge of the House next week? As we see the signs of panic, I`m going to go through the evidence, there are also signs of contagion, the markets panicking as well.

Now, you`re probably seeing this with your own eyes, the tremors that run through Wall Street, the rockiness that at times seems to mirror the jittery way that a caffeinated Donald Trump is charging ahead into his shut down that nobody else wants including his own party.

Now today, the Dow was plunging but then rallying, 260 points all over the place. It`s a wild day. At one point though, it was a 600-point deficit.

Now, this is the latest in the mount of wild swings that a lot of it came to a head when Donald Trump started sending very mixed signals about trade with China. Then he told Democrats he`d be proud to shut down the government. Something he`s lived up to thus far.

But then in the last two weeks, the shutdown went to reality and things began to spiral. So it`s worth taking a look at this because this really matters here as we round out 2018. You could see the Dow was already basically on a downswing this month. So it wasn`t exactly in good shape. It had an interest rate hike and a lot of the other things that affect the markets.

But then, remember it was just last Thursday when you had the chaos culminating with Donald Trump`s Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announcing he was out.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Breaking news tonight. Defense Secretary James Mattis is stepping down, leaving a White House increasingly gripped by chaos and erratic upheaval.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One senior official saying tonight, "the wheels are coming off".


MELBER: Mattis`s resignation came late in the day. The Dow had already fallen more than 400 points. And as the markets were dealing with that, the president decided to go ahead and go forward with what we have now, forcing the government shutdown and saying basically wants to shut down our government for not paying for a wall that he promised we`d never pay for.

And you have, of course, the fighting with Democrats. Even though weeks ago, as I mentioned, he famously said the shutdown was on him.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s really up to the Democrats, totally up to the Democrats as to whether or not we have a shutdown.

I am proud to shut down the government for border security. I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I`m not going to blame you for it. The last time you shut it down, it didn`t work. I will take the mantle of shutting down.

It is up to the Democrats. So it is really the Democrat shutdown.


MELBER: This is not just talk and spin. You can see the whiplash driving down the Dow another 400 points on Friday. And then over the weekend, Trump Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin revealed that he was briefing and exchanging conversation with some of the biggest bankers in the country trying to calm the markets. That didn`t work.


Mnuchin posted a statement saying the banks told him they have plenty of credit to lend to American businesses and households. But you now have several analysts take making the point that his attempt at damage control could actually backfire and drive even more concern and unease in the markets.


MELBER: And that proved to be true. On Monday, the stocks had their worst day of Christmas Eve trading ever. Although again, you had the jitters so the Dow was rebounding off those losses yesterday gaining a thousand points. That is the biggest point gain in history because it had gone down so much.

And it could have stopped there. But this is why we`re showing you the entire progression. It didn`t because Donald Trump set things off again.


REPORTER: How long do you think your shut down will last, Mr. President?

TRUMP: Whatever it takes. I mean we`re going to have a wall.


MELBER: Whatever it takes, which includes major uncertainty, extreme up and downs for no apparent reason. You know in the first two years of Donald Trump`s presidency, the booming stock market has been one of the things he comes back to over and over that he wants credit for.

But it is, as I think the chart shows, Donald Trump`s governing that seems tied to an erratic market, an erratic mood in the markets. They don`t like it. We have a nation now that is looking at an erratic and voluble president and increasingly seeing at least a part of the economy, the part measured by stock markets joining in the erraticism. And maybe Donald Trump`s strongest argument is evaporating before his eyes.

We have a big show tonight with a lot of guests. I begin on this topic with Elise Jordan who worked in the George H.W. Bush administration and is an MSNBC political analyst, and also a host of the "Words Matter" podcast. That`s a title I can get behind. And Clarence Page, columnist for the "Chicago Tribune."

Clarence, is this the moment that we`re seeing, although there is a lot of Donald Trump`s rhetoric and volubility priced into expectations, we`re seeing some of this hurt him and hurt the markets?

CLARENCE PAGE, COLUMNIST, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Well, we`ve certainly seen Donald Trump get where he has gotten through rhetoric for his ability to talk. And he has said all along that he can solve his problems with China trade, and our problems of health care, and our problems with Wall Street by being a great negotiator.

We have yet to really see that happening. We see instead he claims credit for the stock market when it is up. And when it goes down, he blames the Democrats. When he has an inability to get his wall approved and funded by Americans, not Mexico, again, blames the Democrats.

Just a week after, as you mentioned, saying that he`d proudly wear the mantle of a government shutdown. Of course, it`s not an easy mantle to wear. And so he`s really foundering to a lot of degrees right now and just doing a standoff against the Democrats saying that it`s up to them to reopen the government.

But in the past, we have seen situations like these Republicans tend to get the blame as they did back in the `90s when Newt Gingrich has shutdowns.

MELBER: Elise, he`s also bragged, as we mentioned about when the markets are up. Take a look.


TRUMP: The stock market has gained trillions of dollars in value since my election and has reached record highs.

The stock market is smashing one record after another.

The stock market is hitting one all-time record after another, boosting your 401(k)s and retirement accounts. Everybody happy with your 401(k)? Because if you are not, there is something very wrong.


MELBER: Can he do a call and response like that tonight?

ELISE JORDAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE UNDER PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Donald Trump has really been able to ride the wave of Obama`s economy and to -- and by projecting confidence, he has not hurt the economy. A little bit of bravado isn`t necessarily a bad thing when it comes to economic recovery and strength.

But as his voters start to actually be affected by the economic downturn caused by his trade wars, caused by his policy, that is harder to escape and that`s harder for -- it becomes harder for those voters who might say, "Hey. We don`t like his moral compass. We don`t like the way he talks. But we like Donald Trump`s economy." It becomes harder to forgive some of the other sins.

MELBER: Yes. And this goes to where the markets fit in as kind of pricing Donald Trump`s competence. Paul Krugman is an economist with "The New York Times", of course, writes "The truth is that most of the time, presidential actions don`t matter much for the economy. Short-term economic management is mainly up to the fed. But when bad things happen, we do need the White House to step up."

And he says it matters a lot that both the officials in the outgoing Bush administration and incoming Obama administration responded competently to the `08 financial crisis. "Unfortunately, there is no reason to expect a comparable degree of competence if something goes wrong again."

JORDAN: It`s a rare occasion when I find myself agreeing with Paul Krugman. But I can`t say that I`m more confident in Steve Mnuchin than I was Hank Paulson. Quite frankly, you see Steve Mnuchin off from Mexico doing this bizarre press release about credit liquidity that really only served to upset people more than it calmed anything.

And so no, I`m not confident that this is an administration that could handle an economic crisis and I think that the market is pricing that into it.

MELBER: Yes. Clarence, Elise mentions liquidity. It is the kind of thing that it`s like fight club. You are not supposed to talk about it that much. You`re certainly not supposed to talk about whether the banks have enough money. That freaks people out.

And so I wonder if again this is also, you know, the buck stops in the oval office. Donald Trump picked certain bankers that he liked because he knew they were rich from New York and they may have been good at banking. I`m not sure that they were good at doing what the government side which is being clear and measured when you try to address the markets.

PAGE: Well, it didn`t help matters much when the president talked about -- very mean about the head of the federal reserve and hinted at firing him which he can`t do. But nevertheless, we do know that Wall Street -- there`s a lot of different reasons why the market goes up and down but we know that Wall Street hates the -- hates uncertainty.

And we have a lot of uncertainty right now with a president who makes a lot of comments that he may only have believed that they sound good so he says them. And the warning or rather the comfort that Steve Mnuchin tried to give was kind of like the surgeon general coming out and saying, "We are fully prepared for a zombie apocalypse. Don`t worry about it all folks."

But what`s going to happen? Everybody is going to have a zombie apocalypse on their minds now and you can have a panic. We`re not intending to. That certainly happens on Wall Street.

MELBER: Yes. And we`re just seeing these jitters. And it`s not to suggest, by any means, that what`s happening in the market is the whole economy, the real economy, et cetera. But it certainly seems like it has been supersized by completely avoidable, unnecessary actions and statements by Donald Trump and some of his aides.

Now, Clarence, I have good news for you and perhaps for some of the viewers, which is the "CNBC" portion of THE BEAT is now over.

I want you both to stay with me. I`m going to add another guest as we get into some of the other wider issues tonight. The chaos roiling Trump world is happening, of course, against the backdrop of these investigations.

And there`s one ongoing mystery that`s involved this crypto case that is now potentially heading to the Supreme Court. It`s reportedly, but not confirmed, but reportedly linked to Bob Mueller. Chief Justice John Roberts ruling an unnamed foreign company has until Monday to explain why it is resisting its grand jury subpoena. The case winding to the legal system.

Meanwhile, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani using the holiday week. He didn`t have to do this, Elise, but he chose to. Getting back out there and saying well, you know, when he once said Trump might agree to give more written answers to Mueller, well, that`s over.


BUCK SEXTON, HOST, RISING THE HILL: Do you expect that he`s going to have to answer more questions in writing?

RUDY GUILIANI, DONALD TRUMP`S LAWYER: Well, I think I announced it about 10 days ago over my dead body and I`m not dead yet.

SEXTON: That answers that. As a former --

GUILIANI: I`m not answering any more questions from these people. Their outrageous activity, you know, we did enough.


MELBER: This comes one day after Guiliani was reiterating that the negotiations over a deeper interview, for example in person, had not been "formally closed". The loop hasn`t been closed.

I want to bring in now one of the nation`s preeminent legal experts, Walter Dellinger representing the United States in the Supreme Court during the Clinton administration. He argued Clinton v. Paula Jones when the justice ruled that a sitting president can be forced to deal with the civil court which includes, of course, depositions and the like.

He`s also making the case in "The Washington Post" that a grand jury should be permitted potentially to consider indicting a sitting president. Great to have you here tonight, sir.


MELBER: I know that as someone who`s argued before the Supreme Court, which most people don`t get to even see, most lawyers don`t get to do, you are going to be quite careful about a sealed matter. But I wonder what your view is given the few clues we have about this mysterious grand jury subpoena that John Roberts now has put a deadline on.

DELLINGER: Well, I think it is relatively straightforward in the sense that there is a foreign corporation. A government-owned subsidiary that is resisting turning over its records to the Mueller investigation, claiming that it is a foreign sovereign that has some immunity from U.S. legal processes.

That is not likely to be a winning argument in a criminal case. Especially in light of the fact that the Court of Appeals subpoena was unanimous and it contained judges that are highly respected and run the spectrum of Republicans and Democrats on that court.

I think that what we may be seeing, Ari is that this could be the year of the Supreme Court for the Mueller/Trump standoff. I think this could be by far the least important of the cases that the U.S. Supreme Court hears on an expedited basis.

For example, what you just played with Rudy Giuliani resisting questions to the president, other presidents as we know with Bill Clinton have testified before the grand jury by video hook up from the White House. And I think it`s a very weak claim if the independent -- if the special council wants to know what Donald Trump`s state of mind is. If he`s considering perhaps even just naming him as an unindicted co-conspirator, he needs to interview the president.

And until you could easily take an expedited case on the grand jury subpoena of the president for his testimony up to the Supreme Court, they could hear that case. They could also hear a case involving the House`s decision, if it comes to that, to subpoena the Mueller report. So I can see --

MELBER: Would you expect Mueller -- would you expect him to pursue that before he closes up shop?

DELLINGER: I think I would expect him to see to subpoena the president because he wants to do a complete investigation. And he has said previously he needs to understand the president`s state of mind when he engaged in a broad range of actions which might potentially be part of a criminal conspiracy.

And I think he won`t give up. I don`t think it would necessarily unduly delay the investigation. Because if you remember, Bush vs. Gore, a briefing was done in a 48-hour period, and overall argument 24-hours later, and the Supreme Court took several days to issue an opinion.

You could have an expedited -- a case especially I think since the president in light of the case I argued and lost, Clinton against Jones, Bill Clinton was required to sit for a day-long deposition in a civil case. And the U.S. vs. Nixon, where Nixon was required to turn over the tape recordings that he had made of private conversations in the oval office.

The law is entitled to every man`s evidence. And I think they are blustery when Rudy Giuliani acts as if it is his decision rather than that of the Supreme Court. And I don`t think --

MELBER: Well, you say every man`s evidence. You know, I object to the terminology. I would say every man or thug, right?

DELLINGER: Right. Well you know, look. I think the Supreme Court is not necessarily going to break down on any kind of ideological or party lines - -

MELBER: Right, with, of course (CROSSTALK) constitutional credibility at stake.

DELLINGER: Yes, absolutely.

MELBER: While I have you as a legal eagle and then I`ll go briefly lightning round to everyone else. I got the get you on the other thing that`s happening, which is there is a ton of cases. The Trump administration shut down the government.

Now, in a bout of extremely chutzpah, they are citing the shutdown to say they should have more time or a delay in the Trump hotels foreign bribery case. Is that a good argument for the government to make?

DELLINGER: I don`t think so. It could be that they are covering themselves. You know, against having lawyers work without pay which could be in violation of something called the Anti-Deficiency Act by making sure that the court rejects that argument, says no. You got to make your filings when we tell you to make the filings.

MELBER: Get it in no matter what. Elise Jordan, Anti-Deficiency Act?

JORDAN: Anti-Deficiency Act? I don`t -- you would be decision asking me about it on your show, Ari. I trust your legal acumen more than that.

MELBER: Clarence, final word?

PAGE: Yes. Well, I don`t know more about the Anti-Deficiency Act either. But we`re on -- every time somebody brings up the question of, can the president be prosecuted? Everybody says, "Well, it is not settled in the courts."

Maybe now is the time to settle it. Maybe now is the time to push it. That same argument has been given for pushing for impeachment. And I`m not a radical, frankly.

I like to do these things in a gradual and thoughtful manner. But we`re really in uncertain ground here. And we`re finding more and more apparent awful violations by the president. We may be forced to do this.

MELBER: We don`t look at these segments as an intellectual knowledge competition but if they were, it`s clear everyone agrees Walter wins with deep and extensive knowledge.


MELBER: And some interesting thoughts from each of you. So my special thanks to Elise, Clarence, and Walter.

Up ahead. The Michael Cohen sentencing mystery. Lanny Davis will tell us his view about the credit Mueller gave Cohen and while New York prosecutors disagree.

Also, my special report later on the blue wave that put Pelosi back in power and why pundits have issues with it.

All that plus get this, on tonight`s show we have Chris Redd from "Saturday Night Live" on THE BEAT and we`re bringing him in with the one and only Craig Melvin for a very special edition end of the year fallback.

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


MELBER: This week may have a government shut down and a holiday but Bob Mueller`s team is on the job and their operation unimpeded by the shutdown. Some of their witnesses also speaking out.

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen says tonight he never went to Prague, denying a new report that alleged there were mobile phone pings that would tie him to that country. Now, in a moment I`m going to speak to Cohen advisor Lanny Davis about an important issue in his sentencing. So that is in a few moments.

But first, right now, we want to turn to a critical feature of law enforcement that we think can get lost in our endless news cycles. This is a report we do each year here at MSNBC. And I hope you will join me in taking a few moments to look at this story and the people it impacts.

I`m talking about police officers who are killed on the job, as well as the family and friends that they leave behind. This touches every community in America, where police serve every day. And by definition, they don`t know if they get to come home that night.

So take a look at this. Every face you see right here right now is the face of an officer killed by gunfire in the line of duty this year. Fifty- two officers in the U.S. That is up from the 46 officers fatally shot on the job last year.

The statistics come from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. And their President Greg Floyd joins me in a moment. Now, he works with this grim numbers. He says the increase is disappointing and that "sadly, public safety is a dangerous job that can come at a very steep price."

This year, there were fewer ambush attacks on officers. Those are those targeted killings where assailants are seeking out police to attack or kill. Five officers killed in those ambush attacks this year compared to 8 last year, and 21 the year before. A tense time when many law enforcement experts were concerned and perhaps Americans were turning against officers.

Sergeant Noel Ramirez and Deputy Tailor Lindsey were shot to death in an ambush in April through the window of a Florida Chinese restaurant. They were there simply eating lunch. It`s one of the many cases that continues to grind through our system.

Today, in fact, the state`s law enforcement department released a report stating that they found that shooter hated law enforcement. There was an emotional funeral for the officers held after the attack, with one of the longest processions in the history of the State of Florida and the final call made by a dispatcher playing after the ceremonies.


DISPATCHER: This is the final call for badge number 268, Sergeant Noel Ramirez and badge number 293, Deputy Tailor Lindsey. Both Sergeant Ramirez and Deputy Lindsey made the ultimate sacrifice as they were serving and protecting the citizens of Gilchrist County with honor and valor. You are cleared for the end of the watch. Thank you for your service. Rest easy. We have your watch from here.


MELBER: Sergeant Ramirez`s father, Noel Ramirez Senior joins me along with Greg Floyd, as I mentioned, the president of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Thanks to both of you for being a part of this conversation. It goes without saying that it is not easy.

Noel, let`s start with as we look back on the year, what do you want people to know and remember about your son?

NOEL RAMIREZ SENIOR, FATHER OF SERGEANT NOEL RAMIREZ, LOST HIS SON IN 2018 AMBUSH ATTACK: There is really so much about my son. My son was my life. He was a person that since he was in school, he had the best grades. He`s smart, a leader, always knew what he wanted.

He is -- and to today, I still don`t believe, you know, that my son is not here. He wanted to learn so much about autisms. That he was like one of the first officers that took courses to learn so that way he knew how to treat people with autisms in the street, knowing that his son was diagnosed with autism.

This is so hard, you know. When you say through the -- you know, that he`s been shot through the windows, I really can`t say was that the way it did happen because I really don`t know how it did. They say inside the restaurant. And has been so confused that, you know, we haven`t -- I don`t even know what really happened to my son.

But they just not took my son. They took our family. They took my wife. They took me because we miss our son. And I still sit on that porch waiting for him to get back home because he didn`t deserve it.

He was a person that was nice, always with a beautiful smile, always helping other people. He was a leader. Ever since he was a kid, he was a leader. And I thank god for the son he gave us.

For me, he was so perfect. And I tell them every time I head to the cemetery, I tell him Noelito, I love you. And I can`t wait for that day that I`m there with you. I didn`t even get to say bye to him. He was my love.

I appreciate the people all over the world that have supported us. The deputies from the Levy County that were there for us also, supporting us. Because I didn`t really know what happened. I still don`t know really what happened.

This was not supposed to be happen out there. They were two young men. They didn`t deserve this. They took our life.

MELBER: I appreciate you being able to --

RAMIREZ: I need to hug him.

MELBER: -- share this story with us. You said you want to hug him. You go visit him. You mentioned his work and his care for people with autism. What drew him to be a police officer?

RAMIREZ: Really when he came from Puerto Rico, he came over here and he was a brilliant, brilliant guy. He knew so much.

Actually, I didn`t even know when he was a small kid and we were taking the ferry boat from Manhattan to Staten Island and I just saw him speak English. And I`m like I didn`t know he was even speaking English, talking about the Knicks game and all that.

And he became an officer because I know he`s a person that he always liked to be out there for people, to help people. He -- I even have to ask him things like, you know, should I do this? Should I do that? What do you think? He was my support. We miss him.


RAMIREZ: That was not supposed to happen. And we need them back, I need my son back. I love you, Noel. Noelito, I love you.

MELBER: Well, Noel, it`s unspeakable because it`s what any parent would fear and being involved in law -- at law enforcement family. It`s something I`m sure you had to fear before this. Allow me to bring Craig Floyd into the conversation. Craig, you work with families like this day in and day out. You`ve been a source for us on the story. What do you want to say?

CRAIG FLOYD, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS MEMORIAL FUND: Well, first, condolences to Mr. Ramirez and his family. Let me assure you that your son will never be forgotten. His name next May 13th at an official candlelight vigil, his name will be officially inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C. There will be more than 30,000 people there to hear your son`s name read aloud as we dedicated. And his name will now be part of the memorial that contains more than 21,000 names, Ari of officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice dating back to 1791. And more than half of those names on that memorial died as a result of gunfire.

The 52 officers shot and killed this year will have their names on that memorial as well and they get the richly deserved tribute they so much deserve.

MELBER: And Craig, what do we learn about officers by reflecting on this for the year because as you and I know, there`s a lot of different stories but most officers never discharged their weapon aren`t accused of wrongdoing, aren`t a part of some of the stories that sometimes do make news. What do you see and we could put it back up on the screen, what do you see in the faces of these officers who were -- who were killed serving this year?

FLOYD: Ari, for 34 years I`ve been the founding CEO of the memorial fund. I am a private citizen. I`ve never worn the badge, but I`ve had the privilege of meeting thousands of these men and women who service in law enforcement. I know their stories of compassion, of courage, of heroism. I know why they do it. I know what`s in their heart. These people as Mr. Ramirez said about a son, they want to help people in need. Very seldom do they ever resort to the use of force. Most of them as you pointed out never fire their weapon in the line of duty. They conduct themselves professionally and properly and too often this nation of ours does not -- we take them for granted, does not appreciate their service and their sacrifice.

And today as we announced that 144 officers died in the line of duty last year, hopefully, all of us as citizens of this great country will pause and express our appreciation to the men and women in law enforcement.

MELBER: And Noel, in the -- in the brief time I have left, I want to thank you for being able to share your story. We talked to families for this story and some understandably don`t want to speak out at all which we get. They`re mourning, they`re grieving, so I appreciate you helping us and our viewers understand a little bit about what your family`s been through. I give you the final word.

RAMIREZ: Noelito, we miss you. I can`t wait for that day to be with you, hug you, and tell you how proud I am of you. You are our life and I know you`re a great man, and you will always be a great man. But we will see again. I love you, Noelito. I love you.

MELBER: Noel Ramirez Sr. and Craig Floyd, a difficult but I believe obviously worthwhile discussion. Thanks to both of you. We have more in the show so we will be right back.


MELBER: Welcome back. As the year ends, you may have noticed we`ve been looking at several different important stories of the year. The next one is political. This is one of the most impactful political stories and it`s the blue wave that is returning the speaker`s gavel to Nancy Pelosi. Now, this is a story that many D.C. pundits miss by fixating on predictions are overreacting to Trump. But now that the ballots have all been counted, we know the Dems won a record-breaking 40 seats with an eight-point national margin.

You`re looking at the Dems largest wave in 40 years, a wave that you may recall was often obscured by pundits on election night.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight, there was some hope that the Democrats would have a wave election. It`s not going to be a wave election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I have to say when you look at what`s going on here tonight, this is not a blue wave. This is not a wave that is knocking out all sorts of Republican incumbents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Democrats are running about where they hope to if they were going to pick up 30 seats, but not where they were hoping if they`re going to pick up 35 or 40.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is heartbreaking though, it`s heartbreaking. It`s not a blue wave but it`s still a blue wave.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With regard to the blue wave, I feel more like I got purple rain.


MELBER: Ha, ha, ha. Except that wasn`t true. It wasn`t very purple. The blue wave delivered 40 seats for Dems. Now, to be fair, one of the news outlets you just saw has updated its analysis.


JAKE TAPPER, HOST, CNN: But I`d have to say when you look at what`s going on here tonight, this is not a blue wave. This is not a wave that is knocking out all sorts of Republican incumbents.


MELBER: But it was a blue wave. In that same outlet later reported it was quote a tsunami noting Democrats crushed Republicans, their margin of eight percent, the largest for minority party heading into an election since 1942. This wave or tsunami is not only reshaping Congress, it reveals something vital about the American electorate. Voters oppose Trump and his party by historic proportions now. What you see is not a correction, it is a record-breaking rebuke of Trumpism. And history, shows this popular margins actually larger than the midterm victories that the D.C. class was quick to celebrate like Newt Gingrich`s 94 wave or the 2010 Tea Party backlash to Obama.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Republican revolution of election 94 shook Capitol Hill like an earthquake today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Indeed the House is Republicans, the Senate is Republican, the majority of governorships now Republican. The nation right now it would seem is Republican.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a wakeup call to President Obama that they view this as the voters speaking and a rejection in what they`re doing for the past 20 months.


MELBER: That was the D.C. conventional wisdom about the red waves those years. So let`s look at it. Here you can see the GOP margins for those Midterms and here is the 2018 Democratic edge and the Midterms, larger than both of them topping eight percent nationwide, larger than any Democratic pick up since Nixon`s criminal presidency.

Those are the electoral facts this year. If you feel like you haven`t heard much about this, that may be because so many pundits were on the wrong side of the wave. It can be uncomfortable to lean into a story that involves fact-checking yourself, though some have done so including CNN`s Van Jones who we showed earlier.

Now two, there are others who simply overreact to Trump. They let him hijack headlines. As one analyst discussed in recent news in a segment that was about how the blue wave was bigger than pundits realized on election night.


BRIAN STELTER, HOST, CNN: Did a news media underappreciate the strength of the blue wave in the House on Tuesday night? Five days later it sure looks that way.

DAVID ZURAWIK, MEDIA CRITIC, THE BALTIMORE SUN: Trump again on Wednesday so quickly change the narrative. Listen, I was in my editors office Wednesday afternoon pitching a Thursday morning print -- a Thursday morning online, Sunday print piece analyzing the role of political T.V. advertising in the governor`s race in Maryland and people were sticking their heads in going Zurawik, you got to see this press conference. Trump is totally off the rails. You know, halfway through my pitch, I said, forget it. I`m writing about the press conference.


MELBER: They`ll always be another press conference, another feud, another tweet, but there`s only one election every other year. There`s only one chance to hear the voters in a midterm during each presidential term in office. So it`s pretty important to make sure we know what voters just said this year. They voted against Trump by a record-breaking margin in 2018, an even wider margin than they did in 2016 when more people chose Trump`s opponent but he won the electoral college.

So what are we to make of this here at the end of the year? There`s a lot of talk about Americans being divided in the Trump era, and that`s true, but it`s only part of the story. The larger electoral reality is that from the moment Trump entered office, more Americans opposed to him than backed him. He assumed the presidency within our constitutional rules but not with a majority mandate or a whole lot of legitimacy. And faced with a resistance that is larger than his base, Trump then led his party into this crushing Midterm defeat last month. So this resistance is now even larger and the GOP base looks to be smaller.

That is a huge story for this year in next. Call it a tsunami story if you want. It`s pretty important even if the pundits never saw it coming. We`ll be right back.


MELBER: Welcome back. We have scrambled our run down a little bit. We`re still going to have SNL`s Chris Redd after this segment but this is what I promised you earlier. Some of the fallout in a Mueller related case, the sentencing of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. You were probably part of the crowds in America that were pretty riveted by that sentencing hearing for another person who pleaded guilty in the Russia probe. Mike Flynn, he was warned by a federal judge. He could see some jail time even though Mueller had recommended none.

But that warning would involve at its worst case probably months for Mike Flynn, not years. And as of tonight, Mike Flynn hasn`t been sentenced at a single day of jail which brings us back to a legal comparison of Michael Cohen whose cooperation was deemed credible by Mueller. He now faces three years from a case pushed by prosecutors who by definition don`t work for Mueller up in New York. So why would they still tough on Cohen. And if people who cooperate and get a clean bill of legal health from Mueller can still catch pretty heavy sentences, can that in any way impact other witnesses future cooperation in the Russia probe? These are admittedly somewhat intricate legal questions.

Now, I just spoke with Michael Cohen`s former attorney and current advisor Lanny Davis who also is drawing contrasts to Flynn about all this and arguing that Cohen`s truthful testimony is quite scary to Trump.


LANNY DAVIS, LAWYER OF MICHAEL COHEN: Well, first let`s notice that Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani have spent days and days and tweets and tweets attacking and personally disparaging Michael Cohen more than anyone else. Well, of course, President Trump said good luck to Raymond Flynn -- Michael Flynn. So you have to wonder why our Giuliani and Trump so focused on Michael Cohen.

And the answer, of course, we will find out, is that he knows more Giuliani and Trump fear Michael Cohen telling the truth more than anybody else because he knows more having worked for him for ten years and now has turned and recognized as he will explain in his own words someday the danger to the country that a President Donald Trump represents.


MELBER: The answer will come out. That`s how Mr. Davis puts it. Now, what is his evidence? This is where things can get even more interesting because Lanny Davis argues that the nature of Mueller`s statements about Michael Cohen`s cooperation crediting him for information on core issues. That itself suggests Cohen may have helped answer questions about collusion itself. Now, we discussed that and I asked Lanny Davis why didn`t will or do more to protect Cohen from the wrath of the New York feds.


DAVIS: So of all things, what you just read is the most important and the biggest question. Compare the stakes of what Bob Mueller gave credit to Michael Cohen. He said core issues. We know that core issues is the essence of the collusion investigation that he`s looking at and Michael Cohen, seven meetings and 70 hours, he voluntarily cooperated. And yet the Southern District of New York with a tax charge, a false statement which is an unintentional false statement when the home equity loan that he was charged criminally about had ten times the equity compared to the loan which is the only thing the banks care about.

And of course, the campaign finance violation which was Donald Trump directing. This is the finding of the prosecutors directing his lawyer to pay hush money to corrupt American election.


MELBER: Now, that was Lanny Davis`s view in our conversation. The prosecutors would stress as they did with Flynn when anyone pleads guilty, they own the charge. Davis counters by suggesting that maybe there`s more going on with the federal prosecutors in New York. So we dug into that as well and as we`ve been doing on this show from time to time when we have more that you might be interested in, we`re putting the entire Lanny Davis interview which gets into all those details and implications from Mueller up online. It`s there right now.

If you go to our Facebook page, it`s the top item. Lanny Davis on where the Mueller probe may be heading and what else he wants you to know about Michael Cohen a pretty important witness. You can check it out there now.

We`re not done. As I mentioned earlier in the show, we have something very special. Saturday Night Live`s Chris Redd is here on THE BEAT for a special edition of fall back along with NBC`s Craig Melvin. That is now next.



MELBER: You know what it is. It`s 2018 a fall back for the entire year with some very special guests who are doing my hand motions.

CRAIG MELVIN, It`s hard not to.

MELBER: Craig Melvin of the NBC Today Show and of course the colleague here at MSNBC and for our special fall back of the year Chris Redd from Saturday Night Live. Thank you for coming through.

CHRIS REDD, ACTOR: Thank you, man. I left my suit in the car.

MELVIN: You can (INAUDIBLE) with that.

REDD: Man, it`s like cow skin.

MELBER: I like this. This is like -- this is like a hypercolor a little bit.

MELVIN: Oh, I just noticed that. That is SNL money.

REDD: No that`s not -- that is -- that is -- I don`t know -- that`s not money. I have no money.

MELBER: That`s like that one car that`s supposed to look like the Bentley but it`s not a Bentley or actually --

REDD: No, this is a Rolex.

MELBER: Oh my God.

MELVIN: That`s a beautiful watch.


MELVIN: This is good.

REDD: I mean, it`s a rental. I`ll take a back after the interview is over.

MELVIN: Oh right. It`s not moving.

MELBER: It`s rent -- the rent the runway Rolex?

REDD: It never stops, man. You heard Drake. I don`t need you to come over here to talk about my watch. It`s the one thing I own.

MELBER: You know -- you know how we describe that kind of watch.

MELVIN: How do we describe it?

MELBER: Bus down. You guys don`t know what that means.

REDD: No, bus down, when you put the -- when you put the diamonds out.

MELBER: That`s when there`s extra diamonds.

REDD: Yes, this was -- this is not bus down.

MELBER: That`s not -- that`s busted up.

MELVIN: What is segment -- what is this segment called again?

MELBER: The segment is called "FALLBACK" and this segment is the fall back for all of 2018.

MELVIN: For all of the year.

MELBER: What`s running through your mind Craig is what`s running through some of the viewer`s minds because the segment is confusing.

REDD: Yes, it`s a made-up.

MELBER: It`s a made up segment.

REDD: Yes, I love it.

MELBER: All right, Chris, yes for the whole year, who needs to fall back?

REDD: Man, number one, who need to fall back is fake rage. Is that -- how could you be mad at everything. It`s having -- his on 24 hours a day, man. Everything can`t set you off.

MELBER: Like everyone is ready to be outraged before they even know the facts.

REDD: Exactly. And also only mad for like four days and then it`s --

MELBER: Four day, it`s for hours.

REDD: Yes.

MELVIN: You think, Chris Redd, that cable news hurt -- makes that worse?

REDD: Ah probably, but --

MELBER: Do you think that cable news host sometimes take over a segment when they`re guests in it?

REDD: Yes, man. Then they pin you against each other. You know what I`m saying? They get -- you just get caught in the middle.

MELBER: I got a question. I got a question. Can you not ask a question for five minutes?

MELVIN: It`s really hard. It`s really hard. My apologies.

REDD: That`s that -- that`s that "TODAY SHOW" gust already.

MELVIN: I`m going to speak when spoken to.

MELBER: Craig Melvin --


MELBER: You look at the year 2018, who needs to fall back.

MELVIN: Ari Melber needs fall back. Ari Melber needs to fall back in 2018. I knew Ari Melber when no one watched it, like where he was like this multimedia sensation. But he had a show it was very good. He was a standout on the show. And then all of a sudden, like Chris Redd on the show.

MELBER: You had a sound effect.


MELBER: Why are you trying to turn this into a roast, Craig? That`s --

MELVIN: Well, because I wanted to come on just tell you how proud I am of THE BEAT and Ari Melber.

MELBER: That`s very nice. That`s very nice. Who needs to fall back?

MELVIN: No, I got nothing. McRib does.

REDD: The McRib needs to fall back.

MELBER: You guys we`re just talking about it.

REDD: I was talking about this like. I like the McRib. We don`t know what it is. We don`t know what it`s made of. Why you just pretended like you`re going away when you know, you`re going to be back. I like that. Just like the person on Facebook like I`m leaving Facebook. I don`t like Facebook. I hate it. And then the next day they got a status, good morning. To who? To who?

MELVIN: They can`t break up. I tell you one thing I hope falls back next year. Those detergent makers that come out -- that have come out with the pods. The pods that made like you know a couple hundred kids sick. Now they`ve got a contraption. It`s like boxed wine. It`s almost as if these detergent makers want children to drink the product instead of using it.

REDD: You know, I ought to get my butt whipped if I ate my mom`s detergent.

MELVIN: I sure --

MELBER: You`re referring to what you believe is a parenting aisle.

MELVIN: I think that culturally there are -- there are certain children out there that are permitted to do things that we weren`t permitted to do now.

MELBER: You`re talking about top printing, but also as perhaps a corollary to that --

REDD: Corollary, I like that word right there, corollary.

MELBER: You were raised by I believe southern parents.

MELVIN: Yes. You were from Illinois I thought.

REDD: Well, my parents are from Mississippi.

MELBER: So both of you have that southern upbringing which can also be quite strict.


REDD: It can.

MELVIN: No, your people. The Seattle people.

MELBER: The coastal people.


MELBER: Seattle people?

MELVIN: Permissive, you know. You know how the people are out there.

MELBER: Well, Seattle is a hippie out. Yes. When you go to order coffee in Seattle, you go to a -- you go to coffee shop and they`ll be like, what`s up, and you`ll be like, how you doing, good. Like I get some coffee, and they`ll be like, don`t rush me, man. And I`m like, but this is a coffee shop.

REDD: Oh, like that.

MELBER: It`s like it`s aggressively chill if that makes sense.

REDD: See, in Chicago, they`re just aggressive-aggressive. I went to McDonald like having a number one that I don`t know, fan, I`m like, oh, hold on.

MELVIN: It seems number one right there.

REDD: It`s an option.

MELVIN: I like this segment. I mean, I`ve never actually see this segment on T.V. This is a great country.

MELBER: Is this -- is this a television show right here, just this?

REDD: I feel like it is.

MELVIN: I would be a part of -- I mean, after this --

REDD: Two suits and a hoodie. Tuesday -- is it Tuesday? I don`t know what day it is.

MELVIN: Hoodie in a Rolex.

MELBER: Hoodie in a Rolex.

REDD: I`m busted.

MELBER: On that note, I`m going to say this segment needs to fall back and we`re done and thank you very much for coming through.

REDD: Of course.

MELBER: 2018 "FALLBACK" Craig Melvin, your first time on THE BEAT. Thank you for being here.

MELVIN: Is this -- this is my first time. I enjoyed you.

REDD: I enjoyed you too.


MELBER: Two suits and a hoodie. Count it up. We`re working on the graphics right now. That is our show. Before we go, I`ll give you one heads-up about the news tomorrow. We`ve got a lot to cover, including Sweleanor herself, Eleanor Cliff will join me, as well as former Federal Prosecutor Guy Lewis. He worked with Bob Mueller at DOJ. We`re going to get into what we expect to pop off when everything kicks back off in January.