2020 Democratic Primary heats up. TRANSCRIPT: 02/06/2019, The Beat w. Ari Melber.

Guests: Paul Butler; Michelle Goldberg; John Flannery; Eric Swalwell; Daniella Gibbs Leger, Jay Inslee

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: February 6, 2019 Guest: Paul Butler; Michelle Goldberg; John Flannery; Eric Swalwell; Daniella Gibbs Leger, Jay Inslee

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Told you we have quite a show. Could have probably used more time but that`s all we have for tonight. We`ll be back tomorrow with more MTP DAILY.

As you can see, the 2020 campaign is in a different place. Virginia is in an uh-oh place and then, of course, there`s Washington.

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

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chuck. Thank you very much.

We have a lot of developing stories in our hour tonight. Democrats who may run against Trump making news. New hints about potential races with Beto O`Rourke and Amy Klobuchar. New remarks from Elizabeth Warren addressing her critics late today.

And beyond Congress, could Democrats turn to a governor next year? Jay Inslee from the evergreen state is on THE BEAT later tonight.

Plus, I have a special report on this potential gag order in the Mueller case for Roger Stone. All of that later.

But we begin with Democrats coming out swinging on investigating Trump. Adam Schiff making it official with a new framework that he has announced here tonight for a sweeping investigation of Trump, Russia, and, of course, the money trail.

Congressman Schiff announced that Dems will use subpoena power to probe coordination between Trump and Russia. Also probing the scary but potential legal scenario where foreign actors hold financial leverage over Trump or his family, including potential "foreign exploitation" and the House looking to probe obstruction and lies by Trump`s team. That`s a point Schiff underscored today by noting Dems are giving Russia interview evidence over to Mueller.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: The Special counsel`s office, the Department of Justice, and its elements will now have access to those transcripts for any purpose which will facilitate justice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That`s the news. Seventy-three different individuals have testified before the committee already. Mueller may have had versions of these transcripts because he`s already indicted two people for lying in interviews. Michael Cohen who pled guilty and, of course, will talk to the Intel Committee again rescheduled for later this month. And then Roger Stone who`s pleaded not guilty.

Now, Democrats on the same committee have told us they also think, in addition to that, at least two other people criminally lied as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP.JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Roger Stone is not the only one that lied to Congress.

I have reason to believe that Mr. Prince was not completely candid with the committee.

MELBER: You have knowledge of other individuals that you think by this standard would also be charged?

SPEIER: Yes, I do.

MELBER: Can you name any of them?

SPEIER: I`m not going to.

MELBER: Are there more than two?

SPEIER: There may be two.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: There may be two. The issue could come up later this week when Democrats also grill Donald Trump`s acting attorney general who is sure to be asked about among other things Donald Trump`s odd and controversial attempt to undercut open investigations last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn`t work that way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Today, Democrats say it actually does work that way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHIFF: His effort to discourage any meaningful oversight of the administration, that`s a non-starter. We are not going to be intimidated or threatened by the president.

REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY), CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: He cannot escape, nor should any president, escape congressional oversight.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD), CHAIRMAN, OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: We`re all under scrutiny and that we all have to be accountable. It`s a new day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: In a moment, I`ll be joined by Congressman Eric Swalwell from the Intelligence Committee on all of this. First, I want to bring in our panel of experts.

"New York Times`" Columnist Michelle Goldberg, former Federal Prosecutor John Flannery who`s been special counsel to three different congressional investigations, and former Federal Prosecutor Paul Butler who`s worked on public corruption and is a professor at Georgetown. Good evening to all of you.

Paul, what do you think of the fierce pushback to Donald Trump`s claim last night?

PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: So Donald Trump seems to think that presidential harassment by another name is what we call congressional oversight. It`s part of our constitutional democracy, a system of checks and balances. It`s why we have President Trump and not King Trump. We have co-equal branches of government.

And if the president doesn`t know that now, he`s able to find out from Robert Mueller and from the newly Democratic House which will exercise its power to oversee the executive in a way that the Republicans did not when they controlled Congress.

MELBER: Michelle, sometimes as a writer, you reach for the obvious comparison because it`s true. And the Nixon-Trump comparison has existed for a while. But you look at the attempt of two presidents suffering under criminal investigations, clearly canning individuals in their own way, thinking they can use the State of the Union to will intervene what they hope.

Nixon famously saying there would be a deadline for Watergate. You don`t get to decide that when you`re the subject. Take a look at the comparisons for your analysis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe the time has come to bring that investigation and the other investigations of this matter to an end. One year of Watergate is enough.

TRUMP: If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn`t work that way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I mean the similarities are clear but I think there`s a significant difference too, which is that without saying anything to minimize Nixon`s criminality, he wasn`t up there issuing a threat, right. I mean that was sort of -- like what Trump did was sort of like gangster Nixon. It was like "Nice country you got there."

I mean honestly, if there`s going to be peace and legislation, you have to drop these investigations. I know that`s not exactly how he put it but that was the gist of it, right. So he`s basically sort of trying to what, extort the United States Congress out of meaningful oversight.

MELBER: Well, it`s sort of like a protest march. I mean protesters will sometimes say no justice, no peace. And it`s --

GOLDBERG: Right. But they`re not the president--

MELBER: And it`s -- they`re radicals banging on the door. This is the sitting president of the United States with all that power. When that person says no peace, that to your point is quite ominous.

GOLDBERG: Right. That`s completely shocking. I think it just goes to show how far we have sunk in under two years of this presidency that that wasn`t the headline coming out of this State of the Union, right. So every -- oh, yes, Trump threatening that if he`s subject to normal oversight, he`s going to do some sort of extralegal, I don`t know, war.

Who knows what he`s threatening? But the very fact that he made this gangster-like threat with something that everybody sort of rolled their eyes at because we have become so inured to gangster-like behavior and lawlessness.

MELBER: Well -- and John, Michelle is using the word gangster.

JOHN FLANNERY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes.

MELBER: I`m sure you remember a student of other criminal conduct, Master P, who said is there heaven for a gangster? Is there heaven for a gangster? The implication being there may not be, depending on what the gangster has done, John.

FLANNERY: Evil is a gangster`s heaven. And this guy is going to celebrate his heaven I think. The day is coming.

Yes, Trump, no justice. I think he is a transparent barrier if you will to justice. And I think last night fit his playbook which is that what is he doing? He`s trying to obstruct an investigation to impede it, to try to use the bully pulpit comparing his suffering to war.

We can`t have war. We can`t have investigation. Well, that`s a pretty interesting comparison. It tells us how he thinks about it. And he`s in a war like a mobster, like two Capo of some organized crime family and he`s telling the people because he`s accomplished so much. Lay off me. I`m not worth this kind of a prosecution.

Well, when he call -- he also insults it. He calls it, it`s a ridiculous investigation despite the indictments of the people, including by the committee that he attacked that is issuing the information to the special prosecutor and issuing subpoenas and conducting a real investigation, unlike Nunes`s efforts.

MELBER: Well, build on that point, John. Because there`s so much intrigue and understandable cynicism and exhaustion around the State of the Union. But as you mentioned, he is in the House.

He`s addressing the body that was, at least according to Mueller, lied to on two occasions with consequences. One a guilty plea. The other being litigated. Roger Stone innocent until proven guilty. But the issue there is alleged criminal lying to Congress which cuts I think against the cynical notion of oh, nothing matters anymore. The president was speaking to a body last night that matters a great deal.

FLANNERY: Yes. Well, I think the republic is in danger in the department that is the executive where he has control constitutionally, which he`s abused, in my opinion. But he was in the people`s House last night and he was talking to the people`s House.

And I think that Schiff and others are going to take the point of view that whatever you`re going to do to try to compromise what Mueller did, we`re not going to standby and just wait for that to happen. We`re going to fight back. We`re going to investigate this ourselves. We`re going to find out what you did and we`re going to act accordingly.

We`re going to (INAUDIBLE) in every way we can and we`re going to pull that report out of your hands, out of your tools in the Justice Department. Am I being too strong here? But I think that`s the way you have to look at it.

MELBER: You can`t be too strong if you`re being accurate and speaking your own perspective. I mean, Michelle, what John refers to in the investigation with Russia is very important because the standards are so low that a lot of the focus is simply on alleged felonies.

GOLDBERG: Right.

MELBER: Right. But that`s not how policy is supposed to work, right?

GOLDBERG: Right.

MELBER: The larger question of is it important that now, that -- first, the Democrats got subpoena power, then the government was closed for a while. Although the Congress was debating. Now, the government is reopened and we`re hearing today Schiff`s going to go down this road.

One of the things he`s probing I think is profoundly important when you have a secretive, a debt leverage businessman as Donald Trump in office, which is -- and I say this in all fairness, he may have committed zero financial crimes and yet he might be the most leveraged president in American history that foreign interests, foreign bankers have all sorts of power over him that we to this day don`t know.

GOLDBERG: I think it`s highly unlikely he committed zero financial crimes but you`re absolutely right.

MELBER: But it`s part of my job to acknowledge that.

GOLDBERG: Right. And you`re absolutely right. I mean as important as the Mueller investigation is, it`s not sufficient because we`re trying to find out not just crimes but threats to our democracy, right. And so -- I mean, for example, one of the things that the House Intelligence Committee is going to look into, it`s not just compromise from Russia, right. It`s compromise from all sorts of foreign countries.

We just learned that security specialists with the FBI recommended that Jared Kushner not be given a security clearance, right, in part because of a possible compromise from foreign countries, including countries in the Middle East and China. He was given that security clearance anyway.

Those are the kind of questions, what compromise? What are their financial affairs? What -- in what way are their policy decisions kind of affecting not just the bottom line of the United States but the bottom line of these various figures. Those are things that -- it is intolerable that the people of the United States don`t know.

MELBER: Well, that brings us to Congressman Swalwell. The whole panel stays with me for expertise.

But as promised, Congressman Eric Swalwell on the House Intelligence Committee. I don`t know if your ears were burning, sir but we were discussing some of your committees` investigative priorities.

Walk us through what`s important. What did we miss? How is this investigation going to work? And if you do the thought experiment where it`s not only about the criminal portion which is more Mueller`s ambit, what else are you going to do?

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA) INTELLIGENCE AND JUDICIARY COMMITTEES: Well, good evening, Ari. We`re going to make this an investigation that protects the ballot box in the future. We`re not going to re-litigate the 2016 election.

But we do believe that if we`re going to close the vulnerabilities, whether it`s public awareness about what the Russians seek to do, whether it`s understanding exactly every person they worked with or making sure that we devote resources to making sure we prevent against social media attacks or attacks online, we have to understand what happens.

So we`re going to subpoena the third-party records that the Republicans blocked us from getting. Primarily, bank records, communication logs, hotel records. We`re going to bring in the witnesses who essentially just invented privileges to refuse to testify to us and make sure that we get to the bottom of who they were working with.

And again, we`re seeking bipartisan buy-in on this, Ari. We want to reset and not to just keep the wound open from the last Congress. And also, not to put too long of a tail on the Master P kite that you have flying there, but I do think that there`s a little bit of I miss my homies going on with this president who sees his pals, Michael Cohen, Roger Stone, Michael Flynn all going away to jail. And he`s threatening us, trying to browbeat us into no more investigations because he doesn`t want to lose all his friends.

MELBER: Congressman Swalwell, building on the Master P lyrics from the top of your dome, impressive and one way to think about it so we --

SWALWELL: Yes. Make them say uh, right?

MELBER: Make them say uh, na, na, na, na. Look, you`re in Congress. You`re going to have to defend this exchange far more than I ever will. To give everyone a break from what we`re doing, I`m going to play a little bit of Donald Trump Jr. for the other perspective.

You`re talking about bipartisanship. He is stating a view and a lot of people disagree with this but a lot of Trump supporters hold this view, as you know, that it`s really just about getting them, not getting to the truth. Let me play for your response Donald Trump Jr. today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN KILMEADE, HOST, FOX & FRIENDS: How are you and the organization handling which is supposed to be an avalanche of investigations and inquiries? How is that affecting you guys?

DONALD TRUMP JR, SON OF PRESIDENT TRUMP: Listen, the reality is they`ve tried whatever they can to make our lives miserable that way. They`ve been doing it to me for two years on other issues. The reality is there`s nothing there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Your response.

SWALWELL: Well, what`s there is a country that doesn`t want us to succeed, Russia. Their goal is not the same as Donald Trump. So we think that Donald Trump embraced their help because transactionally he was going to benefit. And so the quo on his end is reducing sanctions, diminishing the role of NATO, pulling us out of Syria.

But Russia, really what they want to do, is they want to undermine our democracy so we can`t call out their human rights abuses and that Russians would never want the democracy and the freedoms that we have in the United States.

So what we have to do to protect against that is make sure Americans care that we have those fundamentals in our country, freedom of speech, rule of law, human rights, and not let an adversary help a campaign so that you bring down all that we value. It`s not about any single person. It`s about the idea of America and making sure that`s still in place.

MELBER: Yes. I mean that`s a forceful answer and one I think a lot of people relate to. I`m also going to play the president here who is coming out blasting at your chairman which on the one hand, maybe suggest that Adam Schiff is important in the White House. They`re thinking about him.

But on the other hand, goes to the larger questions of how you all are going to work together with this kind of tension coming from Trump. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff said that he was going to launch a deep investigation into not only Russia --

TRUMP: Did you say Adam Schiff?

REPORTER: Adam Schiff.

TRUMP: Oh, never heard of him. That wouldn`t be partisan, would it? Would that be partisan?

REPORTER: -- not only into Russia but into your personal financial transactions. Can we get your reaction?

TRUMP: On what basis would he do that? He has no basis to do that. He`s just a political hack. It`s called presidential harassment and it`s unfortunate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: How does your committee deal with a president like that? It`s -- that`s pretty out there even by the standards of 2019.

SWALWELL: I want your viewers to know that I`ve had the opportunity for the last four years on the Intel Committee and the last two years in this investigation to sit with Ranking Member and now Chairman Schiff. And what I observed was a consummate professional.

I saw somebody when our committee was being taken truly through hell in what the Republicans were doing to prevent us from getting to the truth, so many times he looked over at Mr. Nunes and the other Republican colleagues and said, "Can we just call a time out to have an offsite meeting and air it all out so that we can do the business that we`re supposed to do here on this bipartisan committee?"

And when we started today, the first organizational meeting, he kept that same tone. And as Republicans expressed some of their concerns about where our investigation would go and they sort of leap to conclusions about how he would lead it, he would point out to them no.

If you have evidence, I want you to bring it to me and I want us to be able to work on it. And so I think you`re going to continue to see that from our chairman.

MELBER: Interesting context, as you put it, both of your knowledge of him and how the investigation runs with your committee making a lot of news tonight for sure. Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you.

SWALWELL: Yes, my pleasure.

John Flannery, Paul Butler, thanks to both of you. And Michelle sticks around because we have a lot more.

Coming up, a clap back heard around the Internet and perhaps the whole nation. What Trump can expect from the Pelosi era with Democrats ramping up in all sorts of directions.

And later, my special report on Roger Stone and how he could use something you may have never heard of before, the Jay Leno defense against a potential gag order.

I`m going to get into all of it and breaking down how "Fox News" is in a full-on tante (ph) trying to defend Donald Trump`s executive time.

And then later, I talk to a potential 2020 candidate Governor Jay Inslee from Washington State about his rivals, including a big one in his home state, Starbucks CEO who said this about the word billionaire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD SCHULTZ, FOUNDER, STARBUCKS: The moniker billionaire now has become the catchphrase. I would rephrase that and I would say that people of means.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: It`s too easy. We will get into it later.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARRETT HAAKE, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, MSNBC: Do you think the president moved the needle one way or the other on that issue last night?

NANCY PELOSI, HOUSE SPEAKER: Do I think he moved the needle?

HAAKE: Do you think he convinced more people that a wall is necessary? Do you think he helped or hurt that negotiation?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Sometimes Speaker Pelosi says so much with so little. It was just a few months ago, there were D.C. pundits publicly doubting whether Pelosi should be speaker again. Remember that?

Well, today, Democrats are downright gleeful about her star turn over Trump`s shoulder last night, riding a wave of women power, progressive power, and policy power after besting Trump in that shutdown. Many Pelosi fans toasting her swagger specifically in this moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Pelosi using the prominent post there to basically clap back at the hypocrisy of Donald Trump opposing "the politics of revenge". That photo going viral. The Internet celebrating with salutes to Pelosi and Photoshop pictures. I`ll show you a couple.

Some imagining her at the scene of a meeting of Trump and Kim Jong-Un or Pelosi popping up at Trump`s garish display of burgers back at the White House. Others imagining scenes of the speaker throwing shade even at the widely pants Super Bowl halftime show by the band Maroon 5. These are all real and from the Internet.

In fact, in our own late-night coverage of the speech last night, the comedian Sinbad you see there was already teaching everyone how to do the Pelosi clap. Now, today, many Democrats are saying the wider celebration of Pelosi`s brand of pushback, a kind of sharp, strong, and tactful way to embrace the resistance against Trump is a credit to Pelosi that goes broader than her.

It reflects the new voices and styles of so many of these new members of Congress who we saw attending their first State of the Union last night.

Michelle Goldberg is back with me as promised. And I`m joined by Daniella Gibbs Leger from the Center for American Progress who also served in the Obama administration. Welcome to you both.

DANIELLA GIBBS LEGER, SENIOR VP OF COMMUNICATIONS, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Thanks for having me.

MELBER: Daniella, you`re in Washington. You remember all the talks. Should Pelosi get another round? What are we seeing here between the shutdown and the energy around last night?

LEGER: That clearly, people did not know what they were talking about or who they were dealing with when they were speaking of Nancy D`Alesandro Pelosi. She came to play. She knows how this town works and it was on display last night.

Even just a little glance, a smile, the hand clap seen around the world. Just little gestures. She knows actually convey a message to everybody who is watching. She`s masterful of the skit.

MELBER: And Michelle, this is not one of those things that`s just on the Internet. I think for viewers who are watching and didn`t maybe see all those Photoshop pictures, younger people tend to find them and share them. But it goes offline, right, the idea that this individual who was a path breaker, one of the earliest, most prominent women in the Congress, is in a way, pardon the phrase, cool.

GOLDBERG: Well, right. And she`s also -- I mean she`s echoed then by all of these women in white, all these Congresswomen in white in the audience. And I think that one of the things that I think people most appreciate about Pelosi is that she telegraphs with her face, with her bearing that she`s not afraid of Trump, right.

She holds him in contempt. She`s not intimidated by him. And Trump has really lost his ability to scare people, right. Everybody at this point knows that he`s extremely unpopular which really reduces his abilities to demagogue on things from the wall to late-term abortion, right. He tries but nobody who wasn`t with him to start is persuaded by anything that he says.

One of the -- there`s a sort of kabuki that goes on at a State of the Union where presidents say things and sort of dare the opposing side, the opposing party not to clap and not to stand, right.

MELBER: Right.

GOLDBERG: I mean it`s this kind of really petty game. And people just don`t really feel like they have to play along with Trump because there`s just no political price to be paid for opposing him on almost anything.

MELBER: Well, you say that and that goes to the language that he tried to use in the clap back. But in other parts of the speech, he was trying to say, oh, everyone is watching tonight, not just people who are more informed about politics. And I`m going to show them a much nicer, more open version of Trump than the way he`s governed and the way children on the border have been caged and the way people, not just in the Democratic Party, but the late John McCain and others have been treated by him.

And so I wonder about that contrast for your analysis with him using those words in the same day he couldn`t help himself and he popped off in sort of a room full of reporters at the White House saying Vice President Biden was "dumb, never very smart". Chuck Schumer was a nasty son of a b. And impugning late Senator McCain for not selling enough books which obviously is irrelevant.

LEGER: Right. I mean Trump really just is the worst. The is trump off the teleprompter, that is the real Trump. Anybody, even Trump, can stand in front of a room and basically read the words that are put in front of him for 150 minutes or at least however long it felt like last night, last night`s State of the Union address was.

Just because he read these words, it doesn`t change his record, doesn`t change what he said that afternoon to the reporters. So I think even people who aren`t following politics as closely as the three of us are, they understood that those words were hollow.

MELBER: Speak for yourself, I`m not following it that closely. Just between 6:00 and 7:00 Eastern. No other time.

Michelle, I want to broaden to the idea that you can discuss policy through the State of the Union. I will say what everyone thinks of Donald Trump, he hammered his immigration policies. They`re just not popular and they haven`t worked recently in the shutdown but he did talk about them.

And a lot of the people running for president now are pushing a much more progressive taxation. Starting the conversation over, not just reacting to Trump.

I want to play for you now -- this is playing on "Fox News" because we found this to be fascinating. They are concerned, some of the pundits there, that this is a movement about "Fairness".

And the problem is that fairness has taken hold and fairness has been taught in the schools. Fairness is a bad thing with regard to how we do resources and economics. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHANNON BREAM, ANCHOR, FOX NEWS: And there is what seems to be a movement against capitalism in this country. The American public is increasingly on board with raising taxes on the rich. Incomes over 10 million bucks. Those that are in favor of that? Seventy percent, Charles.

CHARLES PAYNE, BUSINESS ANCHOR, FOX NEWS: The idea of fairness has been promoted in our schools for a long time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: So that`s "Fox" polling that shows 70 percent support for that policy. And the criticism that, well, this is coming out of a kind of propaganda for fairness.

GOLDBERG: Right. Well, you always hear people on the right talking about the kind of predacious propaganda that our kids are learning in public schools, ideas like fairness. And they are right that it is much as fairness as a value that the American people hold, it`s going to pose a threat to their preferred economic policies.

MELBER: Daniella, we`re running out of time but final thought.

LEGER: I mean "Fox News" is also ridiculous as is Trump. The fact that fairness is now a problem. I mean look, they need to come to the grips of the fact that when it comes to economic policies, the things that they claim are out of control and out of left field are actually very popular with the American people. Fairness.

MELBER: I feel like I don`t know you that well. I feel like you were in an extra good mood today, Daniella. Is that true?

LEGER: That is true.

MELBER: OK, good. Well, we all get together here, have a couple of conversations before the dinner hour. Daniella Gibbs Leger putting a nice spin on a day of a lot of different kinds and Michelle Goldberg, always great to have both of you.

Up ahead, Beto O`Rourke and Cardi B both making announcements about 2020. Also, another possible candidate for 2020. Governor Jay Inslee is here as I mentioned.

But first, Roger Stone`s media blitz could be stopped cold on Friday. I have a special report on the gag order, what you need to know and yes, the Jay Leno defense when we`re back in 30.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Indicted former Trump Adviser Roger Stone is legally innocent until proven guilty. He`s also quite visible until proven guilty, riding this attention for his indictment at political events like this recent speech to a whole group of Trump supporters at a Trump Hotel in Washington D.C. or the over a dozen different media appearances he`s made just since his indictment in the last two weeks.

Sometimes it looks more like he`s promoting a book than defending a case which is exactly what the judge observed in his last court appearance saying Stone should not treat this serious criminal case "like a book tour" and noting she may formally silence Stone with a legal gag order. She gave him a week to prepare the case against the gag order and that`s the subject of our report tonight because the judge can make the decision as early as Friday.

MELBER: Now, whatever one thinks of Roger Stone and what he is accused of, I want to tell you tonight he actually has two good arguments against the gag order, his right to free speech and his right to work as a media personality.

Now, there`s another case that may actually be of use to Roger Stone. Back in 2005, Jay Leno was an official witness in the Michael Jackson child molestation trial, serious business. And he was initially given a gag order so that he was "prevented from discussing it publicly." As other late night hosts were feeding all over the news of the Jackson trial, Leno lamented the gag order hendering his job and he emphasized the restriction by inviting other comedians to come on his show given the gag order and tell Michael Jackson jokes for him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, COMEDIAN: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome one of these stars of Everybody Loves Raymond, two-time Emmy award-winning actor, comedian Brad Garrett. This was a real thing. Leno deploying these comedians to show what he saw -- what he argued was the silliness of his own gag order.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRAD GARRETT, COMEDIAN: Let me get this straight. Jackson gets the kids over to the Neverland Ranch -- by the way if you like the Neverland Ranch, try the Vinaigrette.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Salad jokes. Now beyond late-night, Leno`s lawyers formerly fought that gag order in court and they won. The judge ruled "it`s not the court`s intention to stop him from telling jokes." Now all this might make Stone a longtime advisor to the current President United States look a little odd to be invoking an entertainer for his defense. But like him or not, that`s part of what stones all about. And he is arguing his livelihood is at stake.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROGER STONE, FORMER CAMPAIGN ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: I make a living writing and speaking about politics. I would hope that the court would take that into consideration.

They would be depriving me of making a living if I am entirely be gagged.

I need to be able to raise the money to mount a defense.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Stone also using his appearances, let`s be clear, to defend himself and publicly counter Bob Mueller.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STONE: I am falsely accused of making false statements.

I expect to be acquitted and vindicated.

The indictment is thin.

To storm my house with a greater force than was used to take down Bin Laden.

They treated me like El Chapo.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Stone has telegraphed that he is against this gag order and he has a First Amendment attorney on his team. And tonight I want to be clear, Stone has good arguments here, both that free speech right to speak in general and defend himself as well as what we`re calling the Jay Leno argument that he ought to be able to continue his job while fighting a case with yes, the legal presumption of innocence.

Now, how will the judge actually rule? We could take a look at how she`s handled other Mueller cases because Stone has the same judge that presided over both Paul Manafort and Rick Gates`s cases. She placed both of them under gag order and ask them to refrain from making statements to the media involving the case. And they both agreed to the gag order while Stone has been signaling a different tack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STONE: They`re trying to criminalize political expression.

I think in a great -- to a great deal, this is meant to silence me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Roger Stone has made a career out of being a self-declared dirty trickster and using the media to get what he wants. And he`ll probably continue to do so in all sorts of ways through the trial. We know what Roger Stone thinks about all this kind of stuff.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STONE: The only thing I can think of worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

As I have always said, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: He`s been very clear for a long time he`s all about what people say. And many people don`t like what Mr. Stone says. But the reason he has good arguments on the gag order is all of this should not be about what Roger Stone says. He should be allowed to speak and ultimately the case should turn on what he did or didn`t do.

Now, coming up later in the show I want to tell you they went after Obama for golfing. Now watch Fox News defend Donald Trump`s sluggish work schedule and many, many bouts of golfing. Also, Trump attacking socialism as all sorts of Dems step up to the plate. Is Beto next to jump into the race? And another possible candidate Governor Jay Inslee is here live next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: In the past half-century of presidential races, whenever a member of Congress is on the ballot, did you know that voters virtually always pick the other candidate? In fact, in a dozen races, only once in the last half-century did voters promote someone directly from Congress to the White House, then-Senator Barack Obama. That record might concern Democrats desperate to beat Trump because right now most of these candidates currently exploring a run are in Congress.

But not this guy, Governor Jay Inslee from Washington State who`s also exploring potential run and touting climate change as a key priority, something Trump did not even mention last night. Now if you have not heard a ton about Inslee recently, that could be because lately there`s a lot more political news and controversy around one of his richest constituents Starbucks billionaire Howard Schultz who just kicked up more drama by asking that everyone stop referring to him by the factual term billionaire and instead refer to him as part of a group of "people of means."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD SCHULTZ, FORMER CEO, STARBUCKS: The monarch of billionaire now has become the catchphrase. I would rephrase that and I would say that people of means have been able to leverage their wealth and their interest in ways that are unfair.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Governor Inslee is here live now. Thanks for doing this.

GOV. JAY INSLEE (D), WASHINGTON: You bet.

MELBER: Let`s start here. One, why climate change and two, would you be ready to take on a potential Howard Schultz candidacy when he is clearly so rich and so powerful and so important in your own State?

INSLEE: Well, I see Howard essentially wants to keep his billions but he just wants to get rid of the title of billionaire. I think we`ve got one person pretending to be a billionaire in the White House already. Howard gave us a $4.00 cup of coffee, we cannot allow him to give us four more years of Donald Trump.

MELBER: Wow, you are you are blasting a very powerful constituent. But I guess you think he`s -- you think he`s a real danger if he -- if he stays in this to something that I know you care about which would be stopping Trump whether you run or not.

INSLEE: Well, it looks very much so. We had a President give a State of the Union who asked us to be the greatest but refused to even mention the greatest existential threat to us right now which is climate change. We have to have someone who will create a vision statement of economic growth to defeat climate change. And the only possible result of Howard`s candidacy would be as a spoiler to take votes away from Democrats and help Donald Trump.

The only one who really think this is a good idea is Donald Trump. That is pretty clear. And I really do not believe that there`s an enormous appetite for this country who thinks like Howard Schultz which is the most important thing in the world today is to make sure billionaires don`t pay another dollar in taxes. And as far as I can tell, that`s what`s really his motivation for being involved in this so that was not what this nation needs.

MELBER: It was an odd opening argument clearly and he`s not adjusting that much now with the request that I`m not honoring it. I don`t know what others will do. I`m not going to be referring to him as "a person of means" instead of the measurable relevant thing of someone who might self- fund which is billionaire.

If you go out in the Midwest and other parts of the country, you`re in a state that is it`s not necessarily as Progressive as people think, but it`s blue. If you go out to other states, what is your climate change argument to them?

INSLEE: Well, our argument are the facts and that is that this is not only a moment of great peril because of climate change but of great economic promise. And the promise is what we are now experiencing across this nation which is the enormous explosion of clean energy jobs. And I can go anywhere in the state and show the potential.

I was in Story County, Iowa looking at the growth of the wind turbine industry. In Moses Lake, Washington -- you know Moses Lake, Ari. You`re from Washington State.

MELBER: Sure.

INSLEE: Small town in eastern Washington, kind of a rural area. We`re going hundreds of jobs making carbon fiber that goes into electric cars. Or in Grays Harbor over a formerly a kind of depressed timber town but now making biofuels. And Lynde, Washington a small town in Southeast Washington where we cut the ribbon on the largest solar farm.

So the fastest growing segment of job creation in the United States today is in clean energy jobs. This is a winning economic message, it`s not just an environmental message. And the thing that we need is a president who will create a vision in a bugle call if you will, for Americans to do what Kennedy did when Kenny said we should go to the moon.

And I think we need a similar call that Americans will now respond to and that is involving economic growth, it`s health reducing asthma, interest respond you the national security threat. So this touches everything in every part of America. We just need a visionary candidate who will say that.

MELBER: And if you run, is being an executive, a governor, a big part of your appeal as certainly would distinguish you from the current field?

INSLEE: Well, listen, I have served in Congress. I understand the importance of oration and speech making. But when it comes to governing, having executive experience is very important. And obviously, you know what we`ve done in our state.

We have the best economy in the United States. Business Insider magazine listed us as the best place to do business. Oxfam has listed us is the best place to do -- to be an employee and that`s because we have embraced things that build a middle up strategy, not a trickle-down strategy.

We`ve increased our minimum wage which Howard Schultz opposed. We have adopted the country`s best family paid family leave policies. We`ve made tremendous investments in education. We`ve got a transportation infrastructure program, they can`t build a birdhouse in Washington D.C. right now.

We`ve got the first Net Neutrality a law and the best voting rights in the country. So the package that we have been able to develop in my state following my turn at the executive wheel, I think really can`t be surpassed. And I would like to say the Washington way, the real Washington, Washington State of bipartisan progress replaced the gridlock in Washington D.C. so that Americans of all stripes can benefit from this growth.

MELBER: Well, look, I haven`t been doing this that long but the way you say it, it sounds like someone who is about to run for president.

INSLEE: We`ll see.

MELBER: We`ll see. Now, that`s something you and the president have in common saying we`ll see. We`ll keep an eye on what`s going on out there. Very interesting to hear you confront and fact-check a little bit your constituent, Howard Schultz. We`ll see what happens with both of you. Governor Jay Inslee, thanks for coming on THE BEAT.

INSLEE: You bet. Thanks, Ari.

MELBER: Coming up, we found some people who are defending Donald Trump`s approach to executive time. We`re going to fact-check that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Donald Trump doesn`t do a lot of traditional work as president. In early leak, schedules reveal he spends most of his days as a factual matter over 60 percent avoiding meetings or typical presidential work. Instead, he calls friends and watches TV. The White House refers to this as executive time.

We`ve reported on this story and Axios obtained some new leaked schedules. Now, another media outlet is joining the conversation with a different take. It goes something like executive time is actually hard work or whatever, it doesn`t really matter anyway.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTHA MACCALLUM, ANCHOR, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: It sounds a lot like work. I mean he`s reading the papers. He does watch a lot of television.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who cares how he runs his schedule as long as he gets things done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do more of it. Have more executive time I say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen, whatever the president needs to be president is fine. He came from an unstructured atmosphere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guy is the hardest working person --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what, just because you don`t have a scheduled event?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Whatever is the rebuttal there. Now, I want to be very clear because we`ve been reporting on this there`s nothing automatically ideological about this topic. Donald Trump doesn`t work a lot in the White House. If you`re a Trump fan, logically you might want him to work more to be more productive.

Our original report noting Trump, for example, has failed to appoint many key posts. That`s part of the work of his job and that would seem to be bad news for any of his fans and perhaps good news for Trump critics who don`t want him being productive. And that`s why this whole thing is getting weirder and weirder. We know that leaving this much open unscheduled time is not common among top CEOs. Trump works less than them.

And we know Trump is working less in the Oval Office than Obama or past presidents. We also know these same Fox pundits defending Trump`s executive time schedule lit up President Obama for being "too leisurely" which does expose their double standard because we also know Trump golf`s far more than Obama based on two years of data.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama, you have a problem. You have a problem with golf and it`s getting weird.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it is very, very clear to anyone who`s paying attention that if President Obama didn`t golf, there would be a cure for Ebola.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: The leisurely life of our 44th President, the man who will no doubt set records for the number of rounds of golf played while in office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Not a record because of the new president. Now if you didn`t want a president to be effective, you would want him to get to work him or her. If you just want your president to seem or look effective as some kind of political game, maybe you defend Trump when he golf`s a lot and maybe you hope no one notices yet you hypocritically blasted Obama when he golf less.

So maybe these people just literally hope they don`t get caught. They hope you`re not watching this or maybe they don`t care much if they do get caught because some people view all of this as another game. We wanted to bring you this update because it`s not a game. The facts still matter no matter what the score is.

Now, coming up, a member of Congress weighing in on the very controversial ICE arrest of this musician 21 Savage next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Under Trump Administration, the immigration agency, ICE has had a lot of critics. Now it is accused of inappropriately targeting a potential critic. The ACLU taking ICE to court previously for an alleged crackdown against demonstrator`s free speech rights. Others you may recall they alleged ICE improperly detained an immigrants rights advocate during a routine government check in.

Now tonight, there`s a member of Congress who`s pressing ICE over this high profile arrest of a British musician who overstayed his visa here in America. The arrest of that musician 21 Savage looks mysterious to many critics because it came -- get this -- just days after he performed on the Tonight Show and unveiled a new verse that appeared to directly criticize Trump and ICE`s treatment of "kids at the border."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

21 SAVAGE, RAPPER: Been through some things so I can`t imagine my kids stuck at the border. Flint still need water. People was innocent, couldn`t get lawyers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Been through some things so I can`t imagine my kids stuck at the border, 21 Savage says there. Flint still need water. People was innocent, couldn`t get lawyers. And days later he`s arrested in a high- profile sting. Now, supporters of the musician are concerned. They say that ICE could be targeting him for that very lyric. His lawyers have said so as well.

All of this is unveiled the news that 21 Savage was originally born in England and came to the U.S. when he was roughly seven years old. Now, his local congressman as I mentioned is pressing ICE for his release. 21 Savage, if you haven`t heard of him has been nominated for two Grammies. No one knows what the Grammys this weekend if he would be able to attend this Sunday`s awards show. We want to bring that news.

That does it for THE BEAT. "HARDBALL" starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END