New York Prosecutors prep. TRANSCRIPT: 02/22/2019, The Beat w. Ari Melber.

Guests: Julia Ainsley, Neal Katyal, Peter Ginsberg, Richard Painter, Corey Lewandowski, Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee, DJ Envy

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: February 22, 2019 Guest: Julia Ainsley, Neal Katyal, Peter Ginsberg, Richard Painter, Corey Lewandowski, Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee, DJ Envy

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: You are right. The rib eye is the most flavorable.

That`s all we have tonight. We will be back tomorrow -- no, we won`t. We`ll be back Monday with more MTP DAILY. And if it`s Sunday, it`s "MEET THE PRESS" on NBC.

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

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Where`s the beef? The beef is on Sunday.

TODD: There you go.

MELBER: We`ll see you then, Chuck.

TODD: Nice work. See you, man.

MELBER: Tonight, we are reporting live on a Mueller Friday and this is a big one. Bob Mueller is filing his final move against Paul Manafort tonight, making the case for a long jail sentence as news breaks that separately New York prosecutors may indict Manafort within weeks on charges that Donald Trump cannot pardon.

All that, plus there is this late news right now about the Mueller report itself. Let me show you the scene here. It all seems quiet at the Justice Department. But the DOJ is doing something that is not quiet at all, something it almost never does. Tonight, the Justice Department is now talking about when Bob Mueller will finish his Russia probe.

In fact, today`s late afternoon announcement was a clear response to recent reports that suggested maybe Mueller`s report would be imminent. Well, not so fast. The DOJ is telling reporters now, those reports are wrong and that the DOJ under Bill Barr will not get the Mueller report by the end of next week.

If you follow the news, you know already just that alone is a contrast to DOJ`s usual silence about Mueller`s endgame which is what we mostly saw under Rosenstein, Sessions, and Whitaker. And it all comes as top Democrats now from six congressional committees are demanding the new A.G. Bill Barr release the entire Mueller report whenever he does get it.

Now, Bob Mueller must also file his Manafort sentencing memo tonight. So if that breaks during this program, I promise we will cover for you live and everything that`s in it. It must detail why Manafort`s confessed crimes are, in the views of the special counsel, so bad that he should face up to 10 more years in jail.

And as mentioned, Manafort faces the prospect of extra separate jail time because now, New York prosecutors are reportedly preparing the separate charges for tax and banking crimes. Some have referred to it as an insurance policy if Donald Trump pardons Manafort. Those charges could actually come within weeks according to a new story in "The New York Times" today.

Also, tonight, as if that wasn`t enough, reporting that Michael Cohen gave federal prosecutors again in New York new incriminating material about how Donald Trump`s family business runs, that he did that as recently as last month. And that story just breaking tonight.

So let me give you the bottom line state of play. We have a big show. Here`s the state of play in the Mueller Friday that we are living through.

The Manafort filing, imminent, tonight. Michael Cohen, still talking, prosecutors using the material. And now, the DOJ under Bill Barr departing from recent tradition to discuss at least the timing of the end of this Mueller probe.

In just a moment, I have a one-on-one with Neal Katyal, the DOJ official who literally wrote the rules that govern Mueller. That will be worthwhile. But because of the unusual night we have, I go first to NBC`s Julia Ainsley who is live on this Friday evening in front of the Justice Department.

I want to ask you, what does it mean that we heard the DOJ talk about the timing for the end of the Mueller probe, something they don`t usually do?

JULIA AINSLEY, NATIONAL SECURITY & JUSTICE REPORTER, NBC NEWS: Yes, Ari. I think you are smart to put that into context here. Just because we`re finding out we`re not getting news, doesn`t mean that there`s not a little bit of news here. We had -- this Justice Department has been silent when it comes to anything that it`s getting about Robert Mueller.

And this is, of course, where Robert Mueller has to report. He has to report to the attorney general, not Congress, on his findings. That`s why it`s so important what they do here because they will determine what the public and Congress ultimately see.

So today, we had reporters here, we have trucks outside, different networks, ready to go, just in case this news broke. Because as you know, several had reported that it can come as soon as today or definitely sometime in the next week.

And I was told today by a senior Justice Department official which was somewhat out of the norm --

MELBER: Right.

AINSLEY: -- that that`s definitely not coming next week, which means they know or they at least have an idea of when it might come. They want -- I even pushed them --

MELBER: Yes, that`s my last question to you. When you get a senior official there who now works for Bill Barr saying it`s not the end of next week, that also means it`s not the end of next year. They know something.

AINSLEY: Yes, that`s right. They had to work with the special counsel`s office to coordinate this handoff. They know how important this is. We`re talking about the president of the United States and his campaign and whether or not they colluded with the foreign power. They understand the stakes here.

And so at this point, they want to be as I think a little more transparent than they have been in the past. I even pushed that official, Ari. I said, are you saying you just don`t expect it next week, like maybe you haven`t gotten a call from Mueller`s office yet. And they said, "No. We can say with certainty it is not going to come next week."

MELBER: Wow.

AINSLEY: Which to me says that they know at least if not a date, they at least know things that need to happen before they get it.

MELBER: Right. Julia Ainsley, we`ll be checking back with you constantly as needed in the coming days and weeks. Thank you.

I turn now to former U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal who, as I mentioned, wrote the Mueller rules. Mr. Katyal, it`s rare that I would go anywhere before you for this topic but we had to go to a reporter standing in front of the Justice Department building where you worked because this has changed hour by hour.

When you see Bill Barr put out this unusual guidance that, hey, Mueller is not done at the end of the next week, what does it mean?

NEAL KATYAL, FORMER U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL: Well, I think it`s just so much speculation, Ari. It`s really who knows when this report is coming out. I mean it`s kind of like trying to figure out what`s in Donald Trump`s head. It`s just kind of one of those, as Justice Kennedy says, sweet mystery of life.

We don`t know. I mean, on the theory, the arguments for why the report will come out soon are basically as follows. Right now, there are multiple different nodes of investigation. It`s not just Mueller. It`s the Southern District, U.S. attorney`s office. It`s Congress, various committees. It`s also State Attorneys General.

So Mueller doesn`t necessarily need to carry all of these prosecutions and investigations through the way he did 19 months ago. So that`s the argument for why he could file a final report and step aside and turn it over.

On the other hand, we keep learning that there are new crimes that are allegedly committed by Trump and the coterie of people around him. And so -- and even when their crimes are discovered like with Manafort and they plead guilty to them, they then lie during the plea. So, you know, that`s stretched things out and it`s also expanded the scope of the investigation as well. So I really do think --

MELBER: If the rules that you wrote that Bob Mueller is operating under, if they don`t mandate a public report, help people understand what is likely if Mueller does hand Bill Barr some information, then what?

KATYAL: Right. So I think in effect they do mandate a public report. So there are two reports in the special counsel regulations that are required. One is the more comprehensive report that Mueller has to give to Barr at the conclusion of his investigation. He has to write a summary of everything he did and the conclusions he reached.

And then second, there has to be a report from Barr, the attorney general to the Congress. That can be briefer, but notably, it does have to include any instance in which the attorney general or his predecessors like that fake Acting Attorney General Whitaker, if they overruled Mueller on anything.

In that report, there is a provision in the special counsel regulations to make that report public. And so I very much expect that the Barr report to Congress will be made public.

MELBER: And do you think Bill Barr is buying time here because of his knowledge of what`s in the report, what we`re calling a report, the material that Mueller gives him? Or is it more broad that even if he hasn`t been fully briefed on every detail, he saw a lot of coverage here, "CNN", "Washington Post", and others basically saying this is coming any day and he just doesn`t want to be living under that pressure?

KATYAL: Well, I think it could be any of those explanations. It also could be that Mueller himself isn`t ready to turn in a report. I do think whenever that report happens though when Mueller gives it to Barr, I do think Barr will notify Congress right away under the regulations --

MELBER: Right.

KATYAL: -- that there has been a report. But at the same time, I don`t think necessarily that Barr is going to turn over his own report to Congress immediately, because there may be privilege concerns, grand jury material, sources and methods that will require a short amount of time for Barr to evaluate.

MELBER: We are very much benefitted by the insight you gather for us here, Neal. As I sometimes remind viewers, the rules are going to mandate a lot of what happens in the next few weeks. The great rapper Nas once said it was written in the case of the special counsel rules, it was written by you. And we`ll be coming back to you I hope. Thank you for your time tonight.

KATYAL: Thank you.

MELBER: Appreciate it.

We turn to another great expert one by one by one, former Federal Prosecutor Barbara McQuade, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School. I happened to go there undergrad and I`m always fondly looking at the pictures that you post from time to time on the Internet. Good evening.

BARBARA MCQUADE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Thanks, Ari. Go blue.

MELBER: Go blue. There`s so much going on. We just went through it as meticulously as possible. We don`t usually begin this show, as I mentioned, with a reporter in front of main justice on Friday night. But it`s that kind of night. And I promise, if the Manafort sentencing memo comes in, I`ll be asking you about that the moment we get it.

When you look at all of this together, the reports that Michael Cohen dishes on new information in New York, Manafort sentencing, state charges against Manafort, Roger Stone in trouble given a warning that if he messes up again, he is going to be messing up in jail.

And then Bill Barr comes out tonight and chooses to say that which he does not need to, that it`s not done next week. What`s on your mind? Tell us what you`re thinking because we are all trying to make sense of this.

MCQUADE: Yes. well, it is very unusual as you said to announce what -- anything that the special counsel is doing or not doing unless they felt great pressure to correct the record. And there`s been so much reporting that the report is coming next week, I think they felt some obligation to set the record straight.

But in light of all the things that are happening with Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, and some other loose ends, remember there is this matter where there was a subpoena to a foreign-owned corporation that has not yet been resolved. It seems likely that they know that there are a few loose ends that they need to tie up before they`re going to issue that final report.

People used to ask me all the time when do you think this case will be done? And the correct answer was almost always I don`t know. Because until you exhaust everything that Michael Cohen knows or until you look through all of the material that was taken out of Roger Stone`s homes during those search warrants, and until you get the documents that have been subpoenaed by that foreign corporation, it`s difficult to know if there is anything fruitful in there that you need to use in your case.

And so it may very well be that they are very close to the end. But they don`t know when the end will come until they have exhausted all of those investigative leads.

MELBER: All fair points. Take a listen to the president discussing all of this. Here you go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Have you spoken to Bill Barr about the release of the Mueller report?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I have not. No.

REPORTER: Have you spoken to him about that?

TRUMP: I have not.

REPORTER: Do you expect to?

TRUMP: At some point, I guess I`ll be talking about it. But you know the nice part, there was no collusion. There was no obstruction. There was no anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: The president recently has struck a much calmer tone about this. He`s putting a lot of faith in Bill Barr. What do you make of that, before I let you go?

MCQUADE: I don`t know. It could be that Bill Barr knows what`s going on and he`s communicating that with President Trump and knows that the ultimate conclusion will be beneficial to President Trump. It may be he just feels more confident having Bill Barr there, his appointee, that he thinks will protect him as he has demanded from prior attorneys general. I don`t know.

It`s difficult to predict how things are going to come out. But I suppose, at the very least, he knows that it is likely that the Justice Department under Bill Barr will comply with that DOJ guidance not to charge a sitting president. And so that any remedy against the president will be a political one through impeachment. And so maybe he has more confidence that that is the -- that lack of criminal charges is the likely outcome under Bill Bar.

MELBER: Interesting. We`ll be keeping tabs on it. Barbara McQuade, thanks for joining us this Friday.

MCQUADE: Thanks, Ari.

MELBER: We have a lot more in this show, including revelations from something we never discussed before on THE BEAT. A final Mueller report from 2015 on the NFL and why it holds clues tonight. We have as well, a Mueller insider, with his debut on THE BEAT to explain how he approaches the endgame.

Later, this historic election scandal in North Carolina. I have the first T.V. interview with the Democratic candidate since the new race.

And later, big stars 2020, The Breakfast Club does a Fallback take over tonight.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Don`t go anywhere. There is a lot of news breaking tonight. First and foremost, as we`ve been discussing, the Justice Department now openly discussing when Bob Mueller`s investigation will end. I could tell you, it will go beyond next week according to Bill Barr. And the nation is very interested in how Mueller will ultimately end this probe and what any report he writes will say.

The rules, of course, do not require an automatic public report. The attorney general will decide what to release from whatever Mueller found. And Bill Barr did talk of transparency at his confirmation. So tonight, if Mueller does hand the DOJ a report, we want to probe what would it look like. How has he written reports before or tackled times where maybe people did bad things that might not be chargeable crimes?

Our special report tonight right now looks at the clues of how Mueller may end this, a road map that comes from, yes, a report that Bob Mueller wrote in 2015 in a different role as a private, non-governmental investigator probing high ranking officials and a big controversy, the organization at the time was the NFL, which was in hot water in 2014 for what it learned about how it handled domestic violence evidence about Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN WILLIAMS, HOST, MSNBC: An NFL player has been fired by his team, the Baltimore Ravens. We had already seen running back Ray Rice on video taken outside an elevator dragging the unconscious body of the woman who is now his wife. But today, the world saw the proof that he struck her with a terrible blow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That video sparked a criminal probe for Rice. He went to trial. But the NFL`s larger role was under so much fire that they agreed to tab someone who could lead an "independent investigation".

At the time, you may remember people didn`t trust just about anything the NFL said. So the NFL claimed an independent investigation. They needed a whole lot more than the word independent or lawyers for hire. They needed an investigator to lead it who was basically above reproach.

So just like Rod Rosenstein would do just a few years later, they asked an investigator in private practice who could shoulder that burden no matter what was found. It was Mueller time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The National Football League has hired Mueller to investigate how the league handled the Ray Rice domestic violence case.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Robert Mueller, very respected.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Robert Mueller.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Former FBI Director Mueller will now look into this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: And look away he did. And that environment of skepticism and pressure and this was, let me be clear, Mueller`s most recent public report. So it`s relevant as everyone`s focused on how Mueller might write his Russia report.

Now, some of what Mueller did then is very familiar. You will notice he ran a tight ship. Very little information leaking out. Reports at the time talked about how he worked in obscurity and didn`t have any deadline for the report to be released, an echo of Bill Barr tonight.

But there was no question about his thoroughness. Reports highlighting Mueller`s in-depth examination of evidence. NFL employees handing over scores of documents to investigators. And beyond the documents, Mueller explicitly tapped office gossip, rumors, potential clues.

He interviewed every female employee, contractor, vendor, or intern who had any access to NFL headquarters, 188 women who all denied being involved in that April 9th call. That was a big deal at the time.

Now, he hasn`t interviewed Donald Trump in person but his team sat down with those key subjects in the case, Ray Rice and his wife. And in the end, this report took about four months to complete, coming in at 96 pages, interviews with over 200 plus people. They sifted through millions of documents, e-mails, text messages, 51 computers, 42 tablets, and mobile devices, all to see if anyone, anywhere, anyhow at the NFL knew what really went down.

They also scoured 1,500 phone calls through a thousand different telephone numbers. At the time, experts noted Mueller was operating basically as a private investigator. He couldn`t force people to give up evidence. Although, he could bring down a commissioner who knows. But he used similar strategies to today. Reasoning he could maintain surprise and leverage by avoiding any public spotlight.

And then as now, there were clues that he was working hard, grueling hours that started days before sunrise and as "USA Today" reported went -- leaving well after dark. Now, the comparison here is about Mueller`s process and integrity, not, of course, the underlying subject. There was no mystery then about what Rice did. The only issue was whether the NFL really knew in advance.

A lot of critics figured, well, they must have known, they must have done something wrong. So the findings of that report is actually not notable in that it did or didn`t find wrongdoing but it was independent regardless of what political pressure there was. In this case, Mueller found all that evidence did not suggest the NFL knew about Rice`s misconduct in advance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Former FBI Director Robert Mueller`s investigation found no evidence that anyone at the NFL had or saw the in-elevator video before it was publicly shown. Still, Mueller blasts the league for what he calls a limited investigation that ignored substantial information that suggested it should have done much more. >> (END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Now, at the time, there were others who argued the report wasn`t a satisfying resolution. And what Mueller`s assignment was different in 2015. We should note, he also used the report to reveal some NFL mistakes that people could then learn from even though they weren`t allegedly criminal.

He also criticized the NFL for not being thorough in the investigation that they did. And he also wrote, "Had the league done so, it may have uncovered additional information about the whole incident that was so disturbing." And that passage from the Mueller report shows he can detail a structural failure, even if it falls short of a crime.

Today, he`s dealing with a whole different probe and the power of the full federal government behind him. Mueller has indicted several Trump aides already. That`s a big difference. With Ray Rice, Mueller was looking at one question, what did the NFL know and when did they know it?

With Trump, questions are often endless. You look at the DNC hack, the Russian contacts, all the evidence of obstruction in public, plus whatever he has in private. Now, Mueller was also able to interview direct subjects there as I mentioned in Rice. Here, with Trump, Mueller has relied on written questions.

So if he finishes without demanding an interview, that may show not that he couldn`t get one when you look at how much evidence he tends to gather. But for whatever reason, he deemed he didn`t need one.

So you take this 2015 Mueller report. You look at it tonight while everyone`s wondering what comes next. And they wonder, what approach will Mueller use to a report that could be the most pivotal, powerful thing in the Trump era? Will it be like the Mueller of the Rice investigation? Will it be even more aggressive given that Mueller is in a different role?

There is a person who has some insights into all of this, into Mueller as an investigator in the Rice investigation. And well, he is making his first-time appearance on THE BEAT on this Mueller Friday, a former Federal Prosecutor, Peter Ginsberg, who actually represented Ray Rice.

We`re going to get into all of it and how Mueller works when we`re back in just 30 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEN BELSON, THE NEW YORK TIMES: They definitely want to see the results of the FBI -- former FBI director`s investigation if it came out that Goodell lied or was -- didn`t supervise properly, they may push him out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: We`ve been reporting on how Bob Mueller affected that very case because he was in charge of the 2015 Mueller report and the NFL investigation. How will that apply to the new Mueller report so many are waiting on?

As mentioned, my exclusive guest, former Federal Prosecutor Peter Ginsberg who dealt with Mueller several times including when he represented Rice throughout some of that scandal and report. I`m also joined by Analyst Howard Fineman who has studied up on this case as well and brings some wider insights.

Peter, when you look at how Mueller approaches an investigation, what does it tell you about the way he might write in report?

PETER GINSBERG, REPRESENTED RAY RICE DURING MUELLER NFL PROBE: Mr. Mueller is by the book. He is thorough. He is effective. He is honest. He is straightforward. He is everything that he appears to be on television.

The difference is that in the NFL, he had a client. And his client was Goodell. He was given a very limited range of things to look at. He stayed in his lane. In this investigation, his client is -- are the people of the United States.

MELBER: You expect potentially a more aggressive report then?

GINSBERG: Certainly, a more robust report and more neutral report.

MELBER: Now, we sound like lawyers. I say aggressive, you say robust. What do we say?

GINSBERG: We say thorough. We say honest. And we say I expect it to be relatively aggressive because the evidence will take him there.

MELBER: You`re a federal prosecutor so you know that people don`t usually indict presidents. Fair to say?

GINSBERG: Not so far.

MELBER: So do you see him using the report to put everyone on notice about things that Donald Trump did that the Congress or public should know about that may be wrong even if they`re not typically what the DOJ does, not indictable?

GINSBERG: Oh, I do because as I said, the difference in this moment is that he is representing the people of the United States. He is not representing a guy sitting on Park Avenue who just paid him an awful a lot of money to do an investigation in a very limited area.

MELBER: It`s fascinating to hear you walk us through it. Howard, we are listening to someone who faced off with Mueller last time he issued a public report. When you study this, you`ve looked at this example. What do you see?

HOWARD FINEMAN: Well, Ari, as an NBC analyst and a fan of Mueller time, I read all 94 pages and I also talked to some friends in the world of football. Let me put it that way. I know some people around the game.

And without getting more specific, they said, first of all, that they were astonished at how thorough, and how independent, and how almost unimpeachably God-like Bob Mueller was. They were the one they wanted for this. He did what they wanted him to do.

We talked about staying in lanes. I think that`s true. Reading this and thinking about how he`ll approach the Trump case, he was asked to do two things. He was asked to see what the league office knew about the video, if they had seen the video or not. But he was also asked if he -- what else the league knew about.

And it was using that second question that he answered that he got into wider issues about the league. Who his client is is an interesting question. There, it was the NFL. And it was basically the owners of the NFL trying to decide whether to fire Roger Goodell or not.

And Mueller, if there was a shred of evidence that Roger Goodell had known about that video or the headquarters office in New York have known about that video, Goodell would have been gone.

MELBER: And Howard, let me ask you about another piece of it.

FINEMAN: He didn`t find any. He didn`t find any,

MELBER: From you looking at it, that`s fascinating on a night when Bill Barr is signaling, hey, Mueller won`t finish next week. Take that for what you will.

During this, we see Mueller had meetings but would not "share" his formal findings with the NFL before completing his report because of his pledge of independence. How do you apply that to what Bill Barr may know or not know about everything that Mueller plans to do?

FINEMAN: I`m not sure that Bill Barr knows everything yet. And I think the question of who the client is, in this case, technically the client is the Department of Justice and the client is Bill Barr as attorney general. And the question will be, how much wider does Bob Mueller feel his responsibility is?

In the NFL case, he stuck primarily to his legal bereave here and focused with laser-like attention on the main question. Here on the question of collusion, believe me, if I were Donald Trump and I actually had the patience to read this thing, I would be concerned if there is the slightest scintilla of evidence that there was collusion either in the president`s -- either by the president himself or his campaign. If it exists, Mueller will have found it and we will know the answer to that question.

MELBER: Well, and that`s why looking at how deeply they investigated that even without subpoena powers is fascinating. I have to fit in a break. We are expecting sooner or later the Mueller probe to end somehow, someday. Peter Ginsberg and Howard Fineman are two people we`ll be calling on when we have the next Mueller report. Thanks to both of you.

Coming up we go into the House and Senate probe on Russia with someone who faced both. Also a new federal election in North Carolina after these allegations of election fraud, the Democrat -- the Democrat who`s running is on THE BEAT. And later, The Breakfast Club takes over "FALLBACK FRIDAY."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Tonight new reports the DOJ does not expect Bob Mueller to finish work by the end of next week. He`s going to keep on going, and in any moment Mueller will make his last major filing against Paul Manafort as local prosecutors in New York look had state charges against him. So with me are two people with deep knowledge of the law and some of the players here. Richard Painter, a former Chief White House Ethics Lawyer under President George W. Bush who`s run for office as a Democrat and Corey Lewandowski, former campaign manager for Donald Trump.

I should mention, Corey has been interviewed by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, has not been interviewed by the Mueller team, and Lewandowski was also at the White House this week. A couple folks with all kinds of White House access. Thanks for the both of you for doing this on a big night.

RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER CHIEF ETHICS LAWYER, WHITE HOUSE: Thank you.

MELBER: Cory --

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: My pleasure.

MELBER: Yes. Cory, big New York Times story alleging all kinds of evidence of obstruction by your old boss Donald Trump. Do you view this story as important and do you think it`s problematic that the New York Times has sources there for the story reporting that Donald Trump called you and asked you to help out Jeff Sessions in the middle of this probe?

LEWANDOWSKI: Well, I think this. You know, I think that we have seen time and time again mainstream media outlets getting stories wrong. And I can tell you unequivocally that I didn`t speak to the New York Times for the story. They didn`t validate any of the facts about me for the story with me. So look, that`s not to say everything in the story is wrong --

MELBER: Understood. But let`s get -- you might be making a little news here on a busy night. They say something that makes Trump look bad and makes you look OK. They doesn`t say you did anything wrong. It says, Trump called you over July weekend, July 4th weekend, ask you to out Sessions and you were non-committal. Did you get that call?

LEWANDOWSKI: Yes. Look, honestly, I have the privilege of speaking to the President on a very regular basis. I don`t recall the specific call that they say took place on July 4th. As a matter of fact, they were so specific of the call that my kids were in my truck and we were driving a Dunkin Donuts on the 4th of July weekend would have been something I remember.

And since I pulled my four children, they don`t remember that either. They usually remember when the president calls. So not to say it`s fake news, but I think I would have remembered that conversation.

MELBER: Well, that`s interesting. Let`s put it up. Let`s deal with this. The New York Times says Trump called Lewandowski over Fourth of July weekend to ask him to pressure Sessions to resign. Lewandowski was non- committal, never act on the request. It doesn`t mention Dunkin Donuts. Why are you bringing up Dunkin Donuts? That makes it sound like you do remember something specific.

LEWANDOWSKI: Yes, I don`t. Look, again I have a very, very special privilege which is talking to the president on a fairly regular basis and I don`t disclose those conversations but I will tell you this. I don`t ever remember the President ever asking me to get involved with Jeff Sessions or the Department of Justice in any way shape or form ever.

MELBER: OK, so you`re saying it didn`t happen on a July 4th drive to Dunkin Donuts. The article doesn`t mention Dunkin Donuts. But if you`re disputing that, have you -- have you called The Times and told them that?

LEWANDOWSKI: No, I -- you`re literally the only person who has raised this Times newspaper story with me and I think it`s now two or three days old. I didn`t get one incoming call from one media outlet about what was written about me in that story, so I didn`t have to call to tell them because nobody else told me.

MELBER: OK, well, look, it`s very interesting that you`re saying it`s -- very interesting you`re denying a story that doesn`t even make you look bad, makes Trump look bad. The Times has their reasons for reporting it. I give Richard Painter a bite at the apple. Go ahead, sir.

PAINTER: Well, I don`t know about obstruction justice in the Dunkin Donuts a parking lot or anything else about this story, specifically. But the New York Times gets the stories right about 90 percent of the time, 95 percent of the time, but I can assure you that Robert Mueller is going to get the story right 99 percent of the time, 100 percent of the time. And he`s closing in on this and we`re going to find out very soon where the President of the United States.

He`s got to be criminally charged with obstruction of justice or whether the special counsel has enough evidence to charge him criminally, but the decisions made the Department of Justice that we cannot because he`s a sitting president. In which case, there`s a turnover to the United States House of Representatives in Judiciary Committee.

MELBER: Yes, let`s talk about that, Richard. If they -- if they take say what`s in The Times article which again, Lewandowski is disputing, if they take that kind of material and the other public information, and the other leaks that Trump allegedly sought to get, Don McGahn to fire Mueller to intercede, the Mike Flynn, if none of that is an indictment, then what do you think the Mueller report looks like in getting that information out?

PAINTER: Well, that would be obstruction of justice, a continuation of a pattern that goes back to the pressure on James Comey and the firing of James Comey. President Trump has been trying to obstruct this investigation since day one. I don`t know if the President Trump is a Russian mole or not but he`s certainly acting like one. He`s been trying to derail the Mueller investigation. This is a critically important investigation for our national security to find out who has been collaborating with the Russians and President Trump is thought to obstruct it every step of the way.

MELBER: And Corey, for your rebuttal, Cory, what do you see coming down the pike from this report and will you abide by the findings that Mueller has if they`re not good for your -- for your boss?

LEWANDOWSKI: Well, I think first and foremost, and maybe you all agree with it, we should absolutely make this report public. Everybody should have the opportunity to review the full report. We spent $40 million on this report so far so let`s see what it says. Because you can`t have it both ways. I don`t -- I think this report is going to show there was no collusion, no cooperation, no coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians, and the only campaign that coordinated was the Clinton campaign and no one wants to talk about that.

And if there was Russian interference in the 2016 election, why is it that Barack Obama and Comey and Clapper aren`t held responsible because they were the ones in charge of the government at the time?

MELBER: You don`t sound like someone who`s confident this report is going to clear you. You sound like you want to change the subject.

LEWANDOWSKI: No, I don`t. Look, I`m very certain there is no collusion because I was there.

MELBER: Well, Richard and I were talking about the subject we agreed to talk about, and you`re talking about other stuff.

LEWANDOWSKI: No, I`m talking about the -- I`m talking about the Mueller report and I`m saying I hope you agree with me that a full unredacted version is available to the American people so we`re not looking at snippets of this. We want to see the whole report. That`s what we have called for.

MELBER: Interesting. Interesting to hear you hit that point. I suspect that something that you and Richard on different views here would agree on. I got to get to this other interview I planned. I invite both you back as I`ve been saying. Bob Barr making news tonight that Mueller is not done by the end of next week. You`re both welcome back.

Cory, interesting to hear you on the record dispute the ties for the first time. And the only other positive spin I can put on all this is I hope -- I hope they were good doughnuts.

LEWANDOWSKI: Thank you very much.

MELBER: Cory Lewandowski, Richard Painter, thanks to both of you. We don`t have a break. What we have is another explosive story that we have to fit in. You may have heard about this. This is actually the first federal election fraud scandal to result in a new election. In a moment, I have the North Carolina Democratic Congressional Candidate Dan McCready. This is his first national T.V. interview since this huge story of an elections board basically ordering a do-over.

The background, you may remember this one, McCready did allegedly lose by 900 votes to the Republican candidate Mark Harris. Then there were these reports of election fraud and a probe culminating. This week in this gripping testimony from the Republican candidate`s son who told the world he`d warned his own father before the election about this controversial aide`s previous ballot tampering.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN HARRIS, SON OF MARK HARRIS: I love my dad and I love my mom, OK. I certainly have no vendetta against them, no family scores to settle, OK. I think they made mistakes in this process.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Through the testimony, I`ve listened to over the past three days, I believe a new election should be called.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Wow. I am joined now by the Democratic candidate who ran in that very race against Mark Harris. Dan McReady announcing today he will run again in this truly historic special election. First of all, thanks for coming on THE BEAT tonight with a story I think a lot of people are interested in.

DAN MCREADY (D), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE, NORTH CAROLINA: Great to be on with you, Ari.

MELBER: Great to have you. Second of all, before we get to what you`re running on, we just watched that. Viewers have had a lot of different things going on this week. Not everyone may have seen that. What was the significance of what we saw there in that testimony?

MCREADY: People are saying this is the largest case of election fraud in living memory. Being what happened in that -- in that hearing what`s just gripping for everyone. You had a situation of covering up of e-mails, of lying on the stand, of leaked early voting information to Mark Harris` campaign. This really goes to I think what does it mean to live in a democracy, what does it mean to be an American.

There`s no right that`s more sacred than our right to vote. That was under attack here in North Carolina. And yesterday and a historic day, we saw justice and having a new election called here in North Carolina.

MELBER: What swung it in your view? Was it the evidence that was provided or was it that testimony?

MCREADY: It was -- every day that that passed over the course of the hearing, more and more evidence came to light of what was a massive -- a massive election fraud scheme that went all the way to the very top of my opponent`s campaign. I certainly think it was a turning point when his son went on the stand, and then to -- the very next day to see actually see Mark Harris struggle to answer questions truthfully on the stand.

MELBER: And finally, before I let you go, what is message now to voters and does it involve the idea that the party you`re running against at least in your district Republican Party was cheating.

MCREADY: Well, I think the important thing right now is this really was a big win for democracy yesterday. We saw something really remarkable. In today`s world of hyper-partisanship, we saw a state a state board come together 5-0, three Democrats, two Republicans come together in a 5-0 decision to hold cheaters accountable, hold corruption accountable and call for a new election.

I started my career out in the Marine Corp where one of the honors I`ve had in my life was leading a platoon of 65 Marines overseas in Iraq. We never cared if you`re a Democrat or Republican or where you came from or anything else. We are Americans first. We put the country first. We put the mission first. That`s the kind of leadership I think we`re missing in Washington and you saw that kind of leadership by the -- by the Board of Elections just yesterday.

MELBER: It`s such an unusual event. As I say, first time we`re having a congressional do-over. Dan McReady, thanks for taking your story here tonight and we`ll keep an eye on the race.

MCREADY: Good to be on with you.

MELBER: Absolutely. It has been quite a week. We have a very special "FALLBACK FRIDAY" next. A takeover with the host of The Breakfast Club. We`re going to talk politics and a lot more.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: There are fallbacks and then there are fallbacks. I could not be more excited for this special takeover edition of "FALLBACK."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a breakfast club.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: It is a Breakfast Club takeover and we are joined for the first time ever by all three hosts of the breakfast club for a fallback takeover. Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee, and DJ Envy. I should tell everyone the Breakfast Club, syndicated morning radio show broadcast nationally. They have over four million listeners weekly, plus three million subscribers on YouTube. They even have the nickname, the world`s most dangerous morning show.

DJ ENVY, CO-HOST, THE BREAKFAST CLUB: Yes, sir.

MELBER: As we discussed on this show, talking to politicians, musicians, rappers and of course the candidates.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD, CO-HOST, THE BREAKFAST CLUB: Kamala Harris, Senator Kamala Harris, now your 2020 President?

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), CALIFORNIA: I am.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Why? Why did you do that to yourself?

So you have a specific agenda for these black people.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: I have a specific agenda for the American people.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: I`m going to stand with African-American people against racism.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: I gave a handshake and she did it the right way. She brought it in, cuffed it and everything.

JAY-Z, RAPPER: You believe that?

DJ ENVY: You`re going to pray for us, Cardi?

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: End us a prayer. All right, let`s do it. Come on.

CARDI B, RAPPER: I`m praying for me.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Everybody I heard, Diddy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow!

DJ ENVY: You listen to the show?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I listen to the show, but like so as everybody else in the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Everybody else in the world. Thank you for coming to "FALLBACK" in THE BEAT. Charlemagne, who needs to fall back?

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: I think Floyd Mayweather needs to fall back. And the reason I said Floyd Mayweather needs to fall back is because if you know they`re boycotting Gucci. I`m not boycotting because I can`t boycott what I can`t afford, but I`m with them in spirit. And I feel like you know, when you see a company blatant disrespecting your people and your ancestors, even if you love said company, you have to kind of ride with your people, you know I`m saying?

Because if your watch -- if you`re allowing them to disrespect your people, then that means you have no respect for your people.

MELBER: Right. After they put out this very controversial sweater which they`ve apologized for. DJ Envy, this is not the first time a big international fashion brand has really disrespected a lot of the hip-hop community that supports and buys the brand.

DJ ENVY: Right. And you know, at first, I didn`t necessarily see it. I thought I was like it`s a turtleneck. But then when you start seeing the pictures and the comparisons, you`re like wow, this is really disrespectful.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: (INAUDIBLE) lips.

DJ ENVY: Absolutely.

MELBER: Yes. Angela, on your list, who needs to fall back?

ANGELA YEE, CO-HOST, BREAKFAST CLUB: Well, I was looking at a story in North Carolina and a substitute teacher told these elementary school students that Martin Luther King Jr. was not assassinated. He actually committed suicide. And then when one of the students ten-year-old Nathan stood up to correct the teacher, she told him that he was prison-bound because he had on athletic wear.

MELBER: Wow.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Who, Martin Luther King?

YEE: No, the student.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Oh, I thought (INAUDIBLE)

(CROSSTALK)

YEE: He said, teacher, you`re wrong. Martin Luther King was assassinated and she told that student, that ten-year-old student, Nathan, you`re going to jail because what you have on.

MELBER: First of all, Charlemagne will always find a way to get the joke in even at the most serious moment.

DJ ENVY: No, I thought so too. I thought he has easies on. I thought the switch is in.

MELBER: Easies. I won`t talk about easies.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: And it`s very important to note that Martin Luther King was told to kill himself by J Edgar Hoover who is behind his assassination.

MELBER: That`s one of the deep state plots that actually is the deep state that don`t hear as much about which was the illegal, not only surveillance of King and civil rights leaders, but then as you say, the abuse of that. I mean, it`s a part of American history that strangest than fiction and very -- and very sad and important to address.

When I watch you on Instagram, DJ Envy, because I listen to the radio show. I love The Breakfast Club but also watch you. You have what we call good internet social and dental hygiene by which I mean you are always flossing.

DJ ENVY: OK.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: I work so long on that though.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: That`s harsh. That`s harsh.

YEE: (INAUDIBLE) his dentist.

MELBER: So you were flossing which everyone knows means you`re living the good life. You work very hard. I happen to know that. And you posted some. I`m going to put up for you and I want to talk about it in the context of "FALLBACK" because you just said look, we`ll put this up here. You`ve got people thinking that we`re just partying. No we are talking business, real estate, building jobs. What are you trying to say here?

DJ ENVY: I want people to fall back. I want them to stop buying expensive belts, buying expensive sneakers, buying all these bottles in the club and staying in VIP sections, and buying expensive cars if they don`t have anything for the future. I want people to start preparing for the future. Make sure they have generational wealth.

We look at everybody else that has power and money is the cause of that a lot of the times. And a lot of times we don`t have power because we don`t have anything. We don`t have power, we don`t own our own communities, and we have to start. And that goes with maybe not buying those $150 pair of sneakers or that $1,000 belt or that $1,000 t-shirt or that $100,000 car if we can`t afford it. We have to create that wealth.

MELBER: And you`re arguing for that while you are shining.

DJ ENVY: I am shining, but I also -- I also --

MELBER: Like hockey rink. I mean --

DJ ENVY: I also own 100 units in real estate, I have a podcast, I have a soda, we have a juice bar, we have the breakfast club. I do clubs, I do shows, I do parties, and I have stocks and bonds. So I have so many different things.

MELBER: So you`re saying people -- they`re misinterpreting you if they`re looking only at the rewards and not understanding your living hard work and you`re not in debt. Whereas buying that same necklace if someone`s in debt would not be something you would counsel.

DJ ENVY: Absolutely.

YEE: You would probably call it a chain, not a necklace.

MELBER: Did I mess up?

DJ ENVY: It`s a chain. We`ll let you live.

MELBER: I mean, is it one chain or is it two chains?

DJ ENVY: It`s four chains.

MELBER: That`s how you know it is --

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: (INAUDIBLE)

MELBER: That`s how you know. And I`m always happy to learn. You know what, I`m going to call it a chain next time. I`m going to learn about some necklaces.

YEE: And that is -- this is a necklace. It`s more delicacy.

MELBER: I don`t -- I don`t know a lot about jewelry. I mean, I hear about dripping but I`ve never dripped myself.

YEE: I don`t drip either.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Maybe you try not to be racially insensitive and you don`t want to say that a black man is wearing chains. I saved you, Ari.

MELBER: Wow. I got saved at the end of the day. This is -- you like this? Check out the Breakfast Club on the radio or on YouTube because it`s a lot of fun conversation. Charlemagne, Angela, DJ Envy, thank you so much.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Thank you for having us, man. I appreciate it.

YEE: Thanks, Ari.

MELBER: And we will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Before we go, I want to mention, friends with the show Desus and Mero just launched their new Showtime series and what you see right there is something we have online. I sat down with Mobb Deep Havoc and we sent them a message. You can always find some of this extra content and videos that we do on our Instagram page @TheBeatWithAri or @AriMelber. Look for that there.

We are out of time. But "HARDBALL" is up next.

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