Interview with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. TRANSCRIPT: 3/28/19, The Beat w/ Ari Melber.

Guests: Randy Credico, Joon Kim; Mara Gay; Gene Rossi; Kirsten Gillibrand

KATY TUR, HOST, MTP DAILY:  Schmear campaign.  That`s all for tonight.  We will be back tomorrow with more MTP DAILY.

"THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER" starts right now.  Hi, Ari.  What a schmear campaign.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  You know I haven`t tried it but I was intrigued by that type of slicing.

TUR:  Oh, stop, really?  Don`t say that.

MELBER:  I saw it.  I haven`t tried it.  And it`s one way to do it.

TUR:  No, no, no, no.  And also, like bagel chips, if you`re going to do bagel chips, there`s the argument that Bagel chips could potentially be sliced that way.  Bagel chips need to be sliced horizontally as well.  No, no.  Ari Melber, no.

MELBER:  Katy Tur, I`m glad we had this chance to talk.

TUR:  Me, too.  See you later.

MELBER:  We have a lot in tonight`s episode of THE BEAT.  A Mueller witness breaking his silence right here.  Person number 2 who Bob Mueller identified as a victim of alleged obstruction by longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone.

Now that the probe is over, he`s breaking his silence.  He`s going to speak with us for the first time since Mueller named him as such in Stone`s indictment.

I also am thrilled to tell you that Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand will be here live.  Her first time on THE BEAT as a candidate.  And she just released her tax returns and says President Trump should do the same.

But we begin with a new and key piece of information about the still-secret Mueller report.  And it has a new context for Attorney General Barr`s selective quotes from the report and his four-page letter.

It turns out, we now know tonight this report runs over 300 pages.  And that`s not counting the appendix.  So Barr took four partial sentences from 300 pages.

Now we know that for some people the letter has shaped an idea about what Mueller may have found.  But it never released what Mueller actually found.

And the 300-page count does shed some light on how unusual Barr`s approach has been, consider as we reported as soon as Sunday night that Barr was sharing other numbers like the number of subpoenas, witnesses, warrants.  He just didn`t get around to sharing the number of pages.

And that raises a question of whether that`s selective quotation and release was designed to shape outcomes to make people think that Barr`s summary was the whole story.  Why didn`t Barr just say Sunday night that there were 500 warrants and also 300 pages?

Well, this is something that, if you watch some of our coverage, you may have seen pointed out immediately because we rely on experts who know a lot about this stuff.

So former Federal Prosecutor John Flannery was there Sunday night as this news broke, and he said one of the most telling things that Barr was withholding at that hour was, yes, the number of pages of the Mueller report.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  What do you take from the first facts before we get beyond that?

JOHN FLANNERY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR:  Well, I wonder why we don`t even know the number of pages in the report.

MELBER:  If Barr would have told us today that Mueller wrote a report that was 50 pages or 200 or 500, that alone would be a great piece of context for these four.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL:  As Ari Melber so ably pointed out in his coverage of this -- superb coverage of this last night on this network, the attorney general didn`t tell us something as simple as how many pages there are in the report.  Is it 50?  Is it 500?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  It`s at least 300 and we`re five days out of a lot of discussions, including some in the media that seem to play into Barr`s strategy there.  Now, what does this page count mean in terms of comparisons to other reports?

Well, we can show you.  The Iran-Contra report and the Starr report were longer but in the ballpark, 445 pages there from Starr.  A lot more than four.

Now today, Democrats are seizing on this.  They are saying that number one, they don`t like that he`s missing a deadline they tried to set to turn over the full report by next week.  They`re telling him to hurry and they`re telling him his take is not good enough.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER:  No thank you, Mr. Attorney General.  We do not need your interpretation.  Show us the report and we can draw our own conclusions.  We don`t need you interpreting for us.  It was condescending, it was arrogant, and it wasn`t the right thing to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  I`m joined by Joon Kim who served as acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.  And we should note, he took over that office when Preet Bharara was fired by President Trump.  He also was part of the consultations when Mr. Bharara and Mr. Kim concluded they should not return an unusual phone call from the president at the time without greater guidance from Main Justice, an important story in and of itself.

We`re also joined for expert coverage by Mara Gay from "The New York Times."  And Gene Rossi, a former federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of Virginia which is the district that prosecuted Paul Manafort.

My thanks to each of you for being here.  Joon, I`m thrilled to have you given your expertise and the fact that your office was at least a subject of fact-finding about potential obstruction by the president.  We don`t know the findings because we don`t have them yet.

What do you think of the way that Mr. Barr has released information about this thus far?

JOON KIM, ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK:  So I found out, just like you did today, that it was about -- over 300 pages.  That actually does sound about right if you were to guess.  I mean he did disclose, you know, 2,800 subpoenas, 500 witness interviews.

And if you just look at what`s become public in the indictments that the special counsel`s office has brought, there`s a lot of material there.  And so the way it was summarized in four pages, it`s obviously difficult to summarize any document of that length and presumably the nuance with which the special counsel`s office tried to be -- tried to describe what they did.

So my guess, it`s a little bit of a challenge to summarize anything like that.

MELBER:  Would you give him an A?

KIM:  It`s hard to grade that.

MELBER:  Gene?

KIM:  We`ll see how much of it gets released.

MELBER:  Gene?

GENE ROSSI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR:  I give him a C+ and that`s being generous.  On Sunday night, you showed my handwriting to the American public.  And I said that this was a tainted letter, and it also needed hand sanitizer.

I want to stand by that characterization of the letter and here`s why.  Can`t you just tell us how many pages are in the letter?  Because the amount of pages Could give us some information on whether your three-and-a- half-page summary has some gravitas.  And it doesn`t have gravitas.

And I got to add this, Ari.  I don`t think it`s 300 pages.  I think it could be well over 1,000 if you add attachments and attachments to the attachments.  This is the biggest con I`ve seen in a long time, and I`m very disappointed with the Department of Justice.

MELBER:  Well, and I think what we just heard for viewers, Mara, is the range of reaction from people who know about this stuff.  A prosecutor who even served briefly in the overlap with the Trump administration, measured.  Another prosecutor close to aplectic -- apaplectic?

MARA GAY, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER, THE NEW YORK TIMES:  Apoplectic.

MELBER:  Apoplectic.  And an anchor who struggles with words.  Not ideal for this job but it happens.

GAY:  No.

MELBER:  You, as a journalist, after days and days of people rushing to make conclusions beyond the available facts, what is your view?

GAY:  Sure.  Listen, "The New York Times" editorial board, we have been extremely clear on this issue.  The public`s right to know here is paramount.

And whatever of the report that can be released without putting sources at risk, confidential information at risk should be released to the public.  The public has an overriding interest to know here to see the actual report.

And the problem is that this is extremely sensitive and there`s very little reason for the public at this point to feel that this process is unfolding without being politicized.  And every time that, you know, you see questions about whether Barr who is a Trump appointee is withholding information from the public that he shouldn`t be or is playing games with the information he`s releasing, you know, this process becomes something that the American people have little -- less and less faith in.

MELBER:  Well, let`s drill down on that because I think it goes to the gap between our two prosecutors` analysis tonight.  But for you, Mara, everyone understands how carefully and how reserved the handling of these findings were up until Friday.

So the care and the lack of out-of-court statements from Mueller really persisted from May 2017 when it started until Friday.

GAY:  Right.

MELBER:  And since Friday, if people are feeling like things have changed a little bit, that`s the end of the kind of Mueller phase and we`re now in the Trump DOJ-Barr phase.  And the question is whether the Mueller phase will reignite so to speak when again he speaks through the report and not through what Barr was doing, which was a -- it was a press release.

And I`ve said repeatedly, he has every lawful right to do it.  He`s the attorney general of the United States.  He`s the boss of the counsel and that was his choice.  And then everyone else has the right, including the Congress, to react.

Look at Speaker Pelosi today basically saying there`s still evidence that we know that tells us that we should be skeptical of this Barr phase.  Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PELOSI:  I`m deadly serious.  If a foreign government comes to you and says they have information on your opponent, I say to any member of Congress or person running for office, you take that right to the FBI.

So for this report to say that there was no tacit cooperation, well, yes, if they didn`t bring the information to the FBI, they were delinquent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GAY:  See, the speaker is absolutely right, but here`s the problem.  The central issue is, if you are Barr or Mueller or anyone in -- who works in any government in the United States of America from the White House to local government, you can follow every technical rule.  You can meet every technical requirement.  But that doesn`t necessarily mean that you are fulfilling the role to which you have been named or appointed.

And your purpose is actually to give the American people the information that they need and deserve.  And that`s Congress has a right to review this information and decide what to do with it.  The American people have a right to see as much as they can.

And that`s, you know, that`s maybe not a legal right, but that`s something that we need if democracy is to continue the way we want it to.

MELBER:  Well, as the old saying goes, if it`s not a legal right, then I can be wrong.  How does it go?

GAY:  Yes.

MELBER:  I don`t know.  Joon, obstruction without an underlying crime.  Possible?

KIM:  Yes.  And the letter notes that.  I mean there have been a number of cases of obstruction charges without an underlying crime.  In fact, the Special Counsel Mueller has charged that.  There have been obstruction charges in this very investigation.

MELBER:  Roger Stone.

KIM:  Yes.  So Martha Stewart.

MELBER:  But even Mueller -- I mean Roger Stone and I suppose Flynn is more complicated because there were just talk of other potential ones.  But in the Stone case, it was only -- crimes were related to obstruction and he awaits trial.

KIM:  Look, it`s harder to make, right?  It`s harder to make an obstruction case if you don`t have the proof of the underlying offense because that goes to motive, right.  It goes to what`s in the state of mind of someone who`s obstructing.

MELBER:  You mean it exists but it could be harder to prove.

KIM:  Harder to prove.

MELBER:  In your view as a prosecutor, not speaking about specific people but in general, do you think that the law and prosecutors find it worse if obstruction is committed by people in law enforcement, by prosecutors or police or the president of the United States than just a random citizen?

KIM:  Yes, it`s in many ways worse because, number one, they should know better.  And number two, you want to make sure that the law applies equally to everyone and that there`s a perception that no one is above the law.

So on the Southern District of New York, as you know, there were a number of public corruption cases, and we felt just as strongly and sometimes more strongly if there was a police officer who was violating the law or corrections officers, people who have been entrusted with the public`s power.  They should be held at least to an equal standard as everyone else.

MELBER:  And I don`t know if you want to speak to this or not.  But before I go to Gene for a final thought, as you watch all this play out and you know that Mueller is detailed, potential obstruction by Donald Trump, we know from Barr that that`s in evidence for whatever review.  Do you have reason to believe any of that includes anything in New York?

KIM:  I don`t have -- I don`t know what`s included in there or not.  There are clearly parts of that investigation that have been referred to the Southern District of New York.  And there`s a number of active investigations and cases in the Southern District of New York but I don`t know what part of the obstruction investigation that they did.

MELBER:  It was fascinating hearing your old boss who you -- as we know you came in for, Mr. Bharara, describing a kind of a fixation that the newly elected president-elect and then president had, Donald Trump, in engaging with him at SDNY.  Nowhere else, just SDNY.  But as always, I appreciate your care and rigor with what you`re willing to speak to.

Gene Rossi, I give you the final word.  Your view of Mr. Kim`s point that obstruction by people in government and law enforcement is -- can actually be worse.  And what would it mean if a president had obstruction evidence against him without an underlying crime?  If that was swept under the rug, does that send the wrong message both to that president and to the country at large?

ROSSI:  Absolutely.  I want to say I`m Italian so I`m always measured.  I want to correct the record.  But on a serious note, there is an underlying crime here.  And I want to tell the viewers what I think is the underlying crime.

There could be aiding and abetting of a conspiracy, helping the Russians conspire among themselves to interfere.

MELBER:  But Special Counsel Mueller didn`t charge that.

ROSSI:  Well, the letter says, and this is important, that no one joined the conspiracy.  You can aid and abet a conspiracy.  That`s why we need to see the report.

To answer your question, though.  I indicted a state prosecutor in Virginia for obstruction of justice.  I indicted a special agent with the State Department.  It is a big deal when someone in law enforcement obstructs an investigation even if there is no underlying crime.

So to answer your question, when the president of the United States obstructs an investigation, even argue when though there`s a no crime, that`s a huge deal.

MELBER:  Well put.  Put clearly.  Gene Rossi, Joon Kim, and Mara Gay, thanks to each of you.

GAY:  Thank you.

MELBER:  Appreciate you guys.

A lot to get into.  Now, we have a lot more in the show including a live interview with presidential candidate and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.  She`s the first contender to release her tax returns this year and says Donald Trump ought to do the same.

Later, my exclusive interview with Mueller`s person number 2, speaking of obstruction.  He was one of the people who is alleged to be the rationale for Roger Stone`s obstruction and we`re going to get into that.  His first interview with that indictment.

Later, I`m going to tell you exactly what Jared Kushner was actually back giving secret testimony today in a Russia probe.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER:  Now, turning to a leading lawmaker pressing for Donald Trump to finally come clean on his tax returns and saying she will lead on transparency.  Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is a 2020 contender and became the first presidential candidate this week to release her 2018 tax returns and calling on everyone to do the same.

Here is her first MSNBC interview since, of course, launching her official presidential bid this past weekend.  Senator, thanks for joining me.

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I`m delighted to be on your show.

MELBER:  Tell us why, first and foremost, you`re leading on this issue and specifically, can you get President Trump somehow to do what others have tried and failed at which is have basic transparency about his taxes?

GILLIBRAND:  I`ve been leading on the issue of transparency and accountability in government since I was a member of Congress in 2006.  I was the first member of Congress to post my schedule, my earmark requests, and my financial disclosure online.  It was my sunlight report.

I posted my taxes for the last 12 years.  I started posting them in 2012.  And I think anyone running for president should be posting taxes.

I think this president should have post taxes because the truth is, the American people deserve to know whether you are working for them or whether you have a self-interest.  And one of the best ways to do that is have transparency.

It`s also why I led and past the Stock Act to make sure members of Congress weren`t engaging in insider trading if you can believe that actually wasn`t illegal.  So we passed the Stock Act in 2012 to make sure again that we have accountability and transparency for people who serve in government.

MELBER:  As you know, a big story this week is the position taken by the Trump administration to try to actually get all of Obamacare wiped out.  I think I know why you disagree with that on policy grounds and preserving health care.

What do you think of their argument on the actual underlying tax authority that somehow because that`s changing the courts, maybe the law itself no longer has the basis that it had from the original Supreme Court decision?

GILLIBRAND:  So I disagree with their legal analysis.  Because what President Trump is doing is he`s undermining all of the tenets of Obamacare that actually help people, saying that you don`t have to cover people who have pre-existing conditions.

Say you can discriminate based on price.  We used to have gender discrimination in insurance.  He doesn`t want you to be able to have a mandate where everyone should buy in.  And this has already gone to the Supreme Court.

And so for this administration now to unwind every aspect of the Affordable Care Act is an outrage but it`s one of the reasons why I`m fighting so hard to establish that health care should be a right and not a privilege.  I hear about this no matter where I go in the country, whether in Michigan or Iowa or in New Hampshire or in New York State.  Number one issue out of people`s minds is I can`t afford health care --

MELBER:  Is that what you --

GILLIBRAND:  -- and I want access.

MELBER:  Is that what you`re asked about the most?

GILLIBRAND:  Yes.  It`s the highest anxiety that families have.  Just imagine if you have a child who is sick and you worry now because President Trump doesn`t believe in covering people with pre-existing conditions that your child won`t get medicine or won`t get the medical care they need.

So one of the things that I`ve been working on is in our Medicare for All Bill, I worked on the transition part.  I helped to write it.  And I think if you could create at least one not for profit public option, letting people buy into Medicare in a price they can afford, something like four or five percent of income, it`s affordable, can be matched by your employer and it can be self-sustaining.

Ultimately, it can get you to single payer and it could get you something of like an earned benefit so you`d buy in just the same way that we buy into Social Security.

MELBER:  Yes.  So let me ask you --

GILLIBRAND:  And then you own it.  It would be yours forever.

MELBER:  Let me ask you about that.

GILLIBRAND:  Yes.

MELBER:  The idea that there should be a much more robust approach to health care.  Somebody would say that`s European style or whatever you want to call it but you are talking about Medicare for All which is government options for all is something that a lot of the candidates right now are agreeing on.

So it`s not -- I`m not sure there`s a ton of contrast.  I`m curious what you think.  And I want to play for you one of your competitors and colleagues, Senator Sanders, who, if I`m reading him right, I`ll give you a chance to respond, he seems to be saying that you are copying him.  Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), VERMONT:  In 2016, many of the ideas that I talked about, Medicare for All, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, making public colleges and universities tuition-free, spending at least a trillion dollars in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, criminal justice reform.  All of those ideas people were saying, "Oh, Bernie, they`re so radical."  Over three years, all of those ideas and many more are now part of the political mainstream.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  Did he make those ideas mainstream or impact your thinking?

GILLIBRAND:  Well, I ran on Medicare for All in 2006.  And I actually got elected in a two to one Republican House district running on Medicare for All with a public option letting people buy in at a price they can afford.  I ran for re-election in that congressional district, again two to one Republican registration and I won it by 24 points.

So I`ve been talking about it since 2005.  I don`t know when Senator Sanders started talking about it but I got to help write the bill that we introduced together and the part I got to work on was this transition, having a four-year transition where people could buy in at a price they could afford which to me just creates competition.

It allows people to choose whether or not they want that public option, whether they want access to Medicare at an affordable price.  But if it is at four percent of income, that`s affordable.  If you make $100,000 and you have to pay $4,000 to have access, that`s affordable and probably less than you`re paying today.

And it would be self-sustaining especially if you let Americans buy in overtime and ultimately make it single payer and an earned benefit.

MELBER:  One of the things that we don`t hear as much within the Democratic primary thus far but we hear a lot from the president`s allies is that two- plus years into the Trump administration, the economy is doing reasonably well.  That unemployment is down within overall in a lot of groups.

What is your rebuttal to that?  Let`s say you become the nominee and you`re actually debating Trump on that point.  What`s your rebuttal and what`s your jobs plan?

GILLIBRAND:  So I`ve talked to a lot of voters across my state, across these early primary states and I can tell you people feel deeply left behind.  Unemployment number might be low but real unemployment is much higher, and the underemployment rate is even higher.

If you look at two states like New Hampshire and Iowa, they have low unemployment rates.  But I asked voters across those states, do you feel underemployed and overwhelmingly people say yes.

So I`m running on a platform of how we start rewarding work again.  And to me, that means supporting our unions, making sure people can organize and collectively bargain, making sure that we support car check, making sure that we oppose right to work, making sure we have better workforce training.

In fact, I think our national ambition should be full employment because if you are one of the people underemployed or unemployed, you need to be earning more to make ends meet.  And the way I would do it is I would fund the job training at community colleges, state schools, apprenticeship programs, and not-for-profits.

We`re doing that all across my state, all across the country.  I`ll give you one example.  In rural America, we have a manufacturer called Bombardier and they needed advanced welders.  They couldn`t find any within 500 miles.  So they went to a local community college and said, "Will you offer this course work?  If you do, we`ll hire your graduates as a $70,000 a year job."  Win-win.

You took a lower wage worker who had basic welding skills, made him an advanced welder, and now he`s supporting his family and earning more.  That`s the model that`s been done all across the country, all across the states I visited.  And I can lift up these community colleges that are already doing it and actually giving people better skills to get a higher wage so they can provide for their families.

So if our ambition is full employment, we`re going to be able to award work.  And that also means simple things like raising the minimum wage, living wage, equal pay for equal work, affordable daycare and having a national paid leave plan.

MELBER:  So we`ve talked about some of the policies you are pushing.  We talked about some of the domestic policy issues writ large.  The other big story in the town that you`re in has been the reaction to Mueller finishing his probe on Friday.

GILLIBRAND:  Yes.

MELBER:  And so I kind of want to ask you two questions before I let you go on that.  Number one, your response to the fact that Mueller did not find a chargeable election conspiracy.  And number two, your assessment of how Bill Barr is handling and overseeing the conclusion of this probe thus far from Friday to today.

GILLIBRAND:  Well, I am very concerned because I think what the attorney general did is undermine the purpose of the special counsel`s job by summarizing this report and putting his imprimatur on top of it.  He`s taking away the benefit of having someone who`s nonpartisan, not appointed by the president actually making the decision about whether a crime has been committed.

And importantly, the four-page letter he quotes the special counsel saying that he was not going to opine on whether obstruction of justice actually took place.  And that was a meaningful quote.  And I think that`s why the committees in the House are going to do significant investigations to get to the bottom of it.

And I think Speaker Pelosi is quite right when she says it was not only arrogant but very disrespectful for the Congress and the Senate to not receive the actual report.

MELBER:  Right.  And for him to try to supplant it.

GILLIBRAND:  Correct.

MELBER:  Before I let you go, the other part, no chargeable conspiracy.  Your reaction?

GILLIBRAND:  I think this is something that we need to have the actual report to assess ourselves.  I don`t think we have to take the word of the attorney general in a four-page brief that is a 300-page actual report summarized to four pages.  Why do we have to accept his summary of the facts?

MELBER:  So your point being although we do know as of Friday there`s the absence of Mueller charging anyone on the election conspiracy, you`re saying you want to see whatever led to his conclusion on that in the report?

GILLIBRAND:  Exactly.  And I also want to see why he wasn`t willing to opine on obstruction --

MELBER:  Obstruction, yes.

GILLIBRAND:  -- because the law is vague there.  And so he didn`t necessarily want to put his judgment, but I want to know why he wasn`t even certain.  I want to know what he found.

MELBER:  Senator Gillibrand, I really appreciate you coming on THE BEAT as a candidate.  I hope we can have you back.

GILLIBRAND:  You can.  Thank you.

MELBER:  OK.  Thank you.  Appreciate your time.

I want to make one other programming note to viewers.  Looks like a 2020 night because don`t go anywhere, you have Senator Elizabeth Warren coming up next on "HARDBALL" and Senator Amy Klobuchar after that on "ALL IN," 7:00 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC.

Now coming up, we turn to something you won`t see anywhere else.  An exclusive interview on a victim of something you`ve heard a lot about, obstruction alleged by Mueller against the Trump Advisor.  Randy Credico threatened by Roger Stone, breaking his silence when we`re back in 30 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MELBER:  There`s a lot of talks right now about obstruction of justice.  And I`m thrilled to tell you we`re about to do something informative because I have an exclusive interview with the witness according to Bob Mueller of alleged obstruction by a top Trump advisor.  Randy Credico is cited in Bob Mueller`s indictment of Roger Stone as the person number two.  And he has not ever spoken out publicly since named as such in that Mueller indictment.

Tonight, that changes.  Mueller accusing Stone of trying to obstruct investigations into Russian interference by Congress and the FBI and alleging that Roger Stone was effectively trying to illegally bully Credico into silence, threatening him and his dog all part of an effort to stop Credico from truthfully cooperating with these probes.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

Randi Credico joins me on THE BEAT right now.  Thank you for coming to this show with your first remark since the indictment.

RANDI CREDICO, FORMER ASSOCIATE OF ROGER STONE:  Thank you very much.

MELBER:  A lot of people are interested in the role you played, and let`s start with this.

CREDICO:  OK.

MELBER:  Mueller investigated whether there was a conspiracy with Russia and whether Roger Stone lied about all this in invoking you as his link to WikiLeaks.  And Mueller found no chargeable conspiracy but also found that Stone was lying and obstructing.  What was going on?  Why lie if there was no conspiracy?

CREDICO:  Well, I really don`t want to tamper with that case right now.  I mean, if you ask me specific questions, was I the back-channel?  No, it was not the back-channel.

MELBER:  Here`s a specific question.  Was Mr. Stone lying to protect himself or Donald Trump?

CREDICO:  I really don`t know his motivation.  I`m serious.  It`s really up in the air.  I mean, it`s probably in that report.  That report, by the way, would have been out six months ago if Trump hadn`t been lying, if Trump hadn`t interfered, if Trump had obstructed justice.

MELBER:  You make an interesting point which is that the lies in public and some of the allegedly illegal lies and obstruction have actually made this all take longer which would seem to go against these people`s interests.  Let me play though some of what has been attributed as a lie.  Again, Mueller says you were the victim of obstruction not involved in it.  Here was Roger Stone talking about his link to WikiLeaks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROGER STONE, CAMPAIGN ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN:  I said that I had communicated with Mr. Assange.  We have a mutual acquaintance who is a fine gentleman.

I actually have communicated with the Assange.  I believe the next tranche of his documents pertains to the Clinton Foundation.

I have not met with Mr. Assange and I never said I had.  I said we communicated through an intermediary, somebody who is a mutual friend.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  Was he referring to you and was that true?

CREDICO:  At that point, I don`t know if it was me or if it was Jerome Corsi.  All I know I was named by him what he went before the House Intel committee.  He named me.

MELBER:  He named you, and then you`re bringing up Person One who we`ve also spoken to.  Again, now here from the Mueller indictment of Roger Stone.  It says Roger Stone directed Corsi not Credico to contact the head of WikiLeaks.

Now that the probe is over, do you have any idea why it was important to Roger to blame you for something that Mueller found involved Corsi?

CREDICO:  You know, it`s a conundrum inside a riddle, inside a Rubik`s Cube.  I really do not know why he had to do that.  If he had just told the truth, he wouldn`t be -- I wouldn`t be here today.  None of us.  I didn`t know why he even went before the House Intel Committee.  He could have invoked the Fifth.  There`s no reason to do it.

MELBER:  Interesting.  You were in touch with him during the 2016 campaign.  Did you get the impression from your discussions with Roger Stone that he had inside info on what WikiLeaks was going to do?

CREDICO:  Absolutely not.  And listen, he didn`t communicate with Julian Assange and neither did Corsi.  There not a snowball`s chance in hell that he would communicate with those two --

MELBER:  So if that`s true -- if that`s true and I`ll remind anyone listening that Mueller has been crediting your side of the case.  If that`s true, is Roger Stone the Saddam Hussein of the Mueller probe bluffing about political weapons he didn`t have?

CREDICO:  I don`t know what his motivation was.  I`ll be honest with you.  Maybe that`ll come out why he had to say that it was me or why he had to say he had a backchannel.

MELBER:  Let me ask you something --

CREDICO:  I don`t want to be hauled before Judge Jackson.

MELBER:  Who would?  Who would?

CREDICO:  At this point me by --

MELBER:  I`m saying nobody would want nobody would want to be in this position.  I think people can understand that.  Here`s another big question I`ve been dying to ask you.

CREDICO:  Right.  Where did I get this tie?

MELBER:  No, no.  Close, but you no.  Mueller in Roger Stone`s indictment reveals that a senior Trump campaign person was "directed to contact Stone about additional releases and damaging information."  Did you have the impression that Stone was talking to Donald Trump or senior aides about this kind of thing during the campaign?

CREDICO:  I think he was probably bluffing Trump and Trump really didn`t like look into it, that he was having communications, that was his way of giving himself in and a good favor with Trump, and Trump probably said it.  I believe what Michael Cohen said that he called up and Trump said all right, let`s keep on top of this.  I believe that.

MELBER:  So they tied themselves in knots bluffing over something that they maybe didn`t have from WikiLeaks.

CREDICO:  Right.  Right.

MELBER:  OK.  During the campaign, how early on did you talk to Roger Stone about WikiLeaks?

CREDICO:  You know, it really didn`t come up until let`s say, I had the sound to my show late in August.  And I told him and about five other people that Assange is going to be on my show.  In September, September 9th, he got Gary Johnson on my show, on my radio show.  So the quid pro quo was I would get him Assange but I didn`t even ask because I wanted Assange for myself.

MELBER:  Did you communicate with Stone in August about all of that?

CREDICO:  No, no.  It was -- it was September 9th.  I know exactly the date.  I mean, I did send him a text message saying that Assange was going to be on my show.  He was -- you know because he had said he --

MELBER:  But this is important, Randy.  You also texted Roger on August 26th saying Assange has kryptonite on Hillary.

CREDICO:  Right.  I did say that.  Yes.

MELBER:  Were you referring to inside information on forthcoming document notes?

CREDICO:  No.  First of all, I had no idea that the Podesta e-mails were coming out.  What I did know was that he had gone on television and had said I think it was on Fox that he had information on Hillary Clinton that he was going to come out.  I`m talking about Julian Assange.

MELBER:  So you`re -- yes.  Your claim is that you were just kind of talking it up.

CREDICO:  I said that to a lot of people.  I said it to him, I said that to a lot of people because --

MELBER:  Then I go to -- I got to ask you --

CREDICO:  -- he has said that.

MELBER:  Right.  Then in October first --

CREDICO:  I thought I was doing impressions tonight.

MELBER:  Maybe later.  Then on October first --

CREDICO  They`re not going to have Randy Credico --

MELBER:  Then on October 1st, Mueller says that you wrote to Stone Hillary`s campaign will die this week.

CREDICO:  Right.

MELBER:  Six days later, stolen e-mails come out from Podesta.  We`re predicting that?

CREDICO:  I was definitely -- well, first of all, I was in London.  I went there on the 27th through the 30th.  I was in London ostensibly to see a friend of mine --

MELBER:  You know, I`m going to -- I`m going to question you like anyone else --

CREDICO:  Listen --

MELBER:  I`m going to say, why don`t you give --

CREDICO:  You a tougher than Aaron Zelinsky, seriously.

MELBER:  Why don`t you give me a yes or no?  Were you predicting --

CREDICO:  No, I was predicting because I was at the airport, Heathrow Airport.  They have a duty-free shop there that you can drink for nothing as you`re going around and I got whacked and I just was having this communication.  I was predicted because I had heard from somebody that went public that something was coming out that week.  He already telegraphed it or basically --

MELBER:  But your answer here -- and this is your first time speaking since the indictment.  Your answer is no, you were not trying to predict --

CREDICO:  No, no.

MELBER:  -- what Assange was going to do.

CREDICO:  I was outside the embassy and I took a picture.  There was a guy standing --

MELBER:  But I`m not asking about a picture.

CREDICO:  All right -- well, I think it`s important that I get something in.  You know, this is just like a tough trip for me right now.  It`s like the (INAUDIBLE) family going to California.

MELBER:  I`m not trying to give you a hard time.  I mentioned in introducing you that you are according to Mueller a victim of obstruction.  But a lot -- as you know, Randy, a lot has gone down here.  I have another thing to ask you and I want you to give us a straight answer.  Mueller quotes you as telling Stone in September, you know, when you get the request to contact Assange, you say to Stone, just remember do not name me as your connection to Assange,  You had one before you refer to.

CREDICO:  Right.  He talked about having a (INAUDIBLE).  He said that he had someone when he was on that tape that you played when he was in Central Florida.  When he played, he said, I didn`t want to be the guy because --

MELBER:  But then it says on September 19th --

CREDICO:  There was guy by the name of Dr. Paul.

MELBER:  But it says --

CREDICO:  Shelby Holliday, if you read her article about that --

MELBER:  No, I know.  But it says on --

CREDICO:  -- it really clarifies --

MELBER:  But I`m giving you a chance to clarify it.  You then say on September 19th that you`re going to go ahead.  You already pass the message to Assange.  What was going on there?

CREDICO:  There was no message that must passed to Assange.  And I don`t even know which text message.  There`s a hundreds and hundreds of text messages.

MELBER:  Sure.  Well, slow down.  This is important.

CREDICO:  Wait a second.  I want you to know -- well, come on.

MELBER:  No, no, if you don`t know which, Randy, I`m going to read it to you.  I will give you a time to respond.

CREDICO:  All right.

MELBER:  I`ll give you time to respond.  When you said --

CREDICO:  Well, just wait till you see the report.

MELBER:  No, but I have an indictment of Roger Stone that says he was obstructing justice based on his treatment of you.  And I`m asking you when you wrote to him, I did pass your message to Assange, what did that mean.

CREDICO:  The message was something that I`d never pass anything on to Assange, never.  The only thing I was able to read someone to get him on my show.

MELBER:  When was the last time you had contact with Julian Assange?

CREDICO:  Actually a year ago today I had contact with him and he knew I was doing your show for the second time.

MELBER:  Well, let`s end with a couple bottom lines.  Bottom line number one, why did Mueller`s investigators care so much about what Roger Stone lied about?

CREDICO:  Listen, I really don`t know.

MELBER:  You don`t know.

CREDICO:  I don`t know why.  I`d be honest with you --

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER:  Hey, I don`t know --

CREDICO:  I have no idea.

MELBER:  Randy, Randy --

CREDICO:  (INAUDIBLE) I thought all they talked to me about.

MELBER:  Randy, I don`t know is a fine answer, so I don`t know.  Bottom line number two, bottom line number two.  Based on everything that`s happened, do you believe Stone is likely to be convicted of obstruction and will he get a pardon?

CREDICO:  I don`t want to talk about that.  That`s -- you know, it`s like I said, I`m not even thinking about that.  Remember, I had a father that did ten years in prison before I was born, all right.  That`s something --

MELBER:  If you don`t want to talk about it, that`s a short answer.  Do you think Roger Stone is counting on a pardon?

CREDICO:  He`ll get a pardon.  He`ll definitely get a pardon.  You know, he`s been loyal to this president for 37 years.  I know the president is not loyal, doesn`t reciprocate loyalty, but in this case you know, he really doesn`t like Roger Stone yapping out there.

MELBER:  Randy Credico --

CREDICO:  Thank you very much.

MELBER:  -- Person Number Two, thank you for coming back on THE BEAT and taking the questions.

CREDICO:  Taking the -- taking the beating is what I did here.

MELBER:  Just THE BEAT not a beating, just THE BEAT.  Randy Credico.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MELBER:  Just THE BEAT.  Now still ahead, Jared Kushner was back testifying in another Russia probe.  We`ll explain.  And then I`m going to get into why the most important thing you heard about the Mueller report today is its length 300 pages and why some are saying the delay on releasing that information calls Bill Barr`s oversight into question.  That`s later tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER:  A full five days after Donald Trump`s attorney general began releasing his views on the Mueller report, we have now learned for the first time tonight just how long it is, over 300 pages.  Attorney General Barr now under pressure to explain why he withheld that information and continues to withhold parts of the report.

We`re seeing the battle lines take shape on a story that is one of the most important of the year.  Speaker Pelosi dialing up the pressure.  She says Barr is quote arrogant for the way he`s doing this and refusing to commit to how he would release grand jury information so that Congress can benefit from the whole report.  Also refusing to give Chairman Nadler an unredacted copy of the report as of this hour.

And then here it is, a subpoena threat.  A Democratic staffer now telling NBC tonight we`ll have more to say on April 3rd.  That is, of course, the day after the expected blown deadline.  Former federal prosecutor Gene Rossi is back with me.  We have been in a -- what lawyers would call a colloquy and what normal people who use normal words and aren`t as annoying as us will call it a conversation said Sunday about this.

You have been out there very far.  I have stipulated that the Attorney General is within his lawful authority.  He can release press releases.  He can release letters.  He can say what he thinks.  The problem accorded the Democrat seems to be anyone taking what he thinks and treating it as it anything other than what he thinks.

He`s been on the job a month.  He doesn`t think presidents can easily commit obstruction, and he wants the world to know what he thinks.  Walk us through what you think matters about this since you I would say we`re hammering the Selective disclosures as soon as we learned about them Sunday night.

GENE ROSSI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR:  I was very passionate.  How`s that?  Ari, here`s what I -- here`s what troubles me the most about the Attorney General -- and I was very complimentary about him when he was nominated, is he already put his thumb on the scale in June of last year, he got that report after he wrote that -- his report that there`s no obstruction.  And now he`s deciding no obstruction and were to believe that he`s going to be objective in determining what is not released and what is released to the Congress.

I got to tell you, the whole purpose of the Special Counsel referral is defeated by the Attorney General of the United States to keep his fingers in this pot.

MELBER:  And I think you`ve made that point eloquently.  So let me ask you what I think people -- some people may be wondering which is if you and other federal prosecutors have been hammering that since Sunday.  Why did it seem like the -- some of the folks in the building behind you the congressional Democrats took several days to sort of hit this point?

ROSSI:  Because they didn`t watch your show on Sunday night, that`s why.

MELBER:  Or watch you on the show.  But really, I mean, explain that to people because if all the Democrats stood up in unison Sunday night and said this is no different than Whitaker, Sessions, or anyone else doing this, what was the delay in your view?

ROSSI:  Well, there`s not going to be much of a delay.  I just got a chance to talk with Senator Gillibrand after her segment on your show, and we had a nice little chat about aiding and abetting and conspiracy.  So I predict this.  I think members of the House in the Senate no pun intended, they`re going to start listening to the talking heads and they`re going to realize that this report is too important a document for the Attorney General of the United States to decide what is redacted and what`s turned over.

And I predict this, that there will be a handoff if you will, to someone else in the U.S. Department of Justice, not Rod Rosenstein, not the Attorney General, you know, it would be somebody that and I`ve said this many times is purer than Caesar`s wife.

MELBER:  And talking heads no pun intended, like the David Byrne type pun?

ROSSI:  All right, you`re the master of puns.  I`m not as good as you.

MELBER:  But that was the -- was it the talking heads reference coming?  I was waiting for it.

ROSSI:  Yes.  Well, I don`t know lyrics either.  But on a serious --

MELBER:  How did I get here?  Is this my beautiful house?  Is this my beautiful House of Representatives.  Gene Rossi, a secret Talking Heads fan.  We`ll be relying on you more in the -- in the weeks ahead.  Thank you, sir.

ROSSI:  Thank you.

MELBER:  Jared Kushner was back giving secret testimony today for a key comedian`s Russia probe.  That`s ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER:  In other news tonight, Jared Kushner interviewed by members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, a secret closed-door hearing or classified or private I should say, in the Russia investigation.  The President`s son in law was spotted thought by these cameras and wouldn`t talk about what we believe to have been effectively a surprise appearance on the Hill today on matter of major import.

We do know that Kushner was first called to this committee back in July 2017, and the chairman Republican Richard Burr declined to give us comment on today`s session.  We wanted yyou to know that and we`ll update as we learn more. We`ll be back with one more thing.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER:  We have a special show tomorrow.  Bob Mueller`s former chief of staff will talk about what it means that his old boss did 300 pages and how he approaches this type of thing.  And I`ll be joined for their first interviews with us since this probe ended by Carter Page and Michael Caputo.

But don`t go anywhere right now.  HARDBALL is up next.

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