CHUCK TODD, HOST, MTP DAILY: But a big congratulations to our pal Katy and to Tony and the entire family. Well done, mom.
That`s all for tonight. We`ll be back tomorrow with more MEET THE PRESS DAILY. But "THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER" starts right now. Good evening, Ari.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chuck. I don`t know if you know what goes on when you are not here on "MEET THE PRESS DAILY" but Katy and I have this quiet awkward tosses.
TODD: I know. I thought -- but ours are better, right?
MELBER: Ours -- well, hey, it`s "MEET THE PRESS DAILY" with Chuck Todd. Ours have got to be better but I`m hoping that Theodore is into silence. And if she brings Theodore, we can do even longer pre-verbal tosses.
TODD: I`m with you. I think Theodore should do all the tosses.
MELBER: Theodore is the most popular person for a good reason at MSNBC today.
TODD: Well, I love it. Teddy the Calpo (ph), it`s a great name. And Teddy the Calpo, that kid is going to be something.
MELBER: Going to be something.
TODD: He`s got the look. He`s already got the look.
MELBER: Well, I join you in our congratulations to the whole family. We`re looking forward to it.
MELBER: Thank you, Chuck.
TODD: Thank you.
MELBER: Now, we`re covering a lot of developing stories tonight. Number one, what some are calling the Bernie effect. Senator Sanders crushing fundraising numbers and taking his argument directly to "Fox News" as Democrats are exploring many options for 2020. I have that politics story for you later tonight.
Also, brand new action in the Roger Stone case. I`m going to get into that later. And we get to speak to this person you see on your screen, the swamp creature who trolled a major hearing into the Trump administration`s ethical woahs. We`re going to get into the fun of it, culture activism and also why it matters.
If you know anything about THE BEAT, you know I am excited about a swamp creature interview later in the hour.
But I begin with some big news here. The Trump DOJ has uncourt even more intrigue with its somewhat unusual announcement of a day, Thursday, that the redacted Mueller report will come out. That`s in two days.
And Trump staffers are now reportedly increasingly on edge with this timeline set by their own Justice Department. Especially because if there are not massive redactions, the report will "expose them as the source of damaging information about their boss, President Donald Trump."
One former official telling NBC, they`re worried the wrath will follow. Another casting the Trump White House as on edge with "breakdown level anxiety." Others getting proactive apparently asking the Justice Department whether or not their own names will be redacted Thursday and reportedly getting no answer.
The issue here is, of course, a fear of retribution and it is bigger than Donald Trump. This is common in politics. But think about it like this. Mueller interviewed approximately 500 witnesses, according to Barr`s own letter.
We`ve seen hundreds and hundreds of articles about Donald Trump and the Mueller probe over the last 22 months but virtually all those reports and leaks were based on anonymous sources. So we usually didn`t know who was talking.
Now, here on THE BEAT, we try to draw on first-hand accounts whenever possible. Those were, of course, limited by people who were willing to talk on the record to come on television, to put their names on their accounts so we learned things from them.
Whatever you think of them though, those people, those sources, were the exception because as a mathematical matter, we can tell you most, the majority of the 500 or so other witnesses did not go on the record. They stayed anonymous, other than what they told Mueller. And they apparently hoped to keep that it way.
They are now on pins and needles, at least until Thursday, waiting to see if Barr`s redaction will spare them, keeping them anonymous or will expose them. And these people, many of whom have worked for or with Donald Trump, they know he has a longstanding obsession with loyalty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If given the opportunity, I would get even with some people that were disloyal to me. I mean I had a group of people that were disloyal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But how do you define disloyalty?
TRUMP: They didn`t come to my aid. I`m so loyal to people. Maybe I`m loyal to a fraud. But I`m so loyal to people that when somebody is slightly disloyal to me, I look upon it as a great act of horror.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: A great act of horror. What a way with words. Now, Trump`s new A.G. Mr. Barr, he knows all about this. Today, he was actually spotted on his way to work when the DOJ has signaled that this redaction` s process is on pace.
Rudy Giuliani is also offering new details on what they`re calling a 35- page counter-report that they`re prepared to drop and he said Mueller`s 400 pages is called a novel. The implication being that being a novel is a bad thing. Viewers can decide for yourselves whether you think that`s a terrible thing or not.
Also, other Trump lawyers busy fighting a new subpoena for bank records that we`ve been reporting on. House Democrats forcing Deutsche Bank which is foreign to fork over records that could impact Trump. And unlike his tax returns, he may not have much power to keep these records hidden.
I am joined on this by two "New York Times" journalists, Columnist Michelle Goldberg and Finance Editor David Enrich who co-authored that Deutsche Bank story and has been reporting on Trump`s controversial history with this very bank. Thanks for being here, both of you.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Thank you.
DAVID ENRICH, FINANCE EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Thanks.
MELBER: We had the benefit of your reporting last night by phone when this story broke. This is one of those stories that many people have been interested in, have been girding for. You`ve been all over the lead-up. Walk us through why this is happening now and what else you`ve learned since last night.
ENRICH: Well, the reason everyone is excited about this is that Donald Trump has been relying on Deutsche Bank for many decades as the lone bank that is willing to finance him. And therefore, the bank holds many of his financial secrets.
They have his tax returns. They have detailed records about his companies, his family`s finances, everything. So this is kind of the vault in which all of Donald Trump`s financial secrets currently sit.
MELBER: Now, why would someone -- I read that he`s worth billions of dollars. Why he would only be dependent on a single bank?
ENRICH: That`s a good question. Look, in the real --
MELBER: Michelle, it is confusing. Many people who actually have billions of dollars are -- I`ll let you finish. I`m speaking a little archly.
ENRICH: Yes, I mean in fairness to Donald Trump and the Deutsche Bank, this is kind of the business model for real estate billionaires. Why use your own money when you can use someone else`s just as easily?
MELBER: But I mean the fact that he is relying on a single bank.
ENRICH: Right. And that is very unusual and it reflects the fact that there are no other banks willing to do business with him because he keeps defaulting on loans.
GOLDBERG: Right. So in a way, the kind of strange thing is not that only one bank will do business with him. The strange thing is why will this one bank do business with him, right?
He`s a bad bet. He defaults on loans. He has a string of business failures.
And yet this one bank that has been involved in a lot of other sketchy behavior, that has been implicated in money laundering, why is this one bank willing to kind of go out on a limb for somebody who particularly before he was president, had very little to recommend him to any sort of legitimate business.
MELBER: And that goes back to what you and your team have been doing in your reporting. Not all of our viewers may recognize your face.
They will recognize the work you`ve been doing, which I`m going to read from here. Because we`ve all been hearing about this reporting. I think it is important.
Mr. Trump, you write, told Deutsche Bank his net worth was about $3 billion. Bank employees concluded he was worth $788 million. That`s a big potentially legally significant difference.
And you report one senior bank executive said, "Trump should be avoided because he had worked with people in the construction industry connected to organized crime." That`s where some banks would leave it but then you go on the report, "Nonetheless, Deutsche Bank agreed in 2005 to lend Mr. Trump more than $500 million."
ENRICH: Yes. So the bank overlooked, deliberately overlooked one red flag after another because it is so determined to do business in the United States. It boils down to greed. They were hungrier for profits and more willing to accept risks than any other bank and they`re now paying the price for that with all the scrutiny.
MELBER: And Michelle, one thing that comes through both in this reporting and the other experts we`ve heard from is that when you go back far enough, neither the bank nor the people in Mr. Trump`s orbit, expect that he would later become president of the United States and that would bring on this extra scrutiny, regulatory and otherwise.
Michael Cohen in his now pretty famous testimony talked about all of this. This will be the same bank. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LACY CLAY, (D-MO): To your knowledge, did the president ever provide inflated assets to a bank in order to help him obtain a loan?
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER LAWYER TO DONALD TRUMP: These documents and others were provided to Deutsche Bank in one occasion where I was with him in our attempt to obtain money so that we can put a bid on the Buffalo Bills.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLDBERG: Well, right. And that`s why these kind of forensic dives into Trump`s finances, which the Democrats are trying to do from all different angles, right. You have Ways and Means trying to get his tax returns. You have Maxine Waters and Adam Schiff going down this route with Deutsche Bank.
It`s because there is this unprecedented opacity about this president`s financial situation, who he owes money to, where he`s getting his money from, kind of what his conflicts and compromises are. And we sort of have acculturated ourselves to it but it should be considered intolerable. There is a reason why this has never been allowed to happen in this country before.
MELBER: David, I want to ask you something that we`ve talked about here. We try to be very careful. Part of what you exposed already, just from your own primary reporting, is that even the bank knew better and had reason not to go forward with this. That looks bad.
Then there`s stuff we don`t know, which I always try to be careful about. We don`t know, as I understand it, what has happened to the debt that Deutsche Bank holds against Donald Trump, correct?
MELBER: In your reporting and given the Congressional oversight issues of a sitting president having this much debt, is it possible? Is there a concern that some other actor, entity, or government connected entity would try to buy up this debt to have leverage over the sitting president?
ENRICH: I think -- I wouldn`t say concern. I think there`s curiosity. That`s certainly part of what Congress is looking to understand better.
And look, I`m writing a book on this topic. I`ve spent over a year digging into this. And I have not actually found any evidence that that is the case. Unfortunately, and unfairly, I do not possess subpoena power. And I think that --
MELBER: Have you looked into getting it?
ENRICH: I wish. My bosses won`t let me.
MELBER: Will you run for D.A. or something? That would be -- you could be an easier job.
ENRICH: Look, there are a lot of people with subpoena power right now, the New York attorney general and these two congressional committees that are demanding documents.
MELBER: Isn`t this why -- I mean this is where -- this is the part of my job where we`re supposed to sit here and talk about these things carefully and act in an orderly and professional manner. But isn`t it completely bonkers that we`re well into this administration, two years in, and that it is an open question?
Not -- again, I`m not saying the president in this issue did something wrong. I`m just talking about, as a nation that is supposed to run well, as a nuclear-powered country, that you can have this big a loophole. I mean it`s like the hole in the death star if it were way bigger.
Because we read about it and we learn about all the things that other countries do, with money and espionage and sometimes more severe military means to try to disrupt what`s happening in the United States. Wouldn`t buying sovereign at a slight optic, slight premium be an obvious move?
ENRICH: You know I don`t know what is obvious these days. It`s bonkers. It`s certainly bonkers. This whole situation is bonkers.
It is crazy that I`m talking about Deutsche Bank on T.V. and people actually care about this because this is something I`ve been obsessing about for years.
MELBER: You`re used to being in more of the boring corner.
ENRICH: Well, I don`t think --
MELBER: Myself as well though. I know what you`re talking about.
ENRICH: Finally, it pays off to have obsessed about this being a German bank that no one cares about.
MELBER: Michelle, it`s like five years ago, if I was like I`m working on my law review, noting about the emoluments clause, people would be like "Cool, I don`t want to talk to you about it." Yes, what people are interested in shifts as well.
Both of you stay with me. For the bonkers aspect, we`re bringing in our long-time bonkers correspondent, Mike Lupica, host of the Mike Lupica Podcast, a podcast only Mike Lupica could host. How are you doing, buddy?
MIKE LUPICA, HOST, MIKE LUPICA PODCAST: I`m fine. How are you?
MELBER: We`re OK. Well, you`re not here as the Deutsche Bank expert or necessarily "The New York Times" journalist. I`ve got two of those.
Walk us through the sheer broader political cultural moment we`re in. That the Democrat`s subpoena power and these other checks that Donald Trump maybe can or can`t cash, we`ll find out, appear to be catching up with him in Congress in oversight.
LUPICA: I was talking to Representative Bill Pascrell about an hour ago. And he said, yes, we want to see even the redacted Mueller report but he keeps talking about Deutsche Bank. He keeps talking about the tax returns.
And he says it always comes back to the same question, what is he trying to hide? What does he not want us to know? That`s what David and Michelle are talking about. The wisdom on this goes back to, you`ll appreciate this, Drake who says you lose some, you win some. But as long as the real outcome is income. And that`s always been the thing that`s driven Trump.
MELBER: But didn`t Drake also say there`s nothing about my funds?
LUPICA: Yes. But he also said that the story never changed and that it doesn`t really work that way in the White House.
MELBER: Are we having a Drizzy-off, a Drake-off?
LUPICA: No because you win those. You win those.
MELBER: Let me --
LUPICA: You know what? When reporters like this, whose work is like a helm to what our business is supposed to be, what they`re really talking about is the truth.
And this guy`s opponent isn`t the fake news media and it is not Bernie or Beto or Mayor Pete B. It is the truth. He`s like Colonel Jessup at the end of "A Few Good Men." It`s not that he thinks we can`t handle the truth. He just doesn`t want us to know the truth.
MELBER: Well, and wasn`t it Beanie Seagull who said the truth, every time I step in the booth? Look, we`ve gone from Drake to Beanie to "A Few Good Men".
I`m going to give you a little bit of the sitting president because you bring us back to part of what is the under colonel of all this which is a White House on edge going into Thursday`s Mueller report and a president who has claimed oh, it exonerates him but also it`s a terrible thing. It can`t be both. Take a look at the latest from the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: On Thursday, it sounds like the redacted Mueller report might come out. Do you have any concerns about what that might show?
TRUMP: Well, it showed that it is a total phony. I don`t have to say that - I mean you just take a look at the conclusion.
REPORTER: On Thursday, it sounds like the redacted Mueller report might come out. Do you have any concerns about what that might show?
TRUMP: Well, it showed that it`s a total phony. I don`t have to say that -- I mean you just take a look at the conclusion. I heard it`s going to come out on Thursday, that`s good. And there can`t be anything there because there was no crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Mike, how do you assess among the reasonable public, there are people who obviously are in their corners, but people who still do respond to facts. I mean if no one responded to facts, they wouldn`t be afraid of the Mueller report at all.
It is precisely the fact that this system works up to a point that people do respond, that they are trying to deal with this and this strategy, I wonder what you think as an analyst, but a strategy trying to attract everyone`s attention back to Barr`s depiction of it and avoid what`s really in there on Thursday which is what we`ve just heard in that clip.
LUPICA: Yes. I mean when you look at Hallie Jackson`s and Kristen Welker`s and Carol Lee`s reporting, you use that quote about wrath before. But the beginning of that quote was about White House officials who told the truth.
MELBER: Right. Allegedly though.
LUPICA: He doesn`t want to see that on Thursday. Allegedly told the truth, OK. But he doesn`t want to see that on Thursday. Because all these conflicted Democrats on Mueller`s team, OK, that he`s continuing to run down as we move up on Thursday, these were the same people who got him to spike the ball over as soon as his attorney general told him he was in the clear.
MELBER: Yes. Michelle, I mean that was a halftime strategy of sorts.
GOLDBERG: Right. And it worked for a day or two, right. I mean there was this sort of shameful momentary consensus that oh, I guess Trump has won. I guess the Democrats really overplayed their hand by investigating all of this incredibly dodgy behavior.
And I think it was kind of obvious then that the Barr memo was kind of obfuscator at best and possibly outright misleading. And just you see this degree of panic about this report that none of us have seen but that obviously the White House isn`t expecting to be exonerated by what actually comes out.
And the story in that MSNBC report isn`t that people are afraid of having their names reveal. It is that they told about Mueller about misconduct, right.
GOLDBERG: So what is that misconduct?
MELBER: That they`re afraid about being revealed as eyewitnesses to things that did happen that made Trump look terrible.
GOLDBERG: Right. So the things that make him look terrible that is the sort of headline, right. I mean they`re basically kind of acknowledging, yes, we told him about the terrible things we saw. We`re worried now that our names are going to be attached to it. But we all in the public have a right to know what those terrible things were. I mean that`s what`s important.
MELBER: Michelle Goldberg, David Enrich, and Mike Lupica, my thanks to each of you.
Coming up, this Bernie Sanders surge and how Democrats are debating their options and demographics. Also, reporting tonight on how Roger Stone may already have seen some of Mueller`s evidence, including secret grand jury materials that no one else has seen. That`s a story you`ll only find here on THE BEAT.
And later, new reporting on how Mark Zuckerberg use private Facebook user data, probably yours or your families, to help his friends and punish rivals.
And I will speak, this is not a joke, to the infamous swamp creature activist who put a focus on ethics allegations against the Trump cabinet member. That official now under investigation. We`ve got that all for you tonight.
I`m Ari Melber. You`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.
MELBER: It is early to handicap the Democratic presidential primary but the arrival of the first quarterly fundraising filings this week does show some of who is breaking out in the Democratic field. Among the top five are large hauls from Warren, O`Rourke, and the newcomer Buttigieg.
And then huge numbers for two senators, Harris and Sanders with $12 million and $18 million. Sanders, not only first but is edged among small donors provides a cash fill that could make him the best-funded candidate throughout the race, about 900,000 individual donations of about $20 each.
Sanders is out on offense this week, releasing his tax returns and becoming the first candidate to do a "Fox News" town hall where the audience was polled on his Medicare proposal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, HOST, FOX NEWS: A lot of Democrats in it. It has Republicans, Independents, Democratic Socialists, Conservatives. I want to ask the audience a question if you could raise your hand here. A show of hands of how many people get their insurance from work? Private insurance right now, how many get it from private insurance? OK. Now of those, how many are willing to transition to what the senator says, a government-run system?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Some cheers in whoever was there in the room. Sanders also sparring with those "Fox News" hosts over his policies, including a proposed wealth tax.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST, FOX NEWS: Would you be willing to pay 52 percent on the money that you made? You can volunteer. You can send it back.
SANDERS: Oh, you can volunteer too. We have a --
MACCALLUM: But you suggested that that`s what everybody in your bracket should do.
SANDERS: And Martha, why don`t you? You make more money than I do.
MACCALLUM: Well, I didn`t suggest a wealth tax.
BAIER: And she`s not running for president.
MACCALLUM: And I`m not running for president.
SANDERS: All right. We`re going to fight for a wealth tax.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Sanders spent most of his career outside the Democratic Party and it is beginning to dawn on some party leaders that he can win. "The New York Times" depicting a "growing alarm" among some Democrats about a "70 something candidate from outside the party structure, immune to intimidation or incentive with an unwavering base."
It also quotes a sensuous Clinton insider Howard Wilson saying people underestimate the possibility of Sanders becoming the nominee at their own peril. What does the Sanders campaign think about this new "Times" piece?
Well, they`re already fundraising off it with Sanders` campaign manager e- mailing supporters, "the Democratic establishment is terrified of our movement, as they should be." Now, with this early stage in the race, most polls, I can tell you, are useless. They really show only name recognition.
But many believe that fundraising should not decide who the nominee is. And that makes sense. But what you see on your screen does show who some grassroots activists are leaning towards and who will obviously have the funds to compete in the long race.
By that metric, Harris and Sanders are potentially emerging in a kind of class by themselves. And "The New York Times" reporting Sanders` breakaway success does have Democrats nervous. While others argue if the top candidates are embracing similar policies, higher taxes, fund Medicare, working minimum wage, free college, then why should the Democratic Party be afraid of Bernie Sanders anyway?
Joining me now to get into the big political fight that is animating Washington tonight, Leah Wright Rigueur, professor at Harvard`s Kennedy School of Government. And Adam Green, Democratic Strategist and founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee which has pushed the Democratic Party on economic and other issues. Thanks to both of you for joining me.
ADAM GREEN, FOUNDER, PROGRESSIVE CHANGE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE: Good to be here.
LEAH WRIGHT RIGUEUR, PROFESSOR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Thanks for having us.
MELBER: Happy to have both of you. Professor, what do you think of the way this is going down and a "Times" article that is clearly tapping into energy on both sides of Bernie right now?
RIGUEUR: So to be sure, this is to be expected. I mean Bernie Sanders was incredibly popular the last time around, 2016. He`s maintained that momentum. His supporters represent an important part of the party, a part that is necessary in order to win in 2020.
But really, what we`re seeing play out is the kind of ideological differences amongst the various wings of the party. So it is necessary to do it now. It is necessary to do in its detailed fashion.
Because this is the kind of thing that is going to determine what goes into 2020, what goes into the general election, and really, who is strong enough to go up against Trump? And realistically, that`s what the base cares about. They care about who is the candidate who is strong enough to beat Trump.
It is not about ideology. It`s not about necessarily name recognition. Although that is important. But it is about who has the capacity to beat Donald Trump in the long term and in the long game?
GREEN: Yes, I agree with that last point. I am one of many people who supports Elizabeth Warren thinking that she is the most electable Democrat we can nominate. But I will just say, it is clear that Bernie Sanders is the frontrunner at this point and he absolutely crushed it last notice on "Fox".
I think part of the reason that he is able to exceed expectations so much is that we have a rather broken conventional wisdom here in D.C. that basically doesn`t understand that bold transformational ideas like Medicare for all are super popular with Republican, Independent, and Democratic voters.
It is less about left versus right and more about the bottom versus the elites at the top. And last night, one of the most compelling moments for me was when Bernie Sanders named the villains.
And he named the insurance companies and big pharma but also the Republican establishment and the Democratic establishment. And guess what, none of those people were popular with that crowd.
MELBER: Well, you say that Adam, and Sanders and Warren are clearly two people with a record of this kind of progressive economic achievements, at a time when you`re up against the Trump juggernaut in the Democratic Party.
When you look at that and then you look at what Sanders is doing which is clearly right now, even as people perceive him as the frontrunner. We just showed why he has so much money and support on the financial side, he`s not leaning into being the Democratic Party frontrunner, right.
He`s leaning in, and I`m going to read from this e-mail tonight from Faiz, his campaign manager who I think you know from progressive circles saying, "Look, the Democratic establishment high dollar donors are planning how to stop our campaign. They`re terrified of our movement as they should be."
What do you think of what that message is and that`s different from Warren and most other Democrats who might be similar ideologically?
GREEN: Well, first of all, I do think that Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are in a class on to themselves when it comes to truly bold transformational structural ideas. But I don`t think it is a bad political strategy at all to bash the Democratic establishment.
We have a million members at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee which I`m a co-founder of and they don`t love the Democratic establishment. Not many people love the establishment, period. So --
GREEN: So that`s (CROSSTALK) appeal to voters but --
MELBER: I think that -- and that gets overwhelmed sometimes by some of the other debates among the candidates. Trump clearly showed the antipathy towards Republican establishment figures. Professor, I think what Adam is gesturing to and clearly what the Sanders folks are betting on is that there are some of that on the left as well.
RIGUEUR: Right. And so there is a notion that Bernie Sanders and to some extent I think Elizabeth Warren and a few of the other candidates are running as outsiders. They are running as anti-establishment characters and candidates.
And we saw some of the similar things. not just with Trump but also with Barack Obama in 2008 where he essentially ran as an outsider candidate. As the candidate who was going to hold Washington accountable. The candidate who had voted against the Iraq War, the war in Iraq.
So we see a lot of this kind of resurging and really pivotal in this moment. At the same time, we also know that the other frontrunner, the person who has been unnamed here, is the person who hasn`t yet declared and that`s Joe Biden.
So there are a lot of reasons why there might be support around Joe Biden in this moment, including the fact that there is a pretty large centrist wing or moderate wing of the Democratic Party that supports someone like Biden. So that`s going to be interesting to play out over time.
MELBER: I see you guys disagreeing which we will leave as a pending disagreement for next time. Because we welcome all views here and the question of whether Biden is a Phantom Menace or a frontrunner and waiting I think is a big one.
Leah Wright Rigueur and Adam Green, thanks to both of you.
When we come back we`ve got of course in our rundown the swamp creature on THE BEAT. I`m going to speak to the activist rolling a Trump cabinet member over ethics, but first action in this Roger Stone case today with a big question when we come back in 30 seconds. Does he already have part of Mueller`s evidence? Stay with us.
MELBER: The Trump Justice Department says the redacted Mueller report is coming Thursday. Democrats pressing for the full report and underlying evidence. The news tonight though poses a related question. Could indicted Trump advisor Roger Stone already have part of it? Several signs point to yes which we can report based on a flurry of developments that are super interesting happening in the Stone case.
Here`s what we`re learning. Today, two of Mueller`s prosecutors formally withdrawing from prosecuting Roger Stone, another indicator of the division of labor since Mueller finished his probe. In some areas like redactions, he and his team still reportedly going into the DOJ to pitch in, that`s why we have those early morning photos.
And others like in this Stone case Mueller`s team handing the whole thing off to D.C. prosecutors. Now for his part, Roger Stone just filed six motions as part of a broad defense in this case. And here`s one area where stones legal strategy overlaps with House Democrats. He wants the entire Mueller report.
A new filing argues that as a defendant, Roger Stone has a quote right to review the Mueller report and they must be allowed to review the Mueller report in its entirety because it contains the government`s evidence and conclusions on matters essential to Stone`s defense.
Well, some might want to dismiss this is another tactic, but a defendant in Roger Stone`s position has a valid claim to get at least some evidence that would be an issue in the Mueller report if it helps Stone defense, if it`s exculpatory. And this is not a hypothetical tonight which brings me to the next piece of reporting we have for you.
Stone`s team already has some Mueller evidence that would typically be secret. Here`s another Stone filing. Citing a Mueller witnesses grand jury testimony and look at the reference specifically citing testimony the grand jury transcript page 44 with exact lines listed. Why am I showing you that? Well, that`s a clue that Roger Stones team may already have some Mueller evidence by virtue of stone being a defendant.
That would be evidence that we don`t think Congress has even seen yet. And within all this action, Stone is asking Judge Amy Berman Jackson to consider whether he was also selectively prosecuted for his support of Trump and noting another Mueller witness who "admitted lying to Mueller who was not even charged."
I could tell you tonight Judge Jackson is responding stating that Stone`s team was specified by Thursday whether this claim a selective prosecution is asking for evidence or information other than Mueller`s report because basically, she`s going to have the prosecutors combine their responses if appropriate.
So that`s a lot and it`s something you may not have heard about because it`s news. But the headlines here are Bill Barr and Jerry Nadler aren`t the only players considering court clashes over the full unredacted Mueller report. Roger Stone wants it too and Judge Jackson may be ruling on that issue as well before this whole thing is over.
Joining me now to get into this former Federal Prosecutors Joyce Vance and Gene Rossi who`ve been studying these filings. Good to see both of you.
GENE ROSSI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Thanks for having me.
MELBER: Joyce, when you look at Roger Stone`s filings, what everyone thinks of him, he appears to have some evidence and makes the point that he`s entitled to it.
JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: So the interesting thing about this is that federal discovery is a pretty cut-and-dry issue. There`s a rule 16 of the Federal Rules that says what a defendant is entitled to if he or she makes a request. And then there`s some additional provisions of federal law.
You get for instance evidence that tends to prove your innocence. So stone has filed these motions but they really won`t expand the universe of discovery he`s entitled to.
MELBER: And that discovery as we know has included what people see on the screen which was the only reason we know what his arrest looks like is because he got that video and then leaked it to Sinclair, right? I mean he`s -- he has been -- he`s under a gag order now, but he has been someone who has been strategic if you want to call it that, or assertive if you want to call it that, in how he uses this stuff.
I wonder if you can walk us through why he would appear according to filing to have Mueller grand jury evidence. Everyone has been hearing Barr say, well, maybe you`ll never see any of it. Stone has some of it and for viewers who are fans of making a murder, they talk about this as most lawyers and criminal procedure experts know, you do get some stuff. Take a look at their explanation of this so-called Brady material.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a nutshell, I have to undermine confidence in his verdict. The way I undermine confidence is I find new evidence that shows that the verdict wasn`t correct. I showed that there were violations of his constitutional rights that there was exculpatory evidence that was concealed by the prosecution, what we call Brady violations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: What she`s referring to is that you can get a whole -- potentially a whole murder case overturned if they don`t give you that`s so-called exculpatory evidence. What does it tell you that according to its filing they may already have some of it?
VANCE: Well, I think it tells you that federal prosecutors in this case like they are in virtually every case we`re careful to comply with the requirements of the rules. And what it`s referenced in that clip, Brady material, is material that a defense lawyer could use to show that his client is innocent. For the obvious reasons the rules require that that be provided to defendants before they go to trial.
So they have that opportunity in front of a jury. And that`s what`s at stake here. It appears with this Credico testimony that Stone has either been given evidence or perhaps other defendants have shared evidence that they have with them.
MELBER: Gene, your views of all this?
ROSSI: Well, as I told my young baby prosecutors, there are four parts of the federal criminal world of discovery. There`s Brady which is exculpatory information, there`s Giglio which is information about government witnesses, there`s Rule 16, and then there`s this thing called jinx. It`s a statement of a witness called by the government.
So there`s probably two ways at least that Mr. Stone`s attorneys got this information. One, the indictment was returned in January of this year so it`s very possible that under Federal Criminal Procedure 16 there has been a sealed protective order that allows the government to provide early discovery to Mr. Stones attorneys.
And the other way is this. Before the indictment was returned and this is what I used to do. Whenever I had a target, and I`m trying to negotiate a pre-indictment plea, I would get court permission to disclose grand jury information about witnesses against my target because I did have a drug dealer one time that he wasn`t going to plead guilty until he actually saw his --
MELBER: He saw the heat. Yes.
MELBER: What do you think, Gene, about the wider debate about this Mueller report and the idea that Stone is saying maybe even before Jerry Nadler, he should get the whole thing.
ROSSI: Jerry Nadler absolutely should get the whole report, full (INAUDIBLE) unredacted. It could be -- it could be sealed and protected, same with the Intelligence Committee. So it`s funny that Roger Stone`s interest and Nadler`s interest in the House Intelligence Committee, they have a convergence of a common goal because that report, the full report, unredacted could have for Roger Stone information and documents that could assist him in his defense. Now the whole report --
MELBER: And I don`t want to get -- I don`t want to get too wonky but --
ROSSI: I do.
MELBER: The idea that Mr. Stone may argue to the extent he made misstatements they weren`t important, they weren`t material, that could relate to the larger case in the report, no?
ROSSI: Absolutely. So I`m not a big fan of Roger Stone but he has defense attorneys who are doing the right thing. And that motion for the full report -- he`s not going to get the full report. But that report, Ari, may have information that falls into those four categories that I just talked about and that`s a big deal. And as Joyce will tell you, Appellate Courts don`t like violations of criminal discovery.
MELBER: No. And as you and Joyce have alluded to, if the prosecutors are doing them by the book, they may have already given over basically everything that Stone is entitled to. And yet the existence of this larger unredacted report particularly if Barr hands over something that is less than fulsome on Thursday, leaves more than one venue including Judge Jackson`s courtroom to discuss the wider report which is a fascinating little addition we wanted to -- we wanted to report out tonight. And we couldn`t have done it without our experts Joyce Vance and Gene Rossi. Thanks to both of you.
ROSSI: Thank you.
MELBER: I appreciate it. Up ahead, we have a lot more. Explosive NBC reporting on Facebook exploiting users personal and private information, all despite Mr. Zuckerberg famous denials. But first, up next, the swamp creature activists who made headlines for highlighting ethics in the Trump administration joins me live on a newish.
MELBER: News tonight that some are calling revenge of the swamp creature. You may have seen this, an activist affiliated with Greenpeace in a memorable swamp creature mask at the confirmation hearing for Trump Interior Secretary nominee David Bernhardt. The whole point was to draw attention to his ties to energy lobbyists and raised the question of whether the swamp was really drained.
I could tell you that Irene Kim, the Greenpeace activist in that mask from the hearing joins me momentarily. She was the swamp creature the entire time. And tonight there`s news on all this because it`s Bernhardt`s first week running Interior since being confirmed in the agency`s internal watchdog has now already opened a probe into ethics violations.
Now, remember, they were looking into the last Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke when he resigned amid a separate ethics scandal. I`m joined now by activist for Greenpeace USA and the swamp creature herself Irene Kim. Thanks for being here.
IRENE KIM, GREENPEACE ACTIVIST: Thanks for having me, Ari. How are you?
MELBER: I`m great. We`ll put up on the screen what you were up to because obviously, it was a kind of a political-cultural moment. What was this about and did you achieve your goals?
KIM: This was about showing absurdity to this event that was happening with our Senate. It was to let our senators know that everyone is watching you and letting you know that this is a crazy situation. Senate -- Bernhardt has no place as Secretary of Interior and he has multiple ethical conflicts of interest, and he has no place there. I think we did set out what we were trying to do even more so because it went so viral.
MELBER: And walk us through that. Is this in your view primarily activism, is this kind of a cultural and artistic thing, and how much does it matter to you that you are kind of trying to turn or reflect the Trump administration`s own language draining the swamp which I think may show there was a bipartisan interest in doing that if you take some of his supporters at their word, and yet your argument seems to be when you look at the Interior and other agencies, the swamp is worse than ever when it comes to ties to energy and the lobbyists.
KIM: Right. So we really wanted to riff on President Trump`s favorite saying that is going to drain the swamp. We actually think he`s doing the opposite of that. He`s propping up more folks, a lot of swampy, swampy people who have no place being in public office. I do think that this was an activist moment. It was more of a professionally truly funny type of activist moment.
There are folks out there putting their bodies on the line and it was an honor just to be part of the resistance.
MELBER: And when we look at that mask, who are we supposed to see? Is this an actual character, a generic swamp creature? There are hints -- some see hints of Jar Jar there, an unpopular character to be sure.
KIM: There`s been a lot of online debate. These are just supposed to represent swamp monsters who are a fan of David Bernhardt who are here to support his fellow swamp monsters and it`s a way to show solidarity.
MELBER: Do you travel with the masks?
KIM: No. I have had it on the metro and no one has stopped me thankfully.
MELBER: Do you have it with you?
KIM: I do have it with me. Would you like to see it?
MELBER: Sure. I mean, it`s your thing.
KIM: My little friend right here. He just got a little mouth, got some eyes, it`s pretty cute.
MELBER: And what is most satisfying to you -- before I let you go -- the reception you got which means obviously as an activist, you hit your mark or what you called the trolling. Trolling sometimes is about upsetting your opponents whether or not -- whether or not there`s a change of outcome.
KIM: Right. So I think we wish -- we need to be the trolls that we wish to see in the world. Folks are out there filled with moral outrage and indignation and this is a way to show some humor. You know, we have to -- the only way we`re going to get through this is by laughing and showing up. So let`s laughs together.
MELBER: Did you -- did you apply a Gandhi social activism credo to swamp trolling?
KIM: Actually I was so nervous in that swamp mask. I was -- my body whose involuntary shaking so I had to meditate while I was in there. So just being really peaceful, nonviolent as always in my mind --
KIM: Yes, that`s the way it goes.
MELBER: Irene, I think we know one thing which is that you hit your mark. A lot of people notice this and as you say and I think we could all learn something from this, you could be passionate about the serious issues and still actually try to connect or have fun. I think that`s great. And my thanks to you for coming on the program and my thanks to your swampy inanimate friend in your hands. Thank you. Thanks to both of you.
KIM: Thank you so much.
MELBER: Coming up, Mark Zuckerberg under fire. We`ll explain next.
MELBER: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg under fire again this time for treating people`s personal data as some kind of bargaining chip and using it to reward friends and punish his own rivals. An NBC News exclusive, Roger McNamee, has worked with, was a former mentor to Zuckerberg, an early investor in Facebook, and he`s the author of the book Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe and has been part of our coverage of Facebook before.
Specifically what is new about this report and what do you see as important in connection to the critique you`ve made of the company?
ROGER MCNAMEE, EARLY INVESTOR TO FACEBOOK: So Ari, there are two things about this report that really matter. It`s 4,000 pages of documents that were revealed during a case against Facebook by a small company that believed that it had lost access to Facebook user data based on Facebook just -- you know, nothing that they`ve done wrong but Facebook just changing its policies.
Facebook claimed it was acting to protect privacy of users. What the documents actually show is they were behaving like a monopolist. They were simply using their power. They no longer needed small companies to build their audience to build engagement and so they were getting rid of those people because they felt like it.
MELBER: So do you -- for folks watching us at home, do you view this as a business dispute where they`re playing hardball or worse. You mentioned monopolistic tactics, the companies claim not to do that. Or do you view this is something that is wider for anyone who uses Facebook or has family or children who use Facebook?
MCNAMEE: No, Ari, I think both cases are true. What it does is it strengthens the case for anti-monopoly action against Facebook, Google, and others. But the second thing here is you need to understand that this company has systematically treated user data as something to be traded. And it only stopped doing it because it temporarily did not see a business advantage there.
I think we can still be confident that if the company sees a business advantage from trading our personal data that they will do so. There`s nothing about this report that`s comforting from a user point of view at all.
MELBER: And how important does this show where the accountability is? Because you`re saying it came out of a sort of a civil business dispute when things go really south. It didn`t come out for example from -- to my knowledge you know Congress or regulators.
MCNAMEE: Well, to be clear, in fact, it was a leak from a court case that has been the subject of enormous effort by Facebook to maintain the privacy of all of these documents. And that is correct. Congress has yet to really engage properly on this stuff and candidly, I think we are pastime for that, but I`m hopeful that it will happen. I know that Pelosi is very focused on this. I believe there`s some Republicans showing some interest now.
I think everybody in Congress knows that there is something really, really wrong in the internet platforms, and you know, they have their work cut out to figure it out. But that`s why people like you and I are here.
MELBER: Well, you`ve been all over this. We have drawn in your expertise before. Before I let you go, do you have any Grateful Dead references for this story?
MCNAMEE: Well, you know, I just think that -- you know, I`m just going to use a touch of gray and hope for the best from there my friend.
MELBER: Every silver lining has a touch of gray. The only Grateful Dead song I believe to ever make the top ten.
MCNAMEE: Certainly the -- I think it`s the only one to ever chart nationally and you know, that`s -- but that`s why we are always playing in the band. You know, we got to try songs and see if it plays.
MELBER: To see if it fit in too. I just happen (INAUDIBLE) is a deadhead and I wanted to give him that opportunity. I`m told we`re out of time.
MCNAMEE: And Ari, your music is one of the great things on television.
MELBER: Thank you. No time for encores, Roger McNamee, and we will be right back.
MELBER: That does it for me. And I will see you back here at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. A lot of news this week. Don`t go anywhere because "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END