Trump Admin defies subpoena for Trump Taxes. TRANSCRIPT: 5/17/19, The Beat w/ Ari Melber.

Guests: John Flannery; Christina Greer; Howell Raines; Barbara Res,Christina Greer, Rashad Robinson, Karamo Brown, Mike Lupica

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST:  Thank you.  A great Friday.  Don`t forget, a great American family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thank you.

TODD:  Every man is well worth your time.  That`s all for tonight.  We`ll be back Monday with more MEET THE PRESS DAILY.  And if it`s Sunday, it`s "MEET THE PRESS" on your local NBC station.  Bernie Sanders joins me for an exclusive interview and I`ll also speak to Republican Senator Tom Cotton.

But "THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER starts right now.

Good evening, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  Big Sunday.  We`ll be watching.  Good evening to you, Chuck.

TODD:  Thanks, brother.

MELBER:  Thank you.  We`re going to get to a lot tonight.  Fact checking Trump Attorney General Barr`s new claims about the Mueller probe.  I`m going to breakdown what he got wrong.

Later, former Trump Org Executive Barbara Res joins me on what she calls Donald Trump`s fixation on settling scores.  We`re going to get to how that relates to policymaking.  And then, later on our broadcast, stunning comments as Missouri passes one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the nation.

But we begin with news breaking on this Friday night.  Donald Trump`s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is now formally defying a congressional subpoena for Donald Trump`s tax returns.  You have been following this fight if you watch the news.  Well, here we go.

Because the top Democrat on the House Committee in charge of the issue is dealing with it, saying, number one, Mnuchin is not in contempt as of this hour but that Democrats believe they could wage a court fight here to deliver a stinging rebuke to the Trump administration on his taxes.

Meanwhile, Washington is interpreting these new comments from Bill Barr who just did a "Fox News" interview about pressure for Bob Mueller to finally testify.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL HEMMER, JOURNALIST, FOX NEWS:  You`re OK with him testifying?

WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES:  Absolutely.

HEMMER:  What seems to be the hold-up?  Jerry Nadler said this week, it will happen soon.  Perhaps it happens in June or not.  Do you have any information on that?

BARR:  My understanding is that Chairman Nadler is talking this over with Bob Mueller and his staff and trying to schedule it.

HEMMER:  So you expect it to happen?

BARR:  I have no reason to think it won`t.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  Barr makes it sound like a just a couple of people are talking, scheduling, maybe there`s some Google calendar invites and he`s fine with whatever goes down.  He`s good at that the way he sounded there, as if this was all just a reasonable discussion.

That was him in public.  But privately, I want you to know, there is actually new reporting that Trump and Barr`s actions are actually the thing that might be holding up Mr. Mueller`s testimony, that it is stalling because of Trump`s executive privilege claim which, of course, was issued by Barr to block Congress from getting the full Mueller report.

This according to the "Wall Street Journal" and all of it might restrict Mueller from discussing details involving Donald Trump beyond what has been released in the redacted report.  The DOJ`s office of legal counsel considering the issue now and expected to provide guidance.

So privately, Barr`s DOJ might stop Mueller from effectively testifying and publicly, he continues to claim he`s fine with it, let them talk scheduling.  Now, Congress would have plenty to ask Mr. Mueller about, including these new revelations from Trump`s former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn saying that Trump`s lawyer and someone connected to Congress were in contact with Flynn right in the middle of the probe in an effort to what they saw as to try to get him to stop cooperating.

Some of those details were in the Mueller report as I mentioned when we covered this last night.  But some aspects were not.  And those are the kinds of things that Democrats do want to dig into in a potential hearing with Mueller.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Do you swear or affirm that the testimony you will give before this committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL:  I do.

MELBER:  That is a scene that many people are waiting if it happens.  Former Federal Prosecutor John Flannery who`s a special counsel to three congressional investigations joins me, as well as Christina Greer, political science professor at Fordham.  Good Friday evening to both of you.

CHRISTINA GREER, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY:  Hi there.

JOHN FLANNERY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR:  Good evening.

MELBER:  John, from what I know about you, you like the idea of what we just saw on the screen, Bob Mueller putting his hand up.

FLANNERY:  Yes, I do.

MELBER:  What do you make of the reporting that the executive privilege is an effort to prevent that or part of that?

FLANNERY:  Well, I believe it is.  You know, one of my favorite quotes, one of my heroes, Bob Kennedy used to say, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going."

Why is Mueller still in that department?  Why doesn`t he leave?  He`s being beaten up by these guys for no good reason for his reputation or integrity.

And as for believing anything Barr says, I`m not involved, well, he has a conflict from the beginning.  Because one of the things that Mueller can talk about is how in blazes he was excluded from the release of information and why he was resistant when he said this is not accurate.  This doesn`t represent the findings of my investigation.

So why hasn`t this been resolved in a way that we as citizens know what really happened here?

MELBER:  Well, I think part of the answer may be that the Democrats haven`t figured out exactly what they are going to do with what they call the stonewalling.  OK, they`re stonewalling.  You`re a prosecutor.  You`re a litigator.

FLANNERY:  Right, I`ve been litigating.

MELBER:  You have to have plan B and C.  Now, there are some clues on that which I want to get your analysis on tonight.  The idea that maybe the Dems would focus at also bringing in some of Mueller`s aggressive deputies including Aaron Zebley and Andrew Weissmann.

One point being that they in their role might be factual but feel less constrained about criticizing Trump.  Your view.

FLANNERY:  I agree.  I absolutely agree.  And I think that anybody who was working on the obstruction questions in the investigation would be an excellent witness.

And I also think -- we talk about McGahn, but if I think we brought Donaldson up to the Hill with all of her records, we would be a long way down the road to having the details.  Because she sat in all of those meetings and if Trump doesn`t like notes, he must really hate her.

MELBER:  Professor?

GREER:  Well, I mean listen, what I respect about Mueller and his team is that there were hardly any leaks during this process.  And so there are a lot of people who I think not only respected Mueller as their boss, but they actually want to uphold the tenants of the Constitution.

I think that there are a lot of people in Washington, D.C. who were either nonpartisan or who were part of the Republican Party who recognized that what is happening under this president and his administration is borderline illegal and just not constitutional in a way that we have seen before.

So as they move forward, if and when Mueller testifies, I do think that we have a long line of other people who actually are interested in upholding the Constitution of the United States.

MELBER:  Right.  And who we know are already outside of DOJ.

GREER:  Yes.

MELBER:  So it`s not at all clear how they would have much of a mechanism to prevent that or you have the spectacle of them showing up to talk and the DOJ gagging them which I think would cut into Barr`s double talk of saying, "Oh, I`m fine with it."

Eric Holder has said this is a pretty serious thing now.  He`s gone further in remarks this week than he had about this thus far.  Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC HOLDER, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL:  I mean you compare what happened to me, it was in connection with the Fast and Furious thing.  We turned over 7,000 documents.  We made people available to testify.

Barr, as you know, and the Trump administration has put a line down and said we`re not going to give you anything.  And we were responsive to Congress.  They were not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GREER:  Well, I mean I think that Eric Holder is in a position to actually speak on these things quite substantively.  I think what worries me is this.  The president is very effective in using the fourth branch of government which is the media.

And there are so many people, especially his base, but even some Republicans and Independents, who wouldn`t necessarily call this a witch hunt, but it does seem like this is a never-ending story and so there are lots of Independents and some well-meaning Republicans who are saying, well, the question was asked and the question was answered, right.

Didn`t the Democrats want the Mueller report and they got it?  And are -- is it sour grapes?  And the way the president is framing it is I`m completely absolved and they keep making up stories about me.  That is actually not what the Mueller report says.

But unfortunately, when you have summaries based on Bill Barr`s interpretation and we know that Bill Barr essentially works directly for the president and not the American Constitution or the citizens of the United States of America, we have a fundamental problem.

But the disconnect with the vast majority of America -- not vast majority, with a significant number of Americans who think that this is a story that should and could go away but it absolutely cannot because, as I said to you a million times before, as George Washington warned us in his farewell address we can never have a president who is influenced by a foreign force.  And we can assume that there is something going on with this particular president and an external force.

MELBER:  Although, didn`t George Washington insist on also running an international hotel company while he was president?  People forget that.

GREER:  People also forget that George Washington also wore the teeth of his enslaved Africans.  Don`t forget that one.

MELBER:  So many things.

GREER:  So many things we`re talking about.

MELBER:  Yes.  We always learn from your area of knowledge of the history.  We are not leaving yet.  What we`re going to do is we`re going to trade a bow tie for a necktie.  Mr. Flannery, we also appreciate you kicking off a Friday night with us.  My thanks to Prosecutor John Flannery

But don`t go anywhere because I`m adding here in New York, Howell Raines, former executive editor for the "New York Times."  Good to have you join me and the professor here.

Thank you, Ari.

MELBER:  I want to bring you in specifically after we go through the law which we did with Mr. Flannery to the point that actually Christina teed up which is the way that the intersection of the law and the communicators and Mr. Barr had at least for a time really spun Washington and the East Coast media on its head about what was in the report.  What do you think of how Mr. Barr is doing that as he now goes out to venture to "Fox News" and makes the case that this is a witch hunt?

HOWELL RAINES, FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES:  Well, I think you have to look at the Trump team.  This is a team of eccentrics in comparison to past administrations.  Attorney General Barr, Secretary Pompeo, John Bolton, they are all people at the edges of what Washington traditionally considers professionalism.

In addition to that, we are in a dangerous position of having two amateurs in diplomacy, the president and Jared Kushner, in charge of Middle East policy when we are about to blunder into a war.  So the -- and I want to pursue Professor Greer`s point about history being our guide in some of these things.

In previous crises, let`s say during Watergate and during the Vietnam War, when the chief executive and the Congress were at loggerheads, the American people had an anchor in the Senate and it was the wise men of the Republican Party, the Howard Bakers, the Does, the Goldwaters, who were our anchor to the windward side.

And they are not there anymore.  There is no functioning Republican establishment.  And that is the missing cog, I think, in the gear of government right now, in addition to the eccentricity of the executive branch.

MELBER:  And eccentricity is quite the word.  And without diminishing the import of that, it has also become clear that the Democrats are not ready to do much about much of this.  Much to the consternation of a lot of people in the country, of the grassroots base which is not necessarily how to resolve constitutional questions, but is politically relevant.  Because the Democrats are the ones claiming this would be politically bad.

I want to play for you Tom Steyer who viewers may remember who`s been on T.V., who`s been on this show, among others.  He`s a major donor to Democrats and he is beating the drum on this right now.  Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  For over two years, this president has broken the law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And nothing happened. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You told us to wait for the Mueller investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And when he showed obstruction of justice --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Nothing happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Now, you tell us to wait for the next election?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Really?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Really?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Really?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You`re doing nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He broke his oath of office.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He`s defying you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He`s laughing at you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And he`s getting away with it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  Steyer`s group Time to Impeach funded that.  Is that an effective message?  Does that sound like something that real people are saying?

RAINES:  All true.  But the great political sage, David Letterman, said on "MORNING JOE" that the American people are tired of this microscopic examination of these issues and want to litigate the issue in the 2020 election.  In my own view --

MELBER:  But to that, isn`t that what the ad says where people say really?  If that were the case, then why were the Democrats hitting the idea that the Mueller report and the Mueller findings were going to resolve all this?  I mean people didn`t get the idea out of nowhere.  They got it from their leaders.

RAINES:  They got it from their leaders, from some of their leaders.  And here is my view of that.  I think the Democratic Party is in a state of inner conflict.

Nancy Pelosi clearly is slow-walking impeachment advocates.  And I think she wants to litigate this in 2020 because she thinks her party can win.  And those polls today that showed that Trump is a 40 percent president or 41 percent president, I think, stiffened her resolve to try to not mire the Democratic Party in a tedious congressional process when they are on the verge of an electoral victory that would solve all the family`s business as it were.

MELBER:  And so with 30 seconds, I give you the final word because what we just heard so expertly laid out by Howell is I think a view that Democrats have relied on and failed on before, which frankly is the idea of wait around and the win is just around the corner rather than fight hard for the win.

GREER:  Right.  I mean again, Democrats losing on defense constantly.  And so I think I trust Nancy Pelosi`s leadership and her long-term vision but there is a sense of urgency.  And I do think that you are -- I agree with you completely, Howell, there is a division within the party because some people want to litigate this to the end and others are saying, you know what, let`s actually talk about issues and big ideas and what the Democratic Party can do in the future and this is on the side.

But that`s how we`ll actually build coalitions and get people to actually get us to that win in 2020.  The reality is both things need to happen simultaneously.

MELBER:  My thanks to Howell Raines.  As always, good to see you.

Christina, you`re coming back a little later on another important topic.  I`m going to turn next to my fact check on Bill Barr and why he sounds so much like "Fox News" lately, including going on "Fox News".

Plus, breaking news of another controversial abortion vote in a different state and a lawmaker talking about a term that well, you`ll hear it when we play it for you.

And later, a police commander`s stunning response to the news about this killing of Eric Garner.

Also, new reporting on Donald Trump`s apparent micro-management of his attempts to get a border wall built right down to the shades of paint.  All that, plus tonight, a Fallback Friday with Karamo Brown and Mike Lupica.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER:  Attorney General Bill Barr has been under steady fire for misleading the public about the Mueller report.  A congressional committee voted to hold him in contempt.

And now, he`s speaking out in his first T.V. interview since then.  Barr deciding to get in front of cameras to make news and notice where he`s choosing to make it, "Fox News".  Barr speaking to Fox`s Bill Hemmer and we should note that while on "Fox", Barr appeared to echo one of the network`s biggest Trump-defending anchors.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, ANCHOR, FOX NEWS:  Using untrue, something that is unverifiable Russian misinformation propaganda, outright lies, paid for by Hillary Clinton.

BARR:  To have opposition research like that, especially one that on its face had a number of clear mistakes.

HANNITY:  As the very basis for a warrant to spy not only on an American citizen but an American citizen working for the Trump campaign.

BARR:  To use that to conduct counter-intelligence against an American political campaign is a strange -- would be a strange development.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  That last line from Barr, flatly inaccurate.  There are no public reports of surveillance of the "political campaign".  There is court- approved surveillance of several individuals.  And ironically, it was team Trump themselves that played down the idea that the people you see here were key to the campaign minimizing the role of unpaid advisers like Papadopoulos and Page.

And on the law, judges found ties worth surveilling here.  As you can see, three of the surveilled advisers ended up pleading guilty.  On the wider context, for these new remarks from Barr which are newsworthy are really his embrace in rhetoric and also in related actions of these DOJ reviews to investigate the Mueller investigators.  Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARR:  First step is find out exactly what happened.  I have been trying to get answers to questions and I found that a lot of the answers have been inadequate.

And I have also found that some of the explanations I have gotten don`t hang together.  So in a sense, I have more questions today than I did when I first start.

We should be worried about whether government officials abuse their power and put their thumb on the scale.  And so I`m not saying that happened but I`m saying that we have to look at that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  Barr is echoing Trump there questioning if the FBI has its thumb on the scale.  Of course, it was Trump`s own appointee who tapped Mueller and oversaw him and recently vouched for the whole probe.

And what Barr knows as a veteran prosecutor is the FBI and DOJ, they don`t make the call about surveillance anyway.  Prosecutors don`t decide whether or not to issue a warrant.  Judges do.

Independent judges OK`d all the surveillance that you hear Barr talking about now.  And again, if you want to get into it, if defendants want to challenge that, they have a venue to do so in court.  It won`t be in a private review overseen by Mr. Barr.

And this is basic stuff which means even the FBI director handpicked by Trump after the Comey firing was duty bound to rebut Barr`s spying claim.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH):  Do you believe that they are engaging in spying when they are following FBI investigative policies and procedures?

BARR:  Well, that`s not the term I would use.

SHAHEEN:  Do you have any evidence that any illegal surveillance into the campaigns or individuals associated with the campaigns by the FBI occurred?

BARR:  I don`t think I personally have any evidence of that sort.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  There is another big claim from Barr here, that he`s fine with Trump using that witch hunt term to also describe Mueller`s probe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BARR:  If you were the president, I think you would view it as a witch hunt and a hoax.  He`s been hammered for something -- for allegedly conspiring with Russians.  And that -- we now know, that was simply false.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  Now, a witch hunt would be an improper investigation, hunting for witches.  The fact that it was a valid investigation and didn`t end in every single thing that was investigated being charged if anything shows how fair it was.

So you could probe anything.  Probe X.  The fact that at the end of the probe, you don`t charge someone for X obviously doesn`t mean the probe was pointless, let alone a witch hunt.

Barr is the attorney general.  He knows that.  So without a conspiracy charge, you still have a lawful investigation, not a witch hunt.  And there are also these other questions about obstruction, of course, with 700 plus federal prosecutors saying that what`s in the Mueller report looks to them like a crime committed by the president.  There`s just a rule you don`t charge him.

Then take a look at Barr trying to justify something that just about everyone knows is bad because the Trump people tried to stop it from happening.  But here`s Trump`s new attorney general saying maybe there were good reasons for the attempts to fire Bob Mueller.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARR:  Elsewhere, the report does say that McGahn was told by Trump to talk to Rosenstein to complain about conflicts of interest that Mueller had and have Mueller removed for conflicts of interest.  And there is a difference.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  There you have Barr trying to say this was all about conflicts of interest as if there was no attempt to fire Mueller.  Now, this is important because he`s not Trump`s defense lawyer.  He`s the attorney general.

The Mueller report shows McGahn called his own lawyer because he thought it was so improper that Trump was asking him to fire Mueller.  Let me read that to you if you want to remember it for yourself.

McGahn decided he had to resign.  He called his personal lawyer.  He called his chief of staff informing her of his decision.  He wasn`t going to resign because he was asked to do a conflict check.

He was resigning, as he said because he thought Trump was asking him to help commit what would be a crime.  And by the way, remember, you can`t indict the president but you can indict other people if any of them helped obstruct justice.

Barr also got some basic facts wrong here about what prosecutors do.  Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Were you surprised that he came back with no recommendation on that obstruction charge?  Did that surprise you?

BARR:  Yes, that surprised me.

How come?

BARR:  The function of a prosecutor is to make a call one way or the other.  We met on March 5 before he delivered the report and he gave an explanation for it.  And it`s pretty much reflected in the report.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  Now, the answer there is actually a little tricky.  That was not Mueller`s role, although prosecutors do traditionally issue a fuller conclusion when they`re dealing with other citizens.

But as everyone has heard by now, Mueller didn`t make that kind of decision about indictment, nor did Ken Starr by the way or Jaworski who investigated Nixon.  None of them ever said, oh, we`re deciding on indictment.

They, as we all know, issued material, information, indictments of other non-presidents and then left it up to Congress, not the DOJ, not Mr. Barr to decide what, if anything, to do about it.  So it`s telling to have Mr. Barr doubling down on these claims, some of which are flatly false.  Others which just feel like cherry picking certain things to help back up Donald Trump`s view no matter what.

That`s not how the system is supposed to work.  And the bottom line tonight is you have an attorney general who`s been accused by many, including even earlier on the show of acting like Donald Trump`s personal criminal defense lawyer, not like the attorney general.

Now, he sounds like Donald Trump`s personal criminal defense lawyer when he chooses to go where?  To "Fox News" to question the FBI, to say that his own colleagues were engaged in a witch hunt, to question his so-called friend Bob Mueller`s judgment, and now to continue to give voice, to give attention, to give hype to this so-called process of investigating the investigators.

The president used the word treason today when referring to Mr. Barr`s alleged spying talk.  This whole probe although was uncovering pressure from Trump on the DOJ that isn`t supposed to happen in the first place.

And now, the new A.G. comes in and doubles down on all of this saying that to even look into those things which, of course, did result in indictments and a lot of public information and indicting the Russians, that all of that was I guess maybe some sort of witch hunt.

So you have to think about what Barr`s DOJ is doing, what it`s really up to as he says there`s still going to be three more separate reviews of the Mueller probe because his own actions have, I think, a lot of legal experts, even some who used to praise him now asking can the public, can the country, can the government, can the press trust what comes out of Mr. Barr`s Justice Department when this is how he`s acting.

We have a lot more in the program tonight.  Missouri`s strict new abortion law.  Stunning new comments we`re going to show you, as well as what comes next.

A former Trump Org insider discussing the impact of Donald Trump`s appetite for revenge.  It`s an exclusive when we`re back in 30 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER:  Donald Trump`s obsession even when he rolls out a new immigration plan, there`s a report revealing that part of his focus was on micro- managing the design of the border wall.  He said, of course, Mexico would pay for it.  That`s not happening.

He wants tips that are pointed, not round.  He described in graphic terms the potential injuries to people who cross over his plan for that wall and also demanded that it be painted "flat black" to absorb heat so it would potentially be scorching to the touch.

At the same time, Trump is also allegedly preoccupied with how this fence appears.  It`s got to be beautiful.  It`s got to be tall.  And he pushed back against allegedly confused engineers who said some of these requests were just functionally impractical.

Now, my next guest, Barbara Res is a former Trump Org executive who helped build Trump Tower.  She witnessed Trump`s approach to business and his pettiness and his obsession often with style over substance first hand.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARBARA RES, FORMER TRUMP ORGANIZATION EXECUTIVE:  As far as the public spaces were concerned, it was topnotch stuff.  But in the apartments, there was a lot of crap.  The floor was the absolute cheapest wood floor you could get.

It`s funny because I helped write the offering plan that talked about packetry, marketry.  That kind of thing was nonsense.  It was cheap tiles glued down.  The kitchens were garbage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  Garbage.  I`m joined by Barbara Res.  She`s also the author of "All Alone On The 68th Floor" and she`s someone who`s been inside the organization.  And we rely on you for your valuable insights.  Thanks for being back on the show.

RES:  It`s my pleasure.

MELBER:  Garbage, you said in that clip.

RES:  Yes, that`s true.

MELBER:  What do you see in the way that he`s approaching the wall?

RES:  Well, you know, it`s basically similar to the way he approached other things.  He has this notion that he`ll be judged by the appearance of the things that he produces.  That`s his wall so it`s got to be perfect in his mind.

He does think of things like color and quality and stuff like that.  Absolutely.  At the same time, by the way, wants it all for next to nothing. He wants the best that he can get and he wants not to pay for anything.

MELBER:  Where do you think that comes from?  I mean, when you`re building a building, keeping costs low within reason is considered good business.  What you`re describing is a type of fixation on the look, a penny pinching but then he wasn`t penny pinching as we`ve seen in the New York Times as done extensive reporting when he was buying up the plaza for an inflated sum when he was running an airline company into the ground.  So there does seem to be some distinction or contrast there.  What is that?

RES:  Well, first of all, I mean, you know, in terms of penny-pinching with the -- with the plaza and the airline, he`s not a great businessman.  He didn`t do a good job in buying those.  As far as penny-pinching with the finishes, it`s just the opposite.  He can -- he just decrease.  Well, I don`t want to pay for this, and then you know, you somewhere around try to do the best you possibly can.

So it`s not that he`s making the decision of making the relatively inexpensive things happen, he`s directing someone that can theoretically do it.  But when he`s on his own, he doesn`t make good decisions, he doesn`t save money.

MELBER:  Remember the Simpsons?

RES:  Sure.

MELBER:  Sometimes it feels a little bit like a Simpsons episode.  let me read to you -- OK, Donald Trump has become president and it says here that he basically was summoning the head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a serious job, and kept demanding the structure be both physically imposing but also aesthetically pleasing.

I mean, isn`t that ridiculous.  I mean, if it`s supposed to be a scary wall, if that`s the concept, why should it also be so aesthetically pleasing?

RES:  Well, for one thing, he doesn`t -- he doesn`t understand the nuances of one versus the other to be honest with you, at least in my opinion.  And I don`t think that you know, he has this notion that it has to be beautiful because it`s something that he`s creating.  And then, like I said, he doesn`t understand that it can`t -- you know, it can`t be one thing and then another.

And as far as the Army Corps is concerned or any other engineer or architect or any other professional, he doesn`t listen to them.

MELBER:  He doesn`t listen.

RES:  They don`t -- if they don`t agree with him, they don`t know.

MELBER:  And I only got about 20 seconds left, but since you always get to the heart of it, why are people so obsessed with appearance?

RES:  Why is he so obsessed?

MELBER:  Why are people?  He`s not the only one.  There may be more extreme.

RES:  No, that`s -- well, I mean, you know, it`s what came first the chicken or the egg, this is our society.

MELBER:  Well, I`ll tell you what came first, Barbara.

RES:  What?

MELBER:  The chicken because it lays the egg.

RES:  Well, that could be.

MELBER:  Well, Barbara, I trust we`ll be having you back.

RES:  I hope so.

MELBER:  I like to -- I find -- I find it calming talking to you even when we`re talking about difficult things sometimes.

RES:  Yes, thank you.

MELBER:  Barbara Res, our special thanks.  Coming up, we have a lot more in the show including an important story they may have seen on THE BEAT earlier this week.  It was this tragic killing of Eric Garner.  Well, there`s news tonight in what the NYPD was secretly discussing when they learned of his death and I want you to hear it later in the show.

But first, breaking news out of Missouri.  Another extreme abortion ban.  That`s next.

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MELBER:  Today, Missouri state lawmakers passed one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the country banning abortions before many women would even know they`re pregnant.  And like others that we`ve been covering this week, no exceptions for rape or incest.

Now, take a look at a stunning moment out of Missouri today that drew hisses in the legislative chamber.  Republican lawmaker saying this about past rape cases he said he dealt with as a police officer.

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REP. BARRY HOVIS (R-MO):  Let`s just say someone goes out and they have -- they`re raped or they`re sexually assaulted one night after a college party -- because most of my rapes were not the gentleman jumping out of the bushes that nobody ever met.  That was one or two times out of a hundred.  Most of them were date rapes or consensual rapes which were all terrible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  That legislator has since said that he misspoke.  Here`s how some of his Democratic colleagues responded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. RAYCHEL PROUDIE (D-MO):  Let me say this right here and right now.  There is no such thing, no such thing as consensual rape.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  I am joined by Professor Christina Greer who`s been with us tonight.  Thank you for coming back.  When you look at what we`re seeing here, what is important to you about the policy debate over abortion within Roe or attempting to overturn Roe and the wider debate here over what many people see is obviously sexist, misogynistic views in addition and separate from abortion debate.

CHRISTINA GREER, PROFESSOR, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY:  Two things.  One, we need to make sure that we put pressure and keep pressure on state houses to make sure that there`s certain states that we thought were shored up, say like Massachusetts that we really need to actually make sure that this legislation that protects women and their bodies is on the books.

So I implore everyone to go to the National Institute for a reproductive health to get more information about the on-the-ground organizations.  And I also hope that this will really inspire a lot of people not just -- not just men who were allies to the cause but real you know, women who are pro- choice women, who are pro-abortion women to actually run for offices in their local state houses because this is where the action is these days.

MELBER:  There are -- there`s certainly a legitimate and strong pro-life view in the country.  We`ve covered that.  There`s a larger by most polls pro-choice view.  What do you see in quotes like what we just saw of we`re ignorant comes in?  Separate from that which is a split ignorant about pregnancy, ignorant about these choices, ignorance about what that gentleman was mentioning.

GREER:  Right.  Well, this is what happens when you don`t have sex ed in schools.  This is what happens when you don`t want to talk about sort of contraception or anything that actually is like real fundamental.  We`re mammals, right.  This is fundamental to human behavior.

So these are real problems where you have adults who were in positions of power who are consistently giving misinformation, bad information, and sometimes lies to the general public and to their constituent.  And so that is very worrisome.

MELBER:  Professor Greer on several topics tonight, thank you for being a part of THE BEAT tonight.  We appreciate it.  Coming up, the other story that I`ve mentioned that we want to show you, new, a police commander`s reaction to this chokehold killing of Eric Garner that caused gas in the hearing room.  We`re staying on this story.  We`re going to bring it to you new details next.

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MELBER:  A top NYPD commander`s first response to fellow officers killing an unarmed subject was this.  Not a big deal."  That reaction is news tonight because it was just revealed during a disciplinary hearing for the officer who killed Eric Garner.  Comment from the other officer there prompting audible gasp when read aloud in this hearing room.

Officer Daniel Pantaleo killed Garner with what has been deemed an illegal chokehold captured in this disturbing 2014 video of the interaction.  Garner said I can`t breathe 11 times.  Now, his mother responded to this news and an officer said that what you`re looking at right here, these moments before his killing was "no big deal."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GWEN CARR, MOTHER OF ERIC GARNER:  No big deal.  Shame.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Disgusting.

CARR:  No big deal.  Now what -- if one of your loved ones or whether his loved ones was on the ground dead and someone come up to you and say it`s no big deal, how would you feel about it.  I think this officer should be off the force.  He should not be in charge of anybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  The only reason that we`re learning these new details now over four years later is because of this limited disciplinary review.  Now as for criminal charges, neither the feds nor the local D.A. ever filed any against the officer for this.  The D.A. Dan Donovan led a process that resulted in no charges from a grand jury in 2014.  The next year he went on to win a seat in Congress which he just lost in the midterms.

I`m joined now by Rashad Robinson.  He`s Executive Director of Color for Change.  It`s the nation`s largest online racial justice organization and they`ve been working on this case and these issues for a long time.  Thanks for being here.

Thanks for having me.

MELBER:  No big deal, your response.

RASHAD ROBINSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COLOR OF CHANGE:  It outrages us.  It makes us angry, but we also cannot be surprised because at every stage in this process the police have treated this like it was no big deal.  And they were backed up by systems and structures that protect police at every level and do not deliver justice for communities.  And it doesn`t make us safer as a society and it doesn`t give us more confident that we will have due process and protections for everyone in communities.

MELBER:  We`re speaking in New York City.  This is a story though that is familiar to people communities across the country as you`ve worked on.  The mayor of New York is now running for president.  What do you see as his responsibilities here, and he has said and run on trying to change the way NYPD operates.

ROBINSON:  Well, you know, Mayor de Blasio ran on a message of not only ending stop and frisk but holding police accountable, of bringing police and communities together.  And if he can`t fire this officer, if he can`t do that, then I do have real questions about why he`s in Iowa, and why he`s in South Carolina, and why he`s traveling around the country.

What is his message for them about bringing communities together when right here at home we`ve got not just these text messages, we had the video of the illegal chokehold?  We`ve had police officers during this hearing talk about how that chokehold was not taught during training.

So throughout this process, it is exposed time and time again that the police operated outside of their responsibilities.  And what police officers are protected when they are not held to the same standards that teachers or doctors or anyone else on the jobs are held to, then it sends a message that they can treat communities like enemy combatants and they will not suffer any consequences.

MELBER:  I want to ask you about the police officers side of this.  I cover these stories and I take covering the facts seriously.  And I can tell you, I`ve covered closer calls where there`s a tragedy but there`s a lot of arguments on the other side.

Here because of the video and what is clearly overwhelming for us what`s been deemed illegal chokehold, it`s not a close call on the evidence.  This is what the officer`s lawyer was saying this week.  The only reason that he went towards the neck was because Mr. Garner`s morbid obesity and him resisting arrest.  If he didn`t resist arrest, we would not be here today.  Is that a valid statement about in custody death of an unarmed person?

ROBINSON:  It`s not only an effective -- it`s not only a fair and accurate defense, it also doesn`t actually give all the facts.  The fact that matter there was multiple officers.  It was an illegal choke.  There were all sorts of other things that police officers do every single day to de- escalate situations.

We see videos after videos that when the suspect is white, they find ways to de-escalate situations.  That`s what they are also trained to do in these situations and that`s not what happened here.  The other problem that we have is that you talked about it`s -- whether it`s a close call or not.  But we have a system that doesn`t actually allow us to have a call, that doesn`t actually allow --

MELBER:  Right.  There are trials --

ROBINSON:  There are trials, there are systems of due process in justice where we can lay out the facts and actually see what happens.  It`s stacked from the very beginning.  And as a result, as communities continue to raise their voices, as they continue to hold district attorneys accountable like what we`re doing at Color of Change and kick district attorneys out of the office.

As we work to hold mayors and other elected officials accountable, the question will be is what are the new rules that elected officials that want our votes, that want our support are willing to put in place so that communities can both have justice and safety at the same time.

MELBER:  Rashad Robinson who leads Color of Change working on this issue, thank you for coming on THE BEAT.

ROBINSON:  Thanks for having me.

MELBER:  I really appreciate it.  I also want to let viewers know, Eric Garner`s mother Gwen Carr who we just showed in this segment will be a guest on the last word with Lawrence O`Donnell tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

Now, when we come back, we`re going to change things up with a "FALLBACK" that should be a lot of fun.  Mike Lupica and Karamo Brown when we come back.

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MELBER:  And now we have a very special edition of "FALLBACK."  I am joined by Karamo Brown, one of the Fab Five host on Netfix hit show Queer Eye who.  He uses his background in social work and therapy to coach people through life changes.  And his memoir is Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope out now.  Congratulations.

I`m also joined by columnist Mike Lupica, one of the most prominent sports writers in America, a member of the National Sports Media Hall of Fame.  Look at him back in the day.  He`s the author of -- count them up -- 15 New York Times bestsellers.  It`s pretty good.

MIKE LUPICA, COLUMNIST AND AUTHOR:  Purpose, Healing, and Hope.  I cannot believe you stole the title of my next book.

MELBER:  Who needs to fall back?

KARAMO BROWN, T.V. HOST:  Daytime -- daylight savings, definitely, 100 percent.  I`m tired of it.  It`s messing with my sleep.  It`s messing with my mood.  It`s messing with by my behavior.  It was started for one reason, for farmers.  Now we`re still doing it.  We have no point of doing it.  I don`t understand why.  Can we stop it?

LUPICA:  Who came up with this?

BROWN:  Seriously.

LUPICA:  Was there like one patient zero farmer who said, yes let`s have it be dark at 7:00 in the morning in the East.

MELBER:  Well, isn`t this a thing where it was originally a really good idea --

BROWN:  Originally.

MELBER:  But now we don`t need to be outside and now it`s just antiquate.

BROWN:  Yes, it`s antiquated, it`s dumb.  We`re the only country that does it.  It doesn`t make any sense when you go overseas in your like, our time just went back, and they`re like why?  You know, we just look more and more idiotic.

MELBER:  What`s on your list?

LUPICA:  Well, I was -- I was thinking back to the Cohen hearings and one of the most annoying man in America is Congressman Jim Jordan from Ohio.  OK, I`m a regular guy.  Don`t wear a jacket.  OK, we get it.  OK.  But these guys act like they`re the gatekeepers now for the Constitution.

I look at -- when he`s yelling and screaming at that hearing, I always try to spin ahead like a couple of hundred years and think, what will be the Hamilton of 200 years from now.  Does anybody going to want to write a Hamilton about Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows?  No they`re not.

MELBER:  I want to ask you another serious question, Mike, if you`re up for it.

LUPICA:  Sure.

MELBER:  How does it feel to sit next to someone you know, on national television who is just dressed better, looks better, is more put-together?

LUPICA:  When he walked in today, the first thought I had, I swear I was thinking this, do you have a jacket like that in a 40 shot?

MELBER:  You have that thing because I looked at it -- and by the way, let me just say, I associate myself in these comments so I hope you don`t mind me talking about how good you look.

BROWN:  I appreciate it.  Listen, all the comments, all the complements.

LUPICA:  (INAUDIBLE)

MELBER:  I look at this and I think I have -- I have a black jacket, I have black button-ups, I have black frame glasses but it doesn`t look like that if I put them all on together.

BROWN:  Actually, it does.  First of all, you both look really well, all right, so you know --

MELBER:  Look all right.

BROWN:  Yes, you can`t come to me with any of the self-defeating stuff.  You look great, you look great, own it, love it.

LUPICA:  Wait, you started with you look really well.

MELBER:  You look good for you.

LUPICA:  Yes.  Nice -- you know, nice jacket old times.

MELBER:  So is all black, black all black, is that still a good look?

BROWN:  It`s always a good look.  You always bet on black.  Black is the best.

LUPICA:  I could never carry that off in a --

BROWN:  You could.  I`m telling you.  It`s sleek.  It`s called black, black and black.

MELBER:  Wasn`t it -- wasn`t it Shawn Carter who said I might wear black a year straight, I might bring back Versace shades.

BROWN:  Boom.

MELBER:  Boom.

LUPICA:  Well, yes.  I was thinking -- I was thinking more of when I thought about changing my wardrobe, I was thinking more of Pusha T, you know.

BROWN:  I love when you`re making hip hop references.

MELBER:  Let`s hear it.

BROWN: It makes me --

MELBER:  Finish it.  Finish the verse.

LUPICA:  We`re changing the guards, but we`re changing out the frauds.  I would look like a fraud.

MELBER:  Well, I think when you talk about frauds, I`m thinking Nicki Minaj.  How can I be fake if my followers are real?

LUPICA:  No, no, you always get the last word.  I just --

MELBER:  Lawrence gets the "LAST WORD."  I don`t need the last word.  We`re done at 7:00.

LUPICA:  I have one good one.  You know I tried to show up with one good one, but it`s a game of horse.  You end up with the last shot.

MELBER:  I will say this, we love Mike Lupica.

BROWN:  Yes.

MELBER:  He is the guy who comes to the freestyle cipher with pre-written material.  He is that guy.

LUPICA:  Well, it`s prewritten -- well, prewritten because somebody else wrote it.

BROWN:  Listen, don`t feel bad.  You`re better than me.  I couldn`t come over the lyric right now if you paid me.

LUPICA:  Pusha T, come on.

MELBER:  I love Pusha T.  I love Pusha T.   I wanted to reminisce about one of my favorite moments on THE BEAT which happens to involve you.  So let`s cue it up.  Take a look.

BROWN:  What?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I really embrace it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  Hey, I want -- I want to hug like that too.

BROWN:  You`re getting one next time I see you.  Are you kidding me?

MELBER:  And I`m going to hold you to the IOU on the hug.

BROWN:  Anytime.

MELBER:  OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN:  Well, it`s fresh there too.  Are you ready for that hug?

MELBER:  We don`t have enough hugging.

BROWN:  And you`re ready for that hug.

MELBER:  You did not know I was going to play that, did you?

BROWN:  No, I did not know you`re going to play that.

MELBER:  This is my -- this way.  Get close to mike so he`s involved.

BROWN:  Come on.  Come on.

(CROSSTALK)

LUPICA:  Wait, wait, no, wait.

BROWN:  This is ending toxic masculinity right here.

MELBER:  And doesn`t Mike look -- he looks little.

LUPICA:  I just -- I felt like a jockey in the winning circle.

MELBER:  The book is My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope.  Mr. Brown, Mr. Lupica, thanks for coming on THE BEAT.

BROWN:  So glad to be here.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MELBER:  You know, you can`t make it up, but why would you want to.  Let me tell you, we will have on Monday Neal Katyal and the Rev. Al Sharpton.  I wanted to mention that.  But don`t go anywhere right now because while I`m done, "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews is up next.

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