CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: I`m not saying the troll helps but it`s what we do.
All right. Carol, Eugene, Adrian, Matthew, thank you all. I`m up against the clock. That`s all we have for tonight. We`ll be back tomorrow with more MEET THE PRESS DAILY.
"THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER" starts right now. Good evening, Ari. Lots of live action events, man, good stuff.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: And we`re keeping an eye on all of it. Thank you, Chuck Todd.
We have, as mentioned, a ton to get to. We are tracking this town hall. This is the first Republican lawmaker to call for Donald Trump`s impeachment. You`re looking at the questions he gets as he answers, Justin Amash there in Michigan. It will be interesting to see if the questioners ask about some of these topics of the day.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump back in the United States after literally -- it sounds bad but it`s just the news, literally using a dictator`s words to attack a domestic political rival.
We also have new reporting on how Donald Trump`s Twitter habit is actually increasing. You may have heard about that. But also some measures that people are responding less to him.
But we begin with, as mentioned, this picture right here. Something you don`t see every day in American life. A member of the president`s political party, Justin Amash, having his first public appearance since he basically endorsed impeaching or at least holding impeachment hearings for the president and his party.
This is Grand Rapids, Michigan. Today, he tweeted that Barr has so far successfully used his position to sell the president`s false narrative to the American people, this will continue if those who have read the report do not start pushing back on his misrepresentations and share the truth.
Amash is alone among Republicans in Congress at this point, but there are and we`ve been counting now 38 Democrats open to beginning impeachment proceedings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Why do you think you can`t convince a majority of House Democrats that it`s time to impeach him?
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): No, I think it is moving towards that. It`s going to demand it. It already is.
REP. JOHN YARMUTH (D-KY): Impeachment is a political act but I`m one of those who believes that we will inevitably have an impeachment proceeding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Inevitable is a strong word. Activists meanwhile are ramping up pressure on Democrats in Congress. There`s a progressive group with 2.4 million members that is launching a new bid to push Democrats in Congress to begin the impeachment hearings.
This is what Speaker Pelosi has said is not necessary yet. Senate Republicans vowing to quickly quash any impeachment charges were they to receive them. Senator Graham saying it would be quickly disposed of. Republican Senator Cornyn says it would be defeated. Or take a look at Senator Tillis who calls of this a "purely political exercise."
In a moment, I`ll be joined by a former Republican lawmaker who disagrees with his party and is also saying it`s time to address what he calls an illegitimate presidency.
But I begin with "New York Times" Columnist Michelle Goldberg and Sean Eldridge, founder and president of Stand Up America, the group advocating impeachment. Good to have you both here.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: Thank you.
SEAN ELDRIDGE, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, STAND UP AMERICA: Thanks for having me.
MELBER: Why are you doing this?
ELDRIDGE: Look, the president of the United States broke the law, right? If you read the Mueller report, he not only welcomed an attack on our country, on our elections by a hostile foreign power. He then broke the law to obstruct justice and hide the truth about his ties to the Kremlin, his team`s criminal conduct.
And the Mueller report is very clear that it is up to Congress to hold a corrupt president accountable. You may have seen that over 900 former federal prosecutors said that if Donald Trump were not the president of the United States, he would be charged the crime of obstruction of justice.
And I don`t believe that anyone in our country is above the law. So I think it`s time for impeachment proceedings.
MELBER: So you make that case. I think a lot of people listening would say you make it clearly. What does it say about the state of the Democratic Party that it takes you, a former congressional candidate, a self-described activist, but it takes you to lead this charge?
Why is this not coming from the Democrats and their leaders who many of them of have law degrees, many of them study these issues, and they`re not yet where you are apparently?
ELDRIDGE: Well, I think, as you mentioned, we`re seeing a change. We`re seeing more and more members of Congress speak up in support of impeachment proceedings. I think we all need to sort of take a deep breath and take a step back from the day to day political chatter and think about what`s at stake.
I know we`re going to talk about the political consequences of impeachment. And I know there`s a lot of fear around that decision. But at the end of the day, if we don`t act, we`re telling Donald Trump that it is OK to break the law. We are telling future presidents it`s OK to abuse their power.
When I think about impeachment, honestly, I don`t think about Nancy Pelosi. I don`t think about Mitch McConnell. I think about my 1-1/2-year-old son who doesn`t know who Donald Trump is, who`s going to go to school and learn about this man who was our president, who broke the law.
He`s going to learn about the Mueller report. And he`s going to learn about how our country responded. I want my son and future generations to learn that the American people and Congress stood up and said, this is not OK.
MELBER: And before I bring in Michelle, who`s written a lot about this just on the activism you`re pushing, will there be any consequence for Democrats who don`t do what you say is the right thing?
ELDRIDGE: I think that there are huge consequences of inaction. Not just emboldening Donald Trump but I run a progressive organization with over 2 million community members across the country.
These are the folks who knocked on doors, who made phone calls, who volunteered, who donated to get this Congress elected last year. And there`s a lot of fear and concern about how Donald Trump`s base is going to respond to an impeachment inquiry.
I think that we should also be concerned about how progressives want these elected officials to do their job. They don`t want to elect people who are going to govern by fear. They want people who are going to govern by principles and protect the rule of law.
GOLDBERG: Yes. I mean to me, kind of one of the biggest problems with impeachment -- with the refusal to impeach, one of the dangers in Democrats refusing to impeach is that it`s so disingenuous and everybody can see it`s disingenuous.
It is so obviously driven by fear of backlash, right. Nobody out there I think believes that the majority of the Democrats in Congress actually don`t believe that Trump merits impeachment or that he`s committed crimes or impeachable offenses, right. They kind of know that it`s a purely political -- there`s actually nothing more purely political than the refusal to impeach.
MELBER: You`re arguing that the members of Congress who are holding back are full of it?
GOLDBERG: I think that -- well, look, I think that worrying about emboldening Donald Trump is a legitimate thing to worry about. And so I think that they are kind of concerned about the future of this country just like everyone else is. But I think that their calculation is sort of transparently political.
MELBER: Right. So it`s almost like we`re sitting here at a table in New York and you almost feel like, that`s interesting, what if we had a sitting member of Congress right here respond to you?
GOLDBERG: Well, so I was -- I went to a conference --
MELBER: We do.
GOLDBERG: Oh, OK. Well look, let me ask --
MELBER: I`m breaking the fourth wall because he`s been patiently waiting. And I want to introduce you, for further response to Michelle. This is former Congressman Steve Israel from New York. He is now director of the Cornell University Institute of Politics and Global Affairs. And basically knows a lot about what your caucus is up to.
I want to give Michelle the chance to finish. But I`m bringing you in earlier than planned because it`s very important, what you`re saying. What would you say to the Democratic Caucus here when you say that it`s transparently political?
GOLDBERG: Just want to have the chance to, right. So I was asking -- I asked Congressman Hakeem Jeffries this last week. You know, he`s one of Nancy Pelosi`s kind of chief lieutenant.
And I said you know, how do you tell the American people that Trump is illegitimate, that he has clearly committed crimes and impeachable offenses, that he`s obviously obstructed justice, but that you`re not going to impeach him, that the time is not yet right? How do you think that people respond to that or make sense of that?
And he kind of -- what he said to me was basically, you know, we didn`t campaign in 2018 on impeachment, we didn`t campaign on obstruction of justice. We campaigned on lowering prescription drug prices, which to me that may be true.
Although, I actually think that one reason all those women turned out in 2018 was because -- less because of this kind of "kitchen table issues" and more because of the existential threat of this presidency. But again, he`s basically saying that this isn`t a politically viable course of action. Not that it`s not warranted.
STEVE ISRAEL, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Well, look, let`s fast forward. Politics is about standing up on principle. But you can`t be effective on principle if you lose elections.
So let`s fast forward. Let`s say that the Democratic Caucus agrees they`re going to impeach Donald Trump. And let`s say that they go through this impeachment process.
We know one thing that is clear, we can disagree on the political fallout but we do know that the Republican Senate will not remove Donald Trump from office, which in my view gives him license to triple down on how he acted on the Mueller report.
Remember the Mueller report? All he did is just said, "I`ve been exonerated, no collusion, no obstruction, I did nothing." Imagine how -- what Donald Trump will do if he is acquitted in impeachment. I think what he does is he goes into Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and states that Democrats need to steal away from him, say I was innocent, they divided this country, re-elect me. I --
MELBER: So your stance is that, to Michelle`s point, a political rationale?
ISRAEL: Yes, it is. There are to political battlegrounds --
MELBER: We appreciate your honesty.
ISRAEL: Two political backgrounds --
MELBER: Wait. But how do you go there and say, as someone who served in this Congress, and you know Speaker Pelosi, and I believe you hold her in high regard.
ISRAEL: Yes, I do.
MELBER: How do you say you take an oath to uphold the constitution and then you have a political exception to it?
ISRAEL: We should let the facts go where they may, which is why you have these multiple investigations. And if, in fact, these investigations reveal that there is, number one, impeachable conduct and number two, a consensus, it doesn`t have to be a majority of Republican senators, but maybe there will be several more than Justin Amash by himself.
If there is that consensus, then maybe impeachment is an option. I just warn -- to Sean`s point about his 1 1/2-year-old baby, look, I don`t want to set the precedent. I get the precedent, Sean. But what I worry about is I don`t want your 1 1/2 child to have four more years of Donald Trump which I believe --
GOLDBERG: But --
ISRAEL: Let me finish. Let me finish. Not only four more years of Donald Trump but a Republican rubber stamp majority in the House and the Senate. That gives us a very different country.
MELBER: Do you want to tell us -- and you don`t have to. Do you want to tell us your child`s name?
ELDRIDGE: His name is David.
MELBER: So we can talk about David. We don`t have to keep saying, 1 1/2- year-old child. But -- and I don`t want David to be just a side note in a news debate. I don`t want that for David. It`s a joke.
ELDRIDGE: I think that we -- there are a lot of assumptions. There`s a lot of people saying we know how an impeachment inquiry is going to impact the 2020 election but the answer is --
MELBER: I`m going to moderate this carefully. Respond to exactly what the Congressman said. Wait, wait, wait. The congressman makes a specific assumption, that many viewers I think would understand. That`s why it`s a hard debate.
Even if you are concerned about what`s in the Mueller report, the congressman says the Senate would acquit. Do you disagree with that?
ELDRIDGE: So I think there are two important points here. One, we need to set a historical marker down and say this behavior is not acceptable.
MELBER: Even if you grant his point and they would acquit, you still believe that?
ELDRIDGE: Yes. And I don`t know why we`re so afraid of an election in which we might have one party says that no one in the United States of America is above the law, and the other party says, actually, we believe in cronyism, we believe in corruption, we think the president is above the law.
I`m not afraid of that debate. Of course, we have to talk about health care. Of course, we have to talk about working wages and growing our economy but let`s not be afraid of the debate --
MELBER: Michelle, then the congressman.
GOLDBERG: OK. So I would say I also have small children but who are old enough to know who Donald Trump is and who are genuinely scared of him and it breaks my heart that he`s their image of what was a president is. There`s nothing that fills me with greater horror than the idea of re- electing Donald Trump.
But I just don`t understand why people are so sure that having months-long, dramatic congressional -- that having months of dramatic congressional testimony and hearings, then you`re going to have this kind of show trial in the Senate that they`re going to dispose of very quickly.
I understand that they`re not going to remove him but I don`t understand why anybody thinks these months of televised, dramatic hearings where the country is going to be riveted is going to help Donald Trump.
And as it is now, he`s completely emboldened by the refusal to impeach. So imagine if we don`t impeach and then he`s re-elected. And then kind of Democrats have to face the humiliation of their own cowardice.
ISRAEL: We should ask the 40 Democratic members of a House Democratic majority what they think. Because they`re the ones who are doing the town hall meetings. They`re the ones doing the Supermarket Saturdays.
And I talk to them frequently. You know what they tell me? In those 40 districts which were flipped from Republicans, their constituents aren`t talking about impeachment.
They`re talking about Medicare. They`re talking about prescription drug prices. They`re talking about Trump`s behavior.
If in those districts, if the narrative is dominated by impeachment, you lose the majority, I believe. And one more point, in terms of the presidential election, look, this is a quintile election. Thirty-five percent of the electorate locked in for him, 45 percent locked in against him. This is going to be the 20 percent that haven`t made a judgment.
MELBER: You`re saying some of what matters is what your colleagues -- and again, you did this job and you`re in this caucus. You know these people.
You`re saying it`s what they`re hearing at the town halls. I`m being told my producer, we told folks at the top of the broadcast, we would bring anything interesting out of the Justin Amash town hall which is happening right now and we have it.
This is, of course, a Republican congressman, although considered sometimes libertarian and critical of his party. here he was discussing these very issues just now. New sound and listen to the response he got.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JUSTIN AMASH: I think it`s really important that we do our job as a Congress, that we not allow misconduct to go undeterred. That we not just say someone can violate the public trust and that there are no consequences to it.
We can`t let conduct like that go unchecked. Congress has a duty to keep the president in check.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: You`ve been listening to brand new sound from Republican Justin Amash, the only member of the Caucus to openly support impeachment hearings for President Trump. My panel stays and I want to bring in, as we advance the conversation, another former congressman, Republican Tom Coleman, who just wrote a piece saying that Donald Trump and Pence are effectively illegitimate and should be impeached.
Good evening, thanks for coming on THE BEAT.
REP. TOM COLEMAN, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Hi, Ari. Thank you. It was entertaining to listen to your guests there. I almost felt like they needed a referee.
MELBER: A referee. Well, maybe they had enough time to talk and I was only refereeing part of it. They`re still here as is your former colleague here. What drew you to reach this conclusion and what response, if any, do you have to what we heard from Congressman Amash and the panel you`ve been listening to?
COLEMAN: Well, I would have to associate myself with Sean and Michelle`s comments. I think they`re spot on. In fact, they would be the same comments that I would make.
If you condone wrongdoing, which is what Donald Trump is all about, then you`re going to encourage it. And if you encourage it, you`re going to lose the rule of law and possibly risk our democracy. I don`t have a 1- 1/2-year-old but I have three granddaughters and that`s good enough for me.
MELBER: I mean David is the -- David Eldridge or David?
ELDRIDGE: David Eldridge.
MELBER: David Eldridge is definitely the extra booking we didn`t know we had tonight. But congressman, you`re speaking about the generations that follow us, which is what was brought up.
MELBER: You are known to many who follow Congress as -- I think it`s fair to say extremely conservative, fair?
COLEMAN: No. I would consider myself a middle of the roader. I had a Democratic district that as a Republican I had to, you know, get re-elected in.
MELBER: What was your NRA rating?
COLEMAN: I couldn`t have been too conservative --
MELBER: What was your NRA rating?
COLEMAN: The NRA ended up defeating me because I voted for the Brady Bill.
MELBER: But didn`t you have a good rating?
COLEMAN: No, absolutely not.
MELBER: No? OK. Well, look --
COLEMAN: I had an F rating.
MELBER: You had an F?
COLEMAN: I think so. It was D or F because they spent in today`s dollars probably half a million dollars against me in `92 to defeat me. So I`m no friend of the NRA.
MELBER: We`ll follow the evidence and credit you for all of that. So not assuming conservative. You describe yourself as a constitutional centrist? You tell me.
COLEMAN: Yes, a centrist. I was not a bomb-thrower. I was not of the Gingrich group.
I got things done because I worked with Democrats. So compromise is not a dirty word to me. But I really think and I`m so glad to hear the discussion here today, about the reasons why we should go forward on impeachment.
And I don`t need -- think you need to put out a big bulletin board and say impeachment`s beginning. Have these hearings. Have -- Mr. Mueller has to come up. He has to have a complete testimony in public.
He may not want to do it, he may not like doing it, but I do believe he owes it to the country and future generations to put a face on this report and answer questions from the members of Congress. You know, it`s 430 pages and nobody`s going to go through it, unless you`re in Congress or perhaps in the news media, all of it.
But there`s enough in there for impeachment. It`s an abuse of power. It`s the obstruction of justice. It`s the collusion. You know, he says there`s collusion in there, it`s coordination, cooperation.
When your campaign manager sits down with a Russian intelligence asset in New York and gives them the polling of your campaign and a strategic document on how to win the Midwest states, and that`s exactly what they do, you`ve got some collusion going on and it`s wrong.
And Congress needs to step in and have these hearings. And if it becomes evident that he should be impeached, then pursue that.
ELDRIDGE: Well, I think he raises an extremely important point, which is most Americans have not read the Mueller report. I don`t think most members of Congress have read the Mueller report.
That`s part of why these impeachment hearings are so important. We need to air the evidence for the American people. They need to hear for their own -- see with their own eyes and hear themselves, Trump`s criminal conduct.
The reality is if anyone else in our country did what Donald Trump did, they`d be heading to jail, they`d be indicted. And so we need to lay out that criminal conduct for the American people.
GOLDBERG: Yes. I mean I think that the point of impeachment hearings is not that we think we`re going to remove Donald Trump before the 2020 election. The point of impeachment is to have these hearings, to have this kind of systematic laying out of the evidence, not just of his obstruction. And I agree, collusion, with regards to Russia and the cover-up with the Mueller probe.
But emoluments, abuse of power, all sorts of -- there`s the corruption that we all talk about kind of how to talk about, because it`s so sprawling that it`s difficult for even people who follow it full time to get your head around, right? You need to have months of that being laid out systematically for the American people --
MELBER: I got to get Congressman Israel in because it has been three-on- one. Your closing argument?
ISRAEL: And I lived to tell the tale. Look, Adam Schiff, Elijah Cummings, Jerry Nadler, other members of Congress doing these investigations. I think I agree with my former colleague. You don`t need to put impeachment on the table. That doesn`t mean suspending these investigations.
Investigate, subpoena, do your due diligence, exercise your constitutional oversight responsibilities. And if facts emerge that lead to impeachable offenses or at least allegations that are credible, and there`s political consensus, go for it.
MELBER: Congressman Coleman, bring us home, sir.
COLEMAN: OK. I think we should not sell the American people short. If there are going to be T.V. hearings, and there will be T.V. hearings, you can remember what Watergate was like.
It was every day, it was a new drop, a new drop, a new drop. It ended up that the Republicans, who were all against all of that, went down to the White House and told Richard Nixon he had to go. Thirty of those Republicans in the Senate are up next year for re-election.
If you got only 20 out of the 50-some that we`ve got right now over there, you`ve got two-thirds to impeach. I don`t think you need to give that up because it`s going to be powerful when Robert Mueller gets up there and tells the truth about this president.
MELBER: Congressman Coleman, thank you for joining us and I`m glad you corrected me on what I mischaracterized on your record. Always open to corrections.
Congressman Israel, thank you for being here. Michelle Goldberg and Sean Eldridge, leading this fight, a fascinating conversation. And again, please send our best to David.
Coming up, Donald Trump praising a foreign dictator and invoking his words to attack Joe Biden, what?
Also, new reporting on a major change in Trump`s Twitter habits that could be a sign he`s getting less bang for his buck there.
And my special report on Donald Trump and the language of the Oval Office. All that and a surprise guest tonight. I`m Ari Melber. You`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.
MELBER: Many Americans traveled over the holiday weekend and the president is one of them. He`s already back home after his trip to Japan where he ended up praising a dictator`s insults about Vice President Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Does it give you pause at all to be appearing to side with a brutal dictator instead of with a fellow American, the former Vice President, Joe Biden?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, Kim Jong-Un made a statement that Joe Biden is a low-IQ individual. He probably is based on his record. I think I agree with him on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Republicans outraged as well as many other people. Take this former advisor to Romney who said, "Can you imagine Bill Clinton saying he and Saddam Hussein are in agreement in their shared criticism of George Bush?" This is the latest and, of course, the record of all kinds of support, rhetorical and otherwise, for strongmen and dictators.
Take a look at trump siding with Kim Jong-Un and against his own national security advisers over whether North Korea has actually broken U.N. security resolutions which is a much more significant version of perhaps the same tendency. The whole issue is over these new missile tests.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: My people think it could have been a violation, as you know. I view it differently. I view it as a man, perhaps he wants to get attention. And perhaps not, who knows.
He knows that with nuclear, it`s never going to happen. Only bad can happen. He understands that. He is a very smart man. He gets it well.
REPORTER: You`re not bothered at all by the small missiles?
TRUMP: No, I`m not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Bill Kristol, a conservative writer, former Republican White House aide, and director of the group Defending Democracy Together. Do you diagnose this as a strongman thing or a cheap shot, a Democrats thing or something else?
BILL KRISTOL, DIRECTOR, DEFENDING DEMOCRACY TOGETHER: I think both. And also a failure to any sense of what it means to be president of the United States.
I mean, a long time ago, I was Vice President Quayle`s chief of staff, we made many foreign trips. There`s something about standing up there in a foreign country with the American flag behind you and the flag of a host country with a foreign leader next to you.
And every president and vice president I`ve watched, and I believe this is really true about how they think about it, feels a little different then. You don`t feel -- you sort of put aside the domestic squabbles, you try to speak for the country, you speak for the whole country, not just for your supporters. You don`t attack the most recent vice president of the country.
Maybe, maybe you differ on some issue if you have to in a polite way to make clear to your host and to the world that some policy has changed. That`s obviously -- that does happen. But I mean the fact that Trump has no inner sense of the inappropriateness of what he did, it reminds one that he hasn`t grown at all in office, he`s gotten worse.
I do think this is another reason why people, my Republican friends who have justified, rationalized, acquiesced on Trump, it`s going to be OK, he kind of figuring it out. He`s getting worse, he`s not getting better.
MELBER: Well, that`s your view and then the consequences, of course, are not just the language. In other words, he could have said this about any given person and it might have been a cheap shot.
But it goes also to the policies that he`s endorsing on the fly with the countries and the leaders that he cozies up to. And for that, Bill, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have President Putin. He just said it`s not Russia.
I will say this. I don`t see any reason why it would be. President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, FOX NEWS: Question. Did NBS lie to you, sir?
TRUMP: I don`t -- I don`t know. You know, who can really know? But we do have an ally and I want to stick with an ally that in many ways has been very good.
And then we fell in love, OK? No, really. He wrote me beautiful letters. And they`re great letters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Do you think he gets tricked by these authoritarians?
KRISTOL: No, I think he likes authoritarians. I mean he couldn`t care less that they have American blood on their hands.
They don`t think of the blood of their own citizens. And really, you just feel physically sick watching that, honestly.
Again, American presidents have made all kinds of mistakes and some of them have said too nice things about dictators. I mean there are many, many -- no president`s been perfect in this way. But this -- putting together those quotes really tells you we`re in a totally different place than from any other president, I think.
MELBER: Yes. Our producer researchers pulled those quotes because again, it`s not just words as you`ve been arguing. It goes to national security policy at a time when we don`t even think publicly, to our knowledge, that we have, a code red type test yet.
Bill, I want you to stay with me because we`re going to do a couple of special things. So Bill sticks around.
Later in the show, we talk about why Trump`s biggest digital political weapon might be failing and why that matters.
Also, I have a very special guest when we come back for more on all of this in just 30 seconds.
MELBER: We`re back as promised with Bill Kristol and joined by Anthony Scaramucci who did a stint as a White House Communications Director and is a very vocal defender of the president. Good to see you both.
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: It`s good to be here. Bill`s still negative on the president, catching a little bit of that.
MELBER: Well, one of the things we try to do is have substantive discussions on this show. We did that with two sides of an issue at the top of this show. We`re going to do it right now.
So I want you both, as I know you will, to lead with the evidence. Anthony, you just heard Bill Kristol lay out what I think to a lot of viewers is a very persuasive case. Bill added that he was personally -- physically nauseous by the President`s conduct. You could disagree with that.
But what he laid out and what we showed was a pattern of cozying up to authoritarians, to strongmen, to dictators in a way that Bill argues is contrary to the national security interest to say nothing of what a cheap shot it was at Biden on foreign soil which is the kind of thing that as you know, your party used to make a big deal out of. So I give you your time to respond.
SCARAMUCCI: OK, well, you guys would probably be surprised with this. A lot of what Bill said related to the Joe Biden stuff I actually agree with. I guess the issue that I have and I want to ask Bill and you this question, I think the President feels like he`s under siege and I think he feels like a lot of the attacks on him particularly the propagation of the Mueller report, now the move for the impeachment process and all that other stuff has painted him into a corner which is why he is reacting the way he`s reacting.
MELBER: And just to get you -- just to get you on the record, and then I`ll take your point to Bill. What was wrong with what he said about Biden on foreign soil?
SCARAMUCCI: Well, I don`t -- I don`t anybody that`s been studying the foreign policy of the United States or has been studying the presidency over the -- let`s say since the end of the Second World War thinks it`s a good idea for any president to go on the attack of a fellow American that served the country the way the President did.
OK, so the President will agree with me on that, but I think that`s bad news. And then secondarily, the North Korean dictator has not yet complied with some of the agreements that he was talking to President Trump about and so then to decide with him because he called the Vice President Biden low I.Q., it`s not helping the President.
MELBER: You think that`s not positive. But you`re --
SCARAMUCCI: If I`m a supporter -- if I`m a supporter of the President, I would say to the president, that`s not helping you, sir. You got 36 percent of the people. They`re going to stay with you. You need 15 to 18 percent of the people to win, and you don`t want people disinfecting from you over style.
MELBER: Anthony, you talk like he`s almost watching.
SCARAMUCCI: He might be watching. He has a tendency to record a lot of shows.
MELBER: And then what are you`re saying to Bill is that having conceded some of that ground, you`re saying that you still think there`s an unfair pursuit of him post Mueller report?
SCARAMUCCI: There was obviously a you know, Obviously, an intellectual and he`s very thoughtful about -- some of these weren`t very well read. So I`m asking Bill to put himself in the president`s shoes or be for a second the president, one of the president`s advisors. Can he understand at times where the president is coming from as a result of the onslaught that he`s taken for the last 27 or 28 months?
BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR AT LARGE, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I don`t know. I`m not -- the President said things about John McCain and many, many other things that were pretty indefensible long before Bob Mueller -- he`d ever heard of Bob Mueller. But I take you know, Anthony knows him so I take your word that maybe he`s wounded and lashing out a little. His advisors should tell him not.
I respect Anthony Scaramucci for saying what he just said. I wish some Republican elected officials who were elected by their constituents to serve the United States had as much courage as Mr. Scaramucci who`s a friend of the President and who has no stake in saying what he just said but I think just said -- but said when he believes.
MELBER: What about --
KRISTOL: Isn`t that amazing, actual Republican senators and congressmen are less forthright and criticizing the president than Anthony Scaramucci.
SCARAMUCCI: Well, I`m not really trying to be critical as much as I`m trying to be constructive.
KRISTON: You`re just honest.
SCARAMUCCI: I`m just saying there`s no value to that. And so what I don`t like also about the whole Trump support thing is that it`s become very binary. I don`t think it needs to be that binary.
MELBER: It doesn`t have to be as binary. Let me get you --
SCARAMUCCI: You`re all in the tank or then, therefore, you`re against him.
MELBER: Sure. So Anthony and Bill, let me --
SCARAMUCCI: I`m for him but I want to do better.
MELBER: -- let me get you both -- let me get you both on something else. You talk about the learning curve. I mean, Donald Trump either is so ignorant of how the Constitution works that he thinks he can bully the Congress out of its investigative role or he knows it`s bad which would be worse and he`s just trying to extort them.
But rather than playing, I`ll just read to you when he said. We`re going to do the same thing. We`re going to grind the government to a halt. We`re not going to govern, Anthony, if they don`t cease the investigations. Isn`t that a misunderstanding of our Constitution?
SCARAMUCCI: No, well, that`s his playbook. I mean, that`s been his consistent playbook for 40 years. Somebody that`s attacking him, he`s going to punch back seven times and so he views this going on with the Congress as an attack. He feels like the Mueller report -- and again we can debate the Mueller report, but at the end of the day there`s nothing that I can see and Bill can disagree me on this, but there`s nothing prosecutable. I read all 448 pages of report.
Some of it smells bad, some of doesn`t make the president look good, I`m not here to be an apologist for the president but I`m here --
MELBER: But you saw -- Mueller`s view is that Donald I`ve tried to obstruct the probe. That`s bad. You can disagree, but that`s what Mueller --
SCARAMUCCI: I understand that, but if you looked at the comments section in the report, a lot of what he was doing was a result of his personality in terms of wearing everything on his sleeve and less so related to criminal intent or what`s known as --
MELBER: Would you say -- would you say, Anthony, he has an obstructive personality?
SCARAMUCCI: I would say that he has a protective and a defensive personality. And I think -- I think at the end of the day -- I mean, William Barr up until a couple of weeks ago was a very well-respected guy in Washington, 45 years in Washington.
Rod Rosenstein who I went to law school with was literally in my section. We know each other for 33 years.
MELBER: Was he a gunner? Was he a gunner? I bet he was a gunner.
SCARAMUCCI: Well, let me tell you something about him, OK. He`s a by-the- book sort of a guy. He`s like a Boy Scout. So to me --
MELBER: Not a bad thing. It just -- I know that you`re like you raised your hand a lot. You want to get in?
SCARAMUCCI: I didn`t, actually. I was hiding in the back, actually. I was smart enough to know that I wasn`t the smartest so I was hiding in the back.
MELBER: You were hiding in the back of the Harvard law class?
SCARAMUCCI: I was, actually. You could ask anyone.
MELBER: We`re out of time. You know, I find that hard to believe.
SCARAMUCCI: I can`t believe I`m running out of time. The point I`m making is those two guys made a summary conclusion. A lot of people disagree with the politics. But at the end of the day, OK, the President is like OK, that`s over, 26 months later, let`s move on and let`s govern so that`s where the frustration.
MELBER: Right. And that -- and you bring that perspective. And Bill, I got to cut it off here. You`ve got more time in the earlier segment. Again, I appreciate both you have in the debate, and Anthony make it some of the points that Bill was giving you credit for. How about that, gentleman?
SCARAMUCCI: I just want to be honest. I think it`s important at this point we got a call like it is.
MELBER: And again, not to make light, but Bill did you know Anthony was hiding to avoid being seen while at Harvard Law?
KRISTOL: I`ve always thought that with his character. A kind of shrinking --
MELBER: You take --
SCARAMUCCI: I broke out of my shell after I met you, Kristol. A couple of the basic that we`ve done on the live stage.
MELBER: You know, you take the -- what is that word? Risible, I believe. You take the risible surprises where you can. Scaramucci, Kristol, thanks to both of you. We have a lot more in the show, believe it or not. Donald Trump`s biggest weapon finding diminishing returns. We`ll explain. And later, my breakdown of Donald Trump`s profanity. Does it matter and does it expose some hypocrisy when we come back?
MELBER: President Trump has broken many negative records. He has the most false statements and lies by a sitting president the highest vacancy and turnover rates for several key departments. And now, he`s actually breaking some new rhetorical ground. He swears in public more than any other president. The New York Times even dubbing him The Profanity President.
As a long time performer and self-self-appointed kind of improvisational shock-jock, Donald Trump has a keen sense of where the line is even when he crosses it. For example, as we get into some of these swearing controversies, consider this. He leans more on light cuss words like crap, and hell, and damn, while then sprinkling in the kind that we literally have to bleep out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You people don`t care who the hell they are. I fired his ass so fast. It`s (BLEEP), OK. It`s (BLEEP). This is the a worst damn stage I`ve ever seen. You bring your whole damn family wherever the hell you are, I love you. They make the crap right there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Now, this is unusual for a sitting president, but Donald Trump has long cast himself of course as an outsider in business in media and he was swearing long before he got into politics as well as on the campaign trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Get that son of (BLEEP) of the field right now.
She said he`s a (BLEEP).
We`ll beat the (BLEEP) out of them. Let them beat the (BLEEP) out of ISIS also. If he gets the nomination, they`re going to sue his ass off.
Whoever the hell brought this mic system, (BLEEP) the son of (BLEEP) who put it in. You shouldn`t pay the best, sir.
I would bomb the (BLEEP) out of him.
You bet your ass I`d approve it. You bet your ass.
I don`t give a damn. You can tell them to go themselves.
It`s political (BLEEP). Our country is going to hell. It`s going to hell.
Good seeing you (BLEEP).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: This is real stuff and you could say he does it to get attention, we`re here dealing with it, but it also shows you part of the way that Donald Trump appeals to his supporters and how he`s positioning himself.
Now a couple quick points. Number one, fewer claiming let`s get this out of the way, that language choice is the top list of issues for a America or a president, obviously. And also note the past presidents famously repeatedly swore in private from Lincoln to LBJ, dirty words are nothing new as a Rolling Stone report on that whole issue has noted.
But there are also some receipts here that do matter. Number one, many current Trump supporters used to protest exactly the kind of language you just saw from the president they now loyally support. One example would be of course in the religious side and it may be genuinely felt, take Evangelical leader Billy Graham.
When he learned about his favorite President Nixon swearing in private, he said this. He was hurt by President Nixon and the things he said when the Watergate tapes came out. He`d never heard President Nixon cuss, used profanity. So that was a shock to him and he felt a little bit betrayed by that.
Let me repeat -- let me repeat that, a little bit betrayed, betrayed by the fact that Nixon privately used that language. My point here is not to referee whether that was the right reaction or not, but there`s hypocrisy for any such religious leaders who won`t even mention Donald Trump doing this in public.
And you may remember how leaders in the Republican Party and I should note some Democrats we`re leading very high-profile efforts in the 90s to crack down on obscene language in music and film. That`s why we have those parental advisory labels and a lot of other stuff.
Now let`s get into what Trump is doing here. This has become so common people analyze it. There`s even a thing called a swearing expert Melissa Moore who was an author to wrote a book about this and she analyzes it as part Donald Trump`s careful image making, that it`s all strategic because he creates an impression by swearing that he`s saying what he thinks and "telling it like it is."
Now, other presidents have used this type of language behind the scenes. George W. Bush was once overheard at a campaign event in 2000 calling a reporter, get this. This was a scandal at the time. Calling a reporter a "major-league a-hole." Or President Obama, he was known in private to sometimes use profanities. And the public may not have known about this much until he admitted it actually himself in a 2015 Jerry Seinfeld interview. This was near the end of his presidency.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JERRY SEINFELD, COMEDIAN: Does it help with your stress level? Because I`m going to say it helps much. This son of a bitch.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I curse. I curse. I say --
SEINFELD: This rat bastard comes in here -- and it really blows off steam right?
OBAMA: Yes, bad stuff or stupid stuff is happening, absolutely, right, every day. So you have to be able to just make fun of well, a lot of that.
SEINFELD: Yes, of course.
OBAMA: That was even dumber and more annoying than usual. That`s when cursing is really valued.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: The President is saying cursing is valuable for venting. But with Trump, it`s public. The New York Times Peter Baker compares him to a shock-jock Howard Stern explains this kind of talk is what Trump uses to connect.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD STERN, COMEDIAN: I knew he was a good communicator. And what do I mean by good communicator? He talked like a dude. He just knew how he knew the audience. He knew how to play to them and they liked him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: They liked it. And people are free to choose to like it. The point is as Donald Trump swears his way to different types of headlines, we should keep in mind the hypocrisy of some of his supporters, the double standards and what counts for a scandal these days, and we should decide whether we want to patrol for more or less of this in public life even if it`s not the biggest issue in the world.
Now coming up, new data showing that Donald Trump`s Twitter habit is actually hurting him. We`ll explain.
MELBER: Donald Trump is having Twitter problems. Take a look at some of this data which shows that interactions with his tweets, that`s when people or media respond has been falling drastically from just under 0.6 percent when he was first elected to now a much lower figure.
Now, this decline that you see there is happening as Trump tweets more often. I am joined by Jeff Jarvis was a prominent digital expert and media critic, Professor of Journalism at the Craig Newmark School, and a Writer for the media vlog BuzzMachine, so a good person to have. Thanks for being here.
JEFF JARVIS, PROFESSOR OF JOURNALISM, CRAIG NEWMARK SCHOOL: Thank you. I`m honored to be here, Ari.
MELBER: You look at the declining chart and people who are opposed to Donald Trump might say well this is an interesting metric that they might see as good news because so much of what he tweets is the most controversial, baseless, often packed with lies, so this declining chart to them would be good news.
On the flip side, the data shows that because he`s tweeting more often, it`s spreading it out. We on this show have a policy where we don`t read off the tweets as news for just the words in them. They have -- they have to actually do something like when he announced the military policy change, we did quote that. Given all of that together, what do you see is important in this story?
JARVIS: You know, I was just thinking the other day, honest to God, that I don`t read his tweets anymore. I have -- I refuse to follow him so I have a tweet deck column just for Donald Trump and I used to check it every day and I just stopped.
I hate people who repeat themselves. I hate people who repeat themselves. You know -- and he just does it over and over and over again. We`ve heard all. We`ve heard everything he has to say.
MELBER: So you think -- and look, one of the very fair criticisms of the press during 2016 was just overly regurgitating, so only his rallies, not all the rallies. You could be C-SPAN and show all the rallies, but there was a fair criticism that his rallies were getting covered more than his Republican opponents, more than Democrat.
Well, we`re going to put it back up on the screen. The bottom line of this decline here would suggest that also with Twitter the public, not the press, the public is interacting less as time goes on. They also determined that some of this is worth tuning out.
JARVIS: I think so. And I think that the real question for me, Ari, the next study I want to see is what are we doing in media because we are amplifying his messages. I do not think we should write a story every single time he writes a tweet.
JARVIS: We`re amplifying what he says. I just saw Biz Stone co-founder of Twitter was an Oxford today, and he said before the Pelosi video of last week`s kerfuffle was brought on by media. It was seen a total of 300 times on Twitter.
We in media are amplifying this junk and we`ve got to do something else. I`ve argued for some time I want to see the New York Times just -- and the Washington Post just have a standing headline. This is what he tweeted today and put it all there unless it`s major and give it context but stop - -
MELBER: Well, you`re making -- and you`re speaking as a digital analyst. You also wrote this book about how Google works. You`re describing that the internet gives us a very rapid feedback loop. It can be incredibly powerful for activism. We`ve had activists from black lives matter who record something and within hours it`s national, and they say that helps scrutiny.
You`re saying it also can be quite negative when the Pelosi stuff while there is a way to fact-check it, you`re saying, overreacting to it creates the problem that you claim to be fact-checking?
JARVIS: Yes. And I don`t want to see Twitter or Facebook in the position of fact-checking anybody, certainly not you or me or even Donald Trump. I think that we in the democracy are having a conversation we`re reloading how to have a conversation after the Gutenberg era.
We`re figuring out how to talk to each other and there are voices who were never heard in big old mainstream white old media that enabled things like Me Too and Black Lives Matter and Living While Black. And so I think we have to treasure all of that in democracy while putting up with the guff of Donald Trump.
MELBER: And wasn`t it Shawn Carter who said hashtags and retweets 140 characters in these streets.
JARVIS: Mose Allison said, if silence was golden, you couldn`t raise it dime because your mouth is on vacation -- and your -- and your brain is on your vacation and your mouth is working overtime.
MELBER: What do you -- you`re reading.
JARVIS: I`m reading. I had to.
MELBER: Let me see.
JARVIS: I went on Twitter --
MELBER: Give it here. What do you have? Give it here.
JARVIS: I went on Twitter and I asked for help.
MELBER: This is a crowdsource lyric.
JARVIS: That`s a crowdsource lyric. I said I got to. I got it in some defense.
MELBER: Well, we appreciate you being a good sport. I appreciate you preparing for THE BEAT, sir. And wasn`t it -- wasn`t it Simon and Garfunkel who said, that`s the sound of silence.
JARVIS: I have nothing more to say.
MELBER: We`ll be right back.
MELBER: Have you noticed a lot of people are running for president? Well, we have on THE BEAT and we have been doing big interviews. And tomorrow I`m thrilled to tell you the Mayor of New York City and now a 2020 Dem presidential candidate Bill de Blasio will be on THE BEAT tomorrow. We`ll also have Kurt Anderson, Eugene Robinson, and Maya Wiley. So a big show tomorrow night which I`m looking forward to.
Now, before I let you go and go to "HARDBALL," I want you to know later tonight, Sen. Kamala Harris will be here on Lawrence O`Donnell for a special edition, it`s a town hall. They are live from Wofford College in South Carolina 10:00 p.m. Eastern. That is the third primary state and it should be a doozie of a town hall. Don`t miss it.
But don`t go anywhere right now because of course, Chris Matthews is about to talk to Mayor Pete on "HARDBALL" next.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END