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McConnell blocks bipartisan efforts. TRANSCRIPT: 6/14/19, The Beat w/ Ari Melber.

Guests: Sam Seder, David Rothkopf, John Flannery, , Megan Ryte, C.L.Smooth

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: This is going to be fun. We got two more weeks to break down the bracket.


Thanks for being here everybody. That`s all we have for tonight. We`ll be back Monday with more Meet The Press Daily. And if it`s Sunday, it`s a good show this weekend. Good show every Sunday. Meet The Press.

We`re going to take a look at President Trump, foreign election interference. My guests will be Mayor Pete Buttigieg. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise and a brand new NBC Wall Street Journal poll. Who can`t love that on a Sunday morning?

The Beat with Ari Melber starts right now. Good evening Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Chuck. That sounds like a strong line up and we have a big countdown here. So we`ll be coming down with you, Sir.

TODD: Nice.

MELBER: All right, sweet Sunday, thank you Chuck. We`re following several developing stories right now. President Trump in full damage control mode explaining why he ended up being pro collusion. Later, a special report revealing how Mitch McConnell is helping the President`s embrace of collusion.

And the fallout from this new admission on the issue that relates to everything else the Donald Trump seems to be hiding. Will Don McGahn ever speak? Has the President under cut himself on privilege? We have a special report on that later but we begin with President Trump backtracking over his collusion claims.

Think about it like this. If you can remember Monday, this week began with a hearing on the Mueller report, with experts discussing the criminal evidence against the President and how prosecutors carefully analyzed issues of collusion which Donald Trump has long denied.

That was the beginning of the week. Tonight Friday, the week ends with President Trump literally going from no collusion to pro collusion. Something so controversial, so rebuked and yet so obviously illegal as a claim of something you want to do that even he has found himself spinning to backtrack.

Check out the new interview on Fox news.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: First of all, I don`t think anybody would present me with anything bad because they know how much I love this country. Nobody`s going to present me with anything bad. Number 2, if I was and of course you have to look at it because if you don`t look at it it`s not going to know if it`s bad.

How are you going to know if it`s bad? But of course you give it to the FBI or report it to the Attorney General or somebody like that.


MELBER: He loves America so much, don`t worry. Now Donald Trump may wrap himself up in the flag literally. But the larger context here has to do with his actions not just his blundering interviews. Remember Bob Mueller did determine there were multiple links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

He did probe this as a criminal matter and in some instances the campaign was found to be receptive to at least potential collusion, offers of help, attempted collusion, whatever you want to call it.

Now you have down from saying basically to the world they`d be receptive again. Oops, I did it again. This campaign saying they have a new kind of made up policy. They will review these foreign offers of dirt on a case by case basis. This is real life. So the idea that it would be the campaign will check out the offer for foreign dirt, they will look at it case by case and then go from there.

Donald Trump`s comments on collusion did go further than what we`ve seen thus far. His aides though had given other types of hints.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know. It`s hard to do hypotheticals but the reality is that we were not given anything that was salacious.

RUDY GIULIANI, DONALD TRUMP`S LAWYER: There`s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians. Any candidate in the whole world in America would take information, negative--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From a foreign source? From a hostile foreign source?

GIULIANI: Who says it`s even illegal?


MELBER: Who says it`s even legal? The law. The FBI. The Mueller report. Independent legal experts, prosecutors. All other election experts and while we`re counting the person currently in charge of elections the United States the chair of the Federal Election Commission.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There seemed to be a little bit of confusion on this point which confused me because it`s actually a matter of black letter law. It`s pretty straightforward.

Anyone in the United States is not allowed to accept anything of value from a foreign national, particularly a foreign government.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In connection with an election.


MELBER: I am joined my David Rothkopf, editor - format editor of foreign policy and an aide in the Clinton ministration, the author of `Traitor: The Case Against Donald Trump.` Sam Seder, host of `The Majority Report` and former U. S. attorney, Joyce Vance who as I mentioned recently testified to the Congress on the related issues an Obstruction Volume 2.

When you look at this and you look at a week that began with Donald Trump. If nothing else, caring about message and trying to get away and out from the hearing that you did participated in and you shared your views and your expertise.

What does it mean that he then brought up Volume One and would appear, do you think to offer at least part of the type of intent that he had spent two years disclaiming.

JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: You know, the President could have made my Monday a lot easier if he would have just made these statements over the weekend because on Monday, Republican Congressman wanted to ask us, me and the other witnesses, well, you know, what do you say now?

You used to say that there was collusion and now you`re saying now Bob Mueller`s said that there isn`t, what do you say? And of course, we had to explain to them that what Mueller found was that there was not a formal conspiracy the President didn`t enter into an agreement with the Russians where they set out to achieve a purpose together.

But there was a lot of evidence in the Mueller report that there was the collusion that existed. Mueller`s problem was often with proving intent. It looks like this week the President completed that loop pretty clearly. At least saying looking forward that he would be willing to take something of value, a donations from a foreign government.

DAVID ROTHKOPF, FORMER SENIOR AIDE, CLINTON ADMINISTRATION: Well, you know, I think the President and the White House are treating it like it was a gaffe and I think a lot of people covering it are treating it like it was a gaffe but it`s not a gaffe. It`s actually part of a three-year approach to dealing with these things.

We saw it in the Mueller reports revealed incidents but right now not only has the President said this, but the Attorney General of the United States is undertaking an investigation of the investigators.

Imagine somebody went to the FBI now and handed over a piece of information and those people in the FBI know that the last time that happened, those people ended up under investigation. At the same time, the Senate Majority Leader is quashing efforts to fund protections against this kind of investigation.

And yesterday in the United States Senate, you had a Republican Senator Marshall Blackburn stand up and say, no, let`s not move ahead with a resolution that said simply that if you`re approached by foreign government, you have to report it to the FBI.

MELBER: So you`re making a really important distinction here which is, this is not a gaffe, although Trump is trying best case to call it that and move on. This is an admission.

ROTHKOPF: It`s an admission it`s a kind of a policy of their approach. They did it during the election. He reached out to the Russians, he took their information. There were scores of meetings, he defended the Russians, he obstructed and he`s been rewarded the Russians with policy.

He`s continued with that and now we are coming up on 2020 and it`s not just him, it`s not just his Attorney General, it`s not just the Senate Majority Leader, it`s the Republican majority in the Senate and all of his aides.

MELBER: Sam - that`s very well put - Sam, listen to more of the damage control interview which again people say - some people, cynics, I hear sometimes say, well, nothing matters and they get away with everything and we all just move on.

No, a lot of things matter, a lot of people who didn`t belong in government according to the facts and ethics were removed from government. The President is under pressure from his own party, it matters. So this is what it looks like. He goes on Fox. This is the damage control interview. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What if that person, if a leader leaned over and just said, listen, I X this candidate that you`re running again, he did some dicey things in XYZ country and I got some proof of it. What do you do in that scenario? Do you back off? Do you say I don`t need it? Do you say, show it to me?

TRUMP: I hear things that frankly, good, bad or indifferent that other people don`t hear, just a normal conversation but nobody is going to say bad things to me. They know that I`m a very straight player.


SAM SEDER, HOST, THE MAJORITY REPORT: Well, I mean look, I read his comments on Monday or I should say I heard his comments as being just a statement of his policy, more or less an invitation if anybody else`s got anything for 2020, bring it in, I`m not going to scare anybody off.

But I agree with you. I think he`s worried about this. You don`t spend a half an hour on Fox and Friends calling in when you`re the President because you`re not worried about where you are with this stuff.

I think for whatever reason they feel in the White House that this stuff is seeping out outside of their bubble.

MELBER: And it`s going well outside where he controls a certain crowd that are very loyal, that will believe anything, it`s going to rest the country, it gets in the territory of why does the sitting President want to collude and say collusion is okay with foreign powers that you don`t have an expert on this aren`t working for us.

They don`t have our interest in mind. I think it cut very deep, you don`t need to be a political expert, you don`t need to be obsessed with the Mueller report which is over. It cuts deep. It also I want to mention for your analysis goes to what it means when the President`s subjected to journalistic interviews.

Because we`re going towards 2020, he`s relaunching His actual formal 2020 campaign next week with the speech and all that and ABC was a part of that and credit - they happen to be you know competitors, the credit to the ABC journalist, Mr. Stephanopoulos who conducted just a journalistic interview that brought out material from the President.

SEDER: I mean what was the last time that he sat down with a non-Fox, non- friendly journalist. I feel like it`s probably been years.

MELBER: So it`s months for print because he`s talked to The New York Times. The television is different, the ability of Stephanopoulos or any interviewer to see on camera and press the present, that hasn`t happened in I think, well over six months when we checked and also there`s the historical part of this which is this talking point appears to be dying.

Sometimes you just see a talking point die during the week. That oh well, who really knows how to deal with this and what would really happen and we actually have it the Al Gore aide who called the FBI like you`re supposed to on this story. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We turned it over immediately. He eventually turned it over to the FBI. They came and interviewed me that day.

MELBER: They came out and saw you how soon?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That afternoon.

MELBER: Same day?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For four hours.

MELBER: So your reaction as a campaign operative was this might be criminal because it could be stolen at a minimum to help another side and you call the authorities and their reaction is this is important, they come out same day.



MELBER: So when a Presidential campaign got something that might have been dirt stolen, didn`t even know whether it was foreign, FBI and the FBI comes in same day because it`s a real crime.

SEDER: Yes, I mean, I think a lot of this also has to do with, I think their concern that talking about collusion, getting collusion back in the news again is going to put pressure on Democrats to start to support impeachment we`re seeing polling now where impeachment, people`s desire for impeachment enquiry is starting to rise.

And I think that`s what is going on with the White House. They just don`t like the idea and why would they? The idea floating out there that they`re okay with collusion because that builds a certain amount of political pressure. They investigate what happened in in 2016.

VANCE: So that raises a really good point. Why would you ever as a President get here where you`re essentially saying collusion is okay and all do it in 2020 and I think the only reason you do that is when you realize, you can no longer defend the position that you didn`t engage in collusion.

This is become widespread. People understand increasingly the facts in the Mueller report, although the country still hasn`t read it. This President engaged in collusion. The only way he can look forward is by saying and it was okay.

ROTHKOPF: And I think there`s another reason and that is he`s open to it. You know, this is just part of the way he wants to do it. You know you mentioned Stephanopoulos, it wasn`t a particularly tricky question. He wasn`t you know, playing some journalistic mind game with the President.

He asked him a simple question and the President said yes, I collude and the reason is he would and the reason - and we`ve seen it happen in the past. What I would suggest that we do though is recognize that when this happened three years ago and we`re coming up on the anniversary of the Trump tower meeting, the third anniversary of that and the President`s speeches on this thing.

That`s what we saw we saw speech. He said you know, come on Russians if you`ve got that the emails let`s have them.

MELBER: No, this is a serious topic but how nerdy are we that we`re marking the third anniversary of the meeting.

ROTHKOPF: We`re pretty nerdy, I`ll speak for myself. Yes, not you Joyce but the reality is that behind the scenes there was a lot going on.

MELBER: Right.

ROTHKOPF: You know, the President said one thing but there were hundreds of meetings behind the scenes so if this is his position, this is his policy, this is what he`s saying now to the camera what`s going on behind the camera?

MELBER: What`s going on behind the scenes and what`s going on around the world? This is a serious part which you study where you have governments, foreign intelligence services that are constantly trying to mess with us to create fake information, to trick us and now they`ve got what appears to be a whole new pipeline to do that.

You mentioned the pressure on impeachment. I do want to show where this is going. Speaker Pelosi`s made it pretty clear this is not what she`s leaning into but the pressures building, not just from the grassroots, not just from some of the 2020 candidates.

There really is more of an establishment wing as well that`s saying so what, so Trump gets away with all this and obviously, I mentioned Joyce, at the hearing where there was a lot of discussion of that. Look at Brian Fallon who`s the Justice Department former official who worked for Hillary Clinton.

He said I used to think Trump could shoot a man if he had to and Republicans would let him get away with it. Now I think the Democrats would too.

ROTHKOPF: Well, I think the Democrats are frightened right now. You talk about the polls, there seems to be some thought within Democratic Party that moving towards impeachment has a negative effect. There`s no evidence that I`ve seen to support that at all and in fact what we know from the Nixon era is that once the impeachment enquiry started, actually support for it built.

Because the case is being made, the case is being made on television and publicly and I think gradually those Democrats are going to have to get over this and move forward with impeachment, not just because it`s politically the right thing to do but because constitutionally it`s the only thing to do.

SEDER: I think at the beginning of week we also start off with the question about the census and I think to a large extent you know having Barr and Wilbur Ross refuse to come testify and the President attempt to exert executive privilege on stuff that happened during the transition when he was not President, mind you.

I think that`s another element. I mean, I think it`s just building and frankly--

MELBER: To be fair, it might qualify under non-executive privilege. Executive privilege joke. Cut it out.

SEDER: And not nerdy at all. But I also - I think you know, the other part of that ledger is not just what happens if you impeach. The other part of that ledger is what`s the cost if you don`t, because right the - well I mean I think you know the other part of that ledger is not just what happens if you impeach. The other part that ledger`s what`s the cost if you don`t because you know, the Democrats have passed about 55 bills since they took the House.

There`s not a lot of stuff left for them to do frankly. And something`s going to happen between now and the election and if it`s not if the Democrats aren`t taking that space, you can be sure that the Trump administration will.

MELBER: It`s very interesting and I think there are tells here. One of the tells is the White House is actually seriously worried about this, politically if not substantively. We`ve heard tonight from our experts about why both are significant. David Rothkopf, Sam Seder and Joyce, stick around because I want to come back again at the end of the fall back, all right?

VANCE: Sounds good.

MELBER: Fantastic. Coming up, we`re going to show you something that relates to what David was just explaining. Mitch McConnell blocking the efforts to actually protect our elections. How does that relate to the President welcoming collusion.

Later Trump`s new attack on the key Mueller witness in this probe, his own counsel, could this change executive privilege debate and I promise, no more jokes, we`ll just get into the heart of it and later, Donald Trump taps this new border czar are who actually helped launch the child separation policy.

It`s an important story, I`ll be joined on that - and some of the 2020 locations - by the one and only Rev Al and then the big news today about the first debate in the Democratic party, what you need to know on that. All that plus as promised Fall back Friday. I`m Ari Melber, you`re watching The Beat on MSNBC.


MELBER: Some of Donald Trump`s closest Republican allies have been denouncing his obvious endorsement of the concept of foreign collusion for his re-election campaign this week and we`ve covered that, we`ve credited that if you want to call it that.

But you need to know before you get on the weekend a glaring exception. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not condemned these remarks. He went on Fox news to basically offer support of Trump despite the embrace of collusion.


LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: Do you have a problem with that answer because the Democrats seem to be taking that and saying, ah, see, we told you so. Now it`s on to impeachment.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): They just can`t let it go, Laura. You know, I said weeks ago, case closed, we got the Mueller report.

INGRAHAM: Would you answer that question now?

MCCONNELL: Well, he gets picked at every day over every different aspect of it but the fundamental point is they`re trying to keep the 2016 election alive and the investigation alive.


MELBER: The fundamental point was about the 2020 election where the President welcomed collusion to the degree that now he`s backtracking. Senator McConnell doing a friendly interview there with Fox news so he wasn`t pressed on that.

But this is bigger as we`ve been emphasizing than just the public statements, shocking as they may be, McConnell has made legislative actions and decisions that actually leave the United States more vulnerable to exactly the election interference that we know occurred.

That`s because he has served as this roadblock to yes, bipartisan legislation to do simple things to try to protect the elections. He told his colleagues, there are no plans to consider any bills that would just try to make elections secure. This is a move in line with his larger self- described, proud role as the Senate`s legislative `Grimm Reaper.`


MCCONNELL: Let me tell you this, if I`m still the majority leader of the Senate think of me as the Grimm Reaper. None of that stuff is going to pass. None of it.


MELBER: And that stuff`s not just Democratic. McConnell is blocking bipartisan bills. You`re looking at some of the co-sponsors which include people like Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham. Republican Senator recently admitting these bills were not getting votes because of Mitch McConnell.


SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): Are we going to be marking up any of those bills on election security?

MCCONNELL: That was not a topic of discussion today but at this point, I don`t see any likelihood that those bills would get to the floor if we marked them up.


MCCONNELL: Same reason we couldn`t get our bill to the floor last year.

DURBIN: Which is?

MCCONNELL: I think the Majority Leader of the view that this debate reaches no conclusion.


MELBER: The Majority Leader, that is important sound that you heard there. Senator Durbin getting the answer. So McConnell`s basic resistance to deal with what they`re calling elections security as well as counter cyber has already had a larger impact.

We`re talking about 2020 and what`s going to happen and him being the `Grimm Reaper` but remember there was a version of this and to be fair it was not as big a deal in the public realm at the time because not everyone knew what was happening but the intelligence agencies privately had information at the highest levels about the ongoing Russian meddling.

And it was Mitch McConnell who pushed back vehemently on their findings in a way that his colleague said was partisan and then he also objected to any bipartisan effort to give the public, more notice about the Kremlin`s role in those ongoing attacks.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mitch McConnell wanted no part of having a bipartisan commitment that we would say essentially, Russia is doing this, stop. The dice had been cast here. This was all about the political play.


MELBER: The political play. Now if you want to be skeptical you could look at that footage there and say well, that`s Joe Biden, he`s a Democrat, he`s criticizing Mitch McConnell. But what Joe Biden said and other nonpartisan intelligence experts said is that he was speaking as a Vice President.

That there was a security level, that it was about protecting elections regardless of what was going to happen. Many people thought at the time Trump was going to lose anyway and that Mitch McConnell for his own political reasons didn`t want the election as protected as possible. A chilling thought and one that we are going to stay on.

And when we come back Donald Trump and why these comments on obstruction, a different story may undermine his only time to insert and assert executive privilege against Don McGahn. We`ll be back in just 30 seconds.


MELBER: Democrats in the House ramping up pressure what they say is blatant stonewalling and defiance by some of Donald Trump`s top aides. Chairman Nadler told The Beat, that former White House counsel Don McGahn does not comply with this lawful subpoena, they will probably go to court, enforce it.

But now again might not even be as willing to listen to Trump administration or Bill Barr telling him to defy subpoenas and the reason is Donald Trump out here basically talking smack about him.


TRUMP: I was never going to fire Mueller. I never suggested firing Mueller.


TRUMP: It`s just - I don`t care what he says. It doesn`t matter. That was to show everyone what a good counsel he was.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But why would he - why would he lie under oath?

TRUMP: Because he wanted to make himself look like a good lawyer or - or he believed it because I would constantly tell anybody that would listen including you, including the media, that Robert Mueller was conflicted.

Robert Muller had a total--


MELBER: The important part there is the President trashing his own counsel McGahn and alleging a crime, alleging that McGahn lied under oath to Mueller. So here`s a question tonight.

At what point does Mr. Don McGahn who has a career and a life and a life after the Trump era, at what point does he say, maybe I don`t need to continue to try to keep Donald Trump`s secrets and fight the House under this claim of executive privilege. Remember, this isn`t just any witness. McGahn is more cited by Mueller than anyone else.

He holds some cards, cards that could shed light on this.


TRUMP: I knew he was good for--

STEPHANOPOULOS: You didn`t answer questions on obstruction.

TRUMP: No, wait a minute, wait a minute, I did answer questions, I answered them in writing.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Not on obstruction.

TRUMP: I don`t know. I answered a lot of questions. They gave me questions. I answered them in writing.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Not on obstruction.

TRUMP: Look at you, being a little wise guy, okay, which is you know, typical for you, just so you understand. Very simple, it`s very simple. There was no crime, there was no collusion.


MELBER: John Flannery, former federal prosecutor, Special Counsel to three congressional investigations, do you see anything here that undercuts the executive privilege claim?

JOHN FLANNERY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Oh absolutely. I think if there is a wise guy, the wise guy is Mr. Trump and if there was any kind of privilege of any sort, he had to wave it by calling his lawyer a liar in connection with sworn testimony before the Special Counsel.

MELBER: What`s privilege if the court question is can McGahn tell the truth or a lie about Donald Trump`s request to get rid of Mueller and McGahn`s talked about it under oath in a report that`s public and the President is now just ripping him over, giving his view, what`s left is secret in privilege.

FLANNERY: Well, I don`t think anything, you`re right, rolling it back, we have the President originally says go up there and talk and he knows that they do and he gets annoyed when he finds out how much he did but then his hand-picked Attorney General who basically was doing whatever Trump wanted to do.

He approved the release of that information and now we have within hours, the President himself accusing not just accusing McGahn of lying but also disclosing the conversations.

MELBER: The contents.

FLANNERY: As he says - as he says it is which very few of us believe and so if I was McGahn`s lawyer, he`d be up there tomorrow testifying. He`s been called a liar and I`d say I wanted to be public, I don`t wanted hidden. I want the nation to know that what I did, I did.

And then there are the corroborating witnesses. We have Christy, we have Priebus, we have Annie Donaldson who keeps infinite number of notes.

MELBER: Take a look at this other exchange about the attacks on Mueller in the same interview, take a look.



STEPHANOPOULOS: If you answer these questions to me now why not answer them to Robert Mueller under oath.

TRUMP: Because they were looking to get us for a lies for slight misstatements. I looked at what happened to people and it was very unfair. Very, very unfair. Very unfair. I gave them 1.5 million pages of documents, right?

I gave them for 400-500 witnesses. I let Don McGahn testify. He was a White House Counsel.



FLANNERY: Yes, well, the trouble with this is his impulses are all wrong for a defense which is to our credit, we know as a nation, how corrupt an individual he is and he distorts in the interview when George says you didn`t answer any questions about obstruction.

He said, yes, I didn`t and he tries to insult George Stephanopoulos.  So he can`t tell the truth, but when he does he makes admissions.  And that`s the only thing you can probably rely on and you can`t take it to the bank 100 percent because he distorts even that.

As for producing documents and so forth, did he produce the right documents and all the time?  And if this is true why don`t we have him before the house right now?  Why don`t we have them before Senate Committees who ask for him?

MELBER:  Do you -- do you think we`ll ever publicly hear from Don McGahn?

FLANNERY:  Well, I can`t imagine living a life keeping your mouth shut if you were McGahn and you defined yourself as a very capable lawyer who thought his legacy would be who he put on the Supreme Court whom I would disagree with, Kavanaugh and other people.  So I just can`t imagine what human would put up with this abuse and keep their mouth shut.  But I`m a kid from the South Bronx.  What do I know?

MELBER:  Well, those who know John Flannery from THE BEAT know you to be full-throated and loud.  The last time I really saw Don McGahn in a public forum was at CPAC in that one interview.  But the President just called him a liar and a criminal.  That`s his old boss.  He`s got to decide what he wants to do about it, whether he`s going to tell the truth in public.  John Flannery, thank you.

FLANNERY:  Thank you.

MELBER:  Up ahead, Donald Trump tapping a top official who led the family separation policy, becoming borders czar.  Rev. Sharpton is here.  And the stage set for the first Democratic debate and highlights from BEAT lightning rounds with some of these candidates might be a little bit of fun.  And then later, a very special fall back Friday with Joyce Vance and more coming up.


MELBER:  Some other important policy news today.  The president announcing a border czar to oversee immigration policy named Tom Homan.  He once told Congress immigrants need to be worried about facing arrest, that those in the country should be afraid, that was a goal of policy.  And his acting head of ICE, he helped of course launch the family separation policy, the impact still felt with thousands of displaced persons around the country.

In New York Times video today reveals this is the youngest known child taken from their parents four months old.

What you see there is part of the New York Times reporting is just how young these detentions are getting.  This policy continues although as you know, the Trump administration has claimed that it backed off so-called zero tolerance.

Now, this top immigration official last year also made waves with something that continues to resonate today because we were seeing more and more detention facilities, something we covered on the show last night.  Well, the trouble administration has claimed these centers are not relieve detention camps, they`re more like summer camp.


MATTHEW ALBENCE, ACTING DIRECTOR OF ICE:  The best way to describe them is to be more like a summer camp.  These individuals have access to 24/7 food and water, there`s basketball courts, there`s exercise classes, there`s soccer fields that we put in there.


MELBER:  Summer camp, those were outrageous comments to many at the time.  And today you`re looking at a brand new music video.  This is debuting today.  It is called as a satire "Camp America."  The musician Vic Mensa using this footage and talking about how children were sleeping on the ground and forced to be in cages.


VIC MENSA, RAPPER:  So much fun, you lose count of the days, playing hide and go seek inside of your cage.  Daddy loves you so he sent you away to Camp America.


MELBER:  I`m joined now by Reverend Al Sharpton, host of "POLITICS NATION" and someone who`s worked on these civil rights issues and has covered and discussed the immigration challenges under this administration with us before.

When you look at all this action on immigration, when you look at in the culture, that new video, is this still in your mind the face of Trump`s immigration policy as children cages?

AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST:  No doubt about it.  You recall, I went down to the Texas Board of the ecumenical group and they were arguing then that well, we were just going to do this for a short period of time.  We`re not dealing with breaking up families.  And they have done that over and over again.

And I think people need to look at, Ari, and I -- and I give you a lot of credit for showing it.  We have a four-month-old baby.  I mean, who are we as a country that we could look at a four-month-baby separated from their parents at the same time you go into a point, a person who said that immigrants need to be afraid of being arrested as the new czar.

MELBER:  And as you mentioned, this is --

SHARPTON:  The same day.

MELBER:  This is the child here on the screen, Rev.

SHARPTON:  This the child.

MELBER:  What does it say that the administration has moved to be more aggressive, that there was what was described as a "purge at DHS to bring in more of these people that Mr. Homan, as you mentioned the ICE Director, I want to play.  They`re doubling down on this while there`s understandably a lot of other news and controversy.  They`re doubling down on this.  Look at this Trump official.  I`m talking about Homan.  Take a look.

TOM HOMAN, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR, ICE:  Sanctuary cities in my opinion, they`re un-American.  That`s not in America I grew up in.

Let`s protect American citizens as much as you`re fighting for the illegal alien.

Do not blame them for deaths in custody, then blame the Democrats.  You have to put the blame on the parents.


SHARPTON:  You`re looking at -- first of all, when you say we`re fighting for American people not others, it is American people that want a humane immigration policy.  We`re not talking about charity here.  We`re talking about people that are seeking asylum for reasons of instability, crime, or whatever, that we as a nation has a process to see whether or not they can gain asylum here and we respect those that are here.

He has redefined Americans as people that don`t care about anybody, that will snatch four-month babies out of people`s arms, and is saying that`s the American way, our way, our one kind of culture or everybody else be damned, and we don`t care what happens to the rest of the world.  That is not being American.

MELBER:  I want to ask you about the politics of this too because that`s a big part of this.  You are not only known for the work you do it in the Civil Rights, you are -- I`ll say it if you want -- you are also an important figure in this Democratic primary.  You`ve been not only interviewing the candidates, but I know you talked to a lot of them, fair?

SHARPTON:  Yes, I do.

MELBER:  When you talk to Democratic candidates, do you get the impression that immigration is something that the Democratic Party and potentially the nominee are going to actually go after this time?  Because as you know, there`s been a lot of cycles where the politics of this seem to be Democrats playing defense.

SHARPTON:  I think that some will and others will not.  I`ve encouraged all of them that we must go after the immigration policy.  Because one, it is something that Donald Trump has used in a very negative way and secondly, you cannot do global politics without people around the world looking at that four-month baby -- four-month-old baby and others saying what kind of people are we dealing with here.

For them to now in many ways double down on this kind of immoral, barbaric kind of policy, it`s something that will affect us in terms of global politics.  And if Democratic candidates don`t stand up and call them out on it, then what is the difference?

We need to say this is wrong, this is immoral.  We need an immigration policy.  Nobody is talking about just opening up the doors, but we need a process that is fair and we certainly should in no way shape or form participate in taking children from their parents.

MELBER:  I appreciate your vigor on that and I will note here as we continue to cover this, 13,200 unaccompanied children right now in the custody of the Trump administration because of the choices of this policy.  We`ll stay on it.  I know you will as well.

SHARPTON:  I definitely will.

MELBER:  Reverend Sharpton, thank you.  You can always catch the Rev on "POLITICS NATION" this weekend 5:00 p.m. Eastern on MSNBC.  And a programming note, on Monday, the artist with that new camp America video I just showed Vic Mensa will be here for an exclusive explaining his work and that immigration song.

We have a lot more in the show, the draft lottery is in.  You`ll see the lineup matchups for the very first primary debates and "FALLBACK FRIDAY."  All that coming up tonight.


MELBER:  The stage is set.  The Democratic Party has announced the lineup of candidates for those first debates to the 2020 presidential primary taking place over two nights.  Ten contenders per night.  Take a look, Wednesday, June 26, Booker, Warren, O`Rourke, Klobuchar, Delaney, Gabbard, Castro, Ryan, de Blasio, and Jay Inslee from Washington State.

The next night, you get another ten.  Sanders, Harris, Biden, Buttigieg, Bennett, Williamson, Swalwell, Gillibrand, Yang, and John Hickenlooper.  I`m practicing my sports announcer voice.  There is, of course, nothing like a first impression.  This is a first chance for a lot of these candidates to introduce themselves especially the people who aren`t always following the news.

They can talk policy.  They could talk about how they would run against this unusual president.  But in debates as everyone knows, it`s also time to look at personality and who they are as people.  I will say that we`ve been fortunate here on the beam as a new show to have some of the contenders join us.  We talk a lot to policy but in our lightning rounds sometimes we see the personality.


MELBER:  Your dream running mate throughout history living or dead, if you could pick a person that would run with you.


MELBER:  What was going on here?

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  You know, Ari, a lot of people experimented with bleach in high school.

MELBER:  If you weren`t a Democrat, you would be a --


MELBER:  When you go into a Washington State marijuana dispensary, you feel how?

JAY INSLEE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Like I`m a governor of a very progressive effective state.

MELBER:  Your favorite --

INSLEE:  We have the best marijuana in America.

MELBER:  The best marijuana in America.

INSLEE:  No question.  At least I`ve been told.


MELBER:  Yes, do you want to?

HARRIS:  No, I`m not going to do that.  I was joking.  I don`t want to do that to your viewers.


MELBER:  We`d love to have you guys saying, anytime.  Now, I should mention as you may have heard, you`ll be able to catch these debates both nights, 20 candidates, potentially history-making right here on MSNBC.

As I mentioned earlier in the show, Joyce Vance is still with me and she`s coming back with Megan Ryte and C.L. Smooth for a very special "FALLBACK FRIDAY" when we come back.



MELBER:  It`s Friday on THE BEAT so you know it is time to fall back.  I am joined by legendary rapper C.L. Smooth who you know from the iconic hip hop group Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth.  They crack the top 100 with songs like They Reminisce Over You, and he`s collaborated with everyone from Big Daddy Kane, also with cast, to Q-Tip, to John Legend, and The Roots.

Also today, I`m joined by Megan Ryte, a host of Hot 97 and D.J.  She shared the stage with stars like Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, and Remy Ma.  And to top it off, one and only Joyce Vance, a former U.S. Attorney nominated by President Barack Obama in Alabama.  She testified recently before Congress this very week all about the implications of the Mueller report.

Quite a panel, nice to have you all here.

C.L. SMOOTH, RAPPER:  Thank you.

MEGAN RYTE, MUSICIAN:  Hello, hello.

MELBER:  We will begin with you, Joyce.  Who needs to fall back?

VANCE:  The Waskom City Council in Texas.  Five white men who this week decided to ban abortion in their city of 2,200.  There are no abortion providers in Waskom but they decided that they needed to firmly put an end to women`s agency over their own bodies.

MELBER:  And this is them sort of trying to get in on the other states and other places that have more direct authority, a city council not being the place that really writes most laws.

VANCE:  Exactly.  Joining legislators like my home state in Alabama that want to overturn women`s reproductive rights.

MELBER:  I think that`s a pretty reasonable fallback.  What`s on your list?

RYTE:  Linda Fairstein.  She is responsible for putting five innocent black and brown teens in jail.

MELBER:  In the Central Park Five.

MA:  Central Park Five.  And you know, I want to shout out Ava DuVernay who has the most streamed, looked at like Netflix special on the Central Park Five right now, and I think she doesn`t make a job using her platform to shed light to things like this, like it`s just ridiculous, and I think this woman needs to be investigated.

MELBER:  C.L., you probably remember when that was a big story originally in New York.

SMOOTH:  Yes.  Growing up and being a similar age as they were when that I`m occurred, it was just -- you know, to have their lives altered and to be falsely accused of something you didn`t do, and that`s a life altering situation.

MELBER:  What else is on your fallback list?

SMOOTH:  My fallback list is how the President sees global warming who he contacts and who he believes is his lifeline to global warming.  And to me, how can you go to people who feels it doesn`t exist.

MELBER:  Yes.  We saw this with the -- and these are -- this is the expert.  This is the way the federal government is running, you mentioned.  It says, national security officials sought help from advisors to a think-tank that actually disavows the existence of climate change and it`s trying to undermine the science.

SMOOTH:  I mean, it`s like going -- it`s like setting up an administration of terrorists and then saying terrorist doesn`t exist.


SMOOTH:  So it`s like a contradiction.

RYTE:  How do you do that?  How do you -- just kidding.  Everything that you know, just kidding.  Just because I say just kidding, like this doesn`t -- this doesn`t make sense.

MELBER:  And do you think people who were more inclined to the Trump perspective, do you think they`ll believe anything?  In other words, I think we have to be always thoughtful about not everyone who agrees with your opponent is automatically bad and question their motives.  But I do wonder, if they go down this road, it`s like OK, does this mean a whole bunch of people in the country are just going to pretend climate change isn`t happening?

RYTE:  Right.  I feel like we`re in a weird space with a couple things.  One, definitely with the way information is put out.  You put information out, you see a headline.  It doesn`t matter where it comes from.  People all this -- they take that headline, they run with it, right.

And I feel like people who are Trump supporters, no matter what he says, what he does, they go with anything that he says without thinking.

MELBER:  What else is on your Fallback list this week?

RYTE:  I feel like you don`t have to be a huge sports fan to be a human being.  I feel like we`re human beings, we should care about people as people.  I understand that you know, sports people get a certain way but if somebody gets hurt, the right thing to do is not to cheer that they`re hurt.  Kevin Durant --

MELBER:  This Kevin Durant thing.  I mean, this is a very human moment.

RYTE:  Yes.

MELBER:  Let`s take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It`s the right calf that put him out.  And his teammates going over to check on him.  I don`t like to hear the fans cheering.  I`m surprised by that and the players --


MELBER:  The fans cheering.

RYTE:  Yes.  Like I don`t -- I don`t understand that.  I don`t think it`s appropriate.  And I`m -- congratulations to the Raptors because they have won.  I`m happy for all my friends that are Raptors fans, that that`s still -- I think about that, and I think about seeing how much pressure and how crazy that is to know that you`re in a place where everybody wants you to be hurt.

MELBER:  Well, this is fundamental when we`re talking about other people`s wellbeing.  You know, C.L., we quote hip hop sometimes on this program.  But that`s not all we quote.  If you go back further, I mean, really digging into crates back to Exodus, when the Israelites are watching the Egyptians drown in the story, when there`s cheering, God then tells the people, he says, you don`t cheer for those opponents.  Even if they did wrong to you, you don`t cheer their death because they`re also people.

SMOOTH:  Right.  They are also human and they`ve also going against a warrior team that are champions and they show champion heart.  And usually in that moment, we`re human and we are cheering.  When somebody is hurt or somebody is not there and they have a formidable opponent, and they pick up a sword and challenge you, then you know, most of the time, you want them to fail.

MELBER:  Right.  You get so competitive.

SMOOTH:  So in the heated moment with that type of peace of player, coming back in that moment.  I don`t blame them.

MELBER:  You understand the passion.

SMOOTH:  I know it`s wrong, but I don`t blame them because it`s in the heated moment.

MELBER:  Megan, I had to hit him with a little Exodus.  You know what I`m saying?  C.L. said he understands it.  Your rebuttal.

RYTE:  No.  I`m not -- I will never claim that I`m like an avid -- like every day I`m not watching.  That`s not what I do.  But I can watch that and think like -- it hurt me.  It was painful to see that.  And to see that like you get up and you`re doing these things and trying to be there for your team and you hurt yourself and then people are excited that you are hurt.  Like that`s not --

MELBER:  What did you think, Joyce?

VANCE:  You know, I live in a state that takes sports pretty seriously.  A coach say I think we would bench any of those players who applauded when an opponent take an injury like that.  It`s just not right.

MELBER:  Well, it`s one thing that everyone is talking about this week.  Joyce Vance, Megan Ryte, C.L. Smooth, thanks to each of you for coming on THE BEAT.


MELBER:  And I want to tell you a little bit more about what we`re doing Monday.  Former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal on some of these big issues.  And as I mentioned, Musician Vic Mensa on this new video that`s taking on the Trump family separation policy directly, we`re going to get into that with him as an exclusive on Monday and a lot more.