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Paul Ryan slams president Trump TRANSCRIPT: 7.12.19, The Beat with Ari Melber.

Guests: Guest: Natasha Bertrand, John Flannery, Nancy Santiago, David Corn, Neera Tanden, David Cross

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST:  Why don`t you just hurry up with DVR right now then you won`t miss it.

That`s all we have for tonight. We`ll be back Monday with more MEET THE PRESS DAILY. And if it`s Sunday, its "MEET THE PRESS DAILY (sic)" on your local NBC station. Keep that DVR out. Make sure you are recording us, and watch us live. "THE BEAT" with Ari Melber starts right now.

Good evening, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chuck. I have a question.

TODD: yes, sir.

MELBER: You are my Washington expert, the ways of government, the ways of this town. Is there Mueller hearing Wednesday, is there not a Mueller hearing, was this - this was going to happen. It was long scheduled and subpoenaed. But now maybe it`s not. You understand the town, what`s happening?

TODD: Look, what`s happening is, I`m guessing, a whole bunch of members of Congress are bummed that they only get Mueller for two hours at a time.

MELBER: Right.

TODD: So this is clearly about going, "Wait a minute are you really going to be up here for two hours?" So I just had him - I just had Jamie Raskin--


TODD: --and who sort of admitted, he fell on the wrong side of the line on seniority of getting to ask question. And ask yourself, Jamie Raskin is the kind of guy - he`s a good questioner, you would think Democrats would want him up there, trying to do that. So I think that`s what this is about.

That there`s probably a lot of rank and file Democrats go, "What the heck? Come on man, I want a shot too".

MELBER: And there`s no rule under subpoenas that they stop mattering after two hours. I mean, there`s also this the kind of backroom debate of, OK, respect Mueller. But do you want to put pressure to get, as you say more time.

TODD: Yes. Look, if they if the hope is to get Mueller to verbalize this report, I don`t know how you do it in two hours when you`re doing the Ping- Pong with - a partisan Ping-Pong where every time you`re getting some momentum, up time is up, now let`s go down another avenue of questioning.

It just seems like not - if your whole goal is to get critical mass to convince an audience of one Speaker Pelosi that impeachment inquiry should happen, two hours ain`t enough time.

MELBER: There you have it. Now we have the breakdown. Chuck, thank you. We`ll be watching on Sunday, sir.

It is a busy Friday and it begins with what Chuck and I were just talking about. This is basically at this point a full-blown Mueller mystery, with the negotiations over will he or won`t he and why on Wednesday.

The appearance by his deputies, and this is very important, also appears to have been squashed with direct pressure by Trump Attorney General Bill Barr. It`s an important story that we`re going to get into.

Also details now coming out about infants ripped away from their parents at the border under Trump`s administration`s policies.

And then the President cave in for the second time in hours, bowing to the growing pressure to House Labor Secretary Acosta over the lenient deal for sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. So we have a lot in a very busy Friday night show.

But we`ll begin with this Mueller mystery. The hearing, of course, has long been scheduled for next Wednesday. But POLITICO, early today, reported that this had been tentatively pushed back at least a week, lawmakers negotiating, as discussed, for more time.

Then a spokesman of Judicial Committee says quote "At this moment", so for this moment or more, the hearing is still currently, in their view, scheduled for next week, the 17th. It`s also listed formally under the congressional website as July 17th. You see right there, Judiciary Chair Nadler. And other Democrats aren`t really talking.


REPORTER: Is Mueller hearing going to be delayed, sir?

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): I`m not saying anything about--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looking forward to Mueller hearing whenever - when he comes in.

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): We need Mueller to come in and testify, and that`s what we`re focused on trying to finalize.

REPORTER: Is the hearing still on for Wednesday, Mr. Chairman?

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): I`m not commenting on anything.


MELBER: At a basic level there`s some gap there between the website I just showed you, which has the hearing on, and these Chairs now today ducking those questions, it`s kind of a weird Friday as we`re waiting for what everyone agrees, whatever your views of the Mueller, what everyone agrees is a huge blockbuster hearing.

So you have the plan for Mueller to testify in public no matter what the date. And then you have another Mueller hearing, and this is what we`ve covered on this show, you may have heard less about it, because there`s been lot going on.

I`m telling you this is super important to the resolution of the issues in the Mueller report, because it appears to have been cancelled in response to direct pressure from Trump Attorney General Bill Barr.

We learned just this week that the DOJ was trying to pressure two of Mueller`s top deputies out of talking lawmakers even in private, even in closed session. Today The Washington Post reports that very closed-door session is canceled.

Democrats say, Mueller`s team may have backed out quote "Under Pressure" from the Trump administration`s Bill Barr. New York Times had also reported the pressure would have a quote "Chilling Effect" on those Mueller deputies. Well that appears to have happened today, and we have some idea how powerful that chilling effect could be.

Bill Barr is of course currently investigating Mueller investigators. He also dialed up the pressure in public when he said that surveillance, which was lawful and approved by a court constituted quote "Spying", and he remains the most powerful law enforcement officer in the country.

So if he goes and tells people not to testify, whether they`re in or out of government, you can imagine the kind of pressure that puts on someone when Mr. Barr has deliberately kept open investigations into those very investigators.

I want to get right to it with some of our experts. Former Federal Prosecutor, John Flannery with Special Counsel to three congressional investigations, Matt Miller; a former Chief Spokesman at the Justice Department under Eric Holder, Natasha Bertrand, POLITICO`s National Security Correspondent.

I`m going to go down the line like this. Natasha, you`ve been reporting this out, what`s the very latest? What is this really about?

NATASHA BERTRAND, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: Yes. Ari, we don`t really know what`s going on, to be honest with you. And the members don`t really seem to know what`s going on either.

We`ve heard that members have been told by their staff that the deputies` closed-door testimony before lawmakers has been postponed or cancelled. It`s not really clear, but they haven`t confirmed definitively that it`s not happening. We`re just hearing that perhaps the rumor is that it`s put off for now, so we don`t really know what`s happening with that closed door.

And as for Mueller testifying, that`s still up in the air too, because as you mentioned a Judiciary Committee spokesman said earlier today that they still have it on the books for the 17th. So what this really seems to be about is Democrats are upset perhaps that they don`t have enough time to question the special counsel - for everyone to question the special counsel.

And obviously, the pushback on that is well, this isn`t really about you. This is about getting in the best questions possible in a limited amount of time. Also Mueller doesn`t necessarily have the stamina anymore to sit through what a marathon hearing. And so as being as--

MELBER: Well, I don`t know - I don`t--

BERTRAND: --efficient as possible.

MELBER: I don`t know if you`ve seen his medical records. I don`t think we know that.

BERTRAND: It`s been in terms--

MELBER: I don`t think we know that. I mean, in terms of evidence and what we`ve seen, he ran a very aggressive two-year investigation on a tight timeline. He is known to be careful in his testimony.

But in terms of sticking to the evidence, Matt, we have a lot of signs that there was an agreement for testimony, and we have public reporting which really the DOJ hasn`t denied in any formal way that Mr. Barr took this unusual step of telling people not to even testify in closed session.

I mean the Intelligence Committee, that`s literally their bread and butter. Does that look suspicious to you Matt?

MATT MILLER, JUSTICE AND SECURITY ANALYST, MSNBC: Yes, it does. Look, that the Department can`t actually block a former employee from coming up and testifying. But they can try to intimidate them. And they`ve tried to do it before. They tried to do it with Sally Yates.

What they can do is tell former attorneys that, "Look, you are not authorized to talk about confidential information here. We believe some of this information is confidential even though there was a 448 page report". You`re not - "There are certain privileges that are at stake here, you are not authorize. These privileges haven`t been waived".

And what that does is, it`s an intimidation factor, because it sort of leaves open the possibility that the Justice Department might try to refer one of these attorneys for charges by their local bar association. It`s probably not something that they would do.

But if you`re one of these attorneys, it`s not a fight you want to have. And it`s the implicit threat that early in the administration the Justice Department made against Sally Yates when she was getting ready to testify. She blew right through that warning - she ignored it and I would hope that these employees do it too. It`s really important that they get up there and answer questions from this Committee.

MELBER: Do you think there is enough evidence to show, Matt, that Mr. Barr may be misusing these open investigations or is it too hard to say at this point?

MILLER: You know, I don`t know if it`s the open investigations or it`s this implicit threat of some kind of sanction via a bar referral, which I know is very much a live issue and when the Sally Yates discussions were going back and forth about whether she would testify.

It could be one or the other, it could be both. But look Barr ought to get out of the way of this. He has said publicly that he had no objection to Mueller testifying. If he has no objection to Mueller testifying there`s no reason that that Mueller`s deputies ought not to be able to go and testify to.

And I think it`s important, because there are two things that congressional investigations do, one is fact-finding, two, is public illumination. The Mueller hearing - the public hearing is for public illumination. The closed session is for is for fact-finding, so they can find out what other areas these Committees ought to be looking at.

It`s really essential that it go forward.

MELBER: Yes. And John one of the great hidden biases in all media is not ideal ideological, it`s temporary, it`s about time. If Mr. Barr pulled this move the first week after Mueller finished his investigation, my media - hypothetical - based on my experience is, it would be wall-to-wall. It would be a huge deal.

Bill Barr comes out and right after this, he is starting to tell these people they can`t talk, muzzling, silencing them. The months have gone by Mr. Barr has played this out in public in all sorts of ways. And now, although we`re treating it seriously, and we covered it earlier this week, I would submit it doesn`t necessarily get the same attention and that`s the whole point.

And so take a listen, John, to the President today doing the public version of this, which is this Barr muzzles people behind the scenes. The President tries to tell his folks, well this is all a redo and a do-over and it`s - it shouldn`t happen. We`re so sick of it. When, in fact, none of these people have even testified once yet. Take a look.



REPORTER: What would you like Robert Mueller to tell Congress next week?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think how many bites at the apple do you get? So now they have Mueller go make a speech. That goes. Now they wanted to have him again. They want to go it again and again and again.

There`s nothing he can say. He`s written a report. The report said, "No collusion" and it said, effectively, "No obstruction"--



FLANNERY: Well, instead of bites at the Apple, what they want to do is starve us of information, except for their misleading remarks. And Barr, who`s supposed to be our law enforcement agent, is in fact a law breaker and he transparently does it for Trump all the time.

But the most disappointing thing, I think, in this entire game that they`re playing - this obstruction, is that we have a former Marine who ran an investigation for 22 months, a large part of which we credit as obstruction and now he`s part of the obstruction.

And as for Semper Fi, we thought he was going to be faithful to the law and to his charge. And that by this time we be telling us why he did what he did, and instead he runs and hides. He wants to give us only an hour or maybe two.

They made fun of Hillary Clinton who they questioned for 11 hours and he can`t come up to the Hill next Wednesday and testify until it`s over and tell us what he did and why he did it, and what his relationship was with the people in justice, who apparently cut off his investigation and now they`re strangling him?

MELBER: I said something that was Mueller defensive in terms of the evidence earlier. I`m now going to say something Barr defensive, which is, we don`t have public confirmation that they cut off the probe.

FLANNERY: Well, look at - it is a fair inference that they did. And the reason it`s a fair inference.


MELBER: --but explain, yes, sir.

FLANNERY: I`m sorry. Don`t mean to - you can correct me, of course. But they stopped at the water`s edge of Trump and the family and the fortune, at a time when they`ve asked to continue the investigation for six months when they`ve investigated Stone, where they`ve indicted him and searched his house.

And when Cohen comes forward with all the information about a connection with WikiLeaks and then they close down the investigation. And in the report that Trump writes - I`m sorry that, Mueller writes--


FLANNERY: It`s quite a slip -  that Mueller writes, he says in the second part, we didn`t have a thorough FBI investigation of the conspiracy that we are calling collusion.

These things are enormous and it seems to me that while Nixon never got was away with his cover-up, they`re doing a really good job and the Democrats are trusting them. My grandmother believed that wrestling was honest and it seems that no matter how many times these people shortchanged the Judiciary Committee, they go in again.

We`re going to do a take home exam Donaldson is going to answer 200 questions and she doesn`t answer them. And they are filled up by lawyers now.

MELBER: Let me bring Natasha`s reporting back into this Natasha. I`m not going to ask your grandmother`s position on the WWF, that`s something that guests either bring up on their own or not. But it`s a personal call, but it`s why we love Flannery.

I can tell you there`s a lot of evidence that wrestling is not on the up- and-up professional wrestling. But, Natasha, for folks watching who say OK, is this about the calendar and Mueller is just going to testify later? Fine. Or is this about something more?

What are your sources telling you? Because we are hearing from the Hill, and I think the footage we should at the top of the broadcast shows, this that it does look out of the ordinary.

BERTRAND: On the other hand, we`ve been told not to really read too much into it. I mean, we`ve been we`ve been told that this could just be - members do want more time to question Mueller. But at the same time maybe the 17th isn`t a feasible date for them to do that. So it could literally just be a scheduling thing.

MELBER: Why? I mean, then that`s what the question is this is not like the beginning. This has been weeks of negotiation. They landed on a deal. They announced it publicly. It had a timeframe and it had two subpoenas attached.

So the notion that on the Friday before, as Bill Barr steps in, that now there`s this chaos, does seem a little - to use a legal term a little--

BERTRAND: You`re totally right. And I wish we had more answers right now, but we`re really not getting anything from either Committee at this point.


MILLER: Look, I think at the end of the day, Mueller needs to show up in testify. He needs to take the question - need to take questions for every member of these committees. As you point out, he`s they`re under subpoena. He`s not there as a voluntary witness.

And witnesses who come up and testify under subpoena don`t get to dictate to the Committee how they`re going to conduct their questioning. The rules of the House say that every Committee - every time the Committee has a hearing, every member gets to ask five minutes of questioning.

And there`s no one who has more respect for Bob Mueller than me, but there shouldn`t be special treatment for the special counsel. He ought to show up and take questions from every member of the Committee, the same way that every other witness before this Committee does--

MELBER: Right.

MILLER: He ought to do it for Judiciary and he ought to do it for Intelligence too.

MELBER: And you`re echoing, I think, what Mr. Flannery was alluding to earlier and that it`s - he could make it harder. He has the leverage of saying, well, I`ll fight this subpoena or I`ll ask Bill Barr to help me fight - although, that would be odd. And that`s why they came to some accommodation.

But as you say, no one - if the idea is no one above the law, no one`s above the law that includes the President, includes the Attorney General and it also includes the highly respected special counsel. It either - it does or doesn`t operate that way. I think this is a fascinating mystery with Mr. Barr somewhere in the picture based on the reporting we have.

My thanks to John Flannery--

FLANNERY: Thank you.

MELBER: --and your grandmother, since you brought her up. Knowing you, I imagine, she`s a wonderful lady.

FLANNERY: She was a wonderful lady. She was something else I will tell you.

MELBER: So tell us more about it sometime over steak.


MELBER: Matt Miller and Natasha Bertrand, respect to your families as well.

MILLER: Thank you.

MELBER: Thanks you three. You have a great weekend. We have so much more on tonight`s show. I got to tell you I`m pretty excited about it. A deep look at how Mueller actually testifies is going to add a lot of insight, we think, with our special guest David Corn.

Activists taking to the street over these planned immigration raids something very important to America this weekend, potentially.

And Donald Trump surrenders again today. That Labor Secretary is out after the Epstein sex-offender scandal.

And later on the show we want you to see Jon Stewart today, back on the Hill, going after Mitch McConnell on standing by the commitment this country made to 9/11 victims.

We have a lot more in this show. I am Ari Melber. You are watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.


MELBER: New protests breaking out today for these planned ICE raids that are supposed to target undocumented immigrants. Trump has said they were coming before he`s saying they`re coming again.

Meanwhile, Mike Pence, at the border, touring a detention facility in Texas and there was some staging on display. Boxes of animal crackers, fruit bars, diapers and socks, which are some of the very items that have been reported to be in short supply at these same centers.

It`s a contrast to the images the government watchdogs have released, which show kids on the floor, families on benches, the overcrowding. And these are the images that Congress will press Trump`s Border Chief about a testimony next week, a point they hit today.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): There`s no need for us to overcrowd and to detain and under resource.

Children being separated from their parents in front of an American flag.

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): Jakelin who`s aged - was age 7 from Guatemala, who died from sepsis while in our care. We do have a crisis at our border. It is one of morality. The Trump administration dead set on sending a hate- filled message--


MELBER: Joining me now is Nancy Santiago, an immigration activist, who served as an official in the Obama administration and a first-time guest on THE BEAT. I know you`ve been working on these issues and we wanted to hear from you. Thanks for being here.


MELBER: What is the significance in your view of the way these raids are promised, announced, hyped, then canceled, then now here planned again. How do you view that as a part of policy?

SANTIAGO: Well, it`s part of the same type of haphazard policymaking that`s created the perfect storm we`re looking at right now. So as you change things and you have not prepared your agencies or your communities to deal with them, we see what we`re seeing right now. The struggle that I have is that in addition to creating these haphazard policies that are having an impact on agencies and communities across the country, we`re also terrorizing families.

MELBER: You mentioned families. There was an explicit family separation policy. Under pressure it was set back. Many people working doing the work, you do say that was a positive step away from something that was basically child abuse.

New House report out today that we want a spotlight shows that this is not over. 148 infants and toddlers, according to the U.S. House, under two years old taken away from their parents at the border and kept apart anywhere from 20 days up to roughly six months.

SANTIAGO: Including a newborn infant. So these are the kind of things that are happening right now. There continue to be abuses that folks are suffering and not just in the detention centers. But in the whole process, we`re exposing people not just to trauma and danger at different points in the process.

So they`ve already encountered a dangerous journey to get to us. They`re fleeing dangerous situations. They walk into what they think is a safe environment and they are again being put in these challenging situations with no recourse and very little access to counsel. And we know that access to counsel makes all of the difference in these cases.

MELBER: On the - will they or won`t they aspect. Here was a Trump border czar, Ken Cuccinelli. Take a look.


KEN CUCCINELLI, ACTING DIRECTOR, U.S. CITIZENSHIP & IMMIGRATION SERVICES: They`re absolutely going to happen. There`s approximately 1 million people in this country with removal orders. And of course that isn`t what ICE will go after in this. But that`s the pool of people who`ve been all the way through the due process chain.


MELBER: What are immigrant communities doing with that this weekend? Does it feel like, "Oh, this is the time it`s actually going to happen", and how do they prepare.

SANTIAGO: Well, they`ve already started to happen. So we already have reports coming out of the Bay Area around of six arrests and a spike in not just the arrest of those deportee or people with deportation orders, but collateral arrests around them.

We got a report just this afternoon from the Telemundo affiliate in Florida, same kind of thing. The information is that they`re already happening. So folks having Sunday as this day that they`re preparing for and worried about, so we as activists and people in the community have been doing, is to try to educate people on what their rights are.

But the reality is that there is a sense of dread and fear even for families that aren`t in this dangerous situation, but know that they could be part of the collateral arrests that are happening.

MELBER: Nancy Santiago, thank you so much--

SANTIAGO: Thank you.

MELBER: --for joining us. Well it`s the story we wanted to get in tonight. We have new clues on what Mueller will say when he does testify when we`re back in 30.


MELBER: It`s Friday, so can we talk about Bob Mueller, Barack Obama and teddy bears? Because did you know President Obama once accepted to FBI teddy bears from then FBI director Mueller for his daughters Sasha and Malia. You could see it right here. Those are formal issue FBI teddy bears. It`s a rare moment of personality that we saw from this largely stoic figure.

We don`t hear about this too often, but take a look at some of Mueller`s lighter moments.


ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: We would like to send you home with two official bureau teddy bears for them as well as t-shirts


Thank you for that very kind introduction Lady Gaga. He had not heard the last of that.



MELBER: He`s got jokes occasionally. Now whether Bob Mueller does testify to Congress next Wednesday, which we are being told is still the government guidance or later, we don`t expect to see that kind of Mueller.

In fact, we reviewed his 60 some congressional appearances and found he was unwavering, at time strategically evasive. He knows what he`s doing and he is quite careful under oath.

Now we turn to someone who has been on the Mueller beat since before there was a Mueller probe. Mother Jones DC Bureau Chief, David Corn. You`re a great, great expert to have for this preview. Thank you for being here.


MELBER: Let`s start with the fact that being evasive doesn`t mean you`re untruthful. And Bob Mueller, we found was often evasive in some of these hearings around key questions. Take a look.


MUELLER: I think it depends on the circumstance--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think you should--

MUELLER: I can`t say with definitiveness, now at this time I would.

This is a much difficult and complex question that we`re wrestling with.

I hesitate to speculate, because I have just a piece of the puzzle also.

I would have to check to make absolutely certain.

Let me check one thing if I could. Yes, and I will review that answer. It`s very difficult to generalize or to reach some sort of understanding or make progress with that generalization.


MELBER: Is that what we expect to see at the hearing?

CORN: When I think about the testimony that, I assume is coming next week or maybe the week after, I think of three words, "Within The Lines". Now the interesting thing is whose lines? Bob Mueller`s lines.

What is he now? He`s a private citizen. He doesn`t work for the government. He doesn`t have to follow any orders from Attorney General Barr. But it`s clear from the statement he gave when he gave a nine minute press conference a couple weeks ago. That he believes he should be circumspect in talking about the piece of work that he delivered to Congress.

MELBER: And he has long been that way for people who think, "Oh, well this is about Special Counsel Mueller". He had a different view than even people who held the very same posts.

We did a apples-to-apples comparison of something you also covered, which is why you`re such an expert. You covered the Bush administration. You wrote about many of those scandals.

When James Comey was a part of the infamous spying hospital room scandal, he was much more forthcoming with Congress than Mueller.

CORN: Yes, this is a great moment.

MELBER: Well, take a look at the comparison.


JAMES COMEY, FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: I raced to the hospital room Mr. Ashcroft was lying down in the bed. The room was darkened.

MUELLER: It was out of the ordinary.

COMEY: I prepared a letter of resignation intending to resign.

MUELLER: I don`t believe that it`s appropriate for me to get into conversations that I`ve had with principles on that issue.


CORN: One is a dramatic account. He was far more of the comprehensive been talking about a Jim Comey. And the other is Sergeant Joe Friday, just the facts, maybe not even just the facts. If I don`t believe these are appropriate facts to share, I`m not going to share them.

Which is why thinking about his testimony, he certainly will put a public face to someone that I think the very bold findings within the Mueller report. But whether he goes beyond whether he shares any evaluations, anything that he thinks personally about what he found, is - I think they`re going to have a very hard time pushing him.

And on the other side, you`re going to have all these Republicans who say they`re going to be gunning for him. I`d like to see Jim Jordan gun for Marine veteran Bob Mueller. But they`re going to say that, he`s not - he`s pretty unflappable, right? He knows what the lines are for him.

He has a lot of control. But I don`t think we should be looking at this moment as necessarily a pivotal moment, because of these reasons.

MELBER: Well, this brings me to something I know and you know I love you, but as people say that you bring music into things too much.

CORN: I know, I know.

MELBER: People say that--

CORN: They say about me all the time.

MELBER: But if Comey and some of these other witnesses are the Grateful Dead and they will jam through the hearing for hours and see what happens, right, Mueller is playing the same set list from the reunion two or five years ago, and as you say he`s not going to depart.  And for that, we offer another piece of hearing sound he`s going back and forth with the late Senator Arlen Specter who was tough and oversight.

CORN:  Oh yes.

MELBER:  And Mueller --

CORN:  Because he was a former prosecutor himself.

MELBER:  Exactly, as a former prosecutor himself.   And Mueller finds ways to say things that if you weren`t listening closely sounded like an answer because he does the lawyer thing of saying, I would expect that thing to happen.  And if you not listen closely, oh yes, that`s an answer.  I would -- and then Specter calls him out as saying well, that`s actually not an answer at all.  Take a look.


ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL:  I cannot put myself without all the facts back into the position of the decision-maker.

ARLEN SPECTER, FORMER SENATOR:  If this committee, if those two men, the chairman of the ranking member can`t have access to this memorandum, I don`t think Senate Oversight is worth a tinker`s damn.

MUELLER:  I am making a distinction, Senator, if I might.  I`m saying, in the case where there`s been a request for this memorandum, I would expect that the request of the committee to get this memorandum would be accommodated.

SPECTER:  Well, Mr. Mueller, that doesn`t answer the question of all.


CORN:  It doesn`t answer the question.  Now, you know, the great rapper David Byrne of Talking Heads --

MELBER:  Sure.

CORN:  -- once said facts don`t do what you want them to, right?  And so we have a situation where I think mowers going to stick to a very limited viewing of the facts.  And people are going to ask him to make conclusions or draw observations based on that limited set of facts and he`s probably going to say no to that.

And what recourse is there if someone pushes him the way Specter did there to go beyond that.  So it`s -- I think he`s going to get it from both sides and it`s going to be in some ways very dramatic but ultimately maybe not that satisfying.

MELBER:  Well you know what, David Byrne also said --

CORN:  Psycho-killer?

MELBER:  Take me to the river --

CORN:  We`ll go there.

MELBER:  Drop me in the water.  Hey now --

CORN:  Hey now.

MELBER:  Hey now, now.

CORN:  Yes.  But Al Green said it first.

MELBER:  It was a -- that`s at Al Green cover?

CORN:  You did not know that.

MELBER:  I didn`t know that.

CORN:  Well, you got to go back and listen to Al Green doing it.

MELBER:  The Reverend --

CORN:  The Reverend Al Green.

MELBER:  The Reverend Al Green.

CORN:  Yes.

MELBER:  Wow.  Well, you know what, that`s David Byrne, this is David Corn, and we also have David Cross the comedian from Arrested Development.  Do you know him?

CORN:  Yes I do.

MELBER:  Would you do a fallback Friday with him later on tonight?

CORN:  I`d be honored.

MELBER:  All right, stick around --

CORN:  I will be sticking.

MELBER:  Stick around for more David`s.  But before "FALLBACK," when we come back, Donald Trump lost so badly so many times this week, some people are having a hard time keeping track, and some of these caves matter in huge ways.  We`re going to get into that.

Also, tonight before we do "FALLBACK," I want you to see -- and we`ve saved this for tonight, Jon Stewart today in the Congress taking on Mitch McConnell.  You got to see it.  It`s brand new.  All that and later in the hour "FALLBACK FRIDAY" when we come back.


MELBER:  Trump hit with a big loss today surrendering to pressure to oust his Labor Secretary over lenient treatment of sex offender Jeff Epstein.  Secretary Acosta stridently defending himself Wednesday, by Friday morning today, he`s toast which contradicts Trump`s public embrace.  His team had also said this week there was "zero chance he fires Acosta right away."

Fact-check false, it turns out that zero chance was more like 100 percent chance.  His loss comes a day after Trump admitted defeat on the court battle over the census, another surrender that follows months of bluster where he claimed he wouldn`t surrender, and a reminder of one key principle for the Trump era from our colleague Rachel Maddow.


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Don`t listen to what they say they`re going to do.  Look at what they are actually doing.  Don`t watch what they say.  Watch what they do.  We have taken it as a general mantra to watch what they do, not what they say.  Don`t listen to what they say.  Watch what they do.


MELBER:  Watch what they do.  And this came in part in response to intrepid reporting by Miami Herald journalist who exposed the depth of the scandal plus prominent Democrats who pressed and demand Acosta`s ousting.

I`m joined now by Neera Tanden, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress who also work for Obama and Clinton.  Good to see you.


MELBER:  How do you view this as a story about ignoring most of what the White House says and looking at the facts as they piled up?

TANDEN:  Yes.  I mean, I think three years into this or two-and-a-half years into this, I think most of us recognize that whatever the White House backgrounds to reporters has you know, ten percent, 20 percent, 30 percent chance of being true a day, two days, three days, or sometimes a few months later.

So I think the question is really why is there any credibility given to White House statements, White House background, white as you know senior aide says when it`s so often proven to be false as Acosta saw himself this morning.

MELBER:  Do you view as a -- as a student of Washington who`s been in these high profile positions that most people have not, do you view this is something that would have happened without that Miami Herald reporting that I mentioned?

TANDEN:  Oh absolutely not.  Of course, Donald Trump himself if anything has shown a blind eye to this kind of scandal particularly scandals that affect the treatment and impact the treatment of women.  And so I think it was really just the added detail after detail after detailing that the incredible reporting just about how much Acosta acted to protect Epstein.

It`s just not -- it`s not that he just didn`t prosecute but the way he handled this, it really created security for Epstein against future prosecution which took years as we`ve seen now, years for a better and more able prosecutor to pierce.

MELBER:  So how do you view this as -- I don`t know if CAP identifies as in the resistance or not, but you`re a very powerful.

TANDEN:  More in the resistance than that.

MELBER:  Right and you`re powerful force in Washington.  But I`m sure, Neera, you hear from people, I know I do anecdotally "nothing matters," OK, they reported a thing that is outrageous, scandalous, terrible, but what`s it going to lead to?  And it actually see -- I mean the Miami Herald -- and I don`t say -- I say this out of respect to them, it`s not like they had the largest, most well-funded megaphone in the world, but they did dogged reporting, and print reporting, and that drove something.

How do you -- how does all of this in your view relate to the larger political project which is a world where people are somewhat exhausted and cynical at times?

TANDEN:  I, in fact, think this is an incredibly important point which is you see a lot of this.  People -- a lot of people are just you know, sort of bogged down by the terrible news, the scandal that you know, I mean so many people sort of thought of their reporting on Epstein which is particularly horrifying in its predatory nature, as almost part of the haze of scandal.

What I think is really important with this and with the census is Trump can be forced to be backed down by public scandal and actually by the court, that resisting, opposing, energizing people can actually have real results particularly as we have news of these horrifying detention camps.  I do think people are so incredibly weary.  But Acosta learned that it actually matters that you have a level of scandal that you know, even rump can be forced to act.

MELBER:  Right.  And as you say, all indication with the 100 percent -- zero percent "all that was -- they don`t want to do anything."  Trump wanted to back them up, give a press conference, almost though -- oh it doesn`t matter what you say, just put it out there.  No, you`re fact- checked by the reporters I mentioned, you`re fact-checked by local prosecutors, you`re fact-checked by other experts and it overwhelmed him.

 And that that would seem to be important and I say that as an observation about the substance not, of course, the wider politics of it, which is why we thought you`d be interesting to hear from on this.  Neera Tanden.  --

TANDEN:  I just say one additional point.

MELBER:  Sure.

TANDEN:  I do want to note the heroism of the women who are coming forward.  I think that also contributed to the fact.  In fact, you heard a woman and her voice talk about what happened to her.  You know, this -- she`s a hero.  These women are heroes.  They all -- those voices made this change happen as well.

MELBER:  Yes, 100 percent.  And when I`m referencing the Miami piece, it had quoted on background anonymously many of those people, as you say, some came forward including to our own Savannah Guthrie so I appreciate your addition there as well.  Thank you, Neera.

TANDEN:  Great to be with you.

MELBER: Great to have you.  We`re going to feel a break and then something I promised you.  We`d show you -- we`re going to show you Jon Stewart dropping the hammer on Mitch McConnell.  And later, a very special "FALLBACK FRIDAY" with David Corn and David Cross.


MELBER:  Today the U.S. House voted to renew funds for 9/11 victims, and this was the scene as first responders lobbied with comedian Jon Stewart.  There have been years of emotional pleas for Congress to act and permanently support the victims.  The momentum comes after some sniping though with Senator Mitch McConnell who didn`t respond to the pressure today saying the Senate will consider this bill "soon."

Jon Stewart reminded Americans about the issue in a blistering and often emotional round of testimony just last month.  Here`s what he just told MSNBC`s Andrea Mitchell today flanked by first responder John Feal.


JON STEWART, COMEDIAN:  It`s in sight but it`s not done.  And I don`t think any of us feel comforted.  We just want to make sure.  We have a deadline.  The Senate Majority Leader said to them personally this would be done by the August Recess.  That`s August 2nd.  So we`re going to hold them to that word.  They`re still arguing about this pay for -- this is either necessary or it`s not, and it`s necessary.  It`s nonsense it has to stop.  Keep your word.  Your word was this passes unattached as a standalone bill, fully funded, no questions anymore.  This is like John has plowed the field, everything has been done, the letters been written, it`s been put it an envelope, the stamp is on it.  All the Senate has to do is mail the letter.  It`s all we`re asking them to do.  And they shouldn`t do it bu August 2nd and let`s be done with this.  Keep your word.


MELBER:  Keep your word and mail the letter.  We`re going to stay on this story and see what Mitch McConnell said it does.  Now, when we come back, we`re going to light it up a bit -- a bit and answer the age-old question.  Let`s take a look.  What happens when two Davids and Ari walk into a newsroom?  You`ll see it right here live.

Reporter David Corn and Comedian David Cross are here for a "FALLBACK FRIDAY" that will have you saying "Shabbat Shalom" we think with your Friday night Merlot, you guys.  I`ll see you when we come right back.


MELBER:  It`s Friday on THE BEAT and what a week it`s been.  It`s time to fall back.  I`m joined by Emmy award-winning actor and comedian David Cross.  He`s produced, written, and acted on over 100 films and shows included the beloved role of Tobias from the hit show Arrested Development.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Michael, look at you.  I mean, you`re holding a sledgehammer, your shirt is -- I did that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Clumsy adolescence, it`s a phase we`ve all been through except for me.  I was like a cat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Tobias is sent to break into Maggie`s house to steal evidence.


MELBER:  He has a new comedy special out now called Oh Come On and I`m also joined by our other David, Mr. David Corn from Mother Jones.  He received a George Polk Award for breaking that very influential Mitt Romney 47 % story back during simpler political times.  Good to see both of you.

CORN:  Thank you.

DAVID CROSS, COMEDIAN:  Good to see you.

MELBER:  David Corn, who needs to fall back?

CORN:  Well, you remember Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House?

MELBER:  I do.

CORN:  Every time that Trump did something wrong, lied, acted ignorant, he was nowhere to be found, didn`t say anything.  But this week we learned that for an interview in a book that`s coming out I think pretty soon, he said that he believed Trump was -- well he said, not a good person.  He was ignorant about government and that Ryan himself left the job, vacated the job because he couldn`t stand working with Donald Trump.

Now, if this isn`t one of the biggest, so now you tell me in the world I don`t know what there is, but I have to say for this profile in cowardice for speaking out when it barely matters, Paul Ryan should fall back.

MELBER:  And you think this is clear that it`s Ryan playing politics because he`s -- he wants this to be in the book.

CORN:  Well that`s a good question.  I think we`re going to see a lot of maneuvering on the part of Republicans.  It may go out for the next couple of decades.  I was not really a Trump fan at the time --

MELBER:  Right.

CORN:  And this is the beginning for him.

MELBER:  Yes, David.  This is the question of whether Donald Trump is sort of the tequila of conservative America and you unleash it, and you act a certain way, but then when it`s all over the next day you like that was the real me or I don`t know what that was.

CROSS:  Well, they`re all lying, and duplicitous, and disingenuous, and they`re you know, it`s only to support their --

MELBER:  Agenda.

CROSS:  Agenda and yes, just to keep working and then so you know, will become a lobbyist, and then sell books, and --

MELBER:  You find it pathetic?

CROSS:  Yes.  It`s a bad way to be a human being.

MELBER:  I think that`s very clearly put.  Who`s on your fallback list as the great artist that you are?  You`re not as obsessed with this politics stuff as we are.

CROSS:  Well, I was going to say neo-Nazis being welcomed to the Rose Garden but I think this is more important.  I`ve been out I`ve been -- the reason I have this crazy beard as I`ve been in the woods and shooting.  So I didn`t have any -- shooting a movie, not shooting --

MELBER:  Not shooting bears.

CROSS:  So I didn`t have -- I have -- had no internet and you know, wasn`t privy to a lot of the news items.  But more important I think really because your producers gave me some stuff to pick out.  This photo shows a black bear relaxing at a New Hampshire hotel.  There you go.

MELBER:  Oh, he`s chilling.

CROSS:  Yes, but let me -- let me -- here, let me -- we`ve all seen that enough.  OK, take that off, put it on me.  Now, more importantly as you read this article, then what -- forget the black bear, get a close-up on this, please.  Where do I go?

MELBER:  There you go.

CROSS:  It says, Gym photos that you have to see to believe.  What?  Who -- how are we -- who is getting away with this, that their gym photos that have to be seen to be believed.  You wouldn`t believe what`s happening in the photo unless you saw with your own eyes.  This is outrageous, America.  This is not the America that I want to live in.  So that`s what`s got to fall back this Friday.

MELBER:  The bear -- the bear might be interested in that because its click bait.

CROSS:  That sounds vaguely sexual.  I don`t know what that -- I don`t know --

MELBER:  No it`s a joke about baits.

CORN:  Well, like baiting bears, you know what I`m saying.  You put baits in the woods.

CROSS:  See, I`m not --

MELBER:  My joke was so bad the comedian didn`t even get it enough to make fun of it.  That`s how bad it was.

CROSS:  I get it now, though.  I get it.

MELBER:  Why are you laughing now?

CROSS:  I`m laughing at you not with -- there`s a difference.  There`s a subtle difference.

MELBER:  Is there a difference?

CORN:  Yes.

MELBER:  Big difference.

CORN:  Big difference.

MELBER:  Anything else need to fall back?

CROSS:  Well, there`s that Putin steak thing.  Do you have a picture that?

MELBER:  Let`s see that.

CROSS:  No, they`re never ready.

MELBER:  No, we have it.  You guys have it.

CROSS:  You better.  Guys, this is live.

CORN:  It has been -- it has been --

CROSS:  T minus five.  OK, no, all right.

CORN:  There it is.

CROSS:  There it is.  Now consider your sources.  That`s from the Sun, you know.  That`s like --

MELBER:  Well, you could see the picture.  Does it look like Putin to you?

CROSS:  I think it does.  But clearly they -- somebody manipulated that right.  There`s no way that --

MELBER:  I mean, look, David Corn -- you know what, David Corn`s critics say -- they say he`s obsessed with Russia.  So you see Putin wherever you look even in the meat oil.

CORN:  I don`t how to respond to that but no, I have not seen Putin in either bacon, chicken, fish, or tofu.  I just don`t see --

CROSS:  What about -- what about Mother Mary, what about Mary or Jesus?  I`ve seen --

CORN:  Or Peter, Paul, and Mary.

CROSS:  Oh boy, you got it.

CORN:  I`m just -- I`m just trying to keep up with Ari here.

CROSS:  I`ve see -- yes, I`ve seen -- yes, I`ve seen a visage of Peter, Paul, and Mary on the side of a bank in Virginia`s four stories.  Flocks, people flock to it.

MELBER:  You said something earlier comedian David Cross which is true which is this show is live.

CROSS:  Yes.

MELBER: And now, it`s over.

CORN:  So it`s no longer a lie.  That`s kind of --

MELBER:  Now, we`re overdue.

CROSS:  It just got canceled?

MELBER:  All right, David Cross, a big fan of your work, I appreciate you being here.

CORN:  Always a pleasure, sir.

MELBER:  David Corn.  That does it for us.  "HARDBALL" starts now.