STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: She is an icon. Congratulations Andrea and that is going to do it for us here tonight will be back tomorrow with more MEET THE PRESS DAILY and "THE BEAT" with Ari Melber starts right now. Good evening Ari.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Steve. We are live in Washington tonight with a special show including a fact check on Donald Trump`s failed fear playbook and later some new clues about Bob Mueller`s upcoming testimony. But our top story begins with breaking news.
Take a look at this visual. Four members of Congress, four American citizens, four duly elected members of the U.S. House of Representatives, each elected in a wave of 2018 which was itself largely a rebuke to President Trump and Trumpism. You are looking at what we just saw, what just happened here in Washington that is being seen around America.
Representatives Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayyana Pressley and Rashida Tlaib speaking out together to rebuke the President for what they call his racist race-baiting hateful and misleading claims and attacks on them.
Now when they came to that lectern within this last hour was the first time the four joined together to respond.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): The recent tweets and words from the President are simply a continuation of his racist and xenophobic playbook.
REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): This is the agenda of white nationalists.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, (D-NY): This country belongs to you. And it belongs to everyone. And today that notion, that very notion was challenged.
REP. AYYANA PRESSLEY (D-MA): This is a distraction and we should not take the bait.
OMAR: This is his plan to pit us against one another.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That is new. That is the response from one arm of your government. The other arm of government in our system led by Donald Trump doubled down on Xenophobia today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you hate our country, if you`re not happy here, you can leave. You`re complaining all the time. Very simply you can leave, you can leave right now. You have somebody that comes from Somalia which is a failed government. These are people that hate our country.
Hey John, they hate our country. They hate it, I think with a passion. If they don`t like it here, they can leave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Donald Trump`s comments today are drawing fire. They`re drawing condemnation, they`re drawing disappointment across America as racist and patently xenophobic slurs. The Speaker of the house is pushing a formal resolution to condemn Donald Trump`s racism and in a different time perhaps the leaders of both parties in Congress would say they`re against this.
They stand against this at least for a day in public. But today`s not that day. I have to report to you that the leader on the Senate side of the Republican Party, Mitch McConnell refused to even comment on this when reporters caught up with him.
Meanwhile asked today point blank, if he was not concerned that white nationalist groups find common cause with him, President Trump to that question said, no, he`s not concerned. And this is where I want to dig in a little bit for a moment tonight.
Why would he be? This is all out in the open. Donald Trump is invoking the language in the argument of white nationalists in America for a long time coming. You know, there`s a classic editorial cartoon that shows Americans yelling at a native American to "go back where you came from" but since every non-native American is an immigrants in this cartoon world of events, the native Americans responds "you took the words right out of my mouth."
But this history goes beyond logical games and arguments and cartoons. This history is very real. The United States fought over segregation when troops were called in to protect black children who just were supposed to go to school in Little Rock. The New York Times reported on a 15 year old black teenager surrounded then - this was the front of the paper that day - surrounded by a reportedly "jeering crowd."
And the Times reports that several troops had to use their clubs to push that crowd back to prevent anyone from molesting her "don`t let her in, go back where you came from," that crowd yelled.
When a Black Panther activist went to protest the Attica prison in 1971 to draw attention to how people are treated in prison in this country, an issue we think about today, she relayed the reception she received there. "We were threatened at gun point and told go back where you came from."
Well, when the famous pianist Walter Hautzig who fled the Nazis in Europe to come to our country, to come here to America. And then when asked, he refuse to perform for an Alabama promoter who he learned it turned out wanted to ban black Americans from that concert, he told that promoter, "you`re as bad as the Nazis" and they said back to him, "Go back where you came from."
Go back, that`s what those white nationalists told a Jew who fled the Nazis and wanted to simply stand up for equality right here in America in our country, that`s the ugly history in the context of the sitting President telling American citizens in the opposition party to go back where they came from.
Everyone knows what he says. So when what he says is met with silence by literally hundreds of Republicans in Congress, it raises the deeper questions that go beyond Donald Trump. Take this Southern paper today, the Charlotte Observer asking, "Are you OK with a racist President, Republicans?"
I`m joined tonight for discussion on this. Former Solicitor General of the United States Neal Katyal; Tiffany Cross, Managing EDITOR of THE BEAT DC, no relation I should mention. political analyst Michelle Bernard and Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
What does this language mean do you.
MICHELLE BERNARD, BERNARD CENTER FOR WOMEN POLITICS AND PUBLIC POLICY: It`s repulsive. When I - when you when you take it bit by bit, one of the first things I did today after hearing the second press that the President had today, was I went to take a look and see what Rush Limbaugh was saying because to me that gives is a really good sense of what many people on the right are seeing and feeling.
And one of the things he`s saying is number one, don`t blame this on the President, don`t be mad at the President, blame it on the media because the left wing media is against us, you know. He says Donald Trump isn`t racist, Donald Trump didn`t mention color, he didn`t mention race, these are anti- American, anti-Israel you know, horrible, horrible women and they should go back to the places where they came from.
What it says to me is America was built on the backs of black men and black women who didn`t want to be here and when they wanted to go back to Africa, they were not allowed to do so. Black women were raped. Black men suffered all types of atrocities. We built this country, there`s absolutely no reason for any of us to leave it.
America is as much our country as it is anyone else`s and the question I have for Mitch McConnell and all the Republicans who did not come out and say anything about what the President said today is, is this what today`s Republican Party stands for? What happened to the big tent.
TIFFANY CROSS, CO-FOUNDER & MANAGING EDITOR, THE BEAT DC: So I completely agree with you. I do think that we have to acknowledge that I`ll put my friend, Michael Eric Dyson here and say Frankenstein was the doctor, not the monster. This is the monster that the GOP created and we have to acknowledge that.
This didn`t begin this year. This certainly isn`t the first time that we have a white nationalist in the Oval office of this country. This isn`t the first time that we`ve had white nationalists walking the Capitol Hill. What we see right now, this is what happens when we`re silent.
I would even go a step further and say this is the first time that the media has been so bold to say the President made racist comments. Oh not comments with racial undertone, not these are some people found racist. I think had we call the thing, a thing, two years ago when this President kicked off his campaign by calling Mexicans, rapists and drug dealers. Had we called the thing, a thing in 2011 when he talked about the Obama being a birther. Had we called the thing, a thing decades ago when he called for the murder of the Central Park Five, the now exonerated five.
And you know in in honor of being here with Ari, I`ll say - I`ll quote the great urban philosopher, Nas here otherwise known as Nasir Jones and say evidently, it`s elementary, they want us all gone eventually. These women represent millions of people. When he says go back to where you came from, he`s not talking about these four lawmakers.
He`s talking about you and me and you and you.
BERNARD: And all the other constituents.
CROSS: In their constituents.
MELBER: Very well put, we don`t have Nas on this program tonight but we do have Professor Dyson later in the hour so appropriate reference to think on, on a serious topic. I want to know play briefly the President saying, yes, he`s fine with the white nationalist agreement. Take a look, Neal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of my country. Get out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m a U.S. citizen too.
REPORTER: When a man later identified as 36-year old Christopher Nelson called her an ISIS expletive and said that I will cut your throat, go back -
REPORTER: Does it concern you that many people saw that tweet as racist and that white nationalist groups are finding common cause with you on that point?
TRUMP: It doesn`t concern me because many people agree with me and all I`m saying, they want to leave, they can leave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL: So I think that there`s a political dimension, historical dimension but I think the reason why you get these comments creating such resonance in the country is because of the personal dimension. I think you know, I don`t talk personally on your show much but I think anyone who has brown skin hears these comments all the time.
For me it started when I was three years old, when my mom was pulling out and of the car and pulling out of the driveway and someone knocked their door and said, go back to your country and -
MELBER: You have a - you have a memory of this in your life.
KATYAL: It is my first memory at 3-years old and -
MELBER: And I want - I want you to contrast that as you speak to the public memory because we`ll put it - we`ll pull it and put it back up. I mentioned at the top of the show, the Little Rock four and the New York Times reporting that what they were saying then to them, what our earlier panellist mentioned, you`re saying they`ve said to you.
KATYAL: Yes, not just them but my mom laughed when I was 3, I remember this very vividly, that was her response, just utter sheer laughter but I think this is different because this is of course not some Rando on the street, this is the President of the United States doing this and taking comfort in that clip by saying, well, lots of people think what I`m saying.
That`s not a defense, that fundamentally disqualifies him to be the President of the United States. He is such in a war with our constitutional values and Ari, you`re right. This is the land of Little Rock and Salma, of Dr. King, of Abraham Lincoln, of our fourteenth amendment in our Declaration of Independence.
And this President doesn`t get any part of that.
MELBER: Yes and this is it as I mentioned because what you`re talking about is, what people have lived and what they hear. And speak if you would Neal and then back to the panel as we look at this, this was the history.
Surrounded by a jeering crowd, go back home, they said to someone who was home as you were alluding to. What does it mean when then one of the responses the President gets is well, maybe he didn`t mean that or people are blowing it out of proportion.
KATYAL: Yes, it`s not out of proportion. I mean that`s fundamentally inconsistent with what it means to be an American. You can look at Ronald Reagan`s - one of his last speeches when he was President on November 7, 1988 in which he says, this is put up on my Twitter right now, which is you know, you`re fundamentally - you can be a Frenchman and come here, you`re now an American but this is not what he says and you know, this rhetoric.
It`s not just when I was 3, Ari, I get these emails every day. I get calls every day saying go back, Muhammad lover, go back to Pakistan. They don`t really understand where people of brown skin are all from but you know, this is something that lots of Americans experience every single day and that`s why I think this is getting a resonance in the way others do.
You and I`ve talked about you know, Mueller end. You know, obstruction of justice and conspiracy and all that`s important but this is a conspiracy against our constitutional values.
CROSS: And also I get that every day. I think it`s something to note that the scariest thing about the President`s comments today was the applause from the audience.
CROSS: The other scary thing is all the people at home who were applauding. The other scary thing is the deafening silence we see from the Republican Party who controls a branch of our government and a lot of the judiciary.
All across the country right now people are disagreeing with what you`re saying, Ari. They`re disagreeing with me. They`re still looking at us saying we`re part of this left wing media that doesn`t understand the country that we built for free.
So I think we have to root this out stem what this has inside it.
BERNARD: And what I would say is, what`s even scarier to me than the deafening silence is every single day of the week, you can go on social media and find video of someone yelling at a person of color in a restaurant or in a park and telling them to go back to the country that they came from.
Every day, young - women like me fear their sons and their daughters leaving their home just to go to school. Just recently, I just told my son in advance of something he was getting ready to do to be careful and don`t play music too loud and showed him the story on the news about the man who thought a young black boy was playing his rap music too loud and slit his throat.
This comes from the top and it trickles down, talk about trickle-down economics, this is trickle-down murder. It`s very, very serious. He is setting the tone for a country that makes it unsafe for anyone who looks like the people sitting at this very table.
MELBER: Right and that was a point, I think it was alluded to by these for women of color, members of Congress today as well about well, what are you - what are you putting out into the bloodstream of America?
BERNARD: Exactly, they get death threats every day.
MELBER: And so Adam, you were someone who`s worked for a long time at that intersection of what the Democratic Party is, what it should be and how it should deal with its force.
And 5 or 10 years ago, where your group was people - lot of people in this town said too far and you`re too negative or cynical about the modern Republican Party. Certainly that was how people viewed your group in the Obama era and here, I think it`s fair to say.
What do you see as someone who said no, you have to meet fire with fire in this part of the - of the way the Republican Party looks today in Washington?
ADAM GREEN, CO-FOUNDER, PROGRESSIVE CHANGE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE: Well, first before getting that power dynamic, I think it`s important to just acknowledge the moral moment that we`re in and as the one guest here who does not have black or brown skin, I think it`s important to say that white people need to call out white nationalism explicitly.
White people need to call out racism at this moment explicitly and that`s the bare minimum we can do. You know, there is a direct correlation here between this racist policy and what`s happening at the borders with these children, right?
It`s not just about comments that are being said and criticized. I have not seen any images of white people in those cages, right? This is an outgrowth of the inhumanity expressed by Trump through his policies, it`s having huge ramifications on people`s lives.
So that gets directly to these young women of color who are progressives and pushing the envelope in what they`re doing and frankly they are a threat, they are a threat to the entire power establishment, not just the Republican Party but the Democratic Party and this has been a weird week where, it`s - first, it was a democratic civil war and now Trump`s getting in and so - are getting mixed up.
But I think what we`re learning here is that we have to fight fire with fire. You know, if you think about it, this week is a rare instance in the Trump presidency where he felt so left out of the center of gravity of a debate happening that he needed - he felt the need to jump in, right?
That is testament to the power that AOC and Rashida and Ilhan and Ayyana have in moving the national dialogue. It`s a good power and the Democratic party needs to lift up that power, not try to tear down.
MELBER: Let me play briefly for you, since you mention them in the centrality there. Lindsey Graham who used to say "the President was a race- baiting coup," his words and now defends almost anything, take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): We all know that AOC and this crowd or a bunch of communist. They hate Israel, they hate our own country, they`re anti- America. Don`t get them aim higher. We don`t need to know anything about them personally, talk about their policy here. Anti-Semitic, they stand for all the things that most Americans disagree with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: So he`s trying to say actually they are the source of the hate as I mentioned and we`d like to do receipts around here. This with Lindsey Graham back in the day on Donald Trump, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: He`s a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious blip. He doesn`t represent my party, he doesn`t represent the values that the men and women who wear the uniform are fighting for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: What do you do with that?
GREEN: Well, I saw. My friend Adam Jentleson, a former Harry Reid staffer today, call out Steve Baynes, a Montana Republican Senator for making the same comment. He pretty much said don`t bring Jews into this. Don`t try to whitewash this racism today by invoking Jews out of nowhere.
You know Lindsey Graham would have a lot more credibility to say anything if the first words out of his mouth were, this is white nationalism, this is racism, this is wrong, I condemn it. He`s not saying that, he`s deflecting and the fact that we have zero Republicans on the record shows what a problem this is.
MELBER: I have Marc Morial who leads a civil rights group on these issues so I`m going to turn to him. This has been, I think a very illuminating discussion. I particular appreciate some of the real truth and personal things that each of you shared so my thanks to Adam, Tiffany and Michelle.
Neal comes back for opening arguments later in the show but Marc Morial is who joins me next. He is of course the leader of the National Urban League. Before we turn to him, I want to play a little more of what Congresswoman Presley just said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESSLEY: I encourage the American people and all of us in this room and beyond to not take the bait. This is a disruptive distraction from the issues of care, concern and consequence to the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Marc Morial as mentioned is here. Your response and given the conversation we just had to dealt with some of the ethics and the political dynamics of this, what do you want Americans at home to do with this tonight?
MARC MORIAL, PRESIDENT & CEO, NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE: Well, the first thing nobody`s going anywhere. Nobody`s going anywhere. In other words you can`t tell people to go anywhere. We are all Americans, we`re American citizens. It is stunning because its Charlottesville Chapter 2, it`s birtherism - maybe it`s birtherism Chapter 3.
It`s just a continuation of a pattern. This idea that the President is racist is embraced by almost a majority of the American people. It is a stunning statement and to hear Lindsey Graham flip flop, to understand that Mitch McConnell is hiding and has nothing to say just underscores that this is a moral moment.
Everyone needs to condemn these statements, needs to condemn this approach, needs to condemn nationalism. We cannot let nationalism, white nationalism get legitimized in this country. We cannot let white nationalism take hold in this country so this is once again a moment where anyone who`s a responsible person, responsible leader has to condemn the statements made by Donald Trump.
And condemn the idea that you`re going to take four members of Congress, duly elected by their constituents, who are American citizens and because you disagree with them, you`re going to condemn them, you`re going to say go home. No, no, no.
MELBER: You mentioned the silence and what a moment this is, that`s true for leaders of the Republican Party. It`s also true for people who maybe Steve Mnuchin who I`m about to show you is someone who out of New York certainly wouldn`t have seem to be, someone who 10 or 20 years ago would imagine himself standing by this.
I guess that`s the part that that can be so depressing. Is not only the Trumpism has at times revealed what`s out there but it`s also in in some other ways debases and perhaps worsened what`s out there. Take a look at Mnuchin today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Do you find the President`s tweet racist and what do you make of white nationalists praising those tweets?
STEVE MNUCHIN, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, USA: Again, I think the President - I don`t find them racist. The President just went on and clarified his comments. I think she speaks for himself on that and he was very clear but again we`re focused on cryptocurrencies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: I don`t make light of anything on a serious night Marc, but we`re focused on cryptocurrencies is not going to age well.
MORIAL: It`s ducking and dodging. It`s ducking and dodging, it`s evading, it`s avoiding. Steve Mnuchin knows this is racist. The American people know this is racist but not only that, it`s unacceptable. It`s beyond the presidency.
Look, you could say to every European American go back. African-Americans were brought here. The native American population, you all go back. This was our land, if you want to play that kind of game but you know, whether it`s Steve Mnuchin or Lindsey Graham or Mitch McConnell, what they`re doing is they`re shirking their moral responsibility.
This is bigger than who you work for. This bigger than what party you`re in. This is whether you are a person of great principal and I`m just urging people to stand up to this kind of statement, to stand up to these actions. This is where do you stand?
It`s not whether you agree with or like or support the four Members of Congress at whom this is directed. Them today, someone else tomorrow and it could be you the next day so we`ve got to stand up.
Now, I agree it`s a distraction and for me what`s also at stake is not statements but policies. The failure of the Justice Department and the Department of Education to enforce the civil rights laws. The inability of this presidency to find it in its appointment power to appoint a cabinet or staff that`s holistically diverse.
It`s those policies which emanate these statements suggest something else in terms of policies.
MELBER: Well, it goes - to your point it goes -
MORIAL: It`s about standing up at a time of - a time of moral crisis in the country.
MELBER: Right and it goes to -
MORIAL: And we cannot allow this.
MELBER: We`re dealing - we`re dealing a marketer, it goes to the rhetorical and cultural war that he wants to have around those policies as he runs a re-election, just like he promised new immigration raids that some of which haven`t been delivered on when he announced his re-election.
It`s a context so Marc in addition to other esteemed panellists, I thank you for being here, appreciate your comment.
MORIAL: Get out and vote. Register, register, register.
MELBER: Marc Morial. Now up ahead after the break, a fact check on those raids as I mentioned and then there`s a new plan for the Bob Mueller hearings. We`re going to bring that and later Professor Dyson with a history lesson we could all use.
I`m Ari Melber, you`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.
MELBER: Donald Trump pledges to do a lot of things and then fails to do them. We can report that`s largely what happened with these mass ICE raids that Trump has now been pledging since mid-June. When they didn`t happen the first time, Trump and his staff re-up the threat this past weekend saying, this time they were really serious.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It starts on Sunday and they`re going to take people out and they`re going to bring them back to their countries or they`re going to take criminals out, put them in prison.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re absolutely going to happen, there is 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 change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Those threats through extensive coverage as people braced for mass raids.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At least 10 major cities across the U.S. are bracing for sweeping raids.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Local immigrant rights groups are preparing for possible ICE raids as early as this weekend.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Trump administration putting undocumented immigrants on notice. The potential raids will begin this next Sunday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ICE is ready to go. This is intended to be a massive show of force against America`s undocumented immigrants.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Lot of headlines but there was no massive show after Trump`s talk of millions then reports of targeting maybe 2000 migrants. Today`s New York Times, you see right here reports, ICE actually made a handful of arrests that appeared to take place.
Similar headlines in the Wall Street journal reporting that Trump`s promised mass raids failed to materialize. It`s been a month straight of this Trump hyping mass raids that don`t happen. And now they`re trying to change the subject on this first day since the mass raids didn`t happen.
Now we`re not suggesting this administration is totally inactive on immigration. It has done plenty of things many inhumane, some illegal on this score. But on this particular threat of these mass raids, the administration has now been busted and it seems more interested in fear and hype than in executing these pledged mass raids.
For this conversation, I want to bring in some real experts. Former border patrol agent, Jenn Budd, served in San Diego for six years before leaving the force and has been critical of what she saw. Paula Ramos is the host of Vices LatinX and also worked on the Clinton campaign.
Jenn, you have been very clear about some of what you see is what`s wrong with these policies on the ground but what is the indication in your view and what should we come to understand as this gap between Donald Trump`s tweets and hype and what`s actually happening on the ground.
JENN BUDD, FORMER BORDER PATROL AGENT: You know, I think he -- you`re right and that he likes to use this as a fear tool. He likes his base to get riled up, he likes immigrants to live in fear, he likes to see people desperately tweeting or on Facebook offering advice to immigrants about what they should do to protect themselves and their families.
And I understand why they would be fearful and I think that they should take precautions, but so far all we`ve seen is just a bunch of smoke and no fire in this.
MELBER: And so in your experience then, how does that play over the long run within DHS and the places that actually do the work because they`re -- they must see what we slowly find out through original reporting, but they must see it on the front lines that there`s a big gap between Donald Trump`s as you put it fear tactics and their daily jobs.
BUDD: Well, yes. I think the agents themselves would probably like to be going out and doing this type of enforcement. They think that this is important. And I think -- so they would just see that he`s maybe a politician just like the ones in the past that promised that they were going to be tough on immigration and then they really aren`t.
MELBER: Paola, I want to read from some of the reporting from The Wall Street Journal on this because it speaks to how everyone can understand what may come next if they keep on with the same tactics. Other White House officials -- this is pretty good sourcing -- say ICE doesn`t even have the capacity to process large scale arrestees and said there was "never a plan for such an operation." Paola?
PAOLA RAMOS, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR, HISPANIC PRESS, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN: Exactly. The point is that it wasn`t just about their raids. The point was to create exactly this which was terror. All he wanted to do was to terrorize a country and that`s what he did, right. Because I think if you`re a policymaker, the first question you always ask yourself is what is your measure of success, right?
And when you look at these raids, when you look at this plan, you ask yourself, does this make the country safer? It does not. Does this deter more migrants from coming to this country? It will not. Does this fix the problem at the border? It does not. What does it do? It creates terror. It creates chaos. That`s what it does.
MELBER: And so Paola, how do you look at this given your expertise in this field, where on the one hand there`s all this real stuff that we report on that we mentioned including the treatment of people at the border, the way the children are being separate from the parents, all that stuff which is very real, and then the other part which is clearly designed to do something it`s all -- I mean it`s it sounds like a criticism to say this but what we`re seeing is that as the months drag on is it`s almost like a programming style approach to aspects of DHS which I think would certainly be unethical if you could prove that the administration is doing things as you say to scare and program and not for their duty to uphold the Constitution.
RAMOS: And it will add. It`s it`s not just doing this to create terror, he`s also doing this as his 2020 campaign platform, right. He`s doing this to send a message to his base which is I promised you that brown people and black people do not belong in this country and this is what I intend to do.
Obviously, he`s inept so that`s another conversation. But at the end of the day, the most important thing that we did see this weekend you know, with or without raids, with or without deportations, we saw that the community is prepared.
We saw that the community is informed of their rights and that`s because of the activists that it doesn`t matter what Trump says or does not say, they are educating the immigrant community every single day and informing them of their rights, and that is what we saw.
MELBER: Very interesting to get both of your perspectives. Paola Ramos and Jenn Budd, thank you. We`re going to fit in a 30-second break. When we come back the update on what`s going to happen at these Mueller hearings, Neal Katyal at this table.
MELBER: Today, Washington has been absolutely consumed by Donald Trump`s attacks on women of color in Congress, but behind the scenes there are other things happening including many in Congress furiously prepping for Bob Mueller`s Capitol Hill testimony that was moved from an original plan for this week to next week after a flurry of activity that happened basically late Friday.
Democrats negotiating an extra hour for the Judiciary Committee which means that every lawmaker on both the Judiciary and intelligence committees should be able to question Mueller. This was announced basically after the close of business Friday night.
Lawmakers are pushing to talk to Mueller`s deputies too today. A Fox News reporter says House Democrats are going to meet tonight over structure and questions. We have not yet confirmed that detail.
Back with me for our "OPENING ARGUMENT" series is former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal who`s argued dozens of cases before the Supreme Court and knows his way around these types of hearings. Thanks for being here.
NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you.
MELBER: First of all, it is a little bit inside baseball but so are you, so are we here at THE BEAT sometimes. What did you think of the unusual Friday night announcement that there are some tweaks and it`s delayed, what does it all mean?
KATYAL: Well, it means that there`s an extra hour that each side is going to have to question Mueller. And why that occurs seems to me, unfortunately, to be a little more about the politicians on both sides wanting some camera time than maybe anything else.
I mean, it`d be, one would hope, they`d use that extra hour and give the questioning over to one or two experienced people. But I fear it`s going to be these five-minute things and you know, you know from practicing law as well as I, you can`t really have a cross-examination or direct examination in five-minute increments with everything -- you know, interrupted every five minutes.
MELBER: I do wonder about that because there are -- it`s probably way too late for this, but since we`re -- since we`re talking, talking shop, there are some rare precedents where they`ve done different formats or had a committee counsel lead more questioning and that`s actually been quite fruitful. As you say, the stakes are so high for what is the biggest hearing for potentially the Donald Trump era. Nobody wants to defer their time.
I wonder what you think though of the fact that Bill Barr put a lot of pressure on Mueller staff not to testify. It appears that at least this week he`s winning.
KATYAL: Yes. So Barr has -- basically it looks like gagged two of the deputies that Mueller had from testifying next week which is consistent with his entire modus operandi which is to gag and cook and keep the public away from a lot of information. I think it`s unfortunate.
I don`t think it`s going to matter in the end because Congress will just subpoena these folks and they`re not -- they don`t work for the government anymore. They`re not accountable to Barr and I think that they will ultimately do the right thing and the truth will come out. It`s just going to be yet another delay.
MELBER: And doesn`t that go to also whether there`s any good-faith dealings with this Justice Department under Donald Trump or not because you say OK, so it delays it, then they subpoena, but when they subpoena right away, it`s the same Justice Department saying you`re not being fair, we need more time, why can`t we negotiate in good faith. I mean, at a basic level it is legally exhausting.
KATYAL: Yes, I know. I mean, for those of us who spent a lot of time at the Justice Department and past administrations, Republican and Democratic alike, it`s really very, very disheartening and tragic to see what`s happened to this Justice Department. And I think here`s one thing already that I would look for in the hearings.
So you might remember a Barr, when the report was turned over to him, when Mueller turned over their part in March, he said well, the report finds no collusion and clears him of obstruction of justice. And then in you know, a month later when the -- when the report was actually released, you and I were reading it out live and like wait a minute, it doesn`t say the President is cleared of obstruction. In fact, Mueller says, if he could have cleared him, he would.
And then Mueller also says in the report, I can`t indict a sitting president and indeed I can`t even label him a criminal. Here`s why this is significant. Barr just last month in an interview said "I personally think Mueller could have reached a decision as to whether it was criminal activity."
So the game has changed now, the rules have changed. Now, Mueller is free next week to answer the question he thought he couldn`t answer when he wrote the report which is did you think Donald Trump committed a crime. So it`s a really different circumstance in next week`s hearing.
MELBER: So can I ask you one more sort of legal nerd fan fiction question? Would you like to see Bob Mueller`s inner Comey come out when he testifies next week?
KATYAL: I think we all would. But you know what, we actually don`t need that. All we need is the answer to three simple questions.
MELBER: What are they?
KATYAL: So Donald Trump tweeted right after the report came out. He said no collusion, no obstruction, totally exonerates the president. So question number one, Mr. Mueller, Trump says no -- that you found no obstruction, is that true? Question number two, Trump says that you found no collusion. Is that true? Question number three, did you -- did your report totally exonerate the president? Yes or no, simple.
MELBER: I have -- we talked to a lot of people about this stuff. I haven`t heard someone lay it out the way you did which is put the onus on him to do the rebutting and keep it in the narrow landscape of yes or no, Mr. Mueller. I hope --
KATYAL: We don`t need the inner Comey. We just need Americans to focus on what the report actually says because it is devastating to the president.
MELBER; Great to have you on more than one story today. I think you make great points. We may not need the inner Comey but I am looking for, take a look, the inner Dyson, the inner and outer Dyson because Michael Eric Dyson -- do we have him? Let`s see. Pull it up. There he is live in Washington studio. Mr. Dyson is about to get academic in here. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: As promised, I`m back now with Professor Michael Eric Dyson on this eruption over Donald Trump`s comments about these four freshmen members of Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley.
They`re of course American citizens among other things, they`re duly elected, and they just held before we were coming on here tonight, this news conference, their first joined appearance to respond to Donald Trump telling them to go back where they came from. Of course, they`re from here for the most part.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): No matter what the president says, this country belongs to you and it belongs to everyone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Professor Michael Eric Dyson is here. He`s the author of a whole range of books including fittingly the Black Presidency: Obama and the Politics of Race in America. Good to see you even if not on a great night for America.
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Exactly right.
MELBER: Your views.
DYSON: It`s devastating. Look, this is the dementia genius of Donald Trump. He`s playing to his base but he`s also playing to the base`s instincts American political culture. Where is the Lincolnian appeal to the better angels of our nature? These are the worst demons of our souls.
And to demonize women of color as not American is not only to kind of give a redox to the birther argument, it`s to add a malevolent level of misogyny and sexism to the stew. And as a result of that, he gets two for the price of one. He`s dissing women, he`s dissing women of color, he`s demoralizing an entire community of people who find in them adequate representation for democracy.
And to disagree with what one`s fellow is not a bad thing. To disagree with one`s fellow human being is not a bad thing, but to demonize them as unworthy of citizenship, is the most remarkable renunciation of American patriotism that one might imagine.
MELBER: I always learn from you. Here we are with something negative and yet your erudition lays it all out. So I just heard you speak to us about the dissing, the demoralizing, the demented attack on our democracy.
MELBER: Four D`s.
DYSON: No doubt.
MELBER: And we were also listening to Rep. Omar say something that was once considered controversial even about Trump but has become much more obvious with his own closing of the white nationalist circle today in the Rose Garden, the President of the United States. I mean, we cannot lose our capacity to be shocked. We covered some of this at the top of the show.
The sitting President of the United States is co-signing the support of white nationalists as he has done before from -- the from the seat of government United States. This was Rep. Omar`s response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): This is the agenda of white nationalists. Whether it is happening in chat rooms or it`s happening on national T.V., and now it`s reached the White House Garden.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What is our political culture to do with that?
DYSON: It`s got to both acknowledge that this is a problem and then use all of our resources to deploy against this. I mean, this is astonishing. This gives new meaning to the White House. It`s exclusionary. It`s division. It`s a divisive rhetoric.
The President of the United States of America, he who speaks on behalf of E Pluribus Unum out of many one, the credo of America to bring us together no matter our partisan politics nor our division of geography or religion or race. Here is a guy reinforcing the very rudiments racist ideology. We have a racist in chief.
And I don`t say that lightly because you can disagree with somebody, you can disagree with the outcome of their intended remarks, but this is deeply entrenched in an America that sees black and white so bipolar opposition -- bipolar opposition, and others that now it`s fills out of the rhetoric as if is ordinary.
But here`s the real shame that fellow Republicans who are citizens have not stepped up to the plate and said this is wrong, this is vile, this must not be respected and this is not America at its best.
MELBER: And then there is what America historically has asked of its marginalized communities of its many of its minorities which is take the hate that you`re hit with, and be better, and be nicer, and be warmer, and be more respectful than that which you are treated.
It is not the Golden Rule to ask that much of the oppressed. And as we know and as you`ve written about extensively, there are different spirits of the responses through the -- through the black nationalist movement, through black pride movement, and through the peaceful non-violence movement.
MELBER: I wonder what you heard in Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez`s response tonight. She like all of us is allowed more than one set of ideas over time. She clearly leaned into a very peaceful response when of course many people know her as also being on policy quite strong and strident. She tried to lean into love. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OCASIO-CORTEZ: I am NOT surprised at what he`s doing but I also know that we`re focused on making it better because we don`t leave the things that we love. And when we love this country, what that means is that we propose these solutions to fix it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DYSON: Remarkable. This echoes of Martin Luther King Jr. That echoes of the best intent of an African-American and the brown centered movement for social justice in this country. This is Latinas, African American, and others in aggregate resistance to white supremacy. Don`t let it ruin your soul.
You know, Booker T. Washington said never let a man or woman pull you so low as to make you hate them. So we hate the things that he represents but we don`t hate Donald Trump. But we do have to raise the banner of American patriotism against the vicious forms of nationalism that our president is putting forth and the bigotry, the xenophobia.
Even Republicans have to say enough is enough. This doesn`t represent us. This is not the American soul at its best. Shame on Lindsey Graham, shame on Mitch McConnell, call them by name like they are on the molders bench in church. And called them to account for the spirit of refusal to side with those things that are right versus those things are expedient.
And the religious right in this country has a lot of explaining to do. You cannot stand in the name of God side by side with a man that you think represents the blinkered horrible analysis of the gospel. This is not evangelical ambassadorship, this is the most truncated form of hate that we`ve seen in this country and Donald Trump is the man who`s done it and we are the worst as a country for it.
MELBER: It`s interesting and you`re the first guest I`ve heard today make that point. We talked about the Republicans to Congress, we talked about the financial back in the Republican Party. We showed Mr. Mnuchin, but you make the point that for those who identify with the cloth with the religious leadership --
DYSON: That`s right.
MELBER: -- what a night to consider where those teachings land you on speaking out on this. Professor Dyson, we always learned something from you.
DYSON: My friend, it`s always great to be here.
MELBER: Great to have you. We`re going to fit in a break. When we come back, did you know that with so much going on, tomorrow is actually C-day, a criminal contempt day for Attorney General Bill Barr. We`ll explain next.
MELBER: With all the other news going on, did you know we are just one day away from the House formally voting on criminal contempt charges for Attorney General Barr as well as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, all for failing to comply with subpoenas about that census issue.
This would be the second time ever a U.S. Attorney General is held in contempt. We`ll be watching and updating that story for you tomorrow.
MELBER: That does it for me. I`ll be back live from Washington tomorrow for THE BEAT at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. But right now it`s "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END