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Mueller preps testimony. TRANSCRIPT: 7/22/19, The Beat w/ Ari Melber.

Guests: Richard Stengel, Caroline Polisi, Nick Akerman, Nayyera Haq, PaolaRamos, Neal Katyal, Jermaine Dupri, Andrew Yang, Mark Sanford

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST:  A quick note on that breaking news from just a moment ago, we have just gotten the statement from Schumer and Pelosi, they confirm the President`s announcement that a bipartisan budget deal has been reached.

That`s all for tonight, we`ll back tomorrow with more MEET THE PRESS DAILY and "THE BEAT" with Ari Melber starts right now. 

Good evening to you, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Steve. Thank you as always.

Bob Mueller speaks this week tonight. There is news on how he will prep and how Bill Barr is interfering. Neal Katyal is here on that later tonight.

Also, Donald Trump is starting this week like he ended the last one, stoking racial tension. We have a fact check later in this show.

And a top Republican who might actually challenge Donald Trump in 2020, Mark Sanford is here tonight as well.

And that`s not all, later on the show Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang is here along with Music Executive Jermaine Dupri, together, I`ll explain.

We begin with, of course the top story, Bob Mueller`s testimony now two days away and here`s what we`re learning right now. First, Mueller will discuss the criminal evidence against Trump for five hours before two Committees.

Second, he will deliver an opening statement, that`s new. Third, Bill Barr`s DOJ is again stepping in, something we`ve been tracking on this story from the start. New reporting tonight, Barr staff stressing the Mueller that anything Mueller knows, which is not in the report, should be treated as quote "presumptively privileged from disclosure".

Let`s stop right there. Why does that sound a little odd? Well, I think you know why? Bob Mueller is the one who airs on the side of not commenting and disclosing. It was a Mueller who stayed quiet while Barr released letters and excerpts that mischaracterize the Mueller report before it was ever released.

So when Barr and his staff are the ones demanding less disclosure, it obviously stands out. And of course, it was Barr`s Justice Department that flat-out pushed Mueller`s top prosecutors not to testify at all. And Barr is also opined against this week`s hearing, knocking it in his view as a quote "Unnecessary public spectacle".

So for all this talk about how Wednesday`s hearing could end up being a dud or dry or a redo, it does appear that people inside the Trump administration are still concerned about Mueller and his team talking.

Because even in his careful style, Bob Mueller was, in one sense blunt in his last and only public remarks today saying, "his probe simply did not allow him to conclude Donald Trump did not commit a crime".


ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL FOR THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: As set forth in the report, after that investigation if we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.


MELBER: And they didn`t say so. Now that implicit rebuke of Trump does not mean that Bob Mueller is now standing with The President`s critics, far from it. Remember, as a legal matter, when Mueller steps in front of the world Wednesday, he will be a hostile witness under subpoena.

He is prepping to be pressed and to push back. He`s doing in-depth briefings, mock sessions to mimic the big event, so he`s ready to take on these Committee Chairs who have their own view of what Mueller found.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We want Bob Mueller to bring it to life -- to talk about what`s in that report.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): The report presents very substantial evidence that the President is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.

SCHIFF: It`s a pretty damning set of facts that involve a presidential campaign in a close race, welcoming help from a hostile foreign power. He is a essentially unindicted co-conspirator.

NADLER: Let Mueller presents those facts to the American people and then see where we go from there.


MELBER: There are damning facts in the Mueller reporter. But some Democrats want more than a dry factual presentation. They want a press Bob Mueller under oath to say in English what the Mueller report only said in lawyer jargon. That there is substantial evidence against Trump that it comes from his own staff and that it suggests he committed multiple crimes in office.

Let me bring in our experts tonight, Richard Stengel, who was a top diplomat in the Obama administration and former managing editor of TIME. Caroline Polisi is a criminal defense attorney who represented George Papadopoulos and dealt with people in the Mueller probe directly and Nick Akerman, a former Watergate special prosecutor. Good evening to each of you.


MELBER: A great panel, if I may say so on this big event that everyone is waiting for that the administration is apparently uncomfortable with. Nick, what does it mean when the Democrats want more from Mueller than they will probably get and when Bill Barr wants less or nothing from Mueller?

AKERMAN: They don`t -- either side doesn`t have to come out on this thing. All they need to bring out are the facts that are in this report. What they need to do is go through the eight instances of obstruction of justice on which Bob Mueller has founded obstructive act, corrupt intent and a nexus to a proceeding that was Trump was trying to obstruct.

And then on top of it, they also have evidence relating to the break-in to the Democratic National Committee. They`ve got a statement right in that report that says, but for the fact that the Nationals -- the two crimes that relate to the theft of property, which Mueller says, but for the fact, that these two crimes only relate to tangible property goods that he considered using those against people for trafficking the stolen documents from the Democratic National Committee.

So they should take that statement, juxtapose it to what Trump was doing with respect to WikiLeaks and what the campaign was doing with WikiLeaks.

And then they should also go into the conspiracy relating to the social media where they have evidence from Rick Gates, the deputy campaign manager to the campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who basically was instructing Gates over a regular period of time throughout the campaign to provide Konstantin Kilimnik with the stolen -- polling data that was the absolute Democratic material that can be used to micro-target Hillary Clinton voters and suppress that vote.

MELBER: And your point is that`s in the report, it matters. Whether or not Mueller found it to be chargeable or he couldn`t find anything chargeable against the President or his analysis, the hearing should really put that before everyone.

I want to bring in Stengel who is both a longtime journalist and a diplomat. As a diplomat you smooth differences.


MELBER: OK. Good. As a journalist, you look for the gaps. And I ask you to look at the diplomacy, also known as the spin, and then the real gaps in what I`m going to read from this new reporting tonight that Mr. Barr, who represents Donald Trump, who they all said, "Oh, it`s fine, dry, dud, do over, no big deal.

What I`m worried about this hearing now that says that they have been extensively pressing Mueller. They don`t want to place Mueller`s team in front of lawyers in the DOJ. But reading here from this they say, OK, we want to place lawyers in the room. But they`d have little recourse to prevent Mueller from going off-script and reveal details of his investigation that the White House considers off-limits.

So basically because they`re not going to put people in the room to muzzle him, they`ve been extensively meeting before it to --

STENGEL: How could they --?

MELBER: Well, they`ve been meeting with him saying, "Everything that`s not in the report proper is presumptively privileged". What`s going on here?

STENGEL: The DOJ has been meeting with Mueller beforehand?

MELBER: They`ve been telling his people, so maybe through intermediaries, they`ve been telling his people extensively, DOJ -- I mean, this is the headline. Mueller should limit his testimony of the report, they`re afraid of anything else?

STENGEL: So "res ipsa loquitur", that`s Latin for the thing speaks for itself. That is Bob Mueller`s philosophy and of course that doesn`t exist except in the 18th Century. What they are worried about is that Bob Mueller, standing there, talking directly to camera, answering questions, will bring this alive in a way that a 448 page report just never can be.

And the thing that, I as a journalist, that I would look for, if I`m going for the absolute nut -- and by the way I wouldn`t do the Perry Mason thing because you`re never going to get a Perry Mason moment when you`re interviewing Perry Mason, right? But the question is --

MELBER: Perry Mason paradox.

STENGEL: -- why -- there you go. The question is why didn`t Mueller indict him? Was it because the President didn`t commit a crime or because there was the jurisdiction, the office of legal counsel guidelines from the Justice Department saying you can`t indict a sitting President?

That would be the one question I would want to have clarity on. And the problem is that he`s probably just going to say what`s exactly in the report. What he said in that you know brief press conference that he had.


MELBER: You say he`ll never answer.

POLISI: Never.

MELBER: You`ve dealt with his team, take a look at how he`s ducked in the past.



MUELLER: I hesitate to speculate, because I have just a piece of the puzzle also. But I would have to check to make absolutely certain. In every investigation there -- and particularly a fast-moving investigation, there are steps that are taken that may or may not work out. It`s very difficult to generalize or to reach some sort of understanding or make progress with that generalization.


POLISI: What`s so interesting here is that even in the face of all of this, they`re still scared he may go rogue. They are still a little bit scared for that 1 percent possibility. Everything we know about Bob Mueller, he`s a rule follower.

Look, he`s a private citizen now. He doesn`t really have to listen to the DOJ and we know this sort of like presumptive privilege isn`t a really legal thing.

MELBER: Is this not a thing in your view?

POLISI: It`s not a thing and it`s been well documented that there is no blanket executive privilege.

MELBER: Is this not a thing?

AKERMAN: No, there is not.

MELBER: OK. So complete the point. So there`s an agreement here that it`s not a thing. So what is it?

POLISI: Well, the point is that they`re really scared of this very minute chance that he could get -- he could be so upset that he would fly in the face of his whole history, everything that he`s ever lived for, which is that he sticks to the books.

He sticks to the four corners of the reports. And everything that we know about him, that there`s a small possibility that, again, he may go off script and give information that they think could be damaging, that`s just not going to happen.

MELBER: Right. And then it goes to what the President did today, Nick, which is you could say, well, he`s always mixed. He says, "Oh this guy`s got conflicts. But take his word for the way I`ve missed characterized his findings". But he does appear still concerned about what`s going to happen. It`s not just easy breezy. Take a look.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had no collusion, no obstruction, we had no nothing. We had a total no collusion finding. The phony investigation where the report was written, it said no collusion. There was no obstruction.

Robert Mueller, I know he`s conflicted. He -- there`s a lot of conflicts that he`s got, including the fact that his best friend is Comey. But he`s got conflicts with me too. He`s got big conflicts with me.

He`s still ruled, and I respect him for it, he still ruled: no coloration, no obstruction --


AKERMAN: Well, that`s the whole problem. If you read through this report and you just pull out the facts that are there, forget him going rogue. The fact remains, once you put all that evidence out in the obstruction, there was obstruction. There`s no question. The fact speak for themselves. The problem is the public has not had the opportunity to zero in on those facts.

MELBER: And I think that`s why the stakes are high even if people feel this is not ideally timed. That Donald Trump may be on to a political propaganda strategy by trying to make everyone feel that this is somehow quote unquote "Older News" or why are we still talking about that.

Trump understands how to kind of appeal to things that may sound like they`re vaguely in the ballpark, and they`re not actually true. The fact that there`s been a methodical process and that there was a subpoena, doesn`t tell you anything about the underlying facts.

I want to do two things, I want to get Rick back in, but I want you to pick out, because I see what you have here.

STENGEL: Yes, I got everything.

MELBER: You pick out the page that you would most like to ask Mueller about. That you think is most important thing to be asked about hearing. And you get a minute for your homework of what you would ask.

Neal Katyal said one good question would be, did you find there was "No Obstruction" and Mueller could say no. If that`s what he would say. Did you find there was quote "No Collusion", Mueller could say no. And that would be a real evisceration of what Barr, his boss has claimed.

STENGEL: By the way, Ari, I did not get the memo to bring my copy of the Mueller report here today. I`m feeling like a little --

AKERMAN: I carry this around all the time.

STENGEL: But can I -- I`m going to mention thing I have about -- as a person who`s testified before the House before. The problem is, each member gets five minutes. And each member is thinking probably as much about people back home as he is thinking about the witness.

And what happens is, instead of going sequentially with a trying to figure something out, each person tries to get his own Perry Mason moment and they come to nothing.

MELBER: You`re obsessed with Perry Mason.

STENGEL: But what the Democrat -- yes -- but you know and nobody under the age of 50 even knows who that is. But the problem is that to get Mueller to actually say something that might be potentially revealing, they have to they have to work together to get the questions in a sequential order, rather than each one doing is his or her own questions for five minutes.

MELBER: But I have one quick question while we`re doing references, because Caroline`s been giving us guidance and you`re a very sharp lawyer yourself. Perry Mason, you say people do know that over 50.


MELBER: What about Matlock.

POLISI: Yes. No.

MELBER: Atticus Finch?


MELBER: OK. You got your homework ready?

AKERMAN: Well, sure. I mean, first of all, I -- Mr. Mueller I`d like to direct your attention to Page 176, which is a section relating to Roger Stone and the dissemination of the stolen e-mails from the Democratic National Committee.

It`s a fact, is it not Mr. Mueller, if you look at that footnote, that your office considered charging people with the theft of stolen property and trafficking in stolen property, is right?

MELBER: So you`re saying -- and this is important. This is -- we talk about something that got lost, so that we`ve reported on it. You`re singling out this part where they talk about -- they only charge Stone for certain things. But you`re saying that they took very seriously the possibility that people, high in the Trump campaign, would have been potentially involved or chargeable for those crimes.

AKERMAN: Well, they said they considered it. Now Mr. Mueller I don`t want you to tell me who you considered or how many people you considered. But it`s a fact, is it not, based on your report, that this was something that you considered at least against one individual in the Trump campaign?

MELBER: And given that we have a represent -- a former representative of a Trump official, play us out if you would the counter-argument, isn`t the counter-argument and Republicans on the Committee will certainly stick to this.

If Bob Mueller of all people, turned everything over, squeezed Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort and didn`t charge, doesn`t that mean, boy, if there was a case, he didn`t find it.

POLISI: That would be an argument I may make in terms of specific individuals. But I think why Nick is so right on the money is that the questioning needs to be so pointed -- you`ll notice his questions weren`t open-ended, so they`re not going to -- we`re not going to hear these Muellerisms -- these double negatives.

We did not conclude that he did not commit a crime and you kind of have to think it over in your mind multiple times. Only leave it open to a skilled cross-examination, you only -- you get them to go along with your narrative. So you continue talking and it`s a yes or no question. And it`s just yes -- boom, no -- boom, and you get your narrative out there and that`s what`s going to be so important.

If Democrats or Republicans really, if they want to shape whatever a narrative they`ve got, they can`t -- it`s not going to be a quotation from Bob Mueller. It`s going to be their quote "in him acknowledging yes or no".

MELBER: Right. Which really goes to the question is -- you have not all seen this story the same way and I`ve interviewed you previously, so I happen to know that. I think our viewers may know about that.

But each of you are zeroing in on what could make or break Wednesday, which is do these people who live their lives as politicians, find it in their oath of office to step back from that and do skillful questioning that informs the public.

Or are they to quote to paraphrase not quote -- to paraphrase Richard Stengel or are they out there thirst-trapping for a Perry Mason moment.

STENGEL: I do think this is the -- I`m not going to say that name again. This is the moment where they have to become patriots and become statesmen and say this is -- we have to educate the public about this.

Volume 1, you have to educate the public about the fact that we were attacked in a comprehensive way by a foreign adversary. Whether or not the Trump campaign worked with them or not, is almost -- doesn`t matter.

MELBER: And Volume 2, did the President commits crimes to cover that up even if he wasn`t charged of the first -- I got bring in a break.

STENGEL: Yes -- if he wasn`t the President of the United States.

MELBER: Richard, aka Perry, Caroline and Nick Akerman with the visual aid, thank you each, and I`ll be coming back to you to get your views on what goes down on Wednesday.

The reason I have to fit in a break is we have so much more, including a fact check of Stephen Miller defending Donald Trump`s race baiting new reports. The Donald Trump wants to enrich himself by putting the G7 at his own golf course.

Later, Neal Katyal is here to talk about Trump`s new legal strategy and what you need to know about it. And I have a live interview with the Republican critic who might challenge Trump in the primary.

All that, plus, special show to start the week a Monday fallback with Andrew Yang and hip hop`s Jermaine Dupri. I`m Ari Melber, you`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.


MELBER: Let`s start with the facts. Donald Trump wrote the lines that his crowd chanted about sending a U.S. Congresswoman back home, and stood by as they then chanted for 13 seconds straight.

A fact that the Donald Trump`s top aides, watch as Stephen Miller says the Trump actually disagreed with the very chant and then watched this claim get blown up on Fox News.


STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE POLICY ADVISER: With the send her back chant, the President was clear that he disagree with it.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST:  But he was clear after the fact --

MILLER: But --

WALLACE: -- excuse me. He let it go on for 13 seconds and was only when the chant diminish that he started talking again.

MILLER: Right. But what I would --

WALLACE: And he said nothing there. But he said nothing in Tweet -- I promise I`m going to give you. But he said nothing there or in his Tweet after the rally that indicated any concern about the chant.

MILLER: Right, but I want to get to the core issue.


MELBER: Yes. Let`s get to the core issue. What you`re saying isn`t true. Of course, this was after Trump himself claimed, at one point that he disagreed with the chant he wrote, and then re embraced it.

Donald Trump today back at it, and he says these Congresswomen quote "they`re the ones who hate America" and he claims there`s no racial tension. There`s actually no reporting that his own advisers wanted to focus on their ideas and behavior of his opponents. They`re concerned that Trump`s attacks are actually quote "looking like a racist agenda".

Now, one of the four, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, hitting back today.


REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): Hello. Yes, I`m not going nowhere. Not until I impeach this President. It`s beyond just the four of us "The Squad" is all of you --


MELBER: I`m joined by Nayyera Haq, former White House and State Department officer in the Obama administration. Paola Ramos, Host of VICE`s LatinX and a former Clinton staffer. Thanks to both you for being here.

Let`s start with what we`re witnessing, which is however slowly and painfully and obviously, some factual problems, even over there on Fox News, for people like Mr. Miller who want to lie about what happened.

NAYYERA HAQ, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE SENIOR DIRECTOR: Well it`s a slow and factual and painful thing to see that many people do agree with this. And that Donald Trump is tapping into a part of American identity that frankly hasn`t really been resolved since the Civil War, right?

When we talk about the remaining Confederate Statues and the flags and people --

MELBER: Sure. So what --

HAQ: -- holding on to these types of identities.

MELBER: -- what about what we just saw? What about the idea that it appears to be a problem for them to pretend Donald Trump didn`t support this.

HAQ: I think the problem is that they don`t want to -- they want to dance around the actual issue and aren`t outright coming and owning the fact that they`re playing to this American sentiment, right?

They understand that there`s a media layer here that needs to be satisfied as well and then there`s all sorts of other quote-unquote "Elites". But I think down on the street, and at these rallies, they`re openly allowing people and encouraging this type of sentiment.

Donald Trump is running a two-part strategy. There`s a strategy for the culture war in which he is very clearly come down on the side of America has to look and sound a certain way, a very authoritarian, very white. And then the 270 Street strategy, the how do you win the Electoral College.

That second piece is what elected officials and people running for office need to figure out how to navigate. But that first one, the culture dynamic, that`s really for everyday citizens to work out in our own communities.

MELBER: Yes. But the reason why I`m pushing -- and I think you make very important points. But I`m pushing, because it seems that, not to make light of this, but there`s an aspect of this that what happens at a MAGA rally should just stay at a MAGA rally.

And if they think they could get away with that and then in the green rooms and in the establishment and the TV, even on Fox claim that it didn`t happen, they somehow will thread this needle.

And to that point, for your analysis, take a look at Mike Pence also doing that. And I suppose the question is what happens to this dance, if even on Fox, what happens at the MAGA rally doesn`t stay there. Take a look.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- President wasn`t pleased about it and neither was I. And the President`s been very clear about that.

MAJOR GARRETT, CBS NEWS HOST: You have a chance to say it right now, don`t do it. Is that your message?

PENCE: Major, the President was very clear.

GARRETT: Was he?

PENCE: -- that he wasn`t happy about it. And that if it happened again he - - he might -- he might make an effort to speak out about it.


PAOLA RAMOS, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR HISPANIC PRESS, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN: They`re just playing us. Right? They want us to be having this exact conversation and trying to -- having us debate whether or not that was racist, whether or not they meant that.

They do mean it, because they designed a racist America. Now they designed, not by accident, but by choice. Every single day the fact that there are families being separated, the fact that there are kids in cages, the fact that today it`s -- deportations are being expedited, the fact that it is OK all of a sudden to chant "Send her back".

That is a design strategy. And that is then using racism as a weapon. That that is the basis of what we`re seeing and it is -- they want us to have this conversation. But we know that that is exactly the America that they promised on day one and that is the America that he will end with.

HAQ: The irony --

MELBER: Yes. Let me play for you also the way that Trump aides are defending this. I mean, I think the thing about the President Tweeting is, on the one hand it may be very ugly, and requires some sort of accountability. On the other hand, it does add transparency, because you can see now there is a written record of him writing saying this, go back home, right.

So then when people chant it we know that they are repeating what he wrote, not the other way around. And this is the last piece of Fox`s sound I`m going to play for you. But it is worth witnessing them struggling really to deal with it, because they don`t want to fully defend that.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: I don`t think they were saying send her back as much as they`re saying, these views are repugnant.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, HOST, "THE RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW": Some people that Trump rally makes them innocent little chant, born of fun, people having fun. It`s a takeoff one locker up.

JESSE WATTERS, PANELIST, THE FIVE, FOX NEWS: Citizens of this country in North Carolina having a little fun, maybe getting carried away. They chant some pretty bad stuff for the football game. Politics is a tough sport --


HAQ: Yes. This is a cover for what is actually deeply personal and deeply painful policy for many people of color, right. The same guy who`s on Fox News, defending this, is the same guy in the White House who is orchestrating policies under the rubric of the Statue of Liberty doesn`t stand for immigration and freedom. Right?

They`re talking about reducing the number of refugees to zero. They`re talking about a wall at the border. There are policies that are part and parcel of all of this rhetoric. And that is what in getting distracted by Donald Trump Tweets, we often miss, is that they`re looking to put into our system a vision of America that unfortunately may outlast Donald Trump.

MELBER: Right. And as you say it`s not just fact check what they`re saying, but also understand that as the context of the appeal and the policies they`re trying to shape. There is evidence tonight what I`m making sure people understand is. There`s evidence that they are worried they`re losing. And that`s why there`s some backtracking.

Nayyera Haq, Paola Ramos thanks to both of you.

With Bob Mueller set to testify this week, we`re getting new details and we have quite the guest the one and only Neal Katyal, former Solicitor General, to explain what will happen when we`re back in 30 seconds.


MELBER: Bob Mueller`s testimony on Wednesday will mark the 89th time he`s actually faced Congress in some fashion. This is far from his first rodeo and we do know he makes a point of being prepared.

While the exact plans for Wednesday remain a closely guarded secret, "The New York Times" reporting Mueller`s practice is to meet late into the evenings with staff for days ahead of congressional appearances, studying binders of material and treating the prep a bit like a mock presidential debate with aides playing particular members of Congress most likely to be spoiling for a fight.

Back with me for our opening arguments series is former acting Solicitor General, Neal Katyal who has argued dozens of cases before the Supreme Court. Good to see you.


MELBER: There`s been so much talk about the substance, what`s in the report, what will he say. We all understand how most hearings -- and you know this better than many -- how they can devolve. And this was discussed a little bit earlier in this show.

I want to play some vintage 2013 Mueller with the devolution of a particularly difficult member of Congress. Take a look.


MUELLER: your facts are not altogether, well --

I point out specific point out specifically --

MUELLER: May I finish my --?

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): Point out specifically. Sir, if you`re going to call me a liar, you need to point out specifically where any facts are wrong.

MUELLER: We went to the mosque prior to Boston.

GOHMERT: Prior to Boston?

MUELLER: Prior to Boston


MELBER: Which Mueller are we seeing and which Mueller we`re going to see Wednesday?

KATYAL: Well I suspect, we`re going to see both. So I mean, look, there`s a lot of great -- decent members of Congress both on the Republican and Democratic side who will ask good questions.

But I think Mueller is right to prepare for questions from what can be termed the banana wing of the Republican Party of which that -- representative and there some others are there. So I think we`re going to see some weird questions. But I suspect that Mueller is prepared for those as well.

MELBER: We`ve discussed and I`ve quoted some of your interesting questions that you would pose to him.  When you see these new reports that Barr Justice Department continues to try to narrow what will come out of this hearing, what does that say to you?

KATYAL:  Yes, I`m extremely concerned.  I don`t think it`s just narrow, I think it looks like they`re trying to gag Mueller and trying to say that anything that`s not in the report is presumptively privileged.  And you know, Mueller is so by-the-book.  I suspect that he will -- that will influence him greatly what Barr and others are trying to say in terms of squelching him.

MELBER:  That`s big coming from you.  Let`s pause on that.  I used the more looser broad term of narrow.  You`re saying you view this new reporting as Bill Barr gagging Mueller and leaning into what Barr knows, moves Mueller whether he agrees or not which is the rules.

KATYAL:  If the Politico report is right, then that does seem to me what it`s about.  Now, here`s a good example of where I think there`s going to be a problem.  So we know Mueller is by the book, but the books actually changed Ari, from the time he turned in the report to now.

Because he turned in the report and said I can`t indict a sitting president and indeed a corollary of that is I can`t even accuse someone of saying I would have indicted you or label you a criminal if I can`t indict you because you`re not going to have a process to defend yourself.

So Barr a month later goes before the cameras in CBS News and says oh I think Mueller could have reached a conclusion about whether President Trump committed crimes.  That`s a perfect example of how the book has changed and exactly the kind of question the Democrats should be leading the hearing with.

MELBER:  Let me push you a little bit.  Viewers of our recurring segments know that usually I just listen and learn from you and you have a lot more litigation experience than I ever did.  But I wonder whether respectfully you might sound like a little bit of wishful thinking if the logical point you make is supposed to mean that Bob Mueller is going to go farther.

I think you`re right.  The logic of what Mr. Barr said would open the door but isn`t everything we know about Bob Mueller that if he didn`t go farther than X in the report he`s not going to go farther on Wednesday?

KATYAL:  No, the whole point is he`s by the book.  The book said in -- before he turned in the report, according to him he thought the book said I can`t indict, I can`t even label you a criminal.  Now Barr comes along a month later trying to criticize Mueller and say actually, that`s not what the book says.  The book allows you to do that.

MELBER:  So you think he will go further?

KATYAL:  So I think he absolutely should go further.  Now, you know, this is going to be -- in fact, I think that`s the job, right?  If you`re a Special Counsel, you`ve got to follow the regulations and what the Attorney General tells you the rules are.  He`s saying this is what the rule is so absolutely I think it`s fully within his powers and indeed I don`t see how he can`t answer that question.

MELBER:  I`ll make you a deal, counselor.  Let`s meet up some other Monday and talk about this.

KATYAL:  Let`s do it.

MELBER:  I`d love that.  Before I let you go, I want to ask you about something that you drew our staffs attention to. very important, a little bit off THE BEAT in path, is so-called emergency appeals at the Supreme Court.  You look at how Bush used them there, six, Obama four, and boom 28 by Trump, emergency request, sometimes because they`re losing so much.  Explain.

KATYAL:  Yes.  So you can make an emergency request via the Solicitor General to the Supreme Court when you lose the case in the trial court or the Court of Appeals.  You do it really rarely.  I think I might have done it once when I was there.  I think in Obama we did it once every other year on average at four times in eight years, and Trump is doing at an astounding 28 times.

We haven`t seen anything like this and the question is what`s going on.  And I think what`s going on is two things and it`s supported by reporting in the New York Times and other places of last couple days.

Number one is the Trump administration doesn`t really care about the law.  Their view is even if we lose in court, hey we`ve signaled to our base that were tough on immigration or whatever.

MELBER:  It`s all performance, yes.

KATYAL:  It`s all performance and indeed they have the lowest rate of success in federal -- in federal litigation of any administration and I think ever in the history of -- since statistics have been tracked.

MELBER:  That`s a -- that`s a really fascinating flag and it`s -- it actually is the legal version of fighting without regard to the outcomes because he wants to show fight as you say.  And you know, I got to fit in a break but it makes me wonder, are they tired of winning?

Neal Katyal, eagle-eyed and we`ll do it again.  If you`re interested in catching more Neal, is where this and our past reports are including several telling you everything you need to get ready for Wednesday`s hearing, no popcorn included.

Now, coming up, we have a special Monday fall back because I got Andrew Yang and Jermaine Dupri here, also Trump critic Mark Sanford may challenge Trump in the primary.  We`ll get into that live tonight.  Also, Trump pushing his own Florida resort to host a big government meeting, why that`s a conflict and potentially unconstitutional.


MELBER:  Consider Donald Trump`s very first presentation after winning the election.  It wasn`t about jobs, or immigration, or the cabinet, no.  The first thing on his mind was his business.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  These papers are all just a piece of the many, many companies that are being put into trust to be run by my two sons.  And I hope at the end of eight years, I`ll come back and I`ll say oh you did a good job.  Otherwise, if they do a bad job I`ll say you`re fired.


MELBER:  Trump led with self-interest defending that decision to be the first person ever keep profiting off a business while serving as president claiming there be no conflicts or self-enrichment.  Now Trump is blatantly leaning into the very same conflict.  Check out this brand-new story that he`s pitching this struggling Doral resort as a place to host and profit off one of the biggest international summits in existence the G7.

Trump has gone from using his campaign attention to plug Doral to now trying to use your government to get paid.


TRUMP:  It`s the best courts there is.  You know, some of the players, they just woke up, they said, this is as good as it gets.

Doral where right now we have the World Golf Championships.

I buy Doral in Miami.  It was a mess.  Now it`s the hottest resort.

Including Doral in Miami, you know Doral.  As you know Doral which I own.

Iconic assets, some of the you know, Doral in Miami.


MELBER:  Why would something so iconic need to be sold so hard?  Well, Doral has been bleeding profits lately down 41 million since 2016.  And this is where Trump`s conflicts mix with desperation because despite all that promo, there`s still a strongly negative view of Trump as president.  And hotel customers are not allotted like the Electoral College being unpopular matters.

Experts now say Doral is hitting all these problems because of the negative connotation associated with the Trump brand.  Trump may have run for president to burnish brand but being president is hurting it.  If Doral hosts the G7, notice where his profits would come, from foreign governments.

That`s more than a conflict of interest.  It could be an unconstitutional foreign gift, the very issue Trump is currently defending in court in a major suit by members of Congress.  We`ll keep you posted on all of it.

Now, when we come back a fall back special tonight with 2020 Dem Andrew Yang and Jermaine Dupri.



MELBER:  Time now for a special edition of "FALLBACK."  I am joined by hip hop executive producer and songwriter Jermaine Dupri.  He collaborated with all sorts of artist, Usher, Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, Kanye, a member of the Song Writer`s Hall of Fame, a Grammy-winning artist. He work with Mariah Carey on We Belong Together.  His new documentary Power, Influence, and Hip Hop: The Remarkable Rise of So So Def covers all of the hits.


SNOOP DOGG, RAPPER:  Most labels were focused on rap or just focus on R&B.  He was able to do both.

USHER, SINGER:  So So Def, (INAUDIBLE) Jermaine Dupri.  I think that he is a major icon of our time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  She`s a rap off.

MARIAH CAREH, SINGER:  He`s a diva, divo.


MELBER:  And for his first-ever appearance on a FALLBACK, 2020 Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang, Tech Entrepreneur, and Philanthropist.  In 2012, the Obama administration changed -- I should say selected him as a champion of change for his work training people in tech.  Thanks to both of you for being here.

JERMAINE DUPRI, RAPPER:  Thanks for having me.

ANDREW YANG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  It`s great to be here, man.

MELBER:  I love seeing the two of you together.

YANG:  I love being here with you.

DUPRI:  Yin and Yang.

YANG:  That`s right.  I`m just trying to think.  I guess that makes you the Yin.

DUPRI:  Yes, I`m the Yin.

MELBER:  I love it.

DUPRI:  Yin Yang Twins.

MELBER:  Yin Yang Twins and they call his -- they call his supporters the Yang Gang which is like gang, gang.

DUPRI:  Yang, Yang, Yang Gang.

MELBER:  Yang Gang.

YANG:  You got to go with that -- there`s a Yang Gang rap, there young gang videos online.

DUPRI:  I believe --

YANG:  I want you to produce one.

MELBER:  I love it.  Andrew, who needs to fall back?

YANG:  Well, I think the New York Knicks need to fall back on so many levels.  Oh my gosh, I`ve been a fan since I was a kid and so the summer league Knicks skipped shaking hands with their opponents after they`d lost their third straight game, and I said no way.

You guys can`t be displaying poor sportsmanship on top of losing the game, on top of the epic mismanagement of the team.  I mean, it`s like a team now composed of overpaid role players after they missed out on Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and everyone else.

So being a Knicks fan, it`s never been harder, it`s never been worse.  Like if you`re going to be bad you at least need to be good sports about it.

DUPRI:  You know what`s funny about that is -- I`m from Atlanta south but I always hear New Yorkers say I`ve been a Knicks fan my whole life, right.  And I think that sometimes you got to pull away in order for people to get their mind right.

YANG:  Yes.  You got to end an abusive relationship and that`s what being a Knicks fan been like.

MELBER:  Jermaine, who needs to fall back?

DUPRI:  Arby`s.  I don`t know what you all talking about.  You all need to fall all the way back.  What is -- what is --

MELBER:  A meat-based vegetable?

DUPRI:  Yes, what does a meat-based vegetable?

MELBER:  Arby`s making waves because they`re making carrots with meat.

DUPRI:  Yes.  That -- it feels like they`re trying to make fun of vegan.  For real.  It feels like they`re just like all this vegan talk and all these other restaurants --

MELBER:  And you`re vegan?

DUPRI:  Yes.  Let`s do something that`s different.

YANG:  I think it`s a way to have meat as your main and then meat as your side and then meat as your other side.  It`s just more ways to get meat on the plate.

MELBER:  Well, also, at a certain point, if this is meat -- if this is Arby`s meat carrot, at a certain point, just get a burger.

DUPRI:  But that`s what I`m saying.  Are they trying to attract me?  That`s what I`m saying.  I think they want me to come in there and say I want to carrot.

MELBER:  They`re trying to trick you.

DUPRI:  Yes, trick me to eating meat.

YANG:  Or maybe it`s for husbands who want to seem like they`re eating healthy to their wife.  It`s like watch me these carrots, but then really they`re eating a steak.

DUPRI:  I`m not married.  I wouldn`t know any of that.

MELBER:  So my "FALLBACK" is also a little bit consumption food-related which is Starbucks has uncorked this Tie-Dye Frappuccino.  Now, I don`t actually partake in fraps, I`m more of a black coffee person, but basically, Tie-Dye is something that is just fun.  It may be ugly fashioned but it`s fun.  And people are now hating on the Tie-Dye Frappuccino and I`m telling them to fall back because you can have a tie-dye drink if you want as far as I`m concerned.

DUPRI:  Yes, I`m cool with tie-dye, what`s wrong with it?  It`s like -- it`s like when you`re a kid, you want them drinks off the little ice cream truck.

MELBER:  Yes, and the color --

DUPRI:  Yes the color thing.

MELBER:  The rainbow is part of it.

YANG:  When you give my kids a choice of any ice cream, they just want rainbow sprinkles on that.  It`s just a color thing.  People just like colors.

MELBER:  And how do you feel about tie-dye?  I don`t know if you have a policy on that.

YANG:  You know, I just couldn`t pull it off as a kid.  I say the word tie- dye and people were like why is the Asian guy wear a tie-dye?  You know what I`m saying?  It`s like I`m like the last person you`d like be able to pull off the hippies 60s.

DUPRI:  I just wear tie-dye suit at the Essence Fest.  I`m good with tie- dye.

MELBER:  You wear tie-dye.

DUPRI:  Yes.


MELBER:  And what does it say?  Is that a 70s throwback or what does it say?

DUPRI:  No, I just -- I just like the way it -- you know, it was a white jump and we just tie-dyed it up so there`s whole bunch of colors all over it.

MELBER:  Nice.

DUPRI:  I like it.

MELBER:  What else is on your "FALLBACK" list Jermaine?

DUPRI:  Oh the pair of the Patti LaBelle thing, right.  They spelled LaBelle wrong.

MELBER:  When they tried to honor her, yes.

DUPRI:  And I was -- I just want -- I have a question.  Is it normal to capitalize the B in LaBelle?  If it wasn`t Patti LaBelle, would you capitalize the B?

MELBER:  I don`t know.  Are you good at spelling, Andrew?

YANG:  Yes.  I was a bit of a nerd.  I won spelling bees and whatnot.

MELBER:  Help us out.

DUPRI:  So is that a thing to capitalize the B LaBelle?

YANG:  That B should be capitalized.  That`s my expert opinion.


YANG:  Because if you look at the French roots.  It`s like a la belle, it`s like the woman or the girl.  So B, like the --

MELBER:  Boom, there it is.  OK, the French root.

DUPRI:  There you go.

MELBER:  All right.  I`m glad we have you here.

YANG:  That`s the kind of judgment we need in the White House.

DUPRI:  100 percent.  OK.

YANG:  Well, that`s what I`m talking about.

MELBER:  Jermaine Dupri, thanks for being here.  Andrew Yang, thanks for being here.


MELBER:  And what other judgments you need in the White House?  Well, former Republican Governor Mark Sanford is here.  There will be no spelling test, sir, but I`ll see you on the other side when we come back.


MELBER:  Donald Trump may have another challenger and it`s a Republican, a name you`ve probably heard, South Carolina Governor and Congressman Mark Sanford who`s here right now.  He`s considering taking on Trump.  He`s no stranger to feuding with the president.

Trump actually helped dislodge him from office after endorsing his primary challenger and alluding to his past personal problems.  He`s also poised for a political fight and has been a vocal critic.


MARK SANFORD (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF SOUTH CAROLINA:  Somebody has got a stop Trump.  I think it is dangerous for our Republic.

There is no seeming consequence to the president and lies.

He came to this chamber to send a chilling message to my colleagues which is if you mess with me I`ll mess with you.


MELBER:  Mark Sanford, thanks for coming on THE BEAT.

SANFORD:  My pleasure.  Thanks for having me.

MELBER:  If you challenge Donald Trump at a Republican primary, what is your argument against him?

SANFORD:  My argument against -- my chief argument against him would be that he`s in essence, led the Republican Party off to the sidelines as it relates to the way that we spend money.  I mean, not that so many months ago Republicans would have been going nuts it`s a budget deal that`s now being contemplated.  You really don`t hear a peep from Republicans.

This idea of financial realism or financial conservatism used to be a hallmark of the Republican Party.  He has said himself that I`m the king of debt.  It`s something that doesn`t bother me.  The problem is he always had his dad to bail him out when he got into trouble.  We do not have that luxury as Americans and we are in a profound mathematics problem.

If you look at the deficits that we`re running, you look at the accumulated size of the debt that we have now, and you look at spending that`s in place.  And so I think it`s a Republican we need to have conversation as Republicans about what do we believe.  Do we believe what we used to say about --

MELBER:  Well, that`s what I want to ask you about.  Your point here is in line with the economic facts and I`ve had Trump officials on this show and talked to them and press them with the rising deficits, the type of spending they`re doing, that they were so critical of when Obama did it.  But does that mean that your campaign rises or falls on whether the Trump base has been consistent about its beliefs or whether everything goes out the window because it wasn`t ever about the deficit?

SANFORD:  Well, my belief is I mean, you have to remember.  I`ve been in politics both as a two-term governor and 12 years in the United States House of Representatives.  I bet I`ve had thousands upon thousands of different meeting with folks at the grassroots level.

And so I don`t think that their belief system, that small business person that I`ve talked to that soccer-mom trying to get the kids to and from soccer practice, whatever the case might be, you think about those people that make up the Republican Party.  I don`t think their belief system has disappeared.

I do think that leadership from Washington has disappeared on this front and that`s what I`m exploring over these 30 days as to whether go versus no go.

MELBER:  What do you know from as you mentioned your long-time service as a pretty conservative Republican, your time in the House, if you`re going to take him on, you know, he doesn`t hold back you know that about him?


MELBER:  Yes.  So are you going to hold back?

SANFORD:  I think that`s an understatement.  I mean, I think being a human pinata doesn`t have a whole lot of appeal.  But the --

MELBER:  So let me -- let me tell you where I`m going with this.  Are you going to uncork and let everyone know everything you know about what the Republican caucus really thinks, about what Paul Ryan really thought of him back in the day, about what Graham really says behind closed doors, is it one of your greatest assets your ability to take us into those secret cloakrooms where we hear all these hints and rumors and leaks then maybe some of these Republicans don`t even actually abide by what Donald Trump does?  Is that going to be something that`s off or limits to you?

SANFORD:  I think to your general point -- I think through your general point there is something of a conspiracy of silence on that front but some of it is already been exposed.  I mean, I think that Tim Alberta just did an interesting write-up on Paul Ryan and what he believed now --

MELBER:  But by interviewing people like you.  Someone had to tell Tim the stories.

SANFORD:  Yes.  I didn`t -- I wasn`t a part of that particular piece but I think he was rather revealing on what Paul Ryan really thought about President Trump and --

MELBER:  So let me ask you this.  We talked economics and your story.  Before I let you go and toss to "HARDBALL," do you think that more people in the Republican caucus in Congress are concerned about Donald Trump`s management, the chaos and the race-baiting, or do you think they`re actually secretly fine with all of it?

SANFORD:  I don`t think they`re fine with that.  But again, I want to go back to the core of what I`m trying to get the bottom of over these 30 days which is I particularly don`t think they`re fine with the way in which Washington is spending their money these days.

MELBER:  Anything else we should know before I let you go.  I got 30 seconds.

SANFORD:  30 seconds.

MELBER:  Yes, sir.

SANFORD:  What I`d say is we`re walking our way toward the most predictable financial crisis in the history of man and it will impact every one of us and our hopes and dreams for our kids if we don`t get this thing right.

MELBER:  Mark Sanford considering a run from the deficit right of Donald Trump.  Governor, Congressman, thanks for coming on THE BEAT.

MELBER:  My pleasure.  Take good care.

MELBER:  Yes, sir.  And if you jump into primary, we`ll be sure to have you back.  That does it for the be tonight.  I appreciate you spending some time with us.  I`ll be back live from Washington tomorrow 6:00 p.m. Eastern for the eve of the Mueller hearings with I promise, some very special guest tomorrow. Don`t go anywhere.  "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews is up next.