NYPD fires officer in Eric Garner death. TRANSCRIPT: 8/19/19, The Beat w/ Ari Melber.

Guests: Danielle Moodie-Mills, Maria Hinojosa, Richard Stengel, EllieHolland, Mike Lupica, Maggie Severns

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: That`s all we have for tonight. We`ll be back tomorrow with More MEET THE PRESS DAILY. And "THE BEAT" with Ari Melber starts right now.

Good evening Ari.

MELBER: Good evening, Steve.  Thank you so much. We have a lot to get to tonight. Donald Trump on edge over the markets and claims anyone worried about the economy is out to get him. Now a former top Trump aide promising to maybe help a primary against him in 2020 and later, we`re joined by the Iowa teacher making headlines for confronting her Republican Senator about gun control.

But we begin tonight with Donald Trump lashing out, insisting the warnings of potential recession are part of some sort of conspiracy to hurt him personally and we know Trump`s struggle to tell the truth. This story shows how he may assume others are automatically taking the same tack.

He treats everything as a kind of a game or a con rather than acknowledging some sort of objective reality. And that helps understand these headlines. Trump now agitated about anything going on when he discusses the economy and darkly suggesting warnings about a possible recession stem from critics trying to take away what he sees as his calling card for re-election, according to New York Times reporting.

So who are these critics? It`s a conspiracy theory so remember, it doesn`t have to make a lot of sets. Donald Trump blaming people he hired like his own hand-picked Fed Chair intentionally acting against it and U.S. allies. A weird arguments since many have their fortunes pin to our economy.

And then there`s the idea that the media is trying to create a recession. All of this is the backdrop for these comments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: And are you doing any planning or are you going to be directing your administration to plan for a possibility of a recession?

DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t see a recession.

REPORTER: But a lot of economists say that you should be preparing for a recession, that no President is immune from a recession and that it`s malpractice for the government not to be doing something to get ready for that scenario.

TRUMP: Yes, to tell you honestly, I`m prepared for everything. I don`t think we are having a recession. We`re doing tremendously well. Most economists actually say though that we`re not going to have a recession.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: No recession, no planning for recession. Don`t even talk about it. You know, looking at this today, there are some things in life that are more likely to happen if you do talk and think about them too much. Like going to a kitchen, going to maybe your kitchen to get a snack right now. I bet if you keep thinking about it and imagining it or talking about it, you might find yourself getting up, lighting the newscasts, playing the background and grabbing that snack that you`ve been thinking about.

But a macro economic recession is not like getting a stack. No single person increases its likelihood by talking about it, not even the President. So avoiding talking about in the hopes that it will go away and then avoiding any planning about it that`s ineffective and pretty short sighted for the U.S. government.

As for Trump`s claim that you just heard there that economists don`t expect a recession, well, one out of four don`t, the other 74 percent of economists are now expecting recession by the end of 2021 in a new survey out, today.

Trump also in denial about other data. This time a Fox news poll that showed him trailing his challengers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Fox is changed and my worst polls have always been from Fox. There`s something going on at Fox, I`ll tell you right now and I`m not happy with it.

REPORTER: What I was asking about, the Fox poll, that they had you underwater against your main Democratic--

TRUMP: I don`t believe it. I don`t believe it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: OK, he doesn`t believe it. You know the people who know Donald Trump best describe him as a con man. That includes everyone ranging from the currently incarcerated former lawyer, Michael Cohen to his former reality show colleague which he brought famously to the White House Omarosa, to his former Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci now calling for Trump`s defeat. I have more on that shortly.

So Donald Trump`s accustomed to denying reality, denying his own teammates and because he`s so used to making everything up, what we`re seeing here when you take it together is he may not even understand that there are other people including in his own government who actually work off the evidence.

And just because something looks bad for him doesn`t mean it`s a fake. Just because something looks good for him doesn`t mean it`s true. Take that allegedly large union crowd at Trump`s speech last week in Pennsylvania. It looked good, it was touted, it got attention but today new report showing those workers were actually effectively paid to be there.

They had to go to the speech or they would have lost part of their pay check which is actually an echo of the way Trump built his very first crowded Trump tower for the campaign, paying actors to cheer and impersonate supporters. Now let`s be clear, paying actors at that first rally was not a long term plan.

It was a classic fake it till you make it. And Trump did make it for a while. There were big crowds that obviously were not paid. There was electoral college victory even though he drew less votes than Clinton. But now I was trying to deny this factual bad news and leans in to faking good news, the question is whether time is running out on this strategy and how a recession could upend what looks to be his precarious political footing.

I`m joined tonight by Danielle Moodie-Mills, host of the SiriusXM radio show WokeAF. Maria Hinojosa, anchor and executive producer of NPR`s Latino USA and Rick Stengel, former diplomat in the Obama administration, a managing editor of Time magazine. Nice to have you all here in New York together on a summer night.

MELBER: It is a part. What do you think the way Donald Trump is coping?

DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS, HOST, SIRIUSXM WOKEAF: He`s coping like the compulsive liar that he is which is deny, deny, deny, distort, distort, distort. That`s what he does so he sets it up so that if something does go wrong with the economy, if we do go into a recession, he`s going to have blamed China.

He will have blamed his hand-picked Federal Reserve Chairman. It will be everyone else`s fault but Donald Trump and this is what he did with the election in 2016. He told us that the election was going to be rigged if he didn`t win. He said that that there were millions of people who were voting that were not citizens of the United States.

So he was literally setting up the stage so that if in fact she failed, that it was going to be about everything else other than the fact that Donald Trump is actually a failure.

MELBER: And you mentioned that whole attempt to not only undermine the economic reality but the actual voting. He was back at that. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You have a lot of voter fraud. Many, many people voted that shouldn`t have been voted. Some people voted many times. What I`m saying is we need voter identification. We need voter ID.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Now quick fact check because we don`t play that stuff without context. We`ll show you here the actual person who runs the federal election, Committee Chair says absolutely no evidence whatsoever and we know that. So what does it mean to see this in this period where Donald Trump is sort of as far as he`s concerned, he`s post Mueller, he`s unbridled a certain way.

And what we`re seeing in these - in these sort of month is anti-reality or anti-minority in the way he`s been organizing politically.

MOODIE-MILLS: And also the idea that we set up the complete and total gaslight, right? One of the people, one of the shooters, his manifesto in El Paso said invasion - invasion - invasion, over and over again. So Donald Trump feeds this narrative and he`s telling people, they`re coming to vote illegally so when we see lines wrapped around polling stations, a black and brown people, oh, they must be up to something nefarious, right?

And so it`s this idea that as long as he can set the stage like he did at Shell. The picture looks good we that are left on the defense to tell the American people that the picture is a lie but the picture is already snapped.

MARIA HINOJOSA, ANCHOR & EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, NPR`S LATINO USA: So what`s really crazy is - I want to talk on the little bit about the union thing as well as this notion that people like me who are not born in this country and who maybe not here with papers or with a green card would be rushing to go vote. You know right now, if you talk to any immigrant, right now, what they`re not thinking about is outwardly doing anything that could be perceived to be in any way illegal.

So there`s just this notion - I mean again, he has painted us now as immigrants who are coming here, crossing illegally, that were taking over and now we`re going to take over the polls and the polling booth so now we`re going to be shot because we`re attempting to vote and they`re going to see us as invaders and the other thing is that`s really crazy Ari, talking about the union workers who were paid to show up.

You know, this was like when I was growing up and we would go to Mexico, this is what we heard about what was happening during the - which was in power for 70 something years in Mexico. It was like an autocratic corrupt regime and we would hear, no, what they do is they pay all the people to come out like I grew up hearing this and just thinking like well, that would never happen in the United States.

And at this point what we know now is that those workers basically had to show up in order to get paid, to make their bills whether or not they liked Trump or not. What is happening to our country that somehow this is like an - and it`s OK, you know.

MELBER: Yes, well, you say that you and you say well, you know can it happen here? Which is an old echo on a number of levels when you think about what we deal with, large and small. I want to read from this reporting because this is not normal, this should not become a part of our civic and political life.

The headlines, "Shell workers would have lost pay if they missed the Trump speech at this plant." "Several workers said a lot of people didn`t show up because they didn`t like Trump." One worker said they didn`t want to come but thought it would look bad to miss this day of work and get full pay and then get this, dozens of workers trying to leave early before Trump had finished his 3:00 PM approach.

 

They were told Secret Service wouldn`t let them out of the warehouse until Trump had left the property.

HINOJOSA: Yikes, yikes. I mean, I don`t know because this is to me the bigger question is the game that`s being played with our democracy.

MOODIE-MILLS: Yes and--

HINOJOSA: The game that`s being played with our democracy and just kind of like the reporting on it, the normalization of it, which we`re constantly seeing. Guys, this is not going to lead us any place positive on election night. Just not going to lead us to someplace positive.

RICHARD STENGEL, FMR UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE IN OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: Well, it`s a little like the old Soviet Union, right? Where you had to show up when the leader of the Soviet Union was there or you wouldn`t have been paid and the thing is - the theme of everything, I`m trying to unite everything and that we`ve been discussing Ari.

The theme is data and the data that is ignored by President Trump. When we talk about the possibility of a recession, what is a recession? Recession is two consecutive quarters of contracting economy. We just saw that in Germany which has been a much healthier economy.

We saw factory starts at a three-year low. Consumer spending and purchasing powers is at a three-year low. Economists don`t just put a finger in the wind the side, maybe it`s going to be recession, maybe it`s not. They`re looking at data. Data that Donald Trump ignores and you know what Donald Trump`s philosophy is with data? The Chico Marx philosophy.

Which is who you`re going to believe? Me or your lying eyes? What he does--

MELBER: Strong.

STENGEL: Because what he does, like what autocrats do, is ignore the data, ignore empirical reality, pay attention to me, don`t pay attention to that and that`s what he`s doing over and over.

HINOJOSA: Now what is Fox news going to do now? I mean, he`s taking on Fox news so - you know, Fox news, the shoe is going to be reversed. Right now, he`s starting to criticize Fox news.

Are they going to do like a primetime special that`s like, The American economy, growing and growing just because--

MOODIE-MILLS: But that`s exactly what all of the anchors there have been doing. They`re telling the American public that it is - I mean, I try not to but they tell the American public that everything is OK, the economy is strong. It`s the media who is at fault. It`s the liberal media that is trying to make the economy weak so that Donald Trump doesn`t win re- election.

As if in a weak economy would be good for the American public. No but it`s this idea that they just continue to reverberate these conspiracy theories and it`s like they are in this close loop.

MELBER: And so to pick up on Richard`s point that connects to what you`re saying. There`s on the one hand data and how much can you fight the numbers and the facts and the evidence and then there are these bubble then, I mean George Soros who knows his way around the markets has talked about the fact that bubbles do exist and a very powerful amplified con man can contribute to a bubble just like the rating agencies can.

But they pop when there are reality inducing events and that I think is why the recession beyond the political reasons also scares Trump because you can`t be a con man if you don`t know how to trick people and it`s much harder to trick people about say the temperature in this room, right?

Than it is about something going on over there because there are limits to that and so it is interesting when you see his obsession with bringing on people who are effectively and I don`t mean to reduce them to only this but who at least as a minimum are really good at television.

So Larry Kudlow, who we`re about to hear from who was involved in the economics, who`s been on this show, who knows economics and is good on television but also has a track record both in and out of government of boostering economy regardless of the data and the recession which worked for him.

And he was called out on this a little bit here. He currently works for Trump, take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Well, I tell you what. I sure don`t see a recession. We`re doing pretty darn well in my judgment. Let`s not be afraid of optimism. Let`s not be afraid of optimism.

CHUCK TODD, HOST, MSNBC: But you know, you actually said that in 2007 right before the - the second worst downturn in American history. This is what you wrote. "There`s no recession coming," this is in December of 07, "the pessimistas were wrong."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Rick, before I let you answer, I have to ask you. Were the pessimistas wrong?

STENGEL: No.

MELBER: There was a big recession so he`s doing it again. It doesn`t mean it`s coming this time but Trump clearly says who do I want running the economy or having this economic role? At least someone who can go on TV and smooth this all out.

STENGEL: We have nothing to fear but fear itself that`s what Mr. Kudlow was saying. Now of course, consumer confidence is a part of the economy and there`s nothing wrong with boosting the economy to try to instill more consumer confidence. But let`s pull back for a second, Ari.

We are in - we`re in the 8 - there`s been a 10 year economic expansion. 8 years of that were under President Obama. Can that continue forever? I guess it could but all of expansions always come to an end. The music begins to stop so that`s what we see happening now. It`s nobody is rooting for it but if you look at all the data that I was talking about, you look what`s the China slowing down, Germany is slowing down, the U.K. is slowing down.

This is a global phenomenon and it`s not just the U.S. phenomenon and it`s - and it`s really benefited people for a long time.

MELBER: And I`m over on time so I`ll just close with a one word answer, when it comes to the economy and the future of American democracy because you get one word each, are you a pessimista or an optimista?

STENGEL: Optimista.

HINOJOSA: About the economy?

MELBER: You can do both.

HINOJOSA: You know what, I`m the immigrants so if the economy turns down bad that means that he`s going to come after people like me in order for his re-election so this is a very difficult--

MELBER: So you are a pessimista?

HINOJOSA: But I try to be an optimista every day, every day.

MELBER: I like - I think you pronounce it better than me and Larry Kudlow. I like the way you say it.

MOODIE-MILLS: I`m a pessimista. It doesn`t look good, 74 percent of economists are saying it so.

MELBER: So there you go and Larry is invited back on THE BEAT if he wants to join us, we can hash it all out. Danielle, Maria and Rick, thanks to each of you. Really interesting conversation to kick us off. Coming up a decision five years in the making about the police officer in that chokehold death of Eric Garner. We`re going to give you that news and results.

Later Anthony Scaramucci saying he`s creating a new resistance to Trump made of people who used to work for him like him and also tonight, we have the teacher from this very emotional Town hall confronting a Republican senator about the lack of action on guns.

New revelations tonight, very important about Stephen Miller`s role on the targeting on the children of immigrants. We have a whole lot more and I have a very special break down when we`re back in just 30 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Tonight Donald Trump is on defense over communications crisis set off by his former Communications Director, The Mooch who says Trump`s failures have actually convinced him to oppose his former boss` re- election.

The Mooch is also baiting Trump in all the ways that he knows will get to him. Stoking predictions that Trump would quit and drop out of the 2020 race, announcing he`s organizing his own resistance group as well to get people from within Trump`s own team.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FMR WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I`m in the process of putting together a team of people that feel the exact same way that I do. The guy`s unstable, everyone inside knows it, everyone outside knows it. Let`s see if we can find a viable alternative.

Moreover I`ve got to get some of these former cabinet officials in unity to speak up about it. They - they know it`s a crisis.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Is this a genuine effort to save America from Trump or a powerful move, more like some late season scheming from Game of Thrones. Well, Scaramucci says that Game of Thrones actually does explain some of the challenge ahead saying, "We got to take this guy out because this is like the Night King. The minute the Night King is vaporized, all the zombies are going to fall by the wayside."

Huh, well, let`s unpack Mooch`s point here. He`s arguing Trump is like the Night King, powerful, scary, immune to harms that have taken down other warriors, the Night King is not harmed by fire. For example, Trump not harmed by scandals that have burned up other politicians` careers. But like many despots in fiction and reality, the Night King of course, rules on fear.

Once destroyed, everything can change and his subjects don`t always stick around. Now that`s The Mooch`s view of today`s Republican Party. If you vanquish Trump electorally, his seemingly zombious followers will scatter or come to their senses.

In fact, Mooch expands on this point in a new interview although Game of Thrones fans will notice, he flubbed the name, it`s the Night King not the Ice King.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCARAMUCCI: I`m going to bring up the Ice King. You remember the scene in the Game of Thrones where Arya Stark kills him and then all the other dead zombies like evaporate. That`s what we are right now. We got to have an Arya Stark come into the room, let`s knock this guy off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Powerful. All right, now what exactly are we talking about here? It`s more than a random metaphor. The Mooch is baiting Trump right now, trying to get his attention and Team Trump actually speaks in the language of Game of Thrones which includes some of the very players who battled Mooch.

The Chief of Staff who fired him after just 11 days in the White House, John Kelly. Said he wanted, "more structure, less Game of Thrones."

The President himself invokes the show in his Twitter feed, a practice that Mooch is used right after his public firing. He quoted Jon Snow perhaps identifying with a character whose ambition didn`t really always match his status tweeting, "When enough people make false promises, words stopped meaning anything and then there are no more answers only better and better lies - Jon Snow."

Now obviously leading the U.S. government is more nuance that a Game of Thrones plot but the President relishes presenting his actions on these terms.

Whether it was invoking this show to preview sanctions on Iran, sanctions are coming or seizing on that dramatic sense of climax when he posted what you see here, this image to falsely suggests the Mueller report found no collusion and thus was a game over for Congress considering potential impeachment.

Powerful imagery for era. It was widely noticed as America was taking in a President after all of the Mueller probe who now insisted on casting himself as a triumphant TV hero.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JESSE WATTERS, HOST, FOX NEWS: President Trump taking a victory lap following the release of the Mueller report taking to Twitter with this little meme obviously inspired by Game of Thrones. Game Over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President has to call out. He has to get done this. Responding this report with a Game of Thrones tweet.

TODD: They sort of have a movie poster for it called, Sanctions are Coming November and it`s in the Game of Thrones logo and message. Are we marketing the - diplomatic decisions. It just seems like an odd thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: It is odd but Scaramucci knows exactly what he`s doing. Pushing his attack on Trump through this prism. Now Trump`s hitting back today with a string of personal attacks plus some professional ones casting Mooch`s 11 days at the White House as incompetent and noting that he`s praised Trump before.

Now part of Trump`s counter attack is to say basically, does the new beef mean that Mooch`s past praise was all false and it is true, Scaramucci used to really support Donald Trump in the loftiest of terms.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCARAMUCCI: He`s got some of the best political instincts in the world and perhaps in history. I love the President and I`m very, very loyal to the President and I love the mission that the President has. The President has really good karma, OK? And the world turns back to him he genuinely a wonderful human being. The President`s a winner, OK? And what we`re going to do is we`re going to a lot of winning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: How`s that karma now? What changed? Scaramucci says the President`s "racism" has altered everything for him. He also admits he`s late to criticizing issues that others confronted years ago and we asked Scaramucci about the President`s latest attack. He says people must stand up to Trump`s tactics and not allow any further hyper normalization which allows people to accept this behavior.

Adding any company in America would seek immediate removal of a person like this from being CEO. Now some may dismiss Scaramucci as late or inconsistent or disingenuous. But take this in tonight. He joins a long list of people who knew Trump well, who saw him behind closed doors, who once had credibility with Trump`s loyal MAGA supporters who`ve all over time come out to publicly warn America about this man.

You know, you take them together, it may be worth listening to the theme from some of these witnesses who had these front row seat. And since the President and his new nemesis speaking the language of Westeros, Westeros however you say it, let`s keep the lessons of those six kingdoms in mind because Trump has shown many of his fallen foes, chaos is in the pit, chaos is a ladder.

And power can shift quickly because as the show has told us, power resides where people believe it resides. It`s a trick, a shadow on the wall and also something else we`ve learned from Game of Thrones, the loudest people are often the weakest.

For any man who must say I am the king is no true king. America doesn`t have kings but people do pick their President in November a time that everyone in politics anticipates and that Trump is reportedly nervous about. So to paraphrase that looming battle in a phrase that he can understand, Fall is coming.

Up ahead tonight, the man behind Trump`s immigration policy, Stephen Miller speaking, people leaking about him from inside the White House and first, a Republican Senator confronted at an important Town Hall about guns. The pressure is building.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Polls show voters want action on gun reform. Lawmakers feeling increasing pressure during what is right now their August recess. Senator Joni Ernst Republican from Iowa held a Town hall just this week and a local teacher shared an important and emotional experience about back to school training.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEACHER: As part of my teacher training this past week, I was asked to listen to popping sounds and then determine if they were gunshots or not. I was then asked to be trained to man a family reunification center to provide counseling to parents seeking their children following a catastrophic event.

So my question for you today, Senator is when can I plan to get back to trainings that simply teach children to read and write?

(APPLAUSE)

MELBER:  You can see the strong reception there.  Now, Ernst responded by talking about mental health.  But those constituents including those people who clapped at the end there, they wanted more. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Do something!  Do something!  Do something!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Talking is over.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We need you need to protect us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Do something.

(CROSSTALK)

SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IA):  We are going to look and have a discussion about all of these items that are being brought up.  So I appreciate your concern but we had --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  She`s not doing anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do something!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  Congress is not in session but you can see people demanding they get back to work on this issue.  And none of this is happening in a vacuum.  We want to report something you may not have seen yet from news this weekend.

Authorities arresting three men they say we`re looking at trying to do three separate mass shootings.  One of them reportedly a self-described white nationalist who attended yes, the Charlottesville rally.  I`m very happy to tell you one piece of good news which is on THE BEAT.

We are now joined by the very teacher who confronted Senator Ernst at that town hall Ellie Holland and Mike Lupica a Columnist to the New York Daily News who has written about this issue a lot.  My thanks to both of you but especially to you Ellie for being willing to talk about this tough subject.

ELLIE HOLLAND, IOWA TEACHER WHO CONFRONTED SEN. ERNST:  Yes.  I wish I could say that I was happy to be here.  It`s hard to have to keep bringing this subject up.

MELBER:  Yes.  It`s hard and when we think about how we engage these discussions.  There`s all of the bad news.  There`s dealing with reporting the facts, and then there`s the other part of it which is everyone just going to be sort of pulled down by this or can there be -- can there be uninformed and real discussion of policy for potential reform.

It seems like that`s what you were driving at.  My first question you tonight is what did you think of the Senators answer?

HOLLAND:  It was -- it was certainly disappointing to me.  Immediately after I asked a question that -- you know, it`s clearly a concern about active shooters, she tried to pivot it to things like fire drills and tornado drills and that`s not -- that`s not what people are concerned about today.

So thankfully the crowd reacted.  And then she immediately went to -- on to talk about mental health being a key issue in most school shootings which my friends that are psychologists tell me is just not accurate, that a very small percentage of the shooters have mental health concerns and that in fact, people that have mental health concerns are more apt to be victims of violence rather than perpetrate it.

MELBER:  When you look at this in your classroom, do you see this over time affecting students differently today?  Do you see this as something that affects their sense of safety and their ability to focus?

HOLLAND:  Certainly, from my point, from a teacher training point, we are spending a lot of time learning how to deal with active shooters and keeping our children safe.  And so that takes away from the time but that we really need to be on the cutting edge to teach them simple things like how to read and write and how to get along with their friends.

And yes, school children do come to school anxious you know, about shooting situations.  And it`s not just the children that are anxious, teachers, adults are afraid and had anxiety surrounding these events.  And every time --

MELBER:  Sure.  Let me -- let me bring in my Mike.

HOLLAND:  Go ahead.

MELBER:  Hang with me.  And Mike, what do you think?

MIKE LUPICA, NEW YORK DAILY:  Well, first of all, Ari, we live at a time in this country where we keep saying who`s going to stand up and represent the country that we still aspire to be.  And to stand up and ask that question the other night, that`s the America that we still want to be.

Those people in that Hall were tired of listening to Joni Ernst get rolled by the NRA and just spout NRA talking points.  And they called B.S. on her in the state of Iowa and I -- and I actually thought it was it was kind of thrilling.

Yes, no one would dispute that mental health is an issue in this conversation.  But I always go back to a line the great Pete Hamill once used, Ari.  How many home runs did Babe Ruth hit without a bat?  So to -- for them to want to talk about everything except guns for a failing organization like the NRA, someday these politicians who have gotten rolled by the NRA are going to wonder just to whom they sold their souls.  I thought those -- the sound and that scene the other night was tremendous in Iowa.

MELBER:  Well, I think it`s so important as you say and, Ellie, Mike is giving you a shout out obviously because what we`re talking about really is whether any of these arguments make sense upon a basic discussion in public, right?  I mean, it`s -- there are complexities to this.  And I`ve studied the law and there are -- there are constitutional issues in gun rights.

But when you get out to well, should we do screenings or not, and what are you going to do as a teacher, it seems that regular American, civilian Americans, voters in these halls are confronting some of the inadequate answers in their view of their -- of their leaders.

I want to play a little more from this because again, for our viewers, we follow politics.  August is a slow time, but it`s not slow for what you were just doing.  It`s not slow if you go out and take these town halls seriously.  A little bit more Senator Ernst responds after your question.  Let`s take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERNST:  A lot of the incidents that we see do come back to mental illness.

AMERICAN CROWD:  No!

ERNST:  WE are short counselors, we`re short psychologist --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We`re short Congresspeople to take action.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  We`re almost out of time so brief to Ellie and then Mike, your final thoughts on where we go from here.

HOLLAND:  Well, there was a lot of talk about Second Amendment rights but I would just like to have people think about a child`s right.  A child`s right to sit in their classroom and feel safe and not have to worry to -- about being a victim of gun violence.  The Second Amendment is great but maybe we need -- maybe we need a 34th amendment that says children have a right to be safe while they`re trying to learn in schools.

LUPICA:  Ari, the Second Amendment has been pimped out by the leadership of the NRA not in defense of reasonable gun owners in this country, but in the name of profits for gun manufacturers.  And I like to believe that people are starting to figure that out.  Any opposition to an assault weapons ban or background checks is boneheaded.

MELBER:  Mike, always spitting a hot fire as we know about you, sir, even on a serious topic, And Ellie Holland, a teacher who really stood up as a citizen which we appreciate and came here to talk to us about it, and I know it`s not easy, so I really appreciate your joining THE BEAT tonight.

HOLLAND:  Thank you.

MELBER:  Thanks to both of you.  We`re going to fit in a break.  Up ahead, the NYPD has finally ruled in this case on the officer who used an illegal chokehold on Eric Garner.  We`ll tell you that news tonight.

Later, hard evidence, new numbers that may concern Joe Biden.  It`s not a poll and has a lot of good news for some other candidates.  We`re going to show you that`s why it matters.  And we`re hearing from Donald Trump`s immigration czar Stephen Miller.  more up ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER:  By now you`ve heard the name Stephen Miller, Donald Trump`s senior advisor.  He is behind Trump`s immigration policies and what critics say are the cruelest elements of them, all leading back to Mr. Miller.

There`s an extensive report in The New York Times on this, The Washington Post also has this deep dive, detailing how he seized this moment to battle immigration and noting he is the man who literally scripts Trump`s immigration policy.  Pulling the strings behind the scenes, pushing this very controversial new rule that might not even ultimately pass court muster to punish poor, legal, immigrants just because they need say food assistance.

He is a driver of what many see as a self-made crisis on the border.  The report is he`s responsible for the infamous a zero-tolerance policy that ripped up families.  One former advisor officials saying he singularly focused on how to get people out of the country.

And this is the man who remember, back when he used to appear in public more said this president will not be questioned, and now he`s praising his boss in a different type of interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR ADVISOR FOR POLICY FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:  Every day of my life, I thank God for having the privilege to come and work here for this president and this mission.  You cannot understand anything that I -- that I say, do, or think.  You do not understand that my sole motivation is to serve as president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  Motivation, serve the president.  That`s important because if you don`t like what Stephen Miller is doing, he just told everyone and he meant it as a compliment, but he told everyone this is all about what Trump wants.  Which means when you look at something like this directing an operator to scroll higher or lower through this speech in order to put every word in place or you look at family separation, or you look at wealth discrimination, it`s all Trump.  Another employee says that Miller could "Harbor racist views."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MILLER:  Anybody who says that is an ignorant fool, a liar, and a reprobate.  There`s a new place in civilized society.  It is a scurrilous scandalous lie, born of a complete and total lack of understanding of the harms done by uncontrolled migration to people of all backgrounds.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  That is Mr. Miller`s response and we air it because he deserves his response.  But again, the point is he`s telling everyone it goes back to Trump personally serving Trump.  And these are policies that have targeted people based on where they`re from, originally based on religion according to Trump`s Muslim ban, and that he ran on, and now on wealth picking people out saying poor people are somehow worse in the eyes of the Trump immigration system.

And that`s to say nothing of policies that have led to the overcrowding, the inhumane conditions, the kids in cages, people separate from their parents, or boil it all down to one thing the image of an 11 year old and tears wondering where her father would be after an ICE raid which is why some of this when you take it together, it all adds up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MILLER:  My sole motivation is to serve this President.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  Now, when we come back, a story that is very important.  The NYPD has finally ruled on the case against the officer who used the illegal chokehold and Eric Garner`s death.  We`ll tell you the results.  And new real evidence that Joe Biden is struggling.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER:  Now that some new numbers out with important takeaways about 2020, I`m not talking polls which don`t matter right now.  The data you`re going to see here reveals the preferences of some of the most engaged Democratic voters, and it shows how they`re flocking right now to Harris, Warren, and Sanders, and cooling on Biden.

Politico`s Maggie Severns crunch all these online donations from grassroots Dems and found that over the past few months, Joe Biden`s fundraising there has tumbled looking more like a flash in the pan opponent O`Rourke than top-tier rivals who are surging.

Our candidates do raise big money in other ways.  These figures matter tonight because they show where the energy and activism is headed and how this race has been changing since the candidates hit the trail and we had those big debates.  It`s also a contrast to some of the D.C. talk you may have heard trying to anoint frontrunner.

Now, Joe Biden`s best day of online enthusiasm is long over.  He came with a big pop that you see here from his April announcement.  It`s been downhill or flat ever since.  And that shows grassroot Democrats really had to come back to him.  Biden`s slump all the more striking compared to the other candidates.  This is where you see what`s happening.

Take this chart when all the top candidates are in the race.  Here you see Elizabeth Warren.  She`s picked up momentum in small donors in June.  Now, look at Kamala Harris, an upward trend through June and that pop after what you might remember a big June debate moment when she clashed with Biden raising more online in those last days of June than any other candidate except, boom Bernie Sanders.

You see him there above all.  And look at what Sanders is doing.  Big grassroots support climbing and that`s the trend.  Those three pulling ahead with these key engaged Democratic donors.  And now look at that red line again for Joe Biden at the bottom, no movement, no surge during the debates which tells you a lot about where grassroots Democrats are.

And I`m joined now by Maggie Severns who reported out this story and crunch these numbers.  Fascinating stuff, we`ve left the small donor Statistics here on the screen, walk us through what this means.

MAGGIE SEVERNS, REPORTER, POLITICO:  Yes, you know, so like you said these numbers are really important in a primary because donors on the left have not only managed to pump tens and tens of millions of dollars into campaigns in recent cycles but they`ve also managed to you know, really be a bellwether for which candidates are going to surge.

Sanders really famously did this in 2016 when he was just raising tens and tens of millions of dollars online and he`s doing that even better this cycle.  So we`re seeing that he is managing to kind of beat his figures from last time around.

Elizabeth Warren, you know she started the year slow but she`s really learning how to build and engage a grassroots donor base.  So that`s something that we`ve seen in May and in June when she started doing things like calling for impeachment of President Trump or doing other contests and things online.  She was able to start pulling in hundreds of thousands of dollars a day from her donors who are increasingly signing up for her e- mail list and following her and kicking in money.

Now Biden has not been in the race for as long time.  And he, you know, is in some ways starting from scratch.  He has not run for re-election in recent years like some of these candidates have, but he you know, he had this huge launch day.  He raised more than $4 million and a big launch week where he raised more than 60 percent of the money that was raised online.

MELBER:  Right.  And --- which is -- which was good for him then, but the shape that we see on the screen that is so fascinating is the shapeshifting.

SEVERNS:  Yes, that`s where I`m going though.

MELBER:  We`ll put up those first-week numbers that you mentioned because that`s where the shape of the race was.  And Sanders had a big first week, we can put this up.  Biden had a big first week as you mentioned.  And Warren and Harrison didn`t.  And yet what you`re saying walk us through is that now that`s going the other direction.

SEVERNS:  Yes.  And what you want to see, you know, for Biden is you want to see a big first week, and then you want to see him having campaign moments where people are really paying attention to him.  And then you want to see his campaign really capitalizing off of those moments, and you want to see them raising hundreds of thousands, if not, you know, a million dollars.

Harris raised more than a million dollars off of her debate performance.  I think she raised 1.5 within 24 hours of when she attacked by on that first debate.  And he just hasn`t had moments like that.  You know, his kind of run of the mill day, raising money online is less than Buttigieg, less than Sanders and less than Warren.  So --

MELBER:  Yes.  So with -- I got 20 seconds left.  Who would you say has the most activist enthusiasm right now?

SEVERNS:  Bernie Sanders, you know, still has huge activists enthusiasm, and I think Elizabeth Warren is really quickly biting at his heels.  She`s really starting to build a ton of enthusiasm out there among these activists, online donors, so it`s really going to be something to watch.

MELBER:  Your -- you know, your reporting here tells a very different story than some people are talking about out of D.C.  And in past elections, D.C. has sometimes been wrong, and the grassroots has been right.  And so you really digging into the grassroots figures.  It`s fascinating, which is why we worked with your analysis to make these charts and a lot of food for thought.  So Maggie, thanks for your reporting.

SEVERNS:  Thanks, Ari.

MELBER:  Absolutely.  I appreciate it.  When we come back, the results from the NYPD ruling on Eric Garner`s death and the officer involved.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER:  Tonight, a new chapter in a story we have been covering, the chokehold death of Eric Garner.  The New York Police Officer responsible has now been officially fired.  Garner`s death five years ago caught on video led to protests around the nation.  His final words I can`t breathe became a touchstone in the Black Lives Matter movement.

Now, earlier this month, a judge recommended that officer Daniel Pantaleo be fired from the force.  Today, the NYPD Commissioner followed through making it official.  All this comes after the New York grand jury and the federal Justice Department declined to prosecute the officer for anything related to this the death or excessive force.

Today, Garner`s daughter thanks the commissioner, but says it took way too long and more must be done.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EMERALD SNIPES-GARNER, DAUGHTER OF ERIC GARNER:  Eric Garner was killed five years ago.  It took five years for the officer to be fired.  I don`t want another Eric Garner.  I should not be here standing with my brother fatherless.  I should be here with my father.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  I should be here with my father.  I think that`s something everyone can relate to when you look at the humanity of what happens in the wake of these police incidents.  Now, Garner`s family specifically is calling for congressional hearings into his death and they`re calling for officers involved in that arrest to still be punished in some way.

We`ve been covering this story for a long time.  This is a development and we will stay on this and stories like this here on THE BEAT.  And that does it for us tonight.  I`ll be at 6:00 p.m. tomorrow but don`t go anywhere, "HARDBALL" is up next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  Big casino.  Let`s play HARDBALL.

  THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END