CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: We`ll be back Monday with More Meet the Press Daily and if it`s Sunday it`s Meet the Press at NBC. We will get into what the week of Sharpie tells us about President Trump. And then my guest to include the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Senators Amy Klobuchar and Roy Blunt. The Beat with Ari Melber starts right now. Good evening Ari.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Chuck. Is the baby, a Chucktoddcast listener yet?
TODD: Well, put it this way. Matt Rivera is going to make sure he is.
TODD: Since he produces this show, he better.
MELBER: One at a time, one at a time. Have a great weekend. We`ll be watching on Sunday, Sir.
TODD: Thank you brother.
MELBER: Absolutely. Now we have a lot of stories in a big show tonight. Congress is coming right back in next week and gearing up for a fall with new investigations and new leads against the Trump White House. This includes a serious probe into something that should not ever really be normal.
The Vice President spending your taxpayer money to stay at a Trump hotel that was completely out of his way. It`s the tip of the iceberg say many Democrats. We have that story. Also new revelations, Trump officials spending lavishly on office supplies and furniture while immigrant kids were sleeping on cold floors and some of those same officials blamed budget cuts. That`s the story we have for you.
And a first on The Beat and one that is near and dear to our hearts. NBC`s Lester Holt is here tonight. He`s going to speak in depth about his new series on justice in America including two nights that he just spent sleeping at the largest maximum security prison in the U.S.
Why was he there and what does it mean? We`re going to get into all of that. I`m thrilled that he`s agreed to be on the show tonight. That`s unusual as you may know but we begin with Donald Trump about to face a crush of new investigations.
Now many people said look this summer felt a little chaotic and you had all the Mueller stuff. Democrats say there`s a lot more to get to. Two top leaders in the House announcing a new probe into whether Donald Trump has abused his position as President to enrich himself?
That`s something that many government officials get in trouble for, some lose their jobs for. Now obviously the context here is something we`ve been reporting on aggressively all week. The revelations of Vice President Mike Pence took this absurd, very publicly embarrassing 80 mile detour just so he could drop some taxpayer dollars at Trump`s hotel over there in Ireland.
Trump also is pushing his Florida resort for an international summit, trying to get foreign governments to pay in although that hasn`t been approved yet and Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler as well as Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings are saying, this is serious investigative stuff.
They`re now demanding documents from the White House, from Pence, from even the Secret Service which could set up all kinds of battles as well as the Trump organization which is of course on the receiving end of these apparent boondoggles and they`re setting a deadline of September 19.
Nadler says that what they find could help this committee make a decision on yes, whether to recommend "articles of impeachment." Now earlier in this week, we were reporting on how Democrats had essentially three different fronts for any potential impeachment probe.
First, the evidence laid out by Mueller which of course has been probably discussing and partly stonewalled by the White House preventing witnesses from speaking to the Congress. Second though, there`s Donald Trump`s racist action as President. That was the way that Al Green put it in the impeachment vote that he held which remember, wasn`t back by 5 or 10 or 20 people in the resistance.
95 elected Democrats in the House backed that road to impeachment and then third, you have the House going deeper into these illegal hush payments to women who alleged contacting affairs with Trump and much of that occurred in 2016 when there`s no argument for executive privilege about the underlying material.
Now Donald Trump enriching himself I should say through the presidency? Well, you could consider that a potential fourth door according to some Democrats because there`s plenty to work with here. Mike Pence shifting his explanations over real time throughout the week about why he went out of his way to spend your money at that resort.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was asked, "Did President Trump ask Vice President Pence to stay at the property? Short answer, "I don`t think it was a request like a command, I think it was a suggestion."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A suggestions from the President.
Mike Pence: The opportunity to stay at Trump National in Doonbeg to accommodate the unique footprint that comes with our security detail and other personnel made it logical.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About 3:30 in Ireland last night, that`s when the Vice President`s Chief of Staff Mark Short put out an additional statement explaining this, blaming it on this reporting, even though a lot of what had been reported was just quoting of the Vice President and of his Chief of Staff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: So you start with this was Trump`s idea. Well, who else`s idea - who would it be to go out of your way to stay at a Trump hotel. Then you have the idea, oh, it was a logical choice. Nobody really bought that and then you have blaming the press.
Democrats have a completely separate investigation as well into whether Trump was trying to profit from foreign governments when he pushed his Doral resort as a host potentially of the next G7 summit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Doral happens to be within Miami. It`s a city, it`s a wonderful place. It`s very, very successful area of Florida. It`s very importantly only 5 minutes from the airport.
It`s not about me. It`s about getting the right location.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: You may have heard the old saying location, location, location. 5 minutes from the airport or 180 miles depending on which airport you need to use. Now, next week Democrats will be back in Washington and they`re saying that means Donald Trump is going to have a lot more explaining to do.
Kicking off our show tonight we got a lot of different topics to cover but we begin on following the money with Jason Johnson from The Root and Margaret Carlson from The Daily Beast. Margaret, it would seem that things that Donald Trump has long been known for, the excessive exaggeration of his property, the blatant self-promotion self-enrichment are getting more investigative attention now, at least the way it went down with Pence and Attorney General Barr planning 30K at the Trump hotel in Washington.
MARGARET CARLSON, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, the others have being a little bit vaguer because who is paying - William Barr is paying the 30,000 out of his own pockets, just happens to be going to the Trump hotel down the street.
But this one is the tax payer and you know, Scott Pruett and Ryan Zinky and Tom Price, all cabinet secretaries were let go or fired or pushed out eventually for doing just this - you know, this very staying in expensive hotels and taking private jets on the taxpayer dime.
So involving the taxpayer money, I think is the key here in why Oversight and Judiciary are doing it but the other part about this, this is such a bold move, like it wasn`t going to be a secret that he was going there and there`s nothing about a foot prints, like Dublin has a lot of dignitaries that pass through and with a big footprint and the footprint can be handled.
And when I went to the Doonbeg website, rooms were going for and 995 euro a night which is slightly over 1000 but also those days that Pence was there were crossed out so it could be that they took over the whole place and that the footprint with small enough actually that they took over the whole place.
JASON JOHNSON, POLITICS EDITOR, THE ROOT: This is such an obvious scam. I don`t understand what takes a Democrat so long to realize that the President of United States is scamming us all. This is a clear violation of the emoluments clause and this isn`t the only example, right?
We`ve seen foreign dignitaries and we`ve seen ambassadors suddenly decide that they want to stay in Trump hotels, funneling money, he`s basically using United States as a way to funnel money into his personal finances. That`s not complicated, it`s not difficult. What amazes me - you know, Ari, you know what`s smarter than spending all this time and political capital on investigations?
An actual impeachment hearing because that makes the most sense. I don`t understand why they can`t do this. That`s what amazes me about all this.
MELBER: Well, speak to that because we`ve been having these conversations and frankly, I hear from viewers of The Beat and MSNBC all the time about well, wait a minute, the Democrats surely had to have a plan and they knew that sooner or later Mueller would end and whether he ended with four you know incidents of obstruction or 6 or 8 or you know, barring some phantasmagorical scenario where there was a video or something really smoking which still we know in this climate people would debate.
People ask me, Ari, don`t the Democrats have a plan for what they`re going to do when it all came in and as we`ve been reporting, they have three or four doors, they have different caucuses, they now have a majority of the caucus for impeachment but they don`t seem to your point, Jason, a clear plan of what they`re going to do about it.
JOHNSON: Right, when it comes to impeachable offenses, Trump is turned it from a two to a four and four to an eight. Like every single time they investigate the guy, we`re finding more things he`s done that are corrupt. What has amazed me about the Democrats is, not only do they not have a plan but what they should be doing and what they`re wasting time with every single one of these investigations could be part of an impeachment hearing.
That`s part of the show. That`s part of the presentation to the public but instead they`re wasting time in these sort of hearings that will completely lost as we head into the holiday season so unless the plan is to do impeachment hearings in the spring, during the primary where you`ll have a focus of attention, it seems like they`re wasting an opportunity to not only fulfill their constitutional responsibilities but hold a corrupt President in check.
MELBER: Yes and Margaret, I mean Jason calls it a scam. The thing about Donald Trump, this was true in his prior life in entertainment and it is certainly true in the way he is as President. There`s a lot of lying and then occasionally there are little bolts of weird truths that make him look bad and you think, why did someone whose lies so much to try to look good then say true things and make it look bad.
And that maybe that`s above my pay grade to know why but this is an example of-
CARLSON: Now that`s a rap song, Ari.
MELBER: You know, what L. L. Cool J said you`re lying about the lies that you tell. Here it`s occasionally blurting the truth and I offer that as context for what I want your analysis on which is here is Donald Trump saying basically something that no other President in either party would ever publicly admit to, which is that they think being President is costing them something and they could make more money elsewhere and by the way, almost every qualified President could make more than a public sector salary.
Barack Obama could have made more if he wanted to be a lobbyist or be at a law firm, right? I mean it goes without saying and yet, here he was admitting that, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Probably it will cost me anywhere from $3 billion to $5 billion to be President. Couldn`t care less otherwise I wouldn`t have done it. People have asked me, what do you think it costs and between opportunity of not doing thing - I used a lot of money to make speeches. Now I give speeches all the time. You know what I get? Zippo and that`s good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And so Margaret, he doesn`t seem to realize that that`s the wrong equation if you want to choose public service, most people don`t get to work in positions of power, decide life and that matters but it`s public service. He wants to stay private, he could have.
CARLSON: I wasn`t counting but I think that adds like another 100 lies to the 12,000 lies because I don`t care? That`s really a big lie because he does care. He`s the only President who thinks he should still be making money in the private sector while he`s a President.
Now some Presidents might think well, I can make some money later, library books, etcetera but this is the one who thinks just the opposite. He doesn`t want to give up any money while he`s there and by the way you know he still owns all of his property and all of his business.
So his sons are running it, that was the worst case of removing conflicts of interest I`ve ever seen in government ever.
MELBER: Well, well put, like a 2 by 4, both are you stay with me. I want to bring in someone who we`re actually indebted to in its reporting and we like to go to a primary sources, Zach Everson runs a newsletter 1100, Pennsylvania which reports on the Trump hotel in Washington and you know Zach, you can never profile people, right?
You know that. You can`t learn a lot just by looking at someone, right?
ZACH EVERSON, 1100 PENNSYLVANIA NEWSLETTER JOURNALIST: Correct.
MELBER: And so we don`t profile you, eagle eyed viewers may recall you were on the show earlier this week, you were stumped by David Corn. He threw out a line from Snoop doggie dog and you knew it exactly top of the dome and we salute you for that, Zach.
EVERSON: Thank you. That`s what I`m here for.
MELBER: Now on to the business, you have been tracking this, we`ll put up on the screen thanks to your work, the number of Republican senators that have been spending money at the Trump hotel properties, that`s just from public - public sourcing.
Walk us through again and for viewers who may not know about your work, although we`ve relied on it, what it is you found and why you thought it was important to track this apparent patronage.
EVERSON: Sure, I started looking at social media to see if we could find out who is spending money at the Trump hotel and you absolutely could. They`re posting pictures on there. I started off in I guess, it was August 2017 and it was Anthony Scaramucci and Rudy Giuliani and you know here we are couple years later and yesterday, it was a governor of one of Pakistan`s provinces and Rudy Giuliani again because he`s a regular there.
But you can really get a good glimpse of what`s going on so the senators, it`s a mixture from FEC reports on campaign finance and also just pictures that I`ve seen of them online and we`ve had I think it`s 26 out of 53 Republican senators have been there, only 1 Democrat Senator.
MELBER: Right, so it`s a majority of their caucus and counting. It adds up to real money, the New York Times--
MELBER: - saying nearly 20 mil spent at Trump family hotel since 2015 only by Republican political groups. Based on your knowledge of the travel industry, which again is what you have some background in, is that an unusual amount of money for a hotel to get strictly for political reasons rather than what we might call earned or meritocratic interest in staying there?
EVERSON: What really stands out is how Republicans didn`t go to Trump properties until Trump became President. I mean, that is just the fact that you can see. You`ve seen Mike Pence`s committee has spent $225,000 there. Speaker RCB minority leader McCarthy`s Committee has spent over $220,000. The RNC has dropped over 400,000 and a pro-Trump super pack has dropped over 500,000.
I mean right there it`s clear caught he`s profiting from the presidency.
CARLSON: And didn`t - I don`t know if Zach included this. Pence`s packs have paid $250,000 for at Trump properties already so you know, what`s striking about this is, it`s not hidden, it`s all in plain sight. It`s bold. It`s out there and like Democrats are just getting around to it as Jason says where have they been.
I mean just walk into the lobby, thank you Zach for doing it for us, that`s really hard duty. It`s there, it`s not hard to get, you don`t even need subpoenas, just like you`ve got - you`ve got the documents, the documents are really powerful.
EVERSON: Right and this new House investigation, we`re not going to learn anything new. We already know that when Trump went to Doonbeg and I think it was 2018 or it was one of his Scottish golf courses in 2018, the taxpayers were on the bill for $77,000, - did a great job reporting that.
We know that if we`re going to request these documents, maybe they`ll get them, maybe they won`t. Information might leak but the end result is going to be that the taxpayers are probably on the hook for about $50,000. What matters then is what the Democrats do with that information if anything because right now we`re seeing nothing.
There`s seven different House panels that are looking into aspects of Trump`s businesses and we don`t - we haven`t seen any public information and we certainly haven`t seen any sort of change in behavior.
JOHNSON: And I don`t understand like what are they looking for at this point? Yelp reviews, right? Right, did they want them to be like, I didn`t like the dinner here or the continental breakfast wasn`t that good. What this basically amounts to, it wouldn`t even require an investigation, this looks like kickbacks.
This is - I almost feel bad for some of these Republicans. They probably feel like if I don`t spend money in a Trump hotels, he won`t endorse me. He`ll attack my primary opponent in 2020. Why it is that these members of the Senate can`t realize that they are actually being taken advantage of as much of the American people, it`s amazing to me because I`m pretty sure a lot of these guys would rather spend a night at a Holiday Inn than the $900 a pop at a Trump hotel.
CARLSON: The only Ari is that--
MELBER: Go ahead.
CARLSON: William Barr needs Trump more than Trump - you know, Trump needs William Barr more than William Barr needs Trump but he`s spending 30,000 out of his own pocket of all the expenditures, it`s the one that that I find mysterious.
MELBER: I find it telling because I`ve covered Mr. Barr and I`ve said before on air, he`s a very bright person. Whatever you think of what he does with his intelligence and he didn`t take a long time hanging out there in this new role, he`s one of the more recent cabinet members to figure out how it works and how to ingratiate and that`s a chilling statement when we`re talking about matters of literally life and death.
I mean who lives and who dies and who protects the prisons and how do executions work and his focus was in getting a not only getting a holiday party planned, but getting it leaked and getting it out there, that he`s routing the money that way. On a lighter note Jason, do you know how you can tell whether a continental breakfast is solid when you`re on the road?
JOHNSON: I do not, please tell me.
MELBER: My test is that I love a free included continental is whether there is multiple types of juice. If I come in and it`s only OJ, it`s OK but if I see the grapefruit juice, I feel like this Holiday Inn and on the campaign trail, we end up in a lot of Holiday Inns, that`s when you know it`s a nice continental.
CARLSON: Ari, breakfast was included at the Doonbeg for your 1000 dollars a night. I checked.
JOHNSON: Not just bread but OJ, I like it.
CARLSON: I don`t know about the OJ at Doonbeg but you`ve got breakfast.
MELBER: It`s fitting we`re talking about this with Zach here because on The Beat, we try to go all the way from OJ to OG.
MELBER: Zach, sorry.
EVERSON: No worries. You`ve got obvious standards for how you judge a continental breakfast.
MELBER: You know I`ll be - I`ll try to be funnier next time.
JOHNSON: I was impressed.
MELBER: Margaret and Zach, thanks for your analysis for putting up with me, for being on The Beat on a Friday. Well, what we`re going to do is fit in literally a 30 second break and when we come back NBC`s Lester Hold is here with an extraordinary look inside America`s largest prison and sleeping there overnight.
Also later, Trump DHS officials spending money on furniture while families are literally sleeping on the floor and later my fact check on one of Trump`s biggest walkers on the coal industry plus you know it`s Friday, we have a special Fall back with Havoc and EJ Dionne on all that on tonight`s show. We return in just 30 seconds.
MELBER: And now to a very important story and a new exclusive series, `Justice for All,` where NBC nightly news anchor Lester Holt explores some of the most important issues facing criminal justice reform, including stories of the wrongfully accused, exploring how mass incarceration works in America today and justice writ large.
Lester went and embedded in the largest maximum security prison in the U.S., spending two nights in a cell at the Angola Louisiana state penitentiary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESTER HOLT, ANCHOR, NBC: Angola or the Louisiana state penitentiary is a former slave plantation. I spent three days here. On the inside my access was virtually unrestricted and at times I was not in the immediate sight of officers.
Very few of the roughly 6000 inmates here live behind bars as we traditionally think of prisons. In fact most of them, about 80 percent live in open dorms like this, bunk beds like you would see in the barracks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to go down the tier here.
HOLT: But for security reasons, I won`t be staying in a dorm. Instead I`m brought to the cell block, reserved for high risk offenders in my case a high profile guests.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So 11.
HOLT: As journalists we now that to get to the heart of something you need to get inside it. Folks you are - the more something - the more is revealed to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And we are thrilled to be joined right now by Lester Holt, Anchor of NBC Nightly news. Thanks so much for making time for us.
HOLT: Sure Ari. Happy to be here.
MELBER: What was important to you about reporting the story this way and what did you learn on the inside?
HOLT: Well, it`s a story that`s typically told from the outside in and we simply reversed it. I wanted to tell it from the inside out and have intimate conversations with these guys and to do that we used techniques like no artificial lighting and the cameras were kept quite far back but we wanted to understand this issue of mass incarceration and how different states and different prisons are trying to make it better.
Here they`ve got you know some programs. They have added and they`re trying to give a reason for hope in a place and it was not a lot of it, a lot of these guys are there on life sentences without the possibility of parole.
MELBER: One of the things that I think you and I know from interviewing people is no matter how hard you listen an interview is an artificially constructed set of time. You spent more time there. Did you pick up anything in the mood, in the environment, in the hopelessness that some people feel in this type of system?
HOLT: Yes, I think I went in with a sense of this would be filled with bitter people who you know, their lives have hit a dead end because of choices they made. What I found though was a lot of thoughtful individuals. Now you`ve been to a lot of prisons and talked to a lot of inmates.
You know that sometimes they`ll tell you what they think you want to hear or what may be to their advantage and so there were moments I simply didn`t know if I was being conned but I suppose one of these guys to get this sense of they`re looking for some former redemption.
Many of them, I said, do you - do you deserve parole? They said, I don`t deserve parole. I mean I would like to be released but they`re coming to acknowledge their crimes, what they`ve done to society but they also look you in the eye and say look, in some cases you know I`m in prison for something I did when I was 16.
I`m 45 now. I`m 50 right now and it gets to that question, what do we do about you know violent offenders but those who may not - may no longer pose a threat to society.
MELBER: The other fault line here is race and the way the system has worked in racially disparate and sometimes racist ways over the decades as I think gotten a little more attention lately. I wonder what you think in looking at that and the way that punitive justice is handed out.
HOLT: You can`t - you can`t escape me the legacy and you know brighter minds have looked into this issue of the line for me slavery in this country and how our criminal justice system has turned out. I will tell you anecdotally - anecdotally Angola is a farm and this is hard labor and one of the jobs there is to go out in the fields and pick produce.
I went out on a tractor with inmates and we were picking carrots and I looked around I said to him, I said everybody looks like us, meaning people of color and we were being kind of a watch for life guards with guns on horsebacks. The imagery you know, it certainly wasn`t lost on me and I talked to prison officials about that.
And you know they make the argument, look, these guys are getting paid albeit pennies per hour but the food is consumed at the prison and that virtually any piece of farmland in Louisiana was at one time a plantation as this was but you know, I couldn`t escape that stark imagery and the history we know of that part of the country.
MELBER: That`s very striking. The last thing I wanted to ask you about was in your work on this and in your writing about it, you touch on how it in the role of a journalist you`ve observed the actual executions. That`s not something most people see with their own eyes outside of law enforcement or people caught up in those situations.
What did you learn from that? How do you take that to telling the story to Americans as we do debate how we do justice?
HOLT: Well, that was back in the nineties. I was a witness, a media witness which they had to an execution, it was lethal injection. I always remember this you know, kind of just a chilly block house, I call it a block house, it was brick - a curtain opens up. There is the inmate all wired up and the warden and he`s got a head set on and it`s all very official.
I remember this moment of wanting to stand up like wait a second, what are we about to do here? I say that not as giving you my opinion one way or the other on death penalty but it made me think about how we administer justice and what do we get for it because you know he was executed that day for by the way, a horrible crime.
Is the world any safer? What did we get for it as a society? And that`s kind of started those thoughts which I didn`t really you know, play down until later now that it`s a topic that people really seem ready to discuss and it`s got bipartisan support for the conversation. But it`s certainly you know, you can`t witness something like that and not have it shape you know how you view the criminal justice system.
MELBER: Absolutely. It is - it`s a fascinating way that you`re approaching the story so you`re known to all of our viewers Lester Holt. Thanks for coming on The Beat and telling us about it.
HOLT: You bet. Thanks any time.
MELBER: Of course and let me mention so everyone understands where you could see Lester`s full report. This is as mentioned from the Angola prison, it`s a special edition of Dateline tonight, 10:00 PM eastern on NBC and then this Sunday, the MSNBC special, Lester`s Justice for All, Town hall, that at the Sing Sing correctional facility, Sunday at 10:00 PM Eastern on MSNBC.
And now coming up on tonight`s Beat, we have a lot more. Trump`s DHS buying high end office furniture, while forcing immigrant families to sleep on the floor. It`s all about budget priorities and later, we will deal with someone who says if they win, they could stop Donald Trump from even being able to run for President again.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC "THE BEAT" HOST: New scandal hitting Donald Trump`s immigration policy tonight. Homeland Security officials spent millions of dollars on office furniture while claiming resources have been too short to house immigrant families including forcing migrants to sleep on the floor. "The Daily Beast" reporting Trump officials have spent $120 million on furniture, most frequently at luxury furniture maker Herman Miller.
Tonight, Trump also under fire for raiding funding, which would have been used to educate children of American military personnel. Now, they won`t get a planned new middle school. Also, Trump can divert funds to the wall that he said, never forget, "Mexico would pay for."
I`m joined by Arizona Congressman, Ruben Gallego, a Marine veteran. Good to see you. And what do you see as important about all these stories coming together?
REP. RUBEN GALLEGO, D-ARIZONA: Well, look, the most important thing you have to understand, what the president cares about when it comes to your family separation and deportation policy, is they want to maximize cruelty, and that`s why they`re depriving these people of beds and the sanitary conditions they should be in, clearly not money.
But number two, it also makes it very hard, I think, for us in Congress to continue to appropriate money to these homeland security efforts when we know that they`re just being wasteful and they`re coming back and asking for more money. And then, also raiding our military budget, something that many of us have worked hard on to improve, and to increase, because of the need that we have in our family basis. So this president really does not take this series as serious at all.
MELBER: We checked on that and prior administrations have also spent money on furniture at similar rates, but they haven`t had the same policies, and then claim budget shortfalls.
MELBER: He was the acting DHS secretary doing that again. You`re in Congress -- to you, effectively. Take a look.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN MCALEENAN, ACTING HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We`re in the midst of an ongoing security and humanitarian crisis in our southwest border. Given the scale of what we`re facing we will exhaust our resources before the end of this fiscal year, which is why, this week, the administration will be sending a supplemental funding request to the Congress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Is that on the level?
GALLEGO: No, it`s not on the level and it`s going to make funding decisions more difficult, I think, in the future for us in Congress. And, look, at the same time, you know, that they`re raising all these other efforts. Let`s not forget that they`ve also been raiding in the FEMA fund. That they took money away from the Coast Guard, things that are very important right now.
This administration is irresponsible and reckless to a point that they`re actually more dangerous than anything else. They`re not effectively controlling the border. If anything they`re just making the whole process more dangerous, both for those crossing the border for, but for us as citizens, too, because we no longer have as strong as an effective FEMA, or Coast Guard, because they`re being raided by this administration.
MELBER: Yeah. These are important stories, especially and holding them to account. Congressman Gallego, thanks so much for joining us today.
MELBER: Appreciate it.
When we come back we have an important fact check from the head of the Coal Miners Labor Union, all about what Donald Trump is doing for that industry. And later, we have a primary challenger who says Donald Trump is an unfit con man, a liar, and then, he can actually stop him. And then, tonight as well. You know it`s Friday. A special "FALLBACK" with Havoc from Mobb Deep and our friend E.J. Dionne.
MELBER: We`ve been reporting on a whole tear that Donald Trump has been on. Breaking campaign promises left, and right, and in public. And it`s important to keep track and hold these things accountable. Sometimes the administration backs off when exposed. So consider tonight that not only is Donald Trump now forcing American taxpayers to fund the border wall, not Mexico, but he is also getting exposed on something that he ran on explicitly in 2016. The coal industry.
But look at the facts. Since Donald Trump took office, 51 coal plants have now shut down. That`s actually more than in the entire four years of Obama`s first term. Eight coal companies have had to file for bankruptcy. And now, after Donald Trump claimed his priority would be bringing back coal. Well, you can hear from the very own head of the coal miners union about how it`s going.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
CECIL ROBERTS, UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA: Coal was not backed. Nobody saved a coal industry. Now, that`s a harsh fact and it`s a harsh reality.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And here`s some more reality. This summer, coal miners actually came to Washington and they asked for explicit help to shore up their pensions, something that is important to every coal family. They are, of course, in trouble as the industry has hemorrhaged. And apparently, according to these reports, President Trump`s response, basically silence. NBC News shows a report that he`s not really dealing with this in any public way at all now that it`s not a campaign slogan. This is a long ways from his earlier promises.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: My administration is putting an end to the war on coal.
We are putting the coal miners back to work just like I promised.
Coal is coming back.
For those miners, get ready, because you`re going to be working your ass off.
We are back. The coal industry is back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: It turns out that actually restoring coal jobs is harder than pretending to do them. Just ask the actual coal miners. I`m going to fit in a break, and then we will be joined by a conservative who said that Donald Trump is unhinged and a danger to America, and he has a way to stop him from even getting the Republican nomination.
MELBER: Some are calling it a right wing revolt. More Republicans now not only breaking with Trump, but trying to stop him from getting the Republican nomination. And now, the RNC pushing back in a very fearful way, outright counselling Republican primaries to make the field harder for those who would run against Trump.
Now, one of those very challengers is former U.S. Congressman, Joe Walsh. Now, he was a controversial member of the Tea Party, a right wing radio talk show host, but he says he`s had it with Trump, and he`s now going to, quote, "Punch him every single day on the campaign trail."
Joining me now for his first appearance on "THE BEAT" is presidential candidate, Joe Walsh. Thanks for joining me.
JOE WALSH, 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hey, Ari, it`s great to be with you.
MELBER: Let`s start here. A lot of folks have heard the Democratic and progressive critique of President Trump. What do you argue is the best conservative critique against him?
WALSH: He believes and he acts like he`s above the law. And if you give him, if we give him four more years, Ari, heaven help this country. Look, I`ve been very blunt. I think he`s unfit to be president. And I say that for two reasons.
I believe, virtually, every time he opens his mouth, he tells a lie. And Ari, I don`t believe he`s capable, literally, of thinking about anyone but himself. And you can see it with this hurricane. I mean, your and my fellow Americans in the Carolinas are being pummeled by a major hurricane. And this president has spent the last week whining about and complaining about how he`s being treated by the media.
WALSH: Vis-A -vis this hurricane.
WALSH: He`s just not capable.
MELBER: Which is pretty wild. You say he lies all the time. "The Washington Post" counts it up. I`m sure you`ve seen these figures our viewers have.
MELBER: It is an epidemic, 12,000 false or misleading statements. It is a feature of the way he governs, as you mentioned, it`s part of the way he`s responded to the hurricane. What do you say to your would be Republican voters? You want to win them over who say, "Well, that`s just his style."
WALSH: You know what? My campaign diary is making a bet. I think he`s unfit. And I think privately, most Republicans feel the same way. And they`re tired of his B.S. They`re tired of his lies and his drama. They just don`t say that publicly. Most of my former colleagues, Ari, up on Capitol Hill, they agree with every single word I`m saying about Trump. They want Trump to lose. They think he`ll lose.
MELBER: So why don`t they endorse you?
WALSH: Well, they`re scared to death of Trump. They`re scared of this tweets.
MELBER: Your colleagues are scared of Trump. You know, who`s not scared of you? I`m going to be blunt, since ou said you`d like to be blunt. A lot of the president`s allies in the media. Take a look.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
GREG GUTFELD, THE FIVE CO-HOST: The worst Joe Walsh ever. This is a guy who is obnoxious, way more obnoxious early on, than any right wing Republican.
LAURA INGRAHAM, THE ANGLE HOST: He called Obama a Muslim. Used the N-word on Twitter, and may have owed his wife a mere $117,000 in child support. He probably would have a better shot with this Joe Walsh from the Eagles.
HERMAN CAIN, 2016 GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s for publicity, his own self publicity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Is Fox News wrong there?
WALSH: Yeah. Hey, look, Ari, I stopped paying attention to Donald Trump`s sycophants a long time ago. I pay attention to what Trump`s doing. And you mentioned it at the top. Look, this is not North Korea or Russia. Donald Trump is trying to eliminate elections. He wants to eliminate primary elections right now in four states, Arizona, Nevada, South Carolina and Kansas. That is undemocratic B.S. It`s wrong. And that`s the kind of thing that should piss off Republican voters. And, Ari, if Trump`s not -- Go ahead.
MELBER: Why do you think they are literally, as you said, canceling primary elections for a sitting incumbent president? Why are they doing that?
WALSH: Because I think, again, Ari, maybe it`s not me. I think they`re scared to death of this president having any other name on a primary ballot against him, because he`s imploding day by day.
WALSH: I think they`re afraid. Look, that`s not that`s not a sign of strength. You want to eliminate elections. You want to, like, take away the will of the people.
WALSH: You don`t do that if you`re a big, strong player.
MELBER: Let me play one more thing, which is some very controversial remarks you made around the anniversary of the MLK March in Washington. Take a look.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH: I got a dream that young black males don`t become daddies until after they`re married and until after they have a job. How about that? I have a dream that blacks cease their dependency on government, which has enslaved them to a life of poverty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Bottom line, were you wrong?
WALSH: No. Hey, Ari, I am obsessed with the issue of race and it`s an issue I talk about a lot. I`ve got a podcast with the black radio host from Chicago. His name`s Maze Jackson. And we talk about -- it`s called "Uncomfortable Conversations". We talk about race and racism, because I want blacks and whites dialogue.
And sometimes, Ari, I`m too provocative. I get that. And when I step in it, I`ll apologize. Contrast that with this guy in the White House who purposely stokes racism and bigotry to divide this country. I`ll run against that any day.
MELBER: Former Congressman, Joe Walsh, I appreciate you taking the questions. And we`ll keep an eye on this primary challenge, sir.
WALSH: Thank you, Ari.
MELBER: Thank you.
I wish I had more time, but I`ve got to find a break. When we come back, I`ve got the rapper Havoc and E.J. Dionne from "The Washington Post" for a very special fallback.
MELBER: It`s Friday on "THE BEAT", so, you know, it`s time to "FALLBACK". I am joined now by producer, recording artist, Havoc, have from the legendary rap group Mobb Deep, which also featured the late artist Prodigy. They sold over 40 million records, including a platinum album and three gold albums.
And we`re also joined today by "Washington Post" columnist, E.J. Dionne, the author of seven books. His latest is "One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported". And also journalist is one of the 25 most influential journalists in all of Washington. Havoc and E.J., thanks for joining me today.
KEJUAN MUCHITA, POPULARLY KNOWN AS `HAVOC`: Thanks for having me.
E.J. DIONNE, THE WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: Good to be with you.
MELBER: Great to have both of you together. You both look good together. E.J., who needs to fall back on your list?
DIONNE: Well, I think that Boris Johnson, first of all, needs to pull back for his handling of Brexit. He said that rather than delay leaving the E.U., he`d rather die in a ditch. I think he`s already in a ditch. His brother has resigned from parliament, because he doesn`t agree with him on this, and feels he can`t be loyal to his family and his country at the same time. He has created a monstrous mess for Britain and for himself. And I think falling back is the least he could do for all of us.
MELBER: Well, and E.J., briefly have been a lot of comparisons of Boris as sort of the U.K.`s Trump. But if that`s true, they seem to be wising up to him even quicker than maybe Trump in America.
DIONNE: Right, well, Boris Johnson hasn`t yet moved a hurricane hundreds of miles to a different place. So there is that. But yeah, what`s really striking is Johnson expected that if he prorogued parliament, that great word, that meant after they met this week, they were going to meet until October that he could get away with that. And parliament was just up in arms and said, "You can`t take away our power like this." And I think it`s significant that 21 conservatives bolted their party to vote against Johnson. Imagine if 21 Republicans bolted their party right now to stand up to Trump. That would make a rather substantial difference.
MELBER: I think it`s a great point you make. We can learn a lot from other countries and other types of democracy. Lord knows our democracy isn`t fully democratic. And in England, they have a system that really does provide for people to disagree, even within a party or ideology. Maybe we could learn something from that. Havoc, what`s on your fallback list?
MUCHITA o/c `HAVOC`: Oh, man, on my fallback is today is the four geniuses dead. Went to Popeyes, demanding one of those famous chicken sandwiches. Couldn`t get it. So they pulled out a gun and demanded to get these sandwiches. I mean, I want to know what`s in these sandwiches. I think we should hold a really big investigation about this. Maybe hire Mueller to find out, you know, saying what`s in these sandwiches? And, you know, maybe some more shoes will drop.
MELBER: I mean, Havoc, this story has everything about, sort of, 2019 America, people way too quick to pull a weapon. That`s a serious problem. People way too moved by buzz and social media advertising. That`s a less serious problem. But, like, I know there was a lot of talk online about the chicken, but I mean, as I understand it, it`s still just chicken.
MUCHITA o/c `HAVOC`: I mean, chicken is just chicken. But apparently, this chicken is not just chicken. So something is inside this chicken. And I think we need to hold an investigation and we need to find who these people are, because they`re dangerous, they`re reckless, and they`re a public nuisance.
DIONNE: This is carrying "love that chicken from Popeye`s" way too far.
MELBER: Just too far. E.J., what else is on your list at the end of this crazy week?
DIONNE: Well, I was caught by a story about Ariana Grande, partly because I think Ariana Grande wrote the theme song for Democrats trying to decide from a field of more than 20 candidates. I`m referring to "Thank you, Next". And I think, you know, there was a story in "The New York Times", and Ariana Grande is suing Forever 21, claiming that Forever 21 is trying to trick customers into thinking that Grande endorses their product by posting photos of her on social media and using a model who looks remarkably like her. And they`re playing off her new album, "Seven Rings".
And here`s the interesting fact in the lawsuit, Ari, that they are claiming, her lawyers, that a single Instagram post from her is worth well into six figures. That`s just like the value of every one of your tweets. And I think that, you know, Forever 21 should fall back. They have already gotten as much publicity out of this as they can. I think I am the last person ever to mention, who would ever mentioned Forever 21 on television. So they got a lot out of this already.
MELBER: Although you mentioned and criticized them. Havoc, I wonder what you think, because there is sharing and what they sometimes call culture jamming in music.
MUCHITA o/c `HAVOC`: Right.
MELBER: But this isn`t between artists saluting each other. This is like a company trying to trade off her name.
MUCHITA o/c `HAVOC`: I mean, I think the company should fall back. You know, they shouldn`t be trying to use a likeness in any form or fashion if they`re not, you know, hitting off paying her, you know. So you got to look out for her, you know.
DIONNE: -- denies any problem here. And they`re fighting a shoot, at least for now.
MELBER: I got to get in one piece of personal business that we heard, because our reporters and researchers on "THE BEAT" do their homework. Havoc, we heard your mother has a birthday today.
MUCHITA o/c `HAVOC`: Yes, it is.
MELBER: Mercedes Muchita, we have a beautiful picture of the two of to you together. I would be remiss if I didn`t say to Mercedes, "A very happy birthday." And I`m so glad she let you come in on her birthday. We thank her for that.
MUCHITA o/c `HAVOC`: Yes. Yes. Thank you. Thank you to you all for giving her the birthday shout out.
DIONNE: Happy birthday.
MUCHITA o/c `HAVOC`: She`s super duper excited. Just her -- Thank you, T.J..
MELBER: Amen. Well, you know, that`s something I would say if get it right. If I understand right. Politics and hip hop have that in common, which is, shout outs are important. We`ve got to show love to the people who brought us here. So shout out to your mother. And thanks to Havoc and E.J. for joining us on a special "FALLBACK FRIDAY".
MUCHITA o/c `HAVOC`: Thank you.
DIONNE: Thank you.
MELBER: And a shout out to everyone watching "THE BEAT" and sticking with us on this crazy wild week. That does it for us. Don`t go anywhere, though, because "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews is up now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END