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2020 Democrats are eyeing clues. TRANSCRIPT: 9/11/19, The Beat w/ Ari Melber.

Guests: Howard Dean, Barbara Res, Stanley Greenberg, Jaime Harrison, DeRayMcKesson


CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: That`s all for tonight. We`ll be back tomorrow with more MEET THE PRESS DAILY. And if it`s Wednesday, we`ve got a new Chuck ToddCast up, Malcolm Gladwell among my guests. "THE BEAT" with Ari Melber starts right now.

Good evening, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chuck. Thank you so much. We have a lot tonight, Democrats prepping for a formal vote on the impeachment probe as Trump faces new pressures on corruption and graft.

Outrage tonight in North Carolina, Republicans blasted for a quote "shameless theft of democracy" for allegedly exploiting a 9/11 Memorial, because of course, yes, it`s 9/11, to engineer a political maneuver. It is quite a story. It`s obviously brand new. We`ll bring that to you tonight.

And also something I want to tell you about, right here on THE BEAT tonight we are launching a brand new series later in tonight`s show, and it`s called "Backstory". We`ve been working on something very special for you. Tonight`s debut installment explores the substance of 2020 and whether Democrats may have an Obama playbook for beating Trump next year. We`ve been working on it and that is special tonight later on in the show.

But we begin with the top story, rolling chaos at the White House, another acting cabinet official, new fallout from John Bolton`s ouster. Democrats prepping, what they say, is a historic impeachment vote tomorrow on the impeachment probe and its different strands.

Today, of course, beginning as a solemn day, as I mentioned for remembrance for 9/11, something Americans always think about, at least at some point during a day like today. But what does the President do? Well, he didn`t start it the way most Presidents do. No surprise.

He blasted federal employees at the Reserve - Federal Reserve as quote "boneheads" moments before 9/11 ceremony. He was then picking fights with the press over reports of his own low polling. More on that later.

Donald Trump also asked about someone who deals with the kinds of issues that relate to 9/11, his now ousted National Security Advisor, John Bolton.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: John is somebody that I actually got along with very well. He made some very big mistakes. John`s known as a tough guy. He`s so tough he got us into Iraq. That`s tough.

John wasn`t in line with what we were doing and actually in some cases he thought it was too tough what we were doing. Mr. Tough Guy--


MELBER: Mr. Tough Guy. Now John Bolton has been implying that he will have more to say. Remember, he`s one of the few officials who left office calling the President a liar. Today, he tells NBC he will say more in due course. They`ve obviously disagreed about how this employment relationship ended.

The Democrats are saying they have this vote tomorrow that is incremental, but they argue it is going to, in very significant ways, move an impeachment probe forward and potentially result - some Democrats are saying tonight in articles of impeachment.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our oversight responsibility is very clear on the constitution.

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): We have a constitutional responsibility to hold an out-of-control executive branch accountable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our goal is to get the truth to the American people.

REP. ELIOT ENGEL (D-NY): I do think that ultimately we will have articles of impeachment.

JEFFRIES: We don`t work for Donald Trump. We work for the American people.


MELBER: Now if you impeach a President, what do you impeach him for? There are some Democrats, and we`ve covered this on the show, who say, well, there`s actually more than one reason - more than one constitutionally viable way to remove the President for what they call high crimes and misdemeanors.

Consider some of the pressures just breaking this week. New questions about alleged corruption of the administration routing government spending - your money to Trump resorts.

There`s Mike Pence in Ireland. Then there`s the Trump cabinet officials like Bill Barr dropping 30 grand of his own money for a lavish party to Trump hotel, the Air Force now also getting caught up in these payments made at the Trump Turnberry Resort in Scotland.

And a top Democratic Senator is now saying that they want the heavy hitting Homeland Security Committee to force an independent probe on the military through the Trump administration. And they`re defining it as questionable taxpayer funded travel to and lodging at properties owned, yes, by the sitting President.

Before I bring in our panel - and when you see our panel you`re going to see it is a power panel. But I want to put this all together. It would of course be easy at a time like this for all these stories to just sort of get kind of muddled and then get normalized and then fade away.

For the Democrats, as reported, are vowing probes and efforts to prevent that. But let`s be clear, this is not specifically a Trump era challenge, although the self-dealing and alleged corruption do stem from Donald Trump.

But remember, the two oldest crimes in politics involve abusing the government to take what isn`t yours, stealing government power through elections, one; or stealing government money through graft, two.

That`s why our Constitution has so many enumerated protections against those political instincts. There are courts to safeguard politician`s efforts to abuse elections or to invite foreign help in elections to pick a very salient example.

And there are rules against passing laws to make yourself money or taking gifts while in office or any of the several things that Donald Trump stands accused of tonight in the public square, in open court cases, all before our eyes.

This is not the first test and it won`t be the last. The question, given the baseline and rules in our politics, is what will everyone do about it? Now I turn, as advertised, to what I think - you make up your own mind, is a power panel.

Former Democratic Chair and Governor and doctor, Howard Dean; Maya Wiley a former prosecutor dusty SDNY and former counsel to the Mayor of New York who is in the 2020 race; and Barbara Res, former Executive Vice President of Trump Organization and author of "All Alone on the 68th Floor".

I could begin with any of you. I`m eager to hear your thoughts but I start with you Maya on the fact that some of these things are in the category of obvious graft. Some of them are alleged corruption, and you need to learn more about the details. And many of them would seem to be banned by the Constitution. So where do we go from here?

MAYA WILEY, FORMER COUNSEL TO NYC MAYOR: Hopefully, they`ll cover all of those. I mean, I think, the vote tomorrow in the House is going to be extremely important. I think the fact that they`ve laid out a plan for how they`re going to do this from a procedural standpoint is important and fair to Donald Trump.

I think we should say that, because part of what they`re going to vote on is going to say, "Now, you`re going to get an opportunity to see what we have. We`re not trying to blindside you."

But what I think we have to remember is Congress is going to decide, as Congress, what a high crime and misdemeanor is. The founders were very clear. By the way if you look at the history that high crimes and misdemeanors included, what you might call, maladministration.

In other words, they thought it would include things like if you appoint unfit subordinates and if you are not paying sufficient attention to the administration of government, not just straight up corruption and crime--

MELBER: Let me get in - and get it on your Founder`s Party. It also as you know includes things that are not actually active actions by the President. They discuss, well, what if somebody abdicates? What if you have a sitting President who simply leaves or stops doing the job? There has to be a mechanism.

Many people think Donald Trump kind of toggles between not doing a lot of the job, there`s evidence and numbers for that, and then abusing the job for self-enrichment.

WILEY: And I think you`re absolutely right, and I will absolutely go there with you on the Founders, particularly when we have a situation where a President has staff in place saying negotiating peace deals has no idea what the deal - the details of the deal are. Says he`s going to have a meeting, say sit down with the Taliban.

Whether you think it`s a good idea or not, he empowered staff to negotiate that. Said he was going to do it. And then blindsided his own staff by simply pulling out that and firing people by tweet. Now, I`m not suggesting I agree with this decision to sit down with the Taliban. But I`m saying he has a practice as a President that is very unpresidential and not good for the country.

MELBER: Yes. And I want to show some numbers to Governor Dean on Mike Pence`s Ireland trip, which we know, he regrets to some degree, because he has been changing his defense. So, obviously, there`s the idea of "oh, you can get away with anything."

Well, apparently not. Mike Pence, for whatever reason, whatever his pseudo breaking point as you put up on the screen here. Obama`s similar three day trip there was about 114k. The State Department now paying over a million just for the ground transportation during this June visit to the property.

I`m curious what you think on the politics of why is it that this time it`s cost them up so much more than some of the other dealing, because viewers will say hey this has been going on for a while.

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: Actually I don`t think the problem is Pence`s trip. I mean, that`s obviously a problem, and the whole administration has been corrupt. Trump is been corrupt since he was born practically. I mean, his history in the real estate industry in New York is appalling. That`s not the problem.

The big problem is using the military, which is a well-respected organization and well-respected group of people and encourage them to be corrupt. If the Air Force appeared - which appears, the Air Force of the United States of America has been part of Trump`s scheme to funnel himself money at his Scottish resort by refueling and paying much more than they should at an airport that was about to close and by staying there.

Pence, look, we don`t respect Pence on our side of the aisle for a good reason. We don`t respect Trump for good reason. Using the military as part of your scheme for corruption, I think, every American understands how bad that is.

And that is what I think is not only going to be grounds for possible impeachment - even if it doesn`t work, I predict he`s the first President to be convicted after he leaves office. This is really serious.

MELBER: Yes, you put it very strongly. Barbara Res you know Donald Trump.


MELBER: Yes, you worked for Donald Trump. We have a very Trumpy thing running into a very serious thing. The Trumpy part is the utter embarrassing pettiness of "Sharpiegate", which we covered - we covered as much as we had to cover it. You know what I mean.

The serious part was, of course, you have nonpartisan scientists and weather experts in the U.S. government dealing with things that affect the information flow whether people live or die. It`s as serious as a heart attack.

Donald Trump today, denying these reports which were well documented in "The New York Times" that when those nonpartisan people did what they`re supposed to do and stand up to an incorrect statement by the President, they were threatened with losing their jobs, pensions et cetera. Take a look.


TRUMP: No, I never did that. I never did that. That`s a whole hoax by the fake news media when they talk about the hurricane and when they talk about Florida and they talk about Alabama. That`s just fake news.


MELBER: What Trump are you seeing there?

RES: Well, that`s the Trump we know without a doubt. He`s the liar. I think that he made a big deal out of this particular instance, because it shows he didn`t care. It`s just - he said Alabama. I wondered if he had a reason for that. Whether someone he was targeting in Alabama and want to make it happen.

But he didn`t care. And he was caught because he figured, again, just like everything else it`s baseless. But I think with "Sharpiegate", I think, he really looked so bad that I think he might have said, "Oh, my base is thinking I`m not so good." So we double down and he just started threatening people. Well, make it right, make it right. I`ve seen him do that absolutely.

MELBER: And how did that work in the Trump Organization? Would he - would people always be fired when he threatened or it was all just part of the noise?

RES: No. Lot of times people were not fired. But, yes, he would like to have his way. And when you`re talking about how eventually - everyone in aisle (ph) was someone that would say yes to him.

MELBER: Right. So there`s a sort of a narrowing. I want to get in the John Bolton stuff, Governor Dean. As they say in the business we are old enough to remember. The last time John Bolton had trouble in a White House it was when his appointment in the Bush administration was too extreme then and then he got a recess appointment, then he had to leave.

I mean, this guy has been a Right Wing controversy for a long time. And so I wonder about in this sort of increasingly fact free part of American political discourse, what you think of Tucker Carlson`s new claim. Take a look.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: If you`re wondering why so many progressives are mourning Bolton`s firing tonight, it`s because Bolton himself fundamentally was a man of the Left. Don`t let the mustache fool you. John Bolton was one of the most progressive people in the Trump administration.


DEAN: Well, first of all, I wouldn`t comment on Tucker Carlson. I mean, he`s a nitwit and a racist. Second of all, I know Bolton well, because I`ve done some work with him on an Iranian matter.

Bolton is a hardliner. He really feels strongly that we should in fact attack Iran. I actually kind of personally like him, even though I don`t support his views on things. And I think Bolton was too much for Trump.

Bolton also has very - Bolton is smart. I mean, you may not like him and you may think his views are awful. But he is a smart guy and he knows what he`s talking about. Trump doesn`t. And Trump has always threatened by people who know what they`re talking about.

Now, I`m not sorry John is gone, because I really didn`t want to go to war with Iran. And I know that John believes we ought to dispose of that regime by force. But he`s going to say something.

John - I have not experienced John Bolton as a liar. I mean, he`s very conservative, far more to the right than I am. But I`m not - so I wait for his public statement about what really happened. I`m much more inclined to believe John Bolton than I am Donald Trump.

WILEY: I find it actually hysterical that the defense becomes no John Bolton is actually a lefty.

MELBER: Right.

WILEY: But think about this. What Donald Trump said about Bolton was, actually he`s not as tough as I am. I`m a lot stronger - like, we were too tough for John Bolton, which is actually a bizarre statement given that what John Bolton said was, that Russia is not our friend and actually took very, very different positions than Donald Trump both on Russia and North Korea.

And what it really demonstrated to me about his personality was, "I`m going to fire you before you can quit."

MELBER: Always. Well that`s always a thing.

WILEY: Fire you before you quit.

MELBER: I`m running - yes, exactly, and he says he quit, which goes to the point about the veracity. I`m running out of time. We didn`t even get to talk about, Barbara, why isn`t the Trump SoHo in SoHo?

RES: I`ll tell you real quick story. We were doing a project in Rego Park for Alexander`s retail stores we were going to convert it. And he insisted on calling it Forest Hills. Absolutely, every Trump Center in Forest Hills, you know, it was clearly in Rego Park. It was not even close.

MELBER: Yes. I mean, that`s wild for anyone who has visited New York, the neighborhoods are in places on maps and they built a property, and it says Trump SoHo and it`s not on in SoHo.

RES: SoHo sounds good, though, doesn`t it?

MELBER: Sure. But I`m for New Yorkers who walk around like it was an early education in what Donald Trump does and - as you as a builder I wanted to get into it. Barbara Res, Maya Wiley, Howard Dean, our power panel, thank you so much.

When we come back, Donald Trump and the Republicans have a new cause for alarm about 2020. And as mentioned, we`re going to get into my special report tonight. It involves Mayor Pete`s debut on the national stage and something you may have never heard about him in common with Barack Obama.

Later, new outrage and protests over Republicans accused of ramming through a bill and exploiting a 9/11 anniversary to do it.


STATE REP. DEB BUTLER (D): I will not yield, Mr. Speaker. I will not yield.


BUTLER: You shall not usurp the process Mr. Speaker.


MELBER: A lot more on tonight`s show. I`m Ari Melber, you`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.


MELBER: A lot to talk about that race in North Carolina, where Republican Dan Bishop has won by two points. This was a district Trump carried by 12. And it follows the 2018 midterms where Democrats picked up a whopping 40 seats.


REP. ABIGAIL SPANBERGER (D-VA): When we launched this campaign conventional wisdom dictated that this race was unwinnable.

SEN. JACKY ROSEN (D-NV): We voted and we won and we did all of this together.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): Today is a milestone, but it is really a beginning.


MELBER: And what`s happened since then. Well, Donald Trump`s approval rating has dropped further below 40 percent. I`m joined right now by Stan Greenberg, a leading pollster and strategist for decades. I to mention, he`s advised Presidents, leaders around the world, including Clinton, Obama, Blair and even Mandela, an assignment many people would want.

And he`s here in part because his new book is called - provocatively for such a sober minded objective person "R.I.P. G.O.P.". And also, for a view from the field, someone in the fight right now, Jamie HARRISON, who chaired the South Carolina Democratic Party, running for the U.S. Senate against Lindsey Graham.

Thanks to both of you for being here.


MELBER: Great to have you both.


MELBER: Absolutely. Let me start with you Stanley. Given all your experience that title doesn`t leave a lot of room for imagination. What do you mean, what do you see?

GREENBERG: No, no. No, it`s time not to be sober. I spent almost every night, every morning writing after the women`s march and dedicated to the resistance. What this book says is that, I understood this election meant that there would be a pushback against Trump. He would accelerate the trends.

And everything we have seen here, I think, has confirmed that. And if you look at North Carolina, a lot of people look at it and say, well, it was disappointing it wasn`t one. But it was so much in part of the story of 2018. The swing was exactly the same. A 10 point swing from where the Republicans were in `16 this shift, the in the suburban vote.

But also what`s more important is immigration. He played the immigration card hard in 2018. They played it very hard in this special election, and it does not work. Democrats win when they are running as an anti-immigrant party. So day-by-day the Democrats are associated with our multicultural identity, with immigration, with an expansive America, and the country I think is ready to vote for them.

MELBER: Yes. And I want to read something to you. You did not predict Trump`s victory, correct?


MELBER: And few did, including in the Republican Party. I mean, I had on the record calls with Republican officials planning for after the loss. But I want to read something you wrote then in November. You said you were glad that Clinton was "on the offensive expanding the map rather than raising barriers to Trump reaching the blue wall." Aligning her with the trends of the country which allows for a quote "bigger win."

In parts of the so-called blue wall, Trump narrowly picked up key states Electoral College. My question to you is not - have you ever got called an election off. I think a lot of folks have. The media certainly has. You`re on a media network, so full disclosure.

But, do you stand by that? Has anything changed? And should Democrats still be worried about Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, et cetera?

GREENBERG: OK. Look, you`re right you`re right to focus on that. But I - the issue was not whether we should be moving to those expansive states. The issue is, of course, you protect yourself on the blue wall. It never occurred to me that we would not be advertising, organizing, respecting those working class voters in Michigan, Wisconsin or Pennsylvania. It was never an either/or.

Yes, I wanted to be with the expansive map. But for sure, I just made the assumption you make sure the blue wall sure is intact. And then you also expanded at the same time. I think you always - as a campaign you stay on the offense, put them on the defensive. We don`t give them vulnerability by disrespecting working class voters and not committing to winning those core states.

MELBER: Interesting. Let me bring in Jamie, who like you, has worked with some top Democratic officials and now is seeking to become one entering the U.S. Senate Democratic caucus, if he wins. How do you see this playing out?


MELBER: Technical difficulties, could you hear me Jamie? I was asking you--

HARRISON: I can hear you now Ari. Say again.

MELBER: Great. Let me repeat, and this is on me. Sometimes we put our guests in a rough spot, if you couldn`t hear me. I was saying, given that you`re running for the Senate, what do you think of what Stanley`s analysis is and do you think 2020 would be like the blue wave we saw in 2018?

HARRISON: Yes. I think it`s a continuation, Ari. Listen what we saw in the North Carolina race yesterday was a continuation of 2018. In South Carolina, we had a seat that Donald Trump won by 13 points.

This was Mark Sanford`s old seat. And a Democrat is now currently the congressperson in that seat in Joe Cunningham. And he ran not because he was going to be a rubber stamp for the Democratic Party or any party. He ran because he was talking about the issues important to the people in that district.

And what we`re seeing with the Republicans across the South. We are seeing a new South emerge. But the Republicans are still using that same playbook from Lee Atwater where they think they can throw out some dog whistles and red meat to divide people.

But people right now want someone who will represent them, represent their interests. I mean just recently our Senator - when a Hurricane Dorian was coming, knocking on the door, we had mandatory evacuations in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head. Where was Lindsey Graham? He was over in Montenegro.

The last time I recall when we had Senators like Fritz Hollings they would always be in the state helping their citizens prepare for that hurricane. But he was over in Montenegro. And then what makes it worse, he was over there paling around with a white nationalist.

These guys just think that they can throw out this red meat and that`s going to be enough. But people want folks to represent them. That`s what the job is. And right now all these folks think, Lindsey Graham included, all they think is they just need to wrap themselves in the President.

But they`re going to see - and I think Stan is right on it that the President is going to bring them down along with a party that I had a lot of respect for as well.

MELBER: Interesting to hear from both of you, Stan Greenberg and Jamie Harrison. Thanks for telling us about the new book, "R.I.P. G.O.P."

What I`m going to do is fit in a literally just 30 second break and when we come back, the new series, "Backstory", I told you about in 30.


MELBER: Tonight, we are launching a new series on THE BEAT, "Backstory". Our goal is to provide deep reporting and more back-story about one of the people running for President in each installment.

It`s a focus on who these people are individually. And by looking at each candidate, the series aims to put some substance and context above other features that we all know from election coverage and that we all do from time to time - horserace comparisons or unreliable early polling.

So in the coming weeks, we`re going to zero in on a range of candidates like Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren. Tonight we begin with a look at a contender with an unusual profile, the 37-year-old leader of a town of just over a 100,000 people, who only recently became well-known enough that people are starting to get his name right.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This guy named Pete, whose last name nobody can pronounce. Who is the Mayor of South Bend Indiana.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m going to - I`ll try to pronounce this mayor`s name, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Peter - Pete Buttigieg.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I`m going to try not to mangle this too badly. The Mayor of South Bend, Pete Boot a judge (ph).


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course, Buttigieg, right?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you say your name? What is the - the correct pronunciation of your name?



MELBER: Those days may be over and some of those exercises in pronunciation came during the last time the Buttigieg jumped into a longshot race against far more experienced candidates to try to be the face of the Democratic Party.

Do you remember that bit? It wasn`t this race for President or for Congress. It was a contest to run the party itself. The top post at the DNC changed hands after Russian hackers boosting Trump had released stolen e- mails, undercutting then DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz at the 2016 convention. She resigned.

Donna Brazile became a temporary Chair to get through that election, leaving a vacancy that Democrats were then debating how to fill in January 2017. The top contenders were former Obama official, Tom Perez, who ultimately won; Liberal Congressman Keith Ellison as well. But in that suddenly pivotal debate over who should lead the party in the wake of Trump`s surprise win another obscure candidate jumped in.


BUTTIGIEG: I`m Pete Buttigieg, and I`m the mayor here in South Bend Indiana. I`m asking you to join me as I run for Chair of the Democratic Party, and together we will write a new turnaround story.


MELBER: That Obscure mayor saw himself as the person to take on and take over the reins of the party for the Trump era.


BUTTIGIEG: If the outcome of this DNC Chair race is that half the party feels like it`s just been sent packing, we`re going to be that much further on the back foot, dealing with the real opposition, which is Trump and the Republican opposition.

Why wouldn`t you put in somebody who`s from the Millennial generation, running and winning in a bright red state like Indiana. And a Mayor whose bread and butter is state and local political organizing?


MELBER: Party chairs are usually insular affairs. Even active Democrats don`t tend to follow the run up to picking a DNC Chair. 2017 was a little different. The party leadership was undermined by some of that content in those e-mails hacked by the Russians and then shocked by Trump`s win. There was more attention on the DNC race as a proxy for how to take on Trump.


TOM PEREZ, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: The Democratic Party needs to take the fight to Donald Trump. When we lead with our values, when we lead with our conviction, that`s how we succeed.

REP. KEITH ELLISON (D-MN): Donald Trump has already brought the fight our way. We can actually help Democrats win all over the country so that we can get rid of Donald Trump.

BUTTIGIEG: Donald Trump`s going to be like a computer virus in the American political system. He ties up our minds and our processing power with these equations that don`t even have solutions until the system overheats and breaks down.


MELBER: That race focused on those first two voices and Obama established veteran Tom Perez, who is battling a leader of the progressive caucus, Keith Ellison.

Mayor Pete was vying to be a kind of coalition compromise candidate who could maybe talk to both those wings of the party and also bring other attributes as an openly gay millennial mayor with credentials from the military and Harvard - credentials playing in his current campaign.

That race turned completely on the 447 members of the DNC who vote. But Mayor Pete had an approach that appealed to other groups that didn`t have a vote, including some in the press. Reporters dubbing him a rock star at the time who might have lacked the credibility of a serious challenger, but raised his national profile by running. They know he drew press attention in key Democratic states like California.

One competitor later noted Pete could go viral even though he had less actual voting support in the DNC. So how did Buttigieg actually fare in that race? We know he lost, because its chairman Tom Perez we see on that stage introducing these debates this year with Buttigieg over at the lectern with the candidates.

But how did he lose? Was it close? Did he have a wing of the party? 20 percent, 10? No Buttigieg dramatically dropped out of the race the very morning of that vote.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This guy named Pete, whose last name nobody can pronounce, who is the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana was going to somehow take the DNC by storm and surprise everybody. He withdraws during his nominations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was going to be the guy--


MELBER: And the party went with Perez over Ellison, 235 to 200. POLITICO then reported Buttigieg did the math. He didn`t have the needed support. And so he didn`t even stay in the race. That was Buttigieg`s last big campaign.

Today, many Democrats might not even remember it. But what does it reveal about him and his candidacy? Well, first, even with wide agreement he was new and less experienced, but Mayor Pete did find some ways to break through and win over some party elites. That was part of his buzz in 2017. It`s part of his fundraising now.

The second thing is something that does apply to all kinds of politicians, but it`s pronounced here. He is ambitiously audacious. When Mayor Pete jumped in the race in 2017 he didn`t have the prominence or experience traditionally required to run a party, taking on a new president.

By the end of the race, DNC voters still didn`t think he had it. But he`s the one now running for President. Just think about that and contrast it to these other Democrats in the race. Perez won and is running the party, not seeking a promotion to the White House.

Ellison, a member of Congress lost and didn`t seek the White House. He went on to become Minnesota`s Attorney General. Jamie Harrison, a state party Chair lost, and as mentioned, is now running for the Senate. He was on our show tonight by coincidence.

Only Buttigieg lost and decided the next logical step wasn`t running for state office or Senate, but running for President. No one else in that race thought their next moves should be the White House, not even the 55 year old former Cabinet official who won that race - no one except Mayor Pete.

Now, what are we to make of that ambition? Who gets beat at one race and instead of taking some time or running for that job again, just jumps ahead to run for a promotion for a much larger job. And is that someone you want to be President? Well, let`s not answer too quickly, because that is a kind of political audacity that made its way to the White House before.

All starting when a then obscure politician holding a smaller job than mayor ran for Congress and lost only to seek higher office. Barack Obama`s quest for national office began with a long shot primary against an incumbent Congressman, Civil Rights Leader Bobby Rush. Obama debating his elder and facing skepticism.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL): I think that seniority is important, but I think vision and imagination and hard work is more important.

REP. BOBBY RUSH (D-IL): Senator Barack, he represents a part of the new world (ph). His district has always been a new world. He was always been in his district. What`s he done?


OBAMA: I mean, what - let me, let me--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let Congressman--

RUSH: They`re running for Congress. They all certainly can do a better job.


MELBER: That may look like a different Obama than many see today, an accomplished former President. This was a young aspiring politician, a few thought would make it to Congress, let alone the White House, doing all the local legwork and outreach that small time pols do.


OBAMA: You know, that is one of the things that I like about this place. The prices are right and the portions are good. I ordered the Southern sampler just because I couldn`t make up my mind. I do had to put in a plug for their peach cobbler, which people--

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See if I would lay--


MELBER: Fact check, that cobbler does look good. Now Obama spent those years doing normal regional politics and made a generational challenge to Congressman Rush. But it didn`t move the fellow Democrats in Illinois.

Rush easily beat Obama in a landslide. People concluded Obama was quote "too minor league" over educated, arrogant, stiff. And Obama didn`t take that loss by just running for the same seat again or some other comparable office. He took that loss as a sign to think bigger and run for a more expensive and higher office - the U.S. Senate.


OBAMA: Everybody right now feels cynical about the political process. I think their leadership seems long on rhetoric, but short on substance. Politics seems to be more of a business than a mission. There`s a sense that power always trumps principle. But I truly believe there`s another tradition in this country that says that we`re all connected somehow.

I`m Barack Obama. I`m running for the United States Senate and I approve this message to say, "Yes we can."


MELBER: Yes, we can. Those words may now echo in our minds as a path to the White House. But at the time, remember local politicos, they were dismissive of Obama seeking a promotion after a loss. Noting there was little reason to think the obscure state Senator would prevail.

Obama believed you could lose small before winning big if you prove your substance to voters and offer more in your next race than mere ambition. He was certainly picking a league, trying to get a bounce out of a primary loss to go to the Senate.

But Illinois voters found he had more than just political dreams. His stance against the Iraq war in contrast to the party`s nominee that year, John Kerry, suggested there were at least some things he wouldn`t sacrifice for short term ambition.

He also made an experience a plus by arguing against politics as usual and partisanship - sound familiar? Now he was also, we should note, if you want to do the analysis. He was blessed in that `04 race. One opponent imploded on the Republican side. Who was then replaced by Alan Keyes, a conservative activist who mostly lived in a different state.

Now, likewise, Mayor Pete is taking a leap, telling Democrats who rejected him to run the party, that he should now run the country just two years later. And he, to be clear, has even less congressional experience than Obama did when he ran for the White House. Both these candidates are leaning into generational change though is an appeal to people who are sick of the way things are running now.


OBAMA: The time is now to shake off our slumber and slough off our fears and make good on the debt we owe past and future generations. Today, together we can finish the work that needs to be done and usher in a new birth of freedom on this earth--

BUTTIGIEG: You and I have the chance to usher in a new American Spring.


BUTTIGIEG: So with hope in our hearts and with fire in our bellies, let`s get to work and let`s make history. Thank you.


MELBER: The point here is not that Mayor Pete`s future will follow Obama`s past. Nobody knows. The voters, you will decide whether to reward or punish Pete or any other politicians` ambition.

But we do know that even huge ambition, taking a loss as a sign you should get a promotion, is not always seen as disqualifying by the voters. And sometimes voters embrace a call to blow up the way things are run when it`s offered by new people who have literally nothing to do with the way things are run in Washington.


MELBER: Now turning to quite a 9/11 story tonight. Democrats in North Carolina accuse Republicans of lying and blatantly exploiting 9/11 to cheat their way into a local vote. The surprise came in the Assembly. The vote was to override a budget veto from that state`s Democratic governor when almost half of the state`s lawmakers were actually absent.

Now why would so many people be absent during a high stakes vote? Why weren`t the Democrats there? Well, the reporting is, they say Republicans made a solemn promise there wouldn`t be votes so they could attend this 9/11 memorial.

One Democrat saying he was at this memorial event. Republicans deny that they lied about this vote. So there is some dispute about what actually went happened, but then there is also video. Republican leaders telling the media there wouldn`t be votes either. I said video - I should say audio, Democrats here deciding what to do about it as they realized what occurred.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: House Bill 966, the clerk will read.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Speaker Objection. Objection Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker Objection, we were told that there is no vote today. Objection.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Point of order. Mr. Speaker.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Point of Order. We were told that there will be no votes this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was not announced.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a public announcement, Mr. Speaker. This is a tragedy. This is a travesty of the process and you know it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Question before the House--

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our leadership is not here.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our leadership is not here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am objecting to this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will not yield Mr. Speaker.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then you`re objecting together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will not yield Mr. Speaker.


MELBER: So you can hear part of the action as the saying goes democracy dies in darkness. A local paper today reporting the surprise vote was a shameless theft of democracy. Now, as mentioned here, there was some other video that did get captured we`re going to show. A Democratic lawmaker started filming some of this. This is from Representative Deb Butler who we were just hearing.


BUTLER: How dare you do this Mr. Speaker? I will not yield. I will not yield Mr. Speaker. I will not yield.


BUTLER: You shall not usurp the process Mr. Speaker. How dare you subject this body to trickery, deceptive practices, hijacking the process!


MELBER: A lot of intensity there. This very issue will still go to the state Senate and we will keep reporting on this story.

And don`t go anywhere, because when we come back, we report on Donald Trump heading to Baltimore tomorrow where he`s had a lot of beef. We bring on Baltimore activist and author DeRay McKesson here live on THE BEAT - nice to see you - when we come back.


MELBER: President Trump heading to Baltimore tomorrow for a Republican retreat. It was his own Justice Department trying to roll back consent agreements with that very city`s police department. The Chief there had said they made the city safer under Obama policies.

And it`s also the state`s Republican Governor backing a controversial new surveillance tactic, flying aircraft over specific parts of the city. Activists say it undermines community trust and can amount to profiling in the air.

I want to bring in my next guest, a former Baltimore mayoral candidate and "Black Lives Matter" activist DeRay McKesson. Thanks for being here.


MELBER: What do you want to see for Baltimore with the President heading there tomorrow and these ongoing debates?

MCKESSON: I can`t imagine he does much good. He is - trashed the city just like he`s trashed other cities. We think about Chicago and his comments. You think about his most recent comments on Baltimore. So don`t know what good is going to come out of his visit.

When I think about the city, we are having historic problems. You think about the murder rate, you think about it so much underinvestment in the school system. And Hogan has not been a friend to the city either.

You see this recent push and you just noted it about the surveillance plane potentially coming back. And this plane literally sat over the City of Baltimore. It was secret. They didn`t tell anybody and they just recorded everything.

And their rationale was that if it records everything then when there`s a crime we can just roll it back and we`ll know. But you`ll like - the privacy concerns and that leads to our immense. The thought that you just have footage of everybody in the City of Baltimore just at your will, with no safeguarding and how that can be sold, and the Mayor Jack Young seems to be OK with that. So it is shocking.

MELBER: Well, and as you say, when data is collected it can be useful or it can be misused. You could put a camera in every single person`s home and statistically you would find more crime. A lot of reasons why we don`t do that and why a lot of people would say I don`t want a camera in my home.

And that goes something else I want to ask you about. Look at this headline that really boils something down in the new frontier of policing. The best algorithms struggled more to recognize quote "black faces" equally. When you look at that - I think we can put that up. "U.S. government test find that top performing facial recognition systems misidentify blacks 5-10 times higher." What do you take from that? What should be done about that?

MCKESSON: Yes. You know with most of the algorithms that they are racist at their core, because the inputs are bad. So say, for example, if you use arrest data and we know that black are overrepresented in arrests, so it will - the algorithms might spin out that you`re more likely to commit a crime, but that`s just because more black you are being arrested.

And with the facial recognition, we find that these technologies aren`t even really tested on black people, so they sort of just wipe all black people`s faces as the same.

You think about a city like Baltimore, though, do know what it means when there`s a clearance rate or when the police say they solve a crime. That literally just means at least one arrest was made. It does not mean that the public thinks that they found sort of the bad guy and there was a conviction.

And in Baltimore that clearance rate is less than 25 percent. And we spent $500 million on the police department - sort of wild. Huge amount of money and almost nothing to come back.

But it is this idea that either you believe that people are just like born criminals or you believe that the conditions lead people to act in a certain way, and we would say that the end of crime is actually the end of poverty and the end of addiction. The end of crime is not the presence of more police.

MELBER: Right. It`s really fascinating when you put that way. And you look at AI and some of the things that were rushing into that we`re all experiencing with. And you say well, you don`t know whether the software is racist, but if it is designed and working with imperfections, it ends up discriminating, we can`t just rely on it.

I`d love to have you back. Appreciate coming on THE BEAT today.

MCKESSON: Good to be here.

MELBER: Ray McKesson from Baltimore. What we`re going to do is fit in one more break and then talking about Nancy Pelosi letting loose on McConnell over gun safety.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Senator McConnell is standing in the way. And if you are annoyed with my impatience, it`s because people are dying because Senator McConnell hasn`t acted--



MELBER: Now to another story tonight. There`s new video of Speaker Pelosi going viral. This is all about the gun debate. Take a look.


REPORTER: Do you have any regrets about not bringing the House back in August to keep the flame lit on gun violence?

PELOSI: No, absolutely, not. We did our job. The Senate was supposed to come back. Why don`t you all get that straight? The Senate did not come back to pass the bill. I`m getting very angry about the silliness of these questions. Lives are at the stake. Senator McConnell is standing in the way.

We passed our bill in February. Members had events all over the country to ask him to bring up the bill. Don`t ask me what we haven`t done. We have done it. And if you are annoyed with my impatience, it`s because people are dying because Senator McConnell hasn`t acted.


MELBER: That was Speaker Pelosi`s version of saying you better ask somebody. In this case, ask Senator McConnell. You noticed? She also in her own way was rejecting the framing, whether you call it from the press or from the political elites in Washington that the House should come back in some sort of ceremonial return. The Speaker arguing, they voted, it`s up to the Senate.

We can also tell you when you look at the facts, the House panel just approved three new measures on this last night, including a red flag bill, a ban on that controversial high capacity ammunition and a separate piece of legislation that was trying to prevent guns from getting in the hands of those convicted explicitly of hate crimes.

That`s, of course, a big issue when you look at the nature of some of these mass shootings and the hate associated with them. We wanted to bring you that update to a story that we will keep following on THE BEAT.

That does it for us. Though I`m out of time, I`ll see you back here tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. "HARDBALL" is next.