Congress confronts Lewandowski. TRANSCRIPT: 9/18/19, The Beat w/ Ari Melber.

Guests: Matthew Miller, Nick Akerman, Leah Wright Rigueur, Elie Mystal,Gary Peters, Aasif Mandvi

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In terms of foreign policy, there will be no change, if anything, Gantz, maybe more hawkish than Netanyahu.

TODD: Right. It will, though, provide an opportunity, I think, for a reset with congressional Democratic relations perhaps.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s right.

TODD: Anyway, thank you guys. That`s all we have for tonight. We packed the show up pretty well, didn`t we? We`ll be back tomorrow with more MEET THE PRESS DAILY. "THE BEAT" with Ari Melber starts right now. Good evening, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chuck. Thank you. We have a lot in tonight`s show.

Democrats plotting their next move in this Trump impeachment probe. What they`re planning after Corey Lewandowski was spotlighting parts of Trump`s attempted obstruction. Lewandowski also was forced to admit under oath that he actually lied to the American public on this show about Donald Trump`s request to meddle with Mueller. Later tonight we have a special report on that and the implications going forward.

Also, the lawmaker leading a new fight to keep Donald Trump from profiting on the presidency with your money, that Senator is on THE BEAT later in tonight`s show, so a lot.

But we begin with House Democrats led by Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler, using this new Lewandowski testimony to build what they say is a case for impeachment. They argue that his five hours of hostility and stonewalling, including very thin attempts to invoke an executive privilege by someone who never worked the executive branch, is actually when you take it together, Exhibit A of Donald Trump`s lawlessness.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): The pattern of obstruction laid out in the Mueller report has not stopped. You showed the American public in real-time that the Trump administration will do anything and everything in its power to obstruct the work of the Congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Now they`re pointing out that obstructing Congress has also been grounds for impeaching in A President before.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NADLER: Mr. Lewandowski when you refuse to answer these questions you are obstructing the work of our Committee, but you are also proving our point for the American people to see. The President is intent on obstructing our legitimate oversight. You are aiding him in that obstruction and I will remind you that Article III of the impeachment against President Nixon was based on obstruction of Congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Now that is true, but it doesn`t mean it`s a slam dunk argument for Democrats in this context. In fact, when you follow all of this, whether you`re rooting for someone or not, the Democrats don`t fully agree. There are new reports about divides that we`ve been covering, and you`ve probably observed about impeachment within the Democratic leadership for some time.

Speaker Pelosi, though, reportedly now accusing Nadler`s Committee of basically going beyond their mandate, going too big with all the impeachment talk without laying the groundwork by getting the American public on board and appearing more than willing to make that type of criticism that has been occurring in private, well, to make it public.

Take a look, Pelosi telling aides, "Look feel free to leak this", because she says "the Schism is out there anyway." Now while those plots go on to figure out what the next steps are in this impeachment probe, Democrats have other fronts in these Trump investigations.

Judiciary Committee considering subpoenas for a different set of Trump officials which include former Chief of Staff John Kelly, Jared Kushner, Jeff Sessions and Mueller`s old boss Rod Rosenstein.

And also pushing for documents related to reports the Trump was dangling pardons for officials who were asked to potentially break the law in order to pursue what he wanted on immigration and border policy.

And it goes beyond the Judiciary Committee. The Oversight Committee now demanding information about the Trump administration spending at his properties, a rolling scandal in plain sight. New reports and documents revealing the military spent over $200,000, again of your money, at Donald Trump`s Golf Resort in Scotland. That`s just one resort.

Meanwhile, Intel Chair Adam Schiff threatening to subpoena Donald Trump`s Intel Chief because of a story that we`ve also been covering and it`s a doozy. They`re refusing to turn over a whistleblower complaint to Congress which is required by law. Schiff says this has never happened before.

Now you take it together, there are many defenses to allegations, be they of whistleblowers or allegations of Presidential obstruction. But consider here in a hour - a couple - I`d say 24 hours outside of that Lewandowski hearing that the Trump administration isn`t making those kind of broad defenses right now.

So much is offering a public strategy that ranges from hiding information, like that whistleblower complaint, to blatant stonewalling to as Lewandowski did under oath, just admitting they`ve been lying about this. That has Congressional Democrats debating what accountability should look like.

To kick off our coverage, so I now want to bring in Nick AKERMAN who worked closely with the Judiciary Committee as a Watergate Special Prosecutor; Leah Wright Rigueur, Professor at Harvard`s Kennedy School; and Matt Miller who worked at the DOJ during the Obama administration.

I want to start with you Matt, because when you worked for Eric Holder you handled many hearings that could get contentious and it often had all kinds of interpretations about who won and lost. What was your takeaway from what was achieved yesterday?

MATTHEW MILLER, FORMER CHIEF DOJ SPOKESMAN: You know, I think the Democrats advanced the ball on the legal front. And I think there are two questions you have to ask on impeachment, one is legal, one is political. And they certainly advance the ball on the legal front, especially in that last half-hour when Lewandowski was counseled by the - really was questioned by outside counsel Barry Berke.

I think they showed you know - they were able to reiterate that the President did commit obstruction of justice in this act that Corey Lewandowski was involved in, trying to curtail the Mueller report.

And then they made a case on this clip that you showed from Chairman Nadler that the President is obstructing justice. I think the bigger question is, did they advance the ball forward on the political side? And that`s where I think House is watching the polls and those haven`t moved.

But the legal case has surely marched forward. I think the question will be, has this hearing moved the political case forward and over the next set of hearings and over the next few months, as they try to get other witnesses, largely by enforcing subpoenas in court. Can putting all of those together advance the political case? And we don`t know the answer to that question yet.

MELBER: Nick?

NICK AKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Well, I think, what`s going to happen here is, there`s a lot of other Trump cronies that have to be brought in to testify. Lewandowski is not the only one. They have to bring in Jeff Sessions, they have to bring in Don McGahn. All of those can have a combined effect.

What`s really missing here that we had in the Watergate situation was a cooperative prosecutor. What`s going on now with William "Mr. Cover-up" Barr, who is not producing any of the underlying documents in the Mueller investigation. He`s not producing the statements that people made, so that these people can be effectively cross-examined in the course of these hearings.

MELBER: So what do they do about it?

AKERMAN: Well, what they have to do is do the best they can with the Mueller report. What they have to do is they have to go into court and try and push to get that underlying information.

Under the law they are entitled to the grand jury of information now. They are entitled to those underlying interview reports. I mean, basically under the Constitution - and I brought my Constitution here, it basically says "The House of Representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment."

That means that a court that is enforcing these subpoenas, their only job is to enforce it. If people don`t produce, they go to jail.

MELBER: What grade would you give Lewandowski as a witness?

AKERMAN: I will probably a D-minus. I mean, he is probably one of the worst witnesses. And when Barry Berke got a hold of him, I mean, he was really able to cross-examine him effectively.

MELBER: Do you think the Democrats made a mistake by having Berke wait till the end when he clearly had the firepower?

AKERMAN: Absolutely. When - in the Watergate situation with the Senate Select Committee initially they had staff people that were actually doing the examination. There wasn`t this five minutes here, five minutes there.

To do this properly you have to have a real cross-examination, knowing that the person that you`re examining is a liar and is going to continue to lie. So what you`ve got to do is point out those lies through prior statements, through what they`ve said in the press, through what they said to the special counsel`s office and it has to a very coordinated, effective cross- examination. You can`t do that in five minutes. You need at least a half hour to do it.

And that`s what they have to do with each of these witnesses, and they have to tie it together. I mean, this is not obstruction of justice. It`s not some theoretical sort of exercise here. It had real-world implications here. When Donald Trump tried to get Manafort to clam up and not say anything, telling him that he was a brave soul.

That had a real world effect in terms of Manafort not telling the truth. You had a Federal District Court Judge that found that he lied about providing polling data to the Russians. And if you look at what was left for Mueller, he had all of this polling data, going over to the Russians. He had Rick Gates as a witness. But he didn`t have the tie-in to actual people in the campaign that were involved in that like Manafort.

Manafort knew this and if he had cooperated and had cooperated contrary to what Trump was encouraging to do, which is a witness tampering obstruction of justice, we`d be in a much different situation right now. That is a real impact of what this obstruction of justice has done to this situation.

MELBER: Yes. And you also mentioned that people ran the campaign, I mean one of them sitting in federal prison Manafort and he took over for the one yesterday, who under oath, told the Congress, "Yes, I`ll lie unless I`m threatened with jail time." That`s sort of the standard he put out.

Professor I want to ask you about the politics of all of this. As we do see these interesting reports about Pelosi and Nadler, reading from POLITICO, which has some leaks that they say are sort of from inside these tense meetings.

Pelosi criticizing the Judiciary Committee`s handling of impeachment, harsh terms complaining the Committee aides have advanced the push for ousting Trump far beyond where the house Democratic caucus stands. Democrats don`t have the votes in the floor to impeach Trump Pelosi says quote "And you can feel free to leak this", Pelosi added. And I can only of course read that in POLITICO because somebody leaked it to POLITICO.

What`s going on there and how problematic is that for people who are hoping, well, any effort to do this is going to come in the fall or never because then you`re into 2020?

LEAH WRIGHT RIGUEUR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT: Right. So I think Lewandowski`s testimony, the hearings should be slap in the face for all Democrats. It should be a kind of wakeup call that you are dealing with something that we are not used to dealing with.

We`ve seen this with Donald Trump before. We`ve seen this with his kind of behavior, the stonewalling, all of this. But it is another dimension when you have the hearings, when you have somebody - Lewandowski directly obeying orders and openly flaunting the rule of law and various conventions around this. And Democrats clearly have no idea and are not unified in what to do.

Now with Nancy Pelosi, I think, one of their - two ways that we can look at this. Either she is really that angry or this could be good cop bad cop. So floating the idea out there that that we are divided et cetera, et cetera, and I want to make sure that we are politically behind this, but also allowing other Democrats to really do the dirty work for her and that dirty work is around impeachment.

But I just have to say, at some point Democrats are either going to have to put up or shut up, because audiences want something. They want some kind of resolution and they really want accountability, particularly with the people who are testifying, particularly with Donald Trump. You can`t talk about it, at some point you have to be about it as well.

MELBER: Fair point to all stated. And Matt if it is good cop, bad cop or something like that, you lived through a time on the Benghazi investigation, on the e-mail investigation, on other ways that the House Republicans went after the administration. You served where it seemed more like bad cop, bad cop or bad cop, bad cop, bad cop.

I mean there were like six Benghazi committees. Now that doesn`t mean that that is something to automatically echo. But I wonder what you think in this intersection between the legal process and Congress being tough. What you think of the Democrats` approach?

MILLER: Well, it depends on what you think the outcome ought to be. If you think the outcome ought to be - ought to end with the President not being impeached by the House, and you probably think all this division is okay, and the speaker slowing the House Judiciary Committee down is OK.

But if you want the President to be impeached, I think, what this division means is that it`s not going to happen. Because impeaching the President is not something you can do as a kind of half-hearted effort. It`s something the entire party has to be behind and all the resources of the House have to be behind.

Because as I pointed out earlier, it`s not just a legal question, it`s a political question. It`s a political question inside the House, and it`s a political question out in the country with voters. And if voters are hearing that House Democrats don`t even agree amongst themselves that the President ought to be impeached, then you`re surely not going to convince a majority of voters that he ought to be impeached.

So I think until Democrats are united on this question - unless and until Democrats are united on this question - the House can pursue its inquiry, they can move forward. They can get a lot of evidence. But, I think, it`s just - people who are waiting for the President to be impeached, that`s not going to happen unless the Speaker and some of the others who are holding out come around and so far that`s not the case.

MELBER: Yes. And Leah, I mean, that`s what - if you go out into the country there`s a lot - on the Democratic side a lot of folks already in agreement with Chairman Nadler and so that`s why it looks like a standstill. Take a look at Nadler making the case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NADLER: I`m very troubled that the White House Counsels sitting behind you are preventing you from answering these very basic questions. They go to the heart of the President`s conduct we`re investigating.

Not only were you not a government employee, but these questions are about the President`s efforts to interfere with the criminal investigation of himself and have nothing to do with official government business. He is obstructing our congressional investigation by preventing you from telling the American people the truth about his misconduct.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: So, Leah, viewers would be forgiven for thinking, well, if Jerry Nadler`s worked his whole life as an expert on law, on the Constitution and is Chair of the Committee and just - you heard it right there. He just said that the President obstructed justice. At what point does he call a vote of the Committee to try to move articles of impeachment?

RIGUEUR: Well, I think at some point. I mean, this is what he is gearing up for. This is what he is setting up for. I think several of his - several of his colleagues in Congress have also been laying the groundwork for this kind of really big call. And the holdup right now is Nancy Pelosi and Nancy Pelosi says that her various factions are also holdups.

But, part of what I think is going on here is that they are essentially trying to force Nancy Pelosi`s hand. They`re trying to force moderate Democrats` hand. And at the very least, get the political capital and showcase that the President is engaging in behavior that they believe is impeachable to try at least and generate some goodwill or good sentiment around impeachment from the general population.

Because if you don`t have more than, I think, right now 37 percent support from the general public, then Nancy Pelosi is not budging moderates and in Congress are not budging and all of a sudden you`ve opened yourself up to a very different kind of political conversation.

But it`s clear - it`s very clear that a good portion of Democrats, for some time, have been looking for an opportunity and the opportunity is now here and they`re ready to force their hand.

MILLER: Leah Wright Rigueur, and Matt Miller I want to thank you for joining us. Nick I`ve one more question for you. Thanks to both of you. You said something else I just want to ask you about--

AKERMAN: Sure.

MELBER: --before we finish up. Because a lot of folks are watching this going, gosh, if the person who did best was at the end, why can`t he go earlier? You said he should. So what gets in the way of that? Is it the alleged ego of certain other members of Congress? Is it tradition? I mean if this is important enough to deal with alleged law breaking, its ought to be important enough to scramble the order of speaking at a hearing, no?

AKERMAN: Well, they`ve done somewhat of that. I mean, they`ve made the rules so that staff people can ask questions. And so getting to that point what they didn`t realize was that this was not going to be simply a question and answer.

This had to be a cross-examination of a witness who was going to lie straight through and you had to show he was a lair and you had to show his colors. And to do that you`ve got to be an experienced cross examiner, not a politician. Most members of Congress are not trained to do this.

And if you - if any of them - none of them, I think, we`re on the Watergate committees or were involved in any of the Watergate investigations. Those Committees had staff people who did some of the best questioning.

And they just didn`t realize that until they got burnt in the first part of that hearing and they realized that they had to get somebody out there that knew what they were doing and knew how to cross-examine a lying witness. And they`ve got a whole series of those people that they have to put on in front of the American public.

MELBER: And you say they got burnt, and as the saying goes, "Burn me once - et cetera". Nick Akerman, always great to learn from you.

We`re going to fit in a 30-second break and then come back with the backstory in Corey Lewandowski`s lie right here on THE BEAT.

And Dunkin Donuts, also later tonight, the Democratic gameplan where to go and the Watergate lessons, and the lawmaker leading the fight to ban wasting your money at Trump hotels is here. Plus later, Aasif Mandvi is also on THE BEAT. But I`ll be right back in 30 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEWANDOWSKI: I don`t ever remember the President ever asking me to get involved with Jeff Sessions or the Department of Justice in any way, shape or form ever.

MELBER: OK. So--

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That was the scene on the wall inside Congress`s first impeachment investigation hearing yesterday, which was going late into the evening. Donald Trump`s 2016 campaign Manager, of course, pressed to admit that he lied to me on this show when we asked him about reports that Trump was pushing him to meddle in the probe.

Now all of this is netting headlines today. Outlets like "The New York Times" and "The Daily Beast" reporting on that moment of Lewandowski trying to explain what happened on THE BEAT.

So I want to get into the context right now. Obviously, this involves us a little bit. My interview was basically asking Lewandowski in February all about this and he issued his now noteworthy and somewhat tortured denial.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: It says, Trump called you over July weekend, July 4th weekend, ask you to out Sessions and you were non-committal. Did you get that call?

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: I don`t recall this specific call that they say took place on July 4th. As a matter of fact, they were so specific of the call that my kids were in my truck and we were driving a Dunkin Donuts on the 4th of July weekend would have been something I remember.

And since I pulled my four children, they don`t remember that either. They usually remember when the President calls. So not to say it`s fake news, but I think I would have remembered that conversation.

MELBER: Well, that`s interesting. Let`s put it up. Let`s deal with this. "The New York Times" says Trump called Lewandowski over 4th of July weekend to ask him to pressure Sessions to resign. Lewandowski was non-committal, never acted on the request. It doesn`t mention Dunkin Donuts. Why are you bringing up Dunkin Donuts? That makes it sound like you do remember something specific.

LEWANDOWSKI: Yes, I don`t. Look, again I have a very, very special privilege which is talking to the President on a fairly regular basis and I don`t disclose those conversations. But I will tell you this. I don`t ever remember the President ever asking me to get involved with Jeff Sessions or the Department of Justice in any way shape or form ever.

MELBER: OK, so you`re saying it didn`t happen on a July 4th drive to Dunkin Donuts. The article doesn`t mention Dunkin Donuts--

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: The article didn`t mention Dunkin Donuts and Mr. Lewandowski offering that very suspiciously specific denial was it tell as we emphasized in our coverage and he was lying. If you don`t remember the call and it never happened, how did you know what happened on the way to Dunkin Donuts?

Now some of this sounds almost absurd, but obviously the underlying issues of potential destruction are important. Now we try to hear all sides here. We confront people with facts and we do follow-up fact-checking.

So when the Muller report came out in April, we did a follow up fact check report to deal with how we knew Lewandowski had lied in that exchange you just saw.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Blanket denial, that`s obviously not true. Lewandowski did remember it, because under penalty of perjury he remembered Trump asking him to get involved with Sessions in so much detail that it was just 10 months earlier that he was telling Mueller all about it.

So Lewandowski was not only making a false statement in our interview. He was making it knowing that he`d already told Mueller the opposite. So there were good odds that that testimony about all of this about what Trump asked him to do with Sessions would later come out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: And to give context of what was happening, we reported that Lewandowski told Mueller about the Trump plot to thwart the probe and denied it on the show.

Now why? if Lewandowski knew that he already told Mueller and it would come out, as I`m emphasizing here, then why go to such lengths to lie in public? This is important.

A fact coming out to Lewandowski is not the same as a fact becoming known to a President who doesn`t read much. And York Times even reported after the whole Mueller report came out, that Donald Trump had not read it and that quote "The fates of witnesses would depend in the coming days and how they`re portrayed on TV."

As Lewandowski knows one thing, he knows how to stay in Donald Trump`s good graces. And he made a big bet, as someone who worked so closely with candidate Trump throughout the whole campaign that he could try to have it both ways.

Lie in public, show Donald Trump that he was lying for him, but also hide from Donald Trump that he ultimately, yes, told Mueller the truth. To put it in Donald Trump`s terms "that he ratted on him".

Lewandowski was performing not only on THE BEAT, not only lying to his own supporters and anyone who would hear that, but trying to protect Trump for Trump. And now he has been - and this is the new part, confronted with that very exchange during this hearing on President Trump yesterday. So under oath, well, he had to cough something up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARRY BERKE, MEMBER HOUSE JUDICIARY STAFF: --prior to the Mueller report being published in redacted form, did you ever misrepresent what you did on the half of the President?

LEWANDOWSKI: I can`t think of an instance where that would have occurred.

I don`t ever remember the President ever asking me to get involved with Jeff Sessions or the Department of Justice in any way shape or form.

BERKE: OK. So - did you hear that sir? That was you saying on MSNBC you don`t ever remember the President ever asking you to get involved with Jeff Sessions or the Department of Justice in any shape or form. That wasn`t true, was it sir?

LEWANDOWSKI: I heard that.

BERKE: And that was not true, was it?

LEWANDOWSKI: I have no obligation to be honest to the media just, because there`s just as dishonest as anybody else.

BERKE: See, so you`re admitting sir you were not being truthful in that clip, correct?

LEWANDOWSKI: My interview with Ari Melber?

BERKE: Yes.

LEWANDOWSKI: Can be interpreted in any way you`d like.

BERKE: Are you admitting that on national television you were lying there?

LEWANDOWSKI: What I`m saying is, they have been inaccurate on many occasions and perhaps I was inaccurate at that time.

BERKE: Did you say that, because you wanted to protect the President?

LEWANDOWSKI: Not to the best of my recollection.

BERKE: Sir, did you deny it, because you wanted to protect yourself?

LEWANDOWSKI: Not to the best of my recollection, Mr. Berke.

BERKE: So why did you lie on national television, sir, about the President giving you a message to the Attorney General about the Special Counsel`s investigation.

LEWANDOWSKI: I don`t recall that particular day and my mindset at the time. So I couldn`t answer that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That`s what a checkmate on cross-examination looks like. And according to Corey Lewandowski`s own admission - this sounds bad, but this is his admission. The only time you can trust him to tell anything approaching the truth is when he is sworn in and under oath, which is under the threat of perjury or going to jail if you don`t tell the truth.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BERKE: Are you a truth teller in that interview?

LEWANDOWSKI: I`m a truth teller every time I stand before Congress or a Committee of jurisdiction and raised my hand and swear to God under oath.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That is literally the narrowest measurement you could possibly take for telling the truth. In other words, anything less would put you at risk of going to jail. We`ve invited Mr. Lewandowski to come back on the show if he wants to address any of this. Thus far he`s not taking up our offers and the record sits with him.

Now up ahead, we turn to new reporting on how Air Force crews were staying at from Scotland Resort and what Democrats are calling corruption. A lawmaker leading a new fight to pass a bill to make sure no more taxpayer money is wasted there is here live.

And Democrats who have been facing questions about their impeachment strategy, while their lawyer hammers Lewandowski, as you just saw. We`re going to dig into whether you should be seeing more of this man as the impeachment probe continues?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Democrats pressing ahead on the impeachment probe and taking some criticism on the way they dealt with Lewandowski as a hostile witness. Hours of frustrations led to the Judiciary Committee having the lawyer step in. Barry Berke hammering Lewandowski, breaking through some of the stonewalling tricks and also using basic straightforward relentless cross- examination.

We showed some of that regarding his lies, but there were other key moments. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BERKE: Did you say that because you wanted to protect the President? Why did you lie on national television, sir, about the president giving you a message to the Attorney General about the Special Counsel`s investigation?

LEWANDOWSKI: I don`t recall that particular day and my mindset at the time, so I couldn`t answer that.

BERKE: Did you receive immunity, sir? Sir is that an admission that you did lie? And sir, I don`t believe there`s any reason to consult with your counsel. The question is, are you a truth teller in that interview?

Sir did you deny it, because you wanted to protect yourself?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: It was strong and many are discussing today whether, as you`ve heard even earlier on this show, Democrats should have just started with the staff lawyer pushing. Now, staff lawyers don`t speak in normal Committee hearings, but there are these new rules that Judiciary Committee passed precisely to do it this way.

Now what happens next? Will the impeachment strategy change? I want to bring in Elie Mystal, Executive Editor, "Above the Law" and the contributor at "The Nation" who has been following this. What do you see?

ELIE MYSTAL, THE NATION CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I was frustrated very much yesterday. If the Democrats want to move forward with this, they - if they want to truly put country over party. That has to start at home. They need to get over it themselves and let the professionals handle this going forward, OK?

Nobody is tuning in to these hearings to see 17 Democratic Congress people waffle about on their poorly prepared questions that they got off of an episode of Law & Order. This takes professional cross-examination to do what this sneering hostility that the Trump people are giving them.

And they don`t know how to do it. That`s not a total slam on them. You have to be trained to do this. Like, pro tip, if you find yourself yelling at a witness - that`s a yes or no question. Guess what, your question was bad.

MELBER: Yes.

MYSTAL: Because if you asked a good question there is only two options, right? Ari, do you like ties? That`s not a yes or no question. Mr. Melber are you wearing a tie today?

MELBER: Yes.

MYSTAL: Did you wear a tie yesterday?

MELBER: Yes.

MYSTAL: Here are 137 episodes of THE BEAT, have you - is this you in all the episodes? Are you wearing a tie in all these episodes? Mr. Melber do you have - do you want this Committee to believe that you do not like ties? That`s how you do it.

MELBER: Yes.

MYSTAL: All right. Like it`s an actual skill that`s the Democratic Congress people don`t have. This whole hearing should have been designed to make Barry Berke the star, because he is the one who had the credentials and the experience to break Lewandowski down.

MELBER: And you`re speaking about something that comes up in law school, which is the good question elicits answers, moments or non-answers that advance the strategy.

MYSTAL: Exactly.

MELBER: Rather than the speech making with the question mark at the end. And that`s why when we think back to the Watergate. And it`s not all the same. But it was the Watergate example that even changed the rules this little bit.

Everyone remembers the reveal that there were recording devices and that could change everything. That question wasn`t from a politician jumping around. Let`s take a look because it was the counsel for the Committee whose disembodied voice you hear. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRED THOMPSON: Mr. Butterfield, are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the President?

ALEXANDER BUTTERFIELD: I was aware of listening devices. Yes sir.

THOMPSON: Are you aware of any devices that were installed in the Executive Office Building Office of the President?

BUTTERFIELD: Yes sir, at that time.

THOMPSON: Were they installed at the same time?

BUTTERFIELD: They were installed at the same time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Then counsel Fred Thompson who went on to be in your example of Law & Order, but that was a long time later. What do you see as a lesson there and you write in a new piece, your argument, is this is partly the ego of some members of Judiciary Committee?

MYSTAL: Yes, as we see from Fred talk. You get to be a politician after you do that if you`re a good lawyer, right? Not before. Look, I understand how it`s supposed to work. I understand that Democrats all need their time - Congress people all needs their time in front of the cameras. Everybody wants to be on your show or CNN or what-have-you Everybody wants to get their moment.

MELBER: Everyone, but Lewandowski now.

MYSTAL: Yes, exactly. I don`t think he`s coming back anytime soon. Everybody wants their little moment. But this is not what this is this should be. Like, Democrats keep telling us that we are in unprecedented waters with a uniquely criminal President, right?

Well they need to start acting like that. And the way you act like that is to have, again, these professional prosecutors, these professional attorneys really hammer down on these witnesses.

There is nothing there is a level of obstruction that the Trump administration is willing to go to. There`s a level of disrespect that the Trump witnesses are willing to go to that these Congress people simply aren`t used to dealing with and they`re not ready to deal with that, right? And, again, that`s training.

We have people who were specifically trained to deal with criminals and hostile witnesses and know how to elicit answers from them. People say, as you just - as you well know and you just alluded to. People say a good lawyer never ask a question they don`t already know the answer to. That`s true.

A great lawyer never asks a question that they don`t know all of the answers to and are ready to drill down on whatever you say, because they planned it out. You`ve seen it, I`m sure. When you look at a cross- examination like notepad, it`s not just a series of notes. It is a branching like decision matrix, right? It`s a spider`s web, because you`re ready to go wherever the witness takes you, because you already know what the conclusion is well.

MELBER: Well, my last question for you, "Yes" or "No" is, will you come back?

MYSTAL: I absolutely welcome back, because I don`t lie when I`m here.

MELBER: Elie Mystal, thank you very much. Very interesting views there as people really debating how this all worked.

We have a lot more on this show. Up ahead, they`re these new revelations about Air Force crew members spending your money at a trompe resort. The lawmaker leading this fight to prevent that from ever happening again is here live.

And later you know I`m from "The Daily Show", Aasif Mandvi is on THE BEAT tonight we`re going to get into politics, his relationship with Jon Stewart. And I`ll explain why are ghosts real. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: New reports that under the Trump administration the U.S. Military has spent nearly $200,000 at Trump`s resort in Scotland. We turn now to Senator Gary Peters. He`s the top Democrat on the Homeland Security Government Affairs Committee calling for an independent investigation and new legislation. What are you calling for?

SEN. GARY PETERS: (D-MI): Well the legislation that we`ve introduced with 35 of my colleagues says that, basically you cannot use federal per diem at a hotel that is owned by a high government official and that`s defined as the President or the Vice President or a cabinet official.

I think it`s pretty clear that when that occurs, certainly the appearance of a conflict of interest is there or there may just be an outright conflict of interest as well. It needs to be a prohibited behavior. And certainly it`s been highlighted now from what we have seen.

You mentioned that - at the opening here with what we`re seeing in Scotland where the Air Force has been directing Air Force personnel who are staying at the at the Trump resort in Scotland. It certainly raises a lot of troubling issues.

MELBER: When you look at this, a lot of people would wonder how is it even legal in the first place?

PETERS: Yes, absolutely. It should be. You should not be mixing that government business with the personal gain of a government officials. Certainly, back in Michigan, I can tell you the folks in Michigan want to make sure that taxpayer money is being used the way it should be used and for good government purposes.

It should not be used to line the pockets of a President or any other high government official. It`s simply something we should not allow. And this is through my work as the Ranking Member on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. We are the top Oversight Committee in the United States Senate.

Our job is to oversee government action to make sure taxpayer money is being used properly and most efficiently, and clearly, this is not proper. We need to end this practice.

MELBER: What do Republican say about opposing the bill or denying it a vote, if as you say, you`re arguing it`s a basic good government, clean corruption, fight the swamp security measure.

PETERS: It is. And it`s always surprising to me that my Republican colleagues aren`t willing to step up and do what is what is right. To me this is very clear. We need to maintain trust in the government, maintaining the integrity of the governmental process. And elected officials should be first and foremost on their mind.

But unfortunately they`re unwilling it`s across the President, even though he crosses just through many, many ethical lines on a repeated basis.

MELBER: Yes. And that`s your new piece of legislation there. We try to cover a policy and substance on this show in addition a lot of the other things that are going on. So I wanted to get your views on what you`re doing.

While I have you, I also want to ask you about another big a substantive issue, which is the gun violence epidemic in this nation.

PETERS: Right.

MELBER: A new ad from Sandy Hook promise that is quite striking. Like other items in the news I would warn everyone this is - about the serious topic of the shootings in our schools. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This year my mom got me the perfect bag for back to school.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These colorful binders help me stay organized.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These headphones are just what I need for studying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These new sneakers are just what I needed for the New Year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This jacket is a real must-have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My parents got me this skateboard I wanted, it`s pretty cool

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These scissors really come in handy in art class.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These colored pencils too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These new socks, they can be a real lifesaver.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I finally got my own phone to stay in touch with my mom.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: It`s tough to watch.

PETERS: Yes.

MELBER: It`s not the first time I`ve watched it today, and it is tough.

PETERS: Yes, yes.

MELBER: What do you think must be said and done to get more people`s attention? And do you welcome an effort like this and what are you doing?

PETERS: I do welcome an effort. We have to keep this front and center on people`s minds, this epidemic of gun violence that we see. Certainly that video pulls at everybody`s heart ringing, the terror that those children, the fear and what we`ve seen in these horrific incidents.

But I think it`s also just remember as horrible as these mass shootings are that we lose close to 36,000 people to gun violence each and every year in this country. Today a 100 people are going to die as a result of gun violence. Tomorrow another 100 and again another 100. We`ve got to be doing common-sense things.

I`m a gun owner. I believe in Second Amendment rights. But we`ve got to have common-sense gun safety. And that`s why to me it`s just unbelievable that we can`t get on the floor of the United States Senate a bill that is supported by over 90% of the American people, which says that we should have, at a minimum, have comprehensive background checks to make sure we keep guns out of the hands of those who we know should not have it.

I know that will save lives. It`s not going to end the gun epidemic. But it`s a meaningful first step that we have to do. It will save lives. It is absolutely unconscionable that we have Mitch McConnell refusing to put a bill like that on the floor of the Senate and letting Senators vote on that bill, and vote their conscience and go back to their states and tell the folks why they voted the way they did. But we need to have that vote and we need to have it soon.

MELBER: I wanted to get your view on that. Senator Gary Peters thanks for joining us tonight.

PETERS: Thank you. Great to be with you.

MELBER: --go from the serious to taking on the series, Aasif Mandvi joins me next to talk about a lot of issues, including how he`s used comedy to fight the type of Islamophobia that led to Trumpism. He`s here next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: This political era often seems like a joke, which maybe why some Americans are increasingly turning to comedians to make sense of it. My next guest is Aasif Mandvi, whose long tackled politics through comedy. Back before Trump was proposing Muslim bans, Mandvi pushed boundaries as the first Muslim correspondent on "The Daily Show", a way to roast and toast the very serious problems of Islamophobia and his religious bigotry.

He also made news of his own like this interview with the North Carolina Republican official who hoisted himself on his own petard when talking about voter ID and race.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DON YELTON, GOP PRECINCT CHAIR: When I was a young man, you didn`t call a black a black, you called him a negro. I had a picture one time of Obama sitting on a stump as a witch doctor and I posted that on Facebook and I was making fun of my white half of Obama, not the black half.

AASIF MANDVI: And then I found out the real reason for the law.

YELTON: The law is going to kick the Democrats in the butt.

YELTON: If it hurts the whites, so be it. If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that wants the government to give them everything, so be it.

MANDVI: And it just so happens that a lot of those people vote Democrat.

YELTON: Gee.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Life may imitate art, but sometimes art dunks on life. When that interview aired the outcry was swift and the official resigned within a week.

Now, Mandvi`s show "Halal in the Family" won a Peabody and he`s now starring in the new show "Evil", a drama about the supernatural on CBS.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is what a haunting?

MANDVI: It`s an infestation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s that?

MANDVI: A haunting. First the demon takes over the house and then it takes over the person, supposedly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don`t believe in it.

MANDVI: I believe it pays the rent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Comedian Aasif Mandvi also has a new podcast called "Lost at the Smithsonian" and he joins me now on THE BEAT. Nice to see you.

MANDVI: Nice to see you. Thanks for having me on.

MELBER: Great to have you on. You`ve done a lot of different stuff. We`ll get in this show. But let`s start with Islamophobia.

MANDVI: Wow. OK. Let`s start with Islamophobia. Sounds like every Muslim thanksgiving.

MELBER: You we`re doing those jokes then, have things only got worse?

MANDVI: Well we have now someone in the White House who is really fanning those flames, right? Who has really created a temperature in our country where being afraid of the other seems to be something that is coming all the way from the top down.

MELBER: Part of what you guys used to do in "The Daily Show" and like many people who deal with politics, I watch and love of that show.

MANDVI: Yes.

MELBER: Was you guys were finding things that sometimes seemed obscure or like they were out there.

MANDVI: Yes.

MELBER: And yet some of that out there stuff, whether it was the Palin era, whether it was some of the Tea Party hate against Obama at times or the Sharia and Muslim stuff has now been totally mainline. I want to play another clip of that take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANDVI: So specifically what part of Sharia law is Alabama in danger of falling under?

(LAUGHTER)

MANDVI: And they condone slavery and you couldn`t wear clothes different of fabric, couldn`t pork or shellfish. I mean, it`s crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right?

MANDVI: Oh (bleep) that`s the Bible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MANDVI: At the end of the day we were doing comedy.

MELBER: Yes.

MANDVI: At the end of the day we were out there trying to just put a light on the hypocrisy and putting the spotlight somewhere to raise you know calling out the "BS" as it were. Right?

MELBER: And finally what do we take from "Evil"? What do you want people to know about it.

MANDVI: "Evil" is a show about three characters who are investigating paranormal activity and demonic possession and miracles and those such things and it goes places where you wouldn`t expect it to go. It`s a thriller, it`s horror, but it`s also a relationship story.

MELBER: You know a lot of people believe in ghosts.

MANDVI: A lot of people do. I don`t - not believe in them. I`ll just say that.

MELBER: If you came back as a ghost what would be your ghost move?

MANDVI: What would be my ghost move?

MELBER: Just a normal question on the news.

MANDVI: Boo! I will start with Boo!

MELBER: Aasif Mandvi, a thrill to catch up with you.

MANDVI: Thank you.

MELBER: Thanks for coming on THE BEAT. Hope you come back.

MANDVI: Thanks.

MELBER: And the new show is CBS "Evil", airing this fall.

MANDVI: Yes.

MELBER: When we come back, I`m going to show you a new exclusive clip airing for the first time with legendary singer Annie Lennox on politics and activism that`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Many political movements make common cause with musician, whether it`s American rock stars opposing Vietnam or the anti- Apartheid movement that demanded Nelson Mandela be released from prison.

That something singer Annie Lennox worked on, and we which we discussed along with our political activism, in our "Mavericks" interview along with other artists who inspired her. That includes Bob Marley, who of course, advocated for international civil rights.

She famously covered a song, "Waiting in Vain" and she told me what his work means to her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNIE LENNOX, SINGER-SONGWRITER: Bob Marley was joy. Bob Marley was meaningful. Bob Marley was a social activist sending a message about racism and injustice, and he meant such a lot to everybody.

And my taste is hugely poetic. I come from a background of folk music and classical music. I was classically trained. Music is a language. It travels, it goes through, it breaks down the barriers of culture. We take from this, we give to that. And this is where the mash ups come. This is kind of the intersection from all the - music is whatever you want it to be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Whatever you want it to be and lord knows there`s been a lot of mash ups. I want to tell you if you want to see more of her discussion, which involves the politics, the activism and of course the music, you can check it outright here, msnbc.com/mavericks. That`s msnbc.com/mavericks. You can see the entire digital interview right there right now.

And while your laptop is open for that, keep your T.V. on and keep it locked because Chris Matthews is up next.

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