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Chelsea Handler and Hallie Jackson on The Beat. TRANSCRIPT: 9/20/19, The Beat w/ Ari Melber.

Guests: Gregory Meeks, Michelle Goldberg, Russ Feingold, John Flannery,Josh Campbell, Chelsea Handler

RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT:  But that isn`t a solution of the problem. They`re just leaving them in the desert, hoping that they`re going to go away and they`re not going away.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: OK. Well, Richard, I apologize that this is a shorter segment that I wanted to do.

ENGEL: Lot to talk about.

TODD: --that the Trump administration does that quite often to me most days and most Sundays. So thank you, and more importantly folks be sure to catch Richard`s outstanding special "On Assignment with Richard Engel", the rise and fall and potential rerise of ISIS. It`s on Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time right here on MSNBC.

And, of course, if it`s Sunday, it`s MEET THE PRESS on NBC. Here we go, Iran and the whistleblower. "THE BEAT" with Ari Melber starts right now.

Good evening, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chuck. Thank you. Shout out to Richard and you. We`ll be watching both on Sunday. We begin THE BEAT right now on this Friday night with breaking news.

Donald Trump busted for making good on his infamous claim he would take foreign help in 2020. It is a Friday night, but it is a Trump Whitehouse kind of Friday night and they are under fire from all sides for this whistleblower complaint that has now snowballed into multiple reports of potentially illegal activity - new allegations of attempted foreign collusion.

In a latest break in this story that we have been tracking, comes from "The Wall Street Journal", fleshing out explosive details from the call that appears to be at the center of that reported whistleblower complaint that Trump administration has been trying to hide. This is all about reports that President Trump made an unusual and potentially illegal request that a foreign leader go after Joe Biden.

Now before we go any further tonight, I want to tell you that alone is a bombshell. We`re talking about credible reports that a sitting President potentially abused his power Commander-in-Chief to get help to go after one of his top rivals in this very next election.

And that`s not all tonight, the Journal also reporting, Trump didn`t just mention this in passing or in a way that might be explained, but rather pressed the Ukrainian President eight times for help to go after Biden and designate a specific aide to execute this international plot, his criminal defense lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

That`s the President demanding a foreign leader help him with his re- election. That is textbook collusion. And the new reporting provides new context to a Donald Trump admission that now may look a little different. It may have been advanced damage control, because this all happened within weeks of Trump declaring he would take foreign dirt in 2020.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think you might want to listen. I don`t - there`s nothing wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country - Norway we have information on your opponent, oh, I think I`d want to hear it.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: You want that kind of interference in our elections?

TRUMP: It`s not an interference. They have information. I think I`d take it.


MELBER: Now this new reporting night builds on this scandal that`s been brewing all week. The administration has gone to great lengths to hide a still basically mysterious whistleblower complaint. They`ve blown through the deadlines in federal law.

And another outlet, "The Washington Post" has a new story, this is also coming to us today, about the lengths they went. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone engaging in the matter, since shortly after the whistleblower action first surfaced. That means the White House and not just Bill Barr`s DOJ is actively working to keep Congress from what it is supposed to get under the law, which is the details of this whistleblower complaint.

Now earlier today, Donald Trump basically refused most questions about whether he asked the Ukrainian President for help in this plot.


KRISTEN WALKER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Did you discuss Joe Biden, his son or his family with the leader of Ukraine?

TRUMP: It doesn`t matter what I discuss. But I will say this. Somebody ought to look into Joe Biden`s statement.

WALKER: Did you mention Joe Biden during the conversation--

TRUMP: No, I don`t want to talk about any conversation other than to say - other than to say, great conversation, totally appropriate conversation. Couldn`t have been better--


MELBER: When the President says that it doesn`t matter whether he discussed going after one of his rivals in the kind of a clumsy international Watergate, you get two things out of that. Number one, you get his view that it - he says it doesn`t matter. A lot of people disagree with that, including federal law.

But you get a second thing out of that, which is the obvious lack of any denial. Now there is a lot we don`t know about this whistleblower complaint. In our reporting, we`ve been emphasizing that throughout the week. We don`t have it in our newsroom, Congress doesn`t have it.

But one way that the Trump administration could clear it up would be to just follow the law and give Congress the required information about the whistleblower information, and they won`t, which is itself a kind of tell. Then you have last night Rudy Giuliani reemerging, and all you can say when you run out of words is - well, it was classic Rudy.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Did you ask the Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden?

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP`S ATTORNEY: No, actually I didn`t. I asked the Ukraine to investigate the allegations that there was interference in the election of 2016 by the Ukrainians for the Hillary Clinton for which there were ready--

CUOMO: You never asked anything about Hunter Biden, you never asked anything about Joe Biden in the call with the prosecutor?

GIULIANI: The only thing I asked about Joe Biden is to get to the bottom of how it was that Lutsenko, who was appointed--

CUOMO: Right.

GIULIANI: --dismissed the case against AntAC.

CUOMO: So you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden?

GIULIANI: Of course, I did.

CUOMO: You just said, you didn`t.

GIULIANI: No, I didn`t ask them to look into Joe Biden, I asked them to look in the allegations related to my client which tangentially involved Joe Biden in a massive bribery scheme, not unlike--

CUOMO: Rudy--


MELBER: We turn now to New York Congressman Gregory Meeks on the Foreign Affairs Committee; Michelle Goldberg from the New York Times; and former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold. This is in your purview, in your Committee, your response?

REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D-NY): Look, this is getting to be absolutely horrendous. We`ve got the President of the United States of America, we`ve been urging the Ukraine to clean up its act and he`s now going to the newly elected President of Ukraine, asking him to basically conspire with him to get involved in the next 2020 election.

If that does not reach out to people to say that this guy can no longer be or should no longer be the President of United States, because it is now making a joke of our institutions, I`m saying that it`s time for my Republican colleagues to step up, stop making excuses for this guy that`s now in the White House.

MELBER: If "The Washington Post" and "The Wall Street Journal" reporting is correct, is this in of itself a separate and impeachable abuse of power?

MEEKS: Yes. I think they are lining up several and I think there will be several more. One of the things that - I think that has to happen and what is happening, as folks are focused on the Judiciary Committee, remember that the Ways and Means Committee, the Fraud Affairs Committee which I sit on, the Financial Services Committee which I sit on, the AntAC are still doing investigations.

So it`s going to be even more, I believe, that`s going to be happening to come out. And it`s going to compel - at some point it should compel our Republican colleagues as it did back in the Nixon time to say enough is enough, and if not, their seats would be a jeopardy in 2020 also.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, THE NEW TIMES COLUMNIST: I mean, I`m not as optimistic about relying on the decency or patriotism of the Republican Party. They`ve shown none so far and I don`t see why if colluding with Russia wasn`t enough to make them speak out why colluding with Ukraine would be.

I do think that there needs to be a much stronger response from the Democratic Party. There is so much fury out there, including - I`m livid about this. That Nancy Pelosi`s refusal to take a strong stance on impeachment has essentially sent the message to this President that he has impunity. That it`s OK if he asks foreign sources to help him with the election.

And I know that there are risks in pursuing impeachment with 2020 coming up. But the idea that an election is going to fix this problem, when we see the President cheating in that election right now, it`s just not going to work. There`s no way around this.

FMR. SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD (D-WI): You know, this impeachment thing can be done without completely wiping out everything you do in the 2020 election. The House could have proceedings, have articles of impeachment and vote. To make this only the third President in American history to be impeached. I mean, this needs to get on the record.

MELBER: Do you think your former colleagues, too many of them like, Speaker Pelosi who was just named checked, are on the wrong side of this?

FEINGOLD: Not wrong, no. I just think they need to come to the conclusion that this can be done relatively low-key. The House has control of their schedule. They could do this in the next couple of months, have the vote, have the articles of impeachment--

MELBER: Because Michelle is making a subtle point here that by allowing them to get away with what they`ve gotten away with to-date, you`re actually provoking and inviting these further abuses, because you`re dealing with people who will go as far as they can get away with.

FEINGOLD: Oh, there`s no question.

MELBER: Take a look at a Congresswoman AOC, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, on this and the stakes for the rule of law.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): I believe it`s about the erosion of the rule of law. At this point there`s a lot of corruption. There`s a lot of law-breaking. But now when we`re talking about bringing in foreign governments to undermine our own, that is an extraordinarily serious - serious allegation--


FEINGOLD: Not only is it an attack on the rule of law and our democracy, but it distracts us from everything else. As we sit here in New York right now, one of the biggest rallies in human history for the environment is going on in Battery Park.

All around the world people realizing the climate change issue and the challenge to biodiversity, the extinction crisis needs our attention. Instead, we have this incredibly irresponsible person in the White House who doesn`t care about the law, who doesn`t care about anybody else.

Somehow our system of government has got to make this statement. Put it in the historical record, nothing else, that all these things that he`s done are wrong.

MELBER: Yes. We have more on the climate protest with a leader on that issue later tonight in the show, I don`t know if you know I`m talking about.

FEINGOLD: Of course--

MELBER: Talking Russ Feingold who is working on that issue--

FEINGOLD: Extremely fortunate.

MELBER: But you see Congressman Meeks ever the politician, he can`t help get it in there. It`s like when they drop their campaign websites.

FEINGOLD: It`s a distraction all those things--

MELBER: --and so we are coming - and I appreciate that in all seriousness. But when you look at the stakes here and then you look at what it means with your colleague Congressman Schiff saying that they`ve literally never had any other President blow through and break the deadlines under the law to turn over credible complaints.

We`re not talking about, again, an allegation that we`ve seen all the details. And I always remind our viewers that in fairness. But we are talking about something that the Trump administration`s own intelligence agencies deemed credible.

And somewhere in America - somewhere this person is sitting there - this whistleblower, wondering what retaliation they`re going to face in this environment. Take a look at what your colleague said on Rachel Maddow just last night.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I want to say to the whistleblower, if the whistleblower is watching you tonight that we are grateful for their courage in coming forward. We are going to do everything we can to make sure this urgent issue is addressed and that you are protected.


MELBER: But are they protected if their issue and their Intel doesn`t even get to the Congress as it`s supposed to?

MEEKS: Yes. Look, the Inspector General - it`s unprecedented what`s happening in the United States Congress. And their refusal to participate, to submit to subpoenas and absolutely testify honestly, there`s no question about that, which is why, I think, I know you`re talking about Speaker Pelosi. She`s similarly focused to get this guy - she wants him in jail where he really belongs (ph). That`s what her focus.

She wants Donald Trump - and if you look all the things that he`s done, it`s almost as if it was any other American, they would be in jail.

FEINGOLD: That`s right.

MEEKS: And she is focused singularly, because the truth of the matter is, and I agree, I understand the significance and the importance of maybe putting a star next to his name. But we could vote tomorrow. And I could tell you, we will vote it if it came up. The members of the House overwhelmingly would vote to impeach. But he still would be sitting in office and he still will be damaging this country.

So the one thing that, if we, that you`re serious - this could be something that will be a star on us as a nation for decades, if not longer. The example - and the only example to show that we standing up for the rule of law is to ultimately for the man that`s sitting in the White House to end up in jail.

MELBER: Yes. And Michelle I want to ask you about the facts here, because there`s a cynicism to the White House. We saw it in a little bit of the clip we played earlier. Nothing matters, doesn`t matter.

But if it really didn`t matter if they were so confident, bullish, they might have turned this over to the Congress already and said fake news. Clearly, there`s something scarier there. Reading from "The New York Times", your paper, but by your colleagues--

"Intelligence community is watchdog, not some disgruntled denizen of the deep state. But a man appointed by Mr. Trump was alarmed enough that he thought it necessary to inform Congress. The administration is doing whatever it can to keep the complaint from becoming known, even behind closed doors from each other in The White House. What does that tell you about still the enduring power of potential facts here?"

GOLDBERG: Well, look, I think that the fact that this President has never gotten a much above 40 percent despite having a good economy for most of his presidency, very few kind of national crises. He has been damaged by all of the outrageous things that he`s done. It`s just that the structural problems, they are the structural features in our government.

Means that the fact that a majority of the country wants him gone, isn`t enough to get rid of him and it`s not enough to ensure that he`s not reelected. That said, I think, that there`s a combination of secretiveness and they refuse to release all kinds of information. And part of that might be fear, but part of that is also imperiousness. They don`t think that they should have to release any sort of information.

You see this combination of - you see the secretiveness, but there there`s also a part of it that`s all out in the open. Right? It`s not been a secret that Giuliani has been in Ukraine urging this investigation into what are completely bogus and debunk charges. And I think that needs to be emphasized about Joe Biden`s son - or at least the investigation of Joe Biden`s son.

And so part they kind of flout it and they do it in the open, and - as if to say, well it can`t be that wrong if we`re doing it in the open. Right? It can`t be that wrong if I shot someone on Fifth Avenue.

One of the things that`s so interesting here is that the reason this has exploded into a huge scandal is because there was this secretiveness. The uncovering of it is what makes it suddenly - I think, has awoken people up to the depths of this corruption.

MELBER: Finally - go ahead.

FEINGOLD: I just want to say something about this whistleblower too. I remember - many of us remember the illegal wiretapping program under President Bush was only because of the courage of the whistleblower, to your great newspaper, that we found out that this whole practice was occurring.

And, yes, they did try to prosecute him, but it didn`t work. So I just want to say to this person, thank you for standing up for this country.

MELBER: Yes, I think that`s powerful coming from you and for people who remember their impeachment history. You were one of the few senators that openly advocated for the impeachment of George W. Bush.

FEINGOLD: Well, I did not advocated impeachment, I advocated censure.

MELBER: Didn`t you introduce the resolution?

FEINGOLD: I introduced a censure resolution, because I actually thought it- -

MELBER: It was censure?


MELBER: And even that was too far for them?

FEINGOLD: We had only got two co-sponsors, Kerry and Boxer.

MELBER: So why is that? Because we`re hearing from Gregory Meeks - and I appreciate your revision to what I said, so we get it right. Look, Congressman Meeks is saying, oh, we`re going to go so far. Pelosi wants him in jail, all this while the Dems - some of your leadership are taking heat for not going far enough right now.

You lived a different version of that in a different time. But now that you are out of office, can you give us real talk about why Democratic leadership doesn`t seem to go as hard, as fast, as strong on these issues substantively or as far as the Republicans who many people perceive come out more aggressive?

FEINGOLD: Well, there`s a time and place for impeachment. And I think as George Bush acted illegally, I think it was - it would have been appropriate to impeach him, but not wise. This President is different. This President is gutting our country. People have given their lives to protect our freedoms in our Constitution and he doesn`t give a whit--

MELBER: I`m asking you having been in those fights, why do you think some of the Democratic leaders don`t go that far?

FEINGOLD: Well, they`re looking about the political situation, which makes sense. They want to make sure they have control of the government so they can take care of these issues and deal with issues like immigration and climate change. So it`s a legitimate thing to consider those things.

But somehow this has to be on the record. And I might add you can even impeach President Trump after he loses next year. It can be done at a number of times.

MELBER: Can be done in a number of ways. I got to fit in a break. My special thanks to Congressman Meeks and Michelle Goldberg. Senate Feingold stays around. We`re going to be talking some of those other issues at the end of the hour.

What I`m going to do now is take a 30-second - literally and then we get more into the legal side of the bombshell story we`ve been covering, and looking at this Rudy playbook. Also today, Russ Feingold comes back on the planet later.

And the "Fallback Friday" you`ve been waiting for. Later tonight, Chelsea Handler and our own Hallie Jackson team up for the first time when we come back. The show is back in just 30 seconds.



WALKER: Did you discuss Joe Biden, his son or his family with the leader of Ukraine?

TRUMP: It doesn`t matter what I discuss. But I will say this. Somebody ought to look into Joe Biden`s statement.


MELBER: But it does matter. And when you look at the law, well it matters a lot. "The Wall Street Journal" reporting in a late Friday story that Donald Trump was pressing Ukraine to investigate his opponent - potential opponent Joe Biden and White House counsel is also involved according to "The Washington Post".

Trump, today, dodging the questions about if it`s related to getting dirt on Biden. All of this reviving questions about collusion, and of course, the more legal term of all when you try to do something illegal, conspiracy.

Donald Trump`s own appointed Inspector General calls this whistleblower complaint an urgent concern and differs with the Intel Chief who has been withholding it from Congress. A decision he came to, we`ve learned now, as this scandal has unfolded with guidance from guess who - Bill Barr`s Justice Department.

In fact, there`s a letter to the Intel Committee that says, there`s a respectful disagreement, because the matter deals with DNI is most significant and important responsibilities and that the Acting Intelligence Chief has to withhold information and that may just be about a quote "gap in the law".

Well, some legal experts say that the person in charge of the Intel Committees here - I mean, excuse me the Intel Agency, McGuire, is actually breaking the law by withholding this information.

We turn now to develop all things legal on the story John Flannery, who`s worked with several congressional investigations, there may be one devoted to this. Good to have you on tonight sir.

JOHN FLANNERY, FORMAL FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It`s good to be here. This one is a chapter on to itself historically.

MELBER: Yes. So when you get into this, what does it mean that they have blown through the legal deadlines? Does that in itself mean that the Intel agencies here are in violation of the law and what happens next?

FLANNERY: Well, the Director of National Intelligence, so-called, he`s the one who violated the law. There`s basically four steps. One, there`s an urgent concern to subject of a complaint. Two, the Inspector General decides whether it`s credible or not. Three, if it is, he passes it to the Director who shall distribute it to Congress - shall. No discretion, no ability to do anything, except to perhaps add notes for Congress gets it and acts upon it.

So, yes, he is absolutely had no discretion - that is the Director had no discretion to withhold this information from the House or the Senate. In fact, is directed to send it to both and he didn`t do so.

And apparently he gave a heads up to the White House and the heads up to the Justice Department to find a way to not disclose that the President United States was cutting a deal with a foreign nation state who happens to - comic as a leader. So that he would for money create a situation investigating the President`s primary opponent who is favorable now, so he might not have him in a general election.

MELBER: Now if any federal official in the United States pursued this plot of their own--


MELBER: --would they be potentially violating the law?

FLANNERY: No. And I`ll tell you why. Number one, we have to lose this notion that the Office of Legal Counsel and Justice has to protect the President saying no sitting President can be indicted.

I can`t think of a better case to argue against the notion that a President shouldn`t be disturbed, because he may not do as well in office. This guy is the poster child for the worst President in American history. So that rationale makes no sense.

But Article II of the Constitution says there are two ways to deal with the President. One is removal and the others by indictment and they are separate. They don`t have anything to do with each other. And so he could be indicted, and so could Rudy Giuliani.

MELBER: But what about someone else? What if just the Defense Department decided randomly they wanted to do this, is there anything illegal about - as one of the newspaper accounts put it, trying to extort a foreign leader to help win a domestic campaign?

FLANNERY: Well, if I offer you money, saying if I give you whatever millions of dollars and you start an investigation on the guy who is a target in my election, first of all, the investigation is not reliable. You`re doing it for the monies.

And we have all sorts of anti-bribery statutes for passing money overseas and I don`t know where he`s getting money. But I suppose it`s the same way he gets money for his wall, which is illegal. So I think those are the kinds of problems.


FLANNERY: This guy has - there`s more complexity to his crimes by his impulse, by the fact that nobody does anything to stop him at any time, by any kind of coercion that can be found in the Constitution or found in the laws.

MELBER: Right. And you have a situation where, obviously, people around him are trying to protect him, they say, this looks bad so we`re not going to fork this over. It`s not as if Donald Trump is an expert on the Inspector General federal requirement. So as other people say this looks bad and they do it, then he learns more about it. Maybe learns about it as it`s spilled out into the press.

Something else has spilled out that I want to get you on, and this is so new, I doubt viewers have heard about it yet. And this goes to the heart of the beginning of the Mueller probe. "The New York Times" now has a document that is the original memo, was written by the person who took over from James Comey running the FBI, a man who`s been in the news for several reasons, Andrew McCabe. When he details what was a secret, high stakes conversation with the person who was then in charge of the Russia probe, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

This is all about how the Mueller probe began. And according to this material, Rosenstein basically told McCabe that he had a full plan in place for both appointing Mueller and what to do if Trump fired him for doing it. Writing, quote "He anticipated he may be terminated" in light of Trump`s anger with Attorney General Sessions over his own recusal. And he said that he heard people say that Trump said to Sessions quote "You were supposed to protect me."

This is very hot stuff. It`s a testament to the way our government works even amidst crisis that this stuff was documented at the time. It didn`t leak during the probe when Mueller was doing his thing and it is now out with some required redactions. But I would note they are pretty minimal. What do you take from this new reporting and new memo?

FLANNERY: Well, I have a prejudice about Rosenstein, because he seems to have an identity crisis throughout this investigation, particularly at the end of it. And on its face, it sounds like he`s warning him you could be fired and is that to chill his prosecution or was that a Presidential memo the led to him closing down the investigation by my idea early, at the water`s edge of prosecuting Trump or his family or his finances.

MELBER: Well, let me build on your premise and ask you the final question. We know there were at least three Rod Rosenstein. There was the first Rod Rosenstein who helped Trump fire Comey.

FLANNERY: Correct.

MELBER: There was the second Rod Rosenstein side who said firing Comey was so bad we need Bob Mueller to come in and handle an independent investigation, which was a thing that Rod was involved in. And then there was at least a third Rod Rosenstein, who according to credible reports, assured Trump I can land the plane without you getting hurt too much.

So at least three, what do we all take from it at the end of the day, I ask you our bow-tied experts.

FLANNERY: My most charitable interpretation is he`s a very malleable fellow.

MELBER: Is that why he stayed in office for as long as you did?

FLANNERY: Well, people show a chameleon-like aspect if they live very long in public office and the Justice Department creates chameleons all the time to do all sorts of things good and bad and terrible and honest and unfair. And it`s always been a Viper`s nest as far as I could say. I was so grateful I was in the Southern District of New York, not Main Justice. Rudy Giuliani went down there as a Bobby Kennedy Democrat. He came back as a Crow Magnum (ph) man.

MELBER: I mean, our viewers have now - by now everyone`s learned the differences and they know how independent New York rolls, so you do act more like a Southern District New Yorker than some other places.

I think - I`ll tell you what I think. I think the House Judiciary Committee has got to bring Rod and these other folks in for public testimony, because we`re back into the heart of what really went down. And Donald Trump clearly thinks he won, he can get away with. He bullied Mr. Rosenstein, at times, clearly in public. We`ve got to learn the full rest of the story.

FLANNERY: I have a few seconds. The - if they invite the Inspector General to arrange to have the source come talk to them it would seem to me it would be a remedy for violating the statute, because the statute says, if for any reason the complaint does not go to the Committee, that then the complainant may arrange through the Inspector General an appearance.

MELBER: That`s a great point.

FLANNERY: That might be the most efficient legal way that you could navigate this statue buried in 50 U.S.C. down in the guts somewhere.

MELBER: That is a great point you make about the details of statute that could remedy what is a Trumpian attack on it`s clear requirements. John, I love learning from you. Thanks for being here.

FLANNERY: I like being here. Thank you.

MELBER: Amen. Up ahead, Rudy Giuliani lets the cat out of the bag again.


CUOMO: did you ask the Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden?

GIULIANI: No, actually I didn`t--

CUOMO: So you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden?

GIULIANI: Of course, I did.


MELBER: No, of course, yes, no - it`s Rudy time. We`re going to go into what is a strategy or a scandal and what should Democrats really do. Also, this picture is stunning Russ Feingold`s mentioning it earlier tonight. This is what it looks like when the whole world protests. We`re going to get into that later.

And then comedian and political provocateur Chelsea Handler is here with NBC`s Hallie Jackson, you don`t want to miss that, pairing for "Fallback Friday."


MELBER: Rudy Giuliani is back at it, resuming his role has Trump`s damage control guy. He muddied the waters too. First, claiming that he didn`t ask Ukraine to investigate Biden, before admitting it.


CUOMO: Did you ask the Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden?

GIULIANI: No, actually I did--

CUOMO: You never asked anything about Hunter Biden, you never asked anything about Joe Biden in the call with the prosecutor?

GIULIANI: The only thing I asked about Joe Biden is to get to the bottom of how it was that Lutsenko, who was appointed--

CUOMO: Right.

GIULIANI: --dismissed the case against AntAC.

CUOMO: So you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden?

GIULIANI: Of course, I did.

CUOMO: You just said, you didn`t.


MELBER: Can`t make it up, and it`s not the first time Giuliani has made this kind of revelation on live TV about accusations against his boss.


GIULIANI: --something to do with paying some Stormy Daniels woman $130,000? I mean, which is going to turn out to be perfectly legal. The President repaid it.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Oh, I didn`t know that he did.


HANNITY: There`s no campaign finance law.



MELBER: Giuliani also made news on live TV about how long Donald Trump was in negotiations for the infamous Trump Tower, Moscow deal and then later tried to walk that back as well.

To get into this we have the perfect guest, former FBI Special Agent Josh Campbell. He is the author of a new book "Crossfire Hurricane: Inside Donald Trump`s War in the FBI" and he served at the most senior levels under James Comey throughout a whole lot of stuff, that`s the technical term.

JOSH CAMPBELL, FORMER FBI AGENT: Yes, that`s right, the stuff.

MELBER: And you were with James Comey up until the day Donald Trump fired him.

CAMPBELL: That`s right.

MELBER: So it`s really interesting to get you here. What the heck is Rudy Giuliani doing in your expert view?

CAMPBELL: Well, I`m just - as I listen to him there - that clip spin in circles. I can`t help but look back at the past two, three years of this campaign attack that was underway against the FBI, saying that they were making things up in the Russia investigation. There was no collusion. They were crooks and they were criminals.

And here we are in 2019, preparing for another election, and he`s admitting on national television that they`re asking a foreign government to investigate a political opponent. Look back on all the criticism of the FBI and ask yourself was that warranted, when right now they`re doing the same thing that they were accused of in the past.

I think that - with that said, as I look at Rudy Giuliani, obviously, it`s easier to look at him and say well he`s just a former statesman who then kind of turned into a caricature. But I think he`s strategic in the sense that if you look back on his handling of the President`s actions during Russia, his job was to inoculate us and - the President to get things out there, so - to take away the shock factor.

And I suspect that that maybe at play here. I don`t think that he was necessarily going on Chris Cuomo show to make news this week, but I think that that will be the effect. To get it out there so that then later on--

MELBER: Your of the view that it`s clumsy and it`s sloppy, but it ultimately has a purpose, which is, if it`s going to be bad, let it look bad on Rudy and for some reason he`s happy to play that role.

CAMPBELL: Exactly. He`ll jump in front of - run interference, obviously, for the President--

MELBER: Now let me ask--

CAMPBELL: --it`s the pattern that we`ve seen. We have facts to look to.

MELBER: You were there, of course, during this investigation of these Trump-Russia links and collusion. Right? You were there through all of that.

CAMPBELL: That`s right.

MELBER: Some of it you could talk about, some of it`s of the nature you can`t. I don`t know if you remember Christopher Wallace, "The Notorious B.I.G."--


MELBER: "Mo Money, Mo Problems." Here we are going into another race and it seems like "Mo Collusion, Mo Problems." Why on earth do you think these people would go back towards foreign help when it caused so many problems for Donald Trump? He himself hated the way you and your team was investigating him, the way that the Russia probe unfolded. Why tee things up for a potential Ukraine probe?

MELBER: Well, I think, that they`re going to do whatever it takes to win the next election, and this is just looking at this analytically. I`m not a political person, on either side. But just looking analytically and legally at what is at stake here, now we`ve talked about the President`s potential legal jeopardy as it relates to here, the Southern District of New York and potential charges that might come once he leaves the office.

And so he has to win, it`s not dramatic to say for him. If he loses his freedom might be on the line. So I think what we`re going to see--

MELBER: You are saying he has the mindset of a criminal trying to avoid the next cop?

CAMPBELL: No, I`m not - I`m not saying that he is a criminal. I`m saying that if he thinks that their charges to come and he can run out the clock beyond the statute of limitations, he can then you know prevent any potential problems down the road.

MELBER: That sounds a little like criminal.

CAMPBELL: He`s innocent till proven guilty. I`m not going to say--

MELBER: Well, I`m not saying - yes, legally he is right.

CAMPBELL: --presumed innocent.

MELBER: --but you`re saying his mindset is, I got to do this, so I don`t end up in jail?

CAMPBELL: Potentially, as a relates to these charges or have to go through all of that with fighting these charges. And so he`s - I think he`s going to do whatever it takes. He`s already said. He said in the Oval Office that he would accept information from a foreign government, which was shocking at the time.

Now we`re seeing them actually make good on that promise, and go and ask a foreign government to try to investigate a political opponent.

MELBER: I love chopping it up with you. You`ve been in so many of these rooms. Our last question in a sentence or two. Why doesn`t James Comey ever admit any mistakes?

CAMPBELL: Well, I think he has in the sense of his language that he used with Hillary Clinton, and I`ve criticized him in the book for that very thing. I knew him as a leader. I divorced Jim Comey the person from the actions. I know that he`s an honorable person.

But certain actions, to include the language about Hillary Clinton, I criticized him. He says, he would have used different language. But, I think, as you look at him as a person, this is someone who has a history of jumping on political grenades, some that were not meant for him and so that that`s the person that I know.

People will debate for your time immemorial about how it impacted the election and rightly so. But that`s the person I know. And especially this is so interesting for me. He gets criticized for being sanctimonious and pious. But look at our leaders now. They lied to us every single day with reckless abandon. So on the whole, maybe a little piety isn`t a bad thing.

MELBER: Josh Campbell, I don`t completely agree with your last answer, but I`m glad to give you the time to give it. I`m glad to have you on the show.


MELBER: And I want to tell folks, the new - here take a look, "Crossfire Hurricane" from someone was in the room. Pretty interesting, you may want to check it out.

Up ahead, how McConnell and Trump are caving on major issues. And the climate protests, we`re going to bring you all of it. Coming up.


MELBER: Three is a lot of different news on this Friday night, you may have noticed. But we want to turn to two updates, the stories that really show how facts and original reporting can matter.

The last month THE BEAT and a lot of other news outlets were reporting on this plan by the Trump administration to deport immigrants with life threatening illnesses, who were just here in the U.S. getting treatment.


MAHSA KHANBABAI, LAWYER FOR FAMILIES FACING DEPORTATIONS DESPITE MEDICAL CONDITIONS: how could you tell families like this to just pick up and leave, and basically as many people have said, issue your child a death sentence.

SERENA, DENIED A DEFERRAL BY TRUMP ADMIN, NEEDS HEART SURGERY: It was scarier than having a surgery. And it was very surprising and I was bewildered.

DANYELLE SALES, COUSIN OF SAMUEL COSTA: For Samuel to stay here, he keeps pretty much his life. Him leaving the country, he wouldn`t have this specialized treatment that he has right now. That he`s currently having and the monitorized health treatment that he`s having here right now.


MELBER: Chris Jansing, interviewing some of those individuals here on MSNBC. And now the Trump administration, backing down, they`re going to reinstate the deferred action program at least on a case by case basis. So that`s one thing you need to know.

Here`s another, McConnell apparently caving to pressure, announcing he will back a quarter billion dollar increase in funding for election security. This is after a lot of original reporting on how he was blocking any plans - even bipartisan ones. In fact, politically he got nicknamed "Moscow Mitch". That became part of the story and it appeared in news reports over a thousand times since July, a type of political pressure that may have influenced it.

So we want to give you those updates. And now when we come back we turn to millions of protesters around the world from Australia to New York City, fighting right now, to address climate change. And later I`m thrilled to tell you I got comedian Chelsea Handler and NBC`s Hallie Jackson in the house.


MELBER: You know what`s been going on today? Millions of people in the streets around the world calling for action on climate change. That includes Sydney to Berlin to Bangkok to New York. You are looking at an incredible worldwide set of protests. And it comes, as President Trump has slashed or rolled back at least 85 different environmental regulations.

I want to bring in my next guest former Wisconsin U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, who`s working as an ambassador for the "Campaign for Nature". Thanks for being here.

FEINGOLD: good to be here Ari.

MELBER: At the top of the show, we were talking about all that stuff that`s problems caused by, according to his critics, President Trump. Now what you`re talking about something that predates him and will outlast him in all likelihood. What do you see as important in these protests? What should be done?

FEINGOLD: Well, it`s really incredibly moving to see these protests, to see all these people in Battery Park and all around the world. You know, Ari, it`s almost exactly 50 years since the first "Earth Day". And the Earth Day was invented by a former Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson.

So those were great movements all across the world. It was very exciting. Well this seems to be almost equal to it - maybe more. And here you have little kids.


FEINGOLD: It`s so moving to watch them realizing what`s being done to them. So this crisis of climate change is being address by mass action and we also have to address - and this is what the "Campaign for Nature" is about, is the biodiversity crisis.

Scientists say that up to a million species are going to go extinct. So the two causes, climate change the biodiversity crisis are both very important, and they are interrelated. They affect each other. So we have to act on a mass level.


FEINGOLD: There is a group extinction movement across the world that is also taking on the extinction initiative.

MELBER: And you mentioned kids. Just take a quick look at one of these kids.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is an emergency. Our house is on fire. Why should we study for a future that is being taken away from us?



MELBER: What do you see is the most important thing people can do if they feel inspired by these kids?

FEINGOLD: Well, this young lady is calling on people to go to their town halls, in their city buildings every single Friday - "Fridays for the Future", until this issue is taken seriously, until the governments of the world come together on this issue as well as the biodiversity issue.

And that kind of mass action, that kind of pressure, particularly where young people are doing it, is something that politicians tend to notice. And I think they`ll be concerned.

MELBER: Senator Russ Feingold join us for more than one issue. And I believe we`re going to get you back later in the week with Waka Flocka Flame (ph). So thank you very much, Senator Feingold.

When we come back, "Fallback Friday" with Chelsea Handler and Hallie Jackson.


MELBER: It`s time now for a special edition of "Fallback". Joining me is comedian, actress, author and activist, you know her, Chelsea Handler. She was host of the late-night talk show, "Chelsea Lately" and she`s interviewed all kinds of people from Rihanna and Drake to Cory Booker and Adam Schiff. Her latest project on Netflix is a documentary called "Hello Privilege. It`s Me, Chelsea."

We`re also joined by NBC, Chief White House Correspondent, Hallie Jackson. You know her for her stand out reporting on the Ted Cruz and Donald Trump campaigns across 2016. She also, of course, hosts her own show right here on MSNBC, "Weekdays" at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. So great to have you both here.



HANDLER: I`m so happy to be here with my MSNBC family.

MELBER: I love it. Who needs to fallback?

JACKSON: So there`s this new survey. I`m looking at it the sad state of American work affairs that says a ton of people - half of people cry at work and have cried at work. And 44 percent of CFOs say, that`s OK if you cry at work. So you know what I`m trying to fallback, the 56 percent who say it`s not okay to cry at work.

We have stressful jobs. When else are you supposed to cry when you`re working from 14 hours a day? I think it`s totally appropriate to go into the bathroom have a good sob and move on with your life.

MELBER: And let me take it to Chelsea. Crying is as natural as laughing and yet it is often more punished?

HANDLER: Wow that is true.

JACKSON: How about that?

HANDLER: So you speak. Yes, I used to be vehemently opposed to crying in the workplace--

JACKSON: I get it.

HANDLER: --for the all the one reason, though.


HANDLER: --because I wasn`t - I didn`t have enough empathy and I didn`t have enough sympathy. So when girls will get emotional work, I`d be like, you can cry at work, but not about work and I had this kind of male rule. And now that I have a little bit more empathy and a little bit more sympathy for people, I understand if people need to cry.

JACKSON: In a private space, go into the bathroom, shut your door--

HANDLER: Yes, don`t make it--


JACKSON: But also look, let`s have a little - like you said, let`s have a little empathy for the people who are having issues or stress or emotional stuff.

HANDLER: Yes, absolutely.

JACKSON: And maybe get it out a little, you know.

MELBER: And Chelsea wasn`t it Jay-Z who said I never cry. If I did, I`d cry ice, and that`s not healthy.

HANDLER: Well, if there`s ever a quote to be had you would know about it in the rap community. Even though I fancy myself a fan of rap--

MELBER: Why is that?

HANDLER: --I think you really take the case.

MELBER: Why do you say that?

HANDLER: Why do you I say, because you are constantly--

MELBER: No, about yourself - why are you a fan of rap?

HANDLER: I am a fan of rap, because it`s just - its art--

JACKSON: I mean, it`s like a Chelsea thing. Right?

HANDLER: Yes, I mean - well, it`s not a me thing. I just can appreciate it. I get it. It`s real, it`s authentic. I like anything that`s got a real, authentic vibe.

MELBER: Would you say it`s a key part of how you roll?

HANDLER: No, I would not say that. But I think you would say that.

MELBER: You are being interviewed here. This isn`t your late night show. You are being interviewed. So does a lot of a flipping.

HANDLER: I like it.

MELBER: --powerful. What`s on your fallback list?

HANDLER: My fallback list is the pumpkin spice latte I think from Starbucks. I want them to take it down a notch.

JACKSON: But I feel like, you talk about authenticity, let people love what they love. If you want a pumpkin spice spam, like if that brings them joy--

MELBER: --so there`s the latte that comes back every season. Then there are the reports - I say this, because I`m anchoring this important discussion of spam flavored like pumpkin - too?

HANDLER: Yes, I would say that`s too far, Ari. I don`t need my spam smelling or flavored like pumpkin.

JACKSON: Have you tried it?

HANDLER: I know that I - I walked into a Starbucks during the season and I`ve been alarmed by the scent. It`s a very powerful sent - pumpkin and I want maybe for a week or two in October over Halloween it`s reasonable. But for to extend it in the way that they`ve done--

MELBER: Can I share something personal on my beverage list? I`m really into the gingerbread latte. I think it is underappreciated in the holiday season. It has a real sweet kind of nutty after notes and I like it more than a pumpkin spice.

JACKSON: Can I ask a question? Do you also think that that falls under the basic beverage category?

MELBER: I have never subscribed to the idea that your taste, whatever they be, make you more or interesting. In fact, it`s a founding principle of hipsterism, which I`m against, that your own aesthetic tastes make you interesting, because you like a band that`s lesser-known that makes you cooler. I`ve never followed that.

I love Starbucks. I`m from Seattle. And I love the gingerbread latte despite--

HANDLER: And you know what`s cool?

JACKSON: Do you also love what--


HANDLER: You are the one laughing, not me. I said it seriously.

MELBER: Do you do that at your shows? Do you say to the audience you`re the one laughing?

HANDLER: Yes, yes, I do that. I like to point my finger at my own. You, you, you, you - no, only here with you Ari.

JACKSON: So - I mean, I have nothing to add to this conversation except for I`m really enjoying the playback between the two of you.

MELBER: The playback.

JACKSON: Yes. I felt this is fun--

MELBER: Before we lose Hallie, what do you want to know from her, given that you follow the news, but you`re into comedy, but you`re also fighting activists type?

HANDLER: I want to say that Hallie is one of my favorite faces on television.

JACKSON: My God. Thank you.

HANDLER: Yes, yes. You`re like a very comforting personality on the news. Every morning in my gym I watch you. And I`m glad to finally meet you.

MELBER: Now who`s crying?

HANDLER: No one. No one`s crying.

MELBER: No one. No one yet, but it would be OK--

HANDLER: Correct.

MELBER: --if someone--

HANDLER: If we wanted to cry, well, then do you want to cry?

JACKSON: I can`t cry on demand. Do you know what I mean?

HANDLER: Can you?

JACKSON: It`s got to build within me.

MELBER: I can`t cry on demand, but it`s not that hard to make me cry.


JACKSON: Like what would make you cry?

MELBER: I can`t get into that, but feelings usually.

HANDLER: Is it was a Lizzo song?

JACKSON: We all shed a tear at Lizzo.

HANDLER: A good tear.

JACKSON: You know what I mean?

HANDLER: A happy tear.

MELBER: My old friend Hallie Jackson and my new friend Chelsea Handler. Thanks for coming on "Fallback".

JACKSON: Thank you. What a thrill.

HANDLER: Shabbat Shalom.

MELBER: Shabbat Shalom.

Shabbat Shalom, and let me say, Chelsea`s new documentary is called "Hello Privilege. It`s me, Chelsea." It`s out on Netflix and it tackles some big political issues, including white privilege, so you can check that out.

That does it for us. What a week huh? We will be back here at 6:00 p.m. Eastern on Monday. But don`t go anywhere. "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews is up next.