IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Wacka Flocka Flame and Sen Russ Feingold. TRANSCRIPT: 9/27/19, The Beat w/ Ari Melber.

Guests: Juanita Tolliver, Kenji Yoshino, Leah Wright Rigueur, EugeneRobinson, Robert Dietz, Barbara Res

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST:  "THE BEAT" with Ari Melber starts right now. And Ari already we have - it`s been 12 minutes and Rudy Giuliani has contradicted himself, I think.


TODD: Good luck.

MELBER: I got two things I got to talk to you about. Your four years on the air and you mentioned your bear changes. With regard to your four years, sir, we`re hoping you`ll be like FDR and go four, eight and beyond. Congratulations to you and our team.

TODD: I don`t know buddy. As you know in cable television one year at a time.

MELBER: But I know you`ve got a hard-working team there, so our congrats. As for the beard--

TODD: Yes.

MELBER: --you brought it up. We love the full beard. You`re fully bearded now.

TODD: You`re the inspiration my plan. Nobody does it better than you, Ari.

MELBER: You grow up beard in a half-hour. It goes - I`m like the old Homer Simpson. If I shave it, it comes back the same day and then we just keep on, keeping on--

TODD: I love it.

MELBER: Congrats, and we`ll be watching this Sunday, sir.

TODD: Thanks.

MELBER: Appreciated. We have, as Chuck mentioned, so much to get to tonight. We begin with the breaking news. Democrats now late Friday subpoenaing one of Donald Trump`s closest aides in the impeachment probe.

Late today, House Democrats subpoenaing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for evidence on Donald Trump`s call with the Ukrainian President, which has now turned into a full-blown collusion scandal.

We were just talking about Rudy Giuliani. Well, they want information on his interactions with Ukrainians. He`s been passing the buck back to the State Department. The Committee now had asked for many of these related documents weeks ago, Pompeo had been declining to turn anything over.

Now there is the weight of what has changed this week. The full-blown impeachment inquiry backed by a majority of the members of the United States House of Representatives. We could show you what we`re learning here, because this is brand-new.

They say the subpoena is pursuant to that impeachment inquiry and that failure to review or refusal to comply will constitute evidence of obstruction of the House`s impeachment inquiry. That is some of the toughest language you can get. It says you`re part of that constitutional crime.

And then breaking just now, I was just discussing with my colleague Chuck Todd, Rudy Giuliani is saying to Sky News he wants to testify to Congress.


CORDELIA LYNCH, SKY NEWS US CORRESPONDENT: Are you willing to testify in front of Congress?

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP`S ATTORNEY: Well there`s a lot of problems with that. I mean, would I like to testify and tell my story? Sure, I`ve been telling it all the time. In fact, you know my story. There are things that I can`t testify to, because I`m a lawyer.

LYNCH: What has the President said to you this week.

GIULIANI: He asked me how I`m doing. We talked about golf and anything we talked about relating to the case I can`t tell you.


MELBER: So that would be the news, except for what was just referenced literally within the last couple moments. Giuliani is now telling us here at NBC he wants to make it clear he has not decided if he`ll testify. I want to get right to a lot of this new reporting and then we have a break down a little later.

Juanita Tolliver is here from Center for American Progress; Leah Wright Rigueur from Harvard`s Kennedy School; and Kenji Yoshino a constitutional scholar at NYU. Great to see all of you.

Professor Rigueur, I begin with you. I`m going to put the Rudy to the side, because he doesn`t even know what his news is. Although, we`re happy to share his share his statements - contradictory as they may be. But as we end this week what is the significance in your view of the House sending what are now formal impeachment subpoenas to Secretary of State Pompeo?

LEAH WRIGHT RIGUEUR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY, KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT: You know, I think the House at this point is wondering who is going to be the Tekashi 69 of the Trump administration. I mean, they`re pulling out essentially all the stops--

MELBER: In the sense of going into hiding or tattooing their own face?

RIGUEUR: --They are trying to get into it. I mean - all of the above. Very colorful characters, naming names, snitching selling, selling, selling, selling, who is going to be disloyal to the Trump Organization.

MELBER: And let me do one thing before you - let me do one for you to continue, because we`re inclusive here. I want to include every viewer to understand. You`re referring to a musical artist who`s gotten some fame in the last few weeks for going full Michael Cohen and flipping on everyone.


MELBER: And so you`re saying the pressures we`re seeing could lead, you think, to people turning.

RIGUEUR: Well, you know, I think part of the House strategy is to put pressure on all different avenues. So it`s to actually do an inquiry and see what kind of new information they can find out and to kind of force their hand. And I think that`s important in the letter that went out about, you know, "If you do not knew this, we will look at his obstruction on multiple fronts."

But it`s also to see who is going to essentially flip and to pit these people against one another. We`re already seeing kind of a crackdown in Donald Trump, that`s not surprising. He always kind of goes - gets pretty intense in moments like this. We`ve seen that before. But we`re also seeing a crackdown a really Giuliani clearly and now we`re seeing House put pressure on all different avenues, including Pompeo.

So the idea here is to get somebody to flip, somebody to spill their guts, and essentially see what kind of information you can come up with over the course of this inquiry.

MELBER: Juanita, I just want to read a little more from what the congressional Democrats are doing, because again, this is why the week has been so different. They`re demanding any records generated or received by the State Department with or referring to Donald Trump`s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Do you think Juanita it is it is ascertainable at this point where the Rudy`s attempt to do all this through television and blame the State Department, is it already backfiring?

JUANITA TOLLIVER, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS ACTION FUND: Absolutely it`s backfiring and I think Giuliani mentioned something to that same light and we`ve seen him backtrack within minutes just now this afternoon. And so what now, I think, he`s up against is a question of what else is going to be revealed in these documents that Democrats have requested.

They want to know the who, the what, the when, the where and get names on the record and have those folks brought forward to offer testimony. Because this is where the American public will get a very clear picture of who did what in this administration who tried to cover up what and how involved Rudy Giuliani was, because I got a feeling he`s at the center of it all.

MELBER: Take a listen on that point to Giuliani, talking about whistleblowing on Fox News just last night.


GIULIANI: I actually think they should all congratulate me, because it wasn`t for me nobody would be - nobody would have uncovered and faced massive corruption by the Vice President of the United States. In fact, I`m a legitimate whistleblower.


MELBER: Juanita?

TOLLIVER: He is not a legitimate whistleblower. Can we start there? I mean, this is someone who is doing the bidding of our President as his personal attorney, being involved in State Department interactions, hiding documents from within the administration, like this is somebody who was not a whistleblower and you should never be referring to himself as such.

MELBER: Kenji, I want to turn to you for the reason we booked you, which was not just Rudy Giuliani`s latest and greatest, but the deeper constitutional dimensions here. A lot of folks would look at Donald Trump`s conduct and a lot of members of Congress and would have said he was impeachable before Monday.


MELBER: And yet this scandal has taken a light in this building, in this Congress and hit the majority in a way that none other did. And then we have Republican Senators speaking out and saying something that is basically the scariest thing to the White House in the world, which is the idea that this gets out of control.

And there are a lot of Republicans in the Senate who secretly have opposed Donald Trump and we kind of know that, because they wasn`t as secret before November 2016 when they were so critical. Take a listen to Senator Jeff Flake.


FMR. SEN. JEFF FLAKE(R-AZ): Somebody mentioned yesterday that if there were a private vote that there be 30 Republican votes. That`s not true. There`d be at least 35, or maybe more if there were a private vote. But that`s not possible and so they have to come out - and many of them are up for reelection in tough seats, and I know that feeling.


MELBER: When you look at this, do you see constitutionally a big shift this week based on the information that`s come out or do you like Senator Flake see this as largely still moving within the political whims?

KENJI YOSHINO, NYU LAW PROFESSOR: I think it`s a seismic shift. And I think it goes back to the very idea of high crimes and misdemeanors as articulated by the founders in the Federalist Papers, specifically Hamilton in Federalist Paper 65 where he was talking about why impeachment is such an issue.

And he says, impeachment comes into play whne we`re talking about violations of public trust. And Cass Sunstein riffing off of this and his great primer on impeachment says. Imagine two scenarios one is where a President for personal reasons puts out a hit job on somebody. The other one is where the President says I`m going to use my public office in order to destroy a political opponent.

He says the second case is actually an easier case to support impeachment, because the first case, it just has to do with private animosity. And the reason that we have impeachment is for abuse of office.

So we look at the broader picture of the constitutional history of impeachment, we`ve had 19 impeachments, right? So two of Presidents, right? But 19 total in our nation`s history. Eight convictions.

But if you look at that broader spectrum, not just the Johnsons and Clintons of the world, but all the federal judges, because a majority of them are actually federal district judges of this 19, you see that one through line is this violation of public trust idea. Right?

So I think that if we take our picture - broaden the picture away from the presidency and look more broadly at impeachment, I think what we see as a through-line is this public trust notion. And I think the public understands that this is somehow different and kind from you know paying off an adult film actress or something that seems more quotidian in nature.

MELBER: So what - yes, I mean, that`s - and it`s so interesting I`ve been waiting to hear from you, because we`ve had you on before to educate us about the Constitution. The Mueller report had substantial evidence of obstruction, but less on collusion.

What grade would you give the impeachability of the Mueller report versus the Ukraine scandal, which on its face is the President`s own evidence saying abuse the office to get help with reelection? Grade of each.

YOSHINO: Well, I will tell you, I don`t like to give out grades, especially for work in progress.

MELBER: You`re a professor.

YOSHINO: Well, this is a work in progress. I want to see it completed. But I will say that - Mueller himself said that the proper vehicle for this was not - I mean, he was basically saying we can`t indict a sitting President.

MELBER: Right. It was separate issue. Look, Juanita--

YOSHINO: --remedied it to the impeachment process.

MELBER: Everybody hangs with me. Juanita, later I`m going to ask you to give a grade to Kenji Yoshino`s ability to give a grade. I`m thinking "F", but it`s just--

TOLLIVER: You know, we`re all friends here. We`re all friends here.

MELBER: Everyone stays as promised. We wanted to get in some of the breaking news and now turn to a little bit of a breakdown and then get your responses on the flip of it. The Pompeo subpoena here comes, as we`ve been discussing, with the impeachment ranks growing.

225 House Democrats back these impeachment proceedings. And I want to tell everyone, if you`re tuning in here at the end of a long week. That is why the week is ending very differently than it started - a majority for impeachment in the House. And that means only 10 Democrats are left who haven`t publicly jumped on board. It is a reminder of how fast things change.

House Democrats say there is a quote "Need for Speed" to keep up the momentum at this point. They`re going to limit which hearings are even needed, very few if. Any and there is talk of putting these articles of impeachment against President Trump on the House floor by Thanksgiving.

But that raises another question that we`re going to get into. Why start a two-week recess today? Well Democrats are arguing that the key Committee, Intel, is still on the job, working through the break.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We`ve already begun reaching out to witnesses. We`re going to be noticing depositions or interviews as soon as next week. We expect the subpoenas to go out - more subpoenas to go out first thing next week as well. So we`re moving with all speed.


MELBER: The subpoenas are putting new heat on the White House to answer these remaining questions. Like the news that White House officials knew about this whistleblowers complaint very soon after Trump`s call and kept hiding it or if they stonewalled and they duck.

Democrats are saying that would further strengthen their fast time line, because it`ll show the public there`s no boxes left to check if Donald Trump`s own appointees won`t even show up to defend themselves in this crisis, putting more pressure on people like Attorney General Bill Barr.


JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST MSNBC: Let me ask you about the Attorney General.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): He`s going rogue. I think where they`re going is a cover-up and that`s - that to have a Justice Department go so rogue - well they have been for a while.


MELBER: That`s just moments ago - the head of the NRA meeting with Donald Trump today, allegedly to offer financial support for a legal defense and telling Trump it`s time to stop the games over gun control legislation. Throw one more issue into this complex mix.

Professor Rigueur, what do you think of what we`re hearing from the Democrats? Obviously, the subpoenas strengthen their point tonight that they`re working. But is this the right time to take two weeks for most of Congress off?

RIGUEUR: Well, I don`t think they have - I don`t think they have a choice in terms of can they take this off or not. They have to be working, in part, because of protests from outside of Congress. Right? So the Democratic base wants something. They have wanted something for a while.

And I said right here on the show a while back that it Democrats at some point either had to put up or shut up, because the base wants something. And so what we`re seeing here is pressure from outside.

And now kind of the resulting - the resulting hearings which is going to be a really important part of showing the world what is going on, either through the stonewalling from the administration or from the reveal of these various documents that will come out.

But absolutely you are going to have to have Democrats working on the inside even at the moment of - even if it seems like it is a moment of break.

MELBER: Juanita, I asked you and we`ve had these discussions here on this show. We`ve had debates among our panelists about whether the Democrats, particularly leadership after Mueller stopped short and didn`t find the momentum and didn`t deal with the threat that many people say the Donald Trump poses.

He certainly took his own reaction from that, because watching the Democrats after Mueller he went ahead and directly began the next steps of his collusion plot. And made reference to that and we know all that now. So I`m curious if you look at this and you take Democratic leadership at your word or you have concerns

Because I`m hearing from some people saying, "Gosh, if Speaker Pelosi wasn`t that into impeachment a week ago and a month ago and six months ago, how do we know that this recess hasn`t turned into a way to find an off- ramp." What do you think?

TOLLIVER: I think the Democrats are still working and even over recess will be working in the field, talking to their constituents about why this needs to move forward, continuing to garner that public buy-in and support for their movements.

Because now that the Democratic Party and the caucus is unified in this action, because let`s remember, there was not that much unification over Mueller and their reaction to it. So now that the Democratic Party isn`t unified, I have full confidence that they`re going to move forward full steam ahead.

We saw that with the subpoena going out today. We see that in Pelosi`s language about Barr and really calling him out for what he`s been doing since he took on the role of Attorney General and working as President Trump`s personal attorney in that role, working to protect him at all stops.

And at this point it`s definitely something that Democrats will maintain the momentum through this recess, because they`re going to be in the field talking about this to their voters.

MELBER: Juanita and Leah, thank you very much. We got a lot again to appreciate it. Kenji stay with me, because the final question I want to ask you, as we`re gathered here in New York, is from a constitutional perspective do the Democrats or does the House need more information or evidence? Or can it, consistent with its constitutional duties, move forward on?

YOSHINO: You`re going to accuse me of squishing out from--

MELBER: You are literally shifting around in your chair.

YOSHINO: But I think what`s crazy making and I can talk to you lawyer to lawyer on this about impeachment is that we`re used to courts and we`re used to court procedures and the rules of evidence and everything that hedges that process is something that`s really well known to us.

When we move to impeachments they shifted over to you know the Congress such as essentially taking the - or the House that`s taken a prosecutorial function and the Senate that`s taken the kind of trial function.

And the rules are really, really different, so - I mean the reasons why we do this, specifically again, Hamilton`s saying we don`t want to put the Supreme Court under that kind of a spotlight. It`s nine individuals that--

MELBER: Right. But I don`t take you to be endorsing an impeachment of any particular President if you answer that the lack of specific rules means they can move pretty fast, there`s no other triggers they need.

YOSHINO: Yes, but, I think what I`m saying Ari is that if you think about it from a judicial process perspective in a court, there`s a rule of evidence that I can apply and a standard that I can apply to ascertain what judge would likely do.

Because we`re not in court, we don`t have precedents, we don`t have those rules of evidence, we don`t have those burdens of proof laid out in the same kind of way. It`s much harder to say what would be sufficient. Right?

So I can opine at what my personal opinion would be. But I don`t think that`s as relevant as thinking about what this Congress is going to do.

MELBER: Kenji Yoshino, ever careful. I appreciate you sir. Thank you so much.

YOSHINO: Thanks for having me.

MELBER: We`re going to fit in a break. When we come back, Donald Trump`s lawyer is trying to now use a Nixon defense on this story. Also new details about the reported panic in a shell-shocked White House, Pulitzer Prize winner Eugene Robinson is here. And some Democrats are urging the Speaker not to send the House into recess. That debate we`ve been talking about, what you need to know.

And government officials, how should you respond if Donald Trump uses without Schiff calls a mob mafia approach to governing. I`m Ari Melber, you are watching "THE BEAT" on MSNBC.


MELBER: This Friday night the White House is in full damage-control mode, juggling new subpoenas, new pressure and heated criticism, including from its own allies, over not only Donald Trump`s conduct in the Ukraine scandal, but these now exposed efforts of top White House officials to lock down damning evidence on a classified server.

And that matters, because it reinforces this whistleblower`s account that those officials knew Trump abused his power. Leading to what some are calling total panic in a shell-shocked staff led by an increasingly unmanageable President. Not a good headline.

Now the environment is risky for Trump because in his last collusion scandal, the Mueller probe, remember, things got worse when Trump`s own people turned on each other. Remember Rick Gates turning on Paul Manafort and they were lifelong partners in their business. Or remember Michael Cohen turning on Trump, they were decades-long business associates.

So keep that context in mind as people at the center of this scandal are already starting to publicly break, including Rudy Giuliani and Secretary of State Pompeo, and they`re splitting before either has faced any serious investigative interviews about this in Congress, let alone from the FBI.


LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: Pompeo is unhappy with you. Is that true? I know both of you. I haven`t heard about this except for a Maggie--

GIULIANI: I actually think they should all congratulate me, because of if it wasn`t for me nobody would be - nobody would have uncovered and faced massive corruption by the Vice President of the United States. In fact, I`m a legitimate whistleblower and his State Department asked me to do this. So Mike if you`re unhappy with me, I`m sorry, but I accomplished my mission. I have no idea if he`s unhappy with me or not. I frankly don`t care.


MELBER: Not exactly what you say about a teammate when you`re on message. Now Giuliani also worked with Trump`s legal team in that Mueller probe. One of his most prominent teammates was Jay Sekulow who argued the President`s decision on what`s appropriate to get from other countries, including maybe election help. Well, that would be the final word, which is drawing echoes of an infamous Nixon gaffe.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --was it appropriate?

JAY SEKULOW, CHIEF COUNSEL OF THE AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE: Look, the President determines what communications he wants to have and what he believes is appropriate in his communications with another head of state.

RICHARD NIXON, 37TH U.S. PRESIDENT: --or when the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.


NIXON: Exactly.


MELBER: No. Now, I should say, there are of course legitimate arguments defending the Commander-in-Chief`s core powers to make foreign policy. He has a lot of power in this area. But that doesn`t mean a President`s incapable of acting inappropriately or legally in office. And think about it, if that were true, there wouldn`t be an impeachment provision in the first place.

Now all the signs suggest that Trump`s legal team is still trying to figure out their defense on the fly without knowing how broad the Ukraine plot goes. And this is amidst reports the White House is also debating how to build a team to battle impeachment.

And think about that, that`s interesting, because that would suggest they now think impeachment is a real possibility. And a team to prevent it? Well that suggests Donald Trump was lying when he repeatedly claimed he welcomes impeachment as a kind of political boost. That were true, well, he wouldn`t need to put up a fight or build a team. He could just wait and say "Gosh, I hope they finish this up soon."

So what has changed? Well, Eugene Robinson is here to tackle that and a whole lot more when we are back in just 30 seconds.


MELBER: Eugene Robinson is here as promised. Good evening sir, what a week.

EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: Incredible week. Just tell me it`s over.

MELBER: It`s almost over.

ROBINSON: --I keep looking at the phone and crazy stories keep coming up. And there`s Rudy and then he takes it back and Trump this meeting with Wayne LaPierre and it just seems to keep going on.

MELBER: Yes. I`m curious with all these reports what you think of the way that impeachment is taken hold this week, unlike any other week I`ve seen

 And you are eagle-eyed observer of Washington I wonder what you think. And that`s not just in the House where we`ve seen. It it`s not just Senators, obviously putting up different types of pressure, at least for the co-equal branch with regard to saying, well, you got to get us the whistleblower complaint.

And then "The New York Times" coming out for only the second time in the history of the United States to back the impeachment of a sitting President. Altogether, what do you see as shifting here?

ROBINSON: Well, what shifted is that we all became aware of a case of wrongdoing that is, to my mind, at least just tailor-made for the idea of impeachment. Because you have this massive breach of the public trust you have this massive abuse of power.

You have President who withholds $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, so he can use that as leverage to get the President of Ukraine to order the prosecutors to dig up some dirt on President Trump`s political opponent Joe Biden.

That is not the first impeachable thing Donald Trump has done in my view. But it`s so clear and it so goes to the heart of the very idea of a public service and public responsibility, and thus abuse of the public trust, that I think that`s why it seemed to go almost overnight. People look at it, and then say, "Oh, you know, we have no choice."

And so you had all those Democrats who been really reluctant to go there - nearly half the caucus had been reluctant to go there at all. And then almost literally overnight just taking a look at the situation they said this has to happen. And the most important one, of course, who did that was Nancy Pelosi.

And those who don`t think she`s serious about it or think she`s still reluctant about it, she was on "Morning Joe" this morning, I was on the set there too. And I could just tell you, when she gets when she points in a direction and says this is where we`re going. You really can take to the bank that that`s where the House is headed.

So she`s going to follow through on this impeachment inquiry and we`ll see where it leads. But I think I have a pretty good idea where it`s going to lead.

MELBER: That`s fascinating given your proximity to it. You, and I both as reporters, you always check what everyone`s saying and sometimes the argument on the other side is weak, and sometimes once you hear it, it makes you rethink, that`s why we talk to so many sources.

Last night we heard directly from a Trump campaign official on 2020 to hear how they are presenting this. And what struck me, and I`d love your analysis of what I`m about to play was, they`re still struggling to figure out which things they`re denying and which things they`re admitting in an area, that according to the Congress is impeachable, which doesn`t seem like the greatest balancing of a message, let alone the substance. Take a look.


MELBER: --Ukraine call notes - even before you get to the whistleblower, have the President saying do me a favor go after a domestic rival Joe Biden.

LOTTER: That is not what the transcript says and you know better than that Ari. He says do me a favor, look into corruption--

MELBER: Quote "The President wanted allegations of corruption involving an American official - that`s Biden - to be investigated by Ukraine. Do me a favor investigate Biden."

LOTTER: And I`ll reiterate to you what the actual phone call said. It talked about looking into Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election and it also talked about investigating the former Vice President of the United States--

MELBER: Right, investigating Joe Biden as a rival--


MELBER: Eugene?

ROBINSON: Yes, yes. Ari, I watched that last I too and was equally confused and at times amused by the fact that he couldn`t decide what to acknowledge was true, what would - where to stand basically. To say, oh it`s OK the President can do anything he wants or actually the President didn`t do it, because there was no quid pro quo or actually the President did something else.

You`ve got all these messengers out there trying to parent talking points that are internally inconsistent and that don`t make sense. And then as sort of on somewhere out in outer space you`ve got Rudy Giuliani out there saying - giving any - every possible crazy answer to every possible question.

And what you have is kind of a messaging nightmare right now. And you have a lot of Republicans, especially Republican Senators, who were just sort of pulling the covers over their heads and hoping nobody notices they`re still around.

MELBER: Well, I`ve never thought of Rudy quite as an astronaut in outer space. But you know with him it comes down to one small gaffe for Rudy is one large gaffe for the White House is Ukrainian scandal.

We`ll reflect on all of it. The week I assure you Gene is actually over. We`d love to call on you again next week and the week after that sir.

ROBINSON: I`ll be around.

MELBER: Thank you. Have a great weekend.

ROBINSON: And Ari you too.

MELBER: I`m going to fit in a break folks and then when we come back a top Democrat says Trump acting like a mob boss shaking down a foreign leader. While I have a former top counsel from the CIA and NSA to explain what do you do if you get that kind of order.

Also joined by a Trump insider who has seen some of this up close and has turned quite a critic. Also what Democrats might learn today from Newt Gingrich`s fast tracking of impeachment in the 90s.


MELBER: Mob boss. That was one of the memorable lines this week. People familiar with Donald Trump saying, he sounded like a mobster in the now- infamous call with Ukraine`s President, with the threats and the hinting to get where he wanted to go.

Trump`s saying the U.S. does a lot for Ukraine, so now it`s time to do us a favor and it`s quote "Very important you do it". And then getting to the point all the talk he said about Biden`s son. Adam Schiff said it was more like a mob boss than a President.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): What those notes reflect is a classic mafia like shakedown of a foreign leader. Like any mafia boss the President didn`t need to say, that`s a nice country you have, it`d be a shame if something happened to it, because that was clear from the conversation.


MELBER: He is quoting of course the "Untouchables".


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nice to have a family.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you should take care, see that nothing happens to them.


MELBER: And it`s not just democratic critics, you are looking at the cover of the great journalistic institution in "New Yorker" where you see Trump and Giuliani literally pushing Uncle Sam off a bridge with his feet in cement.

I`m joined now by Barbara Res who worked for the Trump Organization, not in a criminal capacity, but in business, author of "All Alone On The 68th Floor" and Robert Dietz former Senior Counselor to CIA Director and a former general counsel at the NSA. So thrilling to have both of you bring your different perspectives.

Robert what happens in the event that as we`ve seen these call notes, people inside the U.S. government are asked to go along with what they may view as unlawful orders?

ROBERT DIETZ, FORMER GENERAL COUNSEL FOR THE NSA: Well, you know, I think traditionally on this kind of investigation you start with the people lower down and for lots of different reasons.

These are people in their 30s, 40s who say wait, a minute, I`ve got a career in front of me or at least I hope I have a career in front of me. I`m not going to take a fall for a President or for a senior White House adviser. So I think that`s part of the way you break apart what looks to be a unified group of people.

MELBER: Well, what I`m getting at is what are they supposed to do. I mean, you worked at the inside highest levels where most of us never get to, and y`all do some things that are questionable. I mean, the intelligence agencies, the CIA, you do tough stuff - and I`m sure sometimes people think, god did we cross the line.

But what happens when it`s not tough and on the line, but so over the line that somebody says "I don`t know that we should carry this out. I don`t know that we should work with a foreign government to sabotage a domestic candidate."

DIETZ: Well there are a couple of ways of addressing it. Certainly one of the classic ways is simply saying with all respect I resign. That`s something I cannot do. The other another way - and this is quite common in Washington, as you all know very well, is to do confidential calls to the press and that`s what we`re seeing.

We`re seeing increasingly the information leaking out of the White House, and I think that`s designed in part to - before people to make sure that they`re OK with a law.

MELBER: Yes. And Barbara to Robert`s point, those are individuals who do all kinds of stuff and do want to have careers. And then this President, more so than others, according to what we`re learning, pushes it even further. When you worked around him what do you recognize here in that call?

BARBARA RES, FORMER TRUMP ORG EXECUTIVE: It`s very, very Trump. Its - he`s setting up his plausible deniability. I think tell them to do this. I just suggest that things are going on and maybe you know this should look into and then (inaudible)

MELBER: Did he use that for all - in other words, if he said I want gold - I want gold doorknobs versus I want something that I might get in trouble for. Does he lean more into that style, which Schiff calls that mafia style, when he knows it`s bad stuff.

RES: Only when he knows that this is questionable. Not necessarily bad, but he might be doing something with an individual that he doesn`t want to be associated with as someone else do. But it`s go do this.

MELBER: Take a Michael Cohen making a similar point.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER LAWYER, DONALD TRUMP: Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to congress, that`s not how he operates. That`s how he speaks. He doesn`t give you questions. He doesn`t give you orders. He speaks in a code.

(END VIDEO CLIP) RES: There`s a code. But everyone knows it. I mean, you know, at least those of us who were closer to Donald absolutely know what he wanted. Yes, this would be good, or we should have - this should be this way or but not do it, do it, not that. Or maybe with some very close people who would take a fall for him, but not at least at my level. And I saw him do it a lot of people - my level.

MELBER: Robert, when you look at what is publicly known, would you advise anyone who was involved in the calls or carrying any this out in the White House the agencies to be careful that they might have their own legal exposure or we`re not there yet?

DIETZ: Oh, absolutely. And I think many of these people probably do realize that they are facing some kind of exposure. I mean, you can use - you can certainly use hidden language like do me a favor and so forth. But play before a jury even - let alone the people in the House of Representatives, people are going to understand what was intended and what was meant.

MELBER: And we--

DIETZ: --Because of what followed on from that.

MELBER: So even though--

DIETZ: --Mr. Giuliani--

MELBER: --even though briefly we provide a lot of protection for say someone the CIA following orders. If they went to Ukraine and brought back stuff to help Trump 2020, you think they could be in trouble?

DIETZ: Oh, absolutely. Bear in mind, if the CIA or NSA or any of these Intel agencies when people are concerned they come to the Office of the General Counsel. I counseled people from time to time who were worried that that something was on the edge. So, yes, of course you they ought to be concerned. They`ve got mortgages to pay.

MELBER: Robert Dietz and Barbara Res, thank you both. Really interesting - somewhat chilling, but very interesting stuff. I appreciate it.

DIETZ: Sure.

MELBER: Up ahead, there is a lot happening with the House bolting Washington, while saying the impeachment probe is urgent. I`m going to get into it and tell you what you need to know.


MELBER: The scandal engulfing the White House right now is urgent. We hear that word urgent a lot because it`s what Trump`s own intelligence appointees said, it`s also what Democrats have emphasized in making the Ukraine scandal the issue, pushing them over the edge to this full-blown impeachment probe.

Speaker Pelosi in her first interview since announcing that says they will move quickly, but not hastily.


PELOSI: I think that we should move with purpose and expeditiously, not hastily though. It doesn`t have to drag on. It`s no use to just say by such and such a date. But looking at the - shall we say, the material that the administration is giving us, they are actually speeding up the process.


MELBER: Speeding up, but Speaker Pelosi sending her whole caucus on recess today for two whole weeks. Now Democrats insist she has a full strategy. It is worth noting, though, the last time the House actually did move on impeachment, the Speaker at the time was pushing votes during a lame-duck session. That was days before Christmas - typically a vacation time and that was while the Senate was still out of its session.

We`re speaking of course about someone who moves fast, Speaker Newt Gingrich said he wanted a vote and he wanted it fast. Something he`d always emphasized.


NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: How can we move as expeditiously as possible within a framework that recognizes that this is uncharted territory.


MELBER: Take that back today, there are liberal groups who say they want to be more expeditious than this. Progressives calling on the leadership to completely cancel this recess and stay on the jobs. And look there`s precedent for that on lesser issues then impeachment from Pelosi yourself.

In 2010 she called Representatives back to work during an August break to work on a Jobs Bill. Just this year, remember, she canceled a scheduled recess to deal with the government shutdown that was ongoing.

Now Pelosi`s team says nothing to worry about. Her deputy Hakeem Jeffries arguing the Intel Committee will be working and will handle all this during the recess. In fact, he was explaining that on the beat last night.


REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): The Intel Committee is going to proceed with hearings and investigative matters over that recess--

MELBER: So you don`t think you`re going to lose, shall we call it a momentum here?

JEFFRIES: Well the Intel Committee is going full steam ahead--


MELBER: Full steam ahead. Now what does full steam ahead mean in the context of a White House that is pushing back on so much that hasn`t been very cooperative about anything. And what is full steam ahead mean for timing in the actual articles of impeachment, which is the big enchilada.

Well, the reporting tonight is interesting. "The Washington Post" saying lawmakers see impeachment articles, hitting the House floor as soon as a round Thanksgiving. That would be fast indeed. So we`ve been following all this. This is what I`ll tell you.

If in the end the articles of impeachment hit the House floor before or after Thanksgiving or really anytime by the end of the year, no one will remember this two-week recess. But if things change, for whatever reason, and boy this week showed how fast they can change.

If Speaker Pelosi is later further delaying into 2020 or talking about off- ramps. I bet you this, people will be looking back to this Friday tonight, to this recess and asking was that the time when the White House was on the run constitutionally, and the momentum got lost.

Now coming up, I`m going to fit in a break and then show you how this Ukraine scandal has Donald Trump`s favorite TV network out of sorts.


MELBER: This is the week things change. The House Speaker embracing an impeachment probe, joined for the first time by a majority of the whole House. The whistleblower system worked, that`s how we know all this stuff, defeating Donald Trump`s attempts to squash it.

In a world where many people hear different realities depending on their sources, President Trump`s famous channel - his famous favorite channel has found itself struggling to decide on one story. Shep Smith was fact- checking the White House this week and now Chris Wallace calling out trump`s quote "misleading spin", while others defend trump`s seemingly no matter what.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: The real story, the real corruption, none of it. Zero has to do with President Trump, except that the President is once again a victim of baseless lies, smears, hypocrisies, conspiracy theories--

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEW HOST: The spinning that`s been done by the President`s defenders over the last 24 hours, since this very damaging whistleblower complaint came out, the spinning is not surprising. But it is astonishing and I think deeply misleading--


MELBER: That is the side by side of what`s going on over there. We thought it`s interesting to see how it`s playing. Now today is also Friday, with all the news this week we are doing our "Fallback" a little bit differently.

I just taped a new fallback discussion with Georgia rapper Waka Flocka Flame, who hit the Billboard Top 20 with hits like "No Hands" and former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, the Wisconsin liberal who`s now working on environmental issues and his "Fallback" was all about protecting wildlife.


FMR. SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD (D-WI): I`d like to not have to read any more stories. I like to fallback from stories about how billions of birds are going extinct. Yesterday in "The New York Times" you had a story that we`ve lost 30% of all the birds in the world since 1970 - I was in high school. I guess we`re going to see some more of those stories, but if we work together, maybe we can do something about this disaster.


MELBER: We also discussed some questionable fashion, because Crocs shoes are popular, but they get a little controversial. Waka Flocka Flame is telling some Croc haters to fall back.


WAKA FLOCKA FLAME, AMERICAN RAPPER: Obviously, people give kind a lot slack about the Crocs.

MELBER: The Kanye West`s shoes.

FLAME: Yes, like the Kanye West car. He took them to another level. Look at them they are fashionable, they are beautiful, any jeans they came from easy.

MELBER: So you support it.

FLAME: Definitely. I support anything you do. He`s musically inclined to jeans.

MELBER: You`re telling the Kanye Croc haters to fallback.

FLAME: You got to, man you got a fallback. You know, like Kanye would agree (ph).

MELBER: Is there any fashion that he could do that you would say, OK that`s too far? Because - and he`s had other footwear issues, you know.

FLAME: Yes. But he got like one of the most - he got the most comfortable shoes in the world right now.

MELBER: So you`re standing with Kanye.

FLAME: In any virtue, yes.

MELBER: Yes. Now the let`s talk - I`m not going to make you talk Kanye`s politics, which go a little more red than your blue politics.

FLAME: Fair enough.

MELBER: But how do you feel about Kanye`s fashion? Because you know he`s branched out the Crocs there, I think - I`m going to say it and I look at lot of what Kanye does. I think the Crocs are right on that line. Although, I like comfort.

FEINGOLD: I`m OK with the Crocs, but what he needs is a cheesehead to go with it.


FLAME: That`s a real true Wisconsin.


MELBER: Shout out for Wisconsin Cheeseheads. Now we do love bringing people together. I got to tell you, when we just did this conversation, Senator Feingold and Waka, they really hit it off. They were talking about protecting the environment before the interview, which also came up briefly.


FLAME: Got to thank you for letting me get to meet this guy. He`s talking about educating kids. He says he wants to go green and he`s agreed to endorse our campaign for nature and he says he might do some music for it.

MELBER: Well, you can always go from hard in the paint to hard in the green.

FEINGOLD: There you go.

FLAME: I like green.

MELBER: All kinds of green.


MELBER: And speaking of music, I want to tell you tomorrow at 4 p.m. Eastern is MSNBC`s live coverage kicking off of the Global Citizen Festival. That is a big deal around here, as you know, and actually can personally tell you it is looking great. I know that, because this afternoon I got to stop by Central Park. This was during the rehearsals. And I caught up with singer Adam Lambert.

He`s performing at this concert tomorrow. I got to ask him for a fallback too.


MELBER: it is "Fallback Friday" what needs to fallback?

ADAM LAMBERT, AMERICAN SINGER-SONGWRITER: I think people polluting the ocean with plastic, it`s a serious issue. Fish and wildlife in the ocean are literally gagging on pieces of small plastic and it`s killing them.

They`re cutting open fish with plastic in their stomachs and it`s terrible. So whatever we can do to help reduce that, that`s what we`re trying to get local governments and international governments to back.

I think it`s cool that as things as simple right now as the fact that they`re taking plastic straws away and we`re trying to replace them with paper straws. That`s a great first step. There`s a lot of other examples of things that we can be doing as a culture. But it`s good to see that there`s something happening.


MELBER: Amen to that. And I can tell you it is really exciting over there. You don`t have to be in Central Park or in New York, because we`re going to broadcast, as I told you.

And Adam Lambert, we talked about some other stuff, not only "American Idol", but Queen "Bohemian Rhapsody", his new single "Superpower". And he was talking about the superpower of being yourself, of being authentic.

It`s the kind of stuff that with all the stuff going on in Washington politics. We could always take a moment to take in.

Now if you want to see the rest of that interview, obviously I`m going to tell you where to get it, it`s part of our kickoff at 4:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow of Global Citizen Coverage. It`s me, it`s Adam Lambert, also joined by Joy Reid, Stephanie Ruhle and a bunch of other artists and activists. So I hope you tune in. I hope you check it out.

That does it for "THE BEAT" on a pretty long week, if I say so myself. But I will see you back here if you join me Monday night 6 p.m. Eastern. As always, thank you for watching.

"HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews is up next.