Democrats debate scope of impeachment. TRANSCRIPT: 10/3/19, The Beat w/ Ari Melber.

Guests: Berit Berger, Marc Ginsberg, Jackie Speier, Peter Wehner, TonySchwartz, Laurence Tribe

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST:  That`s all we have for tonight. We will be back tomorrow with more MEET THE PRESS DAILY. "THE BEAT" with Ari Melber starts right now. Good evening, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Chuck. Thank you so much. We are covering all the latest developments tonight in this unfolding Trump scandal and impeachment probe, including President Trump now seeking collusion with a third country today. Democrats warn this is part of a brazen effort to normalize these abuses of power, now that he`s been caught red-handed.

There`s also more on that breaking story of Vice President Pence as Ukraine problems. And if you watch THE BEAT you know about our friend Tony Schwartz co-author "The Art of The Deal", he is here later this hour.

But we begin with the sitting President of United States asking a foreign country to target his domestic rival. In 2016 President Trump was then a candidate and he did that, as everyone now remembers with Russia.

This year as President he secretly did it with Ukraine. And today, right in the middle of some of the most serious pushback that Donald Trump has ever faced in office, this full-blown impeachment probe into his attempt to collude with Ukraine to go after Biden, the President publicly asked China to go after Biden.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have a lot of options in China, but if they don`t do what we want, we have tremendous power. By the way, likewise, China just started investigation into the Bidens, because what happened to China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.

REPORTER: Have you asked President Xi to investigate at all?

TRUMP: I haven`t. But certainly something we can start thinking about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Lordy, I hope there are tapes. Well, there is one. You just saw it. Before I go any further, let`s pause as we sometimes do around here, and put what you just saw on your screen - that incriminating requests from the President in context.

Until last week Donald Trump tried to hide these kind of collusion requests. His administration tried to bury a whistleblower complaint about one, then they fought releasing a transcript, then they backtracked under an escalated impeachment probe and coughed up the incriminating collusion evidence and that was a turning point.

On this broadcast, we reported that shift from no collusion to pro collusion in the Trump message machine. So what you`re seeing today, which is obviously incriminating, which is something no President has ever publicly admitted to doing in office is part of that shift. It continues right now.

Donald Trump having lost that battle to deny and hide collusion is now doubling down on one of his other ploys. If you watch the news you were familiar with some of his ploys, revealing bad conduct in public to imply that something which is clearly substantively egregious must maybe somehow not look that bad if you just admit it and keep doing it - a kind of laundry.

But you see here in your own eyes, if it feels like a trick that`s because it is. And that informs why he made another confession today, again on this same collusion conduct that he was, remember, hiding and denying last week.

In fact, last week was a period of time when the United States government had broken federal law to hide a whistleblowers complaint of collusion about Ukraine, so keep that in mind as you witness because we can make sense of all this as you witness, the President taking that which he was hiding last week and confessing on this effort to abuse his power.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Mr. President, what exactly did you hope Zelensky would do about the Bidens after your phone call? Exactly?

TRUMP: Well, I would think that if they were honest about, they`d start a major investigation into the Bidens. It`s a very simple answer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Very simple answer. We`re living through a test of our Constitution and the President`s making it clear on the Ukraine matter, which you just heard that confession, on there`s nothing left to investigate. He asked foreigners to take out his rivals, so he doesn`t have to win reelection fair and square.

And you know on news days like this, and this is really one I didn`t wake up this morning knowing the President would ask another country to collude and confess to the heart of the abuse of power alleged in the Ukraine scandal, that`s powering impeachment.

So on days like this a lot of us, frankly, we watch and we report and we work, but then we kind of wait to see how Rachel Maddow will put it all in context in the evening. If you`re like me maybe you do that sometimes.

But I can tell you she was actually out on air earlier than usual today. So I have for you right now her early interpretation of the China confession and Trump`s strategy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: The President walked out onto the South Lawn today, was asked what did you want from Ukraine? And he said they ought to investigate Biden. And so, I think, his theory here is, you get you get caught murdering somebody and your defense is, "Yes, I killed the guy and he needed to be killed and so what."

We`re doing it in public, makes it less of a scandal. I don`t know. But they don`t really need an inquiry anymore. If they`re going to go after him and impeach him for asking Ukraine to investigate Biden, he just announced that said that was all he did on the South Lawn.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: He just announced it. I will be joined momentarily by the woman you see on your screen Congresswoman Jackie Speier live from Capitol Hill, we`ll see how this is playing there.

But I want to begin with some analysis from a former federal prosecutor, Berit Berger; and Marc Ginsberg who was U.S. Ambassador to Morocco and served as a Presidential advisor on Middle Eastern issues. Good evening to you both.

Ambassador what does it mean when the President openly calls for this kind of foreign collusion and admits that - which he was denying last week?

AMB. MARC GINSBERG, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO MOROCCO UNDER PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, he`s trying to regularize what essentially is illegal conduct or conduct that is subject to an impeachable probe. I mean, this is the ploy that Donald Trump`s is engaged in.

And what`s more importantly behind all this, the fact that he`s included China, you have to go back now and examine the law firm of Giuliani, Barr and Pompeo. The three of these guys have been traveling around the world, allegedly doing the President`s bidding to investigate both 2016, as well as prospectively Joe Biden`s son.

And at the State Department it`s clear that there must be digital footprints over where Joe Biden`s son Hunter traveled and what both Barr and as well as Giuliani and as well as Pompeo staff may be doing to support the President`s assertion. Well, let`s have China investigate, next thing it`ll be Italy.

You know, I served as White House liaison for these for the State Department and there`s a political operation under Pompeo that deserves to be called out here and investigated whether they were involved in tracking Biden as well.

MELBER: Briefly, if Pompeo is in on all of this, can he continue to serve as Secretary of State?

GINSBERG: Listen, if he was on that call and the House of Representatives in investigation determines that that call should have had Mr. Pompeo and anyone else and I call, call the President out. It is quite clear to me that Mr. Pompeo has, shall we say, joined the law firm of Giuliani and Pompeo rather than serve then the penalty as a Secretary of State.

MELBER: Stay with me. I want to turn to Berit here in New York. If you woke up today and we`re busy and now you`re looking at the news and you see under fire for Ukraine collusion, the banner on your screen, the President is seeking China collusion to go after Joe Biden again to double down on this.

When you look at this legally - although, an impeachment probe is not ultimately about resolving a defined felony. But, legally, how would you look at a defendant acting this way?

BERIT BERGER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well if I thought defendant acting this way I would see it as a pattern. I mean, what you have here is just more evidence of what he was trying to do with the Ukraine. It makes it very difficult to mount an offensive, that`s not what I was trying to do when he came out so publicly and did it today.

I mean, whether it`s legal or not, we sort of have to put that aside. It`s almost certainly not constitutional. And exactly as Rachel said, this is one of those articles of impeachment that`s not going to need an extensive inquiry. There`s a tape. You play the tape you have the article of impeachment right there. It`s pretty cut and dry, whereas perhaps with the Ukrainian scandal it may not be quite as cut and dry.

MELBER: Here`s what congressman Schiff said about all this. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I find once again the President inviting another country to interfere in our Presidential elections, repugnant and a fundamental breach of his oath of office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Pretty emphatic. Rachel laid it out, you mentioned that. I want to ask you something that lawyers like yourself do know a lot about, and that`s the timeline, the calendar. What normal people call delaying and what lawyers sometimes called dilatory tactics - very annoying phrase, as you know.

Lawyers like to buy time. The House is using a quasi-legal strategy here. Is Donald Trump sort of trying to call there their delay or their timeline out here, while they`re on recess and daring them to proceed, because part of what he seems to have done today is make a calculated risk. It`s a risk.

But a risk of saying, I tried hiding it, now I`m doubling down on it. He may keep doing that for two weeks. There could be a list of 10 countries by the time the Congress gets back. And does that, in his mind, help normalize this in public opinion?

BERGER: Well, I think it`s certainly an effort to try to normalize this, to say, no I`m not trying to be covert about this. I`m not sneaking around trying to do this. I am so confident in my ability as the President to make this kind of a demand or request to a foreign country that I am going to do it very publicly. So, I think, that`s clearly - I don`t know if we call it a strategy, but it`s clearly an effort to do that.

As far as the timing piece of this, I mean, that`s the huge worry here. Right? What does Congress actually do with something like this? Do they file it away and say exactly - this will be one more article and we keep focusing on you bringing in witnesses to talk about Ukraine.

I mean, I think, they sort of have to. I think they have some important witnesses that they haven`t gotten to speak with. They have important evidence that they still want to get their hands on, such as all of the juicy evidence that is probably sitting there in Rudy Giuliani`s phone right now.

I think they have to proceed methodically with those requests. But they can`t get bogged down in too much of those details. As we`ve said before, they have to be you know laser focused here. Get what they need to and then move on to the next steps.

TRUMP: My panel stays. The other big story tonight that I want to update you on before we begin the Congresswoman was this reporting on what lawmakers are actually learning from what Berit was just talking about - the testimony in this impeachment probe.

Donald Trump`s former envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, he apparently warned Rudy Giuliani that he was getting untrustworthy information about Biden, according to Washington Post. ABC News, meanwhile, obtaining text that Volcker provided lawmakers that suggests the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine told others quote "I think it`s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign."

Now what does that mean? This is part of what Congress is learning. I want to tell you, we at NBC have not personally confirmed that reporting yet. But it does suggest that even high-level U.S. officials who were inside the Trump administration who had formed a view based on their assignments, on their orders that Donald Trump was using the military aid to pressure Ukraine to go after Biden. That`s another piece of this that in his first strategy he`s been denying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: There was absolutely no pressure put on him. There was no quid pro quo at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: I want to bring in California Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who serves on the Intelligence and Oversight Committees. Thank you for joining us tonight. On this issue what did Congress learn today?

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): Sorry. I was not in the interview earlier today. I just arrived back in Washington, so I can`t speak to it. I can speak to the fact that this is a very sober time and we have a very solemn responsibility to pursue this impeachment inquiry. This is not a reality TV show and unfortunately that is what the President is attempting to play out here.

Yes, I think, his actions today created another article of impeachment. We`ve got to be reminding ourselves that China is one of our greatest adversaries and he is linking, negotiating a deal on tariffs with whether or not they come up with some dirt on Biden.

So it doesn`t take a lawyer to figure out that this is an effort by the President to once again normalize, as many of your other speakers have said, normalize something that is truly wrong.

MELBER: So you are saying--

SPEIER: Mike Pence--

MELBER: Let me ask you this Congresswoman. You`re saying this new request is an article of impeachment. Your colleagues, many of them are on record supporting Ukraine collusion as another article of impeachment, that`s two.

And as you know, many others have talked about the obstruction detailed in the Mueller report, even if you take the more conservative reading of just the five core incidents that were just defined as substantial evidence of obstruction by the President. That would be a third. Are you up to three and counting?

SPEIER: Well, I`m not going to count. I`m going to do what my job is, which is to interview all of the individuals that we are seeking information from, provide - have all of the documents provided to us by Giuliani and others and make the case, if there is a case to be made, that we should move forward with articles of impeachment.

Let`s remember what Mike Pence said in 2016. This is basic stuff. You do not solicit a foreign person or a foreign government to solicit them for campaign information, and that`s precisely what President Trump has done in Ukraine and what he`s seeking to do now with China.

MELBER: So if all that is right, and you heard what our guests, I think, have said and what I played of Rachel Maddow and others. What else is Congress waiting for? I mean, is there a now a case to be made to holding a floor vote on the articles of impeachment the week you all get back?

SPEIER: I think what we need to do is be both expeditious, but also very thorough, and that`s going to require us to interview a number of people. And frankly, as the President continues to mouth off as he does regularly. He may be making more articles for us on a daily basis.

He would serve himself best if he would turn off his Twitter account and stop speaking about impeachment, because this is a serious effort that is underway and we are not going to allow him to somehow diminish the nature of this inquiry.

MELBER: Let me let me follow up on that and whip it around the panel as we`re short on time. Does more time benefit Trump or not on the impeachment vote? It sounds like the Congresswoman thinks not and says to go through. Marc what do you think?

GINSBERG: Well, there`s no doubt that going thorough means that not necessarily that you shouldn`t necessarily go along. Adam Schiff is taking the lead on this. He`s got a great staff. I think there`s a danger here that the more this plays out, the more the President is able to sort of try to normalize this with Americans and to say that this is just exactly what he claimed, it is a witch-hunt.

And I think getting the panel to convince the American people that this is serious, and not permit the President to regularize. This means you`ve got to move quickly.

TRUMP: Berit?

BERGER: Yes, I agree. I think the more time makes it almost seem that Congress needs more evidence. That they need one more smoking gun, one more amazing witness they can add to this, when really they have the evidence. Now they have the tape, they have the transcript of the conversation with respect to Ukraine. So I think the dangers is if you go on too long it makes it seem like they`re not confident with the evidence they have.

MELBER: Both persuasive arguments. Congresswoman, of course, want to give you the last word. The difference between you and me and everyone else on the panel is you have a vote based on your victory and your constituents. But it does sound like this panel would argue that you should go quicker than you may have sounded and then the Speaker sounded. I give you the final word.

SPEIER: Well, I will say that the American people deserve to have a full and comprehensive set of principles that they can look at. I don`t think we`re going to linger. But I do think that we`re going to make sure that we don`t leave any stone unturned and that`s our job.

TRUMP: Congresswoman Speier, thank you again. Berit and Marc appreciate it. What we`re going to do next is talk about the Democrats who are debating the question of how do you actually conduct this impeachment. We have a top expert on the show tonight.

Mike Pence, meanwhile, in trouble for his own comments on foreign meddling. And get this, Rush Limbaugh now so concerned about Trump`s freefall, he`s lashing out at Fox News for not defending him enough. That`s the political realities.

And Donald Trump trying to handle his own impeachment response as a one- person war room. And as promised, the one and only Tony Schwartz is here. I`m Ari Melber. You are watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Many of President Trump`s allies are squirming today, trying to avoid the entanglement in this Ukraine plot. Mike Pence, insisting Trump is trying to root out corruption. But not addressing his staff`s claims that he was out of the loop on efforts to get the damaging information on Biden, even though his team was actually read in on the call.

Pence met with Ukraine`s President in September and then was asked by a reporter the next day if Biden was discussed. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: --and the answer is no. But we with President Zelensky yesterday we discussed - we discussed America`s support for Ukraine and the upcoming decision the President will make on the latest tranche of financial support in great detail.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: That financial support at the center of this plot. Meanwhile, Mike Pompeo faces a deadline of tomorrow to comply with a House Democratic subpoena. And today the New York Times has Pompeo`s criticism of the Obama administration back during the Republican`s Benghazi probe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: This is not the first congressional inquiry in the history of America. I dare you to go find another congressional inquiry where one party behaved in a way that was so deeply obstructive of getting the American people the facts that they needed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: I`m joined now by Peter Wehner. He`s a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, and he penned a recent article in The Times asking, "What`s the Matter with Republicans? Also joined by Rutgers professor, Brittney Cooper. Peter what is the matter?

PETER WEHNER, FORMER ADVISER TO GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, they bought into a corrupt man and they have never gotten off the exit ramp. And his sins became theirs. They don`t have the courage to stand up to him. They put their own perceived self-interest above the interests of the country. They`ve engaged in the psychology of accommodation. They made accommodations early on with him.

The more transgressive Trump began, the more accommodating the Republicans were. And now they are fully embraced and entwined with a man who`s going down and they`re going to go down with him.

MELBER: Take a listen - you lay it out pretty strong. Take a listen to Joe Biden who spoke out on the side of this whole scandal. This was last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So I`m not surprised Donald Trump asked a foreign government for help to beat me. I`m not surprised this President`s allegations of wrongdoing against me have been debunked across the board by every major publication in the country. We have to do more than beat Donald Trump. We have to beat him like a drum.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Peter given your experience, I`m wondering what you think of the way Joe Biden`s handling this.

WEHNER: I think he`s handling it fine. I mean, right now I think Donald Trump is imploding. So I`m thinking the best thing you can do is just stand back and watch it. This is, I would say, we`re somewhere between Act 3 and Act 4 of King Lear and Lear`s descent into madness.

So I was listening to the earlier panel. I wouldn`t overthink this. Donald Trump doesn`t play four dimensional chess. Here this is a guy who has a primitive reflex on almost everything in his amoral. And I think he`s kind of dissolving before our eyes.

That said, I think, you know by does handling it reasonably well. In the end, I would say, that this election is going to be whether it`s about Democratic policies or about Trump`s personality and his conduct. And so did the degree that Biden or anybody else, any other Democratic can make it about Trump, the better for them. And Trump is giving them unbelievable ammunition to work with.

MELBER: Brittney?

BRITTNEY COOPER, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: Yes. Part of what I think is going on - couple things. Like everyone has said today, he`s trying to normalize bad behavior. And I think that we need to talk about that.

I also think that he`s trying to make sure that Biden is the opponent. This whole new cycle puts Biden back in the news in a way - he wasn`t really you know at the top of the sort of ticket off late. It`s been a story about Elizabeth Warren`s great rise. I think Trump is trying to set who his opponent will be, and then I think he is then backdooring in Obama strategy.

Let`s remember that Trump trumped up the birther conspiracy that led to a lot of the country`s distrust of President Obama`s origin story and now he`s doing the same thing for Biden. So that if Biden were to win, he`s delegitimating Biden`s presidency or his shot at the presidency and in the way in which he would govern.

And so this is the way that Trump plays politics. He`s not just interested in winning. He`s not just interested in having power. He`s also interested in totally undermining our democratic system of governance by sort of seeding this broad disbelief in American institutions and their ability to do justice.

And if he does that, then it means that even if he is brought before with this impeachment inquiry that you have a significant swath of the country that will not get on board with it, because they will think that it`s very conspiracy against Trump.

MELBER: And Peter when you look at Pence in all of this. He`s always been a very particular type of figure when you look at his Evangelical all background and what he ran on and what he claimed to be for, and then jumping on board with Donald Trump.

And we`ve got a little quick contrast the way he used to talk about some of these issues in propriety and profiteering and now. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PENCE: I think the American people have a right to know if the Vice President of the United States or his family profited from his position as Vice President during the last administration.

Now you all need to know out there this is this is basic stuff. Foreign donors, and certainly foreign governments, cannot participate in the American political process.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Foreign governments cannot participate in the political process. The President now is on record asking three different governments to go after his rivals, including today. At what point do you think Mike Pence finds a way to draw more contrast or is he just going to wake this whole thing out?

WEHNER: I suspect he`s going to try and wait it out. He`s a person that I think is fundamentally weak. And if Trump or his aides turn on him, he`s going to come back out onto - into the Trump tribe.

You know, this is just - we`ve seen this a thousand times - these acts of hypocrisy on the Republican Party. But I do want to make one point which is, Pence is just the latest in a whole slew of people. Donald Trump`s like a black hole in terms of the corrupt gravitational pull that he has.

And almost everybody that`s been around him, with the exception of I`d say Jim Mattis, has been pulled into it. And these are people - some of them were good, had good careers. I`m sure in a different reality would be good people. But they got close to him, they decided they`re going to throw their hat over the Trump wall, and this is what happens. There`s a huge amount of collateral damage in terms of people`s integrity.

MELBER: When you call the Donald Trump of a black hole of corruption that is definitely an astrophysics burn, Peter.

WEHNER: I was wondering if you picked up on that and I`m glad you did.

MELBER: Brittney?

COOPER: But were these people good people? I think they were corrupt from the top of their head to the soles of their feet I think. And I think it`s actually really important to say that with the sort of biblical resonance of it, because Mike Pence is a big evangelical Christian.

And part of what you`re seeing is the - that because Republicans chose to get in bed with this fascist, this autocrat, the implosion of every plank of what they say they believe in is crumbling. So Pence is not a moral actor. He was actively involved in this shakedown of Ukraine.

Then came to the news and said we talked very specifically about financial incentives for Ukraine or our financial support of Ukraine. He`s admitting to this stuff. And part of the thing that I worry about is that we`re not holding Pence`s feet to the fire in the way that we should. And this is a man who has said that he - that God told him he would be President.

And so I think that part of what we have to do is smash down this entire mode of government and say that all of it is evil, it`s deeply dishonest. Is anyone truly bothered by the fact that we have a President that governs by conspiracy theory?

MELBER: Right. And that asks foreign governments to do the dirty work.

COOPER: That`s right.

MELBER: It`s really striking. I have to fit in a break. That`s only 30 seconds. But I still have to do it. Peter Wehner, and Brittney Cooper, thank you so much. When was back in 30 seconds, the terror gripping Donald Trump, guess who`s here - guess who`s back as they say. Take a look. Here it is Tony Schwartz in the pinstripes, co-author of "The art of the Deal". We`ll be back in 30.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER: Is think meltdown getting worse, Donald Trump now encouraging China to investigate Joe Biden, we`re going to get into all of this right now.

So far Trump is sticking in a one-man war room, providing almost no guidance for surrogates or a consistent message, minimal coordination with legal advisors. The idea that Trump alone can fix it is on display in a spare of rambling appearances.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The conversation was perfect. He couldn`t carry his blank strap. I won`t say it because they`ll say it was so terrible to say. But that guy couldn`t carry his blank strap.

Perfect - I mean perfect conversation.

Just so you know the call was perfect.

Nancy Pelosi hands out subpoenas like - you know, she has to approve it. She hands out subpoenas like their cookies. You want a subpoena? Here you go take them, like they are cookies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: You know what it is? "State of Mind", our recurring series with CEO of "The Energy Project", Tony Schwartz, the author of "The Way We`re Working Isn`t Working" and co-author of "The Art of the Deal." Thanks for coming in.

TONY SCHWARTZ, CO-AUTHOR "THE ART OF THE DEAL": Thank you for having me.

MELBER: Let`s start with your opinion, which some people would call your bias. You have been waiting for this. You have been waiting to see Donald Trump on the run. Is he more on the run right now in this Ukraine scandal than any time we`ve seen him since he became President?

SCHWARTZ: Well, I think the objective evidence is obvious that he is. I think what`s really interesting is to observe a level of falling apart--

MELBER: Yes.

SCHWARTZ: --that melting down that is so far beyond what we`ve seen in his press conference yesterday to watch him. Especially in that moment where he was going back and forth with the Reuters reporter and see that he actually moved from fight, which is his normal physiological place to, what I would call freeze, which is an extreme version of fight. Where he literally was paralyzed and finally said, ask that guy the question - ask him a question.

MELBER: That is fascinating and you`ve worked with him, and you know him, you studied him. What you`re saying, I think, is so revealing in that moment. You know, there`s a whole debate in this country of do you even interview the President anymore and some of his enablers and people who`ve admitted to lying.

And yet I want to give a shout out we do so much criticism in the media, shout-out to Reuters Jeff Mason, who in that very exchange you talked about, he didn`t lose his cool, he didn`t get drawn into it. As you say he held the line which led to a moment of what, you`re calling the freeze. Let`s take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: The question, sir, was what did you want President Zelensky to do about Vice President Biden and his son Hunter?

TRUMP: Are you talking to me?

REPORTER: Yes, it was just a follow-up of what I just asked you, sir.

TRUMP: Listen, you ready? We have the President of Finland, ask him a question. I`ve given you a long answer. Ask question this gentleman a question. Don`t be rude.

REPORTER: No sir, I don`t want to be rude. I just wanted you to have a chance to answer the question that I asked you.

TRUMP: I`ve answered everything. It`s a whole hoax and you know who`s playing into the hoax? People like you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHWARTZ: I mean, that`s an amazing moment. There`s a piece out today called "Unfit for Office." It`s like a 10,000 word piece by George Conway, Kellyanne Conway`s husband, about why Trump is unfit for office. It is first of all, quite extraordinary.

It`s like a prosecution of Trump, but particularly around this idea that he`s a fiduciary. That he has a responsibility to represent the country, in this case and he is putting his personal interests ahead of it. And that is in violent opposition to what the Constitution laid out.

He also talks about the components of pathological narcissism. That`s a psychological diagnosis. But his point is that it doesn`t take a psychiatrist to recognize, as you just saw in that piece that this is a man who is way, way out there. He`s way off in the in the blue yonder.

And to watch this is frightening, particularly because, Ari, it`s going to get way worse. Because what`s happened to him is, when you talk about narcissism, you are basically talking about a guy who is constantly trying to fill himself. I heard

Peter talk about the idea of a black hole. Well, the black hole is really at base about his own sense of himself. There`s an emptiness and there`s a terror that`s setting in that he`s going to lose the legitimacy that the Presidency gave him.

MELBER: And that`s the other thing I was going to ask. I`ve been wondering about this. I don`t know the answer. What does it mean to you that the Mueller probe, which he triggered with his own brash firing of the FBI Director, comes to its final denouement (ph) with the Mueller`s testimony, and the next day he does this. I mean is that almost a political death wish?

SCHWARTZ: I think Donald Trump is undeniably his own worst enemy. And I think that we see it play out all over and over again. And psychiatrists talk about the notion that when you are defensive. That the inevitable outcome of the defense is to pull up on yourself precisely what you were meant to be defending against.

So he goes and doubles down on the very illegal act that he`s done, because he`s in such a state of defensiveness and lack of good cognition that all he can do is attack. And that is evidence of what he does to himself every day - every day. And that will get worse. It will get worse for him and it`ll get worse for us. We are a long way from over in watching this unfold.

MELBER: And it looks different, it feels different and the President seems to know it`s different. Tony Schwartz, always good to see you, appreciate it.

SCHWARTZ: See you.

MELBER: Up ahead, we`re going to speak to one of the leading experts on the U.S. Constitution about this issue on impeachment and how Donald Trump`s favorite television network is defending him, but apparently also upsetting him.

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ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS, SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: That was a violation of federal law. That is an impeachable offense.

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MELBER: The impeachment probe of Donald Trump has many people rattled, including insiders in the Trump orbit. Consider these new subpoenas threats that hang that only over him, but over people around him, and now there`s talk of a new career move.

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TRUMP: We ought to start our own network and put some real news out there, because they are so bad, they are so bad for our country.

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MELBER: There`s a context to this, because Fox News, of course, has embraced Trumpism in the modern era. But there are dissenting voices to be fair inaccurate. For example Judge Andrew Napolitano, a frequent Fox Legal Analyst is out in public saying the Ukraine call that the Trump did is both criminal and impeachable.

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NAPOLITANO: Every member of his National Security Council said give them the aid. The Russian tanks are aimed to their way, but he held up that aid and instead asked for a favor, which arguably was his political campaign. That was a violation of federal law. That is an impeachable offense.

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MELBER: Yes, that`s just one voice on the network, but it is a serious legal voice. It`s clearly got some people rattle. Take a look in the politics of this at Rush Limbaugh`s view.

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RUSH LIMBAUGH, HOST, "THE RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW": We`ve even got "Never Trumpers" now all over Fox News. Now this phone call is very hard to defend. I wouldn`t want to have to defend this phone call. If I were the Republicans, I wouldn`t want - there`s nothing hard to defend about the phone call. You just don`t want to defend it.

You know, Fox really ought to change the name of the network from the Fox News Channel to the Fox Never Trumper Network--

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MELBER: That`s overstatement. But there is a debate that has really percolated, including between two well-known anchors to the Fox audience. These are people Donald Trump knows all about and it`s spilled unusually out into the open.

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NAPOLITANO: It is a crime for the President to solicit aid for his campaign from a foreign government.

JOE DIGENOVA. FORMER US ATTORNEY: Well, I think, Judge Napolitano is a fool.

SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Attacking our colleague, on our air, in our work home, is repugnant.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Now, unlike maybe some dayside hosts, I`m not very partisan.

SMITH: The real issue here is the phone call. The claim that the President pressured a foreign leader to investigate a political rival--

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MELBER: That`s unusual and I`m not really reporting it to you as media news. You can watch whatever channel you want. We don`t need to watch this one to see another one. I`m reporting it to you, because Donald Trump does rely on people on that channel. He`s hired out of that channel. People leave the administration and go back to that channel. And this kind of tension is clearly a product of the tension around Donald Trump`s presidency and the threat of impeachment.

Meanwhile, there`s this blunt message to the President himself.

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NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS HOST: First of all, Mr. President, we don`t work for you. I don`t work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you, just report on you--

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MELBER: And then consider Chris Wallace, who is a veteran of conservative Washington with this message for viewers, and you can decide as you listen to it, who else it may have been intended for.

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CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: To dismiss this as a political hack, it seems to me to be an effort by the President`s defenders to try to make something - to make nothing out of something and there is something here--

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MELBER: That`s Chris Wallace fact-checking the President`s defenders wherever they may be and wherever they may air.

And when we come back, I`ve got something really special for you. We`ve been doing a lot of special bookings around this story. Wait till you see who comes on next, a foremost national Constitution scholar.

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MELBER: United States Congress is not just debating whether to impeach Donald Trump, but also deciding if they do it, how? Do they write articles of impeachment based on this Ukraine call, which Donald Trump further confessed to today? And confessions make for significant evidence at a trial.

Or do they broaden to include the other acts? Including what Bob Mueller found regarding obstruction of justice. Speaker Pelosi said this about the debate when she first announced the impeachment probe last week.

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REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): This is about the Constitution of the United States, and we have many other, shall we say, candidates for impeachable offense in terms of the Constitution. But this one is the most understandable by the public.

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MELBER: I`m joy now by Harvard Law Professor, Laurence Tribe. The author of "To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment", good evening sir.

LAURENCE TRIBE, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL CONSTITUTIONAL LAW SCHOLAR: Good evening, Ari.

MELBER: If you were advising the House on the available facts to draft articles of impeachment what would you advise?

MELBER: Well, first of all I would advise not to succumb to the temptation of taking the tour through the whole galaxy, all the way from Russia. If you`re listening, there are some e-mails out there that we`d love to see, to today`s China, if you`re listening I`d like you to help me smash Joe Biden. That`s tempting.

But it`s far more important to zero in on one common theme. The common theme is one that from George Washington to the framers of the Constitution like James Madison was the very idea of why we need the power of impeachment and cannot always wait to the next election.

That theme is that when someone uses the power and majesty of the presidency - its financial power, its military power not to benefit the United States, but to benefit him or herself and his or her own reelection. That is a betrayal of a fiduciary duty to the nation. And that is what is involved in the pattern - the continuing pattern of abuses that is typified by Ukraine and China, but that extends beyond them.

The key point isn`t just that it`s a federal felony to solicit foreign help in an American election. That sounds technical. The point is that it wasn`t just soliciting foreign help. It was leveraging the powers that go with the office, to intervene in our policy, whether it`s with tariffs and trade with China or helping the little Ukrainian defense against the powerful Russian bear.

It is that matter of taking the power of the presidency and using it for selfish purposes that is the core impeachable offense and that can be a central article of impeachment. Not an article that gets lost in technical detail. And we have virtually all the evidence we need already to start writing that article. And I look forward to helping to write it.

MELBER: You look forward to helping to write it. Have you been contacted?

TRIBE: Well, I don`t talk about my direct contacts. But I`ve had friends and former students who are on The Hill and I advise them all the time.

MELBER: And if asked though in a more formal way, you would go in and help write for the House? I mean, you`re one of - long before we got to meet on television, I was reading you in law school. You are one of the foremost constitutional experts and you`ve advised the Congress in the past. So it`s a reasonable question.

TRIBE: Well, I would certainly be very happy to advise Congress now. That`s something that Congress, I think, is interested in doing, because it`s interested in getting the law right. This is a political process. But there`s also some complicated law about what is an impeachable offense. And I`m delighted to be consulted about that if people ask.

MELBER: Very interesting. When you lay it out as an abuse of power to hold on to power, an abuse of power to interfere with, what would otherwise be a free and fair election, with a level playing field, it`s certainly what the founders were concerned about. It`s certainly in the strike zone of impeachment. Am I reading you right then to--

TRIBE: It`s not only in the strike zone--

MELBER: Go ahead.

TRIBE: I mean, it`s the very heart of it. It`s the whole reason we have an impeachment power. Otherwise, one can go after all kinds of details that a President might be engaged in--

MELBER: Right or you`ll get into--

TRIBE: --when President is--

TRIBE: --maladministration and all that. I have 60 seconds left. So the last thing I want to ask on that is, if that`s the case, are you envisioning one route is a single article - abuse of power in the election context and then the rest of it is the evidence, meaning, Ukraine, China other things all go under that umbrella?

TRIBE: That`s one possible way. But I think the cover-up and the attempt when he`s not doing it out in the open to hide the details may also form an ancillary article of impeachment. Because it was like Article III in the Nixon articles, that is stonewalling Congress and making it impossible to get the details that one might need to fill out the entire narrative.

MELBER: Professor Tribe so interesting to hear from you on nights like this with your judgment, with your expertise. Thank you for being on this show.

TRIBE: Thanks Ari.

MELBER: Really appreciate it.

We`ve got a lot coming up including next I`m going to explain why tomorrow is such a big day of deadlines in the Ukraine impeachment fight.

And while you are watching, I want to let you know, we do have a new "Mavericks" out with the iconic music producer Swizz Beatz, Alicia Keys` husband. You can watch the whole interview and a lot more. The address for that is msnbc.com/mavericks.

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MELBER: A lot happened today that we weren`t expecting. Tomorrow there`s a lot that`s going to happen, and we are expecting it, because we know there`s this deadline for Secretary of State Pompeo to give up Ukraine docs to Congress, Democrats vowing new subpoenas for White House records on Ukraine.

And the man who deemed this whistleblower complaint urgent will face Congress, but behind closed doors. So we`ll be covering all of that at 6:00 p.m. Eastern on "THE BEAT."

And there is something else I want to tell you about before we go tonight. And it`s something big we`re planning, because of the news. Sometimes we get our news assignments as the news happens. This weekend is one of those times.

I`ll be hosting a live special Sunday night on MSNBC. It`s going to be about Trump, Ukraine, the impeachment crisis. You see it right here. "Trump & Ukraine: The Impeachment Crisis with Ari Melber. Sunday 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

And we have some very special experts, both on the law and how Congress does this, journalists and esteemed historians and federal prosecutors who have dealt with these very issue. So I hope you`ll consider joining me.

In fact, if you have your iPhone out, put a little calendar reminder in right now, 9:00 p.m. Eastern this Sunday on MSNBC.

Now that does it for this episode of THE BEAT with Ari Melber. But don`t go anywhere, because up next it`s "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews.

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