KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: Chuck will be back tomorrow with more MEET THE PRESS DAILY, and you can catch me tomorrow catch me tomorrow and every single weekday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC.
"THE BEAT" with Ari Melber - oh, no, Ayman Mohyeldin is in for Ari Melber instead.
AYMAN MOHYELDIN, MSNBC HOST: We`re both pulling double duty today, Katy.
TUR: Ayman, we can`t have an awkward toss.
MOHYELDIN: No, no--
TUR: We`re not awkward together
MOHYELDIN: No, no, that`s you and Ari, that`s something--
TUR: We`re just - we`re good buds.
MOHYELDIN: That`s something for you guys. Not going to ever go into that. Thank you very much Katy. I`m Ayman Mohyeldin in tonight for Ari Melber.
We start with Donald Trump`s impeachment crisis, a stampede of damning facts gathered by the day and a legal defense that appears increasingly erratic. Today, Trump was pressed on his stonewalling of Congress and his refusal to comply with those subpoenas.
In fact, he suggested that the fight could go all the way to the Supreme Court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The whole thing is a scam, it`s a fix. And we wrote a letter yesterday and probably ends up being a big Supreme Court case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: All right. So at this point Trump strategy, it`s pretty clear, obstruct, deflect, confuse and if all else fails, hope the Supreme Court, to which he appointed two Justice of which he appointed come and save him even.
As new facts emerged today, the full memo from the first whistleblower released with new details about the call, and "The New York Times" pointing out with details about what went down inside the State Department as frustrations grew over Trump blocking military aid for Ukraine.
Now, against that drumbeat, Trump supporters are pushing increasingly bizarre narratives. One Trump ally and former advisor appeared on a Fox News panel with Rudy Giuliani where he referred to Democrats probe as a regicide, which if you don`t know, like I didn`t know earlier today, is actually the murder of a king.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE DIGENOVA. FORMER US ATTORNEY: What you`re seeing is regicide. This is regicide by another name, fake impeachment. I refuse to call the whistleblowers. These two non-entities are suicide bombers that the Democrats have unleashed--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: All right. So you heard that regicide, suicide bombers. That is the language now coming from Trump`s camp. A remarkable contrast from how conservatives used to talk about impeachment.
Today a moment resurfacing from the Congressman Mike Pence speaking in 2008 about what this standards should be for impeaching a President.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This business of high crimes and misdemeanors goes to the question of whether or not the person serving as President of the United States put their own interests - their personal interests ahead of public service--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: That`s the Vice President Mike Pence when he was a Congressman back in the day.
Matt Miller, Chief DOJ Spokesman during the Obama administration is with us; Jason Johnson Politics Editor for the Root.com is also with us and the Daily Beast`s Betsy Woodruff Swan is as well, great to have all of you with us.
Let`s - lots to break down here. Matt let me begin with you. What do you make today of the President subtly invoking the Supreme Court and that this battle is likely to end up there.
MATTHEW MILLER, FORMER CHIEF DOJ SPOKESMAN: You know, I think they`d love for it to end up in the Supreme Court, because that means we wouldn`t have any decision on whether the documents they`re obstructing Congress from obtaining had to be turned over until sometime next year, maybe even past the 2020 election.
That`s been their strategy all along, not just with this investigation, but with the previous investigations the House launched. To deny the House everything they`re entitled to, make them go to court and then drag it out, because there`s a lengthy appeals process.
I think, though, this one is different in that. The House, obviously, would like to get the documents that they`ve subpoenaed, but they`re not - they would like to get witness testimony, but they`re not going to wait for the administration to turn them over and they`re not going to wait for the end of court battles.
They already have a whistleblower who came forward and supplied them a lot of information. I think they got one witness, Kurt Volker, who was willing to quit, rather than stay inside the administration and be prohibited from testifying.
And I suspect what they`ll do is push forward, given that they already have enough evidence that the President pressured the Ukrainian government to launch an investigation, they already have evidence of a quid pro quo in those Kurt Volker texts that were released.
There are, obviously, things that they would like to get their hands on, for example more evidence about the withholding of funds from Ukraine, but I don`t think they`re going to wait for the courts. They`re going to go forward, because they have enough evidence and they`ll probably get more as more witnesses come forward despite the White House trying to block them.
MOHYELDIN: So to that point, Jason, the White House, as we mentioned, refusing to cooperate with these demands realistically besides going the path of the courts as Matt was just spelling out, what options did the Democrats have beyond subpoenas here, if anything?
JASON JOHNSON, THEROOT.COM POLITICS EDITOR: Well, their option is to just have a vote. Right? They don`t require this information. And I`ll be honest, we can take the headline White House stymies Congress, White House refuses to hand over information, we could run that same headline every three months since this administration began.
So it`s - I don`t think for once the Democrats are not shocked and amazed that the White House is lying or not providing information, they can have this vote whenever they want. Here`s the other key part about this.
Every piece of information that they`ve asked for that this administration refuses to come forward with can be part of a complaint about obstruction of justice into an investigation of inappropriate behavior that the President has already admitted to.
So that is their option to take everything that Donald Trump is doing now and make that a part of their case in a stronger case. That for once, according to the polls, not only are people in favor of the impeachment inquiry, but we have now moved to a point where Americans are actually - recent poll - so Americans are actually in favor of Donald Trump being removed from office in a vote, and that`s something that works in the Democrats favor.
MOHYELDIN: And interesting in all of this, today you got former Congressman Trey Gowdy now is going to serve as outside counsel for the Trump team and it`s amazing because if you go back to 2012 here he is actually denouncing Democrats for not cooperating with congressional oversight. Watch this clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. REP. TREY GOWDY (R): The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress, no matter whether you`re the party in power or not in power, is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: All right. So that meant that you just saw on your screen there, who made that huge appeal about nobody should withhold power from Congress or - excuse me, withhold information from Congress`s power to have oversight, is now going to defend and justify the President of withholding information from Congress. Are those words, Betsy, going to come back and haunt Trey Gowdy?
BETSY WOODRUFF SWAN, THE DAILY BEAST: No question. And these political cycles have certainly gone through a heck of a vicissitude as Gowdy might put it.
The fact that Republicans spent eight years of the Obama administration laying out in the most robust and detailed way possible arguments that the executive branch has to comply with subpoenas and oversight requests from the from the legislative branch, is something that`s going to create challenges for all of them.
That said, the White House`s legal strategy faces a really complex difficulty, because there`s tension within the White House regarding how White House Counsel Pat Cipollone is approaching this particular issue. Cipollone is treating it perhaps more as a legal fight than a political fight.
It seems like in the White House counsel`s office people to an extent are still in Mueller mode, thinking in terms of winning court fights rather than thinking of this as primarily a political undertaking.
We know that impeachment, at its core, is a political tool and for the most part of the President`s outside allies view the biggest threat to him as impacting the way people might vote. But Cipollone is approaching it more from the legal side and that`s generated a little bit of friction.
MOHYELDIN: And the interesting thing, again, in this Betsy is that you got the GOP inviting Giuliani to testify. Lindsey Graham wants him to come up to the Hill to talk about Ukraine corruption. Watch his latest appearance on Fox News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP`S ATTORNEY: I just drove through Salem.
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: OK.
GIULIANI: They required witnesses to face the witch, and some witches were acquitted. It`s ridiculous. The only place I can think of where we had trials like this is in the Soviet Union. Remember the President used to call this a witch-hunt. This is now worse than a witch-hunt.
INGRAHAM: The witches had it better, in other words.
GIULIANI: They had more rights--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: The witches had it better. What do you make of that? I mean, what`s the risk here Betsy for the GOP to kind of have this narrative floating out there between the regicide, the President is not a king, yet his defenders making reference to him being a king. Others are calling this a coup. Now you got Mayor Giuliani or former Mayor Rudy Giuliani talking about witches.
SWAN: For the duration of his time serving as President`s personal outside counsel Giuliani over and over and over has said things publicly that have undermined the legal arguments he`s trying to make in defense of the President.
Who can forget the moment when he made the bombshell admission about the President paying off pornstar Stormy Daniels in the final weeks of the Presidential campaign on Sean Hannity`s Fox News show?
Giuliani creates the most problems for his client when he`s in a setting that he feels to be friendly, and no one on Capitol Hill is going to make Giuliani feel more relaxed than Lindsey Graham, the Republican Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee who was incredibly close with Trump, who hangs out with him and gulfs with him all the time.
Giuliani is sitting down in Graham`s a committee room is perhaps the most perilous moment of the impeachment process for Trump.
MOHYELDIN: Hey, Matt today the California Congressman Ro Khanna telling Hallie Jackson that Democrats need to move forward with a vote. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Here`s the reality. We can`t count on the White House, we can`t count on the courts. They want to delay this. We need to move forward. We need to look at what evidence we have, make the best effort, make the case and have a vote on the articles of impeachment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: What`s the play here you think, Matt? Should they go ahead and actually hold the vote, have a vote on impeachment, knowing that the White House is going to stall this? And if, as you were saying this, could delay into 2020 go ahead and have the vote, get this process started?
MILLER: Yes. I think they do. I don`t think they need to do it next week or the next few weeks. But I don`t think they should wait for the White House to comply. I don`t think they should wait for the end of court battles.
I think there`s some more investigating that they can do. They haven`t talked to the first whistleblower yet. There`s a second whistleblower they needed to talk to. And there is a reason for them to keep sending subpoenas to the White House, keep sending subpoenas to individuals that the State Department, even if you know the White House isn`t going to comply.
What it does is it puts pressure on the system. And when there`s pressure on the system, two types of people can come forward. One, are people inside the government who think that there was wrongdoing and they want to blow the whistle on the wrongdoing and they`re willing to come forward and testify even, if it means risking their career.
And the second are people who are close to the President, who have some culpability. And if they see that this is going wrong, if they see that the President might go down over it or if they see that they may become a fall guy, their interest change.
And so they don`t want to protect the President, they don`t to protect the Secretary anymore and so they come forward the way Kurt Volker did and testify and turn over text messages and turn over evidence.
So I think there is still time for them to push forward to gather more evidence. They don`t need to go to impeachment vote now, in the next few weeks, but certainly it can`t stretch long in the next year.
MOHYELDIN: All right. Matt Miller, Betsy Woodruff Swan, thank you both. Jason Johnson stick around for us, we`ve got a lot more to talk to you about.
Coming up. Fresh revelations from the Ukraine whistleblower, a new memo with information not contained in the official White House readout caused global outrage over Trump`s betrayal of U.S. allies overseas and questions about whether it`s related to Trump`s own business conflicts abroad.
Also new polling shows a surge in support for impeachment. And critics slammed Facebook for spreading a false Trump ad about Joe Biden and Ukraine. Ayman Mohyeldin in Ari Melber. You are watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.
MOHYELDIN: Tonight new revelations from the Ukraine whistleblower. It`s from a memo that has information that is actually not included in that transcript that was released or I should say summary of that transcript of that phone call that the White House released.
CBS News obtained the memo and reports that it was written right after the whistleblower`s conversation with a White House official. Now that official was quote "visibly shaken" by Trump`s Ukraine call because the President had quote "clearly committed a criminal act."
Now remember this when the White House released its call read out, Trump claimed it actually told the whole story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They didn`t know that I had a transcript done by very, very talented people - word for word, comma for comma, done by people that do it for a living. We had an exact transcript--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: Word-for-word, comma for comma exact transcript, you heard the President say it there. That was not what the White House released, in fact. But there were a lot of questions about the official readout.
In fact "The Washington Post" pointing out "The use of ellipses writing that it fueled questions about what may have been removed and why." Now we have the whistleblower memo and look at these disparities. It has been flagged by a former Pentagon lawyer Ryan Goodman.
The whistleblower`s memo says that Trump claimed the CrowdStrike, remember that company? Well, he says that was a Ukrainian company. The White House call notes just say quote "CrowdStrike."
The whistleblower also wrote that Trump urged the Ukrainian President not to fighter the prosecutor, but the White House call notes don`t say that at all. In fact, they just say, "He stopped the prosecution." So if you can look into it again dot, dot, dot.
So the big question tonight is this. It`s all being raised by this memo. Did the White House remove material before the public could see it, and more importantly, if so, why?
Joining me now is Andrea Kendall-Taylor who served as the U.S. intelligence officer on Russia and Eurasia before stepping down in 2018. She is one of 90 national security veterans who signed an opened in support of The Whistleblower. Also with me here is former Federal Prosecutor Paul Butler, great to have both of you with us.
Andrea, let me begin with you and let`s talk a little bit about what we learned tonight from this memo that CBS News has obtained, and we highlighted some of those disparities. What did we learn from this tonight?
ANDREA KENDALL-TAYLOR, FORMER DEPUTY NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE OFFICER FOR RUSSIA AND EURASIA: I think the biggest take away from me is that, in fact, there`s very little daylight between all of the documents that we now have out in public. There`s really little difference between the memo that was just released, the whistleblower`s original accusation against the President and the transcript itself.
And so I think it makes a fairly solid case about the facts that we have in front of us, and it will make it really difficult, I think, to question what actually happened. We have a case here, clearly, of the President using his political office for his own political gain.
MOHYELDIN: Paul, is a former federal prosecutor when you see the disparity between the whistleblower`s memo and the so-called summary or memo that was released by the White House of that phone call.
One that the White House initially when it put out acknowledged it`s not a verbatim transcript, despite what the President said. What do you think of the disparities between these two documents and the kind of legal problems it creates for the President?
PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: So the disparities are relatively minor. But the differences seem to be that the White House readout - the summary makes the President look a little bit better than the actual - now than what we actually know about the conversation from the whistleblower.
One example is that the President has claimed that CrowdStrike is at Ukrainian country - company. It`s not a Ukrainian company. And the reason that`s important is because there`s this whole bizarre conspiracy theory that Trump has - that somehow the Ukrainians were involved in implementing or instigating the Russian investigation.
And so again more evidence that that was Trump`s motive in talking to the Ukrainian President to get him to authorize an investigation and to not just the Bidens, but the origin of the 2016 Russian investigation.
And the other part has to do with this prosecutor. So in the White House readout of that conversation they don`t say the name of the prosecutor who Trump said should not be fired. It turns out that the prosecutor Trump was referring to was this corrupt prosecutor who people in the Ukraine don`t like. They want him out of office, because they don`t trust him. And he`s the one who Trump said don`t fire.
So it seems again an effort to make the President kind of look good, even though overall both readouts are extremely incriminating.
MOHYELDIN: And so one of the points that`s interesting about this memo is that Trump - it said - the memo says that Trump "did not raise security assistance." Did he need to state it or was that part understood by then?
I mean, when you think of a President about to have a phone call with a President of another country, there`s a lot of prep work that goes into it. There`s a lot of low-level communication that the groundwork and the subtle messaging is already put in place for the President to just to not specifically have to reference security assistance.
KENDALL-TAYLOR: I think that`s right. When you look back at the transcript - the original transcript that was released by the White House, the President had gone on at length about all that the United States does for Ukraine.
He reminded Zelensky over and over again and made his case about all that the United States did. And so it was understood that part of what he was talking about was the security assistance that Ukraine or that the United States gives to Ukraine.
And I think also what was clear from that is that fact that, he felt that the United States wasn`t receiving reciprocity - I think was the word that he may have even used - that what we were giving to Ukraine was not being reciprocated. And so exactly to your point, it was pretty well understood what was on the table.
MOHYELDIN: So Paul let me go back to the issue of the prosecutor, because you raised the interesting point and why the way it is characterized in the memo and the way that it was characterized in the transcript or the summary of the transcript that was released by the White House, really changes the narrative.
On one hand the prosecutor is seen as fighting corruption or the President is fighting corruption by telling him don`t fire that prosecutor. But at same time, by keeping that prosecutor there, he was the person that everybody universally agreed was not doing a good job in fighting corruption.
BUTLER: Yes. And this is the prosecutor who Trump hopes will investigate his political rivals against. Again, we all know that it`s illegal, it`s a criminal act for the President to seek a campaign contribution, including oppo research from a foreign national.
And, so again, we have a transcript that details the President committing this crime. But here`s the thing Ayman. There were a lot of people on this call, not just the President and the Ukrainian leader, but many other folks, including the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and so they know exactly what was said.
And what are they doing? They`re stonewalling. They`re not going to - they`re refusing to come to Congress and let the American people know exactly what happened. So apparently they`re afraid that when the contents of this of calls are revealed in detail the President will be in even more trouble than he is right now.
MOHYELDIN: Yes. Lots of unanswered questions remain about what went down on that phone call. Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Paul Butler, thank you both very much.
And turning now to Republican slamming Donald Trump for letting Turkey attack American allies, as new reporting emerges about Trump`s business conflicts in Turkey. We`re back in 30 seconds.
MOHYELDIN: All right. So the question tonight is why is Donald Trump letting it happen? Today, the Turkish military launched attacks on the very Kurdish forces that fought alongside the U.S. against ISIS.
It is happening in the wake of Trump`s promise to pull out American troops from there. There are already reports tonight of civilian deaths and Kurdish commanders are warning of a potential humanitarian crisis. Members of Trump`s own party are accusing him of abandoning a key ally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): This impulsive decision by the President has undone all the gains we`ve made, thrown the region into further chaos.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once again the United States will have abandoned an ally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: And even Trump`s military advisors disagree with the move. In fact, Trump says he is fulfilling a campaign promise to get out of the Middle East. But there is another dimension at play in all of this. Trump has been this interest in Turkey. That is something he clearly admits.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have a little conflict of interest, because I have a major, major building in Istanbul. That it`s a tremendously successful job. It`s called Trump Towers - two towers instead of one. Not that usual one, its two.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: All right. So the Turkish President attended the opening of those towers back in 2012 with Ivanka Trump publicly thanking him. A top ranking Obama diplomat Wendy Sherman observing, "It always is a concern that those business ties, at the very least, color his judgment and at the very worst are the reasons for his judgment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: Joining me now is Rick Stengel. He`s a former Undersecretary of State for public diplomacy and public affairs and an MSNBC Political Analyst. His new book is " Information Wars: How We Lost the Global Battle Against Disinformation"; and NBC`s Heidi Przybyla. Her new article is titled "Donald Trump`s Longtime Business Connections in Turkey Back in the Spotlight." Great to have both of you with us.
Richard, let me begin with you. I mean what do you make of the reason that President Trump decided to pull out under this campaign promise that he`s pulling out of the Middle East? When in reality, our contribution or our footprint in Syria was the smallest out of all the footprints that we have in the region, and hardly a significant one from a footprint point, but a significant one from a tactical security point.
RICHARD STENGEL, FORMER UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE PUBLIC DIPLOMACY & PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Yes. So, I mean, I wish we didn`t have to have any American servicemen or women in harm`s way around the world. But we do. And the reason we had not a small force in Syria - thousand or so was to combat ISIS. That started back in 2014-2015.
Our greatest ally there who lost thousands and thousands of lives were the Kurds and they fought beside us - rather we fought beside them. And so what Trump is doing is betraying these allies who fought and died with Americans for a good cause. And he seems to have done it mainly because Erdogan asked him to on a phone call.
But it`s but it`s absolutely shameful. And the whole and you know kind of establishment realizes that. Again, it`d be great to have them home, but let`s do it in in a more rational way.
MOHYELDIN: Heidi, you have some amazing reporting in this article. Tell us a little bit about that.
HEIDI PRZYBYLA, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Right, Ayman. And so this is really the first time that we`ve seen the President make a major national security decision, putting lives at risk, in a place where he himself has acknowledged that he has a conflict of interest. There are several ways in which this is true.
The most visible one are those Trump Towers where he got $10 million payday for that. While the royalties for that have decreased over time, Ayman, because he is now President. He receives less money for that. There are many other ways in which he is invested in Turkey.
We found as part of a lawsuit - that is an active lawsuit right now, that Turkey has the highest number of foreign ventures in which the Trump family is at least a partial owner, at 119. NBC News is also found exclusively according to a report that was put together for us by an outside group that the Turkish officials are the top patrons at Trump properties worldwide.
Now let me stress that no one is saying that this is why the President made the decision that he made. But what we are saying is that nobody understands why he made the decision and he has these business interests and it`s the first time that we are really in this position of having to ask some of these tough questions.
Because the fact is that there`s a pattern here specifically with Erdogan. Rich can tell you more about this. But Trump also deferred to Erdogan on two major issues going against NATO. The first one was his purchase - Erdogan`s purchase of a Russian military - missile system.
That, a lot of members of Congress think, should have triggered sanctions and Trump has essentially held those off. Trump also, notably praised Erdogan after his crackdown, after a failed military coup in 2016, effectively taking over a number of independent news media outlets, imprisoning journalists. And Trump again, kind of soft peddled that and even praised Erdogan.
Erdogan has also used those towers for leverage already, Ayman, back in 2016 when Trump tried to ban certain individuals from certain Muslim nations, Turkey threatened to take his name off the towers. That`s when we saw Michael Flynn, his then National Security Advisor penned this op-ed favorable to Erdogan and it really calmed down and quieted those calls for taking Trump`s name off those towers that he is so proud of.
MOHYELDIN: Yes. It`s definitely a complex web, as Heidi there was painting up. But there`s an interesting point in all this, Richard, which is that the question about alliances now comes into play and I want you to take a listen to what the President said about alliances earlier. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: By allowing this offensive is it going to be more difficult in future times of need to develop alliances?
TRUMP: No, it won`t be. It won`t be at all. Alliances are very easy. But our alliances have taken advantage of us--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: You know something about alliances and coalition you had to build a kind of global coalition to combat extremism and the messaging of extremism. What do you think - what do you make of that when you just abandon your allies there on the battlefield. What it`s like to try to build an alliance and coalition going forward?
STENGEL: Well, very difficult. Although, I just want to point out that the reporting that Heidi was talking about is really superb. And one of the things we`ve seen historically is wherever Trump has an investment, he`s in thrall to that country or to that leader. It`s really strange, I mean, for an American President to do that.
That`s one reason President should put their assets in blind trusts so they don`t have that conflict. But to go back to your question about alliances, I mean, as Jim Mattis said when he was leaving, alliances make a nation stronger. We are stronger because of the alliances we have.
And the alliance we have are partially because people trust us. They trust our word, they trust what we tell them that we`re going to do and we do it. And we formed a 61 plus nation alliance to combat ISIS. Secretary Kerry went around the world, President Obama did as well. That was a proud moment and this is an unraveling of it in one fell swoop.
MOHYELDIN: Yes, I can only imagine what our friends in the region are thinking about recalculating, as Tom Friedman said earlier today about our steadfast support for these countries.
Finally, let`s talk a little bit about your book, if I can. I want to get your thoughts about misinformation. How misinformation is at the center of what we are seeing? Because even in a conflict like Turkey right now, you look at social media there is a big Pro Turkish presence online that is pushing the Turkish narrative. But disinformation has now become at the heart of what we`re seeing around the world in so many ways.
STENGEL: Yes, absolutely. As you well know, and in the region one of the things that people - the Turks are seeing and other people are seeing is the success of Russian disinformation in the 2016 election for which they`ve had no penalty.
In fact, the President of United States welcomed it and they haven`t been punished, so other people are getting into the act and they realize this is this is asymmetric warfare. You can`t afford an F-35 or a big air force.
You can afford a bunch of people tweeting as - and pretending to be other people, which is that Russians are doing, and now the Iranians are doing, the Turks are doing too. It`s really scary thing for 2020.
GIULIANI: Hey, Heidi, has the White House or the Trump campaign at all responded to your incredible reporting there when you put it to them?
PRZYBYLA: No. And we`ve reached out to the Trump Organization`s lawyer Alan Garten as well and we`ve gotten no comment.
MOHYELDIN: All right. Something tells me I should not be surprised by that silence. Richard Stengel, Heidi Przybyla, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
MOHYELDIN: And still ahead, just coming in to us, Mike Pence pressed on what he knew about Trump search for dirt on Biden in Ukraine his response is striking, and believe it or not, it is all caught on camera.
Plus, Democrats warning that Facebook is letting Trump spread misinformation, again the same way that Russian trolls cause chaos back in 2016.
MOHYELDIN: All right. Tonight Democrats are attacking Facebook and other tech giants for enabling Trump and giving him a platform for false claims. Facebook just denied a request from the Biden campaign to remove a Trump ad about Ukraine that fact checkers say is filled with falsehoods.
In fact the ad has been viewed over 5 million times and it repeats the same kind of conspiracy theories being peddled by Rudy Giuliani. But a Facebook executive says that basically politicians can lie as much as they want.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK CLEGG, FACEBOOK, HEAD OF GLOBAL POLICY AND COMMUNICATIONS: We do not submit speech by politicians to our independent fact checkers and we generally allow it on the platform even when it would otherwise breach our normal content rules.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: Critics say Facebook is repeating the same kinds of mistakes it made back in 2016 when it allowed Russian agents to spread lies on social media in order to elect President Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.
In fact, just yesterday, the Senate Intelligence Committee revealed what those secret agents did on election night. Quoting a Russian who said, we uncorked a tiny bottle of champagne, took one gulp each and looked into each other`s eyes. We uttered almost in unison "we made America great."
Joining me now is Roger McNamee who was an early mentor for Mark Zuckerberg, but is now a critic. His most recent book is Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe. Roger great to have you with us, lots to talk about here.
But let me first get your thoughts on what should Facebook be doing about false ads like this Trump campaign - this Trump-Ukraine campaign ad that we just we referenced?
ROGER MCNAMEE, AUTHOR "ZUCKED: WAKING UP TO THE FACEBOOK CATASTROPHE": So, Ayman, what happened here is a few weeks ago a journalist Judd Legum went to Facebook and push them, because there were ads on the platform that had demonstrably false statements in them.
And he pointed out that Facebook`s Terms of Service said that you could not have misrepresentations in any kind of ad, including political ads. And Facebook`s response was not to remove the offending ads, but to change the policy. And that it seems to me is a fundamental issue.
Facebook owes the country its best effort to protect elections. After 2016 the company clearly has a massive responsibility here. And in my mind they`re not just falling short, they`re actually going in the wrong direction, that they`re doing things that are guaranteed to produce bad outcomes and be bad for democracy. Not just on foreign interference, but obviously undomesticated as, and not just for democrats, this is for everybody and to my mind that`s just horrible for democracy.
MOHYELDIN: But Roger to that point realistically and just to play devil`s advocate, is it realistic to expect companies to fact-check and then police the lies that politicians say. Politicians come on the air all the time and lie.
You had Corey Lewandowski stand in Congress and say I have no obligation to tell the truth to the media when he appeared on this show and other shows. So why should we expect the company to actually police the content of advertisements that politicians are making?
MCNAMEE: To be clear, Ayman, I think there`s a distinction between advertising and political - normal political speech that is worth looking at here. For the longest time, television networks took the position that you could not say something that was obviously false in an ad and they did police that.
And CNN, in fact, rejected the very ad we`re talking about here and other networks, including some we both like very much, maybe didn`t do so. And I do - I think this is a really important question for democracy. What kind of a country do we want to live in? What kind of standards do we think companies should be held to? Because I think when companies know that something is false.
MCNAMEE: There are situations really different than when they don`t.
MOHYELDIN: Let me to get your thoughts on Elizabeth Warren for a moment. She tweeted out, "Facebook already helped elect Donald Trump once because they were asleep at the wheel, while Russia attacked our democracy."
She also has said that Facebook is taking deliberate steps to help one candidate intentionally mislead the American people. There`s obviously no love lost between her and Facebook in terms of even policies about how big that company should be. What is your response to her claim about her - about Facebook in all of this?
MCNAMEE: I think Facebook needs to be incredibly careful. They have done studies in the past which they have published that suggests that by putting things like little tags that say I voted or I register to a vote, that Facebook can have a measurable impact on turnout and on the number of people who vote in an election.
And as a consequence, I think there is a - should be legitimate concern that no internet platform, not Facebook, not Google, not Instagram, not YouTube play any role at all that shifts the scales in this election for any candidate.
I think Senator Warren is completely correct to raise this issue, and candidly, I don`t understand why every candidates not on this Ayman. Because it`s not just about voting itself, there are also issues like climate change and gun violence and white supremacy where essentially the internet platforms are the tool that give disproportionate political power to the deniers of climate change, to the people were in favor of anti-VAX and to people are in favor of white supremacy.
And in my mind, there`s a level of responsibility to society that these companies have not stepped up to, and it`s really too bad. Because these guys are friends of mine and they`re not bad people. But they are not looking at this problem the way I wish they would.
MOHYELDIN: All right. Roger McNamee, appreciate your insights. Thank you very much for joining us this evening.
MOHYELDIN: And coming up--
MCNAMEE: My pleasure Ayman. Thanks for being--
MOHYELDIN: My pleasure. Coming up, the new video of Mike Pence, pressed multiple times on what he knew about Trump`s search for dirt on Biden. You will be surprised by this response. We`ll have that for you next.
MOHYELDIN: All right. Breaking news at the moment. New video from Vice President Mike Pence repeatedly questioned if he knew the reason Donald Trump held up aid to Ukraine, was to pressure them for dirt on the Bidens? And over and over again the Vice President wouldn`t answer. Watch this in its entirety.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAUGHN HILLYARD, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: But were you ever aware, Mr. Vice President, that interest in the Bidens - interest in investigating the Bidens - was at least part of the reason for aid to Ukraine being held up? Were you ever aware?
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I never discussed the issue of - the issue of the Bidens with President Zelensky and--
HILLYARD: But within the administration? Were you ever aware within the administration?
PENCE: What I can tell you is that all of our discussions internally between the President and our team and our contacts and my office with Ukraine were entirely focused on the broader issues of the lack of European support--
HILLYARD: But you were aware of interest in the Bidens being investigated and that being tied to aid to Ukraine being held up?"
PENCE: That`s your question. Let me be very clear. The issue of aid and our efforts with regard to Ukraine were from my experience in no way connected to the very legitimate concern the American people had about corruption that took place, about things that happened in the 2016 election
HILLYARD: But were you aware of others in the administration having those conversations?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: All right. Joining me now is New York Times Political Correspondent, Nicholas Confessore - excuse me, and back with me once again Jason Johnson.
First of all, Nick, let me begin with your reaction to that video, because the significance of it is simply that. He hears the question, it is asked multiple times of him. It is a very specific and pointed question did you know about aid being held up in order to investigate the Bidens? The fact that he doesn`t answer that - yes or no, it`s very simple, he does not answer that what does that tell you?
NICHOLAS CONFESSORE, THE NEW YORK TIMES, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Vice President is a seasoned and practiced politician. What you saw there was him drawing a line between what he saw and heard and what he did.
And I think I also - I was hearing him talk about corruption and what we know the administration had established as a code word to corruption started by the Bidens without actually talking about the Bidens. So it`s not clear to me exactly what he denied there.
MOHYELDIN: And you know I`m sure, just to having covering politics, this is going to be a question he`s going to be asked again about tomorrow throughout the day. Can he continue to dodge this question or do you think the Vice President`s office is trying to now figure out what is the best way to come out and answer this going forward?
CONFESSORE: It`s always possible it`s entirely unclear if documents from the deep`s (ph) office will end up in the hands of investigators. But there are lots of people who work in the White House, who work with the Vice President who advise him on national security. And there`s going to be a paper trail on people who understand what he knew and when he knew it. So that account is inaccurate, we`ll eventually find out, I think.
MOHYELDIN: Jason, when you kind of look at all the men - the President`s men who kind of being embroiled in this from those that serve overseas to those at the White House is Mike Pence trying to create distance from this scandal with the way he answered that question.
JOHNSON: I believe so, but it`s not going to work look. Either Mike Pence is the dumbest guy in the White House who seems completely oblivious to everything that`s happening at all times or he`s completely aware of it and is simply trying to portray himself as this innocent dove in the woods in case something ever happens and he might be the last man standing in this administration.
Bear of mine, remember, we still have not heard the transcript of his conversations with Zelensky, which he says the White House is currently working on. It`s very difficult to believe that he did not hear the scuttlebutt in the White House about where this funding was going, how it was being hold up and what the circumstances are.
And I think that at the center of so many of these controversies is Mike Pence sort of playing the innocent guy and we need to hold him as accountable as Barr, Manafort and many other people who`ve already been indicted.
MOHYELDIN: And correct me if I`m wrong, he hasn`t offered a credible explanation as to why he is not or why he did not go to the inauguration of President Zelensky. He was supposed to be the person who went. But I believe it was Rick Perry, the Energy Secretary, a lower-level member of the cabinet who ended up going and that in of itself was to send a message.
JOHNSON: Exactly, exactly. And here`s the thing. The messages that are often sent from Mike Pence are - I didn`t do it, I`m not involved. And the Trump administration sort of rolls him out to play this sort of clean Sunday pass or guy who`s like I can`t believe that there`s corruption going on in this building - I can`t believe it.
But, again, it doesn`t work when you consider it how close he has been to so many of the different individuals involved. You can`t believe that he doesn`t talk to Barr. You can`t believe that he doesn`t talk to Giuliani. You can`t believe that he had a conversation with Zelensky and Zelensky didn`t make any reference to, "Hey, can we kind of move up some of that funding that`s coming to the Ukraine. We could really use that information."
So, again, we have to end this narrative that Mike Pence is somehow in any way separate from the corruption that`s endemic in this administration.
MOHYELDIN: Let`s switch gears for a moment talk about impeachment and the polling that goes around with that. Nick, interesting tale here, on one hand overwhelming majority of Americans want to see impeachment - at least want to see the impeachment inquiry unfold take place. But at the same time, the majority is saying they don`t necessarily want to see their President removed from office as a result of this process.
CONFESSORE: I mean, look, it says to me that the American people want more answers. Right? If you`re supporting an impeachment inquiry, it means you`re open to the idea that he might be impeached in the end. And the fact that you`re not convinced about it yet, is not that important that context.
What I think is really interesting here is this massive shift in support for the inquiry. And I think it shows a lot of people were playing too much 3D chess about the political impact and the risks and impeachment.
And the simple answer is, if people have a good reason to think there are questions to be answered, and that it`s serious and meaningful, that they`re open to an impeachment inquiry. And Democrats are not going to suffer, I think, for this one the kind of harm that some of their party a worried could be in the offing for them.
MOHYELDIN: To this point Jason when you look at the poll numbers out there in terms of the public`s attitude about impeachment. If you were a Democrat and if you`re a Republican what is your takeaway? Start with the Democrats.
JOHNSON: Well, if I`m a Democrat, I`m saying, look, let`s get this vote started. Let`s get this done sometime before the end of the year. In addition to these polls, remember, there`s a recent Fox poll that says that a slight majority of the public is OK with impeachment and removing the President.
So if I`m a Democrat I`m ready to move on with this, because you want this vote to happen before the primaries begin. You don`t want the many Senators who are running for President right now to be caught up in it.
If I`m a Republican, I`m thinking about my district. And, look, and I say this in a cynical sort of way. You should as a Republican be thinking about the safety of this country. You should be thinking about your obligation to uphold the Constitution. But realistically if your Republic, you`re thinking about am I in a purple district, is this going to blow up in my face?
And I think some of these Senators, especially in these purple states and Colorado and things like that, they`ve got to think about how this vote is going to look and how bad are they going to be come October-November of next year if they`ve been trying to defend a President, who we know, won`t be doing - this will not be the last time that he makes a suggestion that foreign entities should come in and mess with our elections.
MOHYELDIN: All right Jason Johnson, Nicholas Confessore, gentlemen thank you both for joining us this hour.
MOHYELDIN: Next Bernie Sanders, just talked to NBC News. His first interview since his heart attack. We`ll tell you about that next.
MOHYELDIN: Today Senator Bernie Sanders sat down for his first interview since he suffered a heart attack last week. Here`s what he told NBC`S Harry Smith about criticism that the Sanders campaign was not transparent at least initially about his health scare.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRY SMITH, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It`s a couple of days before we learned that you had a heart attack. There seemed to be this sense, well, the campaign must be hiding something, what`s going on?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, that`s nonsense. I don`t know what people think campaigns are, you know we`re dealing with all kinds of doctors and we wanted to have a sense of what the hell was going on really.
So the first thing that we`re trying to do is understand what`s going on and not run to The New York Times and have to report every 15 minutes. You know, this is not a baseball game. So I think we acted absolutely appropriately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOHYELDIN: And yet, despite that there are still some questions around Sanders` health. Sanders says, though, he plans to ramp up his campaign slowly, back up to full speed, hoping to hit his stride before the Iowa caucuses in February.
But it does raise a lot of questions, not just about Bernie Sanders, but about Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, about President Trump, whether or not they are all going to be in good health and stamina throughout the duration of this campaign.
That does it for me. You can always catch me weekday mornings 5:00 a.m. Eastern on "MORNING JOE FIRST LOOK". But for now "HARDBALL" is up next.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END