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Under fire for abuse of power TRANSCRIPT: 10/18/2019, The Beat with Ari Melber

Guests: Nick Ackerman, Michelle Goldberg, Michael Moore, Jen Kirkman

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: October 18, 2019

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democratic Party that is that actually lives until he gathers foreign policy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. But there`s a large majority of the majority of the American public that believes Barack Obama was a Muslim.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Guys I got to go. Conspiracy theory hour is over. Thank you all. I`ll be back Monday with more "MEET THE PRESS DAILY." I will see you Sunday, Justin Amash exclusively this Sunday, by the way.

The Beat with Ari Melber starts right now. Good evening, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. We`re not calling it conspiracy theory hour, though. I always think of it as "MEET THE PRESS DAILY."

TODD: I appreciate that. But I just did the last segment. We got deep, brother. We got deep.

MELBER: You got deep on debunking the conspiracy theories which is good to do in the newsroom. Chuck we`ll be watching this Sunday, sir.

TODD: Thank you.

MELBER: Always good to see you. We have a very special show for you this Friday night. Fallout over the breaking story we brought you right here on "THE BEAT," Donald Trump`s top aide admitting the Ukraine bribery plot on national television, then backtracking after getting absolutely hammered. But is the backtracking making it worse?

Later tonight, reports on Donald Trump`s self-dealing with foreign money.

Plus tackling impeachment and the gun crisis we get into both later this hour with Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore live tonight. I also just learned he`s making some other news, we`ll get into that as well.

But right now we begin with a White House reeling, scrambling and sometimes panicking in full damage control mode, trying to clean up the mess that Donald Trump`s Acting Chief of Staff made when he walked out to that podium and uncorked one of the most astounding voluntary confessions in the history of that White House briefing room.

He undercut his boss by admitting a quid pro quo, his boss Donald Trump, had been denying. And he admitted it in detail, speaking about the exact mechanisms of the extortion bribery plot with Ukraine. How bad was it? Republicans say "So bad, maybe the explanation is he was trying to get fired."

Trying or not, others do think it could be grounds for his firing. "POLITICO" now says he`s basically on thin ice with President Trump planning to reach a conclusion soon on whether to keep him on board. Another Republican saying that admitting the bribery plot was quote "deeply, deeply unhelpful."

Meantime, today, the White House`s defense has boiled down to lying about what Mulvaney said and trolling people by also celebrating some of the more auditions lines as some kind of brazen performance.


MICK MULVANEY, ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF: Did he also mentioned to me and past that the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely, no question about that. But that`s it and that`s why we held up the money. I have news for everybody, get over it. There`s going to be political influence in foreign policy.


MELBER: Get over it. People aren`t getting over it. The top House Republican who actually defends almost everything Donald Trump does on Ukraine, he`s not even trying to say today that what you heard was good or correct just there.

Kevin McCarthy instead throwing out something of a political rhetorical compromise - that I`m about to show you briefly. He argues that while Mulvaney statement, obviously, needed cleaning up, implying it was dirty. Now that Mulvaney has retracted what you just saw him say everything is cleaned up.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Mick Mulvaney clarify a statement. He said let me be clear there was absolutely no quid pro quo. I think what Mick - he clarified and his statement was very clear. I think Mick Mulvaney clarified his statement to be very clear. I checked Mick Mulvaney at his word for clarification. Well, I think Mick was very clear in cleaning up his statement that there was no quid pro quo--


MELBER: The assertion that there was no quid pro quo according to Mick Mulvaney is false, because he admitted it yesterday. We`ve shown that to you. But this defense isn`t holding up even at the same time as the Donald Trump campaign is out there doing their argument for reelection.

Because look at this tonight, the Trump campaign is selling new shirts today emblazoned with Mulvaney admitting quid pro quo with his memorable line when he defiantly said, "we do it all the time, get over it," with a little bit of a Trump hair there over the "O".

So which is it? We do bribery all the time and get over it or he cleaned it up, because we don`t do bribery all the time. Everyone from objective reporters to anchors who follow this stuff day in and day out too even Donald Trump`s most famous defenders have been basically aghast at Mulvaney`s confession.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve heard for the President repeatedly that there was no quid pro quo. Today there was an acknowledgment that there was in some form a quid pro quo as has been alleged all along.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: What is Mulvaney even talking about? I just think he`s dumb. I really do. I don`t even think he knows what he`s talking about. This is why I think some of these people are so stupid--

Erin Burnett, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, Mick Mulvaney is desperately trying to undo the damage.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: This is falling apart and badly, as is U.S. policy on all levels.


MELBER: I`m joined now by Nick Akerman, a former Watergate special prosecutor and Michelle Goldberg from the New York Times. Nice to see you both this Friday evening.





MELBER: Was that a confession and what does it tell you that some on the right will not defend?

AKERMAN: It was a confession. I mean you can`t say I robbed the bank and then the next day say I didn`t really rob the bank. I mean, that just doesn`t cut it. I also don`t think that this was necessarily Mulvaney`s doing.

I think he was out there for Donald Trump, because Donald Trump`s whole routine is to try and admit things when he knows, as here that his goose is cooked. That people are testifying against him in the droves, that people feel comfortable now doing that.

And his reaction sometimes is to say admit it and thinking that if he does it in the open that makes it OK.

MELBER: I didn`t know I never have to ask you this, but even the way Donald Trump does it seems to have a little more wiggle room than the way Mulvaney did it. So we`ve seen Donald Trump cop to things that the public can debate whether they`re horrific or not. But he does it in a sort of the grand reality-show style. China, was he really asking was he not? It`s all in the cloud.

AKERMAN: Yes, but he does have the wiggle room here-- MELBER: Mick Mulvaney runs the budget office, comes to the lectern and says, yes, the funding that is statutorily required to be released, because Congress passes laws and we distribute funds was conditioned on an investigation of the DNC.

So I ask you as a prosecutor, is that more specific confession, more damning than someone just blurting a general confess?

AKERMAN: That`s a terrible damning confession, absolutely. I mean, you go that - to that with a jury - with that confession - and I mean to try and back off it afterwards is just absurd. But, again, I mean Donald Trump gave himself the wiggle room by not doing it himself. He gave it to Mike Mulvaney.

I mean, I think this was a very conscious effort by Donald Trump to do what he always does, trying to put it out there to say, oh, if we admit it in public, there`s nothing wrong with it.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, THE NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: So I`m not going to pretend to know what any of these people`s motives are. I do think that you know Mick Mulvaney may have been caught between ever-shifting strategies in the White House. Right? You see this from time to time.

Sometimes it`s no collusion. Sometimes it`s, yes, collusion, so what? Right. And so they have a bunch of different strategies that they use to keep people sort of frightened and off balance and so aghast that they can`t quite get their footing. They admit things they deny that you heard what you heard with your own ears. They kind of obfuscate and throw out red herrings.

And it could just be that Mick Mulvaney is - this is the environment of which he is part. This is the world that he`s chosen to live in, but he`s not as practiced at it as his boss.

MELBER: Yes. And also that goes to something that you`ve reported on, that we`ve discussed here, which is, there`s no law that you have to hold press briefings. There was a long-standing tradition in both parties that you have to show good faith engagement with the free press and they just ended that.

And the short term was a benefit maybe that they got out of that questioning. The long term seems to be, maybe that`s backfiring, because they don`t have anyone who can walk out to that lectern and handle even basic factual questioning.

For your analysis, I want to read you from "POLITICO", Michelle, they say. Look, "Mulvaney`s performance, raising questions with Trump allies about whether the White House team was prepared to fight impeachment at all." "There`s growing concern whether its other advisors and the legal team is not coordinating, communicating with the rest of the team well enough."

GOLDBERG: Well, I think, this is part of - part of the reason that we have this scandal now is because this administration has been - I`ve used this analogy before, like kind of like a Jenga - a game of Jenga. Right? They`ve been hollowing themselves out. Hollowing out American foreign policy from the beginning.

So you had Rex Tillerson in the past saying Trump would always ask him to do illegal things, but he wouldn`t do them. And there was used to be people there who wouldn`t do them. But everybody who had any sort of credibility or integrity or even kind of minimal competence at their job, like John Bolton, is gone now. Right?

MELBER: Let`s pause--

GOLDBERG: So you`re just left with people who can`t handle this--

MELBER: Let`s pause on it. You`re making such an important point and we`ve all kind of watched this revolving door. Right? But you`re saying that there were individuals, whatever their politics, who would say no to illegal orders.

Don McGahn, famously; Corey Lewandowski, very controversial, I`ve called him out for lying on this show. But Bob Mueller found that Corey Lewandowski got a legal order and refused to carry it out. You just mentioned Tillerson, publicly said, oh, he wants to do illegal things.

Now we`re in a place where you have the people left - over Rudy Giuliani and Mulvaney, and they seem to be saying in public, we do crimes.

GOLDBERG: Right. They do crimes and they also sort of have no core competence about how to cover up those crimes. I mean, thank goodness, that`s the only saving grace of this whole terrible situation for our country.

But, yes, you have the people who used to be able to maybe coordinate a public response, who would handle any of the functions that you need for a White House facing an impeachment crisis, they`re just not there.

MELBER: Yes. It`s so striking. Nick, I want to talk to you about Donald Trump`s lawyers, which is something we`ve reported on this show. Not because we`re interested in lawyers in any grand - the hypothetical sense, but because his lawyers are such a telling part of both the way he leads and his problems of criminal liability.


MELBER: Famously Roy Cohn, we`ve discussed, ultimately was disbarred mafia lawyer.


MELBER: Michael Cohen, incarcerated in part for crimes he confessed to doing on behalf of Donald Trump; Rudy Giuliani under investigation by SDNY where you used to be a prosecutor, which he used to lead for being in the Senators Ukraine plot.

And then there`s one who`s not, Jay Goldberg, longtime lawyer to Donald Trump before Michael Cohen. And I just spoke with him and I want to play this for your analysis. He is still a supporter of Donald Trump, but he told us he is very concerned about Rudy Giuliani. He`s imploring the President to fire Giuliani for his own good. Take a look.


MELBER: Do you think that Donald Trump should end this work relationship with Giuliani?

JAY GOLDBERG, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER: I do think so. I think it`s time. And I that in March 2018--

MELBER: And you think that even more so today.

GOLDBERG: That`s right.

MELBER: Based on what is publicly known, do you think Giuliani has legal liability?

GOLDBERG: I think he will have legal liability.


MELBER: What does that tell you?

AKERMAN: I mean, I know Jay Goldberg.

MELBER: You do.

AKERMAN: He`s a fine lawyer we`ve been on other sides of cases together when I was a prosecutor. I respect Jay Goldberg totally. And if he says that he believes that Rudy Giuliani has got problems - I mean, I believe he`s got problems too here. I mean, you`ve got him right in the middle of a Hobbs Act conspiracy for--

MELBER: Federal corruption law--

GOLDBERG: --extortion. Right. And you`ve got him in a campaign violation, you get him in bribery. But I agree with him. I that Rudy Giuliani`s got huge problems. I think what Jay may not be recognizing is that it`s not just Rudy Giuliani, but it`s his client as well that is committing these crimes. And that you`ve got two of them that are kind of symbiotic and work off of each other and are doing this stuff in tandem.

So to say get rid of Giuliani just leaves behind the chief - capo di tutti capi, who is going to continue to bring in other underlings that he`s going to enforce his criminal mind on.

MELBER: Yes. And before we turn - before I go to commercial, I got a play for you a Governor John Kasich who was once considered a leader of this party, a pretty conservative Ohio Republican today backing impeachment.


JOHN KASICH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF OHIO: If you`re asking me if I was sitting in the House of Representatives today and you were to ask me how do I feel? Do I think impeachment should move forward and should go for a full examination and a trial in the United States Senate? My vote would be yes. And I don`t say it lightly. This is extremely difficult for me. But it`s what I feel I have to do--


GOLDBERG: I think it`s some it`s kind of - I shouldn`t say easy, but it`s easier to take the principled position when you`re not in power. I think we will know that the Republican Party is no longer basically party to a criminal conspiracy when you start hearing that kind of integrity from Republicans in Congress.

MELBER: Yes. I mean it`s really striking. We`re feeling a lot moving just this week. Michelle Goldberg and Nick Akerman, thanks so much both of you for kicking off a big Friday show. I want to mention with all the news sometimes we don`t have enough to fit in.

We got a whole special Sunday night 9:00 p.m. Eastern "Trump & Ukraine: The Impeachment Crisis," that`s this Sunday 9:00 p.m. Eastern. It`s brand-new. I hope you`ll join us if you`re interested.

Coming up, we have a breakdown on the confessions and the cover-up in Ukraine scandal with some special video I could tell you won`t see anywhere else.

Also, new reaction to Donald Trump`s Hotel controversy, the President now demanding world leaders pay his company just to come to this global summit.

And tonight, filmmaker and activist Michael Moore back on "THE BEAT" We`re going to talk impeachment Trump, he`s making news on 2020 and on gun policy a very special project. We`re going to explain all of that, coming up and it`s "Fallback Friday" as well so stick with us. I`m Ari Melber. You`re watching "THE BEAT" on MSNBC.


MELBER: The walls of impeachment seem to be closing in on President Trump. There`s the Mick Mulvaney confession, of course. That man is also defying today`s subpoena deadline. Then there`s Energy Secretary Rick Perry formally announcing he`s resigning today.

And moments ago, he also said he won`t comply with today`s subpoena deadline. Now those are some of the few witnesses that are following Donald Trump`s public demand that people simply stonewall the entire impeachment probe, which he says is a compromised kangaroo court.

But while some aides are still resisting investigators, this week actually has marked a clear turning point in the failure of that Trump strategy, because a string of key witnesses has been marching into Congress revealing damaging testimony about the Ukraine plot.

Now one or two witnesses could be of course an exception. But it`s clear this is a new phase. "The New York Times" capturing the problem for Trump with this headline, "Trump`s Impeachment Blockade Crumbles as Witnesses Agree to Talk."

"The Times" reporting it is now quote "Clear that Trump`s attempts to stonewall the democrat-led inquiry that has imperiled his presidency and ensnared much of his inner circle", well that effort is quote "crumbling.."

"One by one," "The Times" writes, "a parade of Trump administration diplomats and senior officials has offered this cascade of revelations. Those accounts have corroborated and expanded upon key aspects of the whistleblower complaint that spawned impeachment into whether the President abused his power to enlist Ukraine to help him in the election."

Now that is "The Times" take on all of this on where we`re headed. And what happens when the walls cave in? Well, some witnesses corroborate evidence, others can trade information, maybe to help themselves. And as people start talking, the stories and the debate starts to go public.

And this is important, because it means the people who have the least believable stories or the most holes in their stories. They start to get exposed, not just from these facts that come out, but also from their own past actions and words. Which build on the point in this "New York Times" account.

So we have something right now that I think you have to see to believe. This is "THE BEAT`s" definitive accounting of how fast this story has turned from unbelievable denials to, frankly, some more believable confessions.

And as we set it up for you to watch tonight, I want to present to you, what I think it does, which has raised at least two questions. The first is clearly Nixonian. "What happens when the confessions are worse than the cover-up?"

And the second echoes wisdom from a different leader who also knows something about the criminal lifestyle, Shawn Carter, who famously said, "Why talk about things that you don`t know how to use. You always tell on yourself and that has people so confused."


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There was no quid pro quo. There was nothing.

MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: When I talk to your foreign minister he pressures me all the time. It`s totally appropriate.

MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX NEWS HOST: Did the President threatened to cut off aid to the Ukraine?


MULVANEY: We do that all the time with foreign policy--

TRUMP: There was no quid pro quo unlike Biden.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: You did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden?

GIULIANI: Of course I did.

CUOMO: You just said you didn`t.

  TRUMP: There was no quid pro quo at all.

JAY SEKULOW, ATTORNEY TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: This is what partnerships do, it`s win-win.

What Rudy Giuliani is doing, is putting forward a position to defend his client. And that`s why he was involved in this.

GIULIANI: The President United States has every right to ask countries to help us in a criminal investigation--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That happens to ground (ph) a political opponent--

GIULIANI: Well, I can`t help that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see no smoking gun. I see no quid pro quo.

MULVANEY: Did he also mentioned to me and past that the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no quid pro quo. There is no improper leverage.

MULVANEY: That`s it. And that`s why we held up the money--


MELBER: That`s why we held up the money for bribery. So what happens next in this very real-life film? Well the one and only Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore is here when we`re back in just 30 seconds.


MELBER: As promised joining me now Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker author and activist, the one and only Michael Moore. Good to see you again.

MICHAEL MOORE, AMERICAN FILMMAKER: It`s good to see you here on casual Friday.

MELBER: Is it casual Friday? You decide, it`s "Fallback Friday."

MOORE: They were trying to put makeup on, I said, hey, there`s nothing you could fix here. It`s casual makeup Friday for me.

MELBER: Well they say if it ain`t broke--

MOORE: Well, that`s the other way to look at it. Yes, better a better self- esteem would help on some level.

MELBER: We just watched that accounting we put together. People have seen bits of that. To see it all together it`s quite striking. Could you write a story like this? And what does it mean when the protagonists start to come out and say we did it, we do crimes, get over it.

MOORE: Yes. Listen, this - I don`t want to - we have to take this seriously.


MOORE: It is obviously a Rolling Thunder Revue of comedy going on in the White House. Nonetheless, they`re still in charge. Every day their EP a is getting rid of regulations to protect us. Their interior department is selling off our public lands to oil and gas companies et cetera, et cetera, so the real things are happening, while we`re all are--


MOORE: --baffled by this implosion that seems to be taking place. And so, on one hand it`s good to laugh, on the other hand, we need to act as quick as possible and we`re all going to be OK if that happens. I do believe that.

MELBER: You`ve talked a lot about how regular people who aren`t politically obsessed the way some of us might be or news obsessed--


MELBER: Hear about stuff, learn about stuff and you`re uniquely - I would argue qualified for that when you look at how you`ve dealt with jobs in the manufacturing crisis, guns, which I`m going to get to, the Iraq war. You`ve looked a lot at how people come to understand the stories and how to change minds.

I wonder if what we saw from Mr. Mulvaney, whatever reason he did it, in your view is one of these inflection points that could change minds? Well, take another look, Michael, at more of this, because I think it`s still just sinking it in this busy time.


MELBER: Mr. Mulvaney coming out podium and pressed on the specifics of whether this was an attempt to get a foreign country to do it, tied to extorting a bribe around money and he says yes. Take a look.


MULVANEY: Did he also mentioned to me and past that the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely, no question about that. But that`s it, and that`s why we held up the money. We look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with that nation. And that is absolutely appropriate--

REPORTER: Withholding the funding?


REPORTER: You just described is a quid pro quo.

MULVANEY: We do that all the time with foreign policy--

I have news for everybody, get over it.


MOORE: This man, obviously, is going to be admitted into heaven. He told the truth. I mean--


MOORE: --you have to appreciate it on that level.

MELBER: Are you calling Mick Mulvaney an angel?

MOORE: I`m - no, no, the angels are already in heaven.

MELBER: You`re right.

MOORE: In order to get through the pearly gates--

MELBER: I got to tell you something, I don`t know if you know this about my background. I`m not really up to speed on the whole heaven thing.

MOORE: Yes. No, this is one of the great things about your religion, if I may, complement this. What - isn`t there like a third holiday or holy day we`re in right now? but basically the idea that there is no hell is brilliant.

MELBER: OK. But you say that--

MOORE: --all of us who had to believe in that--

MELBER: But you`re not a Trump--

MOORE: --we had difficult adolescence.

MELBER: You are not a Trump fan, but you are very positive on Mick Mulvaney, as you put it, you think he told the truth.

MOORE: Yes, he came right out there. All I can say - if this - if there was a movie version of this, somebody stuck him with a needle just before he walked out onto the stage there - with truth serum needle and he just went on and on saying yes that`s what we do. Yes, of course. Essentially admitting there is a quid pro quo. In fact, there`s many quid pro quos. We do this all the time.

And then admonishing us in good Catholic school fashion, get over it. It`s like, OK, I`m over it. I believe you. I believe that you, the President and whoever else was on that phone call, participated in a high-crime, the likes of which I never studied in school nor have I lived through.

And we have lived through some Presidents that I didn`t particularly care for, but they didn`t do this. And I think that - I`m just - I`m surprised, I got to tell you. There`s been like three weeks now through - since Trump essentially first admitted it that he`s still there. It`s it - I don`t know many people--

MELBER: You`re saying if you think someone say like President Obama did this, orchestrated it and admitted it, you think the wheels would move way faster?

MOORE: And not only that, President Obama being a man of conscience, would have had to say I screwed up in a big way. I put my personal self-interest ahead of the country. I put this interests of this other country run by a totalitarian leader ahead of our interests, and so I will have to resign.

Decent people throughout history have done that. That, of course, isn`t going to happen here. But it - I just think it`s amazing to me. And I and I have to say - can I just say a word of - Nancy Pelosi has actually done a brilliant job. And I see now that she`s trying to extend this.

Do you ever watch a "Wheel of Fortune"?


MOORE: And they ask for is there a "T", is there an "L" and they - and all of a sudden the phrase is up there. You can see it, everybody can see what it is. There`s still like four or five letters. They don`t just call it. They want to squeeze it out, they want to extend it a little bit longer to try and get a little more, till they say every last letter. That`s it looks like what`s going--

MELBER: --drawing in this out, she tangs with the President.

MOORE: She is drawing this out to get that last "W", that last "Z" whatever it is, because it`s clear to all of us now that, Ari, there is more. There`s more more.

MELBER: Well, if I can extend--

MOORE: There`s more than that server--

MELBER: if I can--

MOORE: --they`ve put more on that server.

MELBER: If I can extend your analogy - Speaker Pelosi doesn`t have to buy a vowel because Nick Mulaney just gave it to it for free.

MOORE: Yes. And he has also just spun the wheel and it`s hit and hit bankrupt--

MELBER: OK. What did it hit?

MOORE: Well it was going between lose a turn and bankrupt.

MELBER: Now we`re going to get to Monopoly, because I think it hit go directly to jail, do not pass go.

MOORE: People watching this right now think of us as that we know Wheel of Fortune that well.

MELBER: I don`t know what people think. Let me play since you`re shouting her around. Let me play a little bit of speaker Pelosi, because she`s been pressed on the time line before.


MELBER: And she has talked about this because she`s tangling with Mitch McConnell, who now says, if they sent it to him, he wants to do a trial by Christmas.

MOORE: All right.

MELBER: Speaker Pelosi, take a look.

MOORE: All right. Here we go.


REPORTER: Republican Leader Mitch McConnell seems to think that an impeachment trial in the Senate could wrap up before the end of the year.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I have no idea.

REPORTER: Is that an unrealistic timeline?

Pelosi: I have no idea. The path - the time line will depend on the truth line and that`s what we are looking for.


MELBER: This is where you come in, because I will tell you this.


MELBER: A trial is always a story. You don`t go into every single incriminating thing about the person. You figure out how to explain clearly to the jury. Here we - the jury is the Senate, but the Senators have constituents, which makes it different than every other trial.

Do you think that Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats have more they need to add to this story at this point or not?

MOORE: Yes and no. They have more that`s going to come out in the same storyline, similar to what happened with Ukraine. She`s right. We don`t need now to throw the 57 articles of impeachment up against Trump for the 157 things he did in these last three years. That would be crazy time.

They are very right to focus on this one thing. My feeling is that there is more there that`s come out. I think even just this week with the people that have been testifying.


MOORE: and what we sort of know what they`ve said. We`ve learned new things even this week that only put the nail in the coffin deeper.

MELBER: I really like listening to you. I think it`s really interesting the way you - just the way you talk and think. I want to fit in a break and when we come back I want to ask you about some news you made today, because you just made some political news, when we come back.

And the other reason that you`re here, folks are wondering what why is Michael Moore here? Because you`re doing some important work in the gun issue, which you`ve documented and worked on for a long time, we`re going to get to that as well. So that so everyone knows what we`re doing. We`ll be back right after quick break.


MELBER: We are back with Oscar winning documentary filmmaker, Michael Moore to cover a couple things as promised. Michael, we`ve talked about Trump. A lot of people interested in this next campaign. Have you decided who you`re backing in the Democratic primary?

MOORE: Yes, I`ve decided and I`m going to show it publicly tomorrow at the Bernie - "The Bernie`s Back" rally near the Queensboro Bridge here in New York.

MELBER: You are endorsing Bernie Sanders?

MOORE: And I`m endorsing Bernie Sanders, yes.

MELBER: Let me put the question like this, because people who know you well know your politics.


MELBER: I don`t think you were looking equally at everyone in the field. But briefly why Bernie Sanders over Elizabeth Warren, because they both speak to issues you`ve worked on.

MOORE: Well, first of all, I endorsed Bernie 30 years ago when he first ran for Congress. I went up to Burlington, Vermont, and appeared at a rally. It was the first time he ran. I was probably as good as they could get. It was like - it was just a few months after my first film and I flew up there.

And he basically had - he had three endorsers of like some note. Two guys that made ice cream for a living, Ben & Jerry, and as i said at the time, and one guy who ate ice cream, me. So it was the three of us.

MELBER: But why not warren?

MOORE: Well, I love Elizabeth Warren. Frankly, I`m - I believe the first person that ever put her in front of a camera, she`s been in two of my movies. I first met her back around 2005. And I thought that this woman needs to be running this country. I thought that--

MELBER: But not now?

MOORE: Well, I think - listen, there`s a lot of people - people are for Elizabeth, people are for Bernie. Why me for Bernie? Because Bernie understands the capitalism and the greedy form of capitalism especially that we have now is at the core of so many of the problems that we`re talking about. And he`s not afraid to come out and just say that, that that`s the problem.

MELBER: And you think he`s in a position to win the nomination and be President?

MOORE: Oh, absolutely. I mean, there was the Emerson poll in Iowa yesterday showed a head-to-head with Bernie, Biden and Elizabeth. Only one of them came out ahead of Trump and that was Bernie Sanders.

MELBER: Got it.

MOORE: So he`s absolutely - absolutely can win this. I don`t--

MELBER: I appreciate you breaking this news on "THE BEAT." I`m only retaking the mic to get to the other thing that--

MOORE: Yes, sure.

MELBER: --is so important.

MOORE: Sure. Yes, yes.

MELBER: And let me tell folks about where we`re at. Murder and suicide by gunfire, as we all know, are just a part of our daily life in America. We tend to remember and sometimes cover the most horrific mass shootings. Consider the nine gunned in Ohio, 22 killed in El Paso.

But take a look at what`s happened in the 75 days since those attacks. 112 more mass shootings. That`s when four or more people are killed. And this year, over 400 mass shootings. That`s more than one a day. And it`s part of why, as I mentioned, on a serious policy note.

Michael Moore is on "THE BEAT" and you are here tonight and that`s because MSNBC has partnered with you to air your documentary on this, "Bowling for Columbine." Let`s take a short look at that right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an American tradition. It`s an American responsibility to be armed. If you`re not armed, you`re not responsible. Who`s going to defend your kids - the cops, the federal government? No, none of them. It`s your job to defend you and yours. If you don`t do it, you`re in dereliction of duty as an American, period.


MELBER: You go out there, you talk to people, you take them seriously. How does that film apply now?

MOORE: The sad thing is that this film, which I made 17 years ago, could have been made this week. I mean, it is - it is maybe the most relevant of my films in the sense that nothing has really changed. In fact, it got worse.

I thought - when we made the film, this "Columbine" had been the first like big mass school shooting in the modern era and we thought we`ve got to make this movie and in making it we will put an end to this. There will not be another one.

And in our grandiose way of thinking that film matters, which we believe - of course, as you pointed out now, there is more than one a day where four or more people are shot. And it hasn`t gotten better, it`s gotten much worse.

And I`m so grateful that MSNBC contacted me after El Paso and Dayton and said we need to show this. And I said, I don`t think this film - even though it won the Oscar, even though it`s been on premium cable, but it`s never been on free cable.

MELBER: Yes, anyone can watch it on Saturday.

MOORE: Anybody can watch it for free this Saturday night. I`m grateful for you hosting the evening. You and I are going to speak after the film about the movie. And I think what I do in this film is present some ideas that don`t get discussed as to why we have the problem and perhaps how we can fix it.

MELBER: And I want to put up the number of guns, because you explore that in here.


MELBER: So much of this become binary. It`s like these legal debates - do you have the - look how excited I am. Do you have--

MOORE: That`s all your weapon is I would say.

MELBER: OK. Do you have the right or not? What does the second amendment say? And that`s part of it. But there is a bigger thing if we - if we look at this that we have 390 million guns inside the United States.

MOORE: Correct.

MELBER: Now, many of them are and will remain legal. What you explore is not, OK, that only. But what does it mean to have more guns than people, and how easy does that make it to kill yourself or others?

MOORE: All of that. First of all, we have a rising suicide rate. And using guns is now one of the most successful ways, sadly, to put it that way, of people killing themselves. But, Ari, of that 190 million - and maybe this is a piece - this is good news/bad news.

78% of our fellow Americans do not own a gun. We are not a nation of gun nuts. But according to "The Washington Post," 3 percent of people who own guns own almost 200 million of those 390 million guns. Just which 3 percent--

MELBER: --which is a lot of guns.

MOORE: They have built a stockpile in their homes, in their garages, in their bunkers and this is a serious, serious problem. So gun control is a big part of how to fix this. Obviously less guns, less murder. But we show in the film that countries that have a significant number of guns don`t kill each other the way we kill each other.


MOORE: Why is it we - why us as Americans? The film gets into this. And I basically end up agreeing halfway with the NRA when they say guns don`t kill people, people kill people. The movie says guns don`t kill people, Americans kill people. We`re the rare country--

MELBER: Yes. I`m so glad you said that, and as you mentioned, we`re going to get into it. Because what you are saying is some people have ideas about you and they imagine this film might be some sort of narrow, "left-wing diatribe." It`s not.

There are things in this film that I think would upset people in all sorts of ways. Some of it we need to be upset, as your argument in the film. But as you say it`s both guns and also trying to understand the way people are using them in America, which is why it`s so important.

I want to thank you for coming on "THE BEAT" and I want to tell everyone exactly what you need to know. Tomorrow night starting at 9:00 p.m. Eastern we`re hosting this special. You will be able to see, as mentioned the entire, "Bowling for Columbine" documentary as it holds up, 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

And afterward this new interview, longer, totally separate from what we just did with Michael Moore, the film "Americas Gun Violence Epidemic," and if you want, what some people say you can do about it. Very special MSNBC project. I`m thrilled to play a role in it.

And then when we come back tonight on "THE BEAT," there`s new legal peril for trump as he invites world leaders to come pay him at his golf resort and now some surprising voices accusing him of rank corruption.


  JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: This is about as direct and profound a violation of the emoluments clause as one could create.



MELBER: We`re following new accusations of corruption self-dealing as President Trump has invited world leaders to pay him at his own Doral Resort. Now some of the outrage is not just coming from Trump critics, but Republicans. Take a look at Congressman Adam Kinzinger.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): I`m not happy with it. Now, when you look - I actually read the emoluments clause again yesterday and it talks about titles and nobility and all this kind of stuff. I don`t know if it`s a direct violation, but it`s - I don`t understand why at this moment they had to do that. I mean, do it in DC, do it in Miami at a different resort--


MELBER: Do it anywhere, Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, said, "No one asked if this invitation is appropriate." And then, take a look at Fox News where there is a now blistering allegation that this is flat-out unconstitutional.


NAPOLITANO: The purpose of the emoluments clause is to keep the President of the United States of America from profiting off of foreign money. This is about as direct and profound a violation of the emoluments clause as one could create.


MELBER: House Democrats also say they`re taking action. There`s going to be a vote on a resolution that would formally condemned Trump holding the G7 at his own resort, and it also might be in need of a kind of a boost, because Doral has seen its revenue decline actually by 18 percent heading into 2017.

It`s also faced all kind of complaints ranging to the small like bedbugs, there`s a #bedbugssummit trending on social media today, not the greatest for branding. And then there`s the new controversy which comes amidst broader allegations of serious conflicts of interest.

A federal appeals court just this week reviving a lawsuit the challenge is Donald Trump`s ownership of a luxury Washington hotel. and then, yes, the elephant in the room, the wider impeachment probe, which is about doing this not just for profiteering, but to kneecap opponents. All of this the same type of problem, do Americans care about the allegations that Donald Trump is abusing his office?

Donald Trump has pushed all kinds of boundaries aggressively and brazenly and we`re seeing this pushback come swifter, harder and as we just saw from some elected Republicans. Now we`ll be right back with one more thing.


MELBER: And now it`s time for a special edition of "Fallback." I`m thrilled to be joined by Comedian and Writer Jen Kirkman. She has two stand up specials on Netflix, including "I`m Going to Die Alone" "And I Feel Fine."

The Atlantic named it one of their favorite stand up specials. She is also the author of the "New York Times" bestselling memoir, "I Can Barely Take Care of Myself." Little inspiration for all of us. And a writer for the Emmy winning series, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." She is currently on tour in the U.S., Canada and overseas - catch her anywhere, really.

Also here, our friend MSNBC Journalist Ayman Mohyeldin, he one of the first Western journalist to ever cover the trial of Saddam Hussein from inside Iraq. Did you know that? He also investigated how Saudi Arabia targets dissenters. This was following the tragic murder of "Washington Post" journalist Jamal Khashoggi and he Co-Anchor "Morning Joe`s" first look every day at 5 a.m. because that`s a time everyone is up.

AYMAN MOHYELDIN MSNBC HOST: Right exactly big demographic there.

MELBER: What`s on your fallback list.

JEN KIRKMAN, AMERICAN COMEDIAN: All right. This is what it was a guy driving a self-driving car recently, but he wasn`t driving and he was asleep. And I need this man to fallback.

I also need self-driving cars to fall back a little bit, because I`m not convinced we`re there yet with the technology. In other words just stay awake.

MELBER: We have some of the footage.


MELBER: This doesn`t give you confidence. This gentleman is asleep at the wheel.



KIRKMAN: Let`s look at this way. Most airplanes are on autopilot. They`re not actually - they don`t need to - it`s regulated. They`re not asleep. Like you just have to awake in case something happens.

MELBER: Do you think, and you work a lot with words. You`re very funny with words. Is this a problem with the branding in the words that some people hear self-driving.


MELBER: And they don`t hear it. What you just said they don`t hear autopilot which is a little different.

KIRKMAN: The autopilot is different. And I feel like driving is a big important part of self-driving. You`re still - you need to be alert and I have. It`s not a conspiracy, maybe it`s a good idea for a movie like the speed movie with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves.

I feel like some kid in his basement is going to hack into like the Tesla mainframe and make all the car start going 300 miles an hour and you have to be awake if something like that.

MELBER: Jen, have you ever seen anyone fall asleep at your shows?

KIRKMAN: Mostly, yes, I do. While I do you want in nursing homes too.


KIRKMAN: But, not. I have actually - I`m not kidding. Have had someone fall asleep in the front row and they were drunk. So I would say they were more like blacked out or passed out


KIRKMAN: It wasn`t because I wasn`t funny.

MELBER: How do you top, Ayman? What`s on your fallback list?

MOHYELDIN: Mine is definitely not that good. I was going to say. But one thing that I think matters is my "fallback" this week is the NCAA. You got California trying to allow athletes at universities to get paid. LeBron James came out and supported this, Bernie Sanders did as well.

These are athletes who are generating billions of dollars for their universities. They`re selling merchandise off their backs. The coaches get paid millions of dollars in these lucrative contracts - television rights. These students don`t get paid anyway.

We tend to think of it as the wealthy kind of you know athletes that sell these jerseys, but the NCAA has constantly been blocking that, not letting these kids get paid.

MELBER: Let me bring in Jen on this. Obviously, there was a period in your life when you were an amateur comedian. What was it like going pro?

KIRKMAN: It was great because that`s when you get paid. So they used to just pay us in drinks when you start out. And I mean, that doesn`t sound like that`s happening to them.

MELBER: Would that be Major - like people who go to see real comedy clubs in a big city and you would only be paid in drinks.

KIRKMAN: Yes. Yes. You get two drinks. And then - but they don`t pay your parking. They don`t pay for anything.

MELBER: Well this leads to another question obviously. Was the guy in the front row all fellow - was he a fellow comedian who fell asleep from too many free drinks.

MOHYELDIN: Maybe you just solved it - you just solved a mystery.


KIRKMAN: But I don`t know anything about sports, but it just seems logical to me that - especially like you said if you`re hurting yourself you`re going to need that money to--

MOHYELDIN: Take care of yourself--

KIRKMAN: --go to the E.R. maybe.

MELBER: I heard for your final fallback you brought some show and tell. We`re going to take a look at this polenta fad. Let`s have a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s polenta poured directly on your table.

Check the show and he wanted to share an old Italian tradition called polenta (inaudible). That`s polenta served right on the table or wood plank, family style.


MELBER: How do you feel about this fad?

KIRKMAN: It disgusts me. How - and then how do they pick it? Can I take your table from - like how do they clean it up? And what about splinters? You don`t know what`s going to happen? People swallowing wood--

MOHYELDIN: Maybe like a Scandinavian country. Can you imagine doing that in New York?

MELBER: Well, New York City - I mean you could have an A rating - you know the ratings, that you to have an A on the window and the table will literally have multiple small rodents on it.

So if they`re - if the rodents are dancing that`s not where I want my polenta. But I`m not a polenta. I guess I only have one more question before we go. What was this segment?

KIRKMAN: What do you philosophically?

MELBER: What is this that we are doing here?

KIRKMAN: I don`t know. I got - having some fun, giving people a break from the monotony of the news--

MOHYELDIN: Fallback.

MELBER: Both acceptable answers.

KIRKMAN: OK. What is the real answer?

MELBER: No those are both acceptable.

KIRKMAN: Oh, great. OK.

MELBER: The thing about "THE BEAT" is we welcome all answers. You define it yourself.

KIRKMAN: And beat goes on. That`s a--

MELBER: Boom. Beat goes on. And you know what I like going right off the table, not just polenta, but impeachment news. I want to tell you one more time what you see here on your screen. "Trump & Ukraine: The Impeachment Crisis," which I`m hosting this Sunday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, because we`ve had more news than days of the week to cover it.

We have a federal judge on because we`re going to talk about what Mitch McConnell just made news about, what it looks like to hold the Senate trial in the Congress of the sitting President if they get there.

I`m also going to be joined by a Senator who cast an impeachment vote. We`re going to look at the hearings that have been held in the past and what the lessons are for how you gather evidence in a way that works as opposed to not working for those who want to lead this impeachment probe.

Well we`ve been talk about the one time in history when a President was impeached for being a "disgrace in office" with a special historian on that story. "Trump & Ukraine: The Impeachment Crisis."

It`s 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC. And we think it`s more delicious than eating polenta right off the table. I hope you have a great Friday night and weekend. And don`t go anywhere "HARDBALL" is next.