CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Elijah Cummings as well. That`s all we have for tonight. We`ll be back tomorrow with more MEET THE PRESS DAILY. "THE BEAT" with Ari Melber starts right now. Good evening, Ari.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chuck. Thank you so much. We have a lot of news tonight Democrats preparing to take the Trump impeachment probe public. Rudy Giuliani looking to get his own lawyer, with his associates facing new heat.
And later tonight, our friend Tony Schwartz is here, and why Trump is on the run in this impeachment probe this week like never before.
But we begin with the mountain of evidence piling up against Donald Trump in the impeachment probe and Republicans openly experimenting with different and sometimes contradicting ways to combat or distract from that evidence.
Now the evidence is, as you may have noticed, pretty hard to counter directly. So we have seen other strategies, some Senators literally just sprinting from cameras without any comment whatsoever.
Others in the House storming that secure location yesterday and complaining as well that closed interviews and depositions are unfair. The top Democrats have pushed back on those, called them process critiques, by stressing that private interviews are routine for gathering facts in this kind of case and they prevent witnesses from trying to match stories and any potential cover-up.
They`ve also said, these Democrats that public hearings will come. And now there is news, Democrats are prepping a new phase of this impeachment probe, planning public hearings on the case for impeaching President Trump within weeks and as early as mid-November.
"The Washington Post" reporting, the star witnesses will include Ambassador Bill Taylor, who of course was Acting Ambassador to Ukraine. And not only spoke out on the quid pro quo or bribe issues, but really upended this impeachment probe this very week with that bombshell testimony that significantly advanced details and the evidence against the President, and specifically recounted the administration conditioning Ukraine money on getting a probe of a Donald Trump rival.
Democrats also plan to hold a public hearing with Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch who was on the inside and was an alleged target of the whole Ukrainian Giuliani plot. And that`s not all, "The Post" is reporting in this same story that I`m mentioning to you, the Democrats want to get John Bolton into a public hearing, noting that he made known all around the White House his visceral opposition to the Giuliani campaign on Ukraine.
And "The Post" reporting, testimony from Bolton could be particularly devastating for the White House, although was unclear whether Democrats would subpoena him.
So the Democrats offense here, their strategy is coming into view. First gather evidence for many of these witnesses in private then focus on a few key witnesses for hearings in public. So take just these three names, each worked at high levels for the Trump administration, each in various rooms as the Ukraine plot unfolded, each has public service credentials.
And they can detail a fact driven case of the evidence that House Democrats say would help impeach Donald Trump. And note something else here, and this is pretty straightforward, but worth pausing on. This is all a contrast to past House hearings about the Mueller report, which didn`t feature key witnesses like say Don McGahn or Paul Manafort.
And if "The Washington Post" reporting is correct that these witnesses could be devastating to Trump, also note the top Republicans have now boxed themselves in to supporting these potentially devastating hearings. Maybe it is a case of be careful what you wish for. If everyone agrees the fair thing is to launch into these public impeachment hearings.
Now not all Republicans are focused on only process. Trump has been publicly demanding they get tougher in defending him and now key ally Lindsey Graham is pushing the Senate to formally condemn the House impeachment probe, adding this today about Trump and the infamous Ukraine call.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): He keeps telling us he did nothing wrong. He keeps telling me that the phone call was perfect. I`m saying Mr. President the phone call was OK with me--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: All right. Now when you read Senator Graham`s actual brand-new resolution, and I have it right here, it does not propose a law or even suggest the Senate do anything. Instead what this does is criticize the House.
In fact, if you flip to the end - it`s only five pages, it lists basically three things that it calls on Speaker Pelosi to do. Hold a floor vote about the current probe, give the President due process and give away subpoena powers to the Republican minority of the House, which is not how the House is typically organized.
Now let me be clear with you. Senator Graham knows the House doesn`t take orders from the Senate or vice versa. And the Senate also has the upper hand here, because any impeachment, if there is one, will ultimately go to the Senate for the final call - a trial or acquittal or conviction.
So this resolution is basically mostly theater today. It doesn`t impact the probe at all. But as Senator Graham was trying to score those points along the way, he did end up endorsing Trump`s Ukrainian call. OK with me he said, and that will become key to all of this if the House impeaches.
The Senate, at that point, cannot just pass resolutions criticizing the House or any other part of the government. It will have to act, it will have to hear and decide on a case. And some Senators may say anything goes or anything goes if it`s in their party or they`re OK with a President apparently according to multiple witnesses extorting a political bribe from a foreign country.
Others may not be OK with that. They may decide that some votes - may be very few votes, maybe just one vote, but some votes can be bigger than politics or news cycles. That some votes actually still around here they still make history and they certainly determine how history remembers you.
I want to get into all of that right now with a great panel of experts with me, Christina Greer, Political Science Professor at Fordham; a digital journalism pioneer, Jacob Weisberg; and Vince Warren, Executive Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights. Good evening, everyone.
JACOB WEISBERG, FORMER SLATE GROUP CHAIRMAN: Hi.
CHRISTINA GREER, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR: Hey, Ari.
MELBER: I begin with you on the point that even in a cynical environment where people like to ignore facts, is it the case that not every Senator or every Republican Senator will jump to the Lindsey Graham position that was unfurled today. Which is,"it`s all good, it`s all gucci, it`s all OK?"
VINCE WARREN, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Yes. That they won`t and they shouldn`t. The Republicans totally overplayed their hand when they stormed the Bastille, and they were like these things are happening in private, they need to be in public. They`ve been running around, trying to defend the President, which essentially is an indefensible position.
At the same time that the President is trying to get his - the folks that could give information to Congress to not do it. There was an - a letter that went from the administration in the State Department to Laura Cooper`s lawyers saying that, "We don`t think that these hearings are fair. You shouldn`t testify, because one of the reasons is because they`re not allowing State Department lawyers to come in."
Of course, they`re not going to let State Department lawyers come in, because the State Department is essentially at issue here - what was going on there. So the administration is trying to push back--
MELBER: You`re saying that the Democrats` theory of the case, whether it`s proven or not, is that the problem is parts of the State Department were being pulled into the commission of a crime.
WARREN: Absolutely, and that`s what the information is demonstrating. And for Republicans who - once this information comes, they`re going to have a choice to make as to whether they`re going to you know stay with the President in his big mouth and anything-goes.
Or they`re actually going to look at some of the evidence and say, what has history demanded that we do as Congress to rebalance the powers of the administration and our congressional allies.
MELBER: Yes. And coming after yesterday, which may have been a theatrical stunt of all the House Republicans, basically chanting - and people used to say "no justice, no peace." They were saying, "no public hearings, no peace."
WEISBERG: This looks like the skiff sit in.
MELBER: Right. Right, which - and we discussed on the show yesterday that it - any attempt to do the civil disobedience analogies is - wears thin quickly. But at least their argument was, we`re going to shut this down, even though we work here and we know the rules.
But today you get the - you have "The Post" and you have the other indications saying, all right, OK, no peace until we have public hearings. We`re going to have a bunch of public hearings.
WEISBERG: Ari, I think we tend to look at this through a Watergate lens. But there`s an important difference. Watergate, Republicans were fundamentally loyal to President Nixon until the evidence got so powerful that it overwhelmed their loyalty.
There is no loyalty to Donald Trump. What there is, is self-interest and fear. These Republicans think their odds of keeping their jobs, of getting reelected are better if they stick with Trump who is still 80 plus percent with Republicans, then if they come - if they switch sides.
MELBER: Well let`s pause on that, because you`re making a very deep point, I think. And I`m going to invoke Christina Greer whose views I`m familiar with. Christina Greer of 2019 has the same view of Donald Trump as Lindsey Graham of 2015 - illegitimate race-baiting bigot. I`m quoting the Senator and you said those things on this program.
MELBER: The difference that you`re drawing is, as Trump accrued more power these people have publicly pretended otherwise.
WEISBERG: And - but he`s only renting them by the hour. And the day their self-interest appears to be greater getting rid of Trump, they`ll jump in a second. And that`s why it looks like - it looks like a wall right now.
It looks like the Republicans are holding firm, but if Trump`s Republican support drops from 80% to 60%, you would see Republicans in swing districts and in swing states, I think switch sides. It`s like the show succession. There`s no loyalty. They`re just temporary alliances.
MELBER: Who is Jerry? Well, Jerry is a very ruthless, but brilliant general counsel.
WEISBERG: Well - it depends which side, right? I mean, we--
WARREN: Rudy Giuliani.
MELBER: Early Rudy.
WARREN: Early Rudy.
GREER: Well, I mean, here`s the thing. I mean, this reminds me - what you are saying reminds me of Machiavelli actually, which is provinces that are easily won or easily lost. So Donald Trump is building this coalition of men who are afraid of him, who are doing whatever they can.
It is theater. They are going in front of the cameras. Donald Trump has already castigated the media and they`re pledging their loyalty. We see this every Sunday when they go on the Sunday shows. We see this with every press conference. Where they know that he is watching television, because that`s what he does as the President of the United States.
The problem is, Donald Trump has broken so many norms in the beginning parts of his presidency that he thought that that was OK. The language he uses, sort of his hiring and firing practices, the fact that we haven`t had a Press Secretary actually give any sort of response to the nation.
The difference is now, we`re realizing that he`s breaking laws - bribery, quid pro quo, talking to foreign leaders and giving them information about our interests, our intentions. And so he doesn`t fundamentally understand the presidency, as I have said from day one. And I know for a fact that he`s not read the Constitution.
And had he read the Constitution, you would realize that an Article I of the Constitution is the legislative branch. And they have a significant amount of power and he doesn`t understand how the House can conduct themselves in a manner where he`s just not the king and not in charge. And so had he read the Federalist Papers he would understand that the separation of powers in Federalist 51 make it such that all branches are equal in the eyes of the Founding Fathers.
So because he doesn`t have an understanding of the United States government and our operations and our practices, he is now painting himself consistently in a corner and we`re going to see him lashing out and demanding things of his sycophants. And they`re going to do it temporarily until they`ve realized he is a walking embodiment of quicksand and they`re going to have to leave him at some point.
MELBER: Let me come to you--
GREER: Hopefully, they will sort of stand up for the nation and not just for a man.
MELBER: And thinking my Lindsey Graham, who clearly - who was by the way an attorney and is very close to the President and is kind of self- volunteering to be the lead here, just as he was with Kavanaugh on behalf of the President.
Let`s look a little bit at the history of Lindsey Graham on these very issues. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: The process you`re engaging in regarding the attempted impeachment of President Trump is out of bounds--
A meaningful presentation on why the House managers and the House of Representatives believe Bill Clinton committed high crimes--
Lot of people want to get Trump and they don`t give a damn about how they get him.
To cut this trial short, to believe these criminal allegations unanswered, will do a lot of damage.
I think it`s dangerous to the presidency.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: So I don`t - I don`t know if he knows that we have YouTube.
WEISBERG: An impeachable offense is not the same as a crime. We got to keep coming back at this point. There are crimes that are not impeachable offenses like if Donald Trump punched somebody, would - could be a felony, but not individual offense. And there are impeachable offenses that are not crimes. Impeachable offenses are abuses of power.
MELBER: Yes. And I think punching somebody almost goes - it sounds like something serious. It`s a felony, as Vince can remind us, to destroy a mailbox. Right?
MELBER: But any President, any public official who happened to destroy a mailbox is unlikely to be impeached.
WARREN: Unless they were trying to destroy some evidence again--
GREER: Inside the box--
WARREN: --from inside the mail - inside the letter, inside the mailbox. But the Bill Taylor test was one of those things that we`re so inured to Trump after all the outrageous, but - that really brought home again how shocking and outrageous this behavior was.
I mean, first of all, what he was doing to Ukraine, a small independent European nation that`s an ally that has part of the country under siege from Russia. That is living on the lifeline of our military aid.
To hold that military aid, to hold them hostage based on a personal political demand of the President, is something that should make every American and every Republican and Lindsey Graham mad as hell.
And the Bill Taylor, this guy who is clearly not a partisan, who is a lifetime public servant, didn`t want to be in this position, didn`t want to be there. But he`s spent his career defending the country - a Vietnam veteran.
I mean, you got a look at this guy and say something is wrong that this man is being put in this position.
WARREN: I totally agree. And getting back to Christina`s view of the Constitution. The Constitution is the floor below which no President should go. And what we`re hearing from the Republicans now is that the Democrats are somehow holding the Constitution over the President`s head.
And if they`re holding the Constitution over the President`s head, that will tell you how low this President and this administration has gone to the point where loyal State Department officials are defying orders not to testify in order to say that this is actually more important than these playing field team.
MELBER: Well, and that goes - that connects this whole conversation, Christina, right? Because the fact that you have people saying we won`t testify and then people saying private hearings are bad, but we don`t really want public hearings, and then we don`t really want to get into it.
I mean, what is so fascinating in the contrast we mentioned earlier not reporting to the Mueller report was, the key people spoke to Mueller in private, but they wouldn`t speak in public - at least in a reasonable amount of time. And that actually kind of froze up a stalemate there.
We had a lot of Democrats for impeachment and a lot not, and that`s kind of where it ended after all that. And here in a matter of weeks the number of public officials, including people like - as mentioned, Taylor, Yovanovitch, to some degree Bolton - if the reports are correct.
These are basically either nonpartisan people or people who are willing to take senior posts in the Trump administration - Bolton being a conservative. And it`s exactly their evidence that can come out in public hearings and change everything.
GREER: Right. And - but what I think - you`re saying is that it`s going to be our regular public servants who are going to possibly say this democracy. The people that we have elected to represent us. We have seen that a vast majority of Republicans have not been doing their job. They have pledged their loyalty to the President and not to the country.
And so when we move forward with this - I mean, there`s so much fear of people who work in and around this presidency, because they know that Donald Trump can only have fiefdom. Right? We`ve talked about how he never really had real Boards. He had one or two companies that had a Board. But the rest - the vast majority of his businesses, it`s just him as the king, everyone does as he says.
And so he thinks why can`t we just do this in DC? And so moving forward, we have to get more and more Republicans to understand that if they do not act now they`re really - essentially destroying the democracy. And whether they`re doing it so that they can run for office later or have a little payout or they`re afraid of something from their past, it`s like get over it, we need the nation to move forward.
MELBER: And that`s a point we`ve made in our reporting. That`s the difference between the alleged Russian collusion in 2016 and the bribery plot for 2020. 2016, people can disagree about it, but even Bob Mueller - and I read that report more than once, did not conclude that the evidence showed an election crime plot. So that`s where that landed for Mueller.
And here whether it`s Mr. Bolton talking about the crack pipe and the drug crime and get me out of the conspiracy or these social servants, and you all just detailed and I`m not going to repeat it, or other experts that we`re reading about are all saying no, no this is a plot. It looks like the crime and it`s coming from inside the White House.
If you don`t step up to that, and you`re kind of saying in public it`s OK to do election crime. And as you say, that that brings in the democracy in peril. I`ve to get a break. Final thought?
GREER: Well, we need people to come out of the shadows and it is a very difficult thing to do and they will be sort of the saviors of the democracy, but a lot of these anonymous reports. In some ways aren`t helpful, because the President hides behind the fact that it`s anonymous. So it has to be build up--
MELBER: Right. And you`re talking about the - some of the whistleblowers remain anonymous, more and more people come out. It`s all happening and that`s what makes it such an interesting time to follow it. Christina Greer, Jacob Weisberg, Vince Warren, a deep conversation. I appreciate it.
Coming up, Giuliani uncorks a new defense that will not work. We`ll explain why later. A GOP insiders here on the pressures facing the party on impeachment. And a new lawsuit is target Jared Kushner`s company.
And later, something special we do around here, we bring out co-author or the "Art of the Deal", Tony Schwartz. He`s got some new ideas. We`ll let him explain. That`s coming up on this special edition of "THE BEAT" on MSNBC.
MELBER: Let`s start off like this. Rudy Giuliani has done a lot of interviews. He`s said a lot of things. I bet you know about that. But that is actually starting to change and it might be because he`s feeling the heat.
Two of Giuliani`s indicted associates are back in court, pleading for now not guilty to campaign finance charges. And while Giuliani had said he doesn`t think he needs a lawyer right now, as of tonight CNN reporting, Giuliani has been approaching defense attorneys for - yes, possible representation.
And while Giuliani was not to be clear and fair mentioned in this indictment, we do know the feds are reportedly investigating him. And even from what`s just publicly known, many parts of the probe look sprawling.
It`s searching e-mail accounts, people`s social media, several electronic devices and this, perhaps most strikingly, "several identified" - I should say "unidentified premises." And that means, we would expect people going to search homes or businesses or some other premises, which is a big deal.
Not only that, but add up 50 different bank accounts have been subpoenaed. So that`s what the federal criminal case looks like, and that`s enough, that`s a lot. Then there`s the scrutiny on Mr. Giuliani`s dealings with the State Department, which is central to the impeachment probe and Giuliani on a lot of that stuff he practically invited it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP`S ATTORNEY: I never talked to Ukrainian official until the State Department called me and asked me to do it. And then I reported every conversation back to them. And, Laura, I`m a pretty good lawyer - just a country lawyer. But it`s all here. Right here. The first call from the State Department, the debriefing of the state department--
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: So why are they--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: It`s all right there. And notice, he`s not just saying his contacts are there, he is putting forward an argument, some would call it a defense that the State Department was giving him direction. Well, you just heard from our experts in the previous segment on this show, as well as a lot of other evidence that State Department officials say was the opposite.
Now all that phone waving could obviously invite some scrutiny, and well, that`s something on this show we reported at the time. It seemed like Giuliani was practically asking for a subpoena.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: He just held up his phone. Is he begging for a subpoena?
MAYA WILEY, FORMER COUNSEL TO MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Oh, yes, he just flat-out asked for one. And, frankly, he should have been getting one even if he hadn`t held his phone up--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And with her without the phone wagging, yes, he`s been getting them. There are new signs that Giuliani`s calls and texts could further become public because a federal judge is ordering a State Department - get this, to release records on Ukraine, which would include communications between Giuliani and Secretary of State Pompeo.
Now that is a different lane. It is a lawsuit that had asked basically for the government to release materials from a watchdog group. But all of this is adding up. You have Giuliani defying a congressional subpoena for related documents. He was also named in new congressional testimony as a leading and "regular person," A regular foreign policy efforts that he was leading.
And two former federal prosecutors, who of course we`ve had on this show, Joyce Vance and Barbara McQuade, have a new analysis writing they believe Giuliani could actually be indicted "now" for various crimes, including conspiracy to commit bribery and interfere in the elections.
So person who ran around like he was in charge of something legitimate, getting State Department orders, is now being allegedly pushed into a lot of trouble because he`s getting called out for allegedly - and I say that to be fair, but running a shadow foreign policy.
The people who worked for the actual State Department on the other end of the phone wagging, the phone waving, the text, they are testifying they opposed him. They worried about the lines he was crossing. And Giuliani is insisting, OK, OK, if you could grant all of that, he has a new reason for everything he did. Check it out. "It was all to discover evidence to defend his client, presumably Donald Trump."
Well, legally, that doesn`t mean much. He can gather all kinds of information for any client, including Mr. President, but he can`t break the law for the President, just ask Michael Cohen.
I want to get into all of this on the Rudy defense and how it ties into impeachment with a former federal prosecutor and a journalist who`s followed Giuliani for many years when were back in just 30 seconds.
MELBER: I`m joined by former Federal Prosecutor, Paul Butler; and Columnist, Mike Lupica. Gentlemen good evening.
PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Hey, Ari.
MELBER: Paul, I begin with you. As like Rudy you`re former federal prosecutor explain it to us what--
BUTLER: That`s the only thing we have in common?
MELBER: You tell me.
BUTLER: I hope so.
MELBER: He is looking for a lawyer. He is changing his tune. He hasn`t been on air recently. What do you see here?
BUTLER: I think he badly needs a lawyer. He`s the subject of two sprawling investigations, one, a counterintelligence investigation by the FBI. Remember in that infamous call, Trump told Zelensky talk to Rudy. Rudy`s a back-channel of foreign policy. John Bolton had concerns, Ambassador Taylor had concerns, Ambassador Yovanovitch had concerns.
And so there`s legitimate questions about whether he`s compromised, is he working for his Ukrainian business interests or is he working for the United States?
MELBER: Yes, walk us through that part, Paul. Because I just - on that point, right - double agent, who`s he working for? He says he`s working for Trump. That also serves to be his view that he doesn`t have to register for any other governments that he might have ended up helping or lobbying for. But we`ve seen DOJ crackdown on exactly that.
BUTLER: So he`s got access. We know Ari he`s not the greatest lawyer in the world. What clients hire and for is his access to the Oval Office, and he fully exploits that. He`s in a meeting at the State Department and he lobbies the Secretary of State to get one of his clients released. In the Oval Office he brings up other clients.
And so you know this is not someone who`s acting on behalf of the interest of the United States. In that Tweet yesterday where he said," Everything I was doing was for Donald Trump." Ari, in the prosecution world we call that a confession. He wasn`t working for the United States. He was all about the Donald.
MELBER: Well, you just put your finger on something that`s subtle, because it might sound like, oh wait, in traditional times with a different President, so if you say you did something for the President it might at least sound good, even if it`s not a legal defense.
But as you say here if he`s doing it for Donald Trump - the candidate Donald Trump`s political or business interests, that`s the whole thing that the House is looking at is potentially impeachable.
Mike, before I bring you in, I think, you are the perfect person with your judgment, with your measurements, your measured analysis to look at recent Rudy Giuliani with what we know now that he`s under investigation and that the pressure is building.
Here he was relatively recently making his defenses. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS HOST: --there is no claim even in lawsuit that Joe Biden knew about this.
GIULIANI: Howard, you can`t be that naive.
KURTZ: No, no. no. Hold on, hold on--
GIULIANI: 20 years of Washington press corps that was--
KURTZ: We will get to that--
GIULIANI: I say, brother, cut it out, damn it. As opposed to, I don`t know about it, I didn`t hear it. And you all buy that. Bull.
KURTZ: Rudy, Rudy, Rudy--
GIULIANI: --in charge of Ukraine. They make 5 million--
KURTZ: Rudy, I got a hard break coming up.
KURTZ: We have the transcript of the call--
GIULIANI: Shhh! Shhh! I know you want to defend it so bad.
KURTZ: I don`t want to defend anything. I`m asking questions. I am asking questions.
GIULIANI: You do, you do, it`s pathetic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE LUPICA, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Ari, who other than this President looks at this Rudy Giuliani and sees Clarence Darrow? I mean, it starts there. Who hires him to be his new fixer, because his last fixer went to jail? I`ve been watching this guy for so long and this is the Rudy Giuliani of his second term - the one that was stumbling through the bar, until the planes hit the building.
MELBER: And do you think when you look at him - because you say this as someone who`s been a reporter and watched Rudy Giuliani, do you think that Donald Trump basically sees something different? Because we`ve discussed a lot, you used the Clarence Darrow. Of course, we`ve discussed that Trump himself has said he wants a Roy Cohn.
LUPICA: He is impressed by Giuliani - celebrity. He`s going back to the guy who got called America`s mayor for doing his job after the planes hit the building. He is enamored of celebrity. He is enamored of star power. But he hasn`t been looking at who this guy is.
He is the old crime buster, the old prosecutor out of the 1980s. That ship sailed a long time ago. And you have seen this guy playing to the Fox News audience like those are the only people listening to him. And every time I watch him, every time I watch him, I think of an old list - the great Dan Jenkins made of the "Ten Stages of Drunkenness." And it could be drunk with power or drunk with arrogance.
Number nine is invisible and number ten is bulletproof. And that`s what this guy started to act like when he made himself a de-facto Secretary of State.
MELBER: Yes. And I want to be clear, he - I do - you mentioned Secretary of State. He auditioned for that job publicly, Paul, he didn`t get it. He`s clearly acted here in ways that seem against his own interest. We talked about him needing a lawyer.
And, Paul, we heard from David Kelley who worked for Giuliani and mentioned that he really respected him as a prosecutor back when he worked for him. But doesn`t understand what`s happened to him. Sees him it`s almost a Greek tragic figure.
And I wonder Paul, as a fellow prosecutor, what you see there and what you think of that? I should mention in passing, we`ve had Jay Sekulow on, who`s sort of his co-counsel to Donald Trump as a legal team and we`ve invited him on the show before. We`re happy to have him back to discuss any of this.
But Paul, how do you see that as someone who`s had such a drastic shift even from people we`ve had on - who say positive things about his career, his record?
BUTLER: So I`m going to answer that question as both a federal prosecutor and an African-American man. I think the African-American and Latina community in New York has always known the truth about Rudy that he puts politics over policy. That he acts in ways that seem racist. That he has his own interest at heart.
He`s got a long checkered record. He had a shining moment when he stepped up when our country was under a horrible attack on September 11. Since then, I`m going to disagree with my buddy here. I think Trump knows exactly who Rudy is, that`s why I hired him.
Trump once sought Roy Cohn, but be careful what you ask for. Roy Cohn got disbarred. We know who Rudy is by the people he hangs out with. He has this bizarre web of relationships with Parnas and Fruman, these two guys who were indicted recently.
Sometimes Rudy worked for them. He was their lawyer. Other times they worked for him. They were part of his legal team helping other people, including Trump, get dirt from the Ukraine`s follow the money. When are thinking about these guys, these associates is they seem like they`re kind of broke.
Parnas, he gets sued because he`s not paying his Miami Heat season tickets. He and his wife get evicted from their property and yet his business gives a $325,000 donation through a super pack--
MELBER: I got to fit in a break. But Mike you know we call that? We call that a closing argument. Paul Butler with strong views and receipts. And you two disagreed about some things, which we welcome around here. Different perspectives. Paul Butler, Mike Lupica, thanks to both of you.
Coming up in this show, we have a former Congressman calling on his fellow Republicans to condemn Donald Trump`s alleged Ukraine scheme. And up next look who it is, Tony Schwartz, co-author, "Art of the Deal." How are you doing?
TONY SCHWARTZ, CO-AUTHOR "THE ART OF THE DEAL": I`m doing well.
MELBER: He is here when we come back.
MELBER: President Donald Trump apparently feeling the pressure from this impeachment probe, now calling Republicans who opposed him "human scum" and of course, made waves by trying to say that this lawful investigation was a "lynching" earlier this week.
This may be part of the product of the absence of a clear legal defense or even a message war room. It`s a go it alone response from a man who has famously declared, "I alone can fix it" and he deals with the ultimate self-inflicted crisis with some problems. Trump haunted by testimony from the very diplomats who he`s been attacking.
So right now we turn to an expert, Tony Schwartz, Co-Author of the "Art of The Deal," friend of "THE BEAT," who says today it is Trump`s own worst instincts that have him behaving erratically and that are boomeranging on him.
Now I want to show you something as we get to Tony. Donald Trump has always been aggressive. That was his brand. But take a look at just one comparison. How his once conversational tone - decades ago to outline that aggressive style - has turned to what critics today say is a full-on meltdown.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I`m one relenting to people that treat me badly.
They know they can`t win the 2020 election, so they`re pursuing the insane impeachment witch-hunt.
I fight hard when I believe in something and I`m good to my family and I`m good to my friends.
These are bad people. My phone call, as an example, with the president of Ukraine, was perfect. We`re dealing with some very sick and deranged people--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And now joining me for our "State of Mind" series again, back on "THE BEAT," Tony Schwartz, CEO of the Energy Project, author of "The Way We`re Working Isn`t Working." Nice to see you.
SCHWARTZ: Good to see you.
MELBER: You say that while much of this is in the same ballpark in content, something else is happening with him as he faces what could be existential pressure.
SCHWARTZ: Well, I think he`s a different person as we all are under what he experiences, and in some way rightly as a survival threat. I mean, there`s no question that his presidency and therefore his whole sense of himself is at tremendous risk now.
And I think as most people do, but particularly those people who have a limited repertoire, when we are under stress what we tend to do is double down. And what worked for us in the past becomes a liability - becomes even in his case, self-destructive. So aggression turns into insistence and demand and viciousness that ends up coming back on him.
MELBER: So that brings us to the real wildest part of this as a story. You told me at once how you would sit with Donald Trump while he worked the phones, and you kind of had to just track all of his different rambling ongoing stuff. And to be fair, he did achieve certain things. He was effective in certain ways, although, many people find him highly amoral.
But this is not effective what he`s done here. What do you see as someone who`s been around those phone calls in the significance of the day after the Mueller testimony when he might finally take a gasp, when he even Republicans and conservatives who feared that the Democrats would impeach for anything, they didn`t.
And the Mueller testimony was seen certainly in Washington, whether people agree or not, Washington saw it is not enough to impeach. And he turns around the next day and gets on this call and does this undoing as you put it of his presidency.
SCHWARTZ: What I see is that he`s a person who has a death wish that`s always been there, a self-destructive impulse. The way he views the world is that nearly everyone, now, is out to get him. And what he does is, he creates the evidence to reinforce the view. It`s like a vicious cycle. So he`s constantly making true what he in his paranoid way fears is true.
MELBER: That that his raw cynicism, you say everything for him is basically transaction. It`s hard for him to understand even the notion that there are ethics in government or business right?
SCHWARTZ: The word is invisible to him. Definitely--
MELBER: So you`re saying that in that cynicism, he then uncorks things that create a cycle that then reinforces his cynical view?
SCHWARTZ: Yes. it`s funny to call it cynical. I think, it`s lit more literally a need to see the world as against him at all moments, because then he can be reactive and responsive and in his mind protect himself--
MELBER: And say this is how it is.
SCHWARTZ: Right. But you know the defense nearly always produces exactly what it`s meant to defend against. So he`s bringing his worst fears to life by doing what he`s doing.
MELBER: Yes. I mean, when you talk about then trying to get the world to react in certain way, it`s classic Joker and Dark Knight Rises, where he pits the two boats against each other. He wants to prove people will kill each other for nothing. And then he watches hoping though they`ll live that out, because he has that belief. I don`t want to give away the end, so I won`t.
Stay with me, often we sit here and we do whatever you want to call this.
MELBER: --just me and you around a table. But I want to advance the conversation with someone who knows Trump in a different way, a former Republican Congressman Carlos Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo, who`s been quite critical in public of the Ukraine call. Thanks for joining me and Tony.
FMR. REP. CARLOS CURBELO (R-FL): Good evening from Miami, Ari.
MELBER: Good evening. Welcome to Miami as Will Smith would say. So you hear Tony. You`ve spoken out and served alongside with Donald Trump. What do you think of Tony`s points and is that part of what`s happening here?
CURBELO: Yes. I think President Trump is that kid, that friend that we all had maybe in high school that does something wrong and then you ask him, "Hey, why did you do that? Didn`t she know there was probably a good chance you were going to get caught?" And he says, "Yes, I knew I was probably going to get caught," and they don`t care.
And that`s the only way to really explain or understand this behavior, Ari. Because as you said, right after the mother testimony he makes this call. While this scandal is breaking, he defies congressional Republicans with this Syria action. Then he decides to choose the Doral Resort here in Miami for his - for the G7. I mean, this is someone who wants to get in trouble right?
MELBER: So what do you think your colleagues, particularly on the Senate side, are thinking right now? We definitely saw something this week who didn`t sound like the House Republicans, who didn`t sound like Senator Graham. But who we`re really walking away from this after Ambassador Taylor and at least didn`t want to be in the front edge of defending this on Ukraine.
CURBELO: There`s a lot of introspection going on in the Senate right now, specifically in the Senate Republican caucus, Ari. There`s a significant group of Republican Senators who understand the gravity of this. Understand that this isn`t just about one man, Donald Trump. This is about the institutions that keep people free and safe and that have made us the greatest country in the world.
My family fled a country where the institution`s broke down and they lost everything, so I`m particularly sensitive to this. And thankfully there are many Republicans who are as well. They`re not yet speaking out, some are - very few. But I think what we`re seeing in the House from a small group of House Republicans is far different than--
MELBER: Let me bring in Tony, but let me also build on the Congressman`s point, which is, there`s been several blowbacks already - the Syria foreign policy issues, the reversing himself on the hotel. And Mitch McConnell, who obviously appears to be trying to walk the line, but he`s publicly saying, "hey, you can`t believe everything Trump says about this investigation." I want to play that for you. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I read Mitch McConnell`s statement yesterday and he read my phone call. And as you know he put out his statement that said that was the most innocent phone call he`s read. And I spoke to him about it too.
REPORTER: The President has said that you told him that his phone call with the Ukrainian President was perfect and innocent. Do you believe that the President has handled this Ukrainian situation perfectly?
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): We`ve not had any conversations on that subject.
REPORTER: So he was lying about that?
MCCONNELL: I don`t recall any conversations with the President about that phone call.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHWARTZ: Well, I want to go back to the point that the Congressman was making, because I so disagree with it, and I know you invite this.
MELBER: We do. Congressman get ready. Are you ready?
CURBELO: I`m ready.
SCHWARTZ: I do not buy the idea that Congress - that Republican members of Congress are going through introspection. They have known the truth about Trump for the three years plus that he`s been President. And what they`re going through, or if they`re going through a kind of introspection, is an introspection about their self-interest.
Their self-interest has told them, regardless of the threat to the institutions of democracy, I`m going to protect myself. Now what they`re saying is, maybe supporting Trump isn`t in myself--
MELBER: Right, you`re saying it all comes back. Let me let the Congressman response. Sir?
CURBELO: Well, Ari, a couple things. Number one, I`m not a mind-reader. I`m only going by what I`m hearing and what Republican Senators have told people. Number two, that clip that you just played of Mitch McConnell that is significant. Anyone who knows Mitch McConnell knows that, the typical answer from Mitch McConnell would have been, I don`t discuss my private conversation--
MELBER: Right. Don`t get into it.
CURBELO: Mitch McConnell did not say that. He made a point to say that what the president had stated was untrue. That is a big deal. I understand for a lot of people that`s not enough. But for those of us who follow this closely and who know these characters, we know it`s significant.
MELBER: I`m over on time. So you each get one sentence. Tony?
SCHWARTZ: I agree that Mitch McConnell did something very unusual. He did it, because he recognizes that the tides are shifting and maybe it`s in his interest to push against Trump in a way he never has.
CURBELO: I think anything`s possible. Those people who assume that Republicans are just going to fall in line the way they have for the last three years, might be in for a surprise. We`ll see.
MELBER: Very end thinking about what each of you are saying, and the interplay in between. Tony Schwartz and former Congressman Curbelo, thank you so much.
CURBELO: Thank you.
SCHWARTZ: Thank you, Ari.
MELBER: Fit in a break, and then we turn to something we haven`t had a chance to get to all evening yet. A new lawsuit, very interesting, against the Jared Kushner company. That`s next.
MELBER: Another news tonight, a Jared Kushner linked property management company now being sued over, what critics say, are poor housing conditions. It`s a brand-new suit and it is from quite a credible source, Maryland`s attorney general.
And it alleges that Kushner`s company has victimized consumers. That their housing units "are infested by rodents and vermin plagued with water leaks that have caused mold and other issues. And at times lacking even basic utilities end."
Now to be clear, Kushner has stepped down as Chief Executive in 2017 when he went into White House service. But Kushner company spokesman also says that the entire lawsuit and the allegations are "bogus." Now in 2017, Baltimore County officials revealed Kushner`s company properties were actually cited for more than 200 code violations, that`s in one year, and many people might consider some of this ironic.
Consider that in July it was none other than President Trump - father-in- law and employer of Mr. Kushner, who attacked Baltimore as a "disgusting, rodent infested mess." These same accusations leveled in a court of law, and a company linked to, of course the Trump family. That`s one more thing we thought you ought to know. And we will be right back.
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MELBER: You`re looking right now at live pictures from Capitol Hill. Chairman Elijah Cummings is lying in State. Tomorrow Presidents Obama and Clinton will both speak at his funeral, as well as Hillary Clinton, a politician he supported.
We should note "The New York Times" reports that Chairman Cummings was known for many things, including his record on civil rights, government oversight, is the first African-American elected official to lie in State in the United States Capitol. We wanted to mark the occasion and show that to you. And MSNBC`s coverage will continue of that tomorrow.
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And that does it for our program tonight. Thank you, as always, for watching. "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews is up next.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END