ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: --to low what happens when you win?
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: I - well, you`ll just have to find out on Monday.
MELBER: I got a question. If the tan suit was controversial for Obama, I am waiting for you to be in a full Washington Nationals suit red from top to bottom.
TODD: Yes, the full suit - yes, there you go.
MELBER: I`ll say we`re rooting for you, which is easy for me, because I had to be reminded the Astros are who you try to beat. So I`m on your team by implication. I trust your judgment.
TODD: All right, brother.
MELBER: Knock them dead.
TODD: Good luck.
MELBER: Good luck.
TODD: Thank you Ari.
MELBER: And we`ll be watching on Sunday. Thanks to you at home for watching and joining us right now. Baseball is very important. So I get that - American pastime.
But I want to tell you we have a big show tonight. This is actually our first show since the blockbuster news broke. The Bill Barr`s Justice Department is doing what Donald Trump has long asked, and what Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein and James Comey resisted, which is a criminal investigation of the Mueller probe itself, apparently designed to help Donald Trump and discredit or even jail his opponents.
Now, I am going to tell you looking at this story factually and objectively as we try to do, but I`m also fired up, because this is a very important story. It is tonight about the integrity of the rule of law and democracy, in the Trump era, in America. And so we begin our show tonight with a breakdown of that that we`ve been working on basically all day.
I also should tell you, since we have a big show, that later this hour we dig into signs that some Republicans think Donald Trump is actually blowing it on impeachment. And also later, new developments on the escalating probe of Rudy Giuliani.
And by the end of the hour, I can promise you the great Mark Thompson will join us for a special discussion, including something important that we don`t always get to with these busy news days, work on diversifying America`s boardrooms. So we have a lot in tonight`s show.
But here is the top story. As the congressional impeachment probe into Donald Trump is accelerating with new witnesses and new corroboration of the Ukraine plot and a new Court ruling late today against the Trump administration, which now orders the Justice Department to handle over redacted materials from the Mueller probe to House Democrats who sued for.
As all that heat is getting turned up on the Trump White House, Donald Trump`s hand-picked Attorney General Bill Barr is making good on Donald Trump`s demands, several of which are illegal. If you take Donald Trump at his word these are the demands to "investigate the investigators."
Now for months Mr. Barr has overseen a review of the original Russia and then Mueller probe, so that`s something you may have heard about and that`s going through materials and talking to people et cetera.
This is different. Tonight we are waiting into new territory for the first time, because the report is that probe has turned criminal, which means new powers, new threats, the prospect of new punishments against the very people who were investigating Donald Trump and his campaign in his aides. An investigation which we have to note before we go any further, famously found a crime spree by the likes of Manafort and Gates and Cohen.
And that is the context for this "New York Times" blockbuster, Bill Barr`s Justice Department opening a criminal inquiry into its own Russia investigation. I`m going to leave this up for you, because just look at those two words - "its own" - its own Russia investigation.
That is where the obvious conflict begins, raising questions that are potentially bad for Trump and Barr. How does the DOJ credibly investigate the DOJ? Who exactly is the target for a crime here? Is it Mueller, is it Rosenstein, who Trump appointed, is it Sessions, is it Barr? Those are, of course, the senior DOJ people who oversaw the probe. Barr is the one who finished it.
Now he is investigating if the probe itself caused crimes. Is he going to judge his own performance in this process that he and Trump now say includes potential crimes? Well, the answer here is suspicious. Right? Because here is how "The New York Times" carefully refers to those problems.
"Barr`s move creates an unusual situation in which the Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation into itself." Of course, under the rules, you`re never supposed to investigate yourself, that`s why there are recusal, which everyone, remembers had Jeff Sessions step aside. That`s why there are special counsels like Bob Mueller. They are appointed when the DOJ is leadership has a conflict for a needed investigation.
Now, of course, few people think Mr. Barr is using this to actually investigate himself or his friends and allies. The evidence points to something more like an abuse of law enforcement powers to target rivals.
And here`s how that same "New York Times" article reports this noting, "The news may raise alarms that Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies. Mr. Trump fired James Comey and his long assailed other top law enforcement and intelligence officials. And has made clear he sees the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies."
That itself may sound harsh. That`s just an objective report based on the public facts. And as with the Ukraine scandal, some of the most damning evidence against Trump about his intent and his goals here, comes from Trump. Just today, he confessed those goals again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Investigate the investigators, whether it`s Strzok and Page, whether it`s Clapper and whether it Comey and all of these people, because terrible things went on for our country. And we have a great Attorney General, highly prestigious man, a very honorable man and they`ve been looking at it for a long time--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And "The New York Times" is reporting the Justice Department is reviewing these people inside the Mueller probe for potential crimes. That means the Justice Department has to suspect or believe or claim it can prove the evidence of crimes or crimes were committed as part of this probe.
So, again, who committed the alleged crime here, if there was a crime? Is it Rosenstein, is it Mueller, is it Comey or their staff? No one is suggesting they would automatically be above scrutiny, but the President already gave away the game. And this is so important and that`s why I`m spending time on this with you tonight.
As this Congress considers the existential question of trying to remove a sitting President from office over allegations of abusing his power to demand investigations of a political rival, because this new criminal probe follows the arc of Trump demanding investigations into his rivals - real and perceived.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If I win, I am going to instruct my Attorney General to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation.
PETER ALEXANDER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Who specifically are you accusing of treason?
TRUMP: If you look at Comey, if you look at McCabe, if you look at probably people - hot people higher than that--
This was an illegal takedown that failed, and hopefully somebody`s going to be looking at the other side--
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Did you discuss Joe Biden, his son or his family with the leader of Ukraine?
TRUMP: It doesn`t matter what I discuss. But I will say this, somebody ought to look into Joe Biden`s statement--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Now legally candidates, politicians have all kinds of latitude for rhetoric, and that`s fine. I want to be very clear with you. The news tonight shows, this is way beyond rhetoric. The pieces are falling into place from D.C. to Kiev. And you can see the arc of Donald Trump`s plots working against his rivals or detractors.
You can also see how his overkill in these quests can sometimes backfire and it`s caused his presidencies gravest legal woes. I want a report on both in this breakdown for you. The public targeting of his perceived rivals one-by-one - you have James Comey, who Trump pressed to favor his friends like Mike Flynn and go after Trump`s detractors, like Clinton and journalists.
Now, remember, Comey resisted those requests and then Trump fired him and then turned the same tactic against Comey, as you just saw, demanding he be investigated or indicted for crimes.
Then there`s the FBI official who literally replaced call me to run the FBI, Andrew McCabe and we know Trump`s DOJ investigated him already this year using so many questionable tactics they actually were rebuked by a federal judge. They`ve also faced demands to clear up whether a grand jury rejected an attempted indictment of McCabe for some comments he made in 2016.
Now those are Trump`s public demands to go after some of the top leaders of the FBI. This news is that there is now a DOJ probe into the Russia investigation, which means the new probe can still be deployed again against Comey and McCabe. The Russia probe, right, those were the people in charge then.
And Donald Trump clearly thinks Bill Barr is helping do what he asked for. That adds context to Donald Trump invoking Barr in the same breath as Giuliani in the plot that has brought him so close to impeachment, which brings us to another attempted abuse of the investigations to go after rivals - the Bidens. Donald Trump brazenly telling a foreign government that Barr could help them do that - a kind of outsourced investigation, and Ukraine has gone along with part of that.
Now if you look at any one of these cases in isolation, then hypothetically it could look more defensible. When you take them all together and you see this incriminating pattern, Donald Trump systematically demanding the government`s gravest powers to investigate, to detain, to incarcerate be deployed against the people who`ve served in government to run the probes that he opposes. Or, as you see there in red, Joe Biden to dare run against him in the next election, they shall all be targeted.
And so, now amidst everything else that`s happening and obviously there`s a lot happening, you have the confirmation that DOJ has the Russia investigators under investigation inside the U.S., while the top Trump rival faces a similar process abroad as demanded by Donald Trump.
So I`ve laid this all out, because it`s important to take it together. What does it all mean? Well, first, Donald Trump`s no longer just attacking the rule of law by demanding the probes of his rivals; his DOJ is going along with it.
When people tried that in the Nixon era, it ended with some pretty senior Nixon appointees in jail. Now that`s a straightforward part. There`s a second revelation that I have to share with you that you have to understand here if you`re keeping an eye on the potential impeachment of the President.
It has become common, especially among Trump defenders, to try to separate Trump`s Russia problem and his Ukraine scandal. And the refrain is often that well look Democrats couldn`t get him on Russia, so now they`re trying to impeach him over Ukraine.
But tonight with this reporting, more than ever before, this "New York Times" bombshell shows that for Trump these are not two different problems. It`s all part of the same single obsessive activity. Allegedly abusing government power to go after rivals, that`s what Trump did in firing Comey over Russia which happened and that`s what Trump tried to do in demanding his staff kneecap the Mueller probe, which ultimately did not happen.
But it`s also what Trump did in demanding Ukraine go after Bidens, which did happen. So what does this mean? Well, sometimes he gets the outcome he demanded, sometimes he doesn`t. Sometimes he gets the outcome and it blows up in his face.
I mean, it`s pretty remarkable when we step back and consider that the two acts which have haunted Trump`s presidency the most are times when he was actually effective - firing Comey which brought him Mueller and demanding this Biden probe which brought him closer than ever to impeachment than anything else.
And thanks to the whistleblowers, we know these moves were not separated by any time at all, Donald Trump watched Bob Mueller testified before Congress about firing Comey and the evidence of Trump`s obstruction, and thought that whole thing was wrapping up. And now we know the very next day he pushed Ukraine to go team up with Bill Barr on going after Biden.
And before I turn to our experts, I want to tell you something else. When that story first broke, you may recall, there were these leaks that seemed pretty friendly to Bill Barr that he was "angry to be mentioned or pulled into that plot." But tonight Bill Barr is the one driving the ultimate Trump plot, not in Ukraine, but right here in the United States. Investigate the investigators and see if they can get away with it.
I turned out a Michelle Goldberg, Columnist for "The New York Times" who has kept a close eye on this story and Conservator Journalist, Bill Kristol, Director of the group Defending Democracy Together. Good evening to you. My question to both of you is, is this worse than anything we`ve seen before, Bill?
BILL KRISTOL, DIRECTOR, DEFENDING DEMOCRACY TOGETHER: Well, we don`t know - obviously, don`t know really what`s being investigated. There could be criminal acts by someone in terms of national security, dealing with classified documents and all that.
So I actually have more confidence than you do in the Department of Justice under, not far, but in these - I do not believe it`s going to be easy to get career prosecutors of the Department of Justice to indict people for things they shouldn`t be.
We can - we`ll hear from these individuals were being targeted and their defense lawyers if they are targeted. I - so, I am not actually as alarmed about this. And I think frankly think it`s a mistake from the point of view. He should be impeached for what he did on Ukraine. And I hope that actually that the Democrats in the House stay focused on that that. That`s the key thing to happen.
This could be - we`ll see how this plays out. We don`t know really who`s being investigated for what, and I think it`s a distraction. I honestly think they want this out, because this is a distraction. We`ll get into some incredibly complicated discussions where - suddenly the critics of Trump and the ones who say don`t investigate anything.
Well that`s not a tenable position. Maybe there`s something it should be investigated. So I`m totally suspicious of Barr`s motives. But as a tactical matter, I think people should mostly ignore this until we hear more about what`s going on.
MELBER: Michelle, your view when you look at - Bill is saying, well, maybe this one need to investigate. I think the issue is that we have a system of rule of law in this country and you don`t just get a criminal investigation of people, particularly based on your disagreement with them.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, COLUMNIST, "NEW YORK TIMES": Well, I think, a couple things. I mean, first of all I don`t see why anybody would give Bill Barr the benefit of the doubt. And what we know of his investigation so far is that it has been this ludicrous globe-trotting escapades to try to substantiate Donald Trump`s conspiracy theories about - that would exonerate Russian involvement in the 2016 election. Right?
He`s going to Italy to try to find out if George Papadopoulos was set up. He`s basically trying to make this conspiracy theory a reality. And in a way they`re doing the same thing with his investigation into the DOJ. They`re basically trying to discredit or at least call into question the very origins of the Russia probe.
It`s the same thing that Donald Trump was demanding when he called the President of Ukraine and asked him to open an investigation into this wild fantasy that it was really Ukraine and not Russia that intervened in the 2016 election.
MELBER: Right. And you`re putting your finger on another point here which is why did Donald Trump so confidently within the secrecy of that call think the Bill Barr would do everything he wanted in a foreign plot to go after an American, which is a huge deal and goes back to Ukraine.
So my point - I`ll give Bill another chance to weigh in. But, I think, Bill, may be giving too much benefit of the doubt to everyone saying it`s one and not the other. Let me play a little bit if any benefit of doubt
MELBER: I`m going to get you back in. But let me play a little bit of Mr. Barr testifying about how he also - before he took this job - was in discussions about whether to be Donald Trump`s personal lawyer. Take a look.
WILLIAM BARR, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: I had just taken on a big corporate client that was very important to me and expected a lot of work. And I said at my point in life I really didn`t want to take on this burden. I didn`t want to stick my head into that meat grinder. I said, you know, actually Mr. President right now is - like, I couldn`t do it. I just - my personal and my professional obligations are such that I`m unable to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: I`m going to go Michelle and then Bill.
GOLDBERG: So can I - I was actually I was in Ukraine a couple of weeks ago and I was investigating some of these corrupt prosecutors that have been feeding information to Giuliani and that are completely discredited among serious people in Ukraine.
And one of the things they did, one of the things that made them so corrupt was that they refused to investigate actual corruption and use the power of their office to target political rivals. Right? That`s what happens in either emerging democracies, failing democracies, that`s the kind of thing that we used to consider to be in unimaginable in the United States.
And I think that right now we have in our government kind of a civil war - an internal civil war between the forces of autocracy and corruption and the forces of the rule of law. You see it playing out in these government officials defying the - defying their orders of their superiors to go and testify and say what they`ve seen.
One of the most frightening things to me about this investigation is the message that it sends to those people who would uphold the rule of law within the government. Right? It basically says if you investigate the crimes that Donald Trump has probably committed in the past and seems to be continuing to commit, you risk not just political disfavor, but actual prison.
KRISTOL: Look, I agree entirely that Bill Barr has behaved discreditably and there were real threats of autocracy here in the U.S. I just think we need to see what happens in this. Look, his globe-trotting, it was ridiculous and it`s been discredited and it`s done no - nothing was accomplished by it.
It was - it would it be better for other people like us three months ago to say Bill Barr shouldn`t look into anything that we should say there are ways the mechanisms to do it correctly and there are ways and mechanisms to do investigations internally correctly, and let`s see if those are being followed and that something reporters can find out and that something defense attorneys will know about.
And I - so I have a little more confidence in the internal structure of the U.S. government, not to be at the personal disposal a Bill Barr. Bill Barr`s motives could be very bad. But I do think it`s a mistake to try to lump it all. I mean, it`s fine to lump it all together as a narrative, but it we shouldn`t lose sight of the fact of what the President did.
The President is the one who`s in charge and getting off on Barr and Giuliani and all this, I think at this point to the House of Representatives, at least, needs to stay focused on what Donald Trump did and what he what punishment he deserves for doing it. And what action needs to be done to prevent him from doing this in the future. What`s the easiest way to stop the Barr investigation and impeach and remove Trump.
MELBER: Well, you`re passion about the impeachment issues and the underlying Ukraine scandal and I have good news for you, Bill, although I think you already know it, which is I want to bring you back later in the hour and a special piece of that, so you`re going to stick around, right sir?
KRISTOL: If you wish.
MELBER: As you wish.
KRISTOL: Your wish is my command.
MELBER: I do wish. So we thank Bill Kristol and we`ll see him later this hour. I want to bring in another legal expert who`s actually done congressional probes and a federal prosecutor John Flannery good evening, sir.
JOHN FLANNERY, FORMAL FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Hello. Good evening.
MELBER: Good evening to you. I want to bring you in with Michelle on the next piece of this, which is - I`ve laid out our reporting of why this is so concerning. Michelle added views to that, Mr. Kristol gave a note of caution, which is well maybe people inside DOJ would still resist anything that was untoward.
I bring you in as someone who`s been on the congressional and prosecutorial side. How unusual is this review, if you imagine a world where there wasn`t a red-hot impeachment probe going? But we just take this on the four corners of what it is. I don`t recall when Fitzgerald finished his special counsel review or the Iran-Contra special counsel review finished or even a Starr (ph) who was controversial for reasons.
I don`t recall something like this being ordered by the respective Presidents. Walk us through in your view how rare and potentially concerning is this to you?
FLANNERY: Well, I think, it`s historically unprecedented. And if you want to talk about in a view of power or whatever species you want to put on it, this is it. We have not been the kind of government that targeted our political foes and used an investigation in order to get reelected by discounting what had been proven in a long investigation of 20 months.
And I think it is also a way to get if the intelligence community. In fact, what you see is a theme of censorship from this government. The IGs are concerned that they want to step on whistleblowers, we have this investigation. And we talked about him going - Michelle mentioned how he went to Italy.
One of the reasons they say they opened this investigation is because in Italy he got information and Italy has specifically denied that they had any information that was helpful to the thesis that Barr is doing in his globe-trotting.
Think about it, why do we have a U.S. Attorney from Connecticut for offenses that they claim the venue is here in Washington D.C. Why does that happen? And you can start a - they always talk you can start a grand jury investigation with a ham sandwich.
But here I think we have less than that. I know if we have a leaf of lettuce. We have we have what they call scintilla of evidence, which basically are against the government. This reminds me of the Ibsen`s "Enemy of the People." The enemy is the hero. And Ibsen`s "Enemy of the People," a doctor tells an entire community we have to be careful the water is poisoned. But then they turn on him for economic reasons and he becomes the enemy of the people that he would save.
We have seen this President, and through his tools, including Barr, make the enemy of the people the press, that goes out and tells us the information. They run down the information, they lie about it. They do everything that would make Goebbels proud. And at the same time, they denigrate the Department of Justice in a way that has never happened.
And we`ve had some outrages with Mitchell and Kleindienst and Meese and others. But this, they go into the crime Hall of Fame for running down the Justice Department in my opinion.
MELBER: And what do you see is the context at a time when the Ukraine scandal first broke the Justice Department rushed out a highly unusual statement that they saw no crime whatsoever, they weren`t investigating anything.
MELBER: Then we have today, what you just alluded to. I want to put up on the screen. We haven`t gotten to this yet. A highly stark and unusual letter from all the independent inspectors general saying that basically the watchdogs think that not referring Ukraine whistleblower was wrong. It could undermine the role whistleblowers play and coming forward to report waste, fraud and abuse and misconduct.
And add to that the fact that meanwhile, as DOJ says, "Oh, nothing to see here." An independent office in New York, which everyone`s heard of, is going after and indicting incurring investigating, Giuliani. Do you think there is an effort here by Donald Trump to say, well, if I can get Bill Barr to scare anyone who does investigations that they might be the next one under the under scrutiny, maybe they`ll just take a step back.
FLANNERY: I think that`s exactly right to chill them. Although, I can`t imagine they`d ever discourage Brennan from saying what he thought and fighting as a patriot for what is the right view of how America is supposed to act.
Like this was to make America great, again we have made America a small place in terms of its values and how we conduct business. We are considered weak around the world, because he defers to Putin and his actions. And so I think that we`re at a point where it`s critical, delays on impeachment and delays on calling him out on this stuff and restoring the Department of Justice as a once was, they`re escaping us.
And every day he does something terrible and it`s a difference. He used to talk about these things and scare people to distract us, but now he`s doing it.
MELBER: That`s the--
FLANNERY: --he started a criminal investigation without a referral.
MELBER: That`s where I agree with you. And people know we try to get a lot of different views and reporting on the show, but we also air it out honestly. And I agree with you on that more than some of I think what the counter-argument is.
Because, Michelle, this is not a Tweet, this is not an announcement, this is not a rough rally speech. Michelle, this is "The New York Times" confirming that the thing that started as a review has turned criminal and anyone who`s been around any of these probes understands that gravity.
GOLDBERG: Yes. No, I mean, I think Bill Barr - the Donald Trump presidency is a danger to the Republic. But in some ways Bill Barr is more dangerous than Donald Trump, because he has - he kind of takes Donald Trump`s instincts or takes direction from Donald Trump, but has some degree of competence to actually enact them.
And, again, I think the next 12 months in this country are going to determine whether America remains some version of the America that everyone watching this show grew up with or whether we become a second-rate banana republic.
MELBER: Yes. I think you put it our starkly, and I know it`s Friday and I want everyone to have a good Friday night and a good weekend. But I take no joy in saying that this story does move things to a much darker place. And it is it is certainly not a good Friday and not good news when you see what`s happening the Justice Department. Michelle and John, thank you so much.
FLANNERY: Thank you, sir.
MELBER: Appreciate both of you. Coming up White House officials privately admit they are losing on impeachment. We`ll explain. Meanwhile Republican senator is saying Donald Trump is "unhinged" and says the dumbest things. Rudy Giuliani - and this is what happens I have to say it, he "butt-dialed an NBC reporter and accidentally left a voicemail with all kinds of stuff." We`ll play some of it for you.
All that plus, as mentioned, Mark Thompson and Master P and a very special fall back including discussing diversifying America`s boardrooms. I`m Ari Melber. You are watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.
MELBER: Turning to a whole different story. There are new signs the criminal investigation into Giuliani is escalating, federal prosecutors subpoenaing the brother of one of Giuliani`s associates who was indicted by the Feds. They reportedly blew the door off a safe to get an evidence in this and they are probing $0.5 million payment those defends made to Giuliani.
So there is the action by the famously independent prosecutors in New York. By contrast, Mr. Barr`s DOJ has not been as aggressive since Ukraine scandal broke. They even rushed out that announcement that they weren`t probing much of this, because they didn`t think there was a crime.
But, now with New York so out ahead of them, the DOJ Criminal Division has announced as providing an expansion of resources to the Giuliani related case, which could make it broader and go at a much faster pace.
We`re going to dig into this with two expert guests when we`re back in just 30 seconds.
MELBER: And we are back with former prosecutor Barbara McQuade. She actually wrote a draft potential indictment what it might look like of Rudy Giuliani as well as political reporter Natasha Bertrand. Good evening to both of you.
BARBARA MCQUADE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Good evening.
NATASHA BERTRAND, POLITICO, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Ari.
MELBER: Barbara where do you see this case going?
MCQUADE: Well, the point that George Vance and I made in drafting this indictment is to show that based on just publicly available information you could today charge Rudy Giuliani with conspiracy to defraud the United States by interfering with the fair administration of elections. You could charge him with conspiracy to commit bribery and you could charge him with contempt of Congress.
that being said, I think that if I were a prosecutor, I would continue to investigate, because there is at least some smoke that there may be additional charges like campaign finance violations with Parnas and Furman, money laundering charges, potential tax charges, and all of that evidence that you could get on Rudy Giuliani gives him an opportunity to cooperate against others higher in the criminal organization that being President Trump.
MELBER: Natasha, I have dealer`s choice for you tonight. Do you want to speak on that and build on Barbara`s point or do you want to get right to the voicemail?
BERTRAND: The famous "butt dial?"
BERTRAND: I think I want to go with that.
MELBER: OK. See we go where you`re ready to go. Barbara`s covered that ground pretty well. Let`s now take a listen, as I mentioned earlier in the show, this is unusual, but it certainly happens. And Rudy Giuliani talks to all kinds of reporters. He accidentally called back and left a voicemail that basically became a impromptu surveillance. Here is some of it in the transcript will be up on the screen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP`S ATTORNEY: You know, Charles would have a hard time with a fraud case, because he didn`t do any due diligence. Tomorrow, I got to get you to get on Bahrain. You got to call--
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold on--
GIULIANI: You got to call Robert again tomorrow. Is Robert around?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rob, he`s in Turkey.
GIULIANI: The problem is we need some money. We need a few hundred thousand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: As a reporter, what do you think when this happens and what do you glean from it given that there`s so much intrigue about the way Rudy Giuliani does business and allegedly mixes it with a different client his access to the sitting President.
BERTRAND: Yes, so he`s done this before. He actually has a reputation for accidentally calling reporters and leaving lengthy voicemails with his voice in the background discussing things that maybe he shouldn`t be discussing.
But, this is a little bit - it comes at an important moment, because Rudy Giuliani is under so much scrutiny for all of the foreign business ties and business dealings that he has and has been doing for the last several years.
So the fact that he`s talking about Turkey and Bahrain in this phone call really just drives that home. And, of course, Turkey is particularly sensitive at this moment, because one of the main things that Giuliani was trying to lobby the Trump administration on was letting this Turkish gold trader and this Turkish bank case go. That was very important to the President of Turkey, Erdogan.
So this is just yet another example of Rudy I think being a little bit of a loose cannon. He`s gotten off TV, but he`s still making these kinds of mistakes. And just to build off of what Barb was saying before, he has a lot more to worry about.
Because as we`re reporting tonight, the Justice Department`s Criminal Division is now joining with the Southern District of New York to kind of broaden the investigation of Giuliani and of his associates and look at kind of the entire picture of Giuliani`s financial dealings, his business ties and potential FARA violations.
MELBER: Yes. And so, Barbara, I want to be clear just as a human being anyone can leave this kind of accidental message. There`s no great significance to that. But as a as an investigator, based on what`s on the call, do you view this as merely a little bit sloppy technology, embarrassing? Or do you view this as potential evidence?
MCQUADE: It could be potential evidence. I will tell you that lawyers are sort of ultra-careful about these kinds of things, because to the extent, it contains anything that might be attorney-client privileged information. Lawyers would typically package that back up and give it back to him and so wouldn`t listen to it.
So I`m not sure what to make of it in light of the fact that he`s not acting as a lawyer here, but as a target of investigation. So lawyers tend to be ultra-careful about these things and to disregard them.
MELBER: And so, Natasha, what do you see as the timeline here when Congress is going to go full steam ahead in the Ukraine probe that obviously touches on these allegations around Giuliani while he`s in a criminal probe, which no one necessarily would have predicted. But it seems to put a lot more pressure on that over the coming weeks.
BERTRAND: Yes, and of course, they`ve experienced this before. Right? With wanting to question witnesses who have been in the middle of a criminal investigation. We`ve experienced that with the Russia probe and now they`re experiencing it all over again. They want to call witnesses who are really enmeshed in things that are going on in Southern District of New York, the courts in Washington DC.
So they`re going to have a little bit of trouble getting all of the witnesses that they want. I imagine it`s going to be really hard for them to get Rudy Giuliani, for example. But the Democrats are having no shortage right now of witnesses. I mean they`ve been very pleasantly surprised with the amount of - current administration officials who have been defying the administration`s orders, essentially, for them not to appear before Congress.
And they have a whole mountain of evidence. There`s so much evidence that they really don`t - they don`t want to stop. They want to keep this kind of parade of people coming to the Hill going for as long as they can to make the strongest case possible, to the point where they don`t really even have a timeline themselves at this point.
MELBER: It`s fascinating and it`s a lot happening at once. I appreciate both you giving us perspective and insight. Natasha Bertrand and Barbara McQuade, thanks to both of you.
MCQUADE: Thanks Ari.
BERTRAND: Thanks Ari.
MELBER: Appreciate you. Up next, reporting on this impeachment fight, as mentioned including some stunning quotes out of the White House and Senate Republicans.
MELBER: As the evidence mounts against President Trump and another impeachment witness is testifying tomorrow over the weekend. There are these new reports that Trump`s own aides admit they are losing the current impeachment debate.
And it`s not just with the public, one Republican Senator complaining about the way Donald Trump is speaking and free styling his own defense, saying, "Does he need to be so unhinged? He says the dumbest things and doesn`t know when to quote just shut up."
I am joined, as promised by the return of Bill Kristol. Good evening, sir.
KRISTOL: Good evening again.
MELBER: We look at this is a Republican Senator telling the president to shut up on impeachment. It seems to be a concern that they would rather he said nothing than defend impeachment the way he has been.
KRISTOL: Yes. Even that I think is a Republican Senator sort of wishing to pretend that if only Trump didn`t say stupid things then they`d be off the hook of having to decide whether he did impeachable deeds.
It`s no longer about Trump being obnoxious and offensive and even doing other - trying to launch other things that might well be dangerous, like this investigation of Justice.
The House Democrats are compiling a record - a factual record. I think they seem to have done a very good job in these private depositions with Republicans they are, obviously, with Republican or Democratic counsel totally in accord with the rules, I think they`ll do that and they`re on a fast track.
They`re going to finish, so I think the private depositions and testimony within a week or two, go to so maybe a week of open hearings. I do think they will have impeachment on the floor of the House in early or mid- December and I think and you we`ll probably--
MELBER: And you think he`d be impeached?
KRISTOL: I do and I the--
MELBER: Before Christmas?
KRISTOL: --White House - I think likely - yes, likely with maybe some Republican votes. Certainly a big, better chance of a dozen or so Republican House votes than one would have thought a month ago.
And the White House is panicking, that`s what`s happening, that`s why Trump is lashing out at everyone, and truly as the Senator says unhinged ways. That`s why Lindsey Graham is floating this ridiculous resolution telling the House how to do its business and giving Republican Senators something like before, which is, oh, we don`t we don`t like the House Democrats procedures. What does that have to do with--
MELBER: Right, you`re saying panic over - right, over procedures, Bill. I want to throw up some of the Internet`s take on this, because sometimes it`s the flash examples.
This is what they call you know a storytelling by meme. "The impeachment hearings should be public", that`s them saying that about Republicans. Democrats this is going around the internet, respond. "They`re depositions. Depositions are always private."
From there you get the meme response, saying, "I`m a congressman. I should be allowed in." Followed by, "You`re on a relevant committee, you are allowed in." And it goes on from there. "I know, but my party wrote these rules. I`m making a scene to pander to my base."
As you know, Bill, in politics sometimes what you get hit with on SNL can burn in a perception. Do you think they`re airing by focusing on process?
KRISTOL: Well, I think, it`s what they - the only thing they can focus on. Because they - even most of them or even the reasonable Republicans who might affect don`t want to defend Trump on substance, and even is true loyalists don`t really want to defend him on substance, I mean, that`s why they`re storming the hearing room and stuff, which has its own terrible effects in terms of our democracy and how much of a Banana Republic we look like we`re becoming.
But I come back to the fact the White House and Trump and Trump supporters are in a pretty serious panic, I`ve got to say. And when you talk privately to Republicans on the Hill, Republican Senators, they`ll sign on to Lindsey Graham`s resolution because it kind of takes them off the hook for a while and they`re criticizing the Democrats.
But a lot of them are privately saying we need to see the facts. But we are not we`re not saying right now that it`s inconceivable that we would vote to convict Donald Trump.
MELBER: That`s quite a statement and it`s coming for Bill Kristol who knows his way around, conservative Washington. Thank you, sir.
KRISTOL: Thank you, Ari.
MELBER: I appreciate. Coming up, we have more on what`s going on, not just in impeachment. But Donald Trump losing ground in a key issue that we`ve continued to cover around here. How children are treated and how he is backing down in the very different area on family separation.
MELBER: President Trump losing in his stonewalling strategy today and not just in his battles over impeachment or hiding the Mueller probe. The administration now forced to cough up new details about one of its most controversial policies - family separation. Something Trump`s border czars have infamously struggled to defend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BONNIE WATSON COLEMAN (D-NJ): Does it differ from the cages you put your dogs in when you let them stay outside? Is it different?
COLEMAN: In what sense?
KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, FORMER UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: It`s larger. It has facilities. It provides room to sit, to stand, to lay down.
COLEMAN: So did my dog`s cage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Facing blowback and court losses, Trump had claimed family separation was essentially over. But the ACLU has taken Trump to court, arguing part of the policy is in effect and demanding more details be revealed.
Now, tonight, I could tell you part of that push is working, a judge forcing the administration to reveal new details about how many children this government has ripped from their parents. Now we knew the number was originally estimated to be about 2,700 children. Today the ACLU`s case reveals it`s over 1,500 higher, most of them under 12.
I can tell you it can be hard to appreciate the actual human reality of these as numbers. Of another 1,556 children whose lives are irrevocably different now. And however much the administration tries to hide the numbers or the facts, or the reality, it is clear many human rights groups are staying on the case. And I can tell you, we will stay on this story.
Now up ahead, something I mentioned earlier in this show, our friend Mark Thompson is here. We`re going to get into something very important.
MELBER: Time now for a special edition of "Fallback". I`m joined tonight by music mogul and entrepreneur Percy Miller, also known as, of course, as Master P. Founder of the multi-platinum music label, "No Limit Records", which brought you hits you remember like Make `em Say Ugh and produced stars like Mystikal and his son Romeo.
BET named him one of the most influential rappers in black music executives of all time. And Master P. has moved from music into a wide business portfolios, planning TV, film, fashion, good and more. One of his more recent ventures, Rap Snacks, which is now blowing up a on a national scale.
We`re also joined tonight by friend of THE BEAT, Mark Thompson. You know him from progressive talk show "Circuit," for the past several decades, interviewing all kinds of people from Speaker Pelosi to Elizabeth Warren.
He`s also been on the ground covering the intersection of politics and African-American mobilization. And he`s the host of "Make it Plain" podcast. Great to have you both here.
REV. MARK THOMPSON, HOST, "MAKE IT PLAIN": Thank you.
MASTER P, AMERICAN RAPPER: Yes. Thank you.
MELBER: Fantastic. Let`s get right to it, what`s on your fallback list?
THOMPSON: My honor to be here with the legend--
MASTER P: Yes.
THOMPSON: And this is my brother. And I will tell you all he`s done. I was really touched by the interview Megan Markel did with her husband, and it really made me kind of sad, which sound like even a cry for help.
But she`s gotten all this criticism. Brits tend to have this idea of a stiff upper lip and you`re not supposed to really show your emotion and do any of that. So she`s got a lot of criticism for actually saying she was glad somebody checked on her. And I think that`s out of order. She`s not a Brit. She`s one of us. So I think they ought to be fair to her.
MELBER: And Master P, you`ve been in the public eye for a long time.
MASTER P: Yes.
MELBER: Sometimes people don`t think of you when you`re in the public eye as a human being. They are just kind of content.
MASTER P: Well, I think that people need to realize that people are human. Everybody the same, everybody has emotions. I feel like for her. People don`t know exactly what`s going on with her, what she`s dealing with as a mother. And I think people feel like you have to be on 24/7.
MASTER P: So I feel like this is probably emotional time for her, but she`s going to have to get used to and deal with this, and kind of not worry about what the people think.
MELBER: What else is on your fallback list, sir?
MASTER P: We need more companies like Rap Snacks. We want to open those doors up for the next generation of thinkers, movers and shakers.
MELBER: Right, and you`re saying, to kind of fall back to so many of these companies that have leadership and boards that don`t look like the rest of America.
MASTER P: Exactly. I mean, while we can`t be at the top of that food chain- -
THOMPSON: That`s right.
MASTER P: And I feel like with Rap Snacks we`re opening the doors. But it`s so many of the geniuses out there in the world that has these creative ideas that don`t get a chance. I mean, if you look at it Hollywood. In Hollywood it`s 5 percent African-American, Latino that own the production. A lot of us the stars, be in front of the cameras, but we don`t own the production.
MELBER: Can you tell us a little bit more about that? When you when you walk into a room to do these deals, are you running into this situation still in 2019 where people don`t think that you are a successful businessman after everything you`ve done?
MASTER P: Yes. Well, you know what, I had a situation the other day where I met with a guy and he was like, I expected you to be a whole different person, because I was prejudged by my music, not the business that I`m creating. And to build a Empire and to build a generational wealth for your family you have to make changes.
Nobody`s perfect. I put my trust and faith in God and I tell people you can`t prejudge somebody, because everybody can change and everybody could grow. Education is so important to my growth.
Even if you look at George Foreman, we go back and look at him. We just look at him for the boxing. He created one of the biggest brands around, "The George Foreman Grill." You have to respect that.
MELBER: And you know what`s great about the grill?
MASTER P: Yes.
MELBER: When you tip it, right, all the juices that got runs out of it. I don`t know why, nobody had had done that before.
MASTER P: Yes. Well you know what, Rap Snacks, we put a dab of ranch.
MELBER: A little dab?
MASTER P: Yes.
MELBER: Let me put Mark Thompson on the spot.
MELBER: Do you ever had rap snacks?
THOMPSON: No, I`m just seeing it for the first time.
MASTER P: OK. Now you`ve got to taste it. You got to taste it. You got to taste this.
THOMPSON: Rap Snacks.
MASTER P: You got to be owning this.
THOMPSON: This is a real life impact now.
MASTER P: Yes.
THOMPSON: Not just the fictional impact.
MELBER: This is Migos` Dab of Ranch, try it.
THOMPSON: Wow, OK. Delicious.
MASTER P: Yes.
THOMPSON: I love them.
MELBER: Well, there is an old saying in the newsroom, Mark, I don`t know if you know it. If you`re about it, about it, then say you`re about it, about it.
MASTER P: Yes. He got it.
THOMPSON: He`s right.
MASTER P: He got it about it, about it.
MELBER: Mark Thompson, and Master P, thanks for both of you coming through. A Rap Snacks will putting with me on this special edition of fallback.
A very special edition and something that`s nice as we look towards the weekend. You`re looking at New York City, the flag is waving.
I also want to tell you one more thing before we go. We talked to both Master P and the creator of Rap Snacks, James Lindsay, about the broader mission of increasing black owned businesses in the U.S. which is just at 7 percent.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES LINDSAY, RAP SNACKS CEO: And we want to look at being producers rather than consumers. We`re kind of controlling and changing the narrative of that, creating ownership, but also providing information that people can really follow and say, hey, we could do this as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That`s real work happening at the ground level. It`s business, its civil rights, its progress for a lot of different communities. There is a longer conversation there, and as we sometimes do, we put up online. It`s exclusive on msnbc.com/thebeat, or you can find it on YouTube by searching for THE BEAT, Melber or Rap Snacks on YouTube.
Obviously, it brings me joy to say all those things together. And I appreciate everyone who came and joined us on this Friday evening. That does it for us. I hope to join me again on Monday nights 6:00 Eastern. Don`t go anywhere. "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